Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

25 August 2007

School Round Up

We have been back at school for two weeks and suffered through exhaustion (both Hew and myself but generally it is only Hew whose weekly fit includes sobbing and throwing himself to the ground), a straddling fall on the balance beam that resulted in a big bruise on the inner thigh (KK), nightly homework in kindergarten (KK), and a slide across a freshly waxed floor and near fall in front of a class of obnoxious, snickering teenagers (me). Thought I'd share some of the verbal highlights:

Me after the first day: "Hew, what was your favorite part of the day?"
Hew with great excitement: "Ridding the bus - it goes real fast and there's no seat belt!"
-How comforting.

"Mrs. Hexe, you are the only one smiling in this classroom."
-said by evil, miserable teenagers as I walked to the front of the classroom to begin class on day three.

Preschool morning song sung by Hew and his classmates: "Good morning Jacob! How are you? Who is sitting next to you?"
Jacob responds "Hew."
Class sings: "Good morning Hew! How are you? Who is sitting next to you?"
Hew's responds: "Him."

"All my friends wore red for red day. One friend even wore red underwear. She showed us and then my other friend showed us his underwear and they were black! Then my teacher said no more showing our underwear!"
-Hew explaining how red day went in class. At least they all now know the colors red and black!

"Today, we had so much fun! And tomorrow will be even more fun!"
-KK about kindergarten. I don't think this what my intolerable teens are thinking!

Two weeks down, forty to go!

18 August 2007

Photo Tour of Bergen

Yesterday, we ended the first week back at school with an hour wait in the pediatrician's office. When we went to pick up Hew's inoculation record for school, it was discovered that he had been given one shot too early and it would have to be redone to comply with the state requirements. Hew was a trooper and not one tear was shed. We celebrated the end of the first week of school and Hew's bravery with some ice cream. I have to admit that already I am planning my next escape. So for inspiration, the second installation of the Norway photos.

During our time in Bergen we stayed at the lovely Solstrand Hotel. The hotel is located about 20 minutes south of Bergen, directly on a fjord, in the quaint village of Os. This was a perfect choice for us as we wanted to see Bergen, but wanted some quiet time to relax.

Os is home to the The Oselvar Boatyard which builds boats and continues the ancient handicraft of building these small, clinker built wooden boats. At The Oselvar Boatyard, young boat builders learn the handicraft of building boats in the oselvar tradition from the older boat builders.

And of course, if you have a boat, you will need to store it in the winter.

After some relaxing time is Os, we headed into the City. Bergen has over 225 000 inhabitants and is a UNESCO world heritage city. This is view from above Bergen which is captured by a city webcam.

Down below, just past the fishmarket, the traditional tenement housing still stands along the harbor Vagen. The harbour quarter shows the row houses that were rebuilt after a fire in 1702 that destroyed most of the original area.

Most of these former homes are now shops and offices, thus giving it a very touristy feel. However the narrow passageways remind you how close and confining it must have been to live there.

Mariakirken, St Mary’s Church, is a stone church which dates back to the early 12th century, and is Bergen's oldest building.

After visiting the harbour, the museums, and the churches, I spent a quiet thirty minutes on a park bench and this was the view peeking through the trees.
One last visit to the harbour before returning to . . .
. . . The Solestrand for drinks, dinner, and perhaps a . . .
. . . swim in the fjord!

13 August 2007

I just might shed a few tears . . .

Tomorrow is Hew's first day of pre-school. I fear a replay of two years ago when I dropped KK off for her first day. I never suspected a thing - after all, KK had gone to daycare while I worked. Yet as I walked away from the classroom, I got all mushy and such. By the time I hit the parking lot, I was sobbing as though I'd given up my first born, all the while knowing I'd be back at 2:45 P.M to retrieve the selfish little child who never even looked back when I left the classroom. It was horrific.
Now I am only across campus and I know that Hew is ever so ready, but just in case, I think I'll pack a few tissues in my pocket.

11 August 2007

Why we have no baysitters

It has been a busy week here - I've been in teacher trainings, the kids are preparing to go back to school, PH just received a giant case to review, and of course after returning to daycare for just one week until school, both kids picked up some bug with a fever and a headache.

Also during this week, my department gathered together with spouses for a potluck dinner. It was one of the few times everyone let their hair down and we compared notes about the new administration. This meant the kids stayed home with a baysitter. Our neighborhood babysitter was not available, but one of my former students graciously agreed to stay with my monsters so I could have a night of adult conversation.

Upon returning home, my student initially reported both children had been well behaved. I sighed with relief as I was a bit fearful as to what my children might report that would then be broadcast to the school.

The next day, I ran into the student at the school. She again commented on how well behaved the kids had been. I asked if Hew had done anything inappropriate as lately he has been fascinated with his own derriere and has been sticking his butt out as a response to questions. She assured me that Hew had not been fascinated with his own bottom, but instead had been fascinated with hers - running up and smacking her on her very tiny, very cute seventeen year old bottom! I stumbled out an apology to the student and wondered how long it would take for that story to make its way around campus. And now I sit, worried that next week Hew may use the same move on his very mature, very maternal teacher.

(I attempted to find a cute but appropriate picture to accompany this post but searching images for "butt" and "spanking" led me to pictures that I prefer not accompany a post about my child. When I complained to PH about the lack of photo, he spent a good half an hour searching the exact same terms to "help." It appears that Hew came by his bottom fascination through heredity!)

07 August 2007

New Hair

Teacher training has begun so it's a bit crazy here. Last Friday, after two years of thinking about changing the color of my hair, I finally tried to go from blonde to red. Unfortunately for me and my hairdresser, it didn't come out as planned on Friday, so back I went on Monday. I am now a red head. Here's the progression:

My blonde before coloring.

The Mistake - Not a bad color just not was intended.

And the final result!

At least now I can blame my tantrums on my hair color!

02 August 2007


I went into school today to drop off some things for my room. Teachers return next week and the following week, students return. Guess I have to admit the party's over.

I park the car, haul the kids out of the car seats, take a dozen step, and then slip and fall to the ground, twisting my ankle. This is made worse by the fact that I am wearing sneakers and am only carrying my purse. Currently I sit with a frozen bag of corn on my swollen foot.

An ominous start for the year. Can't help but wonder if the universe is trying to tell me I should have stayed in law.

01 August 2007


Please ignore whinny post from yesterday - this is just the readjustment period after returning from elsewhere. So instead of self centered bitching - pictures!

The first few days were spent in Haugesund.

"Haugesund was first heard of when Snorre Sturlasson mentioned it in 1217 in connection with the death of Harald Hårfagre (in the year 930). At present the town has a population of 30,000 and is a regional centre with a lot to offer in the fields of culture, commerce and services. The surrounding area served by the regional centre has a population of 160,000 people and comprises Haugalandet, Sunnhordaland and parts of Ryfylke and Hardanger. With the North Sea as its closest neighbour Haugesund is strongly dependent on the earning potential provided by the sea, a fact that leaves its mark on the town. Oil, gas and maritime activities and courses and conferences are important to the town's economy in addition to commerce."

Downtown Haugesund at night

Downtown Haugesund during the day.

One night after dinner with PH's host family, they took us for a boat ride on the fjord outside their home. The shore was decorate with lovely homes and scenery. My photos do not do it justice.
Views overlooking Haugesund - lots of green and lots of water.

The Norwegian National Monument, Haraldshaugen, commemorates the unification of Norway under Harald Hårfagre.
At the monument was this stone cross, demonstrating the conversion to Christianity. PH's host family explained that soon after the cross was erected, a violent storm snapped it in half and it was put back together with the steel bars at the base. The family had some interesting theories about the breaking of the cross.
This is St. Olav's Church. King Håkon Håkonsson erected the St. Olav’s Church around 1250 AD as part of the royal farm on Avaldsnes. Next to the church stands one of Norway’s tallest pillars, “Jomfru Marias synål” (Virgin Mary’s Sewing Needle). (http://wikitravel.org/en/Haugesund)

According to legend, when the pillar touches the church wall it means the end of the world. PH's host family explained that parts of the top have been chipped off in order to preserve the world.
The front door of the church is covered in this metal from World War II that was to prevent damage.

At the church, we ran into a cycling tour.
One evening, we hiked to an abandoned lighthouse with PH's host brother to watch the sun set over the fjord. This picture was taken at 11:20 P.M.
On the way to the lighthouse, there is a a monument to those who drowned in a 1999 sinking of a passenger ferry.
Not wanting us to miss any of the sights, we were also taken to the copper museum in Visnes. "Visnes is on the island Karmøy. The copper mine closed in 1972." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visnes)
These were the compartments in which three workers were lowered into the mines. These compartments were then filled with the copper and sent back up. It appears it would be a tight fit.

This is where they were lowered into the ground.
This is where the copper for the Statue of Liberty was initially found. You can still see the impact of the copper in the area by looking at the rocks and the discoloration.
And that completes your tour of Haugesund. Have a lovely day!