Wednesday, May 31, 2006

But before I get into that, let me update you on the more pleasant things the Turmanators have done since our last post.
Wednesday, May 24
The girls did this:
sat and waited...and waited...and waited (like stalkers) for our company, the Arthurs. When they finally arrived India and Joe ran off to do their thing and Kate and Gus decided to get along for a change! We were so excited to have them here!

Thursday, May 25

We spent the morning visiting friends and in the evening Tracy and I took Joe with us to watch India's preschool graduation program. Clearly there was a Western theme going on here. India was very clear and calm as she recited her name and where she was from (ending with a little sweet little curtsey), then sang several songs with her class. On the way home I asked her what her favorite part was, and she stated "You being so proud of me, Mommy".

Friday, May 26

Janice and I both woke up with a scratchy throat, but we decided that nothing would get us down. Besides, it must just be allergies, right? We had a play date reunion with some of our closest friends, then we cooked this black drum, along with some blue crabs, and Pat made a batch of mojitos. Yum!

Saturday, May 27

The fellas went fishing and caught, among other things, this shark, while Janice and I lay in the shade, watched the kids play and tried to recouperate. In the evening we went to a local pig roast fundraiser and had a great time, slightly mitigated by the fact that Janice and I were feeling less and less good and required LOTS of caffiene to continue functioning.

Sunday, May 28

Should have been a fantastic day, and it truly was; just a little hard to appreciate while feverish. We went out on Pat's boat to one of the many Barrier Islands that protect the seaside shoreline of Virginia's Eastern Shore. We almost had the place to ourselves, the weather was perfect, and the water was warmer than expected. We found hundreds of little hermit crabs to entertain the kids, and the shelling was good, too. Made it back in in time to get the little ones down for naps, get cleaned up and off to our friends Tom and Mary's house for a cookout. A great time, but by this time Janice and I agreed that our Tylenol Allergy and Sinus meds just weren't cutting it.

Since then I have been completely out of commission. Seems like this virus Janice and I had has kicked off some other issues. About a decade ago I had a mysterious health problem that was labeled something different by each doctor I was kind of like having the flu every 3 months. It seems like I am having a recurrance of this, so we are trying to get the ball rolling on more testing and hopefully science will have caught up with my body! Thanks to all of you who have e-mailed/called to find out where the heck I am; our e-mail is currently down or I'd have replied to those individually. I am feeling better so I will try to post a little more frequently, and am hoping that our trip to the Okracoke next week will help me feel better.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday was just unremarkable and I relished in it. It was the most milk-toast, vanilla ice cream kind of day; not even anything worth preserving on camera. A nice change of pace after a busy weekend. I will say that last night was my evening to make a Wal-Mart run without the little people, and it was fun listening to the music I wanted and turning the volume up LOUD. Bet I looked funny jamming in a big ol' minivan...conveniently no photos of that.

I think I've mentioned before that most of Kate's vocab begins with a "d" or a "t" (as in "wanna dit down" or "have a touple mo'?"). Lately she loves to proclaim herself by shouting with gusto "I Tate!". I think it is darling, so I've started calling her Tate. This just pisses her off. This morning she became so irate with me that she started yelling "I NOT TATE, I TATE!!!!!" Later Kate demanded some "pocket porn". It took me a while to figure out she really wanted popcorn (of course, when I told Tracy about Kates' mislabeling of her snack he responded " they both sound pretty good"). This weekend, Kate enjoyed some "Dokken candy" aka cotton candy. That's a hard-core treat!

India had "practice" today for her preschool's graduation ceremony (she's not graduating but all the kids participate), and they rehearsed on stage at the high school. She feels very grown up. Perhaps this is what prompts her obsessive wedding planning. She informed me last night "Mommy, this weekend while we are out on the boat I'm going to ask Joe to marry me and we'll live with you. But if he says no, then I'll just marry William." (this is Joe in the boots). Little forward hussy! I discourage any discussion about boyfriends and/or marriage because it is just needless and tacky at her age, so I don't know where she is getting this stuff. Poor Joe and William are just boy-toy pawns in her eternal quest for a future husband.

India is talking about Joe a lot because he and his family are coming for a long visit tomorrow. Janice and Pat are very dear friends of ours who moved from the Shore to Durham in November, and we are sooooo excited to see them. He has a brother, Gus, who is 4 months older than Kate. On Saturday Janice's sister Lois and her family are joining us and we have a fun weekend planned. Should be interesting...6 kids and 6 adults all bunking here. I would worry about whether our house would survive, but it's weathered hundreds of hurricanes (I've personally ridden out 3 here) and generations of farm families so I think it's fairly tough.

I spent about an hour on the phone with my friend Cliff today. It was like old times; we used to spend hours on the phone in high school making fun of everything. We did a little of that today, too. Cliff is one of the few people besides my husband that doesn't mind my sarcasm. One of the best things about starting the blog is staying in better touch with old friends. Enjoyed catching up with you, Cliff!

Another fun moment today was getting the ball rolling on providing clinical supervision to a Master's in Counseling candidate. I often feel out of touch with my field now that I am taking a break from practicing so I'm excited about the prospect of working again, even if it is for a brief stint. We will meet once a week to discuss her progress in a practicum; it is a bit like "therapy lite". Even though I do love staying at home I find myself missing work. But if I worked full-time, I would miss moments like this...India and Katie Kate doing "Ring Around the Rosy" today:

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.
-George Moore
Oh, it feels so good to be back on the Shore! Whenever we return home it is an absolute requirement that we roll down the windows and experience the Bay. I took a great shot from the car that all but smells of marsh but some technical difficulties are keeping me from posting it; wish I could show you what we see as we cross the Bay. It's funny, I made that same drive alone in 1998, car laden with dogs and belongings, and sobbed the whole way because I didn't want to leave Richmond...

We had a great trip. Okay, things didn't exactly go as planned. We scrapped the camping because of bad weather predictions (we should have gone anyway) and some of our other plans fell through (dinner in Floyd, for one), but it was still a wonderful time. We spent Friday afternoon on the Blue Ridge Parkway visiting old haunts, including Rocky Knob, where we had our "Second First Date". We shared a bottle of wine at this overlook sometime in August 1987 and that was the beginning of our current relationship (we figure high school dating does not count, although it did generate some funny pictures, including Prom, that the girls can mock later). It was wonderful to visit this spot given that we were celebrating our 14th anniversary, and it is still just as beautiful as it was 20 years ago.

Across the street from this spot was the most beautiful specimen of flame azalea I have ever seen. Flame azaleas are native to the Parkway, and are one of my favorites...aptly named, and this one took my breath away with it's size and color.

We also poked around in shops from Meadows of Dan to Floyd, enjoying the ability to look around without having to repeat the litany "look with your eyes, not with your hands" (although I did have to threaten to take Tracy outside if he did not stop longingly touching the bluegrass CDs; he's an addict). We barely made the last tour and tasting, then shared a bottle of wine and ate a wonderful dinner at Chateau Morrissette. Given that we love wine and have our own wine-loving Black Dog, we have always had a soft spot for the Winery; we felt like proud parents seeing how much they have grown since our first visit almost 20 years ago. Even their barrels bear the mark of the dog; you gotta love the theme.

One of our favorite moments of the whole weekend was waking up Saturday, glancing at the clock and realizing that it was 7:45 and we were just opening our eyes. I know that sounds early to many of you, but I haven't slept that late since India was born! Unfortunately, Kate and India did not give their grandparents a break; poor Dex and Judy were up around 5 each morning. Since Saturday was a bit of a bust weather-wise we went to the movies together for the first time in 5 years (!) to see "The Da Vinci Code". Yes, I too am absolutely sick of the hype, but I have to say it was a great movie despite the poor reviews. How I feel about the topic is another long subject entirely, so I won't get on my soap box. Let me just say that any belief system worth it's salt NEEDS to undergo questioning and scrutiny to survive, so I think the novel/movie are very good things even if I am SOOOOOO tired of hearing about it. Go see it!

Today Tracy's parents brought the girls to meet us at Mabry Mill. I've been eating there since I was India's age, at least, and not much has changed since then. I think we even had the same waitress (you think I'm kidding). After breakfast we had a great time pelting the poor, sleepy ducks with leftover biscuits, and India wanted to know all about the "Ferris Wheel". I scared some woman to death by pointing out a snake emerging from the water, and I worked very hard keeping the girls out of the Poison Ivy that seemed to be growing everywhere. These pictures have suffered the same fate as those of the Bay...sadly I had a great photo from Lover's Leap, as well, that I am sorry to lose. Then we loaded ourselves into the car for the 6.5 hour drive.

Now it's time to start a very busy week, so I think I'd better go unpack and do some laundry. Glad to be back!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Okay, not so lucky today in how I was awakened. Instead of a little John Lee song, I was startled by loud, excessive coughing that began at 5:15 and culminated at 5:30 when India yelled for me. Despite the fact that there is a white noise machine beside her crib, Kate's supernatural hearing (as a friend used to say, Kate can hear "a gnat fart in the attic") picked up on the commotion so she arose as well.

Wednesday is Playgroup day and I love Playgroup. We have anywhere from 10 to 20 moms, each of whom have 1-2 children, so it is loud, crazy, at times overstimulating, and did I mention loud? But always a good time. Playgroup is like a cocktail party minus alcohol (although there was that one time someone served mimosas...and another time there was sangria...but I digress). The hostess is responsible for snacks and coffee, and all the mothers sit and chat while the children play. Very nice, and when the girls were very small and I was feeling insane, playgroup was a little oasis for me. Still is.

After naps my friend Susan and her two girls, Ellie and Anne (Anne is my goddaughter) came to play. A great time was had by all, as you can see from the pictures. Now it is time to get these girls to bed and begin packing for our anniversary trip. We will be traveling to Richmond tomorrow afternoon for a stopover with my parents, then leaving Friday morning for Stuart. Tracy's parents will be taking care of the girls while Tracy and I have some time alone! We had planned to camp but the weather is looking iffy, so we may just stay at my grandparents' home in Galax. We are planning to go to Chateau Morissette Winery (El, remember our Kibler Valley camping trip and visit to the Winery in the snow?), and thanks to Delane's suggestions plan to go to Floyd Saturday night for dinner and acoustic blues music. Should be great. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and I'll be back on Monday!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

there are things you do
because they feel right
& they may make no sense
& they may make no money
& it may be the real reason
we are here:
to love each other
& to eat each others' cooking
& say it was good
-Brian Andreas
Our good friends Janice and Pat sent that poem in an anniversary card and I think it suits. Saying "yes" to you was the best decision I've ever made, hands down. An awful lot has happened in the last fourteen years and I wouldn't have taken the ride with anyone else...I suppose we were pretty sure the journey would be successful given that we have known each other since elementary school. God, we are so young in that picture! Since there are no new ones of the two of us together I decided to post this one; five years old but a photo we both like. Looking forward to celebrating with you this weekend...let's hope the weather holds!

Kate woke up this morning singing "Boom, boom, boom, boom...bang, bang, bang, bang...". What a way to start the day! Of course, we didn't want the girls learning the "gonna shoot you right down" part, so we altered the lyrics to "gonna get right down...heeey, hey". MUCH nicer than the usual way I am awakened: "MOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!!! HHHEEEEEEEEEEELLLPP!!!!!!!! ".

Kate's cheerful singing set a great tone for the day. A busy one, but productive and enjoyable all around. We took India to school and Kate had her usual crying jag "I MISS AHEENYA !!!!" (translation...."I miss India"), then yelled "You dop, sun!" because the sun was in her eyes and "Wake up, fwower!" to a half-dead dandilion that she was carrying around. Kate truly believes that if she is loud enough in her commands she will acheive whatever she wants.

Tonight at dinner India insisted that she would only finish her milk if Tracy and I finished our wine...with pleasure, India!

Monday, May 15, 2006

"If we beat ourselves, then we will win!"
- India Turman
India made this pronouncement at breakfast. She has a little Yogi Berra going makes a spacy kind of sense, I think. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I like it.
Food was our battleground today. Kate is a little pig and happily chews away on whatever you give her (even if it is a non-perishable item) but India has always struggled with eating enough. In addition, she can be fairly headstrong...I know you are all wondering where she gets that...and sometimes she uses food as her power source. She refused to eat lunch or finish her milk today, and the rule is that she does not get an afternoon snack if she doesn't eat. Normally she accepts this gracefully and we all go about our business as usual, but today India became EVIL CHILD FROM HELL when she woke up from nap and remembered that she had sabotaged her own snack. It was an hour of wailing, moaning, pouting, sighing, cajoling, and ultimately....yelling. If she knew how to curse she would have, and I came close myself. During the entire fracas Kate steadily munched on her goldfish, a happy song in her little head, oblivious. What a skill.
Our printer died this weekend, so yesterday when we went to Maryland we bought a new one. It is INCREDIBLE! I need to review the manual, but I'm pretty sure that it vacuums and does our taxes. I don't think I've ever been so excited about a machine, but we are talking going from something that barely printed to something that faxes, scans, copies, prints photos (even from a negative) and does all kinds of other fancy little tricks that I will never master. All you computer geeks who have inspired me of late should be very proud of yourselves; I'm almost becoming a full-fledged technology user (although I still refuse to use my cell phone except for emergencies, dislike most gadgets, won't text message anyone and will never preprogram telephone numbers into ANY device). I'm too tired to play with it tonight, but tomorrow is our 14th wedding anniversary so maybe I will try to scan a wedding photo in tomorrow...'til then, I've got nothing good to share except some stock photos of the dogs.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! I had a good, but busy day. We traveled an hour north to civilization (Maryland) for "rations"...diapers, bulk everything (who knew we needed 40 thousand napkins and 2 vats of peanut butter?), Princess and My Little Pony underwear (for Tracy, of course) and other necessary items. I truly dislike shopping, but I hung in there and the girls were great for us. They enjoy "chopping", especially when they are allowed to watch movies in the van on the way up and back. Embarrassed to admit we do it, but we have succumbed to the in-car DVD for long trips. I thought of you, Brooke, and tried to feed lunch to my children in Sams, but it seemed that they were mostly sampling dog food today...I can be frugal, but not THAT frugal.

Got a fantastic Mother's Day present from India...a booklet of pictures of her from preschool that span the entire year; first day, taking a nap, eating lunch, even playing a washtub bass! It brought tears to my eyes; she's become such a big big girl in the last year. And Tracy's gift to me was a "certificate" for a girl's night out with as many friends as I can cram in the van, during which he provides transportation and some other surprises that he will not divulge. Should be a blast, and very creative. Jay, the cat, left me a fur ball on the back step...a very thoughtful gift, and truly from deep down. Can't wait to see what he gives Tracy for Father's Day!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"feels so good to be feelin' good again"
- Robert Earle Keen
That's my motto today. What a beautiful, perfect day! The windows are open in every room, and a wonderful breeze is flowing through the house. An old house really capitalizes on a region's strengths, and ours was clearly designed to take advantage of the Bay breeze. This often makes up for it's complete impracticality in every other sense! Tracy is on break from his Master's so we've had no agenda. Okay, a little bit of an agenda, we are never plan-free. We started the day by running some errands and happened upon some baby ducks, which thrilled me almost as much as the girls. Then we worked in the yard painting and posting a bird feeder, then planting a climbing rose at the base. This rose is a cutting from Tracy's paternal grandmother's rosebush. Tracy's mother, Judy, transplanted the rose to her home, and made a cutting for me. It's beautiful, and smells like heaven. The stereo is blaring, and the grill is smoking. Life is good.
India's friend Nicole had her birthday party today and Tracy kept Kate at home for her nap while "us big girls" went to the My Little Pony party. India is used to napping and yawned a little on the sly, but we had a great time thanks to candy and cake for India and cosmopolitans for the moms. Nicole's mother is so smart to serve alcohol to the parents! We hardly noticed (or at least cared about) the cheeto-stained hands and the green icing lips, although my shirt bears the remnants.

After the party we traveled to Herbal Instincts, our local organic store, for some provisions. Ingredients for a tomato, basil and mozarella salad, salmon burgers (hot dogs for the girls) and some fresh, homemade bread were purchased. I would never, ever be able to set foot in that store with Kate, much less BOTH girls, so that was a treat for me. It's the small things that make me happy. Good, healthy food again, after a week of scrounging! What a treat. I'm including a pic of the mozarella salad, mostly for Mom and Clare's benefit (try laying it out this way...).

We were supposed to attend a party tonight, but we both agreed we are burnt out and need a night at home together. With any luck we'll get the girls to bed early and be able to rent a movie and relax. Wish us luck!

Friday, May 12, 2006

What I have learned while housebound for 7 days:

1. The house is dirtier than I even imagined
2. I go crazy with no outside stimulation
3. The girls go even crazier than me when they can't leave the house
4. Our phone rings A LOT!
5. We do not stock junk or comfort food
6. Salad doesn't sound appetizing when you are sick
7. I can make lots of lists of things I need to do when I feel better
8. When no one does laundry, the first things to go are underwear and nightgowns
9. Blogs are dry and unimaginitive when we have done nothing
10. Did I mention that I see an enormous amount of dirtiness?

Can you tell I have hit that point where I feel well enough to start thinking of all the things I need to do, but have little energy to actually DO them? I've tried to whittle away at the laundry (out of necessity; call me crazy, but I do enjoy wearing underwear) and have actually found myself sitting on the bed to fold because I'm too exhausted to stand up! But I have a mean list going that has already caused Tracy to roll his eyes.

I had high hopes for the prednisone. When I was pregnant with Kate I had to take the stuff, and it gave me so much energy that Tracy found me hanging pictures on the wall at 3:30am.
Tracy: "What the hell are you doing?"
Amy (calmly): "hanging pictures."
Tracy: "Okay. 'Night."

No such energy boost this time around. I did feel well enough to make gingerbread pancakes for dinner last night (breakfast stuff is about all that is left in the larder). Clearly Kate likes her syrup. We listened to a little Billie Holiday and Kate, hearing her for the first time, was just enchanted with that unique voice. She stared at the stereo and "sang" sweet! The pictures below are of the girls listening to Billie.

Anyone who likes that Billie Holiday sound should check out the Squirrel Nut Zippers (or, as my friends' daughter calls them "Girls with Zippers"). They are an incredible group from North Carolina who have what can best be described as a jazzy, big band sound with swing, bluegrass, mambo, punk, rock, ska influences. They have a great sense of humor in their music and the mood is infectious. I don't know a soul that I've introduced to SNZ that hasn't fallen in love with them. They are named after an old-fashioned candy kind of like a Mary Jane...I've seen them in a few old general stores. A quick check did not reveal a website that plays their stuff but I'm sure Limewire or Napster will have 'em. Check it out!
postscript: thanks to Delane, I found a link for you to scope out SNZ...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Still under the weather, but slowly getting back to normal. Today is the last day I will have Tyshonda to babysit, so I'd better be ready to take over tomorrow. I did recover enough to help India plant the marigold she grew from seed at school (M is for marigold). She is so excited and plans to water it and love it to oblivion, I'm sure. It's very cute how motherly she feels towards this flower, and a lot of fun to watch. It's also a skill I hope to nurture; with over 3 acres of ground we have plenty of plants to tend to, and I will need lots of help as these girls grow!

I'm hoping to start having some energy again. We have a very full weekend and I want to enjoy it after so many days of feeling miserable! Friday is the first meeting of the "Friday Night Club". The Shore is such a small area that most of my friends get their hair cut at the same salon, and the owner is about my age. She likes our little group, and has offered to close the salon for us one Friday a month for haircuts or whatever other girly stuff and we can bring FOOD AND WINE! Should be fun. Smart of the owner; she can sell a lot of expensive products to drunken stay at home moms by promising them it will make them look younger and thinner! Since I'm taking all of this medicine I won't really drink so I am the DD. Saturday there is a Birthday party for India's friend Nicole and then a grown-up party Saturday night. Sunday is Mother's Day and I am hoping we will have good weather and can head to the beach for a few hours to celebrate.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This blog brought to you by the power of PREDNISONE. As you may have noticed I've been out of commission for several days. Monday I had a chest film to rule out pneumonia; thank goodness, just a bad case of bronchitis. Sooooo, lots of drugs later (high powered antibiotics, inhaler, cough syrup with codeine - yay- and steroids) I am at least out of bed. Our babysitter's sister, Tyshonda, is home from college and is babysitting so I can rest. She brought her daughter, Destiny, and the 3 girls have had a wonderful time.

The girls are furious with me for being sick. I wish they had the ability to just say "Mommy, I'm so disappointed that you are sick". Lacking the brain and skill development, self-awareness and language aquisition to do so, they just take their frustrations out on each other and me by hitting, biting (that would be Kate) , arguing incessantly, refusing to share and general attention-seeking aggression. Our big struggle is how best to address all this negative behavior. Do I become permissive, afraid to discipline, Wimp Parent who says things like "Katie, honey; would you mind taking your inscisors out of your sisters' back, please? Please? I'll give you a lollipop." and ignores jumping on the couch, trying to turn on the gas grill or throwing sand? Or do I resort to the constantly yelling Shrieking Harpy Parent; "IF YOU DON'T STOP POKING KATE WITH THE STICK I AM GOING TO MAKE YOU SORRY YOU WERE EVER BORN! DO YOU HEAR ME? I'LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT! I BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD AND I CAN TAKE YOU OUT!"

I try to find some middle ground, but lately I find myself sounding all too Harpyesque. In the course of one minute these girls can complete 4-5 dangerous, provoking or just plain unacceptable behaviors; it's like trying to corral 14 chimpanzees. A conversation withTracy sounds something like this " then I...PUT THAT DOWN...I...NO, FOR THE 5TH TIME DO NOT PUT A HAIR CLIP ON THE then I called the repair company and they...KATE!! NO, NO BABY! BUGS AREN'T FOR EATING!...the repair company and they can't come out 'til...GET DOWN! I SAID GET DOWN!...what was I saying, Tracy?". Time to watch "Bill Cosby: Himself" for a little reassurance.

Nice to be back amongst the living so I can resume my blog habit!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I'm not very happy with the current state of affairs in our household (TVTJWD; see previous 635 posts), so I'm just going to pretend that I'm here... San Diego. Tracy had a conference there for 10 days in September and I flew out for 5 of them. It was the first time we had been alone since India was born, and boy did we enjoy it. More specifically, I'm going to imagine that I am here...

...a wonderful Mexican resteraunt in Old Town San Diego where they make the tortillas right in front of you and they serve margaritas as big as my head. I'm sure that if I really try, I can imagine that the Ortega tacos Tracy has planned for dinner (one of the 4 meals he can master) will taste remotely like the meal we had there. And I am positive that the Nyquil I will chug before bed will vaguely remind me of margaritas in effect, if not
by taste.

Needless to say, we did not attend the ShoreFest fundraiser last p.m. Tracy got in at 5:00 and I immediately went to bed and slept until 6:30 this morning. In some bizarre mutation of itself, TVTJWD has morphed from nauseau, vomiting, etc. to bronchitis. Now Kate and I are on antibiotics and coughing like smokers. India seems to be better, judging by the amount of energy she is expending on dancing, changing her clothing and arguing. Poor Tracy; what a weekend. Hopefully we will have something more exciting to report soon. Until then, a mariachi band is playing in my head...Queremos Bailar!

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's baaaaaaack! I swear, TVTJWD is the most insidious illness we've encountered in the 4 years we've been members of the kids germ club. I started feeling rumbly Wednesday night and just passed it off to too much seafood, but it is now clear that it is TVTJWD. Yesterday I was ill enough that Tracy stayed home for a half day so I could rest, but today he has too much going on so I am flying solo. Needless to say, no pictures of yesterday and that's a very good thing. Any pictures I take today will probably include the girls naked, eating dirt and performing dangerous feats on the swingset while I lay in the beach chair with a coke.
I can't decide yet whether I am feeling better this morning. I hope so, because we have tickets to a fundraiser tonight for the Hospital (where Tracy works); it's usually a fun event and my friend Sally is the Director of Marketing so it's her baby and I like to go and support her. It's also an expectation for Tracy that we go. Besides, any excuse to dress up and have grown-up drinks and conversation makes me happy. It's funny, when I was working I hated going to these things; I'd been listening to people all day and the cocktail thing just felt too schmoosy. It's still schmoosy but I just don't care! Schmoosy gets me out of the house.
The fundraiser is for our local cancer center. The Shore has a dispropportionately large number of folk with cancer (reportedly due to farming chemicals...people used to just love to run under the cropduster and get sprinkled by the DDT) and we built our own Cancer Center in the last 4-5 years. Prior to that eveyone had to travel anywhere from 1 to 2 hours for chemo...what an ordeal! It is a huge asset to our community and Tracy and I have tried to be supportive of this cause. Like most people, we have people in our families who have been cancer victims and/or survivors.
We also have scary, sad, overwhelming amounts of poverty on the Shore, and a big part of the Hospital's mission is to serve everyone regardless of their ability to pay. I've been in many homes to talk to parents of clients where there were dirt floors, no running water, and chamber pots under the bed. There are just no words horrific enough to describe it. And don't even get me started on the difference between "city poor" and "country poor"; we have no public transportation, people can live 30 miles from the nearest grocery, etcetera. So the fact that some of these people will receive cancer treatment that wouldn't get it otherwise is a very nice thing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

SEAFOOD FESTIVAL!! Oysters and clams on the half shell, steamed shrimp, silver dollar clams, sweet potato fries, oyster fritter sandwiches, Hogg Island clam chowder, steamed clams, more steamed clams, more steamed clams...

The Seafood Festival is an Eastern Shore institution and this was it's 38th annual event. It is such an integral part of the Shore that the first year we lived here Tracy received a free ticket through work but felt he was too busy to go....until the CEO called him and informed him "you WILL go". It's a job requirement! About 3,500 people attend, including many polititians (our esteemed Governor was in attendance today). It was a beautiful day, we saw many friends, and ATE ATE ATE (had a couple beers, too). Now I'm too full for dinner.

Here is a view from the festival of the Chincoteague Lighthouse (very me, it's there) and a photo of the band just because I loved their name.

Believe it or not, this is the first of three major seafood festivals on the Shore. Harvest Festival and the Chincoteague Oyster Festival are both in October. Harvest Festival is the hardest one to find tickets for. People actually stand in line outside the Chamber of Commerce building...I used to do that for Who or Pink Floyd tickets! While I enjoy going, I would never go that far.

Kate had a great time at my friend Andrea's house. Andrea was a bit apprehensive when I informed her that Kate needs a song when putting her down for a nap, but she sang Kate a German lullaby like a real trooper (Andrea's mother is German, and Andrea was a German teacher with a Master's degree). Evidently Kate shot Andrea a pretty funny look, but she napped well and thoroughly enjoyed playing with Titoper (Christopher) and Bacole (Nicole).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tuesday, May 02

The VIRUS THAT JUST WON'T DIE slipped out the back, Jack. Life feels good again, and to make my day even more enjoyable the wind has died down, it's warm and there is not a cloud in the sky. The girls and I purchased some annuals, ran a couple of errands and hit the Book Bin (our locally owned bookstore). Even India's "accident" in her undies (the cleanup of which involved copious amount of baby wipes and finishing our outing "commando"- just her, not me) then Kate's subsequent announcement to all of the Book Bin customers that "I dot da poop, Mommy, I sho do, sho do" could not squelch my mood. Let me just add that the girls chose to shop in tie dyed shirts, Christmas socks, tacky Easter bonnets from Dollar Tree strictly for dress-up purposes, and large foam flower bead necklaces. They resembled midget hippies with schizophrenia. We spent most of the day outside, even eating lunch and dinner there (Clare...oh, how I have the "I wants" for a patio and patio furniture). In addition I washed the grocery getter, which had enough tar spatter near the wheel wells to make Jackson Pollack proud.

I'm also in a better mood because tomorrow is the Shore's annual Seafood Fest. The Seafood Fest is held on Chincoteague (pronounced "Sh", not "Ch") Island. You may have read "Misty of Chincoteague"...that's the place and it is part of Accomack County, where I live. Tracy and I are actually going without the midgets and I just knew one of them would hang onto their germs to keep me from attending, but everyone is healthy. The Seafood Fest is full of great raw and steamed local seafood, beer, local and State politics, and several of our friends...what could be better? Besides, I REALLY, REALLY need a break. I'll try to get a photo of one or two of the infamous ponies for tomorrow's blog, but I've found that if someone wants to see them they are so far away that they are almost invisible to the naked eye, yet if Tracy and I go alone and forget our camera they will tap dance and limbo 5 feet from our car...almost a true story...I have been known to exaggerate just a bit for dramatic effect.

Monday, May 01

The VIRUS THAT JUST WON'T DIE II , due to popular demand, has had a 4th showing.

Ennui sets in very quickly around here. I think I have the busiest children I know (poor Pops and Gigi witnessed this first-hand the weekend my granmother died) and it is soooo dificult to keep them busy. I tried to engage them with an emergency stash of craft supplies but they were less than enthused. They preferred to spend the day fighting and arguing. I know this is because they are incredibly bored and India is not feeling well, but I need a break! I think I'll go shopping for a black and white striped shirt and a whistle.

India has such a sunny, joyful personality but last night she was limp dishcloth. She flirts with dehydration and malnutrition on a daily basis anyway, so when she decides she's too sick to drink we get worried. Randy Gunter witnessed a trip to the hospital first-hand (again, Randy, I apologize profusely. You'll never want children - or a wife for that matter- after that fiasco). She develops very high fevers, it's been over 105 several times, and Tylenol just wasn't cutting it last night. We were out of Ibuprophen so I had to make grocery run # 2 at 9:30 (grocery run #1 was at 6:30) . After we got her good and dosed up she threw up all of her medicine, as well as the chocolate cake Tracy fed them for dessert (Disclaimer: I was on grocery trip #1 when this decision was made and it took India saying tearfully, "I shouldn't have eaten the cake" for me to figure out what the heck that dark brown stuff was when all she'd eaten for dinner was pasta with a little butter a some mango).

Here's hoping today will be much better for all of us...Landon and the Joyces included.