Thursday, October 26, 2006

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
-- Paint It Black, The Stones
No, I'm not depressed, I'm preparing for our annual Halloween party. Every spare minute is spend draping anything that doesn't move with cobwebs, black paint, bones or fake blood. Food preparation is taking an unsettling turn, with finger-shaped cookies, black chicken (bat) wings, and other gruesome goodies. I love Halloween!
Thank goodness I enjoy preparing for this event, or I might actually find myself depressed after all. While all this party prep is going on our roofers decided to start a couple of weeks early so 5 men are banging away above me. I have to check the bathroom windows to make sure my privacy is secure before entering. The new patio that was supposed to be done a week ago is still being finished. I heard a rumor it will be done today, just in time to install stairs to reach it. (My insurance agent father is not too keen on us hosting a party for 60 people that could include grievous bodily harm). A nice gentleman is here fixing my oven, which is now completely pulled out of the cabinetry.
I'm also a bit behind because we were out of town for a long weekend. We had a great visit with my family, but my appointment with an endocrinologist ( the whole reason for the trip) was a bust. He thinks I need to see another endocrinologist at UVA ( another 4-6 month wait for an appointment). Not only am I discouraged and disappointed, had I known we were wasting our time I could have been home being useful. I am not a procrastinating, last-minute kind of girl. I make lists. I am organized. I am in control... Oh, god, who am I kidding? Perhaps the only person in control in the house this week is Kate, who keeps interrupting me to demand a snack, juice, help getting into a dazzling ball gown, etcetera.
Sorry no photos today, just wanted everyone to know that we are still here just incredibly busy. I should have some fantastic pictures after Saturday night...I've heard rumors that some of the costumes are a bit unusual. Should be a real "scream".

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When I wake up in the garden

Peaceful slumber wakes my eyes

The sun and moon are always present

There are no more crying people around

--In The Garden, Susan Tedeschi

We have hit a new plateau with the short people. For the past 4 plus years we have been awakened before 6 a.m, sometimes 5:30, and even the occasional painful 4:45. To be fair there was also the occasional 6:15 and once, like a gift from heaven, a late, late 6:30. My personal favorite early morning moment was the year that Kate was a few months shy of one and we (STUPIDLY) agreed to host a New Year's party. Everyone left at around 2:30 or so, we put away about half of the food (but not Tom's hand rolled sushi...sorry) collapsed into bed, and were woken up before 6. Hung over. That one was our own fault.

But for the last week or so...I hope I'm not breaking the magic spell by talking about this...they have been sleeping until 7:00!!! What a treat. Tracy and I are thrilled. We can actually receive local weather on foggy days (only time we get reception), and I have even been able to lounge in the bed with coffee for 15 minutes. When the girls finally do wake up India turns off the night light, gets socks for herself and Kate, opens the door, and they scramble down the hall to our room like little squirrels. They love climbing into bed with us and snuggling under the covers for a few brief minutes before we are up and running. It's wonderful.

Clearly fog has been a big factor here lately. The first photograph is of a misty Onancock Creek. Fall on the Eastern Shore often equals fog. The schools are often on two hour delay due to fog this time of year, and I sometimes feel like I've stepped onto a movie set for Wuthering Heights as the heavy mist rolls across the fields from the bayside. Those days are perfect for warm tea and a good book...too bad the short people think foggy days are perfect for play-doh, messy baking activities, and endless rounds of dress-up.

On sunny days the Turmanators have been squeezing out every last drop of outside time. These girls love to be out of the house and winter is hard for us. We don't get much snow, just very cold dampness. So we "make hay while the sun shines" and enjoy the beauty of fall whenever we can!

Friday, October 13, 2006

In my mind a thousand times
I played the part and read my lines
You and I would be the stars
And I don't even know your name
--"I Don't Even Know Your Name" The Mavericks

"I not Taferine Penn (Katherine Penn) aaaanymo'. I don' wike dat name. I TIDDY TAT TATE (Kitty Cat Kate).

Kate has changed her name. Thank goodness she's unaware that it is possible to make the change legally binding or she would do it. She's quite adamant, and whenever anyone asks her what her name is she tells them it's Tiddy Tat Tate.

She made one of these name change pronouncements at The Book Bin; our local bookstore and coffee shop. They are promoting a Halloween activity for toddlers and asked to take a photo of Kate and my friend Andrea's son, Christopher, dressed in costumes relevant to the books they are promoting. The poor photographer was mystified when she asked Kate for her name. Funny, she seemed REALLY glad to get out of there (she doesn't have children) once she had managed one decent shot. Let's just say the two were less than cooperative.

Most of the rest of us enjoyed ourselves. Kate liked having her picture taken and was allowed to keep her magic wand so she was happy. Andrea and I were given a free coffee so we were happy. But poor Christopher didn't want to wear his pirate hat, didn't want to put down his lollipop, and was bonked in the head a few times as Kate tried to "magic" him with her wand. He's such a cutie and always wants to hug Kate but she is heartless and rejecting because he steals her snacks. Hopefully she will treat him the same when they are 16.

I should have remained in the Book Bin where my children are occupied and I can socialize and drink coffee. The yard is a wreck with patio construction and our new countertops are being installed as I write this. It is all very exciting, despite the chaos, even though I have buyer's remorse approximately every other day. This old house has it's drawbacks, but it has a lot of personality and warmth and we are thrilled to add our touches.

One of my favorite things about the patio installation is the excavation because I am discovering all kinds of artifacts in the dirt. Here's a sample of yesterday's finds. They are pictured on our old countertops...bye bye ugly, old, cracked, blue laminate! Tracy is sick of me scavaging for treasures. Anyone want to dig in the dirt with me?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
When I'm holding on underneath this shroud
--"Rain" Patty Griffin
What do you do when your yard looks like this AND the television is on the fritz? Boogie to some bluegrass, of course! The short people's love of the genre is growing...not sure if I'm as pleased as their father. I like bluegrass as well as the next girl (okay, maybe a little more than the next girl, since it's really not all that popular) but I don't want to hear it EVERY TIME I turn on the stereo or get in the car. Kate requests "a wittle music fo' my feet" to inform me she craves that high lonesome sound. They particularly favor The Mammals "Fall On My Knees" (see because there is a "whoo!" they love to sing along with. India emphatically informed me today that "every song should have a "whoo! in it".
And what do you do while you listen to bluegrass? You play the Angelina Ballerina memory game, of course! Thank you, Clare. The girls had a great time and India and I conspired to give Kate a few matches so she wouldn't be too discouraged. Notice Kate's blanket "bebe" in the background; she managed to literally sweep the board a few times as she manhandled her ratty lovey. Allen and Sarah, if you are reading, it's the one you knitted for her and it's still her fave.
I spent a few rounds of the memory game cramming various fruits and vegetables into chicken orifices and boiling chicken unmentionables to make a broth. Not one of the most pleasurable moments in cooking for me, but Tracy's parent's home-grown potatoes should make a delicious addition to our roast chicken tonight. Thanks for the bag, guys!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

There is a town in north Ontario
With dream comfort memory despair
And in my mind I still need a place to go
All my changes were there
--"Helpless" Neil Young

We had a weekend of flashbacks. We took a trip to Patrick and Carroll Counties for Tracy's 20th high school reunion and to visit my grandmother and my grandfather. We had a great time and laughed a lot (thanks, Cliff and Rebecca, for the most hilarious party recap stomach was sore the next day from laughing so hard!).

We had the opportunity to walk around Stuart a bit and run into some familiar sights and faces. It is quite surreal to visit a place you last lived in 1989 and find so much the same. I saw an old neighbor, a friend's father, another friend's mother, and lots of other people and places I knew a long time ago.

My grandmother "Makey" will be 90 in a few weeks, and my Aunt Katie took her to Myrtle Beach one last time over the weekend. We arrived in town in time to see her off. I've watched her age so quickly in the last few years that each time I visit I worry that it will be the last time. I love to watch her with our girls and wish they could know her like I do. What an amazing woman she was and is; losing her mother at an early age, living in a barn with her father and 5 sisters after their house burned down, suffering several miscarriages, losing her husband when her children were teens, operating her own business in what was at the time a man's field, surviving cancer, and this weekend taking off for a 6 hour trip that is probably beyond her both physically and emotionally. But she did it! Clare, notice her mouth is open in the photo as always, and I even said "don't forget to close your mouth, Makey!".

Visits to my grandfather in Carroll County are bittersweet. Since my grandmother passed away in the spring he is lonely and often tearful. He is growing thinner and more bedridden, and visiting in a nursing home is never easy. But his health seems good and he is always so glad to see us, as are we to see him. During one visit they wore princess gowns and tiaras, which created quite a stir amongst the other residents as well! I suppose they don't receive much royalty in the Galax nursing facility.

Tracy's class reunion was a blast. The short people enjoyed the family portion, especially because they were able to meet our friends Cliff & Rebecca and Dena (Cliff and Rebecca gave India her "lovey" and they have grown up hearing Dena stories from my childhood). India can't stop talking about her new friend Anna; they seemed to form some sort of instant bond. And India was excited to see our friend Randy because she knows him and will always remember the time he was visiting and she "throwed up" and had to go to the hospital. The evening was, of course, the most fun. It was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up as well as tell old stories. The DJ mixed the typical 80s music, there were lots of surprises and lots of folks who hadn't changed one bit! Mike and Brooke, so glad you came by, too. The evening made me really look forward to my reunion next year. I had such a good time that my camera sat on a table, untouched, for the entire party.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That's all her own

Spinning, laughing dancing to her
favorite song
A little girl with nothing wrong
And she's all alone
--Seven Years, Norah Jones

Tutus are de rigeur with the short people; Every day is a ballet. India is full-tilt into her class and LOVES her instructor. "I wish Miss Dana was my Mommy!", she cried after a day of head-butting with me. Oh, how that stung.

And Kate is counting the months until she can be a "bawawina" like her big sister. A friend gave Kate a pair of ballet slippers her daughter had outgrown, and each Monday we must pack them for Kate to wear while she and I wait in the green room during India's lessons.