Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If you'll be my Dixie chicken
I'll be your Tenessee lamb.
And we can walk together
down in Dixieland...
--Little Feat "Dixie Chicken"

The site of beer can chicken never fails to crack me up. I just expect the little guy to break into soft shoe or something. A bit o' Gregory Hines.

This was delicious. It's the only recipe that comes close to matching the rotisserie chicken I grew up eating from Alexander's Food Market in my hometown. Fabulous! To me it tastes like Sunday after church. All my vegetarian and vegan friends can skip the next phrase, but the Short People beg for the skin. They love it!

Today was a special day for the Short People. Not for the beer can chicken, but because we attended kindergarten registration.

I feel I'm expected to crumple with unbearable sadness, but I felt...excited! Some of my friends grieve kindergarten enrollment like a death, but I am thrilled for India. My firstborn Short Person is setting out on the journey to become her own woman. That is my (probably horrifying, but I'll admit it) take on kindergarten.

I have always known I was not destined to me a "baby mother"; one of the patient, kind women who gladly sacrifice their own needs (sleep, relationship with spouse, basic hygeine, sleep, own interests, awareness of current events, sleep ) to care for tiny, utterly dependent beings. Professionally much of my counseling has been with adolescents and I know that is where I hit my stride. I look forward to watching my girls become strong, independent Tall People one day.

So yesterday we began the goodbye process by posing for the annual group photo at Belle Croft preschool. The photographer kept suspiciously eyeing my camera as if I was trying to cop a free shot, so I was only able to capture the staging of what seemed like 4,000 hyperactive puppies. The patience and fortitude of the teachers and photographer were award-winning, let me tell you. Can't wait to see the finished product...yes, Allan Ruelle, I will pay for it!

I love the Short People's future school as much as I have loved Belle Croft. Pungoteague Elementary ia very ethnically diverse (unlike Belle Croft, as you can see), very socioeconomically diverse. It's small and homey. Everyone greeted me with a smile, a hand-shake, an introduction. Just what Tracy and I want for our girls. We both attended a relatively poorly-funded school system with a somewhat diverse population. We did not receive a stellar education, but we did walk out of our school system with the immesurably important skill of understanding how to get along with people who are different from ourselves. To us, this gift is greater than any textbook-gained knowledge. We went on to a university (JMU - Go Dukes! ) that provided us all the education we could ask for. We both hold Master's Degrees (or Tracy will in a couple of weeks) and are versed in many subjects, but without that social foundation (and social conscience)we are nothing.

Enough soapbox...suffice it to say that I am not weeping about sending India to kindergarten in the fall. Two years from now when it is Katie's turn...who can say? I might be a crumbling wreck or I may just dance in the streets. I have always worshipped at the altar of Independence, and today was India's first glimpse at the chapel. Hooray for her!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm so tired,

I haven's slept a wink.

I'm so tired,

My mind is on the blink.

--The Beatles "I'm So Tired"

As usual, I'm stretching for sick songs; there are only so many I can think of. I haven't been quite been well in ages, but I was at least functioning until the weekend. I've had another relapse, and let's just say it put a damper on the fun-filled weekend I had predicted in my last post. The weather was gorgeous and the rest of the Turmanators spent Saturday and Sunday working and playing in the yard. I spent Saturday and Sunday (and Monday too) in bed. I did at least open the windows.

Yesterday I met with an ENT to have a culture taken of my sinuses (and wasn't THAT fun!) and discuss surgery. Dr. Saffold came at me with a very large wand and stuck it impossibly far up into my nose and sinuses. He has decided to try another round of anitibiotics before surgery. I've had enough antibiotics in the last year to treat the population of China, but he wants to try more. Okay. I'm not a big fan of surgery, but on the other hand the last time I remember feeling well was last July: at this point I am ready to pack my bags, check in to the hospital and refuse to leave until I am well.
Over the weekend the Short People took a break from digging in the dirt long enough to attend the birthday parties of two friends. I neglected to bring my camera to one, but the second party was the cutest thing ever. Their buddy Ellie hosted a tea party for her 6th birthday, complete with china, silver, fancy straw hats, and white gloves. The Short People loved it! So girlie.
Now we are preparing for Tracy to make his annual mecca to MerleFest...four days of filth, debauchery and bluegrass. I was a little worried about how I would care for the Short People while he was gone, but my mother has graciously volunteered to come to the Shore and help out. The Short People are thrilled to have their Yo-Yo come for a visit, and I am too. Maybe the antibiotics and steroids will kick in enough that we can make a trip to the beach while she is here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Noo, no, no, no
I can't take it no more
I'm tired of waking up on the floor.
No, thank you, please,
It only makes me sneeze,
And then it makes it hard to find the door.
-- Ringo Starr "The No No Song"

Another inappropriate, drug-related song selection today brought to you by Triaminic Cough and Cold Thin Strips.

The Short People came home from preschool with colds. Nothing major; low-grade fevers, sniffles, and sore throats. On our way home we stopped at the drugstore and I spotted this innocent looking medication on sale and decided to try it. BIG MISTAKE.

Triaminic Thin Stips are EVIL. Within a half hour my drowsy, peaked Short People were transformed into coked up Tasmanian devils. Kate was running circles around the couch faster than I've ever seen her, shrieking "HI MOMMY!...HI DADDY!...HI INDIA!...HI MOMMY!..." . India was talking so rapidly to her grandparents that it was barely decipherable; "pops
sandwichesforlunchhahaha..." She laughed like a hyena between sentences as she watched Kate twirl around the couch. I should have tried to take a picture but I'm not sure that even the sports action option would have captured anything but two blurs.
Now they are feeling better, and today we are taking advantage of the beautiful (finally) weather. Hope your weekend promises to be as gorgeous and fun-filled as ours should be.

By the way, those Thin Strips are in the trash.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I said leave me alone

I'm singing all night long

it's a family tradition

-- Hank Williams, Jr.

Perhaps not the best choice of songs to use when discussing my children, but I left out the inappropriate lyrics and besides; the Short People can't read yet. There are days I have lyric block and today that Hank line just kept coming back. Nothing else would do.

Here is one of our family traditions. The first photo is me. When my sister Clare was little my parents had her portrait done wearing the same dress and sitting in an inverse pose so when the portaits are hung side by side we face each other. Sorry Clarie, I don't have a photo of you to post since Mom and Dad have yours (although, come to think of it, you hate your hair in that portrait so you are probably glad I didn't share it with the world). My parents saved the dress, and when the Short People were born we decided to replicate the portraits.

Not as easy as it sounds.

It turns out that this style of portraiture (taking a photograph, blowing it up onto canvas and then painting over top of the photo in oils) is a lost art. After much research we located a man in Florida who still does this work. We shipped India's portrait to him, along with mine for comparison, and here is the finished product. I'm a bit biased, but I think it is beautiful. We jsut have to figure out where to hang it and begin saving up to have Kate's done in the fall before she outgrows the dress!

Now is a great time for all you blog stalkers to leave a comment. What's your favorite family tradition?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What's new pussycat?
Woah, Woah
What's new pussycat?
Woah, Woah
Pussycat, Pussycat
I've got flowers
And lots of hours
To spend with you.
-- Tom Jones "What's New Pussycat?"

Kate: "Mommy, Daddy, I wan' a boat for my birfday."

India: (big sigh) "Katie, we can't buy you a boat...we don't have enough wrapping paper to cover it up."

The Geat Belated Birthday Extravaganza was Saturday, and despite a cake CATastrophe (sorry; couldn't resist) it was great fun. Check out the purple wombat. The only thing that could have made the cake more hideous was a flesh wound, and the cat/wombat received a slashed throat as I removed it from the fridge. Not as visible in the photo, but trust me...almost an R rating for excessive and gratuitous violence. Never was I so sorry for cherry insides!

Both Short People have adored Eric Carle's "Brown Bear" book, and Katie P. particularly loves the purple cat. Thus the inspiration for the party. My apologies to Mr. Carle...the cake is heinous but the compliment remains. I'm planning to write Mr. Carle a little note to thank him for all his books, but expecially this one. When India was in the Children's Hospital for a week at 6 months of age that book soothed her like nothing else. We didn't even need the book itself...I could recite it by heart and calm her instantly. Thank God for Eric Carle's special magic. I promise, I won't scare him by sending him a shot of the wombat.

Desipite the nasty cake we had a great time. We were all to reconvene at the Mason's house for Ellie's 6th birthday party on Sunday, but the weather had other ideas. We've had so much rain from the Nor' Easter that Ellie's parents driveway is impassable. We have enormous flooded spots in the yard but NO LEAKS in the walls, which is a feat, believe me.
Tracy and I passed the unexpected free time by reading the local paper. Janice, look what was published just for our amusement; another "Giz" installment! Tracy, myself, my friend Janice, and perhaps three quarters of the residents of the Easern Shore enjoy the twice-yearly poems for "Giz". Do you think his spouse understands slang?

Friday, April 13, 2007

One of these days
I'm going to sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friend I've known
One of these days
One of these days And it won't be long...

-- Neil Young "One of these Days"

Oh, it's so good to be semi-back to normal. Tonight I was able to resume our Friday Night Happy Hour, which basically consists of a few friends meeting after school on Friday. A "Designated Daddy "is assigned to bring take-out dinner on his way home and we meet and eat (maybe a few drinks) until bedtime. A wonderful way to wind down a week and a tradition I have sorely missed while ill. I've also missed out on several other events, including our second annual March Mommy Madness weekend in Norfolk. I have pined for all my good friends, and am reminded how grateful I am for our friendships,as well that of our children. We are so lucky here; raising our children in some ways in a 50s/60s style of protective familiarity and comfort that is hard to find elsewhere in the States.


Today we met at "Big Kate's" in Harborton (not t obe confused with our Kate), a bayside town that Tracy and I have been in love with since we moved to the Shore. B.S.P. (Before Short People) we used to crab off the dock in Harborton. Today's outdoor photos are taken off that dock, including the inscription on the end of the dock which reads "God Bless the boys who make the noise off the South side of Pungoteague Creek".

So classic Eastern Shore. All the little "fingers" of waterways around the bayside are called "creeks" which is what you see in the photos...Pungoteague Creek. This is a Native American word (and settlement) that dates back to before the 17th century. The history here is amazing; just come see what we pull out of our yard!

As I snapped photos sea turtles paddled and laughing gulls called to me. What a cool spot; one of the many little gems I adore here on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Summer is coming and somtimes I think that is all the medicine I need. Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lips like sugar
Sugar kisses
She knows what she knows
I know what she`s thinking
-- Echo and the Bunnymen "Lips Like Sugar"

I know what she's thinking, too. She's thinking "give me some of that Easter Candy!"

Is everyone else hoarding about 57 pounds of chocolate, jelly beans, and various other temptations? I'm beginning to suspect that the Easter basket is a tradition perpetrated by the American Dental Association. As luck (good or bad luck, I'm not sure) would have it, the Short People prefer the really, really sugary stuff to chocolate. And guess who loves chocolate more than anything? That would be me; the one who has gained 40 pounds in the last 6 months thanks to my Magical Mystery Illness. I'm trying to step away from the chocolate bunnies but they keep calling my name...

We had a great time celebrating Easter weekend in Southwest Virginia. The Short People had a fabulous time with their cousins, going for walks in the woods, riding Pop's four wheeler and strewing toys from one end of the Turman's house to the other. We also visited my grandmother and my grandfather in their respective nursing facilities, and hosted a baby shower for my cousin Rob and his wife Ashley. It was wonderful to see so many family members and enjoy a little mountain air.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

trail of broken hearts

looking back at you

now and from the start

these words will travel true

the godspeed of trust

will settle the dust

we've been passing through

-- K.D. Lang "Trail of Broken Hearts"

We said goodbye to Millie yesterday. As we were packing to leave last Wednesday she became very ill and remained in the vet hospital during our trip out of town. We discovered she was in the beginning stages of renal failure but our vet fully expected her to come back home when we returned. We hated to leave her, but we checked in every day. Unfortunately she took a turn for the worse and had to be put down yesterday just before we got back on the Shore.

Millie was always Tracy's dog. My presence was tolerated, but I think she often cursed under her breath about the Short People. She had been with us six or seven years before India was born and was used to having Tracy all to herself . But she never growled or snapped, just merely rolled her eyes and moved to another, quieter room where there were no children and she could nap in peace.

Millie was amazingly smart. She was obsessed with tennis balls (we called her our "tennis ball retriever"). Once we hid one in a coffee table drawer so she would stop pelting us with it...she immediately crawled under the table, opened the drawer with her nose, and snatched the ball from the drawer like she had been opening things all her life.

Daisy Jane, her "sister", is lost without Millie. She keeps running in and out of the house, looking around and occasionally sniffing Millie's bowl. She's confused, poor girl. It breaks my heart. The Short People are upset, but waited about 6.5 minutes before they asked "does this mean we can get a puppy?". Ah, the protective innocence of children!

Goodbye Millie. We miss you.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It's gettin kinda long
I coulda said it wasn't in my way
But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly

-- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young "Almost Cut My Hair"

Kate came running from the bathroom shouting "I found some hair!". Not a phrase one hears often, so I quit cooking dinner and investigated. This is what she handed me.

At first I thought it was mine. I have enough that I wouldn't notice losing that amount and I panicked, thinking it was perhaps some odd side effect of my illness or medication. After I realized it was too short to belong to me my heart rate resumed a nice, slow pace and knew it could only be be India's.

I asked her about it, and India claimed it just "flew" out. Yeah.

When I presented the mass of hair to Tracy he immediately questioned whether I had seen India's scissors. Of course! Being a therapist I am practiced at asking kids open-ended questions, so instead of asking "Did you cut your hair?" I calmly...sort-of...asked her "So, how much hair did you cut?"

"Not much", she said, bursting into tears.

I had to go upstairs so she wouldn't catch me cracking up.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Living reflection from a dream;
I was her love, she was my queen...
--Led Zepplin "Tangerine"

Meet Tangerine. She's the little white fluffy thing stuffed Paris Hylton-style inside a purse.

Surprised that she isn't orange? Me too. I'm not even sure where Kate heard the term "tangerine" but I can tell by the way she lets it roll off her tongue that she loves the sound of the word and has no clue of it's meaning.

Aunt Katie sent her $10 for her birthday and Kate informed me "I wanna get a little monkey with my birthday money". We took a trip to The Book Bin; one of our favorite spots on the Shore (the playhouse and toys for them, the coffee and book browsing for me). We walked in scouting for monkeys, but Kate saw tangerine from across the room, their eyes met and it was love at first sight.

She ran to Tangerine, snatched her off the hanging display, yelled "I want dis puppy!", ripped the price tag off and threw it to the floor. No one has ever accused Kate of not knowing what she wants. I picked it up and, as fate would have it, it was exactly $10. This photo is the Short People before their last day of preschool before Spring Break. They insisted on wearing bunny ears for their Easter party. Kate also wore them into the hospital one day when I had to get some blood drawn. She wanted me to wear India's but I demurred. We're off on Wednesday to SW Virginia for Easter, so I don't get another post in before then hope everyone's holiday is happy.