Monday, May 28, 2007

Bicycle bicycle bicycle...

I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like
Queen -- "Bicyle Race"
It was an early birthday celebration this holiday weekend as Tracy's parents came for a visit, bringing with them lots of goodies for India, the soon-to-be five year old Short Person. She was thrilled with her fancy pink bike. We spent lots of time outside playing and Pops fixed the reverse on the Short People's gator. Yay! No more running into things then parking and walking away because they couldn't back the thing up. It was beginning to look like the crash test institute around here. Thanks, Dex.

We also hit the annual CBES Pig Roast (Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore: This event is a fundraiser for CBES, an organization that lobbies for a cleaner, well-preserved environment, cautious development and local control of our Eastern Shore. Another organization I plan to volunteer with sometime...I'll just add it to the list. The Roast is held on some property that belongs to the family of a friend of mine, the lucky girl. Just look at that view! There are hay rides and contests for the children, lots of good friends, the odd politician, and plenty of mosquitos. Welcome to the Shore.

Today we played HARD, spending the day welcoming the uofficial start to summer. And it feels like it! We also constructed a teepee for the Short People; all I have to do is finish wrapping it with twine and then plant some sweet peas and moonflowers and VOILA, and wonderful play tent. Now we are all exhausted, especially Fontella. Hope your long weekend was fun-filled, too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tell it to me

Tell it to me

Drink the corn liquor

Let the cocaine be

Cocaine is gonna kill my honey dead

Old Crow Medicine Show -- "Tell It To Me"

ME: Hello, my name is Amy and I'm a Computer Game Aholic.


Welcome to CGAA (Computer Game Aholic's Anonymous). Come with me as I work the 12 steps.

1) Admit that I am powerless over computer games and that my life has become unmanagable (example: "Just five more minutes, girls, and then I'll fix your dinner. It's only can't be that hungry!")

2) Come to believe that a Higher Power can restore me to sanity (example: "That pile of laundry, stack of paperwork, and grocery list is calling me...can you hear it?")

3) Make a decision to turn my will and life over to....
Aahhh, forget it! I'll just keep playing.
I've become hooked on computer puzzle games. In particular I am obsessed with the Nancy Drew series, in which you play the detective and explore all kinds of fabulous locations (a creepy mansion with secret passages, an inn and surrounding villiage, a train) while collecting clues and figuring our "whodoneit". They are wonderful! Right up my alley. I love mystery/suspense books and movies and these games are truly amazing.

The only problem is real life keeps intruding, damn it. Children, dogs, telephones, meetings, household chores, basic personal care...little things like these. At least Tracy is finished with his Masters so I can have access to the computer at night.

Fontella is settling in nicely. She is keeping us up quite a bit at night (2-3 times) but hardly ever has accidents in the house and has already learned to love her crate. Yay! It's going to be a tough week here, though, because Tracy is out of town and I am on deck each night for baby duty. It was almost easier with the Short People because I didn't have to shlep down the stairs and outside! I just walked across the hall, nursed them and put them back in their crib.

I wish I could say Daisy Jane is adjusting as well as the rest of us. On 'Tella's first day Daisy was thrilled with this novel creature but now she is mostly annoyed and at times just plain pissed. She growls whenever Fontella tries to play with her and has found some remarkable places to hide. She is spending increasing amounts of time outside alone, which is not like her. I'm trying to give her lots of extra attention and treats. Hopefully she will settle down soon. Anyone have any suggestions?

Time to wrap this up...I think I can squeeze in a few minutes of a game before the Short People wake up!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ballerina, you must have seen her
dancing in the sand
And now she's in me, always with me,
a tiny dancer in my hand
Elton John -- "Tiny Dancer"

Whew...the week of Never Ending Ballet Rehearsals and Performances has come to an end.

India is not a diva; she is not dramatic or attention-seeking in the way of many of her funny little friends. At times she is quite shy. So it is quite a surprise how much she enjoys the performances. I'm thrilled for her; I think ballet is a great way to learn poise and discipline.

With that said, the process of reaching the performance is looong. Arduous. Exhausting. Painful. Imagine a small high school classroom cram-packed with 40 excited, hyperactive children. Mothers scurrying around armed to the teeth with hairspray and bobby pins, attempting to wrestle their child's hair into the requisite tight ballerina bun. Costumes flying, cameras snapping wildly, and our own little hole in the ozone from the cloud of Final Net.

Scary, right? But even more horrific are the surroundings. The School Gods wisely chose the nursing students' room for our green room. Looking like something from "Silence of the Lambs", it is outfitted with no fewer than four hospital beds, three of which are the resting place for Resuscitator Annies. In one corner is a plastic life-size skeleton. There are models of teeth, eyes and ears strategically placed around the room. Medical equipment and charts of breast self-exam instructions as far as the eye can see.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???? Preschoolers and medical equipment? Give me a break. Let's just say that by the end of the first dress rehearsal one Annie's hospital gown was pulled down with breasts exposed to the world and another was sporting a jaunty pink hair bow. Poor Mr. Skeleton had lost an arm and the hospital bed controls were being used as stethoscopes and defibrillator for tiny budding physicians.

I valiantly tried to keep the Short People clear of the defacement of thousands of dollars worth of medical equipment. I pressed crayons and art paper on these girls like a drug pusher. Success! The Short People and a handful of friends were ignoring the rampant exploration of human anatomy! I was so proud. Little did I know danger was lurking at the art table.

As I sat watching someone else's child playing with a box labeled "Vaginal Swabs and Anal Probes" (I kid you not) I overheard one of India's friends whisper, "Girls...I've brought some body glitter!"

What the hell? What is a preschooler doing with body glitter (for that matter, what does anyone need with body glitter)? As sweet little Molly Kate whips Sex Appeal in a Bottle out of her ballet bag, I successfully steer India towards a potty break. Whew! Another crisis averted. Or so I thought.

At the bathroom I find another of India's friends. Several of us moms had agreed to take turns waiting backstage for our children so the others could rush out and watch the performance from the audience. We traded off duties so the others could watch the next night. It was my night in the hole, and I was responsible for this little darling who, three minutes before going onstage chose to URINATE IN HER COSTUME!!!!!

The poor thing had completely soaked her leotard, tights and slippers. I was paralyzed with indecision. What do I do? All the other girls, including India, were lining up in the wings for their cue. This girl's mom was waiting in the audience to see her child on stage, so no help there. Thankfully another friend had a spare pair of tights. The skirt of the costume covered the wet leotard so we quickly cleaned her up and sent her on her way.

Oh, am I exhausted. Ballet is not for sissies!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rescue me
Take me in your arms.
Rescue me
I want your tender charm .
'Cause I'm lonely
And I'm blue
I need you
And your love too.
Come on and rescue me

Fontella Bass -- "Rescue Me"

The Turmanators are pleased to introduce to you the newest member of the family...drumroll please...

Fontella Bass!

Fontella is obviously named after the singer of the above-quoted song. It's a perfect name for a rescued pound puppy, and is a favorite of mine as well. It's a big name for such a tiny girl but she'll grow into it, I'm sure.
We are big believers in supporting our animal shelters. The only difficult thing was walking past all the other cages full of sad-eyed dogs, then leaving her brother and sisters behind. A little tempting to take them all. But only a little. If this tempts anyone to add a pet to your home, please utilize your local shelter.

Isn't she the cutest little girl? She stole my heart with her wide-spaced eyes and sweet piggy nose. She's mostly lab, web feet and all; she was even taking a dip in her water bowl when I first saw her. But she has a curly little tail that is is a soupcon of chow and a brindle coat that hints at a pinch of pit bull.

Despite that ferocious ancestry she is actually a sweet little gem. She eagerly shows me her soft underbelly, trots along dutifully behind me, and mostly just wants to snuggle up and sleep. She does, however, have a healthy set of lungs and uses them to express some definite ideas about where she will and will not sleep: preferably beside somone, and certainly not in her crate).
So it's back to sleepless nights for us. And cleaning up poo. But at least that part doesn't last long, and we don't have to start saving for college tuition. Welcome, 'Tella!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy anniversary baby
Got you on my mind...
Little River Band -- "Happy Anniversary"

YEARS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And if you include the years we dated (two or three different times) Tracy and I have been together over 20 years. Notice the tres 80s prom photo. For folks not yet 40 that is pretty amazing, if we do say so ourselves.

Although, with my recent illnesses and subsequent weight gain, poor Tracy may be ready to trade me in for a newer model. But he would have a fight on his hands, for sure.

We aren't doing too much to celebrate tonight. This week is all-ballet-all-the-time with practice every night and performances Friday and Saturday, so the Short People and I will not get home tonight until after 6:30. So for tonight it's a romantic candlelight dinner of steamed shimp shared with the Short People ("Mommy, I want more shrimpies....Daddy, peel more now please...I don't like the sauce...etc"). Saturday night we have a babysitter and we are heading out for a real romantic dinner. 'Til then, "Happy Anniversary Baby, got you on my mind"!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

She works hard for the money,
so hard for it honey.
She works hard for the money
so you better treat her right.
Donna Summer -- "She Works Hard for the Money"

The Turmanators had a fun-filled weekend. I've posted photos from our Dance Party, herb bed gardening, making ourselves up with sidewalk chalk, and our Mother's Day trip to the Science Museum. I woke up this morning to fresh coffee, beautiful Mother's Day cards, tulips selected by the Short People, and a fantastic stone mortar and pestle. I've been wanting one forever and TRACY REMEMBERED! What a great husband.

But with the Turmanators something untoward has to happen. No, it's not India's 4,981 trips to restrooms all over Virginia Beach. It wasn't even Kate's ear-splitting shrieks of terror at the splashing stingrays (which I, of course, could have played with get to TOUCH them). It was...Blatant Moneygrubbing.

We stopped at Starbucks on our way to Virginia Marine Science Museum for a Cafe Mocha for me. India and Kate, ever on the lookout for coinage, joyously informed me that they found a quarter. We have been saving all our change for a trip to Disneyworld in an effort to teach the Short People about money, and they love dropping it in the jar. Anyway, they decided they needed more, and I watched them in horror as they rushed to the seating area and proceed to LOOK UNDER ALL THE COUCH CUSHIONS! I'm sure all the other patrons thought we taught them to do this. Next they'll start checking soda and candy machines for spare change. If you catch them panhandling on the streetcorner, don't tell me. How embarrassing.

Mother's Day used to be a difficult holiday for me. We spent 3 years, lots of savings, and plenty of heartache trying to have children. Who knew we would end up with two beautiful girls in under 2 years? I try to take time to remember those hard Mother's Days, because they help me appreciate the fun ones so much more. I truly enjoyed our day today; the Museum, lunch out, and time just the four of us. I am so grateful for my Short People. They wear me out, but I love them desperately. And who wouldn't; sidewalk chalk and all!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pretty in pink
Isn't she?
Pretty in pink
Isn't she?
Psychedelic Furs -- "Pretty in Pink"
Boy, did I love that song - that group. Dates me a little, huh? It stuck in my head as I snapped photos of the Short People entertaining themselves in the front yard in their pink shirts yesterday afternoon. They actually ignored me for a full 15 minutes while they picked buttercups. I was able to talk to my friend Janice (Hi, Janice!) for a looooong time without the usual whining and infighting. Wonderful!

I don't intentionally dress the Short People alike; they insist on it. If one has a ponytail, skirt, sandals, ______(fill in the blank) the other must sport said item as well. Earlier in the day Kate had a ponytail just like India's but she took it out. They were also wearing matching shoes. Today they are wearing matching dresses. I kid you not, if one has a BM the other will seek out a free bathroom to follow suit. Really.

I returned to the YMCA today for the first time in over 5 months. OUCH! I was pitifully out of shape but it felt great to be back. Kate had missed the KidsKare room and fully enjoyed herself, too. Maybe I'm on the road to recovery?Can't go today; we have playgroup this morning, but I'm planning to head back tomorrow.

Tonight Tracy logs on to his Master's Program to complete homework FOR THE LAST TIME. The past two years of his on-line schoolwork have been painful for all concerned, but mostly for him and I am so happy for and proud of him. Congratulations! We're celebrating with a Family Fiesta tonight...mambo music, dancing and yummy Mexican food. Celebramos!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah.
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Paul Simon -- Kodachrome

Sometimes it isn't easy living in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.

On Wednesday I set out for the Chincoteague Seafood Festival armed with my camera, fully prepared to document the beauty and bounty of my home. I snapped three photos as we entered the Festival and then...nothing. Nada. Zilch. So much for the mouthwatering photos of the fabulous steamed clams, raw oysters, clam fritters, sweet potato fries, fried trout sandwiches...oh, so delicious. Forget the shots of the happy crowd or the errant Chincoteague pony. My camera battery conked out.
No big deal, right? Except we have few stores here (not even the ever-present Wal Mart, although that is on its way) and I couldn't find the battery anywhere! Finally found one on Friday, just in time to set out for ShoreFest.
Yes, there are lots of "Fests" on the Shore. This particular "Fest" is a fundraiser for our Hospital. Since Shore Health Services keeps us clothed and fed we are big supporters, and this particular fundraiser is decorated by yours truly. My friend Sally is the Marketing and Development Director and she gives me a budget and lets me go crazy. I love doing this stuff, especially with someone else's money.

This year's theme was the Fabulous Fifties and I managed to procure a mint condition '57 Chevy to park out front. Soooo super cool and I didn't get a shot of it or the front room, but I did take a picture of the dining tables. We sold the gumball machines on each table, and everyone had a fantastic time having too many cocktails and doing unspeakable things with the Mr. Potato Heads. There is a golf tournament and a big auction; I bought a trip to the Hotel Hershey Spa and my Mom, Sis and I are going...I love to bid and it seems to bring out my competitive side. All in all we raised about 45k for our Cancer Center; the most profitable ShoreFest yet!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Well, who are you?

I really wanna know

Tell me, who are you?

'Cause I really wanna know
(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

The Who -- "Who Are You"

Thanks to Deana at Friday Night Fish Fry you are going to learn more about me than you may truly want to know, but her questions are great ones so here goes:

1. How did you and your husband decide on where you currently live? We live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia; part of the Delmarva Peninsula in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Before moving here we were childless, living in Richmond and both working TOO MUCH. I was a therapist at an adolescent residential treatment facility and on call 5 nights a week ("Mrs. Turman, so and so locked herself in the closet and won't come out...what do we do?"). I drove a road rage-inducing commute full of toll booths and traffic jams. Tracy was the administrator of a nursing facility and working 50-60 hours a week. I loved Richmond but we didn't want to raise children like that; when would we ever see them? Tracy received a call from a headhunter about a job here with the local hospital and we took a big risk and moved. I cried the whole way across the Bay Bridge Tunnel, but now you couldn't drag me away. The pace is slow, the water is wonderful, the people are kind, and we love it.

2. If you could take your daughters on a trip to any historic site in the world where would it be and why? (all expenses paid of course). The Galapagos Islands. Not historic in the traditional sense of the word, but it is THE manifestation of evolution and nature. This is where Darwin formed his Theory of Relativity and is now an ecotourism site. The home of the famous turtles, as well as iguanas who swim, fabulous scuba diving, gorgeous flora and fauna, and supposedly pretty untouched. I've always wanted to go, and it would be the perfect way to teach the Short People respect for our world and all it's creatures. Since we are going all expenses paid, let's charter a big yacht with a chef!

3. What flavor Lifesaver would YOU be and why? Does anyone remember the tropical lifesavers? I don't know if they make those anymore, but I loved those and the coconut one was my favorite. Creamy white. Bonus: they remind me of sitting in church with my Grandmother Makey. Whenever I got antsy she would dig in her purse and pull out a roll of those.

4. If you could have any video clip from your childhood, any time period, that you could share with your daughters and Tracy what favorite memory would it be and why? Funny, my Mom and I were just talking about this memory. I always loved the opening day of trout fishing in my hometown. Sounds strange, I know, but our family held a big reunion on that day every year. Everyone would bring wonderful Southern picnic food (deviled eggs, fried chicken, ham biscuits) and pig out, then at 12:00 the streams would open and we would all make a mad dash to fish. We made so much noise that no one caught much, but we had a fantastic time. Today my family has spread far and wide and family reunions happen rarely. I grieve this loss for my girls. It would be wonderful to have a video clip of these moments to share with Tracy and the Short People because they contributed greatly to the values I hold dear today.

5. You love music. You must make the girls a cd that represents your life best. It is to help them know you better when they are older. You can have up to 10 songs on this cd. What songs do you pick to go on this CD? Boy, do I love this question! The problem was narrowing the selections down to 10. Some are symbolic and some I selected just because I love them so. If you asked me this question tomorrow I might have completely different selections but for today they are:

1) Amy -- Pure Prairie League (the obvious choice)
2) R.E.S.P.E.C.T. -- Aretha Franklin
3) Groove Is In The Heart -- DeeLite ( gotta have a little dance music)
4) James River Blues -- Old Crow Medicine Show (a little touch of Richmond)
5) Take 5 -- Dave Brubeck Quartet
6) You and Me -- Neil Young (reminds me of Tracy and I)
7) In My Life -- The Beatles (I sing this to the Short People every night...they call it "Mommy's Song")
8) Pathetique -- Beethoven
9) Immortality -- Pearl Jam
10) Rock 'N Roll Woman -- Buffalo Springfield (it was written about Joni Mitchell but I like to pretend it's written for me)

If anyone else wants to play along then follow these directions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your weblog or leave a comment with the answers to the questions.
4., You will include the explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Today's photos are from our first trip to Cape Charles beach on Sunday. Summer is coming...YAY!