Monday, June 25, 2007

Well I swear your perfume babe
Is made out of turnip greens
Well every time I kiss you girl it tastes like pork and beans
Even though you're wearing those uptown high heels
I can tell from your giant step you've been walking through the cotton fields
Ohhhhhh, you're so down homegirl
Old Crow Medicine Show --"Down Home Girl"

You can take the girl out of Southwest Virginia...
Last Wednesday Tracy and I and two other couples traveled "across the bay" (Eastern Shore slang for Norfolk or Va Beach) to see Old Crow Medicine Show. It was great! They are a "newgrass" band with a sense of humor and fantastic musicianship. The photo above is my new bumper sticker; it's my own little way of coolin' up the grocery getter. We've been fans of OCMS for a while and especially enjoy some of the more locally-themed songwriting, like "James River Blues" and "Virginia Creeper". You can check them out at: Enjoy!

After we all recovered from arriving home at 12:30am (I'm just to old for that), we got busy attending several parties, heading to the beach, and generally enjoying our summer. The Short People are loving the weather and the almost daily playdates with friends, but are suffering a bit from the lack of structure. Let's just say I would make a great referee for the World Wrestling Federation.

One of the most difficult aspects of having the girls home every day is grocery shopping. They ride in the cart until it is too full, then I ask them to get out and walk. Their idea of walking is to hang on to either side of the cart for dear life, occasionally letting go to grab something inappropriate and beg for it. This means that our combined mass is almost as wide as an aisle. This also means that we bump into everyone and everything in reach. I spend most of the time hissing "LET GO OF THE CART!" in my trying-to-discipline-on-the-sly voice.
Last week the nice checkout lady gave them each a balloon, and on the way home India asked "Mommy, will you sing the balloon song please?". Well, I wracked my brain trying to figure out what she was talking about. Exasperated, India said "You know, Mommy...balloon, despair, and agony on me; whhhooaaa!" On the next grocery trip India and Kate were on the hunt for spare change (faithful readers will remember that this is a favorite Short People past-time); they were so disappointed at checkout when there was not a penny in sight. The woman in front of me secretly dropped two pennies on the ground for the girls to "find". I think since I've become a parent I see so much more of people's generous side.

I am on a pre-op Prednisone high and taking advantage of this energy burst to get a few things done before my sinus surgery on July 3rd. Today I scrubbed and polished the antique marble sinktops upstairs that are such a pain to clean, organized the Short People's many hair accessories, ran several errands, caught up on laundry, wrote some thank you notes for the Hospital Auxiliary , and completed some correspondence regarding the Hospice fundraiser I am co-chairing. Whew! But it's time to make hay while the sun shines, as the Southwestern Virginia saying goes. I'm such a down home girl.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Father's Day Weekend" Part II

Oh Daddy,
You soothe me with your smile
You're letting me know
You're the best thing in my life
Fleetwood Mac -- "Oh, Daddy"

Happy, Happy Father's Day (belatedly posted) to Tracy. The Short People and I are so lucky to have you.

To honor Tracy, the Turmanators spent Father's day on the seaside of our Eastern Shore. This is, hands down, our favorite spot here...the reason we live in this special place.
The seaside is dotted with several Barrier Islands. These Islands are a series of very small, unihabited land masses that protect our coastline and are teeming with wildlife. Biologists studying our Islands have stated that they are some of the most productive on the planet, and The Nature Conservancy works steadily to prevent these jewels from development so they will remain wild and untamed, just like we like them.
Hard to believe that this oasis is, perhaps, a half hour's trip from our home. The unspoiled landscape is a sight to behold. The pictured buildings are an abandoned coast guard station on Cedar Island that featured in a short-lived 1960's development scheme and is now a privately-owned hunting lodge. Power is gererator-operated and the bugs are FEROCIOUS. Not sure I would want to spend more than a night or two but it would be worth some bug bites (even the Eastern Shore kind) to wake up to a sunrise here.

Father's Day was a perfect day on the seaside. The boating was smooth despite running aground twice. This is a common occurance on the seaside because the landscape changes almost weekly; the currents and storms are forever altering our coastline, making it a bit unpredictable. Unless you ruin your motor (we didn't) you just have to get out and push a bit. Tracy and I both got out and sank to our shins in good ole seaside muck and set off.

One of my favorite things about the seaside is the beachcombing (yes, Janice, I missed Pat terribly. No one else appreciated my delight over jingle shells, chunks of sea glass and a whale vertebrae). You never know what you will find. I once stumbled upon a perfectly preserved, puffed-up puffer fish. So cool. Hermit crabs are rampant, and I have also seen giant manta rays, sharks, sea snakes, millions of turtles, and have heard tales of sea otters. Some islands inhabit deer and raccoon as well.
For Tracy, the day would have been Nirvana had the fishing been good. It wasn't. But he and our friend, John, had a great time casting while baiting the hooks of our collective children, smoking cigars, and reveling in the day. Susan and I enjoyed walking on the beach and a swim. Bet you can't guess where we are heading next weekend!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Weekend: Part I

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay

Watching the tide roll away
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time.
Otis Redding -- "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"

Welcome to the maiden voyage of the Miss IndiKate! Old Shoreman lore dictates you name your boat after your daughters because "your wife can leave you but your children never will". Aside: I wanted to call the boat the "Freudian Sloop"...Tracy said "But honey, it's not a sloop"! Men are so literal. Our boat is truly a bit small for an offical name, but to us it is the "Miss IndiKate". Funny, Dad and I both came up with the same name. Great minds, huh Dad? The "Miss Short People" just doesn't have the same ring.

Saturday was our first time out with the Miss IndiKate. We chose the Bayside for this excursion because 1)it is a bit easier to navigate and 2) we wanted to spend all day Father's Day on the seaside on an island. The weather was perfect and the boat ran relatively smoothly. Tracy was amazing at docking and trailering, and managed to navigate the tricky idle and keep us from being stranded. I was duly impressed! Once he has the hang of things I want to learn how to do all of it too. It would be fun, for one thing, and, as Tracy says, I need to know how to take over if he "has a stroke or something". Sometimes being married to someone who works in a hospital is so cheery! I just worry about everyone's emotional stability; Tracy worries about Avian Flu and COPD.

We put in at Harborton, a little Bayside town with a public access dock about 5 minutes from our home, and were joined by our friends the Masons. A quick lesson in Eastern Shore vocab...if your family is from the Shore you are referred to as a From Here.If you have been here for two generations or less you are a Come Here. John and Susan are From Heres. They know all the nooks and crannies of the Bayside and seaside, who's waterfront home is who's, and interesting little tidbits about various spots.

The pictures from today are all from our Bayside trip on Pungoteague Creek. The Shore is covered with "creeks", like fingers of water that stretch from the shoreline out to the Bay and the seaside. The coastline here is not smooth like the Outer Banks. The photo below on the left is of a shack on a sandbar right at the mouth of the Bay. Tracy kayaked past this shack several years ago just as the remnants of a bachelor party, including strippers boated over from Hampton Roads, staggered out for the boat ride back to the mainland.
On the other end of the spectrum is the large waterfront home pictured above. The Shore is full of very old homes that look much like this one. What a view they have!
Our "Day on the Bay" was the perfect way to kick off a Father's Day weekend. Tracy was in boat-owner heaven and it is fantastic that the Short People are finally old enough that we can do these things as a family. Next post: The Seaside.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Boat drinks
Waitress I need two more boat drinks
Then I'm headin south 'fore my dream shrinks
I gotta go where its warm
Jimmy Buffet -- "Boat Drinks"

Ahoy, Matie! After a decade of living on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, who's true beauty is only visible by leaving the shore line, we are finally boat owners.

We picked it up (I just refuse to call the boat a HER) last Sunday. We must purchase a few additions to please the Coast Guard gods and then we may go for our maiden voyage. The weather looks great for Saturday and Sunday so I hope to return laden with tales of adventure, bags of whelks, and a camera full of photos for you to enjoy. Until then, check out the Short People pretending to fish and crab from the boat. Tracy was so proud!

But, in true Turman fashion, we buy a boat and three days later find out that we will be unable to enjoy it as much as we'd like. I continue to have a raging staph infection in my sinuses despite three months of hefty antibiotics. I don't feel great, either, as you can imagine. So I will be having that terrible sinus surgery. Yuck! It will be completely worth it if it helps me feel better, but it will interfere with sailing the high seas (or the Bay and sound, anyway). It will also make caring for the Short People a bit difficult. Once we know when I will have the surgery we are going to have to piece together some child care.

Besides the boat pictures, I am posting a photo of India that I took at the request of my friend Sally, who is the Marketing Director for our hospital. She needed a photo of a child wearing a hat in a playground setting for an article coming out in the hospital newsletter. Kate refused to participate. She is one stubborn girl!

The other photo illustrates the Short People after a playdate with their friends Ellie and Anne. The are in a newly-built home with dirt ALL around. They played all afternoon in the dirt and then snacked on popsicles. Notice the rivulets of popsickle juice that trickled through the dirt on Kate's legs. After I took this photo the Short People were ordered to strip right there on the porch and march right upstairs for a bath. I briefly considered taking a photo of the aftermath in the tub, so shocking was it's condition. I think I could've repotted a few plants with the soil left in the bath.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Isnt she lovely

Isnt she wonderful...
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isnt she lovely made from love
Stevie Wonder -- "Isn't She Lovely"
Happy Happy Birthday to my 5 year old Short Person! India's birthday was June 6th and we celebrated twice; a trip to Richmond to visit my parents over the 6th and then a ballerina birthday party on Saturday the 9th.

Nothing says happy birthday like 12 little divas in tutus. India requested a ballerina party for her friends; "No boys this year, Mommy!" . Basically we covered the house in pink and white crepe paper and pink balloons, gave each girls a tutu and let them loose in the yard to act like anything but graceful, calm, serene ballerinas. Oh, and there was a ballet slipper pinata that some of these girls wailed on like Charlie Watts.

There was one little bump on the road to birthday party bliss; the cake. I love to bake cakes for the Short People's birthdays and this year India requested a pink ballerina cake with pink icing. I found some directions for making a ballet slipper cake and worked most of the day friday on baking, tinting icing, etcetera. When I started adding the crumb coat the cake was literally crumbling into hunks. Long story short, I placed an urgent phone call at 4:15 on Friday to Kate's Cupboard for an emergency birthday cake to be ready at 10:00 Saturday morning. There was a lot of cursing under my breath, for sure, but as long as there is icing and ice cream (they really don't even eat the cake) everyone is happy. Even me. Once I got over the temper tantrum, that is.
Today we are off to pick up a present for Tracy (and the rest of us, too)...A BOAT! We have lived here for almost 10 years without a boat, and now we are finally going to be able to reach the barrier islands and they Bay whenever we want. We have both seaside and bayside access 5 minutes from our home. Chez Turman B&B is open for business. Any takers?


Thursday, June 07, 2007

She poured some of the wine from the bottle into the glass

And raised it to her lips
And just before she drank it,
She said: Spill the wine and take that pearl
War with Eric Burden --
"Spill the Wine"

Been out of town a few days to visit my parents and celebrate India's 5th birthday. Happy Birthday, sweetheart! I'll do a birthday post later, but I just had to squeeze in a quick post about last Saturday night.

Tracy and I and another couple went to a cocktail party and then out to Bizotto's, one of our favorite local restaurants. We ordered a nice bottle of pinot noir and then wanted another. We all enjoy wine and love to try different bottles, so we selected another variety. The discussion with our waiter went a little sump'm like dis:

Tracy: We'd like another bottle of pinot noir, but we'd like to try the cheaper bottle this time.
Waiter: The mumble mumble mumble?
Tracy: I think so; the $20 bottle.

The waiter brought the bottle and as Tracy tasted it:

Tracy: I must be a cheap date...I like this much better than the first bottle!

Well folks, we had a great time laughing and talking and knowing someone else was putting our children to bed, so we lingered over our dinners, then dessert and coffee. When the waiter brought the bill (we were the last table in the restaurant) Tracy looked it over and burst into hysterical laughter. Everyone begged to know what was so darn funny, but he was speechless so he passed the bill around the table and everyone reacted with either laughter or stunned silence.



I was ready to offer to wash dishes, especially after we determined that our waiter was Mr. Bizotto's son. Miguel Bizotto, who is not only the owner but is also the chef, came out and talked to us. After scamming some free medical advice from our friend about a recent burn, he agreed to charge us $70 for the wine. His son stated that he thought Tracy requested the "million dollar" bottle of pinot noir.

Lesson #1: Read the label on your bottle

Lesson #2: Remember that markup on wine from wholesale is about 120%

Today's photos are from our recent trip to Maymont Park in Richmond . Take notes; I know we all want to copy these garden designs for our own homes.

Friday, June 01, 2007

As you start to lose your grip
You will stumble as you slip
As you tripped at every step
Elvis Costello -- "You Tripped at Every Step"
I am getting so tired
Of standing in this light
Can't you hear me cry.
Boo, hoo, hoo, boo, hoo, hoo
Neil Young -- "Cry, Cry, Cry"

I just couldn't decide which song would most appropriately represent the Short People's preschool graduation ceremony, so I opted for both. Now, I know all you intelligent readers are thinking...did someone fall? Did someone cry?

Why yes.

India fell completely off the top bleachers during her graduation ceremony. I was watching through the lens of my camera and one minute she was there, smiling away, and the next she vanished. She was quickly scooped up by a teacher, cuddled, and returned. She stood bravely, smiling, singing and doing every hand motion perfectly with big tears running down her cheeks. Ever the performer, India knew that the show must go on.

Kate, on the other hand, could care less about showmanship. Nor did she have any excuse for sobbing through much of the ceremony. She just felt overwhelmed and shy. She managed to pull it together for the portion where each child introduces themselves, and felt comfortable enough to show the entire audience her underwear as her peers took their turns, but later became so hysterical that they had to remove her from the stage and bring her to us.

There is only room for one Short People diva, and I think India is it.

In other graduation news one girl repeatedly pulled her dress over her head, a little boy wet his pants, and there plenty of nose-picking and hitting. There was even one incident of sexual harrassment as a boy lifted up India's friend Allie's dress and took a peek. Allie retaliated by pinching him a couple of go, Allie! Can't wait to see the DVD.