Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some other spring
I'll try to love
Now I still cling
To faded blossoms
Fresh from worn
Left chrushed and torn
Like the love affair I mourn

Billie Holiday -- "Some Other Spring"

What an amazing vacation from reality I had! I sat in the sun, read 3.5 books, floated in the Springs, ate, drank, walked, and slept. For three days I did not wipe anyone's bottom, order anyone to "get OFF your sister!", empty a dishwasher, remind anyone other than Tracy to stop talking with their mouth full, and no one asked 27 times what's for dinner. Heaven!

A mini-vacation is heaven no matter where you go, but at The Homestead you can't help but relax. The grounds are gorgeous, the food amazing, the amenities are abundant. There is an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a bowling alley, a theater, pool tables, chess, checkers, tennis courts, golf, fly fishing, falconry, a shooting range, fabulous food, afternoon tea, a spa...there's more but you get the idea. We would have needed to stay another week or two to squeeze everything in.
For me the most relaxing portion of the trip was floating in the Jefferson Pools. For those of you who are unfamiliar, there are several pockets of the US with hot springs, and many are located along the West Virginia/Virginia borders. The Jefferson Pools, named for Thomas Jefferson, their most famous proponent, are located in the town of Hot Springs and the county of Bath (creative, weren't they?). They were believed to have healing properties and Jefferson reportedly recommended soaking 3 times a day and then taking a litle drink, as well. Since the water is hot and stinky I just stuck with floating in it, thank you very much. I'm not sure that the building covering the springs had been renovated since ol' TJ himself was there, but that's just part of the charm. The water is bathwater warm, soft, green, and smells slightly of sulfur. Floating and listening to the water burble along was ultra relaxing.

My favorite portion of the trip, however, had nothing whatsoever to do with the surroundings. I was able to make this trip because my husband was attending the annual meeting of the Virginia Healthcare Association. I grew up in the long-term care industry, with my grandmother owning a nursing home and at various times every member of my family (myself included) was employed there. She worked as an administrator until she was 78, when she broke her hip at work and was forced to retire.
My grandmother was a member of the VHCA for most of her adult life, and there are still many members who remember her. As one of the first (if not THE first) women administrators of a nursing home, the first administrator to take a Medicaid patient, a strong lobbiest for patient rights and holder of numerous awards, she was a legend in the long-term care industry. At this meeting being introduced as Jessie Key's granddaughter brought a warm response from many, and there were at least two administrators present who owe their careers to my wonderful "Makey".
The award for Administrator of the Year is presented at this meeting, and I was lucky enough to be present to watch Patsy Hobson become the 2007 recipient. Patsy came to live with my grandmother, my father and my aunt when her mother was killed in an accident. Starting her senior year in high school she became a surrogate daughter to Makey, as well as an Administrator In Training. Today, my grandmother is 90 years old and is a patient in Patsy's facility. I cried as I watched Patsy accept this prestigious award and speak about my grandmother. I wish Makey were able to understand what has happened, and just how much everyone in this industry still loves and appreciates her.
I am home today with a sick Short Person, I've wiped bottoms, and I've emptied to dishwasher. Back to reality!

Friday, September 14, 2007

I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah
Let's go and see the stars
The milky way
or even Mars
Where it could just be ours
Lenny Kravitz -- "Fly Away"

In a couple of days I will be THERE, right by the pool. With a book. Unless it is too cold, and then I'll be HERE:
or even here.

Most importantly, I know I won't be HERE

We are off to a meeting for Tracy at the Homestead in Hot Springs, VA, and I am just along for the ride. I'm going to sleep, relax, read, soak in the springs, and get some much needed R&R. See you when I get back!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sister cry, count the stars.

Is many in the sky that passed you by.

Could be up ahead you'll be seeing changes.

Jayhawks -- "Sister Cry"

Last Thursday was Katie Cat's turn to have her first day of preschool. She was very teary because it was her first time going to Belle Croft without India there to comfort her. Kate is a tentative soul and really relies on India for support, so going alone was a big step. There were lots of tears/whining/ pleading on the drive to school, and let's just say Kate rivaled G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip as we approached the door. My goddaughter Anne, who is a year older, has been tapped to be a surrogate big sis for Kate and she was one of the first faces we saw as we walked in the door. There were also lots of other friends greeting her with smiles and hugs. Girls start the squealing and hugging very early, don't they?
The preschool Welcome Wagon helped quite a bit, but I still needed to pry Kate off my leg so I could go. I hate, hate, hate leaving the Short People when they are crying. I know the teachers just want Moms to get the hell out so the child will stop crying , but I always feel like a terrible parent carelessly abandoning my child when they need me most.

Thankfully, today was a bit smoother. And I am finding the free time so helpful. I was able to host a meeting for a Hospice fundraiser I am co chairing and am also getting some errands accomplished sans shrieking, begging, arguing or rushing to every public restroom on the Eastern Shore before someone has an accident (no, I don't mean me). There is one store that it never fails...someone has to go EVERY TIME we enter. It has become a joke with the store owner, who graciously opens her restroom to us.

While Kate can be timid and a bit grumpy, she never fails to crack me up. We ran into my friend Louise and we spoke to each other. Louise is from Tasmania and has an Australian-sounding accent that I adore. As we walked away, Kate asked "Who was dat?" I answered that it was Ms. Louise, and Kate replied "Oh, the lady who says 'haloo'!

Monday, September 10, 2007

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog

cryin' all the time.
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog
cryin' all the time.
Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit
and you ain't no friend of mine.
When they said you was high classed,
well, that was just a lie.

Elvis Presley -- "Hound Dog"

Miss Fontella Bass, the youngest member of the Turmanator clan, has been conspicuously absent from recent posts. Several of you have asked me about her and let me just tell you that she is EVIL. And who wants to post about evil?

'Tella (or 'Tella Monster, as she is sometimes not so affectionately called) has outgrown her precious, cuddly baby stage is now a gangly, awkward teenage mutt. Normally by this point in our relationship she would have won us over with her winning personality and loyal disposition, no longer needing the sweet puppy face and wriggly body to ensure her survival in our household. But somehow 'Tella missed this evolutionary skill and is annoying the crap out of everyone in the family.

To illustrate: a typical stroll to the car has become a scene from "Apocalypse Now".

I open the bunker door and search the perimeter for signs of the enemy. I, as Squadron Leader, give the command to "Go to the car; move, move, move!" We race to the tank and jump in with 'Tella on our tails. She's emerged from nowhere, an expert in the ways of disguise and the sneak attack. She manages to fight her way into the car; once pristine uniforms are now soaking wet and streaked with mud. As leader of this troop I am entrusted with the difficult task of removing the enemy, which involves entering the back of the van, er, tank, and yanking her out by her collar. Once I have secured the vehicle we race away with 'Tella on our tails. More than once it had been necessary for me to exit the protective confines of our mobile unit and yell for the enemy to return to her camp and get out of the road. War is hell.

To avoid having to run the gauntlet each morning we have asked (begged) Tracy to take the dogs to their pen. This, too, is a strategically timed mission. First we must ensure they eat their food, which is no mean feat given that 'Tella spends more time guarding her food from Daisy Jane than she spends in consumption. After numerous reminders to "eat your food, 'Tella!" Tracy puts her on her leash (Daisy Jane obediently responds to "Go to your pen", but not the 'Tella Monster) and escorts her, becoming filthy and wet in the process. This means that he has to take the dogs out BEFORE he changes into his suit for work. Now the girls open the front door and tentatively ask "are the dogs in their pen?".
Affirmative. Over and out.
**We really do love the little Monster, as you can see from the photo of Kate. Perhaps she'll calm down in a year or so?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So be true to your school now

Just like you would to your girl or guy.

Be true to your school now

And let your colors fly.

Be true to your school.

Beach Boys -- "Be True to your School"

India, the oldest Short Person, took off for kindergarten today. In typical Short People style, she was all decked out in a dress hand-selected by her for the occasion, with a matching hair band and a necklace tossed on at the last minute. India apparently shares the philosophical opinion of Olympia Dukakis' character in Steel Magnolias; "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize". Too bad she hasn't learned about MATCHING yet. Do they teach that in kindergarten?

After a few first day photos (one with "Frinkles", her favorite lovey, for security) all the family loaded in the car and took India into her classroom. On the way she informed us she had "a few butterflies in my tummy" but she bravely entered, clutching her sweaty hand in mine and biting her lip. As I hugged her goodbye she whispered "I don't want you to leave". Gulp! I knew we had to bolt before she started crying and latching on, so we ran out the door cheerily shouting for her to have a good day. I did peek through the window like a stalker to make sure she was not crying, and she wasn't. Can't wait to pick her up and hear about her day.

Clare and Derek

On another note I want to send congratulations to Derek and my sister Clare at The Sunday Night Buttermilk Waltz. They are engaged!!!!! We couldn't be happier to welcome Derek into this crazy family, and hope we haven't scared him too much. The Short People are also thrilled, and are mostly concerned with 1) will Auntie Clare wear a "brider" (aka "veil"), 2) will they get to wear dresses, and 3) will there be cake?