Hello Hello

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What did I ever do to you?

Dear Harris Teeter:

I understand it's nearly impossible for you to keep Lean Cuisine Paninis in stock, though you would think from the tracking our VIC cards provide, you'd know demand is much higher than what you've been stocking. You haven't had any in stock in 3 weeks. But I understand. Really.

But now you've gone and run out of my Tab. My Tab, yo. This is an outrage. This is way over the line. You've left me no alternative. I'm off to Lowe's. I hate their layout, and they don't have nearly the cleanliness rating from the health department, but if they have Tab, I'm buying it, and if they have Paninis, I'm going to ask them to go steady.

Possibly no longer yours,
Very Important Irate Customer

PS: I understand now my friend Ebeth's temptation to refer to you as the Hairy Peter.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mother Nature is a lying tramp

Right now, outside my window, the sun is shining brightly, the dogwood tree has leaf buds, and the daffodils are swaying gently in a light breeze. Bright purple dots in my lawn signal eruptions of violets. Somewhere nearby, a bird is singing.

Sounds pleasant, right?

If I open my door, I will be hit in the face with 42 degree air. That's up from this morning, when it was in the mid-30s. The little snow icon on my Volkswagon dashboard, the one that tells me that conditions are ideal for snow should precipitation occur, is getting an awful lot of use for late March in a Southern city.

I'm promised a high of 83 next Saturday, though, if weather.com is to be believed.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Take 40 to 85

We went to Durham yesterday, to the NC Museum of Life and Sciences, which is one of our favorite museums. Durham and its offerings are only an hour and a half away, which is close enough to make them accessible but far enough for the youngest child to get violently carsick on the way home.

Which he did.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm old

I know this because I found myself rocking out yesterday in my car to a-ha's Take on Me. And I was white-man overbiting while seat-dancing.

Holy Crap.

Blame Hitz 94.1. They have large blocks of 80s hits. It's the first button I try when I start up the car. I even asked my children to be quiet the other day so I could listen to Madonna's Crazy for You and reminisce about good times at junior high dances. I used to look so fine in my very blue Guess jeans, Forenza sweaters from The Limited, and Mia shoes, oversized dangly faux-silver earrings and stacks of faux-silver bangle bracelets tarnishing my skin as I swayed .

When I got home, I'd pick up the tan wall phone in the basement and dial my best friend's number so we could talk about who like-liked each other. You know, liked.

Good times. And Hitz94.1 brings it all back.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Did you hear a fist pumping the air just then?

Because I just saw in the paper that a movie I've been dying to see has finally arrived in Winston-Salem.

Notes to self:
1. Arrange for sitter one evening this week.
2. Get lots of cash out of bank machine.

The local Carmike Cinemas don't take credit cards, and I don't like entering my PIN all over town. My other beef with Carmike is the high price of their concessions, but I gather $3.50 for a small* soda is pretty much the going rate these days.

*Which is like 24 ounces. Sizes seem to have gone up as well.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


You know, I really like this house. In fact, the only little thing* holding me back from writing the contract right now is the converted grist mill. I'm betting at least one child and two dogs would be dead on it Day One.

So I'll be responsible and stay where I am.

*OK, so there's one other little thing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

(hands extended palm up, alternating one up-one down)

My husband's out of town on business, so I've a sitter coming tomorrow afternoon to keep the children so I can make a lengthy grocery run for the week ahead.

But I'm quite tempted to attempt to make a different kind of run. A RiverRun, to be specific. Animated Shorts at 4 pm looks amazing.

Harris Teeter or Film Festival... Harris Teeter or Film Festival...

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Winston-Salem has more Art-o-mat machines than any other city. This is simultaneously fabulous and probl-o-matic, as I cannot, cannot, cannot pass one by.

1. The machines themselves are beautiful.

2. They vend art.

My favorites are jewelry designer Naoko Higashi and the Bangladeshi Women's craft group that makes the worry dolls.

But after looking at the artists' list, I really want to find a machine that vends works by Xochi Solis, Jim Brancaccio, Herbert Hoover, and/or Zephyr Nelson.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Camel City, baby

Picking up the oldest from the Sawtooth Center, I saw a poster advertising the March meeting of The Camel City Cartoonists' Guild and Social Club, which meets there. From the online blog:

Why is your organization called "The Camel City Cartoonists' Guild and Social Club" instead of just something like "The Winston-Salem Comics Club?"

Because it sounds cool, exclusive, and Victorian (even though it's none of those things). Also "Camel City" is a trucker nickname for Winston-Salem and whatever truckers do is cool--that's why Ashton Kutcher wears those meshback hats.


Damn, I wish I could draw.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Big Brother and my allergies

Actually, my husband's. Mine are manageable, but his? Not so much.

Poor man didn't sleep at all last night for congestion and sinus headache. According to Forsyth County Environmental Affairs, the pollen is entirely tree pollen, and "High". So off I ran to the local pharmacy for BASH, which is my petname for Benadryl Allergy Sinus Headache.

But one can't just buy it now. Instead, I had to take a paper label off a shelf, take it to the pharmacy counter, present it, present a photo ID, provide my name and address, and sign the register. BASH, it seems, is now a controlled substance.

Or, more accurately, one ingredient in BASH is. To wit: one pseudoepinephrine, used in the illegal production of methamphetamine, an addictive stimulant that produces feelings of euphoria. There's a growing problem with meth labs in North Carolina, so now one has to jump through hoops to get allergy medication.

Know who used to get daily methamphetamine shots?
True story...


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring Cleaning

The weather here is turning glorious. What a shame I'm too hopped up on allergy medication to enjoy it.

With spring comes spring cleaning. In Winston-Salem, that means Bulk Trash Pickup. Each neighborhood is assigned a week. The night before the first day, residents in that neighborhood put out broken furniture, old baby equipment, appliances, rugs, decrepit toys, and anything else that wouldn't normally be put out. There are some limitations, of course, but the vast majority of basements end up broom clean.

As soon as one puts stuff out, trucks will pull up, and strangers, not sanitation workers, will begin to cull through the items. This one will take the broken furniture, that one the computer equipment, and that one the fridge with the warped seal. By the time the actual city truck pulls up, all that will be left is the the broken plastic lawn chair. Maybe.

I take bulk trash pickup very seriously. I worked for years in retail presentation. It's a point of pride for me that my stuff moves more quickly than any of the neighbors'. Accordingly, I think about the layout, creating seating areas, placing eye-catching items where they can be seen coming from both directions, avoiding placing clashing items too close. My husband thinks I'm insane, but I'm not left with trash on my lawn all week long, waiting for the city trucks, which I suspect possibly never come.

Think about it: The city promises to come get your bulk items, publicizes the routes, then lets the scavengers basically do the city's job for it. It's a win-win for everyone.

I'm very excited about the items I have this year. I suspect they will move exceptionally quickly, especially if I arrange them just so. I consider doing such my civic duty.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Taking Silas Creek Parkway north toward University, there is a huge dip and rise crossing Bethabara. It's just the right size and depth that if one is travelling 45 mph (which is to say the speed limit), and the light at Bethabara is in one's favor, and one drives a car, versus (start pimp gangsta backbeat) a Hummer or (remove pimp gangsta backbeat) a minivan, one's vehicle achieves a lightening. Not lightning, but lightening, that stage just before a vehicle goes airborne. I'm betting one could achieve actual air if one travelled just a smidge faster or, say, drove a Neon. I'm also betting it's a real popular intersection with the high school crowd.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I've spent the last two days looking for birds, looking at pictures of birds, reading about birds, talking about birds...

I blame the heron on the roof. The seven year old wanted a book so we didn't have to call Grandpa the next time, and said as much to him. Yesterday, my father dropped off a copy of Birds of the Carolinas, which is organized by primary color and has large color photos of every bird.

Voila - the child is hooked, and I'm trying to balance his budding interest in ornithology with a healthy disinterest for when bird flu hits town. I know, I know, Sam the Straight Answer Ma'am said we'd nothing to worry about, but I really don't care for her column, so I'm disregarding her position on this issue.

I'd love to see another heron as close as my roof. Beautiful, beautiful bird.

Monday, March 06, 2006


We had sandwiches from the West End Cafe over the weekend. They were heavenly, just what we wanted.

The cafe's hours of operation are worded funnily, though.

Wouldn't it just be easier to say Monday-Saturday, 11 am-10 pm?

Someone buy the damn car

I cannot believe it. The Corvette is back. I took a picture as I whizzed by today; I'll develop the film tomorrow and upload a shot.

I'm unusually outraged about this. I think it's because I dislike Corvettes, and I dislike stupidity. So this is a twofer of disdain.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Plemmons & Irvin

The Corvette for sale on Coliseum Drive is gone. I can't help wondering if it was sold or hit.

Speaking of Coliseum Drive, it turns into 27th Street at the intersection with University. Just past the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds on 27th, one passes one of my favorite buildings in Winston-Salem: Plemmons & Irvin Wholesale Produce Inc.

I can't put my finger on what appeals to me so. The whole thing is just fabulous. Low-slung, the building has a rusting red metal roof, faded lettering, and miscellaneous pieces of things in the shade, waiting. Even the colors of the sky and roadway seem muted there. I love it all.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ice Ice Rooster

I'm driving this afternoon, flipping radio stations, when I hear it. "Get ready to call in for your chance to win tickets to see Vanilla Ice at the Red Rooster!"


This is Vanilla Ice.

This is the Red Rooster.

I find neither appealing, to be frank. But I do find the combination a hilarious concept. It has a certain kitsch.

Man's Best Friend

He showed up with another name, but we quickly renamed him Pinochet. I ask you, did we have any choice?

Our other dogs are Pep, adopted from Friends of the Shelter here in Forsyth County, and Salsa, adopted from the Guilford County Shelter.

I'm huge on adopting unwanted animals. Besides, what breeder is going to aim for South American dictator look-a-likes?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Dear Harris Teeter:

Thank you so much for switching your grocery carts from metal to plastic! However, you failed to switch out the Shopper In Training carts. Those are still metal. You may not have realized this, but the wee kids who maneuver the S.I.T. carts about are actually the most likely to ram carts into random shoppers' Achilles tendons. Who'd have thought it?

Dear Bo "No Lawn Too" Small:

I already have a gardener. Hence, the well-manicured lawn. Please stop leaving your trashy leaflets all over it.

To the Person With the Corvette for Sale in the Driveway on Coliseum Drive:

The front of your midlife crisis car actually touches the road airspace. Are you hoping someone will smash into it so you can collect the insurance? Back it up, buttercup.

Dear Pottery Barn:

I'm not a treehugger, but since I have never ordered anything from you, I sure wish you'd stop sending me 3-4 catalogues a week. What the hell - do you print up a whole new catalogue every time you come up with a new, overpriced curtain pullback? Ever heard of deforestation? Freaks.