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Friday, June 30, 2006

What to wear... what to wear

I first read about it on [abridged]. But Jen pegged the start date as June 30th. Today I opened an email to find that The Grand Theatre actually opens July 4th, and I'm invited!

The Grand 18 Theatre is opening on Tuesday, July 4th at 5601 University Parkway! Enjoy the specialty café and state-of-the-art sound in any of our 18 wall-to-wall screen, stadium seating theatres! Purchase tickets online and get showtimes to any of The Grand 18 Theatre's showings, and print them at home! Simply go to www.TheGrandTheatre.com now!

OK, well, that's a lot of exclamation marks. And I'm pretty sure everyone's invited. But I'm still flattered!

I'm also wondering when they will update the website to actually let us see what will be playing, much less allow us to buy tickets.

I'm curious to see what they've done with the former K-Mart space.

Piedmont Portrait #1

A person of my age group, this shift is hard because you never get enough sleep. You meet some very interesting people, though. I became friends with a young couple. She was pregnant. Then she used to bring the baby by, and I would babysit while she was shopping. I haven't seen them in the last year; they moved out of Winston. I've worked here ten years now.

Frank Thomas
3rd shift
Cashier/Customer Service

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Negative Seven

Seven ways in which I think the Winston-Salem Journal could be improved.

1. On the left side of page A2, there is a daily column detailing celebrity gossip. I know people like to read this stuff, but I think it belongs in the Living section with all the other "fluff". That A2 space should be national or international news. It's the bang space, to where the eye naturally gravitates when one opens the paper for the first time. And right now that space is... is... très USAToday. And that's not a good thing.

2. "Ask Amy" needs to go. Her advice is not very good, and she constantly employs sweeping negative stereotypes. Men who don't notice what they're eating? Geezer parents? Enough. We've plenty of quite intelligent people in the Piedmont. I'd like to see the Journal employ one to write our own advice column rather than read syndicated blather.

3. A more comprehensive weekly calendar of events with suggested ages listed. This would actually be fairly easy to pull together. One has only to go to the library website, the park websites, the museum websites, BestHealth, etc, and then compile it. Currently the theatres and galleries are well represented, but other venues are left out cold.

4. I'd love for the Dinner Belle to expand her palate. She consistantly goes for dishes featuring iceberg lettuce. (If I read one more description of how crisp the iceberg lettuce is, I may scream. Of course it's crisp; it's iceberg, for goodness sake.)

iceberg
more iceberg
still more iceberg
surprise! iceberg

And I'd love for her to heed my words in my previous Journal post. She doesn't need to go, but she does need tweaking.

5. I'd enjoy reading a female columnist, preferably in place of Scott Hollifield, whose columns never quite work.

6. As someone who reads the Journal voraciously and likes to argue about discuss what I read, I would appreciate more Person-On-The-Street bits, wherein a box occasionally accompanies an article, containing reactions from local people to the issue discussed in the article. In my fantasy paper, these reader reactions would give name, age, and occupation so I could get a feel for the person before heartily lauding, or decimating, his or her position to my politically opposite husband.

7. My seventh suggestion is hard to easily describe. So I went out and did it. (I like it so much that I'm going to make it a regular feature here. Journal be damned!)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Score!

The youngest and I headed downtown to Central Library for today's fire safety presentation and the opportunity to see a fire truck close up. We were not the only people with this idea; there were about 100 kids accompanied by perhaps 10 adults.

Sensing that this ratio might not be optimal, I elected that we bag the lecture and head straight out to the truck. This gave us the distinct advantage of having not one but two trucks all to ourselves. Also, no less than six firefighters to lift the youngest in and out of the trucks, show him all the nifty compartments, and listen to him lecture them on how to drive a firetruck, which was made possible by his roughly 496 viewings of the There Goes a Firetruck video.


We left just as all those children and their very, very few chaperones came out the side door, which was right after the pumper truck got a call and had to leave.

The youngest was quite sad the firefighters did not ask him to drive.

What's that I hear?

It's the sound of it not raining! Accordingly, the oldest and my husband took off to go bike riding today.

The oldest's favorite places to ride are

Tanglewood's mountain biking trails
Horizon Park's mountain biking trails
Triad Park (paved path)

They are planning a trip soon to Lake Norman State Park, but, as the website states, "To protect the Itusi Trail from damage, the trail will be closed whenever conditions are too wet to allow riders."

So with yet more rain predicted for the coming week, that trip is tabled for the time being.

As for the youngest, he and I are off on our own adventure. Cameraphone pics to follow, no doubt.

Count me in

Wake Forest has a program called BestHealth, wherein for a quite modest fee, participants can take classes, attend lectures, and receive health info. I thought it sounded sort of lame until I was stuck in the airport reading the paper to Daddy on the day the Journal had an ad with the entire July schedule.

Kite-making classes for kids? Parent and child cooking classes? Specialty cooking classes, like Indian and French? Photography seminars? Parent and child t-shirt design?

7/20/2006 6:00:00 PM
Wrinkles Away
WFUBMC otolaryngologist Dr. Neal Goldman discusses non-surgical facial treatments to enhance appearance.

See you there.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Damn

Sadly, we have a vet appointment that conflicts with this children's event at the Reynolda Library.

Event Information
Title: Birdman Dave
Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Library: Reynolda Manor
Location: Auditorium
Complete Description:
Join Birdman Dave and his live feathered friends as they fly around the world through books, learning respect for all people and discovering character-building wisdom from each land.


Small children
+ live birds
+ indoors
+ large number of books
+ attempts to keep kids still on a rainy day
+ attempts to teach them something that sounds a lot like cult indoctrination
= potential for much entertaining mayhem

Monday, June 26, 2006

Seven

Seven Things I love about The Winston-Salem Journal

1. There is a column that allows people to say Thank You to strangers.

2. The obituaries rock the house. They are full of wonderful euphemisms and details. Check one out.

3. Home delivery of the Journal is consistantly good. And they double bag the papers if there is a hint of rain. I've only had a wet paper once, and it was an unexpected, sudden storm.

4. However, buying the paper from the newspaper hawker at Five Points intersection is fun, too.

5. The Dinner Belle hates all restaurants equally, so when she does like something, perk up. However, she loses points for
  • Constantly making snide comments about those of us who live in older parts of town, acting as if travelling to our area is a hardship, when in fact, it takes roughly ten minutes to cross town. There are better examples of this, but with all the invalid assets (see two points down), they are hard to find.
  • Consistantly offering us someone else's opinions. The thing about an effective food critic is that the palate has to always be the same or the ratings are pretty much useless. So telling us what Dinner Beau (gag) or her friend she took to Mellow Mushroom thinks isn't a help; it's a hindrance.
  • Having "invalid assets" in place of some reviews on the Journal website. Not her fault, I know, but it makes it difficult to read what she says about a specific restaurant. (NOTE: Three hours later, many appear to be fixed. Perhaps a glitch? But I'm not wading back through.) And not all reviews are listed, which they should be.

6. The Local section. It reminds us that there is more to Winston (pay attention, Dinner Belle!) than one small area. There are stories worth hearing and people worth meeting from east of the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds and north of 20th. Thank you, Local section columnists and reporters for introducing us to some of them, as well as to others from parts of the county I've yet to explore very well.

7. The classifieds. They are cheap, they are easy to navigate, not only online but also in the print edition, and you can pretty much find anything.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Another epistle to Harris Teeter

This did not occur at my regular HT. This occurred two HTs away, the one my father insisted upon.

Dear Harris Teeter self checkout monitor dude:

When you see me pretty much run up to the self checkout* and use it as fast as I humanly can, throwing my stuff into bags as if it's a speed event, and when you comment that I seem to be in a big hurry and I reply, "Yes", do not seem to take personal offense that I'm not chattier. I don't have TIME to chat. That's the definition of HURRY. It's not PERSONAL. It's just that I'M IN A RUSH FOR A REASON.

So please refrain from continuing to try to talk to me, then pouting when I don't pick up your conversational gambit. I'm not the antichrist. I'm not rude. I'm just, as you can tell, IN A HURRY.

*PS: I'm not antisocial, but it occurs to me that perhaps some people may elect to use self checkout not because they are in a rush, but so they won't be forced into meaningless patter with a cashier? Just a thought.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Neither Happy Nor a Meal

The youngest finally overcame his fear of large indoor playtubes. I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Here he is at the top of the McDonald's Playland at Hanes Mall, home to more empty storefronts than any other mall.


I bathed him using antibacterial soap afterward. We'll see if that prevents him from coming down with Bubonic Plague.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The (Stare at) Children's Museum

Took the weeuns to the Children's Museum today, where the volunteers are highly trained to stare at any children nearby but never ever smile and never ever speak. The facial features are not to move. Arms are preferably to be folded against the chest and every effort is to be made to assume the posture of a party host whose guests have stayed too long.



If a child appears to need help, volunteers are trained to look at the floor.


One go-getting volunteer took it to the next level by planting herself in the chair room, in a chair, and reading. By herself. While nobody else was even in that room to stare at.


A new group of volunteers was being trained while we were there, and, may I say, it looks like a bumper crop this year!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I bought SPAM

I bought SPAM at the grocery last night. Also, Mt. Olive pickles. I like the pickles. I don't care for SPAM. But I am bound and determined to win a ribbon at the Dixie Classic Fair this year, and both products offer vehicles for doing so.

This year's official rules aren't yet out, but SPAM last year paid $150 to the creator of the winning recipe as did Mt. Olive. If I also win Midstate Mills flour challenge ($150), Neese's incredibly processed meat products ($300 for two events), I can make some real money.

But the big kickers are the Village Tavern dessert contest ($600 to the winner) and Smitty's Fried Apple Pie contest ($700 to the winner).

I want a ribbon, and some cashmoney would be nice, too.

All the ribbons available.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The 10 day forecast

I was going to take the boys to Bolton pool this afternoon, but, stepping outside to let the dogs in, it seemed cool. Weather.com confirmed my suspicions; it's to thunderstorm this afternoon.

I looked at the ten day forecast to figure out a better day. Tomorrow and Wednesday are to be partly cloudy, but they sure beat what's forecast thereafter.

Thu Jun 22
Isolated T-Storms

Fri Jun 23
Isolated T-Storms

Sat Jun 24
Scattered T-Storms

Sun Jun 25
Scattered T-Storms

Mon Jun 26
Scattered T-Storms

Tue Jun 27
Scattered T-Storms

Wed Jun 28
Scattered T-Storms

I usually love rain, but my dogs are going to the groomer's Wednesday afternoon, which means they will smell pretty for roughly 12 hours. Then they will take on the Eau de Wet Dogs scent. For a week straight.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

de plane, de plane

When did Piedmont Triad International airport, formerly known as PTI, become GSO, aka Greensboro? When did High Point and Winston-Salem get cut out of the picture?

I spent Father's Day driving my father there to put him on the teeniest commercial plane ever. There were a good number of passengers waiting to get on; I bet they looked like clowns coming out of a VW Bug when they disembarked on the other end.



Not a bad airport, overall. I was able to procure actual fresh fruit for my father to eat, for one, and the whole airport was really, really clean, for two. Hourly parking wasn't a total gougefest either ($2.50 for 3 hours).

But I do wonder what this sign, located next to a door seemingly leading nowhere, means.



I was going to ask someone, but I forgot.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Funking up Talbot's

I'm so glad I hit the first day of Talbot's semiannual sale on Thursday.

1. I ran into a girl with whom I was friendly 17 years ago, who has turned out to be delightful and quite funny. We had lunch. I am tickled to be back in touch with her.

2. I bought 4 tops and 2 skirts. I bought black, hot pink, and white in this shirt. Plus, I bought a shirt that doesn't exist on the website. I also bought this skirt in green, plus this skirt.

Now those who know me know that I am not a typical Talbot's girl. While I will wear the white shirt with the green skirt, I will probably pep it up with some kickass sandals and my ginormous Italian green purse.

Today I am wearing the hot pink shirt seen above with these pants in shades of beige and these sandals in beige, plus a very chunky necklace.

I look damn good, but not all Talbotsy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm burnt to a crisp

The oldest and I spent the afternoon at Bolton pool, which has a "sprayground". See the link if you can't figure out what that entails.

The youngest and I spent the morning at Bolton Park, which just has a playground. One with very little shade, I might add.

I much preferred the sprayground to the playground.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I love this fountain

It's in downtown W-S, on Marshall above Fifth, I think. It reminds me of my favorite weed, the much underappreciated but always enjoyable dandelion.

They have an actual dandelion, in my beloved ball-o-seeds form, encased in lucite at Shiffman's, the jewelry shop on Stratford next to Lucky 32. And they are really, really reluctant to give me any information about how to acquire one myself.

It's almost become a game of cat-and-mouse. Everytime I go in, I try to see if I can get someone to drop the name of the person who did it. The moment I pick it up from its place on the counter in front of the calculator, the lady writing up the longhand receipt will stiffen. From then on, it's pretty much game on.

I love the nightlife. I love to boogie.

My friend E. and I ditched fams last night to go out.

We ate dinner at the Mellow Mushroom, whose website almost made us not eat there. Then we read the Dinner Belle's review and really almost didn't go. (She wasn't kidding about the wait time on the pizza, either.) The "lil" caesar salads were superb, but the pizza, and we had the House Special, wasn't very good at all. Next time I'm just getting salad. Oh, and next time I'm taking coffee, because they don't offer any.

We thought about heading to Barnes & Noble to stalk the Scrabble Club, but, because we're true par-tee girls, we made the decision on the fly to head to the ever classic K-Mart, where we stayed until closing.

Rock on, Esbee and E.

(I actually like the K and dare anyone to disparage it in front of me. The only problem is that they never seem to be fully stocked and inevitably, the stores look shabby. That said, I love a good hunt, and last night the hunting was good. But I'm perpelexed as to why W-S only merits a "Big K" and Clemmons rates a "Super K".)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Notes from Camel City

1. I've pretty much decided to refer to this place as Camel City, its name in Trucker Speak, from now on.

2. The balloon-animal guy at Moe's didn't seem very enthused by my son's request of "a blue hippo". Wouldn't you think he would tire of making pink poodles?

3. We may go see Cars today. Have you heard of it? It's hardly being marketed at all.

4. After that, we may go to Miller Park, a.k.a. The Scene of the Crime. Or not; the poison ivy there is ferociously growing through the fences on all sides. Plus, last time I was there with my friend E., the woman right behind us started talking about how her daughter had been throwing up all morning so she decided fresh air was the best medicine so BROUGHT LITTLE MISS VOMIT TO THE PARK TO PLAY WITH ALL THE OTHER KIDS. We hotfooted it to Mayberry's, cajoling our kids with promises of foot long dogs and ice cream.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Wachovia machine ate my Visa checkcard!

At least I hope it did. I went to the grocery last night after my husband got home. I grabbed $40 worth of groceries (for which I only paid $26.72, see my post below) and headed for self checkout. When I opened my wallet, I found... no card.

I checked my pockets, why I do not know, and found no card.
I checked the bottom of my purse and found no card.
I opened up the little zippy coin part of the wallet and found no card.

I remember taking money out to pay the sitter Saturday. Did I tip her with my bankcard? She was heading to the Wine Festival. OHMIGOD, HAVE I PAID FOR A CASE OF YADKIN VALLEY WINE? I'm thinking not. She would have mentioned it when we spoke later to set up a sit for today. Or she would have been slurring.

So I'm thinking I never got it out of the bank machine. And hopefully the machine ate it.

I called 1-800-WACHOVIA last night when I got home, having written a check for the groceries, a check that, when it cleared, made me thank God that if thieving vagabonds had indeed grabbed my card, they had at least left $26.72 in the account. Maybe my card was grabbed by a better sort of thieving vagabond!

Vanessa Icouldntunderstandherlastname at Wachovia was very kind. She went through my recent card activity (CVS, the Hairy Teeter, the money out of the machine) and determined that since my card not been used by anyone else, most likely the card would be available for pickup Monday morning at that branch. But knowing how things that seem OK can suddenly go very, very wrong in Le Monde d'Esbee, I went ahead and cancelled the card.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday is Funday

The boys are snuggled up on the loveseat in the den, under a blanket, watching a DVD and eating popcorn out of enormous bowls. I'm about to indulge myself in my favorite part of the newspaper: the coupons.

I am the dork who, in the grocery checkout line, doesn't give over her VIC card until the very end of the transaction, right before the coupons. I get a little rush watching the total drop. I secretly hope people are watching; I know they will be highly impressed with the coupon and VIC card prowess. I save my receipt for a day or two, just so I can examine it in minute detail, noting how $119.79 became $83.23 after the VIC card and coupons. If I have a choice between two items at the same price after VIC savings, you can be sure I'm buying the one that will subtract at the register.

One time I used register printout coupons for free items PLUS $2 off my total order PLUS my VIC card PLUS coupons. I got two bags of groceries, and I mean like full bags, for $6 and change. I saved that receipt for a month or so.

I'm off to clip coupons while my children watch their movie and eat microwave popcorn I bought for next to nothing.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Friday, June 09, 2006

Oh, Me! Oh, Maya!

My big plan for tomorrow is to go in search of the new Mayan Chocolate Haagen Dazs while the oldest is at a pool party and the youngest is home with a sitter. Because it's not just an ice cream.

We went back to explore the history. To pinpoint the genesis. And to discover the true flavor. We went back and unearthed the ancient origins of chocolate just so we could bring it to you.

They pinpointed the genesis! THE GENESIS! There are Mayan pyramids and (presumably) Mayan bird sounds on the website! And nifty mentions of religious ceremonies, thousand year old secrets, and nobility! HELLO! I am all about those things!

I think I would be a crappy parent indeed if I kept this educational opportunity from my family.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Very nearly there

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Today was scheduled to be, only they have to make up a snow day. Which is odd, because I only remember one snow day which they already made up on President's Day. But whatever.

Have I mentioned my suspicion that our school board smokes crack before they make out the calendar? Here's next year's calendar. Note the start day on Friday! Note the Fall Break that ends 10 days before Thanksgiving Break!

Just as Whitney Houston* said, Crack is Whack! And so is that calendar, yo.




*Whitney's complete statement, which is pure poetry: First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is whack.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Germy germy bo bermy banana fana fo fermy....

My youngest has brought home a lovely virus to share. I spent much of the day lying on my face, fading in and out of sleep, dreaming that I was in the Dr. Scholl's gellin' commercial. It was rather odd to say the least.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Le Roundup du Jour

1. I was chastised by not one but two librarians today for, of all things, reading a book to my child. In the children's section. In the area designated for reading aloud. To children.

2. Moe's Monday nights rock. Balloon animals, magic tricks, and 99 cent kid meals. Apparently this happens every Monday night from 5:30-7:30. But I'm not sure if it's in every Moe's or just the one here on Stratford.

3. Tomorrow is hell day in terms of Things I Have To Remember.
  • Oldest needs to take 20 bottles of water to school
  • Need to pack and ship antique hanger (don't ask)
  • While oldest is at 1st afterschool class, figure out teacher gifts (B&N giftcards?)
  • And buy them
  • Also get birthday gift for party Saturday
  • Pick up oldest 15 minutes early from 1st class, speed him to 2nd class 10 minutes late
  • Return phone call to W's Mom
  • Box to E. for yard sale

I just know I'm going to forget something important. Like pants.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

America! Have ya heard!


1. James Brown (who sings the title of my last entry)
2. Celia Cruz
3. Morris Day, with or without The Time

At seemingly random moments, I've been known to break out singing a snippet of the music of any one of the above artists. But I won't be doing it in Borders again without first making sure there isn't an author reading/signing going on.

(Morris Day, for the record, and I did The Bird while I sang.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

This is a Man's World


(bonus points if you can name who sings that title)

Alternate title: Look! The oldest favors me!

I took the oldest after school yesterday to get a haircut. He goes to a barbershop. A man's barbershop, as he's fond of saying. There's an old soda machine in the corner, a deer head mounted and a fish mounted on the wall, photos of old Piedmont airplanes, and two barbers who are father and son. The magazines are about hunting or cars, and there are tool catalogues. The men there don't much cotton to misbehavior, and they will call a child on it. As a woman, I am out of place so I keep pretty much quiet save to say "Shorter, please" or "Thank you", though I enjoy listening to the non-stop conversations.

So I was surprised yesterday to find the men, and every pleather-seated, metal-armed waiting chair was full, silent. Dead silent. Then I realized they were stunned beyond speech by the sight of twin 5 year old boys getting haircuts with pacifiers in their mouths. But as soon as the door closed behind those two boys and their mother, those men had plenty to say.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bang Bang You're Dead

We made a fundamental error last night; on the grounds that the parking lot is typically full and the name indicated they might serve seafood, we went to the Bonefish Grill.

Holy crap with an emphasis on CRAP.

Cliff Notes version
Annoying waitress
Bang Bang Shrimp Bang Bang Bad
Frozen swordfish overcooked and unseasoned
Weak coffee

My stomach hurt so badly when my husband and I went to Costco after dinner that at one point I found myself crooning Negro Spirituals.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

(whispering) kudzu

I looked up from the other side of my Magnolia tree today and realized we have kudzu, and it's trying to take over my tree from the top down. It's coming from the vacant house for sale behind us via the power lines, so I called Duke Power and pushed nineteen different options to get to "tree trimming". The nice lady promised someone would be out within 10 days to clean the lines. In 10 days, they won't be able to find the lines.

I used my super-scientific method of selecting a contractor to find a tree trimmer to clean out my Magnolia. This is how I found our plumber and electrician as well. To use this method:

1. Open phonebook.
2. Only look at box ads.
3. Look for "family-owned" companies.
4. Ignore any ad that seems like it cost too much as it's likely to be factored into price of work.
5. Ignore any ad with awful slogan.
6. (The most important step) Pick the name that catches your fancy.

Now I'm just waiting for Junior Farmer - real name - to call me back and let me know what time he'll be by.