Hello Hello

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack

I love the Warthogs. Completely and utterly. I love going to Ernie Shore field. Completely and utterly. My only quibble, if I were pressed to name one, is that on the Warthogs homepage, some of their promotions could use some explanation. Like

Aug 16 Pink and Blue Night Inflatables for the Kids

doesn't really tell me if kids are to bring inflatables, if they will get inflatables there, how large are these inflatables and can they possibly be used as weapons against one another, is the night pink and blue or are the inflatables, and why pink and blue anyway.

See, I'd like to take my boys to more stuff, but inevitably, they are going to ask questions. And "I don't really know," doesn't seem to satisfy them, because they will ask againandagainandagainandagain.

So that's my only quibble, and really, it's a minor one. Warthogs games, explained or unexplained, are still one of the best ways to spend an evening in this town. Only 18 more home games these season.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Eat Mor Whisky, Malt, and Invalids

Driving past Chick Fil-A on Peacehaven this evening, I couldn't help but notice that a lot of the cars parked in the lot seemed to be classic. And there were a fair number of girls wearing poodle skirts around the cars. And a dancing cow. Or two. And a deejay.

Apparently Chick Fil-A has come out with a new handspun milkshake, and this was a promotional event. I spoke with the young lady who thought up the idea; she figured milkshakes, classic cars, and 50s music and dress naturally go together.

The Wikipedia entry on Answers.com, however, notes that

The first reference to the term "milkshake" appeared in print in 1885 and contained some whisky. The malted milkshake includes a malted milk powder (contains dried milk, malted barley and wheat flour) which was invented in 1897 by William Horlick. The drink was designed for invalids and children.

But really, invalid chairs and grains aren't nearly as festive, so good call. No comment on the whisky.

"milk shake." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2005. Answers.com 30 Jul. 2006. http://www.answers.com/topic/milkshake

Friday, July 28, 2006

Taste the town

Some of the best sweet tastes come out if this city, I swear. We have Krispy Kreme. We have sugarcakes. We have Cafe Gelato, which you should run-don't-walk to try if you haven't yet.

And then we have Dewey's pink lemonade cakes, which I sampled today at their store at Thruway.

At the very moment I put that little pink square with yellow icing to my mouth, the clouds parted. The sun's rays thwarted the laws of physics and Thruway's covered promenade to shine directly onto my face. All the other customers donned brown robes and chanted Alleluia repeatedly and in perfect harmony.

OK, not really, but they should have. It was that good.

Other cities just don't quite get sweets.

Poor Philly. That's embarassing, what with it being the last thing ice cream needs. (If you feel otherwise, though, you can find that item at Fresh Market.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I vant to bite your leg

I was in Pet Supermarket at Thruway today. When I was at the checkout, a man came in talking loudly on his cell phone. He said to the person on the other end, "I'm in a pet store. Can you hear all these parakeets? Listen!" Then he stuck his cell phone down into the open-topped parakeet enclosure right behind me. Every single parakeet immediately stopped cheeping and gave the cell phone the stink eye. The man looked slightly irked and more than slightly confused.

When I turned back to the cashier, the man having disappeared into some aisle, she said it was because the birds thought the cell phone was a predator. If they're hoping to thwart a predator with the stink eye, it's a good thing those parakeets aren't living in the wild.

But by far the best thing to be had at Pet Supermarket is this.

Nothing says it quite like a bloodthirsty dog with WARNING! spelled out in electrified letters. The exact same sign was also available minus the dripping blood, for those who want to be... be.... more subtle? But I prefer Dracujo.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Eating Healthy

I read it every week and make mental notes. With a kablillion restaurants in Forsyth County, the Inspections for Prior Week page for the Health Department is indispensible to me.

Want to try Murphy's Lunch? No problem; it scored a 99.5.

North Main Cafe in Kernersville? Let's! The health inspector gave it a 99.

Roma Cafe in Pfafftown? 83.5. No. And when one looks at the detailed report which lists specific deductions, hell to the no.

Schools, nursing homes, company cafeterias, and other food service establishments are also regularly inspected. Curious about a particular establishment? Search it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hell R Us

If after I die, I open my eyes to see that, I will know I have gone straight to hell.

Why was I there, you might ask? Well, the youngest has a birthday coming up. And he has mastered the art of potty. Basically. And so I feel this is the time to get him The Big Boy Bike. You know, two 12 inch wheels, plus two training wheels. He's graduating from three wheels to four, I guess.

Yesterday I set out for Ken's Bike Shop, but they aren't open on Monday (or Sunday, for that matter). And since I was already out of the house in Find Bike Mode, I figured I would go see if Toys R Us had a nice, basic beginner bike. And they don't. They have Cars themed bikes, Hot Wheels themed bikes, bikes with names like Mudd Dawg or Xtreme Machine, and bikes with flames and Harley seats. But your basic "red bike" or "blue bike", not so much.

So I will try Ken's tomorrow. And then I will maybe try Paceline. And if anyone has any other good local suggestions, I am all ears. Eyes? I am all eyes.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Welcome to Quik-Mart ICU

I'm shocked and repulsed that the last line even needs to be there.

Piedmont Portrait #3

Her nurse finally told me to go on home and try to rest. I've been here five days now, same as her. I feel bad leaving her, like if she wakes up and I'm not there? But she hasn't been awake yet. I talk to her as if she was. She's all I have. She's my world. She looks so small in that great big bed.

Name and city withheld by request

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My tree, my pretty tree

My favorite tree, the maple in my front yard, was hit by lightning during a huge storm last night. It looks fine from the front and back. But from the side, it's as if the branches were hair and it now has a part.


It's bizarre to think that both my father and Saddam Hussein are being artificially fed at the same time and that they both stopped eating solid food more or less simultaneously as well.

Other than those two things, they are completely different though.

The Winston-Cheesem Journal


Teem appears to have started a trend. The Winston-Salem Symphony placed an ad featuring another man - and I think it might even be the director - smiling while peering over his sunglasses in at least four sections of today's paper. He peered from the front section. He peered from the Local section. He peered from the Living section. He peered from the Arts section.

Still, it could be worse. He could have followed the other creepy photo trend from today's paper - The Openmouthed Pointer. Yeah, reader, baby, I'm excited and I'm pointing at YOU!

But the scariest thing I saw by far was the following.

We can only hope he comes back uncheesed and unpimped.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Living History

The Solomon Lick House is for sale. Located in Old Salem, this is someone's chance to live with history. Someone else's chance.

I already did the live with history thing when I lived in Georgetown years ago. As in Washington, DC, not South Carolina. Historic Preservation guidelines and the ANC, which is basically a quasi government HOA, dictated that no central air could be put in if it would damage or change the historic construction. Some such wording. Nor could window air conditioning units be in any window that directly faced a street. Did I mention our house was on a corner?

I spent much of each sweltering summer lying on the floor of the upstairs bath. That was the only window that met guidelines for an air conditioning unit. Looks like the house for sale in Old Salem has central air, though.

But it wasn't too bad, really. Our home's interior wasn't nearly as authentic period, for one. The beadboard and butler's pantry and tin ceilings were all there, mind, but the walls were painted in cheery colors. Our plumbing was all modern, though we lacked a dishwasher or room for one. In fact, all furniture had to be pretty much doll-sized; the rooms were too small for today's sizes. But, as I said, other than the air conditioning thing, the lack of square footage, and the small room sizes, it wasn't too bad. Wait. Did I mention that all the floors sloped just enough that one often felt vaguely drunk? But we couldn't fix them. They were authentic.

Years ago, my husband and I watched a PBS show called 1900 House, in which an English family lived in a completely restored, authentic home from the turn of the last century, wearing authentic clothes, eating authentic foods, and pursuing authentic pastimes. They suffered authentic breakdowns, the mother especially.

Watching at home, my husband and I were authentically amused. The historic home in Georgetown was long gone by then. We watched the show from an oversized sofa in our modern condo one neighborhood away.

And when filming was through I'm betting that English mother made the same mental note I had made leaving the Georgetown house for the last time, though probably hers was in all caps: Never again.

Friday, July 21, 2006

To the Hall! Of! Justice! with you

Someone I know got one of these, and I didn't.

Do you have any idea how jealous I am? I live for jury service. And I haven't been called in the last seven years. That was Superior Court in Washington, DC. I was the last juror dismissed by preemptive strike on a murder trial. I was devastated.

Does it pay well? Of course not. Forsyth County pays $12 a day for jury service. But to claim exemption in the name of "hardship" because one would lose money is pathetic if one could recover from that hardship by skipping a movie or two. It's not a hardship to uphold another person's right to a jury trial; it's a duty.

That time I was called in Washington, I sat next to a woman for whom it really probably was a financial hardship. I cannot recall what Superior Court paid, but I do remember it was less than what two hours of babysitting cost me, and I paid for eight that day. The woman and I were commiserating over the extreme draftiness of the room in which we were being kept while individual jurors registered. When a fellow juror suggested laughingly that he might try using the drafts as a health peril to get out of serving, she angrily shot back, "If you're ever robbed or any such nonsense, you remember then you were too cold to listen when someone else was the victim."

I have no idea if that woman was seated on a jury in the end, but I know she stayed until she was dismissed. As did I. As I will again the next time I am called. Fingers crossed it will be soon.

Jury Service in Forsyth County
  • Jury summons comes from Sheriff's office
  • Pays $12 a day
  • Juror calls after 5 pm day before to see if he/she needs to report
  • Juror reports with letter to Hall of Justice
  • Jurors serve one day or one trial
  • More information

Thursday, July 20, 2006

slap cut slap cut slap cut

All day long, I've been trying to come up with one song that has the city name Winston-Salem in the lyrics. I can't come up with a one, which seems really odd to me, I guess because the North Carolina School of the Arts is here.

Last spring I watched the NCSA student who lived across the street film a movie - or a scene for one - in his front yard. Two days, and he never seemed to film past a certain point. The scene involved a guy (him) and a girl, and there was a violent-looking slap.

Time after time, I watched as those driving past slowed, stopped, and tried to assist a lady in distress. I think the director/actor finally gave up. He was never going to get away with slapping her.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reason #4364 I love living in the Piedmont

Even our deluges are pretty.

Registration renewal

The default license plate, of course, is the First in Flight with the biplane. But I'm looking for something jazzier. I've seen some I like and some I don't around town, but I'm looking for something that really captures the essence of Esbee.

I Google my way to the North Carolina DMV's website for Specialized Plates.

I'm not former or current military, I didn't go to college in NC (much to my father's sorrow), I have no interest in Stock Car Racing, and I'm a member of no civic clubs. So I turn to the Special Interest category.

American Legion
Animal Lovers
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Breast Cancer Awareness
Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina Panthers
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Ducks Unlimited
Eagle Scout
Fireman-Rescue Squad
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains
Friends of The Appalachian Trail
Harley Owners Group
Historic Lighthouse
In God We Trust
International Association of Firefighters
Kids First
Litter Prevention
Maritime Museum
Native American
North Carolina Coastal Federation
Olympic Spirit
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Rescue Squad
Retired Highway Patrol
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Save The Sea Turtle
Share The Road
Square Dance Club
The V Foundation
Tobacco Heritage
Wildlife Resources

It's on page three, the 35th out of 36, the one that catches my eye. Watermelon. Watermelon. Not Watermelon Lobby or Watermelon Preservation League. Just Watermelon. No explanation whatsoever. And it's amazing looking, like the biplane is about to collide with the juiciest watermelon ever.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Family Lore

My father, his twin, their older brother, 1925

My father had a birthday in intensive care. He's 82 now.

His twin brother was born before midnight and my father was born after midnight. The doctor thought twins should have the same birthday, so he recorded my father's birth as occurring before midnight. My father is the only person I've ever known with two birthdays; we celebrated both in our house.

My father is also half of the first twin set in the city. There was an article at the time in the local paper, and the mayor came to see them. Family legend says my father was asleep so my grandmother said she had to bring them out to the living room and the mayor one at a time. First she brought out my uncle and said, "This is one." Then she brought out my uncle again and said, "And this is the other." She wasn't about to wake up a sleeping baby, even for the mayor.

My father was the third of five brothers raised in a little house on Summit Street. My grandmother grew switches outside the kitchen door. She never raised her voice. I share her name, but not the switches nor, truthfully, the never-raised voice. I have fewer children, but again only boys.

He's 82 now, my father, but he's still considered a baby by family standards. My grandmother, his mother, lived to 102, and her mother to 108.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I'm completely trapped within my house on this, Day Two, of pottytraining. Well, at least until 4:30, when the babysitter will come relieve me so I can slip out to the hospital.

I read the paper while wee lad "tries" so he doesn't feel pressured by me looking at him. This would be splendid, as I love reading the paper, but it's a Monday, the day when the Winston-Salem Journal is especially thin. And I had to disregard the entire Living section because the front is the Teen Page, which I just can't get into, and just inside Teem was leering at me again.

There was, however, a great front-page article on a gentleman with the very old county name of Teague, who is buying his ancestors' old buildings back for the purpose of relocating them to his own property. The article mentioned that, according to Mr. Teague, the kitchen has "the only documented Dutch door in the county outside of Old Salem". I'm assuming that Mr. Teague means documented from the time of original construction (est. 1830-1860), since one can still easily find Dutch doors for installation today. I do wish a photo of said Dutch door had been included in the article.

Here is what a Dutch door looks like, anyway.

I skimmed the entire paper (except Living), reading that article and one more on another old building (former Yadkin College), and will spend the rest of the day poring back over the paper while waiting for someone small to be "done", which seems to take a very long time.

Dear God let Tuesday's paper be fatter.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

ATTN: Cottonelle

Dear Cottonelle:

What a great idea you had when you made the kids' toilet paper with the puppy prints leading to the puppy to show a child how much to use! Did you ever think about just maybe synchronizing that with the perforated tear lines, though? Because my child was really enjoying using it, in conjunction with potty training, right up to the moment that THE TOILET PAPER PERFORATION CAUSED HIM TO RIP THE PUPPY'S HEAD OFF.

Thanks bunches.

Kicking an extra C-note into his future therapy fund,

Notes from Harris Teeter

Apparently there's a hot, new flavor trend in the cereal aisle.

Now, this may be utter madness, but sometimes I mix it up by giving my children actual peanut butter on toast at breakfast. I know, I know, that's crazy talk. And I hate loading them up with all that healthy protein.

This is a bit of a mixed message:

That's right, kids! Ice cream actually cleans your teeth!

But by far, the most troubling product I found was in the travel size section.

And I left it right there.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Win, win, win

Artificial Wreaths, Healthy Desserts, and Spam.

Those three, plus about twenty or so more. My goal is to decorate my mantel in Dixie Classic ribbons, plus have a few extra. My husband thinks I'm insane, but we'll see who's laughing when I'm cashing the prize money checks and toodling around town wearing barrettes festooned with matching blue ribbons. Sweet!

I was pumped to see a Lego Construction category until I realized it was for children only. It doesn't seem fair that the attendees are going to be deprived of seeing the bountiful and beautiful fruits of my Lego labors. I rock the house at Legos.

There's an entire category called Homemaking in the 241 page Premium Catalog, but strangely enough, in spite of technically being a homemaker, I don't feel very qualified in any of the classes. Maybe Cakes: Un-iced: Other, but that's it.

Antiques? I can win ribbons in Antiques? Did you know that? I sure as death didn't. I think I'll enter at least one class in Antiques. I'd love to win the Piece Relating to Forsyth County/Winston-Salem class. But with what? With what?!?

I'd better get cracking. Entries are accepted only until September 1st, with the fair running September 29th through October 8th. If you want in, send an email to hartley@dcfair.com with your name and mailing address, and the Premium Catalog for the 124th Dixie Classic will be sent to you.

I wonder if it's too late to cultivate a lively interest in livestock. Hmm.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Don't Miss

Piedmont Craftsmen's Wildlife Art Invitational runs until July 29th in the Milton Rhodes Gallery at the Sawtooth. There are some amazingly lifelike pieces here and more than a touch of whimsy.

This is a great exhibit to get small children excited about art, but you'll need to make sure any child is able to look with the eyes rather than the hands. This is no small order; I stopped myself reaching out more than once.

Pictured are sculptures, but there are also paintings, jewelry, textile arts, photographs and other forms represented.

Entry to the Sawtooth building and the galleries contained within is free.

I'm beat

I was called back to Forsyth Medical Center, where my father is a patient, last night.

1. The vinyl fold-out chairs provided in the rooms are really, really uncomfortable.
2. The hospital is a poor place to actually get recuperative rest.
3. The view of the morning sunrise over downtown is, however, spectacular.

(You wouldn't know it from my cameraphone, though.)

That's the ongoing construction of the North Pavilion on the left, which will, when completed, house an expanded Sara Lee Center for Women's Health, the Forsyth Cardiac and Vascular Center, and many, many more beds.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Speaking of Hospitals

The youngest, 3 going on 4, is an occasional hematology patient at Brenner Children's Hospital, a superb place to get care. The youngest, however, doesn't actually give a fig about the care; he goes for the quite impressively stocked playroom in the hematology/oncology unit. They have a wide variety of action figures, a kablillion dolls and accoutrements, a play kitchen, and every car imaginable.

But what they don't have is a lot of toys for older children or adolescents. Older children and adolescents are also served by Brenner Children's Hospital, and they also can suffer from boredom during treatments, as well as a desire to escape into play.

Should the urge to give to Brenner or another children's hospital strike you, please consider giving a toy or book for an older child or adolescent. They're still children, too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Paging Dr. Felon

My father remains in Forsyth Medical Center. Tomorrow he will have not one but two surgeries. Then he'll have a third surgery Thursday. As per my usual protocol, I checked out the surgeons' credentials.

Then I checked them out even more.

They were clear.

Then I checked out Tim Clodfelter, because you never know - "vacation" might be a euphemism for "prison".

He too was clear, but 122 other Clodfelters? Not so lucky.

Monday, July 10, 2006

ATTN: Tim Clodfelter


Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim...

Last week, a small box in the Winston-Salem Journal told us you were off on vacation but would return this week. That's great! Everyone deserves a vacation!

But in case you haven't heard, the thing is, What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I'm talking about this:

That's the before vacation picture and the after vacation picture, and, dude, it ain't pretty.

In the before pic, you look nice; you're smiling and happy. Like, "Hi, I'm Tim! It sure is hot today!"

In the after pic, you look scamming and cheesy and, well, just wrong. Like, "My name is pronounced Teem. I spell hott with two Ts."

Please bring the old, pre-Vegas Tim back.


Sunday, July 09, 2006


One of the best things about living here is that if a person has taken books out from the library, and if those books are due back by 11:59 pm on July 9th, and if it is 11:45 pm on July 9th when the person suddenly remembers the books, that person can use the very user-friendly and efficient library website to renew those books online, thus buying three weeks grace. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

(I also dig the keytag library cards.)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Medicine: it's not just a science; it's also an art form

They say a hospital is a world unto itself, with its own rhythm, its own food, and its own language. Forsyth Medical Center goes a step further, presenting its own form of art just off the main lobby before the door to Seasons Restaurant. That's where one can find Six Cases of Medical Artifacts From the Private Collection of Dr. John Monroe.

There are beautifully painted bleeding bowls from all corners, "feeders" for "invalids" of all sizes and origins, primitive ear horns (for the hard-of-hearing), an early stethoscope, and a desktop female figurine so that a modest woman could point out where she herself ailed on the figurine's anatomy.

The picture below is not of a bicycle horn with an overly developed sense of machismo. Click on it to read the label.

Forgive the photo (lack of) quality. Cameraphone + glass case + brass ceiling = glare.

It's actually a fascinating - if at times horrifying - exhibit.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Piedmont Portrait #2

Our family would go once a week. I always ordered a cheeseburger Happy Meal, no onions, no pickles. It only came with French Fries. My sister and I would trick our parents by telling one parent we'd already asked the other parent if we could play and the other parent already said yes, so then we'd be able to play. We couldn't have the Happy Meal toy until we'd eaten, though. Mom would take the toy out of the box before we got it. She was clever.

Kristen Walters, 19

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Someone made a comment on my post that touched on the Iraqi murders. Someone who cutely called himself or herself "Esbee". Someone who my statcounter pegged as posting out of Cary.

To Reverso Esbee:

I have never once deleted a comment because I don't like what it says. However, I deleted yours. Not because I thought it was "nasty" or any such, but because I did not like your attempt to confuse people by posting it under "esbee". You are perfectly welcome to your position, but for goodness sake, don't try to fob it off on me.

In the future, should you wish to post without giving a name or using a more unique pseudonym, tick the anonymous option.

Original Recipe Esbee

Here is the comment deleted:

America is still the greatest country on earth!!! To say otherwise on today of all days is disgusting!!!!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Innocence and Evil

The oldest and I are in the car coming back from the barn. He playfully asks for something, some trifle he wants me to buy. I refuse, and when he asks why, I reply, "Because I'm one mean Momma." Laughing, he says, "No you're not. If you were mean, you'd be evil, and if you were evil, you'd be out robbing banks and stuff." Because to a seven year old who has been fairly well shielded, that is evil.

Roughly an hour and a half from Winston-Salem, in Charlotte, North Carolina, a different definition of evil is being written. That's where a former soldier is being held, charged in the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the executions of three additional members of her family, including a child believed to have been five years old.

I'm in the car, listening to my son laugh and banter, and I cannot get that five year old out of my head. I feel a tremendous sense of shame as an American that we sent that evil there. That child, that baby, met our evil.

I must have fallen quiet, because my son has a look of concern as he asks, "Mom? What is it?" And the only thing I can put into words is, "I love you." He smiles and says back, "I love you, too."

We drive the rest of the way home in silence, his face turned to the window to watch the world go by.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pedal, pedal, pedal your boat

I took the children to Tanglewood this morning so my husband could sleep.

1. Pool is crazy cranky crowded on weekends.
2. Playground near lake is superb: shaded, plenty of seating for parents, and based with rubber matting, so no sand in shoes or hair at end of day.
3. Plenty of shaded picnic tables throughout park for picnics.
4. Renting a pedalboat in 90 degree weather is a good way to die of heatstroke.
5. Or by propelling an oversize tricycle over the water.

Ourselves, we went with the always classic, and ever tasteful, green glitter pedalboat.

I would have paid good money to have had this option from Japan. Riding inside an enormous, fake bird might possibly be even more embarassing than riding one of the aquatrikes, but at least it offers shade.


(Enjoy the lovely pictures of other people. I wasn't going to risk cameraphone on the bottom of the lake.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I'm sitting on one of the loveseats in the den when I hear it: the distinct sound of chirping. Baby chirping. It's coming from right behind me, which makes no sense because that's a window. Slowly, I part the wooden slats of the blinds and peek out.

In between the storm window, which is opened six inches, and the regular window is a mass of pine needles. As I watch, two small heads come out, beaks wide. A mature house sparrow lands on the window's edge, and I slowly close the slats again so as not to upset her.

Then I run outside to look at the front of the nest.This is actually the second nest on our house this year. This spring, we had robins nesting on our front gutter guard where it's shielded by an overhang, just above our front door.

Plus we had the heron incident in January.

I'm delighted our house is so popular with the avian set.