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Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Forgotten

Almost a year ago, I read a horrifying article in the Washington Post about a man whose death went completely unnoticed for five years. It has stuck with me ever since.

I'd like to think that couldn't happen here, here in this city of civility and graciousness, but sadly, I think it could; I'm sure there are man-islands in our midst.

I only know one neighbor by name on my street. One.

There's no place like a new home

Hadley found a home! Then she was returned because the chick had previously unknown allergies and also for not being affectionate enough, grrr. Then she cried pitifully at the vet's. Then I gave my husband The Look. Then the oldest child joined in with his Look.

So we pick her up tomorrow. We'll just keep the lower level dog-free and, if she comes upstairs, let the dogs take what swipes they get until they learn to leave her alone. Also, we're getting her one of those goofy trees into which to escape.

Also in a new home is the pot in which I had flowers on my father's grave at St. Paul's. Someone apparently thought it pretty and took it. Stole it right off the grave. The flowers were left, dessicated, still stuck in the florist's foam. I think I'm going to replace the whole thing with a planting infested by posionous lizards. Rabid geckos. Some such.

EDIT 5pm: We're picking her up today instead since tomorrow's weather forecast is basically "monsoon".

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ode to crossing Fifth Street on foot

Nearly killed by a car-driving lassie
Whose foot was stuck hard on the gassie,
I jumped out of harm's way,
And considered what to say.
I went with "Damn Yankee!"; it's classy.

... And a family tradition. My late father yelled Damn Yankee! at every bad driver he encountered, even in random places like Mahabaleshwar (India), where the bad driver in question was piloting a donkey.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Post #178

Wherein Esbee declines to hawk overpriced wrapping paper, posts a picture of boots, and speaks of herself in the third person, but only in the italicized portion...

Three days in, and the P.T.A. sent home the first fundraising plea: Sally Foster. Our household is trying to set a new world record for not selling things to our friends and family; this will be Year Three. GO, US!

I'm not a total P.T.A. hater - I've volunteered for one committee, the one that requires literally no decision making, only active doing. It's the least social and conveys the least Super Mommy visibility, too. Those are the exact reasons I volunteered for it.

So, check out my only impulse buy at Target during the last two trips.

Sincerely, it's odd how recently I can walk in that place, get what I'm there to get and nothing else, and walk out. I think the shine has worn off Target. I'm no longer happily surprised by their merchandise. I'm actually - dare I say it - a little bored. But the youngest spotted these and wanted them. Since he didn't have boots that fit, I saw no reason not to get them.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I'm sitting here utterly speechless. Anyone who knows me will tell you how bizarre that is; I'm never at a loss for words. And yet here I sit, stunned, unable to respond.

A man I know, the husband of a good friend of mine who lives elsewhere, just sent me an email. He didn't write it - it's one of those forwarded/FW deals. But he sent it directly and only to me. Let me add that while this man's wife and I are close friends, he and I, while we've always been friendly, aren't especially close. Certainly we don't have an email correspondence; I'm assuming he got my email address from her address book, either with or without her knowledge.

The email he felt compelled to forward to me is a xenophobic diatribe specifically against Mexicans, asking that the recipient add his or her name to the bottom and FW it along to show agreement with the need to tell President Bush that the Southern border needs to be closed completely, that no more Mexicans need be here - in fact those here need to "go home", that no more Mexicans should be allowed citizenship. It's full of insane rhetoric like "The greatest country in the world is being captured by Mexico with not one shot fired." At the very bottom of the email, my friend's husband put his name and her name. In all caps. Then he sent it to me.

As my friend's husband very well knows, my husband was born and raised in Mexico. A naturalized U.S. citizen before I ever met him, he is, according to some, "not like one of those Mexicans." His university degree, career, height (six feet), skin (pale), and lineage (Spaniard) apparently set him apart to others. He's "the exception". He's basically "one of us" (always said as if I'm acting petulant to take offense.) These are the statements people feel free to make in my presence and in the presence of my children, my children who love both countries. My children who should.

My husband, on the other hand, does not consider himself something else. He adores the country of his birth and its people. If asked, he will tell you he is from Mexico. With pride. He loves three countries: Spain, from whence his grandparents came; Mexico, the country that embraced his family; and the U.S., which he has embraced and which has, generally, embraced him back.

And then that email today. I'm just not going to reply. I wouldn't even know how.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Another Hallmark moment...

The Sunday circulars in today's Journal were full of wonderful things to give as gifts to that very special someone. Yes, indeed, that very special someone to whom you wish to say, "You know, I really don't like you very much." Of course, they weren't marketed that way, but what other reason could one possibly have for purchasing

This from Target


This from JCPenney's


um, this from Walgreen's:

click on image to enlarge

Also known as the JSDTDKBCC for short, no doubt.

Actually, I take it back. What that last one actually says is, "I really don't like you very much AND you scare me tremendously, perhaps because of your threatening lollipop posture. Here, freak, have some lotion."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Le Zoo

My husband announced last night that his throat had been sore for four days now. So while he headed to Primecare today to wait we-had-no-idea-how long, I took the boys to Asheboro, home of the North Carolina Zoological Park.

We had a tremendously fine time. We jogged up hills, we jogged down hills, we played with the cooling mist shower. We bought foam animal hats (four, to be exact - two per child), we bought soft-serve cones (two - one per child), we bought bottles of water at $2.50 apiece (so many I lost count). We rode the trolley, and we rode the brand new carousel. We marveled at cacti, at bamboo, at tropical plants with leaves as large as the four year old.

What? The animals? You want to know if we enjoyed the animals?

Friend, I am here to tell you that those animals are no fools. It was 96 degrees in the shade. Do you think they were out roasting themselves for us? The vast majority stayed hidden, or inside, or in their "private spaces". Those that were out were those with clear heat coping mechanisms: the grizzly bear lying in his stream, the elephants caked with cooling mud.

So we saw the animals we could and found plenty of other stuff to enjoy. (Sincerely, the plants there are amazing.)

And tomorrow morning when my legs are too tired to walk down the driveway and my arms are too tired to carry the heavier Sunday Journal anyway, I'll smile when I remember that now I have seen a real, live warthog, even if he was the only animal I saw in a twenty minute stretch of vigorous walking. And that he was ugly-cute.

And Monday morning, by which time my legs should have stopped throbbing and I should have the strength to pick up the telephone again, I'll call a broker and try to buy some of that $2.50/bottle water stock.

Friday, August 25, 2006

... And we're back

The oldest and I celebrated his first day of second grade the same way we celebrated his first day of first grade and his first day of kindergarten - by heading to Krispy Kreme on Stratford for an afterschool treat. If public school is my tax dollars hard at work, then Krispy Kreme is my support of the local tax base.

The most beautiful sight greeted us as we got out of the car.

The only thing that could possibly be better on a hot day is frozen sweet tea, and I've never seen it yet.

The oldest had the frozen lemonade, of course, and a football doughnut. Knowing that I would get at least some of his frozen lemonade, I opted for coffee so I could dip my plain cake doughnut.

I just love doughnuts tradition.

They forgot the "It indicates the school board just might smoke crack" option

But otherwise, I think this poll on the Winston-Salem Journal website, JournalNow, is a good one.

Guess which answer I ticked!

Blocking It Out

I realized it suddenly a day or two ago: I've completely forgotten the names of my father's doctors. All of them. A little more than three weeks ago, I spoke fluently of Dr. _______, the nephrologist, and Dr. _______, the surgeon, and Dr. ________, the infectious disease specialist. I could tell you what all happened during the time that Dr. ________, the nephrologist, was on vacation and his partner, Dr. ________, took over. Gone too is the name of Dr. ________, the attending physician for much of Daddy's stay. The nurses roated every twelve hours; I never had a hope of ever remembering any of their names.

Here are the only names that remain from that month at Forsyth Medical Center: Dee, Ozzy, Sharon, Kristy. All four are in the Radiology department. None of the four are doctors. All four helped me keep my sanity in that awful time. During countless procedures in the Radiology department, those four people appeared and reappeared, each time with a smile, a bit of encouragement, an offer of coffee. All four recognized me and my father every time we came down, which seemed like every day. Radiology became my bright spot.

I'm not even sure what any of their actual job titles are - Forsyth Medical Center badges don't list position, just department. But if it were up to me, I would give each one the same title: Lifeline.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Yellowjackets and Doral cigarettes

My husband was stung by a yellowjacket yesterday. As the left side of his face began to throb and swell slightly, I lamented the fact that neither of us have smoked in years, so we no longer carry cigarettes. My mother taught me long ago that tobacco has medicinal purposes, one of them being that a plaster of tobacco draws the hurt out of insect stings. I have countless memories of myself standing next to a swimming pool, crying, as she took the paper off one of her Dorals and moistened the tobacco shreds, then applied them gently to where I'd just been stung. It never failed to soothe me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Uncle Ben

My favorite obituary ever is from The Winston-Salem Journal, dated June 9, in the year 1933.

"Uncle Ben" Is Laid to Rest Eighteen Years After Death

"Uncle Ben" was buried yesterday, just eighteen years after his sudden death in this city. His body had been viewed by thousands of persons while it remained at Vogler's Funeral Home here. But yesterday he was given a new suit of clothes and laid to rest in Forsyth Memorial Park Cemetery.

"Uncle Ben" as he was known during the years since his death, was Benjamin Deardorf, a German who made his living by making cowhide vests and turning cow horns into hat racks. He was 64 years of age when he died suddenly on January 15, 1915, at the boarding house operated by Ida Ball Warren.

Deardorf had resided in this city for sometime prior to his death. He had a room at the Warren boarding house and died suddenly between the time Ida Ball Warren's husband was murdered and she was sentenced to death with Samuel P. Christy.

Following his death efforts were made to locate relatives of Deardorf, but only a nephew could be found. He did not claim the body.

Vogler's embalmed the body and kept it in a special cabinet at the funeral parlors. During the past eighteen years "Uncle Ben" has been viewed by thousands of persons, many of them making a special trip to Vogler's to inspect the embalmed body.

But yesterday "Uncle Ben" was removed from his cabinet, dressed in a nice new suit of clothes and placed in a casket. The body was interred. He has gone to his eternal rest.

This may just require a trip to Forsyth Memorial Park Cemetery, for verification purposes.

Up Up Upupupupupupup

I was up at 5:30 this morning, my usual waketime during the school year. But I really, really struggled to get out of bed. Summer has allowed for a more relaxed rhythm and, well, I've taken advantage of it these last two weeks, and now I'm paying for it.

I've already had two mochas and two Tabs today.

Yes, they still make Tab, but apparently it's only sold in Winston-Salem, because everytime I say the word Tab to someone who lives elsewhere, there's an incredulous, "They still make that stuff?" followed by, "Well, I don't think they sell it here."

Tab: still an excellent source of diet-tasty goodness and no longer a carcinogen!

No, really, I should totally be in advertising.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Memory Trees

The first Memory Tree I noticed was at Polo Park, a sweet young dogwood with a tag around its trunk. I think there was another one there too that day, not in memory of but in honor of someone presumably still living.

So now I'm thinking of having one planted for my father, but I want to give it a fighting chance. The young dogwood I first noticed at Polo Park was pulled and hung from and had its branches broken. Children aren't kind to young trees, I guess. It was removed within months. Memory trees that die are beyond sad.

The city of Winston-Salem has a Memory Tree program; the only requirement on the city website is that the location be on city property. My father would have wanted it to be someplace overlooked. Ours were the Christmas trees with holes, the pumpkins that fell over, the pets that others had tired of. So I'm looking for a forgotten corner of the city, a place my father's tree can shine and thrive and offer a little shade to someone who needs it.

For more information or to order a tree, call Kim Young, Memory Tree coordinator at (336) 659-4305

Monday, August 21, 2006

Open House, Crack Cocaine and Litter (not kitty)

Tomorrow evening is Open House at the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County elementary schools and high schools. Grades seven and eight of the middle schools have their Open House tonight; sixth graders go Wednesday night. School, of course, begins Friday. I suspect because of crack.

The 2006-2007 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Handbook was thrown onto a number of front lawns last week, apparently by the Winston-Salem Journal carriers. Some houses still have them lying there.

1. Lucky duckies are on vacation.

2. They don't use their front doors nor do they so much as glance at the front yard.

3. They don't have children in the local schools and are hoping the handbooks will self-compost.

4. They think they are leaflets or unasked for mini-newspapers or fake yellow pages and refuse to pick them up as a form of protest against litter.

I actually once got into a (strictly verbal) argument with a woman who threw an unasked for penny pincher publication onto my lawn and refused to remove it.

Blogger issues

Over the last few weeks, Blogger, which is the parentsite that hosts this blog, has been having a few issues.

1. Atom feed, which is a way some people read blogs and other sites. At least some people who subscribe to this blog via Atom feed haven't seen a post since August 9th.

2. A server error or down, which has caused posts to be lost for some blogs (though not mine), some comments to post and stay but show up under my username (five or six), and some comments to post under the correct name but then suddenly disappear forever (many). I've been copying then deleting the ones that get posted under my name but then reposting them using the Anonymous option. (Since I have no way of knowing who originally made the comments, that seemed like the best option). However, not all Anonymous comments fall into this category, only like six. If you posted a comment and then it disappeared completely, please do not be offended. The ones the server errors delete I have no way of getting back. I'm so sorry.

3. Entire site downtime. Sometimes you see me, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you see me but can't get to the comment form. (It's a lot like DirecTV during thunderstorms). Sometimes I can post and sometimes I cannot. And sometimes I can post but not with pictures. It's about 2-4% downtime of some sort by my estimate.

Why am I still on Blogger? Eh, you get what you pay for. Blogger is free to me. Other providers are also free but require banner ads, sidebar ads, or popup ads. Blogger does not. (I'm not vehemently opposed to advertising, but if I ever had them on my blog, they would be local ads for local businesses only.)

So please bear with me as I bear with Blogger.

An email from a reader

A reader writes

I was wondering what activities you offered your younger son? You had a whole list for the older one, but you didn't say anything about what the younger gets. No offense.
The youngest gets a lot of one-on-one time with Mommy. Sincerely, I'm not opposed to activities for fours and under, but he doesn't seem to want to do any yet on a regular basis.

He attends preschool a few mornings a week during the school months. We used to go to Little Gym until he developed an inexplicable hatred of the place. Occasionally we attend library events, but we don't go to storytime every week or any such. He has ridden, but truthfully his legs are too short for stirrups and he doesn't ask for it except occasionally so I don't feel compelled to push it. I looked at Sawtooth classes for him and may enroll him later on in the year, but they seem long for his attention span at this point.

If anyone has any great ideas for short (30-45 minutes) regular activities preschoolers might be into, I'll happily mention them to him and see if his face lights up, but I'm not enrolling him in stuff just for the sake of enrolling him. He's a lot of fun to have around, to be honest.

My email is toward the bottom of the lefthand column if anyone else would like it. No offense taken, no worries.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


You'd best sit down. This right here is pretty shady dealings.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the North Carolina Watermelon Association. Certainly I don't need to tell you. And I know you all already know their 2006 Watermelon Queen. Hi, Katie!

And if you click to read more, you will find out that in 2005, Katie won "Miss Cape Fear High School 2005". Which is the same year she won "Wintson-Salem’s Outstanding Teen 2005".

You see the issue, of course. (Beyond the unfortunate typo.)

Was there not someone who actually lived in Winston-Salem to represent Winston-Salem? How about someone at least in the right county.

I'm outraged! angry! annoyed! mildly peeved! actually really amused. I'm amused to no end by the idea that someone might use a city in which she didn't actually reside to muscle her way up to reach that loftiest of goals, North Carolina Watermelon Association Queen!

Katie tells the NCWA her future plans:

To graduate from law school and become a successful attorney. I also hope to become active in politics- perhaps running for an office.

Clearly the next, logical step. GO, KATIE!

Like a steambath

I thought since it was only 86 degrees after it rained briefly early this afternoon, it would be a pleasant day to walk around Bethabara. I was completely wrong, of course.

The children had tremendous fun nonetheless, and my pores feel really, really open.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mark your calendar

"Thank you, apple tree! I love your apples! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
- the four year old, while hugging the tree, after realizing what kind of tree he was standing under

Upcoming local apple harvest events:

From Peel to Pie
Horne Creek Farm
Saturday, September 9th
11 am - 4 pm
Activities include cidermaking, apple peeling contests, fruit drying techniques, a display of Southern heritage apples, apple butter, apple cider, and fried pies. Discussions with Lee Calhoun on orchard traditions and techniques and tours of the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard will also be featured.

Apple Festival
Historic Bethabara
Saturday, September 23rd
10:30 am-4:30 pm
Festival featuring bluegrass and other music, food, crafts, and, of course, apples.

Not local, but worth the drive if you are really, really into apples:

North Carolina Apple Festival
Hendersonville, NC
September 1st through 4th
Historic Hendersonville is the official home of the 60th Annual North Carolina Apple Festival, a four-day celebration in honor of the North Carolina Apple. The Apple Festival features a street fair on Historic Main Street including entertainment, arts & crafts, apple products, children’s & youth activities, special exhibits & open houses, fun, food, and, to top it all off, the King Apple Parade. Capture the spirit of a hometown celebration that has something for the whole family, with many individual events and entertainers throughout the festival.

Define "Late Night"

My husband and I saw a 7:15 movie the other night, which meant we were looking for dinner at 9:30 pm, a smidge on the late side for Winston-Salem on a weeknight. Remembering Lucky 32 says "Lunch, Dinner, or Late Night" right on the outside wall, I suggested we go there.

By Lucky 32's definition, Late Night ends at 10 pm. Party on, Lucky 32. And the food was eh.

On a happy note, Talladega Nights was great fun in that irreverent Saturday Night Live way. And The Grand 18 still has that great new movie theater smell. Ahhh.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Important Business

I had some important business to which to attend today, to wit, I needed to teach the youngest how to creek-stomp. So after packing extra clothes, water bottles, and a towel, we headed off to Pilot Mountain State Park, to the River Section, to stomp Home Creek.

And stomp we did. Marvelous fun.

I would have stayed within county but Silas Creek and Peters Creek both seem, well, rather polluted.

In memory of...

There's one on a wall between Robinhood between Coliseum and Buena Vista. There's another one hanging over an underpass on Silas Creek Parkway.

I know they are memorials. I know they have been there for years. I know they are periodically refreshed. But what I don't know who is being memorialized by the flowers and ribbons on Robinhood and the pink ribbon over Silas Creek.

I'm fairly certain I know how they died, though.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Unexpected pleasures

Summer vacation is on its last legs*. Accordingly, I've been making hay while the sun shines.

Today a friend and I took our children to Horne Creek Farm, which is about twenty minutes away by car but probably only ten as the crow flies. I noted that their muscadines or scuppernongs were much more mature than mine. Hrm.

The farm was pretty as a picture, but the best sights I saw were completely unexpected - a building we passed coming and going

and the farm's resident bluetick coonhound, who has recently whelped.

*The approaching end of summer necessitates that I make liberal use of the idiom. No kerfuffles, please; it's The Law.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

If I were the Director of Transportation for W-S...

And I could instantaneously change things by snapping my fingers...

1. Country Club would already be two lanes on each side plus a turn lane.

2. Hanes Mall Boulevard would stay multilanes on both sides all the way to I-40.

3. Speeders in my clearly residential neighborhood would be flogged by the roadside.

4. Until dead.

5. I-40 Business would be renamed I-40 Classic. The new one would be known as I-40 Sprawl.

(I spent a fair bit of time in my car today.)

As an aside, I can't believe Wikipedia's entry for Winston-Salem has a list of famous residents that excludes Maya Angelou.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

No eating dinner in the car

I firmly believe that there is a correlation between the overscheduling of children's days outside of school hours and the rise of Attention Deficit Disorder diagnoses. I believe this, and yet I have to keep reminding myself that I believe this. The problem is that there are so many amazing activities for children to do in this county that it is tempting to try to do them all.

Art classes
Soccer team
Football team
Church choirs
Piano lessons
BMX racing
Swim lessons
Band practice
Riding lessons
Tennis lessons
Basketball team
Chess lessons
Foreign language immersion lessons
Guitar lessons
Drama classes

The above is the list of activities I offered to my seven-turning-eight year old for this fall. I told him to pick no more than two. Some of them, the teams especially, are so time-intensive that if he wanted to pursue them, he'd have to commit to just one activity.

He is, as I expected, going to "stick with the barn and art class, Mom." But the BMX racing at Tanglewood sorely tempted him. He knows he'd have to give up another activity, though. And he's not quite ready.

(For the record, his current activities are not huge timesuckers; they run about two and a half hours a week total for both combined.)

Covering for The Dinner Belle

My dear friend Esbette and I couldn't help but notice that The Dinner Belle seems to have disappeared. Perhaps she's on vacation. Perhaps she's in jail. Who knows. Whatever the case, we decided to pony up to the bar and hold it up for her until she returns.

Esbette, hereafter referred to as 'Bette, and I decided to review a local restaurant's service at that most important meal of the day: Breakfast Food Not At Breakfast Time. Accordingly, we headed to Midtown Cafe and Dessertery, on Stratford Road. We were accompanied by my oldest son.

Oldest Son: Call me Thunder Man!

Esbee: What?

Oldest Son: In the blog. You're putting this in, aren't you? I know you are. Can I use your cameraphone? What should I take a picture of? Can I order two things? Are we having dessert?

Esbee: Calm down, Thunder Man.

Thunder Man: Ha!

'Bette: I can't help but notice there's no iceberg lettuce on this menu. What am I going to do for crispy greenness?

Esbee: At breakfast?

'Bette: Might want to check your watch there, slick.


Thunder Man: Ha!

At this point, the waitress arrived bearing our beverages. 'Bette had Sweet Tea, the oldest Thunder Man had chocolate milk, and I had coffee. Much small but clever talk ensued while we waited for our meals. When they arrived, we resumed our serious review.

Esbee: You know, I think if all my teeth ever fell out, I could still chew this bacon. It's that tender.

'Bette: Try dipping it in this cinnamon butter sauce I got with my French Toast.

Thunder Man (while putting salt and pepper on his pancakes): EW!

Esbee: I think it should be required by law to make omelettes with at least this much cheese.

'Bette: Did you just inhale your omelette? Seriously, where is it?

Esbee: Thunder Man, how is your Ride 'Em Cowboy?

Thunder Man: Good.

Esbee: Could we have a little more feedback?

Thunder Man: OK. It's really good.

'Bette: But you put pepper on it.

Thunder Man: I like spicy food.

'Bette: What is wrong with us? We just ate like six plates of food in ten minutes.

Esbee: Five plates. Are we using pictures of ourselves?

'Bette: Only if they're Teemified.

Esbee: Agreed. Thunder Man, you're on cameraphone. Try not to accidentally call Italy again.


Open 24 hours a day

The problem with Harris Teeter being open 24 hours a day is that I go at times when I should not, simply because I can. So when I ran out of Tab late last night, instead of going to bed like a civilized person, I backed my car out and headed to the Teeter, smooshing one of the yellow and black caterpillars running suddenly rampant in my driveway in the process.

You still don't see the problem, do you. The problem is that when I am ALONE and UNHURRIED because there is no closing time, I tend to actually EXAMINE things. And let's face it - some things are better off not examined.

Like, say, the discontinued-now-massively-marked-down-product bin. This first one's my favorite, because of the grocer's choice of description for the markdown label.

Yeah, baby! Cajun Injector! Nothing about the product is remotely Cajun, but is that really important? Your poultry wants to shoot up, Thibideaux!

This next product looks healthy.

Mmmm... imitation buttery flavor. My favorite!

And I can't imagine why kids don't want to open their lunchboxes and find little plastic containers filled with what resembles liquified boogers.

Hey! Big Bird loves 'em!

I've got to stop going to the grocery after 10 pm.

Monday, August 14, 2006

You! YES, YOU! You look like someone who could use a cat!

My late father had two cats, one of whom literally pined away while he was in ICU. The other one is in need of a new permanent home. Her name is Hadley. She is a rather petite, spayed female, approximately 2-3 years old. She is not declawed, but she does not have a history of shredding furniture (or people). She is negative for FIV and Feline Leukemia, and she is current on all her shots.

Hadley was found outside as a young kitten by my father. He took her in to live with him and his other cat, Precious (the one who pined away). Now, I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but Precious was... well... rather a bully. A quite pretty bully, but a bully nonetheless. Poor Hadley spent most of her time hiding under the bedspread or on top of the kitchen cabinets. Then Daddy went into the hospital, so I took her and Precious to board at the vet's, where she's been ever since. Accordingly, she is not feeling very lovey, though she is calming down. She is not aggressive, just defensive. My best guess is that if given a new home and left pretty much alone (no grabbing, forced petting, etc.) until she feels safe, she will emerge and begin to show affection. She may even harbor an inner snugglepuss - it's hard to say.

I would happily take her myself, but that wouldn't be doing her a favor, as we have three spirited dogs who would not leave her alone. She needs a little room, a little quiet, and a little time. She also needs to have her superb veterinary care continued. To that end, I will pay for one year's worth of veterinary care with her current vet, Dr. Eric Taylor (Reynolda Veterinary Hospital). He and his staff provide top-notch and compassionate veterinary care for all our animals, and he has agreed to faciliate this arrangement.

Hadley may be seen at Reynolda Veterinary Hospital, located at the corner of Reynolda and Polo, 336-725-9111. Please ask Dr. Taylor any questions you might have. And please, please help me find a home for this cat. I will not put her down in the name of finance, but it's not optimal for her to just board there indefinitely.

Hello, my name is Hadley. As you can see, I am grey with small splotches of white. My interests include foreign films on rainy days, Bunco, and jet-skiing. We're meant for each other. Feel the magic. Feel it.

Local Graffiti

Exterior side wall, The Master's Loft, a Christian cafe and store off Miller street.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

79° Fahrenheit

It's glorious out. Accordingly, we've been outdoors since before lunch. The children chose to go rock hunting.

My father was a mining economist, so rocks and minerals have been in my life pretty much continuously, though my favorite things in nature to pore over are shells. But rocks and minerals are a close second, and you can easily find a wide array here in the Piedmont.

A good book for beginning collectors

Dear Winston-Salem Journal

Repeat after me: Paris Hilton is not news. Paris Hilton is not news.

So WHY oh WHY has she been featured on page A2 of the paper, in the We Wish We Were People Magazine Newsmakers column, not once but TWICE this week?

Paris Hilton decides to not have relations for a year! (August 7th)

Paris Hilton bitten by exotic pet kinkajou - requires Band-Aid! (Today)

You do realize she didn't actually do anything, right? In one case, she decided not to do something; in the other something was done to her. She's not a Newsmaker; she's a passive lump!

So, please, for the love of God, sweet Journal, drop the Paris Hilton NonNews Flashes, unless the kinkajou manages next time to decapitate her, in which case make it A1.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"Can you handle it?"

That's what Marc Savard wants to know! Who's Marc Savard, you ask? Why, he's the hypnotist who will be at the Dixie Classic this year according to the 2006 Premium Catalog. And he has his own website where you can get all pumped up for him!

Because my oldest son is a huge Dixie Classic fiend, and because neither he nor I enjoy the really large rides, we spend a lot of time watching the free shows, many of which take themselves, very, very seriously. (See Savard, Marc.)

This year, we are promised:

But the most important info, of course, is the Grandstand Schedule

  • Fri 9/29 7:30 PM: DEMOLITION DERBY
  • Sat 9/30 7:30 PM: Figure 8 Racing
  • Sun 10/1 7:30 PM Pro Bull Riding Rodeo
  • Mon 10/2 7:30 PM: Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • Tue 10/3 7:30 PM: Jason Aldean
  • Wed 10/4 7:30 PM: Jars of Clay
  • Thu 10/5 7:30 PM: DEMOLITION DERBY
  • Fri 10/6 7:30 PM: Figure 8 Racing
  • Sat 10/7 7:30 PM: Lawn Mower Racing
  • Sun 10/8 2:00 PM: OTTPA Tractor Pull
I'm hoping the flying dogs that caught frisbees (Air Dogs?) will be back again this year, plus the duck races. Both were very enjoyable excuses to sit down for a few minutes.

But go back to the attractions for a minute. Let's read the description of one, as provided on the Dixie Classic webpage.
The Dueling Pirates High Dive Show tells a salty tale of two ruthless pirate captins. The famed Captain Kidd and his arch nemesis, Calico Jack. Their battles over the years had become legendary. During the course of one of these battles both Captains had torn away half of a map- a map that would lead them to skull island, where a fortune in gold and jewels were buried in the sand! The battle includes high action stunts and pyrotechnic cannon explosions that not only blow our pirates off the towers, but also ignite one of them into a fiery ball!
I consider it my duty to be there, cameraphone in hand, to bring you exciting images from this pirate-infested extravaganza.

Not in this house

An article from the Washington Post website

That just goes against every bit of my upbringing. Since I happen to think my parents did a fine job, that won't be an option in this house, either. Thankfully, the oldest really enjoys school and doing well, so it isn't even a concern.

Things to do on a rainy Saturday morning in Winston-Salem

1. Go to the library.

2. Hit the new Grand 18 theater.

3. Go count empy storefronts at Hanes Mall.

4. Rummage for finds in the row of shops at the bottom of Reynolda across from Hanes Park.

5. Dig for worms.

Guess which option my children have chosen.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I love Jill

She brought the above flowers by this evening, checking in on me after all the hubbub died down, when she knew from her own experience I'd need it most.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet my friend, Jill.

1. Jill remembers your name after hearing it one time.
2. Jill also remembers your children's names, your spouse's name, and your relatives' names.
3. Jill's hair is always perfectly coiffed, and she is always dressed immaculately.
4. Moreover, Jill never comments on the fact that the same cannot be said of you.
5. Jill has sung the National Anthem at a Warthogs game, which makes her mind-blowingly cool.
6. Jill never comments on the fact that you have not and you are not.
7. Jill will grab your child and hug him fiercely if he looks like it would do him some good.
8. She will also hug you, gently, if you look like you could use it.
9. Jill will bring you gorgeous flowers, beautifully arranged, and readily offer up that they sure didn't come from her garden.
10. Jill will not even notice the muscadines or scuppernongs growing wild all over your yard.

A question of burning importance

Using Mapquest always ticks me off. I type in my start point, with Winston-Salem in the space for the city name, and inevitably, Mapquest says, "We found a similar address" and gives me the same street address, but in Winston Salem.

I've set up a poll to the left. Do you usually write the city's name with a dash or without? (Esbee note: poll removed after 30 days or so, but the results were firmly in favor of the dash. Pro-dash, if you will.)

Obviously, I'm a dash girl. I was raised a dash girl, and I will die a dash girl.

Long Live The Dash!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Get up, stand up

If there's one business in town I reallyreallyreally want to go belly up, it's Wal-Mart. But my second choice would be this one.

I loathe those things. So it was with horror that I read the McDonald's on Robinhood drive-thru menu.

And I said to the kids, "Boys, you don't really want Happy Meals, do you? Not if they come with obscenely large, gas-guzzling ego-feeders on wheels! Do you! I know I've raised you right! You are children with principles! You cannot be bought! What do you say?"

They came with Hummers the exact color of baby poo.

re: email received

I've received more than a few emails from readers asking how my father's funeral was, what were the Readings, what were the hymns.

The service was beautiful. For those familiar with the Episcopal church, the liturgy was Rite I with Eucharist.

The Readings I chose were (all Readings are NRSV):
Psalm 71
Jeremiah 29:10-14
Matthew 7:7-12

The hymns I chose were:
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
The Navy Hymn (Eternal Father, Strong to Save)
I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
Jesus Christ is Risen Today

I Sing a Song of the Saints of God is unquestionably my favorite hymn of all time, though I love all four I chose. That one, though, makes me want to sing-shout it. It's rock it out good.

After the service, we had a reception with coffee, sweet tea, water, Moravian sugar cake, my sister-in-law's cookies, a cake that appeared from somewhere, and more. (I didn't really get to the food table until the very end, but people said it was quite a nice spread.)

Voila. Now it's like you were there.

Errand Day

1. Harris Teeter: All, dog food, milk, Pink Lady apples, chicken, corn

2. A Cleaner World: husband's suit, my black dress

3. Youngest son needs a haircut - beginning to look a bit like Liza Minelli EDIT 3:15 pm: He just heard thunder, so it's not going to happen.

4. School supplies for oldest (list from teacher)
  • 3 large glue sticks $1.99 each at Harries Teeter
  • 12 sharpened, #2 pencils (no decorative/novelty pencils) 24 pencils = $1.02
  • 4 flat, pink erasers $1.96
  • 1 box of 8 colored pencils $.89
  • 1 box of 24 crayons $.20
  • 1 box of 8 large, "classic colors" markers $1.00
  • 2 highlighters $.99
  • 1 pair of small, pointed scisors (orange-handled Fiskar) $3.54
  • 1 3-subject spiral notebook (wide-lined $1.24
  • 1 1-subject spiral notebook (wide-lined) $.97
  • 10 2-pocket, 3-prong solid colored folders (no decorative/novelty folders) * PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR CHILD'S NAME ON THE FOLDERS * $1.00
  • 20 clear, top-loading, 3 hole sheet protectors $1.99
  • 1 box of tissues $1.33
  • 1 box of gallon size ziploc bags $1.50 each at Harris Teeter
  • 1 box of sandwich size ziploc bags $1.50 at Harris Teeter
  • 1 box of baby wipes $1.84
  • 1 bottle of antibacterial soap free - onhand
  • index card with student's home address, home phone number, work and cell phone numbers for both parents free - onhand

I figure school supplies should run no more than about $25, which isn't too awful. I just wish I knew what "clear, top-loading, 3 hole sheet protectors" were. I'm hopeful some other mother at Target will take pity on me and tell me. (Those are supplies for second grade, by the way.)

EDIT at 1:45: $19.23 at Target, 7% tax included. I still have to get the remaining 3 items. Hopefully the Teeter will have all three.

EDIT at 3:15 pm: The glue sticks ran $1.99 each at the Teeter. Ouch. But we're still under $30 for everything, and I don't think that's an unreasonable expenditure for school supplies. And since he will be using the same backpack and lunchbox as last year, we are done with back-to-school shopping. Hallelujah.

Party time

I took the oldest to see The Ant Bully yesterday. It was actually pretty decent, and mind you, I went into it rather grudgingly, I think because Antz, the other animated film I've seen featuring ants, stunk to high heaven.

The Ant Bully was being shown in Theater 3 of the new Grand 18 on University Parkway. While walking from the lobby to Theater 3, we passed them. Party rooms. Nice, clean party rooms. The oldest's head snapped to the side with military precision as we walked. Just as we reached the end of party room passing, he whispered one word. Yessss.

Now I only need to hope there's a good kids' movie out around his birthday, because we're not doing Barnyard. That movie's cows are anatomically a mess.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


If this is the most current post you see, your Bloglines feed is messed up. Please DELETE your subscription, then resubscribe, using the atom feed with the short address (I think it comes up third on the Bloglines list.)

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have liftoff pedal.

We gave the youngest his new bike today. The bike came from Ken's. Tricking out of said bike courtesy of the oldest.

Bling added
* Horn that sounds tremendously like an agitated duck (blue)
* Colored spoke decorations in red, white, and blue
* Star-shaped wheel reflectors in red, white, and blue
* Handlebar pompom froufrou in red, blue, and silver

We also gave the youngest some biking gloves we found at Ken's. They are the tiniest biking gloves I have ever seen. He hasn't taken them off yet.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I was in Fresh Market this morning buying dehydrated strawberries (don't look at me like that - they rock the house) and melons (in their original form). I said to the cashier that someone had mentioned that the building going up behind Starbucks on Robinhood was to be another Fresh Market, and was that true. The cashier replied that it was indeed.

This means that when it opens, I won't have to travel nearly as far to get my dehydrated strawberries, which, have I mentioned, rock the house. I have? Whatever - it's worth a double mention.

Also, if one store is out, I can just check the other instead of buying Special K Red Berries and then eating all the dehydrated strawberries out of the cereal. Not that I would ever do that. No, sirree.

I wonder if my surplus Muscadines or Scuppernongs from my bumper crop will dehydrate well.

Chop Chop

With an out-of-town funeral guest staying at the Wingate, the Twin City Chop House was a natural choice for a meeting place. The sides were huge, and the meat was beautifully prepared. I skipped dessert, not out of any wish to seem demure, but because my stomach threatened to burst from fullness.

Today is Daddy's funeral. (The Twin City Chop House also being directly across the street from Salem Funeral, last night was sort of like a last dinner with Daddy.) I'm off in a bit to pick up the same out-of-towner, who wants to pick up "some of those thin Moravian cookies". Dewey's at Thruway opens at 8 am, I know. I need sugar cake for the reception after the service, so that works well.

My Muscadines or Scuppernongs continue to thrive but, sadly, aren't ripe enough to be served yet. Also, they are still not even the size of holly berries.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hear! Hear!

A Letter to the Editor from this morning's Winston-Salem Journal


The placement and use of sidewalks in Winston-Salem remains a puzzle to me. Roads like Peace Haven, Robinhood and Reynolda have many gaps with no sidewalks, yet they each serve a shopping center, and Reynolda also serves two museums and a school. Stratford Road serves none of those, yet sidewalks are installed on both sides. The density of homes is greater on the first three roads.

We are spending plenty of tax dollars adding sidewalks, and in many cases, the sidewalks in existence are not useable. When adjoining homeowners place their yard waste and garbage carts and recycle tubs on the sidewalk, as well as tree trimmings, it is dangerous for anyone to go into the street to get around, and impassable for a handicapped person in a wheelchair. What good are expensive wheelchair "curb cuts" if you can't use the sidewalk?

The police department tells me that it is against the law to obstruct sidewalks. If so, why is this not enforced? While Winston-Salem's finest are riding around, a few tickets against the offending homeowners and/or the collection people would not only stop this practice, it just might bring in some much-needed revenue.


YES! YES! YES! A thousand times YES!

I frankly wish every road in town had a sidewalk and that developers were required to sidewalk every new subdevelopment they built. Many people drive like maniacs, with no consideration for pedestrians, even in what are clearly residential areas. Doctors tell us to exercise more and that walking is good exercise, but we don't have sidewalks to make it a non-hazardous pursuit. And those roads that do have sidewalks are still not navigatable on trash days without stepping into traffic or cutting onto lawns.

Mr. Byers, you are right on the money, Sir.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Ocho Buckos, as they say in Texican

2006 Dixie Classic Premium Catalog, page 28

That's the premium listed for first prize in the Muscadines or Scuppernongs class at the 2006 Dixie Classic Fair.
What? What's that you say? You say one has to actually grow muscadines or scuppernongs to win? Behold the fruits of my lack of gardening; indigenous muscadines or scuppernongs have cultivated themselves! Mine is the smarter muscadine or scuppernong!

See the pretty muscadines or scuppernongs all nestled in, being nourished by God-knows-what from my primarily clay soil!

So sweet! So pretty! A little chain link bling brings out their inner glow. What? What's that? I need to have at least 25 muscadines or scuppernongs to put on the plate with which I am provided by the fair?

The above is actually only maybe a third of my muscadine or scuppernong crop. So no worries!

(Save one: I've never actually grown muscadines or scuppernongs before. I have no idea if these will end up qualifying for D-55 black class or D-56 white class. Whichever it is, though, I'm sure to win!)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Five articles I'd love to see in the Winston-Salem Journal

1. What has gone on officially in the last 15 or so months since Evelyn Perez, then 3 now 4, vanished from Winston-Salem with her non-custodial father? Is anyone even looking for her?

2. A Workday in the Life of a Department of Health Food Service Inspector, much like the superb two-part article the Journal did on the Forsyth County Animal Shelter.

3. An examination of high rates of landlordship and low rates of owner occupancy in certain neighborhoods of the city. Are landlords being held accountable for properties meeting required safe housing standards? What are the requirements to become a landlord? The 2700 block of Patterson, for example, has only a 39% owner occupancy rate.
  • 2 properties owned by out-of-state individuals
  • 7 properties owned by local absentee individuals
  • 2 properties owned by local absentee companies
  • 7 properties owner occupied = 39%
4. An article on the language of death. Why do some people's obituaries say they "died", and others' "passed away", when other families choose, or even create, colorful euphemisms? Is death euphemism more common in the South than in other parts of the country? What are the reasons people have for choosing to use euphemisms in death notices?

5. An article about what it's like to be an older teen in foster care in North Carolina, which has 204 children and sibling groups available for adoption on http://www.adoptuskids.org . What are the chances of a teenager being adopted in North Carolina? What programs are in place locally for those children who age out of foster care? What comes next?

Stepping Up

The Journal's lead article this morning was about the aging of the local volunteer force. I was surprised when I went to get the article online to find no link to the Journal's Volunteer Opportunities. I'm hopeful that as the Journal becomes more and more comfortable with being both a written and an electronic medium (through the JournalNow website), some system will be implemented that automatically prompts reporters/newswriters to submit associated JournalNow links with their articles.

I hope to volunteer this year with the YMCA Literacy Initiative. I attended the Scrabble fundraiser last spring, which was a blast.

My pre-Scrabble-fundraiser blogget
My post-Scrabble-fundraiser blogget

Click here for more volunteer opportunities in Winston-Salem.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My peeps

I've received more than one local email since Tuesday. (My email is in the lefthand column of this page, toward the bottom.)

Some people didn't understand how I could be laughing in a photo when my father was dying. Answer: He wasn't. That photo was taken several days before, when we still had great hopes for his recovery. The interview was done even before that, when his death wasn't so much as a slight concept.

One person wanted to know if I somehow thought I was special. Answer: Yes, yes, I do. And I think you are special, too. I think we all are. Don't you?

I got an astounding number of compliments and recommendations for restaurants and parks and such, not accompanied by any question. It may take me an age, but I'll try to hit them all. As in sample, not rob.

But many people wanted to know who I was. Not in a "Who do you think you are?" way, but in a "I read your father's obituary, and I think my family must have known your family" way. Because this is how people connect here. And people here will keep at it, trying to find some common link, some distant relative who knew one of yours, some friend of a friend, until they do. And I adore it.

I love that my husband, who has absolutely no familial ties to the South - or even this country - is included. It takes many probing questions, but eventually he'll give up that he went to university in New Orleans or some other fertile background. And the questioner will then say, "Aha! Did you ever go to _________?", naming some bar or event or really anything, and if my husband says yes, as a matter of fact he did, that's it. It's found. The link. And then conversation can move forward.

And those are the local emails I've been receiving. And because my family was, in its day, large, and because we are local, most of the time, the links haven't been too hard to find at all. So here I am - your family's former neighbor's kin, your distant cousin many times removed, your late mother's friend's niece, your grandfather's buddy's daughter, and every other variation. Thank you for stepping up when I felt like my family shrank through loss to make it expand again. I'm glad to be linked to so many of you.

Take a bite out of crime the cost of living

My neighbor's house was burgled while they were away on vacation. This shocked me, as I genuinely feel safer and less likely to be a victim of crime here than I did in DC. However, a zip code analyzer informs me that statistically, I am really not that much safer at all. Nor, for that matter, is my property.

The comparable cost of living rocks, though.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

22 Days

School starts August 25th. Yes, that's a Friday. Yes, I have an opinion on that.

The oldest's teacher assignment came yesterday. He's tickled he was assigned the teacher for whom he was not-so-secretly hoping. I didn't request her; in fact, I made no teacher request. I never have. I'm a rarity at the school, if playground banter is a good barometer, because almost every other mother with whom I spoke made written, formal requests for specific teachers for their children. As the daughter of a teacher, I find that odd, and I wonder how the administration feels about it.

Attached to the teacher and classroom assignment letter was a school supply list. I was more than a little saddened to see that almost all the supplies would be communal. It kind of takes the thrill away. I remember back-to-school shopping from my own childhood as Very Serious Business. The choice of image on one's folders was no laughing matter. Trapper Keepers were the binders of dorks; faux denim three ringers were all the rage because they could be written upon. BFF! And nearly every girl I knew coordinated her pencil colors with those little eraser caps with nothing less than rapt concentration. There could be no straggling pencils sans eraser caps.

So we'll buy plain pencils (no novelty pencils allowed). We'll refrain from putting his name on any of the folders. We'll not linger over the fat, pink erasers to make sure ours are perfect, since they'll just be pooled anyway.


Hit the road

I have a fascination with pretty roads. Pretty roads aren't always bucolic; I-95 as it passes the clock tower in downtown Richmond is gorgeous.

Here in Winston-Salem, I of course love Reynolda, especially in springtime. But my favorite road is actually Conrad, which one reaches by heading west on Robinhood, which merges into Yadkinville, which turns into Conrad. There's a long stretch that's lovely any time of the year.

It's also a good five to ten degrees cooler during summer.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The REAL Voglers

I loathe funeral home corporations. Detest them. Have for a long time. I think making arrangements for the dead is as personal and sacred as getting married or having a baby. I personally wouldn't get married by a corporation or have a baby with a corporation, so I'll be damned if I'm going to have a corporation handle my remains or those of any of my loved ones if I can help it.

I was downtown in early July attending to some of my father's business. Because I am cheap in certain ways - aren't we all - I made a large loop through downtown looking for a meter space, which is cheaper than a lot space, for my car. Fortuitously, I passed by Salem Funeral right when a camera crew was filming a segment for the local news. That caught my eye and made me look at the business's sign, which told me it was independently owned and operated by the Vogler family, a Winston-Salem institution in the funeral business if ever there was one.

When the need arose, I visited Salem Funeral, at 120 S. Main. It is lovely. The rooms are done well and tastefully, and not in ghastly burgundy and brocade, either. They are pleasant without being falsely cheery and full of beautiful pieces. I understand Mosby Vogler's wife is responsible for doing this and at breakneck speed, no less; she is to be commended.

Mosby and Gene Vogler, who operate Salem Funeral, are kind and helpful without being fawning, creepily somber, or pushy. They are also highly, highly organized, which is wonderful, because my brain isn't very powerful when I am that stressed. I could not have made the arrangements for my father as smoothly and as quickly as I did without their assistance.

I think Salem Funeral missed the cutoff for the new phonebook; I found the number in a Journal article from a few weeks back. Here it is again: (336) 722-6122. Good people.

I... um... See, the thing is... um...

OK, here's the deal.

I, like MANY, MANY people, am somewhat concerned by dental work. For "somewhat concerned", read "utterly terrified and stressed". And it's entirely possible that because of this, I haven't actually seen a dentist since moving. Maybe even before that. IT REALLY ISN'T YOUR BUSINESS HOW LONG. And I tell myself it's because I've been busy, blah blah blah, but if I was completely honest, I might reference that "somewhat concerned" thing.

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting to see a local ad for a dentist with the chicks coming out of their shells and written overhead, "We baby your chickens!" Or some such. I need someone to come right out and say, in nice, big letters because big letters makes ads truer,

The hygienist will not purposely stab you repeatedly with the little pick and then tell you If you hadn't stayed away so long, you wouldn't be bleeding. Nor will we try to make a point by being as sadistic as possible then saying If you hadn't have waited so long, we wouldn't have to shoot you in the face with a bazooka, but this is what you get when you don't come every six months, you big baby. We won't do those things because we're so gentle, we sing lullabies while we work.

Pretty much, I'm looking for a local dentist like, say, this:

There's got to be one somewhere.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What an odd, odd day

1. My father died this morning, not unexpectedly but sooner than I thought he would.

2. It's my youngest's birthday, so I haven't even told the children yet.

3. Halfway through the morning, someone said, "I'm so sorry about your father... I saw your article in the paper!" That's the first I knew of it and how I discovered that clearly Teem had taken his revenge by convincing the photography department to use the singularly least attractive photo ever taken of me, with the possible exception of my second grade school photo, which featured a heinous up-nostril vista.

Touché, Teem. Touché.
Father's Day 2006

My father died this morning just after I arrived back at the hospital, very suddenly but very peacefully. He remained true to his definition of a Southern Gentleman to the end. His interests included Duke, Duke basketball, the Duke Marine Lab, Duke baseball caps, and Duke reunions. He also loved birdwatching, scuppernongs, war documentaries, and his two cats, one of whom pined to death while he was in intensive care.

Sleep in peace, Daddy.

Be very, very jealous

I walked in the house last night from the hospital to find one of my Aunt E.'s legendary pound cakes. This isn't some tiny, dippy log, a la Sara Lee. This is a generous ring of heaven, and it's on my kitchen counter, calling out to me.

Esbee... Come cut a piece... You know you want to... You can tell everyone you're "testing it for poison"... Esbee... I'm delicious, Esbee... Smell meeeee....

I don't know how long I'm going to be able to outlast this. If I was a betting woman, I'd put my money on the cake.

(I also can't comprehend how she isn't entering this behemoth of goodness in the Dixie Classic every year. She'd have a wall of rosettes in no time. And if she succombed to a tube pan and Midstate Mills flour, she'd have $250 to boot.)