Hello Hello

Friday, November 30, 2007


I've been listening to someone's dog barking for the last two hours now. I'm not sure where the dog quite is, but listening from my backyard, it sounds like he's on the street behind us, maybe two houses or so down.

The thing is, this is not a neighborhood where dogs bark for two hours, so my first thought is that something is wrong. If it's the dog at the house I think it may be, something is definitely wrong, because those people are like uber-owners who walk their elderly chow many times a day, even in inclement weather, and they would never leave him outside alone in the dark. Ever.

My second thought is that it's getting awfully cold tonight, and that if it's a short-haired dog, it could freeze to death. I'm trying to tell what breed it is from the bark, but hahaha, I have very little training in this area. It doesn't sound like a hound, and it doesn't sound like a miniature breed, and that's about as far as I can take it.

My third thought is Oh no, everyone's going to think that is one of mine. Because although mine never bark without reason, if someone walks past our house and their feet touch our lawn, as is often the case since there are no sidewalks, all three of my dogs go at it and good until said person is completely out of sight, even Pinochet whose bark ridiculously sounds like the honk of a goose. So I am sure every person who has ever walked past and now hears this dog barking assumes it has to be one of mine.

For two hours now, the poor pooch has been barking every five seconds or so. No other dog is even outside, answering and egging him on.

Iffy choice

From here:

The Police Department’s mobile police station and its award-winning graphics will be at Hanes Mall weekdays through Dec. 20 to serve as a remote office for police officers working in the mall area during the Christmas shopping season. A police recruiter will be at the mobile police station from 2 to 7 p.m. The mobile police station will be parked on the east side of the mall near the entrance next to TGI Fridays.

That's an iffy choice of location. They need to move it over to the lower level entrance of the "new" wing, the one right below the food court. In my experience that is where the sketchiest people hang out at Hanes Mall. There is a sketchier place on the top floor, Sears wing, where among the empty storefronts, there's a shoe store where you have to ask an associate to get the second shoe out of the backroom if you want to try them both on, but nobody hangs out there.

I try to avoid hanging out at Hanes Mall at all.

Rock on, Doc

The Eddie Pollock Band is throwing a Christmas Concert and CD Release Celebration TONIGHT at 7:30 pm at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Winston-Salem.

Admission to the concert is free; however donations will be accepted for the Frances Pollock Arts Academy at Forsyth Country Day School, which is named in memory of Pollock’s late wife Frances.

From the band website:

During the day, this mild mannered man is known in Winston-Salem as Dr. Eddie Pollock (one of Winston-Salem's leading orthopaedic physicians).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Banner Day

1. Esbette caved and bought the dress! Then she let me treat her like my own, lifesize Barbie, adding accessories to my heart's content and Salsa's admiration. Sadly, she refused to go to Harris Teeter in the dress. (I had Fashion Plates growing up. This was better.)

2. We nearly broke our backs switching my dining room and living room furniture. I now have a kelly green dining room and a blue living room. Also, if I ever want to kill someone, I'm going to tell them to pick up one side of the hutch.

3. We took the youngest to the new Beef O'Bradys on Robinhood for lunch. I had never been in a restaurant that had TVs tuned to sports channels in the women's restroom. It was a special touch, especially when I had background cheering while I washed my hands. GO! GO! GO! I felt invigorated as I pumped the soap, which smelled strangely of Old Spice.

4. Picking up the oldest from school, my friend Mr. K said, "I have something for you!" Then he proceeded to hand me an enormous, completely random bag of pink and white "Extra Giant" marshmallows. Made in Mexico, they also were described as "Super Gigante", which Esbette and I have been repeating pretty much nonstop. They really are Super Gigante. Mr. K. rocks.

Photo evidence of 1, 3, and 4 at right.

Cannot help but smile

It's the photo. Kim Underwood's piece about a local couple married 70 years now is wonderful, but it was the photo by Lauren Carroll that made me start beaming. The expression on the husband's face, the wallpaper, his slippers almost touching, the rug, his wife looking not at the camera but at him, her jauntily crossed legs, the afghan...

Wow, I love this photo.

The Winston-Salem Journal article with small photo

Slightly larger version of photo here today only

(Buy the paper to see it much larger. Page D1. Totally worth it.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Plus the smell of horse

I love barn afternoons. Time slows. The youngest calms. The oldest daydreams while he drives. And the rest of the world seems very far away.


Mere days after Thanksgiving, the youngest*, in Halloween sweatshirt, begins the long process of styling tiny, purple birdhouses for his teachers' Christmas presents.

Teacher gifts are probably the most problematic gifts we give. I don't want to give cash; that feels like tipping a valet (or bribing an official). I hate how impersonal (and like cash) gift cards feel, but time and time again, I hear those are the gifts teachers most want, cash and gift cards, that the mugs, candles, and lotions (and probably tiny, purple birdhouses) are just so much stuff filling space.

But the thing is, I asked the youngest what he wanted to give, and he said tiny, purple birdhouses. So tiny, purple birdhouses his teachers shall receive. I think I will add some holly or something to Christmatize** them, though.

* Guess who's begun to cough now?

** Yes, I made this up, but I think it works well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

BV & Arbor

This is but a PART of the addition on this house at the corner of Buena Vista and Arbor. The original house is smaller than the addition. MUCH smaller.

Goodwill Hunting

Esbette and I are rocking ballgowns at the Goodwill store on University. This fine number can be yours for five bucks.

Esbette as classic Stepford Wife. I actually love this dress intensely and am trying to convince Esbette to go back and get it, then wear it around town as everyday wear.

Mark Your Calendar

Upcoming Book Signings and Demonstrations at the Winston-Salem Visitor Center, plus a SALE on these dates

Book Signing
Suze Bragg: “Historic Washington Park”

10am – 2pm
Book Signing Paula Lockleir: “Old Salem Brought to Life”

Cindy Poindexter
Paper Moravian Star assembling demonstration

11:00am – 1:00pm
Book Signing
Nancy Smith Thomas : “Moravian Christmas in the South”

1:00pm – 2:00pm
Moravian Artist Katherine Loafman

2:00 – 4:00pm
Book Signing
Molly Grogan Rawls: “Winston-Salem In Vintage Postcards”; “Winston-Salem From the collection of Frank B. Jones Jr.”

Monday, November 26, 2007

Inhale Deeply

Wow, Home Depot smells good right now. This is one of my favorite scents - Christmas tree. And wreath. And boughs of greenery. And I have never found a "fake" version (candle, spray, etc) that smelled quite right.

I stood in the greenhouse area at Home Depot a good five minutes, inhaling like I was practicing for Labor and Delivery. Then I realized people were staring.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good morning, MPB

"They're having them for the first time. Normally they get oatmeal, but this morning I thought, 'Let's have grits, kids.' "

"And?" I ask.

"H.R. is covered with them now. She's got them all over herself."

"Be careful. Grits turn into glue when they dry."

"So does oatmeal. It's just healthier."

"Well, now, MPB, grits themselves aren't that bad. It's what you put in them that makes them bad."

"These do have a little butter and a little salt, I must confess. And I can totally dig on grits with bacon and cheese."

"Yes. Treat them like a baked potato and load them up! I just don't get people who try to make them into a sweet."

"I am sad to inform you Mr. MPB puts grape jelly in his. And stirs it up! In front of me!"

"Oh, MPB, honey. You shouldn't have ever married him. Where does that even come from?"

"Ohio. It's the Ohio in him!"

"I'm so sad for you, MPB."

"Well, it's typical. The South sends something good up, and the North has to mess it up."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Decent, actually

My husband and I took the boys to see Fred Claus today. It was surprisingly decent. Yes, you had a pretty good idea what was going to happen, but the dialogue was generally amusing, and there were some quite fun details. There was enough physical comedy to keep the youngest engaged, and even at close to two hours, it didn't drag.

(As is our family's wont, we saw it at The Grand.)

Oh, Barbie


Free of Toys Made-in-China Christmas grows closer in our house. It's taken more effort, but I am very pleased with the presents the boys are getting.

Regarding that video, I haven't done enough research to decide where I personally stand on Nancy Nord. If pressed to name a change I'd like to see right now, I'd point to a desire for legislation requiring online and catalog retailers to list all products' Country of Origin in the description. It's required of manufacturers to have such on the packaging of any toy/product not made in the USA, but that does no good when one can't see the packaging, and it's almost impossible to actually reach a human at Amazon.

I believe in deliberate consumerism, but it's hard to buy thoughtfully when one doesn't have ready access to all the necessary information.


The youngest drew him on paper.
I traced him onto leftover fabric and cut him out.
The youngest chose purple button eyes.
I sewed them on.
The youngest chose the fabric for the mouth.
I cut the mouth out and sewed it on.
The youngest lined up the front and back.
I sewed them together.
The youngest turned him right side out most of the way.
I used a pencil for the horns.
The youngest put in "fluffing".
I sewed the "fluffing" hole shut.
The youngest picked a ribbon.
I tied it on.

Behold Purple Monster.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's still November

Somewhere under there lurks the front walkway.

I want to make an enormous pile of these leaves, then let the children pretend it's a beanbag chair.

I don't feel like it's time to deck the halls yet or listen to Christmas music yet or brave a frenzy of holiday shoppers yet, although I understand that stores opened this morning as early as 4 am. (Really? 4 am? That's not an early bird; that's a rave.)

So I think I'll let the pumpkins sit on the front porch a week or so longer still. I won't begin the "colored lights or white lights this year" household poll quite yet (colored always wins). I'll do a little online shopping, but when the packages come, I will jam them to the backs of closets and not even think about wrapping them yet.

It's still November, and it still feels like it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, no matter what you're eating

Chocolate turkey @ Fresh Market

I am thankful for
  • my husband's sense of humor
  • the thick fur on my dog's neck
  • cotton blankets
  • baking soda
  • azaleas
  • our children's contagious enthusiasm
  • peach pie
  • good books
  • the blue of the dining room walls
  • the chipmunks under our front lawn

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


"I turned everyone down, " I reply. "I hope it's OK to just stay home."

My husband grins widely.

"That's great! We can relax! We can hang out in the backyard! We can eat! ...Um, what are we eating, anyway?"

"I love you," I begin, smiling a special smile whose meaning he instantly divines.

"Oh my God. You want me to grill. On THANKSGIVING?!? "

He's looking at me incredulously.

"Do you mind? Thanks, honey!" I'm chipper. "I was thinking we could have steaks. And some wings. And grilled red-skinned potatoes. Mmm!"

He's feigning horror now. "What about tradition? What about turkeys and cranberries and saying what we're each thankful for?"

"I'm thankful you are such a talented griller of steaks and wings and red-skinned potatoes. There. Tradition."

"It's just amazing how you manage to bring everything together," he says solemnly. He holds his hand to his heart and assumes the facial expression of one greatly moved. "I'm so proud." He lets his voice break a little on proud, then pretends to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye.

"It's a gift," I agree, mirroring his telenovela-worthy expression for a few seconds before we dissolve into laughter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I have exactly zero sense of direction. If a road curves, I cannot tell you in which direction it does so beyond "right" or "left". Nor can I tell you when the road is again heading straight in whatever original direction it started toward. I don't have any sense of how neighborhoods fit together, beyond A touches B and C touches D. But A to D? No idea how they are related geographically. And so often I am stunned by the lay of the land.

Last week I took the youngest with me to the Wachovia Scouting Center, the one on Silas Creek. I glanced toward the rear of the center's parking lot, only to realize I was looking at the back of the pool at Polo Park Recreation Center. Goody for you if this makes perfect sense to you. Me, I stood there a good two minutes or so, trying to figure out what wrinkle in the universe made this possible.

Hi, my name is Esbee, and Google Maps with satellite view is saving my sanity.

Handy, this

Trying to figure out which weekend to host out-of-town rellies or guests this holiday season? (Or looking for something for them to do for a few hours to give you a break?)

This handy, dandy page brought to you by Visit Winston-Salem breaks down events by weekend, so you can see at a glance which weekend features the parades your four year old nephew adores or which weekend offers the 18th Century Salem Christmas Candlelight Tour your Aunt Agnes would swoon for.

(Also, I feel it my duty to remind you of Winston's greatest shopping secret.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

And the winner is...

My turn

UPDATE, 5:18 pm: Pneumonia. Both sides, baby. Raise your hand if you didn't see that coming. I've never had pneumonia before. It isn't very pleasant. I hope to never have it again.

That said, I love Primecare. I was in an exam room in ten minutes without an appointment. (I know, I know, it's hit and miss, but I hit, so yay me.) Boom, bloodwork, insta-results. Boom, chest x-rays, insta-results. Boom, to CVS I went, scripts in hand at 4:10. They're filled, I'm home, and now I'm just waiting for Esbette to return my boys. Since what I like to refer to as The Witching Hour began 18 minutes ago, I expect them very shortly.

Sadly, not a "well visit"

The view from the 7th floor of Ardmore Tower, Brenner Children's Hospital

(We're at the oe-toe-lare-en-gah-loe-jest.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Grin and Bear it

When I answer the phone, my voice rasps and breaks. MPB is not fazed.

"Guess whose little brother just shot a big ole bear!"


"That's right! Mine! They have some person from the state coming, supposed to maybe be a state record!"

"Oh, MPB, how very..." Cough.

"Don't you get all snooty over hunting with me."

"I'm not. I'm dying here. But I was a Junior Bowman once. Shooting glory was all mine. Targets, though."

"You sound a little better, actually. Less dying."

Cough. Cough. Coughcoughcough.

"I take it back. So we're having bear at Thanksgiving. I've never had it. It's supposed to be fantastic."

"I haven't had it, either. What have you eaten before, MPB? Home-killed-wise, I mean."

"Usual stuff. Squirrel, rabbit, duck, deer. You know."

"My mother never cooked turkey for Thanksgiving that I remember. We had every other bird under the sun instead. Duck, pheasant, quail, Cornish game hens before they sold them everyday at the Teeter. Not hunted, though. Ordered at the butcher."

"Well, I'm cooking a turkey breast, but we're also having bear."

"Let me know how it is. Hey, what's he going to do with the skin?"

"Rug for the country house. I wanted him to get it stuffed, standing up, claws out, you know, taxidermist, but that runs upwards of $15,000."

"My God!"

"So we're getting a rug. OK, I gotta go. Get well."



Saturday, November 17, 2007


Somewhere in the night, my throat lost its protective coating, leaving it raw and incredibly painful each time I cough. Therefore, I won't be attending this today:

Experience the magical sights and sounds of Christmas at the Festival of Trees! The Festival of Trees has become a tradition of Winston-Salem’s holiday events while raising much needed money for programs at Brenner Children’s Hospital. Visitors stroll through a winter village full of decorated trees, magnificent gingerbread houses, an assortment of specialty shops, and an array of children’s activities. There are celebrity ornaments and gingerbread houses sold through silent auction and wreaths and mini-trees to purchase. The main stage features continuous live entertainment and attracts people of all ages. Be sure to mark your calendar for this wonderful event for the whole family!

But you should.

More Info

Friday, November 16, 2007


I let my fever do its job until it got up to 102. Then I took some Tylenol and crawled into bed, falling into a deep sleep full of insane dreams well before 8 pm.

I'm less achy today, thank God. I kept looking at my arms yesterday, expecting to see them covered with bruises. I still have a fever, and my throat is not my friend.

I know you don't care about all this, but I do. See, I'm trying to get well for this weekend. I have to. Because I desperately want to go to the Piedmont Craftsmen's Fair. I may not make it Saturday, but there's still hope for Sunday.

(As an aside, the first name on the Glass list is undubitably the best name since Titan Barksdale, who sorrowfully left town for greener pastures. I would KILL to be able to hold out my hand when meeting someone and say, "Thor Bueno".)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I have The Crud

Throat: raw, hurts from small, dry cough
Head: too small for this pressure
Limbs: like I've been beaten with a 2 by 4
Plus: chills and hot flashes

Farewell, cruel world! I see the light, I see the light! I'm comin', Momma!

I hope the dogs don't eat my cold, dead body before my husband gets home from work. Pep, aka The Naughty Dog, is looking at me like this:

And no, before anyone asks, I did NOT get a flu shot. I never do.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ATTN: Local Event Planners

After weeks bereft of quality programming, a new season of Project Runway begins on the Bravo network tonight.

This (or Top Chef, in season) is the only show I actually look forward to and plan around.

Accordingly, for the next ten weeks or so, please schedule your Winston-Salem holiday fabulousness at any time other than Wednesday evenings starting at 10 (9 central).

Thank you,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Mighty Fine Idea

re: Forsyth County Library Fines

Do you have overdue fines for videos and DVD's you've checked out? If so the Forsyth County Public Library is offering an opportunity for you to pay off your fines and support a worthy cause at the same time.

Beginning November 13th and running through November 20th you will be forgiven one dollar of your fine for every individual non-perishable food item you bring to the Library. Bring in two items and have two dollars removed from your fine and so forth.

Remember, only non-perishable food items will be accepted. All food items will be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank to help fight hunger in our community.

Credits do not apply to replacement cost of new materials.

Confession: I have some overdue books but no overdue videos.

This is a...

Conrad House, Fifth Street

I have no idea what exactly "Conrad House" is, but I love this old house just across from Central Library. The door leading out onto the roof of the porch is sort of odd, though. And the roof needs some lovin' quick-quick.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Theatre of choice

This afternoon my husband and I went to see American Gangster, the movie based on the North Carolina-born man who was Harlem's heroin kingpin in the late 60s and early 70s. Decent flick, I thought, even if I did close my eyes more than once until the shooting stopped.

We watched it at the Grand 18, of course. Since becoming used to the Grand's comfortable seats, spacious halls and overall cleanliness, I am loath to pay the same amount to go sit in the dirty, cramped seats of the Carmike or the Wynnsong.

"I was at the Lewisville Elementary School..."

Moment of Zen, The Daily Show, 10/30/07

(Yes, it was nearly two weeks ago. I was in a flurry of costume-creating, followed by a diabetic coma from stealing and eating all the Reese's a very busy period confiscating poisoned candy. Now I'm getting to it.)

Forsyth County's very own Lewisville Elementary School

Sew there

Last night after dinner was like a bonus evening of sorts. My husband was happily watching football. The kids were playing quietly, but it wasn't a school night, so there was no rush to get bags packed and checked, clothes laid out, alarms set.

I went down to the basement and found the box, the one holding the sewing machine my mother gave me almost six years ago, for my last birthday before she died. She ran across it being sold by the Shenandoah County School District for the grand sum of $10. We were so tickled by that.

She had tried to teach me how to use her machine when I was maybe five, but the very first day I sewed straight through my pinkie nail and into my pinkie and swore it off. This one was to be my second try, more than twenty years later. She was going to get well and then teach me how to use it, but it didn't quite work out that way.

Last night I finally took it out of the box for the first time. I cleaned it. I plugged the pedal into the machine and the cord into the wall. And then I opened the little booklet that came with it and began to read.

I'm not going to lie to you: SEVEN STEPS just to thread the needle almost killed me; there's no hope of me ever using the double-needle stitches. Oh, and my first line looks like it was made by a madman or a drunk, but the second one is less crooked. And my zigzag stitch came out loose on top, but I called my amazing (both as a seamstress and as a friend) Vieve, and she told me over the phone how to tighten the tension. And I stink at backstitching, but I can practice.

Thank you, Mom. I love it. I love you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Got a minute?

CVS, Robinhood

Three local CVSs* now host Minute Clinics, walk-in sick clinics that describe themselves thusly:

We’re doing what we can to make healthcare a little easier for people with a lot going on. Our board-certified practitioners are trained to diagnose and treat common family illnesses, such as strep throat, bronchitis and ear, eye and sinus infections.

*this one, plus
Lewisville-Clemmons Rd. and one in K'ville


Fronting on Robinhood @ Buena Vista

Previously, this house was boring, reddish brick of no great beauty, disjointed and dark, with absolutely no Street Presence whatsoever.

I lovelovelove what they are doing. The fieldstone area about the front door is particularly fetching.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Very Cool

I think this one is my favorite so far:

Mae Kreeger brings library books to home-bound children during polio outbreak, 1948

Digital Forsyth is the definitive online collection of historical photographs of Forsyth County, NC.

Digital Forsyth

(I could pore over old photographs for hours. Also newspaper microfiche. You think the newpapers today are gory and sensationalistic? Ha! They have nothing on the dailies during the 1930s and 1940s.)


I made the cardinal mistake of using the scan function on the car radio. Now the little wolf-children who ride in the backseat want me to use it every time to find the station that is already playing non-stop Christmas music.

Don't mistake me: I like Christmas music* as much as anyone. But I also like fall, and I think we give it short shrift when we start up the Winter Wonderland stuff before the leaves even finish changing color, much less fall off the trees.

*other than Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Friday, November 09, 2007

What to Wear

He chose his Monster Truck shirt, of course. Standing among all the other children in Sunday Best, their hair neatly combed (boys) and bowed (girls), the youngest stood out in his long-sleeved t-shirt with flames down the arms and a large Monster Truck on the front, the sleeves rolled up twice because the shirt, a hand-me-down from his older brother, still didn't completely fit. But choose it he did, and fight it I did not.

The photos are gorgeous, the colors in the shirt popping, the smile genuine.

This year, I bought the school pictures happily.

T. Odom Photographics

Cold Snap

I'm stunned by the colors. This happens to the trees every year, yet still I am amazed. I keep stopping in my tracks to marvel over individual leaves. It's like the ground is covered in jewels. I want to dig up and steal my neighbor's Japanese maple, it's so brilliantly red.

I think this must be the perfect time of year to do something like this.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Feel the power

Gingerbread cookies have healing power, even if all made with the same, old tree-shaped cutter that has lived in the kitchen drawer for as long as anyone can remember.

(If I have to only have one cutter in the drawer, I wish it could be this one.)

On owls

Those were Daddy's favorites, the owls. My father loved all birds, but his soft spot for owls was about a mile wide.

When I was maybe six years old, he gave me a stuffed Snowy Owl, a fabulous thing I loved dearly. Somewhere along my lifeline, it disappeared, one of two stuffed animals I genuinely miss. The other was a patchwork Scottie my Uncle Hadley, my father's twin and the first of the five brothers to die, gave me. All I have left of that one is a photograph of me showing it off to the camera while seated on my uncle's lap. My brother got a corduroy frog with a polka-dotted belly at the same time, and in that same photograph he holds it while seated on our father's lap.

I have no pictures of the stuffed owl, whom I quickly and with zero creativity named "Snowy". All I have is the memory of nonsensical furry wings, a curved beak, shiny glass eyes, and the beautiful, unblemished white field of his belly.

My oldest son's favorite stuffed animal is clear: Macaroni, his impossibly orange bear, who periodically goes places with him and, in his absence, with the youngest. I cannot pin down why it is this one over the others. All I know is I have to keep Macaroni. No matter what else is shed as my son grows up, that bear needs to be here when I am gone.

Birds of Prey

Saturday, November 10th
10 am - 12 noon

The Wildlife Rehabilitation League will be at Wild Birds Unlimited with live birds of prey.
Come marvel at the hawks and owls up close and personal.

Wild Birds Unlimited
Pavilions Shopping Center
568 Hanes Mall Blvd

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Commando Mom

I thought the oldest was getting better, but last night he got worse, coughing hard for a full hour and a half before he could fall asleep, then coughing intermittently all night long. Sometime during the night, his cough morphed into a dry, painful-sounding bark.

After yet again being unable to reach a Live Person at the ped's try as I might today, I decided I'd had enough this afternoon. I just couldn't go through another night like that, much less ask him to.

I made my decision and without hesitating signed the oldest out of school and put him in the car. I turned the wheel toward the ped's office. As a courtesy, I decided to try them one last time from my cell phone while en route. Lo and behold, this time I miraculously got through after just a five minute wait. The receptionist listened, then offered a 4:30 appointment. I said, "How about now?" She said, "We really try not to squeeze in patients unless it's urgent." Then she looked up through her little glass window and saw me standing there, the oldest wheezing and hacking beside me.

And now we are just waiting to go pick up his scripts at CVS. Five of them. For pneumonia.

Fluff Market

Surprisingly, the opening of the new Fresh Market has not had a beneficial effect on my weight. I know. I was stunned, too.

Thankfully, EatSmartMoveMore has launched sign-ups for their Holiday Challenge ("Maintain, Don't Gain"). This seems to fly completely in the face of my Fresh Market diet, but perhaps I can make it work. As my dear friend A. so astutely pointed out, "It's FRESH Market, not FAT Market." As I was about to jump through the phone and begin beating her about the face, I realized she had a point.

Anyway, the challenge runs from November 19th through December 31st, which means I have 12 more days to embrace and adopt the "Fresh, Not Fat" philosophy before the barrage of weekly newsletters, recipes, downloadable tools, and drawings for prize packs.

Even if I don't actually lose any weight until after the hols, at least I won't feel too wretched about it. A kinder, gentler program, the materials say things like, "The holidays are a busy time - don't feel bad if you can't set aside 30 minutes for activity every day."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

ISO a new Pediatrician

There isn't anything wrong per se with our current one. It's just his practice that has fallen into shambles. It's been getting worse and worse. The last two interactions have sealed the deal as far as I'm concerned.

1. This fall, we waited AN HOUR AND A HALF past our appointment time for the youngest's five year physical. This is an appointment we had to make two months in advance. No explanation was given, no chance to reschedule was offered, no apology or even acknowlegment of how long we'd been kept waiting was forthcoming. By the time the doctor made his way into the room, the youngest had pretty much shut down. He was bored, hungry, cranky, and past the point of being pleasant, much less cooperative.

2. I have been trying to reach the office for two days now. Yesterday, I called only to have a recording pick up and tell me calls would be answered in the order they were received. Then the recording told me I would have to leave a message with the receptionist and a doctor or nurse would call me back at the end of the day. Then I was put on hold. FOR FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. I hung up and tried again at lunch. This time the recording told me the office was now closed for lunch and to try back during normal office hours. I called back yesterday afternoon to again get the first recording, only this time I hung up after fifteen minutes on hold. Today I repeated the process with equal success.

So here's what we're looking for: competent, kind pediatrician recs in Winston-Salem.

The Perfect Pediatric Practice, by Esbee
  • The office can be located anywhere in the city, because with my kids being five and nine, we aren't there as often as we were when they were babies. Plus, let's get real, this city is really easy to drive; you'd be hard-pressed to name a doctor in Winston-Salem who was wildly inconvenient.
  • I would LOVE to have morning clinic times. Our ped at Georgetown had this. Basically, if your child was sick, you showed up any weekday, unannounced, between 7 and 8 am, and you were guaranteed to see a doctor (usually a resident, followed by a full-on Dr).
  • Barring clinic, I would love to find a practice that actually answered the phone eventually. (Ours used to. A live person even.) And then gave a same-day sick appointment if needed.
  • While I don't have a gender preference, the oldest is nine and may soon have one. So I'd like a practice with at least one male physician just in case.
  • Again, a wish, but our old ped practice had separate waiting rooms for sick visits and well visits.
  • Last but not least, I'd like a practice that refers to Brenner's specialists, if need be.

Sherwood Bar-B-Que, Robinhood Rd.


Rock the Croc

I have no idea how long Crocodile Used Books has been open on Country Club (near Gordon), but I walked in for the first time this morning and was THRILLED. Prices are commensurate with Edward McKay, but Crocodile seems to have a much better selection of children's books. (There were many other sections, but I only had time to nose around that section today.)

I can't wait until to take the oldest there. He is a voracious reader, and he will go nuts. And happily, it will probably cost me less than $10 to let him go nuts.

Etsy goodness

Etsy is an online marketplace for buying and selling handmade goods. As with all other searchable-by-location things, one has to search both Winston-Salem and Winston Salem if one wishes to find everything our city is offering. (Additionally, there is some chick who insists on using an underscore in lieu of a dash or a space in her location. I frankly think that should be a floggable offense.)

At this particular moment, I'm coveting this AMAZING pillow by local artist Woodie Anderson.

(On a REALLY non-local level, the youngest would adore this. Arr! Hoo! Arr!)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sick Day 2

"Your cheese smells," the oldest says, turning up his nose as he shuffles through the dining room on his way to get his favorite blanket from his room. He's home from school again today, sounding much like a forty-year smoker when he coughs.

I smile, secretly relieved he finds my food repugnant. Under normal circumstances, I would give him the Green Eggs and Ham speech, the "If you don't try it, you don't know what you're missing" lecture, but not with Cambozola. I don't actually mind not sharing.

I smear the creamy cheese on Carr's Table Water Crackers. I wanted Bremner Wafers, but I can't find anything on purpose yet in the new Fresh Market, though I do just dandy buying on impulse. Carr's work fine. The cracker isn't the important thing anyway; the cheese is.

The first time I ever tasted Cambozola, I was fourteen and living in Washington, DC. My set of friends and I had walked from our school to a local gourmet called Sutton Place, which we called by its local nickname - Glutton Place. We did this once a week or so throughout our eighth grade year, before sports and clubs and such flung us apart weekday afternoons the following year.

Inside Sutton Place, society matrons and staff jostled each other in front of counters labelled with names like Charcuterie and Boulangerie, each group thinking itself the better. Jams made of strange fruits, tall jars of chutney, and oddly-shaped, imported cookies lined the shelves. All were priced dearly.

One day there was a little silver tray of complimentary crackers with Cambozola in front of the counter labelled Fromagerie. Feeling brazen, I took one when my friends, put off by the smell and the threads of mold, would not. My impulse was rewarded with a strong, biting taste cradled in creamy texture.

My friends and I threaded our way through the store, sampling this pastry, that ham, but never daring to attempt for a complimentary swallow of wine. If we had been turned down, it would have crushed the feeling of adultness we derived from the cashiers not carding us for cigarettes, which we lit and held and waved and did anything with but actually inhale. We would take our little green bottles of Perrier, our pan chocolate, and our smoking accessories outside to Sutton Place's brick courtyard and linger endlessly, feeling very, very mature.

If I had more money than usual, I would also get ten or twelve slices of large, Cantimpalo chorizo, which would be handed to me wrapped in waxed butcher paper. Eating the chorizo left my fingers and lips shiny and slightly reddened. My friends would always turn up their noses at it, telling me it looked awful, that it smelled bad. I never tried to convince them otherwise. I didn't actually mind not sharing.


PAVE Creative Group, a local graphic design and advertising firm, is sponsoring a used bicycle collection to benefit Bikes for the World this coming Saturday, November 10th, from 9 to noon at Reynolda Village. Bicycles of all sizes in good condition accepted. (Regrettably, those with heavily rusted frames or chains, broken frames or frames without wheels can not be used.) You may also "sponsor" a bike with a $10 donation.

The Wake Forest University Cycling Team will be helping to compact the bikes for shipment.

Simplyummy is providing coffee the day of collection.

More information

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I wonder if Forsyth Tech by any chance offers a course called How to Use a Copier.

Smoke-free in Camel City

As well as other efforts, the Forsyth County Infant Mortality Reduction Coalition maintains a list of local, smoke-free restaurants.

The List

The Coalition asks for your help in maintaining the accuracy of this list and making it as complete as possible.

Submit an addition or correction to The List

Coalition membership is free and open to any interested resident in Forsyth County. We have volunteer-run action teams and occasionally have position openings on the Board of Directors. Call the Coalition Director at (336) 703-3260 to learn more about volunteer possibilities.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


...is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment — from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls — and can be practiced in both rural and urban areas.

Winston-Salem Parkour, complete with two videos and many photos mid-jump. Whee!

(I swear to God this is basically what I used to do in our and our neighbors' backyards as a kid. Except I jumped a lot lower. And I was pretending to be a Charlie's Angel so periodically I'd stop and aim my finger-gun at an invisible bad guy.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

While some slumber

Napping are one boy and two dogs. Probably, too, the cat, though I shan't go find her to verify this.

The youngest is giddily raking leaves in the backyard, which is to say he has found a rake with which he is strewing the leaves equally all about. The third dog, my good Salsa, is happily watching, ready to herd him at a moment's notice.

When I felt the wind this morning, I channeled my mother and exclaimed, "It's brisk out today!" Just now I said to the youngest, "Fall has fallen," and he corrected me and told me it wasn't fall, it was autumn and it was standing up.

Central Library's Children's Book Sale
tomorrow from 9-5
Bag o' Books Clearance Sunday from 1-5
(Special Friends Preview today 1-6)
Questions? Call 703-3041

As I Lay Planning

As I lay in bed last night, I began to mentally make a list of all the things I wanted to get done today while my boys were in school. In the darkness, I planned out my agenda, tight and full and incredibly productive.

And then I heard the oldest, deep in sleep, begin to cough wetly. And I knew. So I began to edit the list, erasing this, moving that. I was a brilliant negotiator with myself. If I get this done, I could wait on that. If I can run by here, I don't need to go by there until next week.

As the oldest continued to cough periodically through the night, I would wake up and slash at my mental list, getting it all the way down to bare bones, the essentials only, until finally this morning I crumpled it up and threw it away.

The oldest will stay home today. He will wear his monster slippers all day, and he will lay on the sofa under a blanket all day, and he will read books and nap and drink Ovaltine all day.

As for me, I will not go to the Post Office run by the bank hit the grocery drop off these shirts at the drycleaner take these clothes to Goodwill make copies of these papers return the library books try to meet with this person swing by the Scout store go sign that release today.

I will stay home and make Ovaltine. Plump pillows. Feel foreheads. Fuss over the child who's growing up too fast. And love every minute of it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Free on Friday

First Baptist Church (Fifth Street, Winston-Salem) shows classic films on the first Friday of the month, providing popcorn and drinks. The next screening is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, November 2 at 7 PM.

From the church website: This movie premiered in early 1944 as World War II raged. It is set in an idyllic small town and is a delighful comedy that takes an interesting look at small-town mores, motherhood, patriotism and politicians.

From IMDb, after calling the church for the film title
Trudy Kockenlocker, a small-town girl with a soft spot for American soldiers, wakes up the morning after a wild farewell party for the troops to find that she married someone she can't remember--and she's pregnant.

We had lunch at Skippy's, dessert at Cafe Gelato

Here my friend E.* stands next to the "Landscape Beautification" (gift of Evergreen Garden Club) at Fourth and Marshall. Three out of four corners at said intersection had markers specifying such. The fourth corner's beautification remains a mystery.

* No, this is not Esbette. This is E. aka the babysnatcher.

ATTN: Veggie types

The Very Vegetarian Society of Winston-Salem will hold its next meeting Tuesday, November 6th, at 6:30 pm at Miller Park Rec Center.

From the website: Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings. You do not need to be a vegetarian to attend. If you wish to participate in the potluck dinner, please bring a vegan dish (no meat, dairy or eggs) to serve 6-8 and a copy of your recipe to share. Also, we request that you bring your own plate, utensils and glass.

Also, check out the Winston-Salem Journal's Veggin' Out blog.