Hello Hello

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The oldest's AMAZING Día de los Muertos costume, made on the fly this afternoon with things we had onhand.

Esbette and I coined the following terms during this process: "Mexicality", "serapeliciousness".

We decided to avoid Ardmore. The kids thought it frankly too crowded when we went two Halloweens ago. Instead, they enjoyed going around our own neighborhood, where kids are few and the older people get very excited to see them, exclaiming over costumes and often over-treating.

Plus we now have two "mega Halloween house" destinations in the 'hood, one of which has taken the art of pumpkin-carving to a whole new level. This house also has costumed teenage kids hiding in trees who jump out to scare you, artificial fog, scary sound effects, and an incredibly nice family who offered to let my boys "just hang out here" if they wanted. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. G, for making the neighborhood's Halloween.

via email

FREE Day for the Community at SciWorks!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

11am – 5pm

Winston-Salem, NCSciWorks will be open with no admission fee on Saturday, November 10th from 11am – 5pm. This day is sponsored by the Derrick L. Davis Forsyth Regional Cancer Center of Forsyth Medical Center.


The older gentleman who without being asked helps take your groceries out to your car at Fresh Market: do you tip him? If so, how much?

In DC at the more upscale groceries you tipped, and at large chain groceries you did not.

In fact, if anyone is tipping anyone local outside of wait staff, valet parkers, or hair/nails/spa peeps, please tell me.

Wishing to avoid inadvertently doing something gauche,

The youngest insists he needs to "move like a spider." This is the best shot I could get, trust me.

Purple Hobo Spider with Web: Check.

Update: OK, maybe this shows the leg connection better. This is the youngest adjusting his artwork at school. I am NOT responsible for the American Gladiators flashback forehead ribbon, but it wasn't worth quibbling over.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gah. Halloween is tomorrow. Once again, I'm under Craft Deadline. Purple spider with web or bust!

edit, thirty seconds later, tops:

It didn't take long for that to happen.


Your Local Newspaper

The Winston-Salem Journal said yesterday that it is outsourcing customer-service calls for its circulation department to a vendor in the Philippines as part of an initiative to lower expenses.


Personally I think they should lower costs by going to black ink only. The image of Laurence Fink (same page in the print edition) is crazy orange. Unless he's suffering from an overdose of beta carotene, this is an egregious abuse of color.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is where the heart is

Children's Chapel, Washington National Cathedral

We wrapped up our trip today starting with a morning trip to Washington National Cathedral. When I was young, I always loved The Children's Chapel, where a bronze statue of Jesus as a very small child stands in greeting with arms outstretched, and all the seats, the organ, the baptismal font, everything, is sized for a very young child. I absolutely thought this would be the youngest's favorite chapel, too, since he was the exact size of the statue, and it was... until he saw the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea, which eclipsed The Children's Chapel instantly. In any event, the most important thing is that we fulfilled the youngest's DC goal at the Cathedral - a picture with George Washington, his favorite historical figure. (Sadly, I forgot to bring the requisite binocs to see this, so I decided not to mention it to the children at all.)

Leaving the Cathedral Close, we quickly zipped by our family parish, where my husband and I were married and where my mother is interred to "say hi to Grandma", dashed out to Tyson's Corner for a quick lunch with K., and then zoom, to Winston-Salem.

And here we are, home sweet home. And while I miss many aspects of DC, this is indeed home.

I don't miss this traffic.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I forgot the Marine Corps Marathon was today. Actually, that's not exactly accurate. I didn't even remember there was such a thing as the Marine Corps Marathon until I got here and realized every other guest in this hotel had the physique of a greyhound. Then I remembered.


After enjoying the $12 breakfast buffet until the children swore they could eat no more, we swam in the hotel pool again. Then, we jumped in the car and drove ninety minutes around the Marine Corps Marathon to our old playground to meet up with some friends. Under non-MCM conditions, this would be a ten minute drive.

This evening, we're going to hang with K., the boys' godfather, to take in some din-din and the monuments at night. I hope he wears the belt!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


From Air & Space

I haven't had "Space Ice Cream" since I was a kid. From the package:

Originally developed for the early Apollo Missions, this "space treat" is frozen to -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C), then vacuum dried and placed in a special polyfoil pouch. Freeze-dried foods are used by astronauts eating under weightless conditions in space.

We bought said treat at the Air & Space Museum.

An elusive prey, indeed

The boys enjoyed the Hirshhorn immensely, much more than I'd thought they would. Much of this was due to a new game they developed in The Sculpture Garden called, "Look, Mom! That statue has a butt!" But some of their enjoyment was indeed derived from enjoying works of art. Above, they sit in front of what they decided was their favorite "flat art".

view from third floor

hunting the elusive buttock

We made it! 7 hours of white-knuckle driving brought us to DC last night. Thankfully, we brought our Wellies and umbrellies.

Here, the boys try to see our house in Winston on the horizon. Sadly, they were unsuccessful. They blame the poor visibility on the rain.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Or Bust

One of the best things about living here is the easy proximity to some fun locales.

Atlanta: 5 hours
Gatlinburg: 4 hours
Wilmington, NC: 4 hours
Richmond: 4 hours
Charleston: 4.5 hours
Virginia Beach: 5 hours

Monday being a school holiday, the kids and I are hitting the road this afternoon, heading to what in the Eastern part of the state is called Big Washington.

"Little Washington", NC: 3.5 hours
"Big Washington", DC: 6 hours

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Party at the FM, yo!

This photo of a musical trio playing in the side door of the new Fresh Market was taken by the youngest. I'm thinking about offering him a permanent position.

Fresh Market continues to rock Winston-Salem 27106. I think I've come up with my new Life Goal - to never cook dinner again.

The New Face of

To: the person who emailed me to suggest I enter the contest to become the new face of Schiffman's

Thank you, but HAHAHAHAHAHA!


I, too, have seen the ads on TV, but damned if I can find an online link to the modeling contest. Anyone?

EDIT: Muchas gracias, Kim, for the linky-dink to the world of modeling!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I had to pretend like I didn't know the temperature hadn't really dropped yet. Ovaltine or hot cider, Ovaltine or hot cider... Eventually the amber warmth of the cider won out. Welcome, fall.

(It's the rain. It lulls me into a false sense of autumn. I'll ill-advisedly rock an earth-toned cardigan tomorrow, you watch.)

Seen at Thruway

I can't decide if this shows a reading comprehension issue or an entitlement issue. I'm hoping it's the former, because I find it much less distressing than the latter.

YMCA of NWNC Literacy Initiative

El Mercado Fresco

The new Fresh Market on Robinhood is PACKED. Lots o' delicious samples abound, though, so it's definitely worth a stop-by.

It's much larger than the old one, which means one can easily navigate (or will be able to once the herd thins). But sadly, it has definitely lost some of the intimate, European market feel. I understand "industrial" is all the rage, but with the high ceilings painted black and the scads of lights, it felt a bit like shopping on a sound stage.

Bonus points though for having such unexpected delights as grilled rib samples, zucchini bread samples, and bacon samples. Yes, bacon samples. There clearly is a marketing genius at work here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My fingernails are broken and stained; it must be Halloween season again.

(Also, I had to decorate a teepee. Please don't ask.)

Ahem, ahem, mark your calendars for this Friday, the 26th, and plan to be in the Downtown Arts District for their Spooktacular, with music, arts projects, trick-or-treating, and a costume contest.

Jab, jab, jab

I couldn't figure out why this city parking enforcement fellow appeared to be jabbing every car with a fireplace poker. Then I realized it was a rod with a piece of chalk at the end, with which he was marking the tires of parked cars to keep track of how long they were parked.

Exciting parking enforcement info!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Best description of the current drought

"It’s so dry here that on a recent trip out of state, it took me a while to figure out what seemed strange: It was that the grass underfoot didn’t crackle and break."

It's been one of those Mondays

There. I made dinner. OK, I drove to get it. Whatever.

, whose menu has changed since last time I was in

Buena Bye-Bye

I had hoped the tittle-tattle was wrong, that this house in Buena Vista was not, in fact, scheduled for demolition this morning. But indeed it was.

Goodbye, 2402 Forest Drive.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


As always at this time of year, this section of Reynolda Road, stretching from WFU to Coliseum Drive, becomes one of the best in-town spots to leaf-gaze.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Z is for Zamboni

The oldest and I went to the very first ever home game - albeit exhibition - of the new Twin City Cyclones at the Coliseum Annex! The oldest was pleased to see that many of the Knoxville players had anger management issues; the penalty box was much used. Sadly, Knoxville won by 1 point, but it was a fine game nonetheless.

1. The game was decently well attended for an exhibition. I'd say the venue was ultimately half-full. (Pictures are before game time.)
2. The announcer's voice was very familiar. I think it's the same guy who does the Warthogs games.
3. Skip the hot chocolate.
4. Dress warmly. (We did, but those around us who did not were chilly by the end.)

Next game is October 25: Home Opener vs. Jacksonville. 7:30 pm.

edit to add: Hrm. I'm trying to find the coverage of said game in today's Journal to show the oldest. Someone who knows how to find sports articles tell me where it is, because I can't find it.

Like the robin heralding spring, the first Zamboni of the year symbolizes the beginning of professional hockey season, bringing a tear to mine eye.

Field Report from Esbette

Dear Life in Forsyth peeps:

This is Esbette, reporting live from the 30th Annual Wooly Worm Festival in scenic Banner Elk. The Wooly Worm Grand Prix is about to begin! The winner will predict our weather for the upcoming winter. I'm betting the forecast is "dry".

Too bad you aren't here, but if you want to experience some wooly worm goodness, the Festival is still on for tomorrow as well.

Peace Out,

note from Esbee: I wish our fave wine-loving runner, Sarah South, had competed in the Wooly Worm Woad Wace. I have no doubts she would have won a wibbon for Winston.

Team Purple

He was a purple dinosaur, although not that purple dinosaur, last year for Halloween. This year, the youngest oscillates, now saying a purple spider, now a purple pumpkin, now a purple ghost. The common thread, as always, is purple.

It's no mean feat, saturating his world with the hue he finds superior to all others, but I'm getting pretty good at it. Suede shoes can be dyed. Navy pants and shorts, when bleached, become purple.

Shade of purple isn't terribly important. Nor, in fact, is having purple if no purple is to be found. He understands that not everything comes in purple, but if it does, well, he wants purple.

Periodically he goes on what he calls Purple Adventures, wherein he gathers all the purple he sees as he tromps through the house, ending gleefully swathed in purple, arms overflowing with purple.

Someone recently sent me a link to Cuervito Morado, a Winston-Salem company that specializes in authentic Mexican food products. Most excitingly, Cuervito Morado in English is Purple Crow, and if you hover over the EVENTS button, you get to see what looks like a stick of deodorant* sing AND RAP while a purple crow plays guitar. The youngest now refers to this as My Favorite Purple Song, and he asks to hear and watch it several times a day.

*My husband, born and raised in Mexico, informs me this is is Crema Mexicana, a condensed milk of sorts that popularly is put on everything in Mexico City.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stained Glass

St. Paul's Episcopal
Summit & Pilot View Sts.

Although I don't worship here, my father was a parishioner for some 75 years. Sometimes when I'm downtown by myself, I go in, sit in one of the pews, and imagine that my father once sat in the same pew. I know my father; he would have slipped into one of the rear pews, on the right, on the aisle. So that's where I sit.

Planning a wedding?

The Carolina Weddings Show is coming to the Benton Convention Center in early February. Those planning a wedding will want to attend.

Also, you will want to invite Ric Silver to your wedding. Or, optimally, refrain from The Electric Slide at the reception. If you do, don't film it. If you do film it, don't upload it to the web.

Quotes from this Washington Post article:

Ric Silver, the choreographer of the Electric Slide, says he spent three years contacting 17,000 Web sites about what he says is their "incorrect portrayal" of the famous line dance.


"I can't go to every wedding and bar mitzvah in the country, so this* is all I can do to make sure people learn it right," Silver said.

And for those who miss seeing the one who graced the pages of the Winston-Salem Journal for what seemed like months on end: A Jumping Bride!

*By "this", he means suing. Yes, suing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Remember non-water shortage days?

Photos from wetter seasons

I am stunned to drive around town and see automatic sprinklers on. Daily, no less, at many houses. There's even one upscale development that has umpteen sprinklers watering the little strip of grass that separates their fence from the curb.

I understand that mandatory restrictions aren't in place in Forsyth County, but it still stuns me.


Swoon! The Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery on Trade Street has fancy chickens in glass by William Bernstein. They have four of them; this somewhat guilty-looking one is my fave.

I also coveted the metal donkey hooks, two topless lady folk sculptures, a large pottery animal with art deco lines, a bowl of multi-colored felt balls with bells inside, and a small, hand-forged axe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And bear makes three

The youngest, who exists in this dimension*, and I had lunch at Skippy's for the first time today. The dog was tasty and the view of Fourth Street was good. We'll definitely go back.

*much to the sorrow of the very businesslike, business-suited businesswoman, who tried to explain to me that the table at which we were sitting was really meant for parties of two or more

This is why?

George K. Walker Florist has recently had their delivery vehicles wrapped, which is to say they all look like small, mobile billboards now. I've seen many different wraps used, all of which start somewhere unexpected then point back to the floral delivery business. For example, one shows super cute puppies and says something like, "CALL US TO GET OUT OF THE DOGHOUSE!" Get it? Oh, c'mon, love a little schmaltz!

Yesterday, I saw one that made my jaw drop. (I normally cringe anyway at the "CAUTION: FRAGRANT STOPS!" bumper stickers, but this was in addition.)

Pictured: US Soldiers

Really? Do the soldiers know this is why they are doing what they do, so one of these can be delivered?

In George K. Walker's defense, I'm certain these wraps were designed by some other company. There's no doubt they're eye-catching. I just wish GKW had elected not to use that particular one, seeing as actual US Soldiers are actually dying, and they sure aren't doing it in the name of daisies and baby's breath.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ooh! Look!

World Village (Ten Thousand Villages) on Miller Street (in the shopping center with Whole Foods) features handmade crafts from around the world at Fair Market Value, which enables the craftsmen to earn Fair Market Pay. Right now they have a slew of incredible nativities, many of which I coveted mightily when I went in this afternoon.

They also have these amazing double birdhouses, one of which I immediately snatched up, since it's the perfect gift for MPB's birthday. Sadly, it's impossible to wrap. And late. But perfect nonetheless!


I loved everything about the post office boxes in the harbor post office - the dials, the three letter combination possibilities, the starburst shape around the dials, the tiny windows through which you could see if you had mail or not (and which PO Box neighbors had a lot or none). I adored the sound of the mail being sorted into the boxes just out of view, like a secret on the other side of the little door.

At home in Washington, our mail whooshed through a brass mail slot with two doors (inner and outer), landing pell-mell on the little Oriental carpet in the foyer. It was fun to open the mailslot gingerly from outside and peek through. But it was set low, and nothing ever happened at calf level in the foyer. You could also sit inside on the carpet and use your index finger to push open the outside door while your forehead held the inner door open, but that quickly grew uncomfortable. Besides, there was a column of small windows on either side of the front door, so you really weren't getting any special view using the mailslot.

But in Maine, mail arrived in the neighboring harbor's post office. Once a week, we'd head into town to pick up the mail, use the laundromat, shop at the grocery, get a hot dog or some salt water taffy. But first we had to check the mail, the same box every year, the same combination every year, a combination I never knew and still don't know to this day. I wonder what it was, what three-letter word with letters A-J only was the one my parents chose.

If it was raining, we'd skip the taffy or hot dog and stop at at an enormous old barn called The Book Barn, full of old, used books we'd pore over, consider, and often buy. I can still remember the smell of the books we bought there, musty and dry all at once. The bindings crackled when you opened them, and dust motes would float up.

Next summer will mark twenty-five years since I last set foot in Maine. A quarter century, and all it takes is the sight of the mailboxes in the Miller Street Post Office to bring it all right back.

Monday, October 15, 2007


It feels wrong watching TV on my computer. However, we don't get Channel 13 at home (DirecTV). I just found WSTV online, and I'm tickled.

I was somewhere once where the municipal channel showed people arrested the night before, which was quite a lengthy feed due to a prostitutions sting. So far the City of Winston-Salem is far less amusing tawdry. Right now, for example, they are showing City Council members' photos with the soundtrack from a piano bar.

* Update: Now it's some woman in high heels dancing with a hula hoop at Rock the Block. Hmm. Maybe this is tawdry.

Here! You can watch, too!


Beware the quite low-hanging powerline at Wellington & Yorkshire. I called Duke PowerEnergy , who seemed utterly unconcerned.

It's high enough that normal SUVs still clear it, but one nice, tall fire truck, one sanitation truck, one moving truck - it's coming down.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

HELLO - hello - hello - hello

(from an email) The ECHO Council is holding a series of gatherings to bring people together to talk about substantial topics of interest to the community.

ECHO = Everyone Can Help Out

more info on ECHO

Upcoming ECHO gatherings:
10/23 11:30 - 1 pm
10/24 7:30-9 am
10/25 6-7:30 pm

Pick one, then RSVP by 10/16 by sending an email to echo@wfubmc.edu or by calling 716-9217.

The REALLY Mighty Oak

I need to find a good number of acorn caps. I don't need the bitty ones. I don't even need the regular ones. I need the REALLY big ones. And for the life of me, I cannot remember where exactly I've seen them.

I need the locations of local oak trees, people.

(Please don't just say "Tanglewood", because then I'll wander around all day shaking my fist at the heavens and cursing you. I need a fairly exact location, like "in Tanglewood next to the lakeside playground." Also, please don't say "face north" or any such, because I cannot follow directions like that. I need you to say, "If you are looking at the house with the unfortunate yellow shutters, turn to your right, and you'll see the tree just beyond the utility pole with the three month old yard sale notice.")

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I've just run in here to get a Tab. I've spent nearly all day outside, and I'm headed back out to lounge in a chair and sink into one of Martha Grimes' Richard Jurys. My husband is preparing to grill some dinner, which I plan to eat on the patio.

If this weather keeps up, I may never live indoors again.

Today's paper

Yes, 'tis mine (except the title).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sweet Tooth Taste Test

If you want to try ridiculously tasty caramels, you need to get your hands on some Karen & Nancy Homemade Goodies, which are made right here in Winston by two sisters who inexplicably still appear to have teeth.

All the coffee-lovers on my list are getting the Espresso Caramels for Christmas, I've decided, and Santa's bringing me a big ol' container of the Sea Salt Caramels. I also recommend the Chocolate Caramels, which combine a caramel's texture with the flavor of baked brownies, and, for the classicists, Golden Caramels. (But seriously, try the Sea Salt. Gah. Words fail.)

Oh! Where can you taste these morsels of goodness? At Sweeties, in fact, tomorrow, Saturday the 13th, from 1 'til 4 pm.


Karen & Nancy Homemade Goodies

*pls. note that Karen & Nancy Homemade Goodies is a seasonal business. Orders this year taken through December 10th*

The Belt

The oldest rings the doorbell, his Cub Scout popcorn order form in hand. We wait. The door opens.

My son sees a friendly face, happy to listen to his earnest sales pitch, happy to order some popcorn.

I see a belt. A fabulous, whimsical belt. A belt I instantly want to send to K., the boys' godfather, one of those rare, absolutely perfect gifts for no occasion.

"I'm sorry," I apologize for interrupting the man's check-writing. "But where did you get that belt?"

"It's great, isn't it?" He smiles, looks down at it, as taken by the belt as I am. "Norman Stockton."

The following morning, I drop the boys at their schools and head straight to that local men's clothier, where I coo over the beautiful line of belts, cumberbunds, key fobs.

Behold with awe before I take this baby to the post office.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

ATTN: certain, unnamed residents of Winston-Salem

Those of you who live in single-family homes should have received or will soon receive an oversized postcard from the city detailing this year's city leaf collection schedule. In short, there will be three pickups. You need to have your leaves to the curb by November 4th, November 25th, and December 30th, respectively.

I would like to draw your attention to the shadowbox on the right, specifically to the first bulleted item.
  • Rake leaves to the edge of your yard, behind the curb, and NOT IN THE STREET.
I didn't even put the hyper-capitalization there. The city did. They did this because they would like you not to make the streets narrower by raking your leaves right on into them, which you continue to do year after year after year, even though you've been told umpteen times not to.

I understand that you do so because you believe that you have no good choice, that your plush, green lawn will wither under all those leaves all those days while you wait for the city to finally send the vacuum trucks down your street.

"But my grass!" you cry. "It will turn brown and die!"

Guess what? You are in luck! Your grass is already brown and dead this year! And the leaves have been burning off the trees for months already, so you shouldn't even have that many to cover up your ugly, dead lawn!

In other words, there's really no reason this year for you not to
  • Rake leaves to the edge of your yard, behind the curb, and NOT IN THE STREET.
I know it must bring you great relief to know that this year, at last, you can easily follow the rules. Completely.

I love this view

Third & Chestnut

It's even better in person. Go look.

needs TLC

Looking toward Cemetery & Liberty Streets, I saw the amazing building on the right. Although it is in a prime location, just across from the Downtown Middle School and within easy walking distance of the Children's Museum, it is, well, in need of some attention. Some lovin'. Some advanced carpentry.

This is the back of it, but I adore it from all sides. I checked.

Halloween Hints from Esbee

When trying to figure out how to decorate for Halloween, may I suggest you maximize the terror factor by cutting your jack o'lanterns when the temperature is still getting above eighty? Within 48 hours, they will grow strings of grey mold spores, then collapse in upon themselves most horrifically.

Look at how festively scary they are! Happy Halloween!

(A little boy who carpools with us in the mornings was too concerned by them to walk past by himself. In full daylight, mind. Wise child. I'm fairly certain the slightest contact with one of these would be lethal.)

After taking the photos, I used the snow shovel to heave both far into the pachysandra, and now I'm just trying to resist the urge to scrub my entire person with Borax.