Hello Hello

Friday, February 29, 2008

License plate or store name?

The oldest shot up about four inches overnight. That's the only logical explanation. This morning every single pair of pants he put on looked like he was planning a day of clamming. Tonight he and I headed off to Old Navy at Hanes Mall to buy some cheaptastic pants to hold him over until spring and shorts weather.

On the way through the mall we passed the above store. At first I wanted to pull my hair out at the cre8ive spelling. But then I started thinking about how license plates like this don't bother me but business names do. And so I mulled this over while the oldest tried on clothes and while paying for said clothes and while walking past the store again on the way out. Consequently, I wasn't paying rapt attention, and we came home with this.

Happy Friday night, everyone; party like a rock star.


"What do you mean you made lunch? You never cook lunch."

"Listen, I've been stuck inside this house basically for 12 days now. Yesterday I caught myself getting out my sewing machine to whip up a stuffed influenza microbe."


"I stopped myself. But still, I'm going nuts. And you are working from home today, so yes, I made lunch, which is why I don't quite get why you are putting your shoes on."

"I thought I'd go eat at school with the oldest. I rarely get to anymore. Plus he's a little down about all the attention his brother's been getting for being sick. Do you think I have time to run over to Chipotle?"

"No way. Um, you could hit Moe's. No, wait, they have a huge line at lunch. Look, I packed him a lunch. Just go sit with him, then come back and eat here."

"I can't go empty-handed! I never go empty-handed!"

It comes to me in a flash.

"I got it! Maximum love impact."


"Gelato. From Cafe Gelato. He will flip. And he can eat it first, then have his sandwich."

"What flavor? Where are my keys?"

"Any flavor. Chocolate if they have it. SMALL. You have cash? She doesn't take plastic."

"Got it, yes."

I open the door, and my husband jogs to his car, a small cooler in hand for optimal gelato transport.

Cafe Gelato

The Nursing Home

A few minutes in, I'd get used to the smell, but I never got used to the torpor. Most of the residents of the public nursing home in DC where I volunteered Wednesday afternoons my eighth grade year sat slumped in wheelchairs, parked along the corridors. Those too infirm to be parked stayed in their beds, the heavy, plastic lined curtains on their windows always drawn.

My job was to deliver mail to residents' rooms, to read letters aloud if need be - short, distracted notes from families far away. I embellished whenever possible, adding affectionate phrases, inquiring after the recipient, making up vignettes of birds, of rainstorms, of the world beyond those closed curtains.

In the springtime a volunteer supervisor caught wind of what I was doing. The next time I showed up I was told that from now on I was to stay in the little volunteer office and seal envelopes, a mechanical task that left my tongue feeling and tasting dead. I lasted only a few weeks before I slipped away forever to friends, to boys, to the world beyond.


The Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee was established by North Carolina General Statute to be a volunteer, grassroots advocate for residents in adult care homes. Committee members visit facilities, interact with residents, and advocate for quality care in the homes. The committee is also involved in issues advocacy, public education, and the promotion of community involvement within long term care facilities.

The Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee of Forsyth County currently has two openings. The deadline to apply is 5 pm on March 5th.

more information, including specifications and online application

Thursday, February 28, 2008

And the winning answer is...

(to this contest)

S. Main, bridge going over Classic-40, looking west.

So many of you said Liberty Street that I got confused and had to verify that my notes were correct, that it was indeed S. Main where I took that photo. Hence the delay in announcing a winner.

And now for that winner...

The first correct answer received in my email was that of


which came in at 6:36 PM yesterday.

Another eighty or so of you got it right but were not first.

JoeJon got it wrong but impressively included latitude and longitude coordinates for his wrong answer, which was a nice - and completely man - touch.

Using a time-honored, scientific method that involved scraps of paper and a purple, foam cowboy hat, I randomly selected a runner-up from the other correct answers. In the event that Leatherwing is unable to fulfill his duties, it will fall to

Walter T. Ambrosius

to step in as Official Knower of The South Main Street Bridge 2008. Walter T. Ambrosius will also receive the runner-up condiment to display on his mantle.

In light of the volume and positiveness of the feedback received, "And I Mean EXACT" shall become a weekly occurrence here at Life in Forsyth. It is my newly born Life Dream to make Wednesday afternoons synonymous with unexpected prizes.

Congratulations again to Leatherwing!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And I mean EXACT

First person to email me the correct and exact location where I last October took the above phono-photo (which word I just created) wins a prize!

Specifically he or she wins his or her choice of unopened condiment from the photo below, neither of which is considered essential to The Southern Kitchen, yet both of which were found in my pantry.

Said condiment will be lovingly and festively gift-wrapped by yours truly so that you may truly enjoy it even before you open it and partake of its condimental goodness.

As always, click on images for larger versions. As always, Esbette, you are ineligible for prizes.

UPDATE, Thursday morning, 9:30:

Holy. I have over 200 entries in my email. I will announce the winner around 4 pm this afternoon.

Central Library needs you

We need and welcome your thoughts, ideas and input to help us plan the Central Library’s future and public library service! A study is being conducted by a library consulting firm, Providence Associates, to assist us. The resulting input about our services and potential Central Library locations will be provided to County government officials.

You are a Forsyth County resident and it is your community; therefore we welcome your participation in one of several Focus Groups that will take place Monday through Wednesday, March 10 - 12. Most focus group sessions will be held at the Central Library on Fifth Street. Refreshments will be served. Reserve space in advance.

Please help us plan for a future that will continue to delight you and your family.

more info

Profile of the youngest's favorite librarian, "Mr. Joel"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I've spent the day trying to be quiet so as not to disturb the youngest. Consequently, I read the entire paper - I mean ENTIRE - and I have a few announcements for those of you who may have just skimmed the paper, or poked around it, or even read it. Trust me: I read it more.

1. If you are a "Glass Fabricator", there's a position open for you (Trade).

2. Someone has a free doghouse. It's for a large dog (Treasure Seekers).

3. Everyone, please start sending poor Janice Gaston some "Gadgets and Gizmos" ideas so she can stop promoting Williams-Sonoma, which is owned by the detested Pottery Barn and thus needs no help since Williams-Somona is also on board with the Brainwash the Consumers with a Barrage of Catalogs Campaign (BCBCC).

4. Doughton & Hart, PLLC has renewed their membership in the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber thanks them. (WSCoC insert)

5. Helen Tran "got shafted" (ouch).

6. C. Roger Hill is displeased. (second letter)

I even read Sports, and I congratulate Chatham Central for their win over Mount Airy in what I believe is a game of girls' basketball, but don't hold me to that.

The Winston-Salem Journal


me: ...(your workplace) was running at 80% due to people out with flu. Every other workplace seems to be running at about that capacity.

him: About 75 percent. I don't know what is worse: Having the flu or being one of the few people who has to work while everybody else has the flu?

me: Having to work while everyone else has the flu. They get to stay in their pajamas and watch Law & Order reruns. You get to work at a frenetic pace while combating acute germ paranoia.

-an email exchange yesterday

Today is the youngest's and my last class at Sawtooth. We won't be there again this week.

6 am found him curled in pain, crying, while I stroked his fevered skin and discussed with my husband what to do. Our house has become a juggling act of can you miss this and can you take that and I need to be here for this and this child needs to go there for that.

The unmentioned third group in the email exchange: the caretakers, whose job it is to watch life pass by while reminding themselves and their patients that it's OK, baby, we'll take another art class together, I promise, the important thing is to rest now.

North Carolina Influenza Update

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's that time of year again

The daffodil bulbs are beginning to send out green, the sky is often a magnificent blue, and I am struck with the yen to own a boat, a boat upon which to gloriously wile away the days sniffing the air (to determine the weather) and saying things like, "Ay, remember the spring of aught-two? She was a blowy one, arrr."

Alas, I have no such boat.

These Forsyth County peeps, however, do.

Hatin, you say

Local Ride

The colors make me wonder if this belongs to a UNC fan. (Click on image for larger view, including legibility of words.)

Overnight Mailbag

Esbee, what a cute picture of you and the mascot! Your face looks swollen. Did the doctor put you on steroids again?

HAHAHAHAHA. No. I'm on Girl Scout cookies.

Hi. I looked and looked in Sunday's paper for an article about the Egg Drop. I can't believe they didn't cover it!

Really? To be honest I didn't read the Journal very thoroughly on Sunday; I only skimmed it, because I lost a week to child illness, and I am crazily behind.

I would think they would cover it, though, since the mayor opened it, WFU engineering department ran it, Don Martin spoke, there were more than 1000 entries representing something like 1200 people, and there were probably a good 5000 people in attendance. Are you sure it wasn't buried somewhere?

EDIT: I found the answer! It was covered briefly as an upcoming event in last Monday's paper.

Does MPB have a blog? Is she really that funny in real life?

No and yes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Enjoy this while you can

Robinhood and Olivet Church Roads
Just across Robinhood: a series of giant, orange Z (rezoning) signs
Just across Olivet Church: a mega-cluster commercial development under construction

My bet is that this building won't make it another five years. Hell, three.

Mind, I really hope I lose this bet, that the tenant has twenty years left on the lease, or that the building is owned by some crusty, anti-development holdout.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

WANTED: Staples

It's hard for me to believe Sarah "just" discovered Jiffy. I grew up in a house that always had Jiffy mix ready in the cabinets, a home with a fine, Southern kitchen.

I offered to make Sarah a list of Southern staples one needs, non-perishable items that no Southern kitchen should be without.

She accepted my kind offer, so I immediately called MPB, and in between discussing Easter plans, we came up with the following list to start. We excluded items all kitchens have regardless of location, like rice and spaghetti. Also excluded: anything that requires refrigeration after opening.

Some form of chocolate, preferably baker's chocolate or chips
Some form of cracker you can serve cheese on
Jiffy mixes, including the all important Jiffy cornbread mix
Peanut butter (I say smooth always. Never chunky)
Tea bags: Luzianne first choice, Lipton second
Quaker Oats (in the cylinder, not instant)
Borden's condensed milk, at least 1 can
Crisco (regular, not faux butter)
Lemon extract
Brown sugar
One can deviled ham (I didn't discuss this one with MPB, but I'm putting it out there anyway)

I'll add more as I think of them, but in my fine opinion, one should always have those items on hand.

1 package Knorr beef bullion cubes
1 package Knox unflavored "gelatine"
Karo syrup (thank you, Sharon!)

1 lb dried pinto beans
1 bottle Texas Pete
canned field peas
baking powder
Worchestershire sauce
1 jar of something someone you know "put up" (i.e. home canned)
graham crackers

Spotted: Mascots

Wake Forest Demon Deacon, Chik Fil-A cow, Wally the Warthog X 2, some woman dressed as an egg, and Cy from the Twin City Cyclones

EDIT: I neglected to mention Sparky, the Fire Safety Dog, who was also in attendance

Not present: the unidentified owl pictured at right, last seen hanging out at the Dixie Classic

Live! One of over 1000 entries

The judging criteria: safety of egg (cracked or broken egg = automatic out), weight of egg carriage (the lower the better), parts to egg carrier (fewer is better), and ability of egg carrier to convey egg to a bullseye.

Not a criteria, and sadly lacking for it: attractiveness/theme of egg carriage.

Most impressive brainstorm witnessed: a student from Meadowlark Middle School used an old cast from a previously broken arm as his egg carriage. The egg was put into the elbow bend, and both ends were stuffed, though I know not with what.


"What time are we leaving, Mom?"

"Um, around 9:30."

"Will we make it in time?"

"I don't know how to break this to you, dear, but we aren't actually entered in the competition. We're just going to watch."

"So we can start planning for next year's competition?"

"Indeed. Although this would be cool to watch anyway."

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Egg Drop Competition 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Q is for Quince

My flowering quince is a riot of coral blooms and one shriveled fruit. It's still winter in the air, but the quince has me thinking of spring, of plants to come.

Last week I had the gardener pull out all the English ivy that the mosquitoes breed under so prolifically that the ivy itself seems to quiver all summer long and late into the fall. In the sore, brown hollow left behind, he laid down a tremendous blanket of pine needles to smother any remaining tendrils. Come spring, though, that bed is mine.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center, 4-H program is selling berry plants and bare roots, grapes, asparagus, herbs and flowers. Pre-orders must be placed by March 10th. Orders may be picked up from 12 PM until 6 PM on Thursday, March 27th, from 8:30 AM until 6 PM on Friday, March 28th or from 9 AM until 12 noon on Saturday, March 29th.

more info, including order form

Successful Gardening Series @ the Library, presented by
Master Gardener Volunteers of Forsyth County

Thursday, February 21, 2008

NC Saves Week, February 24 - March 2

North Carolina Saves is a statewide social marketing initiative designed to help individuals and families save and build wealth. NC Saves was created by a statewide coalition of nonprofit, corporate and government groups.

North Carolina Saves

There are lots of good saving strategies listed. One quibble:

Borrow books rather than purchasing them. Borrowing books and reading magazines at your local library, rather than purchasing reading material, can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Absolutely no mention of second-hand bookstores, like my local favorite Crocodile Used Books (second fave: Edward McKay).

I need to get well STAT

I'm not just stuck at home; I'm stuck at home without any energy. So I've been reading up a storm, being sofa sludge with my not-one-but-two sick kiddos, and poking around Amazon. And that last one, my friends, is dangerous.

To wit: this fine item is en route to our house. I figure if the children are going to dig up the entire backyard (Exhibit A), I'd like them to have some logic behind it.

Luckily they won't be able to go on a rampage and dig up all the local parks. (See #5.)

Grab a Partner

The Fiddle and Bow Country Dancers sponsor a dance every Tuesday night at the Vintage Theatre (corner of S. Main and Vintage). All dances are $6 ($4 students) unless otherwise specified.

Lessons at 7:30. Dancing from 8:00 - 10:00 (sometimes 10:30)

February 26: Elixir with Nils Fredland calling (8 til 10:30)
March 4: Tremblay’s Dream with Myra Hirschberg and Tom Calwell calling (8 til 10)
March 11: Rich and Tolly with Lindsay Morris calling (8 til 10)
March 18: McPherson Strut with David Glick calling (8 til 10)
March 25: The Syncopaths with Keith Cornett calling (8 til 10:30)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I'm just back from North Point PrimeCare, which was PACKED. I signed in at 11 am and was seen three and a half hours later.

Nurse Practitioner: What brings you in today?

Me: I just have some obnoxious cold, but it's gone to my ears. I think I have a double ear infection.

NP (after exam): I'll raise you one. Plus sinusitis.

Me: Sweet! You guys are slammed today. I'm so glad to have been worthy.

NP (while writing scripts): Yesterday was even worse.

Me: Is it true the Highland Oaks PrimeCare is open late now to deal with all the flu cases?

NP: Yep. Until 11:30 at night, seven days a week. And apparently they are busy the whole time.

Me: Eek!

NP: Flu hasn't even peaked yet this year. OK, if you don't start to feel any better by Saturday, you're going to need to call me or come back in.

Me: No way. Saturdays are when all the sickies who've waited all week come in.

North Carolina Influenza Update

ATTN: Artists and Craftpersons

Tanglewood presents their 6th anuual arts & crafts fair on Saturday, April 19th! This event will take place at Tanglewood's Amphitheater from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and is FREE to the public. Come join us for a wonderful day of fine arts & crafts, bake sale items, live music from our main stage, great food, children's activities, door prizes, raffles & more!

Tanglewood is now accepting applications from artists and craftpersons. The deadline to apply is March 25th.

more information, including rules, requirements, and application

They had me at "bake sale items".

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Comfort Food

From beside the oldest where he drowses in bed, I hear the youngest's piano playing come to an end, then silence. I find him sitting on the piano bench, eyes downcast.

"Baby, what's wrong?"

"I missed my art class. And he won't play with me." His chin is almost part of his chest.

"Oh, sugar, I know. But your brother is really sick. I promise you you are his absolutely favorite person in the world, but right now he doesn't feel like doing anything."

"Are we still going out to lunch?"

"Honey, we can't leave your brother all alone. I tell you what. Anything you want for lunch, I will try my best to make."

The youngest tilts his head to one side, considering this offer.



He nods.

I'd love to say these are homemade, but they're not. They're these frozen biscuits by Pillsbury, and they rock.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Carolina Chickadee in the hand

"I have wreaked havoc with the ornithological society," MPB matter-of-factly states when I answer the phone.

"You what?"

"Mayhem, I tell you. You know this weekend was that backyard bird count?"


"Well, so I reported all the birds I saw in my backyard on a nice, neat list, only then I got an email from the bird society woman asking me if I was quite sure I saw a Black-capped Chickadee."

"And are you?"

"Well, I replied back that yes, I was indeed sure. Only then I got another email from her asking if I was quite sure that it wasn't, by chance, a Carolina Chickadee, which apparently looks exactly the same. It seems that the Black-capped Chickadee's habitat is pretty much limited to a very specific area in North Carolina, and this isn't it."

"Oh, MPB, for shame."

"I know. So I sent her back an email saying yes, yes, yes, I was wrong, please change it to a Carolina Chickadee."


"Well then she sent me another email telling me that all was fine." MPB's voice grows tight. "And that the two birds were often confused by those who moved here from the Midwest or the North! Like she was casting aspersions at me!"

I crack up. "Oh, MPB, I'm sorry to laugh, I really am. Did you reply back to tell her you were from here, how far your family goes back in Stokes County?"

"No, I did not, "MPB says haughtily, then begins to crack up. "Oh, Lucy, as if the daughters of the South have some innate bird knowledge!"

"MPB, reply back. Tell her you forgot to mention you also saw that bird that went extinct. Lots of them. What's it called?"

MPB is full-on laughing now. "Dear Ma'am, I forgot to mention the thirty Passenger Pigeons who live in my backyard."

"Yes!" I manage to gasp out before I am lost in laughter as well.

Happy Presidents' Day!

We were planning to take advantage of the lovely weather by playing tourist at the N.C. Zoo today. Instead the oldest and I enjoyed the scenic vistas at the pediatrician's office, then toured CVS.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

nostalgia (noun) 1. A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past. 2. The condition of being homesick; homesickness.

MPB gave me a Maine book yesterday, a birthday present she bought months ago, knowing the moment she saw it that I would love it. And so last night instead of tucking the boys in from the side of the bed, I elbowed my way in, made room for myself between them, and read L is for Lobster from a position that I could see the pictures too. When I got to the page that talked about the sand on the beach, I stopped for a minute.

"My beach wasn't very sandy. It was pebbles and rocks and shells, mostly."

"Really?" the oldest looked dubious. He frequently does these days. No more automatic trust; he's learning how to question - a necessary step, but a painful one for me.

I jumped up quickly, danced my way down the bed avoiding little limbs, other books, a purple stuffed bear. In a minute I was back, photographic proof in my hands. The oldest smiled, then pointed at my feet.

"You love those shoes."

"Yes," I sighed. Then I tucked my photo into my Maine book and continued reading.

Later, when both boys were asleep, curled neatly beside one another, the oldest's arm flung over the youngest's neck maintaining what I call the Brother To Brother Connection (B2BC), I stole back into the room to retrieve my book. I carried it to the sofa, where I stared at the photo of my beach for a long time.

We had a summer cottage in a small seaside town in Maine when I was growing up. It was small and cedar shingled and perfect. It was also known by name rather than by address. Our cottage was called Seascape.

I spent three months there every summer. I would pass each morning beachcombing, examining tidal pools, popping seaweed, and searching for beachglass, sea pottery and the rare sea dollars. The beaches in Maine are barnacle-covered rocks and shell bits and pebbles, hard on the feet. So I usually wore Keds with my swimsuits, red ones or navy blue.

I would slog onto the back porch, Keds full of sand and water and shell bits, a plastic pail full of bounty in my hand. Inevitably, the seats of my bathing suits were pilled from hunkering in tidal pools. My hair would be tangled by the wind, dried by the salt, and bleached by the sun.

My mother would help me peel my damp suit off, put my Keds in the sun to dry, and shoo me directly into the shower. When I was clean and in dry clothes, she would let me lay my treasures out on the deck while she made my lunch, which I would eat on the deck, breathing the sea air and planning what to do on the water's edge after lunch.

Every time I see small red or navy Keds, I am back there for one brief, beautiful moment, on that deck, with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my hand and endless possibilities ahead of me.

(written November 2, 2005)

"nostalgia." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 02 Nov. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/nostalgia

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I want this...

marvelous 1880 log cabin

...if for no other reason than to keep someone from pulling it down and throwing six, utterly forgettable beige houses up in its stead.

No S'mores Today

The youngest and I are hanging at MPB's today. The children are playing on the swingset while MPB and I are desperately wishing we could roast up some marshmallows in her handy fire pit.

Alas, the Valentine's Day fire ban.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pancakes for Supper!

I took the boys to my favorite local pancake supper tonight. As always the pancakes were perfect and the people pleasant, but I have to be honest: it was bittersweet. I skipped the event last year, so this is the first time I've been back since my father, a longterm Kiwanis member, died summer before last.

I saw one of Daddy's oldest friends; they were close for more than 75 years, which seems almost impossible to imagine. He was an usher at Daddy's funeral. Today he helped us get our drinks, then made a happy fuss over the boys. The way they beamed back at him made me painfully aware of the fact that as much as I miss my father, they maybe miss him even more.

(as opposed to plasticine)

An intriguing bit of information from the official FAQ for visitors to our fair city:

City-wide speed limit is 35 mph unless otherwise posted. The cops are real. Drive on the right side of the road.

Bolding mine.

Reynolds Town

Saturday at 4 pm and again at 8:30 pm, WSTV-13 will air "Reynolds Town", an original documentary.

From 1919-1921, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company funded the building of a neighborhood, just beyond downtown, for the company's employees. The neighborhood consisted of alternating garden lots and bungalow homes until the construction of Atkins High School in 1931. As the community grew with the addition of the high school, the garden lots were sold, new homes were built, and the neighborhood developed into a tight-knit community of family and friends.


Don't get WSTV-13 in your home? Watch online.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Local Author Trine

Salem College's Courses for Community program offers "a wide range of non-credit enrichment courses" "as a way to inspire and expand your interests." Among the Writing Courses scheduled for this spring are two each with local authors Kathy Norcross Watts, Susan Woodring, and Sheryl Monks.

A Book of Your Own
Saving Your Stories
Fiction Workshop: The Building Blocks of Fiction Writing
Write a Novel in a Month
Exquisite Corpse: Surrealist Techniques for the Poet and Fiction Writer
The Editor’s Ear: Speed Pitching Your Manuscript

(Additional classes are offered in Art, Needlework, Jewelry Making, Spiritual Literacy, Wine, Voice-Overs, Digital Photography, Ballroom Dancing, Belly Dancing, Golf, Financial Planning, and SAT Prep, which is quite an astounding mix. Pretty much a hodgepodge bordering on a hurly-burly.)

Winston-Salem on the web

Passive Aggressive Notes dot Com is a wonderful collection of "painfully polite and hilariously hostile writings from shared spaces the world over," including one fine example from our own fair city.

Encyclopedia Brown and the case of the processed-food fiend

Anyone recognize that note?


The only thing better than being a child playing in the snow is getting to watch your own children play in the snow.

My children, this morning

Me, roughly 30 years ago


When I got up at 6 am, the WSFCS website said there would be a 2 hour delay. Just before 7 am, my phone rang, and a recording told me schools were now closed due to icy road conditions.

Doesn't it look pretty though? The snow-trimmed trees, the blanketed lawn, the twinkly driveway my husband slid all the way down like a surfer riding The Big One because I sweetly asked if he wouldn't mind getting the newspaper...

Happy Snow Day! I'm in heaven.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


to pavement: check
to leaves: check
to roofs: check
to itself: check

I wonder if the school will decide tonight or tomorrow morning at 5 am. I'm betting on at least a two hour delay. To that end, the boys are still outside playing in it, their bellies full of snow drizzled with maple syrup.

When the schools do call it (if there is, in fact a delay or cancellation), they are very good about promptly posting it on the WSFCS website.

(Growing up pre-internet, we used to have to watch the school names scroll s-l-o-w-l-y across the TV screen. Our elementary school followed the DC School System, which almost never closed.)

UPDATE, 8:47 pm: Inside and into dry pajamas. Ovaltine time. Ahhh.


It took me a few seconds to recognize what was all over the dogs' backs when they came in after staying out while we ate dinner. When I finally got it, I screamed.


I have no idea if it will stick or not, but it makes a perfect dessert.

Application: mailed

"I'm just not sure that I'm ready."

"How long is it for?"

"Like six days. A week tops."

"How old is he exactly?"

"Nine. He'll be ten in September."

"Lucy. You went to camp for how long when you were how old?"

"For four weeks when I was eight. I know. Clearly, my mother didn't love me."

"Stop, she did so! That's why she let you go. And why you need to let him go."

"Oh, he's going. I'm just not happy about it. He is, though."

The sky, alas, was gris.

My friend KG and I just gorged ourselves silly at Bleu*. The food was good, but the company was superb.

*Be forewarned: opening Bleu's homepage results in ambiance music that is rather... well, bow-chickie-bow-wow.

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, really!

The Winston-Salem Radio Control Club "serves to promote radio control air modeling in the greater North Carolina R/C community." They have a meeting next Tuesday, but look what's coming up in April!

IMAA Giant Fly In
Saturday, Apr 19, 2008
WSRC will hold it's second annual IMAA Fly In on April 19. Last year we had the largest crowd ever to attend an event at WSRC and we plan to be larger this year. We have a 400 ft. grass runway and plenty of parking. Concessions will be available and we have power.

The boys would love this, I think.

(IMAA stands for International Miniature Aircraft Association.)

WSRC Online

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jason, sweet Jason,

Fabulous Jason who answers the phone at 727-2638*,

I don't know what other powers you wield, but any man who can get a particularly vile, roadkilled squirrel carcass removed in less than ten minutes is a powerful man indeed.

My adoration for you knows only the bounds imposed by polite society's mores,

* more commonly known as the phone number for the city's Sanitation Department

Local Litter

Dixie Classic before last, I became very adept at litterspotting. I still tend to pick up littered papers and consider how successful or not they'd be.

Today I found this unsigned missive in the parking lot at Hanes Mall. I'm slightly troubled that apparently there's a guy somewhere who goes by the nickname "Meat".

click on image for larger version

Sawtooth class

The youngest and I are about to glaze our coil pots. Color: Purple-licious.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Clemmonsville Road

When I was young, my father taught me that a blacksmith was the one who did the work and a smithy was the name for the place of business.

In college, I used the word once in a class discussion - Faulkner? Hurston? I can't remember - and everyone looked at me like I had two heads.

"A what?" a student from Maine asked. Often he spoke earnestly of one day running for elected office, which we all quietly deemed a character flaw, a sign of sure madness, possibly of low IQ.

"I'm not sure that's a proper word," the professor, a perpetually tired woman originally from Pakistan, told me. She had infant twins and a voice with no affect. I never once saw her without fat, dark bags under her eyes.

Today I saw this smithy just off Ebert, and I remembered. I came home and looked it up.

It so too is a word.

EDIT: 6:33 AM, February 12th. Astute LiF reader Sharon has identified this as the smithy of Bernd Mergener.

On the market

Wal-Mart Supercenter, 4450 Kester Mill Road, Winston-Salem, N.C.: The 204,931-square foot store is situated along a major retail corridor at the interchange of U.S. Route 421 and Interstate 40. The listing price is $23.03 million.


The public is invited

A ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, to unveil a new sign for the Clark Campbell Transportation Center.


Campbell drove a bus for the Winston-Salem Transit Authority and its predecessor, the Safe Bus Company, for 46 years before retiring in 1992, after which he still continued to drive part-time.

more on the ceremony

The Clark Campbell Transportation Center

Winston-Salem Journal article about Safe Bus Inc., which was not just a predecessor to the WSTA, but "the nation’s largest black-owned transportation company" in an extraordinary time

from the Yiddish

I'm kaffeeklatsching with local blogger and savvy e-businessman Jon Lowder at simplyummy. I'm on my second peppermint patty mocha, which is slightly terrifying.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey

We're at the 1 pm show. If you hurry, you can make the 5 pm show!

This is my birthday present from the boys.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

64 degrees in February?

Why, I believe this calls for a Burrito Picnic!

(And a backseat vacuum. Ew.)

New Strings

"Are you sure? Left on Healy? Can you make a left on Healy?"

"According to Google Maps you can. Stratford toward the mall, left on Healy, then you get on this little access road that runs parallel to the train tracks. From there you should see the store."


"And a pick! He lost the one he had."

"Strings. Pick. Got it. Back in a few."

Jackson's Music

Friday, February 08, 2008

Please look

Mr. Guffey is missing.
Mr. Guffey is safely home.

Good, Bad

Good News: Culture vultures in NYC spell our city's name with a dash!

Bad News: "Strata G" is a copywriter in the Winston-Salem office of the Mullen agency , a fact he trumpets at length on "Straight Outta Winston," which combines the worst aspects of Vanilla Ice and the nerdcore movement.

Tossing my Tam

I love all the different buildings downtown, so much so that I suspect I come off like Mary Tyler Moore when I keep stopping to look up at various skylines.

In thanks for Drs. Sabio and Mims

...I just voted.

Not that election. This election. Our own Brenner Children's Hospital is in the running.

7 pm, Tuesday, 2/12

That's when you'll want to be at Tuscany Organic Coffee House (2100 Cloverdale Ave, very near Baptist) to meet local author Amy Knox Brown, whose award-winning collection of stories, Three Versions of the Truth, was published by local publishing house Press53, who will be throwing the party.

(Brown is an assistant professor of creative writing at Salem College, and her husband is Wake Forest professor John McNally, who is also the author of many books, including America's Report Card: A Novel and The Book of Ralph, so this is a marvelous opportunity to hobnob with local intelligentsia.)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Local Real Estate News


1. Check out the new tenant of the old Kinnamon's location on West End Boulevard! Click on image to see larger.

2. Sweetie's has a sign out that they are relocating from their current location on Reynolda at the end of April. No word yet on the new address.

3. The old service station at the corner of Northwest and Reynolda no longer has a For Sale sign on it, and many people have been seen going in and out the last few days.


1. Someone recently put an Under Contract banner up on "the seashell house" on Keprechian.

2. We now have 43 properties on the market in Forsyth County for a million or more. We're up three since January 28th. (All three are in BeeVee.)

Early Daffodils and Crocuses

Dalton Memorial Garden
St. Paul's Episcopal, Summit & Pilot View Sts.

by Will Safrit

Full Clip

Central Library is currently showing very cool works by local artist Will Safrit.

(l to r) No Brainer, Step in the Arena, War Angels

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dinner is served

I read an article in the Winston-Salem Journal yesterday that mentioned that "Americans buy a meal or a snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week on average," which confirmed what until now I only suspected: I have been cooking entirely too often.

Accordingly, this evening I bopped up Robinhood to Teddy G's Grille and got carryout for dinner.

1. The food is seriously fierce.

2. The cost was about the same as meals for four from a typical fast food place and less than Chick Fil-A.

(I'd make specific food recs, only I just sort of grabbed the names of dishes off the menu when ordering. Greek stuff.)

Sick Day

The oldest is home from school today. Thankfully he and I went nuts at his school's Scholastic book fair recently, so he has plenty to read.

(The Disney item is a cookbook for kids - his second and hopefully soon to become his favorite. The first was this Rachel Ray one, which has more sophisticated recipes, but frankly I grew tired of having my son ask what "evoo" was every time he picked it up.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shiloh Church Road

I headed way out Germanton Road today, almost all the way to Germanton Mercantile, home of the best watermelon values locally. But before I got quite that far, I turned off on Shiloh Church Road, where I passed a sign I've never really noticed before.

Upside Down

While the youngest mostly enjoyed getting to use a few co-mingled Sharpie pens (verboten for five year olds at home), my favorite thing about Sawtooth was, as always, the building itself.

When I was very little, I used to lay in my bed at night and, much like Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, wonder what it would be like if the ceiling was the floor and the floor was the ceiling. I'd think about stepping over the little doorways. About reaching up higher to turn doorknobs. About how the stairs would look as a ceiling. No detail went unconsidered.

As an adult, I still often find myself considering buildings from this point of view. And the Sawtooth building, with its ramps and its curves and its beams and its stairs, would be a phenomenally good building to turn upside down.


That's why I'll never get one. Well, that and stretch. My skin's elasticity is shot. (I'm hoping the shar pei look comes into vogue soon.)

But if you want a tattoo and you are looking for a local designer, allow me to present Ashley Love. I sincerely do dig her Dia de Los Muertos tattoos*.

Just not for me.

*top row, fifth from left and second row, third from right

Monday, February 04, 2008

We belong

NC LIVE offers the citizens of North Carolina online access to a diverse collection of electronic resources including complete articles from over 16,000 newspapers, journals, magazines, and encyclopedias, indexing for over 25,000 periodical titles, and access to over 25,000 online print and audio books. NC LIVE is available free of charge to library patrons, students, and educators from four communities of interest (COIs) -- public libraries, community colleges, the state's university system, and members of the North Carolina Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. NC LIVE can be accessed from within an affiliated library or from home.

Forsyth County's public library is a member of NC Live, which means if you have a library card, you, my friend, are golden.

Bonus news: NC Live just added a whole passel of additional PBS programs to its video catalogue.

Check out the listings.


The youngest has taped the above on the living room wall and is calling it his "art show". I can't quite explain the dollar bill, save that possibly it's because it has his favorite president on it.

We'll have many opportunities to make art this month, as the youngest and I are taking a parent-child class together at Sawtooth. It starts tomorrow. We're totally jazzed.

If the youngest were a bit older, I'd sign both boys up for one of these:

8873. Sawtooth Sundaes (K - 5th Grade)
Instructor Du Jour

We will warm up with an exciting art project and cool down with a tasty ice cream sundae! The first ninety minutes will be dedicated to a creative and fun art project. After you are finished, you will be able to design your own ice cream sundae and enjoy it while looking at the art you have created. Bring some friends and have a great Sundae afternoon!
Space is Limited so Sign Up EarlyLocation: Youth 2
1st Sunday of Each Month (2:00-4:00 pm)
$20 per child
Register 3 Children for $50
Section A - 12/2
Section B - 1/6
Section C - 2/3
Section D - 3/2
Section E - 4/6

EDIT: Alert LiF reader Kerri sends along this link for children (and adults) who sadly will not be taking a Sawtooth class starting tomorrow.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm swooning madly

Outside CVS, Robinhood Road

The thing is that every time I read a description about Havana, it always includes a sentence about the 50 year old cars on the streets. And I know the writer is trying to point out how stuck the citizens of Cuba are, what a backward mess the country is in, but honestly, what I mostly feel is jealousy.

There is no decade of cars I like better than the 1950s. None.

Pancake Supper

WHAT: St. Anne's Episcopal Church's Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

WHEN: This coming Tuesday, February 5th, from 5:30 - 7:30

WHERE: 2690 Fairlawn Drive, Winston-Salem (off Reynolda Rd. near Reynolda Manor Shopping Center)

WHAT ELSE: Eat In or Take Out. Proceeds benefit St. Anne's Youth Programs. Suggested donation is from $2-$4 per person.


For the record, I am an ardent pancake supper advocate, my favorite one locally being the Kiwanis Club one at Benton Convention Center*, scheduled this year for February 15th.

There's just something inherently festive about a pancake supper, and really, whose life couldn't use a little more fest?

*For which, sadly, I don't have tickets yet. I used to get them from my late father. I need a new connection, so if there's a Kiwanisite reader, please email me.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Local volunteers needed

More than 1,000 Special Olympics North Carolina athletes from across the state will compete in the 2008 SONC Basketball & Cheerleading Tournament on March 7-9 in Winston-Salem and Clemmons. More than 500 volunteers are needed for this event.

Volunteer Training will take place at Forsyth Country Day School on Tuesday, March 4 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

More information, plus volunteer application forms and job descriptions

a few photos from the 2007 event

2 by 4

That's what I feel like I've been hit with: a 2 by 4.

(What seems like a lifetime ago, I saw Lena Horne in a Hechinger's (local hardware chain) store on Wisconsin Avenue in DC, buying 2 by 4s to bolster her hotel bed.)

The Pinewood Derby and Lock In were great successes. The oldest again managed to take 1st place for design as voted by the scouts, and again, I had nothing to do with his car. My own car rolled down the track with dignity and grace, which is to say very, very slowly.

Today I am recovering from the four hours of atrociously poor sleep I had last night. I'm sad to feel so wretched, because I had high hopes of a last minute decision to go for tickets to this:

Professional Bull Riders!

Because I've never been to such an event, and they are at wildly convenient Joel Coliseum, that's why.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Manly Men wear protective eyewear

In real life, this poster is red. Click for larger image.

I'm loading up the car for the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby & Lock In. This is one of the activity posters (rubber band shooting gallery). I'm betting this fine drawing will be the scout favorite.

On a related note, apparently my drawing skills are on par with those of local editors.

Bo knows slideshows

So that you don't think his photos - and the farm itself - are as awful as my Darkened 'n' Merged image, Bowman Gray IV sent along a slideshow of Brookberry Farm, with permission to share. Most of the photos are his (and many are ones that will be shown tonight at First Friday Gallery Stomp), but as he notes under the viewer, a few photos were taken and shared by Mandie Rose.

The photos are set to music and take some time to load, but they truly are lovely. They made me wistful, knowing they show another bit of local history now disappearing under the feet of development.

Brookberry Farm Slideshow