Hello Hello

Monday, June 30, 2008

Life, slowed

The children are outside playing in a sprinkler with the dogs.

The peaches are baking in the top oven.

I have two freshly picked zucchinis on my counter.

And nobody's put on shoes all day.

(I love summer.)

local reflections on summers past, from this morning's Winston-Salem Journal

Where ya from?

I was raised in a fruit-snob household. We believed that the best peaches came from South Carolina, the best citrus came from Florida, and the best blueberries came from Maine.

The best grapes in the world were North Carolina scuppernongs, which were not available in Washington, so periodically my father would get into his old VW Bug and drive South to get some, staying overnight with his brother or his aunts before heading back the following day. We'd hear his car coming from three blocks away and run outside to meet him, eager to gorge ourselves on the sweetest grape imaginable. Once inside the house, my father would hand my mother a few sugarcakes to freeze, then hold his arms together so we could laugh at the difference, his left arm that rested in the open window the whole way being much darker for it. That VW Bug had no air conditioning, but I still miss it so.

Scuppernong, Official Fruit of the Great State of North Carolina


Beginning tomorrow, July 1st, and running through September 30th, The Tattoo Archive will be hosting an exhibit of Tattoos in Advertising.

Possibly the first large American company to use tattoos in their advertising was The Coca-Cola Company featuring an Army Sergeant showing off his eagle chest piece to a tattooed Maori chief while they both enjoyed a Coke.

picture of that ad, plus more info

The Tattoo Archive

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The State of the State

A partial list of For Sale signs at residences along NC-66 between Poplar Springs and Gap, a distance of maybe 10 miles
  • "used tires"
  • baby chicks
  • dump truck
  • speedboat
  • children's outdoor playground
  • land
  • home for sale by owner
  • RV
  • tools
  • puppies - free
  • car
  • clothes (spread on front lawn)
  • "home put up honey"
  • salt-cured pork
  • refrigerator (sign on front: "works")
It's not as tangible in Winston-Salem (nor in Rural Hall, through which one drives to get to Poplar Springs), but the further away from town one drives, the more palpable it becomes how many families have been unexpectedly cast into desperate economic straits in North Carolina.

Little Girls from Canada

I came home from frolicking with my boys to an email that knocked the wind out of me. A stranger had written from Canada to ask if "The Baptist Hospital" was a good facility, for two little girls this person loves had been taken there, sisters, 9 and 3, now orphans, their parents and another sister killed in a collision while en route to vacation, to happy days and the sandy shores of South Carolina.

And now came the email that helplessly asked, "And it is a good facility?"

It is. It really is. And I don't know what search engine brought me to you, but I am putting this here, too, in case anyone else takes the same path. My heart is with Madison and Jenna, you, the Smith family, and everyone else in your town who knows and loves them. I'm so sorry the girls had to visit my town under these circumstances. They really are in a superb facility.

WFU Baptist Medical Center

EDIT, Monday 8:30 am: an article about the girls (thank you, LiF reader J.T.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

ATTN: Scott and/or Lisa (if you know)

Whatever happened with Mr. H. anyway?

Email me if/when resolved.

Homegrown produce in exchange.

My boy survived summer camp*

And we're celebrating by seeing Wall-E at The Grand.

edit: It was a fab flick! Not quite as good as Monsters, Inc., but better than Nemo. And the kids got free Wall-E watches for seeing it opening weekend.

*However he quickly fessed up that his cabin had a pact to "never shower", which given his goatlike aroma at pick-up was not hard to believe. Ahh, nine year old boys...

This Sunday, June 29th

From 1:30-4:30, there will be an Independence Celebration, old school style*, at Bethabara.

On a "Gosh, I'm old as dirt" note, most of those heading to college for the first time this fall were born 13-14 years AFTER the bicentennial.

Historic Bethabara Park

* Uncle Sam, Liberty Pole dancing, "two-bit" ice cream, hay rides, etc.

Be a Victim. No, really, BE one.

Seriously, y'all, this may be the coolest opportunity ever! Imagine the conversational gambits you'll get out of this one!

Volunteers Needed for Tornado Exercise

The Emergency Management Department is excited to inform you of an opportunity to participate in a Tornado Exercise that will be held in the Triad Counties. The exercise will occur on Friday, August 1st, beginning at 12:00 noon. The participating medical response and volunteer agencies will include: local hospitals, Emergency Medical Services, State Medical Assistance Teams, American Red Cross, and more.

As we recall the recent tornadoes that affected the triad area, each of us should understand the importance of Emergency Preparedness. This exercise is one of several ongoing efforts to strengthen the medical response capability during emergencies or disasters.

The scenario for this exercise will involve numerous casualties, and requires 120 volunteers to serve as victims. These victims will simulate various injuries, be transported to Forsyth or Baptist Hospitals, and be treated for their injuries. Highly sophisticated medical equipment will be utilized to both transport and treat the victims.

As a volunteer victim, you will have the rare opportunity of witnessing our medical service community in action, along with carrying-out role play. A meal will be provided, and volunteers will have the opportunity to win free gift certificates.

If you, your agency, or organization would like to participate in this exercise, we ask that you sign up via email or call 336-661-6440 by Friday, July 11th. For more information regarding this exercise, go to: www.em.cityofws.org and click on the "Volunteers Needed" link.

Bolding mine, and I only wish I could have bedazzled that passage as well, then thrown confetti on it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ohmigod, the child is going to die

This is the thought that is racing through my head right now and has been ever since I was outside two minutes ago checking the sunflower (no progress) and heard thunder run ripping across the sky. All week long, I've been calm, though missing him intensely, but now, just now, I realized the truth: the child is in imminent danger of death.

I love my son desperately, but let's be honest: sometimes the child hasn't the common sense God gave a stump. And he's at sleepaway camp. This is not a winning combination.

To be fair, I too suffered from an ability to think things through well at that age. And when I went to camp, I survived, yes, but let me tell you now that was nothing short of a miracle, because here are some of my winningest moments ever from my summer forays in Transylvania County.
  • I'm ten. One day a copperhead is sunning itself in the road just down from our cabin, and here comes the owner of the camp with a hoe and CHOPS off the snake's head. He picks up the body, which continues to wriggle in spite of its headlessness, and carries it off. I, brilliant child that I am, seize upon the opportunity to pick up the severed head, which I tuck into my trunk as a momento. Let me ask you, where is the venom in a copperhead? IN THE HEAD. Miraculously, I survive this lapse of critical thinking, though my mother almost dies from fright when she opens my trunk back in Washington.
  • I'm eight. One afternoon my counselor realizes I'm drinking creekwater by cupping my hands and asks me why. "It just tastes so good," I explain. "You hafta dump out the crawdads first." I can still see the look of horror on her face. I'm not sure, but I think this is the moment that she decides never to braid my hair again. I do not die of intestinal parasites. Another miracle survival story.
  • I'm nine. This summer I bring roller skates to camp. I then have the bright idea to attempt a trip down the water slide into the lake in my bathing suit and roller skates. My common sense carries me only far enough to know I should not run this by any counselor. I wear no helmet. I am forbidden to use the slide the rest of the summer. Miraculously I suffer only two skinned knees in addition to my wounded pride.
  • Roller skate summer again. Did I mention they were the really horrible kind with metal wheels? My cool ones with the orange wheels (thank you, Mom, I begged for pink) wouldn't ft into my duffel without my mother seeing. It's pouring rain at camp, and lightning to beat the band, and where am I? Inside the open air pavilion on metal skates, loving how it sounds like I'm tap-dancing when they land on the wood. When the bell rings and it's time to go to the dining hall, I keep my metal-wheeled skates on, and open an umbrella with a long, metal tip, then s-l-o-w-l-y make my way through the rain, on my metal skates across gravel and grass, enjoying the cacophony of thunder and the flashes of REALLY CLOSE lightning as I make my way, not a thought in my head about the wisdom of having metal ON BOTH ENDS. Counselors running past stop briefly to look, then shake their heads and run on. My skates are confiscated by the camp director at dinner. I immediately decide I don't like her and am never coming back. I come back five more summers.
And now my sweet lamb of a son is away at camp without me to keep him alive in spite of himself. I'm stuck here, pacing, listening to thunder strikes, hoping that in addition to childhood dim wits, he inherited my childhood luck as well.

From Pfafftown

click to enlarge

I was stunned to be driving down Transou in Pfafftown today, look across a field, and see some of the taller buildings of downtown Winston-Salem. Stunned in an, "Oh my goodness! Who put those there?!? Those shouldn't be there, right?" way. Last week I was incredibly surprised to see Pilot Mountain from the rooftop playground at Brenner's. I have the worst possible sense of geography, so this kind of thing happens quite often.


What is this building? It's on Country Club, near Little Richard's.

and the winner is...

(of this contest)

whose answer rocketed into my inbox at 1:07 PM. Courtney is not just superfast, she's also well-written. Go check out her blog, A is for Beautiful, wherein she details life with her adorable baby girl.

And the correct answer is...

facing the front door of House of Plants (507 Harvey).

Congratulations, Courtney! Hope Jules likes Mr. Bones!

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

5 feet 2 and eyes of orange

Meet Lola the Kniphofia. No, no I'm (disappointingly) not veering towards an "R" rating here. Lola is a real Kniphofia, or for those of you from Pfafftown, a Red Hot Poker. Let me explain. I have a weakness for these plants and just about anything orange. Put the two together and I'm toast. Although all Knips aren't orange, my favorite ones are. It doesn't mind dry conditions plus it's a great summertime bloomer. I'm certain I've got the biggest bloomers in the neighborhood.

I purchased this plant from Plants Delight Nursery near Raleigh in a tiny 4 inch pot. It was so cute and although I was warned both verbally and in writing to give it plenty plenty of room I failed to estimate what plenty meant. Well it turns out that plenty is not far from the size of an original 1963 VW Beetle.

Plants Delight is, in my opinion, the very best source for perennials in North Carolina and perhaps the entire country. Great variety of plants, great print and online catalog, great mail order and customer service, great website. I recommend going to the website if for no other reason than to read the mail from customers. The mail is classified as Compliments, Hate Mail and Twilight Zone. Another reason is the self proclaimed worlds ugliest hosta named "Out House Delight." A healthy sense of humor is advised. The staff at Plants Delight take their business very seriously but they do not take themselves seriously as you'll discover as you poke (no pun intended) around the site.

Happy gardening. Beat the heat, don't let it beat you!

Esbee note: "I'm certain I've got the biggest bloomers in the neighborhood." Snicker.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The youngest had two holes-in-one. I had none.

The first nine holes were quite pleasant, but by the back nine, we were sweltering. I think I may go lie down on the lawn and turn the sprinkler on.

Adventure Landing

And I mean EXACT... (XVIII)

First person to email me the correct and exact location where I was standing when I took the above phono-photo wins a festive prize of autumnal holiday goodness from the stockpile of such items that I keep for the most magical of occasions. Specifically he/she wins...

A 3 foot skeleton! Hang him on your door and keep pesky traveling salesmen from bothering you! They'll be too busy contemplating whether your door decor is 4 months early or 8 months late to ever ring the doorbell! For added fun, take him apart and send individual green, plastic bones via US Mail to those people you feel never thought about you as much as they should have! Your first grade teacher! Your ex-neighbor! Great Aunt Tallulah! Trust me - they'll think about you now! And how!

As always, click on images for larger versions (and yes, 'tis I in that reflection). As always, Esbette is ineligible to play.

The Hot Doughnuts sign was on

The youngest felt it his duty to inspect the line.

Krispy Kreme

(Totally aside, I had no idea Krispy Kreme had 26 stores in Korea.)

The lid promises to seal in flavor and aroma

Ladies and Gentlemen, this morning's bacon extravaganza has finally filled the grease can we began two years ago!

You do all have a grease can, right? Right?



OK, Watch this City of Winston-Salem video, paying close attention to the horrors that can befall your residence. Key word: sewage.

A written primer, also from the City of Winston-Salem

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I was Voter #66

The youngest and I just got back from casting my vote for the 2nd Primary for Commissioner of Labor. Normally the oldest goes with me, but since he is away at camp, the youngest stepped up to hand me the pen and insert my ballot into the ballot machine.

Go, MFD!

Corned Beef with Swiss and Tomato, with a side of harp and flute

Associated Artists of Winston-Salem is pleased to invite you to free concerts at their downtown gallery. Bring your lunch and enjoy local musicians on these two Fridays at noon.

June 27: Helen Rifas and Alicia Campbell, harp and flute

July 11: Bill Lynch, world music


"I wouldn't bother."

That's what the woman in the Children's Tent at the Earth Day Festival told me when I asked the best way to pot the dwarf sunflower seed the youngest had just planted in dirt. She smiled sympathetically and whispered, "He pushed it down way too far."

And indeed he did push it down as far as his thumb could go. But when we came home, I just couldn't bring myself to pitch it, pot it I did, and I watered it whenever I watered the rest of the garden. Then, after a few weeks, I saw a sprout. So I held my breath and continued the waterings.

This morning I stood next to it and realized that, potted, it's taller than I, in spite of the woman's intro talk of an expected height of no more than 36 inches. Not including the pot, it's probably a good 56". Now I'm just waiting for this to open.

ATTN: Citizens of Forsyth County or The Post Wherein I Detail Appropriate Jury Duty Attire

Congratulations! You've been called for jury duty, or "jury service" as the informational video you'll be forced to watch calls it! What fun!

You may be swept up in the ardor of public service, but there are a few things you should remember while standing in front of your closet preparing to don your John/Joann Q. Public vestments.

A. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, spandex is a privilege, not a right. Although highly unregulated, spandex is the domain of an elite group of citizens ONLY. Specifically it belongs to young, nubile beings, who have insanely low BMIs and have lost absolutely zero skin elasticity, and is only worn while in a gymnasium or other sporting venue in a participatory capacity. This means that regardless of your body size or age, there is NO REASON FOR SPANDEX TO BE WORN TO THE HALL OF JUSTICE.

B. Just say no to cleavage in ANY form.
  1. Ladies: If I, at 5'2", can while standing across from you see four (4) inches of heaving bosom cleavage on your 5'7" frame, I can only imagine what those who are 6'0" see. Eight (8) inches of cleavage? Or does it increase exponentially? Differential equations aside, the Hall of Justice is not the place to let the dogs out.
  2. Ladies and Gentlemen: If, when either seated or standing, you can feel a downdraft wafting your backside, your pants are too low-rise to be worn without a longer top in the Hall of Justice. Much longer. Possibly knee-length.
C. Goodness knows I love me some Hanes Beefy T's, shorts and flip-flops. Nothing better when you are brushing the dog, washing the car, hosing off the grill. Not, however, when you are called upon to serve your County in a judicial role. Not just in combination either: none of the three elements should appear on your person in a jury box.

What you should wear: pretend your great-grandmother has invited you to join her for a cuppa and a chat. You need to dress comfortably, but a little conservatively, and definitely neatly.

And then you need to show up, because clearly Forsyth County needs you, for not only did they call upon me, one of the twelve (12) pre-Obama Democrats in the County, they also called upon the long-dead man who used to own our house again; his Jury Summons arrived two days after mine.

More on Jury Duty/Service in Forsyth County

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Months can go by without my noticing one especially, but this makes twice in two days that headlines have made me cringe.

This paragon of indecisiveness was in yesterday's Winston-Salem Journal:

Rainfall this summer might be a little, a lot, or about right

As wishy-washy as that one is, at least it doesn't paint the gruesome picture that this tragically grammatically incorrect headline from WXII's website does:

Winston-Salem Residents Question Body Found In Back Yard


Broad Street

There are some superb poke-about stores on Broad Street in Rural Hall, y'all.

Take University out of Winston, and it turns into Broad. Maybe, oh, 5 miles past Target?

Rural Hall

Saturday, June 21, 2008

(almost) Local Graffiti

"What's wrong?"

"I'm not sure I can do this."



"OK... explain to me."

"A week. A week! Without seeing him? Without even talking to him?"

"And he..."

"Is totally excited. Not about the non-communication, but about cabins and creeks and activities and... and... all of it."

"And you went to camp?"

"Yes! And I had so much fun! And I want him to go and to have a blast. It just seems a lot harder from this side of the equation."

"Hi, welcome to parenthood."

Friday, June 20, 2008


Meet Dexter, who seems to have every type of intestinal worm imaginable and requires surgery, but who is the new apple of Esbette's eye. Thankfully, Dr. Taylor is not only a very good vet; he's also a very skilled surgeon.

Reynolda Veterinary Hospital


When I was pregnant, I felt absolutely enormous. I wondered sometimes if I was carrying 20+ pounds of baby, but I never actually was.

This local mother can't say that.

My mother went to Salem College

I wasn't aware that Oprah did, too. Did she? This video certainly implies she did.

Salem College

Ahoy, sailor!

The Winston-Salem Regional Office provides benefits and services in all program areas to veterans, servicepersons and reservists residing in North Carolina.

North Carolina ranks ninth in veteran population.

Service Organizations located at the Winston-Salem Regional Office:
  • American Legion (AL)
  • American Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam (AMVETS)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH)
  • NC Division of Veterans Affairs (NCDVA)
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

Winston-Salem Regional Office, United States Department of Veterans Affairs

at right: The youngest shows off his Tough Guy Face while wearing a very old US Navy flat hat. My late father served in the US Navy during WWII (Pacific). He liked to joke that it took him 8 years to get through college: 2 years at Duke, 4 years at war, 2 years back at Duke.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Frozen -n- Free

I just heard that Wolfies, the new gourmet frozen custard franchise soon to open at 420 Fourth Street (across from The Stevens Center), is not open yet... but rumor is they are giving out free frozen custard today and tomorrow.

The original Wolfies (warning: there is a soundtrack of noises)

Local Culinary Gossip

Whispers are that Winston-Salemites craving P.F. Chang's will shortly no longer have to drive all the way to Greensboro. Playground rumor holds that a P.F. Chang's is soon to go in the old Elks' Club location (just across Silas Creek Parkway from Forsyth Medical Center).

Full disclosure here: I've never eaten at a P.F. Chang's. Not once. So even if true, this news has little bearing on me.

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

Droughts & Lawns

The bad news is we are still in a drought. The good news is there is hope. This link will take you to NC State Turffiles and offers some good information and advice on how save your lawn or help it survive but not necessarily thrive. This information is primarily for Tall Fescue which is the predominate grass in our area.

A NASA sponsored study estimate claims that almost 32 million acres of lawns are planted in the United States alone. Another estimate claims that somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-70 percent of U.S. residential water is used for landscaping, mostly for watering lawns.

A short list of lawn tips for summer on Tall Fescue:

1. Keep height of grass mowed to at least 3 1/2 to 4 inches
2. Do not bag grass clippings
3. Save water by following the NCSU Turfiles recommendations (1/2 inch of rainfall every 30-40 days should be sufficient to keep your lawn alive)
4. No fertilizer until at least mid-September
5. Pray for rain (it might be a good idea to make this tip #1)

Esbee note: Or you can do what I do, which is to never water your lawn, then if someone looks askance at your brown lawn, tell that person you practice "Darwinistic Gardening".

"Mommy, ew"

The youngest thought the creek running next to Brunson Elementary was beautiful. He did not, however, think the litter in the creek was.

Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful

Pedal Pushers

The goal of the Piedmont Flyers Bicycle Club is to promote and encourage bicycling in our community for all levels of cyclists. From weekly rides to scheduled events, from trail preservation to event support- we are involved in a wide range of cycling activities.

Piedmont Flyers Bicycle Club

Gone with the Dogs (and Cats)

Village Smith Galleries in historic Reynolda Village is pleased to present Atlanta artist Margaret Mitchell, who will be doing pencil sketch or oil paint pet portraits on commission, with a portion of the proceeds going the Forsyth County Animal Shelter.

Village Smith Galleries invites animal lovers to bring their pets (and their favorite photographs of their pets) to visit with Maragret and view her wonderful pet portraits on the lawn across from the Gallery on Saturday, June 21st from 10:00 until 5:00.

Village Smith Galleries will also be accepting donations of much needed items, such as dog houses, pet beds, blankets, food bowls, food, etc for the Forsyth County Animal Shelter that day.

Village Smith Galleries
Reynolda Village
Margaret Mitchell
Forsyth County Animal Shelter

And the winner is...

(of this contest)
Marty K.

whose answer graced my inbox with its presence at 1:23 pm yesterday.

And the correct answer is:

standing on the East sidewalk on Spring, about halfway between 5th and 6th, facing east toward the old garage currently being rehab'ed

Marty K. will be enjoying the sweet, summery aroma of bacon! Congratulations again, Marty K.!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Exiting Brenner's

Here the boys depart after a brief visit with famous local blogger Sarah South on the 12th floor playground at Brenner's this afternoon.

Below, the oldest, in inexplicable military hat, presents her with The Grand Zucchini from our garden. Sadly The Grand Zucchini suffered an injury while exiting our vehicle, but we fixed it with a Hot Wheels Band-Aid, latex-free of course in case the The Grand Zucchini suffers from The Grand Latex Allergy. (The red ribbon is there for purely non-medical reasons.)

And I mean EXACT... (XVII)

First person to email me the correct and exact location where I was standing when I took the above phono-photo wins a spectacular prize of unbearable happiness from the plethora of such items that I keep for festive occasions. Specifically he/she wins...

A bacon-scented air freshener! Hang it from your rearview mirror, your desk lamp, the end of your nose! Wherever you hang this brand-new item, the air will be thick with the tantalizing aroma of bacon! Not any foreign Canadian bacon scent either! No, this is fine, American bacon scent, ripe with tempting streaks of fat! God bless America, and God bless bacon, the ultimate white meat! Get ready for your friends to ask, "Is that bacon I smell?" And you'll reply, "No, it's fakin' bacon!" Then you'll all laugh heartily, because bacon brings people together!

As always, click on images for larger versions. As always, Esbette is ineligible to play.

The State Meal

A quote from Michael Hasting's squash article in today's Winston-Salem Journal:

The squash-loving state of Oklahoma -- which cooks Southern even if it's halfway to the West Coast -- even includes stewed squash and tomatoes as a part of its official state meal. (Now if North Carolina had a state meal, I wonder what would it be?)

Well, that question begs an answer. Specifically an answer that consists of an appetizer, a main course, two side dishes, and a dessert at a minimum. Plus a beverage.

I submit my family recipe's pound cake as the official North Carolina state dessert. It's that good. The rest of it, though... I'm not sure. I kinda want to work scuppernongs in, since they are from here, but I think telling visiting dignitaries "You sorta bite the skin, then suck the meat out, but spit the seeds," well, it might be gauche. Possibly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pup is a no-go

Someone else got him before Esbette. We left the Guilford County Shelter, from whence my own sweet Salsa came, empty-leashed and consoled ourselves with the sweet treats of a Greensboro Sonic.

Esbette has asked me to throw out her ISO info, so here goes:

WANTED: One (1) pup or young dog with an anticipated adult weight of no more than 35 pounds, breed not important, bonus points for that special mixed-breed, intangible "it" factor. No nervous piddlers, biters, or over-yappers, please. Pup will be an only dog and as such will be showered with attention, love, and fantastical and seasonally appropriate dogkerchiefs lovingly made by Aunt Lucy. Pup must be amenable to enjoying the social graces of other dogs, cats, and children. The occasional creekstomp opportunity will be made available to pup, as will sprinkler runs, should said pup enjoy said activities.

So the next time someone at work/church/that biker bar says, "So... you don't by any chance know of anyone who might want one of the mixed Dachshund - Poodle - Chihuahua - Corgi puppies our dog just had, do you?" please answer with an emphatic, "Yes! I actually do know someone who is looking for a Doodhuagi!"

Then email me.

Shag, baby, shag!

The Winston-Salem Shag Club was formed December 1990 as a non-profit corporation and is a member of the Association of the Carolina Shag Clubs. Our goal is to promote and to preserve the heritage of beach music and shagging’. We also strive to inform members of activities in the local club, along with those of regional clubs. WSSC meets regularly on Friday (9 pm—1 am) at the Quality Inn & Suites at Hanes Mall. Non-members and out-of –town guests are cordially invited to join us anytime to shag and socialize.

The Winston-Salem Shag Club will have a "House Rockin' Oldies Party" at The Barn at Tanglewood June 29th from 6 til midnight.

Click image for more information.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This photo to be captioned tomorrow (hopefully)

Over the hill

"...So I have to do all of that, and then I'm going over the hill." I sigh, already exhausted.

"Over the hill?"

"To Greensboro. It always seems like a big trip to me. Like I should call everyone and see if they need anything brought back from over the hill."

"I know! It kinda is. Everyone makes it out to be like one big, happy Piedmont, but I don't feel like we're part of the same city, do you?"

"No. We're not. It's two separate cities. And that's OK. Ooh! Know what that reminds me of?" I've had a flash of a memory more than twenty years old.


"So my first day in Connecticut, they told me there was another girl from DC there. So she's brought to me, and I ask her where in DC she's from, and she says... are you ready?... 'Annapolis'."

"Annapolis isn't DC! It's not even the DC area! It's a whole different city!"

"I know! And it's a completely beautiful city! But not the same city! That's what the whole Greensboro/Winston-Salem thing reminds me of."

"Yup. Trickery!" We giggle. "So over the hill, huh?"

"Over the hill."

Mark your family calendar

Summerfest VII is coming June 19-21 at Kernersville Elementary School!

Gates open at 6 pm each night. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Do not bring coolers or alcohol.

Admission is free, but the Kernersville Foundation will be accepting donations.

Beach Music Concerts!
Arts & Crafts Vendors!
Plenty of Food!
Remote Control Racing!
Petting Zoo!
Pony Rides!
Classic Automobiles!
Children's Activities!
Sports Clinics!
Fireworks on Saturday night!

more information, including photos from last year's event
The Kernersville Foundation
Kernersville Elementary School


Among upcoming BestHealth events...

7/26/2008 1:00:00 PM
Nintendo® Wii™ Bowling at BestHealth
Experience the fun and excitement of bowling on the big screen! Come to BestHealth as Games for Life and The MILLS Foundation present the Nintendo Wii Bowling Night for adults.

The MILLS Foundation

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Local blogger Jon Lowder has a post about what appears to be profiling near Pittsboro.

This is a topic that is near and dear in this house.

(Comments closed to keep the discussion on Jon Lowder's blog.)

Happy Father's Day

I love you, Daddy.

Your cat is still well.

I still miss your peach pie.


Bravo, Scott Sexton, Bravo!

"Calling the contest to rename the Warthogs a Chicago-style sham would be an insult to both Chicago and shams."

Scott Sexton's column in today's Winston-Salem Journal is brilliant.

Read it.

You'll have to go to get the "HOW"

WHO: All ages

WHAT: Alberti Flea Circus

WHEN: Monday, June 16 @ 2 PM

WHERE: Lewisville Library


Saturday, June 14, 2008

...And sadly, some people aren't eating

Harris Teeter, Peace Haven Rd.
1. Pick one up.
2. Pay for it at the register.
3. Walk a few steps and place it in the Second Harvest collection box.

It couldn't be any easier to help someone else.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC
Harris Teeter Community Outreach Programs

Many people are eating ribs right now

At the Twin City Ribfest, which continues through tomorrow.

Meanwhile, at Central Library, the kids and I enjoyed the activities, the facepainting, the puppet show, and the staged reading, all part of the Summer Reading kickoff event. We had a blast, and the kids both picked up their reading tally sheets. They are giddy that their reading will reap prizes, though I think the youngest may be sorely disappointed. He's hoping the city will reward his reading with "an Army tank".

1, just 1

I just want ONE ROOM off this house that's for sale for a cool $1,000,000 +.

Go here, hit "View All 9 Photos", and scroll down to #8.

I covet that glass room. I would live in it.

(I also would take whatever that grain-silo looking thing is, just to be able to say to my husband, "I'm here! In the grain silo, dear!")

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

Get Physical and DIY

Yarddawg has noticed a disturbing trend with many seemingly smart and fit inhabitants of our fair city. Hardly anyone does actual yard work anymore but seem perfectly willing to pay to stay fit a local gyms and health clubs. This is especially true with lawn care. (I also have another beef about lawn care that I’ll save for a future rant).

Here’s a hint. Great conditioning, fresh air, sunshine, money saving opportunities and personal satisfaction await you in your own backyard. And for those fortunate enough to have strong, limber-backed, healthy, energetic teenagers also have enormous homegrown resources available to assist and learn some personal responsibility and what sweat equity is all about. In summary, get physical in your backyard, Avoid expensive riding lawnmowers like the plague and eschew the $80 (and rising) per visit yard service racket. Heck that’s a tank of gas in today’s dollars or will be soon. These services belong on golf courses and parks. My only exception is I do use a local service for fertilization and weed and pest control because I prefer not to store dangerous chemicals at home or purchase expensive ,limited use application equipment. Plus it takes much of the guesswork out of when, where and what to spray or apply.

Esbee note: Shhh. This font is too small for Yarddawg to read. I have a gardener. He came with the house. He conveyed. I have no swank gym membership though.

Friday, June 13, 2008

86 and Sunny

The nametags are here, the sleeping bag, too

...But for the duffel, I have to drive to Greensboro, because Winston-Salem's Army-Navy surplus store, which used to be on Old Walkertown close to Carver School Road, is gone. The storefront is empty now, the phone disconnected with no forwarding number.

I feel a bit like I've found out that someone I once knew vaguely died some time ago. I wonder when and why, but to ask would be to pry because the connection is tenuous. In this case, I had shopped there only a few times and a few years back. (One time I got the youngest a purple-camo outback hat. He thought it the most marvelous thing ever, and he still wears it frequently.)

Now the oldest is getting ready to go off to camp. To camp! And filled with memories of my own camp summers - blissful most, exquisitely painful others - I want to send him with an Army duffel, because that's what I used in addition to my trunk. Like my mother did for me, I will pen his surname across the canvas and store it in the attic when not in use. It will come down at the beginning of each summer, bringing with it a faint smell of cabin, of mountain, of creekwater. And he will inhale deeply and smile.

So we'll drive to Greensboro, which still has an Army Surplus store that I called on the telephone to be sure, so I wouldn't drive up and down, up and down, like I did on Old Walkertown the other day, each time staring at the For Rent sign like a gravestone in the window.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"I have bulbils."

"You have what?"


"Oh, Lucy, I'm so sorry. Is there anything I can do?"



"Hi, bulbils are like garlic seeds."

"Wait. Are we talking about your garden?"

"Yes! I have bulbils growing on my garlic, and I'm going to cultivate them, I think."

"And they will grow into..."

"Genetically identical garlic! In like two years!"

"Wait. Let me understand this. You're going to be a..."

"A garlic cloner!"

6 month checkup

Wow, I love our pediatric dentist's office. It's quite seriously a delight to go. My boys bound into the office happy as larks, which is completely different than the shrieks and attempts to go limp I pulled as a kid.

Drs. Merhoff and Cummings

And the winner is...

(of this contest)
Jenny Lawrence

whose answer popped into my box at 1:29 PM. Jenny wins the faux (I think the commenters were right ) pomegranate!

This week the only people who answered correctly were women, which is not all that surprising, because the sign is for a business that caters to women. Little women. Little women who daintily crook their pinkies while sipping tea.

And the correct answer is...

outside 3120 Robinhood, also known as Alice's Place, standing at the edge of the driveway where it meets the sidewalk, facing the front door

Congratulations, again, Jenny! Faux fruit glory is yours!


A praying mantis joined us when we sat to eat our snack.

We temporarily caught tiny, black tadpoles in buckets and watched them swim.

We picked up rocks and examined them for gold, for rubies, for garnets.

The oldest found an inchworm, Esbette found a triangular rock, and the youngest found a place where the water was up to his thighs.

We had a lovely afternoon creekstomping.

Pilot Mountain, River Section

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Bleu Cheese Filet
Our wood grilled filet topped with bleu cheese sauce and port mushrooms.

That description leaves out the bacon clinging lovingly along the edge.

As on so many other date nights, we were at Firebirds.

Saturday, June 14, at Historic Bethabara Park, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

French & Indian War Encampment

Join costumed re-enactors as they interpret the French and Indian War (also known as the Great War for Empire), a conflict that had a great impact on colonial Bethabara.

Provincial soldiers from Fort Dobbs will demonstrate infantry drills, mounted militia will discuss their role in the conflict, and civilians will describe how their life was changed by the war.

The event is free to the public. The event is being held in partnership with Fort Dobbs State Historic Site.

more info, including schedule
Historic Bethabara Park
Fort Dobbs State Historic Site

And I mean EXACT... (XVI)

First person to email me the correct and exact location where I was standing when I took the above phono-photo wins a spectacular prize of unparalleled utility from the plethora of such items that I keep for festive occasions. Specifically he/she wins...

A fake... piece of produce! Slightly larger than a tennis ball and in festive shades of deep red and light green, it's... it's... I have not the foggiest idea what fruit faux this is, if we're being perfectly honest! I do know its light weight makes it perfect for a game of catch at the office, at the beach, at your next backyard bar-b-q! When not in the air, it stores neatly on a corner of your desk. Teachers keep apples there, but you can keep... this! You can sink a bite into life, you can take a bite out of crime, just don't bite your new-to-you whatever-this-is!

As always, click on images for larger versions. As always, Esbette is ineligible to play.


We aim to bring together communities of health conscious families who care about taking a proactive approach towards the fitness level of their kids. The Fitwize 4 Kids™ Lifestyle Programs — The Fitwize 4 Kids Lifestyle Programs include the Fitwize 4 Kids Circuit Training Program equipment, the Fitwize 4 Kids Healthy Lifestyle Nutrition Seminars and Workshop Series 5 simple tips, special events like Fitwize 4 Kids Kid's Night Out parties, Fitwize Fitness Birthday Parties, group exercise classes (such as Kids Zumba, Kids Pilates, Kids Cardio Kick Boxing, Girls Fitness classes etc.), sports & medical clinics, school field trips, assembly speaker series, & other activities.

Apparently they are about to open - or have opened - near my beloved TJ Maxx on Robinhood. While I think this might be helpful for some children, my own thrive outside. Accordingly, they will stick to mountain biking, creekstomping, firefly catching, and imaginary sword fights on the lawn.

FitWize4Kids, Winston-Salem

I can only do one of these things (and not very well)

"She could lay bricks and install roofs, and yet her needlework could be as fine, dainty, and perfect as if wrought by an 18th Century Victorian lady. She could refinish floors, woodwork and furniture and she could knit an heirloom baby blanket."

Fabulous ways to express a death, from today's Winston-Salem Journal
  • Heaven has an added touch of sparkle today, and the heavenly choirs welcome a new full-throated voice.
  • The battle has been fought, and the victory has been won!
  • So-and-So took his flight, and joined God' s heavenly choir.
  • By God' s grace and mercy, So-and-So passed into eternal life

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Across from Hanes Park

I think this was the costume place - Frenchie La'Vern's?

School is out ! Hakuna Matata!

We're at Coldstone Creamery again, because this is where we celebrated the first day of school. Esbette is making Circle of Life jokes.

note: My Strawberry Blonde is actually the smallest size, but it was so towering and so quickly melting in this heat that the CC man stuck the small cup inside of the next largest so I wouldn't be the drippiest customer ever. Trust me - I am acutely aware of portion size ever since the Wii interrogated me day before yesterday as to why I seemingly overnight gained a full pound. I note that yesterday, when said pound miraculously disappeared, it failed to offer up so much as a "My bad." Hmph.


Homegrown + North Carolina + cherry tomatoes = Triad of safety

"It’s another example of the benefits here in North Carolina, of looking for North Carolina produce, buying North Carolina produce, going to your local farmer’s market."

The Downtown Farmer's Market is a personal favorite. I'll be happily shopping there until these ripen, since I love almost nothing more than a tomato sandwich.

Central Library

"And can I get Polo?"

"Honey, we just returned Polo on the way in."

"And can we get it back?"

"We could, but we do have a lot of other books. Why do you want Polo again?"

"Because that book I can read."

"Indeed. OK."


The Adventures of Polo (a wordless book)
Central Library

This Saturday

click to enlarge
Triad Pride Men's Chorus

Goodbye to My Dailies

Nothing makes me happier than having both my children home with me during the summer. Sure, they go here and there briefly, but I don't have to turn them over to their teachers for hours on end. They are mine. I'm tickled that today is the last day of school.

That said, I'm going to miss my Dailies, the other parents I see every afternoon at pickup, with whom I gab for just a few minutes about life and kids and the neighborhood and, in B.'s case, our weekly tennis fiasco.

Just before Christmas, B. and I agreed that we would start playing tennis every Thursday morning when school resumed. We agreed that we would block this time out, write it in pen on our planners, consider it sacred. ...Only the first week she had to cancel because she had a long-scheduled appointment. The following week I had one. Then she had asthma and a cough. Then it rained. Then we had The Great Blizzard of '08. And so on and so forth. The fact that we never managed - NOT ONCE - to play became a source of great amusement to us as we each began to pretend we'd been on the court waiting for hours on end.

Here is the voicemail B. left on my cellphone last Thursday, when the temperature was a mere 93 or so. This is her response to my own message asking why she wasn't at pickup and why she had stood me up on the courts that morning. (The first voice you'll hear is my own, detailing the day and time of the call*.)

VM from last Thurs...

Sure, B. and I will have lunch at least once over the summer, but the casual, every afternoon catchup won't happen. And though I know I'll see A. and E. and maybe even J., and I'll probably talk to K. every once in a while, it just won't be The Same.

Have a great summer, my fabulous, funny Dailies. I'm going to miss each and every one of you.

* I didn't enter any info, much less an age, on the hosting website, and it decided to profile me as being 30. I don't feel the need to correct that.

Monday, June 09, 2008