Hello Hello

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I declare today to be

Take a Worthy Dog on a Worthy Walk Day

A few of our favorite local, worthy walk places:

Reynolda Gardens
Salem Lake
Horizons Park, Loop A
Pilot Mountain
Old U.S. 421 River Park (less of a walk, more of a sniff-fest, but wow do my dogs love this place)

Speaking of dogs, Esbette is now blogging hers.

(photo: Pep, aka The Scent Whisperer, en route to a worthy walk)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dreaming local, dreaming bad parent

Last night I dreamt that I was in some sort of danger from someone and that my oldest son was going to defend me by playing a game of Bakugan in Corpening Plaza against the dangerous one.

Only, I knew that my son was going to lose, because I had failed to get him really powerful Bakugan thingies. Also because he only has a few. Again, my fault.

  1. Clearly, this was a dream about parenting and my subconscious fear of failing my children.
  2. I hate Bakugan.
Corpening Plaza, available to rent for all your Bakugan death matches

Friday, October 24, 2008

Conference Room, upper floor , The Reynolds Building

Yet another Bowman Gray portrait. I believe this one is Jr.

If you know anyone who works at RJR, now is the time to wheedle mercilessly until he/she agrees to tour you around the old Reynolds Building. It's some seriously stylish ciggie swank. I can't even imagine how many employees comprise the Brass Polish Patrol.

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

The back is even more amazing

"Scenes from a Home"
by local artist Robin Wyatt

On display at Associated Artists' gallery on Fourth

Associated Artists


STOP littering up downtown already.

The Tacky Rush

Historic Oak Grove School

Around 1870 the Moravian Church in Bethania sold land to George and Thomas Washington, both freed slaves, who helped build Washington Town, now known as the Oak Grove community. The Washington family donated land on which a one-room schoolhouse, Oak Grove School, was built around 1910. The historical and social importance of this event is that it was built in one of North Carolina's first communities settled by freed slaves.

Historic Oak Grove School

You oughta be in airwaves

I went to the last of the Reynolda symposiums (symposii?) last night. Wow, was that a top notch panel! The main gist was finding an equal balance of efficiency, economy, and elegance. The audience I think leaned toward making that Triangle of Happiness have the leg of "Elegance" longer by half (Economy be damned! Our bridges should sing!), but I think the triangle should be equilateral, with all three considerations carrying equal weight.

That said, the idea of spending on anything makes me incredibly nervous right now. I love the quality of life in Winston, and I would hate to see it diminished because during a time of severe economic downturn, we went with overly (for the economic times) expensive bridges. It's not just Joe and Jane Citizen who need to economize.

Shown is Phil Archer, director of public programming at Reynolda House, introducing the evening's moderator. If career options are the key to treading water in the Big Black Sea of Recession, Phil Archer is set, because he has the ultimate voice for radio. Or possibly for reading books aloud. Professional introducer? Anyway, he has a great voice.

Alas, I do not. When I hear mine played back on voicemail and other recording devices, I want to run shrieking from the room. In second grade, I was selected for a solo part in Liberty Lives!, a historical musical at my elementary school. I sang my little heart out as Molly Pitcher ("I am Molly Pitcher, and I was a soldier, toooooo! When my husband fell, I took his place and fought the battle throoooooough!") My proud mother, of course, bought a Betamax tape of the performance, then later had it converted to a regular VHS tape. When we were cleaning out her house in Washington a few years before she died, we found it and decided we had to watch my solo, my moment in the sun, one more time before pitching the tape, and so we did. We laughed soundlessly until we cried, and finally, when my mother found her voice again, the first thing she said was, "I love you, but that stank. Do you want it? Because I sure don't." Nor did I.

Reynolda House

Thursday, October 23, 2008

ATTN: PR Peeps

Esbette is coming into town for Fall Break at the end of next week. While here, she has to interview someone who works in public relations professionally. I'm not sure what the parameters are, but if you would be willing to meet with her while she's here (I want to say the 30th - 4th), please pop me an email.

---------- Esbette, stop reading HERE. -------------

I would be grateful if during the interview, you convinced her graduate school was a dead end road, an utter waste of time, malarkey, a contributing factor to a life of crime, or some such. If your interview leads to her dropping out and returning to Winston, I will be especially grateful, if you know what I mean and I think you do*.

* That's right. One of these babies!**

** Before you scoff, let me tell that will get you two of these babies (regrettably not including tax).

They're at it again...

click to enlarge

complete information

Pave Creative Group
Reynolda Village
Bikes for the World


I'm at Carmax on Hanes Mall Blvd, waiting for my car to be inspected. This will probably be my only outing on this, Day Three of Child Home Sick.

I'm fine with staying home one day, but by the second day, it begins to wear on me. By this morning, I was actually looking forward to having my car inspected. When asked if I also wanted to get the oil changed, I answered, "Yes! Yes, change it!" so enthusiastically that the service rep actually backed out of the room. Slowly.

It's not just my house that has this effect on me. Last week I put in some quite heavy volunteer hours at my sons' school, culminating with spending almost the entire day there Friday. I felt trapped, completely stir-crazy. And yet I know people - smart people, with no known psychiatric diagnoses - who work in that same building for hours on end e-v-e-r-y day quite happily. I can't even imagine.

I know why the caged bird sings - she's hoping to hurry her son's recuperation along so he can return to school and she can return to freedom.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Zeppole (aka Italian Doughnuts)

Dioli's Italian Market, 2898 Reynolda

Holy. I have never wanted a cup of coffee for dipping purposes so badly in my life. They look massive, but unlike traditional cake doughnuts, they are surprisingly airy and flaky inside. Eating one sent me momentarily into my own little world, a very happy little world*. I think I may have even heard an angel sing! Momma, is that you?


*Happiness made even greater by having escaped the house, where I've been cooped up with a sick child almost nonstop the last two days.

Get Yer Pie On

This Saturday, October 25th, you can purchase the ultimate local, cold weather comfort food - Moravian Chicken Pie - at two local churches.

Christ Moravian, 904 W. Academy St. (near Old Salem), will be selling them from 7-1, and Unity Moravian, in Lewisville, will be doing so from 8-1.

My experience with pies and churches is that the pies sell out, so go earlier rather than later.

For all those daunted by the frozenness, prep directions: put a frozen pie into a 400° oven for 60-90 minutes. (The chicken is already cooked before the pie is assembled, so the time discrepancy is for oven variation and pie density, if you will.)

Christ Moravian
Unity Moravian

Tubbs? Is that you?

The more the Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance does to this building on the corner of Northwest and Reynolda, the more it looks like the whole thing was somehow airlifted from Miami. The art-deco is rocking hard.

What the building used to look like
(The above is a vast improvement.)
Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance

Local Nostalgia

Recent News, Old Memories
A Guest Post by Neil Tolbert

I'll never forget making that right turn onto Third Street at 6:30 am over ten years ago, parking on the street and taking the short walk back up the hill to the corner of Third and Main. Crossing over Third and staring up at the iconic bronze plate on this massive building bearing that name: Wachovia Bank. Dressing the part and feeling like I could conquer the business world, my foot hitting the bottom step and pausing to take in the moment.

I was 21 years old that day, so that makes it more like fourteen years ago, but isn't it crazy how things have changed? Like many people in the Triad who took that first day on the job walk up those Wachovia steps… excited, proud, and with a sense of arriving to the business and banking world… I find it personally hard to swallow the upcoming change to our city's landscape.

I miss those breezy mornings. There is nothing colder around here than the wind between those buildings. There isn't anything quite like meeting friends on Fourth Street and taking the walk down to the old Dill Pickle for lunch. While we can't change the evolution of business, I sure am thankful for the good memories and that I can say I was there when.

When pressed Inquisition-style by yours truly, Neil Tolbert confessed he is, at best, an infrequent bowler, scoring in the mid 130s. He is, however, a self-professed "lover" of German sports cars and key lime pie. He is also the founder of
Triad Forum, a local discussion board. He and his wife live with their two boys in Clemmons.

ATTN: MPB and other bat admirers

The Children's Museum is holding two bat-centric programs! Preregistration is required for both.

"Bat's Incredible" is a live bat program, with a light supper included. It's on Saturday, November 1st, from 6-8 PM.

On Sunday, November 2nd, at 2 pm, there will be a Bat House Building Workshop. If you build it, they will come! (Maybe.)

details, including pricing (scroll down)
The Children's Museum of Winston-Salem
MPB's bat friends


Is the Winston-Salem Biff Burger still around? The building, I mean. I don't give a fig about the food; though if I did, I could apparently get a fix in Greensboro.

Oh, sorry, scroll down to the first photo here.

It was at 845 Corporation Highway, which my sources Google tell me is now Silas Creek Parkway. But that shape! I just feel I would have noticed it had I gazed upon its amazing roofline.

I've been thinking of "what makes a city interesting and beautiful"*, and I have arrived at an official position: Winston-Salem needs to preserve buildings that look like they're about to take flight.

*last symposium in this series at Reynolda House scheduled for tomorrow evening

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Local Loss

He loved children and provided smiles and joy to countless boys and girls as he put on his suit and wonderful wig and beard to represent Santa Claus, never missing a Christmas for over 50 years.

In our house, we call this a proxy Santa, not to be confused with the real Santa, who is much too busy in the weeks before Christmas to be sitting in the mall everyday. But we are grateful the proxy Santas, easily recognizable by their Official Proxy Santa Uniforms, are available to relay our holiday wishes to the big guy.

Fifty years in Santa service? That's impressive.

Local Power Washer Patio Art


Thanks, Mom

It's hard to imagine, but once upon a time, when I was little, I had no bottom. My mother dressed me daily in dresses, because with no waist and no behind to hold them up, skirts fell right off me. If there was a pretty blouse she wanted me to wear, she'd put me in a jumper, but generally, it was dresses, crisply ironed ones for school, casual, soft ones for play.

When it grew cold in the fall, she'd adapt, switching me to overalls, which were not reliant on the wearer having a bottom to hold them up, only shoulders. The other option was to wear a dress (or jumper) with tights, which drooped on me. I mean, how could they possibly stay up? Inevitably, I ended up with what looked like elephant knees, which I would try my little child best to fix but never quite manage. And so during the cold months, my mother limited my dresses to church and parties (also limiting the chances of being in public with me when I suddenly grabbed my tights and yanked them skyward in a most undignified manner).

There were some occasions, though, when my mother's adaptive skills were tested to the limits. Such was the case the Halloween of '75, when I insisted that I wanted to be a ballerina. You know, with one of those puffy, ballerina tutus. To the right is the result.

Note that while I look nothing like an actual ballerina, I am beaming because I just know I am beautiful. My mother did that for me, instilled a strong sense of self-worth, so that no matter what challenges my body threw at me as it grew, I never lost my smile.

Every little girl should be so lucky.
GOTR Forsyth County is an interactive life-skills program that uses the power of running to change the way girls see themselves and their opportunities! Our innovative health education and wellness program uniquely combines training for a 3.1 mile run/walk event with life-changing, self esteem enhancing lessons that encourage healthy habits and an active lifestyle in 8-12 year old girls.

Girls on the Run Forsyth County

It was a dark and stormy night

Winston-Salem Writers is hosting an Open Mic tonight, Tuesday October 21st, with signups beginning at 6:30 and readings at 7, at Billy Bob's Silver Diner. While priority will be given to WSW members, anyone is welcome to sign up to read original poetry or prose, space permitting.

During a WSW Open Mic, members and future members read brief excerpts from their prose and poetry. Others attend just to socialize. Unlike the process at a "slam," there's no judging. The purpose is to give writers and poets greater experience in presenting to a live, friendly, and receptive audience.

Billy Bob's Silver Diner
Winston-Salem Writers

Basic SKYWARN Training and Severe Weather 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Salem Academy & College, Fine Arts Center - Drama Workshop, 500 E. Salem Ave.


The National Weather Service will present the SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter program to help participants understand the warning process addressing first responder issues. Discussions of how and why buildings fail in high winds as well as thunderstorm development and severity will be covered. Attendees will learn to recognize cloud elements of developing thunderstorms and be able to determine storm motion, intensity and severity based on cloud structure. Lighting and its danger to first responders will also be covered to help participants understand how lightning strikes and associated dangers.

For more information contact:
Michelle Brock



(919)515-8209 Ext. 223

Monday, October 20, 2008

Here's a tip

Forsyth County Sheriff Schatzman has issued his list of tips for a safe Halloween. I am therefore issuing my list of tips for a don't-tick-off-Esbee Halloween.

Let's begin.

1. A pillowcase held in your hand and thrust out when the door opens does not qualify as "a costume", and you are not entitled to candy if this is the extent of your effort. This is a quid pro quo holiday. No quid, no quo. So if you are simply too fabulous to wear the merest semblance of a costume, do us both a favor and walk on by, Joe Cool.*

Really, that's about the extent of my trick-or-treating pet peeves. It's a short list.

* That said, if you are in costume, I don't care how old you are, I will reward you handsomely. It's all about the effort in this house. And yes, homemade costumes are more lauded. That costume your Mom bought from the party store may look exactly like a robot, but that other kid rockin' the dryer vent hose arms and the Reynolds Wrap hat is going to get twice as much candy from me.

For Sale: Conrad House

Conrad House, on Fifth Street downtown across from Central Library, is apparently on the market. Don't get your hopes up though; there was actually a FSBO sign up a few weeks ago, but then it was taken down, so who knows how long this will stay on the market.


For that person who professes to have everything...

He/She only thinks he/she has everything. I would bet good money that he/she does not, in fact, have a Moravian Lady Bowling Pin. Which is why you must give one to him/her IMMEDIATELY.

Cricket's Nest Holiday Open House
October 25
10 am - 4 pm
Don't miss that one of a kind item!
Holiday items will be displayed until third week in December.

Cricket's Nest

This Saturday

The Forsyth County Rabies Vaccination Committee offers low-cost rabies clinics for cats and dogs over 3 months of age in the Spring and Fall of each year. The Fall 2008 Clinic is scheduled for Saturday, October 25th.

Who is Eligible Dogs and cats over 3 months of age. We will vaccinate pets from Forsyth and other counties in North Carolina.

Cost The cost to vaccinate each pet is $5.00.

Appointments The Rabies Vaccination Clinic is a walk-in clinic.

Clinic Hours 12 noon to 3 p.m.

Location The clinic will be held at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds Cattle Barn (Gate 9 on 27th Street)

Other Information It is required that dogs be on leashes and cats be in carriers. If you do not have a carrier, loaners are available. For more information call 703-3110 or contact Animal Control.

Microchipping will be available for $20.00 with proof of current rabies vaccination.

Lest you believe there is no danger of rabies in Forsyth County, think again, my friend. In fact, 2008 appears to be a banner year.

Rabies Information from Forsyth County Animal Control

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We're outside today, of course

How could we possibly be inside? That said, we'll come in before dark, dragging our potted plants behind us.

Forsyth County
Frost Advisory:
Issued at: 2:28 PM EDT 10/19/08, expires at: 8:00 AM EDT 10/20/08

Frost advisory remains in effect from 2 am to 8 am edt monday,
Light frost will likely develop tonight as temperatures will fall into the mid 30s by early Monday morning. The likelihood of frost will be greatest in rural areas.
This is the first chance of frost this autumn. Sensitive outdoor plants should be brought indoors or covered.

WXII's Severe Weather page, by county

Local viewpoint

On Sportsmanship and Civility, by Bo Gray

Before I reflect on the game last night, I need to mention that I have been to many NHL games both in New York at MSG and even more at the Excel Center in St. Paul, MN where I lived for 16 years, and I think I have a pretty good grasp on what a typical hockey game, both on and off the ice, looks like.

vs. Ice Bears:

There were multiple fights. The Knoxville Ice Bears fans who sat behind us kept yelling things such as "Ah wanna see uh fayt" or "knock him on his buht" or "blow it out yer buht" or "shoot that thang!" I am sure they are truly lovely ladies once outside of the hockey arena. As for the children that were allowed to taunt the opposing team members who had been sent to the penalty box for having perpetrated something on someone's BUHT - I was embarrassed for them. I am even more shocked that some adults actually encouraged these children to beat on the glass and scream YOU SUCK! A few adults joined in as well. I am afraid that Winston-Salem is losing some of its civility. As for my son, he was shocked when the first fight broke out and when he witnessed what the other kids were doing, looked at me as if to ask "is that OK?". No, it's not.

We enjoyed the game for the most part, but there is nothing that qualifies as gentlemanly about any aspect of this event here in Winston-Salem. For this to become a real family event, it would be helpful if we showed some sportsman like conduct and taught our children how to behave respectfully at public events.

(Esbee note: Yikes! The church fish fry was the polar opposite, I'm glad to say.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fish Fry, Take Out or Eat In

I'm driving back from dropping the oldest off for a sleepover at my cousin's house in Kernersville when I spot it: a firetruck in a church parking lot. Because of the youngest's extraordinary career beliefs, I remain hyper-aware of firetrucks, and this one is not where it's supposed to be, i.e. across the street at the firehouse. As I pass it, I see why: the church at which the truck is parked is having a fish fry.

Community food always trumps cooking at home. Sitting at a table with strangers, disposable cutlery and desserts laid out in individual servings - they make relatively ordinary meals into events to remember and to look forward to attending again. My local favorite, of course, remains the Twin City Kiwanis Pancake Event for sentimental reasons, but I tell you what, that fish tonight was none too shabby either.

With the oldest

Pep and I usually move quite quickly, her energy and my iPod pushing us briskly along. Today I left the iPod in the car and kept a firm hold on Pep, who tempered her pace to match our own.

I love taking walks with the oldest, seeing what he notices that I take for granted, what piques his curiosity. He asks good questions; they make me beam before answering. He observes and reasons. He falls behind me from time to time and imagines; I can hear him whispering snippets of dialogue. He comes gloriously alive.

Sometimes, I think it would be wonderful to toss all the books, ditch the classrooms, and just let the children walk in the woods for a week during school hours. The plan would be to have no plan, just to let the child be. I truly believe they'd learn more in that week than any other, but not in ways easily measured by filling in bubbles with Number 2 pencils.

Harris Teeter, Whitaker Square

Even though they're on sale, I can hardly bring myself to buy Pepperidge Farm cookies, not so much because of the price, but because they were Special Occasion Cookies in our house when I was growing up. Not brought out on special occasions, mind, but purchased so rarely that such a purchase was a special occasion in and of itself. My mom liked the Veronas, the ones with little rounds of jam, though they weren't called Veronas then.

Everyday Cookies in our house were Chips Ahoy, the Girl Scout oatmeal cookies, and animal crackers. I thought of Oreos even as exotic - the only person I knew who had them in the pantry was my neighbor, K.M. One day in the A & P, I used that to argue in favor of purchase to my mother; she dismissed my argument, saying that K.M.'s family's food proclivities were clearly not to be trusted, after all, they bought Wonder bread, for goodness sake.

They also bought the really puffy, really large cheese curls, which K.M. and I would eat while playing her Atari, mindlessly consuming them until the roofs of our mouths felt scraped and raw and our fingertips were stained orange beyond washing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

If you look under your car's seats, you can probably find at least that much

This Saturday, October 18th, at 7:30 PM, the Twin City Cyclones will play a preseason game against the Knoxville Ice Bears. Each ticket is a mere $3, and ticket sales benefit the United Way. Plus, parking is FREE. To add to the entertainment value, there will also be two broom hockey matches:
  • City of Winston-Salem employees vs. Forsyth County employees
  • BB&T vs. Hanesbrands
Plus there will be numerous, amazing photo opportunities.

Twin City Cyclones (opens with fierce music)
Forsyth United Way
City of Winston-Salem
Forsyth County

Salt as in salt, y'all

detail of "Salt and Earth (Honey)"
artist: Young Kim
materials: granular salt, clay, bowl, honey

Sincerely, get thee to Associated Artists on Fourth and check out their new show, Cultural Crossroads. This is a detail from the piece that took first place, one of two by this artist. Both are installed on the floor of the gallery, both are primarily comprised of loose salt in the shape of crypts. They are INSANE to look at. I can't even wrap my mind around the logistics.

There are a bunch of other really spectacular pieces that merit their own posts. I'll be divvying them out over the next week or so. (Eye candy in moderation.)

Associated Artists

The Hungry Insomniac*

I slept terribly last night, finally just giving up at about 5 am. On a happy note, I had plenty of time to make biscuits this morning. The children are tickled.

I can't remember where I got my biscuit recipe, but I find a lot of wonderful recipes on two Winston foodie blogs.

Dishing it Out is written by Journal peeps Michael Hastings and Laura Giovanelli. It recently featured a recipe for the Salem Tavern pumpkin muffins.

Nik Snacks is written by local chef, Nikki Miller-Ka. She posts recipes for Southern staples (psst, Yankees and Other Unfortunates, you need to make these). The pictures on her blog make me want to lick my monitor.

Dishing it Out
Nik Snacks
Salem Tavern

*No, I don't really have insomnia. I'll sleep better when it's cool. It was too hot in our house last night.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Seeing Our City - The Heart of Our City: Downtown Living, Diversity, and a District for the Arts

Thursday, October 16, 2008, 7 p.m.
Admission is free.

John Sloan's paintings present a unique opportunity to promote discussion about what makes a city interesting and beautiful. Is it the variety of people that make up its residents? Is it the architecture? Is it the natural parks and places where people can relax by the water, or artists and their creativity that add an indefinable spark to a city?

Reynolda House is hosting a series of free public forums, with talks by leading experts and local leaders, on three successive Thursday evenings in October. Members of the audience will be encouraged to ask questions and contribute to the discussion. A reception follows each forum.

Speaker: Dr. James Johnson is a fellow of the Urban Land Institute, director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center, and professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler School of Business. Johnson is a nationally recognized authority on urban development and social justice. The panel includes representatives from Goler Community Development Corporation, the Downtown Arts District, and the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership.

Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to make this one. You should, though.

Reynolda House
Dr. James Johnson
Goler Community Development Corporation
Downtown Arts District Association
Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

Sometimes the gaudy colors of autumn can disguise some of the more demure plants in the garden. Such is the case with this apparently ho hum plant.

But on closer inspection the subtle beauty is revealed.

This tough 36" tall shade loving perennial is called Japanese Toad Lilly. The botanical name is Tricyrtis and this cultivar is named 'Sinonome. The multiple orchid like blooms appear in September and October and last deep into fall. This plant is nice combined with hosta's and ferns for good textural contrast and is perfect in a woodland setting. This was purchased locally.

Local Ride

Fourth Street

MPB is generously offering cheese fries

We're at Skippy's, obviously, of whose food I never tire. (I just wish a hot dog on a pretzel roll, cheese fries, and birch beer was considered "eating healthy".)

Voting started this morning

At this location, there is at least a one hour wait time to vote. I am tickled that people find it worth it. It's a nice change from the usual turnout.

more on early voting, including the ballot and early voting locations


At my mother's childhood home in Ocala, I'd play the old piano in my aunt's room. I'd sit at my mother's delicate vanity with the spotted mirror. And sometimes I'd venture up the stairs to my uncle's room and build fantastic structures with the Lincoln Logs left behind with his childhood.

My father always wanted a log home. Whenever he spotted one when we were out driving, he'd absentmindedly murmur "beautiful".

I am not drawn to the log homes. They're fine, mind you; I just don't long for one the way my father did. The outbuildings, however, are another matter. This time of year especially, they call to me, the tobacco barns, the corn cribs, the buildings whose use isn't readily apparent to me. When I come across one that's falling down, I feel an incredible sense of sadness. It just seems like such a waste.

I hope someone wonderful buys this property, the house that Daddy would have loved, the barn I do, both worth saving, worth savoring.

at right: Reynolda Gardens

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Local Signage

Miller Street, Ardmore

Note the handwritten addition. Apparently the crime wave continues.


Click on images to enlarge

Just past Brookstown Antiques, E. and I spotted these sticker thingies stuck on the buildings at about ankle level. We have no idea why they're there or who put them there or anything, but we immediately began looking all about ever so hopefully. Sadly, we found no more.

Mozelle's on Fourth

My friend E. and I tried out Mozelle's for lunch today. We had such high hopes. Alas...


I'd write a detailed list of issues, but I feel as apathetic as the food. Suffice it to say, cross Fourth and go to The Filling Station instead. (E. agrees.)


edit, June 2009: UPDATE!


We brought our pumpkins home yesterday from Maple Springs, as always. The dearest gentleman, a Mr. Harris, helped us load them in a wheelbarrow which he slowly wheeled to the checkout area while regaling us with a story about being thrown out of the High Point cinema by Andy Griffith. I almost brought Mr. Harris home, too.

I'm pleased to announce that this year the oldest turned his nose up at the ghastly, ghostly pumpkins. (Sadly, the youngest immediately glommed onto one. Sigh.)

Maple Springs U.M.C.

Step #317 in my plot to become the most reviled woman in Winston

My day? How was my day yesterday, you ask?

A vignette, if you will:

I walk back to my car, which is parked on Trade. I'm trying to receive a photo on my phone, so I am looking at the phone while I put my car key in the lock, which I have to do because the salt air at the beach last summer messed up the beep-beep keyless entry thing. Anyway, as usual, I scratch up the little keyhole well while doing it, because it takes me like five passes to get my key in. And then I try to turn the key, only it won't turn, and so I try again, while beginning to get really annoyed.

While doing this, I realize there is a man standing next to the car staring at me, open-mouthed. Only then does it occur to me that possibly this is not my car. So I look in the back window, and sure enough, no carseat. I turn to this man, the man who has just watched me basically key his car repeatedly, and say, "Oh, haha, my car is the next one."

And I turn to point it out, only it's not the next car, or even the next-next car. No. My car is a full block up Trade. And an entirely different shade of blue.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that is how my day was.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Their courtship began when he saw her sitting on the porch shining her Daddy' s shoes and he asked if she would shine his too. They were married on March 2, 1946.

My husband and I worked two doors down from each other. Eventually we began nodding hello as we got coffee at the same corner store. Then we started saying hello, progressing to shooting the breeze while stirring in creams and sugars. Eventually, we dated, then married.

Meh. Not nearly as good. (On a positive note: if I live as long as Mrs. Snow did, I have a little better than forty years to make up a far better love story.)

These make me want to take up knitting

My mother had a large jar of various buttons she kept next to her Singer. While she sewed, I would sit next to her, holding the jar and turning it in my hands, looking at them all, then shaking it so that new ones surfaced.

I've always thought my mother's buttons in a jar were lovelier than any buttons you might find nowadays, and then today I saw these in the Piedmont Craftsmen gallery on Trade. They remind me of seashells, each tiny and similar but then, when you look more closely, beautiful and individual.

Jane Peiser

Piedmont Craftsmen


Local blogger Brian Leon, whose powerful photo of his grieving wife still moves me to tears, has made a video of two recent remembrance events he and his family attended in memory of their sweet baby boy, Nicholas. One of those events was the Walk to Remember, organized by Heartstrings.

Heartstrings Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support offers group support, one-to-one support for those with similar losses through its Connections program, and online support. We also offer subsequent pregnancy support. All of our programs are available free to anyone who has lost a baby from conception to one year of age.


C is for Cookie

Random Cookie is a line of quirky, artsy greeting cards created by local Mike Foley that are just ever-so-slightly... off. In a really, really good way.

Find them locally at Pink Mink, simplyummy, Mary's Of Course, and Patina.

Random Cookie
Mike Foley
Pink Mink
Mary's Of Course
Patina (Alas, no discernible website. If I'm wrong, pls. let me know.)

But really, the glory alone makes it worth it

Ken Otterbourg, Winston-Salem Journalite and haiku fan, is holding a haiku contest on his blog. You may submit an entry there anytime before this Thursday at noon.

The first line of the entry haiku is given; it comes from a headline.

Dow falls six days straight

Winner to receive "a special prize".

The poop scoop on haiku, from the North Carolina Haiku Society
The poop scoop on Ken's Haiku Contest

Monday, October 13, 2008

@ every single one

The City of Winston-Salem rec centers will host fall festivals on October 31st from 6-8 PM. Festivals will feature cake walks, ball throws, balloon bursts and other games, plus a costume parade, candy and prizes. Best Part: festival events are FREE.

City Recreation Centers

Thanks, Cristóbal Colón

This way to happyhappy yumyum

Today is one of those minor holidays when my husband's office is randomly closed but the schools are open. Rubbing our hands gleefully together, my husband and I headed to the original Village Tavern for lunch, where we ran into my friend, Jill, and her husband in the same serendipitous circumstances. The four of us shared a table and some truly funny conversation. Also, I had Tavern shrimp and grits, which are still, in my opinion, The Best Shrimp and Grits in Town.

The Village Tavern

ATTN: Winston-Salem

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is official. We are now a mere two degrees away from Kevin Bacon.

10th Anniversary Tour of “Footloose”
Saturday, February 28, 2009 – 7:30 PM

Tasty additional option:

Buffet Dinner prepared and served by North Carolina School of the Arts Dining Services

5:30-7:30 PM on the 10th floor of the Stevens Center

Includes Rolls with butter, Ice tea, coffee and water
Caesar salad
Sliced roast beef w/ Au Jus
Sliced BBQ pork shoulder
Risotto w/ mushrooms and leeks
Baby carrots w/ parsley
Pumpkin Pie
Turtle cheesecake

complete information

Meet _____________

Meet ____________, who decided to hang out in our basement. While I was at the grocery store, the cat noticed him, my husband noticed the cat noticing, and the children gleefully shouted, "Hurray! Can we keep him?" My husband, in a fit of madness over the Saints' victory, said, "Hurray! Yes!" By the time I came home, it was a done deal.

See the little bulge on the snake's body on the far left? That's a "pinky", a tiny, possibly neonate, mouse. I will spare you the specifics of the preparation of the mouse, but let me just say one step is "Squeeze the abdomen to check tenderness." I swear I better get THE BEST MOTHER"S DAY GIFTS EVER this year.

I suggested we name the snake Mustang Sally, but I was informed that was "lame". And so, I put it out to you to come up with The Perfect Name. We don't know the snake's gender, so the possibilities are wide open. Have at it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Take a stab

Rat snakes are expert climbers and can even climb trees simply by holding onto the rough bark with their belly scales. They are commonly found in and around human dwellings and survive well in established neighborhoods, sometimes turning up in chimneys, attics, and basements.

You'll never guess why I looked this up. Go ahead, try.

Snakes of North Carolina


I took Pep walking yesterday at Reynolda Gardens, a frequent destination for us. I love the people who work throughout the property - so genteel, so diplomatic, so respectful. However I'm noticing that more and more frequently, the same courtesy is not being returned. I don't work at Reynolda; I'm not required to be fantastically kind. So let me lay this right out in plain language.

  1. Don't act like you don't know your dog has pooped. PICK IT UP.
  2. If your dog is an unsocialized beast, consider NOT BRINGING HIM/HER somewhere you well know you will come across other dogs and people.
  3. If you must bring your ill-behaved canine friend along, spare us the fake surprise when he/she lunges and barks savagely. Puh-lease. You knew it was going to happen. More importantly, SHORTEN THE LEASH BEFORE PASSING OTHER DOGS/PEOPLE.
  4. There are certain areas where dogs are not allowed, and yes, the formal gardens are one such area. DON'T ACT LIKE YOU CAN'T READ THE PLAINLY WRITTEN SIGNS TELLING YOU SO.
  1. No, you may not park on the grass just inside the gate of Reynolda House. Nobody cares if you are a photographer with equipment to carry. Hoof it from a designated parking area like the rest of us if you want to get to the fallow field or anywhere else to take photos. YOUR GOLD VOLVO SUV IS UGGING UP EVERYBODY ELSE'S VIEW.
  1. Enjoy yourself. It's lovely, isn't it?
Reynolda Gardens

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Actually, she's more than OK

I encourage all local parents to take their children on worthy outings like this.

Reminder: tomorrow is the last day.


-DW-'s sister has some mad comic strip skills.

-DW- has some, too.

(The oldest is hoping to cultivate some. Alas, he inherited none from me.)

The October meeting of the Camel City Cartoonists' Guild and Social Club will be held Saturday, October 25th, at 2:00 at the central library in Winston-Salem. We'll be in room 204.

The Camel City Cartoonists' Guild and Social Club

Runnin' and Representin'

A certain local blogger will be representing the Dash tomorrow as she runs in The Chicago Marathon. I checked with a little running-type birdie, and he confirmed that this is, indeed, "a big honking deal".

Since SS has already left for Chicago, I'll put this in big letters so she can make it out from far away.


Proud owners of three Dash Mutts

My husband finished work early yesterday, so we took the boys to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua at the Grand. It was actually decently amusing as kids' movies go, well worth matinee price, with George Lopez's canine character saying amazing things like, "I'm a Mexican, not a Mexican't."

The best line of the evening, however, came from the youngest, who, when finally seated with his beloved bag of popcorn, asked, "Can I have a Diet Dr. Coke, Mom?" Ha-ha-ha-ha! I think not. Here's your bottle of water, sweatpea.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (opens with most excellent music)
The Grand Theatre

Friday, October 10, 2008


North Cherry, between First and Second

The mission of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, Inc. is to define, secure, and organize the necessary community, financial, and human resources necessary to effectively create and promote a dynamic revitalization plan for Downtown Winston-Salem which will benefit the entire community.

Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership

Opening Monday

Whistlestop Toy Station's new location in Mount Tabor Place

Thank goodness, because it is still my favorite place to buy birthday presents.

(Mount Tabor Place is the shopping plaza on Robinhood with the Fresh Market. Whistlestop is to the right if you are facing Fresh Market, just past Subway.)

River Birch Lodge

No joke - I could eat Eggs Benedict at every meal. Once upon a time, I came close.

Sadly, River Birch Lodge only offers them at weekend brunch. Ditto Village Tavern. Ditto Zevely House.

The day a local restaurant starts offering them all week long is the day I begin Operation Benedict (Eggs, not Pope) 365.

River Birch Lodge

Wherefore goest thou, Winston-Salem?

I went to this event at Reynolda House last night. Before I begin, let me confess the following: I am RIDICULOUSLY HORRIBLE with names. Embarrassingly so. That said, Let me step on my soapbox just for a second.

While the end results of the keynote speaker's* efforts in the small town of Deland, Florida were impressive, I was appalled by his methodology, which reeked of "I know what's best for you better than you know what's best for you," "Building Codes, Shmilding Codes", and "Historical Shmistorical."

However, it did make for some interesting discourse in which the local peeps shone.

Especially impressive:

1. The professor from Forsyth Tech/local architect's** assertion that so-called "sustainable architecture" is nothing new, bolstered by slides from Pueblo Indian villages, as well as his position that "green" shouldn't be a trend, it should be the norm in construction, that it just makes sense. Indeed.

2. The fellow from Old Salem*** who refused to jump into the keynote speaker's pep rally, instead tempering it by asking pointed and good questions to which he received no real answers. He questioned the exhibit off which the discussion springboarded, too. I am a huge supporter of asking more questions rather than fewer, especially when done respectfully, as he did. Also, he wore an amazing tie (see photo).

I think the keynote speaker spoke to promote discussion more of, dare I say, himself, and less of the city of Winston-Salem, but I do think the discussion of where this city is going is an important one to have. There will be two more panels in October, and I'm going to try to attend both.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Watch the video (Quicktime required)
Look! Reynolda House is more hip than I! They're on Facebook!

*I do not remember his name. I did, however, remember the name of his film.
** I also do not remember his name, but fortuitously I wrote down the name of his architecture firm.
*** I know this will come as a shock to you, but I do not remember his name. His tie, however, will live on in my heart forever.

Local Horatio

I know that attorneys roll their eyes at legal dramas and doctors roll their eyes at medical dramas.

CSI: Miami, however, is brilliant for how absurd it is - the best comedy ever - so I hope the Forsyth County Sheriff's CSIs who command this mighty vehicle give the show the mad props it deserves.

Forsyth County Sheriff (sadly no CSI page, a startling oversight)

This post goes out to Esbette and all the other local CSI: Miami aficionados out there

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Like velvet

Dalton Memorial Garden, St. Paul's, Summit Street

The dogwood tree from my childhood grew on a hill. Heck, our whole house was set on a hill, which sloped steeply downward into the back yard.Narrow stone steps led down to it on one side of the house. Going down on the other side involved grabbing onto saplings and sort of dirt-skiing on one's shoes, no small task when wearing a dress. I ruined so many pairs of tights wiping out going to the backyard that way rather than "the right way" that my mother finally insisted I change into "play clothes" as soon asd I got home from school.

At the very center of our backyard lay my destination on my downhill jaunts - an ancient patio, flagstone, which blackened every winter due to persistent damp from the shade of the tulip poplar that towered above it. The patio was shielded from view by boxwoods, and so it was my own private stage while I sang and twirled and acted out scenarios I dreamt up. But the patio was crumbling, with cracks between the stones, and every spring my mother would say she was going to rip the whole thing out. I would beg her not to, for more than anything else, I loved running my fingers over the thick, green strips of moss that grew in the cracks between the stones. And so she left it, year after year, until we left the house. Whenever I see ribbons of moss, I wonder if it's still there.

Kernel HolyMolyThisIsAmazing

Drizzly days are always improved by Kernel Kustard's caramel corn.

Kernel Kustard

Joyner's West End Grocery, built in 1892

Fourth @ Burke

The Land Store that Time Forgot (Also, The Store Where I Forget Time)

I could spend hours in Edward McKay*. Hours. That's why I try to set limits. I'll tell myself, "Books: oldest: authors' last names from S-T". And I still am there for an inordinate amount of time. Thankfully, an inordinate amount of time at Edward McKay only runs about, oh, $6.

Edward McKay

* the next best thing to The Book Barn (and considerably closer)

ATTN: med peeps

St Timothy's Episcopal Church will celebrate the Feast of St Luke with the Blessing of Hands, Oct. 19 at 8am and 10:30. All medical professionals are invited as we honor them by thanking God and asking for God's blessing upon them and their hands of healing.

St. Timothy's

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Much like it

I spent most of the day at the fair. I enjoyed myself immensely right up until my cell phone rang. It took me a second to be able to hear, what with being surrounded by joyous fair noise, but eventually I made out the following words:

Mrs. ___________

After that, I felt much like this.

Thankfully, by the time I got to the school, he was fine. Goose egg, scrape, headache, but fine.

Pine Hall Brick, Shorefair Drive

The original headquarters in Salem (of Winston-Salem) was just two doors from the Firehouse and the Old Salem Caf�c. "In those days, each man was responsible for producing 1,000 bricks per day and most of the product was sent to Winston," said Flake Steele, Jr., son of the founder. The brick were sent by rail car to the public dock and unloaded by hand via conveyers. Then, brick would be hand loaded onto a truck, between layers of straw to prevent chippage, and shipped to the job site. Most of these brick went on new houses located on Lover's Lane, now Stratford Road in Winston-Salem.

Pine Hall Brick Co. Inc., founded in 1922

(dancing excitedly)

Remember way back? This far. OK, and so then remember I bought this?

Guess what?



I saw at least six before I started doing the Snoopy dance in my front yard. I'm so excited I can barely sit still to type this.

(Someone - hi, Yarddawg - let me know when we get close to frost danger so I can haul the tree indoors.)