Hello Hello

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Around noon I was in Edward McKay getting more books for the oldest, who continues to read me out of house and home. The above is the back vestibule, the only part of E.M. that wasn't packed to the gills with people. Normally I hate it when stores are so crowded, but at this one it makes me wildly happy, like an affirmation that Books Are Good. In my heart, I already know it, but it's nice to be among fellow believers.

Edward McKay

Friday, January 30, 2009

Local Neologism Contest

Years ago when I was a college student, I had a male roommate, another lit major. (Keith was an actual roommate; that isn't a euphemism for something bow-chicky-bow-wow-ish.) We lived off-campus in an apartment, on Wisconsin Avenue at the corner of Fulton. Keith had spent a semester in Prague and had a thing for Eastern European and/or Jewish women.

One day a new building began to go up in front of our apartment building. We had no idea what it was going to be and spent weeks casually watching it, wondering if it was going to be this or that. Finally a sign went up that identified it as a soon-to-open synagogue. When I told Keith, he got this look of sheer joy, of inner bliss, in his eyes. Shortly thereafter, I coined a term for what I called it when he always happened to be walking past that new building just at the moment temple services let out: synagoggling.

Your job is to come up with an original neologism for a phenomenon local to Winston-Salem and the surrounding area. You have until next Friday, February 6th, at 5 pm EST. You may post your entry here in comments so that everyone can enjoy, but please simultaneously email it to me so I have a datestamp should two people come up with the same, winning term. You may enter more than one neologism.

Winner will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges and will receive a $10 giftcard to simplyummy.


Week from today

On Friday, February 6th at noon, the Forsyth County Public Library will kick-off Black History Month with a special panel discussion on the state of race relations locally and throughout the country. Several well-known community leaders, including radio personality Mutter Evans from WAAA, former Winston-Salem Alderwoman Virginia Newell, and local history researcher Mel White, are among those scheduled to participate.

This year’s theme “The Color Line Revisited,” provides a retrospective look at race relations from the 1950’s up to present day. Bring a brown bag lunch and take part in what will be a very enlightening and stimulating discussion. This event will take place in the Central Library Auditorium. For more information, e-mail andrewrj@forsythlibrary.org.

Central Library

Remember that whole "If I could have any church as a house..." thing?

Yeah, this.

OK, I maybe want this one instead. Those twin cupolas are Swoon City!

Goler Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion

Well, let him out!

When I was young, my father tried to tell me the joke about Prince Albert in a can. It never made sense to me. Even when it was explained to me, I couldn't figure out what was meant. Tobacco in a can? Like a can of peas? Or a short can, like tuna? My father would shake his head and sigh.

Photo taken at Brookstown Antiques, 1004 Brookstown

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Free Culture

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is showing another FREE movie tonight at 7 pm.

This week's film is Never Forever, which is about the incredibly extreme measures that the wife of a Korean-American man goes to in her quest to become pregnant.

This film is rated R. The dialog is in English and Korean with subtitles.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Brookstown, just off Fourth

L.C. and I are at Flashback Smoothies, trying what they charmingly call "Old Fashion Hotdogs". L.C. is a hot dog fiend. (It's kinda scary.)

update, post-meal: OK, you know the hot dogs they have at baseball games, with the buns lightly toasted? THOSE. Super-yum! Plus the woman behind the counter couldn't have been nicer. I'll be back.

Flashback Smoothies


Sadly for the youngest, the new Wells Fargo colors will still not yield purple lollipops.

*The Bank Formerly Known As Wachovia

Grumble, grumble, kvetch, kvetch

A small but vocal number of parents were grousing this morning about the WSFCS schools being open on time in spite of patches of ice. I watched one man pointedly step dead center on a small patch, push his foot so that it slid, then point at it accusingly and dramatically say, "Ice!" to one of the teachers unloading car riders.

I didn't even really think about the ice until it was mentioned; I just stepped over it. I turned the car on five minutes early this morning to give the windshields time to clear, but that was the extent of my inconvenience.

I well remember going to school in our family's VW Bug on icy days. The heat that thing put out was enough to melt your feet off. The rest of you might be cold, but your feet were on fire.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

Clips and Snips
by Yarddawg

Winter continues to linger around these parts and I must admit there have been few days pleasant enough for me to be outside for prolonged periods. I had planned to take and share some photos of some plants with interest during the winter months. This has been postponed until the weather improves. For now I’ll fill in with a hodgepodge of information.

So a little bit of this and that is in order starting with news of the Tanglewood Arboretum annual plant sale. The 2009 dates are April 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25. Time 9:00AM – 12:00 PM. Each sale day at 11:00 AM there will be a variety of educational workshops offered. Mark your calendar now. Yarddawg will be volunteering for some of the dates.

Many comment from time about having a “brown thumb” and not knowing how to properly plant trees and shrubs. Help is here with this video I found on the Washington Post Website. Check out the tree and shrub tutorial here.

Following up on last week’s post on native plants and shrubs, here is a link of some worthy natives and non-natives for gardeners in North Carolina from North Carolina State University Horticulture on the Internet. This is as close to a one stop plant site for various kinds of information as you’re likely to find.

I am doing some research and in the near future I hope to unveil my Top Ten list of plants, trees, and shrubs. I’ve discovered it is really hard to name only ten.

And finally from way out in left field my garden find of the week. How to create a gazing ball for your garden using recycled materials. In this case, believe it or not, using a bowling ball. If you don’t believe it just click here.

Until next time.

Goodbye, Conrad House

I pretty much figured on a teardown. It was in atrocious condition.

I wonder what's going here?


Delta Arts Center

I went to the Delta Arts Center today. It's all of six minutes from downtown, but I've never been before. Their current show is Samplers & Symmetry II: Pieces by area African American Quilters. It just opened and will run through March 28th. The quilts in it are GORGEOUS and each completely different than the next.

There was a school group from Ashley Elementary at the center. Children were taking small fabric shapes and gluing them onto paper to make their own quilt squares. They were all concentrating so hard at it. (I very much wished I could sit down and join in.)

The Delta Fine Arts Center is located at 2611 New Walkertown. It's open Tuesdays - Fridays 10-5 and Saturdays 11-3. Admission is FREE.

Delta Arts Center

Ashley Elementary School

top to bottom: "Something Inside Me" by Andrena Stoddard Coleman, detail of "Spring Sprung" by Carolyn Beard Whitlow and detail of "Broken China Plates", unknown piecer circa 1950, quilted by Shirley M. Smith

Dear Lowes Foods:

See all those carts? A good 1/3 of them pull to one side.

You have roughly a kablillion checkout peeps hanging out between 8 and 9 am, waiting to be called upon to ring or bag. How about you put some of them to use checking carts? Surely someone is a tinkerer. Let him/her tinker with the pulling carts!

I'm telling you this because I love you. Your company is based here! In Winston-Salem! I want you to succeed. But the cart thing... it's an issue.

Fondly, Esbee

PS: Also they lack cupholders. which isn't a hugie, but should you decide to go with new carts, cupholders are goood.

PPS: Even pulling, they are still better than the plastic ones Harris Teeter had for a while. Don't get those.

Lowes Foods

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


That's my favorite a cappella YouTube video ever. Sadly it's ten years old, plus it's from Indiana, so those handsome young faces won't be here come February 7th, but many others will be.

A Cappella Jam For Hope Benefit Concert
February 7th, 2009
Reynolds Auditorium (301 N. Hawthorne Road)

Award winning a cappella groups from universities and colleges across the state will perform. Proceeds will go to benefit The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem, a non-profit organization that provides a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children who are receiving medical care in our community's hospitals. Doors open at 6:15 pm and the concert begins at 7:00 pm. A $5 donation will be requested at the door.

R.J. Reynolds High School Auditorium


Lunchdate with my husband

We're at Bib's Downtown, where the patron ratio of men to women is 50:1. And that's counting the older lady drinking beer out of the bottle two tables over.

EDIT: 1 pm: Lots of meat on the ribs. I had the three rib plate. It came with 3 hush puppies, 2 Texas toast triangles, my choice of slaw (red v. white), plus another side of my choice (mac & cheese). I doubt I'll eat again today.

Good stuff.

Bib's Downtown

55,000 + yesterday

Small companies with 1 to 49 employees shed 281,000 jobs in December, according to a report released this month by payroll services firm Automatic Data Processing. Medium-size firms with 50 to 499 employees cut 321,000. Large companies with more than 499 workers lost 91,000.
Last night when I went in to kiss him goodnight, the oldest said that he wanted to find a way to make money in case my husband gets laid off. I told him we were fine for right now, so we didn't need to worry about that, we needed to worry about his getting his Science Fair report written instead. He said, "But what about _______?", a friend of his who had a parent laid off last week. I didn't know what to tell him.

Monday, January 26, 2009

De Plane! De Plane!

"One of those," I would tell my mother each week. "We need one of those."

What I thought we would benefit from so tremendously was one of those small planes that landed on the water, then taxied in to Fantasy Island. Every summer we spent what felt like 43 hours straight driving up the coast from DC to Maine, and I aimed to come up with a better way. Even with the freedom of the no seatbelt days, I tired of melting crayons in the back side window of the station wagon. I could only pretend to play house among the suitcase-furniture for so long. And although I threw up on nearly every car trip, I had - and this was my most important point - never thrown up on a plane.

I made all these arguments to my parents, but my mother always had the ultimate rebuttal: Which of us is going to pilot this plane exactly? It was bad enough driving with my father, who trusted no other driver and periodically yelled "Damn Yankee!" and shook his fist. My mother was calmer but only used one hand to drive; her other served as a holder for her Doral. You can't pilot a plane with one hand. Even I knew that much.

With no good answer, my shoulders would slump in defeat. My mother would pat one, then settle her legs under her on the scratchy loveseat and sit back to watch the smiling guests' dreams turn into nightmares.


Have you ever dreamed of flying yourself and taking charge of the sky? Well, what are you waiting for? At Piedmont Flight Training, we can help you make those dreams become reality. We've been training pilots at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, since 1990. We've helped thousands of people discover the sky and a whole new way of going places and having fun doing it. Now that we are FAR 141, cost is a little bit cheaper and time between your Discovery flight and becoming a Private Pilot is shorter.

Piedmont Flight Training (sadly their fleet offers no water-planes)

The kitchen smells not like a bakery, awfully like a brewery

Today being a school holiday (end of quarter), we've dedicated today to Science Fair work. Currently rising for the second time are a loaf with three times the yeast called for by our recipe and a loaf with eight times the yeast. Both children are fervently hoping LOAF F (800%) explodes in the oven. They're almost delirious with glee at the possibility.

Do not ask what happened to LOAF E. It rhymes with Mep.

Shown above: LOAF A, LOAF B, LOAF C, aka No Yeast, 50% Recommended Yeast, 100% Recommended Yeast. You will not be surprised to learn that LOAF A came out of the oven as dense as a brick.

Local Crime News

The Sherwood Forest area email loops are heating up again, with tales of daytime break-ins and descriptions of "suspicious" vehicles. Hopefully the residents of those neighborhoods will touch base with their new patrol officers, share their observations, and let the police take it from there, so that nothing like this happens again.


The Winston-Salem Police Department will hold a series of community meetings over the next three weeks to present its new patrol plan, introduce citizens to the police officers who oversee patrol officers in their neighborhood, and answer questions from citizens about the plan.

Present at each meeting will be Police Chief Scott Cunningham and the police captain who oversee that patrol district. City Council members who represent the neighborhoods in each patrol district have also been invited.

Meetings will be held by patrol zone within each patrol district. Citizens are welcome to attend the meeting for their zone, or any other meeting. All meetings will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

District 1: Tuesday, Jan. 27 (Zone 1), and Thursday, Jan. 29 (Zone 2). Both meetings will be held in the Deacon Room at Joel Coliseum, 2825 University Pkwy.

District 2: Tuesday, Feb. 3 (Zone 1) at Sedge Garden Recreation Center, 401 Robbins Rd, and Thursday, Feb. 5 (Zone 2) at Sprague Street Recreation Center, 1350 E. Sprague St.

District 3: Tuesday, Feb.10 (Zone 1) at First Alliance Church, 1601 Pope Rd.; and Thursday, Feb. 12 (Zone 2) at South Fork Recreation Center, 4403 Country Club Rd.

Winston-Salem Police Department

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An announcement from WFU MOA

I will never be Winston-Salem's official Korean Paper Folding artist. I am TERRIBLE at this.

Cultures Up Close
On Fourth Sundays 2:30 p.m.—4:00 p.m.

A family-oriented program for elementary school-aged children and accompanying adults to examine a different culture and art form each session.

Spring sessions will focus on Korean culture in conjunction with MOA's spring exhibit of Korean artifacts.

January 25: Ancient Art of Korean Paper Folding
Learn about the art of hanji, or Korean paper folding, from our friends at the
Korean School of Greensboro and make an example to take home.

I think I'll do much better at next month's: Korean Fighter Kites!

The Cultures Up Close series

WFU Museum of Anthropology

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The 'Shroom

While the oldest was at a birthday party, my husband and I took the youngest to Mellow Mushroom on Fourth Street for lunch. He recommends the plain pizza, add pepperoni.

I note they still don't have coffee. Full bar, yes. Coffee, no. Apparently they are deadly serious about the mellow.

Mellow Mushroom, Winston-Salem (opens with local MM video)

Skate Haven, Country Club

Friday, January 23, 2009


Making do after Kindergarten Pajama Day with a McCone

As I told you some time ago, Baskin Robbins in Thruway disappeared in late summer. Unbeknownst to me, the only other Baskin Robbins in town, the one on North Point Boulevard, has also vanished. And today I discovered that the Cold Stone Creamery at Harper Hill Commons (Country Club at Peace Haven) has, with no forewarning, closed its doors for good!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are officially at Frozen Dessert DEFCON 2.

(whispering) Starbucks

The Starbucks at Mt. Tabor Place (3327 Robinhood) has a sweet* dealio going where you can purchase a cupcake for a teacher/employee of one of the nearby schools, and Starbucks will deliver it onthe day before Valentine's Day along with complimentary coffee.

Schools included are Sherwood Forest, Speas, Mt. Tabor, Meadlowlark (Elementary and Middle), and Jefferson (Elementary and Middle).


The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

Plants to Plant
by Yarddawg

Thanks ya’ll for the many comments on the “dirty dozen” plants to avoid. Thankfully there are multitudes of plant material options available to homeowners in our area. But before you plant, one of the first things to consider is the plant zone in and around the Winston-Salem vicinity. We are in Zone 7B. Personally I tend to think Zone 7 only rather than the A & B because it confuses me. There is now a heat hardiness index that is even more perplexing.

More about plant zones in North Carolina

Anyway here is a good starting point for plants to consider planting in your yard. The link to the North Carolina Native Plant Society will provide North Carolina gardeners more comprehensive information, where to buy, photos, etc. than I could possibly recite here:

Native plants are easily grown, hardy, more drought tolerant, less susceptible to plant diseases, and friendly to native pollinators and migratory birds. If you live out of state please look for native plant information specific to your location.

Please Note: Buy nursery propagated plants only. Do not dig native plants in the wild.
- Yarddawg

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I think there should be a law that every waiting room in town have at least twenty People magazines. And a coffee maker for complimentary single serve brews*. And a clock so we know EXACTLY HOW LONG WE'VE BEEN SITTING OUT HERE.

*the kids' dentist has this, and I know I would enjoy it if the youngest ever let me actually wait for him in the waiting room.

Local on the Cheap

In conjunction with their Korean exhibit, the WFU Museum of Anthropology is also sponsoring a Korean film series at Reynolda House Museum of American Art. The first, Festival/Chukje, is tonight at 7 pm. Admission is FREE.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"What's it doing, do you know?"

The two dads and I crane our necks, watching the dove grey plane with no markings curve high above where we stand in the school parking lot. I've been hearing the plane for thirty minutes now, but this is the first glance I've caught of it. How we three have come to be clustered in the parking lot, hands cupped over our eyes, I do not quite know.

"I'm not sure. See that rod off the tail? That's an antenna. It's a surveillance plane, I think."

"Lockheed," the other man murmers. A group of mothers walks by, seemingly unaware of the plane.

"Is it big?" I ask to no one in particular.

"See that red box on that tree?" The Lockheed man points off to the left. "Wingspan would be about from me to there." In other words, yes, it's big.

The plane banks again as the school's doors open and begin to cough out children. We each look uneasily at the plane once more then walk forward to collect what is ours.

Lowes Foods

I'm shopping for the oldest's Science Fair project, which he's charmingly titled, "How Much Yeast?"

Local Graffiti

Roslyn @ Forest

It says "SARAH PALIN", though the only reason I know that is that another sign at the same intersection is sprayed equally messily but in a slightly different way, so that when I sort of layered them in my mind, they suddenly became clear. Go, me!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Local on the Cheap

Today, January 20, the WFU Museum of Anthropology launches their spring exhibit, “Korean Funerary Figures: Companions for the Journey to the Other World,” which will be on display through May 16.

With this traveling exhibit, the MOA examines the artistry that surrounds death in Korean culture. The exhibit features 19th and early 20th century funerary figures, or kkoktu, used to decorate funeral biers. The pieces are on exhibit outside of Korea for the first time, and this is the only showing in the southeast! The colorful figures reflect the realities of village life during this time period, and provide insight about Korean attitudes towards death. This exhibit includes text in English and Korean.

To celebrate this fantastic exhibit, MOA will host an opening reception from 6:00pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday, January 21 featuring drinks and Korean hors d’oeuvres. Immediately following the reception, at 7:30pm, Charlotte Horlyck of London University will present “Happy Souls and Anxious Mourners: The Uses of Funeral Figures in Pre-modern Korea.” She will discuss how funeral figures in pre-modern Korea reflect Koreans’ changing interpretation of life, death and their own place in the cosmos.

Both of these events are free and open to the public.

More about the exhibit from The Korea Society

The oldest, this morning

"Mom, do you remember that boy?"

"Which boy?"

"In that book. Leon."

"Oh... yes."

"He's a grown-up now, right?"


"Do you think he's there? For the inauguration?"

"I hope so. I really, really hope so."


He very well might be. As I understand it, today he is a janitor at a school in Baltimore, a world away from his painful Carolina childhood, but not so far from DC.

Leon's Story


EDIT, 1:40 PM: Here's what I'll always remember from the inauguration.
  • The beribboned coats the Obama girls wore. They looked lovely.
  • Dick Cheney in a wheelchair, perilously close to the top of the stairs.
  • Snipers on the Capitol building.
  • Aretha's AMAZING hat.
  • Obama's charming smile when the oath of office ran amok.
  • "...that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right." (the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery)
  • Jill Biden's hoochie boots

Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day!

The Inaugural Blizzard of Aught-Nine!

  • made snow angels: CHECK
  • made snowman: impossible, too powdery
  • had snowball fight: eh, more of a flinging of handfuls of powder, see above, but CHECK
  • eaten snow drizzled with maple syrup: CHECK
  • saucer ride down front hill: CHECK
  • inside having hot chocolate now: CHECK
*the weird lump on his back is actually Salsa, who is sitting behind him.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Juggling, but happily

The youngest is sick and on the way down, not up. He's currently ensconced on the loveseat under a blanket, pale as a ghost, watching Spongebob through black-ringed eyes. School tomorrow is beyond out of the question.

And so I sorted the agenda items for tomorrow into musts and would-be-nices, then tossed them altogether.

Tomorrow I will sit on the loveseat next to the youngest, and he and I will watch the inauguration together. We will make red, white, and blue tissue-paper boutonnières and little flags to wave. It is entirely possible that I will get teary; I do that a lot as I get older, I've noticed.

The youngest is sick, but I wouldn't miss tomorrow for the world.

pictures by kindergarten students at North Hills Elementary School, on display at McDonalds, 7844 North Point Boulevard

Local Memories

Please read reflections on Martin Luther King Day from this former local, who was very much shaped by her years here.

The time is now

re: #3

Posting will be rather light* this week, I'm afraid.

*unless we have another blizzard!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday wrap-up

I was going to take the youngest to the fire thingie at the Coliseum, but when I opened up the back door to let the dogs in, he felt the air hit his face. A few minutes later when I asked him to get dressed to leave, he yelled, "Are you crazy? I'll freeze!" and gave me the stink-eye as he stormed out of the room.

My husband and the oldest went to see Paul Blart, Mall Cop, which also opened yesterday. Alas, it apparently stunk wildly. Consider yourself forewarned; the oldest has never before not liked a movie.

Paul Blart, Mall Cop (opens with lots of noise)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two out of three were compelled to salute it

Since it was minus 437 degrees this afternoon, I took the children and one of the oldest's friends to the Grand to see Hotel for Dogs, which opened today. For the genre (formulaic kids' movie) it was really quite good, three out of three kids agree.

The Grand Theatre

Hotel for Dogs (opens with barking)

Robinhood just off Polo

What's going on with the old Sherwood Barbecue building? There is major tearout and rebuild work going on. Anyone?

Location, location, location

One hopes these two signs outside Central Library have no relationship to one another whatsoever.

And the smaller sign just to the right reads...

"Check these?" my husband asked.

And so I did, looking up seven tickets from the last three months.

"$7 on this one. Nothing on any of the others. Who picked these lousy numbers?"

"Oh, I always let the computer pick them."

"Well, you should stop, because it's not working. Are you at least using my mom's theory?"

"Oh, hello no."

My late mother had a whole lottery system, but the basic, underlying tenet was this: The winning tickets are always sold in the worst neighborhoods. So she would not tell me where we were going, and she would drive us into the worst neighborhood around, and yes, known open air drug markets were preferable. She would then hand me a ten dollar bill and motion for me to get out of the car, please. I would walk myself over to some bodega with a chained window with a money slot in it and buy her tickets, traipsing past bleary-eyed men clutching 40s (40 ounce malt liquor, for all of you not blessed enough to know that) and trying desperately not to make eye contact with anyone. All the while my mother would wait in the safety of her Acura, engine running. As a thank-you, she would treat me to lunch.

For the record, my mother never won, either.

North Carolina Education Lottery

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This evening's call was earlier. Generally the automated calls from our school arrive almost exactly at 7 pm. Or, if schools are opening late or closed due to inclement weather, the automated call comes almost exactly at 6 am. This call was at 6:15 pm, which threw me off, made me wonder if it was automated at all until I answered and heard the telltale pause before the recorded message.

From the WSFCS Transportation Department: Due to the FREEZING COLD, buses may or may not be able to start on time tomorrow. Extra personnel have been called in, but please dress children WARMLY.

Unsaid: ...because they may be sitting there in the FREEZING COLD quite a while until the buses come.


Hanesbrands Outlet,Thruway

I love vintage advertisements. I spend a fair bit of time doing research via microfiche in quite old editions of the Journal and its former sister paper, the Sentinel, and I often find myself reading the advertisements with glee. The ones during the Second World War are frequently incredibly patriotic. The ones during the Depression are often economic justifications for buying a particular product. (I was in a 1931 paper a few days ago and saw a women's undergarment ad that charmingly declared, "Busts and bottoms are back!")

Each era has its own particular idiosyncrasies, and one day in the future, someone will look at today's advertising and be able to point out ours with ease.

Yet another snowman not made out of snow

There is either precipitation or bitter cold. We seem to have a problem aligning the two. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be below freezing, which brings me to make the following announcement...

Dear Parents of Elementary School Child:

I saw your son heading into school this morning in his shorts. Hooee, isn't he cool!

I just feel so sorry for all our uncool kids, the ones forced by cruel parents to forgo wearing shorts when it's below freezing. It's so awful to see that
we love our children enough to say no, I will not let you leave the house inadequately dressed for the elements, I am your parent and this is non-negotiable.

Isn't your son lucky to have you as parents! Now be parents.


Local on the Cheap

"But not Friday?"

"Nope. Just tomorrow and Saturday. Oh, and it's free for him!" I do a little celebratory dance, which my husband doesn't quite catch. "Five bucks for me."

"Which day will you go then?"

"Saturday, I think. You guys can go see that mall cop movie. It looks stupid-funny, but possibly excellently so."

"While you two..."

"You know, get his firefighter on."

EDIT: The County website is WRONG. It is FRIDAY, and Saturday.

34th Annual Piedmont Fire Expo

Come visit one of the southeast's largest showcases of new equipment and witness innovative training for fire and rescue personnel at the Piedmont Fire Expo, presented by the Forsyth County Fire and Rescue Association.

January 15 (10 AM - 6 PM)

January 17 (8 AM - 5 PM)

Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Adults - $5.00
Children - under 12 FREE

For Fire and Rescue Professionals:

- New equipment showcase
- Advanced and innovative training workshops

For the Community:

- Witness "live action" training exercises

- Vehicle rollover simulator

- School bus rescues

- Propane gas training

- Hands-on safety techniques in fire extinguisher stations
- Many "climb-aboard" opportunities and fun for children

more info
Forsyth County Fire and Rescue Association
LJVM Coliseum

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Once again, it's time for...

The Buena Vista Garden
by Yarddawg

This is my list of plants to avoid in typical urban gardens around here by any self respecting Boovee. Some of these plants are invasive. Some have problems with survival. Some are just not suitable for most city lots. If you employ a landscape contractor and any of these plants are recommended ask many questions, get a second opinion, or fire them. If a nursery recommends these plants, do yourself a favor and leave. I have listed some alternatives for a few of the offenders.

1. English Ivy – Invasive, noxious, pest. Difficult to control once established. IMO it should be banned. Sold locally, Come see me if you really want this and it’ll be free.

2. Magnolia Grandiflora, aka Southern Magnolia - The quintessential Southern tree is ill advised unless you have 5-10 acres of space. Messily it drops leaves and debris year round. Grows to 90’ tall and 40’-50’ wide. It simply overpowers typical city lot sizes. I realize this is a controversial choice as this monster is favored by some local bloggers and their kids. Tough. Esbee note: my Magnolia is just FINE on my not-quite-half-an-acre lot, thankyouverymuch.

3. Tree of Heaven (Chinese Sumac) – This rapidly growing tree overruns native vegetation. Invasive. Often listed by experts as the number one ecological threat to native forests. In an urban setting, roots can damage sewers and foundations. JUST DON’T.

4. Red Tip Photinia – Susceptible to an array of fungal diseases. Sooner or later it will die. Probably sooner.

5. Sweet Gum Tree - Spiny hard brown seed pods are murder on bare feet. Beautiful fall color though.

6. Ginkgo Biloba (female only) - Seed pods produced by the female tree contains butanoic acid which emits an odor reminiscent of vomit, feces, or rancid butter. Request a male tree instead. The one offered most often in nurseries is called Autumn Gold. Beautiful fall color. Male varieties are an alternative without the smelly seed pods. This tree should be grown more. Magnificent.

7. Chinese & Japanese Wisteria (vine) - Will consume everything in sight. 70’ climber, spreader that girdles and can kill other trees and plants, not to mention entire houses and other structures. There is a native American variety called Amethyst Falls which is purportedly less aggressive.

8. Bamboo – Invasive in all forms.

9. Bradford Pear – One of the most popular trees in the Southeast but be forewarned it will self destruct in windy, icy conditions or for no particular reason at all.

10. Japanese honeysuckle – invasive pest

11. Leyland Cypress - Susceptible to bag worms, ice, and wind damage. Leyland’s were highly recommended by the nursery trade and over planted in the 1980’s, which probably led to some of its problems.

12. Wild violets – Virtually impossible to eradicate in lawns or flower beds. In my yard I have made an uneasy peace with them. If you think you can win the battle, think again. I’m convinced these things could withstand nuclear annihilation. I’ve actually seen this offered for sale locally. DO NOT BUY THIS PLANT. Come see me and I’ll give you all you want and pay you to take it.

In an upcoming feature I’ll suggest a dozen plants and trees to actually consider planting in your yards.

Local Evolution

The Wachovia ATM next to West End Cafe, so Fourth and Burke I think, asked me if I wanted to buy stamps today. Apparently that's a Wells Fargo thing. I didn't need stamps, just money.

The other L.C. is from (whispering) California*, and she assures me that when you do buy stamps, they come right out of the ATM just like money. I'm not sure I believe her, though. Someone try it.

*but I love her anyway.

West End Cafe

One of my main reservations about ordering ethnic foods is I'm never sure of the pronunciation. Not the authentic pronunciation, mind, but the local pronunciation. For example, in various places I've visited, this is called a HEAR-o, a JIE-ro, a JEER-o, and a YEAR-o.

But today it called out to me from the menu and so after making an utter fool of myself ordering it with three different pronunciations before hitting the local one, I had this. It was DEE-licious.

West End Cafe

Local Lookup

Liberty@ Fourth

Between the Confederate soldier and the RJR building, I feel like this is a tableau to halcyon days past. It only needs the Wachovia building to complete it.

El Bibliobus

Detail of the Bibliobus, a Spanish language materials mobile unit that is part of the Forsyth County Public Library

The Bibliobus program was launched in Spring of 2005. Here's a library newsletter piece on it.

Sadly the only current reference to it on the library's website is here and is obviously from before the Bibliobus began making rounds.

I love the look of the Bibliobus, but I'm curious how the program is going. Is it reaching people? Is it being utilized? Are the materials still in good condition?

Forsyth County Public Library

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dear Skippy's,

Please make your hot dogs just a teensy bit less awesome. There's always a line and there are never enough tables, and I'm thinking it's because your hot dogs are the tastiest dogs in the whole town and very possibly in the whole universe, so delicious I think I could eat them six days in a row and not tire of them. If you can't make the dogs less awesome then maybe you could install hydraulic furniture, so that an occupied table could be shot skyward at the push of a button and another party could sit at a table underneath (previously concealed in the floor). You have high enough ceilings; I checked today.

Just a thought,


700 block of Trade

I very much wonder what the inside looks like.

Religious Conversions

Many, many years ago in DC, a developer converted an old and huge but terribly run-down church building into condos. All the units were studios, but they had amazing square footage, ridiculously high ceilings, and spectacular stained glass.

When my husband and I were househunting in Winston-Salem, we jested to our Realtor that maybe we should buy a church on Robinhood near Englewood that was then languishing for sale. We made jokes about our children riding their bikes gleefully about the former parking lot, about cooking meals in a huge church kitchen.

Two, maybe three years ago, someone converted a wee church into a house at Fifth and Brookstown. It's darling. I covet the front door stairway.

Yesterday I saw it: the local church that if it ever becomes Not a Church (highly, highly, lightning strike unlikely) I would like to convert to a home. It occupies a full block, so I was able to see it completely from all sides, and I love it madly.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Local Retail Notes

GOING: (To Reynolda Village, that is) Sweetie's. They'll be in the lower level of the Dairy Barn, hopefully by the end of this month.

GOING: Out of business, sadly: Pink Mink. Stop by before the end of the month.

GONE: Pawsh, "the Piedmont's Premiere Pet Boutique". Poof! Gone. No word.

SPOTTED: More smiley spoons, now in cheery spring colors at The Golden Apple, 3458 Robinhood. These are $5.95, I believe, but don't hold me to it. The pink one especially would make a splendid Valentine for the cook you love mostest.

Pink Mink
Reynolda Village

ATTN: Winston-Salem Citizenry

The leaves were bad enough. The Christmas trees are downright deadly.


Dewey's, Thruway

I have a love-hate relationship with Dewey's. I love their oatmeal raisin cookies, which are, bar none, the world's best, but I hate that they are out of them half the time.

Today I left baked goodless.


Local Graffiti

Liberty & Fourth

It makes me happy that the tag and the little monster sticker kinda match.

Egg time

The oldest and I went last year and had SO MUCH FUN as observers. This year, we'll be going as entrants. You should, too!

6th Annual Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Egg Drop

I'm home!

Ladieds and Gentlemen, simplyummy has reopened.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

For the record

All we did was sample the vegetarian chili at Lowes, and next thing I know Chef Anthony is handing the oldest a free, chocolate cake in the shape of a football.

Leaving the store, the oldest turned to me and very earnestly said, "For the record, Chef Anthony is my favorite grocery store chef."

Lowes Foods, based here in Winston-Salem

There was another dog at Reynolda today walking the same path

Click on image to enlarge and see canine interloper

Pep was outraged. Accordingly, we veered off and waited by this pond for the other dog and his people to go past. Then I realized there was another path behind us that would take us up to the field. This new path threw Pep off completely, causing her to begin sniffing everything, everything, and tugging me mercilessly. So I began to jog and then BAM, she suddenly stopped on a dime and stood stock still FOR NO GOOD REASON. I'm fairly certain my arm came out of the socket.

Doesn't this make you want to adopt the goofiest dog* you can find? Specifically this one. Or maybe this one.

Or any of the ones here.

* In all seriousness, our dogs rock, even when they act like utter loons.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

ATTN: Local Elvis Fans

Lowes Foods, Sherwood Plaza

1. Bad news. Elvis is dead.

2. This Elvis lookalike/soundalike, one Travis LeDoyt, will be here in Winston at the Stevens Center for one show only on May 23rd. Well, allegedly. It's on his calendar, but not yet on the Stevens Center's.

UPDATE: Found it!

Hancock Fabrics, Reynolda Rd.

I just made out like a bandit on trims and notions.

Location, Location, Location

The youngest is at a birthday party. The other moms and I are hiding inside.

Our favorite local party locations*
AMF Bowling on Jonestown
Adventure Landing on Stratford
Bounce U on Styers Ferry
The Grand Theatre on University
and The Little Gym on Reynolda when the kids were younger

* other than my friend L.H.'s wonderfully soundproof house

Local History

click on image to enlarge

Bethania Moravian