Hello Hello

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dear Mother Nature:

re:

BY EARLY AFTERNOON LIGHT SNOW IS FORECAST OVER THE WATCH AREA. ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED TO BE LIGHT SUNDAY.

SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BECOME HEAVIER AND MORE WIDESPREAD SUNDAY NIGHT. STORM SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE BY MONDAY MORNING IN THE NORTHWEST PIEDMONT...WITH AMOUNTS PERHAPS APPROACHING 3 TO 4 INCHES ALONG AND WEST OF THE HIGHWAY ONE CORRIDOR.


It's too late. You had all winter to drop a big'un. I'm in spring mode now.

-Esbee

PS: Also, not to be a total whiner, but just an FYI, it would sort of SCREW UP MY WEEK MASSIVELY if school were to be canceled Monday.

NOAA and NWS forecast for Winston-Salem

Cadbury Creme Eggs, CVS, Robinhood

1. I swear these used to be bigger.
2. Orange Creme? Caramel? Since when?
3. I think I'm strictly a Classic Creme girl.

Out to breakie with the oldest

Biscuitville, Robinhood Rd.

Is there anywhere in town that serves Eggs Benedict on Saturdays? Because as much as I'm looking forward to this, I'd rather have Eggs Benedict, of which I never tire. (On Top Chef this season, Wylie Dufresne picked Eggs Benedict as his last meal. I completely agree. )

Friday, February 27, 2009

CONTEST: Barack --

President Barack Obama to me

Lucy --

Today, I signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law.

---

President Barack Obama to me

Lucy --

Last night, I addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.


---

The missives come fairly regularly, "personalized" notes from my friend Barack telling me what he's done recently. I'm always tempted to reply to them, let my friend Barack know what I've been up to.

Barack --

Today I helped my husband snake the bathtub drain.

Your mission: write the opening sentence of a letter to your friend Barack, telling him something stupendous and riveting you did within the last 24 hours. Your entry should begin:

Barack --


You may (but are not required to) post your entries in comments for all of us to admire, but please also email them to me. Entry deadline is next Friday, March 6th, at 5 pm EST. One entry per person, please.

Winner will be chosen by an esteemed judge, whose decision is final, and will receive a $10 giftcard to Borders.

Opening tonight

Reynolda House’s spring exhibition, “American Impressions: Selections from the National Academy Museum” will open with a party for the general public on Friday, February 27 at 7 p.m. Live music will be provided by a Carolina Chamber Symphony trio featuring flute, violin, and cello. The festivities will include hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and admission to the main floor of the historic house.

The main feature of the evening, however, will be the beautiful landscapes, still lifes, and portraits painted by American artists who were inspired by the French Impressionists.

Reynolda House is the only venue outside of the National Academy Museum to host the exhibition, which is organized by the National Academy Museum, New York. “American Impressions” will be on view through June 28.


-----

My favorite thing about the new exhibit at Reynolda House is the absolute beauty in viewing gorgeous works painted in the period leading up to the estate being built. It's just terribly, terribly fitting. It feels true and right.

The works themselves are exquisite, of course, and ordered in such a way that the progression makes perfect sense, even to those of us who haven't any art history background.

And if you are smart, or lucky, when you leave, you will turn around outside and easily imagine the figures in the paintings you've just seen strolling the grounds of the Reynolds estate, the men with their hats and the women with their parasols, the children in their pretty clothes a step ahead or behind.

During my stressful, working years in DC, I would sometimes be surprised when out-of-town visitors would gasp at the Cathedral or be greatly moved by the monuments. I'm sad to say that sometimes I would be so preoccupied that I would simply cease to notice the extraordinary things that surrounded me, taking them for granted the same way one does the mailbox one uses most.

Living here, it's sometimes easy to forget how special Reynolda is. Go. This will remind you.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art


image: Gifford Reynolds Beal
The Mall-Central Park, 1913
oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in.
National Academy Museum, New York (61-P)

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

CollieDollies Question

CollieDollies asked a question about Paulownia Trees in last week’s post. As it turns out the question was a very important one to many, including yours truly. It merits a full post for all to see. You can bet, sometime this spring newspapers across the state will run ads singing the praises of this lavender colored, foxglove like flowering, extremely fast growing shade tree. It is marketed as the Princess Tree. It will be also touted as the best thing since sliced bread. This is false.

This tree is rated as a Rank 1 Invasive plant (1 meaning BADBADBAD) severe threat in North Carolina. So CollieDollies, and everyone else, please DO NOT plant this tree and thank you for what is probably the best question Yarddawg has been asked since the start of The Buena Vista Garden.

Once again, here’s a link to the North Carolina Native Plant Society’s page on Invasive Exotic Species List.

-Yarddawg

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spend 5 with Pete Rodda


Still no hard numbers, at least on Forsyth County Geo-Data.

Cheerwine Sorbet

Party favors, check!

Ssalefish, Silas Creek Crossing

Me: Hi, Adam! I need comic books for birthday party favors.

Adam: So you want...

Me: Cheap ones. For 10 year olds. Oh, and two for 6 year olds.

Adam: Oh, easy. We can do this. (hoists up boxes of $1 comics)

Me: How about these Transformers? Are these good? No blood, right?

Adam: No. They're trucks. When they get hurt there's just motor oil.

Me: Splendid.

- FIN -

As much as I love the comic books, the main reason I keep going back to Ssalefish is the helpfulness of the people there. I think I could walk in and say, "I need a comic book about a yellow pufferfish and there can't be any chicks with bosoms heaving in wetsuits," and Adam would say, "Oh, easy. You want edition #3792 of Aquaman. It's right over here."

Happy Birthday to Ssalefish, which just celebrated three years itself.

Ssalefish

First Baptist Church Fourth Street

Outside Truliant

I learned at the feet of a phenomenal read-alouder, my mother, who could bring a technical manual alive if called upon to do so. Her favorite book to read small children was Are You My Mother? Watching her read that book to the oldest when he was small was like standing outside my own childhood looking in. Her face was so animated, her voice so vibrant, and many afternoons I watched him sit in rapture, looking not at the pages but at her, my fabulous mother, beautiful still even without hair, even as she grew thinner and thinner.

And then she was gone, and I was left with the children and the book but no mother of my own.

But the children put the book in my hands, and the oldest asked me to read it like Grandma, and so I did. And in my head I could hear her reading alongside me, reminding me when to make the loud snort and on which pages to make my voice quiver like a lost baby bird, answering the question, Are you my mother? I am, forever and ever.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dogs: 1

The killing has begun anew.

Ick.

Dollar Tree, Cloverdale Plaza

I've never seen either of the Crocodile Dundee movies in English. I was in Segovia when both came out and thus was treated to Cocodrilo Dundee, dubbed entirely into Spanish.

I was in Paris at the time of A River Runs Through It, and so I saw Et au Milieu Coule une Rivière in English with French subtitles, which were so poorly done that I wanted to scream at the screen, "That isn't what he said!"

In Bombay-now-Mumbai, I enjoyed MTV Asia, which jumped from Arabic to Malay to Hindi to Tagalog.

I resisted buying Fuerza Elite for a dollar. But only just barely.

Local Poignancy

(Ricky's) last wish and what he said he was waiting for was to see his only son' s (Todd Parks) son, Ricky' s newborn grand- son, Grayson Paul Parks. With the kind help of the intermediate nursery at Forsyth Memorial Hospital, Grayson was taken to the 9th floor to see his grandfather for the first and only time. Ricky was so proud. He never liked holding babies or taking pictures but he did both early this morning and was finally happy and at peace. Shortly after he gave up his battle and went to a place where there is no more pain and suffering.


Kudos to Forsyth Medical Center for fulfilling this. Condolences amid congratulations to the Flippin and Parks families.

Dear Jenny:

Sometime Sunday, you plastered these all over traffic signs in Buena Vista and Shoreland Park. Look, I can understand the need to drum up business, I really can, but there are a few things you need to know.

1. Attaching enormous signs to traffic signs is against ordinance. Seriously. Carries whopping fines and everything.

2. The best way to advertise yourself as the best person for cleaning is not by trashing up the neighborhoods in which you hope to work.

3. Nobody I know has EVER hired anyone because of one of these signs. Don't waste your money making any more of these.

I wish you much success in your business, Jenny, but I think you need to rethink your advertising campaign. And take all those signs down before you get cited.

Best,
Esbee

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Southern cooking, Southern mother

Today's lunch at home menu: ham, green beans, corn muffins

-----

I hold a finger to my lips. "Shh!"

"What do you mean Shh? I wasn't talking."

"I mean don't stomp."

"I'm not."

I look at him suspiciously, then delicately hit the button to turn on the oven light.

My husband waits a beat, then asks, "Why not?"

"It will make my muffins fall."

"It will what?" My husband cracks up.

"DON'T LAUGH AT ME. It's true."

"That your muffins will fall if I stomp."

"Yes. Also cakes. And breads."

"Honey, who told you that?"

"My mom."

"Ahh." He nods in understanding.

"Ahh, what?"

"I bet you were being too loud one day when you were a kid, and she just told you that to make you hush*."

"Tread lightly here. Don't you make my dead Momma into a liar."

"I loved your mother! Where are you going?"

"To look it up! To prove it to you!"

My husband chuckles as he heads back into his office.

-----

*This would not be without precedent. Also from my mom: "You can only get a tan if you are perfectly silent," and "Your hair will become curly if you let me comb out the tangles."

326 Arbor

A week ago, this house was intact. Now local tittle-tattle has it slated for demolition. (Thankfully, it looks like it's being dismantled prudently. Hopefully some historic elements will be brought into the new structure.)

Local Idea Swap

Eric Kerchner (left) of the Children's Museum of Winston-Salem and Stephan Dragovisic (right) of Visit Winston-Salem at today's brainstorming session

You can come give input tonight at the Gateway YMCA @ 5:30. It's your city. Have your say.

more info
Children's Museum of Winston-Salem
Visit Winston-Salem

Frozen Desserts are Stimulating

Starting in March, Blue Ridge Ice Creams will again be open Tuesday through Sunday. The remainder of this month, however, it's Thursday through Sunday.

Click on image to enlarge and see Blue Ridge's very handy butterfat % chart and economic stimulus plan.

Blue Ridge Ice Creams

Learning Differences

Triad Academy, a private, non-profit school for students with learning differences, will host an informational Lunch-N-Learn about an ADHD and Dyslexia research project run by the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Development and Learning.

Parents are invited to hear more about the study on an approved medication for children with reading and/or attention issues. Those who think their child may qualify for the study will have the opportunity to meet the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, Dr. William Lord Coleman, and Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Steve Hooper, administering the study and ask questions.

WHEN: Monday, March 2, 11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
WHERE: Triad Academy, 905 Friedburg Church Road, Winston-Salem
RSVP: Ugonna @ 919-966-4788 by February 27

Triad Academy
UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Development and Learning
Dr. William Lord Coleman
Dr. Steve Hooper

Dragon Lady

The whole time I was driving the one, non-sick child to school this morning, I kept thinking I saw thin curls of smoke coming up from under the dash. But when I'd glance down, I wouldn't see anything. Only when I was halfway home did I realize I'd been seeing my own breath in the cold air.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Local Correspondence

Received this afternoon, a most fabulous email in response to this plea:

We will move the hitting board at Shaffner Park this week. We will also build a new hitting board as the old is deteriorating and then put that hitting board on the court away from the parking lot. As for the track at Hanes Park, we cannot re-pave until the weather gets warmer and the asphalt plant re-opens for the spring. That is why we have not been able to pave. The sewer line (under the track) presented some major problems this fall/winter and we had to get the Utility Department to work on it.

I am hereby publicly stating my unequivocal love for the Winston-Salem Department of Parks and Recreation.
-----

Dear Esbee,

What would your obituary teaser be?

Just curious.

At the age of twelve, she was featured in a front-page article in the Washington Post. Sadly her only copy was lost during her many moves, which is unfortunate since it was rather a cute photo.
----

We just moved here. Do you have a recommendation for an OB-GYN?

I don't. I currently have a good doctor for routine care, but she's apparently leaving Winston to practice elsewhere. And I never gave birth here, so I wouldn't have the foggiest idea whom to recommend for obstetrics. Maybe try the TriadMommies? I'm so sorry not to be more helpful.

Local Brain Power

Two Hanes teams competed in the North Carolina Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl last week. They competed via computer, taking a one hundred question multiple-choice test. Areas covered include math, geography, government, sports, spelling, science, literature, English, history, general information and just plain fun trivia. It is a team activity with all takers around one computer. Two chances to answer correctly are given. Points are awarded based on how fast they answer as well as on accuracy. We are pleased to announce that our two teams placed first and second place in North Carolina!

Hanes Middle School (opens with music)

Sign up


Winston-Salem First Assembly of God has a choir made up of people who "sing" in American Sign Language. I've seen hymns signed by one person before. I've seen entire liturgies "translated". But never before have I seen an ASL choir.

For obvious reasons, I applaud them.

Winston-Salem First Assembly of God

Fourth Street Filling Station

I'm supposed to be eating lunch here with a friend at 12:30. Instead, I'm waiting for her to arrive so I can tell her the school just called to tell me one of my sons threw up on his desk. Happy Monday!

What I would have had:
Diet Coke
The Express Lunch: Combination Plates Include Your Choice of Any Three. All served with Crusty French Baguette. I would have had crab dip, mac & cheese, and soup of the day.

Fourth Street Filling Station

EDIT, 1:25: Oh, happy, post-talking-to-child update. He didn't throw up on his desk. He felt like he was going to throw up on his desk. He made it to the lav.

I had a PB & J for lunch. Boo.

Beans!

On my list of garden foods, I forgot green beans. These (steamed, with butter and salt) are from last night. We are huge green bean fiends in this house; we could quite honestly eat them every day. (Last summer, when Michael Hastings posted this on the Journal's food blog, I was almost sick with jealousy.)

And the winner is...

(of this contest)
CollieDollies

whose winning answer was deemed the most cliff-hangerish by our esteemed judge, to wit one Kevin Watson, owner of local publishing house Press53, shown below laughing himself silly at the idea of a possible rabies exposure.

Honorable mentions were AMR, Lee, and Bev.

Congratulations, CollieDollies! Please email me to arrange for delivery of your prize, a $10 giftcard to Kernel Kustard.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Next month: Buk Drums

We're at WFU Museum of Anthropology for another in the Cultures Up Close series. Today we're making Korean Fighting Kites. In real life, the strings of these kites would be coated in resin and then in broken glass for maximum fight-in-flight. It's probably best that the MoA had us skip these steps, but still, I'm a little sad. I was planning to challenge some of the other mothers to Death Matches at school this Monday.

WFU Museum of Anthrolopogy

Why, yes, thank you

click to enlarge

Also known as "Pancake Day", "Fat Tuesday" and "Mardi Gras," Shrove Tuesday always falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent in the Christian faith. Dates vary from year to year, but it usually falls in February, sometimes early March.

It is the day of preparation for Lent, when the eating pancakes was made obvious by the need to (use) up the eggs and fat, the eating of which were prohibited during the forty days of Lent.

St. Anne's Episcopal Church

And Many Happy Returns

Dear Winston-Salem Department of Parks and Recreation:

So I've decided to take up tennis again. I used to be pretty dang good back in the day. You know, before children, when my body still did what I told it to.

So here's the thing: there's a perfect backboard at Shaffner Park. Only it's on the first court, the one closest to the parking lot. Which is inevitably the first court that people use to play tennis, rendering the backboard out-of-use unless one asks the people to move down a court. Which is sometimes fine with the people, sometimes not, why I do not know.

But never fear! I've come up with a solution: move the backboard. In fact, move it to the tennis court furthest from the parking lot, if you would.

Thank you muchly,
Esbee

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Local School Spirit

outside Party City, Stratford Road, today

Until the month before he died, my father attended monthly breakfasts for the alumni for Reynolds High School, Class of 1941. 1942? I can't recall the year, which bothers me immensely.

What I do know is that his yearbook - which I'm about to go look for, it's here somewhere - had three high schools in it: Reynolds, Hanes, and Gray.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High Schools

Thwarted this morning, alas

Sadly, the oldest's contraption - designed to stay upright all the way down - hit an overhang, sending it tumbling end-over-end until at last it landed on the lower level floor with a thud and a splash, disqualifying him utterly from any of the prize money which he had mentally already spent on paint pens to decorate his Nerf gun.

Still, he enjoyed himself immensely. Plus he got this nifty t-shirt. And he's already planning next year's entry.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Egg Drop Competition

The City Wants to Friend You

The city has created accounts with the Facebook and Twitter social networking Web sites in order to broaden its means of reaching citizens.

Social networking sites use the Internet to allow people with common interests to exchange information. By joining Twitter and Facebook, the city can send information out to citizens, such as a change in the garbage collection schedule because of a holiday.

Winston-Salem on Twitter
Winston-Salem on Facebook

I'm not on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. and have no plans to be. But I still count myself among the city's friends.

Friday, February 20, 2009

REMINDER

As of this writing, you have a little better than two hours left to get your entries submitted for this contest.

(I was reminded to post this by a sudden, intense craving for Kernel Kustard's caramel corn.)

Lunch Date

My husband is working from home today, because we were supposed to have a lunch date. Sadly he is slammed-busy and unable to actually stop working, so I'm at Bib's Downtown, which is also slammed-busy, picking up to go plates. We'll eat in the same building today, at least.

Bib's Downtown

It's your city. Have your say.

Annually, the Forsyth County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) adopts a marketing plan that contains strategies for stimulating travel, tourism and group business in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Visit Winston-Salem is the official destination marketing organization for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and the marketing plan serves as the centerpiece for Visit Winston-Salem's work plan for the fiscal year.

The staff of Visit Winston-Salem and the Marketing Committee of the TDA are beginning the process of preparing the marketing plan for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1 and they are seeking the community's input in the development of the marketing strategies.

Interested citizens, along with members of the travel and tourism industry, visitor attractions, museums, arts organizations, marketing professionals, wineries and other organization representatives are invited to attend one of a series of input sessions to give ideas, strategic thoughts and action plans to assist with the marketing of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County as a destination for meetings, conventions, sporting events and leisure travel.

Input session dates and locations

Tuesday, February 24th @ 11am:
Truliant Federal Credit Union - Pavilion Room
3200 Truliant Way, Winston-Salem (off Hanes Mall Blvd near the mall)

Tuesday, February 24th @ 5:30pm:
Gateway YWCA-Multipurpose Room
1300 S. Main St., Winston-Salem (Main Street across from the School of the Arts.)

Thursday, February 26th @8am:
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum - The Windsor Club
2825 University Parkway,Winston-Salem

Thursday, February 26th @ 3:30pm:
Enrichment Center
1006 South Marshall Street, Winston-Salem (corner of Marshall and Salem)

Additional info: Sara Mecham at 336.728.4205 / sara@visitwinstonsalem.com or Casey Hough at 336.728.4217 / casey@visitwinstonsalem.com.

Have a seat

IKEA Charlotte

In the house in which I grew up, in every room there was a small chair especially for me. Some were rocking chairs (I still have the white, wicker one that sat on the sun porch) and others were ladderbacks with rush seats. The one in my father's office was an antique, and I knew to be very careful sitting on it. Each was different, but the effect was always the same: in my childhood home, I knew I was welcome anywhere, that there was always a place for me. I fit, I belonged. The chairs proved it.

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

The Yarddawg Tree Hall of Fame

A few of you have asked for a list of recommended trees and shrubs for our area. This week will focus on trees and YES it is a good time to plant though waiting until early spring on number 7 is advisable. Remember, any recommended list of trees and shrubs in this Hall of Fame or others, may not be best suited for your garden situation. The previous list of Plants to Avoid posted back in January was easy to compile. It’s a little trickier to recommend a list of good trees because there are many “good” choices.

Probably the most important consideration for deciding what to plant in your garden is site selection; meaning do you have full sun, partial sun, partial shade, full shade, or a combination of all these and other factors? How is your site oriented? North, East, South, West? In my yard there are varying light conditions; some full sun, partial sun and also partial shade which provides for a variety of options and solutions. Also remember morning full sun is different than afternoon full sun. To qualify for full sun a sight should receive at least 3 hours per day of unfiltered sun and more is better. The trees listed here generally perform well, are easy to grow, and well adapted for Forsyth County and the Piedmont.

List of Trees (in no particular order)

1. Crape Myrtle. The “southern” lilac. There are many varieties, colors and sizes but one common element is this flowering tree needs full sun. The brighter and hotter, the better to promote full blooming. My favorite variety is the outstanding white blooming Natchez. Great mildew resistance. With age, the bark exfoliates in late summer and takes on a cinnamon color which adds considerable interest in the winter months. The spectacular Natchez will reach 25’-30’ height if you’ll just leave it alone you will be rewarded.

2. Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’. Yes Lucy a magnolia can make the hall of fame despite my reservations with the huge parent tree. Little Gem is a fairly new variety that has all the characteristics of the mammoth growing parent but in a more compact package (30’-35’ tall and 8’-12’ wide) which is better suited to the typical urban lot. Great tree to maintain our southern heritage. Full sun. (Lucy note: my Magnolia thanks you for conceding.)

3. Japanese Maples. Now here is a group of imports that few can complain about. Many varieties with various shapes, sizes and colors. Many of these small trees max out at 12’15’ feet tall which make them especially useful in city gardens. These versatile trees can be planted in containers for placement on a deck or patio. Full to part sun.

4. Japanese cryptomeria or Japanese cedar is another great import. Great needle leaf, coniferous evergreen. Good as a single specimen, grouped or used as a screen. Many varieties and sizes from dwarf 2’-3’ to 40’. Black Dragon is a good start to those unfamiliar with Crypto’s. Twenty year size purported to be 7’-10’ tall. I have planted a group of Cryptomeria for privacy. The group includes the varieties, ‘Tar Heel Blue’ (40’ plus), ‘Yoshino’ (40’), ‘Black Dragon’ and ‘Sekan- sugi’ (25’-30’). Some are also suitable for containers which will limit the size. Full sun.

5. Flowering Dogwood. How could you not pick this tree? A dogwood in bloom truly signals the arrival of spring. There are some troubling disease problems with these natives but I don’t believe it should deter us from planting this tree. Morning sun with afternoon shade is preferred during the summer months. For added dogwood interest please also consider Kousa dogwoods which also come with a later (May-June) bloom time and fewer disease problems. Partial sun is best. Dogwoods are shallow rooted. Do not plant too deep or disturb the roots of an established tree. The flowering dogwood is the most finicky tree on this list.

6. Redbud. A true native garden gem placed in the right site. A small tree eventually reaching 25’-30’. The variety, Forest Pansy, has nice pink blooms in early spring followed by deep maroon colored heart shaped leaves. Will perform in full to part sun. An under story tree best placed in edge of a wooded site or in filtered shade. The wood is tender and will break off in strong winds.

7. Gingko biloba. One of the most graceful of the big trees. Just make sure to ask your nursery person for a male variety. Long lived and slow growing to 70’-100’ tall. There are reports of living specimens over 2,000 years old. Plant one of these disease and insect resistant trees and your work will be admired for centuries. Outstanding gold fall color. Full sun.

8. Red Maple. The sight of a 60’-80’ tall native Red Maple in fall splendor explains it all. Full sun. Good shade tree.

9. Dawn Redwood. This easy to grow special tree grows in a pyramidal shape reaching 60’-90’tall and 15’-25’wide. The hard to find variety, Ogon, sports yellow foliage. Fast growing (capable of up to seven feet per year) up to 50’ in 15-20 years. A nice bronze color in fall. Best in full sun. The lacey foliage has an almost fernlike appearance. Not an easy tree to find around here, especially the Ogon, but well worth the effort. This tree is a personal favorite. I have four in my yard and confess my bias.

10. White Oak. A simply outstanding native shade tree.65’-85’ tall. Full sun.

There are many other tree options suitable for us and available locally. Just make sure to purchase from a reputable firm and remember cheaper is not always better. I prefer to buy from local nurseries rather than the big box stores where the tree usually sits on hot concrete or asphalt. Once you find a tree to your liking use this video link to assist in planting and you should be good to go.
-Yarddawg

Thursday, February 19, 2009

... And Lingonberry Soda to Drink


  • The portions at IKEA are very generous.
  • Also, the food is very tasty.
  • And lingonberry soda is very, very refreshing (free refills).
  • (I kinda want to figure out how to make a lingonberry slushie.)
IKEA Charlotte

Local Day Trip

Good morning!

Ahhh, IKEA Charlotte...

The other LC and I left Winston around 8 a.m, arriving at IKEA Charlotte at roughly 9:20. We were amused to see a kablillion event parking contractors with flags in-hand since there were only maybe twenty other cars there. Nonetheless we let them guide our vehicle to a space front and center. A half hour later, though, when I peeked out a second floor window, I could see that the lot was now packed.

Inside, it wasn't mayhem, but it was bustling. There were plenty of IKEA employees on deck, though, and they all seemed genuinely concerned with being helpful. They were impressively familiar with the merchandise, given how new I assume it is to most of them. LC and I meandered through the showrooms, noting this, exclaiming at that.

My main objective in going to IKEA today was to check out furniture for a redo of the oldest's bedroom this summer. (He's outgrown the racecar bed, the roadway carpet, and such.) He looked through the catalogue last week and pointed out some items he likes. I went to thump them like melons and make mental notes.
  • bunk bed: shook it, and it's sturdy
  • desk chair he liked: too shallow for his height
  • similar chair we didn't notice in catalogue: even cooler and deep enough for tall kid
  • lamp: very hot to touch with one bulb, taller bulb in same lamp elsewhere in store not hot
  • etc.
Today I only purchased a few small household items from the marketplace, a BARNSLIG for the youngest's room being my "big" purchase. I used the self checkout and found it remarkably sensible. If I had had problems, there was an IKEA associate stationed there to assist. After checking out, we headed back upstairs to eat at the large cafe (see post above), then headed back to Winston, arriving after an easy drive around 1:15 PM.

IKEA Charlotte

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

(insert silence here)

I am a woman who loves words. I enjoy playing with them, admiring them, sharing them. And in return for this adulation, words seldom fail me.

But sometimes they do.

spotted during today's jaunt to A.C. Moore

Opening Tomorrow

Associated Artists of Winston-Salem invites the public to a reception at their gallery on Fourth Street tomorrow evening, Thursday February 19th from 5-7 pm, for the opening of a juried member show entitled Exposures. Many of the pieces are mixed media, but all in some way incorporate photography. (Sadly no phonophotography that I could spot.)

Associated Artists

Wooden eggs, A.C. Moore, Silas Creek Crossing

I'm here picking up materials for the oldest's entry in the Egg Drop Competition, which is this coming Saturday. The competition uses raw chicken eggs, which unfortunately are less sturdy than these fine, wooden ones.

The 2009 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Egg Drop Competition

Tomatoes, yes. Watermelons, no.

Cantaloupes, no. I loved the watermelons and cantaloupes, but they took up a LOT of ground for very little yield. The eggplant was pretty, but rather more of a lark; we're not big eggplant eaters.

This year we'll be gardening more practically with the rather limited space we have, with an eye toward feeding ourselves. I suspect we are not alone.

In Situ
Strawberries (already in place and now perennial)
Blackberries (also planted last year and now perennial)
Garlic (insanely still growing from last year, which is completely unexpected)

Planning for
Tomatoes
Carrots (where the cantaloupes were)
Potatoes (we grew these a few years ago - they're way fun)
mint
lime thyme
habaneros
banana peppers
spinach (where the watermelon was)
zucchini

Leaving room for
whatever else strikes my fancy

phonophoto taken at Lowes, Hanes Mall Blvd

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yay, Internets!

Remember my unfamiliarity with Golf Analysis?

Within five hours, a full explanation hit my Inbox, courtesy of one Darin Nolting who, along with Michael Way, runs the Golf Analysis program and who, delightfully, gave me permission to lazily just quote him in full.

I think the better way to describe our program is that it is a golf fitness and performance program. I am a physical therapist (I'm also included under that Spine Center category) and certified golf fitness instructor. We help all levels of golfers fix the physical problems which make it difficult for them to do what they want on the golf course. The 'analysis' part is an evaluation of the strength, flexibility and motor learning issues which might make it hard for someone to swing the club. We also have some fun technology which allows us to create a computerized 3D model of a persons golf swing so we can see the stuff which is hard to see in real time.

In a nut shell, we try to help with some of the frustrations of the game. Sometimes that frustration is caused by physical pain when people play (aching backs, knees, shoulders etc). Other times the frustration comes from finding that your body won't do the things your very good golf instructor is trying to teach you to do.

Triad Golf Today's article about the program (click on page 12)
And the WFUBMC page on it

Thank you, Darin! And mad props to Alert LiF Reader Wife Gwen!

I admit it

I am ridiculously curious about what the inside of this house on Peace Haven looks like. The rotation of seasonal porch decor is impressive.

Third Strike

... And you're out, OfficeMax at Stratford Commons.

Humor me as I rant for a bit; I'm angry. This morning marks the third time that I have picked up items at OfficeMax only to take them to the register and be told, "Nono, in spite of the clear price tags and the fact that these items are clearly on the sales floor in our store, we cannot sell them to you."

Background: OfficeMax inventory follows a path: Regular Price, Clearance Price, Sold Back to Vendor.

Three times I have walked up to the register with Clearance items only to be told that they are ringing up at a penny, which means they have already been sold back to the vendor. YET THE ITEMS ARE STILL ON THE SALES FLOOR.

This morning, I attempted to buy more of a certain pen. I bought twelve last week as favors for the oldest's upcoming birthday party. Then he wrote up the guest list and I realized I probably needed a few more. So into Office Max and up to the register with the pens, only to be told that this week, I cannot buy them. Oh, and by the way, I maybe can't return the ones I already bought and now no longer need, since I obviously have to rethink favors.

ME: (pointing to man behind glass window) Is that the manager?

Cashier Joan: That is, but you can't talk to him right now.

ME: (ignoring Joan and walking over to the door) Are you the manager?

Manager: I am.

Vendor in office continues sales spiel


ME: This is the third time I've tried to buy something from your sales floor only to be told that it's already been sold back to the vendor. Now Joan says I might not even be able to return the same items I bought last week that I no longer need. I'm very frustrated.

Manager: Oh, you can return them if you have the receipt.

ME: I do, but this shouldn't keep happening. I'm very unhappy.

Manager: I'll tell Joan to return them (turns back to vendor, dismissing me).

I went back to Joan, who tried to tell me there's just no way to keep up with all the inventory and resales to vendors. I'm sorry, but no. I did YEARS of retail. There is a way, and it's all nice and computerized.

I called OfficeMax's central customer service department on the way home. Casey R. confirmed that the items should have been pulled each and every time before this could happen and apologized very corporately. She filled out a form that will wend its way down the ladder. Maybe it will help. I doubt it, though, given the in-store attitude.

As for me, I now need to find other favors ten year old boys will think cool. I have no idea what they might be. I just know I won't be looking at OfficeMax.

OfficeMax

Kinko's FedEx Office, Thruway


Y'all, I made copies ALL BY MYSELF today. I know many of you manage to do this on a daily basis, but the last time I worked in an office, the machines had 400 fewer buttons.

Monday, February 16, 2009

COOL BEANS!

I've read this book! I missed like half the references since I know next to nothing about baseball history (this much I do know), but still, I loved it madly, in a sneak away from the laundry and steal away from children, drink it up until punchdrunk giddy from it, way.

And this Wednesday, Bob Motley will be here in Winston. Gah.

Bob Motley Book Signing

2/18/2009 at Winston-Salem State University 601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem

WSSU Office of Student Activities and Triad Cultural Arts presents Bob Motley, the only living Negro League baseball umpire, to speak and autograph his book.

4 - 6 pm, Diggs Gallery

More information: 336.750.2530

Bob Motley on MySpace
Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants & Stars (Amazon link)
WSSU

Swing!

When recently perusing the long list of outpatient services offered at the CompRehab Plaza of WFUBMC, one in particular caught my eye, seeming ever so slightly not like the others. See if you can guess which one.

Adaptive Driving
Assistive Technology
Audiology
Augmentative Communication
Behavioral Health
Bone and Joint Center
Bracing and Casting
Case Management
Digital Radiology
Functional Restoration
Golf Analysis
Hand Center
Joint Replacement
Lab
Low Vision
Lymphedema Management
Motion Analysis Technology
Musculoskeletal Center
Neurorehabilitation Center
Occupational Rehabilitation Center
Occupational Therapy
Orthopaedic Services
Pediatric Orthopaedics Center
Pediatric and Adolescent Rehabilitation
Physical therapy
Recreational Therapy
Social Work
Spasticity Management
Speech Language Pathology
Spine Center
Sports Medicine Center
Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation
Vocational Rehabilitation
Wheelchair Seating

I wish I knew what "Golf Analysis" meant. All I can come up with is bad golfers who want their game improved via medical technology. (Bear in mind I have little to no imagination when it comes to golf.)

Dropping Like Flies

The youngest took this phonophoto of the lunch I brought him at school.

Before that lunch, I had a meeting of my Third Grade Girls' Book Club. Two of the five girls in my group were absent. At least four more children went home sick while I was in the building.

There seems to be a three-way battle between viruses (viri?) right now in Winston, with children getting over one germ only to develop one of the other two.

These viruses can be labeled thusly: one feverish, one bronchial, and one barfial.

ATTN: Person(s) constructing home on N. Stratford @ Virginia

PLEASE don't make it "Transitional" style.

UPDATE, 2:45 pm: YAY! Not transitional!

I am a-swoon over this quote from the Property Notes: The courtyard expands living area graciously.

Note to self: get a courtyard.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oh, my

I just stepped outside, and, well, it feels like February again. Which I suppose it is, but it still stunned me.

As does the forecast for SNOW, given that one of my sons wore shorts to school one day last week:

Tonight: A chance of rain and snow showers before 1am, then snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 32. North wind between 7 and 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Presidents' Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 43. North wind between 9 and 15 mph.

NOAA's forecast for Winston-Salem

Cha-cha-cha

I'm at Costco, trying to come up with snack ideas. The youngest has to bring snack for the class this week, and the phonics sound is CH. There's a peanut allergy now, which is making this CHallenging.


So far I have CHips Ahoy, CHips (potato), CHeese-Its, and CHeerios. I may have to get CHowder for Friday if I don't come up with one more.


PS: LC asked me to price rotisserie CHicken. $4.99 apiece, LC.

PPS: I ran into Beth -n- Fam! So cool!

PPPS: The samples were still chintzy. Maybe 8 stations total, and 2 of those were snack foods (granola bars and rice cakes), 1 was candy, 1 was yogurt, and 1 was jam. Really, Costco.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Welcome Mat

$10.99 @ Bed, Bath & Beyond, Thruway


I could only love it more if it said Shoo. Possibly Skedaddle.

#469 is tomorrow

This is the youngest at Funigan's, during what I believe is Birthday Party #468 this month.


Funigan's, only in Winston-Salem

Isn't it romantic?

For our Valentine's Day, my husband and I are sharing the gift of meat: a Package #1 from Bib's Downtown!

Bib's ribs are so good I've begun to crave them specifically, much like Skippy's hot dogs or Blue Ridge's peppermint stick milkshakes.

Chocolates, schmocolates, flowers, schmowers. - this is so much better I can't stand it. And I won't have to cook all weekend.

Happy Valentine's, Y'all!

I'm in the mood for dirt

It's time again! It's time again!

Forsyth County 4-H is offering berries, grapes and other gardening items as part of their annual plant sale. ALL of the proceeds go towards 4-H scholarships and 4-H program support.

This is the ONLY annual fundraiser that 4-H holds so please help support our local youth by purchasing some plants.

Pre-orders are due Friday, March 13th and will be available for pick-up on Thursday, March 26th from 12 until 6, Friday March 27th from 8:30 until 6 and Saturday, March 28th from 9 until 12.

I am ordering kablillions of violas. Mixed.

More information and order form
Forsyth County 4-H

PS: IMPORTANT: I am a total plant sale junkie. Please let me know of any plant sales you may come across.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wake me when it's March

For whatever reason, this February has been nothing but injuries and illness, overcommitments and overcrowding*. On Tuesday my kindergartner brought home a composition with one sentence so full of truth that I savored it for several minutes before putting it upon the fridge.

Indeed. So do I.

Thankfully, this coming week, I have an AMAZING outing planned. Not necessarily on Wednesday, though. Anyone else from around these parts thinking of going?

*beautiful weather, though. Snow and sun!

Local Obituary Teaser Contest

Reading the obituaries this morning, I came across the following in that of the late Carl Gray Joyner:

He fell into the family rock well when he was two years and 11 days old. He was rescued by his 13 year old brother and his Dad.

That is the sum total of the information given. It piqued my curiosity. It made me wish I had heard what was obviously an oft-told family story. (How else to explain the very exact age at fall?)

Your challenge: Write a teaser that could appear in your own obituary. Your teaser may not be longer than two sentences. You may post it here in comments, but please also email it to me.

One entry per person. Entries must be received by next Friday, February 20th, at 5 PM EST. Winner will be chosen by yet another esteemed panel of judges and will receive a $10 giftcard to Kernel Kustard.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One little, two little, three little birdies

On Saturday, February 14th, from 10 AM - noon, the Nature Education Department will teach families how to participate in the Bird Count hosted by the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Learn bird identification techniques and advice on where to go in the park for the best bird-watching opportunities. Then, conduct your own count and enter it into the Great Backyard Bird Count database. The classes will take place at Walnut Hall. Admission is free after $2.00 per car park entrance fee.


For the record, yes, that would be the same Great Backyard Bird Count that MPB almost corrupted last year.

Tanglewood
The Nature Education Department at Tanglewood
The Great Backyard Bird Count

Whistle "Sweet Georgia Brown" here

My dad took me to see the Harlem Globetrotters in the late 1970s. Frankly, I suspect I was merely an excuse to go, because while I found them wonderful, mesmerizing even, my father spent the entire performance in a state of euphoria usually reserved only for lobster bakes on the beach in Maine. When it was over, he bought me a poster of the performers, tall men in short shorts and tall socks, all with Afros except for one man who was balder even than my dad.

The Harlem Globetrotters

photo taken at Lowes Foods, Sherwood Plaza

ATTN: Local Citizenry

The Compact Car spaces in parking lots are meant for compact cars. I know this is a surprise, but compact cars are not SUVs, they are not minivans, they are not even Honda Accords (though Honda Civics are compact). Please familiarize yourself with this concept and stop parking your ginormous vehicles in spaces that are too small for them. It screws up the whole parking lot flow. Seriously.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Speaking of Animal Control...

I swear it looks like this dog is actually a black Lab wearing a Build-A-Bear pelt as a costume.

Someone adopt him! Quick! Or any of these fine beasts!

I wonder if adoption rates are down, too. You know, because of the E word.

(I think this dog would be fabulous in a recession. Any out-of-work desperados who tried to break into your home would be too confused by the sight of this pup to actually take anything. Put a fedora on him, and they'd think he skinned Fozzie Bear alive!)

Dear Squirrel:

Here's the thing - under almost all circumstances, I love you squirrels. I love your bushy tails, I love how ingenious you are when it comes to stripping bird feeders of food, I love that when all the leaves fall come autumn, your oversize nests suddenly become visible...

But you charged me, squirrel. Multiple times. And you chased me. Plus you're hunkering low to the ground, walking in circles in plain sight.

Let me be frank: I want Animal Control to come get you, euthanize you, and lop your little head off, because I am like 99% certain you are quite ill, and I want to make sure it's not rabies.

I know this seems like an awful thing to do. I KNOW. But let me let you in on a secret: in all likelihood you have a few hours in which to make your getaway. The last time I called FCAC, an officer moseyed up three and a half hours later.

So go, squirrel. Go far. You've been spinning in my driveway for at least half an hour now. I called Animal Control at 2:48. Only roughly one hundred eighty minutes left.

Scat.

EDIT, 4:00 PM:

Dear Squirrel:

You seem to be really, really sick now. You've gotten much slower. I hope you get your little, squirrelly wings soon.

Sorry. :(

video

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

Yardklutzing
by Yarddawg

Esbee’s recent kluztiness must be contagious. Last night I fell down the steps leading to our basement. Luckily I was on the next to last one and went down on my knees with no damage done.

I have taken advantage if the fine weather this week by doing some “yarddawging”. Monday was compost day. Today was pruning day. There is this tree with some of the lower branches that needed removing. I realized there were a few branches I couldn’t reach from the ground even with my six foot long pole lopper. So I got out my stepladder for some extra reach. Standing on the fourth rung of the ladder on soft, uneven ground is NOT recommended.

Let me also report this physics lesson I discovered: when a ladder suddenly makes a hard right, your AXX will veer in the exact opposite direction. FAST. Then impact. Also fast. There is also pain for a few moments as your internal organs readjust to their default position.

It is amazing how vulnerable you feel four feet up a ladder, looking straight up into the sky when the sudden sensation of movement occurs at your feet. I can tell you it doesn’t feel good.

By the way, no one, save my trusty companion Burley, was home. Thankfully she quickly came to my rescue. Not. So not.

(Please note this was taken at true ground level with my new camera phone about two minutes after impact. Burley did not budge from this pose for at least ten minutes before or after).

Enough of this. I’m fine. I think. As of now just a few scratches and a dull throb on my port side.

Here are some shots taken at home and around the neighborhood in the last week of plants with winter interest:

(Top to bottom, click on image for larger view)
1. Camellia sasanqua
2. Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
3. Nandina domestica AKA Heavenly Bamboo

Take it from me. Be safe.
-Yarddawg




Local Retail Notes

No! No! No!

You have until the end of April to stock upon Carolina goodness locally. (The second Kicks & Grins store in Charlotte will stay open though, apparently.)

Spacesavers on Stratford

I had an epiphany. I don't like folding laundry, but I love hanging laundry. Accordingly, I'm here for clothing racks for the laundry room.