Hello Hello

Friday, December 31, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

The youngest's second favorite Christmas gift was a set of pirate figures with sweet pirate fort.

His first favorite, though was a cooking set: a child-size apron I found for dirt cheap at IKEA, 2 children's cookbooks* from Edward McKay, his own set of plastic measuring spoons on a ring which he wears like the clack-clackiest bracelet ever, and a $10 Lowes Foods giftcard, which item he has habitually begged for for EVERY SINGLE TIME we grocery shopped this year.

This morning he declared that tonight's festivities deserve a cake, a simple vanilla one. It's cooling now, soon to be sprinkled with powdered sugar and sprigged with mint and berries. If we make it all the way to midnight, we'll start the new year with a sweet taste in our mouths; if not, we'll start tomorrow with my mother's ultimate cinnamon toast, which calls for cake.

Wherever you are tonight, may you feel loved and well-fed.

Happy New Year!

* Last night he helped me make beef stroganoff out of this international cookbook: recommend, recommend, recommend. The other one was this historical cookbook, which looks fantastic; he's been poring over it repeatedly. Both offer ample amounts of background information and factoids.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

Forsyth County Public Library, Reynolda Manor Branch

It's a Small World Afterall

The Winston-Salem Police Department will have extra police officers on duty on New Year’s Eve and is reminding residents that it is illegal to discharge firearms within the city limits.

Every year the Police Department responds to multiple calls of discharged firearms on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, said Officer Jonathan Lewis of the Crime Prevention Unit. "Discharging firearms, even into the air, is prohibited by the city code," Lewis said. "Each year we take reports of damage to homes and vehicles from falling bullets, and there is always the chance that a falling bullet could hurt someone."

... And every year I hear or see them -- snide comments about these local reminders. Mainly coming from those raised elsewhere and/or directed toward those living elsewhere, the general theme seems to be Oh, wow... can you believe I live among these gun-toting rednecks?

GREAT NEWS! You are welcome to skedaddle!

How about Riviera Beach, Florida, just up the coast from Palm Beach, where Lilly Pulitzer picks the exact shade of red for necks each season?

Or Long Beach, California, with all the surfing hicks?

How about Detroit?

Yuma? I hear they're very zen in Arizona.

Have you considered Los Angeles? You could become a star!

If you really want to take your act on the road, you could even venture overseas: Manila, Phillipines! (Apparently law enforcement itself is the problem there.)

Announcement: this ill advised gun-shooting at midnight thing occurs in many places. Please stop casting aspersions and/or stereotypes because of an advisory that happens all over the country.

Besides, it could be worse. You could be dealing with paper lanterns in paradise. Oh, those Hawaiians!

Local Resolutions

The youngest and I are working on New Year's resolutions this morning. I like resolutions, fresh bursts of optimism. I believe in change, in anything can happen, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I adore a new calendar, a fresh pad of paper with "To Do" written at the top.

Meet Kona. Kona also believes in possibility, specifically the strong possibility that he belongs with you. Look into his incredibly sweet eyes and see all his hopes and dreams for 2011 there. Look! It's you and Kona running along Salem Lake! And there! Kona's in the dog show at the Dixie Classic! Awww, Kona's snoozing under your seat at Krankies!

Kona is your destiny!

Kona-n-you is written in the cosmos!


Go get Kona!

photo credit: FCAC
Forsyth County Animal Control

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

Glen Echo Trail

This local snowman is admirable for its military garb and its possession of a weapon, but most of all for its dramatic stance. En garde!

Local You Rock

Meant to tell you yesterday: thanks for keeping the snow around long enough for us to enjoy, too. I also appreciate the way y'all got the roads clear in time for us to drive back safely.

Local Duck Calls

On a warm evening when I was five or six, my father took me to Wolf Trap, an open air concert hall outside of Washington. The absence of streetlights and traffic sounds made the towering, wooden venue seem especially deserving of reverence, and my memories of that night still have a hushed, dreamlike quality. What I do remember is that beside my father, I leaned forward as onstage, the narrator introduced Peter and the Wolf, presenting each instrument's sound and explaining how each represented a different animal. Then I sat back and stared into the dark as the story unfolded in music.

In my mind, the oboe will forever equal the duck.

The Carolina Chamber Symphony Players
Old Salem Museums & Garden
Peter and the Wolf
Thursday, December 30
11 AM & 1 PM
Gray Auditorium, Old Salem Visitor Center

Peter and the Wolf will be narrated by Lesley Hunt with music performed by the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players’ Wind Quintet and Percussion. Each character in Peter and the Wolf has a particular instrument and musical theme. The December 30 performances will feature Elizabeth Ransom on flute, Anna Lampidis on oboe, Ron Rudkin on clarinet, Joe Mount playing horn, Saxton Rose playing bassoon and Beverly Naiditch on percussion.

Tickets for Peter and the Wolf are $5 general admission. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (336) 721-7350. Tickets also will available at the door on December 30.

Carolina Chamber Symphony Players

Old Salem

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

Meet my new friend. He hopped around me, stopping every so often to cock his neck and peer at me, for about two hours straight while I read my book poolside one afternoon. Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil, by the way, and it's fantastic.

renewed, restored (but not yet unpacked)

That was the view from my hammock.

I got back last night from spending seven days in Orlando with my menfolk, the boys I love best. In between rides and shows, I hammocked and hot tubbed and ate Spinach Gnocchi and Eggs Benedict like it was my patriotic duty.

I'm so glad you all had a white Christmas, but I'm not at all jealous or regretful, because I needed palm trees, I needed parades, I needed away.

Today the washer beckons. The vacuum, as Pep must have molted three times over just to amuse herself in our absence. The still unsent Christmas cards. (Dear Loved Ones: Happy Epiphany!)

New local etsy love is up in the righthand column -- happy items to inspire new year's resolutions. Today's phonophoto will no doubt be a vacation photo, though I've no idea which one.

Oh! I have a gift for you! Look! I made you a video game! I had to run in place, jump, and do a victory dance which you see at game's end. The oldest and I found this in Innovations at Epcot; elsewhere in Epcot we also especially enjoyed the return of Captain Eo, starring Michael Jackson. (Wow, the 80s were phenomenal.)

More later; time to move the first load to the dryer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

The youngest made it last weekend without my knowing. Drew it, tore the edges to give it a leafy look, stood on one of the dining room chairs and taped it up.

Only then did he announce, "Mistletoe, Mommy. I'm standing right under it." Smothering a smile full of mischief and hope.

And so the last week he's periodically gone to stand underneath it when he feels frustrated or low, when he's hoping someone who loves him will pretend to catch him unaware and bestow a kiss.

Tonight Life in Forsyth will go dark. No new content for a week or so. Instead I'll turn off the computer and spend a little time under the figurative mistletoe by surrounding myself with my little, loved family.

Merry Christmas to all of you. I'll see y'all around New Year's.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

I don't mean to alarm you, but earlier today the youngest performed a snow dance. FYI it was pretty much amazing.

In Old English, Saturday is Sæternesdæg

But I've no idea how one says etsy in Old English, so just know there's new etsy love up, as on every Sæternesdæg, in the righthand column. While I love all the items, I'm especially crazy about the paper cutting; it's genius (another word I have no idea how to say in Old English).

Thank you for supporting local artisans!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

available at Goodwill as of this morning

Exhibit #4378 in my campaign to bring hats back into vogue (or at least into a premium contest class in the Dixie Classic).

Shop Local

Today's gift:
a board book!

These babies aren't just fun for the babies; with their eye catching, high contrast graphics and clever compilations, they'll charm everyone else nearby, too. They also feature slick surfaces, so they're tactile as well as visual eye-candy. Produced by Dwell Studio, a favorite of hipsters young and old.

Available in numerous fun titles, $6.99 - $8.99 apiece at Designed by Snooze, 535 N. Trade Street, Winston-Salem

Goodwill, University Parkway

lc and I came here on a mission to acquire an ugly vestment for the oldest's upcoming Youth Group stew-making party. Success -- feast your eyes on the velour Dior lounge jacket! (Also note the fantastic, Goth, velour swobe lc is modeling; alas she's not invited.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

Today was awesome, a mandatory break from the world beyond our four walls. We baked cookies and drew pictures, played Uno and tinkered with legos. Late lunch was cream of tomato soup and fresh corn muffins, followed two hours later by hot chocolate. And all of it took place in the glow of our tree.

Ah, yes, our tree. We're using our Charlie Brown tree, which is a pathetic faker my husband found lying dustily in a Sears hardware ten years ago and brought home for the then-two year old's room. I believe he paid around $10 for it, which is roughly $9 too much, the whole thing being so awful that I want to use creative spelling so there can be no doubt that absolutely zero trickery is even attempted. A tree? Would I try to fool you? With this thing? Pah! Here, have some krab dip.

Let me tell you about my Trëyë.

In full it stands 42 inches tall and sports roughly twenty exceptionally fake-looking branches. The trunk is a metal pole jammed into maybe a 12 inch tall cylinder of a wood-ish material jammed onto a metal plate. For whatever reason, the children find this tree ah-maaazing, and beg for it to come out any time I open the door to the attic stairs (it lives on the landing).

This year, inspired by what I know not, I decided to let them have it as The Tree, capital -T, capital-T. And so we brought it out, covered the metal plate with some really exciting holiday fabric, festooned it with a kablillion lights and entirely too many boxes of oversize ornaments, and now it is so completely and shamelessly overdecorated that it looks like it strangled disco.

Don't you love my stories?

The End.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

Arbor Road

Shop Local

Today's gift: a change purse!

A pretty ceramic bank makes the perfect gift for your favorite frugalista, and this one's fabulous enough to make tatting up her pennies the next fashion frenzy! Features a stopper on the bottom for emergency withdrawals and a slot wide enough to accommodate bills without too much folding -- even those peskily enormous 500 Euro bills (in case she's also a travelista).

Available in assorted yet complimentary patterns and shapes, $9 apiece at the Garden Boutique at Reynolda Village, just on the right as you turn in the main entrance.

Houses for Hounds

Free doghouses are looking for dogs! If you are a resident of Forsyth County, have an outside pet and need a dog house, we have a limited number to give away!

Forsyth County’s Department of Animal Control Houses for Hounds program was developed through the coordinated efforts of the WS/FC Career Center Carpentry Program and Forsyth County Animal Control for the purpose of providing free dog houses to lower income Forsyth County residents.

For more information or to request one of these free doghouses, you can fill out the online application form or call 703-2480.

Forsyth County Animal Control
WSFCS Career Center

Local Slammin'

Thursday, December 16th
8-9 PM open mic
(sign-up from 7:30 - 8:15)
9-10 PM Poetry slam competition

Krankie's Coffee
211 E. Third Street, Winston-Salem

$3 per person, under 18 FREE

The Piedmont Spoken & Literary Arts Movement or Piedmont SLAM was organized in 2009 and is the descendant of the venerable Winston-Salem Poetry Slam Team founded in 1992 making it the longest running slam team in North Carolina. Piedmont SLAM is committed to promoting the performance of spoken word, giving voice to the diversity of our community through literary arts events, workshops and seminars.

Piedmont Slam

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

While driving through town today, I couldn't seem to get the bones inside of my fingers unstiff, no matter how high I turned the car's heat. So I turned the steering wheel toward the greenhouse at Reynolda Gardens, where the air was wonderfully warm and a strange looking cactus from Saudi Arabia was blooming.

Shop Local

Today's gift: super-exciting popcorn!

I'm not normally a fan of non-sweet food gifts (MAJOR exception: AD's famous cheese ball), but this popcorn is as tasty as it is colorful. Choose from delicious and unexpected taste sensations. Dill Pickle! Loaded Baked Potato! Cinnamon! Key Lime! Red Velvet! Stop in and sample -- you'll be blown away by how impressively true-to-flavor the popcorn is, which is why it's my choice for best local gift to take to a gathering; it's certain to generate conversation, as well as oohs and ahhs.

There are a multitude of tasty ways to create bags for well under $10. Explore all the options at Popcorn Fanatic, 3216 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem (Silas Creek Crossing shopping center, where Toys R Us is).

Local Take Five Minutes Out of Your Busy Day

Next time you're near Central Library, pop in and head downstairs to the North Carolina Room. Sign in, turn left and head to the far corner. There hanging on the lefthand wall you will find an engraved map dated 1770, a Lucy Hanes Chatham Memorial Fund purchase. It's mind-blowing.

North Carolina Room
Central Library

Local 'Tis the Season

The Salem Community Orchestra
James A. Basta, Music Director and Conductor
invites you to
Enjoy a concert of holiday music
with special guest conductor
Peter Perret
Saturday, December 18th
8 PM
The Hanes Auditorium, Salem Fine Arts Center, Salem College
Free Admission and Refreshments

Salem College

Monday, December 13, 2010

Phonophoto of the day


Shop Local

And this is why I love all of you ferociously: today's Shop Local item was sent in last week by LiF Reader AT, who took it upon herself to pitch in when my spirits were low. (I seriously am so thankful for y'all. You're beyond fantastic.)

today's item: reuseable shopping bags!

Not only are they eco-friendly, they're adorable! Each bag folds into its own cute little creature. Choose from ladybugs, bumblebees or frogs!

$5.99 apiece at The Golden Apple, 3458 Robinhood Rd., Winston-Salem

Local Faith in Humanity Rewarded


So yesterday afternoon I was at Home Depot to buy sand for the oldest's middle school science teacher for an upcoming lab. And the man in front of me at the outdoor checkout had on this amazing, obviously handknit hat. It was cream. Or maybe green? Anyway, it had this sort of mohawk in a contrasting color yarn, which clearly makes it a kablillion times more majestic than its merely pompomed brethren. And of course I started swooning madly, physically and verbally, and this jolly, bearded fellow offers up that his wife - here's the little missus now - makes them and sells them and just sold a slew at Krankies holiday market, in fact.

And so I handed over cash and contact information to a perfect stranger. And TODAY, mind you less than 24 hours after I laid eyes on her, this awesomeness was on my front porch.

And now it's on his head, and I'm not sure it's ever going to come off.


(PS: If you are craving such a hat for yourself, you should email me and I'll put you in touch. You pick the colors, though clearly the Spartan combo is the favorite of local future historians.)

Local Psychedelic Santa

Daytime room, Breakfast Of Course, 723 Trade

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Local Loss

(Totally off-topic, but Esbette's wedding featured an incredibly loud bagpiper. And there was an infant present, and the baby - male or female, I know not - slept through the entire ceremony. I mean never stirred, never woke, nada. It began to make me twitch in a sort of Seinfeldesque way, where at first I was just kinda like, "Huh", but by the end I was more like OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE SHIFT AND MEWL AT LEAST. And the baby never did. And here it is months later, and now it's like a Pavlovian response I have that I see a bagpiper in a totally different setting and feel instantly disconcerted and utterly distracted because of that baby that was too quiet. Insane, I tell you.)

Speaking of for better or for worse: The Winston-Salem Journal

Oh, hey, look! Another departure!

update, 9:58 PM: The video's been removed, though I can't fathom why, as it was sort of a heartfelt goodbye and thank you to the copy editors with a dash of incredulity and sorrow thrown in. As you can no doubt surmise from the above, like Esbette's wedding it also featured a bagpiWAKE UP AND CRY ALREADY THIS IS UNNATURAL.

update, 2:40 PM Monday: ...And it's back. Yay, freedom of expression!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

(whispering) hello?

I'm back. Ish.

I took a few days off to mope and cope, and I'm just going to be very easy on myself this year, at least until I get past the anniversary of my mother's death (the 29th).

A thousand thank yous for all the sweet emails, comments, and voicemails.

Anyway, in an effort to resume some sort of normalcy, new local etsy love filled with awesome gift ideas has just gone up in its home in the righthand column. (That blue is one of my absolute favorite shades - the color of the northern Atlantic. Whee!)

Thank you for supporting local artisans! And me. :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Local Radio Silence

My mother died eight years ago this December. I don't understand why I feel her loss more keenly some years than others, but this is one of those years. The tree isn't up. The cards aren't out. I just want to cry myself to sleep and forget all of it.

I don't post that looking for anything, just by way of explanation. Nonetheless I know I'll get a number of exquisitely kind emails asking me, "What I can do?" And the answer is: for me, nothing, truly. But there is one thing you could maybe do. I know every single person here has been touched by someone who died in the last few years, maybe even at Christmas time. That dearly departed left behind another person, and that "survived by" may be hurting. Send that person a card. Handwrite it and just say that you are thinking of them and the person they lost. Just say you remember, that you too are thinking of the lost person, that the recipient is not alone in their loss.

Because if I had to pick my least favorite thing about living here it would be that nobody here ever knew my mother and how utterly wonderful and clever and perfectly imperfect she was. Oh, just to have someone tell me something I did or one of my children's features reminded them of my mother! --I know it won't happen here. And so this time of year, even with early snows and decorations and carols and such, always feels a little lonely, like I'm the only person who recognizes that someone is missing, someone else should be here.

You can't change that for me, but you can change it for someone else. Please do.

Local 'Tis the Season

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

view from the top floor of Janeway Tower, WFUBMC

Just after I took this phonophoto, the youngest turned around and said, "Mommy, I don't mean to alarm you, but I think my eyeballs are coming loose."

Awesome -- the other one completely failed his audiogram, and I mean miserably, and this one's eyes are falling out of the sockets*.

* no, not really. He took this book about Edinburgh body snatchers of the 1700s out of the school library, and it has an illustration of a jar full of eyeballs. You can see the book in his right hand, actually.

Shop Local

Today's gift: pinch bowls!

Ooh-la-la! Give your favorite chef a bevy of prep bowls! These beauties from Le Creuset come in a four pack; pick red/yellow/blue/green or sleek, modern black & white! Flexible silicone makes cleanup a snap, aussi.

$10 per package of four at The Golden Apple, 3458 Robinhood Rd, Winston-Salem.

Local math

21 degrees, predicted high of 32
elementary school-aged children
shorts or short skirts with bare legs
Y'all. Someone needs to conduct wellness checks at those households to see if the parents are laying stone cold dead on the floor, because what else* could it be?

(I'm freezing just looking at these children. For goodness sake, they don't even have leg hair yet!)

* The youngest's theory: we're being infiltrated by Canadians.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

N. Spring

Shop Local

Today's gift: biodegradable planting pots!

They come in cheery colors like purple and gold, but these babies are all green, green, green! Eco Planters™ are made from recycled agricultural by-products (rice husks, bamboo pulp, and corn husks) and are completely environmentally friendly. They can be used indoors or out; they are strong, lightweight, and weather resistant. Under normal conditions, Eco Planters™ should last 3-5 years.

Disposal: Here's the best part! After use, simply crush or break your Eco Planters™ into pieces, then sprinkle on your soil or compost pile. Your Eco Planters™ will gently decompose and become part of your soil!

Available in assorted colors and sizes. As shown, $9.99 apiece at L.A. Reynolds Garden Showcase, 4400 Styers Ferry Road, Winston-Salem

Local Capote

SOOK: It's fruitcake weather! I knew it before I got out of bed. The courthouse bell sounded so cold and clear. And there were no birds singing; they've gone to warmer country, yes indeed. Oh, Buddy, stop stuffing biscuit and fetch our buggy. Help me find my hat. We've thirty cakes to bake.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Robin Voiers starring in
Truman Capote's
Sunday, December 19th
3 PM

Admission $8 members/students, $12 non-members. Recommended for ages 10 and up. For information or to purchase tickets, please call 336.758.5150.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

My handy magnolia says we have at least an inch of snow so far.

If my alarm clock didn't go off this morning, it must be Saturday...

... which means new local etsy love, which is in its place in the righthand column.

Thank you for supporting local artisans!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

Party City, Stratford Road

Shop Local

Today's gift: funky numbers!

These colorful, ceramic digits are each individually done by the artists at The Enrichment Center. Put together a house number! A birthday! A wedding date!

(Numbers are screw-ready but do not include screws.)

$4 apiece at the Gateway Gallery at The Enrichment Center, 1006 S. Marshall St., Winston-Salem

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

Good news! Both the tiramisu and the chocolate tort are a yes!

Shop Local

Today's gift: local culture!

The giftshops in Old Salem feature a myriad of local doodads and doohickeys for under ten bucks. The two at right have come home with me. Ghosts of Salem And Other Tales will go to a very special, young history lover. The darling, wee snowglobe with the coffeepot inside and buildings of Old Salem on the base will be worked into the Christmas display on my mantle, because I simply can't bear to part with it.

Book $7 and snowglobe $4.99, both available at Old Salem Visitor Center giftshop, 900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Phonophoto of the day

I don't know if Fresh Market always has chocolate coins in stock, but this is the time of year I always spot them, because without fail I found them in my stocking Christmas morning. (Also the pretty, cut stick candy with the pictures inside and one Florida orange at the toe).

Shop Local

Today's gift: a safety whistle!

These babies can be heard a mile away, so they make the perfect gift for that outdoorsy person you worry might one day get lost in the woods. They are also wonderful for errant souls who mistakenly elect to move away to someplace where it's awfully dangerous and the people are uncaring. You know, like the North. Whee! No, not really, but wouldn't it be great fun to give one to your favorite Yankee for trips home? With a card reading: Here, I got this for your trip to New York, so that when you fall on the icy sidewalks and everyone just keeps walking past where you lay helpless and prone, you can at least blast their eardrums out. You're welcome.

Available in assorted colors at Village Outdoor Shop, NEW location 3456 Robinhood Road, Winston-Salem

Local Tangy

Today has been madness, but when I spotted this tonight while racing through the grocery so as not to be late picking up the youngest from choir practice, I knew I had to stop for ten seconds to share it.

Y'all! We ranked our own chip flavor! (Cue the fight about Eastern v. Western.)

Local Rollin'

a Meet & Greet
with the
Camel City Thrashers
Tuesday, December 7th @ 5:30 PM
followed by a screening of
Hell on Wheels
@ 6pm
followed by q&a with
director Bob Ray


Camel City Thrashers
Hell on Wheels