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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Local Adam And


Because the New Year starts on a Sunday this year and I love it when the Universe is organized so neatly, I have taken this as a sign to make resolutions, something I indulge in roughly once every five years. Oh, and FYI I like my years to have themes. Accordingly, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...

2012: The Year of Less

1. Be indoors less
2. Spend less
3. Eat less quickie food
(3a. Weigh less)
4. Drive less
5. Less "technology" time
6. Leave less undone
7. Less clutter
8. Hurry less
9. Be less wasteful
10. Less medical stuff
11. Regret less

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone -- See you in The Year of Less! (So, tomorrow.)

*The youngest refers to anything with a screen** as "technology", said in the voice of hushed wonder he usually reserves for discussions of historical mysteries. So this would be the teevee, my laptop, and my phone.

** Everything else is "inventions", said in a sort of gung-ho, Go America voice.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Local Can You Feel The Science Tonight?

We are deep in the throes of Science Fair madness chez nous. In some local households, that would qualify as a trifling matter to mention, on a par with "We're eating breakfast again today." Those are the households where the parents are scientists. Or doctors. Engineers.

Alas my poor boys are reliant on the assistance of yours truly --- unqualified, head-in-the-clouds, user of words like kablillion and squee and Germalian me.

And so I've utilized my strongest skills to help; to wit, I've spent the last two days shopping for the items my children need to sound vaguely scholarly (i.e. like they're adopted).

The oldest is doing a highly algebraic procedure involving glasses of water and a chromatic tuner. The only things he really needed to acquire were eight completely different glass drinking glasses. We had two, and I found six more at the Dollar Store, easy-peasy, and he can do his on his own thus forth.

(I should note, however, that this year marks the first that I'm not worried about anything exploding. Or anydog.)

The youngest, though.


Suffice it to say I am busy constructing a rather oversize outdoor slingshot. Phonophotos tomorrow, hopefully.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

And To You and Yours

Somewhere in the world tonight, a small child with a fear of the dark is sleeping in the dark.

Somewhere in the world tonight, a family is embracing a foster child fiercely and wholeheartedly.

Somewhere in the world tonight, a man who woke up married is going to bed a widower.

Somewhere in the world tonight, a woman is giving birth to a baby she knows she cannot keep.

Somewhere in the world tonight, a grandmother is learning how to read.

Somewhere in the world tonight, an ordinary person is holding a hand, keeping a stranger from dying alone.
- written 11/30/05

Merry Christmas to heroes the world over.

(I've been unnaturally quiet the last week because the youngest was much sicker than we thought. He's on the mend, the meds are on the wane, and tonight I'm looking forward to a possible full night of sleep, the first in a week. I'm giddy with anticipation.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Local In Other Words Starring Anna Lampidis

The Carolina Chamber Symphony Players
Old Salem Museums & Garden
Peter and the Wolf
Thursday, December 29th
11 AM & 1 PM
James A. Gray, Jr. 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 29 performances will feature Debra Pivetta on flute, Anna Lampidis on oboe, Ron Rudkin on clarinet, Joe Mount playing horn, Carol Bernstorf 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 (800) 441-5305. Tickets also will available at the door on December 29.

As far as I'm concerned, it should be called The Duck and Oh, Yeah, There's This Kid Named Peter, Too, because the oboe totally steals the show.

Carolina Chamber Symphony Players
Old Salem

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Local Optimism At Work

On a happy note, you get seen really quickly when you go early in the morning.

We're home, none the worse for wear* except at my age I look exceptionally haggish when I'm sleep-deprived. Look away, my friend, look away!

* this again

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Local Just 2 Secs

Lowes Foods, Sherwood Plaza

I love bulletin boards. My sons however loathe them, because when I see one, I briefly stop to scan it. Apparently our community standing relies on maintaining a forward trajectory when passing one, because both boys immediately become indignant beyond measure, as if I'm imperiling their very dignity by acting like a bonafide crazy person. One of these days I'm not only going to pause, I'm going to hunch forward and shout, "BLARGH BLARGH BLARGH" in my best troll voice.

Take that, children.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Local 'Tis The Season

Hanes Mall Boulevard, 5:32 PM

I adore seeing holiday character hats all over town. There's a house on the corner of Reynolda and Arbor that has a number of sculptures behind it, visible as you drive down Arbor. Sometime in the last week or so, elf hats went on the figures in the largest, most central sculpture. Makes me smile every time I drive by.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Local And I mean EXACT...

First person to say where I was standing when I took this phonophoto wins sunlight and moonbeams plus the sweet smell of victory and a resounding round of applause from me as I sit at my computer.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Local My Mother is Dead But I'm Not*

See? That's me, not dead. I'm still here, but goodness, the Christmas shenanigans are in full swing. I tend toward doing too much, probably to keep my mind busy, for this is the time of year my mother died.

December 29th will be 9 years, and so the joyfulness of the season and the sorrow of that loss are all tangled up together. Some years are better than others, and I've no idea quite why. This year I don't hurt sharply. This year, touch wood, is actually OK for me.

But not for everyone, I well know, and so I'm reissuing my plea from last year:
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.

 * Yes, I know my title is awful. As I've told you I tend toward inappropriate humor, graveside.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Local My Other Car is a Lego Robot

I spent all day at Forsyth Tech, West Campus, where the oldest was participating in a Lego Robotics competition. His school's team did not win one of the above trophies today.

(car ride home)

me: Well? Did you have fun?

him: Yeah, but I'm really tired.

me: So was it worth it? Even if your team didn't win?

him: Oh, totally. Can you buy me like 3 pizzas?

me: Um, no.

- fin -

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

I received an e-mail question from longtime Life In Forsyth reader AT about rose bush pruning and I thought I'd share it for those interested in thorny issues.

Hi Doug! I have a quick question about rose bushes. My daughters and I planted a knockout rose bush at our house in Wilson in '06 on the one year anniversary of my mother's death. It's a special rose bush. When we moved to W-S, in Nov of '08, I cut the bush entirely down and transplanted in a nursery pot. I replanted at our new house in Jan '09. The rose bush has flourished and has really taken off. I love it, it always blooms a lot for special times, like my daughter's birthdays, as if my Mom is saying "hi!"

I haven't done much pruning since then, just a little here and there. But a couple of weeks ago, I got a wild hair and really cut it back. Now I'm realizing it's not the right time to do so. Too late now. I'm attaching a photo of the massacre. Worst thing is I did it on my birthday, perhaps I was taking it out on Mom for not being here? Hmmm... Anyway, my question to you is, have I killed this special bush, and if not, is there anything I should do to protect it during freezes?

Thank you so much! - Amy

Dear Amy,

The rose bush and your mom will forgive you. It should be just fine.

The best time to to prune roses is in late winter, late Feb/early March, but pruning can be done anytime you feel it looks worn out. Pruning to about 12-18 inches from the ground seems to reinvigorate them.

Fertilize in spring when signs of growth appear, but again, away from the canes. This is when I like to add about an inch of composted cow manure ( Black Kow works fine) Think of where the foliage was before you pruned it. That's where the feeder roots are.

I wouldn't do anything else special. A normal winter or even below normal temperature season shouldn't matter. Like with many other plants a rare sub-zero clipper can be more iffy. If that happens wait until late spring or early summer before assuming the worst.

Mulch around the plant with some organic mulch (pine straw or pine bark mulch is fine) but try to keep the mulch slightly away from the main canes. You're trying to protect the root system.

- Yarddawg

Local Did You Say Cider?

Piedmont Craftsmen
invites you to a demonstration of
Nuno Felting
Fiber Artist
Rachel Nicholson
in the gallery
601 N. Trade Street 
Thursday, December 15th
6-7 PM

The latest new felt process, Nuno felting melds silk fabric and merino wool fleece together to make a new product. Soap and hot water are combined with the silk and fleece, then massaged until the small fibers crawl through the fabric.

Each silk scarf blank is hand dyed and coordinated with specific colors of fleece. In some cases silk fibers or bamboo fibers are added to the wool to add interest and color.

Please join us for the demo as it occurs.

This educational event is FREE and open to the public.

Hot Cider will be served.

OK, it's not even that I think I could ever do anything like that, but I want to go see it being made, because the color saturation is UNREAL.

PS: Go look at the artist's website, because you can see her studio and then biggify it and imagine it's really yours! Your studio! Your art! admire her works!

Piedmont Craftsmen
Rachel Nicholson

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Local Ain't About The (Uh) Wa-Wing-Wa-Wing

If you ever want to annoy the living tar out of your middle schooler, wait until he's standing at the Lowes Foods Wing Bar, then start singing "Price Tag" with lyric modifications. But be forewarned: he will return the favor by accompanying you down every aisle beatboxing. Badly.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Local Also I Heard Talk of a Double Rainbow, But Frankly That Just Seems Like Throwing a Quarter On Top of a Pile Of Gold Bullion, Which Is To Say, Really, Who Needs It?

Sunset today? With those rolling, glowing clouds? And that luminosity to end all luminosity? GLOR-REE-YUSSSS. Even the middle-schooler was impressed. (I believe his exact words were, "Whoa. Cool." I concur.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Local We Heart Trees

It may not be an original idea, but this lavender tree sweater on Trade near Sixth is the first one I've seen in these parts. (And a nice contrast to the lot for sale behind our house which is being pretty much completely de-treed as I type. Enormous oaks, no less. Sigh.)

Kudos to our local tree knitter!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Local Can I Get A What-What

Esbette changed her hair color but not her taste in restaurants, thankfully. Breakfast Of Course for the win!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Phonophoto of the day

This wee tableau was waiting on the counter for me when I got home tonight. Orshka borshka!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Local location

So here's where I am right now:

When we selected the oldest's middle school almost two years ago, we intentionally chose one that demographically felt more like the real world than his elementary. (We also chose the one that offered the International Baccalaureate, because if you want to talk bang for your tax dollar buck, wow is the IB it.)

This year I took over all responsibility for the Reward Store. The Reward Store is a positive behavior system that allows students to earn "green passes" for doing the right thing and shop every Friday with them. We stock super cool school supplies, toiletries, some seasonal items, and fun finds as I locate them at a reasonable cost.

Fridays have become my favorite day bar none, because I love these kids. They're incredibly bright and simultaneously not so bright, but they are all just trying so, so hard. Some of them shine and some don't yet, but I see the shine deep inside them. It's there.

I see pretty much every student at least walk by every single Friday there's school. Roughly half to two-thirds of them shop on any given Friday.

At the beginning of the year we did a brisk business in "locker swag" and school things. Fall is easy -- I can't tell which students are buying notebooks because they need notebooks and which are buying notebooks because they just want super cute ones.

Today, though.

Today marked the day I was painfully aware of which kids were buying scarves and hats because they need them, because the ones who didn't have enough green passes to buy them I would just see their shoulders slump. Hopefully I'd say, "Were they going to be a gift?" because we have some kids buying gifts right now (coffee mugs went flying out the door, ditto "zen gardens"). And the student would shake his/her head and softly say, "It's cold out," and then get back in line.

Today Senator Hagan and Aaron Williams, the head of the Peace Corps, visited the middle school, and my son among others played djembe for them! By all accounts it was an exciting experience for students, school personnel, and dignitaries alike.

That said, I slipped out before the guests arrived, because after three hours in Reward Store, I'm not exactly polished anymore, but also because today my heart hurt for those students who are trying so hard to get what they need, to earn it through their own efforts. Because they're right: it's cold out. No hidden meaning, just the truth. It is cold outside.

And that's where I am.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Phonophoto of the day

Blue Ridge Ice Creams

This particular ice cream 'stache is Mexican Vanilla*, but may I suggest the Dark Chocolate? Because frankly it's the bomb-diggity-dig-dug.

*The youngest just read over my shoulder and is rather outraged. He hereby declares that Mexican Vanilla is "the nuke, because it's more fearsome than the regular bomb." (So for all your really massive destructive dessert needs then, go with Mexican Vanilla.)