Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend wrap-up

The blog is finding that everyday life is full of opportunities for observation, and is in serious danger of falling behind...even with no walk on Friday (because the blog can't walk and drink wine at the same time), there's still much to note. First, Sandy cat is gradually making friends with her official BeeSpace honey bee. Second, many mailboxes in the area south of Hanes Mall Boulevard have highly unusual attachments. Third, a trip to one of Susan's favorite restaurants (the Saigon, in Greensboro) on Saturday was preceded by the blog's first exploration of Greensboro's extensive greenway system. Jon photographed this "natural arch" on the Nat Greene trail.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Buena Vista obelisk

Here is a mysterious obelisk sighted in Buena Vista earlier this week. Why 1937? Why the tether? This obelisk is nicely preserved, but were there once others?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Woodland Hills Paradise

Despite the threat of continued rainy weather, we completed an excellent walk on Wednesday night. We began by revisiting the first house that Susan looked at when she was thinking of moving to Winston-Salem in 2003. This little "mountain home" in Woodland Hills still haunts her. In her opinion, it is perfect in every way except for its isolated location far from the Wake Forest campus. The remainder of the walk took both Jon and Susan into new territory south of Hanes Mall Boulevard, and offered a bonanza of opportunities to photograph beautiful hand-painted mailboxes. We also found another obelisk, which I am saving for a future posting. But we lingered too long, and got pretty wet when the rains returned.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Philadelphia? Baltimore? No, Buena Vista!

We squeezed in a walk between rain showers on Tuesday night. Buena Vista is an "old money" neighborhood of Winston-Salem, but it is by no means sanitized or homogeneous, unlike modern McMansion developments. This is, however, not a typical buena vista.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A really nice mailbox

The rain continues in Winston-Salem, so the blog has been unable to walk since Susan's return on Sunday. On Sunday Jon and Susan had a nice dinner with Kim, toasting Abe's 22nd birthday with Abe in absentia. Susan took this photo of her old mailbox while she was in Champaign. She expects never to have a more elegant mailbox.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A cottage garden in Urbana

Susan's friend Christina lives in Urbana, Illinois and has a lovely cottage garden. The entire front yard of her house is continuously in bloom from tulip time on. Although Christina's garden is more successful than most, this style of garden is popular in Champaign-Urbana. The blog can't recall many encounters with cottage gardens in Winston-Salem. The main reason is likely that the lots are on average so much larger here. The little foot is a fragment from one of Christina's sculptures.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In O'Hare airport

The blog took a brief trip to Champaign-Urbana to attend a scientific conference. This photo is for Jon, who would probably enjoy living in a city with a higher density of hockey fans than Winston-Salem. To say that folks in Chicago seemed "interested" in the fate of the Black Hawks would be an understatement. Sorry about those Capitals...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Which is it?

Welcome or no trespassing? Photographed on Picadilly Lane last week. The welcome sign is small, but visible in the upper left of Jon's photo, and in the close-up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last year's news...

A very nice walk on a fine spring evening through Ardmore last night, which began with a glass of wine on Ebert St with Jon's friend and Virtual Theatre Project colleague, Kim. She would not walk with us, though, because she was conscientiously working her way through the submissions for the VTP's 2008-2009 playwriting competition. This photograph was taken by Jon the night before behind the Arbors apartments off Peacehaven Road. To everything there is a season...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What happened here?

Jon and Susan drive past Partridge Lane (off Silas Creek Parkway between Silas Ridge and the Robinhood Road exit) several times every day. Last week one of the seemingly solid brick walls at the entrance to this community was severely damaged. No tire tracks were evident at the scene. Vandalism? Materials failure? A natural disaster? It's a drive-by, neighborhood mystery.

Last night's walk revealed that Tiffany and Piccadilly are indeed not connected, so the Google maps are wrong. One travels quickly down a gradient of respectability on Tiffany - the further one gets from Peacehaven, the less conformist the approach to property maintenance. By the end of Tiffany, non-conformity is the rule. A developer squeezed in a surprising number of small houses adjacent to the power lines, most likely in the early 1990s. Who lives here? Another mystery. Further down Peacehaven, we walked through the Arbors apartment complex all the way to its end, where we encountered a broad and rather scenic stretch of Silas Creek. A woman on one of the apartment balconies told us that she often sees 3 deer come down to drink in the creek as evening falls.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Commencement Day at Wake Forest

What a beautiful day on the quad. Biden's talk was very enjoyable. Susan could see and hear the speaker clearly as she sat on the platform just a few rows behind the podium. This was not an ordinary Wake Forest podium, but rather a special armored podium with the Vice Presidential Seal on the front and a built-in teleprompter (it left when Joe left). For the record, Biden didn't rely too heavily on the teleprompter, and he was completely impromptu when he made comments about his friend, Tim Russert.

It's always amazing how quickly the trappings of graduation melt away from the campus. Now it's really summer. Time to start some serious walking.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A delicate detail

The blog enjoyed a visit to Foothills Nursery & Herbs near Mt. Airy on Saturday, and as a result has begun to entertain the idea of dwarf Japanese maples in containers on Jon's deck and Susan's patio. This little lamp was photographed during Thursday's walk. We stopped to inspect a sad, "unsafe to enter" house on Country Club Road. The house appears to have been abandoned for some time, but the delicate little lamps on either side of the front door hint that someone thoughtful once was happy to live there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pylons and obelisks

Pylon is a Greek term that used for the rectangular, truncated, pyramidal towers flanking the gateway of Egyptian temple. A pylon is also a large metal tower that carries very high voltage power lines. Susan has always admired both types of pylon, so it is fortunate that Jon turns out to be an enthusiastic photographer of pylons and power lines. This beautiful Winston-Salem pylon was photographed from a vantage point near the intersection of Country Club and Jonestown Roads during Thursday evening's walk. (As usual, wine and not a walk on Friday.)

Some pylons (not all) are obelisks, and some are adjacent to obelisks.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A mysterious scene

Nate joined us for a walk that began in a very ordinary fashion in at South Fork Park, but which led us to explore the interesting neighborhood of small houses behind the park on Picadilly and Tipperary. Is the number of no trespassing signs a good guide to the paranoia level of a neighborhood? If so, this quiet neighborhood with an unusual number of folks sitting out on their porches rates as one of the tensest we have walked. Also, Google Maps shows a connection between Picadilly and Tiffany that was not evident (or at least was too well defended to breach) from street level. We wandered over to Old Vineyard Road and found an island of nice older houses completely isolated from the main flow of traffic when the shopping center at the corner of Country Club and Jonestown Road was built. Susan wonders: How long can these houses persist? That is, will anyone but the current owners ever want to live in such a violated neighborhood? The feeling of strangeness was enhanced by the presence of an unattended open fire hydrant fitted with a device labeled dechlorination defuser...this mysterious scene inspired Jon to submit a second entry to the Life in Forsyth Orange photo competition.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"So where are we going to walk tonight?"

Jon's question is pertinent. No walk again last night, although given how thoroughly our differing (but not incompatible) hopes of enjoying watching the Caps eliminate the Penguins and the Phillies trounce the Manny-less Dodgers were dashed last night, a walk might have been a better choice. But true fans could not have chosen otherwise. I like this garden flag, as it reminds me of the iris in my own yard that we imcompetently failed to photograph this year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A desireable school...

This is the school Susan wanted Nate to go to when they moved to Winston, but alas Sherwood Forest had no room for him. Jon can remember taking Erin there when she was a little girl...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Under the parkway

In reality, this tunnel is nowhere near as beautiful as Jon's image makes it seem. But even if it is not beautiful, it is EFFECTIVE, as it permits pedestrians to cross under Silas Creek Parkway (near Sherwood Forest School).

Monday, May 11, 2009

A new greenway, and missing SAM

Sunday evening we found (with Trevor and Andrea's phoned-in navigational assistance - thanks, guys) the new Muddy Creek Greenway. We parked in a small lot off Meadowlark, and walked 5 miles, including some very muddy unpaved parts. Nate actually deigned to come with us. The path was busy, suggesting the existence of pent-up demand for greenways in Winston-Salem. The blog has been eagerly anticipating this particular greenway as a result of some correspondence last spring with the Winston-Salem Journal's now departed Straight Answer Ma'am, Ronda Bumgardner. SAM seems to have been a luxury that a modern newspaper can't afford. I know there is still a daily question-and-answer column in the Journal, but it lacks SAM's personal touch. So here, as a small tribute, is my correspondence with SAM from 2008.
Hi Susan, Welcome to Winston-Salem. We live in the same neighborhood. I live on Good Hope Road. I'll have an answer in the SAM column in the next day or two. The city would LOVE to have MORE greenways, but property acquisition is expensive. Building the trails themselves isn't that costly. In addition, the city wants the greenways to connect as much as possible so even if there's a stretch of land available, if it doesn't connect with the other greenway, it's not as attractive to the city as a parcel of land that connects to existing greenways. Regards Ronda Bumgardner Ask SAM columnist Winston-Salem Journal 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May Frolics at Summit School 2009 Edition

This is what constitutes frolicking for a 6th grader. It was fun.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fiberglass mailbox covers...

...are very popular in some Winston-Salem neighborhoods. The blog has no data, but suspects that there are more black labs depicted on mailboxes in Winston than actually live in our town.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This blog needs less wine and more walking

Despite slightly better weather, the blog was sidetracked on Thursday evening by book club and ice hockey. But even if we had walked, it's a safe bet that Nate would have declined the opportunity to walk with us. This is a mysterious phenomenon because Nate is transformed into an indefatigable walker whenever he leaves Winston. Here he is last summer in Oxford, England, expressing concern over the state of the walls of St. John's College, which were built in the late 16th century.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lamp post planters...

are actually pretty rare in Winston-Salem. This photograph was taken in April 2009.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


The rain continues, and at Wake Forest, the grading continues. Both conspire to keep the blog indoors, reminiscing about past walks and road trips. This photo was taken by Jon when we were at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro earlier this spring. This hotel claims to be the "greenest hotel in America," and it has the LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council to prove it. The rooms are lovely, the public areas are lovely, the "floating" check-in desk is especially lovely, but what impressed Susan the most was the air quality.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jon could have taken this photo...

...but Susan, in homage to Jon's style, took it on a recent walk in Winston with Nate. Jon, do you know where this is? Do you like it better in color or in B & W?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Only the sunny hours...

The blog occasionally takes a road trip. Earlier this spring, we drove up Route 29 in Virginia. We stopped at the place with the big metal dragon. Susan thought about purchasing this sun dial, but felt that the price was too high. The sign deterred her from attempting negotiations...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A mailbox on a garden flag...

We saw this garden flag on one of our first walks this spring. It made Susan contemplate all of the possible combinations of these two extremely popular front yard adornments. Could there be a garden flag of a garden flag? Could there be a mailbox wrapper that depicted a garden flag? Could a mailbox be painted on a mailbox...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jon has forsythia, but...

...Susan has azaleas.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The blog is feeling peaceful today

Finals have started at Wake Forest, and the blog (and the bloggers) are feeling calmer. Just a short, unpathtracked walk last night in the Faculty Drive area after the Department of Biology's International Potluck. Jon, however, found his entry for the Life in Forsyth Blue competition. This photo (which is not his entry - to see this, follow the Life in Forsyth link and scroll down to the photo of the blue gazing ball) of an interesting natural texture is from one of our first walks this spring - a natural example of the decay and change that Jon likes to photograph (the tree bark, that is, not the observer).