Monday, December 29, 2008

Leaves Calm Traffic in Winston Salem

In Winston Salem, piles of rotting leaves languish on busy thoroughfares, narrowing two-way roads to one-way and forcing cars to slow.

The City has abandoned its customary pickup of leaves, brush, and limbs. Huge piles of organic material block roadways for months at a time.

The controversial strategy is part of an innovative program designed to calm traffic all over town, even in rich old white folks' neighborhoods. One resident, not a rich white folk, is angry.

"I couldn't take it anymore," he fumed. "The piles were blocking my mailbox and eating up my parking. What with the holidays, it was bad timing. I borrowed a friend's pick-up Saturday and hauled away as much as I could. I drove it out Bethania-Rural Hall Road and dumped it."

A similar program launched by the City last Fall attracted national interest. It successfully created cost-effective speedbumps, roundabouts and neckdowns, and is known locally as the "Bags and Bags of Garbage" initiative.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Gauntlet

I enjoy cooking for the holidays. Tofurky roast, my grandmother's stuffing, cranberry sauce. It's fun to plan the menu, and I'm quite happy with my local grocery store. But on the day before Christmas Eve, shopping grew harrowing.


It was so crowded, and I dearly hate people. Some customers careened wildly through the store with their carts, seemingly oblivious to the crowd and the fact that the universe doesn't revolve around them all the time. Or maybe it does--the rest of us got out of their way real quick-like.

Special others blocked traffic in aisles and chatted on cell phones as long lines of gridlocked angry shoppers formed behind them.

Customer's faces were screwed up as if they had bit into a lemon; others were scarred with stringbean frowns. I hurried out of the bakery after I'd been tailgated too long for my liking. And I dodged sullen women as I grabbed at boxes of frozen lima beans.

In front of the beer, I made an effort to reverse the downward trajectory of my own sour countenance should someone make eye contact. My half-hearted attempt to spread cheer met with baleful stares and warning glances.

Compulsively, I watched every single face I passed to see if someone, anyone--perhaps the little old ladies--would look at me and smile. They didn't. They couldn't. They were just plain scared.

My ordeal nearly over, I paid and left. Now--to make it across to the parking lot. I stood by the sidewalk in frigid air, my cart piled high, teetering dangerously. Car after car passed. Finally frostbite threatened and I edged into traffic.

All other planned errands for the day were cancelled immediately. I returned home at once, anxiously watching for careless drivers; optimistic that my husband would enjoy some private time of his own amidst the festive masses.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Someone's Daughter Is Now A Hate-Crime Survivor

Updated 12/27 to add fund information below.

I had trouble sleeping last night after what I read. A horrific hate crime was visited last week upon an openly gay woman in Richmond, California.

Police believe the woman was targeted due to the suspects' anti-gay bias. The victim got out of her car to visit a friend, and was attacked and raped by a multi-ethnic posse of hate-filled men.

Why do I mention multi-ethnic? Simply because I find it interesting how last week's hate crime victim may be this week's hate crime perpetrator. That victim could be any of us. A sister, a neighbor, a daughter.

Back in August, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs called attention to a rise in severe anti-lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (lgbt) violence across the country.

“We must continue to work to build a society where such violence is not tolerated,” said Avy Skolnik of NCAVP. “This is not a call for people to hide or to live in fear, but rather a call for people to take notice, to speak out, to not sweep incidents under the rug, and to support and look out for each other.”

All forms of intolerance need to be exposed. Learn ten ways to fight hate. Report discrimination so it can be documented and used to educate. In North Carolina, check out EqualityNC.

I'm disgusted, and I'm angry.

People desiring to help this individual may send a check made out to Community Violence Solutions, 2101 Van Ness Street, San Pablo, CA, 94806. On the check, donors should write "Richmond Jane Doe."

What else can we do?

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Building Goodwill

When my husband was out of town recently, I made some executive decisions and broke some unwritten rules.

I foraged in pantries, closets and other dark places; gathering clothing and items we had 'outgrown.' I made piles around the house; grabbing any unflattering sweaters, whether they belonged to me or not.

Unused Christmas gifts from last year, still in their original boxes, went in a pile. No--I'm not going to wrap and "re-gift" them. Barring dire circumstances (like being broke and needing to give someone a present), I think re-gifting is cheap, tacky, and usually obvious.

Then I got daring. Here and there in the dining room where wrapped gifts were stacked, I picked up Christmas presents intended for us, given by people who live far away. I carefully examined and shook each package. Occasionally my finger slipped under a flap of festive paper and tugged, or untied a ribbon and pried open one corner a box. I'd take a little peek inside.

And I congratulated myself on an uncanny sense to accurately discern which wrapped packages would probably need to go away. Some All of these gifts and all the piles went into my car.

At my local Goodwill donation center I dropped off two large garbage bags full of housewares and clothing.

"Do you need a receipt, ma'am?"

"No, thank you!"

I drove away feeling much lighter. Giving is good.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Afternoon on the West End Home Tour, 2008

The West End neighborhood of Winston Salem is an intriguing mix of beautiful historic homes, apartment buildings, and dilapidated rental properties. It was planned in 1890 by Jacob Lott Ludlow.

I feel as if I was born to live in the West End; I just haven't been able to make that happen yet. So with my first Christmas in Winston Salem drawing near, I partook in the annual Historic West End Holiday Tour 2008 last Sunday.

My friend and I began at the Bahnson House, where we registered and picked up information. We spent the afternoon going from one home to the next; quickly falling into a comfortable rhythm of critiquing exterior structures and landscaping as we approached each tour site.

Once inside, conversation flowed as as we discussed aspects of light, open space, and "souls" of houses. Sometimes we had less than positive opinions about what owners had done, but tried our best to be discreet. After all, we were extremely grateful they had opened their homes to us.

Well, we were mostly grateful.

One site on the tour was leased by businesses. Upon entry, we were invited to provide our e-mail address so local merchants could contact us. Um, no thank you.

After a quick look around I wanted to leave immediately. Something about the house felt sterile, and I'm thinking this property shouldn't have been on the tour. There's a time and place to hawk and peddle wares, but this didn't seem like a good one.

It seemed like a classic bait and switch; the bait being an old house. When my friend was cornered by a docent-saleslady, I fled outside like the true friend I am and waited in the cold for her to emerge.

At another tour site, a compelling photograph of a bride in her gown held my attention for an inordinate amount of time. I stood looking at it for what seemed five minutes or so when I noticed a docent eyeing me suspiciously. Quickly, I moved on to another part of the house.

There were memorable rooms in various houses: two baths in a home that shared delicious views of the same old tree. A gorgeous family room with huge windows. A dining room I hated to leave; beautiful in milky paint and sparse, perfect accents of furniture and accessories.

In one residence, we laughed at our frequent and gushing use of the word "love." "I love this table," and "I love those windows!" Then, "I LOVE that paint!"

I hope to make the Tour a yearly holiday ritual. Thanks to all involved for a wonderful day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

When Christmas Songs Attack

I enjoy listening to a little Christmas music during this season of
voracious consumption. While the Carpenters and Manilow can induce agitation and hysteria, they receive relatively scant airplay at present.

God is good!

Sadly, the festive spirit is all too quickly dampened when tortured by
godawful Christmas songs in super-heavy, nonstop rotation.

Here, my list of most hated Xmas tunes:

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Bruce Springsteen
The Boss sounds like a sloppy drunk guffawing and harrumphing through this holiday favorite. It's nasty. Shower afterwards.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
John Lennon, and Too Many Others.
Depressing downer. In Celine Dion's rendition, she fancies herself "soulful;" meanwhile, Sara McLachlan breaks and cracks her own voice to everyone's great displeasure.

Wonderful Christmas Time
Paul McCartney
WHY is this getting airplay? Vapid, annoying and grating. Remember Wings?

Jingle Bell Rock
Bobby Helms
See above.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders
Odd inflections. Tuneless caterwauling and sour notes. Braying. This one will curdle fresh milk in an instant, and you may not survive a listen. Pretty much a

Little Drummer Boy
Bob Seger
Atrocious dirge. Difficult to endure.

New this year!
O Holy Night
Gayken, Josh Groban, Celine Dion
Jerry Butler's version was a long favorite of mine. Now, thanks to them three, I've come to hate this song with a passion. It's so overplayed in Winston-Salem, I'll probably never be able to enjoy it again.

Silver Bells
Bing Crosby
Puts me in mind of a mean old alkie guzzling eggnog, careening into the tree and slapping people around. Stop it! Horrible song; should never be recorded by anyone, ever. Not even god Stevie Wonder.

That's it: Carly Kickslaw's most hated Christmas ditties. I've despised most of
them for years. Take my strong advice and avoid them if you can.

Coming Soon: my heartwarming list of holiday favorites.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hate, North Carolina-Style

In our capital city, racist graffiti threatening the life of Barack Obama was painted in NCSU's free expression tunnel. In Cullowee, a dead bear wearing Obama political signs was dumped at WCU. A "prank?" Or a message?

Twenty-eight organizations identified as "hate groups" blanket the state from Southport to Waynesville. Is North Carolina a haven for hate?

The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented hundreds of hate incidents across the country specifically linked to Obama's victory. Hate crimes are sobering, chilling, and heartbreaking.

What can we do as North Carolinians to fight this scourge? We must speak out against all forms of intolerance. Learn ten ways to fight hate. Get involved with a progressive movement
such as HK on J that helps us reach across racial
and other lines to focus on common ground.

Participate in groups (cultural, faith-based, social, academic) to join like-minded North Carolinians in celebrating our diversity. Connect with a local social justice group. Write, talk, reach out. Don't look away.

Positive change is here. Let's keep it going.

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Looking Up

On winter walks,

Nests once hidden are revealed in bare limbs.

Weak sunlight brightens trunks and branches.

Huge black crows gather in tree tops.

Sycamore seed balls move with the wind.

In the cold,

Looking up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Still Lying After All These Years

President George W. Bush is still doing it. I wish I could believe the lies he told Charlie Gibson; maybe I'd feel better about the war, the carnage, and the mob evil that put us there.

I can't. I'm not able to fall for the crying in beer routine; the disgusting appeal for sympathy. The mound of untruths grows higher and higher, like a nasty pile of steaming, rotting garbage.

George W Bush Pictures, Images and Photos
A profound conversion is what it would take. For him to accept some culpability for the perverted agenda; for the reprehensible and calculated mission that forced the United States into war unneccessarily--it would require his being born again.

George W. Bush and mob friends: You did it! Well done. All worked as planned. The American people don't "like" you? Who cares?! Good work. "Mission Accomplished."

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Progressive Dems in Gso This Weekend to Grow Grassroots

Hordes of hopeful Democrats are expected to descend upon the Triad this weekend (Friday, December 5 & Saturday, December 6) as Greensboro hosts the 2008 Convention and Progressive Summit for the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina.

Saturday's keynote speaker will be Tim Carpenter, National Director of The Progressive Democrats of America. Founded in 2004, the group seeks

to build a party and government controlled by citizens, not corporate elites -- with policies that serve the broad public interest, not just private interests. As a grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party, and outside in movements for peace and justice, PDA played a key role in the stunning electoral victory of November 2006. Our inside/outside strategy is guided by the belief that a lasting majority will require a revitalized Democratic Party built on firm progressive principles.
The Convention will take place at Bur-Mil Club House (5834 Bur-Mil Club Road, Greensboro) this Friday and Saturday. Details and registration information is available online with the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina.

Watch Out: Obama's Coming!

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Teams of Obama operatives are reportedly "swarming" federal agencies in Washington.

carnival of souls
They are asking, among other things, "Which is the division that has really run amok?"

I can smell the fear.

Fear is good.

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Minister

"Oh my God," I said this morning, waking with a start. "It's tonight. The Minister is coming tonight!"

The fact that I initiated contact with a Minister of the church we've been attending is, well, shocking. He will visit us tonight to talk about our becoming members, my son and I--as well as having our son baptized.

I grew up in a conservative Church of Christ. After I turned eighteen, it seemed I spent the bulk of my life trying to get as far away from it, and Christianity, as possible. Technically, my beliefs--or lack of--haven't changed in years.

This church is tolerant, inclusive, and has an obvious diversity of thought. Still, I wonder, am I somehow being dishonest? In church I sometimes feel as if I'm watching myself from afar, participating in primitive rituals shared by many.

Part of me fears I'll be "found out" before joining, that I'll be discovered and run out of town on a rail. I suppose cynics would think as long as I'm willing to write the church a check every week, they won't much care about my rather amorphous version of Christianity. Maybe that's true, but it still scares me. I try to be quiet.

Will we all pray together tonight? The idea both terrifies and excites me. Will the Minister merely go through the motions, reeling off some rote prayer for the occasion? I hope not.

I wonder whether I should remove the Obama paraphenalia--like the sign still on our glass front door. Could my buddha collection, scattered through every room of the house, set off alarm bells for our visitor? What about the pagan "San Simon" idol?

My anxiety deepens with the twilight. What was I thinking? I'm cleaning house frantically. The Obama stuff, the pagan saint, the buddhas. They'll all have to stay, I'm afraid. But I will clean the kitchen floor. And I'll offer the Minister freshly ground decaf and my best store-bought organic cookies.

"Get ready," I told my husband. "What do you mean?" he asked. "If you're planning a religious intervention for me, you'd better have a straitjacket." I smiled. Anything could happen.

Edited to add: The Minister never showed up. And I just ate a whole bunch of chocolate chip cookies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Annual Presentation of Handel's "Messiah" in Winston December 7th

Soprano Elizabeth Pacheco Rose will sing in the local Mozart Club's presentation of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" next weekend in Winston Salem. The Mozart Club describes Winston as
...a link in this "great chain of harmony" as the approximately 300 singers, representing the more than 225 church choirs and choral organizations of the Triad area and vicinity, unite their voices under the direction of an internationally renowned guest conductor in presenting the 75th Anniversary performance of "Messiah"....
The performance will be Sunday, December 7th, three clock, in Reynolds Auditorium (301 North Hawthorne Road, Winston Salem). It is free to the public but donations are appreciated.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rocking My Toddler At Christmastime

Last night I was rocking my restless toddler, trying to have him fall asleep and stay asleep. I was exhausted, and it was almost midnight--nearly four hours past his normal bedtime.

While rocking him I am often quiet and mindful; even more so if I feel tested. I take in the sensations of my arms around him; feeling the weight of his little body in my lap. His babyhood is passing quickly, and I want to savor every moment.

Soft Christmas music played from his radio: "O Holy Night," sung by Celine Dion.

After that, the menacing onslaught began. What could have possibly prepared me? It began innocently enough. Soon, though, it became clear: this would be no ordinary holiday favorite.

Odd inflections. Tuneless caterwauling and sour notes. Braying. Was this some drunk customer at karaoke night, stoned, trying in vain to carry a tune? No.

It became apparent that Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders were butchering "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Every fiber of my being wanted to lunge for the radio, raise the window, and toss the offending electronic ouside. But my son was finally sleeping, and I didn't dare risk waking him.

I listened on; rapt with horror. Isn't there someone to "fix" that stuff so a person who can't sing gets to pretend? I thought that's how it worked.

Hynde warbled on interminably, until finally, mercifully, the attack ended. I nearly shed tears of relief; clutching my son gratefully. He slept on, totally unaware of what just transpired.

Listen if you dare. But I'm warning you. Clinical depression or explosive rage may be triggered in otherwise healthy individuals.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Revisited: Rumors of Racism at Winston Salem KFC

A few weeks ago I wrote about an incident of racism at a Winston Salem KFC. Allegedly a white male was refused service by an African American woman working at the restaurant. (Read the inital report and subsequent discussion at Triad Forum).

Was I wrong to be skeptical the incident had occurred at all?

Why had I been immediately disbelieving? Was it because the victim is a white male? Was it about my overweening desire to seem "politically correct?"

The victim, below with friends, after leaving the restaurant.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Death of a Speakeasy

The Speakeasy jazz club in Winston is gone. It closed last month.

A friend gave me the sad news on Election night.

The town we moved from had a jazz venue, too. But I was never comfortable there. Folding chairs were lined up side by side, in rows, like little toy soldiers. I felt like I was at a child's dance recital or in a church fellowship hall. The atmosphere seemed stuffy; almost somber.

The Speakeasy was friendly and cozy. And I wasn't the only one who loved it. There was a mix of old and young; straight and gay, folks who looked like professors; and people who may have been a little down on their luck. A racially and socioeconomically diverse group, hanging out together in a small North Carolina city. It seemed right.

All that...and the music.

I used to joke about my intent to get a job at the Speakeasy, once I was more settled after our move. Oh, well. It wasn't to be.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"We're No Longer A Southern State"

I went to the drugstore today. Better living through chemistry, and all.

For the second time since I voted, I saw the man who helped me with my touch machine at election time. A big bear of a man, a white senior citizen, oozing friendliness and goodwill.

This time, in the drugstore, I decided to say hello. "Did you work at the polls?" I asked. "Yes," he said, "for early voting." "I thought you looked familiar," I said.

"Did you see me in the newspaper?"
"No, I saw you at the polls."
"You don't read the newspaper?"
"No. My husband does."
"I said some things I shouldn't have."
"Like what? That you were happy with how things went?" I smiled.
"I said 'We're no longer a Southern state.'"

I stared at him silently, uncomprehending. "What do you mean, 'we're no longer a Southern state?'"

"We're no longer a Southern state," he said regretfully. "Not like Kentucky. Or Tennessee. And Virginia--Virginia's no longer a Southern state." He elaborated, allowing as how he didn't like what had gone on with the election. No racist language was used, yet I was troubled by the sentiments implied.

I could feel my face become guarded. I looked at him blankly; disappointed, regretting I'd initiated conversation. He complained of people going to the polls in droves simply to vote Obama and a straight Democratic ticket. "That's what I did," I said. "Well, I voted for some Judges."

It became clear that while I had assumed he was a Democrat; he assumed I was Republican. Then I remembered. My candidate won. I can afford to be gracious. We discussed acne medications.

"Welcome back to North Carolina," he said; heading toward the cash register.

"Thank you."

As I walked away, he called out: "Forget everything I said."

I smiled. I can afford to be gracious.

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leaves Frozen

At noon I went for a walk, and thought of my son.

When I returned, the water in the birdbath was still frozen; several leaves rigid in the ice.

As I looked admiringly, I heard him call "Mama" from inside the house, where he played with his father.

This month, two years ago, the three of us became a family together.

A beautiful and innocent baby; his path forever entwined with ours.

Every day I am grateful for his love and his presence in my life.

Today: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Several years ago I temped for a few months in a church office, while continuing to look for a social work job. I attended services there sporadically, but never became a member.

After I moved on, the monthly church newsletter continued to arrive. I'll never forget the night I opened it up and read the customary letter from the minister to the congregation.

She expressed hope for a new year that was almost upon us. The letter then became a "thank you" to the church for their acceptance of her intent to become a man, and her request to be called a new name.

I was stunned. Over the years I had attended some drag shows at gay bars in which men impersonated women, or vice versa, on the stage. I'd certainly heard the word "transgender." But I'd never known anyone personally--to my knowledge, at least--in that category.

Though I hadn't known the minister well, I was deeply disturbed. She was firmly labeled in my mind. Minister. Lesbian. Wife. Impressive speaker. Activist.

I simply could not wrap my mind around her plan to leave womanhood.

A few days later, at a holiday concert, I shared the story with a friend during intermission. I continued to feel shock, disbelief, and discomfort.

Then I gasped. There was the minister herself, on the other side of the large sanctuary, wearing a tie.

Here's a video I found at Queers United. It's short. Please watch.

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, held to memorialize those who have died due to anti-transgender hatred, and to raise awareness of the issue.

I still haven't figured it out. I don't need to. Even so--I'm a transgender ally.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gso Prop 8 Protest

I made it to the protest today in Greensboro, which was smaller than I expected. Hopefully lots of Triad folks attended the Raleigh event instead.

There were no frenzied groups of rabid wingnuts in sight.

I remarked on this to a fellow protester. "There wasn't enough time for them to organize," he said; holding a sign referencing Britney Spears' 55-hour marriage.

"Yeah, I guess most of the publicity was on the internet," I replied. "And they don't have internet."

"They probably communicate by carrier pigeon," he laughed.

No doubt some of the fine citizens passing by headed straight to their local Church of God and returned with a pickup load of angry Palin wackos. But by then, I had left.

Political rallies and protests always get me a little emotional. It's comforting to be with people who share our views; particularly when those opinions and ideas are less than popular.

It's like wrapping yourself in Memaw's afghan, sipping hot chocolate, and reading Hell's Harlot. Or going to church. A good church; not a bad church.

Leaving the demonstration was the best part of the afternoon. We drove past the protesters, car windows down, and laid on the horn. They went wild.

I repeated this routine for 10 minutes or so, driving up and down the block, doing donuts and driving back past them again. My son asked me to stop.

A Fox News crew and a squad car rounded the corner, and I reluctantly drove away; satisfied that we stood up--at least briefly--for marriage equality.

There will be more opportunities for all of us before the job is done.

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Find More Courage"

As Barack Obama delivered his magnificent victory speech on election night, he began a now-familiar refrain:

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled.

Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
Obama's desire for unity, his acknowledgment and respect for all of us--not just some of us--always captivated and comforted me. I was hungry for that, particularly after the divisiveness and polarization of the last eight years, and the war.

On Election Day, over 5 million Californians voted to support second-class status for same-sex couples in the Golden State, via passage of the discriminatory Proposition 8.

In what way is anti-equality a good thing? What of love and commitment? Are we still worried about "sin?" As for Christianity, it's evolving. The tired rhetoric condemning homosexuality is often rejected by today's Christians; seen as dated, stale, simplistic--entirely inappropriate for a living, breathing faith and spiritual practice.

Standing up for what's right is often unpopular, uncomfortable, or
even dangerous.

We have a responsibility to each other--even if we don't want to marry a same-sex partner; even if we're not Californian. The words of American civil rights leader Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) remind us that

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.

A blogger at BlueNC suggests "those that silently sympathize" need to "find more courage." He's right.

Let's rise to the challenge. Please join me Saturday, November 15, as we stand up for marriage equality and make our voices heard. For more information, visit Join the Impact to find specifics on local protest locations everywhere.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rumors of Racism at Winston Salem KFC

I ran across an "unconfirmed" report this morning that a white man was refused service by a black Obama supporter at a Winston Salem Kentucky Fried Chicken a few days ago.


What the hell was he doing there? Meat is murder.

kfc Pictures, Images and Photos
I'm skeptical of this report. Very, very skeptical. Ok, I'm more than skeptical. I think it's bull. Not only bull, but predictable bull.

I'm going back to sleep now. Still trying to recover from celebrating Obama's victory.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Burgeoning Careers of Joe Killian and Sarah Palin Now Inextricably Linked

John McCain defended his peeps Wednesday night. Damn straight. The folk turning out for McCain-Palin rallies are peace loving people, the lot of them. Kind of like Unitarians. Those veterans and women surely aren't deserving of Obama's hatred.

Though Sarah Palin may not move to Washington next year, disappointment will be assuaged as she rakes in millions with eloquent speeches and brisk sales of thick books. The very crowds Obama assailed are instrumental to Palin's continued success.

In other news, a local journalist was attacked at a Palin rally yesterday in Elon, North Carolina.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Zevely House Cheesecake

I woke up this morning wracked with guilt. And I'm not blaming it on the Cuervo; I'm blaming the cheesecake. The cheesecake I had at Zevely House's brunch yesterday morning, while on a double date. Cheesecake doesn't even go with an omelet—but that didn't stop me.

It was the best cheesecake I've ever had. No one else at my table had desert. No one asked to try it, and I was relieved. I doubt they saw me order it. Once it arrived, I ate quickly and avoided eye contact.

My friend came over during the afternoon. It was nice to see her twice in one day. For some reason, we decided to get into some white wine. I spilled much of mine on the grass in the backyard, but don't worry—-plenty got in. That led to her husband driving over and making margaritas. Thankfully he had both limited time and supplies: we were to have one margarita each.

After one shot of Jose Cuervo, we danced to Double Dutch Bus. I hoped she'd reprise her legendary Tina Turner impersonation, for which I almost dug out the silver metallic platform sandals I wore at my wedding. Thank God I didn't. I'm not sure how either husband would have coped.

The friends left, and that's when the unthinkable happened. I sent my husband to the store for chocolate. This is much more than my hope to lose pounds again; it's about my need to follow an anti-inflammatory diet.

Countless potions, oils, pills, and supplements of questionable value litter our bathroom, which looks like an infirmary. Nothing seems to help my maddening, incurable non-deadly skin condition.

As a vegetarian, my dietary choices are limited. At all costs, I'm to avoid sugar, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. The list of banned foods is endless. I'm encouraged to enjoy green tea, vegetables, nuts, and tofu. No wonder I behave like an actively abusing heroin addict—-it's hard.

Anecdotal evidence suggests adhering to this infernal diet could help me. After a month of following it religiously, I may know. But "anecdotal" evidence feels pretty damned flimsy when wrestling with an intense sugar craving.

This morning I was subdued. In the mirror, my face appeared puffy and swollen. Morose and repentant, I made coffee for myself. I don't even know why white wine was in the house. I didn't buy it.

That's when I saw the crumpled Reese Cup wrapper on the counter, and it all came back. Last night. How many Reese Cups did I have last night? How many chocolate covered almonds?

One shot of Jose Cuervo. One piece of cheesecake. The wheel of life.