Posts Tagged durham

seriously durham county public library?

Dear Book Intake Person,

Was there not enough blank space on the page for your sticker?  Are you trying to deny me even the most cursory details of the author’s biography?  Do you just do this because you can?  I do appreciate, however, your constancy in absurd sticker placement

Keep up the dubious work,

A Durham County Citizen


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“how are girls and boys different?”

asks my son today.

Coffee shop, students.  Answer:

“What do you think, son?”


Sitting at Beantraders today while little e. dances away upstairs, w. asks me how boys and girls are different.  Fair enough question, I suppose, from a child who informs me daily who he is going to marry at school.  I look around and see 15 disaffected Duke students plugged into their laptops, some with earbuds in, many without.  We have already been interrupting their public study hall with our “Book in a Bag” reading and backpack cleaning out.  I don’t feel like being their dinner time conversational fodder.  “You’ll never believe what I heard this mom saying to her kid today.  She was, like, explaining the anatomical differences between males and females RIGHT THERE IN THE COFFEE SHOP!  EWWWW!”

So I opted for the fall back parenting question technique, the tactic that has served me so well in the past in many stickier situations than this one.

“Well, sweetie, what differences have you noticed?”  Bear in mind, dear reader, that my son regularly takes baths with his sister.  Anything could have popped out.  His reply?  “Well, girls usually have longer heads like yours. (Thanks, sweetie).  And their hair must grow faster; that’s why it’s usually longer.”

Public conversation over.  Dignity intact.  Question answered.  We returned to our respective drinks and discussed how much more mud would have to be on his pants before we would call them “brown” instead of “gray.”

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get on the bus!

It was admittedly a slow day in Durham.  Lacking anything else better to do, we recruited a friend to join us on an adventure–an inaugural trip around Durham on the brand new Bull City Connector bus.  We decided on an abbreviated tour this time out by boarding at Whole Foods and heading downtown.  The kids anxiously waited for the bus to arrive, lamenting other buses that passed us by.  (“But why can’t we get on that bus?”  Uh, because we don’t want to end up in Chapel Hill today??)  My friend wanted to know how much the bus cost–“A Fare FREE Route.”  Hmmm, what could that slogan ever mean??

Finally our bus arrived, my son bullied his way past the other waiting patrons, and we headed to the row of seats at the back of the bus.  We were off.

The kids loved, loved, loved it.  The adults loved, loved, loved how neat and tidy the bus was as it was only its second day of operation.  The bus was moderately full allowing us to spread out:

The kids favorite part of the afternoon:  switching seats on the bus to get a better view or to get away from the moms.

Mama’s least favorite part:  the nauseating new car smell of the bus, though I’d imagine that it is better than the alternative.

All in all, a fun afternoon, but it leaves me wondering why the connector bus is more exciting than just riding the city bus to the mall or downtown or something.  Is it because it’s absolutely free saving me a $2 round-trip fare for the three of us?  Is it because of the exciting paint job on the buses?  Is it because it goes in a relatively quick loop tour of downtown?  Is it because it’s still new and clean?

Regardless, it was a good way to spend a day.

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if it’s july,

then we must be picking blueberries!  Last weekend we made our annual pilgrimage out to Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm north of Hillsborough.  I love taking the kids to this farm for many reasons (for instance, the berries are raised “naturally” or without chemical sprays), but what brings me back year after year is the sheer height and scope of the blueberry bushes.  In fact, the word “bush” does these plants an injustice.  They don’t resemble bushes as much as they do trees. Other places where I have picked blueberries have these tame little scraggly shrubs; the blueberry bushes at Cedar Grove are magnificent, the redwoods of the berry world.  The bushes easily top out at seven feet and frustratingly tantalize you with plump fruit just out of your reach.

So last Sunday, we all donned our hats, carefully picked out our buckets, and started picking.  Unlike last year when they just snacked straight off the bushes, the kids were amazingly into the berry picking this year.  The bottom of little w.’s bucket quickly disappeared and little e. prided herself on getting the berries off of the low-hanging branches.

Within an hour, we had picked 12 pounds of luscious berries which should keep us stocked up for smoothies and ice cream toppings at the very least for a month or two!

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farm to table eating

Last Friday found us heading out to Whitted Bowers Farm in Cedar Grove to pick a peck of organic strawberries. According to their website, the berries were at their peak and the plants would be loaded.  45 minutes and 23 lbs. (yes, you sadly read that correctly), I have to agree.  It was a good picking day.

OK, so the kids weren’t exactly doing a lot of picking…

So, 23 lbs. of strawberries became a topping for a birthday strawberry shortcake:

and 168 ounces of jam:

Strawberry ice cream:

Hopefully all of this strawberry bounty will tide us over until blueberry season begins.

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it’s a day hike

Last weekend we took advantage in the break in the rainshowers and headed to West Point on the Eno for a little bit of urban hiking.  We love hiking in the fall/winter because you can actually see things–the nests high up in the tree or the river stretching out below you.

As any hiker knows, it’s important to bring all of the critical gear with you.  Accordingly, the kids each carefully packed their backpack with the essentials:  water, snacks, books, baby dolls, play food…

The kids actually walked a lot of the trail this time and enjoyed throwing sticks in the Eno as well as seeing the hawks, blue heron, and even the earthworm.  After years of taking the kids on hikes, it’s gratifying when everyone leaves the woods happy and having wanted to stay even longer.   This time, even the littlest one among us also left happy:

What a relief.

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vote, baby, vote


Despite the fine mist that refused to go away, we carefully loaded up the kids in the rickety red wagon and trudged up to the School of Science & Math to cast our ballot in our citywide election.  Barging into our polling place, the volunteers reluctantly set aside their word scrambles and knitting and apologized for not having jelly beans until the November 3rd election.

At 4:15, I was #96 to have voted at our precinct.  To celebrate, we ate yogurt covered pretzels on our walk home and decided that only people who performed their civic duty and voted should be allowed special pretzel treats. So there.

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