Monday, March 19, 2012

Blessed are the Poot

It's never a bad idea to be around children unless you're a witch with an edible bungalow.

Today Screw Lucy's Nuts and Bolts Children's Service ventured to see "The Lorax." Then, in the spirit of our tree theme, spent time among the willows and oaks at Lynchburg City Cemetery's aboretum. This is what I learned:

1. If you wear a green wig to Regal Cinemas, some old guy behind you will whistle a circus tune and then when you turn around, pretend not to have done it.

2. Children are just as fascinated with the projector itself as with the movie.

3. Some kids feel misunderstood too. And they like it.

4. Pulling up "lettuces" or cauliflower plants that have overgrown and look a lot LIKE lettuces are fun to pull up. Some children will even brag that they are outstanding "puller uppers."

5. "Blessed are the poot, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

6. If you want to take a handful of mints from a stranger's house, it's best to say your sister wants them then put a big handful in your pocket when no one is looking.

7. Flip flops are not the best footwear for a long walk.

8. Dung beetles are bugs that eat poop. Poop beetles would be a better name, but the best name of all would be dumb beetles because, after all, it's really dumb to eat poop.

9. Trying to find a grave of someone who died on your birthday isn't morbid or creepy. It's creative.

10. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

From Lynchburg but not of It

Last night was the first time in a long time I paid a cover to see a local band at a bar (technically, it's been so long I forgot CASH for a cover, and I owe my friend Kim for that). There are several reasons for this. One, I quit smoking and shouldn't really be around it. Two, I generally do not like crowded, noisy space. Three, I like being able to hear in the morning and not smelling like the rag a hooker uses to...take off her makeup.

Last night was St. Patrick's Day and my friend Kim (see above) invited me out to celebrate her birthday so I decided to go. I dressed festively and although it was crowded and I had to stand most of the time, once I had a view beers (and a margarita), not to mention food, I felt Lucy goosey and ready to have a great time.

Blackout was the local band playing. They are talented and I have personally known the lead singer for a number of years but I also could not help myself from commenting to Erik that Lynchburg is far from a town on the cutting edge of music since audiences don't generally want to hear anything but covers. The band did play one original song and it was good. It's not their fault that Lynchburg is not open to new music. Even the local paper covered Rare Form in Nashville who performed covers for a native talent agent.

It's ok. You can sing along and head bang. And I shouldn't present myself as some in-the-know, Rolling Stone type of person. The disc in my car is Def Leppard.

Then something happened that has happened to me for well over a decade. I was approached by a gentleman in a kilt who was obviously tipsy and having a fabulous time. He told me he liked my hair (it was a green wig) and proceeded to talk up Erik and I about working at--well, I can't tell you it's top secret--and Irish heritage. Then he asked,"So where are you guys from?" Over the blaring music we answered in unison,"HERE." He pretended like he didn't hear us right. Then said,"Get out of here! You're not from Lynchburg!"

This is a question I've been asked by strangers all my life with the same response. The reason they ask may vary but after Jim went to fetch another Yuengling last night I turned to Erik and said,"Why do people say that to me? I don't look unusual or act unusual so what is it?"

Erik in his Swedish, Irish abhorring wisdom answered,"He didn't think we were from here because of how readily and enthusiastically we engaged him. And that's always the reason. People from Lynchburg don't want you in their group if you aren't from here and they have that subtle, stand-offish way of letting you know they aren't interested in talking to you."

I supposed I've never realized this about Lynchburg--the counties, sure, but not Lynchburg. County folk will refer to someone as "not from here" when they have lived there almost all their lives. My supervisor is a perfect example of this. He moved to Gretna when he was 5 years old and he is now in his thirties and when I brought him up to Erik's dad as being from Gretna he immediately said,"Oh he's not from Gretna." And I guess he's not know.

It would be interesting to hear what outsiders think about this theory. Maybe I need to go hunt for a few more Jims.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Miller Park(ed)

In college I had to write a paper for one of my classes about the regulations concerning playgrounds that took place somewhere between 1993 and 2003--I got an A on the paper but I can't remember exactly when the government regulations were enforced and how. All I know is, playgrounds are not like they used to be when I was growing up. I was reminded of this today when I visited Miller Park and the old playground had been removed all together--without a trace, unless you count an almost completely covered with grass, old sidewalk.

I have no idea when they finally took it away. It could have been 2 years ago or 10 years ago or longer but I do remember it (I think?): I believe there was a log cabin and those little rocking horse animals (like they had at Mcdonalds), maybe a merry-go-round. I feel like this little guy at the new playground is a nod to the past:

Back then they didn't care that we could fall to the ground and crack our heads on pavement. We were tough. We played on pavement and had no car seats. Screw a car seat. You could see the road from the floor of my grandpa's VW Bug.

One of my earliest memories is my "Pa" taking me to the Fireman fountain at Miller Park (which has not worked in a very long time). In those days, kids would play in the fountain and Pa would give me money to throw in the fountain. My very earliest memory was being 3-years-old and wanting to stay at the park with Pa so badly that I pooped in my pants. I held it in a lot those days. I swear to god I think the ADHD constipates children because they don't want to go through all the necessary steps of toileting. It's personally exhausting to me to this day--pants off, go, wipe, pants up, wash hands. I mean really. Enough already.

I even remember when the pool was not there--or at least I think I do. Can anyone tell me when it was reestablished because I can't for the life of me recall it being there in 1985?

Anyway, here is a random list of memories I have that concern Miller Park. Until you spend some quiet time digging, you'll never realize how much of your precious moments are tied up in one place:

1. When I was in High School my best friend (she's still my best friend) and I walked through the park and some random creepy, crack-head-type person shoved his wrist in her face and said,"See this watch? It's a nice watch. Do you want to buy a watch?" I ran and she continued conversing with him.

2. The same best friend found a random pornographic Polaroid of a man's genitals and brought it to school to show me what a penis looked like. Her prior attempts with drawings were atrocious and still are to this day (not that she draws a lot of penises--not to say she's unattractive). In an unrelated story my mother also pulled up to the Taco Bell in Madison Heights and discovered a similar photo attached to the underside of the drive-thru window. She did not share the same joy as Danielle in allowing me to view it.

3. My favorite season is autumn and Kaleidoscope, to me, is one of the harbingers of fall. "Day in the Park"--being so close to my home--always makes a part of me feel like a kid again. 

4. I remember feeding the squirrels in the park with Mom. Once, a squirrel came right up to me and put his upper lip on my finger before taking the nut and running away. He did not offer to sell me a watch.

5. Miller Park is beautiful in the winter. Erik and I, during a bad snow one year, braved through the cold to take photos. 

It's unfortunate it is not as it used to be. Miller Park isn't in an area like Rivermont and I noticed that the exercise points around the track are gone, the cannon is gone, and of course the fountain is off. I know it must be due to vandalism and theft and it's sad. I am thankful, however, that with so many things that change and pass away--buildings that have burned down or programs that have been long gone--it is one staple in the city that I can still go to and remember the good old days--and the new day don't look all that different. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Living With AIDS in Lynchburg

Whenever I buy the paper, which is usually at least once a week, I always read the obituaries. My grandmother does this, so maybe it runs in the family, I don't know, but I think we are just both curious about people and who they are/were, including strangers.

This week I recognized one of the names.

Nationwide, Jonathan "Jonny" Ervin's book may be quite controversial. I haven't read it, but the title may clue you in. The title reads,"My Secret Place: Living with AIDS and Addiction, A Man Who Gave up Homosexuality for God."

I never met Jonny, but he was well known in the area, not only for his testimony, but because of his talent in singing and as a master stylist. I also bonded with his son when he was only a child and because of that relationship, became close to his mother who confided in me about Jonathan's struggles.

He died of AIDS in peace on Monday. His son is a young man everyone would be proud to claim. I am happy to have shared in a part of his life. He'd say the same about his Dad.

Regardless of your position on homosexuality, AIDS continues to plague the world--and our own community. This weekend, I'll be attending an AIDS awareness collaboration at The Jubilee Center. I'm excited to see my neighbor preform a drama that she composed herself. She has known someone with AIDS--a straight, young woman--as we all probably have at some point in our lives, whether we know it or not.

I respect the courage he had to tell his story.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bea Wheat Free

Wheat allergies are tough. In conversation with coworkers this week I pondered the ailment of being picky in general. I can eat anything. I don't like fennel and I don't prefer raspberry, but I eat most foods. Erik, however, discovered he was allergic to wheat a few years ago when he experimented with eliminating it from his diet and found his sinuses cleared and he stopped having nose bleeds.

But there is now no bread in the house and forget going to get Italian food. Pizza and pasta are impossible to find in a a restaurant.

That's why we were ecstatic to find out Monto Carlo started offering wheat free pizza and pasta.

I've found bad reviews for the place but you have to take into consideration, some people are just jack assess and the place has been around since 1977. We decided to go on Sunday around 12:30 and it was empty for the buffet. So if that's the norm, you can also avoid the Sunday Church Rush here.

You get salad, soup and garlic bread with the meal. Danielle is a veteran Italian Restaurant employee since she worked for Salvatore's on Timberlake (oh how I don't miss those days...) so I trusted her opinion. The waitress was quiet but seemed to know her stuff. She gave us the option of getting our own salads. By that time another table showed up just in time to witness me spraying olives all over the salad bar.

I really can't stand small salad plates. What I am supposed to do with it? You can't get too much lettuce or toppings because if you try to cut it up, it's all over the table. I thought they gave you enough options for the salad though.

Let's not talk about the soup. Oh, god, the soup. I felt like I was eating Christmas. A very salty Christmas. Vegetable with cloves? Disastrous.

I ordered a dish called Alla Hazucha that included artichoke and white wine sauce. It was ok, but what I would note is that the pasta tasted totally normal. Erik ordered the pizza and although the crust doesn't rise like wheat, the overall flavor is great for someone who cannot eat pizza. The pepperoni was greasy, but that's just fine. He at the entire pie.

I thought the whole experience was ok. I could tell you other Italian restaurants in Lynchburg that are better (La Villa and Milanos) but we would come here because they have wheat free options. I think it's a real draw.

Plus Bea Arthur ate here once. 

3230 Old Forest Rd
LynchburgVA 24501
(434) 385-7711