Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

You know the feeling you get when you eat something truly delicious? Like you know that you will never taste anything else like it and even though you're full you can't stop eating it. This is one of my favorite feelings in the world. I love to be full. Because I am an eater. Now an eater is not to be confused with a foodie. A foodie is someone who knows a lot about food, who is picky in his selection of grub, and who has a pallet that is trained to know the difference between something tasty and something phenomenal. This is not who I am.

I am an eater. I am constantly hungry, incapable of functioning without snack time, and will eat most anything put in front of me whether I want to eat it or not. For example, two nights ago I was trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner. I decided to have a snack while I pondered the options in the fridge. In the fridge there was plain Greek yogurt. I love Greek yogurt. I hate almost anything plain. But I thought, it might not be so bad - I'm starving. Unfortunately it was bad. But I kept eating...because I'm an eater. Like that caterpillar in the book that ate everything until it became so fat it turned into a butterfly. You know what I'm talking about.

So after I had eaten about 1/3 of the yogurt, I decided to make it better I would add blueberries. I also do not particularly care for blueberries. And in this case they made the tart yogurt extra tart with every bite. So after the blueberries were gone I thought about adding sugar to my yogurt to make it less gross and more like ice cream. We didn't have any sugar though, so I added several drops of vanilla extract. I am pretty sure after this experience that vanilla is an ingredient like eggs that should never be eaten before cooking. It made my yogurt taste kind of like a liquor and that was about it. Vanilla extract is 35% alcohol in case you were wondering.

At this point you are probably thinking that this is the most ridiculous snack you have ever heard of and that the whole situation could have been avoided if I had either 1. Not opened the yogurt I know I don't like or 2. Stopped eating the yogurt that I confirmed I don't like long before it escalated how it did. But that is how eaters are. We want food all the time. It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't have to be cooked, it just has to be in our mouths. Examples of other eaters: goats, pigs, Cookie Monster. The list could go on similarly for days.

The point of this post then is this, when an eater eats something really, really yummy an eater knows. Because at least 50% of the things an eater puts in his mouth are gross. So when all of the sudden something is melt in your mouth delicious it stands out among all other food - not because an eater is a connoisseur of food, but because an eater eats...all the time.

That being said, I had such an experience last night when I had banana pudding from Clara Marie's Southern Bakery. It was whip-creamy and had some kind of crumbly graham cracker crust. It was amazing. And she makes this stuff in her house! I couldn't believe it. So, if you are a foodie or an eater or simply a hungry person I highly recommend trying her out. Coincidentally, Clara Marie's will also be at the Fun Fourth Festival and they will be selling the banana pudding, so you can come have some there and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Once when I was little...

As you can imagine, things are getting pretty busy around our office these days. I personally enjoy it when things get a little crazy. I'm not a huge fan of down time at makes the day go by SO much slower. But besides the fact that I'm not bored, the other thing about this busy time I love is when people here at Grassroots start to get a little tired and delirious after hours and hours of Fun Fourth planning. They tend to start saying things without thinking them all the way through, which usually turns into a good laugh break for all of us.

Today, Peggy admitted to everyone that as a child she used to run through pesticide fog. Now for any of you that know Peggy, I'm sure you're thinking, "That explains a lot." However, the real story is that she remembered it as such a fun childhood memory. Running out of her house in her PJs to meet all the other neighborhood kids and chase down a truck blowing poison behind it. I certainly don't understand it. But it got me thinking about the ridiculous things I used to do as a kid because I just didn't know any better. If you don't know the truck is blowing out hazardous chemicals, why not chase it? If you don't know that people drown in the deep end of the pool, why not swim out there? There are certain sweet memories created only by being young and clueless about the nature of our scary world.

For example, when I was about eight and my little brother was six we decided to play hide and seek with our babysitter. Behind our garage was a compost heap. For those of you that don't know, a compost heap is a pile of decaying food. We figured that since it was pretty big and behind a large building, on top of the compost heap was the absolute best hiding place. After about ten minutes, when our babysitter hadn't even come close to finding us giggling on top of a heap of garbage, we figured we just about had the game won. Except all of the sudden my brother started getting real itchy. I looked over to see him covered in ants. Completely covered. He of course started screaming. I of course started laughing hysterically. And yelling, "Owen's got ants in his pants!" It is one of my very favorite childhood memories. To this day, my brother can still say to me, "Hey I think I feel some ants on me," and I will burst into fits of laughter. It was stupid and weird to hide on a compost heap, but we thought it was so much fun at the time.

And the sad thing about it is I would never think to do anything that dumb today. But I probably also haven't laughed that hard in a really long time. We used to make magic soup by pouring every spice in my parents' cabinet into a bowl with water. We tried to start a restaurant once by baking chocolate cake using only flour, water, and cocoa powder. That brown mess was stuck to the pan for weeks.

One of my favorite musicians James Morrison sings, "Got such a good feeling just from playing in the dirt, once when I was little." Sometimes we have to remember to live a little more like we did when we were kids. With few inhibitions and absolutely no rational fears.

I would love to hear about your favorite childhood pastime. It doesn't have to be funny, just anything that you remember fondly about being a kid. And if you are anything like me, who is still a little afraid to grow all the way up, come enjoy all the children's bands and activities we have planned for this year's Fun Fourth. You are never too old to play with bubbles or to color.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hello Friends

Hello again amigos! My hiatus from blogging has finally come to an end. I know you are all so relieved.

As many of you know, I got married a couple weeks ago. I promise not to make this a super gushy post about how great it was and how pretty I was, but the whole weekend did make me realize something that completely applies to what this blog and our organization in general are all about. I have great friends.

A wedding is a time of need. There are so many small details to keep track of and so many big details that have to go absolutely perfectly, that there is really no way one person can handle it all by themselves. I needed someone to help me put stickers on 1,000 little candies. I needed someone to literally dress me because my gown was way too poofy for me to be able to manage it myself. I needed someone to stand at the altar with me and hold my flowers so I could say my vows. Getting married is a lot like turning into a little baby again. It seems like there is very little you can actually do on your own.

But here was the amazing part. I didn't even have to ask anybody to take care if these aforementioned needs. It just happened. My friends were just there and they just did. Plain and simple. Was it probably exhausting for them? Yes. Was it probably stressful for them? Yes. But they did it anyway. Because that is what great friends do. They know when you need them when you yourself don't even know you need their help. And they are there without hesitation.

Now I think of all of the Grassroots community as my friends. And isn't that what we are really trying to do here? Foster a sense of community where strangers and friends in the Greensboro area gather and enjoy each other and this city. I certainly think so. This being said, I find myself in another time of need. It takes a lot of work to make the Fun Fourth happen. It also takes a lot of people. We need volunteers to help with almost every aspect of the festival. We need drummers to sign up to help us break a world record.

So this time around, in my time of need, I am asking you to help me. Will you get really hot and sweaty? Yes. Will your feet hurt for days afterward? Yes. But you should do it anyway. Because you are my friends. And I have great friends.

You can sign up here or email me at I can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Princess Aislinn of Spain

As you know, Aislinn, our blogging maven, had the audacity to abandon us last week to go off and get married and honeymooned. She'll be back at the end of next week, and I'm sure she'll have great stories to share as we start our final countdown to the Fun 4th.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share, not only some great shots of the happy couple (just click on the link in this blog title), but the exciting photography of the up and coming Morgan White. Morgan has an amazing eye and really captured the spirit of Aislinn and Matt.

Congrats, Aislinn and Matt Spain, we here at Fun 4th are so happy for you and hope you are having a wonderful time in Jamaica, but ----- hurry back, Aislinn, your work is piling up!

You can send your very own congratulations to Aislinn at -- or better yet, come visit her at Fun 4th and congratulate her in person!