November 2011

30 Nov 2011

Bunches of Success

Although it seems like only yesterday, I joined Allen Tate Relocation in 1999. Since then, I’ve heard numerous wonderful stories and shared some amazing memories with my colleagues. But I must say that one of my favorite stories is how Mr. Allen Tate got his start in sales (a relevant story given yesterday’s announcement about Chiquita moving their global headquarters to Charlotte, N.C.).

As a young boy, Mr. Tate spent time working in his father’s grocery store in Gaffney, S.C. It was there that he learned the value of customer service and a quality product. To help inspire motivation and determination, his father would give him challenges to complete in the store each Saturday. If he had not completed the challenge by 6 p.m., his father would approach him and ask, “Allen, did you truly work to sell that product to our customers?”

One particular Saturday, Mr. Tate walked in to find the front of his father’s store covered, floor to ceiling, with bananas. As he tells it, there were bananas as far as the eye could see. Apparently a train carrying the shipment of bananas had been delayed between Gaffney and New Orleans. Instead of discarding the over-ripe bananas, they were given to Mr. Tate’s father in the hopes that he could sell them all.

28 Nov 2011

Amusement Gets an Update in Raleigh

On Nov. 19, Pullen Park in Raleigh reopened after a two-year, $6 million renovation. Pullen Park was opened 124 years ago, making it the oldest amusement park in North Carolina, the fifth oldest in the United States and the 16th oldest in the world.

I have so many wonderful memories, as many who grew up in Raleigh do, of trips to Pullen Park as a child.  My favorite part was the 1911 Dentzel Carousel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  I would ride ‘round and ‘round for hours (or as long as my Mom could stand it) on one of the beautiful horses. The Carousel is now housed in a spacious, climate-controlled building that will protect it for years to come. My brother’s favorite ride was the miniature train. We loved riding around the entire park on the one-third-size replica of the C.P. Huntington locomotive. I remember thinking how funny it was to watch the adults try to fold themselves up so they could enjoy the ride with their kids.

22 Nov 2011

A Bird By Any Other Name…

When I was growing up, my grandma would always roast the Thanksgiving bird and bring it to the meal at our house. I say “bird” because our holiday fowl wasn’t always the traditional turkey.

One year, at the advice of her butcher, Grammy decided to get a capon (kay-pon). What’s a capon, we asked. The answer? “A really big chicken.” Of course, that began a dialogue between my dad and grandma that went something like “You have a capon? I thought you had a coat on.” And so it continued (more than once).

A capon is actually a neutered young rooster, which results in a larger, more tender and flavorful, and less gamey bird than traditional hens (and is probably more than I want to know about my dinner). As I recall, it was good, but I can’t say that my taste buds were particularly discerning at that age.

It’s been many years since my Thanksgiving holiday including something besides turkey. But I know a few folks who have enjoyed ham, steaks, lasagna and even hot dogs on Thanksgiving.

22 Nov 2011

Thankful For That Music

In this season of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for a small moment in time that brought me back to North Carolina and a new beginning. Many years ago, when I lived in Detroit wrapping up a career and a first marriage, I was saved by a wonderful collection of essays by poet Donald Hall. I was perusing books in an Ann Arbor bookstore when I spotted something marvelous. Theoriginal 1985 publication of Fathers Playing Catch with Sons: Essays on Sport (Mostly Baseball) had an illustration of the old Durham Athletic Park on its cover, a welcome sight to a Durham Bulls fan trapped in a Michigan winter. 

18 Nov 2011

Mother Nature Must Have Been a Science Fan

Fall is my favorite time of year and in my opinion, offers some of the best natural scenery the Carolinas has to offer. This year in particular, the trees were spectacular – showing shades from bright gold to deep maroon to bright reds.

According to most fall foliage followers, the peak of the season passed around mid-to-late October. Even if you didn’t get a chance to travel to the mountains, there were plenty of beautiful colors to see locally. Carolina tourism gets a boost in the fall from foliage watchers; millions are pumped into the states’ economy as people devote time to view this natural phenomenon.

But there are years where the leaves aren’t as vibrant. I’ve heard plenty of wives’ tales about why that happens, but it’s really all about biology, chemistry and metrology – proving that Mother Nature loved science.

And it’s more about the lack of color than more color.

17 Nov 2011

Black Friday Survival Guide

My earliest Thanksgiving memory actually takes place in foggy ole London town many, many years ago (I think I was still rocking the ‘90s bangs at that point). Anyway, I was enrolled in an American Community School, so come November, we learned about the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving. I was assigned to pilgrim duty that year and can still vividly recall the outfit I was forced to wear, the food I happily devoured and the boy whose attention I tried so desperately to command.

Fast forward a decade or two (technically two and change), get rid of the bangs, and here I sit, counting down the days until I hop on a plane to be reunited with my family in Austin, Texas, to celebrate another Thanksgiving. Being a “foreign” family we don’t have any tried-and-true traditions that have been passed along over the years. Instead, we have adopted our own and are always happy to throw a new one into the mix.

16 Nov 2011

We Only Know The Right Now Marketplace

Listing inventories are down year over year in the Carolinas. I credit this to two situations. The first is when the seller has made the conscious decision to pull their property off the market and wait. The second is that current Fair Market Value does not allow them enough equity to make their next move.

I sense that at least 40 percent of home sellers are still unrealistic about home value appreciation despite the recent economic downturn and volatility in the nation’s housing markets.

On a national level, home values declined for five consecutive years during the downturn. Since 1950, home values historically have tended to appreciate at an average of 2 percent to 5 percent per year. So we, as Americans, have been ingrained to believe that the value of our home will always rise. What is it that creates such an unrealistic view on home values – even now as much of the economy is still working hard to find its path?

15 Nov 2011

Why Are There Different Wine Glasses?

After reading Chris Cope’s blog about his love of wines, I started thinking…why are there so many different types of wine glasses? They can range in different sizes and shapes and heights. I personally have 18 different types of wine glasses.

My knowledge of the proper glass for each wine is limited. I suppose there might be a different glass for each variety of grape. But I choose different glasses depending on the type of wine (red, white or sparkling) because I believe it enhances the flavor, color and it looks pretty. After thinking about it, I decided that I would do a little more research to find out more about the daunting choices of wine glasses.

The wine glass might seem like just another drinking container, but there is much that goes into choosing the right one. A wine glass serves to enhance the flavors, bouquet and color of the liquid. Shape can also affect temperature. “The glass also positions body parts such as the fingers and tongue in correct spots as to best enjoy the wine.Now, I don’t know how true that part actually is but it sounds authentic!


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