Saturday, December 23, 2006

Decisions

Sorenson said 'not this year' to my application. I am simply grateful for the speedy process and the opportunity to apply. For eight years I have said "not this year" so it makes sense Sorenson would say it to me this year.

The path is slightly clearer without the Sorenson commitment, but it is still blurry. I will be taking a few political leadership seminars in the meantime to make the path even more clear.

All the options I have are so exciting. For years it has been about later, and some days, now feels like later. (Wha??)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cookies so far

Finally in my last post for awhile (anywhere between 2 hours and a week and a half), I list the cookies so far:
Cowboy cookies (everyone loves them, but they are different from last year)
Brackle Cookies (toffee bits yum)
Fudge
Peanut Butter Bars
Chewy Ginger Cookies
Chocolate Crinkles (all gone by now- may have to make more)

Still to be cooked (time permitted):
maple walnut fudge- anyone know where to get maple flavoring?
oatmeal scotchies
chocolate chip
something with deer meat
maybe the jelly ones mom used to make
I need more butter and choc chips.

I love staying home for the holidays.

Parks News

Really I am not obsessed, I just forgot to add something to my last post on Parks. At the board meeting last week, the Director announced the next budget includes additional funding for extended pool hours (without cutting anything else or raising rates for anyone) for next summer. No specifics yet, updates to follow.

I smiled and cheered "my work here is done." Just joking- working on a Board is really satisfying.

December illness

Chris insists no one wants to hear about this, but I press on.

I had the great opportunity to interview for the Sorenson Political Leadership Program on Friday. I know acceptance into this program is very competitive and while I believe I am a strong candidate, I heard from plenty of folks that great, qualified candidates are routinely rejected given the small class sizes and geographic diversity interests. SO finally my time to convince the powers that be at Sorenson of my fitness for the program was upon me when disaster (drama, dont mind me) struck. Outwardly I am fine, but I am nauseous and sick to my stomach (and not from nerves) from a disgusting virus that swept through my house last weekend.

SO no telltale sign I am ill (red nose, stuffy nose or cough) just my inability to create saliva. I had the worst cotton mouth because I was so dehydrated. One real pet peeve I have (there are few) is when someone is speaking and needs a drink. I want to give them a drink, and there I sat answering these questions with rambling (I say incoherent) responses with dry mouth. After the interview, I told Amber I need a drink of water and she sweetly showed me the water cooler (with cups).

My best foot was not put forward, but then maybe 'twas not meant to be this year. I did delight in meeting the interviewers. I even enjoyed the question "who was the best governor of Virginia ever?" even though I had no clue (think of me meekly saying 'um...Mark Warner was a pretty good Governor'). I learned a lot from the good dialogue that ensued so I wasnt too upset. By I digress.

I told one supporter "87 applicants, 35 seats, that is not too bad of a percentage [40%], I mean I passed the bar and that percentage is about 65%." Decisions will be made this week- after I am finished reeling, I will post.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Parks & Rec Board Meeting

Last night was our monthly board meeting. Since the last meeting, I have commented during the comment period at City Council's meeting. The comments related to two issues: multi-generational indoor recreation center and collaboration with service providers to enhance youth development programming Parks & Rec offers.

A multi-generational indoor rec center is the solution for the crumbling state of the current indoor rec centers we have (Smith and Crow). Smith and Crow are wildly popular, heavily used facilities but the only repairs done on these pools in the past decade or so involves emergency repair. Smith and Crow were cutting edge facilities when they opened in the 1970s, now they are not.

The swimming programs at the schools have been cut, so the schools are no longer teaching this valuable life skill. The schools no longer use the pools attached to them so therefore the pools do not need to be attached to the school. The costs just to maintain these facilities over the next decade are skyrocketing, the inefficiencies of the building and pools contribute to the astronomical utility bills and program wide budget cuts.

City Council's 2025 vision clearly states over and over again to maintain an outstanding Parks and Recreation Department- continuing to let the indoor recreation facilities decline does not match that vision.

I am open to alternatives, the Parks & Rec department is open to alternatives besides a City funded, centrally located, cutting edge multi-generational indoor facility. If you have thought on this matter, email me or comment to the blog. We have also opened up a dialogue with a potential partner for funding and advocacy for the facility. The current facilities are deteriorating- just because a true emergency hasnt happened yet, doesnt mean we are forever immune from such things.

At the next board meeting, we have invited the Boys&Girls club to discuss youth development programming and use of Parks&Rec facilities to broaden the reach of B&G Clubs programs. I am thrilled with the innovative ways the B&GClub and Parks&Rec staff have begun to think, this potential collaboration will enhance the services currently provided by the City and the B&GClub.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Random Goings On

The household & business are a flurry of activity. Today we received a huge box of brownies from our friendly business partner- she suggests not eating them at one time since she knows from experience the after effects. Cute. Cassis is a really nice restaurant and we had a great time at Chris's work party last night. We went to another Christmas party on Friday (or was it Thursday? it is all running together)- at Sage Moon to benefit the Boys&Girls Club, I really enjoyed mingling and bidding on silent auction items (failed to get anything). Only one more party to go (officially) unless Holly and I decide to have a law firm party to distribute these brownies (so we dont eat them all).

I ran into another high school friend- at my mom's house for a Christmas work party she had. What a blast seeing him again (no insecurity seeing this person, just really pleasant). Two other people from my high school class were there as well. Mom gave me the coveted peanut butter bar recipe (hahahaha).

Chris killed two deer this weekend in his third time out hunting ever. It is helpful to have two things when husband takes up hunting a) place to go besides HOME for shall we say gutting or dressing (not sure the lingo yet) and b) a butcher who is a friend so I never have to see the product not in a white tray and plastic wrap.

One thing about killing two deer in a weekend, a household generally gets enough venison for a significant part of the year. So to celebrate the kill(s) Chris gave me a freezer for Christmas. I am happy for the freezer (I am a hoarder of food- think post depression era hoarding) but I have to wonder - is it really for me?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

passing of the torch...er..the cookie tin

Yearly my mother makes batches and batches of cookies, all kinds, ok not all kinds usually nothing that doesnt have chocolate in it (except for one kind that has a yummy jelly in it) or anything that needs to be shaped by a cookie cutter. Of course, I have all the recipes and have in the past several years given cookies to guests, colleagues, friends, you get the drift.

This year I am in the 'ville for Christmas, now mom still gets to keep Christmas dinner, but I get Christmas Eve dinner & Christmas morning! Oh happy Christmas. (let's just say having children has healed most of my Christmas angst and I am really enjoying watching Christmas through their eyes).

Well, it seems I have taken another step toward true induction into the hall of motherhood- my mother (mom) has passed me the cookie tin. All those who have EVER been to my mom's house at Christmas know about the tin, decorated with nutcrackers and very large, mom loads it full of the delicious treats she has baked and we all feast on them throughout the holidays. NOW I have it! Mom isnt even making any cookies, true heresy probably to my brother (just pass my cookies off as hers until further notice).

So what delicious treats will I bake up to celebrate this milestone? Stay tuned...

Creigh Deeds says the darndest things

I have now had the opportunity to see state Senator Creigh Deeds twice this past week. Once at the Grace Tinsely fundraiser and then last night at Left of Center meeting. He is hilarious.

Some fun quotes
1) "It is time to put the party back in Democratic Party" related to the fun time we all had at the Grace Tinsely fundraiser.

2) "If you are feeling froggy, jump" related to running for office

3) "I almost got in a fist fight with...oh dont write this down!" to the press lady noting things on her pad she responded with a cute "come on, you almost got in a fist fight" since of course the story must be newsworthy (not really).

David Toscano was at both events too, he had the highlight at the fundraiser when he presented a framed joint resolution to Grace Tinsely's daughter honoring her mother. Very moving.

Lost Coat

How does this happen? I recently got a new coat (from Old Navy-very cute) and now it is nowhere to be found. Have you seen it? I am retracing my steps. I suppose since the weather was so nice last week, I just didnt carry it with me when I left someplace. Now that it is cold and I have all these fun events to go to, I want to find my coat. Exciting stuff.

UPDATE: FOUND ONE CUTE NEW COAT!! It was in the closet. (knocking my head, 'stupid' 'stupid' 'stupid')

Friday, December 01, 2006

Temple v. UVA

In a stroke of great luck, I had the opportunity to attend the Temple v. UVA women's basketball game the other day. I also got a free t-shirt for which I am eternally grateful! It was great to see Dawn Staley at UVA again (hint...hint) and it was even better to see UVA slow down Hairston (who scored 30 points- 18 in the first half) to win the game. The seats were fantastic, really close- enough to hear the players on the floor calling out plays and the coaches yelling. It was great.

A couple of other things- the JPJ (john paul jones arena) is really cool- it will take at least one more visit for me to fully appreciate it- the entrances remind me of the football stadium, three cheers for continuity. The games are not that well attended but very reasonably priced, it is a perfect opportunity for family fun! Next time, I hope Chris and the kids can come (although the kids have been to the JPJ a lot more than mommy).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Grace Tinsley Scholarship Fundraiser

The Charlottesville Democratic Party is hosting a fundraiser this weekend for the newly created Grace Tinsley Scholarship Fund. The cost is $25, it will be held at Saxx Jazz Club with the Vernon Fisher band performing (appetizers and desserts). Come celebrate Grace Tinsley's life, give to a worthwhile scholarship fund and commune with fellow Democrats.
From the website: Saturday, December 2, 7:00-10:00p.m.
Charlottesville Democrats gather to launch the Grace Tinsley Scholarship Fund
SAXX Jazz & Blues Club (Monticello Rd.)
Tickets $25: available at Plan 9, Rose Hill Market, Quilts Unlimited & at the door.

Gilmore Girls

Remember how excited I was about GG? Well, sadly the digital signal is not good on our receiver (although when Gray TV's digital came through it was great) so I have not been able to watch. Thankfully, TelevisionWithoutPity, my favorite tv website gives me weekly recaplets and summaries. HOWEVER, something has gone terribly awry with my GG. Lorelai has married Chris- only a few short weeks after Luke & her were to marry. UGH- I am glad I cant watch the trainwreck that has become the Gilmore Girls. Apparently there is hope that the two find their way back to each other- but how flaky can one character be?

Today is a Good Day to Work Downtown

I love November in Charlottesville, even as Seattle shovels its way out of a snow/ice storm, I get to wander to a client's office without a coat and walk back. It's nice.

Later I will think of other reasons to wander outside.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Chamber event

Fascinating evening with nearly 500 of my closest friends. Grace Carpenter won the Paul Goodlowe McIntire Award for Citizenship (in case you too were on the edge of your seat). She is clearly deserving, even though I havent had the opportunity to meet her.

The food was not that good- Salad course- spinach with grilled(?) onions and two or three diced red peppers (that is to say, not much)- honestly I enjoyed the salad very much. My friend laughs at me because I came up with a great answer to the question "why do you eat so much salad?" I know you may not encounter this question a lot, but she does. The correct answer "because I can" plain and simple.

The entree was this random combination of miscellaneous fish (with every one having the exact same grill marks) that had absolutely no flavor, delicious red meat thing (very tender) with a scoop of mashed potatoes with no flavor and mixed vegetables that included eggplant and zucchini and virtually...you guessed it, no flavor. Overall, I am happy if the meat is good and it was.

The dessert- imagine a cantalope shaped like a three dimensional triangle placed upside down on your plate- then imagine it being a raspberry thing. I, along with my tablemates, were confused- it was good, but not great. I eat at the Omni regularly because of Rotary Club- the chefs make some delicious desserts (pecan pie, apple pie, chocolate cake) and usually I enjoy the food a lot (think green beans, sald, chicken, meat, veggie lasagna, fish and some starch, usually roasted pototoes). So I am somewhat surprised by the lackluster food, then again for 500 it was tolerable.

I had a great opportunity to sit with the folks from Photoworks, BB&T, Doubleplay Investments, First Settlement Title & of course my law partner.

The Embarq commercial and band (who played the jingles of Embarq) was pretty funny I have to admit (one woman at the table said it was fantastic, she believes the jingle has been underused of late and that jingles are a good tool marketing). Hantzman Weibel had this great little video on the life of Paul Goodlowe McIntire- which explained why all the things in this town are named after him. The swag included a bottle of wine/embarq wine glass and a huge thing of post its that hold a pen too from Hantzman.

Finally, Senator John Warner spoke- really extraordinary speaker so natural, good transitions from topic to topic, made the audience feel special, dealt diplomatically with Iraq and the future hearings for Defense Department Head (Bob Gates), he also mentioned Jim Webb fondly (the two have a very similar path with respect to service to their country). He didnt mention whether he would run again, he does NOT look his age at all.

The evening ended three hours later and when I got home, the Christmas tree was up! If you know me, that is a very positive thing. Thanks Chris!

Let the parties begin...

Just as I was recovering from Thanksgiving, we have three parties to go to this weekend, and one the following weekend. Do not take this as some depiction of our popularity- really. Because all the parties are with a different group of people, I can wear the same dress, aahh to find the perfect dress. I am tired already- even after sleeping a good portion of the weekend away. Thank goodness for our babysitter.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Water, Electricity, Fire, Oh My

It seems our fair City is in the middle of a storm, mostly rain, no thunder or lightening, cold and wind and rain is all. However, power is out everywhere, the police are directing traffic at darkened lights, power company trucks are taking up half the road fixing lines; Chris just got called to a residential structure fire and fire hydrants are pouring water onto River Road in some "utility work" zone. The weather is to get colder this evening, hopefully there will be no ice and everyone will arrive safely at their Thanksgiving destination. Just another holiday here in the 'ville.

Bakery Paradise

This morning I happened to have breakfast with a friend rather by chance. She told me about Baker's Palette. I had seen it before but had not been able to get there. Turns out they serve a limited breakfast & lunch menu in addition to all of the delicious baked goods they have. This afternoon, I decided to bring some pastries as gift for the hostess of the Thanksgiving festivities I am attending. (Since we are staying overnight, it will be good for breakfast).

Baker's Palette is in a great complex on Garrett street right across the tracks. Check it out.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Christmas Music

Are we really ready for Christmas music before Thanksgiving? A neighbor has his Christmas decorations up! I guess he has a jump on us all- we are planning to decorate after Thanksgiving (Sunday), maybe then I will feel in the Christmas spirit. In the meantime, I just roll my eyes every time the radio scans over 107.5.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Basso to Discovery

It's November, so it must be cycling news! Chris directed me to cyclingnews yesterday where the happy news that Ivan Basso would be joining Team Discovery for next year's cycling season was being reported. Oh Happy Day.

Given Basso's implication in Operacion Puerto, not starting in the Tour as a result, and CSC giving him the boot, I sense Chris' hesitation with the whole thing, I comment "you think Discovery is dirty now" and he says "NOW?" Cynic.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Recreation Precinct, thoughts

I am proud of my precinct, we had a good turnout of 2293 voters out of 4100 or so registered voters. The City had over 11,000 voters, this is a great number for a non-presidential year. Of those, 77% (mas o menos) voted for Webb, Weed and against the despicable so-called marriage amendment. Charlottesville may be an echo chamber of left wing politics, but it is reassuring to see folks stepping up to be counted on what is clearly an important vote.

I am grateful the Bush administration has opted to hold SOMEONE accountable, for an administration who demands so much accountability from political enemies, it was truly remarkable how they never looked inward. I am glad too that it did not happen prior to the election, or else the American people may not have held Congress accountable (just guessing, clearly anything could have happened).

My favorite saying right now is "As Virginia goes, so goes the Senate"

I also want to thank all the volunteers, people taking time out of their very full lives to canvass, make calls, distribute literature at the polls or otherwise contribute (financially too). My first election as co-chair would not have been so successful without those volunteers. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Standing Outside the Polls

If I was getting paid for this it would be "Blogging the Polls", sadly I am not, so instead I am wet, cold and tired. Back at the ranch though, I am hopeful the tea will cool off slightly so I can drink it and regroup to eventually complete some work.

The polls are hopping. When I voted over a thousand folks had been through Recreation precinct. Democrats need an excellent showing in the Rec precinct (in addition to the others) since it is the largest in the City. The turnout is a happy surprise for me.

Standing outside- lots of people were asking about questions 2 & 3 on the ballot. I voted yes and no. Yes on 2 because the amendment seeks to bring VA law in line with Federal law to allow churches to incorporate. No on 3 because no one explained it to me in a coherent way so I always vote not to make an amendment to the Constitution unless there is a good reason. Needless to say I voted no on 1- I hope all reasonable people do.

I am still cold. I was standing out there reminding other folks standing out there about an upcoming Democratic event. One person said they would not be there because it is all old people. I am getting older, but I certainly do not qualify as old so I was slightly wrinkled by that silly comment. When I told her about the benefits of said event she was quick to dismiss them as ridiculous or beside the point. I suppose this person typified the view in my mind of someone who would complain about the Democratic Party not being open to outsiders, while not actually making an effort to be active with those people, thus I was riled. I have done a lot in my fairly brief time back in the 'ville. I have priorities and try to attend things I enjoy. Thankfully, I enjoy meeting all sorts of people (even, horrors...older people) and I have been rewarded with acceptance in most things I do as a result. While there are great things for young democrats to be a part of (left of center & jfk club) it is helpful to talk to the established folks in town to truly gain an understanding of the community. As with most things, the more you put in, the more you get out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Tomorrow

In the spirit of not suppressing voter turnout, I encourage all to vote tomorrow. In Virginia the polls are open from 6AM to 7PM. This clearly is an important election, dont forget to vote.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween, CBS news, etc.

David is Buzz Lightyear thanks to Greg and Meghan. We are trying to get him to say "To infinity and beyond..." but apparently infinity is a hard word to say. Andrew is a fireman. At the Downtown Halloween gathering on Saturday- there were lots of oohs and aahs about how the boys looked. This is their first Halloween trick or treating- we will go to the lawn and do that so we can still get the kids to bed on time. The fellas carved the pumpkin last night, it looks very scary- I look forward to receiving trick or treaters.

Last night for some reason I watched the 6:00 local news and 6:30 national news. On a lark, I thought to watch Katie Couric's national news. I enjoyed it. If I were an evening news watcher I think I would watch that program. One particular story I found thoughful was a story of military wives and keeping families together during deployments. The story had the typical flaws of a tv news story (lack of depth), but the story exposed viewers to the side of the war (the homefront) many do not consider. I was glad to see it. The rest of the news was decent too, not bad. Perhaps mediocrity is the goal- they are certainly achieving it just like all the rest of the evening news folks.

I was transported back to high school the other day at a five year old's birthday party. The setting was spectacular; beautiful Western Albemarle county, sunset, great old house with fancy stonework making up the patio, what seemed like hundreds of people. Turns out the father of one of David's classmates went to high school with me, graduated three years before. The feelings of high school came flooding back- not that pleasant really. The father was super nice and Chris & I spent some time chatting with him and his wife. Funny even as far as I have come from high school, I can still conjure up those awful insecurities in a second. Hopefully as I run into more folks and grow more confident in my role as mom, lawyer, citizen the sting wont be so dramatic.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Neverending Sports

I love staying up late to watch the World Series and football games, but both at the same time leads to deprivation of sleep.

I watched Failure to Launch after months of wanting to watch it- well it was not worth the wait. Too bad. Since motherhood, I have really only wanted to watch comedies with JLo or Julia Roberts or Matthew McConneghy (I dont care that I dont know how to spell it) or Hugh Grant. It is pretty pathetic.

Our Directv is now gone till summer cycling season, although I likely will have to convince Chris to turn it back on after the doping scandals of this season. He is convinced the professional sport is dirty. I cant blame him, but I cling to my conspiracy theories and hope that these guys arent using. One great thing about tivo, is we still have shows on our dvr the boys can watch from Noggin (Dora, Maisy, Backyardigans).

I am sorry to see the Mets out of the World Series- it was a heartbreaking series between St. Louis and the Mets. I am rooting for Detroit as a result (sorry Marijean). Even if Detroit doesnt win, what I am really rooting for is a good series that prolongs the baseball season for a little longer. It is a long winter to spring training without baseball, since Michael Jordan is no longer in the NBA I just dont care about basketball.

Today's sporting events- Pittsburg v. Atlanta (wow what a good game, but I am not a Vick fan); Redskins v. Indianopolis (go Colts) and World Series later. Fortunately I no longer can watch Monday Night Football without ESPN.

So is Tikki really going to retire? I bet all the commentators discussing this possibility are thinking "I hope not, he will take my job" he is good at everything he does.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Virginia Senate Race

I think Jim Webb is the best candidate. I appreciate his service to this country, his thoughtful and independent voice and respect for Virginia voters. With a son in Iraq, Jim Webb will demand accountability & results in Iraq. Webb is the veteran, he is the fighter, he understands the enormous burden Congress has to be a check on the Executive branch, he will not stand idly by and let the situation deteriorate further.

Vote for Jim Webb.

For those who may not know, George Allen and Jim Webb signed agreements not to use footage from the League of Women Voters debate, so the candidates could speak openly. George Allen is using footage from the debate in an ad running all over the state. He is not a man of his word. Like my dad told me, the only thing a man has is his word.

Beautiful Fall Days

Crazy thing, this weekend is my bloganniversary- one year of blogging. I thought I should perhaps blog this weekend in honor of such an event. Clearly lots of things on my mind, hard to say what I should focus on.

First, election day is Nov. 7th, for goodness sake volunteer to make phone calls, canvass or work the polls (yes I have a vested interest in securing volunteers).

Next, I love my treo, but the other day when I went to synch with my home computer, I lost all the info, but most importantly the calendar, I was horrified, fortunately I have been able to recreate lots of things AND my office computer had a lot of the info on it. Maddening.

Save our Parks? I always like to tell Peter, a great park supporter and transportation guru, people who work in Parks and Rec, well they really want to keep the Parks too. I am not sure how much effect that will have. Something needs to be done, only more houses are going to go up East of town and there is a limited entry and exit point called Free Bridge. While I believe Pen Park is untouchable (it is a great park)- I suppose I thought that about McIntire- so what type of road will we have and what kind of community do we want to have? Roads or Parks? I was at Pen Park yesterday, the place reminds me of all the things I love about living here (the great wooden fence, the leaves all changing colors, kids, tennis, golf, the views are spectacular). I want my kids and their kids to have the sense of wonder from that park that I did yesterday.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fall rainy days

Turns out that starting a business is pretty time consuming. Who knew? Jim wrote a good post this week on the merits of being a realtor and the difference between the self-employed and the rest, I say most of the same things apply to lawyering your own practice and ditto.


Last weekend's gathering was a success, I proclaim therefore it must be true. I thorougly enjoyed meeting folks. With the prism of names and faces, reading blogs is so much richer. Marijean was on the ball with the first post of the gathering, with all the bloggers links in that post.

My new favorite blog lately has been "Not Your Everyday News". I worked as a waitress for a very long time, I often thought I would write a book of the experience so this blog channels my inner writer of those long ago days. I am somewhat heartened to know the characters & setting may change the stories remain as clever and interesting as ever.

One of my favorite things about reading is trying to determine the veracity of the narrator. The veracity, biases and motives of the narrator certainly determine how one reacts to the story being told, and authors do many things with those voices to stir a reader (I suspect).

What I love about reading, I do not necessarily appreciate about the business world. I am surprised as I find my way in this world. I am always having to examine the motives of the person telling me the story and question, question, question the story so that I can best represent and not be manipulated. Just a few thoughts today...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Pizza on this end of town

Casella's last night had an hour to an hour and a half wait for pizza last night- needless to say at 7PM that does not really work. While I love Casella's and am grateful it delivers, we decided we had to try something new.

I will never tell anyone "this place has the best pizza" since pizza love is so individual. We decided to try Fabio's Italian Restaurant on High St (in the old Pizza Hut building, BTW has Pizza Hut abandoned this fast growing end of town or what?). I feared the worst but I was pleasantly surprised. The pizza is good and quick. Fabio's has a great menu of diverse things (calzones, salads, mozz. cheesesticks, lunch specials, hamburgers, you get the idea). It doesnt have a website for you to check out so you will just have to trust me and check it out. They have a small seating area but last night at 7PM one could easily have sat down and eaten your pizza. Fabio's does not deliver but is close to everything so it is to pick up. Seems like Fabio's is pretty family friendly too. I am always glad to patronize local business and I am glad to know there is a nice place for pizza on this end of town now that the students are swarming at Barracks Road.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New ad, questioning the amendment

Thankfully I had been warned about the new ad Virgil Goode is running, so when I saw it this evening I could laugh instead of be angry. Two things I really enjoy about the ad:
1) when Virgil Goode is trying to make the point about Al running a negative campaign, up flashes the headline "Weed admits error," it could not be a more perfect illustration of the difference between Virgil Goode and Al- Al admits, Goode denies and lies.
2) Goode calls himself an independent- I love that considering in a Cingular ad later it defined independent as without bias...(& something else)- and I thought how thoughtful of the tv wizards to define it since Goode so clearly is not unbiased or independent, he is clearly beholden to special interests, the Republican party and the President. Independent is standing up for what you believe honorably.

Independent thinkers QUESTION, ARGUE, DEMAND free from the ties that bind.
So the commercial got me a little fired up, it will only inspire me as I prepare for the full-fledged get out the vote campaign just beginning.

Also, driving down Rt. 20 yesterday I saw a "Vote Yes" on the so-called Marriage Amendment, really quite close to Charlottesville. I suppose I thought the supporters were further away and were organizing behind pseudonyms, closed doors and very conservative churches. Help me fight this terrible amendment to the Bill of Rights, the legislature has already banned civil unions, marriages between same sex couples and many other contractual rights opposite sex couples have, it is completely antithetical & unnecessary to constitutionalize this BS- THERE IS NO THREAT TO YOUR FAMILY (just mine). Support marriage by making it more difficult for opposite sex couples to get married or meaningful family leave policies or health insurance or any number of policies that would benefit families. VOTE NO on question #1.

tv et. al

Lisa DeMoraes' column this morning details the downfall of the Gilmore Girls. I admit I am usually one to just go with the flow, I have never and likely would never write or call a comment line for a tv show to give my input since it is tv, not politics. I like that other people write it, and generally I trust the judgment since I presume the writers, producers, directors are all more familiar with the characters than me.

I have been on some sites where those fans want to change the storyline of certain things, me I usually dont care if I dont like it I will fast forward, or horrors...not watch.

I think Gilmore Girls is a fun show, but this season premiere on Tuesday was not that fun. Lorelai- the cool mom- gives ultimatum to fiance, he needs time so she runs to Rory's (the cool daughter) father- the episode was the reprecussions from that decision. Luke -the aggrieved fiance- has a car land in his diner causing significant damage and then at the end declares his love to Lorelai and says yes lets go get married right now- so what does she do? Stab him with a knife in his heart metaphorically by telling him of her indiscretion with Rory's dad (I can hear it now 'we were on a break').

We like Luke, we do not like Chris (Rory's dad) (some of us fans do, but come on he has trampled on Lorelai's heart way too much). This twist and turn could have just been a dream (I say that because the producer Amy Palladino left the show because of a contract dispute so she allegedly trashed the storylines prior to leaving; if I were the new producer, I think I would have made it all a dream and had Luke and Lorelai get married and have babies- that would have produced lots of drama too).

I care about this show, but I will have to stop watching if Chris and Lorelai get together and Luke's life becomes more and more trashed. I cannot see a satisfying conclusion to the disaster that is this storyline.

This rant about a tv show is over.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cville Blogger gathering

Reminder this Saturday at 10AM cville coffee, cvillebloggers will gather. We are a diverse bunch so there is something for everyone. RSVP to me or Marijean, we look forward to meeting everyone!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Meet your fellow bloggers

Come one, come all to the second blogger gathering at Cville Coffee on September 29th at 10AM. Meet the bloggers who you know so much already, there is always something to talk about at a gathering of bloggers.
Please let us know if you are coming, but come anyway if you forget.
Thank you!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bloggers about town

Met with Marijean for lunch, delightful, as usual. We even planned the blogfest (see below).

Last night I met Tom McCrystal. I enjoyed being out of my element at the Neon Guild. Everyone, including Tom was very welcoming. Tom works a lot with technology issues on a statewide level, I look forward to his policy posts. Other bloggers present Semitruth's Sean, BA21, JMRL (she was from the library, but she may not have been the blogger), although I didnt get to talk to everyone, perhaps at the gathering (see below).

Previous announcement:
Just in time for the 200th blogger to come on board the cvilleblog.com aggregator, we are pleased to announce the second cvilleblogger gathering tomorrow (just kidding) it is really on Saturday, September 30 at 10:00AM at Cville Coffee located at 1031 Harris St, their phone number is (434) 817-2633.

Marijean and I will be posting regularly to remind everyone as the day gets closer. We look forward to seeing some of you again and meeting others for the first time.

Very casual (I promise not to wear a suit) and bring the family. BYOC (buy your own coffee). If you are coming, feel free to let us know through our comments section or via email.

THANK YOU- see you on September 30th!

Gilmore Girls TONIGHT!

Don't call between 8-9 tonight because I will be watching my first original episode of GG in over a year- finally Charlottesville gets it over the digital receiver on the CW channel 29.3- you just have to move mountains to get that station, but this will not deter me from the enjoyment.

I watched Studio 60- enjoyable to see those actors again, I just wish Donna would show up and hook up with whatshisname. Very West Wing like- which I loved so I should like it.

I also am looking forward to Grey's Anatomy & The Office(!). Dont call on Thursday either. Happy viewing.

CvilleBlogger Gathering

Just in time for the 200th blogger to come on board the cvilleblog.com aggregator, we are pleased to announce the second cvilleblogger gathering tomorrow (just kidding) it is really on Saturday, September 30 at 10:00AM at Cville Coffee located at 1031 Harris St, their phone number is (434) 817-2633.

Marijean and I will be posting regularly to remind everyone as the day gets closer. We look forward to seeing some of you again and meeting others for the first time.

Very casual (I promise not to wear a suit) and bring the family. BYOC (buy your own coffee). If you are coming, feel free to let us know through our comments section or via email.

THANK YOU- see you on September 30th!

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm it

Thanks to the tag by Marijean, here goes, so check her answers out- they are pretty funny.

1. If you make sweet tea, or your favorite style, do you use Luzianne, Lipton or something else? Whatever, I love the shaken teas at Starbucks (passionfruit) so I intend to make sweet tea using the passionfruit tea in my cabinet (heresy I know).

2. What brand of toilet paper do you buy and is it the larger rolls or regular?
Quilted Northern or Charmin, I am a price point kind of girl. I prefer the larger because I hate changing the roll so constantly (& it is only me who changes it).

3. Which brand of bath soap do you use? Body wash or bar?
We have been using Oil of Olay- but I will buy Dove unscented per Wendy's suggestion for A's skin issues. I use Aveeno body wash right now, I experiment & so do the kids.

4. What cereal do you buy for yourself?
Right now, Raisin Bran- again I experiment

5. What brand of dishwasher detergent do you use? Liquid or tablets?
Cascade liquid, but I recently bought the Target brand, I will let you know how it goes...

6. What’s your favorite fruit?
I enjoy the perfect nectarine, grape, watermelon or piece of pineapple

7. Which brand of laundry detergent do you use?
All-free- or whatever it is, the white bottle, helps Chris and A with their sensitive skin.

8. Do you like chocolate?
I like it so much, I have to give it up for Lent.

9. Are you right or left-handed?
Right Handed- how can my kids be demonstrating such left handed tendencies?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

two years of livestrong

I never get the question anymore. You know, "why do you wear the yellow band?" Two years ago, prior to heartbreaking doping scandals, prior to USPS becoming Discovery, prior to Lance's retirement and the breakup of him and Sheryl, cycling was in the midst of something fantastic and cutting edge.

To the heady summer of 2004: For one dollar, get a yellow band. The dollar supports cancer patients. All monies go to the cancer project, Nike is producing them at no cost. The Tour de France was so dramatic in 2004, the grueling Plateau de Beille mountaintop finish (only 6 climbs on that stage), the time trial up Alpe d'Huez, the glory of it was unbelievable, Lance won again, his sixth time, no one had ever done that, & um...he kicked ass! The yellow bands were ubiquitious, representing health and overcoming and some good ol' American pride.

Andrew was born on the first day of the Tour in 2004, so I was able to be home & watch the Tour twice a day, once in the AM live and again in the evening with Chris. My mom patiently helped with the details of having a newborn & a 13 month old, while we obsessed, I am sure it wasnt that pleasant for her to watch so much cycling, no matter how entertaining Paul, Phil & Bob are, Al just wasnt funny that year.

We were unable to watch the final stages of the Tour because of the tragic death of my father-in-law. He loved riding, he once owned a bike shop named after his youngest daughter, he died on his bike.

So today on what would have been his 53rd birthday, I honor him by continuing to wear the yellow band & of course occasionally riding, supporting Chris in his riding, telling my growing babies about granddaddy & watching the Tour obsessively every summer.

Friday, September 15, 2006

spinach- the new front

From CNN's story "E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle and other animals and typically is spread through contamination by fecal material. Brackett said the use of manure as a fertilizer for produce typically consumed raw, such as spinach, is not in keeping with good agricultural practices. "It is something we don't want to see," he told a food policy conference.

The story tells us how E. coli could contaminate our produce supply, but if it doesnt "keep with good agricultural practices" do growers still do it? And if not manure, then what? Do growers generally follow good agricultural practices, or is there a lower standard generally considered acceptable?

I will not be able to look at spinach the same way for a long time; I usually cook it though, does that solve the problem? Not clear from the coverage sadly.

As Rich says the smell of manure is actually the smell of money in the farming world, man I love repeating that as I drive by a freshly fertilized field.

Sleep deprivation

This is the second night this week I am wide awake at all hours of the night, what gives? I had my last bit of caffeine around 4:00, perhaps that is it, but that was almost twelve hours ago. I guess sitting in training all day did me no good, exercise would have been good.

I am all for taking cville tagged flickr photos off the aggregator, but then we get some good photos. In particular, I value Outskirts, Bill Emory, Waldo and Trish'spictures, but usually those folks put the photos on their blogs not on flickr. This may be a better way instead of seeing everybodies pictures of the UVA v. Wyoming game or the drunk photos afterwords.

Then again I have not slept.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

First Parks advisory meeting

The Parks & Rec department has a lot of responsibilities. The four primary areas are trails, parks, recreation and golf. The department works with the school system, RTF (rivanna trail foundation) and NDS (neighborhoood development services) (see me using all sorts of capital letters).

We spent a majority of our time discussing recreation. Recreation is at a crossroads. Parks & Rec has actively sought community feedback over the past two years through a needs assessment and community outreach. The question boils down to whether to pursue renovations of the current indoor facilities OR to pursue a modern central indoor facility with a pool, fitness and community rooms. Of course it all comes down to community value and financial resources. The director gave a presentation to Council last month, this page has a link to the .pdf document. It is lengthy. The revenue, operating expenses graph is the most telling, over time with the current facilities the operating expenses are predicted to increase dramatically while the revenue remains fairly stable. The modern, central facility has a dramatic upfront cost (25 mil to build, we all predict this number will go up if no decision is made soon v. 12.5 mil to renovate the current facilities but ultimately maintain the infrastructure).

The Board wants to know if partnerships with other local groups is possible. Historically these partnerships have not advanced, but we are optimistic. Everyone has lots of questions, our homework is essentially to visit the City's facilities and newer facilities in town (AFC, ACAC downtown, North Grounds) & consider what we want for the future of our City recreation facilities & to ask our members of the community what they would like to see. I encourage people to comment or email me with their suggestions, concerns etc.

The Trail component is doing great, a new hire, Chris G (not to be confused with my dh who is an engineer and rides on the trails) has as his mission to implement the master trail plan. The one project on the Planning Commission's agenda tonight is a trail from the County office Building to Cville Coffee (and presumably to the bike park). The City is working with Art in Place and the Center for Living Ecology to make a really beautiful trail. Additionally, Chris G will write grants seeking money for walk to school initiatives, this is very exciting.

The Golf part is doing great, the Meadowcreek Golf course is a great attraction and popular among recreational golfers, and most importantly bringing in more revenue than last year, so far.

Parks- what can you say, they are fantastic- we didnt discuss the Parks too much, although the City just acquired a brand new 15 ft lawn mower, instead of 5ft (the biggest one before this acquisition), the City expects mowing to be much more efficient so additional resources may be devoted to maintaining the sports fields.

Fairly productive meeting- I am really fascinated by the commitment the City has to preserving the Parks, Rec and Golf, certainly this is one reason I love living here.

Apply for NLI or a board position

To expand on my comments below, the City has announced a Neighborhood Leadership Institute, the application deadline is next week. NLI is a good way to meet the people making decisions in this City & to learn how to work within the bureaucracy to make meaningful change. This is the first time the City is offering it, so it is a historic undertaking and you can be part of it. Alas, I have over-committed myself so much I am unable to apply, I really hope others take advantage of this interesting pilot project.

Additionally, I want everyone to apply for Boards and Commission appointments in the jurisdictions they live in, it is a great opportunity to make a difference in your community. The application process for the City is currently closed, but the next cycle will begin soon (June?).

The big name boards are tough to get on, but also require the most amount of time and commitment (think Planning Commission, BAR etc.). The obscure boards are awesome and desperately need creative, enthusiastic folks to participate.

The CDBG Task Force is a great example, the task force distributes relatively little money, but with that money a lot of people are helped, how that money is distributed is essential and the task force generally gets to make the decision. I really want to encourage folks who are in 'target neighborhoods' to apply for the positions that are opening this coming year. Target neighborhoods are Belmont, Rose Hill, Fifeville, 10th & Page, Starr Hill, Ridge Street. The people on the task force are enthusiastic, we are making our own path and hopefully serving those target neighborhoods in ways that generate positive change (without gentrifying, we could really use some voices to help us with that).

Boys & Girls Club Century Challenge

Attention all bike riders, this weekend is the Century Challenge at Old Trail to benefit the Boys & Girls Club. The weekend is full of events, a dinner on Saturday (for those who raised $500), and a roll-out of the Century riders at 7:00AM on Sunday. The Century riders include a group of kids who have been training specifically for this ride (some rode the Extreme Century a few weeks ago, hey so did Chris who beat last year's time by an hour and a half), they never really rode this way before, so it is really exciting. If you are out that way on Sunday, go cheer them on!

Also, we will be riding the 31 mile ride, Chris as usual will be pulling the kids in the trailer so I can keep up with him! There is a family fun ride around the golf course between 10-12 for free!! Look for us, I will be the one next to the guy who is not sweating after a long bike ride pulling two kids. Oh and I went on a twenty mile practice ride on Sunday- I did great according to Chris.

I am pulling some topics out of random thoughts and posting separately so the posts dont get lost in the shuffle of my long post.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More random thoughts

Since I can barely find time to blog anymore, I can not really find the inclination to come up with good titles, darn.

1) It is fun to have Lexi back in town and blogging more. I laugh out loud recalling the days of wanting to catch up on reading but just watching football instead. Like I told Chris today, I would like to spend Saturday watching football all day- alas the boys will not let that happen. I am just jealous.

2) Tomorrow I attend my first meeting of the Parks & Rec advisory committee. On a sidenote, dont live in this town and complain about anything, unless you plan on doing something about it. Thanks to Peter & Mike who sent me lots of information so that I may approach the committee with a little background.

3) I went to the Festival of the Dog this weekend at Meade Park. That is a really good idea, let the dogs go swimming in the pool that is about to be drained. Much to Chris's dismay, Buddy is not a swimming dog, Chris has the scratches to prove it.

4) Wow that UVA football game (UVA (13) v. Wyoming (12)) was boring. OK the last five minutes do make up for the sunshine and heat of the first 60 minutes. As a good UVA alum, I do love singing the Good Ol' Song and winning! Actually we got the tickets from our friends, and I am glad we got to take the boys to a game this year.

Prior to entering the University, I had never attended a game despite having lived here for thirteen years. Since my time at the University, the stadium seems to have been disneyfied- with the words on the screen and ads ongoing throughout the game, the $5 drinks and the very high ticket prices. UVA baseball and soccer are still great values for families. Funny thing someone said behind us "the whole state of Wyoming came out for this game" its true there were a surprising number.

5) Attention all bike riders, this weekend is the Century Challenge at Old Trail to benefit the Boys & Girls Club. The weekend is full of events, a dinner on Saturday (for those who raised $500), and a roll-out of the Century riders at 7:00. The Century riders include a group of kids who have been training specifically for this ride (some rode the Extreme Century a few weeks ago), they never really rode this way before, so it is really exciting. If you are out that way on Sunday, go cheer them on! Also, we will be riding the 31 mile ride, Chris as usual will be pulling the kids in the trailer so I can keep up with him! There is a family fun ride around the golf course between 10-12 for free!! Look for us, I will be the one next to the guy who is not sweating after a long bike ride pulling two kids. Oh and I went on a twenty mile practice ride on Sunday- I did great according to Chris.

6) The new TV season has begun! I am so excited, although I have very little time to actually watch tv, I am thrilled that tivo and our media center will be recording shows I can eventually watch. I am particularly thrilled that this year I get to watch the Gilmore Girls on Channel 29.3 starting 9/19, the previews look so great, I cant wait. I followed the storylines on television without pity last season, but it is just not the same. (This year I have elected not to watch Prison Break but to read the recaps). Also Grey's Anatomy starts 9/21- after Meredith makes her decision, will we still want to watch? I cant wait. And Lost, I just cant get excited about it, I will follow it somehow though.

7) I want everyone to apply for Boards and Commission appointments in the jurisdictions they are in, it is a great opportunity to make a difference in your community. The big name boards are tough to get on, but also require the most amount of time and commitment. The obscure boards are awesome and desperately need creative, enthusiastic folks to participate.

The CDBG Task Force is a great example, the task force distributes relatively little money, but with that money a lot of people are helped, how that money is distributed is essential and the task force generally gets to make the decision. I really want to encourage folks who are in 'target neighborhoods' to apply for the positions that are opening this coming year. Target neighborhoods are Belmont, Rose Hill, Fifeville, 10th & Page, Starr Hill, Ridge Street. The people on the task force are enthusiastic, we are making our own path and hopefully serving those target neighborhoods in ways that generate positive change (without gentrifying, we could really use some voices to help us with that).

Monday, September 04, 2006

The great outdoors

I have told Chris "I do not enjoy camping," so of course many of the Labor Day weekends I have known him, I have spent camping with his family and him at Lake Gaston. Charlottesville is so different than the rest of the world is my conclusion.

What is it that draws people to camping; peace and quiet, back to nature, comraderie among campers, drawing from ones own skills to survive? Here are some brief reflections: smoking, noisy motor boats and jet skis, yelling and cursing, ill-mannered children victimizing younger children, motor homes with satellite tv and air conditioning, & smoking. All of my senses were embattled, not the way one expects when camping.

I actually do like camping a little bit, unfortunately lots of elements of this weekend reminded me why I dont like camping. Thankfully Chris does lots of the heavy lifting and soon the boys will be old enough to go with daddy and mom can go to the spa (right!).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Misc. Thoughts

First, Hurricane John is a Cat. 4 hurricane, um does anyone care? The news is all about Ernesto and that is now a tropical depression and folks in central VA are stocking up on supplies for when that strong rain storm hits. Incongruent. BTW- what is the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane?

Next, I really appreciate the musical interludes on Charlottesville...Right Now - but none can possibly compete with the theme from Dora the Explorer (after Coy's daughter says "youre listening to my dad on Charlottesville...Right Now" or something like that. Anyway, the kids LOVE it! I always smile, even when the kids arent in the car and it comes on. David says "Dora" real loud whenever it comes on.

Finally, a follow-up in WaPo re: dinner to go places. Marijean recently asked about such a place in the 'ville, alas the answer is no as far as I can tell. If anyone wants to open one, I know a family or two who may jump at the opportunity to patronize such a business. Please...I know it wont be in town though, I suppose I would drive to the North of town occassionally to have meals made for those nights it is too crazy to make meal.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Alleged bomb plotter 'not guilty'

The Hook has the news first, one of the 13 year old boys was found not guilty in the bombing plot. I am glad the parents of that child had the resources to move forward with this appeal.

From the VA Courts website on JDR: Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts differ from other courts in their duty to protect the confidentiality and privacy of juveniles coming before the court, and in their commitment to rehabilitate those who come before the court, in addition to protecting the public and holding juvenile offenders accountable for their actions. The welfare of the juvenile and the family, the saftey (sic) of the community, and the protection of the rights of victims are the highest concern in the court's proceedings. In other respects, juvenile courts generally have the same requirements and provide the same safeguards as other courts. This court does not, however, conduct jury trials. All cases are heard by a judge

As one can tell from this description, JDR is a different place. One may contend a criminal conviction in JDR may be more about securing a child services for possible rehabilitation than actual guilt beyond a reasonable doubt based on evidence. Further, JDR & other courts not of record (General District Court) are to limit the number of cases heading to the more expensive courts of record and provide access to pro se litigants to the justice system. It is a unique system where a litigant can have two bites of the apple, but thankfully this child had that protection.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

River Road Walk

Chris wants us to reduce the number of trips we make by car. I am onboard for the most part. So I decided the boys and I would walk to pick up the pictures I had gotten developed.

River Road has spotty sidewalks, meaning in the most dangerous sections there are no sidewalks. In addition, River Road is now (unofficially or officially) part of the Rivanna River Trail because of the lady who put up barb wire. River Rd. is really hard to walk and not just because of the hill, it is the industrial traffic and the speed of the cars. The alternatives are not that much better (think extremely narrow streets + speeding cars) at least River Rd. is somewhat wider than the other neighborhood thoroughfares.

A sidewalk on the whole of River Rd. is an ideal solution for neighbors and visitors to the trail. I know the City is loathe to consider a sidewalk in Locust Grove Neighborhood after the last fiasco, hopefully this goes smoother and it certainly benefits more than the neighborhood with all the users of the trail hiking up River making for a potentially dangerous scenario.

I would certainly feel a lot better about walking more places if there were more sidewalks. The photos turned out great (who knew 36 pictures of the Fair could be soo fun?).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Night out

Delightful time had by all, even the kids as they were babysat by a family friend's daughter (who is off to college soon and welcomes the money).

First a matinee movie at Carmike(that place was gleaming when it was built but is now awful). We got to the theater at the start time of the movie so we did not spend much downtime at the theater. We saw Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This is a weird movie, lots of laughs are in it, some way too cheesy parts and a strange complexity to a comedy. I enjoyed it, especially for a matinee and since I never get to see movies anymore.

We went to dinner afterwards at Bonefish Grill. We received a free bang bang shrimp- which was delicious. We both had house salads; they have yummy 'tuscan' bread served with pesto and olive oil (I am sucker for kalmata olives and they were in the pesto). I had a special Salmon Bellair, while Chris has Trout with lime tomato sauce. There are four sauces to choose from and Chris said the sauce was sweeter than he thought it would be, but he ate it all up. I had the veggies for a side (there are many sides to choose from), Chris had potatoes au gratin. Because we were on a night out, we ordered dessert- we split the macademia nut brownie, which is served with raspberry puree, ice cream and whipped cream. I love macademia nuts, so this dessert was delicious. This is not an especially chocolatey dessert, but I am not particular. And I just had the rest of my entree for lunch today, it was still delicious.

The kids were asleep when we got home, a sign of an excellent babysitter! And the kids told me they really enjoyed Meghan's company, phew. It is good to get out occasionally and eat a meal slowly. I have not done that in a long time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blogging Kinship

Marijean and I met this afternoon for a delicious lunch on the downtown mall. She looked fabulous- dont believe her vacation weight story! We are organizing a cvilleblogs gathering the last Saturday in September (9/30 UVA is out of town that weekend, Foxfield is probably the Sunday prior, although the Vegetarian & Apple Festivals are that weekend- but we can take some time to meet).

We are accepting nominations for venues- bring us your best picks for a lovely fall Saturday in Charlottesville- think relaxing and conducive to discussion (preference may be given for a spot serving alcohol).

Us cville bloggers are a community, I appreciate the opportunity to spill my ideas onto the screen & the respect those ideas are usually received and debated. Moreover, I thank those who let me glimpse into their world and provide me an opportunity to contemplate on their thoughts.

I am feeling effusively grateful this evening. First, lunch with Marijean this afternoon, then I was inducted this evening into the Charlottesville Rotary Club. I am honored to be involved in such a civic minded organization. The speaker tonight was the Treasurer of Art in Place. Art in Place's website has a message board for comments. The speaker was really engaging and funny. I am a big fan (especially of the cyclist on McIntire) and after hearing him speak, a much bigger fan. Check out their website.

Virgil has lost his way

I dont believe Virgil Goode should be our next congressman because he has lost his way.

When Virgil first came on the scene, he had a lot of credibility to me, I appreciate an independent Democrat. I moved away, he switched parties, and then appeared to devolve into a patsy for Republican party. Virgil Goode has a lot of power from the pulpit of the Appropriations Committee. He receives some ridiculous amount of money from employees of MZM during his campaign, MZM's management is seeking a DOD contract to put a facility in Martinsville. DOD, MZM and Virgil know this is a redundant contract, but everybody wins in the scenario MZM dreams up. MZM gets the contract, Wade is indicted for bribery, so is the other guy present with Virgil at the opening of the facility in Martinsville and Virgil states (clearly not an exact quote)"I didnt know the employees of MZM were funnelling money to my campaign illegally". I wanted to believe, dont we all?

I have volunteered on Al's campaign, I know how hard the Director of Finance works to make sure all donations are on the up and up. The federal requirements for these donations are strict with little room for error. Sure campaigns make errors, small errors, miss a deadline by one or two days for example. Virgil's staff made a significant error in judgment if in fact they had no knowledge of the illegality of these donations.

What do we ask of people who make errors in judgment? Take responsibility, reform, admit wrongdoing and make it right.

What do we ask of people who commit crimes? Take responsibility, accept the punishment of the criminal justice system.

What does Virgil want us to do? Vote for him, um...NO! I dont want a congressman who makes such horrible errors in judgment or has staff around him who fail to question this sort of activity. Should I give him the benefit of the doubt? I understand some may, but since he has became a patsy of his party in Washington, he stopped being that independent thinker I found valuable. He is less credible because he has been in Washington so long surrounded by a culture that supports dishonesty at one end of the spectrum, and downright corrupt behavior at the other end.

Al Weed provides an honest, responsible alternative.

Meeting Overload

The City Council agenda looked ambitious, lots of reports including school board election committee, parks feasibility report, one transit thing and transportation was near the last item, but included about four different items, never mind the public comment period. I arrived home around 11:40 last night from that meeting.

I am glad I went though. Ostensibly as a member of the CDBG Task Force, I always like to attend meetings where the Task Force (TF) is on the agenda. The TF had met to discuss priorities for its upcoming RFP cycle since it was time for Council to establish those priorities again. But I also went knowing the Parks department was presenting its report on the facilities feasibility study. Finally, I wanted to thank the Parks & Rec department for keeping the pools open later last week during the sweltering heat.

I really have four or five blog entries possible as a result of my attendance at this meeting. We shall see whether the posts actually get written. Thankfully, the next meeting isnt until September 5th, so I could report on all the goings on in the next month. Happily, I am honored to report, I was appointed to the Parks and Rec Advisory Board. A whole other blog entry will be on how great it is to serve on committees/boards/commissions.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

County Fair

The Fair with kids is really fun! I have been to the fair numerous times, starting when I was 13. The fair ultimately stays the same, but when seeing the fair through the eyes of your children, it is so much more fun.
Before the price of admission was worth it for the funnel cake. But this time, we spent oodles of time at the fair and didnt go into a lot of exhibits. Of course we saw the animals and tractors, spoke to the Farm Bureau rep and ate hot dogs. BUT with minimal tickets the kids went on all the rides they wanted and were sleeping when we got home. A good time was had by all. I imagine the next ten years of fair going experience and the changes those years will involve and I am grateful.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

pools/fair & radio

As I hope everyone knows by now, the pools will be open late through Thursday evening. The Albemarle County Fair also starts today (runs through the 6th). Great options abound this week for families.

Washington and Meade park pools will be opened until 8:00 PM; with City residents swimming FREE from 6-8. I think the free swim is a great Charlottesville tradition. I advise taking advantage, I know we will! Hope to see you at the Park!

I will be on WINA 1070AM "Charlottesville...Right Now" today in the 5:00-5:30 discussing my recent interview with the Director of Parks and Recreation. Let's hope things go smoothly...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tour de Toona

Chris raced in Altoona, PA at the Tour de Toona (really!) this weekend. For the amateurs it is a three day stage race, for the professionals it is an impressive 7 stage race. This is the 20th year of this very big race with what appears to be at least 30 teams starting in the pro category. Chris did fairly well, espcially in the road racing category, but more importantly he had an opportunity to shmooze with the pros and their entourages (mechanics, managers etc.) We are especially rooting for the Navigators through the rest of the season, which thankfully isnt that much longer.

Chris has now started ten races this season as a Cat. 4. Next are the Centuries; Blue Ridge Extreme is near the end of August & we will take part as a family in the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen's Century (ok we ride the 25 mile ride, Chris hauls the children in the trailer so he can keep up with me) in October. Between now and then... who knows what races/rides will appear, already one popped up in Richmond for next Sunday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Interview with City Parks & Rec Director

Last weekend was Weekend Without Echoes, I participated by traveling north to New Jersey to visit family and generally be away from the computer. Thanks to the family for the great time. I had a great idea for the WWE (tehe), I would interview the head of the Parks & Rec department in the City to get the real reason for the lack of pool hours I continually rant about. I nervously gathered my courage to contact the department head by asking a professional. Bob Gibson generously provided some hints (along with confidence) on how to proceed.

Michael Svetz is the Director of the Charlottesville Parks & Recreation department. He has been in the position for two years. Being director is a challenging job, especially for someone who is new to town. This community has a long history to contend with in addition to the normal bureaucratic issues. Mr. Svetz has heard an earful from the people in this town about the cut in pool hours. He would prefer to engage people directly, so he appreciated the opportunity to discuss the pool hours with me.

The current pool hours at the outdoor pools are Monday through Friday 12-6 (zero depth is open at 11:00 and closes at 7:00). Adult swim occurs at 45 minutes past the hour. The wading pool opens earlier at 10:30 but closes at 4:00. Weekend hours are indecipherable, but for my journalistic integrity I will try to figure it out (not really).

Washington Park- 11:00-4:00
Onesty Park- 12:00-4:00
Wading pools 12:00-4:00

I believe there is a free swim at the Washington Park for city residents on Saturday from 5-7 and on Sunday at Onesty Pool from 5-7. Cost of entry ranges from free (under 3)to $4.00 for adults. A season pass costs $125 for a household and one can purchase a 25 count punch card for about $75.00 (all these prices are for City residents).

Mike Svetz is frustrated by the pool situation. The facilities are all redundant - he does not believe there should be two of each type of pool. He cites Charlottesville's history of improper treatment of certain neighborhoods why the inefficiency continues to exist. He would prefer close some of the existing facilities and create a more central pool park. It is likely much of the City is not ready for such a bold proposal.

I mentioned to Mr. Svetz that some families could afford more than $125 a year for a swimming pass (given the private pool at Fry Springs costs about $1,000 for a season). Mr. Svetz cautiously explained many programs in Parks and specifically aquatics are priced for families with lower incomes (which, he mentioned is roughly equivalent to 20%-30% of the population). The programs and hours of the pools are also meant to serve families who have that income range. It makes sense, the pool rates and hours are designed to complement one another- unfortunately 70% to 80% of the population are left out of the calculus.

Every year the City Manager asks the Parks and Rec department (as well as others probably) to reduce its budget. Even with significant actual reductions, the budget remains somewhat stable because of the increase in fixed costs such as gas, health insurance, other utilities and the like. He cited a $10,000 a month natural gas bill at one of the indoor pool facilities as an example for the reduced level of service in the aquatics department.

Is there a way to balance the historic maltreatment of neighborhoods & the needs of lower income families with today's efficiency requirements & middle income families interest to use the Parks department to meet the aquatic needs of all its citizens?

Michael Svetz will present to City Council meeting on August 7. Clearly I will be discussing this issue more in the future.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tour Wrap Up

Bob Roll, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, the commentators for OLN's coverage of the Tour de France keep using superlatives to describe this year's tour- "the greatest one day performance ever" "the worst, one day humiliation ever" "the greatest tour ever".

In my five years of following the Tour, this year's certainly captivated and delivered. While my fantasy cycling team did not fare well, I did not really care because the drama kept me glued to the tv. After the Tour- what does one do?

The OLN team had this great graphic after the time trial on Saturday detailing a European cyclist's road to win the Tour (it was a fairly straight up climb from winning small circuit races to bigger races and finally winning the tour). Then the American's route- well it involved early success, "plunging into the depths of Hades" (as Bob Roll colorfully put it) and finally winning. Why do Americans make it so hard? I dont care, it is great drama.

The Vuelta is coming up, Jan Ullrich's contract with TMobile has been terminated (but his former team is so strong that another member won third place); Ivan Basso's team CSC put in a great performance although the time trial did them in and they landed in fourth. Discovery- a distant memory. I am hopeful that this Operation Puerto doesnt touch Ivan Basso and Tyler Hamilton and the both of them will be racing by the end of the season. A girl can dream. Vive le Tour!

Bloggers meet

I have an idea let's schedule a gathering two days prior to the event. Too bad because I wanted to meet everyone,alas I had plans out of town (I know no one cares about my whining). When is the next one? Perhaps we will get three or four days next time. I hope Waldo knows I am simply giving him a hard time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Photos speak

CNN's homepage has AP pictures of the evacuation of civilians from Beirut and Lebanon. My need to protect my children is innate, whenever I sense any danger around my children I am immediately transformed into protector extraordinaire. The photos are dramatic, a newborn being carried by a soldier (I presume) to the relative safety of a helicopter and a mom holding her three (?) year old and the look of pure anguish on her face is terrifying. The innocents are victims on both sides. Can we really sit here and do nothing while the way of life of these mothers/fathers and children is torn apart?

Lesson Learned

With Carmen Electra and David Navarro separating and Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey now divorced, I realize what can really do a marriage in - reality tv. So I hereby declare I will never sign up for a reality series that proports to show my marriage to the masses on MTV (I will extend this to all of cable I think).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tour de France

After five hours of watching our Tivo'ed Tour coverage, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief that Floyd is real, Levi is somewhat real and now Americans truly have a place in world cycling outside of Lance Armstrong.

I could not turn away from this exciting but long stage. Five mountain climbs, a sprint finish, a wait for the yellow jersey to get in to see whether the Frenchman would still wear it on Bastille Day (no) and Team Discovery not in sight of the lead. Anything can happen, stay tuned, but please dont tell me what happens because I cant watch it until the evening.

$2.00 an hour to park downtown

Outrageous. How can people afford to park downtown? Why would you want to go to a movie downtown when you can go to the other theaters in town and park for free? I think the restaurants are doing ok but what about the shops selling books or beads? Those stores cant afford to give out validation for parking. What about the vendors? They rely on people who take a walk after their meals but have no real destination in mind (except for food maybe) but if you are rushing to get back to your car so you dont get charged another $2 then what?

I am all for a free market and certainly the parking garages have the right to charge whatever they can get for their spaces. What concerns me is at the same time the City seems to be limiting the number of free or reduces spaces driving people to the garages and/or driving people out of downtown.

Fortunately, I can walk or ride my bike.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Commitment

Floyd Landis is to have hip replacement surgery after the Tour de France. He is currently in second place in the general classification. Should he be committed? Or should we applaud him for his commitment to perserve through pain?

Admittedly, I am a bandwagon kind of girl. I read an article about Floyd in the WP Style section last Sunday and now I suppose I kind of like him. Since Levi flamed out in the Time Trial and Ivan is not there I am not that excited about the others (ok that isnt entirely true, Cadel Evans, Tom Boonen all inspire as well).

Well since Floyd can train for the Tour de France through all his pain, I can enjoy & be grateful for the work I do relatively pain-free.

Andrew's Fire Engine Cake


This cake is brought to you by Andrew's daddy. Mommy just doesnt have the patience for this sort of undertaking. I did make a great steak (good grilling by daddy) from a Bon Appetit recipe (think spicy rub and chimichurri sauce).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sacrifices

Old Guy has an important post on Americans relationship with the wars. The post stemmed from an Op-Ed written by an Air Force captain stationed in Iraq published in the Washington Post.
Families of those stationed in war zones deserve a committed, supportive country, one that doesnt bury their collective heads in the sand when hard work is called for. Honestly I am not quite sure what would constitute support besides the obvious (send packages from home, prayers etc.), I think our leaders should be defining support instead of constantly politicizing the situation. I believe we want to help, its just a matter of being asked.

Friday, June 30, 2006

One way to get on the front page

is to have a doping scandal. As I have ranted about for years, cycling should get more attention, and now it is finally happening. Everyone except for CNN (so far) has an article about the scandal on their home pages. Delightful, really.
SO here are some people to root for (WALDO):
Discovery:
SAVOLDELLI Paolo ITA RUBIERA José Luis ESP POPOVYCH Yaroslav UKR PADRNOS Pavel CZE NOVAL GONZALEZ Benjamin ESP HINCAPIE George USA EKIMOV Viatceslav RUS AZEVEDO José (Why isnt Danielson on this team?).

CSC:
CANCELLARA Fabian SUI ZABRISKIE David USA VOIGT Jens GER VANDEVELDE Christian USA
SASTRE Carlos ESP O’GRADY Stuart AUS LOMBARDI Giovanni ITA JULICH Bobby USA

Gerolsteiner:
TOTSCHNIG Georg AUT LEIPHEIMER Levi USA

RABOBANK:
WEENING Pieter NED RASMUSSEN Mickael DEN FREIRE Oscar ESP FLECHA Juan Antonio ESP DEKKER Erik NED BOOGERD Michael NED MENCHOV Denis RUS

Davitman-Lotto
MC EWEN Robbie AUS HORNER Christopher USA EVANS Cadel AUS

Phonak
PENA Victor Hugo COL MERCKX Axel BEL JALABERT Nicolas FRA LANDIS Floyd USA (I wont be rooting for Floyd, but others may).

There are other teams and contenders, but this is a start for all those seeking people to root for.

Disaster in France

At least twenty riders are out of the Tour- BIG names, Ullrich, Basso, Mancebo, Beloki, the list goes on, for allegedly doping. The riders will not be replaced so there will be far fewer riders racing.

The teams had voluntarily agreed to purge the riders implicated in a Spanish report issued today. NYTimes has an interesting article about it that includes the method some doctors have used to decide whether EPO has been used. I will give you the Cliff note version- apparently doctors may see evidence in the test, but decide it is not enough evidence or is too vague. Is this any way to run a bike race?

AS a fan, I am devastated, since Ivan was my favorite to win. Chris thinks this will give all the clean riders a chance. My argument is an implication in a report does not make a rider 'dirty'. I feel particularly sad about Jan Ullrich's suspension since he was on the precipice of all-time greats. What if you train for 15 years, you win one time, lose 7 times (just barely) then right before possibly your last Tour you are suspended because someone named you in a document? What if you are innocent?

These cases are so difficult to fight against, it is trying to prove a negative- although in this case hopefully urine/blood tests could easily establish guilt or innocence. The riders cannot let this drag out, they owe it to the fans to 'fess up, one can make a comeback (ask Virenque).

All of road racing is tarnished by this too; the establishment must give us fans a reason why it swept all this under the rug for so long, why cheating is so widespread, the governing bodies must accept responsibility themselves & establish accountability procedures. Those clean riders deserve it.

Thank goodness tomorrow we can focus on racing- watch on OLN! Bob, Phil and Paul will surely lament and tell the sad story while focusing on the brilliance of the difficult stages and riders who were not implicated. Look for a lot of Americans to be in the mix (go Levi!)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

High Drama prior to the TdF

Cycling News is full of news flashes regularly this time of year, but this year they take on special urgency because of Operacion Puerto . The Tour de France folks want Astana-Wurth out of the Tour. Apparently El Pais, a Spanish newspaper has detailed the allegations against the team and its staff (and former/current riders) and now the Tour wants them out. It is not clear the Tour can kick out a pro tour team that has been approved to race by the governing bodies, so the team has appealed the decision. IT IS A HUGE MESS.

I am disgusted with the state of doping in the sport. Cycling is like any sport, you follow riders and you cheer for them. I am in the process of choosing my fantasy team. I know from Chris's training schedule how much these riders sacrifice to get where they are, the whole sport is tainted when one is implicated & now a whole team is on the verge of disappearing (along with the hopes and dreams of those innocents who ride on that team). Even if they can ride in the Tour, it will take an act of amazing strength for those riders to focus on it.

These scandals are upsetting. I have some conspiracy theory thinking (thanks dad for that) so I am not inclined to believe the media is an innocent bystander in all this (How come a sealed affidavit is published in a newspaper a week prior to the TdF suggesting Lance used drugs prior to his 1996 cancer diagnoses?).

I am naive, I am convinced. The talk should remain on those great, clean riders who have an incredible three weeks ahead of them. GO IVAN BASSO!!! I look forward to high drama in the Alps.

My first political fundraiser

I hope it comes as no surprise to anyone reading that I support Al Weed for Congress in Virginia's Fifth District. I am volunteering with the campaign.
This morning I attended my first political fundraiser. Al was his usual charming self and articulated his position on the war and subsequent occupation of Iraq eloquently.

In most every war in the 20th century, the Weed family had someone fighting in battle. Al's father volunteered for action in World War I & II. Al himself was in the military for 42 years and now Al's son has served in the current Iraq War as a surgeon. The family has deep roots in the military and service to this country. I am humbled by his family's commitment to this country.


What should a newcomer expect at a fundraiser? One should not expect to eat like a king, but the food should be tasty. I met some new people, which everyone knows I appreciate and I learned something new(colloborative law, General Assembly happenings etc.). Obviously I wont be able to go to lots of these, but I am glad I attended my first one, I definitely feel part of the process, in a good way.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pool Post 2

I am annoyed again. It is summer now, so the hours the pools are open is once again on my mind. I am talking about city of Charlottesville pools. I believe the city pools should stay open until 9 PM and perhaps (call me a visionary) should open (gasp) earlier. The pools are open 12-6 M-F Sat 11-4 Sunday 11-5.

On a positive note, a season pass is exceptionally reasonably priced $125 for a family up to six people (and children under 3 are free). The next option is either your neighbor's pool (come on LGNA'ers) or ~$1000 a season at Fry Springs.

However, those hours are awful for working families. First, my children are like most and nap in the afternoons (1-3 or 2-4 timeframe) & eat around lunchtime. Therefore the early afternoon is usually a haze of whining, eating and napping.

Second when I pick the kids up around 5, my choice is to either go to the pool for a brief splash-around (brief because adult swim is at quarter to the hour and kids are no longer allowed in the pool, so really the pool closes for kids at 5:45) OR to go home and cook dinner- forgoing swimming for yet another day.

I am not sure what is driving the reduction in hours (and there are less hours this summer than last summer). Whatever it is, I believe the Parks & Rec folks could brainstorm alternatives that would not be so exclusionary for working families. I am hopeful that the relatively new Parks & Rec director will see the benefit of longer evening hours.

Summer is a time for long, fun-filled days; the pools are great symbols of summer and should be open longer in the evening so that working families can go for a swim together after dinner (or before and just get a slice of pizza at the pool). This may be a topic I return to in the future.

Good News for Vino

UCI has given 'Astana - Würth Team' a pro tour license so the team can participate in the Tour de France (begins July 1!).

I want cycling to be serious about removing dopers from the sport, but I dont like the idea of collective punishment against riders who have trained their whole lives for a chance to compete in the Tour. Astana-Wurth has some real competitors in this year's Tour including Jaksche & Vinokourov (Beloki? Highly unlikely but one never knows). The team is riding well- they had great results in the Tour de Suisse.

From Cycling News: "The Astaná-Würth 'long team' for the Tour is therefore: Carlos Barredo, Assan Bazayev, Joseba Beloki, Alberto Contador, Allan Davis, Jorge Jaksche, Andrey Kashechkin, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Aitor Osa, Luis León Sánchez and Alexander Vinokourov."

Of course, for my money I am rooting for Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and Levi (I am not going to spell his name). There are other names I will be looking out for, but Floyd Landis is NOT one of them.

On CYCLISM Sunday, OLN will be looking to name the next King of the Tour and in only one month and one day we will know (7/23/06- last day of the Tour).

Friday, June 16, 2006

Leave Britany Spears Alone or...

does she deserve the media beating she gets? I would not do well if I lived under a microscope, but I dont necessarily seek attention. Another blog post can delve into the relative pros and cons of blogging as a way to get attention.

BUT she takes the cake when she considers Namibia as a place to have her next child. Does the girl have an original thought? Can you imagine the conversation that led to that thought?
"Kev, honey remember the hoopla surrounding baby's birth?" (no, there really wasnt a media circus)
"Um, no honey, remember I was out with the guys that day?"
"oh right" sad faced Brit thinks 'maybe if I have the baby in Africa, Kevin will actually be around for the birth & I will be afforded all the prestige of Brad and Angela'
"Kev what do you think about having a baby in Africa like Brangelina?" (you know she uses the nicknames too).
"Whatever you want dear, I will be on tour maybe I can schedule a show there?"
Rolls eyes, pops gum and smiles to herself for her evil genius.

More cycling

Finally, news about the Tour of Naz. This race is a doozy, OLN sometimes shows highlights of the race- it is a good introduction to the teams and names in US cycling.

Because I rail so often on coverage of cycling (the last news story was a long time ago), I thought a 'cheer' was in order for a small change in Washington Post. I have now twice seen a daily result for two different races, one day of Dauphine Libre and one day of the Giro. I dont think the paper is publishing results everyday, but the little it does publish is much appreciated. Obviously it would make more sense for the paper to publish results everyday when the big races are going on, or barring that for them to publish the results of the races not just one random day in the middle of the race.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Chandlers

Not the bakery (although I did get David's birthday cake at the bakery and it was beautiful, with a sketch of a cyclist on it because David wanted a 'bicycle cake', and of course delicious).

The ice cream shop. Waldo told me someone blogs about La Taza practically everyday. Blogging about the cool coffee shop seems to have subsided. As I sat eating ice cream last night outside the trailer that is Chandlers I wondered why more people dont blog about it.

I will presume people want to keep it a secret.

The small is all you really need, David and Andrew split a small, Chris still had to finish it because they had enough. So many different kinds of people come to this little soft serve place. We had a great conversation with two older couples who just had dinner downtown. They loved watching as David and Andrew ran around the picnic tables and stopped for bites of the melting ice cream. The dipped ice cream is good but melts even faster than the normal cones (on hot days that can be pretty quick). The hot fudge and whipped cream are so delicious- especially the whipped cream. Try a sundae if you enjoy them. I find the servings enormous, the prices are not cheap but reasonable.

My ode to the ice cream shoppe is over.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Webb v. Allen

Now that we have a candidate, let's get down to business. Volunteer! Donate!
If this is not the year, then I dont know when a more perfect storm will kick up.
Al Weed & Jim Webb a great ticket for Virginia.

Guilt for Moms

As if we dont have enough... Warning a rambling rant follows.

NYTimes article details the federal government's role in promoting nursing, stating essentially that formula feeding is akin to smoking in pregnancy. New moms, pregnant moms and most other moms are a pretty vulnerable bunch. I hope this is not news to everyone. Lots of moms (and I dont mean to exclude dads but I dont know as much about their feelings) suffer from questions about inadequacy and fear the consequences of her decisions on baby.

I compare the atmosphere surrounding childbirth and raising children to middle school (or law school as the two are remarkably similar). Middle school is where hormones & peers are horrible, leaving the person feeling terribly uncomfortable at best or possibly downright depressed. Motherhood can be horrible hormones and possibly horrible peers or family members. The conflicting messages, the crying, the lack of sleep combined with baby blues and/or depression, it really is a wonder how mothers make it through.

SO what is a mom to do? The physical agony of nursing is so dramatic initially and nothing can prepare you for it (the books do not accurately describe the pain, in fact generally the books say "if you are nursing correctly, there should be no pain" thereby adding to the mom's feelings of inadequacy since she is clearly not doing something right). BUT the baby is crying so much, so all you think is 'he must be hungry' so all he does is eat and eat, exacerbating the pain. Then you take your newborn (read 8 pound baby) to the doctor who with a wild look in her eye says 'he is not gaining enough weight, here is some formula you really need to start supplementing'.

I took a Bradley class, I know how the formula companies are trying to take over the world and marginalize women's role in feeding their babies. Every ounce of my being react 'no way'. Then I heard the sweet sound of silence as he was finally satiated. What is really dangerous to newborns? Struggling, overtired mommies who cannot possibly live up to the expectations society has placed on them unfairly.

I am a lawyer so I always have lots of advice, but my favorite bit of wisdom is not to listen to it. Every child is different, I was listening to two mommies this morning discuss food allergies of a six and four month old babies who have never had formula- um, I am not sure that is supposed to happen according to the nursing police (of course blame the mother who will drink milk and eat soy protein for making her child get a food allergy).

SO who the heck knows the answer? PARENTS through a fair game called trial and error. Please dont let me screw up too often.

Go Vote

This primary season has been annoying to me. I have tried to educate myself so that I could make an informed decision. I think Waldo has it right. I voted, I dont endorse anyone. I hope whoever wins can lift the ticket to victory. There is no reason Virginia Democrats cant capitalize on the failures of the President, Congress and Virginia General Assembly to win in November.

What do you think needs to be done to get democrats elected in the Fall?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Spring Makeover?

I won! How exciting. Put your business card in the fishbowl at Origins and you too can win a free spring makeover. I think if you walk in and ask for a makeover they will likely give you one too. I wanted new makeup since it had been a long time since I bought makeup so what the heck? Dont put your card in if you dont want to win.

I usually use Clinique products for makeup- no reason except one day about two years ago (that long already?), I went to Clinque's counter and the counterperson (probably called something fancy like technician) put makeup on me and it looked nice. Since I know what looked nice, I continued on in that same vein.

Origins ,for all I know, probably owns Clinique. The cosmetic industry is full of companies that compete but are owned by the same parent company (usually Este Lauder).

So I bought lots of makeup and discovered more great products made by Origins.I already am addicted to "A Perfect World" skin guardian which I love and recommend because it smells nice. The person who did the makeup for me was really charming in a good way. I was surprised to receive such great service there.

A fun book "Dont Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me". The author goes through every product line and argues the relative merit/demerit of the products based on her knowledge of the ingredients.