Monday, May 29, 2006

Iraq News

Two journalists and a soldier were killed in Iraq today. One of the seriously injured is Kimberly Dozier. She is a seasoned war reporter who worked at Maartens while she finished school at UVA. I love hearing her reports on WINA CBS news. I hope I will hear them again real soon.

Our thoughts & prayers are with the injured and families of those killed, and for those whose loved ones continue to serve in war zones.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Home office v. Actual office

Now that I work outside of my home I find I walk more. Before I would walk mostly to put the laundry in the dryer, now I walk to get coffee, go to lunch, the post office, all sorts of things I didnt do prior.

However, I cant take a nap in the middle of the day (not that I need to much anymore-thankfully), I dont do the laundry until the weekends now and I dont have everything I could possibly want within a 1300 sq ft area.

NOW I have to plan- lunch? I dont remember how to pack a lunch, I just sit here in my office and think 'what is in here I could eat for lunch?' the answer is peanuts (literally and figuratively), good brain food but not satisfying for lunch. Fortunately I work close to the downtown mall so I buy lunch but that is so expensive after awhile. Also I have to plan what to wear, actually put makeup on prior to coming to the office (instead of on the way to meet someone) and keep a jacket at the office that inevitably I will need at home on the weekends for whatever silly reason.

My question is- what do you have in your office to make you feel at home at the office? Coffee maker, fridge, microwave, tv, a ball for a chair, or is the internet enough? What snacks are a must have? I cant seem to think what I should keep here in our fridge so I can eat healthy snacks- I need some guidance.

The adjustment is happening, but I want to have good habits not bad ones.

Revenue sharing

For five minutes yesterday I was able to listen to Charlottesville...Right Now. During those five minutes, my blog was mentioned. I have to say this is quite thrilling. Thank you to Brian and Coy for the shout out.

The real reason for the mention was the post and comments regarding revenue sharing agreement between the County of Albemarle and Charlottesville. Brian Wheeler from Charlottesville Tomorrow has researched the issue & he discussed it with Coy yesterday. The podcast is not up yet, but here is Charlottesville Podcasting network website,I assume the segment will be podcasted and be up tomorrow. Brian also has some comments on Charlottesville Tomorrow's website.

Thanks for the lively discussion, many in this town have a lot of knowledge and we get to benefit from it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Old Guy!

Happy Birthday Old Guy!

I guess I will keep the card till next year. Dont worry the same thing happened with Chris's mothers day card.

Dont work too hard.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Another lecture topic

The professor is in!
From Kanye West's "Goldigger"
"We want prenup, yeah...its somethin'that you need to have"
Wiser words were never spoken by a misogynst who creates such great rhymes. (Warning: explicit lyrics)

Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning unless you have more than a modest amount of assets, it is worthwhile to agree on a distribution of assets so the lawyers dont get them all. A good time to agree on a distribution of assets is prior to the marriage. I advise a prenup especially when any party is bringing assets into the marriage (which will generally remain separate property in the event of a divorce UNLESS...there is always an unless so consult an attorney).

Child support calculator is a very helpful tool to calculate child support amounts. Generally, a deviation from the guideline amount has to meet with court approval, so it may not be outlined very specifically in a prenup.

Some jurisdictions in VA have calculators for spousal support, a prenup can take care of this issue very easily. If not addressed in a prenup, spousal support is within the discretion of the court.

Basically, if you have assets in order to protect them a prenup would be helpful. If a prenup is not possible, I strongly advise a Will outlining your wishes for those assets. To be clear, in VA there is the right of election, so a spouse can seek an elected share of an estate thereby denying children and other heirs assets you may have placed in a Will for them (to the exclusion of the spouse). A prenup can provide for a disclaimer of the elected share.

It is helpful if both parties work to draft the prenup, but if one party presents it to the other, PLEASE seek counsel before signing it.

Marriage is a contract between you, your betrothed and the state. You can minimize the state's role in your marriage by planning with a prenup, and/or a tightly drafted Will & Power of Attorney (and dont forget Advanced Medical Directives).

From Ron's blog (and I am officially posting it with this post) He has some great information for those interested in family law issues:
"The information provided on this web blog is public information and is not individualized legal advice. Do not take any legal action on any information contained in this blog!!! Always consulting with an attorney in your state about your legal issues. The presentation of information on this blog does not establish any form of attorney-client relationship with my firm or with me. While I have attempted to maintain the information on this blog as accurately as possible, this information may contain errors or omissions, for which I disclaim any liability. Case law from other jurisdictions discussed here are discussed for comparative purposes only. The author is licensed to practice only in the Commonwealth of Virginia and not in any other state. Despite the foregoing, this material could be considered to be ADVERTISING MATERIAL."

Today's Lecture

Driving Marina back to her house today, we pass a bike rider driving in the middle of traffic lanes, on a road with bike lanes. I think 'fine, there are crazy riders out there, this one did not wear a helmet due to his clear insanity'. Marina notes that she does not wear a helmet (silent screaming...).

There are two things I tell people silently when I pass them, one is "dont let them search your car" to people who are pulled over by the police. I respect the work officers are doing, but I find there are few opportunities for us law abiding folks to exercise our rights and when pulled over is certainly one of those times. Just have the officer get a warrant to search- no big deal. *

To return to the topic of today's lecture- the second thing I say is "WEAR A HELMET" to riders without a helmet. I say it silently of course, grateful that Chris and David have no problems wearing a helmet (Andrew is learning). Sometimes I see a biker not wearing a helmet correctly and I may say to myself "read the directions".

For riders under 14 it is unlawful not to wear a helmet. Marina wear a helmet or risk a citation by the police (but dont let them search you)! For adults, please set a good example "for the children" (I usually run from anything that has that phrase in it).

So I probably didnt wear a helmet when I was little (cant remember too many bumps), and I am not for legislating these things. But I do think wearing a seatbelt and putting kids properly in carseats and wearing a helmet while riding a bike helps the EMT's at the rescue squad & other first responders have less nightmares.

* As a disclaimer - all of this is information, based on my personal (read not legal) opinion and does not constitute legal advice for your individual circumstance.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Revenue Sharing Redux

I really appreciate the comments on the revenue sharing post. For all those interested, the comments educate.

What a day!

May is a great month to be in Charlottesville, exams slow the students down, then they go to the beach, finally there is one gloriously exciting weekend where graduating students and their families descend to spend lots of money and celebrate. That weekend is upon us.

Me...I graduated awhile ago, Chris graduated after that and there may be a few stragglers out there I know graduating but no one is crashing at my place (unlike football/foxfield weekends).

Nonetheless, there is excitement in Jennifer's Charlottesville.

I went to my first nominating convention today as a delegate. (I did attend the 1992 convention in NYC as a volunteer but that was WAY different than today's fun time).
First, I drove with three of the most fascinating women, and for once I did a lot of listening, how could I compete? why would I want to? Really! Rwanda, the disappearance of native languages, local, national, global politics...discussions such as these reminds me why I read; sometimes while raising children one (I) forgets why one(I) wants to read and keep up, I remember now and will try to make time to do it more frequently (besides the paper which of course I read everyday).

OH right then Al was nominated! Not an overwhelming surprise but exciting and satisfying regardless.

James Webb (be sure to turn the sound down when clicking, he talks) and Harris Miller campaigns were in full swing. Still undecided, but leaning one way, then again maybe not. I am not impressed with these candidates.

Go see Al at one (or more) of his kick-off events!

FINALLY, I volunteered at the Paramount. I had the lonely job again with the benefit today of looking out on the downtown mall for hours watching all the happy people, so well dressed, walk with their families. I really enjoyed watching the sunset while the people below ate, laughed, walked, and soaked in the day. When evening fell, it was just as sweet. I didnt watch the show since I was 'watching the world go by'.

Tomorrow David is in his first race on his 'big boy' bike (with training wheels), daddy races first though. Leonardtown, MD is really far when the race is at 9:00AM.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hail to Trader Joe's

Yesterday was the last time I had to go to Northern Virginia for work. I will miss one thing about these mostly monthly meetings- visiting Trader Joe's. I did not discover the joy of Trader Joe's until long into my stay in NOVA, when it was almost over. What I enjoyed particularly were the very helpful and not surly staff, the fresh pizza dough that made dinner super easy and the luscious treats.

NOW what I love is all the frozen food which makes dinner relatively preservative free and super easy. We drove to nova and went to TJ early, then went to our meeting. I brought a cooler (very wise move). When I got home at dinner time, I only had to pop the stuffed salmon in the oven for twenty minutes and viola a gourmet meal even though I was in the car practically all day. One could even have simmered the stuffed salmon in white wine which would have been delicious too, but that involves one more ingredient and I didnt want to have to deal with that.

I also procured some frozen naan. I love cooking Indian food but without the naan there is just something missing. The cville market sells refridgerated naan, I did not have a good experience with that. Foods of All Nations may also sell it, but I dont go to that store for a variety of reasons (parking, distance and high costs), I may reconsider.

The Trader Joe's brand of food is delicious and reasonably priced. SO my vote would be to have them come to Charlottesville, preferably downtown. I believe the store would diversify the grocery markets in town without taking away from the local stores. BTW- onthe 7 mile stretch of Rt. 7 I was on, there were two TJ's and of course multiple other grocery stores, nevermind the number of Starbucks.

So thank goodness I dont have to go there anymore, but when visiting friends, I will bring a cooler in hopes of a field trip.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Happy Day

Bodos now accepts credit cards (MC & Visa)!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bike to Work- Guest Post

Thanks to Chris for his thoughts today:
The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 15-19 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 19. I apologize for being tardy with this post – hopefully there is still time for it to make a difference for someone.

To the Bicycle Racer:
This link is a call for all racing cyclists to get involved at a very low level, the personal level. This website/blog is the home of one of the newer racing teams in the DC area with a, shall we say, “unique” view of the commercialization of bicycle racing, specifically at the local level.

To the Current Bicycle Commuter:
Keep up the good work! Here are some resources to help make your commute more pleasant.
1. The League of American Bicyclists has put together some FREE information to help cyclists become more skilled.

2. Guaranteed Ride Home provides just that, a guaranteed ride home if you are committed to using carpool/bus/bike/walk two times per week. They commit to providing 5 free taxi rides or car rentals per year for members – and membership is FREE. Last year during the holiday season, I got a surprise $10 gift card in the mail just for being a member.

To the Parent of a School-Age Child:
Commuting doesn't just apply to grownups! The weather is beautiful, it's time to walk or ride bikes to school. The Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation is a local organization running the “Safe Routes to School Program,” and has information on various school-based programs.


To the Would-be Bicycle Commuter:
I am not going to lie to you. Bicycling in Charlottesville is tough. And balancing your effort versus speed so that you show up at work on time but not too sweaty is not easy also. However, I find that I have a greater appreciation for the historic architecture, character of individual neighborhoods, and wonderful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the seat of my bicycle. Plus it's a great way to get your U.S. Surgeon General recommended daily exercise. Safety in traffic is a big concern for commuters, since you are travelling at a peak hour for vehicle traffic. Get creative – find that trail, dirt road or parking lot that connects two neighborhoods to avoid the heavily travelled roads. Use Charlottesville and Albemarle County's almost-connected network of bike lanes. Here are a few suggetions/resources to get you going.
1. Spend less than $20 and get smooth (i mean no tread sticking up whatsoever) tires for riding your mountain bike on the road. This makes a huge difference in the amount of effort you'll need to exert.
2. Pick up the FREE Mobility Map free pickup at locations listed here

3. Get some tips on riding safely in traffic at this League of American Bicyclists website

4. Use Guaranteed Ride Home (mentioned above) if you end up commuting regularly

And some more fun reading to help you along
VA DOT bicycling resources
Charlottesville Area Bicycling Alliance


Do I practice what I am preaching?
And now for the fun part – self examination. Do I ride to work? Yes, but.. I got out of the habit this winter, and am working on eliminating my stock of excuses. I am committed to riding to work every day this week (rain or shine), and see nothing but good reasons to continue after this week (hopefully in perpetuity). Do I help others ride to work? I generally make my services available to anyone who asks, but.. I need to do more to proactively advertise my availability to others. I am sending an email to my coworkers to do just that. Am I involved in any advocacy organizations? No, but.. I am getting more involved in my neighborhood association to make our streets more biker & pedestrian friendly, I am writing this blog entry, and I am genuinely interested in advocacy on a local level (Charlottesville/Albemarle County area).

Hopefully this post will avoid the vitreol from 2003's bike to work day...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival

Seeing as how I have lived or been associated with the Charlottesville area for 21 years, I thought it may be time to go to Crozet for the festival. I spoke to an artisian who told me the show is juried, meaning every year he has to reapply to get a spot in the show. The art on display is quite fantastic and some of it is reasonably priced. Of course I travel without money so I dont buy everything up, but next time I will likely go again and attempt to buy some of the great things I saw this show.
The next show is October 7 and 8th.
The festival also has live shows and food. For the boys it has the additional benefit of having two enclosed playgrounds (a big hit).
$4 to get in. The weather is not too big of an issue because everything is under tents. We did get there during a break from the torrential rain. Thankfully.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Desperate times, desperate measures

Another day, another Bern mailer. It appears his campaign doesnt have enough money for color envelopes and copies any longer- yeah, sure he can win.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Revenue Sharing Agreement

During the run up to the election, Coy, host of Charlottesville...Right Now, argued Albemarle County residents have a real investment in the outcome of the election because of the revenue sharing agreement between the County and the City. I agree Albemarle residents are affected by the results of the elections in the City but the revenue sharing agreement is hardly the reason why.

My understanding of the revenue sharing agreement is it came about as consideration for the City not annexing any additional County land. I have not been able to listen to every show so perhaps Coy addressed this since the election. I want to be clear this money is not haphazardly thrown at the City for no reason as sometimes Coy seemed to suggest.

A search found an Albemarle County proposed budget with the following language:

"An Annexation and Revenue Sharing Agreement dated February 17, 1982, between the County of Albemarle and the City of Charlottesville was approved in a public referendum on May 18, 1982. The agreement required the County and the City to annually contribute portions of their respective real property tax bases and revenues to a Revenue and Economic Growth Sharing Fund. Distribution of the fund and the resulting net transfer of funds shall be made on each January 31 while this agreement remains in effect. During the time this agreement is in effect, the City will not initiate any annexation procedures against the County. Also, pursuant to this agreement, they created a committee to study the desirability of combining the governments and the services currently provided."

County residents receive a benefit from this agreement, apparently at one time the County felt it very important not to have the City annex any more of its land & the City cannot under this agreement. Is the agreement relevant today? I would like to know why it was needed in the first place. Anybody...anybody?

Everyone knows I love Coy's show, those little comments about the revenue sharing agreement frustrated me a bit because it was not presented with the benefits the County receives with that agreement. Frankly I would have called in my comment but I dont have the time between 4-6 to get on the phone.

Antics of a blog summit roll out

This post by Way up High guy (I assume) is hilarious and semi-accurately details the fun drummed up by Sorenson for planning its second annual political blog summit. I love how middle school exists even in blogoworld.

The great VA political blog aggregator is to thank for me finding that lovely post. Since I am attending the blog summit- does that mean I should be on the aggregator? Discuss. Just kidding.

Bern Mailer

Bern apparently is not conceding. Instead he would like to persuade (?) those delegates who are supporting AL not to give up on Bern because "it is far from over". Bern misrepresents his totals and strength in Southside Virginia and invites me (along with others) to joint the Ewert team.

While I believe no self respecting Al supporter would support Bern at this point I find it remarkable Bern would want me to ally myself with him even though I am morally committed to Al. The convention is in ten days, I will of course continue to support Al.

Al is the best candidate to beat Virgil, he knows THIS district (not the district of twenty almost thirty years ago or the one right next to the district). Al has the organization, talent and experience to beat Virgil and to be an effective congressman.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Petacchi out

Cycling News is reporting Petacchi is out of the Giro with a broken knee. There goes my fantasy cycling team. Thankfully Basso is still in, so I can still win. Petacchi has a great history of almost winning so I think I could have earned lots of points with him in. I hope he has a smooth recovery, but he is clearly laid up for the rest of the season. Cyclists cannot stand to be injured for the rest of the season, they go crazy.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday

After the Wintergreen Ascent, the boys and I went to lunch at Grill 151 a new small town restaurant near Nellysford. I loved driving to Wintergreen on such a beautiful day and eating at a small cafe in the middle of nowhere (if Wintergreen area can be called that) really added to the magic of the day. On Sunday Chris drove us out to Sugarhollow for a bike ride- which wasnt as difficult as I thought it would be. We got out before the weather turned rainy. The boys sat comfortably in the trailer (Chris pulled them) and watched the great scenery. Later we brought computers to my new office space, I think that will be really helpful to the practice.
OK now I am boring myself.

Wintergreen Ascent

Saturday was the fourth annual Wintergreen Ascent brought to you by Cville bike & Tri and Wintergreen (along with others that are not immediately obvious to me).
It was a gorgeous day if a bit chilly on top of the mountain. The riders they didnt really notice the temperature change. Eight miles of steep climbing. Over three hundred riders registered. Lots of local riders did very well including this 17 year old who nearly broke the course record last year. The course record is a smokin' 33'52.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Fantasy Giro Cycling Team

Sean is generously hosting a contest for the Giro. My team includes the nine fellows below. I predict Basso to win if he stays healthy. All these riders are talented though so keep a close eye out.
201 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
191 Ivan Basso (Ita)
57 Ivan Ramiro Parra Pinto (Col)
111 Damiano Cunego (Ita)
171 Gilberto Simoni (Ita)
152 Paolo Bettini (Ita)
155 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa)
181 José Rujano Guillen (Ven)
1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita)

CSA Today

Today was the first time we received veggies from the CSA (community supported agriculture). Today's stash included chamomile flowers (and a note to just add hot water to them for delicious tea), spinach, asparagus, a bunch of greens (when is S coming to visit?), pea shoots, chives and oregano. The accompanying note was really exciting, there was a recipe using greens (thankfully) and how to dry the oregano so it will last longer.

I look forward to strawberries and corn among the great many things we will get to experience through the CSA.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More sidewalks!

Coming home from my first day working at a real office in (how old is David?) 3 years, I see preparations for a new sidewalk. At the last LGNA meeting we discussed the City agreeing to extend the current project from Smith to Peartree, but I could only steel myself out of fear of lengthy delays. After a week or more of no work on the sidewalk at all, today workers cut a swath of road and grass to make room for more sidewalks.

Happy Day!

Wouldnt it be great if ... all the way from Water Street to Locust LN (or at least to River) there was a sidewalk to walk on? I think so. I am so grateful this little block of sidewalk did not create the problems the Calhoun to Smith sidewalk created.

May Sweeps

Something has come over me...I have hardly watched any tv the past month. When it was April it was ok because the shows were in reruns, but now it is May sweeps and it is May 4th and I still havent got it together to watch original episodes of my favorite shows. Which shows are they?
West Wing I know Santos won, but havent watched in two weeks and there arent that many shows to go- I already told Chris I want this season on DVD when it comes out
Lost I keep up with this through the EW.com tv recaps but I am just not as interested in this program as last season.
Gilmore Girls- but I dont get that station so I already wanted this season on DVD prior to the season starting (although from televisionwithoutpity's recaps it does not seem that interesting).
General Hospital- again no need to actually watch the shows to keep up online.
MY DVD recorder has been failing me so it was a sign for me just to let go because I barely have time to watch any shows.
Tonight the Office is on and I will drop everything to see what those zany characters are doing (or not depends on what things I am doing).
What have I been doing instead of watching tv?
Playing with David & Andrew (since it is light so late, they want to stay up late)
Ice Park victory party
Dinner with friend
Volunteer for Al
Working (joys of working from home)
and working some more
Of course the house is still a disaster

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bumperstickers

Two I've seen around town I found amusing:

1) "Fluvanna Library Building Donor"- I have seen this a few times. I find it remarkable bumperstickers were made for such a thing. I always smile when I see it since it represents a real pride in a new library. I may have the wording wrong, but it looks something like that.

2) "Confirm Sam Alito"- I just found this funny. I took down my signs/bumperstickers this morning for the election yesterday. I think this could be taken off the car (you won already). I think he also had a Goode sticker so the vehicle did not endear itself to me. Go Al!

Cycling about town

Tour of Shenandoah is over. Priority Health's Brent Bookwalter won his first General Classification race. I got a chance to stop by the festivities after the race, the guys were quite happy- champagne and trophies littered the parking lot. Congratulations to Priority Health.

The final stage is a criterium in Waynesboro. Waynesboro is at the base of the mountains, so one may think the crit is relatively flat- one would be wrong. The course is brutal and Chris was (and is still) feeling laid up from allergies. So he put in a few good laps before being called off (DNF). Certainly several riders didnt finish and he was one of the last to be called off. He was hurtin'. But a teammate of his did finish strong (Dave). The race was really exciting since the riders came by twenty times, the race unfolded in front of us. At one point a rider had a huge breakaway going, but in two or three laps the peloton had reeled him in. A UVA cyclist won. I cant complain about that result. I dont know who won the omnium and I cant find it on the ToS website.

Wintergreen Ascent (a time trial) is next. Chris is going to the doctor today so perhaps he will get some relief from the allergies and be in good form on Saturday. He loves the mountains, but this is just insane.

Moving On

Congratulations to Julian and Dave for their impressive victories in City Council race. I am particularly pleased with the excellent school board winners (Michie, Puryear and Wade). We went to the ice park to wait for the results. It was very exciting. Lots of people worked incredibly hard for this election and it really showed in the results.

At the party last night the Democrats were celebrating unity and victory. The question remains when will Bern concede? (i did that just for Waldo)The Fifth District candidate should concede and stop dividing the party. AS we saw in the election where Schilling won four years ago, when the party is divided, the party loses. Virgil is vulnerable, in order to capitalize on that vulnerability we must stand behind one candidate, the winner of the caucuses, Al Weed!

Monday, May 01, 2006

May 2- Election Day

Really! Tomorrow before heading to Danville for a seminar, I get to vote. I love voting. I have never voted in extremely close contests but I still feel like my vote counts.
My Votes for school board:

Leah Puryear and JuanDiego Wade- strong candidates, will add value with their respective perspectives; Leah- as director of Upward Bound she knows how schools fail students; and Juan because he has a child approaching school age, and works well within the administrative framework but can still shake things up.

Ned Michie- experienced, prepared and approachable


Never ran into Sue Lewis- I am sure she is delightful & well-qualified but I just dont know that from the little I have read/heard about her.
Charley- good guy and great experience with the special ed population; likely if Leah and JuanDiego were not running together, I might vote for him.
Vance High- I wish he could take a joke and all 'school security' is not good security.

City Council- this race has me disillusioned
Dave Norris - truly interested in assisting residents keep their housing; one of the good guys.
Julian T since he is not Rob Schilling.