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.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dont mess with Ivan Basso

Finally, Gilberto Simoni has conceded that 'no Ivan Basso did not offer him money to let him win the stage.' Of course the talented Basso would need no such assistance from him. I am disgusted by the mud slung at cyclists who win without cheating.

Basso won the Giro in spectacular fashion, his team was phenomenal and oh, none of them were even remotely implicated in the Saiz affair and 'Operation Puerto'disaster. Simoni is a relatively good cyclist and one I would root for, but no longer.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Its a Carnival

Colten is outraged and he cant take it anymore. Which of course only encourages the grumpy one- especially the lively debate in the comment section; what do you think?

Trish went to Louisa. Whenever she goes anywhere, she brings her camera. I love the photos and commentary.

Cvilleblogs has lots of specialty blogs, including the LDBlog. This post describes the difficulty one candidate for public office had getting through school as a result of his learning disability.

Joyful Cooking had a rib-off; I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the delicious looking photos. It was worth the wait & when I have time I look forward to making them. A guest cooker made apple walnut muffins, I just cant get my muffins to come out well so I liked her tips (the box just seems so easy and the muffins look right).

Patience got beets. The post combines a new vacuum with the CSA loot of the week. She got beets- I got friggin kale. I want SOME BEETS please anything but GREENS (frankly I love the lettuce & I would love to get some spinach BUT kale? That is a garnish where I used to work). Why even bother planting Kale? OK sorry I went ranting and this is supposed to be a carnival.

Lexi- your post about shopping for suits was too long ago to be included in this carnival; but shop, shop, shop. Lexi is having a great summer as a summer associate in Philadelphia with a partner suite for her office. Is the car service ok? I hope it doesnt come too early. Let the name calling begin (just kidding).

What do these people do? The name does not lend itself to knowing, well I learned this week they design/develop websites and this shopify thing I dont know what it is, but someone does & the company seems real excited about it, perhaps we should be too.

Duane in his normally pithy manner highlighted a Rolling Stone article, which led to this fervent discussion on Waldo's blog.

A post by Jim caught my attention; one on the Builder's Blitz that Habitat for Humanity is in the midst of. I really appreciate his take on local real estate matters.

StLWorkignMom has a way of gently pointing out the obvious so that if we are making some of these very errors we can correct the problem.

Jeanine is busy reminding the restaurant world how small cville can be...

Helena's blog had a tribute to Kimberly Dozier, who was injured in a car bomb explosion on Memorial Day, two of her colleagues and one soldier were killed. Kimberly appears to be improving.

I think that is enough for now. Waldo will ask Cameron to host next week, unless YOU want to (let Waldo know)...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blogging Round-Up

I am hosting the carnival this week.

With Rick's advice fresh in our mind, I want to invite all cvilleblogs to submit posts for the round up this week. Submit your own or one you really enjoyed to jlm2z@hotmail.com. Submit by Sunday (we will go a little later this week since Waldo was tardy last week).

I am also looking for next week's host, are you ready??? If I dont get a volunteer, I will choose you anyway. I think I was a teacher in a former life.

Tax is Fun

Today begins the Annual Virginia Conference on Federal Taxation at UVA law school. I am honored to attend this year. Every year I receive the notice of the conference and I covet. Legal Aid organizations simply would not shell out big bucks to go to such pricey, generally irrelevant conferences. BUT now, I get to see what it is all about.

In law school, I had the opportunity to take a tax class. I thought it would be dreadful, it wasnt. I really enjoyed it. I received a great grade and I learned enough to be a little dangerous (is it stepped up or carried over?). I promptly realized legal aid attorneys do not need much tax knowledge (except for EITC and who should receive the deduction for children in divorce situations).

NOW I get to advise clients on tax consequences associated with their business or estate plan and I love it. So today, I am thrilled to attend the Conference and learn all about circular disclosures, changes in estate tax law, business tax requirements and more. It is 2 days long!!

I am proud of my love of tax law- or is it the lack of sleep making me loopy? You be the judge.

Just for fun:

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: This post is not intended or written by the sender to be used, and it cannot be used, by any recipient for the purposes of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed on the recipient by United States tax laws.

Treo ME!

So with the firm up and running, I think 'I need more technology.' So I research, the price tags are enormous so even I research, instead of impulse buying. I would go visit the PDA/phones, Phil would try to sell it to me.

What I learned- lots of people who have Blackberrys received them through work for free and dont pay the bill. I have not met a person yet who despises their product, no matter what the product is, sure the haters are out there on the internet, but in real life everyone loves them.

Weeks pass, Greg says I should get a Blackberry. I agree with him, although I am skeptical about the document editing. So I get a Treo 650. Yeah!!!

A couple of things- because I am ineligible for an upgrade on my phone, & I am in a long term contract, I cant just port my phone number to the new Treo and begin using that as my phone. I dont mind carrying around a phone and treo, but is that really necessary? It seems like it should be easier. I am using Sprint (soon to be Embarq- I have been spending a lot of time on hold with them so I have the company line down pat).

I found it near impossible to compare products and service plans for a number of reasons among them my own failing as a person (is $5 a month that important? I know it is but combined with the headache of coverage area, voice package, ugh it is a headache). I have to submit a rebate to get $100 back, and I pay $40 a month for data package that I will be able to write off as a business expense.

Now if only we could make health insurance this affordable.

Another Parenting Moment

David wakes up at 4:00 in the morning, wakes his brother up who cries...juice for everyone, brother falls asleep. David tosses and turns for an hour, hour and a half, finally mommy gets up to get some work done. Work is going well, here the toliet seat slam down, run, David went potty (yeah!), David says

"I peed in your bed" & that is how I learned daddy forgot to put a pull-up on David before he went to bed.

David promptly falls asleep on the couch, daddy sleeps oblivious...