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!).