Are we still in a drought?

It rained today. I'm just wondering if we still desperately need this, or if it's ok now to complain about it.


What's your score?

So I just stumbled across this thing called walkscore. What this website does is evaluate your address based on the amenities within walking distance. It accounts for a number of different things - restaurants, stores, parks, gyms, libraries, schools, etc. And then it gives the address a walk score. Ours is ok - we have a good number of stuff within a mile. I am good with 62. It'd REALLY be awesome if a market opened up nearby. But I digress...

This concept (the walk score thing) really jazzes me. Brian and I walk to his school mailbox from time to time, when the weather's nice, and I knew there were some things in the neighborhood nearby - but I never realized just how close we actually are to a lot of good things. It's not as great as living downtown would be, but there isn't much that we'd need that isn't near by. I love the idea of walking to dinner, walking to a store, riding to a park...literally running errands...

Now that I've acquired a job less than 2.5 miles from my house, I've seriously considered getting a bike. CORRECTION: I've seriously considered fixing up my bike. I have this busted up, worn out, crappy-tired and maybe a little rusty relic dating back to the middle era of my childhood. It's actually a pretty remarkable thing - I think it was called the Autobike and it has a gearshift that adjusts to the workload. Sorta like what automatic transmission does in a car's engine. This was (and still is) a good idea for me, because I never really could master the whole gear shift thing. I mean, I knew HOW to change gears, I just never really knew when to put the bike in what gear for what reason.

I'm not always good at that stuff. And my dad's an engineer. Clearly I didn't get those genes.

But sheesh, goodness knows I need some exercise, and it seems like a waste to drive 2 miles to work and back every day. The terrain is mostly flat-ish, as it tends to be in my particular neck of the woods, so I'm not dreadfully intimidated....


It's not paranoia if it's true!

One of the personality oddities that my husband and I share is a general mistrust for things that are composed entirely of chemicals. We don't pop pain pills often, and by golly I am NOT going to dump drano down my slow-draining bath tub.

Brian is a big fan of canned stuff and is wildly aversive to any kind of body product. He'll chow down on the Chef Boyardee Alphabets with Meatballs and will eat Ragu pasta sauce until the cows come home, but he WILL NOT use any lotion or hair conditioner or even won't kiss me when I have plain chapstick on.

Me, I'm ok with essential canned items like tuna and the occasional vegetable, but if I can get it fresh (frozen, at the worst) OR if I can make it myself, I'm going to. Gravy and pasta sauce should be au naturale. I'm still working on the bread thing...

Like any good concerned citizen of the 00s, I prefer natural skin care and soaps and I'm really looking forward to the time when I'll be able to Etsy it up for all of that! My downfall is that I love my salon shampoos and conditioners. One of these days when I decide to take the plunge and make my own soaps and skin care, I may also try to branch out into the haircare arena as well. Fun to think about!

I also prefer not to use premanufactured cleaning products, whenever possible. The hardwoods and the counters get a nice dose of vinegar, the tiles get a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. The laundry room hasn't been made over yet, but we use unscented detergent and biodegradable dryer sheets, at least. I also clean the lint tray every couple of months.

I think my downfall began when I started baking, and tasted the difference between real cake and real frosting, and 'cake' from a box and frosting from a can. That made me a horrible cake snob, and led to me wanting my food to be as home-made as possible. I guess it spread to other areas.

My husband, though....he's just weird. And oh how I love him.


google ain't mapped my street

While making my daily perusal of RVABlogs.com, I noticed the buzz in the blogosphere today. Google Street Maps for the RVA went live today. Natch, I checked it out.

I stumbled around Google Maps a little while, and after about 5 full minutes of feeling blind and retarded, I finally saw the answer -- the key to my inner Big Brother. Click on 'street view' and notice the blue lines. They're outlining the streets special enough to have been caught on cam.


OH NO! A stretch of about 20 feet of my street is blue-line-LESS!!! The stretch on which my house sits!!! I am distraught.

Hmm, I thought to myself cynically. I wonder how many other folks got shafted in Street-Peeking Stalker Heaven. I geared myself up to be sorely disappointed in the Google stalk-hounds for leaving so many of us poor wanna-be-stalkeds on the sidelines.

Only, there weren't any others. Every other house within a mile of mine had coverage. That's a lot of houses playing this game. And I get left out.

I wonder what those guys were thinking, you know? Did they say to themselves, 'whatever, these are old houses, no one in this neighborhood is even going to care anyway'? Granted, I am willing to bet I'm the only person in said neighborhood who feels shafted as a result of this little experiment..but still! I matter, don't I? I've brought you countless ad revenues as a result of my search engine clicks, Google, have I not? I use your checkout, I blog on your system, I practically live on your email server....

I'm hurt.

Brian, on the other hand, will probably be thrilled. It means that our identity is that much more protected, and thus we have a better chance of becoming spies.


Remedial Fees

For those of you in Virginia who are bemoaning the Governor for not signing the repeal into law, a little enlightenment:

The bill (which is Senate Bill 1, by the way) was NOT sitting on his desk for weeks, as ye supposed. It was not even enrolled until this Monday, the 24th of March; it did not hit his desk until yesterday, or maybe today.

A bill, to become part of the Code of Virginia, has to be passed in both the House and the Senate; then it has to be enrolled; then it has to be signed by the speakers of the House and Senate, and only THEN can it go to the Governor to be signed into law.

As I understand it, before something is enrolled, all the committee/agency staffs take a close, hard look at the language and they do a crap-ton of reading. The step between 'passed house and senate' and 'on the governor's desk' is sometimes a big, long one.

So, re-set your waiting-game clocks to yesterday afternoon, and at the point when sufficient time has passed, you can bemoan the Governor's actual delay in signing.

Yikes!, Or: the dangers of the internet, Or: people are stupid!

I love craigslist. I love freecycle. I love flylady. Gigoit even looks cool, but it doesn't appear that anyone else in Richmond has found it yet. But much potential love there!

The above have enhanced my life, by giving me mechanisms to bring things in, or banish them.

They have been good to me, if not neutral.

Not so for some dude in Oregon.

Thanks to a verification-free ad-posting service, someone with a bone to pick, and truckloads of chuckleheads who think that having a printout of an internet ad gives them free reign to plunder, he's got what presumably is an insurance/police/lawyer-filled nightmare on his hands.

(I am trying very hard not to sound snide and judgmental toward said chuckleheads.) (Because my husband informs me that I am too snide and judgmental when it comes to people who tend not to make the same choices I would advocate.)

But seriously! WHO would do that? You can't just go around posting crap on the internet all nilly-willy, because computer people are SMARTER THAN YOU and thus WILL FIND YOU. PROBABLY IMMEDIATELY. And there I thought everyone had seen at least one episode of 24.

As for all the folks who sped off with this poor man's goods....shame on all y'all. You show up to some dude's house, and he's standing on his porch hollerin at you that you it's NOT REAL, and you up and steal his porch swing anyway, because you've got the ad printed out right there on paper by golly and as such, you are entitled to all his possessions?

Looks like I let my inner southern out when I get mad.


like i need another excuse to make lists!

I am a compulsive list maker. I always have a to-do list. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things I could or should be doing. I have a perpetual draft email to myself, with all those reminders about household tasks to do, things to buy, topics to research, hellos and thank yous to send, ideas for dinner, articles to read, stores or landmarks to check out, concerts to find tickets for, nice things to show my husband I love him, ideas for the genius etsy shop I dream of opening, friends to reconnect with, phone calls to make, accounts to sign up for or end, books to buy, forums to visit, home-made skincare/haircare recipes to make, dog breeds to research, jobs to apply for, new lists to make....

I am always forgetting everything, too. Which means I'm not actually DOING much of anything.

I've found a new weapon. It's a list. An electronic list. It goes with me wherever I can go be online. It has a support system built in. It's inspiring. It has endless possibilities.

It also has a reasonable limit. Ridiculous ideas and expectations can only go so far.

I've discovered 43things.com - a list-making website community of sorts. Each person gets his or her own list, and can add anything to it. To-dos range from giving the dog a bath, to simplifying life, to learning a new language or hobby, to . For people like me who get really jazzed about lists, listmaking, and real actual evidence that progress is being made, this website is fantastic. It's portable - to the extent that the internet is portable - so you don't have to worry about losing it. It's in one place - so you don't have to worry about keeping track of the random insights and urgencies plastered all over every sticky note, index card, half-sheet, receipt, or back-of-hand that presented itself in your time of need. And it's got cool self-remindery gadgets that send you reminders to your email inbox as often as you'd like - from every day to once a year. It's a great place to hammer down your immediate goals/needs, remind yourself of your dreams, and throw in your 'maybe somedays' too.

Right now my list ranges from 'wash the dog' and 'get my car registered' to 'move to Ireland' and 'write a book.' I won't go into great detail about the 'get organized' post, and what all the little sub-comments reveal about my notions of getting organized. (It's got some motivational elements and also a sub-list, which indicates that this is going to be a perpetual item.)

Living on a really tight budget has forced me to decide what I truly, deeply value. The same principle applies here. The limited number of items on the list requires that I only include the things that are really valuable to me in the long term, or are really important for me to focus on now (thanks to the daily reminders!). I can make my list, and then cut it short, honorably.

What a great idea!