Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Albemarle County Wastes Paper

When I think commonly used words during the last decade, GREEN certainly comes to mind.  When we receive my semiannual glob of property tax bills from the County of Albemarle, I have to ask, how out of touch with GREEN is our local government?  Are they unaware that they send every household in the county that owns property a separate mailing for each piece of property they own?

16 pieces of "property tax" paper = a dozen too many!

We only have three cars and a house.  At the maximum, I would expect two bills, one for all cars and one for the house both mailed in one envelop (no return envelop, let the taxpayer use their own if they mail the payment).  Ideally, there would be an online system in place where I can forgo ANY paper.  The second most used term in the past decade is PAPERLESS. 

When I made my last semiannual payment in person, I asked the clerk if I could receive one piece of paper for all my vehicles, mailed to my one address.  I received a brusk NO, as if this line of questioning  was a common one, pressing a nerve of the person that had to endure the question. 

I imagine that multitudes of taxpayer dollars were spent on the automated system that spits out the bills every six months and find it hard to believe that making such minor improvements is not possible.  I mean this is computer programming 101, one of the simplest changes

IF address = same THEN

print on one page

ELSE

Albemarle County Strikes out...
STRIKE ONE - I don't see that any the paper from the county is recycled paper.
STRIKE TWO - Each piece of property is billed on a separate piece of paper.
STRIKE THREE - Each bill is mailed in a separate envelop with separate postage.
STRIKE FOUR - Each bill has a return envelop and I never mail in my payment.
STRIKE FIVE - There is no way to see a bill online and circumvent paper all together.


UGH - someone make it STOP!

Sometimes it's the simple things that hurt the environment the most and make me the most disgusted.  "General" property taxes are collected on real estate, public service, personal property, mobile homes, and machinery and tools resulting in a $151 million dollars billed to county citizens and revenue collections amounting to 64% of the budget!

Where not talking small potato paper waste in a county of 100,000 citizens.

-Rebecca

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday Deal

Cool shades on ForsythiaHill.etsy.com modeled by Trisha
Tomorrow is Cyber Monday and there are plenty of deals to be had on the internet Wild Wild West. 

One of my favorite places to find deals is on etsy.com.  I have two vintage shops on Etsy.  To search for cyber monday deals on etsy - Enter the search term of what you are looking for + the term cyber monday.   For example, if you are looking for vintage tea cups that have a Cyber Monday deal:  First select Vintage from the drop down search menu and then type: tea cups cyber monday.  Each shop will have a different and unique twist on Cyber Monday.

FREE Eyeglasses Leash on Cyber Monday
The deal I'm running in my shops - ForsythiaHill.etsy.com and DontUWantMe.etsy.com -- Buy any glasses and get a FREE colorful cotton Eyeglasses Leash!  If you buy glasses TODAY, Sunday - tell me on checkout that u read my blog and u can get my Cyber Monday deal TODAY!

Have fun shopping.  I hope u get a little work done on Cyber Monday.

-Rebecca

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Save the UVA Rotunda Magnolias


It is estimated that for 100 years eight Southern Magnolia have flanked the 1826 UVA Rotunda that originally housed the campus library.  Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda is the pride of the University and has been undergoing renovation for years and will continue to be hammered upon for years to come.  Part of Jefferson's original Academical Village included lovely garden spaces.  The Magnolias were planted well after Jefferson's death (he would be nearly 270 years old if still alive today) and were not part of his original plan (he designed the hard scape and intended the Pavilion residents to design and maintain their own landscapes).  Aside from that, the local trend when it comes to Jefferson tends to be a complete restoration of his vision and that includes his plantings.  Given that Thomas Jefferson was a man of reason, constant invention, and change, I do not believe that he would expect the garden plantings to not be altered over a 200 year period!

The Board of Visitors has decided that the Magnolias must go because scaffolding must be erected (here we go again) to replace the roof.  Work on the Rotunda seems to be a constant theme, the interior was restored in 1976 and the columns have been falling apart for years and have finally been covered with boots to protect what remains. 

Students have created an online petition to save the trees.  I was absolutely thrilled to see that students are interested in campaigning to save trees!  I felt helpless when I read the news of the trees, as if campus can do whatever they want and is above any citizen outcry.  A student revolt is a totally different beast and should not be taken lightly.  Unlike the Obama appointed Super Committee failed attempt at compromise, I hope the Board of Visitors will listen to the students and alter their original plan so no one will chain themselves to a grand Magnolia (boy have I been tempted in the past to do just that).

Seems a little shaping up is in order
I visited the Rotunda two days ago to see for myself the positioning and size of the trees.  The Board of Visitors was quoted as saying the trees had to go because of scaffolding, which is ridiculous.  If the roofers can't erect scaffolding without harming the trees they need to go back to scaffolding 101 school.  Another often used excuse when cutting down older trees is that they have reached the end of their expected life.  Bah humbug.  There is something to be said for light cast inside the Rotunda.  Also mentioned is that the trees are massive and they might damage the Rotunda in a storm.  Anything is possible but historically it appears that the only damage incurred during a storm was to two of the eight Magnolia, not to the Rotunda (the most pressing damage it seems to me for the Rotunda is pollution from cars and coal).  The Magnolias are not even as tall as the Rotunda dome and are in desperate need of pruning.  I was a bit taken aback at the lack of pruning,, especially on the sides.  Given the structure is so large, the Magnolia actually flank the Rotunda quite nicely.  There is one particular Magnolia that is a lovely specimen and there is no reason to remove it.  It easily can be pruned to not overhang a walkway and is not directly beside the Rotunda. 

Ground level with the magnificent Magnolia
Living among the trees for 20 years in my family home, I shudder at the thought of any tree being cut down.  One of my grandmothers favorite trees was her beloved Southern Magnolia and also on the "park like" property is an assortment of 75 year old trees; Maples, Chestnuts, Apples, Catalpa, Walnut, and Holly.  When we first moved into our family home there were two HUGE yews that I absolutely loved but they were literally growing into the house.  They were planted 2' from the house and were twice as tall as the house! After 10 years, I finally got the courage to cut down the trees when my mother told me that my Grandmother had said, those trees were planted way to close to the house and that she always regretted that decision.  Last year my mother had a 150' leaning Blue Spruce cut down that was also planted way too close to the house.  Both decisions were horrifying to make but were the correct ones.  The house was being gobbled up by the trees so much that you could not see it and the roof was being horribly damaged.  On the flip side, I watched my idiot neighbors hire jack legs to cut down 20 hardwood trees that were NOT up against their house.  I cried watching the destruction and hearing the chain saws for months on end.  I begged them to not do this but they continued (having some drop on our fence).  Our home place has just been sold and I have no desire to go back and possibly see the destruction of the majestic trees on the property for reasons such as... oh I don't like leaves, or we need to let more sun in, or that tree is so messy, or that tree is OLD.

So grand it would bring TJ to tears
Online it has been suggested that the Magnolias be relocated to another site on campus. When I headed to campus the other day, I was ready to battle to save the Magnolias.   I still am but my view has changed.   If judicious pruning doesn't improve the situation and you must remove then instead relocate, keep one where it stands, and make commemorative bowls out of the two storm injured trees (apparently "the thing" to do with felled TJ trees).


The main point in all this is that people young and old care about the nature that abounds on campus and don't want to see it destroyed just because it is convenient to do so.

2013 UPDATE:  The Magnolia are still standing as a consequence of the protests by students!  YAY!

-Rebecca

Friday, November 18, 2011

What's a Girl To Do

Don't be a chicken - do something this weekend!
Happening in Charlottesville this weekend ---

FRIDAY

Movie at PVCC - 7:30 pm, FREE - The Future by Miranda July. Film released in 2011 and has received good online reviews.

SATURDAY

Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale - 10 am - 7 pm (Nov 12th - 20th) - This is an amazing sale, read my review from last Spring. I'm volunteering right now, checking people out and boy are there a lot of books!  SAT and SUN 50% OFF !!!


-Rebecca

Monday, November 14, 2011

Artisan Studio Tour Trek

The Barn Swallow
This past Saturday during the annual Artisan Studio Tour held in the Charlottesville area, we visited six studios in Nelson County.

We started our tour near Crozet at The Barn Swallow, a retail store that features many unique artisans.  Decorated for the holidays, it is always charming this time of year. 

  Gerald Boggs at Wayfarer Forge
Next stop was Wayfarer Forge Ironworks where we were greeted by 44 chickens!   Inside the studio Gerald Boggs was showing a crowd how to heat and bend iron into lovely works of art and outside I was enjoying the variety of colorful chickens. 

During our trek we stopped at an antique store on Afton Mountain and at Basic Necessities eclectic eatery in Nellysford.

Tonya Tyree Sculpture
My favorite studio along the winding road from Afton to Nellysford was the gallery of 2 Art Studios featuring works of Melinko Katic' and Tanya Tyree.  I was amazed at Melinko's horse paintings and Tanya's ceramic objects were so detailed and unique.  Tanya's mom's Frosted Oatmeal Cookies were the icing on the cake - YUM!

Making our way to our final stop, Cindy spotted a poor little goat stuck in a fence!  His horns were so long he managed to get his head in and not back out (why does that happen?)  After some serious bending of fencing and many shots with my camera, the goat rescue was a success. 

Off to Nan Rothwell's Studio tucked away in an absolutely lovely wooded setting.  Nan teaches pottery classes and is an expert at throwing and baking salt-glazed and stoneware pottery.

Our last stop was at a relatively new vintage shop,  Bittersweet Branch Primitives off 29 S.  We really enjoyed her selection of wicker furniture and collectibles.



It was a perfect day to drive in the country enjoying great food, lovely scenery, and wonderful artisans!

-Rebecca

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's a Girl To Do

Deal of the Week - Target has a Netbook for sale, $197.00.  This was such a good price and my computer equipment must be 10 years old so I finally broke down and purchased one.  It is really convenient.  It is small and portable and I can check email and my Etsy store in a snap.  It is powerful, has a lot of storage space, is speedy, and has a cam built in.  The screen is very clear and just the right size.  This is not a "notebook" it can do anything a laptop can do, it's just smaller in size.  I'm creating today's blog with it right now!

Happening in Charlottesville this weekend ---

Whatcha waiting for ?
SATURDAY 

Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale - 10 am - 7 pm (Nov 12th - 20th) - This is an amazing sale, read my review from last Spring.  I'm volunteering right now, putting books on the shelves and boy are there a lot of books!

Artisans Studio Tour  - 10 am - 5 pm (Sat and Sun) - 17th annual area Art Tour.  Visit studios while enjoying free snacks.  Read my review from last year's tour.

-Rebecca

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pillow Deal

Each Fall I watch the retail store Pillow Wars and wait to strike.  This is the second year that I have purchased pillows at JcPenney.  I don't know about you, but the $3.97 cheopo pillow deals for an uncomfortable lumpy pillow just don't cut it.  This is one area where I do spend a bit more for something that is comfortable and durable.  Do something nice for yourself and get a new pillow every year!

Sealy, comes in different softness levels.
JcPenney is running, Buy one pillow, get another for .99.  Ok, that's a great deal, but the kicker was that in the Friday newspaper they had a Buy $25.00 worth of anything and get $10.00 off.  For comparison, Belk has a Buy $50.00 and get $10.00 - not as good of a deal.  The third kicker is that the paper had 2 coupons.  So not only did I get the pillow deal, I separately purchased a few Christmas gifts and some 80% off tops and shorts, using another $10.00 coupon. 



Cooking At CafĂ© DI ended up spending $17.00 for two quality pillows that would have normally cost me $52.00.

-Rebecca 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Great Deals this Week

HURRY, these offers won't last long --

First frost on Forsythia Hill.
Staples is offering 100 free postcards - these can be holiday or whatever.  You print in-store to avoid shipping.  Print coupon details, and take in a zip drive w/your photo on it.

I just printed 40 free photos at Walgreens.  You upload your digital images, enter Coupon Code - DRUGSTORE40 and select to pick up at your local store to avoid shipping.

There is a Target coupon for $3.00 off  sleepwear.  This is a good deal if you can snag something off their sale rack.

Happy Shopping.

-Rebecca
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