the state

– of baby roos. by vastate
Friday, 14 August 2009, 13:39
Filed under: -of jhumphrey, -of kiddos, -of style

baby roos were just purchased as the fall new shoes for our resident 3 year old:

red roos

he’ll be stashing pebbles and feathers in his tiny shoe pocket instead of the traditional condom, thankfully.

i’m finding myself jealous of these sweet red sneaks…


– of whoopie. by vastate
Friday, 14 August 2009, 13:30
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey


at our house.

(apparently they are the “new cupcake”. all the rage in brooklyn and other painfully posh places. but most of us know them as a fondly mennonite treat.)

first, the chocolate cookies:


then, the whipped icing middle:


next, assemble:


and lick:


here’s the recipe i used.

we all agreed they were pretty lovely.  yum.

probably always better than a cupcake in my book…

– of cleo. by vastate
Monday, 3 August 2009, 15:10
Filed under: -of harrisonburg, -of health, -of jhumphrey

the DNR and WHSV have finally begun to pick up the story about our neighbor, cleo, being struck while trying to cross the crosswalk-less Virginia Ave. on saturday night.


she’s at UVA in serious condition.

the neighborhood seems quieter and a little less dramatic without daily visits from cleo, her dog, sir fritz.  she has been always a source for gossip and gripes for us, toy trucks and rousing games of chase (no kidding) for our son.

i am starting to miss her banging on my door with her ubiquitous stick (to protect her little white dog from other, more vicious, neighborhood dogs and cats, according to cleo).  i am feeling sorry that one of our last conversations was her telling me that she put pesticides all over my organic garden (‘you should thank me!  you wouldn’t have a garden if it weren’t for me’).  sigh.

it seems that at the very least, cleo should get a crosswalk out of this fiasco.

so that we can walk our children safely to the playground.   so that our older neighbors can walk the three blocks without fear to Red Front.   so that this accident doesn’t just get a brief note in the DNR and then disappear into the background.

because this is about cleo.  but it is also about a general disregard in harrisonburg for anything pedestrian.

how much is a bucket of white paint?

maybe i’ll take my kid’s sidewalk chalk and go out there and make a crosswalk myself…

-of crosswalks!?, p.s. by vastate
Sunday, 2 August 2009, 0:39
Filed under: -of harrisonburg, -of health, -of jgrimsrud, -of localism

sorry for the text-heavy, late night blogging, but this relates to my post on our neighbor’s pedestrian vs. vehicle accident tonight & our neighborhood’s horrible corner w/ its new pedestrian-signal-free & impossible-to-see-from-the-corner traffic light:

this very june, harrisonburg school board reaffirmed their support of seeking grant funding to improve pedestrian & bike access and safety w/in 2 miles of area grade schools, including waterman elementary.  a national program called safe routes to schools has been an area for exploration w/ local activists.  unfortunately, it hasn’t happened soon enough (if it happens at all).  i applaud these kinds of efforts & now i really want to know how to help w/ them, but should residents of this town need to go out & find grants just to have safety & pedestrian space be included in the roads our taxes go to build and keep up?

the city builds roads, & the city evidently builds lots & lots of traffic signals; i don’t think it should be especially difficult to balance those development budgets with a care for the safety & needs of all residents.  stop signs work very well; freeze new traffic signals & new sprawl development, & stop re-surfacing perfectly fine roads, until the town has a consistent, safe pedestrian & bicycle infrastructure.  fair enough?

-of crosswalks!? by jgrimsrud
Sunday, 2 August 2009, 0:34
Filed under: -of harrisonburg, -of health, -of jgrimsrud, -of localism

i got sickening news tonight.  just after dark an elderly neighbor was hit by a car about a block from our respective houses.  she was out for one of her famous (in the neighborhood) dog-walks & must have been crossing highway 42.  last i heard, she was on the way to u.v.a.–just have to hope for the best.

now this feels, on one level, like another one of those horrible reality moments, when a normal point in everyday life is slammed by a ghastly, unforeseeable, ungodly curve ball.  it’s a moment that sticks in your head for a long time.  it’s a moment that makes television news possible.  it’s terrifying & tragic, but it also brings together neighbors & communities, even clarifies things in a personal way.

however, this particular tragedy sends me running for my laptop & my blog.  because, i’ve been carrying around snapshots on my phone for months meaning to write a gripe piece about this exact corner:

DSC00130when my family was planning looking for our home, our realtor mentioned that harrisonburg has one of the highest rates per capita of traffic lights for a u.s. american town.  funny, i thought, since the traffic isn’t exceptional, yet the pedestrian infrastructure & transit budgets seem exceptionally low.  harrisonburg buses are rare birds indeed, and sidewalks are about as dependable as waking up to a poultry-odor-free morning in this town.

we live across high street (/highway 42) from the nearest grocery store (and public school, and city park, and swathes of residential blocks w/ friends & associates).  my toddler and i frequently have to dash across this arterial, so when i saw tractors lining up & it became clear that the city was going to rework the traffic signal at our nearby highway corner, i was hopeful.

in the end, lots of man & tractor hours, and plenty of utility equipment later, we have a more complicated, less visible traffic signal & no pedestrian anything.  no signal.  no sidewalk.  not even a staging ground from which to plan your frantic dash between cars.  i’ve already had at least one sickening moment when i ushered my toddler across, and realized on the other side that the signal (which i couldn’t see when crossing) had already turned & i hadn’t bothered to check in the direction of traffic before we both strolled into the road.  all clear, but what if…?

DSC00119so, we walk along the gutters, we depend on our son to learn about road safety, we depend on motorists to be aware (which isn’t the best idea in this town–i’ve definitely had folks try to charge us on downtown crosswalks, had drivers nod or wave greetings in response to my cursing & flapping, totally clueless as to why a guy and his two year old are anywhere near their asphalt territory sans wheeled, steel cage).

now our neighbor is in (at least) critical condition…  and my grumpy, slightly humorous, sarcastic complaint that i’d planned for the state blog seems really inadequate.

so, where are the sidewalks harrisonburg?