20% Chance of rain

Weather broadcasters have the life.  I know I'm not the first one to say this.  

We woke up in our tent on Saturday morning to the start of rain.  I figured it would just be a quick morning sprinkle, enough to clean the tent. 

Nope, we had a full 24 hours of rain.  The tent is currently all mud.  Along with a tarp, rain fly, and footprint. 

And, I forgot the pots, pans, plates, and spoons. 

But...the tent never leaked, and we found paper plates and reusable forks and spoons.  My work water bottle (steel) was great for boiling water.  Saturday's dinner was salmon..grilled.  

The weekend was ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhesome!

Ginny Here and There is TEN YEARS OLD!!!

I started this blog ten years ago.  I wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter, Myspace was boring, and I had a solid job in Pasadena.  I used the blog to push out my ideas, articles I found interesting, and documented our move to Downtown Los Angeles.  Ten years…dang.  Ten years seems like such a long time, and when I think about what the last ten years has been like…it really has been a long trip.

Look back and see what the last ten years of my life has been.  Giggle all you want, but it is all very real.


People think I'm sooooo internet savvy.  I don't claim it, it just happened.  For a long time I thought "FTW" meant "For The Win!", mostly because I confirmed it via the internet.

However, as I was delivering @msiolani to school the other day, I passed by a new construction sign.

And as I got  closer to the sign, I realized that FTW in this case...was a different "W".


So - for the first time in a long time...I'm really sorry for any of the "FTW"s I've posted in the past.  100% of the time I really meant "For The Win" and not "Eff the World".

The bittersweet of it

Gerry and Mom

Facebook is a humbling experience for me. At my fingertips and mouse clicks, I have curated a series of moments of joy, sadness, gratefulness, spite, anger, and sheer heartbreak. It is an amazing feat.  Post after post, even when it is just a simple sharing of another article, there’s a momentary connection with someone.

My mother and her partner died 20 years ago.  I’ve long accepted her death, but I’ve never accepted that her spirit is gone.  I’ve never accepted that this aura of my mom is just “poof, gone”.  I’m humbled when in the moments when I think she would have enjoyed seeing what the world is today.  

Twenty is a big number.  Two decades.  Twenty years ago,  I was fresh out of high school, just into college.  All the things I’ve seen and done in the years since, I’m thankful I don’t have to explain. I continue to have my entire future to decide on whether or not that is a good thing. 

For those of us who have lost their mothers, and they’ve been told the pain never goes away, it just gets easier to deal with.  Twenty years, and if I’m having an off day…my tears can still run as if I’ve just been told of her passing moments ago. It isn’t pain that I feel, I feel the loss, a missed opportunity to have something I might have wanted. 

My mom was a hot mess, but she was the hot mess for three kids. She was our hot mess. 

Sometimes these blog entries get personal.  I’ve long since been good with that, mostly because I’ve already been comforted by others, having been told they feel the loss as well.  No use in hiding the emotion in the loss that I feel.

Circling back to Facebook. Through my updates, pictures, posts by others, I see how life is just amazing.  Watching Alex and Iolani hike (and going back to the pictures at the end of the day), Troop meetings, REI trips, ground breakings, construction updates…here is the testament on how to move forward, but not necessary moving on.

1st Grade

Of course @MsIolani starts 1st grade tomorrow.  Every time I get a little "Time Hop" update, I'm reduced to quick little tears - and I can't say "where has the time gone".  I know where the time has gone.  I understand why there are weepy parents out there, but I also understand the joys of sending the kid back to school after a summer of juggling childcare, lunches, sunburns, and the savior Netflix.

"Mom, don't you wish you had my life?" she says to me.  And, while we were standing in Disneyland for the 10th time this year, I realized that I don't have her life, and I wouldn't want her life. 

Don't get me wrong, she has a wonderful life.  She gets to do a lot of fun things, she gets to see things that most kids don't get to see until they bounce the nest and head off to college.  

But the other side to this life is what I loathe.  She  knows that Mom or Dad will pick her up, but she doesn't know which one. She doesn't know if dinner will be at home tonight, or out because I might have an evening meeting. I might come home in a rush, hop on one last conference call, or answer a slew of emails before I can give her my full attention.

It isn't a pity party.  It is her life, it isn't mine.  And, I admire her greatly for living it. 

Thank You!

About a year ago I set out to form a Daisy troop for my daughter.  We hosted an information night and had a couple people turn out.  The second information night we hosted, we netted about 50 sign ups.  Our first meeting…we had nearly 60 girls - from Kindergarten to High School.  The troop split into a second troop, but Girl Scout Troop 16155 remains in Downtown.
We just finished our first season of cookie sales.  Our goal was just to sell cookies, and we really didn’t know how many boxes of cookies our neighbors would eat.  Cookie preorders totaled nearly FOUR THOUSAND boxes of cookies.  During boothing, you purchased nearly THREE THOUSAND boxes of cookies.  And, amazingly enough…some of you were told that we ran out of cookies.  And we did.  

So - my heartfelt “THANK YOU!!!” on behalf of myself, our troop goes out to all of you, especially Amanda Leon, Miguel Vargas, Patrice Hopper, Vivian Um, Rich Jesmer, Blair Besten, Ace Hotel, Escondite, Ralphs, to the many I forgot to call specific attention to, and to the parents of the Girl Scouts of Troop 16155.  

With everyone’s hard work and dedication to their sweet tooth, 21 girls (because the Daisies can’t camp yet) will have the opportunity to go camping in May…many for the first time. Further to that, many of the girls secured additional cookie awards that provide them with summer camp scholarships.  

Again, Thank You so very much for supporting Girl Scout Troop 16155. 


Ginny Brideau
Troop Leader

Girl Scout Troop 16155  

How To Join The Girl Scout Troop

One thing about Girl Scout cookies that I really like, the parents who approach the cookie booth NOT (just) to buy cookies, but to ask how their daughters can join DTLA Girl Scout Troop 16155, and now you have a way!  Visit https://www.facebook.com/Gs16155, download the registration form, fill it out, and email it back. We'll call you to follow up!

SCAG Listening Session

Notice of Public Listening Session:
Southern California Association of Governments Federal Certification Review
A Public Listening Session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5, 2014 to receive input on how to improve the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region’s transportation planning process.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will be conducting the certification review and evaluation of the region’s transportation planning process carried out by SCAG and its partners. Every four years the FHWA and FTA jointly conduct this review. As part of the review, the public is invited to comment on the transportation planning process at the following public meeting:
February 5, 2014, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
818 West 7th Street, 12th Floor
Policy Committee Room B 
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Oral and written comments may be presented at the meeting. Written comments may also be sent via e-mail to cert.review@dot.gov, or by regular mail to:
Mr. Michael Morris 
FHWA Cal-South Office 
888 S. Figueroa, Suite 750, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Mr. Ted Matley 
FTA Region IX 
201 Mission Street, Suite 1650, San Francisco, CA 94105
Public written comments will be accepted through Friday, February 21, 2014. For additional information about the SCAG federal certification process, or the February 5, 2014 public listening session, please dial 213-894-4014.

We Went Camping!

Growing up we used to spend a lot of time at Twanoh State Park, a lot of time.  It was about 20 minutes away from the house.  The three of us kids had our own tent, we ran around the campground, to the beach, and back again.  I loved camping growing up.

This past weekend we went camping for the first time!  We went to Sycamore Canyon, spent two nights and three days taking in the days. Highlights of the trip:

  • Making a bow from a tent guide line and a big bendy twig Iolani located
  • Making the arrow for the bow, and showing Iolani how to use a pocket knife
  • Watching Alex light the campfire
  • Coffee in the morning
  • Spending Saturday night in the tent with Iolani, singing quiet camp songs
  • Only cell service was by The PCH and not in the campground
  • The saturday day hike up, up, and some more up
  • Meeting our camping neighbors
  • Tent Envy!
  • Coming home smelling like campfire

Not the highlight of the trip:
  • Burning myself on a hot pot (WTF Ginny)
  • Cold nights in our 40 degree sleeping bag
  • The first 15 minutes of the up up up hike, with Iolani complaining her legs her.  But then she saw the view, and all was right with the world
  • The car battery died
  • Losing **All** of the pictures off the camera
Yes - all the pictures off the camera.  Which means...we have to do the trip again so I can be extra careful when making the transfer.

Thank you very much Container Store Guy

Over the weekend Alex decided that we needed a new approach to managing our laundry.  We would need to go to The Container Store, specifically the one in Pasadena.  We headed to Pasadena at about fish, with Iolani opting not to take an afternoon nap.  So - she's tired.  She's cranky....  Not ideal for going outside the house.

At TCS, Alex is split between two floors.  Iolani is a hot mess wanting to touch e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g., driving me bonkers.  I mention to her that Afloat Sushi is right around the corner, and that if she can get a hold of herself, that maybe we could eat dinner out, rather than heading home to turkey pot pies.

And then, SUDDENLY - a well-meaning TCS employee shows her at $15 pair of joke glasses. Glasses with little fake windshield wipers. Fifteen dollars. (Please keep in mind that we *might* have just dropped about $50 at Urban Outfitters and in Little Tokyo on Hello Kitty stickers).  As she and I are wondering around the store, I'm trying to lose the wiper glasses.  I was successful in leaving the wiper glasses somewhere on the second floor when she was distracted with pink laundry baskets.

When it came time to check out, Iolani was starting to whine and then she remembered her wiping glasses.  And, like water in the desert...the clerk ringing us up asked if we had their customer card.

Of course we don't.  But - one uses the iPad to sign up.  And - who could be distracted with the iPad so that we don't have to witness a meltdown AND we didn't have to buy the wiper glasses. 


So - Iolani was sitting on the counter three days before Christmas...typing in her first name, last name, email address, phone number, zip code...and then I entered in just the street address, city, and state.  It took a little bit, and I kept apologizing to the clerk...and he was not just okay with our little debacle...he was all smiles.  It seem so sincere, he was seriously all smiles and calm, cool, and was just so supportive of the "good lesson" we were teaching.

We finished up, I turned back to thank everyone for their patience...and there was not a happy face in the whole line.  But, the guy who checked us out...man....oh man...you saved our night.  Thank you.

From: SAN ZeroWasteLA [mailto:zerowastela@lacity.org]
Sent: Monday, December 09, 2013 3:37 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: Zero Waste LA Franchise System Survey

The City of Los Angeles is transitioning to a new waste and recycling system for all businesses and large multifamily dwellings (including apartment complexes and condos). The goals of our new system – a franchise program called Zero Waste LA – include:

·         Higher Recycling (90% diversion from landfills by 2025)

·         Reduced Street Impacts and Cleaner Air

·         Fair Customer Rates

·         Superior Customer Service

Zero Waste LA will not affect single family home residents – or those currently serviced by the City of LA. 

You can help the Bureau of Sanitation gather information as to what we should expect and require of participating waste haulers.  Your input is vital to make sure the system best meets customer and neighborhood needs.  Please help by completing the online survey, simply select from the following links or visit our website at www.san.lacity.org

The City has provided a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).  Please visit our website at www.san.lacity.org for updates to the FAQs

You may also visit our website at www.san.lacity.org for more information. Please e-mail us at zerowastela@lacity.org or call (213) 485-2260 with any questions.



Thank you for contacting

Solid Resources Citywide Recycling Division
Bureau of Sanitation
City of Los Angeles

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to wilshirebrt+unsubscribe@lacity.org.

More wonky talk!

Understanding the Location Affordability Portal

There is more to housing affordability than how much rent or mortgage you pay. Transportation costs are the second-biggest budget item for most families, but to date there hasn't been an easy way for people to fully factor transportation costs into decisions about where to live and work.

But now, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have partnered to develop the  Location Affordability Portal. The site provides the public with reliable, user-friendly data and resources on combined housing and transportation costs to help consumers, policymakers, and developers make more informed decisions about where to live, work, and invest. 

DOT and HUD are offering two webinars to provide an overview of housing and transportation costs and to demonstrate how the Location Affordability Index and My Transportation Cost Calculator can be used to support location-based decision making.

December 17, 2013 1:00 -2:00pm EST

Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7639930512296326146    

December 20, 2013 2:00 -3:00pm EST

Registration Link: www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webconfid=27028

Solid Waste Integrated Resource Plan (SWIRP)

Notice of Completion and Availability for the SWIRP Draft PEIR
The City of LA's, Bureau of Sanitation released a Notice of Completion (NOC) on October 31, 2013 for the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (Draft PEIR) on the Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan (SWIRP), also known as the Zero Waste Plan. The SWIRP Draft PEIR has been completed and is ready for public review and comment from October 31, 2013 to December 20, 2013. For more information visit, www.lacity.org/san

Inclusive Planning and Design in Mobility Management

From United We Ride:

Inclusive Planning and Design in Mobility Management
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 2:00 PM ET 

This is a joint webinar by the National Center for Mobility Management and the ACL Strengthening Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships Project.

Link to more information is at: 

 The webinar will showcase mobility management practitioners who have creatively and persistently afforded people with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and others the opportunity to be involved in transportation planning. They will discuss their partnerships with other organizations, their outreach to different populations, and their inclusive attitude. We will be exploring ways to be inclusive from the perspectives of transit, human services, and centers for independent living.

 Kelli Fairless, Valley Regional Transit, Meridian, ID
Presenter: Dwight Mengel,Tompkins County Dept. of Social Services, Ithaca, NY
Presenter: Judy Telge, Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living, Corpus Christi, TX
Moderator: Sheryl Gross-Glaser, National Center for Mobility Management, Washington, DC

Joining the webinar:
 There is no pre-registration. Follow the link 15 minutes before the time of the webinar. Webinar link: http://ctaa.adobeconnect.com/r869fzhp0sy/

Ohhhh the disappointment

I had to be at the office at about 8:15 this morning, which meant that I would have to forgo my usual "breakfast club" book reading in Iolani's class. Historically, I sit with the kindergarteners of the class of 2026 (Isn't that weird) and read to them as they eat breakfast. I tend to get two pages into the story and I'm interrupted.  I rarely get to finish the book, and when I do...I'm met with a chorus of "read it again". 

I truly enjoy their mouth-full-of-cheerios-discussion.  They have mentioned the importance in washing hands, how slimy boogers are, and what their brother did last night that involved jumping off the kitchen table in hopes of securing chocolate chip cookies. Iolani will chime in with a story about Scooter, Jackie Brown, or something inappropriate she saw on YouTube.

I was upset that I wasn't able to read to the kids this morning.  Not so much for the relaxation that reading (or attempting to read) to the kids brings...while they are all swirling around, wrestling each other to the floor, and my constant signing "sit down" and "eat your food"...  But rather the look of extreme disappointment and judgment in Iolani's eyes.  Clearly, she enjoys the fact that it is Her mom reading and sitting through breakfast, in her world. 

Mtgs this week

Kick in the pants - front or back?

A couple of months ago I was sitting in my living room - known to you as Union Station. I was just having one of those days, where I needed a moment to take it all in, get some perspective.  And then, suddenly...I found myself listening to a very old man talking on his cellphone.  He didn't sound angry, but he sounded like he was giving advice to someone not seeking it.  

He said: "You know, you need a swift kick in the pants...but I don't know what would help more, a kick in the front or a kick in the back."  He folded his big flip phone closed (I told you he was very old), tucked the phone into his jacket, got up and walked away....with a cane.

I would never ever kick anyone in the pants, but when I get frustrated...I take a moment to think if a kick to the front or back would be helpful in this particular situation.  Most days, a figurative kick in the butt is all that is needed to make a decision.  Then, we do have the rare days - when the extra painful kick in the front is there to remind us that 1) we are human, 2) decisions can be painful, 3) avoid a kick to the front at any cost.

But again - do not every kick anyone. Ever.

I Want To Meet Your Mommy!

I was up at a Town Council meeting for a project briefing, on a project that I'm working on.  One of the questions that came up was  - How are you sure you are getting information into "families".  At first I had this vision of a woman coming to a community meeting, then rushing home to tuck the child in at night...never talking about what she saw and heard at the meeting.  Then I realized that was just me...just for last night.

(Alex and I talk about transit projects All.The.Time.  So much so that if I'm in a bad mood, I wonder if he married me so that he could get the "inside track" on what's going on with any of the transit projects in the world.  But - I know the real reason why he married me...I make amazing coffee.) 

Seriously - when was the last time you had "the talk" with your parents.  What is it that you are doing, going to all these community meetings, getting all excited about a transit line, or new park, or new construction?  Do your parents know that you get this excited about it?  Have you ever taken a building tour - you know...like a hard hat tour...with your parents?  Holy crap.  I know, right!

Story Time!  Way back when, when Alex and I first started dating, he lived in this tiny little "bachelor" or also known (and legally known) as a studio.  After a couple of real paychecks, Alex was interested in moving to something that was more of his style (or so he thought)...the apartments next to the DMV, Ralphs, and the office park in Santa Monica.  The timing was odd, he wanted to go look at this apartment, I was with him...and his parents came along as well.  To say it was awkward for me was an understatement.  To walk into a one-bedroom apartment with your boyfriend's parents, and his mom getting all excited over the fact there was a washer and dryer in the unit...I couldn't say it at the time, but I totally needed a beer.

Anyways, back to my original point...

Right now, Metro has all these projects in various phases of completion.  You might be a little grumpy because you feel like it is taking too long.  You really need to stop worrying about that, and worry about the fact that your parents...will not be able to drive that awesome car for much longer, and it will likely fall to you to get them around everywhere.  And, while putting them in Uber or Lyft might work well for the doctor appointments, or to show off for their friends.... Your parents will not want to be left in social isolation.  If I can wag my finger for one moment...it will be your responsibility to teach your mom, dad, auntie, uncle, that odd older cousin we all have...how to get a Tap Card, load the card, use the card, and know when their bus and/or train is set to arrive. 

My in-laws already take the BBB wherever they want to go, leaving the car only for doctor appointments and grocery visits.  Although, the Father-in-law still drives to work, they both have a growing contempt for the big ol' Volvo.  If it is paying for parking, the cost of the valet, getting to a parking spot, dealing with other drivers...they are really starting to hate the car.  And, they took it on themselves to learn how to take the bus to where they want to go, or even...gasp... from SaMo to DTLA!

Two more things...  One - thank you to Sirinya for her posting!  It was a gentle reminder to me to keep blogging.  And two...

You need to talk to your parents about transit and planning projects.  You really do. If there's not enough bus service in your neighborhood, nothing says "Holy Crap, there's a bunch of Old Ladies here demanding bus service" better than what your mother and her friends can do. While normal people get a little nervous about teenagers traveling in packs, nothing says "You are in trouble" like 10 Old Ladies, walking into a community meeting...canes or not. (And, I say "Old Ladies" as a sign of utmost respect, because there's two things in this world you should NEVER do... 1) try to drink from a straw and walk at the same time and 2) Piss off Old Ladies. 

I can get paid advertising, send out glossy mailers, but at the end of the day - your parents really still have this unending desire (expressed or not) to know about everything that you do.  They want to know that you care about your neighborhood, and more importantly...how you intend to get them to their social activities when they can no longer safely navigate the god-forsaken roads in our beautiful city.

So - at the next community meeting - I want to see some Mommies, Daddies, Aunties and Uncles.  Stop by the sign in table, say hello.

End of the Internet

Iolani has become obsessed with YouTube lately.  I'll peek over to see her watching Winx:

Or Cats...

Or Videos of her favorite song...

And then...suddenly - there's this:

Please explain to me where I can get my hands on these eggs, and to me the fascination with these eggs....

My Approach to Parenting

Path of Least Resistance
This is what I started with... She wants to go left, there's nothing wrong with left...especially because after a couple of lefts, you are going in the direction you were heading for in the first place.

Really - I get so caught up in saying "No" and "Don't"... I realize that I can change the whole afternoon if I begin saying "Yes" and "Instead" to things that really...>>REALLY<< aren't a big deal.

She wants nail polish...sure.  Eye shadow...be sure to use clean brushes.  All that's good, because when the girl asks for mascara...we are all good with the "No, not yet".

Dinner time...she always comes to the table and announces that she won't eat that.  Even if it is her favorite food, doused in cheese, chocolate, and powdered sugar...she says no.  I let it be. At some point she will come back to the table.

Oxygen Mask
The best parenting advice I ever got was on a plan trip.  The movie noted that I would be no good to my daughter if I didn't take care of my oxygen mask first.  What a novel idea.  So...if I get myself fed, showered, dressed...I brush my teeth first...I'm in a better position to take care of my kid.  AHHHH.  OMG - mornings became so much easier once I used this approach.  I also use this approach at Souplantation, Hometown Buffet, and similar restaurants.  Had I known about this approach, I probably would have started using it before Iolani appeared on the scene.

There it is...I keep sane because I take the path of least resistance, and remember to grab for the oxygen mask...all is well.  For now.

First World Working Mom Problems

We spend our kid, teenage, and young adult years being told "do it by yourself" or "get it done", or my current favorite: "make it happen!".  Then, here I am told...told about the virtues of delegation, "hire someone to do that for you", or "We can do this for you", and I'm supposed to take this help willingly?

I'm currently on the mend from a sinus infection and bronchitis. I no longer roll my eyes when the doctor says "slow down" or "why did it take so long to get in?" or "cold medicine isn't meant to help with sinusitis".  I know I know!  Our house takes more than 3 people to keep it working. God knows it takes more than 3 people to keep me working.  

This is what I've done to "make it happen":

1) Ordered groceries online for home delivery.  Purchasing our family groceries is a family event.  But this week...getting back from a trip, and having night things after work every day - made it impossible.  We were supposed to go grocery shopping on Wednesday, then Thursday....  I just ordered the list, had it delivered on Friday afternoon. Done.  Groceries for the weekend, and added bonus: ordered everything on the shopping list and not an item more.

2) Erica! She's taking care of the laundry and cleaning the house once a week. Just knowing that I don't need to stress about laundry, takes a huge weight off my shoulders.  

3) Rely on people who've asked to be a part of the action! Did you ever noticed that when people say - "Call me, I want to help"...and you call them...they really do want to help!  

There...I am back on my path for having it all.  The key is - bringing the right people into your circle who want to have it all too!

Path of last resistance

I was reading the web this morning, and got to the very last entry. That doesn't sound right,  but I did find the end of the internet, and it is really the lone "mommy" group that I'm a part of online.  Rather than visioning the scary scene from the last episode of 30 Rock, with Liz Lemon battling it out with high strung mom after high strung mom... vision just a coffee shop, where we pop in, share the tidbit, and then carry on with our day.  As it should be.

So, this morning....  Mom's beautiful and talented daughter has torn through Mom's purse.  Deep sigh.  Been there.  Miss Brideau has emptied work bags, portfolios, notebooks, EIRs, purses, wallets, business card cases, makeup bags, multipacks of tampons, and my favorite - the tool box.

The interest in my stuff has to be for any of the following reasons:

  • She sees me using it and wants to use it too
  • Full Moon
  • Commercial on TV, and she needed something to do 
  • Daddy said it was okay
  • Thinks that some of hers is in there
All of these are justifiable reasons for a 2 to 25 year old girl to enter into any of her mother's belongings, right?  Glad we can agree on this basic principle.

There's the time I was at lunch, when to pay - and found my business cards had replaced my debit card,  and my business card case was no where to be found. Or, the time I opened up my handy tampon bag, only to find one stick of chapstick.  That was enough for me to get crafty.

I made her a replica of one of my purses. I gave her a powder, glossy Burt's Bees chap stick, some old hotel room keys, old business cards, a wallet, a small bag with some coins (Iolani's 4, so she knows that coins are dirty and don't go in your mouth), and other age-appropriate trinkets.  (Although, she now carries around eye-shadow...we have simple and strict rules about it.. "Not at school and Not at Church"

The key to this: YOU MUST ASK HER TO USE HER STUFF EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.  If I ask Iolani to use her chapstick, or borrow her powder...for some reason she's thinking "Oh this is mommy's, and she's letting me use it" or... "Mommy can't find her stuff again, but I have my stuff, so here"

Either way, since the replication...there's been a dramatic decrease in her use of my stuff.  When I find that she's in my work bag, I noticed that she's all about my paper pads, pens, and business cards.  So, I found a black bag, tucked a paper pad, pen, and old business cards...and we do the same thing.  I ask her occasionally if she has paper I can use to make a list, we write the shopping list, or things to do - together...and then magically...my bag's left alone.

Ultimately, she's trained me to pay attention to the fact that I'm a very fascinating person with very fascinating things.  She also has this desire to have her own things.  She can now be found carrying her purse, with just a couple of items that she will need for the day.  And, this battle for my bag has ceased.


"I can find Daddy, using my super spy eyes"

"I want to watch the scary movie, I am really brave"

"I don't need a nap" (all said while she is rubbing both eyes)

"I am not blooping anymore, can I have jelly beans/chocolate/cookies/ice cream"

"Don't tell Mommy about what I'm about to do"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

A mother still cries tonight

I wasn't upset or sad this evening but I was looking through old Facebook pictures this evening. I noticed that about a year ago I put up a picture of Trayvon Martin a year ago tomorrow. Usually on the eve of "events of note" I would expect to see "A year ago...." stories.  Some how I missed it, here, here, here, here and here.  I guess I've been overwhelmed with all the other murders.

I watch the morning news, even I have become a bit numb to news about shootings, murders, and all around violence.  But, I'm still reminded that who ever has died overnight was someone's son, daughter, cousin, brother, sister, neighbor, dear friend, or even just an acquaintance. And for each person who's died - there is a mother who grieves.

The Story Teller

Iolani has entered the "Story Teller" phase of life.  She'll ask for one of us to tell her a "scary story" and then she tells it back with further embellishment, making it even more scary than before. For the past two nights, I've been recounting the "This One Time At Summer Camp" story, about a kayak trip that ended with mice in the kayaks, because the girls were careless with their trail mix.

So, consider all the bits and pieces of the story that totally amazes her:

That Mommy:

1) Paddled a boat
2) Went camping in a tent
3) Slept in a tent
4) Woke up at night to strange sounds
5) Left the security of the tent to check on the strange sounds
6) Squealed when mice were located in the kayaks

I've got her drinking the Girl Scout Kool-Aid.  To hear her retell the story, she includes bits about seeing bigfoot, aliens, a pocket knife, and a lot more emphasis on eating trail mix.

Burning Sage for Electronics?

It is obvious that I'm kind of a techy geek.  In high school, I spent my afternoons learning how to maintain a small network of computers, keep the network clear of games (Rory!!!), and otherwise just keep things moving along.  In college, I would spend my spare time getting to know MS Office, take apart my laptop, blah de blah blah blah.  You get it.

Cue to this month.  Somehow, I've broken my work laptop.  My iPhone and iPad have had to have hard resets.  My home computer wouldn't open the spreadsheets until I reinstalled Numbers.  Then - today...the projector and laptop wouldn't talk to each other.  

This is all stuff that is out of my control, I think.  I'm nice to the electronics in my life.  I'm still nicer to human beings and cats...but you know what I mean.

I'm starting to think I need one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Anti-Static-Wrist-Adjustable-Grounding/dp/B00004Z5D1

Why We Stay

Why We Stay

Before Iolani, we usually didn't get out of the house on a Saturday until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  Usually it was because Alex wouldn't even stop snoring until 10-ish, and I'd sit out in the living room catching up on Netflix.  We didn't have a DVR until the arrival of @msiolani.

We didn't get out of the house today until 1ish today.  We took the subway to 7th/Flower, wandered up the street to check out some work on Flower work.  It looked so nice…so nice.  So nice.  I hope that when people wander back into the neighborhood on Monday morning, they are all happy with it too.  

It was also nice to find out the film crew that was driving around the neighborhood didn't see the Flower Street work as a bother.  Everyone seems to be getting along just fine.

We walked to Tossed, which is open on the weekends!  Woo-wee.  For how long have we pained for places to be opened during the weekends in the FinDis?  The food was great, the bathrooms were amazingly clean.  I even BEGGED my daughter to try to go to the bathroom before our next stop.  

If there's one bit of advice I can offer to neighborhood newbies…treasure the clean bathrooms and schedule your day around them.  Treasure the businesses that make their bathrooms available to customers, and >maintain< them as if they are for customers only.  

She rebuffed my request.  Even though she had finished more than half a bottle of apple juice.  Can you sense the dramatic foreshadowing?

We headed out to Wilshire towards Grand.  The Big Blue Bus was barfing out neon, Nike's, spandex, fanny-packs, and blondes.  Clearly, those kids got off at the wrong stop.  They wandered around for a good two blocks, with confused bickering.  I asked Alex if we could help them.  I asked in the tone that you would have as a kid…like the time you asked your parents for a new pet.  They were making their way to LA Historic Park, and maybe they thought if they headed to South Park???  Finally, we got them pointed to the subway and told them to get to Union Station.  

We continued our steps to Broadway, making our way to the new Ross.  Iolani's old enough now, she doesn't always want to hold our hand, but she knows not to get too far out front or behind.  She's comfortable on the sidewalk, crossing the street.

We got to Ross, and it was comfortably full.  We went downstairs, picked around through the dresses, toys, toys, and toys.  Alex wandered around the shirts.  But then…Nature Called!  Iolani announced that she needed to use the restroom.  Ross doesn't have a customer restroom…so we left without buying anything.  Don't worry - we'll go back…but not before Iolani's figured why it is important to value clean bathrooms.

Next up…the hunt for the bathroom.  Alex treated us to an afternoon snack at Figaro: Macaroon, cake, and coffee.  Figaro treated us to a nice clean bathroom.  It was a tiny bit surreal to be inside Figaro, and look out to see Broadway.  There's this mix of the 1980's Broadway, the 1990's Broadway, and the current Broadway…as I like it.  

At this point, Alex is attempting the discussion about how to get Iolani down for a nap.  But, what he didn't know was that in the bathroom, Iolani had a near meltdown over the paper towel holder being empty.  That was a great sign that she's tired.  We headed out, walking to the subway…walking up 7th Street towards Pershing Square.  

All the sudden the music got really loud.  Really loud…like when a band sets up in the alley to shoot their music video. Yes, they still make those. As we were walking by, a production assistant was frantically telling us to keep walking as to not mess up the background shot.  Iolani was amused that a band was set up on the street.  She's seen it before, but I don't think seeing a band set up in the alley is too outrageous.  Regardless, she started to bob her head.

We made our way to the subway, which was still filled with these Swedish Mafia fans heading to the park.  Alex was still rehearsing his game plan for getting Iolani to nap.  I'm thinking I just need to hold her in my arms and she'll fall fast asleep.  I was pretty confident that Alex didn't think she would fall asleep in my arms.  Especially when half of Venice and West LA packed the subway car.  At least they moved as I made my way to a seat on the train.  

She totally fell asleep in my arms.  She was out by the time we made it to Union Station.  We've been home for about an hour, and she's still sleeping.

All this to say…with utility work, a movie shoot, a video shoot, a grand opening, a gigantic music festival, and who cares what was happening at LA Live…DTLA has plenty of capacity for whatever you want to do, bring on a football stadium!  

Bee Tee Dubs - we finished all the paperwork to renew our lease on our apartment rental.  We know that we will be in the El Pueblo for another year.  We stay because our daughter likes it here, and everything she needs is well within reach.   

Sunday Night Purse Cleanout!

  • Three tubes of hand sanitizer
  • Four tubes of lotion
  • 4 ways to deal with a headache
  • Rapunzel's gloves
  • 12 crayons
  • 7 different Rotary pins
  • two wallets (one for daily use, and the other has two checkbooks)
  • Bandaids
  • A bag of rocks
  • Laptop, iPad, adapters and relevant power cords
  • three bags of tissues
  • two kinds of handiwipes
  • Reusable shopping bag
  • a color book
  • broken pen with a pink fluffy thing
  • 6 pens
  • 3 styli 
  • The book of gift cards and other store cards
  • his sunglasses
  • my sunglasses
  • and my keys
The iphone wasn't in the mix because that's what I used to take the picture.

PS - this is AFTER the cleanout.
Just for point of reference: I'm a size 12 - and wouldn't be shocked if anyone nominated me for this. 

New Cat on the Prowl

Two things happened this weekend. 1) Jackie Brown moved in with us.

2) Iolani cut her bangs again

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Metro Chinatown Senior Lofts

Are you over over 55, looking to live DTLA (or know someone who is).  The Metro at Chinatown Senior Lofts (near the Metro Gold Line Chinatown stop) has studios, 1,2,and 3 bedroom apartments opening up.  Rents: $723, $769, $929, and $1,112 (respectively).  They have income limits, so if you make from $0 to $44,760.... Website: http://www.metrochinatownseniorlofts.com

PS - the rent prices shown online are not correct.

Our Holiday Season

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that we got and lost Ferb (the cat) in a very short amount of time.  We were not expecting to have to explain "death" to our child quite so soon.  It's like that last bit of innocence before she becomes a real human being, who has learned how to love someone and then to lose them...and to have it happen during the holiday season.  Oh, man.  Take a deep breath, do a gut check, and just be thankful that the month is nearly over.

For as quick as this year went, this holiday season dragged on.  Not in a bad way, but it seemed like the holiday season started as soon as the Halloween candy went stale.  No wait...the Halloween candy is still here and isn't stale yet.  I hope that our house sticks to the Nordstrom approach of not talking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  Thank God for Nordstrom.

In any case, Ferb...We are pretty sure that he had FIP.  He had all the symptoms, and thanks to friends...and a very supportive team at the Eagle Rock Emergency Pet Clinic, everyone was able to put Ferb's needs and feelings first. The EREPC staff was just so warm to Ferb, myself, and my need to text back and forth with my husband, my friend in AZ, and tweet my absolute anguish. 

Ferb was Iolani's cat. For the rare moments he felt well, he would sleep with Iolani.  When they would end up going "Number 2" at the same time, Iolani would howl about who made the larger stink.  I think we were all under the impression that Ferb just really liked being around us.  

Having to explain why the cat would not be coming home from the emergency room was daunting.  Answering the questions of why? Was it the Christmas Tree water? When will he come back? Then came the ultimate tearjerk "Who will be my best friend now?"

Oh my God.  If your eyes haven't welled up yet...then give me a call and you can hear my voice.  

It has been two days since Ferb's passing.  She asked again this morning for the exact location of Ferb.  My response has become steady and direct: Ferb got sick, the doctor couldn't fix him, we found out that he was sick even before he came to live with us, he's up in heaven.  

She asked if she could have a dog, noting "dogs don't get sick and die".  I quickly broke the news to her that dogs get sick and die too.  Then, she asked for a white cat.  (I'm thinking to myself...a white short-haired cat will be so hard to find!).  After I didn't respond to her, she said "And take him to the doctor to make sure he doesn't have Ferb Flu".

I replied: "Yes - I promise that if we get another cat, I will have it checked for Ferb Flu".  A $300+ test

We headed out to Pasadena for her to ride her bike.  Over at Central Park she had long stretches where she could be a good distance from me, and yet I could have full view of her.  She was just looking up at the sky, taking in the moment.  Going as fast as she could on her little bike.  Historically, she will ride for 10-15 minutes and call it a day.  We were gone for over 4 hours, with a quick stop for lunch.  She just wanted to ride her bike.  

see you

GH&T readers know that at the end of the year I tend to do these “lookbacks” to the highs and lows from the year.  I was thinking about needing to write this entry, and I’ve decided to not look back.  The year was what it was. It was a year of “It will get better”.  

I spent this year shoulder deep in work, relationships, and not a lot of baseball.  I spent a lot of this year unintentionally reconnecting with people who add a tremendous amount to my life, while at the same recognizing the love and value of the people around me.  

Without a doubt, I can say that I have a great life.  It isn’t perfect, and it shouldn’t be.  Perfect is something nice to strive for, but for some reason it seems to be just too much to reach for. Like you, I have days of rainbows, glitter, and puffy clouds.  And, like you...I have days of fuck, shit, argh, damnit, and something I would describe as  a “momentary emotional outburst that involve tears”.   At the conclusion of said “momentary emotional outbursts” I think to myself “It will get better”, dust myself off and get on with it.

(I swear on a stack of bibles, this is going somewhere)

You know, I walk through Union Station at least two times a day.  I have the opportunity to pass at least 50 people every time.  I often think to myself that I should put my phone away and look up, make eye contact with as many people as possible...because I want people to know that I see them.  I see you.  Not like a security, creepy kind of thing, but when you consider how many people you might pass in a day and not say hello...but just pass them in the hall...I can’t help but think about how many people go through their day and only get their recognition as a human being one or two times a day.  

And, that’s it...that is my point.  The project of “it gets better” was just a start.  The next step literally must be “You are not alone”

My friends...You Are Not Alone, and further - you are not invisible.  You might be stuck behind the big espresso machine, commuting, in the midst of crossing the street...you’ll see me...and I’ll look to make eye contact with you so that you know that I see you.

2012 Video Yearbook


2012 - it has been real.  :-)
This is the mobile version of the video.  If you want the real think, check out Facebook.

No more Nice Mommy

It has been quite the weekend.  I had high hopes on Friday, when Iolani made the Union Station Pilgrimage without the use of the stroller. She wanted to be seen wearing her backpack, she was full of conversation about what she was expecting of the day.  When I picked her up that evenings, we traveled home - sans stroller.  I'm thinking we are dee Ohhh Ennnn EEEE with the stroller.  Let's see how Monday morning goes.

Saturday afternoon, Alex and I found ourselves knee deep in the discussion about Discipline.  We are a no-spank house, we haven't really been successful in using timeouts.  We have been good about just saying "go to your room".  In fact, when she thinks she's done something wrong, often times she will just go to her room on her own.

So, when her attitude blatantly ignores Alex - and I'm supplied with "But but but but but...Mommy...." I think we were both at a loss of what to do.

And, then...this afternoon while we were at the theater watching Nutcracker...imagine our horror...ABSOLUTE HORROR...when our child no only is antsy at the theater, but then begins a meltdown/tantrum in the middle of the theater. At least 40 other people didn't have to imagine it - they lived it.  We had to leave.  We LEFT the theater.  We had a talk outside the theater about how Daddy was really looking forward to the movie, that it was something nice he wanted to do for us, and further - that Daddy was going to be very sad that Iolani had to cry during the Nutcracker.  Her reason: she claimed to miss the cat.

As we made our way out the door, I remembered the other reason for our trip to the area: Santa Claus. The dilemma became - Do we go straight home, or do we visit Santa and go home.  Once we decided that Santa was going to get a visit, I had to get cash from the ATM to pay for the Santa visit.  Another tantrum ensued...right in front of Santa Claus.  So, of course - once we did get up there, Santa so graciously mentioned that Iolani needed to start listening to her parents.

That lasted all of one Alley.

So, here we are.  Figuring out that if she doesn't get enough time to play outside she is going to be like this.  If she doesn't get enough mommy/daddy time, she's going to be like this.  I say this with a smile, I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world - but OMG...the girl needs constant nurturing.  LOL.

So - raise your sippy cup to constant nurturing.