Poolside Blogging

We continued emptying boxes this weekend.  And, my favorite inlaws came all the way from Santa Monica to go to church, eat brunch, see our new place, and hang out on the Metro with us.  The weekend moved fast.  Yesterday there was a BBQ over at the long-time kinda-neighbors, but now we are in the same mini-neighborhood.  This was a very social weekend.  In the course of my recovering depression, it was a very full weekend, and I think I came out unscathed.  If anything, Alex and Iolani have a renewed taste for getting out of the house more.  Yikes.  They want to get out of the house more.  Okay.  Fine. We can get out of the house more.

At this moment (8:49p.m.) we are sitting poolside.  Alex and Iolani are on the large cabana couch, and I'm sitting next to them.  I told Alex I didn't want to sit on the cabana couch, as I was blogging.  Iolani replied..."Vlogging?".  No - Blogging.  "It's what people did before video blogging".

The important thing is that I'm sitting outside the house, after a really busy weekend of seeing people, being around people, and I'm just full of deep, unaffected sighs.  No, really.  I'm fine.  I'm just reminding myself to take a breath.  Breathe.

My goals this week (Outside of that million dollar project I'm working on) are focused on finding the power cord for the roomba.  The extra cord and stylus for the surface. And, getting Iolani's closet set up.  Inside work...this weekend was the end of a big sprint. This coming sprint is the end of the "Hurry up and get the email distribution system in place" sprint.  May and June are big H U G E months for the CRM.  And, for the first time, this past week - I felt like we-all are in the same book, reading at different speeds...looking to get onto the same page. 

So, back to explaining blogs to the kid....

The Sixth Time

Before Iolani, Alex and I moved on a very regular basis.  So regular, that we had unpacked boxes from one AND two previous moves.  Those who’ve followed us through the years know that we’ve been in the Fashion District (Santee Court), Historic Core “lite” (Pacific Electric), Historic Core “hard” (SB Manhattan, Financial District (Pegasus), Olvera/Historic Cultural (Mozaic), and now, South Park (Wren). For as much as this is one downtown, there are bunch of mini communities in each, and they each have a distinct personality. 

Will we ever make it to Chinatown, Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, Arts District, City West? Eh, dunno.  This isn’t really the intent behind each of these moves.  Most of the time, these moves are out of necessity.  As renters, we are dependent on the economy’s breath.  Deep breath in, makes everything tight.  The incentives for moving or renewing are nil. Deep breath out, and you’ll see the silliness of three months free, gift cards, and 18-month leases.  Oh, how I long lease terms.

Here we are. I didn’t think we’d ever move to South Park.  There’s a perception that South Park is the wealthier part of town. I never considered it as an option.  When all the rents in DTLA are bonkers, South Park makes the list.  Until a week ago, I’d never walked around much, not familiar with the stores, food places, and all important liquor stores.

I’ve never lived in a neighborhood where the growth is so pronounced.  When you get off the Pico station, walk to the house – the buildings you pass by are like this: 2 story w/ Liquor store, 6 story new apartment building, 2 story w/ Liquor store, 6 story new apartment building, 2 story w/ Liquor store, 6 story new apartment building.  I might have too many of something in there, but it’s either more liquor store who survived previous attempts to build out the are – or more apartments that are in various stages of their first lease-up.

The big difference for me – which I see as a celebration…trees!  The variety  of trees in South Park is amazingly refreshing. Then, you have the swales. Who doesn’t like a solid swale. 

I’ll get use to this. 

tap tap. Is this thing on?

Looks like the last post was in January. Like every year, plenty has happened.  Iolani has grown into preteen world.  Alex and I realized that we've been together for over 15 years, seems like a bat of an eye.  

There's been a lot of hiking, camping, and a new venture....RVing.  I didn't think I'd be the RVing kind of person.  But, as I get older (and creakier) and do more camping with the girl scout troop, RVing seems like a huge luxury.  So, we tried it...loved it.  

The part of RVing that I love the most?  Done right, the moment you are off work, you are done!  You toss the city to the side (or rather, leave behind in your mirror) and you are done.  At the campground.  

Work has been busy, as it should.  There's been plenty of small transitions, new programs, new ways to manage a moment, and everyone's tossing what they can against the wall to see what sticks. I feel like we are making significant headway towards managing the message, rather than trying to manage a moment.  There's no part of me that's not optimistic that we are working together to the same thing.

Outside of work, it's been a huge year of up-ups, and down-downs.  The up, is the arrival of Pastor Mandy (!!!), which embodies a significant expenditure on my part.  I didn't realize it until her arrival, but the moment she arrived, I was able to exhale.  

And then, Grandpa Bob passed away.  Alex Milton Chi passed away.  Others have passed away.  I've been preparing for Grandpa Bob's passage, but then once it happened, I found myself not prepared, and rocked beyond belief.  And, I've found myself grieving in a way that has caused me to just hide.  It takes a lot to get me out of the house, around people, even to the grocery store.  I'm still trying every day, and I'm pretty sure outside of this blog post, only Alex sees what this has done, and how I'm struggling to get my center back.

But, I'm fighting to get there.  And, I feel like I have a world of supporters at every turn.

My growth this year can be described as the first year I've felt like others around me can "handle it". It sounds condescending, and as if I didn't think the world around me could withstand what I've been going through in my head and heart.  And, here I am. It's easy to say and hear "Let me know what I can do to help" or "what can I do to help", and I'm at the point where I trust every bit of humanity around me to be able to do this.  And, I am so thankful, grateful, and warmed in my heart - that I believe it.  

I miss Blogging

I've said it before - Facebook and Twitter killed my blog.  But, I feel like I'm coming full circle.  I'm back to talking in more than 140 characters.  I don't want to be full of "Articles I read".  I want to pull back the curtain on what appears to be a very full life.

Not Busy.  But, very full.

I'm at a point in my life where people are with me for 15 to 30 minutes at a time - face to face - and then go back to being an email address or some social media handle.  I've been struggling with how to be in the moment, but also how can I extend the moment to make this moment live on just a little longer.

I might not be able to update as regularly as I want.  But - I don't want GH&T to cease.  I miss my blog.  Let's give it a breath.

On The Edge

I’ve been at the California-Pacific Conference - the Annual Conference at the University of Redlands.  It’s the conference that I felt that FUMCLA needed to have a presence if we wanted to convince the Conference that our church was viable.  And, this is what I’ve figured out: Not only are we viable, but we are vibrant.  We are a growing congregation, and are twitchy with excitement.

I’ve been upset, distraught, angry, sad, and then I’m here now. Two days ago I felt like I had to force the feeling that our Church was going to be okay.  But, now I have a much better sense that FUMCLA will continue to grow.  

We’ve spent years (even before the Brideaus arrived in DTLA in 2004) on congregation building, working with church-growth consultants offered by the district to make sure we were welcoming, that we could be confident in asking people to come to church on Sunday. We spent years counteracting nature: older congregants just up and died, and we couldn’t replace members with new members fast enough.  

So here we are.  Many of us have sacrificed spiritual growth for the sake of building actual walls of our own that would support our spiritual growth. And, I’m tired.  

Whatever our path forward will be needs to honor the history and the intent of FUMCLA.  Our doors can't close, but we might not be the big huge suburban-like church. It probably won't have much of a parking lot. And, we likely won't be alone in our space. That's fine. As long as the Urban Foundation, Kid City, and all the ministries of FUMCLA are intact, I will sleep soundly.

Bishop and Superintendent Making The DTLA Trip

Tomorrow night, our church will be visited by the Bishop and Superintendent to discuss the upcoming change in status of our church.  I’ve been a member of FUMCLA ever since Alex and I moved to Santee Court way back in 2004.  I remember when he told me we should try out the church, especially since it was the church his grandmother was a longtime member.  It was much smaller than Santa Monica FUMC, but there was a draw.

I grew up without a church.  It just wasn’t a thing we did, we celebrated Christmas and Easter - but I didn’t know really what we were celebrating.  When we visited Grandpa Bob and Marian, we’d attend church with them.  But, it wasn’t a thing. Only after living and pushing myself through a bunch of things 20-year olds often do, did I realize that I didn’t have go through life alone.  Even after baptism, I didn’t have a church - Until Alex took me to his church of Santa Monica FUMC.  It was instant!  Being so far away from my family, I felt like I could see again what all kinds of stages of life could look like.  

When we moved into Downtown Los Angeles,  we just figured we’d continue attending Santa Monica FUMC.  The drive on Sunday wasn’t that bad.  But then came that one morning...Alex went to FUMCLA, and I stayed home.  (I likely went over to the Flower Market, since it was right behind the building)  He came home and talked about the pastor, and the diversity of people.  I went the next week with him, and he was right.  Santa Monica UMC is diverse, but FUMCLA had something that I’d never seen before.  Sure, families from other continents, countries, cultures, and I mean everything.  No two people (even family members) had a similar life story.  Everyone was at different points in their life, different experiences with their church, relationship with God, just everything was different.

Hooked.  But Hooked too late?

The church was in transition.  Having torn down their building, they were meeting in a multipurpose room.  The talking tone made it seem that our location was very temporary, and that a new building was imminent.  Like a woman just moments about to deliver a baby...kind of imminent.  This has been the longest labor.

We’ve had reboots, Messy Church, open invitations, invitations and invitations, and engagement.  We’ve lost pastors who’ve dedicated their entire being to helping us to rebuild our congregation. The excitement when someone walks in the door - every single time - is still there.  Not because we’ve hung our hat on thinking maybe this will be the person to save our church, but rather “What will this person add to our story”.

That’s where we’ve failed to grow our church, we got caught up on the value of each individual person. We were caught in the emotion of every single person, which meant that we were too slow. We value the quality of the individual relationship, not the quantity of relationship.  My friends and family - I want you to know that regardless of our church’s definition - we failed to grow our church in numbers.  We grew hearts and minds. 

We failed to put people in church on Sunday morning.  We failed to maintain the status quo on the long-held tradition that “Church” only happens on Sunday.

But, you know where we did not fail… we have not failed in our love for one another, we have not failed to love every single person who’s crossed our threshold of our vision of church.  We have not failed in showing God’s love for anyone.  We have not failed in spreading the Good Words, we have not failed in opening our doors and opening our hearts.  We have not failed those who’ve questioned, cried, or were angry over God’s treatment. We have not failed Kid City, Girl Scouts, our friends at Villa Flores or Hope Village.  We have not failed the food bank, and we have not failed those who use the food bank.  We have not failed DTLA, and we won’t ever have to fail our brothers and sisters.  

I’m broken hearted right now.  I’m welling up with tears every time I think that I won’t see some of these people ever again.  But, then I’m reminded...Church...my friends...does not ONLY happen on Sunday.  I’m just stuck on the decades old tradition that FUMCLA has, the stories of our lives, the stories the walls could tell.  

Long Day

It was very odd NOT to be working the Gold Line opening today.  Almost everyone (with the exception of a couple people...more on that in a moment) from Metro worked the Gold Line opening today (they are likely still working it because the activities don't end until 4p). Here's my day:

6A: Woke up.  It's a nature thing.  I can't sleep in.  I try all the time, but 6A comes, and I'm ready to go.

6:05A: Jackie and Scooter realize that I'm awake.  They aggressively begin to wonder why I haven't fed them yet.

6:06A: Fine.  Out of bed, feed the cats.  Scurry back to bed and begin reading news and email.

8A: Iolani begins to stir. Twenty seconds later she's up, seeking breakfast and Saturday cartoons.

9A: Iolani begins meltdown over clothes, socks, and shoes.  Takes a breath and continues meltdown over shoes.  The issue: She doesn't want any of her shoes to get dirty.

10A: We are to be at the Spring Street Community Garden.  We are still at the house, arguing over shoes.  Ultimatum given: Get your shoes on, or I will put your shoes on you.

10:01A: Shoes on.  Uber on the way.

10:15A: Arrive SSCG.  Meet up with Cadettes and two other Brownies, and attached grown-ups.  The ground was leveled, there was dirty dancing, giggling.  But, we got hungry.

Noon: We walked down to Koraku for lunch.  We inhaled food.  Then, magically a co-worker from the Regional Connector team appears.  Fine...I texted her to let her know we were eating lunch.

1:15P: We rolled into the Little Tokyo Library to crash the TBM workshop that the Regional Connector team was hosting.  How much fun!  The girls get tired of me saying "Oh, a station here!  A station there!" It's nice for them to hear it from someone else.

2P: Depart library.  We are all going our separate ways. Iolani and I head off to the JPV, buy a Hello Kitty thing, and head off to the grocery store.  We need to make a fruit salad for church tomorrow.

Oh, and I bought a can of coffee.

>please hold while I get that can of coffee<

Ah.  Coffee.

We finished at the grocery store, hopped the shuttle from Little Tokyo back to Union Station.  I attempted small talk with a couple of older folks who were obviously on their way back to one of the new Gold Line stations.

4P: Back at the house. I bribe Iolani with a bottle of soda that I bought, in exchange for her putting away the 567,987 pairs of shoes she dragged out of her room earlier in the day. I succeed.  She's also conned me into making her toast.  She knows that I bought white bread at Japanese grocery store.  She's got a soft spot for this bread.

I've got a night of fruit cutting and prepping for Girl Scout Sunday.  It's been a long cookie season, we have a couple of cases left over, which I'm not stressing about.

Obviously, I'm not stressed about cookies.  I mean, I haven't posted a blog entry since last May.

Daisy to Brownie...

This week our little girl goes from Daisy to Brownie.  Eh, any girl going from 1st to 2nd grade can do that...that's true. But, we are talking about Iolani!  :-)

From the first time she put on that little blue uniform, I hoped that she would be as excited as I was to get back into Girl Scouts.  Aaaaaaaaaaaand - she wasn't.  We spent most of last year toughing it out through meetings.  She'd cry in the corner, so upset that she had to share her mom with A LOT (A LOT) of girls. Then, her friend Melissa joined and it was starting to click.

Of course, the weekend came when I went camping with the Brownies and Juniors and she couldn't go.  "Girl Scout Cheating" she said.

Iolani's getting older, and the change from blue to brown is an amazing thing. Iolani has LDS (Leader's Daughter Syndrome), and she is figuring out how to cope with it. I'm going to cry at the ceremony on Thursday.  No Doubt.

I'm gonna cry because all these girls are getting older, bigger, smarter, stronger....  And, being selfish for just a moment...I'm going to cry because had I not started 16155, I've never would have met all these parents, with all these kids, and have done all the awesome things we've done.  I'm so very proud of all the things every one of the girls has accomplished in the last three "Girl Scout" years.

Urban Hike Wrap Up

You know it was a long day if...as soon as we get home, Iolani makes a bee-line for her bed. I look up and she's fussing with her sheets.  The Girl is O. U. T. Out.

It started last year with me wanting the Juniors to take the Daisies on a hike. Not knowing if the Daisies were ready for a hike in the woods (or more like the Juniors ready for the woods), I opted to have them lead an "urban hike" from Pershing Square to Grand Park. The hike was a wild success, and I vowed to do it again. I set the date back in October, the Girl Scout Council ended up scheduling their big volunteer appreciation and property vote on top of it.  Can't win them all.

So, I started to talk it up, pulled together a map, and did the whole Facebook event thing. Crossposting on the DTLA and Girl Scout groups. I had about 15 RSVPs.

It happened today.

We had over 50 people (mostly the under 18 crowd) show up. It was perfect.  We met at Fig@7th, picked because there is parking, clean restrooms and a food court.  The Downtown Center BID provided us with beautiful maps, and it allowed me to show off where we were going, not going, and what to do if they got lost.  The girls were really taken with the maps, as it showed off the Fashion District, Toy District, Little Tokyo, and Chinatown. (For next year - maybe we can venture to the other parts of DTLA over a series of spring weekends!?!?)

We made our way to Pershing Square, Spring Street Park, and then to Gelateria Uli.

Yes. We took the whole group for Gelato! The girls were awesome. We may have set the bar for other large groups to visit Uli's shop.  Huge hat tip to Uli...we showed up about an hour before the usual opening time.  That woman has a heart of gold....

We ended up running late and missed out on the Grand Central Market (although I think a troop broke off and got the GCM food without us. >wink<)

Next stop!  Biddy Mason Park. By this point the girls were hot, tired, and ready for Grand Park.  But there's always time for a little big of Los Angeles history about an amazing African American Woman who is still a stellar example for what it means to use resources wisely and to help others.

Then came the scramble up 2nd Street to Disney Hall, with the amount of sidewalk available that's free of automobile traffic, the girls had a chance to race up (UP) the hill.  We met at the intersection of the Colburn School of Music, The Broad, and Disney Music Hall. What an amazing corner!

We went around the backside of Disney Hall, to arrive at Grand Park. The girls made wise use of the water fountain, had lunch down at the PicnicDTLA, and then began to peel off to go home.  We had troops who took the Metrolink'd in, traveled by Metro, car, and walked.  It was just so much fun, and I thank everyone...sincerely for making this happen.

It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it's true:

"How many girls does it take to start a Girl Scout Troop?"

Answer: none.  It takes three adults.  There are hundreds of girls waiting to join a Girl Scout Troop, but can't because the grown-ups won't step forward. Sure, it takes a couple of hours a month, but it can be incorporated into your day.  

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!