Apping it in

I'm not a tech junkie.
I'll keep saying that until you guys stop laughing.

isn't this the woman who tweeted during labor?

Not the point.

I've been known to run a lot off my phone.  Presentations, conference calls, databases, sign in sheets, talking points, text messages, follow car chases. 

And then, the rest of you caught up with me.

My work life is very much managed on a device.  And, so is much of my house.  Leaving me to spend my energy with my husband, daughter, and all the other people who make us whole.  How's it done?  What's the secret? Most of it has to do with these Apps and Devices (in Alpha order, because I'm having an extra moment). 

  • Alexa: I've backed in the whole school morning routine, and tossed in a Saturday AM (at 9:30) reminder to Iolani to clean out her bathroom of dirty clothes.  There are reminders at 6a to wake up, 6:30 that it's 6:30, and 7A reminder to turn off the lights, grab your Metro pass and get out the door. I have a 8:45P reminder to finish clearing off the counter.  This is in addition to the drop-in feature, or to let everyone know that food's ready.  Or, my favorite....to start playing bouncy music when everyone's overslept.  
  • Calm: Ayda turned me on to the app.  Now, everyone's meditating.  Iolani showed me the Unicorn meditation, and I haven't looked back.  You look now
  • Echos, Echos, and more Echos. Are they listening to everything, yes.  Do they have to? No.  
  • GoHenry: I'm not walking around with paper cash or metal coins. 
  • Heal: Because when Alex or Iolani get sick, I do not want to take them to office where even MORE sick people are.  I like the housecalls. Consider for the older parents, as they now take Medicare.
  • HopSkipDrive Uber for kids.  Which, you can use your Flexible Spending (FSA) for childcare to get your kids from school to home, band practice, or to the friend who lives too far away from a Metro stop.
  • Lifx: For when you leave the lights on, or your husband's cat is afraid of the dark, or you just like purple lights.
  • LinkedIn Learning is for folks who heard "Life Long Learning" all their life, and they just feel compelled to learn something new every day.
  • Litter Robot: We have cats, because we don't want to follow our pet around picking up their poop.  Worth every penny.
  • Roomba: Ah ya.  The gateway drug to letting robots and apps take over your life.  LOL.  We started with a Roomba way back when we first moved in together.  Now, we have this one, and the one with the wet or dry mop.  This one is connected to the Alexa, and a routine.  So, when I say... "I'm leaving" the lights turn off, the TV turns off, and the roomba starts! AHH!!!  
  • Thermo is the thermometer that takes everyone's temperature while they are sleeping.  Sick child who finally went to sleep....yes...her temp is still 101.  But, the app reads the measurements, and it's down from 102, from an hour ago.  And, you can track your own temperature a few moments later, to see how far along in the virus you are.  (Or, track your husband who claims he isn't sick, but he's at 100, even....while he's sleeping).  This talks to your health apps on your phone.
  • Blood Pressure cuff.  Because I'm still working on managing my blood pressure. It also talks to my health apps.  I'm trending down, for all those who worry.
  • UrbanSitter has helped me to find the best sitters. Josie (OMG, so awesome).
  • ZocDoc when it's time to get into the actual doctor's office.  Make the appointment, show up, and BAM.  
There's more.  But I'm hungry for breakfast.  I'd ask you what are your favorite family management apps.  However, I know you are just harvesting my info here.  So, I'll leave you to click.


It started with Happy Hour


It started with a Facebook post by a troop leader about what to do at the end of the school year.  Thinking back to all the year end things, the one I enjoyed the most was when we went to the top of the Wilshire Grand.  I just looked for photos, can't find any.  But, I will tell you I dropped about $200 on Shirley Temples (Extra extra cherries) and two of the entire dessert menus. Then, there's that time we went to the JW Marriot for ice cream. Subway for troop snack.  And, during the last trip to Carpinteria, the girls opted to eat at a nice Italian restaurant that sounds like Gucci.  (I'm confident that's the only reason why they chose the place). Countless trips to Starbucks.  It's our post camping thing, and immediate fall back when the girls are less than happy with what's going on at the troop meeting.

As I said on Facebook, I'm not the best "arts and crafts" troop leader. And, I suck at badge work.  I'm thankful for the adults in the troop who push where I pull. I won't out them, but I have some of the best parents in the world. But, this blog entry is not about them.  It's about our Girl Scouts

When I was 10, my world was starting to show signs of shakes, moves, and tremors.  My parents were in the midst of changing nearly everything about themselves.  Was what it was, is what it is.  I do remember needing to be more present in my world.  I didn't know (nor should I have) how equipped I was. I had grownups around me making requests for what was needed in that moment.  I experienced that if I could ask with the same level of confidence, that my requests could be fulfilled. 

I can be that grownup, now. But, also - some of those best lessons of bring in Girl Scouts have real life application, right now.  Okay.  I'm going to just launch right into this. 

Buddy up for the bathroom: Yes.  Rape Culture.  And, it's real.  Traveling in groups does make you less of a target. Taking a buddy to the bathroom is a life lesson.  Drinking at the bar, go to the bathroom - take a buddy.  Yes, safety.  On the lighter side: bathroom gossip feels really good when intoxicated. 

Ordering for yourself: read the menu, understand the pricing, ask questions about what you read. It's why we go to school.  Reading comprehension.  

(I think my pain medicine is starting to impact the quality of this blog, but I'm just going to keep going)

Acting not the fool in groups at the restaurant: In dining with clients - restaurant confidence closes deals. The person who can lead the group, be the respectful one to apologize for the sloppy drunk, manage the high maintenance eater (there's always one who doesn't want Kale, and kale shows up in the KALE SALAD).  Be the one who knows who's supposed to be sober, know how to order a full round of drinks (Shirley Temples, all around!!!!) and 10 orders of fries, extra ranch.  That's how you close a deal. And, even better - be the one who gets everyone back to the correct hotel room, without any hangers on.  There's no badge for this.  However - it's a skill.  

You know though, the reason why I want these girls to have confidence now when out on the town?  So they know when they are a little older (like 16 to 26), how to be the one in charge at Da Club, at the dive bar, and the sketchy place in Paris, when they've maxed out their credit card on a one night quick hop to follow Marshmello. Or, when they go out with some douchebag of their dreams, and realize they are worthy of some one or thing more.  I want to know I've left them with THAT skill set of badassery.  

Consent: Oh My Goodness.  I could go on about all the different forms of consent.  Knife safety - handing over an open knife, and saying "thank you" to confirm the handoff.  You are consenting to handing over the knife.  Taking a group selfie, you are consenting to the use of that image.  "Can I hug you" is seeking consent to touch someone.  Talking to someone about your feelings, is offering consent to the exchange.  Also - for the person listening...you are consenting to listening. What does consent look and feel like?  What is the opposite of consent in this instance, and how to you convey this with and without words?  Oh my goodness.  

Could you imagine what college could have felt like if there were more spiritual and conceptual and silly discussions about "the meaning of consent"?  Why not have that convo with your kid now?  

We had to have the consent discussion when the iphones started popping up at sleepovers.  Consent, who can give what kind of consent, and what is consent?  Imagine the parent who doesn't give their kid a cellphone, and yet this child has a musically account, with various stages of dress, dancing in their bedroom on full internet blast.  SHIT THEIR PANTS. (Click here for visual)

We didn't even get to the talking about internet bullying, at that meeting.  We just talked about the fact that when sleepovers happen, there needs to be an open discussion with Grownups about when and where videos can be made, talking about their creative process, and ensuring that Grownups are in agreement that while videos will be made, the videos will be kept private, and if there's a for real..."This girl will not appear on camera" agreement.  (This is very important for those parents who have to tow a very delicate line with custodial concerns).  

For the girl who can't appear on camera, have no fear...you have your cameraperson! 

Quick story: When I first started the troop, all the leader trainings when on and on about no cellphones.  As one who's rarely without my phone, that's ridiculous.  My phone is my piece of peace. (For another blog entry).  Then, I told the parents in the troop that we'd be using Facebook for the calendar, discussion, all communications.  Of course, there were parents who were like "We don't use social media".  Then, I'd have to reply... "Why did your kid send me a friend request?"  

The take away here is this: Your kid wants you to leave them alone. Those 10YOs see the world from their favorite YouTube channels.  They are watching Miss Mina, traveling the world with her mom.  Iolani wants to do this with me, right now. See.  She's traveling WITH HER MOM!  

So, for as much as she wants to experience freedom, she needs to know what basic life skills.  Yes, the toaster oven, coffee maker, and microwave all need to be taught to her.  But, I also need to know she knows how to keep her eyes off her phone for a moment on the train to see who's on the train.  I need to know she knows how to find a safer situation, be aware of her surroundings, and look for who the helpers are.  


The other foot

I had my left foot's bunion removed on Friday.  We did the right foot back in December, and it was a very successful removal.  I can't say enough for the Dr's approach, and I'm very appreciative that my feet have taken to the recovery process.

When I first googled bunion surgery, or mentioned it to anyone - there was a lot of hesitation.  There was "it hurts even more" or "I've heard the recovery time is long".  Number one: I cannot imagine that the right foot pain couldn't get any worse.  Before the surgery (My coworkers could agree), my right foot was just causing so much pain.  I was taking ibuprofen like candy.  I was in a boot, a cane, and then finally the scooter.

Had the right foot done, and was walking with no pain by Christmas.  I stayed off my foot, hardly used the crutches (because that would be moving around), and just let my body heal.  It worked for me. And, ibuprofen is not candy.

Sure, there's foot pain, but not because of the bunion. The rest of my foot made all these accommodations for the bunion, and know all those muscles, tendons, and bones need to work their way back into place.  I can do that by wearing these toe socks, and being mindful when on long walks - that my body is healing.

So, on to the left foot.  I'm elevating, but moving around way more than I should.  I'm working on it.

I would say to anyone who's got those bunions, and the doctor's recommended surgery.  Really consider it.  Don't automatically buy into the concerns that I heard. Listen to your body, prepare and make time for recovery.  Making time for recovery would be my biggest recommendation.  Foot pain can stop all the fun in your life (for reals, get drunk with bad feet), you'll see.

Get it fixed.

For those interested: Dr. Kourosh Harounian is my podiatrist.  I found him off ZocDoc, and I picked him (initially) because I could make an early Saturday morning appt.  At the MacArthur park office, he accepts walk-ins, has an x-ray machine onsite, and has a dutiful front office staff.

I kept coming back: well - after I had the MRI, he received the results Dr. H asked me to come in very promptly (He was like, well...right now, if not today) to get my right foot booted up.  Then, when it came time to look at surgery, he really wanted me to get a second opinion (and I was ready with an exacto knife, ot get to cutting), and the second opinions's offered both versions of the surgery: go in for the 100% fix (which would fuse my big toe) or go for the screw in my toe, to get me 10 years.

I went with the 10 year plan.  Even though Dr. H said afterwards that it looked way worse than anticipated.  The next 10 years involves Iolani going from pre-teen to adulthood.  Alex and I are in such a great place, to be able to travel, move around.  I want 10 years of unfused big toe.  I'm surely overstating the impact of what a fused toe means, but no, I'm not.

Another "point for the Doctor" is that after the first surgery, he called to check in.  I'm sure all the doctors do this, but I get the sense that he cares, and if I'm serious about fixing my feet, and that I care about my recovery, then - I can match the sense of accomplishment that he exudes.  And, stay off my darned feet.  :-)

Get your feet fixed, which includes letting them recover from surgery.


Headphones


I’ve had a day.  You know the kind of day…that’s like….well…when my alternator kept giving out, and I’d have it replaced.  But this happened three times, and I replaced three $400 alternators.  Only to find out that a $3 voltage regulator was all that was needed.  That kind of a day.  The kind of day that gave birth to Alanis Morissette Ironic album.

At work, people are warming up to the idea of web-based calls.  We all have Skype.  I could go into all the functionality of it, but the rest of the world’s been using Skype for a couple of years.  I’ve been using it since…2003.  Since it like opened. Either way, at work, I’m the person my co-workers relate all the technology stuff to.  This week’s best question: Headphones.  

No, gross. You cannot use my headphones. Why? 

The kind you get is up to you.  Things to consider:
How much time you are going to spend on a call?  If you are expecting to sit and listen to 45 min of presentation, over the ears will feel better than buds.

Are you going to be presenting?  Things to consider:
If you sit in cubicle world, noise canceling mic is a fo-sure, fo-sure need.  As the loud talker on the floor - you do not need your audience to hear me tell you about that one time at Girl Scout camp.

Your head.  Right?  Yes.  Big hair (like me) the around the back of your neck, and over your ears are good.  No hair...do not get the metal band.  Also - light on the hair up top, and you really want over the ears - do yourself a favor, and get a padded headset.  Complicated hair relationship?  Yes - around the back of your neck and over your ears.  

In no particular order:


Want to read more? Here, I googled it for you. Just keep googling and massively clicking on every different link, soon enough you’ll update your Amazon advertisements.

Don't want to spent money period, and you have a desk top computer?  Rearrange your CPU, so it's on top of your desk, to get the headset (you use for your mobile phone) close enough.  Or, get an extender.

At the end of the day, don't spend too much money on this.  The lifespan is a year, maybe two - tops. Plus, you know if you get good ones, people will want to borrow them, or your child will take off with them.  

Regardless learn how to clean your headphones or earbuds.

Stuck on the couch...Here...apartment review.

I've got a foot surgery booked on the calendar, so I know that I'll be spending more time on the couch.  Maybe I can make up for 10 years of light blogging.

As you know, Alex and I have lived in DTLA since 2008.  We've lived in a couple of places, and we will be forever renters.  We've toured a TON of apartments - some we can afford, and more that we cannot.  Nevertheless, we know apartments, amenities, and assholes.  LOL.  Not a lot of assholes, just Art the Ass.  #neverforget

With so many apartment buildings, check this out...here's what I think...

We currently live at Wren, and there's a lot of things to like about this place.  The community amenities are on the 2nd floor, the rooftop is understated and totally practical.  The apartments feel very sturdy, and practical.  The business center is practical.  And, the Lease-Up team did a great job attracting people who actually want to be neighbors, and not just the quiet unknown people you share walls with.  There's regular events, hosted by management.  The building crew are invested in the building, don't know how, but they care.  Maintenance requests are handled promptly and correctly.  The restaurant on the ground floor just opened.

There are a couple of buildings that are opening up.  I'm not interested in moving, but I wanted to write something about these new places....

La Plaza Village: next to the Gold Line's Chinatown station...the 2B&B description includes "Barn Door"...say no more, I'm curious to see what that's all about.  Check out the pool layout.  Heads up...big pools lead to big parties.  You probably don't remember this article that (hopefully) gave property managers the heebie-geebies. Small pools are boring.  Nothing good comes of large open spaces in apartment buildings. 

Hey, look...while looking for the Heebie-Geebie article, I found this VRBO touting the pool at the rental property.

OliveDTLA is right across from Wren, and there's silly rivalry. The building looks like there's younger-ish residents, the two story apartments look like they have gatherings with interesting programming for lights.  I've seen the stairway doors opened to let in a group of friends.  That says the building is happily busy.  It's nice to have a healthy building rivalry...that means we are all watching each other. Their ground floor will soon have the doggie-day care.  The pool is not on the rooftop, and is a good size to avoid lalaPOOLooza, and is close to the Expo & Blue lines' Pico stop. For those who don't want to drive anymore, it's a no-car friendly neighborhood.

Another close to us property - Axis...there's one on 11th and 12th.  Because there's an Axis on 11th, and and an Axis on 12th - the website is confusing, and you cannot multitask when viewing the website.  Like all these properties, make a list, look at a map, and then make some appointments.  Getting to know property managers AND leasing agents will always be the way to go in DTLA.  Some of my most favorite people in DTLA have been leasing agents who we've followed from Santee Court to PE Lofts.  AND, property managers who started off as leasing agents and now run their own building.  Following lease-ups is really the secret sauce in DTLA.

Circa Hashtag: so pretty but no way can we afford this.  It's got everything you need - Metro bus and rail stops.  Across the street from LA Live, there's bike lanes. Ralphs and Smart and Final. There's restaurants.  I'm sure they'll have a fancy coffee machine in the lobby.  (All the lobbies should have fancy coffee machines in the lobbies when paying more than $2K/month.)

Grace on Spring uses an old AF photo to describe their location.  That's sad.  Another bummer, those with kids...you'll have to talk about what to do with the non-master bedroom...as that's the one with the balcony. But, given how they've lined up their website...they look to pack in a bunch of 30 somethings with dogs.   For reals, look at what I've become.

Okay, fine.  I'm stuck on the couch, and I'm grumpy.  Let me tell you about two places that I've watched and like.  Wakaba and 1000Grand are great options for two different reasons:

Wakaba is in Little Tokyo, and is P E R F E C T for foodies.  There's always going to be a new place nearby, and there's always going to be old standards.  Yes, the neighborhood is currently running down the checklist of how a neighborhood is gentrified.  Nevertheless, you don't need a car, there's transit, scooters, and bikes all over the place. Grand Park is nearby, there's a local library.  The Double Tree is there, stores, Little Tokyo has everything you need. Keep an eye on the floor plans, as one plan has the non-master balcony thing going on.  (On that front, Little Tokyo is home to most of the daycares and preschools in all of DTLA).

1000Grand, I've toured.  We tried to get in, and Wren took us first.  1000Grand has **THE** best rental property closest I've ever seen.  The lobby feels like a brand new Embassy Suite, and the community amenity layout creates a great atmosphere for your tribe's dinner (Small groups, not a 20+gathering).  And, the closet...if you organize your closet, look here first, and then compare this to the rest of your appointments. The balcony is off the living room, so the grownup can rest easy, knowing that your kid won't be able to access the balcony while playing in their room.  Silently.

Wrapping it up.  Another thing I really like about Wren...big huge windows.  Jackie Brown is all about watching the pigeons sitting on the roof next door.  In fact, I think it's driving her crazy that she can't reach out and swipe at one.