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 saved our night.  Thank you.

From: SAN ZeroWasteLA []
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

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

You may also visit our website at for more information. Please e-mail us at 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

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:    

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

Registration Link:

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,

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:

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 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 will be your responsibility to teach your mom, dad, auntie, uncle, that odd older cousin we all 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 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 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 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:

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:

PS - the rent prices shown online are not correct.