Monthly Archives: March 2014

Oakland is the New Brooklyn

My KISA is convinced that Oakland is the new Brooklyn. For those that aren’t familiar with the reference, Brooklyn has experienced gentrification in the past decade of people that couldn’t afford Manhattan or the “better” parts of New York City and therefore sprawled out into Brooklyn, pushing many lifelong residents with it, along with much of the low income housing. Oakland doesn’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to crime rates, but there aren’t a lot of places left to move to, which is why he believes it’s following in Brooklyn’s footsteps.

Since many of you aren’t from the Bay Area, let me give you some background on the 4 areas which one could live:

  1. San Francisco is super hipster and has all the amenities you’d want in a big city. However, it’s unbelievably pricey and the average person can’t afford to rent, much less buy a house in the city. My friend Sheena told me last week that her saved online search to have 1 bedroom apartments under $2500 has fizzled out in the last few months. And, odds are you’ll probably have a job down in the South Bay which you’ll need to commute to.
  2. The South Bay, which is everywhere south of San Francisco to San Jose (some people also call it the Silicon Valley) has some of the best school systems in Northern California, therefore making the housing unbelievably high and unaffordable for non-millionaires. (But your kids would be hanging out with Mark Zuckerberg and other big name CEO’s kids.)
  3. The North Bay (across the Golden Gate Bridge), which is Marin County, is absolutely stunning but has also been absolutely expensive for decades. Imagine having a house set perfectly on a hillside to have beautiful sunsets over the bay while having a skyline view of San Francisco. Yep, that’s what you’re paying for.
  4. The East Bay has cities without much crime, such as Berkeley, Piedmont, and Walnut Creek. However, as you can probably guess, people flocked to these areas early and it is now overpriced as well. Oakland is also in the East Bay and is literally the only city left with “affordable” house (I put it in quotes because you’d probably still wet your pants if you knew the prices).

In all fairness, Oakland has many of the same perks as San Francisco, including eight BART (subway) stops and is literally just a bay away from San Francisco. (I like to think of Oakland as San Francisco’s naughty half-brother…same genetics and potential, but not quite molded into its potential.) It has some really cool, hip areas with restaurants, bars, and stores – but there are more neighborhoods not like that. It also has a lot of very residential areas that remind me more of Madison than Oakland. And, since we escaped Madison to postpone suburbia those neighborhoods aren’t real appealing to us DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) yet.

When my KISA initially proposed the idea of buying a house in Oakland I naturally shut him down. I understood the investment potential as Oakland housing was already on the rise, but it wasn’t an area I saw myself living. Or at least from what I knew of the times I visited Oakland to go to an A’s game and to buy our car. Ok, maybe I hadn’t really given it a fair shot. I put my Oakland feelers out at work and I learned a lot of our executive staff lived there, including our VP of Client Marketing and our VP of Sales Operations, my boss’s boss. Then our Inside Sales Manager told me he thought it was a phenomenal idea because it was so up and coming. He warned me I’d hate the commute, though. Great. That was what put me into my panic attack a year ago and made me want to quit my job. But, maybe I could somehow tolerate that this time.

I knew my KISA often let me have my way and I realized it was my turn to let him have his way…or at least hear him out. He told me that if we bought a house in Oakland we could take the honeymoon to Antarctica, have babies sooner, and I could get a convertible. I was sold. (I mean our current car is leased, so I’d for sure be going over the miles driving four days a week until our lease is up…we’d need another car so a convertible made sense.) He knows the way to my heart; it took me all of 15 seconds to start creating a short list of realtors and loan officers to scope out.

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Lent

One of my favorite times of the year is Lent. Yeah, I know, it sounds weird. In being Catholic, one of the Lenten beliefs is that you should give up one luxury from Ash Wednesday (yesterday) through Easter Sunday.

Now I don’t necessarily love Lent because I’m a devote Catholic…in fact I’ve fallen off the bandwagon more than I’d like to admit. However, I think people everywhere should practice the Lenten sacrifice for two reasons: one to be grateful and appreciative for what you already have and two to use it as an opportunity to give up any vices. In the past I’ve given up sweets, alcohol, shopping, caffeine, sweets again…you name it! This year I already gave up whining and talking bad about others for March, so I had to come up with something else.

A couple weeks ago I forgot my iPhone at work in the gym. I was at the train station and I had a choice to either bike back to work and miss my train (therefore be home almost 45 minutes later than usual) or else go without my phone.  I opted for the latter, partly out of sheer laziness. That night and the next morning I was severely uncomfortable and anxious to not have my phone; one would have thought my only child was missing for the night. I then realized how obsessive my iPhone habits were. Since then I’ve been more aware of my iPhone usage. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my email and social media. The last thing I do at night is check my email and social media. I’ve even found that when I’m taking a quick bathroom break I’ll check my email and social media. When I get on the train I’ll check email and social media. Since work has been busier than usual I don’t have time during the day to check up on that stuff, so I make every effort to do so when I’m away from my desk.

I knew an intervention had to happen and Lent was the best time to do it. Instead of going cold turkey on Sunday I deleted social media from my iPhone. Monday and Tuesday I deleted even more apps. Effective yesterday morning I shut off my personal and work email without checking it. So far I have been successful, but that’s not to say it’s not uncomfortable. However, I am finding the extra time useful. Last night, when I’d usually be catching up on social media or Pinterest I did my taxes on my laptop. This morning, when I would usually be in bed checking my phone as my KISA was getting for ready for work we instead had a conversation (weird, I know). I actually forced myself this morning to shower and be getting ready for work before hauling out my laptop to check my email (no social media, though). What’s odd is that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything social media-wise by not checking it, but my email is a whole different story.

I’ve realized that we’ve created a society where communication comes through email or instant messaging. I communicate more with friends and coworkers via email rather than the phone – my family and a couple of dear friends are the only exception. If someone emails me about something I feel the need to email back instead of calling. I wait for good news via email instead of a phone call.

So, we’re two days in and I haven’t died yet. I guess if Jesus went for 40 days and 40 nights without food I’ll be ok.

30 Days of 30

I’ve been informed that I forgot to share my 30 days of resolutions for February. As you probably noticed, my 30 days of blog postings ended on January 31st. Starting February I was doing 30 days of journal entries. For some reason I found this much tougher than writing blog postings. Part of it might be because I’m much faster at typing than writing, but I refuse to be the generation that forgets all the “old school” ways of communicating. I didn’t make it every day of the 30 days journaling, but I did a considerable amount. I found journaling to be helpful to pinpoint trends in my moods, to note self-discoveries, and to be very honest with myself on things I need to work out. I would also say that from a relationship standpoint it helped us do a considerable amount of growing and communicating. Sometimes becoming self-aware can be painful to realize horrible things about yourself, but thankfully I have an incredible KISA that has a talent for making my flaws seem easier to overcome.

Here are some of the not-so-great things I’ve learned about myself in the past month:

  • I need to stop complaining/whining. I learned it’s actually a control mechanism as well as a social mechanism; either way it’s very unbecoming. I find myself verbalizing everything that goes through my head and that needs to stop. I don’t want a child that whines, but if their mother does that’s not a great example.
  • I have to stop talking bad about other people. I’m not sure yet why I do it, which is something my KISA is working to help me identify. I am extreme in the sense that if I adore someone I can’t stop talking about how great they are. If I don’t like them, I blast them not only to my KISA, but also to other people. Again, it’s become a way of connecting with others, but I have many other things to talk about in life to connect to people rather than bad-mouthing others.
  • I need to ease up on my expectations of others. I’ll write another blog posting about men specifically, but I’ve realized that I become disappointed when people aren’t acting perfectly or how I think they should, even though I am the first to acknowledge that I am not a role model for this. This has especially been true with my KISA.
  • I need to stop inserting my opinion when it’s not asked. I feel like I have a wealth of information to share with others; in reality, it’s a wealth of opinions. I insert myself into situations where I should not and that too needs to stop. If I think a person is bad for another I’ll say it. If I think someone shouldn’t do something, I tell them. I’m not afraid to call people out on things that I think are wrong because that’s what I expect others to do for me. However, I need to remember that it’s only my opinion of what’s right or wrong and also not everyone wants to hear it. I need to start minding my own business and not insert myself into places where I don’t belong.

So, that’s a lot. I apologize to everyone that has been a victim of the above, but I am now conscious of these behaviors and am working to fix them.

Now that it’s March I decided it would be a good opportunity to work on 30 days of not complaining, whining, or talking bad about others. Granted, I’m still going to allow myself to vent when I’ve had a bad day, but I still have to draw the line in the sand between venting and complaining. That will be a work in progress. So will not complaining, whining, or talking bad about others. Wish me luck!