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Laura in CA

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Laura in CA last won the day on February 12 2014

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About Laura in CA

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee

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  1. A friend of ours had to get rabies shots in Central America (he was bitten by a dog), and they were the old-fashioned painful kind (in the stomach). He said that the kind of rabies shots he would normally have gotten here in the U.S. would not have been painful, but he couldn't switch types during a course.
  2. I'm learning a lot in this thread about front-loaders. It's especially interesting about making shorter cycles for American consumers. We always get a kick out of the super-long cycles in Europe – here are photos from the washing machine in our holiday flat in the UK last December we took to show folks back home. Who in the U.S. would accept a 2.5-hour cycle? You do have to plan ahead! ... we're used to popping stuff into the washer and expecting it to be done in, well, under an hour. When we lived in Europe the "Kochwäsche" cycles (95º C 😮 ) impressed me – pretty much steaming-hot water for cotton sheets and cloth diapers/nappies. Also the 4-hour cycles ... 😮 Oh, and Laura C mentioned a U.S. washing machine being brought to England. We saw a U.S. washing machine at a YWAM on the Continent. When it was installed the local handymen laughed and laughed at the hot-water line going in to the machine. Check out the precise temperatures in my lower photo – can't get that when you pretty much randomly mix whatever comes out of the hot and cold taps 🙂 ! Now that we're back in the States I do wonder, as a PP mentioned, how cold my "cold" setting will be (which is what I mostly use) when it's 100ºF outside ...
  3. I agree it seems like a freak accident. In fact, I almost used those exact words in my post – but, I am also clumsier than I used to be ... so I will be more careful now with my stainless-steel straw! I am also eyeing my drinks suspiciously 🤔
  4. You made me curious (and thinking about getting my own straw to carry around – I do this with coffee mugs and drinking glasses, and doggie bags, already). I found this article about Berkeley and it even quotes the manager of the restaurant (Saul's) where I first encountered stainless-steel straws, talking about how Saul's disinfects their straws. (Hmm, I think I will bring my own from now on! although it sounds like they are conscientious.) ETA: I had read the article years ago when I first got curious about the steel straws at Saul's, and I remember that statistic – they used to buy 150,000 straws a year (at a cost of $150 😮 ) and now they buy 200 (at a cost of $500–600). This is not a large restaurant, although it is always very busy. And yummy 🙂 Even without a law, some local businesses have already switched to plastic-free alternatives. Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen on Shattuck Avenue stopped using plastic straws about seven years ago, opting for paper straws until 2015, when they switched to stainless steel reusable straws. They also offer 100% compostable straws for customers who would prefer a beverage to go. “We just realized thousands of straws a day were going into the landfills and waterways,” said general manager Peter Levitt. He’s satisfied with the decision to switch. “They last forever,” he said about the steel straws. “They’re never going to die.” To ensure sanitary reuse, Saul’s soaks the straws horizontally in cleanser, then runs them through a wash of 180 degree Fahrenheit water and then rinses. There are occasional mishaps when a straw does not get completely clean but no more frequently than happens for silverware, Levitt estimates. ... Levitt buys approximately 200 new straws a year for the restaurant, significantly fewer straws than the roughly 150,000 he purchased annually when the restaurant still used plastic disposables. Levitt gave a cost of .001 cent per straw for plastics, which meant Saul’s spent about $150 annually before the switch to stainless. The steel straws cost $2.50 to $3 apiece, according to Levitt, for $500 to $600 in annual expenditures on little metal tubes. Levitt is unconcerned about the added expense. Switching to reusables seemed the right thing to do and easily offset by raising drink prices by approximately 3 cents each. And it doesn’t hurt that the restaurant has less waste as a result. .... Like Levitt, Lau [of a boba tea place] would just pass the cost along. “It would just require that our customers buy a reusable straw,” he said. “And I’m sure there are compostable ones too.”
  5. I usually prefer no straw at all, but some of the restaurants around here (like in Berkeley) use metal straws, which I think is cool ... but I was reading the Times of London this evening and there was an article about a woman killed by a metal straw. The details are rather gory but apparently she fell onto it, and it was one that was fixed in her drinking glass. The metal straw was apparently a birthday present. I did notice that between 2017 and 2018 all the restaurants in London we visited had ditched plastic straws & were using colorful paper straws – with red, yellow, or blue stripes on them like on a barbershop pole. They are just so cheerful to look at. I don't know if I used one (b/c I don't use straws usually) so I don't know about the sogginess issue, but I brought some home b/c they are cheery. I'm looking at some right now.
  6. Don't get me started on "low-flush" toilets that have to be flushed several times instead of once ... 😁 or the mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs that cast a cold glow, give one a headache, AND don't last any longer for us – but are a pain to recycle (we do, of course) and presumably need a lot of handling to recycle, as they are hazardous materials (and who knows how many people do not recycle them, as it isn't made as easy for the U.S. consumer as I have seen in Europe and Asia). Edit: I've banned CF in our house (we use old-fashioned bulbs) until LEDs are more widely available. I'm all for electric cars and solar panels, very popular here in California, but of course batteries and solar panels are made with toxic chemicals. So they are not a 100% perfect solution. but the ultimate (I may post this in the other thread) is an article I read in the Times of London this evening about a woman killed by a metal straw. The details are rather gory but apparently she fell onto it, and it was one that was fixed in her drinking glass. The metal straw was apparently a birthday present.
  7. Check out this puppy in Manteca! Now I see why many people I know who work in the East Bay/Peninsula/SF/San José live in Manteca (& other cities such as Stockton, Modesto, Merced ...). A teacher friend of mine has a colleague who lives in Manteca and teaches in Dublin. She has to leave her house at 5am to have an "easy" hour commute to Dublin; if she leaves at 6am she'll basically never get to work. She arrives at her grandmother's house in Dublin at 6am and takes a 1-hour nap, then goes to the school to work. What a way to live ... BUT my friend says her colleague was able to buy a big house in Manteca for $350k; where we live in the relatively affordable East Bay the median price for a modest home is $700–800k. Here is the "heat map" for the (greater) Bay Area. You can see that it (surprisingly) transitions into green areas (!) relatively close to the jobs (SF, Peninsula, East Bay, etc.). Of course you have a monster commute. And the traffic snarls up our town as people pass through from the Central Valley on their way to points west. ETA: I'm looking at the heat map again, and, not surprisingly – the green areas (median listing price: $400k-ish and below) and yellow areas (looks like high $500ks and below) are either monster commutes* I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (Manteca, Modesto @ $200k+ 😮) or gritty areas (Richmond, etc.). And Liz, sorry about my commute 😂. I don't really need to work but thought I'd enjoy working at our local public library; since I have vision issues I don't drive on the freeways at all (imagine that! a Californian who avoids the freeways!) and chose a job I could commute to by bike or a very short drive for those reasons. I know I am the luckiest woman alive 😊 * some examples of the monster commutes: NYT ("2:15 alarm" UGH) and NYT articles. Quote from the two-year-old "2:15 alarm" article: Long commutes are a byproduct of the region’s tech boom, which has given rise to a full-blown housing crisis. As home prices have escalated beyond middle-class reach, areas far inland have become an oasis of (relative) affordability. Ms. James wakes up in a city where the median home price is below $300,000, according to the online real estate database company Zillow. Prices rise steadily along her commute until she gets off her last train in San Francisco, where a typical home costs more than $1 million.
  8. LOL and I see why – we were pricing 1- and 2-bedroom condos/townhouses for my son who is moving back to the Bay Area. In our town you can get a pretty nice 1- or 2-bedroom condo for $400k or a bit more, which (boy, have I lost all sense of perspective!!) I was thinking was pretty reasonable – he should be able to save a 20%+ down payment ($100k) within 2 years on his SV salary (AND living at home and commuting, I hasten to add – we've emphasized that we are doing him a favor 🙂 ... a friend of his who works at Google is paying $2.8k PER MONTH for a 1-bedroom apt in Mtn View/Sunnyvale). Anyway, in Manteca (farther east, over the hills) for "only" $60k more ($460k) you can get a nice new 4-bedroom house with a 3-car garage. BUT you have to spend hours and hours every day on the road. Or drive to BART or the ACE train and fight for parking at the train station, then take the train and possibly a shuttle at the work end. But now I see why people do it. Luckily my husband and I have 5-minute commutes. Well, mine can be up to 7 minutes by car, 20 minutes by bike.
  9. Six figures are normal starting salaries, even for kids just out of college (& the OP's dd bought a house 5.5 years ago, so she must be a few years out of college). My 23yo son just interviewed at four SV companies last week, and it's absolutely crazy the kind of money that is flying around here (signing bonuses, stock options, etc.). Just crazy.
  10. ha, no worries about finding alternative providers in California 😉 If you want to PM me, I'd be happy to talk with more details about places to live. We are in the East Bay, which is relatively affordable; our son starts at a tech job in SF in a few weeks (he has been lured from out of state). He's not looking forward to the commute (on a bus and then BART), but the job seems perfect for him.
  11. jumping in late – but congrats! we have a 2001 Outback and love it for the snow. And rain. Our son bought a 2017 Crosstrek (he lives in Utah and it's all he drives in the winter; he also has/had a convertible and a motorcycle) and my husband is eyeing them also. We will probably buy our son's Crosstrek from him soon 😊 as he admits he doesn't really need two cars (he's moving to warmer climes).
  12. I was in New Orleans earlier this year for my first time ever, and I found these videos super helpful – riding the St Charles streetcar and this one. In hindsight I should have gotten off at the cemetery midway (Lafayette Cemetery No. 1) but I had a bad cold and was happy to just ride the lovely streetcar around. I would also be interested in tour ideas. Following!
  13. Food trucks are huge in California; I think they may have started with Roy Choi in LA. My brother took us to one of Roy's trucks (Kogi Van Verde) and I didn't see the appeal at first – we were all hunched over the car hood in the dark, eating (wonderful) food (Korean–Mexican fusion)! But since then I've become a convert. I think the advantage is the variety, especially when you have a bunch of food trucks. Everyone in a family can get what he or she wants; then you gather and eat, together, your widely different choices. And at many of these events there is seating, near the group of trucks. Places we've enjoyed the freshness, (usually) cheap prices, and variety, are: • our church, when it had 4pm Saturday services (they even had a truck that just did various grilled cheese sandwiches!) • The Royal BC Museum in Victoria, where I could get a fresh salmon burger and the rest of my family could get completely different food 😋; they have a beautiful courtyard with picnic tables. • our local high school had food trucks every Wednesday evening so families could gather and relax and socialize • UC Berkeley's annual open house has a lineup of food trucks – so much more convenient than a restaurant; the trucks are centrally located on campus and usually include burgers, Korean food, ice cream, etc. • Google's Mountain View campus, when we visited our son who had a summer job there – there was everything under the sun, including Indian food, Korean, Cuban (w/of course a Cubano – see the movie Chef mentioned above!), standard American fare, Middle Eastern, Mexican, etc. • a new food truck has appeared in our neighborhood next to the gas station – it has Venezuelan and Colombian food and we are hooked! As to why food trucks ... the cooks are a husband and wife from Colombia, and their son and daughter (who speak English) run the cash register and explain to people what empanadas etc. are. A great way for a hard-working immigrant family to start a small business. Here is a website telling you the schedule for various Bay Area food trucks – you'll see the huge variety among the over 100 food trucks listed – from Philly Cheese Steak, German, Hawaiian, to several Nepalese (!) trucks – & including KoJa! my favorite, which went from an itinerant food truck to having several locations in the Bay Area. Which is more convenient than chasing the food truck around the area! At least the Colombian one comes to us, and I can ride my bicycle over. Oh, I guess another advantage of food trucks is that a cook/chef can concentrate on just cheese steaks, or just grilled cheese, or just coffee, and do it very well, because s/he can just fill a niche. At the Bay Area food truck site I see Sri Lankan, Russian, Nepalese, Cambodian, etc. trucks – as a PP said, the owners/chefs can make their own schedule, and can also concentrate on their own ethnic cuisine, knowing that they don't need to please everyone in a group – maybe one person in a family will be adventurous and try Sri Lankan food, but the rest can get BBQ or hot dogs from a different truck ... At all of the events I listed above, there will be anywhere from 3 to 20+ trucks to choose from. When a cook/chef can concentrate on his or her passion, it is done well.
  14. If you are the one who pays for the Prime account, you can add several family members. I know b/c I've never paid for Amazon Prime, yet I've had it for over 10 years b/c my SIL (who grew up in a communist country lol; and lives 5 hours away) has it and added us and my parents. If you are an add-on, you don't get the perks like the streaming; just the free, fast shipping. Oh, I see (in a later post) that it's just a matter of the password (which could be changed anytime) being known to the sister. MedicMom, I hope you can make contact. Best wishes!
  15. The Oakland Amtrak station (at Jack London Square) is also an easy walk from the BART station – just a few blocks. We've done the walk lugging a small suitcase each.
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