celebrating jane

This book. Probably one of the most influential books I read in college. A required read that is still in my personal library today. I haven’t held on to many things from that era in my life but this book is still with me — tattered, worn, well read and well loved.

This July 1, 2017 my favorite city (oh Melbourne how I love thee!) will be celebrating the ideas of author Jane Jacobs with a screening of a new documentary on the fight to save her beloved Greenwich Village neighborhood from sure ruin by big bad government city planners, as the kick off to Open House Melbourne — an annual celebration of the city and its architecture where for two days, hundreds of buildings are opened to the public for tours amidst a month long series of related activities. I’m itching to get down there for one of these tour weekends but that’s a whole other story. In addition, there will be talks and walks as part of the What Would Jane Do? programming in this year’s cultural festival.

Fret not my fellow Americans, the documentary Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is also on in this country, screening now in select cities and streaming On Demand.

It’s a thought provoking look at the fight Jane Jacobs lead in her lifetime with a healthy dose of commentary on city planning and where our cities are headed ’round the world. Worth a watch. But do me a favor, read the book. Jane Jacobs was not only a revolutionary thinker, she was an eloquent writer and inspiring teacher.

The ideas she expounded have not been lost. Not in the least. You can experience them right in the place where you live thru citizen-led walking tours known as Jane’s Walks. Walking tours that invite citizens to seek, observe and reflect upon their city surroundings, held every May on Jane Jacobs birthday around the world. A fitting tribute.

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they don’t make ’em like that anymore

OK, admittedly I have a little too much time on my hands. . . I re-watched Out of Africa the other day. What a spectacular movie. If you’ve never seen it or like me, hadn’t seen it in years do me a favor and watch it. Everything about it is spectacular. The story goes without saying (the book is also a must!). The cinematography, the scenery, the acting, the costumes and the soundtrack — all to die for. Then there is Meryl Streep — her acting goes without saying but she was also at the height of her beauty in this film. You will be captivated like I was from the very first frame.

Currently available to watch free on Amazon Prime.

favorite apps

The things you can do from your iPhone these days still amaze me. From navigating through a foreign land, to hailing a cab, to paying for lunch. It’s all so easy and still gives me a thrill each and every day. Maybe I’m just of that age where the technology was introduced just late enough that I remember life before a little too clearly. But boy, I like it! Here are my current top 10 favorite apps that get a regular workout on my phone these days:

PostmatesPostmates — if you’re a regular reader you’ll no doubt remember that Postmates offered free ice cream delivered to your door on National Ice Cream day. That freebie is indicative of the types of regular promotions this service offers in addition to delivery of just about anything your heart desires, especially food from your favorite restaurant that doesn’t normally deliver. Charges are based on distance and no cash changes hands (except for tips). Available in most major cities.

mobile nowMobile Now! — you don’t need coins for a parking meter anymore, or annoying $2-3 charges on your credit card. Simply type in the space number on your meter and you’re all set to park. Stop your session at any time or get a text reminder that your time is about to expire. Top up your account to any amount you like and it automatically refills when you hit zero. This app has saved me from parking tickets more than once. Not all cities use this app but they should!

NPRKCRW — Simply the best NPR station in the country. You can listen to what’s live on air or choose from a series of taped shows. Makes me a little less homesick for LA.




Nat Mall DCThe National Mall by Bluebrain — Music composed for your interaction with The National Mall in Washington, DC. Just launch the app, don headphones and the music plays and seamlessly transitions according to your location. I also have a similar app for Central Park in NYC but that no longer seems available for download. A truly wonderful location based experience, the brainchild of two local composer brothers.

tripcaseTripcase — If you like to travel, this app will keep you organized. Make a reservation of any kind — airplane, train, hotel, air bnb, car rental, etc . . . and simply forward the confirmation email to the provided address and it loads all the details to your profile by trip. It keeps up with you as your trip unfolds and provides up to the minute gate information (even before it hits the airport displays), alerts you to delays, indicates alternate flights (just in case), gives directions and even has a direct link to Uber. Travel made simple

silver carSilver Car — all Audi A4 rentals, all the time with no lines, no hassle. Free Wi-Fi and GPS with every car. Simply deplane, proceed to your car, use your iPhone to unlock and go. Return with the push of a button and your receipt is emailed to you. Couldn’t be simpler when you need decent wheels. Limited cities currently (LA, Dallas, Phoenix, Austin, Miami, Denver, San Francisco). Cars rent at approx. $80/day, include unlimited miles, and fair pricing gas (local price plus $5 fee) so no need to stop and fill up in a sketchy neighborhood on your way to the airport.

Melbourne PTPublic Transport Victoria — my time in Melbourne wouldn’t be as easy without this handy app. It tells me the best way to get to anywhere by tram, bus or train. Simply type in the address where you want to go and you get door to door instructions with available times for your public transport method. I used a similar app in Auckland and made it far and wide across that city without fail. So the lesson is your local public transport authority usually has the best solution for free. Wi-fi or 4G required.

WellsFargoBanking Apps — check deposit by app has changed my life. I can’t recall the last time i went to an ATM or into an actual bank. But should you need to, with the push of a button the closest location will reveal itself. Pay Bills, transfer funds, check balances, deposit checks. Now if only it could dispense cash and life would be really good — but I assume that soon, we will be a cashless society so no worries there.


FandangoFandango — I keep all my favorite theaters listed so I can check out what’s playing near me and show times. For a small fee, you can even buy advance tickets, usually saving time and long lines at the theater. Also provides reviews, trailers and probably a million other movie-biz tid-bits I never even bother with. I’m just in it for the convenience.


PinterestPinterest — I am not a game girl. So to keep me occupied while waiting idly somewhere, I turn to Pinterest. It’s all the visual stimulation I need.

weekend agenda

Calling all Trekkies . . . if you haven’t already, get yourself to a theater this weekend and see the new movie.  Have a great holiday!