Sunday, November 26, 2017

Salty & Sweet Car-Free Travel


We had a fantastic car-free November. Metrolink saved us from sitting in freeway gridlock, and welcomed our bicycles and our dog on board.

Sweet Santa Ana


Our packing list was kept simple: We brought lots of lights for our bicycles, three headlights and three taillights each bicycle.  We had 2 rear panniers each bicycle and 2 front panniers for one bike and 1 dog carrier for the other bike. 
Instead of a purse, I brought my camera bag. I brought two hair bows, which ended up being used as a belt and neckerchief. I had a half-shirt that I wore underneath the dresses. I wore an extra dress and yoga pants on the way down there. I felt like a few things were missing, but we made it despite.

Thanksgiving day, we biked to family's house using the Peters Canyon Trail and the San Diego Creek Trail (10.5 miles mainly on the Mountains to the Sea Trail & Bikeway). It was a bit warm, and the ride felt long, but by the time we arrived we were so relaxed and ready to enjoy catching up with family.

Black Friday we walked to have brunch at the "Yellow Basket" at the corner of Main & Dyer while scoping out the bus and bicycle traffic. We decided to stay inside during the remaining daylight and take OCTA buses to access downtown Santa Ana.

Route 55 took us from Halladay & Dyer to First & Main. The bus fare was $2 per person, if we had planned on being on buses all day, we could have purchased a day pass for $5 per person. We walked West to Broadway and then North to 2nd St and discovered a Promenade (which is where we spotted the map & directory below). We saw Grand Central Art Center, which was not open, but we peeked in the windows. There was a fountain and a few trees were decorated with lights.

There was a cute roundabout at 3rd and Bush street, which isn't even visible on Google Maps Satellite View yet. The upgrade was paid for by Active Transportation (ATP) funds from the State of California.  I definitely felt safe walking there, there were very bright streetlights that had a vintage look and the few cars that were entering/exiting the parking lot were traveling very slowly. There were secure bicycle parking facilities called Bike Huts, which require monthly or yearly membership, probably installed to support residents of the lofts in the downtown area.

We walked East through the alley between 3rd and 4th streets past some gorgeous murals towards the Yost Theater. We encountered another fabulous Promenade called "Fiesta Plaza."

We gave in to temptation to do some shopping and entered R&R Western Wear 'Casa Del Sombrero.' There were the blingingest shirts, belts, boots, and hats that you can imagine! We picked up one belt and 6 colorful bandanas. According to Yelp, R&R has been in Santa Ana for 58+ years! It felt great to support a small business instead of heading towards The District at Tustin Legacy, which we assumed would be packed with people (and speeding cars).  It felt great to do some walking and not have to worry about driving/parking our car, which we couldn't have done anyway since we didn't bring it.

Exiting R&R Western Wear on the North we walked to the corner of 4th and French St to take some pictures with the large decorated Christmas tree at Plaza Calle Quatro. The appearance of some gentrification along 4th Street became evident as we passed Wursthaus and mLovewell and were chased by some people from the Santa Ana Restoration Church asking for cash donations.

We passed The Frida Cinema and ducked into the 4th Street Market to take advantage of the public restrooms and free smells. The market had a cool space on its North side that had what looked like a kid's play area, a DJ and a bunch of picnic tables. I wanted to go in and play with the oversized Jenga blocks and Connect 4, but it was getting late and we had Thanksgiving leftovers to eat back in our hotel room.

There were so many awesome shops, restaurants and cultural venues in Downtown Santa Ana that I could have stayed longer, but we decided to end our walking tour there and took the OCTA 53 bus back to Main & Dyer (the Yellow Hat). I would love to return to Santa Ana on the night of an Art Walk (First Saturday of each month from 6pm-10pm) or the morning of a Farmer's Market (Sundays 10am-2pm on 2nd St Promenade).

This walking adventure was inspired by Jonathan Gold's LA Times supplement on the 101 best restaurants in LA. As I was thumbing through the glossy food photos, a phrase caught my eye, "newish restaurant row in downtown Santa Ana" and it must have stuck in my mind because when we extended our Thanksgiving Trip by an extra day, I knew I wanted to explore the area.

We biked from our house to the Northridge Metrolink station along Reseda Blvd and Parthenia St (2.2 miles). We took Train 116 to LA Union Station at 2:52pm. We took Train 686 to Tustin, arriving after the sunset at 4:49pm. We biked along Edinger Ave to Kensington Park Dr to Valencia Ave to Tustin Ranch Rd to Barranca Pkwy which turns into Dyer Rd (4.2 miles). There were bike lanes most of the way. 

Coming home we took Train 663 from Tustin to LA Union Station at 12:25pm. We took Train 265 to Sylmar/San Fernando arriving at 2:46pm. We biked along Hubbard St to Laurel Canyon Blvd to Rinaldi to White Oak to Devonshire to Reseda (8.3 miles). If there were weekend trains on the Ventura County Line, we could have biked fewer miles. Parthenia and Hubbard are not great for cycling, they could be improved with bike lanes.


Salty Santa Barbara


Contrasting the Santa Ana trip with our other November travel adventure, where we visited my sister at UC Santa Barbara on Veteran's Day, downtown Santa Ana is humble in comparison to downtown Santa Barbara.  In both cases we stayed at La Quinta Inn & Suites, due to their welcoming pet policy.


We took our car with us to Santa Barbara because it's not yet possible to take dogs on Amtrak and Metrolink only goes as far North as Ventura. It would be possible (in theory) to bike from Ventura up to Santa Barbara (32 miles) but since our 10 mile bike ride was more grueling than enjoyable, I don't see us biking our dog and loaded bicycles against the ocean headwind anytime soon.

In Santa Barbara, we walked from our hotel to Cantwell's Market & Deli for provisions. We took a short dog walk along State St from Arrellaga St to Anapamu St. In a future visit, I would definitely explore more of State St on foot or on bikes.  The hotel had free bike rental, which we didn't use. We did a longer walk to the Mission Santa Barbara, about 1 mile from our hotel.  It was a great feeling to climb that hill and look out over the ocean imagining what it was like for early California settlers.

We did an epic walk from my sister's hotel to the UCSB campus.  We headed South on Storke Rd and then East on El Colegio to a bike path along Ocean Rd. We passed Pardall Tunnel on the way to a scenic overlook at Ocean Rd and Del Playa Dr. We ate at Dumpling King, avoiding large chain restaurants nearby. Making our way back to the Courtyard by Marriott on Storke Road it was about a 4 mile round trip walk.

I had never fully appreciated the "party school" reputation of UCSB until that moment. This walk was on Friday night, under cover of darkness. We saw students coming up from the beaches with surfboards and students playing beer pong on the lawns of Camino Pescadero. There were bicycles outfitted with cages navigated by older men for collecting the beer cans and bottles left behind by party-goers. There were many students walking from house to house, and others cruising through the neighborhoods on bicycles. A few young people drove through in cars, but they were severely in the minority. For how can one find the party by following the music when car engines interfere?

Another fabulous walk was had the following morning. We tried to rent free bikes from her hotel, but they had only 2 and couldn't locate them at 6am when we wanted to borrow them. My sister and I walked North on Storke towards The French Press, which unfortunately did not open until 7am on Saturdays. We headed West on Hollister Ave and then South on Santa Felicia Dr.


Just past Best Buy, we smelled something wonderful. We thought it was coming from Costco, but as we got closer to the big-box retailer, the smell went away. We turned Northeast and followed our noses to Anna's Bakery which opens at 6am seven days a week. We got coffee, doughnuts and breakfast burritos, all of which were heavenly and fresh. They had outdoor seating and a steady stream of locals came through for their morning fix.

We passed through Girsh Park on the way back to the hotel. Also noteworthy was "Ice in Paradise" a skating rink. Although it would have been great to explore Santa Barbara by bicycle, we sure did see lots of sights on our walks.

If we went back to Santa Barbara, I would know that there are buses that we could have taken from downtown (State St) to the UCSB campus. If Amtrak allowed dogs, or if we were willing to bike 32 miles and travel only on weekdays, we could have done that trip car-free.


In conclusion


It was great to spend time in cities (Santa Barbara, Santa Ana) that have invested in bike lanes and improvements to make pedestrians feel welcome. These cities are walkable and bikeable, as evidenced by the many cyclists and pedestrians we saw during the day AND at night. It was great to be a tourist in these cities and spend some of my hard-earned money on these unforgettable experiences at small businesses. The sights and smells from the plants and sea air are giving me the energy to keep going and finish this semester strong!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Checking in

Thinking about hotels, hospitality, reception...places you want to stay for awhile.  Actually, I just wanted to post a blog before October is over!

This semester is really kicking my teeth in.  I'm sitting here looking at my to-do list and it's long and complicated.  There aren't any short & easy tasks!

I am making progress in many directions.  From my last post, I was writing about starting a garden.  Many of the plants are infected/infested and I'm not sure if any of them will survive.  I could treat them with horticultural oil, but it's not recommended for use above 100 deg F and believe it or not, we're still experiencing triple digit weather!


Because being extraordinary is exhausting!

And it's National Chemistry Week! #ChemistryRocks
We had a great time at CicLAvia http://www.ciclavia.org/ciclavia_hola17 on October 8th.  The next CicLAvia is coming up on December 10th along Wilshire Blvd.


It's always great to see streets filled with people and bicycles.  It's so quiet that you hear the chatter of human beings socializing and engaging in active transportation (happy) instead of the hum of engines and the rattle of automobiles (angry).

We're looking forward to seeing my sister on Veteran's Day weekend (less than 3 weeks)!  We're heading up to Santa Barbara, can't wait.

TAGS: American Chemical Society, career, chemistry, CicLAvia, community, cycling, distance, diversity, education, fall, family, goals, green, heat, hormones, Pasadena, Northridge, money, motivation, plants, statistics, science, Santa Barbara, teamwork, technology, teaching, travel, weight gain, Walk Bike Glendale, winning, women, writing, yoga,

Saturday, September 23, 2017

eLearning

I can't believe that soooo much time has passed since my last post. What went down was the eLearning Institute in July and then August...


A post shared by Kayla Kaiser (@hamerk02) on


Last weekend, I ended up clearing off the kitchen table and doing 7 loads of laundry, some of which went back to the impromptu drive to Nebraska to view the eclipse in its totality.

Photos of the eclipse don't really do it justice.  I made a painting that expressed more of what it felt like to actually be there and experience it in person.

Eclipse, baby!
It felt like the arms of the sun were reaching down and hugging me.  I'm on Earth standing down at the bottom of the rainbow.  In awe.

I painted that at the Reseda Blvd Summer Series... which came right after the eclipse.


It was a challenge to load those cube parts into the panniers of my mountain bike and ride it down there, then put it together in triple-digit heat. But after the sun went down, and my lights came on, things really got cool!  I didn't sell any of my artwork, but I did create 3 new pieces, so it was definitely a good event.  I really enjoyed the live music and all the positive energy from people walking by.  Other artists were inspired by my cubicle.

Green mandala

Climate change
We saw a couple of movies: An Inconvenient Sequel, which probably influenced the painting above.

'All Saints' was about a church community coming together, turning the land around their building into a profitable farm. Very apropos considering I'm getting involved with the Seed Library of Los Angeles and raising a new generation from seed.

Rosa Bianca eggplant
Zucchini grey
These aren't pictures from my garden, but those are seeds I borrowed from the SLOLA and have actually germinated.  They're in the nursery right now awaiting transplantation outdoors.


During the eLearning Institute, in July, I made the following "welcome video" for CHEM 100, then found out I was not only NOT teaching that class, but I was also moving my office.  So I guess the video can serve as a historical recording of what I was thinking and feeling in July in regards to where I thought I would be in September.  But where I'm at in September turns out to be pretty far away from where I thought I would be.  But I'm improving at letting go of my expectations and serving in whatever capacity I can.


I'm grateful to be part of a community of teachers and learners at CSUN and Pasadena City College. I'm working pretty hard this semester.  I just submitted our eLearning Project Prospectus, so I'm feeling some sense of closure on that commitment.  Monday, I'll be going into two other professors' classrooms to introduce our eLearning Project and ask for their participation (since I'm not teaching CHEM 100 this semester).  This will continue all semester and then we'll look at the data.

I'm teaching "SCI 100: Science for Life" as part of a cohort of professors. We had a great meeting yesterday to discuss commonalities among our courses and ways that we can emphasize what each other are teaching. I'm honored to be a part of this group of teachers and administrators who are focused on student success for first-generation college students that are a part of the Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP).

I'm making "Problem-Based Learning" (PBL) modules for my students at PCC based on conversations with Katie Rodriguez (Natural Sciences) and faculty from Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Physiology, Anatomy, and Nutrition. It's exhausting writing so much new content, but I do believe that students will benefit from the connections made between the course content and applications in their intended careers.

I had a great time connecting with faculty at the California Community College Success Network (3CSN) event "Creating Equitable Learning Environments through Growth Mindset & Interdisciplinary Apprenticeship." I learned about unstuffing the curriculum to create space for meaningful student growth. We discussed encouraging resilience in math teaching through offering assignment revisions.  Using this approach at Fullerton College, the percentage of students who submitted assignments increased from 20% to 80%.

WHY BE AN ORDINARY PROFESSOR WHEN YOU CAN BE EXTRAORDINARY? WHAT'S STOPPING YOU?


My mantra for this semester. eLearning = extraordinary learning.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Metro Bikeshare arrives in Pasadena

I have to write about my experience with Metro's bikeshare. I was totally pumped to try out the new docking station right in front of Pasadena City College, since I'll be teaching there again in the fall.  Here's what happened...

(1) I bought a 1 month pass online using a TAP card I already had.  A day later, I saw all the codes for one month free and felt like an idiot for paying.  ooops!

(2) It was easy to walk up to the kiosk, which sent a code to my phone, and borrow a bike.

(3) The bike was so heavy, the first thing I did was drop it.  ooops!

(4) I didn't realize the front basket was hinged.  It looked REALLY small and my bookbag didn't fit and I thought "Why did they equip these with such a pathetically small basket?"  Only upon returning the bike did I realize that I could've expanded the basket and fit my entire bag in there.  ooops!

(5) After I started pedaling, I had to stop twice to adjust the seat height.  I ended up leaving it at a 7, even though that was a wee bit too high for me.  The bike was SLOW and I wanted as much leverage as I could get. And I stopped in the middle of Del Mar Blvd to adjust the seat.  ooops!

(6) Then I realized that I had no idea where I was going.  I had no plan.  I didn't know where the bicycle network was.  I was rolling on a bike that wasn't mine through city streets with moving traffic and the bike was SLOW, did I mention that?  I wasn't lost, it just wasn't easy to locate preferred bicycle routes so I made a loop on streets with no bicycle infrastructure.  ooops!

HERE is where you can find/return Metro Bikeshare bikes
(7) Along Del Mar Blvd, some cars/trucks/vans didn't want to give me 3 feet.  Scary!  And even more scary to be on an unfamiliar and SLOW bike.  It's really hard to keep up with the speed of traffic.  Honestly I felt the safest on Walnut when I was taking the lane.  I guess it's OK that the bike is slow since I wasn't wearing a helmet, but a car could still have hit me going fast and I could have died.  ooops!



(8) Before arriving to Bikeshare, I read "Generally speaking, there are relatively few bike lanes on the busy arterial streets in Pasadena but there are some pretty mellow residential streets that are great for riding. If using Google Maps to navigate, you may enjoy taking a route that is a little longer but uses quieter residential streets." So I took one. But El Molino was as terrifying or possibly more so than the arterial because there was not enough space for cars to pass safely.   ooops!

(9) I was looking for stations to return the bike, but I didn't see any until I was back where I started. https://bikeshare.metro.net/stations/  Maybe a person has to get used to the network and where the stations are, and this familiarity will come with time, but I couldn't return that bike soon enough.  I was looking everywhere for a docking station.   ooops!

A post shared by bikecar101 (@bikecar101) on

(10) I'm confused... As for some ideas about how to use Metro Bike in Pasadena and where to ride: •Gold Line Allen Station to Pasadena City College — If you don’t want to ride on busy Allen, take the bike lane on Maple to Sierra Bonita to campus.
I don't see a bikeshare station at Gold Line/Allen, but I do see one at Gold Line/Lake.   ooops!

I'm not saying you should't try Metro Bikeshare for yourself... definitely try it.  But I do feel like Bikeshare is better suited to a bike path (Waterfront), like down by the beach.  When you don't have the infrastructure on your streets, it's just unsafe.  Maybe the map on The Source's website could be somehow attached to the bicycle or posted on the kiosk so that people can more easily locate a safe bike route.

It's kind of crazy to me that Metro is suggesting you use Google Maps to navigate when there's no place to put your phone.  Maybe if the bike had a built-in smartphone cradle, that would make sense.  It's hard enough to manage navigating an unfamiliar bike in an unfamiliar place.  Add to that navigating from a phone that you have to hold in your hand... that's a recipe for an accident.


Since I have a month pass, I'll try it again (maybe Downtown LA).  What I've been saying since the beginning of Bikeshare's launch is that it's safer to take your own bike.  It's cheaper too.  $20 x 5 will get you your own bike.  $20 x 30 will get you a pretty good bike.  I find it hard to see how bikeshare fills a gaping hole in the transit network.  And I fear that when/if Metro offers bikeshare ubiquitously they will try to ban bikes on trains.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bold and Sassy

Dear Students,

Stop trying to be nice.  "Nice" doesn't ensure you understand the material.  "Polite" means that you don't interrupt the professor when you need more help to understand what we're talking about.  "Gentle" means that you shy away from contributing to the group in discussion.  "Kind" means letting everyone else speak first, and then feeling relieved when the class time is up and you haven't had to say anything.  Being a "good listener" isn't the same as synthesizing your own concept and communicating it to others; one is passive and the other is active.

When I'm tough on you, I expect you to be tough on me right back.  By pushing each other to be better than we were before, we can both improve ourselves.  If we both sit back (at rest) and shrink away from opportunities for personal growth (goal-setting and taking on new challenges) then we run the risk of slipping further into ignorance and decay.


An expert in the field of research on shyness, Bernardo J. Carducci, writes about stereotypes of masculine and feminine traits in his college-level textbook The Psychology of Personality: Viewpoints, Research, and Applications.  I see both men and women in my courses being too shy to "bother" me with questions.  I felt that way many times, too.  When I was a student, I didn't go to the professor's office hours because I knew that professors are "busy" people and I didn't think they had time to help me with my learning.

I have noticed that shyness tends to be more pronounced in women, but it is also associated with cultural norms that are independent of gender.  Carducci explains Social-Cognitive Theory: that identity occurs through the process of a child observing what others are doing, receiving instructions from others regarding what is appropriate behavior, receiving reinforcement when such behavior is performed, and learning to self-regulate the expression of appropriate behavior in order to receive such reinforcement (p. 507).


I say -- TO HELL WITH THAT!  You gotta break the mold.  Rise to the occasion of being evaluated. Stop being "modest" and get focused on ACHIEVEMENT.  Think positively.  Aim high.  Know your worth.  Know that you are capable of achieving anything you seriously and wholeheartedly put your mind to.  Even if nobody you know has done it.  There's a first time for everything.  

Research shows that cultural factors account for gender differences in career advancement, leading to what is called the "paradox of achievement." Although women score higher in verbal ability, most critically acclaimed writers are men.  Those women writers who become well-known are unmarried, childless, and well-to-do... meaning that they focus all their attention on becoming better writers rather than falling prey to societal expectations of motherhood and caregiving. 

As for mathematical ability, males are treated differently in school.  Teachers encourage men's abilities and interest in mathematics.  The same could be said for racial and ethnic groups. Prevailing viewpoints (stereotypes) held by teachers that one group has more or less potential than another is going to hurt the group that is thought of as having less innate ability.  This is unfair.  THERE ARE NO GENDER (OR ETHNIC) DIFFERENCES ON MEASURES OF GENERAL INTELLIGENCE. We all have equal potential.  AND I would add that it's not too late to start changing YOUR behavior right now.  Your future success will be the positive reinforcement you need to continue personal growth in a new direction.

Consider selecting a few traits from the "Masculine" column of Table 12.2 (above).  
  • Aggressive
  • Competitive
  • Decisive
  • Independent
  • Never gives up
  • Nonconforming
  • Stands up to pressure
  • Tough/Coarse
Try it on for a week.  "ACT AS IF THAT IS YOU" until you master the behavior so that it becomes second nature.  Forget trying to be "nice" and GET CRITICAL. (Braxton, John M. Influences on College Student Learning: Special Issue of Peabody Journal of Education, 2003) You're not going to get happy faces drawn on all your papers, nor should you.  If everything were perfect and you already knew the material, you wouldn't be in a university.  You need to shatter your world-view in order to transform yourself. It's a metamorphosis. The meek and mild earth-bound caterpillar must give way to a fierce and beautiful soaring butterfly.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kaiser

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Advantages to Tiny House Living

It's been 3 months since we vacated our tiny house.  We have 3.75 times more space.  We have 3 bathrooms instead of 1. We have a 2 car garage instead of none.  But still, there are some things I miss...

1) When you live with your partner and you can hear/touch each other no matter where you are in the house, you have a level of intimacy that is not only desired but required.  There is no such thing as privacy.

2) Our tiny house was 2.5 times older than our current condo.  There's something beautiful in the old style windows (huge) and doors (huge).  With a single tiny AC unit, we could cool the place down in about 20 minutes.  I always felt like it was the "house of bricks" in the 3 little pigs story.  No matter how strong the Santa Ana winds blow, that tiny house provides safe shelter.

3) A tiny house is less work to clean.  The tiny vacuum we bought to clean the tiny house is inadequate to care for the expansive upstairs bedrooms in the condo/townhome we now occupy.  And who puts carpeting on a staircase?  Seriously, it's really annoying to vacuum the stairs and that's where most of the dirt accumulates.

4) Smaller carbon footprint.  In so many ways, I feel like the tiny house had a smaller ecological impact.  We had fewer toilets and showers to clean, therefore using less chemical cleaners.  We had less space to cool, therefore using less electricity.  We didn't have a dishwasher, therefore we were able to save on water and electricity AND reuse the greywater to nourish the garden.

5) When you have a dark and depressing (oppressive and cramped) tiny house, you always AND I MEAN ALWAYS want to be somewhere else.  It made it super-easy to go walking, running, biking, vacationing, camping, etc.  It was always fantastic to stay with family or in a hotel because EVERY room was bigger than our house.

6) We had proximity to Los Angeles, Griffith Park, and the LA River Bike Path.  Also we walked through streets filled with artfully landscaped tiny houses.  Here in Northridge, it is decidedly more suburban (sprawling) and the sidewalks are lined with large retaining walls or extreme privacy hedges rather than cute houses with cute yards.

But on the flipside...


1) We have space to spread out.  I've already unpacked the majority of our books and started to turn the closets in the guest bedroom into the library we always dreamed of.  (Thanks IKEA).

2) We can work on our bikes in the garage.  The tiny car we have takes up barely 1/4 of the space, so there's still a lot of room for bicycle storage and maintenance of the growing fleet.  The other day, I was in the garage working on my bike (in the shade) whereas I used to have to do that outdoors on our tiny back patio.

3) With the space comes mental clarity.  Instead of having half my closet in storage and half the clothing in our house, we have all AND I MEAN ALL of our clothes in a single walk-in closet.  This past weekend, we took 3 large trash bags of clothing to be donated.  It's like having more space makes it easier to let go of things that really don't belong.

4) I've been enjoying the larger kitchen and entertaining space.  Even though the stove has electric burners and it's summer, so I hesitate to cook (and heat up the place), we've already had some friends over for dinner and work-sessions.  The expansive dining area makes the table we've held on to for about 10 years finally fit perfectly.

5) The living room is large enough to do yoga.  I took my sister rollerskating and when we got back, we spread out 2 yoga mats and stretched out AT THE SAME TIME.  That's been a dream come true!

6) We can run more than two appliances at once.  The tiny house had such old circuitry that you couldn't run the toaster oven and the washing machine at the same time.  If you did, it would trip the circuit breaker and shut down everything.  You also couldn't wash dishes and take a shower at the same time because the water supply would become unreliably hot or cold.  Flushing the toilet when someone was in the shower was pre-empted by saying, "Bombs Away" which meant -- get away from the water because it's about to get really hot.

It sounds silly but I always wanted to have a wellness center.

I came to a major realization... I don't need to have a 10 bedroom wellness center to accommodate a bunch of sick people.  All I need is a room to accommodate me.  I'm the in-patient.  I now live in a wellness center for 1 person -- me.  And this new place is giving me plenty of breathing room.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Messenger Game

Confession: in my free time, I pretend I'm a bike messenger.  I love biking to the post office, like I'm on some important assignment from a client, locking up real fast, and dropping off some mail or a package.  I love the challenge of trying to fit oddly shaped boxes into a messenger bag.  I don't have any kind of fancy bag, I just use a rectangular cross-body bag that sits comfortably on my back.  Why I don't use a backpack when I'm pretending to be a messenger, I don't know.  Maybe it's for the speed. Like, it just takes too long to take a backpack on and off, messengers gotta be quick.  Whip that bag from the back to the front, make the delivery, and get on to the next stop.

Northridge, CA
I love a post office with great bicycle parking.  I used to enjoy waiting in line for 20-35 minutes at the Glendale, CA Main Post Office because the interior is absolutely gorgeous.

Glendale, CA
Photo from Oltmans Construction Co
http://www.oltmans.com/projects/glendale-main-post-office-renovation-and-restoration
The exterior of the Glendale, CA Main Post office is great, too.  Conveniently located (Broadway is a Class 3 Bicycle Route) on a major East-West corridor, the building is clearly a civic and architectural landmark.

Glendale, CA
Photo from Oltmans Construction Co
http://www.oltmans.com/projects/glendale-main-post-office-renovation-and-restoration
For East-West travel in Glendale, my favorite street is Wilson.  It goes by all the stuff I like: KFC, the YMCA, Big 5 Sporting Goods... and if you get the timing of the lights just right, you can have a Green Wave (which is another fun game I play while I'm pretending to be a bike messenger).  I took a group of women on a Walk Bike Glendale women's ride, we rode across Wilson Ave, and the ladies were impressed how cars used the center turning lane as a passing lane and gave us a very wide passing margin.  I hope it inspired them to ride through the city more confidently.

Wilson Ave at Louise St in Glendale, CA
Another street I like for East-West travel through South Glendale is Maple St.  Especially I enjoy going under the skybridge at CalStar Motors.  I don't know why, maybe it's just a novelty.  I think some of the best bike rides involve tunnels, bridges, and unexpected landmarks.  

Maple St at Brand Blvd in Glendale, CA
Even though the post office is on the northeast corner of Louise and Broadway, I wouldn't recommend taking Louise Street as your North-South corridor, I biked it this past weekend and it's been torn up for a long time.  Louise is very narrow around the YMCA and Glendale Central Library and STILL under construction!  Also, Louise accommodates street parking and car doors are a strong possibility.

Broadway SHARROWS in Glendale, CA
Following the route of Glendale's CicLAvia on June 11, 2017, I would recommend Central Ave as your safest North-South corridor.  Although Central Ave is labeled as a MAJOR ARTERIAL, it is the fastest way.  The street is wide enough for all road users and there are signs posted with the message "Bicycles May Use Full Lane."  Although Glendale's bicycle infrastructure tends to rely on sharrows and road signs (Class 3) instead of bike lanes (Class 2) or cycletracks (Class 1), nothing will change if the city doesn't see cyclists out there.  It's kind of like the same thing with Metrolink... bikecar101 learned that you don't get more space for bikes on trains unless the board sees pictures of lots of bikes on trains.

Bike parking on the East side of the Glendale, CA Post Office
Glendale has done a great job IMHO at providing bicycle parking for the destinations I bike to.  At the Glendale CicLAvia, some residents expressed that they wanted more bicycle parking along Central Ave for example.  I usually park along Brand, since there's lots of bike racks there, and then walk over to Central.  But that was some feedback for the City that we collected through talking to people at the event (public outreach).

Bike parking on the West side of the Glendale, CA Post Office
I would say that the "bike messenger game" is the best way to take care of some errands.  It motivates me to be in a hurry, carry my own lock, practice locking up and unlocking quickly, and be visible in the community on a bicycle on major traffic corridors.  What motivates you?