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The Internet of Everything & Cisco Live:
A Wife’s Perspective


Jonathan untangling the universe.


Falling in Love with a Network Engineer

My husband and I met online 7 years ago; we lived 6 blocks apart. I was a jet setting designer and he was a dashing network engineer. When we started dating he would go off on very long (and confusing) monologues over dinner where he tried to explain to me how he internet works, how an email I sent him would get routed to him, why I needed a password vault like yesterday. Maybe he didn’t really like me? Why did he talk about this stuff all the time? I really wasn’t really sure what to make of it, but the sex was great. I had only known him a few weeks when he was insisting that I buy a big new hard drive. He set up my data to automatically back itself up and he segmented my hard drives. After dating two months he asked me to go to Italy with him. We drove a convertible from Rome to the Amalfi Coast. He made me buy a Blackberry.

Time went on, and I moved in with him (and his blinking racks full of devices). I learned that there were dark places in the internet and I went exploring. I bought bitcoin. I encrypted my drives. We added a weather station to our home automation system (because you want to know YOUR weather, right?). We bought a server and a RAID. I watered my lemon tree in Los Angeles via my iPhone while sitting in a coffeehouse in Bali. I starting accumulated a lot of high-tech kitchen appliances. My Zojirushi rice cooker could probably land the space shuttle (while it sings lullabies). I automated my online life with IFTTT and started writing code. Somehow, through my husband, I have gotten sucked into this techy gadget-y world. And, you know what? I love it.


I’m a Cisco wife and Tomorrow Starts Here

For the uninitiated, Cisco is the leading manufacturer of routing equipment: routers and switches. But it is really much more than that – Cisco is a cultural well-spring and hub of the geek/futurist world. Cisco is a lifestyle that encourages innovation and technology. Cisco is a culture that is obsessed with the future. Moreover, Cisco makes a big effort to make tech/IT/network people feel like they have a critical role in manifesting the future. As part of their educational and cultural outreach, they hold huge conferences, called Cisco Live all over the world each year. Earlier this summer, I traveled to Orlando to attend Cisco Live 2013 with my husband. Over 20,000 people attended.

This year, I was not an official attendee. It’s expensive and I was mostly along for the ride. But I had access to my husbands Cisco iPad app that let me watch all the presentations from the comfort of my hotel room / pool chaise. I got really sucked into the presentations and speeches. It was much more accessible than I expected, even for a non-tech person like me. I found it to be a broader discussion about the future and how we want to live in the near future. In the evenings I would meet up with Jonathan and other Cisco people for dinner, drinks and to discuss everything Cisco. What did we talk about? Mostly, the Internet of Everything.



The Internet of Things/Everything

Are you aware that the internet is about to EXPLODE in size? Soon the traffic and connections between humans will be far surpassed by the connections between THINGS on the internet. Welcome to the The Internet of Things (IoT). Cisco’s current Internet of Everything prediction is 37 billion “intelligent things,” such as cars, appliances, smartphones, tablets, monitoring sensors and more, will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

One of the first ways I see IoT affecting me is the connection of my household appliances to the internet. My refrigerator could scan all the item in my fridge and alert me to what was going to perish next, so I could try to use it up. Or it could send an electronic order to the local grocer and tell them what staples we need to have delivered. Or it could check my schedule online and realize that I am out-of-town, so that the order should be skipped this week. Do I want my washing machine to text my housekeeper and remind her to pick up laundry detergent? Maybe. Or the washer could just order the detergent via Amazon Prime and have is shipped from a vast soulless distribution center. But what happens when my dryer starts trying to sell me a certain brand of dryer sheets? Are all my devices going to be trying to sell me something? Will my house essentially be taken over? Will I lose control?

Lots of Questions

  • What will my daily life be like in 2020?
  • Will the internet of everything be annoying?
  • I might walk to the farmers market to buy local produce but my home might be connected to servers in India. So what is local and what is global?
  • How do we spend our free time once the Internet of Everything has automated our lives (2020-ish)? Once our cars are self driving (2030-ish)? — Meditate? Blog about it? Marathon more TV shows? Exercise? I’d like to think that I would have more time to write, draw and work on creative projects. But would I really? I have a feeling my daily life might look a lot like an IT help desk.
  • And probably the scariest question of them all — how do we all make a living when so much of our world (and work) has been automated?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally ready to embrace the future. I’m excited about the changes and innovations we will get to see in our lifetimes. I am fascinated by cities and the potential for them to work differently and be smarter and more adaptable. But I also think we need to figure out how to keep the masses of people busy, useful and employed. Things are changing fast on the technology front and we really need to talk more about the impact on daily life, work and cities. As they say at Cisco, tomorrow starts here.

Note to Cisco Live people: Please give me a PRESS PASS for Cisco Live San Francisco 2014 and I will gladly blog & tweet about the internet of everything, the future and the sausage fest you call CiscoLive. I’m already going to be in SF, just let me in!



August 5, 2013 0
See more: design, diary, on the road, smart home

Home = 1st Class Lounge

Last year, Tom Haverford, on Parks & Recreations declared his apartment to be a “girl heaven”. He has it stocked 24/7 with “boutique eye cream, unisex cologne, lip exfoliator, chocolate-covered almonds, and a sudoko book — just amenities everywhere.”

Jonathan and I got a huge laugh from it because we are doing something similar at our house — but we like to call it “first class lounge”. We want to enjoy the luxury of a first class lounge at home, without going anywhere (or buying a $$$$ 1st class ticket). We started this project a few years back. Here are some of our lounge-y amenities we have added:

Food + Beverage

  • A snack basket bar (two large baskets on the kitchen counter hold individually wrapped snacks) — cookies, nuts, candy, chips, muffins, etc. Inspired by the amazing snack baskets in the galley of a Gulf Air flight from Paris to Abu Dhabi.
  • A well stocked beverage fridge: water, sodas, juice, beer, cider, tiny bottles of booze, champagne, wine — beverage option overload, all of the time. Note: A beverage fridge is hands down the best home upgrade ever. We love it; our guests love it. + It helps free up space in the regular fridge which is very helpful for entertaining.
  • Lots of ramekins: They are perfect size for snacks, nuts, getting rid of used tea bags, etc. They look fancy.
  • Round trays, for serving drinks and snacks.


  • Matching his/her black robes. Somehow black robes just seem fancier.
  • Mouth wash dispenser: On the bathroom counter we have a huge bottle of mouth wash and we have replaced the cap with a pump. Next to it is a stack of little cups. Help yourself to mouthwash!
  • Fancy hand soap: It feels amazing, smells amazing and moisturizes your paws.
  • Wipes: to wash your face, to apply sun screen, to sterilize your hands, for after sex, you name it and there is a wipe for it.
  • Electric throw blanket: Electric blankets are not just for beds anymore! You can have little throw sized ones on couches and in chairs. A-mazing.
  • Flowers: Scatter small bud vases with blooms in a number of locations. They pack more punch than one big bouquet.
  • Massage chair: We don’t have one yet, but it is on my bucket list. For now I just use the $1 machine in the waiting room at the local car wash.

Tech + Work

  • Loads of outlets, you can charge devices everywhere: Each couch has a power strip in a cord box with chargers for all common devices. If you sit down you can charge.
  • Your own weather station: Because you want to know YOUR actual weather, right?
  • Lots of magazines: On diverse topics like street fashion, bathroom renovation, tattoos and foreign politics.

It really doesn’t need to cost a lot to make your house or apartment into a “first class lounge”. It is more about designing your home for your own comfort and anticipating your needs (and your guests needs). We can all have a place to retreat to that calms us, it just takes a little planning and daydreaming.

(Image: Parks & Recreation Season 4 Episode 19 “Live Ammo” on NBC via Videori)

*Disclaimer: I’ve never actually flown 1st class (I’m sure it’s super nice…), but I do get to fly business class for work from time to time. If you have spent some quality time hanging out in 1st class lounges I would love to hear about it & send me suggestions for amenities to add!

What amenities would you ADD to your home?

June 4, 2013
See more: back kitchen, diary, home & interiors, smart home

Year in Review– 2012!


Last New Year’s Eve we flew to Buenos Aires and visited some of our favorite spots, and then flew further south to trek in Patagonia, landing in El Calafete and Ushuaia. Ushuaia is the the most Southern city in the world. We hung out with penguins on an island in the arctic territory, trekked on glaciers and saw lots of wildflowers. We followed that up with a few days in Uruguay hanging out at the beach near Punta del Este.


Lots of new BREAKurban clients and fun projects! Landscapes, websites, branding, site selection for new construction, and even some printmaking.

At long last we started working on our front yard! In the early spring we tore up our front yard and parkway and re-landscaped and added more terraces to the yard. We installed an 8-zone drip irrigation system for our front yard and another 8-zone system for our backyard. All the irrigation is controlled by our home automation system, and we can also access the devices from our iPhones. We planted a lot of trees, natives, succulents, herbs and raised beds for veggies.

I set up grow lights and heat mats in my studio and started about 100 types of heirloom seeds for our garden (+ I gave a lot away to friends and clients).

In March we flew to Florida for my mom’s beautiful garden wedding. And we met our brand new nephew Christopher! + We spent some quality time with he family and the lazy river pool.

We spent Memorial Day in Cleveland for my high school reunion and more family time. Jonathan got sick and had to have his gallbladder taken out. It was kind of gnarly but he bounced back fast.

At our house we had #grillfriday (check out pics on instagram) every Friday night all summer. We to learned to grill new foods each week. Everything from steaks, to pizza, quesadillas, bread, cobblers, desserts.

With the help of Beth Zeigler / Bneato we totally reorganized our shed (a huge project).

We made a huge leap towards being paperless with the help of 1dollarscans and Evernote.

I redecorated my studio/office and got rid of a lot of clutter, allowing me a lot more workspace and peace of mind. I painted my floors on the hottest day of the year. Apartment Therapy – we are almost ready for you!

October took us to northern California for my sister-in-law’s fabulous wedding at Slide Ranch. We partied all night in a yurt high above the Pacific Ocean.

I flew out to Illinois to hangout with my grandparents and pack up slides to be scanned and to prep old films to be digitized. I made a bunch of iTunes slide shows of their old slides set to music. It was so fun to see these images that had been tucked away for so long!


This December we made a huge batch of caramels from a recipe my family has been making every Christmas for over 75 years. I grew up helping with the caramels but this was the first year we made them on our own! It was kind of a huge/scary undertaking involving a lot of commercial cooking gear but it worked totally worked. Next year we are going to experiment with flavoring the “Lundeen Caramels of California”. + Thanks to all our friends who rolled up their sleeves and helped wrap caramels!

January 22, 2013 0
See more: diary, home & interiors, in California, Los Angeles, on the road, plant stars, smart home, South America

Evernote + 1dollarscan = Organized Life

I have been using Evernote for a couple of years, mainly to create drafts of correspondence and to keep track of ideas. I particularly love using it to organize my recipes and web clippings. That being said, I wasn’t really making full use of it, but I did have a premium account ($5.00 a month) that made my documents searchable and gave me more space.

As part of our organizing project my husband and I have been trying to move in the direction of being paperless. A few years ago we bought a Fujitsu document scanner, which in theory could be used to scan a lot of our stuff. But the reality is that we have TOO MUCH STUFF and it would take like 2 years of evenings and weekends to scan and organize it ourselves.

So — we decided that we need to send out the back log to get professionally scanned. After some online research we started sending off boxes of paper documents each month to in San Jose, California. They scan everything and post documents to an FTP and we download them and organized them on our RAID.

This has been working well for us for the last 6+ months. But I was really excited to see that is now partnering with Evernote! So when I mail off boxes of paper documents they magically turn into Evernotes on my computer. It is like MAGIC. I don’t have to do anything! I just drop off the boxes at the post office.

So needless to say I decided to double down on Evernote and have been looking for more way to use it to organize my life.

Here is one new thing I am doing – I’m using Evernote to organize my Test Garden. I used my iPhone to photograph all the seed packets, both front and back. I can then use the notes to keep track of when and where we planted the seeds and add pictures of the grown plants, harvest, etc.


I’ll make another post soon on all the ways I am using Evernote. I keep thinking of new ideas! Family genealogy soon…

October 12, 2012 0
See more: home & interiors, smart home