I had my fantasy football draft today.  I’m playing in a league at work, and I’m the only woman in the league.

I’m satisfied with my picks.  One of the guys signed up for some online fantasy team evaluator thing and ran all the teams through.  My team is pretty well in the middle of the pack, and that’s not bad for the beginning of the season.  I always feel like the person who starts out with the stellar team is bound to hit some injuries and suspensions and tumble.

So here’s who I’ve got (full team, not just lineup):

Philip Rivers (QB)

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB)

Brandon Marshall (WR)

Braylon Edwards (WR)

Johnny Knox (WR)

Earl Bennett (WR)

Maurice Jones-Drew (RB)

Fred Jackson (RB)

Joseph Addai (RB)

Pierre Thomas (RB)

DeMarco Murray (RB)

Vernon Davis (TE)

Zach Miller (TE)

Sebastian Janikowski (K)

Green Bay Packers (DEF)

I feel kind of like a traitor because I didn’t pick any Steelers, and I picked the Green Bay defense (booooo!)

Just as I do almost every year, I named my team Sparkle Motion.


Shane (1953)

I was going to start this post talking about how I’m not interested in Westerns, but I love There Will Be Blood, True Grit, and No Country for Old Men, so I guess I’m more of a Western fan than I thought.

Shane’s the story of a retired gunfighter who tries to make a quiet life as a ranch hand on a family homestead in Wyoming. The settlers are being terrorized by Ryker, who considers the entire valley to be his.  When the homesteaders won’t give up easily,  Ryker calls in a hired gun–Jack Wilson, played by Jack Palance– and Shane returns to his sharpshooting roots.  I of course missed the film’s most anticipated gun battle because I WAS LOOKING AT FACEBOOK, so I had to re-watch the last 20 minutes of the film.

It was fun to see such a young Jack Palance, with his high-cheekboned skeleton smile, since the only Jack Palance I’ve ever known is the old man from City Slickers.

Honestly, I wasn’t very interested in the film from its description or the DVD jacket, but it had an interesting enough story to keep me engaged.  It was so bad it was great–the acting was melodramatic, I think the kid was cross eyed, and there was lots of pining after forbidden love.  The fighting was terribly fantastic– lots of face punching and stumbling all the way back across the room and through the door.

Aside from watching lots and lots and lots of movies, my favorite part of this AFI film challenge is that it’s getting me to step outside of my usual habits and try out films I wouldn’t ordinarily choose. I wouldn’t rush out to get Shane on DVD, but spending 2 hours watching the gorgeous Wyoming landscape on my TV wasn’t at all bad.


next up, Monday

Baby Beez’ birthday party was great.

We had gorgeous weather and a good turnout, everyone had enough to eat, and everyone had a nice time.  Baby Beez smashed the cake like a pro! She didn’t quite understand that she was supposed to eat the cake, and everyone staring at her was a little too much to handle.

My out of town relatives returned back home today.  I spent most of the day hammering away on a work project that has taken forever and ever and ever (and is still not done).

The weather today was so perfect.  It was cool and crisp and sunny.  I HAD to take Baby Beez out for a walk, it would be a tragedy to linger indoors and let a day like this pass us by.

We went for a walk in the nearby cemetery, where it’s beautiful and calm. Our neighborhood is hilly, the sidewalks are cracked and uneven, and the drivers are maniacs.  I prefer to not worry about getting plowed over by a wayward Honda while walking.


party time

Today is Baby Beez’ first birthday party.

She doesn’t turn 1 until Labor Day, but we are having the party early because people like to go out of town for Labor Day weekend.  Her party is a very casual picnic at a local park.  The weather seems to be cooperating. That’s good….I didn’t have a rain plan, and we can’t move the party to our house because the basement carpet is all ripped up thanks to last week’s flooding, and the place still smells like mildew.

The party luckily takes minimal preparation.  We picked up Sesame Street decorations last weekend, I’m going to Costco to get food this morning, and we’ve got cake for grown ups and a smash cake for Baby Beez.

Even though I’ve been too busy to even THINK about the party, I have party anxiety. I’m worried I forgot to invite someone, or that some friends might be annoyed or disinterested about attending a 1 year old’s party.  Thanks to college, law school, synagogue, and being busy around Pittsburgh generally, I’ve got a number of different groups of friends, and the circles intersect at different places.  I get worked up over the “oh if I invite this person, I need to invite these other three people, etc etc etc” line of thinking.

I keep reminding myself that THIS IS A 1 YEAR OLD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY.  They are usually small family parties anyway. When have I ever gotten offended about not being invited to a 1 year old’s birthday party? (answer: never). So if I missed someone on the invitation list, IT WILL BE FINE.  We’re not talking about a high society, black tie party. This is a picnic in the park, with Sesame Street cake plates. CHILL OUT.



I really need to get moving with networking efforts.  I was so insanely busy with the county bar association’s Young Lawyers Division in the spring, that I’ve let things slide over the last two months.  Of course, the last two months were summertime, so there are far fewer traditional networking events happening.  September is right around the corner, and I need to kick it into gear.

I know I’m not alone when I say that going to a networking cocktail party, just for the purpose of networking is my worst nightmare.  I hate hate hate those events.  Although I am very outgoing with friends and acquaintances, I’m very shy when surrounded by people I don’t know.  I’ve been guilty at arriving late or bolting early when a structured event is accompanied by informal networking.

I need to face that demon, and just get better at walking up to people, introducing myself, and getting to know them.  The techniques I’ve tried to work with before are:(1) get there early-ish so that I don’t walk in on a room full of people already broken out into groups and engaged in conversations, and (2) to keep the conversation going, ask questions, questions, and more questions. If anyone has any other suggestions about how to make networking cocktail parties less nightmarish, I’m all ears.

These are some things I’ve done to network, yet avoid the terrible networking cocktail parties altogether:

(1) Participate in a Board of Directors on an organization I’m passionate about.  This is tricky because you have to identify what you’re passionate about (tougher than it sounds), identify the organization and board that’s the right fit for you, and get yourself on that board.

(2) Participate in classes or formal programs.  In 2009, I participated in the Coro Women in Leadership Program.  The program itself was amazing and taught me so many leadership and professional development skills, and I made friends with professional women who work in all different industries in Pittsburgh.  Coro itself offers tons and tons of networking opportunities for its alums, and I really need to start pursuing those opportunities.

(3) Volunteer.  This at least gives you something structured to do and talk about, and is a good segue to introducing yourself to others (which is the absolute hardest part for me).  I don’t have the time to volunteer at a set organization on a consistent basis, but I do find plenty of single day/single event volunteer opportunities that are fulfilling and fun.

The (purported) networking tool I find least helpful is Facebook.  Facebook is great for keeping in touch with family and in-real-life friends.  There is nothing worst than becoming a facebook friend with someone you recently met in a networking setting, and then they flat out ignore you the next time they see you in real life.  You can’t go up to them and say “Hey remember me? I AM YOUR FACEBOOK FRIEND” because that is creepy.  I have no real solution for this.