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braindead

A very busy week last week was followed by a very busy weekend which was then followed by another busy week this week.  Lots and lots of thinking and reading and writing and more thinking and more writing.  I followed a very busy work day with judging the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s mock trial competition for local high schools.  These were some devoted and intelligent kids.  I love judging mock trial because the kids are so enthusiastic about lawyering, they take the case and what they are doing so seriously, and they really listen when you give them feedback.

After all that, I didn’t get home til about 9:30.   My brain is very tired.  I’ve got about 50 pages left in Game of Thrones, and I’m just dying to get this darn book FINISHED.  I am finishing this book tonight. If it kills me.

Baby Beez has long been asleep and I haven’t seen her since I dropped her off and daycare this morning, and part of me wants to wake her up just to get a few minutes of her smiles (although waking her up is extremely unlikely to produce smiles).

Baby Beez’ personality has gone through so many changes lately, in a completely wonderful way.  She has been extremely clingy to me, but now she is equally excited about Daddy.  She’s finally letting me put her hair up so it doesn’t get stuck in her snotty face.  She’s chattering up a storm.  It’s so amazing to watch her get big and clever and so independent.  She is usually whiny and clingy when I drop her off at daycare, and a few weeks ago she just strolled into the daycare room, started playing and said “BYEEE!” to me.  She was so big and so independent, and I was so proud.

She’s such a kid now.  She’s defiant and intelligent and charming.

I can’t believe she used to be this little noisy blob.

She is such a person now, and so fun and so cute and so perfect.  I want to keep her this age forever.

Now to go finish that book….

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BIG IDEA.

I want to have a BIG IDEA.  I want to think of something amazing and innovative that shapes our city’s culture for the better.  Pittsburgh is an amazing place to have a BIG IDEA. If you have a BIG IDEA, you can make it happen here, and you’ll be greeted with enthusiasm and support.

I have been working on this for a while, but I have not yet come up with a BIG IDEA.  I’m not even sure what kind of BIG IDEA I want to have.  I’m not the quit-my-job-and-open-a-fledgling-business type.  I like my job fine, and maybe I can even figure out a BIG IDEA that intersects with my job.    I’m interested in the in issues surrounding social media content, the law, and how to be engaged with social media content in a way that is harmonious with having a “traditional” job.  I’ve actually gotten support from my work in developing these interests, so there might be some potential there.  I just haven’t had an EUREKA! moment yet.

I’m also interested in figuring out some kind of BIG IDEA that helps working parents make their lives easier.   Or maybe I can figure out some kind of BIG IDEA that meets a social need in our city, or enriches Pittsburgh culturally.

I tend to have good ideas in the shower, so I’ve taken lots of showers.  No BIG IDEA yet. Thanks to the showers, I don’t smell bad.

Since I haven’t thought of a BIG IDEA of my own yet, here are some of favorite BIG IDEAS that other ‘burghers have had:
 
 

Stylish White Female is Terra McBride’s brilliant fashion blog.  She photographs her perfect outfit every day.  I’m inspired and amazed by how polished she is every single day (despite my own extremely amateur interest in fashion, I, by contrast, wrote this post while sloppily rocking jeans and a hoodie.)  Terra takes many of her photos downtown and in Market Square, so I enjoy seeing her photos and thinking “hey, I walked through there today!”
 
 

The Milk Truck is part public art project/part breastfeeding advocacy project.  You can follow its location through the Milk Truck twitter feed.  The idea is that women who have been hassled about breastfeeding can call the truck, and it will come by and give them a supportive place to nurse.  The logistics of it seem to be a little tricky (if you need to feed baby now, you’re not likely going to be able to wait for a truck to show up, even if someone is hassling you), but the Milk Truck has done a great job of encouraging conversation about breastfeeding and cultural issues surrounding breastfeeding.
 
 

The Goodie Truck also promotes mobile nourishment, but this vehicle serves cookies, whoopie pies, and other sweet treats!!
 
 

Yinzpiration is the project of Kate Stolzfus, where she recounts all the fascinating people she meets as she fulfills a challenge to interview 100 inspiring Pittsburghers.  Make sure to check out her 57-reasons to live in Pittsburgh piece.  Even in this cold and dreary weather, it will warm your heart for our fair city.
 
 

Conflict Kitchen is a take out restaurant that only serves foods from countries with which the US is in conflict.  In addition to serving tasty food, it encourages awareness of our country’s foreign relations, and reminds us of the humanity of those whom we may only know from frantic news headlines.
 
 

That statute thing at CMU with the people walking up to the sky.  I don’t know much about it, other than I think it is fantastic.
 
 

Although pick-your-own-mix-ins isn’t anything new for an ice cream shop, Oh Yeah! in Shadyside takes it to a whole new, clever level.  Oh Yeah! has heaps and heaps of personality.  In addition to ice cream, they also boast waffles and delicious coffee, and have tons of vegan offerings.  One of my favorite summer outings is spending an evening at their outdoor tables with a sweet treat.  Plenty of people bring their friendly dogs by, and it’s always a pleasant spot to hang out.
 
 

As a transplant, I don’t have my own Pittsburgh dad, but from what I’ve learned here over the last nearly 12 years Pittsburgh Dad  the Youtube phenomenon certainly rings true! Ravens suck!
 
 
I’ll continue to circle square one, and take a whole lot of showers, and hopefully someday I’ll come up with my own BIG IDEA to make my mark on the city.

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Songs to make you weep like a fool

I listen to Pandora pretty much all day, every day. Every once in a while I make the poor decision of picking some station that plays some sad sappy song and it takes all my strength to keep from getting tears all over my keyboard.  I can’t help it though, some of those sad songs are just so good. Here are some of my favorite sob-inspiring tunes–

Ben Folds, Brick


Coldplay, Fix You (Sandy describes this song as “Tear Pie”)

The Script, Breakeven

So what are your favorite songs to make you cry like an idiot?

(Note: this post is inspired by being stuck at the mechanic for 2 hours on Saturday morning, and 500 Days of Summer was on the TV, and in that last scene where he goes to stupid Zooey Deschanel’s party is such a kick to the stomach)

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Pittsburgh Burger Company

This week has been b-a-n-a-n-a-s.  Work has been crazytimes, and I tried to relax a little today because I have to dive right back into work tomorrow, and the week ahead doesn’t look like it will be much calmer.  The tricky thing about being a litigator is that you have to be sharp and creative and analytical all the time.  In busy weeks, your brain can get very tired, and if your brain doesn’t get un-tired, you get bogged down and sometimes it feels like your brain is foggy.  I’m trying to avoid that.  ANYWAY, to the matter at hand.

Tonight felt like a perfect night to go out for a family dinner.  Mr. Beez and I had a taste for Burgatory, but they unfortunately had a wait of more than two hours when we called at 5:30 pm.

Picture from POPCity

I read a POPCity article on the Pittsburgh Burger Company some time back, and Mr. Beez and I had filed it away as “some place to try in the future.”  This was a great night for it.  We both like to try new things, and Mr. Beez was keen to try wild game burgers.

The restaurant was not busy at all when we got there around 5:45 (having a toddler in tow means we eat early, or everyone is miserable).  Even when we left closer to 7, it was still pretty quiet.  The restaurant is in spitting distance of a Red Robin, and its prices and decor suggest it’s targeting the same clientele, I’m not sure this is the best location for a place like this to stand out.

The server was very quick and attentive.  Mr. Beez was excited to order a buffalo burger, but unfortunately they were out of both the buffalo and the kobe beef.  He ended up ordering the venison and said it was kind of dry (but I think venison is supposed to be dry).  He got his burger with french fries, and said they were so-so.

checkin' my messages...

Baby Beez is in a phase right now where she desperately WANTS to use silverware on her own, and doesn’t want any help with feeding herself, but she is terrible and messy with it.  We got her grilled cheese and mashed potatoes, and although she wasn’t interested in the grilled cheese, she was plenty entertained with sloppily feeding herself mashed potatoes.

I got the lamb burger with grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, and monterey jack cheese. The burger was greasy (in a good way) and delicious.  I really enjoyed my burger, and was glad that I could request the salad bar instead of fries, but the salad bar, although fresh, wasn’t particularly interesting.  The desserts also looked tasty enough, but none of them stood out as particularly interesting or exciting.

Pittsburgh has a glut of inventive and delicious hamburger restaurants.  With the newer choices like Burgatory or Wingharts,  or the Pittsburgh legends FatHeads or Tessaro’s, Pittsburgh Burger Company fails to stand out.  It’s got a niche it can build on– although I believe other places may have some kind of wild game offering, it’s not the major focus.  Pittsburgh Burger Company does a great job with the wild game burgers themselves, but otherwise fails to distinguish itself from a Red Robin or the Fuddrucker’s that formerly inhabited its building.

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My dirty little secret.

I have a cleaning lady.

(I bet you were expecting something more interesting.)

I don’t know why I feel this is so shameful, or why I’m so secretive about it. But it’s the truth. I don’t clean my own darn house.

For a long time I thought having a housecleaner would be a good idea, but I couldn’t bring myself to get one. I didn’t want to be the kind of person who has a cleaning lady.  Those kinds of people are rich and snotty and helpless.  I’m none of those things.  There’s no sense in throwing away money on something I could do on my own, even though I barely had time for it.

I admit it, though– I hate cleaning.  The only things I hate more than cleaning are talking on the phone and arguing with Philly lawyers.  When I found a few spare minutes in the day, I could choose between playing with my kid, or watching some TV, or cleaning…and I never ever choose the cleaning.

The result was that our house kept getting grungier.  Instead of me cleaning, I just got increasingly stressed.  Mr. Beez doesn’t mind cleaning so much, but he’s just as busy as I am, sometimes busier.  The time to give the house a good scrubdown never existed.

Last summer was a perfect storm.  Mr. Beez traveled a LOT last summer.  He was on a 2 week road trip, then had two conferences.  Baby Beez was only about 8 months old at the time.  I was busy at work, shuttling her back and forth from daycare (which amounted to an hour and ten minutes commute, each way), and having to do ALL the house chores by myself.  I was cracking under the stress (writing that down, it looks like far less than it felt, and I ask myself why couldn’t I just suck it up and deal? I don’t know. But that was a very stressful time, and the stress was real).  I finally had an appointment with my doctor, and tearfully spilled out all my stress.  Amongst other (actually medical) advice, she told me YOU. NEED. TO. GET. A. HOUSECLEANER.

I know that my generation is known for abandoning the “Superwoman” persona, for the “Good Enough” persona, butI felt that having a messy house represented my inability to function as an adult on the most basic level.  I’d come home and fret over the mess.  Instead of prioritizing cleaning (because I hated it), I grew increasingly agitated.  In theory, I could have let it go and learned to live with it, but I am not good at letting things go.  But my doctor prescribed a cleaning lady, and I usually listen to my doctor.

So now we have a cleaning lady.  I’m pretty sure I haven’t turned into an obnoxious spoiled snob.  She only comes by once a month.  The clutter is our responsibility to pick up, and she does the floors and the dusting and all the other grime that I never get around to.  When I come home to a cleaned house, it’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders.  The cost of hiring a cleaning lady is well worth the stress it has relieved.  Also, it’s kind of fun to watch Baby Beez slide across the clean floors and land splat on her bum.