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Thursday Mix: Things on my Brain Today

  • This week wins. As in it has demonstrated itself to be victorious over me.  I have been crazy, crazy tired. Not just sluggish, I’m talking bone tired. Can’t keep my eyes open tired. Physically falling asleep tired. Yesterday I got back from Erie at like 4pm and immediately fell asleep tired.  Then I remembered how many friends have newborns right now, and they are experiencing that kind of tired, except when I’m tired like that, I can hand my kid an iPad, stick her in her bed, and go take my own darn nap. So even though I’ve been tahred, I love my life, because napping is an actual possibility.
  • I saw Pitch Perfect not too long ago, and I kind of love it. It even made me love “Party in the USA.”  I wanted to hate this movie, but I just can’t, because it’s so fun.
  • I’ve figured out what Pinterest is useful for– It fills that “shopping spree” urge.  Like I get almost the exact same kind of satisfaction pinning all the things I want to buy, as I do from buying them (it’s the picking out process that’s so addicting for me, once the thing has arrived, the thrill is worn off).  Pinning is curbing my shopping appetite, which is very very helpful, given the aspirations of Mr. Beez and I of getting a house that actually has air conditioning in the next few years.
  • Baby Beez’s birthday is next week. She’ll be 3. What a big girl! We’re not doing a party this year, because she’s 3, and really doesn’t understand parties. But she’ll have a birthday cake, and we’re going on a little ride on the Gateway Clipper with the Orange Chair Blog family and Mr. Beez’ parents.  Baby Beez loves all kinds of methods of transportation, so I think a boat ride will be just the right kind of little celebration for her.
  • I’ve been a stupid stupid weekend warrior lately.  My anticipated training schedule (that I made myself) for the EQT 10 miler race in November was too much mileage, too fast. I ended up with terrible, crippling calf cramps.  And then I’ve stupidly persisted in these significantly longer runs on the weekends, that leave me essentially hobbled until Wednesday the following week.  I’m trying to be smart and train in a way that builds distance but doesn’t hurt me, so now I’m doing a mix of running and walking. Generally I walk 0.25 miles, run 0.75 miles, but I mix up that proportion depending on how I feel.  Given that I walked 7.5 miles last weekend alone, I’m confident that as long as I continue training with the goal of increasing distance, and am open to mixing up walking with running, I’ll be able to finish the 10 miles by November.  It may not be fast, it may be a lot of walking, but I’ll get across the finish line. I’d rather actually run the whole thing, but it is what it is, and I need to focus on being healthy, strong and not trying to push my body beyond what it can safely do.
  • I am simultaneously reading a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, world’s wost book (The Host by Stephanie Meyer) and an absolutely excellent book (The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling).  I have no idea why I’m continuing with the awful book.  I like the general idea behind the story, but it’s just awful writing, and I’ve come this far, I guess I kind of feel like I might as well finish it. Ugh it is so bad.
  • Holiday weekend coming up! What’s going on with yinz guys?
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Obsessed.

Mentions of it are everywhere. Taunting me. On TV shows, blogs, in magazine articles. Talk talk talk, but to my knowledge, nowhere in driving distance of Pittsburgh, to be found: THE LOBSTER ROLL.

Credit to Serious Eats: http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/connecticut-style-hot-butter-lobster-rolls-reconsidering-the-lobster-david-foster-wallace.html

Photo Credit to Serious Eats


I have never before had a lobster roll. Never had the joy of biting into the meaty seafood, slathered in mayonnaise and spices, stuffed into a buttered roll, while lounging beachside. No, I grew up in a desert town, where all celebratory meals were held at The Olive Garden, because that was the only place in town available for such things. Special treats of the eastern seaboard were unknown to us. And the lobster roll unknown to me until this summer. Now it is all I can think about.

I first heard of a lobster roll on some travel show earlier this summer, where dueling restaurants in the same oceanside town (in New Jersey I think) each claimed to offer the world’s best lobster roll.  Having never tried one, I didn’t have an opinion, but I was drooling in front of the TV set, promising my loyalty to whichever shop would get me a lobster roll the fastest.

lobster roll 2

Photo via Smarter Travel who attributes it to why_style via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/yurilong/

Maybe it is the record low prices on lobster, or maybe the world is just obsessing over summer snacks, but I’ve gone from never having heard of a lobster roll before in my life, to feeling like mention of it confronts me everywhere I turn. And short of driving hours and hours and hours to a shore, I don’t know where to find one! (And don’t try to convince me to make it myself, I very rarely cook seafood or fish to begin with, and I know that trying my novice hand at this delicacy will just not be the same. Also, I recognize that Au Bon Pain offers a lobster salad sandwich, but for reasons I hope are obvious, that is hardly an acceptable substitute.)

Until I can get a roll in my hands, I’m going to continue my tortured dreams, wherein I stuff roll after roll after roll in my mouth, my belly puffed and full, and face greasy.  Then I’ll wake up, so very sad, and nibble at a PB&J.

Pittsburgh, if you’re holding out on me, and there’s an authentic (or nearly authentic even) lobster roll to be found in your boundaries, please do share. Before my dreams of this sandwich drive me mad.

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I have the Old.

Me: What’s twerking, anyway?

Mr. Beez: [explains twerking]

Me: How do you even get “twerking” from that anyway?

Mr. Beez: I don’t think etymology was their primary concern.

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Facebook FOMO and Walking Off the Angry

Facebook FOMO and Walking Off the Angry

The two topics that the human-interest columns are obsessing over right now are : (1) women lamenting their life choices, regardless of what they’ve chosen to do with their lives (sidenote: a producer for NPR’s The Takeaway called me earlier this week to possibly participate in a discussion on their show about work/life balance as a young lawyer, but they decided to “go another direction.” I’m pretty sure my interview answers weren’t miserable enough for the angle that’s been so trendy lately), and (2) Facebook making people cri cri cri big tearz of sad loneliness.  I am just not getting it.

An academic paper recently focused on the Facebook sad, and found a correlation between Facebook use and depression.  It stems from a theory of readers comparing their typically mundane lives with the “highlight reel” that is posted by others online.  Martha Beck also did a big piece in O magazine on “Fear of Missing Out.”  She finds her facebook-obsessed clients become obsessive and depressed about all the fun things they’re missing out on, and gives tips for “breaking free.”

People do this? They really do this? I spend more hours on Facebook than I care to admit, but it has never occurred to me to look at it through jealous eyes.  Facebook for me has always been a constant feed of inspiration. I love seeing all the cool things everyone else is doing, and that gives me ideas for cool things that my family and I can go out and do.  When I see someone doing fun things, I think “AWESOME! I want to do that, TOO!!”  And then I start making plans to DO whatever that fun thing is.  I don’t say “Booo hoo where is all my fun?” Not all my Facebook time is puppies and rainbows…I admit that from time to time I indulge in a little schadenfreude from that newsfeed (come on, who doesn’t, and you know it makes you feel guilty but good), but I’ve never been jealous or sad from Facebook.

Does seeing other peoples’ adventures on Facebook make you jealous and sad, or does it inspire you with ideas for adventures of your own?

In an entirely different direction, I took Baby Beez on a long stroller walk today along the Riverfront Trail, from the trail parking under the Veterans Bridge all the way past PNC Park and Heinz Field and the Rivers Casino and a whole bunch of crusty old “Boat Clubs” all the way to SCI Pittsburgh.  Out and back was a total of 7.5 miles.  Baby Beez was in her brand-that-will-remain-unnamed jogging stroller that has only gone out for a “jog” once before.  When Baby Beez was about 6 months old, we went to Schenley Park for a trail jog.  Within just a few moments of jogging, the thing rumbled violently and the front wheel popped off. We crashed and burned, but were ultimately OK. I assumed I hadn’t installed the wheel properly, and in my fear of once again eating dirt the stroller remained tucked away in a corner for the next 2.5 years.

Today I was finally inspired to give it another go.  I had to haul the big, clunky folds-but-not-very-well thing to the gas station to inflate the wheels, then I had to awkwardly cram the stupid thing in my car.  Baby Beez and I got to the trail and I double checked and triple checked the front wheel, and everything was installed properly.  It was all smooth for the first few minutes of walking, but within 10 steps of breaking into the jog, the familiar RUMBLETHUMPRUMBLETHUMPRUMBLETHUMP returned. The front wheel swivels, and something about he swivel function just isn’t right. It’s not effective to lock-out the swivel, because the front wheel gets fixed in a position that makes the whole thing pull to the side.  The result is that you can’t use it for jogging, unless you want the whole thing to rumble and explode in a million pieces or for it to veer off the trail. Which is so useful, since it is a jogging stroller.

Instead of NAPPING, Baby Beez screamed like a jerk for half the walk.  I gave her my phone to quiet her down, and she came up with this exceptionally Pittsburgh monster. Yay baseball! Yay fireworks! Raise the Jolly Roger!

Instead of NAPPING in the stroller, Baby Beez screamed like a jerk for half the walk. I gave her my phone to quiet her down, and she came up with this exceptionally Pittsburgh monster. Yay baseball! Yay fireworks! Raise the Jolly Roger!


To actually be ABLE to jog with a stroller, I’m guessing I’m probably going to have to plunk down the cash for a BOB or a Phil & Teds.  Given how much I’ve gotten back into running, I’d probably actually use it, but I don’t want to get one if Baby Beez is going to grow out of it right away, and there are only about 4 months in Pittsburgh that are appropriate weather-wise for outside running anyway.  I’m not entirely sure that a jogging stroller will be worth the cash money at this point.  Any thoughts from anyone more experienced with jogging strollers would be welcomed.

After discovering that I cannot actually jog with my jogging stroller, I was pissed. It was a huge production for us to even get out to the trail, and I wasn’t going to just turn around and pack us all back into the car, to drop Baby Beez off with Mr. Beez and go off for a run on my own. And I couldn’t run with her in the stroller. So I decided that I was going to walk, and I was going to walk until I was done with my anger. The anger took 7.5 miles of walking, but at least I earned myself a bunch of activity points.

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Hanging Out with Stinky @RomeroAtPhipps and VOTE FOR ME with @PghRestaurantWk

Yes, Twitter truly does have a value– thanks to Twitter, we caught the coolest botanical event of the year, and managed to completely beat the crowd!  I’ve been a ridiculously obsessed follower of the @RomeroAtPhipps twitter feed, following the progress of the corpse flower with eager anticipation. And finally, yesterday evening, the tweet I have been waiting for arrived! @RomeroAtPhipps was blooming! And he only blooms for 24-48 hours before his rotten smell turns into rotten rot, and he’s all gone.  As soon as I saw that tweet I pestered my husband like you would not believe. And yes, he said we could head over to Phipps Conservatory post haste to see this botanical wonder.


Pee- ew

Pee- ew

By the time we got there, Romero had only been blooming for a couple hours, and hadn’t made it up to his full stench.  We were some of the earliest visitors, and boy am I glad that (thanks to twitter) we made it there early.  We got there early enough that we were able to walk right on up and check out the flower.  Once we were getting ready to go, they were starting to have people line up.  From what I heard, as time passed, the line got longer and longer until it wrapped all the way around the Conservatory and went out the door. 

Yes, the Corpse Flower lived up to its smelly name.  There were pockets up close of hot-garbage smell, although it wasn’t obnoxiously pervasive.  The longer we spent there, the stinkier it got.  I can only imagine how awful the place smells today (although even with an awful smell, I do think this is enough of a wonder of nature that it would be worth suffering both through waiting and stink to see).

Romero

Would I call Romero a “beautiful” flower? Ehhh, no.  But it was really really cool. I’m very glad we saw it, and these kinds of opportunities don’t come around often.  Phipps is staying open until 2am today, the flower only blooms 24-48 hours and that clock started ticking around 5:00 pm on Tuesday, so your time is running out!! Hurry on over!

Now on to non-stinky things, as part of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week I submitted my photo of Coq au Vin from Bridge 10 Brasserie for consideration in their photo contest.  The prize is tickets to the invite only wrap up party, and you know me, I love a party!  Please click on this link to vote for me! Vote for me! vote for me!!