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And now it is January

With the new year, I’ve been spinning lots of plates. It’s always a challenge to figure out what is working and what is not.  There’s never enough time to do everything, but you can prioritize and make time for the important things. Figuring out which things are important things, however, is its own process.  I’d like to get back into a more regular pattern of blogging, but that is its own process.  For the time being, here are the things on my mind:

  • We spent Christmas to New Year’s Eve in Tampa. We had some good food down there, and I hope to put something together soon about the places we visited.
  • I love all things true crime, so Making a Murderer totally got me to renew my Netflix subscription.  I don’t necessarily think that documentary makers or journalists always have a particular agenda, but from what I have seen from reporting as compared to my experience handling particular cases (and how they are reported in the news), I find that reporting is often inaccurate (or maybe better described as imprecise) and incomplete.  All of this is a long prelude to say that although I think Making a Murderer is fascinating, it doesn’t inspire me to jump immediately onto the “Pardon Steven Avery” bandwagon.  I do, however, think that what they have presented should motivate the State of Wisconsin to order some kind of independent, external review of the proceedings.
  • I am equally fascinated by Serial and Undisclosed. Like with Making a Murderer, I’m not convinced by them that Adnan is innocent, but I think they raise enough questions that his conviction should be reviewed over again.
  • BTW, Braddock’s posted a picture of their Restaurant Week special online (bourbon braised osso bucco) and I think I really need to make this happen…


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Connections and play dates with @coveyapp

The holidays are marketed as being all about friendships and joy, but all the fun that appears on those glittering Instagram feeds can often ring hollow.  The holidays have their way of making you feel alone and isolated.  A family friend, Sarah, and other motivated Pittsburgh moms realized the importance of connections between parents in fostering friendships between children. The Covey app is especially helpful as the holiday madness winds down, and everyone starts getting back into the rhythm of normal life.  The focus of Covey is twofold– setting up convenient playdates between children, and also creating friendships between parents.

covey

Covey is a smartphone app that parents can use to connect with parents and parenting communities. There is a special section for each parenting community. Within that section, there is an open forum where you can post privately without sharing to your other social media accounts. You can use these communities as resources for your parenting questions or simply share your photos & stories.

Covey values positive, productive interactions.  There are built in community guidelines used to ensure supportive interactions in the app. It is somewhat structured like a dating app–You can introduce yourself to other parents by completing a profile with your interests, parenting style, and kid info. Then you can find other parents based on that very same info. The app will become more and more searchable, so you can look for, say, all {moms, dads} who are members of One Mother To Another that have experience with toddlers and are located near Brooklyn, NY.

When you find other parents like you in your area, you can use Covey to easily coordinate playdates and get-togethers. You can also use the app as a resource for family-friendly activities in your area, or become the local resource for family-friendly activities.

As you may know if you’ve read this blog for a while, I do not do advertising. Covey is not paying me anything or offering me anything for me to post about them.  I believe that the app is a positive thing and know that Sarah and her colleagues have worked very hard at it, and I believe Covey is worth checking out.

You can download the app from http://www.coveymom.com

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Pajama Day

After returning from a week at Deposition School in Colorado (sidenote: young litigators, DO THIS PROGRAM. It’s incredible, and while trial skills are great, you’ll be in a lot more depositions than trials, so it’s a lot more practical), and having a week that was nonstop nonstop nonstop, I declared yesterday “Pajama Day.” I’m not good at sitting still and doing nothing. There’s always a to do list forming in my brain, and I’m one of those strange people who feels relaxed by crossing things off that list. In contrast, being idle and letting things sit on that list stresses me out. 

Here’s the list of things I managed to do yesterday on my day of relaxing:

  • Cook breakfast for the family (huevos rancheros & toast).
  • Finish a book that is due back to the library today.
  • Put away 2 clean, folded baskets full of laundry that I’ve been ignoring for the last week.
  • Wash, dry, fold and PUT AWAY 3 more baskets of laundry (you KNOW the putting away is the hard part).
  • Watch Muppets Christmas Carol twice.
  • Sleep on the couch while Baby Beez watched Sword in the Stone.

Return to Oz

  • Watch Return to Oz with the family and live tweet my horror at what a screwed up movie it was and how on earth did I not remember that?
  • Cook dinner for the family (steak & corn).
  • Boil beets and roast carrots and potatoes, all of which had been sitting in the fridge waiting to be used since lord knows when.
  • Read 3 magazines, thereby diminishing the pile of magazines that has been growing and stressing me out because I ridiculously feel like I’m falling behind on something if I let the magazines pile up.
  • Ruminate on New Years Resolutions.

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  • Eat delicious ice cream.

Alida

  • “Play” with the bird. And by play I mean let her run around the bathroom and bedroom while I did other chores, and make sure she didn’t destroy or poop on anything.
  • Yell at husband to get the fireplace lit.
  • Troubleshoot fireplace when it wouldn’t turn on.
  • Yell at husband some more.
  • Text handyman about fireplace.
  • Praise husband when he figured it out and fireplace was roaring with a lovely fire.

Fire

  • Mutter curses when we realized we have to troubleshoot the fireplace even more, because it shut itself off after 20 minutes.
  • Reviewed contents of fridge and cabinets and wrote grocery list.
  • Picked up a new book and got through the first chapter.

And ridiculously, I feel incredibly relaxed after yesterday.  Today is fairly similar– we aren’t running around to events. This morning I’m doing a couple chores, and then I’m taking Baby Beez to the park so she can ride her bike. Tonight we are having some friends over for dinner, which means that this morning I got to partake in one of my absolute favorite activites: Picking out what we will order from the Kavsar menu (THE BEST!)

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My Erie Preview with @WholeFoodsErie Presque Isle State Park and Sara’s

My Erie Preview with @WholeFoodsErie Presque Isle State Park and Sara’s

I call my week in Erie an “Erie Preview” because I really did not do a whole lot of visiting or sightseeing. I was there for a trial in federal court, and until the jury went out for deliberations, I was (rightfully) all work-focus-work-focus-work-focus. I have to take a moment to be thankful for modern technology. I left bright and early Sunday morning, and did not return until Thursday evening. I missed my family. I was so thankful to be able to FaceTime with them for a few minutes in the evening, to talk about how much we missed each other and to wish each other sweet dreams.

FaceTime


I’m not going to talk about the trial itself, because frankly that would be inappropriate. But the jury went out on Wednesday afternoon and I had all the way through their return on Thursday afternoon to do a little exploring.

On the drive up. Game face on.

On the drive up. Game face on.


My first order of business once the jury went out was to go for a RUN. I hadn’t been for a run in at least two weeks. There was flat-out no time, and I was so stressed that I did not have the energy for running.But once that work was done, that energy flowed back! For my visit, I was staying at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront, with a room overlooking the little marina.

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I was able to run right out the hotel door onto the Erie SeaWay trail. The weather was absolutely perfect for a run. The sky was clear, the temperature warm, and the lake was a beauty to look at.

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After my run was done, I realized it was only about 6pm, and I still had the whole evening open and to myself. I have heard that Presque Isle State Park is very nice, so I decided to go for a drive through there. After getting there and seeing all the gorgeous trails, I realized it would have been an even more lovely place for my evening run. But I was not in a state to do 2 runs for the evening, so instead I went for a drive. And really, with gas prices being what they are, and with the rush rush rush of modern life, who goes for a leisurely drive anymore? I popped open the sunroof and wound my way through the park. It was just delightful.

I pulled over and stopped to take this selfie. No pictures while driving. Obvs.

I pulled over and stopped to take this selfie. No pictures while driving. Obvs.


The park is huge and full of trails, and there are beaches and lighthouses. The lake doesn’t have the waves of the ocean, but my kid cares more about the sand than the waves. I think it would be an ideal spot, and only 2 hours drive away, to take her for a little beach outing this summer.

After my drive, I stopped at local legend Sara’s for some summertime comfort food. Yummmmmmmm

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Afterward, I retired back to my room, to enjoy one last evening of watching whatever I wanted on TV  (read: Teen Mom) and sleeping basically sideways across the bed because OMG IT WAS A KING SIZE BED AND I HAD IT ALL TO MYSELF.

The next day while the jury continued its deliberations, I made my way over to the Whole Foods Co-Op. I picked up some necessaries (a mud mask for later, and a couple of bags of Food Should Taste Good multigrain tortilla chips, because they are the best). I also got lunch of a small wrap, a kale and beet salad and a chocolate chip cookie sandwich.

Whole Foods Co-op

All the food was extremely fresh and delicious. I must say, there is something special about the friendliness of a Co-Op. Since we are members of Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-Op, the Whole Foods Co-Op extended their member discount to me. Also, I got to sign their guest book 🙂

Before this visit, I probably would have never considered doing a little family trip to Erie, but this trip introduced me to a lot of things my family would enjoy. Erie is now on my short list of destinations, when we are getting restless and just need to get ahhhhta tahhn. On a future visit, I’d like to take Baby Beez to the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Also, the Erie area has quite the local brewing community, including Lavery Brewing Company, Erie Brewing Company and The Blue Canoe Brewery.  Mr. Beez and I would very much like to check out their offerings.

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Trial Taper with @DelaniesCoffee and Judit European Visage

Trial Taper with @DelaniesCoffee and Judit European Visage

I wrote this post about a week ago, and in all the flurry of trial activity, flat out forgot to post it!! A little late, but here it is…

Preparing for trial is kind of like preparing for a marathon. Except I’ve done both, and I can say that preparing for trial is way harder and more stressful. Well, maybe it depends on the trial. But the trial I start on Monday is one of those trials.

I’ve been working hard to prepare. And by working hard, I mean working so much that I’m losing my everloving mind. So today I needed to dial it back and take a little break. Sometimes, being in the office just ain’t gonna happen.

I started the day off at Delanie’s Coffee in the Southside, and I have to say, it’s such a comfortable, chill place. I had an excellent egg and cheese sandwich and a solid cup of coffee. I spent a couple hours working through my trial outlines, alongside a whole bunch of Duquesne students studying for finals (nursing students I think). There is free wifi, lots of seating and lots of electrical outlets. Basically, a prime spot for studying.

Delanie's Coffee

Afterward, I moseyed on down to my favorite local spa, Judit European Visage and treated myself to a facial. The last month has been a nonstop stress-fest and my face was showing it.

Judit European Visage

Judit is my favorite because the service is always impeccable and the prices are reasonable. PLUS they always treat you to a nice little glass of champagne. My husband bought me an all-day spa package their for my birthday last year, and it was just amazing. Now it is my go-to place when I need a spa treatment (which is frequent). Perfect.

After the facial, my face was glowing. And the scalp massage, aahhhhh so wonderful, I was so relaxed and felt so wonderful.

So it is back to more studying for the weekend. Showtime is Monday. Let’s do this.


Credit for the Pittsburgh Skyline illustration goes to Barry Gott and Smalltower Press. If you aren’t already familiar with it, the Smalltower Press shop on Etsy is fantastic.  And yes, I did reach out to him and get permission before using his illustration on BeezusKiddo, because that’s the cool thing to do, kids.