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NaBloPoMo Day 9: Return to the Homestead

NaBloPoMo Day 9: Return to the Homestead

It’s incredible how refreshing a weekend away can be. Although our vacation was only 2 full days and 2 days spent mostly traveling, I have returned home feeling at least sane again. It’s not full on rested bliss, but I am rested enough to feel capable to dive back into real life.

When traveling, I try to hit as many “local favorites” as possible, even if totally kitschy. Before leaving Montreal today, I enjoyed a Montreal bagel (totally legit), as well as one last helping of Timbits (also legit, but in a totally different way).

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Timbits

Travel was smooth going. In the course of this weekend away, I started and finished one book (The Beach by Alex Garland, in case you are wondering) and also made significant progress in another audiobook (The Scorch Trials by James Dashner).

Baby Beez Spiderman

Returning home with presents was mandatory, of course, and the pom-pom slippers and Spiderman comic book en Francais were very well received.

I know it’s not even late enough to be grown-up bed time, but I’m beat. So g’night.

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NaBloPoMo Day 5: Enchiladas with @AlexanderFIV at @AzulBar_Cantina

NaBloPoMo Day 5: Enchiladas with @AlexanderFIV at @AzulBar_Cantina

Mexican food is food worth driving for.  Pittsburgh’s options have developed considerably in the last 10 years, but there is still a paucity of Mexican cuisine here as compared to my So.Cal. hometown. I get by. But good Mexican food is worth the time and effort of a bit of a drive.  So is good company. I would have put the company first in this post, but said company failed to notify me of the massive plant between my teeth in the selfie we took. Hence: Alex gets booted to second place. Also, I crop our faces.

Foodie faces

Azul Bar Y Cantina is in Leetsdale. To get there, you drive up Route 65, and then keep driving and driving and driving. Ok it’s not that far. But it’s beyond the territory where I usually roam for lunch.  Mr. Beez and I visited Azul a few years back (and by a few, I think it was actually before Baby Beez was born, so you know, a few), and just loved it. I’ve been meaning to make my way back there, but it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the priority list, as things do.  But Alex works out in that direction now, so getting lunch together there worked out just perfectly.  If you don’t know Alex already, you should check out his blog: Everybody Loves You. His Mixtape Mondays and Week in Tweets are beyond compare. If you don’t like them, you aren’t human. Or funny.

chips and guac

We started things off with chips & guac & salsa. Everything is freshly made. The chips were hot and crispy and the guacamole was at just the right consistency where it still has a few satisfying chunks of avocado.

Enchiladas

For my entree, I had chicken tinga enchiladas in a verde sauce with black beans and rice. Alex copy-catted me, but that’s OK because he knows I have good taste in Mexican food. Also it’s ok because I usually don’t mind people copy-catting my order, UNLESS YOU ARE MY MOTHER, AND THEN MOM PLEASE FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO ORDER WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO ORDER THE SAME THING AS ME?

Everything was delicious. My only regret is that it was lunch time, not happy hour, and therefore I did not get to enjoy Azul’s delicious margaritas.

I know the “happening” dining spots in Pittsburgh are concentrated in the city, but it’s great to venture out once in a while. On my way back in to town, I made quick stops in Sewickley and Ben Avon (more about those later), and couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous the autumn leaves are, and what lovely communities they are up north.

Thanks again for being my Mexican food lunch pal, Alex! We’ll have to do this again soon! And next time, I will floss before we take selfies!


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NaBloPoMo Day 4: My Picks for the @3RFFest #3RFF

NaBloPoMo Day 4: My Picks for the @3RFFest #3RFF

YESSS THE THREE RIVERS FILM FESTIVAL I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I can’t even. I wish I could make it to the opening weekend celebrations this weekend, but I will be away visiting our French speaking neighbors to the North. I gravitate toward dark comedies and dramas, and this year the 3RFF reliably delivers. This year, there are many of my kind of movies to be had!

If I were in town, I would love to see Tumbledown.  Instead, someone please go see it for me, and let me know how it is!

Tumbledown

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Filled with tears, laughter, love, and music, Tumbledown is the story of a young widow who must find the courage to let go of her past and strength to move on to her future. This sweet and gently comic tale set in small-town Maine follows Hannah, who struggles to come to peace with the unexpected death of her husband, an acclaimed folk singer, by fixating on the seemingly impossible task of writing his biography. When Andrew, a cocky New York writer, comes to town to write his own book on her beloved, Hannah quickly tries to run him out, but soon discovers that his presence is a welcome challenge and surprising change from the smothering concern of her town, friends, and family. Grounded by a love for rural life and folk music, this indie film stars Jason Sudeikis, Rebecca Hall, Dianna Agron, and former Pittsburgher Joe Manganiello, a Mt. Lebanon native and CMU graduate who starred in the Spider-Man franchise.

Sean Mewshaw | USA | 2016 | 105 min.

These are the flicks I am most interested in, unfortunately I won’t be able to see them all…but lots of things to keep on my radar over the next several months…

Entertainment

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Unlike the typical indie comedy, Entertainment is sure to find a cult audience to call its own. An aging comedian tours the California desert, lost in a cycle of third-rate venues, novelty tourist attractions, and vain attempts to reach his estranged daughter. Slogging through the barren landscape and inadvertently alienating every acquaintance by day, he seeks solace in the animation of his onstage persona by night. Fueled by the promise of a lucrative Hollywood engagement and the possibility of rekindling a relationship with his daughter, he trudges through a series of increasingly surreal and volatile encounters. The profound sadness at the heart of the comedian confronts viewers with a bit of soul-searching, asking: who really is the butt of the joke? With appearances by John C. Reilly and Michael Cera.

Rick Alverson | USA | 2015 | 110 min

Everything Will Be Fine

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After taking 3D to dazzling new heights in Pina, legendary director Wim Wenders continues to push the technology in bold new directions. This searing drama charts the emotional odyssey of a struggling novelist, Tomas, whose life is turned upside down one wintry night when he causes a fatal car accident. The incident sets him on a soul-searching, decades-long journey towards redemption, a quest that profoundly touches the lives of both his girlfriend and the accident victim’s mother. In his triumphant return to narrative filmmaking, Wenders makes innovative, often breathtaking use of 3D to draw viewers ever deeper into the film’s gripping emotional vortex. Starring James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Rachel McAdams.

Wim Wenders | USA | 2015 | 119 min.

Body

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Body is a dark comedy with an absurdist sense of humor. A cynical prosecuter and his daughter, who suffers from an eating disorder, are trying – each of them their own way – to recover after the death of a close person. Their views on life and death are forced to change when Anna, the daughter’s therapist, unexpectedly claims that the deceased contacted her from beyond her grave and that she has a message for them. Szumowska uses themes of separation, alienation, and emotional distance as metaphors for the contemporary state of Poland while confronting body issues in a compelling way. Bodywas awarded  Silver Bear for Best Director at 65th Berlin International Film Festival.
Grand Prix at 2015 Gdynia Film Festival for the Best Film.

Małgorzata Szumowska | Poland | 2015 | 90 min.

Co-presented by the Polish Cultural Council

Mustang

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Mustang is a rousing, coming-of-age story that follows five teenage sisters fighting back against tradition in a remote Black Sea village on the coast of Turkey. With school out, the sisters find themselves flirting with boys at the beach, but their innocent games are considered debauchery by their grandmother, causing an uproar with unintended consequences. The family home slowly turns into a prison where housework and cooking replace school, and marriages begin to be arranged. This gripping drama of sisterhood portrays a ubiquitous teenage desire for freedom as the sisters rebel against the forced suppression of their young, flourishing sensuality. In Turkish with subtitles.

Deniz Gamze Ergüven | France | 2015 | 94 min.

Are you going to the 3RFF? What do you plan to see?


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NaBloPoMo Day 3: VOTE!

I LOVE elections day. Sometimes my tiny vote in the sea of thousands of others feels so insignificant, but then I remember that all the campaign spending in the world doesn’t press the buttons at the polls– the voters do. Every election I bring Baby Beez to the polls. Mr. Beez usually does to. I want her to grow up as I did– letting your vote go unheard is not an option. It’s your right and your responsibility as a citizen– you VOTE.

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Major judicial elections are happening today in Pennsylvania. The judiciary has more impact, day-to-day, on the average Pennsylvanian’s life than any of the other elected offices. A judge decides disputes, a judge hands down punishment for crimes, a judge decides where children live and with whom. It is critical that you educate yourself on this election and exercise your vote.

I was honored to serve as a member of the local bar association’s judiciary committee over the last three years, and in that row, I took a pledge not to participate in any campaign activities.  I’m not going to tell you who I voted for, or who I think you should vote for. But I am going to tell you that the ratings of the ACBA Judiciary Committee are well-informed and thoughtfully reached. They are worthwhile to review before heading to your polling place.

Now get out and VOTE!!

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Fall Happenings with the Beez Family and @412FoodRescue @WGMarathon @PittPanthers @WigleWhiskey

Fall Happenings with the Beez Family and @412FoodRescue @WGMarathon @PittPanthers @WigleWhiskey

Ahhh fall! It is my favorite season of the year! Pittsburgh is absolutely gorgeous in Fall– well it was gorgeous this weekend. Now the skies are gray and threatening rain, so I’ll be cuddling up with a cup of coffee and hoping the crisp sunshine returns soon.

I’ve been reading about the great work that 412 Food Rescue has been doing to reduce food waste and hunger in one fell swoop, by connecting those with surplus food with those without enough, and by using a volunteer network to transport that food from one place to another. I also like the opportunities that 412 Food Rescue provides for those of us who have inconsistent schedules.  I want to contribute to my community, but my schedule does not often lend to commitments planned far in advance or at regular intervals.  412 Food Rescue posts their volunteer requests on their facebook page (and soon, through their new app) and anyone who is available can help out.

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Last week we were out and about, when 412 Food Rescue posted they needed someone to do a quick pickup in the South Side and drop-off in Uptown.  We were in the right area at the right time and had a few minutes to spare, so Baby Beez and I volunteered for the task.

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We picked up 7 cases of fresh orange slices from the Pittsburgh Public School’s central kitchen and delivered them to Jubilee Kitchen.  Baby Beez helped with the carrying, and as we delivered the oranges to Jubilee Kitchen, she wished the clients a cheerful “Enjoy your oranges!!”  This provided a great opportunity for us to talk about food insecurity and food waste in a way that was meaningful and clear to a 5 year old, and was especially meaningful just a few days after Yom Kippur, in a season when we should be thinking of improving the world.

412 Food Rescue

If you are hungry for an opportunity to contribute in a way where your dollars “hit the ground running” so to speak, 412 Food Rescue’s Taco Tuesday fundraiser is tonight. There will be tacos (AND WHO DOES NOT LIKE TACOS?) and an opportunity to learn about the organization, mix and mingle with the leaders and volunteers and an opportunity to preview their new app.

In other fall happenings, I am very much looking forward to a solo-road trip this weekend. I’m going to be heading up to Corning, New York for the Wineglass Half Marathon on Sunday in the Finger Lakes. I have loaded my phone full of audiobooks and I’m very excited to have a couple days to just relax. I suppose I am an introvert, because a little time by myself really does leave me feeling refreshed. You don’t have any idea how much I am looking forward to laying in bed, reading, maybe painting my nails, getting a spaghetti dinner by myself, and going to bed at like 7pm.

wineglass

Baby Beez was disappointed that I did not bring her home a medal from this weekend’s Pittsburgh Great Race (they do not give finishers medals, which makes complete sense for a 10k), but I told her about the gorgeous glass medal they give finishers at the Wineglass Half and she became very excited for this weekend’s race.

On October 10, I’ll be taking Baby Beez to her first Pitt Football homecoming game! This kid LOVES Pitt! There aren’t many words she knows how to read yet, but Pitt is definitely one of them. She has even announced that she plans to be a Pitt Cheerleader. While cheerleading is (to put it mildly) not really my thing, at least she has her sights set on Pitt. Can’t wait for the game! H2P!!!

Read her second word today! "P-I-T-T….mommy it's your school!!"

A post shared by EC (@ecpgh) on

And fall would not be complete without APPLES!  I could really go for apple crisp this morning, to tell you the truth. But apple whiskey would also do the trick! I’m excited for the Wigle Whiskey Apple Whiskey festival coming up later this month, on October 17 and 18.  The celebration is taking place at both their Strip District Distillery and the Wigle Barrelhouse in Spring Hill. It is family friendly, and will include bobbing for apples, live music and whiskey samples for the 21+ crowd. Yes, PLEASE!

Walkabout Promo


Thanks to everyone who has been reading! My posting has slowed a bit lately (that’s what happens when you go on a manic reading kick, and spend all your time taking words in, instead of writing them out!), and it’s great to have dedicated and enthusiastic readers! If you aren’t already doing so, please follow me on Instagram and Twitter, to carry on about ADVENTURES IN PITTSBURGH!