Berlin Law Firm - September 2019

LEX CANIS THE Lee Berlin Kyle Killam

No Place Like Home Lessons From London

Until this summer, I didn’t know I could appreciate Tulsa, Oklahoma, more than I already did. As I mentioned in last month’s article on local businesses, we live in a great town full of kind, generous people of all stripes. What more is there to

Having been wowed by the people of Melbourne, we had high hopes for what London would have to offer. We even booked an experience through Rick Steves’ tours, as his package gave us more time to explore the city than only a Steve Furgal’s Wimbledon tour. After all, our trip to the French Open last year included a Rick Steves’ tour, and Estelle and I appreciated the extra time we had to explore Paris. But let me tell you, London was not worth the time. After the second day of tours, we’d seen enough of the city on the Thames. First, Big Ben was under construction. The one famous landmark of the London skyline was covered in scaffolding, and the rest of the “sights” on our tour were utterly unremarkable. Estelle’s a huge Downton Abbey fan, but the museums and homes of old London didn’t even live up to the mystique of the show. Londoners exist because the stuff is horrible. I’ve never wanted a simple hamburger so badly in my life. Thankfully, there was a pretty Americanized steak restaurant near our hotel. Normally, we try and eat like the locals when we travel, but our first few meals were so bad that we made an exception. However, by far, the worst surprise of the trip had to be the people of London themselves. Before we went, we had this perception of English people being polite to a fault, but that wasn’t the case. Everywhere we went, people turned their noses up at us, and And then there was the food. Oh, the food. For the life of me, I don’t know how fat

the “customer service” we received was begrudging at best.

Even our own tour guide was unprofessional. At one point, she went on an anti-Trump, anti-America tirade, and, at that point, I’d had it. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but when you have a captive audience of people who’ve paid you for something as innocent as a city tour, it’s not the time nor place to get up on your soapbox, especially when you aren’t even talking about your own country. We switched over to the Steve Furgal tour, and that saved the rest of our vacation. We got a better hotel and went on tours with like-minded business professionals who appreciate the value of capitalism. Still, when our plane touched down and the captain said, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tulsa,” I don’t think Estelle and I have ever breathed a heavier sigh of relief. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from these travels, it’s that we really do live in the greatest country in the world. Being in the military, I always knew that anecdotally, but I didn’t have any personal experience to back it up. Now, having done as much jet setting as I have, I can say I’ve never been more grateful to be an American and to call Tulsa home. – Lee Berlin

say? The only problem I’ve found with Tulsa is that after you’ve spent enough time here, you can forget how good you have it. My wife, Estelle, and I first realized this during our trip to the Australian Open. The kindness and laid-back attitudes of the people of Melbourne reminded us so much of Oklahoma that we felt like we’d stumbled upon a real home away from home. While we appreciated Australia for how similar it felt to Tulsa, we came to love our home city even more when we went to London. Let’s just say our trip to Wimbledon this summer was less than relaxing. Wimbledon was the last and most famous grand slam on Estelle’s and my tennis bucket list. We planned to go in a year or two, but whispers of Roger Federer’s potential retirement have been growing louder every year, and we absolutely had to see him play in person at Wimbledon before that happened. So, we bit the bullet on our one- vacation-per-year rule and packed our bags.

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Local Business Highlight: Any Lab Test Now — Tulsa

As part of our new monthly section, we highlight and feature local small businesses that “get it.” They are maxing out on customer service, living with an abundance mindset, and crushing it by example. This month’s featured local small business is Any Lab Test Now, owned by our close friends, Thomas and Carrie Powers.

If you feel like you’ve hardly seen your kids since the school year started, you’re not alone. Americans are way too busy — from childhood onward, we’re always running hither and thither, packing in as many after-school activities, work-related meetings, and social engagements as possible. It’s a problem so pervasive that it has a name: time scarcity. Families feel time scarcity keenly after school starts in September, when children’s schedules explode with engagements. But all hope for close ties isn’t lost; there are ways to stay connected with your spouse and kids, even in an increasingly busy world. Here are some ideas from counselors, teachers, and psychologists who claim to have mastered the art. REMEMBER YOUR RITUALS Rituals make up the backbone of individual families and society at large. Most people wouldn’t dream of abandoning their holiday traditions, so why forgo the smaller rituals that bring families together? Whether it’s eating dinner at the same table each evening, watching a movie together every Thursday night, or going on a monthly getaway, make sure these traditions aren’t canceled. If your family doesn’t have many rituals, a great way to connect is to start some. MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT As cliche as it sounds, when you don’t have much time together, it’s crucial to be present for every minute of it. If you have a rare half hour at home with one of your kids, make a point to spend it in the same room and try to start a conversation. If you squeeze in a romantic dinner with your spouse, turn off your phones before the food comes. Listening to each other without distractions will strengthen your relationship. HUG IT OUT Physical contact is vital for closeness. When you get the chance, hug your kids, hold hands with your spouse, and do physical activities as a family, like hiking, biking, or even playing group sports. It’s been scientifically proven that physical closeness leads to emotional closeness, so if you’re low on time, take advantage of that shortcut! How to Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World STAYING CONNECTED

“We are Carrie and Thomas Powers, the proud owners and operators of this beneficial business concept. We are a direct access and collection facility located in the heart of Brookside on 38th and Peoria. We are unique because we provide people with the ability to run lab tests without having to get their physician’s orders. Because we do not accept insurance, it allows us to be very aggressive with our upfront pricing, so there are never hidden costs. “We have a retail focus, so customer service is our top priority. Because we are a privately owned and operated business, results are private but can be shared with your physician if requested. We work with physician offices for patients who have no insurance, have high deductible and copay insurance, or need to run lab tests that insurance will not cover. “In addition to over 8,000 lab tests, we do other great things like DNA/paternity testing, food sensitivity testing, hormone testing, drug screening, and much more. We work with many local schools and businesses to support employee drug testing, and we have the ability to do drug tests with urine, oral fluids, hair, or nails, depending on the specific needs.

“We invite you to please call or stop by and see why we have a five-star rating on Google!”

3807 S. Peoria Avenue Tulsa, Oklahoma 74105 918-600-2586

Reminder About Our Firm’s Communication Policy Our promise to you is that while we are working on your case, we don't take inbound phone calls, faxes, or emails. Lee Berlin takes no inbound unscheduled phone calls whatsoever. It makes him much more productive and helps get your case resolved faster. You can always call the office at 918-384-0850 and schedule an in-person or phone appointment, usually within 24–48 hours. This is a lot better than the endless game of "phone tag" played by most businesses today. Remember, too, that email is "quick" but is checked no more than twice a day. Replies are then scheduled into the calendar. So, if it's really important, don't email; call the office instead.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Meet Lauren Risner!

This month, we’re spotlighting the latest edition to our team, Lauren Risner! Some of our readers may have already worked with Lauren. She came on board at the Berlin Law Firm in early July and has been wowing us with her experience and professionalism ever since. Funnily enough, Lauren stumbled upon her career in law almost by accident. “I was going to the University of Mississippi to be a guidance counselor,” she recalls.

Arkansas and spent some time working in the U.S. Attorney’s office.” Not only has Lauren seen so much of the country but she’s also seen both sides of the legal process. This broad perspective makes her experience invaluable. So, why come to our firm after such an extensive career elsewhere? Lauren says two factors brought her Berlin Law Firm. “Lee was my first interview, and, honestly, I was blown away by him and Sonya. They’re kind people who are passionate about what they do.” The second factor has to do with the job itself. “Attention to detail,” Lauren says. “The Berlin Law Firm puts so much individual attention on every one of their cases. None of the other firms I worked for put this level of effort toward every client.” When she isn’t aiding us here at the firm, you can usually find Lauren building one piece of furniture or another with her husband. “It all started when I couldn’t find a table I liked,” Lauren explains. “My husband found a plan online, and we built one ourselves!” Now, Lauren has constructed farm tables, bookshelves, end tables, and just about everything in between. Of course, her favorite (and most time consuming) creation is her 2-year-old daughter.

“To help pay for college, I took a job as a runner at a local criminal law firm, and the rest is history.” Lauren stuck to working in the law, a field that ended up taking her very, very far. Just by looking at her resume, you can tell Lauren has been everywhere, both in the world and in the world of law. “I worked for a family law firm in Chicago and did criminal and patent law in Phoenix,” she says. “I was also a victim’s witness coordinator in

Inspired Be

Basil Berry Sorbet


Inspired by Good Housekeeping

1 cup sugar

6 cups frozen mixed berries

1 cup fresh basil leaves

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice


1. In a saucepan over high heat, combine sugar with 1 cup of water, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves, creating a syrup-like consistency. 2. Remove syrup from heat, add basil, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain syrup into bowl and refrigerate until cold. 3. In a blender, combine syrup with frozen berries and lemon juice. Purée until smooth. 4. Transfer to a square baking pan, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze until set, about 2 hours. 5. Scoop and serve.

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8516 E. 101st Street, Suite A Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133

Phone: 918-770-0172

Inside This Issue

Lessons From a Vacation Gone Bad Page 1

How to Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World Local Business Highlight: Any Lab Test Now — Tulsa Page 2 What Lauren Risner Brings to the Table Basil Berry Sorbet Page 3

THE WORLD’S WACKIEST HOMES Designed by Their Owners


large mural of the bat symbol painted on the garage door, which is the origin of the property’s name.

When someone says they live on the water, they probably don’t mean they actually live on the water. But for artists Wayne Adams and Catherine King, the statement is literal. Freedom Cove, their remote, magenta- green island home, floats in Clayoquot Sound near Vancouver Island. They started building it from old, interlocking steel docks in 1991, and now it includes 15 platforms, four greenhouses, a guest house, an art workshop, and more. BAT CASA, SAN MIGUEL, MEXICO The best word to describe this home is probably “anatomical.” That’s certainly the aesthetic movie set designer and Bat Casa resident Steve Rood was going for. The staircase looks like human vertebrae, skeletal hands act as towel hooks in the bathroom, and tendril-like fixtures surround the living room couch. Perhaps the most out-of- character addition to the house is a


Surprisingly, Stuart Grant’s cozy forest cottage was not inspired by the hobbit holes of “Lord of the Rings.” In fact, Grant built it over 15 years before the first movie was released. Still, it’s hard not to imagine some magical creature taking up residence in this house, which appears to be an extension of the forest itself. Gnarled tree trunks frame a circular door, moss coats the roof, and ivy covers most of the walls, all belying a cozy interior fit for many a hobbit meal or dwarf song. These homes may not be for everyone, but that’s kind of the point. Each of these homes was built by a specific resident, for a specific resident. Still, you can’t help but be impressed by the determination of their owners to make something truly one of a kind.

It doesn’t always take a master architect to create a breathtaking home. Some homeowners have shunned suburban domiciles and, with a little artistic vision and a lot of determination, built homes that capture their identities. Quirky, meticulously constructed, and always unique, here are a few of the world’s wackiest homes designed, and sometimes built, by their owners.

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