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Here’s to 17 Years How I Met My Wife
Whether or not you have kids, September can really feel like the start of the year. When the school buses hit the road and the weather cools off, everything seems to snap back into focus, as if the whole country is finding its rhythm again. But for me, September is also a time of celebration and reflection. The first of this month marks my 17th wedding anniversary with my wife, Estelle. I’ll never forget the day we met. It was a hot August day in 1997, and we were both in the midst of the first week at law school. After a disorientating orientation, meeting classmates and professors, and learning where my classes were going to be held, I’d made my way to the student union building to grab a quick meal. There, sitting at a table, was a stunning Korean woman. I was smitten immediately. familiarity with the language. So I passed by her table and threw out a phrase I’d learned. Her eyes lit up immediately. Unfortunately, my Korean was very limited, and she’d only been stateside for the past four years, so our first conversation was stuttering at best. But I did get her name, Estelle. Over the next six months, we had plenty of other conversations, many of which were my attempts to get her to go on a date with me and her politely rebuffing me. Then, out of the blue in March of ‘98, she called me. Estelle wanted to go to the Barrister’s Ball, a formal spring law school dance, and she I had just gotten out of the Army after spending a tour in Korea and had some
wanted me to be her date. I politely told her I was not interested in the ball and suggested we do something else that evening. Looking back, I can’t believe how close I came to closing that door forever. But you have to understand, my friends and I had no intention of dressing up for what seemed to be a rehash of our high school prom. Still, as averse to pomp and circumstance as I am, I couldn’t shake the thought that having Estelle on my arm would make for a lovely evening, bow tie or no. Eventually, my buddies and I decided, “Aw hell, let’s suit up and go!” That night ended up being life changing. After spending the evening with Estelle, I told my best friend, Mark Robinius, with utter confidence, “I’m going to marry that girl.” As you might imagine, Mark scoffed. Never mind that it was our first real date, we were also very different people. As Mark explained Estelle wanted to go to the Barrister’s Ball, a formal spring law school dance, and she wanted me to be her date. I politely told her I was not interested in the ball and suggested we do something else that evening.
it, “You’re a talker. English is her second language. How is that going to work?”
But despite the doubters, I can say there was never a time my conviction changed. Even after our first year, when I’d transferred schools to the University of Oklahoma, College of Law, we alternated weekends, traveling two hours each way to be with one another. We studied for and passed the bar exam together, and when I got a job working for NASA, she moved to Houston with me. It was there in Texas I finally decided to pop the question. We were sitting on a bench on the Kemah boardwalk, watching the kids run by and the Ferris wheel turn. I got down on one knee, and then the strangest thing happened: Seemingly out of nowhere, on the boardwalk in South Texas, three Buddhist monks in scarlet robes walked by us. Despite our Catholic faith, that kind of experience certainly gives you the sense this union is meant to be. We’ve had a blessed marriage ever since. Estelle, looking back on my youthful conviction 20 years ago, it wasn’t naive at all to think I was going to marry you. I’d met a truly magnificent person, someone without a mean bone in her body. You inspire me to be a better person every single day. How could I not want to spend the rest of my life with you?
Happy Anniversary, - Lee Berlin
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Meet Our New Paralegal Brittany Brings a Wealth of Experience and Positive Energy We are very pleased to introduce the newest member of our firm, Brittany Andretta! As our team’s paralegal, Brittany has over 14 years of industry experience, paired with an inquisitive mind and a passion for helping people. “I like piecing the parts together. I get to read a lot,” she says with a laugh. A Tulsa native, Brittany spent much of her life in Bixby before pursuing her degree in psychology. While she was finishing up her studies and planning her next move in life, a family friend offered her a job at a law firm. “That changed my whole career path,” Brittany remarks, explaining that she never expected to become a paralegal. But almost 15 years later, it’s clear this kind of work speaks to her. Brittany has had the opportunity to work for firms large and small and has seen the inner workings of multiple practice areas. In her journey through the legal world, she found that she has a particular passion for criminal law. She has attended a dozen courtroom trials, using her research skills and sharp eye for detail to defend the rights of the clients in her care. Outside of the office, most of Brittany’s time is spent cheering on the sidelines of her kids’ sporting events. With a football- playing son in high school and a 9-year-old daughter who plays competitive soccer, the Andrettas are a very athletic family. “We try to get outdoors as much as we can, exploring the parks around town or taking little road trips,” Brittany explains. “I want my kids to see more than their video games.” Her kids aren’t the only athletes in the household. For her part, Brittany is an active runner, taking part in some truly challenging races, including spartan races and tough mudders. But, by far, her favorite race was the annual Tulsa Color Run, which she ran with her kids. “It was a blast!” she says. “The kids loved the flour fight at the finish line!”
Did Your Workout Routine Take a Summer Vacation? With barbecues, trips to the pool, and indulging in refreshing beverages on the patio, summer is full of relaxation and fun. But those heart-pumping, muscle-building trips to the gym may have become less frequent during the warmer months. If your workout routine went on its own summer vacation, here are three strategies to get back to it. 1. FIND SOMETHING YOU LIKE TO DO. Maybe part of the reason your fitness routine took a break was because you didn’t enjoy doing it. If that’s the case, re-evaluate your options. There is no superior form of exercise, and there are plenty of options to align with your preferences. If you couldn’t get enough of hiking in national parks over the summer, join a hiking group in your community. If you prefer being on a team, look for a local adult league for your favorite sport. 2. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. You would go to that 5:30 p.m. boot camp class, but it’s right in the middle of your daughter’s dance practice. Getting to the gym is half the battle, so make it easier on yourself by preparing in advance. Find a facility with a schedule that easily fits yours. If you’re planning to work out in the morning, set your clothes out the night before, and choose an energetic song for your alarm. If there’s a class after work, consider leaving an extra set of gym clothes at your office so you’ll never have an excuse not to go. 3. MAKE YOUR WORKOUT AN UNAVOIDABLE PART OF YOUR DAY. It’s tempting to join your coworkers for happy hour, especially when that outdoor patio is just around the block from your office. But what if it were that easy to get to the gym? Look for facilities that are on your commute, near your work, or close to home. If it’s easy to get to, you’ll be more likely to go and still have time for that drink afterward. It may take time to make your workout routine a seamless part of your life, but implementing some of these strategies will make it easier and more enjoyable. You might even find yourself looking forward to back-to-the-gym season!
Our firm is happy to have such a well-rounded, dedicated professional joining our team. Welcome aboard, Brittany!
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Tips for New College Parents This month, the next generation of scholars will set out to attend colleges and universities across the country. Of course, each of these bright young minds will leave behind parents, grandparents, or guardians who suddenly find their nests empty. Whether your scholar is attending college near to home or across the globe, coming to terms with your child becoming an adult can be hard. Here are some tips to make the transition easier for you and your child. TRY NEW HOBBIES. While you probably shouldn’t go as far as replacing your child’s bedroom with an aviary or art studio, using the time you used to spend with your student to instead explore a new passion is a great way to put a positive spin on your new circumstances. Not only will you have a chance to pick up or get back into a hobby, but you’ll also have plenty of fun, exciting stories to share with your child the next time they call or come to visit! PLAN YOUR NEXT GET-TOGETHER. No number of hobbies will keep you from missing your child. One thing that can help in these blue moments is to look toward the future. When’s the next time your child will come home? What sorts of things do you want to do while they are back in town? Be sure to reach out to them and get their input. Chances are that this will help the homesickness they are undoubtedly experiencing as well. On Letting Go
KNOW THAT PART OF YOU IS GOING WITH YOUR CHILD. Most importantly, take solace in the fact that no parent ever truly leaves their child. While they may have taken off to college with a few cardboard boxes and an old backpack, every student carries with them the moments and lessons you’ve given them from the day they were born. That kind of love transcends time and space. GIVE YOUR CHILD FREE LEGAL ADVICE College is a time of independence, learning, and growing. Sometimes, in that experimentation, students can end up on the wrong side of the law. Here at the Berlin Law Firm, we take the lives of college students very seriously. We’ve given risk-management lessons to student organizations over the years to do our part to ensure that major missteps don’t occur in the first place. With the next generation heading off to college, we want to give our readers’ loved ones access to this vital knowledge to help them keep their records clean and futures bright. So we’re donating a free 30-minute consultation on the risks college students and parents need to be aware of to the first TWO parents or students who call our law office. Simply call (918) 384-0850 and mention this article.
Beans & Greens Rigatoni Ingredients
Inspired by Bon Appétit Magazine
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces rigatoni pasta
1 bunch Tuscan kale, rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt, for pasta water and to taste
2 ounces fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 4. Add cooked pasta, kale, and 1 cup pasta water to skillet. Toss vigorously as kale cooks, about 4 minutes. 5. Transfer to bowls, top with a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle with cheese or salt, and serve.
1. In a large stock pot, boil 6 quarts of liberally salted water. On another burner, heat a large skillet to medium-low. 2. Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes less than the package recommends. 3. While pasta is cooking, add beans, red pepper, and 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet.
3 Berlin Law Firm • DefendingTulsa.com
NEW ADDRESS 8516 E. 101st Street, Suite A Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133
PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
We didn’t go far. We are still located in the Park Place Business Complex, directly across the parking lot from our old office.
WE HAVE MOVED
8516 E. 101st Street, Suite A Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133
Phone: 918-770-0172 DefendingTulsa.com
Inside This Issue
How I Met My Wife Page 1
3 Fitness Strategies for the Back-to-School Season Meet Brittany Andretta! Page 2 Tips for Empty Nesters Beans and Greens Rigatoni Page 3
Involved But Not Overbearing Parent-Teacher Etiquette to Support Your Child’s Development
3. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Aside from leaving your kid completely to their own devices, one of the worst things you can do is swoop in to solve their problems for them at the slightest hint of adversity. Maybe that D your kid got on their algebra test really was their fault. It’s important to acknowledge your child’s missteps, but you should also try to equip them with the tools necessary to advocate for themselves. Learning to articulate what’s going wrong or what they need from their teacher will help them to develop positive and effective communication skills. The key is to work together with your child’s teacher without being overbearing. Don’t come in with guns blazing at the first sign of an educational slip. Think of your kid’s schooling as a collaborative effort — maybe one in which you’re a little less involved than the teacher — and you’ll be giving your child the best chance of success.
world, wrangling the disparate needs of around 25 children day in and day out while attempting to get them to actually learn something. It’s a high-stress, low-paying job. In the midst of grading 300 research papers written by 12-year-olds, the last thing they need is the added pressure of concerned parents bearing down on them. If you can approach a teacher from a position of understanding and be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, you’ll be off to a good start. 2. SHOW UP AND KEEP AN OPEN MIND. Ask any teacher in the country, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you that one of the best predictors of a child’s success is whether or not their parents make an appearance at parent-teacher conferences. Your engagement should go beyond that. Use the teacher’s preferred method of communication to stay in semi-regular contact with them — always ensuring that you keep an open mind about any praise, suggestions, or concerns they have about your child.
Helicopter parents are the bane of every teacher’s existence. With the return of back-to-school season, it’s vital to find a happy medium between the tiger mom who bares her teeth at the smallest setback in her child’s schooling and the laissez-faire parent who is totally disengaged from their kid’s education. Here are a few tips to keep you involved in your child’s educational development while fostering relationships with their teachers in a way that won’t drive all of you up the wall.
1. BE A LITTLE EMPATHETIC. Teachers are some of the hardest-working people in the
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