Saturday, December 31, 2011

How Great is Good Enough?

The song Sweet Caroline is running through my head.  It has been since I watched the 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors earlier this week.  This year, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond and actress Meryl Streep, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, jazz musiscian Sonny Rollins and broadway actress Barbara Cook were honored, to quote President Obama, for a "lifetime of greatness."  

So fun, right?  "Good times never seem so good; Oh I've been inclined to believe it never would."  Tell me that you listened to that and didn't smile.  No way.  

Yes, it was nostalgic amusement to listen to Neil Diamond's catchy tunes.  And an inspiring lesson in tolerance to watchYo-Yo Ma take his work around the world.  But as I watched the tributes to these great people, I was most deeply moved by how sincerely moved they seemed to be.  As the Kennedy Center honorees watched chronologies of their life's work along with the audience, their faces revealed pride, but also humility.  True appreciation.  Just the seemingly appropriate amount of awe.    

And I got to thinking ...

*How do you get to be that great?
*Did these performers set out to be great?  Was it luck that got them a lifetime of greatness?  Hard work?  Talent?  Destiny?  All of the above?
*Why doesn't determination and hard work = greatness for all people?
*Can it?

Asking these questions made me think of another catchy tune from my childhood; who remembers this one from Sesame Street?  

"Thats about the size, where you put your eyes" was intended to teach kids that big and small are relative terms.  But shortly after we met, my wise husband spinned it as a lesson on perspective about life.  Since, its this happy, silly song that pops into my mind when I need a little extra push to be able to see a glass half full.  Unfortunately, it sometimes comes through in Larry's singing voice. . . 

"Thats about the size, where you put your eyes" also reminds me of one of my favorite maxims from Pirkei Avot, the compilation of Jewish ethical teachings that translates literally as 'Ethics of Our Fathers.  (What can I say; you can take the girl out of the Jewish day school,  but you can't take the Jewish Day School out of the girl.)  Anyway, the saying goes - eizeh hu ashir, mi she sameach b’chelko (Pirke Avot 4:1) - "Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot."  

Perspective.  Maybe that is the secret ingredient to achieving greatness.  Knowing when "good enough" is "great."  Knowing that "as good as it gets" is good enough.  And since life is not going to deal most of us the kind of talent displayed by the Kennedy Center honorees - or many of us the best opportunities to cultivate our skills and interests - maybe greatness means at least aspiring to emulate their effort, and their gratitude.  

To see the good times ... as good.  

Thank you so much for tuning in one last time in 2011. Wishing you & yours a truly great 2012.  


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To Botox or not to Botox. Why is that a question?

To Botox or Not to Botox?  
Why is that a Question?

I'm so annoyed and embarrassed.  I have to write about Botox.  Well, I don't have to, but it seems that telling the real and true story of me turning 40 includes revealing the oh so unattractive details of me dealing with my supposed diminished attractiveness.

This is not, I repeat not, a pathetic plea for compliments.  Nor is it a call to debate the politics of beauty, though thats obviously on my mind.  No, it is simply a sharing of the narishkeit that is one 39 year old woman lamenting the deepened, static frown line in the middle of her forehead.

Whole wheat bread.  Brown rice.  Apples.   Blueberries.  Greek yogurt.  Almonds.  Salmon.  (what I eat).  Hike.  Ski.  Yoga.  (what I do.)  Add the words Botulinum Toxin type A to this paragraph and it seems like that song from Sesame Street:  "One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn't belong  ... "

It makes no sense that someone who espouses "healthy eating and exercise" as her "other religion"  - hell, someone who just moved to Colorado in the name of an "active, outdoor lifestyle" - would consider injecting something so unnatural into her body.  Right?  Unless of course, you think about the second part of Botox's clinical name - "type A." And then maybe it starts to make some sense after all...

True confessions time.  I tried it.  Botox.  Last February, 2011, shortly after I turned 39.  20 units.  Injected into the aforementioned forehead wrinkle. 

And, go figure, I was still 39!

Did I look "younger"?  Of course not.  "Prettier?"  Sigh.  Since I promised not to talk definitions of beauty, lets just say that in the eye of this beholder ...  I liked the way I looked.  The wrinkle softened.  And I don't think I looked fake or plastic as per my concern.  Yeah, when my stomach wasn't turning about the fact that it cost $250, I was pleased with my face.

But.  I knew.   It was in there.  That queasy feeling in my stomach wasn't just about money.  I also felt very silly, and somewhat of a fraud.

Now, please.  Please.  If you choose Botox, or anything else like it, please don't huff off.   While I admit that if you'd asked the me of ten, fifteen years ago if I would ever do plastic surgery I would have stood on a soap box and delivered a feminist rant.  But the me of ten, fifteen years ago was obviously an immature idiot.  With the skin of a 30, 25 year old.  I swear that I am not judging you.  I am not exactly in a position to judge.

But I am here almost a year later, wrinkles still bugging me from time to time, and decidedly Botox free.  And wanting to share the top 3 reasons I haven't - and won't - inject again.

1) I have a daughter.  A very beautiful; very perfect daughter.  To whom I aspire to be a role model.

Need I say more?

OK.  I will.  Maybe its because my daughter has nystagmus, an eye movement disorder causing her eyes to constantly move back and forth, and I am acutely aware of the potential body image issues that may arise for her as a result in adolescence.  Or earlier.  Or maybe I'd feel this way about any daughter, because research shows over and over and over that girls face a tremendous amount of pressure to look a certain way.  Pretty; Thin; Fashionable; Sexy (yikes).  

So, yeah, I liked my softened wrinkle, but I like my daughter more.  How can I in good faith tell Adina that she is gorgeous just the way she is if I am injecting botulinum toxin into my face to change the way I look.

There is a question I think is fair to ask here: Adina sees that I color my hair (I know, you're shocked, but this kind of fabulousness does not  occur in nature) and that I wear makeup.  And that I enjoy shopping and keeping up with fashion trends.  Does this not conflict with a message of acceptance and body image confidence?

I guess, especially when you're trained as a lawyer, that most things in life can be thought of as a slippery slope.  I decide, because I can, to be comfortable drawing my line between injections and lipstick or a great pair of jeans.  And I hope - and work hard - to ensure that that my real and true emphasis on intelligence and strength comes through to Adina loud and clear.  

2) Vanity.  Sure, I liked the botox effect on one wrinkle.  But if you hadn't noticed, I also really like the way I look in general.  I think I look healthy.  Happy.  Strong.  Botox just didn't "fit right" with that picture.  For me.  And if I'm actually confident enough to think I look good without sticking needles into my forehead, well, hell, why on earth should I?

3) I'm not 20! (or haven't you heard?)  I'm not 20!  I am almost 40.  And 40 year old faces have wrinkles. They have wrinkles that formed from years of smiling and laughing, and also from times of tears.  I think at least one of the reasons my forehead wrinkle bothers me, but the lines around my eyes and mouth do not, is because my frown lines reveal to the world all those times that I have frowned.  That I have been angry, stressed, sad, or scared.  That I have raged, that I have cried, that I have momentarily wished for things I could not achieve or could not have.

And who wants to look in the mirror and think about all that?

Well, I guess I don't really have a choice.  I've got children to raise, a husband to love, a life to live.  I know how damn lucky I am.  So I control what I can.  Appreciating my good fortune.  And yes, my good looks.  And spending the cash available for vanity on chemicals (the blonde highlights) and cotton (Joe's Jeans are my fav) rather than toxin.  


You're beautiful.  Really beautiful.  Don't forget it.


Friday, December 16, 2011

blog interrupted

Good morning from, oh dear god, Larry's Inspiron Dell.  Yes, on Sunday afternoon, this Mac snob  spilled a cup of tea on my MacBook.  An entire cup of tea.  On my MacBook.

Mug shattered. Computer went black.  I stopped breathing. Really.  And then I really panicked.  Ran for paper towels.   Desperately pushed the start button 150 times.  Then, something productive, I called Larry crying. 
I am married to a very nice, very calm man. 

On Monday evening, I took my lifeline to the Mac store at Cherry Creek mall.  Bad news - they charge $750 for liquid damage repair.  Good news - the Mac repair shop on 8th avenue might be able to fix it for a lot less.  So ... Tuesday afternoon, I went to the Mac repair shop.  If they can fix it, $180.  If not, $120.  And, of course, I'll need to buy a new computer. 

In the meantime, rather than accepting that this was a) just an accident or b) evidence of my extreme klutziness, I have decided to c)  take it as a sign that I need a break from working on work, and am very much looking forward to hanging out with my kids the next two weeks while they are on vacation from school.

The plan is "Becker-Schwartzes Explore Their New City."

And I am going to catch up on the blogging about life in Denver, relaunching a career after staying home, and turning 40 that has taken a bit of a back seat to PR.  Hopefully from my repaired MacBook.

Please hope with me.  And please, don't drink and type.

Talk soon,


Monday, December 5, 2011

Denver's Road Home

Yesterday evening, I was driving back to Denver from Keystone in what is apparently called a "foothills snowstorm." Allow me to clarify; Larry was calmly navigating the snowy roads and I was sitting erect in the passenger seat, every muscle tensed ever so tightly, gnawing at my fingernails.

There is little I hate more than being in a moving vehicle in shitty weather.

Anyway, we took a break in Georgetown, around 6, to have some dinner.  I opened up the car door, and was assaulted by a gust of frigid wind.  As I  ran for the door of the funky & adorable MountainBuzz Cafe, I thought, "What the hell do the homeless do here?"

I know, profound.  But hey, sometimes it takes having every bone in your body cry out in desperation for central heating - while you listen to your children whine pathetically for the same - to think about how others have it.

So ... We ate.  We got home safely.  I carried Adina, sleeping, to her bed.  Gave Caleb a quick bath and tucked him in.  Threw our dirty ski clothes in the washing machine, poured a glass of red wine, and sat with Larry while he watched the Steeler game from earlier in the day and rubbed my feet.  In other words, I took care of the needs of me & mine, and very much enjoyed the favor in return.

Then, around 6:30 am this morning, I turned on the T.V. and, go NBC, was reminded that tomorrow is Colorado Gives Day 2011.  Last year, in this "24 hours to give where you live," $8.7 million was donated to Colorado charities.  The details for this year = 

24 hours starting at 12 a.m. on Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Online through
To support the nonprofits that protect and nurture quality of life in Colorado.  

Ok.  Inspired by the cold and by Colorado Gives Day, I decided to do 2 things.  One: give a little to help the homeless, and 2) have the chutzpah to ask you to do the same.

I did some quick online research and found an organization in town that is doing the good work.  Denver's Road Home.  Please check them out at  I called their communications manager and here's what she told me:

Denver’s Road Home is our community’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.  In October 2003, Denver began an 18-month community planning process involving the city, homeless individuals, city council, business community, nonprofits and neighborhood organizations to address homelessness in our community. Since 2005, Denver’s Road Home has made tremendous progress, but there is still many more people that need our help. Together with our community, Denver’s Road Home has:
·         Developed over 2,300 units of affordable, supportive housing
·         Connected 5,817 individuals with employment
·         Prevented 5,714 families and individuals from becoming homeless
·         Mentored over 1,000 families and seniors out of homelessness
·         Reduced chronic homelessness by 75%
Our work is not done though. We continue to need our community’s help now more than ever to give homeless men, women and children an alternative to sleeping on the streets. Together, we can end homelessness one person at a time.

I'm kicking-off my campaign to fight homelessness on Colorado Gives Day - tomorrow, Tuesday, December 6, 2011 and will end it on my 40th birthday, January 23, 2012.  If you'd like to give with me, please visit and click on the DONATE NOW button.  

Thank you.  Stay warm.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From asimonim to SKYPE

After a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with my fabulous sister, I'm back to researching and writing my business plan, and networking and interviewing.  I've got lots of good stuff happening in these next couple of weeks, and my work life in Denver feels promising.

One part of my process has been thinking about how social media has changed the practice of public relations.  Came across the clever video below in my research.  Really, its worth taking a look ...

And thats from two years ago.


This morning I spent time with my future sister-in-law who lives in Israel, lets call her "R," well, because thats the first letter of her name.  "R" and I have never met (in person).  But, skype allowed me to see her, and talk to her, and start to get to know her, and show her pictures of my kids, her "niece & nephew to-be", AND even have the chutzpah to ask her for graphic design help.  And, to feel connected to her in a very real way.  Skype.  Fabulous.

So I've been thinking about social media.  (If you're interested in checking out a list of the top 50 social media resources, click here.)  And I'm skyping.  And, So, because I guess thats what you do when you get to be almost 40, I started thinking about twenty years ago, when "I was "R's" age" ... living in Israel and trying to communicate with my family in the U.S. ...

In 1991, I was a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.   In order to talk to my parents, I had to use one of the half a dozen or so pay phones located in the one "phone room" located in the basement of one of the dorm buildings on campus.  (I don't know the exact number of students this one phone room serviced, but just believe me when I say, it was a lot.) When it was finally my turn to make a call, I got to insert a phone card into a slot in the phone.  Then, I dialed the AT&T code, and then the phone number.  Maybe, just maybe, I would then get through to their line.  If I did have such luck, I had to talk very quickly a) because it cost a small fortune b) I was likely to get cut-off, and c) the person behind me in line was waiting to try and connect, albeit briefly, with his/her own family.

But oh how fabulous this all seemed compared to what I had to do 10 years earlier!  In 1981, I also lived in Israel - with my parents at the Mercaz Klita, or "absorption center" for new immigrants to Israel in Ranana.  Here, there was not just one phone room, but JUST ONE PHONE.  Though it was thirty years ago, I can see as clear as day in my mind's eye that lonely phone booth located in the lobby of that institution.  And, I can see my young mother, inserting more and more asimonim, phone tokens, into that phone so that we wouldn't get cut off as we tried desperately to hear my grandmother in Virginia over the fuzzy line.  

Oh how far we have come.

So good to connect with "R."  So good to connect with you.  Connecting in 2011.  So very very good.
 Back to work now.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

simple pleasures, continuing my journey along Route 70

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
- Steve Jobs

Today was great.  Couldn't have planned it.  Wouldn't have known just a few years back that I'd think it so good.  But it was.  From start to finish.  Really great.

Woke up feeling rested.   A big, huge, important component to any good day of mine.  Yes, almost 40 me knew better than to push myself to go to a friend's pre-Thanksgiving party last night when I was feeling so tired from the week, PMS, life, etc.  Larry and Caleb went to join the fun, and I got Adina and her cold to sleep by seven, watched "Water for Elephants" on demand (book obviously way better), drank 2 glasses of cabernet, ate a bag of Stacy's pita chips and a pint of Jeni's passion fruit frozen yogurt, and was sleeping by 10:00.  Necessary and delightful solo evening.

So, 8 hours sleep + two cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee + a bowl of banana slices, greek yogurt, honey and almonds = Evelyn raring to go this morning.   Made Caleb and Adina some challah french toast.  Loaded up the car with some sheets and towels and a bag full of homemade "happy birthday" signs for Larry.  His birthday is Thursday, and we'll be spending it - and Thanksgiving - in Keystone.  Since Larry was on call and couldn't go up this weekend,  the kids and I decided to go up and "prep" the condo for a celebratory birthday arrival.

It was the first time I did the driving "up to the mountains."  WOW!  I'm not sure why, but the views were even more magnificent from the driver's seat.  Did driving make me feel more in control of my destiny?  Maybe.  Because you know that calmness you feel when you realize that a choice or choices you've made were good and right - even when you weren't 100% sure of where they would lead when you made them.

Peace of mind.  Yeah.  I had it.

Denver and the Rocky Mountains =  a very, very good call.

It was so hard for me to leave Columbus, Ohio.  You see, for the first time since I was thirteen years old and left Newport News, Virginia for Silver Spring, Maryland, living in Columbus, Bexley rather, made me feel like I was "from somewhere."

Throughout the first 13 years of my life, I moved a fair amount within Tidewater, Virginia.  An apartment, a townhouse, and a house in Newport News, a house in Virginia Beach, back to a different house in Newport News.  But I had a big, loving extended family in the area, so even without four specific walls that stayed mine for much longer than a couple of years or so, I was always home.  My two grandfathers and maternal grandmother had lived their entire lives there; my mom grew up there; my dad grew up there; there were dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, all within a half hour drive.  We even had a play house at Buckroe beach that my paternal grandfather had built.  

Even a six-month stint in Ranana, Israel when I was in the fifth grade, that my parents at first called aliyah, and then, "an adventurous vacation," didn't shake the feeling that I was from Newport News, Virginia.

I will bore you with the details of where life took me from the eighth grade until I moved to Columbus, Ohio in March, 2006 in many blog posts to come.  Promise.  Suffice it to say for now, however, that while those years were rich with opportunities to learn, explore and grow, (and I wouldn't change one minute of them, even if I could, no way, no how) they lacked a certain sense of security that this one-time, small town in Virginia girl missed.

I got that sense back in Ohio.  Maybe it was because most everyone I got close to in the 5 1/2 years I lived in Bexley was actually "from there," or married to someone who was.  Maybe its just like that everywhere in the midwest.  Or maybe it was the simple fact that 5 1/2 years was the longest I'd lived anywhere in a very long time.

Doesn't matter.  Leaving was terrible.

But, I couldn't stay and go where I wanted to go.  I didn't want to leave Bexley.  But I did, very much, want to live and raise my family in Colorado.

So, the rest of today - - The kids and I made a pit stop at Starbucks.  We got to Keystone around 10.  We unpacked the car.  We changed into our bathing suits.  Ahhh, heated pool + hot tub conveniently located in the complex in the building directly across from ours, 3 feet away.  Back inside to change.  Quick drive to the mini market three minutes up the street for some lunch and snacking basics.  Adina coloring happily; Caleb making signs to label all "his" shelves, drawers, etc in the room he and Adina share, oy, happily; and me, cozied up in my bed staring out the window, happily.

Got back to Englewood just in time to grab some sushi for dinner, now the kids are sleeping, and I'm truly inspired to write for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Great day.  Got enough sleep.  Ate well.  Enjoyed my children.  Felt grateful for my husband; my choices; my life.

If I don't talk to you before ...



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tzedakah, a Helicopter, and Coffee

Tzedakah, a Helicopter Ride & Coffee
(or, "Blogging about Why I Haven't Been Blogging")

I've had blog-writer's block.  I sat down to write a couple of times in the last week, then ended up just surfing facebook while I sipped my grande decaf half skim, half soy extra hot latte.  I wonder why the lack of motivation to release my inhibitions on blogger?

Maybe I've been too busy attending fundraising events for the Jewish community to have time to think about what to write.  Larry and I have been to four in the last week.  Four.  In one week.  Two for the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado.  They split the men & women up for this one - "Choices" and "The Men's Event" - I suppose we raise more money that way, and well, its always nice to have an official evening to bond with your fellow Jews & Jewesses.  Then, last Saturday night we went to "Dancing through the Decades" at our synagogue.  Right.  We moved to a bigger, more urban city and we spent our Saturday night on a make-shift wooden dance floor in the middle of the Hebrew Educational Alliance social hall, jumping up & down to 80s music, with a bunch of other 40-somethings dressed in costumes from their favorite period in time.  And loving it.  Congratulating ourselves on having found our people; the friends we hope will be dancing on that exact same floor in five years at Caleb's bar mitzvah.  Hello, my name is Evelyn, and I might not be cool.

Tuesday night also called for dressing up.  In western wear.  You heard me.  It was the "Wild West Auction Kick-Off" at Denver Jewish Day School.  And I wore cowboy boots and a denim jacket over a little blue dress with ruffles.  Larry laughed out loud when he saw me.  No, I do not have a picture.  Alas, it was a super fun evening with delicious margaritas and s'mores, just like the cowboys used to eat.  And someone donated a helicopter ride to school the next day!

I suppose I could take the opportunity here to write about the challenge of keeping it real for your kids when their normal includes a friend or two whose parents can buy them a helicopter ride to school (money to benefit the school!) and many whose family's own more than one home.  Good topic for another day...

Ok, thats a step.  I've got down what I will not be writing about.  Hmmm...

Yesterday morning was going to be it.  I sat down at the Starbucks at Monaco & Evans, with the intention to write for a solid hour before heading to a networking lunch.  So while I was playing on facebook, I saw that a friend got a big response when she posted about the complicated coffee orders she overhears at her local Starbucks (hi Main Street in Bexley; I miss you!).  About 20 of her friends & family took the opportunity to share their favorite high-maintenance orders.  And that got me thinking about a book I read a few years ago called "Its Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks" ....   

According to author Howard Behar, what Starbucks is about is the people, “At Starbucks, the coffee has to be excellent, from the sourcing and growing to the roasting and brewing. The vision has to be inspiring and meaningful. Our finances have to be in order. But without people, we have nothing. With people, we have something even bigger than coffee.” 

During his many years as a senior exec at Starbucks, Behar emphasized that if you 
regard employees and customers as human beings, everything else will take care of itself. If you think of your staff as people (not labor costs) they will achieve results beyond what is thought possible. And if you think of your customers as people you serve (not sources of revenue) you’ll make a deep connection with them, and they’ll come back over and over. 

OK, now we're making progress.  Because I was thinking - and now the next morning I am writing - about that which I should be thinking and writing.  Business.  How to run one.  What my own business will be about.  And whether it will succeed.  

Aha.  There you have it.  Not blog-blocked by a lack of desire to share (puleeease), but because I should be writing something else.  A business plan.   

You see, I think at least one of the reasons I agree to hand over upwards of $4/day for a cup of coffee with steamed milk (and DECAF for god's sake) is that it gives me a sense of control over my universe.  I get exactly what I want, how I want it, because I want it.  

And how many things other than my Starbucks order go like that in a day?

So, here I go to push through fear of the unknown - and to write.  

Thanks for listening.   
Please enjoy your coffee!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

preparing to launch Evelyn 4.0

Its Sunday, November 6.   And I am feeling pretty excited for the week ahead.  This past Friday was a bit of a bummer; I had a meeting set up with the president of a leading PR firm in town, but she called at the last minute to postpone it til next Tuesday.  So Tuesday (hopefully) it is.  I really like the looks & sounds of this agency.  Its made up of only senior staff, no entry level positions, and the employees are mostly women.  Some are full-time, but many work on a contract-basis.  They all have impressive resumes - high level positions at prominent places, and all joined this agency seeking a work-life balance that would make them better at their jobs, and everything else.  The agency is also highly committed to community service, encouraging employees to take time out of their day for volunteering, and paying the charities for the hours each employee gives.  So cool, right?

Then, on Friday, I am meeting with the president of another PR agency.  This agency specializes in corporate citizenship, or "bringing together businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropic individuals for a common cause."   On Thursday, I am meeting with the president of the Denver chapter of a national organization that works to ensure all girls reach their full potential - "empowered girls and an equitable society."  Love it.  Love the cause.  Love the possibilities.  Love that I am getting back out there.

With a completely new sense of confidence.  And calm.

Maybe life really does begin at 40.

Its not like I haven't had moments of panic or insecurity since starting this "relaunch career" process.  Oh I have.  See Friday's cancellation of meeting mentioned above.  Or, consider my response to a casual mention from a friend that my new linkedin profile looked good.  Well obviously I burst into tears and a la Sally Fields exclaimed, "really, you really think it looks ok, really!?"

But, for the first time in a very long time, my self-accepting moments far outweigh the self-doubting ones.  I, in fact, live with self-acceptance, and experience occasional moments of self-doubt.  Not the other way around.

So very much better this way.

The ability to stay the confident course is due in part, I believe, to knowing that a) I need other people to help me through sometimes, and b) thats ok.  Preferable even.  As I power walked through the neighborhood this morning soaking up some glorious CO vitamin D, I chatted with my sister, and she made me feel like a rock-star in that way that only a sister can about my meetings this week.  On a similar walk on Friday morning, I reached out to a colleague from my last job who I had not talked to in quite some time,  and, oy, did she pump me up in exactly the way that I needed.  Thank you so much "A!"  You are forever my "office little sister."   The students have become the masters.  And of course, there is the friend who received my teary thanks for her kudos on my online resume, and came up with the title for this week's entry.

So, yes, I get by with a little help from my friends.  And, a lot of it just finally comes from me.  Since I'm quoting Sally Field here today, " It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes."

So off I go into a week of trying to peddle my professional talents.  If not me, who?  If not now, when?

Wish me luck.

Right back at ya.

Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.

Friday, October 28, 2011

MORE on what women/I want from work

Picked up this month's MORE magazine at the grocery store earlier in the week.  Perused the front cover and despite efforts to resist my interest in this magazine for "women of style & substance" since we all know this just means "old", I found myself wanting to read an article advertised on the front cover.  The title?  "How to have a life and a job in a stink bomb economy."  Very high brow reading.  But I opened up to the table of contents, and was promised on page 114, "10 Great Careers for Women Who Want a Life."  So, 39 & counting, career relaunch seeking 'ole me, obviously handed over $4.00 to learn more.

Sat on the sofa with my glass of wine and read the article last night.  Well, Go MORE magazine.  So they partnered with the polling company/WomanTrend to survey women nationwide about their attitudes towards their jobs, and revealed what many of my friends and I already know - - that women are sacrificing ambition in a search for balance.

The article emphasizes that women aren't slowing down because they're not getting enough help at home; only 15% of the women interviewed for the piece said that household or child care duties have held them back.  The women interviewed want to work (only 11% said they wanted to put in fewer hours); they just don't want to advance.  73% said they wouldn't apply for the their boss's job.  According to Meryle Mahrer Kaplan, the president of Catalyst, a not-for-profit organization concerned with women and business, wanting a more flexible career is not about being lazy, uncommitted or unwilling to work.  "Instead, the search for a flexible career is about crafting a way of life that doesn't require one partner to stay home while the other works 80 hours a week outside the house. "

The Families and Work Institute agrees that declining ambition is a trend.  According to president Ellen Galinsky, "With the recession, the threat of terrorist attacks, the natural disasters we've been living through - all of this makes us ask - What's important to us?"  Galinsky also says, "While its true that jobs have never been tailored to meet women's needs, it's also true that they can be - through increased career flexibility."  Women take work seriously - and want to be taken seriously at work.  92% of the women interviewed said that career flexibility is the key part to finding the right job.

And,  among the top 10 careers with built in future growth and decent pay that allow for just that flexibility - - - well, according to MORE - Public Relations Specialist.

Go me.

Quick update - its been a good "work week" for me.  Remember that organization I interviewed with when we first got to Denver?  The one with the full-time "Director of Communications and Marketing"position?  Well, they called and want me to do some contract work for them.  And I am looking forward to a meeting next Friday with the president of a prominent public relations firm in town.  And I've been giving a lot more thought to that new and "oh so right" project I mentioned in a post from a week or so ago.

More (pun intended) later.  Off to Denver Jewish Day School to for PTO volunteer duties.

Shabbat Shalom,


Monday, October 24, 2011

Caleb's art speaks a happy word

I am sitting in the lobby of a Toyota dealership waiting for my BLIZZAK snow tires to be installed.   According to Larry's intense research on the best possible way to keep me as safe on the roads as possible this winter, "BLIZZAK Studless Ice & Snow tires have been shown to stop a vehicle traveling at only 30 miles per hour an average of 35 feet shorter on ice than popular all-season radials...a distance of about two car lengths!"  If you've seen me drive, heard about my driving, or lived in Dublin, Ohio, you know this is a very good thing.  At any rate, I have an hour or so to kill, and there's WiFi ...

Weekend update - - -  After spending 24 hours in the mountains with friends, Caleb walked straight through our front door yesterday afternoon, down the stairs to the playroom and to his art table to make a CD.  He drew the cover - several stick figures in a circle.  Then, a page with the list of songs.  Its hard to read, but you hopefully can see that amongst the titles are: "Noo frens" and "Frends evereawere."  Translation: "New friends" and "friends everywhere."  After showing us the artwork, he sang song #4 - "friends are everywhere, friends, friends, friends, there are friends in Columbus, and friends in Denver, friends in Moscow, friends, friends, friends."

Now I have NO IDEA who Caleb knows in Moscow, but - oh dear god, thank you, thank you, thank you; I just saved a few hundred dollars in therapy bills; he is doing OK in Denver. Also, very important note-to-self: though he's not the extroverted yenta that is his mother, he obviously cares very much about friends.  Sweet, quiet guy.  Those who know you love you so so much.

Friday was an especially great day for Caleb because he got to play with friends all day without leaving his house.  First, "G" brought her son (kindergarten) and daughter over in the morning so she and I could get some work done together.  Then, one of Caleb's classmates came over for a few hours.  And finally, the family we had over for shabbat dinner has a son in the first grade.

And then we went up to the mountains, and stayed with friends in Breckenridge (the Keystone condo isn't ours until mid-November) and apparently, Caleb was happy there too!  Their kids were a bit older, 4th and 6th grade, but they were super sweet to Caleb and Adina.  And I'm fairly certain you can see clearly in the picture to the left that Larry and I are still giddy about where on the planet we've landed.  

And speaking of giddy - I can't contain my excitement - my peeps from Columbus are planning a visit!  They'll be here at the end of January, and will help me celebrate turning 40 (what a weird number to write).  When I told Larry I thought we'd head up to Keystone to ski on Saturday, he asked me, "who's going to drive?"  Which brings me full circle to the snow tires that should now be ready in 20 minutes.  Going to check on that situation.

More soon.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh what a week

I've got some catching up to do ...

Lets start with the Keystone condo.  I saw it on Sunday afternoon and ... its fantastic.  Totally exceeded my expectations.  We got a great deal.  Absolutely cannot wait to hang out there.  Lucky, lucky, lucky Becker-Schwartzes.  Of course, though coming "fully furnished" is easy and mostly fine, the bear & moose pillows on the sofa must be tossed.  Immediately.  And no Larry, we will not just use the linens the previous owners leave; we will bring some from "Denver home" or spring for some new "mountain towels and sheets" at Target.  Really?

My parents got to see the condo; and the magnificent drive from Denver leading up to it.  We went through the stunning Loveland Pass and over the Continental Divide.  They'd never been to Colorado, or past Chicago from the east coast, so I was glad they had a chance to see the awe-inspiring beauty that led us to move out here.

Before heading to Keystone, we hosted the final leg of the Denver Jewish Day School 2011 Sukkah Hop on Sunday morning.  I'm taking the declaration from one child that "its dessert heaven in there" to mean that our sukkah was a success.  Caleb and Adina seemed to have fun, and of course, having new friends hang out here made my new house feel a little more like home.

And to back-track a little ... So my parents arrived Wednesday afternoon, and the kids didn't have school Thursday and Friday because of the holiday.  On Thursday morning, we visited the very cute, very trying if you're over the age of 10 and tend to get a little over stimulated by 400 five year olds running around a pretend grocery store, Denver Children's Museum.  The kids LOVED it though, clearly, and it really was pretty fabulous - art area, build stuff out of recycled materials area, blow a huge bubble up around yourself.  Super fun.  Super glad when it was over.  Spent the afternoon feeding the ducks and playing on Arapahoe Lakes (our neighborhood) playgrounds.

Friday was good for all age groups.  We went to Dinosaur Ridge.  I don't know if its just because I do better outside than in, but I thought this place was truly fantastic.  Though without the grandparents we probably would have walked it, I was glad we ended up on the shuttle bus tour because our guide was a funky Anthropology student who knew so much about dinosaurs and was hilarious with the kids!  We visited the Dinosaur Bone Site, the Brontosaur Bulges, and the Dinosaur Tracksite, and got to touch the fossils!  Run, do not walk to this one.

Fast forward.  My parents left yesterday.  Caleb and Adina are in school.  I just did a very much needed yoga class at the fabulous Core Power Yoga in the Happy Canyon shopping center.  I'm sitting in Starbucks sipping a green tea iced tea.  Writing.  Breathing.  Smiling.  Kids are off Thursday and Friday again this week.  Updates on our activities to follow.

Gonna sign off from here, and work on work.  Something new is happening.  Something so very, very right.  I'm really excited.  I can't - or won't - talk about it yet.  Can't wait to let you know.

Til then ...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Season of our Rejoicing

Larry and the kids finished putting up our sukkah on Monday.  Last night we decorated.  Sukkot begins tonight.  Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. It also has agricultural significance as a harvest festival; Sukkot is one of the three biblically mandated holidays on which Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Israel.  

Sukkot is a happy holiday.  In fact, it is supposed to be so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z'man Simchateinu, the Season of our Rejoicing.  
The Becker-Schwartz family is rejoicing indeed.  It has been a very exciting week for us so far because ... we bought a condo in Keystone, CO!  That I haven't seen yet!  Right.  Larry went back up last Sunday, looked at a dozen more places, showed me pictures, and - we're gonna have a place to call home in the Rocky Mountains.
Dream come true.
So excited for the kids.
So proud of Larry.
Hope to see it tomorrow.
Dear Lord, please make it be as clean as he claims.

I should probably be freaking out since there are still unpacked boxes, bare white walls, and a disastrous mess of a yard in the "weekday" house we just bought in Denver.  But this all just feels so right.  Like, home.  Hmm, maybe after our last (split the difference between my 39 & Larry's 41) forty years of wandering through Virginia, Maryland, Pittsburgh, New York, Israel (oy) and Columbus, living in temporary shelters, this is our time to reap the fruits of our labors.  

AT ANY RATE, our first visitors to Denver arrive this afternoon - my parents - and we are very excited to show them around.  I'm thinking the Georgetown Loop Railway for outdoor fun, and otherwise, we're winging it.  Just googled "things to do in Denver with grandparents,"  and check this out!  -  What was life before google?  Also very open & appreciative of suggestions so please write.

We are also getting ready to be the last stop on the Denver Jewish Day School Sukkah Hop this Sunday.  After so many fabulous invitations from this crowd, I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to open our home to our new friends.  Cookie, cupcake & brownie making awaits.

Off to drive around Denver, dropping people off, picking people up.  As I gaze off into the distance at the Rockies (never losing track of the road and cars in front of me of course), I'll be wondering if my little piece of it looks anything like the pictures from  And rejoicing over my unbelievable luck.

Chag Sameach - a happy holiday - to all.