Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I have spent every single waking moment of every single day for three weeks straight now with my husband.  More than twenty days, five hundred hours, thirty thousand minutes, one hundred and eight seconds - however you want to count it - of blissful togetherness.

I'm going to kill him.

Now, in all fairness, I will shout it from the rooftops that there is no way I could have made this move to the Mile High City without my beloved by my side.  If not for him, and my GPS, I would likely be curled up in the fetal position, somewhere in Kansas or Arizona, wondering if I had made the most ridiculous decision of my life.  Instead, I am steadily learning my way around town, I am laughing, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that moving to this beautiful state is one of the smartest things I will ever do for my family.  Still, we've got to let absence make the heart grow fonder - at least from "nine to five" (or 6:00 to 4:00ish as our lives would have it) - or all hell is going to break loose.

Yesterday was a low point.  His expertise in every area was getting on my last nerve (did I say that out loud?) (I know, you don't think you know everything...), and we go, together of course, to drop my daughter off at preschool.  On our way out of the synagogue, a cute young woman gasps as she holds the door open for Larry, and says: "Oh my god, I know you, Larry Schwartz!, I went to Ramah Canada (a summer camp), oh my god, you taught me how to waterski, you were so great, I can't believe its you.  What are you doing in Denver? Oh my god!"


Some background.  Since we are super Jewy and spend a lot of time in our communities' various Jewish institutions, this is not the first time I've experienced this kind of reaction from someone who went to camp with my husband.  In fact, we've only been in Denver for two weeks and the woman from yesterday (who, it turns out, is absolutely lovely so please, I am not making fun of you, really just myself, and anyway who am I to talk, I basically stalked Mayim Bialik the other day at a Maccabeats concert) was actually the second person here to have this reaction to my husband.   Apparently, Larry is a "legend" at Camp Ramah.  That's right, I was told, a legend.

Ok, ok, when we're not in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, trying to find a plumber to install a toilet, or shopping for the perfect coffee table (we really should never go to Crate & Barrel together again), I'm very, very proud of my husband.  He is great with kids, and I have always been oddly attracted to men who positively influence the next generation of Jews.  I mean, the "you're the most fabulous (at Jewish summer camp) waterskier ever" thing is annoying, but its better than "what an asshole, Larry Schwartz."  Right?

And, now that I've ranted through some of my frustrations, I'll even admit that I agree.  Larry is great.  He is sweet, he is smart, and he is funny.  Very funny.  And he may not have taught me to waterski, but during every second of every minute of every hour of every day, I know he is there, supporting me, whatever I'm doing, and that makes me feel like I can be great.

So, while our time together settling into our new home in Denver has got to be up, I (quite publicly) say to my fabulous husband, "Larry, I could not be more proud of you.  I love you. And I hope you enjoy your day tomorrow at work."


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Go Levi!

A lovely new friend invited us up to her house in Breckenridge yesterday to watch Stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  What a blast.

First, the breathtaking jaunt from Denver.  I think I uttered the sentence, "I can't believe we live here" a dozen times.  I'm not a good enough writer to describe what we saw without it sounding contrived.  Suffice it to say please that it was so beautiful, so peaceful, that every single one of my fears about moving to a new city and making new friends disappeared for the duration of the drive.  I think it was that "there's something bigger than me" quality that the mountains ellicit.  Whether I'm believing in God or not; whether I'm feeling spiritually connected or not; there is something about a more than 3000 mile long mountain range reaching almost 15,000 miles above sea level that makes the crap in my life seem not to matter so much and focuses me on the real stuff.  

My friend's house is adorable, just minutes from a Breckenridge Gondola.  After shmoozing for a little while with more great people (thank you so much S for the warm welcome to Denver; it means so much), Larry and I took the kids up the mountain to explore.  Maze, bouncy house, big slide.  We are successfully indoctrinating the children; they think this place rocks (no pun intended).  It started to rain, just in time, we trekked back down to catch the cyclists come through.

What an adrenaline rush!  And I was just standing there watching.  First the couple of guys in the lead; then the magical swoosh of a hundred bicycles and bodies in motion.  Caleb and I made a run for it to catch them at the finish line.  If ever I was inspired to get my tush on a bike ...    

Some more shmoozing; a snack; time to head home.  A quick stop in Frisco for dinner.  Kids asleep in the car; a romantic moment for a couple giddy about a new adventure.  Or starved for oxygen.  Whichever.  I like it.  I think we're going to stay.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Women's Equality Day: What the hell does that mean?

Its 5 am and I am wide awake.  I lie in bed for a few minutes, thinking of things I need to find - coffee and side tables for my new living room; my son Caleb's karate outfit; and something productive and intellectually stimulating to do when both my children are in school.  Starting next week.  No (self) pressure of course.

5:30.  Might as well take this quiet time to write.

Yesterday (Thursday, August 26) marked the ninety-first anniversary of the constitutional amendment granting American women the right to vote in all U.S. elections.  In 1971 (one year before I was born), Congress designated August 26 as "Women's Equality Day," and every year since, the President makes a declaration on this day calling for further advancement of women's rights, and, hopefully, gets us thinking about individual freedom.  Click here for Obama's statement yesterday.

The 1920 passage of the 19th amendment was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women.  While the movement began formally in 1848 at the world's first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, its spark was lit years earlier when two women - Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott - met at the World Anti-Slavery convention in London and got mutually pissed off when the convention refused to seat them and the other women delegates from America.  Click here to read more about how a social gathering (coffee chat at Starbucks, anyone?) between Stanton, Mott, Martha C. Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt led to the first major push for legal equality for women in our country.  

I have been thinking a lot the last couple of days about women's long history of organizing for social change.  Maybe its because I went with a group of new Denver friends to see the magnificent movie, "The Help" about a small group of women in Mississippi in the 1960s who write about their experiences as black maids, and the white children who are raised by them.  Please Run Do Not Walk to see this just-as-good-as-the- book story about the power of female friendship, the courage to stand up for what is right, and the ability a few people to make a big difference.  

Or maybe I've just been thinking about the female  experience because of my constant "inner mommy war," wondering if my desire to be the one to care for my children in their early years is also good for them, or if I'm being a poor role model, especially to my daughter, by cutting out on my career for so long.  

Maybe its because when my husband and I went to the bank earlier in the week to open new accounts, we were advised to have my husband be the primary account holder on a credit card application because we'd get a higher limit because he earns more.  More than zero that is.  It was like someone punched me in the gut.  

Yes, I know any 18 year old can get any number of cards that will let them spend their little American hearts away, and that I have a long, healthy credit history.  And, yes, I know that even when I do go back to work, Larry might be able to get a VISA that lets him buy a bigger television simply because of his choice in profession, not his gender.  Still, it was a hard moment to take for this third wave feminist who yearns again for the satisfaction of paid work but in her core wants to be the one to pick her 3 year old daughter up from preschool at 12:30 and spend the afternoon with her, and be there when her 6 year old son ends his school day and wants to talk.  

Anyway.  On a slightly lighter, but not irrelevant note, I am back from a break to get my family in order.  Just as I was finishing up that last paragraph, about 6:30 am, Caleb came downstairs ready to roll.  Helped Caleb get ready for school, fought with him about whether he could watch TV first, helped Adina get dressed, made me & the kids breakfast, made final additions (sunscreen, extra kippah) to Caleb's backpack, fought with Caleb over particular backpack contents.  Drove Caleb to school.  Went to Einstein Bagels to get Larry breakfast.  Went to Cherry Creek State Park to let Adina run around outside for awhile.  She is happily painting on the deck now, Larry is biking, and so, I am back.

On the drive to school, Caleb asked me if I'd decided "what I want to do for a job" yet.  Did he know what I was writing about when he appeared earlier with his morning demands?  I mean, I know he's heard me talking about wanting to go back to work soon, but it seemed ironic.  Funny too, that after all the times I've asked myself this question, it was the simplicity of an age appropriate answer for my son this morning that I liked best of all.  I told him that Mommy had done several different things in the past, and learned two important things about herself: 1) She likes to help people and try and make the world better and 2) The things she's best at are writing and talking.  So, she's going to look for a job that combines those important things.  Yeah, thats it.

Much more later I'm sure.  Til then, Happy Women's Equality Day right back at ya' Mr. President (a quick special thanks for Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor) and to all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"A picture is worth 1000 words."

Well, I agree that pictures speak volumes, but I, unfortunately, am a terrible photographer.  And I don't mean that I take lousy pictures, though that is also true.  I mean that I rarely think to take out my camera and capture a moment "on film."  (Do we say that anymore?)  I like to think of myself as more of a "experience the moment" or "capture it in my heart" sorta girl.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not leaving Caleb and Adina a photographic legacy of their childhoods, but thats really only when I'm at some sporting event or dramatic production and another mom says, "aren't you going to take pictures?!"  As if.     

Anyway, here's what I've got vis a vis the Becker-Schwartz family's journey from Columbus, Ohio to Denver, Colorado in August, 2011.
the moving van in front of our house in Columbus

our "nuclear football" - all the important papers for our life lived in this box and slept by our sides during the Columbus to Denver road trip.

Our first driving break was in St. Loius, where Larry went to college a long, long time ago.  Here he is in his fraternity house, showing the kids his picture on the wall.  Fairly certain it was meant to be that I didn't know him then.  

Adina gives in.  

Back to watching "Olivia"

Sunset over the Rocky Mountains as we drive into Denver.  I told you I don't know how to take a decent picture.  Just trust me please that there are beautiful mountains back there and that the view was awe-inspiring.  Really.

Sunday, August 20, 2011 - Becker-Schwartz family's first hike in Rocky Mt National Park.  We bought an annual pass!  

Just like our third date (We went hiking in Maryland; Larry made me hot chocolate; I swooned.)

Caleb: "Its like a rock jungle gym!"

Everything I always wanted.  Also thinking about how much my dad would love it here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back on the Grid

Saturday, August 20, 2011, 9:30 pm

Oy; five whole days without internet access.  Total deprivation. But Quest finally hooked us up, and here I am, sitting next to my husband on on a couch in a house in Englewood, Colorado.  Typing away.  Larry is playing on his lap top too; he's researching hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, where are going to spend the day tomorrow.  Unbelievable.

Though I couldn't get online, I did jot down a few thoughts during this head spinning week . . .

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear environment,

I am terribly sorry that the Becker-Schwartz family used 10,000 rolls of packing paper and 130 cardboard boxes so we could move somewhere we could be outside more and enjoy your lovely trees.  I also sincerely apologize for the half dozen cardboard pizza boxes we tossed over the last few days.  I am totally embarrassed about the styrofoam containers our sushi came in last night.  Also feeling pretty badly about all the plastic cutlery.  We will try to make it up to you as soon as we come up for (fresh mountain) air.

Yours truly,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We did it!  We live in Colorado.  Night #1 went really well.  I guess the kids were too exhausted to have any of the “my new room is not my old room so its sorta creepy and I need to sleep rightontopofyou and/or knee you in the stomach all night long” issues that I thought might pop up.  We are all about unpacking and setting up house for the next several days.  That means lots and lots of lists.  For example: 

Things that made Larry curse today
1.    The guest room toilet won’t stop running.
2.    The hot water dispenser on the kitchen sink is leaking.
3.     The cold water faucet in the kids’ bathroom makes an annoying, squeaky noise.
4.    Quest was supposed to be here today to set up our new phone/internet, but they messed up our order and now it will be Friday before we stop trying to steal the neighbors’ WiFi.

Things that made Adina (3) cry:
1.     She wanted ORANGE JUICE, not milk.
2.     She wanted to wear shorts and a T-shirt, NOT A DRESS!
3.     She wanted to save empty box #24, not #67!  How could I toss #24?  Don’t I love her at all?

Things that brought Caleb (6) (total control freak) complete, unadulterated joy:
1.     Finding the perfect spot in his bedroom for his Legos; reading chair; job chart (you think I’m making this up); and hats. 
2.     Finding the perfect spot in the playroom to “do art.
3.   -Finding the perfect spot in the garage for his bike.

You get the idea.

The good news is: I can tell that I am really going to like my new house.  Now I can’t wait to get all this shit put away so I can get out of it.  Guess I’ll head to Starbucks in the morning so I can get online & share…

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Much. better. day.  Sure we started with a visit (our third) to the Department of Motor Vehicles for drivers’ licenses, and to register our cars in Colorado, but - I didn’t have to take a driving test; Larry really likes the green mountains on his new license plates; and we were out of there by 10:30 am - with everything we needed.  Score.  

Also, we had our first visitors!  One of Larry's closest childhood friends spent last week in Wyoming with her family, and decided to fly home to Pittsburgh through Denver so they could say “hi” to us in our new home.  Best gift ever.  We met them at Zaidy's for a delicious brunch, then hung out for awhile in beautiful Wash Park.  The kids played on the playground, and the grown-ups sat under a tree and caught up.  Perfection.     

Friday, August 19, 2011  

Ok, things are going well here.  I started the day with a great run around my neighborhood, and up to the entrance to Cherry Creek State Park.  Love that this is right here.  Took Caleb to see his new school; went to the grocery store; unpacked a few more boxes.  Ended the day by bringing in shabbat with my family, at our new synagogue.

Blah, blah, blah.

Larry appears to have moved on in his research to skiing -  season passes and ski schools - Copper Mountain;  Winter Park; Breckenridge.  Ridiculous.

Til next time ...


Sunday, August 14, 2011

From Kansas to Denver (way too tired for clever title)

Saturday August 13, 2011

On old bucket list: Drive across U.S.A. – from east to west coast.  Amended version (as of today): Drive across Kansas.  Then halfway through Colorado.  Fly everywhere else.  Quite sufficient.  Check!        

964.2 miles in.  About 3 miles east of Ellis, Kansas.  Wherever.  Adina (3) is stoned -  lollipop overdose - and Caleb (6) has been talking to himself for the last hour or so. 
Wait, we are passing the most gorgeous field of sunflowers – looks like millions, maybe a mile or so of sunflowers.  Am I hallucinating?  No, Larry says he sees them too.  “Caleb, Caleb, C-A-L-E-B!  look away from the screen, away from the screen, LARRY TURN OFF THE DAMN DVD PLAYER, CALEB LOOK OUT THE WINDOW!  

Right, as I was saying, I think Caleb is delirious.  (I’m obviously fine.)  He’s been making all sorts of weird sounds back there, talking to Diego, Olivia, Tyrone.  He just yelled out, “dinosaur!”  The deprogramming could take a few days. 

Remember that lovely thing I posted yesterday morning about life being good ‘cause I was with my husband and my children and my dog.  Ha! 

I have been reading the lonely planet Colorado book a friend gave me though and have decided its best not to leave anyone in a corn field because I’m getting pretty excited about hanging out with them in “adventurous, cosmopolitan” Denver.  Re: outdoor life - -  “Other destinations may offer a different mix of mountains, rivers, rock-climbing routes, hiking & cycling terrain, but no other place offers more or better outdoor adventure than Colorado.  Winter or summer, snow, rain or shining sun, there is always somewhere to go or something to do that will crack open your mind and buckle your knees with wonder, pump your bloodstream with adrenaline – or all three at the same time.”  Re: the city of Denver - - “Spirited, urbane and self-aware, Denver is the west’s cosmopolitan capital."

And from my book …"What I find to be Denver’s greatest feature, is the sense that the city is on the cusp of 'something big.'  Maybe the modern equivalent of a gold rush, but one that values quality of life over riches. It’s more a rush of energy, a rush of ideas … Maybe it was the altitude-thinned air one whole mile in the sky, but I felt a lightheadness bordering on giddiness being in this place where the people know how to blend modern and historical, rural with city, independence with communal, and work with play.”

Now how many miles have we gone?  1000!  Seriously?  Now that has to mean something right, just as I’m asking, it’s a cool number like 1000.  Whats that you say, you know I’ve been asking every five minutes so it was bound to happen at some point?  Fine.  Still, Yay!  Deep yoga breaths.  Gotta pee.  Hanging in there … 

I’m back.  We just crossed into Mountain Time Zone.  Wow.  This is really happening.  Just booked a hotel a mile away from our house for tonight & tomorrow night.  (Movers come with our beds Monday morning).  We’re going to make it.  Smelly and agitated, but we’re going to get there.  More sunflowers.  They really are beautiful.  21 miles to the Colorado border …Stopping for Adina to "poop."  Too much information?  Been wondering if I should address the signs every 5 miles through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas encouraging me to “Save the Unborn” in a blog post?  What do people want to hear about - politics, my 3 year old's toileting needs?  I know this is supposed to be about my journey to Denver and all, but at some point we might have to discuss this region's banner issue. 

COLORADO!  Team Becker-Schwartz breaks into cheer.  We have just crossed the Kansas/Colorado border.  Almost home.    

1225 miles.  We are very, very close.  Larry is grinning from ear to ear.  I feel, at peace.  Looking out the window at wide open space.  The Garmin shows the elevation climbing; climbing; climbing.

Getting choked up.  It is beautiful.  I am deep in my heart excited. 

Mile 1260.  Minutes from our new home.  Just watched an amazing sunset over the Rocky Mountains.  This is insane.  Just as we’re driving in.  The light behind the mountains.  The colors – orange, yellow, pink, purple.

And just as the word "poetic" crosses my mind, from Adina - "Mommy, I have to throw up in the potty."   

I hand her a bag, and Caleb and I take pictures out our windows.  As soon as I unpack the thingy that connects my iphone to my lap top, I will post them, along with others from the last few days.  In the meantime, believe me when I tell you it looks something like this picture someone else took to the left.  Purple Mountain Majesty.

 Last stop of the evening before heading to the hotel - our new house.  My heart swells and my shoulders relax as Caleb runs to the front door calling out, "We're home.  Look Adina, we're home."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Goodbye Boggle; Hello Connect 4

(Good morning my 5 readers.  FYI I am sitting in a hotel room in Lawrence, Kansas.  Is it spelled like that?  Larry was a fabulous driver yesterday, so I'm up this morning.  No worries, friends; All I gotta do is go straight ...  Forgot to post this rant from a day or so before moving day.  Enjoy!)

Sunday August 7, 2011 (3 days til moving day)

3:30 pm - After a tough time saying goodbye after a "final play date" with his best buddy from pre-school and kindergarten, my 6 year old son Caleb returns home to discover I have cleaned up (& I mean really just cleaned up) the playroom.  I swear the only thing I tossed is a Boggle game that just had a few pieces remaining, and a completely ripped up box.  This game, however, was apparently very special to Caleb.  He mourns the loss of this Boggle game (no, a new one from Target as soon as we arrive in Denver will not do), for a full hour.

Tuesday August 9, 2011 (Was supposed to be day before moving day, but is now 2 days til moving day because the truck "broke down." Ok....)

7:20 am - Anxiety levels are shooting through the roof at 2592 Bexley Park Road.  The movers are still supposed to be coming to pack us up today, sometime between 8 & 10 a.m.  As he gets ready for camp,  Caleb asks 400 questions about how they will know what to put what where, will they label things, etc.  He then insists that he will pack his own stuff, thank you very much, and they are welcome to do everything else.  Larry talks him down by reviewing the previously selected items that are laid out on the guest room bed to be taken to CO in the car with us.

8:20 am - Since all we have to eat in the house is a can of green olives and some sunflower seeds, we stop at Cup O Joe on the way to camp drop-off for breakfast.  I buy one big muffin for my 3 & 6 year old to share (along with bagels & cereals and chocolate milks).  We sit down, and I start to cut the muffin in half.  Whoa crazy lady, what the hell were you thinking?  Adina grabs for this beloved bake good, screams that she wants the whole thing, and takes a big, slobbery bite off the top to prove her point.  Oh lord.  Caleb goes ballistic.  He clearly needs his own muffin now.  Pronto.  So that we don't get kicked out, and so that I can drink my f-in latte, I dole out the $2.60.   Of course, Caleb takes one bite of muffin and declares he doesn't like it.  I wonder if my doc will write me a one week prescription for something verrrryy sooooothing.

8:50 am - Caleb hops happily out of the car to go spend the day frolicking in the sun with his friends and forget about the people at home touching his things.  I start to breathe.

8:55 am - Adina clings to my leg, begging me to stay in the Giraffe room for "6 more minutes."  My pulse quickens.

9:01 am - Her teacher restrains her and Adina cries out, "Mommy, please stay, Mommy, please stay" and   I wonder what she's trying to tell me about her feelings on moving as I run towards my car.   Larry assures me this will not make her top 10 list in therapy.

9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - 3 people pack up everything my family owns into 130 boxes.  Yes, in 5 hours.

3:40 p.m. - Caleb comes home to his bedroom & playroom full of boxes.  The moment a type-A mother to a type-A six year old dreads.  A look of panic flashes across his face, and then, thank you, thank you, thank you, he declares that the house doesn't look like he thought it would and goes to get the book we've been reading about moving, "Ernie's New Home."  He flips to the page where Ernie's house in empty except for lots & lots of boxes.  Caleb is right, our house does not look exactly like Ernie's.  He agrees it looks similar, however, and asks me if he can use my phone to make a video of our boxed up life.  I congratulate myself as this moment is clearly a result of my fabulous parenting.

6 pm - All 4 members of my family arrive at the home of dear friends, who, yet again, feed us delicious food, and provide easy company and fun.  We go from acting like ragged, nomads to breathing, at least partially functioning human beings in a matter of minutes.

8:30 pm - This party has parting gifts!  We all get something!  Caleb receives a travel sized Connect 4 that he declares "the best gift ever."  He shows me the game and declares its wonderfulness 3 more times before he goes to bed.  Is he old enough to be touched by the support for our move that is behind this gift?  Does he know how these friends have helped Larry & I leap into this next adventure?  Or does this Connect 4 simply kick-ass?

10 pm - I fall asleep peacefully,  knowing that when one Boggle is closed, a Connect Four opens.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

6:30 am - 5:20 pm - Stare at boxes.

5:21 pm - heading to the home of other dear friends willing to feed a family on the edge (mine).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Every road trip of 1200 miles begins with a blog posting from Starbucks

We are officially on the road.  Just left a fine roadside hotel just outside Indiannopolis.  On our way to lunch in St. Louis.  A brief pause here to just say “hi, I love you” to my sister, my other travel partner, the one who understands why all travel plans center on the next meal. Larry would say St. Louis is a good stopping point because we can see Wash U where he went to college.  Also true.  Kids have been entranced by "Diego’s Ultimate Rescue" via headphones.  Larry & I have David Broza.  Its me, my husband, my children, and my dog.  Life is good. 

Yesterday was move day.  It went about as smoothly as a moving day can go, and for that I am very thankful.  I was jazzed through lunchtime.  Adventure starting!  Then, rooms began to totally empty  And I started to wander.  And then sit for awhile.  Then cry.  First in the kid’s bedrooms, thinking about all the stories I read to them there.  To Caleb first in his crib; then toddler bed; then “big boy” bed that is currently on an American moving van somewhere on I-70.  Also remembering when we first switched to the toddler deal & the pediatrician said, no, Larry is not a sado-masochist, its ok to lock him in his room like a prisoner (fine, it was just a baby gate at the door), and let him scream his brains out for three hours; this is how you teach him this is where he sleeps now.  Sigh.  

Then downstairs to the living room.  Now bawling. This is the room where Adina first came home.  Walked through the front door and into this room from the hospital.  Remembering Adina’s simchat bat.  This same living room filled with family and friends.  This is what made 2592 Bexley Park Road so special.  The friends who came for Shabbat dinner, the family that gathered for Rosh Hashana, Thanksgiving, Passover.  The children who created art in the sukkah.  The girlfriends who sat in the living room in their pajamas, drank red wine, and ate figs.  Home. 

Yes, I realize that this is not really a sad story because, no, I did not forget to mention me lifting a single box.  Didn’t happen.  Thank you Children’s Hospital of Colorado. The work of unpacking and making 400 trips to Lowes awaits us on the Denver end.  

Back in the car we go.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Wherever you are, its your friends who make your world."

This week I started saying goodbye to the people who allowed me to call Columbus "home" for over five years.

I ate sushi with the truth-telling friend who I met at the JCC when I first moved to town and invited me and my son to join a playgroup, thereby introducing me to a group of women who quickly became old friends.  The kind of friends who love you and make you laugh even when you crash your car (repeatedly) or drop your child (on a cold, hard mall floor), and who make everything you do - as a mother and as a woman - seem possible and fabulous.  

My family ate dinner last night with our quintessential always-there-to-help even in the middle of the night when you have to take your husband to the hospital midwest neighbors, who have the lovely twist of being wine connoisseurs/store owners and gave Larry & I a delectable way of ending each day with a full glass.

Tonight, that beautiful, kind midwest girl who chose to stay, but is as fun and fashionable as any in NYC is hosting a goodbye gig for a bunch of my girlfriends at her house.  Her co-host is my scarecrow in this tale.  Remember that part in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is leaving to go back to Kansas and she says, "I think I will miss you most of all."  Yeah, thats her.  I'm going to miss her advice (yes, you are always right), her laugh (you are so pretty), her sarcastic wit (oy, have I mentioned I think this is your ticket to the big bucks?), her constant support (thank you), and her daughter's clothes.  

I am looking forward to this evening, and dreading it, and am immensely grateful to all who are willing to show up.  Pictures to follow.

And because I'm (temporarily) out of words, indulge me please as I steal a few:
"This is not the end.  This is not even the beginning of the end.  It is, instead, the end of the beginning." - Winston Churchill
"Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance: they make the latitudes and longitudes." - Henry David Thoreau