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.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Rosh Hashana High

Rosh Hashana was amazing.

Yeah, thats what I said.

"Hi, my name is Evelyn, and I'm a big geeky Jew."

The rundown:

Wednesday evening - A delightful outdoor dinner party in a stunningly decorated home.  Connected with warm, intelligent, generous people; drank delicious pomegranate martinis; ate brisket.  Kids ran happily wild.
Thursday - Synagogue.  Kids loved babysitting and junior congregation and I enjoyed the service, especially the cantor's daughter's unbelievable voice.  After lunch, Larry & I sat on the deck and discussed the rabbi's sermon over a bottle of wine.
Friday morning - Another enjoyable service.  True, I kibbitzed with friends through most of this one,  So, like I said, enjoyable.
Friday afternoon - Appletinis and a relaxed, fun outdoor lunch with our first friends in Denver, the amazing family who invited us over when we came here house-hunting in June.  So happy they still want to hang now that they know us.  Kids ran happily around the yard.
Friday evening - "Leftovers shabbat dinner" at another friend's house.   What a great idea, even though absolutely no one was hungry.  Grownups sat around, shmoozed, and ate a four course meal anyway.  Kids played until all collapsed in front of the T.V.  Grownups finally agreed to let everyone go home & get a few hours rest.
Saturday morning - Drove to Summit County.  Marveled at nature.  Met with realtor.  Looked at condos in Wildernest and Dillon.
Saturday afternoon - Met up with the friends who hosted us on Wednesday evening at their home in Keystone.  Hiked.  Talked.  Swam.  Talked.  Ate their delicious Rosh Hashana leftovers for dinner.  Talked.  Drank good wine.  Talked.  Drank good port.  Talked.  Put the kids to bed.  Meant to come back to the living room for more talk; fell asleep with the kids.
Sunday morning - Talked.  Ate breakfast.  Talked.  Hiked.  Talked.  Said goodbye.  (Oy, can't wait to hang out with these guys again.)
Noon - Went back to our favorite condo to take a second look.  Went to the realtors office.  Signed an offer!  Went home.

Oh, but that is not all.  That is not all ...

Sunday evening - BBQ at the friends' home where we ate last Sunday night's dinner.  Well, "BBQ" is what the email invitation said ... There was a bouncy slide; a rock climbing wall; entertainment by a professional stunt team; and games, games, games.  There was gourmet pizza; grilled salmon; and a cupcake truck.  Ridiculously PERFECT weather.  A big group of haimish, fun, intelligent men, women and kids who love life.  Best Rosh Hashana party ever.  

Seriously, this Jewish community is so warm, welcoming, fun, and generous I am truly blown away.  Thank you, thank you, thank you all for making us feel like we've been here way longer than seven weeks.

And for those of you getting a little annoyed at how much the Becker-Schwartz family is digging Colorado, read on to hear about my Monday morning blahs.

So then Larry went to work.  And Caleb got picked up for school.  And I dropped Adina off at school.  And then I had six hours with nothing planned.  Sounds nice, right?  I could have a) worked on finding that job I've been talking about; b) worked on getting the house or yard in order; or c) enjoyed exploring somewhere new in Denver.  So what did I do?  d) Felt sorry for myself that I had nowhere to be.

Very productive.

Apparently my experience is not uncommon.  Adrenaline provides pleasure and energy - a "rush" that makes people feel competent, energetic, challenged.  It is, quite literally, a chemically induced "high," and many people (me) find it highly pleasurable (Less people likely experience it by celebrating Jewish holidays but WHATEVER).

Then, the inevitable drop in the level of circulating adrenaline occurs.  Producing a "letdown."  When adrenaline has been flowing strongly for awhile, this letdown can cause a fairly classic set of withdrawal symptoms: irritability; restlessness; a strong compulsion to "do something."

See, I'm a classic.

Thankfully, most people can climb back up after the letdown, and indeed, after the hour I spent on Tuesday feeling guilty for feeling sad after such a great weekend (Nice Jewish Girl Rock Bottom), I snapped out of it.  And the last couple of days have been much better.  I researched.  I made lists.  I networked.  I arranged a meeting.  I reminded myself a half a dozen times that when we got here, I said this process of "going back to work" could take six months to a year.  I went with G for a bike ride, drank a latte, and felt enlightened once again.  

Heading back to synagogue this evening.  And wishing everyone in my life a meaningful holiday and a year of dreams fulfilled.