Monday, January 30, 2012

Rockin' a Rocky Mountain 40th birthday

Hello.  My name is Evelyn Becker and I am 40  years old.

And now lets move on.

Fine, if you insist, first I'll give you a quick recap of the festivities surrounding the allegedly big day ...

I spent the entire day before my birthday wearing nothing but a white fluffy bathrobe at the Keystone Spa and enjoying having my "head in the clouds."  I started in the relaxation room (picture: soothing colors; fireplace; cozy chairs; bowls of dried fruit & nuts; tea; magazines) with my feet soaking in a tub filled with warm water and rose petals (swear to god).  Then, a Yanko body scrub, back to the relaxation room, a massage, back to the relaxation room, a facial, back to the relaxation room and a fruit and cheese platter with a glass of champagne, and, finally, a manicure and pedicure.  Oh, then back to the relaxation room.  

So I was feeling fairly tranquil on January 23rd when I woke up to handmade cards from two very sweet, very cute kids;  a gift certificate for a ski lesson from the same; and a loving husband who had taken the day off from work so we could be together.  Lucky, lucky, lucky me.  Larry and I got the kids ready and took them to school, and then, oh, well then we headed over to the University of Colorado Hospital so I could meet with an orthopedic hand surgeon.

You were expecting a different locale, yes?  Of course.  We'd planned on heading to the art museum.  But the week before my birthday I fell skiing and tore a ligament in my right thumb.  The doctor could see me at 9:30 am on Monday, January 23rd.  Which is how, by noon that day, I was sporting a rather bright, hot pink casted right hand and wrist.

I felt sorry for myself for about a nanosecond, and then decided to bask in the coolness that is me learning a new sport at age forty.  I  had been going too fast.  Thats actually, well, a kind of fabulous opportunity for learning a life lesson.  Hmm, I think I feel, great.  And besides, Larry was sitting by my side the whole time.

We had a delicious lunch at Sushi Den, and then Larry drove me home so I could take a nap (did I mention I had a cold too that day?) and went to get the kids.  I spent the rest of the day and evening chilling out at home with my husband and my kids, catching up with good friends and family on the phone, and smiling as facebook enabled a sweet, sentimental view of "these are the people in your neighborhood" and "this is your life."

Then I started waiting for my friends from Ohio to arrive!

Oh to see them walking through the terminal.

The first night of "Bexley comes to Denver" we ate dinner in Larimer Square at Corridor 44.  The next morning, we had breakfast at Zaidy's.  Then we grabbed cupcakes from Big Fat Cupcake and with everyone properly nourished, headed to Keystone.  We spent the afternoon and evening strolling and shopping in Breckenridge.  And everyone was (I think) (at least pretty much) happy.

The next morning, three members of the group headed into Dillon to do pilates, while the other three - plus me - hit the slopes.  I am so proud of the beginner who took a lesson and conquered Discovery.  I am so thrilled for the two more experienced skiers who had such an exhilarating day.  And I am quite pleased with myself, thank you very much, for getting back out there with a casted right hand.  (please, no worries, I took it easy on green hills.)

All seven of us met for a late lunch in River Run.  Then, a bottle of wine and a half hour in the hot tub later, it was time to put on our pajamas.  At 5pm.  Reason #144 why these women are my friends.  A fire; some of my favorite women cuddled together on my sofas in the Rocky Mountains; a highly competitive game of Trivial Pursuit; S'mores; and another bottle of red wine.  Absolute, total 40th birthday perfection.

Sunday morning we took a hike around Keystone, and then headed to Cherry Creek North for more shopping.  Lunch at Hapa.  Then time to say "goodbye."

Thank you friends for coming to Denver!  Thank you Larry, Caleb and Adina for fulfilling my most important dreams.   And thank you to everyone who has been part of my life and wished me well as I enter this next chapter.

And now, I mean seriously, its really time to move on.

Thanks again,


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Becker Impact LLC is thrilled to present its web site -

Dear friends & family,

We all have causes and issues that are important to us.  And we rely on a variety of organizations, institutions and associations to raise the money, garner the public support, and provide the services and programs necessary to realize our goals for our communities.  These tasks require strategic communications.   

Are you involved with a nonprofit organization, a charity, or an advocacy group.  Either as a professional or lay leader?

Please feel free to share the Becker Impact web site with them, and tell them about the ways in which I can help tell their story.  

Many thanks for your love and support.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Please help me name my blog!

As of tomorrow, January 23, 2012, I will no longer be "39 & Counting."  And I arrived in Denver from Columbus, Ohio at the end of August 2011, so I haven't been "heading west" for several months now.  But I am determined to keep on writing until I hit my one year anniversary of living "an active, outdoor lifestyle in the Rocky Mountains" and "relaunching my career."  (September 1, 2012).  So this blog needs a new name.

I'm thinking something along the lines of "Forty in the New West" or "Mile High at Forty"  or "Colorado PR Mama."  I would love your suggestions!  Please let me know what you think.

Many thanks,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Art Imitating Life Imitating Art

Art Imitating Life Imitating Art

Last night I enjoyed a girls night out at Canvas & Cocktails learning the basics of acrylic paint.  What a fantastic idea.  The studio has a really fun, creative vibe and a fully stocked wine and beer bar.  First step, grab a drink.  Then, put on your smock, get your palette ready, and take a seat at your easel.  A very peppy instructor then guides you step by step as your recreate the night's "featured painting."

We start out slow.  Easy basics.  Mix some yellow and white paint, and paint the top third of our canvases using "figure eight" strokes.  Same thing with orange and white paint until about another third of the way to the bottom.  Its all good.

Then, we're told to paint a green hill.  Hmm... Thats not green; were we really not supposed to wash our brushes? ... and that doesn't really look like a hill.  Oh well, lets move on...

A tree?  Ok.  Here goes.  Black and brown paint mixed together.  A long brush stroke down a good portion of the canvas, and then a few more at the bottom to create the thickness of the trunk.  Sure, that looks pretty good.  Now, branches.  Branches?

I dip my brush in the paint, take it, and make a movement that looks like I'm sort of adding dramatic flair to the Nike swoosh.  Creating a shape on my canvas that looks nothing like a tree branch.  I look to my right, and to my left, at my friends painting the very same piece.  I look in front of me at the next row of easels.  Everyone has made branches!  Very pretty branches!  PANIC.  Whats wrong with me?  Why does the last "branch" I try at the bottom look so phallic?  Is my painting ruined?

The instructor announces a ten minute break.  I am tempted to stay put and try to fix my branches, but I heed her advice.  Which is, Don't.  Don't try to fix anything.  Leave it.  Let it dry.  Walk around, chat with your friends, drink some more, and shop a little (the studio also features, obviously, some fabulous jewelry & accessories).

I do as I'm told.  (Later noting that the me of ten years ago would have most certainly ignored her, in a type-A perfectionist attempt to perfect.)

I sit back down.  I keep on painting.  Adding layers, adding texture.  Hmm... I'm kind of liking my painting after all.  Take a sip.  Laugh.  Admire my friends' work.  More layers.  More texture.  Get up.  Take a step back.  Look at my painting.

I really like it.

I keep on painting.  Add the final touches.  Try to go back over and cover that super weird branch with some orange paint.  A partially successful endeavor.  I can correct some of my mistake.  Some I can't.          

And its gorgeous.

Especially when I hold it up next to my friends' paintings and look at the four pieces together.  Four women leading very similar lives; all in our mid-30s to early 40s; all sending our young children to the same Jewish schools; all trying to balance work and contributions to our community with time for ourselves and our families.

Look at the beauty of our collective work.

p.s. a picture of the poem "How to be an Artist" by SARK appears in this entry as a shout out to my dear friend Amy (yes, I'm naming names; how many "Amy"s do you know?) for telling me to write this blog.  Now go paint!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."

Welcome to my new life.  I have Skier's thumb.  In case just like me until about 9:15 this morning, you have no idea what that is, "Skier's thumb is an acute injury to a ligament of the thumb. The ligament is located on the inner aspect of the thumb’s first knuckle and its role is to provide stability for the thumb at that location. The condition is called Skier’s Thumb because injury to this ligament is often seen among skiers who fall with the ski pole still in hand."

I fell yesterday (with my ski poles still in hand.)  It was the last run of a day in which I had been feeling kinda cocky, and I was going faster than usual.  I've fallen before, obviously, but this time, even after brushing off and getting myself together, my right thumb hurt like hell.

We picked the kids up from ski school and made an inaugural visit to the Keystone Medical Center.  Which was packed.  A triage nurse was walking by as I approached the front desk and recommended I come back first thing this morning if I thought I could wait.  So I took 3 advil, prayed it'd feel better quickly, and wondered if I'd lost my mind engaging my klutzy-ass-self in an activity with such an apparently high injury rate.

It still hurt this morning.  A lot.  So one X-ray and one splinted right hand later, I am one very bummed out Rocky Mountain skiing newbie.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm trying to keep my spirits up.  The doctor in Keystone doesn't think I'll need surgery, and in two weeks, I'll probably even be able to put this ridiculous contraption over my ski gloves and get back on the slopes.  But visiting an orthopedic hand specialist was not on this week's to-do list.  And Larry, I'm sorry, but its not a "badge of courage."  More like an "emblem of slow down you fool before you fall and hurt yourself."

Please stay tuned for some sort of life lesson I learn from this that fits into the otherwise upbeat nature of this blog.  In the meantime, I will simply enjoy this silver lining: tonight, Larry did the laundry, made dinner, washed and put away the dishes, and put the kids to bed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

a DRAFT press release

The release that will go out as soon as the legal & the rest of the PR & marketing ducks are in a row ...
Becker Impact LLC
10266 E. Fair Place Englewood, CO 80111

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        January __, 2012
Contact: Evelyn Becker, 720.648.4546

New Denver Boutique Focuses on Communications for Nonprofits

(Denver, CO)  Becker Impact LLC, a boutique public relations firm, opens its doors this week, addressing the strategic communications needs of the Greater Denver nonprofit community.  What makes Becker Impact unique is the goal of communications – the firm does not sell products; it moves public opinion and action; motivates and inspires donations, votes, and community involvement; and effects social change.

According to Becker Impact President Evelyn Becker, “In today’s 24/7, always on, mobile world, nonprofit organizations have a critical need for the expertise of a public relations professional who can root their messages in the minds of stakeholders and constituents and keep their missions relevant and compelling.  Challenging financial times create even greater exigency for nonprofits to employ public relations that make an impact through earned media and social media.” 

Becker is a public relations expert with fifteen years of experience in nonprofit and political advocacy that highlights exceptional strategic planning, writing skills and media savvy.  In Washington, D.C., Becker served as deputy communications director and spokesperson of NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the country’s foremost political advocacy groups working to protect and advance women’s rights.  Her public relations career also includes New York City agency experience; as an associate vice president at Rubenstein Public Relations, Becker created and executed media relations and public affairs plans for a range of nonprofit and corporate clients.  Becker also served as Public Relations Director of The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in New York, managing publicity and marketing efforts for sixty educational and community projects in Central and Eastern Europe.  Becker is a 1997 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. 

Becker Impact LLC is a boutique public relations firm providing nonprofit organizations, foundations, government initiatives and corporate social responsibility programs in the Greater Denver area with sophisticated, tactical analysis of public relations challenges.  Becker Impact designs and implements innovative, effective approaches for communicating and securing thought leadership with target audiences in order to effect social change.   For more information, contact Evelyn Becker, 720.648.4546.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Caleb: Update on adjusting to life in the mountains

Ahh, Caleb.  My first born.  My pride and joy.  He whose response to almost everything this past August through November was "its your fault, Mommy!"

Yeah, Caleb was pretty upset about moving.  Poor guy.  Columbus, Ohio was the only home he knew.  And he certainly felt comfortable taking his frustration, sadness and anger out on his parents.  Yay.  But as my friend "G" observed not too long ago, I think he has, in fact, finally forgiven Larry & I for uprooting him.

Lets take a look at his homework from this evening.  Why?  Because a Jewish mother is able to find illustration of her son's success and happiness anywhere!  Everywhere!  What better way to show off my son's prowess than by examining his homework!

So.  First, the Denver Jewish Day School first grade Judaics assignment, 1/10/2012.  The worksheet shows a picture of a little boy with a kippah holding up a Torah scroll, and explains what Jews say when we finish reading a book of Torah; we say, "Hazak, Hazak, v'nithazik." Meaning, "Be strong, very strong, and let us grow stronger together."  We are proud of what we've learned and we look forward to learning even more.  The homework then asks the kids to complete the following sentence, "One story I really liked in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) was _____________.

My son filled in that blank with: "the story when G-d created the Earth because G-d made me."

Self esteem intact?  CHECK!

And from the "Sentence Sense" assignment ...

The task was to "write a 5-7 word sentence for each of the words listed below.

"with" - Caleb wrote, "I went to the mountains with my family."
"all" - and Caleb wrote, "All of my friends came to the mountains."
"up" - and Caleb wrote, "Up in the mountains, we have a condo."
"him" - and Caleb wrote,  "I went with him to the mountains."

Ha!  We've got him.  Hook, line & sinker.  "Judaism rocks." Check!  "The mountains are awesome."  Check!  Denver is a great place to live.  I have nice friends here.  My family is fun.  Check!  Check!  Check!

And now its time to delete this entry.  Because Caleb knowing how happy I am that he is happy is sure to =  the quickest route to a conversion and life spent on the couch playing video games that any parent has ever seen.

But I'm going to go to sleep smiling tonight.  I know.  Hazak, hazak, v'nithazik.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hill Seeking

"Life happens on the hills.  They're opportunities to prove to yourself that you're stronger than you ever imagined.  If you never attempt the ascent, you'll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side." - Self, 12/11

I skied Elk Run on Outback Mountain!  Its the steepest blue hill I've ever skied.  I did it three times.  And I loved it.  In fact, I'd say that today, January 1, 2012, was the best ski day I've ever had.  As my confidence and skill increase, the ability to let loose and really enjoy grows exponentially.

In fact, I enjoyed skiing so much today, that around 2pm or so, I may have uttered the following sentence, "You know, not in the next year or so, but, now that we live here and I'm going to be doing this for more than one week out of every year or so, I can see myself wanting to ski blacks one day."

Don't hold me to it.

But maybe.

Anyway, it was an overall fabulous start to a new year.  Last night, we enjoyed good company and food and wine at the beautiful Vail home of the grandparents of some of Adina and Calebs' friends (all cousins of course) from school.  This morning, everyone slept until 7 - woohoo! - and we geared up for a day on the slopes with blueberry pancakes, granola, fruit and eggs.  The kids got dressed with a minimal amount of pleading, begging and cajoling; we grabbed our skis out of the lockers; and made our way to Mountain House.

After getting the kids settled in ski school (best invention ever), Larry and I boarded the Peru Express.  I then spent the next five hours on Keystone's gorgeous blue runs.  Minus bathroom, snack and lunch breaks of course.  So. much. fun.  Bright blue sky.  Snow capped mountains.  Lakes.  Evergreens.  My husband.  Fresh air.  Exercise.  Sunshine.

A thought or two about my history with skiing as a metaphor for my work.  A couple of auspicious starts.  A long break.  The opportunity to practice and build slowly.

A big glass of red wine.  The kids had a blast.  Adina loves it too.  "No fear," her teacher says.  Time to go home and hit the hot tub.  

Love. It. Here.  

Pasta for dinner.  Baths.  Story-time.  A few tears (Adina) (exhausted) because I won't read a 5th story.  The shema.  Larry on his laptop trying to find tickets to next week's Steelers game in Denver.  Me typing away on mine.    

Time for some Sleepytime vanilla tea with a shot of whiskey.