Keeping it Casual

As I desperately sift through the racks at Bloomingdales, I am a woman on a mission. I am in search of the perfect piece of clothing. I don’t care if what I find is a shirt, a pair of pants or a dress. It doesn’t matter what color or even pattern necessarily. Sometimes, I snag a cool pair of earrings or some cute sandals. I know what I’m looking for and it needs to have only two innate qualities – it has to be casual, but professional. I’m looking for something trendy yet authoritative, cool and collected, fashionable (affordable) and fabulous. In order for this mission to be successful, I’ve had to abandon my regular trips to Loft because the merchandise doesn’t fit the bill. I already have a closet full of black and gray slacks with matching tops and blazers that could dress an army of businesswomen. But now, I work in an office where the dress code is casual. Not business casual, but casual casual. This is a challenge for someone who has a closet full of apparel from Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. My closet needs a makeover. Jeans are practically the uniform at the office. Any kind of jean is acceptable – except for the mom kind. Dark, faded, even ripped jeans are acceptable, but that is where I draw the line. I refuse to wear ripped jeans to work because I personally don’t think it is professional and frankly it seems silly to try and pull off at my age. I want clothes that don’t look maternal, but also doesn’t look like I’m trying too hard. The pink jeans last week were a mistake – a big one. What looked cute first thing in the morning was ridiculous to me by noon. I missed the mark that day. And no matter how great something looks in the dressing room – it doesn’t look nearly as good on me when I get home. Since I have no time to go back and return it, I wear it anyway and secretly hope someone will pay me a compliment so I know I fit in. I thought I was past all of this, but apparently I’m not because there I am waiting for acceptance – like a middle school student wanting to be included by the popular girls. So, I’ve abandoned my go-to stores and recently stepped my toes into boutiques where I don’t typically shop. Even the department stores I dreaded as a kid are now a gold mine for all types of clothes for women of a certain age. Yes, I’m well aware of my first world problem, but I still dream of mornings when I don’t change my clothes at least 3 times in search of the perfect outfit. That will be a mission accomplished.  

An Avid Reader’s Soap Opera

My books are fighting over me again. It’s my own fault. I’ve been neglecting all of them. I’m so busy these days with a new job, running the kids around, trying to keep enough underwear and towels clean and answering that age old question night after night – what’s for dinner? Still, I need to pick a new book soon and my choices are getting anxious. Actually, they are pissed at me. And I don’t blame them. They have their reasons and they are good ones. My books have always been jealous of the flashy Samsung tablet I keep in my purse with the oh-so-convenient Kindle app. I’ve cheated on my pile of books so many times by purchasing countless novels on a whim.The immediate satisfaction is intoxicating. And you know what? I even read them too! I’m so ashamed. It’s addicting and so wrong. I tell people that I love the feel of a book in my hands. Turning actual pages is such a meaningful gesture for an avid reader like myself. Swiping just doesn’t give me the same thrill. But, my books think I’m a fraud and perhaps they are right. I can hear them now as they start their accusations. The 19th Wife says, “I see her downloading in secret. She thinks I don’t notice, but I do. I sit here and wait patiently collecting dust – even though we both know that I sit at the very top of her Goodreads list.” “She has no choice. She must pick me next!” declares The Catcher in the Rye emphatically. “Otherwise, how else will Jenna ever finish her 10th grade English paper? It’s not like she can fake it. We all know she never read me in high school.” All of a sudden, Big Magic, by the well-renowned author Elizabeth Gilbert interrupts. “But she needs me. Her writer’s mojo is at stake AND by the way she took me to Maryland this past weekend. We had a lovely time getting to know each other better.” “What about me?” cries Roses who was carelessly tossed on the floor in the corner of my room a few weeks ago. To her, I reply. “I tried. I really did. I had such high hopes for us. Tumbleweeds was one of my favorite books! You have to understand. It’s not you. It’s me. I’m just not that into you.” “Am I not good enough for you?” asks I’ll Give You the Sun – my book club pick that I haven’t even finished yet, but anticipate our relationship will be ending very soon. She is so great and I can’t put her down, but it is going way too fast for me. “Call me!” yells The Kitchen House from a small coffee table in my living room. And finally, as I stand by my bed in my guilty state of distress, the drawer of my nightstand nudges at me and quietly slides open. A certain book peeks out and speaks to me. “We both know they aren’t getting any until you are finished with me.” whispers Fifty Shades of Grey.The drawer closes and – damn it(!) – I know she is right. Stay tuned. The saga continues…as the neglected magazines on the dining room table are beginning to get restless and are planning to protest.  


As the song goes, I’ve turned and faced the strange… So many changes in the last few months and it is hard to know where to start. After 12 1/2 years at a wonderful job at the synagogue, I decided to make a change. This was not an easy decision to make, nor one I took lightly. How would people react? Would my family be comfortable staying members? What do I need to do for myself and my career path? The last question was the one that pushed me forward. It was time for a change. I felt unable to feed my spiritual side because I was always working. Now, I can sit in services and not worry about the room temperature, the meal after the program or whether or not the speaker showed up on time. I wasn’t unhappy – I just needed a change; a chance to grow as a professional and as a person. And I think this is very important as I settle into my mid-40’s. There are a lot of questions floating around in my mind like what do I want to do with the remainder of my career? What path do I want to take? What is the next step for me? I’m so happy to have found it in my new workplace – Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Every day, I am learning something new and meeting great people who are fighting to cure childhood cancer. It is an amazing organization and I am proud to be a part of it. As for whether or not it would be awkward to stay a member of the synagogue – the answer is – it has not been awkward at all. People are genuinely happy for me and still welcome me back with open arms when I walk through the door. Now, I have the best of both worlds which makes me happy. There are other changes

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