Archive for the ‘Starting Over’ Category

The other night while watching “Up in the Air” I wondered if people who are laid off are going after their dreams. Because I am. I overlook that I’m a part of that statistic. I haven’t forgotten I was laid off, but mostly I’m so happy that being laid off now feels like the company did me a huge favor. After the sourness of the ego waned and pride dissipated, I feel great to be a person going after my “real” dream. So, watching this movie I thought, am I alone? Will we see a resurgence of the arts in 10 years because people are returning to their long-forgotten creative roots? When I was young, I would lie in bed and write in my notebook (which I still have) and create poetry that sounds beyond the scope of a 15 or 16 year-old. But I never thought – hey, I’ll be a writer when I grow up. However, as an adult when playing the game “Would You Rather” and being asked if I’d rather be a famous rock star or a famous novelist, the latter always won out. On the same subject, I’d rather have my bottom half be a horse than have scales all over my body.

When I was young, I dreamed of competing on Star Search. I can dance and could do flips back in the day (okay, I tried a few yesterday on the grass but my 30 year-old body wasn’t so into it) and although I had these abilities, I never felt that I could really follow a dream of being a dancer or even teaching dance. I have a fascination with interior design and clothing design, but again these careers felt out of reach. And I’m thinking I’m not alone. So, with all of us who have been laid off in the last few years, how many of us are now going after the dream? After I pondered this resurgence for love of what we do, I did a little research. Nope, not alone. ABC World News reported on reinventing yourself after layoff. I also found a documentary called Lemonade with a slogan that says, “It’s not a pink slip. It’s a blank page.”

I haven’t been writing much on my blog because I’m swamped with work — school work. I am reading the most wonderfully diverse, literary books and I am writing in a way that I didn’t know I was capable. I’m exploring my mind, pushing further, being asked by my advisor “to descend into the unknown.” This is the hardest job I’ve ever had and I’m not the best at it, but it feels worthwhile and I want to learn, and be better and try my hardest. Creativity is a wonderful thing and was lost to me for so many years. So if you’re facing a lay-off or know someone who is, ask them what they really want to do in life. You might be surprised by the answer.

And in a few years, let’s see if this creative resurgence has turned into feeling again like the four-letter word — work. I hope not! P.S. We leave in two weeks and four days for our two-month long trip to Asia. I will be posting more of our adventures this summer!


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Disappointment is a part of life. It makes you stronger. Blah, blah – we’ve all heard it before. Unfortunately, it’s true. I did not get into the only graduate program that I applied to, the one which caused me to spend the last few months laboring over writing samples and statements of purpose and studying for the GRE. Obviously, I am disappointed, but more than anything I learned something about myself. I’m not sure if I was always this way, if it’s increased as I grew older, or if it just showed up recently, but when I want something, I go for it 110 percent and I don’t give up. When I found out that I wasn’t accepted into the program that’s available in Utah, I at first felt doomed. What do I do now? I want to go back to school but I choose to live in a state with fewer universities than other areas. Moving isn’t an option.

So I did a little research and I can still work towards my MFA at an accredited university, but it’s accomplished almost entirely through the internet. It’s called a low-residency program and they are available through reputable, cool liberal arts schools. I can write from home and don’t have to move to the state where the university is located. Actually, it mimics the lifestyle of a writer more than traditional programs. I’ll meet twice a year for 10-day meetings and conferences with the professors and other students and then spend the six months in between working on my writing piece. Now the application process begins again!

Last week, when Obama celebrated his 100 days in office, I celebrated my 100 days out of office. Being laid off has truly changed my perspective. I am energized about life and what comes next. I am proud of my accomplishments, even when they have not worked out. I am excited about the adventure that begins in just three days. We will first head to Hong Kong, leaving at 1 pm on Thursday and arriving at 7 pm on Friday. We then fly to Laos, spending almost two weeks biking, hiking, hanging with elephants and tubing down a lazy river with our best friend. He’s the same guy who officiated our wedding. We may even be lucky enough to spend some of that time with a few close friends whose travel plans have overlapped too! After Laos, we’re onto Shanghai, the Paris of the east. My husband and I will be teaching tourism at the university for a month. Then on to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

Who’s life am I living? It is crazy how I have inadvertently created so many new adventures for myself and it was all because I took a chance and moved out west. I love that! Stay tuned in the next two and a half months for postings on all of our adventures. Thank you to my family and friends who are supporting my ambitions to obtain a graduate degree and write a book (or two or three).

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The ski season just came to an end on Sunday and life has been crazy lately! In the past few weeks, I turned in my graduate school application (my first and I hope to be my last), celebrated Passover with 23 people (and believe it or not, 10 were Jewish, and eight of those 10 live in Utah!), went to a wedding in Atlanta (story about that below), celebrated my 29th birthday, skied some pow, went to see my first Britney Spears’ concert, loved it, celebrated the end of the season at PCMR by snowboarding one run and then tailgating in the parking lot for 3 + hours, hiked in 70 degree weather and just enjoyed life!

A wonderful thing happened! One of my closest friends that I have known since first grade is having a baby. Well she isn’t pregnant, but her wife is! We were all wondering how it works so I will share a few details. They used a donation bank where you choose the guy like your looking at a Facebook profile. You check him out online, choosing by personality, career, education and athletics along side his baby picture. They went with the PhD student, so our kids could compete for Mensa. The whole process sounds kind of like Jdate to me, but you just have the guy’s baby and don’t have to date him! (Note: if you are not familiar with Jdate.com, it’s like Match.com but for Jewish girls and boys). Congrats to my girls!!

I had an “I love America” moment while we were in Atlanta for our friend’s wedding. We jumped into a cab to take us to the Jewish Synagogue where the ceremony and reception were taking place. Most of us in the cab were also Jewish. The driver was really cool and we asked him to turn on some tunes. He asked “mine or yours?” We said “his!” Turns out he was from Pakistan and we listened to rockin’ Pakistani hip hop called Bhangra on the way to the Jewish synagogue. While I might sometimes want to flea to Canada, this camaraderie is good reason to celebrate the U.S. of A.

My husband and I leave in two weeks from tomorrow for Asia. I am ridiculously excited! I cannot stop buying! This always happens before we leave for a trip. I go into Target for soap and sunblock and walk out with a receipt for $300. What?! Did I really need an instant stain removal spray? Maybe. What about the eye cream that smelled good? Well, that could go either way. I already have a few eye creams collecting in my drawer that I already choose not to use, but this one is organic and shall I remind you, it smells good. This is a problem of mine. I go into a store and spend hours studying the products. I have to try on ALL of the cute clothes and I buy things I really don’t need. I know there are millions of people out there like me, but I am trying to change. A friend of mine went with me and she witnessed, for the first time, my plight. She caught on quick that she needed to move me quickly from section to section of the store in order to save us hours of time. And she opened up a whole new world for me. Normally, I would have gone with my husband who gives a “yes” to every question. This is all very nice, but sometimes you want an actual opinion. That happened yesterday at Target. I received real feedback. And I still managed to spend $300.

So whatever your issue, maybe it’s time we all learn to love our idiosyncrasies. As hard as I’d like to change, I’m just fighting nature. I may live in Utah and love the outdoors, but I still LOVE to shop.

I leave you with some Pakistani Hip Hop:

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It’s been exactly one month since President Obama took office and I left office. It is a surreal experience to watch someone so intelligent, dedicated, and diplomatic run our country, while at the same time I am one of the statistics that he is continuously mentioning in his news conferences.

The piece of advice (more like sympathy clause), that I have heard most over the last month is “Things happen for a reason.” This particular saying is prefaced by my explanation of how ironic it was that I wanted to go back to school, started the admissions process and was subsequently laid off. However, I do not believe things happen for a reason, I believe that I am in control of my next move. Obviously, I was not in control of keeping or losing my job (positive thinking only goes so far). But the next move, did not happen by chance, I controlled it.

I know many people believe in that mantra of things happening for a reason and I do not denounce that belief, I just have a different internal measure. Sure, the past month has been scary at times. I have cried way too much, not over losing my job, but for being afraid of what comes next. Humans are easily adaptable, but often cling to what they know versus the unknown. I love not knowing what comes next in life, but I also fear it.

Looking back over the past month, the unknown gave me a swift kick in the ass and I liked it! I signed up for the GRE and Kaplan tutoring, made a new friend (my tutor!), baked my first raspberry pie, reconnected with old high school buddies, booked a flight to Southeast Asia, shredded the gnar at Park City Mountain, The Canyons, and Solitude, figured out the setting and point of view for my book, studied my buttocks off for the GRE, learned new vocab words like banal (sounds dirty, but unfortunately means nothing more than boring or cliché), and have finally realized my dream of writing a book. The book is no longer something I will just talk about conceptually, but hopefully it will be the project that I spend the next two plus years completing. And what’s even more amazing is that I will write the book as my thesis for school. I could be the first in my family to obtain a Master’s Degree and that feels bigger than life.

I have had 75% of my high school friends go back to school after they finished undergrad whether to medical school, business school, grad school, studying public health, finance, physical therapy, and radiation. But I never thought that I could be one of them. I am not exactly sure why; it just did not seem like something “I” would do. I know better now. I had forced myself into thinking I could only be one thing – a PR executive. And while I had not wanted to be that one thing for the rest of my life, I just kept going back to it because it was familiar. I guess what I figured out this past month is that I might be scared of the unknown future, but fear will not stop me from trying something new. Maybe I’ll fail…but maybe, just maybe, I won’t.

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I Heart Sandwich

I had lunch today with a friend at my favorite lunch spot, the Back Door Deli (or BDD for you acronym lovers). A few days ago, I found out from the owners of BDD that I would have a sandwich named after me. Honestly, can you think of anything cooler than that? But now that I have reached the pinnacle of my rock star status so early in life, where will I go from here? By the way, my sandwich will be called Paula’s Ultimate Veggie and ultimate it will be.

I love the guys at the Back Door Deli and I think they love me too. But that is not the reason they gave my sandwich creation its place on the menu. The motivation behind their decision is simple: I’m a pain in the ass. I do not order anything directly off a menu…ever. It goes a little something like this: I’ll take the turkey sandwich but I’d like mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar, hold the turkey and could you just put it on whole wheat instead of sourdough? Thanks and I’d love an extra pickle, too. The owners of BDD finally had enough. In the process, they found a way to make a Jewish girl do what they want…give her exactly what she asks for and watch her delight in saying her own name!

My lunch conversation was more serious. (Note: tune out now if you don’t want to talk politics.) My lunch buddy and I made a comparison between our political leadership and corporations that I hope has some merit to it. We were talking about transparency in corporate America, which obviously has not existed in the past few years. Many companies have created a masterful puppet show, pulling strings behind a curtain of lies and deceit. But why would they act any differently? I mean, you do learn from the top down. For the last eight years, a clown and his sickly sidekick, who shot a man because he mistook him for a Grouse, have run our country. Have you seen what that bird looks like? Not even slightly resembling human form. Under our previous leadership, I didn’t feel like my future was being looked after. And I didn’t feel like my opinion would make a difference. I watched fearfully as choices were made that affected us all but that we did not support.

But every day since the day I was laid off, Obama has been on TV, clearly laying out his plan for the U.S. He’s been upfront about his feelings and made no secrets of the changes he intends to make. Maybe if we have a leader that sets forth an agenda of transparency, the rest of the country’s CEOs will follow suit. What better way to make a statement than to lead with respect, not only of yourself but also of the people who helped you get to where you are now.

Ok, enough seriousness, but do let me know your feelings on the state of the America. On a brighter note, be thankful that you are not allergic to your own hair. I am. 

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A Rose By Any Other Name



Argh, I am so annoyed, with myself. I almost never make spelling/grammar mistakes. It’s something I pride myself on, proofing paragraph after paragraph, over and over, so there are no mistakes. Last night, I sent an email out to several hundred contacts and what do I do? I write, “know” instead of “no.” It may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me, it is like walking down the street with my skirt tucked into my underwear. But alas, we make mistakes in order to fix them in the future.

This was my first full week of unemployment since being laid off. I could definitely get used to early retirement or better yet, going back to school. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been focusing my efforts studying for the quantitative portion of the GRE. I might have reached a sixth grade math level after only nine straight hours of doing math problems! Although I hate math, I have secretly discovered that I enjoy the thrill in finding the right answer. Whereas writing is fluid, ever-changing, and modifiable, math is definitive and concrete. There is usually just one answer and sometimes the best feeling is being challenged and succeeding in finding that one. Oh, did I just admit to enjoying math? Maybe, but I also KNOW that I only have three more weeks before it’s back to using a calculator.

I’ve had a few questions about the name of the blog, especially from my non-Jewish, mid-western friends. I guess it doesn’t just roll of the tongue for everyone. The name is in no way blasphemy. I’m of the belief that you can always make fun of your own kind, just not anyone else. The name – Jewtah – is a literal translation for being a Jewish Utahn. Slightly different than a Jewish New Yorker, a little more patient, with about 72% of the feistiness.

I often get asked if I’m Spanish, Italian or Mediterranean. My answer is always the same – I’m Jewish. I know it’s a religion, but for me it’s more of a heritage, or a background. I am not religious at all but very proud of being Jewish. Even though we’re lucky to have a Jewish Synagogue in our mountain town, I’ve only been once or twice. I can trace my ancestry as far back as Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx (the epitome of modern American society!). And my middle name, which I only just recently looked up to find out its origins, means “princess.” You got it – I’m a Jewish American Princess. Although I can conform quite nicely to that label by the shoes that I wear and the purses that I buy, I do enjoy the great outdoors and the dirt that comes along with it. But…is it any coincidence that my birthstone is a diamond?!

This blog post is dedicated to Redford, not Robert, but our beloved 17-year-old dog who finally gave up his will to pee wherever he pleased and walk under your feet. You will be missed!


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