May 25, 2015

Movie Review: I'll See You in my Dreams ****1/2

Blythe Danner is luminous in I'll See You In My Dreams. Sam Elliott, whatever his age, and the two of them have wonderful on-screen chemistry.
If there weren't times when two characters are together and no one says anything (even though there's so much to say), I would give this film five stars. But in the scheme of things it wasn't a deal-breaker so I give it four and a half.
There's so much to like about I'll See You In My Dreams; great performances, engaging characters, and a story that moved me so much that, if I hadn't been in public, I would have just wept uncontrollably.
4-1/2 stars out of 5 for I'll See You In My Dreams.

May 18, 2015

Dear Job Applicant...

June is almost here. That means lots of high school and college kids are looking for a job,  alongside the experienced people who are searching for new opportunities. It's tough out there, but there are some things you can do to assure your application is read.
For the past five years I've been doing employee acquisition for one of my clients. It's not something I set out to do but it turns out I have a knack for it - to date they've hired twelve candidates I've found for them. So, with that experience under my belt I'm sharing a little of what I've learned.
Much of this is common sense but you'd be surprised at the lack of that out there.

• Create a resume that’s easy to read, concise (bullet points are always helpful) and professional-looking. Avoid large blocks of run-on text. I will not read them.

• Put your resume in a professional format. If you can’t use Word, have your eight-year-old to do it for you. And do not put pictures and/or graphics on your resume.

• Don’t list photocopying as a skill on your resume.

• Do not put three phone numbers on your resume. Unless you are Barack Obama or George Clooney I’m not going to chase you down. Give me one number to call and make sure you check it for messages.

• In your cover letter, omit the phrase, “I am excited about your position…,” particularly when you’re over 25. Your excitement is of no interest to me.

• If the ad says send a cover letter, send a friggin' cover letter.

• If you’re looking for an opportunity in a field outside of your experience, write a kick-ass cover letter. It’s your only chance to sell yourself into a phone interview.

• If your only experience is as a fitness instructor, do not send in your resume for the position of Director of Logistics.

• If your only experience is as a painter at Locker Land, do not send in your resume for the position of Director of Marketing.

• When you're going on an interview dress as if you care. Even if you’re interviewing for cashier at the Stop ‘n Go, wear business attire, meaning a jacket and tie for men and a suit or dress for women.

• If you’re looking for a job, clear your damn voice mailbox. If I call you and get a message that says your “mailbox is full, please call again later,” you can be assured I will not be calling again later.

And then, when you get the interview:

• Don’t bring Starbucks with you to the interview.

• Don’t chew gum during the interview.

• Don’t put your cell phone on the desk and look at it every few minutes during the interview.

May 9, 2015

To My Children for Mother's Day, from Your Un-Mother

Mother's Day is right around the corner, which always makes me a little wistful for the children I never had.
If you'd asked me when I was young how my life would go I'd have said I would get married and
have a bunch of kids and be president of the PTA.
I had no plans beyond that, no plans for college - I grew up in the 50s and 60s so that wasn't a given back then, especially for girls - I had no plans for a career. Oh, I had dreams; I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be an artist, but mostly I wanted to be Gidget and ride into the sunset (on a surfboard) with Moondoggie and live happily ever after.
But life rarely turns out the way we expect.
Wedding #1
I was married the first time in 1971 and we made a conscious decision not to have children - very avant garde for that time. People were only beginning to realize they had a choice. We were cool, on the cutting edge. Really, though, it was more his decision than mine. He said, "We have such a great life, why would we want to change it? If we have kids we won't be able to do any of the things we want to do."
"Right," I said, wrapped up in being cool and in awe of this sophisticated, handsome older man (he was 27, I was 21) who had, amazingly, fallen in love with me, the kid from Toledo, and now he was my husband.
"Yes, dear," I said.
Wedding #2
I was married the second time in 1981. By then I desperately wanted children. He didn't, so much, but he went along with the program. But I never got pregnant. We went to fertility experts, we did various treatments, but nothing ever happened.
That was a sad and difficult time in my life - I was in my early 30s and it seemed all around me people were popping out babies like pop tarts. It was so easy for everyone else. Want a baby? Poof! There it is. Just not for me.
I was married the third time in 2001. By then I was too old to have children.
So, Mother's Day comes around and I don't get any Mother's Day cards. Because I'm not a mom.
I'm sorry to have missed that. But if things didn't turn out how I planned they turned out in delightful ways I could never have predicted and I consider myself a very lucky girl, living a fabulous life.
For Mother's Day then, I am 'borrowing' children and creating my own family.
I have three kids: my oldest is Brad (son of Irene and Harv). I just love him. He is smart and handsome and sensitive and loving, and now he's a husband and father and when I see him with his wife and kids I just smile. Sometimes you have a connection with people who, even though you don't see them very often, that connection transcends the distance. Brad is one of those people.
My second child is Sara (daughter of Judi). If I had a daughter she would be exactly like Sara. Actually, I think Sara really is my daughter - we're both strong, independent women, we both love travel and culture and new adventures. Mostly, I just love how smart and sensitive Sara is; how self-assured, articulate and insightful she is. Sara is wonderful!
My youngest child is Alison (daughter of Debby and Joe), and she is simply delightful! She's smart and gorgeous and has the most brilliant smile. I love her views on life. And she's an amazing writer, so she must be my child, right?! Except she's so much wiser than I was at her age.
I've known Alison her whole life but didn't see her very often over the years. And then she grew up and went to college and now there's social media and so I've gotten to know her better in this virtual (but very real) way.
So, I'm celebrating Mother's Day in my own way. I may not be a real mom but I can be a virtual one. Which is certainly cheaper.