Contemplating The U.S. Navel

Me, Chicago, Hollywood and The Federal Government

Becky Sarwate

Becky Sarwate
Chicago, Illinois, USA
December 31
Communications Manager
Insurance Brokerage
I am about as liberal as they come, and please don't expect to change me, though I do sometimes sneak up on you with a surprise (pro-death penalty, for instance). Although gainfully employed as a full-time Marketing Manager, I keep my toes in the freelance pool as a journalist, theater critic, blogger and proud President of the Illinois Woman's Press Association. To read my work on this page is to find vignettes about Chicago, Hollywood, my own turbulent life, and of course, my number one passion: local and national politics.


Becky Sarwate's Links
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014 4:21PM

Alternate Endings

I had some time to kill while I waited for friends to come out of an Omnimax movie about butterflies. Even with the benefits of Bonine, my go-to motion sickness medication, the Omnimax experience (and other 3-D films) results in vertigo. So instead I puttered around a few other museum exhibits,… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 4:45PM

37 Summers

37 Summers

Today, Labor Day 2014, marks the unofficial end of my 37th summer on the planet. I don't remember much about the first given that I was just a blob of drool and other bodily functions, having been born in early August. During the second, I was trying to get/… Read full post »
JULY 24, 2014 4:44PM

Nonlinear Equations


Nonlinear Equations

Several years ago, my therapist gave a name to the lifelong inability to express myself coherently in the midst of tense, impassioned conflict – “emotional flooding.” When pressured to engage with a loved one/nemesis (sadly, often one in the same during childhood) in… Read full post »

JULY 12, 2014 8:59AM

Life Itself

Life Itself
On May 2, 2009, legendary writer and film critic Roger Ebert published the essay, "Go Gentle Into That Good Night" on his blog, Roger's Journal. Almost four years later, the man of letters was dead at the age of 70, finally succumbing to a long bout with thyroid cancer./… Read full post »
JUNE 21, 2014 9:49AM

13 Cars

13 Cars 
2014 began in acute pain: a broken heart handed to me by a long-time lover with demons; disintegrating, burning hands from the effects of pompholyx eczema. It was unimaginable that either condition could be brought into remission. I was a metaphorical and literal open wound.

JUNE 8, 2014 8:31PM

Great Urban Racers

Great Urban Racers 
For the past decade, I've tried to entice certain members of the friend and family circle to audition for The Amazing Race with me. Repeated pleas were issued to those with whom I'd work best, with lesser (but still important) consideration given to teammates with the potential/… Read full post »
MAY 28, 2014 7:36AM

Just Beet It

Just Beet It 
I get a lot of my writing done these days in the wee hours of the morning, before most of the living world is awake. This in an incredible paradigm shift, surprising no one more than myself. Family members and former lovers can confirm that I am not,… Read full post »
MAY 25, 2014 7:49PM

On the Road Again

On the Road Again 
On election day 2012, I ran a yellow light in the rain at a six corner Chicago intersection where three busy streets converge. I got the business end of a giant SUV for the recklessness, not to mention the complete inability to enjoy Karl Rove's Fox News meltdown. I… Read full post »
MAY 9, 2014 7:11AM


During the summer of 1984, at six years old, I experienced a second life-changing event that would forever alter the course of my personal history. The first such moment arrived in August 1980 with the birth of my younger sister Jennifer, a gift that felt very much mine,… Read full post »
APRIL 22, 2014 12:40AM

Juice Cleansing; A Skeptic's Tale

I've written about my friendship with Jessica over the years. She one of my true life partners, a short list of special individuals that includes my younger sister Jennifer and a few others. Jessica and I were hardly immediate friends, but for the last 17 years, the distance of continents,… Read full post »
APRIL 17, 2014 11:35PM

My Heart's Devotion

My Heart's Devotion
I've never been able to envision myself as an old woman. And when one lacks imagination, it helps to have a little darkness and dry wit in your arsenal. My brew was particularly potent as a tween, 13 years old specifically - mature enough to understand that my family… Read full post »
She made such an imprssion last week that Kelly is back by popular demand! Enjoy. I'll be back next week.... 
Well, it’s been an interesting week. The highlights are as follows: I got a mammogram, found out I DON’T have breast cancer (yay!),  got a check from a class… Read full post »
To my regular readers: Thank you for coming by this week. You're in for a treat. I am trying something new as one who has been fortunate enough to accrue perspective and colleagues I deeply admire on this site. As Open Salon is closed to fresh talent and new writers, IRead full post »
MARCH 30, 2014 3:37PM

Band of Brothers

It was several minutes after the three of them, dressed in matching Iowa Hawkeye "bibs," took to honking the horn and chanting "Big Ten Champs!" on loop as we cruised the highway, that I really regretted coming on the trip. I hated long car journeys to begin with, and the obnoxious… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 27, 2014 1:41PM

Tilting at Windmills

Tilting at Windmills

It’s been awhile since I wrote about the struggle to find some relief from an extreme, medical science confounding case of pompholyx eczema. Also known as dyshidrotic eczema, the condition is a really unfortunate autoimmune disease that manifests itself in swollen, pus-filled blis… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 18, 2014 4:09PM

The Hunt for a Higher Power

The Hunt for a Higher Power

Just like the Alcoholics Anonymous program that led to the formation of its sister groups, Al-Anon and Alateen involve the working of 12 steps that will guide participants along the path of recovery.

I’m all over Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol [a… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 12, 2014 2:39PM

My Friendly Valentine


My Friendly Valentine

There are two personal items on which I refuse to spend more than $15 – sunglasses and gloves. The reason is simple. I can’t be trusted to hang onto them. Case in point: today is February 12th and I have managed to lose four pairs of gloves and mittens/… Read full post »


While motherhood, especially the birthing part of the equation, was a life choice I ruled out long ago, that doesn’t mean I hate children. On the contrary, I love them. Little people, especially those 14 and under, tend to get me, as I do them. I can’t decide if my… Read full post »

JANUARY 31, 2014 12:38PM

Polar Vortextual Mood Swings


Polar Vortextual Mood Swings

“Yesterday, I stood outside waiting for the Chicago Avenue bus. I saw one approaching and my heart leapt. Then the bastard drove right by us, resulting in another 30 minutes of trying to withstand the wind. I just started crying. I am so sick of being cold.”

-&nRead full post »

JANUARY 16, 2014 12:49PM

Banishing Resentment

The theme of this week’s Al-Anon meeting was “Resentment.” It was examined and discussed from a variety of angles. But the larger lesson imparted was that holding onto it does no harm to anyone but thyself. As the great Nelson Mandela once said, “Resentment is like drinking po… Read full post »

JANUARY 3, 2014 2:29PM

Saying Yes to Less


So it’s a New Year and I’ve been nursing a broken heart for a month. It’s getting a little easier everyday to wake up alone and accept the fact that my ex-partner was, in many ways, not who I thought he was. I knew enough to be wary of the… Read full post »

DECEMBER 26, 2013 4:26PM

A Season of Creative Destruction

A Season of Creative Destruction
Over the year-end holidays, as a society, we tend to take a break from things. The endless rat race of work, household chores, dinner, sleep and repeat is interspersed with welcome down time to focus on the important things. Broadcast television programs go on hiatus in deference to the absent/…

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DECEMBER 20, 2013 12:08PM

Al-Anon, Theater, Michael Jackson & Trivia


Al-Anon, Theater, Michael Jackson and Trivia

The experiences and diversions of which I availed myself this week, in an attempt to put back together the pieces of my shattered heart and move on with my life, were nothing if not diverse. As is the case with the dissolution of any toxic relationship, receding from crisis… Read full post »

This may seem like an odd post right on the heels of so much Thanksgiving happiness and gratitude, but life is full of twists and turns that way. I did not write this material as a blog post. I actually wrote and sent this to my now former flame earlier this… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 26, 2013 11:49AM

30 Days of Gratitude: 2013 Edition

Yes, I have seen this meme work its way across Facebook over the course of November. I thought about participating, but my brain is usually too stream-of-consciousness for that level of daily content commitment, and I refuse to violate my personal rule of one status update per day (any more than… Read full post »