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
MARCH 27, 2013 5:10PM

The Spring That Wouldn’t Come

Today is March 27th. It’s a full week after the official inauguration of spring. The sun is shining but the air temperature hasn’t risen above 43 degrees Fahrenheit in the Windy City. It must be mentioned that the daytime high soared to 80 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012,… Read full post »


Things Fall Apart: How Chinua Achebe Opened My Eyes

Growing up in the 1980s, it was easy to believe that the United States was the only country in the world, or at least the only one that mattered. During the Reagan era of total cultural insulation and paranoia, Cold War indoctrination was barely questioned. That the Soviet… Read full post »

I consider myself a fairly street smart woman. I was born and raised within Chicago city limits, moving across several different neighborhoods. I wear this as a badge of pride and honor and have been known to get mighty huffy with suburbanites who claim to be “from Chicago,” while oftenti… Read full post »


Let's Do It Like They Do on the Discovery Channel


Although I work in a creative field, one of the personal attributes that instills the greatest amount of pride is the ability to think logically and rationally. Although knee-jerk instinct is often emotional or sentimental, I am proud of the fact that I am usually able to… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 22, 2013 2:19PM

My Life as a StepGILF


My Life as a StepGILF

As many of my friends, family and readers know, I made the decision somewhere along the way to bypass motherhood. A large piece of that resolution stems from a childhood and young adult years spent as the caretaker of several key people in my life: parents, maternal grandparents,… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2013 1:03PM

The Valentine's Day KISS Principle

The Valentine's Day KISS Principle

It's 11:00 am on the morning of Valentine's Day 2013. Thus far I have suffered a nocturnal bite to the nose from my partner JC (an odd manifestation of some interesting dream) and have had bloodwork done to verify the proper function of my kidneys. Hardly

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FEBRUARY 7, 2013 4:37PM

Migraine Season

Migraine Season
This is the kind of winter that migraine sufferers dread. Take last week for example. Here in Chicago the temperature touched 61 degrees on Tuesday, the warmth punctuated by springlike showers. By Thursday morning, the mercury stopped climbing at 10 degrees with brutal winds and icy roa/…

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JANUARY 23, 2013 4:41PM

Postcards from the Egg


Postcards from the Egg
During the summer of 1995, the season before my senior year of high school, my mother Gloria, younger sister Jenny and I embarked on a two-week long road trip in mom’s spanking new Geo Metro (the white, bullet-shaped, manual transmission vehicle that later became known as “T…

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JANUARY 15, 2013 4:00PM

The Becky Book


The Becky Book

"Don't drink my wine! You're not choking anymore!"

This is the latest entry in JC's new project, a handwritten collection of non sequiturs and utterances taken out of context that my comedy terrorist partner ultimately believes to be an accurate reflection of my character. For better… Read full post »

JANUARY 8, 2013 4:25PM

Fiscal Sniff


Fiscal Sniff

Last year I began writing a weekly political column for online liberal magazine, Given the gift of a regular outlet for Washington thoughts and musings, I began to recast the mission of this blog as a means of sharing my personal story, a story in which I… Read full post »

DECEMBER 26, 2012 11:30PM

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke Zero


I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke Zero

In 2003, at the age of 25, I had to admit that I often struggled mightily to catch my breath after climbing just one flight of stairs. I had no cardiovascular strength of which to speak and everytime I looked in the mirror, I saw an image reflected… Read full post »

DECEMBER 12, 2012 5:03PM

Seasonal Attitude Disorder


Seasonal Attitude Disorder



I am really trying to be enthusiastic about the holidays this year. On November 30, 2011 Eddie and I signed our final divorce papers and I was just emerging from a bout with cervical cancer. The complicated and conflicting emotions involved included being grateful for my… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 5:39PM

Citizen Cane (and Doughnut)


Citizen Cane (and Doughnut)

Many kind, regular readers are well aware of my affinity for riding my bicycle, affectionately nicknamed L'il Red, as I traverse across the great city of Chicago. These same readers also recognize a predilection toward illness, mishaps and other accidents. When these two charact… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 13, 2012 5:35PM

"Don't Trust Anyone Over 30"


Don't Trust Anyone Over 30

Jack Weinberg issued these words of caution during the heady, tumultuous and revolutionary 1960s, a period of American history that witnessed the explosion of the Civil Rights movement, popular rebellion against the Vietnam War and post-World War II economic growth that provided memb… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 6, 2012 12:12AM

T’was the Night Before the Election


T’was the night before the election, and all through Ohio
Margaritas were flowing like Cinco De Mayo.
Because Buckeye State residents were confident no matter who won,
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OCTOBER 30, 2012 5:40PM

Massage Masochism


Massage Masochism

Several months ago I wrote this post about my ongoing battle with alopecia. The hair loss which follows the line along my left temple turned out to be an aesthetically horrifying side effect of chronic cluster migraines, the condition with which I was finally diagnosed in mid-Au… Read full post »

OCTOBER 16, 2012 5:25PM

Stone Cold Rhymin'


Stone Cold Rhymin'

The gift of a child so adorable, good memories lessen the horrible.
My eardrums are bursting, my dry throat is thirsting, your timing is just so incorrigible.

Sinuses strained and throbbing, nocturnal weaving and bobbing.
Normally a machine but you got between. Now I'm weak to the poin… Read full post »

OCTOBER 11, 2012 4:55PM

The Passion of JC


The Passion of JC

When we began dating several months ago, my boyfriend Jean Claude and I wondered aloud what shape that tell-tale first argument might take. As the early throes of faultless infatuation begin to fade, a couple's first skirmish can say a lot about the pair's respective communicati… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 5:17PM

Cleaning Out My Closet


Cleaning Out My Closet
 "You've got your ex-husband's bathrobe hanging on the door, the pajamas, shoes and books of another estranged boyfriend and an office chair donated by yet another former lover. Why are you holding onto all of this stuff?"

Such was the incisive observation and inquisition from my ma… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 5:20PM

Desperately Seeking a Dream Catcher



Taking a break from sweating the upcoming Presidential election, and now that the Chicago Teachers' Union has settled its war with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and returned to the classroom, I would like to explore another nagging plague in my current existence: bad dreams.

In college, new… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 5:05PM

CPS Teacher Strike 2012: Unarmed Kids



 Throughout my primary school and junior high years, I attended a little hole-in-the-wall Lutheran school called Pilgrim in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood. Though I don't have much use for these skills now (notwithstanding the occasional drunken parlor trick), I memorized the… Read full post »




No matter on which side of the ideological spectrum you sit, it's difficult to avoid political engagement this week. The Republican National Convention, which resulted in the official nomination of the Romney/Ryan ticket, has been followed thus far by the blinding spectacle… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 28, 2012 4:48PM

Fantasy Football Fraud


Football Charlie Brown

 There are numerous forms of sexism which irk me: the assumption on the part of some that we are mentally and physically the weaker gender, the presumption that women should be overruled when it comes to decision-making power over their reproductive cycles, the corporate gl… Read full post »

AUGUST 21, 2012 11:51PM

A Cry in the Dark

On a late summer's eve I sat at my kitchen table typing away, the sounds of chirping crickets my sole companion. I am not an individual who works well against a backdrop of white noise: no music wafting from Pandora, no CNN anchors relaying the day's events. Just me, my work… Read full post »

AUGUST 14, 2012 5:43PM

Enamored With Enamel


Enamored With Enamel

When I was six years old, I was involved in a controversial radiator accident that remains the stuff of family legend. While engaging in a spirited Sesame Street dance routine with my younger sister Jenny, was I pushed into my grandmother's low-rising living room metal unit or d… Read full post »