Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snowed Inn.

First time we shoveled snow this year. Yuval went out with my dad and they did most of the hard work. I was asleep in our cozy bed so I couldn't take a photo of them - sorry.
It snowed before but not to the extent of actually shoveling it. This time it started snowing Saturday afternoon and in the morning we found ourselves looking at about two inches of fluff covering the grounds completely! First the snow is like dipping in whipped cream - very impressive and VERY COLD. My son said today that he is positively sure he's turning into an icicle. Me too.

So here's how it looks like:

This snow cake waited for us on the deck

Let me slide across these stairs...

The back yard

Best Shoveler

Best shoveler taking a rest

Shoveling helper at work

Proud shoveling helper

The front yard, fluffed to perfection

Stay warm and happy,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friendly Disappointments

Some say a true friendship is when you feel comfortable enough with your people, to be yourself. Well, being myself I let my friends know at the last minute that due to my parents' visit, my sick husband, my kids sleep-over plans, the snow and the tchulent we ate not so long ago, I will not be coming to her after-Hanukkah gathering. My friend was very understanding and a minute after I hang up I couldn't resist and asked myself the following questions:
Does she really mean it?
Is this the true friendship where you feel at home enough to disappoint someone but than, in some way, make it up to them?
Maybe they felt relieved we are not coming?
Was she polite in saying it was OK? (I loved the 'you'll be missed' bit).

What do you think? Ever been in that situation? what did you do? How was it resolved?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Parents are Here

There's something amazing about growing up. Suddenly you have grown your own family and you find yourself saying the same things, doing the same things, caring for some of the same issues your parents did. At first you pinch yourself - how did I become such an old person? Than you start getting it, the WHY. Why they did it, said it, cared for you in that way. What were they thinking then and there... You understand the thought process behind those routines/sayings/ceremonies. Congrats, my friend, you have just joined the old parents league, and you can't go back.

That stage happened for me a while ago, I'm half way into 'veteran parent' now. Soon I'll grow even older (and wiser?) and become an honorary member of the Parent to an Adolescent Child. Believe me, those need all the honoraries they can get, they don't get much of anything else from the adolescent side of the deal.

So now I see things through multi lens: my old young self, my parent self, and my new older self. Confusing? yes, sometimes, yet I gained more appreciation for my parents. The way they brought me up, their concern, advice, and wisdom.

These coming two weeks, as we plow the celebratory streets of New York (i.e "The City") and, of course the one street of down town Smallville, I aim to show them what I like, what I do when they are not here, what their grandchildren daily routine looks like, creating a scene of sorts, so they can picture us in that scenery when they're back and far away from us, lessen their concerns, creating a backdrop to our adventures.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our First Snow

It snowed yesterday. Four hours of snow and my carbs craving is aiming to hit the roof. I started a list of 'what else do we need to make it through the winter' and it gets longer and longer...
Here are some photos from this morning:

Icicles on the few bushes that managed to still have their leaves on

The girls made snow balls

Donald tries to figure out what is this white stuff and where the heck did his bathroom spot gone to?

Monday, November 30, 2009

First Thanksgiving Away from The Everitts

Fourteen yeers ago, ven ve came to dis cuntry.... OK, we were a little younger and with no accent, but we had dreams as big as any pilgrim and we had coffee parties instead of the tea one. Ours had cakes, some more wobbly ('cause I made them with my special system of 'ready or not, it's time for you cakes to go out!') We had them in California, too. But all that don't matter because we had them with our family away from our own families and they became our family.

This is the story of us and the Everitts. Laurie would tell you things as they are and would always be there to advise, comfort and just bitch around; Nolan has lots of patience, great at explaining things, is a wonderful artists, fun to be with but lucking on the bitching. We miss them a lot.

Nevertheless, the holidays must go on, so we had our Bostonian friends over (no tea in site), grandma Sharon's stuffing, one un-pardoned turkey, ultra expensive dish wear from Swoozies (never buy there again?), roasted potatoes (never try new traditions when you're away from home), home-made corn bread (Trader Joe's is half an hour away, unfortunately), homemade cranberry sauce (I made it and it was yummy), one great chocolate mousse by Ora and two egg less pies (did I really forget the eggs or was it an attempt to free us, once and for all, from the bad cholesterol?). Best of all - I made Laurie's best dish of the holiday - carrot Jello:)

We went around the table saying our thanks and it was quite nice, but Everitt-less.

The ultra expansive yet good looking dishes and napkins awaiting the crowd...

Chef Arnon drove all the way from Boston to rustle our turkey, accompanied by the singing sous chef Stav....

Gaby and her favorite part of the turkey....

Let us all dig in...
Arbel and the balloon....

Memory match....
Screens, screens, and nothing but the screens....

Happy holidays to you all, keep celebrating and don't forget to count your thankings....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kids Talk

It's evening, two kindergartners in the back seat, one of them mine and one is shuttled home after a play date. I'll call them Miss Cutie (AKA pre-Barbie) and Mr. Handsome (AKA pre-Ken), here is the conversation:

Mr. Handsome: "What do you want to be when you grow up, Miss Cutie? What do you want to be?"

Mr. Handsome: (can't wait to state his future profession) "I want to be a policeman guard in the museum"

Miss Cutie: "I'll be a firefighter"

Mr. Handsome: "you can be anything you want, you know? I might be a planet scientist who lives on planets"

(upgrade! good for you, young Mr. Handsome! we should make an appointment with your parents and sign the engagement agreement before he changes back to security guard)

Miss Cutie: "there's no such thing as a planet scientist. You can't get there! right mummy?"

Mum-me: "you can research planets, and maybe when you grow up you'll be able to live on one too" (just not too far, mummy doesn't want to fly coach all the way to Mars)

Miss Cutie: "I want to be a mom"

Mr. Handsome: " just a mom? (auch), you should be a babysitter, yeehhh!"

I stopped listening. Gazing carefully at the road ahead I thought, 'the kid has a point'. An average 20 something babysitter makes anywhere between $15-$22 an hour. A mom makes a complaint and a grudge, drawings for the holidays (with lots of good intentions, of course, and a healthy dose of smiles at breakfast). Conclusion: babysitter waaaaay cooler.

Conclusion #2: I need an out of the home job, quick. It looks much better when you dress up nicely, shove everyone out the door, into the car and aahhhh, the workplace! An office all to yourself, computer station without partners or other sharing-parties, a coffee mag to call your own and the wonderful recycled air! I might even have a window!

Indecisive? Confusing? True. I opt to read The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and dream of greener future for me and for my daughter, 'couse being a mom is wonderful, it's a life time commitment that oftentimes dictates your lifestyle but it always seems not enough....

Comments anyone?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We unfriended (new word, check it out at Urban dictionary) our old car. Now I have the all-too-gadgety Acura. I still look for my white Nissan in the parking lot... than surprised to find someone has left me this mighty car instead (thanks Yuvali:). Wouldn't it be wonderful if such trades were to happen with any unwanted chore? The laundry pile, ironing, job searching, unhappy/groggy kids? You'd walk away and come back to find everything smoothed out, tucked away, and happy to see you!

When my new car observes me, it bows its headlights and greets me with a jolly beep, window wipers flattering gently. The seat, mirrors and whole ambiance of this Acura adjust to my specifications, cell phone frees itself to my convenience and the kids breath the new-car scent, immediately relaxing into a meditative stage provided by the SPA channel, at XM satellite radio. All of us descend into a world of quiet, tranquil existence.... for the duration of the car ride, of course.

This car is voice activated, button operated and easy (if you read the 500 page manual) to use. It can read into my phone contacts and I suspect, with a little bit of help, will be able to guess my mood and pick the right music for the occasion, push the panic button and a butler will show up with my drink of choice, read us a bed time story and lullaby us to a heavenly sleep on the heavenly leather upholstered adjustable chairs. Who knows, maybe it can paint my toenails while rushing to take care of business.

Hitting reality now I realize we have to pay for it. Any employment opportunities you want to share with me?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Job Seeking, Bird Watching

I saw a group of birds flying atop the trees today. Magnificent site, yet they seemed to be flying in circles. Beautiful structure, great movement, light flying, excellent aerodynamics, but circles. Surely they know what they're doing, I thought, veteran birds like them... and than it occurred to me, they are catching waves, airwaves, you know, those spiral hot air waves can propel them in the direction they need to go. And I, with my un-birdsy mind, trying to row forward, one strait line, great time management, maybe I'm circling a spiral propelling wave now. Maybe there's a great job at the top of all these spirals. I just need to take care and not get too close to the sun, right?

Monday, November 9, 2009

California Dreaming

We spent 4 magical days in sunny California this week and I have mixed feelings, both happy and sad. On one hand I got to see some good friends, got reassured that our friendship knows no geographic boundaries. On the other hand, everything was too raw. With memories picking from every street corner, I didn't want to drive by our old house.
I love my friends and am sure we'll keep in touch, seeing each other here or there; but this time I really said goodbye, mentally collecting the memories and stacking them in my mind-album. I went to my favorite places, buying things, seeing and feeling them again, separating and preparing to cherish those treasured moments I've experienced there.
I discovered that it's hard separating when you don't know what awaits you on the other side, but this time I knew. I have built a new home, new friends, new treasury of favorite places here, in New Jersey and New York.
I have moved on while still loving and appreciating our old friends and experiences.
So now something in me mourns the fact that Orange County became my past, memories that will exist only as memories, moments that will not get experienced again, therefor not reassuring themselves anymore as 'life', as 'present'.

On the way back we saw the movie "Into the Storm" about Winston Churchill. I chose a few quotes of his for you:

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."

"Difficulties mastered are opportunities won."

Stay healthy and happy,
Sara Browne.

Monday, November 2, 2009

K is for Konceptual Skills

I had my first conference of the year today with my daughter's Kindergarten teacher. Ms. Alpern is teaching ways of thinking, conceptual skills and other life long skills. She teaches my daughter how to wash her hands thoroughly (illness prevention); Small and large motor skills (cut with scissors, jump rope); space awareness (your privet space vs. others, 'before, under, on top' etc.); Social skills (of course) and, what I found most impressive, is the 'how do I do that' skill. See, Ms. Alpern thinks out loud. She leads students through a thought process so they learn how to walk through it on their own later on. She utilizes the things that were learned before to concoct a whole new assignment. She then takes those components and builds a whole new thing with them, teaching students to be resourceful, to build on what they already know, build confidence in their (already acquired) skills and do it in various ways so skills are constantly used in various ways to show their durability.
So, next time they tell you "Everything I know I learned in Kindergarten" - you better believe it!
Plus, it's another thing I like about New Jersey - so there!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 Things I Like About NJ

If you are one of those people who are looking at the screen now saying: why only 5? and you can think of more, PLEASE DO ADD THEM as comments. I'd love to hear from you!
  1. The ONLY time I can appreciate the 25-40mph speed limit is on a day like today, sunny and nice, as I travel (said speed limit observed) through a street shaded by big leafy trees which make for a canopy of red, orange, yellow and green above me. There's just enough breeze to have the fallen leaves ahead of me dance, skipping in the wind, saying: "Follow the yellow leaf road, follow the yellow leaf road - because because because, it's gonna get cold..."
  2. I found this near by OUTLET MALL called Woodbury. In one half a day I found me the necessary bubble-wrap coat, some cool (warm) jackets, kids clothes and now I see I absolutely HAVE to get back there for shoes.
  3. We are soooo close to NYC! Shellie and I made a quick unplanned trip into town yesterday, got off the bus, walked our way to MAD - Museum of Arts and Design, saw the Slash and Read My Pins exhibits and were back in time to pick up the kids!
  4. OK, now I'm stack. I'm stalling. I have no more favorite so I sit here and correct the spelling of those three other items... corrected. Hmmmm...Well, we are kinda' close to Boston too...
  5. Our library is magnificent. Very welcoming. Really!

Would you help me find more?

Stay warm and safe,

Sara Browne

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Gray....

We are not in California anymore, Toto...
The days become shorter, the weather colder and the leaves are changing color. Even my car is cold, I'll need to service it for winter soon.
The kids tried to rake the leaves towards a small hilltop when the gardener came and helped them a bit, so now I have our first pseudo raking party photos:




Stay warm (brought to you with thanks to Donna who took me Soho shopping!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our Boston Trip

I came back in love with Boston. The architecture, the food (Legal Seafood and others), the vegetation, the air, the history laid against the modern - everything was so beautiful in this city and we had a wonderful time.

Chestnut St.in the quint Beacon Hill neighbourhood is just AMAZINGLY beautiful.

Taking a swan ride is fun, as long as you come in season for it. Pay attention to your driver's thighs - it's a pretty good workout...

Window shopping at Newbury Street - it's fun to see how windows were designed to lure you in(not that I need much luring)...

The Children's Museum is a wonderful place to spend some quality fun time with your family.With many interesting exhibits, Arthur,Japanese and the climbing structure, all of us had a ball!

Having a tea pot just on top of Starbucks.....

Boston has walking tours around the city, called Boston by Foot. We took one the Little Feet tour, the basic for families kind-of-tour.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Appeal for Curves Appeal

I have to say something in favor of the curvaceous woman. Curvaceous - such a sophisticated, all tangled up word, and indeed we are. It seems we all strive for the thin, one-dimension woman. Starve up, then enhance your bust a few sizes over and, voila, the perfect woman. Goes well with our slim, limit-your-step skirt. You don't need to get very far honey, just be pretty and the driver will take you where you need to go.
Well, I want to DRIVE MY OWN car, be my own engine, Yes I can Yes I can, use my long stride steps, no more than the obligatory 2" heel. If I need to run to where I'm going - I should be able to do so.
So, having aired this great theory, I went out and shopped for a tight, curves hugging skirt suit. With it came the obligatory tummy shaper and a pair of Ann Taylor's control top tights.
I wore all of it out and would recommended it for as long as you can hold your breath. With my ribs dented and my airways twisted to find some air I can't say I'll wear this assemblage again.
Best of all - My friend Shellie told me I look like I've lost weight.
So, wait, maybe that shaper has a long term effect....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pie is Just Another Mathematical Term

I hate Math. I've been hating it ever since first grade. OK, lets adjust it a bit. I hate Math when it doesn't come in the shape of personal donation to me. Because when it is money in my pocket, I kinda' like it.

So today I went to the biggest mall in the area (New York address - surprise surprise), got the kids and hubby happy... so happy they let me wonder off ALONE (would you believe it?) and thus, free as a wait-less bird, relaxed and liberated, I went off shopping.
What can I tell you, I searched high, I searched low, I went in between the shelves and inside the fitting rooms (many a times) and nothing worked. The only fitting thing in MY room was my own old clothes. Which brought me to the sad conclusion that we either need a revolution (where the hell did I put my soap box when we left California???) or I need to get fit. Fit for fittings - what a revolutionary idea!

I left the mall with one small bag. In it were three items:
  1. A gift for my friend Jan (great woman)
  2. Fancy matches (I wish they could burn fat) for the fireplace
  3. A scent diffuser for the restroom (to keep others from smelling all those fiber units I'll be eating from now on).

As soon as we came home this Pecan Pie jumped me with her friend the spoon. I tell you - they had no mercy! Than again, Pie is just another number right? just like size, carbohydrates units and the amount of holes you need to tighten in your belt.

Did I tell you how I don't like Math?

Friday, September 18, 2009

About Facebook,Twitter and Viral Media

I don't have a face on Facebook. Wow, what a revelation. Admitting I'm behind on the viral scene. So now I'm out with it - no facebook, no twitter, I'm not Linkedin either. Leaving here in my little village of a towne I can hide from all those connection seekers, 'remember me?' people of the past that would love to pop in, catch up, visit and hang out.
I bind my past. First I take photos, closing in on one moment in time, freezing it forever. Now we're playing by MY rules, I can do whatever I want to this said memory, it's mine to play with. I print some, delete some, store some photos and the most precious ones, the carefully edited photos, I scrapbook, nudging memories into a personal scheme of things, personalized point of view.
From color choices to shapes to where the photos are placed on the page and their size, the focus is mine and it's my life we're facing. I decide what will be bound forever in our family album, I'm the memory keeper. I save face for us all and I am not ashamed to be biased.
I don't have a facebook page yet my face and the faces I love are bound forever in our family book of love.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our Trip to Mystic

Mystic Seaport had lots of old time fun activities for the kids, including the dog happening 'Dog Days' with police dogs, rescue dogs, therapy dogs and good looking dogs' shows.

Rainy day perfect activity - go under and play submarine in the Nautilus.

Gillette castle, on the way to Mystic. Worth stopping.