Monday, December 20, 2010

Trees Treason

 We had to do it. They were raising the floor, threatening our soon-to-be roof, we had to do it. Sorry trees...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hurry Up, My Cement is Getting Cold

Surprisingly enough, cement does get cold. Our cement guy has special blankets for it. See below:

I stood there long enough to take pictures and hear Mike's patient explanation about construction stuff and my ears almost fell off. IT'S SO COLD!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Posts I Havn't Written

It's been a while since I wrote, sorry I've been away for so long...
I thought about you almost everyday, tossing titles for the next post in my head, not getting to use them.

Hear they are for your inspection - choose the best one and I'll write about it:

  • Windex, Paper towel, GO - stories of the 24 hour virus
  • If everyone else has HW and he doesn't, it doesn't necessarily means he's a genius, it might be he's NOT DOING IT - stories of the homeworkly pressed
  • Thank G-d I'm out of the electric closet - mapping out a new work place
  • Building permits are no picnic - well, Da...
  • The sweet illusion of part time positions - if you're a working mom you know what I mean
  • The door left ajar is the hardest one - mystery
Stay warm,
Sara Brown.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Life in Increments

24 hours in a day. That's 1,440 minutes a day. I sleep for some, so that's lost.
7 days in a week. Two of which are weekend days. Weekend days are stretched. They worth more. I cram much more into my weekend list.
60 minutes in an hour, 10,080 minutes in a week.

It takes 15 min. to move about town in every which direction.
It takes 30 min. to get to any store, work, etc. Then you have to get back, so double that time.

School has about one event a month you have to be in. Lost two hours including the drive.

Grocery shopping takes about two hours a week, if you are really, absolutely, no nonsense, ridiculously efficient shopper. I can't. I tend to follow my eyes, daydream, feel hungry, shop for more then we need. With kids? - add 15 min. at list.

Walking the dog = 15 min. twice a day.

Showers, other mundane everyday human needs - about two hours a day.

Homework, programs, lectures, extra curricular classes, wait to pick up - about 7 hours a week.

Computer/gadget time - 3 hours a week. OK, OK, it's more.... I don't know how much more? How many?

Are we there yet?
What will I do when I retire?

Monday, November 1, 2010

On a Sweet Day I Can Sweat Forever

A riddle:
If Sara Brown ate 2, no-3, OK, maybe 4 or 5 , actually...7 candies, how many miles should she walk to get those off, out and away from her belly line?

An answer:
If she eats while walking she can eat-walk forever!

Halloween is over, excess candies carefully taken to the office yet the kids get to keep theirs...

Handsome saved only what he liked and that stash (thank goodness) is almost done with. But Princess likes variety, hence she kept most of what she got (nice looking pile), causing for the sweets bucket in the kitchen cabinet. I don't even like those candy bars but I learned how to open one without noising with the cellophane wrapper....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Miss Liberty

As I stand here, torch in one hand, matches in the other, braising myself for the change ahead, I can't but feel appreciation.
Appreciating in value as I recharge (not the credit cards...), replenish (the fridge), revamp (my home office), re-unite with my old self and pre-pair (with my new bag) to go to work tomorrow!
A year of soul searching, job sicking, coffee meeting and way too many lunches passed by and I am launching the new me -  the Back-to-Work Mom.

I look down and notice my shoes are till blue... patina color.

"Hey, Miss Liberty, we got the same shoes"!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Women from Marse....

Hubby stayed home today. Definition is: Working From Home. He DOES work, yet it's nice to have him near....

When he calls to update his phone message he uses the following line, that makes me stop dead in my tracks (trail of laundry scattered on the floor) and listen in amazement: "I'll be working remotely today", he says, and keeps talking about communicating with him.

Oh, language nuances, how I love thee! Every so often someone comes up with a line or a word that keeps me entertained (or entwined) for hours, and this line was certainly one of them, because if I was the one leaving that message it would have probably sounded like this:

"Good morning, this is Sara Brown. I'll be working from home today. My kids are sick/I'm signing a house contract/my relative died (G-d forbid) /it's a very important religious holiday/ I'm on my way to the hospital to give birth but I'll be in tomorrow/my car died/it's been snowing all night and we are waiting for the rescue squad/ we've been flooded and I'm calling you from the evacuation location...I am so terribly sorry I missed you and would love to talk to you as soon as I can and make it up to you just so you are not bothered with my sudden absence so I'll make it up to you as soon as I come on Monday, don't worry it will be fine and I can certainly work from home using the phone and computer, I actually have two! Just like in the office, and one of them is portable so I can actually take it with me wherever I go, so, you understand, It's just like being in the office... you know what, I think I'll manage to pop in later on today, maybe in two hours but DO leave me a message and I'll return a call as soon as I hang up. Have a nice day!"

Really? no, not exactly, but that would have been what I would have thought as I actually left the carefully versed 3-5 liners about 'working remotely'.

What's your version?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lots of Good News!

I'll put them here in bullet points so you can rejoices and dance around each point with me:
  • Our architect Raul is the best, quick and easy to work with.
  • I have finalized (almost) all the bathroom and floor tiles around the house, plus the kitchen. Looking at designer sites like houzz  and consulting with friends really helps!
  • Our loan got approved - yey!
  • I got a new (paying) job, starting this coming month - Hallelujah!
  • Got all my favorite songs on my playlist and it's great!
  • My son has nice new friends and they have actually visited!
  • Lost (and don't want to find) about 13 pounds!
  • enough exclamation marks, don't you think?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Flex Your Brain Morning Routine

My son is going through.. puberty. There, I said it. I rather call it 'maturity'. Sticky business, if you ask me. As part of the maturity process we might open our breakfast with a question like "why do women wear bra?" or "how many times do you need to have sex in a week?" - I've been coughing a lot at breakfast lately.

But when my daughter asked me this morning, while tying her shoe laces "why do I feel so alone in the world all the time?" I didn't cough and no one could have heard the tiny cracking sound of my heart. I know she misses grandma, I can guess what Sartre would have said, yet I didn't know what answer to give my 6 years and 3 days old daughter. I certainly know how she feels but why now? and how could she verbalize it so well when it took me a lot more years and a slew of theories to recognize what I felt and name it?

We went for a walk with the dog - always a good way to reconnect with the creator and find answers... or fend them off... As we were walking I told princess I know how she feels (affirmation is good, right?), I told her many writers, philosophers and artists have tried to find an answer for her question because it's a very important one.... and then I had to answer it already, no more stalling, so... so I said I know she misses grandma and grandpa and by making new friends and staying in touch with old friends and family, we can lower that 'alone' feeling. I'm still looking for a better answer. It was an enormous, great question and I'm sure I'll find many more answers through life but I need an answer now, so if you have one - PLEASE COMMENT. What would you have answered?

On our way to school she asked if the sun that shines at grandma's is the same sun that shines on us and how could it be - what an easy question to answer! Thank G-d for 6th grade geography.
And what a beautiful young brain, to think of a unison like that... life is truly AMAZING.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sukkah vs. Sukkah

See wonderful Sukkah structures at: Sukkah vs. Sukkah

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Surprise Breakfast Saga in Two Mornings

A week ago I woke up to a surprise breakfast. It was on the table, pancakes (even blueberry ones!), fruit, coffee, the whole 9 yards. It was a father-daughter initiative and felt so good on the maternal front... I don't know what I liked more, the food, the partnership, the late sleeping, the cleaned kitchen, the was just so good all around, a Saturday morning bliss.
You should know now that as part of my renewed effort to wear ALL my cloths, I gave up breakfast a while ago. So this time I made an exception and it was a well worth it one.

This weekend, princess came to our bed and whispered in my ear, it was time for pay back. It was our turn to do the surprise breakfast act on Daddy. Oy.
I got up, cleaned the sink, emptied the dishwasher while thinking of a gazillion excuses, feeling ashamed of my thoughts, more excuses, "OK, how do I minimize the damage now - the kitchen looks so CLEAN!" thoughts... and then I couldn't run nor hide anymore, I had to come up with a plan.
So I made coffee. It is a good start, admit it.

Princess got impatient. She dreamed of three tier pancake stack, with whipping cream, a cherry on top and we weren't on the way of pursuing it. Yet.
Enters the O-so-magnificent daddy, the knight of mornings, Donald  De Dog lazily wagging to follow and offered... are you reading? offered to HELP!

Now I'm not the type to need help. Even in the rare occasion I actually need (OMG, I said it) help, I don't ask for it. It is sooo forbidden in the Wonder Woman Bylaws.
But this time I excepted. In my defence I'll say that THE KITCHEN WAS SO CLEAN. I know you get me. you got me at cleeeaaaan, right?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Back!

Hi there! How are you?
I know it's been a long time but we are finally back from vacation and I promise to write weekly...let's change 'promise' to 'hope'!

So, what's new?
  • I weighed myself this morning and the sight was so rewarding and joyful, I had to step down and step up back again. And again. Once more. I would have been standing there still if not for my kids who needs me desperately whenever I'm not right next to them. Did you know that pants, a short shirt, 1 wrist watch, 2 rings and makeup can add 2 pounds (2 pounds!) to your weight? and no, it's not the diamond weight, this I can promise.
  • Schools are way under rated. If I was the education minister I would have everyone on the year round system. It's much better academically (knowledge retention), emotionally (emotional sanity of parents and guardians), socially (built in play dates) and organizationally (time wise).
  • We found a house and will start renovating soon, TV's only station currently is HGTV. Yes, even hubby watches. And I get to hold the remote - life IS beautiful!
  • Still looking for employment, have an interview today, got to go!

Stay calm, be happy, summer vacation is almost over and soon we get Hurricane Erl!
Happy Rosh Hashsana to all of you that celebrate:)
Yours truly, Sarah Brown.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Traveling Home - What a Sweet Delivery

The decision, taking the leap: It starts a few months ahead, about 5 months, short incubation. We are sure we want to go, so why not buy the tickets?
Conceiving: Some deliberation ensue as we discuss dates, some excited phone calls and then we do it - we buy the tickets, finalizing our trip decision, setting it in cancellation fees and expectations.
Carrying: We carry it in our mind for the next 4 months and than...well.. LET THE WILD SHOPPING BEGIN! We shop for gifts of course. Armed with wish lists, needs and wants, we scavenger hunt for just the right thing for the people we love. This task is usually accomplished by me, at times my unhappy little shoppers trudge along.
Nesting: The week and a half before the trip marks several excitement peaks. The kids go berserk, preparing cards, drawings, talking about their past experiences as well as the expected ones, the phones are filled with plans, schedules, advice, serious weather cast, measuring and weighing of suitcases.
Contractions: 2 days before the due date I'm contained. Or at list look that way. Inside I'm all electricity, raw excitement. Don't bother talking to me, I'll either forget it or lock you out. My brain is all but flying, up in the air already, thinking flight procedures, how to get through to the other side with the least bother, on time, no stains on our cloths, everybody happy.
Into Delivery: It's a long flight. No matter how much time it is, it is LONG. The lights are bright as we go through the gate, leaving what we know behind, hoping we won't get bombed, hijacked, kidnapped, food poisoned, spilled on, the bathroom will work fine, the kids won't have ear aches, I won't get a ferocious head ache, no one will get sick in a way we'll need to land for them, the books we took will be interesting and the movies will be designed for kids, the trays will be taken before something get the idea.
Delivery: We made it. Our heads crown at the plan's door, one by one like a multi sibling parade we step out, my eyes shooting from kid to kid, making sure we stay together. My makeup a paste, my eyes burning, I pray no one got a cold from that loud coughing guy at the front of the plain, right by the air condition shaft.
Clean up: We show passports, lift princess so the passport person see she'd arrived safely and still match her photo. Suitcases are tricky as I turn my head, sprinkler mode, back and forth to see my kids have not been smashed by an over excited passenger, yanking his suitcase while running along the carousel.
We manage to identify (true miracle) our luggage and pull it off the belt, check that we have 2 kids, 1 adult, 3 passports, all our suitcases, all hand bags and the cart to carry it all towards the exit. Almost there.
Vital signs: As we emerge at the arrivals hall, there are no paparazzi waiting for us but the excited murmur and the damp, overjoyed, inspecting stretched-in-a-smile lens of my parents faces. It's fun to see me through that lens. I missed it.
We breath, go to the bathroom and give thanks to the Lord and his skilled pilots who brought us here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Reading 2

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer- amazing!
Seen the movies, am reading the books, listening the beautiful music by Carter Burwell - enchanting!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Reading

Hi there,
Some of you were wandering where I was - well, I was READING! Such a bliss! Summer is here and all I want to do is crafts and reading, eating tons of watermelon under the sun-brella and going to the pool. Does it have anything to do with my kids' vacation you think?

I just finished Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. It wasn't the light summer reading I usually start with. Strout has a very sincere, pointing right at you kind of writing. Her sharp, analytic view of her characters puts things very close to home, shows us the social tissue we are all part of, without the cover ups we do to make us feel better. So that was the difficult to read part, too honest to ignore, yet too close to say: "that's not me" or: "not in my community".
The cute part was that the title bearer of this book, Olive Kitteridge, was actually a guest in it. She had couple of chapters where she was the subject, but most chapters had her as a guest, once you see her once you don't kind-of-thing. The chapter might have been about this couple, Jennie and Bob, who are going to a theater show and see Olive there, think of a few gossip pieces, or say something about her, or reflect about something they had together, what they felt towards her... than the thoughts and plot go elsewhere and so does Olive. I came to wait for when Olive will visit the plot again, how she'll be reflected upon this time, like a visitor in her own title. Great idea!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


It's summer here in Jersey and the heat is on. Our air condition is on too, fireflies light the garden in the evening and the neighbors tend to their yards fiercely. New flowers bloomed, backyard pools opened and the trampolines have sprang.

With all that outside, I'm reading Meir Shalev's book 'Hadavar Haya Kacha' or 'My Russian Grandmother and her American Vacuum Cleaner' - family stories from Nahalal and Jerusalem. A lot of the family idioms and 'histuar' reminds me of my own and I think about the stories my kids will have as their bank-of-memories when they grow up. What will their roots sound like in their mind 20 years from now? 30? 40 years from now?

Outside the neighbour's plants just arrived, some of them are trees. I like the site of those trees, all luscious green, standing by in their cloth and string packaging, looking so fresh, so promising.
I point them out to my daughter: "Look," I say "how lovely these trees are" than I try to figure out for myself what draws me to this sight, what's so beautiful about it, and I say "these trees are wrapped so nicely, look at their roots, packaged neatly and tight in that cloth bag so they can be re-planted!"

Stay cool, tend to your roots.
Yours truly,
Sara Brown.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Meaning of Life

My friend Nivi sent me this lovely YouTube, I got Frankel's book from my friends at 16, connected to its content and later learned about and loved TED.

To watch please scroll down to turn off the music, than click the play button of this YouTube. Enjoy!

Happy Sunday,

Sara Brown.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5 Things I Like About Manhattan

  1. Some people still use money clips - it reminds me of my grandpa. So cool!
  2. I love the very individual (sometimes hideous) fashion statements
  3. And the gorgeous outfits you see everyday, just passing you on the street...
  4. People are so physically close to one another, and yet so individualized, so apart from one another
  5. New York City has the mystery of a story waiting to happen.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cyber Fun

I promised fun blog 'rooms' so here they are, and there are some sites in there, too:

Craft Bits

Why? because I love the layout of their pages, because its loaded with craft projects, which I LOVE, and the instructions for these projects are detailed and clear; because it involved the community (write for it, vote, etc.)
Downside? It's loaded with those commercials that keep reappearing.

Karim Rashid

Why? because I LOVE his designs and it's always inspiring to visit
Downside? same as downside below


Why? because it has the best photo-stories
Downside? It's a time warp. You get in and there's no knowing when you'll emerge... I usually emerge when dinner smells smokey:(

Snippet and Ink

Why? because I loved the humor and photos
Downside? If you're not into weddings...

Design Sponge

Why? because I love the design of their layouts, love the photos, rooms and links they write about
Downside? can't think of one...

A Gift Wrapped Life

Why? because I love their photos and design suggestions
Downside? can't think of one...

Patricia Gray

Why? it makes me happy:)
Downside? you'll get the urge to go spending right after visiting this blog. Don't say I didn't warn you...

La La Lovely Things

Why? Amazing photos., inspiring!
Downside? uncontrollable shopping/travelling urge will ensue...

I could cyber travel forever, discovering great blogs and sites, but I need to work and today is the Shavuot evening....

Happy Shavuot and good week to you all!

Sara Brown.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Visiting Online

Visiting a site is like visiting someones home. They prepared for you, anticipated your arrival, invited you and so everything is a bit tidier than usual, more decorated and polite. Together you spend time at one of the communal spaces of their home and they mainly show what they want you to see.
Visiting a blog can be like that, but it's mostly more personal. As if you were getting the grand tour, or even sitting in one of the inside, more privet, more personal rooms. Visiting a blog might convey a mood or characteristic less known-to-the-public, reveal more about the writer's personality, whereabouts, hobbies, likes and dislikes.

Next post will be about blog 'rooms' I enjoy visiting:)

Where do you visit?

Talk to you soon,
Sara Brown.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Covet?

My dear readers, I have a confession to make. Yes, yes, a good old confession - try it sometime, it can do you good. Are you there? Are you reading?
Well here it is -

I covet.

There, said it. It's now out in the open and you all know this thing about me.
Some people consider it a sin. Some use it to create a scene, as for me - I guess it has become a way of life, because I covet all the time. I covet people's shoes (specially women) and bags while on the subway. I covet people's charming, tight, toned, skinny organs.
I covet when invited to people's homes, I definitely covet gadgets, I covet personality traits I haven't acquired yet and talents I do not have, I covet happiness when it occurs next to me (when I'm part of it I rest and let others covet for a change), I cover all sorts of coveting.

I covet followers. Would you be one? It might become a therapy of sorts....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amish and Phili Trip - Contacts

As promised, here they are:
The Mennonite info center offers a guide-in-your-car deal for $44, two hr. tour.
Independence National Historical Park is free, get you tickets at Indi hall in the morning of your trip.
Wilbur Chocolate factory is tasty but a waste of time tour-wise. Same minus 'tasety'goes for Julius Sturig Pretzel Bakery .
Landis Farm was great, would have been even greater if they added home cooked breakfast.
Reading Terminal Market is a fun place to grab lunch, as well as Marathon Grill on Chestnut.
Betsy Ross House was fun to stroll in, plus they have actors in period clothing answering questions inside.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Our Pennsylvania Trip

I love words, but sometimes visuals are kings too - so here are some photos for you:

We took a guide from the Mennonite Information Center which was a great deal ($44 for all of us in the car) and she explained everything and answered our curiosities - great deal, did I say that already?

Here we caught some Amish kids having lunch at the school yard. Yummy!

The Amish view was so relaxing...

Cloth lines everywhere... Thank G-d for washing machines

Plowing along

Quilts so elaborate...

Landis Farm Guest House - what a treat!

Loved the old wooden planks on the flour and the stoney exterior...

Need water?

The phone Fanni and scooter - who's calling please?

The legendary Amish buggy

Got mail?

Goat entertainment at the Landis Farm

Elfreth Alley

Independence Hall

I hope to add some links to the great places we've enjoye soon. In the meantime, make your day a wonderfully one!

Sara Brown.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to Tame a Lion

Out of the shower in the women's locker after a great swim I heard a little girl talking loudly and very decisively about her leotard. The one that was brought is DEFINITELY not the right one. She dances ballet with the PINK one, not the BLACK! The black leotard is for GYMNASTICS!

Grandma, in a calm apologetic voice, tried to explain there's not enough time to go home and change leotards so the one they have will have to do.

Little Lioness was furious, the world had tipped over and left her with the wrong color on the wrong day and a grandma who doesn't understand anything!
Grandma got a bit upset, told Lioness to 'not get fresh'. Lioness didn't seem to notice, charging on about the leotard.

The tone became very agitated and loud. People were watching. I felt bad for grandma and suddenly understood what was so fascinating about bull fights. It wasn't the 'who will win this time' as much as 'how will they do it?' Curiosity and the urge to give Little Lioness a piece of my mind almost took over me as this  elder lady came in. She was definitely on grandma's side but didn't show it at first.

She floated into their space with a very calm, kind, low voice, and a generous smile. She started talking to Little Lioness's sister, asking her about her day, her yesterday and what she liked about her life in general. She than found a 'hook' and complimented grandma about her activities with the sister. Suddenly the spotlight was on the sister and she was very eager to share her experiences. By than the whole Esprit changed and we were all happily chatting in a positive way.

Only than did the Lion Tamer addressed the Little Lioness. She gave her an opportunity to come back to the stage with a positive attitude and a changed subject.

All spectators were relieved, grandma caught her breath, sisters were happy to chat, grandma got a friendly hug from The Tamer.

I love it when everyday occurrences become a learning opportunity. Plus, it reminded me of this book I'd like to recommend: Ella and The Naughty Lion, by Anne Cottringer

Have a wonderfull Weekend,
Sara Brown.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


We were eating Matza (unleavened cracker that tastes like your usual cardboard diet food but is packed with calories) since last Monday night, when Passover started. My son, who's a big starch eater was the main suffering party, yet the rest of us off of that same family tree were not far behind. We looked forward to 'break bread' again.

So yesterday after school we went to Rockland Bakery , put on some disposable gloves and entered the 'Heichal', the baking room. Princess had a good time with the 'bagel slide' and Handsome kept handing me some awesome breads to put in the bag. Yours truly trolled around with an enormous brown bag filled with goodies. Thank G-d for freeze bags they hand out at the bakery, if not for those we would have gotten a bread poisoning.

Speeding home, chewing and singing spring songs, we saw police cars hiding in the budding bushes and slowed down. I guess we all need some dough:)

Enjoy Spring!
Sara Brown.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dual Day

On one side, me. My gooey gray matter at brain, keyboard and mouse at hand.
On the other side, my computer. Its programs and C-drive as semi brain, its blinking router at hand.
The scenery: my home office, a window to the sunny side of the yard, side chirpings.

Today was Dual day.
Today I hated Norton, who slows me down considerably; Today I seriously disliked Yahoo, which takes ages to register into and complicates things with tons of little, unnecessary, tiresome pop up boxes to fill out (would you like an avatar box? have friends you'd like to place in my database box? which color eyes would you like on your avatar box? do you have another email address I can send junk to box? any blogs you'd like to join at this moment box? yada box yada box and yet another yada box)

We usually make efforts to get along, my computer and I. Aiming for the win win situation, I try to turn a blind eye to its occasional mishaps, while it turns its blind screen spot toward my technical (dis)abilities. But today, as soon as I needed to join a webinar, it got all busy and lazy and wouldn't let me in. The webinar was lost to eternity of bytes waiting to be heard and I was lost to anger.

So I declared today the Dual Day, and we'll see who wins this game! (AKA, wait till hubby comes home!)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Google's April Fools

What a relief - Google is back from Kansas!
Princess had a fun day at school yesterday, the concept of practical jokes was explained, hands-on style. She came home full of astound stories about teachers teaming up with students to trick each other.. I had so much fun hearing her describe it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Official Google Blog: A different kind of company name

Official Google Blog: A different kind of company name

Google is Gone, Long Live Topeka

I was trying to Google something just now and found out Google changed its name to Topeka!

I find it hilarious and was laughing my way through the article! You can read about it here.

Implications? - Of course. First and foremost, I call for a Topeka festival (kind of like Woodstock) in Google, Kansas. It will be the ultimate free-the-cutsie-geek event. Who's in for the planing committee?
So now emails will become tmails and we can Topenk at Starbucks:)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Passover, Holiday of Spring, Cleaning and Freedom

Passover is one of my favorite holidays, and I'm a big holiday lover. The whole deal with family gathering, good food, 4 cups of wine (I do half each time, from the good wine, not to fall into the equation of 'too much of a good thing'...) reading and singing does it for me. I love the party, the ceremony, I certainly love reading and tradition, and if I didn't mention before - I'm quite the foodie.

Preparing makes for a great celebration - gets you excited and in the mood, especially after scrubbing and shining all the silver, hidden corners and back panels. You feel the calories, unfocused and a bit confused with fumes, detaching themselves from your chubby zones and off they go to fuse themselves to someone else's hiney.

Holiday of Spring
Back in California we had budding and blooming, sunshine, chirping and buzzing all day long. We could barbecue year round, hike naked in the great outdoors and indulge barefooted at the sandy beaches.

Here in New Jersey we had rain, than snow, than Hurricane, now cold, with some sun and some budding bloomers outside. The trees that survived the storm can be heard singing: 'I'm still standing' and the deers came back from wherever they interned for the winter. Chipmunks were recently seen jumping in the back yard and Donald Dog is, once again, imagining the squirrels on a spit.

We are so happy with every budding flower you'd think we came back from exile. Which leads me to...

Sounds trivial but there's something to be said about freedom. We take it for granted. And we seriously shouldn't. This week I lost some of my mobility. My nerve/muscle/sling/tendon got over-stretched and announced a strike. It's amazing how much each of our organs does every day, how much mobility and freedom it enables us. It's amazing how many little choices we are able to allow ourselves everyday. I think we should be thankful for it all, and I am. Are you?

I was saved, this Passover, delivered from agony and pain to the land of jump-with-joy , thanks to the very talented masseuse Yannei. I can roam freely around the county. Can you hear me now?

To health, L'Chayim!

Yours truly,
Sara Brown.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Jersey Dreaming

It is Spring here, in New Jersey. The heat is on, birds started chirping, the park and its swings in a springy blast of action. Our friends took us to the Meat Market in NYC yesterday and there, too, was a springy blast of action, of a different kind of course.

We had a rough storm last week, my son informed me it was a level one Hurricane and some of my friends here just got their electricity back. It could be fun, a candle lit evening of board games and family quality time, but after a special evening like that most people want to get back to their blessed routine of free screens for all, watch their favorite TV show, cozy up with their computer or just zap the TV channels and complain. If you add the heat component you can understand how hard were we hit, due to the known parabola: no electricity = no warmth.

So we are out and about now, counting budding flowers outside, enjoying a light tan and one of those little umbrella drinks. Cheers!

Go out and celebrate,
Sara Brown.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pay It Forward

Please scroll down to the playlist player and pause it. Than watch this, it's funny and worth watching. One pesron engaged in DoGood activity makes others do good as well.

Be happy, help others.

Good weather in New Jersey

It has been a wonderful weekend, full of sunshine, birds chirping, one good birthday party, one great dinner with friends, now I just need to lose some weight and gain some employment and I'll be great!

What makes you happy?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Different Kind of Shoppers - what kind of shopper are you?

There are  many kinds of shoppers, a whole spectrum really, but I decided to focus on three of them, so here they are:
  • The Online Shopper - "I know it, I need it, click click -I got it. NEXT".
  • The Tactile Shopper - "Let me feel it, leaf though it, smell it, try it on, smile to me, be nice, offer your help, I'm here for the shopping experience, not too much! you're bugging me! there, just the right amount of attention. Thanks. I'll be back for more".
  • The Window Shopper - "Wow, look at this! look at that! let me zigzag among stores all day long. I don't really need it, I don't really want to spend on it, but this is so much fun, so I'm here for the experience of it".
Which kind of shopper are you? How many percentage of you is Window, online or tactile? When do you feel mostly tactile? online? window?

Hope to hear from you soon,
Sara Brown.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tax Man

Its grade school, I'm in first grade, it's time for Math. The teacher is tall, the day is long, the kids noisy and the desk graphitized to death. Generations of students before me put their frustration into action and scribbled, etched, carved their sorrow into the desk.

Fast forward to fourth grade, the best and brightest are taught by royalty: The Principal. The group is spearheaded by the son of the shop owner from around the corner. He had lots of practice in algebra, taking our meager pocket money and exchanging it for toys, pencils, candy and the occasional birthday gift. I'm not in that group, I'm more of a shopper, you see.

Years go by and it's me who has a business, selling hand made, artfully designed scrapbook albums. I'm still lucking in Math but VERY good at shopping and so tax season is not my cup of tea. My coffee tucked safely at my side, the desktop smooth and gleaming, I'm having the gloomiest day ever. Excel charts carve their frustration into my brain, receipts are flying about, the different passwords I most creatively created at some point (beware thy hacker, you'll never get THIS combination!) are long forgotten and the effort of re-creating them is enormous. Hubby, AKA Numbers Man, refuses to help - after all, it's my business and I have to learn how to do it myself. Isn't there a quote about  'Thou Shalt Not teach a tired frustrated student'?

Almost midnight, I flex the numbers, stretch my spine, flex my feet, point them, to no avail: numbers stay the same and I have to jump in the receipts bin once again to find that long lost piece of paper that will save the day. Wish me luck...

How's your tax season and what do you think of Obama's efforts to kill the bourgeoisie in favor of social capitalism?

Be happy, get a CPA that does it for you,
Sara Brown.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

6 Golden Rules to Cellular Etiquette

  1. If you don't have anything to say but would like to pass the time, or if you don't have a piece of REALLY juicy gossip for us - take your phone and leave the room. We have our own to-do lists and boring tales, we don't need to hear yours.
  2. If WE are engaged in a conversation or past time, there's no room for your long lost friends and family unless you have them over and a proper, personal introduction is made.
  3. Texting hold the same rules. Yes, I can still see you texting under the table...
  4. If it's me calling and you have to accept the call (of course) let me know right at the start I'm on speaker phone in your car/office and am talking to all of your back seat  friends/kids/carpool mates.
  5. You have to take the call? Really have to? Excuse yourself and go out (I know it's freezing, you had to, remember?)
  6. Public domain is, as its name hints: PUBLIC. Have your PRIVET conversations in PRIVET.
You are not perceived as very important when you are constantly on the phone, just an arrogant nudge. Kapish?

Stay warm and in touch:)
Sara Brown.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Love Day

I know it's tomorrow, Being Jewish we celebrate the concept, so we started today.
I took Prince Charming to The Miracle Worker with the charming Abigale Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, remember?) as Helen Keller, Alison Pill as Helen's teacher, Annie Sullivan (also acted in one of the best movies ever, Dan in Real Life), and one of my favorites on House, as Helen's mother: the lovely Jennifer Morrison. The show took place in this gem of a theater, Circle in the Square, where the stage is circular, the theater small and you can see, sniff and feel the presence of the actors from every corner of it.
We later went for some coffee and Pizza (guess who ate what) and took the bus home - lot's of mother-son interactive time.

When we got home we found out there were surprises waiting for us. Father-daughter time proved to be no less exciting: Princess got her nails done (I was holding on not to do it because it is so un-educational), I got an assortment of body creams from the Body Shop, all pleasantly tried out by the house Princess, and an assortment of chocolates in flavors I really like from Godiva. In addition, I got this massager that looks like... well... it is a family blog, so I won't say, but you know what I mean...

It was all very educational really, so explained Hubby, as part of the campaign to stop Princess from sucking her royal thumb they got the NO liquid to put on the poor thumb and the nails done (highly effective reward part of the campaign).

We ended the day watching The Invention of Lying which has a great concept and a beautiful execution, plus I like Barbie like Jennifer Garner.

And the kitchen sink (had to peek) was clean. Yippee!

Feel free to tell us how you spent your Love Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Snow Day

A childish joy came over us this last Wednesday as the Snow Day was announced by the schools. It caught us getting ready to go to bed, so we all jumped around for a while. Hubby anticipated the snow storm so we had some real good lamb chops for lunch - yummy!
Surprisingly enough, my kids got off screens for awhile and we all enjoyed Candy Land, Uno and Tacki - great games even when your kids bit you! We called grandma and broad-casted breaking news about the snow levels throughout the day, checked on our friends and managed to shovel a bit in the late afternoon.
Here are some photos for you:

Donald finding his way in the snow

Donald is back from the cold

Our neighbors snowy fence

The plants became snow stands

Our sunny California outdoor table became a snow cake at 9am.

Our snow cake at noon

Our snow cake gets measured at noon

Our snow cake at 2pm

Our snow cake at around 4

Our snow cake at 5

Our snow cake at 6, about 12" of snow!

Our snow man is ready and the entryway is Finlay shoveled -Hooray!

Sentence of the day: A family that shovels together, gets massages together!

Stay warm,
Sara Brown.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

5 Reasons to Like Job Search

  1. You meet tons of interesting contacts on the way.
  2. One day all these contacts will be useful in a way you can't even imagine now.
  3. You get to check yourself out once more, figure who you are at this point and what you want to do, who you want to become. It's hard yet great to do every so often.
  4. You learn a lot about jobs, employment opportunities, job search and try to stay away from the Book of Job kinda' mood.
  5. Suits can be awesome. We should bring dress up back, it's fun!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

5 Reasons to Dislike Job Search

  1. You are constantly on sale, on show, out there.
  2. Cover letters are SO cumbersome.
  3. Unless you've been doing the same thing for a decade (yuck) and are looking for the same exact thing again (oy), it's hard to know what's your actual everyday life will look like behind the shiny job description.
  4. At school they teach you to be humble, job searching is a study in ego-inflating.
  5. If you didn't get the job it's quite deflating.
Hope you found your calling, I'm still searching.
Sara Brown

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who Am I?

Good question, if I may say so myself.

It's been a week full of learning, and we still have the other half of it to go.
I decided to learn as much as I can about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), copy writing and social media, so I took some webinars, ordered some books and I'm immersing myself in this mess-of-knowledge, trying to find my Element, like sir Ken Robinson said.
With all these Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn registration forms, with job interviews and discussing me with myself behind my back, I found out some definitions are just empty shells: some 'old skins' and some are just 'for others' but don't really define ME.

So here it is, the real (yet peculiar) definitions I came up with. They fit me best, for now.
  • I'm a bee. I like socializing, I'm the buffet type, I start here, than go there, or maybe that way is better... hey I'm interested in that too... a buzzing bee. With all these words stuck in one phrase you might have mistaken me for a disguised ADD, but I'm not. As bees are, I'm very organized, my hive is spotless (most days) and my file cabinet (or e-files) would have been the envy of the neighborhood, had they known or had access to it. In my family I'm The Queen Bee, of course.
  • I'm a Personality Dula. I know, sounds a bit pretentious, but I am. I help people become who they are in their core. They do the searching and hard work, of course, I just stand aside and suggest, enable, facilitate, mostly soul working. I get to know people and somehow it dawns on me who they really are... most times.
  • I'm a Professional Meidale. Meidale is a Yiddish word meaning 'people's person', especially older people. I was the classic 7 going on 70 and still can converse with anyone about anything as I like many different things, see Bee above.
Who are you? No, not the outside you, who are you really?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Move it Move it Move it

It's Tuesday, and Tuesday is my  Train With The Enemy day. Our trainer is a former KGB instructor, I'm sure of it. And I'm a communist wannabe with capitalistic aspirations to be a buffed up spy movie star. Too bad we left California.

Training starts with a combination techno/pop music so quick you can jog right through this class. That is, if you're a high power spy in training. Our friendly KGB instructor has abs of steel,  killer behind and perfectly sculpted arm muscles that are not too masculine, yet perfectly defined. She is wearing  a 'grandpa tank top' and pumping her arms as I pray for help from the Divine.

Our KGB trainer has this eastern European accent, which made me mistake her for the Elderly Yiddish Training Instructor who trained my great aunt Bluma and her 70+ girlfriends in the park.

But no, our trainer is, for sure, no doubt about it, a former KGB personal.
SHTAND SHTREIGHT she yells, and we all grow an inch. My abs are trembling with fear as I SHTRETCH TWO THREE and I'm dreaming of being, maybe, one day, UP TWO THREE Jennifer Garner in some early Alias version.

Indeed I should. Because at the rate we MOVE IT MOVE IT, schlepping body bars and weights atop the big circus balls, using our abs and our breathes, our muscles and strength, I should have been Rocky Balboa by now, or at least Rockova Shtrongova.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Add Some

Monday is my spinning class day. If I start the week with spinning, I have an energized week. Everything is possible after I've survived Monday's spinning.

It starts in the dark. The music is uplifting and loud. So uplifting and so loud my brain stops spinning for a while so my body is left to its own device. As soon as brain attempts to kick in, the fumes of my fellow spinners' efforts take it by surprise, shutting it off completely. Just imagine, a whole hour without brain...

Commo' Commo', our relentless teacher, energizes the group: "COMO' COMO'" she shouts (hence the name) "GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT" I feel my gut spinning too. "ADD SOME" she instructs, "ZONE 4, YOU'RE IN ZONE 4" which means I'm breathless, a quick minute and I'll be spinning to my first and only heart attack.

The long legged thin thighs no stomach girlfriend just next bike is moving in all directions, her long skinny legs aim to fly on their own accord, for sure she just added some, her top-of-the-head pony tail becomes alive and is happily chirping around, synchronizing with the surround sound. She moves to the left, moves to the right, and fights the fat, fight fight fight!

I should do that too, brain attempts to interfere and get me to add some, but the loud music repeats: 'DON'T LET ME GO' and I think of the cookies and cream, the mocha of my dreams, let those thoughts go and spin harder, adding some resistance. If you love someone, set them free, right?

Como' Como' lifts my spirit and gives it one last spin, get up, stay down, "RIDE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT!"

I've never stole a bike, I was thin back than, didn't need any spining...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow, Reading and Videotapes (DVD's, actually)

It's snowing again. Beautifully falling, decorating the trees like a postcard from somewhere far away. My princess calls it 'illustrated': "look at that illustrated stop sign, mommy, look at that illustrated tree!".
She's reading now, spelling the world around her. A simple car ride becomes a spelling bee contest: "what does N-A-I-L-S mean? what does V-E-R-I-Z-O-N spell? Don't look mommy, let me ask you!" Prince Reader and I can't look and are not aloud to say the word before she's done spelling. It's a whole new world out there, and we are about to spell our way through it!

Talking about reading, we watched Freedom Writers together and my son got the book out of the library. The book consist of the actual diaries of the kids the story/movie is based on.
Prince Reader reads fast. 30 pages into the book he asked himself, and us, whether it's appropriate for him. We read a random page, swallowed hard and answered that question to ourselves: no!
Both of us oppose books censorship so we agreed to discuss it with him, main message to be: 'It's not appropriate for you at this age, but if you want to read it you may. The diaries were written in a certain context, by kids with a very different life reality than yours. We'd like to keep discussing any issues that might bother you with this book. Let us know how it progresses'.

Hubby took the book and was racing through it to see what's up next. Seeing that some interesting issues rose by page 45, he discussed it with our charming reader, who, by that time, put the book aside. Of course the discussion got him reading again, and of course he read it faster than both of us so this morning he showed hubby the following sentence on page 150:
"As his pe***s twirled in my mouth, thoughts of the popcorn he promised me ran through my mind"


Now what do we do? How do you explain to your innocent child that such disgusting abusers exist? How do you keep sex and love connected in a good loving way, when reading about these kinds of relationships? and why now? Why does it have to be out there at such young age?
Yes, I know, you might ask: why did you let him read it in the first place?
I have two answers for you:
  1. We are a family of readers, this is our world's reality.
  2. We have to keep communication open, discuss our way of seeing the world, relationships, love and sex. We can't prevent our kids from reading so to never discuss the subject.
I chickened out. Put it on hubby's bill of education - you raised it, now you explain it.

What would you do? And who would you do it with? (just kidding, couldn't resist)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

5 Good Things About The Snow

I recently spoke to my friend Laurie on the phone. She said they are taking their drinks outside, so they can sun bath. Outch.

We had about 20 degrees that day. And it wasn't the cozy Celsius kind. So here's the advantages of snow for you, Laurie, and all of you who think snow is just cold weather. Snow is a life changing experience!
  1. It is a known rule - when temperature drops, enjoy all the CARBS you want!
  2. Sun bathing in the snow is much more time effective - you get reflections on all sides so your tan is even (got that pun?) more perfect.
  3. You get to spend lots of cozy family quality time at home.
  4. Snow falling is such a magnificent picture!
  5. There's a whole lot of winter fashion we enjoy - most of my wardrobe can be black because I can ACCESSORIES now. So many scarves, hats, sweaters and layers, not to mention the BOOTS.
  6. Here's a bonus one - I can neat more AND wear it, too!

Family Quality Time - Gaby's reading!

Winter Fashion Show

Winter Picture

Stay Warm and healthy
Sara Brown.