Friday, December 30, 2011

The Ways We Communicate

  • Remember the line: "Mom, are you asleep?" usually recited in a low whisper, while checking your mom's eyelid up close? I find texting to be the same.
  • If you want to call my attention but don't want me to over think what you're saying, buy me a gift. A BIG ONE, nicely wrapped and hand it over with a big smile and a hug.
  • Meet - nothing compares to face time.
  • More people at your party equals more communication venues, more flow, a good chance of at least 2 meeting of the minds. Make sure you have the right space for it...
  • If it's a secret don't communicate it. Not to ANYONE.
  • Want to surprise and delight me? send me hidden messages - fun codes, hidden notes in unexpected places, think creatively. Do Not use gossipy people to channel your messages.
  • Communication is at its best when both sides are ready
  • Communication is key to good relationship - but you knew this one before, right?
How about you? Please communicate:)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No heat, no light, got friends

It is dark and powerless in our area of little towne. We slept in an encampment by the fireplace, washed dishes by hand - thank G-d for small wonders, the water heater runs on gas, so it is quite a joy warming my fingers under the stream of soapy water AND getting read of the dirty dishes at the same time!

I’m in the library, writing to you and counting my blessings as a way of not getting depressed. If you need some Pollyanna mood, please skip to the blessing part below. If you are up for beaching, keep reading.

The Beaching list:

It is DAMN COLD! I don’t like cold. It’s freezing.

I don’t know how they did it in the old days, probably they had much less room, but here we are, all equipped with our iPhones, smart phones, droids, androids, BlackBerry, iPad, iPod, amplifier stations for the formerly mentioned, radiant heating, big screen TVs, elaborate ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, laptops, gazillion gadgets and NO GENERATOR!

Hubby actually offered to buy a generator and my response was: ‘let’s not make this big buy a hasty decision, electricity will probably be up soon and then we can sit down, discuss and decide, not under pressure. Well guess who’s under pressure now… if there was a generator available I would be up and ready with cash at hand but now there are NONE. On the other hand, we can sit and discus...

Starbucks looks like a deployed area. Every outlet hooked up to, every seat taken. Bacteria must be happily thriving.

No TV, no electronics, no connection, no access to news (ok, I’m exaggerating a bit), no phone, no video games, no light for reading, no way to heat up food or cook, no internet, no connection – did I say that already?

The Blessings list:

Few friends offered to host us while power is down – we love you!

We planned Hubby’s birthday and had it on Saturday (20 out of the 30 people showed up – yey!), in the candle lit living room, near the fire place, with big sweaters on, lots of cheese and wine – we had a blast!

Kids at school, hubby at work, my office was closed but now it is operating.

Malls are open

When in despair – clean. The fridge content is at the freezing garage, its inside clean (I really like the hot water)

Library is open, found outlets, am warm!

We have HOT WATER - yey!

Managed to talk to my mom, always up lifting

No vacuum, no light to see those pesky little dust bunnies:)

Went for coffee with a friend, found a warm CVS to walk around in –Oh, the glory of capitalistic society!

Restaurants are awesome and open

Amazing what we need to be happy when we have a lot. Even more amazing how little we need to make us happy when we have less.

Stay warm and happy, make sure to count your blessings every once in a while and share some of them with others. You’ll be surprised what you find!

Yours truly,
Sara Brown.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just One More Thing

Now I'm standing in the in midst of a war zone (i.e. 'kitchen'), dishes bubbling on the cook top, the oven hissing joyfully, serving spoons ready to go, piles of dirty little dishes in the sink.

I have a hard time convincing myself I'm really done. Maybe one more dish? we don't want the guests to go hungry... what will they say?

I have a list for the month, for each week, for the day, for the different parts of the day: first shift in the morning (some call it 'work'), second shift in the afternoon (kids), third shift in the evening (whatever didn't get done in the last two shifts, plus Hubby). So while Princess dances and Handsome plays, I do the shopping, put a little something in the oven, a small load in the washer and off to do my schlepping rounds. 5 minutes are a whole lot when you are having fun... Maybe I'll make it to Marshals, it's right by the supermarket.... Get One More Thing done.

I teach my ways to my kids, too. We review Math on the way to school, read in one language on the way back, read to Hubby when he gets home, review spelling words over breakfast. If there's any more time we plan ahead - but of course!

I wake up at around 2am. A mysterious purplish light shines through the room. For a moment there I think the mother ship has finally come for me! But as I approach the source, Princess' iPod, I see the Smurfs message about the ripened tomatoes.

Halleluiah blue friends, I'll add gazpacho to the list!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Education - Revolution Needed

There are a few points to be made for better education.
I know, I know, you are thinking: what a beat up subject to right about, stop complaining and go with the flow.

Only going with the flow isn't my strongest suit. So here are my points:

1.      Technologize - no point lugging heavy books back and forth. No point spending money on printing those books, buying current additions, etc. Students should be assigned a laptop, schools have Wi-Fi connection, the rest is there. Homework and tests can be submitted through email, post on blog, forums, HW rooms, memory stick. Schools with smart boards can check homework at the board.

2.      The case for Skills vs. Content - we should teach more skills, less content. The skill or ability of finding information is far more important than the skill of memorizing data. With smart phones at almost every hand, I doubt people should memorize poems, bible chapters or dates anymore.

3.      Information is king, now check who's the queen writing it - Students must learn how to scrutinize the information at their fingertips. They should know the agenda of the publisher, or at list make an attempt to check it, before taking that view into account.

4.      Great idea, now sell it! - Presenting a concise idea in a marketable way is another important skill. It is never too early to start, too - just think of "I want that toy, it is at my friend's hand, how do I get it?" tactics children learn early on. Later they can make the case for pocket money, a gadget, a grade upgrade or a course they want to take with this spirally learned curriculum.

5.      Survival of the 'hood' or Sesame St. smart- Community building is a skill we acquire (or not) through life. Same comment goes for money managing and social and individual responsibility. It used to be taught at home, by your parents or Mr. Rogers. It used to be taught by a close knit community, THE NEIGHBOURHOOD. Some have it now, some don't, but as a society/nation/human beings grouped in space and time, we need it.

6.      Thinking skills - how do I approach a problem? Once I observed a lesson at my daughter's school. The teacher taught a thinking process by folding a paper into four squares, each square showing development. She asked the students to draw an ant. Then she showed them how to approach that task in 4 stages (if they grow up troubled they should get the additional eight): what we know, what we need, how we get there, completion.

7.      Know thou strengths - and focus on developing those strengths. No need to spend all this time making you better at something you'll never excel in.

I know there's much more to be said, and hope you have something to add.
I'm off to take a walk as part of my solve-the-fat-problem skills I acquired, looking to sharpen my 'presenting a concise idea in a marketable way' skills.

Sara Brown.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Life Coach Advice

If I had a life coach, s/he would have advised me to:

1. Take it one day at a time

2. Take a deep breath, count 'till ten and release the air slowly between days (see #1)

3. Count my blessings. Count again. Write it down. Read it to myself. Hang it on the bathroom mirror 

4. Appreciate what I have and remember to thank for it 

5. Dream bigger and more everyday 

6. Do something about it 

7. Be assertive and require people to acknowledge my contribution/strengths/good traits 

8. Capitalize on my strengths instead of trying to overcome my weaknesses 

9. Carve time during the day to relax, do nothing, be me with no obligation/certificate attached

10. Brush, floss, eat my vegetables, walk/swim, laugh every! single! day!

What would you advise yourself?

Yours truly,
Sara Brown.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Home Together

It has been a while, I know. Sorry to keep you waiting.
I've been at my job for a year now, we've been at our house for almost 6 months now, hosted many guests and as I peek from the upstairs office I can see the roof of our Sukkah with some golden red leaves decorating its top.

Some new neighbors got in the houses around us and now, when we walk the dog or do yard work (I do management and crowd control), it feels a bit like Mr. Rogers' neighborhood. It's fun to know thy neighbor, have them stop by with their dog/baby/baked goods. Especially baked goods.

Princess like dancing in front of the glass doors made into mirrors at dark, Handsome decided to invest more in his studies this year (halleluiah) but still complains about playing the piano. I like it when he masters a new piece. After all the shouting and complaining it feels good to accomplish a harmonious musical piece.

I hope all is well with you and yours. I will try to take some pictures and add them in soon:)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

5 Things You Can Do When Your Kids Are Away

G-d blessed me with a pair of awesome, magnificent human beings called: my parents. Earlier this month The Magnificents took our kids and off they went to grandma's house (Hallelujah sounds). While they are there I managed to work more (can't help it) but also to enjoy the following:
  • No limits time limit - no need to drop off, pick up, drive to, be there at, etc.
  • Guilt free days - with no cooking, next to nothing in the fridge, no guests-no cleaning policy and no-specific 'where' I should be at in 'no specific time', I'm free to roam the country... OK, county...fine- neighbourhood - on my own, at my own pace
  • The ultimate diet - no need to grocery shop and cook, definitely means slimmer. Add all-the-time-in-the-world-to-go-to-the-gym and I should be Julia Roberts by now. Is there anyway I can physically stretch me? I know how to stretch my time, abilities AND all about how to gain those cute stretch marks but I can't seem to stretch myself taller...Help?
  • Discover your girlfriends - well Aloha girls, I can finally go out with you. On our own! sans kids! do dangerous, adventurous stuff we never dared to before! Coming for coffee?
  • I can shop 'till I drop, I can party all night, I can read for hours, I can spend time with Hubby, I can talk on the phone, with NO INTERRUPTIONS at all for as long as I want; I can make my hair appointment whenever I want, I have time to get a facial/massage/whatever pampering thing I want, I can call/Skype with the kids and know they are coming back soon.
So forgive me for not staying long to chat, I have some places to go, people to see:)

Happy summer to you all,
Sara Brown.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Almost in...

It's the final stage of our new home in the East.

Handsome and Princess chose their rooms and their paint, blue and pink-purple respectively. Lows team members are on a first name basis with us and our contractor Jeff misses sleep over the coming inspections. We think we should just move in with him and his family, I'm sure their home is very well built.

We celebrated the last week of building last weekend by... guess what.... building an IKEA closet for the walk-in! Still is fun. NOT.

Below are some photos from before. I promise to post the new and improved as soon as we are in, the art is hanged, towels on the hangers and my wine glass is filled :)

Granite in the kitchen

Preparing for the winter with radiant heat

Speckling 'shoes'

The neighbours asked me about the house warming party.....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We Have Rooms!

My original title was: We sheetRocketed, but I change it since it didn't come out the way I felt...

A lot has happened in the past month:

I visited CA with Handsome and saw my friends, hugged Laurie and Nolan, dined at the Hagit's, felt the warm air, danced at Jacob's Bar Mitzvah, even got big bright lemons from my friend Orit's garden!

We ordered all tiles, put in all windows, chimney'd the chimney, got all our faucets, ordered all the light fixtures, got air and electricity in, passed inspections and.... have sheetrock in! what can I say - we rock!

Our architect Raul of Imagine Architecture is amazing and so is our very favorite builder, carpenter and contractor Jeff  from Jeff Berger and Sons, who calms us when we get too anxious and explains every step so we can 'see' it in our minds eye even when there's nothing to see... yet.

Below you can see how far we got.... so far:)

Garage side

Hopefully we'll have enough money for a fancier outhouse. Just kidding....

Before the chimney went up...

Chimney is up - isn't she lovely? 

There's a window over there now - promise to post a picture soon

Our bedroom atop the vaulted ceiling of the living room 

Have I mentioned we now have actual rooms now, since the sheetrock is in?

In the rooms and bathrooms, that is...

Bubble bath anyone?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Purim Everyone!

Click to see:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

F... Attack

I hear them coming. They make little licking and sucking noises. They get closer, closer, TLUK!

This is it, they attache themselves to my stomach, my legs, my behind, adjusting ever so slightly so installation is permanent.

I try to say 'no', I try to shake them off, I stretch, jump, cycle, try to shake them off in water and on land but the attachment is strong.

They are calories and they will not let me go! (literally, I'm heavier).