December 29, 2011


A couple years ago, a friend sent me the most massive astrology forecast I had ever seen. I had just separated so things were obviously a little tough and life was complicated. Looking and hoping for better luck, I turned to this 4 page horoscope outlining details of what would hopefully become a bright future. Show me the money.

Alas, no dice. It appeared that financially, romantically, and professionally, my life would basically SUCK until sometime in 2011.

Of course, it didn't suck. Always. Just sometimes. 2011 came with a lot of highs and lows. Many wins and losses. Constant pushes and pulls.

And while there's been many successes, small triumphs, and wonderful moments of luck and love, more than not: I'm happy to say goodbye 2011. I'm happy to start anew.

I won't list all my resolutions for 2012, but I will say, in general, this will be the year to BE KINDER. More kind to my family, my friends, my body, my mind. I'm very hard on myself. It's time to lighten up, worry less, be STILL more. Time to get off of your Facebook and on to my fantastic stories. It's time to stop stalking and start taking stock in what's in front of me. It is time to BREATHE.

Before I tip my Forty to the year that put hair on my chest and "didn't kill me, but definitely made me stronger," I'd like to look back on a few of my favorite stories and posts. Boy, did I accrue some kick ass stories. Some of which, sorry, will never see the light of day on this blog. (Gotta save something for my memoirs. Ha). Here are some of my favorites from 2011...

And now... the new!!! I look forward to sharing many more stories and memories in 2012.... Here's to a beautiful and bright, happy and healthy, simple and sacred New Year.



The other day, I told J that in a few weeks soccer would be starting again.
"Who's going to be on my team?"
"Well," I said, "Blake and Sammy... They'll be on your team again..."
"Who's NOT going to be on my team?"
Pause. Seriously? Who's NOT going to be on your team? Um, kid. About 6 billion people won't be on your team.
"There's a lot of people that won't be on your team, Jonah."
"Tell me who."
I literally started naming random people, "President Obama, Lady Gaga, The Backyardigans, Grandpa..."
"Who else?"
Conversations like this obviously amuse me. But mostly? They concern me: They. Can. Go. On. FOREVER. There is no answer that will satiate him. EVER.

I know I'm not alone though. I know this is an epidemic/rite of passage that every parent experiences. Few people are as honest about how taxing (ie. downright pull your hair out annoying) this can be than comedian Louis C.K. He has some great bits about his daughters. This is one of my favorite ones. Enjoy.

December 22, 2011


Recently many family members asked me what Jonah wants for Chanukah. I would often respond with a "he doesn't need anything" (an answer that grandmothers cannot accept) and follow up with "okay, um....okay... he's in to robots and science stuff..." But at a recent westside "be a better parent" group, I learned from the jedi parenting master that 4 year olds are in such a "gimme gimme" stage, that now would be the time to talk to them about giving back. That instead of them telling us all the things they want and need, we should encourage them to think about what we can do or give to others.

So I tried that. I sat Jonah down... Told him how lucky we are to have so many family and friends and how nice it would be to give everyone something special. We went through and made a list of all our loved ones. For whatever reason, he thinks my my mom needs a new blanket, my boyfriend needs a mirror and my nana needs a new pan for making cookies. (All of this stuff may be true).

Of course, the conversation of gift giving didn't last long as his concern over how many gifts he would get this year prevailed. Just as he was getting in the bath, he asked me to go get a piece of paper and pen. "Why?" I asked. "Because I need you to write down all the things I want for Chanukah." "Ohhhhhhhh. Okay."

So, dutifully I obeyed.


Pen & Paper in hand.

Me: So. What first?

J: A volcanU thing. That were going to give Joe-Joe for his birthday. But I want it. A volcanU science explosion thing. I want that.

Me: Next...

J: A big shooter gun that would shoot people with a pretend bullet coming out of it.


J: ... and a ball to play with... Inside.

Me: Ok...

J: ... a big boat to sail... on the floor. (Pause). What else do IIIIIIIII want?

Me: Hmm... How about a computer game for you to play on Mommy's computer?

J: No. You don't have an app store.

Me: Oh. (Pause). How about books?

J: Yes, books. And dress up stuff.

Me: What kind of dress up stuff?

J: Scary dress up stuff. With masks. Like Count Dracula. Or Spiderman, or Batman.

Me: How about an instrument, for music?

J: Yes, I'd really like a guitar. And a tuba. And a keyboard. And a violin. And a trumpet.

Taking notes feverishly.

J: I need new play dough. Different colors. Like purple. Or blue. Or yellow. Or green.

Me: This is a great list. I think that's ----

J: Whaaaaat else do IIIIIIIIIII neeeeeeed?

Me: Jeez, that's a lot of stuff. I'm not sure...

J: I need more stuff.

Me: Puzzles?

J: Yes. New puzzles. A puzzzle of a volcanU to see all the lava.

Me: Okay, well this is a big list. So I'll let everyone know.

J: But, mommy, I need 100, ninety, 30, thousand presents.

Me: Gotcha. Alright, well last final thing... ?

J: Oh, I want a (cash) register. That's like the one at the Zimmer Museum.

Me: I'll see what I can do.

J: Is that a good list, mommy?

Me: Very good. BUT remember, the holidays are not just about getting. It's about giving too.

J: But mommy, we don't celebrate Christmas.

Me: That's true.

J: Because we're jewish.

Me: That's true.

J: So Santa doesn't bring me gifts on Christmas...

Me: That's right.

J: So you only need to get me all this stuff for Chanukah. Ok, mom? Just for Chanukah.

Me: Got it. Just for Chanukah.

Good thing there are eight nights.

December 21, 2011


Something tells me working the breakfast shift, just down the road from the actual magical kingdom, wasn't part of "Jasmine's" fairy tale.

December 13, 2011


When J first started preschool, I always seemed to get stuck with the stuff on the sign up sheets outside the classroom that NO ONE would wish on their worst enemy.... Taco salad for 35 people, muffins (without dairy, wheat, nuts, or flavor), kosher egg salad, etc... I cursed the gods (and moms) of preschool and complained that no one understood the plight of the working mom. Sorry I'm not at all the pick up and drop offs wearing a stupid cardigan, skinny jeans and flats, and getting all excited and nervous about what to sign up for on THE list. OH, that GODDAMN LIST.

Well this year, somehow (and I swear to you, it wasn't voluntary) I became a room rep. This combined with the fact that I now am an independent contractor and work from home means I do a lot more pick up and drop offs and therefore have much more access to said goddamn list, ie. First mother effing dibs bitches!

So a couple weeks ago, as I was leaving morning drop off J's teacher said she was about to put out the list for the class Chanukah party. She told me to sign up for something before all "the easy stuff" was taken. EASY? I want easy. Don't get stuck with the noodle kugle, or worse latkes. NO. I paid my friggin' dues. I want easy. I scanned the list. Napkins and utensils, fruit salad, Chanukah cookies, mini bottles of water.... MINI. BOTTLES. OF. WATER? Done and done. Who's bringing the bottles of water? Jennifer Fucking Brandt is. That's who.

Feeling victorious and like I just scored the last, hottest dress at a sample sale, I turned to leave. And then it hit: Bottles of water? Bottles of water???? Really?! You're going to bring bottles of water to your son's Chanukah party? That's what you want him to remember you by? The mom that brings bottles of water to the festival of lights? Be better than that, Jenny. BE. BETTER. THAN. THAT.

I scanned the list again. Cheese sandwiches (for 25). I can do cheese sandwiches. Bread, cheese, sandwich. My mind started to race. I can do MORE than bread, cheese, and sandwich. I can do butter and wait for it: shapes. CHANUKAH shapes. And if I'm feeling extra ambitious and cute, I might even grill the little effers. (Well, let's not get carried away with ourselves here...).

Excited to let the mommy within do her thing, I had our afternoon of sandwich making all planned. I set up a little assembly line... I buttered, J put on the cheese, the bread, and picked his shape. Chanukah, oh chanukah, come make some cheese sandwiches....

Little by little, the crafty, clever and culinary master I knew existed within emerged and I was mentally kicking the asses of all the other cardigan and flats wearing moms out there
. Of course, I wasn't exactly prepared for what to do with the remnants of the 2 loaves of bread I used to make these miniature dreidel, menorah and star of David prizes....

At the urging of my mom, I'm going to try to make a souffle. Alas, I'll finally be able to summon the French, butter loving, woman I know exists within....

December 7, 2011

December 4, 2011


Ho, friggin', ho. 'Tis the season to be jolly... and make fun of holiday sweaters. Whether the lit up mall and long lines for Santa are getting you in the holiday spirit or not, one thing is for certain, this time of year, especially for parents, is pure madness. From holiday parties at schools, to gifts for teachers, to scheduling play dates and plans while school's out, our dance card is full... And that's not including the holiday work parties and family/friend get togethers (where I pray that the egg nog is spiked and the latkes are extra crispy). A few weeks ago, my girl Robin Saperstein of High Heel in a Haystack came over and we played adult dress up. Faaaaaashion! We started talking about the holidays and some of the events and parties I've got (believe me, I'm not that cool)... Robin helped me come up with a few outfit options. Hopefully this will inspire you to think about what you're going to wear... assuming you haven't already committed to a lovely red knit sweater adorned with an embroidered Rudolph and a yule tide log.... If you have that look picked out, please wear it. And invite me to the party. Oh, please.