Diet Update: The Gods Must Be Cruel

February 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Posted in In The Kitchen, Office Humor | Leave a comment
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The first two weeks of The Great HindJew Pact were a success!  Dipika and I ate healthy foods in moderation, worked out three times each week and felt accomplished and proud.  And then I got the plague (okay, okay, it is just a never-ending cold/cough/sniffles-fest), work got insanely busy, and employees the world over flocked – excuse the pun – to Dark Water Fowl’s office, where we had to play hostesses with the mostesses (read: go out for dinner and drinks more often than I care to admit).  It was a healthy-living disaster, and when we stepped on our respective scales this weekend, we knew we had sinned.  A lot.

So this morning we rededicated ourselves to the cause.  We brought healthy foods in appropriate portions to sustain us during the day, we planned our weekly workout schedule and we gave each other pep talks.  We started feeling better about ourselves again…

Gah! Girl Scout Cookies are the tools of the devil! (Image courtesy of

And then we realized it is Girl Scout Cookie delivery day and we are surrounded by colorful boxes of these tempting treats.  And the worst part is, the branding makes us think it’s okay to practically inhale them a box at a time!

I mean, they’re called Thin Mints and Caramel deLites® (aka Samoas®), which is so unfair, and probably false advertising!  Let’s face it, there’s nothing “lite” about them, and they sure aren’t going to make me thin! 

If I had to identify the silver lining I would say this is a great opportunity to prove that we do, in fact, have willpower.  That we can show ourselves that nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.  And blah blah blah.

Just get the Tagalongs® outta my sight before someone gets hurt!

Fortunately, I Have Optimistic Friends

February 9, 2012 at 9:40 am | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership | 2 Comments
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Everyone knows that fortune cookies are trustworthy and accurate prediction mechanisms for everything from personal milestones to financial and linguistics-related changes.  Want to win the lottery?  Check out your lucky numbers.  Want to learn the most spoken language in the world?  The dessert will teach you one helpful Chinese word at a time (for example: roast duck is, apparently, pronounced “kăo yā”).  Curious about your personality, friendships, relationship status, etc.?  Turn to the cookie.

Which is why yesterday was so distressing for me.  After some yummy Chinese food (read: always too salty, bloat-inducing, hungry-in-an-hour-but-do-this-to-myself-every-time-anyway), I opened my cookie with great expectation, only to find this:

Fortune Cookie Fortune

Move to a wonderful new home this year??  WHAT??  After all the shenanigans and tomfoolery that has ensued from the house we purchased less than a year ago, I’m supposed to move again???  I’m sure you can empathize with my tumbling into a pit of despair upon reading it.  Honestly, I don’t think I could take moving again so soon!  And I’m pretty sure my family, friends, colleagues and random passers-by couldn’t handle listening to me have to move again, either.  But the cookie decreed it, so it seemed I was doomed.

Until my friends reminded me that sometimes the wise cookie speaks in metaphors.  Home, my friend Michael said, is not where you hang your hat; it is where your heart is.  And Dipika echoed that sentiment, saying that the cookie meant within the year our house will be in good enough shape for it to start feeling like a wonderful home – we’ll be metaphorically moving from our “in progress house” into our “happy home” soon!

Thank heavens for optimists!  Because of friends’ proclivity toward silver linings, my faith in the wisdom of the cookie is intact, and I’m feeling more optimistic about Chez L-ski, too!

Photo Phriday: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like (Tacky) Christmas

December 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Photo Phriday | 2 Comments
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As a yid, Christmas-time can be fraught with difficulties.  (Prepare your tiniest violin for me…)  December means: listening to radio stations being overtaken by Christmas music (it’s cute at first, but gets old really quickly); friends getting mounds of gifts in just one morning while my eight crazy nights barely hold a candle (punny, I know) to their loot; and being ignored by Santa even though I’m pretty sure I’ve been good all year.  Seriously – I don’t even get coal.

Dear reader(s), it isn’t easy for a heb like me.

But I’m always searching for silver linings.  On the plus side, I never had to sit on the lap of a beef and cheese smelling, pajama-clad old man in a department store; until I met my husband, I never had to fight the mall marauders for gifts; and I can fully enjoy holiday decorations without having to go through the trouble and expense of decking my halls… or roof… or yard.  Because let’s be honest: I love (looking at) outdoor Christmas decorations – and the tackier, the better!

I’m pretty sure the tackiest décor can be found in my old haunt, Somerville, Mass., where they make gaudy ornamentation an art!  Take, for example, this over-the-top home:

Tacky Christmas Decorations

Now THAT'S how decorating is done!

Isn’t it magnificent?!?  I’m pretty sure you can see this house from space!

I’m on the hunt for additional spotlightable homes!  If you happen to stumble upon similarly tacky décor, send it my way (tweet photos to @PR_SarahG) and I’ll share it on Factinis.

Happy December, dear reader(s)!

Hurricane Irene Blows

August 30, 2011 at 11:43 am | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership | 15 Comments
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If I hear one more person talk about how they weren’t at all impacted by Hurricane Irene, I may lose my… errr… cool.  Because, as you can guess with the way my life has been heading lately (my house is only considered inhabitable to drunk twenty-something boys, my husband’s armpits burn, and our kitchen and bathroom are, well, practically nonexistent), we are still feeling the love from that rhymes-with-witch, Irene.

But given the choice between dissolving into a puddle of tears or utilizing every magnifying glass in my purview to find the elusive silver lining, I’m doing my best to look for that Ag.

Always look on the bright side... and that's an order!

Take, for example, the fact that we still don’t have power at Chez L-ski.  Can you imagine more flattering light than that generated by candles?  Seriously, those sticks of wax hide every flaw!  I’m practically a supermodel when there’s no one else around and my house is almost dark but for the light of the Yankee Candle (which I managed to unearth even though I can’t unpack anything substantial yet).  Win!

Or consider that the basement flooded (again) and without electricity, we can’t wet-vac the water out.  Arps found the best of that situation, encouraging me to reflect on how romantic my situation is.  Don’t believe her?  Just think about Venice… if I could locate a gondola, I could mimic the canals and create my very own romantic – and private! – honeymoon spot in my home!

You might say: yeah, but what about the dead deer on your front lawn?  Well, dear reader(s), that one is harder… but after much consideration, I’ve found the plus with that, too!  You see, this morning we were “alerted” to the fact that there was a deceased Bambi sprawled across our front lawn (looks like someone hit it with a car last night – you know, without street lights it’s tough to see in the wilds of Boston’s Metro West), by a distressed jogger who was startled by the sight.  The plus: with no electricity, the jogger’s scream worked even better than my silly old alarm clock.  Let’s just say I wasn’t late for work this a.m.!

And I’d like to give a special shout-out to my staying-classy colleagues!  Megan, who brought me a kickass sage stick straight from New Orleans to help cleanse my house juju!  And to my browntastic gal, Dipika, who has treated me to many a meal during which I could eat (and sometimes drink) my feelings!  My disastrous living situation has shown me how lucky I am, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

But I think I’ve learned the lesson well enough, and it’s time to move on…

Please.  Now.  Seriously.

~ Sarah

An Old Married Lady Already?

October 4, 2010 at 8:21 am | Posted in Spam | Leave a comment
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I won’t even be hitched until this weekend, but already society has written me off as old married lady. Don’t believe me? I got this in the mail on Saturday:

AARP says I should be retired already... count me IN!

That’s right – apparently I now qualify for membership in the American Association of Retired Persons. Ummm… Yeah…

In my quest to always find the silver lining, I’ve decided to interpret this as a sign that I shouldn’t work anymore. Apparently it’s time to retire, and that sounds dreamy to me! Andrew, however, is less than taken with the idea, citing the reality of bills, saving for a down-payment on a house, supporting our future children (don’t get too excited yet, Mo, RWFOTB and mom-in-law Kathy: this is not our way of saying I’m preggers). He is clearly not seeing the bigger picture. 

Another plus? I love early dinners and early bedtimes – I think I’d make a lively addition to the early bird special club, the news programs are too depressing these days to bother staying up past 10 p.m., and the modern marvel of “Digital Video Recording” (or whatever you kids are calling it these days) will ensure I can watch all my stories at a reasonable hour – like 8 p.m., when I treat myself to my nightly glass of warm milk.

And finally, the benefit that really sold me: senior discounts! Forget student rates (don’t judge, Andrew is a student again!), seniors have the discount market cornered! Restaurants, attractions – you name it, they can save! So count me in, AARP!


(but you can call me Mrs. Wilderrol, you rude little whipper-snapper)

Bizarro World‏

May 19, 2010 at 7:53 am | Posted in Around Boston, Married Life | 8 Comments
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Some days I wonder what the universe is up to… Sleeping on the job? Playing practical jokes? Completing a double-dog dare? Just not paying enough attention?   

I’m sure you have these days, too. Not the kind where one weird thing happens; the kind where enough bizarre things go down that you can’t help but wonder if you’re on the universe’s Candid Camera. Nothing horrible or tragic (thankfully), just a few things that, as C + C Music Factory says, “make you go hmmm.” Case in point? I’m fairly certain the universe was punking me yesterday. For example, I received two pieces of mail that were both a little “off.”   

Am I marrying a stranger? Who is Andrew Rottensteiner??

The first was a lease renewal for our apartment (what we affectionately call Chez Gerrowski). Other than a rental increase that we don’t wish to discuss (but we will say: oy!), the letter was fairly standard, except for my fiancé’s name. We’ve been together for nearly six years and all this time I have, apparently, had his name wrong. The “L-ski” we know and adore, according to our apartment complex, is really named “Andrew Rottensteiner.” Yeah. Rottensteiner. Could I become Sarah Rottensteiner? No. No, I don’t think I could. The silver lining here (you knew I would do my best to find one) is that I’m hoping they will bill all future monthly rent payments to Mr. Rottensteiner, and leave the real Andrew and I in peace. While we’re at it, let’s put good ol’ Rottie’s name on our electric, gas, phone, television and internet bills, too! Not to mention car payments…   

Which brings me to bizarro mail exhibit #2: the monthly bill from Honda for my faithful “Blue Steel.” On this month’s statement, Honda included a cute little parenting suggestion it felt I could put to use: namely, that I should spoil my soon-to-be college coed! Here’s the bill…   

Parents: Get your college-bound kids a Honda Scooter today! Riiight...

When I leased my car I had to give Honda all sorts of info about myself and I’m sure they know that I’m far too young to have a college-aged kid. Heck, after the application, background/credit check, they may know more about my life than I do. So…   

I will try to do the right thing here: Honda, since you know every intimate fact and detail about my life, if this soon-to-be undergrad does exist, go ahead and have said child get in touch with his/her dear ol’ mama! I’m nothing if not nurturing…   

~ Sarah (aka “mom” and the future Mrs. Rottensteiner??)

Special Exhibit – Limited Time Only!

March 29, 2010 at 7:53 am | Posted in Misc. | 6 Comments
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Last week I flew to visit a client out of state, which means that I got to experience the joy of the TSA twice (there and back) in less than 48 hours. And both times they put me on display (sob) in a square glass cell!

Have you ever seen that Pledge commercial where a housewife is stuck in a room surrounded by glass walls that’s full of dusty furniture, and she cleans the whole place easily (with Pledge, of course) to get out in time to pick up her kids? Well, the glass cells I recently experienced were both far dirtier and more awkward (with less comfortable seating) than the supposedly filthy one in that commercial!

In terms of awkwardness, the cell is in the middle of the security area where every traveling clown could point and laugh at me, the real animal in the cage. And no one threw popcorn into the cage like at a zoo! Seriously, little kids stared, tugged on their mothers’ clothes and asked what the “bad lady” was doing in the “time out box.”

And don’t even get me started on the cleanliness issue… (shudder)

Why, you may ask, was I singled out as a threat and made to wait in a glass cell in the middle of airport security while the delightful TSA staff determined my individual threat level? After all, I sure look like a hardened criminal…

Apparently my boot is a security hazard!! That’s right – along with an aching ankle, I could store all sorts of mayhem and mischief-makers in it! And so, since I couldn’t remove my boot and put it through the X-ray machine with my carry-on and my right shoe, I got “special treatment” as a suspected terrorist (okay, okay, I’m exaggerating – but it is funny to picture myself on a most wanted list).

Leaving Boston that special attention meant waiting to be “swabbed” in the glass cell while my boss watched over my luggage, jacket and right shoe. They swabbed my boot and my hands, ran a metal detector around the boot, and then had me stand on a mat in the cell while I waited. Returning to Boston that special attention meant being removed from the line and first placed in the body scanner (at least buy me dinner first!), and then being quarantined in the cell (a.k.a. on display) while my boot and hands were swabbed a second time.

Frankly, I haven’t felt this mysterious in ages, and, other than the considerable delays and unwanted spotlight, it makes me feel like kind of a big deal! Plus I was offered wheelchair assistance (which I didn’t take, of course), allowed to cut in line for the restroom (definitely said yes to that offer, and had the chance to board the plane first (if I wanted to…but I didn’t. Why would I voluntarily sit on a cruddy puddle jumper for longer than I had to? They’re just lucky I didn’t toss my cookies in flight!).

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty darn sick of this accessory, but determined to keep discovering silver linings – especially amusing ones!

~ Sarah

Always Look on the Bright Side (of Boots)*

March 16, 2010 at 8:00 am | Posted in Around Boston | 6 Comments
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All the cool kids are wearing this!


As April revealed in yesterday’s blog, David Beckham and I have matchy-matchy injuries (which means we’re practically related!).     

And although commuting home last night through the torrential downpours and flooded streets was significantly less-than-pleasant, especially while dragging a “fashionable” boot (that collected its own puddle to –ahem– cushion my aching ankle), I am determined not to let this minor setback get me down. Always searching for the silver lining, I have decided to make a list of all the good things that can come from this new accessory – feel free to add to the list, too!     

  • I’m now significantly more mysterious and potentially tougher-seeming. Did I injure myself while skiing off-trail? In a bar fight? A high speed chase? No one knows…and no one is gonna find out! (Partly because I have no idea how I did it, and partly because not explaining how it happened makes me even more mysterious).
  • Enhanced resistance training! Sure, I can’t do kickboxing any more, but who needs it when lugging that darn boot around? It sure gets heavy!
  • I get “the look” from total strangers; the one that says, “Whatever tragedy befell you is awful (but I sure hope it doesn’t happen to me).” Why is this positive? I’m not sure, but it is a little funnier each time it happens.
  • I am taller when perched on that leg.
  • Andrew gets to demonstrate chivalry by dropping me off close to entrances to avoid making me walk too much.
  • Theoretically I am offered seats on crowded trains. I say theoretically because it hasn’t happened yet, but when I was waiting at North Station last night a kind, sensitive young lad did offer me his bench seat, so that counts.
  • It comes with an air pump and when I fill the boot up in public, I feel like a cool kid wearing those awesome Reebok Pump sneakers from the early 90s. I’m sure I’m the envy of all my friends.

These were awesome... in 1991!


What else, dear reader(s), can I use to make lemonade?     


*(Please read the title to the tune of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”)

About Factinis

January 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Posted in | Leave a comment

Factinis is my attempt to find humor in everyday things, to tease out the silver lining, and take a funny (I hope!), quirky and sometimes snarky (but never too serious) look at my life.  The name is reminiscent of a martini, but instead of a slick drink, I serve the facts (according to how I perceive them, of course).


Happy Garbage Day!

December 7, 2009 at 10:31 am | Posted in Misc. | 3 Comments
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Monday is quite possibly the “funnest” day of the week! No other day jars us quite the same way; no other day has been linked to medical concerns (e.g. a “Case of the Mondays,” and the anxiety-based condition, “Spastic Colon Sunday,” caused by concern over impending Mondays) with the same causal relationship. And now, thanks to my awesome commute, Monday also presents a kind of obstacle course to ensure I’m starting the week on my toes. 

While I waited for a train that is considered on time provided it is less than 30 minutes late (I’m sure this will fly in your office, too: Sorry our meeting started 29 minutes ago, but I’m actually NOT late according to the MBCR. Please begin again for my benefit.), I had the distinct pleasure of dodging frozen garbage. 

If there are garbage elves, our train platform got a visit from their entire family! Here’s a photo to help you visualize my morning: 

I’m the kind of gal who is always searching for the silver lining, so here’s what I have come up with so far (with a little assistance from April and RWC): 

  • Because it was only 22 degrees this morning, the garbage didn’t actually stink. Had this been a summertime Monday, we might have needed gas masks…
  • Since the garbage was hard as a rock (frozen), I had extra incentive to dodge the trash flying in the cold, cold wind… A good start to my pre-wedding workout regimen.
  • If the train never showed up, we would survive because…

  1. There would be plenty of raw materials to build a fort.
  2. Garbage – specifically the paper variety – makes great insulation. But it’s flammable, so please don’t smoke while packin’ paper.
  3. There is probably a fair amount of food in the garbage so starvation isn’t an immediate threat.
  • At least this garbage isn’t in a heaping pile in the Pacific… Plastique, you shall not claim more mass.
  • One man’s trash is another man’s treasure… ‘nuff said!

Happy Monday,

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