Tuesday, November 24, 2020

I'll Take Potpourri For $100

"I'll take Potpourri for $100, Alex." "This eight-word sentence sums up the on-going psychological fall-out from COVID-19."  "What is, 'The pandemic has induced an epidemic of anxiety.' " "You are correct, SJG. Mazel tov from the Great Beyond. Go again." "I'll take Potpourri for $200, Alex. And please, say hi to my folks if you bump into them." "I'll think about it. This seven-word sentence is exactly what your mother once said to me when she saw me in a restaurant." "What is, 'I didn't realize you were so short.' "You are correct, SJG. It hurt my feelings, but I got over it, quickly. Go again." 

"I apologize on her behalf. What can I say? Bluntness runs in the family. I'll take Potpourri for $300, Alex." "A mixture of dried, fragrant materials that provide a gentle scent, commonly in residential settings." 


"What is, 'Potpourri.' " "You are correct." "Or, as I like to think of it, Alex, the same fragrant materials that have been marking time in the same Italian glass bowl for at least 18 years. The other day, I found a clump of yellow dog hair, property of Dusty, our late yellow Lab, stuck between a dehydrated leaf and a withered rose petal, and oh my God, it made me so sad, I started to weep. But just like you, when my mom called you short, I got over the dog hair thing, quickly. By the way, I've been called short my whole life, and it hasn't stopped me from reaching great heights, or has it? Of course, it has. You should see what happens when I go to Gelson's and can't reach the top shelf and start jumping up and down and then my mask slips off and it's an epic shanda." "You've strayed way off topic. Go again, already, before we cut to commercial." "Okay, okay, let me say one last thing about the category." "Is it really necessary?" "Yes, very. Potpourri, in general, sums up the past eight months -- a mixture of tears and fears and feeling proud, to say I love you, right out loud, to all the nice people, the wonderful friends and family who've kept me going through this hodge-podge, cockamamie time." "That is correct. Go again." "No, that's okay, let someone else take a turn. I need to check on the cranberry sauce."

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Socially Distanced

"Nu?" 

"Nada." 

"Same."

"Zooming?" 

"Yoga." 

"Zumba." 

"Writing?" 

"Some." 

"Good." 

"You?" 

"Yes."

"Cooking?" 

"Nightly." 

"Take-out." 

"Smart." 

"Ha!"

"Kids?" 

"Great."

"Folks?" 

"Old." 

"Oy."

"Grandbaby?" 

"Sweetest."

"Election?" 

"Scared." 

"Terrified." 

"Hopeful?" 

"Sorta." 

"Ditto." 

"Lunch?" 

"Maybe." 

"Patio?" 

"Possibly." 

"When?" 

"2021." 

"Kinehora."

"Hugs." 

"Kisses." 

"Bye." 

"Shalom." 

Monday, October 19, 2020

It's As Tab As Tab Can Be

Can a rapidly aging short Jewish gal feel sentimental over a can of diet soda? You bet your sweet bippy. At this moment in time, I can feel sentimental over anything. 
As Goldie Hawn says in "Private Benjamin," "I wanna go out to lunch. I wanna be normal again!" This pretty much sums me up, as I, along with everyone else, hang on by a very thin thread, waiting for the election and the Covid and basically, all the 2020 tsuris to be over already. 
So last week, when Coke announced it was finally dumping Tab, the pioneering diet soda for "beautiful people," the refreshing, guilt-free drink I consumed all through my school years, the news sent me back in time to the '70s, when we weren't the slightest bit worried about the chemicals that accompanied each delicious sip. Back then, who even knew about sunscreen? Not this sun worshipper, I can tell you that much.
No question, Tab was aimed at the female consumer, from pre-pubescence on, determined to stay slim and attractive no matter how many carrot sticks you ate and diets you tried. The message was clear. Tab was your salvation. It would make you so bloated you wouldn't need to nosh before dinner. Just drink Tab and that sassy confidence and perfect figure will appear. I bought into it early. I can see myself in my room on Lindbrook Drive, with the yellow shutters and the white wicker chair, sitting on one of my twin beds, contemplating my homework, listening to "a little bit of heaven, 94.7, KMET, a twiddle-dee," and sipping a glass of Tab. 
As the ice cubes slowly melted, I dreamed of running off with Loggins and/or Messina, either one was fine by me. And even though I haven't had Tab in years -- the last time I drank it, I remember it just didn't taste the same -- I embrace the memories and the quiet moments we shared. The 15 year old in me wishes you a safe journey to that big recycling bin in the sky. You lasted 60 years. Not bad for a can full of sass and god knows what else. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Sir Blakey Meets His Match

Doesn't the Royal Rescue Pup of Questionable Lineage look incredibly mild-mannered here, just lazing on the comfy sofa, wanting attention from the mommy who didn't actually birth him, although at times the SJG needs to be reminded of this reality? Rapidly approaching his made-up eighth birthday, at first glance, this so-called "Lab Mix," no doubt conjured in some mysterious outdoor laboratory, this rat-killer that once left a mouse he'd murdered on my pillow as a loving memento, this possum-hunter, would seem, at least in the above photo, completely reformed. Impossible to believe that our very own Sir Blakey would still embrace the sinking of his sharp fangs into a squirrel as his ultimate #lifegoals. 

And yet, these innocent assumptions would be dead wrong. I blame Halloween. This holiday brings out the monster in him. It unleashes the beast he mostly keeps at bay. Take yesterday. Out for an afternoon walky, I'd done my best to distract Blakey from all the spooky skeletons dangling from trees and planted in the front lawn graveyards that have popped up in the past few days. As they do annually, my neighbors are going all-out with the creepy, spine-tingling decor, even though trick-or-treaters will remain indoors, thanks to you-know-what. Heading home, I thought I'd dodged the worst of the fright night offenders, when suddenly, the dog bolted for the black cat eyeing him from the white picket fence. "Blakey! No!" I yelled. Undeterred, he growled, flashed his teeth, and rammed into that feline, full-force. As for the cat, it just stood there, frozen with a "come at me, bro" scowl. On account of its cardboard status. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Emotional Disturbia

A few years back, one of my neighbors used to call during the High Holidays and leave a long rambling recorded apology. It went something like this: "Hi, this is Eddie from across the street, the one you always ignore. Perhaps I've offended you somehow. I don't know what I did to create such a bad vibe between us, but I thought I'd apologize, and then you can call me and apologize for ignoring me, like you're some big epis, and then we'll be even on a karmic level. If I've upset you in some way, I'm sorry. If I've been an inattentive neighbor, I'm sorry, even though I think I've been a pretty great neighbor. Remember that time I took out your trash cans? No thank you note, no gift. That's okay. It's Yom Kippur. Time to let old grudges go. Speaking of which, I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me for whatever the hell I did to unbalance your Chi, although for the life of me, I can't figure it out. I'm a Zen-like person, a spiritual dude, even if you don't think so. Just thought I'd open up a dialogue. I wish you and your family a gut yuntif. Namaste."
Clearly, Eddie expected me to call back, but I never did. This coming Monday, I'm going to sit in my office, admiring my RBG mask (if it arrives, God willing, along with all the other RBG merchandise I bought in a state of emotional disturbia) and atone via Zoom for not leaving the following long rambling recorded apology: "Uh, yeah, hi, Eddie. It's the SJG. Listen, dude, just because I drove by you that one time without waving hello doesn't mean I intentionally ignored you. I was trying not to run over a squirrel. Still, let me take this time to apologize to you, from the depths of my being, for not killing the squirrel so I could say hey, neighbor, and not hurt your feelings. If we're being honest here, I never asked you to take out our trash. You did that all on your own for that Unsolicited Mitzvah Day you inflicted on the entire neighborhood. I'm still trying to locate our trash cans. Where did you take them, Eddie? Give them back. It would be a blessing if you'd lose my number. Gut yuntif to you and yours."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good

Things I'm feeling pretty, pretty, pretty good about on this Monday:

1. The Pand-Emmys, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, even if I've never seen most of the shows that swept the virtual ceremony. How many shows am I supposed to binge in one pandemic? To date, I've only seen 3.5 episodes of "Schitt$ Creek." Why only 3.5? Well, certain things in the opening episodes made me laugh and others made me gag. Your SJG has a very low tolerance for grossness. Just ask my family. They know if a puke and/or icky bathroom moment is coming up, I must be warned and protected. Often I sense something icky is coming and cover my face with a large pillow, trusting that longtime hubby or one of the mensches I birthed a while back will say, "Don't lower the pillow yet," or "It's okay to lower the pillow now." This is how we've built a strong foundation of trust in our family. These people know that trickery will lead to marital threats and disinheritance. A caveat: When I watch alone ("Schitt$ Creek") I have no one to blame but myself. And yet, so many people have ordered me to keep watching "Schitt$ Creek" that I'm proceeding, slowly, in between all the other shows I'm schlepping my way through. 

2. Virtual Rosh Hashanah was nothing short of a technological miracle. I sang at the top of lungs and no one heard me (God willing?) other than Sir Blakey. I stood when I was told to and swayed back and forth and during lulls I organized my office and no one saw me (God willing?). Close to 300 temple members joined the Zoom Service and entertained me with non-stop chat messages that kept popping up at the bottom of the screen for nearly two hours. "There's an echo." "Is anyone else hearing the echo?" "I am!" "The echo's gone!" "Shana Tova from the Plotnicks!" "Can you see me on the screen?" "Yes." "How do I take myself off?" "Why is the rabbi getting political?" "Everyone stop talking. Pretend you're in temple." "Are you kidding? Everyone talks in temple. At least here you don't have to read the comments." "How do I get rid of them?" "Click the thing in the top corner." "What thing?" And on and on. I pretty much loved it all, especially seeing the nice rabbis on the bima and hearing the Shofar and the kids blowing their ram's horns in their little backyard boxes. 

Turn, Turn, Turn

3. Claire turning over for the first time qualifies as above and beyond pretty, pretty, pretty good. These days, it's the little things that keep me going. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Concierge Grandma At Your Service

"Where's Grammala? Is that her pulling up in the driveway?" 

What exactly is a Concierge Grandma? I'm so glad you asked. A Concierge Grandma offers a high level of love and attention to her only grandchild, while occasionally skirting the strict napping rules set down by the new parents. Instead, a Concierge Grandma pretends to follow the whole "let her cry it out for 30 minutes before you get her from crib" thing, holding out as long as humanly possible, five minutes max, before grabbing baby girl from the crib and snuggling her in an effort to calm her down.
"Don't cry, Grammala is here."

This type of specialized spoiling goes by several names: Direct Grandmothering, Grandma-Based Care, Old-School Grandma, Grandma Knows Best, the afore-mentioned Concierge Grandma, and Grandma At Your Service. No matter what company you choose, know that grandmas are available 24-7, ready to hop in the car and be there within minutes, no matter the request. The Concierge Grandma will drop everything because a good grandma knows that when it comes to her grandbaby, any situation is an emergency.
What about Concierge Grandpa? Don't forget him. 
He's there too, sometimes. 

In regard to basic skills, not to worry, a Concierge Grandma, though rapidly aging as we speak, has retained a vast wealth of knowledge from her young mother stage, even if she can't remember what day it is. Some things, such as diapering, bottle feeding, lullabies, Mother Goose Rhymes, "Wheels on the Bus" and "Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes" just never leave the keppy. 
"Where's the on/off button for this thing?" 

Other tasks may need a little patient instruction: "Turn the sound machine on by tapping it, gently on the side, Ma. Got it?" "Uh huh." Important reminder: remember to ask how to turn it off. You can only listen to ocean waves crashing on the shore for so long while baby cries before you lose your kaka. This is when Concierge Grandpa comes in handy. In such instances, all Concierge Grandma has to do is yell, "I can't turn this @#$%'n off!" and Concierge Grandpa comes running in to give the noise machine a good ol' smack and voila, the ocean uproar goes bye-bye. 
Of course, I'm saving the best part for last. Concierge Grandma charges bupkis. And it's worth every penny.