Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meet The Rabbi

Rabbi Kramer
The rabbi came straight out of Central Casting.  He looked like Moses.  He'd married Sammy Davis Jr.  His face was immortalized on the carton of Kosher Yogurt.  On top of that, he was a hyphenate.  Multi-faceted.  Not just a rabbi.  Historian, too.  Author.  Professor.  Lawyer.  Family counselor.  Actor.  Art collector.  Los Angeles institution.  Rabbi Bill Kramer, funny and wise.  We met at the office of his Burbank temple.  He looked at us, studied us one at a time, then said, "Weird." Were we brother and sister, he wanted to know.  He was liberal, but not that liberal.  We told him no, we weren't related.  We told him the date:  August 23, 1980.  He said he'd clear his schedule.  He wore a long white robe to match his long white beard.  We stood beneath the chuppah.  Your folks.  My folks.  Siblings.  Best friends.  The chuppah threatened to topple.  Rabbi Kramer cracked jokes and we giggled throughout.  We've been giggling ever since, in between the other emotional displays that come with marriage.  We've lived here, there and everywhere.  The one-bedroom apartment.  The two-bedroom apartment.  The move to the Valley, where we swore we'd never live.  We got our shots and our passports.  We never looked back.  The townhouse.  The "earthquake" house.  Like the chuppah, the chimney threatened to topple.  This house we live in now.  These sons of ours.  This life we've built.  A good one.  Very good.  So, happy anniversary, hubby of mine.  Thirty-six years of non-stop bliss.  Would we do it again?  Abso-freakin-lutely.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Move Along

This week the sons I lovingly birthed while intermittently screaming move in together. You probably think the SJG orchestrated this particular event. Well, you're wrong. So wrong, I'm embarrassed on your behalf. I had nothing to do with it. Fine. I may have aided slightly in finding the apartment. But don't tell the eldest that. He's taking credit, and I'm going to let him enjoy his moment, in much the same way I always let him win at Candyland. I'm blessed with sons who actually enjoy each other's company. They crack each other up. They speak their own language. The last time they had a fight was... I can't remember. It was probably during a basketball game on the driveway when they were six and 10. This week means an empty nest for the first time in four years. But I can still spoil them rotten, no matter where they reside.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


The Museum of Contemporary Food. Also known as Ralphs in 
Santa Barbara.  So what if the SJG mistook a market for a museum? What's your point? 

I could blame the mix-up on the wine. 

I could blame it on this inflatable reclining Buddha,
but he looks too serene. 

I could blame this non-communicative window washer,
who wouldn't answer me when I asked, "Hey, mister, where's the 
Museum of Contemporary Art?"

I certainly can't blame hubby, who took me to Santa Barbara
to celebrate our 36th anniversary. Blaming is never healthy 
in a long-lasting marriage. Trust me on this. 

After much reflection, I've decided to blame it on the bossa nova, 
which I'll be dancing tonight, in celebration of the end of the Olympics. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Little Clingy

This week, a lot of public schoolers schlepped back to school. In August yet. This seems cruel on many levels. Why are they schlepping back to school so early? The SJG can't tell you. It has something to do with something. Maybe the parents got together and held a secret meeting. "We can't take another second of summer vacation. They're driving us insane. Take them back early, please. Take them back, we're begging you." Maybe the powers-that-be said, "Okay, calm down, already." This much I do know: I get a nervous tummy just thinking about going back to school, something I haven't done in a very long time. Once the nice people handed me a degree -- "Here, take this piece of parchment, good luck, there's the door, English Major" -- I thought my nervous school girl days were over. There was no reason to get anxious about going back to school ever again.  I was 21. What did I know? That I'd have two little nervous boys of my own one day? Little boys I'd have to schlep back to school? No, I didn't know that.

Here's what back to school meant for the little nervous school boys. The eldest starting preschool. That didn't go well. He hung on to my leg until the teacher had to pry him off.  He screamed hysterically as I left. I cried all the way home. The eldest starting kindergarten. That didn't go well, either. I had to drag him out of the car and force him into the classroom, while he screamed hysterically and swore at me. I cried all the way home. Who do you think taught him those words, anyway? The Mother of the Year Committee ignored me that year, too. The youngest at preschool.  That didn't go well. A bad case of separation anxiety. On my end. The youngest starting kindergarten.  That didn't go well, either. For an entire year. I let him wear sweatpants and a hockey jersey every day. One more fight over what he was going to wear and I would've been carted off somewhere. Where, I can't tell you. But I might still be there. Every year, for years and years, another Back to School nervous tummy. Another visit to Staples for school supplies. And then, the inevitable readjustment. Okay, gang. We're back. We're in school again. Let's make the best of it. We're all in this together.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"What We Need Now Is Hope & Courage"

The soft-spoken Canadian mensch

I don't think I've ever been to NY without thinking of "The Out-of-Towners," one of my favorite movies from the 70s, a classic Neil Simon comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis.  Everything goes wrong in hilarious fashion, and everything gets lost - luggage, hotel reservations and above all, dignity. When it comes to Arthur Hiller, it's hard to pick his best movie. There are just too many. "The Americanization of Emily." "The In-Laws." "Silver Streak." "The Hospital." "Love Story." Arthur and my dad met in the early days of live TV, and remained great friends for over 50 years. Arthur's wife Gwen passed away just six weeks ago, and now he's gone, too. Who knows? Maybe the Hillers and the Starrs are sharing a nice table at some celestial hot spot, where it isn't too drafty and the service is heavenly. Double click, people, for full hilarity.

"You mean to tell me I was mugged while I was sleeping?"

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ten Things You Don't Need To Know Today

1.  It's not even 8 a.m. and I'm on my second cup of coffee.
2.  The universe is tired of expanding.
3.  I'm thinking I might eat some toast.
4.  Then, again, maybe a bialy.
5.  I'm feeling bad about my lawn again.
6.  Congress is poised to scrutinize the SJG, as details of another career mishap are made public.
7.  Why the "new you" isn't any better than the "old you."
8.  The SJG will represent herself today at Gelson's.
9.   It'll be the SJG versus the SJG in the SJG Olympic Impatience Finals.
10.  I may take a nap later.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The SJG Life Coach Clinic

(Sherman Oaks) The Short Jewish Gal is pleased to announce the opening of the SJG Life Coach Clinic. "Here's how it works," she said in an exclusive interview with BetterYouThanMe.com. "You come in, you spend the next 58 years with me, maybe longer, depending on whether you're a fast learner or a slow poke, and reap the benefits of all the therapy I've had, not to mention, the tsuris. You sit in a comfy chair, we drink coffee, maybe have a nosh of homemade kugel, and I teach you how to encourage and lovingly reprimand your future life coach clients. Who knew there were so many creative ways to tell people they're screwing up their personal lives and/or so-called careers? At last count, I've discovered 92 ways, but by next week, it could grow to 100. What's that? You don't have 58 years to invest? Fine. I'm happy to help you in 29 years, for half the cost and half the results. No matter which plan you choose, at the end of the program, you get a lovely embossed certificate and the SJG's permission to go out there and help all the messed up people you can find, and be rewarded, monetarily, assuming the messed up people you find can afford you."