Saturday, December 31, 2011

Buh-Bye 2011

At midnight, you're done.
Take the money, run.
One percent had fun.
And so it goes, hon.
Look what you've begun.
You misbehaved, son.
Who lost and who won?
Too many reruns.
Please send in the sun.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dusty's New Year's Resolutions

1.  Marry longtime girlfriend.
2.  Learn Hebrew.
3.  Steal more socks.
4.  Steal more shoes.
5.  Steal more towels.
6.  Take that cruise.
7.  Launch mayoral campaign.
8.  Record greatest hits.
9.  Become YouTube sensation.
10. Finish novel.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

SJG Cancels Friday

Friday has been cancelled
The Short Jewish Gal, the last one on the block to see the sun go down every day, has decided to change her personal dateline and will now be the first to see the sun rise, on account of her highly competitive nature.  The SJG is getting ready to skip a day and shift her internal time zone forward by 24 hours for completely selfish reasons. "I never know what day it is, anyway, so this made perfect sense to me," she said in an exclusive interview. The SJG dateline, which runs through the middle of her backyard, and currently passes to the west of the nice granite island in her kitchen, means that the SJG is 11 hours behind everyone else's Mean Time. "I'm tired of being so nice.  It's time to get mean and stay mean.  Where has nice ever gotten me?"  As the clock strikes midnight on Thursday, the SJG goes straight into Saturday. "Let's face it, this hasn't exactly been the greatest year.  Why?  Don't get me started.  So I'm anxious to get it over with.  Enough already.  Plus, cancelling Friday means one less day of people annoying me, cutting me off in traffic, and worrying me sick by coming home late.  Losing a day is good for my mental health." After the change, the SJG will be one hour ahead of her immediate family, and three hours ahead of her casual acquaintances.  "I'm feeling very proactive.  I'm taking charge in ways I never thought possible.  I've also decided to switch driving on the right side of the road to the left side, so I can feel more British."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Looks of 2011

The Halloween surprise
The fascinator that failed
No autographs please
Teaching the goyim a few moves
 Pretty fetching in my balloon crown
It's hard to pick my favorite look of the year.  In terms of fashion, I do believe I stepped outside the box.  I went for the wow factor.  I dared to be different.  I listened to my beauty team, which may have been a mistake.  In 2012, I may have to rethink a few things. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Last Year's Resolutions

Let's all take a moment out of our busy lives to review the SJG's resolutions for 2011, and see how many I actually accomplished.  
1. Take up neurosurgery. (Didn't do this)
2. Circumnavigate globe in newly-purchased tugboat. (Really meant to do this)
3. Audition for "Spider-Man" lead aerialist. (Called back twice; didn't get it)
4. Curtsy more. (Did this!)
5. Open "SJG:  Hora! Hora!  Hora!" in Vegas. (Opened show.  Closed show same day)
6. Stop mooning pedestrians.  (A work in progress)
7. Earn extra cash driving big rig. (Application denied)
8. Remind people they're SJG-adjacent. (Permit for neon sign on roof denied)
9. Develop miracle anti-kvetching drug. (FDA approval pending)
10. Take Thomas The Talking Torah public. (Investors needed to make this dream come true)

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Pumpkin

Those sandwiches look delish.
On Christmas morn, Santa left a pumpkin on the fireplace, a good sign that my day was off to a bad start. Normally, Santa leaves bupkis. A leftover Halloween squash? Santa's got a mean streak.  Who knew?  On Christmas Day, I missed a major noshing opp: brunch at Elena's, an annual tradition for four gals who went to Emerson, Uni and UCLA together. Elena kept hoping for a Hanukkah miracle, that my voice would return, but my voice couldn't catch a flight back in time. On Christmas night, I missed another noshing opp:  dinner at my in-laws.  My mother in-law told me to stay home and rest and keep my germs to myself.  So while everyone gorged in Brentwood, the SJG threw my own festive pity party in Sherman Oaks.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Can I Interest You In Hanukkah?

A classic.  Jon Stewart explains the Festival of Lights to Stephen Colbert.  Enjoy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kvetching In Silence

Me, too!
Awfully quiet around here.  No incoherent rambling.  No inappropriate laughter.  No uninterrupted whining.  No sudden outbursts of Broadway show tunes.  Not that anyone is complaining.  Is it my imagination, or do the menfolk look a little bit elated?  They're managing just fine without all the daily verbal instruction, the gentle reprimands, the unsolicited advice.  Even Dusty doesn't miss the clever banter, the endless rhymes, the idle chit-chat.  Yes, for the past few days, the SJG has gone more or less mute, thanks to laryngitis.  "Don't talk," my family keeps telling me.  "Don't whisper," they add.  "That makes it worse."

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Gift To You

This holiday season, I wanted to give you, my blog-reading peeps, my faithful bleeps, a special gift of thanks.  And so, for the remainder of Hanukkah, I've arranged for all parking meters throughout the land to accept chocolate coins.  That's just the kind of power the SJG wields at City Hall.  I walked in, filled out a form, and told the clerk, "Make this happen." "Sure, lady, whatever.  Next!"  Oh, please.  You don't have to thank me.  It was nothing.  The reward for doing a mitzah is to do another mitzvah. This is me, being thoughtful, spreading the love, making your life a little easier.  So go out there, drive safely, and park to your heart's content.  And don't forget the gelt.  God forbid you should get a ticket. 
Now accepting chocolate gelt

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hanukkah In Santa Monica

Provided by eldest bro' Peter.  This is my favorite Hanukkah video.  Ever.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best Post-Latke Bod

Not good for the figure
The SJG Fitness Channel, along with Manichewitz Homestyle Potato Latke Mix, is sponsoring "The Search for the Best Post-Latke Bod."  If you can eat latkes, many latkes, not just one, without them landing straight on your tush, and have the "before and after" Hanukkah photos to prove it, I will personally schlep to your house and deliver the prize:  My newest exercise DVD, "The Hora of It All," plus the chance to Hora! Hora!  Hora! with me on the SJG Fitness Channel. Trust me, dancing the hora with me will burn more calories than any silly spinning class some skinny gal pressures you into taking so you can look like her.  You can't, so don't bother.  To enter, just submit your "before and after" Hanukkah photos -- don't even think of spelling it Chanukah,which my friend Elizabeth, the rabbi's daughter, insists is the correct way -- or you'll be immediately disqualified.  Good luck, eat up and may the best tush win.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oh, Hanukkah

Oh, Hanukkah!  You start tonight?!
Oh, Hanukkah, I thought you started tomorrow night, but according to the Internet, a reliable source on all things Jewish, you start tonight.  This is the kind of Jewish math that drives the SJG more than a little meshuggah.  My calendar tells me Hanukkah starts tomorrow, which means you really start tonight.  Can you blame me for being confused?  This glitch says so much about you, Hanukkah.  You still feel like the little holiday that could, chugging up the mountain to bring eight toys of diminishing importance to the Jewish children of the world.  And let's face it, Hanukkah, you pretty much leave out the adults.  The last Hanukkah gift I got was... who can remember?  After the Easy Bake Oven, it was all downhill for me, gift-wise.  I seem to recall a sweater one year, maybe a nice Hanukkah check, but somewhere in my 20s, those stopped, too.  The only way I'm getting a Hanukkah gift is if I go out and buy one myself, bring it home and wrap it.  "Happy Hanukkah, SJG.  You rock.  Love, the SJG."  But listen, it's okay, Hanukkah.  I know you're busy, trying to compete with Christmas.  It's a big time of year for you, Hanukkah.  I get it.  But next year, could you at least send me a "Save The Date" card, so I know when you start?  If Trader Joe's has sold out of the frozen latkes I pass off as homemade, be forewarned, Hanukkah.  You can expect a call from my attorney.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Everybody Say Yeah, Yeah!

Completely unposed:  Tim and John at First and Hope
On Sunday, I arrived at my brother's house at 10 a.m., which seemed a little early for our outing downtown, but now and then, I like to do what I'm told, so I stood there at the door, waiting, obediently.  Finally John  appeared, in his robe and slippers.  "Come in, don't let the dog out, I'm not ready."  "I like what you're wearing."  "Funny."  Off he went, presumably, to put clothes on for the long day ahead.  And I do mean long.  But I'll get to that in a second.  Then Tim came out and gave me a hug.  "The Timmy!" I said.  I can't remember when I started calling him The Timmy, but they've been together 10.5 years now, so I think he deserves an official title; he is the miracle that walked in and made John's life 150 percent better (and vice versa, John would want me to add).  A moment later, John reappeared.  "Okay, I'm ready, let's go."  I turned around and there he was, still in his robe and slippers.  "Kidding," he said, and disappeared again.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Hope This Comes In My Size

Stop smiling, you two.
Leave it to my friend Kiki Hoffman, a non-Jew who knows how to throw a swinging bar mitzvah, to find this matching set of dumb menorah pullovers.  Something knitted, with a Maccabee running around, would've brought tears of joy to my eyes, but these ugly schmattas are a good start.  I sure hope Kiki ordered me a small.  She knows how I hate to look bulky.  By the way, do the people in this photo know the true spelling of my favorite Christmas-adjacent festival?  It's Hanukkah, people.  Not Chanukah.  Why there are two spellings, I can't tell you, but I believe, with all my heart, that if we could come together on this matter, if we could all just spell it the same way, it would be a bigger miracle than the oil lasting eight nights.  There's only one way to spell Christmas. Why must we have so many variations?  Why must we complicate everything?  Sure, it's fun to disagree now and then, to argue for no reason, to stir things up for the sake of lively discussion.  Did I mention I married a national debate champion?  We have podiums set up in the living room in case an issue should arise.  But please, just this once,  let's agree.  Let's all spell Hanukkah the SJG way, and that includes the tacky sweatshirts.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ugly Christmas Sweater, Aisle Three

"Dude, I'm wearing the ugly Xmas sweater.  Swoop me in five."
Last night, the rapper known as Scott D. joined his brother Bill S. for an ugly Christmas sweater party.  Apparently, wearing an ugly Christmas sweater is all the rage this season.  Iguana, a vintage store on Ventura Boulevard, is so hip to this situation, that when you walk in, they take one look at you and say, "Ugly Christmas sweater?  Aisle Three."  For the SJG to even consider a Christmas sweater, let alone pass it off as a birthday present, may be the ultimate shanda, but cheap, it wasn't.  Iguana is cleaning up with these ugly sweaters.  But the ugly one Scott D. picked out, illustrating the 12 Days of Xmas, a lady's sweater, I might add, complete with the turtle doves, the French hens, the what-have-you's, cost 28 bucks plus tax.  I held it up to him, and said, "Happy Birthday."  He's 20 today, which means, 20 years ago, I screamed, "Get this thing out of me!" while birthing him.  And last night, there he was, fully grown, my boychick, in an ugly Christmas sweater.  The whole thing made me wonder if there are any ugly Hanukkah sweaters out there.  I certainly didn't see any at Iguana.  Not one sweater with a Star of David, not one vest with a glittery menorah.  Come next year, I plan to give birth to a new event, complete with gelt, dreidels and a crazy brew of Manischewitz Punch.  The Hideous Hanukkah Sweater Party.  I better get busy with the knitting.  I may need some help.  Any volunteers?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fo Shezzy

Nothing gives a mother more joy than to watch the mensch she gave birth to 20 years ago tomorrow,  do something sensational.  It was kvell-worthy.  It was, how the young people say, off tha hizzy fo shezzy.  Many times, I've listened to the college boy do his rap thing, but I've never seen him do it in an actual recording studio, tucked into a very questionable part of Van Nuys, that, I admit, made me a little nervous.  "We're early.  Let's wait in the car," he said.  I viewed the dark alley behind us, and said, "Let's not."  So in we went, and for the next 45 minutes, I sat there on a sofa, watching the engineer fiddle with high-tech equipment, while Scott D stood behind the glass and took charge of the mic, rapping to, what else, the Rugrats theme, hip-hop style.  He rapped about social injustice and the debt ceiling.  He referenced Roberto Clemente and Harry Potter.  He spit divine rhymes.  He committed "no lyrical crimes."  Sophisticated stuff.  Way over my head.  I loved every minute. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Proof That I'm Old

I used to know stuff, but now I know less and less with each passing day.  Yesterday, I stared at the locked toilet seat at my friend's house and thought, okay, I may not have an engineering degree, but I can figure this out on my own.  Many moons ago, I lived in a baby-proofed home.  I dealt with latches.  I put strollers together.  But the locked toilet seat wasn't a latch situation.  It was M.I.T. complicated.  It had a thing you were supposed to push and slide and a lever and a secret government code to enter.  No baby, let alone grown up, was getting that toilet seat upright without some serious mental effort and a Ph.D. I tried several approaches, all of which failed.  I started to feel like that gal on the commercial, who's always, "Going and going and going..."  Another minute and I would be going on the floor. I gave up. and opened the bathroom door.  "Uh, I need a little help in here."  Soon I had more help than I needed.  Kelly, my writing partner, came in, followed by the babysitter and the babysitter's daughter, a recent law school grad.  What followed was a ten-minute discussion about baby proofing and how did we survive without it.  "Sorry to interrupt, but I'm going to have an accident," I said.  Finally, they joined together and liberated the toilet seat for usage.  "Okay, gang, thanks so much, I'll take it from here," I said, shoving them out the door.  Next time, I'm bringing a port-o-potty.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Get In Line

A conversation with Mr. Ben Starr.  "Hi, Daddy, how are you?"  "I just got back from the market."  "How'd it go?" "I'm sick of the market."  "Me, too."  "I go, I look around, I stare at everything, I stand in line.  I'm sick of standing in line with all those people."  "I don't blame you.  You're 90 years old, and it's enough already with the marketing." "I'm sick of it." "So, stop going.  I'll shop for you."  "No.  I'd rather do it myself."  "But you're sick of the market."  "I still need to eat." 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Butt Dial

It's happened to all of us.  You get a phone call and all you hear is weird ambient noise, a faraway voice from another dimension, possibly ordering a sandwich, or a mob hit.  It's very hard to tell.  "Wah-wah--tomatoes."  "Wah-wah-take-out-Tony."  This phenomenon, according to my sons, is called the Butt Dial.  The thought of someone's butt dialing me is disturbing on many levels.  My sons assure me the Butt Dial is unintentional, and now, with the advent of the uber-sensitive iPhone keypad, it happens more often.  I should know.  Yesterday, my brother John tushy-dialed me.  "Hello?"  "Wah-wah-wah."  "John?"  "Wah-wah-wah tomatoes."  "What?"  "Wah-wah."  "Oh @#$%, I'm hanging up."  I called him, immediately, using my fingers and my best accusatory tone.  "John?  Did you call me a second ago?"  "No."  "Don't deny it.  My phone rang and your number came up." "But I didn't call you."  "Oh, yes you did."  "I didn't."  "Then your butt did."  "How dare you."  "You heard me, you butt dialed me, your sister.  How could you do that to me?"  "I didn't mean to."  "But you did and I'm traumatized.  Trauma.  Tized!!! "  "I apologize, profusely, from the bottom of my bottom."  "You don't sound terribly sincere."  He started singing, "You gotta be sincere."  "Don't you Bye Bye Birdie me.  You butt dialed me.  I'm telling Mom."  "You do that."  "Good day, sir."  Click.

Monday, December 12, 2011

SJG Nixes Trade

"I was all ready to live in Sherman Oaks.
I had my bags packed and everything."
After all he's done for us, the eldest son was relieved to learn late Sunday night that he wasn't being traded to another family.  "We're not the Lakers," I reassured him.  "Even though you're getting older and your game isn't what it used to be, we still appreciate all the joy you've brought us, the nonstop nachas, so we've decided to keep you."  Naturally, the college son wondered where he stood in the highly-contentious negotiations. "Well, honey, in all honesty, we were thinking of swapping you for Chris Paul," I told him, "but then we thought maybe you'd be a little hurt, so we nixed the trade.  Looks like you're stuck with us, too." 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Year We Bought Stuff

Maybe the toaster will be next
2011 has been a year of buying stuff we didn't want to buy, but then, what else is new?  First the washing machine and dryer broke.  We replaced them with nice new machines that hum a few bars when you turn them on.  "Da da da da da da" sings the washing machine when I open it.  "Da da da da da da" sings the dryer.  I love to sing along with them.   It makes doing laundry so very festive.  Next thing we replaced: the fridge.  The nice new one doesn't sing, but it does make beep beep sounds like a truck backing up if you keep the door open longer than ten seconds.  It is so very annoying.  One day, I will figure out how to make it stop before I lose my mind and must be committed to The Institute for the Very Very Nervous.  We had a few months off from consumer spending, and then, the other night, the TV in the bedroom sang its swan song, too.  Actually, it was more like a pesky fly.  Buzz, buzz, buzz went the TV.  Off went hubby to Best Buy.  Ba-bye, hubby.  Bring back something pretty.  He did.  A nice new  flat screen that does all sorts of things, depending on the channel.  It sings and dances, talks and dramatizes, animates and shows me that everyone is getting older, even Jon Stewart.  I am deeply in love with my new TV.  It is my favorite TV ever.  It knows exactly what I want.  Three days in, and I'm already way too attached, but then, what else is new?  I will be so sad when my favorite TV ever breaks in a few years. Till then, I'll treat it with respect.  I'll enjoy our time together.  I'll relish every moment.  I'll take cute photos of us running on the beach, or just nesting at home.  As 2011 winds down, I've learned such a valuable lesson:  Appliances come and go so quickly here.  You just never know which one will go next, so be kind to them all, every single day, and maybe, just maybe, they'll be kind to you.  Until they break and the damage is irreparable and out you go, into the cold, unforgiving consumer world, to spend again.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Time Freeze

We're in flashback mode over here.  One son asleep, the other showering because there's no hot water in his apartment.  Permission to freeze this moment, please. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Her!

It's her!  It's the SJG!
Representatives for the Short Jewish Gal  vehemently rejected published reports that residents of Sherman Oaks were paid to cheer and act excited for the cameras when the famed blogger arrived at Gelsons to do her weekly marketing. "The Short Jewish Gal is a massive star in the blogosphere, and attracts huge throngs of fans as she travels the Valley and Westside promoting herself," a spokesperson said in a statement.  "The only people paid were performers who danced down the aisles at Gelsons while the Short Jewish Gal selected delicious, low-calorie, heart-healthy items. The idea that fans were paid to cheer is completely ludicrous and entirely false." A report in Who's Who In Sherman Oaks claimed that 200 or more alleged fans of the SJG were each given 150 chocolate coins and a free brunch at Solley's to mimic enthusiasm for her arrival.  A source close to the SJG told W.W.S.O. that confusion over payments made to dancers who performed alongside the SJG may have led to the false reports. The source called the charge of fan-planting "ludicrous" and "insulting" to the blogger's devotees, who beg her for photos and hugs wherever she goes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Storey Telling

Every struggle I've ever encountered, according to my dad, has been character building.  By now, my character is a major highrise.  In the past ten weeks, I've tried this concept out on the college boy, at least 132 times. As fall quarter winds down today,  he's added a few storeys to his own construction site.  He's lived alone.  He's helped a roommate move in.  He's attempted to cook his own cuisine, which explains all the Domino's Pizza charges.  He's attempted to learn Italian, which explains all the tutor charges.  He's pondered and re-pondered what the hell he should major in, and in his noble quest, came up with a non-existent gem:  Hip Hop. If only he could major in Hip Hop, he would be so happy.  But he can't.  Who said life is fair?  Tomorrow, he comes home to his mother.  He needs a break from all that character building.  Winter quarter, I'm sure he'll be adding another floor to the site.  I hope the permits come through.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Nite Before Chanukah

'Twas the night before Chanukah
and all over the place
There was noise, there was kvetching
Soch ah disgrace!

The Kinderlach, sleeping,
uneasily felt
The chocolate rush
from the Chanukah gelt

And me in the easyboy,
so stuffed with latkes,
I stretched the elastic
which held up my gatchkes.

When up on the roof
(and it has a steep pitch)
A fat alte kakker
was making a kvitsch.

I jumped up real quick
and I ran to the door,
Was it a bandeet,
or only a schnorrer?

He wasn't alone;
he had eight ferdelach,
And called them by name
as he gave a gebrach:

"On Moishe, on Yankel, on Itzik, on Sam,
On Mendel, on Shmendrik, on Feivush, on Ham;
My kidneys are kvelling;
do you give a damn?"

He had a white beard
and payyes to boot,
And to keep out the cold,
he had such a nice suit!

A second from Peerless,
I could tell at a glance,
But the cut was okay,
and so were the pants.

He was triple XL,
a real groisser goof,
So I yelled out,
"Meshuggener! Get off from Mein roof!"

He jumped down and said
as he shook hands with me,
"Max Klaus is the name.
You have maybe some tea?"

So I gave him a gleisel,
while he shook his white mop,
Mutt'ring, "Always the same thing,
They're dreying my kopp!"

From Vancouver to Glacer Bay,
Outremont to Reginek,
Every shmo in the world
hakks meir a cheinik!

They're screaming for presents,
and challah with schmaltz,
And from Brooklyn alone,
the back pain, gevaltz!"

So we sat and yentehed,
and we spun the old dreydels,
(He took all of my money,
and one of my kanidels)

He said, "Business is not bad,
a living I make,
But I'm getting too old
for this Chanukah fake;

And the cell phones, you see
how my pacemaker dings?
For two cents I'd quit,
and move to Palm Springs?"

And he gave a geshrei
as he fled mit a lacht,
"Gut Yontiff to All,
Vey is Mir, Such a Nacht!"

--   courtesy of Jokes About Chanukah

Monday, December 5, 2011

Competitive Gift Wrapping

What color ribbon would you like?
I might as well confess.  So many years have gone by, I have nothing to be ashamed of, not really.  It was something I did, something I was good at.  Gifted, in fact.  Back in college, every Christmas break, I was a gift-wrapper for the goyim.  Not a sheet of Hanukkah wrap ever made it out the door.  I wrapped gifts in a tiny cubicle in the basement of a bookstore in Westwood, and it was hellish.  Why did I do it?  Why did I subject myself to such manual labor?  I wanted my job back.  In high school, I was a cashier at College Bookstore.  Other friends started waitressing or working in dress shops.  Not the SJG.  A spiller from way back, I knew, instinctively, that I would be the worst waitress ever.  I knew I would spill hot coffee, I would drop, I would break.  And working in a dress shop, which I did once, proved somewhat disastrous.  I was too honest with the customers.  "I wouldn't buy that, it's not flattering."  All I wanted to do was sell books, to soak up literature, to bath in the glory of words.  I'd only been there a few weeks when the owner came in and saw me at the register.  "How old are you?" he asked.  "I'm 16 and a half," I said, trying to sound mature.  The next day, I was fired for looking too young.  "The owner thought you looked about 14," they told me.  "We're so sorry."  I'm pretty sure it was illegal, but in 1974, I couldn't afford Gloria Allred.  So every Christmas, I'd audition to get my job back, to show how responsible I was, and it worked.  I always got hired back in the summer.  Hours of wrapping books during the holidays taught me a harsh lesson about people.  Sometimes, they're not so nice.  "I'm sorry, we can't wrap those for you," I told the a-hole standing there with a huge bag of toys. "Why not?"  "For starters, you didn't buy them here."  "So?"  "Store policy."  "Place is probably run by a bunch of cheap Jews," he said, storming off.  Gift wrapping brings out the anti-Semitic nasty in some folks.  Who knew?  Now I just gift wrap for fun, not profit.  I'm still good at it, too. Thanks to those hellish cubicle days at College Bookstore, the SJG  knows how to work the ribbon and the scotch tape, and most importantly, how to stick it to the putzes of the world.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This Idea

This idea came to me in the middle of the night and I thought it was genius.  This idea will make the SJG rich, rich, rich.  I could hear Dan Aykroyd pitching it on SNL.  "New, from Ronco..." In the harsh morning light, however, I see that implementing this idea may be a little difficult.  This idea may require tiny electrodes embedded in my keppie.  This idea may require backing from a giant Japanese electronics company.  This idea may not be ready for prime time, not quite, anyway, but I'm inclined to share it with you, in case you'd like to jump on the bandwagon as an early investor. Nothing irks the SJG more than Dream Interruption (trademark pending).  Dream Interruption happens when I flip over in bed and wake up, mid-dream.  Dream Interruption happens when someone I'm married to wanders in, past midnight, because he's fallen asleep on the sofa (nightly occurrence).  Dream Interruption happens when my bladder directs me toward the bathroom.  No matter the cause, I love my dreamworld, in which I'm the star, the hero, the gal in charge.  In dreams, I can fly and sing well and perform miraculous feats and visit with loved ones no longer in the here and now.  Sometimes my mother pops in to say hello, or my grandparents, or one of the wonderful close friends who checked out far too early from this overcrowded hotel.  I'm a huge fan of R.E.M.  Last night, my dream took me to a hip, happening party.  I was all dressed up, I was looking fine, I was... oh hell, right when the party was kicking into gear, I turned over and woke up.  What happened at the party?  Did I meet George Clooney?  I'll never know.  The not knowing is the worst.  A great party like the one in my dream only comes along once a decade.  But then this idea came to me: What if I could invent a special remote control to pause my dreams when necessary?  What if I could turn over, reposition myself, tap the remote and I'd be right back in nocturnal bliss with (insert celebrity name here)?  Wouldn't that be fantastic?  Granted, it's a little derivative, a little like that Adam Sandler movie "Click," were he gets a universal remote and can rewind or fast-forward his life.  But I don't want any of that sci-fi nonsense.  I just want to pause my dreams so I can get right back in there and see how they end.  I want closure.  Is that too much to ask?  I plan to spend every waking moment making the Dream Remote (patent pending) a reality.  Call me a dreamer, but I think I'm onto something.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bad Hair Year

On Friday I called an emergency meeting of the SJG Beauty Team.  "Some people have a bad hair day.  I've had a bad hair year.  What do you have to say for yourselves?"  Renee, CEO of the SJG Coiffski, and Lenny, President of the SJG Hair Color Wheel, stared at me, bitterly.  "Well?  Speak up." Renee cleared her throat.  "Listen, SJG, you can't blame us for your baby fine ka-ka hair.  It's impossible to work with, but year after year, we wave our magic wands.  Once you leave the salon, you're on your own."  "Point taken, Renee."  I turned to Lenny, who was busy doing a crossword puzzle.  "Do you have anything to add?"  "What's a five letter word for female canine?  Oh, wait, I've got it.  Bitch."  "How dare you." "Here's the dealio, SJG.  I do what I can with that wispy mess you call hair.  I work the chemical process, I highlight, I get out the gray.  I do my best to help volumize that choppy mop of I don't know what.   Once you leave the salon, you're on your own."  "So what you're both saying is this is on me?  On my DNA?"  "Yes," Renee said.  Lenny looked at me.  "What's a four letter word for are we finished?  I need to get back to my real customers."  "We're done. I don't know what got into me. The truth is, I'd be nowhere without my Beauty Team," I said, handing them each a fancy gift-wrapped bottle of wine.  "Group hug?"  "What's a two letter word for I don't think so?" Lenny asked.  "No," Renee said.  "Guys, come back here, I was just kidding.  I love you.  I'd be lost without you." Meeting adjourned.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

High Anxiety

The cover of this week's Time Magazine is a headscratcher.  Anxiety's good for you?  This is big news to me. My personal theme song, courtesy of Mel Brooks:  High anxiety, whenever you’re near/ High anxiety, it’s you that I fear... Anxiety entered my life at birth, if not sooner. I was born in a car in the hospital parking lot. The whole thing made me pretty jumpy out the gate and set the tone for a lifetime of inspired what-iffing and riffing on various imaginative personal catastrophes. Growing up, anxiety hid behind the door, biding its time.  In my early, post-college twenties, it pounced at me and said "boo." So I ran like hell, all the way to a grandfatherly, Freudian shrink with white hair, a white beard and a thick German accent, straight out of Central Casting.  "What's wrong with me?" I asked.  "You're a little nervous," he said.  I went to another shrink, a smart lady with short brown hair.  "What's wrong with me?" I asked.  "You're very nervous," she said.  I went to a support group full of very very nervous women. Very nervous didn't seem so bad, compared to very very.  I started to calm down a little.  Each decade brought a new therapist or two, a fresh look at anxiety.  Eventually, with a little chemical help, I found a way to kick anxiety in the ass. I got a little tougher. I turned my what-if's into so-eff'n-what's. It finally occurred to me that I can't control much of anything, anyway.  What a revelation.  Maybe someone could have told me this sooner?  Even so, no matter how fancy Time Magazine gets with it, how cerebral, how "this study said this, this study said that," anxiety has no "likes" on its fan page.  Anxiety is a bad road trip and some of us just get stuck in the back seat, till the car pulls over and lets us out, to pick up a new passenger.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In An Alternate Reality

The 2011 Rockefeller Center Hanukkah Bush will be lit for the first time tonight on NBC, with live and taped performances by famous Jews, from 7 P.M. - 9 P.M., at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th & West 51st Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues, Manhattan. Performers include Barbra Streisand, Simon & Garfunkel, The Three Adams (Sandler, Levine and Duritz), David Lee Roth, Bette Midler, Carole King and Neil Diamond.  As an added surprise, the Short Jewish Gal of Sherman Oaks will celebrate the wonders of Hanukkah with an interpretive modern dance, to the tune of "I Had A Little Driedel."  Free latkes and gelt on a first come, first serve basis.  The Rockefeller Center Hanukkah Bush is a world-wide symbol of All Things Jewish. The giant bush, traditionally from Israel, is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire, and crowned by a Swarovski crystal Jewish star. Tens of thousands crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions watch the Hanukkah Bush Lighting Ceremony broadcast live across the globe. So join us, won't you?  We insist.  And bring a sweater.  It might be chilly.

Monday, November 28, 2011

In Cyberspace, No One Can Hear You Shop

Not online, however.
In cyberspace, no one can trample you, pepper spray you or eff u up.  If that's not a reason to spend without leaving your house, what is? This morning, my inbox floods with Happy Cyber Monday!   50% off!  75% off! Well, how can I resist?  When it comes to clothes, easily.  I'm not good with the online shopping.  I study the pretty models, in their pretty tops and skin-tight pants, and what occurs to me isn't, oh, joy, oh, rapture, please God let them have it in my size.  I find it demoralizing.  I can't picture myself in clothes worn by tall skinny gals.  I need an online version of me.  Give me a short Jewish gal.  Give me a gal under 5'2."  Give me the SJG Line of Casual Wear.  Fill an online page with petite middle-aged models, well-endowed in the backside, and I will throw dollars at you.  Trust me, it will never happen.  So I'm stuck shopping in stores, where I'm genetically required to try on an ark-load of stuff before I find one thing that works, maybe two if I'm lucky.  It's always been this way.  Early shopping experiences with my sweet mother taught me to fill up a fitting room with random selections, try everything on, and then, hang everything up again.  We never left a pile on the floor.  I've done my best to teach my sons the same store etiquette, with very little success.  If I shop today, if I'm bold enough, if I have the stamina and drive, it will be in battletorn stores with weeping/angry salespeople. But don't let that stop you.  Stay in and spend.  I dare you.  Happy Cyber Monday, to you and yours.  Let me know what you buy, and what you return.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hello, I Must Be Going

The college boy just got here and now he's going.  Only Groucho can cheer me up.  Hooray, hooray, hooray.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spread The Gelt

This just in:  The Short Jewish Gal will raise funds for Spread the Gelt, a worldwide charity that delivers chocolate coins to all the good boys and girls in time for Hanukkah, by auctioning herself. The winning bidder will meet the famed blogger at the Dec. 6 premiere of her new film,  The Year of Kvetching, and be chauffeured via SUV to Temple Hamotzi for an after-party of challah and Manischewitz.  Note to the winner: don't worry if you freak out meeting the Short Jewish Gal.  She's experienced some awestruck moments of her own meeting her idols.  "I'm still not over the time I met Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.  I kept talking to him and all he did was wave.  I was hoping we'd make a better connection," the SJG told PEOPLE.  To make a bid in the auction, which ends Wednesday at midnight, contact your local chapter of Spread the Gelt right now, if not sooner.  A chance to hang with the SJG, and learn the hip-hop hora?  You should be so lucky.

Friday, November 25, 2011

We Ate, We Drank, We Went Home

Billy, Howard, Scotty and the SJG drop by a random house for a nosh
Grandpa Ben and Scotty

Some very silly people:  Brother John shows his jazz hands
The Cuzzy Contingency:  Allison, Levi, Andy, Willa and Lucas Kaplan

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Still Crazy In A Turkey Outfit

Paul Simon, an unhappy turkey
One of the best SNL's ever, November 1976. Paul Simon walks out on stage, dressed as a giant turkey. He starts singing "Still Crazy After All These Years," but stops and addresses the bandleader.
Paul Simon: Cut it. Forget it. Forget it, Richard. [ turns to the audience ] You know, I said, when the turkey concept was first brought up, I said there's a very good chance I'm gonna end up looking stupid if I come out wearing it. I mean, everyone said, "Oh, it's Thanksgiving, go ahead." You know, I felt it was not in any way in keeping with my image, the lyrics, "The Boxer", any of these songs. They said, "Hey, you know, you take yourself soooo seriously. Why don't you stop taking yourself soooo seriously for a while and loosen up a little bit, and maybe people will laugh. You want to be Mr. Alienation, you can be Mr. Alienation." Well, I didn't want to be Mr. Alienation. I want to be a regular guy, but I feel this has just been a disaster. I'm sorry. I'm just gonna go and change." He  leaves the stage and walks out of the studio, toward his dressing room. Lorne Michaels waits in the corridor, clapping.
Lorne Michaels: Wonderful!
Paul Simon: You call that wonderful?
Lorne Michaels: What? You had a problem?
Paul Simon: That was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life!
Lorne Michaels: What? The band came in late?
Paul Simon: The band was fine! It's not the band!
Lorne Michaels: I don't understand what the problem is.
Paul Simon: The problem is, I'm singing "Still Crazy" in a turkey outfit. Well, would you like to sing in a turkey outfit?
Lorne Michaels: I thought it worked great!
Paul Simon: Yeah? What do I look like, Jan Michael Vincent, here? You think I'm looking good?
Lorne Michaels: You look great! Honestly! Why don't you just go change.
Paul Simon: Yeah, let's just do that. Let's just say it was a difference of opinion.
Lorne Michaels: Okay, maybe it was a difference of opinion, but I think it worked great. [ Paul tries to exit to the hallway, as Lorne faces the camera ] We'll be right back after this following message.
Paul Simon: [ stuck in door frame ] I can't fit through the door!
Lorne Michaels: [ rolling his eyes ] Alright, I'm coming.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Labrador, Myself

My canine twin
Much has been written about women who hit perimenopause at the same time their teenagers go into hormonal overdrive.  But what about the weird connection between pet owners and their beloved animals?  In my own case, Dusty and I are hitting certain milestones at the same time, and quite frankly, I'm alarmed.  This dog and I are so in sync, we share the same middle-aged mishegas, the same allergies, the same jumpy personality, the same need to feel loved and appreciated.  We are, as they say, simpatico.  Sometimes I need someone, preferably with a medical degree, to remind me that I didn't actually give birth to Dusty.  Yesterday, our similarities attained a new level of you've-got-to-be-kidding when I took him for his annual checkup at the vet. Turns out, we have yet another thing in common now.  "His eyes look a little cloudy," the doctor said.  "He's probably seeing little black spots, too."  I looked at her in disbelief.  "You're freaking me out here."  "Oh, it's nothing to worry about.  He won't go blind."  "I just went through this myself," I said, and regaled her with my torn retina ordeal, as if it were deeply relevant.  She smiled, patiently, and played along.  I bet she gets this a lot from wacky pet owners who over-identify with their animals.  "Do you think Dusty got tired of hearing me talk about my eyes, and figured, hey, it's my turn?" "It's possible," she said, indulging me, "or it might just be a coincidence."  "A cosmic one," I added.  She escorted Dusty out of the exam room for the full spa treatment.  Teeth cleaning, nail clipping, and various extractions.  While I waited, I found myself wondering what other ailments Dusty and I might share in the future.  Leaky bladder.  Faulty memory.  Uncontrollable napping.  Whatever awaits us, God willing, we'll get through it, hand in paw.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things We Say On Thanksgiving

Things we may or may not say this Thanksgiving:
Let's play football on the front lawn.
Were there any Jewish Pilgrims?
Bring out the first turkey!  The first turkey?
Who wants to say grace?
This turkey is to die for. 
Your turkey is better than Carol's burnt cheesecloth turkey.
I heard that!
Let's sing a medley of Thanksgiving songs. 
You're so funny when you're drunk.
Is this going in the blog?
Oh, @#$%, I spilled cranberry on my shirt.
Leave room for Andy's famous cheesecake.
These pants fit when I walked in.
I will now recite a short soliloquy on gratitude.
All credit cards accepted.
Excuse me while I Occupy this sofa.
Don't make me get out the pepper spray.  
God bless Rick Perry.
Next year, Jerusalem.
You got so tall.
You got shorter.
Thanksgiving means thanks living.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top Ten Things I'm Grateful For

This year, I'm uber-grateful for the following:
1.  I don't have to take folding chairs out of the garage.
2.  I don't have to take anything out of the garage.
3.  I don't have to set the table.
4.  I don't have to iron the table cloth.
5.  I don't have to cram 24 people around the table.
6.  I don't have to coordinate what 24 people are bringing.
7.  I don't have to buy two turkeys.
8.  I don't have to figure out new ways to ruin two turkeys.
9.  I don't have to obsess over when two turkeys are done.
10. I don't have to host Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Rap With Fire

Scott D at the mic
Never follow a fire-eater, or date one
Talk about chutzpah.  The other night, the college boy, aka Scott D, performed one of his rap songs at a campus talent show in front of 80 students.  I asked him how it went:  "Pretty good.  Not necessarily the most lively audience, but the lines got a lot of laughs, unless they were just laughing at my wardrobe."  "Did you get any feedback?"  "One guy said my Krafts singles line was genius."  "Rap it for me, with feeling."  "Writing these rhymes to you like a love letter, stackin cheddar Kraft Singles, Scott Deezy wit the funky hip hop jingles."  "I'd have to agree.  It is genius.  What were some of the other acts?" "There was this one girl.  She ate fire."  "What?"  "She was a fire-eater."  "You're kidding."  "She didn't really eat fire.  It was an illusion."  "I'm glad to hear it."  "I figured you would be." "So, honey, you went up against a fire-eater."  "Yeah."  "That's a tough act to follow."  "I went before her."  "Work with me here, would ya?  Next time you perform, don't share billing with a fire-eater."  "Okay."  "You can't compete with that." "Got it."  "In fact, keep away from any girls who eat fire.  That's just a good rule, in general."  "No fire-eaters."  "Right." "What if they're Jewish?" "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snuggies Optional

Formal Snuggie Wear
Last night, the SJG and First Hubby headed to a whole other zip code, something we rarely do, but when we do it, we go all out.  We packed our survival gear and took to the road, prepared to brave the elements, with our extra large snuggie, our thermos of hot cocoa and our comfy, solar-powered butt-warming cushions.  Upon arrival, we took our seats and I began to chant, "Go take that ball, go down the field and score, score!"  Whereupon First Hubby leaned in and whispered, "Shush."  "You're shushing me at a football game?" "We're not at a football game."  "That's crazy talk.  Of course we -- " A brief interlude to reconsider our surroundings.  First Hubby was right.  We were not a sporting event.  We were at a joyous matrimonial event.  We weren't not in the bleachers, rooting for our team.  We were on white folding chairs.  There were twinkly lights and flowers, ushers and bridesmaids, a guy at the piano.  We were at a wedding in Beverly Hills.  An outdoor wedding.  You heard me.  In November!  If that's not throwing caution to the wind, what is? "We better lose the snuggie," I told First Hubby, sadly.  "I think people are staring."  So we wiggled out of our flannel blankie ensemble, hid the thermos under the seats and chanted for the bride and groom, instead.  Following the lovely ceremony, we got to go inside, which made me so happy, I couldn't wait to hit the dance floor.  I pulled out the signature moves, the gyrations.  It was all about shake it, don't break it.  Only something did break, mid-shake.  My fun rhinestone necklace.  Beads just started falling everywhere.  Here a bead, there a bead, everywhere a bead-bead.  Throughout the night, nice people kept handing me the remnants of my accessory.   Lesson learned:  Dangly costume jewelry and wicked dance moves?  Not a matching set.