Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gorgeous Gorgeous You

Now and then, the Short JG gets fed up with self-inflicted botched pedicures, and turns the task over to a higher power.  Now and then, I must sit upon a throne at the nail salon and nod to the commoners.  On my last outing to Gorgeous Gorgeous You, I witnessed quite the uprising. A nice couple I recognized but couldn't place (this happens a lot) felt strongly that Gorgeous Gorgeous You had tricked their daughter.  They wanted an apology, not to mention, a refund.  While they pointed fingers at the manager, I slunk down in my throne, reluctant to get pulled into this drama.  All I wanted to do was sit there, luxuriating like a queen.  Selfish, selfish me.  Gorgeous Gorgeous You, according to the nice people I was now hiding from, had charged extra for a flower.  Their daughter thought the flower came with the manicure, but alas, like so many things in life, the flower cost extra.  The manager stared stonily, as the nice couple said some unnice things.  They would tell everyone they know not to step foot in Gorgeous Gorgeous You.  I'm sure they would've told me the same thing, if they'd noticed me, cowering regally behind my magazine.  But they were too busy threatening to call the Better Business Bureau.  A better SJG would've marched out, dripping sudsy water, in support.  I could see how such a bait-and-switch happened.  In the course of my mani-pedi, the nail ladies offered me a cuticle treatment, a neck and shoulder message, and a personality transformation via seductive whispers, never hinting at the extra cost.  Thanks to the nice couple's rant, I didn't bite.  But I did stay put.  I wanted my toes to look pretty in NYC.  It rained the whole time I was there and my toes never came out to play.  I've learned my karmic lesson.  Next time I witness injustice at the nail salon, I will rise up in support, I will throw tiny bottles of Radical Red and Manic Mauve.  Gorgeous Gorgeous You has seen the last of the Short JG.  I'm taking my toes down the street to What Up, Bitch, where I belong.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

We'll Always Have Paris

A must-see:  "Midnight in Paris"
The best Woody Allen movie in years.  Owen Wilson takes a midnight ride into the past, and winds up hanging with Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Hemingway, Cole Porter, Scott and Zelda.   The perfect combo of romance and fantasy. Who wouldn't want to step back in time for a few hours?  Hit replay.  I want to see it again.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

What else is new?
Every afternoon, Dusty walks me around the neighborhood.  We stop for potty breaks (his) and various sniffing rituals.  He sniffs for evidence of other dogs.  Lamp posts and fences are his personal favs.  He sniffs the tushies of other dogs that dare to step in his path.  He sniffs the hands and pant legs of friendly humans.  I'm better trained.  I sniff the flowers only.  I'm too busy taking in the beauty of my surroundings to sniff dogs and humans.  The pretty birds, the pretty gardens, the pretty cars. When something mars the beauty of my surroundings, like a special Dusty deposit, I quickly make it disappear into an earth-friendly bag and then dump it in someone else's trash can.  In this way, I feel good about myself and a little bit naughty.  I'm so well-liked in my neighborhood, so thoroughly adored and admired, that people often hand me free stuff, like they do at Costco.  I might get a personal invite to join a Bible Study Group, to which I respond, "Oh, hell no."  I might get a flier for a new nail salon, to which I respond, "Is there a coupon?"  Yesterday, I got a CD.  This is the second time someone in my neighborhood has handed me a CD.  All I had to do was say hello to the nicely-dressed man who lives next door to Cheryl, the mother of Dusty's girlfriend, Scout.  "Do you like Spanish music?" he said, apropos of nothing. This is the sort of non-sequitar I live for.  It's so random, so out of left field, that naturally I said, "Oh, hell yes!"  So Josh, an actor/musician/highly-decorated Vietnam Vet, grabbed one of his own CDs out of the car ("Josh Cruze:  Tengo Que Vivi") and gave it to me.  "Do you like Kvetching?" I asked.  "What language is that?" "It's universal for complaining."  "I speak it fluently," he said. "Then you might like my CD.  'Kvetch Along With the Short Jewish Gal.'"  "I'd love to hear it."  "It's 45 minutes of uninterrupted whining.  I'll drop it by tomorrow."  Music sharing.  A new neighborhood service.  Wireless and free.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Left Power

Hi, my name is Carol and I'm a lefty in a right-handed world.  In elementary school, I went to a "special class" for lefties.  The goal was to help us handle a pen or pencil like a normal person, to aim for legibility.  The results: iffy.  I still hold my pen strangely.  I still smudge every piece of paper, every check, every birthday card.  The side of my left hand is still covered in ink.  Oh, the indignity of it all.  Like most lefties, I'm ambidextrous.  I had no choice.  I can use scissors like a righty.  I can throw a ball like a right-handed girl.  I can wave hello like a right-handed beauty queen.  I'm a lefty in a right-handed world.  There's a line of products just for lefties. I had a pair of left-handed scissors.  I lost them.  I had a left-handed pen.  I lost that too.  I've bought left-handed spiral notebooks and left-handed cooking utensils and waited for life to get easier.  The results:  iffy.  I'm a right-brain in a left-brain world.  As a new mom, I read up on the lefty thing.  No kid of mine was going to have to endure the same inconveniences, to spend twelve years trying to write left on a right-handed desk.  Oh, hell, no.  Not my boychicks.  So I did what the books said.  I placed Cheerios and spoons and sippy cups in the middle of the high chair tray, so that the boys wouldn't automatically reach to the left and become lefties in a right-handed world.  The results: iffy.  The eldest is a lefty like me.  He plays hockey left-handedly and shoots a basketball left-handedly.  His handwriting is illegible.  Thank God for texting.  I haven't seen him lift a pen in years.  But he plays a mean guitar right-handedly, so there's that.  The youngest is a righty like hubby.  The youngest has the greatest printing I've ever seen.  Since he first picked up a pencil, I've marveled at his skills.  "How do you do that?" His answer:  "How do you not do that?" The best part about being a lefty is the instant camaraderie you share with other lefties.  "You're a lefty!  Me, too!"  It's a lot like meeting other Jews in places you don't expect, like Wyoming or a tiny village in Greece.  Lefties need to stick together.  We're lefties in a right-handed world.   Baby, we were born this way.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Can't I Stand?

This morning's email from the college boy.  Subject:  The Infamous Tooth.  "I was eating pasta and I bit a little into the plastic fork; it's not too bad but I wanted to ask if you could make an appointment to get it fixed when I get back. Love you, can't believe it happened again." The Infamous Front Tooth won its moniker long ago, when he ka-knocked it on the bathroom counter and it broke. How his front tooth made contact with the counter, I can't remember, but something tells me he was goofing around, and maybe his older brother was involved, and look what happened.  It's just one more example of my dad's theory on why children are nothing but trouble. Throughout my childhood, my dad would roam the house, issuing the following battle-cry: "What can't I stand?"  And the three of us would answer:  "Happy children!"  The theory was so smart and simple, so logical, I'm surprised one of those Spocks, Dr. or Mr., didn't think of it first.  Happy children get charged up.  Happy children get carried away.  Happy children wind up doing dumb things and getting hurt.  Case in point:  my youngest son.  Happiness led to goofiness which led to a broken front tooth and numerous sequels.  Halloween-inspired happiness led to biting down hard on an Abba Zabba which led to a re-broken front tooth and a running tab at the dentist.  Amnesia-inspired happiness led to biting down hard on an Abba Zabba (again?!) which led to a you-know-what and another dentist appointment.  And now, Santa Cruz-inspired happiness led to pasta, orally delivered via a recyclable plastic fork, which led to... oh, never mind.  What can't I stand?  Happy children.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eyebrows and Earrings

The nice country boy or the nice country girl?  Both equally talented, equally Southern, equally likable.  The country boy borders on corny.  The country girl borders on insecure.  His eyebrow choreography, her gigantic earrings.  His deep voice.  Her girlish charm.  This year, American Idol went safe and yawny. The edgy ones went home, the ones with quirky appeal and astonishing talent.  Casey, Haley, James.  They're the ones I hope will soar.  I'm still rooting for them.  Scotty and Lauren Alaina arrived on the stage, a foregone conclusion, the anointed ones from the git-go.  So, here are your finalists.  Scotty and Lauren Alaina.  Nice country kids.  In it to win it.  Make room, Nashville.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do Not Disturb

Does she make house calls?
"Housekeeping."  "Hi, just wanted you to know I'm going out now."  "Good for you." "I thought I'd give you a heads up.  You kinda forgot about me yesterday.  The bed wasn't made, the towels were on the floor, no one emptied the trash."  "Where are you calling from, ma'am?"  "Does that matter?" "It's important."  "Why?" "For starters, you're no longer a guest at our hotel."  "Says who?"  "Says the computer that tells us your room number."  "But I'm in 2028."  "Not anymore." "While you're at it, I'd like an extra pillow.  And can you transfer me to room service?  I'd like to complain about that omelette I ordered.  I'm still waiting for it.  It's probably cold by now." "You sound a little disturbed, ma'am."  "You'd be disturbed, too, if no one showed up to make your room all nice and pretty.  Is it because I didn't take the Do Not Disturb thingie off the door?"  "We're not mind readers, ma'am.  We never enter a room that says Do Not Disturb.  We respect the sanctity of the sign."  "Fine.  I just took it off the door.  How soon will they be here?"  "Momentarily.  Will there be anything else, ma'am?"  "Make sure they vacuum.  I found dog hair all over the carpet."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Word Up

Whatever it means, I love it
 In NYC, I discovered a new word.  I love this word so much, I plan to slip it into daily conversation and turn it into the go-to expression of the year.  I love this word for its multitude of made-up meanings and possibilities.  You can put an "ed" on the end or an "ing" or just let it sit there, looking pretty on its own.  You can dress it up or dress it down, use it with love or hostility.  Depending on your mood, you can make it a compliment or a clever insult.  Do a double entendre with it and bat your eyes. Win a round of Scrabble with it.  The other day, gal pal Debbi and I stumbled upon our new favorite word in our quest to escape the rain. We ducked into a lovely restaurant  called Sarabeth, across from Central Park, and managed to kill many hours with lively discussion, made even livelier with our very rude application of our new favorite word.  It was just staring up at us from the menu, in a shy short of way, wondering if we'd notice it or pass it by.  We glommed onto it and wouldn't let go.  We pointed to it and asked the waiter, "What is that?"  Even he didn't know.  "I'll go check," he said.  He came back with this:  "It's a spread, like butter."  The real meaning wasn't that important.  We'd found a winner and ran with it.  "Go clabber yourself."  "Clabber off and die."  "I'm so clabbered."  "Arnie is famous for clabberng around on Maria." "I hear he clabbered the maid."  "I hear he clabbered California." "I hope Maria clabbers him in the divorce."  Stop me now before I clabber again.  On second thought, I'm just getting started.
Debbi loves our new word, too
Please sir, can I have some clabber?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Heart U, NYC

... I really do, and yet, I'm so happy to be back in Sherman Oaks, especially after the way you mistreated me on our last day together.  I get it.  You were upset I was leaving.  You wanted me to stay longer and deal with your hectic streets, your scaffolding, your sidewalk smokers, your soggy weather.  You're such a tease, NYC.  You make me think you're done raining.  Then you rain again just to eff with me.  And speaking of resentment, NYC, can we talk  about that lunatic car ride to JFK?  Hubby and I barely made to the airport alive, not to mention, on time to catch our flight -- only to sit on the runway for an hour-and-a-half.  The majority of the ride, we crawled through Queens at two miles an hour.  The driver kept telling us not to worry, we'd get there.  Telling two Jews in the backseat not to worry is an invitation to worry even more.  Initially, the ride was kind of fun.  "That store is called Salt and Fat."  "That gentleman's club is called Wiggles."  To pass the time, we debated which would be the dream job for the SJG.  I tried out various resume possibilities.  "I worked at Salt and Fat in Queens. I got too bloated.  It wasn't a good fit."  "I worked at Wiggles in Queens.  I got fired for wiggling too much in the wrong place."  The fun gave way to a rapidly-building sense of doom.  We're completely effed here.  We're going to miss our flight.  We'll never make in out of Queens.  That job at Wiggles has my name on it.  "Now appearing nightly at Wiggles:  The SJG!"  The driver stopped telling us not to worry -- it might have been our frantic efforts to book another flight -- and transferring blame elsewhere.  "It's not my fault." Whose fault was it, then?  As our boarding time approached, the driver switched gears, transforming himself into an action hero.  We were flying through Queens at 80 mph, dodging parked cars.  It was a chase scene.  I laughed hysterically and clung to hubby and wrote my own epitaph.  "She blogged, and then, she bought it in Queens."  But here I am, and there you are, NYC.  It's all good.  I forgive you, you big lunk.  But I'm taking a break.  I need a city that goes to bed early, a deli that knows how to make a tuna melt.  Nothing personal, but I'm back where I belong.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hobnobbery

The cast of "Secret Circle" 
After Wednesday's polite knee-bashing encounter with Kenny Ortega, followed by a severe scolding from my longtime brother John for not seizing the moment and dancing up and down the aisles (if not the stage of) the Eugene O'Neill, I opted to step it up a notch on Thursday.  It was a day of celebrity hobnobbing, shoulder-rubbing and extreme eyeballing.  I didn't just journey to NYC for no reason.  I came here as hubby's Plus One, or as I like to think of myself, his Arm Candy.  Thursday was the CW Upfront, an event that takes six weeks of hard-labor for sixty minutes of glory.  It is the ultimate dog and pony show for the advertising peeps, who gather to preview the Fall lineups of the different networks and decide where to place their advertising billions.  I'm not sure exactly what hubby does for the CW, but leading up to the presentation, he's on quality control, making sure things go according to plan and spending an inordinate amount of time on his crackberry.  I get to sit in the back during the show and do what I'm so good at:  yell and scream woo-hoo.  This is an unpaid position, but since I was born to do this, I am in my element.  No special perks for the SJG, other than the joy of trying to rejigger the energy level of the room.  Basically, I just mimic the important CW folk I'm sitting next to, as they clap and whoop it up.  They show clips of the upcoming shows, like "Secret Circle" (scary witch community) and "Hart of Dixie" (adorable fish-out-of-water Dr. Rachel Bilson from  "The O.C" in a southern town) and  "Ringer" (Sarah Michelle Gellar as twins in scary noirish setting).  There are two realities shows, one about hating celebrities (impossible to pick just one) and remodeling a modeling agency.  At the noisy party last night, held at a club full of young hip people (I felt so old, I needed a cane by the end of the evening) I got to meet Maggie Q, the stunning star of "Nikita" who was so sweet and pretty and thin that I started to weep in her presence.  She told us we looked like male and female versions of each other.  I said, "Aw," as opposed to, "Ew." The rabbi who married us wondered if we were brother and sister, a relationship we continue to deny to this day.  I eyeballed Mario Lopez and the handsome stars of "Vampire Diaries."  I got "this close" to the diminutive Sarah Michelle Gellar.  I met many bigwig executives and smiled till my face hurt.  After many hours of hobnobbery and appetizers, I begged hubby to please let me go back to the hotel, where I could soak my battered feet, and nice guy that he is, he complied.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Really Famous Guy

Last night, during intermission at  "The Book of Mormon", one of the funniest musicals I've ever seen, and certainly the most outrageous, a really famous guy squeezed by me, taking a shortcut down my row.  "I was shocked," he said into his cell phone.  "Completely shocked."  I was shocked, too, as he banged into me.  We were knee to knee for a second there.  "Are you okay?" he asked me.  "No worries," I said, in my California way.  He went back to his cell phone conversation.  He was still shocked about something. I looked at Debbi, my theater companion and giggle mate.  "That guy who kneed me is really famous. He directed that Michael Jackson movie, 'This is Your Life.' Or whatever it's called.  Oh, and 'High School' Musical.  He's a choreographer guy too."  I  grabbed her arm.  "What's his name?"  "I don't know."  "Oh, God, Debbi, I'm going to go crazy if I can't remember.  I think it's Benny something."  "Benny?" Debbi asked.  "Benny Something.  No, that's not right.  It's Freddy."  "Yeah, Freddy sounds right.  Let's go with that," Debbi said, trying to shut me up.  Good luck with that. "This is going to drive me insane."  I turned to the woman to the right of me.  "Can you Google something for me on your iPhone?"  She smiled.  "Sure."  "Type in, 'who directed the Michael Jackson movie?"  "What was it called?"  "This is..."  "This Is It," said my new best friend.  Her fingers tapped away.  "No internet connection.  I must've turned it off," she said.  "Can you turn it back on?  And hurry." Clearly, she wasn't picking up on the urgency of the situation.  She tried again.  Still no connection.  And then the lights went out.  I was devastated.  Debbi looked at me.  "Put it out of your mind."  "Have you met me?" I asked.  "Let it go," she said.  "You let it go," I said.  "I've got to know his name!" But within seconds, I was too busy laughing hysterically to obsess over the famous guy who kneed me.  Benny or Freddy.  When I got back to the hotel, I hit the laptop and found my answer.  Kenny Ortega.  Kenny Ortega kneed me.  Hard. But he was really nice about it.  I'm not surprised.  He's a Californian.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You Ordered What?

I've always had a thing for horses
"You never order GOY at a deli, unless you're Diane Keaton," said my dad, after I admitted to him that I'd made a very bad decision at the Carnegie Deli.  While hubby gobbled down a  corned beef sandwich bigger than a taxi, the SJG stared forlornly at the Carnegie version of a tuna melt.  It was mountainous and unconquerable and just plain unappetizing.  I seriously don't know what I was thinking.  I blame Annie, the ancient  waitress, who hobbled up to our tiny table and asked, "What can I get you, ladies?" The hubby-centric gender mishap threw me, and somehow "bagel, cream cheese and lox" came out tuna melt.  Mainly, I ate pickles, which explains the non-stop burpage.  Luckily, the gastric eruptions subsided by the time we sat down to "War Horse," an oh-my-gawd theatrical experience of how'd-they-do-that.  Burping during such a dramatic feast of astonishing horse puppetry and anti-war sentiment would've been wrong on many levels.  I am so glad Connie Ray, star of Broadway, ordered me to see it and I bought tickets early.  This show is sold out well into next century.  Tonight I see "Book of Mormon."  I am one lucky SJG, except when it comes to ordering at the Carnegie Deli.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wake Up Call

The SJG and Rambo, a native New Yorkie
Close personal friend Debbi and Rambo
New Yorkers do things a little differently.  Take this morning's wake up call, courtesy of our hotel's automated service:  "Time to wake your fat ass up.  It's 7:30.  What makes you think you're so special that you can sleep late?  We've been up since dawn. So hoist your tonnage upright, start your day already and stop kvetching about the rain and your jet lag. We really don't give a @#$% how tired you are and how bad your hair looks.  We've got our own issues that are much more important.  Oh, and BTW, that protective bubble you think you're entitled to, just because you're from L.A., never made it through airport security.  You're in our town now.  Deal with it.  A little torrential downpour won't kill you.  Plus, it's not our fault you're too dense to read a weather forecast.  If you're not up in five minutes, we're coming in there to personally kick your tuchas out of bed, you lazy bum."  Ouch.
Oatmeal at Norma's.  Not included: 18 cups of strong coffee

Monday, May 16, 2011

Domestic Goddess: The Early Years

Laurie and the jet-lagged SJG in NYC
We met Laurie and Bob in Lamaze, a million years ago.  We were the bad children in class, misbehaving and giggling during breathing exercises and terrifying videos of actual women giving birth.  If we wanted to see actual women give birth, we had only to wait a few more months to see ourselves endure hours and hours of mind-blowing pain.  According to Laurie, I was the worst offender in class.  Laurie has many interesting stories about me, dating back 24 years or so, and just between us, I'm questioning the accuracy of her memory.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Adios, Amiga!


Adios, Bougainvillea, Adios, Amiga
Your little pink flores? No mas
This makes me muy triste
They cut your vine before its time
A casualty of painting
Por que?  Oh!  Por que?
For 11 anos you grew and grew
You cheered up this short little Jew
Now teardrops fall on mi casa
Una dia, you'll come back, I know 
Till then, shalom, mi amiga!
Take care, ba-bye 
Weep no more, SJG
It could be worse, verdad?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Welcome Back, Now Leave

Dear SJG,
NYC is so excited about your impending arrival, we can hardly sleep.  But then, we are the city that never sleeps, so, let us find another way to emote on your behalf.  We’ve scheduled a parade in your honor, declared Monday “SJG Day” and named a Carnegie Deli sandwich after you -- “The SJGPB&J.”  In other words, we’ve done our best to meet your list of ridiculous demands.  However, it pains us to inform you that the producers of “The Book of Mormon” refuse to let you leap on stage and perform your interpretive hora.  Ditto for the producers of “War Horse,” “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,” “Memphis” and “Jersey Boys.”  You’ll have to find another venue in which to express yourself.  May we suggest the lobby of Trump Towers?  They’re always open to shameless attention-seekers.
Sincerely,
NYC
P.S. We're all out of keys to the city, so fuggetaboutit.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Painting On Water

I admit it made me a little nervous to see Freddie balancing on top of the pool in a final biblical gesture, capping a miraculous four days.  Freddie stood on a ladder, steadied by his brother Eddie, who stood on a wooden plank that rested on two ladders. The whole thing looked mighty precarious. And yet, Freddie and Eddie, Juan and Umberto pulled off the Tan Plan without a single mishap.  Naturally, I'm mystified.  The SJG goes through life anticipating aggravation, so the fact that I never had to yell or channel my inner-bitchiness, which resides right there on the surface for easy access, remains a total keppy-scratcher.  Does this mean I'm overdue for an extra helping of tsouris in the near-future?  We shall see.  Not to worry, though.  I can handle it.  When it comes to disaster preparedness, I'm a Girl Scout with a freezer full of Thin Mints.  I'll be just fine.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy my delirium, fueled by leftover paint fumes and homeowner relief that it's over.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Whistle While You Paint

Freddie, the whistling painter
Freddie's happy crew

See the men.  They are happy.  Happy painting men.  Has anyone out there ever heard of happy painters?  Most painters are not happy.  Most painters are grumpy-faces.  Most painters act like they're doing you a big favor.  Not these men.  They are happy.  Happy painting men.  I go outside and ask them, "Why are you so happy?"  "We like to paint," they say.  "The Secret:  Volume II."  If you like what you do, it makes you happy.  It's as simple as that. Find me a ladder, boys.  I'll be right up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Alphabetically Challenged

"Freddie, who do I make the check out to?"  "My brother, Esbin."  "Esbin.  E - s - b - i -n?  B?"  Freddie flashes me the victory sign.  "Yes.  B, as in Victor."  "B?  As in Victor?"  "Yes.  B, as in Victor."  He gives me the "V" sign again.  I start laughing hysterically.  "I'm sorry, Freddie, I don't understand."  "What don't you understand?"  "Is it B or V?"  "It's B."  "So E - s - b - i - n?"  "No.  E - s - b - i - n."  More laughter on my part.  Freddie smiles.  "What is so funny?"  "I'm so confused.  Is it B as in boy?"  "No.  It's B as in Victor."  It's starting to turn deja vu-ish and "Who's on first?"  But the SJG doesn't give up that easily.  "Hang on.  Is it V as in very?"  "Yes," says Freddie.  "It's B as in very."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Revelation

They're coming! 
They came, they ate, they cheered for the Lakers, they cursed the Lakers, they went home.  The big discovery on Mother's Day was watching my dad watching the Lakers.  He was trying to manipulate the outcome with his secret powers, sending out positive vibes with his fingers, dancing those digits back and forth, and corralling everyone in the room to participate, in a "we can do this" delusional way.  And yet, this is a man who controls the weather, which has been historically proven, dating back to WWII, so why couldn't he control the game?  He couldn't.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Give Me An Egg Cream Please

"James Bondstein."  One of my mother's favorite routines from "You Don't Have To Be Jewish."  Enjoy, sweet mamacita, wherever you are.  Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

If You Buy Bagels, They Will Come

A while back, when was it?  Three years ago?  Four?  Trust me on this:  It was a glorious day, a day of celebration, when Cuzzy's Wife, a stylish shiksa gal I call Sis, asked me, Big Little Sis, if she could take over Mother's Day.  It would be her holiday.  Just hers.  Would that be okay with the SJG?  "Let me get back to you," I said.  "Yes."  I was so delighted, so elated, to end the long-ass tradition of trading off hosting Mother's Day, that I went giddy.  Woo-hoo! Let the trumpets blare!  Hurray! Trading off on Thanksgiving provides enough aggravation.  On my years, something breaks (dishwasher), something burns (cheesecloth turkey wrap), someone falls (hubby's aunt).  On Sis's years, everything goes ridiculous well.  It isn't fair, but then, what is?  So, Sis's offer to take over Mother's Day was the best gift ever, the kind that keeps on giving.  Whoever started this long-ass tradition (I blame my mother and my aunt) never envisioned that one day, their kids would have their own kids and spouses and significant others, that the fresser count would swell, and that these people would expect to be fed bagels and cream cheese and lox. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kvell Time

The SJG  with my bro'/frequent commenter John Starr and boyfriend Tim Ford


Carla Malden at her Barnes & Noble book signing for "AfterImage"
The other night, the SJG trekked to Santa Monica.  That's right, you heard me.  I got out of the Valley and it felt good.  Only took me 45 minutes to enjoy an ocean breeze.  On the way, I passed my old house, my old apartment, my old Junior High, my old High School.  The operative word here is old, which is what I felt passing these Westside landmarks that reminded me I was young once, and carefree.  Oh wait, I was never carefree.  But I was young.  I arrived at my brother John's house around 5ish.  His dog Lucky immediately jumped on my new black pants and tried to mount me from behind.  I went with it.  I'm a total ho' when it comes to dogs. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Go On, Kugel Yourself

They left out Kugel
Have you tried out the new search engine everyone's talking about?  It's called Kugel. It's so much better than Google, you have no idea.  It only finds the Jewishness in your bio.  Kugel yourself, and locate your Hebrew school evaluation from 1969.  "Talks too much in English.  Can't say her Alef-Bet to save her tuchas.  Debating whether to expel."  Kugel yourself, and locate all the tsouris you've caused over the years.  "In 1975, she dented her mother's Pontiac.  Again." "In 1976, she came home too late, to find her parents sitting shiva. 'We've called the police.  We've called the hospitals.  We've called the fire department.  Where were you?' 'I was out.' 'Hope you enjoyed it because you're never leaving the house again.'"  Kugel.  Powered by guilt.  Go on, Kugel yourself.  You might not like what you find.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Love Story

I was 23 when I met Carla Malden and Laurence Starkman at a party.  They were screenwriters, I was a journalist.  We bonded immediately and the connection only got stronger.  We lived a few blocks from each other.  The four of us went to restaurants, movies and concerts.  We were there for all the big life events. The pregnancies, the sleepless nights, the baby steps, the driving tests, the joys, the non-stop worries.  The highs and lows and the hilarity in-between.  We shared it all, year after year.  Carla and Laurence, high school sweethearts, just like us.  And then Laurence got cancer.  Sweet, wonderful, gifted Laurence.  A Renaissance Man, an artist, an editor, a gourmet chef, a storyteller, a drummer, a Hawaiian shirt collector.  An uncle.  A brother-in-law.  A son-in-law.  A loyal, treasured friend.  Above all, a husband.  A father.  Deeply missed.  Today Carla's book arrives in stores.  AfterImage: A Brokenhearted Memoir of a Charmed Life is an astonishing tribute to Laurence.  At its core, Carla's book is "a love story, as all real stories of loss must be. It is a story not solely about grief. It’s about battling the before and surviving the after, and dabbling in madness along the way. It is about the small moments that constitute a life well-lived. It is in those moments of human connection that we can search for gratitude through grief. AfterImage is a story of love more than loss, memory more than sorrow, life more than death."  Candice Reeds' review in New York Journal of Books 
Carla Malden

Book Signings:
Wednesday - May 4, 7 pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3rd Street Promenade
1201 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Wednesday - May 18, 7 pm
Book Soup
8818 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good Timing

They got him on Holocaust Remembrance Day!
Well done!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boot Camp

Hold that plank!!!
Yesterday's boot camp instructor mistook Studio City for Basic Training Camp.  She was a last-minute sub, prone to bark orders like a drill sergeant.  "You call that a squat?!"  "Tighten those abs!"  "Hold that plank!"  "Lunge deeper!" "Punch that bag!  Punch it!  Do it till you can't breathe!"  The SJG doesn't take well to commands, unless they're followed by a pat on the head, a treat and repeated praise: "Good girl!" Give me Sees, give me Hershey's, and I'm happy to roll over and play dead.  But the drill sergeant offered no rewards, and therefore, I responded accordingly.  My inner beyotch came out, full-throttle.  Under duress, the SJG gives attitude.  Don't believe me?  References available upon request.  For a solid hour, I mocked the instructor and lived to tell the tale.  Every time she called out an order, I did the opposite.  When told to lunge and punch, I danced, I shimmied, I sashayed.  Told to jump, I skipped.  This latent urge to disobey explains so much about the formerly shy SJG.  Somewhere along the way, I transformed into Little Miss Don't Eff With Me.  I always knew she was in there.  It only took about five decades to take her out in public. So if you mess with me, I will overreact.  I will go over the top.  I will emote.  I won't take it lying down.  Unless you give me chocolate.  Then I cave easily.  That's just how I roll, bitches.