Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who Needs Film School?

I look over at the young man lounging on the sofa.  He's taking the week off "to chill."  All that computer eyestrain and crazed keyboarding.  He needs a break.  He needs a deeper purpose in life.  What he really wants to do is direct.  And today, he'll do just that, with fancy borrowed equipment.  Today is all about "lights, camera, action!"  The eldest and his writing partner have concocted a hysterical, highly offensive short film they plan to post on Funny or Die.  They're calling it "Bobby Breuncher's B & B."  Playing Bobby Breuncher, the esteemed owner of a questionable bed & breakfast, located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley:  A professional actor, a man who actually does this sort of thing for a living.  The fact that he happens to be the father of Billy's writing partner is strictly coincidental.  Not only is he starring in the Academy Award-worthy piece, he's letting them film on his property.  Clearly, he's lost his mind. The rest of the cast:  non-pros.  Billy and his drinking companions.  Today the eldest goes Hollywood.  He writes, he acts, he directs.  Dear God, he's a multi-hyphenate.  Could a three-picture deal be far behind?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shedding Season

A clump of Dusty heads down the highway

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime means many things to many peeps:  Tall glasses of spiked lemonade. Barbecues.  Regrettable Bathing Suits.  Broken promises to lose weight.  In the home of the SJG, summertime means all this and more.  Over here, it's Shedding Season.  Piles and piles of dog hair clumping here, there and everywhere.  Under the table.  Under the couch.  Under the stairs.  Under the door.  I sweep up the evidence and God laughs.  Ha, ha.  Nice try.  Check under the chair.  There's more. Dusty just can't help himself.  It's beyond his control.  Every day, he breaks out the Snoopy-style song and dance.  "Gotta shed!  Gotta shed!  Got to shed!"  One morning, I expect to come downstairs and find a newly-formed Dusty clone.  Dusty Part II.  Another barker, another sock thief, another food swiper.  The product of some evolutionary quirk.  Till then, I'll keep sweeping, and he'll keep shedding.  It's what he does.  He's good at it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Original Knockoffs

An SJG Original Knockoff 

The Short Jewish Gal has done it again! The Duchess of Sherman Oaks wore a silly, multi-colored frilly dress from her just-launched SJG/Michael Kors Original Knockoffs for the Rapidly Aging, Under 5'3" Gal, to the store this weekend -- and the dress has already sold out online! On Monday, Starr Schneider wore the outfit while strolling the aisles of her local market, aka Crappy-Ass Pavilions. Word quickly spread from Frozen Goods to Booze that the very silly dress was available online and a mini-riot broke out in the Produce section.  "We're proud to say that the SJG has sold out her silly original knockoff, but don't panic, we have plenty of other equally-silly original knockoffs inspired by the Short Jewish Gal's sense of style, if you can call it that, so be sure to buy them now before they disappear. You may not get the press attention that the Short Jewish Gal garners daily, but you'll definitely turn heads," the SJG wrote on her own self-serving product page. This is becoming a common refrain at this point -- every outfit that the SJG wears in public sells out in about 2.5 seconds. If you're lucky, and you say kina hora poo poo poo repeatedly, one of these days you may get your hands on an SJG original knockoff before it sells out. Wishful thinking? Probably -- but gals can dream of looking like a short Jew, right?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Who Knew?

We've been talking a lot about the Big Man these days, taking his death very personally.  At least once a day, I sing this: "When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band."  It just comes out.  I miss the Big Man so.  Hubby and I saw him perform with the Boss twice, a point of pride that makes our youngest son crazy-jealous.  "Why didn't you take me?" he's wondered on more than one occasion.  "You weren't born yet," we explain, patiently, but he sees that as a mere technicality.  He is a Springsteen fanatic, up on all kinds of trivia he likes to share with the elderly.  Last night, he told us that when Clemons worked with Robert De Niro, prepping him for his role as a sax player in "New York, New York," De Niro confessed to having heard Springsteen say "you talkin' to me" in concert." As fans roared in approval, Springsteen would say, "Are you talkin' to me?" Then he'd look around the stage and back toward the crowd, repeating the line.  De Niro later used the line for Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver," but made Clemons promise not to reveal his secret for 25 years. Clemons finally spilled it in his autobiography.  Who knew?  The youngest son.  He's a fount of musical info, a walkin' Wikipedia.  Tonight, he'll be teaching us about some hot British group called the Beatles. 
You talkin' to me?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Know Your Psychopaths

"Knowing you are always on the prowl for blog topics, I thought this essay from the New York Times might stimulate something light and entertaining..."  This from my former editor Mr. Stephen Lantz.  We worked together ages ago at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Century City News.  Once I got past the whole Chapter 11 thing, it was the most fun I've ever had at a job.  We were kindred spirits, serious journalists in the early '80s, graphic artists just out of Cal Arts, culture-seekers, wine-drinkers, movie buffs, foodies.  When we weren't waiting in line at the bank, hoping against hope that today there would be enough funds to cover our paychecks, we were out there, riding the elevators on Century Park East and Avenue of the Stars, looking for a good story.  Plus, nothing bonds you to your coworkers more than watching your publisher run down the hall to hide from the IRS.  I'm assuming Steve must've had that publisher in mind when he sent me the piece, "I'm OK, You're a Psychopath."  Steve thought I might spin it into "a resource guide for watching Criminal Minds... resources for those that want to better understand their siblings, parents, relatives, themselves... what your dog knows about you and your friends... look around the synagogue, very carefully... Hollywood psychopaths... why the judge had to remind Lindsey there are no parties in jail or house confinement."  But I think Steve, great editor that he's always been, just did the assignment for me, in a just a few sentences.  Thanks, Steve, guest blogger/psychopath expert.  Keep those ideas coming.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not So Gaga

"File it under the who-gives-a-sh*t clause of 1925." -- the eldest son, looking at a photo of Lady Gaga.
"Who gives a rat's ass?" -- the eldest son on you-know-who. 
"Where the @#$% do you come off being so opinionated?  You must get that from your dad." -- the SJG

Friday, June 24, 2011

To Kvetch Or Not To Kvetch

The SJG this morning:  Insert favorite curse words, string them together in lively formation, add "I can't move my neck" and you're good to kvetch.  But wait.  A philosophical dilemma.  If no one is in the room to hear you kvetch, is it still kvetching?  Or does kvetching need a public forum to qualify as kvetching?  And without an audience, does kvetching still produce the same psychological benefit?  Can misery love company when no guests have arrived?  More to the point:  What good is kvetching alone in your room?  Come hear the music play.  Fine.  I go downstairs, my head tilted awkwardly, and wait for the band to strike up a tune.  It's pretty quiet in the kitchen.  Dusty looks at me, all drooly-faced.  "What up?"  "I think I slept funny."  "What's in it for me?"  "Not much."  He loses interest quickly and parks himself elsewhere.  If no one is the room to hear you kvetch, except your dog, is it still kvetching?  I'm going with yes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The b'day card that caused "the incident"
Some birthdays require medical attention.  Take the bro's.  Yesterday, we're riding in my luxury vehicle, heading toward Robin's house.  The three of us will lunch like important peeps as we celebrate the wonder that is John.  En route, he drops the b'day card I just gave him between the center thingy and the seat.  He starts fishing around for it.  "Don't worry about it, we'll get it later," I say.  He stops fishing.  I have that kind of power over him. Always have. We pull up to Robin's gorgeous home and sigh.  He starts fishing for the card again, working his arm in such a treacherous way that I'm sure it's going to get stuck and we'll have to call Triple A to remove him and the seat.  It's going to be an incident, with neighbors popping by to gawk, maybe a news truck or two.  I eye myself in the rearview mirror.  I'm so not ready for my close-up.  This is going to be bad.  But no, relax, it's all good.  John rescues the card from under-the-seat oblivion and feels damn good about it, damn proud.  "Yay," I say.  Robin greets us at the door with a beauty queen wave.  "How nice to see you both," she says, sounding very British, very noble.  We exchange air kisses and full-body hugs and walk down the street toward the quaint French restaurant.  You heard me.  We actually set off on foot to hunt down a nice salad.  Half-way down the street, John makes a shocking declaration.  "I'm bleeding."  I look at him and sure enough, he's injured, his hand sliced open -- it's more a cut than a deep gash, but for dramatic purposes, let's call it a life-threatening wound -- with blood gushing upon his cashmere sweater.  "Oy vey," I say.  Robin loses her former sorority gal composure and swears like a truck driver.  We go back to her house to mend the birthday boy.  Naturally, I'm tempted to berate him, as only a little sister can: "I told you not to bother with the eff'n card, now look what happened!" But I've had way too much therapy to intentionally belittle a loved one.  I keep my mouth shut.  Inside Robin's kitchen, we administer medical attention and I save his sweater, dabbing and blotting away the blood like a Jewish Heloise.  Robin loans John one of her famous hubby's designer shirts and suddenly, the bro' looks reborn and ready to party hard on his own behalf.  Happy b'day, hon.  Next year, I'm sending you an e-card.  Much safer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bold, Intense and Lusty

"We'd like two glasses of bold, intense, and lusty Chardonnay," I said.  When ordering wine, connoisseur that I am, I find it's important to be as specific as possible, or they might give you "woodsy and well-traveled" when you're after something audacious, psychologically flawed and hormonally-infused.  Which reminds me, has anyone seen my hormones?  Yesterday, I went looking for them at CityWalk.  I didn't find them.  But I did find a new gal pal:  the lovely and hilarious Candice Reed, author of "Thank You For Firing Me" (see how I worked in that plug? You're welcome). Candice and I met online while taking a novel-writing class last summer. We shared a profound and mutual dislike of a certain participant and sent snarky emails back and forth.  Nothing bonds you for life more than shared hostility, not to mention, the same birthday, am I right?  Candice lives in Washington State, but now and then travels to San Diego to see family.  She kept threatening to visit me and yesterday she made good on the threat, taking a train and a Red Line and a shuttle.  I planned her itinerary and we were both amazed she didn't wind up in Outer Krapistan.  So we sat at a noisy bistro, we drank our lusty wine and yelled over the loud music.  We yelled about writing and life stories and giggled our butts off.  Then she went back to her people in San Diego, and I went back to mine in Allan Sherman Oaks.  Before parting, Candice asked, "Is Sherman Oaks named after the Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, guy?"  "Allan Sherman? Absolutely," I said.  Please don't tell Candice I lied.  I need all the friends I can get.

Monday, June 20, 2011

If You've Got Money...

... you can travel
On Sunday, the Cuz/recent Adult Bar Mitzvah Boy, got up from the outdoor patio table.  Apparently, he'd had enough of my blintz casserole, enough of the bagels and lox, the eggs, the fattening desserts, all served up with love at brother John's annual Father's Day Pig-out.  The Cuz was done with the brunching.  He was off to Vegas for the Daytime Emmys.  One of us, I believe it might've been moi, said, "If you've got money, you can travel."  In my family, we're required by law to say this line from "You Don't Have To Be Jewish" any time anyone announces he's going anywhere.  In the routine, the son asks his mother if she's heard about the astronauts who went up in a rocket ship and orbited space.  (It's a very old routine.)  The mother could care less.  "A big deal.  If you've got money, you can travel."  The Cuz travels a lot for work.  Only once did we travel to the same place at the same time, to NYC.  It was so long ago, I still had a uterus.  We were there for the Daytime Emmys.  (See how I tied it all together?)  The SJG was nominated for a big award for "The Writing on the Wall," a show I couldn't have written or co-produced if the Cuz hadn't sent me that Time Magazine article about the rabbi.   "You're going to win," Andy whispered to me, shortly before they announced that someone else had won.  If only he'd added the mandatory "kina hora poo poo poo," career-wise things might've worked out differently for the SJG.  Bitter much?  How dare you.  Before the Cuz left for Vegas yesterday, I asked Andy, "Am I up for any awards?  I forgot to check."  He promised to find out and get back to me. I'm still waiting for the call.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


My daddy-o, Ben Starr

Every day, I call my dad.  The gist of our two-minute conversations:  How are you?  Everything good?  Everything okay?  Most days, everything is fine (kina hora).  Unless he's having a computer issue.  Those are not good days.  He gets very wrapped up, very "I can't talk to you now." A few weeks ago, I solved the problem for him in under a minute, after he'd been on the phone for hours with tech people who only made it worse.  My dad was so proud of me -- all I did was tell him to click on the arrow for the full menu of options -- that he told the guys at lunch.  Every other week, the guys meet at Factor's Deli.  The numbers have dwindled.  It's down to just a few now.  On a good week, Sid Caesar, Arthur Hiller,  Monty Hall, Hal Kanter and Gary Owens show up.  A recent addition: Matty Simmons, the baby of the group, the guy who produced "Animal House."  Lately, my dad has been tweaking a new script.  He's 89 and still writing, still hilarious, after a long and wonderful career in comedy.  The other day, he let me read his new script.   It was so funny, that in between kvelling and laughing, I started casting the lead.  "I'm seeing Jack Black."  "I was thinking Owen Wilson," he said.  The eternal optimist.  Thanks for the pep-talks, the laughter, the never-ending support.  Happy Father's Day to my hero, my mentor, my inspiration. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jewish Father's Day

The classic joke about Jewish fathers:  A young boy returns from school and tells his mother, "I got the part of the Jewish father in the school play." The mother says, "Oh, I'm so sorry, maybe next year you'll get a speaking part."  I don't know what Jewish father this joke refers to -- certainly not mine or my father-in-law, two Brooklyn Jews who've always had plenty to say, in varying volumes, low not being one of them.  Sports, politics, child-rearing.  Name a topic, they have something to offer.  The implication that Jewish mothers are so loud and opinionated, the fathers never get heard, doesn't ring true in my universe of equal opportunity yelling.  What about you?

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Internship

The youngest arrives home from his second day as an intern at a record company.  For this, he's getting college credit and must write a 15-page paper by the end of summer. "How was your day?" I ask.  "I found out that the Starbucks machine doesn't just do coffee, it makes hot cocoa," he says. "Wow, hon. Good for you."  Important to remain upbeat and supportive, especially when over-compensating for my tough critique of his disgusting dorm room.  "Tell me all about it," I say with great enthusiasm.  "I was making coffee for one of the A&R guys.  He wanted half this, half that."  "Go on!"  "So I'm standing there, pushing the left button and the right button and I spot the hot cocoa button and I go, 'sh*t! look at that!" and then I make myself a cup and it's delicious."  "I'm so proud of you."  If only I could get him to push the button on the dishwasher.  "So what else are you doing over there?" "Answering eff'n phones.  One time I said, 'Hello?' I forgot to say the guy's name and he yelled out, 'Don't say hello!'  He was nice about it."  "So, coffee and phones.  Standard intern stuff.  What else?"  "I send out CD's and look for music.  Oh, and I had the best Bratwurst and garlic fries from the food truck." How he's going to get 15 pages out of cocoa and weiners, I don't know, but I can hardly wait to read it. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gone Kugelin'

Don't bother me,  I'm kugelin'.
This morning, I've gone a-kugelin'.  The wide noodles, the seven eggs, the 3 cups of milk, the cottage cheese, the sugar and the vanilla, the stick of butter, the raisins, the generous sprinkle of corn flakes.  Oven's on.  I've gone a-kugelin'.  Got a cranky friend in need.  Not just any kugel'll do.  Only mine.  "What can I do for you?" I asked the cranky one.  "You can kugel," she said.  This morning, I've gone a-kugelin'.  This afternoon, I'll do a kugel drop on a hilltop in Sherman Oaks.  Unless something bad happens.  Something criminal.  I can hear the detective now:  "Who stole the kugel from the kugel pan?  Who, me?  Yes, you!  Couldn't be.  Then who?"  This could go on for days.  In which, case, I'll go a-kugelin' all over again. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Slightly Damaged

At dance class last night, the conversation turns to food, as it often does.  We'd rather swap recipes than analyze why we can't manage a simple turn without the room spinning on its own axis long after we've stopped moving.  Doug, the kindest dance teacher on the planet, is about to take us through a sassy, shake it, don't break it, routine, when he pauses to share something important.  "I bought avocados today."  We snap to attention. Avocados?  Keep talking.  "They were slightly damaged.  Like me."  The man's had both hips replaced.  He's an expert on damage control. We do five minutes on how we're all slightly damaged, and if you just cut away the brown spots, guacamole tastes delicious anyway.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Semi-Celeb Sighting

Peggi Blu:  Not as scary in person
You never know when your next celeb encounter might unfold, otherwise, you might dress differently for the occasion.  The SJG tends to be a casual gal, always schlepping around, sans makeup, in my faded gym things and worn-out tennies.  In this way, I stay under the radar and am never mistaken for someone who lives on the more fashionable side of town.  In my everyday schlep-wear, I've stumbled upon O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake and had the same icky reaction both times, an urge to run screaming out the door.  Yesterday's semi-celeb encounter took place in Williams Sonoma, post-Boot Camp class.  As I stood there, my hair matted to my face with sweat, the store clerk started pointing and flashing a huge smile and said, "Peggi Blu!"  I looked to my right and sure enough, there she was, "American Idol's" famed Vocal Coach from Hell, who scared the crap out of contestants during Hollywood Week.  She was a yeller, a hurler of insults, a force to be reckoned with.  I looked over at Peggi Blu, turned red, started shaking and went,"Oh!"  I felt like I'd been caught.  Finally, someone was going to bust me for a lifetime of so-so singing in the shower and car and all those spontaneous guitar recitals in the family living room.  "Your performance of 'Both Sides Now' was painful.  Don't ever do that again."   Peggi Blu saw the look of "oh no" on my face and started laughing.  So I started laughing.  We just stood there and laughed, both of us in on the joke.  We never said a word, we just laughed.  Clearly, Peggi Blu's used to inspiring this sort of primal fear in public.  And she loves it.  Why wouldn't she?  She's got a reputation to uphold.  She's the Vocal Coach from Hell.  But just between us, in person, she seems like a really nice gal. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ancient Jews & Mormons, Dang It

Downstairs, the menfolk watched the Mavericks kick butt.  Upstairs, the SJG watched The Book of Mormon kick butt at the Tony Awards, winning nine statues altogether, including Best Musical.  It was a thrill and a half for me, not to mention, a shout out to close personal friend/star of Broadway Connie Ray, who ordered me to buy tickets to "Mormon" before it even opened.  I obeyed Connie, as I often do, and was rewarded with non-stop hilarity.  She also told me to see "War Horse."  I did and last night it won Best Play.  This is why I have smart friends.  Would a dumb friend know which plays are going to take home Tony Awards months ahead of time?  I'm thinking no.  This morning, I'm one happy short Jew.  Last night, I went back to NYC from the comfort of my home.  Not a trace of jet lag, only joy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Somewhere on the 5, three hours into our long trek to Santa Cruz, we make a life-changing decision.  In an instant, we know it's the right thing to do.  Of course, there will be some bumps along the way, some unexpected twists and turns, but we'll handle it, we've been there before.  If we hit a rough patch, we'll send up a flare.  Somewhere on the 5, we say why not.  Let's do it.  Let's adopt.  We're just waiting for approval, and then, we'll fetch the rabbi and hold the naming ceremony.  Expect a nice spread.  Bagels, cream cheese and lox.  Only drawback, the party's in the middle of nowhere.  Head north and keep going.  You'll see the sign on the right:  This Highway Adopted by the Short Jewish Gal.  So come, help us celebrate a place where you can whine uninterrupted for five miles.  The SJG Highway.  Help us beautify and vent.  We're registered at Caltrans and Baby Gap.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Don't Enter Unless Medicated

One year down, three more to go

The rapper they call Scott D has many talents.  Maintaining a college dorm:  Not one of them.  It will take months of intensive therapy to wipe away the vision that greeted us when we entered his cave of WTF in Santa Cruz.  His roomie (aka D-Mac) sat calmly on his bed, suitcases packed, ready to roll.  On our son's side: evidence of a cyclone.  Jerry Brown declared it a personal emergency.  FEMA should be calling us any second now.  In the meantime, hubby and I broke into a lively rant.  "What the eff happened in here?" "Are you eff'n kidding me?"  "You've eff'd up all your clothes."  "What the eff is this thing?"  Yep, there was a lot of eff'n this, and eff'n that, as we shifted through the clutter and dust to find anything salvageable.  Don't get me wrong.  The rapper they call Scott D has brought us plenty of nachas over the years, moments of joy and pride and you won't believe the three-pointer he made to win the game.  This wasn't a nachas moment.  This was more of  a "where did we go wrong?" moment.  But these things happen when you send a young man off to college.  A young man with talents.  Maintaining a college dorm:  Not one of them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nagging 101

"Did you go to the one on Western?" "No."  "Where are you right now?" "On the bus."  "So take the bus to Western."  "I can't hear you."  "Go see the one on Western."  An hour later:  "It's great."  "What is?"  "The one on Western."  "So you went?"  "I told you I was going."  "Can you get it?"  "I think so."  "Is it big enough for the three of you?" "It's not huge."  "But you like it?"  "Uh-huh."  "So the one on Western is the one?"  "Uh-huh."  All that's left to do:  schlep to Santa Cruz, bribe apartment lady with deposit, lie a little -- "Party?  Not these boys. They don't like to party.  They don't know how to party.  They wouldn't know a party unless you put a blindfold on them and said, 'Pin the tail on the donkey.' They're serious students.  They're here to learn!" -- move him out of the dorm, bring him home, feed and water him, smother him, annoy him, nag him, hug him, drive him back in September, move him into the apartment, drive home, nag him from afar.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bar Mitzvah Boy

Andy Kaplan, Adult Bar Mitzvah Boy and the SJG
Last night, we gathered, a big clump of our extended family -- we recruit people as we go along -- to cheer on the Cuzzy, as he became a man.  Andy stood up there on the bima and read from the Torah like a mensch, his wife and three children in the front row, beaming.  He gave a speech that made me cry.  No surprise there.  We said kaddish for the loved ones we miss daily, no matter how long ago they left.  But oh, did we kvell, and then of course, nosh.  There was no hora, however, no deejay, no electric slide, no "I Will Survive."  It was okay by me.  I'm going to another bar mitzvah on Saturday, where I can go wild and hora to my heart's content.  Mazel tov to you, sweet Cuz.  What will you do for an encore?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Two A.M. Zigzag

When nature calls in the middle of the night, I try to send her straight to voicemail.  "You've reached the SJG.  I'm sleeping.  Go away.  Beep."  But nature is one persistent mother, and keeps calling till I pick up.  "What?! What is it?  What do you want?  I'm sleeping here." "Not anymore.  Get your butt out of bed."  "Oh, @#$% you, nature!" I say, before doing my 2 a.m. zigzag in the dark. I stumble into the bathroom, pretending I'm not awake.  I try not to open my eyes all the way, which never works. I run into things.  Doors, mainly.  By the time I tinkle, I'm awake, and I'm pissed off.  The SJG brain, a muddle of this, this and the other, starts oscillating on the worry cycle, and soon I'm what-iffing like a mad woman  Last night, my thoughts turned to Jennifer Aniston.  Has she finally found love?  Has she?  What if she hasn't?  What will she do?  By the time I got back in bed, I was in big-ass trouble, on to Weinergate, John Edwards, Sarah Palin and Paul Revere.  The SJG brain wouldn't shut up.  I started counting "Seinfeld" episodes -- the Elaine dance, the Master of Your Domain, They're real and they're fabulous -- got through season eight and I was still awake.  I started counting Carrie's boyfriends on "Sex in the City -- Big, Aidan, the Post-It guy, the French guy -- and I was still awake.  Half-way through "The Twilight Zone" recount -- Marsha, Marsha!  Next stop, Willoughby! -- I fell asleep.  If nature calls me again tonight, I'm out of town.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Silly me.  I thought when I started wearing "progressives" a few years back that my eyesight would get progressively better.  Ha.  I read the directions wrong.  The opposite has occurred.  I can see distance and mid-range fine, more or less, but when I look down to read, I get a big blur.  This is not what I paid the big bucks for, to sort of see menus, books, maps and all those anonymous love notes I receive on a daily basis. "Oh yay," I say, as I dig into truckloads of fan mail.  It's a little embarrassing.  "Who loves me now?" I can't tell you who's loving me now because I can't read it.  Not until I remove my glasses and get "this close" to the print. "Dear SJG, your last blog made me laugh hysterically till I collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital.  Here's the bill."   "Aw," I say, reaching for my checkbook.  The SJG will do anything to keep my  blog-reading peeps, my bleeps, happy.  Still, the eye people need to change the name of my eyewear to "semi-progressive."  Honestly, it's a more accurate description of the SJG.  In life, I tend to progress two steps, in a "wow, look me, conquering my sh*t, battling my demons, do I rock or what?" sort of way.  "Bragging again?  Take one giant step back," says the board game that controls my existence.  "Go back to square one."  So I go back and start over.  I wait my turn.  The next card may let me skip ahead, keep me right where I am, send me two steps forward, one step back.  I know this dance well.  It's the sort of cha cha I can do blindfolded.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Driveway Serenade

Who says you need a Torah, a bima, and a rabbi from Central Casting to say a blessing? Sometimes all you need is a driveway, three Jews who've been Bar Mitzvahed, and a Short Jewish Gal who knows the drill. Yesterday, in the midst of washing cars -- don't worry, I was only a bystander -- the eldest son, the hubby, the brother John and the SJG sang "Bar-hu et Adonai Ham-vo-rach" into John's cell phone.  We sang loudly and not at all harmoniously.  The police arrived within minutes and issued a citation for "off-key, disorganized chanting." As usual, it was all my fault.  I mentioned to my bro' that our cousin Andy, the Adult Bar Mitzvah Boy come Tuesday, was getting a little nervous.  I made this leap after our recent exchange of emails, all of which ended in "oy."  John flipped open his phone, put us on speaker and we gathered round, hoping to catch Andy between soccer games, ballet recitals, and international flights.  It went straight to voicemail. "Hit it!" I said, and we broke out the Bar-hu, the Natan lanu, the et torato, and ended with a spectacular Amen that echoed through the 'hood.  In this way, we were trying to calm Andy's nerves.  I'm not sure we succeeded.  His email said, "Thanks for the chanting.  Oy." Again with the oy? You're going to do fine, Cuz, and we're going to kvell no matter what, and if anything should go wrong -- God forbid -- we'll get everyone up and doing the hora while you pull yourself together.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Make Blintzes, Not War

I hear her blintzes are da bomb
UK spy agency MI6 is reported to have hacked one of the Jihadist publications that supports al Qaeda's cause, replacing bomb making recipes with ingredient and cooking instructions for that most Jewish of culinary weapons: blintzes.  According to newswire reports, unknown hackers closely associated with MI6 managed to insert a PDF file containing a yummy blintz casserole recipe posted on a blog called Short Jewish Gal into Inspire, a Jihadist magazine that has features such as "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." Unconfirmed reports suggest that Inspire's publishers tried to unpick the MI6-driven hack, resulting in the data files turning into unintelligible Yiddish code. When supporters of al Qaeda tried to download the latest issue of Inspire, not only were they unable to learn the latest subversive secrets, but they were also prevented from access to the Short Jewish Gal's recipe, which no doubt aggravated the sewage out of them.  "I'm so proud and honored to have been of service," said the SJG, who claims her blog has become an international Internet sensation.  "Call me delusional -- you wouldn't be the first -- but if my blintz casserole recipe can stop just one of those extremist bastards, my work here is done."

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Return of the Enabler

Dear SJG,
We hear you've gone back on your parental vows to let your sons grow up.  In the past week, you've done laundry for one of them, and apartment-hunted for the other.  We'll let you slide on the laundry.  The eldest did plan to do it himself until you grabbed the basket out of his hands and yelled, "Mine."  Apartment-hunting?  Seriously? This troubles us more. Back to that, eh, SJG?  Did you not just score a fabulous two-bedroom for the eldest? Isn't that enough?  Apparently not.  Now you're obsessing over the youngest in Santa Cruz.  Where will he live next fall?  In the forest if you don't step in?  So fine.  Go ahead and Google "a nice safe place for my son to live, is that too much to ask?"  Go ahead and wander through craigslist.  Click, click, click till your fingertips cramp.  You are wasting your time, girlfriend.  Santa Cruz is too laid back to care, let alone, return your phone calls and annoying emails.  Give it up, SJG.  Be gone.  You have no powers here.  Let it go.  Wait till next week, when you're up there and can harass the apartment people.  You're very scary when you want to be.  In the meantime, would you please chill, you little enabler, you? 
You're welcome,
the SJG

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

High Efficiency Doggy

Dusty has such a busy day, what with the napping, the rolling over, the counter surfing, the nonstop snack demands, that he decided he needed an energy efficiency boast to keep up with his spunky self.  Rather than a nice vitamin supp or a shot of caffeine, he opted for a taste of Tide HE Liquid Laundry Detergent.  I found the measuring cup on the carpet in the living room.  Traces of gooey blue.  The telltale streaks of canine tongue.  This is one sneaky-ass pup.  When he grabbed it from the washing machine and made off like a thief, I can't say; he wouldn't fess up to the crime.  The investigation lasted two seconds and revealed bupkis.  "Did you take this?" I asked.  Dusty rolled his eyes and yawned.  This morning, I expected blue foam bubbling out of his mouth, blue pee, blue poop, but I'm happy to report, we got none of that.  It wasn't like the time he ate a bar of soap and I rushed him to the vet.  As for his level of energy efficiency? Peppy and well-organized.  He lined his toys up neatly by his water dish.  Self-medication, canine-style.  I better keep him away from the Bounce.