Friday, September 30, 2011

One Day You're In...

... and the next you're out
Just back from the synagogue, shofar still blowing in my mind, I reach down to pick up Dusty's chew toy, planted in the corner of the family room, and get a little surprise.  I'm on the phone when I make my discovery.  "Oh, my God, Carla."  "What's wrong?" she says.  "There's a lizard in my house."  "A lizard?"  "It's just sitting there, trying to blend in."  "Oh, no."  "You're the hiker.  What should I do?"  "Tell it to leave."  I look at the lizard, open the back door, and say, "Get the hell out of my house, you mutha@#$%'er!"  So much for my Jewish New Year's resolution not to swear so much.  "Did he leave?" Carla asks.  "No.  It's going to take more than verbal abuse."  "Are there any menfolk around?"  "I don't need the menfolk.  I'm the SJG.  I'm going to handle this sh*t myself.  I'll call you right back."  Click.  I sneak up on the lizard and lower the plastic container of shame.  Gotcha!  For all of two seconds.  Then the little bastard escapes.  I call Carla back.  "Well, that didn't go too well."  "What happened?"  "He's under the sofa, staring at me."  "Tell him it's rude to stare."  "Listen, you rude little son of a -- oh, wait, he crawled out.  That's it, Mister."  This time, I get him. Carla shares my joy.  "Yay!"  I slide him right out the door.  "And he's out!"  I do my standard victory dance, as Carla channels Heidi Klum, accent and all.  "One day you're in, and the next you're out.  Auf wiedersehen! Kiss, kiss!" "Keep in touch," I tell the lizard.  But I don't really mean it.  So much for my second resolution to be kind to strangers.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Don't Make A Big Tzimmes

Fine.  Go ahead and make one.
Hard to predict how many times someone will say, "Don't make a big tzimmes" at my mother-in-law's Rosh Hashanah feast tonight.  Once her tzimmes hits the table, I know I'll say it at least once.  After all, it's fun to say and sums up our family dynamic.  Historically, we're big tzimmes-makers.  Take my mother-in-law, the decorator.  For years she's been talking about getting a computer.  But before she can get a computer (and learn how to use it) she has to get the downstairs bedroom just right.  Over and over, we've told her she doesn't need a special room, a laptop can go anywhere, on the kitchen counter, on the dining room table.  And she sits there and smiles, pretending to listen, but what she's really doing is envisioning how to make the same room she's reinvented 82 times look fabulous. A tzimmes of epic proportions, one that involves finding the perfect sofa and the perfect fabric and a lengthy debate over whether to leave the carpet or sand the floor, lose the dated shutters or refinish them.  And what about the pillows that will tie the computer room all together?  The pillows are the key to this makeover.  When she finds them, after scouring the city, she'll call me up and say, "Guess what?  I found the most stunning pillows."  Stunning is a big word in her vocabulary.  Meanwhile, my father-in-law will try to keep this particular tzimmes from boiling over.  Deep down, he knows he's wasting his time.  The tzimmes-maker always has the upper hand in these matters.  Tonight, I'll make a big tzimmes over her tzimmes.  "This is the best tzimmes you've ever made," I'll tell my mother-in-law.  "If Betty Crocker had a tzimmes cook-off, you'd win, hands down."  Here's my mother-in-law's recipe, more or less.  God forbid someone in my family should write down a recipe.


12 c. salted water
6 med. (about 3 lbs.) sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
1 lb. carrots, peeled & diced
Salt, to taste
Vegetable oil for pan
1/2 c. pitted prunes, halved
1 c. orange juice
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained (optional)
1 can mandarin orange pieces, drained (optional)
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and carrots and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash. Add salt. Place in a greased 6 quart casserole with the prunes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine orange juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour over sweet potatoes. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover and taste. If tzimmes tastes sweet enough, dot with butter, bake uncovered for 15 minutes more. Otherwise, add pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges, then dot with butter and bake an additional 15 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Incident

Short attention-seeker
We were temple-hoppers.  My family went here, there and everywhere, in search of a nice cozy unpretentious synagogue to call home.  With each new temple, we grew less enchanted.  It would start out well, but then there would be an Incident, involving one of us.  No names mentioned.  (One of my brothers.)  Once they'd been Bar Mitzvahed, the onus fell on me.  It was my turn to have an incident.  My moment.  All mine.  And finally it happened and it was huge!  One day, the  uber shy, uber sensitive eighth-grade SJG was at Confirmation, actually having fun for a change.  A rare occurrence.  And on this day, while I was goofing off with a friend, giggling a bit, being silly, the assistant rabbi pulled me aside and began to analyze me.  I sat there, staring at the ground, while he told me my problems.  "I notice that you're short," he said, "and because you're short, you cry out for attention.  You want to be seen.  Does that sound right?"  It didn't.  So I went home and sobbed and told my parents about the assistant rabbi.  My dad called up the head Rabbi, an old friend, the reason we'd left the other temple because he was starting this temple, and laid into him but good.  Soon after, I got a letter of apology from the assistant rabbi.  But it was too late.  I was out of there.  A temple drop-out.  Never to step foot in a synagogue till I found a nice cozy unpretentious one to send my boys to, and I landed us a hamish one.  Sometimes, it takes a few decades to find the right fit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Bris Is Still A Bris
You must remember this,
A bris is still a bris,
A chai is just a chai.
Pastrami still belongs on rye,
As time goes by.

With holidays in view,
A Jew is still a Jew,
On that you can rely.
No matter if we eat tofu
As hours slip by.
Old shtetl customs, never out of date.
All those potatoes mother has to grate.
Honey, tsimus, latkes, chopped liver on our plate
The best that gelt can buy.,GGLD:2004-23,GGLD:en
Some would send us to perdition,
But we're strengthened by tradition,
That no one can deny.
We roam, but we recall our birthright,
As time goes by.,GGLD:2004-23,GGLD:en&sa=N
Dreidels and chocolate, never out of date.
Ancient Jewish stories that we all relate.
Blue-and-white giftwrap, everything that's great
And festive chazerai!,GGLD:2004-23,GGLD:en
It's still the same old Torah,
It's still the same menorah,
We've latkes still to fry.
It's yomtov when we feel most blessed,
As time goes by.
  -- lyrics by Joe Hampie

Best wishes for a healthful and sweet 5772 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Incoming Bagel

Based on yesterday's performance of my one and only line, "Get the @#$% out of my yard, you mutha-@#$%ers," it's quite possible I've missed my calling.  This is a loss to the acting community, not to mention the world, and I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize.  But don't worry, I'm doing my best to make up for it. I got a little carried away during the filming of "The Argument."  It's the eldest's fault.  He kept egging me on to go big or go home, so I went crazy with the improvisation.  Inspiration struck and I ran with it.  I picked up an onion bagel and hurled it, nearly hitting Mike, the cameraman, in the head.  "Good energy," Billy said.  "Nice work.  Next take, try not to injure the D.P." "Whoopsie," I said, humbled yet again.  Twelve takes later, I do believe I nailed it.  My delivery was spot-on and Mike escaped an unnecessary concussion. I found my Susie Essman, my Brando, my Olivier.  Next short, I hope they give me more lines.  Just think of what I could do with two bagels. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Channeling Susie

Susie Essman on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Today I plan to dig deep into my soul and channel my inner Susie Essman on camera.  Actually, it won't be much of a stretch.  I tend to swear like a truck driver anyway.  Of course, it'll be hard to top my previous performance in Billy's recent short film, "The Intervention." Maybe you remember my one line: "Why couldn't you have just gone to Burger King?" Today's assignment calls for an even bigger outcry:  "Get the @#$% out of  my backyard, you mutha-#@$%ers!" My venom will be directed at, who else, Billy and his friend Nick, the uninvited guests who've rudely crashed our Sunday brunch.  Diva that I am, I insisted they cast Hubby, and wisely they complied.  Smart move.  They can't make this thing without the SJG.  Not only am I co-starring in "The Argument," I'm also the set-designer, prop master and craft services bitch.  I'm irreplaceable.  Hubby's line: "Who the @#$% invited these bastards?"  Here's hoping the lighting's good and my personal makeup artist doesn't get lost on the way over, like she did last time. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Doctors Are In

"Best friends  graduated from medical and graduate school at the same time and  decided that, in spite of the different  specialties, they would open a practice  together. Dr. Smith was the Psychologist and Dr. Jones  was the Proctologist. They put up a sign  reading:  Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones: Hysterias and Posteriors.  The town  council was livid and  insisted they change it. So, the docs changed it to  read: Schizoids and Hemorrhoids.  This was also not acceptable.  Again they changed the sign: Catatonics  and High Colonics - no go.  Next, they  tried: Manic  Depressives and Anal Retentives - thumbs down again.  Then came:  Minds and Behinds - still no  good.  Another attempt resulted in:  Lost Souls and  Butt Holes - unacceptable again!  So, they tried: Analysis and Anal Cysts - not a  chance.  Nuts and Butts - no  way.  Freaks  and Cheeks - still no good.  Loons and Moons - forget it.  Almost at their wit's end, the docs finally came up with:  Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones - Specializing in Odds  and Ends.  Everyone loved it!" --  from a British humor website, courtesy of close friend and neighbor Cheryl, mother of Scout, Dusty's fiancee

Friday, September 23, 2011

Come Back Friends

With Mom, 1993
"Come back friends," my dad would say, whenever my mom and I left to go shopping.  The issue was always the same.  She wanted me to look stylish.  I wanted to blend in.  She wanted me to try something new.  I wanted to play it safe.  The shopping gene didn't kick in for a few decades.  We'd stand in the dressing room at an impasse.  She thought I looked great.  I thought I looked ridiculous.  It was hard to compromise.  Yet no matter how much I pouted, how much I resisted change, I wanted to please her.  Which explains that one time I showed up at school in white Go-Go boots and blue and white plaid knickers.  I looked like Twiggy's tragic third cousin.  It was a major fashion don't.  I still remember the combined eye roll and snicker I got from the boy I had a crush on, when he walked by.  Gone 12 years today.  I think of her when I shop for clothes.  I know what dress she would've liked, what outfit she would've wanted me to try on.  Wherever she is now, I know she's looking chic.  What I'd give to go shopping with her again.  And come back friends.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Get Off The Phone

"Get off the phone!"  I've been hearing this my entire life, in one form or another.  As a kid, in the prehistoric days before call waiting and answering machines and other superior forms of communication, my parents limited me to ten minutes per call.  Ten minutes.  It took me ten minutes just to warm up.  Rebel that I wasn't, I generally ignored the order until one of them picked up the phone from their bedroom and said, "Carol."  My cue to get off the phone.  Oh, how I longed for the day when I'd have my own place, my own goddam phone, my own everything.  Fast forward to, "Get the hell off the goddam phone!"  "Who's that?" the producer or agent who held my fledgling TV career in his/her hands would ask.  "My two-year-old son," I'd say, laughing nervously.  It was adorable.  Soon I had two little boys running wild through the house.  I was lucky to get ten minutes on the phone. Ten minutes to myself.  Oh, how I longed for "me" time.  Fast forward to, "Get the bark, bark, bark off the bark, bark, bark."  A certain dog doesn't like when I'm on the phone.  A certain dog will do anything to get me off the phone.  Grab magazines, remote controls, socks, towels, shoes.  Whine.  Jump.  Tackle me.  There's no end to what this dog will do to get me off the phone.  He's shameless.  I never get to sit down when I'm on the phone.  I'm too busy slipping him treats or hiding from him outside.  But he always finds me and starts crying like an abandoned pup.  My cue to get off the phone.  "Who's that?" the human on the other end will ask.  "Dusty Schneider, my third child."  Some things never change.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dancer Defects To Sherman Oaks

Carol Starr Schneider, aka Short Jewish Gal, a danceaholic since the age of 12, will become the oldest, not to mention, shortest member of the renowned Sherman Oaks-based dance troupe Fosse!Fosse!Fosse! Starr Schneider, 53, was born in the parking lot of County General, grew up in Westwood and defected to the Valley in the mid-80s, despite her vow to never live there, not ever.  “Personally, I feel a sense of responsibility as a former Westsider,” the SJG said on Wednesday, adding that she was proud to join such an esteemed dance company, "even though my heart belongs to my homies in my former zip code, 90024." She said she was aware of the unique responsibility entailed in being the oldest, shortest dancer in Fosse!Fosse! Fosse!  “There will be people watching,” she said. “Tall people.  People of medium height.  People under 5'3.'' I don't want to embarrass the tribe too much.  I'll have to take plenty of Aleve and remember to stretch.”  The long-time director of Fosse!Fosse!Fosse!, Mr. P. Diddy-Steinberg, first saw the SJG dance at Anisa's Studio on Ventura Boulevard and was "blown away," he said in a phone interview. “Carol is a remarkable booty-shaker.  For a white girl of advanced age, she knows how to bring it.  Who cares if she has no classical training and her double pirouettes are for sh*t?  Every time I watch her dance, I'm both amazed and deeply alarmed.  She deserves to be let out of her golden cage and set free.  She's willing to make a fool of herself, no matter who's watching.  We need that kind of chutzpah in the company.”  When asked if F!F!F! will now invite other old, short dancers to join its ranks, Mr. Piddy-Steinberg said, “Doubtful.  One is enough, don't you think?" 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


"I'm stealing your favorite expression and making it my own," I tell Yolanda, my newish friend at the gym.  She looks at me funny.  "Which one?"  "Really."  "You want to steal really from me?"  "So much." "I'm not sure how I feel about that." "I'll take good care of it.  I'll say it with attitude.  I'll layer it with meaning." She looks at me funny again.  "Why don't I believe you?" "Trust issues?" "Fine, go ahead.  Put it in one of your silly blogs. Just make sure you give me credit."  "Really?" "Give it more bite."  "Really?"  "Better.  Still needs work."  "REALLY?"  "Too much."  "really."  "Not enough."  "Oh for @#$%'s sake, really?"  "You nailed it that time." "

Monday, September 19, 2011

Best & Worst Emmy Moments

Best Emmy moment:  Amy Poehler rushing the stage, followed by the other comedy lead gal nominees.  Touching and funny.  Prearranged, but still.  Handing the winner, Melissa McCarthy, roses and a tiarra -- genius!
 Worst Emmy moment:  Charlie Sheen's Sincerity Tour.  Awkward!  Duh.
Funny Emmy moment:  Jane Lynch as Donatella Alberghetti Mangiana D'Borgia, the brains behind the Jersey Shore reality explosion, powdering her cheeks with Cheetos orange dust, and telling Snooki, "You're one of my chosen ones."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Check Out Those Shoulder Pads

I look like a linebacker
Tonight I will watch the Emmy Awards and allow myself a brief mo' of nostalgia for all the times I got to attend the ceremony with my network-employed hubby.  It's not the celeb encounters I will think about, or who won and who didn't.  This isn't what makes me emote.  What does:  all those ill-fitting outfits I borrowed for the big night out.  The first time we went (1990), I wore my mother's black cocktail dress, my mother's pearls, my mother's earrings, my mother's bracelet.  With my short stylish 'do, and those broad shoulder pads, I looked exactly like, who else, my mother. The second year, when I was preggers with the future rapper, Scott D, I wore a pink chiffon two-piece thing that did me no favors, passed down from pregnant friend to pregnant friend, as some sort of cruel joke.  I looked like a giant party balloon on the verge of popping.  Another time, I wore my mother's black silk pantsuit and white lace top.  At some point, I advanced to my own wardrobe, a somewhat grownup move on my part, but borrowed jewelry from Carla.  The theory that "no one will be looking at you," served me well over the years of Emmy-going.  We stopped schlepping to the Shrine a while back, mainly because I couldn't find something sassy to wear.  So tonight I will watch the Emmy Awards, now held at the Nokia Theatre, in the comfort of my Sherman Oaks castle.  I will order the servants around.  "More champagne!  More imported caviar! Hurry up, bitches!"  I will root for the nominees.  I will cringe at the corny jokes and pray Jane Lynch is funny.  I will not wear shoulder pads.  Those have been retired.  Please God, may they never make a comeback.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Haikus for Jews

Would-be convert lost--
thawed Lender's Bagels made a
bad first impression.  

(David Bader, "Haikus for Jews")

Scrabble anarchy
after 'putzhead' is placed 

on a triple-word score.  (Bader)

Hava nagila,
hava nagila, hava....
enough already.  (Bader)


Jewish orgs object
Mel makes nice with Maccabee
Can you say shanda? 
(the SJG)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Help Wanted

This morning, hubby informs me that a neighbor's sewer line has exploded.  Is that any way to say "welcome home, SJG, we missed you"?  Uh, I don't think so.  A parade would've been nicer.  Declarations of, "Oh, thank God, she's back!" would've brought a smile to my punim.  Or how about reassurances blasting from a loud speaker: "The college boy is just fine!  Stop worrying!" Also good.  How about a laundry bitch to do the laundry?  A personal shopper?  A masseuse named Sven to make my back feel better after aerobed hell?  But no, this morning, I get none of that.  I get news of exploding sewer lines.  Calgon, take me away.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Alternate Universe

We noticed something was off the minute we entered the store.  No long lines.  No frenetic energy in the air.  No bumper carts.  No angry vibe.  No spirit of "I was here first." We were in an alternate universe, the most un-Costco Costco on the planet.  In Santa Cruz, even Costco is mellow.  The customers are Zen.  The employees are Zen.  It was all too Twilight Zone for the SJG.  "Let's get the @#$% out of here," I told hubby, "before they turn on us." Tomorrow, I will go to Costco in Van Nuys, where I can feel appropriately stressed out and agitated.  I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Yesterday, my friend and fellow blogger Mick suggested I might consider changing my world-famous moniker from SJG to SJM.  I immediately thought he meant Short Jewish Masochist.  He may have meant Short Jewish Mother.  But after last night's attempt to sleep on a "luxury" queen-sized aerobed in Scotty's new apartment, let's go with Masochist.  Hubby and I have enjoyed many miserable nights in expensive hotels, suffering on their four-star lumpy mattresses, but nothing compares to this inflatable agony.  Any time either one of us moved, the other rolled right along.  Yet another bonding experience.  Just call me the SJM.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Is A Closet

The SJG-mobile holds a year's worth of everything a young man may or may not need for his second year of college.  When we arrive, I will introduce him to his closet, and hope their relationship will be a healthy, productive one.  "This is your closet," I will say.  "It is for clothes you tried on and said you liked so we bought them.  Please wear them.  They cost money.  When you're done wearing them, do not crumple them in a ball and leave them on the floor.  Your mother is telepathic.  Even in Sherman Oaks, I will know you're abusing your wardrobe and will call you up, weeping.  Don't do that to me.  This a hanger, for hanging up the nice clothes.  On a regular basis, your nice clothes will get dirty, because God only knows what you've been doing in them or spilled on them in the process.  Whatever it is, don't tell me.  Just please, I beg you, put them in the washing machine located God knows where in this apartment complex.  Make sure you put the clothes in the dryer, too.  Do not put them away wet, as you did last year when you were a freshman.  Remember how they became moldy and disgusting?  Girls don't like boys who smell moldy and disgusting.  Remember that, too."  The SJG has many lessons to pass on before we say goodbye.  Whether he'll be listening while I impart my years of domestic wisdom, is another story.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pass The Kleenex

A day of sniffling and remembering.  Hard on the heart and the soul.  The SJG interrupts the sorrow with this gem.  The Boss and Billy J singing about NYC. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Let's Play Chutzpah

1967.  The Jewish version of Monopoly comes out.  My mother brings it home, the family gathers in the den. We laugh our tushes off.  The Chutzpah sales pitch:  "Instead of Community Chest and Chance cards, you have Shlemiel and Shlemazel cards. If you have a little mazel with the dice, you could end up with 5 weeks in Miami Beach. Add a little Chutzpah, buy some smaltzy properties, avoid Tsoris and wind up the Big K'nacker with all the Gelt. If you lose, you get Bubkis. Unless you're a gonif and try and walk off with the Pushka, we'll all have naches. The perfect gift for Bubbe and Zayda."
The Chutzpah rules:  You start with $10,000 in gelt.  The unused money goes in the Bank (Pushka). One player is the Pushka Maven.  Keep an eye on him, in case he's tempted to 'take a little extra for himself.'  The board shows 24 nice things you can buy, ranging from the cheapest at $70, up to the most expensive, $20,000. Anyone who lands on your property gets fined.  Players pick from four stacks of cards:  Chutzpah, Shlemeil,Schlemazel and You Want to Take a Gamble? 

The Chutzpah cards are good and earn you gelt. The Schlemeil and Shlemazel cards are bad news and cost you gelt. The Gamble cards have a 50% chance of being good or bad. Each card offers a reward or penalty.  Examples: 'You call your son who is a doctor. He asks you how you feel. You tell him. He sends you a bill for $50. You call your son, a lawyer. He asks you what's wrong. You ask him if his brother can do such a thing. He says "Yes" and sends you a bill for $100. Pay the Bank $150 for having such smart children.'"  

That's Chutzpah!  I'd give anything to play the game with my family one more time.  If only I could find where it went. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again

Tonight on HBO at 9.  I can't wait.   Seriously, I can't.  I'm just going to sit by the TV till it comes on.  What else have I got to do?  Pack for the college boy?  What's that you say?  I should've made him pack for himself?  Treat him like an emerging adult and not a preschooler?  Sure, easy for you to say.  But don't you know me by now?  Making him pack would've involved yelling and nagging and door-slamming.  And statements, such as, "That bag isn't going to pack itself, you know."  Plus, he's not even here.  He's already up in the Cruz.  Smart planning on his part, wouldn't you say?  I didn't raise a dummy.  Relax,  I've got this covered.  When we see him on Monday, the SJG will lay on the guilt.  Lay it on thick, I promise.  "Do you have any idea how long it took me to pack all this sh*t?  I can barely move.  I think I pulled something in my back.  Go find me a masseuse.  Or a healer."  But all that guilting and kvetching can wait. Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett?  Can't. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Last Time Eddie Murphy Made Me Laugh

"Bowfinger," 1999
The SJG has spent the past few days digging into my memory bank, overdrawn at the moment, to find Eddie Murphy-isms.  Short of a Google-thon, "I'm Gumby, dammit," was all I could  come up with, and that dates way back to his days on "Saturday Night Live."  If he comes out in Gumby-wear during the Oscars, I will be so happy.  If he channels his funny, raunchy side, he's going to kill.  But I don't see it happening, unless, right out the gate, he acknowledges years of stinkfest movies, arrogance, and storming out of the Kodak when he didn't win an Oscar for "Dreamgirls." If he opens with, "Hi, I'm Eddie Murphy, and you're probably wondering, why the eff did they pick that guy?  He hasn't been funny in years.  I asked the same thing, and Brett Ratner, my close personal friend and favorite movie director, who just happens to producing this fine program, told me to relax.  He had a plan.  That was right before some large dudes threw me in a van and took me to the desert, for three weeks of intensive Comedy Boot Camp."  Insert footage of Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Alec Baldwin beating the crap out of Eddie Murphy, with witty one-liners and musical numbers that actually work, and then torturing him with clips of all the Oscar hosts who've bombed, including David Letterman and last year's charming co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  Maybe then, he'll bring the funny and surprise the SJG.  'Cuz it's all about me, isn't it?  What?  It's not about me?  It's about you?  Fine.  Then maybe he'll bring the funny and make you laugh.  That wouldn't suck at all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SJG Middle School Opens In Sherman Oaks

(Sherman Oaks) Today marks the opening of SJG Middle School, a boutique learning center where short, curvy gals can learn key survival skills, such as how to think and act taller, how to dress taller, how to talk taller, and how to reach impossibly high shelves in the market without breaking a pickle jar or a collar bone. "I went through school trying to fit in with the tall gals," says SJG founder Carol Starr Schneider.  "I walked around on my tippy toes.  I wore high heels.  I hung upside down from the monkey bars like a freak.  I went to a height specialist.  I took vitamins.  I did anything to make myself taller. And guess what?  It didn't worked.  At 53, I've just now realized that I'm never going to be any taller than I was at 12.  Someone should've told me this sooner.  A teacher, a guidance counselor, a rabbi maybe.  If only I'd gone to a liberal-minded school devoted to short gals, who knows where I might be today?  I might've learned how to handle myself better in tall situations.  I might've learned to accept myself 'ass is.'  I might've developed major 'tude at an earlier age.  I might've started my own clothing line called Short Gals With Booty.  I might be starring in my own reality show, 'The Short Bitches of Sherman Oaks.'  I figure, why should other shorties suffer the same indignities growing up -- up being a relative term.  Naturally, I blame genetics."  Enrollment is limited to gals under 5'2," although 5'2 and a half might be considered, if the student brings bagels and lox every Friday.  SJG Middle School still has a few spaces left.  Applications available online.  So hurry.  The bell just rang.  You're already late to class.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Hubby, Grandpa Ben, Billy and Scotty
Scott D, the rapper, picks a new college roommate:  the SJG
Scotty and Billy with Grandpa Skippy
Some things said at the bbq: 
"I made regular coffee.  If you want decaf, there's a Starbucks down the street." --  the SJG
"Have lots of girls over to the apartment.  Show up to class occasionally."  -- Grandpa Ben to the college boy
"Who made the fruit salad?" -- Uncle John
"Who spent an hour chopping up the fruit salad, slicing the grapes in half?" --  Uncle John
"Who put oranges grown in his backyard in the fruit salad?" -- Uncle John
"Would you please shut the @#$% up about the @#$%'n fruit salad?"  -- the SJG

Monday, September 5, 2011

Egg Spoon Races

Not happening here
Today there will be BBQ and beer.  Burgers and buns.  Guacamole and chips.  Chopped liver and crackers. Corn and chopped salad.  Two kinds of cake.  A nice fruit platter.  Today there will be too much food.  And a dog trying to steal it. Today there will be egg spoon races.  Water balloon tosses.  Face painting.  Not here, of course.  But somewhere.  At some picnic or block party.  Today there will be hugs and kisses.  Good luck wishes.  Safe trip.  Study hard.  Do well.  Make new friends.  Drop us an email.  Give us a call.  Keep us posted.  Keep in touch.  When are you leaving?  When are you coming back?  What's your new address?  Today there will be mixed emotions and see you soon. A house full of mishpucha.  Or is it mishpacha?  Or mishpocha?  So many spellings, but it always means the same thing.  Family.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You First

Pre-parenthood, Labor Day always meant "yippee, long weekend."  Since parenthood, Labor Day has always meant "thank God, they're going back to school." When the sons of the SJG were young, summer was a long haul.  Basketball camp.  Surf camp.  Friends sleeping over.  Friends never going home.  Staying up late.  And noise.  So much noise.  Loud TVs.  Loud music.  Loud everything.  By Labor Day, I was pretty much out of my mind, anxious to get them back on a schedule.  All the schlepping to school, all the homework, all the dioramas and posters and book reports.  The vocabulary quizzes.  The hell of math class.  My attitude was this:  Bring it.  The only thing I wanted in life was an empty house.  Give me a few hours to myself and I will be happy.  These days, Back to School means a different kind of schlep.  Up north to Santa Cruz.  A carload of stuff to fill the college boy's first apartment.  The one he'll be occupying solo.  This summer brought roommate drama, the dissolution of a friendship, and all the regret and mixed feelings that come along for the ride.  It went down, as these things do, quickly.  The aftermath has been challenging.  Character-building, as his grandpa would say.  But now the college boy is ready.  Ready for the ultimate bachelor pad, the place where his friends -- all living in houses eight or nine dudes deep -- can come chill and play Fifa.  The SJG?  Not ready.  Not ready at all.  Can't quite wrap my mind around it.  But I will.  I'm sure I will.  About half-way through the year, it's going to click.  I just know it.  Till then, I'll have to do some work on myself.  Cling less. Let go. You first. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Permission Granted

Last night, the options were a bit limited.   One can only sit around the parlor with one's better half, sipping sherry and conversing in French, Italian, or Gaelic, for so long before a sense of ho-hum sets in.  Last night, we tired of the pithy.  We changed locations in the mansion.   Moved swiftly from the front parlor to the home entertainment center.  The plush velvet seats, the free popcorn, the surround sound.  "What shall we watch tonight, my love?" I asked, searching through our alphabetized DVD collection.  "'The Best of Masterpiece Theater?' Or would you prefer 'Long Day's Journey Into Night?'"  Hubby yawned.  Never a good sign.  "Perhaps something on the telly?" I said.  "Perhaps," he said.  A moment later, we arrived at our decision.  "Salt," starring that gal with the big lips.  Angelina something. Oh, we felt so good about our selection, we invited the college boy to join us.  He lasted all of ten minutes before declaring, "This movie is sh*t," and heading upstairs to write rap lyrics.  He was right, of course, but we refused to admit it till half-way through, when things turned ridiculous.  I started in with the commentary.  "Permission to kick your ass!"  "She's a Russian spy.  She's a CIA agent.  And she's pissed off."  It was terrible.  The worst.  And we enjoyed every minute of nonsense.  What could be more fun than watching AJ kick butt, over and over, for an hour and a half?  If you think of something, please share.  I need options for tonight. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Head Explosions

"We either live together, or die alone."
It's been a week of FFF: F'd-up Famous Folks.  The keppie of the SJG can't deal.  I am shocked, shocked, I tell ya, along with zillions of other "Losties," by the report that Matthew Fox, aka Jack Shepherd, the handsome-yet-tragically-conflicted hero of my favorite show ever, got arrested for punching a lady bus driver.  He was "allegedly" sh*t-faced, tried to board a private party bus and when the driver blocked the entrance, he smacked her.  I've lost sleep over this one, people.  Nothing helps, not even the flurry of jokes -- "He had to get back to the island!"  A drunken Jack Shepherd, I can handle.  A drunken Matthew Fox?  I am unable to cope.  I am suffering.  Do I visit him in rehab or jail, or both?  Do I attend anger management with him?  Do I cheer him on while he performs community service?  Do I walk away and tell him we're done? 
I think she should have lost the chapeau
And then, this.  A  book about the French fashion icon Coco Chanel claims she was a Nazi spy and an anti-Semite!  Double oy vey.  This is too much info for the SJG.  Too much, I tell ya.  I live by her credo:  "When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on."  Not a day goes by that I don't remove an extra bracelet, a nose ring, a diamond chin stud, an Erykah Badu-style turban.  I imagine Coco shaking her glamorous head and off comes the one-too-many.  Without Coco, I'd be a fashion freak, weighted down in finery.  And yet... "Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret Wars" claims my personal guru was an agent of Germany's military intelligence organization.  Not a new story, by the way, but the book cites all kinds of just-released documents, etc.  So it must be true.  Or not.  Still, it gives me heartburn to think about.  Nothing irks the SJG more than finding out yet another beloved historical figure was a hater of my people.
 As a result, my head feels like this at the moment. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Beauty Tips

How To Age Gracefully Like The SJG:
1.  Hire body double for all important public appearances
2.  A spritz of Clorox gets out those stubborn age spots
3.  Daily schmear of mayo under makeup
4.  Never frown, smile or react on any level
5.  A hint of Spackle works miracles
6.  Denial
7.  Apres bath, douse body in olive oil
8.  Keep away from open flame
9.  New mantra:  I don't give a sh*t
10. Burn all photos of self after age of 15

Great Moments In Breakfast

Rice Krispies:  The Opera
One of my all-time favorite commercials, a classic from the '60s.  The quality of the image is for sh*t, but the sound is sensash.  To this day, I can't see a box of Rice Krispies without singing this song.  Enjoy!