Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In An Alternate Reality

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

In Cyberspace, No One Can Hear You Shop

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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hello, I Must Be Going

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

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spread The Gelt

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

Friday, November 25, 2011

We Ate, We Drank, We Went Home

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

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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Still Crazy In A Turkey Outfit

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Labrador, Myself

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things We Say On Thanksgiving

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top Ten Things I'm Grateful For

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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Rap With Fire

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snuggies Optional

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Worry Therefore I Am

A source of parental worry
You're never too old to get a little well-meaning parental advice.  This from my 90-year-old dad, during our visit yesterday:  "Honey, can you walk in those shoes?" He's concerned about my flat espadrilles.   "I seem to be doing okay in them," I say, and proceed to pretend-trip over a rug by the front door, with sound effects and everything.  "Whoa!  Oh, no! Help me, Daddy!"  "Sure, make fun," he says, "but I'm worried about those shoes."  "I can see that."  "I don't trust them."  "You should."  "I don't."  "You feel strongly about it, do you?"  "Very much so."  "How can I help?"  "You can be careful walking down the stairs."  "I shall," I say, suddenly British.  Accent or not, I can tell by the way he's looking at me, he's not convinced.  The likelihood that I can navigate the journey safely  plagues him.  "Call me when you get downstairs."  "Okay, Daddy."  "And don't text the boys while you're doing it."  "Absolutely not."  Now I lean in and give him a big kiss.  "Love you, Daddy."  "Love you.  Get rid of those shoes."  "No.  I like them."  As I close the door, I go into a whole, "I've fallen and I can't get up" routine.  He's laughing.  But on the inside?  Very worried.  A minute later, I call him.  "This is your daughter.  I've made it safely to the car without tripping or breaking any bones."  "Good, now drive home and call me when you get there."  "Will do, Daddy-O."  As I drive off, I realize that in my family, to worry is to love.  This is my heritage. This is how I earned my degree in Advanced Fretology.  I Worry Therefore I Am, just like those before me.  If I didn't worry, I wouldn't be me.  And like Sammy D. sang, way back when, "What else can I be but what I am?"  Good question.  Here's my suggestion box.  All ideas welcome.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bah, Oy Vey

Usually, it happens around Thanksgiving.  This year it's happening a week early.  Usually, it's KOST-FM, my destination for  "soft rock."  This year, it's KOST-FM and the WAVE, my destination for "smooth jazz."  Both radio stations that I listen to, in my fast-approaching, old fart-hood, for comfort and joy, are playing holiday music already, and I'm not talking "I Had A Little Dreidel."  I'm talking "Deck the Halls."  And it's not just the radio stations, it's the markets and the department stores, bombarding me with their Christmas-centric decorations and good cheer.  What I wouldn't give to walk into Bloomies and see a bowl of glittering Hanukkah gelt on display.  What I wouldn't give to walk into Macy's and see a platter of nice crisp latkes and a sign that says, "One per Jew."  But it'll never happen, not even in Sherman Oaks, where Jews roam freely. Not that I have anything against Christmas.  It's a lovely holiday.  In December.  The end of December.  Right near Hanukkah.  But Hanukkah gets no love on the radio, with the exception of that Adam Sandler song, or in the stores, with the exception of Gelson's, where I have yet to hear "Hark ye merry gentleman" over the loud speakers.  Gelson's may be Jewish in spirit, but it remains wisely non-denominational.  My main kosher beef with this early start on the holidays is I can't get the holiday music out of my head.  I walk around singing "Deck the Halls" and "Do You Hear What I Hear" and the answer to that is, yes, I do hear what you hear, and could you please make it stop?  I'm already walking around singing "Silent Night."  It's too early for that.  It's just wrong.  It's against the SJG code of ethics.  Not to mention which, I'll get kicked out of the All-Hanukkah Girl Choir of Sherman Oaks, if anyone hears me singing "O Holy Night," and we can't have that happen, can we?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Make Me Taller, Anne

Soon I'll have legs like this
Before I started my first ever Pilates session with Anne, the wise and wonderful friend training to become a certified Pilates maven, I had a few key questions.  I was a virgin, Pilates-wise, about to climb onto something foreign.  I wanted to know what I was getting into.  "What the hell is that?" I asked, in my generally demure way.  "It's called the Reformer," Anne said, unaware of how many questions I was going to hit her with during the next hour.  She went on to tell me about Joseph Pilates, adored by dancers for his stretching and strengthening exercises, conducted on machines with funny/disturbing names:  The Cadillac.  The Electric Chair.  "So Pilates is all about torture," I said.  "Not at all," Anne said.  Whereupon I challenged her to convince me, otherwise, and she did a splendid job, positioning my feet and my legs and telling me to use my powerhouse!  She taught me how to breathe -- apparently, I've been doing it wrong all these years -- and how to twist this way and that, how to squeeze my massive glutes and engage my scalpula.  "So I'm going to have long legs after we're done today?"  I asked her.  "Maybe not today," she said, "but I've grown half an inch since I started doing Pilates."  "I'll take it.  Make me 5'2"."  "Okay," she said.  "Can I get that in writing?"  "No," said Anne.  Smart girl.  I hit her with another question.  "Why do I have so much tension in my neck, Anne?"  "You're Jewish.  It's genetic.  That's where our tension goes.  Straight to the neck.  We can't help it."  "I never knew that.  What else have you been keeping from me?"  She smiled and told me to straighten my legs and spread my toes and do other things my body objected to, but I did them anyway.  "I can't divulge all my secrets in the first session," she said.  Nice way to get me to keep coming back.  If I'm going to get taller, it might take awhile.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Eenie meenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak.
I'm not even at the end of my driveway and there she is, that lady with the big dogs. They're going wild, barking and lunging forward, and she's yelling at me.  "Hi!" she calls from across the street.  "Does your dog wanna play with my dogs?"  And now Dusty is going wild, barking and lunging forward.  "Uh, no," I say.  Dusty gives me a look.  What's wrong with me?  Of course he wants to play.  He's a dog.  He doesn't care if things get out of hand.  "Why not?" the lady calls.  There's so much barking and growling, I can barely hear her.  I can't think of a good answer, other than, "Go away," so I say nothing.  Maybe she'll get the message.  She doesn't. "Wossamotta?" she asks.  "Why doesn't your dog wanna play with my dogs?"  "It's, just..." my voice trails off.  Hers revs up again.  "You know, they played with your neighbor's dog the other day and they all had a good time."  What is the etiquette here? Do I tell her, nicely, she's a pain in the butt, stop asking me the same thing every time I see her?  Do I tell her I'm not letting her dogs anywhere near my precious 9 year old pup?  I don't.  I try this, instead.  I pull out an old excuse I haven't used in at least 17 years, a standard from the preschool era, when the youngest was three.  Moms would call, dangling invitations, and he'd never want to go anywhere.  Not to a birthday party.  Not to anything.  It could get awkward.  Over time, I figured out a nice way to say no thankie.  So I give it a shot now:  "I'm really sorry," I yell, over the bark-a-thon, "but my dog just doesn't do play dates.  He's very shy.  It's hard for him.   But maybe when he's a little older and can handle it."  With that, I hurry down the street, tugging on Dusty's leash, hoping that settles it, and she'll never bother us again.  But I know she will.  I know there's another "Wossamotta?"in my near future. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Communication Made Easy

Since the arrival of my smarty-pants phone, I've discovered a new way to communicate with my sons.  Some days, we simply swap emoji-icons.  The eldest downloaded this app for me, full of more than smiley faces.  Much more.  Flowers, hearts, coffee cups.  High-heels, airplanes, hand gestures.  It's the best cut-to-the-chase technique for a worrier like me.  If I text the college boy, "How did the quiz go?" and get back a row of happy faces, I'm ecstatic.  A row of sobbing faces means I better get on the next plane north.  For an over-reactor like the SJG, emojis can be a little dangerous.  Some times, I need hubby to talk some sense into me.  "Honey, I just got a frantic emoji from Santa Cruz.  I'm heading to the airport."  At which point, he talks me off the ledge and I unpack.  Some days, the working son sends me a random series of emojis that tell me his state of mind.  A coffee cup means he's tired.  A slice of cake means it's someone's birthday in the office.  An airplane means he wants to move to New York, where he just spent a week, and found the female population far superior to the one in Los Angeles.  I answer his airplane with the most unhappy face I can find, my way of saying, "Leave and I'm going with you."  Come to think of it, the Japanese emojis are a bit limited, from my emotional standpoint.  So I'm coming out with own app:  Emoji-Oy-Cons, perfect for mothers everywhere.  The faces show a broader range of hysteria, worry and fear.  It'll be out in time for Hanukkah.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

If You Can't Say Something Nice

What fun is that?
At the deli yesterday, the SJG let loose with the free-wheeling vocab for which I'm famous, and disturbed a few of the better-behaved diners.  As we revisited our Warner Avenue graduation photo from 1969, a sprawling portrait I haven't looked at since, well, 1969, both Ned, the newly-reelected Westlake politico, and Mickey, the visiting orthopedic surgeon from Michigan, were far too classy to speak disparagingly of former classmates.  "Oh, yeah, he lived down the block."  "Oh, yeah, he had a cute sister."  Their commentary was tame and adult-like.  Mature and nostalgic.  The SJG, on the other hand, had no problem operating verbally on a target or two.  Am I sentimental about that period of my life?  Let me think about that.  No.  You'd have to pay me millions to go back to those days of uber-shyness and endless, unrequited boy crushes.  "Look, there's so-and-so.  What an asshole!" I said, pointing to a certain butt-heinous individual in the third row.  Ned and Mickey stared at me, in horror, as if I'd committed a major karmic no-no.  I looked at Ned, still one of my closest friends on the planet.  "What?"  All Ned could do was shake his head. I looked at Mickey.  "What?"  All Mickey could do was fiddle with his utensils.  "Oh, for @#$%'s sake, what's wrong?"  "The way you said asshole," Ned began, visibly shaken, unable to finish his thought.  Mickey took it from there.  "It was chilling."  Ned looked at Mickey and nodded.  The two of them were sharing a moment.  "When you call someone an asshole, you really mean it," Ned continued.  "It's powerful stuff," Mickey agreed.  "But he was an asshole to you, Ned," I reminded him.  "You're right, he really was," Ned said.  "Go on, say it.  Come on, it's liberating.  What was he?"  "He wasn't a good guy," Ned said.  "Seriously?  That's all you got?"  "I'm from Indiana."  "Oh, for @#$%'s sake, let's order." 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Let's Do Deli

This morning I will make a sacred pilgrimage to the holy deli of my youth, to the temple of Jewish soul food. To get there, I must travel back in time, over the canyons and through the woods, to a faraway land called Beverly Hills, to a place called Nat n' Al.  In my house, Sunday mornings meant bagels. If we were lucky, those bagels came from Nat n' Al.  Nothing made me happier than to go to Nat n' Al's with my dad on a Saturday afternoon and watch him order a dozen this, a pound of that.  He knew how to get it done.  The last time I deli'd at Nat n' Al?  I can't tell you.  It's been a few decades, at least.  These days, I deli, Valley-side.  Art's, Jerry's, Solley's.  But today, I'll deli old school, with old friends I've never deli'd with before.  I'll probably have to walk the non-Jews through the menu.  "You want lox on the bagel.  Trust me  on this.  You don't want a plain bagel.  You want onion."  If you deli with the SJG, I'm going to take care of you, whether you like it or not.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Numerology Day!

Today is 11-11-11.  This is supposed to be significant for all sorts of cockamamie reasons, none of which I understand.  For the SJG, 11-11-11 adds up to bupkis.  Since birth, numbers have not been my friend.  The mere mention of math sends me into post-traumatic-shock.  I see myself in my little chair at Warner Avenue, staring at math problems and feeling dumb.  I see myself asking my dad to help me with my math homework. Good with numbers, really good, he felt strongly that New Math, as they called in back then, was the worst idea ever and made no sense.  "I know that, Daddy, that's why I'm asking you for help."  "They should go back to the Old Math."  These scenes always ended badly, with me crying hysterically.  In junior high, you may be shocked to learn that my affinity for math failed to emerge.  I see myself sitting in 7th grade math class at Emerson, focusing more on the the cute boy in the seat in front of me than on the blackboard.  This trend continued, and by 10th grade, they put me in Algebra Sloooow.  Math for Dummies!  At first, I was humiliated.  Until I saw who was in the class with me.  Cute boys.  11th and 12th grade football players.  Jocks!  Guys I never would've met if they hadn't been as math-phobic as the SJG.  Algebra Slow was a gift from above.  I had the best time ever.  The teacher had just been through EST (remember EST?) and insisted we call her Terry, not Mrs. Gray.  She talked a lot about agreements, as in "we have an agreement you won't talk while I'm talking."  She was my hero.  "See you in Geometry Slow," I said at the end of the year.  More cute boys.  More fun.  A+.  For a brief period in my life, I kinda liked math (for all the wrong reasons).  And then came the SATs.  You may be shocked to learn that Math for Dummies did little to prepare me for Real Math for Smarties.  So happy 11-11-11.  I hope this day adds up to greatness for you and yours.  I plan to subtract it quickly from my memory.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SJG Running For Oscar Hostess

Elect me hostess and I will dress like this
It is never too late to enter politics.  The SJG is excited to announce my campaign for Oscar Hostess.  Quite frankly, I'm hurt that my name hasn't been thrown into the ring, already, alongside Kermit the Frog.  Sure, the famed Muppet would be an inspired choice, but so would the SJG.  This is me, stepping into the spotlight. Elect me Oscar Hostess and I will make the show watchable again with my charming patter, intermittent kvetching and dance moves.  I will make a giant kugel and serve it to the audience.  I will sing a medley of Oscar tunes. I will do-re-mi-fa-so-lo-ti-do you till you beg for mercy.  I will change costumes every five minutes, on stage, based on suggestions from the audience.  "We want Liza!"  Done.  "We want Cher!"  Done.   "We want Helen of Troy!"  Okay.  Why not!  I will know when to quip and when to shut up.  I will keep the show going.  I will choreograph.  I will economize.  I will bring it, if it's the last thing I do.  So let me entertain you.  Let me make you smile.  Put me on stage at the Kodak and I will deliver, and cut your taxes at the same time.  A vote for the SJG is a vote for change. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Mazel tov!
This morning's news has filled me with great joy.  I'm near-giddy to learn that my Warner Avenue comrade, my dear friend, the only man I know who can operate a forklift, you heard me, I'm talking about high-powered politico Mayor Ned Davis, has scored a big win in the cutthroat politics of Westlake Village.  Ned has been re-elected to the City Council!  The whole thing continues to fascinate and baffle the SJG.  First he ran for City Council and won, and then he got to be Mayor, and then he had to run for City Council again.  I don't get it, but I love it so much, I think we should bring this local ego control to Washington.  Elect a senator, and just when he's getting a little too comfy, a little too thrilled with himself, send his tush back to his humble roots in the state senate, and then make him run for Senate again.  Greatest idea ever!  I plan to bring it up with Ned on Saturday.  Fingers crossed that his political clout extends to Sherman Oaks.  There's this street I live on that needs to be repaved. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Bar Mitzvah Mom

Saturday Night Fever:  Kiki (purple dress) gets her groove on
The Bar Mitzvah Mom, aka, Kiki O'H had her attorney inform me that there will be serious legal consequences if I don't devote today's blog to the wonder that is Kiki O'H.  So, under duress, I'm going to tell you more about her.  This gal, a real looker with thick lustrous hair I would kill to have, knows how to throw a gala.  Kiki O'H was born with the party gene.  Ever since I met her, when was that, back in the '90s, I believe, I have marveled at her ability to entertain the troops.  Yes, Kiki O'H is all about making people feel special when they're far from their personal zip code.  Over the years, we have traveled to various locales just to bathe in the splendor that she creates.  That time in Chicago when she married our very close friend "Ralph"?  Spectacular.  "Ralph's" 50th in NYC?  A veritable glam-a-rama.   A festival of fun.  Oh, and that time I stayed with the O'Hs?  Kiki treated me like I was visiting royalty.  The rest of the O'Hs?  Not so much.  The kids kept asking, "Is that the new nanny?"  But Kiki O'H made me feel good about myself.  This past weekend, she outdid herself.  There was the pre-Friday Night services gourmet buffet.  There was the post-Bar Mitzvah banquet of hors d'oeuvres, followed by the sumptious, super-delish din-din.  There was a Sunday brunch we didn't attend for selfish reasons (we were airborne at the time) and I'm sensing a little bitterness on her part, a little disappointment.  But Kiki O'H, I will make it up to you the next time you wing west.  I will eat two bagels in front of you.  I will eat lox and white fish.  Then I will tell you whatever you served in Scarsdale was so much better.  In case I haven't said it enough, Kiki O'H is the hostess with the mostess.  She even took time out of her hosting duties on Saturday night to teach me this move, which I had not yet worked into my repertoire:
I learned this from Kiki
So thank you, Kiki O'H, for doing what you do.  You are the Bar Mitzvah Mom.  The SJG salutes you. Now call your attorney and say, "Never mind."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bar Mitzvah-A-Thon

Eric ponders the mysterious ways of the SJG
Early Friday, we left rainy Burbank and hours later, landed in NYC, where it was chilly and sunny.  Normally, the SJG heads East to dance, sing and recite Shakespearean soliloquys on the Broadway stage, till Security hauls me away.  But this quick trip was different.  This was all about the Bar Mitzvah-A-Thon in Westchester, where they take celebration to new heights.  (Who knew?)  We traveled with our dear friends the Schotzes, great people we've known since high school.  My history with Eric involves him giving me sh*t, and me giving it back.  On this trip, it started on the plane, when I slipped half a trankky beneath my tongue.  "It's my pre-game anti-anxiety strategy," I told him. He didn't understand.  My other pre-game strategies puzzled him, too.  The nasal misting, the antibiotic on the Q-tip.  "What the @#$% are you doing?"  "I'm avoiding a double ear infection, like the one I got flying into Seattle about 20 years ago."  He didn't understand that part, either.  At JFK, the hubbies walked four miles ahead of us, in a rush for what, I don't know.  Linda told me her father Stan never minded following Eric. He'd always say, "Wherever he's going is good."  I prefer to be escorted by a Victorian gentleman taking care of my every need. To this day, my brother John insists on walking curbside, in case, God forbid, a horse and buggy should go by and splash me with mud.
This is how I like to stroll
 Friday night, we went to a nice Reform temple in Scarsdale to watch Michael, the Bar Mitzvah boy, say a few nice things in Hebrew. I did my best to behave myself, but I can't speak for, or defend, the other members of my party, which included Paul, another dear friend we've known since junior high.  Let's just say the rabbi made them stay after services and write, "I will not sleep in temple," 100 times on the blackboard. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Moment To Rant

Beauty sleep is so important to the SJG.  If I don't get my mandatory allotment of snooze time, I turn grumpy and mean.  This morning, I am both.  I blame Jay Leno.  I am so angry at Jay Leno, so heated.  Last night, I stayed up to watch Jay Leno.  I never watch Jay Leno.  I don't find him funny on any level.  Watching Jay Leno is painful.  But, I forced myself to stay up and make this sacrifice.  I said, fine, I'll watch his dumb, unfunny show (even though we'd recorded it) because I was too excited to sleep.  How could a mother like me sleep, knowing her eldest son was going to be included in one of Jay Leno's lame-ass, unfunny prerecorded bits?  About a month ago, he'd been "pranked" at a convenience store, when he attempted to buy Doritos laced with a live scorpion. Last night was the night for hilarity to ensue.  Last night, hilarity ensued (not really, it was lame) without him.  Those bastards cut him out.  My reaction may surprise you, for it's so out of character.  It went something like this:  "WTF!  WTF!  How @#$%'n dare they!  Who the @#$% do they think they are!  I @#$%'n hate Jay Leno!!!!"  My rant played on a continuous loop for the next 15 minutes, until hubby politely asked me to turn the volume down on my rage, so he could get some sleep.  "How can you sleep at a time like this?"  "I just close my eyes and do it."  And so, he did.  I, on the other hand, did not.  I was too busy wondering how to break it to Billy this morning.  He'd planned to watch his big moment of glory with us this morning.  After much thought, here's what I came up with:  "Those @#$%'n bastards cut you out."  To which Billy responded, "@#$% Jay Leno!"  Like mother, like son. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Long Distance Call

"How may I help you?"
"More Seasons, Westchester, how may I help you?"  "Hi, this is the SJG from Sherman Oaks, where it's warm and sunny most of the year."  "Are you  calling to rub that in, ma'am?"  "Not really.  I'm mainly calling to ask if there's still a power outage going on, as Mr. Al Roker would say, in your neck of the woods."  "If there were a power outage, I wouldn't be answering the phone, now would I, Miss SJB?"  "It's SJG.  Short Jewish Gal.  Not SJB.  Short Jewish Bitch.  Although, both names could easily apply on most days.  And you could be answering the phone, if the More Seasons were on a generator."  "To answer your original question, Miss SJG -- " "It's Mrs. SJG.  I haven't been married 31 years for nothing."  "Sorry,  Mrs. SJG, let me assure you we have power in White Plains."  "What about Scarsdale?"  "What about it, ma'am?"  "Is there power in Scarsdale?"  "One moment while I check."  "Don't take too long.  I'm calling long distance."  "Some parts of Scarsdale are still without power."  "Wonderful.  Does that include the part of Scarsdale I'm going to for a Bar Mitzvah?"  "That part is fully juiced."  "How do you know that?"  "Here at the More Seasons, we know things.  Will that be all, ma'am?"  "No.  I have a few more questions."  "Of course you do."  "What's the scaffolding situation over there in Westchester?"  "I'm sorry, ma'am, I don't follow." "NYC is all about the scaffolding.  Every block, there's nothing but humanity crammed beneath the scaffolding, bumping into each other, single file, shoving.  I find it all very aggressive.  So, I'm asking, is there an epidemic of scaffolding in Westchester?  I really have to rethink this trip if there's scaffolding."  "One moment while I check."  "Don't take too long.  I'm calling long distance."  "I just spoke to Mr. Nucky Thompson, who heads the White Plains City Planning Office, and he assures me there's no scaffolding within a 50-mile radius of White Plains."  "Oh, thank God."  "Anything else, ma'am?"  "Any snow predicted for this weekend?  I'm getting all dressed up.  I can't wear strappy sandals in the snow."  "No snow.  Any other silly questions?"  "No, that about covers it."  "Have a nice day, Mrs. SJB."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What About The Gifts?

I give this marriage 72 days
Very few came to the door of the SJG last night to collect their free candy.  At first, I took it very personally, as I tend to do, and self-medicated with Peanut M&Ms.  Where had I gone wrong?  I'd put the damn pumpkin out.  Had I carved it?  No.  But I'd put it out there.  I'd positioned the creepy hand in the mailbox.  I'd hung the giant pumpkin cutout on the door.  The house of the SJG was Halloween-friendly.  No graveyards, no skeletons, no witches and goblins.  Yet, I'd made some effort, hadn't I?  Apparently, not enough.  I went to bed sad and woke up with a chocolate hangover.  But then, after a cup or three of coffee, the reason for the low turn out hit me. The reason was simple.  The impending Kardashian divorce, announced on Halloween morn, had upset the trick or treaters.  How could they, in good conscience, dress up and scarf candy and have fun, when Kim was sitting home, suffering?  Or I think she was in Australia, suffering.  Wherever she was, I hope know she was suffering.  Seventy-two days of marriage to a very tall man!  Seventy-two days with a guy who wanted her to freeze her mega-tush off in Minnesota and make babies!  Seventy-two days of agony.  Poor girl.  All those thank you notes, for nothing.  My heart goes out to her.  In the meantime, I'm left with an overage of candy.  This is not good.  Not good at all.  I can't resist Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  They are my drug of choice.  Get them out of the house!  Get them out now!  So I'm making hubby bring it all to work.  Let his co-workers eat the chocolate.  Better them than me.  Oh, and speaking of Snickers, do you think Kim will return the nice candy dish I sent her as a wedding gift?