Sunday, March 31, 2013

You're Getting To Be A Rabbit With Me

Happy Bunny Day!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Visit To The Pharmacy

This week, the SJG has paid many un-fun visits to a giant pharmaceutical empire that in my brain now resembles the DMV.  The only difference is this version of Hell grants me a license to kvetch and doesn't take my photograph, which at this stage, is a very good thing. My current facial color palate is chartreuse.  When I first arrive, I weave in and out of aisles, erratically, drunk on frustration, till I find the long trail of customers waiting in the Pick-Up Line.  (Note to self: cute idea for singles bar scene?  Would certainly clarify the mating dance.)  After I wait in the long line, memorizing all the colonoscopy-prep products, and reliving my own disastrous prepping ritual -- please, let's not go into the plumbing issues that led to a brand new driveway -- the Pick-Up Line gal beckons me forth and rudely asks my age -- "I'm 39, I told you that yesterday, and the day before" -- and informs me the giant pharmaceutical empire hasn't filled my 19th prescription of the week.  Not yet.  Or they never got the prescription.  "But my doctor called it in yesterday."  "You can go check in Drop-Off, but it's not in our system."  "But -- "  "Next!"

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Secret Ingredient

Actually, it's cinnamon.
I'd like to think some of the greatest recipes are the result of a culinary boo-boo.  As in, "Oopsie, I didn't mean to toss curry in there, but dang, that's delish."  I'd like to tell you that's what happened last night.  For starters, it's dicey to cook and chat on the phone with my mother-in-law at the same time. I'm not the best multi-tasker on the planet.  When it comes to cooking, I need to focus.  But I've made turkey burritos so many times, I could do it in my sleep.  Or so I thought.  "Uh oh," I said, while seasoning the ground turkey in the pan.  Followed by, "Oh eff, I can't believe I just did that." "What happened?"my mother-in-law, ever the inventive cook, asked. "I poured a ton of cinnamon all over the turkey, instead of chili powder." "Just say it's a fabulous new Mexican dish." "Great idea."  I wiped off as much cinnamon as I could, and waited for hubby to sample my creation. At first, he didn't say a thing.  "Taste anything different, honey?" "No." "You can't taste the cinnamon?"  A long pause. "Well, now that you mention it, this burrito is a little cinnamony." "Do you like it?" Another pause.  "I don't mind it." "It's a fabulous new Mexican dish."  "It is?" "No.  I messed up." Sometimes cinnamon happens. Sometimes it's a happy accident. Other times, an epicurean fail.  Oh, well.  It could've been worse.  It could've been curry.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Press One For Denial

Just when I thought we were done talking about Matt, Matt, Matt and Ann, Ann, Ann, the story about the jilted co-host and what part Lauer played in the debacle, rises up again in a lengthy piece in New York Magazine. "Matt never liked Ann."  "Matt wouldn't have lunch with Ann." "Matt wanted Katie back." "Matt was going to jump ship to ABC." The SJG would like to go on the record as saying, once again, that it's all about chemistry.  People either click or they don't.  You can't fake it. When it's there, it's worth millions. And even when it's not there, you still get paid millions to walk away.  So, fine, it wasn't a match made in heaven.  It was manufactured in a boardroom.  Matt needs to stop talking about it to the press.  It's a no-win, Matt.  Just hit the SJG Denial App and move on.  You remember the SJG Denial App, don't you?  One touch and here's what you get:  An unconscious defense mechanism that helps you avoid emotional conflict and anxiety!   Plus, the chance to bury all those unpleasant thoughts, feelings, desires, impulses, or facts you find intolerable!  This is the only app you'll ever need, Matt.  Just cough up $30 million, God knows you're good for it, like Yahoo paid that 17-year-old British pisher for his Summly App, and together, Matt, we can make all that guilt you keep regurgitating go away.   

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Excuse Me...

Go ahead, ask me.
Monday afternoon, I'm walking the dog, when a woman standing on a driveway asks, "Excuse me, are you Jewish?"  Well. I must be radiating extra Jewishness today.  "Yes," I say.  As opposed to, "Who wants to know?" Or, "What's in it for me?" "Do you happen to know if you're supposed to light a Yahrzeit candle on Passover?"  I must be sending out an aura of intelligence, too. The SJG just knows stuff, or I make it up, accordingly.  I nod, rabbinically, and pull on my imaginary beard, as I often do when called upon to answer important questions. "Personally, I don't light a candle on Passover, but I know there are people who do light Yarhzeit candles during Jewish holidays. I think you can light a candle in memory of someone whenever you want."  At that moment, my neighbor Liz comes out and wishes me a happy Passover.  "I don't think we light a candle on Passover, do you?" she asks me.  I give her a truncated version of my previous scholarly answer.  "I think you can if you want.  It probably depends on how observant you are."  "I think the Orthodox light candles at Passover," her friend says.  Dusty inches forward.  He's done with this conversation.  I have nothing left to offer on this topic, either.  I wish them both a nice seder, secretly thrilled that mine has already taken place.  There's only so much gefilte and matzoh I can consume in one lifetime.  Later, in my never-ending quest for truth, I look up the official answer.  In addition to annually on the eve of a loved one's Yahrzeit, there are four times a year when Jews light a special candle in memory of those we've lost:  The first night of Yom Kippur, the 8th night of Sukkot, the second night of Shavuot and, the last night of Passover.  So, there you have it.  Next time you see me, feel free to ask me if I'm Jewish.  But something tells me, you already know the answer.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Passover Puns and Sinatra

At the early Passover seder, scheduled for family convenience, as opposed to Biblical significance, we got through the Haggadah in under 10 minutes, with only 18 interruptions.  There were puns delivered by an unnamed brother (John), including "charoses of the liver" and,  "It Succos a long time." Post-Haggadah, there was a lot of spilled Manischewitz on the nice tablecloth, a lot of March Madness discussion, and some delightful stories courtesy of my dad.  The best:  a Hollywood party in the 50s, at the home of a famous movie director, or maybe it was the son of a famous movie director.  Frank Sinatra is there.  My mom walks up to him and says, "You owe me a quarter."  He says, "I do?  What for?" She says, "When I was a teenager, I paid a quarter to get your photograph.  You never sent it."  Frank declines to pay her back.  With interest, it would cost too much.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hit It!

Sometimes, a Short Jewish Gal such as myself just has to dance, to cut a rug, as it were, to let loose in a living room, even if the doctor might not approve.  So let's keep this between us.  There was no way I was going to miss last night's dance party at the lovely home of the lovely Mila.  It was her birthday.  Let's start with that.  A little cough isn't going to prevent me from celebrating with people I adore.  "I'm not contagious," I said, between coughs.  "I promise, I haven't brought the plague with me." Good thing hubby was there to keep an eye on me.  "Don't overdo it."  "You're over-doing it."  "You're -- " "Oh, hush and come dance with me." My favorite part was learning the Madison from "Hairspray" -- the swingingest, the zaniest dance ever, thanks to Tim, boyfriend of my brother John.  It went something like this.  Hit it!  And please, double click for double the fun:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Kind of March Madness

While the menfolk scream downstairs, swept up in March Madness, the SJG hibernates upstairs, experiencing a different kind of insanity:  my own private "Lost"marathon on Netflix. I'm almost done with Season 1. How many episodes did I watch yesterday?  I'm too embarrassed to tell you.  Less than ten, more than eight. I can't seem to stop myself, even though I know the outcome of every episode. On top of which, I'm not a marathon kind of gal.  So, there must be an explanation for this strange behavior, this unstoppable "Lost" fest. Could it be...
the crazy-making Prednisone pills I'm taking for my cough have pushed me over the edge, yet again? Yes, that's got to be it. Historically, the little bastards drive me nutso. I refer you to my "Fiddler on the Roof" breakdown of yore, when my family found me singing, "Sunrise, Sunset," weeping and hacking, weeping and hacking, till hubby grabbed the remote and said, "I'm saving you from yourself." Here's hoping these things work soon, or I'll be up all night, watching Season 2 - 6, and filling out the only brackets that truly count. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Core Issue

I opened the cabinet, and there it was, hiding behind the oatmeal and the Uncle Ben's.  I took it out and looked at it.  I checked for a date.  No date.  It had plenty left inside. It had been sitting there at least a year.  I could easily use it again.  No one would know.  And yet, the fifth Passover question remained:  Was it still kosher?  I went a-Googling, as I'm prone to do.  Chances are, I've Googled you already.  You should be ashamed.  But this was the first time I've ever Googled:  "How long does Manichewitz Passover wine keep?"  I've never paid much attention to the life cycle of Manichewitz.  I figured, you sip it at Passover, what choice do you have, it's right there on the table, and you forget about it till next year.  Except, I am the designated charoses maker.  I have a big responsibility.  While my mother-in-law busies herself with the easy stuff, the chicken soup, the matzoh balls, the tzimmes, the 14 other side dishes, the brisket and the chicken, the SJG has the far more difficult task.  First, I spend all year tending my apple trees.  What's that?  I never mentioned that I'm an apple farmer on the side?  Silly me.  It slipped my mind. But it's 100 percent true.  I would never lie to you.  Exaggerate slightly, maybe.  But lie?  That's beneath me.

If you need to find me, I'm probably outside, watching over the tree that gives green apples, and the one that gives red.  I'm probably pacing back and forth, obsessively, worrying myself sick.  Oh, my God.  You're right.  It's the perfect job for me. I stand watch at night, battling raccoons and squirrels and whatever wild beasts roam the backyards of Sherman Oaks.  Once my apples reach maturity, I perform my ritual apology dance, snatch them off their branches, the only home they've ever known, and pop them in the washing machine so they should be nice and clean.  Which takes us up to today, when the off-duty moil comes to bless my apples and help me chop the crap out of 'em.  Moil or not, I can't do anything till I verify whether the Manichewitz is still good after sitting on a shelf in a state of neglect... unlike all other wines we like to hoard.  A bottle lasts a day or two, if that.

The Google replies are harsh, yet helpful.  "Are you nuts?  You want to make your family sick with bad Manichewitz?  You want to give your 91-year-old father indigestion?  What's wrong with you, SJG?  Get over yourself and throw it out.  Don't even think of dumping it on the charoses. Go out and buy a new fresh bottle, immediately." Fine.  I'm going.  I hope I make it back home before the moil arrives.  It's not nice to keep important people waiting.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why Is This Blog Different From Other Blogs?

30?  Try 15.
Who made the following statement:  "I'm never coming to this house for Passover again!" 
a. Ann Coulter
b. The woman married briefly to my brother-in-law
c. Golda Meir
d. All of the above

The correct answer is B.  Anyone who believes Jewish holidays call for serious observation would be wise never to marry into our family, for disappointment awaits them at every turn.  Case in point:  The gal who wed hubby's brother. Boy, did she mean business.  She never did come back for another Passover.  Do we miss her?  Let me think about that.  No.

When it comes to Passover, we mean well, we really do, but year after year, we go the comedy route, as opposed to the uber-religious one.  It's just more fun.  Plus, we can't help ourselves.  The meal, we take seriously.  There's gefilte and matzoh ball soup and macaroons.  It's very authentic and rather delish, thanks to hubby's mom.  I'm only good for the chopped-up apple thingie, aka, charosis.  Typically, we do five minutes on that name alone.  "Help, I've got a bad case of charosis" gets the ball rolling, and then we go from there.
When it comes to the Haggadah, we fall short.  We do a quick and silly recap that would make Evelyn Wood, the goddess of speed reading, proud.  We do a mini-review of the Seder plate (always good for a giggle), we stumble through the Four Questions (often condensing them in one long nonsensical question).  Collectively, we adore the part about reclining.  Why do we recline?  Because we can.  What else do we do?  We spill wine and sing, "Let my people go" in ten-part harmony. We debate who gets to be the leader.  At the beginning, it's my father-in-law, but then others grab the spotlight away and chaos ensues.  Last Passover, the SJG got pouty when I didn't get to read.  "I want to be the leader," I whined, and started to read random selections about plagues and such, until someone with a louder voice drowned me out.

So, if you're looking for a lengthy exploration of the text, I encourage you to follow Elijah to a more observant household, where they know what they're doing.  Even a nice cup of Manischewitz isn't enough to entice the mysterious E to stop by.  He knows better than to break matzoh with us, and so should you.  Unless you're shopping for a few laughs.  One joke, the lamer the better, gets you in the door.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's All In My Head

A conversation with my allergist:
"Why are my ears ringing?"
"There's congestion in your Eustachian tubes.  Have we ever done the ISUPESM?"
"The what?"
"The intranasal-subterranean-uber-positional extraterrestrial sideways maneuver."
"When you put it like that, no.  I think I'd remember."
"Do you still have sinus pressure?"
"Oh.  Then we need to add the UDM to the ISUPESM."
"I'm afraid to ask what that is."
"The upside down maneuver."
"I'm interested in feeling better, doc, not joining Ringling Brothers."
"Okay, here's what you do.  Let's start with the UDM."
"Do we have to?"
"You can do the SUPESM first.  It doesn't matter."
"Tell me about the UDM."
"Okay, what you do is you sit in a chair."
"What kind of chair, doc?"
"A kitchen chair."
"What about a dining room chair?"
"That's fine, too.  You sit in the chair and you lean over till your head is upside down."
"Why would I want to do that when my head hurts?"
"This will help you."
"If you say so.  I can't wait to hear what's next."
"You're upside down and you pump the Afrin into your left nostril and look over your left shoulder."
"So the Afrin can get where it needs to go."
"Over my shoulder?"
"No.  Into the front of the sinuses.  Then you do the same thing on the right side."
"Am I still bent over and getting dizzy?"
"Yes.  But this time you look over your right shoulder."
"But I don't spray over my right shoulder?"
"How long do I stay in this weird position?"
"About a minute."
"Okay, so I'm upside down, I'm losing consciousness.  Then what?"
"Then you sit up slowly, you tilt your head all the way back..."
"I'm still in the chair?"
"Yes.  You tilt your head back and drip the Afrin into your left nostril, then you lean over at a 45 degree angle."
"Are you kidding?"
"No.  This is the second part."
"The intranasal whoosy-callit?"
"Yes.  You lean over so the Afrin can get into your left Eustachian tube, and then you do the same thing on your right side."
"This all sounds extremely wackadoodle, Doc."
"Call me Thursday.  Good luck."
"Thanks.  I'm going to need it."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stop Me Before I Zest Again

Time to fess up:  I am an over-zester. And you thought you knew everything about the SJG.  This, I've been keeping from you.  I zest as though my life depended on it, which, I'm fairly certain, it doesn't.  B.G. (Before Giada), the SJG never zested.  But ever since Giada appeared on my flatscreen, and in my cookbooks, and in magazines and online recipes, I've answered her call to zest.  When Giada tells me to zest, I zest.  I sprinkle lemon zest over pasta.  I sprinkle lemon zest over roasted chicken.  I sprinkle lemon zest on random objects. You could say I'm out of control.  As a result of all this crazed zesting, I've sustained numerous zest-related injuries.  I've scraped off my own tender skin in the midst of a zest frenzy.  What happens goes something like this:  "Oh joy, oh rapture, it's so much fun to zest, look at me, zesting away, zest zest -- oh eff!  I did it again!"  The recipe doesn't call for the zest of one SJG.  Like you, I've read those books and seen those movies where the cook cries into the food she's preparing and magical things happen.  Those around her change dramatically and fall in love, thanks to the tears she shed baking bread or cake or whatever.  I shudder to think what would happen should my family find out the lemon zest over their pasta contains a teaspoon of SJG.  Dear God in Heaven.  I'd have a family full of very silly, very impatient people prone to kvetching, over-thinking, spontaneous bursts of dancing, and yelling at the TV during any and all sporting events.  And we can't let that happen, can we?  So, what say we keep this particular reveal to ourselves?  Let's be hush-hush about the secret ingredient I may have inadvertently added to many a recipe more than once.  To show my commitment, I hereby put down my zester.  I'm done zesting.  Done, I tell ya.  Done.  Until Giada tells me to pick up my zester.  I'm powerless in her presence. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Everyone Needs A Guide

"Trust me, 'How I Met Your Mother' is new tonight."
I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times:  The SJG is a simple gal with simple needs.  I don't need diamonds, although if you want to buy me a nice rock, I won't refuse.  I don't need wall-to-wall luxury, although if you want to pave my driveway in gold, I'll do my best to get the necessary permits.  What the SJG needs, above all, is a guide.  It's been years since I've had a suitable guide.  It's been painful at times. But what growth experience in life doesn't come with a fat helping of hardship?  Oh, how I loved my guide, all through childhood and straight into my attempt at adultness. I could open my guide at any point in the day and it would tell me what to watch and what to avoid.  I could plan my entire week, enabled by my trusty guide.  It came with the newspaper, no extra charge.  Every Sunday, there it was again, buried between Comics and Real Estate.  And then one dark day, the guide disappeared.  I'm sure there was an announcement of some kind.  A brief declaration of regret.  A cruel cost-cutting measure.  "Dear SJG, no more weekly guide for you.  Instead, you get a daily grid of times and channels, all scrunched up and condensed.  It'll take a while to figure it out.  But you will, even though you're right-brained.  You went to college.  You've still got a few brain cells left."  So, fine.  I got used to the grid.  I learned to read it and see what shows were repeats and what shows were N for new.  The grid became my stand-in guru, my sub-par guide, a so-so thing I could turn to for desperately-needed entertainment advice.

And then, a few weeks ago, another harsh announcement.  Another brief declaration of You're On Your Own.  "Dear SJG, no more grid for you.  Boo hoo.  You want a grid?  Go online and find it.  Or, better yet, give us more money and we'll make a grid just for you.  We'll personalize it with all your shows.  We'll tell you when 'Love It Or List It' is on, and whether you've seen the episode more than five times already.  We're here for you.  But it'll cost ya." This latest missive didn't go over well with me.  Pay extra for a crappy-ass TV grid?  Are you effin' with me?  No thankie.  Good day, sir.  I said good day!  I'll fend for myself. I've done it before, with mixed results.  I can do it again. I'll deal with this semi-maturely, like a reluctant grown-up-type person. I tried to go without, to cope with this monumental loss.  I won't lie.  It was hard.  The past few weeks have sucked, royally. Without my TV grid, who am I?  An empty shell of my former self, that's who.  In need of guidance like never before, I started praying for a miracle.  I prayed and prayed.  I even chanted.  Nam-Myoho-Renge-Grid-O.  And guess what? Are you sitting down?  It worked.  Just like that, the TV Grid is back in the newspaper, back by popular demand, back and smaller and more scrunched up and harder to read than ever before.  But that's fine by me. The SJG is grateful.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Planet Schwartz

"I'm a doctor, not a scriptwriter!"
Bobby Pickett ("Monster Mash") and Peter Ferrara's hilarious spoof of "Star Trek" got the SJG through college.  Dr. Demento played "Star Drek" on his beloved radio show for many years, and when I worked at the Daily Bruin, we used to walk around, shouting favorite lines:  "I want answers, Mister!" "Yes, Captain Jerk!"  And, my personal favorite, "Plot complication!  Plot complication!"  Here's a clever YouTube compilation set to the original recording.   Enjoy!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bucket List

"I have a food question."
"Talk to me, Daddy."
"I'm picking up a bucket of the Colonel."
"I haven't had the Colonel since I was a kid."
"Here's the problem.  I'm picking it up five hours before we're going to eat it.  What should I do?  I don't want it to get dry."
"For starters, put it in the fridge."
"I put it in the fridge.  Then what?"
"Take it out of the fridge and get it to room temperature."
"When should I take it out?"
"About half an hour before you want to eat it."
"Okay, it's at room temperature.  Now what?"
"Reheat it in the microwave."
"For how long?"
"Maybe a minute to start, but not in the bucket."
"Why not in the bucket?"
"It's too tall  Put it on a plate, do a few pieces at a time."
"It won't get dry?"
"Wrap it in a paper towel.  It'll be moist, but you'll lose the crispiness."
"What can I do?  It's not a perfect plan."
"Or, if you want to keep it crispy, you could reheat the Colonel in the oven."
"How would I do that?"
"Put it in a Pyrex dish, cover it tightly in foil, and reheat it at 300.  Check it after twenty minutes.  You leave it in too long, it'll get dry."
"That's the whole point.  I don't want it to get dry."
"Then maybe you should microwave it."
"I think I'll microwave the Colonel."
"Do that, Daddy.  Forget the oven. You don't want it dry."
"I don't like it dry."
"Who does?"

Friday, March 15, 2013


I'm not usually one to set off worldwide panic, but today, my friends, I just can't help myself.  Today is the Ides of March, and what kind of SJG would I be if I didn't remind you it's a day of caution, paranoia and worry -- or, if you're me, business as usual.  But today is special.  Today is set aside for aging English majors everywhere.  On this momentous day, anyone who ever wrote an essay on "Julius Caesar" must stand in the nearest town square, or, if you're me, the intersection of Kvetch and Whine, and regale passersby with tales of struggle and woe, in your best Shakespearean accent.
Today is a day to call up an estranged relative, and say, "You think you've had it bad?  Have you ever stayed up all night, trying to finish an essay entitled, 'Et Tu, Brute?' without lapsing into snarky puns and unfortunate humor, on account of extreme exhaustion?"  If that doesn't bring 'em around and get 'em to focus on someone else for a change , if this ingrate whose genetic makeup vaguely resembles yours doesn't share the sorrow and trials you've endured, back in the Dark Days before computers, when you wrote your nonsensical English papers on a typewriter, before spell check existed, then I'm sorry, people, they are not worthy of you.  Why are spending time trying to reconcile?  They never understood you anyway.  Move on.
And so, as you go about your personal Ides of March, please, try not to be too bitter about those lost years when you majored in English, while other kids were partying and forgetting to study for finals.  You don't want to end up sounding like this guy: "There's nothing in this world can make me joy: Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale/ Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man; And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste that it yields nought but shame and bitterness."  But that's a whole other essay.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How Do You Take Your Eggs?

Man on bike with eggs
A recent study conducted by the SJG Center for Advanced Rumination proves once and for all that Life, as we know it, is a constant balancing act.  Take the award-winning iPhone shot, courtesy of the SJG's famed cousin/world traveler Sir Andrew "Call me Andy" Kaplan in Mumbai, just moments ago.  What he's doing in India, I have no idea, but something tells me it's important.  At first, "Man on bike with eggs" may amuse, but a longer glance validates the SJG's theory that not only are some people capable of remarkable feats, others teeter-totter on the edge. Personally, I couldn't carry an egg on a spoon across the kitchen without dropping it.  A crate of eggs on a bike?  Oy vey.  I shudder to think of it. What's that you say?  Is the SJG yoking with you?  How dare you!  I mean this from the bottom of my heart, as opposed to the middle or side wall.  Whether you maneuver a tower of eggs in India, work full-time, work sometimes, or sit on your comfy sofa in an undisclosed location (Sherman Oaks) and ponder your pipik, you are balancing dreams, hopes, fears, worries, aches, pains, obligations, disappoint-ments and what-the-eff to make for dinner.  As you stare off into space, a fake smile plastered on, while someone yammers on and on about who-knows-what, inside your head, which, let's face it, is more crowded than a Mumbai marketplace, you're secretly balancing stuff -- your checkbook, your family commitments, your so-called life.  Some are better at this than others. Some have mastered the act. Others need more juggling practice.  And some just -- sorry, I've run out of pithy metaphors and circus references.  But you get the idea.  You toss it all up in the air and see what lands safely and what splats. That's Life. That's what people say.  Or, if you're related to the SJG, you say Life is Life.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Squeak Squeak, Tinkle Tinkle

We have a saying in dance class.  "The Squeaky Jew gets the grease."  What does that mean, exactly?  I'm so glad you asked.  When something's a little off, and no one's willing to kvetch, call on the SJG to get 'er done.  Take last night, for example.  After a brief discussion with the gals, I took it upon myself to corner our beloved teacher.  "Dougie, what's with the 5 o'clock start time on Sunday?"  "What about it?"  "It's not working for me.  What happened to 4:30?  We like 4:30 better." "You don't mind starting in the smaller studio?"  "No, of course not, now that the Pee-Pee Puppies are gone."  If you're wondering about the Pee-Pee Puppies, that's a good sign you're awake and over the Dreaded Time Change.  Welcome back.  Here's hoping I join you some day.  The Pee-Pee Puppies were adorable little canines that took over the smaller studio (pay attention:  they are two studios) right before us on Sunday for Puppy Training.  What puppies were doing in a dance studio is beyond the SJG's limited mental range. 
I suspect they were learning to leap across the floor and tinkle everywhere.  And even though the Pee-Pee Puppy trainers cleaned up (supposedly), it still smelled weird and funky by the time our class started -- much like Puppy Pee-Pee, a scent with which the SJG is all too familiar, thanks to a certain former puppy that shall remain nameless. (Dusty). However, the SJG squeaked and squeaked and squeaked some more, on behalf of the other dancer gals (shy, unassuming types) and refused on principle to dance in The Tinkle Zone.  The SJG battle cry: "I won't dance, don't ask me."  The puppies and their pee?  All goney.  During this unfortunate phase, which only went on for endless months, we waited like good little bitches till 5, for the other studio, and got home late for dinner, thereby annoying certain family members who wanted to eat earlier.  But isn't it sweet that they waited for us?  Stay with me, people.  This shaggy tale is almost over.  And now that I've kvetched the loudest again, we're back to 4:30 on Sundays, not 5, and I am one happy, squeaky SJG.  The End.  You may now return to your previously scheduled exhaustion. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rabbis Gather To Pick The Pope

(Sherman Oaks) Rabbis from around the world have gathered in the home of the Short Jewish Gal to help pick the next pope.  "Nobody asked our opinion, so we decided to give it, anyway," said Rabbi Lionel Epstein of Temple Beth Sherman Oaks.  "The Short Jewish Gal was nice enough to offer her lovely home for our conclave. We hear she serves a kugel to die for, and her coffee is an Oh My God."  Asked by a reporter why she opened up her home to the rabbis, the SJG put it succinctly. "I sent an invite.  They all RSVP'd.  If that's not a miracle, what is?  So what if it's a little crowded in here, and my dog is a little thrown by all the commotion?  He's never seen so many rabbis in one place.  I made sure to tell all the nice men and women to hang on to their yarmulkes and especially their socks, or the Short Jewish Dog will steal them when they're not looking.  That goes double for shoes, sandals and tallises.  Anything with fringe drives my dog totally meshuga.  So far, the rabbis are adhering to the rules, but I'm sure at some point, one of them will slip off the Pradas, kick back for a nap, the kippah will drop and Dusty will make his move.  But listen, there's only so much I can do, right?"  Rabbi Abby Plotnick of Temple Beth Einstein said that the rabbis were leaning toward a specific pope, but didn't want to name names.  "It's a little early for that, plus we want it to be a surprise," she said, in between bites of kugel.  "Have you tasted this?  It's fabulous.  I must get the recipe.  Anyway, we're still trying to get the SJG's fireplace ready for the big reveal.  When we make a decision, we want to send up a little smoke without violating local environmental restrictions.  We're very careful that way.  But I can tell you this.  The candidate who's getting the most heat over here is the one who's best for the Jews."

Monday, March 11, 2013

We'll Always Have Paris

Paris.  Sherman Oaks.  Same thing. 
"Wasn't Paris wonderful?"
"We just got back from Paris."
"I just got back from walking the dog."
"In Paris?"
"Sherman Oaks."
"So you're saying we didn't just get back from Paris?"
"We didn't get back from anywhere."
"Then why do I feel jet-lagged, like I've been on a trip?"
"You traveled one hour ahead."
"And all I got was this card?"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

At The Tone, The Time Will Be...

... an hour later than it should be, but not to worry, it'll stay lighter longer, which is nice, even though your internal body clock will dim with utter confusion and despair.  One hour shouldn't make such a big diff, but it does, because on Monday when you wake up, you'll miss that hour more than you thought humanly possible, and you'll long to get that hour back, you'll do anything to retrieve sixty minutes of your life, but you can't, so deal with it.  By Monday, you'll have changed all your clocks, except maybe the one on the microwave, the coffee maker and the old alarm clock in your office that you gave up on years ago, and the one in your car, so you'll stare at it for a while and curse its existence and wonder which stupid button you're supposed to push, and then you'll get out your handbook and flip through the pages until you find how to eff'n do it, and then you'll do it, and you'll say to yourself, next time we change the clocks for no reason, I'm going to remember how to do this on my own, I'm going to conquer this sh*t without checking this stupid book, but then, six months from now when we fall back and eff up our internal clocks all over again, you'll forget how to change the time in your car, and you'll take out the stupid handbook you haven't looked at since the last time you forgot, and you'll find the page, and think, as God is my witness, next time, dear Lord, next time, I promise, I'm going to remember how to do this, but you're not fooling anyone, you won't remember, because you're too sleep- deprived to think straight.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Heel Thyself

My feet are killing me.  
"Hi, SJG.  It's SJP."
"Hey, gal.  How's it goin'?"
"Not so good."
"And you called me to kvetch?  I'm touched."
"I've having some issues."
"Issues?  I'm all about issues, hon.  Spill it."
"For ten or so years, I literally ran in heels."
"I literally have never tried that."
"I worked 18-hour days and never took them off."
"Oy.  It hurts just to think about it.  But you looked good doing it, and that's all that matters."
"I wore beautiful shoes, some better made than others, and never complained."
"I live to complain.  Maybe if you complained more, you'd feel better."
"I'm not a complainer."
"You can learn, SJP.  I'll help you."
"I'd like that, SJG."
"I'm here for you, gal.  So tell me, what made you sour on those killer stilettos?"
"I did a crappy movie called I Don’t Know How She Does It."
"It was awful.  Way to ruin a great book."
"I didn't think my character could afford really good footwear.  So I got cheap-ass shoes and the bottoms weren’t leather.  They were plastic."
"Silly SJP.  Have I taught you nothing?  You need to set some boundaries, gal."
"I wish I'd consulted you sooner.  I kept slipping, I twisted my ankle.  I went to a foot doctor and he said, 'SJP, your foot is seriously eff'd up.'"
"Not to mention that movie you made.  Oh, my gawd, it was bad."
"Don't remind me."
"You brought it up."
"I'm done with heels, unless they're outrageously expensive."
"No more shopping at Payless?"
"It's Manolo or nothing."
"Listen, hon, it's important to take a stand, even if it falls a little flat."
"That's what I'm doing.  It's my PSA to fashion."
"Well, you don't have to worry about me, SJP.  I keep my heels low, like my expectations."
"Good for you!"
"Nice talking to you, SJP.  Call me anytime you need to vent."
"You keep me grounded, SJG."
"If not me then who?"

Friday, March 8, 2013


Her home was as outdated as her hair.
Home-makeover design show junky that I am, the SJG likes to know what's obsolete and what's hip and happening, style-wise.  According to a semi-recent article in the Washington Post...
mauve is a no-no. Oh well, there goes my entire bedroom, a veritable ode to mauviness.  Bright Oriental rugs?  Very bad.  Muted is in.  Does that include my muted Oriental rug with touches of mauve?  And what's this you say about vivid tiles?  Those are outdated, too?  Great.  Does that mean the peppy Mexican tiles on my stairs need to go?  No problema.  I'll just rip them out myself.  Be right back.  Wow, that was harder than I expected.  Anything else I should remove?  Valances?  Naturally, I have one in my bedroom.  It's my mother-in-law's fault.  "You need a valance," she said, when we moved in, 12 years ago.  So basically, what you're telling me, you outdated Washington Post article, is that I need to remodel my entire house.  I'll get right on it.  How much could it cost?  I'm sure hubby, the original do-it-yourselfer, will endorse my little project. The man installed a sink.  By himself.  Remember that?  Give me a second.  Okay, it's all coming back to me now.  The injuries.  The band-aids.  The goggles.  The electric saw.  Maybe I'll just keep things "as is."  I'm fine with outdated.  At this stage, I'm plenty outdated, myself.  I could use a complete upgrade, too, but you don't see me running out, looking for replacement parts, do you?  Of course not.  That would make me so shallow.  Although, if you happen to know where I might find a new set of sinuses, please contact me, immediately.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Take A Cookie

"Why is patience a virtue?  Why can't 'hurry the eff up' be a virtue?"  The SJG thinks this is a great question, maybe the greatest question ever.  My whole life, they tell me, "Be patient, it'll happen."  So I take a number. I get in line.  I'm still waiting for my turn.  My feet are tired from all this standing.  And don't even get me started on my back.  I could use a nap, but then, I might lose my place.  So, universe.  Drop me a hint.  Give me a call.  Tell me:  When?  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Nice Lunch With Nice Gals

A nice lunch with nice gals, celebrating a nice birthday.  We discuss children and menopause, memory loss and hair color.  We order everything on the side.  We want things well-cooked and warm.  Except the salads.  They should be cold.  But not too cold.  We talk about high school.  Whatever happened to so-and-so?  Was so-and-so the older brother or the younger brother?  Definitely, he was the younger.  No, he was the older.  He was the younger.  We go back in forth until we land on another topic, a big one.  A daughter's getting married.  In a week.  Back east.  We talk about snow storms.  We worry with the mother of the bride.  We reassure.  It'll be fine.  It won't snow.  What are you wearing?  A dress.  Can you give us more details than that?  No.  The bride wants everything secret.  I can't wait to see it on Facebook.  That's a whole other topic.  Wedding guests are posting photos of weddings-in-progress.  Apparently, a no-no.  It spoils the fun for the bride and groom.  Let them see the photos first.  It's a strange new world.  Here's dessert for the birthday girl, who'd rather forget it's her birthday.  So why do we keep reminding her?  We can't help it.  We sing to her.  She blows out the candle and makes a wish.  No photos please.  I look terrible.  I look worse.  You look great.  You do, too.  I love your hair.  I love your face.  I love you, too.  A nice lunch with nice gals.  A long drive home.  An hour in traffic.  A little NPR.  A little music.  A dog at the door, expecting a treat, just for being adorable.  Here it is. Good doggy.  Woof.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Great License Plate Disaster: Redemption

"Bellflower Courthouse."
"Hi, can I speak with the supervisor?"
"Name please."
"The Short Jewish Gal."
"Hello, this is Kim."
"Hi, Kim.  I spoke with the D.A. and -- "
"Oh, is this about the license plate thing?"
"You loaned your car to (Insert Made Up Name)?"
"No.  I never loaned my car to (Insert Made Up Name).   I don't know (Insert Made Up Name.) My license plates were never stolen.  I've never been to Bellflower."
"Okay.  Just FAX us your registration and we'll take care of it."
"Unless you'd rather drive here.  It's kinda far though."
"Faxing works for me."
"Include a statement that you never met (Insert Made Up Name).  Or loaned him your car.  And that you've been pulled over by the police.  We'll clear it up today."
"Oh.  My.  God.  Thank you, Kim.  Thank.  You."
"You're welcome."
"I feel liberated.  Reborn.  Like a free man in Paris."
"Okay, good."
"Unfettered and alive.  Nobody calling me up for  -- Kim?  Hello?"

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Few Decorative Touches

Would you settle for a decorative throw?
A conversation with the eldest, who no longer dwells in sleepy Sherman Oaks, preferring a congested Hollywood locale full of excitement, but low on parking spots:
"We got you a cute little table for the hallway."
"You guys are the best."
"It's from Target, but it looks expensive."
"I'll be over around 1."
"Dad's going to put it together."
"Does he want help?"
"No.  He says it'll take five minutes."
"I'll be over around 12:30."
"We got you a cute little plate to put on the table."
"You're spoiling me."
"I know.  It's like a sickness.  The plate's from Cost Plus, but it looks expensive."
"I can't wait to see it."
"And some spot remover, in case you spill.  And an emergency solar light.  And a pretty decorative throw for the sofa."
"So take that crappy blue thing off right now."
"I'll put it on the bed."
"I don't want to see that crappy blue thing on the sofa.  Ever."
"You won't."
"I know.  Unless you have us over."
"I'll have you over."
"I'll start looking for a parking spot now."
"I"ll be over around 2."
"What happened to 12:30?"
"I have things to do."

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Whenever I see a weird sign, or hear a quirky use of the English language, I immediately think of George Carlin.

"The term Jumbo Shrimp has always amazed me. What is a Jumbo Shrimp? I mean, it's like Military Intelligence - the words don't go together, man."

Whenever I board a plane, I think of George, too.

"To begin their boarding process, the airline announces they will preboard certain passengers. And I wonder, How can that be? How can people board before they board?” Later: “I’m told to get on the plane. ... And I think for a moment: ‘On the plane? No, my friends, not me. I’m not getting on the plane; I’m getting in the plane. Let Evil Knievel get on the plane, I’ll be sitting inside one of those little chairs. It seems less windy to me.’"
"Don't press your luck, George."
So the other day, when I saw a sign that said, "HAND IRONING," I immediately thought...
That sounds painful.

Friday, March 1, 2013

House Arrest

My Personal March Madness:  The Great License Plate Disaster rolls into next week, as the Bellflower criminal courthouse tries to resolve what appears to be a clerical error on their part, or as the SJG prefers to call it, A Ginormous Bureaucratic Eff-Up.  Meanwhile, I'm deeply touched by everyone's concern.  Many of you have wondered where I'll be serving my sentence for questioning authority, getting all huffy and playing the "don't you know who I am?" card, to absolutely no avail.  Where to send the cake with the file?  How much bail money do I need?  Well, here's your answer, my friends.  Send money, as much as you can, and a nice coffee cake, sans file, a warm, yummy kugel, a dozen bagels from Nat n' Als, a pound of lox, and a few bottles of Lafete Rothchild, care of the SJG, Sherman Oaks.  I'm under self-imposed house arrest.  I'm too afraid to venture out in my auto.  The thought of getting pulled over again by the cops and falsely accused of criminal behavior, not to mention the biggest shanda of them all, unpaid parking tickets, has sent me into seclusion. Drop by any time.  I'm not leaving the house.  Ever again.