Monday, March 31, 2014

The Witch Doctor, The Lion and the Wardrobe

How much is that witch doctor mask in the window?  How much? Never mind.
Sometimes I argue with inanimate objects.  Here I am, giving this lion a piece of my mind. He thinks I spent too much on my new wardrobe. Sheesh, Lion.  I only bought a scarf, a bracelet and some comfy shoes. Oh, and a really cool necklace. Stop with the guilt already.
Cathy, a Tall Catholic Gal (who wrote a wonderful blog about our day) finally got the SJG to go to church.  
"You're not going to get me to convert," I said, as she dragged me into this pretty cathedral.
After church, where I confessed all my sins and sent the poor priest running for the hills, I dragged Cathy to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, where she's been many times before. But she didn't mind going...
... thanks to pretty desert scenes like this. And so today, I say goodbye to Santa Fe, and to Cathy, grateful for the great time we had and the work we actually got done, by some miracle, in between tourist-avoidance, shopping and drinking big girl margaritas. 
Today, I fly back to beautiful downtown Burbank, where, God willing. there won't be another earthquake the minute I step off the plane. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

In Search of the Weird

I'll admit, at first I found Santa Fe to be a little too touristy, and this is the off-season.  But Cathy told me to give it a chance, and so, open-minded SJG that I am, occasionally, I did. Good call on my part. We got away from the plaza in search of the weird and the wonderful, and we found it.
At the farmer's market, we mingled amongst the locals, a funky group of the friendliest folks selling the weirdest sh*t imaginable. When's the last time you priced worms?  I'm happy to say I haggled with the worm seller, rather capably.  "I'll give you nine bucks for the worms and not a penny more." "No deal," the worm seller said. "Fine, be that way, I'm going elsewhere."
At this point I'd lost Cathy. She'd sauntered off to find something  more appetizing.  Bread over worms?  I can't argue with her selection.
Later, we wandered up and down Canyon Road, looking at things we had no intention of buying, but we convinced many art sellers we'd be coming back to make a purchase. That was cruel of us. We felt so guilty, we needed to drink it off last night in a piano bar, recommended by the giddy concierge gal.  "Oh, you HAVE to go to Vanessie, you'll have so much fun!" And fun, we had.  Maybe a little too much.
We really got into the musical stylings of Bob Finney.  We sang along with the locals, an eccentric bunch that included John and Winnie. Once John came up to the mic, all bets were off.  He sang a la Sinatra and Tony Bennett and was surprisingly good.
But then, Winnie, a limber gal pushing 80, presumably married to John, took things to a whole new level.  Without warning, she got up and did an interpretative dance, the likes of which the SJG has never seen. Now, if anyone appreciates such a freeform expression, it's me. But Winnie stepped over the line.  After a bit of swaying and arm flailing, Winnie of the Fishnet Stockings suddenly lifted a leg straight up to her earlobes, and gave everyone a peep show of her lady business. Quite a shocker, I must say, one that sent Cathy and me into unbridled hysterics.  "I think Winnie's going commando," Cathy whispered.  "Yikes," was all I could muster.
And then the bartender who'd served us outstanding margaritas joined in on harmonica.  I wonder what Santa Fe has in store for us today. I'm almost afraid to find out.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Big Girl Margarita

Look, I made a new friend.
Well, how selfish of the SJG.  I go away for a few days and L.A. has an earthquake without me.  And I only found out about it this morning.  I feel a little left out, L.A. A little hurt.  Last night, I talked to hubby around 8:30 his time.  I'm one hour ahead in Santa Fe.  Didn't I just spring forward a few weeks ago?  This seems unreasonably cruel to make me do it again.  Anyway: "Hi, honey. Do you miss me?" "Uh huh." "Are you watching basketball right now?"  "Uh huh." "Put Scotty on." "Hi, Ma." "Hi angel, how was your day?" "Fine." "Okay, sweetie, talk to you later." I'm so glad I called.

The pretty restaurant where I had
a big girl margarita.
This morning, I called and woke up hubby.  How selfish of me.  But I really don't know what time it is.  On my laptop right now, it's 6:38 a.m.  But on my iPhone, it's 7:38 a.m. Ring, ring. "Hemlmlmlo?" "Oh, sorry, honey, I woke you up." "That's okay." "I was worried about the earthquake."  "Yeah, we were watching TV and things started shaking.  It wasn't bad.  I don't think Scotty even felt it."  "But I'd just talked to you." "It happened right after." "Why didn't you call me?" "I didn't want to worry you."  Nice hubby.  He knows worry is my default mode.  See what I did there?  
Why don't I have a tree like this in my house?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Canine Guilt

There is human guilt and there is canine guilt.  Human guilt can take many forms.  Pointing, shrugging, head-shaking.  Audible cues.  My person favorites: sighing and weeping. And just one word can spread guilt quickly and efficiently, which is always the goal.  "Why?" Any sentence that starts with "why?" isn't going to end well.  Start with "why?" and go from there.  I promise "why?" will make the other person feel guilty. Well done, you. I've taught you a lot these past few years. You're welcome.

Canine guilt.  That's a different animal altogether.  Canine guilt is an art form, involving highly-developed senses and intuition. A dog can't say much. He can bark and whine. But he just knows stuff.  He sees luggage by the door. He knows someone is going away. He smells the excitement.  He picks up on the impending betrayal.  He hears snippets of conversation.  This morning, Dusty took one look at me and started circling.  The tail started going.  He was doing some serious detective work.  And then he got it.  I was going away.  "I'll just be gone a few days, Bear-Bear.  You won't even miss me." Another hurt look, a little sad, a little pathetic.  Canine guilt.  There's only one way to deal with it. Treats.  Give treats and more treats and hope at some point you'll be rewarded with forgiveness.  But don't count on it.  Canine guilt never goes away.  Every time you leave the house, you get that same look that says, "When you comin' back?"  You can say "soon" over and over, but the dog doesn't buy it.  And why should he?  He's the master of guilt.  Well done, you.  I've taught you well.  You're welcome.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

SJG Anti-Aging Tips

Back by popular demand, a post from two years ago.  Reading it makes me feel two years younger.  I hope it does the same for you.  If not, I'm sure you'll tell me.   You'll file a claim of deja vu.  

Let's face it.  Getting older has its challenges.  We'd like to look young, feel young, and act young.  Well, not to worry.  On a daily basis, strangers stop the SJG on the street and say, "Bitch!  Why you look so good?"   It is my honor to share a few of my secrets with you now. 
1.  Quit Snorting
One of the most important anti-aging tips. If you snort while laughing, stop that.  Continue snorting, and be prepared for the consequences. Reduced levels of coolness are one of the primary reasons a snorter's skin ages quicker than a non-snorter's.  When you snort, your eyes crinkle, your lips pucker and you promote added wrinkling.  Plus, it's kinda lame.  When it comes to snorting, don't. 
2. Protect Your Skin from Magnifying Mirrors
As we age, weird things happen to our skin.  The last thing we want to do is get a larger look at what's going on.  Do we need to see our age spots exaggerated?  I think not.  Protecting your self-esteem is the best anti-aging advice of all.  How can you feel young when those mirrors make you look 80?  When it comes to magnifying mirrors, keep away.  Several miles, at least.  
3.  Avoid Young People
Hanging around young people won't make you feel any younger.  It will have the opposite effect.  Young people look young.  When you stand next to them, you look old.  For younger-looking skin, stay away from young people altogether.  Try never to be in the same room with them, or trust me, someone with a cruel streak will draw a hurtful  comparison.  "Gee, I never realized how much the SJG has aged until I saw her next to a 20 year old college girl!  What a difference 34 years make!"  Keep away from young people.  Problem solved.
4. Take a supplement of denial
Boost your antioxidant intake with a daily supplement of denial, on sale now at Trader Joe's.  Go for one with the highest levels of "I still look great, damn it" and wait for miracles. In no time, you'll look and feel better than you have in years.  Your driver's license may say you were born in 1958, but after a month's worth of denial, you'll be telling people you popped out in 1988.  Will they believe it?  Who cares?  You're in denial.
5. Moisturize your ego
The best ego repair cream, selected carefully and applied properly, will hydrate your confidence, assuage your flagging self-worth and protect your psyche from further free radical damage.  Follow this regimen daily, exfoliate negativity twice a week, and watch the years peel away.  You're welcome!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Madness of March

Who said this:  "That's it, I can't take the madness, I'm outta here."
a. A beleaguered basketball bracketeer.
b. A Labrador that can't make a basket to save his life.
c. A short Jewish person who doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

The answer is... well, I'm going to let you figure it out, but I will tell you this:  Someone in this house of  sports maniacs is going out of town, and it's not hubby, it's not the college boy, it's not the dog. In a few days, someone is hopping on a plane, or as George Carlin would say, "I'm not going ON the plane, I'm getting IN the plane... it seems less windy in there."  Someone is winging it to Santa Fe for the weekend. Okay, okay. It's me.

I haven't been to Santa Fe since I was 15 and went on a Teen Tour of America (and a few parts of Canada).  32 guys.  14 gals.  Funny how I still remember that statistic.  At 15, I ate my first blue tortilla in Santa Fe.  At 56, I plan to have my first Santa Fe margarita.  I don't care what color the tequila is, I'm ordering two.  One for me, and one for my wonderful and persuasive friend Cathy Hamilton of  Boomergirl.  Cathy lives in Lawrence, Kansas and has the most amazing ability to talk me into anything.  Years ago, she said, "I'm starting a blog.  I want you to write about show business." "Okay," I said.  Then, about a year ago, she said, "Let's write a play together." "Okay," I said.  So we started writing a play.  We're still writing it.  We're about half-way there.  We have no idea what we're doing, but we keep laughing, so that's a good sign.
Plus, Cathy thinks if we drink tequila and throw on a poncho and big turquoise jewelry, we'll get some work done.  Along those lines, about a month ago she said, "Let's go to Santa Fe."  "Okay," I said.  I wonder what she'll force me to do next.  Sit in a chair and actually write?  I may have to draw the line at that.  Then again, I'll probably say, "Okay."

Monday, March 24, 2014


Today's L.A. Times:  "The Man Who Died Laughing" 
The first time my name ever appeared in a publication (other than the high school newspaper or literary magazine) I was so excited, I called up a certain someone at his office, and in the giddiest,   voice ever, said, "Daddy, I've been printed!" I was 16.  I still had some vocabulary issues.  After that, nothing has quite matched the initial buzz of recognition, or the joy in my dad's over-the-top response. It was one of our best shared moments, one we kept reliving for the next 40 years.  He loved to say it no matter the occasion, at random, non-sensical times, whether I was arriving condo-side with his favorite salad or leaving after a nice visit. He said it to cheer me up when I was feeling discouraged.  He said it just to get a laugh, or at the very least, a smile.  And he mimicked my 16-year-old voice, perfectly.  So today, I can say, "Daddy, I've been printed!" even though it's bittersweet, but then, these days, that's the recurring theme.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Where once there were old things...

Evidence of two lives well-lived...

There are empty shelves and full hearts.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Day Without...

"A day without orange juice 
is like a day without sunshine." 
-- Famous Homophobe
"A day without sunshine 
is like, you know, night." 
-- Steve Martin
"A day without schlepping boxes 
is like a day without 
a double dose of Aleve." 
-- the Short Jewish Gal 

Friday, March 21, 2014

For Whom The Bell Tolls

It tolls for Gary and Ingrid and the SJG
Some days I sit here, all sleepy-faced and droopy-eyed, not my best look, I admit, and stare at my laptop.  I wait for inspiration to spring out of the keyboard.  It doesn't always happen.  Some days, I just make up the most random stuff.  Hang on.  I've just handed you the secret of the SJG Creative Process.  How reckless of me.  Pretend I never told you that last bit.  Thank you.  Anyway, moments ago, I did just that.  I sat here in bed -- what, you thought I write this silliness standing on my head? -- and just as I asked myself what the eff I should write about, a bell went off. I'm serious.  At first, I thought I'd developed a sudden attack of tinnitus. Then I realized the bell wasn't coming from my ear canal, or anywhere in my keppy, and for that, I was so grateful.

The bell continued to ring, ring, ring.  I looked at the TV.  Maybe the bell was coming from the TV.  I got out of bed, reluctantly, for I was so freakin' comfy, and approached the flatscreen that brings me such joy. "Are you ringing?" I asked. Thanks to my college degree, I quickly concluded that the bell wasn't coming from the TV. At this point, I expected hubby to come charging in and solve "The Mystery of the Ringing Bell."  I think I read that Nancy Drew book.  Loved it.  A las, hubby didn't charge in.  For whom was this bell tolling? For me, that's whom, er, who.  How Hemingway-ish of said bell.

An hour into the ringing, okay, it was more like 30 seconds, I found the source.  The ringing was coming from the bathroom. Uh-oh.  Maybe a pipe was about to burst, a situation that I guarantee hubby would deem "catastrophic." I started to back out of the bathroom -- I don't like to be in the vicinity of any catastrophe, household or otherwise -- when at last I realized that the stupid alarm on my ancient Sharper Image CD/radio combo thingie, parked on the counter near my vast supply of age-defying makeup, was going off for no reason at all.  I hit the off button -- I wish I had an off button myself -- and got back into bed.  I think I've done enough today.  Good night.  See you in the morning.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Say Cheese

(Sherman Oaks) Kvell-time.  Someone has won the title of 2014 World Champion Cheese Maven, and you'll never guess who.  Well, maybe you will.  Rumor has it you're smarter than you look.  Here's a hint.  It's none other than the Short Jewish Gal, claiming yet another trophy to mention briefly in passing so she shouldn't appear too braggy and ain't-I-somethin'-else.  The humble blogger/dog walker/market shlepper weighed in on the international contest she showed up to judge, uninvited.  "Give me a Schweizer Rohmilch Emmentaler and I lose my mind," she said, between bites of the big wheel Swiss cheese. "To be honest,  the Schweizer Rohmilch Emmentaler is better than the Erzherzog Johann, and don't even get me started on the Gruyere Glick Hot Dich Getrofen.  Personally, I'm disappointed no one entered a nice tub of Hoop Cheese, which puts the cheese in cheesecake.  Maybe next year.  Till then, I'll keep eating cheese, despite all the warnings from my doctor to keep the dairy to a minimum.  Just 'cause he went to medical school doesn't mean he's a maven on everything.  Look at me. I'm the maven now."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Keep Or Toss?

Or donate?  These are the questions haunting the SJG.  In the way way back of the condo wet bar (and by wet bar, I mean a wasted space with a sink, ancient bottles of strangely-colored liquor and fancy-schmancy glasses no one has sipped from in twenty years, at least) I find a large antique glass bowl with a tarnished brass top. "What the hell is this?" I ask no one.  No one answers, thank God.  I look at this giant bowl and ponder its purpose in life. I haven't seen it in 40 years, maybe more.  Is it a punch bowl?  An ice bucket?  What?

And then it comes to me, a vision of hard candies, each one an invitation to destroy one or more of my boy-repelling braces.  I see little SJG fingers digging around for a butterscotch treat that will soon get stuck in one of the few molars the people in charge of my mouth haven't surgically removed.  Dear God in heaven, I've found the candy bowl of my youth.  It's a bittersweet reunion, a bit one-sided, but I'm so happy to see it I give it a hug.  "Hello, candy bowl.  Why are you empty?"

And then it comes to me, the guilt, the overwhelming sentiment that this precious thing in my hands once mattered.  "What the hell am I supposed to do with you, candy bowl?" I ask no one.  No one answers, thank God.  The answer must come from within.  Once again, I'm faced with an agonizing decision.  Do I bring it home?  Do I donate it?  Do I send it off to the big tchotchke warehouse in the sky?  Well, actually, the trash bin in the condo garage?  I only toss the broken stuff, the stuff with cracks, the grimy stuff with a scary layer of who-knows-what.  So now I inspect the bowl for damage, the tell-tale signs of thick yellow glue carefully applied decades ago by my father.  I can't tell you how many of these Daddy-fixed keepsakes have disintegrated in my bruised hands as I've removed them from their odd hiding places.

I stare at the bowl and conclude, happily, that's it good to go to Goodwill.  A few hours later, I drive up, my car full of china and crystal and tea cups I've taken great care to wrap. I ask the nice man at Goodwill to help me shlep these boxes inside. I save the bowl for last.  I like a big reveal.  I bring it inside, remove the protective bath towel, and set it on the counter.  The lady behind the desk smiles with wonder. "Oh, my goodness, that is so lovely. I've never seen anything like it." "It makes me sad to let it go."  "We'll find it a good home." "That would mean so much." "Here's your receipt." "Thank you." "Have a blessed day."  "Okay.  You, too."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It's Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature

And vice versa.
Dear SJG,
Yesterday morning something very strong woke me up right in the middle of a nice dream.  Everything shook rudely, including me.  It felt like my heart was getting a jump start from Mother Nature.  Who invited her into my boudoir?  Doesn't she know to knock first?
Still Rattled in Sherman Oaks

Dear Rattled,
Mother Nature isn't a big fan of Emily Post or Miss Manners.  Mother Nature doesn't care about etiquette.  Mother Nature barges in unannounced.  Mother Nature doesn't care if she hurts your petal-like feelings. Mother Nature doesn't send out clever tweets that preview her next big move.  Mother Nature doesn't do selfies.  Mother Nature just does whatever the eff she wants and leaves us to clean up the mess. Mother Nature has a twisted sense of humor. You just never know what sort of fun stunt she's going to pull next. I recommend Quake Hold as a back-up plan.  I'm telling you, that sh*t works. Your confidence may crack, but your priceless tchotckes won't budge.  I know what I'm talking about.  Every item in my palatial estate is glued down permanently. If they ever develop Human Quake Hold, I'm buying an ark-load.
You're welcome,

Monday, March 17, 2014

All Shook Up

Me, too, Elvis.  Me, too.
A nice jolt of oy vey got the SJG shaking this morning.  Not just me. Maybe you, too.  My first reaction, perfected over 56 years, is always to remain calm and collected.  Oh, wait, I'm talking about hubby. I'm the one who freaks out and assumes it's the end of the world. As the house started to move involuntarily, without written permission, I went to the dark place.  Standard operating procedure.  "@#$%! No! @#$%!" Hubby, on the other hand, reacted accordingly. "It's okay.  Stay calm." Always good to be married to a former boy scout in scary-ass times, especially those that shake me to the very core of my being.  At 6:25 a.m., I turned all religious. "Oh, God, oh no."  Hubby just wanted the facts and started predicting the magnitude of the earthquake. "That was a 5," he guessed. Well, more like a 4.4, centered right in Westwood/Encino-ish.  But inside the SJG, it felt more like a 10, at least. So. Good morning, Los Angeles.  Happy Aftershocks to you and you.  And happy St. Patrick's Day, too.  A shot of whiskey in my coffee?  Don't mind if I do.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Isn't Nature Wonderful?

"She's sound asleep."  "Not for long."
Hello, and welcome to the wonderful world of sound.  Early-early morning sounds, in particular.  While the rest of Sherman Oaks sleeps, the SJG awakens, courtesy of the joyous tweet-tweet-tweets of the tweety birds outside the window.  I am so deeply honored, birdies, so thrilled you've selected me for this overly-amplified Ode to Spring.  But it's 3 a.m., silly birdies.  And it's the third morning you've warbled your adorably loud song at 3 a.m.  What are you trying to tell me, birdies? That the early bird catches the SJG? That nature is wonderful?  I get that.  I do. Helpful.  Thank you.  Now, if you don't mind, please fly away, birdies, fly far away and let me sleep.  I'm starting to take these wake-up calls personally.  And that's never a good thing.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Early Works of the SJG

As any writer worth his/her dream of literary glory knows all too well, the opening sentence of any creative endeavor determines whether the reader keeps reading, or gives up and throws your long-gestating beloved oeuvre out the window, or worse, in the reject pile.  Whether you've spent years and years slaving over your masterpiece, what it comes down to is this:  nobody gives a mangled mandel bread.  You have one sentence to hook 'em, folks.  Just one.  Good thing I didn't know that back in 1969, when I cooked up two important works of fiction, published, I'm proud to say, by Bungalow Seven, Inc., an exclusive literary hut based on the campus of Warner Avenue Elementary School.

My first effort, "A Different Kind of Friend," is a riveting adventure tale of a girl obsessed with a horse named Soldier.  I was only 11, but already sensed that animals understood me much better than boys.   The first sentence did me no favors:  "Hey, Mom, could you come here for a minute, please?"  Hmm.  Not exactly an attention-grabber.  The best part is the final page. Turns out, the SJG had some noble dreams back then:

About The Author
Carol Starr was born on January 16, 1958 in Los Angeles.  She resides in Westwood, California, with her family, which includes her mother, father and two older brothers.  Her hobbies include horseback riding, which may have been the inspiration for this book, swimming, collecting pennies, reading and watching television.  Her plans for school include junior and senior high, and college, but she hasn't decided her major yet. She would like to travel and be a housewife and an on-and-off interior decorator. Her plans for writing another book are indefinite, but she does have several ideas on future projects.

An on-and-off interior decorator?  Such spooky accuracy.  Tomorrow:  "Harry Visits India."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Give A Shrug

This gal's shrugging inside and out
So many months, I had so much to worry about, so much to obsess and lose sleep over, and then the worst of the worst happened, and now everything pales in comparison.  I've become alarmingly philosophical. Lately, I just give a shrug and say, "oh well." When the broker tells me there might be a mold situation at my dad's condo, I tell him it could be worse.  What is wrong me?  Why so sanguine, so accepting?  This me is a very different SJG.  I'm all "whatever, it'll work out." It's a little bit disturbing.  Neighbors stop me on the street.  They ask if I'm okay.  The other day, Joe came out of his house and stared at me for three whole minutes before pondering my whereabouts.  "Excuse me, ma'am, have you seen my friend Carol?  She's short and a lot less relaxed than you. Always fretting about something.  Everyone on the block is worried about her."  "No need to worry.  It's me, silly.  This is just the more together me.  And I've asked you never to call me ma'am.  I prefer Your Royal Jewess."  "I like the less together you better." I did my best to reassure him. "I'm sure she'll be back soon.  This is just a phase." "When you see her, tell her I miss her.  She's more fun to tease."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Walk On The Moon

My dad really enjoyed this trip
The first time, I didn't think much about it.  The phone rang.  I answered.  "Hello?" I said, in my friendly voice, as opposed to my bitchy-why-are-you-calling-what-are-you-selling voice.  I was at my dad's condo.  I thought I should answer the way he used to answer his phone -- full of happy expectation, as though someone nice were calling to tell him something good. Of course, this was rarely the case, but he was the optimist in the family, always looking on the bright side. Important to have one of those types in the family, so that everyone else can project unhealthy skepticism, if not all-out doom-and-gloom, whether the phone is ringing or not.  Not that my dad was perfect, phone-wise.  There were times he wasn't great on the phone.  If you caught him while he was making lunch or dinner, watching the Lakers, writing an email, reading the New Yorker, putting away his groceries or watering the few plants he hadn't killed, his voice carried an impatient, I-can't-talk-to-you-now-I'm-very-busy tone.

But back to hello.  "Hello?" I said again.  No one said anything.  On the other end, it sounded, well, there's no easy way to put this, dead. "Hmm," I said to no one, mainly because no one else was present, at least not from a metaphysical, spooky sense.  It was just me, back at the condo, sorting through stuff, debating whether to throw out an important stack of statements from 1954, or keep it just for old time's sake.  And by old I mean really old.

Yesterday I found myself at the condo again.  When the phone rang, I happened to be sitting at his desk, reading through the most wonderful letters he'd sent me at camp.  I'd just laughed out loud at one of his lines from 1969 -- "Back from my big walk on the moon.  It went well, in case you're interested." Ring, ring. "Hello?" I said.  On the other end, bupkis.  "Hello?" I said again.  Nothing.  "Dad?" I said, which was silly of me, but then, I'd read that book, "Phone Calls From The Dead," and figured, hey, why the eff not?  "I love you, Daddy," I said, waited a few beats, then hung up, positive it was him, just checking in.  Listen, not everything has to make sense all the time.  And this, I'm happy to tell you, was just one of those times.  Next call, I'll make sure to send him your love, too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lawsuit-Ready Barbie

Tall Jewish Barbie
The SJG only has one regret in life.  Just one, but it's a whopper.  Why did I give away my Barbie collection?  Why?  Why?  Dumbest thing I ever did.  So dumb.  Oh, well.  I only get a painful reminder of this epic blunder every few days, when another Barbie story hits the news. Someone should start a 24-hour Barbie Channel and fill it with boomer Barbie nostalgia and devote the rest of programing to Barbie-related legal matters. For Mattel, the makers of Barbie, a tall Jewish gal like no one you've ever met in your life, is highly litigious. Anyone who tries to copy Barbie, anyone who used to work at Mattel and makes a doll that sells better than Barbie, gets sued. The SJG would now like to go on record and predict another big lawsuit in the future. The guy who came up with "normal 19-year-old Barbie" is going get his ass in a legal bind for selling his version.
Comparison shopping:  Leggy Barbie vs. Lammily
Lammily, courtesy of artist Nikolay Lamm, suggests the "average" proportions of a 19 year old, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control.  She's short and athletic and looks like she could run a marathon and not plotz from exhaustion.  But she still has Barbie's goyish nose, retro makeup sense and flat tummy.  CDC statistics or not, she's still an ideal, rather than an authentic college co-ed who needs to dial down the pizza and beer consumption if she wants those jeans she shlepped across country to ever fit again.  In an ill-advised move, Lammily's creator is now raising money to get this reimagined Barbie on the market. Good luck to you, Nikolay. Here's hoping you raise enough for your legal defense. Copying Barbie's likeness and giving her muscular SJG-style legs is admirable, but dumb from a legal standpoint. Almost as dumb as me giving away my Barbie collection.  On second thought, maybe dumber.  And that makes me feel better, so thank you for that, Mr. Lamm.  I promise to visit you in Barbie jail and bring you a nice kugel.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rise and Shine

Watch "True Detective," wake up mumbling like McConaughey.

Lie down like Snoopy, wake up allergic to Monday.

Spring forward, wake up like a zombie.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Enforced Sleep Deprivation

Go ahead and smile.  Tomorrow you'll be exhausted
No one likes a little extra sunlight more than the SJG.  I'm a sunlight worshipper from way back, and I have the sunspots on my punim to prove it.  And yet, every time we are forced to turn the clocks ahead, and by forced, I mean, we have no choice in the matter, no vote, no power, I'm filled with deep-seated resentment.  Don't get me wrong.  I simply adore the chance to frolic outside past my 6 p.m. dinnertime curfew, as much as anyone.  I love to prance down my block and yell, "Woo-hoo, it's still light out!"  What I don't love is the sleep deprivation.  One hour doesn't sound like much, but it effs me up, big time.  It throws off my circadian rhythm.  It messes with my well-being.  This makes for a tired and cranky SJG, which, I assure, isn't a good situation.  Spring forward.  Lose an hour of sleep.  Gain an extra hour of kvetching.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Kick In The Tush

A friendly SJG reminder:  Tonight remember to turn your entire life forward one hour.  This is the universe's way of giving you a swift kick in the tush.  The message is clear: No more falling back, lazy bones. No more dwelling on the glorious past. That was so one hour ago.  Get over yourself.  Enough with the procrastinating.  All those things you've been pretending you're going to do? Well, what are you waiting for?  Get on with it already. You've run out of excuses. There's no time like the future, capiche?  Tonight the universe is shoving you head first into tomorrow.  But if you're anything like me, you're probably wondering, what's the big rush, universe? Why you gotta be so cruel? Why you wanna deprive me of an hour of sleep?  Haven't you seen the bags under my eyes, universe?  I need that eff'n hour.  Don't take it away.  Give it back, bitch. Oh, hang on, I think the universe just sent me a text.  Let's read it together, shall we?  "MAKE ME." Never mind.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hump Day

A conversation with the college son:
"How was your day, honey?"
"Anything interesting happen today?"
"Not one thing happened that was interesting?"
"Actually, one thing happened that was interesting."
"Tell me."
"There was a camel on campus today."
"A camel?"
"Yeah.  I looked over and there was a camel."
"Any particular reason?"
"It was Arabian Day."
"Is that a thing?"
"I guess."
"Did you take a photo?"
"Why not?"
"There was a long line."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Who Will Buy?

"Please, sir, I want to buy this bowl.  Is it an antique?"
Who will buy
My father's old sofa?
Such a buy
You never did see!
Who will schelp
It out of the condo
And put it in a truck for me?

To sell it would give me such pleasure
The relief would be strong
The condo is full of such treasure
Worth more than this dumb song

Who will buy
This creaky old table?
I'm won't lie
I swear I could cry!
Me, oh my!
I'm ready to chuck it
So what am I to do
To make this stuff look new?

There must be someone who will buy...
Must be someone...
Must be someone...
Who will... buy?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Moon Envy

The question of who owns the moon raises all sorts of issues for the SJG. I'm deeply disturbed, but then, you knew that already. Apparently, no one owns the moon. The moon is everybody's moon.  For now.  But one day, maybe sooner than you think, the moon will go on the market and start a galactic bidding war like nobody's business. Just imagine the qualifications a real estate broker would need to sell the moon. That's a lunar challenge of a lifetime, am I right? And yet, when I see the moon and the moon sees me, all I can think of is how easy it would be to get the moon ready for its first open house.  From what I can tell, the moon has no closets to empty, no books to donate, no tchotchkes to relocate, no furniture to redistribute, thoughtfully. The moon isn't in escrow so fast your head could spin. Call me loony, you wouldn't be the first, but this morning, I'm jealous of the moon.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Culture Alert

"Wake up, SJG, you're missing the show."
This weekend, the SJG learned an important lesson. Too much of a good thing makes me do something in public that I prefer to do off-camera:  Doze off.  To ward off unwelcome snoozing, I try to limit my dosage of culture, lest my brain shut down and I commence inappropriate siesta-taking. Here's what pushed me over my cultural limit:  I saw not one, but two plays this weekend, both matinees. "Brief Encounter" (fab!)  and "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" (ditto!)  I'm happy to report that I made it through "Brief Encounter" without nodding off on Saturday, a personal victory. Alas, by "Vanya and Sonia" Sunday afternoon, the sandman stalked me for two and a half hours. "Sleep, SJG," he whispered.  "No Sandman, no," I whispered back. "You so tired, SJG. You soooo tired." "Oh, eff off, Sandman," I whispered, fighting to keep my eyes open. Every time the audience laughed, which was every other minute, it was my own personal Culture Alert, reminding me to "wakey wakey, you're missing something great here." Thanks to these frequent outbursts of appreciation, I'm pretty sure I saw or at least heard most of "Vanya and Sonia." So there's that. On a positive note, the brief power napping did pay off later.  I was fully recharged in time for the Oscars, a delightful evening of star-powered selfies, pizza deliveries and only one or three uncomfortable moments, involving Liza with a Z (sit down, Liza, no random hugging of winners), Kim Novak and a be-wigged John Travolta, mispronouncing Idina Menzel's name. Dozing off during the Academy Awards?  Not happening.  Not in front of a room full of relatives who would never let me live down that particular shanda.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Acceptance Speech

"You like me!  You really like me!"
As we like to say in show biz, it’s an honor just to be nominated – pretty much for anything. But it’s a lot more fun to win. The nature of the award, the size of the statuette or plaque, doesn’t matter. Best Kisser. Best Slacker. Best Cell Phone Yakker. Whatever you’re offering, we’ll take it and prop it on our mantle or hang it on our wall. We have no shame. Hand it over and we’ll find a place and spotlight for it. When it comes to acknowledgment we can’t get enough. The other day, I picked up an award in a little-known category of achievement. The venue was understated, if not altogether lacking in glitz. There was no red carpet, no paparazzi snapping my mug. I left my gown, tiara and stilettos at home. I dressed properly for the occasion. I was in my casual goddess mode, as I stepped into the office of my esteemed dentist, Dr. Dixit. All I had to do was sit down in the chair and open up my pricey, ortho-dontured mouth, to receive instant recognition, delivered in a charming, Indian accent, to boot:

“Carol, I have to say, you are, without question, the very worst teeth-grinder I have ever seen. In all my years of practicing dentistry, I have never seen anyone destroy a bite plate the way you do. These appliances generally last my patients for years and years, and yet, you mangle them in record time, within the first few months. You seem so calm and happy, at least while you’re awake. I am really at a loss.” In between tears of joy and embarrassed giggles, I thanked Dr. Dixit, not to mention the Academy of Dentistry, for this honor. I felt so touched, I could barely speak. Of course, I hadn’t prepared my acceptance speech. This award took me by surprise.

“Dr. Dixit, I’m deeply humbled by…” I paused here for dramatic effect, gazing at my X-rays, as if reading a teleprompter… “your awareness of my talent, my gift for pulverizing my molars till there’s nothing left. I may appear calm and happy to you, but it’s only an act. I’m really a tortured soul. Naturally, I blame my sons.  What they've put me through. The late nights, the early mornings, and everything in between. I'm not one to hang onto grudges, but with them, I make an exception.  Is it any wonder why I’m a champion teeth-crusher, a gold medalist in mastication? And so, with heartfelt emotion, I accept this award, along with whatever new appliance you dream up to help save what’s left of my mouth. There are others to thank, but I’ll narrow it down to hubby, who puts up with my nightly chomping and gnashing, and my sons, for their endless supply of angst.”