Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Make Warm In The House

On this New Year's Eve, the SJG would like to send out an APB: Make warm in the house. You heard me. No matter what state of denial you're living in as we close out 2014, it's cold. Even here in Sherman Oaks, it's brrrrrrsville. Fine, it's not 10 below. It's not snowing outside like maybe it is by you. Temperature aside, it's mandatory to follow my Russian grandmother's excellent, multi-purpose advice: Make warm in the house. Turn on the heat. Put on a sweater. Wear a blanket as an evening gown. Light a fire. Snuggle up. Get cozy. What it comes down to is this: Take care of the people you love and vice versa. Above all, remember the good things that went on in 2014 and delete the rest. As my sweet daddy would say, "Onward!" So please. Listen to the SJG. Make warm in the house. Unless you prefer to freeze your kreplach off. In which case, stop that. Come inside and chill. Have some hot cocoa and thaw out. See? Isn't that better?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Big Important Goals For 2015

I can do it!

1. Take up astrophysics.
2. Learn to speak Old Canine.
3. Honk more.
4. Sell "So You Think You Can Kugel" to the Food Network.
5. Form All Bitch Band.
6. Find lost youth.
7. Earn extra cash doling out unsolicited advice.
8. Attach giant No Soliciting Sign to roof.
9. Remind people to curtsy in my presence.
10. Walk like an Egyptian.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Marital Secret Revealed

Skip & Char, 60 years into this arrangement

"What's the secret to a long marriage?" I ask my mother-in-law.
"Patience and being hard of hearing. You don't have to hear all the nonsense."
I turn to hubby. "Words to live by."
Hubby looks at me. "What?"

Good news. No one ordered swans. 
They're safe here in their swanky Bel-Air pond. 

All celebrations call for Princess Cake.
Does that mean we're all royal pains in the tush? 
Collectively speaking: How dare you?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Definition of Brunch

There are brunches masquerading as lunches, and lunches masquerading as brunches. You put a bagel on a plate, maybe some lox, some decent cream cheese, and the atmosphere of the room changes. Suddenly, normally smart people get dumb. They don't know what meal it is, what day it is, what time it is. Which brings us back to brunch. What is it, anyway? Is it breakfast and lunch combined? In which case, do I have to skip one of them? I'd rather not. I need a little bite to get the SJG Kvetch Mobile up and running. I don't care where I'm going later, I need sustenance. My father taught me, "When in doubt, eat." Give me caffeine or give me half-and-half. Either way, they're both going to wind up in a pretty mug together, much like long married people who belong together. Which, as luck would have it, brings me to the point of today's blog. What's that? Is there ever a point to my blog? How dare you! Go spend brunch by yourself and get back to me when you've come up with the appropriate answer.

Now then, back to my point, for, despite the rudeness of the afore-mentioned blog interrupter, there is one, I promise. To review: Much like coffee and half-and-half, much like a horse and carriage, much like those things and other things, certain people just go together. Do I have anyone in mind? Why, yes, in fact I do. My in-laws. They go together like corned beef and rye, matzohs ball and chicken soup, bagels and lox. (See what I did there? I'm bringing it back to brunch, bitches!)

My in-laws have been married 60 years. If that's not something to kvell over, what is? And so today, in honor of this wowza achievement, we will brunch. Or perhaps some will lunch and pretend it's brunch. While others will make a fuss and drive the people at the fancy-schmancy hotel brunching spot crazy with unbrunch-like demands: "What do you mean you don't serve swan? I saw some floating around out front. I hear they taste like chicken." At noon, a-brunching we will go, even if some of us don't really know what that means or how to behave. Toasts to the happily married couple will ring true, even if hearing aids must be turned up in order to hear them.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

That Moment

That moment when you make the bed so beautifully, it belongs in a magazine.
That moment when you can't find the remote to turn off the TV.
That moment when you realize you made the bed with the @#$%'n remote inside.
That moment when you unmake the professionally-made bed.
That moment when you search the bed for clues like Nancy Drew.
That moment when you start to weep, quietly in despair.
That moment when you find the @#$%'n remote embedded in the comforter.
That moment when your sanity returns for a brief yet glorious moment.

Friday, December 26, 2014


I know, I know, all you want for the day after Christmas is an update on Operation Raccoon. So many of you have lost sleep, worrying that hubby is quickly turning into Bill Murray in "Caddyshack." Well, the good news is that hubby hasn't turned to explosives. Yet. But he has transformed the backyard into a spice garden. He has flavored the grass with heavy doses of cayenne pepper. Why? I'm so glad you asked. Apparently, raccoon-types supposedly prefer their grubs mild, as opposed to hot hot hot. So now there are orange patches everywhere. I'm risking an epic kina hora poo poo even mentioning it, but... it seems to be working. Along with the Raccoon Repeller, and the two motion detector sprayers that shoot water should the offending creature appear (for hubby is convinced it's the same raccoon on a mission of revenge) our backyard is going into the new year in pretty good shape, thank you very much. God willing, it should only last. If you've got your health, you've got everything. Am I right? Of course, I am.  When am I not?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Just Another Christmas Song

Gosh, I miss him already. Here's a song to cheer me up on this snowy Sherman Oaks Christmas morn. Happy Everything to you and yours. Go on, get your merry on.  I'll just sit here spinning my dreidel and eating leftover latkes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Last Time I Saw Santa

John and me on Santa's knee. I'm nursery-school age, around 4, with my Audrey Hepburn bangs. John is around six and a half. Would it have killed Santa to keep his eyes open? Soon a visit with the bearded one would be but a memory blip on our holiday calendar. Soon it would be all about Moses and Judah Maccabee, chocolate gelt and bitter herbs. But what little Jew doesn't have a least one of these Santa shots stashed away somewhere? It's right there on our punims: we thought this tubby dude was real. He had the costume and the beard and the ho, ho, ho. Plenty of proof to win us over. Back then, what more did we need to believe?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Little Magic Wouldn't Hurt

Pumpkin One and Pumpkin Two
Squatting here since Halloween.
Fairy godmom, what's it mean?

Can't you sprinkle pixie dust?
Is this thingmabob a bust?
Work your magic, if you please.
For you, this should be a breeze.

Wave your wand around and round.
Cinderella, she got gowned.
Make a limo out of squash.
Turn me into someone posh.

Monday, December 22, 2014

At Last Night's Christmas Party

A big holiday hug, followed by:
"Ginny, hi! Has it been a year already? It's so nice to see you!"
"You, too."
"How are you?"
"Um... fine. Except... I'm not Ginny."
"You're not?"
"No. I'm Carol."
"So sorry. Have you seen Ginny?"
"She's over by the punch, getting good and schnockered."

A little while later, another warm greeting:
"Hi, Susan. Merry Christmas."
"Thank you. I'm not Susan."
"Oh, no."
"You're close, though. Susan is my middle name."
"I'm so embarrassed."
"Don't be. I look forward to this moment every year."
"You do? Why?"
"Every year, you call me Susan, and every year, I tell you my name is Carol, and Susan is my middle name."
"You're kidding?"
"I'm not."
"So it's Carol. Not Susan?"
"Or Carol Susan if you prefer."
"I'll never remember that."
"Next year, just say hello and leave out the name. That's what I do. Like, I have no idea what your name is, but you don't know that."
"I do now."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sleepless In Sherman Oaks

And this relates to today's blog how?

Dear SJG,
Someone I know and love Ubered home at 2 a.m. this morning. I would have felt better if she'd Schlepped. A good Jewish mama at 2 a.m.! A nice friendly lecture! That would've given her pause. Why didn't you pick her up? I was counting on you.
Just wondering,
Sleepless in Sherman Oaks

Dear Sleepless,
If you're trying to guilt me, forget it. My PGD (Personal Guilt Detector) is on the fritz. Try back after the 1st. I should be up and running by then.
You're welcome,

P.S. Schlepping is non-denominational and like all Yiddish words, can be spelled one of two ways. With a "c," without a "c." You don't have to know how to spell it or even be a Jew to go out of your way for people who probably won't remember to thank you.

Friday, December 19, 2014

No Exit

"Ma! What happened? I thought you'd be home by now."
"Me, too."
"Did you get lost?"
"In the parking lot."
"Sadly, yes."
"Who gets lost in a parking lot?"
"They wouldn't let me out."
"What'd you do?"
"You assume I did something?"
"I did nothing, Son."
"Come on, Ma. You did something."
"I tried to leave."
"That's it?"
"That's it."
"Walk me through it."
"I went down the ramp to the ground level."
"Go on. This is riveting."
"Hang on to your tallis, honey, it gets better."
"I'll be the judge of that."

Thursday, December 18, 2014


You wanted a funny parody on Uber? Here it is. Enjoy. And please, remember to take a sweater when you go outside. It's chilly. Double click for full schlep.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Birthday Mensch

Today a boy becomes a man. Today a boy reads from the Torah like he understands what he's talking about. Today a -- sorry, what's that? That was so 10 years ago? That's crazy talk. Look, it says right here on his birth certificate that -- oh, you make a good point. Maybe the SJG is just a wee bit stuck in the past. Let me try this again. Today a young man becomes a slightly older young man. The film student/rapper/frequent-glass-user/fellow-caffeine-aficionado/mensch-of-the-highest-order turns 23. How this happened... how 10 years zoomed by... well, it's completely beyond me. But in any event, today this delightful son of mine, who keeps me laughing, who updates me hourly on all newsworthy events, who feels passionately about the world, no matter how eff'd up it gets, today this former Bar Mitzvah achiever, is, quite simply, the birthday boy. To me, he'll always be the birthday boy. Chronology has nothing to do with it. Today we plan to celebrate his wonderfulness, accordingly. Whether or not we dance the birthday hora will depend on the size of the venue.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The SJG Hanukkah Harmonizers

Wrong group

The Short Jewish Gal Hanukkah Harmonizers will perform in the parking lot of Gelson's this evening to celebrate the first night of you-know-what. Brisket-shoppers and Prius-owners will be treated to an upbeat medley of such holiday classics as "Gimme Latkes," "Stop In The Name of Hanukkah," "Hey, Judah," "You Can Leave Your Yarmulke On," and "Your Gelt Keeps Lifting Me Higher." So come, bring your dreidels, your menorahs, your gifts for the SJG, and let's get crazy.  Or stay home and watch the televised special. Either way, as my favorite rabbi used to say, "Happy Hanukkah, Bitches!"

Also wrong group

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pre-Approved Hanukkah Behavior

Back by popular demand! Hanukkah Etiquette! (That's right, bitches. I'm re-posting from a few years ago... and a few years before that... as if you'd even remember. Lazy? Tired? Old? All true. And yet, how dare you! Go to your room and don't come out till next Hanukkah.)

1. The Office Party:  Nosh and drink plenty, but never mix Schnapps with Dr. Brown's Cream Soda.  You'll get a bad buzz.  Don't overindulge on the latkes; they'll go straight to your ass.  Don't do that striptease hora you've been rehearsing.  Save that for your nephew's bar mitzvah.
2. Hanukkah Cards: Fine, send a Hanukkah e-card to people you could care less about, but it's nicer to slap on some postage and send a real card to the few friends and family you're still willing to tolerate, and vice versa.
3. Re-gifting: The high-risk recycling of unwanted Hanukkah presents is a major no-no.  Never forget  that karma's a bitch.  Re-gifting that talking yarmulke will come back to bite you, big-time.
4. Hanukkah Tipping:  Always welcome.  The SJG takes cash, credit cards, all-expenses-paid European jaunts.
5. Mind the Menorah:  Never use a lit menorah to set the mood.  A menorah isn't a marital aid.  Remember, the oil may have lasted eight days, but that's the only miracle you're looking at here.
6. The Perfect Guest: For once in your life, arrive on time, and bring a little something. A bottle of wine, some Star of David cookies, potpourri.  Don't sit on your butt.  Offer to help. You went to college. You can find the kitchen.
7. The Perfect Host:  Be welcoming, organized and sober, at least at the beginning. Hide your valuables. Lock up your children.
8. Don't be a Nudnik: Just because Hanukkah conjures up bad memories of when your parents denied you that Ultra Susie Bake Double Oven Deluxe you wanted, try not to ruin everyone else's good time. Embrace the fun, even if it kills you.
9. Perfect Presents: Pretend you like the gift. Act surprised, no matter what crap you've been given. Remember that someone took the time to choose and poorly wrap a sh*tty gift for you.  So take the time to be gracious.  Later, you can weep.
10. Thank Yous: Thank your hosts throughout the evening. Thank your hosts after you leave.  Call them from the car and gush.  What a great evening!  We had the best time!  Lie if necessary.  Go overboard.  Go home and write them an email praising the delicious food, sparkling decor and entertaining company.  Promise to reciprocate, and actually do it. Call the next day, and lay it on thick.  If you want to be invited back next year, show the love, or next Hanukkah, you'll be playing Dreidel in the dark.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Three Things I Won't Be Doing Today

1. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. However, I may hike Ventura Boulevard, from Laurel to Coldwater. Then again, I'll probably drive it, instead.

2. Performing an interpretative dance in honor of 12/13/14.  However, I may sit on the sofa at exactly 12:13 and pretend I'm 14.

3. Attempting a festive nautical updo. However, I may weave a menorah through my hair, unlit, most likely.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Very, Very Wet

A call from the San Franciscan:
"The @#$%'n power's out."
"Oh, no. I'm so sorry, sweetie."
"And there's a @#$%'n leak in the kitchen."
"All the food in the fridge is gonna spoil."
"Not if you don't keep opening the door."
"It's all gonna go bad."
"Maybe not."
"I'm supposed to work from home today and I can't get on the Internet."
"Other than that, how's everything?"
"My laptop's about to die."
"This too shall pass."
"Call the DWP and find out."
"They don't know sh*t."
"Make sure you have candles and a flashlight ready."
"That's okay. I'll just sit here in the dark."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Storm Watch

"Morning, honey. We're on Storm Watch. It's raining upstairs."
"Upstairs? That's not good."
"I meant up north."
"I thought so."
"I'm a little tired. The raccoon repeller went off last night."
"I didn't hear it."
"I did. It went BEEP. Did it work?"
"Yep. It scared that little mutha-effer away."
"Then it was totally worth my personal sleep deprivation."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Aging Rapidly

"How's your knee?"
"It's killing me."
"What are you doing for it?"
"Heat and ice. Rest. So boring. How's your foot?"
"It's killing me."
"What are you doing for it?"
"Pretending it's better."
"How's that working out?"
"Not great."
"Remember when we used to talk about cute boys?"
"And now we're talking knees and feet."
"What's wrong with us?"
"We're aging rapidly."
"I don't like it."
"I don't like it, either."
"Let's talk about something else."
"Okay. Let me just set the time machine."
"So, who's your latest crush?"
"The guy I'm married to."
"Married? You can't be married. We're only in eighth grade."
"I hope I do better in algebra this time."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

International House of Latkes To Open

(Sherman Oaks) The Short Jewish Gal announces the opening of International House of Latkes, a  latke palooza she hopes to take global in 2015. "We'll have 150 different kinds of latkes," she told reporters, while handing out samples. "Taste this. It's our signature latke, the classic potato and onion. It's the beginner latke. You want to go bold? We've got latkes for the more adventurous. We've gourmet, we've got gluten free, we've got the whole megillah. You want fruity? We've got the Berry Berry Quite Contrary Latke. You want vegetarian? We've got the Za-Za-Zuke, a zucchini latke with sass. Apple latkes. Carrot latkes. Ricotta, goat and hoop cheese latkes. And toppings? Please. Caviar-drizzled. Chocolate-sprinkled. Sour cream. Lox. Chives. Cilantro. We'll put unthinkable things on your latkes, made to order. Any ingredient you want, we'll judge you like a family member. 'You're putting that on your latke? What are you, insane?' And don't worry, we've got in an-house rabbi to approve or disapprove every selection. He'll clap and scold and go biblical on you, if that's what you're into. On Friday nights, we've got the best klezmer band money can buy, performing 'Torah! Torah! Torah!' to your heart's delight. Who needs buttermilk when you've got latkes made from scratch? The atmosphere is hamishe. Our philosophy is simple and straightforward: Come in, wait a little, but not too long. Sit down, order, eat and enjoy. Pay and leave." Located at the corner of SJG Lane and Kvetch-A-Lot Boulevard. Opens fairly soon, kina hora, pending a last-minute Hanukkah drive.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Buy This!

Dear SJG,
This morning I was invited to buy all sorts of luxury items from the Ritz Carlton, including their luxurious bed, which would allow me to sleep in luxury. Such luxury would cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000. Free shipping, too. And now, I turn to you, Goddess of Smart Shopping Choices, for guidance. Am I worthy of such a luxurious deal?
Slumming It In Sherman Oaks

Dear Slumming It,
Absolutely. Go ahead and splurge. Buy three luxurious beds and give me one.
You're welcome,

Dear SJG,
I notice your name is not on the short list for Time's Person of the Year. How hurt are you by this annual omission?
Just Wondering,
Wounded on Your Behalf

Dear Wounded,
I'm deeply hurt, if not, inconsolable. But I'll live. It comes down to this: To me, I'm an icon, but apparently, to an icon, I'm no icon. But there's always next year. After all, I'm shrinking as we speak. Maybe by next December, I'll be short enough to make the short list.
Fingers crossed,

Sunday, December 7, 2014

When I Think of Hanukkah...

When I think of Hanukkah:
I see candles breaking as they hit the prongs
There goes a red one, there goes a blue.
I take more out of the box and try again.

When I think of Hanukkah:
I see educational toys stacked in closets
Rejected by the two young sons
Who only wanted Hot Wheels and Power Rangers.

When I think of Hanukkah:
I smell latkes frying in a pan
I hear the smoke detector going off
A reminder to remove the batteries next time.

When I think of Hanukkah:
I see Star of David cookies I bought at Ralph's
For the second grade holiday party
A better person would've made them herself.

When I think of Hanukkah:
I see me hunting for hidden gifts
Where did  Mommy stash them all?
Please God, let there be an Easy-Bake Oven.

When I think of Hanukkah:
My mind spins like a wooden dreidel.
Where did all the menorahs go?
Can we get back the one Scotty made in preschool?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Think Happy Thoughts

Twelves months flew by and it's time to reflect
On lofty goals I opted to neglect:

Didn't buy myself a mountain retreat,
Didn't recall what I'm doomed to repeat.

Didn't dance on Broadway or gain some height,
Didn't see the Eiffel Tower at night.

But I did some things, I'm happy to say,
Went to NYC, KC, Santa Fe.

There's still next year, and the one after that,
To pack my Samsonite, my coat and hat.

Never Neverland or my own back yard,
It's the simple questions that I find hard:

If Peter Pan can fly sky high and free,
How come I saw those wires on my TV?

Friday, December 5, 2014


Here's what's haunting me. The onions. The chopped red onions. To be more specific, the cute little container of chopped red onions. It's true, I prefer to let others chop my red onions, and my white ones, too. I don't mind paying extra. Better someone else should weep while chopping onions. Let their eyes burn, not mine. This is one of the SJG's top luxuries in life. You won't catch me shopping for Prada, but already-chopped onions? Absolutal. In this way, I'm a little lazy and a bit extravagant. But how can I enjoy my lavish lifestyle when the much-covetted onions have vanished?
Somewhere between the market and my sprawling, Sherman Oaks country estate, the ready-to-go onions had up and gone. Such a loss, you have no idea. I had so looked forward to sautéing them, too. But where were they? I searched the perimeter. I investigated plenty. Those lil diced devils weren't in the fridge where they belonged. They weren't in the front seat of the car, the back seat of the car or the trunk of the car.  Under the seats. Under the car. Negatory. Not there. I re-checked the shopping bags. I checked the fridge again. Cabinets and drawers. I looked and re-looked. I went cray-cray. And yet, I came up empty. I'm sure there's some sort of hidden message here, some metaphorical significance. I'm supposed to peel back the layers one at a time, right? Figure out something, don't ask me what. Until I do, I'll just assume the universe is once again eff'ing with me. Either that, or the grocery gal charged me for the onions and gave them to the person behind me. I'll be D, as my daddy would say. Someone got a freebie, thanks to the SJG. In which case, you're welcome. I believe I've done my final mitzvah of 2014. I can now sit back and rest on my chopped laurels.
Chopping the laurels

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Hanukkah Movie Channel

"You Call This A Life?"

To get in the mood for Hanukkah - only two weeks away - I've been watching "Eights Nights of Hanukkah" on the Hanukkah Movie Channel. Last night, I treated myself to my all-time Festival of Lights favorite: "You Call This A Life?" Maybe you've seen it. Jimmy Stewart stars as George Bloomberg, a total mensch who's spent his entire life giving, giving, and giving of himself to the people of Schmendrick Falls. He longs to see the world, but when his father plotzes, it's painfully obvious that George isn't going anywhere. Better he should run the Building and Loan and keep an eye on that gonif Potter, than escape Schmendrick Falls, a town with a vice grip on his so-called life. Thank God, things pick up a little when George meets a nice pretty shiksa named Mary, played by, who else, Donna Reed.  
"Sorry, I can't marry a shiksa. Will you convert?"

George asks Mary to convert. She mulls it over, wondering how much it will upset her overbearing mother. "I'm in," she says. George and Mary have a lovely temple wedding. The guests throw matzoh crumbs in their general direction, and off they go on their honeymoon. But then, another plot complication that would give anyone a migraine. Wouldn't you know it, there's a run on the bank.  Rather than put themselves first, God forbid, the Bloombergs give away all their wedding gelt, instead. (Wouldn't you?  Of course you would! I hear you're very generous around the holidays.) So, George and Mary do a makeover on a shack that would fall down if you sneezed on it. They have babies and more babies and never complain. This is the only part of the story that strains credulity and makes me yell at the TV: "When are you people going to play the martyr card? It's enough already with the bad luck. What's wrong with you?" 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Peter Pan Audition Fail

I don't know about you, since you pretty much keep to yourself, but I am near-giddy about "Peter Pan Live!" coming to a flatscreen near you on Thursday night. What's that? Did NBC pay me to plug "Peter Pan Live!"? I should be so lucky. The truth is, I'm just a fan of Peter Pan. Always have been, so why stop now? Give me Peter Pan, with or without music, and I'm one happy lil shana maidela. Thanks to my brother John for sending me this hilarity.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What Do You Do?

When I was a school-age SJG, in love with recess and gym class and all other non-educational activities, including lunch, no one ever asked me, "What do you do?" The answer was obvious. "Back off. I'm busy learning stuff I'm going to forget, immediately. Like basic math. One plus one equals let me get back to you." The matter of validating my existence came later. I don't remember anyone inquiring about my reason for being on this planet till my lil bouncing bundles of testosterone arrived. The implication was, "Can we assume you're doing something more important than just changing diapers?" My answer has always been the same. "I'm a writer." But that's not good enough. They want to know what I've written. As in, "We need proof." In recent weeks, I've started making up answers to "What do you do?" "Dog walker and kugel maker." "Nuclear physicist." "Professional Turkey Baster."