Thursday, December 31, 2015

Toodles To You, 2015!

In case you didn't know, today is December 31st, which can mean only one thing in the SJG international blogosphere. I've managed to pull 355 blogs out of my tuchas this year. No, that's not really where they came from; sometimes you're just too literal for your own good. If only I'd pulled out 10 more, I'd have achieved something real. Alas, I've fallen short of my goal. And yet, there are reasons why I didn't hit 365 in 2015, and here they are:

1. My 10-day alien abduction.
2. My 10-day Manischewitz cleanse.
3. My 10-day exercise in futility (no wi-fi).
4. My 10-day stay at the Institute for the Very, Very Nervous.
5. My 10-day Yiddish retreat (no word for Internet).

In any event, I'd like to personally thank each and every one of you for joining me on my journey, as I waffle between Being and Becoming Even Sillier. Without your support, I might've landed in a serious blog about Auto Repair or Washing Machine Maintenance, and it would've been impossible to pull 355 blogs on either one of those topics out of my tuchas, I'll tell you that much right now. So I'll stick with the silliness, and let the others explain the moving parts.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Life-Changing Recipes

Dear SJG,
The article said, "Six Brussel Sprouts Recipes That Will Change Your Life." I made all six. All I got was nocturnal gas. My husband now sleeps in the spare bedroom. What gives?
Bloated in Sherman Oaks
Dear Bloated,
The only thing that will truly change your life is my kugel recipe. It's to die for, and after you eat a slice, you just might. But at least you'll die happy and leave some tasty leftovers for the family to consume while grieving.
You're Welcome,

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What I Did In 2015

"I see what you did there."

In Two Thousand & Fifteen:
I drank truckloads of caffeine,
I flew far to see the Queen,
I acquired a flu vaccine,
I worked hard to feel serene,
I didn't always Dry Clean, 
I ate a pink jelly bean,
I avoided folks quite mean,
I ate dinner with Charlene,
I didn't appear onscreen,
I am ready for Sixteen.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gifts For The New Year

Only a few more shopping days till January 1st, and I can't decide what sort of birthday gift to buy for 2016. Something tells me the coming year is going to need a lot of stuff. Maybe a nice sweater to keep 2016 cozy? And a warm blankie, extra large. Every new year likes to be swaddled and burped and rocked back and forth like a baby. This gift is really starting to come together. I need to throw a few more items in the basket, so I don't look cheap. I'd hate to insult 2016 right out the gate. So. What else should I give 2016? I'm thinking a lucky charm. No. A whole bracelet of lucky charms. Every year could use some luck. Oh, and some shower gel. No gift is complete without shower gel. A large vat of peach blossom body wash to keep 2016 feeling clean and refreshed. I'll pick some up at Costco, along with industrial-strength ibuprofen. Chances are, 2016 will start off with a massive 2015 hangover. I don't want 2016 to feel bad on any level. I'll put in a bottle of cough medicine, and some decongestant. God forbid, 2016 should catch a cold on the campaign trail. One sneeze and we'd all get infected. I might as well include some chicken soup. A big pot of it, with extra matzoh balls. It couldn't hurt. A few self-help books, too: "How To Keep 2016 From Turning to Total Sh*t." "Time Management Tips for 2016." "If You Can't Say Something Nice: 2016 Political Edition." Hmm. What's missing from this gift? It's not quite there yet. Wine! A bottle of the finest Napa grape. Oh, hell, make it a case. 2016's going to need to chill now and then. Some chocolates, too. Dark and rich, imported from Sherman Oaks. I sure hope the new year likes my present. What are you going to get 2016? Better hurry. Only a few more shopping days left. Get out there, you. Everything's on sale.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The What-Iffers Field Trip

The founding members of the local Society of What-Iffers took a field trip to see "If/Then" at the Pantages last night. That would be the SJG and the SJG's brother J.S., a snappy dresser, and, as he likes to remind me, "Delightful." This crazy show stars the wickedly talented Idina Menzel, as a gal who, much like Dorothy, could go this way or that way, and why not explore each version, in a "Sliding Doors" kind of way, until the founding members of the local Society of What-Iffers are so baffled, so utterly confused, along with the entire audience, based on the conversations overheard during intermission, that they must then consider a third version of the wickedly talented Idina Menzel's journey as Liz/Beth... or is she Elizabeth? In the end, it doesn't really matter. None of it makes any sense, much like life itself (which, I think is the point, anyway), but we got to hear her sing like an angel sent down from above, and that, my friends, is always a good thing.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

No Returns

Dear SJG,
Is it bad form to re-gift what I didn't receive on Christmas? I'm just trying to think outside the box here.
Giftless in Sherman Oaks
"Thanks. It's just what I wanted!"

Dear Giftless,
If you're speaking metaphorically, then by all means, re-gift all that fuzzy karma you've stored up in your heart. Redistribute all that joy you love to spread, allegorically, to the Buzz Kills of the world who don't believe in fairy tales. Send a wake-up call, telepathically, to those in need of a swift kick in the yarbles. Share the warmth of your presence, symbolically, and a ten-part lecture series, with those in need of a crash course on Being Human. They'll thank you later. (Or not.) Then go home and make warm in the house. You've earned it.
You're welcome,

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Very Short Jewish Christmas Poem

Christmas is here again.
Tchotchkes hang from the tree.
Needles shedding, amen.
Who cleans it up? Not me. 

Christmas is here again.
It stops by every year.
Jews eat Chinese, amen.
A custom we hold dear. 

Christmas is here again.
Twinkly lights strung like dots.
A prayer for peace, amen.
A pumpkin for your thoughts. 

Our only consistent Christmas tradition: 
Leftover Halloween squash

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Color Him Confused

For the pre-schooler who has everything

The youngest Working Man needed a moment. His supervisor had just given him a holiday gift that left him a bisel bewildered. His text arrived in the a.m., full of angsty emojis.
"Ma! My supervisor got me cookies, crayons (!) and a coloring book."
"What kind of coloring book? Winnie the Pooh? Sesame Street?"
"It's an adult (!) coloring book."
"Interesting. And by adult you mean -- ?"
"Flowers and butterflies and sh*t."
"Oh, okay. I get it now."
"Ma! Does she think I'm a child?"
"You'll always be a child to me, honey."
"Relax, you. Adult coloring is very trendy. It relieves stress. "
"First I've heard of it."
"It's huge. You''ll love it. You were always good with the crayons."
"What should I get her?"
"Maybe a nice blankie and a yoga mat for nap time."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Jewish Girl on Christmas

Here's a funny video a nice Jewish gal named Ashley Gianni shared with me, so now I'm sharing it with you. That's just how I roll. I'm a giver. You're welcome!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Two Yidden were sitting next to each other in a New York bar. After a while, one Jew looks at the other and says, "I can't help but think, from listening to you, that you're from Yisroel."
The other Jew responds proudly, "I am!"

The first Jew says, "So am I! And from where might you be?"

The second Jew answers, "I'm from Yerusalem."

The first Jew responds, "So am I! And where did you live?"

The second Jew says, "A lovely little area two miles east of King David's Hotel."
The first Jew says, "Unbelievable! What school did you attend?"
The second Jew answers, "Well, I attended Yeshiva University."
The first Jew gets really excited, and says, "And so did I. Tell me, what year did you graduate?"
The second Jew answers, "I graduated in 1984."
The Jews exclaims, "Amazing! This is Berschert. I can hardly believe our good luck at winding up in the same bar tonight. Can you believe it, I graduated from Yeshiva University in 1984 also."
About this time, another Jew enters the bar, sits down, and orders a beer. The bartender walks over, shaking his head and mutters, "It's going to be a long night tonight. The Goldberg twins are drunk again."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Give It Back


The Mrs. Universal Kibitzer contestant from Encino is this year's winner but for one brief moment Sunday evening, it appeared as if it might be a repeat win for Sherman Oaks. The Short Jewish Gal was already wearing the crown as this year's Mrs. Universal Kibitzer winner when host Steve Havarah returned to apologize. "Oh, man, did I ever eff up big time. I'm eternally sorry." Havarah said he would take responsibility for not reading the card correctly that named contestant Rebecca Rugelach of Encino this year's winner and Sherman Oaks's Short Jewish Gal the first runner-up.
Who stole my chair?

A mystified SJG appeared severely farklempt as she walked to the front of the stage alongside the crown-wearing Rugelach before last year's Mrs. Universal Kibitzer from Sherman Oaks rudely removed the crown and placed it on Rugelach's head, instead. "This is a shanda of epic proportions," said the humiliated SJG. "I deserve this crown more than Rebecca Rugelach and will prove it in a court of law." The SJG has already retained renowned attorney Gloria Allred as her legal maven. "This isn't over, bitches," the SJG said. "Just you wait and see."

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Say My Name

A holiday exchange at the health club:
"Happy holidays, hon."
"Happy holidays, Susan."
"Again with Susan?"
"Sorry. Short Jewish Woman."
"Short Jewish Gal."
"How long have we known each other?"
"A long time?"
"Over 20 years."
"That long? Wow."
"You know my name isn't Susan, right?"
"Uh oh."
"That's my middle name. I'm Carol Susan."
"You look more like a Susan."
"Then by all means, keep calling me Susan."
"I may not answer. But if it it makes you happy, go for it."
"Thank you. That's very kind."
"I'm a giver."
"You really are, Susan."
"Bye, Gladys."
"Do you prefer Muriel? Or Mary Lou? Your pick."
"Let's stay with Gladys."
"Oh, I will."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

You Think You've Got Stress

Let's face it. The holidays are a pain in the tukis for all concerned. No matter what you celebrate, you're looking at a nice fat helping of stress. How do I know this? The SJG just knows sh*t. It is my gift and my burden. Here are a few friendly tips to get you through Xmas and beyond with your sanity intact:

Avoid your relatives. Of course, it's unrealistic for you and your spouse/significant playmate to avoid both your families at the same time. Someone has to suffer, and it might as well be the guy or gal you call "honey cakes" in private. The best way to determine who gets to avoid his/her mishpocha is to fight for it. You're in it to win it, baby. Bring your A game. I'm talking arm wrestling, Twister, Trivial Pursuit, Competitive Name-Calling. Go for it. You want this. You want this baaad. And please, hire a ref in case someone gets ornery and requires a time-out. The loser has to spend the holidays with his/her relatives. The winner stays home. Woo-hoo!

But why? You need a good reason. Pick a pretend illness and stick with it. Do not waver. Is it a cold or flu? You can't have both. Write it down if you can't remember what horrible bug you've caught from some inconsiderate germ-provider. Otherwise, you're going to blow your cover, and then what? Your family is a lot smarter than you think. Remember, these people know how to work with guilt.  They may not buy the whole "I've got the Sherman Oaks flu" thing. What to do if Uncle Seymour calls you up and asks if you're avoiding him? It's tempting to lie, but don't. By all means, say yes, Uncle Seymour, I am avoiding your sorry ass. And to kick it up a notch, tell Uncle Seymour why.

"Uncle Seymour, I can't take any more of your raunchy poetry readings during dessert. There are only so many words that rhyme with Nantucket." Sure, Uncle Seymour might be a tad offended. If you're lucky, he might even stop talking to you altogether. What better way to debut the Newly Upgraded Authentic Version of You for 2016?

So, to review, the three keys to a stress-free holiday: Avoidance. Fake Illness. Brutal honesty. Follow these rules and I guarantee, your holiday will be very quiet. If it means you're out of the will, so be it. You're welcome.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hard To Believe

Two former wrestlers I birthed in my spare time

Hard to believe these two total menches used to wrestle on the floor and beat the kaka out of each other, all in good fun, of course. Hard to believe the SJG used to try to intervene like a referee. In hindsight, that was pretty dumb. I was the one in need of a time out. Now, I can't get enough time with them. Last night, we carved out a celebration in a French restaurant. And what a fancy germ ward it was, featuring the birthday boy in question, fighting through a nasty cold, the eldest, fighting through a nasty cold, the hubby, getting over a nasty cold, and the two healthy ones at the table, the eldest's lovely girlfriend and me (kina hora, poo poo poo). We ate, we drank, we had some souffle, we went home. L'chaim to all, and to all, a good night.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Someone's Older

With the youngest in London this summer

"How does it feel to be 24?"
"Pretty much the same. I'm getting old."
"You'll always be young to me. Happy birthday, honey."
"Thanks, Ma."
"Drive carefully, Working Man."
"I will."
"How's the cold?"
"Feel better."
"Gotta go."
"Love you so much it -- "

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hush Candy

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Your neighbor."
"Your neighbor who?"
"Your neighbor across the street."
"The new gal who never smiles or acknowledges my existence, even when I stand on the driveway, waving like any idiot?"
"That's me."
"Sure, I'll open the door.  Howdy, neighbor!"
"Hello.  Here's a note and some candy."
"Aw, you shouldn't have.  I have nothing for you, by the way."
"That's okay.  We're having a party Saturday night."
"I'm hoping you'll show patience and cooperation."
"Have you met me?"
"I'm meeting you now."
"I'm all about patience and cooperation.  Unless I haven't slept well, then all bets are off.  What's this really about?  I'm picking up on some subtext here.  Out with it, lady."
"Please don't call the police on us."
"The police?  Why would I call the police?"
"I heard you got some guys on the block kicked out for making noise."
"Oh, you mean the drug dealers who used to jump off the roof and set bonfires in the backyard?  Yes, that was some of my best work."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Back In The U.S.S.O.

At WorkShop Theater Staged Reading, December 13 (left to right): 
Lauren Riddle, Heather Massie, CK Allen, Sandra Karas, 
Gerianne Raphael, Jody Prusan, Brenne Rimberg

A fun staged reading of "Brushes: A Comedy of Hairs" in New York. An out-of-body experience for the SJG. I could feel my sweet daddy kvelling from up above. And now, I'm back in the U.S.S.O. (United States, Sherman Oaks), my daily version of reality. Seems the menfolk forgot to do the laundry while I was away. I understand. They were too busy missing me.

"Is she ever coming home? I've worn this shirt twice."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Santa Is Everywhere, And I Do Mean, Everywhere

Santa's Greenwich Village

Yesterday was SantaCon in NYC, an invasion of naughty elves, St. Nicks, reindeer, Santa's helpers and such, crawling from pub to pub in a drunken stupor. It was delightful. Sadly, no one invited me to participate. I'm a little hurt. Still, it was fun to dart between the cheery hipsters and catch snippets of slurred conversation: "Dude." "Dude?" "Dude, that elf's checking you out!" "Seriously, dude?" "Nah."
The NY cast of "Brushes": Lauren Riddle, Heather Massie, 
Sandra Karas, CK Allen, Gerianne Raphael, 
Connie Shulman, Jody Prusan and Brenne Rimberg

Earlier in the day, Cathy Hamilton and the SJG attended the rehearsal for tonight's 6 o'clock reading of "Brushes" at WorkShop Theater (312 W. 36th). We are so excited, so worked up, so full of adrenalin, we could scream for a solid minute, if not two. But we need to keep it together. We really do. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

That Big Tree You See On TV

It was so nice of Rockefeller Center to light up this pretty Xmas tree for the SJG. What's that? It's not just for me? Oh. That explains the nine gazillion people in the general vicinity last night, trying to snap selfies, too. Thanks for clearing that up.

I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to the cute little girl I nearly trampled just to get this shot of the skaters, but I do believe it was worth it.

Here I am with Debbi, aka Bubbles, after we saw "Fun Home," an incredibly moving show from which I may never recover.

Ripley-Grier Studios 

Today, the SJG and Cathy Hamilton, my writing partner and co-conspirator in silliness, will attend the rehearsal for tomorrow's reading of our show, "Brushes: A Comedy of Hairs." Are we excited? Let me think about that. Oh. Hell. Yes. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Picasso, Hamilton & Ray

The height of goofiness: SJG & Connie Ray, star of stage & screen, 
superimposed onto a winter scene at Saks Fifth Ave.

Bored ice queen, Winter Palace window at Saks

The fabulous Picasso sculpture exhibit at MoMa

"Girl With Jump Rope" (which may or may not be the name)

"Man With Sinus Headache" (which is definitely not the name)

"Connie Ray at MoMa"

Not to stir up resentment, jealousy and rage, but yeah,
last night, I saw "Hamilton," a hip hop look at our Founding Fathers.
Talk about resentment, jealousy and rage. Those guys were fired up.
And yeah, the show was pretty spectacular. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pretty Pictures

Crowned by Bergdorf Goodman

"Welcome to my airplane." "Thank you. It's a very nice plane," I said in my perky voice, buttering up the flight attendant who claimed ownership. I wanted to start off right this time. No pushy orange juice requests. No requests, period. My comment got a chuckle from Nigel Lythgoe ("American Idol" executive producer/"So You Think You Can Dance?" judge), parked in the luxurious first row of the Fancy People section. Yes, I was tempted to either sing, dance or do some theatrical combination thereof, but held back. Aren't you proud of me? You should be. I showed considerable restraint, a rare move for the SJG. After a bumpy yet incident-free flight, during which I asked nothing of anyone, and got bupkis in return, here I am in NYC, and what could be better than strolling the city at night, taking in the stunning Hanukkah windows at Bergdorf Goodman, fashioned from Swarovski crystals and other sparkly tchotchkes? What's that? They're Christmas windows? To you, Christmas. To me, Hanukkah. Either way, the message is the same: "Come inside, spend money, then leave."

Luck be a monkey tonight. Who knew an adorable fuzzy primate could tell fortunes? This window right here is all the proof I need.

Draped in amethyst jewels with a chandelier overhead at all times. My new look for 2016.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

She Packed Her Bags Last Night Pre-Flight

Then asked hubby this, pre-departure:
"So, how much are you going to miss me?"
"So much."
"You can do better than that."
"So @#$%'n much."
"There you go."
"No. There you go."
"Don't cry. I'll be back on Monday."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"You Call This A Life?"

"Who needs a honeymoon?  Let's give all our gelt away!"
So many Hanukkah movies, so little time to watch them all.  By far, the SJG's favorite during the Festival of Lights is "You Call This A Life?" Maybe you've seen it.  I watched it again the other night. 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. 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.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

You Better Not Honk

You better not honk!
You better not try
You better not honk!
I'm telling you why
SJG is coming to town

She's checking her bag
She's flying Jet Blue
Packing a coat and a fat scarf, too
SJG is coming to town
She hears you when you're honking
It keeps her wide awake
She knows you love to honk your horn
Keep it down, for Mose's sake!

Oy! You better not honk!
You better not try
You better not honk!
I'm telling you why
SJG is coming to town
SJG is coming to town
I heart you anyway, NYC