Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Get Your Matzoh Here

Passover is upon us. How do I know this? Because Gelson's tells me so. One foot in the door and it's matzoh central. Over here you can order Seder for Eight, Seder for Eighteen, Seder for, God forbid, Eighty-Eight. Over there you can get your pre-chopped charosis, your matzoh ball soup, your tzimmes, your potato kugel. In a few days, the macaroons will be out, chocolate and plain. Don't forget the honey cake. It'll be there, too. Gelson's tells me it's Passover this weekend. Which in the SJG world is the most helpful reminder of all: Keep tradition alive. Set the table today. One less thing to worry about. It'll be a small group this year. Much smaller than I'd like. But these people of mine, they still need to eat. Who am I to deprive them?

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Nobel Prize For Undergarments

Dear Nobel Prize Committee,
Hi, how are you? Hope you're in good health. If not, I hear Vitamin C stops a cold in its tracks. My whole life, I've heard this. I've yet to stop a cold with Vitamin C. Personally, chicken soup works better. Maybe that's just for my people. Anywho, I heard you guys were taking suggestions from the public. Relax, I'm not nominating myself, although I strongly believe I deserve an award for something, but what? There are so many categories that would suit me. Nobel Prize For Laundry? I accept! Nobel Prize For Kvetching? I'm honored. Nobel Prize For Grocery Shopping? This is my cart, bitches!

Believe it or not, this letter isn't about the SJG, despite my international status as Silliest Blogger Ever. On second thought, it is a little about me, but then, isn't everything? The other night, I went to my 40th High School Reunion. It was lovely, thanks for asking. The thing that gave me that extra jolt of courage and helped me approach just about anybody in attendance, whether they knew me or not, and most of time, sadly, didn't know me from bupkis, was a certain amazing, biblically miraculous undergarment. That's right, Nobel people, I'm talking about Spanx, the most genius invention of all time.

I'm telling you, if every world leader could just wear a nice pair of Spanx (not one of those knockoff brands, but the real deal) to the next big confab, doesn't matter the gender of the personage, they would feel so much better about themselves, they would sign any peace agreement you put in front of them. A nice pair of Spanx makes everything brighter. What could be better than looking five pounds thinner without starving yourself? Nothing comes to mind. Therefore, I nominate Sara Blakely for the Nobel Prize For Undergarments.

Whether this category exists is besides the point. I urge you to stop everything and make this happen. And make sure to give me credit. Without credit, I'm just another under-employed TV writer trying to look svelte for Passover.

Big hugs,
The Short Jewish Gal of Sherman Oaks

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Party Like It's 1975

 Ellen, Jill and the very silly SJG 

My 40th high school reunion will soon be a blur, probably by Monday or Tuesday, at the latest. Not that I didn't have fun. I did. Many two-second conversations. "Hi!" "Hi!" "How are you?" "Fine!" "You were nice in high school!" "Uh, thanks!" I lost my voice about an hour in. The SJG speaks at a low volume. So I had to scream to be heard. That got old fast. I stood a lot. I danced a lot. I'm hoping at some point I get some feeling back in my feet. And yet, a few highlights will stay with me forever. The giddy moment I reconnected with my dearest friends from Warner Avenue comes to mind. Ellen Bernstein and Jill Borden were the sweetest gals, then and now. We laughed and acted like the goofy grade schoolers we once were, and promised (as we did at the 20th reunion) to get back in touch.

Jeff, who didn't go to high school with us, and wife Maddy, who did; me and a handsome stranger; Helen, who didn't go to Uni, and husband Ned, who did, and two nice photo bombers I don't know.

The high school sweethearts. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

Oh, congregation of strappy sandals, which pair should I wear? Which pair won't cripple me by hour two of the high school reunion? Do I go high heel, sure to make me somewhat model-like in appearance? Do I go mid-heel, sure to make me a little taller, but not that tall, because who am I kidding? Do I go old lady heel, sure to lower my height expectations, significantly, but keep me from whimpering in pain throughout the evening? Decisions, decisions...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Let Me Introduce Myself... Again.

At my 30th high school reunion, I spent most of the evening re-introducing myself to the people in attendance, this despite the name tag and tiny graduation photo prominently displayed over my heart. The exchanges usually went something like, "Hi, I'm Carol? Starr? Schneider?" Blank stare, followed by a quick glance at my tiny photo. "Oh. Right. Hi." After a few hundred of these touching moments, I pretty much said, "Oh, eff it," and stuck to the few people who didn't need a name tag or photo to identify me. Included in this elite group: hubby, my high school sweetheart. Even after a few gin and tonics, he still recognized me. "Let's not go to the 40th," I said on the way home. "Okay," he said, a bit tipsy at the time. He has no memory of saying that. In fact, the entire evening is a blur. Which brings us to the 40th high school reunion tomorrow night. We're going.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Crutches In The Background

Allison and Andy, Billy and Emily... 
and the crutches in the background

This happy photo of my cousin Andy and his gorgeous wife Allison, about to dine in San Francisco with the eldest son Billy and his gorgeous girlfriend Emily, arrived on my Oy-Phone last night and made me smile and kvell and all that... until I noticed the crutches in the background, leaning against the wall. The SJG Brain immediately cranked into uh-oh mode. Clearly, one of my people had been seriously injured. One of my people, including Andy's two out of three children on this trip but not in the photo, had tripped and sprained, broken and done damage to a limb, requiring an emergency room visit, crutches and possibly months of physical therapy. Suddenly, this seemingly happy photo seemed like a cruel way to clue the SJG into the situation. 

"Who's got the crutches?" I asked, casually, like an after-thought. As in, by the way, who got hurt and ruined the trip? Andy texted a series of untruths, followed by "JK. Don't panic." JK? Who's JK? Was there another family member I didn't know about? I thought I was up to date on the family tree. I don't know from JK. Then it hit me. JK = Just Kidding. Oh. Hahahaha. "Do you know me at all, Cuzzie?" I asked. Andy texted, "They belong to the people behind us we don't know." "Well, tell them I'm worried, anyway."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Take It Or Leave It

So yesterday, I was in the Gelson's parking lot, where else would I be, putting my recyclable earth-friendly super cool billboard grocery bags in the trunk of my car, when I noticed a woman standing off to the side, staring at me. I shut the trunk and she stepped closer. My mind started to race. I looked at her. She looked at me, and said, in a very thick Spanish accent: "I-take-it." I said nothing. She said it again: "I-take-it." I smiled, stupidly. It's not often you're faced with such a run-on sentence. I started to move my cart. She took a step closer, and said, slower this time, "I... take... it."

Ah, a moment of clarity. Don't you love those? She wanted to take my cart, as opposed to something else, like my left shoe or one of my recyclable earth-friendly super cool billboard grocery bags, which she'd have to fight me for, and she'd lose, because I love those freakin' bags.  Love. Them. So. Much. Now that I understood her goal, I sent the cart her way, and said, "Take it."

Then I got in my car and said, "I-take-it" over and over, emphasizing different words till I got it just right. "I TAKE it. "I take IT." "I TAKE IT." I got home and said it again, in a truly Shakespearean way. "I taketh it." Then I said it like my grandmother would, in a truly Yiddish way. "Why should I take it?" This went on for quite a while, I'm afraid. I did a lengthy "I-take-it" soliloquy for first hubby, youngest son and eldest puppy, till they ran screaming and barking from the room.

You'll be happy to know that just moments ago, I decided to stop saying, "I take it," before they take me away. Although, a nice rest wouldn't be so bad. If they do take me away, would you come visit me?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Every Tom Hanks Movie Ever

One of the most hilarious Broadway shows I've ever seen starred James Corden in "One Man, Two Govnors." Since then, I've followed him, not in a stalkerish way, that's not the SJG style, but in a "what is this talented bloke up to these days" way. As of last night, he's hosting the "Late Late Show" on CBS. God forbid I should ever be up that late late. But I'm still going to record it now and then, because I love James Corden so much. Not in a deeply romantic way, mind you. More in a "what a talented bloke" way. I'm glad we cleared that up. You know how jealous hubby gets when I turn my attention elsewhere. Here's a very funny clip of Tom Hanks and James Corden reenacting every movie from Hanks' cinematic oeuvre. Enjoy, people. Enjoy. And please, double click, bitches. How many times I gotta tell ya? Double. Click.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Timing Is Everything

In my dreams, I'm always running late.
In my life, I'm always on time.

Well. Almost always.
Sometimes there are roadblocks.

Or self-imposed.

To arrive at my destination,
I need to get out of my own way.

And remember that wherever I go,
Timing is everything.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

All I Want Is A Little Attention

That's all.

On the second day of spring, I'm thinking about spring cleaning. Should I or shouldn't I tackle the nightmare that is my closet? Last time I spring-cleaned my closet, please don't ask me when, it was probably more of a winter purge, I'm sure I vowed never to let it get this cluttered again. But here I am, confessing that my closet, the place where I suspend clothes in disbelief, never to find them again, needs attention. There are shoes I can no longer wear, relatively newish shoes at that, because they are torture devices on my battered feet. There are pants I can no longer wear because they no longer work with my current anatomy. There are miscellaneous items that need attention. An old breakfast tray. An old heating pad. An assortment of throw pillows I should've tossed. This closet of mine is fully Freudian. It's my past, my present and my future as a guest star on "Short-Order Hoarders of Sherman Oaks." It's my id, my ego, my super ego. It's everything and nothing. And yet, unless some highly skilled organizer does an emergency closet intervention, my sanity hangs in the balance. I'm forever defined by an existential dilemma: Who came first? The SJG or the closet? Your guess is as good as mine.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chia Head: SJG Edition

I finally got that full head of foliage

As of today, it's official. Spring has sprung. Don't deny it. It has, too. Maybe not in your neck of the woods, but over here in Sherman Oaks, I'm so full of spring, so overly-pollinated, that with proper watering, I could be my own Chia Head. Given my personal pollen count, grass and flowers would bloom from my scalp, I'm sure of it. A couple spritzes of Miracle Gro would bring forth the daisies, but then I'd sneeze even more, and I'm already doing enough of that as it is, so I'll stick with hair spray. Sneezing and wheezing eat up most of my day, and I'm not talking dainty little girly-girl sneezes. My sneezes are thunderous. They're a force to be reckoned with, I promise you. My sneezes echo and roar and knock down passersby. I scare old ladies and children with my stereophonic ACHOOs. One look at my red nose, my watery eyes and dark circles and folks run the other way in fear. Of course, not everyone bolts on my behalf. Hubby tells me I've never looked lovelier. This explains why I married him. He tells it like it is, even when it's not true. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Are You My Basketball?

I've rescued dogs in my neighborhood. I've rescued drivers licenses. I've rescued pacifiers and scrunchies, baby blankets and cute red booties. But last night, driving home after dance class, I rescued a basketball. Poor thing. It was just sitting there in the middle of my street, illuminated by my xenon headlights.  Man, they're bright.  The sad little basketball, hoopless and abandoned, white and Nike-branded, glowed like an otherworldly orb.  I viewed it with awe. "What the eff is a basketball doing in the road? I wonder which neighborhood child created such a monumental road hazard." As I pulled into the garage, I realized, oh, for eff's sake, that basketball belongs to the SJG household. That's our stupid ball. It must have rolled out when I backed out of the garage hours ago.  It's probably been waiting for the right moment to escape. No one plays with it anymore. The eldest, the youngest, and all their friends who used to pound it mercilessly into the driveway, they've forgotten all about the Nike ball. So it said, "I'm outta here, bitches," and rolled off in search of a new owner.

Rescuer that I am, enabler of note, I trotted down the street to retrieve the ball. "Hello there, little ball, how you doin'?" The ball just stared at me, which I took as a sign that maybe I was mistaken. Up close, the basketball looked unfamiliar. "This is not my beautiful basketball." I wished it well, set it down gently in the bushes, so that the neighbor-hood child who selfishly discarded it might one day reclaim it, and went home. "I just found a basketball in the middle of the street," I told hubby.  "Was it ours?" "Do we have a white Nike basketball?" "Yes." "Oh, eff, I'll be back."  So then I rescued it for real, and felt so good about myself as a human being.You'll be happy to know the basketball has been repurposed as a giant chew toy.  Just this morning, Dusty dribbled on it, sniffed it and then ignored it, in honor of March Madness. When it comes to basketball, the dog takes after me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Blast of Blintz

The Short Jewish Gal is excited to announce a new line of nostalgic air fresheners sure to take the  multi-million dollar home deodorizing market by storm. The makers of Fabreze and Glade will be  scratching their keppies, wondering why they didn't think of this sooner. The SJG line will include a variety of irresistible, highly-hamish aromas:

Who could resist "Matzoh Ball Soup Plug-In," continuous delivery with just a hint of guilt? You'll feel like you stepped back in time and landed in your grandmother's kitchen in Brooklyn. You'll wonder why you never got the recipe. You'll feel bad about that for a while.

Want something richer? Try "Kugel Metered Mister," to remind you of that first moonlit Rosh Hashanah when you fell deeply in love with noodle pudding as a child, and vowed that one day, you'd make a kugel that's just as delish as Aunt Kissy's, if not better.

Maybe you'd prefer "Blast of Blintz," for those Sundays when you don't have the energy to wait for a table at Art's Deli.

How about a neutralizer of "Nice Coffee Cake," so you shouldn't forget all the condolence calls you've made, and remember to count your blessings, not to mention your good spoons. Someone may have "accidentally" walked off with one at the last Sisterhood luncheon you hosted.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Best Way

... to get Dusty to look happy is to give him a nice treat.

The best way to get the SJG to look horrified...

... is to show up at my door in these.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Let's Talk About Drywall

Let's not!
"Someone's getting drywall."
"You know what drywall is."
"A product that dries walls."
"That's not what it is."
"I know. I've watched enough HGTV to tell you what drywall is."
"Then what is it?"
"You tell me."
"It's a quick way to finish a wall without having to actually plaster the wall."
"When's the last time you drywalled anything?"
"When we fixed the leak in the floor we had to do drywall."
"Did you personally drywall it?"
"Personally, no."
"Aha! So who's getting drywall?"
"Our neighbors across the street."
"What are they drywalling?"
"I have no idea.'"
"I think we're done talking about drywall."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beautiful People In Beautiful Dresses

"I'm outta here, bitches."

Oh, "Fashion Police." Seriously. You are a crazy place. The SJG would like to make a citizen's arrest. You've ruined yourself. Why, "Fashion Police"? Why? You were just supposed to be a fun and snarky place to park for an hour. A PC-free zone. A bit mean, sure. But hilarious. Joan Rivers said the most outrageous, offensive things on that show and never apologized. Suddenly, everyone on "Fashion Police" is apologizing and quitting.

Kathy Griffin was barely getting started as Joan's replacement, just warming up, and now she's done, spinning her departure this way: "I thought I could bring my brand of humor to 'Fashion Police' so that beautiful people in beautiful dresses could be teased when appropriate. My brand of humor, while unrepentant and unafraid, is all about CONTEXT." She went on to say she doesn't want to "contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference."

There must have been a lot more going on behind the scenes that nobody's sharing; some sort of toxic agenda. I thought the point of the show was to poke fun at the perfectionism and laugh at today's fashion-obsessed, overly-botoxed celebrities. I don't get what all the fuss is about, other than the worst fashion accessory of all: censorship.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bring Your Own Teeth

If you qualify for Senior Discounts, these STCs (Senior Texting Codes) are for you. If you don't, it gives you something to look forward to as you grow old and leaky. Who said aging isn't funny?

· ATD ~ At The Doctor's
· BFF ~ Best Friend Farted
· BTW ~ Bring The Wheelchair
· BYOT ~ Bring Your Own Teeth
· CBM ~ Covered By Medicare
· CUATSC ~ See You At The Senior Center
· DWI ~ Driving While Incontinent
· FWB ~ Friend With Beta Blockers
· FWIW ~ Forgot Where I Was
· FYI ~ Found Your Insulin
· GGLKI ~ Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In
· GGPBL ~ Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
· GHA ~ Got Heartburn Again
· HGBM ~ Had Good Bowel Movement
· IMHO ~ Is My Hearing-Aid On?
· LMDO ~ Laughing My Dentures Out
· LOL ~ Living On Lipitor
· LWO ~ Lawrence Welk's On
· OMMR ~ On My Massage Recliner
· OMSG ~ Oh My! Sorry, Gas!
· OVIM ~ Oy Vey, I'm Old
· ROFL-CGU ~ Rolling On Floor Laughing, Can't Get Up
· SGGP ~ Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
· TTYL ~ Talk To You Louder
· WAITT ~ Who Am I Talking To?
· WTFA ~ Wet The Furniture Again
· WTP ~ Where's The Prunes?
· WWNO ~ Walker Wheels Need Oil

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bette Sings Kim!

Here's something giggle-worthy. Bette Midler sings Kim K.W.'s inspired fashion tweets. If this doesn't put you in a good mood, you might as well stay home and blame it on Daylight Savings Time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Walking Worried

Dear SJG,
I'm a little concerned that my neighbor across the street might be a zombie. I don't like the way she looks at me and licks her lips. I don't like the way she drools on my driveway whenever I'm unloading the groceries. Is there an agency I can call to report her? My husband thinks I'm overreacting.
Walking Worried

Dear Worried,
Get out while you can.
You're Welcome,

Monday, March 9, 2015

If You Don't Know Who You Are...

If you don't know who you are, you try all sorts of things to figure out who you are.

If you don't know who you are, you follow the folks who think they know who they are.

If you don't know who you are, you act in-the-know even though you aren't.

But... if you do know who you are, you say it with pride.

I'm the SJG. And I'm a Kvetch-A-Tarian.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Act Surprised

A very silly Stu Brower, hubby and me,
wearing very silly party beads.

Last night at the surprise party, we debated whether the guest of honor looked even the slightest bit surprised when he walked in the door. Actually, it wasn't much of a debate. We all agreed he looked like he was faking surprise, which is hard for most humans. Unless you're a graduate of the Royal Academy of Acting Surprised, it's nearly an impossible feat. And so, as the birthday boychick, a spry 50-year-old, table hopped, we forced him onto the witness stand and cross examined him at length. "Were you, or were you not, surprised?" He swore on a stack of menus that of course he was surprised. Then he began to waffle a wee bit. Not "oh my God, you got me!" surprised. Not "I had no idea you loved me this much!" surprised. But more along the lines of, "I thought something was up, but I wasn't sure" surprised. In other words, he was acting surprised. His wife looked pretty convinced he was surprised, which is all that matters. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Kelly Clarkson School of Self-Acceptance

British journalist Katie Hopkins, aka the Wicked Witch, would like us to know that, "Kelly Clarkson is now a chunky monkey, if we're putting it kindly. She does look like she's eaten her backup singers. My advice: she needs to get out there with her stroller and do some pushing and get some of that weight off...  That's not baby weight. That's carrot cake." Apparently, Hopkins thinks she's entitled to fat shame because she put on 40 pounds in three months and documented the whole "experiment" for British telly, including how she lost the extra weight.

But guess who doesn't give an eff about what Hopkins or anyone else thinks? Kelly Clarkson. She doesn't let all the fat-shamers get to her. This makes me love Kelly Clarkson even more. She's found a way to quell those mean-spirited critics, not only in the media, but most importantly, in her own head. Whatever school of self-acceptance Kelly Clarkson attended, I hope they're taking new applicants. I'd pay double to be that cool.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Birth Of A Jewish Mother

Never loses its flavor.

Exactly when did the SJG become a Jewish Mother? It happened long before I gave birth. It happened at birth. My birth. From the moment I popped out, I wanted to know if everyone was okay, if anyone needed anything, if I could do something to help. My first complete sentence: "What's wrong?" When someone got hurt on the playground, I was the one hovering over the wounded and bleeding, asking the important questions. "Would it have killed you to wear a helmet and some knee pads? To walk, instead of run for once in your life?"At home, I was always in the kitchen, making tiny treats in the Easy Bake Oven, trying to spread a little joy and fatten up the family. I was the one waiting up for the parents to come home, and later, when they started driving, the brothers. I didn't just become a Jewish Mother. All the signs were there from the start.

Mother as coffee table. 
("Mother" by Judy Olausen)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

When I Ran The Purim Carnival

When I ran the Purim Carnival
At Temple Beth Sherman Oaks
The Bouncy Castle deflated
And Hamantashen sales went bust 

When I ran the Purim Carnival
At Temple Beth Sherman Oaks
The Bucket Ride spun whiplash fast
And kosher hot dogs got upchucked

When I ran the Purim Carnival
At Temple Beth Sherman Oaks
The Rabbi got dunked in a tank
And his Purim costume came off

When I ran the Purim Carnival
At Temple Beth Sherman Oaks
I bribed my sons to volunteer
And a beanbag left me concussed

When I ran the Purim Carnival
At Temple Beth Sherman Oaks
I'll spare you the whole megillah 
And sum it up like this:  I quit

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Show The Love

There are so many ways to deliver a warm and fuzzy heartfelt message to the SJG. Email. Text. Voicemail. Pony Express. Facebook. Carrier pigeon. And then there are the huge, showy public statements that keep me going. I refer you to the outpouring of love I received on SJG Appreciation Day. The skywriting over my palatial Sherman Oaks estate: "We worship you, SJG!" The billboard on Sunset: "Stay Kvetchy, SJG!" The exuberant sighting at Gelson's: "OMG! It's the SJG!" That one caused a near-riot in the produce section. Have you ever tried to autograph a banana? Not easy, my friends. Not easy. But I'm learning. I'm learning all the time. In case you missed SJG Appreciation Day, relax in the slacks, as Grandma Shorty used to say. You have plenty of time to make up for your hideously glaring mistake. April is SJG Appreciation Month.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Optimist Sees The Bagel...

The Pessimist Sees The Hole

Excerpts from the "Little Jewish Instruction Book," by Leonard Sorcher:

The optimist sees the bagel, the pessimist sees the hole.
If you can't say something nice, say it in Yiddish.
Who else could have invented the 50-minute hour?
There comes a time in every man's life when he must stand up and tell his mother he's an adult. This usually happens around age 45.
WASPs leave and never say goodbye.
Jews say goodbye and never leave.
Israel is the land of milk and honey. 
Florida is the land of milk of magnesia.
The High Holidays have absolutely nothing to do with marijuana.
Always whisper the names of diseases.
One mitzvah can change the world; two will just make you tired.
If you don't eat, it will kill me.
Anything worth saying is worth repeating a thousand times.
Never take a front-row seat at a bris.
Next year in Jerusalem. The year after that, how about a cruise?
Spring ahead, fall back, winter in Miami Beach.
A schmata is a dress that your husband's ex is wearing.
Without Jewish mothers, who would need therapy?
According to Jewish dietary law, pork and shellfish may be eaten only in Chinese restaurants.
Tsuris is a Jewish word that means your child is marrying someone who isn't Jewish.
If you're going to whisper at the movies, make sure it's loud enough for everyone else to hear.
Laugh now, but one day you'll be driving a big Cadillac and eating dinner at four in the afternoon.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Singin' and Swingin'

Donny Most at Catalina Jazz Club

A rainy Sunday night and the SJG and hubby were out on the town - a highly unusual event. What got us out of the house? Why, Sinatra, Dino and Darin, of course, courtesy of Donny Most and his big band.  Donny, well-known as Ralph Malph of "Happy Days," is a nice Jewish boy, a gifted singer, an all-round talented mensch, married to the spectacular Morgan, who had the honor of living with me in college for one glorious year. And she's still talking to me! A wonderful evening. I'm still snapping my fingers and singing "Mack the Knife."