Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Petal For Your Thoughts

After boot camp, a misnomer if ever there was one -- we don't wear boots or get to eat s'mores around the campfire -- the tradition is as follows. Thelda, a tall drink of unfiltered water, and I say that with love, continues to work out on the stairmaster. An hour of sweating just isn't enough for her. The SJG, on the other hand, the left one, to be exact, prefers to restrict the suffering to the designated hour. While Thelda climbs heroically, I try to stretch my sore anatomy back into working order. For 15 minutes, or until  I need to take a dainty pish, we swap stories and philosophize. You think I go to the dark side? Thelda makes me look like Tinker Bell.
Thelda: "How's your week going?"
Me: "Fine. How about yours?"
Thelda: "No 911 calls. Yet."
Me: "That's something."
Thelda: "I did hear two horrible stories, though."
Me: "I don't want to hear them."
Thelda: "They're not that bad."
Me: "You just said they were horrible."
Thelda: "I'm downgrading them to bad."
Me: "I still don't want to hear them."
Thelda: "I forget you're a petal."
Me: "You got that right, sistah."
Thelda: "I need to be reminded sometimes."
Me: "Try to remember that, would you?"
Thelda: "I'll do my best. So, anyway, this woman I know from work collapsed at the nail salon and --"
Me: "I'm going now."
Thelda: "Wait. It has a happy ending."
Me: "See you Friday."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

There's No Such Thing As Free Coffee

(Sherman Oaks) In honor of National Coffee Day, the SJG will be serving "free" coffee this morning in her Tuscan-style estate. Normally, she charges guests a dollar per cup of java. "Someone has to help pay for the re-piping," the SJG said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Kvetch. But today, she stressed, if you show up at her door in search of caffeine, she'll pour you a mug once you're officially cleared to come inside. "You can't be too careful these days. Just last week one of my neighbors refused to take off her faux Jimmy Choos during the SJG Security Check. Who knows what she's stashed inside that knock-off Birkin she shleps around. It would've been irresponsible to let her in." That said, if you make it past the SJG Nudnik Scanner, and answer a few inappropriate questions of a deeply personal nature, "I promise to welcome you into my home, share a fresh brew and regale you with the story of how I fell madly in love with coffee. It happened in college and trust me, it's more compelling than 'The Notebook.' You'll cry, you'll rejoice, and God willing, you'll leave."

Monday, September 28, 2015

So I'll Wait

See you next time. Maybe.

Super Blood Moon Eclipse? Where? We went outside. We looked. In the backyard. In the front. Nothing. A big fat cloud cover? Yes. There was plenty of that. A Super Blood Moon Eclipse? Not so much. So we waited. We checked again. In the backyard. In the front. Nothing. I took it personally, of course. I felt cheated. I felt robbed. I wanted to see that bloody moon, big and ominous in the night sky. Instead, I got bupkis. I wasn't the only one. The local peeps didn't see it, either. Unless they went up to Griffith Park. The Observatory bought the rights to the Super Blood Moon Eclipse. If you shlepped up there, you got to see it. They owned it for the night. But hey, these things happen, these non-events. So I'll sit tight. I'll wait. Just another 18 years for the next Super Blood Moon Eclipse. In 2033, when I'm 75, God willing, I'll crane my neck skywards and see the big eppes eclipse of the Super Blood Moon. Unless it's a cloudy night. Then I'll see nothing. So I'll wait for the next one. I'm very patient.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Never Lie To A Jewish Mother

Henry Goldberg invited his very traditional mother Freda over for dinner. During the course of the meal, Freda couldn't help but keep noticing how beautiful Henry's "platonic" roommate, Debbie, was. Freda had long been suspicious of a relationship between Henry and Debbie and this had only made her more curious. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two react, Freda started to wonder if there was more between Henry and Debbie than met the eye. Reading his mom's thoughts, Henry said, "I know what you must be thinking, Mom, but I assure you Debbie and I are just roommates." About a week later, Debbie said to Henry, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the beautiful silver soup ladle. You don't suppose she took it, do you?" Henry replied "Well, I doubt it, but I'll write her a letter just to be sure." So he sat down and wrote: 

Dear Mother, 

I'm not saying that you "did" take the soup ladle from the house, I'm not saying that you "did not" take the soup ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner. 
Love,
Henry 

Several days later, Henry received a letter from his mother, which read: 

Dear Son, 
I'm not saying that you "do" sleep with Debbie, and I'm not saying that you "do not" sleep with Debbie. But the fact remains that if she were sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the soup  ladle by now. 
Love,
Mom 
http://www.awordinyoureye.com

Friday, September 25, 2015

Meet Snooty Nigel

Nigel, my snooty new re-interpreter 

One of the perks of being Pope: You get an interpreter whenever you want. This got me thinking. I'd like to have a re-interpreter on call, someone named Nigel, a snooty fellow to repeat what I'm trying to say in a very snooty way. With Nigel standing by, future exchanges might contain extra layers of guilt and meaning. For instance:

Household member: "What's for dinner?"
SJG: "Nothing."
Snooty Nigel: "By nothing, I mean of course there's something for dinner. What's for dinner defines my humble existence. To clarify, there's always something for dinner because I've taken half a day to figure it out, go buy it, make it or reheat it. There will be food on the table. You shall eat it and like it."

What's that? You'd like another for instance. I thought you'd never ask:

Household member: "How was your day?"
SJG: "Fine."
Snooty Nigel: "By fine, I mean not fine. Not fine at all. In reality, it was a day of aggravation and personal strife. I severely strained my neck parallel-parking. I have no clue how I did that. A team of specialists is looking into the incident and will file a report. But I don't wish to concern you with my list of woes. In honor of the Jewish New Year, I've decided to complain less. I'm certain this experiment will be an epic fail. But I remain mildly optimistic."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Temple Etiquette

Dear SJG,
Yesterday in temple, the presumably nice, if somewhat distracted man who had the privilege of sitting next to me, "accidentally" nudged me with his elbow four times, bumped me with his rolled-up prayer book print-out five times, but who's counting, and nearly knocked me off my chair six times. But other than that, it was a lovely Yom Kippur Service. I entertained many assertive ways to convey my annoyance, but ruled them out. I already had enough things to atone for. Plus, I couldn't relocate. It was SRO in the synagogue. So I turn to you, my favorite advisor. What's the etiquette on the holiest of High Holidays?
Thanks,
Bluish Jewiss

Dear Bluish,
I feel your pain on a deeply spiritual level. If you could've just given him a friendly shove, it might've done wonders. If you could've just turned to him and said, "Excuse me, dude, you're seriously invading my space," he might've gotten the message. If you could've just raised your hand and reported him to the rabbi, it might've soothed your battered soul. Alas, none of these maneuvers would've been proper in a temple setting. But it would've felt so good, am I right? Of course I am. Next time you're faced with such a situation in shul, my best advice is to sigh, louder with each infraction, roll your eyes and remember to practice tolerance, even if it kills you.
You're welcome,
The SJG

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Come Back Friends

Today brings a double dose of reflection. It's Yom Kippur. It's my mother's yahrzeit. She died 16 years ago. I can replay that day as though it were yesterday. But I'd rather not. I'd rather celebrate the 42 years I got to spend with her. That's what she'd want me to do. So today I'll light a candle in her honor. I'll sit in temple. I'll say kaddish. I'll remember the joy and the laughter, the heartfelt chats and the loving advice, the beauty salon visits, and above all, the shopping excursions. Those trips to Saks Fifth Avenue and Bullock's, Robinson's and Orbach's were enlightening and at times challenging. She wanted me to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to stay put. Before we'd leave the house, my dad made us promise to "come back friends." And we always did. Today I'll wear something nice on her behalf. I'll keep the tears at bay. At least that's the plan. I can't make any promises.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I Couldn't Help Myself

"I didn't want to be rude, but... I couldn't help myself."

The text from my favorite Israeli, aka Mrs. Gorgeous, appeared at 6:52 p.m.: "Can I make you kugel with walnuts?"

An offer likes this comes around, let me think about that, never. No one ever offers to make me a kugel. If anything, the people want me to make them my kugel. The people want my recipe. It's the natural order of the High Holidays. I've accepted it. I take pride in it. Not too much pride, otherwise I'd have to atone for my lack of humility, and my Atonement List is already long enough. Still, I was touched by the text. Not just touched. Deeply touched.

I was, however, thrown by the inclusion of walnuts. Walnuts in a kugel? Hmm. Could work. Then again, could be a serious, irreversible misstep. I was torn. In the SJG brain, a danger zone of limited space, I understood the origin of the offer. I'd generously suggested a nice doctor and the visit worked out well. Mrs. Gorgeous wanted to thank me for taking time out of my frantic and exciting life to do such a mitzvah.

Kugel-wise, I wanted to decline, respectfully. I reviewed my options and here's what I texted back: "Not necessary. But thank you. But we can have lunch soon."

There was a long gap till her next text came in, a gap that worried me. I thought, oh, eff, I've insulted her. She wanted to make me a kugel. I could've lived with the walnuts. Once again, I'd misread a situation. I should've just said, "Oh, hell yes!" and waited for the delivery of the kugel (with walnuts).

Finally, Mrs. Gorgeous texted back: "You're so funny. I meant can I make your (!) kugel with walnuts."

From there, things rapidly deteriorated: "That's cuz you said, 'can I make you'...?" "I meant your." "I know. But I wouldn't use walnuts." "I'm Israeli." "So use walnuts." "You crack me up." "Ditto." "Thanks for tomorrow's blog." "I'm here to please." "BTW: What's the walnut-Israeli connection?" I'm still waiting for the answer on that one.

Monday, September 21, 2015

During The Emmys

Who said this: "All the self-congratulations. It's enough already."
a. The Eccentric Elderly Pup
b. The SJG
c. The hubby who works in TV

Who said this: "It's an eff'n awards show, for eff's sake. What'd you expect?"
a. Ricky Gervais
b. Ricky Ricardo
c. The SJG
Who said this: "I can only take five more minutes, then I'm done."
a. The E.E.P.
b. The SJG.
c. The H.W.W.I.T.V.
Who said this: "I'm going upstairs."
a. The video game user
b. The awards show hater
c. The Jon Hamm fangirl
Answers: If you don't know by now, I'm not telling you.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pardon My Segue

On a walk with hubby and the Eccentric Elderly Pup, a young man with braided hair rolls by on a two-wheel-motorized thingie, while his cute little dog runs to keep up.
"Honey, look. He's filming himself."
"He needs to capture the moment."
"I'm embarrassed on his behalf."
"Don't be. He thinks he's cool."
The hoverboard
"What the hell is that thing he's on?"
"Looks like a smaller version of that other thing... with the big wheels."
"And the goofy handles."
"The guy who invented it died while riding it."
"No, he didn't. Everyone thought he did."
"Someone died who was connected with it."
"What the hell is it called?"
"The um.. "
"The uh... the Sega?"
"The Sega."
 "Wait. Sego."
"The Sego?"
"I think so. Maybe not."
When we get home, I grab my smarty-pants phone:
"SEGWAY, honey."
"Segway, right."
"And the inventor didn't die. He's American. The British guy who bought the company died riding on it."
"I knew someone died."
"You were right."
"I remember the important stuff."
"Yes, you do."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

How To Garden, Metaphorically

Grass or weeds? Your guess is as good as mine.

Oh, the garden. The SJG garden, to be exact. A symbol of my life, doncha know. What's that? It's too early for garden-related metaphors? Well, tough tuchus to you and yours. I'm going there. It's the time of atonement, my friends. I'm in a reflective mood in the garden. The SJG garden, to be exact: Just like life, there are brown patches I could do without. There are bright patches of grass, too, so that's nice. At the moment, there's not enough of the nice stuff in my garden. Most of the pretty grass has died off due to the severe water restrictions that seem cruel, yet necessary. But I'll take what I can get. As Rabbi Bim Bim Baum used to tell the young people at shul, a life without restrictions is an invitation to major tsuris.

Moving on with my sermon, what would my garden look like without weeds that look like grass but are actually weeds? I wouldn't know. What are you asking me this? Every life has weeds that threaten to take over. From afar, like an aerial shot from Mars, the weeds look just like grass, I promise you. But it's an illusion, people. Get a little closer and reality hits you like a meteor. Those weeds are bad news. Invasive and evil. And there's no killing them off. Trust me, I've tried. Those deceptive muthas  keep coming back because that's their job. Do your best to avoid them. Do your best to weed them out, even if it's a temporary fix.

Still with me? To review: Brown patches. Bright patches. Weeds. That's life. But wait, I'm forgetting something. What is it? Ah, yes. Flowers. My favorite part of the SJG Garden. Flowers don't last as long as I'd like here in the garden. They die off and get replaced by other flowers that die off and get replaced. The cycle repeats. The gardener returns. The message is clear. Keep going with the flowers even if they don't last long. Keep planting the flowers. They're the best part of any garden, winter, spring, summer or fall. All you have to do is -- oh, please, you get the picture. Now go do something gardeny before it gets too hot. You're welcome.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Some Regrets


The other night at dance class:
Helen:  Look at Lynne! Her hair's standing straight up like a troll doll.
Lynne: I don't look like a troll doll.
SJG:  You look like Pebbles.
Lynne:  I loved Pebbles.
Helen:  I loved troll dolls.
SJG:  I had a mini troll on top of my pencil.
Helen:  I wanted to be a troll.


SJG:  I wanted to be Barbie. I wanted those legs.
Lynne:  Remember the dreamhouse?
SJG:  Remember Skipper? Was she Barbie's little sister or her cousin?
Helen:  Sister. Remember Poindexter?
Lynne:  Poindexter?
Helen:  Ken's friend.
SJG:  I don't remember him.
Helen:  He was a nerd.
SJG:  Remember Barbie's friend Midge? I always thought she was Jewish.
Lynne: Why would you think that?
SJG:  Just a hunch. She had more personality than Barbie.
Helen:  She was the funny sidekick.


SJG:  Worst decision I ever made in my life? I traded in my original Barbie for one with bendable legs.
Lynne:  Why would you do that?
SJG:  I was young and stupid. I thought it would be cool to have Barbie bend her legs.
Helen:  What was the advantage?
SJG:  It was easier to pose her. Original Barbie's legs were so stiff. I should've kept the original.
Lynne:  No one knew back then that Barbie would be collectible.
SJG:  Someone should've stopped me. My mother.
Helen:  It's her fault, definitely.
SJG:  I gave my whole collection of Barbies away to my friend's bratty sister.
Lynne:  Why would you do that?
SJG:  I was an idiot.
Helen:  You've made some really bad choices, haven't you?
SJG:  Apparently. What about you? Did you keep your troll dolls?
Helen:  Of course. I'm not an idiot.
SJG:  That explains the Porsche parked in front.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Fear of Pollen

Dear SJG,
In honor of the Jewish New Year, my brother brought me a lovely bouquet of pollen and a disturbing New Yorker cartoon about pollen. He knows I live in fear of pollen. Pollen is my enemy. Pollen makes me sneeze so much. Pollen hurts my head. Pollen is the bane of my existence. Pollen-wise, it's not good. Is my brother just being ironic or thoughtful? I can't decide.
Thanks,
Pollen Counter

Dear Pollen Counter,
A little of both.
You're welcome,
The SJG

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Visit To Goldblatt's

One of the endless humanitarian perks of being the SJG is that from time to time, someone shares something funny with me, and according to the bylaws of The Society of the Neurotically Inclined, I'm obligated to share it with you, or else. Or else what? Who knows? I don't want to find out. So, this story comes to you courtesy of my friend Bill Stivelman, who begged me not to give him credit, in case his late Great Aunt Kissy Moskowitz reads my blog from the Great Beyond and scolds him, posthumously. Here it is, anyway. I can only hope Bill forgives me for crossing the line... a line, I believe, he crossed by sending me this story in the first place:

Early one Saturday morning after temple, Mrs. Moskowitz arrives at Goldblatt's Department Store in Chicago and goes to the fourth floor. The elevator opens and she's greeted by a young salesman. "How may I help you, ma'am?" he asks. Mrs. Moskowitz replies, "I vant piece sexual furniture." Baffled, the young man doesn't know what to say or what to show her. "I'll go get the manager," he says, and disappears into the back of the store. A few minutes later, the floor manager arrives, instantly recognizes Mrs. Moskowitz, shakes her hand and exchanges niceties about her family and children. "How can I help you today, Mrs. Moskowitz?" he asks. "I vant piece sexual furniture," she explains. The floor manager smiles, politely. "Hmmm. Could you want sectional furniture?" Mrs. Moskowitz looks at him and shrugs. "Sexual. Sectional. All I vant is an occasional piece."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You Can Leave Your Shoes On

I passed through security all agog
Flashed my I.D., name tag and proof of blog
In a world crazy as a barking frog
Such is the way into my synagogue 

Monday, September 14, 2015

I-Shiva: What A Mitzvah

Bagels and lox... corned beef and gefilte fish. 
What more could you want?

"Dude, the Feinbergs are only two blocks away..." Here's a slice of something so wrong, you'll have to atone for watching it. Shout out to Carla for sharing it. Oh, and Happy New Year to you and yours.  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Alphabet For The Aged

Alphabet for the aged
A     arthritis
B     bad back
C     chest pains; cardiac
D     dental decay; decline
E     eyesight
F     fissures; fluid retention
G     gas; gastrointestinal glitches
H     high blood pressure
I     itches
J     joints (stiff)
K     knees
L     libido
M     memory; memory; memory
N     nerve (pinched); neurosis
O     osteo-(anything)
P     psoriasis
Q     queasiness
R     reflux
S     sleeplessness
T     tinnitus
U     urinary
V     vertigo
W     worry
X     X ray
Y     years gone by
Z     zeal (undiminished)
The flasher
Sadie, an elderly Jewish lady, is leaving the garment district to go home from work. Suddenly a man who has been walking towards her stands in front of her, blocks her path, opens up his raincoat and flashes his wares in all their sordid glory. Unruffled, Sadie takes a look and remarks, "This you call a lining?" 

Coffee maker 
Maurice and Becky are arguing over who should brew the coffee each morning.
Becky says, "As you get up first in the morning, Maurice, you should make it. Then we won't have to wait too long for our coffee."
"But you’re in charge of all the cooking," replies Maurice. "That’s your job, so you should make it. And if I have to wait for my coffee in the morning, well, I don't mind."
"But it says in the bible that the man should make the coffee," says Becky
"OK," responds Maurice, "if you can show me where it says that, I’ll never question you again."
Next day, Becky borrows a bible from her neighbor and shows Maurice that on the top of several pages it indeed says Hebrews!

http://www.awordinyoureye.com/jokes47thset.html

Saturday, September 12, 2015

An Incident In Sherman Oaks

"The SJG is making a scene again." "Oh, goodie. Let's go watch." 

And in other news, a certain short Jewish gal who hails from a long line of panicky Russians went ballistic in Gelson's on Friday afternoon, when she saw the price of brisket. "TEN DOLLARS A POUND?!" she ranted to no one in particular. "Are you out of your godforsaken minds?" Flailing her arms, dramatically, she lost her footing, stumbled backwards and fell tush-first into a mound of shrink-wrapped luxury beef. "Help! Somebody! Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" she cried. Just then, a hunky butcher came to her rescue and yanked her out of the meat case, informing her, "You land on it, you pay for it." "But it was an accident, Mr. Butcher." "It's got your booty imprint. No one's gonna want that slab now. That'll be sixty dollars, ma'am." "Oh, really? What if I refuse to pay on principle?" "Refuse all you want. But you and your badonkadonk will be banned from the premises."

"You wouldn't dare." "Would, too." "Wouldn't." "Would." "Oh, fine," she said, handing over an Israeli bond. "This should cover it. And I'll take that fryer medley, too. And throw in some extra wings. I've earned it." "Sorry. We don't take bonds. Just credit cards, cash, checks and first-born grandchildren," said the muscle-bound vendor. "Oy veysmere, are you in need of some serious atonement, mister," she said. "I'm just doing my job, ma'am. I don't make the rules." "Well, this six-pounder better be tender as the night, or you'll be hearing from my attorney, Mordecai Von Trapp." With that, she turned on her Achilles heel, stormed out with the brisket and the chicken and the 52 other items she'd purchased under duress, certain she'd forgotten something important on account of the badgering butcher. Her only hope was that it would come to her later. And it did. At 3 a.m., she sat up in bed, yelled, "Peas! I forgot the eff'n peas!" and went back to sleep.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Go Ahead, Make A Tzimmes

Hard to predict how many times someone will say, "Don't make a big tzimmes" at my Rosh Hashanah dinner Sunday night. Once my mother-in-law's tzimmes hits the table, I know I'll say it at least once and my brother John will say it at least twice. After all, it's fun to say and sums up our family dynamic. Historically, we're big tzimmes-makers. Take my mother-in-law, the decorator. For years she talked about getting a computer. But before she could get a computer (and learn how to use it) she had to get the downstairs bedroom just right. Over and over, we told her she doesn't need a special room, a laptop can go anywhere, on the kitchen counter, on the dining room table. So she'd sit there and smile, pretending to listen, but what she was really doing was envisioning how to make the same room she's reinvented 82 times look fabulous. A tzimmes of epic proportions, one that involves finding the perfect sofa and the perfect fabric and a lengthy debate over whether to leave the carpet or sand the floor, lose the dated shutters or refinish them. Oh, and what about the pillows that would tie the computer room all together? The pillows were the key to the makeover.

The good news: Eventually, she found the right everything, after scouring the city, and the result of the redo was stunning. (Stunning is a big word in her vocabulary.) And then she got the computer. And learning how to use it became a sizable tzimmes. Sunday night, I'll make a big tzimmes over her tzimmes once again. "This is the best tzimmes you've ever made," I'll tell my mother-in-law. "If Betty Crocker had a tzimmes cook-off, you'd win, hands down."

Here's my mother-in-law's recipe, more or less. God forbid someone in my family should write down a recipe. She's never put a mandarin orange in a tzimmes, that much I do know, but go ahead if it speaks to you.

SWEET POTATO AND CARROT TZIMMES

12 c. salted water
6 med. (about 3 lbs.) sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
1 lb. carrots, peeled & diced
Salt, to taste
Vegetable oil for pan
1/2 c. pitted prunes, halved
1 c. orange juice
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained (optional)
1 can mandarin orange pieces, drained (optional)
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and carrots and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash. Add salt. Place in a greased 6 quart casserole with the prunes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine orange juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour over sweet potatoes. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover and taste. If tzimmes tastes sweet enough, dot with butter, bake uncovered for 15 minutes more. Otherwise, add pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges, then dot with butter and bake an additional 15 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Hot Report

And now, the weather bitch at SJG-TV will update you on, what else, the weather: "It'll be hot today. Hot hot hot! Oh, and hot tomorrow. And the day after. I'm talking frickin' hot, as in stick your keppy in the fridge hot. The key word here is hot. What part of hot aren't you getting? It's so alarmingly hot, you'll need a famous rock god to follow you around all day in search of a plug. That came out wrong. Get your mind out of the gutter. You know what I mean. Or maybe you don't because your brain just melted from the heat. Either way, stay hydrated, bitches."
David Bowie in search of a plug.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Evidence Is In

The evidence is in. The way to be happy is to do the exact opposite of what I do. Follow these simple rules and you're good. Do what I do (overthink, obsess, linger in the past, rinse and repeat) and you may as well pack it in. But as long as you don't let your mind wander into dark terrain; as long as you don't dwell on the negative (this sucks, that sucks, what doesn't suck?); as long as you contemplate your pipik for five to ten minutes daily (breathe out, breathe in, ommmmm); as long as you don't multi-task (kibbitz, text, polka, reupholster, juggle, simultaneously) you'll be so much happier than the SJG. So listen to me, peeps. Live in the moment. Stay put. Don't trespass. Don't mosey off into your unhappy place. Don't do what I do. Do the exact opposite, and you'll be fine.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

This Is How I Kugel

In case you haven't noticed, because let's face it, your attention span isn't what it used to be, lately, I've been dropping plenty kugel references. Why is that? Why do you think? It's time for our annual kugel tutorial, in time for Rosh Hashanah. 

When you Kugel, you bring happiness to those around you. To Kugel is to make people smile, clap their hands and do a little hora around the dining room. To Kugel is so easy, just about anybody can do it and not mess up. I’d go so far as to say that Kugeling is practically fool-proof. I say practically because to Kugel well requires a dash of common sense. For generations, many have fought a precarious battle: how to Kugel with discretion. It can be done, I assure you, and the SJG is here to guide you. To Kugel wisely, you must fight the urge to open your cabinets, collect everything at eye level and dump it all into the pan. To Kugel is to show some restraint.
As the Jewish New Year kicks off at the end of the week, you may be inclined to add fruit to the mix. Cherries. Raisins. Pineapple. Fine. Just don’t go overboard, my friends. Pick one fruit. ONE. You’ll thank me later.
You may be tempted to use sour cream. What kind? Original? Light? Fat Free? Vegan? Be smart. Don’t block anyone’s arteries in the process. You don’t need Uncle Seymour’s future by-pass clogging up your conscience, now do you?
Step back from the fridge and ask yourself the following: How much does my Kugel really need? What is my High Holiday goal? To bake a Kugel heavier than a truckload of bricks? Or to cook up a slice of heaven, light enough to enjoy seconds, if not thirds? Will I Kugel like a mensch? Will I repent my Kugeling ways come Yom Kippur? The choice, of course, is yours. To Kugel is to exercise free will. Everyone Kugels differently. It’s what makes the world go round.

The SJG’s Kugel:
1 pound wide noodles (cooked)
7 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 pint low fat cottage cheese
3 cups reduced fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter (melted)
1 cup raisins
1 cup Corn flake crumbs
Mix together all ingredients except corn flakes. Place mixture into greased casserole. Refrigerate overnight. Next day, sprinkle with corn flake crumbs. Bake at 350 for an hour and a half. Enjoy.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Your Royal SJG Has Spoken

                                                        (courtesy of Albert Mellinkoff III)

"I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to supreme silliness of the highest order."

"Fill'er up with Ethel."

"It's all to do with the shlepping; you can shlep a lot if you've got enough gas in the tank, and I'm not just speaking, metaphorically."



"To what greater inspiration and counsel can we turn than to the truth to be found in this treasure house, 'The Complete Works of Charles M. Schultz'? In moments of doubt, I ask myself, 'What would Snoopy do? What would Charlie Brown do? What would Lucy do? What would -- oh, you get the picture. If I can figure out what the Peanuts Gang would do in any given situation, I'm in better shape than the majority of the human race."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Volume Control

Jungle version of SJG

It's true, I have an issue with volume, and I'm not just speaking about my hair. Hair-wise, I could use more volume. Much more. Ear-wise, I could use less. Much less. I'm forever complaining about the noise level in my house. Has this endeared me to my family? Let me think about that. No. The menfolk like things loud. TV? Loud. Video games? Loud. Music? Loud. Everything? Loud.
The SJG is a dainty soul. I like things quiet. Has it made for some conflict? Only on a daily basis. The moment the sons popped out of my anatomy, they started wailing. It only got worse from there. Soon they were wailing on each other, punching and pummeling each other into the ground in a very noisy fashion. My frequent requests and endless threats were met with hysterical, testosterone-driven laughter and lifetime memberships to the World Wrestling Federation.
Where did I go wrong?

On Saturday, after UCLA beat the crap out of some other team, I asked the youngest, in my subtle way, "Is the game over? I'm turning off the TV." This simple question inspired him to mimic his one and only mother, giving me a Brooklyn accent, even though he knows I was born in a car in Los Angeles. A sample of his cruel impersonation, which he secretly recorded and sent to his equally loud brother via Snapchat:
1. Can you turn it down, please?
2. What's going on up there?
3. When you have your own house, you can make as much noise as you want.
4. What's with all the noise?
5. Turn it down or I'm ripping it out of the wall.
6. Why is it so @#$%ing loud?
7. The walls are shaking!
8. Just once, could you show some consideration?
9. I can still hear it.
10. If you need me, I'll be in my padded cell at the institution.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Mrs. Seriously Neurotic

                                                (cartoon by Roz Chast)

The Short Jewish Gal is getting a new medal to go alongside her many Mommies and Academy of Kvetchers Awards: an honor from The Society of Extreme Worriers. The internationally-acclaimed blogger, who spends vast amounts of time fretting, nagging and enabling, was just named a Member of the Order of the Seriously Neurotic (MSN). Her award for service to her family, who've given her a lifetime supply of small, medium and large stuff she continues to sweat, no matter how many times you tell her all that worrying doesn't change anything, caps 57 years of asking the same question over and over again: "Why Me?" Contacted in her palatial home in Sherman Oaks, the SJG had this to say about the esteemed honor.
"Silver? You couldn't spring for gold?"

"Thanks a lot for this nice medal, guys. You have no idea how long I've waited for some kind of recognition. Although gold would've been better. But this is fine. And the satin banner pegging me as Mrs. Seriously Neurotic was a special bonus. I will wear it everywhere I go, including the shower. Or is that a bad idea? Do I have to get it dry cleaned? Was it made in the USA? I won't wear anything produced by forced labor. You should know that about me. Although my own labors were plenty forced, let me tell you. They kept yelling, 'Don't push!' 'Don't push!' To which I screamed, 'How am I supposed to get this thing out of me without pushing?' I'm still waiting for an answer. In the meantime, I continue to push my sons. If it weren't for me, they'd still be in kindergarten, learning how to read and hold a pencil. Sometimes, you've got to push the ones you love, or they never get anywhere. Am I right? But enough about me. In one sweeping gesture you've done what years of therapy couldn't. You've given me a medal for my assorted unresolved issues. You've made me very proud. So, hugs and kisses for that. Mwwwwaaaaaah!"

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Little Twisted

Dear SJG,
I'm feeling like a twisted challah of nerves. My 108-year-old Not-So-Great Auntie Gert is threatening to come to Rosh Hashanah dinner. I'm terrified she'll plotz before the brisket's sliced. Plus, I've already set the table and there's no room for her minyan of caregivers. Is there a diplomatic way to handle this delicate situation?
Thanks,
Yeast Likely to Rise to the Occasion

Dear Yeast Likely,
Cancel the dinner. Who needs the aggravation?
You're welcome,
The SJG

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Never Wake A Sleeping Woman

When is the last time I overslept? Hmm. Traditionally, I tend to undersleep. So this is a tough one. Let me think about it. Don't pressure me. You're so impatient, you. The last time I overslept was... wait... it's coming to me. Oh, right. This morning. This morning I overslept, selfishly neglecting the rules embedded in my keppy, whether or not they still apply.
Rule #1:
Get tush out of bed by 6:20. Adoring sons need shlepping to public shul.
Revised Rule #1:
Oh, right. Sons no longer need shlepping. They can shlep themselves wherever they need to go. Or take Uber.
Rule # 2;
Let hubby get his tush out of bed by 6:20. The Elderly Eccentric Pup needs shlepping at a snail's pace around the neighborhood.
Revised Rule #2:
Oh right, this still applies. Have I got hubby well-trained, or what?
Rule #3:
Get tush out of bed by 7.
Revised Rule #3:
Or stay in bed. Milk it as long as possible. Here's what I've learned the hard way. Until I get out of bed, the universe revolves around me. Once I step foot on the luxurious yet affordable bamboo, all bets are off. So now and then, I oversleep. In this way, I accidentally grab an extra moment of "me" time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wolfgang Meets The SJG

"Excuse me.... but... is it... is it really you? The Short Jewish Gal?"
"Yes, Wolfgang. It's me. Who else would it be?"
"Someone I don't idolize from afar."
"Oh, Wolfie. Don't stop there. Tell me more."
"I've always wanted to meet you."
"What? Me? Why?"
"Because of the kugel."
"You know from kugel?"
"I know from your kugel."
"Dear God in heaven, you're making me kvell all over the tablecloth."
"And you, SJG, are making me happy as a fresh butter clam."
"So, tell me, what's with your kugel obsession?"
"May I sit down and tell you?"
"It's your place. You can do whatever you want."
"Thank you. Just yesterday, I Googled kugel, and up came your recipe."
"Get out of town!"
"I can't leave just yet."
"Fair enough. Continue."
"I'm thinking of adding kugel to the menu for the Jewish holidays. Using your recipe."
"Smart man."
"I'm thinking it's a perfect pizza topping."
"Kugel Pizza? God forbid. Sorry, Wolfie, but that would never fly with my people. Kugel deserves its own universe. You throw it on dough, you're looking at tsuris."
"What if I call it the SJG Kugel Pizza?"
"On second thought, the SJG Kugel Pizza is exactly what the world needs right now."
"I thought you'd like it."
"Like it? Try love it. Especially if my pizza winds up in the frozen section at Gelson's. It'll be a mob scene. They'll be lining up around the block. This could be the international sensation you've been waiting for."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, SJG."
"Wolfie, you want to use my recipe or not?"

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Society of Delusional Thinkers

Oy vey, I turn around, I dance the hora, and it's practically Rosh Hashanah. How did that happened? Wait, I know. The Jewish Holidays are weather-related. If it's hot and muggy, it must be time to dip those apples in honey and wish people you know, and some you don't, a sweet New Year. And yet, there's nothing new about this High Holiday Heat Factor. Every year, those of us who are still allowed in temple dress nicely and off we go again, fighting for a good seat, hoping that fellow congregants don't cough and sneeze and spread germs and kibbitz throughout the service. Between leaving the house and parking, however, we realize we should never have worn this skirt, those shoes, that dress, but we did, didn't we, and now we must suffer till the shofar blows. Then we can go home, strip naked and jump into the pool, whether it's our pool or somebody else's. Not to worry, though. The SJG has special powers. At least I like to think so, otherwise, I'd be shunned by the S.S.J.D.T. (Society of Short Jewish Delusional Thinkers) and we can't have that, can we?
"Actually, these aren't bad times to be delusional."
Much like my much-missed father, I've decided I can control the weather. Whether or not this is true, is beside the point. If I say I can, I can. It worked for him during WWII, when he made it rain so they wouldn't have to fly dangerous missions over Germany. Why shouldn't it work for me? Why shouldn't I be able to turn down the big temperature gauge in the sky and make it cooler, so that my Spanx don't stick to the reupholstered chair my temple dues helped pay for?
So, I'm planning to take charge of this situation. I'm planning to turn the temp down to a respectable 87 degrees. We can live with that, can't we? What? Not good enough. Oh, fine. You ask so much of me. I'll make it 86, maybe 85, in time for Rosh Hashanah. After that, you're on your own. I can't do everything for you. You need to take responsibility, too, you know. I can't enable you for life. Or maybe I can. On second thought, just tell me what you want. I'll make it happen. In this way, I'm somewhat delusional.