Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Final Bagel of 2016

The SJG would like to take this time to toast you all with this nicely-toasted sesame bagel, the final bagel of 2016. Don't worry, you. I didn't eat the whole bagel. I split it with hubby. The last time I ate an entire bagel was... I can't remember. To eat an entire bagel, sesame, onion or otherwise, is a splurge-o-rama I rarely allow myself. Yes, that's the kind of self-control I've exhibited in 2016. Why? I'll tell you why.
Because in 2016, it's taken every ounce of strength in my aging anatomy to stop me, not just from eating a whole bagel, but from running down the street, screaming at the top of my lungs, about this, that and don't even get me started on the other. I hope to maintain the same kind of astonishing self-control in 2017, and I wish you the same.

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year's Eve Party Etiquette

Dear SJG,
I'm invited to a swanky-ass New Year's Eve party with people who think they're better than me. When is the right time to announce that actually, I'm much better than them?
Myrtle of Monrovia

Dear Myrtle,
A group text before the party should get things off to a fun start.
You're Welcome,
Dear SJG,
I'm invited to my neighbor's Nudist New Year's Eve party. I can't figure out what to wear. Any suggestions?
Burt of Burbank

Dear Burt,
Nothing comes to mind.
You're Welcome,
"Did someone say party?"
Dear SJG,
I'm not invited to any New Year's Eve parties this year. Is it okay to go door to door till I find a party my pet snake Sheldon would like to attend?
Sheldon's Mommy

Dear Sheldon's Mommy,
Go for it. And make sure Sheldon gives the host a goodnight hiss at midnight.
You're Welcome,

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Look Under The Protective Ice

Debbie Reynolds dying one day after Carrie Fisher. How to wrap your keppy around the Greek tragedy of that? It's not possible. So I'm compulsively watching scenes from my favorite Debbie movies. "Singin' in the Rain." Of course. And this one, from "Mother."

And this one, from "In & Out." At some point, it may register that Debbie Reynolds has danced off into the sunset, a few steps behind her beloved daughter. But there's no guarantee it will ever sink in.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

RIP: 2016

"Not everything sucks, dear." 

The consensus is pretty much universal: 2016 has been the suckiest year in a long time. Every year has its sucky parts. It wouldn't be a year if some of it didn't suck. Has there ever been a perfect year? I'm no expert, even though I play one in my own private blogosphere, and yet, I have it on good authority that no year zips by in a happy blur of "that was easy." For me, this year got off to a rocky start. Then things got better. Then they got weird. Then sad. Then better. Much better. Then weird again. I did a lot of re-grouping in 2016. I yelled a lot at the TV. I'm pretty sure the people on the flat screen didn't hear me. But it felt good, anyway. No matter how sucky this year got, no matter how many beloved icons and brilliant minds went that-away, there's still plenty to laugh about. So I'm just going to stay the course. That's my plan. In 2017, I will laugh my tush off. Join me, won't you? It's much better than the alternative.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

There's A Term For That

Did you know there's a term for Groucho's eye roll? Well, there is, at least according to my dad, who popped into a dream early this morning: "Daddy, can you drive me home?" I ask. "Sorry," he says. "I've got to stay. Mike Nichols just gave me crazy cousin eyes." "Crazy cousin eyes? What's that?" "It's the eye roll someone gives you when someone else is talking and they sound meshuganah."  Well, that clears that up. Thanks for the visit, Daddy, and the wonderful new expression. I'm so glad you're hanging out with Mike Nichols. You always liked him. Oh, and Daddy? Come back any time. I love it when you stop by.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Halavah Revelation

On Christmas, or if you prefer, Hanukkah, Day Two, it hit me like a block of halavah, or if you prefer, halva -- the shocking revelation that maybe I can't always control the universe. Naturally, I blame my father for this misdirect. He raised me to believe he could control the weather (and just about everything else) and encouraged me to exercise the same sort of mastery over my own life. The results have been iffy. When it comes to my sons, I've done my best to empower them, even from afar. For the past few days, I've texted the following all-knowing statement to the eldest, currently in France for the holidays, with only the clothes he wore on the plane: "Your luggage will arrive tomorrow." Well, it didn't, and soon he was begging for underwear, sweaters and socks; pilfering pants and shirts from the charming hosts who'd welcomed him into their home. Once again, I commanded the universe to get its kaka together. The universe ignored the SJG. The universe had more important things on its mind. Can you imagine?
And then, today, the results of my omnipotence paid off. His luggage finally arrived. Just as I said it would. I knew I could do it. I've still got it. Next assignment.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Things We Say On Christmas

1. "It's Christmas, Blakey, no barking." 
2. "It's Christmas, Blakey, no whining."
3. "It's Christmas, Blakey, no growling."
4. "It's Christmas, Blakey, no jumping."
5. "It's Christmas, Blakey, no farting."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

It's A Maytag!

Joy to the world!

Our precious gift has arrived

Moishe Maytag

December 23rd

5:15 p.m.

200 lbs.

27 x 27 x 44

Delivered by Lowe's

Welcomed by the SJG & hubby 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Don't Let The Red Nose Fool You

"And the best part is, I'm Jewish."
Dear SJG,
I have a friend who has money coming out of her tush. As far as I know, it's not a medical condition.  Every Christmas, she gives me an insanely expensive gift. Last year, she gave me a deer named Rudolph. For 365 days, Rudolph has followed me around, destroyed furniture, and eaten all the good bagels. Sure, he's cute, with his red nose and spunky demeanor, but it's enough already. I've had it with him. Plus, he doesn't get along well with our new dog, Sir Blakey. Will I rot in hell if I send Rudolph packing?
Done with the Deer

Dear Done,
Don't look a gift deer in the mouth.
You're welcome,

Thursday, December 22, 2016


(Sherman Oaks) The Short Jewish Gal is ecstatic to announce her cross-platform mobile messaging app called VatsNu? Developed by a team of expert worriers, VatsNu? lets delightfully obsessive parents exchange brief but meaningful messages with their offspring traveling abroad. A quick hit of reassurance might go something like this: "VatsNu? It's Mom, the nice lady who gave birth to you, made your lunch and tucked you in at night. Nothing since yesterday. Are you alive?" Answer: "No Wi-Fi."

Even better, VatsNu? uses the same internet data plan you use for everyday nagging, and it costs you bupkis. The psychological debt, however, runs a bit steeper. After all, aren't you the dummy who encouraged them to leave the nest? Who said, "Please! Go and do! Have a great time! Explore! Meet people you'd never want to associate with in real life. You're only young once. Or so I hear. I was born old and am getting older by the minute."

The good news doesn't stop there. VatsNu? is available for myPhone, hisPhone, herPhone, ourPhone and theirPhone. In addition to unlimited global pestering, you can also share endearing images...

... like this one by Roz Chast

... that sum up your fragile state of mind as your carefree kiddies tour Paris, Amsterdam and Rome, places you haven't visited since Jimmy Carter was in office.

Ah, Paree... I went there once, B.T. (Before Texting)

So c'mon, you. Vat are you waiting for? Download VatsNu? and in under two seconds, you too can send love and guilt to your children from faraway Sherman Oaks. And it's free!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Condolence Call

A nice box of Vicktor Benes makes a condolence call go better.

When you've known people a very long time, going on 40 years, you can find humor in anything, even while paying a condolence call.
"How're you doing?" I ask the widow.
"I'm okay," she says. Then, this. "You look much prettier in person than you do in your Facebook photo."
"Oh. Um, thank you?"
"You do."
"You're shrinking."
"Have you been talking to my sons?"
"I don't need to talk to them to know you're shrinking."
"I used to be a lot taller."
"Me, too."

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Here's To The Ones Who Dream

Sometimes, a gal, specifically, a short one raised on a steady diet of bagels, lox and Hollywood dreams, has to rave about something wonderful, something other than a couple humans I birthed a few years back. That something is "La La Land," starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Yes, it's a musical, but the kind even hubby could enjoy and not fall asleep watching, and if that's not a ringing endorsement, what is? So, before this crappy-ass, are-you-kidding-me year ends with a big ol' thud, and not soon enough, please, listen to your SJG and go see "La La Land." Whatever you're doing right now, Stop, Drop and Roll your tush to the nearest cineplex. Why? I'll tell you why. Because this film will transport you into a magical dimension you won't want to leave, but after two hours, you'll have to leave, or they'll charge you extra for watching it again. Which, given the state of the world, wouldn't be such a bad thing. Double click to double your pleasure.

Monday, December 19, 2016

I'm Dreaming...

Dear SJG,
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, or maybe a green one, which would be better for the environment. And yet, based on what's going on in my backyard, I'm pretty sure it's going to be muddy one. It's nothing but damp dirt, torn up grass and trampled landscaping. I'm looking for someone to blame. Any thoughts?
Thank you,
Backyard Blamer

Dear Blamer,
I'm thinking the Professional Squirrel Chaser may have something to do with the sad state of your yard. The way he runs back and forth, stirring up trouble, would explain the disaster zone that once qualified for a nice spread in House and Garden. If I were you, I'd sit that doggy down and give him a good talking-to. He may not understand a thing you say, but at least you will have tried, and in this very trying world, that should count for something.
You're Welcome,

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Drain & Spin

It's the latest dance craze to hit Sherman Oaks since... um... forever. It's the Drain & Spin! So, what is it and how quickly can you learn it? Calm down. I'm about to show you. The Drain & Spin is a jazzy jig inspired by the SJG's rapidly-failing, soon-to-be-replaced washing machine. You heard me. The Drain & Spin is laundry-inspired. The Drain & Spin is an extra cycle anyone doing the laundry over here, and by anyone, I mean me, has to endure in order to wring the sogginess out of the wet clothing before tossing it in the dryer. As an extra bonus, the Drain & Spin goes with any music. The SJG likes to do the Drain & Spin to Beethoven's 5th Hanukkah Hora, or The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited." It just depends on my mood, which tends to oscillate, much like my washing machine. So. Are you ready? Okay! Let's do the Drain & Spin, bitches!

Part 1: The Drain

Slowly melt to the floor, sideways, as all hope and joy drain right out of your aging anatomy and deposit you into the abyss.

Part 2: The Spin 

Okay! You've made your point. Now get up off at that floor! And spin! Spin wildly, round and round and round, like Stephen Colbert. Faster, faster. Spin till it feels like your keppy is going to explode. Mazel tov! You've done the Drain & Spin. Now sit down and rest. You've done enough dancing for one day.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On This Day

On this day 25 years ago, the SJG did the following:
a. Begged for drugs
b. Cried in pain
c. Kvelled with relief
d. All of the above

On this day 25 years ago, the SJG screamed the following:
a. "@#$%!" "@#$%!" @#$%!"
b. "Sh*t that hurts!"
c. "Get this thing out of me now!"
d. All of the above

On this day 25 years ago, the SJG delivered the following:
a. A future soccer fan
b. A future basketball fan
c. A future rapper
d. All of the above

On this day 25 years ago, the SJG gave birth to the following:
a. A wonderful human
b. A hilarious mensch
c. A bundle of Jewish joy
d. This naked guy on the left.

The youngest and the eldest, who bring me such naches,
as opposed to nachos, which they've never brought me, 
not even once.

Friday, December 16, 2016

What Your Hanukkah Bush Says About You

As a faux Talmudic scholar, the SJG can tell you there's no mention of a Hanukkah bush in the Torah. Now, I know there's a story about a burning bush. But it's not burning due to an epic Menorah-lighting fail. So, for Moses' sake, how did the Hanukkah bush come about? Let me think about it. I have no idea. But it must be important, otherwise, why would I bother blogging about it? 
Wildly colorful: Just like you, a natural-born narcissist (but in a good way) your Hanukkah bush says, "Look at me. Why aren't you looking at me? Look. At. Me." You're a whimsical bundle, a hot mess, a gal or guy who can't get through life without a pop of color and non-stop recognition. Let's face it. It's fun to get a little attention now and then, isn't it? 
Weird and avant grade: Just like everything else in your life, you just can't stick to the norm. You have to be "out there." You put the fartsy in artsy-fartsy. God forbid you should pick a normal Hanukkah bush, like the Hornblatts next door. You have to make your own Wooden Wonder Bush, made from repurposed lumber, as a reminder of your time in art school, when your professors kept telling you that you had no artistic talent, whatsoever. But that didn't stop you then, and it certainly hasn't stopped you now. Your Hanukkah bush is a testimony to your "creativity," damn it. 
Minimalist: Just like your life, your Hanukkah bush is sad and empty, because you have no imagination or friends. Everyone has disowned you. The SJG is depressed on your behalf. Your Hanukkah bush is unworthy and pathetic. Please, either step it up and get a life, or put the bush out on the curb and let someone else make it pretty.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Past The Expiration Date

Oh, my peeps, my personal support team, I must tell you what happened yesterday. I'm shaking as I write this, that's how deep the trauma goes. Or maybe it's my eighth cup of coffee. I was out walking Sir Blakey, or should I say, Sir Blakey was out-walking me, when we passed a bunch of hot, manly crew members involved in yet another @#$%'n commercial filming in my neighborhood. Why don't they ever ask to film commercials in my palatial estate and pay me the money? I'll tell you why. Because I don't live in a super-modern, just-built house. If that's not a shanda, what is? I'm about to tell you. So, we're walking past the manly man, and one of them, the youngest crew member, says, "Wow, that's one beautiful -- "

Okay, here's where you get to play along. Fill in the blank and win a prize if you guess, correctly. "Wow, that's one beautiful -- "
a. Gluteus Maximus
b. Cosmetically-Enhanced Smile
c. Dog

Let's just say that right after he'd issued his assessment, an alert started going off on my iPhone. "Beep, beep, beep. You have just reached your expiration date. Please return to the factory for an upgrade." At first, I didn't quite understand what had triggered this harsh judgment. Aw, but then it hit me like a soggy, uncooked latke. When a man pays your dog a compliment, and not you, it's time to admit you're no longer the hunk-magnet you once were. I think I can live with that.

Show of hands. How many of you answered "a"?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Life-Changing Quotes

"Don't you hate when people make quote marks?"

"The greatest gift of life is friendship, and a singing bagel."

"Life is really simple, but we keep eff'n it up."
"A good kvetch makes the world less crappy." 

"Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booty." 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hanukkah

It's beginning to look a lot like Hanukkah,
Ev'rywhere you go.
Take a look in the Target bin,
You'll find dreidels that will spin,
And candles that will glow. 

It's beginning to look a lot like Hanukkah,
Jews in traffic stall.
But the luckiest Jew to peep,
'Tis the one who left her Jeep,
And Ubered to the mall.

It's beginning to look a lot like Hanukkah,
Latkes, two by two.  
And the thing that you won't believe, 
It all starts on Christmas eve,
So now Santa's a Jew.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Waitress, Studio City Edition

It's true, the SJG has never been a waitress. I think they passed a law back in the '70s. "Never allow this short silly person to carry a hot plate in the vicinity of customers." So fine. I never waited on people, professionally. Hang on, that's not true. I've spent my entire career waiting on people. Waiting for them to decide things that will help me, professionally. But that's not what this blog is about today. It's about Trish, the delightful waitress Albert and I encountered at a Studio City cafe. She's of the chatty variety, a gal who simply loves her job. Well, it filled me with holiday joy. It did!
"What sign are you?" Trish asked us, as opposed to, "What would you like to order?" It's probably my fault. I told her we were celebrating Albert's birthday. Yeah, I got the ball rolling.
"Capricorn," I said.
"Scorpio," Albert said. I've known him since 2nd grade. This is the first mention of his astrological sign. And most likely, the last.
"I'm a Sagittarius," Trish said. "My boyfriend is a Virgo. He's so adorably judgy. I just love it."
"Really?" I asked.
"I just think it's so cute the way he looks at me and rolls his eyes."
Here Albert and I looked at each other. Cute and judgy don't often go together.
"Let's check back in a few years," I said. "You might not find the whole judgy thing so adorable then."
Trish smiled. "Oh, I doubt it. I think he's great."
Oy, to be young again.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

From The Beginning

It's one of those songs that stays with you forever. The meaning changes over time. When you're a young SJG with a huge unrequited crush on a high school senior, it's all the about yearning for romance. Let's face it, you've been a romantic from the git-go. This song is for you. When you're a little older, and you meet the guy who'll turn into the man you're going to marry, it means even more. He's the one. This song is for both you. So thank you, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, for "From the Beginning" and thank you, Greg Lake, for your gorgeous vocals. Rest in peace.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Regifting Made Easy

It's the thought that counts.

Some of the gifts the SJG plans to re-distribute this holiday season:
1. Disco mirror ball party nightlight still in original box.
2. Gilded, automatic matzoh-breaker, for those times when you're just too tired to break matzoh yourself.
3. Farbissina, the verbally-abusive, Yiddish-speaking Cabbage Patch doll that never caught on. A collector's item!
4. Stylish latke transporter. Keeps latkes warm for a while.
5. Offensive Statement Necklace, guaranteed to get the conversation going in the wrong direction.
6. Menorah-lighting lessons.
7. Super sexy, slightly-worn orthopedic slippers.
8. "I Made It Out of Clay" driedel-maker.
9. Rhinestone-studded pooper scooper.
10. Scolding Rabbi Garden Sculpture.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Not Tonight, Dear

"Please, Leah, please." 
"Oh leave me alone, Moshe." 
"But it won't take long." 
"If I do, I won't be able to sleep afterwards." 
"Well, if you don’t, I won’t be able to sleep either." 
"Why do you have to think of such a thing just before I go to sleep?" 
"Because I'm hot, hot, hot, that’s why, Leah." 
"You always get hot at the wrong times, Moshe." 
"If you really loved me, you wouldn’t be making me beg you." 
"Well, if you really loved me, you'd be more considerate." 
"Don’t you love me anymore?" 
"Of course I do, Moshe, but let's forget it for tonight." 
"Oh please, Leah." 
"OK, OK, I'll do it - anything for a quiet life!" 
"What's taking so long?" 
"I can't find it." 
"Oh, for heaven's sake, Leah, feel for it." 
"There! Now are you satisfied?" 
"Oy vey, that's good." 
"Is it up far enough?" 

"Yes, oh yes." 
"Now go to sleep and next time you want the window open, open it yourself."

Thursday, December 8, 2016

If You Lie Down With Dogs...

...You will get up early. 

This morning's conversation, starting at 5 a.m.:
"No, Blakey."
"Blakey, no."
"Sleep, Blakey."
"Blakey, sleep!"
"Too early, Blakey."
"Shush, Blakey."
"Blakey, shush."
"Sleep time."
"Stop jumping on Daddy."
"Okay, let's go, Blakey, it's 6 o'clock."
"It is?"
"Oh @#$%! It's 5 o'clock."
"Not yet, Blakey."
"Blakey, not yet."
"Sleep, Blakey."
"Blakey, sleep!"
"He wants to go out."
"Not yet, Blakey."
"Blakey, not yet."
"No whining, Blakey."
"Blakey, no whining."
"Oh, @#$% it. Let's go, Blakey."
"But it's still dark."
"It's fine."
"It's too early."
"Not to him."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Silly Pills: Extra Strength

When I was a little SJG, my mother used to say, "Did you take your silly pill today?" She'd say it when I giggled with a friend, or made myself giggle, or even better, made her giggle. There was nothing more fun than making my mom giggle. Her giggle was infectious.
Someone should've bottled that giggle and sold it door to door. Along with a nice bottle of Silly Pills. Giggles and silliness. What the world needs now. An extra strength dosage.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

SJG Appreciation Month

There are so many ways to deliver a warm and fuzzy heartfelt holiday 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 yesterday. Why yesterday? It was SJG Appreciation Day, silly. 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 can still make up for your hideously hurtful mistake. I've just declared December SJG Appreciation Month. I'll take my appreciation in any form: Gelt. Gifts. Giveaways. When it comes to swag, the SJG says, "Gimme." Hanukkah doesn't start till sundown, Christmas Eve. So step it up, people. Step. It. Up. There's still time to spoil me. Get busy.

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's About Time

"Tantala's Time Travel Agency. What time would you like to visit?"
"A nice time, where things were nice."
"Could you be more specific, please?"
"A simpler time."
"Go on."
"A time before Twitter."
"The '90s?"
"I'm thinking simpler."
"The '80's?"
"Shoulder pads? Pass."
"The '70s?"
"Bell bottoms? No."
"The '60s?"
"A little too turbulent."
"The 50s?"
"A little too rigid."
"The 40s?"
"Great music. But a world war. Next."
"The '30s?"
"Too much Depression."
"Are you sure you want to go back in time,  ma'am?"
"Well, I sure as hell don't want to go forward."