Sunday, January 31, 2016

NYT Endorses SJG

It is with confidence, enthusiasm and unbridled kvelling that the New York Times formally endorses the Short Jewish Gal as President of the United States of Neuroses. Her main opponent is, who else? Herself. Every day, the SJG battles her irrational thoughts, anxiety and obsessive worrying.  Every day, the winner is a toss-up. Some days, her demons get the best of her, and some days, she kicks them swiftly to the curb. Naturally, she welcomes her issues back the next day with open arms. When else will you have the chance to elect one of the most broadly and deeply overqualified Presidents of Neuroses in modern history? Must we list our reasons? Fine. The SJG is a strong advocate of repeated attempts at therapy to combat the plague of mishegas that surrounds her and everyone else she knows. Moreover, her shopping proposal for picking out a nice coffee cake for any sad occasion reflects a rich understanding of the human condition. Who else but the SJG can make a kugel that can heal an entire nation? The SJG is never chintzy with the empathy. Your pain is her pain. She's happy to take on your suffering at a moment's notice. That's just how much she cares. In conclusion, the SJG is the right choice for President of the United States of Neuroses. She has the vision and the birth certificate that proves she was born on the ramp of a hospital, an event that launched her into a lifetime of neurotically-inclined thinking. What more proof do you need? Go ahead, cast your ballet early. God only knows what could happen to you tomorrow.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Minyan of Multi-Shapes

Curvy, Tall, Petite, Original

(Sherman Oaks) The Short Jewish Gal had much to say -- what, are you surprised? -- about the onslaught of diverse Barbies that Mattel announced the other day, without consulting her first. "Let's face it. Do little girls really give a ka-ka about what their Barbies look like? I didn't. Well, that's not true. I had a few quibbles. When I played with Barbie way back in... none of your @#$%'n business, that's when... I just wanted her to stand up like a mensch and not fall down. I had many things I needed Barbie to do, like clean my room, make my bed, organize my crayons, alphabetically -- a little anal? how dare you! -- and all my Barbie did was fall over. I'd prop her up, and boom, down she'd go. I thought I could achieve the unachievable if Barbie had bendable legs. So I traded in the original, not knowing that one day, Barbie would be collectible. Little girls don't think that way. Plus, do they really need to get hit on the head with the Barbie-as-role-model message that one day, they're going to grow up to look just like their fashionable dollies? If I'd been given a short Barbie at the tender age of six, I would've taken it personally, as I've been doing since, oh, birth. I would've read between the plastic wrapping. 'Oh, so, I don't deserve a tall Barbie? I get the short one. So you're telling me this is it? I'm not growing any more?" And a zoftig Barbie? Please! That would've planted a few issues in my tender keppy. As in, 'So, Barbie has a big butt. One day I will too. Hello, puberty!' In conclusion, I think Mattel is overreaching here with the minyan of multi-shaped Barbies, in hopes of a better market share. I wish them much mazel. They're going to need it."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Glamorous Life of the SJG

Nothing but nachos at the SJG palace.

At least once a day, or maybe it's once a year, I forget, someone dripping with envy stops me on the street and asks about my glamorous life. The Q&A goes something like this:
"Is your life as luxurious and wonderful as you make it seem in your blog?"
"Yes, it is."
"So you're not making things up?"
"How dare you."
"Have I offended you?"
"I'm just wondering about the palatial estate, the full-time staff of personal shleppers, the elegant soirees, the sons who give you nothing but nachos..."
"Not nachos. My sons have never given me nachos."
"But I thought it was non-stop nachos over at the SJG mansion."
"You are mistaken. We are far too classy to serve nachos. What my sons serve up, on an hourly, or weekly, or bi-monthly basis is nachas."
"Does that come with cheese?"
"No, it doesn't. It comes with joy and blessings. That's what my sons serve me, semi-regularly."
"That's nice."
"Oh, it's more than nice, mister. It's rare. But then, rarity suits my fabulous lifestyle. I'm not interested in the commonplace."
"Which you swear is 100 percent accurately portrayed in your blog."
"I'm not under oath. Now if you don't mind, I need to get on with my spectacular existence. Here's a monogrammed SJG towel to mop up all that envy."
"But -- "
"But nothing. Good day, sir."
"Wait -- "
"I said good day."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Turn Signal Denial & Other Sins

Hubby has generously allowed me to list some of his favorite rants. The following five items should be illegal, are already illegal but rarely enforced, or may become illegal.
1. Turn Signal Denial
"Radical lane changes without any warning can kill people. Don't make me guess what you're about to do. How hard is it to use your turn signal? It's already illegal but no one seems to care."  (The SJG is a big proponent of the turn signal. Sometimes I use it when I'm not changing lanes, just to 'eff with folks.)
2. Reckless Use of Windshield Wiper Fluid
"People who use their windshield wiping fluid while stopped at a stop sign are completely oblivious to the fact that the windows of people behind them are getting filthy from the spray onto their clean car. It should be illegal." (The SJG is guilty of this crime. Feel free to make a citizen's arrest.)
3. Gross Negligence of the Express Line
"How difficult is it to have your payment method ready to go when you're standing in the 10 items or less line at the market? The whole point of the line is to get in and get out quickly.  It defeats the whole purpose if you take 10 eff'n minutes to find your wallet. It should be illegal."  (The SJG would never stoop this low. I'm always ready to spend.)
4. Commercial Volume Abuse
"The wild volume differential between show content and commercials is about to become illegal.  They've passed a law to level the loudness between the two, but it hasn't gone into effect yet."  (The SJG hates this volume abuse even more than hubby. I'm throwing a very quiet party when it becomes reality. You're all invited.)
5. Reservation Cluster #$%*
"To accept a reservation at a popular restaurant, and then ignore it, making you wait anywhere between half an hour to 45 five minutes is the worst offense of all. Dinner should be free if they make you wait that long. The whole point of a reservation is to reserve a time. If you can't control the table turnover, your restaurant skills are questionable. It should be illegal to make people wait." (This is hubby's number one pet peeve. The SJG is happy to sit at the bar and judge people as they walk by.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Try Not To Blink

Dear SJG,
I barely have enough energy to blink today. I've had 18 cups of coffee. Nothing works. Any suggestions on how to perk up my sorry ass?
Lethargic in La Canada

What he said
Dear Lethargic,
When you blink, you miss out on important stuff. In general, blinking is for losers. It's exhausting, and from what I hear, burns zero calories. Blinking. Who needs it? Better to keep your eyes propped open with the first available item you find in that overstuffed kitchen drawer you won't let anyone go near, the one with the clothes pins, paper clips, rubber bands and butterfly barrettes. Go on. Pry those eyes open. Do it, immediately if not sooner, and you'll perk right up. Trust me, you'll be wide awake, whether you like it or not, and ready to greet what's left of the the day with the appropriate amount of vigilance, paranoia, pain and suffering -- all part of navigating the human condition, am I right?
You're Welcome,

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tell Me Where It Hurts

Put a group of gals together, gals whose bodies ache and creak and demand constant TLC, and you get a hodgepodge of iffy medical advice. In dance class, where we stretch and groan and flash the semi-arthritic jazz hands, we split into two camps:  The Holistic Types, who believe the body can heal itself.  And the Advanced Kvetchers, who believe there's a nice pill for whatever ails you. Which camp do I fall into? I'm so glad you asked, even though something tells me you already know. Before I divulge the answer, let me give you some medical back story. I never met a flower, a tree, a blade of grass that didn't make me sneeze. Growing up, I got allergy shots twice a week. I had my own Ear, Nose and Throat specialist before I hit puberty.
SJG Pharmacy Always Open

Every morning, my mother gave me a yellow spoonful of something so icky, so repugnant, that I'd pretend to swallow it, then spit it out on the black rug in the dining room. Yech. What prompted me to tell you that? Sometimes, I overshare. As a grown up, and I use that term loosely, Googling disturbing medical conditions is a hobby.  God forbid I shouldn't be up on the latest life-threatening disease. I like to stay informed. Advanced Kvetcher.  That's me.  I'm the leader of the pact. In dance class, I'm the Short Jewish Pharmacist. Need an Advil?  Hit me up. I got a stash in my handbag.  Need  a tranquilizer? Yeah, I got that too, in case I need to jump on a plane at a moment's notice.  I'm all about disaster preparedness. You need a nail file? A stick of gum? A doctor recommendation?  Look no further. I'm here for you.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

License to Laugh

"I Speed Because I Have To Poop."

Hubby spotted this license plate frame on his way home from work and got absolutely hysterical. He waited for a red light -- safety first! -- to take a photo. When he shared it with me, I got absolutely hysterical, too: "There's a guy who doesn't give a sh*t what people think." Here's hoping the driver made it home in time. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

25 Things You Don't Know About The SJG

1.  I dream in chocolate.
2.  I was born in an Oldsmobile.
3.  I grew up on a kibbutz in Westwood.
4.  I sweat the small stuff.
5.  I can sing "Sunrise, Sunset" in my sleep.
6.  I had an imaginary friend named Mrs. Salarni.
7.  My other car is an R.V.
8.  I introduced Kim to Kanye.
9.  I was voted "Most Likely to Remain Short" in high school.
10. I almost failed Yiddish in college.
11. I was the worst salesgirl in history.
12. I can open a box of matzoh blindfolded.
13. At last count, I have zero tattoos.
14. I had an unrequited crush on Bobby Sherman.
15. I have a black belt in Sighing.
16. I learned to worry in utero.
17. I never met a Girl Scout cookie I didn't like.
18. I got lost in the market at the age of four.
19. They're still looking for me.
20. I play the tuba for the Shabbat Shalom All-Star Marching Band.
21. I am fluent in Kvetching.
23. I can dance the Hora in clogs.
24.  I once asked Dustin Hoffman for his phone number.
25.  I'm still waiting for it.
"You may be the cashier at College Bookstore, but I'm not
giving you my phone number to go with my credit card,
so I'm just going to pretend you didn't ask for it."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Escape From Sherman Oaks

Marilyn at the Four Seasons 

I arrived at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to dine with the elegant, ageless Twila, who used to play bridge with my mother and is now stuck lunching with me any time I age another year. I had barely stepped out of my luxury auto when I was greeted by a swarm of paparazzim. "SJG! Over here!" "Smile, SJG!" "Who let you out of Sherman Oaks?" "Flash your gams like Marilyn!" I was happy to oblige. I haven't had this much attention since I grabbed the marble rye from that old lady at Gelson's and made a run for it. Maybe you saw it on the news. "You're late," Twila said, as I sat down. "Sorry. I had to sign a few autographs." "We all have to play the hand we're dealt," she said. "You got that right, sister," I said, and grabbed a bread stick. Just another day in the exciting life of the SJG. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

SJG Sings Ethel!

Thousands have signed a new petition trying to prevent the SJG from recording a tribute album to Ethel Merman. "All day long, she sings like Ethel," said an unidentified family member. "You think that's bad? She makes up crazy lyrics. You want an example? 'There's no laundry like my laundry like no laundry I know.' 'Everything's coming up coffee.' 'You're the top. You're a dog named Dusty...' Someone has to stop her. I can't do it alone." The petition has currently received over 7,000 signatures, even though there has been no actual official confirmation from the SJG or anyone associated with the internationally-acclaimed blogger that she's making such an album. Until today, that is. "Listen, I don't know what all the fuss is about. I was just kidding around, threatening to make an entire album as Ethel to drown out the incessant sound of sporting events that play in every @#$%'n room of the house all weekend long. There's hockey, there's basketball, there's football, there's soccer. A person could lose her mind. But clearly, my public, not to mention unidentified members of my family, but I think I know who they are, has spoken. Quite frankly, I'm a little hurt. In time, I'll get over it. Maybe."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

For You, Some Jokes

A middle-aged Jewish woman goes in search of a famous guru. She takes a plane to India and then a boat up a river, and then hikes into the mountains with local guides. All in all it takes her months of hardship to track down this guru. When she finds him he is in the middle of some kind of ritual which lasts for days and the guru's followers won't let her see him. Finally the guru is ready to receive visitors and calls for the woman to be admitted. She stands before the famous guru. "Harvey," she says. "It's time to come home!"
A young man came to a rabbi and said, "Rabbi, I know I'm a fool but I don't know what to do about it." The rabbi retorted, "Son, if you know you're a fool then certainly you are no fool." "Then why does everyone say I am a fool?" asked the young man. "If," said the rabbi, "you yourself don't know why you're a fool but listen to others who say you are, then you surely are a fool!"
The Goldbergs went to pay their respects to their good friend who had just died. They filed past the coffin. "How good he looks," remarked Mrs. Goldberg. "How relaxed, how tanned, how healthy!" "And why not?" replied Mr. Goldberg. "He just spent three weeks in Miami."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Can I Have This Dance?

At my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary 

The two of us. We shared a lot of dances over the years. We didn't really need a dance floor or music, but it helped. The occasion didn't matter all that much, either. Could be a Bar Mitzvah, an anniversary party, a wedding. There was nothing I liked more than dancing with my daddy. We started off with the best intentions. But then I got the giggles, and then he did, and after that, we just couldn't keep it together. I'm still trying to keep it together. I'm still dancing. But I miss my favorite partner. Gone two years today. Wherever you are, Daddy, can I have this dance?

At my wedding 

Monday, January 18, 2016

There's A Catch

The news that the Playboy Mansion has hit the market for $200 
million, and Hugh Hefner comes with the property... 

Bunnies not included
...  reminds me of one of my favorite routines from "You Don't Have To Be Jewish": The Plotnick Diamond.
Two women are sitting next to each other on an airplane. One is in her twenties, the other in her fifties. 
The younger woman says, "Excuse me, but I couldn't help notice that beautiful diamond ring you're wearing. It's just incredible."
The older woman replies, "Thank you. This is the famous 'Plotnick Diamond,' you know."
"The Plotnick Diamond? I've never heard of it."
"Oh yes, it's very famous. The Plotnick Diamond."
"Well," says the younger woman, "it really is beautiful. I would give anything to have a diamond like that."
"NO! Don't even say that!" exclaims the older woman. "Believe me, darling, you do not want to own this diamond!"
"But why not?"
"Because there is a terrible curse attached to this diamond, that's why."
"A curse?" the younger woman asks.
"Yes, a curse. The terrible 'Plotnick Curse.' A curse so awful and horrible that I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!"
"Well, what kind of curse could possibly be so terrible?"
To which the older woman lowers her voice, "Mister Plotnick."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Scenes From A Birthday

Celebrating at Vibrato, Herb Albert's jazz club. 
We've talked about going since it opened 12 years ago. 

The SJG, post-arrival of this:

The Marina del Rey.

"It's my birthday," I told the waiter. 
Subtle yet direct. And then this happened. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

I Wish That I Knew What I Know Now

"The Can Can's such a pretty show..."
Here. I'll let Counting Crows explain it.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Numerically Speaking

Numerically speaking, which is something I rarely do, because my brain doesn't really work in that mathy kind of way, I'd like to point out that today is my last day as the 57-year-old SJG. I know, right? If that's not something to point out, what is? Excuse me? There are other things to point out besides my age? Age is just a number? Nice. I think I'll steal that. As someone once said, age is just a number. Yesterday, my dear friend who wouldn't want me to call her by name here, so I'll call her Trudy, informed me I wasn't allowed to complain about turning 58 tomorrow. "Who made up that rule?" I asked. "I did," Trudy said. You guessed it. She's a few years ahead of me, chronologically, and therefore has more of a right to complain. I'm not really sure that's fair. Just for today, I'm going to ignore that ruling. Today I'm 57. All day. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Oh, wait. I do. Tomorrow promotes me to 58. If that's not a reason to celebrate, what is?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Oscars!

I was going to write about the Oscars this morning, the nominations, the snubs, but I'll leave that to the other internationally-acclaimed bloggers. Today I offer you the Oscars by Wilde:

"I can resist everything but temptation."

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

"The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Keep Looking Up

Dear SJG,
Do you agree with Snoopy that the secret of life is to keep looking up? I've been looking up every day for a while now, and my neck hurts so much, I can barely move it. Plus, I'm bumping into stuff.
Neck Strain Sufferer

Dear Neck Strain Sufferer,
I think you've zeroed in on the pros and cons of looking up. From a practical standpoint, not only does peripheral vision get iffy, but your head may get stuck in that position, which would make operating heavy machinery a huge challenge. From a chiropractic standpoint, there's the whole Front Row Movie Neck Syndrome to combat, too. You're looking at a lot of adjustments that you'll probably have to pay for out-of-pocket. When all you do is look up, you miss what's going on around you. On a personal note, when you tilt your keppy skyward, the fact that everyone is so much taller than you really hits home. Not exactly a confidence booster. In my humble opinion, the secret of life is to keep looking forward to something, anything, whatever you can latch onto, even if it's just a little bit delusional. And keep taking my life-altering advice. That'll help.
You're Welcome,

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Return of Mr. Snark

Oh, to be a snarky Brit, who doesn't give a poop what people think. Oh, to be the ballsy Ricky Gervais. Last night, I tuned in to watch his much-bleeped return to "The Golden Globes" and pick up a few pointers on how to tell the Mel Gibsons of the world to take a flying leap. 
Bleep, bleep, bleep.

Last night, I wondered, "Where would the SJG be today had I been snarkier?" It's not too late to get my Ricky on. What's the worst that can happen? They don't ask me back? Oh, to be Ricky Gervais, who has nothing to lose. It probably helps that he's very, very rich.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What We Talk About When We Talk About Nothing

As we fall asleep, we talk about this:
"You know what we need?"
"A wet bar."
"We had a wet bar in the '80s. We never used it."
"We used it."
"I have no memory of ever using it."
"That's because they didn't put it in the right place."
"What's the right place?"
"The bedroom."
"A wet bar in the bedroom?"
"Wouldn't that be great?"
"No. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of."
"It's not dumb."
"So dumb. How lazy do you have to be to have a wet bar in the bedroom?"
"It's not lazy. It's classy."
"I've never heard of anyone having a wet bar in the bedroom."
"I have. And a mini-fridge."
"In a dorm room. Or a hotel."
"In homes."
"Whose home?"
"I distinctly remember seeing a wet bar in someone's master bedroom."
"Maybe you were with your first wife at the time."
"That's probably it."

Saturday, January 9, 2016

To Be Honest

To be honest, Il Cielo is the perfect place for a birthday celebration

"To be honest," the waiter said, "this is my favorite place I've ever worked."
"To be honest," the waiter said, "the burrata is the best burrata I've ever had."
"To be honest," the waiter said, "there's already pepper on the salad."
"To be honest," the waiter said, "the dark chocolate cake has raspberry in it."
"To be honest," the birthday mensch said, "you better not post that photo of me."
"To be honest," the SJG said, "now that you're 28, you've developed a cruel streak."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Where You'll Find Me

In my own private Pottery Barn World, I'm happy and organized. In my own private Pottery Barn World, my life looks neat and crisp and color-coordinated. In my own private Pottery Barn World, I've mastered the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. 

Starting today, I'm relocating to the Pottery Barn Catalogue, where I plan to go page to page, living a casual yet elegant and well-matched life. You may find me on page 10, in the perfectly white kitchen, or you may find me on 25, reclining on the outdoor furniture, sipping a margarita. If I'm not on that page, I'll be somewhere else in the catalogue, maybe in the bathroom, where there's plenty of space for my stuff, and the cabinets lack clutter and the bathtub fixtures shine so much, I can see myself. 

If I'm not in the bathroom, wrapped in a super-soft pastel towel, then I might be in the bedroom, resting on the white linen duvet. Or perhaps I'm reading a book in the living room, lounging on my white linen sofa, my legs up on the reclaimed wood coffee table. Forget "Where's Waldo?" This is all about "Where's the SJG?" What page of the Pottery Barn Catalogue am I hiding in? Is that me sniffing the tangerine-scented candles? Me fluffing the sunflower pillows? Me behind the shimmery curtains? Keep looking, people. I'm there somewhere. I'm in the Pottery Barn Catalogue. My new home. You're welcome to visit, but don't stay too long. I like to keep the place nice. In that way, I'm a little bit anal.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Very Good Place To Start

Last night, a certain hubby who kindly accompanies me through life, asked me what I wanted for my rapidly approaching birthday.
"You've gotten me everything I need. A brand new bamboo floor for the entire downstairs."
"That wasn't for your birthday."
"Fancy new pipes that will never leak or cause tsuris or we get our money back."
"Also not a birthday gift."
"Okay, okay, I'm thinking. Give me a second. I've got my health, kina hora. What more do I need? Oh. I know. Mental health. A big dose of that would be fab."
"Where do I buy that?"
"Beats me. I've been trying to make that purchase for a while now."
"Come on. There must be something you really want."
"The love and respect of my family -- the ones I'm still talking to."
"That's a given."
"I just thought of something."
"A theater for our play, 'Brushes: A Comedy of Hairs' "
"Nice plug. I like how you worked it in there."
"Thank you. I'm shameless when it comes to 'Brushes: A Comedy of Hairs' "
"I've noticed. What size venue?"
"I'm not talking Dorothy Chandler proportions."
"Will 99 seats do?"
"We were hoping for 200."
"Can I find it on Amazon Prime?"
"That's a very good place to start."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Disappointment Everywhere

All I can think about today is disappointment, in this case, of the professional variety. Is that a healthy choice for the SJG? Maybe not. So, to retrieve my perspective, I went looking for 
some quotes on disappointment. 

I'm not disappointed in the results.

I still remember when this happened, coming out of Baskin-Robbins. 
I was 10. A preview of things to come. 

Here's my favorite, courtesy of Groucho: "I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal."

Thanks. I feel better already.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Price of Fitness

Spinning Class 

In an on-going effort to stay fit, the SJG pushes the limits of what this rapidly aging body can do, and what it can do depends on forces beyond my control. There are days when I should seriously join the Marines, I'm so strong, so ready to kick ass it's just wrong. There are other days when I should hire a stand-in. In the role of the SJG, I give you, Olympic figure skater Kristy Yamaguchi. 
This morning, I'm feeling the after-effects of my most recent fitness insanity. To kick 2016 off right, on Saturday, I did something called Body Sculpt Yoga, where the mellow teacher refers to the booty as something else entirely, in a call-and-response with the class: "What do we love?" "We love Candy!" On the way home, my candy unwrapped, along with the rest of me. I steered with my elbows, the only part of me that didn't hurt. Sunday, I went all Fosse, Fosse, Fosse. I was fine till Monday morning, when I could barely move. Did that stop me from taking Boot Camp? Let me think about that. No. I jumped and lunged, lifted and panted and went for the burn. I nearly plotzed. On the way home, I steered with my nose. This morning, I'm crippled with pain and questioning my entire existence. Will I let physical agony stop me from dancing again tonight? From Spinning Class tomorrow? Not if Leo, my personal guardian of fitness, has any say in the matter.