Thursday, June 30, 2016

Head On Holiday

Sometimes the SJG Brain goes on vacay without sending me an itinerary. Last night while cooking dinner... a tasty saute of prawns, lime, olive oil and cilantro, I had the following exchange with hubby:
"So, how was your lunch with Shrimp?"
"Didn't you guys have lunch?"
"I had lunch with Shep."
"What'd I say?"
"Dinner's ready, Dusty."
"I already fed him. It's your turn to eat."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

An Arranged Marriage

Dear SJG,
I'm engaged to a nice man. At least, that's what I hear. I have yet to meet him, but the matchmaker swears he's a catch. So, assuming I go through with it and marry this alta cocker butcher with the big bucks, what's the secret to a happy arranged marriage?
P.S. I'm already in love with a tailor.

Dear Tzeitel,
Marry the tailor. And whatever you do, never hire a hot nanny.
You're welcome,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Clash of the Calendars

Calendar-wise: A little flighty

Today I check the calendar on the fridge and see I have a doctor's appointment at 11:45. Then I check the calendar in my office and see I have the exact same doctor's appointment tomorrow at 11:45. This is what happens when you roll "old school." Your brain double-books your sporadically busy life.  So you double-check things. A lot. One way or another, you still show up on time. Or, in my case, a little early.

Monday, June 27, 2016


Here are my people, the ones who keep me sane (more or less) at last night's reading of "Brushes: A Comedy of Hairs."  (left to right) A short, grateful woman; Howard, aka First Hubby; Scotty, Billy and my amazing brother John. Where would I be without them? Nowhere, that's where.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Scenes From A Rehearsal of "Brushes"

Stephanie Faracy tries on a new hairstyle. 

Karesa McElheny channels Harriet, 
the Goddess of Hair.

Jody Prusan and Dana Meller prove that 
"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Bad Luck To Say Good Luck

Our first day of rehearsals for "Brushes" went so well, the SJG is knocking on wood, saying kina hora poo poo poo and dancing a Broadway-style hora, all at the same time. So much activity so early the morning. I'm already exhausted. Oh, and here's a question. Why does everyone keep telling me to break a leg? Ouch. I'd rather not, if it's all that same. I know, I know. There are many theories on the break a leg thing. My guess: it started with a Yiddish saying and wound up in the German theater and ever since, it's been bad luck to say good luck. But if it's okay by you, instead of breaking a leg, I'll just kick myself. In all the excitement, I forgot to take a single photo of our first day of rehearsals. Which means I have no visible proof that any of this is actually happening. I could be making the whole thing up just to compensate for some deep-seated issue I can't quite identify till my next shrink comes along. So you'll just have to trust me. I would never lie to you, intentionally. That would be wrong.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I Hear You Knocking But You Can't Come In

Cathy, here only three hours, already overstaying her welcome. 

So far, I've locked her outside in the backyard - excuse me, dead-bolted her - to the point where she had to call me on the cellphone and say, "Uh, let me in." And when I shut off the AC last night, she dissed me on Travelocity. On a happy note, I'm slowly converting this Cafeteria Catholic to the ways of my people, starting with a blintz souffle. She's already given me a fairly positive review on Yelp. "Light, fluffy and appropriately delicate for the discriminating Kansas palate. Would've preferred homemade jam. Where I come from, we frown on store-bought."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gee How Lucky Can You Get?

At the Ivy: John, the lovely and talented Robin Dearden, and
someone who wandered into the restaurant and said,
"Mind if I join you?"

It's true. When it comes to my brother John, I'm lucky. We've been partners in silliness since we were kids, always looking for ways to crack each other up, whether we were playing hide and seek in department stores, or dining in his old station wagon in the parking lot of Jack in the Box. So much fun and laughter. So many shared interests. So many memories. It's true. I couldn't ask for a kinder, more caring and hilarious brother. He's with me in good times and bad, always there, no matter the occasion. It's true. We keep each other going through all the craziness. How lucky am I? So lucky, it's ridiculous. Happy, happy birthday, John. It's true. You're still and will always be older than me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Emotional Weather Report

Today's Emotional Weather Report, brought to you by the Short Jewish Gal of Sherman Oaks:  Early morning self-indulgence. Overheated thinking in the afternoon. Evening cool down with a chance of light kvetching.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day Reflections

Nice hot people

"It's freakin' hot."
"Who made this superior blintz soufflé?"
"Hottest Father's Day Ever."
"Isn't the garden lovely?"
"Yes, John."
"Best Blintz Soufflé Ever."
"Amy's Apple Fritters trump your blintz soufflé."
"How dare you."
"How dare you mention you know who."
"You know who."
"It was completely intentional."
"How about that gazebo?"
"Best Gazebo Ever."
"If I perish in the heat, it was pretty nice knowing you, more or less."
"Except for that time you bit my elbow."
"I never bit your elbow."
"Oh, yes you did. You were a baby. You were crawling. You saw my elbow, and you went in for a nibble. Please, don't make me relive it."
"Your elbow needed some kosher salt, as I recall."
"It's freakin' hot."
"Let's go inside."
"You go inside. I'll stay outside and suffer."
"You're so good at that."
"It's a gift."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Light On His Feet

If I could get another chance
Another walk
Another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never ever end
How I'd love love love
To dance with my father again
(Luther Vandross)

Happy Father's Day, Daddy B.
Wish you were here.  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Unanswered Questions

Dear SJG,
Why this and not that?
Curiously Yours

Dear Curious,
If I knew the answer to that, I'd happily change my name to U.S.P.W.W.
You're Welcome,

Dear SJG,
Am I supposed to know what U.S.P.W.W. stands for?

Dear Curious,
Give it your best shot.
You're Welcome,

Dear SJG,
Unlikely Short Person We Worship?
Curiously Yours

Dear Curious,
Good guess. But no. U.S.P.W.W. stands for Ultimate Smarty Pants of the Western World.
You're Welcome,
Smarty pants? Or Fancy?

Friday, June 17, 2016

What A Dog!

Within days of purchasing a lovely dog named Moshe, Avrahom notices that Moshe is very intelligent - he always comes when his name is called no matter what he's doing; he always finds his bone no matter where it's hidden, and he learns new tricks very quickly. He can even balance on one leg for 30 seconds. Avrahom realizes that Moshe is a very special kind of dog - a Jewish dog, most probably, so he teaches Moshe to wear a kippa. And because Moshe looks so frum in his kippa, Avrahom starts to teach him Hebrew. Not surprisingly, Moshe quickly starts learning and then speaking some Hebrew words in a doggie kind of voice. So one morning, Avrahom, realizing that Yom Kippur is only a few days away, phones his rabbi and gets permission to bring Moshe to shul with him. 

On Yom Kippur morning, they arrive in shul and the kippa-wearing Moshe is given the seat between Avrahom and a Mr. Birnboam. The service begins and Moshe can be heard by those around him praying in Hebrew in a yappy but reasonably clear, breathy kind of voice, with heartfelt wails thrown in every now and then. Mr Birnboam turns to Avrahom and whispers, "I just can't believe what I'm seeing and hearing. It looks like your dog is davening. But he can't be, can he? I must be dreaming. If I am, please wake me up, immediately."
"No, you're not dreaming Mr. Birnboam," whispers Avrahom. "Moshe truly is davening."
"If that's so," whispers Mr. Birnboam, "you can get thousands of dollars for such an act on television."
"Mr. Birnboam," whispers Avrahom, "I can assure you that the same thoughts have crossed my mind. But my Moshe has told me in no uncertain terms that he wants to be an accountant."

Arnold and Judith, two elderly residents at the Nightingale Care Home, are sitting next to each other in the lounge. Suddenly, Arnold says to Judith, "I bet you can’t guess how old I am."
"I bet I can."
"Well, I'll bet you can't."
"You’re on," Judith says. "Now please stand up so that I can properly investigate you."
Arnold does what he's told. Judith then looks him up and she looks him down. "Now turn around."
Arnold does what he's told and Judith looks him up and she looks him down. "Now turn back around... and .... and drop your trousers."
Arnold does what he's told and Judith looks him up and she looks him down. Then she says, "You are 86 years old."
Arnold is absolutely amazed and can't believe what he's just heard. "Oy Vey, Judith," he says, "you’re right. I am 86. How on earth did you work that out?"
Judith smiles. "You told me yesterday."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Who's Car Is It, Anyway?

Who are these people? 

What with the world falling apart and all the horrifying tsuris, hubby and I have found a new, deeply troubling distraction: This commercial. This dumb Volvo commercial is, quite simply, driving us insane. Watch it, and we'll discuss.

See what I mean? What is going on here? Last night, it came on and we actually rewound it and watched it again. Who are these people? Why aren't they happy? They were at a wedding, not a funeral. Why so gloomy? Is the mother of the bride driving? The older sister? Why is the father of the bride in the back seat fiddling with his wedding ring? Is he contemplating divorce after his daughter's grim wedding? Is the driver his very youngish wife? His older wife with the astonishingly good facelift? Soon-to-be-ex wife? Who's car is it, anyway? And fine, the speakers are great, but so what? And the other guys in the car. Are they the brothers of the bride? The ex-boyfriends she dumped? Who are these people? An estranged family forced to ride in the same car? Why does the bearded dad pat the gal in the front on the shoulder? Is it a "there, there, honey"? Is it a, "We haven't lost a daughter, we've gained another son we'll have to support"? Seriously now. What is going on? Dear God in heaven, why is this Volvo commercial so maddening?

Dad and Mom? Dad and older daughter? 

One thing is clear. The people in this car are not Jewish people. Jewish people would be openly kvelling or kvetching, laughing or yelling, or all of the above. They'd be saying: "All that money we spent, and the champagne was flat." "I told her not to go with that dress." "The rabbi's new wife is a lush." "Dad, no offense, but your speech could've used a few more jokes." "Shut up." "No, you shut up." "The chopped liver was to die for!" "The chicken was dry." "I should've brought a plus one." "Did you see Marty's sister? She's hot. Maybe she's on J-Swipe." "She wouldn't date you, you lowlife." "Boys, stop arguing, This is a happy day." "Until we get the bill." "I begged you not to invite the Abramowitzes. God forbid you should ever listen." "The Mandelbaums are secretly voting for Trump." "If you know, it's not a secret." "Aren't the speakers in this car something else? Cost extra, but it was worth it." "Turn the music down, I can't hear myself kvetch." "Mom, you're driving like a snail." "I offered too drive, she said no." "That's because you're drunk, darling."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Double Date

As speculation about their 36th wedding anniversary later this summer continues -- will the SJG still fit into her wedding dress for the televised recreation? -- the Globally-Renowned Blogger/Neurosis Expert and her hubby were spotted co-navigating a shopping cart during "date night." The lovebirds were snapped inside exclusive American Express-cardholders-only hot spot Gelson's, exploring a rumor that Humphrey Yogurt was relocating inside the market in time for the livestream of their wedding day reenactment. "We'd like our chuppah made out of chocolate vanilla swirl," the SJG told the store manager. "With extra sprinkles." "She's kidding," her longtime hubby interjected. "It'll melt." "It won't melt; it's frozen," she insisted. "You'll have to discuss that with the Humphrey's people when they open," the manager said. "When is that?" "Your guess is as good as mine." At which point the SJG's hubby, casually dressed in black pants, a tight black tank top and a leopard print jacket, steered the cart toward frozen foods, in search of a 12-pack of cheese blintzes. "Wait up," yelled the SJG, dressed in a vegan romper and gluten-free Jimmy Choos. "I've got a better idea. How about a Kale Chuppah? It'll make a nice ceremonial canopy and later, we'll repurpose it as a salad."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Unreality Show Axed!

"If your life was a reality TV show, would you watch it?"

VH-1 has rudely axed the reality show starring the SJG. Last July, the network debuted the eight-episode series, "The SJG: Her Story," which gave her blog fans a glimpse into her non-celebrity life, not to mention, the opportunity to cut through the endless tabloid fodder. 

Certain headlines were harder to disprove than others.  "SJG SPENDS LAST NIGHT WORRYING." Hard to refute, due to its factual nature. "SJG SPROUTS EXTRA THUMB." Much easier to dispute, considering she got rid of the extra thumb before hitting puberty. "Let's just say the extra thumb thing may have earned me 'freak' status on the playground, but did nothing for my social life," she told Variety before the show premiered.  

"We pulled the plug because the SJG refused to cooperate with some of our planned stunts," a VH-1 spokesman said. "She said no to streaking Ventura Boulevard, which we thought would've been both hilarious and alarming to drivers and pedestrians in the immediate vicinity. Her thumb's down (see what we did there?) was the final straw. But we wish her well in her pursuit of whatever the hell she's trying to do these days. Listen, we gave her a shot at fame and fortune and she blew it. All she wanted to do was kvetch and eat kugel, which, just between us, doesn't make for interesting TV."

Monday, June 13, 2016

Love Is Love Is Love

There are only so many ways to say, "Never Again." But it has happened again, yet another tragedy too awful to comprehend. Leave it to Lin-Manuel Miranda to find the perfect words, a sonnet to Orlando at last night's Tony Awards:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

It Takes A While

It takes a while
To find your place
It takes a while
To like your face
It takes a while
To keep your pace
It takes a while
To state your case
It takes a while
To claim your space
It takes a while
To fill your vase
It takes a while
To win your race
It takes a while
To say your grace
It takes a while
To cut your chase
It takes a while
To find your place

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Short Jewish Queen of the Universe

I'm not in this photo.
If you're anything at all like the SJG, and if you are, I'll give you a few psychiatric referrals I keep handy, you spend a good deal of your day wondering, "What are the qualifications to become Queen of the Universe? Is it too late for me? Can I still apply?" Last night, I decided to find out if I, humble height-impaired writerly gal that I am, a few pounds over the legal supermodel limit, made the regal grade. I mean, seriously. Why shouldn't I enter this international pageant? Why shouldn't the SJG of Sherman Oaks join this elite global group of super glam, genetically, not to mention cosmetically, enhanced, gorgeous humans? They were right there in the only dance studio that still lets me in. (List of public places the SJG has been banned from available upon request.) Wasn't this a sign from above that it was my time to shine?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Imaginary Friend Request

"Guess who sent me a friend request today?"
"None other than.... cue trumpets... Bill Clinton. That's right. President Bill Clinton sent me, your favorite mother, a friend request. How do you like them apples?"
"Clearly, he's heard about me, my charm, my magnetism, my overall, how you say, je nais sais quoi, and he's decided, 'Damn, I need to know that adorable SJG.' "
"What, my son? What?"
"It's not really Bill Clinton."
"Excuse me?"
"It's not him."
"Poppycock, my son. Of course, it's Bill."
"It's not."
"You have offended me, deeply, child."
"See you later."
"Go to your room."
"I'm going to work."
"Perhaps it's time for you to find your own accommodations. Elsewhere."
"I'm on it, Ma."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Not So Famous Quotes

"A kugel, a kugel, my kingdom for a kugel."
-- Richard, the third nudnik in the family

"Would it kill you to be nice to the SJG?  That's all I'm asking."
-- Anonymous left-handed blogger

"He who cuts me off in traffic is a big fat doodie head."
-- Long-time resident of Sherman Oaks

"She who talks in temple talks in movie theaters, too."
--  Wise, height-challenged Jewiss
"Out of uncertainty, comes absolute bupkis."  
-- the SJG
 SJG & Sara Starr, 1987
 "Everything's old, including me." 
-- Grandma Shorty

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Uh Oh, I'm Getting Happy Feet

This is how I'm feeling today. I'm feeling very Steve Martin-ish, circa the 1970s. My feet are so happy, it's silly. Despite all their various issues, what with the heel spur and the plantar this-and-that, my feet are giddy. My feet just took me up and down the hall, up and down the stairs, and I've yet to reach for the Advil. Why are my feet so happy? Along with the rest of me? Well, let me think about that for a half a second. We just nominated a woman for Prezzy of the USA. This is a big eff'n deal, peeps. If that's not a super historical reason for happy feet, what is?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

He Was Her Boyfriend!

A conversation at the no-longer-all-gal gym:
"I'm so sad about my boyfriend."
"Your boyfriend?"
"The Champ."
"Back up. Your boyfriend?"
"We dated."
"You dated Muhammed Ali?"
"For a month."
"Wow, honey."
"I know."
"Don't hold back. Tell. Me. Everything."
"We met through a friend. The Champ didn't drive. So I drove us around. We'd go to the beach and recite poetry to each other."
"Oh. My. God. What did you recite?"
"The Raven."
"The Raven? Not romantic, Shakespearean sonnets?"
"No. I went with Poe."
"Not 'shall I compare thee to a summer's day'?
"We were platonic."
"You might not have been if you'd recited love poems, instead of quothing the Raven nevermore."
"It was sweet."
"Sweet? How far can you get with sweet?"
"I gotta go."
"No, wait. I get it now. You came up with the 'float like a butterfly' line, didn't you?"
"No, Carol."
"Don't be shy. Take some credit here. I can see the whole scenario. You and the Champ in the car, a butterfly floats by, you make up a poem on the spot. 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.' Muhammed Ali looks at you and says, 'That's good. Mind if I use it?' "
"That didn't happen."
"You could've married Muhammed Ali."
"That's enough."
"You could've been one of his wives!"
"I never should've mentioned it."
"It's too late now."

Monday, June 6, 2016

Go Ahead, Open A Vein

"She says her blood type is coffee."

"What do you want? Blood?"
"As a matter of fact, I do."
"Fine, go ahead. Open a vein."
"Left arm or right?"
"Will it hurt more on my left or right?" 
"Probably the same."
"Then take a little from both."

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Potato Chips Help

Dear SJG,
How do you mend a broken heart? I'm not a cardiologist.
Not A Doctor

Dear Doctor Not,
You mend with a nice sandwich, maybe a cookie or two. Potato chips help. You mend with your ears. You listen. You advise a little, but not too much. You try to say the right things. Maybe you mess up a little. You're human. You hug, probably too much. But you can't help yourself. You promise that this too shall pass, because it will. That's one thing you know for certain. It will pass.
You're Welcome,

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Last Birthday

Kiddie Park with Mom
Her birthday. The first one she missed was the hardest. The first time I couldn’t sing to her, take her to lunch, buy her a gift she didn’t need. I knew it would be hard. I braced myself, preparing for it months ahead. I had it all figured out. I set the day she would've been 73 aside. I thought of how we'd spent her last birthday. Her 72nd. Lunch at the Bel Air Hotel with her best friend, also named Gloria. She could barely eat. She was just happy to be with us. Nancy Reagan showed up in red. Secret Service agents everywhere. We had a good laugh over that.

I thought about all the questions I'd managed to squeeze in toward the end. About her childhood and the day her father died.  About the time she saw Frank Sinatra and her first apartment with Dad and that ugly wallpaper she hated so much. The wallpaper that showed up again in New York, in their next apartment, the one Dad picked out. What did she do when she saw it?  Laugh, cry, scream? About the day I was born. In an Oldsmobile. In the parking lot of County General. How exactly did that happen? And did it explain my own tendency to be overly-dramatic at times? I asked, she answered. The closer she got, the more I wanted to know. She didn’t mind. She sat there, smiling through her pain. No question was too personal. Nothing was off-limits. My whole life, she told me whatever I needed to know.

After she was gone she kept telling me, in my dreams. I asked, she answered. In her own way. Sometimes wordless. I summoned her forth. I begged for a visit. A sign. Anything.  A peaceful smile. Otherworldly. Pain-free. It's been a while since she's made a guest appearance.

Each birthday got a little easier. Eventually, I'm not sure when, exactly, I stopped keeping track of how old she would've been. An age she never attained took on less importance. It seemed neither here nor there. And no matter which birthday today would've been, I still miss her just the same.

(I wrote this in 2000 and continue to tweak it every year.)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Donuts For You, But Not Me

In honor of National Donut Day, something I have never marked on my calendar, I plan to eat zero donuts. Why? I'll tell you why. When my grandparents and Future Daddy arrived in Los Angeles in 1938 -- as a student of the SJG Oeuvre, maybe you know this story, but here it is again -- Grandpa and my Daddy-to-be worked at a donut factory. Grandpa drove a donut truck without brakes, and Future Comedy Writer Ben Starr made donuts. He ate so many donuts, he vowed to never eat one again. A man of principle, he kept his word. I never saw him eat a donut. He felt strongly about it. My mother, a smart woman, never bought donuts. So why would I eat a donut today? I never eat them. Well, that's not entirely true. If someone brings a donut into my house, I may take a nibble. Work-wise, hubby is the designated donut-bringer. He brings donuts to work every Friday. He is beloved for his donut-bringing. If he forgets to bring donuts on Friday, the workplace erupts. People openly weep. Some pound the floor in despair. It's a whole thing. So today, hubby will celebrate National Donut Day with a big pink box. Donut-wise, the SJG will abstain, in honor of my donut-disliking Daddy. But please, don't let that stop you. Go have a donut. Have two. Why should you deny yourself just because I am?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing

Hips come and hips go and my beloved dance teacher Doug Rivera has now had both of them replaced. His latest hospital outing brought him bionic hip number two and the requisite helping of pain.  After six weeks, he’s dancing like a pro again. He’s Gene Kelly meets Iron Man. He may be 70-something but he still sports the wide and mischievous grin of a naughty teenage boy.  Doug’s jazz class caters to middle-aged (and beyond) dance devotees who’ve been twirling around in search of our inner Isadoras since puberty. We’ve got our Bob Fosse moves down, more or less. We’ve done our fair share of questionable double-turns and lopsided leaps.

Oh, yes, we’ve been there and done that with more ego-deflating teachers than we care to recall. Now we just want to groove at our own decelerated pace. We don’t want to be judged anymore, thank you. The days of tyrannical instructors disparaging us are well behind us. Doug praises us for simply showing up. “You made it!” he calls out, excitedly, even if you’re a few minutes late. He tells us we’re limber if we manage to bend down and touch our toes. He tells us we don’t have to get the routine right as long as we smile. He tells us we’re wonderful… amazing… beautiful. We tell him he’s delusional. Still, you can’t put a price tag on that sort of crazy unconditional love and non-stop encouragement. At this stage of the game, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cuckoo For Couscous

A copious heap o' couscous

"Why did you buy two boxes of couscous, honey?"
"I thought one wasn't enough."
"It's enough."
"Are you sure?"
"Unless you're really in the mood for couscous."
"I am."
"So you want me to make both boxes?"
"Okay, but I'm pretty sure it's too much for the three of us."

A son's reaction 

"Ma! Holy sh*t! This is an insane amount of couscous."
"I know."
"Why did you make so much?"
"Daddy made me do it."

A hubby's reevaluation 

"I guess we didn't need this much couscous."
"Not so much."