Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hanukkah Hilarity

Morty's mother gives him two sweaters for Hanukkah. The next time he visits her, he makes sure to wear one.  As he walks into the house, his mother frowns and asks, "What -- you didn't like the other one?"
Last year, just before Hanukkah, Sara, a grandmother, was giving directions to her grown up grandson who was coming to visit with his wife. "You come to the front door of the condominium complex.  I am in apartment 2B." Sara continued, "There is a big panel at the door.  With your elbow push button 2B. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right.  Get in, and with your elbow hit 2.  When you get out I am on the left.  With your elbow, hit my doorbell." 

"Grandma, that sounds easy," replied Jonathan, the grandson, "but why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?"

To which she answered, "You're coming to visit empty handed?"
Admiring the Christmas trees displayed in his neighbor's windows, Nathan asks his father, "Daddy, can we have a Hanukkah Tree?"

"What? No, of course not.' says his father.

"'Why not?" asks Nathan again. 

Bewildered, his father replies, "Well, Nathan, because the last time we had dealings with a lighted bush we spent 40 years in the wilderness."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Still Spinning

The call came in around 5 p.m. The news? Unexpected. Not to mention, disturbing:
"So we're not getting the Samsung, after all," hubby said, choking back tears.
"What? I don't understand. We're not getting the Samsung?"
"No, we're not."
"Why? Why? Why?"
"Because... hang on, let me collect myself."
"Take your time, honey. I know how emotional you get over appliances."
"Because the @#$%'n Samsungs aren't even available."
"Are you saying -- ?"
"Yes, I am."
"Best Buy lied to us?"
"They don't even have them in stock."
"Those bastards."
"So we're going another way."
"What way are we going, my love?"
"We're going with another Maytag."
"But... but..."
"I know, I know."
"Aren't they back-ordered?"
"They are."
"Oh dear God, why are we being tested? We're good people, more or less."
"It's a conspiracy."
"I'm not sure how much longer I can spin this topic."
"If anyone can do it, you can."
"Thank you, honey. That means a lot."
"So you're okay with the back-ordered Maytag?"
"Not really. But what choice do I have?"
"None."
"Then I'm good. I've always wanted a new Maytag for Hanukkah."
"You're welcome."

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Little Off-Balance

Why buy a boring new washing machine when you can buy an exciting one that might explode, God forbid, when you least expect it? This is the reasoning in the SJG household, where we're a little off-balance, anyway. All it takes is a lot of reassurance that "the exploding ones were recalled and no longer for sale" to decide on the highly discounted model that God willing, won't blow up the house. Rather than fix the malfunctioning Maytag with the spin cycle issue, we've ordered a Samsung -- a company known for exploding stuff -- for only a little more than the repair would've cost. I keep telling you we like to live on the edge over here in Sherman Oaks. We never know when the machines we rely on might go Ka-Boom! And we like it that way.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sometimes I Get My Way

Every now and then, all the skills of smothering, make that mothering, the two sons, mesh into a magical moment, and just like that, I get my way. "Why don't you stay over?" I ask the youngest, conveniently parked on the couch, with no sign of shifting gears and driving home. "Okay." "Why don't you stay over?" I ask the eldest, heading out for a 10-year high school reunion in Calabasas, with no desire to Uber back to the apartment at 3 a.m. "Okay." See how easy that is? Sometimes all it takes to turn back time is an empty bed and a pull-out sofa.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Turkey As Metaphor

At this point in the Thanksgiving weekend, when leftover turkey sits in the fridge, next to the cranberry sauce and the gravy and the stuffing, not to mention Grandma Char's chopped liver, let's take a minute to reflect on all the other meanings of turkey, shall we, and how they pertain to the semi-adventurous life of the SJG.
Turkey: a jerk, a fool, a failure, a flop, a dud.
Cold Turkey: instantly quitting something that's not good for you.

Fine, those are the only two definitions that pertain to me. The one about bowling a turkey - three strikes in a row - is so irrelevant I won't even mention it. Why are the other two definitions relevant? Because the washing machine that gave me such tsuris only days ago  has continued to cause suffering with the spin cycle. Therefore, the question of the day is this: Is the washing machine, the six-year-old Maytag with the expired warrantee, a turkey we must quit cold? The actual repairman who repairs stuff for a living arrives soon. I will keep you in suspense.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Turkey For Me, Turkey For You

Here are some people who stopped by on Thanksgiving, demanding to be fed.  Good thing I spent many hours preparing food, or there might have been an uprising. Turns out, I'm related to all of them, one way or another, by birth, by giving birth, by marriage, by parentage, by cousin-age. It was my year to host, so I acted happy to have them in my palatial estate, and they bought it. As is my custom, I handed each guest a list of rules:

Eat.
Drink.
You break it, you pay for it.
Leave.

I'm pleased to report that the people in the above photo followed the rules, beautifully. The four renegades missing from the above photo, well, let's just say they spent the evening on the patio.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happiness On Thanksgiving, You Should Have


Today, the SJG wants you should fress to your heart's delight without gaining so much as an ounce.


Today, the SJG wants you should remember all the things you're grateful for, and keep the things you're ungrateful for to yourself, because we're tired of your negativity.



Today, the SJG wants you should hug your people and never let go, unless they claim near-suffocation, in which case, release your grip a bissel.


What I'm trying to say is this: Happy Thanksgiving to all my bitches...


... and all my boychicks, too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

When I Shop The World Gets Better

It's never too soon to get in on a good holiday deal, am I right? Last night, my brother John and I started planning our extensive Hanukkah shopping. It went something like this:
"Kohl's opens at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Just saying!" -John
"Everyone into the station wagon! We're going to Kohl's, bitches." -SJG
"But what about the turkey? Won't it dry out?"
"Who gives an eff! Kohl's is open."
"Wait! JC Penney is open Thursday at 3 p.m.!"
"Shut up!"
"You shut up!"
"No wonder they named the store JC! It's a Thanksgiving miracle."
"We'll hit JC first, then Kohl's."
"Dreidels for everyone!"
"I hear Kohl's is having a special. Buy one dreidel, get one free!"
"Oh, oh, oh! Menorahs are on sale at JC's!"
"Spend, spend, spend!"
"Hang on. What's this? Target is giving out free gelt."
"What?!"
"Sorry, I read that wrong. Target is giving out nothing for free. But it supports gender-free bathrooms!"
"Then eff Kohl's! Eff Penney's! Let's throw our Hannukkah gelt at Target!"
"Everyone into the station wagon! We're going to Target, bitches!"
"By the way, I killed the station wagon driving it around in 1976 when the engine ceased up and stopped working forever."
"Buzz kill!"
"Who me?"
"Everybody into the Pontiac."
"I'll bring the sleeping bags."
"I'll bring the thermos of booze."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Looking For The Brined One


"Good morning. Trader Joe's Toluca Lake. Happy Thanksgiving. This is Gary."
"Hi, Gary. This is the SJG."
"The who?"
"Never mind. Please tell me you've got the already brined."
"We just ran out."
"Don't tell me that, Gary. They ran out in Sherman Oaks. I was there early this morning."
"We have the koshers."
"But I want the already brined ones, Gary. The already brined! I need two, Gary. Two! My people like to eat."
"Sorry, ma'am. We might get more in, or we might not."
"That's not helpful, Gary."
"Try Burbank." Click.

"Are you trying to hurt me, Gary? You bastard!"

"Good morning. Trader Joe's Burbank. Happy Thanksgiving. This is Gary."
"Again with the Gary."
"Sorry?"
"I just talked to a Gary in Toluca Lake. What a loser. He really let me down. Are you going to let me down, too, Gary, Part 2?"
"I'll try not to, ma'am. How can I help you?"
"You can start by not calling me ma'am."
"What would you like me to call you?"
"Your Royal SJG."
"Um..."
"Just tell me you've got the already brined, Gary."
"We have the koshers, but not the brined."
"I want the already brined ones, Gary. The small ones. I need two, Gary. Don't deny me this. I beg of you!"
"Sorry, ma'am. I mean Your Royal SJG."
"The hell with you, Gary. Off with your head!"
"Try Studio City." Click.

Victory is brined!

"Good morning. Trader Joe's Studio City. Happy Thanksgiving. This is Gary."
"Dear God in heaven, not another Gary."
"Sorry?"
"So far, I've talked to two Garys. Both losers. Both let me down. Are you going to let me down, too, Gary, Part 3?"
"I'll try not to. How can I help you?"
"Just tell me you've got the already brined turkeys, Gary. The small ones. The 15-pounders. I need two."
"We've got a plethora."
"A plethora!? Only a winner would use such a big word."
"I'm trying to improve my vocabulary."
"It's working. Check for me, anyway, Gary. These days, I trust no one but family and a few select friends."
"I'm looking at 'em right now. A freakin' plethora of already brined."
"You're a mensch, Gary. A mensch. I'll be right over. Look for the short gal with attitude. That'll be me."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Wanton Washer Woman

"How clean do you want it?" 

It's true what they say. Sooner or later, it all comes out in the wash. When the washing machine went kablooey, the SJG transformed into Wanton Washer Woman. When faced with adversity -- in this instance, a sudser on the fritz -- I got reckless with the Woolite. A downstairs shower with a detachable nozzle set off something wild in me. Dirty clothes meant for the Maytag, clothes that had misbehaved during the work week, got doused with a capful of gentle detergent, overly spritzed with water, wrung out, pioneer-style, and shlepped to the dryer, drip-drip-dripping all the way, making dangerous puddles that someone could slip on and God forbid break a bone. In the end, the hubby who fixes stuff had a serious come to Moses moment with the Maytag. Once again, he performed his expletive-laden, domestic wizardry, and the washing machine did what it was told to do. Well, I hope you've enjoyed our Sunday soap opera. I know I feel cleansed. But please, let us never speak of this again.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Truth About Squirrels


Never sit next to a squirrel on a long flight.  

Never invite a squirrel to Thanksgiving.

Never invite a squirrel anywhere.


Never tell a squirrel your secrets.

Never let a squirrel drive you home. 

Never trust a squirrel.


You're welcome.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Very Merry Unbirthday


This morning, only moments ago, hubby and I proved, once again, why our math skills are nothing to kvell over. This morning, only moments from now, we are taking Sir Blakey of Sherman Oaks to the vet. To you, this sounds like so what. To us, this is big news. Why? I'll tell you why. Because Sir Blakey has never met our wonderful vet. But that's only part of it. When Sir Blakey adopted us, three weeks ago today, he told us in his own special way that he was three-and-a-half, more or less. This morning, we will be called upon at the vet's office to give Sir Blakey's date of birth, an occasion we must make up for we have no records of his arrival on Planet Oy Gevalt. And so, the date in question involves the afore-mentioned math.

"Let's say he was born in March 2013," hubby suggested, after doing some fancy counting backwards on his manly fingers. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I did some silent counting on my dainty digits and realized, uh no, that would make Sir Blakey too old. "Man of my dreams," I began, "I must inform you that your calculations are a bit off." Whereupon he crossed over to the calendar on the fridge, held up by clever magnets that say "Where did I go wrong?" and "It's all about me." In cinematic style, calendar pages started flipping this way and that until hubby arrived at the sixth month mark of May, a very merry unbirthday, indeed. So today, only moments from now, we will tell the nice people at the vet that Sir Blakey's birthday is May 1, 2013, more or less. This is the first time in our humble lives that we're making up a birthday date out of bupkis. It feels so wrong, and yet, somehow, it feels right. Who said we don't like to live on the edge?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sweet Sixteen


With the promise of
fewer mortgages payments
on the horizon
we invite you to share
a special moment in our lives
when our Tuscan-style mini-mansion
with the solar panels
and the eco-friendly
bamboo flooring
celebrates its Sweet Sixteen.

To help us pay for all the expenses
we've incurred in the past 16 years,
we welcome large sums of cash,
checks, credit cards, and of course,
Israeli Bonds.

An elegant potluck will highlight the festivities.
So please, don't be a stranger.
Bring whatever you've got in the fridge,
stop by any time you like, we're home,
and help us celebrate this joyous occasion.

Attire: California Casual
Flip Flops Optional
RSVP
with a hint
of how much
you're giving us.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ignorer In Chief


(Sherman Oaks) The international blogging sensation that is the Short Jewish Gal has just appointed herself Ignorer In Chief. "Let's face it, it's a highly coveted position," she told reporters gathered in her kitchen on account of the free coffee and bagels. "What, no lox?" kvetched Shlomo Gefiltavitz from OyVey.com. Rather than answer Gelfitavitz, the SJG ignored him. "See what I did there?" she asked the other reporters. "I was hoping for rugelach," noted Larry Unleavened of MatzohMan.com.


The SJG looked right past him. "This is me ignoring you, Mr. Unleavened, and you, and you, the one hoarding the Half and Half. Why am I ignoring you? I'll tell you why. Because I've decided to ignore all the annoying, head-scratching, scary if not terrifying stuff going on in the world. In this way, I hope to stay sane." "Why don't you just call yourself Denier In Chief?" asked Marvin Mogen David of The Daily Pipik Gazer. "Next question," the SJG said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How To Avoid An Awkward Thanksgiving


Awkward Situation: An unexpected guest arrives.
Solution: Ask for I.D., birth certificate, passport. Mention all the turkey has been distributed. Offer frozen dinner as substitute. Make interloper sit outside in the cold.


Awkward Situation: A guest has food allergies/dietary restrictions.
Solution: Direct him or her next door, where they keep kosher.


Awkward Situation: A limited amount of food.
Solution: Organize indoor version of "The Hunger Games." Anyone left standing gets to eat.


Awkward Situation: An unruly relative.
Solution: Confiscate alcohol. Immediately disinherit. Put in Shame Corner. Repeatedly scold for bad behavior. Deny dessert.


Awkward Situation: Late arrivals.
Solution: Lock the door. Shut the windows. Block all entrances and exits. Eat without them.


Awkward Situation: End of night stragglers.
Solution: Report them to the police.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Emotional Scar Removal Cream On Sale Today

(Sherman Oaks) A short Jewish maven on everything proudly announces the release of SJG Emotional Scar Removal Cream, a miracle formula comprised of amnesia-inducing New Age remedies and a hefty dose of rachmones. "That's Yiddish for compassion," the SJG said in a self-serving interview at her palatial estate. "You can't get rid of those deep emotional scars without self-compassion, am I right? The instant suppression of unhappy memories is an added bonus. Just apply a nice shmear and no one will see the pain and suffering you're trying to cover up. A week or two of twice-daily application and those hurtful issues you've been shlepping around in your eff'd up psyche since birth will dramatically diminish. Suddenly, you'll have the energy and confidence to face your relatives at Thanksgiving without projecting years of anger and bitter resentment over all the dumb and insulting things they've said and done. Remember a few years back, when Great Auntie Zelda asked if you were pregnant and all you could say was, 'I don't have a uterus anymore'? Well, my emotional relief emollient will help you vanquish all that ugliness, once and for all. A month in, your natural glow of feigned mental health will shine through and everyone will think you just got back from Maui. SJG Emotional Scar Removal Cream will eradicate a lifetime of trauma, so fast your head will spin like a dreidel. You may get a little nauseous, but as side effects go, it could be worse." The SJG went on to say that no therapists were harmed in the making of this, the only topical you'll ever need.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Easily Amused

When the sons were younger, we had to find ways to amuse them. Amusement parks. Parks, in general. Movies. Dodger games. Laker games. Kings games. Any venue that served milk shakes, hamburgers and fries. Buying them stuff worked well, too. Skateboards. Rollerblades. Bikes. Basketballs. Baseballs. Bats. Hockey sticks. Sports memorabilia. Gameboys. Video games. New equipment of any kind brought temporary joy. Entertaining the sons was a costly endeavor. These days, it's so much easier to amuse them. It costs nothing. The effort on our part is minimal. All we have to do is doze off, mid-afternoon, in a seated position -- hubby on the sofa, me on the LazyGirl -- and hilarity ensues, especially when the eldest son captures the siesta on his iPhone and offers to share it with the world. Fortunately, a series of parental threats, including disinheritance, stopped him from exposing us to international ridicule. Such self-restraint. Have we raised him right, or what? He only shared "Parents Snoring On A Sunday" with his brother, who was all the way in the next room, debating whether it was worthy of Funny or Die, Instagram or Facebook. In the end, the sons wisely opted to spare us the global humiliation, most likely because they prefer not to lose their laundry privileges, upcoming Hanukkah gelt and supervised visits with our new dog.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What Can't I Stand?

Happy now, sure. But soon,
someone's gonna get hurt. 

Throughout my childhood, my dad would roam the house, issuing the following battle-cry: "What can't I stand?" And the three children who brought him nothing but joy would answer: "Happy children!" The theory was so smart and simple, so logical, I'm surprised Dr. Spock or Dr. Phil didn't think of it first. Happy children get charged up. Happy children get carried away. Happy children wind up doing dumb things and getting hurt. As the mother of two sons, I'd have to say my dad's theory was spot-on. The other thing my dad used to call out to us: "What's the most important thing in the world?" "Money!" we'd yell back. That was not the answer he was looking for. Love was the answer. But then, love is always the answer. He was right about that, too.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Not One of My Better Moments

Jack Bauer, unleashed

Usually, I keep it together. Okay, most of the time. Fine. Now and then, the SJG loses it. I'm sure it's hard for you to imagine me, short and demure gal that I am, diva of etiquette, queen of unsolicited advice, just completely going apesh*t on a total stranger. What's that? It's not hard at all to picture such a scene? You mean you've picked up signs of a temper in this blog, that blog, oh, and remember that blog from 1958? Yes, I'll admit, the hints are sprinkled throughout my Pulitzer-deprived oeuvre. There have been a few moments I've shared that reveal a darker side of my personality. Just ask a family member.


So, I was walking Blakey in the neighborhood, trying to teach him that not every squirrel, every bird, every car, every noise is worthy of his attention. Suddenly, I spotted a very large, unattended, unleashed dog rounding the corner. As is my ancestral way, I said to myself, "Oh @#$%!" Then I called to no one, for no one was visible, "Someone's dog is off-leash!" I thought I sounded so official. As the big dog -- whose named I later learned was actually Jack Bauer -- got closer, I took Blakey up on a neighbor's front porch (a protective maneuver I pulled out of my tush) and said again, "Someone's dog is off-leash!" Then an entourage appeared, three or four children parading in back of Jack Bauer, followed by a bigly buff fellow, in charge of this cheery brigade.

"Why is your dog off-leash?" I said to him, angrily.
"My dog is fine. My dog isn't the problem, ma'am."
"What you're doing is against the law."
"You're the problem here, not my dog. You're making your dog crazy."
"Excuse me! This is a rescue dog. I'm training him. You need to have your eff'n dog on an eff''n leash. That's the law!"
(Piss me off and I go all litigious.)


The rest is a blur. There was more screaming, mostly on my part. I know, I know. It was not one of my better moments. I handled myself horribly. But when it comes to protecting my posse, canine or human, I get fierce. I rise up to a level of Do Not Eff With Me. Where does this fury come from, this anger and fighting spirit? Beats the kaka out of me. Somewhere deep in my Russian DNA, I suppose. Next time, I'll do better. I'm sure there will be a next time. That's just how the universe works.

Friday, November 11, 2016

To Catch A Squirrel


Here only two weeks, the newest addition to the SJG mishpocha has already found important work as a Professional Squirrel Chaser. We are so proud of our Blakey. His techniques are top secret, of course. God forbid the wrong people get a hold of his dossier. But from what I can gather, his strategy involves staring out the window and making yelping sounds until I set him free in the backyard, or what's left of it, to terrorize his speedy tormentors.


All he wants is to catch a squirrel, any squirrel, and fulfill his destiny. Is that too much to ask? The Spunky One doesn't think so. He shows the kind of determination I long to approximate. Right about now, I lack the dedication and commitment to chase anything. But maybe, if I keep studying Blakey's sophisticated moves, I'll learn how to chase a dream and catch it before it scampers up a tree, only to taunt me from the highest branch.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Make Me


Dear SJG,
Is there a way to make myself great again? Lately, I'm only feeling half-great. Not even half. More like a quarter-great. How do I restore my natural greatness? I know it's in there somewhere.
Thank you,
Feeling Un-Greatful

Dear Un-Greatful,
Just do what I do. Make yourself the star of your own reality show. Surround yourself with people who keep telling you how great you are, like every two minutes. Also, wear a hat. A hat will help sell the concept, believe me.
You're Welcome,
The SJG

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Long Day's Journey Into OMFG

Early last night, I felt like this. 

So I did this.

Late last night, I did this.

This morning, I'd like to feel like this. 

I'm not quite there yet. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Son, The President

An early morning call from the eldest:
"Hey, Mamba."
"Hi, honey."
"I just voted."
"Good for you, sweetie."
"I got there early. It was at a chapel. There was no wait."
"Lucky."
"Coupla altacockers just sitting there, slowly taking names."
"I love when you say altacocker. Except when it applies to me."
"You're not an altacocker."
"Not yet. Give me a few years."
"I did my civic duty. I just wanted you to know."
"I've never been prouder. So, who'd you vote for?"
"Me."
"You?"
"I wrote myself in."
"For president?"
"I think I could run the country."
"It's a big job. You sure you can handle it?"
"@#$%, yes."
"Well, I wish you'd told me sooner. I would've made a few posters."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Silly Time Change, How You Mock Me

The SJG awakens in a state of delightful, yet rapidly dwindling, enthusiasm: "Oh, good morning, world. Hello, birdies. Hello, doggy. It appears you've taken over our marital bed. Isn't that cozy? The smattering of black doggy hair as it sheds, hither and thither, on the satin sheets and velvet pillows. The luxury of it all. The splendor. I can't quite get enough of it. Do tell, doggy! What time is it on this joyous day? Ahem, doggy. Could you kindly stop licking yourself long enough to tell me at the tone what the time will be? What's that, doggy? Six a.m.? No! Too-too early. It cannot be. I refuse to accept this hourly conspiracy. Clockwise, it feels like 7 a.m. Silly Daylight Savings! How you mock me. How you eff me up, twice annually. How you mess with my internal tick tock. Can't you leave this glorious body, this shul of wonder, this creaky anatomy of mine, alone? For if Daylight Savings isn't about me, who is it about, anyway? You? Oh, right. Silly me. I almost forgot. Much like the Election from Hell, we're all in this together.