Monday, October 23, 2017

Scenes From A Wedding Reception

A sneaky peek of the newlyweds posing for professional photos.
What follows are the unprofessional ones.

When you install a dance floor, chaos ensues. 

The long-marrieds

Pre-festivities, when my hair still looked good, with Scotty, John and my adorable MIL Charlene

Mother and youngest son being very silly 

John and I marvel at the drunken dancing of the young people 

 The dance train rolls through town.

Le wedding cake of yummy creme poufs

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bug Off

"What's going on here?" asks Dan, the pest control guy, the latest in a series. 
"A wedding reception. Our son just got married."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"Marriage makes me sad."
"Oh, okay, so in the backyard -- "
"I like to avoid weddings at all costs. My last two cost me a bundle."
"Concentrate on the big hedge, Dan. "
"My first marriage lasted 30 years, my second one lasted 10, and each time, I lost my house and all my money."
"Uh-huh. So, let's get busy with the spaying."
"My current lady keeps bugging me to get married, and I say, no way, Jose, marriage is for suckers."
"Enough with the marriage talk."
"You gonna have a live band?"
"My last wedding, a buddy of mine played guitar. It was sweet."
"I'm going inside now."
"Like I told my lady, why buy the cow when the milk's free?"
"Let me know when you're done."
"You gonna have a DJ?"

Friday, October 20, 2017

And Now, A Religious Experience

Oh, dear God. What are these fellas in the wet suits doing? Deep sea diving? Searching for buried treasure? Should I tell them they're going to find bupkis at the bottom of the SJG pool? Or let the aqua men have their fun?

I left them alone for eight hours and look what happened. They covered the pool. To quote my father-in-law, "I hope they didn't leave anyone under there." 

And here is the final result, the ultimate religious experience: The SJG walking on water. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Nice Day In Beverly Hills

Under the courthouse heart-shaped chuppah

He may have been the deputy judicial officer, but I started calling him Rabbi Gordon mid-way through the courthouse ceremony. It may have been the way he explained the meaning of vows, not just marital, but the vows we make every day to keep our promises. It may have been the way he teased the former Bar Mitzvah boy, smiled and gestured and enjoyed himself. The clincher came at the end, when he pronounced Billy and Chloe married, and I said, "Mazel tov!" In that moment, he asked, "Did I just hear mazel tov?" "You certainly did." "Well," he said, turning even more rabbinical before our eyes, "do you know what mazel tov means?" Oy vey, a quiz. Still, I felt pretty confident. "Mazel means good -- " I didn't even get to "tov." He cut me off right there. "Tov means good. Mazel means..." Here he pointed to the heavens. "Dripping down from above... from the constellations. When we say mazel tov, we're giving a blessing. May this drip of inspiration from your soul above have a positive and lasting effect... In other words, good mazel!" "Who knew?" I said. On our way out, I added, "Thank you, Rabbi. That was very hamish."
Billy and Chloe apr├Ęs le mariage

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Going To The Courthouse

When the day arrives for them to say, "I do"
When the day they'll get married is Oct. 18
When the day is the same as your dad's birthday
When the day brings you joy in a million ways

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Lifetime To Share

Where there is love there is a brand new toaster oven.

If I had a bagel for every time I thought of you, I could open a deli. 
You're not truly married until you formally announce it on social media.

A marriage works best when you ignore the dumb and thoughtless things your spouse says when sleep-deprived. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Nice To Meetup With You

At a volunteer Meetup, as the young people say, as opposed to Meeting -- too businessy and boring -- or as I like to call a small group of peeps sitting around a table making conversation -- Hellody, Strangers! -- we introduced ourselves and then picked a piece of paper from a bowl with a fun question. Mine went something like this: "Who would you be if you could be somebody else?" I admit I was momentarily thrown. My whole life, I never knew I had such an option. No one ever handed me an exhilarating alternative. In this moment, my busy monkey mind went into overdrive. "Dear God, this question is throwing my entire identity upside down. Does this mean I can click my heels together three times and become someone else? What would my family think if they found out I wasn't me, anymore? Would they celebrate?!" "Uh, Carol, could you answer the fun question?" the volunteer leader said.  "Oh, sorry. If I could be somebody else... I'd be... I don't know... it's a tough one... uh... maybe, oh wait, I know... Ginger Rogers."
Why Ginger Rogers? Why the eff not? I loved her style and grace and the way she danced with Fred. I loved everything about her. Well, not everything. Politically speaking, not so much. She was a lifelong member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I'm a lifelong member of the Granddaughters of the Russian Revolution. Ginger and the SJG, we were worlds apart. But to dance like her, to float on air, to tap tap tap my troubles away? That would be something. It really would be something.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Zombie Nurse Johnny & Friends

Scotty, Aunt Elly, Zombie Nurse Johnny, the SJG, 
hubby and Scotty's lovely girlfriend Katri. Hovering above us in a very threatening manner: Zombie Chef Boyardee.

Who else but my brother, Zombie Nurse Johnny, would throw an early Halloween party? No one comes to mind. He's been Halloween-obsessed pretty much forever. Every year, he tries to outdo himself, and last night's early scare fest exceeded all expectations. I screamed at least twice, and spilled my drink in fear at least once. Let's face it, I'm an easy mark. The foggy graveyard, the bloody shrunken heads, the skeletal crew, the freaky-ass maternity ward... I may never recover from this spooky hospital visit. And don't even get me started on what happened to Cowboy Bob. 
Zombie Nurse Johnny introduces soon-to-be-married Billy
to his long-lost Uncle Cleaver. 

Zombie Nurse Johnny shows bride-to-be Chloe just what kind of deranged family she's marrying into. I'd never heard anyone scream in French before. Impressive! 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Shirley & The Shindiggers

Shirley & the Shindiggers

Only one week to go before the big splashy celebration that started off as a smallish low-key soiree -- when have I ever done anything low-key? -- and has now morphed into a full-blown post-wedding extravaganza with entertainment by Schlomo & the Sophisticates and Shirley & the Shindiggers. Sure, the party's gotten pricy. Yes, we're way over budget now that we've decided to provide helicopter service to the guests who've bothered to RSVP.
Schlomo & the Sophisticates

But not to worry, my friends. SJG Enterprises has it under control. Not to brag, but if not me, who then, my side businesses have over-performed in 2017. Turns out, anything with "Anti" in the name brings in gelt like you wouldn't believe. The SJG's Anti-Aging Wrinkle Eradicator, the SJG's Anti-Kvetching Electro-Shock Wristband and, it goes without saying, the SJG's Anti-Slouching Velcro Sling, have all proven profitable and then some. Boy, are the Shark Tank people miffed they never let me on the show. But I'm not bitter. Why? I'll tell you why. Because I've sold enough anti-this and anti-that to almost cover the hors d'oeuvres. And the fact that the invitation clearly states "Potluck: Bring Your Own Everything" should really cut back on the expenses. Like I said, not to worry. This just-married jubilee promises to be huge and very, very loud. Just don't tell the neighbors. I hear they're not big fans of noise. Oh, wait, that's me.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

I took the shocking news as well as I could, given the ambushy nature of the reveal. "Next time you come here," Renee, commander in chief of my baby fine ka-ka hair, and co-prezzy of the SJG Beauty Team, whispered, "you'll go somewhere else." "Come again?" "Next time, instead of coming here, you'll go to another place." "Please to repeat in a language I can comprendo." "Shush!" "Did you just shush me?" "I don't want everyone to hear what I'm saying." "Would you like me to hear what you're saying?" "Of course." "Out with it, gal." "We're leaving the salon." "Oh. Oh! Wow." "Next time, you'll go here," she said, softly, handing me a card, "not here." "So there, not here." "Right." "Color me surprised. What about Lenny?" Lenny is commander in chief of my hair color and co-prezzy of the afore-mentioned team. "He's leaving, too. We're all leaving. We hate it here." "Mass haircare exodus?" "Right."
So, after 12 years at the now ex-place, and I forget how many at the other ex-place, I've relocated for the third time to yet another salon. Basically, where my beauty team leads, I will follow. That's how devoted I am. Plus, they're the only people on the planet who know how to handle this ridiculous flyaway mess that sits atop my keppy.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

See Cashier?!

"It said See Cashier."
"That's me."
"What's the problem?"
"I bet your card's been compromised."
"Compromised? Why me? Why now?"
"It's going to be fine, ma'am."
"Ma'aming me? At a time like this?"
"Sorry. Just give me your card."
"Do I have to?"
"You want gas?"
"Then give it."
"Okay, fine, here. Promise you'll give it right back?"
"Scout's Honor. How much gas?"
"A full tank. Fill 'er up with premium."
"Premium? Pretty fancy."
"You have no idea."
"Okay, I'm sliding it through now... and... voila."
"Voila what?"
"Voila, nothing's wrong with your card."
"Then why did it say See Cashier?"
"Sometimes I get lonely."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Double Date

Join me, won't you, as I step into the SJG Time Machine (patent pending) and meet up with my adolescent self at Wil Wright's in Westwood Village for a hot fudge sundae.  
Aging SJG:  Wow. You're looking good.
Adolescent SJG:  Thankie. Are those wrinkles on our face?
Aging SJG:  No. They're road maps to our soul.
Adolescent SJG:  I think I'll start using moisturizer, just in case.
Aging SJG:  It couldn't hurt. You might cut back on the sunbathing, too. So, met any cute boys lately?
Adolescent SJG:  There's this one guy in math class. But the girl in front of me likes him.  So I'm helping her write him funny notes.
Aging SJG:  You've always been a giver. A regular Cyrano. What's his name?
Adolescent SJG:  Howard something.
Aging SJG:  You want in on a secret?
Adolescent SJG:  Always.
Aging SJG:  Spoiler Alert.  You marry him.
Adolescent SJG:  What? No way. He doesn't even like me.
Aging SJG:  Give him time.
Adolescent SJG:  You're making me nervous.
Aging SJG:   I'm good at that.
Adolescent SJG:  Well, cool it. I don't want to know anything else.
Aging SJG:  But I know so much about our life.
Adolescent SJG:  Keep it to yourself.
Aging SJG:  What fun is that?
Adolescent SJG:  Fine. Tell me one more thing.
Aging SJG:  Math isn't your friend. Neither is the girl trying to steal our future hubby.
Adolescent SJG:  But she's nice.
Aging SJG:  It's the nice ones you have to look out for.
Adolescent SJG:  Okay, now you're just trying to scare me.
Aging SJG:  Of course, I am. I didn't come all this way for my health.
Adolescent SJG:  Can I have some of your fudge?
Aging SJG:  No.  Get your own.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Suspicious Minds

"What are you eating?" 

"I'm not eating, I'm investigating."

"Then why are you chewing?" 

"I'm not chewing, I'm getting rid of the evidence."

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Prophecy

Moishe, a medieval Jewish astrologer, prophesied that the king’s favorite mistress would soon die. Sure enough, the woman died a short time later. The king was outraged at the astrologer, certain that his prophecy had brought about the woman's death. He summoned Moishe and commanded him, "Moishe, tell me when you will die!" 
Moishe realized that the king was planning to kill him immediately, no matter what answer he gave. "I do not know when I will die," he answered finally. "I only know that whenever I die, the king will die three days later."
Abe comes home one day and finds his wife Esther in tears.
"Darling, what’s the matter?"
"Oh Abe," cries Esther, "Doctor Cohen says I have tuberculosis."
"What! A big healthy woman like you has tuberculosis? Ridiculous," says Abe. "I'll call Doctor Cohen and get this sorted out right now."
So Abe calls his doctor. "Doctor, Esther says you told her she has tuberculosis."
The doctor says something to Abe and with that, Abe begins laughing.
"So what's so funny about my having such a dreadful disease?" asks Esther.
"Esther, Doctor Cohen didn't say 'tuberculosis.' He said, 'too big a tuchas.’ "

The Italian says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have wine."
The Mexican says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have tequila."
The Scot says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have Scotch."
The Swede says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have aquavit."
The Japanese says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have sake."
The Russian says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have vodka."
The German says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have beer."
The Greek says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have ouzo."
The Jew says, "I'm tired and thirsty. I must have diabetes."

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Miracle of The Bookshelf

"Say a prayer - Daddy's about to put the bookshelf together."
"Praying for everyone involved," the youngest texts back.
"He said it'll take 20 minutes."
"Get out of the house now, Ma."
"I'm staying. Someone has to documents this moment."
"Stay strong, Ma."
"He just said, 'this isn't going to be difficult.' "
"Oh, no."
"You won't believe it. He's reading the instructions."
"Are they in English?"
"They must be. He's not yelling yet."
"That's a good sign, Ma."
"I just asked him if I could help."
"Is he laughing?"
"How dare you, my son!"
"You know he likes to do these things on his own."
"You've noticed?"
"Uh yeah."
"Oh my God, honey, it's a miracle. He's done."
"It's gorgeous. Tell him thank you."
"Tell him yourself."
"I will."
"Use it in the best of health."

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Breakfast With The SJG

At her home in Sherman Oaks, CA, kvetching guru/kugel maker the SJG treats all of the staff who tend to her palatial estate to breakfast every morning. Why? "Because I'm a giver," she said in an exclusive interview with Goldie Goldberger, host of "What's Nu By You?", a new podcast that's getting great reviews. The noshes tend to vary depending on the SJG's mood. On a recent morning, she made prune kreplach with a splash of Mogen David, to get the system going. Did it work? "A little too well," she told Goldie. "They spent the entire day evacuating. Nobody ran a vacuum, nobody polished the silver. We learn from our mistakes. I had to do some serious re-thinking. The next morning, I went with a nice bagel with a nice schmear and a nice slice of Nova Scotia and got very high ratings and great reviews, the best ever in the history of breakfast. Better to make the people who schlep and toil for you happy, as opposed to miserable and riot-prone." In addition to the bagel buffet, the SJG recently added something special. "Now and then, I like to surprise the staff with an ice cold borscht to go with.  It's very tasty, everybody loves the borsht, the borsht gets great reviews and very high ratings," she said, adding, "although it does tend to stain the teeth, so afterwards, I offer a chaser of Chlorox. As I said, I'm a giver." 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Superman Vs. The Hulk In Gelson's

You never know when something you read in AARP magazine might just come in handy. You might wind up dispensing important life-saving medical advice: "Step away from that toxic sugar cookie, it could kill you!" Or in my case you might find yourself embroiled in a heated debate over who's a better superhero: Superman or The Hulk? Normally, I'd have bupkis to say about this topic. Bupkis, I tell ya. But thanks to an AARP article a few years back ("Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero"), I landed in a spirited discussion in the coffee aisle of, where else, Gelson's.

The manager, the stock clerk and a nice nebbishy customer were going back and forth over the superpowers of the afore-mentioned comic book/TV/film superheroes, who've been reinvented 82 times at last count, and I just had to intervene. I had to. It's what I do. "Wow," I said, "you guys are really into this thing, aren't you?" "Afraid so," said the manager. "Well, not to generalize too much, but I don't think I've ever heard three women debating Superman vs. the Hulk." "Oh, I think you're wrong," said the customer. "Lots of women have opinions on this. Have you ever been to Comic-Con?" "No, thank God." "If you had to pick, would it be Superman or The Hulk?" he asked. I didn't even hesitate. "Superman, of course. He's Jewish." The customer gave me a fist bump, something I've never received in Gelson's or anywhere else for that matter. "Exactly." The manager grinned. "How do you know?" "I read it in AARP magazine."

Thursday, October 5, 2017

So There's That

So now that my stupendous future DIL is here and all is right with my tiny personal world, kina hora, poo poo poo, have I momentarily run out of things to worry about? Let me think about that. Of course not. Just yesterday, I found something new to worry about, courtesy of my adorable MIL. Our conversation went something like this:

"I checked the weather for the party."
"Me, too. I've been checking, obsessively."
"Did you check in the last few days?"
"I checked last week."
"Uh huh."
"Do I detect an uh oh in that uh huh?"
"You detect a T."
"A T?"
"T as in -- "
"Don't say it."
"Dear God, no!"
"Maybe it's wrong."
"Maybe it's right."
"Let's not panic."
"I need to hang up and call the caterer."

A backyard post-wedding party. A potential T-storm. So there's that.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

You Will Like This

When Connie Ray, my favorite tall-gorgeous-redheaded-Carolina-farmgal who not-so-secretly longs to be Jewish, sent me this video with the assurance, "You will like this," I knew I was in for an educational treat. Like is putting it mildly. Try love. I'm pretty sure I've seen it already, but I can't remember for kaka, so I watched it like it was the first time, and smiled so much my cheeks are now permanently damaged. Don't feel badly, Connie Ray, I know you didn't mean to ruin my punim. I've already found a cheek damage specialist and will send you the bill.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

He's A What?

"Is that a Kelpie?" a gal calls out from her parked car.
"A what?"
"Your dog? Is he a Kelpie?"
"He's a royal rescue pup of questionable lineage."
"No question, he's a Kelpie. An Australian Kelpie."
"Technically, he's a Lab Mix. A little this, a little that."
"Is he friendly?"
"I'd like to pet him," she says, getting out of her car. "Is that okay?"
"Oh, hello there! Hello, Mr. Kelpie."
"I'd never heard of that breed."
"They're very intelligent. Is he intelligent?"
"He can kill a rat like nobody's business."
"Look it up."
"I will."
"I"m telling you, he's 100 percent Kelpie."
"Good to know."
"Bye bye, Mr. Kelpie."
Kelpie? Schmelpie! I don't see it. Do you?

Monday, October 2, 2017

For The Love Of Ivy

What to share on a morning such as this? Happy photos. So here are a few distractions: Chloe and moi at the Ivy, celebrating her arrival with my closest friends on the planet. 
With Cami and Carla 

With Elena, Kyle and Val (on camera). 
I'm one lucky lil blessed Jew.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

In The Backyard With Monty Hall

(Photo courtesy of Eric Schotz)
At a celebration of my dad's life nearly four years ago, the wonderful Monty Hall told us how my dad used to get the attention of the waitresses at Factor's. He'd call out, "Innkeeper!" My whole life, I never heard my dad call out, "Innkeeper!" in a restaurant. Complain that it was too cold, or that the service was slow, yes. Ask for more hot water for his tea? Always. But if Monty Hall said my dad called out, "Innkeeper!" it had to have been true. As soon as I heard Monty Hall passed away yesterday at the age of 96, I thought of my dad and how sad he would've been to know his good friend had died. Through tears he would've said what a mensch of all mensches Monty was, a philanthropist, a sweet guy, and how proud he was to know him.
Featured in "Lunch," Donna Kanter's documentary: Matty Simmons, back row from left, Budd Friedman, Gary Owens, John Rappaport and (my daddy) Ben Starr, and, front from left, Arthur Hiller, Sid Caesar, Rocky Kalish and Monty Hall gather for lunch at Factor's Famous Deli. 

Other than Matty, Budd and John, all of these nice men are gone. Here's hoping they've reunited at the Big Deli in the sky at a good table where it's not too drafty, and are swapping jokes and interrupting each other, as they were known to do.