Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SJG Appoints Global Distribution Chief

(Sherman Oaks) SJG Enterprises is excited to announce that its beloved, much-admired founder has promoted herself to C.E.K. of SJG Global. In an interview at her diamond-encrusted headquarters, the SJG had this to say about that. "I couldn't be more honored by this unexpected appointment to C.E.K. of my new worldwide kugel distribution entity. What the world needs now is a nice slice of SJG kugel. But how to distribute it? That's the challenge I'm grappling with at the moment. Such a demanding task calls for a gifted C.E.K. And who better to fill that position than myself. I mean, hello, I've been the Chief Executive Kugeler of my life for 59 years. I'm ready to take this thing on, but it requires lots of research, lots of kugeling, to figure out how to attractively box up, freeze and distribute my miraculous noodle surprise without ruining its sweet, buttery, soul-enhancing essence. I do believe I'm up to the task, more or less. I can't wait to get out there and distribute like nobody has ever distributed before. I'd just like to thank myself for selecting me out of thousands of applicants. It's a thrill and a half, let me tell ya."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pillow Talk

"You go to sleep, I'm going to have a snack."
Dear SJG,
They say you shouldn't eat spicy foods before bed, or you'll have nightmares. Last night, I ate a bowl of hot chili before I turned in, and had the best sleep in ages. My husband, on the other hand, said I kept him awake all night. Did I somehow pass my nightmares on to him?
Digestively Yours,
Confused in Chattanooga
Dear Confused,
That's not all you passed. Wake up and smell the cumin.
You're Welcome,

Monday, May 29, 2017

Manly Men

On Memorial Day, manly men slay dragons and golf courses. They wrestle bears and moral quandaries. They prep the bbq and drink beer. They watch war movies and yell random things like, "Man the torpedoes!" and "Full speed ahead!" Over here in Sherman Oaks, my manly man is up on the roof, cleaning the solar panels. I have no frame of reference for such a manly activity. Growing up in Westwood, a shy, short gal full of big dreams, never once did I hear my dad, a WWII vet, announce, "I'm going up to deal with the solar panels. I won't be back till they're clean." Back then, rooftop solar panels were the stuff of science fiction. What's that? You want me to check my references? How dare you. Didn't you ever read "The Illustrated Solar Panel" by Ray Bradbury? One moment please. This blog has been interrupted by a snarky librarian. Stay calm. Okay, I'm back. She just informed me I eff'd up the title. It was "The Illustrated Man," not "The Illustrated Solar Panel." Whatevs! Before hubby made the trip up the manly ladder to do manly things, I said, "Why do you have to clean the solar panels?" "They're dirty." "I don't like when you're up there." "Don't worry." "Have you met me?" So. What's your manly man doing today?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

"La La" At The Bowl

If you don't adore "La La Land," the almost-winner of Best Picture, then chances are excellent you weren't at the Hollywood Bowl last night to see "La La Land in Concert: A Live-To-Film Celebration." Oscar-winning composer Justin Hurwitz conducted the score with a 100-piece symphony orchestra, choir and jazz ensemble, featuring Arturo Sandoval, while the movie played on the big screen. Even better than the great music, the evening was a mother-son double date. Dylan and Scotty, friends since pre-school, took their much-cherished mothers out on the town, knowing ahead of time that Sharon and I would embarrass them throughout the night. And we didn't disappoint!
What with the spontaneous hugs, the marathon kvelling, the bopping in our seats -- excuse me, backbreaking wooden benches -- the ongoing ooing and awing at the fireworks, the sons had trouble picking the silliest, cringiest mom moment. For Scotty, I believe it happened early on, when the sign demanded that I remove the perfectly-chilled wine from the backpack I'd forced him to schlep, and offer it up to the Gods of Security. "Nice vintage," the guard said. This after I googled, "What can I bring to the Hollywood Bowl?" and the answer was "anything but a beer keg." "Don't cry, Ma, we'll get some inside," Scotty said, comforting me between exaggerated eye rolls. And as usual, he was right. The Hollywood Bowl was happy to sell us alcohol for a thousand bucks a sip. But who cares about money when you're out with your son, sitting under the stars? And did I mention, fireworks?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Can You Hear Me Now?

My next door neighbor does it. My friend's husband does it. My neighbor down the street does it. The SJG, on the other hand, never does it. The chances of you driving by my Tuscan-style estate and seeing me out front, talking on the cell phone while I pace back and forth: zip. I never do this. It's a guy thing. I'm absolutely convinced of this. Why they can't talk on the cell phone inside the house remains a mystery. Maybe it's a reception thing. Or a pride thing. Look at me, I'm outside and I'm on the cell phone. Guy thing, absolutely.

So yesterday, as Sir Blakey walks me around the neighborhood, and I see Jerry in front of his house, holding something in his hand, I assume, oh hey, there's Jerry on his cell phone. Nothing new there. For fun, I decide to walk over and harass him. Gal thing. So many ways to annoy the menfolk, so little time. Sir Blakey and I head in Jerry's direction. I see his mouth moving. Clearly, he's on the phone, making important Hollywood deals. Jerry is a tummeler. He's always got something in various stages of I'm-not-sure going on, and it sounds cool.

"Hey, Jerry," I say, "who you talkin' to now, Mr. Bigshot?" Actually, I don't say that, I just say "hi, hon," my normal neighborly greeting, often followed by a hug. I'm an affectionate gal. And then I whisper, "Are you on the phone?" He looks at me funny. "I'm on the celery." He's eating a stick of celery, that's all. He's not talking to it or anything. "You're on the celery phone," I say, positive I'm the first human to ever make this connection. Celery. Celery phone.

Later, I will Google and discover this connection has been made already. I will lapse into a brief depression, then climb out, triumphantly. But in this moment, I grab his celery phone and talk into it.  "Can you hear me now?" He looks at me. "You are a silly person." "What sort of apps does this celery come with?" I ask. "None," he says. "What a rip off," I say, and go on my way.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Such A Miracle

There are miracles. And then there are MIRACLES. Everyone sees a miracle differently, I suppose. My miracle isn't of the biblical variety. My miracle won't make it into the Guiness Book of World Records. My miracle won't get a mention on the nightly news. My miracle won't change a single thing on the planet.

In terms of miracles, no one has said this to me:
"Despite the fact that you have no uterus, no female plumbing at all, and you're old and getting older by the second, you're pregnant with triplets. Mazel tov!"
"Despite the fact that you've done bupkis on a global, not to mention local scale, we're giving you the Nobel Peace Prize just because. Mazel tov!"
"Despite the fact that you can't do a double pirouette to save your tush, and your extension is an embarrassment, welcome to the Royal Dance Theatre of Sherman Oaks. Mazel tov!"

In terms of miracles, a nice recorded voice said this to me last night at exactly 7:02 p.m.:
"You've completed jury duty without ever leaving your house. The chances of this happening again are zilch, so don't get too cocky. We'll get you next time. Mazel tov!"

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Just Peel And Stick

When I read that Don Kracke, the inventor of Rickie Tickie Stickies, passed away last month at 86, I instantly saw myself, a nine-year-old SJG, sticking those peppy flowers on my mirror and feeling so groovy every time I stepped into the bathroom. I didn't stop at mirrors, though. I stuck those stickers everywhere. This was my shout out, my call for peace, love and understanding. I was going to change the world, one Rickie Tickie Stickie at a time.
Don Kracke
Nothing made me happier than those stickers. It was 1967. I didn't have that much going on. Except at nine, I was finally able to walk into Westwood Village with a friend, and that was a big deal. But there were rules, people. The one place I wasn't allowed to step foot in was the local head shop, where they sold, you guessed it, Rickie Tickie Stickies. You couldn't buy them at the drugstore or JC Penney's. It pains me to tell you, but I entered the land of rolling papers, lighters and hippy paraphernalia, anyway. And got caught by the rule maker herself, my own mother, who drove by and saw me in action. I had crossed the line. "You're grounded," she said, which, at nine, meant I couldn't talk on the phone and watch TV for a week. Torture! And yet, she was a softie at heart. She let me keep my one and only package of Rickie Tickie Stickies. Good thing they were reusable. 
The first time my dad saw those big wonderful flowers stuck on my mirror, he declared, "Neato ka-beeto!" I heard "neato ka-beeto" a lot growing up. That and, "Far In!" (as opposed to "Far Out!"). He always knew how to make me laugh. So here's to my dad and here's to my mom for letting me keep the contraband. And here's to Don Kracke and his Rickie Tickie Stickies. They gave me and countless others joy, and above all, hope for a better world.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Take My Hand

Sometimes in a long marriage, and by long I mean nearly 37 years, in this day and age, a miracle, you need to ask your spouse a question that may shake him to his very core. So this morning, as hubby was rushing off to work in the TV trenches, I cranked up the interrogation.
"Hang on there, mister. Where do you think you're going?"
"To hobnob with celebrities."
"But you did that last week."
"And I'm doing it again this week."
"You really do suffer for your art, don't you?"
"Yes, I do."
"Before you go, I must ask you something."
"Should I be worried?"
"Go ahead."
"If we were ever walking off an airplane in an official, diplomatic capacity..."
"It seems unlikely -- "
"And the entire world was watching, and I reached for your manly hand to hold, would you swat it away like a stinky fillet o' fish sandwich?"
"Hmm. Let me think about it."
"Take your time."
"I would not swat your hand away. I would hold it proudly, and diplomatically."
"Good answer."
"Okay, see you later."
"Hang on, I have one more question."
"Make it fast."
"If we were ever walking off an airplane in an official, diplomatic capacity, and you reached for my hand but maybe I didn't see you do it, on account of the worldwide attention making me all farklempt, would you give my tush a slight reassuring tap, instead?"
"No, I wouldn't."
"Why not?"
"I'd wait till we're meeting the Pope in private."
"Good answer. You may now exit the premises."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Watch This!

There are so many different kinds of watches, one more dramatic than the next.
There's Storm Watch! Very big with the weather people on TV.
There's Tornado Watch! Not a lot of these in Sherman Oaks. But still. Yikes!
And yet, there's no official announcement, no neon sign, for the kind of nail-biting, agonizing watch the SJG is currently on. Every night at exactly 7 o'clock, I must dial a number and wait for a recorded voice to tell me if I have to go or not. Why? I'll tell you why. 
Because the SJG is on... must I say it out loud? JURY DUTY WATCH! 
Then again, maybe you can. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Rare Form of B.S.W.

(Sherman Oaks) The blog must go on. A case of jetlag and an inexplicable fear of airport delays jeopardized the Short Jewish Gal's ability to write her blog this morning. There were reports that another blogger might step in and ghostwrite her blog for her. But then her ex-allergist, who retired but still knows an emergency from a pathetic cry for help, stopped by and diagnosed her with a rare form of BSW. "She's got Broadway Show Withdrawal," the doctor said. "A minute ago, she couldn't stop singing 'Hello, Dolly.' To shut her up, I gave her a nice big shot of something wonderful and told her to stay away from pollen. She's fine now, I think, but with her, you never know. Just don't ask her to reenact 'The Great Comet of 1812.'  You're asking for trouble. Plus, she might throw a perogi or a mini-maraca at you and put out an eye." After her doctor left, the SJG stood on her front step and shouted in a hoarse but meaningful voice, "I'm here, bitches. I'm ready to blog." She went on to blog with no apparent problems.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Don't Remind Me

Despite several testy calls to the front desk, no one from housekeeping showed up this morning to make the bed and fold the towels and make everything pretty. As is my way, I complained bitterly to hubby. "What kind of hotel is this?" Hubby reminded me, "We're no longer at a hotel." Then I reminded him, "I'm sick and can't be held responsible for my irrational thoughts." Then he reminded me, "You got sick after our NYC trip last year." Then I said, "Don't remind me." On a Sunday morning, in between dabbing my nose like a society lady, and kvetching like a whiny lil' bitch, I can only conclude that either I'm allergic to New York, or reality.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sorry For The Inconvenience

At first, it didn't sound so terrible. A 5 o'clock flight out of JFK was delayed an hour. No big deal. Then an hour became an hour and a half. Then another hour. Then there was the brief mention of a "mechanical issue." Then there was a terminal change and a long walk to Gate B-Something. Then a jaunty shuttle ride to Terminal Confusion, Gate Who Cares. Does anybody know what flight we're on? Anybody? And where we're sitting on the plane? And what's our departure time? 8:05? 8:0... Oh, eff that, I'm not asking anymore. 
Then this: The SJG captured in all my frustration and exhaustion. I've never looked lovelier. All I know is the plane finally took off at some point. And at some point -- 2 a.m.? 2:15? -- we arrived in Sherman Oaks, where we belong.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Step and Repeat

"Step right up to the CW Upfront. Actually, please stay in your seat unless you're an important TV star. Are you listening, SJG?" 
Gina Rodriguez, star of "Jane The Virgin," steps right up and does the "Step and Repeat" in front of the CW corporate logo. The what? According to hubby, the stars "step and repeat" interviews in front of this snazzy backdrop. That sounds fun. Like a dance step! Why don't I try it? Don't mind if I do.
The SJG does the "Step and Repeat" for hubby. In all the excitement, I forgot to flash the jazz hands. @#$%! Maybe next year. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dolly & Natsha & Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

On a hot, muggy NYC day, it was a dream come true to see Bette Midler in my all-time favorite show "Hello, Dolly!" I was so happy, so gleeful, so completely giddy, that I had to fight the urge to sing every song out loud. All it took was one dirty look from the lozenge-sucking gal next to me to get myself under control. That's how far I've come. Aren't you proud of your SJG? But come on! Bette and David Hyde Pierce starring in the greatest, funniest Broadway extravaganza? Best. Time. Ever. I may never get over it. Never!
I know, I know, Josh Groban looks a lot like Tevya. But get a grip, nice people. He's Pierre. 
Two shows in one day? What am I, crazy? A little bit, or a lot, depending on the angle. "Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812" is the craziest pop opera this dainty-ass Jew has ever seen. Good thing Bubbles was with me to interpret and join in the silliness of it all. The audience gets pulled into the show at every turn. At one point, Bubbles and I were part of the musical accompaniment. I'm serious. We think we deserve compensation. Don't worry, we've got our attorneys on it. In the meantime, I wish I could tell you what this wild Russian show is about, but it's beyond my limited, overly-pollenated brain. I mean, there's a chart in the program with arrows and everything. Let's just say it's an avant garde, wackadoodle, super-inspired musical take on "War & Peace" and you can't hum a song from this circus to save your life.
And yet... it's fabulous. At least, that's what Bubbles tells me and I believe her. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tuesday In The Park With Bubbles

Bubbles, aka Debbi Fuhrman, at the entrance 
of Central Park, sitting on art.

What kind of art? A recreated ritzy Gilded Age ballroom. 
Naturally, Bubbles and I felt right at home. 

I know, I know, you don't want I should get too artsy on you. 
So here's a pretty shot of Central Park.

Okay, back to the art, this time at the Met: 
George Seurat's Circus Sideshow.

Once again, Bubbles and the SJG fit right in. 

Moments before the amazing, emotional roller coaster 
ride of "Dear Evan Hansen." Lucky me, I got to see it 
with Connie Ray, star of telly, stage and screen. One of us wept 
uncontrollably. Hint: it wasn't the non-thespian.

Ben Platt, star and future Tony winner. It was so nice of him
to pose for this photo. What a mensch. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Walking Small

... unlike these two, who tower over me

All I do is walk, walk, walk in NYC, yesterday over four miles' worth. I walk here, I walk there, and at some point after all the walking, I get so pooped out, I need to sit down in the hotel bar and recover with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio. If a handsome hunky actor from my favorite show happens to be nearby within staring distance, even better. "Honey," I whisper to hubby, conveniently located next to me, "it's that guy I love." "What guy?" "That guy from 'Lost.' " "Where?" "There! On the sofa." "Cool." "He played.... what's his name? Jin! And now he's on 'Hawaii Five-O' but who cares about that?" "Go say hi." "I couldn't." "Go on." "You want me to go say hello to... to.. oh, eff, what the hell is his name?" At this juncture, I start googling.
Daniel Dae Kim

"Daniel Dae Kim?!" "Go on." "Really?" "You can do it." So I stand up, feeling bold, feeling strong, and right then, our very tall friend Mark arrives, and there are hugs and happy greetings and by the time we sit down, Daniel Dae Kim... oh, it pains me to tell you... is gone. But don't cry, nice people. I still have today to stalk see him, and maybe even tomorrow. The CBS Upfront isn't till Wednesday. Hope isn't lost. I'll just sit here in the bar till he shows up again.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Seriously, New York

Oh, New York, I know you're happy to see me, but must you greet me with rain and an hour-and-a-half traffic jam from JFK? Seriously, New York, you know how personally I take these things. I immediately started texting Bubbles, my NYC-based SJG, who generously took over weather control in New York after my own Weather Maven of the Western World, aka Mr. Ben Starr, departed.
"Uh, Bubbles? It's raining. Just arrived."
"I had you down for a Monday arrival."
"Sunday, Bubbles. Sunday."
"This upcoming week is flawless. You should've seen yesterday. Terrible!"
"Yesterday's gone, Bubbles. It's old news. I'm here now. Get busy."
"On it."
Within five minutes, the rain had stopped.
"Nice work, Bubbles."
"Trust the force."
"Oh, I do. Now get busy with the traffic."
"Not my area of expertise."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's For You

"Who's calling?" (1959)

Mother's Day used to be so hard. The first year, the second year, and many years after that. A Mother's Day brunch without my mother? What's the point? But then I realized I could still celebrate her and Mother's Day got easier. After all, I had other mothers I could honor in the here and now. My wonderful and hilarious mother-in-law. My wonderful and hilarious friends who are mothers. And another mother I knew better than anyone. Me. True, I've had my ups and downs as a mommy. Who hasn't? But only the early years. The teen years. The young adult years. Motherhood is a full-time, low-paying, worry-inducing, highly-rewarding gig. You make mistakes. A lot of mistakes. You say the wrong things. You overreact. You pick the wrong battles. This thing I've been doing for much longer than my own mother has been gone, it's a work in progress. I learned a lot from her. Things I wanted to do the same. Things I wanted to do differently. I'm grateful for all of it. I wouldn't trade this job for anything. So happy mother's day, nice people. And if you still have a mom, give her the biggest hug and don't let go. You're luckier than you know.
The Original Pouty Face (1961)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Oh, The Parties You'll Go To

When the kids are little, they go to little kids' parties. They tumble at the junior gym, they bounce in the bouncy castle. If they're lucky, maybe a comic book hero or a princess drops by.

When the kids are a little bigger, the venues get a little bigger, too. Now they're bowling, playing miniature golf and arcade games.

Then comes laser tag and paintball parties, skateboarding and rock climbing, too: the parties that come with all the scary disclaimers, the parties that require parental signatures.

At a certain point, it hits you. These kids of yours, they're growing up, whether you like it or not.

In the blink of an eye, they're on the Bar and the Bat Mitzvah circuit. They're dressing fancy. They're dancing and sliding across the floor. They're wearing neon necklaces and hats that light up, along with their hormones.

Then come the sweet sixteens, the turning eighteens, the twenty-ones.

And the birthday parties give way to other kinds of parties; the drinking and the I-don't-want-to-know parties. The parties that keep the parents and the neighbors up late at night.

A few years go by, and a few more, and suddenly, the kids are on the wedding circuit. Their friends are getting married. How did that happen? Can anyone please explain?

And maybe one day, if you're lucky... just maybe one day, God willing, you'll be standing right up there next to those kids of yours, as they say their I-Do's.

In my own case, some day soon, kina hora, poo poo poo, the complicated visa process between two governments will wrap up -- when, don't ask, if I knew, I'd tell you -- and a romantic American boychick will marry his French sweetheart, and the SJG will be right there, kvelling, uncontrollably, so ready to party it's ridiculous.

All it takes is patience, a topic I failed in college.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Take A Memo

Sometimes you just gotta get tough with your staff. Sometimes you gotta write a memo to keep your poorly-paid peeps in line. I now present my heartfelt missive to my main go-fer in hopes that he gets his sh*t together. 

Good morning, Sir Blakey.
I’d like you to review the following notes and rules. I don't care whether you can read or not. 
When I'm working on my intergalactically-adored blog, no barking. 
Do not sit at my feet and whine. It's beneath you. 
Do not steal my comfy slippers.
My security team will stop you. 
No begging for a taste of toast. 
No sharing my coffee.
Get your own. 
Do not ambush me with kisses or lick my toes while I'm blogging. 
Please make an appointment for affection. 
Do not ambush the SJG Crystal Shrine with exuberant tail-wagging. 
You break it, you pay for it. 
Do not barge into my personal headspace. 
Either knock or use the doorbell.
If you want a walk, a snack, a moment of my attention, you must schedule an appointment.
If you continue to selfishly distract me, my security team will berate you. 
I've been too lenient. NO MORE. I mean no offense. This is for your own good, and mine. 
Thank you,