Thursday, August 31, 2017

I Know What I Didn't Do This Summer

Our teacher Mrs. Kreplach is making us write a dumb essay about our summer vacation, so here's mine.  I didn't go on vacation this summer, Mrs. Kreplach. I didn't go anywhere or do anything. But I watched other people doing really fun things, so does that count? Like I saw a girl I know swim with dolphins. That looked cool. She posted a photo of herself and said, "Look at me, swimming with dolphins." I think I could've figured out she was swimming with dolphins without the dumb Facebook status. But she was having fun and that's what matters, right, Mrs. Kreplach? Another thing I didn't do this summer was join a circus. That sounded cool, too, but my parents caught me running away because I forgot to turn off the alarm. Next time I run away, I'll turn the alarm off! Oh, sorry, I forgot you don't want us to use exclamation points now that we're in fifth grade! So, anyway, I didn't join the circus and become an acrobat. Isn't that sad, Mrs. Kreplach? Hello, are you even reading this or did I already get an "F" for not doing the assignment right? There are other things I didn't do this summer, like, binge watch "Game of Thrones" or "House of Cards" because my parents told me not to, and I do whatever they tell me not to (wink wink). But just between us, Mrs. Kreplach, I really did binge watch those shows and they were awesome. I'm saving up my allowance to buy a flying dragon or run for emperor of the United Sates. I can't decide which sounds more fun. Dragon or Emperor? Emperor or Dragon? What are your thoughts, Mrs. Kreplach? I need to hear from you. I guess by now you can tell I had the worst summer ever. If they ran a contest for worst summer ever, I'd win for sure. I may also win for Worst Summer Essay ever, which would be very fun, because I almost never win anything, except one time I won a free trip to my room because I was grounded for my bad attitude. 

The End

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Born To Sneeze

The monthly meeting of L.A.S.S.O. (Loud-Ass Sneezers, Sherman Oaks) will now come to order. As you know, Allergy Season in this neck of the woods is year-round, therefore, reports of decibel-topping, ear-drum busting Lady Lassoers clearing out the Arclight Theater on Ventura Boulevard, not to mention, Starbucks on Woodman Avenue and Gelson's on Van Nuys Boulevard, continue to clog our Inbox. Naturally, we couldn't be happier.  In celebration, we've decided to appoint a new self-promotion expert to get the word out there that LASSO-sufferers are the nicest noisemakers you'll ever meet. We don't mean to be so disruptive. We just can't help ourselves. We're born to sneeze, and sneeze we must.  We come in all sizes, shapes and denominations. We carry different brands of tissue, although Kleenex still remains the most popular, because those cheap generics tend to fall apart, mid-honk. And now, please give a loud-ass round of sneezes to the Short Jewish Gal, a life-long Lassoer. She'd like to say a few words on her own behalf. "Gesundheit, one and all. I'm so excited to be the new self-promoter for LASSO, you have no freakin' idea. Every time I sneeze, I get the worst looks from everyone, even members of my own family. Just the other day, my own son said, 'Christ, Ma! You scared the @#$%'n sh*t out of me!' My neighbor called at 3 a.m. and said, 'Your sneeze just woke the baby. Thanks a lot, bitch.' I'm tired of apologizing for my loud sneezes. It's time to spread the word that Lassoers are people, too. Thank you again for this exciting self-appointment. It's the job I was born to do. I promise I won't... uh oh... hang on... here it comes... it's gonna break the sound barrier.... ah-ah-Ah-AH-AHHH-CHOOOSY... let myself, or you, down."

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sea & Ski

On the first day of Summer
My true love gave to me
A bottle of Sea and Ski
On the second day of Summer
My true love gave to me
Two tanning beds
And a bottle of Sea and Ski
On the third day of Summer
My true love gave to me
Three flip flops
Two tanning beds
And a bottle of Sea and Ski
On the fourth day of Summer
My true love gave to me
Four calling cards
Three flip flops
Two tanning beds,
and a bottle of Sea and Ski
On the fifth day of Summer
My true love gave to me
Five onion rings,
Four calling cards,
Three flip flops,
Two tanning beds
And a bottle of Sea and Ski

Monday, August 28, 2017

Where You Going?

Not here 

Dear SJG,
Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?
Curiously Strong,
Trixie from Tarzana

Dear Trixie,
Veysmere, so many questions for a Monday morning. Let me take these one at a time. I'm still not awake.

1) Before I can decide where I'm going to, I like to know where I'm not going to, which helps with the packing. So, if I know I'm not going to the North Pole, I don't have to pack the puffy thermal coat, the snow boots and the ice pick. Already, I'm traveling light.

2) I like some of the things that life is showing me, as long as I don't turn on the TV and watch the news. I don't like what the news is showing me. Not even a little.

3) Again, you want to know where I'm going to? You're so repetitive, Trixie. Fine, I'll tell you. Today I'm going to nowhere. Maybe tomorrow, I'll go to somewhere. But tomorrow is supposed to be hotter, so probably not.

4) Do I know? I know a few things. Other things, I've forgotten. One thing that I do know is this. The best way to feel ancient is to watch the VMA Awards.

You're Welcome,

Saturday, August 26, 2017

I'm Going To Live Forever

Finally, some good news, tailor-made just for the SJG. Neurotic people live longer. How do I know this? Because Time Magazine told me, so there. How liberating to discover at this late-50s stage of personal evolution that all my overthinking, worrying and free-floatin' anxiety is wonderful for my health. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, I'll give you that. I thought the folks with the positive attitudes were going to outlive me. Well, step aside, losers. According to a UK study -- and the UK would never mislead me, their favorite Royal Family Jewish Adviser -- neurotics live longer because they think they're dying and run to the doctor to make sure they still have a pulse. Hmm. Back up there a minute, you researchers, you. How dare you! The SJG is a little offended. Not a lot. But a little. I may over-manage my health. But I'm not a hypochondriac. I only run to the doctor when I know or think something is wrong. And I'm always right most of the time. I refer you to my current flea-bitten state. I am now on the mend only because I turned myself over to two doctors, a nurse practitioner and the 12-acre M.P.C. (Mega Pharmaceutical Conglomerate) down on Ventura Blvd. that fills my prescriptions when they feel like it. It took a team of well-paid specialists to cure me, more or less, plus a festive swath of Saran Wrap and Larry and Bob of the Flea Mavens. Maybe it's this soothing elixir of you-can-never-be-too-careful that will sustain me into senility. I overthink what's happening, I over-research, I diagnose myself, and then I seek confirmation at the nearest facility my insurance covers. Some might call that neurotic. Others might call it damn smart. Either way, there's a good chance I'll outlive you. Just know I'm going to miss you, but I promise to bring a nice coffee cake when I pay a condolence call at your house. L'chaim!

Friday, August 25, 2017

So It's Come To This

"So, I see you've got some bites."
"So many bites."
"You've been scratching?"
"A little bit, doc."
"Poor baby."
"I love that you said that."
"Well, look at you."
"Are my legs ruined?"
"Ruined, no. We're going to fix things."
"'Good, 'cuz I can't have scars, doc. I make a living off these legs."
"So, here's the plan. I'll prescribe some ointment. You'll put it on and then you'll leave it alone."
"I'm trying to leave it alone."
"How hard are you trying?"
"Not that much. I wake up scratching."
"Stop that."
"How, doc? So far, your plan isn't that inspired."
"I haven't finished yet."
"There's more?"
"When you pick up the prescription, you'll pick something else up, too."
"Saran Wrap."
"What's that now?"
"Saran Wrap."
"Am I making a roast for Rosh Hashanah early and freezing it?"
"You could. That's what my mother always did. But that's not what I had in mind."
"I also use Saran Wrap when I make kugel. I wrap it up, put in the fridge the night before, and --"
"It's for your legs."
"At night, you'll put the stuff on, and then, you'll wrap your legs in Saran Wrap."
"You mean like the guy in 'The Night Of'?"
"John Turturro with the whole foot thing?"
"So it's come to this? I'm John Turturro."
"He's a very fine actor."
"True. But let me ask you this."
"Ask me anything."
"How long do I have to be John Turturro?"
"Till you're all better."
"So... by Rosh Hashanah?"
"God willing."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

So Romantical

As anniversaries go, yesterday's was definitely our most romantical, which isn't a word, but should be, in my humble opinion. There were so many special surprises in store, my keppy is still spinning, just trying to remember it all. Before I could even wish hubby a happy 37th, he yelled upstairs, "There's something wrong with the Internet." "Oh, honey, happy anniversary to you, too." "Happy anniversary. This is serious." Man of my dreams that he is, he spent the next eight hours figuring it out with people from India. There were exciting updates along the way: "It's working." Followed five minutes later by, "@#$%'n piece of @#$%!" Like I said. Romantical.

Meanwhile, I played host to Bob and Larry, the Flea Mavens, who powdered and sprayed and flipped over couch cushions and pointed out icky flea leftovers like detectives at a crime scene. "See that? See that?" Larry turned out to be the more thoughtful Flea Maven. "I'm not going to charge you extra for your car." "Aw, Larry, really?" I gushed. "Yeah, you can just give us a nice tip." "How about a glass of champagne, too? It's our anniversary." "No drinking on the job, ma'am. We'll take the bottle to go."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Conversation With The Rabbi

Rabbi Bill Kramer marries us in 1980
Turns out, not everything gets included in the wedding vows. If on this day back in 1980, our rabbi had said to us, in front of family and friends, "Listen kids, one day, you'll get mad at each other and then, God willing, you'll make up. One day, you'll discover something new and wonderful about each other, and one day you'll discover something you could live without. One day, there'll be boxes to pack and unpack, moving trucks and something mysterious and all-consuming called escrow.
"And one day, there'll be two boys, two little adorable humans who'll make noise and wrestle and play loud video games. They'll want things from you. Like Burger King and skateboards, basketballs and hockey sticks. You'll want things from them. Like good behavior and good grades. You'll teach them to drive. They'll drive you crazy. With a little luck it'll all work out fine in the end. They'll get Bar Mitzvahed, that I guarantee. They'll graduate college. They'll do great things, in general. How do I know this? I know you.

"And so, the two of you, the high school sweethearts, as you look at each other today on your 37th anniversary, your view partially obscured by Larry and Bob, the Flea Mavens, knowing now what you couldn't know then, that along the way, there'd be sadness and loss, blessings and mazel, earthquakes and plumbing fiascos; that you'd have your ups and downs and in-betweens; and given all that mishegas, if I asked you once again, would you still say, 'I do'?"

To which we'd respond, "Rabbi, not only would we say 'I do,' we'd say what we actually said on this day back in 1980. We'd say, 'Definitely.'"

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Help Me, Rhonda

"Hello, Flea Mavens. Rhonda speaking."
"Help me, Rhonda!"
"How can I help you?"
"I'm desperate."
"May I have your name?"
"You may."
"What is it?"
"Oh, sorry, Rhonda, I'm a little farmisht. I haven't slept in days."
"Name please?"
"Short Jewish Gal. But you can call me SJG."
"Alrighty then, SJG. I see you've already emailed us... oh my, 82 times, since 8 a.m."
"I told you, Rhonda, I'm desperate."
"Yes, you mentioned that. Tell me how it started."
"The fleas, Rhonda? Or my rapid dissent into madness?"
"Either one, hon. We've got some time before the eclipse."
"Did you get the special glasses?"
"I've got them right here on my desk. I'm very excited."
"Just between us, Rhonda, I'm so distracted, I don't give a rat's patootie about the eclipse. The whole world could go dark, permanently, and it would only mirror the darkness in my soul. I'd be fine with it. I would!"
"So, I take it a rat started this problem?"
"My God, Rhonda, you're good."
"Thank you. So who killed the rat and started the trouble? Was it you, SJG? I won't judge. You wouldn't be the first to snap."
"The dog did it."
"My, my, you gave the dog up quickly."
"I'm not good under interrogation. I'd be a bad spy, Rhonda."
"I take it the rat's gone?"
"My husband gave him a proper burial. We recited kaddish. If the rabbi hadn't been on vacay, he would've done the funeral."
"No, Rhonda. Just no. How soon can you get here? The walls of my fragile psyche are caving in."
"Wednesday, we'll come, we'll spread non-toxic powder, we'll spray things."
"What time?"
"Between 11 - 1."
"How soon will we see the results, Rhonda?"
"Soon is a little vague."
"Four to six weeks."
"Rhonda, did you hear that?"
"The total eclipse of my sanity."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wishing You & Yours Totality

Today is all about Totality. The whole thing has a cultish ring to it. And yet, anyone who has schlepped to see the Total Eclipse of the Sun, or has planned their entire day around this epic, two minutes and change event, the SJG wishes you complete and utter fulfillment. May things go dark in the best way and may you not burn your eyeballs because that would totally suck. So be careful out there, Totality Seekers.
On my end, I'm only searching for one kind of Totality. The Total Eclipse of the Fleas. Apparently, this is a process. But then, what isn't? Meanwhile, prepare yourself for a totally unexpected segue: The passing of comedy legend Jerry Lewis. How will I tie this in? Just you wait, Henry Higgins. Just you wait. I admit, it's going to be a stretch. But here goes. When my parents went in search of Marital Totality, they found it in Chicago, where they got officially hitched. My daddy was writing for Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis' radio show. Jerry was a generous guy and did a mitzvah. He paid for the wedding. Totally true story! What? You want photographic proof? You got it:
Under the chuppah with Ben & Glo & Jerry Lewis 

In conclusion, may you achieve Totality today and every day, and that goes double for the SJG. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Day In The Life of Who Else?

"Would you like to hear my diagnosis?" "Not really."

"We've never really encountered fleas of this ilk," says hubby, after I've once again pointed out the 82 bites on my personage, bites that are driving me slowly insane. My next blog may be coming to you from The Institute For The Very, Very Itchy. All week, we've been assuming these horrific bites we've both collected, although the scales of injustice being what they are, I've amassed mucho mas, were mosquito-esque in nature. Turns out, we were mistaken. These hateful bites come courtesy of a certain Royal Rescue Pup of Questionable Lineage. I don't want to name him, in case he reads this later and feels hurt, but his name starts with a "B" and ends with a "Y." Now and then, he kills a rat when the mood strikes. That's all I'm saying.

Once hubby caught the culprit napping on the doggy's behind, we spent the rest of the day compulsively cleaning like lunatics. The SJG took on the laundry, for I am the Laundry Bitch, while hubby vacuumed everything that can be vacuumed, including me and the dog. After a quick emergency call to the doctor, I'm now currently jacked up on steroids, antihistamines and all-consuming angst that this is my destiny, to scratch and itch myself into oblivion.

The evening was a happy reprieve from my suffering. After bathing in oatmeal and spraying myself with a delightful hint of Calamine #5, we headed off with the sons and the in-laws and hubby's hilarious aunt to celebrate his mommy's birthday at our local Italian eatery where they used to know our names but can't remember them anymore.


It's not often you get to break rosemary bread with two sisters, one 85, the other 91, who still talk to each other and make each other laugh, and most importantly, me. I needed something to distract me,  and these gals did the trick. Some of my favorite exchanges:

"I can't believe I'm 90!"
"You're not 90. You're 91."
"I can't believe I'm 91." She turns to me. "You have any idea what it's like to be 90?"
"You're 91," my mother-in-law reminds her.
"You have any idea what it's like to be 91?"
"What's it like?" I say.
"All your friends are dead."

Which brings us back to the fleas. May those bastards rest in peace.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

That's How It's Done

Over here at the SJG palatial estate, both the Upstairs and Downstairs staffs are making demands. They want more overtime, more tea time, more "me" time. Early this morning, I decided to set them straight.  
"Sir Blakey?"
"Your whole day is 'me' time. I command you to vacuum the entire house!"
I really should have been a labor negotiator. Oh, wait, I already did that, during the birth of the youngest boy. "Get this thing out of me now!" I hollered at the labor team, and they did just that. Well done, me!
And now, onto hubby, lounging on the La-Z-Boy.
"What's with the slacking off? I'm sure there's something in the house you can fix."
"Such as?"
"I thought I heard something leaking somewhere."
"I'm on it."
Whereupon he sprung to his feet and grabbed his tool box. And that, my friends, is how it's done.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Short Listed

I might as well just come right out and tell you. I'm a short list maker. This goes with the territory of me being me. If I were tall, I'd probably make nice tall lists and feel super organized all the time. Instead, I make short lists, and when I find them hidden in the oddest places, shoeboxes that once held my beloved clogs, address books from my misspent youth, the scribbled info tends to be revelatory in nature. Like this list I recently unearthed of five inspirational rock n' roll bands I worshipped in the days after I was ousted from the synagogue for "utter silliness." These rock gods got me through that difficult time, and launched me into puberty. What I would've done just to meet one of these musical mensches! I get an attack of shpilkes just saying their names:

1. Shlomo & The Heartburns
2. The Matzoh Breakers
3. The Kosher Grape Stompers
4. The Circumcizers
5. The Bitter Herbs
Oh Shlomo! Even today you make me sigh. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Favorite Near-Death Experience

What's for lunch?  The SJG on rye!

Any time someone mentions Yosemite, which happened just last weekend, when a delightful British family I adore told us about all the big fun they'd had schlepping around lost, I'm compelled to share the very disturbing tale of my Near-Death Experience at the hands of a Yosemite bear. Make that two Yosemite bears. Ask hubby. He was there. In Yosemite. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's the reason we almost died. I try not to bring it up too often -- only on special occasions. Birthdays. Anniversaries.  "Happy birthday! Remember when you almost got us killed?" "Happy anniversary, darling. Thank God we're here to celebrate." Why dwell on the past? That's my motto. Except we almost died!

Not everyone would describe me as "outdoorsy." Okay, no one would describe me as "outdoorsy." But this particular tale takes place in the mid-70s, when I had long hair and hiking boots. Back then, hubby was pre-hubby. What can I say? It was an arranged marriage. For the sake of this story, I'll call him the former boy scout. But I'm the only one who gets to call him that. If you see him on the street, please address him as "sir."  

Summer before college, the F.B. and the SJG, for some insane reason, decided to go backpacking in Yosemite. It sounded very romantic at the time, until the mosquitoes started to swarm and devour the majority of my backside. We set up camp somewhere secluded (bad move) and pre-hubby proceeded to do his boy scout thing. "See that tree over there? That's where we put the food." "Why would we do that?" "It's the only way the bears won't get our food." "And neither will we." I'd gone to camp in Big Bear, five consecutive summers.  Not once had I seen this nifty maneuver, but I decided to humor him.  I laughed my tush off as the F.B. lassoed a branch and strung up a cloth bag of dehydrated goodies. 

Early in the morning, we awoke to the sound of rustling. We had company. "Oh sh*t!" said the SJG.  "Oh f**k!" said the FB. A few yards away stood Mama Bear, and she looked hungry.  She eyed me. Too short. She eyed the FB. Too salty. She eyed the cloth bag in the tree. Just right! She climbed up, pulled the string and down came three days' worth of sustenance. She dragged it off, ripped the bag apart and feasted away, sharing every morsel with her baby cub. It was adorable. If only we had photographic proof of this event. But then, we'd probably be dead. Bears are notoriously anti-paparazzi. With no food, we had no choice. We had to hike all the way back to civilization. Ask me how many times I've been camping since. I think you can guess the answer. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Very Handsome Fitness Guru

Davee Youngblood, the myth, the legend

The other day, as I reached across the tower of bananas in Gelson's to find the loveliest bunch, the bottom of my BANGBALL tank top hooked onto a mischievous Chiquita, thereby baring my midriff. I was unaware of this southern exposure until my arch nemesis, Freida Schlepberg, cornered me. "Bitch! Where'd you get them rock hard abs?" "Listen Freida, you don't get a 12-pack like this sitting on the sofa, eating cheeseballs. These beauties are courtesy of Mr. Davee Youngblood, CEO and Emperor of BANGBALL FIT." "BANGBALL what?" "FIT." "What the bleep is that?" "Freida, stop yelling. I'm right here. BANGBALL FIT is the best new fitness craze to hit the Valley since the Thighmaster." "Is this Davee person paying you to wear that tank top?" "That's neither here nor there." "These avocados look ripe to you?" Freida asked. "Pay attention, gal," I said, grabbing a nice Casaba and flexing my biceps. "The BANGBALL looks nothing like this melon, I'm just using it as a prop. The BANGBALL is a weighted, football-ish curved three-dimensional thingy that makes miracles happen. You lift it up an down," I said, demonstrating with gusto, "this way and that way, you twist and shout and twerk it out, you run in place, jump, lie down and get back up again." Whereupon I did some squats, hoisting the Casaba over my head till the produce manager shot me a look. "You liking the strawberries?" Freida asked. "I'm liking the BANGBALL." "Seriously, how much did this BANGBALL boss man pay you for the free shout-out?" "That's none of your business, Freida." Whereupon I dropped the melon on her toes, unintentionally, of course. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

To Dream The Impossible Dream

Before you know it, as in next month, the Jewish Holidays will be upon us. And that can only mean one thing. Cooking. Okay, two things. Cooking and cleaning. Okay, three things. Cooking and cleaning and setting the table. But in this busy life we lead, who has time to cook and clean and set the table for relatives who are just going to come over, eat everything in sight, make a mess and leave? Is this the only reason we were put on this earth? To cater to everyone else? To put our own needs last? Of course, silly. Why are you even bothering to ask? And yet, there must be a way to get it all done without cutting into the day and robbing us of all the fun. Like watching the Barefoot Contessa make kugel, instead of us. She uses half and half and ricotta. Who knew?

Here's the good news, my friends. A new sleep aid is about to hit the market, courtesy of SJG Pharmaceuticals: ChoreWhorePM. A superior formula of top secret herbal ingredients and guilt allows you to do all your High Holiday tasks while you sleep. That's right. You heard me. Make a brisket while you doze. Make a pot of chicken soup while you catch some zzzzzzzz's. Make the house look nice while you Samba with the Sand Man. ChoreWhorePM is gentle yet effective. It helps you do your chores in record time, and still wake up feeling completely refreshed. You'll come downstairs in the morning and find the table set, the dust bunnies gone, the cooking done and in the fridge, wrapped tightly in foil, so no air should get in, God forbid. A miracle? You betcha, bitches.

ChoreWhorePM is available at your local pharmacy or temple gift shop. Supplies are limited. So hurry up, slow poke. Be the first on your block to tell your friends about the honey cake you made after you went nighty-night. Side effects may include inexplicable bruises, sprains, fork-related injuries, oven burns, weight gain and uncontrollable flatulence. But come on, isn't it worth it?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Early Shows, Late Shows & No Shows

As the eldest approaches marriage-hood, I thought it wise to school him on the finer points of society. Why haven't I done this before? Sadly, I've been remiss. It simply slipped my crowded keppy. And yet, he's done very well without my expert guidance. He tells me he's never been booted from a soiree by a burly bouncer, and I believe him. Still, I thought it best to offer up a list of the types of guests he and his  future Mrs. will encounter when they host their weekly, black-tie only receptions. Our conversation went something like this:
"Yes, Mother?"
"Honey, are you listening?"
"Must I?"
"I'm about to teach you something valuable."
"May I continue to text my beloved across the sea whilst you ramble on, incoherently?"
"You may not."
"Very well, Mother. Go right ahead and tell me something I already know."
"How dare you, eldest son!"
"I apologize, Mother. Forgive me?"
"I'll think about it. Now then, before you enter high society, you should know that there are two types of party guests. The Early Shows and the Late Shows."
"What about the No Shows?"
"Three types of party guests. The Early Shows, the Late Shows and the No Shows."
"Pardon me, Mother, but I believe you're leaving out a significant member of the gathering."
"Am I?"
"The On Times."
"Blimey, child, you are correct. We mustn't omit the prompt arrivals. A rarity in this traffic-laden locale we inhabit."
"Might I add one more to this all-important category, Mother?"
"Yes, son. Do!"
"The Uninviteds."
"Pray tell, what is an Uninvited?"
"I thought it was self-explanatory, Mother. Someone who crashes the afore-mentioned soiree is a rude-ass, unwanted interloper. Hence, an Uninvited."
"I do so love when you say hence."
"My goal in life is to make you happy, Mother."
"On this count, you have succeeded. So, shall we review our list, thus far?"
"Must we?"
"We must, lest I forget it and am unable to share it with the blogosphere."
"Allow me to enumerate. We have the Early Shows, the On Times, the Late Shows, the No Shows, and the Uninviteds."
"I do believe that covers it, my son."
"May I return to texting my beloved?"
"Text away, my son, whilst I sit here addressing the invitations."
"Would you like my help, Mother?"
"Unless your handwriting has miraculous become legible, no."
"How dare you, Mother?"
"How dare I, indeed."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Honey, I'm Home

So Sol comes home. He's a traveling salesman. He's been gone eight months. He looks at his wife. She's four months pregnant. He says, "Who is it? Is it Marvin?" She shakes her head. "No." "Is it Sidney?" "No." "Is it Moishe?" "No." "What's a matta? My friends aren't good enough for you?"
-- courtesy of Maura K. Resnick, who heard this gem at temple

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Lawn People

The neighbors arrived two by two, planted themselves on our front lawn and didn't budge till the big budget movie was over. We should've monetized the situation, sold popcorn and lemonade, we could've cleaned up. But back then, pre-microwaves, popping Jiffy Pop over the stove to feed that many lookie-loos would've taken an eternity. All those lawn people. My poor daddy. He had a thing about the lawn. He was always yelling at kids, "Get off the lawn." It didn't boost our popularity in the neighborhood. The kids he yelled at did the opposite, stomping on the lawn, riding bikes on the lawn, egging the lawn on Halloween. Daddy and his lawn. A big issue. Huge. Not this time, though. He wouldn't dare boot anyone off the lawn. Not when they'd found a front row seat to all the action. He was a Hollywood writer, after all. He appreciated the cinematic moment.
There was so much real-life drama that day. Sirens blaring. Firetrucks. Big burly heroes in uniform, bravely trying to save a house from ruin. But in the end, the fire won. The house directly across the street burned right to the ground. The lawn people kept asking, "Was anyone home? Did anyone get hurt? Did the family get out in time?" Maybe the captain said, "No one was home. Show's over, folks." Maybe he didn't. They say it in movies all the time, so it would've made sense that day. I can't remember what started the fire, it was so long ago. But I do remember how sad I felt, watching the house collapse and the smoke fill the sky. And then the curtain came down and the lawn people went home. And weeks later, the construction crew arrived. They carted off what remained of the old traditional house and put up a new one, an ultra-modern one that didn't look like the other houses in the neighborhood. It was the late '60s. Things were changing, even houses. I don't remember how long it took to build the new house, or when the family moved back in. But I do remember the day the lawn people came to watch a house burn down. And I remember thinking, "I hope that never happens to us."

Friday, August 11, 2017

My Inner Child's List of Demands

Today, the SJG received the following text from my inner child with her latest list of demands: "An ice cream sundae from Wil Wright's..."
"A Barbie clothes-shopping spree...."
"Mini-Betty Crocker Mixes for my Easy-Bake-Oven..."
"And a pink princess telephone. I promise to be a good girl and never pout about anything ever again.  xo Lil SJG."
I texted back: "Hey, Lil You. I'd like to remind you that Wil Wright's closed a long time ago, so forget the sundae. I gave away our Barbie doll collection. My biggest regret in life. Barbie-wise, we have no one to shop for. As for the Easy-Bake mini-mixes, did you forget that anything baked in that mini-oven never tasted very good? About that pink princess phone... your nostalgia seems misplaced. Our parents never let us have our own phone, pink or black, even though all the other girls had phones. Our childhood was phone-deprived. xo More-Or-Less Adult SJG"
A moment ago, I received another text from my inner child. "You're no fun. I'm going off to pout in the corner. xo Lil SJG."
What about my needs?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Decorating Tips From The Great Beyond

"I can see the ugly wallpaper in this pan." 

Just one more bureaucratic step and my future gorgeous daughter-in-law/future mother of my future adoring grandchildren gets to move here from France. Why would anyone forgo the Eiffel Tower for the Hollywood Sign? Amour, silly. Plain and simple. Amour! Somehow the SJG and hubby managed to produce the kind of son who could lure a beauty away from her homeland. How did we do it? We planted the idea early, pre-Bar Mitzvah. "One day, you'll marry someone wonderful." We left it at that and let him figure out the rest. My dad, however, offered a slightly different approach: "Make sure you marry someone with money." Fast forward to now, as we await her arrival, sanctioned by not one, but two governments. If that's not romantic, what is?
"I'll just sit here till the wallpaper goes away."

This: The eldest is now looking for an apartment, a love shack for a new life built for two. I can only imagine the advice my sweet daddy might offer. Something along the lines of, "Pick a place with the ugliest wallpaper you can find. That way, you'll know if she really loves you, despite your terrible decorating sense." Turns out, wallpaper was a big issue when my folks got hitched. According to my mom, their very first apartment had the most hideous wallpaper in the kitchen. She didn't just hate it. She loathed it. It was a thing. My father knew she hated it, but there was nothing he could do about it. When it came to this cruel decorative crime, he was powerless. But then, an option appeared. A way out. An opportunity  to put some real distance between my mother and that nauseating wallpaper. He found a job as a comedy writer for Jack Carter and moved my mom to New York. But he went there first to find an apartment. The place he found was terrific. Except for one little drawback that didn't even register with my dad until my mother stepped foot in her brand new digs and let out an epic geshrei. The kitchen in New York had the exact same hateful Los Angeles wallpaper my mother detested with every inch of her being. She stood by him, anyway, for almost 50 years. If a marriage can survive ugly wallpaper, it can survive anything.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Moody Hues: Deeply Disturbing Designer Paints

(Sherman Oaks) Well, if this isn't exciting news, we don't know what is. The SJG has just released her first line of Deeply Disturbing Designer Paint, simply called, "Moody Hues." "Forget reading the tea leaves to see what the future holds. Why not read the paint chips, instead? Why not splatter your feelings all over the estate?" she said in an interview with The Balabusta Bargaineer. "The best part is, much like cheap hair dye, the color washes away within 24 hours of application. Just spritz the wall with a bissele H2-O, and away it goes. Genius, or what? The truth is, and this may sting a bit, your family isn't listening to you, anyway. So let each room speak volumes. After raising the kids, maintaining a semblance of a career, cheering on your spouse and catering to canine demands, isn't it time for some pointed self-expression? You bet your tuchas it is! Every room deserves a different shade of hostility, fragility and/or instability that tells your peeps, 'Back off, Mama's having a day.' "
The SJG generously shared her first five "Moody Hues," and we just have to say, "Wowza." Trust us, our enthusiasm has nothing to do with the full-page ad she took out in the Bargaineer:

DISCOMBOBULATION: An ugly hodgepodge of blue, green and yellow that will look decidedly wrong on any wall, but even more hideous on a doorway or accent area.

ANGSTY AFTERNOON: A walk-in closet becomes its own padded cell, thanks to this cracked eggshell white, perfect for those moments when you need to scream a lot.

UNHINGED: Add a kvetchy touch of dark purple despair in your master bathroom, then go ahead and cry while staring in the mirror, counting your lost dreams.

NEGATIVITY TIME: The most depressing gray backdrop in a bedroom or living space ever. Two seconds with this cloudy hue and you'll be reflecting on your sad excuse for a life, not to mention, removing everyone from your will.

SINISTER SCENARIO: Sure, a bold black border makes a statement, but why not go for broke and paint the entire downstairs an inky, murderous charcoal, turn out the lights, and let the accusations fly. A hue that Agatha Christie would undoubtedly endorse.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Introducing The Short Jewish Robot

Today's blog will be co-written by the SJR, my recently-acquired Short Jewish Robot. I pre-programmed her last night. Easy-peasy. All I have to do is press the touchscreen and let her kvetch. Okay, SJR, take it away:


Hang on, this is so embarrassing. She seems to be stuck. I'll just do a little tinkering.


SJR! Get your @#$% together, sheesh. I'm looking for a complete sentence. I'll just rewire your insides, being the tech goddess that I am, and.... and... okay, SJR, let's try this again.

"Let's dance, mutha bitches."

Just bitches, SJR.  I thought we discussed that. Whatever. Let's go in another direction.

"What am I, chopped apples?"

Not apples, SJR. Not. Apples.

"What am I, chopped walnuts?"

Liver, SJG! Liver! Moving right along...

"Matzo top!"

Oh, you silly robot. It's "mazel tov."

"I'm kvelling on yourself."

Er... that's "on your behalf." But close enough.

"Is it too farty in here, or is it me?'

Hot, SJR. Hot. Although, in my house, farty also works.

"I can feel myself rapidly kvetching."

Rapidly Aging. But hey, kvetching works too. Well, I can see the SJR needs a little more finessing. But I really think I'm onto something huuuuuge and globally significant. Either that, or of no absolutely no consequence whatsoever.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Amicably Yours

Dear SJG,
Why do I react so strongly when celebrity couples split "amicably"? Has any couple in history ever split "amicably"? Is it only the famous people who know how to split "amicably"?
Tabloid Junky
"Hollywood is the only place in the world where an amicable
divorce means each one gets fifty percent of the publicity." 
- Lauren Bacall 

Dear Junky,
Amicability is in the eye of the beholder. Or is that beauty? I forget. Personally, I don't think anyone has ever split in a nice friendly way since Cupid retired back in Something-Something B.C. Or is it A.D.? I forget. Famous or not, multi-zillionaire or discount shopper, a split is a sharp splinter that can't be removed by tweezers. It's a knife in the heart, a romantic rupture, a breakup of hopes and dreams. What I'm trying to say is this: When couples split "amicably," it's a pretend PR spin on a sad event. Soon there'll be fighting and name-calling and plenty tsuris. There'll be accusations up the wazoo. But why not start off "amicably" before it all goes to kaka and turns ugly?
You're Welcome,

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Short Yet Meaningful Quiz

1. People you've given birth to continue to make fun of your ancient email address. Do you...
a. Disinherit them next week?
b. Disinherit them next month?
c. Disinherit them next year?

2.  People you've given birth to continue to travel to exotic locales while you stay home and go nowhere. Do you...
a. Guilt them for traveling without you?
b. Guilt them for having fun without you?
c. Guilt them for forgetting to pack a sweater?

3. People you've given birth to continue to raid your refrigerator.
Do you...
a. Buy extra everything so they shouldn't go hungry?
b. Buy extra everything so they should keep coming back?
c. Buy extra everything so they should take home the leftovers?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Strike A Pose

The Regal, not to mention, Royal Rescue Pup
(of questionable lineage) 

There are times in a pet owner's life that are, shall we say, humbling. Times that put you in your place. Times that tell you, "Hey, get over yourself. Stop hogging all the attention." But you know how much the SJG loves attention. It's what I live for, it's why I was put here on earth. I mean, why else would I make sure my social media mavens leak my daily whereabouts? As in, "Psssst... the SJG's en route to Gelson's!"  "Psssst... the SJG's en route to the deli to pick up bagels and some nice lox." 
"All the attention! It's so overwhelming!" - SJG 

But it does get exhausting, this business of always being on, always looking stunning every time I leave the house, always confirming I have nothing in my teeth before I flash my pearly whites. Remember the infamous SJG Spinach Shanda of 2002? To stay grounded, now and then, I must fade into the background. Take yesterday, for instance. Late afternoon. I'm walking the pup when a workman exits a house. I like to be friendly with the people, so I issue a proper Sherman Oaks hello. He looks right at Sir Blakey. "Hello, beautiful." A brief encounter. A reminder that sometimes you just have to step aside and let others soak up the glory. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Glad We Cleared That Up

This morning, I get an email from my cousin Andy, who's on safari in Africa with his family. All it says in the subject line is: "WHAT?!!!!!!" No content, no explanation. So I write back, "What do you mean WHAT?!!!" He writes back (from Africa!), "The eldest's FB post." So I check Facebook and see what the soon-to-be-married person posted last night. 


"Baby. B-a-b-y. Baby."  

My cousin has commented, "Wow! Congrats!!!!"

Our close family friend Dan has commented, "OMG! Mazel tov!!!!!" 

There are surprised comments in French from his fiancee's friends. General confusion is the theme. 

But please, let's take a pregnant pause here. Of course, I know my sons went to see "Baby Driver" last night and that's what he's talking about. So I've spent the last 20 minutes clearing up the fake news and text-shaming the eldest for sending the family into conniptions of joy, followed by a painful letdown. Not that I'm not ready to be a Bubbie. Oh, dear God. Bring it. But first, let me do Mother-In-Law. 

Did Anyone Ever Tell You...

..."You look like Alice Ghostley?" -- Marty in the Men's Department at Bloomingdales.
"Uh, no."  -- Me, too stunned by the comparison to say much.
"You know Alice Ghostley?  From 'Bewitched'?"  -- Marty, a little worried by my reaction.
"Uh huh." -- Me, picturing the klutzy, bumbling witch-nanny Esmeralda.  
"You're like a younger, prettier Alice Ghostley." -- Marty, starting to back-peddle just a bit.
"Um, thanks?" -- Me, shrugging, still confused.
"So, no one's ever told you you look like Alice Ghostley?" -- Marty, already in possession of my credit card, going for broke.
"No.  You're definitely the first."  -- Me, laughing now, figuring the comparison could've been worse.
"You don't look anything like the SJG, Esmeralda."  
"The SJ-Who?"