Monday, January 10, 2022

Denial, Bargaining & What To Wear

Chris Rose, on her way to somewhere wonderful

It's not the kind of invitation delivered via Evite. It doesn't come with a gift registry, a list of hotels, or directions to the rehearsal dinner. How do you rehearse for this kind of thing, anyway? You really can't. There are too many variables, too many unknowns. Some happen at a cemetery. Others at a lovely location. The one we went to yesterday, in honor of our dear friend Chris Rose, the kindest, gentlest, sweetest soul, took place at a beautiful country club, her home away from home. 

Given all the stages of grief, I'm kinda surprised Kubler-Ross left out the one that always hits me the hardest, pre-memorial. I'm referring to the most unspoken stage of all: What To Wear. I know, it makes me sound shallow and not terribly evolved. Too bad. I was honoring a wonderful lady I absolutely adored. I needed to look nice. I couldn't show up in my standard Pandemic-wear. Sweatpants, faded T-shirt and slippers. The wardrobe issue overwhelmed me, and soon, I slipped into Denial. Until Thursday, when reality set in. I needed to perform an emergency dress intervention without entering a germ-ridden mall. I ordered a black dress online, and paid way too much for shipping. What's more enticing than "Two-day delivery?" At this moment in my life, nothing. I felt so good. I knew Chris, who always looked sharp, would approve. 

But then, the cruel emails started arriving: "Your shipment is being prepared!" "Your shipment is on its way!" "Your shipment will arrive on Monday!" Excuse me? Monday? I didn't pay extra for Monday. The memorial is Sunday. Boom. I slipped into Bargaining. If I promise to be the best human ever, the dress will arrive on Saturday. If I track the shipment, and keep tracking it, the dress will arrive on Saturday. It didn't help that FedEx kept teasing me. "Your package is in Bloomington, California!" Where the @#$% is that? I looked it up. Somewhere in San Bernardino? At least it wasn't Indiana. 

I toggled in and out of Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Depression. Back and forth I went, managing to fit in a new stage: Noshing. "This cookie will make me feel better." And it did. By Friday night, I landed on Acceptance. I went into my closet, grabbed a dress that might be too cheerful for a memorial, and decided it was okay. Not great. But okay. A sense of calm descended. I knew that Chris, who faced many challenges in her life, including the death of her beloved son, was guiding me, telling me to chill. I knew we would've had a good laugh over my wardrobe insanity the next time we ran into each other at Gelson's. Saturday afternoon, the dress arrived. Chris was working her special brand of magic from the Great Beyond. 

Friday, December 31, 2021

Shalom, 2021

So, it's the final day of this crapola year, and I've already replaced my 2021 calendar on the fridge with my 2022. I'm tempted to leave my 2021 up on the fridge, not because the pages announce wonderful upcoming events. I pretty much stayed home again. Calendar-wise, it's hard for me to take down 2021. Every month features a fabulous photo of my granddaughter, frozen in time. 

But time marches on, and so must my calendar, an old school tradition I will never surrender, Dorothy. Never. At the moment, like so many of us, I feel like I'm marching in reverse. Double-vaxxed and boosted, we almost made it out of 2021 without someone in the family catching you-know-what. Then, right before Christmas, four treasured someones got the omnipresent, dreaded It. My eldest, his wife, their toddler and baby boy. Scary doesn't quite cover it. They're much better now, recovered, kina hora. We're incredibly grateful and relieved. If there's ever a time to count blessings, and keep counting them, it's today. 

So, as my late great Daddy Ben used to say, "Onward!" Let's put one foot in front of the other and try not to trip. Let's keep marching toward the good things that await us. 
Happy New Year! 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

When She Smiles That Smile

When a guy turns thirty he must declare
His plans for the future with utmost care
So he calls up the bar where they first met
Arranges a surprise she won't forget

Inside Blue Collar a song starts to play
The same song that played on that fateful day
He takes out a ring, gets down on one knee
Looks up and inquires, "Will you marry me?"

The gal he adores wipes some tears away
It's hard to keep her emotions at bay
Her answer relieves him of all his stress
When she smiles that smile, and gives him a yes

Sunday, November 28, 2021

A Latke For Your Thought-Ke


Nothing rhymes with latkes
In English that is true
In Yiddish try gatkes
Long underwear to you 

Shredded spuds, golden brown
A Hanukkah delight
Grab a plate, sit right down
Menorahs shining bright

Fried or baked or frozen
It's all delish to me
Some may call us Chosen
Ask Judah Maccabee

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Illusion of Control

This is not what my table looks like.

"Sometimes, it's important to give people the illusion of being in control." So says Tony Soprano. When it comes to Thanksgiving, this is my mantra. To maintain the illusion of control, I do everything too early. I set the table too early. I overthink every detail too early. And most importantly, I buy the turkeys too early, especially this year. If you threaten me with a turkey shortage, I will respond, accordingly. A few weeks back, I called a guy. It went something like this:

"Trader Joe's. Gobbles speaking."

"Gobbles, hi, it's the Short Jewish Gal."

"Short Jewish what?"

"Never mind, Gobbles. I need turkeys. Two of 'em. The brined ones. Capiche?"

"I got ya. No worries. They're comin' in next Thursday, 9 a.m. Call first. Ask for me. I'll set ya up. "

"Great. Thanks, Gobbles. You're a mensch."

Exactly one week later, at 9 a.m., I call Trader Joe's. It goes something like this:

"Trader Joe's. Cranberry speaking."

"Cranberry, hi. It's the Short Jewish Gal."

"Hi. I'm the Tall Catholic Goddess." 

"I need to talk to Gobbles."

"Gobbles doesn't work here any more."

"Wait. What?"

"They canned him."

"I don't understand."

"They caught him selling our beloved, highly-coveted brined turkeys off the back of his truck late last night."

"What kind of person does that?"

"A guy named Gobbles, that's who." 


"I know, right?"

"Cranberry, tell me, are there any brined turkeys left?"

"There might be two in the back. I'll go check." 

"Hurry, Cranberry. Hurry. My Thanksgiving depends on it."

Two minutes later, she returns.

"You're in luck. I got two 18-pounders."

"Bless you, Cranberry. I'll be right over." 

I arrive, and there she is. Cranberry. A crown of red berries in her hair, a beatific smile on her punim. She beckons me forward. "Be cool," she says, and takes me in the back. Awaiting me: the brined turkeys. The only two left. I express my gratitude. Cranberry nods. "You're welcome." I rush home and make room in the fridge. Every day, I look at my turkeys and feel good about my life. Now all I have to do is cook them to total perfection. Or at least create that illusion for 21 guests. 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Oh, Halloween

Oh, Halloween, oh Halloween!

Come dressed as Mufasa

Come to our walkway

We'll hide in our casa 

Gather 'round the table

We're giving out treats

Straight from the bowl outside 

Some sanitized sweets  

And while we are hiding

The pumpkin is burning low

Don't ring our Ring! 

We're not answering 

To protect us from germs, so just go-oh-oh-oh!

Don't ring our Ring!

We're not answering 

To protect us from germs, so just go!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Upside Down

Hey, has anyone seen longtime hubby? Step into the time machine, why don't you, and travel back with me a few weeks. Let's see if we can find him. Oh, wait, never mind, that's him, over at Billy and ChloĆ©'s, just hanging upside down, as one does, after our daughter-in-law calls a few hours before she's due at the hospital, and all I can hear is "... water broke." "Your water broke?" I ask, ever-so-calmly, for calmness defines me. Fine. What I really do is scream, "YOUR WATER BROKE?" "No, no," she says, "the water broke on the washing machine. It's flooding the kitchen." At least that explains why longtime hubby is dangling, as he tries to fix a pipe. Ultimately, he calls a... what's that word he hates? Oh, yes. Plumber. 
Lucas (The S Is Silent) Who?

In general, the past few weeks have turned Claire's world upside down. She's wondering, "Who is this brand new human? And when is he going back?" 
Sorry. He's staying put. 

Of course, Claire finds her dethronement from Only Child perplexing. But I like to think that underneath the confusion, she's remarkably "oppie" to her new role as Big Sis. "Oppie" is her go-to command, you know. During her luxurious stay at the Palatial SJG Estate, while we awaited Lucas (the S is Silent!), we played a lot of "Oppie! Oppie!" As in Open Something. The door, the drawer, the cabinet, the thing preventing her from getting into mischief. Go on and "oppie" and then stand back and hope for the best. Nothing made Claire laugh more than making me "oppie" the door and walk out, so she could then close it in my face and watch me beg to come back in. "Open Sesame!" I'd say. Nothing. "Oppie Sesame! Please! Please! Claire-Bear!" usually got me in, eventually. I find it's always better to speak her language, an intoxicating blend of French, English and Yiddish. True, her Yiddish needs work, but I promise, I'll have her saying "Oy!" before she's two. 
"Oy!" truly sums up her current mood, a grab bag of emotions. The arrival of Lucas (did I mention the S is Silent?) has left our favorite toddler somewhat farklempt. She'd rather squeeze into her old Dock-A-Tot or crawl around on the floor, pretending she's the baby, than hear "No!" or eat the fish sticks on her plate. This phase she's in, I believe it's called regression. I've been there a few times myself, and that's just in the past year.  
Despite the challenges, look how well she's doing with her baby brother in this totally unposed photo. I see good things for these siblings. Great friendship. Unbridled fun. Laughter galore.
And look how well I'm doing in this photo.