My family has class… in very small doses. And will do ANYTHING for dessert!

As I’ve learned over the past couple of weekends, there IS such a thing as too much family time.

 

Okay, I already knew that, and I would usually claim too much family time as anything over five minutes every three months.

But last weekend, we had my mom’s birthday (a dinner) and a Memorial Day barbeque that we tried to combine with the boyfriend’s family’s barbeque (fail—two separate barbeques, one Sunday, one Monday).

Then this past weekend was my grandfather’s birthday, which had to be split into two separate celebrations because of my uncle’s ultra-orthodox (cough believes-Obama-is-a-Muslim-and-everything-else-Fox-News-says cough) wife and children. So there was a (not-kosher) dinner Saturday night, followed by a (super kosher to the point where I wasn’t allowed to bring anything even though my grandmother doesn’t keep a kosher house either and made stuff for it) brunch Sunday morning.

All were mostly legitimate enterprises, and I understand the inherent value in celebrating the extended life of my mother and grandfather, even if I disagree with the fact that it necessitates two separate celebrations.

I can even almost handle how much of my free time it destroyed.

That wasn’t the problem. The problem is that THAT much family time results in the boyfriend having WAY too much overexposure to my family in WAY too short of a time period.

Mom’s birthday was lovely. It was just me, him, and my parents at a nice restaurant. Yes, there was some food sharing, but all preceded by very polite offering of food or asking to try a bite.

The barbeque the next night was a little less civilized, with my grandparents and Rosie now in attendance. My grandmother is notorious about feeding Rosie from the table. I always warn her not to and she always SWEARS she would NEVER feed Rosie ANYTHING without asking my permission first.

Then she gives her anything and everything.

Like the time I left Rosie at Grandma’s house for an hour to run some errands. Grandma had complained about not seeing her “only great-grandchild” frequently enough (we’ll ignore the Jewish guilt inherent in that complaint. If it were up to her, I’d have married a random Jewish guy years ago and have already popped out a small army of babies named after her parents and siblings).

When I came to get Rosie, Grandma informed me that Rosie had been starving. “How do you know?” I asked, eying her untouched food bowl that I had filled before I left her with my grandparents.

“Well, because we were eating steaks and she kept crying for some, so I gave her one.”

“You mean you gave her a PIECE of steak?”

“No,” my grandma said. “I gave her a whole steak. And she ate the whole thing. You clearly don’t feed her enough.”

Not to mention the time I left the table at a family dinner during dessert and walked back a minute later to see my grandmother holding Rosie up so that she could stick her entire face into a container of Cool Whip.

So that barbeque meant that Rosie was in a chicken coma for the rest of the weekend because I’m pretty sure my grandmother fed her AT LEAST double her body weight in chicken.

But okay, the boyfriend wasn’t scared off yet. He loves my grandparents and even played tennis with my dad the following morning. And we had the barbeque with his aunt the next night to balance everything out.

Then came Grandpa’s birthday. It was the boyfriend’s first time meeting a few of the people there, including the uncle who, after shaking my boyfriend’s hand, immediately offered us an old crib he has in his attic. A little premature (and no, I do NOT want a deathtrap crib from the 1960s, thank you). But he handled that with grace and we all sat down to dinner.


 Remember the food fight scene in Hook?

That looked civilized compared to Grandpa’s birthday dinner.

And sadly, it was one of the nicest dinners our family has ever had out. It was a much larger gathering, with aunts, uncles, and cousins of varying ages.

Which consisted of everyone reaching across the table to eat off of everyone else’s plate, my uncle taking the lobster claws off my grandfather’s plate and pinching people with them, then my grandfather still eating the meat out of them, half a crabcake disappearing off of my plate and onto someone else’s while I wasn’t looking, and my mother basically whoring herself out for a bite of Boston cream pie.

I’ve gone to dinner with the boyfriend’s family. The men wore jackets. There were no cell phones at the table. People used the appropriate forks for the appropriate courses. No one wore a lobster bib. There were civilized silences (which I’ll admit, scared the crap out of me. But apparently they like to enjoy their meals in dignity. Who knew that existed?). And no one—NO ONE ate from anyone else’s plate.

At one point, during Saturday night’s dinner, it got so bad that I turned to the boyfriend and asked if he still loved me.

To which he replied, “Yes. But now I see where you get it from.” Which made me feel like a total barbarian. Yes, he’s accused me of “Cookie Monster eating” before—not because I shove food in my mouth at an abnormal speed, but because I lack the coordination to always ensure that food stays on my fork.


(Which, to be fair, we can blame my parents for. Anyone who remembers eating at my house when we were kids remembers the sporks. They got them in the 70s, when apparently anything went, which also applied to multi-functional silverware.)

But I wasn’t like the rest of the family, I argued! Although my case would have been stronger had I not tried to make that argument with a mouth full of half-chewed french fries pilfered off a neighboring plate and a fistful of fried clams stolen from a family friend at the other end of the table in my hand.

I may have also kissed the family friend’s husband on the cheek to taste the Boston cream pie. But that’s neither here nor there.

Like mother like daughter I suppose.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It–And I Feel Like Looting!

According to an ancient Mayan prophecy, the world is ending one week from today.

I am here today to tell you that this is absolutely, unequivocally true.

How do I know?

Duh, I’m psychic, I know everything.

No, I won’t help you pick winning lottery numbers.

And I’m not really THAT psychic. Even though Madam Marie’s granddaughter told me that I am.

I’m relying on cold, hard facts this time.

Fact #1: The Mayans said it’s happening. Clearly a civilization that disappeared over a thousand years ago was AWESOME at predicting the future.

The best theory out there about their disappearance was that they were kidnapped by aliens. It’s true. Google it. Of course, the Wikipedia page on the Mayans says that they never disappeared, they just left their main cities due to a drought and were assimilated into other local cultures, but that’s Wikipedia. Everyone knows that ANYONE can edit Wikipedia. Even the aliens that abducted the Mayans.

 
But the Mayans clearly knew that was coming because they disappeared without a trace, implying that they knew it was coming and had time to pack. See? If they say the world is ending, it’s ending.

Fact #2: There’s a movie about it. It’s called 2012. I mean, I didn’t see it, because the premise of the movie is that neutrinos are heating the Earth’s core and ending the world, and my dad is one of the world’s leading neutrino physicists and that premise was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life because that’s NOT what neutrinos are or what they do.

  Like literally. My dad was one of the head scientists who discovered that neutrinos have mass. He’d know if they were heating the Earth’s core. And he’d tell me. Because he’s my daddy.

 But the fact that there’s a movie about it means it’s happening. Clearly.

Fact #3: It’ll be 2015 in just over two years and hoverboard technology isn’t close. We’ve just created a paradox in the space-time continuum big enough to destroy the whole universe. And the world is part of the universe. So it’s ending too.

Fact #4: The Redskins aren’t terrible this year. We have RGIII. We beat the Giants, the Eagles, AND the Cowboys. And even after RGIII got injured in the last game, we STILL won. If this isn’t a sign of an impending apocalypse, I don’t know what is.

See? Indisputable evidence that that world will be ending in exactly one week.

So what should you do?

That depends. If you’re planning to survive the apocalypse, you should probably stock up on all the apocalypse essentials: shotguns, bottled water, Leonardo DiCaprio dvds, a generator (to run whatever you’re going to watch the dvds on), non-perishable food items, and a zombie-English dictionary.

And, most importantly, Will Smith.  Because if Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that no matter what the cause of the end of the world, Will Smith can not only survive it, he can also save the fractured remnants of society.

But if you’re willing to throw in the towel and embrace the end of the world, as I am (I don’t do well with zombies. And the only bottled water that my boyfriend will drink costs like $15 for a six pack. Seriously? It’s water. It comes out of the tap AND the sky for free. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of it my life. Yet another sign that the world is ending: people will spend that much money on WATER. Bring on the apocalypse please, I’m done), your preparations can be a lot more fun.

For example, you know the Ten Days of Repentance in Judaism, when you’re supposed to go around apologizing for all the wrongs that you’ve done to people? I plan to spend the next seven doing the opposite: I’m going to go around telling people EXACTLY what I think of them. I mean, the world is ending, there won’t be any consequences. And I have a few people who I’ve been holding back on for YEARS. This will be awesome. Unless you’re one of the people who has wronged me. In which case I’m about to use the present that I got my father for Hanukkah to tell you what an [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] you are.

And all that dieting and exercising I’ve been doing this year? To hell with that! You can’t undo a year’s worth of effort in one week, so I’m eating whatever I want this week.

A whole pizza? Sure! Eighty-seven cookies? Why not! As long as my jeans still fit on Friday when the world ends, it’s all good.

Time to max out those credit cards too. There’s no way you’ll have to pay that debt off, so buy whatever you want. It’s your America folks!

What’s the only thing more fun than spending money you don’t have? That’s right! It’s looting! Go crazy! Take what you want! Why yes, I WOULD like to help myself to a Maserati! Thank you for asking. Oh, it was yours? That’s a shame, it’s mine now. And the beauty of this plan is that when EVERYONE starts looting, the cops will be too busy to do much about it. So yeah, a few unlucky souls might get caught and spend their last week locked up, but in this case, the odds are ever in your favor.

Then it’s time to mess with peoples’ heads. Because really, that’s my primary joy in life anyway as a teacher. All you really need to do it this time is a good pair of wire cutters. Grab those suckers and start cutting any wires you see. Power? Gone. Cable and internet? Gone. Phones? No one uses a landline anyway, that won’t really do anything. But if you can knock down a cell tower, you’ll terrify EVERYONE. And without the ability to check Twitter to see what’s happening, everyone will descend into mass panic and you can laugh at them for the last few minutes before the world actually ends.

Goodbye world, it’s been fun.

Unless of course, the Mayans were somehow wrong, and you follow this advice, in which case my lawyer would like me to publicly state that I am not responsible for anything that happens to you as a result of your own actions.

Happy looting!

Thanksgiving may only be my 5th favorite holiday, but I’m still thankful for it

Ah, Thanksgiving. My fifth favorite holiday.

Mostly because it gets me out of school for four sweet, glorious, sleep-filled days.

Well not this year, because I’m going to LA at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning (literally. The VERY crack of dawn), and coming home on the red eye Saturday night because my dad is a complete and utter psychopath and the antithesis of sleep.

Why is it my fifth favorite holiday? Well Purim is the clear winner because you get to dress up in costumes and (they don’t tell you this part in Hebrew school!) you’re SUPPOSED to get so drunk that you can’t tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai. Jews know how to celebrate a holiday.

 Of course, all of our holidays are basically about the same thing. Someone or something tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.

Hanukkah is number two because I love presents. And the hot firemen who show up when I almost burn my house down every year. That alone makes it an awesome holiday, even though it’s a little weak on the religion side.

Thanksgiving probably used to be higher on the list, but the combination of crazy family drama (my desserts aren’t kosher enough for the very recently ultra-orthodox branch of my family. Hypocrisy at its finest considering how often I’ve seen them eat shellfish, but I digress.) and the major weight loss this year that makes me feel that food is my absolute arch enemy has lowered it in the ranking. Now it’s somewhere in between Rosh Hashanah (I like apples. I like honey. Win.) and Tu B’Shvat (which I think is the tree holiday. I’m not really sure what it is, but it doesn’t require that I do anything and I can claim it’s a holiday so I don’t have to do work).

I get to avoid the majority of the drama this year because we’ll be in LA, but that makes this year’s celebration a religious experience for my parents. Their religion? Adamism. They will be spending the long weekend worshipping at the altar of my brother’s feet, while I gag in the corner and try not to incur the wrath of Adam’s most fervent followers while looking at all the yummy food that I no longer eat.

Oh joy, rapture!

Sorry, do I sound bitter?

I’m really not.

And to prove it, here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of the things that I’m thankful for this year.

1) Bruce Springsteen is alive and well and touring. I know it’s an odd thing to be thankful for, but it’s been a hell of a year for me and Bruce! The future of the E Street Band looked uncertain at this time last year because of Clarence’s death, but I did four shows in the same week in the spring run, and then had my own personal Courtney Cox moment when I got pulled up on stage to dance with Jake Clemons, Clarence’s nephew. Seriously, one of the best nights of my life and I’m thankful that I got to experience that!

Hugging Bruce. Yeah.  It happened.
Dancing with Jake. Because he rules.
Campaigning with Bruce.  I still don’t know how this wasn’t the official Obama campaign ad.
Yup.  Just holding hands with Bruce Springsteen.  Typical day in the life of Sara Goodman.

2) My newspaper kids—I promised them a shout-out! It’s no secret that I was pretty miserable at my old school, and I still don’t want to be a teacher when I grow up. But my newspaper kids are the ones who get me out of bed in the morning. Okay, technically, my psychotic addiction to exercise gets me out of bed in the morning, but my newspaper kids are the ones who get me to school. Love you guys!

3) The new version of the Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio in it.  Leo + Gatsby? Oh, there aren’t words to describe the level of thankful that I am for this combination! If there was just a Bruce song in this movie, it would be the most perfect thing EVER in the history of mankind. Just saying.

4) Obama winning! Woohoo! I don’t have to get my ass back in the kitchen and make you a pie!

5) My super awesome boyfriend, who I am sending home for Thanksgiving with a pie that I made. Not because I had to because Romney won, but because I WANT to. See the difference? (But seriously, I’m thankful that this year, when I have to deal with my family, I’m no longer the sad, pathetic, schoolmarm-ish spinster. Not that I ever was, but I was treated that way, which was almost as bad. He seriously quoted Springsteen to me at 7am yesterday. Epic win.)

6) Rosie. That little furball ruined the carpet in my apartment, pretty much destroyed my leather sofas, and has basically destroyed everything else I love. But she’s my baby, and I’m grateful that the little demon is in my life every day.

7) My parents. They annoy the bejeesus out of me. They call me every three minutes with absolutely nothing to say, try to run my life, yell at me constantly, and are generally pretty mean to me. Because they love me very much. They won’t SAY that. But they show it through the constant need to talk to me and the presents they buy me instead of saying they’re sorry when they’re REALLY mean to me (or in my mom’s case, when she creeps me out by picking out baby clothes. STOP IT MOM!)  But my mom did FIND me number 5 on my list, so thanks for that too… JUST STOP BEING CREEPY!

8) That my best friend’s divorce is final. Seriously, I did a little happy dance when that came through. She’s the best and deserves the best and now she has a chance to find it, which I am VERY thankful for!

9) The people who buy and read my books! Someday, when I’m a famous author, you get to say you were reading me before everyone else. You’re my Obie (the Bruce fans get that one) and I appreciate and love you all!

10) Cake. Do I need to explain this one?  (The people who got the joke just died laughing, I promise.)

11) RGIII. Again, no explanation needed. He is the Luke Skywalker of the DC area. He is our hope. He is our future. He will hopefully not kiss his own sister like Luke Skywalker did. But if he does, it’s okay. Because the Redskins suck significantly LESS with him in town.

12) The block feature on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of you know why I’m so thankful for this one. And to Verizon, yes even Verizon, for allowing me to block phone numbers when stalking gets scary.  Thanks guys.

13) Apple products. They all just work, and they work together, and they can do anything and everything. (Hint hint Nick.)

14) Black Friday sales. Because losing weight was REALLY a ploy to get my mother to buy me new clothes. It’s working beautifully.

 

15) Sushi. I’m a newbie, but I’m obsessed. It rocks.

Obviously this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it’s a start. And thinking about what we’re thankful for is really what this holiday is about.

That and carbo-loading for all the Black Friday shopping! Stock up on that stuffing and cornbread now! You’re gonna need it to keep your strength up for tomorrow!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!