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All posts for the month May, 2008

CHE PARTITO!

Published May 31, 2008 by jean cohen

Okay.  So we got BooBoo to the Volly.

 

We walked in, and our mates, waiting at the big table with the immense balloon display (it was definitely over the top), all screamed ‘Surprise!’ and ‘Happy Birthday!’.  BooBoo, unfortunately, died on the spot. 

 

At least I thought she was gonna die.  She turned purple and started to cry.  Then she gave Lou and me her ‘I’m never, never, never going to forgive you’ glare.  Mission accomplished; well done, us.

 

After hugs and snogs all around, BooBoo opened her cards and pressies and we started to painstakingly celebrate in earnest.  That means we drank…a lot.  I guess people ate a lot, too.  Martin had been so terrorized that he prepared enough nibblies for a bar mizvah for three hundred.  The platters just kept appearing.

 

I had burned a CD for Gabby, the DJ.  It wasn’t actually for Boo’s party; it was my mix of ‘Philly’ tunes that I thought he should play on Sunday nights…a lot.  DJ  Guy is pretty shirty about requests, but he has a major pash for me.  He played every song, some of them twice. 

 

I remember dancing to the Hooters ‘And We Danced’ with Oz Ed, and to ‘Sounds of Philadelphia’ with the Irish Lad.  Bald Rob, visiting from Strange-o to seek out new lives, new civilizations and badly dressed pub slags, refused to join me on the dance floor for ‘South Street’.  After about the third bottle of Zinfy, I taught everybody how to do the ‘Bristol Stomp’.  BooBoo woke up long enough to tell the entire pub “I’ve been to Bristol, Pennsylvania…with Jeano.  It’s off motorway ‘One Ninety Five.’”   Never mind that it’s Interstate- 95 and I was operating the motor vehicle at the time – in rush hour and yes, on I95- and totally freaked out, since we were meant to be on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  BooBoo was supposed to be navigating.  We had our own ‘Thelma & Louise’ road trip, complete with cheese steaks, Wawa cappechino, and cousin Gerry P.

Sadly, I could not drag the whole group up to do the Wagner Stroll to the Tymes’ ‘Somewhere’. 

 

I think BooBoo forgave us in the end and had a good birthday.  I sure enjoyed her birthday a whole bunch.  I spent Bank Holiday Monday laying on the sofa nursing a massive hangover.

 

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, Tea Lady duty, shifts at Sam and Close Encounters with Bagpipe Guy.

 

I’ve got the Midnight Walk for Hospice coming up, and I’m meant to be training to walk ten miles in the middle of the night in the pouring rain.  (Hey, this is Britain; of course it’s going to be raining.)  The organizers probably don’t expect the walkers to go to a Neil Diamond concert directly before starting to navigate in West Byfleet.  I’ve got a tour to Sissinghurst Castle next week, an ultra posh Garden Party along the Thames (they swore there’d be Pimms), a 40th Anniversary Party for NWSS (www.nwss.org.uk), and a quick trip to Paris to meet up with my friends, Abe and Janet, from home, who will be in the City of Lights celebrating their wedding anniversary.

 

But the biggest plans afoot are for Quarto di Lugio.  You may remember that I always have a graticola for Festa dell’ Independenza.   Confused?  Try being me for fifteen minutes.

 

People have been asking if I’m going to have a party for 4th of July this year, a proper American one with ‘baseball, hot dogs, and Mom’s apple pie’.  Well, of course, I can’t not have a party.

I just told everybody ‘you bet!’  Mario, my barbecue, is still in storage somewhere in the UK.  He might be in Kirkcauldy, Scotland, visiting Margaret and David.  We’ll find him, and maybe even find some real hotdogs.  Maybe Mike or Jarvo can sneak some back here in their suitcase the next time they go to the States.

 

Anyway, I started busily planning the festivities when Cheese Boy said, “You can’t have a party for American Independence Day.”  “Pray tell, why not, O Cheesiness?” I inquired.  “Because, you stupid cow, you’re Italian now.”  Oh, yeah.

 

Hm.  I googled Italian holidays, figuring I’d have a party instead for one of them.  Please don’t tell the Consulate that I said so, but Italian holidays are boring.  Me:  “Hi!  Come to my party for Ferragosto…the Feast of the Assumption!  Everybody has to dress up as the Blessed Mother!”   Everybody: “Sorry, Jeano, we’re busy.  We’re going dogging with the Irish Lad in a car park in Cheshire that Lou told us about.”   See what I mean?

 

So I pondered the matter, and ran it past BooBoo.  She’s so…everything that I’m not.  The answer was obviously to just refer to everything in Italian!  It’s not a ‘barbecue’; it’s a ‘graticola’.  And it may coincidentally occur on Quarto di Luglio, but I believe it is actually the Fourth of July on that very same date everywhere, even in France. 

 

And if BooBoo and I just happen to wear our red, white and blue flag shirts that we bought in Philadelphia on the same day, it’s merely a fashion faux pas.  Or a coincidence. 

 

I’ll throw some cannoli around the apple pie, and serve manicoti with the burgers.  I’ll play Mario Lanza on the sound system (in between Kate Smith).  My Festa dell’Independenza will become the newest ‘must go to’ Do in Surrey, even more that Pinkie’s Last Bank Holiday Bash.  

 

 

 

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BOOBOO’S BIRTHDAY, PART ONE

Published May 28, 2008 by jean cohen

With stealth and cunning, plus countless half-truths and outright lies, Lou and I managed to trick BooBoo and have a surprise birthday party for her at the Volunteer.

 

Lou had rang me and enlisted my help (and superior party planning skills) a few weeks ago.  I was delighted to help out by arranging ‘excessive’ everything.  It wasn’t a milestone birthday; but I’m not telling which number it was.  Okay…a hint; she and Pinkie are the same age.  They will hit a big round number next year.

I managed to secretly talk to Martin, the manager at the Volly, to reserve the big table by the DJ and order massive amounts of food.  I drew up the guest list, and texted everyone, cautioning that it was a ‘surprise’.  We told Karen simply that Lou and I were taking her to dinner on Sunday night before we went  to the Volly. 

 To say that one of the co-conspirators got a huge surprise too is an understatement; more on this later on.

 

Lou and I divided up the duties; which meant that I did everything and he supervised, via mobile, from the third barstool on the left at the Ash Tree.

 

I know how Karen hates to be the center of attention; she’s so shy.  When I went to the Party Store on the High Street, I sort of lost control.  I ordered a centerpiece of balloons with a huge ‘Happy Birthday’ one in the center, plus this arrangement of pink and purple balloons in the shape of flowers.  Hey, I didn’t buy the sparkly tiara and sash that said ‘Birthday Princess’ on it.  Note to BooBoo:  They would be very appropriate for my birthday.  It’s in August, in case you forgot.

 

I arranged for Amy to pick the balloons up on Saturday afternoon and hide them at Pinkie’s, in case BooBoo popped into mine for coffee, as she often does.

 

We had planned to go for Tapas, but the Spanish restaurant is closed on Sundays, so we had to settle on Italian, at Prezzo.

 

I walked up to the High Street on Sunday afternoon to get a gift bag for Karen’s present, which I’d forgotten to do.  This is Britain, for Christ’s sake.  It’s a Sunday, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend; everything is closed.  Fortunately, I ran into Pinkie at the hole in the wall.  We cheered ourselves up by going to the Aged Concern Charity Shop which (for some unfathomable reason) was open.  Several purchases later, I wandered home to start thinking about what to wear to the party.  Hey, it’s not easy being me and perfect all the time.

 

The third barstool on the left rang to inquire “Did you get a cake?”  “Lou” I retorted, “You told me not to get a cake; BooBoo will be embarrassed enough.”  “Well, you have to get something” the Boy decreed, “to light when we sing ‘Happy Birthday’.  Get a fairy cake or whatever.”  Big sigh.  Men.  I walked back to the High Street and got to Waitrose four minutes before they closed.  “Please” I begged the guard, “I need a cupcake.  It’s a matter of life and death!”  “Do you have the munchies?” he commiserated.  (Yeah, I made that part up.)  I explained that it was all Lou’s fault, and he let me run to the bakery department.  I found the most adorable miniature birthday cake.  But they didn’t have candles.

 

I got home, again, and rang the third barstool.  “Borrow some candles or a sparkler” I instructed Cheeseboy.  “Where?” he asked.  Duh.  “Lou, it’s a bloody restaurant as well as a pub.  I’m sure they have something laying around. Or ring Sandra.  She and Whatshisname can stop shagging for a second.”   Ten minutes later, he texted ‘Mission Accomplished!’  Gee, I hoped he hadn’t worn himself out.

 

At 5:00 I dashed down to Pinkie’s and we took the balloons, pressies, cake, etc. over to the Volly to set up.  I also wanted to intimidate Martin, the manager, in my best Jewish Italian American Princess style to make sure my instructions were carried out to the letter.  I wouldn’t be getting to the Volly until everyone was there waiting, and everything was done.  He seemed to be suitably scared of me.  Maybe he knows people in the Chanel department at Neiman Marcus.

 

Back home, I took a quick shower, and sat down with a well deserved cup of coffee.  In walked BooBoo and Cheese Boy.  They were an hour early.  “What have you been doing all afternoon” BooBoo asked disapprovingly, noting that I was in my pajamas.  “Um…I had a nap” I fibbed, “I was just about to get dressed.”

 

BooBoo looked incredible in this slinky, low cut black dress and heels.  She even had makeup on.  Okay.  I only changed four times, and when Cheese Boy said “That’s enough!  It looks fine and you’re wearing it!” I gave in almost gracefully.  We headed up the High Street to Prezzo for dinner.

 

 The food was okay; the service sucked.  This was good, actually, since we had to dawdle until 8:30.  Pinkie was holding down the fort at the Volly, and the guests were meant to be ready to scream ‘Surprise!’ when we walked in.

 

Cheese Boy surprised us both at dinner.  He handed each of us an envelope, and the contents informed us that we’re seeing Neil Diamond in concert at Wembley Stadium.  It’s on June 27, the same night as our Midnight Walk for Hospice.  We will be very busy, and tired, ladies.                                  

 

I DON’T COME CHEAP

Published May 25, 2008 by jean cohen

Lulu turned up at mine on Friday afternoon with some lovely cheap fags  (from Tenerife) a posh ING pen and mug, and an amazing bottle of Zinfy, which we proceeded to kill sitting in the sunshine in my garden.  I modeled all the new clothes I’d scored at Pinkie’s Do, and we made ’Lulu’ plans, which means they have about a 42% chance of happening, kind of like ‘Bagpipe Guy plans’, only the M25 and traffic at Heathrow control his destiny.

 

I had had another ‘little town’ experience.  Eve, my neighbor when I lived on Rede Court, came into the Sam during one of my shifts.  “Oh, do you work here now?”  “I come in here all the time.”  You know.  Then she gobsmacked me.  “You know my daughter, Tina.”  I was puzzled; do I know a Tina?  “She’s Louise’s friend.”  The penny dropped.  “Teabag?” I exclaimed.  “You’re Teabag’s Mum?”  I haven’t seen Teabag since I’m back.  She moved from Weybridge to Farnum whilst I was gone.  I have mentioned her occasionally; she’s the girl who is absolutely gorgeous, and I would love to hate her, but I can’t, because she’s really, really nice.  Even if she did go out with Ewen (damn her).  Big Sigh! Sorry.  I was picturing Ewen in his kilt.

 

“I mentioned to Tina that you were back” Eve went on, “And she said ‘I know. She’s Louise’s American friend, Jeano, who I’ve talked about.’”  I guess I just never ran into Teabag when she was at her mum’s, and Eve never saw Lulu when she was at mine. 

 

Lots of people from the Senior Centre and the synagogue turn up at the Sam, too.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

 

I had a date with DJ Guy on Friday night.  I sort of forgot to turn up.  Because Lulu and I opened, and consumed, a second bottle of Zinfy.

 

I did get up and go to Synagogue on Saturday morning.  I really like it.  TheTorah reading (which follows the seasons) is up to the part where God is seriously pissed at the Israelites for disobeying Him and graphically describes the retribution He is going to lay on them.  Kind of like me, when anybody says ’no’ to what I want.

 

Don’t get all excited and start buying engagement presents (we’re registered at Sak’s and Bloomies); I met a man.  He’s a widower.  And he gave me ten quid and his phone number.

Maybe I should explain.  I got a packet in the mail from Sam Beare Hospice.  Not only am I walking ten miles in the middle of the night in West Byfleet, I am expected to get people to sponsor me for doing it.  I’m not real good about asking people for money, unless I’m married to them, and, hey, they owe me—big time.  But, okay, I figured I’d give it a shot.  (And Pinkie, my walking buddy, had immediately hit up people and was way ahead of me.  Her gym gave her 50 quid!)

 

I knew Jackie would go ballistic and excommunicate me if she caught me writing on Shabbat, so during the Oneg, I asked the Chairman of the JACS if I could do a little soliciting during their next lecture.  Ted said the shul charity fund will give me 100 quid!  You bet I stopped at Pinkie’s on the way home to gloat.  Anyway, the widowed, music industry executive heard me and said he wanted to sponsor me, too.  We had been introduced before services. 

 

We sneaked out of the Oneg and hid in the supplies cupboard so he could fill out the form.  (That statement is actually true.  Jackie has a ‘thing’ about keeping Shabbat.)  He’s really, really sweet.  (I met another new bloke, who really, really made me want to break Shabbat in a big way, but that’s another story.)

 

The Webmaster of the synagogue’s web site had asked me to put a link to their site in my blog.  It’s www.nwss.org.uk    Please visit it…for me.  And my 100 quid.

 

On Saturday night (after Shabbat, of course) Pinkie and I went up to the Grotto to solicit.  Most of the usual suspects were there (and pissed) so we did okay.  Irish Dave gave me 5 quid and his mobile number again.  And Pinkie’s next door neighbor asked me out.  We’re going to try the Volly next, at least the blokes.  The pub slags need every penny to get a subscription to Vogue.

 

My computer, Little Bro, had caught an English cold or something; it was definitely under the weather.  So while the Irish Lad was home babysitting so Pinkie and I could go out, I toted my laptop over for Terry to ‘tweak’.  I gave him my list of ‘issues’ and told him to have it done by the time the Grotto closed.

 

One annoying ‘symptom’ was that my new firewall was blocking my music sharing program and I couldn’t download any tunes.  I wanted everyone on my phone list to have their own ringtone.  I had a blast matching people with ‘appropriate’ songs.  When I ring CheeseBoy…never mind.  I can’t tell you what tune his mobile plays.  I’m going to assign him ‘Louie, Louie’ on mine.

 

When we got back to Pinkie’s, the Irish Lad had cured Little Bro, and he was running like a well-oiled machine.  “Did you straighten out Frostwire?” I queried.  “It’s a matter of life and death.”

 

“Yes, Jeano” Terry assured me.  “I downloaded a song to make sure.”

“Really?” I asked, sensing that some piss taking was about to happen.  “Which song?”

 

Darling Terry didn’t answer; he played it for me.  Leonard Cohen – ‘Hallelujah’.

 

“It’s Saturday” he said.  “You’re Jewish on Saturdays.  Leonard is your cousin from Canada.  ‘Hallelujah’ was the only choice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

PARTY CRUISES

Published May 24, 2008 by jean cohen

On Saturday night, Pinkie had a birthday party for herself.   She has redefined the term. 

 

Imagine twenty or thirty women turning up at your house.  Imagine that they have cleaned out their closets and brought along everything that: a) they hate; b) doesn’t fit them anymore; c) ‘why the bloody hell did I buy this in the first place?’

 

Now picture the twenty or thirty women in their underwear, drinking Pimms and pulling other women’s clothes off the racks to try on.  I thought the Pimms part was such a good idea that I’m going to write to Nordstrum Rack and suggest they start it.  They’ll probably give me free shopping forever, when it’s a brilliant success.

 

The Pimms flowed freely, there were Malteasers for energy, the music was cranked up really loud on the stereo, and we were all viciously elbowing each other to get to the really good  stuff.  The Irish Lad, wisely, had opted to transport to Planet Strange-o and stay overnight at Bald Rob’s.  I guess they had a ‘male bonding’ night in their jammies.  I wonder if they painted each other’s toenails?  BooBoo and I always do, when we have a  ‘girlie night’.

 

I scored some incredible stuff, four pairs of brand new jeans (one pair is white with tan stitching and a gorgeous tan belt), three tops, four shirts and a stunning black jacket with pearls on the cuffs and buttons (perfect with the slinky pencil thin black skirt I just bought).  I just need to rent another house as a closet. 

 

I wore the new blue jeans with rhinestones down the legs and on the pockets when I went out with Bagpipe Guy on Wednesday.  He couldn’t keep his hands off my tushie.

 

Of course, I had taken Pinkie’s birthday pressies over on Friday night.  Her Mum and Dad were visiting, and I knew there would be homemade birthday cake, made by Margaret, not Pinkie.  It was delicious!

 

I wandered  down the lane at about midnight, quite tipsy from all the Pimms, clutching my loot in the pouring rain, not certain whether I had remembered to put my clothes back on.  No matter, though; I didn’t meet anyone except a fox.  It was a brilliant birthday do.

 

It was Darling Lulu’s birthday as well this week, but she was away.  During an earlier visit, she saw my awesome belly chain when we were trying on clothes, and asked me to get her one like it; which I did, for her birthday.  Hopefully, she will be popping in to celebrate BooBoo’s birthday, which is this weekend.  As many ‘secret’ plans are afoot, and the Blog Policewoman monitors this site, I will have to recount the details afterwards.

 

I worked three shifts at Sam this week, not what I anticipated when I volunteered.  My ‘ladies who lunch’ engagements, shopping blitzes and ‘afternoon delights’ with Bagpipe Guy are getting harder to squeeze in, what with the Senior Centre and synagogue activities added in.  But I’m loving it there.  Cathy, my boss, rang last night to ask me to cover this morning.  I had to decline, because I’m expected at shul, and then I’m invited to luncheon. 

 

By the way, for ‘inquiring minds’, here’s North West Surrey Synagogue’s web address, so you can check it out.  It’s a nice web site, and there’s an article about me in the Haderech. 

 

It’s www.nwss.org.uk

 

Switching back to Sam, I’ve met so many lovely women covering those extra shifts.  On Tuesday afternoon, my co-worker was Lisa, who is from Washington, DC.  I’m not making that up.  I move to England, get a cool gig volunteering, and I have to spend four hours with a Redskins fan.  Actually, our taste, at least in literature, is quite similar and we spent the entire shift recommending books to each other. 

 

On Thursday, I worked with Jane, who is Irish.  She had lived for a time in Princeton, NJ (note to British readers: South Jersey, not “North’, practically Philadelphia, so socially acceptable).  Jane is a soccer fan and insisted on decorating our big window in red and white, with books about Manchester United.  Apparently, the night before, they had won another PrimeShip cruise, beating somebody or another.  “But I thought the PrimeShip was last week” I said, confused.  “Didn’t they win a cruise to Moscow?”   It seems like there is one of these ‘life or death’ matches every forty-one hours, whether they need it or not.  I understood enough of what Jane was enthusiastically babbling about to mention to the Irish Lad on the way to Quiz Night that ManU had won with some very dramatic PK’s.  He hates when I say that. 

 

Cheese Boy was so chuffed about this latest PrimeShip that our name for  the quiz was ‘Three  Bitches and a Man, United’.

 

We crashed and burned in the bloody thing this week.  

AFTER MAY 26…NOT A DAY BEFORE

Published May 22, 2008 by jean cohen

The lovely spring weather here abruptly changed, and it was back to damp, chilly and pouring rain.  Unfortunately, I’d had an ‘American’ moment, and put away all my winter clothes.  Note to British readers: This is what one does in the States, because there are proper ‘seasons’.  Anyway, I had to find my long undies and heavy sweaters again.  And turn the heat back on.

 

On the same topic, ‘seasons’, I broke a major fashion rule in the US.  I wore white shoes before Memorial Day.  Yes, I know.  It’s shocking, and hard to believe.  I guess I was feeling defiant that night.  It was only shoes; it’s not like I’d ever wear white trousers or carry a white purse before the appropriate date.  Obviously, unless they were ‘winter white’, which is a horse of a different color.  Or trousers or bag.

 

I was explaining all of this to BooBoo on the way to the pub.  She was sneaking little glances at me like I was crazy.  “But, Jeano, we don’t celebrate Memorial Day” she muttered.  “It doesn’t matter” I told her.  “I know, and all the editors at Vogue know, that it’s not May 26th yet. But sometimes you just have to break a rule or two.”  Besides, we were heading for the Volly.  The only way I could look worse than the pub slags would be to be naked.  Cheese Boy, who’d been silent in the back seat with Trigger during this convo, proceeded to extract revenge for everything bitchy I’d ever done to him (in his little mind) by snapping about a hundred pictures of my white shoes (really cute little ballerinas) and saying “White shoes!  Before Memorial Day!” about a million times.

 

One of the pub slags, and I’m not making this up, had on blue denim Capri pants, with a brown flowered…blouse is not the word I’m going for here.  I don’t know what it was.  And to finish this outfit, she had on red high heels.  They were satin, with ankle straps.  She obviously doesn’t care about when Memorial Day is or own a bloody full length mirror.

 

The blog today is out of sequence, for a reason.  I was going to skip the last pub quiz entirely, but the Blog Policewoman threatened me.  Yeah, we crashed and burned – champions no more.  In fact, we came in last.  Pinkie got the anagram – it was ‘clothes pins’.  No, of course it wasn’t.  It was ‘Reebok’.  Even more embarrassing, she got the connection round.  It was US Presidents.  Sure…go ahead…take the piss.  Everybody in the Ash Tree did.  And I got the State called the ‘Aviation State’ wrong.  I guess I should have spent less time in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when I was visiting Georgia and Ron for Thanksgiving, and more time reading about dumb Ohio’s glorious aviation history.  I just have to ask why the hell does North Carolina have a plane on their bloody license plate if they’re not the ‘Aviation State’?  If anyone emails me and says the words ‘Kitty Hawk’ or ‘Orville and Wilbur’, I will have you whacked by the Mafia.   Finally, that question about the five largest cities in Florida by population… I don’t care what Leyla said; I don’t think Hialeah is even a city.  Isn’t it where you go to watch h’ai lai? 

 

Saturday I went to services at Shul.  I probably should pay more attention to the Haderech, especially since I’m now on the staff.  I got to the close before Horvath, where the synagogue is, and there was a huge traffic jam.  The streets around there are as wide as Elfreth’s Alley.  The synagogue was packed.  There were two bar mitzvahs.  It was sweet, really.  Bar Mitzvah Boy #1’s mother looked…never mind.  I’m sure she tried.  And she probably didn’t know about Memorial Day.

Mazel Tov, Daniel and Mark!

 

Once again, the Torah reading was a message directly from God to me.  It’s getting kind of creepy.  Honestly, being the Almighty and everything, I expect He could just get my mobile number and text me.  It was from Leviticus and dealt with the inequalities of wealth between peoples.  Part of it goes… ‘and proclaim liberty throughout the land  unto all the inhabitants thereof’.  Gee, I thought.  That sounds familiar.  Where have I heard, or seen, that before?  I haven’t been reading the Old Testament in my spare time. 

 

Fortunately, I stopped daydreaming about my last couple of dates with Bagpipe Guy and concentrated, so I was prepared when Jackie asked during her talk where that phrase is used. She sort of asked me, so I knew that was a clue.   “It’s engraved on the Liberty Bell” I answered, “In Philadelphia”.  I’m not sure why Adonai wanted me to think about Philly.  It might be because the Eagles selected two quarterbacks in the NFL draft.  Maybe I can stop worrying about the upcoming season.  I certainly have enough stuff on my mind as it is.

 

Similar to the custom in the States, after being pelted with candy at the end of the service (at least it was soft) to wish the Bar Mitvah boys a ‘sweet’ life, there was an awesome Oneg Shabbat, hosted by their families.  It was wonderful.  They had real bagels.  I guess they went to Golders Green.  They had lots of other stuff, too, including pizza, sans the pepperoni, obviously.  I congratulated Daniel and Mark and their parents, chatted with lots of new people and then had to dash home, because I had a date with Bagpipe Guy before I went to Pinkie’s Birthday Do.

 

 

HANG UPS

Published May 14, 2008 by jean cohen

On Tuesday, I did Tea Lady duty and then a shift at Sam, covering for someone on holiday in Provence.  At the Senior Centre, Sanjay, the manager, asked if I have any particular talents or skills.  He is desperately trying to increase the traffic there before the Elmbridge Council decides to close the center.

 

“Hell, yeah, I sure do” I thought wantonly.  Sanjay is pretty hot.  And ‘Indian bloke’ is still not ticked off on Pinkie’s list.  Gee whiz…that was a joke.  What I said (modestly) was “I’m a seriously cutthroat, killer Scrabble player.” Wow, you could hear a popadum drop.  It seems Sanjay has started a Scrabble Club at  the center, and needs someone to teach the folks how to play, after reacquainting them with the alphabet.  “I don’t think so, Indian Guy” I demurred.  “I’m not a very good teacher—at anything.  I get impatient and really shirty.”  Well, he wheedled and beseeched.  I do simply adore men when they’re begging.  I agreed to give it a try, a one hour lesson next week.

 

Even better, the Senior Centres have a competition, and he asked me to represent the Weybridge Centre in the Surrey Competition.  Maybe I’ll get to the Nationals.  Maybe the Home Office will finally like me.  I still won’t waste my ‘u’s’ unnecessarily in words like ‘honour’ or ‘colour’.  Note to Scary Fairy:  NaNaNaNaNa!

 

This next part is only for the truly brave readers.  If you are easily shocked or horrified, stop reading now.  I am only confessing because BooBoo threatened to hide my credit cards and never take me shopping again if I didn’t tell all.

 

 While I was working at Sam, Pinkie texted to ask if I needed anything at Tesco’s.  Yes” I replied, “Clothes pins.”  Whilst weeding my garden, Eamonn (who is nine) very kindly explained that the rope hung across said garden was not for aerobics, but rather for hanging clothes that are wet until they dry.  Really, I’m not making this up.  Apparently many people in Britain have this particular hobby.  I tried it, just for fun, but my knickers all blew away because you need to attach the wet stuff to the line.  Who knew?

 

Pinkie texted back “Dressmaking pins?”  Hm, I figured she meant ‘straight pins’, but I’m not planning on doing any sewing anytime soon.  And before you sneer, yes, I can sew.  I can hem, taper pants, and cut and pin a pattern; I took a course.  I cannot, however, sew on a button.  Jerry always had to do it.  I have about twenty-six that need attaching right now.

 

No…” I corrected in my text to Pinkie. “The kind to hang wash on the line.  Reply from Pinkie: “Teehee! Teehee!  Seriously??? Wash pegs?” Text from me to no longer best mate Pinkie: “Whatever!  Just buy the fucking things.

 

About 3:30, Pinkie turned up at Sam Beare to hand deliver my plastic basket of washing pegs…and take the piss.  You might think I wasn’t domestically inclined.  (She did have some good advice on using those little suckers and hanging the clothes.)  She said the reason she turned up was to pick up my application for the ten mile Midnight Walk for Charity we’re doing in West Byfleet in June, but I’m not convinced.

 

When I got home, I had a load of wet clothes all ready to be ‘hung on the line’.  I had turned on the washer before I left!  It was not an easy task.  I didn’t know the clothesline etiquette.  Should I only hang my ‘train wreck’ underwear?  Would the neighbors talk about me if they spotted the knickers that I only wear when I’m having a ‘stay at home in my pj’s’ day and there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that anybody will turn up expecting to have sex?  (You know the kind I mean.)  Do you hang jeans by the legs?  Will busybodies think that the cleaning lady’s rags are my towels?  Can they tell what size my bras are (pathetic…really) from across the car park?  I was an emotional wreck.

 

The bloody stuff didn’t dry.  I did my part; I hung it.  The sun decided to move to Ireland or wherever.  At 9:00, I rang BooBoo.  “The clothes aren’t dry” I whinged.  “Do I have to take them down, and then put them up again in the morning?”  I thought my precious FleurT’s wouldn’t like to spend the night outdoors.  I mean, we’re not camping, for God’s sake.  Not that I ever would.  Go camping.  Unless it was a really nice Marriott in a major metropolitan area. 

 

“No”  BooBoo consoled me.  “You can leave them up.”  Then she added, “People think it’s bad luck to leave clothes out all night.  They say the Devil comes and gets into them.”  Just great!  The Devil will look like crap or one of the Pub Slags in my navy blue FleurT bra and knickers with the embroidered silver moons and pearls on them.

 

I don’t think this is a good hobby for me.  In fact, I’m making BooBoo take me to Argos to buy Giovanni, my air conditioner, a brother.  “Giovanni, meet Silvio, the dryer.”

 

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS…OF THE JEWISH KIND

Published May 13, 2008 by jean cohen

It was such a busy weekend that I feel compelled to do another blog.  That’s a lie; the Blog Policewoman ordered me to do it.

 

On Saturday night, I had a date.  Okay, it was with Cheese Boy.  But it was a) a ‘Saturday’ night, b) I got fapitzed, c) he picked me up at mine, d) we went to listen to a band, and e) we had a meal.  So that counts as a date.  BooBoo Blondie Sister Wife had no problem with it and Braveheart Guy was away for the weekend and doesn’t get a say in the matter anyway.

 

We went to see a band called ‘Normal’ at the Ash Tree.  They had posted some flyers and I just knew I was going to like them.  The flyers boasted ‘You won’t see a better band on this night in this pub!!!’

They didn’t disappoint.

 

There were three guitarists, a drummer and a lead singer.  They played classic seventies and eighties stuff, plus a smattering of their own tunes.  The leader mentioned that they’re on You Tube and they’re worth checking out.  Cheese Boy was so chuffed that he took about a million pictures, which the band assured him would be posted on their website.

 

It wasn’t a really late night as I had to be up early on Sunday morning for a Communications Committee Meeting at the synagogue.  Cousin Bernie Cohen is on holiday in Spain so I represented the Haderech at the meeting.  The  folks on the committee are very focused and dynamic, and I think I’m going to really enjoy being a part of the team.  I’ve been assigned some tasks, in addition to updating the newsletter format with Bernie.

 

I’d not been to the synagogue on a Sunday before, and once again, I was brought up short by the intense security.  Sunday is Cheder, Hebrew School for the children, and it was packed.  Wardens in yellow vests patrolled the perimeter of the grounds, and stopped cars and pedestrians approaching the cul-de-sac for an ID check.   I had donned jeans and my ‘You Had Me at Shalom’ shirt with the gigantic Star of David, figuring at least finally somebody here would ‘get’ it.  Maybe wearing it in public here is not a good idea.  In the States, people often stopped me—to ask ‘Where did you buy it?’ or to say “I love your shirt!”.  Apparently, that’s never going to happen here and I might get blown to smithereens.  It’s a far cry –and far scarier – than going to the Schmooze at the JCC Palisades.

 

Anyway, Jackie invited us to stay for lunch, and we took our bagels and nova out to a picnic table and ate in the sunshine.  The bagels sucked; I’ve been told that I have to trek up to Golders Green in London if I want a decent bagel.  However, I boasted that I’d driven to Reading, about an hour and a half drive (not the one with the terrific outlets in Pennsylvania) with BooBoo and gotten some real bagels at Costco’s.  Everyone was quite chuffed by this important news.

 

In the afternoon, I declined several offers to go to the pub with the blokes to watch Manchester United (a subsidiary of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a real football team) play in another Prime Ship contest.  I would rather be forced at gunpoint to spend an entire day at the King of Prussia Mall without my credit cards.  And it seems to me there are one of these ‘important, life or death’ soccer matches every other day.  When the Boy and BooBoo picked me up Sunday evening to go to music at the Volly, Lou was simply thrilled to bits that ManU had won.  They beat Chertsey.  Or maybe it was Chelsea.  He nattered on and on; I stopped paying attention after receiving a dirty look to my question if there were any P.K.’s.  I don’t know what the fuss was about.  All they won was a really tacky trophy and a cruise to Moscow.  “Darling, I’ve been on a Russian cruise ship” I told the Boy.  “It’s like being deported to a gulag with only two stars in the Michelin Guide.”

 

The Volly was packed; the pub slags were out in full force.  BooBoo and I got down to business picking them to shreds, prompting Lou, who usually ignores us, to say “Bloody hell!  What am I…out with Trinny and Susannah?”  We just carried on.  Mel, my favourite ‘Vogue Don’t’ wasn’t there: “It’s her sister’s night to wear the skirt.”  The one who wears the plastic boots: “Glad to see those boots aren’t made for walking tonight.  But the plastic mules with diamonte compliment the cheap schmatte from TJ Maxx beautifully.”  A new slag, with a tattoo on her shoulder and an immense midriff bulge in a flowery pink cocktail dress: “Nobody told me tonight was the Junior Prom.” 

 

BB, slag extraodinaire, was, as usual, pissed and pole dancing everybody.  She sneaked up on Lou and pounced.  He let out a yelp of pure terror and refused to dance with her.  She got insulted, especially when he dragged me on to the dance floor to boogy to “Young American”.  One final comment.  I believe that BooBoo might actually be even cattier than me.  

 

On Monday, I went to my second Women’s International Zionist Organization meeting.  I thought I should give it a second chance.  Unfortunately, I didn’t change my opinion about women- in groups.  However, a really funny thing happened.  A bit of background.  The Henry VIII wall outside my house was ‘listed’ as an official historic site and a plaque was put on it in the 70’s.  The plaque says that it was dedicated by the mayor of Weybridge, Harry Cohen.  So I always point out ‘Cousin Harry’s wall’ to people.

 

I walked into Peggy’s house, and sitting on the sofa was Rosie the Terrible, my late mother-in-law.  At least I thought it was her; same silver hair and red lipstick.  Same stretch pants.  It didn’t help that someone said “Jean, you haven’t met Mumble Mumble Cohen.  She missed the last meeting.”  I actually dropped the lemon Victoria sponge cake Mr. Waitrose and I made for the meeting as I tried to channel Bald Rob up on Strange-o to teleport me the hell out of there.  The old witch always said she’d come back and haunt her daughters-in-law (and thanks to Gene, there are lots of us).

 

Of course, it wasn’t Rosie.  She’s Myra Cohen, widow of cousin Harry, the mayor, and she lives right around the corner from me.