All posts for the month June, 2008


Published June 30, 2008 by jean cohen

Friday night was the Neil Diamond concert and the Midnight Walk in aid of the Sam Beare Hospice.  Personally, I would not recommend that you schedule two events like these on the same night, but maybe you’re even crazier than me.


Cheese Boy had reconnoitered the route to Wembley Arena and organized it down to the last detail.  The problem would be getting away quickly at the end of the show to get to West Byfleet to check in for the walk by the 11:30 PM deadline.


We left Oy Veybridge at 5:00 sharp.  The plan was to drive to Rayners Lane, park the car, have dinner, and take the Piccadilly Line tube the rest of the way to Wembley, four stops.


Of course, just as we were leaving, I received a text from the Smuggler:  “I am taking the 35 Jews to the pub for a drink now.”  Push ‘hold’ and ring Pinkie.  “Darling, the Hebes have arrived.  Can you do a ‘meet and greet’ and entertain them for me till tomorrow?”  Pinkie graciously agreed to be the Jews’ hostess.


The only thing that went wrong with the Boy’s plan was the 78,659 cars on the motorway on a Friday night in the summer at a dead standstill.  It took us almost three hours to drive the twelve miles.  We got to Rayners Lane, realized dinner wasn’t going to happen, hopped the tube to Wembley and raced to the Arena.  We got to our seats just as the show began.


It was fantastic!  Neil Diamond is still…Neil Diamond. In sequins.   He sang a bunch of his classic hits – I love ‘Solitary Man’ and “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show’ – and, of course, some numbers from his newly released album.  He did ‘You Don’t Send Me Flowers’ with one of his back-up singers, which prompted a lot of piss taking from Cheese Boy, who hates it.  During ‘Brooklyn Roads’, family home movies of his childhood played on the big screens.


I have to confess that I got terribly homesick, and teary-eyed, when he did ‘America’.  They played that video, which is the one for the song from VH-1, you’ve all probably seen it, with the immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.  I thought about Grandpop.   Yeah, I definitely missed home.


Fortunately, Pinkie chose that very moment to text me.  “Stop the press!  Stop the press!  Police are conducting a house to house search after Cobham residents reported sighting 35 tanned Jews traveling toward Weybridge.  There is strong evidence to suggest they have relocated in their bid to enlighten the uneducated barbecue masses.  Residents should not approach for fear of a taste explosion.”


My reply: “As Charleton Heston once said, ‘Let my people go!’”


The concert ran for about two and a half hours, after thunderous applause demanding an encore.  As Neil was singing his last number, a sort of mix of his hits, we started heading downstairs to leave.  We stopped for a minute for Lou to take some snaps of BooBoo and me in front of the fountain outside the arena, and then ran to the tube to head back to Rayners Lane.


Don’t ask me how he did it, I know how he did it, Cheese Boy drove at a steady 120 KPH to West Byfleet so we could make check-in.  Pinkie rang to check our progress and we arranged to meet her at the Church which was the start point of the walk.


The British weather, as usual, didn’t cooperate.  I was wearing four layers, including my long underwear.  It was actually warm.  I started stripping in the speeding auto to save time.  “What the bloody hell are you doing?” the Boy shrieked.  “Give it a rest, Cheese Boy” I told him, “I’m only taking off the sweater, the turtleneck and the hoodie.  I’m putting the Midnight Walk tee shirt over my long underwear so you won’t accidentally see anything.”


In case of rain, Boo had brought a couple anoraks, which we tied around our waists, and she had loaded up on bottles of energy boost drinks.


We got to the Church at 11:29 and dashed in to check-in, pick up our numbers and get some flashing pink ears to wear, as we had forgotten to bring our torches.  BooBoo pinned the picture of Jerry to the back of my shirt, and I pinned hers, a picture of her friend’s Dad.  Pinkie was walking for her granddad.


We found Pinkie among the 627 other women in tee shirts and flashing pink ears, and we were ready to rumble.


We congregated in the parking lot to hear a little pep talk from the Director of the Hospice, and then did a half-hour of warm up exercise to ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’.  “I don’t fucking think so” I mumbled to BooBoo.  It was midnight; I was tired…and hungry.


“All these women!” Pinkie said wonderingly, “I must know somebody here.”  Meanwhile, I’m going “Hi!  How are you?  You alright?” kiss, kiss etc. to all the women I knew.  “How does she do it?” Pinkie said to Boo, “She’s been in Surrey five months!”


Finally, at 12:05 AM, we were off.  In last year’s walk, the best time was two and a half hours.  I had no intention of hurrying; my goal was to finish, it didn’t matter how long it took me.


We set off at a leisurely pace and it was a sight to see – a long column of women in blinking pink ears as far as the eye could see.  Cars passing us beeped their horns, and when we went through High Streets people outside the pubs hugged us or shook our hands.


Every mile, there was a Support Station, with water and aides telling us ‘Well done!”


The halfway point was in Oy Veybridge, at the Sam Beare Hospice.  We could sit down for a few minutes, have a cup of tea and a banana and power bar, and have a loo break.  The only problem was that 624 women were all in line for the six loos.  We decided not to wait and keep walking.  I was afraid that if I sat down I would fall asleep on the spot.


BooBoo had rung Cheese Boy, who was having an impromptu party at mine, and he and the Irish Lad walked all the way to the Focus on Monument Road to cheer us on.  It must have been at least three blocks.  The Boy took some pictures, we continued walking, and they went back to mine to have some more Fosters and rest after their strenuous workout.


As we got near Brooklands (about mile 6), missing that loo stop became a real problem.  Pinkie and Boo both had to go…really bad.  Not to worry; Tesco’s is open 24 hours a day.  “Let’s pop into Tesco’s” Pinkie suggested.  “Good idea” I agreed, “I need a few odds and ends.”  “Are you bloody insane” they both yelled, “We’re not carrying your carrier bags for four miles because ‘you’re handicapped.”


I was so miffed I sat outside and had a much deserved fag break while they peed.  And we carried on.


It was not easy.  Ten miles is a pretty long distance.  I did get tired.  But I just thought about the under privileged little children…  Oops!  Wrong charity.  Seriously, I thought about Jerry, and about all the other people coping with cancer, and how important hospice is, not just to the patient, but to their loved ones who have to cope with everything.  They sure kept me from going off the deep end. 


I did the entire ten miles.  And I am damned proud of myself, and BooBoo and Pinkie.  We did it in just over three hours, which is pretty amazing.  In fact, when we were heading back to Oy Veybridge afterwards, we passed groups of walkers still making their way to the Church.


The last mile or so was tough; it was all up-hill.  I got on my own nerves whinging “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.  No Church ever looked so beautiful when we stumbled in, exhausted but elated, and got our medals for completing the walk.


By the way, donations are still being accepted until July 30th.  You can still go on line and sponsor me at the Just Giving site:, if you hadn’t gotten around to it yet.  I know who you are!  And for those of you who did sponsor me, a heartfelt ‘thank you!’.  I feel as though I’ve done something worthwhile and meaningful.



Published June 27, 2008 by jean cohen

I posted some of the pictures of us girls with Abe & Janet in Paris so do check out the album.


And just because it was so damned funny, I have to share a text I got from Pat yesterday.  I think I mentioned that I’d asked Pat to ask Mike, my very own ‘mule’ to smuggle in some real hotdogs. (I haven’t forgotten all the suitcases he schlepped over here for me; I owe him—big time.  Go G-men! Rah! Rah! Rah!  Whatever.  Warm and fuzzy moment definitely over.)


Pat’s text:  ‘The 35 Jews you invited to your July 4th party arrived at LHR this morning.  They all cleared immigration and customs and are now chilling at my house.”


The Hebrew Nationals are here!  My Festa di Independenza will be a Happening!  Of course, I’m going to keep them all for myself and feed my guests mushy grey English hotdogs on tasteless English buns.  It’s not like they’d even appreciate genuine Kosher ones if they jumped off the barbecue and bit them on the tush.


Speaking of tushies and Jews, the 40th Anniversary Do for NWSS was brilliant.  The service was poignant, and the former rabbi, Tony Bayfield, gave a moving speech.  He also (damn him) used an expression which I immediately decided to steal and claim I thought up. 


He called Weybridge ‘Oy Vey-bridge’.  Isn’t that clever?  I’m chuffed that I coined it and shall always, in future, refer to my adopted hometown as ‘Oy Vey-bridge’.  (That was so you’ll know what the bloody hell I’m talking about.  Between ‘codes’ and ‘edited for a J(ewish) rated audience’, half the time even I don’t understand what I’m talking about.)


Pinkie even suggested that I do a second secret blog, accessible ‘By Invitation Only’, where I dish the dirt and talk the talk.  Pinkie, Darling… Hell No!


I had a smashing date with Bagpipe Guy Wednesday night.  (Unfortunately, unless you have subscribed to my Uncensored Blog –—Visa and Mastercard accepted—that’s all you’re getting.)


I tried to make this long, but I still have space left.  I guess I have to talk about the bloody Quiz last night.  One bright note is that we collected 75 quid at the Ash Tree for our Midnight Walk.


Of course we lost; but we weren’t last.  It seems that there are even dumber people than us in Surrey.  But not many.


I’ve explained before that the questions are too ‘British’ for me, although I occasionally know the odd fact.  Example:  ‘Queen Victoria was what relationship to her predecessor?’  Pinkie and Cheese Boy:  “Duh…Um…Ah…”  Me:  ‘She was his niece, you prats!”


I am not taking the piss out of The Boy ‘cause he said I looked fat last night.  Okay, I am.  But he just said that because I texted everybody to tell him his ears stuck out after he got his hair cut.


I did fine on the American questions; except one.  I honestly did not ever remember hearing the expression ‘Hooverville’, used for shanty towns during the Great Depression.  I guessed ‘Skid Row’ and when Leyla gave the answer, I got a lot of shit.  Of course, some British blokes, at least one, thought it referred to J. Edgar Hoover.  Tee Hee! 


I got Yosemite, California, Central Park and McFly right.  And the anagram. I don’t know why they both looked at me on the question about the 5 countries with the largest Muslim populations.  “Hey, I’m 100% sure I’m not a fucking Muslim” I told them, “This one is all yours.”  They so screwed up.


But the piece de resistance was the Connection Round.  Number 2 was ‘Name the American football team in San Francisco.’  “49ers” I said to the Boy.  After the four questions, and we had to make the connection, he goes “Are you sure ‘49ers’ is right?”  “Yes, Lou” I said, “I’m 1000 percent sure.”

“Are you sure it’s not ‘Galaxy?” he asked, “The connection is ‘pop bands’ and I never heard of a band called ‘49ers’.”  “Lou, it’s 49ers” I said, a tad annoyed.  I asked Leyla to repeat it, just in case it was a trick question, but it wasn’t.  He mumbled to himself for the whole round.


I’m sure I don’t have to confirm that it was ‘49ers’.  Jeano knows real football…the American kind.


Too bad Cheese Boy doesn’t know music.  The ‘49ers’ are a Eurodance band who got to #12 on the UK Singles Chart with ‘Don’t You Love Me?’



Published June 26, 2008 by jean cohen

Gosh it’s been exciting around here this week.  Europe is at war – at least on the soccer field.  The Prime-ship, which is what they call bloody boring soccer games for some odd reason, is having a round-robin of teams from not very exciting European countries play each other.  Apparently, even if they lose, they get to come back and play some other country.  This happened with Germany.  At least I think so.  They could have been talking about Germany’s other, favorite kind of war…the kind with bombs and guns.  I hope it will all be over by Boxing Day, which begins the World Heavyweight Championships.  (I made that up; I have no idea what ‘Boxing Day’ is, but people mention it a lot.  I picture friends, turning up at mine, with Big Boxes, containing pressies.)


Anyway, the Pub Slags didn’t turn up at the Volly Sunday night.  It was awful.  I recounted my latest date with Bagpipe Guy in excruciating detail to BooBoo until she cried for mercy, I texted people just for the hell of it, and even chatted up Gabby, the DJ, for something to do.


He played ‘Smooth Operator’, which I like, but I was bored enough to get into my riff about Sade’s appalling deficiencies in geography.  Don’t they have maps of the United States in Nigeria or wherever the hell she’s from?


Honestly.  ‘Coast to coast – L.A. to Chicago…western male.’  Excuse me, Sade.  I’m from the United States of America and the last time I checked, Chicago wasn’t a coast.  Else I was living in the ocean; here I thought it was called ‘Pennsylvania’ and it was next to ‘New Jersey’, and they were on the ‘Right Coast’, where the sophisticated, erudite, cool Americans all live.


And what about ‘Across the north and south to Key Largo’?  Um…If I was in Key West, Key Largo would not be south.  Because Key West is the southern-most key.  If you go any farther, I think you might be in Cuba. 


I certainly won’t be asking that skinny Black chick for directions to a Wall-Mart or a Wawa any time soon.


Back to the Prime-ship…where they’re battling for national bragging rights (Na!Na! We beat the Croatians!) a truly tacky trophy and a third-rate cruise to a third-world island like Montego Bay.  (That was a trick.  Did you go to school with Sade?  “Jamaica’ is an island; ‘Montego Bay’ is a very large slum located on said island.) 


I got so bored I watched a soccer game with Cheese Boy.  In my defense, at least is was Italia playing.  I forget who, but it was a country and it was in Europe.  As usual, really hot guys in tight little shorts ran up and down endlessly for hours aimlessly kicking the white ball at each other.  This is normal.  But I learned something new about soccer.  I was gobsmacked.  The hot bloke who is the goalie wears a different uniform than the rest of the team!


“Cheese Boy, Darling” I inquired, “Why is that guy with the divine tushie wearing black?  I know it compliments his bedroom eyes, but the other players on his team are wearing red.  Did someone forget to text him to say ‘We’re wearing our red uniforms today, Sergio’?”


The Boy went to the bar and got two pints.  Maybe he was thirsty.  Then he launched into this ridiculous explanation that the goalie had to look different so all the other players wouldn’t get confused.  I got confused and started mentally re-arranging my underwear drawers in my head while nodding brightly at Lou like I really was even remotely interested.


The Italians and the other guys ran around for about nine hours kicking the ball, but nobody scored.  (Numero 11 – You can score.  Just ring me.)  This usually happens at soccer games.  I knew what this meant; it meant ‘Nil-Nil’, which means ‘Goose eggs’ in American.  “It’s time for PK’s!” I told the Boy excitedly.  “Should I text the Irish Lad in case he’s watching ‘Big Brother’ instead?”  El Cheese-o doesn’t always find me amusing.


Well the PKs were just as boring as the nineteen quarters of the regular game.  And the other goalie had on a completely different uniform than his teammates and the Italian with the squeezable tushie.  Someone needs to address these blokes dressing in such horrendous clashing colors; it’s distracting.


I think Italy lost.  I went out to have a fag.  How was I supposed to know there are no ‘Zebra Time-outs’?  Don’t even get me started on the colors the Zebras decided to wear to the game.


Published June 25, 2008 by jean cohen

Unfortunately, we didn’t get back from Paris in time for the Pub Quiz.  Big Sigh (of relief).  I think my brain needed a rest anyway.


Despite of the stress at Immigration, I had to get up on Friday morning to cover a shift at Sam.  I’m so dedicated and reliable.  And if that’s not crazy enough, I went with BooBoo to Mischa’s, to provide moral support while she babysat with Mia.  Of course, my idea of ‘moral support’ was to describe every piece of clothing I own whilst trying to decide what to wear on my date Friday night.


I think my habits may have rubbed off on BooBoo.  She had her last final exam on Wednesday, in Accounting, and she confided that she had been too wound up to fall asleep, especially as she was obsessing over what to wear to take the exam.  I assured her that it was a valid concern, one should look one’s best while adding up columns of debits and credits, but that I would have narrowed it down to two or three choices by Monday at the latest.  She described what she’d worn, and I gave it the Jeano JAP Seal of Approval.  For some odd reason, BooBoo shook her head and mumbled “I’m pathetic.”  Maybe she forgot which ones were debits and which ones were credits.


Oh, yeah…about that date.  I met him at shul, which was kinda the whole point of my sudden interest in religion in the first place.  We were chatting at the Oneg after services and suddenly he said “Would you like to have dinner with me?”  “Is the Pope a Nazi?” I replied. 


No, I didn’t say that.  Honestly.  I said something  a bit smoother, like “That would be very nice”.  I gave him my phone number (I lost coolness points by having to find my mobile in my purse, turn the damned thing on, and look up my phone number which I still don’t know by heart).  He thought it was funny.  He said he’d ring me.


He did, and I eschewed the ‘hard to get’ shtikl (act)  and agreed to have dinner with him on Friday night.  Get this:  he inquired very seriously if there was a ‘posh’ restaurant in Weybridge.  He lives ninety miles away, which makes him G.U. (geographically undesirable), but he’s filthy rich so that makes up for a lot… yeah, okay, just about anything.  He was coming to Weybridge for the weekend for the shul’s big 40th Anniversary Do on Saturday.


I had to admit that I didn’t know any posh restaurants in Surrey, let alone Weybridge, so he said he’d handle making reservations.  He called me a few times during the week just to natter, and on Friday to confirm when he’d be picking me up.  “We’re going to La Sommana in Cobham”  he told me.  Holy mazzuzah!  Even I’ve heard of it.  “What should I wear?” I asked, a subject very dear to my heart.  Oh my God… He said, quite seriously, “Something dressy.  It’s very elegant.  I’m wearing a sport coat, dress shirt and a tie.”  I thought there for a minute that I might be in love.  I was getting a tad worried that my Jappy-ness was wearing off; I stood in the queue at Abdul’s Post Office the other day for like fifteen minutes and wasn’t even totally  sarcastic or particularly annoyed.  Being British can become insidious if you’re not real careful.


Cyril turned up punctually at mine at 7:00 to pick me up – in a Mercedes convertible.  And yes, his name is really ‘Cyril’.  I know– I had to concentrate on not giggling every time I said it.  “Oh…you drive a Mercedes” I mumbled, picturing Jerry taking the piss during his 3:00 visit.


Dead husband (Shit! He’s wearing his yarmulke and tallit):  “A Mercedes?  You rode in a Mercedes? It’s a shande und un kharpe!  (A shame and a disgrace)  And what kind of name is ‘Cyril’ for a Yid? And how much did that skirt you bought in Paris cost?  Are you still shagging that shmuck Bagpipe Guy?  How are Abe and Janet doing?”


Sorry…my imagination is a very fertile field.


It was a lovely dinner; the restaurant really was posh – and expensive.  As we perused the menus, Cyril asked “Are you Kosher?”  “Tee hee hee” I answered, “Only at home.”  So we both had the Parma ham and mozzarella starter, followed by lamb chops.  I had baked some French pastries.  Okay.  Mr. Waitrose baked them but I schlepped them home.  So we went back to mine for coffee and dessert. 


It was a brilliant date.


That’s it.  That’s all you’re getting.  Do you have any idea how many people at synagogue are now reading my blog?  My statistics have doubled; over 3000 hits a month.


Jumping ahead to a topic for the next blog, the NWSS 40th Anniversary celebration, when I got there on Saturday morning, the morning after my date, which I had not told a soul about,  no less that three women (Peggy, Jenny, and Myra Cohen Cohen) asked “How was your date with Cyril last night?” and “Did you get that skirt in Paris?”



Published June 22, 2008 by jean cohen

BooBoo, Pinkie and I conquered France. 


It is a documented fact that this is not difficult to do, of course.  The other night, one of the blokes made a funny about the latest Prime-ship going on, called ‘Europeans Play Soccer and Nobody Else in the World Gives a Shit’.  He said “France surrendered after the first half.”  Even I got it and laughed.  Get it?  France…Napoleon…Waterloo… Trafalgar…World War II…etc…etc?


Anyway, we were booked on a 5:30 AM Eurostar to Paris.  Because Boo and Pinkie put me in charge of reservations.  I didn’t know the train to London didn’t run all night.  So we had a minor problem.  We had to get to St. Pancras Station by 4:45 on Thursday morning.  Driving up and parking in the city was out of the question.  The parking costs more than a pair of knickers at Galleries Lafayette.  The Irish Lad had to be in Spain or some place starting with an ‘S’, maybe Somalia,  and Cheese Boy was off wandering lonely as a clod through the daffodils again.


Bagpipe Guy to the rescue.  The big sweetie turned up at mine at 3:30 in the morning to drive us up to London in his posh people carrier.  Hey, I made him a goddamned cup of coffee; I’m not at my most charming or amorous at that time of the morning.  Considering that poor Mike drives to London about seventy-five times a day on a slow day, it really was very kind of him.  Plus, as Pinkie pointed out, I am a JAP and, therefore, deserve it.


Wednesday night had been a bit frantic, with texts flying back and forth with weather forecasts, what we were going to wear, and how many suitcases to take.  We mumbled ‘hello’ to each other when they got to mine, and a few remarks were made about ‘whose bloody idea was a 5:30 train?’  I changed clothes for the positively last time (Bagpipe Guy was getting shirty) and we were off.


Amazingly, there were no car fires or overturned lorries on the M-whatevers and we got to London without any difficulties.  We all snogged Bagpipe Guy goodbye and he teased us, “Ladies…please leave some stuff for the other tourists in Paris to buy.”  As if.


We all caught up on some sleep on the train ride, arriving at Gare du Nord station ready to take on the Frogs.  After a quick dejeuner, we took the Metro to the posh Rue de Rivoli area.  The plan was a few hours of serious shopping before we met Abe and Janet at Le Meurice.  I had chosen the meeting spot because I know that part of Paris well.  A bit too well, actually.

We walked, and we walked, and we shopped.  Pinkie bought an amazing top to take to the States.  It’s grey and cream and she looked stunning in it.  I saw a gorgeous skirt, but virtuously said ‘non’.  (Of course, we had to walk all the way back to the shop to buy it before we left.  I wanted to wear it to dinner on Friday night for my date with ‘The Jew of My Dreams’.)  Pinkie got souvenirs for the kiddies.


I have to confess that I had a blast going into all the exclusive little boutiques and being able to try on all the stunning ‘little’ clothes.  I saw a jacket – it was divine – and I couldn’t resist. In we went, and I slipped it on.  The salesgirl said to me in her broken English, “Your trousers, Madame…they are beautiful.  They are Cachet, non?”  “Mais oui, French cow with excellent taste” I told her.  As if I would be caught dead in Paris in Wranglers.  Sadly, after mentally converting the Euros to Pounds to Dollars, and double-checking with Pinkie, the jacket cost as much as a mid-size Subaru.  It was, sadly, a ‘non’.


We got to Le Meurice at 12:30.  Abe and Janet were waiting for us, and we had a tearful reunion with much hugging and kissing, and all of us talking at once.  We certainly weren’t eating at Le Meurice at those prices.  We wandered down the Rue de Rivoli and chose a brasserie at random.


A & J filled us in on all their adventures during their holiday.  It was their first trip to France.  And we caught up on family news and gossip about friends.  We had an extended French lunch with lots of wine, and it was delightful.  Finally, we had to move on, so we started walking again and browsing in the shops.  I must mention that I was chuffed to see BooBoo, who is usually so incredibly shy, walking arm and arm with Abe, nattering away.  Abe has that effect on people. 


A & J had to get back to meet relatives for an engagement, and we only had a few hours before our train, so we said ‘au revoir’, extracting a promise that they will visit us all in Weybridge next time, perhaps for BooBoo and Pinkie’s giant Birthday Do in May.


I ‘escorted’ the girls over to Galleries Lafayette because one cannot be in Paris without shopping there.  I had forgotten how incredible it is, and I was very bad in the lingerie department.  God…French underwear is so…French.  I expect Bagpipe Guy will be very excited by that news.


We took a cab back to Gare du Nord, knackered but happy, and looking forward to a nap on the train, after checking in.  I got nailed at Passport Control.


This subject is actually getting rather boring.  What is British Immigration’s problem?  I read in the newspaper this morning that Martha Stewart was denied a visa this week.  Martha Stewart?  Yeah, she’s annoying, but so is Camilla.  And let’s not forget Snoop Dogg.  Has anybody from Immigration seen some of the people they let into Britain every bloody day? 


I handed over my Passaporti Italiano to the official and his little machine went ‘Beep! Beep!  Danger!  Hardened Terrorist Attempting to Enter Pristine Britain’.  I just looked at Boo and Pinkie and figured “At least the food and the clothes are nicer in France.”  Pinkie mouthed “Be nice!” to me.  Fuck it.  I didn’t feel nice.   BooBoo looked like she was mentally packing up another load of my shit and putting it in storage again.


“Did you have a problem in the past with an American passport” he inquired.  Duh.  Gee, not that I recall, Officer.  “Yes” I snapped, “You know I did.”  “What was the problem?” he went on.  “I have no fucking clue” I told him.  “You must know why” he countered.   “Yeah, well I really don’t” I answered, “What does your little machine say I did that was so bad.” 


“When did you become an Italian citizen” he asked next.  “November 24, 2007” I told him.  I was getting a little scared.  I didn’t even have my American passport with me.  They couldn’t deport me to America without it.   I wasn’t sure America would let me in.  And according to Italia, international law requires me to use the Italian one if I’m traveling in an EU country.  Okay.  I might be living in Italy.  Well, great food and very nice clothes.


He called for a supervisor to take me to ‘the little room’, the one where they shine the bright lights and beat you with rubber hoses before they lock you up alone with seventeen Arabs all named Mustapha. 


The supervisor smiled at me (really) and said, “So now you’re officially an Italian citizen.”  “That’s right” I told him, “It’s all legal and everything.”  “Right” he said.  “I’ll just make a notation in your official record and you won’t have a problem anymore.”  I assumed I had died of angst and this was happening in an alternate universe.  Off he went with my passaporti Italiano (I did sorta wonder if he was going to flog it on the black market for a million quid or something).  In five minutes he was back.  “It’s all sorted” he said, “Although you might get questioned one or two more times coming in if you leave Britain until it’s completely expunged.” 


Pinkie started to cry.  BooBoo stopped mentally packing up all my jeans.  “Really” I asked.   “Really” he said as he ushered us through the Immigration Control line to the Eurostar lounge, which technically meant I was officially in Britain.   They didn’t even ask for my address or phone number.  Can it really, finally be over? 


Never, ever underestimate the power of Italian citizenship.










Published June 18, 2008 by jean cohen

Since I’m in Paris tomorrow, I thought I’d better do a quick blog before I go.  And I have been neglecting you shamelessly.  Sorry!  Sorry!  Sorry!  (Not really, but let’s pretend I mean it.)


Where to start?  With the BIG news?  No.  I’ll save that for last.


My days have been crammed with shifts at Sam and the Senior Centre, Scrabble Class, and social engagements. 


Mischa and Mia are back from holiday in Czech and came over to spend an afternoon in my garden with BooBoo and me.  For once, the weather cooperated, and it was warm and sunny—for Europeans.  I had on three layers.  Mia is walking with confidence now, everywhere and is starting to exhibit her independence.  That means she has a hissy-fit if you say ‘no’ to her (sort of like me, only I get even, I don’t scream). 


Mischa has so much to deal with right now.  I don’t know how she manages to stay so positive.  I really admire her fortitude.  BooBoo is babysitting with Mia on Friday when Mischa goes to visit Chris.  Hopefully, Chris will have added me to his visitors list, and I’ll find out when I’m scheduled for my first ever visit to The Big House.


Over the weekend, Bagpipe Guy cancelled on me two nights in a row.  Really.  I beat Mia in the sissy-fit department.  I am soo tired of tales of traffic on the M-whatever and flight delays at Heathrow and Gatwick.  Lucky for him, I went to a fashion show on Saturday and a garden party on Sunday. 


The fashion show was unbelievable—all designer clothes, all brand new.  The only problem was that most of it was too big for me.  I did get a few skirts and sweaters, shoes, belts, some jeans and assorted other goodies.  A stunning jacket I fell in lust with, and a sexy red dress just didn’t fit.  I tried on a really expensive, sophisticated suit, but it was the kind of thing I’d never have anywhere to wear it.


On Sunday afternoon I went to a garden party in aid of Sam Beare Hospice.  It was at an incredible house on the banks of the Wey River called ‘Splash’.  Parts of the house were quite old.  There was even a little family chapel that you got to across a bridge.  (In the spirit of honest journalism, the chapel is used by the family now as a garden tool shed.)  But it was still really cool.  They had set up tables and chairs under marquees (in case of rain) in the midst of their beautiful gardens overlooking the river.  It was bloody freezing.  I thought seriously about chopping down one of their three hundred year old trees to start a bonfire.  There was a jazz quartet playing  as we queued for the delicious cold buffet.  (I could have used some Campbell’s Tomato Soup.)  It was really a lovely afternoon – very British – one of those ‘Agatha Christie novel’ events that I enjoy so much.


I got home with just enough time to thaw out and change for music and Pub Slags at the Volly.  Oh, what a night it was!  The PSs had been to some afternoon event too and came to the pub all dressed up…at least what they think is all dressed up.   Boo and I tried to take notes, so we wouldn’t forget any details, but it was so… it was just so, if you know what I mean.  Super PS was in black (she always wears black), a little black dress, and it was very little, that she got at HookersRYou.  BB had an explosion in her closet.  I can’t figure out any other way so many different, clashing florals came together at one time on her skinny little bod.  She had floral high heeled mules, a floral patterned sun-dress, and a humongous hat with a wide floral ribbon.  None of the colors, or indeed the flowers, were remotely similar.  Chubby PS was in Lycra.  It was strapless.  It was either grubby grey or faded beige.  We had a five quid bet as to when her tits were going to pop out while she was dancing.  Cheese Boy got so tired of listening to us that he went and stood at the bar, even though BB kept trying to get him to dance with her.  It was a fun night.


Unfortunately, I have run out of time.  My news will have to wait yet again.  I need to figure out a new code anyway.  Too many people are reading the blog.  The news is highly classified information. 


Published June 15, 2008 by jean cohen

This will be kind of a different blog.  It’s not about what I did this week; rather, it’s a sort of ‘taking stock’ of my life to date.


I saw an article on line on MSN UK, entitled ’30 Things to Do Before You’re 30’.  Yes, I know I passed the Big 3-0 a few years ago…okay, a few decades ago.  But I read it anyway, to see how I rated in the coolness index, and to see what exciting adventures or experiences I might have missed out on.


The answer surprised me; not very much. 


In fairness to myself, I had done a lot of the things before my re-creation as ‘Jeano in Weybridge’.  But more than a few occurred after Jerry died and I thought my life was over.  I don’t mean that literally, of course.  I just mean that I thought it was now all about just existing until I ‘ceased to exist’.


In no specific order:


*Go traveling  Well, I did this for a living as well as for pleasure, and I positively intend to do loads more while I’m here.


*Get something published – The Rockall Times, ItaliaAmerica and ‘Oh, to be in England’ count, don’t they?  And sooner or later, some publisher will recognize literary greatness when it’s right under his nose.


*Watch some classic films I watched ‘The Jazz Singer’ on telly last week.  And when I got homesick, I watched ‘Trading Places’, ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘The Sixth Sense’.  That should count.  And I did finally see ‘Casablanca’ and ‘Gone With the Wind’.


*Learn a second language – I’m getting jolly good at Britspeak.  Oy vey…and Maddone!  Shalom Aleichem to you all.


*Have great sex – I did.  I thought I wouldn’t ever again.  But I am – a lot.


*Visit Paris – I’ve been there many times.  In fact, I’m going again, this week, just for the day.  That’s got to rate as much cooler than taking the casino bus to Atlantic City.


*Get a savings account – Yes, I am enough of a grown-up to have an attorney, an accountant and a financial planner, all of whom watch my savings like a … husband.


*Get yourself on telly – I’m not sure about this one, but I’ pretty sure  I was filmed starting a brawl in the cheap seats in Texas Stadium during an Eagles-Cowboys game.  (We were losing; I got upset.)


*Quit your job – Yes, I did this – twice, when I was bored or unfulfilled.  But I know that’s easy to do when you’re married.  I would make this one ‘Run Away from Home and Move to England if you dare’.


*Have a weekend in New York – Many, many times.  However, on a coolness scale, the Super Bowl weekend with James, Scotty and Jarvo, when I woke up naked in a strange hotel room is probably at the top of my list.


*Own a convertible Check.  It was Matthew’s.  I would have said ‘own a Jaguar’.  Check.  Or a Daimler.  Check.


*Get on the property ladder – Did this one, too.  Trust me, owning a house is too much work.


*Buy wine costing more than 50 Quid I haven’t done this one.  At least I don’t think I have.  I mean, I like wine, but I like jeans much better.  I have jeans that cost a hell of a lot more than $100.  In fact, you should see the stunning new Dolce & Gabbana’s I just got.  Trust me; they’re better than wine.


*Sign up for Facebook  Nope.  Definitely haven’t done this one.  Definitely don’t plan to.  Ever.  I have friends; I don’t need to troll for new ones on line, of all places.


*Record your family history   It wasn’t always my burning ambition, but I did it.  Oh!  Did I mention it was while I was getting Italian citizenship?


*Live in London London is too damned expensive and crowded.  It’s New York City with more Arabs.  Weybridge is close enough to be a ‘yep’ for this one.


*Run a marathon Why?  I’m walking ten miles in the middle of the night.  That’s about as athletic as I’m ever gonna get.


*Go to a music festival I’ve seen many bands in concert, but a music festival… Hm.  I did go to Woodstock – you know…’I’m goin’ down to Yasgur’s farm…’ It was about twenty years after the event, though. On our way to visit friends in Fallsburgh, NY we passed it.


*Try different foods  This is easy in Britain because ‘British’ food sucks.  Philly Cream Cheese tastes like wallpaper paste, and don’t get me started on hotdogs. You have to eat different foods, or you’ll starve.  I have grown fond of Thai, Tappas, Moroccan and Nepalese.


*Do something for charity  I support every charity shop on the High Street, practically every day.  And being serious, I do volunteer work.  I’m not totally self-centered, you know.


*Have a health check  I have been somewhat negligent about this one.  I admit it.  But I finally went over and registered at the NHS, which stands for No Help (if you’re) Sick.  They think they will be able to sort out an appointment for me in 2009.


*Blow 500 Quid in one night  I’m not sure what’s so exciting about this one.  I have often done it in an afternoon, or a morning if I got an early start.  Maybe because it’s dark at night?  And if the power’s out or whatever, it’s harder to see what you’re buying.  Do I actually have to say the words ‘Louis Vuitton’?


*Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant I’ve had dinner at the Waterside Inn in Bray, The French Laundry in the Napa Valley, the Mesa Grill in Las Vegas and Le Grand Vefour in Paris.  Probably some other ones too, that I don’t remember.  I wasn’t all that impressed.  What did impress me was being taken to The Treaty of Paris, one of the top restaurants in the States, by Jerry for one of our anniversaries.  It’s in Annapolis, Maryland, Cheese Boy.


*Go to a live sporting event   If people think this is cool, okay, I’m cool.  Too many Eagles games to count, including one in England at Wembley Stadium, one in San Francisco, Phoenix, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Washington, DC.  At home, at the Vet.  Several in Dallas at Texas Stadium.  Add some Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games, plus the Harlem Globetrotters, and Villanova and Temple men’s basketball.  And I went to a ‘Quins rugby game at Old Stoop.


*Read these books  Cheating just a bit, I won’t list them.  It was a list of twenty-five classic novels.  I read twenty-four of them; yes, some as required reading at school, but most because I wanted to.


*Climb a mountain – I could be funny here and say ‘Not unless they build a Nordstrom Rack on the top’.  Then I remembered that I climbed the Eiger, or maybe the Jungfrau (they’re next to each other)  in Switzerland.  It was only about a half a mile and it was in July, but it’s a mountain and somewhere in my storage pod I have pictures of me walking up the damned thing.


*Buy something really expensive  I so nailed this one.  I don’t even know where to start without sounding like I’m bragging.


*Sing Karaoke I would actually like to do this one.  But for someone who is forbidden to sing along with the radio in cars in any country, I don’t think anyone would come with me.


*Test yourself – They didn’t say specifically what they meant, but I’m going to assume they don’t mean quizzes in ladies magazines.  Yeah, the last couple years were a test.  And I passed.  With honours.