All posts for the month February, 2009


Published February 28, 2009 by jean cohen

I should start off by confessing that I committed a murder.


No, not Mamzer Guy.  I assume he’s still alive, although there are so many pins stuck in my Mikey Voodoo Doll, he’s probably having trouble walking and talking.  And peeing, hopefully.


Nope, it was the newest resident at Rede Court…the goddamned plant.  I guess I shouldn’t have stashed it in the broom closet.  Apparently it didn’t like the dark.  And it expected to be served beverages in there.  Hey, I’m not the maid.


Another friend from shul popped in today, with another pressie.  Fortunately, it was decorative soaps for the loo.  I get soap.  And after all, I have a Power Shower and you don’t.


Thanks for all the emails and suggestions of really vindictive things to do to Mamzer Guy.  I have that situation well in hand.  It’s his birthday in a couple weeks.  What better time to make him wish he’d never been born?


Yes, ‘You Done Stomped on My Heart and Mashed That Sucker Flat’ is a real song title.  When I was surfing the Net, I jotted down some others until I made the final choice.  I had a date with BPeter, and I read him the list when we came back to mine for coffee.  He thought they were hilarious. 


So, I’ll share a few:


 *If the Phone Don’t Ring, It’s Me.


*You Made Toothpicks Out of the Timbers of My Heart.


*We Used to Kiss on the Lips, But Now It’s All Over.


*I’m So Miserable Without You, It’s Just Like Having You Here.


*Still Miss You, But My Aim is Getting Better.


*Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth, ‘Cause I’m Kissing You Goodbye.


*You Stuck My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Then Shot It Off a Log.


*Don’t Believe My Heart Can Stand Another You.


*I’ve Been Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart.


And the one that sums up most relationships these days—


*I Shaved My Legs for This?


Fine songs all, I’m sure.  The end of a fairy tale romance simply screams for a country song to make sense of those feelings of betrayal and anguish.  Not to mention the low self esteem it engenders.  So I thought I should write one.  Don’t worry; I won’t be singing it.  I thought maybe Martina McBride or Wynonna Judd.


I’m shitkicking around (got to get into a ‘country’ state of mind) ‘I Knew You Were a Varmint, But I Didn’t Know You Had Distemper.  Thank Jesus!  At Least It Weren’t Chlamydia.’  Too long, you think?


Another catchy one is ‘Does Your Partner, Karen Tait, Know That You Tell All the Women at the Roadhouse That She Ain’t Given You Any No More?’  Yeah, I thought that one had a definite ‘je ne sais quoi’ too.


But moving along to happier topics, we won the Quiz this week!  Our name was ‘Less a Bitch’ which has subliminal messages and deep, poignant philosophical undertones.  (Nobody could actually think of anything.) 


I should fib and say we were In The Zone.  We weren’t.  We were crap as usual.  But fortunately all the really good teams were even crappier.  And we stumbled, or guessed, a lot of answers right.  We won decisively, by 5 points.


Next week it is Red Nose Day in Jolly England.  I’m a bit confused about what this means given that most people in England always have a red nose.  Either from spending hours in a pub every single day, or blowing it a lot.


Anyway, Pinkie had a brill idea.  No, not about getting back at Varmint Guy.  I mean Mamzer Guy.  Wow.  I kinda like both; I can’t decide.  And Sister did have some diabolical suggestions on that subject.


Nope, she suggested to the Quiz Nazi that for Red Nose Day, we put all the quizzers’ names in a hat and draw teams.  So we’re all playing with people we’re usually bitching about and calling names.  And then the pot will be yanked away from the proud winners and donated to Comic Relief.   This event may require a blog of its own.


Since I start and then stop writing the blog as other commitments interfere, this part is not as lighthearted and humorous as usual.  But, tragically, it is true. 


Stuart rang at 4:00 in the morning, his time, to tell me that my step-daughter Aileen had died.


He was sobbing so hard I could barely make sense of what he was saying.  I’m not going to talk about the details; some things have to remain private – for the living.  Suffice it to say that since her husband, Francis, died tragically last year in a boating accident, she’s been on a downward spiral.


I can relate to losing a beloved husband.  I can’t relate to how she chose to deal with it.


As I’m not a hypocrite, I won’t say that ‘we were so close’ or ‘I loved her so much’.  But I am devastated and my sadness is for Jay, Ira, Stuart, Marina, and even Dori, whom I really dislike.  And her mother, Anne.  It is a terrible thing to bury your child.  This I know.  And Heather and Chris, the children she left.


Ha-makom yinakhem et-khem betokh she-ar avelei tzion veyerushalayim.  May God comfort you among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


This, of course, precipitated a slew of phone calls back and forth.  Should I go home for the funeral?  Jews, of course, bury the next day, but there had to be an autopsy.  The funeral couldn’t be on a Saturday.  Would they sit Shiva, since Aileen wasn’t observant?  On and on.


I ended up deciding not to fly home, for a variety of reasons, including finances.  And yes, I feel incredibly guilty.  And yes, Jerry has been uppermost in my thoughts these last few days.  And Matthew.


I will say Kaddish, the Mourners’ Prayer and just deal with the whole thing the best I can.


And then I’ll carry on with the life I’m trying to live for myself.




Published February 25, 2009 by jean cohen

I always wonder who’s reading my blog, when I’m not wondering what to wear.


My family and friends; that’s a given.  And anybody who thinks they might get mentioned.  Or hopes that they will.


But I’m pleased to report that ‘Oh to be in England’ has been picked up by another blog site.  This makes four.  So the hits just keep going up.  I posted a quick blog on Sunday morning, and in an hour, it had 152 hits.  Some of those, I realize, are RSS, which is an automatic feed right to readers’ in-boxes or mobiles.


But just think—people positively everywhere are reading about you, (if you’re cool enough to make the cut), and me, naturally.


It was a quiet week really, shifts at Sam and the Senior Center, a few coffees with friends, and Quiz Night.  Normal was playing at the Ash Tree, but I had committed weeks ago to dinner and a Sam Beare Do with friends.


And in the way these things always go, on Friday night a friend from shul rang and offered me two tickets to a sold out classical concert in London—on Saturday night.  Bernard, her husband, was skiing in Switzerland with their grandchildren and had had a mishap (not serious) and wasn’t going to make it home in time to attend.


“Bernard’s skiing?” I repeated, gobsmacked.  “But everyone knows Jews don’t ski.  They don’t like cold weather.  That’s why Adonai created Miami Beach.” 


Apparently, in Britain, they do.  And I stole that line almost verbatim from one of my favorite movies, ‘Made For Each Other’.


Now for some distressing news.  Bagpipe Guy is history…again.  He went on vacation to Sri Lanka.  Everything was copacetic, or so I thought.  Apparently not; I’ve not heard a word from him since he was due back—a couple weeks ago. 


He could have been eaten by a shark while he was swimming, I guess.  Or been kidnapped by the Tamils.  I sure hope so.  That would have been much pleasanter than what’s in store for Mamzer Guy.  Yeah, a name change was in order and Dickweed Formerly Known as Bagpipe Guy Formerly Known as etc. etc. is just too long to type. 


Note to Gentile readers:  ‘Mamzer’ means Bastard in Yiddish.


I’m a grown-up; I realize that casual relationships ebb and flow.  And they rarely last very long.  But that’s not the point. The point is to be a mensch and end things honestly and straightforwardly.  I don’t think any woman really enjoys feeling like a cliché from some dumb country song like ‘You Done Stomped on My Heart and Mashed That Sucker Flat’. 


I did text him, and left him a voicemail and an email, but nada, zippy-do, bubkes, nothing.  I know; I can’t believe he had me fooled either.


But Mamzer Guy perhaps underestimated me this time around.  I’m not a doormat.  And I’m not British, whereby I am convinced that getting shit on is an inevitable, unavoidable life experience.  And we can skip all that ‘appropriate care and feeding of a JAP’ business.


Beware of the Wrath of Cohen.  I don’t dawdle on ‘mad’ or ‘hurt’ or ‘insulted’ and lick my wounded psyche.  Nope, I carry on straight to ‘Revenge’, with a capital R when I know that I got fucked over.  And, boy, did I.


Come to think of it, ‘R’ is a great letter when an apocalypse of biblical proportions is brewing; Reprisal, Retribution, Repayment, Requital, Redress, Retaliation.  ‘D’ is a pretty good letter, too; ‘Destroy’ is such an empowering sort of word.


The internet is a wonderful tool.  You can find anything on there: names, telephone numbers, home addresses, emails.  And then you can ‘reach out and touch’ a few someones, especially the ones whom someone else, who should have been just a tiny bit more chivalrous in the first place, most definitely wouldn’t want you to ever touch.


I adore surprises.  I hope Mike does.  Because he’s about to get a shitload of them.  But I won’t spoil the suspense now, in case he’s still reading the blog.   After all, thousands of other people do, and I hope they enjoy seeing some pictures of Mike at last.



Published February 22, 2009 by jean cohen

Now that I’ve moved back to Rede Court, I’m only a half block from Pinkie’s house.  (It was at least a New York block before and the Irish Lad always drove around the corner to visit me.)  So she pops in a lot more for a coffee.  I ditched shul to get some organizing done on Saturday morning, and I got a text from Sister to put the pot on.


After she oohed and aahed (the Poker Guys had been there on Friday and actually did some stuff, or so they claimed), we got down to the serious business of discussing The Social Event of the Year, Pinkie and Karen’s 40th Birthday Do, which is in May.


Positively everyone is coming.  Even Scary Fairy is crossing the pond from Tomato-land for the occasion and, naturally, staying at mine.


Anyway, we were talking about the music and I said “I’ll ask Gabby about dee-jaying when I’m at the Volly on Sunday night.”


“Gabby’s expensive” Pinkie answered, “Unless you offer to shag him a couple times to knock down the price.  He fancies you.” 


“I know” I agreed modestly, and just laughed at the very idea.


Then BooBoo turned up for a coffee, and to hang some pictures, recover my kitchen chairs, put up the new drapes and take me shopping.


“We’re talking about the party” Pinkie told her.  “Jeano’s going to speak to Gabby about the music, but he’s expensive.”


“Not if Jeano shags him a few times” Karen answered.  “He fancies her.”


Honestly, I love my friends, and would do practically anything for them as long as it didn’t involve cooking, cleaning or shagging Gabby.  I do have standards to maintain.


Despite moaning about all the crap I’ve accumulated in a year, I desperately needed stuff…for the house, of course.  So Pinkie and I went to Hounslow for the day, shopping strictly for housewares.


I got the most stunning, drop dead gorgeous burgundy boots.  They were on sale, practically affordable.  I heard them calling me as we walked past TK Max.


“I’ve been waiting for this moment, and these boots, all my life” I moaned orgasmically as I admired myself in the mirror. 


“Yeah, whatever.  Phil Collins” she mumbled as she quickly paid for a pair of jeans, a to die for pair of black trousers, a coat for Amy, a divine black jacket and two belts before the Irish Lad noticed his credit card was AWOL and cancelled it.


I bought a bulletin board for my work nook.  Sadly, it’s not stunning, divine or drop dead gorgeous; it’s just cork and wood.  And some tea towels (dishtowels).  In case I’m ever in the mood to do some washing up.  BooBoo had pointed out, a tad disapprovingly, that I owned one tea towel, and it was still wrapped in the plastic when we were packing.  And some other stuff (I forget what) that would definitely be considered ‘housewares’ if one was shopping at J.C. Penney or Target.


Darling Lulu popped in too this week, to see my new/old house and to go out for a meal.  The Grotto still hasn’t reopened.  I heard it’s scheduled for March 3.  So we couldn’t go for yummy Thai food; we had to settle on so-so Italian at Prezzo.


Whenever anybody mentions the new owner of the Grotto, they always add the caveat: “He’s a Chelsea supporter”.  I wasn’t quite sure what they meant.  I finally asked somebody, I forget who.  “Is the new Grotto Guy, like, a Jockstrap?  Is ‘Chelsea supporter’ another British code for wanker?  Like ‘Giants fan’ is a synonym for ‘asshole’ in the States?”


Apparently not.  The explanation got complicated, but he either exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show or is a fan of that soccer team, the Samsungs, in which case they should call him ‘Samsung Guy’ to make things clearer.



Published February 18, 2009 by jean cohen

It’s been a mad social whirl.  Positively everybody has popped in to check out my new house.  The bottles of vino for pressies have been excellent, and the bouquets have been thoughtful. 


A friend from shul came over for coffee and presented me with a plant.


Yeah, I know.  But she had no idea.


Booboo saw it hidden in a corner of my lounge.   “Is that a real plant?” she inquired suspiciously.  “Yeah, Sweetie, I checked” I assured her.  “Please don’t remind me about the one and only plant at Rede Court that I didn’t murder the last time I lived here again.”


It was an innocent mistake.  For some reason, I remembered to water the plant on the bookcase every month or so.  Boo mentioned disapprovingly that the multitude of the plants scattered all around the house had coded.


“The green-y, yellow-y, white-y one in the lounge is doing just fine” I disagreed.  “Yes, I know” she told me, “But it’s plastic.”


This is probably a good illustration of why all of Jerry’s huge, lush green-y, white-y, yellow-y and other color-y plants all drank poisoned Kool-ade and mass suicided, rather than rely on me to nurture them.


Thursday was, of course, Quiz Night.  There were two other Americans there on another team!  J & J (their nickname; short for Jim and Janice—it’s supposed to be ‘cute’…you know, like ‘Johnson & Johnson’…hey, Jerry and me coulda been ‘J & J’ if we’d only realized our names both started with ‘J’) are from North Carolina.  Not too shabby; it’s technically the Right Coast, if a bit south of the Mason Dixon Line.


We reminisced fondly about the good ole USofA, and traded stories about ‘the absolutely worst service I have ever received from a British service provider’.  “Remember that waitress who smiled?”  “No, J, she had gas.”


Anyway, one of the questions was ‘The only American state that begins with the letter ‘R’.   Jim and I both ran to each other spontaneously in the center of the pub and high-fived.  Because we knew it was Rhode Island.  The other teams all jeered and catcalled.


However, a later question stumped J&J and me: “What is the commonality between Washington, DC, Washington, DC, Buffalo, NY, and Dallas, TX?” Hey, I’m not telling you what the answer was.  Okay.  I will, if you ask nicely.


We didn’t win (again).  In fact, we did really badly, despite a boost from the Irish Lad’s presence.


My favorite partner at Sam, Mike, had a tragedy.  His wife passed away.  This is Mike R, not Mike M (the really hot doctor).  So I’m doing some extra shifts.  And working on some fund-raising events; not chairing, just helping out.


I had a nice date with BPeter, but have pretty much given up the dating sites.  What losers, especially JDate, the Jewish site.  I call it JerkDate.  Although I did meet a potential candidate at a synagogue function.  His name is Wilhelm, he lives in Camberley, and he’s German.  But it’s all good; he’s also Jewish.  He asked for my phone number, but he hasn’t rang (yet).  


Finally, I had talked in an earlier blog about the flavors of potato chips here.  I’m not sure anybody believed me.  Somebody commented that if you wanted your chip to taste like ketchup, you could just dip the damned thing in some ketchup.  Just when you think British taste in food couldn’t get any worse, surprise!  Oh, it does.  Walker’s is having a contest to pick their new flavor of potato chips.  They’ve brought out six varieties to test market and vote on.   Folks frantically trekked out in 25.4 centimeters of snow to snap them up at Sainsbury’s.


I have not personally tasted any of these culinary nightmares, and it’s not going to happen…ever.  But here they are:


Fish & Chips – Perhaps I’m missing some subtlety.  Potato chips, or crisps, that taste like French fries?  And grease?


Crispy Duck & Hoisin – I guess this saves time in waiting for the Chinese takeaway guy to get around to your’s.


Builder’s Breakfast – I’m glad I read the packet on this one.  I thought they were sheetrock, brick and three penny nail flavored.  Supposedly they taste like fried eggs, sausage, fatty bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and fried bread, the Breakfast of Champions.


Cajun Squirrel – This one gives me a bit of angst.  Do you suppose the squirrels from Louisiana get through Immigration at Heathrow without having to become Italian citizens first?  Do their little visas say ‘this job can only be performed by an American rodent’?


Onion Bhaji – Since there are already onion potato chips, the clue must be in the bhaji part.  A bhaji is a fritter, deep fried (naturally) and loaded with tumeric and cumin. 


And my favorite…


Chilli & Chocolate – my stomach hurts just typing the words together.


I can’t wait to see which flavor sensation wins.  Given the recent cataclysmic weather here, I think they should have gone with ‘Studded Snow Tire’.


And because readers occasionally doubt the veracity of my blogs, I’ve posted pictures of the potato chip bags.