All posts for the month May, 2009


Published May 30, 2009 by jean cohen

It’s going to be difficult to blog about my experiences in Sunderland without sounding like a stereotypical ‘Jewish American Princess’.  However, I am one, and I know it.  But I prefer to think that I’m not that shallow and supercilious.


CheeseBoy had been winding me up for months, humming the opening bars to ‘Dueling Banjos’ every time our upcoming trip got mentioned.  I’m not sure what I expected; two-headed cows and people who are very close blood relatives, I expect.


Relating things to my own milieu, casual references to ‘South Hylton’ translated, in my mind, to staying in the Hilton South… as opposed to the Hilton North, which would obviously be at the other end of the city.  I’m more of a Leading Hotels of the World kind of girl, but I figured I’d cope.  There are decent Hiltons… I stayed in one once in the airport in Zurich, I think, when I had a misconnection.


Uh.  Nope.  We stayed at BooBoo’s sister Amanda’s house.  So there were six of us sharing a space roughly the size of the den in my house in King of Prussia.  With one bathroom.  With a tub, but no shower.  I haven’t shared a bathroom with anybody since I was about ten.  For purposes of illustration not comparison, when I stayed  at Georgia and Ron’s in Ohio, I had one wing of their McMansion to myself (their grandson, Roy, had the other guest wing), which included a bedroom, a sitting room and  bathroom with a tub, a separate shower, and a Jacuzzi. 


See.  I sound like a bitch already.  I’m simply trying to illustrate that I was out of my comfort zone.


Amanda is brilliant.  I think she looks a lot like Boo, although she was obviously missing in action when the Boob Fairy was dispensing her bounty. 


Everybody there, all of BooBoo’s friends, were friendly and welcoming, and very hospitable.  Yes, I did have a great deal of trouble with their accent.  I tweaked Boo a tiny bit (she’s so easy) by saying very earnestly “Wow!  Everybody here must have grown up reading Catherine Cookson novels.”  “What do you mean” she asked.  “Well they all talk the same as her books.”  She looked confused (for a change).


Of course that ‘Smith Barney’ thing went on constantly, wherever we were.  I spoke, and the room, or store, or pub went completely silent, until somebody asked “American are you?”  We got our hair done for the party and the hairdresser, after she  asked “American are you?”, actually said “Wait until I tell my brother I blew dry an American’s hair today!” (Does it grow in a different direction?)   I was happy for her.  Really.  I was going to give her my autograph for a memento, scribbling ‘Jean Cohen, American and (occasionally) Italian’.


But the best was the guy who asked where I was from.  I am starting to really, really hate that fucking question.  “American are you?  Where are you from?”  Me: “Mumble…mumble.” Him: “Where?”  Then  Okay.  Philadelphia.”  “Where they make the cream cheese!”  Me (slightly deranged):  “No! No! No!  The bloody cheese isn’t made in Philadelphia!  People in Philadelphia would rather starve than put fucking cream cheese on their bagels.


 (Note to self: stop using that goddamned stuff on your bagels; start a bloody boycott.)


“I’m not talking about this again” I sighed.  “You know who Rocky is?  He’s from Philadelphia.   I’ll talk about Rocky.  What’s a ‘bagel’?  It’s a … it’s a … tea cake.  Okay?”


That was absolutely true; as is the rest of this Close Encounter.


“Rocky?” he said excitedly, “I love Rocky.  How’s he doing?  Is he still fighting or did he retire?”  “Sylvester Stallone, you mean” I corrected.  “The actor who played Rocky.  Yeah, he’s still acting, I think.”  (I wouldn’t have a clue; you couldn’t pay me enough to sit through one of his movies.)


“No” said Clueless Northerner, “Rocky.”


“Um… Rocky is just a character in a movie.  He’s not, like, a real person.”


“Are you sure?  I saw his statue on telly and those steps he runs up.”


Some days I wish Grandpop had gotten off the boat at Ellis Island and got on the train for anywhere besides Philadelphia.


BooBoo’s party was fantastic, as you will see by the pictures.  Oz Ed did giant enlargements of mini-Karen and we hung them all over the room.  And lots and lots of balloons.  And banners.  She had quite a crowd; about 120 people.


Of course, El Cheese-o thrilled the crowd with his proposal.  Amanda and I both knew about it weeks ago.  We tried desperately to talk him out of doing it at the party.  Boo is shy; she hates to be the center of attention.  But he couldn’t be dissuaded.


When Boo went up on stage to thank everyone for coming– she said “And especially Jeano, who came all the way from London”.  I said to Amanda “I don’t live in London.”   “They never heard of Weybridge” she replied. “But they’ve heard of London.”


Sorry… got off course again.  Anyway, while Boo was delivering her twenty five words or less prepared speech, Lou sneaked on stage, knelt down and asked “Karen, will you marry me?” 


Her response, captured perfectly on the DJ’s mike: “Oh fuck, Lou!”


“Was that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’” Lou carried on, proffering the box with the ring (diamond, natch).


Of course it was a yes, and the DJ segued into ‘Chapel of Love’ for the newly engaged lovebirds.  They were disgustingly kissy face & huggy bear for the rest of the weekend.



Published May 27, 2009 by jean cohen

With all the stuff going on getting ready for BooBoo’s birthday, I never got around to blogging that I had a date.


Guess what?  I had a date. 


The emails to and fro were okay; he could spell, form an actual sentence and never once called me ‘hunnie’ or ‘babe’ or ‘darlin’.  A good start.


I arranged to meet him at the Grotto, priming Darling Spike in advance so that if the Datee went bizarre-o on me, at a pre-arranged signal from me, Spikey could clock him over the head with a Magners bottle and deposit him in the dumpster.


I had a really nice time.  I even hung around long enough for dinner.  (Spikey carved a rose out of a tomato and affixed it to the mesa of the mountain of mashed potatoes on my plate of bangers & mash.  God, I miss Thai food.)


Friendly Skies Guy is very nice.  Yeah, he works for United Airlines…at Heathrow.  I loathe airports, except for Duty Frees,  and (a recent animus) the people who hang out at them picking other people up (for money.)  It’s perfectly okay if it’s the Irish Lad you’re picking up and he’s brought back fags or diamonds from South Africa.  Fortunately, United’s gates are at Terminal

One, at the moment anyway.  They’re moving.  I hope they have better luck with BT and Sky than I did when I moved.


We had lots to talk about.  My travel agency used Apollo, United’s reservation system, so we could chat about funny glitches ‘Appalled-o’ perpetrated like that time it arbitrarily cancelled the return flight for the entire marching band (plus instruments) from Beijing.  Yeah, that was a hoot. 


FSGuy has been positively everywhere, including places I’ve not visited like Dubai, Lebanon and Cuba.   And The States, naturally, but the places foreigners seem to think are ‘America’ like Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale.  And New York.


And he met Condoleezza Rice!  Seriously.  She popped in on Air Force One with WhatsHisName for a three hour visit.  I can so relate.  The Duty Free at Heathrow is divine. I hope she stocked up on Chanel Lip Liner pencils; such a bargain.  FSGuy got some fantastic pictures.  Of Air Force One, not Condoleezza Rice.


Anyhow, he asked me ‘when can I bask in your radiance (courtesy of Ruby’s Beauty Course) again?’  Okay… that’s not exactly what he said.  I paraphrased.  I had to break it to him gently that I was off the next morning for a fortnight (I know it was only four days; it felt like fourteen) up north.  Blog in progress; I promise.


He sent sweet little texts while I was away.  That prompted me, shamefully, to gripe to BooBoo after about the fiftieth, “Déjà vu all over again!” which she unfortunately didn’t get and I had to explain about Yogi Berra.  And Turd of Camberley.


Monday was a holiday here (not that you would notice really) so I decided to have my First Annual Memorial Day Barbecue.  I felt I owed it to British women; otherwise they just wear white any old time.  Sometimes even white shoes with black pantyhose.  (I just shuddered in horror.  I swear.)


The weather was crap, but we managed to eat (the Irish Lad barbecued) before it poured.  And since he was a blood relative  of the chef, I had to feed Eamonn, even though he turned up in his Eli Manning jersey.  Pinkie wore her brand new McNabb jersey to offset the ‘Giantness’ and shared with everyone that she also was wearing her Eagles knickers.  She offered to show every(any)body said undergarment, but I don’t think anyone took her up on the offer.  Not too many people were totally blitzed.  


Tuesday night was Film Club.  For sure this time.  ‘Waltzing with Bashir’ was … haunting.  It’s an animated film, extremely well done, and will certainly change the way anyone thinks about war.  I’m sure everybody knows it’s about the invasion of Lebanon.  At the very end, when the massacre occurs, the film abruptly switches from animation to real, newsreel footage.  It was horrific.


So…FSGuy had to be patient and wait until Wednesday night to see me again.  I promise a full report, including what I finally decided to wear.



Published May 25, 2009 by jean cohen

I survived my expedition to the Dark Side, or Sunderland, if you prefer.


I will, naturally, be writing a long blog about Karen’s Birthday Do and my experiences Up North.  Soon.  And posting the pictures and the rest of them from Pinkie’s Do.


But I wanted to post an album of snaps I took while I was there.  I realize that only sophisticated readers from the Right Coast, and especially Philly, will appreciate them.


Note to British readers:  Tough shit.  They can’t always be bloody castles or the Thames.  Or me looking fabulous.


Note to sophisticated readers from the Right Coast and especially Philly:  Bala Cynwyd, Narberth and Penn Valley obviously got translated into ‘Shiney’ in Northern, which is where the Jews must live.  And it must be said:  Is there any bloody place where ‘Washington didn’t Sleep Here?’  Really.  How did we defeat the British and win the War? 


And because I had to write a mini-blog anyway, two pieces of news.


The Irish Lad and I won the Quiz at the Grotto last night.  We are an unstoppable Amtrak Acela plowing through the Northeast Corridor!  (Wow…that was good.)  We won by a point, which was down to me.  I knew ‘who jumped off the Tallahachee Bridge’.  I started singing the whole damned song, but the Irish Lad begged me to stop.  And a lot of people I didn’t even know.  Thanks to Billy Joe McAllister, we’re in the pints for another week.


Lastly, and just a teaser, Cheese Boy popped the question to BooBoo at her birthday party!  The ‘will you marry me’ one.


Published May 24, 2009 by jean cohen

I’ve decided to go into business; my own little ’cottage industry’ whereby I will make a million bucks in the comfort of my own little pink house at my computer wearing my Eagles ‘jammies.


I will write Emails for the Clueless and Inarticulate.  Yeah, that’s the working title for my new endeavor.  I realize it might need a bit of tweaking.


As I’d mentioned, I’m back on the dating sites.  I’m sorry but it’s just an urban myth that I’m going to meet the Jewish Dermatologist of My Dreams shopping for raddichio in the Produce Section of Sainsbury’s on a Wednesday night.  (Parking his Jaguar in their carpark would be a bloody nightmare for starters.)  And he probably shops at Whole Foods anyway.


I digress.


I rewrote my profile, eschewing all those big whoppers about Miss Italia 1992 and a Doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan.  (I always use Saskatchewan; the capitol is ‘Regina’.  Clever, heh?)   I just said that I was 50-ish, intelligent, sophisticated, well-traveled, a writer and a graduate of Ruby’s Beauty Class- with a 14 – so drop-dead gorgeous and  dressed stunningly.  Simple enough.  And true.


What was I looking for?  The same things, obviously; except Ruby’s Beauty Class and being a writer are optional.  Although metrosexual men never scream when they open the Amex bill; they so understand.


There are simply not words in any of the languages I speak to describe the emails I’ve gotten. 


Female readers, if you own a man already, be nicer to him.  (Unless, of course, you’re Karen, and the aforementioned male is Turd of Camberley.  You just carry on making his life utter hell.) 


There is nobody out there.  Oh sure, they might have penises, but they don’t have a brain.  Or anything else, (i.e. class, style) including a working knowledge of the English language.


Initially, I just deleted the dumbest emails and the ones whose picture was ‘sitting on my motorcycle without my shirt looking really, really stupid’.  


Then I thought I really should answer that 25 year old suave talking guy with plenty of free time since he’s on the dole who inquired ‘hey, hunnie how u b?’


‘Dear Tongue69:  I am quite well.  Thank you for asking.  Since my Medicare Part B has (finally) kicked in I’m having that pesky prolapsed bladder attended to.  It certainly got in the way when I had unbridled sex with my last boytoy.  He said the reason he dumped me was because he had to take a cram course for his SATs (he failed them twice; can you believe it?) but I think that wasn’t true.  It was the grey hairs down there.  When can you get to Weybridge?’


Tongue69 didn’t write back.  Maybe he didn’t get the ‘American’ references, but I didn’t know the English equivalents…


Then I thought I could have written a much better introductory email to me for Tongue69.


‘Dear Madam:  I was perusing the profiles on POF.  Your picture and profile intrigued and captivated me.  While it is true that I am younger than you, I have always had an affinity for more mature ladies.  I learn so much from them.  May I take you to dinner at the Waterside Inn (4 stars in the Guide Michelin)?’


Now isn’t that an improvement?  I bet Tongue69 could have gotten laid a few times if he used my email.  Not by me, but there must be at least a couple of desperate women out there in cyberland.  Of course, the Waterside Inn is very expensive, but they probably wouldn’t have let him in anyway.  I saw his picture.  Trust me.


Or how about Obama Luther X – I’m not making that up. 


‘Me here in London you supply coffee me digestives I show you me damn special.” (And I didn’t make that up either.)


Here’s what I’d suggest, Sweetie…  Oh, and it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the ‘period’ key.  It’s on the bottom row, next to the comma.  Ask your mate, Malcolm X, to explain what a ‘comma’ is.


‘Dear Fabulous Italian American Lady:  Black is Beautiful! Power to the People!  Shout it loud: I’m Black and I’m Proud, if a tad unsophisticated.  May I take you to afternoon tea at the Ritz?  I simply adore older women.  They have lived and have so much wisdom to impart.  I await your reply with cautious optimism.’


Quite.  Osama Luther X would have gotten laid too. 


Nibbleyou, to be fair, tried to be clever.  ‘Are you writing right now?  Or doing something else?”


Hey, if I’m not writing, I’m shopping.  I decided he deserved an answer.


‘Hello, Nibbleyou:  Yes, I’m past deadline on a Q&A article for a website on the Italian Consulate in San Francisco and the specific requirements of the Homeland Security Letter attesting to non-American citizenship naturalization and why the ones from state agencies are not acceptable.  Some other consulates will accept them.   The requirements simply cry out for uniformity!  Gee, I hope that was a serious question, ‘cause I answered it!’


Nibbleyou didn’t write back either.  Strange.


But I would have said to me:  “Hello!  You’re a writer.  How utterly fascinating!  It takes a special talent to transfer one’s thoughts and feelings to paper.  Can I take you to lunch at the fab buffet at Divine Harrods just to listen to your stream of consciousness?’


Ditto for Nibbleyou and the getting nooky thingy if I wrote it.


Skipping over the married ones with wives in iron lungs or seriously depressed and on anti-depressants (Delete!  Delete!  Delete!  Yo, Mike!  It’s me, you mamzer!) there was Happy69erLove.  ‘god u look gr8!  so sexy.  Yummy! XXXXXXX’


For only 5 quid (7.50 if I spelled everything ‘English’) Happy69erLove could have said: ‘Gosh, you look stunning for a 50-ish lady.  And if I may be so bold, you are quite sexy.  Would you be interested in attending an Emili Ametlier exhibit inspired by the writings of Cervantes as a way of getting to know each other?  Provided you are keen on Spanish history, naturally.’


Happy69erLove probably would have been quite happy after he sent the email I wrote. 


Im Ur Prince certainly needs someone to explain to him that ‘your’ is spelled…  oh, you know how it’s spelled!  I’ve seen his picture; he’s the toad before the beautiful JAP kissed him.  And what can the answer be to ‘hello, babe how r u 2day?’  I couldn’t think of one—that wasn’t sarcastic, mean and nasty.  My reply: ‘Dear Im Ur Prince – me be okay.  Does u no u r STUPID?’


I fear even I could not help Im Ur Prince get laid.


My favorite, so far, has to be SeamLover, who wrote (pretty articulately) that he was in Majorca and it was sunny there.  ‘How nice for you’ I replied.  Do I give a rat’s ass if some idiot is in Majorca and it’s sunny? 


Back came his reply:  ‘What is your favourite time of the day?  What do you like to do when you have free time?  Fav color?  Drink? Film?’


Okay.  So it’s either now raining in Majorca or SeamLover is several cards short of a full deck.


‘Dear Seam (can I call you ‘Seam’ on such short acquaintance?) Favourite time of day:  9:30 AM – when Bloomingdale’s opens.


What do I like to do in my free time?  Shop (see fav time of day)


Fav color?  I recently did this Beauty Class with Ruby (she’s amazing…really) and I’m a Warm Autumn (I had my colors done; Pinkie is a Cool Winter—damn her—so she gets all the really good colors and I don’t) so anyway I guess it would be ‘Biscuit’, but not the English kind, the American kind like when you bake Betty Crocker biscuits in a 325 degree oven for twelve minutes.  Any longer and it’s more like ‘Toast’ and I don’t look fabulous in ‘Toast’.


Fav drink?  Gatorade and pickle juice (if it’s good enough for the Philadelphia Eagles when they go to Big D, it’s good enough for me.)


Fav film?  Tough one, Seam.  I would have to say ‘Brian’s Song’ or any Igmar Bergman film.  I so relate to depressed Scandinavians.  Why don’t they get some anti-depressants?’


I keep checking every hour, but SeamLover hasn’t replied yet.



Published May 20, 2009 by jean cohen

I uploaded a few of the photos from Pinkie’s Do; I’m waiting for Cheese Boy to edit the rest.  The bloke with the blue hair in the one with me is Spike, The Mad Chef.  Appearances are deceiving.  The food was truly delicious.  It was so good you would not even know an English person made it.  Honestly.


I must apologize to Amy that I missed her regatta in Maidenstone on Sunday.  I was meant to be going with the Irish Lad to cheer her on in her first proper race.  I heard my mobile go off downstairs, and when I stumbled down to check who the hell would be texting me at 8:00 in the morning on a pissing down rain Sunday, there was a cheerful little text from Tee.  “We’re leaving in 15 minutes.”  Right.  “You may be; I’m not” I texted back, “You bloody woke me up!” Amy made it to the semi-finals…Well done, Amy! 


Sunday night was the Quiz at the Grotto.  Colin, the owner and mega-Chelsea Supporter (check earlier blogs for definition of ‘Chelsea Supporter’) makes up the questions, and I guess he got tired of us winning every week.  The questions were obscure and bizarre.  And I’m not just saying that because I flubbed both American questions.  One was even about Proper American Football.  We came second, though, so we scored our weekly supply of free drink coupons.  (Thank God!)


The Irish Lad’s niece and her boyfriend (Aidan the DJ) met up with us at the Grotto latish for a few drinks.  Colin, who was very drunk, loud and obnoxious at this point…actually I take that back.  He’s generally loud, pissed and supremely obnoxious.  Anyway, he enthralled the entire pub (or so he thought) with a story about having sex with his ex-girlfriend the night before.


I know I have trouble disguising my feelings, and I’ve been accused more than once of ‘looking down my long American nose’ at folks who don’t meet my standards.  But I spit about a half a glass of Zinfy across the table when Aidan whispered “Your expression!  Jesus Wept!  That alone was worth crossing the pond from Dublin to see.  I only wish I had the bloody camera with me.”  Colin, naturally, didn’t have a clue.  He’s such a Chelsea Supporter.  (That expression is growing on me.)


Tuesday morning I lost my virginity.  Oh, relax.  My waxing virginity.  I’d never, ever had any portion of my anatomy waxed.  BooBoo and I went to Ruby’s grand-daughter to have our eyebrows shaped and dyed (because we both have wimpy red eyebrow hair).  I freaked a bit when Gemma said she would be waxing them (Boo made me go first; in case I died or something on the table I guess).  “Will it hurt” I squeaked like baby.  “Only for a minute” she assured me.   Liar, liar pants on fire.  But I love my brown, well defined eyebrows now.  I’ve almost forgotten how much it fucking hurt. 


Tuesday afternoon was Beauty Class Graduation.  Sob.  That was the bestest fun I ever had at ‘school’.  (And probably the most important stuff I ever learned, except for figuring out how much 30% off is during verkoops, verfaufs, venditas, and lets not forget                                                           מכירה; מכר; ממכר; מכירה כללית


Pinkie’s on nights again this week, so she missed it.  She probably would have worn that amazing black & white dress from Amsterdam so I was glad.  I was going to wear the cream outfit from her Birthday Do, but as usual, it was pouring.  Fortunately, I have several hundred other divine outfits to choose from.  Make that…unfortunately.  I changed eight times.


I got a 14 in the final exam!  9 to 12 is ‘good’.  A 15 means you have gone over-JAP and you have to take something off (a bracelet, scarf, hat, belt, not the actual clothing).  14 is ‘perfection’.    I’ll stop there.


I dashed home again to change because I had Film Club in the evening.  I rang Pinkie to say that I simply had to pop over before she left for work to show off my eyebrows and fill her in on graduation.  I told her I was pressed for time, and darling Irish Lad said he drive me to synagogue.


“What’s on at Syn tonight” he inquired.  (That’s what Tee calls it.)


“We’re seeing ‘Waltzing With Bashir’” I told him, “It was voted one of the ten best films of 2008.  I’m really chuffed.”


He was silent for a moment on the phone and then said admiringly “You are one never dull Yiddisha Mama Mia!”


Yeah.  I know.


Of course, being me, I had the date wrong.  When I got to Pinkie’s I mumbled quickly that I wasn’t in a hurry anymore, I didn’t need a ride, and oh, yeah…Film Club is next Tuesday.  It’s a good thing I double checked my calendar; I bet they don’t serve popcorn at the Biblical Hebrew class.



Published May 17, 2009 by jean cohen

Well the plans came together beautifully, and despite my kvetching all week “It’s not elaborate enough!” in autopilot JAP bar mitzvah organizing mode, Pinkie’s Birthday Do was brilliant. 


Spike, from the Grotto, catered it.  I’ll be posting a picture of The Mad Chef and I think you’ll understand why I was a bit worried.  (I was terrified.)  But the food was amazing.  He turned those cabbages and other comestibles we finally got around to shopping for into the most eye catching and delicious feast.


A contingent of the Irish Lad’s wild relatives flew over from Dublin, including his niece’s boyfriend who did the D.J.-ing.  Aidan  was totally fantastic.


Due to a hiccup by Her Majesty’s Royal Mail, the pictures of Pinkie in the bath, on the potty, etc. from her Mum didn’t arrive to be blown up larger-than-life-sized.  Of course, I meant when she was a child; not last year.  But there were lots of pink balloons and banners and a giant 4-0. 


Oz Ed took Pinkie’s request of ‘no jeans’ to a new level; he turned up in a pink dress with combat boots and his ubiquitous Aussie hat.  I’ve already posted a picture of that.  Blokes being blokes, Cheese Boy stripped the dress off Ed on the dance floor (well into the evening) and donned it himself.  In the car going home, El Cheese-o kept mumbling “I’m wearing a fucking dress… Jeano, why am I wearing a fucking dress?”  And then “Are you gonna put this in the blog?”  “Too fucking right” I thought to myself remembering various incidents of piss-taking perpetrated by him.


“There. There” I placated Boy, “Never mind, Sweetie.  You look stunning.”  In truth, pink is most definitely not Lou’s color.  I don’t think he’s a Cool Winter.


However, the Cool Winter Birthday Girl did look stunning in a killer Little Black Dress (make-up tips by Ruby We Love You).  Have I mentioned that I loathe Cool Winters?  Having purged that unflattering black from my wardrobe, I went with monochromatic… because I can; divine cream Moschino silk trousers and jacket, a silk chemise from Chloe and matching fuck-me pumps from Miu Miu.  I think it worked beautifully.  Naturally, there will be several pictures of me at the Do posted.


There were about a hundred guests and a diverse group it was.  There were Pinkie’s medical mates from Charing Cross, her ‘School Mum’ friends, several of the other quiz teams from the Ash Tree, Birmingham friends from the old days, pub friends, and just simply friend friends and family.  In the ‘I Love Weybridge ‘Cause It’s a Small Town’ mode, I met one of Pinkie’s School Mum friends, Allie, whom I didn’t know as a friend of Pinkie’s.  But I do know her; we work together at Sam.


Next weekend I’ll be doing very much the same Do-ing at BooBoo’s 40th in Sunderland, where I won’t know a soul and they speak a different language.  Should be a real experience.  Boo’s sister, Amanda, is quite nervous about ‘how are we going to entertain your American friend for three days.’  Relax.  I’m sure just being there will be entertainment enough. 


I asked Boo what I should pack.  I was thinking “Is it colder there?  It’s, like, Northern England; is it sort of like going to Minnesota?  Will I need my long underwear?”  “Just the kind of stuff you wear when we pop to Tesco’s” she quickly replied.  I guess she was hinting my new jacket and the stunning Paul & Joe trousers might be under-appreciated in Appalachian England. 


I was going to wear the divine monochromatic cream outfit (‘cause I can) to Boo’s party.  Hey, it’s a different part of the country; and it’s not like it’s back-to-back bar mitzvahs.  The same people won’t be there.  Boo said no, I’d only end up covered in beer.  I don’t think so, Tim.  I’m still pondering what could possibly be in my wardrobe that might softly murmur “Hillybilly! I bought it at Wal-mart… on sale.”


I’ve got a busy few days before we head North: volunteer shifts, graduation at Beauty Class, getting my eyebrows dyed, Film Club, and a date on Wednesday night.


Yes, I’m bored and I went back on the dating sites.  This one sounds promising—at least he can write a cogent sentence – but I’m not terribly optimistic.  Honestly, some of the emails are so unintentionally funny or pathetic.  How can a guy write a six word message and manage to misspell five of them?  I employ the delete key a lot. 


Maybe I’ll just bring the Irish Lad on the date with me this time in case it all goes pear-shaped.



Published May 16, 2009 by jean cohen

As I predicted, positively everybody, including folks I don’t even know, sent me scads of sweet, uplifting, sentimental, ‘friends are precious’, ‘love is…(whatever), tail-wagging puppy and mischievous kitten chain emails.  And why do they always have that ‘Young and the Restless’ or ‘Days of Our Lives’ kind of music making them even worse?  I’ll share a few of the most revolting.


Just kidding!  I got carpel tunnel of the index finger hitting the fucking DELETE button so many times.


Pinkie and I did a search & seize mission early on Thursday morning shopping for food for the party.  Spike, the chef at the Grotto, is catering and gave us a list of ingredients to get.  We went to the greengrocer at Kempton Market.  Yes, you don’t have to tell me this was a mistake.  Despite the blood pact in the car park to buy only cabbage and other edibles, we somehow found ourselves where the clothes are.  I tried on a divine skirt.  To go with the new Mariner Blue jacket (endorsed for Warm Autumns) I bought on sale, practically free, the other night when I was helping BooBoo shop for an outfit for her birthday party.  But it was too big.  Damn.  I tried on some cool jeans and a gorgeous top, and Pinkie bought a skirt.  Then we hit the make up stall.  (We love you, Ruby.) 


Somehow, we were running late; it’s not like we wasted time or anything.  We still had to hit Bookers and Tesco, and I had to do my shift at Sam.  We put the pedal to the metal in the general direction of Weybridge or another mall (whichever came first).  We got a flat tire on Oatlands Park Drive.  Pinkie called her neighbor, who came over and put the spare on.  He ordered us to go immediately to the tire place to have the other ones checked and air put in the spare.  We grumbled a bit, until we realized the tire place is right next to the really, really posh clothes shop next to the fancy Spanish restaurant.


 “Check those tires slowly and carefully” we told the mechanic.  “We’ll be back in an hour… or two” as we hoofed it to the boutique.  Pinkie dropped me at Sam at 1 minute to 1:00 for my shift.   


I skipped the Quiz at the Ash Tree on Thursday night.  That was terribly selfish, I know, and it left just Cheese Boy and Pinkie to defend the honor of the Bitches.  Pinkie texted me at 11:30 PM to say they’d come second, and got all ten questions right in the Wipe Out Round, scoring the five point bonus.  Of course, I only have Pinkie’s word for this accomplishment without my help.  You may be sure I’ll ask the Scoobys, the Scary Fairies, and Forgotten at Pinkie’s Birthday Do on Saturday night if she lied or exaggerated.   Some people do; not me, of course, but some other people are prone to such inappropriate behavior.


Pink did say everybody asked where I was.  It’s nice to be missed.  Pinkie explained that I ditched them all for an ‘intellectual’ evening at my Book Club.  I have no idea why people found that hilarious.  They said stuff like “Jeano is where?” or “Jeano can read?”  Pinkie rejoined (as reported by her) “Yes, she can read.  And she can write, too; really well.  She looks so cute and smart with her reading spectacles on.”   


I’d joined the book club at synagogue, and certainly enjoyed the first one I’d gone to, after we read ‘The Yiddish Policemen’s Union’.  It’s not on a fixed night, and after I’d bought and read ‘The J-Word’, (try finding a copy of that in Surrey) they changed the meeting night because the author, Andrew Sanger, who was joining us, had a scheduling conflict.  Hence my scheduling conflict.


I enjoyed the book.  I enjoyed the author.  I wouldn’t have minded really enjoying the author—if you know what I’m saying.  He was pretty hot, if a tad short, and being Jewish, he met that most important criteria relating to a foreskin.


I always look for a phrase that summarizes the book I’m reading.  “The only thing Jews believe in is being Jewish” was the theme of The J-Word.  The main character, an 80 year old English man who has renounced his Jewishness, is forced to confront what it means to be a Jew when he is mugged and beaten in a hate crime.  (There was a lot more going on; that was just the main plot.) 


The discussion of the members’ observations was thought-provoking, and I had to offer my opinion that I still find Jews in England to be ‘wimpy Jews’, unlike the ‘in-your-face, hey! I’m Jewish’ attitude of American Jews.  Derek pointed out, and I’d truly not thought about it, that there is a State Religion here so I guess they don’t want to piss off the Church of England or anything by being too Jewish.


It was fascinating to learn how a published author got that way, and how he researched the various sub-plots, and created characters to specifically orchestrate key elements of the story.  I’m sure everybody’s dying to read the book now.  You can’t borrow my copy; Andrew signed it for me.


We discovered that we both have a book published on, and promised to buy and read each other’s book.  I got my picture taken with Andrew (I’m holding a copy of the book) for Haderech.  I’ll post it if I can get a copy from Cousin Bernie.


The next blog will include every single detail from The Birthday Do and, of course, tons of pictures.  Pinkie’s been too preoccupied to edit the Amsterdam ones, but they will get posted eventually.



Published May 14, 2009 by jean cohen

The Irish Lad had to go to Ireland on Monday, so Pinkie and I wandered up Monument Hill to the Grotto minus our cleverist quizzer.  Cheese Boy turned up late – mumbling about ‘traffic’; where have I heard that excuse before – so Sister and me (both of us looking totally ‘Vogue Do’ thanks to Ruby) had to go it on our own.  The honor and bragging rights of ‘Pinkie & the Brains’ were at stake.


We came second, losing by two points, but I got all the American questions right, except Stevie Wonder’s real name.  Oh, please! How often do you think that comes up in conversation? 


I have finally discovered what people mean when they say ‘Chelsea Supporter’.  They mean ‘asshole’.  So why not just say it?  The clientele at the Grotto these days seem to all be fans of Chelsea and loud, obnoxious, drunk and uncouth.  The Jewish Dermatologist of My Dreams will certainly never turn up there unless his Jaguar gets a flat tire outside the pub.


On Sunday night, Neil spoke to me.  This is Drug Dealer Neil I’m referring to, not any of the other seven blokes there sharing that particular name.  I usually just ignore him or if he comes anywhere near enough to touch me I stare him down like he’s a cockroach and I’m holding a can of Raid.


“My mate thinks you’re gorgeous” he confided.  I was a tiny bit surprised, to be honest.  I didn’t think he could string a bunch of prepositions, nouns and verbs together to form an intelligible sentence.  “Well yes, of course I am” I agreed, “But doesn’t your mate know how to talk?  And which ‘mate’ are we referring to?”  Those Chelsea blokes seem pretty much interchangeable to me.


“It’s Rob” he said (that was a good start; at least his bloody name wasn’t Steve, Peter, Mike or Colin) “But he’s afraid of you because you’re American.  Where are you from?”


“Yeah, good on him” I said, “He should be afraid of me.  I’m very bitchy.  (I didn’t want to implode what little brain power he might have left with the ‘JAP’ sobriquet.)  “I’m from Philadelphia…and don’t say one word about cream cheese.  Drug Dealer Neil shut his mouth very quickly.


I figured out which bloke was Rob and, oh dear, no…no…no. 


“Thank him for me, Drug Dealer Neil” I declined politely, “but I am so out of his league.  And I had my ‘bit of rough’ for this millennium already— everybody here talks about him– Turd of Camberley.  I’m afraid I’ll have to take a pass.” 


I think Rob was a little miffed.  He kept glaring at me the rest of the evening.  I made BooBoo come outside with me every time I wanted a fag for protection.


Tuesday was Beauty Class with Ruby.  This week was ‘Applying Make-up”.  I did wonder for just a millisecond if I was becoming more breathtaking than any woman has any right to be given the encounter at the Grotto with …whatever his name was and that teensy stalker thingy going on at the moment.  (No, I’m not sharing.)  After all, I’m wearing the perfect colors, in the most flattering shapes, and after Skin Care Necessities class, I’m glowing.  Pinkie said “Jesus Wept!  Get over yourself!” and off we went to Hersham toting our suitcases full of war paint.  Wow.  Did we look amazing when Ruby got finished with us.  Too bad all we had planned was to go to our respective homes and watch telly in our jammies.  We should have planned that one better.


On Wednesday, I went to a harp recital.  In my own defense, when Jennette asked me, I was probably multi-tasking and not paying close attention.  I even wrote “Isiah Thomas’ and the time on my calendar.  I remember thinking “This is cool.  Isiah has a lot to answer for: destroying the Knicks, the sexual harassment lawsuit, and being mean to that cute center from Senagal, Mouhamed What’s His Name.  I hope Mr. Detroit is ready for some tough, probing questions from the press (me).”


Imagine my confusion. (I know; it’s not very hard.) Keziah Thomas is, like, a 5’ tall white chick from Wales or some place weird like that with a big mother harp that she plays.  I don’t think she should be allowed to even have a black person’s name let alone try to cash in on Isiah’s notoriety just because she was wearing Air Jordans with her evening gown (to push the pedals of the big mother harp).


Fortunately, there was food… and lots of wine.  The venue was the Riverhouse in Walton and it’s lovely.  Keziah-not-Isiah is apparently quite well known outside basketball circles by harp groupies.  They do lots of concerts at Riverhouse.  Perhaps Brett Favre plays the cello…