All posts for the month August, 2009


Published August 28, 2009 by jean cohen

I’m trolling the American sports sites on line at the moment, prepping for The Season – Real, Proper American Football.  It’s been a damned long dry spell.  This requires arguing with Little Bro, my laptop, because he insists that I’m in England.  I say I can be anywhere I feel like being, so stop with the fucking soccer shit already.  Bro is very obdurate.  But I’m even worse.


I found this sports show on Fox called Carolla & Company.  He tells it like it is.  I would mention what he had to say about Plaxico or Michael Vick but that’s getting stale.  The other night he was talking about a charity event where Shaq played against Ben Roethlisberger in both sports.  Big Ben beat Shaq in H-O-R-S-E, but that’s not surprising.  Everybody knows Shaq absolutely sucks from the free throw line.  Carolla was talking about what an asshole Roethlisberger is; yeah, he’s really kinda dumb.  Anyway, Corolla asked “What would Big Ben answer if you asked him ‘Where is the landmark located that you’re nicknamed after?’ Big Ben would probably go ‘Uh.  I’m not sure.  Fort Lauderdale?’”  Seriously, Carolla is growing on me like he’s a colony of E Coli and I’m a room temperature Omaha steak.


I end up on news sites too, although I’m not sure I actually want to know a lot about what’s going on at home, especially with the economy and Sheep Flu.  This item caught my attention for some reason.  As of January 1, 2010, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) will issue a strong recommendation that all newborn baby boys be circumcised.  Their research has shown a direct correlation between the spread of STDs and cavaliers.  See.  I’m obviously not merely fastidious.  Or Jewish.


Otherwise, it’s been pretty much just my normal week; lunch with Lulu (to finally exchange birthday pressies),  and lunch with a new American friend whom I met at the dentist.  It was obviously meant to be.  There I was waiting in Young Matthias’ waiting room, and out came the victim…I mean patient… before me.  As she booked her next appointment it was clear that in addition to being a fellow sufferer she was a fellow American.  We started chatting and exchanged phone numbers, making the date to meet up and complain about everything English.  Deb is from Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.  That is so cool.  She’s Right Coast, but (thankfully) not New York, not that it mattered especially, although I probably would find it hard to relate to someone from the Left Coast.  They’re so Left Coast.   Deb and I are now friends on Facebook.  Gottenu!  Do ya suppose she’s, like, a Patriots fan?  Never mind.  She’s very nice and I liked her. 


In the ‘Weybridge is a small town’ vein, Deb said that she goes to the Gym on the High Street.  I said “Oh my God! My BFF Pinkie goes there too.  Is that not totally awesome?”  Well I said something to that effect.  I could actually hear myself sounding more and more American as we talked.  Really.  I could.  Anyway, I described Pinkie. “She’s a Cool Winter.  She lives in fucking black & white unless she’s wearing pink because ‘she can.’” That didn’t ring any bells for Deb so I showed her a picture of Pinkie and me from the Midnight Walk looking really, really cute. Deb said “She was working out right next to me this morning!  I see her at the gym a lot, but we’ve never spoken.”


I spent quite a bit of time working with JDavid on the new website, and I need to get some on the site training from JKeith, JDavid’s brother, in the wilds of Hampshire.  I reworked and shortened a few of the articles on the new site.


Of course, I had a date with Piano Man this week.  Yeah, it was okay.  Just okay.  I think his days are numbered and he might be moving to ‘Dumpsville- Population: You’ sooner rather than later.  Don’t say it.  I’m too fussy.  Yeah, I know.  We have a date scheduled for this week, but I’m not sure I want to even be bothered. Of course, I’ll probably change my mind if my week looks a little light on the engagements.


I worked my shifts at Sam, and I re-did the library at the Senior Centre, one of the Committee jobs I accepted.  Seeing as I can take inventory from Sam, or swap stuff, it shouldn’t be too much trouble.  I cleared out an entire shelf of Mills & Boon.  They’re too provocative for the Seniors I decided.  Look at Mary; she still chasing Charles and being nasty to me.  She probably pictures him in a pirate’s outfit, with an earring and a sword, ripping off her lavender polyester slacks and green cardigan and having his wicked way with her in the moonlight on the starboard bow as the huge sailing vessel glides silently through the silver water, the only sound her gasping breaths and the billowing sails.  Wow.  That’s an image I can so do without.  And I should probably stop sampling those Mills & Boons.


Pinkie and I did the quiz at the AshTree with CheeseBoy; it was the first time in ages.  Our name was Bitches Back.  Bitches Shoulda Stayed Home would have been more apt.  We did really, really badly.  And there were absolutely no American questions.



Published August 22, 2009 by jean cohen

It should be the happ- happ- happiest time of the year.  It is, after all, pre-season for Real, Proper American football.  It’s time to make my list and check those depth charts twice and get ready for the marathon battle that is draft day for my Fantasy League.  Not that I would have drafted McNabb anyway.  Rivers will get snatched in the first round, I’m sure and I don’t get to select ‘til Round 3.  I kinda have my eye on Eli Manning.  Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!  A 56% completion ratio?  Jeez, I crack me up.  And then I could draft Plaxico too…  Oh yeah, I can’t. I forgot.  He’s in jail.  I think I hear Jimmy Hoffa chuckling from under 6 tons of concrete in the south end zone at Giants Stadium.   Okay.  Those were my G-men insults–  for today at least.  Back at ya on the Garden State.


But the controversy continues to swirl around the goalposts at the Linc like a David Akers muff from 52 yards with two ticks left on the clock. I think Santa Claus would actually be more popular in Philly right now and we all know what Eagles fans think of him.  Michael Vick?  Wearing #7.  It’s a shandeh.  Und un kharpe, too.  Positively everyone keeps sending me links and jokes about it.  It is an insult to Jaws.  Jaws is a legend and almost a hero.  Okay.  He wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he was ours.   And we loved him, when we weren’t throwing beer bottles at him or booing.  Vick could have got assigned #11.  That was King Hill’s number; we all hated that asshole.


I read an article in the Inquirer that Dick’s Sporting Goods is declining to even stock Vick merchandise.  Not that the fans who bleed green and silver would have lined up to buy any of it.  And I saw McNabb interviewed on Fox Sports.  He said all the right shit like he didn’t mind, but you have to wonder.  If Donovan goes into one of those patented ‘Andy doesn’t understand me’ slumps or he gets injured, can they actually put Vick in a game?  It is going to be a very stressful season for us fans.  I already had my Sky Sports switched on.  “You can keep the boring soccer telecasts” I instructed the Scottish person at Sky who spoke no English, “Just beam me the Real Football and maybe the MLB Playoffs if the Phillies don’t choke.”


I had a second date with Scooter Man on Monday, and another date with Piano Man on Tuesday.  Scooter Man went shopping at Waitrose and turned up with food that he barbecued on the cooking apparatus in my garden.  And a dozen roses.  Which made the barbecuing part tolerable… just.  The rest of the date was, amazingly, absolutely brilliant.  He finally left about 11:00 on Tuesday morning.  Oh, close your bloody mouths.


And I will get this shocking confession over quickly.  I cooked dinner for Piano Man.


When Pinkie rang for her daily catch-up on her way to work Wednesday night, the conversation went like “Where did he take you for dinner last night?”  “We stayed in; I cooked.”  “TeeHeeTeeHeeTeeHeeTeeHee!  Good one, Jeano!”  “No.  Really.  I cooked.”  Dead Air.  “Pinkie?  Ya there?”  “I’m trying to picture it… you cooking.”  Honestly.  I have no idea where people get all these misconceptions about me.


“You heated up a Ready Meal.”  “No, I made chicken cacciatore and baked stuffed rigatoni from scratch.”  That’s when she crashed the car into the medial strip on the M25.  I made that up; she pulled over and turned on the emergency flashers and hyperventilated in my ear for about ten  minutes gasping ‘Jesus Wept’.


But it’s really true.  I cooked.  Maybe I’m spending too much time imputing stuff like ‘we define your capability to produce value from IT based on parameters previously identified’ in JDavid’s website and my brain has turned to cornmeal mush.  Maybe I’m not getting enough quality shopping time.  This week we’re eating dinner out, prepared and served by somebody other than me.  I wouldn’t want anyone, especially Piano Man, to get the idea that I will ‘cook’ on a regular basis.  At least as it relates to food.


And don’t email to even ask.  Yes, I’ve spoken to him since Tuesday.  Yes, he’s still alive and well and living in Newcastle.  He said I can really cook; he might not have been talking about my chicken cacciatore.


On Wednesday I went to Brighton.  I escorted the group from the Senior Centre.  Obviously this is a talent that I employed for years, although it was nice not to have to be polite and/or helpful since they weren’t getting tour surveys at the end.  I just had to check them off my list, get them on the bus and tell them what to do in Brighton in case of emergencies.  (Hint:  Do not ring me.)  I cranked up my mp3 player and caught some much needed zzz’s on the way down.  Tuesday was a late, and energetic, night.  After off-loading them near the Pier and warning them “Remember where we parked the bus; we leave at 4:15 with or without you.  Entirely up to you” Hester, who came along, and I spent the glorious day far from the ocean shopping in the Lanes.  I’ve seen the ocean- from both sides.  I’d been to the Lanes, too, but it was years ago.  It was a picture perfect day and I even caught some rays between shops and got sunburned.  We had a leisurely lunch and even managed a quick stroll along the Promenade before we loaded them back on the bus for the trip home.  Fortunately, I didn’t lose any of them.


On Thursday I had a shift at Sam and a meeting with JDavid in the evening so I missed the Quiz.  Cheese Boy played with the Scary Fairies, but they lost.  And switching to ‘serious mode’, I woke up to a message on my Facebook Wall: ‘Grandma came downstairs and found Grandpop dead in the kitchen. Love, Roy.’  You know, I think there might have been a slightly more tactful way of sharing that, Sweetie.  I hate fucking Facebook.  My friend Georgia’s husband, Ron, just gave it up while brewing the Chock Full Of Nuts in their McMansion in Cleveland.  I was freaked, but waited until 7:00 am their time to ring.  I figured they wouldn’t appreciate hearing even from me at 3:30 in the morning.  Shit.  I don’t know what to say.  He was a super guy and I’m really sorry for their loss.  Georgia was on auto-pilot and calm, but Roy was in tears on the phone.  Obviously, I can’t be there, but I will somehow arrange to get to Cleveland, even for a day, when I go home in October.


Sadly, on Friday I had my second session with Dr. Pain, the mad dentist.  As the problem is much improved by now, I casually asked through the eighteen fingers and pneumatic drill in my mouth “Wha ur vue frumpf?”  “Norway” he answered.  Oh Thank Yahweh!  That’s a Norwegian person squeezing my lip in a death grip and not, like, you know… an Arab.  I felt ever so much better about things.  Except his bill.  One more visit to go.


I had lunch with Carol after the dentist, which was fun, except I couldn’t feel my lips as they were still numb and wine spritzer kept squirting everywhere.  There are secret plans afoot.  I can’t talk about them yet.  But Pinkie, Carol and I might be going into a business venture together. 


Carol dropped me off in time for my next engagement, which was a Wine & Nibblies Do at Sam Brics in the pretty back garden. 


Anyway, I’m sorry there was only one blog this week.  Where does the time go?  I have narrowed down my wish list to Chad Pennington, Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger.  Big Ben is soo hot.  But if Jake Delhomme doesn’t get snatched in Round One…  Draft Day is tomorrow.




Published August 15, 2009 by jean cohen

Adonai Wept!  The apocalypse is upon us!  Life, as we knew it, has ceased to exist.  Yeah, I’m real depressed.  I’m having nightmares involving a nickel defense made up of graduates from the University of Georgia.  It’s so bad I don’t even feel like shopping. Stop with the shit-eating, sarcastic emails already.  Yeah, I’m embarrassed for my team and my city.  It’s worse than Terrell Owens.  It might even be cosmic payback for all the Plaxico jokes.  But Michael Vick???  Seriously.  What was Andy thinking?  (Probably about where he’s going to score his next cheesesteak; wow, he got really fat.)  Poor Donovan must be so upset.  And we all know what happens when he gets upset…. he can’t throw the fucking football.


I believed.  I was convinced that this was our year to take the whole enchilada, get to the big dance, be the bride instead of a bridesmaid again.  Michael Vick???  Thank God there’s not a 700 Level anymore.  What is the equivalent of the Fifth Ring of Hell in the Linc, by the way?  It will, I’m sure, be brutal.  Gee, I wish I could be there.  There’s nothing better than vicious, drunk Philly fans.  You may be assured that Pinkie will not be permitted to purchase any clothing items sporting a #7 during our sojourn in the classy City of Brotherly Love.


Okay.  I’m glad I got that off my chest.


Note to British readers:  Michael Vick is… well, he went to jail… he killed a lot of dogs… he’s the new backup quarterback… oh, never mind.


Just before I left for my shift at Sam on Thursday, my phone rang.  It was Scooter Man, my upcoming date for Monday.  He’d had a change in his schedule, and had to be in Woking on Friday.  Was I free for dinner on Thursday night?  Hmm.  Decisions, decisions.  Input loads of boring computer jargon into JDavid’s new website and then do the quiz at the Ashtree with Cheese Boy or go on a date?  I drove poor Mike insane at the shop.  “Jeano, are you listening to me?  Pia wants a display of biographies put in the window.”  “Abso-bloody-tutely, Mikey. Do you like me better in Hunter green or Autumn Wheat?  I’ll go borrow some samples from Brics and you can decide.”  “Hester?  Jeano here… at Books.  Emergency!”  


Scooter Man was staying at the Ship Hotel, specifically because of me.  They should start paying me a goddamned commission.  This is the third one in a month.  I skulked into the bar at 7:00, praying I wouldn’t meet anybody I knew this time.  This was starting to get embarrassing.  After saying ‘hi’ to Irish Dave, Mad Tommy, and that lady who does Meals-on-Wheels on Fridays with Eve, I ran into Father Tom from Christ Prince of Peace RC Church.  Little Towns… Father Tom said he’s looking forward to this year’s Thanksgiving Feast; it’s at his church again.  He said he was meeting a fellow ‘chaplain’ for dinner, and I sent up an SOS to Yahweh.  “Please let it not be Jackie from Shul.  I will expire on the spot.”  Fortunately, it wasn’t.  It was Father Salvatore from that Italian Church in Kingston, the one I met with a couple times when I started my citizenship thingy.


“Reginamaria!  Caio.  Come sta?”  (Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!)  “Yo, Padre Sal.  ‘Come Sta?’  Oh yeah, right.  Fine.  Um… multo bene!  E tu?  Sorry.  Gotta dash.  Women’s Institute.  ‘Brussel sprouts are our friends.’  I want to get a good seat.”


Maybe Pinkie’s right and everybody in Surrey knows me by now.  It feels like it sometimes.


We took a walk up the High Street so I could show Scooter Man charming, gossipy Weybridge, including the Bookshop.  “I did the windows today.  Notice the exciting display of rock star biographies on the third shelf.”  “I don’t think Nelson Mandela is classified as a rocker.”  “Yeah?  Well. Sue me!  I was a little distracted.”


We went to dinner at Thai Garden.  I know; I know.  Even Joey, BooBoo’s ex-husband, sniggered when he saw me again.  It was the fifth time in, like, three weeks.  But one of those times was with Stuart, so it doesn’t count.  It wasn’t a date.


Scooter Man is positively yummy.  And we have another date—the original one scheduled— happening on Monday.  End of that story.


Here’s something you never hear me say.  I’ve been really ill.  Everybody around me is always whinging about some illness or another, especially now with Swine Flu around.  And I’m always perfectly fine, except for my allergies (apparently I’m allergic to fresh air, trees and the bar in the Ship Hotel).  I got a severe gum infection.


This was a very serious problem, because it required the ministrations of a dentist.  You try finding one of those in England.  At home, three of my clients were dentists, my sister-in-law’s brother-in-law was my dentist, Jerry’s best friend (Ellie) is one and my neighbor up the street was, as well.  I won’t go into the boring details, but it was all my own fault.  After two nights of agony and no sleep, I had to let my fingers do the walking and call every dental practice in Weybridge, begging for an emergency appointment.  There’s about three or four.  I finally talked my way into a slot with one on the High Street.  Frankly, I didn’t care if he was an Arab.  Or an Indian.  I didn’t even ask.


Since this is a re-occurring problem for me, I knew what was going to happen.  I was pleasantly surprised that the office was modern and high-tech.  I fully expected the torture chamber from Warwick Castle or Weybridge Hospital.  The dentist wasn’t English – why would he be?- but he didn’t seem to be a Dr. Mengele clone.  As expected, before he could even work on the problem, I needed massive doses of antibiotics for four days.  And, again as I expected, my gums were better in a day.  The yeast infection and the intense nausea from the drugs were another story.  I had one treatment session now, with two more to follow.  Fred always gave me oodles of lovely gas while he excavated in my gums; Dr. Whatever doesn’t use it.  But I was a brave soldier; no choice, really.


And because I’m honest, I’ll admit that after an hour of Dr. Tooth excavating with a pick-axe almost to my naval, I went right to my next appointment – to get my eyebrows waxed.  Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of my own life.  Maybe I secretly crave pain.


I went to shul on Saturday.  It’s only five weeks ‘til the High Holidays!  Time to start thinking about The Book again.  I can’t believe a whole year has passed.  Thanks to Pinkie, I’ve still got a stash of New Year’s cards so I don’t have to worry.  And at least I don’t have a whole lot to be sorry for this year; just one or two little faux pas.  Cousin Bernie was the gabai, looking adorable in his tartan yarmulke.  We are no longer kissing people when we say ‘Shabbat Shalom’ ‘cause of the Sheep Flu.  Come on.  I think we can’t actually even say ‘Swine’ flu in synagogue.  And as always, there were a few messages directed at me personally.  The Torah reading was from Deuteronomy and spoke about our obligation not only to pray and worship God, but to give of ourselves, our time and attention not just alms, within the community, especially care of the vulnerable.  Yep, I thought smugly, one big check on the right side of the Book for Jeano, Weybridge Senior Centre Committee Person and escort on the trip to Brighton this week. 



Published August 12, 2009 by jean cohen

It’s vacation time in Jolly Olde Wete Englande, so I’ve been covering a few extra shifts at Sam among other charitable works and have been rather pressed for time.  Plus I doggy-sat over the weekend for a friend.  Since I didn’t have a date on Saturday night, Mango and I had a ‘girlie night’ – ‘jammies (well, me, Mango went au natural), popcorn, chick flick and a purloined copy of ‘Bruno’ from Cheese Boy.  Mango thought it was funny; I hated it.  Perhaps that was disloyal to Cousin Sasha.  Sorry.


I had two dates with Piano Man.  Could you feel the enthusiasm in that sentence?  Exactly.  He is, sadly, ceasing to amuse us in the exact manner we demand.  I know! I know!  I’m too fussy.  ‘Hey, can I call ya Wolfie instead of Peter’ Guy already got the ‘you are hereby dumped’ email.  There’s a ‘Steve’ (oy vey, another one) and a Chris in the running at the moment, but it seems counterproductive to dump Piano Man until I’ve got somebody else with potential in the line up.  After all, Piano Man does possess certain talents and a seemingly limitless Amex for expensive dinners.  And let’s not forget what he doesn’t have.  Hey, it’s really important, at least to me.


That reminds me.  The last Date from Hell, Paul from Birmingham, keeps texting and emailing asking when I’m coming up to Brum for the weekend.  Um… Paul?  When Hell freezes over?  When I wear stripes and checks at the same time?  In black and white?  And, yes, I am going to Birmingham in December.  But for something important – a trunk show.  I won’t have the time or energy for any dates.  Some other size 12 could snap up a stunning suit or a divine pair of trousers while I’m wasting time having a meal with some guy who’s an asshole, just to be polite.  (I just shuddered.)


Something really peculiar but nice happened this week.  I met an Incollingo cousin on Facebook of all places.  Have I mentioned that I think Facebook is stupid?  Oh, yeah, I did.  But I gamely play along.  Sometimes.  I heard from an old co-worker at the travel agency, too, which was fun.  She ‘wrote on my wall’ that I looked great and that English people all have awful teeth.  I didn’t make that up.  I wondered, too, where that thought came from, and why she chose to voice it publicly, especially since I live in England and most of the people who look at my wall are English. 


And DooWop Guy Steve from Tenafly found me on Facebook.  We’d emailed for a while after I moved off the Garden State on to the M25, but, as these things do, it had dwindled down to the occasional joke or ‘Philly music news’.  DooWop Guy is still searching for his dream Jewish American Princess at the Schmoozes and on Let My People Go, the Jewish networking site in the New York area.  I must remember to ask him about Israeli Guy; we lost touch too.  Maybe he found his Princess and is busy populating his very own kibbutz.


Anyway, back to cousin Giuseppe.  Someone sent him that article I’d written about getting my dual citizenship, because I mention that I’m an Incollingo from Colli a Volturno.  He emailed my private email and then asked me to be friends on Facebook.


Strange that.  Pinkie is now friends with Stuart on Facebook.  But she’s not friends with me.  I just thought I’d point that out.  But who needs friends who are Cool Winters anyway?


The peculiar part is that Joey lives in Quebec, Canada.  I was sure my ancestors all got to Philly and never left, except to go to Wildwood Crest (the Italian Riviera ‘Down-the-Shore’ in South Jersey) in the summer.  Joey’s family emigrated directly to Canada and never left. 


We played the ‘relatives game’- ‘Great-grandpop Domenico was married to one of the Santilli’s’ and ‘Great-grandpop Ernesto was married to Maria Campellone’.  “Wait a minute!  My great-great grandmother was a Campellone… Maria.”  It’s very confusing since 94% of the people in Colli are named Incollingo.  And the rest are Santilli’s, Campellone’s and Angelone’s, which we both have lots of in our trees.  This should be interesting as we keeping delving into our roots.  But in his Facebook picture he looks exactly like my cousin Tony or my cousin Joey.  (They were twins…so they looked the same.)   And get this- in addition to French and English, Giuseppe is fluent in Italiano.  How cool is that?  He said he’d be glad to translate those pesky emails from the paisans I keep getting.  Ho gia il mio nuovo amore cugino!  Oh yeah.  I’ve been studying.  Italiano.  Rosetta Stone.  Getting nowhere.  Subito.


The rhubarb that devoured Surrey or wherever in my garden continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  It might be all the goddamned rain.  I’m afraid to go out and hang up my washing to dry.  (We can let that pass; that will so never happen.)  I’m offering the stuff to positively everybody, even strangers.  “Psst!  Want some righteous rhubarb?”  I don’t bloody know; maybe you can smoke the shit.  Anyhow, some friends have taken me up on the offer.  Of course, I make them come and unattach it from the ground themselves; there’s bugs and dirt there.  Carol, one of my co-workers from Sam, came to get some the other night.  I was watching ‘Roswell’ on FX (I love hunky aliens) so I said “Hey, Carol.  You know where it’s reproducing itself at an alarming rate; have fun.”  So she did.  And then she presented me with a Tupperware container filled with blackberries (not the kind you keep track of your appointments in).  The kind that are like a fruit or something.  “I picked these in my daughter’s garden” she told me proudly.  “Today.”  A bit of history; Carol’s husband is a minister and they’ve been missionaries.  They lived in Botswana.  Really.  Maybe people in Botswana pick stuff and then eat it.  I’m pretty sure there are no Acmes with frozen food sections in Boswana. 


“Hmm” I said playing for time and examining the little fuckers carefully.  “Blackberries.  What do I do with them?”  It was a valid question.  Several kinky things were then mentioned by the minister’s wife, including ‘baking in a pie’, ‘stewing as a compote’, and ‘making a crumble’.  Oh.  Crumble?  I like crumble, especially when the chef at BooBoo’s restaurant makes it and I just have to stick on the cream and eat it. 


“It’s very easy” Carol explained.  “And Waitrose sells a crumble topping.  Just follow the instructions on the package.”  So I did exactly that.  This ‘baking’ thingy isn’t so complicated after all.


Piano Man came down (or up; I never get it straight) from London for a date so after dinner we went back to mine for dessert.  Well, yeah, to shag actually, but I was able to offer him some homemade blackberry crumble, after warning him that if he died I wasn’t accepting any responsibility whatsoever.  He said it was delicious. And I’m pretty sure he didn’t die. 


Maybe I’m getting… domestic.  Nah.   




Published August 3, 2009 by jean cohen

I got a frantic phone call late on Friday night from my friend Hester—you know, Tea Lady partner and Sam Bric-a-Brac finder of amazing (new) clothing (“Hester here.  A delicious DKNY suit in Jade just came in in a size 12 with the tags still on it.”  “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!  On my way!”)  She begged me to cover her shift at Bric-a-Brac on Saturday afternoon due to an emergency.  She got invited to a theatre matinee in London.  We all have the occasional dire emergency, and what kind of friend would I be if I said ‘no’?  I’ll answer that.  A not absolutely, drop-dead-gorgeous well dressed one.  So although it was Shabbat and it was in Bric-a-brac, I said I’d do it for her.


I did the alternative service at Shul, accepted birthday wishes and a few kisses, but had to dash out early.  Fortunately, I’d remembered to turn off my mobile.  Loads of texts were waiting, including a particularly eloquent one from the Irish Lad: ‘Yom Huledet Sameakh. Xxx’    “A sheynem dank, Tee, especially for taking me to see Cousin Lenny for my pressie.”


The guys from Sam Books had given me my birthday card and present on Thursday; I didn’t expect one from Brics.  Apparently when Hester rang Pia, the Manager, to explain about her elderly grandmother in the iron lung in Belfast or whatever and that I was covering her shift, she mentioned that I was charitably doing it on my birthday.  I received a lovely antique brooch from the Brics guys.  I’d seen it in the shop in the Estate Sale case and admired it, but it was expensive.  It’s Murano glass, in the shape of a mandolin and absolutely beautiful colors.  I’m sure Hester will hunt down the perfect outfit to wear with it.


It was my first shift in Brics, but I am never, ever working there again.  For two reasons.  Well a lot of reasons, including the mint green chemise from Phase Eight, the burgundy Ferragamos, the darling patchwork jeans for Amy, and the blue candles for my bedroom.  The volunteers restock the displays as stuff gets sold, so it’s all, like, handed to me.  And it all whispers seductively “You cannot survive without me!” 


Things went okay really until about 4:00.  We were extremely busy, but I coped.  A young couple came in who were furnishing their first flat (young love is so sweet).  They bought 24 wine glasses, in various sizes.  Maybe they’re alcoholics.  There was simply no way I could wrap and packed 24 glass items, even if they gave me until next Saturday to do it.  I had to call Charlotte, a co-worker, off the pressing machine in the back (“Holy St. Nordstrom of the Rack!  That’s a positively gorgeous skirt, Charlotte.  What size is it?”) and ask her to do it.  I hate being handicapped.


Saturday night Pinkie and Carol took me out to dinner at Il Ponte, the lovely new Italian restaurant on Hanger Hill.  Carol had sneaked up earlier and dropped off an immense Happy Birthday balloon, which was sitting on the table when we walked in.  Pinkie and I had eaten there before when Princie was here, and I’d done dinner on one of my dates.  The food is wonderful.  Carol works at the Dress Circle, which is one of the two really posh consignment shops in Weybridge.  We might have chatted a bit about clothes during the meal.  Pinkie gave me lovely gold hoop earrings for my birthday, and I got a bling keychain from Amy in the shape of a Scottie, to commemorate Hamish.  Of course there was a cake, complete with a princess wearing a crown on it and everybody in the restaurant sang ‘Happy Birthday’, embarrassing me mightily.


The Irish Lad’s birthday card, incidentally, was a masterpiece.  Since I used a bar mitzvah one for his birthday, he used me a Jewish New Year one for mine.  I wonder if he had to go all the way to Golders Green to find it?  The printed greeting said ‘Warm thoughts and many wishes for a good year.’  Tee added ‘Well, close enough, eh?  It’s a Shanah Tovah for Regina!! Love ya.’ 


And I loved it so much that I posted a scan of Cheese Boy’s card, employing a theme of… well… cheese.  He doctored it a bit so it was perfect, and the printed greeting on his was appropriate too- ‘Have edam good Birthday.”


Pinkie and I called in at the Grotto on our way home for a nightcap.  We have pretty much stopped going there at all, and Chelsea Supporter Guy is quite upset with us.  When we stopped in for a quick one to show Stuart the ‘infamous Grotto’ while he was visiting, Colin wouldn’t even speak to me.  But I think I can carry on anyway.  He figured out it was my birthday; I was carrying that big mother balloon and the rest of the cake.  So he insisted on buying me a drink.  I didn’t want him to.  I really don’t like him.  But it seemed churlish and rude to refuse.


On Sunday BooBoo and the Boy came over to mine.  We’d decided to barbecue instead of going out to eat again. It seems that’s all I’ve been doing lately.  More pressies.  A shredder – something I really should have and not just for pictures and mash notes from old boyfriends.  A handicapped bottle/can opener.  Again, something I can really use.  A lovely clock for the mantle.  And a sort of joke gift that Boo spotted and really hit the mark about me.


One more drinks Do is scheduled with friends, and then I think my birthday will be officially over.  Note to Darling Lulu:  Duh!  Did ya forget something???


I’ve got a big project for JDavid to do this week, a couple extra Sam shifts (Books, not Brics!) and another date with Piano Man.  Piano Man is the guy formerly known as ‘Geordie Guy’.  He reads the blog (who doesn’t? really) and complained.  He didn’t like ‘Geordie Guy’.  He suggested ‘Mr. Thursday’, but I didn’t like that.   I get to make up the damned nicknames, not them.  It’s not a democracy in “Jeano’s World’.  So he’s ‘Piano Man’ now.  And no, he can’t play the piano. 




Published August 1, 2009 by jean cohen

The very first person to wish me ‘Happy Birthday’ on the actual day was the Stepson Formerly Known as Prince.  When my phone rang at 8:00 in the morning, I expected it to be Boo or Pinkie.  I was a bit farmisht at the time.  I was pondering what to wear to Syn.  (‘Farmisht’ means confused; don’t confuse it with ‘meshuge’, which means crazy ‘cause I’m generally not.  Meshuge, I mean.  However, I am frequently farmisht.  I’m glad we cleared that up.)   Anyhow, I was farklemt trying to select an outfit that screamed “Special Occasion/Birthday!”, ‘JAP!”, “But not fucking Old” all at the very same time.


It was 3:00 in the morning across the Pond and for one terrifying second I thought it was Jerry calling to discuss that teensy little problem going on at the moment with the Internal Revenue Service.  


Adonai Wept!  It was Stuart serenading me with a rousing chorus of the birthday song.  “It’s the middle of the night there” I said after I’d thanked him.  “I wanted to be the first person to wish you ‘happy birthday’ on the actual day” he told me.  “I figured you were up by now freaking over what to wear to Shul.”  I guess Stuart knows me pretty well.  That was so sweet.  And very much appreciated.  I love you, Princie.


And there was an email waiting in my inbox from License to Injure Slightly and Blood Relative:  ‘Happy 40th Birthday…. (That was your birthday present.)   Thank you!  I love you old folks, too.


And the guys at Sam gave me a card with this cool analysis of a Leo.  I’m not much into horoscopes as a rule, but I must admit a lot of it was so me.


v    This dramatic, creative, and outgoing sign has the keyword ‘magnetism’.


v    Leos make loyal and giving friends.


v    Unassuming and gracious, they love to host parties and events.


v    They are ambitious, creative and committed.


v    Leos love to surround themselves with the things they fancy. ‘Money is meant to be spent’ as far as this sign is concerned.


v    This fiery sign is passionate.  Mates must allow the Leo to take the lead, shine brightly and be independent.  A mate needs to be an intellectual equal to cut the mustard.


It went on to say that Leo’s likes include being admired, fun with friends, expensive things, and bright colors.  Dislikes: being ignored, not being the queen.  Strengths are warmth, humor, pride, creativity, passion, and generosity, while weaknesses include arrogance, stubbornness, inflexibility, and self-centeredness.


The choice of color for a Leo is gold, pretty appropriate and lucky if one is a Warm Autumn.  Cool Winters are stuck with boring black and white.  Their best travel destination is Italy. 


And finally, since it’s my birthday, the Perfect Gift is ‘a status symbol item like a designer watch or Louis Vuitton purse’.


In case you were wondering…