All posts for the month March, 2010


Published March 31, 2010 by jean cohen

I had a convo with Cheese Boy about Twin Peaks, which I repeated to Tom.  Which led to a discussion about Daniel Day Lewis (don’t ask me; as usual, I don’t know how his mind makes those leaps).


We were talking about DDL’s movies, and, specifically, which year he won the Oscar for ‘There Will Be Blood’.  I googled it; it was 2008.  Then it invited me to a site of ‘The Best Movies of 2008’.


I was only moderately interested, (gee, I missed a lot of films in 2008) until I detected a pattern.  A lot of the titles, with a little imagination, applied to the Turd of Camberley. 


Maybe like the Chinese do with years, 2008 should have been dubbed ‘The Year of the Turd’ by Britain.  Smack and I both met him in that year.


It was actually difficult narrowing it down to the ten funniest titles.


There Will Be Blood – yeah, really.  If the Witches of Meadway ever find all three of ourselves in the same place as him, you can bet your tush there will be.  His.


You Don’t Mess With the Zohan – Just change that ‘Zohan’ to ‘Cohen’. I think maybe he’s figured that out for himself by now.


How to Lose Friends and Alienate People – I don’t think the Turd needs a primer for this one.  He’s an ace at it.


Burn After Reading – Obviously, he should add this instruction to all of his texts and emails to ladies IN CAPITALS; especially when they compare notes and discover he’s sent it verbatim to all of them.


Iron Man – Come on.  Think.  Boxing Day… all three of us…


Speed Racer – It’s a marathon!  Racing around Surrey in a people carrier from house to house to house.


Sex and the City – It’s just a suggestion, but maybe the Turd should extend his geographical parameters to London; there’s more anonymity in the Big Lime.


No Country for Old Men – Same idea; Surrey is no longer the best ‘county for old men’ on the prowl.


Drillbit Taylor – This one actually makes me think of Tom and his miner’s euphemisms, but it kind of works here.  ‘Drillbit’ Meadway’s only positive quality is – well – his drillbit.


Body of Lies  And again, this totally defines the Turd, without any distracting adverbs, in three words.


Righteous Kill – Not the literal translation of ‘kill’; more the ‘killing me softly with their words (and actions)’ kind.  And referring to The Witches, naturally.


Which leads me to EtcK and Smack, my fellow Witches of Meadway.


We’d kept in touch after the dust settled post apocalypse, and we’d all said at various times “We should really get together”.  But we’re all so busy in our post-Turd  social lives.  Strange.  The Turd, sadly, isn’t; except with Smack’s garden and doing her grocery shopping.  She’s still in contact with the Turd; he’s trying some heavy duty re-writing of history to woo her back.


I decided to be pro-active.  I emailed EtcK and Smack, inviting them to mine for lunch.  I picked a date (before Pesach started so I could serve some real food).  They both accepted.


Although they’d spoken on the phone, they’d not actually met each other.  They decided to travel together to me on the train.


Smack said the Turd’s expression was priceless when she dropped the little bombshell on him that the three of us were meeting for lunch and ‘girl talk’ at mine.  I was sorry she hadn’t taken a picture.


I met them at Weybridge Station.  We’d all seen pictures of each other, so I had no trouble recognizing them.  Besides, EtcK was wearing a witches’ hat, to set the mood.  That was so damned cool.  I seriously wished I had thought of doing that myself.


We had a long, lovely afternoon, fueled by a few bottles of California’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon.  The conversation got down and dirty, and I mean that in the most literal sense.  Nothing was off limits or too intimate to be shared, compared and dissected.  Unsurprisingly, and like all rats trapped in a corner, the lies he told after he got busted were pretty desperate.  And pathetically easy to disprove.


But this is about the Witches and me, not the Turd of Camberley.


EtcK and I are very different women.  She is a kinder, softer person than me, but a far cry from the clingy, needy picture I had formed based, again, on total lies.  I think this might really be the most ‘mortal’ of the very many sins the Turd committed, unfairly and untruthfully disparaging EtcK for his own sexual  agenda.


Smack and I are a great deal alike.  We’re both widows, both independent and feisty (she’s Italian too), and perhaps a bit demanding.  In a good way, in that we have expectations and standards, and we expect them to be met.


I’m not sure what they thought about me.  I’d like to think that they liked me too, and thought I was pretty special.  Maybe I should invite them both to do a ‘Guest Blog’.


Will we all become ‘best friends’?  I doubt it.  That requires some sort of deep emotional connection that I don’t think any of us felt.  And there’s the G.U. factor; they both live quite a distance away; not conducive to casual coffees or get togethers.  But I think we honestly clicked. 


I hope we’ll keep in touch, and maybe meet up from time to time to catch up on our lives, not the Turd’s.  He was just the inadvertent catalyst that brought us together in the first place.


I believe in karma, although in this particular situation it didn’t work exactly by the book; three women benefitted from one Turd’s harmful actions.  The Turd got what he deserved.



ITALIA dei VALORI – that’s my favorite party

Published March 29, 2010 by jean cohen

This is interesting.  Apparently I can vote in Britain, if I want.


Well, in Surrey anyway, in local elections.  Since I’m a taxpayer.


The very thought gives me brain freeze, just like Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, which I found at Sainsbury’s.  Nary a single box of bloody matzoh, but 2 for 1 on Ben & Jerry’s.


But I  explained very nicely to the Lib Dems that I spend a lot of time already at 3:00 AM (when DeadJerry isn’t kvetching or I’m watching out for a ghost with big feet and zero taste to slip another sock in my knickers drawer) pondering about Silvio and Barack.  I just don’t have a spare minute to get all worried and depressed about Cowey Sale, even if it’s a landmark and my paison, Julius Caesar, crossed the Thames there on his way to conquering England and introducing vino to the natives.


Note to the natives:  You’re welcome.  From us Italianos.


“Yeah, But I’ve so done that other one” I explained, “The famous one; the Washington and the Delaware one, like, 800 times.  There’s a painting, you know.  By some German guy.  I think his name was ‘King of Prussia’ or that was his local.  Anyway, they’re all in a row boat, in the snow, on Christmas Eve on their way to Trenton, New Jersey to kick some British tush.”


The Lib Dems suggested that perhaps I might like to be a Tory.


Buy Design’s second Trunk Show was not a rousing success.  It was really rather disappointing, especially since Carol and I had worked so hard.  My friends all turned up again, bless them, and our sub-vendors did well, but we didn’t sell nearly as much as we’d projected.  We’re meeting this week—when we can squeeze it in- to rethink our strategy.  We’re not giving up, though.  We’re determined to be successful.  And stunningly dressed while getting that way.


I think Carol might come with me when I go home for a visit in September; to see Valley Forge and Independence Hall.  At least I think that’s what she told Tony.


I went to Divine’s house for coffee, and to hear all the dish on her vacation in Egypt.  Her son was off school – allergies – and so was at home.  A scary, strange thing happened while I was there, which I won’t go into, but it necessitated a phone call to Surrey’s Finest.  While we were sitting around waiting for the cops to arrive, we tossed around possible explanations for what had ‘gone down’.   (We all watch a lot of Law and Order.)


Harry, sort of apropos of the incident, or how he interpreted it, commented “Britain doesn’t provide any mental health services at all to their crazy people.”


Divine and I looked at him, looked at each other, and started to laugh.


I said “Harry, I could bite you right now!  You sounded so ….  American.  You’re so cute!”


Divine agreed.  “That needs to make the blog.  Harry, you’ll be famous.”


Harry is a war buff, especially World War II, so I’d brought him Season One of my priceless Rat Patrol to borrow.  The next morning I got a message from Divine:  “Watched Rat Patrol with Harry last night.  The German is mine.”


Those were fighting words.  “Think again, Girlfriend.  The German is mine, mine, mine!  You can have Tully or Hitch.”  Said German is, of course, the prototype for the conflicted not really very evil hero of my magnum opus.  Hey, wars have been waged over less.  Ask Harry.




Published March 27, 2010 by jean cohen

I had a second driving lesson.  That’s it.  That’s all I’m saying.


Well, okay, maybe I’ll just add that I’m not liking it very much.  And when I don’t like things, I pretty much just don’t do them.  Simple, really.


I had Tea Lady duty Tuesday morning, and had planned to do a little preparation for the Trunk Show on Friday night while I was there, and I had a meeting with Sanjay and the manager of the Hersham Centre at 11:00.  But Hester rang first thing in the morning to report that she was ill and not coming in; could I sell raffle tickets and do the lunch reservations for her? 


Sure.  In my spare time.


My friend, Brenda turned up at 11:30.  We had a date for coffee, which I’d totally forgotten about.  At 12:00 Vicki, turned up.  We had a date for coffee, which I’d completely forgotten about.  When I got to my beauty parlor appointment at 1:00 (which, thankfully, I remembered), Marie, my stylist commented “Gee.  You seem a little tense.”


“Yeah, well, if you were coming off three coffee dates in two hours you’d be wired too.  It’s the caffeine” I told her.


Naturally, by the time I was leaving the hair salon, it was pouring down rain.  There went my super-smooth bob; Shirley Temple curls proliferated all over my head by the time I got to the NHS for my doctor’s appointment.


I just knew that weird guy sitting in the corner mumbling to someone invisible was my doctor’s patient before me.  He didn’t even glance at the dire warnings about ‘appointments are 10 minutes long; if you’re really, really sick, tough shit.’  He must have been in there, like, 17 minutes.  I timed him.  I was in a hurry; it was Tom Tuesday and I needed to get home, shower, do something about those bloody curls and get gorgeous before I had to dash up Hangar Hill to meet Tom at Our Italian.  I talked fast.  I was out in nine minutes although I lost the big battle: ‘no more drugs until you have your blood test, which is seriously overdue’.  


Tom Tuesday was terrific; no surprise there.  Geordie Guy is off to a temporary contract in Florida and has decided to have a holiday in Key West.  He asked my least favorite question.  “What should I do while I’m there?”


I’m sorry.  Am I wearing my ‘Travel Agent- Ask Me Stupid Questions’ hat again?


“Look both ways when you cross the street” I suggested.  I always find that one helpful, especially when the askee is British.  I don’t like Florida.  I wouldn’t care if it fell off the end of the US and floated over and copulated with Cuba or wherever.  And next to Orlando, I dislike the Keys the most.  All that sand, surf and sunsets.  Yuck.


It’s funny; Vicki asked the same question.  Well, I mean she’s not going to Florida with Tom.  She’s off to a conference in Boston.  Since I like Boston, I had tons of suggestions.  Of course I explained that Philly is much nicer and the stupid Tea Party doesn’t give the folks up there bragging rights as the most important city Revolutionary War-wise, no matter what they say.


But I did mention Paul Revere and the History Trail, and impressed her with a few verses: ‘… one if by land, two if by sea, and I on the opposite shore shall be ready to ride and spread the alarm to every Middlesex village and farm.’  And I told her to eat at Anthony’s Pier 4, go to hear the Boston Pop, and catch a Sox game at Fenway.


Carol and I had a slew of stuff to do to get ready for the Trunk Show, and I had JDavid work that had to get finished, so I actually had to beg off my Sam shift this week.  I went out to lunch and shopping with BooBoo in that time slot. 


Partly that was a necessity.  Otherwise I would not have seen BooBoo for a whole week (she popped in to drop off some signs she’d made me for the show, but I wasn’t there).  But I had to shop for my luncheon party on Saturday.  I am entertaining the Witches of Meadway.  Yep, EtcK and Smack are coming to Weybridge.


Pesach begins on Monday and I’m off to London to the Rabbi’s house for the First Seder.  I’m overnighting there.  (Gulp.) 


Then its back early Tuesday morning for the Easter Lunch at the Senior Centre.  Me: “I need a special meal.”  The Cook: “How about a nice ham omelette?”  Me: “On second thought, I’ll just pack my lunch.”


Then it’s change again and dash to the Communal Seder at Shul for Second Night.


Then Wednesday in London again with JDavid at a work thingy, and on Thursday a Lib-Dem Do with Vicki.  No, I’m sorry; I have no clue what Lib-Dems are, but it sounded like fun so I said ‘Sure!’.


But I will blog all the details of the Show, the Witches’ visit, the Rabbi’s house, etc, etc.


Someday soon.



Published March 22, 2010 by jean cohen

It was a nailbiter.  ‘Nova played like the Night of the Living Dead.  They squeezed by Robert Morris (!) in OT.  So much for the Fox pundits who predicted a second consecutive Final Four appearance.  Not the way they’re rebounding.


I’m sorta liking Old Dominion at the moment; they beat Notre Dame.  Butler beat UTEP and BYU beat Florida; not an auspicious start to my pool.  Fortunately, Kentucky took care of business.


Notch another one for ‘Carrie’, AKA me.  Another electronic device bit the dust.  Well sort of.


My computer, Mario, coded, flat-lined, and finally went to … hell, I don’t know … where computers’ souls go when their cold shells stare back at you with a dead black screen.


But I didn’t even get one hair out of place pulling it all out.


I have a new Computer Guy.


Mario needed some tweaking last week, a problem with the driver for my CD drive.  There was an ad in Haderech, the synagogue newsletter, a computer person who comes to your house and solves all your problems.


Okay.  Stop it.  Stop snickering right now.  Computer Guy One is,  as far as I’m aware, still making house calls in King of Prussia.


I rang this new computer guy, who said “Hi, Jean.  I haven’t seen you in a while.  You alright?” 


Gee, I must know him.  I guess it isn’t surprising.  This is Surrey.  I know practically everybody.  And if I don’t, they’re probably not important enough to know.  “Do I know you?”


“Of course.  We’ve met at shul and at the First Seder last year.  I’m Debbie’s fiancée.”


Well, that explains it; he’s the nice young man engaged to Kay’s daughter.  Although, to be honest, the last time I met Debbie and her intended at shul, I was too busy checking out her engagement ring to pay much attention to the guy who bought it.


Computer Guy did all sorts of wonderful things to Mario.  He had to take Mario home overnight, but when he brought him back the next morning, Mario is acting like a frisky young laptop again.  Mario is happy, and so am I.


And speaking of explosions and ‘Weybridge is a Very Small Town’, Tom and I were upstairs and we heard this loud pop downstairs.


“What was that?” Tom asked.


“Some electrical appliance or whatever probably exploded” I explained disinterestedly.  “You’re the man, Sweetie; you go take a look.”


Sure enough, Tom reported with shock and awe that one of the under-counter spotlights had … exploded.  So I had to call PPeter and tell him.


PPeter came over (and he left with both bloody socks on), shook his head a lot, just like he did when the shelf in the refrigerator cracked into a million tiny shards of glass one evening, and said he’d order a new fixture.


He rang to say that the new fixture had arrived, but he couldn’t come on Saturday morning to install it as he was ‘busy’.


“Yeah, I know, Sweetie” I told him.  “You’re having a simcha and a special Oneg Shabbat at shul for your retirement from the cemetery.”


“How did you know that” he asked, gobsmacked.


“This is Weybridge” I told him.  “Everybody knows positively everything about positively everybody.  Besides, I read it in Haderech, the synagogue newsletter.  I’ll be there.  It’s not like every day that my landlord gets a simcha at my synagogue.”


When I got to shul on Saturday morning, there was PPeter, a bit uncomfortable in a suit and a yarmulke, standing in the vestibule with Ian, the shul’s Burial Scheme Coordinator.  (Ian’s job must be to say ‘No!  We can’t slot her funeral in on June 17 next year!  We have to plant her now!  Today!  Tomorrow at the very latest!”)


I said hello, and PPeter said “I guess you’ve never seen me dressed before.”


It was a Smith Barney moment.  Everybody who was busy Shabbat shaloming everybody else stopped on a dime. 


“Ya know, I don’t think that came out right” I told PPeter.  Like I don’t have enough tsauris what with being mean and smutty.“

“He’s my landlord” I announced.  “He comes around a lot to fix things that exploded and visit the rhubarb that ate Surrey.  He takes his shoes off, but that’s all.  He never, ever takes his socks off.  Really.”


The little ceremony after services was sweet.  Several people made short speeches about Peter’s kindness and thoughtfulness at what is always a difficult time.  One in particular brought tears to my eyes.


As you know, or maybe you don’t, it’s the custom when visiting a Jewish grave to leave a small pebble or stone on the tombstone. When somebody from shul explained this to Peter, he gathered up a container full of small stones to offer to people, like hard candies, to place on their loved one’s tombstone.


Tom Tuesday was, as always, fantastic.  At Our Italian, the conversation meandered around from the Vietnam War to the Korean War, which veered to the 38th Parallel, and then watching episodes of ‘MASH’ on Comedy Central.  Which segued into reading ‘Catch-22’.  I brought that up; a copy came into Sam and I put it in the Classics section, prompting some nasty American-British disagreeing in a loud voice.  We chatted about the book, and then moved on to the movie. 


Naturally, Tom renamed a portion of my anatomy to ‘your 38th parallel’, possibly an improvement over your ‘Mason-Dixon line’.


On Thursday night, ‘Catch-22’ was on Sky.  I texted Tom to tell him.  He texted back that his hotel didn’t have Sky and I would have to watch it for both of us.  So about every ten minutes I sent him an update: ‘Yossarian just got his medal stark naked’,  ‘Milo Minderbinder just arranged for the Germans to bomb the airbase’, ‘Yossarian just told Nately’s whore that  Nately’s dead’, and so on.  His replies were hysterical.

Otherwise, it’s been work, work, and more work getting organized for Carol’s and my next Trunk Show this weekend.  It is really tiring to hit seventeen charity shops in one day looking for drop dead gorgeous new clothes.  But we managed.  And we branched out—beauty products this time and footwear.


Unfortunately, Villanova lost to St. Mary’s in Round Two of March Madness.  So I’ll continue with my brackets, and my predictions, but my heart won’t be in it.  Given how busy I am with other stuff, I probably won’t even mention it again.  Until the Final Four round.






Published March 17, 2010 by jean cohen

I know I promised to warn y’all if I got behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle.  Well, I did; but I didn’t share.  I had my first driving lesson in the UK.  All ‘mazel tovs’ graciously accepted.


I’m the first to admit that I am a truly shitty driver in the States.  Even Stevie Wonder would offer to drive rather than be a passenger in a car I’m piloting.  We all have unique and special talents; driving is not one of mine.


To illustrate the point, a few weeks before DeadJerry got, well, dead, he could hardly make it outside to his big mother SUV, preferred ride of short men who have Napoleon complexes, for a doctor’s appointment. (Did that sound a trifle mean and petty?  I guess I still have some unresolved issues.)


Anyway I hoisted all 62 lbs of him up, up, up to the drivers seat, and then offered to drive instead.  His response: “I’m dying, but there’s no way I want it to be as a traffic fatality.” 


Naturally, I got a teensy bit pissed off.  “Yeah, but” I protested, “I could pull you outta there with my little finger, throw you in the wheel well, and just drive to the fucking hospital, ya know.”


Of course, I let him drive.  But I made him stop at Wawa first for jumbo cappechinos.


Ken, my instructor, is very nice.  And very patient.  He hardly screamed at me at all.  He did suggest that I stop hitting every pothole in Surrey at 60 MPH.  Maybe he owns the car. 


I think he must eat a bowl of Prosac sprinkled with granulated Valium for breakfast.  I asked, and he said no, he has a banana.


Oh yeah.  He only has one leg.


Apparently, if you want to learn to drive an automatic in England, they send a guy who doesn’t need that other foot to stamp on the clutch.


The first words out of his mouth were, big surprise, “Are you American?  


“No, I’m Italian.  Read the learner’s permit.  It says ‘Italian’. I just can’t watch enough Law & Order on telly.  Must have rubbed off.”


One legged Guy: “Ooh!  Have you ever been on Route 66?  The Ventura Freeway?  The Pacific Coast Highway?”


Ditto.  Check.  For sure.


Then he insulted me.  “Are you from Texas? You have a funny accent.”


C’mon.  Texas?  Seems like One legged Guy is missing a few other important parts, too.  And, once and for all, I don’t have a bloody accent.


I hated every second I spent in that stupid bloody car on those stupid miniscule little roads, going around stupid confusing roundabouts driving on the wrong, stupid side of the road.


It didn’t go real well, but nobody died.  I don’t think.



I made my pilgrimage to the only Jewish Waitrose in Britain with BooBoo.  I have been invited to North London- to the Rabbi’s house – for the First Seder.  I’m pondering; it requires an overnight stay due to the train schedule.  Jackie told me very seriously “The seder starts at 7:00 and finishes about midnight.”  Oh dear.  I ran this past Princie on the phone when he rang to swear it wasn’t his sock. 


“I know, Sweetie” I assured him in regard to Sockgate, “That would be too damned Appalachian to even contemplate sober.”


Anyway, Princie said “Wow!  7:00 to Midnight!  They must do the entire Haggadah from back to front!”  That thought had also occurred to me.  At the Cohen seder, praying was over by 8:15; and that included 47 children taking turns saying the Fir Kashen for a Susan B. Anthony silver dollar.


Boo and I discussed what an appropriate hostess gift might be to bring when you’re staying overnight at your rabbi’s house and it’s Pesach.  In other words, an Entemann’s cherry strudel would not be a good idea, even if you could get one.


“Wine is always good” Boo suggested.


“Nah, can’t do wine” I told her.  “Not only does it have to be kosher wine, it’s got to be ‘kosher for passover’ wine.” 


“You just made that up” Boo accused me suspiciously.  “Uh uh” I protested, “That’s one’s true, Boo.  I swear.”


I do not know why people always suspect me of telling lies.


“’Kosher for Passover’ wine is more kosher than kosher.  It’s, like, the kosher-est wine.”


“And what makes it kosher-er than the kosher-est?” she asked.


I knew she was gonna ask; I was ready.


“Well, besides the rabbinic supervision, and only Sabbath-observant Jews jumping on the grapes while singing Chad Gad Yo, the mold can’t be mold that grew on bread.  It can only be fruit mold.  Duh!”


I only made up the part about Chad Gad Yo.  Maybe they sing Hatikvah.


Imagine Boo’s amazement when we found the Kosher section at Mr. W’s (hidden in the corner behind the toilet paper)  and on one of the three shelves were some bottles of ‘kosher for Pesach’ wine.  For ₤9.99 a bottle.  And it wasn’t even Manischewitz White Concord.  I would have sprung for a bottle- or two, or four – for my own private ‘Pesach seder’.


I did get matzoh, so I can make fried matzoh, and, unbelievably, chocolate covered matzoh.  I’m not sure what you do with it, but I’m looking forward to experimenting.  Maybe on top of ice cream?


When I went to Film Club at shul (It was ‘The Music Box’; excellent flick) I shared my ‘adventures of Pesach shopping in Britain’.  Sandy, another member of shul, has a house in California.  She started talking about going to a supermarket, any supermarket, and how there are aisles after aisle crammed with Passover foods, including as she said ‘those family packs of ten boxes of matzoh for $2.00.”


“Really” I agreed, tripping down Memory Lane.  “I just paid ₤3.99 for one box.  I didn’t even buy any macaroons; they cost more than a Whistle skirt.  I won’t be getting all ecumenical and inviting some Gentiles over for fried matzoh at mine any time soon.” 


Sandy:  “What’s fried matzoh?”


Big sigh.