All posts for the month June, 2010


Published June 22, 2010 by jean cohen

You’ll be pleased to hear that my luggage is back from holiday in Australia.  It had a nice time.  So did PPeter, borrower of said luggage.  He was highly amused that I had to borrow someone else’s suitcases to take to Philly.


Another busy week, but they all are.  Thursday started off at 6:30 AM- a networking Do in Cobham with JDavid.  That necessitated a 4:45 AM alarm to get up, coffeed and dressed for a 6:15 pick-up.


“I’m not my most charming at 6:30 in the morning” I’d warned David when he asked me to go along. 


“Sure you are” he said.  “You’re always charming and you’re better at networking than me.  Must be an American thing.”


He is so full of it; I’m Italiano.  He probably just wanted company.


But I went (I picked out my outfit the night before; otherwise I would have had to wake up at 3:30 to start pondering).  And I was almost civil.


I got home at 9:30, just in time to change and dash to a meeting at Christ Prince of Peace.  I maybe wasn’t so charming to the Catholics either. 


Then a quick stop at the Senior Centre to check on the numbers for our next Coach Trip; it’s not selling very well (again).  Then it was off to my shift at Sam.  Thursday night I went to dinner with friends.


Friday was my quiet day; I had to rest for the Midnight Walk.  So only one meeting in the morning (but it wasn’t ‘til 10:30), lunch with Brenda and Hester and shopping for the raffle prizes for the Centre’s Wimbledon luncheon on Tuesday.  Then I did rest.


Maya picked me up at 10:00 PM so we could check in early at the Walk and then go have a coffee.  It was pouring down rain.  We met up with our other two walkers and wandered around chatting to everyone we knew.  I sure know a lot of women in Surrey; it still amazes me. 


It was raining.  It was cold.  It was England.. summer style.


I was layered and flashing bunny-eared and BooBoo had given me my very own anorak so I was ready for anything.  Except maybe my very first ever porta-loo in New Haw at the mid-way point.  Who thought those up? 


The walk was uneventful and I staggered across the finish line at Brooklands Museum at 3:20 AM to receive my gorgeous medal and a much needed cup of coffee.  I will get around to posting some pictures when I get a spare minute.


I do confess to being too tired to get up for shul on Saturday morning.


I am quite proud of myself for: a) walking ten miles, b) doing it for the third time, and c) doing it for a cause that really, really matters in honor of someone who really, really mattered.


Scary Fairy crosses the pond next week, hopefully with a suitcase crammed with goodies for the Third Annual Thanksgiving Dinner.  And the Jews for the third annual Festa di Independenza barbecue.  That’s three ‘third annuals’ in one blog.  Cool, huh?


I think it’s going to be a huge do this year.  I’ve made so many friends – the real kind – that the guest list is enormous. 


Of course, I’m looking forward to endless Scrabble with Her Scariness.  Note to Toots:  Ha! Ha!  You could hop on a plane, you know.  Rhonda could fix you up.


Fortunately, Scary doesn’t want to see England this visit.

So we’re going to see Paris.  We’re taking Eurostar over for four days of wine, men, and sightseeing, French style.  Did I forget ‘shopping’?  Sacribleu!


Maybe Scary can be persuaded to do a ‘Guest Blog’ on her visit.  I could use a break.


Published June 16, 2010 by jean cohen

Well, I obviously got home to Weybridge without any mishaps.  It’s amazing that my real life kicked into overdrive and I literally didn’t have the time to blog.


Just to close my American adventures, after BooBoo left I did a lot of stuff.  With a lot of people.  I almost took BA up on their offer to change my flight and stay longer, but I had stuff in England.


I sure have more stuff to do than a lot of people.


Boo picked me up at T5; there wasn’t even a whisper of a problem coming through Immigration.  And, thankfully, they didn’t want to search my bags.  Why should they?  I’m an upstanding Italiano, here legally.  Most of the stuff was okay anyway, almost all of it.  Maybe not the alcohol, extra strength Excedrin, fags, and Provolone cheese, but the rest was just fine.


We hardly cried at all; it was only a week.


Riding home from the airport, I had a Jeano moment.  I realized it was Thursday.  Actually, Boo asked “Who’s covering for you at Sam today?”


I said “Gee, is it Thursday?  I think I forgot to ask for today off. I’d better ring Jeremy.”


Of course, it slipped my mind when I got home.  All the stuff Boo smuggled in was waiting to greet me, and all the stuff I smuggled in needed to be found in my suitcases, amid all the stuff I bought that didn’t, technically, need smuggling but had to be shown to Boo in case I’d bought it after she left.


Plus the phones kept ringing with welcome home texts and calls.  There was even one from Jeremy saying “Welcome back! I’m in Horsell today so I need you to do the cashing up.”  Gulp.


So I ambled in a zombie-like trance up the High Street to the Bookshop.  I told Brenda “Just keep feeding me coffee- lots of it – and we should both make it through the afternoon.”  Divine was so excited I was back that she popped into Sam to see me.  (I was in the middle of trying to figure out which coins were .50p’s and which ones were .20p’s.  Hey, I was tired.)  She hung around until we closed to walk me home.  That was very providential; I might not have found my house otherwise.


Needless to say, I crashed early on Thursday night, especially as I had to be up for a meeting on Friday morning at the Senior Centre, jet-lag be damned. 


So voila!  I was back in my groove.  Coffees, lunches, dinners, and meetings, meetings, meetings.  


I went to Syn on Saturday, of course.  I figured they missed me.  (And I wanted to show off that stunning jacket I picked up at the Church of St. Nordstrum Rack in KofP.  It got tons of compliments.)  Maybe that’s why they offered me the honor of opening the ark doors.  I said ‘yes’ and prepared to wow the crowd.


I was sitting with Estelle, who was to read the Haftorah portion.  She had a terrible cold and decided we should switch parts.  I freaked. 


“You want me to read the Haftorah?  You get to open the bloody doors and I get to read a long passage from the Torah with lots of hard words?  On the bima?  In Hebrew?”    


“No, you can read it in English, since you didn’t practice.”   


Thank Adonai for small favors.  He didn’t speak to me as usual.  Maybe He did, but I was mumbling “’Rahob?’, ‘Amorite?’, ‘Sihon?”  Is ‘Shittim” pronounced ‘shit-em’?  Can you say ‘Shit-em’ on the bima?” frantically to the people sitting near me.


The exciting, and very long, story of Joshua Son of Nun went okay, although Donald commented during the Oneg that it was obvious I’d just returned from the States.  “You’re saying your O’s in American again” he told me.  “That’s a to die for jacket.  Did you get it at Nordstrum’s? (Okay, I made that part up.)


I got the most incredible news at Shul. (This is a good point to mention my 10-mile Midnight Walk on the 18th   in aid of the Hospice.  Don’t forget to sponsor me.  Go to: and pledge a few ₤s.)


The incredible news is that the synagogue gave me ₤5000.00!

That’s like… a whole lot of bucks.  Really.  I’m not making this one up.


And dearest Cousin Bernie had published my JustGiving letter in the Haderech, so money is pouring in from people I don’t even know very well.


Otherwise, on the strictly social front, I had a fantastic dinner with Divine at Il Ponte, dinner with Brenda, Scrabble with Hazel, Film Club, Book Club and a jaunt to Denbies Wine Estate to a friend’s Art Exhibit.  Of course we squeezed in a wine tasting, lunch and the purchase of a few bottles of Surrey Gold, their finest Pino.


There was a lecture I attended, I’m doing the write-up for the syn’s newletter, on ‘Co-existence between Arab and Jewish cultures  – is it possible?’.  The speaker was a well-known international lawyer who specializes in the legal issues arising from the Arab-Israeli conflict.  It was thought-provoking and informative.  I’m glad I joined the Israel Group at shul.  I was in the States during the flotilla fiasco, but got hard news and editorial opinions from a lot of reliable and respected news sources, invaluable when dealing with uninformed and ignorant people.   


JDavid has certainly kept me hopping since I got back, lest you think it’s all fun and meetings.  We’re developing a sales flyer, and  preparing a talk to be given at a professional conference.  This week, we’re doing a business networking breakfast in Cobham. 


I came back from this visit home conflicted. 


The pressure was intense to return to Philly and … that’s the point; do what?  Resume the life I had, create another new one?  I don’t know.  I got ‘home’ to Weybridge and slipped seamlessly back into this life.  And I’m content, and challenged, and feel like I belong here. 


I’ve been offered an honor at Erev Rosh Hashana service in September.  It is a big deal.  The letter said ‘it is our custom during the High Holy Days to honour those who contribute to the community’s life.’  I guess that in my own small way I make a difference here and I matter.  And it feels right.


I dreamed about Jerry the other night.  In one of those ‘skewed time and place’ scenarios, we were on a cruise, somewhere in the Caribbean.  We were at the ship’s casino and I was working a one-armed bandit. (Jerry hated when I played the slots, not that it ever stopped me).  I hit a jackpot and the money that started pouring out was ₤1.00 coins. 


It must mean something.





Published June 10, 2010 by jean cohen

Don’t waste your money.  Sex and the City 2 sucked.  Although Princie and I had fun (I liked the clothes; he liked the chicks). 


When we got out of the theatre, I had a text from Boo that she’d gotten pulled out of line at Security for a further check due to my Progresso Italian Breadcrumbs and a can of Hormel chili.  She’d freaked that when they opened the suitcase right on top of her size 38DDDD bras lay four cartons of fags.  Fortunately, it was Security not Customs and they were looking for drugs or explosives.  Nothing got confiscated (I can’t swear about Boo’s unmentionables) and my stuff got on the plane okay.


My dashing about and socializing continued full tilt after Boo went home.  One of the coolest things was having lunch with Lisa and Karen, old friends and former work colleagues at Rosenbluth Travel at Michael’s Deli.  We reminisced about the good old days, people we worked with, and some wild fams we went on, including Karen’s and my infamous jaunt to St. Maarten in the Caribbean.  Wow!  There’s five days I can’t remember.


Anyway, we’re hoping that the ladies will cross the pond for a visit to Weybridge in the Fall.  The really good thing about friends who were travel agents too is that they don’t want to visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London.  Again.  It’s so ‘been there, done that a thousand times already’.  


But the mostest exciting of all was the long anticipated meet up with the luverly Henry Levenstein of the Marlboro, New Jersey Levensteins.


Henry, by way of explanation, is the Go To Guy I went to when I directed the Purim Review… the penner of such classics chart toppers as ‘Yud! Mem! Chuf! Hai!’, ‘Hebrews are Strange’, ‘Nine is the Loneliest Number’, and, of course, ‘Purim’.


Not only are Hebrews strange, life is.  I hooked up with Henry via email, desperate for inspiration and some clever material for NWSS’ Purim show.  We just… clicked.  We corresponded sporadically and I emailed that I was coming home for a visit.  A face-to-face was definitely in order.  And thus it was arranged.


Princie: “Let me get this straight.  You’re taking the SEPTA R3 to Trenton, New Jersey to have lunch with a guy you met on the internet?”


Me:  “Well… yeah.  But he’s Jewish, so it’s okay.” 


We’d settled on Trenton because George Washington went there via the Delaware River to kick British tush.  So not!  Trenton just worked geographically, with train schedules and so forth.  And positively nobody goes to, like, Newark to have lunch unless somebody else is holding a gun to their head.  Which, come to think of it, is perfectly reasonable in Newark.


So I hopped on the R3 to meet the guy who, when I asked what he looked like, wrote “Your standard Jewboy look”.  I was in love already.


Henry was … luverly.  He picked me up at the train station and whisked me off for a gorgeous lunch at a charming Italian restaurant.  (I know, I got to swear off the Italian.  We shared a cannoli for dessert.)  


Henry said I was ‘a fascinating woman’; he’d perused the blog for the scoop and I shared some additional stuff.  It’s ironic, sort of.  My journey through the wilderness doesn’t seem so enthralling to me, probably because I’m living it, with the highs and lows, disappointments, and occasional victories.  I guess it reads better in a blog.


I really liked Henry and had a great time.  On the train back to Springfield I did ponder the strange twists my life has taken.  Not taken, exactly, since I made practically everything happen myself by sheer determination and intrepidness.  You read it here first:  I am uber cool.




Published June 6, 2010 by jean cohen

Wow.  That was a crappy blog- not at all up to my high standards of journalism. 


Tough shit.


I was very busy.


So, back to What I Did On My Summer Vacation…


The second night we were there Princie had a pool party.  Boo and I were still jet-lagged and had a fairly early night.  I don’t know what everyone else did, but a lot of people ended up staying over.


We went out for dinner with my cousins on Sunday night, like my last visit, but in the Northeast at a restaurant called Tuscany.  No surprise there; excellent Italian food.  I think poor Boo was intimidated by a gang of loud, fast talking Italians who didn’t understand a single word she said.  Cousins: “What?”  Me: “She said ‘Hi, nice to meet you’”, translating from English to… well… English.


As it was Boo’s birthday while we were there, I decided to make her a Jeano Birthday Dinner, a special dinner that the Birthday Person gets to choose.  Well, that’s not true, actually.  If I was in charge of the celebrating, I would have just made reservations.  Ira and Princie decreed I was cooking the dinner. 


“Boo, what would you like for your birthday meal?” I asked.


Ira and Stuart:  “Why are you asking her?  You’re doing gnocchi and meatballs and a salad to put the meatballs in.  With cannoli for dessert.”


So Boo and I went shopping at Genuardi’s for ingredients and I whipped up a fantastic meal.  Boo had tasted cannoli at the cousins’ dinner and wasn’t crazy about them so I took pity on her.  I just ordered a regular birthday cake instead.


Then it was off to Delaware for an overnight visit with Abe and Janet.  In the afternoon, they took us to Longwood Gardens (like Kew Gardens here) for the Lily Exhibit.  In the evening, they took us to Little Italy in Wilmington for dinner at the Mona Lisa, a too die for Italian restaurant.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  The cannoli were fantastic.  They brought one out with a candle for Boo’s birthday.  After dinner, we went back to Chez Bailis and watched a Brazilian film.  Janet drove us back to Springfield the next afternoon as I had a special date arranged… Scrabble with Toots by the pool.


Toots was late (she got lost navigating the wilds of Delaware County and the Blue Route).  She dashed in in her most ‘Toots’ way, got introduced to Boo, and after barely saying ‘Hello’ to me, started getting the Scrabble board set up.  I felt so … used.


“Aren’t you glad to see me?  Don’t you want to mention that I look terrific?” I asked piteously.  “Yeah, whatever” Toots responded, drawing her first letter.  “F.  Did ya make coffee?”


It was positively, unbelievably fantastic; like the quarrel had never happened, we were right back in our groove.


BooBoo sunbathed and read her book (I guess we kind of ignored her) as we got down to serious Scrabble.  When Princie showed up, we paused long enough to instruct him to order Chinese food for dinner.  We took a ten minute break to eat when the food arrived, and it was back to the game.  We played two hard fought matches, splitting- one win each.  Since she had that long drive back to Lansdale, we had to eschew a third game. 


Boo’s visit was at an end, so I took her to the Springfield Mall for one final shopping trip first thing Thursday morning.  We had plans for lunch in Philly, with His Honor, the Judge.  Princie dropped us off near City Hall early so Boo could take some pictures and at least say she got into the city once on her trip.  I’d already taken her to Independence Hall on a previous visit so we spent the time productively.  We shopped.  At Daffy’s. 


Then it was off to the Italian Bistro for a yummy, if uncomfortable, Italian meal with my intimidating brother-in-law.  It was really nice.  I’ve hinted before in the blog that Gene is a teensy bit rigid and judgmental.  Not at all!  We had a great time and he said some things about me that were jaw-droppingly complimentary.  No, I won’t share.  But I felt pretty damned impressed with myself.


Then it was time to take BooBoo to the airport.  I was sad… and worried.  Her suitcases were crammed with my first load of absolute necessities and goodies.  And I was going to miss her.  I was.  There were a few tears on both sides. 


So to cheer up, Princie and I decided to go to the movies, to see Sex and The City 2, which had opened the night before.