All posts for the month May, 2013


Published May 19, 2013 by jean cohen

It seems like my blog isn’t miraculously appearing on my Facebook page anymore. I don’t know why. Have I mentioned that I hate WordPress?

I’ve been sort of homesick this week for things Philadelphian. Partially, I think, the reason is that Philly figured in the plots of two programs that I’m watching on TV.

In ‘In Plain Sight’, a show about the Witness Protection Program, a witness and two marshalls travelled to Philly for a funeral. At the funeral, there was a huge floral bouquet, suitably done in green and white, with an Eagles banner in the middle. Wow, I thought. When I die, even though there are not flowers at a Jewish funeral, I want a couple of those, at least if the season was going well. The bereaved Wit-Sec guy also wore a really cool Eagles jersey through most of the episode. He wore a suit to the funeral.

I’m also watching ‘Revolution’, by those guys who did ‘Lost’. I am somewhat unimpressed by the show, but I like that whenever they show the megalomaniac General Monroe’s headquarters, he’s living in Independence Hall. (General Washington would shit a brick.)

My friend, Michael (from the Bookshop), passed away and I went to his funeral on Tuesday. Thankfully, the casket didn’t get whisked into the oven thingy until after we left the room. It was sad, but he’d done so much in his life, it was not so sad, if you know what I mean. The ‘wake’, which in Brit-speak is the reception/luncheon after the service, was at the ultra-exclusive Burhill Golf Club. I had never been there, so Mike gave me another ‘first’, which is getting pretty hard to do.

Wow. That place is gorgeous. The room where the reception was held was exactly like I expect ultra-exclusive, posh English gentile places to look, with high ceilings and decorative moldings, and two huge Georgian fireplaces. (I don’t really have a clue if they were ‘Georgian’ or not; maybe they were Victorian or Edwardian. They were pretty neat.) The food was good, and I confess I got tipsy on several glasses of wine on an empty stomach too early in the day.

I had to dash home and sober up to get to Syn for Erev Shavuot. I had to take pictures in my Press Agent role, and do a write-up for Haderech in my ‘I simply can’t say ‘no’ role’. The eats were delicious; there were, like, six different kinds of cheesecake for dessert, because, of course, cheese is a must for Shavuot meals.

I sat with Cousin Bernie at dinner. He lived (and worked) in Pittsburgh for a couple years and has this notion that we have something in common because I’m from the same state. I have explained to him many, many times that living in Pittsburgh is not something to brag about. Not only isn’t it the cool side of Pennsylvania, it’s practically in West Virginia, and therefore, they are hillbillies and talk funny.

I went up to London on Friday with Adriana. The plan was to look at a flat she’s thinking of buying as an investment, go to the Victoria & Albert, and have dinner somewhere in the City.

The flat is in South Kensington, which, I guess, is a trendy area. It is chock a block crowded. I expect I have gotten really old, because living in the city, any city, doesn’t seem very appealing anymore.

The flat was… miniscule. Truly. I could not see me living there and I’m one person. It comprised 37 square meters, which is about 398 square feet. It had a tiny galley kitchen, a living room, a smallish bedroom and a not very modern bathroom, a quarter of which was taken up by a washing machine. All that for about a bazillion pounds, because it’s in London. I know. I’m being all American and princessy. But it’s my blog and my opinion. None of it was even ‘wow, that’s nice!’ I couldn’t think of a single nice thing to say about the flat to Adrianna, except that if you were sitting in the living room, you could cook in the kitchen at the same time, if the spatula had a long handle.

We took the tube over to the V&A after our tour of the flat. The exhibit on right now is ‘David Bowie’ for £14.00. I just wasn’t that big a Bowie fan. We wandered through the some of the free exhibits and then found a very nice little Italian restaurant for dinner. The couple sitting at the next table were Canadians on holiday, and we started chatting. Well, duh. One: they weren’t English so they talk to strangers; and two: Canadians are friendly and want to be liked by everybody.

So that was my week.

I’m on a bit of a tear about Facebook at the moment. Why, why, why do people need to post whatever stupid thing comes into their heads? Or share some sentiment they copied when they got locked overnight in a Hallmark Store?

Now that I’m playing Scrabble and Words with Friends on Facebook, I go on quite often. And you see posts and read them, even if you don’t want to.

I have some recommendations.

What I especially don’t like is ‘Like’. You know, the ‘Like’ thingy. I don’t like ‘Like’.

BooBoo very patiently explained that friends click ‘Like’ to indicate that they have seen what you posted. But they don’t necessarily ‘Like’ it.

So I would like it if Facebook changed the thingies under a post. I have a few suggestions.

1. Yeah. I saw your post. So what?

2. That was actually interesting/amusing.

3. Was that post another thinly veiled insult to Americans?

4. And your game scores are breaking news because…?

5. Christ! You posted another banal cartoon about drinking copious quantities of wine? Maybe you need to check out the Friends of Bill W page.


The Merry Month of May

Published May 13, 2013 by jean cohen

I didn’t even cry.


I checked out the weather forecast every day this week (Met Forecast: There will definitely be weather on Saturday.  What kind?  Who knows?)  The weather was manic every day, changing from so-so to hurricane, sometimes hourly.


When I spoke to BooBoo on Friday night she was surprised.  “You’re not hysterical” she said somewhat accusingly. 


“Duh” I retorted, stung by her inference that I didn’t care about the Friends of the Weybridge Centre Spring Fayre.  “It’s not like it’s my Festa di Independenza barbecue, is it?”


There’s important, and then there’s really not important in the larger scheme of Life.


The committee spent Friday afternoon getting set up.  This involved moving every bloody piece of furniture out of the lounge at the Centre to set up the tables for the inside stalls.  The Manager, tottering around on her six inch heels, watched.  At least Sanjay used to help.


I was in charge of commissioning the stalls this year, and I thought I did a damned fine job.  Unfortunately, at 6:45 am on Saturday morning, the Face Painter rang to cancel.  Her child was ill.  At least that’s what she said.  It might have had something to do with the gale force winds.


At 8:45 the Food Van lady rang to say the parking spaces we’d promised her had cars parked in them.  I had reminded Skinny in the six inch heels to put cones in the spaces at least five times.  Urghh!  I did enjoy going to the estate agent office and demanding that the woman parked in our designated spot move her car immediately.  She actually said to me “I don’t appreciate your attitude.”  And I said “Sweetie, you haven’t even seen my attytood yet.”


Of course, none of the stall holders liked their allotted spots and kvetched.  So, moving tables and bickering ensued.


The Mayor officially declared the Fayre ‘Open’ at 11:00.  In my Weekly Weybridge is a Small Town moment, her chauffer said to me “Have we met before?”  “Yeah” I told him.  “You were at my table at the Pesach Seder at my synagogue last year with the previous Mayor and his wife.  And I sat you with my friends at the Thanksgiving Dinner when their Mayorlinesses came.”


We had a sizeable crowd come through, but they were browsers not buyers.  I don’t think most of the stalls did very well.  The two Jamaican ladies selling Jerk Chicken and other Caribbean food got a little hostile.  I hoped they wouldn’t put a voodoo curse on me. 


At 1:30 sharp, the overcast skies and biting wind morphed into a torrential downpour.  People left, people didn’t bother coming, and the already grumbling stall holders started packing up. I am never doing another Spring FFFFayre.


He was the Prime Minister of Canada

Published May 6, 2013 by jean cohen

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here, which means … um … nothing really.  People are off work on Monday and shops are closed, but there’s no purpose.  We’re not celebrating anything.


CheeseBoy returned from Sharm el Sheikh very brown and with the mother lode of fags for me, so it was a successful vacation.  And Boo made an excursion to Costco’s and got me lots of Kirkland Coffee, so I’m all set for watching it piss down rain all weekend. I’m stocked up on the two basic food groups- coffee and fags.


A so so week here.  Gardener Guy came to chop down the forest of green stuff that grew over the winter.  He is so damned hunkalicious; he even sweats sexy.  It’s well worth the £’s just to eye his tush in those tight little jeans.  Getting rid of the green shit is a bonus.


I went to an Aviv Evening.  That’s a social club through Syn.  It’s sort of a get together, with coffee and dessert, and an activity or game.  We were asked to pick a famous Jewish person and list ten facts about them, beginning with obscure and getting easier.  I picked Barbra Streisand and thought I’d stump the group, at least until the ‘easy’ facts, like ‘played Fanny Brice’.  (That wasn’t really one of my facts.)  Anyway, Fact #5 – Dated Pierre Trudeau – had Tina shouting ‘Barbra!’  I did amazingly well; that visit to the Museum of American Jewish History paid off and I knew a lot of useless information about famous Jews.  (Did you know Danny Kaye once owned the Seattle Mariners? I did.)  I came in fourth place.  I won a box of chocolate truffles.


Ray came for Scrabble and we had two really tough games.  We each won one. 


Oddly, the weather got positively Spring-like in the middle of the week.  At least, what I think I remember Spring feeling like.  I went out for lunch with Hazel to a charming pub along the Wey River called the Pelican.  It was so sunny that we ate our fish & chips outside in the garden.  I thought “It’s exactly for the ten days a year like this that I put up with the other 340… 360… 355 days!”


I got a flyer through my door this week (in the mail slot, right under the admonition ‘no solicitation’ no flyers, no junk mail’) inviting me to a seminar at the Weybridge Library on Saturday afternoon by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association on ‘Peace for All’.  My first thought was ‘Shit!  They know where I live!’  Then I calmed down and figured they put the flyers in everybody’s door, even the Neighbours from Hell.  Well… maybe not theirs.


I talked Adriana into going with me and we moseyed over to the Library.  There were, like, 6 Muslim guys hosting the event, but no women.  We were instantly creeped out.  One of them practically attached himself to my leg, following me around and handing me leaflets like ‘Some Frequently Asked Questions About Islam’.


“Trust me” I told the guy, “I don’t have any questions about Islam.”


It was almost as bad as letting a Jehovah’s Witness into your house.  They were proselytizing very aggressively.  Yeah.  That worked out real well for Tamarin Tsarnaev’s stupid wife, didn’t it?


Bashir, my guide to Mohammed, invited me to visit the mosque in Malden.  (He gave me his email address and his phone number; I did not reciprocate.) 


I’ll add that to my list, right after cooking something that I grew and camping.


Performance Appraisal

Published May 5, 2013 by jean cohen

I love lists.  I can’t get enough of David Letterman’s Top Tens, and I always read the ones online that do like ‘the Five Scariest Movies Ever’, or ‘The Eight Best TV Theme Songs’, or ‘The Eleven Porn Actors Who Are Not Acting’.  (I made that last one up. If anybody has actually seen one, please send the link.)


Anyway, there was one yesterday: ’20 Things to Do Before You Die’.


It’s not like I’m depressed or anything.  But I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of people out there from places I can’t even spell who want to kill me.  Hey, they want to kill you too, so don’t call me paranoid.


Anyway, I figured I’d better check and make sure I’m up to speed- no stones unturned blah blah blah.


I did pretty well.  So if any Islamic jihadists from some unpronounceable place turn me into unconnected blobs of protoplasm, I haven’t missed much.  Oh.  And I want to be buried with all my Louis Vuittons.  So get a bigger casket.


Starting with an easy one, ‘Adopt a Pet’, we always had dogs.  Rommel, who was a very scary looking German Shepherd, was my faithful companion.


‘Design and Build a House’ – Seriously??  Using my lily white hands?  I give myself points for this one because when we moved into our house in KofP, there was this wall between the kitchen and the den.  It went up half-way and then there were spindles to the ceiling.  I hated those spindles. They reminded me of June Cleaver or the 60’s.   DeadJerry told me that they held the second floor up.  He lied.  One day, when Toots and Ron were over, I was kvetching about the spindles and Ron went into the garage and got DeadJerry’s superduper macho man ginormous cutting tool thingy and removed them.  (You should have seen DeadJerry’s face.)  Anyway, I ‘designed’ and Ron ‘unbuilt’ and the second floor didn’t end up on the first floor.  And I was very happy.


‘Go Wilderness Camping’ – Really.  If the Jihadists sent me a text telling me I was next to get vaporized, I would still politely decline any invitations that included the words ‘wilderness’ and ‘camping’.  Although I once stayed in a Holiday Inn in Des Moines, Iowa, which should count.


‘Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving’ – Although I don’t scuba dive, I have been fortunate to snorkel in some of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean many times.


‘Be Cheered by a Crowd’ – Whether it was inciting a riot at Texas Stadium during an Eagles-Cowboys game and getting ejected or modelling in a Fashion Show for Sam Beare, I have heard the roar of the crowd for me.  And I get a positively swelled head from all the applause and compliments at the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner.


‘Taking a Leap of Faith’ – I do this every August when I believe that this is the year my Eagles will win the Super Bowl.


‘Own Your Own Business’ – I did, with DeadJerry.  It might look good checked off a To-Do List, but it’s a lot of hard work and stress.


‘Buy a Home’ – Check. 


‘Give Something Back’ – This was a bit unclear.  If you gave me something, like a diamond or a Louis Vuitton, no way in hell am I gonna give it back.  I don’t care how mad at you I get.  Oh.  ‘Give back’ in the metaphorical sense.  Yes, of course.  I give lots of time and effort to charitable causes.  And I always donate a few £’s or $’s to friends’ giving pages, like Cooking David’s Grow a Mustache.


‘Drive Coast to Coast’ – Well, I haven’t actually done this.  We’ve driven from Philly to Key West, Florida, and Philly to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I drove the whole part of Route 66 in Arizona, which should count.


‘Buy a Piece of Art Because You Love It- I saw these custom made ‘people’ at an art show and bought myself a life sized butler (dubbed Bunter ala Lord Peter Wimsey) who stood between the living room and the dining room holding a tray of drinks.  The dog was terrified of Bunter, and guests provided hours of amusement after they screamed when they caught a glimpse of him lurking in the shadows.


‘Take a Sabbatical’ – Well duh!  What else would you call what I’m doing?


‘Get Your Heart Broken’ – Jerry and Matthew both succeeded admirably.


‘Make a Piece of Furniture’ – DeadJerry actually made it – a beautiful cabinet – but I supervised.


‘Take a Stand’ – I did.  I fought, and won, a legal battle where I was the injured party.  No, I’m not sharing the details.


‘Do Work You Really Care About’ – Again, my volunteer work for the Hospice is really important, and it remains a way to honor Jerry.


‘Do Something That Really Scares You’ – I did.  I put myself out there on the dating sites.  It didn’t work out, but I learned a lot about myself, other people, and human nature.


‘Make a Meal With Food You Raised Yourself’ – Let’s be honest here.  That’s never going to happen.  I have enough bloody trouble with the ’make a meal’ part; forget about ‘raised yourself’.  Unless you want to come to dinner for ‘weeds parmisan’.


I saved the best for last, because these are the two I aced.


‘Live in a Foreign Country’ – I am either a legend in my own time, or insane.  I am still living here in Britain and still having an adventure.


‘Keep a Journal’  – ‘Oh, to be in England’ will be my legacy.


So, other than growing and cooking, and camping, I’m pretty satisfied that I’ve done it all.