Friday, June 30

Don’t Bother Me, I’m QUEING

I love London.
London loves me.
However I have to say yet again, that I just do not get the mentality of the British people.
They are content to receive whatever the ‘powers that be’ dish out to them.
I like to think of it as ‘serf mentality’.

You see Kasamboys and Kasambettes, the peasants in the middle ages had to rely on the good will of the landholders. Whatever the landholder dished out, he would receive undying ‘thanks m’Lord’ from the poor serfs. Then the peasants would line up in an organized fashion in order to receive whatever bounty (like day old chicken scrapings) the landholder felt like bequeathing.

This phenomenon of lining up was called ‘queuing’ as in standing in a ‘queue’.

Not much has changed from the middle ages.

The common folk in Britain, direct descendants from the aforementioned serfs, still have this peasant mentality. They wait happily in line, content that they are continuing the time honoured tradition of their forbearers.

There is the issue of not disturbing the deep meditation that is queuing; which means that there could be an entire line of people that snakes its way out of the store, but heaven forbid if you ask someone to open up another register.
Your fellow queue-ers will be horrified.

The best example I could give would be the time when I went to Marks and Spencer to buy yet another baby in the USA the famously indestructible Marks and Sparks underwear. As I stood on the ever lengthening line, I noticed there were only two people working in an eight person cash register bay. Then I noticed that one of the cashiers wasn’t checking anyone out at all. All she was doing was hanging up bales of clothing returned by the last costumer.

I was getting really restless.
I looked around to ask a shop assistant to open another register, but to no avail. I started the old New York ‘hemming and hawing’, first under my breath and then louder to the tune of, “Bloody hell, if they go any slower they’ll be going backwards!”
Only to receive a multitude of disgusted looks as a reward.

Finally after fifteen minutes of this charade, I took out my mobile phone and called the store. Finally, after another five minutes of being transferred, I was put through to the Marks and Spencer Store Manager. When I told her what was going on and how many people were standing waiting, she was aghast. She apologized profusely, asked me for my name and proceeded to THANK me for reporting this because NO ONE EVER DOES.
And if no one complains, then how can they set the problem right?

Within the span of three minutes, the Store Manager replete with her medallions and managerial attitude, came marching through the throngs of people with another six shop assistants keeping pace behind her. I could almost swear I could hear the ‘union label’ music floating through the air. She quickly and efficiently placed each of the shop assistants at registers and yelled at the moron (who was still hanging up returned clothes) to get back to checking people out.

Then in a loud voice she said, “Is there a Mrs. Kasamba here?” to which I meekly (okay, maybe not so meekly) said, “Here!” She continuing in her booming voice she said to me, “On behalf of the entire Marks and Spencer company, I would like to apologize and thank you for bringing this delay to our attention. Therefore, we would like to offer you these gift certificates for the sum of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS!”

I graciously accepted the gift certificates with a short but sweet acceptance speech (well, it is the closest thing I’ll ever get to an Oscar) and after she stomped off to whip another one of her employees, I turned to my fellow queue-ers and noting how absolutely shocked they looked, I told them, “What is wrong with all of you? Why are you content to stand here for ages without complaining???? Next time you’d be better off opening your mouths.”

To which no one answered because it was my turn to pay.

Wednesday, June 28

Picasso’s Revenge

Ola my Sweeties!
Did anyone miss me?
On second thought, don’t tell me. Presumptua (my ego) is feeling a little fragile today. Read on to discover why….

Hubby, the ‘Travelin’ Man’, surprised me this weekend by whisking me away to accompany him on one of his numerous business trips. On Sunday, we flew to sunny Barcelona, which was my first time in Spain.

But what of the kiddies you might ask?
Well, they know where the fridge is and they have enough comic books to keep them busy for several months, so they were fine.

-Hold on here, for those of you not yet used to the Kasamba sarcasm, I was joking. My mom was in town, so she watched my prodigious progeny. She said the kids were fine and she only got a few scars, nothing that will show. (Joking again!)

Anyhoo, we arrived on Sunday evening to THE most stunning hotel, whereupon Hubby declared, “Enjoy it while you can because I have a lot of plans for us”. I thought that it was such a shame because I wanted to lap up the luxury. So, if you learn anything at all from this tale; remember,

On Monday evening after an action packed day of following Hubby from one appointment to the next; I got food poisoning. So until we left, I was stuck in the luxury suite, driving the ultra-modern porcelain bus. I have this thing about regurgitation, unlike the Casablanca models, I am a firm believer that once food goes in, it should stay in, until gravity does its job. My mantra is: It’s not supposed to came out the way it came in.

Because I was in Spain, I liked to think of my affliction as ‘Picassos Revenge’. Don’t get me wrong, I adore his paintings, but I imagine my illness is similar in nature to the reaction Picasso’s models had when they looked at the disjointed, painted reflections of themselves by the misogynistic master. Yes, Picasso is laughing away somewhere and I honestly felt that like every one of my body parts was attached peculiarly and precariously, much like his most famous expressions of art.

Tuesday, we were supposed to take tours to see the sites, including the gaudy works of Gaudi. But alas and alack, that was not to be….

But for the 24 hours I was out and about, I did make some observations about the Barcelonans. Here they are:

#1- Good looks are a prerequisite for employment.
Everywhere I went the staff looked like the cast of the Bold and the Beautiful.

#2- They talk funny.
They all sound like they went to ‘The Sylvester School of Speech Therapy’. Pronounced, ‘The Thylvethter Thcool of Thpeetsh Therapy

#3- There are no Jews in Barthelona.
No kosher restaurants- nothing. No wonder one is forced to bring ones own food and possibly become ill…

#4- They aren’t anti-American or anti-Semitic, like the French are.
Whenever I go to Paris, the undercurrent of hatred is such that it does tend to float to the surface. “Excuse Madame, I weel get these for you in your seeze, ah I see you are une Amiricane and you are a Jeweesh. Would you just hold this unpinned grenade, sil vous plait?”
In Barcelona, there are tons of Yanks and no one minds. As far as Jews are concerned, the smoke from the inquisition has cleared up so long ago that they probably forgot what we look like.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear Picasso laughing again…

Thursday, June 22


Recently, I stumbled across of few of my kids diaries. “Hey”, I thought to myself, “ they can write!”. Then, deciding that since my children are an extension of myself, and therefore there is no Inyon of invasion of privacy, I decided to see what they did write.

The first diary I happened to find was Asparagus’s. I chanced upon it under her mattress, covered in a shoe bag, wrapped in a pyjama top, and bound with ribbon which I had to cut in order to release it. I opened it to the date of March 7th, a Tuesday. It read as follows:

Dearest Diary,
Today in school, all my friends decided to make a birthday party for my very good friend, Strawberry. I was so excited that when I came home, I made Daddy buy me a whole load of nosh. Then do you know what Artichoke did? The chutzpah, he actually helped himself to some of it! So naturally, I screamed and screamed. So do you know what he did? The chutzpah, he poked me sooooo hard, I actually thought I was going to faint! I bet I have a black and blue mark, but I’m too scared to check!

Diary, who will marry me now?
Anyway it all ended up okay, because Artichoke got in really big trouble, so I feel much better.

On a different note, Mummy is still blogging away. I think it’s so wonderful!
Till tomorrow my dearest diary, goodbye!

The next diary I found was Artichoke’s, hidden under a drawer full of empty crisp packets. Once again, I opened it to Tuesday, March 7th to see his version of events. This is what he wrote:

Diary, Oh yeah, Hello.
Today I went to school. Big deal. Boooring. Blah, Blah Blah. Then I came home and found out that Asparagus has another birthday party. Another party!! She has parties every two seconds!
Those girls would make a birthday party every time a new animal is born in London Zoo.
Then she goes with Daddy and gets a truckload of nosh. So, I took one measly packet, and she goes all mental and ballistic! Then she starts screaming that I poked her. I didn’t even touch her! I always get in trouble for things I didn’t do!
But it’s okay, when Asparagus wasn’t looking , I went into her room and touched everything.

By the way, Mum’s so busy blogging, I can’t even talk her properly, not that I’d want to anyway!
Whatever. Who cares. Bye.

The last diary I found was Cucumber’s; my little, tiny girl who is in nursery. Hers was a bit more difficult to find, because I had to search through several months worth of Barbie magazine’s to find it. The strange thing was not only the diary itself, but, the other book that was hidden alongside it. It was a copy of Stephen Hawkings book, ‘A Brief History of Time’. Stranger still, it was worn out. So, I opened her diary and checked out the date of March 7th, and this is what I found.

Salutations Diary!
Once again I found myself enduring the ceaselessly repetitive school system. In order to preserve my façade, yet still retain my intellect, I sat through story time doing mental exercises in quantum physics.
I can’t seem to fathom why the populace has yet to detect the vast extent of my brilliance.

Today my siblings have provided me with much mirth and amusement. The Artichoke – Asparagus dance never fails to delight me. One can always be certain that life in our house is never dull. It is so gratifying to take part in such a stimulating sociological experiment.

To digress, my maternal unit is obsessed with a relatively recent phenomenon called ‘blogging’. She does not know that I see her fingers itching to return to her computer and record her thoughts.

I think she is in dire need of therapy.
Farewell, until next time,

Then I noticed in small letters at the bottom of the page,
P.S. It was I who poked Asparagus!

Monday, June 19

The Constance Gardner

We live in very busy noisy world.
We create for ourselves environments surrounded by cacophony.
Think about it, what is the first thing you do when you go into the car? If you’re like me, you put on the radio. At home there are many other varieties of noise available. In addition to the good old radio, there is the CD, the tape recorder, the phone, and the noisiest of all; my kids.

This background and foreground noise has its place in my life, in that it enables me to do monotonous chores without having to focus exclusively on them, as well as the sheer pleasure of listening to something good. However this ‘noise’ also serves another purpose and that is escapism. For every moment that I engage sound merely for company, there is another moment where I allow sound to take my mind off of what I don’t want to be thinking about. And when I do that, I ignore the messages from my conscious.

You’ve met Presumptua my ego; now meet my conscious, Constance. She’s very patient and tries very hard to communicate with me. This is an example of how hard she tries to get through to me:

Constance: Kasamba, you should really go and visit that old lady down the block.

Kasamba: Oh, is that the phone ringing? No? Oh, I thought I heard the phone
ringing, never mind. I’ll just turn on the blender. There, that’s better.

Constance: Kasamba, you haven’t said Tehillim for that sick man yet, have you?
You should really do it now before you forget!

Kasamba: I really should get that door fixed, it makes such a racket! All I have is
olive oil, I wonder if that’ll work? I’ll do that later anyway, for some odd
reason I just really feel like vacuuming. Yeah, that’s good.


Kasamba: (Fingers in ears)La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la,

One day I came upon the realization that the most frightening part of noise pollution is how accustomed I have become to it. This epiphany came when a well-meaning person gave my toddler at the time, Tomato, a particularly loud toy with which he could play with, on a flight from New York to London. Needless to say, I was panicked by the thought of him activating this obnoxious toy during the flight. My mind was awash with images of this blaring toy shrieking its ear-splitting mantra, “I WANT A HUG!” over and over again, while flight attendants ran to and fro trying to shut it up.

But no matter what I did (plead), or what I offered (the contents of my purse and my credit card), my little boy refused to hand over his new treasure. When the plane finally took off, my son decided that he was ready to regale the other passengers with a deafening rendition of “I WANT A HUG!” and he turned his toy on. I waited and waited, but all we could hear was a small almost non-discernible “I want a hug”. I was so relieved, and I realised then just how noisy the aeroplane really was. Remember, on land this toy’s volume could have been measured by the Richter scale, and now it was barely audible over the plane’s engine!

That is exactly what happened to me in my daily life.
I had grown accustomed to my level of noise and I became desensitised to it.
I forgot what the world around me should sound like.

So I did all the things possible to fill up the audio space around me and fool myself into thinking that I was not physically alone. But I was. And as much as I tried to escape from my thoughts, Constance was waiting for me, like a patient burglar waiting for the occupants of the house to fall asleep. She had tried to communicate with me through dreams and the occasional anxiety attack, but I remained steadfast in ignoring her. The more I tried to suppress her, the more physical symptoms I had, such as stomach problems, migraines, etc.…

Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz once said that although our souls are thoroughly attached to our bodies, the spiritual with the physical, they both have different wants and needs. For the most part they are diametrically opposed and very rarely do they share the same desires. Every sin that we do is because we’ve listened to our physical wants instead of our spiritual wants. Taking this idea even further, noise can be described as yet another tranquilliser our body uses to move us away from spiritual self-awareness. Therefore, the basic idea is to use solitary time of stillness as a time to hear our inner voice, that of our Neshama.

I have since learned to put aside time to hear what Constance has to say. This Cheshbon Hanefesh time for me is in the evening, right before I start my Shmiras Halashon learning. It doesn’t take a long time, a few minutes maximum, but it affords me the opportunity to be introspective and know what it is that I have to do and what I have to correct in order to grow spiritually.

Oh, I still have some days that I just want stuff a sock in Constance’s mouth and tell where to go.
But I am truly grateful to her, because if she hadn’t knocked hard enough on my thick skull, I would still be running around in complete denial of what I am meant to do.

Thursday, June 15


This post is dedicated to the many Drama Queens in my life. It is an amalgamation of all of them. Since I am not able to say anything about them in Real Life, I choose to do so here. Just know that I really do love them all, but they can drive me mad.

It is a bit evil, so if it offends you, please feel free to throw tomatoes at your computer.


She came to see me only the other week
To have a coffee, perchance to speak
With tears hovering behind her eyes
She had something to tell me; surprise, surprise.

She waved her hands around her head and declared
That she might have something that would leave her impaired
She said, “In my head I have so much PAIN
And I said, “Well dear, it sounds like a migraine”

“No”, she said, without a trace of humour
I’m afraid it might be a BRAIN TUMOUR
She said she’s going for tests: MRI’s, cat scan and CBC
To ascertain just how sinister this pain can be

Then the phone calls come from the busy bees
The yentas who make me want to hack at their knees
“Nebech” they say, “However will she cope?”
I think to myself, “Two aspirins I hope”

But I keep my tongue firmly in its sheath
And I agree with them through gritted teeth

The phone call came the following afternoon
A very happy voice said she was, “over the moon”
She said, “This is what you’ve been waiting to hear
Boruch Hashem all my tests came back 100% clear!

“Oh wow”, I said, “That’s wonderful, that’s great”
“So you have a little time before you become ‘The Late’”
In a hushed voice she said, “It was serious, I’m telling you
I was a hairsbreadth from death, my hours were few”

“Well then, you must so grateful”, I say
“But” she says, “Wait ‘til I tell you what happened TODAY

We all have crises of varying degrees
But hers requires professional hypotheses
Every little thing gets blown up out of proportion
Every little thing gets twisted by distortion

A few drops of water from her ceiling is a flood
A haemorrhage is when she sees a tiny bit of blood
A sleepless night and she’s got ME
A few coughs and her child has TB
A funny look from a stranger and she’s got a stalker
A sprained ankle and she needs a walker

So to all of that, I make the appropriate noise
But you know that I might just lose my poise
So this is fervent wish to the One up on high
And I send this prayer straight up to the sky

Please keep her safe, and give me the patience of a saint
Because Heaven help her, if I hear one more complaint.

Monday, June 12


My dear Kasambuddies, as much as I try to ignore it, I just can’t. Because it’s come upon us once again, as it will every four years until Moshiach comes and releases the preternatural hold football has on every male homo sapient in the supposedly civilised British Isles.

Yes it’s the World Cup.

Well for me, being the proverbial American who grew up on apple pie and baseball; this country’s obsession with football (that’s soccer to you over the pond), is downright weird.

You have people who grow up in concrete monstrosities called ‘council estates’ who can’t even afford shampoo (never mind deodorant) yet make sure to put every hard earned farthing into season tickets to see their favourite team. Yes they say, but the footballers themselves started out under just as ignominious beginnings as their supporters.
Hello? Earth calling England? IS THERE ANYONE THERE?

Yes, most of the footballers started out as paupers, but once they became princes of the media, earning more than a third world country’s national deficit- do they give back to the community?
NO, of course not. They say to their cigarette chomping, hairnet encased mothers, “Cheerio, Mum!” and off they go to spend their gazillions of pounds on their new anorexic girlfriends who compete with each other for most inflatable body parts.

So why does the average Brit live, eat and breathe football? It’s self evident why they call themselves supporters, after all football fans do support their team in the same way a father might support his son or son-in-law in Kollel. But it’s supposed to be a GAME, not life itself! Here you have grown men running up and down a psychedelically green field that looks like it was stolen from the set of a Teletubbies episode in shorts that would make Pinocchio proud, plus polyester shirts designed to maximise manly shvitz. Then after the game is over; the average losing team supporters get to go home, get drunk and beat their wives; while the winning team supporters get to go to the pub, get drunk, beat their wives and then tease any losing team supporters until the next game. It’s such an honourable pastime.

Of course I am excluding Hubby and Artichoke from that description, because for them the game is more than that. For them the game is a spiritual experience that transcends time and especially meaning. Boruch Hashem Mr Kasamba can afford his season ticket to Arsenal, but I know what it cost so I’ll just say that his Zen costs a lot of yen.

So, back to the World Cup. To me this cup is half empty. England has been whipped up into this World Cup frenzy. Apparently it is imperative to watch bizarre countries that you never knew existed play each other. I myself had never heard of Toga for instance. Apparently, this Thursday Hashem willing, between the hours of 4:30 until 7:00pm every Englishman worth his lager will be sat in front of a telly watching HIS team, the almighty England team, lose their gotchkes as they always do.

But for football widows like me, it is surreal to go shopping in a man-free environment. Going to the Brent Cross mall feels like those old movies where Amazonian women have taken over the earth, leaving one man alive locked in a shed for procreation purposes.
It would be an amazing opportunity for someone to rob a bank, because the only security guards available would be either females or just plain feminine.

So, do I wish England luck? Like heck I do.
Football is a cruel ‘other woman’ to contend with and if she loses, I just might get my Hubby back.

Thursday, June 8


I’ve managed to catch forty winks, so now I feel fresh as a daisy, fit as a fiddle, and bright eyed and bushy tailed. Thus, without further ado, and without beating around the bush, I’d like to bend your ears, and I will try not to babble like a brook.

Although everything has already been said before, I’d like to give Mr Kasamba some food for thought.

Hubby, this one’s for you!

Hubby, you’ve always known that time and tide waits for no man. But between you, me and the lamppost, I think I hit the nail on the head when I say that you seem to have your feet firmly on the ground, and that’s half the battle!
The fact of the matter remains that the only fly in the ointment is that you are no longer free as a bird, footloose and fancy free. So consider this a word to the wise, old age is a whole new ball of wax. You must take the bitter with the sweet.
Remember; forwarned is forarmed.

It goes without saying that I think that you are worth your weight in gold, and I thank Hashem we get along like a house on fire. No one can come between us anyway, because two’s company, three’s a crowd, and too many cooks spoil the broth.

You are the apple of my eye, the icing on my cake, the luckshon in my kugel. And even though you travel so much- its okay because distance lends itself to enchantment.

At the end of the day Hubby, no one can hold a candle to you, your heart is as big as the great outdoors. For what it’s worth, I wish you all the mazal, happiness and love under the sun.
May your birthday bring Moschiach Bemeherah Byamenu Amen!

And there you have it, from beginning to end.
From alpha to omega, from head to toe.
The whole kit and kaboodle.

Happy Birthday Hubby!!!
(47 clichés were used in the making of this post.)

(They were not tested on animals)

Monday, June 5


Having just spent Shavous in the Holy Land is no mean feat. By that, I don’t mean packing all the suitcases, or arranging the house so it doesn’t look the the Amytiville Horror when we come back. No, not at all. What I mean is this: since I didn’t feel Pesach (remember?) I was technically still in Egypt and therefore unprepared to go to get the Torah from Sinai.

Lo and behold, Hubby brought forth tickets and we flew with wings to our ultimate final destination. It was a real Aliyah LeRegel.
Therefore, Shavous was AMAZING!

Everywhere people were discussing cheescakes and going to the Kotel (that was for you PP;) and with being in Jeruaselm and a few good sheurim under my belt, I really felt the energy of the Chag. Maybe I’m just biased but I feel that everything in Jerusalem is stunning; from the melting pot of people to the scenery, to the food. My bones will retain the heat of the sun and my high will surely make the transition of the yeridah back home easier.

I will just keep replaying the video in my minds eye of my little one by the Kotel repeating Tehilim after me with her little dimpled hand clutching the ancient stone. I had to talk her out of collecting all the little notes that were spilling out of the wall and explain that each one was a Tefillah in itself. She walked away from the the Kotel backwards, accepting that we don’t turn our backs on the Shechina.

So young, yet it made sense to her. Sometimes it’s so clear to see recognition of what the Malach taught us in utero. The younger someone is, the closer they are to that truth. It is only age that sometimes brings with it opacity and cynicism.

I have so much Hakaras Hotov to have been able to be in H’aair Hakodosh Yerushalyim for this wonderful Chag.
B’ezras Hashem may we all be Zoche to ALL our Yom Tovim there!

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