Wednesday, June 28, 2006

current events

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[And not a single baby will be mentioned.]

Yesterday was the first day of school. The summer session has begun.

Which means, following tradition, the previous weekend was spent in a quaint and relaxing locale, just far enough away to feel far enough away. There was even a bar there with the clever name So Far So Good. The weather was a little too good. I spent all day Saturday under a tree or in the water, and ended up with a nasty sunburn all over, especially bad from the knees down. By Sunday I could hardly walk, so I stayed in bed, alternating cold towels with a “regenerating” lotion from the pharmacy. I’ve been reading Until I Find You, by John Irving.

Monday, back to reality, and laundry.

Tuesday, I thought I was well-prepared: I arrived at school early, made my photocpies, even found a place to sit. (The school thins out a lot in summer, fewer students, fewer teachers.) My first lesson was a breeze -- the kids even let me go ten minutes overtime without saying a word. I’m not sure what happened to my watch -- there was a little time warp in there somewhere.

After work, I met another class -- this time, a group of Canadian college students visiting the local university on some kind of exchange program, which I’m sure they considered a great chance for a summer holiday. My Greek teacher had been assigned the dubious task of teaching them an introductory Greek course during the week of their stay, complete with a final exam at the end, intended to impose some sense of seriousness on the endeavor. She had told me that from the first moment, all they wanted to do was find excuses to leave the class early and do other things. And sure enough, when I met them, they flirted, they bantered, they wanted to go out to eat. On the day’s syllabus: revising the alphabet and learning all the fruits and vegetables in the market.

Later in the evening, something else happened to me that I liked. I realized that sometimes, all you have to do is ask.


This post dedicated to madcapmum and especially her daughter , with whom I share a healthy skepticism for the straight seam.

When I made my announcement, certain family members invariably asked me what I would make for the buka. I must have responded with a look of blank bewilderment, because the question was quickly supplemented with a statement like, “Oh, never mind. Today, they buy everything ready.”

Indeed, they do. But I liked the idea of making something for the buka, and of the buka having something made by me. My mom, who had given me a baby sewing machine for Christmas (just as a handy appliance to have around the house in case some trousers needed hemming), quickly came up with an idea. She wrote out the instructions for me on an appropriately labelled piece of paper.

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On the back, she included a pattern. She sent a sample ribbon.

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I was enthusiastic. The idea was simple. How hard could it be to sew tea towels together? But I never could get a straight seam with that stupid one-speed baby sewing machine… and then I really fouled it up by “adjusting” the thread tension until it wouldn’t stay threaded at all. Frustration is not my stong suit, even without the hormones.

I don’t know whether or not the sewing machine will ever get fixed. So, for more than one reason, I can’t sew. But I can embroider! Maria took me to a shop, to help me with the vocabulary. Turns out that’s all the help I needed. I started with a train for my brother’s baby. I made something else for Steph’s. Then I made the fairies and the flowers and the monkey and the bear. I made lots of bibs. Maybe I was nesting, and maybe I was nuts.

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June is almost over. These are the last two bibs.

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If I keep embroidering, I’ll embroider something else, something ambitious, something big. But for now it’s time to get serious -- about work mostly, but also about the buka, and things she actually needs.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Friday, June 23, 2006


[Artemis saving Iphigenia]

1. Zeus is the highest ranking and most powerful god, the ruler of Mount Olympus, god of weather.
2. Poseidon, together with Hades is one of the two next most senior gods, god of the oceans.
3. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, the arts, inner beauty, education and war.
4. Ares is the god of war and slaughter.
5. Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, animals, fertility and chastity.
6. Hephaestus is the god of fire, workmanship, artisans and weaponry.
7. Apollo is the god of light, dance, music, healing and medicine, archery and reason. Apollo's relationships are always flawed.
8. Hermes is the god of guidance, travelers, shepherds, consolation and reunions, and messenger of the Gods.
9. Aphrodite is the goddess of love, sexuality, outer beauty and attraction.
10. Hera is the consort of Zeus, and the goddess of marriage, sacrifices and fidelity.
11. Hestia is the goddess of the home, family and the hearth.
12. Demeter is the goddess of the earth, flowers and plants, food, preservation of marriage and agriculture.

[from Wikipedia]

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lettuce introduce you

Once in a while, if you are really really lucky, you meet somebody special to you, somebody like nobody else in your life.

The circumstances may vary, the possibilities may be different, but you know it because you want to be the same to them.

These things usually last...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

a lettuce is born

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and not only(!!)

Friday, June 16, 2006


(this is top secret. If it leaks my bro will kill me. I call it a chewcken)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

agiou pnevmatos

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Yesterday being a holiday in Greece (the day of the Holy Ghost!), I paid a visit to the village. It was drizzling here when I left, and drizzling there when I arrived. It was cloudy then sunny, cool then hot, a good day for big, fat flies. My main food provider fed me like a queen, and told me to lie down like one afterwards. She showed me the sac voyage of baby things she’s been buying and collecting for the buka. All of it was pink. There was one especially offensive outfit, a footed pink playsuit. It said Cow Girl across the front.

Went for a walk on the promenade. Saw lots of skinny cats begging food from the few German tourists drinking beer. Nobody was on the beach. On the way back, I was greeted by an old woman, whose face was a wreck, chin bruised black, mouth misaligned, the result of a nasty fall. She said I get prettier every time I come.

There are family conflicts, which, since it’s not my family, I’ve more or less been able to avoid. Now the buka puts me in the middle, because I want the family, for her sake. I want the money too, since a house right now would be nice, but I never expected any material rewards. I stand on principle with the one who got me into it, doing exactly the thing that drives him crazy: sweeping all the conflict under the rug, pretending nothing is happening, for the sake of peace in the family. He’d rather go to war than settle for a peace that compromises his principles.

The irony, one irony, is that we can spend whole days, weekends, not speaking a word. Four hours in the car, and hardly a word. Our de facto definition of a happy relationship is peace and quiet at home. “That’s not a [happy relationship],” Maria once said, with all the startled outrage I should be the one to feel, “it’s a grave.” Maria shoots from the hip.

So the better things are for him, on the domestic front at least, the worse they are for me. Staying calm and keeping quiet are his ways of showing love, and all I feel is isolation.

Took the scenic route on the way back. Went up and over the mountains, so as not to get caught up in all the cars returning to the city on the main coastal highway. The mountain roads are narrow, twisty, unfamiliar. I don’t like not knowing where I am.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

low-profile projects

I’m on holiday from work for a month (the private schools are closed while the public schools have final exams). Suddenly I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and not much to do with it. So I started a hobby, the kind of thing I can do barefoot and pregnant, which, truth be told, is not such a bad combination. It’s very tedious and time-consuming, which, in my current circumstances, is another combination that works for me.

I wish I had more to say about the pregnancy. At first I was gaining weight slowly (and the doc was happy) and then I put on 4 kilos in 40 days (and the doc wasn't so happy). Now I'm basically on a diet -- no salt, no sugar, no fat, no food. It's definitely not like in the movies where you can sit around eating ice cream and pickles all the time. But I'm doing my best, trying to eat healthy, or failing that, trying to eat something (yoghurt is good).

The buka moves around a lot; she does laps, lunges, and somersaults on occasion. I’ve been trying to introduce her to music, but I want her to be comfortable with silence too, because, well, I prefer it. I feel the burden of responsibility for imposing all my preferences on her, because now she not only goes where I go and hears what I hear, she also tastes what I taste. She can do that.

A week ago, my brother’s wife delivered a baby boy, whom they have grandly named Tristan Bailey. Bailey was our paternal grandmother’s surname. My mother had never even heard of the name Tristan before. So very enthusiastically (the name meets all my personal criteria for a Good Name), I explained its romantic, poetic connotations. Mom liked that and was even happier to report back that some of her friends also knew of the love story of Tristan and Ismeralda! Well, as it turns out, she doesn’t have to worry about getting the reference right (poor mom), because my brother, who teaches English literature but has probably never read an epic poem in his life, said that actually, the name came from the Brad Pitt character in Legends of the Fall. Score one for pop culture.

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But we won’t forget the great contributions of the British Isles just yet, because the kid looks like a hobbit. Let’s hope he grows out of it.

Monday, June 05, 2006


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or alive?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rabbit rabbit...

... sissy!

(or "cat cat"... or something...)