Thursday, February 28, 2008

So it's been way more than a few days. I've started to write about our little weekend away (we had a great time) and I haven't been able to finish it. We've been extremely busy with outside work and now I'm sick, very, very sick. I've had a high fever since Sunday night We had a doctor here today and I have some viral infection. Foti was sick for a few days also. When I feel better I'll be back!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Alexandra helping me

Foti & Iza enjoying their Valentine cookies

Well our Valentine's Day turned out to be interesting with the praying mantis episode and all. The kids were thrilled with their heart cookies. They said that their teachers loved the chocolate gifts but other than that, no Valentine's Day fun in Greece. Iza went into a rant about how much fun she had last year exchanging Valentine's cards with her classmates and that it would be fun to do here as well. I agreed with her but explained that we're in a new country and that they have different cultural beliefs and don't recognize all of the holidays that we do. I told her that no matter what, we'll always have a special Valentine treat at home.

As for the adults, we didn't run out and do anything silly for one another. Before the kids we used to try and go out for dinner or buy some special treats but that was it. Maybe that's because our wedding anniversary is on the 17th and we really make that day special...if we can. All I want is a nice quiet dinner, that's it. But, this weekend we're going to do something different...(drum roll please) -we're going away for the weekend! I know, we haven't done anything like that since before Iza was born. This is big for me. MIL and SIL will watch the kids and Gigi for the weekend so we can get away. It's really hard for me to leave the kids, I think that I have issues in that department because I have friends and family that go away on weekend excursions regularly without their kids and they seem fine. Who knows, maybe I'll relax and love it and schedule another get away right afterward.

Where are we going? Well, we were going to go to Paris but that was way too expensive! I figure I'll save that kind of money for my trip home to see my family & friends. So that being said, we're staying in Greece. I mean, we are in Greece right? There's plenty of great places that we haven't been to so we figured that we'd drive wherever we're going. So, I won't be blogging for a few days. I can't wait to tell you about our weekend.

totally unrelated-

Last night I got the worst haircut of my life. I couldn't believe it. I haven't been to a salon since October so I really needed a clean up. I was going to call the girl that did my hair then because I really liked her and she made my hair look fabulous. The only thing that bothered me (again) was that she smoked about a half pack of cigarettes while she worked on my hair.
So, Kosta has been to a different salon where they don't allow smoking(surprise!) and he said that I should try it. I really didn't want to because I have seen it and it really looked like an overrated barbershop. Well, he convinced me to go to his guy and he made the appointment. (Why do I listen to him? Why?) I knew that something like this would happen.
So, I walk in to the salon/barbershop last night and was greeted by the owner. He was really, really nice. Next, his wife comes over and says "take off your coat and have a seat"...kind of cold. It turns out that they run this place together and lucky me, I got the crabby wife to take care of me. Next, we pick out the hair color that I wanted. She colors my hair. Let's just say that she wasn't very gentle. The hair color processes and then it's time to rinse it out. "Come to the sink for a massage," she says. Massage, my ass! (sorry everyone) She was so rough with me the back of my neck is sore from being knocked against the sink. She didn't use any conditioner so when it was time to comb my hair she was torturing me. I kept telling her that she was hurting me but I really think that she was pretending that my Greek wasn't good enough for her to understand.
Ok, now that most of my hair has been ripped out of my head with a comb it's time for the "trim". Trim my ass! It was like-snip snip snip....chop....snip snip snip....chop....chop....HACK...chop! I told her that she was cutting it too short and she looked at me like "And?" Ugh! I had asked her to give me a long bang and there was a big CHOP with her scissors and now I look ridiculous. To top it off, she styled it really curly, using the hairbrush method. I've rarely been to a salon here where they actually use a curling iron. They usually use hairbrushes with the blow dryer to curl your hair. -Too bad I didn't want my hair curled- After she finished I just paid her and left. It wasn't her fault really, it was mine for going there. I had to go to the grocery store on the way home and I wish that I would've had a hat. I was so upset and embarrassed. I didn't want anyone to think that this is what I looked like.
When I got home and walked in the door everyone just looked at me with their mouths wide open. Kosta was trying to be nice but I could see right through it. Is it me or shouldn't a "salon" experience be positive? Shouldn't I have been floating around feeling beautiful with my new haircut? Anyway, it happened and I need to let my hideous hair grow. I went in with long hair and now I have medium hair that's kind of a cross between a shag and a mop. I can't wait to wash it and try to make myself look like well, myself again.

I'll be back in a few days. Have a great weekend everyone!

Holy Mantis!

Yesterday, I was in the yard and I started to pull some old lilies out of the flower bed. A little while later I was going into the house when I noticed something brown on the front of my coat. I thought that it was a stick or something so as I was ready to brush it off -oh crap-it's a praying mantis! I'm sure that this little guy really meant no harm but he really scared the hell out of me. I slowly took off my coat and tried to shake him off, but he was just stuck to it. So I ended up dropping my coat on the porch. The mantis is actually on the inside of my coat in the photo. I finally gathered up enough strength to take it over by the bushes and shake some more and he fell off. Can't wait to see my first snake...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!
I don't know what people do here but Valentine's Day doesn't seem to be a big deal. I've seen about 4 shelves of stuffed animals at the grocery store and not much else. I'm definitely not buying more stuffed animals! I haven't heard anything from the kid's school as to whether there will be anything special happening so I assume that nothing special will happen. We'll see. But, just because there may not be a celebration doesn't mean we won't celebrate. Iza & Foti made paper hearts for their teachers. We tied the hearts around candy bars with red ribbon, although the hearts are orange. Hey-they wanted to make orange hearts and I'm not one to discourage individuality or creativity. So, they'll treat their teachers and hopefully by the time they get home I'll have baked some heart shaped cookies since I found my Valentine cookie cutters. I'm also making them cards because I always do. I hope that all of you that recognize the holiday have a nice one.

One Year of Blogging!

I can't believe that I hit my 1 year anniversary of this blog and didn't even realize it. It occurred to me yesterday that I must have been blogging for a year as I was talking with Kosta. It was one of those conversations about something totally unrelated and as though I were struck on the head with something I just said, "oh my God, I've been blogging for a year". So, here it is a year this month. So much has happened since I began the blog. I've looked back at my old posts and WOW, things have really changed.

-I've compromised a lot regarding this move, I have the blue bathroom and I live very near chickens and other poultry.
-We've lost our beautiful Amalia who had been a part of our family for 16 yrs. I miss her every day.
-My older brother is in Iraq and my Dad is in Puerto Rico.
-My baby is a toddler now and she's starting to talk.
-My son only understood a few Greek words and now he's speaking more fluently than me.
-My first 1st born is now 5 yrs and I still can't believe it.
-My 3 sisters and 1 brother in Wisconsin have all moved into new homes- only my Mom is where I left her.
-I have a new sister-in-law.
-I have a dog.
-I've made a lot of wonderful new friends both here in Greece and around the world -thanks to this blog.

That's all that comes to mind for now so I think that I'll have a glass of wine to celebrate my own little anniversary. I'll raise my glass to all of you for hanging on...Cheers and Thank You!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Last night we went to a birthday party for one of Foti's classmates. It was at a "pethotopo".
The concept of these places is great, parents can sit and have coffee while the kids play. My only complaint is my usual one--there was so much smoke in there. If I were at a bar I wouldn't mind because it's expected but at an establishment made for children to play it's just annoying. Here's the kicker, there were "no smoking" signs everywhere.
We did have a good time though. Iza had her face painted, Foti got to jump and climb with his classmates and Alexandra got to explore and play with new people and toys. I really like that these places have a lot of girls that are there specifically to play with the kids and keep an eye on them, so the adults can actually have a conversation. That's really refreshing. It was one of the first times that we have had the opportunity to meet some other parents which is great because now we can invite some of his buddies over to play. There's another party tonight!

****no pics of Foti because he was playing hard and fast...couldn't keep up with him!****

Friday, February 8, 2008

What's growing?

Recently, I was poking around the yard to see how things were growing. We have a lot of work to do! We're down to only 2 boxes upstairs so we're almost completely settled indoors so now it's time to focus outdoors. I took a few pics along the way.

Here are some more lemons! I picked a ton in the fall and to my pleasure, more are growing! Amazing!

Fresh mint.( Diosmo) I still don't have a lot of uses for it but I will definitely find some. It's often an ingredient in yemista (stuffed peppers) but I usually leave it out when I make them. I think that fresh mint might taste much better in a mojito! Oh, and it releases a heavenly aroma after the rain, just heavenly.

Garlic and onions. I planted the bulbs back in October. As the onions were first growing it was great to go to the garden for the fresh greens. They're well past that point so now we're waiting for the onion bulb to grow.

Romaine!(Marouli) One of my favorite greens. I planted the seeds in November. This batch seems to be growing slow. Apparently, it's time to plant more seeds for the next round.

Spinach,(spanaki) my all time favorite green. I planted the seeds in November along with the romaine. I love going to the garden for my spinach.

Parsley.(Maidano) I use it almost daily in everything from salads to main dishes. I planted this batch but there is plenty growing randomly around the property.

Arugula. (Roca) I thought that these were just more green weeds until my neighbor pointed out that it was argula. It's growing right near our back porch so I didn't think anything of it. What an awesome discovery! I've noticed that Gigi likes to snack on it as well.

There is also fresh dill and horta( veggie greens, nettles, dandelion greens etc). I won't eat HORTA though. I capitalized the letters because MIL keeps insisting that I don't know what I'm missing. When she talks about horta she usually refers to dandelion greens. The greens are usually boiled and served with olive oil and lemon juice. First things first- to me, dandelions are a weed that I've spent my life trying to keep out of my yard. They've made me miserable every spring due to my allergies. Second, I don't like cooked greens. I love fresh spinach and the only way that I can eat it cooked is if it is in something like spinach pie, not on its own, no way. It's too slimy.

Some other things I have going on here include oregano, a flamouri tree(sage) and a daphne tree (bay leaves). Hopefully we can save a lot of money on groceries this summer.

I've gone from a city slicker who was used to container gardening to city slicker that's in the boonies trying to figure out how to really garden with lots of space to do it. Who would have ever thunk it?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Photo taken by Jack Orton for the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel

It seems as though my friends & family have had their share of snow this winter. There was a huge winter storm in Wisconsin yesterday and almost everything was shut down. I used to look forward to those storms! I couldn't wait to be trapped in my home sipping on hot chocolate as I anticipated shoveling the sidewalk. I know, all of you that are Wisconsin probably think that I'm nuts.
We have cameras set up at our house in Milwaukee and I can see just how much snow has fallen. The kids would love it! Yesterday they were so excited when they saw how much snow had fallen outside of our home that they asked if we could go there to play in it. Um, not any time soon but one day we will again.
As much as I love the snow I know that not everyone does so I hope that this is it for you guys this winter, enough is enough. You've really been hit hard this year! I hope that all of you at home are safe and warm! I'll send warm thawing thoughts your way!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Resident Lizard Caught

I finally caught it! I think that this one has been in the house for just under 1 month. I used a colander covered with a plate to transport it outside only for Gigi to chase it into the bushes. I'm sure that his cousins will come in for a visit soon.

Resident lizard about 2 minutes before he was sent back outdoors.