Brave Design

21 Feb

These lovely ladies from Memphis, TN make some fresh and funky jewlery!  Add some spice to your wardrobe and support local artists!  You can find them on facebook at BRAVE DESIGN

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Our Neighbor is a Pig

21 Feb

Mr. Mallios and I have been looking for some new digs for the past month or so.  We found one contender not too far along in our search that was nearly perfect.  Great location, big enough yet cozy, fairly new,  2 bathrooms!  We decided we would take it.  We called the real estate agent that showed us the place and he agreed to drop the price down.  Great!  We dropped off a deposit and were contacted the next day by the owner of the place who wanted to meet his new tenants.  Sure, no problem.  At this meeting we discovered that the owner never agreed to the new price the agent had quoted us. Since the deal had already been done though, he said ok.  About a week later we found out that our friends had happened to rent the exact same house about 3 years ago.  What a coincidence!  They didn’t have too many good things to say about it.   They were especially vocal about the hotel across the street (closed for the winter season, opening in April) and its live Cretan music on Friday and Saturday nights.  No Thank you!  There’s nothing that I, or Mr Mallios for that matter, could want less than blaring lyre and sorrowful crooning at 11 o’clock at night.  I know, we’re getting old!  But try and find me a Cretan song that is uplifting and full of hope and you’ll be looking far and wide my friends.  Needless to say we reneged on our end of the deal and collected our deposit and began our search anew.

We looked at a lot of places outside of the main city.  I guess we are turning into country folk (haha not really).  Most were uninhabitable.  One resembled an old warehouse.  Windows and doors circa 1978-no insulation, frosted glass, iron bars.  Don’t really want to live in a jail thanks.  I’m not sure this was intended to be an apartment or any sort of living qaurters.  Perhaps a re-purposed animal shed?  Upcycling at its most creative!  A wall had been erected to divide the two “bedrooms” from the rest of the living space.  Leaving the rooms depressingly windowless.  The plus side?  The bathroom was gloriously big!  Greek bathrooms tend to be on the smaller (claustrophobic) side.  Well they used to in any case.  Now a days houses seem to be built with more comfortable proportions in mind.  On to the next place!

The real estate agent from the original find informed us that he had a house in a town right next to where we were looking.  2 bedroom, 2 bath, lots of living space!  We agreed we would meet there the following day at 10am.  We arrived at the house looking westward toward the majestic White Mountains and due north to the mesmerizing Aegean sea. Score!  The agent approached the gate with a few BAGS of keys, elevating the whole janitorial keychain to new heights, and proceeded to try out a few before lamenting that he did not have the right set with him.  We decided we would meet again tomorrow at the same time.  We arrived at 10am.  That morning the agent battled with considerably less sets of keys than the day before.  Alas he did not have the keys with him again.   Since we were there Mr Mallios decided to jump the fence to take a quick peek around the property.  The agent suggested he might try going through a window to see the inside of the house too.  Breaking and entering apparently carries no penalty when advised by your realtor here!  He found a window that didn’t have the roll down shutters and climbed on in.  In the meantime the agent’s right hand man (assistant?)  found a large rock and was bashing it against the padlock on the fence in the hopes that he would break it, thus allowing us access to the inside.  Hmmmmm……peculiar real estate practices here.  Mr Mallios successfully entered the house through a window.  I guess this means there’s no alarm system!   The assistant,  still adamant that he can break the lock on the gate, continued to beat it with a rock.  The agent was barking at him to stop and yelling at Mr Mallios to pull the front door open harder.  Shouts from behind the front door revealed that the door was locked from the inside or was it outside? The assistant gave up and tossed the rock aside and decided to focus his attention on me.  He was trying to formulate a plan on how to get the pregnant woman (his words) over the fence to see the inside. “We can hoist her over that part of the fence…or you go over and I’ll catch her.”  I don’t think so buddy.  The pig across the street decided to make an appearance after hearing all the commotion, letting out a few grunts and oinks before retreating back to its sty.  I guess that takes care of meeting the neighbors.  We left again without proper access to the house.  Two days later we got a call from the agent stating that the owner of the house would be there tomorrow (with the RIGHT keys).  Finally!  We went and took a tour of the spacious abode and decided to take it.  Not only was it the right size, price, location-all those important real estate things-but there were other less obvious factors that enticed us.  Namely we already knew how to break in.  Important if you lose your keys once a month.  We knew we had good neighbors.  Quiet and solitary so no loud parties on the weekends over there!  And probably delicious to eat come Easter!  Moving in next week!!

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I’m a pretty shitty relative

10 Feb

Yesterday I went to see some old relatives in the village.  I was a bit overdue for a visit considering I’ve been here about a month, but I never said I was a good relative.   I went up to see my dearly departed Grandad’s sister.  So in other words my great aunt.  I got to their house around 10:30am.  Planning on doing a quick in and out kinda deal.  A cup of coffee (even though I’m on strict orders from my recently pregnant sister to NOT drink ANY caffeine. God the horror!)  No alcohol, snore. No drugs. boooooring. AND no coffee? Whose idea was this?  I always thought I had a limited amount of self control, compared to others, but when this whole pregnancy thing is over I think its safe to say I have damn good command of myself.  Sit. Stay. Good girl.

I have had  one glass of wine (xmas party) and a few micro, i will stress micro, sips on the airplane due to the heavy duty turbulence sending my adrenal glands into overload.  I thought it best for me and baby to be in a more relaxed state 35,000 feet up.  Needless to say, the few sips of wine I did drink on the plane didn’t do shit except make me feel nauseous and then later on guilty. Live and learn right?! Or live, live again, and again and then learn. As is usually the case for me.  Flippin the bird to the rules just one last time I decided to have a light cup of Greek coffee (some of you may be familiar with this type of coffee as Turkish or Egyptian coffee) with just a half a spoon of sugar.  I enjoy a Greek coffee, if made well, every once and awhile.  If made poorly, usually when I try and do it, it is similar to drinking a cup of dirt. Not so yum.  I guess that gets me out of making coffee for my husband for the rest of our lives.  He likes Greek coffee in the a.m. hours.  I figured over the course of my great aunts’ lifetime she had made hundreds, probably thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of Greek coffees.  It was safe to say I was in good hands.  No dirt for this girl today! 

Her husband was there too, which would in fact make him my uncle (great uncle) but I always refer to him as her husband.  Like I said, I am not a good relative.  He’s got the kind of elfin look you might see in a 102 year old hobbit.  Milky blue-ish gray eyes.  If you look at him the right way you can catch just a hint of a twinkle in them. Thick swatch of grayish white hair.  Short in stature.  Kind in spirit.  His wife is quite the opposite.  Not in character but in appearance.  She’s every bit as kind as he is, but twice as tall and twice as big around.  Definitely a mismatched pair in that sense, but love is blind deaf and dumb, and thank god for that!  She wanted to fry me up some eggs (YUM!) I can not go on enough about how tasty the eggs are here. A friend put it nicely: American eggs are anemic. It’s true, they are.  Very industrial looking, even the organic ones.  Is the extra 3$ really worth it?  I guess having a clear conscious IS worth the money.  I declined her offer, having already eaten.  But do intend to take her up on it.  Greeks know just the way to fry an egg.  We chitchatted for a bit.  Mostly about my pregnancy.  I guess I CAN use this pregnancy thing to my advantage after all. I have lots of chatter now to make with relatives who I otherwise don’t have terribly too much to say to after the first 10-15 minutes.  The three of us conversed about my impending confinement (or doom depending on which way you look at it) and about my grandmother’s crumbling down country house that nobody seems to have any interest in fixing.  Or money for that matter.  Then it came time for me to move on to the next part of my day.  Killing a chicken and preparing it for lunch…….JUST KIDDING!  I haven’t graduated to that just yet.  I said I would come again with my husband (might have been lying a little there)  and it was good to see them (not lying there).  I made my way to our ferrari and headed down to town.  In the car I was imagining the scene back at their house. 

Aunt: “oh wasn’t that lovely seeing her”

Uncle:  “yes, that was great to see her”

Aunt:  “she looks so healthy, probably a really robust Cretan baby in there”

Uncle: “hopefully its a boy, otherwise we’ll have to drown it.” (he would never say that!)

Aunt:  “yes that would mean she has good loins if its a boy.”

Uncle “so, uh, who is she again?”………….

Best fried eggs (and easy as 1,2,3)

Lots of olive oil. Do not be shy. Abandon your American instincts. No Pam spray (or whatever its called). No frying eggs in butter either.  The oil will not make you fat but give your skin and hair an unbelievbale glow.  Besides it raises sperm count! So if you are a fella that likes to smoke a lot of pot go crazy with this stuff!  (That comment has in no way been approved by the FDA or any other scientific group of people)

Should be about an inch or so of olive oil in your frying pan.  Heat pan up to a medium-ish heat.  Crack those beautiful nutrient rich eggs in there. And no egg white only bullsh**t,  if you are going to eat do it right. 

Let eggs do their thing for a few minutes.  Don’t let pan get too hot or sides of egg will burn before they are cooked through. Get a spoon and gently splash olive oil on yolks to cook tops of them.  This is why you need the extra oil in your pan.  I like my eggs over medium so I usually splash until yolks have a thinnish white coating on top.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with some sliced tomato or avocado and some toast.  If you’re feeling adventurous add a cup of Greek coffee to wash it down with.  Enjoy!

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A perfect meal!

 

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Happy Birthday Bob!

6 Feb

Happy Birthday Bob!

The one and only Bob Marley

a paragon of domesticity am i…

6 Feb

So in order to ingest the very important iron I require I’ve been eating something I like to call the Iron Maiden(!).  Basically a plate piled high with beets, beet greens, avocado (not sure if they have iron but whatever its green and tasty) generously bathed in olive oil and splashed with tangy vinegar.  Some salt and a slice of this great bread I call bahgahboo, but it has an actual name that I can’t seem to recall but sounds like bahgahboo.  Anyhoo, we bought some big ass beets-like in between tennis and softball size-so they took the better part of a day to cook.  Thank god I cleared my schedule that afternoon!  There’s only so much cooking a gal can do!

Today I really got into my new(ish) role as (house)wife and went to coffee with a girlfriend (the equivalent here to lunching in the states), bought some decor for our new place and hit up the supermarket.  Since it was my turn to cook  I decided I would cook some chicken instead of ordering out on my cooking days like I usually do.  Hey I’ve got collaging to do! The store only had what can best be translated as the “village” chicken.  It had a robust look to it and had a generous layer of yellow-y fat, TASTY!  Side by side with the grey-ish white ‘urban'(?) chicken (2 thighs left) it looked like the better option.  I took my chances on the village chicken, which I later found out basically means free range, and it looks a hell of a lot healthier than any American ‘free range’ chicken I’ve ever seen.  Must be the kind of chicken our neighbor is bringing us eggs from.  After cooking they resemble something out of every ad execs wet dream.  Deep orange-like sun plummeting into ocean orange-big round yolks with a thick healthy halo of white cradling the gooey goodness.  We might be teetering on an economic precipice here in Greece but the quality of food is really unparalleled.  American food seems so devoid of life after eating food that is truly alive.  I mean what the hell is the ‘living salad’  at the local Jewel or Whole Foods.  I  hope its living, its produce for gods sake not cardboard!  I typically don’t buy organic produce in the states for financial reasons but I would like to enjoy it on a regular basis.  For some reason here I don’t feel as concerned about that.  True, it is harder to find organic produce in the supermarkets here but I feel like whatever chemicals they’re using are far superior than the American ones because this stuff is actually bursting with flavor. Not to mention people here seem to live well into their 100’s despite chain smoking for at least 80 years and drinking copious amounts of raki until they just keel over.  So I guess ill take my cue from the locals.  When in Rome right?! Oh yippe! Cant WAIT to start smoking…………..(just kidding mom!)

ps: village chicken turned out great!

no fuss meal: thickly sliced potatoes, the village chicken, some coarsely sliced onion, a few cloves of garlic, salt & pepper, a couple big (by American standards) splashes of olive oil and in the hot oven it goes for a while…i like to just kind of feel it out, but somewhere around 45 minutes or so.  after its done splash with some fresh lemon juice, oregano if you’re feeling frisky and dig in!

getting blissed out in the kitchen!

getting blissed out in the kitchen!

Eat yogurt. Move bowels.

4 Feb

Ive been consuming Activia at a pretty regular rate since Ive been pregnant.  The digestive benefits it boasts are certainly true and since I discovered my little bun in the oven I will never take another bowel movement for granted!  Back in the US yogurt flavors tend to be pretty run of the mill.   You’ve got your berry varieties:  strawberry, blueberry.  Then there’s the ubiquitous and oh so delicious peach! Maybe a strawberry banana combo finds its way into the mix YUM!  I’ve seen, on occasion, an exotic pineapple on the shelf.  Usually its the last man standing when all other flavors have been picked over.  Well here in Greece Ive noticed quite a departure from mainstream US yogurt flavors.  My first venture to the supermarket upon arrival had kiwi and prune on offer.  Hmmmm? Kiwi I can do.  Prune?  I guess with that flavor you get double your money’s worth.  Prunes are supposed to be a natural laxative so………let’s give it a try.  Come to think of it things were working out pretty good…uh nevermind. When it came time to replenish my stash  I went to a different supermarket hoping this trip would prove to be more fruitful (haha!).  Well all I found was plain.  I was more pleased with this option than prune and kiwi. Today, my third trip in search of Activia, proved to be interesting as far as flavors are concerned.  I saw plain and was a bit disappointed.  I was hoping for a blueberry or banana.  Then I saw walnut (wtf?) and thought plain sounds fantastic!  There was prune again and fig and something I couldn’t quite decipher-some type of cactus fruit?  Blech!  I reminded myself not to come back here for Activia.  I decided to give the refrigerator case one last look in hopes that I had missed something.  There shining like a beacon of hope at the very top I saw strawberry.  Cue the choir!

Imagine that in your yogurt! ouch!

Imagine that in your yogurt! ouch!

Getting Fat is Fun!

28 Jan

I’m halfway through this whole pregnancy thing and so far it hasn’t been too terrible.  I had no morning sickness so that was a bonus.  This was pointed out to me by the stink eye I tried to avoid from many women before me who suffered terrible bouts of nausea and wretchedness.  Besides the immediate de-tox I put my body through I think I handled it pretty well.  Imagine quitting smoking, drinking, binge drinking, heavy abuse of caffeine and mild abuse of prescription drugs all at once.  Not to mention soft cheeses, cured meats and skinny jeans.  It was definitely a time of shock and re-evaluation.  Am I ready for this?  Not parenthood and all its messiness, but am I ready to go on the sobriety test of a lifetime?!  How do sober people cope?  Life just gets a bit more interesting with a few cocktails.  Am I wrong?!

I spent the first few months pretty bored.  Wondering what everyone else was doing on their Friday night while me and Mr. Mallios (or is it Mr. Mallios and I?) hunkered down in our nest watching another movie.  Good thing the weather was awful.  Gee, what a surprise in Chicago.  It made staying in more of a pleasure than a necessity.  I (begrudgingly) abandoned all thoughts of going shopping for any clothes without elastic waistbands and bras that didn’t look like something my grandmother would wear.  Don’t get me started on the new undies I purchased.   I think I must’ve started showing early on due to the fact that I hadn’t had a satisfying bowel movement for about the first two months!  No one tells you about that do they.  One word ACTIVIA!  My distended belly made all one pair of pants I brought with me (wtf was I thinking!) uncomfortable and so I started wearing maternity jeans pretty much right away.  Mr. Mallios, with a smile, told me I was over reacting.  So what’s new?! I couldn’t bring myself (and still have a hard time) to don a pair of leggings.  I know, I know they’ve made a fashion-y sort of come back recently.  Must be part of that whole 80’s nostalgia thing (no thanks!).  I mean I grew up in the 80’s and I can say that there couldn’t have been a more ugly time in the history of clothes than then.  But I guess at some point when I was in transit from one out post to the next looking like an urban dork became the cool thing to do. Whatever makes you happy I s’pose.  Besides I spent years trying to get as far away from my “akward stage” as possible, why run right back into the arms of the enemy?  Yea, so leggings.  Not my preferred choice of clothes.  Sure they are comfortable especially when you are pregnant but when you start to refer to the crack in your rear end as the Grand Canyon, maybe accentuating this area isn’t going to help with your self esteem.  As i enjoy the last bite of my freshly baked tiropita (cheese pie).  Good god I’m turning into a monster.

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