Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Nice Things

Hello, all.

I wrote a really lovely, thoughtful piece about the recent terrorist attacks, but I don't know if I want to share it yet. It's all just exhausting and horrible, isn't it? I'm not trying to be trite, but I also don't know if I want to give you one more thinkpiece, even a short one. If I change my mind, I'll post it up without fanfare. 

And now, some positive things from yesterday and today. 

1. Bella's first trip downtown.

I really needed more strawberries, and I couldn't wait until Thursday, so I drove downtown to a place where I knew I could get cheap berries. We found killer parking, pushed through gobs of people, and bought 2kgs of strawberries for 5 euros. That's about $5.60 for 4.4 pounds. !!!!!!!

This is our--possibly--illegal parking spot directly in front of the Zappeion building in the National Gardens. The building was constructed in the late 1800s as part of the Olympic Games revival. It's a gorgeous exhibition/event hall. I took this shot of Bella as she was screaming out the window at a landscaper. This was after our walk, but before we drove off. When we drive, I belt her into that black carrying case that you can just barely see on the right. When I first got Bella, I stupidly didn't think about having to secure her in the car. After I body slammed her into the back of a seat with a short-stop once, I started bringing her case with us. We're all much safer that way, but especially the landscaper.

These are my cheap, delicious berries. The bowl doesn't look big in this picture, but I assure you it is massive.

2. Positive Planting Experiences

I told you my gardenia's not doing well. I repotted the thing yesterday into a bigger space with better soil. More on that in a minute. These are the seedlings I planted with the leftover soil. My sister anonymously mailed Phil some seeds during the winter (or maybe it wasn't anonymous, but the packaging was). They are, starting from left to right, flowering dill, cilantro, and lavender. There's a chance I will kill these, but I made sure to save at least half the seeds for a re-do.

Come on, seedlings! I like how my filthy shoes make a cameo in this photo.

Okay, back to my gardenia. On the advice of my mother, I finally broke down and asked the gardener for help today. It's been a point of pride for me to pretend like my plants aren't dying, and he's always been too nice to ask. Today, he saw the rose and gardenia on the dining room table, and asked very nicely if they were doing okay. "NOOOOOOOOOOO! I wailed," and he immediately sprang into action. He cleaned up the gardenia and showed me exactly what I needed to do to take care of it. He actually left the apartment, walked to wherever he keeps his supplies, and came back with special fertilizer for it, and for the rose. It already looks 5,000 times better. I gave him a bag of strawberries to say thanks. He told me it was no problem, and that he's willing to help with whatever I want to grow. I wonder if watching all my plants die has been driving him nuts.

3. Spring in Athens

The weather is really nice again, after being kind of cold and rainy last week. I was in shorts yesterday, and short sleeves today. 

Greek Easter is still a month away, but Phil and I have a longstanding (read: two years) tradition of hosting potluck Easter dinner for non-Orthodox Easter, so we've been planning that this week. We're looking forward to it, though we'll really miss the crew from the past two years. They're fun people who make good food. What more could you ask for in friends?

Here's Bella on our walk this morning, smelling the flowers. Darn it, I wish she could be sweet and cute all the time. Our neighbor just popped over to borrow some ketchup, and she reacted like he'd come to destroy all. 

4. Summer Swimming

I got word today that I've been approved to teach water aerobics and swim lessons this summer, with the teeny, tiny caveat that I'll have to help convince enough people to sign up. I'm thrilled. I'm trying to act with restraint and not buy a whole new teaching wardrobe, music library, suits, shoes, speakers, gear, and KIND bars. The last thing is not related the the others, I just had one of my friend's last week, and I've been wanting to buy a bunch ever since.

Maybe I will buy the KIND bars.

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