Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What is that old saying about owning a boat?

There is an old saying about owning a boat.  “The happiest days of a man’s life is the day he buys a boat, and the day he sells it.”

My poor husband a living reminder of the truth in that adage.  No, he hasn’t sold his boat as yet, but he sure is thinking about it. 

If you’ve read my blog you know that I am basically an indoor girl.  Especially in the hot and humid Virginia summers.  Although I’ve gone out on the boat with him many times, it was never fun.  It’s too bumpy to read, and bumps, as you know relocate parts of one’s body to places they should not be. 

The scenery starts to look the same as if you’ve already been through that area before.  The river water doesn’t smell pleasant and is a greenish hue. So whenever I’d go out on the boat with him, I’d count the minutes till I return. Don’t judge, indoor girl, remember?

Now the first couple of years the boat worked like a charm.  Then things went south, way south. First, it didn’t like the gas.  Then, parts of the boat started to break.  Doo-dads and thingamajigs with odd sounding names were gunked, stuck or just not working. Poor husband spent more time hunched over an open engine in searing heat than getting a tan on the deck.

And last year, first time out, the boat conked out about a mile from shore making this high tech motor boat basically a rowboat. 

So he had high hopes this year.  He fixed the carburetor; one of many repairs.  Still, the little engine that once could, couldn’t. 

So more parts came.  And still, the boat was basically a land yacht. So as a last resort he checked the gas and it seems the gas just isn’t what it should be.  So now he has to remove all the gas and replace it with good gas.  And then we will see…

Until such time as this boat becomes sea-worthy again, I will sit in the air conditioning and read my books without getting motion sickness. And I will pray, if only for husband’s sake that it will be ready before the first snowfall.

For Vincent a personalized limerick:

There once was a man from up north
Who wanted his boat to go forth
He hammered and oiled
But alas he was foiled
No sailing to be henceforth

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The ultimate Greek dilemma, What no breakfast?

Breakfast in Greece

Recently I visited Greece on vacation, and found out something I always vaguely knew.  Greeks don’t eat breakfast.  There is an old joke about breakfast in Greece.  They say a Greek breakfast is basically a cigarette and coffee.  My husband being of Irish descent is a lover of all things breakfast.  He would be happy eating breakfast, morning, noon, night and even midnight snack!

I never could get around the ridged food list that makes up breakfast.  What law saws breakfast must contain, bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, or hash browns? God forbid there be pizza in there unless of course it has bacon and eggs on it.  Usually while husband munches on some crispy bacon and scrambled eggs I eat leftover Chinese food cold from a box.  Guess I never subscribed to what you are supposed to do at breakfast.

So I knew there would a culture clash when we went to Greece.  Each of our hotels included a buffet breakfast.  This breakfast consisted of olives, feta, Greek yogurt, fruits, spinach and cheese pies, homemade breads and usually a tray labeled bacon.  Bacon it seems, in Greece, is masquerading as ham.

A Chronology of Breakfast time

So the first day, poor hubby sat there looking lost while I chowed down on olives and other non-breakfast type foods. He drank a cup of watered down American type filter coffee and waited for lunch. 

On the second day, he repeated his actions of the first day.

On the third day, he tried a little of the fresh bread and complained there was no toaster, but he did go back for seconds, buttering each piece with a generous slab of fresh butter.  He tried the bacon (ham) and some cheese.  He tried some Greek coffee and fresh (yes fresh) squeezed orange juice.  Was that the hint of a smile playing with the corners of his mouth?

On the fourth day he ate with gusto.  He tried the thick creamy Greek yogurt with fig spread, feta, and some warm fresh baked breads and pastries.  He made himself some Greek coffee, and had the fresh squeezed juice.  He had finally come to terms with breaking the rules and traditions of breakfast law.  He found out there was no breakfast police.  And when in Rome, Athens, or Mykonos, you do as the romans or Greeks do. He even said, "Poli kalO" (Which means very good) when asked how it was by a waiter. 

What? No bacon?

I am not a fan of fast food but riding on the ferry for our 8 hour return trip to Athens I ate the only food available on the boat.  (It ate at was what I am sure they viewed as an American style burger stand) I innocently ordered a bacon cheeseburger and opening this sad little sandwich I saw the bland piece of ham.  Yup-- no bacon in Greece.

Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Red beach in Santorini

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Grecian cats--no, not a new, travel version of the musical

The interloper

During my recent trip to Greece I came in contact with cats, a lot of cats.  A quick Google search reveals that most Greeks feel that cats are not exactly house pets, but a wild species best left to their own devices.  As a result they wander the streets and ancient ruins with pretty much no human interference.

Even we Americans know that one doesn’t own a cat.  A cat owns us.  If a cat wants something, it gets it.  All the while plotting their happy little owner’s demise.  When we come home from work the dog greets us with gusto.  He jumps, yelps, and licks while his tail wags at 100 miles an hour.  The cat, on the other hand, stands aloof, as if to reprimand us for not being at her disposal all day.  She may, if it suits her, decide to saunter by and rub against our legs; simply to piss off the dog.  We hear her purr and we imagine it is for us, which in all reality may not be the case.

Grecian cats strolled around many of the outdoor restaurants and cafes.  They sunned themselves on walls and threaded their way through the crowded streets full of multi national tourists.  Most looked well fed and fairly healthy.  They were not pets but not exactly what we Americans would call feral.  They lay beside humans and begged with only their presence.  Who but a local could refuse their enormous staring eyes? These cats have perfected the art of begging.  They remind me of the squirrels and chipmunks in National parks that know just what cute little tricks to do to get the goofy human to toss them a few nuts. 

My husband who fancies himself a Dr. Dolittle tried to pet a docile looking black and white cat lounging on a path and was put in his place with a quick swat of the paw. That’ll teach you, lesson learned.  They are not house cats. 

Evenings in Greece are beautiful, cool and comfortable not even requiring an air conditioner, and there are very few bugs.  So as we went out to dinner in one of the many outdoor cafes, we chose to leave the windows to our hotel room open. Do you see where I am going with this?

Returning to our room after a delicious dinner, we turned on the lights and proceeded to get ready for bed.  A strange sound was coming from the sofa, and, to our surprise we saw a large ginger cat casually using the back of the couch as a scratching post.  It just stared, and not the sweet large eyed, begging stare.  It was a look that said we were the intruders and it was standing it’s ground.

Shaken, I turned to my husband with a look that said, “What should we do?”  "Should we call the desk?"  Or do we just wait and see if it’s friendly?

My husband tiptoed over to the door, and opened it. (Not really sure why he tiptoed since the cat already saw us and they can't fly)  Then he comically deepened his voice and said, “SHOO.”  Seriously?  Shoo?  This was steadily becoming a cartoon.  I almost expected Jerry from Tom and Jerry to jump out from behind the sofa.  My husband repeated his shooing while ridiculously flailing his arms. The cat jumped off the sofa and casually, with a regal toss of it’s head, walked out the front door, but not before I snapped his pic.

Maybe the Greeks have it right after all.  Cats should just be left to their own devices.  They can use people when they want.  They can walk around like they own the place, because in their minds they do.  And nature can take care of the rest.

Grecian cats and Mykonos
The beauty of Greece

Our beautiful hotel in Mykonos

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What will be the most common names in the next century?

Greece the name of the destination

Today or rather, tonight I’d like to talk about names.  As I type, I sit in a darkened airplane on my way over the ocean.  London is the destination on my way to a vacation in Greece.  It is 12:26 in the morning and, as I look around in the darkness, I feel like the last living cell in a dead body.  I mean no one is awake!  Relax; my Vincent Price imitation is over it’s just a little creepy in a dark plane at this hour of the night. 

All is calm…and then eek, turbulence.  If I make a few typos I hope you understand.  My partner in crime, and life, is sleeping like a baby next to me.  I just don’t get how someone can sleep so happily sitting upright in a chair.  I mean this coach seat is no Laz-Z-Boy.  My knees rest up against the seat in front of me.  Still, he snores and clutches the scratchy military type blanket up to his chin.  Sweet dreams my love. 

I did say I was going to discuss names, but I digress.  I am an 8-hour a night gal.  If I get less than that my brain goes into hibernation.  If you ask my name in few hours I might not even remember.  So…here we go back to names. 

Have you ever noticed how some names go through stages of popularity?  I mean, when did Brittany unseat Bertha?  I guess it must have been around the same time that Joshua was doing the same thing to Melvin.  One wonders, if, in 2049 will Brittany sound as outdated as Ethel and Myrtle.  Seriously don’t you think we have enough Jessica’s and Jennifer’s in the world?  Wouldn’t it be refreshing to come across an Irma or Eunice?

My mom, however, bucked tradition.  She named me Crystal.  When I was growing up my name was as rare as a three-dollar bill.  There was not another Crystal in sight!

All through school I spent my life repeating, spelling, and then repeating again.  I’ve been known as Krystal, Cristal, Kristil, Chrystal, and Christal. I’d plead and spell C-r-y-s-t-a-l!  Eventually, I’d give up and just say I was named for the fine crystal glassware my mother drank her champagne out of the night I was conceived.  The teachers would peg me as troublemaker and spell it the way they wanted.  My own grandmother never spelled my name correctly!  So I’d take my check for five dollars made out to Krystal and thank her.  Why fight it?

It’s 2017 and now you can’t swing a dead cat (meaning it’s everywhere) where I don’t run into a Crystal somewhere!  I mean even Hugh Hefner was engaged to a Crystal Harris, and boy did my blog blow up when they broke up!

I didn’t have enough fun trying to get my name across to people when I was growing up so I had to go and marry an Ogle.  Ogle, just like the word that means to stare at in a leering way.  Four simple letters and I’ve had to spell it thousands of times!  O-g-l-e.  How hard is that?

In my second marriage I married a Donnelly, you know the sweet slumbering fellow snoring next to me.  No it’s not Donelli, Irish, not Italian. 

You know I once dated a guy whose last name was Diamond.  Now, if we had continued to date, and, happened to marry, my name would have been Crystal Diamond.  Now, tell me with a straight face that doesn’t sound like a stripper or a porn star.  Thank god that didn’t work out. 

3 hours and 53 minutes to destination.
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