Monday, November 23, 2009

Start the Week with a Bang!

In less than one month's time, we pass the winter solstice which means the days then start to get longer and summer will be approaching day by day. With Athens basking in 20C and sunshine the last week, reaching this milestone doesn't feel all that impossible.

Hooray for living in Greece, where you can get a tan even in the winter! Here's to the summer just a couple of months away!!

ps: Bollywood Beauty Bags now up on ebay via the link in my blogroll, and my online shop which I'm trying so far unsuccessfully to direct to the domain name I purchased:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Big Screen and Small Screen

Friday night is date night, baby, so I decided to take myself out for a movie. The movie of my choice was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Yes, the original one. Palace theatre in Pagrati is showing it:

I didn't to ask anyone because I didn't think anyone but me would be interested in such an old movie. Who would want to spend two hours drooling over the hunky Paul Newman and gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor on the big screen except me?

I got to the cinema a few minutes after the movie had begun. "Do you still want to see it?" asked the usher. "Yes I do."

"Okay, then go ahead and pay us when it's over."

I stepped into the gloom and took a seat right in time to hear Lizzie utter those immortal lines "I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof!"

And then as my eyes adjusted to the dark, I realised I was all on my own. I had the entire theatre to myself. I really was the only person in Athens who wanted to see this movie. That's the first time I've been for a movie completely on my own, without even other movie goers for company.


Despite my initial concerns, I have found GNTM to be strangely addictive, and already favourites and demons are starting to emerge. So it was with a heavy heart that I learnt yesterday that two contestants, Anthi and Ramona, have dropped out. Who else but Star channel would get the exclusive on this, and Anthi dished the following eye-popping home truths about 'reality' tv:

  • She totally got the feeling they weren't looking for Greece's Next Top Model, just making TV. Gasp!
  • Vicky Kaya is completely different off-camera to how she acts on-camera! No way!
  • There is nothing real about reality TV, everything is constructed and everyone is playing a role. And there I was thinking reality and TV are two words that go together like peas and carrots.
  • The judges deliberately pick your worst picture just to pick it apart. Well, babycakes, if they showed how well everyone was actually doing, the show would be over in about 10 minutes.
  • She got the feeling the winners have already been picked and the wrong people keep getting eliminated and the directors are deliberately keeping in the types that stir trouble (and make good TV)! Oh honey buns, if you had watched as much ANTM as I have, you'd know it's just a show and Tyra week after week makes decisions that make even an avid fan like me think "Hell, no!"

Ramona has promptly left on the heels of Anthi saying that she doesn't think the show is geared to what they were made to believe it is, which is to find Greece's next top model. Girls, you would not have had this existential crisis had you watched 13 seasons of ANTM like I have. Let's analyse ANTM's greatest contribution to the world of fashion, the most wow and eye-opening thing it taught us which not many of us knew before:

What is a weave and what are eye smiles.

There. That's it. That's ANTM's contribution to society.

In terms of who will make the biggest media career out of GNTM, I think it's going to Areti. Areti is a nasty little piece of work who's only purpose in life seems to be to bitch, moan, complain, backstab, gossip and stir up trouble. She's is suffering from Madonna/Whore syndrome and comes out with ridiculously schizophrenic points of view, one minute stating like the Virgin Mary that she would never stoop to Naila's levels to win a task

at about 5.40 minutes - before all of a sudden having no problem doing this:

Areti comes across as being the kind of person with all the necessary 'qualities' to make it to the top, ie. she wouldn't hesitate to kick burning kittens out of her way if it meant five minutes of fame.

Meanwhile, GNTM's contribution to my life took the form of the undies the girls were posing in and I promptly went out and bought a Venus Victoria bra like the ones in the photo shoot. EUR 29.95 from Hondos Centre!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Preening and Prancing

Remember back in the summer when my face was falling off? Well I'm happy to report, at the risk of bad-eyeing myself, that my skin is now nearly back to its peaceful, almost spot-free self.

So what was the secret after months and months of creams, lotions, potions and facial torture? One fine morning as I was about to apply my usual round of creams, I stopped. I put them back. And since that day, I have gone back to doing what I was doing all my life without any problems, which is absolutely nothing. I wake up, I wash my face with water and that's all I do. No cleanser, no toner, no cream.

My creamy quest has its origins in yet another female friend who practically fainted in horror when I said I have no skin care routine, just water and sun cream in the summer. "You'll regret that when you're 30!" she exclaimed.

Oh heck! Could she be right? What if I should really be joining them in stripping off my oils and then applying artificial ones? What if I wake up tomorrow looking like a prune? It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. You go to bed on the eve of you're 30th birthday, a fresh-faced 29 year old and wake up a hag!

I don't know. I have a sneaky suspicion we're being lied to. It's like when you stop using lip balm. The first week your lips rebel like crazy and then they say "Whatever" and get on with their naturally kissable lives.

I think my skin is doing the same thing. Sure, now and then when it's particularly dry or cold, a little sweep of almond or olive oil won't do any harm. But I'm so glad to be getting my old skin back I'm not messing with it again.


In other news, thoughts of tango are completely taking over my life. It's turning into yet another infectious disease along with everything else I'm riddled with. A few days before my dance disaster on Saturday at my tango lesson I had probably one of my best dances ever. Not from style or technique but it was the first time when I switched my brain off and enjoyed the dancing. It was light, lovely, and sweet, the dance equivalent of chocolate mousse (at least in my not-so-expert-one-month-of-tango opinion).

When I came back home, I told Mr Zeus how I had felt a sensation right in my gut while I was dancing, like being in another world and speaking in a totally new language (now I know that was probably my lungs preparing to spend the next few days chucking themselves in every direction).

But still! I wake up and start playing tango videos on youtube. I polish the wooden floor by walking backwards across it. I gorge myself on tango related information online until I feel disgusted and say "Enough!" then the next day I do it all over again.

And I look at tango shoes, especially Comme il Faut, which are like lingerie for the feet and atomic bombs for the wallet. I might just have to start a separate tango blog at the risk of boring you all to death.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My First Milonga... A Tale of Woe

After years of daydreaming about it, I finally took up tango about a month ago. Classes have been going well so far and all us tango newbies have been progressing at a good pace. It may not be much of a tango, but I am so happy that I am finally starting to dance something that resembles tango.

Last night I finally went to the dance my dance school throws every two weeks. Here's the background. I've spent the best half of last week with a cold that turned to flu, lost my sense of smell and some hearing thanks to my blocked sinuses. On yesterday's gorgeous Saturday morning I was totally determined not to miss my first tango social dance and had every ambition of not falling any further apart. I knew just the thing to make me feel good - tango shoes! Sadly the shop was located in just the place to make me feel like a sloppy, sniffly, red nosed, frizzy haired peasant - Glyfada.

Glyfada is like the Los Angeles of Athens, where all the rich and beautiful people go to hang out and judge you. Amongst them I dragged myself from shop to shop like Quasimodo. Glyfada is the only part of Athens where I feel like a foreigner and I can't wait to leave fast enough. It's probably all in my head, but meh! They shoot unfashionable people, don't they?

So anyway, on to the shoes. The shop in question is conveniently owned by the father of our koubara (witness to our wedding) so I got a nice juicy discount. I was stuck between red and black. Black being the obvious choice for seeming like a grown-up tango lady. Red was, well... when you are feeling ill and running out of positivity, red is the colour to go for. So that was what I did.

Next stop, Hondos Center to see if they sell those sweet old fashioned stockings with a seam along the back. I asked the lady and she said "Yes we do. They're EUR7 but we have more expensive ones too." Glyfada is the only place in Athens where they'll tell you you can get the same thing for more money.

"Anything for less than that?"

"No you filthy poor person. Out, out with you! Security!" Okay she didn't really say that, and I decided that while faking it till you make it is always a good policy, I should not be drawing too much attention to myself with seamed stockings and red shoes when I only have one month's worth of tango under my belt.

I spent the rest of the day scraping myself back together again, de-monobrowing and fixing my hobbit feet. Being ill is when I realise how much daily fine-tuning it takes to keep the wilderness at bay. Three days out of action and the follicles think it's Christmas.

By nightfall I wasn't feeling all that much kefi and I was starting to loose my voice. You know when you just feel that it's not going to be a good night, and you go anyway? Mistake. But dammit, I braved Glyfada and I was going to my tango dance no matter what.

I walked into the dance school and my first impression was that I knew no one. My second impression was that the people who were there were a bit mean. I said hello to a couple and got a big fat zero in return. Others were really friendly and nice though and kept my company all evening, so I suppose it's luck of the draw.

Something about not being able to talk, smell or hear that well threw my dance skills into total disfunction. I accepted five dances and all five were disasters. Seriously, I've danced better with my dog standing on his hind legs. The mega boss of the dance school invited my for a tango and since lately I had been getting such good feedback from classes on how I was doing, it would have otherwise been an opportunity to shine.

But instead I was horrified that he should pick my stuffy, diseased self on that night when I knew the magic wasn't happening, and I danced like ASS you guys!! He, like all my other partners, was super gracious and said I had done really well. Yeah, you're telling me that when I'm watching people on the floor that can change lightbulbs with their toes.

And, I was the one and only person in the whole room with red shoes on. It's like they were screaming "Hey everybody! Look at us! Aren't we great? Shame our mummy can't dance for shit!"

I thought a milonga would be fun and easy, but I found my first milonga really stressful. I was trying to remember so much at the same time and the sad truth is that it was the worst time I've ever had dancing. Too much thinking, too much structure, I was dancing all from the head and nothing from the heart.

By midnight I'd well and truly lost my voice, the remaining scraps of my kefi and had had enough so I walked the short distance back to my little flat to be consoled by my dog and my beloved Mr Zeus who I told all about how miserably I'd done. But he being my knight in shining armour blamed my skanked up sinuses for my dancing and not me. Hooray!

Monday, November 09, 2009

All the Single Ladies!

Yours truly was at last night's Beyonce concert. It was divalicious!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bollywood Beauty and Friday Beatbox

Ever wake up and think "This is just the kind of day to rub soot in my eyes!" Once again, I have a feeling these whacky new-age ideas only occur to me.

In a quest to add some extra special goodies to my ebay venture, I have started putting together Bollywood Beauty Bags, each of which contains a bindi, a vial of arabic oudh perfume, and box of incense and maybe kajal, the super dark traditional kind that I use. But I thought I could give myself an edge my making the kajal myself, the old-fashioned way!

So here's what I did. I made an oil lamp from a clay pot with a cotton wick poking over one side and filled it with olive oil. Next, I balanced a metal plate over the flame with the help of two empty jars, and let the flame and the oil do the rest. I left out a whole bunch of steps, like soaking the cotton in a special blend of herbs and juices and drying it, soaking it, drying it over the course of a day. But so what! Details, details.

An hour or so later and I got bored of waiting. A nice bunch of black stuff had collected on the steel plate. Once it cooled, I added a few drop of olive oil and mixed it up into a paste. It was promisingly black, and I did what any normal person would do. I applied this to the inside of my lower lids.

Well you can imagine the results. My eyeballs didn't rot and fall out, but they were pretty pissed with me, and considering I have a day job to concentrate on, partial blindness because of oil and soot in your eyes was not going to go down as an excuse.

This leads me to believe:

  1. All these people posting home-made kajal recipes online have never actually tried them

  2. Not everything our grannies did was a good idea

  3. Some things are best left to a professional

To celebrate my stupidity and the fact that it's Friday, here's a collection of songs that mention kajal:

Referred to here as kajra (and has a really filthy sounding screen-grab which I apologise for):

And here. I painted my eyes with the kajal of your love, this kajal drove my insane (ie. your love)
I sacrifice myself to you
The world is after me,
But I'm after you
Make me yours
I sacrifice myself to you

In my eyes there is kajal, in that kajal is my heart (hopefully not itching profusely from home-made kajal)

The kajal of my doom is in your eyes, the redness of my ruin is on your lips. Yeah. Guys say that to me all the time.

Paint your eyes with kajal darling. Featuring my favourite actress, also called Kajal. And containing about 2000 reasons to be glad the 90s are over in Bollywood world.

These eyes, this kajal, this hair, this scarf, you are a beautiful sonnet. Sorry, but you'll have to try harder than that when you're a troll seducing a sari-clad babe.

You'll notice most of the songs pining after a woman's smokey eyes are from back in the day. Presumably this means men of today have discovered other more entertaining aspects in a woman than her eyes. Which is a shame. It must have been nice to floor a man with one look of your smoky eyes.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Oh Crap

After looking for my winter clothes without success for a couple of weeks, today I had a very good root around for them with no luck and have come to the conclusion that yes indeed, I accidentally gave away all my winter clothes instead of the bags of clothes to donate.

Rats. I had acquired some really cool stuff in the winter sales last year too. :(


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Midweek Masti

So here we are halfway through the week. Is it just me or does no one seem to be having a good time at work these days? Every time I open my mouth to complain, I get a flood of work-related misery in return. Could be the unsettled weather in Greece, could be the position of the planet in our galaxy right now, could be the energy that Greece gives out sitting as she does across a couple of converging tectonic plates.

Who knows! But let's not mope too much. Time to throw on your hot pink sari and shake off the mid-week blues. Here's to all us small people with big dreams and pie-in-the-sky escape plans from our 9 to 5:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Get Your Goat

Ever since I moved to Greece, I have been campaigning for Mr Zeus to let me keep a goat and two chickens, but he ain't having none of it.

A weird request, you may think, but what can I say? Goats and chickens make me happy. Just watching them go about their little lives is like a philosophy for living. Search here, search there, eat what you find, make a noise when you do something good like lay an egg.

On Sunday we went to Schisto bazaar, a sprawling market that is laid out near Pireas and it was just divine. For one thing, it was just like being back in the Home Country. Secondly, it had that same Home Country appeal of anything and everything being collected all together to be sold. There were people literally selling junk, but kudos to them for being that ambitious.

Okay, now I know Schisto bazaar is in the news now and then for the shabby conditions they keep the animals they sell in, for example teeny little puppies out in the open, shivering on a cold day when they had no business being away from their mothers in the first place etc. But guys, I have to tell you, my heart lept a hundred metres off the ground when I spied a pen containing kids. No, no, not the manifestation of all the threats mothers in Greece dish out about the Gypsies kidnapping you if you misbehave. Kids, as in baby goats.

My oh my, it has been years since I laid eyes and hands on a baby goat. They are about the cutest little creatures you could ever see. If you feel around in the fur on their heads, you will find adorable little horns. They smell like earth. Sadly I had no camera to capture myself with a baby goat in arms.

But they took me right back to my childhood days and our goat couple, Elvis and Priscilla, with whom we enjoyed many a happy frolick before they disappeared. I don't know for sure if they were sent to the village or if they ended up on my dinner plate. I wasn't a particularly questioning child. But I have pictures of me and them and some of their offspring.

Next up were cages and cages of fabulous chickens. They were all so round and lovely and looked so delightful pecking about here and there. Life is not complete unless you own chickens! Another childhood memory of visiting our aunt in the village and searching for warm, shiny, brown little eggs laid here and there, which our aunt boiled and served to us with bowls of hot tea before cups and saucers came into fashion.

Mr Zeus thinks chickens stink and the fact is that to me chickens smell like chickens, and that's not a particularly bad smell. That's just how chickens smell. It's not their fault! And they should not be barred from my household just because Mr Zeus was born and bred in a city.

But he said pooh to that, and no chickens were to be had. Oh well. Back to urban living without goats or chickens. I think he worries that I'm a stone-hearted bitch who will eat my goats and chickens once I'm bored of them, and it doesn't help that I go on about how tasty goat curry is. It's not like my childhood doesn't back up his claim. Mwahahahaha!!!

Okay I didn't eat my pet goats and chickens. Just the ones that people brought as payment when they didn't have money (see, I didn't personally know these goats or chickens so it was alright). Oh and there was one time a baby chicken we bought from the market grew up to be a really mean rooster who we gave away to a rooster fighter. Who probably ate him. And if you knew this rooster you'd agree that he deserved it.