Fabulous Bloggie Upgrade Time
You've probably noticed-and been annoyed with-the way the comments entry box flickers when it's full and you're typing at the bottom of it with a vertical scrollbar visible. It sort of bounces up and down most irritatingly. You'll notice new shrink↑ and expand↓ links at the bottom of the area where you type your comments. They do exactly what they promise to do; expand and shrink the comment entry box. So you can expand it enough to get rid of that irksome scrollbar and its annoying bouncy flicker effect.
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Gramma, Mama and Me
So mama went to visit gramma. I know you all think I exaggerate when I write about my family and frankly, I've thought hard about disillusioning you from that idea. But like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the United Nations, the bubble has to burst in one's lifetime, so here it is: this is my family and it's all true.
My gramma is a short, round woman. She's actually as tall as she's round, and she's very-very short. She's in her 80s or 70s or perhaps 90s, we don't know, she never tells the same age twice. We're all very afraid of her, she's one of those people who jump on you for no reason at all - well, actually they have a reason, you just never see it coming.
She lives in the States, in a very large house, all by herself since grandpa died twenty years ago. She could have someone come and help her with housework and stuff but she refuses, "I don't want strangers in my house." She wants mama to live with her. Mama lives in Greece. Gramma is not happy about that at all.
She's also not happy that I don't visit her. I try to call once a week, on Saturdays, just for the rush I get when the phone call is over. Yeah, it is that bad. One time, in the interest of history, I made the mistake of asking her: "Were there any Jews in Skyros when you were growing up?" Oh dear... She started with Neoptolemos who was a king of Skyros in 2000 B.C. or something (no Jews in that story), then she jumped to WWII in Athens when she had to eat raisins cause there was nothing else to eat (no Jews there, either), then she described the sacrifices she made for my mother (not a single Jew involved), then she told me about that time she met a prince, "a real prince" (no, he wasn't Jewish) and then she went on to describe in detail all of last week's episodes of her Greek soap opera. My gramma loves to talk.
After an hour of "uh-huh" on my part - you really don't need much more than that to hold a conversation with gramma - I viciously interrupted her: "But what about the Jews in Skyros?!" "What about them?" she said, surprised. "Well, I asked you-" "WELL, I'M GETTING TO THAT! Listen, this is what I'm telling you..." It turns out that during a boat trip from Athens to Skyros in the midst of WWII, the captain was secretly transporting Jews to Turkey. It took two hours to get that out of her. They were not Jews from Skyros, either. There were no Jews in Skyros, mama told me that in one sentence. By the way, mama is the local historian in Skyros, she knows everything about everyone. And she doesn't talk as much as gramma does. Well, no one talks as much as gramma does.
Gramma likes to complain a lot. A lot. She complains about everything, but mainly she complains about her health. The woman hasn't been sick in seventy years (counting the known history) but she has every disease she hears about on tv. It doesn't help that her doctor is Greek. She visits her doctor like other people visit Starbucks. He's a hero, really. She likes to read to him the Mayo Clinic brochures she receives in the mail, she says she's helping him further his medical knowledge.
Gramma's favourite activities (besides seeing her doctor) involve eating out and grocery shopping. She has four refrigerators in her house, funny for a person who's expecting to die "any day now." She spends a lot of money on groceries and never throws anything away. She says when she dies, it will all be ours. So we have eight-year-old salami to look forward to. Oh, and cream cheese from 2001.
Mama took her to Applebee's for a treat. Did you know there's an Applebee's in Salonica, btw? Yeah, right as you exit the airport. Anyway, they went to a different Applebee's, one in the States. They took my SUV, the boat as we call it. Gramma can't get in the boat, it's too tall for her, so mama has her use a little stepladder. Gramma is very hesitant about the whole thing "Can I touch the door? It won't fall off?" but once she gets in the boat and mama straps her in, it's not so bad. We're just not allowed to open any windows 'cause then it gets windy and her wig gets out of place and she's not happy about that at all. So we silently suffocate in the car while gramma talks about the 70s and how much better life was back then. Needless to say, she sits in the front.
At restaurants, gramma likes to study the menu in great detail while telling us how she cooked "the same food but much better" when she had a restaurant. Then the innocent waiter comes to our table... While the rest of us immediately place drink orders, knowing what's about to befall us, the poor guy/girl has no clue... none...
Gramma: Hi honey! Such a nice place you have here! I'm a businesswoman, between my husband and me, we've been in the restaurant business 175 years (Gramma likes to combine her age with my dead grandpa's age as if he's still alive, so even though he's been dead for a while, he keeps aging).
Waiter: And a good evening to you too, ma'am! What can I get for you today?
Gramma: Eh, okay, the steak, but you have to be careful...I'll tell you in a minute...What kinda vegetables are those?
Waiter: Peas and corn, ma'am.
Gramma: See, I have trouble with my teeth, look, look back here, see, all these are caps. I have nothing back here, this is the only thing that holds my dentures together. When I had a restaurant downtown, "Olympic Café" you know it? Yeah, my husband and I had a very famous restaurant. One day this very good-looking guy came and he ordered coffee... And I said to him, "Sir, you are very handsome" and he said "Oh thank you! You may call me 'Your Highness' and I said ..."
Ok, I'll stop here, I won't inflict this pain on you anymore - she's my gramma after all, why should you have to put up with her...But just to let you know, if ever you need a gramma, I'm offering her for a very reasonable price (but I can't afford to pay more than $100).
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