Monday, 1 July 2019

Wimbledon...

I love watching tennis! What’s not to love?! Technique, talent, composure, strategy, precision, power, ethics (well... usually), spectacle and the only sport that when you are left with nothing, it’s called “love”!

And Wimbledon for me, and for many more, is the top event of the sport every year! I remember, when I was a teenager, I would watch on those hot July afternoons in Greece, while eating cooled watermelon, the likes of Bjorne Borg and John McEnroe and later AndrΓ© Agassi and I would be so fascinated... until my dad would wake up from his afternoon nap and normally take over the TV (yes, in the 80s’, homes had only one TV set, what did you think?!) or sometimes he would watch a bit with me... so cool! Rare moments of bliss!

Still to this day, the first two weeks of July put me in tennis mood! I have not missed the Wimbledon finals in years (ok, except for last year that I was, ironically, in London...) but in principle, I watch every day! I come back from work, fix myself a quick meal and I plant myself in front of the big screen to watch, often, history being written! Like, just a while ago, I witnessed a 15 year old, Cori (Coco) Gauff, defeat her idol, no other than Venus Williams herself! In the first round! In straight sets! What a kid! What a match! Imagine for a moment being in her shoes! It brought tears to my eyes (that happens more and more often lately... I’m getting old I guess...), I felt so proud of her! I don’t know her but... do we really need to know someone to feel proud of them?... no... I don’t think so!

So, just so you know, for the next two weeks, I’m watching Wimbledon and it’s “better than shoes”... in case you miss me... πŸ˜‰

Sunday, 23 June 2019

an afternoon in the sun...

The summer surely took its time to come to my part of the world but it’s finaly here! The temperature has risen in the last couple of days, the skies are clear and the sun has been shining generously upon us!

So, on this lazy Sunday afternoon, there was no doubt about what the choice was... my chaise longue was calling me and I responded gladly! Armed with an iced tea (ok, full disclosure, I did fix myself a vodka with exotic fruits’ juice later... I was not going to drive anywhere...) some almonds (I tend to get peckish in the afternoon... and the evening... and the morning come to think of it...), my ciggies and my iPad, I planted myself to the most comfortable sunny spot in the city! My balcony! I mean, don’t get me wrong, the beach can be fun but let’s face it, on my balcony I have the sun all afternoon, a lounge chair with its matching footstool, drinks, snacks and a marvellous view to the sea! Plus, no screaming kids and running dogs so there’s really no competition!

Also, I discovered I can still watch Netflix outside (Wi-Fi is strong and I got a cable extension) and the nap I took at some point was sooooo sweet, almost as good as on my sofa! Bliss! And yes, it is Sunday and no one can escape the Sunday blues but such a pleasant, sunny Sunday afternoon definitely eases up the pain of having to go to work tomorrow! If we get to have more of those, it’s going to be a lovely summer! A “better than shoes” one πŸ˜‰

Thursday, 13 June 2019

my birthday...

was yesterday... and it was better than shoes!! And no, it did not involve any purchase of my favourite kind...

Since this was not just any birthday, it was my 45th, I started the celebrations as early as three days ago by flying to the Big Apple! Yes, if N.Y. is not THE best place on the planet to be on my own on such a special day, well, I don’t know where that is! Big cities make me feel at ease, they take away my loneliness and make me feel part of a living organism, a buzzing one, one with an energy that charges my batteries! Plus, there’s so much to do here that one could not possibly get bored!

So I arrived, had my first shot of Shake Shack (yes, people, I would cross an ocean for these burgers!) and the day before yesterday I went to see “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert! Fun fun fun!! And there I met two lovely ladies, G and AM, who made me feel at home in their city, invited me to go to dinner with them afterwards and offered me the immense pleasure of a conversation about anything and everything! Ahhhh... meeting such interesting, cultured, funny and talented women, what a treat!

And yesterday I woke up and found a miriade of messages of love and best wishes from all my friends that kept coming all day! Who could ask for anything more?! I felt truly blessed and, mind you, I’m not a religious person! To top it all up, I went for a birthday lunch (you are not really asking where, right?...) and then headed to “The Daily Show” for my “date” with Trevor Noah! Amazing!! I touched hands with Desi Lydic, people!! The day of course could not end without saying “hi” to my favourite building in this city, the Chrysler building! I got there right before it got really dark, smoked a ciggy while looking at all its glory and then headed back to my hotel. Ok... not before I had another burger... I walked a lot, needed the calories!

Yesterday was a wonderful day! One to remember forever! My heart is full of joy, I’m ready to see what the next 45 years will bring and I can’t wait to go to the Met today! Rainy days are great for museum visits πŸ˜‰

Ps. To the teen boy who told me yesterday “hey lady, you look marvellous today”, many thanks darling, and... call me when you can have a drink 😁

Saturday, 25 May 2019

wishes...

...are “better than shoes”. That is, except for when you wish for shoes, then they are just “shoes”... I guess...

But, anyway, yes, wishes... wishes, very very very rarely do come true. Fact. So very rarely that it almost doesn’t even count. I mean, when was the last time you wished for something and it actually happened, hum? It usually rains when you wish it didn’t (and on your good hair day...) and those 2 kilos you put on during Christmas are still with you no matter how many times you wished you lost them and that text you wished for with all your heart never actually did come and if we are talking lottery, forget it, right?

Still... we keep on wishing... we wish upon a falling star (when the sky is clear enough to see it fall...), we make a wish every time we find an eyelash on our cheek and every year when we blow our birthday candles... why? Because... if we stop wishing, then what? If we stop dreaming, then what? A life without dreams, is it worth living? Our wishes, our dreams is what keeps us going when reality gets grim... which is ever so often... we wish because even for that tiny moment we make that wish, we feel such joy as if our wish had actually come true... and it’s worth it, even for that tiny moment! We wish because our wishes are a sort of compass that shows us where we want to go!

So, I say, dream big! No, dream huge! Do not be afraid to wish for the sun and the stars and the moon! Wish for everything your heart desires, don’t discount your yearnings, don't stop longing, don’t get trapped in reality, live in it but be ready to escape from it as often as you can! Wish for love,  wish for friendship, wish for laughter, wish for health, wish for a better world, wish for the change you want to see and then be it!

And you never know... every once in a blue moon, wishes do come true πŸ˜‰

Sunday, 12 May 2019

take a chance...

...it might prove to be “better than shoes”!

I’m a control freak... no, I’m not proud of it, if anything it’s a damn burden usually! I try to stay in my comfort zone as much as possible and, when I cannot do that, I try my hardest to stretch  the comfort zone around my path... to foresee everything, to predict everything, to be prepared for everything ahead...

But... if I look back into my life, the best moments I had were those unforeseen ones! The best experiences were the unplanned ones, the best meals were the ones had by chance at a little restaurant I had not yelped beforehand, the best views were on detours, the best trips were the ones planned at the last minute, the best clothes I have are the ones I thought “oh, this is not me” when I bought them, the best kisses were the ones with people I thought “no way on earth this is ever happening”... yes... the best moments of my life were the result of chances taken! These rare moments in the life of a woman who is afraid to take a chance, were the best ones! And even when it turned out to be... well... not so good (yes, there was the occasional “oh, crap... I should have googled this place first...”) even then, it just made a funny story to tell afterwards!

So, from now on I vow to take more chances! To let go more often! To just wing in, to be present in the moment and enjoy what comes! I vow to be more spontaneous, more unpredictable, more free! And, if I may, I advise you to do the same! Take a chance! Take a chance with that dress you have been thinking about for months but feels “not you”, take a chance with that person you have been thinking about but were afraid to approach because they might say “no”... because, you know, they actually might just say “yes”!...Stop trying to think ahead... think now! Life has no guarantees and that’s the beauty of it! Things can go wrong but things can go right too! Choose to think they will go right and turn it into a self fulfilling prophesy! That’s surely worth a chance, no? 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

show your feelings...

Trust me, it feels better than having just bought a pair of Valentino rockstuds!

I belong to a generation of women who were brought up to not show their feelings. When we were kids, we should never tell or even show the boy we liked that we liked them, it was supposed to be a secret we shared only with our most trusted (girl)friends. And when we disliked someone, we should never, ever tell them that, never show them how we felt, ever! We were supposed to be “ladies”, always have the moral high ground and maintain composure at all times otherwise we were to be labelled trashy, rude, uneducated... bitches... and this hard pill to swallow was sugarcoated by our “educators” with the assurance that “the best punishment is indifference” and the advise “don’t give them the satisfaction to know they got to you”...

Well, I’m almost 45 years old today and I call bullshit to all that! Bullshit! If you like someone, tell them! You sure want to be told you are liked, no? Do unto others as you want for yourself (or something... don’t remember the expression exactly... never mind). And when you deslike someone, also let them in on the news! Let them have it! In all my years of taking the path of keeping my resentment and my pain inside me and “punishing by ignoring”, I never got tangible proof that the jerk I was ignoring actually felt punished by my ignoring them! And I now am absolutely certain that they just went on having a lovely life where there was no cloud in their sky, no resentment towards them, no consequences suffered from their hurting me. Pretty cool for them, right?

Well, not anymore. This stops here. From now on in my private life (needless to say that other rules apply in my professional life...) when I meet someone I like, I offer them my brightest smile and say “hi” and ask them how they are and show them my joy that I run into them! And when I meet someone I deslike, I let them in my exact feelings of disgust/repulsion/disapproval and walk away. Simple rule to follow. And since I’m a person really fortunate to deslike very, very, very few people in my private life, those uncomfortable moments of sharing negative feelings, will be so very rare. But I will not shy away from them. I’ve always been very generous with my good feelings towards people so I should just start to be generous with the bad ones that I have for a handful of them too... and if I’m labelled a bitch, well, so be it! A label is only worth as much as the person labelling πŸ˜‰





Sunday, 14 April 2019

first kisses...

...are better than shoes.

A first kiss is like a portal that gives you a glimpse to another dimension... hmmm... interesting analogy... then again I have been watching the second season of “the OA” all day... anyway, I digress, yes, a dimension where you and the one you are kissing at that specific moment will be doing a lot more kissing... and in that moment, with that one kiss, you will know whether you want to find yourself in that dimension or not... if you do, that kiss becomes the first one of many (and will always be remembered and will put a smile on your face when remembered and will always be better than shoes)... if you don’t, end of story, the kiss remains in your memory as “a kiss” and probably will be soon forgotten... unless it was the worst kiss of your life or something... like, you were challenged to kiss a frog and he did not turn into a prince...

Yes, first kisses may be slightly awkward at times, clumsy, but still the above applies... in my life, I have always known from that first kiss, whether there was a future involving more kissing with that person or not... even when that first kiss was not the best one, compared with ones to follow, I always knew if I wanted my life to entwine with the life of the person kissing me... many years ago, just for once, I ignored that gut feeling... I ended up having the most lukewarm relationship of my life... and I never did it again! Since then, I always pay attention to what my gut tells me when I kiss someone for the first time... so that I know if it really will be “a first time of many”...

It’s been a bit since I had a “first kiss”... it was sweet, totally unexpected to me, slightly awkward and I reacted poorly to it because I was so overwhelmed when it actually happened, I could not believe it! You know, one of those “WTF” moments in life when that thing you have been imagining all along materialises and you find yourself unable to grasp it! But, my gut did tell me, at that surreal moment last summer, that I most definitely wanted more of that and I was right (and lucky...), it was followed by many more, and it did become the “first kiss” and it was for sure better than shoes! And I still smile when I remember it 😊

Ps. Life in its awesome wisdom, usually does not let us know which one is the “last kiss”... thank goodness for that πŸ˜‰


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Sundays are for lounging...

...and it is better than shoes!

Boy, have I been crazy busy! I’m sure you have noticed the absence of reporting “better than shoes” stuff; it has not been due to lack of those, it has been due to lack of time to report them! About a month ago, and since just working on my day job was not challenging enough, I decide to make changes around the house. What was in the beginning just the decision to buy a new sofa and get rid of the old one and its bad energy, became a whole project involving also a new bookcase, an additional bookstand, painting walls, changing lamps, putting new pictures on the walls, creating an amazing light installation (yes, I have what looks like the starry sky in my bedroom now) which exhausted me but at the same time gave me immense joy!

It all went well, all is done the way I wanted and it was so worth the time, the effort and the expenses that I think it was the best decision I made in a long time! I come home now to a place that is totally me, totally welcoming, totally cosy and inviting and warm and beautiful! The sense of accomplishment alone is so fulfilling! Plus, I have a newfound respect for house painters, their job is hard! And the plan is to share my “new” pad with my loved ones, yes, invitations are already out, I’m open for business and ready to receive my darling ones and be hostess of the mostess!!

So, last Sunday, after everything was finished and for the first time having some time to rest over the weekend, I enjoyed one of those lounging days I haven’t had in a long time! Yes, a full day of lounging, eating, watching “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” (thank you Netflix for making available the first 5 seasons! I have been in heaven!) and napping on my new sofa! For years I have been apologising for falling asleep on the sofa, well, f@@k that! Now I have the perfect sofa for falling asleep on and I’m loving it! No more apologies, no more nap-shaming! Long live the sofa naps and Sunday lounging and dear friends coming over to enjoy my home! The sofa is so big, they can nap with me on it if they want πŸ˜‰


Saturday, 23 February 2019

chicken soup...

I’ve been sick as a dog for three days now... today, adding insult to injury, has been a glorious sunny day, a rare treat mid-winter, and I have been mopping around at home, in my pyjamas, from bed to sofa and vice-versa, sipping tea, cursing my stuffed nose and sneezing unstopably... a veeeeery sexy image indeed! I at my best... not!

But in the midst of all this misfortune, or, who am I kidding, real tragedy to say the least, the universe granted me a miracle last night: I found some chicken in the freezer! Hallelujah!! This meant that today I could have myself some chicken soup, the de facto panacea for all ailments, physical and emotional (and to be honest, my emotional health has not been tip top lately either...), the only thing that can cure, yes cure, the common cold! Better than shoes? You bet!

So, all sniffles, always in pyjamas and in a reasonably bad mood, I put on the stove, boiled the chicken in beaf stock (yep, this is my secret ingredient, you are very welcome... do not forget the allspice, a couple of those will do, don’t ask why, just do it...) and when the soup was ready, I prepared some fair trade, wholewheat noodles and added that in my bowl... mmmmm... sheer delight!! Pure magic! The first spoonful put a smile on my face!

Of course... I have no taste whatsoever.... or smell or hearing for that matter... but I could taste how wonderful my soup was from memory! Seriously! It’s either that or I’m hallucinating... hum, what can you do... and even if it is pure placebo effect, I have started to feel better already! Or... will very soon... gonna make myself some more tea...

Monday, 18 February 2019

a smile...

...can sometimes shine brighter than the sun! Can warm up your heart, can make you feel all fuzzy and twinkly inside, can stir desires you never knew existed or you suspected they existed but were afraid to acknowledge or were even trying to forget... a smile can be the absolute highlight of an otherwise grim, hectic, borderline panicky day... a smile can be your company for hours, days, weeks... it can chase the loneliness away, it can make the bad feelings disappear, it can light up the dark, it can be all and everything that you need to go on another day...

A smile... the kind that makes one’s face brighten up, that extends to the eyes that smile along with the mouth, that paints the most beautiful of pictures and that lets the joy of the encounter show without any shame, without holding back, without masking it... a sincere smile, an honest one... a smile that makes you reciprocate because you simply cannot but reciprocate, that holds your gaze captive and your mind hostage as you try to walk away but you sort of can’t... a smile that you might just glance for only the tiniest of moments but might feel like an eternity...

A smile can be better than the most gorgeous shoe ever made by man... I’m talking Manolo, here, people... a smile can be immeasurably better than his masterpieces!  Yes... a smile can be all that... if it’s the right person smiling at you... So, when you get such a gift, open it up and enjoy it as if you were a kid on Christmas Day! Just... stay in that moment, stop your brain from thinking and just feel! For everything else around it may be just stuck, may be complicated, may be painful and scary and confusing and troubled but the smile... the smile tells the truth and the truth is all that matters πŸ˜‰

Friday, 1 February 2019

companionship...

...is better than shoes!

In the past year or so, my faith to relationships and companionship has been shaken... it is hard not to doubt the whole idea of being in a committed relationship when a union you thought was strong as steel, brakes down to pieces as if it were made of terracotta... and although in my heart I still believe that true intimacy may only exist when you know and trust the person sleeping next to you, when you love and care (in my mind, these are one and the same, when you love you care...), I doubt that this is written in the stars for me...

This week, my best male friend and adopted big brother for the last 17 years or so, celebrated his 20th anniversary with his partner... yes, exactly, 20 years! 20 years of love! And no, I’m not being a hopeless romantic here, no relationship that lasts this long is all roses and candles and voile curtains floating in the light breeze while soft jazz music plays in the background, all the time! Probably, since this sounded like a scene from a soft porn movie, not any of the time at all! But you have to look at the big picture here, the foundation! A relationship that willingly lasts this long (not talking about hostage situations...) must have a solid foundation! Love!

Yes, when you are together with someone for this long, there are bad days... there are days when you don’t wanna even see the other person’s face in the morning, when you get so pissed off at one another you think you will explode, when you get bored and you question the whole thing...  but then, there are days of natural bliss, calm, laughter, tenderness, sweetness, discovery and pure joy as well! And, when you still are together after so long, the simplest explanation is that the good days outnumber the bad ones, the joy outweighs the anger and love wins! Companionship wins! It wins because it is what we all need deep down and when we manage to find it, we should hold on to it! For as long as we still smile every time we listen to Jack Johnson sing “better together”...

Ps. Happy 20th anniversary S and K! ❤️

Sunday, 27 January 2019

attaching strings...

I’ve been thinking about this “no strings attached” thingy in relationships...

When one goes by the rule of “no strings attached” in their relationships, not wanting any commitment and/or responsibilities and by making sure that everyone’s expectations are kept to the minimum (or there are no expectations at all from the relationship and from one another), well, basically they set the most rigid, the strictest of conditions in their relationships! The precondition to not have any attachment, ever, is indeed a very serious one, one that is very hard to abide by simply because of human nature!

What if “strings” naturally “attach” between two people? What if feelings develop? According to the rule, these need to be immediately cut! But that is not only unnatural, it’s also stupid! Why would we deny feelings, both good and bad?! We can’t, my darlings! Take it from me, I tried to deny the existence of feelings for the better part of my youth! It doesn’t work! We cannot cut “strings” no more than we can create them where they naturally don’t exist! The only strings that should exist between two people are the ones that naturally grow! When two people meet and they feel a first kind of attraction for one another, this may or may not develop to something more... this is the natural way, this is the only rule that should apply, to let what grows naturally, grow: if it is more feelings, just live it for goodness sake and if it is less, well, the relationship will dissolve gradually, naturally, and that’s that.

The “no strings attached” rule is just a way of expressing our fear of rejection, of heartache... we want to control the situation, make sure we will not get hurt by forming a bond with another human being, by having feelings for them that may be betrayed... But... as I heard in a wonderful theatre play I saw last year, “The Inheritance Part II” (yes, Vanessa Redgrave was amazing!!), “the only way to heal heartache, is to risk more...” So, yes, go out and risk heartache, unconditionally, form connections, go with the flow, fall in love! Let strings attach wherever they want to attach, if they want to, don’t be afraid to dive in and see where that gets you! It will be “better than shoes”, you’ll see πŸ˜‰

Sunday, 6 January 2019

love...

Love is within all of us. We sometimes forget it’s there... often, we think we lost it but it is never lost... it’s always there... We may lose loved ones, but we do not lose love. We just forget it’s there, we sometimes choose to forget it, we sometimes choose to close our eyes and pretend it’s not there, usually when we are hurting... sometimes we even wish it weren’t there... but, love is always within us... love is everywhere we want to see it... love is in art, in food, in friendships, in a smile or a heartfelt laugh, in a hug, a kiss... love is always present when we care...

Love is the reason. Love is the cause. Love is the aim. We want to be loved, we want to love, we want to show love and we want, no, we need love to be shown to us in more than words... We get bitter when we think we lost it, we get angry, we shut down, we promise we will never love again, we try to protect ourselves from getting hurt again, we think love was the cause of our pain but... it’s not love that hurts us... people... well, sometimes people do hurt us... lack of love hurts us... forgeting the love we have inside hurts us... trying to shape love in a specific form may hurt us... but love, well, cannot be what we want it to be... love is love... and it does never hurt...

I choose love this year. I choose to remind myself that love is within me every single day. I choose to not be afraid of it. I choose to be open to it. I choose to seek it, to cherish it, to offer it, to accept it in any shape or form love chooses to come to me. I choose to show it, not just say it, show it! I choose to let it guide me and I choose to let myself go wherever it wants to take me... and I know that this will not make me weak... it will make me even stronger! How about you? πŸ˜‰