Greece

I may have come upon a solution to the terrible situation with Greece. First the US needs to close all its bases in Germany and take all that money that would be spent there and give it to Greece. For some reason the Germans get pleasure out of hurting groups of people every few decades. Then the US should make Greece a protectorate like Puerto Rico, Guam  etc. We could wake up each morning to Yasou America ( a program that would feature Greek doctors that would dictate to Americans on how to live healthier lives).

Think of it millions of left leaning Greeks voting in US elections ( these are Bernie Sanders type of folks). Probably the Republicans would vigorously object to these ideas. After all many right wing Evangelical Christians don’t believe that Orthodox Christians are real Christians. Remember when Pat Robertson sent missionaries to Greece and Russia to convert the heathens to “Christianity” ? Or how he was so pissed when the missionaries got “lost” in the Greek mountains and the Greek government refused to go looking for them?

Now in all fairness to the Greek government, they did warn Robertson that his people would not be well received and especially to not tell the yiayias and papous in those Greek mountains that they were worshiping God improperly. So a few folks disappeared ( taste this new yummy Greek stew – with enough Ouzo nothing tastes bad ). I will write my congressman and see what he thinks of my ideas. What could possibly go wrong?

Iran

While I supported President Obama’s Iran treaty politically, it also affected me in another way. Three weeks ago I started working for an Iranian doctor. All I could think of was if the treaty isn’t successful, could I become the first hostage on American soil.  The doctor is a very nice man but with politics you never know.  In a way working in his clinic is a lot like volunteering for the Church. Farsi is spoken by many of the workers there. So you have a group of people speaking very rapidly in a foreign tongue. ( At Church it is Greek).

It is a shame because at one time I spoke Spanish and Greek. Now I struggle with English. One of these days soon , all I will be able to do is nod my head and smile when I am communicating with other people.

The doctor had to be re-certified as a physician when he emigrated here with his family. Now he owns a three story office building. His walk in clinic is on the first floor. On the second floor is his wife’s Home Health Care office on one side and the administrative business offices on the other side. On the third floor is a Mosque. Attached at the back of the building is one of the chain store pot shops called “Altitude”. (Think of how much fun breaks can be).

What attracted me to this particular doctor is that he will only accept medicare and medicaid. He says in the long run it all evens out and he still manages to support his family. Now things will be okay as long as the Republican congress doesn’t defeat this treaty. If they do my family will have to start a free the hostage page on face book. ( Please give generously!! ).

The Pot Shop

In one of my recent blogs, I mentioned selling marijuana in Colorado. Pot shops are opening up at a rapid pace. Most are painted green and have names like Altitude ( This is actually a chain of shops around the Metro Denver area ), All Time High and Friends of Mary Jane. These shops much like liquor stores and bars run the gamut from very plush to down right dives. Some sell recreational pot, some medical pot ( with bright red crosses painted on the buildings ), and some sell both.

The minute you enter one of these shops, you are greeted by a cop and asked to show your ID. This is one of my favorite things about the pot shops – everyone is carded. Instead of being asked ” Would you like the senior discount? “, you are asked ” May I see your ID?”. You also notice that everyone working in these shops is very friendly and is always smiling. After spending some time in a shop, you understand why. Much like second hand smoke, there is that distinct aroma. Most customers also leave with smiles on their faces.

There are literally hundreds of job openings because so many shops are opening up around town. The requirements are fairly simple : 1.) You must pass a background check 2.) You must pass a credit check and finally 3.) ( the most important ) You must pay a $150.00 fee for your marijuana badge ( This makes you official and must be renewed every year at the same rate ). Also, the many benefits have been, reduced drug crime rate, millions of more dollars for the public schools ( taxes go to the schools ) , and a much happier and friendly state citizenship. Denver has always been called the Mile High City and now it is so true.

Paraklesis

On Wednesdays, I try to attend the Paraklesis service held at the Metropolis Center by the Cathedral. It is at 5PM and is usually attended by between 20 – 30 people. They are mainly ancient and mostly women. This past Wednesday the storm clouds had rolled in and when I arrived there were only four women there. As soon as I got in the door the storm broke loose. Rain and hail came down nonstop.

One of the women threw up her arms and started to scream ” This is the end. God is angry. We are doomed”. I wanted to tell her that it must be just her he was mad at because God and I are getting along just fine. Then a second woman started to scream ” My new car will be ruined by the hail. Why would God destroy my car?” . I noticed her car was a Toyota. Perhaps God is more of a Ford type guy. A third woman started to scream ” I just planted my garden. My tomatoes will be destroyed. What will I do?”. ( Buy more tomatoes and plant them?). The fourth woman remained surprisingly  quiet.

The Bishop arrived and had us enter the Chapel to begin the service. He started out by saying ” Let us say a special prayer for those of us who may have family and friends driving in this storm. Let us pray that they arrive home safely”. That’s all it took for the fourth woman to stand up and shout ” My Children are driving in this storm. I will never see them again. May God protect them”. I bet the Bishop never starts another service using those words. While all this was going on all I could think of was ” Oh great , my last day on Earth and I get to spend it with these four hysterical, ancient Greek women”. Don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Rocky Mountain High

I wonder if John Denver ever dreamed that Colorado would legalize Marijuana when he wrote that song back in the 70’s? One thing is for sure pot was a lot cheaper back in the day. When I was a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, all you had to do was attend a party anywhere on campus and someone would be passing around a joint for you to toke on ( no charge ).  During football games there was a low hanging cloud over the student section in the football stadium. Win or lose the students always left the games happy. And the joints were passed around – no charge.

When I graduated from CU and got a job working for the state government in downtown Denver, it was just accepted that at the monthly pot luck someone would bring “special” brownies ( and they were free ).

Today things have changed. Medical and recreational pot shops are opening up at the speed of light. You can literally get high just driving down Colfax. The buildings are painted green so you know what they are and they have very creative names: “Friends of Mary Jane” “A Mile High” or “Altitude” are a few of the names.

During one of our Greek Festival meetings someone suggested that the Cathedral could grow pot on the vacant land next to it since it is now legal. Then we could package it in a wrapper with a Greek flag on it a a quote saying ” Get high on God”. For some reason the Priest was not amused.

Festival

This year was the 50th anniversary of the Denver Assumption Cathedral Greek festival. For years my dad ran the kitchen at the festival and the family “volunteered” to help him out. Last year Katie decided to become chairperson for the main entrance gate and of course the family once again “volunteered” to help her out. The west gate entrance had problems last year and Katie agreed to be the chairperson for that gate as well, along with her “volunteers”. The festival runs from Friday to Sunday.

Friday morning I arrived to set up the west gate booth. The booth is a metal trailer that coke uses to sell drinks at events. Coke donates this trailer for the Church to use every year. Next year I think I will request something a little smaller and less heat resistant. While I was organizing the trailer , I felt drops of water on me. I looked up and said ” What the **** is going on ?” . Turns out it was the Priest blessing the booths before the festival started. He smiled at me and continued on.

At about 3PM Friday afternoon an ancient Greek man jumped into the booth with me and said ” You need help”. I replied ” No I don’t , thank you”. To which he replied ” Oh yes you do”. And he immediately began to rearrange everything at our booth and tell me what I had done wrong to organize the west gate. Then he found that the beverage bin in the trailer was still full of water. He decided that it needed to be drained. Unfortunately he drained it onto the trailer floor. As we stood there knee deep in water he smiled and said ” Don’t worry. In this heat it will evaporate soon”.

May his memory be eternal. My friends have asked me if it was worth it (YES!!). Besides it was self defense and I only got 3-5 with time off for good behavior. My biggest concern now is that they will place me in a cell with another Greek.

You’ve Been Banned

Apparently the Church board at Assumption Cathedral is on the verge of banning the Ethiopian community from the use of the ballroom for wedding receptions. This is not racially motivated but merely destruction of property motivated. And remember the Greeks are not shy about partying to the max.

It seems that there have been several incidents that have led the board to this decision. Starting with the wine incident, it seems that there was a certain wine that was very popular and heavily consumed. The janitor is still scrubbing the stains out of the walls and carpet several months later. Then there were the gun incidents. Apparently shooting guns at the wedding reception is a tradition. Unfortunately, the first time, the bullets left holes in the windows, walls and ceiling. They were told that guns could not be fired inside the premises. The second time they did heed that warning and decided to fire from the balcony outside the ballroom. The police were not amused.

Then there was the garbage disposal incident. Half a dozen spoons were found as the cause of a broken garbage disposal. ( Was this mistaken for the dishwasher? ). Replacing the garbage disposal was not cheap. What my have been the final straw that broke the camel’s back though was the fire. It seems that there is some sort of tradition that consists of burning a bonfire during the wedding reception. After the fire was extinguished , it was explained to the celebrants that the middle of the ballroom floor was not the best place to have the fire located. I have never been to one of these events, which is probably why I am alive and able to write about them.

Three Piece Suit

So, last Thursday I went to my follow up prostate biopsy. And yes it was even more fun than the first one. The Dr. arrived in a three piece suit. I felt extremely under dressed for the occasion, especially during the procedure. He is one of the top urologists in the country , so he is always giving lectures, meeting and greeting people, along with the several classes that he teaches at the University. During the procedure he kept asking me how I was doing. I wasn’t sure how to answer that question, especially under the circumstances ( ” I feel like I have bottomed out” ? ).

Then you have the hospital “gowns”. The hospital states that the purpose of these garments is to allow the doctor to examine you while providing the patient with the ability to maintain their dignity. Apparently the hospital and I have very different definitions of the word dignity. No matter how you tie those little straps in the back, the minute you get up to walk around, you have everything flapping in the wind.

Now I have to confess that this last time I didn’t mind that much because I have a dynamite tan line that I enjoy showing. I was a little disappointed that the doctor didn’t mention this. How many people can say that they have had a prostate biopsy performed by someone in a three piece suit? Did that make it a formal affair? As the saying goes ” bottoms up”.

Moving

When I bought my dad’s house and moved in to take care of him, I vowed to never move again ( never say never – right? ). My niece Katie has said that she would like to buy the house, so I will be moving sometime in the future. The thought of packing everything up and then moving to a new place is not pleasant at all. I was thinking of burning down the house and then claiming the insurance. Whenever I suggest this to my friends they get all hysterical and mention things like fraud and arson. Of course these same friends all have “excuses” for why they can’t help me move. The way I look at it , it is their fault if I turn to a life of crime.

When I was younger, it was very easy to find a friend who owned a truck and I had plenty of healthy, muscular male friends ( and some women – never, ever argue with them ). We would all get together and have someone moved within hours and then party afterwards. Now, nobody that I know owns a truck. And the guys are no longer young and muscular. They now have silly complaints like a heart condition, or bad back, knees or hips or many, many other body parts now causing them problems. What lengths some people won’t go to trying to avoid a little bit of work. I suppose that it is a bit much asking a person with a walker to help you carry boxes. Of course there is always Craig’s list – what could possibly go wrong with that?

Rain, Rain Go Away

The past few weeks we have been getting soaked with continuous rain in the greater Denver metro area. However, I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until last night when I saw our dog Darcy put on floaties and a snorkel to go outside to pee. He came back in drenched, poor guy. Needless to say he now holds it in until absolutely necessary.

My dog Apollo hated the rain. He would poke his butt out of the dog door only as much as necessary and when done he would jump back into the house. If he happened to get a drop of water on him in the process, he would run around the house until he was dry. Then he would crawl under the nearest, thickest blanket and shiver until he got the expected amount of sympathy from me. ( Of course a nice peanut butter cookie also helped him recover from  his awful ordeal ).

It’s interesting that we have the state of California under drought conditions and water restrictions. Contrast that to Colorado where folks are now swimming or going by boat to work. We would gladly give California all of our new ” liquid gold”. Denver was originally a plains, semi arid desert region. ( I am so glad we aren’t experiencing climate change ).

I had always heard that it was good to teach children to swim at a young age. Parents in the Denver area are getting a chance to test that theory. They put a pair of floaties on their kids, shove them out the door and let them swim to school. I just hope the rain has stopped by June 19th ( The beginning date of the Greek Festival ). Can you imaging wet Greeks being even more pleasant than they usually are welcoming people and telling them to enjoy and have a good time? OPA!!

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