A day in my life: June 13
Drink morning coffee on the patio. The real stuff today, after two days of instant (ran out over the weekend, only replenished the supply yesterday afternoon). Take Monika to school. Put in load of laundry. Water and fertilize the flowers in the garden. Dump compost, gather cultivated wild strawberries (about forty of them make a decent-sized and flavorful mouthful). Admire growing lettuce and parsley, which have so far escaped being dug up by Olivia. Pull up dead tomato plants and prepare soil for second attempt with new plants, to be purchased tomorrow. In between garden chores, play tag and keep away with Olivia, sometimes getting on my hands and knees to better mimic a dog. Lyra is still in Ljubljana, on vacation with Jana and Dean as a reward for coming third in Maribor, enjoying the attractions of the big city (especially Tivoli Park) and being wined and dined by Slovene TV celebrities.
Leave Olivia in yard, go off to talk to neighbor about plight of tomato plants. She confirms what another neighbor told me, that chopping up nettles and soaking them in water for a day or two and then watering the plants with the (smelly) mixture will keep away pests. While we’re talking, Oli appears out of nowhere, having found an escape route from the fenced yard. She considerately refrains from attacking my neighbor. Good dog.
Back home, translate text on the dire straits of the Slovene book market under the new capitalism and commercialized “cultural industry.” Apparently these days culture is only worth something if it can turn a profit.
Hang up sheets to dry in the June sunshine and breeze. After school, take Monika and a friend to the coastal town of Koper for clothes shopping for the “valeta” the next day—a dance thing put on for the benefit of students and parents (and teachers) to mark the end of primary school. It’s extremely hot outside, and hence in the car (old car, no air-conditioning). Leave Oli with aussie-owning friend near Koper for dog-sitting while we shop. I expect to get a phone call of distress any moment—Oli has spent time with Lilit and Grin before on group hikes, but we’ve never just up and left her in the care of near-strangers before. I don’t know what to expect, but trouble seems the most likely. But my fears prove to be groundless: Lilit sends periodic text messages about how wonderfully Oli is behaving—not growling or barking, playing well with Grin, following Lilit around, coming when called…phew, that’s a relief! In fact over the course of the afternoon Lilit becomes so enamored of Olivia that her last message says she’s in love and we can just leave Oli there. (Photographic documentation of Olivia's afternoon vacation by the sea courtesy of Lilit here.)
Shopping is fruitless and frustrating for the first three hours. Nothing fits, nothing works. During the last half-hour, in a burst of productivity, Monika finds skirt, shirt, belt, shoes, and hose that all add up to a nice outfit. Mission accomplished.
Back at Lilit’s, we linger a while for drinks and chat in the garden. Lilit’s mother is an avid and experienced gardener, and yet another practitioner of the nettle formula theory. In fact, she has just watered the garden with the mixture, and apologizes for the resultant smell. It is stinky, no denying—reminiscent of liquid cow manure.
We leave (with Olivia, whom Lilit has—reluctantly—agreed to relinquish) as dusk is falling and the air is cooling off, which makes the return trip far more comfortable than the outward one. All in all, a satisfying day.