Thursday, June 24, 2010



Dear M,


11 years already. It seems like yesterday that we were celebrating you entering the double digits. And here you are now, already 11.

Two lines side by side in parallel rather than unison as if to signify your independence. How I miss those years of 8 that had the perfection, continuity and infinity of form. Back then, I was Almighty. Now, you are beginning to see my weaknesses. Just last weekend you were quizzing me on the existence of God and asking me so many “whys” that I was forced to say that I was still trying to figure things out myself. I'm lucky you are a tomboy and not asking me about kissing, dating, love letters... (I wrote my first when I was your age, but there's no way I'm going to admit this to you just yet...)

You find it strange that suddenly I don't have the answers to everything. You are already scrutinizing so many of my choices from the husband I married (your father) to my choice of country to live...And you declared that you keep secrets that I'm not supposed to know about (though you did promise that these are innocent secrets that make you feel grown-up rather than stuff I would not approve of). I'm secretly jealous of your friends who know your secrets, but realise that this is a good thing that comes part and parcel with being 11.

Soon your admiration for me will cease and you'll enter the teen years. But I’m kind of looking forward to the challenges you are bound to throw my way (I hope you are just as inventive as I was!).

Up until now we’ve been 1, but now the 11 is beginning to slash through. 11 seems strong and symmetrical, but it really isn’t so. Don’t be fooled by the power of this number and don’t rush forth too fast, little one. Indeed, there is the strength of the two unwavering lines and their refusal to bend. But don’t forget the atrocities: the uncertainty of the eleventh hour, the 11/9/2001 attack that changed the world, and let’s not forget the popular idiom – “up to eleven” or “these go to eleven” which has come to refer to anything being exploited to its utmost abilities or apparently exceeding them. CLICK HERE to see what I mean.

Oh, Mel, how I already miss you every day even though you are here. Thank you for still allowing me to kiss you, tickle you and buy you bunnies... Please, let's l i n g e r for as long as we can in this in-between place. Let's not take the amp to 11 just yet but find middle place between those two stubbornly separate lines.

Lots of love always my little bee,

PS. You had just one guest and her sister - with Z that made four of you altogether - and you made your own birthday cake together with your friends, I took you all to the Hilton's pool, we went for a film and squeezed in as much life and vigour as we could into just one day. A beautiful day...not quite as perfect as the day when I first looked into your bright, intelligent eyes. Many happy returns.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Who is Free and who is Not?
What is Joy and what is Rot?
Sometimes these notions intertwine
Like what is Yours and what is Mine.
I wanted You, You desired me
So much we plainly failed to see
That this would bring Catastrophe.

Who loved once and who loved twice?
Where is the wedding cake and rice?
I looked so stunning dressed in white
Oblivious to our Future plight.
The Children came, Interest was Lost
A nuptial Bed covered in Frost
I thought of Romance and You its Cost.

Who is True and who is Fake?
Where is the salad and where's the steak?
The Passion becomes a Life of Rote
For which there is no Antidote.
Some say its silly to despise
A Life of mindless Compromise
I'd choose Demise if it were Wise.

Who is Right and who is Wrong?
What is Woe and what is Song?
Such Hypocrisy is Undeserved
When Stars were once for Us reserved.
The Cynosure up high is no Source
To Set this Marriage on its Course
As we Navigate the choppy seas of Divorce.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering I only finished it off with divorce because it rhymed with "source" and "course". The truth is "divorce" is just as much a worthless piece of paper as "marriage" itself. The only real solution is to grin and bear it and to pay the price of our choices like responsible adults. It's all about choices, isn't it?


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Awe-inspiring Portuguese nobel laureate Jose Saramago died yesterday. His death brought to mind a work of his I read a couple of years ago, "Death With Interruptions", based on the premise of a society where people stopped dying, causing huge problems to social security, economy, the state, even religion... Reading the work was a difficult pleasure, but it made me reconsider death and its necessity. I am trying to hold onto this concept now that this great man has died, leaving a gap in the world of thought and literature. May he rest in peace like so many other great intellectuals before him.

"THE FOLLOWING DAY, NO ONE DIED. THIS FACT, BEING ABSOLUTELY contrary to life’s rules, provoked enormous and, in the circumstances, perfectly justifiable anxiety in people’s minds, for we have only to consider that in the entire forty volumes of universal history there is no mention, not even one exemplary case, of such a phenomenon ever having occurred, for a whole day to go by, with its generous allowance of twenty-four hours, diurnal and nocturnal, matutinal and vespertine, without one death from an illness, a fatal fall, or a successful suicide, not one, not a single one. Not even from a car accident, so frequent on festive occasions, when blithe irresponsibility and an excess of alcohol jockey for position on the roads to decide who will reach death first. New year’s eve had failed to leave behind it the usual calamitous trail of fatalities, as if old Atropos with her great bared teeth had decided to put aside her shears for a day. There was, however, no shortage of blood. Bewildered, confused, distraught, struggling to control their feelings of nausea, the firemen extracted from the mangled remains wretched human bodies that, according to the mathematical logic of the collisions, should have been well and truly dead, but which, despite the seriousness of the injuries and lesions suffered, remained alive and were carried off to hospital, accompanied by the shrill sound of the ambulance sirens. None of these people would die along the way and all would disprove the most pessimistic of medical prognoses, There’s nothing to be done for the poor man, it’s not even worth operating, a complete waste of time, said the surgeon to the nurse as she was adjusting his mask. And the day before, there would probably have been no salvation for this particular patient, but one thing was clear, today, the victim refused to die. And what was happening here was happening throughout the country. Up until the very dot of midnight on the last day of the year there were people who died in full compliance with the rules, both those relating to the nub of the matter, i.e. the termination of life, and those relating to the many ways in which the aforementioned nub, with varying degrees of pomp and solemnity, chooses to mark the fatal moment. One particularly interesting case, interesting because of the person involved, was that of the very ancient and venerable queen mother. At one minute to midnight on the thirty-first of December, no one would have been so ingenuous as to bet a spent match on the life of the royal lady. With all hope lost, with the doctors helpless in the face of the implacable medical evidence, the royal family, hierarchically arranged around the bed, waited with resignation for the matriarch’s last breath, perhaps a few words, a final edifying comment regarding the moral education of the beloved princes, her grandsons, perhaps a beautiful, well-turned phrase addressed to the ever ungrateful memory of future subjects. And then, as if time had stopped, nothing happened. The queen mother neither improved nor deteriorated, she remained there in suspension, her frail body hovering on the very edge of life, threatening at any moment to tip over onto the other side, yet bound to this side by a tenuous thread to which, out of some strange caprice, death, because it could only have been death, continued to keep hold. We had passed over to the next day, and on that day, as we said at the beginning of this tale, no one would die."

RIP Jose. You'll be missed!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I felt a great deal of outrage during the Israeli block to humanitarian aid sent to the Gaza strip and attack of the flotillas. I wondered how a race of people that had suffered such cruelty during WW2 could be so callous and intransigent. And one dangerous thought brought on another and I began to wonder whether history is really as we know it.

After all, had the Nazi regime won the war wouldn't we have a whole different truth to contend with? Wouldn't we all now be speaking German? There wouldn't even be a Middle-Eastern problem as there would be no Israel! The "bad" guys/"good" guys would be different players to the ones we have now. And we'd be fed a different take on history - equally as false as the one we have now.

I also began to wonder why the Holocaust is a trademark Jewish symbol when Jews weren't even the main victims of the Nazi regime as far as death figures are concerned.

Did you know that near 7 million Ukrainians were killed by the Nazi regime as well as 3.3 million Russian POWs and another 2 million Russian civillians (5.3 million altogether), 3 million Poles, 1.5 million Yugoslavs, 200,000-500,000 Gypsies, 250,000 mentally disabled, tens of thousands of Homosexuals, as well as members of the clergy, communists, Czechs, deportees, Greeks, Serbs, socialists and others...

The Jewish 6 million figure casualty is just a portion of the TOTAL casualties and yet the Holocaust is remembered as a crime against Jews/humanity, overshadowing the forgotten millions of non-Jews (in other words, the majority of victims).


The photograph above features the other side of History. The one that did not come into play when the Nazi regime crumbled. The children featured are the Lebensborn (meaning Foundain of Life) children being bred to further the Aryan race and become the next generation of the Nazi elite. To be accepted into the Lebensborn programmes, women who were blonde-haired, blue-eyed and had characteristics required to breed Aryan children met with high SS officials. Following the war, the programme was abandoned, the children were placed in orphanages and the hate of the war was taken out on these young innocents who were to have been the elite had the results been different. Strange how history has two sides and so many different angles. Isn't it?

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

John Keats

Friday, June 11, 2010


Is “right” and “wrong” open to interpretation? If so, who are we to judge? Can we look to science to find a place of equilibrium – a place on the spectrum between extremes where there is perfect balance? Is it possible to achieve an optimal environment for us and our children or is the creation of such a civilization merely a fictional, mystical Shangri-La?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Dear Alexandra,

This is roundabout the time when I would call you, all gushing and apologetic for having missed your birthday. You'd laugh and we'd arrange to meet up with the kids, probably at Georgina's. Ours was a comfortable friendship.

Lately I've been doubting my own sincerity. Were I a real friend I would have remembered your birthday. Especially now that you aren't with us anymore. Such an easy birthday to remember - June 1 for Christ's sake! 

Not once have I visited your grave since your funeral. But there's an excuse even for that... I don't believe in such things. We were atheists after all. Or were we? 

Perhaps we should have prayed more, been less blase, my dear friend Alexandra. Perhaps we should have been a little more humble. You said, "I'd rather read a good book than spend time with people who bore me." And I took it as a compliment that you never read books in my presence. We were never at a loss for words, were we? But all those people who are now standing beside your family are the ones who always remember you aloof, with your nose buried in a book.

As for your dearest friends, we have all betrayed you, Alexandra. Not one of us has made a positive contribution to your family since you died regardless of our best intentions and our selfish need to keep you alive within the eyes of your children.

"Her husband and mother don't let us in!" has been a most comfortable cop-out. A louse's exit from your life and death.

All I've managed to do, Alexandra, is observe from a distance. I observe disastrous changes in your eldest daughter who loiters around the streets and hangs about with hoodlums. I am told your youngest is dragged to primary school, kicking and screaming every day, every day, every day...The middle one, I hear little about and this is why she concerns me the most.

Your husband no longer has you to tout his PhDs and other medical credentials but thanks to Vicky he went back to work. They accepted him back despite months of unexplained absence. "How can I save people's lives when I've lost everything?" he asked. I explained that he had to be well for the children and he made the mistake of saying, "They are my tails! A burden!" When I told him to do it for you he said he is angry with you for dying. He tried to convince me that you chose to die as though dying is a choice like infidelity. I don't even know this man, Alexandra. Everything I have known about your husband has been a lie seen through your eyes, the eyes of a woman in love. I cannot feel sorry for him.

Georgina says that he drinks because he is mourning, he fucks around cause he is mourning, he hates the kids because he is mourning... Georgina, the woman we gossiped about while drinking coffee at her shop, has supported your husband more than your dearest friends.

Is that why I've not been seeing you in my dreams lately, Alexandra? Is it because you are angry that I have not stood by your family as I should have done? Or is it because, like me, you are too busy observing the family you held strong disintegrate and crumble? Or does it just mean that I am slowly forgetting you?

Sorry for forgetting your birthday. Sorry for being a fairweather friend. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. "Sorry is half a shit!" we'd say. Remember?

I'd like to say I love you because this is how I believe myself to feel and because I miss you and find myself crying about you at the oddest of moments, but my actions evidently disprove the presence of love so I'll just say nothing.

Your one-time friend who is now a Purple Cow.

* What do you think of this artwork by Niklaus Manuel Deutsch? It is called "Death and the Maiden" (1517). Perhaps you are the maiden who did not resist death as your dreadful lover. Someday, he'll be my lover too...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010



1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
Thank you Robin for this award, for every award, but especially for this one because it means that you want to know more about me.

2. Share 10 random things about yourself.
It's quite difficult coming up with 10 random things even though I'm sure there are hundreds of them...Being put on the spot like this makes each random thing suddenly less random and somehow quite important. But I will try:

For as long as I can remember and nomatter where I am I have counted toilet tiles during my number 2s (Is this random enough for you?)
The strangest gift I ever received was a brown paper bag containing lollies and tampons from my grandmother when I was six years old. When I asked her what they were, she said, "Use your imagination!" At school the next day my tampon-twirling mates and I swivelled them around like helicopter propellers. Sister Sylvia confiscated them after quizzing me on where I had found these "toys". Apparently my grandmother had a habit of giving me "gifts" she had snatched from my aunt's cupboard and vice versa...and she was too old to know about sanitary progress. She thought tampons were candy (its a good thing I didn't think to eat them!) 
I don't own a cell phone much to the annoyance of everyone who knows me.
I don't drive.
I hate television.
(These really should count as three but I am clumping them together as they come under the general sphere of Technology. Totally defies logic why I have a blog!)
I don’t really know what I want and this scares me. The feeling of not knowing what I want makes me feel like a fake.
I am glad I have friends but avoid them when I feel I need them too much.
I love Coetzee, Wittgenstein and Perec - the three most intelligent minds of all time.
I think about life, the world and the universe - these are the oddest things.
Sinatra reminds me of my father and is my favorite because of this. I also like Presley, Cave, Waits and Vedder.
I like coffee, chocolate, cigarettes and cake.
People keep confessing things to me, sometimes things I really wish I didn't know. And I don't even encourage it! I wish people told me less. I am sick of being the keeper of explosive information unless it comes from people I call friends...

3. Pass the award along to 10 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
Well, I've only been blogging for three months so I guess you are all pretty recent, right?

1. A random stranger...
If he's random, he's bound to have random thoughts and he seems rather slim so he should be getting fattened up with pecan pies.
2. Archive Fire
Cause I think there is a warm person underneath all the scientific and factual posts.
3. Prop
Cause she'll probably do it!
4. Farmgirl Paints
Cause I bet she won't and I love it when I'm right! :-)
5. Carolina Valdez Miller
Cause she is the most recent...
6. Sharon
Cause I really wanna know...
7. Phoenix
Cause she always seems to have something interesting and unexpected up her sleeve.
8. Margot Potter
Cause she is creative.
9. Bringing Pretty Back
Cause of the sexy legs.
10. George
Cause it's about time he joined the party!
11. Real Not Fantasy
Cause she writes well and has lately had nothing to write about...
Awards always seem to give you a purpose, right?


4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.
Groan...must I? What if I forget someone...? OK, I'll try but no promises...infact, I probably won't...

Monday, June 7, 2010


The Marvelous Mondays concept was first brought to my attention by Ro Magnolia at Soft Winds and Roses and she in turn found another fan of this concept at Three Butterflies and a Monkey. The idea is to focus on the positives of this bland and dismal work day. This is indeed a challenging task.

When I think of Mondays, the first song that comes to mind is that Boomtime Rats hit "Tell me why I don't like Mondays" based on the true story of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children playing in a school playground at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California on January 29, 1979 killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer. She showed no remorse for her crime. Her explanation was "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day."

Then there are other songs that feature Monday as a day of depression, anxiety, rage or melancholy such as "Monday, Monday" (Mamas & the Papas), "Rainy Days and Mondays" (Carpenters), "Manic Monday" (Bangles)...

As I sit here and write this though I should be working following a sick call from my colleague it occurs to me that Monday has always been the most popular day to call in sick (especially for this colleague in particular). And let's not forget the upward trend in suicides noted on this day that is almost as high as suicides noted each January 1. Its also a popular day to start a diet and all this hunger generates a great deal of agitation.

So here I am on this not-so-Marvelous Monday wondering what I could possibly think of that is "marvelous" about it. OK, here's my contribution:

"There is nothing, nothing, nothing that is Marvelous about Monday! It's just the favourite choice as a day to die or diet. Beyond that, it is the most excrutiating, tormenting, suicidal, frantic, mad day of the week, but it
- and here comes the positive -
does inspire nice songs."

PS. This is my first and last Marvelous Monday - I don't think I could wrack my brain so much on a weekly basis and Mondays are bad enough as it is. Grrrrrrrr...

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Thanks to Robin at Your Daily Dose, I feel somewhat of a veteran when it comes to receiving blog awards. Recently, however, I was awarded a nomination by someone who is not Robin. So that was a surprise (not that the ones I get from Robin don't surprise me either!)

This award is a special honour because it comes from Ro Magnolia at Soft Winds and Roses, a woman of substance, a woman who read the Complete Works of Shakespeare when she was in grade 3! All I can say is “Thank you” for the honour. According to the specifications of the award, I need to list 10 things I love. There are many more than 10, but here are the first that pop to mind.

1. My daughters. I will refrain from saying anything more because it would just sound like a cliché.

2. Life itself. The fact that we exist is a miracle!

3. My parents. Our relationship has always been strained because I love them so much.

4. My Saturday morning friends. Our weekly coffees every Saturday morning for the last two years have meant so much to me even though when they first began they had to drag me.

5. The beach. Looking at the waves, sifting my finger through the sand…paradise!

6. My suffering. Feeling hurt brings me closer to becoming a stronger, wiser person.

7. A clean house. When it is uncluttered. I feel happy.

8. Books. Yes! Losing myself in the beauty of words, thoughts, brilliance and borrowing from this.

9. My husband. I should put him here somewhere. I know that it doesn’t feel like love but were I to lose him it would hurt. Only then, would I realise how much I love him.

10. Vivi and Alexandra. Not a day goes by without me thinking of them and missing them.

11. Animals. I feed the strays and argue with those who do not give a damn. As you've probably realised I'm going to just go on. Can't stop myself now that I've started.

12. My two countries...they are so different, they tear me apart but I love them both - Australia and Greece!

13. The arts. Going to the theatre, concerts, galleries...

14. Thinking.

15. Jazz.

16. Dancing the sensuous tango.

17. The smell of something new whether this be a book, a freshly painted house or baby's skin.

18. Spontaneity. Finding myself in Corinth eating souvlaki when I'm supposed to be somewhere else.

19. Will you think ill of me if I say - Shoes?

20. YOU! Blogging. Sharing my thoughts. Entering other people’s lives. Commenting and being commented on. So thank you.

Now I'm supposed to nominate 10 others for this award:

1. ROBIN – Yeap, I know that you’ve probably already received it but I cannot NOT give you this award – the first one given to me by someone other than you. I once dedicated a blog post to you and I see constant references of you in other people’s blogs. If there was a PhD in caring then you would definitely have it. Thank you for being in our lives. Don’t stop.

2. SANDY – For being real, unassuming, sensitive. I love your big heart and red dress.

3. SHARON - Your mercurial musings enrich me. I respect you.

4. FARMGIRL PAINTS – Cause you inspire. Your way of looking at life cracks me up, you have a beautiful family and an infectious sense of faith.

5. PROPOQUERY Welcome back! We missed you. Take care of yourself. Keep blogging.

6. MUGWHUMP - Where are you?

7. RANDOM STRANGER – I loved your “vlog” response to the previous award I gave you. I hope you get another piece of pecan pie!

8. GEORGE – Because you make me feel 10 feet tall when you comments. So much flattery! I don’t believe a word of it, but please continue…

9. ARCHIVE FIRE - Because you fuel my thoughts. I think the other award that you are clearly not receiving points for is rigged. You are the most scientific blogger in my book or blog, whatever!

10. YOU - Just for being YOU and having got this far down on this blog post.

Come on everyone, join the fun, spread the love...

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Do you remember those exquisite almost daily January-April posts I used to write? Now, blogging is slowly lagging behind. Indeed, it is the last thing on my mind as the sun beckons. If I didn’t feel a thrill at having 21 followers (some of who regularly leave insightful comments) this activity that I started purely for my own enjoyment would have long since fizzled.

Indeed, even as I write, salty and smelly sweat is dripping down my forehead while I languidly consider taking the kids for an afternoon at the beach (homework be damned!) Thankfully, they haven’t put a tax on enjoying the sun, sand and sea yet despite the dismal economic crisis. They can steal our money, but we’ll continue to swim and smile!

This morning I considered writing about social security, today’s journalists and public transport strike, our corrupt Greek politicians and all those embroiled in bribe scandals. I considered writing about Israel and Gaza activists who were attacked in humanitarian efforts (How such a nation of people who so brutally suffered during WW2 managed to act so callously that the entire word has turned against them continues to confound me?!?!)…All these are very important things to contemplate. And indeed we should!

But lucky for you guys, today I will leave you in your comfort and not spoil your mood for as I sit staring at my NEW POST, I don't feel motivated enough to stir everyone’s mental juices or prompt controversy by sharing my outrage with the blog world at large. This does not mean that I am not furious! But I have decided to shift fury to the back of my mind and just submit myself to the lazy, languid weather. Yeap, my intention is to totally surrender to it lest I find some inner peace! (Or as they say in yoga "Ommm!")

Studies find that sunny weather puts us in a cheery mood.

You may recall that in the past I have wondered if Germans would be just as organized if they lived in a sunny land like Greece. Would they resort to drinking iced frappucinos rather than soldier forth like robotic huns? There are studies that prove that wet, dreary days sharpen our memories and enhance our productivity whereas bright, sunny spells make us more forgetful.

I guess we feel less grumpy when we forget, more inclined to let things slide. But if you are somewhere chilly right now, all tucked up in your winter woolies rather than slouching around in a singlet top and thongs like me, don’t be jealous. You should know that feeling grumpy is actually good for you! Indeed, studies find that it helps your decision-making and makes you less gullible.

So if you wanna lie to me, do it now that the weather is HOT, HOT, HOT!!! (I can’t promise that I’ll believe you but I will do my best to oblige).

CLICK HERE as you ponder on whether we should blame it on the SUNSHINE!

My, my, the sunny weather is making me feel a little risky so rather than seek stock photos I have decided to include MY feet...The beach is Rhodes' Kallithea. Hope someday you get to visit it, too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Here is a dialogue that is as hypothetical as it is real and as often said as it is left unsaid. Take it as you wish...

"You don't love me anymore," said he.

She looked at him long and hard
in what he interpreted to be her calculating gaze.
Finally, she said...
"I cannot lie. Indeed what you say is true.
But I don't hate you, either."


"Do you love me?" she asked.

"Yes," he said, too quickly for it to be true.

"Liar!" she snapped.
"If you really loved me you would want to make me happy
and happy is something I am not."

He contemplated this for a moment.
"Hmmm," he thought.
"'Happy' is not something I or anyone else can give you.
It is a gift that nobody but you can give yourself.
A state of mind."

He had a point.

As they say in chess - Checkmate!

Being married myself I know how hard it is to make it work. And one of the greatest difficulties and barriers is the institution of matrimony itself that is burdened by so many lofty expectations. But if we look at WHY marriages were created we would find that they were originally intended as nothing more than social institutions locked by families after a lengthy bargaining process. They had little to do with happiness. Back then, people weren't interested in finding soulmates. When they wanted something more emotional they took on lovers. The idea that we should be joyful in wedlock is just a relatively new and highly unrealistic notion.

The examples of happy marriages around me are the exceptions rather than the rule and even the joyful ones aren't perfect. Indeed, there's no such thing as a "perfect" marriage. Since realising this I no longer concern myself that much with dialogues such as the one above. But there's always hope...hope that I'm wrong and that it isn't futile to expect so much more.

Feel free to comment. Anyone's 5 cents worth is welcome.

Click here for a song about a PERFECT GOD-LIKE RELATIONSHIP...