Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A GAP I'll Never Jump Off...
Sydney's GAP is a breathtakingly beautiful suicide spot at Watson's Bay in the Easern suburbs. It is privy to scarily frequent police patrols due to its inordinate amount of suicides - an average of 50 per year.

A GAP I'll Never Shop From...

Then there is the other GAP, first established in San Francisco in 1969 with franchises that currently number 3,465 worldwide and include brands like Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperline and Athleta.

Its success is seeded in misery. I wonder how many fashion savvy consumers proudly sporting the GAP label are aware of the fact that their precious garment may have been created by children working as slaves in Indian GAP factories. How many buyers actually took notice when the store's sweatshop workers in Saipan brought a class action suit against the company for unpaid overtime, unsafe job conditions and forced abortion policies? A 20-million euro settlement followed - a bargain price for sold-out consciences...

A GAP I'll Never Vote For...

Here he is...Socialist/neo-liberal non-Greek Hellenic Prime Minister
George Andreas Papandreou (GAP).

Our very own Greek GAP has his origins in St. Paul, Minnesota and is the son and grandson of former Greek prime ministers (in the land where nepotism rules). His mother's side is American-born Polish. Educated in Toronto, Amherst College in Massachusetts, Stockholm University, the London School of Economics and Harvard University...Sounds impressive, doesn't it? Only, here's the itsy-bitsy problem, nobody thought to teach him the Greek language (though his command of English is also rather as limited as the scope of his leadership). Infact, it may have been the evident language difficulties that may explain why he did not understand it when outgoing Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis pointed out that Greece was in dire economic straits.

He entered government with huge  lies  promises that were followed by enormous cutbacks to pensions and other benefits. Meanwhile, one in five companies are currently threatened by closure as unemployment figures skyrocket! He opened the door to the IMF without so much as a referendum and managed to destroy decades worth of workers' rights and social welfare acquisitions in just a few months. Sharp cutbacks without thought of incentives or development.  

Oh...and here's another little problem...Greece's prime minister doesn't quite feel "Greek". Infact he is slightly embarrassed by his Greekness which may explain why Eurogroup Chief Jean-Claude Juncker issued a statement concerning to Papandreou's criticisms of the Greek people as "corrupt" - a huge blow to the country's market credibility. Meanwhile, has one person gone to jail for the harm that has been done to this land ? Of course not, because there are many insidious interests at stake.

I guess the Greekest politician one can find at the moment is French MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit (red Danny who turned Green and maybe is a paedophile but that's another story) who dared to say what no "Greek" politician had the guts to state: The country's woes were a common European secret that Germany and France have kept under wraps for years in order to force Greece to spend billions of euros in arms deals in a vicious upward patterned debt spiral.

I guess,
as Australian songwriter Richard Clopton said -
"For every credibility GAP there is a gullibility fill."

But let's all just be wary when picking our gaps... 

October 28, 1940, is the Greek national holiday known as "Ohi (No) Day" that commemorates Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas' resounding "No" to the Italians marking Greece's entry into WWII (His exact words were "Alors, c'est la guerre" - "Then it is war"). Though a dictator and Germanophile fascist sympathiser, Metaxas managed to capture the pulse of the nation by standing up to the Italians and Germans and has gone down in history as a national hero that protected Greek freedom during a fascinating page in the country's history. And it's a page we should remember these days - the days of "Yes" and subservience.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Let there be DRUM ROLLS...

What better day than on JAVA's FOLLOW FRIDAY to do the unveiling?

So here it is - the new Purple Cow "me" - courtesy of my creative and talented fellow blogger extraordinaire (more drumrolls please): The amazing LJ Ducharme who muses behind the guise of a mugwhump. CLICK HERE TO REACH HER BLOG... Isn't it cool?

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;

But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
 Who'd have thought that when I clicked the NEXT BLOG button a few months ago, I would be just a click away from the new "me". I'm told that I'm 3 inches tall but thanks to grand gestures like this it feels more like 10 feet!

Thank you so much LJ for your inspirational Purple Cow that already has rejuvinated my interest in blogging.

So guys, if you want a new "you", too... You know where to click.

PS In a short space of time I received a lovely package with lip gloss and Canadian chocolates from Ro (CLICK HERE), a letter addressed to me by Robin (CLICK HERE) and now THIS... I am so humbled. Thank you. I would never have guessed that blogging could be such a fun and rewarding experience.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I don't like my mother very much!

We are not really that close, but we pretend to be.

I call her everyday. She rarely calls me. Mostly, she tells me routine things about her doctors and what's been on television. We talk about nothing and argue about everything.

Oftentimes we lock horns as we view life from different perspectives. We exhaust ourselves but - driven by this inner need to stay in touch even though its bad for us - we always make up in the end.

It's a sickly relationship with an all-round lack of respect. Mainly on her part. Just last week she bought the kids another bunny stating, "Don't put this in the same cage as the other one I got you! And remember, the pet owner said to keep them both in the house now that the weather is cooling down!" Though she knows I live in a flat...a small one at that. (How come she never bought me bunnies when I was a kid?)

The kids were chuffed! What a cool grandma to spoil them with bunnies instead of chocolates! Bunnies that pee around the house...with me sweeping the straw they leave behind...Bunnies that will probably reproduce so that we have more bunnies! (groan)

I continue to invite her to every joy in my life - baptisms, weddings, birthdays - though I know she'll spoil it for me, and yet somehow I feel like she should be there. She makes me beg for her to come until the last moment and then arrives like the Queen of Sheba to inspect and criticise. Or if I don't beg hard enough, she says, "So I guess you don't want your mama! Ungrateful child! And I came all the way from Australia to Athens for you, without you even asking me to!" (I don't add, "I only left to get away from you!")

She has never approved of my decisions or respected them and I'm afraid she'll die feeling disappointed in me. My husband she calls "Boufo" (even though I paid her the ultimate compliment in marrying a man who reminded me of her)...And that's her excuse for never baby sitting. "What? So you can go out with him! No way!"

Actually, she has had a derogatory nickname for all the people I've ever loved - none of them passed her inspection or if they did the opinion was fast reversed if she suspected I actually liked them. (Like my friends? Heaven forbid!) My mother never believed friends are for getting too close to and her advice has always been, "View today's friends as tomorrow's enemies." With such advice I'm surprised I ever had friends at all! Sometimes I wonder if I even know how to be one!

What will I remember from her? My ungratefulness at never quite being able to like the person who is responsible for who I am. Infact, not only do I not like her, I have a disdain for her hypocrisy and the lies that she herself believes, and I dislike the way she brags about herself and wishes to control her husband, her friends, my family, and of course, me...

In return, she feels I am a thorn in her side. She has such an inflated sense of self-importance that she feels that I am reluctant to succeed just to make her look bad to her friends who sit around and talk about their evidently more capable sons and daughters...

And that is the basis of our relationship.

I have never been quite enough, and she has always been too much.

Sorry mum. I don't like you but, judging from the way it hurts, I love you to distraction. We'd both probably give up our lives for each other in an instant, but how sad that we have difficulty being in the same room.
And speaking of mothers and bunnies, it's always good to remember this book by Clemence Hurd about the Mother Bunny who morphed into a fisherbunny, rock, gardener, tree, circus performer and the wind - all in the name of a mother's steadfast, unconditional love.



Mother, do you think they'll drop the bomb
Mother, do you think they'll like the song
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls
Oooh aah, Mother should I build a wall
Mother, should I run for president
Mother, should I trust the government
Mother, will they put me in the firing line
Oooh aah, is it just a waste of time

Hush now baby, baby don't you cry
Mama's gonna make all of your
Nightmares come true
Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you
Mama's gonna keep you right here
Under her wing
She won't let you fly but she might let you sing
Mama will keep baby cosy and warm
Oooh Babe oooh Babe Ooooh Babe
Of course, Mama's gonna help build the wall.


Friday, October 15, 2010


Today is Blog Action Day and this year's theme is WATER. So come in, kick off your shoes, pour yourself a glass of water...
Make yourself comfortable...
And then, WATCH THIS! (CLICK HERE) It's something you already know, but is always worth remembering...

And now that we've all remembered, now what? Can something change... What can we do beyond a blog post?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


To quote Emily Dickinson, "Water is taught by thirst." There is truth to this poetically phrased notion...

But as we sit in the lap of luxury, reading poetry, analysing politics, playing scrabble and taking the internet for granted, billions of people around the globe are not just thirsting for KNOWLEDGE but for clean water...

This week, I'd like to join Java's Wordless Wednesday blog hop to inform you about the biggest blog event ever:
brings 3,528 blogs from 125 countries together on October 15.
"Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action." (from

And because a photo says a thousand words - here's my first ever Wordless Wednesday contribution...

Two Sudanese boys drink water with specially fitted plastic tubes provided by the Carter Center to guard against water-borne larvae responsible for guinea worm disease. (Photo from THE TIMES)

A girl and her father in Manila take advantage of a bashed pipe to wash their bicycle. (Photo by AP).
Rwanda. Carrying clean water for miles. According to the World Health Organization, globally, almost one person in eight lacks access to reliable drinking water, while a third of the world’s population lacks adequate sanitation.

If you want to take action - even if it is in a small way - hop aboard!

To find out more


Thursday, October 7, 2010


Following my "What ifs..." (CLICK HERE) inspired by Jeff's "Wouldn't it be Greats..." (CLICK HERE) I have decided to get a bit more specific in what exactly it is I want and put the law of attraction into swing...(Isn't that how it's supposed to work? "Need a lover or a house, just call on the universe to provide!") So here is my wish list, flung out into this convoluted cosmos...

I want my husband to not only love me as I know he does but to show me in elaborate and breathtaking ways even though I'll probably criticise him for it...

I want to win at Scrabble every time! ...and chess, too, while we're at it.

I want a cure for cancer, multiple sclerosis, insomnia and migraines too! (Though I remember reading that there already is a cure for cancer but people aren't talking about it as pharmaceutical companies would stand to lose zillions!)

I want people to be less tolerant and to stand up for their rights when the are trampled on!

I want Greece to have a prime minister who can actually speak Greek. (And for Greeks to finally realise that just cause he can't speak Greek doesn't mean that he knows English...)

I want politicians to be forced to live on the minimum wage for a couple of months in order to get a reality check and hopefully climb down from their ivory towers.

I want God to exist (believe it or not, I do, I really do...) and to make his (or her) presence a little bit more felt in this world.

I want my kids to have health, values and to be better people than I am.

I want to live to be 100 (but without arthritis and Alzheimers).

I want to love and be loved for what I am even though this is not always easy to love or nice (is that asking for too much!)

I want people to throw their rubbish in the right recycling bin (this morning I found food waste in the paper bins!)

I want to eat chocolate all the time and never get fat!

I want to get paid to do nothing all day...and to not have financial problems and be surrounded by beautiful things.

I want to visit the Himalayas!

I want purpose (a mission would be nice. Who knows? Someday I may get a brainwave like Robin)...CLICK HERE FOR ROBIN'S BRAINWAVE! And while you're at it, perhaps you may like to read the letter she wrote to me - CLICK HERE - it made me feel all fuzzy... (If you like, maybe YOU could write me a letter on your blog, too...)

I want to read books, lots of them, especially great ones...

I want to be a smart and self-actualised person and be able to not just read Archive Fire but be able to leave nice intellectual and insightful comments. (And while we're on the subject of this blog, I want to know what THIS (CLICK HERE) is...even though I am told that I would rather not! Please tell me someone, please, or else I will "go crazy, punch a senior citizen or something like that".)

I want to live on a farm (with lots of animals...including a donkey...and spend my time making jam.)

I want a little tattoo of a ladybird on my shoulder so that I can look at it as a reminder of how lucky I am.

I want to savour the flavour of each and every moment before it slips through my fingers...

I want to be brave and gutsy like Ingrid Betancourt (and while we're at it, I wouldn't mind meeting her either).

I want people who read this - YOU, yes YOU - to leave a comment just so that I know they came (and it doesn't have to be a nice comment, either, because I want people to be upfront and honest at all costs).

I WANT to say "Hello" to anyone from Java's brilliant "Follow Fridays" and "Thank you" to Java for hosting them.

I want to know you, and through you, maybe get to know me a little better, too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I spilled the beans about my innermost secret to my two friends, Vivi and Alexandra. We all had a good cry about it after drinking two bottles of Baileys. No sooner did I blurt it all out that I began to hope they were too drunk to have realised the gravity of what I had just told them - for me, anyway.

"Goodness gracious! You stupid, stupid girl," hicked Alexandra. "Why did you never tell us this before?"

"I know why," said Vivi, the Wise One. I looked at her, curious..."It's because now we both have cancer. When we didn't have cancer she didn't want to tell us because she did not think we were flawed enough to be told. It's also why she married a man who has multiple sclerosis. She doesn't think that anyone who is normal, healthy, 'perfect' would understand."

I stared at her. Wide-eyed and suddenly sober despite the alcohol pulsating through my veins (sometimes the harsh TRUTH has a sobering effect - two bottles of Baileys wasted with just one slap of sincerity!). "You should have been a therapist!"

Now these two wonderful women I trusted are dead taking my secret with them to the grave. "Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead!" I remember reading that somewhere when I was a teen, then chewing it in my mind. It proved prophetic, I guess. And my secret is now a secret once more.

My dirty, cloistered, smutty secret! We all have 'em, don't we? Yet, in an Oprah Winfrey society we are told that it is healthy when we air private details about ourselves so that redemption can duely follow: "I am a homosexual!" "I was date raped but never told anyone!" "I had an affair with my husband's brother!" "I pee on my neighbours pot plants!" and then we all applaud that brave person who is supposed to feel somewhat liberated after finally not having anything to hide (for the record, these are examples of other people's secrets - not mine!)

People even pay good money to tell qualified strangers their secrets. And then these strangers say, "So how do you feel about that..." Until finally one is cured from secrecy - therapy they call it! Others go to priests and confess. Faith cures them. Forgiveness follows. Simple.

Too easy. Don't you think?

Friday, October 1, 2010


How I hate it when mothers share personal titbits about their daughters' sexual awakening with each other! Do I really need to know which of my daughters' classmates has pubic hair or already has her period? Tell me, do I? My rule of thumb is to omit any details that my daughter would be mortified to have others know.

So it was the other day, when J, one of my Saturday morning friends whipped out a pink cotton brazier with teeny ants printed on it from her handbag and started waving it around as though it were some sort of banner. "I got it on special!" she said to the delight of all the other mums who "oohed" and "aahed" as she fanned them with the garment. I cringed as I noticed onlookers begin to pay attention. After all, there's nothing like a 40-year-old woman whirling a bra around in a public cafeteria to draw other people's attention. In Greece, anyway...

I did find out, though, that most 6th graders appear to be wearing one. It had not before occured to me that very soon we would have bras to think about.

I squinted hard as I tried to remember when I got my first bra. Though I can recall teeny details about all sorts of things, my first bra experience totally eludes me. Stranger still, I asked my mother and she does not seem to recall this milestone. Infact, she cannot even tell me what age she was when she got hers. Its like one day the women in our family were braless and the next day - puff! - as if by magic we were women who wore bras!

But shouldn't we have remembered this milepost in our development? Wasn't the day we wore our first bra as important as the day we tossed it out and burnt it? Why have we repressed this memory?