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May 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #15 - Of Angels, Icons and Byzantium


For this week’s Thursday Thirteen, I bring you 13 images of angels, prophets and saints, inspired by Byzantine Iconography.

In Greek, the word icon simply means “image.” Icons are painted according to specific guidelines by iconographers, or icon-writers who have studied the canons and carry out their work in a prayerful manner.

The icon is outside of time in space. Iconographers do not paint, but rather write the images as dictated by God. Byzantine icons are stylized images depicting significant events in both the Old and New Testament. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, icons are used to depict the world between life and death.

My most treasured possession is an icon passed down from my maternal grandmother to my mother and now, me. It is an icon of the Annunciation. You can read more about the icon and my grandmother in Smyrna, the beginning.

Many of the beautiful icons in today’s Thursday Thirteen are from Sister Kathleen’s site.

From Sailing to Byzantium

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

~ William Butler Yeats

1. christ2.jpg

2. St.Catherine.jpg

3. Icon.ArchAngelMichael-2.jpg

4. mariaegypt.jpg

5. St.John.jpg

6. St.Jonah.jpg

7. item1658_guardian_icon.jpg

8. BGRi.jpg

9. catherine.jpg

10. Bogorodica 1.jpg

11. angel_3.jpg

12. IC_Nymphios.jpg

13. archangels.jpg

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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May 28, 2007

Tagged - 3 Things You Love Meme


Tagged by 1 Million Love Messages a couple of weeks ago for the “3 Things You Love” meme, I promised Mauro that I’d post my responses when the time was right. Well, there’s no time like the present, so here goes… Oh, and I’m tagging anyone who wants to play along!

The questions:

1- 3 Things You Love in your Boyfriend/ Girlfriend or Husband/ Wife

• I love my husband’s sense of humour, intelligence and ability to always see the good in others.

2- 3 Things You Love in a Friend

• Wisdom
• Integrity
• Loyalty

3- 3 Things You Love in a Book

• Credible characters
• Believable dialog
• Interesting story

4- 3 Things You Love in a Movie

• Beautiful cinematography
• Believable dialog
• Engaging script

5- 3 Things You Love in a Blog
• Creativity
• Authentic voice
• Frequent updates (especially those on my RSS feed)

6- 3 Things You Love to Talk About

• Sex, death and life in all its squishiness. Oh yes, God is in the mix too.

7- 3 Things You Love to do on Vacations

• Walk around the city, endlessly
• Shop, buying from local artisans
• Visit spaces and places of cultural significance

8- 3 Things You Love to Eat

• Sushi
• Pasta
• Great tender, juicy steak - medium rare please (like the fillet my husband barbecued this past Saturday evening)

9- 3 Things You Love to Happen in Your Life
• Book deal(s)
• Dream home
• Another baby …

And last but not least:

10- 3 Things You Love in 1 Million Love Messages

• The freedom of expression
• The positive, creative messages
• The overall message that love transcends all languages, cultures and boundaries

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E is for Elephant


EM can count from one to ten in Greek. Motivated by our early success with the Greek-Baby CD, we’ve decided to purchase these alphabet wall cards. And, being the proud mama, I just had to share!

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May 26, 2007

List # 17 - Unconscious Mutterings


You too can play along with Luna:

  1. Dancer :: Professional
  2. Intellectual :: Thinker
  3. Direct :: Speech
  4. Tolerate :: Compassionate
  5. Post :: Modern
  6. Instinctive:: Primal
  7. Brink :: Extinction
  8. Regain :: Control
  9. Repulsed :: Involuntary
  10. Distressed :: Jeans

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My diary is a mirror

“My diary is a mirror telling the story of a dreamer who, a long long time ago went through life the way one reads a book. ” ~ Anais Nin


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May 24, 2007

My pink whispering

My pink whispering
is a smear -

a delicate underwater symphony
black and white
shadow goddess
smooth as honey.

True beauty is sad,
red still -

You always eat
gorgeous love,
a thousand essential
screams a day.


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May 23, 2007

All the best journeys

“All the best journeys, I have felt, are like love affairs, not least because they turn you inside out and leave you within a darkness where you can’t tell right from left or good from bad. And all love affairs are like journeys deep into a foreign country, where you can’t read the signs, don’t know the language, and you are drawn into a wilderness alive with mystery and possibility, and the knowledge - the certain knowledge - that who you were is irretrievable.” - Pico Iyer


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Thursday Thirteen # 14 - Snapshots from Ellas


In an effort to motivate myself and continue organizing the photos from our trip to Greece last May, I bring you 13 (more) of my favourite images.

If you happen to visit Athens, might I suggest a stroll through the First Cemetery. It is a deeply beautiful and serene place to escape the chaos of this dynamic metropolis.


Ideal and dearly beloved voices
of those who are dead
or of those who are lost to us like the dead.

Sometimes they speak to us in our dreams;
sometimes in thought the mind hears them.

And for a moment with their echo
other echoes return from the first poetry of our lives-
like music that extinguishes the far off night.


1. cemetary1.jpg

2. cemetary2.jpg

3. cemetary3.jpg

4. cemetary4.jpg

We did the usual sightseeing while in Athens, viewing the Acropolis and walking around Constitution Square.

5. yiayia on the acropolis.jpg

6. evsonemarching.jpg

Our chicken was 9 mos old; catnaps and frequent water breaks were part of the equation.

7. sleepingbabes.jpg

8. EM closeup.jpg

As a tourist, there are so many images to shoot: the doorways, the bougainvillea and the buildings - to list a few.

9. brokenwindow.jpg

10. salhaldeffsign.jpg

11. abandonedbeach.jpg

12. hyrdadoor.jpg

13. doordetail.jpg

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May 22, 2007

I asked for scrambled


Visit LA-based Luke Chueh for more “simple animal characters in ill-fated situations. ”

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May 21, 2007

A Greek Myth

“We had never read American nursery rhymes, but instead were given books of Greek mythology, and I felt truly that I was a goddess atop Mount Olympus, monitoring the destiny of the mere mortals beneath.”

- Ariadne Thompson, The Octagonal Heart


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Often, poems lie

Often, poems lie.

We learn the names of things
through our hands
and even the dead
learn to speak.

Often, truths dangle.

on a clothesline,
water for a sparrow’s thirst.

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Poetry Train Monday # 2 - Dreaming of Ellas

For today’s entry I bring you a piece written last April in preparation for our trip to Greece. Climb aboard Rhian’s Poetry Train.

Dreaming of Ellas

Dev came home with our new suitcase this afternoon. It is a colour eponymous with Greece: a vibrant, electric blue.

It is the expanse of sea and sky.
It is the painted wooden door of a white-washed home.
It is the hull of a well-weathered fisherman’s boat.
It is the dome of a small secluded chapel.
It is a bead worn close to body to ward off the evil eye.

This blue suitcase is our talisman, a keeper of family secrets and dreams.

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May 20, 2007

Sunday Seven # 7 - Your Fears Erased Here


A weekly meme for giving thanks and/or for noting important events in our lives.

1. I am learning to trust myself (again) as a writer and that’s due to the wonderful online community of readers and writers that visit chicken-scratch regularly. The exchange of ideas is invigorating. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge: Red, Rhian and Thomma-Lyn.

2. Mama’s 6-month memorial service and our first attempt at Koliva were both well received at church this morning. The older women from the ladies auxiliary were impressed. We’ll do a larger mnemossino for her 1 year.

3. I love the Greek language and the interplay and interdependence among the Ancient, New Testament and Modern forms. Today was Mama’s mnemossino and that word hearkens back to Mnemosyne - the mother of the nine muses. She is the personification of memory. Memory and forgetting are common themes in my writing.

4. It’s a long weekend. I’ve been enjoying spending time with our chicken. As a working mom, the interaction with EM during the week is often very regimented: dinner time, bath time, reading and bed time. With the nanny away visiting her family, I am relishing our uninterrupted and unscheduled time together.

5. I absolutely adore a rainy Sunday afternoon. EM and I took an extended nap together. Is there anything more blissful than that?

6. Writing is all about paying attention to one’s surroundings. I am finally “waking up”: writing more, worrying less and having fun.

7. I’ve finally worked out the ending to “Saints and Cigarettes,” and there are other ideas for essays and stories that are now coming to the forefront.

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List #16 - Unconscious Mutterings


You too can play along with Luna:

  1. Coastguard :: Vessel
  2. Buddies :: College
  3. Nap :: Afternoon
  4. Groan :: Annoy
  5. Sitcom :: Drivel
  6. Reader :: Online
  7. Heroes :: Tragic
  8. Amazing :: Awe-inspiring
  9. Woman :: Empowered
  10. Don’t! :: Do it!

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May 19, 2007


Tomorrow, Dev, our chicken and I will go to church to commemorate six month’s since Mama’s passing.

Today, we started our own tradition and made Koliva. I watched Mama make these countless times, for other relatives and for my father.

There were tears mixed in with the ingredients. Especially when Dev said, “And one day, our chicken will make these for us.”

I am sitting here, listening to the rain, typing on the computer, trying to make sense of all these jumbled emotions and memories.

The wheat kernels I watched my mother prepare express the belief in everlasting life. The wheat kernels that Dev and I prepared this afternoon are our prayer that Mama is in a place of light.

Growing up, I was not allowed to participate until the end. My mother was the one who carefully mixed all the ingredients; I used my artistic skill in the decorating and presentation of the final product. Today, it was Dev doing the mixing and the talking.

Tomorrow morning, I will sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar, pressing down with waxed paper to ensure I have a smooth, compact top. With toasted almonds, I will form a delicate cross in the middle of the mound and on either side I will script my mother’s initials: E. S.

I remember, as young girl, attending Sunday School. The lessons were interesting enough and I would often come home with tons of crafts, stories and paper icons. The one-hour catechism class was the fun part.

The Divine Liturgy was not. Picture me dressed in a silly yellow dress with matching ribbons and black patent shoes, sitting for two hours, watching the back of the priest’s head, and listening to the cantors drag out each Amen. I trained myself to tune out the painfully long service, conducted in a language that even my parents didn’t fully understand, by staring at the iconography that covered the altar, the dome, and the church’s walls.

I knew that if I behaved, at the end of the service, I would join my parents in the adjoining hall and enjoy something sweet; something called koliva served in styrofoam cups with little plastic spoons.

While Koliva is served in remembrance of the dead, I will always associate the boiled wheat with breakfast cereal.

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May 18, 2007

Introducing Magda's Father . . .

Lesson One – Epistles to Friends and Relatives

When my father first arrives in Montreal from Athens at the age of twenty-six, he is immediately sent by the Department of Immigration to learn English in the evenings in the basement of a small community church that also served as a Bingo Hall. Under harsh florescent lights and seated on chairs that while impressive to look at are uncomfortable to sit in, he is one of many immigrants struggling to learn the rules of this strange tongue. Though the air smelled of stale tobacco, poutine and perfume, he is still able to reference his familiar world.

During his twelve-hour workday, my father washes dishes and scrubs toilets at a local diner near Montreal’s General Hospital. On Thursday evenings with Kyrios Smith in the church basement on Chemin McDougal, he learns that in order to succeed in Canadian Society “Men must respect their place in the community in which they live by promptly and effectively replying to social and business correspondence.”

While the instructor, Kyrios Smith, thin-lipped and flat-footed, makes his pronouncements on the differences between spoken and written English my father stares at the black and white portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and dreams of unwashed fishermen with their khaki pants rolled up to their knees, pulling in their nets; fish leaping out, red-yellow A’s, silver-blue D’s and orange-green G’s.

Tsiph, tsiph, tsiph – the drops of rain gradually grow louder, calling my father back to the task at hand, learning how to compose an engaging and proper epistle to friends or relatives. Though it is published in New York, his teal blue textbook, Ellino-Angliki Epistolographia, has a British Flag glued on the cover.

The introductory paragraph to the lesson produces the following warning: “Should you neglect your social correspondence, you will soon find yourself alone, without support, without love and without friends.”

“Remember to include interesting tidbits of information in your letters to your loved ones. Share your life with them. Ask them about theirs. There is no room for indifference.”

My father wants to write about his last night in Athens, his evening out at the bouzoukia with his friends, the chestnut-hued stunning girl, sitting cross-legged with shapely legs, her alluring appearance of innocence, the quivering of his stomach, matching the shaking of something else between his legs, the broken plates and trampled flowers, the anticipation of his journey to this new land, the bruising loneliness of Montreal Streets, the love he feels for the sick and the dead, the horrid case of diarrhea he was forced to clean up one afternoon, the insatiable hunger for his mother’s meatballs and fried potatoes, the perfect stillness of a dimly-lit church — beeswax and incense mingled with lemon-blossoms in the spring, and the undeniable truth his hands smelled of cauliflower and bleach.

Using his best handwriting and the examples provided in his textbook as guides, my father cobbles together the following epistle for his curious Kyrios Smith:

Dear friend Smith,

It doesn’t seem possible that the lad I was bouncing on my knee just a little while ago was bitten by a dog. I ran into James the other day and found out you did not have the rabies. Everyone is looking forward to seeing you.

Do you remember selling newspapers? Of course, it’s still a long way from where you are to the point where you’ll be planning operations, but you are heading in the right direction.

If I forget to put in later, let me say that everyone of us is well. Only Grandma has a sniffle cold. Something serious. Mother wants to know whether to send her down with those nut cookies you like. There are some things she is going to miss like the art galleries and gorgeous shops.

My life here passes very quickly. Well, it hasn’t been bad enough to complain. Try your best to come for a visit real soon.

With much affection,
Georgios Leonidas

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May 17, 2007



Nothing to see here - just testing out a new widget:


“To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.”
Georgia O’keeffe

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May 16, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 13 - 13 ways to "Turn It Off"


On May 16 turn off your unnecessary lights, TV and other appliances to help save electricity and a whole lot more. Think globally, act locally.

1. Turn off all lights when you leave the room.
2. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use 75 percent less energy and last up to eight times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
3. Use dimmers with your incandescent light bulbs to extend the life of the bulb.
4. Use holiday light emitting diode (LED) strings. They use 95 percent less electricity and last ten times longer than standard incandescent strings.

Kitchen Appliances
5. Run the dishwasher only with a full load of dishes. Let the dishwasher air-dry or use the economy setting.
6. Use small appliances to cook meals or BBQ outside.
7. Keep your fridge or freezer away from heat sources.

8. Turn off your computer, printer and photocopiers when not in use.
9. If you must leave your computer on for network applications or other purposes, turn off the monitor to reduce electricity consumption.
10. Unplug any electrical equipment that is not in use as many appliances consume power even when they’re “off”.

Space Heating
11. Set your thermostat to no higher than 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) for heating and no lower than 26 degrees Celsius (78 Fahrenheit) for cooling. Set the heating temperature to 16 degrees Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) when you’re away or asleep.
12. Put on a sweater instead of turning up the thermostat.
13. Reduce heat loss through your home’s exterior by adding insulation to floors, walls, crawlspaces, basements and attics.

I'm turning off on May 16 - you can too!

The Pledge

I believe

that we can and must make real changes in the way we live, for the sake of a livable, sustainable future.

I believe

that individual actions, taken in concert, can send a powerful message as well as making a real difference.

And I hereby pledge

that, on May 16th, I will do my part by turning off my lights and non-essential electronic and electrical devices, and doing my best to reduce my energy consumption.

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May 15, 2007

Of Punctuation Marks and Speaking Engagements

A couple of weeks ago, at a local literary event, I spoke about blogging and its love/hate relationship with writing. (Blogging as genre.) In preparation for the evening, the coordinator/emcee asked each member of the panel to comment on what type of punctuation marks we were. We could, if we chose, solicit feedback from friends, family and co-workers.

And so I did.

Below, in no particular order, are some of my favourite responses:

“You, Christine, are a colon. Unsung but vital, with little patience for waste.”

“If Christine were a punctuation mark, she would be a trema •• . Often confused with the harsher Germanic umlaut, the trema originates from the Byzantine Greek τρημα, meaning “perforation or orifice.” A little bit foreign, a little bit unusual, and a much classier way to add emphasis and distinction to a word than the common exclamation point. Like Christine, I associate tremas (and umlauts) with the names of fashion designers and expensive restaurants. “

An exclamation mark - It’s mostly owing to your fabulous shoes and bags which scream out wonderful things about your personality that are otherwise hidden by your serious, grown-up job.”

An exclamation mark! Full of punch, zing, and enthusiasm!”

“There’s nothing about you that indicates pause, or final moments. You’re about living life and loving it! You are an exclamation mark!

An exclamation mark! You are optimistic, glass half-full versus half-empty. You create fun and lightness.”

A semi-colon. Rare, seldom used, mysterious and of a higher order.”

A semi-colon because you’re always making connections of independent clauses that are so meant to be together.”

An ellipsis … creating space and never coming to a full stop.”

An ellipsis … because there’s always more.”

And, what type of mark did I choose?

The semi-colon as it’s is a wee bit sexy and equally controversial. If I could be used by Shakespeare and maligned by Kurt Vonnegut, like my friend the semi-colon, I would consider myself fulfilled.

What about you? What type of punctuation mark would you be and why?

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Magda and Me*

My manuscript is 5 years old.

I have been living with the story and its characters for a long time.

Magda, the wayward artist turned iconographer, came to me in a dream, in the fall of 2001. “Find my voice,” she whispered. “Share my journey,” she pleaded.

The first incarnation/iteration, the “Language of Dreams”, tumbled onto paper over a 72 hour period. Fifty-five pages of what, I realize now, was an extended outline. It took an entire year for the chapters to start taking shape. In that one year, while attending the Writer’s Studio, I played with form and structure. Chapters became extended poems and poems became journal entries.

While Magda learned how to paint icons, I delved into the lives of early Christian saints:

There was Mary of Egypt, the redeemed harlot, who spent her life as a hermit in the desert, wearing only a camel-hair tunic and subsisting on what she could find in the wilderness.

There was Barbara, the martyr for Christ, whose father in a fit of anger, in a final act of degradation and violence, beheaded her.

There was the young beauty Catherine of Alexandria who stood up to a Roman Emperor, converted his wife to Christianity and died being tortured on a spiked wheel.

While Magda recovered from her lover (Stephen’s) betrayal, I travelled to Greece with my mother and began dismantling my parents’ dreams.

My father’s death, from cancer, forever altered our trajectory.

Saints, I learned, can smoke cigarettes on their road to redemption. And the first full draft of my novel took shape.

“Saints and Cigarettes” remained hidden, forgotten in a drawer, until my mother’s death from Alzheimer’s last November.

Yes, my manuscript is 5 (almost 6) years old.

How do I revise, edit and move the story toward its completion?

• By being a ruthless editor and removing any unnecessary words.
• By rediscovering the main cast of characters and not taking them (or myself) too seriously.
• By letting go of control.
• By trusting the process.
• By committing to the novel.
• By finding a home for my (other) writing through chicken-scratch.

* A response for Thomma-Lyn.

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(A)muse Me

gURL.com I took the The Nine Muses quiz on gURL.com
My muse is…

Calliope is the patron goddess of epic poetry. She is often depicted holding a writing tablet and wearing a golden crown, for she is the oldest of the muses and their leader. Her name means “The Fair Voiced,” but Calliope inspires eloquence in writing. Read more

Who is your muse?

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May 14, 2007

Where It All Begins

The richest source of family history you could find anywhere in the world is the memory of your parents and your grandparents - memories that will tell you things you never knew or have long since forgotten about yourself … .The giving and the getting, the sense of belonging and contributing to something larger than yourself, to something that began before you were born and will go on after you die, can make it possible for you to accept life in a way that makes you wish the whole world could realize how easy it is to feel as you do, and wonder why they don’t.

~ Alex Haley

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The Thinking Blogger Award - Living, Writing and Passion

The wonderfully talented and generous Thomma-Lyn honored me with a Thinking Blogger Award.

How does one define a thinking blogger? Well, according to an article posted on The Blog Herald:

These are the bloggers who will keep me thinking about their words long after I’ve finished reading them. Their passion boils up through their writing to flow out of the computer and into my heart and mind. Two, three, or four hours, maybe a day or two, or even months later, their words will bubble up out of my unconscious like an old song I can’t get out of my head.

Their words invoke images, vivid thoughts, and possible changes of mind. Their words are food to my hungry spirit. I want more.

Their blog represents a body of work which creates a sense of trust and respect for their opinion and advice. I know they honestly know what they are talking about.

These are the bloggers who don’t need to brag, show off, or honk their horns. They don’t need parlor tricks on their blogs. They don’t need to. These are humble folks who blog about their passion and it shines through. It can’t help it. You know it, you feel it, you experience it effervescing from among the sentences on the page.

You know this person is living, and writing, their passion.

Do I think I qualify? Ah, no. But there is one sentence that I do strongly identify with: living, and writing, their passion.

In the short time that I’ve been writing online, I’ve discovered an entire community of authors and artists who have welcomed me into their world. The exchange of ideas, the banter and the commitment to their craft amazes me.

That’s why, for example, I “tagged” Thomma-Lyn last week. Her writing makes me want to be a better writer. Her sense of humour and compassion makes me want to be her friend. Thank you.

Here are the rules for the Thinking Blogger award:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

So, who am I going to tag with this award? Who lives and writes their passion?


1. Rana at Frogs and Ravens
2. Bud at Chekhov’s Mistress
3. Cooper at Wonderland Or Not
4. Shirl at New Age
5. Rhian at From My Brain to Yours

So, what are you waiting for? Go check out these talented, amazing people!

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May 13, 2007


“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.”
- Albert Szent-Gyorgi (1893-1986)

mother and child shoe.jpg

© Eve Arnold / Magnum Photos

Slate always produces such thought-provoking and visually appealing photo essays.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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List #15 - Unconscious Mutterings


  1. Film :: Independent
  2. Dragon :: St. George
  3. Hunger :: Insatiable
  4. Plucked :: Strings
  5. Dissolving :: Friendship
  6. Executive :: Decision
  7. Ridiculous:: Arrangement
  8. Mist :: Dew
  9. Minority :: Marginalized
  10. Map :: Parchment

Free associate with: Luna

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Anachorisis - Poetry Train Monday # 2

I spend this first evening in Greece
by my Father’s sea.

I watch stars scratch
at the darkness.

I pick up a small glass stone,
and gaze at the onioned moon.

Entangled with words,
and recollections - I learn,

On this night,
to not be greedy -

To leave some
family stories


Written: August 2001.

Hop on board Rhian’s Poetry Train Monday.

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Sunday Evening Diversion

You are Strength

Courage, strength, fortitude. Power not arrested in the act of judgement, but passing on to further action, sometimes obstinacy.

This is a card of courage and energy. It represents both the Lion’s hot, roaring energy, and the Maiden’s steadfast will. The innocent Maiden is unafraid, undaunted, and indomitable. In some cards she opens the lion’s mouth, in others she shuts it. Either way, she proves that inner strength is more powerful than raw physical strength. That forces can be controlled and used to score a victory is very close to the message of the Chariot, which might be why, in some decks, it is Justice that is card 8 instead of Strength. With strength you can control not only the situation, but yourself. It is a card about anger and impulse management, about creative answers, leadership and maintaining one’s personal honor. It can also stand for a steadfast friend.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I wonder what’s changed? Back in February I was The Star.

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May 9, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 12 - Linky Love & Tagging Bonanza


I had originally planned to do a Thursday Thirteen list of famous Greek Americans (but the blogging universe has made other plans), you see I was tagged twice today - by Red and Kuanyin, so in the interest of efficiency, I bring you 13 things about me: Eight facts (from Red’s tag) and five answers (from Kuanyin) AND just to make things a little more interesting … 5 people that I visit regularly (for Linky Love) - SURPRISE, they have now been tagged by me.


1. I shaved off my eye-brows in sixth grade with my dad’s razor. To my astonishment, my parents never said a word about my new look. Neither did any of my elementary school teachers. I’m amazed at their restraint. I know that if my daughter does something similar, I’ll be hard-pressed to not ask why!

2. I became really close friends with a dark, brooding senior when I was in eighth grade. We spent a lot of time in the darkroom (I was a budding photographer and a member of the yearbook club, as was she.) When she graduated, she sent me a beautifully written love letter (that was intercepted by the headmistress). The headmistress wanted to make sure I was OK and that nothing funny had gone on. I had no clue what she meant until I was a senior and a clandestine, dog-eared copy of My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday was being passed around the class.

3. In case you haven’t guessed by now, I attended an all girls private high school. I had my first kiss while away on an overnight debating tournament. The boy’s name was David. I was 16.

4. English isn’t my first language. I learned English by watching Sesame Street. Inside our home, it was Greece.

5. In the second grade, my reading and writing skills were so advanced, my parents were asked to consider placing me in the fourth grade. Afraid that I wouldn’t fit in with the older kids, my parents moved me to a small private Catholic school with extracurricular activities like Friday mass and catechism classes. It’s no wonder I became a writer - all that extra stimulation.

6. My first period arrived when I was 10 and a 1/2. Not fun.

7. My favourite Aunt died of cancer when I was 10 and a 1/2. Not fun.

8. My first short story about a girl walking home from school enjoying the autumn air and sound of the leaves crunching underfoot was published in the school newsletter when I was in the sixth grade. After that, each time I was given a creative writing assignment, I wrote about leaves. Leaves in the spring, in the fall, in the dead of winter.

INTERMISSION - a how to from Rhian - who tagged Red, who tagged me:

Here are the rules according to whomever likes to makeup rules (not me): • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (blah, blah blah) • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. (Duh.) • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight (five for me) people to get tagged and list their names. (All’s fair in Lurv and bloggin’) • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. (Duh, again)


9. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

I started this blog to give voice to my writing that hadn’t yet found a home. In the short time I’ve been blogging, I’ve branched out and discovered a larger, creative community. Writing and publishing online is immediate and mutable. I am currently re-working my novel and love the motivation and inspiration I get from the positive to-ing and fro-ing with other blog authors. I don’t have a definitive answer, I am currently in the exploration phase.

10. Are you a spiritual person?

Yes, spiritual. I love that I grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church. It’s given me a very strong foundation. We are making a conscious effort to expose our little chicken to the same values, language, and traditions.

11. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

• An unlimited supply of paper and pens to write, draw, create.
• The Kings James Bible.
• The complete poems of Emily Dickinson.

12. What’s your favorite childhood memory? Travelling with my parents (road trip) to San Fransisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles (Disneyland), San Diego and Tijuana when I was 12.

13. Are these your first (tagging) memes? Yes.

Inside voice: There’s a small part of me that thinks this an online version of a chain letter - I’m hoping the people I tag, will play along - fingers crossed.


I’m now tagging the following folks:
(I’ll write a postscript in the coming days about why, I promise)

Tennessee Text Wrestling

Nota Bene

The Hidden Side of a Leaf

A La Grecque

Loose Leaf Notes

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May 6, 2007

A Lesson in Calligraphy - Poetry Monday # 1

When I was a little girl my father took on the task of improving my Greek. It didn’t matter that my mother had enrolled me in Greek school making sure I attended these evening classes religiously. “Christina” he would tell me, “it’s all well and good to learn about the past but what good will it do you if your hand-writing is sloppy. No one pays attention to what a chicken scratches. You want to make a difference in this world, learn to write beautifully.”

This is my first entry for Rhian’s Poetry Monday.

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List # 14 - Unconscious Mutterings


  1. Tumor :: Benign
  2. Bunch :: Grapes
  3. Gratitude :: Abundance
  4. Feel alive :: Energized
  5. Connect :: String
  6. Temptation :: Chocolate
  7. Brighten:: Sunlight
  8. Jewelry :: Artisan
  9. Tough :: Sturdy
  10. Harmless :: Defenseless

Free associate with: Luna

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May 5, 2007

In you go . . .

“You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint paradise, then in you go.”
Nikos Kazantzakis


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May 3, 2007

One Writes Because . . .

“I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe is the reason for every work of art.”

Anais Nin, THE MYSTIC OF SEX, Capra Press, 1995

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May 2, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #11 - Grammar is a Piano


The emcee for the upcoming Literary Shift event asked the participants to respond to the following question: “If you were a punctuation mark, which one would you be and why?”

That got me to thinking about writing and grammar in general. (I chose a semi-colon - but that’s for another posting … )

And so, for this week’s Thursday Thirteen, I bring you 13 grammar-related quotes:

1. Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power. ~ Joan Didion

2. Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language. ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

3. Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar. ~ E. B. White

4. My spelling is wobbly. It’s good spelling but it wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. ~A.A. Milne

5. Only in grammar can you be more than perfect. ~William Safire

6. Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason. ~Richard C. Trench

7. Cut out all the exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke. ~ Author unknown

8. No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place. ~ Isaac Babel

9. Damn the subjunctive. It brings all our writers to shame. ~ Mark Twain

10. Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers. ~ T. S. Eliot

11. You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country. ~ Robert Frost

12. At painful times, when composition is impossible and reading is not enough, grammars and dictionaries are excellent for distraction. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

13. When a thought takes one’s breath away, a lesson in grammar seems an impertinence. ~ Thomas W. Higginson

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No shrinking violet

Thanks to Rana over at Frogs and Ravens for posting this colour quiz. Turns out I “play well with others.” And you?

you are violet

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You’re confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don’t stress out over things and don’t understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

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