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October 16, 2010

Watch: Chris Anderson on Crowd Accelerated Innovation

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December 14, 2008

First snowfall

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December 7, 2008

our winter garden

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November 26, 2008

Bad Kitty





We’re focused on raising an articulate child. Given that we’re both extroverts and avid readers, we don’t think anticipate this will be much of a problem. Found this one at Lookybook today. Seems like a clever way to increase EM’s vocabulary. Considering her recent interactions with our orange tabby cat; it’s also very timely.

Enjoy!

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November 15, 2008

watch: a stroke of insight

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November 8, 2008

our urban zoo

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October 29, 2008

sometimes, it just takes one





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October 19, 2008

the incredible book eating gal

One of EM’s favourite bedtime reads of late is a picture book by Oliver Jeffers called “the incredible book eating boy.” It’s an accurate descriptor of what’s been going on in my life. We recently started unpacking boxes of books that had been in storage for the past eight years. And I have been rediscovering my long lost loves. We’re building a library downstairs. That’s always been a dream of mine, to have an ENTIRE room dedicated to books.

I collected children’s books long before EM. At three, she’s the owner of quite an extensive library: books in Greek, French and English. And together, we’re now making our way through Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale. EM loves the story so much that she takes the hard-cover book to bed.

And for me, it makes me want to bake more.

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June 24, 2008

George Carlin "did it" - a final goodbye

It’s impossible to fully characterize George Carlin’s influence on stand-up comedy. Some might say thay he created it. He will be missed. Here’s a well-penned tribute to George by Jerry in the New York Times:

I know George didn’t believe in heaven or hell. Like death, they were just more comedy premises. And it just makes me even sadder to think that when I reach my own end, whatever tumbling cataclysmic vortex of existence I’m spinning through, in that moment I will still have to think, “Carlin already did it.”

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Do you know Joy Nash?

Forget the Dove Natural commercials. This is the real deal. Every young woman I know should spend some time with Joy. This video tackles the problem of thinking up perfect responses to unflattering (mean) remarks about one’s body.

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June 3, 2008

Fun, Food & Opa

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Growing up Greek-Canadian meant any significant event in your life was celebrated with food, music and family. Now that we’ve settled in our new home and have a huge garden, we’re carrying on this tradition by hosting our first (and what will become annual) mini Greek day on June 14.

And yes, there will be lamb.

And music.

And lots of food.

But most importantly, we’re opening up our home to our extended support network of friends, family and co-workers. You’ll be there too, won’t you?

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May 25, 2008

A garden tour

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When it comes to describing the beauty and lushness of our garden, I am at a loss for words. My runny nose and eyes also make typing difficult. I did manage to post some tweets.


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May 22, 2008

A love/hate meme for the end of May

I love to eat: spicy tuna rolls at least once a week.

I hate to eat: okra and tomato stew.

I hate to go: visit my parents grave site. They reside in my heart and I think of them daily.

I love to go: strolling through our garden with EM.

I love it when: I can hear the wind rustling leaves.

I hate it when: I let my emotions cloud my judgment.

I love to see: older couples holding hands.

I hate to see: street kids panhandling.

I love to hear: EM singing to herself.

I hate to hear: cats fighting in the middle of the night.

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May 20, 2008

of peonies, twigs and other small things

We’ve been spending most of our free time tending the garden: weeding, watching and watering. Each day we walk with EM and explore the grounds. Our front yard has a huge, springy lawn edged by an explosion of flowering plants, shrubs and trees. EM shrieks and laughs at each new bud: “Look mama. Look — it’s getting ready to come out. It’s blooming.” And, “Mama, what’s that called?”

Recent discoveries include: three pumpkin colored poppies the size of small dessert plates; a tall, majestic iris; yet another papery peony, and chaotic rows of bachelor buttons, bluebells and forget-me-nots. Our Gary Oak, we’ve recently discovered, is home to a family of faeries who “go to work.”

EM brings offerings of daisies, twigs and small green leaves.

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May 16, 2008

Read: Language that makes you say OMG

A must read article, excerpt below, on teens letting emoticons and other forms of chat-speak slip into their essays and homework, by Mary Kolesnikova, Los Angeles Times.

Linguistic butchery while texting is one thing. In school assignments, it is quite another. What’s worse is how popular culture is encouraging this madness. A notorious offender called ICanHasCheezburger.com is a cute enough diversion — it posts adorable pictures of cats, “lolcats” as they’re called, with funny captions. But persevere beyond your first gag reflex and you’ll notice that the captions are written in lolspeak.

Lolspeak has its own wiki-dictionary online — sorry, a dikshunary — where fanatics go to linguistically out-mangle one another. A recent entry on ICanHasCheezburger.com featured a cat looming over a laptop with the caption: “Just when u thot it wuz safe 2 go bak on teh interwebs.” Another features a kitten: “why ur hed just asplode? wuz it my cuteness? sry.”

Why did my head just “asplode,” kitty dear? Because I could not transcribe that caption without Microsoft Word’s AutoCorrect going into overdrive. And because ICanHasCheezburger.com receives 50 million page views every single month. Only 50% of users are between 18 and 49 — which means a large chunk of the under-18 set is picking up lolspeak when they should be learning English.

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April 23, 2008

A challenge: to think like a fool

Since we moved in our new home in the middle of February, I have been immersed in beautifying and organizing our lovely nest. All my creativity and energy has been focused on my domestic responsibilities, leaving very little time to devote to chicken-scratch and my writing. And so, I begin today with a new creative strategy. For the rest of the week, I am going to THINK LIKE A FOOL. It’s spring and it’s time to shake things up around here.

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Image courtesy of: Creative Whack Pack

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April 22, 2008

Go to: Green Fork Blog

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Celebrate

Earth Day

by greening your fork. Find: Good Food. Read: 20 ways to green your fork this Earth Day.

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March 25, 2008

Earth Hour 2008: See the Difference You Can Make

Continue reading "Earth Hour 2008: See the Difference You Can Make" »

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March 19, 2008

Watch: Crayon Physics Deluxe from Kloonigames

Don’t normally get excited about computer games. This video demo has me mesmorized. No wonder it won an award at this year’s Game Developer Conference.

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March 18, 2008

Read: Kingsley Amis on Drink

Excerpt from Bookforum.com; article by Alexander Waugh

Amis drank like a proverbial fish from boyhood through adulthood. In his early days, when he was poor and unrecognized, he went for whatever gave the most alcohol for the smallest amount of money. This method is known in England as “drinking the park-bench bottle,” because it is by looking under park benches, where the tramps have left their empties, that one may discover, without having to work it out for oneself, which drink gets one drunkest for the fewest pennies. Young Amis discovered for himself that for twenty-five old pennies he could get himself plastered on three barley wines, a pint of rough cider, and a small whisky. As his means improved, he moved on to beer as his daily tipple and from beer advanced to Scotch whisky, of which he drank so much that by the late ’70s, his monthly bill for the stuff was one thousand pounds. “Scotch whisky is my desert-island drink,” he said. “I mean not only that it is my favorite but that for me it comes nearer than anything else to being a drink for all occasions and all times of day.” Like most writers, however distinguished, Amis was not a particularly rich man. “If I had pots of money,” he used to say, “the only thing I would buy is people to carry me around.”

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Watch: Tent Cities in the City of Angels

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March 10, 2008

going green in style

Rosaleah Brown (in green pumps) prepared to pedal up Mass. Ave. in Cambridge to a meeting as part of the Green Streets Initiative ~ a grassroots organization of people from Cambridge and surrounding cities who celebrate, promote, and advocate for the use of alternative transportation. (Globe Staff Photo / Mark Wilson)

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the view from our living-room window

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We’ve been in our new home now for about three weeks. It’s taking us much longer than we thought to unpack and find a place for all our stuff. We’re encouraged by the signs of spring in our garden. Each of our three Camellia trees are starting to bloom.

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March 4, 2008

Meet Evangeline Mudd

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Evangeline Mudd might possibly be the luckiest girl in the world. After all, how many kids have parents who encourage them to swing from the dining room chandeliers or eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with their feet?

Evangeline’s parents, Merriweather and Magdelana Mudd, are not your typical mother and father. They’re primatologists.

Enter the magical world of children’s author, David Elliott.

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January 15, 2008

A questionnaire for January

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Found in February’s 2008 Vanity Fair, I decided to play along. Won’t you join me?

What is your current state of mind?

Anticipatory – 2008 is a blank slate.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My shoe and vintage handbag collection.

What is your greatest fear?

Passing on my neuroses to my daughter.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Being a braggart.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Obedience.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To have more patience.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Commitment.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Purposefulness.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Words: Actually, absolutely, epitome, egregious and hyperbole.
Phrases: “I’m being a tad uncharitable.” “Hey guys” “Let’s speculate irresponsibly”

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d like to be able to carry a tune. I love playing the piano and singing at the top of my lungs, but my darling husband insists that I’m tone deaf …

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I have two great loves: my husband and daughter.

Where would like to live?

I adore Victoria (where we live now) but I’d like to retire to a warmer climate. If the US: Maybe New Mexico, Arizona or Hawaii (especially the island of Kauai where we celebrated my 40th birthday.) Otherwise, I’d pick an island in Greece.

What is your favourite occupation?

Being gainfully employed as a writer (which I am) – though, I’d like to complete my novel and would love to refer to myself as a novelist (in the not too distant future).

What is your most treasured possession?

The Byzantine icon of the Annunciation salvaged by my maternal grandmother as she fled Izmir during the “exchange of population” between Turkey and Greece in 1923.

Who are your favourite writers?

Too many to mention but here are some of my favourites, in no particular order: Smaro Kamboureli, Anne Carson, Odysseus Elytis, Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, A.S. Byatt, Jeffrey Eugenides, Salman Rushdie, Dave Eggers, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jane Austen, Alice Munro, Toni Morrison, Nick Kazantzakis, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, D.E. Lawrence … need I continue?

Who is your favourite hero/heroine of fiction?

• Hiro Protagonist and Y.T. from Snow Crash.
• Calliope (Cal) from Middlesex.
• Mrs. Ramsay from To the Lighthouse.
• Nell from The Diamond Age.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My beloved parents (both now gone) who were resourceful and hard-working immigrants and made a wonderful life for us in Canada. May their memories be eternal.

What do you most value in your friends?

Their intelligence, honesty, generosity, sparkling wit, integrity and compassion.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My enthusiasm/gregariousness.

How would you like to die?

When I’m very old, at home, surrounded by my friends and family.

What is your motto?

Live and love fully and completely.

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January 7, 2008

Isabel Allende: Inspiration for 2008

I was born in ancient times at the end of the world in a patriarchal, Catholic and conservative family. No wonder that by age five I was a raging feminist, although the term had not reached Chile yet, so nobody knew what the heck was wrong with me. I would soon find out that there was a high price to pay for my freedom and for questioning the patriarchy, but I was happy to pay it because for every blow that I received I was able to deliver two.

Her inspiring video follows.

Continue reading "Isabel Allende: Inspiration for 2008" »

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January 2, 2008

Through the looking glass

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The inspiration for this year in review came from Colleen. The instructions: take the first couple of lines from the first blog post every month, string them together and read the post as a poem.

January

In my dreams, on the night after mama’s passing, I had the persistent, uncomfortable sensation that someone was trying to get inside me.

February

Since Mama’s passing, Dev and I have been attending church services infrequently. Normally, we’d be in attendance participating in the Divine Liturgy and staying for the luncheon afterwards. Today, we were conspicuously absent. I have felt my connection to all things Greek become more tenuous …

March

I have much to be thankful for today: my handsome husband, our little chicken and I spent the entire day in our pajamas enjoying one another’s company. Our perfect day began with a pancake breakfast based on my beloved Mama’s recipe.

April

In the countryside where my grandmother and her husband settled, the hills were littered with small chapels. After her husband died and before the onset of the Second World War, my grandmother would, in her spare time, visit the various homes of Saints.

May

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

June

At home, I told myself that I was not lonely, though surely the oldest living virgin in Western Canada. But now, dancing with Georgios, dancing in front of these men, their admiration obvious, I could see myself more clearly than before.

July

Last week, the wonderful, intelligent and subversive Miss Frou bestowed the Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award to me.

August

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
~ Mark Twain

September

We’re sleep training EM. At 25 months old, it’s time.

October

As I am turning 40 at the end of this month and I’ve been blogging for 10 months (!), I thought it’d be a good idea to share a little bit about me.

November

We are coming up to the one year anniversary of my beloved Mama’s passing on November 26. In Greek tradition, this is considered the end of the formal mourning period.

December

This music transports me to a small, dark cafe in Greece and washes away any worries I may have.

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November 13, 2007

Fresh Eggs: scribblings and other such scratches

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With apologies to Thomma-Lyn who has been waiting patiently for me to answer my interview questions from some time ago; my adult life commitments have been encroaching on my writing/blogging life. I took a personal day off today to catch up on my overdue paperwork and on spend some time writing, just for me – and well, for TL (smile). Here’s the first question:

Tell me about chickens. Which came first, your little girl Chicken or the literary Chicken-scratch? And what, for you, is the symbolism of each and in what way do the two Chickens tie together for you?

As a little girl, I was fascinated by my father’s signature. His penmanship was perfect. He signed his name with precision and delicate symmetry. He created a masterpiece using a simple ballpoint pen. His signature was in stark contrast to his daily scribblings. You see: my father had the equivalent of a grade nine education.

When he immigrated to Canada in the 1950s, he spoke and read no English. He took ESL classes in the basement of church hall in Montreal in order to pass his citizenship test. It was in Montreal, during those first few years in his new country, that he perfected his signature.

I used my father’s citizenship lessons as the basis for the “A Lesson in Calligraphy” chapter in Saints and Cigarettes.

The chicken-scratch theme evolved out of the conversation that Georgios and Magda have about writing. And when I decided to start a writing blog, chicken-scratch seemed a natural fit.

My beloved Mama used to call me her little chicken, much in the same way that her mother, my yiayia, called her. And so, when EM was born, I did the same. In Greek tradition, it’s bad luck to call babies by their given names until they are baptized. Now that EM is two (and very verbal) if you ask her what animal she is, she’ll say “chicken/kotopoulo.”

Both the literary chicken and my baby chick share the same bloodline. For my dear little chicken EM, I want her to know, cherish and celebrate her lineage.

Chicken-scratch in its inception was meant to be a forum to share my manuscript with a larger audience. In many ways, I wanted to give a voice to my parent’s experiences. I am a writer and a storyteller because of them.

Chicken-scratch is a virtual scrapbook. I post bits and pieces that feed my writing life. While I haven’t been sharing much of my manuscript, my posts online make my off-line writing stronger.

The beauty of a blog is that its form and content are fluid. Through chicken-scratch, I’ve met and formed deep connections with other writers who inspire and motivate me. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

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October 13, 2007

Of new writing, the interview and fresh eggs

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I asked my amazing and talented friend Thomma-Lyn to interview me (and she gratefully obliged) based on the intelligent, sensitive and thought-provoking responses she gave to Julia’s questions. I’ve decided to turn the answers to these questions into longer pieces of non-fiction prose grouped together in a new section of my blog, called Fresh Eggs. Thomma-Lyn’s questions have motivated me to go deeper and share more about my life and writing process than I normally would. And so, dear readers (and TL) I beg your indulgence and patience as I take the coming week or so to answer these questions more fully. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll enjoy the results.

The questions:

1. Tell me about chickens. Which came first, your little girl Chicken or the literary Chicken-scratch? And what, for you, is the symbolism of each and in what way do the two Chickens tie together for you?

2. Discuss how you feel about this quote by John Gardner: “Fiction that lasts tends to be ‘moral,’ that is, it works with a minimum of cynical manipulation and it tends to reach affirmations favorable rather than opposed to life.”

3. If you could travel back to the Byzantine era, when and where would you go, who would you most like to meet, and why?

4. As a fiction writer, are you more of a plotter, a panster (flying by the seat of your pants), or a bit of both? Describe your thoughts on method.

5. Tell me about a couple of the strongest recurring themes that run throughout the fiction you write.

This is an interview meme, so if you’d like to be interviewed by me and post the answers on your blog, let me know.

Here’s the how:

1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Please make sure I have your email address.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

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