Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

Seems like an appropriate title for my next foray into blog posting.

Of course, the irony is, that tonight IS that "blue moon" night... an event that happens (on New Years Eve) only once every 20 years!

The term "blue moon" traditionally referred to an extra moon in a season: if a season had four full moons (rather than the more common three), then the third of the four moons was known as a blue moon. A season in this sense begins not with the months, but with the solstices and equinoxes.

However, personally, I like the mistaken definition of a Blue Moon being the second full Moon in a calendar month, just because it's easier to figure out and name.

A Variety of Meanings (a very clever article)

In fact, the very earliest uses of the term were remarkably like saying the Moon is made of green cheese. Both were obvious absurdities, about which there could be no doubt. "He would argue the Moon was blue" was taken by the average person of the 16th century as we take "He'd argue that black is white."
The concept that a blue Moon was absurd (the first meaning) led eventually to a second meaning, that of "never." The statement "I'll marry you, m'lady, when the Moon is blue!" would not have been taken as a betrothal in the 18th century.


Meanwhile, the life and times of my blog are at a crossroads!

Though there are many fascinating things about Corfu left to share, I am having a hard time buckling down and getting to writing about them!

So, what is wrong with me???

My trip to the US dislodged my patterns and that certainly made a difference. Coming home also meant reclaiming my life here, and that made a difference too. Getting back into the habit of writing "blog posts" like before, though, it seems is the harder part of this blogging thing.

Sigh. I will continue to post about Corfu, because I love the topic of Corfu, and we are constantly rediscovering wonderful things about living here. But...

There will however be moments of "blog fail" when the parallel universe of my 'other' life will overlap.

Currently, though we are happy as grigs (whatever grigs are) living on the magical island of Corfu, we are also concurrently trying to move my 84 year old mother from one side of the United States (New Mexico) to the middle of the United States (Chicago), all while pretty much being in Greece.

Except for the frantic bits that will come to pass this Spring, when we'll return to the US to physically pack up- the part with the actual move- we are keeping in touch with her by phone a couple of times a week as well as with my sons (through email as well as phone calls). We are also in contact with the lawyer in charge of her trust as well as the retirement community.

Juggling all this is sometimes NOT so easy to do. My mother is becoming more easily "distracted" and often she doesn't prioritize necessary things the way she used to, meaning that confusion results.

When we first decided to move to and remain in Greece, we recognized that there would be challenges regarding being so far away from family. We've encountered pretty much every one of them. We have had major surgeries, accidents, job losses, divorce, birth, and deaths (along with lingering illness requiring longer stays). We also sold a house.

We have moved a son to an new house, and my mother to a retirement community after her partner died, but now it seems we will need to move her one more time.

Fortunately, I am blessed with sons who relish the thought of having their grandmother near enough to visit weekly, which is what she needs now more than all the other things she might make use of in the place she's moving to in Chicago. Having her in Chicago means that she'll spend time with her great-grandson, which she will enjoy so much. It will also mean that T and I will be able to maximize our visits back to the US and spend more time with our sons (and of course grandchildren!) as well as my mother.

Having spent a month in the States, I recognize both the good things about living in the US, but also the good things about living here in Greece.

When I was a child growing up and going back and forth between my grandmother in Belgium and my mother in Michigan, I remember feeling homesick in both places, no matter where I was.

I feel the same thing now only it's all mixed up with adult things like worry and the stress of forgetting something important that needs doing. I call them mind squirrels. On top of that is the very real frustration that I want to just enjoy my life in my own home with my husband and enjoy my things!

That's sort of what has happened to the blog.

So I will leave on that note and say that I plan to have a very happy New Year- we are going to a neighbor party in Vatos, and T will be wearing a tux and I will be dressy too. Perhaps I will even post a picture of us in our elegance. Tomorrow I will fix a turkey, and perhaps bake an apple pie. (I may even take a picture of the apple pie, if it turns out!)

For now I will sign off and wish all who stop here a wonderful New Year. Thank you very, very much, for reading my posts and becoming a part of my life. I DO really appreciate all the input and comments you have made over the past six months.

Again, thank you and Happy Holidays!

PS... the soundtrack of my life is currently playing:

Blue Moon - The Marcels
Blue Moon Of Kentucky By Elvis Presley
Toby Keith - Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You
Richard Rodgers: Blue Moon
Once In A Blue Moon By Earl Thomas Conley

and for a change, a foray into the bizarre with a Japanese Bluegrass rendition of
Is The Blue Moon Still Shining

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'Tis the Season...

Last night we drove into Corfu town to see it all lit up with holiday lights. Last year the municipality needed to trim some large trees in the park and near the Liston. In doing so they had to finally cut down the branches that had all the lovely lights stuck in them for the last 8 years or so. When we got there the park and Liston were dark! We were surprised that they didn't replace them at all this year. Ah austerity, it bites in the strangest places.

Still the walkways and the shopping area streets were well decked out.

And the good news for all the merchants, was there were a fair amount of people out shopping.

On the way home we stopped in Agios Ioannis to see what the village had done. The decorating committee had chosen the bandstand as their staging ground. The only thing missing was snow... and I don't miss that at all!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice Day

Today is officially the shortest day of the year.

The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26'. Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like Midwinter to refer to the day on which it occurs. For most people in the high latitudes this is commonly known as the shortest day and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The seasonal significance of the Winter Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

Watching the sun rise across the eastern sky over the course of the year is fascinating. This morning it seems to rise almost from the south east.

A lovely morning sky.

Welcome to Winter!

In ancient Greece there were celebrations at this time of year.

The exclusively female midwinter ritual, Lenaea or Lenaia, was the Festival of the Wild Women. In the forest, a man or bull representing the god Dionysus was torn to pieces and eaten by Maenads. Later in the ritual a baby, representing Dionysus reborn, was presented.

Lenaion, the first month of the Delian calendar, derived its name from the festival's name. By classical times, the human sacrifice had been replaced by that of a goat, and the women's role had changed to that of funeral mourners and observers of the birth. Wine miracles were performed by the priests, in which priests would seal water or juice in a room overnight and the next day they would have turned into wine. The miracle was said to have been performed by Dionysus and the Lenaians.

By the 5th century BCE the ritual had become a Gamelion festival for theatrical competitions, often held in Athens in the Lenaion theater.


And so. I am returned from Chicago and parts West. It's good to be back home though I feel a bit of a fish out of water. I am not nearly "up to speed" for this holiday.

Fortunately I don't have to do too much preparation as we are graciously invited to spend Christmas dinner with our good friends. (all I have to bring is a cheesecake!) We're also covered for Boxing Day and will be spending a lovely afternoon with good friends and their family members. (I get to bring quiches...)

I am still assimilating all the changes of the last couple of months. I am still a bit out of synch with "my world" whatever that may be!

Alls well that ends well though, and it's great to be home.

[I include a selection of traditional soothing Christmas music to inspire a holiday feeling.....]

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Car Shoes

They have become the new "Bear Shoes" ...

Which may be an inexplicable concept to most people reading this blog. Dearest baby grandson had become fixated on his "bear slippers" which his parents had dutifully bought to the largest size possible. Sadly tho they were getting worn and they didn't come in a larger size than his foot was rapidly growing into!

When my mother arrived she brought him a gift - unbeknowst to her, his most favorite cartoon character of "all time" (how long IS all time to a two year old??) is the red car in the movie Cars (Lightening McQueen voiced by Owen Wilson).

So here are a few rapid shots of grandson speeding around in his new CarShoes...

note the sadly ignored regular shoes now left behind to keep the bear shoes company...

grandmother- great grandmother and of course elmo muppet grandson...

The yankee doodle dandy gets ready for bed...

And blows a kiss to his many fans...

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