Saturday, October 22, 2011

The return of the great pumpkin,...

Well, O.K.

This year our pumpkins were not SO great, but we had a fun time anyway carving them and being silly with our favorite substitute grandchildren.

Our friend, E,  who now lives in Holland comes to visit family a couple of times a year.  (we're extended family, particularly near Halloween!)

So T carved away, whilst the little ones designed their ideas and tweaked their finished product.

 There was great concentration and much ooh-ing and ahh-ing for the finished results.

I was not a participant as someone needed to document the proceedings...

[Meanwhile, Mr. Pumpkin Head is choosing to remain anonymous. ]

In spite of the weather periodically spitting and dripping on us, (there were bouts of sunshine as well) we all had a marvelous time.

The pumpkin family seemed content as well.

We got a little carried away with "costumes" as we had brought a "bag O' animal noses" back from the States, for everyone to try on, which certainly helped the festive Halloween atmosphere.

There was much silliness and miming of animal behaviors....

and noises!

really cute faces all around

Though as T mentioned, "An ornament finds its own tree"...                  

(And yes, it WAS a bad hair day...)         

Saturday, October 15, 2011

And with the rain....

Comes the power cuts and electricity challenges – as well as the odd disappearance of the DSL connection!

The day after my previous post, on a bright sunny day, the power went off from 8 to 1 (ish) in the afternoon! Supposedly they “fixed” all sorts of problems, and our power was supposedly 'good to go'.

Then we had rain and lightening and thunder...


storm damage
Currently, we only have partial power- 1 phase of a 3 phase system- as a transformer near our house was hit by lightening and sadly appears to be dangerously broken. I say dangerously, because some of our neighbors (who are also with only partial electricity) watched the shower of sparks arc all night long from their living room window!

Several neighbors have no electricity, and one neighbor hasn't be affected at all. (I think out of spite we may all descend on his house for dinner!)

a tiny problem
I am sure soon, we'll have no electricity “if” they decide to come and fix it as they will probably have to shut it down to work on it.

(Of course I say “IF” because when one of the neighbors called to report the problem, he was told “there IS no problem!”, in that charming Greek way, as they are wont to do whenever “foreigners” call with problems. They usually presume it is a minor problem of fuses that we apparently don't know how to change or maybe even master fuses tripped and left unattended. We now have a Greek friend calling to report the problem and hopefully -eventually- someone will come out and see IF there is a problem. I just hope it's before the general strike next Tuesday!!)

good thing the flue is clean
Still we manage quite comfortably, and made our first roaring fire in the fireplace to cheer us up.

Meanwhile, the house is criss-crossed with cables to provide electricity to the fridge and freezers as well as jury rig a connection to the dryer so we can dry the “dog towels” (the poor puppies NEED to go out and play in the rain and MUST come in the house- soaked to the skin!- and sleep for a while).


Which brings me round to what my post was REALLY going to be about today...

In all the hectic craziness since our return from Istanbul (see, NOW I'm going to tell you what really happened between my post about our wonderful trip to Turkey, and my time in Chicago!)I felt I should update you on some of the things that happened to make me not post...

Amazing Balou
Sadly, our great and wonderful Bernese dog, Balou died in early April, from a malignant growth in her neck that had become inoperable. We were devastated, and if it would have only been me, I would have probably decided to never get a dog again, as it hurts so badly when you lose them!

T on the other hand had been talking for a couple of months, about getting another dog to keep Balou company- a puppy this time,-and he had found what was purported to be a Chow - German shepherd mix, he'd fallen in love with.

So at the end of April, we went to pick up what we thought was one 3 month old puppy.

such sweet babies
Long story short, we ended up with TWO puppies, because the second (and last) puppy would never have got adopted as she was very timid and fearful and didn't look anything like a shepherd.

I decided that it would be cruel to leave her behind so... (how do these things happen??) we ended up with two puppies.

After we got them home, we realized that they were great “medicine” for missing Balou, and they made us laugh constantly, and were smart and wanted to try and learn from and about us.

We also discovered that they were a bit older than advertised, by about an additional six weeks! The Chow and the German Shepherd parents must have been small by all standards as the pups are very much mid sized dogs.

Their names are Rosie and Ginger.

Rosie is the intrepid one and has a HUGE amount of energy (we refer to her as the “mad bee” when she starts her flat eared sprints around the garden and us – and Ginger). Rosie “looks” the part of watchdog, but she is very friendly and will come to the fence and greet anyone. The dog has no discrimination. She is fascinated by everything and never wants the walks to end. She is totally motivated by food and can be trained to do anything – with enough chicken on offer.

Ginger is very stand-offish with strangers and barks and growls and is pretty much a great watch dog. She is at heart though, what could be termed a “couch potato” dog. 

With us she's a big slob and will always slide from a sit to a lie down if she can. She tolerates going for “walkies” but mostly because it seems to please Rosie so much. She's not very adaptable with strangers and hates when we have company. She does things because she wants to or she feels sorry for us. She is NOT motivated by food or treats.

holding paws while cat watching
They are completely devoted to eachother and play fight, play hide and seek, doggie tag and of course tease eachother constantly. If one is out of sight of the other they go “hunting” for the other one. 

They've completely settled in and even were silly and fun company when our first houseguests of the year arrived mid May.

Sadly, right after our friends left (around the 22 of May) I was thrust into the panic of my mother's brain tumor and booking my flight to Chicago to be with my mother for her surgery.

When I returned in August, I was worried that the puppies wouldn't remember me, or that they wouldn't pay any attention to me, and I'd have to start from the beginning with the basics. NOT SO! They greeted me like a long lost friend and everything's gone swimmingly since I've been home!

Three weeks after I returned from the States, T flew back to the US to visit the boys and his brothers and sisters and cousins. We'd originally planned to fly together for the visit (it's been ages since we've traveled back to the US together, just for fun!) but that was before my mother's problems, so we adapted, and split our trips.

T left and it was me alone with the dogs... we had a great time together, and I needed to be alone in my own space for a while. They were very sympathetic and gave me cuddles when I needed them.

They slept in their doggie beds in our room at night and snored so I wouldn't miss T, too much.

So finally it brings me round in an odd way, to our "right now" life in Corfu.

Things change, and they remain the same.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

restart to blog, i think...

the first raindrops fall, and suddenly the season changes

All is well, and I think I have figured out how to post my pictures without too much trouble... If only I didn't have to LEARN so many new computer things, she says plaintively.  (I keep repeating, "FileZilla is my friend".) 

Corfu is wonderful at this time of year.  Well, it's lovely at any time of year, but this time is my favorite because the blistering heat seems to break overnight and the temperatures drop into the exceptionally pleasant range.

Every day we have amazing sunrises and sunsets and glorious cloud formations that may or may not bring rain.  Well they bring rain, it's just you never know where.  This island seems to be a mass of micro climates!

For instance, last week T called from the village on his way home to remind me to bring in the cushions from the veranda chairs as he got soaked while picking up bread at the bakery.  It was bucketing down rain - three miles from the house!  I was in gorgeous sunshine, and laughed when he told me to hurry.  The rain never hit the house that day, it seemed we were a little mini island of "dry", as it just dropped its glory on everyone around us.


Meanwhile, on a more personal update: I'm alright.  I'm starting to sleep regularly.  I get sad at least once a day (sometimes I get really sad), but I'm managing to think about the good memories and the happy times, and of course I remember how much my mother loved Corfu as well.  I'll probably mention how I feel once in a while, but mostly I guess, I'll still be writing about my life and times here on the island, or maybe about our travels.

[If you are very lucky, I might even  get around to finishing the picture story of our travels to Istanbul last winter!  Yes, I know, lots of stuff to remember to do, SOooo many things to finish.]

I'll probably be mentioning the pitfalls of the project I've taken on... I'm going through all my mother's photo albums and I'll be choosing, and trying to scan enough pictures of her life into  a presentation for a memorial we'll be having with family, and my mother's special friends sometime in the Spring.

Right now I'm just at the 'looking at pictures' phase, but I'm going to have to figure out what kind of computer program I will use to put together a nice slide show presentation. Sigh.  My technology learning curve will be challenged yet again...

It's nice to be back.


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