Monday, March 29, 2010

On a road trip with my mother-in-law

One of my items on my Mondo Beyondo dreamlist is: making a roadtrip, to drive by myself from Greece to Holland. Although I find it very scary, I know I am going to do it someday.

It is not going to happen this spring or summer because our time of leasure and freetime is almost over.

Instead I took my mother-in-law on a little trip.

Of course this doesn't count as a real roadtrip. First of all we didn't even drive ourselves but traveled by hydrofoil boats, taxis and buses and second you don't really call it a roadtrip when you travel with your 80 year old mother-in-law. But it was adventurous nevertheless.

My mother-in-law hasn't traveled a lot. The times she has been off the island can be counted. She was the youngest of four sisters. The elder three got married on the mainland and moved away. When she married my father-in-law, a local fisherman who unfortunately passed away 6 years ago, they stayed in her parent's house where she took care of her father until he passed away. She has lived in this house since she was born.

Only one more sister is alive now and they haven't seen each other for many years. So after long planning and a few times postponing, it was finally the time to actually go and visit her.

It was a long journey but so worth it. I think the picture speaks for itself.

Our visit was too short but we already decided that after the summer we are going to do it again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A morning well spent

Well, today was our clubs turn for clean up duty. It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and plenty of sunshine. The wind was still a bit chilly though. Perfect weather to be spending some time on the beach.

There was a lot of driftwood and plastic that the sea had thrown on the beach but I have to admit that there was also too much rubbish that people had just thrown down the slope. We picked up al sorts of things: little children-bicyles, some engines, half a motorbike, a pram, a broken woodstove, plastic chairs and more.

At least we were having some fun with our found treasures


When will we learn to give this beautiful environment the respect it deserves and not just throw all our unwanted stuff in the bushes where nobody can see it?!

I suppose it will be little steps at the time and we just must never give up trying.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clean-up week

As in the last 4 years, also this spring there is a clean-up week. This is organized by local cultural society "Skiathos" , in collaboration with the municpality and other societies and volunteers of the island.

The idea is to raise awareness about the importance of a) respect for the environment and b) volunteering in general.

The schoolchildren started last saturday and cleaned one of our most famous beaches: Koukounaries.
And every day of this week, more beaches are being cleaned.

Tomorrow is our turn: the International Women's Club of Skiathos. We will clean the old boatyard that is not in use any more. As you can see on the photo I took a few weeks ago, there is plenty of rubble and rubbish that landed on the beach due to the many south winds we have had this winter.

There will be plenty of work for us tomorrow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

IINDM or "The International Institute of Not Doing Much"

Today is one of those days. Where I don't feel like doing much. The weekend is in front of us and some feeling of lazyness is falling over me like a comfortable,cuddly blanket. I couldn't think of anything to write about today and already decided that it wasn't so important anyway. On my way from the kitchenchair to the sofa, I made a little stop at my laptop for some clicking around the web.
And there it was: or: "The International Institute of Not Doing Much".
The perfect place to be at the moment. So I joined, blogged about it, posted their logo and feel like I have done a whole lot today.....time to slow down now.

Have a nice and relaxed weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My new little friend has arrived!

One of the first blogs I started to follow was Time with Tascha. I clearly remember the first video of Tascha that I watched on YouTube and how fascinated I was by this lovely art. It gives me a happy feeling because it is cute and colourful.

She even inspired me to actually paint my very first painting with acrylics on canvas. The little girl I painted is hanging proudly in my kitchen but she is too shy to show herself here.

I have been wanting an original painting from Tascha for quite some time now.

About two weeks ago I decided it was not neccesary to wait for a special occasion to give myself a little present so I made a bid on Ebay and won!

And today she arrived, safely packed in a little box. Travelling with her were a lovely card and a handmade bookmark.

Now I have to find the perfect place for her. Somewhere where I can easily see her because she cheers me up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A different kind of weeding

After a few weeks of early spring we are now confronted with cold and rain. Luckily it usually doesn't last too long. And of course the rain is good for our nature. When the sun comes out again, after a few days, you can see men and women of all ages walk the fields with a knife and a plastic bag to collect xorta. These are the wild greens that spring up everywhere after some good rain.
Where I grew up, we used to call this weeds.....

But here they are well loved and most popular in daily diet. There are many different kinds of xorta. Some are really bitter, others almost sweet.

Freshly boiled, with a healthy amount of olive oil and a good splash of lemon juice, it is the perfect companion to any fish dish. It is also a tasty filling for pies, with hand made pastry, some Feta cheese and herbs. A great snack or light meal
Of course it is also a good reason to be out in the fresh air and enjoy the company of some good friends, like my mother in law and her girlfriends.

On this particular day our mission was to find kaykalithres, as pictured above. They made a really good pie filling.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Giant measuring tape

Almost every day I make my round of favorite blogs. And there are getting more and more of them. I am still amazed by all these creative and generous people that share their lives, dreams and know-how on the net.

One of these is Cathe Holden of "Something I just made". She has these really nice downloads of graphics that she makes and for us to use.

The other day it was this giant vintage measuring tape, that was just too cute. So I just made it as well.
Now, to tell you the truth, once it was finished I didn't quite know what to do with it so it just laid around for a while. I gave it a temporary spot on this wall to take this picture. I still think it is cute and it will probably end up as a little present for one of my friends children.

Now I am going to explore the blogs in search for some photography lessons because I think I need some.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lemons, lemons, lemons

It is the time of year. All the lemon trees are full of fruit. Everywhere you look there are lemons. In Greek cooking we use a lot of lemon and lemon juice. But how many recipes are there with lemons?
So I am on a mission this week: baking with lemons
I have tried to make lemon curd which turned out ok, but alas, my family doesn't eat it at all.
Yesterday I made lemon muffins, they turned out nice.

And for today I am planning to make a lemon-meringue pie.
And tomorrow? I don't know yet....maybe somebody has a suggestion?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dream on the wave

Maybe you have wondered where this title comes from or what does it mean.
Our most famous citizen on the island was the writer Alexandros Papadiamantis. He lived around the turn of the last century and is most famous for his wonderfully written short stories.

I have to admit here that although my Greek is quite good, I am not fluent enough to be able to read and enjoy books written in the old official language "Katharevousa". This was the language used in those days and also used by Papadiamantis. I have tried over the years to read some of his most well known books but found it extremely hard. He is famous for the beautiful descriptions and seemingly simple stories of daily life but with a lot of meaning.
One of his short stories is called: "Oneiro sto kyma" which translates into "Dream on the wave".

It is a very tenderly written story about a goat-shepherd and his encounter with a local girl swimming naked in the sea in the moonlight, that he saves from drowning. (to make a short story very, very short).
Last Saturday we had the chance to hear it read out to us by performer Dimitris Daktilas. Together with one musician and one singer with a fantastic voice he took us back in time and made this story come to life.

I found that by hearing the story I was able to understand and appreciate it so much better.
It was a special experience.

Kalo Mina

This means have a good month, a wish every Greek will say the first day of the month. And one more wish: kali ebdomada = have a good week is on every monday). So today, it is monday the first day of the month, therefore a double wish: have a good week and a good month.

But not only that. It is the first day in March and tradition will have it that all the children will wear their "Marti" which is a little handmade wristband or bracelet made of red and white string. Here on the island it used to be made by the mothers and grandmothers for their little ones and the reason behind it was that if you wore this on the first of March and leave it on until it more or less falls of by itself after a while, you wouldn't get burnt by the sun . I have to admit I have no idea where it came from but I think it is a cute tradition and always kept it up with my boys when they were little. Here is the one I made today. Of course my two teenaged boys wouldn't dream of wearing it so I am sharing it with you.

There are many more traditions that are local and I shall try to write about them as well.