Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! The kids have been waiting for this day for the whole
month! We've had our decorations around the house since the first week and I
bought the pumpkins about 3 weeks ago. They wanted to carve them immediately but
I made them wait until last night because our weather here is so mild that they
would have been eaten up by critters and bugs before Halloween arrived. Besides,
we had to wait for Kosta to come home to help us carve them. He was in Milwaukee
for the last month and just arrived home on Wednesday, so we've had quite a busy
week. Here are some pictures from our pumpkin carving last night...

The kids waiting to get started...

Iza "gutting" her pumpkin...

Foti watching Kosta cut through what I consider one of the thickest
pumpkins I'd ever dealt with...

Foti with his finished pumpkin! (Iza's is the one at the
beginning of the post)

Tonight we're having a small costume party complete with a candy hunt. We have scary sounds, candy corn and other snacks. We're lighting a bonfire and ending the evening with walk through our haunted woods. This little party is just a warm up for the years to come! So, if you celebrate Halloween enjoy yourselves!

****I also want to wish little ALEXIS a very Happy Birthday!****

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My husband and his "double"

There comes a time in most of our lives when someone approaches us and claims that we have a twin or a "double". I've had this happen to me throughout most of my life. First, I have a younger sister that could have been my twin. People that don't know us very well always get us confused and if they realize that we're not the person that they thought we were, they usually stand in shock with their mouths wide open. In fact, I've been sworn at by someone that thought that I was my sister. They called me a b#! a friendly sort of way, wondering why I was supposedly ignoring her. And, we have some uncles & aunts that we rarely see-they almost never get our identities straight. It's always fun to laugh about the confusion.
Next, there are those random people out there, the ones that look like me that I always hear about but have never actually seen. When I had a stint as a waitress many, many years ago an Arabic family kept telling me how I resembled an Arabic actress, they almost didn't believe that I wasn't her. Yeah, I'd give up my great actress job in Saudi Arabia to wait tables in the U.S...not very likely is it? Anyway, I still don't know who they were talking about. The incidents are countless in my life.

My husband, on the other hand, has only been mistaken for one person in his entire life. He's been mistaken for Greece's Prime Minister...for years! So many people have approached us and asked questions and/or pointed out the resemblence. A good friend of mine, Phivos Nicolaides, took the time to create a post on his blog- dedicated to sharing with the world just how much my husband resembles Greece's Prime Minister.

Have a look at his post for yourselves!

Thank you, again, Phivos!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday Celebration

These guys can make anyone smile...except for Alexandra! She was terrified of the clown on the stilts. Can't blame her, really.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday Evening at the Beach

Living so close to the sea gives us ample opportunity for discovery. This last Friday evening our neighbors were on their way to the beach for an octopus expedition and they invited us along. While Mr. Neighbor snorkels for octopus Mrs. Neighbor spends her time quietly on the beach either reading or picking up the trash. (There's always plenty of trash, you'll see.) Sometimes they'll take Iza & Foti with them to keep Mrs. Neighbor company. I'm always invited but I usually decline as I always have so much to do and I can't fathom spending my time lollygagging on the beach. Well, this time I decided to join them and even Alexandra was able to join in the fun. We got our collecting jars and our bags and met them at the beach.

As soon as we arrived, the kids started digging up shells and sifting through the sand.

A little while later, Iza spotted a blueish jellyfish at the shoreline. Can you see it? Of course, we had to get it for her.

There's always enough garbage to collect and use for viewing our specimens.

The kids were thrilled with this discovery as we haven't seen a jellyfish this big all summer.

When Mr. Neighbor emerged-his net was full. Yes, it's all octopus. At the time he didn't have a count of how many he caught. Last week he speared fifteen in just under an hour. Kosta has definitely met his match!

Off in the distance there were two men fishing near a fire to keep themselves warm. It looked so relaxing. It's too bad there's so much garbage on the beach. See the garbage?!

The kids wanted to see how many fish that they had caught so we walked over to find out. At that time, they hadn't caught any. But, their night had just begun. Armed with their beer, cigarettes and a fire they were set to last for hours.

The night might have been young for the fishermen but it wasn't for us. So, we gathered our things and headed home. On the way to our car the local sheep herder passed us with about one hundred sheep. The kids just loved that!

Two big bags of trash were collected and left at the proper trash bin. That didn't even put a dent in it but it's better than nothing. The kids were happy to have new shells and also to have inspected a jellyfish.

As soon as we arrived home the kids went to play hide and seek with Mrs. Neighbor. We enjoyed some chocolate and then it was time to go home and get cleaned up for bed. I was gifted three octopuses. They're in the freezer with the other three that we were gifted last week. It'll be really nice to bring those out in the middle of winter.

In the end, I'm happy that I took the opportunity to join our neighbors at the beach. I'll have to make sure to join them again instead of just sending the kids along. It was refreshing.

Friday, October 10, 2008


We've been picking olives for curing this week...hence my absence from the blogosphere.
I hope that everyone has a great weekend!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Tortalitza" the tortoise

Here it is..."Tortalitza"...that's the name of our newest resident. If you would have told me two years ago- that my oldest daughter would become the princess of all things reptile in Greece; I would've never imagined it. Tortalitza arrived last Sunday. Iza is thrilled and actually obsessed with her new friend. Although the chosen name sounds feminine, the gender of our little friend has yet to be confirmed.

Foti was interested in the tortoise shortly after it's arrival but could care less about it now. Alexandra loves it. She points at it and screams, "toi toi"! (how cute is that?) I didn't really mind its presence at first but then I read up on how to care for it. First things first...everyone and I mean everyone... told me to feed it grapes and apples. Wrong! I read that fruit should only be given to the tortoise as a rare treat as it may cause the thing to have diarrhea. Not on my balcony! So, I snatched the apples and grapes that had already been provided. I'm going to pat myself on the back here because I knew better and put some romaine lettuce out for it, not fruit. I have some tortoise knowledge tucked away up in that mushy brain of mine. As I looked for information about it I discovered that it's a Spur-Thighed or Greek tortoise. It was difficult researching it though, because most of the information regarding care is directed toward people that purchase these tortoises at pet stores. This tortoise was picked up from of my mother-in-law's, aunt's farm. Hence, it was wild. It was moved from one outside location to another and I have no intention of having this little reptile join us in the house in an enclosed environment. We have it confined in our garden for now and there's plenty of greens for it to eat.

Gigi doesn't like Tortalitza at all. She barks and barks...and barks at it. Although I've locked her out of the garden, she's managed to wiggle her way through a hole in the gate. I heard her barking for about 10 minutes the other day so I went outside to see what was going on. She was digging a hole in front of it and barking incessantly. So, I picked up the tortoise so that Gigi would follow me. I tricked her out of the garden. It was difficult handling the tortoise because its hind legs would jet out and scratch my hands. As soon as I passed the gate I took a step back, put the tortoise down and slammed the gate shut. So, I went back into the house and within 5 minutes Gigi was at it again. I built a barricade in front of the gate. It's now blocked by a huge wooden case and a small barrel. Going into the garden won't be easy anymore. I'll have to make a new enclosure before the spinach and romaine start to grow.

So, now we have a tortoise.

On a positive note-receiving this tortoise helped me persuade Iza to donate the Balkan Green Lizard to her classroom. She's donated a toad, a lizard and a walking stick kind of bug. She really wanted to keep the lizard. So let's see -lizard or tortoise? I'll take the tortoise!

One more thing...and I'm not joking....she found a snake in our empty pool this afternoon (only in my life -right?) I took pictures but I haven't uploaded them yet. I had to convince her that this creature could actually be dangerous but she kept insisting that she wanted it. Now she understands that it could possibly harm her so she's stopped begging for me to catch it. The snake is still in the pool. I have to muster up the courage to help it out.

I'm submitting the photo of Tortalitza to the Camera Critters meme. I guess that there's never a shortage of critters around here. :)