Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Conversation is dead

I find it hard to write down my emotions in other than my mother tongue, but somehow I feel liberated whenever I express my feelings in English. It sounds strange, but in this way my emotions become universal and understandable to wider range of people. I wish I could explain this to you, so I will try. I have a problem with connecting, really connecting with people. Most of my encounters with others end with me shutting down whenever I feel like I am not listened to. I am known as " a listener", I am a person who is compassionate, understandable, an advice giver. Sometimes I feel like I am being taken advantage of, because people tend to suck me into their own drama. I end up feeling exhausted and not wanting to talk or see them again. One of my friends tells me that I am a magnet for emotional vampires.Whenever I try to talk and share my feelings or problems, these people interrupt me, they loose eye contact, become restless, impatient and start talking about themselves again. I shut down, build a wall and do everything to avoid them. It makes me feel sad, because I miss a real converstaion with someone other than my husband. I am tired of listening to other people's monologues about their health, love life, marital problems, even their sex life. I am sick and tired. So, I write. I write in my mother tongue, in English, in Greek. I do it because I want to be listened to and appreciated for being a good listener, a friend, a good 'psychologist'. I don't really care if anyone reads this, just being able to write it down, as I said in one of my previous posts, makes me feel better. The art of real converstaion is dead; facebook, mobile phones, email, chat took over our lives creating a new way of communicating without really having But, it's not only this. I believe that people can't really understand the wastness of universe, they still have the mentality that everything revolves around them. That's how they were raised, that's how they are raising their children: "You are the center of the world. Only you and your feelings are important." People have lost the ability to talk, most of them do not know how to have a real conversation, to put themselves in other people's shoes, to listen, really listen with their hearts and souls. I miss that. I want that. Is it too much to ask?

Monday, 16 April 2012

This is how life should be

Full of color and love, with children playing, unwinding in the sunshine, smelling the yellowness and orangeness in flowers, dancing barefoot, relaxing, laughing your lungs out, wearing lovely dresses and pink flowers in the hair, watching the sunset, making love and drinking tea. This song and video explain it much better than me. It is...perfectly joyful. Enjoy...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My life lately

Who cares about what's going on with my life anyway? Well, I do. Writing down my feelings actually helps me put certain things in perspective. It's been tough: I feel disappointed, it seems like that my plans and dreams are not even close to coming true or is this spring blues talking instead of me? I feel like this every time some big changes are about to happen and I am quite afraid of change. Actually, I am terrified. I am tired of putting on a brave face and acting like I am all strong and tough when I am not. I cry like a little baby, I am tired and exhausted. And you know what? That's perfectly OK. I am human. By the way, why do I feel like a narcisstic, self-absorbed looney while I'm writing this? I shouldn't. Putting down my feelings on "paper" feels good. It's all that matters right now. To feel good.
My life lately looks like this:

  • gathering boxes and moving supplies, packing, selecting, decluttering, feeling emotional and sad.
  • lots and lots of popcorn making. caramel ones are for me.
  • kids watching a lot od TV and DVD's. Feels wrong and selfish, but I am soooo busy I can't really devote much time to them. yeah, I know, that doesn't make me a bad mother. I do hug them and kiss them all the time, we read a story or two, take small walks to the bakery. I'm not much of a "fun mom" these days.
  • a lot of tea drinking. tea really helps me relax and unwind. I love my 5 o'clock tea ritual, it's soooooo English. Throw in a couple of tea biscuits and I'm in heaven... at least for a while.
  • not having much sleep. 'Nough said.
  • watching Rachel Khoo's cooking show The little Paris kitchen. Très charmant!
  • listening to Lenka. I can't seem to get this song out my head.
  • thinking about all the cooking and baking that has to be done for Easter. Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated on April 15th. I'll cook lamb and garlicky potatoes, tsoureki, salads and chocolate cake. Hopefully, we'll have a good time.
There. I feel better. And hopefull. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Saturday morning fun

About two months ago I injured my left hand. I've been ignoring it for a while thinking it will pass and heal by itself. I try to avoid taking medication, but after a long time of pain, tossing and turning at night, I finally visited an orthopedic doctor... and now I'm on medication. No yoga for me, just a few exercises that will eventually help it heal. My doctor ordered rest, rest and rest. Yeah, right! With two kids and tons of housework I really don't know how I'll manage to relax. OK, so I've decided to take a break, at least for today. Kids are fed, they've taken their morning dose of nutrients and vitamins and I've reluctantly placed them in front of a TV. Why do I feel so bad about it? Why do we mothers always feel so guilty about everything? No, no, I deserve to have some fun today, to write and introspect on my feelings, on creating and life in general.
I've stumbled upon something interesting on one of my favorite blogs Pink of Perfection. Sarah, its lovely creator and writer, posted this fun exercise from her "Creativity Boot Camp" class. I think it's a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning. Don't you? Grab a pen and peace of paper and write your answers! It shouldn't involve lots of thinking, just listen to your heart. So, here we go:
  1. Write ten things you love.
  2. Write five things you would do if you knew you wouldn’t fail.
  3. Write five alternative lives you would like to live other than your own.
  4. Write four tiny things you can do in the life you have to bring you closer to those imagined lives.

Now, imagine an older, wiser version of yourself who has some advice to share.

  1. What do you need to know?
  2. What do you need to embrace?
  3. What do you need to do?
  4. What do you need to grieve?
  5. What do you need to celebrate?
Write ten things you love.

1) a good black coffee in the morning, 2) trying out a new recipe I'm excited about, 3) being silly and laughing with my hubby, 4) wearing dresses, 5) when people compliment my food, 6) watching wonderful movies, 7) flipping through a glossy cookbook, 8) watching Nigella Lawson cook, 9) peace and quiet , 10) dancing to the song I love.

Write five things you would do if you knew you wouldn’t fail.

1) open a charming pastry/coffee shop, 2) write a book, 3) move to another city, 4) start driving a car, 5) have another baby.

Write five alternative lives you would like to live other than your own.

1) baker, 2) psychologist, 3) writer in a woman's magazine, 4) someone's muse, 5) 1920's flapper .(this one is completely unrealistic, but I couldn't resist!)

Write four tiny things you can do in the life you have to bring you closer to those imagined lives.

4. 1) apply for culinary school, 2) go back to University, 3) write more, 4)hang out with creative people, 5) get a time machine.

Advice part is quite hard. I don't feel wise enough to answer those questions, but I'll try:

1. You need to know that everything is going to be OK.

2. You need to embrace yourself and welcome change.

3. You need to stop worrying so much.

4. You need to grieve your hurtful past. Grieving, not being angry.

5. You need to celebrate the life you've created for yourself.

Wow, this was fun! What an eye-opener! I wish you all a fabulous weekend.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A lot of cooking

I've been cooking a lot these days. This is my way of dealing with stress. It helps me think, it clears my head even though a kitchen is a mess. It's not the eating that relaxes me, it's the actual process of cooking; carefully selecting and buying ingredients, preparing them, chopping, stirring, grating, pouring, whisking: all these things give me immense pleasure. Cooking makes me happy. Feeding others has become a necessity, a self-expression, not to mention the fact that I feel absolutely marvelous and content when people compliment my food. On a bad day, I even feel that it's the only thing I'm good at. It actually means that cooking has become a certainty, one thing that doesn't change, a comforting act.

What was I cooking (mostly baking) and feeding people with? Oh, my, here we go...:

~ Carrot cake from the cookbook Breakfast, Lunch, Tea (Phaidon, $29.95) (which is arriving to my mailbox very, very soon) is a number one seller at Rose Bakery in Paris. It was a winner when I baked it. My friend Sophie still gushes over it which is her way of telling me that I should bake another one, ASAP. Although I can't visit this famous bakery I can at least fill my home with its fragrances and imagine myself sipping my tea and gazing at all those chic Parisian people. This cake is so rich and luscious that I barely contained myself from eating it all up by myself. I gained a pound just by looking at it, but it was worth it!

~ This doesn't involve any cooking and it's dangerously addictive. Such a winning combination! No fuss, 100 % enjoyment. Don't blame me afterwards, I have warned you. Pretzel & Nut Mix is considered a Holiday snack, but such limitation is really unnecessary. I make these whenever we have friends over. Life is too short to wait for Christmas to make these.

~ I don't like elaborate cooking, baking especially. I don't have the time nor the patience. Try baking a fancy cake with two little kids (and a husband) around the house. Yes, it's tricky and stressful. So, totally by chance, I've discovered this lovely and beautiful chef, Lorraine Pascal ( I love her name) and her cooking show "Baking made easy". Sun-dried tomato and rosemary palmiers are wonderfully flavorful and easy. My guests loved them. These are especially great while still warm with a glass of beer. So ladylike.

~ Nigella's Pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce is a staple in our home. Kids love it. Since there is a wide range of good quality store bought pasta in every supermarket, I don't bother with making it from scratch.

~ Greek bean soup- Fasolada is a simple soup full of all those things that are good for you. It's either this, lentil or chickpea soup that I make once a week.

~ Imam Baildi- eggplants stuffed with onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Now, this is a time-consuming dish, quite difficult for some, but it's well worth the time and effort. My favorite vegetarian dish.

~ Mustard pork chops
didn't wow me, but still, it's very easy and tasteful. I'm just not a big fan of pork chops and mustard, for that matter.

~ I am cooking Ina Garten's Beef Bourguignon tonight for my father-in-law who's coming tomorrow to visit us. This dish is best served the day after it is prepared since all the wonderful flavors will have fused into each other. The weather isn't cool enough for cooking stews yet, but as I said before- life is too short anyway.

No, this blog is not going to turn into one of those cooking and food blogs. There are so many other things in this world to share.

À bientôt...

(image from pinterest)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

"She spends most of her time alone..."

Apart from being absolutely charming, positive, uplifting and fairytale-like, the movie "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" has the most amazing soundtrack ever, you must agree. "Comptine d'un autre été: L’après-midi" is my favorite track. Although it's quite melancholic, it is very appealing, like a gentle summer breeze. It translates to "Nursery Rhyme of Another Summer: The Afternoon". Oh, and it sounds delightful in English, as well. Well, here's the video which caught my attention on youtube. It got me at : "She spends most of her time alone...". I was mesmerized by its sadness, enigma and warmth. There's really no need to mention the amount of respect I have for this peace of music, its creator and

artist's virtuosity. Enjoy!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Drawn to the Moon

Ever since I've read Anais Nin's book " A spy in the house of love" many years ago, I've been slightly mesmerized with an idea of moon-baths. I was never a big fan of sun-bathing, although I have a great appreciation for a warm, sunny day at the beach. Nothing beats gazing at the full moon on a clear star-filled night sky, swimming in the sea while the moonlight is being reflected on it. Afterwards, you lay on the still warm sand with moon-rays caressing and illuminating your body. It's such a wonderful experience, different, unusual.
There is something mystical about the full moon, something dark and beautiful.It is linked to crazy behavior and lunatics, to the occult and esoteric, but for me it represents abundance of creative energy, sensuality, emotions, unconscious mind, beautiful dreams, nocturnal life...

Here is my favorite excerpt from the above mentioned book which I often read and enjoy, over and over again... on full moons:

Tonight she remembered the moon-baths, as if this had marked the beginning of her life instead of the parents, school, birthplace. As if they had determined the course of her life rather the inheritance or imitation of the parents. In the moon-baths perhaps, lay the secret motivation of her acts.
At sixteen Sabina took moon-baths, first of all, because everyone else took sun-baths, and second, she admitted, because she had been told it was dangerous. The effect of moon-baths was unknown, but it was intimated that it might be the opposite of the sun's effect.
The first she exposed herself she was frightened. What would the consequence be? There were many taboos against gazing at the moon, many old legends about the evil effects of falling asleep in moonlight. She knew that the insane found the full moon acutely disturbing, that some of them regressed to animal habits of howling at the moon. She knew that in astrology the moon ruled the night life of the unconscious, invisible to consciousness.
But then she had always preferred the night to the day.
Moonlight fell directly over her bed in the summer. She lay naked in it for hours before falling asleep, wondering what its rays would do to her skin, her hair, her eyes, and then deeper to her feelings.
By this ritual it seemed to her that skin acquired a different glow, a night glow, an artificial luminousness which showed the fullest effulgence only at night, in artificial light. People noticed it and asked her what was happening. Some suggested she was using drugs.
It accentuated her love of mystery. She meditated on this planet which kept a half to itself in darkness. She felt related to it because it was the planet of lovers.
In watching the moon she acquired the certainty of the expansion of time by depth of emotion, range and infinite multiplicity of experience.
It was this flame which begun to burn in her, in her eyes and skin, like a secret fever, and her mother looked at her in anger and said: 'You look like a consumptive.' The flame of accelerated living by fever glowed in her and drew people to her as the lights of night life drew passers-by out of the darkness of empty streets.

" Whereas the Sun gives us our spirit, it's the Moon which gives us our soul."

(images from pinterest and pricerunner. Excerpt from the book "A spy in the house of love" by Anais Nin, Penguin, quote from Jamie Walker)