Sunday, June 29, 2008

1st Octopus of the Season

I think that a lot of my readers were thrilled with my first octopus post from last summer so I owe it to all of you to share the news of our first octopus of the season. This octopus was speared by Kosta on June 15-Father's Day. What a great present for him! He was only in the water for about 10 minutes when he emerged with his catch. I find that amazing. I've snorkeled a lot and I've still never seen an octopus hiding under a rock or swimming. I've been trying to spot one for 18 years. Maybe one day I'll see one but I'll leave the spearing to Kosta and in the future, Foti.

It was interesting to see how the kids reacted to the octopus this year. Izabella seemed a little apprehensive to handle it this time and Foti wanted to take it from Kosta as soon as it came out of the water. He's definitely a future octopus hunter.
He even volunteered to slam the octopus on the rock in order to tenderize it. I'm glad because I didn't really feel like doing it since my designer sunglasses were stolen and it wouldn't look quite right unless I was wearing them. Look at how seriously Foti was doing his work!

The kids also listened intently while Kosta explained where the tooth of the octopus was, how the suctions worked and why the octopus squirts ink.

This one was a fighter and was trying its best to get away. Although it's delicious I have to admit that sometimes, just sometimes I'm not thrilled watching the process. I forget quickly though because I love to eat them and I think that my husband is a master at handling them.

I think that we all posed with it this time. Here's one of Izabella's poses. She slammed the octopus on the rock a few times but it was too hard for her, she said that it was too heavy.

After we were finished tenderizing the octopus a little boy that had been watching us came over to show us the starfish that he found. I thought that it was sweet but my kids weren't impressed after having handled an octopus. I still think that it was sweet and I told them to be kind to him. I assume that he was vacationing with his parents since he didn't speak Greek or English.

When we finished at the beach we were ready to make dinner. We brought fish with us that we had planned on grilling and we added the octopus to our menu. It took longer on the grill but it was worth the wait...and I can't wait for the next one. There's nothing like fresh seafood in the summer!

***I'd like to thank our new friend Phivos Nicolaidis for featuring a picture of Foti on his travel site. His site is extremely informative, beautifully descriptive and he has great music also! Check it out! Thank you Phivos!***

Saturday, June 28, 2008

10,000 Hits

Yesterday my site reached 10,000 hits and that's pretty exciting. I logged on at 9,999 and told Kosta where it was and he wanted to be the 10,000th visitor and so he was. That was really cool. He wanted to know what the prize was and I told him that I was not giving out a prize so I'll just make him an extra frappe and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
What started out as a means to communicate with my friends and family back home has become so much more than that. I have the benefit of keeping everyone up to date and also meeting others with similar interests. I find it amazing and flattering that there are so many people out there that think my life is interesting enough to keep reading and I'm flattered. OK, I guess that my life can 't quite be classified as boring since I have so much to blog about and little time to do it. Boy, if you only knew the whole shebang . I think I'll save all of that for the reality show that I always joke about and definitely the book. I'm not joking about the book though. Someday, somehow it will surface.
Anyway, I just wanted to mention that I think that reaching 10,000 hits is amazing. Thank you for reading! Who knows how the future will unfold...

Friday, June 27, 2008


We passed several people in the park that were trying to relieve themselves from the heat by resting on the benches. We called it "benching".
Nice benching huh?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Over the last week we've had a few visitors from back home. First, we had Foti's Nona (Godmother) visit on Saturday. He was very excited and couldn't wait to show her everything about his new house. That visit was short and hopefully we'll be able to visit her in her family's village before she leaves Greece.

Our next visitor was Pete. Pete has been a friend of ours for the better part of our marriage. He's visiting southern Greece for a few weeks and we were lucky enough to have him travel up north so that he could spend a few days with us before he was on to his island hopping and family visits. It was great to have a friend from home here for a few days. He brought me a Hershey's Symphony bar and Jalapeno seeds for my garden. The kids were thrilled because he gifted them with fruit snacks and Fruit Roll-ups.

It seems that he arrived just in time for the summer heat to turn up and we all suffered together. I kept joking about how shiny we all were and how Greece has given us such a healthy glow...he'd roll his eyes.

Pete was also lucky enough to meet our little owl. It ventured down the fireplace to have a peek at us earlier in the day and then at around 2:00 am as we were enjoying a conversation it decided to join us. Pete was more than happy to help me lead the owl out of the house. It flew into a window, bump into walls and finally ended up behind the TV. The little guy seemed exhausted. Pete wrapped it in a towel and took it to the window so that it could fly out and that's exactly what it did. It took a minute to assess the situation before it actually took off. I'm very surprised at how calm the owl was when Pete picked him up. It didn't seem alarmed at all. That was really cool.

The next day we took Pete into the city. We actually did a tour of the city by car because it was so hot. He also suggested that he'd prefer it that way! It was just so hot!

So we drove around and stopped for something to eat. On our way out of the city we stopped at some landmarks at the sea front. We got out of the car to take a few pictures and buy some water.

The kids enjoyed running around the statue of Alexander the Great.

And then they just ran around the park area. They had a blast.

When we were walking back to the car we noticed police officers ticketing cars that were illegally parked and one was even equipped with a power drill/screw driver. As they ticketed vehicles for being parked illegally they were also removing license plates. I can't say that our timing couldn't have been more perfect as our car was next in line for the punishment. We won't be stopping there for a quick picture again without looking at all of the signs. It didn't seem like an illegal parking spot as we waited for the spot when we were parking and there were cars parked all the way down the street. But then again we're in Greece and anything goes. We've got to be more careful. It would have really stunk if we had to go to retrieve our plates at the police station...we know because we've already done it! That's another story...

So Pete left yesterday afternoon and now I'm trying to catch up with everything that I've neglected over the last few days. Until my next post...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's 3:00pm Sunday afternoon and about 10 minutes ago I was reading news online. No, was news. Anyway, I heard a little tapping near the fireplace screen, looked over and sure enough-our little owl friend was looking at me.
I think that it's interesting that now this little guy knows exactly how to navigate its way out from behind the screen and straight to his favorite spot, the curtain rod. I think that we're becoming part of this little bugger's routine. I didn't scream this time. In fact, I just turned and looked at it and said, "hello! you're back?" I calmly walked toward it and he flew away toward a window and actually bumped into it. After taking a moment to regain its strength it flew over my head and into the kitchen. I opened the balcony doors and then Gigi started to bark. Alexandra just giggled and pointed. After another minute or so, he flew out the doors that I had opened for him.

I think that I'm starting to like this little guy. He looked directly into my eyes and was actually really, really cute. I mean...really cute. He's about the size of a small pineapple...I could squish him with a hug, if that were possible. I didn't take a picture today because I think that might have freaked him out.
These experiences have been extremely helpful for us because the kids aren't afraid of them anymore. Foti is thrilled because Harry Potter has an owl and he just loves Harry.
We decided not to close the flue since this little guy can't get back up the chimney. We don't need to have a trapped owl in there, that could be quite a mess. So, what are our options? Do we just accept his little pop-in visits and let him out? What would happen if we left for a few days and it came in? I suppose that until we put a screen over the opening of the chimney, we'll just have to be mindful of our little friend. I just love that it's a baby. I'm wondering if there's anyway that I could give it a treat or have it come closer to me. I'll definitely have to do a little research to learn more about him. Let's see how long it will take before he visits again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Owl in the House!

Just as we had suspected, the owl was still in the fireplace today. We left the house for about 5 hours today and when we returned I warned Izabella as we unlocked the door. I said, "now be careful, that owl might be loose inside". Sure enough, as soon as we opened the door it swooped down over us from the living room into the kitchen where we'd just opened the door. Of course, we couldn't have been as cool as Foti was 2 days before. We had to scream, naturally. So we screamed....then we giggled. I was taking pictures and I think that I freaked the little owl out. Oh, I forgot to was just a baby. How sweet is that? So, there we were screaming and it flew over us so that we could scream some more.
Next, it flew over us to find its comfortable curtain rod. It sat there for a few minutes and then Kosta came in. He talked to the owl again and went to open the door. Honestly...he's good with the owl! I told one of my sisters this story and she dubbed him the "owl whisperer". I can only laugh. That was great!
Anyway, Kosta pointed toward the door and told the owl that it needed to leave and that the door was open for him. The little owl flew over us again and we screamed.
The little owl decided to take a break on top of the kitchen cupboards again before finally leaving. ( cute)

After a brief rest on the cupboard it left the house. Now how's that for excitement? It took the kids a little while to settle down. They were so excited. I was too, but I couldn't help screaming like a fool. (I'm the same with mice) I guess that I was nervous watching those claws fly over me and the kids.
I haven't found any droppings but the fireplace is a mess. I guess that it'd be a good time to clean out the ashes...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Owl in the fireplace

One of our owl friends just after leaving the railing...always watching us!

It seems that during the last few months our owl friends want to get to know us a little better. They've been much more visible will even pose for the camera. It helps because until now, Izabella has been completely terrified of the owls and their "mewing" sounds at night. Their calls can be heard loud and clear since they live in our attic and sit on railings right outside of our bedrooms. Usually, they'll fly away when I open the doors in the morning. Then, I run for the camera but they're usually too far away for me to get a good shot. I really need a telephoto lens! Anyway, as they've grown comfortable with our presence we're starting to learn a lot about them and the kids are starting to understand them rather than fear them.

On Tuesday night the relationship with our feathered friends grew a little closer yet. As we were finishing our late dinner on our balcony the kids left the table one by one. Foti was tired so he went inside. It was almost 9:00pm...that late. I fear that we're already subconsciously submitting to the Greek summer schedule with slow mornings and late nights. Anyway, Foti had gone into the house and the next thing that we hear is, " there's an owl in the fireplace!" Naturally, we all ran into the house and sure enough, there was an owl fluttering around behind the screen in the fireplace. My camera was on the table but I didn't reach for it quick enough since the owl was frightened by us and went back up the chimney. I really didn't believe that it had gone all the way back up or if was even possible but we watched a movie after that and there was no sign of the it so we figured that it was gone. We all went to bed shortly after our movie, except for Kosta, he works into the "wee" hours of the night in his office.

Wednesday morning when we woke up, Kosta told us that he came upstairs at around 4:00am and the light fixture was rocking back and forth. When he looked a little further he noticed an owl sitting on a curtain rod, just intensely looking at Kosta. So, my husband went to the door and opened it. He said that he "explained" to the owl that he needed to go out the door and outside where he belongs. He walked toward the owl and then it flew over his head into the kitchen where the door was open and waiting for his exit. The owl rested on the kitchen cupboards...walked across the tops of them and then swooped down and flew right out the door-just as Kosta had asked him to. He didn't take any pictures because he just didn't think of it. I know, I'm the one with the photo obsession so I can't expect him to think of taking a picture.
The owl left a little mess for me to clean. There were ashes scattered around the fireplace and a few droppings around the living room. Our friend must have been enjoying himself inside for a few hours.

This morning, my husband reported that the owl had been in the fireplace again last night. The proof was in the ashes scattered around the fireplace again . Great, now I have to clean up after 3 kids, a husband, a dog and owl! I know, we should have closed the flue but that would be to easy and a lot less exciting. We'll make sure that it's out of the chimney today and then close it later. So, I'm wondering why the owl wants to come back in. Kosta says it's because there was a plate of food left on the table and it was probably eating the night before and wanted to come in for more. Maybe. Maybe it just wants the thrill of being chased, breaking away from his mundane life in the attic, who knows. I know that I think that it's really neat but also a pain since owl droppings in the house just aren't cool.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Six Random Things

There's no better way to get back online than with a meme. Mimi tagged me for this meme a few weeks ago and I've finally got a minute to do it...that's because it's something like 1:30 am and the kids are sleeping. So here we go...

The rules-

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

My Six Random Things-

1. I usually don't sleep through the night. I sleep in intervals. I usually fall asleep with the kids and wake up one or two hours later to take care of things that I wanted to do before I fell asleep with them. I'd say that there are about 2 days a week that I actually sleep through the night. That's why I'm doing this meme in the middle of the night. I'm so glad that school is over-hopefully I'll get to "sleep in" this morning!

2. I am the second of six children.

3. I am one of 70-something grandchildren from my Father's side of the family. I have probably met about 30-something of my cousins. We're spread out throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico...and now Europe. I'll have to sit down and figure it out some time. And yes, my Grandmother is still alive and kicking! She's in her late 90's. I can only hope for such a long life.

4. I gave up caffeine when I was pregnant with Izabella. I used to drink about 4 cups of coffee a day before that, I love coffee. I've been through caffeine withdrawal twice in my life and never want to go through it again. Since moving here, I've started to drink coffee again...and little by little I think that I'm working back to caffeine dependency.

5. I was almost kicked out of a Cher concert because I used the men's room. The line for the ladies room was out of control-like it always is at concerts- and I was with men so I chose the faster route. Girls...what the heck are you doing in there that takes so long? Yeesh!

6. I knew my husband a little less than a month before I married him. It's been 18 years...

I'm tagging-

Kat, Ado, Christie, Mel, Lulu and Linda. Linda has already beat me to the punch though...she has a list of 100 things about herself. So, Linda, I guess that I'm not really tagging you... but if you have 6 more things to add- knock yourself out!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gigi's Reveal

Do you recognize this dog?

Can it be the same dog as this one?

The scruffy, fluffy dog that plans her escape with Alexandra?

Yes, it's the same dog. It's our Gigi. I took her for a haircut Thursday morning and man, did she get buzzed! While she was on the table getting her hair cut another family walked in and asked if we wanted to "marry " her off to their dog. I thought not since he was a black husky type dog and hopefully not her type. We all had a good laugh. She looks pretty good tidy. The kids can't keep their hands off of her, they just giggle and laugh and chase her so that they can hug her. We haven't been hugging her too much in the last few weeks because of our tick issue. My poor puppy was just like a tick magnet with her long hair. It'll be much easier to help her now and she won't be so hot this summer. Um, does she need sunscreen now?

Iza came home from school and just giggled her little heart out at first sight of Gigi's new look. She said, "Mom, now she really looks like a poodle! I have a poodle!" Ok, well- half poodle but poodle nevertheless. Foti was interested in her for once also. He wanted to walk her and soon a sibling spat ensued. Fighting over the dog? Wow. That hasn't happened since we first brought her home.

So in our shock and adoration we've been repeating a few different descriptive words within the last few days...


We just can't stop adoring her. She's soaking up the attention too. Now, if we even put her outside for a minute she whines and cries. What a little princess, huh? I really have to find that rhinestone collar-what do you think pink with rhinestones? Or purple? Maybe I'll find a gold one. Or maybe we can find one of those marabou feather collars for special occasions? Will we have to knit her a sweater? Or buy this one?

The possibilities are endless now!

***The pink sweater can be found here.***

Thursday, June 5, 2008


We have 3 flamouri trees and they're in bloom now. Everywhere you turn in the yard you can smell the sweet smell of the flowers. Also, if you stand under one of the trees you will witness the low "bzzzzzz" of the busy buzzing bees. I'm not sure that I've ever had flamouri tea but I'm going to dry the flowers anyway so that I can try it. I'm a tea drinker and I think that if the tea tastes as good as the flowers smell-I'm going to love it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The lilies are abundant now and they're so beautiful. They remind me of home. I have these in Milwaukee and I remember that I would anxiously wait for them to bloom because once they did, it was really summer. Plus, they would continue their blooms all summer long. I'm having a busy week and I've been thinking of home....a lot.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ladybug, Ladybug...

Izabella's favorite bug! I took this picture at her request. Foti is starting to like them too.