Saturday, May 18, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
- Just as it is unwise to knit late at night, so also is it unwise to knit first thing in the morning. Do not open your eyes, grab your knitting (which of course is always within reach) and try to do a few rows before getting up. Have your breakfast first, and your coffee or tea.
- Especially in more complicated patterns, don't use the purl-back row just to coast and relax. Instead, use it to count your stitches. This helps catch mistakes early.
- Do not hum while counting sitches! Do not try to remember how the phrase goes in Greek or what the words were to that old hymn you loved when you were a Protestant. Knitting, like prayer, requires vigilance against distractions. Concentrate on your counting or your song will cause you to miscount. If you don't much feel like doing this, you may not be in the proper mood for knitting and may like to do something else for a while. Washing dishes is a chore admirably suited for humming.
- Stitch markers, with a known number of stitches between, make it easier to isolate and find a mistake. Suppose you know there should be 60 stitches in the row but after three counts, there really are only 59. If you know there ought to be 12 stitches between markers, you only have to find which pair contains only 11, and then it is easier to figure out why. You may, in this way, be spared having to rip out the whole row.
Happy knitting, and may all your mistakes occur near the end of the row!
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 5:30 AM
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The doctor had hoped we could remove my splint today, but no. The break is at the bottom of the picture, at the base of my small toe and as anybody can see, it has some mending to do yet. We are to go back in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Leonidas said my bandages were ugly, and I decided he was right. So I knitted a big sock from a Christmas stocking pattern but custom-fitted, to cover the splint and bandages. The sock keeps the splint clean and in place. (Sleeping in bed was causing the bandages to slip and loosen.)
Meanwhile, Demetrios has been a saint, never once complaining of having to do the housework - and, I venture to say, getting quite a education from it. I feel bad he has to do at least two more weeks of it, though.
I am more mobile than I used to be, on account of having learned quite well how to use my little rolling chair, and on account of hurting much less than I did at first.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 11:49 AM
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Here ate two that have especially claimed my attention.
THE WOLF AND THE LION
WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me." "Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born." Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture." "No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass." Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well." "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me." Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.
THE KINGDOM OF THE LION
THE BEASTS of the field and forest had a Lion as their king. He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be. During his reign he made a royal proclamation for a general assembly of all the birds and beasts, and drew up conditions for a universal league, in which the Wolf and the Lamb, the Panther and the Kid, the Tiger and the Stag, the Dog and the Hare, should live together in perfect peace and amity. The Hare said, "Oh, how I have longed to see this day, in which the weak shall take their place with impunity by the side of the strong."
And after the Hare said this, he ran for his life.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 4:52 AM
Friday, May 10, 2013
Demetrios brought home some Greek yogurt. Not the stuff labelled "Greek yogurt" in America, but the real deal, thick and creamy. So far, so good. Then he found by far the world's best honey. The brand name is "God-Pleasing". Oh, yes, any god or goddess would be out of his or her mind, I said, not to be pleased to death with this stuff! (It is made mostly from thyme and pine pollens, says the label, with assorted other flowers.) It has such an exquisite fragrance! So then, per the Greek custom, we mixed the yogurt and the honey, and closing my eyes in rapture, I said - here it comes - I said:
There, I've confessed it! (Don't condemn me.)
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 5:29 PM
Now is perfect weather: bright and sunny, warm, slightly cool breeze but not cool enough to call for a sweater, azure sky, and long hours of daylight. Now is the time we leave every window and door to the flat wide open. I love it.
We live in close quarters here with our neighbors. When the windows are open, we not only see, but hear everything: the workman tapping with his hammer, the children at play, the clinking of cutlery as people eat their meals, arguments, conversations between people from balcony to balcony, cats yowling, dogs barking, cars passing, laundry (or our Greek flag) flapping, birds chirping. I've become more than used to it; I have learned to love it and miss it when the windows are closed. Why do I love it? Because this way, we get a real sense of the whole neighborhood, and by extension the whole city and the whole world, living one, single, common life. We are all a part of everything, all in it together (even the cats and birds), and together making up one breath-taking tapestry.
In some parts of the world, this sort of thing is a profound mystical insight, a debatable philosophical proposition or a doctrine taught in books of theology; but here, it's just everyday experience, normal living, something so obvious as to be taken for granted.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 8:20 AM
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Thou art my word processor,
knitting and crochet pattern book,
tutor on any subject,
GPS (sat nav),
home security system manager,
and infinite other things. And thou art wireless and fittest into a side pocket of my handbag!
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 4:25 AM
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Earth covers Me by My own will. But the doorkeepers of Hades shudder and quake, seeing Me clothed in a robe spattered with revenge.
WHAT? Jesus, out for revenge? And surely it is His own blood spattered on His robe? Whoever heard of taking revenge by spilling your own blood instead of someone else's?
Yet that is exactly what the verse means. For this revenge is against bloodless enemies, against all the forms of evil that torment the human race. Above all, and the summary of them all, is death, but included are aso such plagues as despair, hatred, wickedness, grief, and the like. He has already overcome them on the Cross (by not giving in to them) but now he is about to abolish them for us all, by destroying their root: death.
And just how, please tell, does He go about doing such a thing a that?
When You, O Immortal Life, came down to death, then You killed death through the dazzling brightness of Your Godhead; and when You raised up the dead from the abyss, all the powers of heaven cried aloud; Christ, our God, Giver of Life, Glory to You.You dazzle 'em, that's how! You chase away the darkness with endless Light. You drown hatred with infinite, unconditional Love. You replace grief with unspeakable Joy. You fill up the emptiness of death with unending Life. You thereby destroy Hades (death) and transform the grave into paradise.
Truly, Hades was pierced and destroyed by the divine life when received in its heart Him who was pierced in His side with a spear for the salvation of us who sing: Blessed are You, O delivering God.But wait a minute; we still die, don't we? We all still die.
What is meant is, now we do not experience death as the ancients thought of it ; we do not become bodiless and ever-diminishing shades living in a shadowy underworld (Hades) without hope, without God.
Nor do we experience death as it is thought of today, a condition rather than a place, a winking out into permanent oblivion.
True, our spirit leaves our body, which then rots. But now that God has descended even to death, neither our soul nor body is ever separated from God. We are never separated, that is, from Life, from Love, from Joy, from Goodness, from Hope.
As for our bodies, without which we are no longer human beings, though they be eaten by worms, on the Last Day, God will give us back familiar yet glorified versions of them, bodies such as the one in which He Himself arose.
The tomb is happy, having become Divine when it received within it the Treasure of Life, the Creator, as one who slumbers for the salvation of us who sing: Blessed are You, O delivering God.
The Life of all was willing to lie in a grave ... making it appear as the fountain of the Resurrection for the salvation of us who sing: Blessed are You, O delivering God.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 4:56 AM
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Wednesday 01 May
Today is moving day for Christos, my brother-in-law. Two men and a truck have been hired. Demetrios will help however he can, and Christos' friend from childhood, Chara, has volunteered to help, as well. We hope Christos will be more nearly happy here in town, where his friends and family can see him more often, where he can live more cheaply, where his doctors are. We hope this will help to lift his spirits.
The latest guess as to his diagnosis is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, made significantly worse by depression.
I'm just over halfway through with The Brothers Karamazov, and so far, what has struck me most is one sentence: "It only takes one day for a man to know all happiness." !!! All true happiness, of course, flows from one Source, one infinite Joy, and having encountered Him, you have encountered every real joy there is. (And conversely, no matter hat your religion is, any time you encounter a deep, true, abiding Joy, you have one way or the other encountered the Source of it.)
In spite of the wag's remark about something being as depressing as a Russian novel, I discover that this novel is mostly about Joy. But Dostoyevsky has to bring in great sorrow and suffering to illustrate his point: that Joy shines through sorrow, shines on with or without sorrow, and conquers sorrow. I have often emphasized authentic Christianity as the religion of Love, but yes, it is also the one and only religion of Joy.
I went to see Lorraine on Monday. She's the En glishwoman who runs the Mini Market across the street from us. It was my first solo outing. I can get down the curb just fine, but still needed he help getting up the curb on the other side.
She has very little use for Greeks in general (except, presumably, the one to whom she is married) or anything Greek. She doesn't like the way they tend to be quite familiar with you on first meeting. I said, 'They want to be friends with you right away.'
'Yes, but that's a false friendship, isn't it?'
??? It is? How could one tell? Why should a quickly-formed friendship necessarily be false? I have made intimate friends here in one evening, and the years have only added more proof to their true nature.
A customer came in while we were talking and, hearing us converse in English, joined the conversation He had no use for Greeks, either, and was thoroughly disillusioned by he country to which he had fled, hoping to find freedom. Of course there is no more freedom here, only the semblance of it; I understand that, but it doesn't mean the Greeks are bad people in general; it means they've been had. I didn't say much, as neither of the others seemed ready to hear a different perspective. Ali, who it turns out is Palestinian, ended up inviting Lorraine and me and our husbands to dinner; his wife would be very happy to cook for us. I would take him up on it, too, but he lives on the 7th floor of a building without elevators. I gazed down at my foot and said, 'Well...'
Lorraine has no use for Orthodoxy, either. He first encounter with it was quite unfortunate. It was at her wedding in a Greek Orthodox Church; the priest wouldn't let the bride and groom or any of the guests into the church until he had been paid, until he had 150 Euros in his hand. I observed that this was not Orthodox, nor even Christian. At our wedding, the priest never mentioned money We slipped him a gift after the ceremony.
Lorraine is also incensed (pun?) by young children being "forced" to cross themselves and kiss icons, even when they are too young understand what they are doing. I don't remember what I said in reply, if anything. I suppose the real issue is whether these things ought ever to be done at all, by anybody; otherwise teaching the children to do them wouldn't be an issue.
Well, we may have some interesting conversations ahead of us - or not, if her mind is made up.
Anyway, I enjoyed the hour I spent with her and hope to repeat the visit soon.
Here's a moebius scarf I knitted. The sparkles don't show...
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 6:19 AM
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Demetrios bought me crutches, and I am practising with them. In a way they are easier than the rolling chair, but in another way they aren't, perhaps because I am not yet adroit with them.
Friends who see me scoot around on my little rolling chair are appalled. Ianna crosses herself. Thomai wails, and when I told her of my plan to go across the street to visit Lorraine, the Englishwoman who owns the Mini-Mart, Thomai turned to Demetrios and said, "Don't encourage this in her; oh, please don't encourage it!" I feel very at ease getting around this way; it apparently looks more dangerous than it is. Katya and Tassos, who are Ianna's sister and brother-in-law, repeatedly begged Demetrios and me to get crutches and use them instead. So, I have crutches. They are an alternative, not a replacement.
Demetrios also sneaked out of the house for half an hour while I thought he was napping, and came back with this.
Then we went, by cab, to Aristotle Plaza, where I rolled into the nearest place to sit outdoors and have some refreshment and enjoy the view of the harbor and do some peolple-watching. The place turned out to be Starbuck's. So, the best spot (nearest the sea) on the main plaza of Thessaloniki is no longer Greek-owned. A multinational corporation has it instead. Signs of the times.
Anyway, we sat there an hour and a half enjoying the cool evening air and the surroundings. As it was a wi-fi hotspot, I tried to Facetime my family, but was unable to reach anyone, much to my disappointment. I forgot to take pictures while there, but as Demetrios seems eager for us to go back there from time to time, I'll have other chances.
Oh, and my other birthday present from Demetrios was a Greek SIM card, to provide Internet access from home, finally.
Best gift of all: Facetime with some of my family! They were able to reach me later.
To occupy my time, I'm reading The Brothers Karamazov. I'm on that most famous chapter, that ferocious indictment, entitled, "The Grand Inquisitor". It's the one you study in high school and/or college if you don't read the rest of the book (and you don't). I wonder how Catholics think and feel when they read it. When that's finished, War and Peace waits me, already downloaded. (I keep thinking of an Englishman's wisecrack when he said something - I don't remember what - was 'more depressing than a Russian novel.' !! So, as I do not need depressing just now, I have also downloaded some P.G. Wodehouse, one of my favorite humorists.
In the knitting department, I have been working on a design of my own and am using it in a scarf for my friend Anastasia. Here is how it will look when blocked.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 6:58 AM
Saturday, April 27, 2013
I'll tell you one thing this experience of being laid up is teaching me: that I am a spoiled brat! That has to be a good lenten lesson. I've often said I love staying at home, being in my house. I've told Demetrios, who gets cabin fever very easily, that if you give me a book, some sudoku puzzles, some knitting, and Internet access, I can be happy for days on end without setting foot outside. I would do well in prison. So here it is only two weeks and why am I in tears?
And it's not even as if I'd been exactly imprisoned, either. We went to Mena's on Tuesday night. She is suffering much more than I, having been laid up since her hip replacement surgery a few days before Christmas. She wasn't allowed out of her house for more then three months. Now, yesterday, she has had a knee replacement and will be house-bound again for I know not how long. Thursday we went to see Leonidas and Ianna. Ianna is recovering from surgery to correct a slipped disk. She was not only housebound, but confined to her bed, for weeks. My dear neighbor Frances, in Richmond, is back in the hospital with multiple issues. She has something called reversible posterior leukoencphalopathy, which according to Wikipedia is a swelling of the brain. She has an infection I don't know where that the nurse said is "worse than MRCA" and is resistant to ALL antibiotics. Her blood pressure fluctuates wildly. She has a gallstone. Her kidneys aren't functioning properly. She is unresponsive. Now Dickie, her husband, is also in the hospital, having had a stint put into one of his coronal arteries today. Poor Christos, my brother-in-law, can hardly move, from fatigue. (Physical strength, ti turns out, he does have, but he feels too tired to use it.).
Now I think of it, maybe it would be very strange if I weren't in tears!
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 3:27 PM
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
19 April, 2013
Spent the day the same way you did: watching the Boston manhunt. We now get the BBC, so I was able to follow it all in English. So relieved it's over! For most people.
20 April, 2013
Stelios and Anastasia came to visit us today. They've been friends of Demetrios for decades, retired schoolteachers and near neighbors of ours - and more wonderful people you will never meet.
Here is Stelios with Demetrios. That's Demetrios' new desk.
And here is Anastasia. This angel brought us enough shrimp-and-macaroni casserole to make 5 meals plus a box full of chocolate-covered pretzels. Cooking is very difficult for me, so this was a hugely welcome gift!
I'm hurting a lot again, because of having spent the whole morning trying to help Demetrios clean and tidy our apartment, in preparation for our guests. Didn't do much; just washed the breakfast dishes, dusted a bit, took in some laundry from the line and folded it and put it away. Tried to make my (separate) bed, but couldn't make it look decent. That isn't a great morning's work but together with getting dressed, brushing my teeth, combing my hair, and putting on a dab of make-up, it was exhausting! It's of course the moving around on my "scooter" that is so tiring.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 6:39 AM
(Something familiar about that date .. oh, yes, it's tax day in the U.S.!)
Demetrios bought me a rolling potty chair, not to be used for that purpose. The idea is to rest my knee on the seat (with the lid down!), hand onto the sides, and use the other foot, the non-broken one, to propel it as a scooter. But it will also fit into the shower, making a place for me to sit while washing. Or I can sit in it and be pushed, somewhat as in a wheelchair. Notice, it also has a "compartment" underneath for me to put anything I need to take from room to room. (All except my water glass...)
I have a lot of ugly bruises.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 6:26 AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Tuesday, 16 April, 2013
News of the Boston Marathon bombings only reached us this morning, via the pharmacist. As it is to much later here than there, the first news of it came after we were already in bed. Well, what's to say? These tragedies are going to continue and innocent people will suffer, but this is not a political blog (at least regarding American politics), so - no comment, only prayers.
I hurt a lot less today. I've resumed some of my household tasks, no doubt to Demetrios' relief. He has been wonderful through this. My only problem is going to be convincing him to get my some crutches. I CAN get out of this apartment on crutches and do it safely. "Take me to Mena's house," I said, "And I will use her crutches to demonstrate my proficiency with them!" My chance will no doubt come soon. So far, I keep busy reading, writing, knitting, watching the BBC, and doing my Greek lessons, but no way am I going to let a tiny break in a small bone keep me siting around in this wee flat for six straight weeks!
Dr. Theo's other and primary patient, Christos, says he has begun to drink more, is trying to eat more, and is taking his medications and dietary supplements. He says he has stopped smoking, too, but by that he means he only takes a dozen or so puffs a day on his pipe (having no strength to puff more).
We have the results from the slew of tests he had, and so far, no physical thing appears that could account for his overwhelming weakness. So as of today, he starts an anti-depressant, which we hope will lead to improvement. It will take perhaps a month for the medicine to take full effect, so we wait to see. It's only a guess, but it's the only guess.
He is also proceeding with some alacrity to move back to Thessaloniki. He has the key to his flat and has lined up some men to do the work. This alone, being back among people who care about him, should improve his spirits.
Thursday, 18 April, 2013
Thought you might like to see a bit of the inside of a Greek hospital. The first photo is the emergency room lobby. You take a number from that tall, white box and wait to see your number flashing at a window.
And here, if it comes out, is a short video showing you the outpatient area.
Out total costs today (as I have no Greek health insurance): 8 Euros; 5 for the hospital, 3 to have more x-rays taken. So, about $12 in all.
Oh, and the shots I take in the belly cost 6 Euros for 4 of them. They're the same ones my neighbor Francis takes, in Richmond; she paid $96 for four of them.
The verdict today was: no cast after all; the splint will do. I must never put any weight on it. On Holy Thursday, we are to take more x-rays to see if healing has begun. If not (because of the crack being wide), surgery. The surgery is tricky, because when you try to screw such a tiny bone together, the screw itself can split the bone. Please pray for me; the very last thing I want is surgery in a Greek hospital!!!
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 10:43 AM
14 April, 2013
Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary; that is the good part. The not-do-good part is that I took a spill. We were on our way to church, walking. I had on new shoes, wedgies with medium-high heels; that was my first mistake. The sidewalks here are broken, rough, uneven. Really they only suitable for flat, preferably sturdy shoes. It began to rain, lightly. So I made the second mistake of, well, looking where I was going. Around here, you need to look where you ARE, not where you are going. But eager to get out of the rain shower, I fixed my eyes on the church, half a block away, instead of on the sidewalk below me - and down I went.
I am a very lucky woman; I do not have osteoporosis and did not break a hip!
Two passers by stopped their car and sprang to our assistance, holding out their arms to me. I just sat there crying like a silly goose. "Get up," said Demetrios.
"No! I'm not getting up!" Some instinct, it seemed, was just telling me not to move. But a moment later, common sense overruled that feeling. I couldn't sit there on the sidewalk all day - in the rain, yet! So I let them pull me up and thanked the women with all my heart.
"I've broken my foot," I told Demetrios.
I pointed to the general vicinity.
"Not likely," he said. "That is a difficult spot to break."
I elected to continue to church, where I managed to do rather a lot of standing without great discomfort. But you know how it is with fractures; they worsen over the first couple of hours.
On our way out of the church, suddenly somebody grabbed me, hard, from behind. "Oh, excuse me, so sorry!" said someone over my shoulder. A woman had stumbled on one of the stairs and had, as a reflex, grabbed onto me. It somehow gave me inordinate joy to know she had been spared a worse fall than my own!
We limped slowly home, removed my hose, and had a look.
"Yes, it looks suspiciously like a fracture," said Doctor Theodoridis. "The knee on the other leg is abraded, too." It was also beginning to hurt a LOT. I'm pretty bunged up all over; several places are quote sore.
I burst into tears again as Demetrios cleaned my knee and applied the band-aid - not from pain, but because I suddenly had a flashback; I was back in "Doctor Jones' Bleeding-sore and Band-aid Clinic", as our family bathroom became whenever Dad set up shop there after one of us children had scraped a knee or cut a finger. (It had to be bleeding for you to qualify at this clinic.)
So off to a hospital in a cab, to add the experience of a Greek hospital to that of an English one; and even I could read the radiologist's diagnosis: a 'katagma, basis 5ou metatarsou.' (Those ou endings make it the genitive case.)
Today, a splint. Thursday, a cast, after the swelling has subsided. Tonight, a good sleep with the help of Ambien, and tomorrow we shall figure out how I shall manage.
Posted by Anastasia Theodoridis at 10:38 AM