Friday, November 30, 2012

Baking for the Holidays

I am a reformed Jew if this is the proper way of saying what my religion is at this time of my life. I was baptised Greek Orthodox. Such thing did not exist in after war Germany. My friends in Horb all happened to be Catholic so what do you think I did at age 12? I reverted to Catholicism. Der Pfarrer was happy - my parents did not even know about it. Papa was Greek Orthodox and Mutti was Protestant. Hey, I wanted to belong. Could not think of anything better to do at that time and don't regret it. I got very involved in church things. Friday evening Rosary( I think it was Fridays), Vesper, Sunday Mass, pulling the cord and swinging back and forth to bring the church bells into swing early I forget which mornings and of course helping out with this and that and more ( I wanted to be liked|) and of course going to confession which stopped two years later (posting to this effect maybe to follow) and helping out wherever I could.
Doing dishes at the hospital to make it easier for the nuns working there and making friends with them of course.

Today I was looking for Christmas baking recipes and came across this one in my Greek cookbook.

Scripture Cake - Kaiki Agias Graphis 

This is a recipe that has been popular with the ladies of Sts. Constantine and Helen (no surprise my name is Ellena and my brothers is Tino). It encourages Bible reading and if the correct ingredients are chosen from the references given, a delicious fruit cake will be assured. Look at the Old Testament. I did but have not baked it as yet.
                                                                                            Chapter                Verse
41/2 cups                I Kings                                                      4                         22
1 cup                       Judges                                                      5                        25          
2 cups                     Jeremiah                                                   6                        20
2 cups                     I Samuel                                                    30                     12
2 cups                     Nahum                                                       3                       12 
2 cups                     Numbers                                                    17                       8
2 Tbsp.                    I Samuel                                                    14                     25
1 tsp.                       Leviticus                                                     2                      13 
6                              Jeremiah                                                    17                    11
1/2 cup                    Judges                                                        4                      19 
2 tsp.                       Amos                                                          4                        5
2 tsp.                       II Chronicles                                               9                        9 (which ?)

Mix like any basic fruit cake. Bake at 275 C-3 to 4 hours.

I'm off to BB sit = Big Boys sitting (H being age 5 and Sneakasnack being age 7 don't like the other word).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Can't fall asleep thoughts

Sometimes, actually most times, I fall asleep as soon as my left ear hits the pillow.
Last night was one of the nights where such did not happen. That's when I think about my next blog post to write. What is it with thoughts anyway? Do they consist of images only? My stories feel complete. Nothing is missing - the location has a name and so do the people involved, everything has a color, there is sound, there are so many feelings and there is me. I want whatever I write down to reflect who I am. How can I do that if I don't find the words I need?  All that is reflected when I write, is my ignorance of vocabulary and that in such a magnified form that it frightens the schnook out of me.
I know, nobody forces me to write. I want to but question myself as to maybe doing it privately. The intend was and still is to leave a few of my untold memories behind for my children. Because I know that a few more than just my children read here, the process has slowed down and if it continues at such a slow pace I won't have enough time to complete what I set out to do.
Right now, at this very moment, I have decided to no longer do this blog but, I already play with the idea of  and who cares what they think. So, maybe tomorrow.
Just talking to myself.........

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I try not to make promises that I can't keep.

Sometime earlier this year I commented on one  of my dear friend's Rouchswalwe posts to the effect that some day I would write about my Iris plant.

Well, it no longer is. I only have one window in my apartment near which I can gather plants for their light feed. She was not happy with her spot.
She was handed to me at Christmas 6 years ago with a lovely note attached introducing Neo-Marika, a bit of pale green peeking out of brown. I should keep her near an east-side window and carefully watch her grow and develop as to not miss the 'one day bloom' event.
I did so.
My niece Iris who lives far away and only visits me once in 4 or 5 years announced her arrival. Aunt Ellena's joy was overshadowed by Neo-Marika's. She opened her arms with a triple bloom on the day that Iris and Mr. Iris arrived and became the centerpiece of the table.

This is how she greeted me when I got up on the morning of this special day.

And, I told 'Young of Heart' that I had a fox story to tell.

It felt like coming back to the fold when I moved to the country. 40 years of city life was enough and, I wanted to be close to Moselito.
At first I was afraid to cross the road by myself at night. It was so dark. Slowly I got used to the darkness. How exiting to rediscover the Great Bear and the Little Bear. Grandma had named them for me while I sat on her lap at the window.
The farmer way back across the road complained that chickens were missing and felt that something needed to be done to protect his hens from the fox. "What, a fox around here, that frightens me". Yes, he came to visit me.

                                             Sorry, no chickens to be had here.

And then, there is the story of the cow.
I'll never know how she made it across the street and up the hill nor what made her think that the grass was greener on my side of the fields.

Oh, how I miss the house where all this came about.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is 'back home'?

I'm still thinking about this question, or should I call it doubt or my problem, which came to my mind when I commented on dear Rouchswalwe's 'Hennis Lina' post. 

Whenever I travel to a destination on this continent or just visit a neighbour I will eventually say that 'I'm going home'. Home being the apartment  in which I live by myself.  It's not the house I lived in and it's not any other space I occupied before, with parents and siblings or with husbands and children.

When I use the words 'back home' they represent a specific town in Europe where I lived
from age 11 to age 18 - Horb - and not Berlin where I was born and where Mom grew up and where Oma and Opa lived,nor Athens where I had many cousins to play with, nor Hallwangen where Rosa lived nor Haigerloch where I could look into the prison court from the kitchen window of my girlfriend's house, nor Lahr-Dinglingen from where I came to Canada with husband and child.     

(I recently mentioned to B., my niece's husband, that I need a ghost writer, un negre(with accent) as they call them here in Quebec. He kindly offered to be 'it' - the offer is still on - although I asked for it I can't bring myself to accept -it would be cheating. So, here I am struggling - they'll be off for a 3year or more world tour anyway).  

Why is Horb 'back home'?  I have so very few  warm memories of family life. I'm sitting here trying to find the few but it's the not so warm ones that are taking over. Doors slamming, very loud male/female voices, plates hitting the wall, tears, but never never reconciliation. I can't believe, thinking back now, that I never heard  my parents have a conversation with each other, that I can't think of a single outing where the four of us were together. That's not back home. So sad.
To me, 'back home' is an entire small town in a valley with a river flowing through it, a few good friends, three churches, a soccer field, a movie theatre, narrow alleys, path going up hill along the cemetery, High School, chapel on top of mountain, a hospital, train station, Carnival, Christmas Market, Circus in town, tree on roof May 1st, bicycle tours, sport competitions, laughter, sadness, love, kisses, book on knees under tree and and and. So, what exactly is it  that makes  Horb 'back home' for me?  
Everywhere we live we are sprinkled with good and bad memories and I suppose that each of us has a different spot that he calls back home.

I'm going to stop right here.  Thousands of things appear and disappear in my mind without leaving words behind.

Wow, I'm hollering, following RR's advice "Spellcheck only found 2 mistakes. I'll never learn how to spell cemetary."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 10 rights of a reader

The 'declaration' is affixed to one of the walls of our local library. 

1  -  The right to NOT read
2  -  to SKIP pages
3  -  to NOT finish the book
4  -  to read it AGAIN
5  -  to read ANYTHIG
6  -  to IMAGINE oneself as one of the caracters in  book
7  -  to read ANYWHERE  we want
8  -  to GRAPILLER (not sure) to pick bits and pieces
9  -  to read out LOUD 
10-  to read in SILENCE

Someone added this thought:  never make fun of the ones that can't read if you want them to read some day.  

And, I'm asking what's with looking up the ending?  From what I hear the majority of us readers takes the right to do that now and then.   

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day

Do I need to be reminded what day it is today?
Sainte- Sophie, Sainte Julie, Sainte Agathe, Sainte-Marguerite, Sainte-Lucie, Sainte-Adele,
Saint-Jerome are only a few of the many small towns and villages named after saints, here in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec.
Then there are the places named Val-David, Val-Morin, Val-des Lacs....Val-this and Val-that. I live in one of the valley villages with a population of  3000  scattered  over an area of 39 square km. They tell me that it was a booming village years ago. Hills for winter sports, big hotels for good food and drink and vast cottage land for city folks.
Now, I need to drive 4km to the nearest food store.  After 2km ride I  cross streets named
St.Adolphe, Ste. Marie, St.Michel, Ste.Adele, Ste.Agathe, St. Jean-Baptiste, St.Charles. and St.Andre, one after the other, and then the street names become 'saintless' again.

Back where I grew up they would say  "Heiliges Blechle, that many saints surround you"?