Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas eve morning. After my cup of tea I put on a light jacket and go out for a brisk walk. The asphalt is wet. The weather is gray. Regardless, I love starting my day like this.

rainYesterday’s grocery shopping went smoothly. My initial plan of baking an almond cake somehow got out of proportions and so I ended up making an assortment of sweets, all gluten-free, all very poor in sugar; how else would I make them?

shopping Then, I woke up at 04.00 this morning and as time does not fly when you are sleepless, I imagined some raisin chocolate-balls. And some vegetarian lentil spread. That’s what insomnia can do to some of us.

apricot and sesame digestiveBefore 8 o’clock the tiny kitchen was already bustling with activity.  My mother, the woman who has faithfully fed us through childhood and into early adulthood,  despite long working-hours, is taking a well deserved break.

My father on the other hand, is in full swing. A rye-bread is baking, while two loaves of white bread are on hold.


So that’s where we’re at. Dishes under control. Red bonnets unearthed. Steamed by the vapours emanating from the stove. Groomed and ready to join the extended clan.

We’re wishing you a Merry Christmas, whichever way you’ve chosen to spend it.


That image of laying on the couch reading a book and eating chocolate must be one of those Christmas clichés together with Santa Claus, snow, reindeer and jingle bells. The book, couch and chocolate combo has never materialised for me – the excess of chocolate puts me off…
garlandI am never ready for the holidays, that’s a fact. Getting into the spirit is always a quick fix. So be it.  I am trying not to wind myself up thinking of all the things that need to be done in the weeks ahead. These coming days  are a breather, a window of time to be spent focusing on the present and just flirting with the future.backgroundPresents have been abolished in our kingdom and I don’t care if Christmas this year is white or grayscale. My wish list is made up of quite simple things:

I want to relish in long walks, as long as the weather permits.

I want to savour the dark starlit mornings. Go to early Christmas morning mass and then have a sweet breakfast.

I want to meet up with friends and talk about this and that. I want to go to the movies and be lured into buying some pop-corn.

I want to try to sleep in and chill out. Drink masala chai or hot cocoa and ponder.  Listen to good music and eat freshly baked scones.

However, my greatest wish is to be peaceful, content, and quiet in my thoughts.

So quiet that I could hear a snow-flake hit the ground.

My paternal grandmother, a Caucasian Greek, used to say that as from St. Spyridon’s day (by popular etymology the name is associated to grain and seed), 12 December, days will grow longer, grain by grain.

Coincidentally, my friend Spyros, true to his name, is a great lover of light, just like any other self-respecting photographer. His latest project together with fellow artist and designer Emilios, is called Minima (message) and is a creative union of photography and graphic design, embodied in gigantic thematic collages challenging the bypasser to take part in transforming urban space into a canvas by putting together the “pixels” of a short-lived piece of art.

minimaThey make me both happy and hopeful, all my friends in Greece who, despite the dire straights of economy and politics,  still have the courage to stay faithful to their principles and pursue their dreams.

The  message of my grandmother’s saying is clear in its simplicity. Change is counted in increments of light. Light is life and life can only be lived with hope.

The rice porridge is slowly cooking on the stove longing to be covered in cinnamon dust.

riceporridgeThe saffron rolls are hanging out with the  ginger-cookies while the mulled wine is getting jiggy with excitement.

saffronandgingerThe radio is playing pop-hits and blaming it on  the frequency.

goodiebagCandy is playing hide and seek in a makeshift present bag.

It’s a rainy night, the week is almost over and the holidays are just a breath away. The table is set and so is everyone around it.

All is right in the world.

In the North, the days around the winter solstice, when the night blatantly trespasses on the domains of the day, taking over the skies, are indeed  a bit  unpredictable…

Late sunrises, early sunsets. The sun is only a pale shadow of itself. Before you know it,  the moon appears in a shroud of clouds…


People in the old days sensed that something was not totally kosher about this time of the year. The night of December thirteen was believed to be the darkest night of the year, during which supernatural things could happen. Animals were said to be able to speak with human tongue and evil spirits to roam around causing trouble. Hence, by December thirteen, all Christmas preparations had to be ready – a deadline as rigid as a broom shaft.


In an attempt to master their fear by means of playfulness, people dressed up, sung songs and put on feasts for the sake of some exuberance before the two weeks of fast leading up to Christmas.

In much later times, along came a saint from Sicily, Lucia, sporting a crown of candles on her head and the Swedes were swept off their feet by this attractive bearer of light. The night of the thirteenth would never be as dark again…


Nowadays animals keep their mastery of Swedish a secret and  deadlines related to Christmas celebrations are much more forgiving.

However, it may still be that mischievous spirits run around these latitudes, causing annoyance and  disturbance just in time for the year’s closure.


But do not worry. The transition point towards more light is just around the corner.  And if somebody is making your life difficult, do not distrust. Help is on your way. Clad in a white gown. A red belt around her waist. A kick-ass maiden.


Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts