Thursday, 29 March 2012

Befunky Madness!!

We got this website from our aunt or known on our blog as the "Jedi Queen." It is called befunky, and is a website for changing pictures like what you can see on this post. The Jedi queen is giving us picture assignments and we have to get a picture of that and make it funky!!
We sent this picture on the left to some of our friends on St. Patricks day and on the right is one of our writing assignments. The assignment was one where we nedded to make funky feet, you may remember this daddy's feet picture from Norway.
all three of these pictures here are pictures taken and funkied by the Jedi Queen. The top right and the bottom left are pictures of her dogs Yoda and Chewbacka or as a short form for Chewbacka we call him chewie or chewbear.
 The bottom right is a picture from Banff and the top left is a picture from Mexico.
And here is a Ted Talk on Impossible Photography from Sweden who puts different photos together on Photoshop and makes really neat realistic but strange photographs that way. His name is Eric Johansson and he can make very neat photos.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Lake Plastira

Pro-ee-oh-min-no Sa-vah-to (Last Saturday), we took an afternoon drive around Lake Plastira, a big man-made lake about 30 km SW of Trikala. It was built in the late 1950s to control the Tavropos River from flooding, and for irrigation, hydroelectricity, and water for the town of Karditsa nearby. The lake and dam are named after Nicolas Plastira, a general and eventually prime minister, who was the main advocate for the dam.
History aside, it's one of the highest altitude dams in Europe, which of course resulted in quite the windy and twisty drive typical any time you try to get away from Trikala it seems! Heading south from Mouzaki, it's a pretty crazy-steep 20-25 km on the west side. It's always amazing to drive right through some of these villages, with the houses spilling onto the main road and barely wide enough to fit our tiny Fiat Punto through!
The weather was beautiful and it was a great day for a tour. At one town, there were paddle boats and hydro bikes for rent. These folks got a bit too close to shore and ended up providing us with some free entertainment while we were having our snack. The mountain goats were another form of entertainment, scattered up the mountainsides and wandering along the roads.
Despite the beautiful warm weather the past 10 days, the high altitude means that there's still plenty of snow on the trails, so we only managed a short hike. There were also piles of snow and mudslides, not to mention road collapses, along the drive. On the right I'm contemplating sticking my feet into the freezing snowmelt stream. Even the rock I'm standing on is cold like a block of ice, and it felt like someone was hammering on my ankles with a hammer!
The boys react to their bout with cryotherapy (cryo comes from Greek for cold - "Kree-oh"). As usual, Debbie's the toughest of us all! 
Beautiful mountain and Lake Plastira view on the left, and there's the Plastira Dam on the right. Quite the beautiful day tour overall!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Makrinitsa Mountain Village

On Saturday (St. Paddy's Day) we went to Macrenezia with Andres Carrillo. It is about 90 min drive from Trikala, up high in the Pilio Mountains above the town of Volos (that's Volos way below and in the back in the left picture). This is on the path that goes on forever!!!
On the right is the huge tree that is in the center of the town it is about both of our arm lengsths long, and on the left is me and Jacob climbing up the path that we think goes all the way from Macrenezia all the way down to Volos but we didn't go all the way down.
On the left is a picture of me and dad at the "Art Cafe" in Macrenezia. On the right is a lot of meat on a big spit.
This is a picture of the village and the road from the top of Macrenezia. on the right is mommy with one of the cool tile roofs which are made of rock. They are just made of rock tiles that are put one on top of another
These are some pictures of the fruits on the left and the honey on the right.
Here are some more pictures of Macrenezia itself, spread all up the hillside.
 Makrinitsa was a great place to lounge away a beautiful sunny day!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Kites with Andreas

Last Sunday we made a kite with Andreas and it was a bit hard because we could not always get the dimensions right, So finally we got the skeleton ready so we put the paper on top and stapled it down so that it would stay, and finally got to do the easiest part wich was the tail. But when we tried to fly it we had a few minor problems but it flew pretty well. The tail are all the paper strings at the bottom of this picture, which are on a big long string.
 The big trick was getting the three rods tied together so that they were exactly the same length edges, or else the kite would spin too much in flight. It took us a few tries and the help of Mommy's Khan Academy trigonometry to figure things out! Decorating the kite was much easier!
 Here I am decorating the kite. Check out my new "Smiling Fish" JWC signature: there's the J for the ears, the tail is the W, and the body of the fish is the C!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

More Komboloi in Makrinitsa

At Makrinitsa, both Jacob and I bought another set of Comboloi each. Daddy says that he will want to borrow one for when we become teenagers! When all the girls with googly eyes start looking at us. (Daddy's note: Um, given the googly eyes to date from girls here in Greece, I might need the Comboloi NOW!)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Pyli Walk - Very Wet Edition

Two Saturdays ago, in the middle of the wet 10 days of heavy rains, we went with Caroline (visiting student from South Africa) to Pyli again but this time it was pouring rain and the path was flooded at one point. But we still had a lot of fun, especially because we ended up driving up to Elati for that yummy hot chocolate again! Jacob went for the spicy hot pepper chocolate and I went for the mint.

A different type of boat race down the river

Lots of goats tracks all along the path in the left picture. On the right shows the water pouring over the trail.
The trees on the left looks like something from Lord of the Rings...
Back at Pyli bridge!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Unlicensed Dentistry

I got tired of my tooth wiggling around in my mouth the past few days, so I took matters into my own hands...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Extra Family Member Coming Home?

Friday while biking into the lab, we saw this little black and white ball of fluffy dogginess on the side of the road a few blocks away. Today it was lying by the side of the road by the high school the next block over from home. We were already bringing a container of dog food to our adopted dog at the cafeteria, so the boys and I stopped on Zachary's suggestion and gave some to this little guy. It was so excited at the food and playful with us. It was also so insanely cute that, if Greece was the final stop in our sabbatical, we'd likely be coming home with it tucked into our suitcase! The poor critter obviously had some skin itch or infection that caused it to lick and bite its side raw. As you see on the right, it was very playful and friendly, alternating between eating and jumping onto my lap to play and give me kisses.

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Statue of Liberty in GREECE?

I have a picture of the Statue of Liberty but I haven't even been there. do you know how? It is my shadow when I have my Funky hat on!!

And this is a picture of me with crazy hair and my Glasses, with no lenses, on.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The New Talent on the Lecture Circuit!

This week I had the honour of being asked to give a talk to the University group here. It was a general talk on Veterinary Medicine with a discussion of obesity and links between it and other diseases in dogs and aslo some similarities between dogs and humans. I was a little nervous, not being used to speaking to a group as Stephen does. I had to learn how to use Powerpoint to prepare the talk. Zachary said, "That's easy Mom, we can help you." I have learned enough Greek to be able to say a few sentences in Greek at the beginning. The talk was attended by about 12 people and was well received with lots of questions and comments afterwards. Now I have to prepare for a high school talk that I have been asked to give next week.
(SC note: Having sat through far too many boring lectures in my life, I can definitely tell you that Debbie did a fabulous talk! It catered to the crowd perfectly, with a bit of background, some good science, and some lighter stuff. No matter how many talks I give, I still get a bit nervous before each one, but I always find that, once I get talking about things, I'm just too involved to be nervous and don't really worry about who or where I'm speaking!)
Molly and Danna definitely fall into the first category of Debbie's classification of Greek dogs - the loved and adored category!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dogs of Trikala

One gets the impression that there are many dogs in Trikala. They are everywhere, in the yards, fields, streets and roads. I have identified them into 4 groups: First are the loved and well cared for dogs that we see at the office. They are well -fed, groomed, vaccinated, dewormed and as you can see, they ride in style. That's Danna and Molly, who belong to Giorgos and Christina, 2 profs here. Giorgos even has a lot of Youtube videos of "ta koritsia" (The girls).
Molly on the left, and Pooka the Pug on the right, another of the dog family along with "Vavu" here at the offices.
Second, there are the dogs who seem to be owned but aren't really taken care of well. There are 3 in particular we see near the office. The old fellow (white with the dark head) up above is visibly lame on the left fore leg. He will lie right out in the middle of the road sometimes and the cars just go around him. Fortunately, in that area it is only the cars going to the school and our university offices.  Also, the hunters put these wooden boxes on the backs of their cars for their dogs - they are well ventilated but unfortunately the exhaust is also able to come right into the box.

Then there are the strays. There are many stray cats as well and you see them climbing into the garbage containers and foraging. There are stray dogs in the fields on the way to the university. They chase cars and bikes but haven't bothered me yet while walking. I did stop  once to get a stick when they were looking a little menacing. There is also a stray (on the left here) who has started hanging around the University cafeteria - he's no dummy! He is a black and white hound-type with a collar mark on his neck, so we assume he has been just dumped off. He is shy but very friendly. He has been there a week now and already looks slightly less skinny. Last Friday, he was ravenous and people were bringing him out food. Since then we have bought him a dish and some dog food, but are feeling bad that he is so thin and it has been so cold and wet. We aren't sure where he sleeps. I saw him chasing chickens about a week ago, so at least feeding him, may keep him from getting shot for chasing chickens. There is some sort of shelter here - I haven't got up the nerve to go yet.

Finally, since there are so many animals running loose, there are also many dogs that are hit by cars and left on the road dead. If I go for a bike ride, it would be unusual NOT to see a dead animal somewhere along the road. There is no service/society that will remove the dead bodies so they just lay there. I will spare you the most graphic picture. If people would only neuter their pets and keep them fenced or confined, many of these sad endings would be avoided.