Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas song and updates

Hello once  again,
I have been busy these past few months and it has helped with my grieving. One avenue that I have
been pursuing more lately is creativity. Creativity produces art, music, books, and even meals. Creativity is everywhere, and when we tap into it, it becomes a beautiful venture.


Given that, I have written a song for Christmas, titled "Wishing You Were Here" and it is dedicated to my late husband Anthony as a Christmas gift to him, and to all those who have lost a loved one.  It is on youtube.com and I have the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAP6W-rqTm8

The words of the song go like this:


Wishing you were here with me on Christmas day
Will angels love you the way that I do?
Will angels hold you close the way I do?

Photos bring back memories of happy times shared.
Will angels love you the way that I do?
Will angels hold you close the way I do?

Missing you on Christmas day and always loving you!
Will angels love you the way that I do?
Will angels hold you close the way I do?

Also, I have begun playing in earnest once more the violin and viola. I am currently playing with three
groups, the Frederick Symphony Orchestra, the Cumberland Valley String Orchestra, and the Hagerstown Community College String Ensemble. I am meeting many fine musicians, and am making wonderful friends in the process.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and remember to cherish your loved ones, for our time on earth is a short one.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How it feels to be grieving

I honestly did not think I would be grieving the death of my husband at this stage in life. It is a very emotional and trying time for me. In a single day, I could be doing several chores, truly focused on them, and suddenly a thought would interfere, pulling me down and I resort to an episode of intense crying. It doesn't take much for me to enter a "weeping widow" phase.

How did this ever happen? How could a loved one, who I thought would be around for another twenty, thirty years, just up and die? It's a mystery to me. I wake up asking myself, "how could this be?" I go through the house, looking, touching his clothing, books, papers and memories would just wash over me like a tidal wave. I pour over the cards that we wrote to each other over the years. Me being the poet, I would write tons of spontaneous love poems to him, and he being the cautious researcher, would sit and write a draft before he wrote each card. He was so loveable, so cuddly, so approachable.

Memories that come in the middle of the night -
I used to tell Tony that I loved his laughter, it was so musical and made me feel good all over.
He had a special way of knowing I was in the room even before he saw me and would smile and say something.
Sometimes he would whistle a tune, and I'd be thinking of the same song at the same time.
He made sure I didn't lift anything heavy and would take care of carrying the groceries.
He always loved my cooking, and once in awhile if I felt like I needed a break, he didn't hesitate to treat us out to dinner.
Holding hands was something that we always did, no matter where.

My son and I visit my husband at the cemetery weekly. We burn incense, say some prayers, and talk to him, like we used to. We tell him what we've been doing, and in the end of our session together, tell him we love him.

The loss of my husband is like losing a part of myself. We had become so intertwined, that even now, when I think about things, I feel as if he is thinking along with me. I often hear his words in my mind, as if he were here, talking to me his thoughts. Sometimes I turn to my son to have a discussion, and it falls flat, and I realize that it is not the same. But I am extremely grateful that I have my son by my side. Even though he is young, he is very reliable and good. I am blessed.

I have filled my days with many activities and this really helps with the suffering and pain. I focus on others, an outward approach rather than inward. If I focus too much inwardly, then I end up wallowing in the pain and it really doesn't go anywhere. I cannot bring him back to me. I cannot. I have to focus on myself and my son, and our future together. For that is all I have.
We are planning a visit to a monastery before school starts. It is the same monastery I visited before I married. Although it has been many years, now it is time to revisit it.
God bless.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

My Husband Passed Away

With deep regret, I write to inform you that my husband Anthony (Tony) recently passed away. I am saddened and shocked by this loss of a beautiful, kind, and gentle man. He was a perfect husband and father. We were truly blessed all these years together. The books that I wrote were inspired by my love for him. I adored him, and cannot fathom him gone. His essence is still around me.

Two weeks before his sudden death (June 10), he had incurred some bite on his wrist (after working in the garden moving a shed around). This was followed by some poison sumac reddening just below it. He did not notice the bite until the next day. The reddening of the arm also increased and swelling and oozing occurred, spreading down his arm to the elbow. Also swelling at the elbow occurred. At the ER, they gave him a shot of clindamycin, and he took it for four days. A rash on his body appeared, and his family doctor told him to get off of clindamycin because he was allergic to it, and to take Bactrim instead. Just to be sure, we went to an infectious disease specialist a couple of days later. He said there was no need for the Bactrim, and we went home. The rash was taken care of with hydrocortisone and in a few days, everything was cleared.

Then, on June 25, Tony was up and about, acting normal. We were having breakfast and he said he would go up to change because he was feeling a little cold. A few minutes later, we heard a boom and I rushed upstairs only to find him unconscious on the floor and not breathing. I attempted to revive him with CPR until the EMS people came. My son prayed over him, and we followed the ambulance to the ER where they continued trying to revive him, but to no avail. The doctor said it could have been either a massive heart attack, a blood clot, or a stroke. I wonder if it was connected to the bite (spider?). I spoke with an immunologist and when I told her he died two weeks later, she said it could have been a virus. I will have to investigate that further.

This handsome Greek, this wonderful man, full of laughter and wit, full of intellectual conversations, this amazing man, vanished within minutes. Just like that. Unbelievable. I am still in shock a month later.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chinese Medicine for Healthy Skin - Book Review

I recently read the e-book Chinese Medicine for Healthy Skin by Michelle O'Shaughnessy and was very glad I did!

Shaughnessy's expertise in the field is evident. Her e-book is chock full of information on how to maintain a healthy skin and body, using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

I wrote a book review, which was posted on http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Medicine-Healthy-Skin-ebook/dp/B00CTRMASC/ and is included below in its entirety:

Always on the lookout for ways to lead a healthy life, I was pleased when I read this book. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was the focus, with an emphasis on keeping your skin and body healthy. For a beginner like me, who never studied TCM or even knew where to begin, this is a great read! I learned that the Chinese integrate both Western medicine as well as TCM in their hospitals. This is definitely something lacking in our hospitals in the United States, and something I would like to see happen. As the author eloquently states "It will be an exciting day when every hospital and clinic in the world incorporates the best of the West with the best of East to bring about optimal health for all people."

The author begins with the history of Chinese medicine, which I found absorbing. As I read on, I explored a whole different world of medicine that included the yin and yang, the meridians, the five elements, acupuncture, and much more. The photos in the book were quite valuable and helped me picture the different regions of the body that the author was pertaining to. In particular, the different pictures of the tongue, and their appearance, revealed another whole world of diagnosis. Also, the soup recipes appeared inviting and I can't wait to try them out on my family.

Although the author mentions a few books as references, I would have liked to have seen medical references, as well as case studies of patients having good results with TCM.

Overall, I feel this book is a valuable guidebook for anyone interested in learning more about TCM and how to incorporate it into their lifestyle. This is one book that I will refer to often.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Can you imagine a life without the post office?



Several months ago, I had learned that the post office was cutting back its hours and that several post offices were not open on Saturdays. I recently witnessed this with our local post office, and I was saddened by the turn of events. I think the post office is a valuable part of our lives, a human part. Real people are behind those post office buildings, with real jobs and they have families, like you and I. We must think about them, too.   We have a relationship with our mailman. We wave when (she, in this case) comes by daily. Sometimes in the past, I have left little goodies for them for Christmas in the mailbox.
That gets lost in email.


I wrote a poem back in 2011, describing how I felt about the whole thing and what the post office meant to me:


Save the Post Office!

The post office has been the best of friends,
Throughout my youth and beyond.
It keeps me posted on life's trends
With nary a cause to frown.

Efficient and quick, they brought the news -
Always there each day for me.
Through birthdays, weddings, and college, too,
They sent mail for a very small fee.

I cannot think of another way
To receive my very own mail.
The post office should be here to stay.
Please, please, don't let it fail!!

by Patty Apostolides, 2011 




There is nothing quite as pleasing as a hand-written card, or a letter received in the mail. Email is alright, but not the same. Also, books get delivered by mail, and I love reading books. The feel of the book and turning the pages, fill my senses in different ways than scrolling down on the computer.


Here is a site that shows statistics about the post office. I think it tells the story:

http://www.numbersleuth.org/trends/usps/



So, try and use the post office whenever you can. Send cards to friends and family, instead of email. It's more personable. Send real gifts by mail.

The post office provides some privacy.  

I know that they say it's more "green" to use the internet for banking and to pay bills online. Do you really want all your personal information being available online? Think about it. The post office provides privacy when it comes to your bills.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Greek Drama: Life, Love, and One Woman's Olympic Effort to Bring Glory to Her Country


BOOK REVIEW

This true story of Gianna Angelopoulos describes her incredible life, from a young Greek girl in Crete, to a lawyer and a politician.  Her determination to succeed at whatever she chose to accomplish is commendable. We read about her family, and how as a simple, young girl living on the island of Crete, she collected stones and caught crabs in the streams, and stomped on grapes in the vat with her sister, while dreaming of becoming an Ambassador one day. She did fulfill her dream, and much, much more.

Intent on broadening her horizons, Angelopoulos attended law school in Thessaloniki, and later became a sophisticated lawyer in Athens. Her persistence and hard work ultimately earned her a position as a member of the Greek Parliament. That position propelled her forward in the public eye, and gave her an opportunity to meet Theodore Angelopoulos, a very wealthy man whose magnate family was well known throughout the world.

They fell in love and married; and what a wonderful romantic tale. This union was to seal the fate of the future summer Greek Olympics. Mrs. Angelopoulos left the Greek Parliament and focused on her family in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, in 1997, an important matter was brought before her. She was asked by the Prime Minister of Greece to lead the bidding committee for the 2004 Olympics. With her husband’s financial backing and support, Mrs. Angelopoulos forged ahead, becoming a leader of the bidding committee for the 2004 Olympics in 1997. With Rome as a hot contender, Greece had to work exceedingly hard to convince the Olympics Committee of their commitment and ability to host the summer Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. Athens won the bid, and the victory was priceless. However, when all was said and done, Mrs. Angelopoulos and her husband had spent millions to see this happen, without any financial support from the Greek government. Mrs. Angelopoulos endured insult after insult by the Greek government, and exhausted from all her work, left Greece to be with her family in England.

Three years later, this same woman was asked by the Greek Prime Minister to lead the organizational committee for the Olympics. Very little, if anything, had been done up until then to prepare Greece for the Olympics, and the IOC was threatening to give the Olympics to another country. Mrs. Angelopoulos rose to the challenge. With only four years, the amazing achievements accomplished by this woman were surely phenomenal. Of course, she gives credit to all the people who helped make the Olympics in Athens a memorable event, particularly her loving husband. The Greeks also rose to the occasion, and over 160,000 people volunteered for the Olympics, and 45,000 were chosen.

This is a story of a love-hate relationship with Greece, one that had Mrs. Angelopoulos achieving spectacular results for her country, and then leaving to nurse her family as well as her wounds, then returning to Greece to help with the Olympics.  We learn about the extraordinary life of this woman who had to fight for everything she wanted, and who succeeded.

I highly recommend this book not only as a documentary of a unique woman’s life, but a story that depicts hope and promise for all the women who struggle to achieve their dreams. Mrs. Angelopoulos has written the blueprint for success in her book, and this will be treasured for years to come.  In addition, the historical documentation, the delightful and entertaining moments that the author shares with the readers, and the many photographs that tell a story of their own, are all priceless. This story lifts the spirit to even higher heights and gives one hope that there are people like Mrs. Angelopoulos in this world of ours, making it a better place to live in.

Her book is available as hardcover or kindle:
Click here to see her book on Amazon:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

String Ensemble Concert

Today I will be performing in a string ensemble concert at the Hagerstown Community College in Maryland. This is the first time I will be performing violin with this ensemble, consisting of young and older students. I began this course several months ago on a cold January evening, hoping to see if I could play the violin. Being a violist all my life, this was a switch for me. I had to do it because of my neck injury a few years ago. I tried playing viola again last year, but I constantly felt pain while playing. The violin, however, is smaller and doesn't seem to cause pain like the viola does. So I have been playing that these past few months.

The violin really is a more interesting instrument. It is smaller, and daintier, but gives a lot of wallop when needed. It will croon, cry, laugh, squeal and do anything to get your attention! I am enjoying playing it, and the music is infinitely more interesting than the viola music of the past.

The string ensemble will be playing music by Sibelius, Albinoni, and Mozart (Eine Kleine Nactmusik). It will be followed by a choral concert given by students of HCC.

If I get a good recording of the concert, I will include it here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review: Cicada's Choice by Nitsa Olivadoti

A recent book review I did on a Greek author, Nitsa Olivdati, on her new book Cicada's Choice is now available on Amazon.com. Here is the book review:

"In reading Cicada's Choice I was immediately immersed in a different world, one filled with hope, fears, dreams, and a will for life. The setting is post-war Greece, and the clarity of thought, richness of culture, religious piety, and purity of actions of this Greek family is well documented here.

This story is about the author's grandmother, Eleni, whose nickname Tzitzika translates in English to cicada. She was affectionately called that name by family and friends in Greece because she buzzed around and was always singing, full of positive energy. My attention was captured from the beginning, as beautiful, sixteen-year-old Eleni embarks on her journey to America in 1950 to join her husband. Eleni is very attached to her mother and their separation is particularly touching. The author's expressive words, poetic and poignant at the same time, capture this moment very well.

Flashbacks from Eleni's past reveal how she came to leave for America. We read about young Eleni's experience during World War II in Greece, and its terrible effect on everyone around her. As Eleni grows up, we learn about Yianni, her childhood friend who is in love with her. The arrival of a mysterious handsome foreigner, George, captures Eleni's interest. George has already chosen someone to marry, but when he sees beautiful Eleni, he decides that he wants to marry her instead.

This book speaks across all cultures with the reality that difficult decisions need to be made in the most difficult of times. It was very difficult to put the book down and I enjoyed it immensely. I recommend it as reading for those interested in Greece, its culture, and its people as well as those interested in history, war, family, love, and sacrifice.

"Cicada's Choice" is the first novel in a series that the talented author, Nitsa Olivadoti, has written. I am looking forward to reading the second novel "Cicada's Consequence," which is scheduled to come out in the summer of 2013."


Here is the link to the book on Amazon.com (e-book):
http://www.amazon.com/Cicadas-Choice-ebook/dp/B00AH2LT8S/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Book Review: Pearls of Wisdom by John Kyriazoglou

Periodically, I do book reviews for Greek authors and other authors. Recently, I did a book review for John Kyriazoglou's book Pearls of Wisdom.



"It is known that ancient Greece contributed much to western civilization, including politics, art, literature, and philosophy. In this book, Mr. Kyriazoglou has carefully combined ancient Greek maxims and quotations from such famous resources as the Oracle of Delphi and the Seven Sages, as well as Greek philosophers to be applied to our hectic, modern life. The author believes that by reflecting and applying these “pearls of wisdom” modern individuals as well as businesses would lead better lives.

These ancient quotations are priceless and timeless. Thousands of years after they were written, we can still benefit greatly from what ancient wisdom offers. One of my favorite quotes from the book is by Pericles: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

The author uses excellent examples of how these ancient Greek maxims and quotations are relevant today. I highly recommend reading this book, which will be an important resource for every person intent on bettering his or her life as well as the environment around them."




Here is the link to the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Pearls-Wisdom-Ancient-Greece-ebook/dp/B007YNPR8Q/

Friday, March 29, 2013

CVSM Community Orchestra Concert

CVSM stands for : Cumberland Valley School of Music and the school is located in Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA. The community string orchestra consists of students from the school as well as performers from the community. I had the honor of playing in the first violin section with the orchestra this year.

This is my first time playing violin with an orchestra, although I have played violin in several small groups, and have also taught violin privately. I have played the viola most of my life, and later, professionally.

Due to a neck injury, I have turned to the violin and find it an easier instrument to play because it is smaller than a viola and weighs less.

I have included the link to the community orchestra's spring concert below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvUNkinIB7k

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Concert Event - CVSM Community String Orchestra

I am honored to be playing violin in the Cumberland Valley School of Music Community String Orchestra. Our upcoming concert is on March 26, 2013 at 8pm at the chapel at Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA. The concert is free and will include music by Mozart and Handel.

For years I played the viola and with several different orchestras. I also played professionally and have taught violin/viola privately. This is my first year that I have switched permanently to playing the violin. The reason is that I incurred a neck injury from a fall a few years back and this kept me from playing viola. With time, vitamins, and supplements, I began playing again. I noticed that the viola is a much bigger instrument than the violin and stressed my neck easily. Therefore, by switching to the violin, which is a smaller instrument, I have been able to continue my love of playing music.

I joined the community orchestra as a way for me to continue playing, but in a more relaxed atmosphere. As soon as the concert is recorded, I will try and include it here.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Greek Novels Translated to English

I recently was approached by Greek authors interested in having their Greek book translated and published into English. Unfortunately, I do not have personal experience with that.

What I do know, is that the publishing world is very competitive, and fickle. This is just for Americans trying to publish in the USA. When you add the variable of having a Greek book translated into English, it becomes more complex.

My advice is to promote your  book, in whatever country you have your book published in. Also, to look for a foreign rights agent willing to take on your book and submit to a traditional publisher. It will take time to find the right agent.

Another option is to hire a translator, then self-publish the book. This will require upfront costs. Alternatives are to translate the book yourself, and self-publish through a company like www.lulu.com who does not charge for publishing.

There are many avenues to take these days in the publishing world and it requires not only talent and creativity, but persistence.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Reviewing Books

In recent times, I have been asked by other authors to review their books. It is an honor for me to do so.

As an author, I like to be part of a writing community of authors supporting and helping each other. What better way to build a network of like-minded individuals than to help each other grow? Reviewing is one such process.

There are a few things to keep in mind when reviewing a book:

1)What kind of book review is it - do they want an extensive review or just a blurb?

2)Where will the review be submitted to? - on the author's website only, or on Amazon.com, etc?

3) There may come a time when reviewing an unpublished book in pdf form that you might see errors. It is all right to approach the author and ask if they'd be interested in having you make comments in the pdf file. If they agree, just click on the comment icon and it will open up on the side of the page. Type your comment, then click the x. It will store the comment. Then save the pdf file under a revised name.


Besides helping the author with your review, when you sign your name at the end of the review (your name and the name of your book), that is an easy way to promote yourself and your works.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

A Glimpse of Winter - A Poem


A Glimpse of Winter

Winter is here in all its white glory -
Snowflakes fall and tell a story,
Perched on trees, like white feathered birds, 
Snow is silent, it cannot be heard.

Where is the radiant sun, do come around
To thaw this cold and ice covered ground
And warm our frozen, shivering hearts
That await for life once more to start.

We hide for a spell, seeking instead 
The warmth of a cozy house, a bed,
Sipping hot cocoa by a toasty fire
Reminiscing of flowers, spring's desire

The white blanket of snow is bountiful
So calm and peaceful, so beautiful
I cannot close my eyes to this beauty,
That claims such timeless tranquility.


Patty Apostolides, 2012