I've been Chicken Little-ing about my trusty point and shoot camera the last few months of our adventure but now it doesn't matter. Lori bought me a Nikon D3100 DSLR with 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm lenses a couple of weeks back. Yeah Lori! It was on sale in Target so she picked it up for me, ain't she swell? I still don't know how to use it but it sure is nice. Now to do some adventuring to try out the different features.
School started again for the kids. Kalle is in 6th grade this year and Karl is in 9th grade so each one entered a new building and different class schedule with their classmates which is good. The classes they were able to take is about what I figured they would be. They were both in the AP or advanced curriculum when we left and after testing for the AP curriculum when we returned they didn't get into the AP classes. They did qualify for some pre-AP classes (between general education and AP courses) but schooling in England is basically crap. Or maybe I should be thankful for the excellent Brownsburg school system where they will be spending most of their formative years.
First day of school in mid-August. Not yeah. (One of my first pictures with my new camera, sorry for the fuzziness.)
First day of school in England doesn't seem to be two years ago already. But it was.
Another fun part of party weekend was seeing the Fosters and Stines. The six of us were all at Michigan Tech at the same time but didn't all know each other. The girls were all part of a group of trouble making ne'er-do-wells but the guys didn't know each other. Needless to say we always have a good time and try to see both families multiple times a year as we are all within a few hours drive of each other. Another fun weekend together but I stayed up way to far past midnight both nights and ended up being sluggish most of Sunday as my body reminded me of my age. My spirit is still willing but my body is just not able any more.
The rabble rousers. Nothing a big tree and roll of rope can't fix, right Uncle Rick?
Some names to go along with the faces, from left to right; Tammy Foster, Lori Seppanen, and Christy Stine. The trouble makers.
More names and faces, from left to right; Jim Foster, Jay Seppanen, and Dan Stine. And the good guys.
Since we have spent most weekends around home I've been itching to get out and about. Enter Darby who forwarded us the 40th Annual Greek Fest in Carmel flyer. Lori and I loved Greece so we decided to check it out. Plus I need to start using my DSLR to figure it out. We ended up going on Saturday and spent a couple of hours there. Admission was free since it was the 40th year so at least we got what we paid for. Overall the festival was kind of small with about twelve tents in the church parking lot. All but two of the tents were food tents so we were a little disappointed in the Greek displays. We did try the food and tour the church so it was an okay stop but I don't think we will be going back any time soon.
Ahhhhh Santorini, we miss you. Oia is on the left while Fira (and the winding donkey trail road down to the new port) is in the middle. Our hotel was on the right side just before Akrotiri. The island in the middle is the remnants of the volcano that is credited with starting the story of Atlantis. I forget what the name of the island on the bottom of the picture.
Lori's buddy the pelican overlooks the windmill and the blue domed, white washed buildings.
Dana Johnson Pic - Saganaki (fried cheese) and pita bread. It tasted great, the peppery spice on the cheese was just enough to add flavor. This and the church artwork were the only items that reminded us of Greece, the rest of the fest was more Greek imitations than memory awakening reminders.
Kevin Coleman Pic - The beer was from Cyprus. C'mon Greek Fest, you can do better.
Inside the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church listening to the guides tell us about the church and paintings.
They brought seven Greek painters over to paint the church walls and ceiling. Beautiful artwork.
The painters used the egg yolk painting method to paint the interior. I forget the specifics but the egg whites and yolks are separated, the yolks are combined, a small amount of egg white is added to the yolks, then the color is added and stirred. Expensive and time consuming but hard to argue with the results.
And one more for the art lovers. Note the old city walls of Jerusalem behind the scene.
The altar area.
A small painting, just as crisp and distinctive as the walls.
Looking at the center of the church. Not all of the walls are painted so the Greek painters probably will be making a return journey.
The outside of the church and one of the fest tents.
Dana Johnson Pic - My Greek salad on the left and Lori's hummus on the right. Both dishes were disappointing.
The church in the distance on our way to the car then home. We opted to pay five bucks and park on the grounds instead of searching for the free park and ride lot. I've spent five bucks on more foolish things, for example I used to pay five bucks for a flat, bitter, and warm pint of beer back in Merry Old England. This was a much better deal.
A Carol Seppanen Book Update - Our stop in Florence made such a deep impact on me I read Inferno by Dan Brown and am now reading The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, translated by Allen Mandelbaum, 798 pages. The Divine Comedy is considered a classic and now that I am reading it I understand the Florence artwork better but it is a difficult read. For one it was written in the early 1300's and covers his perceived injustices with the people and times so most of the references are new to me. Mandelbaum does an excellent job explaining the references in the Cantos but most of the late 1200's Italian events and people are beyond my scope of knowledge. An interesting read overall but it can get confusing and plodding at times as he literally skewers his mortal enemies. The book details Dante's walk through heaven and hell as guided by the poet Virgil and is split into three sections - Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Right now I have read through Inferno and am well into Purgatorio. The book can be quite graphic and imaginably torturous to the condemned at times so I can imagine that it caused quite the controversy when it was published. Not sure which is worse, a scorned woman or a scorned writer. I know, I know... it's a woman.
And finally Lori is happy. Relieved might be a better word actually. I will be gainfully employed next month when I start my Project Engineer job for a local engineering consulting company. New company but similar job to what I have been doing the last ten or so years so there shouldn't be any surprises. I took most of July off from job hunting so I can't complain too much about how long it took me to find a job. It will be nice to feel like a contributing member to society again and it will be even nicer to be a two income family again but I still am a little sad to say goodbye to my work at home and travel every six weeks life style I became accustomed to while in the UK. I think I may be the only one missing the travel though. The kids don't want to go ANYWHERE while Lori only misses the international vacations. It was fun while it lasted but I knew life would run us down again eventually.
Until next time,
Thanks for listening,