Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 26 Wear Purple In Support of Epilepsy Awareness

As the person formerly known as a young girl with epilepsy, I am wearing purple tomorrow to show my support of epilepsy awareness. This is easy for me--purple is my favourite colour. Purple makes me happy, it is complimentary to my olive complexion and it makes people want to say things like, "Wow! You look really good in purple" or "That's a great colour for you".

Wearing purple is easy. Epilepsy is difficult.

My epilepsy announced itself during one of the hardest times that my parents ever had to endure. Theyd made the decision to migrate from Greece to Australia for the opportunities to work hard and make a better way of life for their young family--Gregory, Demetra and their two young girls, Despina and Antonia. Times were tough, even in a country filled with opportunities for all hard-working people. We had lived with relatives, lived in a house that we shared with a number of other families and we were now living in a two-room shack built on cinder blocks. It was great! It even had a tin roof.

While my sister and I experienced absolutely no hardship and felt loved and appreciated, our parents experienced difficulty after difficulty. The four of us slept in the same bed--the parents at one end and the two young sisters, ages 7 and 9, slept at the other end. It was in that bed that we all woke up to the new addition in our family. Despina was having an epileptic seizure, but the problem was...nobody knew what it was. We were all scared.

What probably lasted only a minute or less, felt like an eternity of not being able to coordinate what was in my brain with any part of my body. I felt as if I could not breathe. I could hear in my head the things that I was trying to say, but the words were never spoken--my mouth did not work, no matter how hard I worked to make it speak the thoughts in my head. It was not good.

I was taken to the family doctor who recommended a specialist; from that point on, every visit to the specialist was a special occasion for me. My mother, an accomplished seamstress, found a way to scavange enough fabric to make me a new dress--a party dress--and I'd get dressed up and head off to the specialist with her. It was special treatment from the special doctor and from my ever-so-special mother.

The new member of our family--this epilepsy, this spoiled rotten brat who demanded attention at the most inappropriate times--was with us for a long time. Each year EEGs (electro-encephalo-graphs)were conducted with probes glued to my head, there was medicine to control the "shorts" in my brain activity and there was the fear that my parents tried to hide. I, on the other hand, felt normal, average and as if this was nothing extraordinary. Isn't it wonderful to be a kid and take even the most difficult physical challenges in stride?

After a number of seizure-free years, I was weaned off the medicines and uneventfully slid into my new life as a person without epilepsy. It turns out that young girls with the hereditary form of epilepsy can often become seizure-free once their hormonal activity turns them into young women. Rha! Rha! for the "monthly curse"!!!

I've never felt sorry for myself. I'm telling my story so that others know it's okay, that children are resilient and that life goes on smoothly and normally, even with a difficult health challenge. Life really IS good.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Playing at Susan Henderson's

From, Susan Henderson's fun and lit-savvy blog. Thanks for letting me play in the park, Susan.

The question of the month has to do with which bookstores you visit or use, be it the big boys of the internet or the Indie stores. This was my post.

What is your bookstore buying habit? Feel free to comment here...or check out Susan's blog at

I'm at for the ease of it. I live in a small town with two "real" bookstores and one mall store. One of the bookstores doesn't have the variety I'd like, but the 2nd one is great with a wonderful staff. Neither of the two stores has the social ambience that I like, and I'm usually so busy that I hardly ever visit. The mall store...I cannot remember the last time I visited.

When I'm in Greenville, SC, (one hr. away) I love going to B&N. I'll take my time visiting and I usually spend way too much money. Going to Greenville is usually a multi-stop day, so it's a planned event and I never feel rushed or too busy to stop at B&N; it's also close to the wine store that we buy from, so it's convenient.

My favourite bookstore, however, is in Asheville, NC. It's called Malaprop's and they're also online. I LOVE Asheville downtown and Malaprop's is right there in the middle of all the other stuff that I love (good eats, weird-looking people, art galleries, coffee shops, primitive teak furniture mall, lots of live music venues, an Indian restaurant and a beer garden!!!), so there's a big pull. Asheville's about 2 hours away, so it's another of those planned visits. If I lived in Asheville, you'd be able to track me down at Malaprop's. They have lectures and discussions and author appearances going on all the time!

Usually, with, I'm buying used books (so I can afford more) or I'm looking for friends' books that I might not find at the local stores. There's also that convenience thing (again!), which means that I can look for or order a book at 3 in the morning, if that's when I'm in the mood or have the time.That's the good, the bad and the ugly of it. Convenience wins most of the time. :(

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Holding On to My Mayonnaise...what's THAT all about?

I found the title for my food-based memoir. It came to me this weekend, on the drive home from Atlanta.

See if you find this intriguing enough?

Holding On to My Mayonnaise

There is a clue hidden in this photograph. Stay tuned for more information. It has to do with cultural identity and cooking and people and love and death and all that stuff sandwiched in between.

Are you more confused now?

Are you more curious? I hope you will check back soon to see what it's all about.