Unmasked Launched; Rabbi Mysteries Unveiled; Yuko Ready to Fly

Unmasked contributors, from left, Renata Golden, editor Marcia Meier, Tania Pryputniewicz, Lisa Rizzo, and Barbara Rockman.

Unmasked contributors, from left, Renata Golden, editor Marcia Meier, Tania Pryputniewicz, Lisa Rizzo, and Barbara Rockman.

Marcia and Kathleen at Carr Winery.

Marcia and Kathleen at Carr Winery.

So much has happened in the month or so since I returned from Greece, both personally and professionally. Kathleen Barry and I launched our new anthology, Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty, at two events in October: A reading and signing at San Diego Writers, Ink, with four of the contributors to the book, and a reading and signing at Carr Winery in Santa Barbara. We had a wonderful turnout at both, and look forward to another reading at Tecolote Books in Montecito on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. Also in the works are readings in Venice at Beyond Baroque (8 p.m. January 28), and an early February performance at Center Stage Theater of "Unmasked LIVE, Women Read About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty." Stay tuned for more details. 

Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer signs a book for a fan.

Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer signs a book for a fan.

A week ago, more than 60 people came out to Chaucer's Books in Santa Barbara to celebrate the publication of Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer's second mystery novel, The Rabbi Wore a Fedora, and the reprinting of his first, The Rabbi Wore Moccasins

Next Saturday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m., Tecolote Books will help us bring out Dick Jorgensen's second memoir, Yuko, Friendship Between Nations, about his world tour as he traveled back to the States from Japan in 1957, and his subsequent work with The Asia Foundation in San Francisco, promoting improved ties between the two former World War II enemies. Come join us!

Keep all these Weeping Willow Books in mind as you make your holiday lists for the bookworms in your life!

Last Night in Greece

We spent one last night in Athens before catching our home-bound flights to London and LA. Rob and I had dinner at Orizontes, atop Mount Lycabettus overlooking the whole city. It was stunning at night, with views of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis. Here are some photos from the restaurant and our hotel.

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The colossal Temple of Zeus, which took more than six hundred years to build. There are only sixteen columns left of the original 104. It's more than impressive when you see how enormous the columns are. 

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I'll write more in coming days about the Greek island of Rhodes, and our visit to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas, the Sanctuary of the Cats, on Cyprus. I left my tzedakah dollar at the sanctuary, where nuns continue hundreds of years of taking in stray cats. The dollar was given to me by my dear friend Arthur Gross Schaefer, a rabbi. In the Jewish tradition, one writes a Jewish blessing for safe travels on the dollar, and at the furthest point of the journey, the traveler gives the dollar to someone in need or a charitable cause. The cats were first brought to Cyprus and the monastery in 326 AD to control venomous snakes, and they continue in that role today. 

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The mosaic above the entrance to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas.  

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Two of the residents. They do not necessarily have an easy life. One of the cats we saw was missing half of her face, no doubt from an encounter with a snake.  

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Cyprus, Home of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love

We leave tomorrow after five nights on the island of Cyprus, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia. It remains divided between the Turkish territory in the northern third and the Greek Republic of Cyprus in the south, which is the only officially recognized state. We visited Larnaca, the largest city on the island, with beautiful beaches, and Paphos on the western coast, where there are many ancient ruins sites. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and romance, is said to have born in the sea near Paphos. We visited her famed Baths of Aphrodite and the Temple ruins that were devoted to her before the Roman era and Christianity. 

Paphos has a lovely harbor, where numerous restaurants and tavernas and souvenir shops vie for tourists' attention. We swam in the gorgeous aquamarine Mediterranean several times, and it was clear and warm. Here are some of my photos from our time here. 

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The view of the Mediterranean from our hotel in Larnaca. 

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A traditional Cypriot meze, with sausages, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, ham, fried halloumi (a delicious cheese), and tzatziki (yogurt dip). And, of course Cypriot beer--Leon.  

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Rob at the ruins at Kourion, near Lemessos.  

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Inlaid mosaic at Kourion.   

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Crete's Chania and Red Beach Near Matala

Rob and I spent five nights on Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. We flew into Heraklion, then rented a car to drive to the charming harbor town of Chania. Our hotel, Domus Renier, was exquisite and the owner, Litsa Paraskevaki, was warm and welcoming. She spent three years renovating a very old building, and it is beautiful with attention to every detail.  

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The harbor at Chania.  

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Domus Renier is the building with the green and brown exterior.

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Yup.  

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A BIG beer.  

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Chania lighthouse.  

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A detail--exposed original wall at Domus Renier.  

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Rob with Litsa, the owner of Domus Renier.  

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Original details were retained or re-created.  

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Red Beach, near Matala in southern Crete.  

A Whirlwind Week

It seems like yesterday when we were in Mykonos. In truth, we've been to Santorini and Crete, and arrived today on the Greek island of Rhodes. Somewhere along the way I lost several days to an upper respiratory infection and a trip to the urgent care clinic in Chania, Crete. Even so, we managed to do plenty and see much of these spectacular places. Rob even made me climb a steep mountain to get to Red Beach (a fav nude beach, especially for Germans, it seems) near Matala in Crete.  I've included several of my fav places below (sorry, no nude pics).  And, with antibiotics I'm back among the living. We're on Rhodes for three days, then Cyprus! 

 

Our hotel on Santorini, the Volcano View.  

Our hotel on Santorini, the Volcano View.  

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Early morning view to the west.

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Santorini sunset.  

We explored both Fira and Oia, the two tiny towns on Santorini, but they were both very touristy with tons of souvenir shops. We took lots of pictures though--there are stunning churches and mosques here.   

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St. James cathedral in Oia, Santorini.  

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We spent a lovely afternoon on a catamaran cruise while on Santorini. 

We spent a lovely afternoon on a catamaran cruise while on Santorini. 

I'll put up another post with images from Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands, of which there are 150. 

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Two Nights in Mykonos

The island of Mykonos is known for its gorgeous beaches, white buildings with blue shutters and doors, and vibrant nightlife. Even the shops stay open till 2 a.m.  While we were there, we took a half-day tour of the nearby island of Delos, a World Heritage site with ruins that go back 6,000 years.  

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The Hotel Vencia on Mykonos.  

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The view from our hotel room.  

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Delos ruins and harbor.  

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Inlaid tile in the atrium of a house on Delos--from the 6th century BCE.