Weekend Sleeper, Mover and Shaker...

Weekend Sleeper, Mover and Shaker...

I'm not the type to naturally sleep in late, really. This weekend, both days, I have woken up at 10 am. Unusual, yes. Embraced, yes- yet a perplexing embrace. Perplexing because I have to take the events leading up to this aberration into consideration. Folks, I've been doing nothing for a month but teaching classes, lesson planning at work, lesson-planning at home weekday nights, and then lesson-planning on the weekends...

I didn't sign up for this shit, did I? Well, I guess I did- but really I didn't. That's all imma say about this, but let it be known that things are changing. Time to stir up the pot. I'll take one 'Plan B' with an extra side of MORE TIME TO LIVE MY LIFE OUTSIDE WORK please... Just saying. Nuff said.

So... more to come it seems from that last paragraph. No worries. I'll update all as inspiration hits me.

So, running-interruptus, hit me this morning, because of my late awakening, which really isn't 'late' by the way. What I do enjoy from this prodigious event is that my body is reacting to extra stress put on my body by having more body- unconscious time- hence the sleep. I love that my body knows what to do when it is under unnecessary attack! Smart body.

Running is one of the things I most enjoy when under stress attack, but it feels so relaxing to be in my body right now- the kind of relaxing that happens after a run honestly. Anyway, I figure sleeping is akin to running- this weekend anyway. The weather is sweet as, so I'm thinking I'm missing one of the last great weekends of warmth. Whatever.

Nonetheless, it's been a fantastic weekend full of adventures with friends. The Gargoyles, we have this tradition we started right here in our very own village: Thursday night pau hana is Fish Night at ByBalikci, or chicken wings at the other place. It's the one night that it's okay to be overly dramatic when describing the work-week, I figure.

Friday night we ate fish (as Thursday was chicken wing night) and continued on with adult beverages at da kine's place. We managed to find a new series to become attached to as well: WestWorld. Man, you gotta keep up with that one... No straying off on abstract concepts in your mind, because it will be working overtime to keep up with WestWorld's straying concepts! Refreshing, yes. It's like television that doesn't make you feel guilty because you're just sloughing off watching mindless tv serials. So that kind of television makes you feel good that you're watching, right. Hard to believe I'm saying this since television was so horrible to watch up until 15 years ago.  I came into these series things late though as I had the jungle that I lived in to keep me entertained during all hours back in the Islands.  Now, THAT is a worthy scene to become absorbed in! Anyway, this tv serial thing, that will never finish because there are far too many serials to keep up with, is addictive. It's almost annoying. I wonder if I will ever be able to stop myself from this... Prolly when I return back to a jungle. That's right folks, I will return to jungle living- a different jungle, but nonetheless, jungle life is my homeostasis.

That long-winded paragraph was, I think, trying to convince you all that you should indeed check out WestWorld. Yesterday, we circum-ambulated Beyoğlu. We headed to TomTom Kaptan Street, Istanbul's newest 'trendy' district, to see and be seen in the glorious sunshine that saturated the day. The "Tasarım Tomtom Sokakta" (Design in Tomtom Street), event was in its 4th day. The neighborhood used to be home to  the city's Levantine society, in  the late 18th century. It takes its name, the cami (mosque) as well, from an Ottoman seafarer, Tomtom Mehmet Kaptan ("Captain" in English). Admittedly, it was a 'tony' affair; nonetheless, a good time was had by all.

We made our way down to the tram and hopped on; then we hopped off at Kapalıçarşı, en route to The Grand Bazaar. I had a mission-2 actually. One to meet up with Selin, who was in town, and the other to hit up Irfan in his jewelry shop at the Bazaar. He's my 'go-to' guy for both jewels and jewel repair. Only jewel repair was on my mind, a direct link to what is in my pocket these daze (lint), so it was a quick and dirty trip. It's always a maze upon entering the Bazaar, yesterday being no different. We kept asking for directions to 'Irfan' and subsequently being told that there are 'many Irfans'! Haha. We always manage to find our way though, so this is good. I do love experiencing that ancient metropolis. 

Last, we headed down the back alleys to Eminönü to bargain with some coffee sellers, etc. Somehow at some point in the push-and-shove behavior of this area- always plugged up with locals coming/going about doing their shopping at the weekend, we became enmeshed in a nearly freak-out stampede situation. It just happened out of nowhere; some of the main artery walkways were clogged up with people standing, haggling, etc. Everything suddenly slowed down and we all became pressed against each other. I instinctively hold my purse next to my body tight and kept feeling it hitting my butt- hard, like a pinch.  I then realized that some dude was grabbing my ass.  I see the asshole and then something came out of me that was buried deep inside, and in the matter of a few seconds in passing, I looked at him, he at me, and I shouted at the top of my lungs- above the cacophony -, "FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCK". He quickly averted his wide-eyes away. It was all a mere moment. No one knew what was going on. Some hijabi ladies, coming from the opposite direction towards us, heard me and their eyes were wide open. We were all pressed against each other. I remember da kine asking me what happened, and I shouted back at her that the dude was grabbing my ass- hard. The ladies heard, and I knew they understood English. It was just so weird to see the woman's face, contorted, looking at my (I'm sure) contorted face. A moment in time that I won't soon forget. I looked at her and thought, you know what I'm talking about. I know you get it. 

Anyway, it was a moment of power I somehow felt. It felt so good to go off on that dude. He didn't care. Nothing happened to him, except that someone called him on his shit. It didn't matter though. It was so crowded. He knew it though. I locked eyes with him and then blew up at him. Yep, felt good. Da kine asked why I didn't slap him.  I thought about it, but didn't have an answer. I've never had to do that. 

Happy with the momentum with the day, we decided to head back to Beyoğlu. Back on the metro and off at Şişhane. A short walk later and we arrived at our favorite watering hole in the city, Corner Irish Pub. Icing on the day's cake. Beer and burgers; the American dream right here in Istanbul. Love that place. We can't figure out, though, if the handsome, nice guy that always greets us is the owner or the manager. No matter, I'll keep on coming back for more :)

Satiated, we hopped back on the magic metro that carried us back to Darüşşafaka and jumped on a dolmus back to Büyükdere. Voila! A night cap at da kine's and we decide it's a good idea to re-watch S1E1 of WestWorld... just in case we missed something from the previous night.


Sunday Summer Express Sunday

Istanbul, through a jet-lagged perspective...

the city awakens

ready and waiting

Büyükdere has sleepy eyes

this canine caught my attention

interesting that out of all the benches along with Bosporus, Dog picks the one fully covered with seagull droppings!

Dogg being a dog

Dogg wanting a pat on the cranium 

Sunday Summer Express Sunday…

Back at this end of the planet (41.0082° N, 28.9784° E), I’m easing back into my Istanbul groove.  Transitioning (jet-lag) always is enjoyable in its ‘feeling strange in your body rhythm’ kinda way.  You embrace it because you want to, or you fight it because you want to. Either way, you experience both sensations, sometimes in unison. Mind-bending.
Today is Sunday Summer Express Sunday… Yes, it is still quite warm- Google says it’s 90ºF yet as I took my body out for a run this morning I figured it to be mid 80’s- but there is just something in the air that whispers autumn. I can feel it coming in the air at night, hold on… Yea, I know, Phil Collins cheesy…
The Sunday Summer Express Sunday train to autumn wheels a churnin, the wheels are turning, ready to travel and wax poetic through life here in the ‘bul for another year. Another good ride I figure. They’re all good rides, quite honestly.
Speaking of rides, I had a recent soft-thriller; a whirlwind journey to Cluj Napoca, Romania. Our intentions were purely fluid- to pick up spirits to journey back to Istanbul with, and whatever else happens… Cluj is the ‘gateway to Transilvania (it seems to be spelt like this everywhere, thereby forcing me to believe this is its correct spelling). It was a short and sweet journey through Central/East Europe while delving more into their history, both recent and past. 
I was unaware of the Hungarian factor present, although it makes perfect sense what with the porous borders throughout Europe with many dualities at its intersections. What is a border after all except an artifice with much more gray than black or white. With borders come culture clashes, absorption, etc. Its people are diverse and beautiful and kind- like all places I’ve visited on this planet really.
When I travel I like to see the similarity yet diverse nature of all places. I know, it sounds a bit ridiculous as you read through that one again and again… More justly, I like to reason why I can’t sum things up by using categories- much as we all try so as to relate an experience that all can collectively (perhaps) agree upon. There is a temporary quality where one meets people in situations where you will never be in that spot again with this same person, but realize your meeting was something monumental and insignificant at the same time. You might never communicate with these new friends again in terms of physical location, but you still grow as individuals whose lives you can, however remotely, keep track of. This is something about social media in which I endorse wildly.
When I travel time is more temporary, I could say if I had to perhaps fit a category to describe this feeling! Anyway, I met an interesting and diverse crew of new characters in my book of life. Some of the moments played out as cartoon characters in a modern adaptation of a Who Done It (there was much Pink Panther watching on TV- how many Romanians describe learning English). The ‘Who Done It’ involves EdVice and myself along with two Lithuanian Lads who save the day, or night as it was- late night. 
There was this bar across the way that we fancied during our stay. A moody bar just in my style of existence; nothing flashy or pretentious this bar, just your convenient neighborhood bar in an interesting section of the city just off of the city center. The theme was music and retro. Johnny Cash rules as a heavyweight in this here watering hole.  Yes! That’s it, it’s a friendly neighborhood watering hole (forgot name- must look up…).I think it was La Tevi?  If not, that was the bar next door...
Walking back late to the hostel (Retro Hostel) one evening, we came upon the bar, doors open and inviting. We see the Lads and sit with them for a nightcap. Reveling in good cheer and good company, I get more comfy and take my purse off and set it on the back of my chair- with a semi-watchful eye…
EdVice was up at the bar earlier and this drunk dude ran into him. He was wasted so 'whatever'- is likely what EdVice thought as this occurred. Flash forward to our shenanigans at the table and out of nowhere (I didn’t even see) said dude comes tumbling back by our table- perhaps en route to the bathroom, as that is all that is back there and there is no backtracking here so one must exit the same way they entered… Both Lads see that dude has grabbed my purse and is stumbling back towards the back room.  They jump up and exclaim what’s going down and they are gone- BAM. Before I know it, we are all in the back room, the Lads already have my purse back and the dude is being given “the talk” by the bartender & bar patrons.  We are back in our seats story-telling already the events- as if to realize it will be re-told countless times around the fire instilling a sense of oral history charm back into our species.
I kind of wake up out of my stupor (remember, I’m only tipsy but we did have a long day of walking and par-taking in adult beverages) upon hearing the Lads discuss that the dude still hasn’t left the back room- my purse snatcher is still in the building! Suddenly I’ve acquired this sense of urgency to go back there and read him my riot act… I declare my intentions to the crew and am up. I next remember that the entire crew is back at my heels lifting me back as I’m talking rather loudly to the dude, who is so impaired that he can’t possibly know what is going on, and telling him how I’m going to destroy his life. Apparently I’m doing this in a rather animated way- as EdVice tells it. The Lads can prolly add to the story here as well. All ends well and we trot back to the hostel where we immediately begin to re-tell the story to the night watch hostel dude- a very proud Hungarian-Romanian and subsequently gave us a regional history lesson. He happened to be wearing traditional Hungarian garb as well.
Oh yea, there was also this mercenary dude who came to my rescue.  I guess he saw all the hullabaloo that was going down and wanted in on the action too.  I remember the bartender(s) telling me to calm down. I guess I looked really imposing!  Anyway, it was all-okay in the end.  We had a grand day of trekking around Cluj’s streets looking for the seediest and the finest supermarkets while taking breaks and finding watering holes along the way.  We met countless do-gooders who helped us out, and have a great story to re-tell and refine… ahem.
So, that explains the cartoon-character part of the story.  I felt like we were in this Boris and Natasha kinda scene where the villain was this goofy, clumsy, loveable character… Also, whenever a mercenary shows up in a story, you know it is kinda destined to be a classic.
There is also this new steampunk bar we checked out, Atomic Cafe. Actually this is kinda an anthem of Romania, perhaps.  We found another, really cook, steampunk coffee shop while coming back from the cemetery- a very cool cemetery by the way.
All in all, many interesting places to check out. I would go back to drive through the Carpathian Mountains and camp out along the way.  And the castles… I would like to check more out- especially in the Transilvanian Alps.  Also, there was this haunted park that I wanted to check out in Cluj, but we didn’t have time to do so J
Okay, I’m tiring of this story now.  It’s time to retire to my place and watch a few episodes of Narcos Season 2… Shame to leave this beautiful day to go inside, but in celebration of actually being able to carry a spring-loaded curtain rod all the way from Hawaii to Istanbul on all my flights without being thrown off for carrying a possible WMD, I decided to hang up my red and orange silk curtains that travel to every country I’ve lived in so far on this journey. 
It’s so pretty, the way the sunlight filters through my large window and casts this sublime tequila-sunrise hue across my walls. Even in the brightest of daylight, when the curtains are closed it is dark, cool and one thinks about mai-tais being a part of the color wheel. Yea, I’ve earned this day; I already ran this morning and did a little people-watching too.
first thirst station stop

A fine time at Cafe Bulgakov which, incidentally, I happen to be reading one of his books- The Master and Margarita. Coincidence? I think not...

wandering around the hood

hood graffiti

cats rule

a quiet cemetery filled with mystery and intrigue on an overcast morning

I wonder

another gem


Carnival knowledge; otherwise known as jet lag delight

There's something about jet lag that I covet; there is bliss in an absurd time schedule. Because Hawaii is 12 time zones and up to 13 hours time difference away from Turkey, my body goes through a lot of change when I travel back and forth between homes. As with my body, so does my mind.

Wherever my body exists, as opposed to wherever my mind thinks I am, I enjoy the nights. It's like a transformation into something different. By something different, I mean I see the night different- even if I often enough stay up until 2 am.

Something comes alive.  It's dreamy. Take today for instance; I went to work at 8 am, and returned home at 9 am... Yes, that is another story; I failed to read the email on the previous day (because I, again, left early- due to jet lag of course) stating that if we didn't have anything to do we didn't have to show up... So... I show up - it takes an hour before I even read that email- and start to organize. BAM and I'm so fast outta there on a slow dolmus back to Büyükdere, my village away from my village. I'm re-familiarizing all the sights, smells and sounds of Istanbul. I do love this about returning- anywhere that holds a place in my heart actually. Now that I have my sea legs back, I venture forth to 'our çay bache' (tea garden) for the requisite Turkish-style bitter tea served in dainty tulip-shaped thin glass with 2 cubes of sugar. Note that I only use 1/2 of 1 sugar cube... and only because it is necessary...

EdVice eventually shows up and we wax poetic about our recent travels. The day is a beauty; mid 80s with a light wind to kiss away the sweet, sweat dewdrops amassing as soldiers on the battlefield of ones upper lip. I proudly display my new belt ("gay leather belt") as EdVice so faux-flippantly describes it. We end up concurring that it is, in fact, utilitarian, if not a bit retro. I'd like to think a more modern adaptation for its meaning; Burning Man residue that is city-slicker friendly vibe.

We cover all topics of immediate interest; more importantly I declare a decree- demanding that 'we' (Brownie Walkers of Shame) venture off at the weekend to check out the newest Bosporus Bridge that finally opened to traffic this summer in our neck of the woods. Kitty Kat talk obviously surfaces. Our çay bache is in fact the nesting ground of their newest edition, Betty Poop (the suffix is my invention alone- as a term of endearment stemming from her wonder years and certain difficulties she experiences in her transition becoming a kept kitty kat.

Our walkabout consisted of cruising to a few markets... another byproduct of jet lag is that it becomes a free ticket to shun from exercising that carries, to a certain degree, a meaningful amount of validity. Whatever.  I'll take it. EdVice, just returning from Canada was outfitted in autumnal fashion ultimately complimented with a felt Fedora. We are obviously both excited for the arrival of fall weather and all the good cheer that rides alongside that wave. Not that you would gather that from my summer outfit.

Yes, back to that summer outfit and the ultimate accessory I was sporting, affectionately now known as my 'gay leather belt'. It is indeed special- mostly because every time I wear it I will think about MisSimone, who gave it to me! I can honestly say that it is a perfect city accessory if one doesn't like to carry a purse, etc. There are enough pockets in it to carry keys, money, chapstick/lipstick and cell phone without looking overloaded. I'm totes digging on it.  I will rock the shit outta that piece. It's cute with an edge to boot.

Back home doing my thing, I eventually fall into deep slumber- for perhaps up to 3.5 hours... Not good.  Here I am at 10:45pm totally buzzing, which is nothing unusual in itself, but will continue on into the wee hours of early morning I already know. This is it though; this is the addiction to jet lag. I guarantee you all that these frivolous hours will turn to gold. Whatever that means to me, I realize I cannot possibly describe to you all... but I think many will get :) 

I've already updated my Spotify with new music after stalking FB friends' lists, etc. I've worn out the kitties with their new toys. I've brushed their fur to the point of shine so bright that their coats reflect light- sparkaliscious! I've unpacked all my delightful potions. I'm digging on my daybed set-up that perhaps Settar, Mizgin or Zeyneb set up- each had a stint in kitty-kat sitting during my travels. I'm indulging in succulent, juicy nectarines that are at every green grocers right now- fashionably in season.  Right now I'm multi-tasking, thinking how to stream Hemlock Grove season 2 since Netflix Turkey sucks and it's not showing up as an option...

The list is endless. Jet lag nights helps me to check off things on this endless list I find.  One year, upon return to Maui, I watched the entire 1st season of Game of Thrones in 3 days of dazed stupor. Speaking of dazed stupor, thanks for the use of your couch for that Katie-girl!

Speaking of Katie-girl, we have this thing for podcasts.  Perhaps this is a thing for all archaeologists though, to get through all those mind-boggling hours spent monitoring bulldozers while standing in the hot sun, or the pouring rain, or relentless winds blowing sand in your face... Anyway, I have 2 new fab podcasts to soak up, one of which I already knew about but was holding off on.  So, Serial season 2 is revving up- such as season 1 did with Adnon and the murder mystery.  Season 2 deals with an American soldier stationed in Afghanistan who goes AWOL one day as he tires of the war machine. In short, he gets kidnapped by Al Qaeda, blah blah blah. I'm sure most of you heard the news story when it went down about 2 years ago?

The 2nd podcast is just golden. Katie-girl is right; it is OUR podcast. You see, we were semi-serious years back in wanting to do an archaeology podcast, "As the Trowel Turns", coined by us and countless others no doubt... I even made up a twitter account and posted snippets and pictures. We coveted this idea, yet had no time to deal with it. My Favorite Murder has everything we envisioned in ours; dialogue, intrigue and fun, except this one is about murder. The 2 chicks have a great chemistry with enough content, comedy and drama all in a laid-back style of letting it come out as it will. Their storytelling style is just easy to follow. I mean, I'm not even that interested in murder!  It is really about their dynamics.

So, I think I'm over the computer at this point in the evening and will move on to something more organic. Speaking of organic - trees, paper- I'm reading The Master and Margarita right now. Just started it so getting to know the characters.  This is always fun when entering into a new book that you are getting into.

UPDATE: Sweet kitty Shaika Spot was lying next to my feet and it just wasn't close enough and she had to get up and lay ON my feet. *Collective "awwww" I can hear from afar right now* The kitties and I had a fab reunion- as always.  Shaika is just lovey dovey, and cagey, and curious. Sami Bey is more introspective, I guess.  He is analyzing, wondering. He plays the good cop bad cop all in one, starting off as indifferent bad cop. Then when he's had enough shunning me, he creeps up to rest next to me, giving in to my affections, if cautiously. I love seeing his transformation.  The kits; their personalities are so different. Like kids, I suppose. Yea, family. My beast family :)

It's feeling pretty good to be back in the 'bul indeed


Run Holly Run S25E4

Captain's Log: Stardate August 5, 2016

Feeling like I've totally transitioned into a mid-foot striker from a heel-striker!  Upon reflection what was most enjoyable about the process was the process itself; I had a desire to change something, and I did.  Baby steps it took, but results-driven. 

This morning's run can only be described as such: familiar, reflective, wonder-filled, scented. The roads yielded 3 huge liliko`i and coffee was awaiting me upon returning to my Maui HQ!

What is so strikingly different is how people come through this moving picture show afoot. Regardless if they are driving, or biking or walking or running, everybody catches each others eyes, nods, waves, or says some nicety ('good morning', 'aloha', etc).

There is a connection.  Not a obligatory or required connection, but a genuine interest is how I would describe it.  Perhaps because the island is, for the most part, rural. People just move at a slower pace in the tropics- certainly on the windward side of Maui :) 

As I'm running, I'm aware of everything around me. As I was passing by on Honamu St., I heard a rustling in the tall bushes across the street.  The country roads here are typically lined with (tall) cane grass. When running you can hear the winds coming through the grasses, carrying soothing sounds and scents to enchant me. Fueled by this all the while soaking up the scenery gives me the greatest pleasure. Pastures of gradations of green so vibrant that you see through the hues to see oxygen transfer. Bursts of sunlight struggle to break through forested areas.  When it does, it is surely as magnificent as King Midas's touch.

Pollen floats through the air marching to its own erratic beat unwilling to do so in an orderly fashion. So haphazardly flying towards your entity, its entity passed through your being leaving you ignited with heightened energy and awareness.  You can feel the passing. It reminds me of watching Star Trek when I was a kid and being so fascinated every time the crew stepped inside their clear, tubular space-deck portals. That vision of their bodies inside the clear tube and watching them disappear into nothingness and recombine elsewhere, I loved that. I have always tried to liken that 'feeling' at different times in my life. I'm happy enough to report that I've been successful a few times... more on that sometime- maybe...

There I am, Starship Enterprise, floating (on my Saucony Kinavara 4s), traveling through time as pollen molecules invade my accepting/anticipating body. Ears as finely tuned as Lieutenant Uhura's, I hear the earth's rhythm. Clouds march by as tiny envoys of relief in the battle of sweat vs too much sweat... I am as inquisitive as Mr. Spock; there is logic in nature, indeed. Beam me the f*ck up indeed!

But I digress... the rustling in the bushes... Thinking/envisioning/manifesting in my mind what this sound will be visualized as, I decide on the fly that it's someone trimming the bushes. I stand corrected; sticking its goofy, big, black head over the top of the grasses- I am now staring at a cow lazily grazing or trying to scratch an itch on its nose by brushing up against the grasses. Its eyes wide open 'bug-like' and ears perked, I let out a gleeful sound that only we could hear. It was a moment. That was it. 

This is the pace of my Maui, whether I'm at the beach, at Mana Foods, walking, in a store, as the gas station, etc. This is me essentially- making these small connections that are but a moment in time many times, in passing. Are they engaging? Sometimes. Many times that moment simply passes, never to be experienced again. Who really knows. All I know is that every step here on this aina, this sacred land, has meaning for me- no matter how lasting. Just being here is familiarity, comfort, knowledge, growth, intuition. I am of this land I truly believe.  I belong here. This aina has grown up along with me in a sense. We have experience for a time in life together on this Planet Earth timeline. We both move forward, yet share collective experiences, helping to create more on our divergent paths. 

So yea, da kine good shit, right???


Run Holly Run S25E3

On Strike...


Run Holly Run S25E2

Run Holly Run S25E2, aka; 'Here comes the rain again, raining down on me while in motion...' 

Yep folks that's right; twenty-five years of running on Maui! Without a doubt my legs have taken me on a fantastic voyage throughout these hills, valleys, beaches, dirt roads, concrete jungle, etc.

Running wasn't on the agenda this morning. Somewhere in my sleep state I heard the roosters calling- essentially waking me up. Slowly waking up, I turned over to my partner lying next to me; my Mac Book Air told me it was 8am. Feeling the previous day's run working its magic upon my hamstrings and shins I assessed the situation. The results came in; 'let's do this shit'. BAM. Shower. Out the door and on the road.

Feeling grounded from the start, I made my way up Olinda Road. 'Slow and steady wins the race' my mantra. For lack of time management planning I decided to just take the same route as yesterday.  Better to gauge my progress as compared to yesterday. Feeling my body exhaustion from yesterday and the concentration on improving/increasing my cadence, I knew I would be taking it easier today.  I did just that- with gracious acceptance. 

Knowing that, I found myself absorbed in these incredible sensations. Suddenly the sweet grasses lining both sides of the path were overwhelming me, knocking me into a counter-consciousness. This counter-consciousness is how I like to operate within. Rotting Guavas littered fence lines. I snapped into search mode; my mission now turning to finishing my run while carrying as many liliko`i (passion fruit) as I could manage.

Honamu road to Kealaloa Road to Makawao Avenue to Miner Place I'm working for my reward! My bounty was small in quantity yet large in quality. I'm feeling grateful, as always for what Mother Maui provides for me and my tribe.

Now lying on the deck with a good friend simply shooting the shit while drinking morning coffee, I think about the day ahead. Palm trees are swaying. The breeze interrupting the constant rooster crowing, news of the island rhythms transfers to me. I'm open to it. Give me the knowledge. Show me the way back to this life that for whatever reasons I leave. No matter, the trade winds always bring me back. I am grateful. Moloka`i Island is off in the distance, sheltered by a cloud cover extending off its eastern shore. Proud and stoic Moloka`i. The surf down Paia looks decent from up here.

Yea, all better. The film that has been covering me from my past 11 months in Turkey is slowly receding, giving way to that that magical Maui slime that I'm addicted to. Sun-kissed, I give in to this magical day...



Run Holly Run season 25 episode 1 (S1E1)


Day 2 jet lag on Maui. Returning back home every year comes with its limits; twenty-five hours in the air, added to airport connections leads to one rough time.  It seems the last leg of the journey is most debilitating.  My Seattle to Maui flight just about put me over the edge.  Once seated I immediately tried to push my seat back while everybody boarded the plane (perks of flying a lot and getting priority boarding is staring at people walking past for at least fifteen minutes and, often hilariously, trying to deal with luggage and blocking aisles, etc.).

No can (yes, I revert back to Hawaiian Creole English as soon as I can smell the Islands are nearby). Mr. friendly attendant, when asked, simply said "Oh, you can't"- deadpan.  Ready to lose my shit, I decided that at least no one else could do it either so somehow this comforted me.  Pondering how an airline could do something so full of injustice, the seat in front of me suddenly lowered its seat back- nearly into my lap.  Oh boy...

Ms. friendly attendant, when asked, simply said "Oh, you can't because your seat is in front of an exit row". Okay, now we're getting somewhere.  I love receiving information that I can use. I didn't even have to ask. She continued on. "I can check for you to see if there are any other seats available". Yes, helpful.  Soon enough after take-off I sauntered back to my new seat and continued on through the flight in (only) mild discomfort.

At this point though, I know how to sleep on airplanes; here's the ingredients: iPod, earplugs, eye mask, little nib of Valium, if available and BAM. Goodnight. Something about that last leg of the journey though; I'm always about ready to freak out and crawl up the walls. It's the limit of what the human body can do in a non-physical sense- from my experiences so far anyway- outside of when my back goes out...

Fast-forward to today. After a mere five hours of sleep I woke up at 8:30 am.  In typical Holly fashion, I jumped in the shower and threw on my running gear and headed out the door. BAM. I'm in my comfort zone that I've come to consider as one of my top Maui runs.  But first some background.

Running in Istanbul this past year has been a great experience for me.  I've made a lot of gains and went deeper into my game. First, my Kinavara 4s have become indispensable. Hands down, the best running shoes to date. The main reason you ask- a wide toe box.  It seems I've developed this bunion thing that people talk about on my right big toe.  It's not bad, yet still considered a blemish or eyesore to me... Mostly because if I'm not wearing any shoe with a wide enough toe box, I feel that squeeze that is typical to this inconvenient issue...

So, to say that I've come back with renewed enthusiasm is an understatement- especially considering the previous two years I struggled with running while living in Bahrain and oppressive Middle Eastern heat and humidity.  I feel I've hit upon my happy place in my Istanbul running sessions along the Bosphorus and such. Nice to be feeling back in the saddle again.

Now, Istanbul is no Middle East weather-wise, but I've still been challenged by running on weekend mornings- perhaps mostly because I'm up late at night and it is already hot and humid there.  I guess my body has forgotten just how hot it was previously.  Anyway, I started going to the gym at the university and I have to say it has upped the anti in terms of my performance.  I've been running on the treadmill and really focusing on speed and cadence.  I've come to realize just how useful a treadmill can be for training for peak performance. The stair-climber thing, while first looking utterly ridiculous, 'fooleywang' in fact, I've seen a vast improvement in my strength arising outta my glutes.  It may seem silly and I do feel silly on that machine, but the proof is in the pudding...

All this work came into play this morning and I'm pretty happy being a results-driven person; gleeful in fact. So back to the real story...

I woke up to roosters crowing in my ear after five hours of blissful rest! My last thought before falling asleep was that the falling rain was cooing me into heart-felt slumber. Activation.

In typical Holly-style, I woke up suddenly, jumped outta bed, took a flash-shower and threw on my running gear and headed out- all accomplished in about fifteen minutes. My route took me from Makawao up to Oskie Rice Arena- where the famous Makawao Rodeo(s) take place every year with the Fourth of July celebrations and rodeo most famous. This was my first test; that first mile was steady uphill. Cadence, gait, breathing, attitude- all working together producing endorphins instilling such an incredible high that I couldn't help but smile-wide- and inhale bugs in the process...

That was the first testament to my training where I could feel results. Damn I love that; mostly because my Istanbul runs have hardly accounted for hill sprints, etc.

Turning right my pace leveled off to more of a trot as the terrain leveled off. Soon enough though I was heading into steady down-hill territory. This is where I really wanted to improve myself. I was already amazed how my butt got my up the rolling hills so I was anticipating some success downhill as well.

Typically I consider myself to be a challenged downhill runner, meaning that I don't embrace it very enthusiastically.  It's kind of like how I used to approach Dhanurasana Pose (backbends) in yoga. I was scared because I though, or I do, have back issues and always approached this with much trepidation.  It's taken a long time for me to realize that with these thoughts one tends to manifest difficulties.

I recently decided that I wanted to dedicate time and energy into running down hills more efficiently.  I always had this thought that it puts too much pressure onto my patellas (knee caps). I think about this scientifically and it makes sense. I am a person of logic. Besides, after all my time spent on archaeology sites conducting data recovery on burials, I've seen far too many individuals' patellas in a severely calcified state due to simple biological processes in Homo Sapiens with all due respect to aging and inflammation, etc.

I pressed on and in fact felt pretty strong.  Feeling my stance was in line with what I've been researching and trying to give myself that comfort of knowing you are supposed to kinda feel that you are falling forward and not holding back so as to keep proper alignment and in fact help save your joints by doing so, i went with it.  Of course in doing this you run faster because you are not 'braking'. When you 'brake' running down hill I am realizing is when you injure your Patellas...

Feeling pretty smug, I suddenly realized the extra pressure it put on my breathing all the while monitoring this. At one point I realized I needed to regain my breath.  I could slow down, which I did, or I could stop and walk for a bit, which I eventually did. In retrospect, I didn't need to, but I decided to coddle myself.

Karma is in fact a bitch... No sooner than I start walking, two cars are coming with each from different directions.  Along the far side of the road is a chicken. It starts walking across the road... The far side car misses it, but the car traveling in my direction hit it and continued on.  I'm taking this all in, realizing that I would not have witnessed this if I had continued on running...

The bird was still alive in the middle of the country road.  I came up to it and as I did so, it seemed to draw its last breath.  I picked it up, and it was bloody, hoping that it came all in one piece (it did not), and brought it to the side of the road in the tall, sweet grasses. A horse stared at me. Eyeing me from the safe zone, I realized another chicken was silently taking in the scene.  I felt its stare.

The burial was quick as I just laid it down.  I think how soft it felt in my hands. I felt this tenderness and connection. It was a solemn experience. I was in this zone, and then I was in that zone.  There was this compassion I felt for the situation. And then it was over. It was sweet. I was affected. I continued on.

Continuing on, sweet rolling hills full of sweat and ecstasy flushed over me. Famous Maui mists drenched me at some point and the build-up of intensity goaded me on down the hills. I gained my confidence again and flew down the hill into Makawao town once again. The winding country road took me past familiar sights, senses and scents. One scent that was missing this year though was the scent I have always smelled at one point of the journey of da kine green stuff.  For years and years I would get to a certain point along the trail where I could smell the sticky green. I'm talking for years.  As I was nearing this point, I started to inhale and exhale deeply, anticipating this olfactory delight.

Sadly I was disappointed. Just a little side-story there folks. I guess this was always something I looked forward to on this run of mine.  It just always made me smile.  I mean, you know.  Another disappointment soon followed.  As I got to the street to return to my starting route on this circuit, I would usually stop running and walk up because it is a steep hill and I tend to see this as my warm-down. My ulterior motive though is one specific property.  I like to be walking when I come up on this dwelling because of the plethora of runaway Liliko`i (passion fruit) on the ground.  Always so delightful to road scavenge Liliko`i, I felt this was a definite void when nearing the finish line.

Here my journey ended. I am filled with joy and gratitude that my legs brought me to this point along with my strength and determination. I was rewarded soon afterwards with a torrential down-pour! Just in time! Still on my endorphin-high, I relaxed into a quiet contemplation that Maui usually instills within me. These deep thoughts are what continue to draw me to Maui and to this home of mine. I have tried to replicate this feeling everywhere- with much success, but still there is no place like Maui... Nope. Indeed.



whatever the problem, love is the answer

Someone just reminded me of this all-to-oft quoted phrase, "whatever the problem, love is the answer". I'm sure it nears a high level of statistics for top sound bite or meme for when shit-hits-the-fan situation involving most anything at this time in our lives. I should do a collocation search on this theory... Hmmm

When I think back to past summers, the past few years I've had a book or two I was reading that can be associated with that summer. Take last summer for example. As I was preparing to leave Bahrain I picked up a copy of Shantaram from the BSPCA thrift shop (Bahrain SPCA). First this is incredible because to buy books written in English in the Middle East (as well as Turkey or anywhere else in the region) is super expensive and also because it had been a title I've been wanting to read for quite a few years. Winning.  Usually when thrifting, you (I) always buy books but they are not necessarily titles that were 'on or near the top of my wish list'. I did buy a lot of books at that shop, but Shantaram stands out.

I believe it took me most of the summer to finish the novel, but it I was thrown back into the mix immediately upon returning to my last known read paragraph. India was on my radar because there were so many south Indians that lived in Bahrain so I was always exposed to foods, culture and other things Indian.  I had perhaps my most inspiring yoga teacher ever in Bahrain. I had the best and cheapest Indian food of my life in Bahrain. And I had so many pleasant encounters with Indians from all around their Subcontinent that it surely has endeared me to India and its people forever. It has in fact moved high up in position on my bucket list from my experiences in Bahrain. 

There is also an India that I think of when I think about my time growing up and growing wise on Maui.  Many of my friends had traveled there or was soon to. Friends of mine were of Indian descent as well. Whenever I think to these times on Maui, I think of how good it was living there and the spiritual enlightenment we were all going through and processing living there.  I think about Mana Foods (health food store in Paia) and how lucky we were to be able to shop there (and find a coveted parking spot as well). I think about yoga classes on Maui.  I think to all the times that I was living a pretty pure life with all these gifts I mention that, along with the natural beauty of Maui, created this elixir of life that is unbeatable- so far as I can tell from living in various places before and since Hawaii.  Not that India was a daily awareness of mine there, but i always felt some sense of wondering if my way of life on Maui was in any way similar to friends' experiences traveling there.

I guess I mean to say that I've always thought about India, and more recently Sri Lanka, as a place that could possibly have some sort of duplicity for my life as experienced on Maui; quality food, yoga, beach, warm weather, cheap fruit! At various times on Maui I'd be out with friends and someone would invariably be currently reading Shantaram. I think you are beginning to get the idea; India had some sort of pecking order in my life- regardless if I knew/know it or not. I'm not sure if I even understand what I've written in the past few paragraphs, but forage ahead I must...

Shantaram; it was nothing of the India that I have envisioned throughout my life, but I always knew existed. While reading, I was on various continents and in various countries.  I morphed along as the book was progressing; morphing in its own way independently yet contemporaneously.  There were parallels it felt.  I sensed a deep connection with the books characters and interactions. I don't care to get literal here and delve into the story-line, etc. You can look that up at your leisure.  I simply want to describe the interaction I had with this book and how it relates to last summer for me, for no particular reason.  There is no end point to this story here. I suppose only to say that it was somehow akin to a milestone in my life that perhaps I wasn't even aware of. 

I think fondly back to that book; those pages dog-eared to death (mostly because it took me months to finish it). I think about all the various things I used as a book marker as well and all the notes I took while reading that meant something in that moment. I also think back to the social media moments I experienced through posting about that book.  I heard from quite a few people who I haven't heard from in a long time and only keep in contact with through Facebook.  Some people commented about it I haven't even met yet, whose friendship only extends through cyber-space.  All these 'achievements' I write about is what I think about when thinking about Shantaram and last summer!

This summer my 'book' was "Birds Without Wings" by Louis de Bernières. I started this book in Kas on the Turkish Mediterranean when I was backpacking and camping in the spring.  I bought it at this bookstore I remember from my previous sojourn to Kas. You all that know me know that I almost always buy a book when traveling and many times it is about the history about the area, etc. My time spent reading that book consisted of beaches, boats, buses, airplanes, camping on beaches, hanging out at my campsite, etc. That book covered Turkey and Greece in Turkey and Greece. I feel connected to the soil of each place in reading that book- especially considering the sensitivities of the book's contents.

Annotations and anecdotes litter the pages now. Solo_ojo, whom received the book afterwards, likely is currently sifting his way through the book story-line, and my story-line on the sidelines. I immediately knew that he would be receiving this book afterwards so I started my story to him through the margins. I think about the trajectory, the lifeline of that book and where it will travel to; whose hands will turn the dog-eared pages, what countries or coffee shops or hostels or beaches will become a part of THAT book- all this, it stimulates me for some reason that I can't really describe. I'm not sure why. I'm not sure I need to. 

I thought that book would be THE summer book, but it's over, and I've moved on.  I didn't think I would. I remember thinking while reading how affected I was; how the book moved me; how I kept turning pages devouring the words with my eyes. I was so devoted to that book...

Now the seeds has been planted. A new book is rising from my cyber-social media spaces. There has been enough chatter about Ulysses from the oracle known as my Facebook page that I am compelled to search out (a free or cheap copy...).  Could it be due to "Brexit"?  I don't think so. Could it be a result of my time in Greece recently and the association with Odysseus (more association than one there folks)? I don't think so.

Speaking of Odysseus... it was he who reminded me of that oft-quoted phrase, "whatever the problem, love is the answer". He told me this morning in fact, when I needed to hear it the most. Anyone who knows of current news inside Turkey will know the context of my cryptic message here... 

Sometimes I forget love is the answer. Sometimes, after some time you think you know some things and can comment on these things you go ahead and do so.  Sometimes, though, it is not your place to do so- or with such authority. So one backs away and retracts to the comfort of one's den, as a predatory animal does when needing seclusion and in need of concealment. 

If you need me, I'm in my den pondering what does it all mean... Do I love books? Am I in love with the place I go to when reading books? 


And the penguin exclaimed, "coup coup, whose coup are you?"

Commander in Chiefess...ready to rock and roll and get this shit done

2nd in command not giving one f*ck about any of this...

scene last night: Nearly 1:00 am and desperately need to sleep due to agitated sleep the previous night (more later here in this post about THAT night, which shall go down in infamy in the timeline of my life). Flopping violently on the bed, I spy my glass vial of organic lavender (because you NEED to have organic essential oils in order to feel like you're getting the total experience) next to the bed. Triumphantly I open it and start tossing it about my sheet and pillows. I mean why not, that's what this shit is specifically for, to better sleep- and sleep pleasantly at that with none of this nightmare shit. Why stop there, I asked myself. Light some incense, procure a little nibble of a Valium, and throw in a dash of da kine to help chase it all down. Oh, and put the phone on vibe. POOF my work is done for the day... Magic. Magical Realism. Now that's how you get real shit done.

Fast forward to now. Ten luxurious hours later I wake up groggy yet refreshed simultaneously. Knowing I needed coffee to work its magic, I spring outta bed (yea, feeling spry and agile in fact) and jump into a cold shower. More luxury. Day is just starting out and I'm already winning. Brush those damn teeth too. Yea, they feel like a cement truck ran over them sometime in the middle of the night. Ready for action.

Trotting down the stairs (if you know this apartment you should know that NOBODY trots down my stairs- mostly because they are DANGEROUSLY angled) I begun to conduct my zen-coffee weekender routine; my french press and (chocolate soy) milk frother are begging for some attention so I immediately put them to work. Minions. It's good to have minions working for you (more on THAT later as well, yet with a different more 'fucked-up current political scene in Turkey' kinda vibe). I hear a sound. Realizing it's coming from my bottle of Glucosamine Chondroitin on the counter, I obey this law of my universe and pop one into my mouth, chasing it with some ORGANIC orange juice. Satisfied with the knowledge that this alone has likely allowed me to trot down my perilous staircase with minimum Patella discomfort and maximum ease. BAM. More winning.

NOTE: If you want to get 'ultra spiritual' too, check out J.P. Sear's YouTube Channel- this shit is hilarious & then you will understand my organic oj & essential oil comments :)


And that folks brings me to this moment, frozen with writers block suddenly. More so because I don't really know where to start. I still have too many images in my head to focus on one important one such as the inception. Whoa now this is serendipity because I'm lamenting on not knowing where to start and then I throw out the 'inception' bomb...

My story begins... It's Friday night, late. Earlier in the evening 3-Gra and myself were texting (LoGra and HoGra here in Istanbul and ViaGra in Arizona sojourning) and I started lamenting that I hadn't been watching enough movies in the past few years. Our subjuct-du-jour was what new tv series were we all watching currently. I had a tale stemming from my recent sojourn to Portugal to visit Solo_ojo & joCid. We all reunited in Solo_ojo's sweet Poaires village house he had bought a few years earlier. As we were all sharing hard-drive secrets, I realized mine was sorely lacking in the movie genre compared to Solo_ojo's. He had a completely new quiver of both recent and older movies on his and I felt lacking. Lacking because I realized I hadn't been watching any movies- for a few years.  I was up on most all current tv series but movies???

Critical thinking dialogue started concerning this frighteningly increasingly worry-some 'trend'.  Since we had a 30-something among us, we used him as test subject- I did anyway. We came to the conclusion that in these generations with so much technology at our fingertips and so much multi-tasking going on not only in work life but social life as well, that it should follow that we can't stay holding our attention for such a long period of time as to start/finish a movie! Can you believe this shit?  I couldn't- at least not on that evening (of course adult beverages were in attendance and such to help alter or heighten our thoughts on this matter).

But I digress... Friday night. After my communique with 3-Gra I decided to turn on my VPN and turn on Netflix (thanks again L'il D for the gift of Netflix hacking). Moments later I was engulfed in "Inception", remembering that it was one of the movie's on Solo_ojo's hard drive that sounded intriguing. Man I was sitting pretty on top of the world, it felt like; movie, two purring cats aside me, a glass of Vinho Verde (brought back from Portugal), da kine, food. Nothing to interrupt this sweet slice of life I was experiencing.

Nothing until two texts rang from my iPhone.  Dammit, I thought. That was the missing ingredient in the night's indulging. I had forgotten to turn my phone to vibe. LoGra's came up first; a possible military coup going down in Ankara- the seat of government in Turkey.

Things quickly escalated from there; turn on TunnelBear (VPN par excellence) and just let the shits-how begin. Periscope early on was my source for a video showing videos of military action inside the capital and in Istanbul as they were closing down both bridges that connect Europe to Asia.  My thoughts were that soon the national broadcasting stations were next, as that was how it went down in Tunisia when I was stuck there for that one...

I must say here that the (faux?) military coup allowed me to check out new social media that I was only briefly familiar with previously; Periscope, Snapchat, Reddit being my top three suddenly useful choices. I'm sure that there are already some Pokemon Go virtual creatures set up within this coup framework... I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, with my limited knowledge of the app, that it is just a lame, cyber rip-off for Geo-caching- a real sportsman's sport... Heh heh

Anyhow... seven hours later it was 6am and I felt like I had just played out a dramedy Turkish style. As of yet, I still don't really know what is real, what is fabricated, etc.  All theories seem logical in the right context... 

What I do know are real are the feelings associated with this coup event. Immediately I scanned the recesses of my memory banks and traveled back in time to Tunisia. Everything was so surreal- then and now.  I couldn't believe what was happening was happening. You think about these possible scenarios while living abroad from time to time, but that is it.  Usually just good 'hanging out with friends' conversations. Now it's happening. Coups involving iron-grip rulers have been en vogue for a long time, but when it happens where you reside, it just seems like history being re-told for a new generation in an updated style.

Soon I was hearing from friends I worked with back in Tunisia.  We all keep in touch whether loosely or more actively. KK was a doll and relaying events to me from back in the deeps woods somewhere in Canada!  Also I had my cache of friends I worked with when doing archaeology on Kahoolawe- where EOD techs were cleaning up UXO on the island.

I had so many dialogues going at the same time from so many different social media sites as well as my phone What's App texts along with Face-timing family in Oregon that I also had to break out my iPad so I could do everything simultaneously. Never have a felt so much more a part of the 'now generation' in terms of being able to efficiently multi-task as that evening.  I was IT activated for sure.  Would of been great to additionally tie-in some old school tech by using a short-wave radio! 

The bottom line is that the events of this attempted military or otherwise coup acted itself out like a ping-pong tournament. Left, right, left, right... Everything was happening so fast. Player A winning, Player B winning, No, Player A winning again. Wait, there is Player C too?  Where the hell did this arise from? Is Player C just a figment of Player A's imagination that Player A wants to project onto citizens- local or expat? Player B seems divided in spirit. Player A seems weak and on the verge of ruin. Player C just waiting in the background a bit, to perhaps surface later on. Player B seems ill-prepared, really. Who am I rooting for? Who are the Players? There are way too many spin-doctors to deal with in terms of sifting through the information that is literally tearing the track up. This is a Formula-One speed of information infiltrating the playing field(s).

I literally seek all types of friends' opinions: the hippy friends- who are a large framework of my circle; the bomb guys- who I have a long past history of camaraderie with on a project involving scientists & military (a strange mixture indeed but throughout the years produced many great friendships & intimate moments together) and a bevy of other circles of close friends and family. What results is a crazy network of ideas that I weave into my most logical working theory. Well done everybody. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

My brother and sister-in-law decided to just sit it out with me on FaceTime for a long time while we were both cooking food and drinking wine from different sides of the planet.  It was fun actually; we just went about doing our normal business, but the camera was rolling still. That helped certainly.  A calming effect. The kitties? Well, they were also a calming effect.  Somehow they slept through all the sirens, screams, fighter jet planes buzzing the area super low and creating sonic booms that were have said to broken many windows throughout areas, and the sheer noise of all my electronics going off sporadically. They know how to shut down instinctively I suppose. Good on them. Good role models for me. 

As it turns out, my FaceBook thread of the series of events in those first 6 hours serve as a timeline in making history for this country and the world watching. I swear I will do something with all this, just as I swore I would do something with all my Tunisia social media events... Although I haven't published anything of serious interest concerning Tunisia, I did blog as well as put together the events into a Word file to be used at a later time; a time when I have time to figure out how to write a book effectively... I guess now I will have another coup to focus on for that endeavor. As a matter of fact, I actually have another military coup I can share- although I don't remember much about that first coup, back in 1987...

That would be the military coup in Fiji while I was there with my ex. I don't remember much exactly honestly. That was a long time and much less recreational playtime ago... I do remember getting gas one day and the dudes there wanted us to drink their Kava (look it up). Twas a good day I suppose. Again, I can't remember. I remember remotely being annoyed, but that's about it. Oh how grand it was to just be concerned about surf, bikinis and sex...

Back to now... here is a good link to an opinion article from The Telegraph:


 I've learned a lot from all this, as well as my time spent in Bahrain. While I am certainly no expert in any of this, I've been able to cultivate enough of my own experiences and learn how to express them and gather insights from them. There is still a lot of unknowns- in fact, it's all still ENTIRELY unknown as far as I can tell. Tomorrow will be an interesting day back at work as I'm sure we will all bring stories to the table...

Anyway, no specifics today folks as it's just too soon to start re-creating the string of events I've decided, especially since they are still on-going. Last night, for example, as we are told everything is trying to return back to normal but new developments are happening- specifically around Adana and the NATO base... New embassy bulletins continue to emerge; the last one coming in at 4:00 a.m... This is interesting to more than a few of us. Yesterday I received a text message from RTERDOGAN (da kine head honcho of this country) telling citizens in Turkish to hit the streets to oppose illegitimate coup attempt... A few of us expats got this message- how strange.

Anyway, conspiracy theories are flying and it's only 1:45 p.m. so I have my afternoon cut out for myself... It's been an interesting weekend folks. I wonder if the penguins have returned to grace Turkish broadcasting :)

signing out and posting yet again without editing... Have to say that it's so liberating to write something and just post it, without desiring to edit.  After all, this is my blog and my rules.  Contrary to my 'normal' life, I like to keep this one flowing in the moment.  Sometimes I feel compelled to make edits, but it honestly just feels wild and free to not have to edit!  Yep, I'm living on the edge folks. Girl Gone Wild Without Edits kinda gal right here coming at y'all...


Groove Salad Odyssey

Friday night in the groove. Hanging in a totally clean living space this fine summer evening here in NoIST (north Istanbul for all you acronym neophytes. Total was a spiritual purge you could say.  I poured my spirit into cleaning my space. I believe this is an annual thing for me at this point.

 Let me explain; each year I return to  my Amerikan Summer experience and before I go, I purge the cobwebs of my life that have been collecting for the past year. It's always a comfort, I guess, because I know I am about to venture off for a while. It's like dropping off out of my normal reality to go back to what once was my normal reality- which is now abnormal unreality! Ahhh how I love to flow in and out of these dimensions I've created.

In honor of this achievement I opened up a bottle of Retsina from my recent outing on Kos and sat out in the backyard at sunset with some friends and a little help from Da Kine. It was a good day indeed. Now I'm listening to a little Groove Salad mix on SomaFM & contemplating my upcoming outing to Portugal.

It's interesting in that I am now finding that returning to places I've previously visited to check it out more rhythmically is my thing. Familiar faces and familiar places... I like it. It's good to be a global citizen. All this I ponder as I sit on my bed and taking in my clean living space! Now a super fly funky rhythm is floating through me; Groove Salad giving me my dose just like I like it.

The weather is heating up here in Istanbul. Outside of quite a bit of extensive travel this year, paired with some long working hours (no complaints here), I'm feeling in the groove living here experiencing my first summer of of my first year living in Istanbul!  Major accomplishment. On my spiritual cleanse today I do admit that I needed the air conditioner on for most all of the afternoon... Certainly nothing like living in the Middle East though, so I do feel like a bit of a pansy for having to turn on the cold box when it was under 40º C.

Fast-forward to Saturday morning at 9:08 am.  Sami Bey has just woke me up; imagine thinking you are waking up on your own and find a big, hairy... CAT staring you down and sniffing you... Such is life.

I remember receiving a S.O.S. (text) late last night from Da Kine. Next thing I know we are walking along the Bosphorus at midnight laughing. While sitting on a bench along the waterfront corniche I happened to notice this big, bulging orangish-yellow sphere coming out from under some dark cloud cover.  What happened the next few minutes was jaw-dropping- for us at least :)

The moon was spying on us along our Bosphorus odyssey. Hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo, and all those childhood games remembered, we delighted in the events that seemed a display for our eyes only. Good shit I tell you... As our eyes drank in enough of this wondrous display, we got up to meander through 'man-alley' (where LOADS of men are playing cards and drinking çay late night in an alleyway littered with smoke-filled çay-meyhanes, men, dogs, cats, as well as a smattering of females strewn about randomly, the man in the moon had other plans for us; he didn't want us to depart just yet.  We should admire his peacock-display a little longer. He attempted to intoxicate us with more displays of his finery, and we were tempted and then drawn back in- drawn back into his web of intrigue for a few last lingering moments, but eventually descended into the maze of 'man-alley' for one last moving picture show on our odyssey.


Stunning Sunday

Stunning Sunday shall this be named; sunny, breezy, sky-blue.,


In the bahçe.(garden) where I live in post-run bliss. Village cats lazing about. Bushes swaying in sync with a light, steady Bosphorus breezes streaming sea smells along on its journey. Sun radiating through a clear, blue sky. The kind of sky that you remember as a child on a special-for-no-reason kinda day when you experienced this same scene and had some amazing, monumental thought pulsing through your being concerning life in that moment.

Looking skyward, pollen floats down in some random yet perfectly orchestrated kind of way in sync with whispering trees; neighbors. I can hear their sounds; sounds of glee and joyful exhalations.

Perhaps the trees are sharing their stories. Looking menacingly, they tower above the Greek Orthodox church below my space. These two have been neighbors for a long time.  I’m sure they have had plenty harmonious times together, as well as grieving… because, well you know.  You know those events that happened long ago, back when the Ottoman Empire was finally crushed and out sprang the Turkish Republic. Yea, those events which aren’t talked about much…

What a history, this area.  I do not know many things about my space, but stories begin to unfold.  I feel like when the locals see you around enough, they start to open you up to their lives. I am becoming a part of this community, however small.  Feels good. Feels familiar. I love the börek workers down on the corner.  The guys always smiling and eager to talk Turkish with me, patiently. The “bing-bong” (I think Vicky coined that phrase for the Turkish version of the dollar-store so popular throughout middle America) store people. The many fruit and vegetable vendors, The Büyükdere çiçek (flower shop) family. The laid-back young couple that run the Simas Cafe, with their tres-cool broken down old, black VW Van that peacefully rests at their front door, letting us types know that their establishment is funky and unique and down-home so come on in and chill. It’s not a trendy cafe, such as there are in Cihangir, Tophane, Kadiöy, Karaköy, etc.The closest it’s going to come to ‘the real deal’ in my book, yet still expensive for a beer…There are no hipsters in Büyükdere- that you can be sure of!

 And then there’s the Büyükdere durum guy and his family; his wife always smiles as she carefully closes my poşet (to-go bag). We exchange business and acquaintance that ebbs and flows slowly into familiarity with each passing encounter. Admittedly, I don’t order durum very much… once a month at the most, and not really even that. The çay bahçe guy, that I meet my friends at. We go there nearly every chance we can get in these days. Not because the çay is good, it is in fact horrible, but because of the setting: on the Bosphorus backwaters, with a backdrop of surrounding tea gardens along with a small park and many, many cats as well as a pack of lazy street dogs.

Our favorite table used to be right on the small village boat docks (that takes small boats underneath the sahil yolu (coast road) to the grandiose Bosphorus itself, whose waters escort nations from afar in their vessels, selling their wares (oil, etc.) to their destinations. Now though, there is a foul smell down along the water so we have moved alongside other tea-drinking outdoor enthusiasts. I love looking at the wooden planks running to the massive tangle of humble boats. Cats running along them, jumping onto/into the boats.

Whether I’m running, walking, waiting for the service bus in the mornings, having cocktails at (on) Kasif Bar with the girls, or simply sitting on a bench along the corniche, I adore watching the ships as they pass.  If I’m running, I sometimes playfully race alongside these giants. Being a mere mortal, this always ends not in my favor.

Sometimes I get consumed with the almost science-fiction nature of these encounters. Another encounter, though, is the dichotomy of Sunday Sounds; I’m awakened sometimes by early morning call to prayer, fall back to sleep and re-awaken to church bells goading me out of my slumber once and for all.  Both sounds are equally jarring- not necessarily in a negative way as its so temporary.  Just a reminder that they are reminders to their faithful to come to prayer.

My mind draws towards the birdsong. A type of call and response is what I make of it; like a B-Boy avian battle. Or mating…

What makes today so special?  Nothing really. Just an ordinary day in this city I fought so long and hard to secure a zip code in.  A city against all odds I say.  2015 was a horrible year to move back to Turkey; politics, economy, neighboring conflict (WAR) being the trifecta of heavy hitters.

There is a LIVE jazz concert going on right now.  I’ve been listening for a while to these background sounds, but just realized, when I heard the clapping, that there is some type of concert- either at the church in their garden, or at Fuat Pasha Yali (expensive boutique hotel/restaurant where people get married a lot) here in the hood.

So yea, when I left Gaziantep nearly 3 years earlier I couldn’t possibly imagine that the economy could get any worse. My bad… This country, this city, has charmed me, but not in such a way that is all-idyllic.  Right away I was thrown into the realities of dwelling here. A torrid romance *love/hate* it is. I love how moody this city is. My challenge is adapting so I continue to learn my lessons.

My tent is set up here in the garden right now. It’s been a while since it’s been in use so a basic maintenance and upkeep session was necessary- before use next week.

NOTE: The ‘live jazz session’ is also turning into the requisite cheesy emoting type… Popolo- a long-time yard kitty I met when I had just moved in here and she was just a kitten. She has, somehow, managed to NOT get pregnant, whereas all the other kitties from this era I see preggers on the street- is paying me a visit. She remembers me and my kitty ‘cat-u-pressure’ rubs!

What I mean to say is that one’s ‘scene’ has to be to their groove. I really dig this scene. How long I can’t say, but for now it’s pretty groovy. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Groovy next scene coming up is: backpacking/camping the Turkish Aegean and Mediterranean coast next week for ten days. After that there is the Portugal scene.  That scene will be super-groovy as Solo_Ojo and I reunite and chatter up a storm. After that there is the Hawaii scene! Then the Oregon scene, and the Michigan scene, etc…

So next week’s plan is to fly into Alanya and make my way to Bodrum, then catch a ferry over to (Greek) Kos Island to visit Dean and family. It’s been a few years- maybe 3-plus years. From Antalya, Kaş is the goal in sight, which is quite close. I’m really looking forward to pitching my tend on the beach and just chilling. As town is my favorite place in Turkey perhaps. It is in danger of being overdeveloped, which is sad.  I’ve seen what has been happening to Maui for 25 years. Not a pretty sight- over development for tourism. Maui is still home, but it gets more and more foreign each trip back.

Being that this is Turkey there will likely be overdevelopment of the butt-ugly kind.  So many beautiful spots in coastal Turkey are already ruined by unchecked over-development.

But I digress…
my ideal scene right now is a camping-on-the-beach scene. Soul satisfying is my goal. My soul needs some salt and sand. Books, beaches, cold beers, early morning runs out to the peninsula. All this is MY Kaş. Stoked.