1.13.2017

Today in HERstory: Lucky13

Today. Today in HERstory:

MYstory about HERstory in history- 6 years ago to be exact. January 13, 2011. Not a date for forget, she thinks. Every year now I ponder what each and every one of us is thinking in those initial moments of awareness of the date. This year I was reminded on January 11. Marley posted something and the memory gates flooded so hard that a warmth washed over my body. I almost forgot, I thought. Solo_ojo reminded me I was 2 days early. Lucky 13, he said. That's how he remembers the date; his lucky number... Clever. Poignant. Bittersweet.

Tunisia, my beloved. A relatively recent arrival, soon enough I found myself immersed, absorbed, engulfed in the turmoil of that most wonderful country. Tunisia is kinda like my first love. I'm not sure why I say that, but I do. How do I define such a thing. I guess the 'Arab Spring' is one of those defining moments. So is Hammamet, though. Yea. That day we just decided to hop on the train and go camp on the beach in Hammamet. That we did.

I remember hanging out at this funky joint inside the kasbah (fort), in Hammamet's medina on the Mediterranean.  What a sight, I tell you. I remember we were smoking shisha outside. The heat of the day still radiating. We slid right into relax mode and just checked the new scene. Later we were walking the shoreline in darkness, looking for a resting spot in the sand for the night. Having no idea where we were, really, at some point we just sat down, rolled out our sleeping bags and passed out. Well, Solo_ojo did. Haha. He snores. My bag was about 10 feet away. The stars were chattering- louder than Solo_ojo's snoring.

La Goulette, another defining moment. And El Dougga. And 'plastic alley'. And Tunis's medina. And and and...I loved that city. Well, I also loved Gaziantep. I love Istanbul. There is a theme here, that doesn't go unnoticed by me. If you can't figure it out, ask and I'll tell you about it sometime...

So many defining moments, that place. Tunisia was a moment on my timeline, just a hiccup really. What I took away from that moment in time though is vast and inspiring.

So yea, I always wonder about our 'crew'; the circles of people who collectively make up this experience. All of us landing in time and place at that specific point in time, we had no idea what we were about to become a part of. It's like this tattoo impressed upon which memories might fade with time, but it's ETCHED in there pretty firmly, really. Whatever 'it' is, that is.

We all share it. We all know it. We don't really give ourselves too many platforms to talk about it. So this anniversary is special, I think, for each of us.

I look forward to the process of invoking these memories. I absolutely LOVE Facebook for allowing us a platform to all come together to see postings, make comments, share a collective experience- even though we've all (many) since scattered to all realms of the globe.

Photos, words, videos, emoji all mixed together in bittersweet expressionism; our performance art. I feel closer to everyone, again, during these days leading up to today. I think we all know of our whereabouts, and social media is this web for us. I know what both (Scottish and German) Kirsten's are doing. Does Faeez still wear my Brazilian track jacket, that I bought at some back alley fripe? The list goes on. This group of incredible beings I met while working at Amideast, we are a movement. We are in movement, always it seems. We seem to ebb and flow as the tide, landing on other shores to take up residence, for a short stay, or not.

So I mean to say that there is so much history from this historical event. I love all our stories. The connection to Tunisia still feels so strong. I came. I saw. I stayed. I got interrupted. I left. I hunger. I dream. I forget.

We all have it. We all have THIS in our systems. I wonder what we are all thinking at this moment...
Here is what I'm thinking about tonight, in pictures. Solo_ojo produced some epic shots of that day, which you will see. Yea, nearly cost him his life in doing so...


This coffee shop was around the corner from where I lived. We met up here a few times in the days that followed January 13.

The infamous Tunis Clocktower- legendary in fact... yes, it's a dark story of what used to happen underneath it...


Lots of protests erupted throughout the city, but certainly here downtown- a sort of spiritual center for revolutionaries you might say.

Solo_ojo

Solo_ojo

Solo_ojo

Solo_ojo

Solo_ojo captured this from his rooftop. This was our first observation deck. Soon afterwards, we decided to graduate ourselves from the safety of the roof to down on the streets, with the masses. We had no fucking idea what would happen...

My apartment,with the 'hood regulars. Solo_ojo had to take refuge here and re-cooperate from his gunshot wounds. Many friends actually stayed here during the days right after. No one wanted to stay alone in their apartments...

Neighbors being neighborly. These guys checked in very frequently to make sure Solo_ojo had all that he needed during his convalescing.

the nightly kitchen crew!

We did a lot of just hanging out right afterwards. There was no choice really as martial law was declared and curfews in place.

Another altercation on the street just below my apartment. We were like caged birds- watching from inside, wondering what it was like 'down there'. Everything suddenly seems so familiar. The Monoprix supermarket just down the street a block, Bombay Shwarma near the corner. FYI, to date,Bombay Shwarma is THE BEST shwarma in the world... (my) FACT.

Solo_ojo and Liz. Liz and Ehsan and friends rescued us! They braved driving under martial law (no one was supposed to be on the road) and got us out of the city center to Menzah 5 (?) neighborhood, in the 'burbs- where we thought we would be safe... NOT

Liz, Stephen, Faeez, Kirsten, Sam and Emily. We're all just chilling- I mean, we had all lost our jobs (temporarily). It was a surreal time indeed. Days of sitting, smoking, drinking, talking, wondering, theorizing...


I'm not sure if this was just before, or just after...

Hichem and Stephen catching up

Faeez, Avril, Hichem, Kirsten and Stephen. Another day, another cafe. We're all wondering when we would be working again, when our money was going to run out, what would happen to Tunisia now, etc.

This day was our 'revolution' field trip; we took ourselves on a self-guided walking tour of the various residences of Ben Ali and family members in a swank neighborhood. We weren't alone. Hundreds of people were descending into the (now) vandalized residences as Ben Ali and family members fled the country.

More of the 'revolutionary walking tour'

Claire-bear and I in yet another restaurant

I am amusing Kirsten here, I think :) 

Okay not sure how this got here. This was right when Solo_ojo first moved into Chloe's old place when she took off for Argentina.  I ended up finding a place 2 blocks away.

Amri, Emily and a large group at another bar in the aftermath

Solo_ojo

At David's place in the 'burbs. Stephen and Sarah. There was about 7 of us that took refuge here for a few days- until just after thugs decided to loot the Monoprix supermarket below and wreck havoc in general.  I remember thinking they would try to burn the building. Then I remember freaking out and all of thinking they were coming up the stairwell so we started moving furniture against the front door so it would take longer to break the door open... THIS was freaky.  We spend a very tense 1st night here. I mean, I thought this was it, again, for a few hours... Sarah and I did happen to catch one looter running away (we were spying from up on the 4th floor) carrying a naked mannequin... That was a funny Arab Spring Moment. A few of those moments managed to present themselves to us. Those distractions were much appreciated.


1.07.2017

mood: zen; mood enhancement: (da kine) Traditional Avant-Garde electronic jazz

Sami Bey taking refuge in LoGra's unfinished #pussyhatproject pussycap...

So grateful for Some FM (https://somafm.com/bagel/songhistory.html) and their 'Sonic Universe' channel because the playlist now is exactly where I'm at.

Scene: Sunday morning 10:30 AM Istanbul time, lying on my bed with the kitties,  coffee and all kine da kine. Which, currently includes a set of knitting needles. Yes, I'm deep into my newest recreational aid :) You got that right, I'm pumping out #pussyhatproject (https://www.pussyhatproject.com/) hats- knitting hats for the upcoming 'Women's March on Washington' (https://www.womensmarch.com/); the day after the inauguration of the president elect *long, heavy sigh*. 

I'm a proper pussy and in so (I'm) doing my part for all pussies, and non-pussies universally out fighting the good fight. So far, I've knitted 5 pussy hats:
1.  proto-type PrincessHogra PussyCap
2.  LoGra PussyCap
3.  Viagra PussyCap
4.  Steve-O PussyCap
5.  EdVice PussyCap
6. coming soon to another people-protector of-pussy-rights electing to enjoy their right to freedom of speech and protest through peaceful, symbolic means. 

My goal is to make a shit-ton of #pussyhatproject pussycaps to wear here in Turkey (I'll actually be in Naples, Italy so will represent my right to be a purrfect pussy over there). 

Sami Bey and I taking my proto-type pussy hat out for it's first ride atop my head :)
More pussy pics to come... 

Fun find of the week: snippet of information concerning correct usage of 'lying' vs 'laying' (https://getpocket.com/a/read/1547718816). To add, I found the link SO easily because I have been using 'Pocket' for about 3 years now (it makes it easy to find all things you save from internet. (https://getpocket.com/a/queue/).

That's about all the plugs I can muster...

Where else am I at on this snowy, Sunday morning in Büyükdere? Enjoying the moving picture show, from my bed, of my neighborhood (quiet as it is, for the most part). Not too many tracks in the snow where I'm at, off the main drag a few blocks and uphill. Cars have been stationary for 2-3 days so have been accumulating photo-worthy snow-packs atop. Flakes of snow gently drift, capturing Sami Bey's immediate attention. What is he thinking about, I wonder. His sister, Shaika Spot (snoozing close by), and him have been receiving some acupressure pets this morning. Eagerly welcoming the pets, they purr; the sounds of jazz lulling them into their happy places, plays on. On that note, I hope all the street pussy cats are taking shelter.

Another gem for the week that can get filed under 'recreational aids' is this: Finding Emerald City to watch (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3579018/      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_City). Check out the trailer. In brief, it's a modern adaptation of the series of books that The Wizard of Oz resulted from. Yes, way back then... Vincent D'Onofrio is in it, and the guy that did 'The Cell' is directing. The setting and costumes are super interesting. This guy, Frank Baum, originally wrote the series, back in 1900 or so:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Frank_Baum.

I had no idea about the book series and now thinking I should devote some time to that *adds this task to the never-ending 'wish list' of things I want to do*. Anyway, from the first two episodes, it looks like a marvelous journey. Yes, I'm totally stoked with this find, so thank you EdVice for doing all that you do with computer shit to get this stuff.

Yesterday... now yesterday was #snowpocalypse  here in Istanbul, or so it seemed. Because we had a meeting our HQ of the local chapter of 'Knitters Who Have a Drinking Problem' awareness group (I just made that up, most of it anyway), we had to go out into the great white mist to procure our meeting party favors... Of course a trip to the local yarn store was first on the agenda. While waiting for SarahMhLady to get up and out the door, EdVice and myself found ourselves wandering around Sariyer after a brief dolmus journey from our hood. With only 3 km. to cover, and on the sahil yolu (flat, coastal road), we couldn't get in much trouble in a moving vehicle...

So we got dumped off soon enough and started working our way through EdVice's 'to-do' list. I always enjoy this as it entails traipsing around the various side streets going into nearly every store for one, specific thing.  I don't operate in this fashion, so it is always fun to see how this unfolds; the greetings, the looking on shelves, the light talk, the business interactions, and just overall jovial encounters. It's these slices of life that endear me to Istanbul- always.

Basri, my new favorite knitting/yarn supply shopkeeper, greeted us warmly- as usual. 'Usual' meaning it's like the 4th time in 2 weeks I've been in there... Dude knows his yarn. Kind, gracious and enthusiastic about our newly and increasingly growing addictions, he always produces a smile for us. SaraMhLady originally talked up this shop, as opposed to the many others in Sariyer. Somehow I ended up with 2 more skeins (balls of yarn) and a pair of 7mm needles for my 'new' project *wonders when that will happen*. I had originally only wanted to accompany EdVice into the 'hood for a reason to go romping around in the snow, as I had been sick for a few days previously and was itching to get out into the elements. I mean, it doesn't snow in Istanbul that often, AND this is going to be my last winter season living in Istanbul.

Nostalgia for Istanbul already setting in, and I haven't even left yet. It's always interesting how one goes about leaving a place. Uplifting in a bittersweet sense, I think!

Our business finished, we trotted off towards HQ for the day. Steve-O greeted wearing a sweet Moroccan winter Gandoura (jalabiya).  De-clothing in wintertime is time-consuming I have found out. It's a process to take off all outerlayers and find appropriate places to let them be while visiting. A mound of clothing results. Everybody claimed their couch space, and got to it. All manners of conversations, libations, culinary indulgences, and tele-viewing resulted throughout the day. Highlights included another awesome bottle of Romanian red wine that I managed to fit in my suitcase from Romania, and Shepherd's Pie (made by Steve-O). Knitting fools that we are, we were fully entertained- even the knitting support group!

Shit, it's noon already. Time to bounce *chortle*





12.31.2016

2017 Rollercoaster ride begins

So... Last night 4-Gra met up with the Büyükdere Club Kids and partook in proper New Year's shenanigans... Fortunately we had the good fortune to stay put in the 'hood and have an epic house party.

For me it was particularly emotional, although I tried not to dwell on it too much. My inner circle here is so close to my heart. I had worked so hard at moving to Istanbul a few years back. I mean, I thought Istanbul was going to be my 'happy ending' so to say. Unfortunately, my move to Istanbul came about 10 years too late.  There is just too much shit here that prevents me from staying; finances, and politics, etc. Again, not to dwell on this because, well, they are facts- for me. Anyway, now that I know I won't be returning for the Fall Semester 2017, I concentrate on enjoying my time left here before moving on, to an as-of-yet undisclosed location. I am happy to divulge though that I have re-joined the Georgetown University Teaching Fellow program!

Okay, that is my big news. So last night was just so monumental for me because my phamily and I were together sharing my last New Year's (living) here in Turkey. I LOVE the feeling of being part of a tribe, and a wacky tribe we are. What 2017 invokes, for me, is a deepening of connection to my Istanbul tribe.


4-Gra started out yesterday meeting up at our fav local watering hole, the Corner Irish Pub. Viagra and I were happily traipsing along Istiklal Caddesi (the main pedestrian street in the heart of the city-Beyoglu) giggling, as we are prone to do. It was rain/sleet/snow action so we were walking fast. Independently of talking to each other, we both noticed this guy walking nearby. I took notice, and so did she, that he heard us speaking English. Then he started slowing down. The famous Beyoglu trolley was approaching and I motioned to her to cross the tracks. Then I was keeping an eye on this dude because he noticed, slowed down his gait and was trying to slightly look over his left shoulder. My mind is racing because so much shit is happening in this country right now that I don't delve into, but you all know exactly what I'm talking about... Anyway, I decided I needed to focus on him and his shoes- because it was cold and everybody was wearing black, and I wanted to remember his description if he took off his gray beanie he was wearing. As I was observing his strange moves, Viagra tugged at my sleeve to tell me that someone was following us, maybe.  It was just so interesting that we both were feeling this at the same time.  We watched him briefly as we stalked our stalker.  At some point we ducked into a side street and made our way to the pub, but it was unsettling. I immediately thought 'suicide bomber', but Viagra was thinking 'undercover police' just keeping track of the crowd. After all, the place was swarming with uniformed policemen (there are many embassies, as well as the Russian Consulate which has recently been heavily guarded, etc). 

So at the height of our gathering last night someone's phone beeped and a headline came up of a terrorist attack at Reina nightclub in Örtaköy (an upscale Istanbul neighborhood). No one wanted to deal with it in those moments. I didn't even realize it was in Turkey until a bit later, because I just didn't want to deal with it...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/jan/01/istanbul-nightclub-attack-dozens-killed-new-years-eve-mass-shooting-live-updates

So... by now you must realize that this is not a typical New Year's Day 'peace, love and happiness' post, but it kinda is. The atmosphere here is light, in spite of the heaviness that engulfs this country. This place is bittersweet.

Now, to greet the day!!! 2017




12.30.2016

2017. Spiritual warrior activation *upload complete* Hit return

My first #pussyhatproject project


Reflecting on my scenes of my 2016, when inserted into a geo-political-social worldwide kerfuffle, you have just that; good contexts mixed with bad (foreboding premonitions?), waiting to ambush, perhaps, the world as you have known it. It can't possibly be that dire, what 2017 has in store for us. We (I say 'we' as if just Americans are experiencing this, but in fact *THIS IS NOT A FACT* the world expects/anticipates/dreads/welcomes/*insert your verb* collectively.

Current Setting:New Year's Eve. 9:30 AM. Drinking (Indonesian) coffee with some organic milk frothed by an Italian, in bed (haha, absurd). Add to that a pinch of brown sugar, and, presto! instant early morning mood enhancer. Oh yea, da kine.

The kitts are on hand as well. On the bed. Staring at me, staring at the walls, and staring into space while listening to the crows outside. Cawing sounds attract their attention for sure. The unknown world out there, they ponder. They know there is a glorious life out there, different from the one they know with me, inside. Their thirst for the outdoors- from their Middle Eastern Dilmun civilization homeland they arose from, and so quickly removed from, via magic carpet ride to the center of the Ottoman Empire- Constantinople; they are looking to quench their thirst again. I can feel it. They must sense Oregon...After all, they are part of the global kittyzens crew... Third passport stamp coming up.

A quick shout-out to Karen and Georgia *Elvis, Millie*, the 'My Favorite Murder' http://www.feralaudio.com/show/my-favorite-murder/ podcast gargoyles. They mentioned something I had learned a long time ago, but has been disappearing from my knowledge chain; what a great resource Wikipedia really is. It IS so great for cut/pasting snippets, for quick reference on anything. You don't have to feel shame for using uncitable reference materials. Anyway, mahalo ladies for snippets of wisdom that I inherently know I DON'T have to fact-check... :)

Next up, on a whim just now while I was downstairs with Je-Gra grinding coffee beans- Yes, because that's what friends/neighbors DO early in the morning when in need of a cuppa-joe! So, the point of the story part here... I flashed on thoughts of EdVice and Frangelico, which, of course, means Romania- which ultimately means end of summer-last trip to get in- before the start of the (ridiculously long) Fall Semester school year... More on that - never! Maybe, but I try to not whine so much when blogging. Or proof-read. Anyway, the story: Ed eagle-eye spotted the bottle of Frangelico at the airport duty-free! I like Frangelico and coffee I've discovered. In honor of that discovery, today I partake in the ritualistic ceremony, to invoke holiday cheer. To say good-bye to 2016. Wat up 2017? Imma approach this as J.P. Sears might; ultra-spiritual warrior (http://awakenwithjp.com/).


Since we're on the subject of 'using uncitable reference materials', fuck this fake-news shit and 'Post-Truth' age of disinformation- too much information- intentional/unintentional fake information-howthefuckyoufigureoutallthisshit. I'm tired of searching. I'm already tired of figuring out (my version) of THE truth. Well, isn't 'my' version the dominant version? Obviously not, according to the date to stay alive DEEP in my heart, July 26, 2016. That's right. NOT November 11th, 2016. That, more recent, date just numbed my heart even more, resulting in a near shut-down concerning discussion of Amerikan *global* politics. The incoming president-elect has no place on my *dominant* spiritual agenda... That's right, all this political bullshit attacks my spirit, when I am weak. When I am strong, though...well- this is the goal for all years, all the time honestly.

I digress... July 26, 2016 I (we?) got sideswiped; Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic nomination for presidency to Hilary. Bernie's "movement of love", as coined by Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii State Representative)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeuEOYBY8U8 

... lost over a 'movement of mediocrity', not devastating, like what we ended up with the president-elect's 'movement of dunces', but certainly wasn't going to progress in a graceful and honesty manner- which is where the U.S. needs to be headed... But how it happened was deceitful, IMHO. That's all.


(I know, completely lame of me to just cut/paste the attributive tag for Gabbard's quote, but I give 0 you know what). LOVE to break MLA/APA citation rules.  *rabblerouser*  On a side note, I'm increasingly fascinated with error-correcting grammar. I know, weird.

2016. Lots of: travel, good times, friendships, family time, growth, spiritual-self work, reading, running, yoga, learning, teaching, challenges met, and... as of late... KNITTING! That's right, I'm a knitting warrior at the moment. Check out the PussyHat Project:

https://www.pussyhatproject.com/

2016, time to bounce  *(gross) 2009 lexical reference*  (HaHa)

2017. Spiritual warrior activation *upload complete* Hit return



12.23.2016

Happiest of Holidaze 2016, from Constantanople: Peace on eARTh

Peace on eARTh


Never have I felt that it's more needed. Never have I felt that things, on a large scale, seem close to hopeless if the current socio/econo/techno/political path continues on this path. My thoughts on this? Well, foremost, I feel that if I want to turn away from all this I need to hightail it to the South Pacific. Surely I can't avoid what is upon us, but I can remove myself to the farthest reaches of the world to live at a pace that is more in tune with what my body truly craves for optimal, thriving living. That is Plan A, but I'm not ready to execute Plan A. I think. Plan B: Remove myself from present coordinates? More on that later...

Festivities have rules the week. Work finally lightened up, and that is much to be 'giddy' about. The weather might be dreary, but moods are illuminated! Snow doesn't seem to be in the forecast here in Istanbul, unfortunately. But, it's cold outside baby, so there's that...

I am full of hollyday cheer, to be sure. The hollyday crazy started last week, when I helped friends trim their Christmas tree. Betty The Cat, BTW, helps them to re-trim their Christmas tree every day since. Brucifer, the other family feline, stays in the back room to properly play his role of '(cute) old Mr. Scrooge' to a 'T'! Brucifer, I'm sure, quietly reflects upon the grandeur of the tree, while Betty The Cat destroys. They both get what they need outta that tree :)

Last night we planned to make some more holiday cheer- in all recreational forms. The highlight, however, was the undertaking of baking shortbread cookies. Now, I've always thought that the amount of butter one needs to execute this task was an urban legend of sorts, but no. Horrendous amounts of butter make these cookies devastatingly delicious. The end result was divine. A few near-misses were had: someone not doing the correct math for butter conversion; almost eating all the caramelized pecans before we could top off all the cookies; doubling the recipe and, at first, thinking we still wouldn't have enough cookies (we ended up with a plethora); and the possibility of just drinking a wee-bit too much and forgetting about said cookies in the oven- that one didn't happen, thanks to iPhone alarms.

Here is the playlist drinklist for the evening's events:

A light 'liquid appetizer' upon arrival, I was greeted with a Frangelico-and-coffee. You know, to recover from the work day. This combined with wrapping paper and gift-wrapping set the tone, along with light-hearted conversation. Moving along from here, our task at hand- Christmas cookie baking- seemed a far-off reality as we dipped into the next taste-test; a nice bottle of Romanian red wine to accompany us in kitchen-mode. I believe this stage ended with general merryment around the Christmas tree and photo shoot, and some off-key caroling. Before you knew it, Jack Daniels took over for the final hurrah, which designated couch and tele time.

Today, (Christmas Eve) as I lay in bed with my 2nd cuppa joe and da kine, the holidaze continues with more friends, more baking, more spirits, and our Bollywood Christmas. Yes, I have found a  music list on YouTube...

Tonight's menu is homemade Indian food!

The holiday mood suddenly broken by memories of the kitties litter box, I adjust my kaleidoscope back to reality and that I have to get fresh kitty litter so guests don't have to endure THAT... Okay, time to get outta bed.

Bye

12.09.2016

re-fill please...




Cuppa Joe, this morning specifically, gives the effects of being perhaps THE most delicious cuppa joe I've ever experienced. The aroma strong and elegant, taste so smooth and silky. Yes, silky. Perhaps that's from the addition of a touch of Bailey's.

A gloriously moody Saturday morning sunrise, I greeted. My accompaniment, Armenian Duduk music. Long forgotton foot paths meeting up with etherial sounds just downriver of the headwaters of a swollen, raging river suddenly abated by the mere presence of large, voluptiously-round boulders standing at attention just on the horizon of the raging waters. Rays of sunshine streamming over a treeline burst into view, creating an excellent head-trip this morning, indeed. Suddenly all is calm. Behold the cacophany of silence.

Silence, and the Duduk... So much life has  walked this path- both familiar and strange. Stories of caravans settle into the dust, dormant until stirred. Zephyrs stirring up stories, always. Tumbleweeds of narratives seeking an audience set out. Intentions of an ampitheater, an orator, a closure or continuation. Desperately searching for a sequel. Roll on tumbleweed.

Attaching themselves to brambles, some tales deviate from their destiny, temporarily. Preferring instead to stay a fortnight or two, divulging their secrets to those fortunate enough to be 'on the path' at the right time and place and in a contemporaneous dimension.

Imagine being a traveler on such a journey. The path, the caravansarai, the travelers you come into contact with, the stars, the sounds, the spices, the stories that are the pulse, streaming energy to all those who cross the path. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5tcbD5in7k&list=PLRPiGFRotdRI1TBJMy2S8gD3_D2iLg0JD



What is in the coffee, right? :)

Okay, I'm going for a run now. Storytime; my path, in my current dimension, follows the Bosphorus. And since I'm feeling my superpowers full force this morning, I'll put in a request with the entities upstairs for snowfall this week...





12.02.2016

Rhetoric.5.0:About.Last.Night



Rhetoric 5.0: About Last Night

After a night of jolly-good fun (more coming on that), I am lying in bed with da kine coffee perusing my last blog entry and I had the inclination to actually read it. I never read over my entries before publishing so...

At first I thought this would be a 'cute' idea- to not proofread my entries before posting, but in actuality, I just didn't want to do it. I, up until recently, felt that they (grammatical errors) should just go unnoticed- I mean, anyone will still understand words. Then I somehow drift off to thinking about students' papers: first drafts, homework, etc. I has definitely grammar-fever... :)

Basically, slightly horrified I was moments ago when re-reading and coming up on MY grammar blunders. Anyway, I'm feeling better again about it, so will likely not change my publishing policy. Or, it will be haphazardly accomplished more so. *Gets ready to write a 5-paragraph argumentative essay entry next*

I digress. About last night...

Earlier on Thursday I had thought about another gathering at my Büyükdere HQ. Plan set, wheels into motion, BAM Friday evening cocktail hour a la Mauihollyday. Lately I've found myself in the kitchen conducting many culinary experiements. Surprisingly delicious results lead me to believe I could make Börek with this yusuf stuff- like filo pastry. Most surprising about these experiments is that they are just coming from my head- no recipes y'all.

I did have 1 failure of the night, before friends started appearing fortunately.  I was burning some Omani Frankinsense and Oregon Sage (that I hand-picked on a cross-country road trip 2 years ago with my brother, somewhere off the highway in eastern Oregon on a (pee) stop in the bushes) in my mega-huge Bahraini incense burner. It's so pleasantly intoxicating walking around anywhere in the Middle East because of scents, incense, Bakhour, resins, etc... Incense is magical. Specific incense, that is. I spent a fair amount of time searching for the most epic frankincense. Found it in Oman, I did. Salalah actually the most amazing selection. Or was that Nizwa? *sigh*

Digressing, I am... Yes, the fire alarm- so, incense was roaring out of my huge burner and, now that it's almost winter, my windows aren't all the way open now since it's cold (another story there folks. Because my windows don't fully close- because of the screen I put on it so my cats don't escape- it is FREEZING in my apartment. I told friends in my text to come dressed warmly, with scarves and hats if needbe), so all this luscious smoke billowing out had nowhere to filter out to steadily. I, of course, love this shit and being enveloped in all this smokey, etherial goodness, but I was aware that previously the fire alarm has gone off due to this soul-food indulgence. Now, right when I'm thinking about that fire alarm going off last time, I began to realize that my place was very smokey. As well, I'm making popcorn on the stove... Next, fire alarm goes off (on the top floor as well as with security, below). Next thing, Metin is coming up the stairs to see what I'm doing this time :) We quickly work it out (in Turkish :)) that I am again burning incense, as opposed to burning down the apartment. I go back inside and remember the popcorn... Not too badly burned though, but a bit of black smoke to mix in with my purple haze of Far East incense.

Okay, I see the word 'rhetoric' written below (a sort of 'sticky note' to myself to keep on track of the point of this entry today) , so I will continue on- until the next diversion walks across my mind so my brain decides to tell my fingers to type along with the journey... The ultimate test is, of course, to see if I can remember the main point. I've conditioned myself to cheat though- hense the sticky notes.

rhetoric. Our spirited group, viaGra, Jel, Steve-O, EdVice and Todd Bey, was taking delight in adult libations (the Metaxa was a hit), observations/analyses of life with petit soliloquies, perhaps that part came towards the end with only 3 muskateers remaining, quite content in giving viaGra a tarot card reading. The cards, feeling ancient in my hands, bring with it the memory of that fateful day when I was somewhere on Maui and decided that I wanted to purchase a deck of tarot cards. Or maybe it was in Santa Cruz, Ca. I can't remember honestly.

But it was that feeling of looking at all these amazing interpretations of decks of cards and kinda predicting which deck will be a good fit for you. Oh yes, it was Maui. I remember now. I was working in Miracles Bookstore upcountry in Makawao. At times when I would be alone in the bookstore, it was like running around up at Santa's Village at the North Pole, I think. Again, incense is a main thing there- always reaffirming my devotion to incense and realization that I cannot live without it. Clean incense though- none of that real perfume-y stuff.

So, Aleister Crowley's deck found itself in my palms. Connection firmly in place. BAM. The research into the man himself afterwards led me on another journey. Ahhh, so many journies. Now, where was I?

rhetoric: At some point in the conversation (last night), it was determined that a few had mastered in rhetoric. I, not being among those so gifted, have increasingly been fascinated with the subject matter. Some of you purists close your ears now because... I am cutting and pasting Wikipedia now (SHUT up):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric

Rhetoric (pronounced /ˈrɛtərɪk/) is the art of discourse, wherein a writer or speaker strives to inform, persuade or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the European tradition.[1] Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion."[2] Rhetoric typically provides heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals, logos, pathos, and ethos. The five canons of rhetoric, which trace the traditional tasks in designing a persuasive speech, were first codified in classical Rome: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Along with grammar and logic (or dialectic—see Martianus Capella), rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse.

So I'm lazy... As Homo sapiens, our progressing of stair-stepping into the highly technological world, we are fine-tuning our rhetoric, or are we?

Honestly, now that I've reached the pinnacle of achievement for this entry, rhetoric, I've decided that I'm over that thought. That was 'so last night'.

About Last Night. A great gathering in a great city living a great dream

About This Morning... I'm sticking with my original plan of no editing...

11.11.2016

Groundhog Day...every day... for.4.years...

topsy-turvy Istanbul


Soul-Searching Saturday folks. So, you guys want the 'Holly-whiny-poo-in-her-pants version', or the 'Holly put on her big girl pants' to find her cup half-full version?

Okay then, we begin with the tongue-in-cheek blended version: tequila

As you all know, America took to the polls this week Tuesday to determine, among other important things, our next president. Let's start with the awesome;

Marijuana: Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana. Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida all voted to legalize medical marijuana. The only digression here was Arizona; their initiative to legalize recreational marijuana failed with a 52% majority. There's something about Arizona... Something too bad that is. Oh well, next time, with more states too :)


Not to interrupt, but I'm going to interrupt here.  It's after 9:30 in the morning on Saturday the 12th November here in moody Istanbul. Drifting from the street below is the sound of hymns. Yes, hymns- coming from the Greek Orthodox church below. You all remember that I live in an old Greek, Armenian neighborhood here in the northernmost borough of Istanbul, up on the shores of the Bosphorus meeting the Black Sea (whoa, that sounds GOOD, doesn't it?). So... it must mean that it is some kind of Orthodox holy day? I'm not sure, but I've heard this a few times before on a Saturday so maybe there is a service, or maybe dude is just feeling the spirit, heart soaring and so belting out some hymns,  just because.

Okay, I'm back from that drifting observation. Back to the realization that I'm surrounded with TOO MUCH tech: Mac Book Pro, Mac Book Air, Ipad Mini & iPhone6. This is exactly the shit that is bumming me out- since Tuesday's election... This is my spiritual vomit. Hopefully I'll remember to get back to this point later on, because this IS my main point today.

Of course, that first moment was disbelief. I was lecturing for my writing class and students were out of control; they couldn't stop checking their phones as we were all following the soon-to-be-announced election results, on the down-low. After a few attempts to deflect questions from students, somehow the next moment we were all staring at the projector & screen, watching FOX news live coverage. One of my students blurted out that Wisconsin votes were coming in... OMG! Shocking.

It must have been interesting for them to experience this with me; the reverse scenario certainly captured my attention! Students are clever. They are totally up on all US politico/diplomatic news events, as well as John Oliver, Conan, Seth, SNL, etc. We've watched various news clips together in fact. A few were catching my eye more than others and they knew. They knew I was totally shocked and had NO IDEA that Donald Drumpf would- COULD- ever be elected...

The camaraderie I experienced at that day at work with everyone... I won't ever forget. It's interesting being an expat, in general. Upon finding out one's nationality, one is immediately associated with some (basic) generalizations, I think. These can be stereotypes, or not; it depends on what the other knows, in general and specific, about that culture. It's not judgment, but something to work down from. You either ask more questions, and get more feedback, or you don't and leave it at that. This is basic, and universal.

Students and colleagues- especially female colleagues; there was such an intense, unspoken bond. This is one of those moments that an endears an expat to a country... The spoken bond was just as emotional- especially with my Turkish-female colleagues. I think I can safely say that our little troop of Americans were experiencing similar feelings; disbelief, disgust, shock, defeat.

A few standout moments, that I shall cherish forever, were smoking cigarettes with my writing class at break- just after news broke of results. Break was over, actually, so I was going outside to grab my naughty students hanging out still, in their group smoking cigarettes. I looked up at them, and looked into their mysterious eyes, and asked for a cigarette... We came back and managed to have a fairly excellent class that weaved this beautiful story of the structure of a basic cause/effect essay with dialogue frequently drifting to how I was doing, more questions about the structure of voting in America, and if Russia had anything to do with results. I then recall walking back to my office and bumming another cigarette from a Canadian colleague. One Turkish teacher casually walked past, caught my eye and said, "I'm sorry Holly".

From there we gathered inside as if attending a wake. The Turkish instructors in a procession expressing their sorrow for what we were experiencing. Much of it was amusing and light-hearted- as I think we Americanos were trying to keep things simple. Some saw through the facade though. It was a beautiful day, in that way, that I won't forget, even long after I've left Turkey. We planned to meet-up and drink at a local watering hole, yet by the end of the day, feeling dejected as reality further set in, we all trotted off home to (most likely) drink in private :) I know I did... In fact, we brewed our concoctions and put them in (large) to-go cups and took a long, reflective walk along the shore of the Bosphorus. 'Fuck, it's only Tuesday', I thought to myself...

I gave myself that day to grieve. The rest of the week is now a blur of eating, drinking, sleeping, working, running, and da kine. So, now this brings us full circle back to tequila...

Some of our local gra club members decided to lighten up the darkness. Meeting up at HoGra HQ, we devised a plan; tequila, walkabout, etc. Armed with our WMDs, we set out to expand our horizons and look for that silver lining. I almost had them convinced what we needed to do was hop on a bus headed to Kilyos Beach, almost... Back to ViaGra HQ for some tequila-sipping (yea, the good shit).

There was a portal involved in our journey, which just so happened to be the Great White-Lighted Christmas Tree at the Haciosman Roundabout... We searched for the Keymaster and located the Gatekeeper, yet couldn't reach either. Next time. I can say HERstory is coming along quite nicely...

Here I lay, in bed, reflecting on a nation I know not. I have had the fortune to be an expat during the Obama presidency. This has been SO easy, honestly. Here's the thing now, though... I'm doing the requisite research now; I'm looking at 'the other side' information. I'm foraging around their website hangouts to figure 'them' out. No matter. What I've decided is that this election represents where we are headed- not just in America though. Technology has done this to us. We love it. We embrace it. We can't live without it. I realized that I'm fucking sick of looking at news online, but I can't stop myself. We are always fact-checking, or skimming headlines or looking for something, because it's all there- available always. The media is always here for us, to sway us, to convince us, to amuse us.

This was a vote resulting from fear (ahem, Brexit too)- for a lot of people I think. America is fearful. If we have all this tech and access to everything, and fully embrace it, why are we turning to insulate ourselves? What will this produce? This intense feigned 'return' nationalism and to 'make America great again'? Where has America gone? America is great, and it sucks too. There is always a duality, everywhere. How do I turn all this shit off? Have I forgotten? I'm growing tired of always looking at screens. More Kool-Aid please...

My reactions to my thoughts? Some words to express: equator, simplicity, remote, global, humanitarian, yoga, family, friends, back to basics, like-minded, cultural diversity, reading more books, music, positivity, hiking, wanderlust, green. So yea, the usual...

BTW, this NYT exit poll link is fascinating- if data can be representative... (again, back to this 'always fact-checking shit')

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0


Playlist:

Live- Lightning Crashes
Steppenwolf- Desperation   (very fitting, under political circumstances)
James- Laid
Crowded House- Weather With You    (everywhere you go, always take the weather with you)
Beck- Tropicalia
Gotan Project- Una Música Brutal
Harry Belafonte- Banana Boat Song
Arcade Fire- Haiti
Raining Pleasure- Fake
Toots and The Maytals- Pressure Drop
David Bowie- Under Pressure
Depeche Mode- Dream On
Bo Diddley- You Can't Judge a Book By Looking at the Cover
The Smiths- How Soon is Now
The Vaccines- Wetsuit
Conjure One- Center of the Sun
Kate Bush- How to Be Invisible


Resources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/datadesign/2016/11/11/legal-marijuana-and-a-higher-minimum-wage-states-that-passed-key-ballot-measures-in-2016/#34954ec7cb9f

coffee w/Portuguese Bailey's
Da Kine
faith in humankind to do the right thing, as per their gut feeling. My gut feeling says to get back to the equator... 



11.07.2016

HERstory: Absurdastan is where I dwell

Web of Absurdastan 


Absurdastan, at times, is a state of mind - unrelated to physical form. Currently, Absurdastan has coordinates. More so than coordinates, 'it' has a pulse. Although, I'm not sure what is running through this pulse currently... 

There seems to be an impasse, my allegiance to this Absurdastan. It's complicated. It's deal-breaker. It's HIStory. I need HERstory.

There are gradations of Absurdastan, depending on my mood. This morning the sky is limitless shades of grey happiness. I capture that grey mass and roll it up into a balance ball and bounce it up and down upon the soil, leaving a trail of greydation print clues to where 'this' continues.

HERstory, the IST collective, is oftentimes hilarious. As well, often enough comprises mundane life in the daily grind with no HI or LO to orate. 

HERstory at HER current Absurdastan fills volumes of disappearing parchment stained with art, myth, fairy tales, and religious and secular dis-ease and appease- whatever the preference. Hypno-pompic clues leading to hyper-reality, whatever 'that' is.

Becoming aware that chronological order has no space in Absurdastan aids the comfort zone of dwelling in Absurdastan, you see. I cultivate place for this space. This necessitates invoking elements attracted to this sacred space: Air, water, fire earth- conjure up that 5th element; you know the one, the one that has no face. It's elementally on, so let's clean this shitstorm up. The calm before has left the room; the elephant remains, as does the cacophony of huge silence... The guilt of silence is choking,
unbearable. 

Charmed, I'm sure. Conjure up a potion to break this silly chain of recent HISstory of my current Absurdastan. This Absurdastan is filled with sorrow and tired of the fight. This Absurdastan on a road to ruin. This war is absurd. I grow wary of this war. “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,”so thought Sun Tzu. True to this day for followers of wisdom.

The debris from the storm sucks up the pulse, the life energy, from my current Absurdastan coordinates. Time for damage control? Yes. More Sun Tzu for answers... 
 
Sun Tzo. I research his Art of War manifesto. Immediately drawn to #20, "Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him." This. This is HISstory in my current Absurdastan... I wish to retreat from HISstory. 

Meet me in Absurdastan. If can, can. If no can, no can.

'show' NOTES:
http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html
 

10.22.2016

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.






9.18.2016

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.
peace
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