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











9.06.2016

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
Peace

8.05.2016

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???

Peace


Run Holly Run S25E3

On Strike...


8.01.2016

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...

Peace

7.31.2016

Run Holly Run season 25 episode 1 (S1E1)


video


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.

Peace

7.23.2016

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?