Topside; topsy-turvy. That's how I've been feeling temporarily living/working up at nearly 10,000 ft. elevation these past few weeks. Getting my sea-legs though- or more like lungs... I've definitely noticed how my breathing changes when I'm up there. Human biology as influenced by the environment (altitude)- more on that concept below...

Topside; the 'high country' of Tuolumne Meadows. Yea, that's what I call it. I've always liked (re-)naming things to better fit my perceptions of something. Stored lesson plans that I re-use over and over again, or one-offs suddenly gather together under the umbrella organization of "Holly's WMDs" on my Mac. Anything remotely controversial, or needing to remain anonymous, OR I just have a brain fart and can't remember get catalogued under "da kine"- which has sub-listings, of course... Because da kine.

Sunday morning: Coffee, bed, Sierra Nevadas, da kine. See! It works. Some know da kine. Some suspect da kine. Some of da kine have no knowledge of da kine.

I just spent the past 2 weeks living/working up in da kine. It was a nice break from hot, smokey El Portal. This whole 'mountain girl' experiment presses on. I am soaking in so much different energy than I've previously been exposed to. I"m trying to think if I ever lived 'in the mountains'. I think this is the first.

I'm getting to know my mountain home, slowly. I feel the subtle weather changes. It's still summer, but there is something different. I can't exactly place it, but I know it.

NOTE: Currently honoring my auditory canals and treating them to my fav new station that MeGra turned me onto:


Kit Kat Max, Pure Pepper,  Bimbo Bimbo, The Roots, April Showers, Doing Me, I'm Waiting For My Man... and the music continues to delight

S/he who feels it, knows it. Yea. So, what am I feeling lately?  Let's see what lexical choices I can muster up to attempt to describe this feature film that plays through my being. Always on, always trying to capture a moment and weave it into something lasting. Why? I don't know. Or I do, yet words fail me. Or they don't. Maybe words evade me. Yes- that perfect word to summarize a feeling; it gets lost in translation quite frequently. When can, can. When no can, no can.

Hollyday's surfing highlights from the recent past:


A series of Stanford University lectures on human behavioral biology by a funky professor, who I would be honored to be a student of. Ar turned me onto this site. I'm finishing up the 1st one and know (feel) I'll be sticking around for the entirety. Human biology; I've always had a flirtatious relationship with this concept and want to delve deeper into its connections with the environment and hormones, etc. Another thing I love about this link is that it's in itself a cultural interaction; my Turkish friend turned me onto this American university lecture. I love learning about my country through the lens of my foreign friends' eyes. This is one of my most favorite exchanges to experience when living abroad- talking to others about our countries. Sure, politics tends to surface first, but then we get into music, street life, food. Unfolding soon after is our quirkiness, or our personalities start to well up and present itself outwardly as a precious stone shines after some polishing. Then we start to understand each other. What makes someone tick? Is it biology? Is it culture? Is it the environment? Yea, all the answers.


MoGra turned me onto this site.  She's all into spinal research & alignment right now, so when we talk-story these days I'm all ears. I love when I understand how much a friend has done research on something, so I know that I don't have to- I can just glean off their data results first, and then go from there- if need be. I just recently did this with my roommate BrGra concerning water filters. She is working out in the back-country wilderness- at times for nearly 2 weeks before resurfacing in the big city here in El Portal... (ahem) Anyway, I ask the question, and BOOM, I get an answer. An answer that I don't even have to question. I mean, she's still walking and breathing after drinking her Sawyer water filter so... there's that.
I received further confirmation about Sawyer water filters from KaGra,  while chatting it up one night I asked her about the filter she used when in Iraq. She said, of course, Sawyer! See?
Another cultural experiment, concerning science, and revolving around human behavior. Ahhh biology- love you. I have one question though: Is biology considered a 'soft' or a 'hard' science? I've read up on the dilemma a bit. The jury is still out.

Continuing on with my scientific conquests, I like to delve into the abyss of space. Space matters.

You plug in your location and get a listing of International Space Station (ISS) sightings for a certain time period. Cool. Period. How did I discover this gem: Solar eclipse mania has been occurring across the U.S. for a while now, which culminated on August 21st when the eclipse was visible throughout a band-arc across country.


Omniglot: all tongues. All the languages and writing systems I want to devour- at times, all up in my head space, I think this would be my super power I would want. I"m thinking of my superhero name right now in fact. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Homonym Hollyday? Nah.

Kurdish is the next upcoming tongue I will rub shoulders with. So, omniglot I must. ASAP.

I remember in high school that Ani Leritz asked me to help her with a dictionary of terms she was developing as a result of our high school experiences. What did she call it? I remember helping out with entries such as 'dirtbag', 'loadie' and such... An early omniglot pioneer in my life, she inspired me.

Speaking of dirtbag and lexical choices... 'Dirtbag', I have recently learned, has been re-cycled and re-invented. The term is perhaps a result of a specific geographical area- specifically for Yosemite, and possibly other rock-climbing meccas of the world. Yea, dirtbag refers to a person/persons who live to rock-climb. From what I understand, they don't hold jobs, pay rent, and other typical societal norms that we tend to adhere to. They live in their cars in the Park and steal sugar packets, mayonnaise packets, creamers, etc. to supplement their meals.'Dirtbagging' can either be a verb or used as a gerund. I'm fascinated.


I am all things Native American now. Being back in America for this stint and working alongside Native Americans, my ears and eyes are thirsty to drink up wisdom flowing from this land. This land is a tall cup of water. I am enjoying delving deeper with each sip that I take the time to filter and digest. I love me filtered water. THAT. That is an interesting concept. That's all.

The past few weeks I've had the pleasure of working alongside living libraries of knowledge. A knowledge not often written, but handed-down in story-telling form. I had a lesson in nuances of Paiute, Miwok, Mono, etc. I'm starting to feel comfortable discussing with them stories I've recently read authored by early (foreign) travelers through the area (Galen Clark, John Muir, etc), and how those stories can be used for a variety of things, but most basically just as an understanding of someone else's world through the lens of a foreigner. You get a general idea, but how pure or accurate it is is conjecture- based on human biology and bloodlines...

Anyway, I'm asking questions. I'm listening, and trying not to interrupt... The symphony of massive trees, abundant rivers and their tributaries, animals both large and small, winds traveling through narrow canyons; all platforms of knowledge that takes time in imparting knowledge. I'm still learning to listen when I'm spoken to, or to even realize that I am being spoken to. That's how it is with learning a foreign language in a foreign land; you hear stuff in the background and then hear something familiar, so listen more intently. This. I. Love.


Currently learning how to navigate through this website. There is so much information about a topic that I am self-teaching myself, so it is a bit overwhelming. You know that feeling when you want to know more about a subject than you do, but it takes time and effort. Patience, perseverance, and those small victories keep me intrigued.

Okay, I'm burning out. This ends my communique. Time to make breakfast and greet the smoky, increasingly hot day (morning). I think temperatures are supposed to hover near 100º today, continuing on into the week and rising. So, do I drive to the Central Valley to Turlock to go to the Assyrian Festival, or do I chill on the Merced River and read my current book that I'm blazing through, "Shattered Air"?

One big accomplishment of the week: I'm not a 'Puppy Dome' virgin any longer thanks to the Topside posse. Phew. Bucket list item without previously knowing it :)

Looking at Tis-sa-ack (Half Dome), from the back door up at Olmstead Point

Checking out the solar eclipse atop Pothole Dome

Domes and domes and domes...

Topside living

I spy 3 rock-climbers

Tenaya Lake


a slice of the western Sierras

old skool

Katydid always greets me when I return to El Portal :)


Working Hollyday 2.0

Well gosh darn if this isn't the best Working Hollyday ever! Perhaps I just needed the break from teaching, but going to work 4 days a work, so far, just feels pretty damn good. The movement is refreshing. The scenery just blows my mind. Some days it's just so hot that you are stuptified. Sweating profusely and suddenly someone slows up with popsicles. That. THAT. Beauty.

Yea. Personalities, topics of conversation, etc., all of it just resonates deep. Hanging out with the various work crews is just so diverse: One crew enjoys discussing tv serials. I LOVE this because it reminds me of Istanbul and chatting with my students. Well, hardly just 'chatting', I recall a class or two almost solely taught on rating which shows everybody watched. Yea, somehow that semester that topic worked its way into every writing task... I wasn't especially fond of the writing curriculum so I diverged a smidge, or so...Fun class. Westworld was a favorite.

But I digress...So back to present herstory being made...The tv serial crew- yea I dig them. We initially bonded over The Vikings. That crew also has a collective memory of every funny dialogue of any random comedy or horror film that they can produce 'on the fly' ('quickly' for my ex-students that are reading this. And if you guys are reading this, make sure you are still using your highlighters when taking notes in your classes...). The Drunk History Channel is another topic of interest with us all.

Another crew I practice my Spanish with. I can already feel my improvement. I can listen to them talking with each other when I'm working and think that I'm just drowning out the sound, but in reality I'm just understanding most everything. Except for that one guy- I can't pick up on his accent too well; he speaks too fast for me to comprehend much, so his words just flow into each other. His words offer up rhythmic poetry, as his intonation rolls along as fluidly as the Merced River  does just behind the job-site. These guys, mostly all of them, they know how to deal with a second language learner.

The soil compaction guy is a gem. He's like a young John Muir. His knowledge is vast concerning the natural environment. He's not a Yosemite boy by birth, but pretty darn close. One day the crew was working late and we both were taking stock of the sudden scene of impending doom up in the sky; the Empire Fire had recently broke out as a result of a lightning strike a few days before, Then, as the fire burned, it was so hot that it started a series of its own lightning strikes- that was the question of the late afternoon. At various times in conversation suddenly one of us pointed to the sky gleefully to see the lightning and wait for the thunder. As well, would it rain down in Old El Portal. Pondering these things takes time, and makes for a great afternoon of screening, taking soil samples, or whatever :) It did rain the next afternoon for one hour straight. I fairly solid outpoor- nothing like Hawaii standards though, which sets the highest standard- in my book anyway...

Well, it didn't end up raining that afternoon. Instead I received a handful of luscious purplish-red plums from his grandma's backyard. Yea, food. Sharing food and stories. Some stories are spooky! I love spooky, local lore.

(Speaking of lore, one of my newest favorite podcasts is 'Lore'. Check it out. Dude is a storyteller and his voice is soothing in a spooky way!)

One of the kin of the construction company at a job site came up to us the other day to shoot the shit. Great timing as moments later they hit a small kine feeder water line... So, I'm always spouting off about my obsession with thinking about mountain lions while on my evening run, which happens to be on the same road where the crew is doing night work, AND there was a mountain lion 'incident' there back in May. So he busts into talk-story about walking back along the road late one night and hears something in the bushes. I mean, this is a mountain-dude. He lit up as he recalled not bothering to turn around and try to see something... Yea, I dig local lore.

Speaking of local lore, there are also some original stock of the area; miwok, Paiute, Mono, Ahwahnechee... My brain is a sponge- soaking up all the words; that bush, that animal, family outings panning for gold, still, up in the hills. This. This reminds me of Hawaii, working with the local crews there and `olelo (talking story) all day.

And that other crew, and that other crew, etc... The office crew- it's all good. One thing I have noticed about working in the office, which is distinctly American- I think- is that in most work places, people are using the ergonomic computer station thingy where your desktop/laptop table lifts up so you can stand up and work. Smart cookies. 

Feeling grateful for this experience- this shift in my daily routing paradigm, what with being back in America and working for a short stint. As I said, working vacation... before the other work starts back up again- in January. Flying, the time. Coming up on 2 months here nearly.

Yea, I'm already getting stoked about the Kurdistan move. The university is starting to send me paperwork, etc. I'm back to doing a bit of research in those evenings where I feel so inclined. The anthropologist in me digs this! As of late, I find myself in conversation with folks, talking about my experiences 'over there'. I recognize that I'm always smiling in re-telling my experiences. I'm also trying to reach for the right, descriptive word to use so the listener can really get into my head-space and visualize my interpretation. I know, this is getting deep!

Since I'm reflecting on work, which I rarely do with this blog, next work I'll be camping out top-side- my catch-all term for Tuolumne Meadows. Since the work commute to this site will be 1.5 hours driving time each way and each day, there are these basic employee campgrounds that you can use so you don't have the long commute. I'm all set up; tent, sleeping bag, stove, bear canister, and long-range radio. Yea, working vacation. I'm psyching myself up to see the infamous, elusive Yosemite Pika- a super cute small mammal that isn't digging on this climate change shit that $45 (our stupid, current US pres) had once said was a yuge (the way our stupid, current US pres pronounces 'huge') problem that 'Ghina' (the way our stupid, current US pres pronounces 'China') fabricated...

I've been researching optometrists in the area so I can do an eye exam while I'm here in America. Honestly, I didn't really think either of my 2 previous eye exams for reading glasses- one in Turkey and one in Bahrain- were really the right fit. I mean, I'm still new at this reading glasses thing, but I had no idea that when doing an eye exam you are supposed to specify you need them for reading OR computer stuff... This opens up a whole new ball game I think. Might make things go a bit smoother from here on out!

The Ashland connection? Yea, I'm missing the Ashland connection. I'll be heading up next month for a few days and so looking forward to being 'home'- at another home. I really like this concept of having many 'homes'. It feels comfortable. A child of the world that feels at home in any space and time. Or I'm just comfortable with the chaos of not really having a home... But, I'm thinking about spaces lately. Portugal is a nice space...

My current space continues to evolve. Yosemite grows on me. Last week I discovered Wawona/south entrance to Yosemite. Coming back from Fresno (yes folks, driving to REI in Fresno is definitely worth it!), I decided to take the long route, which didn't really show up as the 'long' route on Google Maps... I pretty much knew this already though and was looking for a Sunday drive last Saturday. I took Highway 41 back all the way to inside Yosemite Valley. Wow.

Just outside of Fresno the landscape gets super interesting. Passing through Chukchansi territory the golden-yellow hues gave way to a transitioning space washed over with a greenish-yellow lens of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Coarsegold, initially known as "Texas Flat" after miners from Texas discovered gold there in 1849, has some interesting local lore. Originally the Chukchansi homeland, there is an October Tarantula Festival on the Saturday before Halloween. Fall is mating season for these arachnids. You know there is some good local lore here. I'll be in attendance this year and get back to you on it.

I'll say I saw more than a few super interesting places to stop and check-out next time there and in Fish Camp. I definitely saw some watering holes that I wanna check out.

The sun was setting as I entered the Lone Pine Entrance of Yosemite. I could sense that I was in for a show. Wawona Road winds through the emerald-green montane forest. Giant sequoias dwell in this land, as well as Black Oak, Incense Cedar,  Ponderosa Pine, etc. For me, Glacier Point is one of the MOST amazing landscapes in Yosemite. Stunned into silence while soaking up atmospheric energy. Not to be missed, this. Next time I'll return when I have more time... For now I was racing against the setting sun to get to the spot- the Sweet Spot.

You go into the Wawona Tunnel, which is bored through granite, At Tunnel View, you pull over. You. Must. Pull. Over. Amazing vista. Spiritual vomit of landscape so incredibly overwhelming that you are left empty of all displeasing contents inside your body. It is body-chemical altering- I shit you not... El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome all compete for center stage, but the lessor actresses/actors stand out on their own individually. I didn't even consider taking a photo to attempt to represent what I was so preoccupied with. Nothing else mattered in those moments.

Because I couldn't be bothered to take a photo, here is one that Ansel Adams took around 1935.
It's a famous sunset spot on its own, but tonight was something extraordinary. It happened to be one day before the full moon, and I happened to be driving out of the tunnel after 8 pm sometime. Suddenly this glowing orange orb comes into full view, after a few miles of it playing with me as I viewed it imprisoned by a forest of trees. Driving through this forest with the setting sun, once I finally realized that explosion of color was indeed the setting sun, was mind-altering. It's like when you close your eyes, but you continue to see contrasting light/dark movements beneath your shut eyelids- that. But it was in hyper-color, instead of muted cloudy greydation masses. Soon enough, I realized that this majestic magenta color I kept seeing was the skyline. I mean hyper-alive raspberry-magenta. That's right folks- hyper-alive raspberry magenta skyline.

So, then the tunnel. As I exited the Tunnel and saw Tunnel View lookout to the left, I somehow managed to pull over in my memorized state of mind.  As Tom Robbins so succinctly expressed in one of the opening lines of Jitterbug Perfume (I think), it was like a 'mai-tai splashed across the sky', or something to nearly that effect. I have loved that line ever since I first read it, and I constantly think about that line that I read absolutely ages ago throughout various times in this existence I lead. Honestly, that is a famous line of literature for me and my 'creed' of sorts.

So there I was mouth agog, as well as a slew of local sunset watchers and grateful tourists alike. Suddenly a beer was in my hand, conversations were had, and smiled abound. Yea. That...

I've got some visitors coming up in the next few weeks. I'm really looking forward to showing them my current incarnation of 'home'. I'm already thinking about the float trip in the Valley up to El Capitan Bridge. I'm thinking of the watering hole in Mariposa (Gold Coin Bar and Tavern) and the historic sites there and gold mining lore from that famous era that more formally formed that city. I'm thinking about Tioga Road and Tioga Pass and Lee Vining- at the Mobile Gas station and their famous Thursday night music venues...


Yea, I'm thinking all the cool entrances into Yosemite National Park, and everything there is to do in this vast wilderness.


A lot to be grateful for in this life, as always.  It's now 11:45 am and I'm still on the couch drinking coffee and tearing up my keyboard with this post. Enough already. It's time to start my 3-day weekend. Correction; that already started last night with a few gin and tonics, and da kine fixings that accompany that.

No time, or desire, for editing.



The Yosemite '17 blog-chapter begins...

Sunday morning. Drinking coffee. Burning incense. Blogging. All have been relevant to my life for a long time now. A routine, somewhat regular- in that I have a (mostly) steady once-a-month-post statistic, but a goal, more so, is 2 postings. The coffee tastes the same (dark French), but the difference in zip code hints at a different flavor. Gone are the Sunday morning Büyükdere apartment scenes. Replacement came- a quickie on my timeline. Communique now originates from:


BTW, the Frankincense incense got replaced with Nag Champa- temporarily. I'm actually looking for another scent perhaps more akin to this environment, as in like pine, or high-mountain flowers/grasses? We'll see what I can come up with. Suggestions greatly appreciated, BTW. 

Timeless, really. Walking downtown Mariposa, Ca. (where one goes to procure groceries, generally), is a trip. Excluding tourists heading into/outta Yosemite NP, there is something familiar about residents. Something just...small-town west coast American, I guess. I'm starting to get into a Saturday morning routine as such: head into Mariposa early (a 45-minute leisurely drive from the door (el portal: 'door' in Spanish) of Yosemite Valley to the foothills of Mariposa ('butterfly' in Spanish), of which they are known in the stories and lore of the area.


There is a beautiful graffiti wall upon entering Mariposa of many of the different butterfly species of the area- sprayed in a delicate style akin to in Darwin's time of drawing illustrations for his Origin of Species (1859) , and more properly known as: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Anyway, it's a nice greeting to see as I enter/exit.  

But I digress; back to routines. So I hit up this yoga class after a very meditative 45-minute drive. I mean, it's early enough that not many people (locals or tourists) are on the road, so there is plenty time for slowpoke (me) to cruise and enjoy the scenery, elevation swings, wild Merced River tangling it's way down into the San Joaquin River. I've started to spy the various local stop-off points for a quick jump in :)  The river is still running so swiftly this year though, which inhibits hanging out in swimming holes except in areas where the current isn't so swift.

The valley walls are still so close and tall- even in the El Portal area. I feel like I am ejecting myself out of El Portal and into another dimension- yes, it's true :) There is a maybe 1-mile spot on Hwy 140 nearby to home where eastbound road (going into valley) had a huge rock-slide. I'm not sure how long ago it happened. Traffic is only 1-way at a time and a stoplight is in place directing traffic to stop/go. I have never been there, yet, where I had the green light immediately. It reminds me of Maui in many ways here, on the east & backside of the island). Meaning... that there is always time to sit and enjoy the majestic, strangely, fascinatingly, oddly, ethereally beautiful moving picture show. It is such a foreign beauty to me. I approach it cautiously in a sense (mountain lions, snakes and bears- on my!)- right? I'm new at this stuff :) Also reminiscent is my time on Big Island. When I first arrived there, I could feel the intense vibe of the island, even after a few years already spent on Maui. 'Walk lightly upon the soil', is what the land was telling me then. Similarly now, yet more subtle- the vibe.

Continuing on; some more reflections about transitions. 

I've been noticing my thoughts on entering America this year specifically. Maybe it's different because I finally understood the realization that I am here for an entire six months. I suppose that is why I notice... things... more that I usually would. 

Sometimes, back in Turkey, you could just 'tune out', even in a crowd of people, and feel solo or just aware yet unassuming. You can't really do that in your own country. For (my) example I think about a small group of people and someone is talking (in English). You can't 'tune out' as it's generally assumed that all in this small gathering are following train of thought. I keep forgetting that I'm among all native English speakers here- so far anyway.

Also, I'm noticing how strong of a Japanese accent my yoga teacher has, and how she speaks and it's just interesting to hear another foreign language learner's English accent.

At a thrift store yesterday, I was talking to a local girl, born and raised in the area. She was giving me tips on dealing with rattlesnakes, and the other 2 people in the shop started telling their stories.  It was so interesting and beautiful, and communicative, and is the reason why I love exploring this beautiful planet.  I learned a lot. Storytelling. Telling stories.

So yea, I drive to Mariposa for morning yoga class; I cruise around to the thrift shops; I explore. My current thrifting favorites; the thrift store at the Habitat for Humanity site, the SPCA thrift store (both out on Hwy. 41), and Consignment A, right in downtown Mariposa off Hwy 140. I've been also hitting up museums- to soak up the historical context of Mariposa- on the Gold Trail (Hwy 49, or the Gold Rush Trail). Always. From here I explore around. Always, always end up at Pioneer Market for groceries. What a gem. Perhaps it's also the weird feeling of being back in America in a supermarket. Definitely a more 'village' feel, but a grocery store no less which carries Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and Talenti gelato, etc.

I finally did it. After 3 Pioneer Market experiences, I finally broke down and bought a pint of Talenti gelato and devoured it in one sitting. I feel like I've broken through the cultural barrier here. In essence, I'm home... Good thing I'm leaving again in January... :) Yea, too much food I'm so very familiar with here, that I don't really delve into (if even available) in other countries.

Another Mariposa indulgence that I finally succumbed to yesterday: Mexican food. The taco truck was parked neaby Pioneer Market. Grocerie bag loaded in my car (thanks Johnny!), I turn back in the direction of the taco-mobile... Yes. Today is the day. Two small carne asado corn-tortilla tacos later, I'm on my back, inbound into the Valley...

My next hike is Hite Cove- nearby.


Yea, I guess you could say I've been grooving in the foothills of Yosemite, rather than the valley floor itself, or topside. Remember, I'm a beach-girl. Baby steps with the mountain-girl thing. Babysteps that are thrilling I might add. I did get a beach chair at a thrift store, so I'm river-ready and have my 'to-go' spot nearby to Cranberry Gulch.

I explained this place to someone recently, on a dark, moonless night here. Starry scene splashed against the black backdrop. Upon closer inspection, the silhouette of the surrounding foothills was competing to remain relevant. Such beauty, this landscape. I am taking delight in reading local accounts of this area. Most notably:
Indians of the Yosemite by Galen Clark

The Pinion Pine  A Natural and Cultural History by Ronald Lanner

A Collection of Ethnographical Articles on the California Indians, No. 7 of Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology and History.

Legends of the Yosemite Miwok by Frank La Pena and Craig Bates, with beautiful illustrations by Harry Fonseca.

INTERRUPTION: I'm listening to...

Newton S Cradle
Par : Sean Rowe
Album : New Lore (2017)
Label : Anti
...from my new, favorite internet radio station (Thanks Megane for that).  Ah the French art of atmospheric-dream-like-state(s)-of-conciousness-creation I'm digging on currently. Upon much experimentation, their autour du groove genre is my go-to (Denise, you especially would enjoy), but their autour du reggae also ranks quite high. 
Again I digress...  

I've interrupted this post so many times today that it's probably best to just end it here. After all, it's past 11 am now... I've gotten nothing accomplished this morning outside of making coffee & writing this post. Time to seize the day, which is supposedly to get VERY high- thermometer- wise. I think 100º is expected.

Bye; stay sexy, and DON'T get murdered (any 'My Favorite Murder' podcast aficionado will appreciate this :)



Time-Out Turkey Trotting

last bit of sparring for The Kitts in Istanbul

Sami Bey- looking fierce yet vulnerable

Shaika Spot feeling concerned, yet ultimately has faith

Okay... I guess I forgot to post this- my last communique from living in Istanbul. Here I am now happy and healthy here in Yosemite (California) working, yet I left a bit (quite a bit) of myself back in Turkey. The journey went smoothly I must say. The Kitts are adventuring up in Southern Oregon (I miss them dearly, but can't have pets in NPS housing- especially here in Yosemite as there are lions (of the mountain kind), snakes and bears- OH MY). Okay, more on our new lives later. For now, here is my last Istanbul post (for now). Perhaps it's best that I didn't finish this post originally. It makes sense, really. It's hard to give up Turkey...

Time-Out Turkey Trotting; 6 sleeps remaining... Processing. Every day/night I float through daydreams of my time living here. Some of the funniest center on my time spent TRYING to live here.

There is always some murky story, living at the back of my brain part that holds recent memories (up to past 10 years I guess I would define that as). We (whoever I'm with at the time) relay the story to each other, and then try to zero in on a fairly accurate date. I always have to remember back to where I was living when this event was occurring in Istanbul, who we were with, what trip we were on (I know that sounds funny), and how many bags of my belongings were currently at that time being stored in L-Fezz's basement- oh, and which basement of hers were they in?

That last one. That's the one that triggers so much missing information. Often I ponder writing a short (longish) story on the travels of my belongings, from each country I have lived in, to Istanbul to lay in wait until I could catch up to them already there...and waiting...for me...

Just last night I was weaving an unspoken Tunisia-departure memory to Sa-Gra. Was it last night at our girl gang gathering for happy hour at Tarabya Otel? Or was it on a park bench in Büyükdere observing the moon with intrepid Me-Gra? Wait, that could have been Via-gra on that park bench looking at the full moon. See what I mean. The Tunisian Encounter I am referring to was back in 2010/11. Oh wait, there was a token male at our Tarabya Otel Girl Gang Gathering.

I digress. The point being that it had been a long journey-in-the-making for me to step foot, as an official resident, on the Bosporus- 10 years. Ten years with thoughts about Istanbul simmering inside my body... That is something. A long, slow build-up of a story.

I remember a moment, during my first Turkey Trot back in 2001- during the inception of this growing seed; this desire to nurture this growing seed to reach fruition. I had been traveling through Morocco and Europe, culminating in Turkey to visit La-gra- University of Hawaii, Hilo college daze time da kine.
I had this beloved pareo, or lava lava (Tahitian and Samoan for a piece of cloth you wrap around your waist or body for clothing- which are addicting to collect as they are so light, airy and beautiful- that feels wonderful, like you aren't wearing any clothing at all).

Okay, time out from coffee, bed, kitties, da kine, and blogging. Rain has stopped, allowing me to fit a Bosporus run in- precious as these days are numbered. More later.

sweet pareo how-to video


just another day in life

Ramazan Mubarak

 So, this time of year (it changes, depending on lunar, Islamic calendar), is filled with inspiration, hope, dedication, ritual, family happenings. There is high energy nightly just before iftar- the breaking of the fast (after this light meal, a while later a feast ensues). People that devote to the fast have been doing their thing all day from sun-up to sun-down all the while not letting food nor drink touch their lips.

Women, perhaps bear some extra highlighting here because through all of this, many are at home preparing fresh foods daily for iftar. This involves a lot of time in preparation, all the while smelling the food.

As well, it's family time- especially at the beginning and end of Ramadan. Laylat is the 1st night, and Eid al-Fitr comes at the end- the 3-day celebration for breaking the fast.

Each country I've lived in, I've noticed subtle differences. Mostly, I suppose this can be due to environmental factors: the intensity of the fast in the Middle Eastern dry heat; the wet humidity of North Africa added to a furious sun; and the sheer size and energy of Istanbul makes the occasion especially 'electric' in feel.

A friend out on the street yesterday in the late afternoon greeted me in a typical 'day 3' fashion; tired yet already getting used to the schedule. A ravenous appetite, and anticipating an abundant iftar surrounded by family and friends. Joyous occasions that turn yearly ritual into family oral histories to weave down through the generations.  :)  I wished him well and went on my merry way, en route to the sahil (coast road) to take in sunset. Sunset strolling in full effect, I noticed the overwhelming obvious- most consisted of groups of men. Having little to no responsibilities of kitchen duty for the enormous task of producing so much food, that are able to divert their attentions more easily and, likely choose not to stay at home and smell the food cooking. So guy-gangs sauntered by for the entire 2 hours I sat and reflected. Currently, iftar breaks at around 8:30 PM.

Of course, the time of year that Ramadan falls on also influences. My first experience was in Tunisia in 2010. In the heat of summer, with the wet heat searing my back, scorching the earth unrelentingly, I took the sights/vibes all in. You definitely, instinctively understand that you should try to be respectful and take your own food and drink in privacy. It is appreciated, although not expected.

Right now in Istanbul, the weather is fabulous- perfect iftar weather I'd say. Spring has been hanging around very late this year. Temperatures hover around 22º to 28º (mid 70s to low 80s).  I have heard that winter time can be a little easier in effect because of not only weather, but days are shorter as well.

Okay, that's it. More later. Back to sleep...


Ramadan drummers


Ode to Istanbul: chapter 5.28.2017_Ritual: Frankincense.

Istanbul, as of late, has been a celebration of ritual cleansing. A rite of (another) passage. Accepting the challenge with grace is the challenge that I hunger for. Always.

Omani Frankincense, certainly an influential element to my existence, is firmly rooted in my ritual. How to explain?

This chapter commences in Bahrain, at the souk, Bab al- Bahrain. My incense guy, Basim, always greets with a smile. I give into his wisdom. One day he chastised me for wanting to purchase his roung charcoal coils. Afficionados prefer the smokeless, odorless squares. How was I to know? From then on, I deferred to his authority on all incense-related  matters. Many times I left his stall, gleeful to inherently understand I was well taken care of.

Basim & I at his shop in Bab al Bahrain

Many advantages come with having your own 'incense guy' in the souk. On a particularly generous day, Basim gave me one of his charcoal holders- these long, elegant tweezers. The ritual of lighting the charcoal squares heightened ever so intensely, feeling closer to patterned behavior more steeped in ancient knowledge than ever.

On other days, he showed me various 'brews' he was amassing. Many glass vials of fermenting oils, herbs, resins. Cauldrons of bubbling Bakhoor (traditional, homemade incense) in which he would scoop out a sample for me. Sometimes dripping, others sticky... always intoxicating. Breathe.

We had a great first encounter, Basim and me. Light conversation turned into local archaeology. he showed me a picture of his father from long ago, in the company of a Danish archaeologist that was working on island. This picture happened to be the grandfather (*not exactly sure now) of a Danish archaeologist in Bahrain that I had recently met, who is continuing their work. Connection made. Magic ensues. All. The. Time.

Frankincense. Myrrh. Sandalwood. Balms. Ouds. Bakhoor: ecstasy, exactly.

      absence of words
      framework-free no structure to wrap a familiar, atrophied concept around,       To tame 'it'. No words to hid behind. Bare naked breath. A non-lexical Show and Tell.
Non-sensical; the point being...

      shackeless. free to explore. cliffdiving for pearls of wisdom.
         close encounters with the oyster colony. luminescent. enchanting.   intoxication. rhapsody


Dichotomy as clear as the lunarscape; cloaked luminosity, mysterious, crystal-clear blur


inhale kindling of desire
exhale smouldering passions of lunar-wisdom
too cumbersome to contain, at times
stormy horizon; the cosmic ebb and flow. Agitated. Foamy.
Cresting breaks; washes over. The fine mist sprays my face. Ritual.
Cleansing warmth
seeking out distant horizons, attracting the Green Flash
watch. listen. breathe.
Where these coordinates dwell, we seek. always. all ways.
those first signs
gather the kindling

It gives me great pleasure to share this Frankincense Ritual as I depart Istanbul. I leave a trail of Frankincense, and what teachings I have been given to those who also indulge and seek the wisdom it offers. 


Maui Calls...Nuturing the pleasure covenant, and other such sensible endeavors

Take Me Home, Country Road: Maui 2016

Hitting me hard this morning. Sounds of the rain soaking the earth, outside. Droplets, reflecting Hawaii, hit the ground and bomb me with stories, anecdotes of Island time. Island existence- nothing EVER so good as  moments out in the jungle, your jungle, listening, feeling, soaking up that speed-ball of sensation that knocks you outta this reality that we Homo sapiens tend to keep ourselves imprisoned within.

How can you not become and transform your chemical make-up into something so pliable and willing to submit to a greater cause than to ourselves. To shed our layers of security, to begin the process to shave off, such as an onion. Shed these layers that serve us no more. Let go. Release the tension that binds you to these useless reins. Why do Homo sapiens have this urge to hold onto such poisons? Why do we keep challenging ourselves- to the brink of dis-ease, and then fewer and fewer able to find their way back...

Sunday morning in Büyükdere. 9:30 AM. Rainy.

The Kitts are snoozing. Speaking of The Kitts, they snooze a lot lately. This is how they deal with their unease of the future that they both sense is soon to be upon them. The 3 huge suitcases, that have already been lying underneath my work desk downstairs. One is fabric. They incessantly attack that one. All 3 AI objects represent the enemy as far as they are concerned, and can remember back to being uprooted from their far-away Dilmun desert kingdom, and transplanted to the shores of the Bosporus. As victorious as they may feel, in clawing at and trying to break down that impenetrable cloth, they know the victory is hollow as the other 2 objects are indeed inaccessible...

They cling to this existence that have come to know- after intense trepidation in those first few days. The pile of clothing I have been amassing for months to give away to Syrian refugees. This is Shaika Spot's domain. Her upstairs HQ. Sami Bey, being the more 'needy' feline, he prefers to be closer to me. He prefers the comfort of an old favorite; a microfiber blanket.

I started packing right before my spring break camping/hiking trip to Kas. I thought it would be a good way to ease them into this newly resurfacing feeling of unease into the unknown. It's an experiment. They both appear to be adjusting, mainly by sleeping and sparing. They'll be fine.

Will I be fine? Sure. This feeling of unease, I've rather gotten used to and, dare I say addicted to, it. Sure. Why not. This reinvention. This shedding of the previous layers. The memories don't slough off necessarily; carcasses of memory laying around for the right time to awake from deep slumber remain within different chambers of our mind. Sometimes such utter clutter lodges inside for so long, so comfortable to settle snugly into ourselves, creating havoc or pleasure.

So yea, these carcasses full of ruination, these are the ones we must consciously work hard at in order to fully shed and depart from our systems. We can't afford to hold onto these for too long. We are such fragile creatures after all.

Let's instead worship and cultivate the resurrection of the good stuff. That's my agenda. Hard work. Big payoffs. The pleasure covenant. Let it be.

Maui has long been a principle pleasure covenant of mine. Consciously working hard to make this an unconscious, instinctual action. This is my big payoff, always. Not necessarily the physical plane of existence, but the mindset. Those senses, urges, pleasures that circulate my system, sending good vibrations along the journey. I feed my body with thoughts of specifically addressing THIS. This harmony- it certainly has its ups and downs.

This morning for example is a 'down', yet a result of an 'up'. Spending time with friends yesterday in Gümüşsuyu, we partook in adult libations and the most scrumptious pupus (appetizers), BEFORE a sit-down dinner and dessert brought by the token man of the bunch. We feasted, in all senses.

Perhaps we over-feasted. Thoughts of trekking back to Büyükdere soon consumed us weary pleasure warriors. A taxi ride won out, and soon enough B43 was at the curb whisking us away out into the dark, blury Istanbul late night skyline.

How to process the 'ups' and 'downs' into the most efficient carcasses, this is the question. I tend to just let them settle into existence, competing with the library of carcasses in different stages of suppleness or rigidness. Kinda like a dewey-decimal system of storage. How to access the right carcass at the right time? Ancient technology vs. modern technology storage. Both can work in unison to develop a more accurate system, designed to go with your immediate flow. Sometimes it doesn't work out... How to turn an inflexible carcass back into something malleable? It's possible.

You will lose a few of those precious carcasses, but not perhaps forever.  This is serendipity. This is deva ju. I love those moments whenever they arise. I've had a few lately- mostly about high school times, as memories of those times flooded back last week, when news of a friend who passed came.

What does it all mean? It means, in the immediate future, that Imma have to remove Shaika Spot's castle of security that she lays atop in the next few days... Sami Bey will be the better creature and let her share his sacred space, while THAT is still available. For me? Well, time for me to go through my possessions, once again, and filter out some more that don't really serve me. Challenge accepted...

...And there are those church bells ringing, for the 2nd time today. Another experience to process. Where to fit this one in? How often will it surface? Who knows, really. What I FEEL, is that the jungle, the rains, the island all support the pleasure covenant.

I realize my words might not make sense to all, or even one, but there is nothing I can change about them- in this moment of their perfectness... Of course in the next moment, when I want to proof-read, they (briefly) appear nonsensical. I can't help it. I am driven to write in the moment.

Here comes the rain again, a beautiful Istanbul drenching...

"Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion..."   Eurythmics


Aloha Friday- Turkey style

beautiful creature
Aloha Friday y'all,

Lying in bed, kitties afoot, and coffee in hand,  life appears 'normal'. Then I look inward from that initial thought. I'm unsettled- not in an excessively unsettling way. What the f*ck is 'normal' anyway?

Our lives so full. Friendships from so long ago- these bonds can be so strong, even in the absence of sight decades or more. And then you don't realize the impact until they've departed this world. This is what I ponder this morning. Bittersweet. I love this word, bittersweet.

A typical American coming-of-age story, our gang was a silly bunch. High school drama was, for the most part, good-natured. As we turned into young adults and eager to fly the coop, we did just that.

He was so magnetic. His being just so deep, enlightening, absurd, easy-going. We managed to always keep in contact- generally two times a year, like a sort of sing-song, or 'tag-team, you're it'. Playful interaction. Always anticipated. Always delivered on. Commitment.

He was always about correspondence and tradition. One of the things I loved about his mind. This anthropological URGE to account for existence. This desire that drives one to take to ink, and later the electronic version. Details of existence, no matter how trivial, spill out onto the (virtual) parchment. Our human need to be significant in this universe that delights and then swallows us up.

December 2, February 2; two days that will live on in infamy, mostly because they represent our birthdays. Our 2 days from the Gregorian Calendar that have deep meaning; on these days we shared our written histories/herstories with each other. Playing catch-up. How to do it so eloquently, yet concisely. This challenge I love- always.

Life is such a beautiful decay. Why is it I nearly spill tears, berating myself for recently cleaning out my email inbox? What do I think seeing his words will bring to me? I already hold the experiences inside myself. Is it the physical element of our bodies/minds deteriorating in this physical process we call existence? Whatever it is, I am hoping to find a back-up on my external hard drive back in storage in America...

I'm numb, when I 'allow' myself to just sit and be- to embrace this numbness that heals. It is so heavy, until it isn't heavy anymore. This is life. We forget about death in life. Why would we dwell on it? Perhaps I dwell on it more as I've come to find a certain uncertainty on existence.

So much of my life has been looking at death. As an archaeologist, I can't even relay how fascinating every burial encountered was. I'm not going to get into an ethical conversation about details of excavating burials as I've no mood for politics today. Simply, seeing, feeling energies and sensing things through my work in these endeavors has given me some insights that help me to process death- the physical reality of death. That's all. On a spiritual realm, though, I can't so easily weave together words cohesively.

He is gone. Our group, our collective experience within all the subgroups, etc. we all mourn his passing with shock, awe, and universal love. Heart-broken because nothing has changed; once again I am confronted with the reality of our impermanence. Hearts mend.

He had some 'trail angels' along the way who were with him through the entire process. That's some incredible power right there- those experiences. I look forward to these oral histories next time I am in their presence. You see, that is how existence continues. That is food for our souls.

I wrote a letter to him, as was suggested by one of the trail angels. I am told it was read, laughter was shared, and a few hours later, transition to the ultimate journey was under way. My last sentence:

On the other hand, you are an eternal light in my life. Get a hold of me sometime- somehow.

At 4 AM May 17 Istanbul time I suddenly woke up. On the other side of the globe, at the same time (6 PM May 16), he had made the journey. Life can seem beautiful in this way, if you believe.

RIP Scampos


Pondering ponderosas for my summertime work fling, but what does that MEAN?

32 bottles of beer on the wall
     32 bottles of beer
Take one down, pass it around...
    31 bottles of beer on the wall

Pardon, I mean to say 32 days left in Istanbul. What am I pondering?

My lack of coffee this morning shifted my priorities and energies. I knew it was coming. I should have worked this out in advance, but... whatever. Perhaps there is a hidden cache of coffee somewhere in my kitchen cabinets, I thought.

Well, no there wasn't- as expected. Hesitant at first, I shifted into Plan B mode. Nearly 9 AM and I was out the door, running garb on. Equipped with my Yapi Kredi debit card, and enough change to catch a dolmus back to Büyükdere laden with my Macro Center groceries. Yes, Macro Center. I can be a food snob- especially right after pay day...

Moments earlier, as I lay in bed stalling the inevitable, last weekend's run drifts through my head front stage and center. A gorgeous day such as today, I headed out on my run at 10 AM. Not unusual this spring for me at all. I mean, this has been a long, slow build-up to typical spring weather in Istanbul. For example, it's May 14 (Happy Mother's Day (in a majority of countries anyway)) and I still don't need to have the fan on all the time. Highly unusual for Istanbul at this time, as well as for my digs (the top floor of an old stone building).

I had passed too many people, animals, fisher-folk messing around with their lines, lures, palls, etc. A maze of creatures all thriving at the water's edge- that's not exactly a deal breaker, but zig-zagging around people right at my personal space invisible shield weighed on me somehow.

Honestly, little gets me down where running is concerned these daze- mostly because I f*cking LOVE my Hoke One One shoes (as well as my heel inserts). Pillows I tell you. It's dreamy even. Honestly though, the best investment in running in a long time. Thank you so much Alex Garcia for giving me the 'Hoke One One' lecture that I needed.

Losing precious minutes as this entire scenario plays through my head this morning, I finally act. I must get going before 9 AM & before it gets both too hot, and too congested on the return trip dolmus ride through Tarabya at a snail's pace because there are too many tragically cool people that feel the need to double park their cars on the streets, because the 'no parking' signs aren't for them, etc.

I'm sounding pretty passive-aggressive right now actually. I need to just chill tf out- like I did yesterday, at Kilyos Beach with da kine. Yea, that was super sweet man. Just us two on the Black Sea for a bit until some more intrepid beach-goers filed in. Super refreshing sea, we frolicked as if no one was watching. Yet in fact, many were watching further up, where construction crews were working ferociously trying to prepare their 'beach clubs' for the season... Let me just say that I hate the idea of these so-called manicured beach clubs, where you pay a fee to sit in some shitty plastic lawn chair in close proximity to many others. It's the fucking beach man.

But I digress. I made the move. Within 5 minutes I was out the door. There was such a different vibe just one hour earlier that last week's run. It still felt like 'early morning'. Perhaps it's because I hadn't had any coffee yet? Whatever. There were runners, walkers, fisher-folk, cyclists, but it was just different. Perhaps next week I can make it out by 8 AM, and see a different crew entirely. It will have to happen anyway, as the weather is, finally, starting to heat up.

Jubilant, I passed the finish line (Macro Center entrance), took a triumphant deep breath and walked inside. Now, there is a certain gleeful element in my Macro Center trips. First, they are elusive. Generally, once a month, and usually right after pay day- when I feel like I am at my most wealthy point for the remainder of the month...

As well, only Macro Center has tortilla chips, and some of that special shit that I simply need to exist: free trade black beans and wild rice; chocolate macchiado soy milk, Pumpernickel bread, etc. Out the door and into the dolmus for a leisurely return trip I was. I also scored a seat immediately. Winning bigly. 

Speaking of flings, there has been this book being passed around at work. It just landed on my desk this past week. Magic. Midnight at the Pera Palace I shall begin. Feeling like it is a perfect send off from my time spent here in Istanbul.

Emotions spill over. Shit. I'm leaving Istanbul. In essence, Istanbul has been an awesome lover, yet I was, rather naively,  initially at least, expecting a long-term union. Alas, this connection was not to be. Acceptance and gratitude for readying myself to jump back on that bucking bronco to yet another location.

You see, I am constantly scouting out locations- looking for that next level. Why I haven't 'found' it is not a question to ask. She who feels it, knows it- in those moments. There are so many different moments though. I cast my net long and wide. Let the tide take me in, lather me up, cleanse me, educate me, and throw me upon another shoreline to soak up the scenery.

The obsession with Ken Burns documentaries on YouTube persists, along with Persepolis, Assyrian civilization, Gnostics, Göbekli Tepe, Babylon, Essenes, Dead Sea Scrolls, Enoch, Commagene, Natives of North America, etc. I am rich with wonder right now.

Gimme. Gimme. Gimme



Philosophical Ruminations on departing Istanbul Part I

5.5 Weeks to go. Departure.

It's a long, slow build-up. It's necessary, this manner. I don't get caught up in the stress of deviating from the Istanbul chapter. 

Dreamtime especially potent magic right now. I feel my unconscious processing so much information right now.  I am feeding it powerful Mana, so it works through the shitty stuff as I slumber. I'm not sure how I manifested this, but damn if this isn't what good karma FEELS like... Actually, I do know. I visualize the basic trajectory. After that, it's just a series of decision-making events when the off-ramps start appearing on the horizon. Sometimes they jump out at you though, and you are propelled into making a quick decision. Rely on the force young Jedi. 

Connections new and old- I feel strength in them. Familiarity. Family. So much knowledge shared. So much good vibes.

America-bound, temporarily. Wild West no more. Currently akin to a political shitshow. Transcend I will. Focus on the positive I must: West Coast summer sunshine, family, friends, work, wonder, wander; essentially wanderlust. Adventures on and off the trail.

The felines feel what's up. They sensed the feelings aroused when the suitcases appear... Unknown. Curiosity. Unease. Faint memories. Disruption of job. Attachment. Release. Surrender. Family. Ease. Comfort. Love.


when ya got lemonade, ya drink it...Super refreshing, ya

Kinli Ada Odyssey. Photo credit to Laura Fezzy.

Back in November the work started- earlier actually.  I feel I've made a conscious-with-just-the-right-mix-of-unconscious effort to make sure that my lemonade will taste epic. Because, after all, it's an experiment- this road map of (my) life, what with all the strange off ramps I've designated necessary and designed...

Upcoming, my magical mystery (re)tour. It's all about surrounding oneself in/receiving/accepting the right proportions of balance of pleasure (no work) and pain (work). How you turn that pain into pleasure- yea. I'm thirsty to do just that.

I have joined ranks of the deep resistance, I'm happy to report. I suppose that will eventually unfold here at a later date. For now, still being unfamiliar with this off ramp, I keep it to myself, and my inner sanctum of alliances. Yes. I'm, you can say, kinda 'guarding' my lemonade recipe- not wanting anything to morph yet. I feel the recipe is at near perfection in these moments. I want to savor it. Thereby indulging in building up the living-fantasy of my lemonade. Larger than life, or simply savoring? This upcoming off ramp has been designed with intentions of maximum pleasure and satisfaction- as much as there can be concerning working endeavors at any rate. Many people have played a role in this odyssey- that's what's so sweet about the recipe...

His question caught me off guard, honestly. I mean, I am fairly adept, IMHO, at giving Skype interviews. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because when you are feeling confident about your next employment gig, and you just cast some stones far and wide because you're still in that mode, and the bait is taken... Well, let's just say that my Plan B for next year is looking better than my Plan A... And now, I've added a Plan C- that fits in just perfectly for summer. Serendipitous.

Honestly, I need Plan C, for a variety of reasons. Which brings me back to his question: What was it that led me to Plan C? I held back. Well, I thought, it 'fits' No. No no. It's not so simplistic as 'fitting' and needing a summer gig.

I am thirsty. For nature. A foreign natural environment, that's actually not so foreign for me. For exquisite lemonade. My thirst is so deep inside me. It's bubbling over its Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, metaphorically speaking of course.

While camping in Kas during spring break a few weeks back, I understood it all. Starry nights turning into road maps leading to a tall drink of lemonade. From my hammock, inside my tent, on the trail, at the beach, roaming through the narrow streets, I understood it all. Setting is everything...

I purged that understanding, and simply replied to him, "I need to be surrounded by majestic open spaces." America's national treasures. Land stewardship in these uneasy times, is more important than ever. It was spiritual vomit, what I spewed that afternoon. Real. Afterwards, a sense of accomplishment washed over; being able to tacitly explain what's locked away deep in my gut was not only self-invigorating, but well received. Have I suddenly found another tribe of mine? Me thinks. 

So anyway, I've included for an other adventure from a different off ramp. I finally noticed this off ramp, and my lemonade is, naturally, sweeter for it.

My witches brew of lemonade. This next month, so many essential ingredients are going into the pot. A unique blend of friends and location here, whose energies I receive warmly, are a true gift of loving spirit that guides me into the known unknown. Am I prepared? Sure! No matter. I am prepared to accept what I have brewed.

LaGra and I trotted off to Kinli Ada (island) in the Sea of Marmara on Saturday. All the signs were present: a sunny forecast-ed weekend... Yea, it's that simple. As we originally met on an island, it is overwhelmingly appropriate that we continue to seek out islands to settle our restless spirits and primal desires to carry out amphibian-like traditions of basking in the sun to regenerate our beings.

Am I drinking my lemonade just yet? Not quite. Right now I'm drinking coffee, in bed- as I usually do when I write this blog. I'm letting the lemonade build-up flavor. It's so close.

I think I'll really develop a true sense of enjoyment from that tall glass of lemonade brewing. I momentary thought floats by currently; that first blog post from that new bed in that Plan C universe...

Hell yea, gimme summa that koolaid.  Uh, I mean lemonade.


More da kine magical realism please

11:30 AM and I'm back in bed, coffee in hand. This morning's run seemed different. Feeling strong as I glided (okay, perhaps more like a mellow trot), conscious of hitting the pavement mid-sole. My Hoka One One pillow top running shoes always happy to comply with enthusiasm. Different in that my days of Bosporus runs are limited.

The weather looks threatening now. I timed that right for sure. Trotting and observing, the cloudy sky patterned in geometric shapes; white marshmallows to be more specific. My favorite çay guy was already set up; wide-smile, reggae music blasting and a faithful following chatting on a typical NorIst Sunday morning along the Bosporus.

Turkish people LOVE Sunday walks along the Bosporus- no matter how inclement the weather, really. I will miss these scenes. They have already left an imprint on my heart.

Springtime. The lead-up has been dramatic this year, IMHO. While Istanbul hasn't seen any magnificent electrical storms, it has delivered fairly constant cold weather. I'm at that point where I oscillate between wanting to retire my goose down comforter, but holding out- just in case... The latter has proved to be a better option, so far.

Today looks to be the perfect day to just chill out, read (starting Bruno Schulz's "The Street of Crocodiles", delving into Germany's take on magical realism), cooking (pressure cooking magic about to begin), and other such endeavors that include lounge-type behavior.

Okay then, let the day of rest begin!


dream baby, dream

recent phenomena

Lucid dreaming. I wonder what it is as of late. I have picked up this 'sense' of dreaming (I feel like I must not remember all the dreams that occur while sleeping) and waking up randomly at a scene that I vividly remember as soon as I wake up. I know the next scene I'm headed into, and I wake up.

Also, I have been focusing on what I want to dream about and then doing just that. My creatures of study currently are my 2 Middle East Beasts: Shaika Spot and Sami Bey.

This past evening we were all snuggled together (prolly one of the last nights of needing my duck down comforter) with Sami at my feed and Shaika on the pillow. They are such amazingly strange felines. They just need to be touching me somehow. This connection we have with each other, pretty sweet. Felines are great. Somehow Shaika started sniffing my eye lashes and eyebrows. I'm thinking, "OMG she is grooming me!" They do seem to respond to me as one of their breed.

A few weeks ago, one of my Turkish colleagues gave me some velvet and satin cat ears- a headband. I was cleaning my apartment the other day and saw it on the counter so put it on. Shaika immediately jumped around and wanted to check them out.  She was sniffing them fiercely. Sami was mildly amused- as he always is...

I digressed... As I slumbered, soon I was involved in a fantastical scene with cats and rabbits in surreal scenes. I knew it was going to happen beforehand too. Everything was so elegant and fuzzy. It was as if I fell into their magical world of feline imagination. What about those rabbits though?

I awoke to both of them at my feet nestled. Shaika was staring at me dead pan. Weird. I catch her quite often staring at me. I'll suddenly look up and there she is on the stairs looking all covert, but with bulging eyes just staring. Suddenly caught offguard, she gives one last intense look, then trots off while speaking in tongues.

Other recent experiences focus on understanding what I will do next in my dreams. Not that I experience a lot of nightmares (that I remember at least), but I feel that there is some force from within that plays mixmaster of ethereal, luxurious dreams. I feel that even in my dream, I'm aware that I have some sense of awareness for what is to come, in such a way that is not urgent or necessary even. I'm not sure I'm explaining this as I'm intending.

Dreamtime. Neat.


Whether or not the weather knows what to do, I know not.

What we've got here y'all is a spring-time weather tennis match. Back and forth; left, right, left, right...pause... left, right. All last week- dreary weather: clouds, rain, wind, cold-er. You know, much colder than it was a week before, etc. My Istanbul Igloo (the downstairs portion of my apartment) has been serving as a very adequate temperature gauge. I've kinda got this jerry-rigged window-screen thingy going on- for the kitties, of course. I do occasionally fret that the kitties need to be confined to their indoor prison cell (happy to announce, though, that they will be indoor-outdoor kitties at their next stop on this wild ride).

So, during their incarceration, much of their time is occupied by (sleeping, grooming, crashing into things during their MMA UFC cosplay...) bird observations... As I come and go all the time, I keep the large windows open, so have to reinforce it. The kitts are quite spirited indeed. They enjoy leaping onto the screen, seeing how far they can jump... Being on the top floor of the building, well it seemed necessary to take some precautions for my super tall cathedral-window... The result- great; no way the kitties can escape.

The result of that result, though: I cannot shut the windows. We're having a, IMHO, super long winter here in Istanbul...snow, rain, bitter cold currents blowing in from the Bosporus. "The South Pole" has only been used for cooking, as well as a staging area before going out (which winter jacket to don, which winter hat, which boots, etc. No, not that last one- Uggs always wins out. Yes they are ugly, and YES Uggs are the greatest innovation in winter-weather garb- politics; not having to wear socks!).

...but I digress...As well, the kitties benefit from all that cold-weather, rarefied air. They are happy to jump atop the wall heater, which is oddly placed right next to the cathedral window   *structural ineptitude; not logical placement in terms of receiving maximum benefits*  From the heater they listen to and watch the birdsong and humansong of winter in my Büyükdere neighborhood.

Hmm, I think I've digressed so far at this point that I forgot my original written intent/content- same thing...

Onward to Plan B; it is Sunday morning. To be more specific, a low-cloud, cloudy morning, just as predicted by the local weather guru- my iPhone Weather App. Oh yes, right. I remember now. My neck starts to get used to this ping-pong of temperamental weather tantrum-throwing. Like an enthusiastic audience, eagerly anticipating which side will get the next point- spring emergence, or winter-not willing to turn into a memory just yet...

I do not wish to wear my Uggs any longer this year. Hey, speaking of- has anyone ever put their Uggs in the washing machine? I think it is a good idea, so you can 'fluff' them back up and clean them. At least with me, I wear them in the rain too. Okay, holla if can. If no can, no can.

There is some loser out on the street whose car has been idling for about 20 minutes... Sometimes humanity is SUCH a disappointment. Yea, likely a 1st world problem... Speaking of Istanbul, their 'referendum vote' is coming up next month. Thank goodness I can get one more paycheck in before the vote- when their currency remains 'kinda-stable' (I use that word VERY loosely these days), and the exchange rate won't totally just suck AS MUCH as it has in the very recent past...

I don't think Turkey partakes in the scientific tradition known as Groundhog Day to predict when springtime hits the main stage. Inquiring minds wanna know. 

Another cup of coffee or a morning run? Morning run.


Dakine Hollyday 5.0


Etching Istanbul into my DNA. It is time for a necessary upgrade to Dakine Hollyday 5.0 operating system. With the last upgrade, Dakine Hollyday 4.0, there were many positives; wider-screen images in HD displays, heightened color absorption from a rainbow spectrum color palette, AND a few 'glitches' in the system abated. Definitely, the increase in creating awesome memories was a welcome addition. Technical issues, never a problem, stayed within guidelines for optimal performance. The forthcoming operating system is expected to convert even more lemons into lemonade with mega-boosting, most-excellent RAM-speed rates.
Some new software, installed throughout the year absolutely enhanced peak performance. Let's see, a shout-out is in order to: Hoke One One program addition, for giving me such pleasure on my Bosporus Runs. An uplifting journey always with the feeling of running atop pillows atop unicorn rainbow confetti strewn across the pavement...Yes folks, the shoes make runs that much more comfortable. *winning* 

After first discovering a possible virus attacking my system's hard drive (in the human form of the unwanted 'upgrade' of #45 to the American people), I somehow managed to turn this spam infiltration, with (as of yet) no-way-of-removing-the-malware-and-increasingly-threatening-to-take over-all-previously-installed-applications, into some positivity. Folks, I downloaded the knitting app to all my devices! Turning my ire into grassroots activism, I eagerly attacked the task of knitting Pussyhats for as many like-minded pussycats-of all spots, stripes and colors- to fight the good cat-fight.
( https://www.pussyhatproject.com/)

Hidden files continue to be a problem. The current operating system is plagued with fears of hidden data, long-forgotten about files, password management issues,  multiple-device harmony, and what the hell IS iCloud anyway... It is like a rogue God-like creature with multiple personality disorder, preached about in convoluted sermons by unknown CEO-clergy- and for what?  In the hopes that it will do 'so much more' for our hard-drives- but where is the evidence?  Pay and find out?

Kinda like #45, no $45 is a better symbol to use for America's current 'president-in-discharge' of an unknown substance- which, by the way, you can read up more on the possible chemical make-up of this strange, pustular substance here:

Regardless, all devices seem to be in-sync. It's a continual process making sure all are up to speed and in proper working order, ready to be called upon for active duty- whatever that means. You know, dakine...

 Dakine is life. Dakine is freedom. Dakine is fantastical, educational, introspective, engaging realism based in hypnopompic dream-time. Phew... You know what I mean, right?

Yea, Hollyday 4.0 has been operating at performance levels, but it's time for a boost. I want more connectivity from a more remote location... Let's see what new hardware the universe downloads to me via Bluetooth.

Okay, coffee #2 coming right up (some honorable, well deserved system maintenance). Yea, let's empty the cache and delete the garbage for renewed splendor...BOOM

Peace y'all