3.25.2017

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!
PEACE
 

3.23.2017

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.

3.18.2017

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.

3.16.2017

Dakine Hollyday 5.0








                                                           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:

https://steemit.com/@pqlenator
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

3.15.2017

'Just another ordinary work day here in Istanbul' musings

Kinda feeling on top of the world this afternoon. Giddy, you could say. A (hopefully) fortunate series of events is about to take place. Bring it, I say! I'll keep y'all updated...

So, what's in my immediate thoughts you ask? Well, Surrounding me at this moment:

Iraq- A Tourist Guide (scored from a thrift shop for an animal shelter in Bahrain) from 1985, Lonely Planet Malta, my journal of unusual events to document, multiple, colorful skeins (yarn) for a plethora of knitting creations, Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita", "Ancient Turkey" Koç University archaeology book, my iPhone, 2 Mac's and 2 kitties, da kine, etc. I'm busy.

I'm also thinking about the upcoming move, somewhat. I play scenarios in my head as to how it will all go down- project positive images and focus on all that... positive, and it's all good. Yes this is how I like to approach thinking about such things.

Did I tell you guys about our Mardi Gras party? I don't think sAo. Pictures forthcoming! Perhaps a story too... I know, right- BEHAVE!!! I'll prepare first by asking the cast of characters permission to post photo-evidence of said shenanigans :) 

FELINE FINE Mardi Gras, Sariyer, Istanbul, Turkey 2017 Krewe Büyükdere PussPuss

3.12.2017

a day in a life in the post-Ottoman Empire...



Spending the day pleasantly drifting between tasks: da kine, cooking, knitting, chatting, absorbing news, reading The Master and Margarita, playing with the kitts, bringing out the spring wardrobe... Sexy, passionate, rainy days are the best.

There is nothing like a brilliantly lit rainy day. The sound intoxicates. It washes over me, exploding into soothing white noise. The sweet cacophony irons out all the 'blemishes' I've developed from the week. You know, those little things that you lodge in you that really serve no purpose, except to frustrate. Just the normal shit that normal people hang on to far longer than necessary. Yea, that shit just dissipates from the falling rain; the more, the louder, the harder- all the better to just drive that shit from my being. Left with only bliss to contemplate, I am whole again. I am cured, absolved even.

Mind wandering, I find myself tidying up, or burning some sage and cedar, harvested by my hands while journeying through North America by car two summers ago. That smell. That olfactory delight. I am transported to eastern Oregon. Not to a spot completely random. Curt had been seeking out old landing strips so punched in some coordinates and there we ended up. With him wandering around looking for clues, I saw what I wanted, needed. Memories as the smoke envelops the apartment, hanging around long enough for me to sense back in time to those moments of pleasure in knowing the moments of pleasure to experience in the future, back in Istanbul, would be equally fulfilling. The science of awareness is fascinating, as is the awareness of science.

I am watching one of my felines attack my ball of (pussy-pink) yarn. Not a vicious attack, as Sami Bey is prone to. But with a perceived attack of the heart. He is kneading the yarn. He seems to be remembering the sensation of feeding when a kitten. This I find incredible though as he was only with his mother a day, or few at most, before he and his brothers/sisters were rejected by ma. Starr became surrogate mother- complete with warming up milk bought from the funky pet shop out on Budaiya Highway, back in Bahrain. I remember vividly watching her with the 4 kittens making sure they fed and pooped/peed, etc. I was fascinated. So fragile, and fortunate to be alive. Sami Bey- what a life!

So, does he remember feeding for those few hours with ma? Did he do it because of countless hours of observation of his refugee sister, Shaika Spot, when she gets into one of 'those' moods where she lays down next to me and tries to mimic something endearing from her youth that she somehow tries to cling onto? She, I assume, got to spend more time with her mother- maybe close to a month before she, out of desperation and exhaustion stalked Starr at her parking stall spot at the university and made her way into her life, and then my life.

Animals. Pets. Family. One quirky family that I adore. So yea, this is how my day is going.

Time to focus on some new podcasts. Loving 'Lore', and 'Myths and Legends' right now. Fantastical places to travel back to.

3.11.2017

Pussyhat Project Activation: Brace Yourselves, Pussy Politics Are Coming...

Rain rain rain, pouring down. Sounds, smells, graydation converges over Büyükdere, and likely all of Istanbul this morning. A respite from my Sunday morning runs, I gratefully lie in bed, snuggled with the kitts, drinking coffee. Another fun night on the town with friends and good beer! A new (for me) Irish pub has been added to the list of watering holes to frequent as well! No Istanbul Irish pub could ever take the place of Corner Irish Pub though...

So, here is today's lore:

I came down with a hard case of the PussyHat Project Power fever (https://www.pussyhatproject.com/) from the get-go. So, here are some facts, my facts, not 'alternative facts'...
Here's Sami Bey and myself modeling the PussyHat prototype
I've now handmade a variety-pack of PussyHats for curios cats. Here is our (ever-growing) tribe of sleeper-cat cells (sleepy pussies?) - that can be called upon and activated for pussy-shenanigans at any time:

Pussyhat 1.0     Pink Pink, You Think
My Pussyhat turned into a hand-me-down (think 'sisterhood of the traveling pants' journey of beloved garb) for a sweet, quick-thinking pussy from Naples. This mysterious pussy pounced on me while visiting a typical watering hole by the sea while enjoying some adult libations with a friend. Miss Mysterioso and her handsome guard-cat were indeed curious and curiosity is so satisfying for cats... Ensuing photo shoot and delivery of the goods left all pussies involved feline fine.  This pussy should have super-cat powers and be able to intuit when and where to strike up next because I never even got this pussycat's name!

Pussyhat 1.1     Lagra                 aka Catstar with Stripes
This intrepid cat prowls around deep in the Beyoglu hoods looking for the choice tidbits. This kitty 'catures' all her catventures with a tricked out iPhone. When not out carousing, this kitty can be found at home purring with her street kitties.

Pussyhat 1.2     Vigra                 aka  Purpalicious Catnips
Mountain highs to desert lows, kitty has an expansive territory to roam. Catnip lover of the highest quality. Other kitties that catch this kitties attention should be properly groomed because this kitty is allergic to kitties.

Pussyhat 1.3     Steve-O             aka  jester of Büyükdere; 1st order
Runaway from the KiwiCatPak. Constantinople is current chomping grounds. Friendly cat. Cat whisperer.

Pussyhat 1.4     Edvice               aka  jester of Büyükdere; 2nd order
America's northern neighbor kitty kat. Canadian cats, like Canadian bacon, must be national treasures. Finicky cat, I might add; turns up his nose at the thought of consuming dead flesh.

Pussyhat 1.5     JeGra                 aka JellyMeow
Some pussycats appear easy-going and mellow. Don't cross these kitties paths though, because they are kick boxers underneath so,when backed in a corner, will kick your ass. Pets. Purrs. Powerhouse. ""Nobody backs Kitty in a corner"...
 
Pussyhat 1.6     Inci-kitten- smitten
Good-natured, well-groomed, and playful. Purrfect cat to curl up with on a rainy afternoon, read a good book and share a cup of tea with. 

Pussyhat 1.7     MooKat- The Grand Mooba Cat curiously goes around marking his territories with his pussy-harem.

Pussyhat 1.8     Ipek- sleek, stealth, silky cat. Status: currently prowling.

Pussyhat 1.9     HollyBerry
Giving up Pussyhat 1.0 left me with a remaining 8 lives. Hence, Pussyhat 1.9 found itself atop my pussy-cranium, after a bit of a dry spell. Busy with life and entertaining, infiltrating and taming my own cat-colony. The Middle East Beasts have settled into Ottoman life, but soon enough they will evolve, or devolve, into Pac NorWest kittsters...

Pussyhat 1.10   Topher-kitt
This cat spends nearly all his time defending his turf in The Big Apple. Yea, you can imagine this Pussycat stays busy with full-time cat-defense. A lot of interlopers be trying to take over his turf.

Pussyhat 1.11    Nick           aka The Mangler
Good instincts, as well as wii skills. Meet-ups with this cat usually occur in Istanbul's festive underbelly- a breeding ground for nocturnal, defiant kitties, definitely. Gangs of cats converging on 'open' turf to prance about, war, lap delicious milk, etc.

Pussyhat 1.12    JenJen
 PacNorWest kitties know how to deal with rain coming down on their pelts, so they like to diversify their colorful PussyCat armour to meet the needs of all kinds of weather.

Pussyhat 1.13    Curtalina Cat    aka bro-kitty
KingKat is busy all the time relaxing now and digging holes in the backyard...

Pussyhat 1.14     A really tiny pussyhat, waiting for a tiny cranium to adorn...

upcoming PussyHats:

Spy1                                            aka SambaPussPuss
Southern Hemisphere Feline fighting the good fight on the Brazilian front lines. MEOWWWW.a

Dandee
Davido
BoscoCat
JohnnyCat
WildThing

So yea, our tribe of sleeper-cat cells await the next cat-call to service. Add your name to the PussyHat list!


3.10.2017

Frames of mind

roaming around Naples frame of mind


In a different frame of mind currently. A beautiful, gloomy late morning up here in Büyükdere. The Bosporus is in a different frame of mind too. Agitated slightly, perhaps at the inconvenience of the current kinda inclement weather- in the sense that remembrance to last weekend's splendid sunshine was so welcoming of... spring. Sigh.

Yea, coffee. Cup Number 2 is going down especially sweet this morning, mostly because Cup Number 1 & Cup Number 2 was separated by a spirited morning run along the brooding Bosporus. Runner's high frame of mind; it's pretty addictive.

Always check your headwinds before you take off downwind during kinda inclement weather. So yea, I didn't really catch on to the impending headwinds until I actually turned around in Tarabya. "I feel great", I kept thinking to myself. HELLO strong, cold, windy return-voyage. Yet she persisted...

Incredulous were these thoughts of greatness because last night was a typical pau hana (end of work week ) Happy Hour Friday gathering frame of mind starting early in the evening. Three vokda/tonics later and I was in a bit of a different frame of mind, full well knowing that my future frame of mind would (still) embrace a morning run.

Morning runs and Büyükdere are pretty dear to me. The joy experienced engaged in this endeavor burns deep in my soul, that ethereal energy storage space, and aids in reaching back to that dream-time that I can go through when living in different countries whereby I'm concentrating deeply on a past experience somewhere and wish to feel/smell/touch that moment in this moment...yea. That is where I travel to sometimes, when I wander off into that frame of mind. Deep gratitude in knowing this is possible to attain when in union with spiritual energies. That's the kinds frame of mind I'm talking about. Sweet spots rock.

Yesterday I ran, too, along My Bosphorus. Yesterday My Bosporus was less... 'sarcastic' is the word that eventually comes to mind. Unassuming- except for the Kireçburnu part, which was full of debris and loads of jellyfish, all clinging to life against the water's edge, ebbing and flowing with the changing tides. Fascinatingly gross. I lamented how trash-strewn the area was and how society really needs to get their collective shit together and keep our public lands/waterways CLEAN. Oh yea, #45 is a complete idiot BTW.

I mean, life is increasingly more stressful at this time, in my humble opinion. The entire world seems to be aware of politics, (politricks), and yet citizens can hardly get to the heart of matters. There is so much confusion with news, certainly for us Americans now, and with Turks on their upcoming elections next month, France, etc. All sides are spinning webs of deceit at this point. I'm burnt out. *starts reading BOOKS again instead (winning)*

Speaking of the upcoming election here in Turkey next month... So to give a quickie, it's about constitutional amendments. The biggest issue is getting rid of parliament while instituting an executive presidency. Nuff said.

I digress... So, I was running yesterday and on the ground everywhere is spray painted stampings of 'evet' (yes in Turkish). The main political party's youth organizations, etc. must have came out in force and stamped up streets throughout the city. Billboards as well now greet every person waiting at the bus-stops, etc. around the city saying that 'Turks say 'evet'. They don't say 'hayir' (no in Turkish). This is supposed to be a reminder to Turkish citizens to be good citizens of the Republic, IMHO. All countries, of course, use propaganda during elections, as far as I know.

As the story goes... some early voter-type opinion polls showing statistics not considered favorable enough for the ruling party, so... well, you guys can just read it here if you're interested:

http://time.com/4677051/turkey-erdogan-constitution-referendum-akp/
or here:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/02/turkey-referendum-erdogan-tone-policing-backfires.html
or here:
http://fortune.com/2017/01/27/social-media-turkey/
or here, etc...
https://www.dailysabah.com/columns/merve-sebnem-oruc/2017/02/28/yes-to-change-in-turkey-or-no-thanks

I think I provided a few POVs in the above articles...  *resistance  *persistence

Back to the story... As I ran and looked down on the pavement, there was a sea of 'evet' markings. Noticing the random patterns, every step I saw more and more. Today as I ran and noticed the circle shapes on the pavement, I remembered back to yesterday, but then I saw a 'hayir' marking. Then I saw more and more of them! The battle of the 'evets' and the 'hayirs' right there in front of me, guiding me on. Where will it end?

So, the opposition youth parties, etc. were out last night challenging one group framework's propaganda with another. Such is life, I think. It made me smile, and perhaps gave me a boost of energy to see this new development.Grateful for the experience. Grateful for The Persistence of The Resistance global movements.

Anyway, the things I observe on my Bosporus runs are precious memories that shape a frame of mind, that I can channel my energy back to, whenever desired, and just soak it in. Yea, that energizes me for the as-of-yet-unknown future! Stoked.

Peace

3.04.2017

Normal, as in 'everything's normal'



Saturday afternoon in the 'Bul.  Midway through my euphoric post-run state of mind. The first real sunny late-winter morning/afternoon run. Just a beauty of a day indeed. This comes after a foodie-sess at The Boyz shack last night. Yes we did; our Büyükdere PussPuss krewe made 'smokin hot' tofu chili for our Sariyer-style Mardi Gras shindig tonight. No matter that it was (somewhat briefly) contemplated to  show up in our 'jammies' garb...

My Hoka One Ones faithfully carried me through my 7k walk/run along the Bosporus. It's like trotting on pillows, really. They are lovely and really do keep your runs pleasant when you're a runner with a somewhat compromised back at times.

Running and yoga- those 2 elements still make me swoon with delight that we have been a team all these years. As per usual, I never run with headphones. I did during my tenure in the Middle East, but it's just not really me, for whatever reason(s). I guess I'm of the idea that body rhythms should determine pace, not external sound. Perhaps I just oscillate- do whatever feels best at that time.

some thoughts:

I'm tired of the news- mainstream, fake, alternative; whatever, all of it

late night pancakes last night after a party-prep session at the boyz was just what the alternative doctor ordered

You can now buy chocolate Mentos here

Istanbul is such a bipolar lover... some days so magnetic, irresistible, charming- just the purrfect dose of poison in which one thrives

I really am hooked on moving around every couple of years, but in a most logical way; I just really haven't found that 'sweet spot' yet. Happy to say I'm still enjoying learning the lesson. Let's all find out together where I end up next.

Running and yoga, still, is LIFE, balanced with phamily, work & other healthy leisure (food, sunsets, staring-at-walls, etc.)

pursuit of happiness

still knitting pussy-hats; presently knitting a pussy-hat for a certain pussy-cat whose favorite American football team is the Green Bay packers

it's (early) enginar (artichoke) season in Istanbul

Spring semesters are always more awesome- unless you live in the southern hemisphere I suppose!

still can't resist Skittles...

For presidential news, I seek out the professionals: Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, SNL, Conan & Trever Noah...

As well, The Young Turks & Democracy Now. Also, now, Ben Shapiro a quick nod to as I'm starting to try reading up on some of 'the other (dark) side' POVs


2.17.2017

"so much persisting"




Saturday morning in The 'Bul; up the coast here a shimmering, winter sun lingers around my windowsill. I've got a steaming cuppa joe at my side, and the kitties are afoot- basking in the golden glow in my room. Sometime in January came the swift death of my beloved french press, so I've been making do with my Melitta Ready Set Joe single cup coffee brewer thingy. The added drama, or flair, of the french press is surely missed, but coffee must go on! Or, in the newly coined phrase (memes too) by words arising from the new political climate we Americans are currently experiencing: "But, coffee persisted" Unfortunately, the stove top burners don't comply with my nifty caffeteria, so it must sit high up in the darkness of the back of a cupboard- never to experience the front row VIP utensils and such. Alas...

Here's the background:
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/02/nevertheless-she-persisted-and-the-age-of-the-weaponized-meme/516012/

But I digress; more about the current political shit-show later... Or not.  Let us persist in reveling on a more positive vibrational frequency.

Lots brewing in the Turkey transition cycle. I'm eagerly anticipating which country I'll be moving on to in September. Before that, though, I'll be doing a brief stint back in America hanging in the woods, on the beach- with all the usual suspects, etc.  The kitts will be hanging in southern Oregon, becoming acquainted with their new environment- living as indoor/outdoor kitties! They will also have other feline, and canine, roommates! I think they really miss their feline and canine friends back in Bahrain during the summer's at Starr Villa.

The weather, of course, if up for lengthy discussions. A long, cold winter finally showing the first signs of lifting. Nevertheless, Knit-wits persisted. Yes, fortunately, time was well-spent. Knitting kept me quite active; our 'Knit-Wit' Sunday sessions were/are welcome comic relief where we can come together, our little group of Americans, Canadians, Kiwis, Turks, etc. The Boyz, always gracious hosts for our shenanigans morph into 'TV-Js' (yes, I just made that up), tuning us into the latest and greatest TV series, comedy routines, news bits, etc.

I've been branching out in the culinary world as of late. I'm currently LOVING cooking with celery roots. Winter means soups and these buggahs serve as tremendous bases for tasty, soupy treats. Black beans have also become a staple. Imagine just throwing them into the pressure cooker for 22 minutes and PRESTO- they are finished; no soaking overnight! BAM; I love me some instant gratification when it comes to food. Avocados, I've noticed, are becoming increasingly easier to 'peel'. Yea, it's something to master- how to easily get the skins off of avos here.

This past week I've started to hear increasingly louder whispers from my spring collection, tucked away deep in my closet. Shiny, silky fabrics trying to make a run for it to the front row upon each opening. After a quick closet analysis, I decide to keep them in the background- awaiting patiently for 'that day' to arrive. Shunned for now, nevertheless, they persist in their whispers...

My running shoes are anxious to get dirty too. Last winter I ran throughout winter. Sure, it was cold; neverlesless, I persisted.  This winter? Well, it was damn cold, and icy quite a bit. It never felt totally fine, in my opinion, to risk running and slipping.

Okay, here's the real news folks: I'm hungover; I'm hungry; I've had too much coffee; I have to pee (some of this list might contain alternative facts, but I can't recall).  *very bigly problem*  

"This is fake news because the news is fake"      (look it up)

The End...or not. Neverless, meme news persisted...

In case you want a factual *meme analysis* of how I view this new Amerikan regime change, here it isn't:

*OMG' really?*
#notmypresident

#resist


#stoppresidentbannon


#tinyhands  #tinytrumps





#ConanMexico


#frederickdouglass





The Young Turks   #resist











1.25.2017

A funny thing happened to me on the way to Napoli Capodichino International Airport...



I'll begin with the end: A funny thing happened to me on the way to Napoli Capodichino International Airport, and this is how it went down...

So, there I was at the Port of Naples, sitting on a plastic chair drinking Proseco and soaking up the Napoli sun that has favorably looked down upon this city for thousands of years. Maxine, doing her thing with her new navy blue, Italian leather purse (admiration, appreciation, etc.), was waxing poetic about the city's cool, warm vibe (I know, sounds weird- but totally 100O% real fact, and not an 'alternative fact' (as the new U.S. president's inner circle would perhaps suggest).

Suddenly there is a chick coming up to us at our makeshift headquarters as we waited for the AliBus to whisk us off to the airport. She had a presence, I felt it. She hovered around us at first- until we noticed that she was going to say something to us, almost as if reluctant to approach us.

Let me back up a bit... So, January 21st, one day after the inauguration of the 45th American president *insert sad, angry emoji here*, was the "Women's March on D.C" https://www.womensmarch.com/ .  I had ferociously been making pink #pussyhatproject hats https://www.pussyhatproject.com/ weeks before for friends and myself to wear in protest of many important platforms, but just overall how shitty our douche bag new president is...

Because my time in Italy overlapped this monumental day, I decided that we must represent regardless of present location. I mean, pussies everywhere have shit to say, right? The 21st was spent checking out Naples most famous archaeological sites: Herculaneum and Pompeii. We had our pussyhats on and got our exploring on. Amazing day. Honestly, every day in Naples was amazing.

 But I digress... Back to the Port of Naples... So this chick is approaching us- me and my pink pussyhat specifically. She is a local, and looks to be asking for directions? I'm, of course, delighted as I think to myself, 'hah! I look Italian enough to be a 'local'- how cool is that?' I mean, I am Italian-American after all and have the nose to 'prove' it. She stops at our rickety little table and starts off, "Excuse me, but your hat you're wearing. I couldn't help but notice that it's pink and am wondering if you are part of this movement..." (something like this is went). It was like, YESSSSSS!!! I LOVE YOU! I mean, that is so cool that during our entire Naples journey no one approached us while wearing our hats, although I'm sure many knew from the news, social media, etc.

It was SUCH a beautiful moment that here is this chick and she recognized what was going on. Quickly she produced a camera! OMG! Suddenly I noticed another entity next to her- another pussycat, this one had a penis though! We were still in awe of what was happening and he quickly shifted into paparazzi mode!  We took pictures while exchanging niceties, etc.

Now, I tried to give away my pussyhat a day earlier, while thrift shopping. By the way, Naples has a thriving thrifting community! So, at Happy Vintage https://www.facebook.com/Happy-vintage-to-you-519567091414932/ I spied this lovely frock that I suddenly had to have. I bargained down to an incredible deal- mainly due to the owner being this kind, generous, wonderful creature. I was explaining the significance of my #pussyhat I was wearing and entered it into the deal, along with the makeshift sign (refer to pictures) I carried around while in pussyhat mode, etc. He wasn't quite getting it, and when I finally took it off my head to give it to him, he graciously turned down my offer, but kept the signage!  I hope he looks it up and reads all about it! I also gave him my calling card so he just might be checking out this blog at any moment (the makeshift card consisted of a Dr. Seuss sticker with some Sharpie scribblings of my social media sites to visit).

Again I digress. Earlier in the day I had lamented about how I wanted to give my pussyhat away to some Napoli pussy! During our photoshoot, I decided that this awesome female was the perfect pussy to don my very own made-by-my-hands pussyhat and continue to represent the movement in her world! I took off my hat and offered it to her. She was trying to graciously decline my offer, but I was having none of it.  I motioned for her to wait a moment (while I was digging through my backpack) so I could give her one of my calling cards too!

Because our bus was coming any minute, we left it at this. We just were all thrilled at what had transpired. I mean, it felt GOOD. I am so happy to give my hat to her. I feel like we healed the world, just a little bit from this :) I know she will be reading this too, so I am expecting some photos from yesterday of us, as well as keeping the movement alive and posting with it on around!!! I am so excited for the new chapter in my pussyhat's new life. I want to hear all about its journey. Those 2 people were just so damn cute and real and I hope they know how deep in my heart I loved their energy and how important it all was and the lead-up to our meeting was just whimsy!

Oh yea, Italy is amazing. More on that another time though. It's Thursday morning and I'm back in Istanbul on a dreary winter day that threatens with snowfall.

Here are some #pussyhat pictures in Pompeii!










by the end of the day, we were fuzzy pussies :)


1.13.2017

Today in HERstory: Lucky13

Today. Today in HERstory:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Solo_ojo

Solo_ojo

Solo_ojo

Solo_ojo

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

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

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

the nightly kitchen crew!

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

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

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

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


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

Hichem and Stephen catching up

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

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

More of the 'revolutionary walking tour'

Claire-bear and I in yet another restaurant

I am amusing Kirsten here, I think :) 

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

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

Solo_ojo

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