feeling the Maui love

monsanto MUST BE STOPPED. GMOs gotta go:  watch it & get into my head-space this morning...


Sunday morning here in the Fertile Crescent. Lots of fickle weather as of late. Yesterday it kinda tried to snow for a few minutes (after I already packed away all my winter clothing last Wednesday) while I was downtown. Today it is warm and sunny.

I'm back in bed with coffee brewing and hot oats cooking on the stove.  I had a lovely run this morning.  Up early (no sleep past the early a.m. call to prayer), I was surfing the net.  By the way, 5 a.m. Turkey time is prime time to see what all my friends are up to back home in Hawaii- exactly 13 hours behind in the time zone scheme of things.

Well, Hawaii's citizens are up to A LOT today. They are fighting a giant- a giant coackroach of a corporate empire rat race. Okay, I said it. Yep monsanto (no capitalization for an UNproper noun).

As the sun was rising, I was increasing in my rage after reading all the articles posted. I didn't feel hopeless though.  I felt hopeful because my friends on Maui and throughout the Hawaiian Islands ROCK. They are getting the job done.  They are in R-EVOLUTION mode.

Being so far away from Maui makes it difficult sometimes. Like this time. After I had had my fill of information, I set out to go for a morning run.  I ran today for Maui- for Hawaii. For my friends that are on the front lines there fighting the government- who insist on trying to get into our kitchens. WTF is it with the government trying to get into our vaginas, as well as our kitchens?

On the subject of front lines, I, admittedly, haven't kept up so much with America's revolutions.  I have my senses full over here watching THESE revolutions: Syria, a free Kurdistan, etc.  I'm front and center over here trying to take all this in in as graceful a way as I can (I know I cuss too much, but hey, it's a product of being an archaeologist and always being around construction crews. Oh how I miss being around construction crews).

But I digress... so, people over here are dying- loads of them every day- fighting for their cause against their corrupt governments. What I realized, though, is that I decided that Hawaii's fight with monsanto wasn't as important as these people's fights because... well, I see dead people on the news every day because of these fights...

BUT this morning something snapped in me. It comes down to this: fighting an injust government that is trying to make too many personal decisions for us- we the people. Why do governments, the world over, want to come into our homes? Why into our bedrooms? Our kitchens? Our gardens?

So I turned my rage into pure, divine energy and had a kick-ass run.  It wasn't yet 7 a.m. so I had the place to myself again.  Every lap around the track was encouragement. I want Maui peeps to feel my encouragement for their dedication.  I was running so fast I could hardly keep my breath. But I thought, 'Maui peeps are in the rain today holding signs and supporting their (our) right to exist and be allowed to make (some of) our own decisions.

Perhaps my friends over here think this can't compare: people in America fighting for the right to have a GMO-produced food labelled as such so we can avoid buying/ingesting it, when their governments are KILLING them. Our government is killing us too with GMOs, but it's a slow death- unlike what I see over here. Our government kills us with cancer-causing agents that are leaked/seeped into our foods, our lands- all in an effort to produce 'superfoods!'

I do not mean to make light of the situation, anywhere.  It is just different. What is common is that people have to rally and fight for their rights in almost every aspect of life- anywhere.  period.

Okay, I'm done with that. And with my oatmeal (I hope the oats weren't GMOs but I don't know as the bag is in Turkish).  I hope not. I can say that here, in the southeast, knowing what is in one's food is not a 'thing' here. For whatever reasons, I don't know.  The health issue thing isn't so prevalent.  I know a core group of friends here where it is indeed a concern, but it is the rare exception to the rule for sure.  Perhaps in other parts of Turkey it is more of a concern for people.  I don't even know the active status of monsanto in Turkey. This is something I will check into momentarily...

Back to my exciting life... ahem. So, yesterday turned out to be a horrible day weather wise here in Gaziantep.  It ended up kinda snowing. I was downtown with Solo_ojo and we were getting our 'lists' checked off when we got caught up in the foul weather. Actually we were waiting for the tram and noticed the dark, brooding weather on the horizon while it was lightly raining. We both saw it, turned to each other, and decided to verbalize that we were going to forget about it and maybe nothing bad will happen... At least I had the good sense to have a beanie on my head. It is ironic, though, that 3 days before I made it a personal task to pack up all my weather clothing since spring sprung...
Back to that checklist: Mehmet the tailor called and my pants were ready. Awesome! I am addicted to having a tailor now... I got to eat my favorite Turkish food- Iskender. I bought some fistik baklava for friends in Izmir for next weekend. Oh yes, I also made it to the eczane too! I hate going to the eczane in Gaziantep.  Not sure why.  I really only do it when I am traveling in Turkey.

Here is perhaps one reason why I hate it here: Yesterday I walked to the counter and asked in Turkish for 'dort tane Yasmin lutfen', and he brings me back only 1. I say again 'dort' (4) and he, almost reluctantly, goes back and brings me 3 more- all the while the guy standing next to me at the counter is just staring at me... It is ALWAYS weird...

Last weekend in Konya I contemplated going into an eczane there, but somehow talked myself out of it... heh heh. My partner in crime with me in Konya only laughed at me when I told her the story. I guess I think of Konya as such a conservative place, but a lot of people assure me that, even though it is difficult to purchase alcohol there, it has the highest percentage of drinkers there.  I wasn't so sure it was going to be so easy to buy alcohol so I brought my trusty flask with me! That's another story though...

Okay, my work here is done.


a little dis. a little dat...

Frustrated that my new hot pink shoe laces aren't long enough to put on my running shoes... Saturday morning- and fickle weather to boot.  The past few days have been wind-fueled. Desert sands blowing up from Syria and beyond marred the atmosphere leaving a strange taste on the landscape. Last night culminated by a downpour and an accompanying thunder and lightning show- probably the last one for a while as dry season is almost upon us.

I've never been one to be hit by this 'spring fever' bug, but then again, there really is no 'spring fever' in Hawaii- not like when you live in an area with 4 seasons. So I had a wild hair mid-week and spent one evening packing up all my winter clothes. Not the fall clothes, but those are also already in a pile as well ready to be packed away in about a week as I estimate it.

No, these are my winter things I packed away. These things didn't even need to be worn this winter as it was so mellow. It hardly rained here, and only snowed once. I figure it is safe to get rid of this shit and make more room for... SPRING!

I love me some spring fashion.  Romance. Whimsy. Fresh. Crisp. Healthy. re-connection with nature. All these lexical choices, for me, describe spring.  So, I am good with this new emotion- spring fever- and going to roll with it. It was like some sort of ritual- getting out my suitcase of stored spring wardrobe. I 'oohed' and 'awwed' at all the exotic fabrics. I mean, WOW was that a fun evening.  Like running into an old boyfriend that is still an awesome friend (I'm not sure exactly what that means as I can explain it no further, but I also refuse to delete it because it is funny, and elusive, and nonsensical).

So, back to the hot pink shoelaces story.  About 2 weeks ago I was downtown (Çarşı) at the weekend to pick up some things I had made from my tailor (yes, I have my own tailor here, and no my things weren't ready...) and got my favorite Kenneth Cole red oil leather slip-on penny loafers (yes that is a true and correct phrase) resoled and noticed these totally cute hot pink shoe laces.

Now, I've been looking for the perfect pair of shoe laces for a while to use for the lace-up material for a t-shirt that I cut up a few months back.  I think I mentioned this in a previous, domestic housewife-type blog post a few months back. Anyway, I haven't been able to find any long enough to serve as a sort of lace-up bustier at the back. So I continue my quest for this, likely obsolete, 'thing' I need to obtain to complete my look as I have visualized it in my mind.  Nothing else will do. I must procure this necessity, or face the possibility of never wearing my totally cool cut-up XXL T-shirt that is now going to be a totally cute summer mini-dress.

So, I bought the hot pink laces as I was sitting in the little shoe repair kiosk with all the men hanging out and waiting for their shoes to be shined.  Solo_ojo and I were totally inebriated from the fumes coming from all the stuff the dudes were using to shine up leather, etc.  It was a totally toxic environment that no one seemed to care about- in terms of lack of ventilation to breathe properly even though it was an open-faced kiosk.  Nope. Not a twitch from anyone. The tele played on with the new Justin Timberlake video feat. Jay-Z- which is awesome I might add. Very fresh. Very jazzy.

Of course the shoe laces didn't fit my T-shirt and were way too short.  I already had Plan B for them though- which pleased me greatly.  I thought it would be great to jazz up my New Balance running shoes with the hot pink laces. I mean, how sweet is that, right? Playful. Think spring-in-my-step.

Well, low and behold, today after my run I was excited that I actually remembered about my hot pink shoe laces.  I took them out of their sacred space (utility drawer) and delved into the task with zest- only to find that they would also be too short for even lacing up... Alas... I'm not sure. I have no Plan C for my hot pink shoe laces.

Konya. This weekend is a 'non-essential travel weekend' which means that it is not essential to go anywhere this weekend. Next weekend, though, is an 'essential travel weekend' which means that I am Turkey Trotting to the western Aegean. Last weekend was an 'essential travel weekend' in more ways than one... This means that I traveled to Konya. Essentially we spent the weekend sleeping uncomfortably on buses, sleeping in a fairly sweet hotel room, buying silk scarves, eating great and decent food, and walking, and... yes. It was essential- in more ways than one... as you all already know, yet don't know the story behind the phrase. Sorry. *chortle*

I've covered all the major topics here, so now I will just babble about some things I suppose as I'm not quite ready to close the laptop down and get on with my day. Speaking of which, my day has been amazing so far- and it's only 11 a.m. Because I've been traveling a lot on the weekends lately, I haven't been running in the mornings regularly. I've been running at night only so today was the first day in a few weeks that I have run in the morning.  All the rain last night totally cleared/cleaned out the atmosphere and made for a pleasant time. It was still early so no people were around, and no little league kids at the sports field either. I had the entire place to myself.

As well, my new interval sprint training has taken me to the next level of my running game. It has really made my 'normal' running routing so much more powerful. It's these little nuggets of goodness that I feel that keep me going in a place such as this. The weekends are just so precious. The weekdays are just so routine.

I think I am finally tiring of this post.  I just got the idea to go into my closet-room and stare at my currently-on-display spring wardrobe that I can't wait to don. Last night really wore me out; Bomonti Unfiltered beer (that L-Fezz and Chris left in my fridge oh-so-long-ago), smoke, foul weather and my book du jour, "The Epic of Gilgamish in the Standard Version (Cunniform) tablet form. Now, I don't usually read plays/epics in prose form, so this task requires a special edge to it... Oh, I forgot to mention the colored lights and Nag Champa incense burning in the background.  I know, weird.

on my trending list for spring: organic cotton yoga pants, Starbuck's Coffee french press, hippie clothes, chiffon, pareos, yoga studios, business plans, new music mixes for both running and yoga, massage, Nag Champa incense, coconut macaroons, itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis, The Verve, Peter Tosh, da kine, Moss Agate.


Mystic Coffee in Konya

So I've been Turkey Trotting this weekend. This time to Konya.  I'm presently dreading the return trip tonight. We are taking refuge in Starbucks doing some work, etc before we have to hop on the all-nighter bus back to where we dwell in  Gaziantep.

Konya, like most cities in Turkey, has a beautiful historic district. From an outsider POV, the rest of most cities appear very much the same; a sea of apartment buildings dotted with strip-like malls. Much like suburban America I suppose. 

Getting around Konya is quite easy. There is an excellent tramvay that passes directly by the otogar for a most efficient and pleasant travel experience. It even runs 24 hours-which came in handy since we arrived in Konya at 5am. As we were riding on the tram, sunrise came and went and it was quite a mystical experience. I knew the weekend was going to be smashing at this point. 

We got off the tram and started sleep-walking towards our Rumi Hotel. We were ready to play hardball with them as check-in time isn't until 10 am, but the dude was totally cool and we were snuggled into our beds by 7 am and soon sleeping soundly. After an 8+ hour bus ride, which included lots of restless sleeping, it is still an awkward experience. Bus travel in Turkey is as good as it gets anywhere that I've travelled, yet it's never really 'restful.' 

Now, I'm pretty good about bus travel. My mobile medicine cabinet is top notch, quite efficient and vast- as I know my needs: minimal amounts of water, ear plugs, toe socks and flip flops, 1 800 mg ibuprofen, 1/2 a muscle relaxant OR 1/2 a Valium for maximum sleep, sunglasses, chapstick, iPod with jazz, a scarf, Tiger Balm and a blow-up pillow.  That pretty much covers it - in terms of being as comfortable as possible. Also a commanding presence (more necessary when traveling alone) helps. I'll just leave that last one like that and you all can interpret it as you like. 

So we were up and at it on Saturday morning and headed straight out to get some food. We had a few good leads -especially 1 from the guy at the information center. He told us to find this traditional Ottoman Era food restaurant. It was a bit of a search, but well worth our efforts! The food was insane. So delicious and unusual. Let me just say that after living in Turkey for a few years, the meat selection gets a bit repetitious and boring. Enough so that I could become a vegetarian again very easily...

The weather was super. big blue sky with white, puffy clouds dotting the sky- perfect for a photo op. The day could not have been more brilliant. Shopping was glorious (when isn't shopping glorious for a chick) and I ended up with 3 silk scarves and a load of jewelry - mostly for friends back home in Hawaii... Get ready you guys, cause Holly-Santa isn't coming back empty-handed! By the way, I'll be needing places to stay for long periods of time... 

We spent the day cruising the streets - taking photos and checking out the architecture and walking,walking, walking. I had a mission to hit up the archaeology museum. It was a chore indeed as NOBODY that we asked, which was many, knew where it was. Now, Turkish people are very friendly and want to help you when you ask for help- even if they don't know the answer or in our case, the right direction to head in... I'm talking business people, policemen, 4-star hotel people- NOBODY knew where the archaeology museum was. This seemed so strange to me-especially since Çatalhöyük, the world's oldest Neolithic settlement site, is a mere 30 miles away...

Frustrating, but I prevailed in the end. We finally found it, but it was 5 pm and was closing. I said, "I just want the museum shop" because I at least wanted a book on the site, but the dude said there wasn't one... 

So, exhausted and dejected, we trotted back to our hotel to take a disco-nap and then head out to the Mevlana Sufi cultural center to take in a performance. After a few episodes of Golden Girls (thanks Rasmieyh for that), we headed out in all our finery. I finally wore this totes cool dress I got when I was with Miss Simone shopping last summer on Maui. It is long, black, cap-sleeves and casual-chic. Of course, I only had my converse high tops... But I werked it... One needs confidence to pull this off- as well as a flask filled with rum...

We walked and enjoyed the fresh evening air. Arriving early, we took in a lecture by this Pakistani scholar on Sufism and the story of Rumi and Shemsi al Tabriz- which I already knew. We snuck out to get some prime seats for the show. This is code for easy access seats to leave before the masses would pour out... It was most excellent (mystical) and we did indeed exit stage left in due time. 

Feeling so smug and proud of ourselves, we headed outside on the long-ish walk back to the hotel. Something was different though. It was FREEZING suddenly. Sheepishly, we hailed a taxi and made our way back. 

We were starving at this point and caught a late supper. I finally tried this Etli Ekmek that everybody told me I just had to try... It was decent. I mean, I was hungry and it was food. I can say with fierce honestly that Gaziantep Lamacun is way more awesome with its spicy appeal. Back at the hotel, exhausted, we hung out and watched another Golden Girls episode and passed out. 

Today we headed to the Mevlana Museum. I was kinda snowing out... Weird. We bundled up for another day of sightseeing and headed to Aladdin Camii up on Aladdin Tepebasi. Lots of sweet tea gardens and a view of the city, yet we were yearning for something more... Something called COFFEE. I mean real coffee. R had some work she needed to do, and I can always entertain myself in a Starbucks. Equipped with an iPad, iPod, and iPhone- here we stay awaiting our chariot (Metro Turizm all-nighter bus). L-fez you should be proud of me as I have secured at least a 2-week supply of brown sugar. What can I say, I do partake in some guilty pleasures. R was particularly interested in the Splenda supply as well. So, 'thicker than thieves, we went about our business as usual. 

That's about it with my adventures here folks. 


Sunday Sunny Sunday

Again, I'm lying in bed :) with coffee, with little to no focus on what I'm writing about, and I'm smiling. Because, 1st, it's Sunday. It's also sunny. And I'm just generally feeling mighty happy about the direction where everything is going.

I've been, casually, nursing a cold- or whatever it is- for over a week. I find it strange that I can get a cold here so often, and it just hangs around. In Hawaii, not that I got sick often (in fact hardly ever), when I got sick, I would just casually take care of it and POOF it's gone (snap fingers here). Not so here.  Okay let me clarify.  The fever/sick part doesn't last long, but the remainders (cough, runny nose) seem to take a while to disappear. This is to say that I have gotten really good at coughing and blowing my nose in public AND try to remain as graceful as possible during these events...

Normally on a Sunday I'll have a run first before I start writing so you all are getting a different side of me this week I fear think. We'll see what happens. You guys have been quiet little birds lately as I have been getting no comments lately- except for this spam person who is just trying so hard to make their comments seem real.  I am, honestly, amused with this but ENOUGH already.

Anyway, last I recall I asked you guys to come up with some new music for me to listen to while running. Oh how you disappoint... Except for a few individuals. Many mahalos for your input and yes I will be downloading them illegally from the 'interwebs' and taking to the track with them- as soon as I muster up enough energy to actually do/accomplish the task. As of now, I'm still only in the 'threatening' stage of running with an iPod...

Speaking of iPods or iEverythings... I'd like to address the only really surprising thing that I find about Turkish (new) culture that seems so different from my own. The cell phone culture here seems to be outta control. They are everywhere: they are inside the classrooms; they are in students hands as they take their speaking midterms/finals, etc; they are at the gym- WHILE peeps be working out (that one KILLS me slowly because it's just such a shame to be doing something so good for your body, but while still connected to the outside world. Workouts should be an internal thing.  All one needs is motivation to work their body out. They should not be awaiting calls from ANYBODY while working on their health. PERIOD. NUFF SAID. Ackkkkkkkkkkk.

Maybe it's just a worldwide generational thing though.  Maybe it's just because in Hawaii, people aren't glued to their cellphones.  There is too much else to do- especially involving places where I cell phone doesn't dare to go... Maybe it is different living on the Mainland, but I didn't recognize this even while living in New York City (5 years ago), and I was traveling by Metro and/or walking all the time there so say the entire gamut of cultures and age groups walking solo and not on their phones, or even HOLDING their cell phones.

Just as a further look into my introspection on the current subject matter... When I'm working out, I'm thinking only about ME. Trying to overcome my ego and break it down. Like when it tells me to 'only run 1 more lap around the track because I'm tired.' So, when this happens, I need all my inner strength to fight back and say," 'FUCK YOU EGO'. You just simmer down and relax because I'm fighting hard to resist your shit-storm you're trying to talk up. In fact, stop telling me I need potato chips after I run." So when battling my demons, I can't have the phone demon hanging around. Anyway, I detest seeing cell phones so visibly... especially when I'm with someone of the opposite sex... Nothing is a bigger turn-off. Yea that's right. Take note of THAT potential suitors...

Yesterday I was downtown in the Çarsı. It is always such a pleasure to go there- especially when I have a list of things to do.  Solo_ojo & I headed out late and 1st stopped at the shoe repair guys. We both had stuff to get/drop-off. I love hanging out in the 'shed' and waiting around drinking tea while all the men work and hang out.  Caught the new JT & Jay-Z video. I hate to admit it, but JT is quite talented in his 'elder years.' Can't say I ever heard a song from the 'backstreet boys' days...

Off to my tailor, Mehmet, after that, but not before scoring a 100% fresh-squeezed orange juice for only 1.5TL! Awesome. Mehmet is a very cool dude.  He always looks so zen-like and kicked-back when we go to his shop. Reminds me of my old fashion design days. How great it is to be at your sewing machine creating things for people. Anyway, I get that about him. I adore that about him that he sits and raps with us drinking tea/Turkish coffee while hand-sewing something with a thimble on his finger. Reminds me of the days in Capitola, California with DP in the studio sewing/selling/drinking/smoking and taking walks to the rivermouth underneath the bridge... Good fun that.

A day downtown is not final until I have a stop-off at Settar's (AKA Remze) villa. Good conversation. Good fun, and Tuborg Gold 100% malt to boot! After a few hours of refueling while simultaneously mapping out our futures, we departed- homeward bound.  The strategy here is always to walk to Demokrasi Meydani metro stop instead of the nearby Villayet one. Why you ask? Because you are guaranteed a seat always at the previous stop. You're taking your chances at Villayet always. Especially because the Gaziantepspor stadium was filled with futbol enthusiasts... Just in case any Gaziantep Belideyesi peeps are reading this... consider this: you need more car-things on the tram. It's way too crowded on them.

Okay. That's it. I think it's time to go for a run now. I hope I completed all my thoughts here... If not, you guys can fill in the blanks.

Sunday Sunny Sunday so get out and enjoy the day and work your body out while ignoring your ego...DO IT and tell me how good it was...


you've got homework...

Sunny morning in the Fertile Crescent y'all, BUT I'm recovering from the flu.  As I lie in bed... well, I do do that occasionally... rewind: As I lay in bed pondering if I should get up and go for a run, my incessant couching tells me otherwise.

So, I have prepared some homework for you guys. Yes, there is a brand spanking new website that started up just yesterday.  Here's the link:


I can assure you, there is something to read for everyone here.  I've been up since the early morning call to prayer woke me up... and I've just finished up with it and had a lot of large laughs, which provoked more incessant coughing, throughout the process. The debut of "The Horrific 4" is especially pleasing (under FUN STUFF in the drop down menu).

In other news, Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C are firmly in place. Plan D is now up on deck. Really though, these should be rephrased to Plot A, Plot B, Plot C, and Plot D- because I LOVE plotting more than planning. Sounds more devious and I am deviant in my own bubble world...

Oh, here's another piece of irrelevant to all but me information I shall share: I'm finally tiring of my 'cooking Sundays Sessions.' As you all should know by now, I usually spend Sundays near the abode and cook for my lunches during the work week because I detest eating/paying for crap food at the cafeteria at school. Okay the soup is usually pretty good though. In my near hallucinogenic state this past week- induced by a flu-like bug- I toted some vegetable bouillon cubes to school to put in some hot water (let me just say that vegetable bouillon cubes are NON-EXISTENT) in Turkey... So, these coveted cubes I've amassed from Amerika, Cyprus, Portugal, Greece, etc I decided to put to good use. I think I'll just continue on using them for lunch instead of toting my bag-o-food daily. Easy peasy. So unfortunately my blue Nuage Bleu mermaid food tote will be put to rest. It was a good food carrier. Somehow knowing that I was in possession of a nekkid mermaid at school made me happy and let me know that a little piece of Hawaii is always at me- even while occupying the halls of academia here in southeast Turkey...

Now, quit stalling- DO YOUR HOMEWORK