Run Holly Run season 25 episode 1 (S1E1)

Day 2 jet lag on Maui. Returning back home every year comes with its limits; twenty-five hours in the air, added to airport connections leads to one rough time.  It seems the last leg of the journey is most debilitating.  My Seattle to Maui flight just about put me over the edge.  Once seated I immediately tried to push my seat back while everybody boarded the plane (perks of flying a lot and getting priority boarding is staring at people walking past for at least fifteen minutes and, often hilariously, trying to deal with luggage and blocking aisles, etc.).

No can (yes, I revert back to Hawaiian Creole English as soon as I can smell the Islands are nearby). Mr. friendly attendant, when asked, simply said "Oh, you can't"- deadpan.  Ready to lose my shit, I decided that at least no one else could do it either so somehow this comforted me.  Pondering how an airline could do something so full of injustice, the seat in front of me suddenly lowered its seat back- nearly into my lap.  Oh boy...

Ms. friendly attendant, when asked, simply said "Oh, you can't because your seat is in front of an exit row". Okay, now we're getting somewhere.  I love receiving information that I can use. I didn't even have to ask. She continued on. "I can check for you to see if there are any other seats available". Yes, helpful.  Soon enough after take-off I sauntered back to my new seat and continued on through the flight in (only) mild discomfort.

At this point though, I know how to sleep on airplanes; here's the ingredients: iPod, earplugs, eye mask, little nib of Valium, if available and BAM. Goodnight. Something about that last leg of the journey though; I'm always about ready to freak out and crawl up the walls. It's the limit of what the human body can do in a non-physical sense- from my experiences so far anyway- outside of when my back goes out...

Fast-forward to today. After a mere five hours of sleep I woke up at 8:30 am.  In typical Holly fashion, I jumped in the shower and threw on my running gear and headed out the door. BAM. I'm in my comfort zone that I've come to consider as one of my top Maui runs.  But first some background.

Running in Istanbul this past year has been a great experience for me.  I've made a lot of gains and went deeper into my game. First, my Kinavara 4s have become indispensable. Hands down, the best running shoes to date. The main reason you ask- a wide toe box.  It seems I've developed this bunion thing that people talk about on my right big toe.  It's not bad, yet still considered a blemish or eyesore to me... Mostly because if I'm not wearing any shoe with a wide enough toe box, I feel that squeeze that is typical to this inconvenient issue...

So, to say that I've come back with renewed enthusiasm is an understatement- especially considering the previous two years I struggled with running while living in Bahrain and oppressive Middle Eastern heat and humidity.  I feel I've hit upon my happy place in my Istanbul running sessions along the Bosphorus and such. Nice to be feeling back in the saddle again.

Now, Istanbul is no Middle East weather-wise, but I've still been challenged by running on weekend mornings- perhaps mostly because I'm up late at night and it is already hot and humid there.  I guess my body has forgotten just how hot it was previously.  Anyway, I started going to the gym at the university and I have to say it has upped the anti in terms of my performance.  I've been running on the treadmill and really focusing on speed and cadence.  I've come to realize just how useful a treadmill can be for training for peak performance. The stair-climber thing, while first looking utterly ridiculous, 'fooleywang' in fact, I've seen a vast improvement in my strength arising outta my glutes.  It may seem silly and I do feel silly on that machine, but the proof is in the pudding...

All this work came into play this morning and I'm pretty happy being a results-driven person; gleeful in fact. So back to the real story...

I woke up to roosters crowing in my ear after five hours of blissful rest! My last thought before falling asleep was that the falling rain was cooing me into heart-felt slumber. Activation.

In typical Holly-style, I woke up suddenly, jumped outta bed, took a flash-shower and threw on my running gear and headed out- all accomplished in about fifteen minutes. My route took me from Makawao up to Oskie Rice Arena- where the famous Makawao Rodeo(s) take place every year with the Fourth of July celebrations and rodeo most famous. This was my first test; that first mile was steady uphill. Cadence, gait, breathing, attitude- all working together producing endorphins instilling such an incredible high that I couldn't help but smile-wide- and inhale bugs in the process...

That was the first testament to my training where I could feel results. Damn I love that; mostly because my Istanbul runs have hardly accounted for hill sprints, etc.

Turning right my pace leveled off to more of a trot as the terrain leveled off. Soon enough though I was heading into steady down-hill territory. This is where I really wanted to improve myself. I was already amazed how my butt got my up the rolling hills so I was anticipating some success downhill as well.

Typically I consider myself to be a challenged downhill runner, meaning that I don't embrace it very enthusiastically.  It's kind of like how I used to approach Dhanurasana Pose (backbends) in yoga. I was scared because I though, or I do, have back issues and always approached this with much trepidation.  It's taken a long time for me to realize that with these thoughts one tends to manifest difficulties.

I recently decided that I wanted to dedicate time and energy into running down hills more efficiently.  I always had this thought that it puts too much pressure onto my patellas (knee caps). I think about this scientifically and it makes sense. I am a person of logic. Besides, after all my time spent on archaeology sites conducting data recovery on burials, I've seen far too many individuals' patellas in a severely calcified state due to simple biological processes in Homo Sapiens with all due respect to aging and inflammation, etc.

I pressed on and in fact felt pretty strong.  Feeling my stance was in line with what I've been researching and trying to give myself that comfort of knowing you are supposed to kinda feel that you are falling forward and not holding back so as to keep proper alignment and in fact help save your joints by doing so, i went with it.  Of course in doing this you run faster because you are not 'braking'. When you 'brake' running down hill I am realizing is when you injure your Patellas...

Feeling pretty smug, I suddenly realized the extra pressure it put on my breathing all the while monitoring this. At one point I realized I needed to regain my breath.  I could slow down, which I did, or I could stop and walk for a bit, which I eventually did. In retrospect, I didn't need to, but I decided to coddle myself.

Karma is in fact a bitch... No sooner than I start walking, two cars are coming with each from different directions.  Along the far side of the road is a chicken. It starts walking across the road... The far side car misses it, but the car traveling in my direction hit it and continued on.  I'm taking this all in, realizing that I would not have witnessed this if I had continued on running...

The bird was still alive in the middle of the country road.  I came up to it and as I did so, it seemed to draw its last breath.  I picked it up, and it was bloody, hoping that it came all in one piece (it did not), and brought it to the side of the road in the tall, sweet grasses. A horse stared at me. Eyeing me from the safe zone, I realized another chicken was silently taking in the scene.  I felt its stare.

The burial was quick as I just laid it down.  I think how soft it felt in my hands. I felt this tenderness and connection. It was a solemn experience. I was in this zone, and then I was in that zone.  There was this compassion I felt for the situation. And then it was over. It was sweet. I was affected. I continued on.

Continuing on, sweet rolling hills full of sweat and ecstasy flushed over me. Famous Maui mists drenched me at some point and the build-up of intensity goaded me on down the hills. I gained my confidence again and flew down the hill into Makawao town once again. The winding country road took me past familiar sights, senses and scents. One scent that was missing this year though was the scent I have always smelled at one point of the journey of da kine green stuff.  For years and years I would get to a certain point along the trail where I could smell the sticky green. I'm talking for years.  As I was nearing this point, I started to inhale and exhale deeply, anticipating this olfactory delight.

Sadly I was disappointed. Just a little side-story there folks. I guess this was always something I looked forward to on this run of mine.  It just always made me smile.  I mean, you know.  Another disappointment soon followed.  As I got to the street to return to my starting route on this circuit, I would usually stop running and walk up because it is a steep hill and I tend to see this as my warm-down. My ulterior motive though is one specific property.  I like to be walking when I come up on this dwelling because of the plethora of runaway Liliko`i (passion fruit) on the ground.  Always so delightful to road scavenge Liliko`i, I felt this was a definite void when nearing the finish line.

Here my journey ended. I am filled with joy and gratitude that my legs brought me to this point along with my strength and determination. I was rewarded soon afterwards with a torrential down-pour! Just in time! Still on my endorphin-high, I relaxed into a quiet contemplation that Maui usually instills within me. These deep thoughts are what continue to draw me to Maui and to this home of mine. I have tried to replicate this feeling everywhere- with much success, but still there is no place like Maui... Nope. Indeed.



whatever the problem, love is the answer

Someone just reminded me of this all-to-oft quoted phrase, "whatever the problem, love is the answer". I'm sure it nears a high level of statistics for top sound bite or meme for when shit-hits-the-fan situation involving most anything at this time in our lives. I should do a collocation search on this theory... Hmmm

When I think back to past summers, the past few years I've had a book or two I was reading that can be associated with that summer. Take last summer for example. As I was preparing to leave Bahrain I picked up a copy of Shantaram from the BSPCA thrift shop (Bahrain SPCA). First this is incredible because to buy books written in English in the Middle East (as well as Turkey or anywhere else in the region) is super expensive and also because it had been a title I've been wanting to read for quite a few years. Winning.  Usually when thrifting, you (I) always buy books but they are not necessarily titles that were 'on or near the top of my wish list'. I did buy a lot of books at that shop, but Shantaram stands out.

I believe it took me most of the summer to finish the novel, but it I was thrown back into the mix immediately upon returning to my last known read paragraph. India was on my radar because there were so many south Indians that lived in Bahrain so I was always exposed to foods, culture and other things Indian.  I had perhaps my most inspiring yoga teacher ever in Bahrain. I had the best and cheapest Indian food of my life in Bahrain. And I had so many pleasant encounters with Indians from all around their Subcontinent that it surely has endeared me to India and its people forever. It has in fact moved high up in position on my bucket list from my experiences in Bahrain. 

There is also an India that I think of when I think about my time growing up and growing wise on Maui.  Many of my friends had traveled there or was soon to. Friends of mine were of Indian descent as well. Whenever I think to these times on Maui, I think of how good it was living there and the spiritual enlightenment we were all going through and processing living there.  I think about Mana Foods (health food store in Paia) and how lucky we were to be able to shop there (and find a coveted parking spot as well). I think about yoga classes on Maui.  I think to all the times that I was living a pretty pure life with all these gifts I mention that, along with the natural beauty of Maui, created this elixir of life that is unbeatable- so far as I can tell from living in various places before and since Hawaii.  Not that India was a daily awareness of mine there, but i always felt some sense of wondering if my way of life on Maui was in any way similar to friends' experiences traveling there.

I guess I mean to say that I've always thought about India, and more recently Sri Lanka, as a place that could possibly have some sort of duplicity for my life as experienced on Maui; quality food, yoga, beach, warm weather, cheap fruit! At various times on Maui I'd be out with friends and someone would invariably be currently reading Shantaram. I think you are beginning to get the idea; India had some sort of pecking order in my life- regardless if I knew/know it or not. I'm not sure if I even understand what I've written in the past few paragraphs, but forage ahead I must...

Shantaram; it was nothing of the India that I have envisioned throughout my life, but I always knew existed. While reading, I was on various continents and in various countries.  I morphed along as the book was progressing; morphing in its own way independently yet contemporaneously.  There were parallels it felt.  I sensed a deep connection with the books characters and interactions. I don't care to get literal here and delve into the story-line, etc. You can look that up at your leisure.  I simply want to describe the interaction I had with this book and how it relates to last summer for me, for no particular reason.  There is no end point to this story here. I suppose only to say that it was somehow akin to a milestone in my life that perhaps I wasn't even aware of. 

I think fondly back to that book; those pages dog-eared to death (mostly because it took me months to finish it). I think about all the various things I used as a book marker as well and all the notes I took while reading that meant something in that moment. I also think back to the social media moments I experienced through posting about that book.  I heard from quite a few people who I haven't heard from in a long time and only keep in contact with through Facebook.  Some people commented about it I haven't even met yet, whose friendship only extends through cyber-space.  All these 'achievements' I write about is what I think about when thinking about Shantaram and last summer!

This summer my 'book' was "Birds Without Wings" by Louis de Bernières. I started this book in Kas on the Turkish Mediterranean when I was backpacking and camping in the spring.  I bought it at this bookstore I remember from my previous sojourn to Kas. You all that know me know that I almost always buy a book when traveling and many times it is about the history about the area, etc. My time spent reading that book consisted of beaches, boats, buses, airplanes, camping on beaches, hanging out at my campsite, etc. That book covered Turkey and Greece in Turkey and Greece. I feel connected to the soil of each place in reading that book- especially considering the sensitivities of the book's contents.

Annotations and anecdotes litter the pages now. Solo_ojo, whom received the book afterwards, likely is currently sifting his way through the book story-line, and my story-line on the sidelines. I immediately knew that he would be receiving this book afterwards so I started my story to him through the margins. I think about the trajectory, the lifeline of that book and where it will travel to; whose hands will turn the dog-eared pages, what countries or coffee shops or hostels or beaches will become a part of THAT book- all this, it stimulates me for some reason that I can't really describe. I'm not sure why. I'm not sure I need to. 

I thought that book would be THE summer book, but it's over, and I've moved on.  I didn't think I would. I remember thinking while reading how affected I was; how the book moved me; how I kept turning pages devouring the words with my eyes. I was so devoted to that book...

Now the seeds has been planted. A new book is rising from my cyber-social media spaces. There has been enough chatter about Ulysses from the oracle known as my Facebook page that I am compelled to search out (a free or cheap copy...).  Could it be due to "Brexit"?  I don't think so. Could it be a result of my time in Greece recently and the association with Odysseus (more association than one there folks)? I don't think so.

Speaking of Odysseus... it was he who reminded me of that oft-quoted phrase, "whatever the problem, love is the answer". He told me this morning in fact, when I needed to hear it the most. Anyone who knows of current news inside Turkey will know the context of my cryptic message here... 

Sometimes I forget love is the answer. Sometimes, after some time you think you know some things and can comment on these things you go ahead and do so.  Sometimes, though, it is not your place to do so- or with such authority. So one backs away and retracts to the comfort of one's den, as a predatory animal does when needing seclusion and in need of concealment. 

If you need me, I'm in my den pondering what does it all mean... Do I love books? Am I in love with the place I go to when reading books? 


And the penguin exclaimed, "coup coup, whose coup are you?"

Commander in Chiefess...ready to rock and roll and get this shit done

2nd in command not giving one f*ck about any of this...

scene last night: Nearly 1:00 am and desperately need to sleep due to agitated sleep the previous night (more later here in this post about THAT night, which shall go down in infamy in the timeline of my life). Flopping violently on the bed, I spy my glass vial of organic lavender (because you NEED to have organic essential oils in order to feel like you're getting the total experience) next to the bed. Triumphantly I open it and start tossing it about my sheet and pillows. I mean why not, that's what this shit is specifically for, to better sleep- and sleep pleasantly at that with none of this nightmare shit. Why stop there, I asked myself. Light some incense, procure a little nibble of a Valium, and throw in a dash of da kine to help chase it all down. Oh, and put the phone on vibe. POOF my work is done for the day... Magic. Magical Realism. Now that's how you get real shit done.

Fast forward to now. Ten luxurious hours later I wake up groggy yet refreshed simultaneously. Knowing I needed coffee to work its magic, I spring outta bed (yea, feeling spry and agile in fact) and jump into a cold shower. More luxury. Day is just starting out and I'm already winning. Brush those damn teeth too. Yea, they feel like a cement truck ran over them sometime in the middle of the night. Ready for action.

Trotting down the stairs (if you know this apartment you should know that NOBODY trots down my stairs- mostly because they are DANGEROUSLY angled) I begun to conduct my zen-coffee weekender routine; my french press and (chocolate soy) milk frother are begging for some attention so I immediately put them to work. Minions. It's good to have minions working for you (more on THAT later as well, yet with a different more 'fucked-up current political scene in Turkey' kinda vibe). I hear a sound. Realizing it's coming from my bottle of Glucosamine Chondroitin on the counter, I obey this law of my universe and pop one into my mouth, chasing it with some ORGANIC orange juice. Satisfied with the knowledge that this alone has likely allowed me to trot down my perilous staircase with minimum Patella discomfort and maximum ease. BAM. More winning.

NOTE: If you want to get 'ultra spiritual' too, check out J.P. Sear's YouTube Channel- this shit is hilarious & then you will understand my organic oj & essential oil comments :)


And that folks brings me to this moment, frozen with writers block suddenly. More so because I don't really know where to start. I still have too many images in my head to focus on one important one such as the inception. Whoa now this is serendipity because I'm lamenting on not knowing where to start and then I throw out the 'inception' bomb...

My story begins... It's Friday night, late. Earlier in the evening 3-Gra and myself were texting (LoGra and HoGra here in Istanbul and ViaGra in Arizona sojourning) and I started lamenting that I hadn't been watching enough movies in the past few years. Our subjuct-du-jour was what new tv series were we all watching currently. I had a tale stemming from my recent sojourn to Portugal to visit Solo_ojo & joCid. We all reunited in Solo_ojo's sweet Poaires village house he had bought a few years earlier. As we were all sharing hard-drive secrets, I realized mine was sorely lacking in the movie genre compared to Solo_ojo's. He had a completely new quiver of both recent and older movies on his and I felt lacking. Lacking because I realized I hadn't been watching any movies- for a few years.  I was up on most all current tv series but movies???

Critical thinking dialogue started concerning this frighteningly increasingly worry-some 'trend'.  Since we had a 30-something among us, we used him as test subject- I did anyway. We came to the conclusion that in these generations with so much technology at our fingertips and so much multi-tasking going on not only in work life but social life as well, that it should follow that we can't stay holding our attention for such a long period of time as to start/finish a movie! Can you believe this shit?  I couldn't- at least not on that evening (of course adult beverages were in attendance and such to help alter or heighten our thoughts on this matter).

But I digress... Friday night. After my communique with 3-Gra I decided to turn on my VPN and turn on Netflix (thanks again L'il D for the gift of Netflix hacking). Moments later I was engulfed in "Inception", remembering that it was one of the movie's on Solo_ojo's hard drive that sounded intriguing. Man I was sitting pretty on top of the world, it felt like; movie, two purring cats aside me, a glass of Vinho Verde (brought back from Portugal), da kine, food. Nothing to interrupt this sweet slice of life I was experiencing.

Nothing until two texts rang from my iPhone.  Dammit, I thought. That was the missing ingredient in the night's indulging. I had forgotten to turn my phone to vibe. LoGra's came up first; a possible military coup going down in Ankara- the seat of government in Turkey.

Things quickly escalated from there; turn on TunnelBear (VPN par excellence) and just let the shits-how begin. Periscope early on was my source for a video showing videos of military action inside the capital and in Istanbul as they were closing down both bridges that connect Europe to Asia.  My thoughts were that soon the national broadcasting stations were next, as that was how it went down in Tunisia when I was stuck there for that one...

I must say here that the (faux?) military coup allowed me to check out new social media that I was only briefly familiar with previously; Periscope, Snapchat, Reddit being my top three suddenly useful choices. I'm sure that there are already some Pokemon Go virtual creatures set up within this coup framework... I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, with my limited knowledge of the app, that it is just a lame, cyber rip-off for Geo-caching- a real sportsman's sport... Heh heh

Anyhow... seven hours later it was 6am and I felt like I had just played out a dramedy Turkish style. As of yet, I still don't really know what is real, what is fabricated, etc.  All theories seem logical in the right context... 

What I do know are real are the feelings associated with this coup event. Immediately I scanned the recesses of my memory banks and traveled back in time to Tunisia. Everything was so surreal- then and now.  I couldn't believe what was happening was happening. You think about these possible scenarios while living abroad from time to time, but that is it.  Usually just good 'hanging out with friends' conversations. Now it's happening. Coups involving iron-grip rulers have been en vogue for a long time, but when it happens where you reside, it just seems like history being re-told for a new generation in an updated style.

Soon I was hearing from friends I worked with back in Tunisia.  We all keep in touch whether loosely or more actively. KK was a doll and relaying events to me from back in the deeps woods somewhere in Canada!  Also I had my cache of friends I worked with when doing archaeology on Kahoolawe- where EOD techs were cleaning up UXO on the island.

I had so many dialogues going at the same time from so many different social media sites as well as my phone What's App texts along with Face-timing family in Oregon that I also had to break out my iPad so I could do everything simultaneously. Never have a felt so much more a part of the 'now generation' in terms of being able to efficiently multi-task as that evening.  I was IT activated for sure.  Would of been great to additionally tie-in some old school tech by using a short-wave radio! 

The bottom line is that the events of this attempted military or otherwise coup acted itself out like a ping-pong tournament. Left, right, left, right... Everything was happening so fast. Player A winning, Player B winning, No, Player A winning again. Wait, there is Player C too?  Where the hell did this arise from? Is Player C just a figment of Player A's imagination that Player A wants to project onto citizens- local or expat? Player B seems divided in spirit. Player A seems weak and on the verge of ruin. Player C just waiting in the background a bit, to perhaps surface later on. Player B seems ill-prepared, really. Who am I rooting for? Who are the Players? There are way too many spin-doctors to deal with in terms of sifting through the information that is literally tearing the track up. This is a Formula-One speed of information infiltrating the playing field(s).

I literally seek all types of friends' opinions: the hippy friends- who are a large framework of my circle; the bomb guys- who I have a long past history of camaraderie with on a project involving scientists & military (a strange mixture indeed but throughout the years produced many great friendships & intimate moments together) and a bevy of other circles of close friends and family. What results is a crazy network of ideas that I weave into my most logical working theory. Well done everybody. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

My brother and sister-in-law decided to just sit it out with me on FaceTime for a long time while we were both cooking food and drinking wine from different sides of the planet.  It was fun actually; we just went about doing our normal business, but the camera was rolling still. That helped certainly.  A calming effect. The kitties? Well, they were also a calming effect.  Somehow they slept through all the sirens, screams, fighter jet planes buzzing the area super low and creating sonic booms that were have said to broken many windows throughout areas, and the sheer noise of all my electronics going off sporadically. They know how to shut down instinctively I suppose. Good on them. Good role models for me. 

As it turns out, my FaceBook thread of the series of events in those first 6 hours serve as a timeline in making history for this country and the world watching. I swear I will do something with all this, just as I swore I would do something with all my Tunisia social media events... Although I haven't published anything of serious interest concerning Tunisia, I did blog as well as put together the events into a Word file to be used at a later time; a time when I have time to figure out how to write a book effectively... I guess now I will have another coup to focus on for that endeavor. As a matter of fact, I actually have another military coup I can share- although I don't remember much about that first coup, back in 1987...

That would be the military coup in Fiji while I was there with my ex. I don't remember much exactly honestly. That was a long time and much less recreational playtime ago... I do remember getting gas one day and the dudes there wanted us to drink their Kava (look it up). Twas a good day I suppose. Again, I can't remember. I remember remotely being annoyed, but that's about it. Oh how grand it was to just be concerned about surf, bikinis and sex...

Back to now... here is a good link to an opinion article from The Telegraph:


 I've learned a lot from all this, as well as my time spent in Bahrain. While I am certainly no expert in any of this, I've been able to cultivate enough of my own experiences and learn how to express them and gather insights from them. There is still a lot of unknowns- in fact, it's all still ENTIRELY unknown as far as I can tell. Tomorrow will be an interesting day back at work as I'm sure we will all bring stories to the table...

Anyway, no specifics today folks as it's just too soon to start re-creating the string of events I've decided, especially since they are still on-going. Last night, for example, as we are told everything is trying to return back to normal but new developments are happening- specifically around Adana and the NATO base... New embassy bulletins continue to emerge; the last one coming in at 4:00 a.m... This is interesting to more than a few of us. Yesterday I received a text message from RTERDOGAN (da kine head honcho of this country) telling citizens in Turkish to hit the streets to oppose illegitimate coup attempt... A few of us expats got this message- how strange.

Anyway, conspiracy theories are flying and it's only 1:45 p.m. so I have my afternoon cut out for myself... It's been an interesting weekend folks. I wonder if the penguins have returned to grace Turkish broadcasting :)

signing out and posting yet again without editing... Have to say that it's so liberating to write something and just post it, without desiring to edit.  After all, this is my blog and my rules.  Contrary to my 'normal' life, I like to keep this one flowing in the moment.  Sometimes I feel compelled to make edits, but it honestly just feels wild and free to not have to edit!  Yep, I'm living on the edge folks. Girl Gone Wild Without Edits kinda gal right here coming at y'all...