2017 Rollercoaster ride begins

So... Last night 4-Gra met up with the Büyükdere Club Kids and partook in proper New Year's shenanigans... Fortunately we had the good fortune to stay put in the 'hood and have an epic house party.

For me it was particularly emotional, although I tried not to dwell on it too much. My inner circle here is so close to my heart. I had worked so hard at moving to Istanbul a few years back. I mean, I thought Istanbul was going to be my 'happy ending' so to say. Unfortunately, my move to Istanbul came about 10 years too late.  There is just too much shit here that prevents me from staying; finances, and politics, etc. Again, not to dwell on this because, well, they are facts- for me. Anyway, now that I know I won't be returning for the Fall Semester 2017, I concentrate on enjoying my time left here before moving on, to an as-of-yet undisclosed location. I am happy to divulge though that I have re-joined the Georgetown University Teaching Fellow program!

Okay, that is my big news. So last night was just so monumental for me because my phamily and I were together sharing my last New Year's (living) here in Turkey. I LOVE the feeling of being part of a tribe, and a wacky tribe we are. What 2017 invokes, for me, is a deepening of connection to my Istanbul tribe.

4-Gra started out yesterday meeting up at our fav local watering hole, the Corner Irish Pub. Viagra and I were happily traipsing along Istiklal Caddesi (the main pedestrian street in the heart of the city-Beyoglu) giggling, as we are prone to do. It was rain/sleet/snow action so we were walking fast. Independently of talking to each other, we both noticed this guy walking nearby. I took notice, and so did she, that he heard us speaking English. Then he started slowing down. The famous Beyoglu trolley was approaching and I motioned to her to cross the tracks. Then I was keeping an eye on this dude because he noticed, slowed down his gait and was trying to slightly look over his left shoulder. My mind is racing because so much shit is happening in this country right now that I don't delve into, but you all know exactly what I'm talking about... Anyway, I decided I needed to focus on him and his shoes- because it was cold and everybody was wearing black, and I wanted to remember his description if he took off his gray beanie he was wearing. As I was observing his strange moves, Viagra tugged at my sleeve to tell me that someone was following us, maybe.  It was just so interesting that we both were feeling this at the same time.  We watched him briefly as we stalked our stalker.  At some point we ducked into a side street and made our way to the pub, but it was unsettling. I immediately thought 'suicide bomber', but Viagra was thinking 'undercover police' just keeping track of the crowd. After all, the place was swarming with uniformed policemen (there are many embassies, as well as the Russian Consulate which has recently been heavily guarded, etc). 

So at the height of our gathering last night someone's phone beeped and a headline came up of a terrorist attack at Reina nightclub in Örtaköy (an upscale Istanbul neighborhood). No one wanted to deal with it in those moments. I didn't even realize it was in Turkey until a bit later, because I just didn't want to deal with it...


So... by now you must realize that this is not a typical New Year's Day 'peace, love and happiness' post, but it kinda is. The atmosphere here is light, in spite of the heaviness that engulfs this country. This place is bittersweet.

Now, to greet the day!!! 2017


2017. Spiritual warrior activation *upload complete* Hit return

My first #pussyhatproject project

Reflecting on my scenes of my 2016, when inserted into a geo-political-social worldwide kerfuffle, you have just that; good contexts mixed with bad (foreboding premonitions?), waiting to ambush, perhaps, the world as you have known it. It can't possibly be that dire, what 2017 has in store for us. We (I say 'we' as if just Americans are experiencing this, but in fact *THIS IS NOT A FACT* the world expects/anticipates/dreads/welcomes/*insert your verb* collectively.

Current Setting:New Year's Eve. 9:30 AM. Drinking (Indonesian) coffee with some organic milk frothed by an Italian, in bed (haha, absurd). Add to that a pinch of brown sugar, and, presto! instant early morning mood enhancer. Oh yea, da kine.

The kitts are on hand as well. On the bed. Staring at me, staring at the walls, and staring into space while listening to the crows outside. Cawing sounds attract their attention for sure. The unknown world out there, they ponder. They know there is a glorious life out there, different from the one they know with me, inside. Their thirst for the outdoors- from their Middle Eastern Dilmun civilization homeland they arose from, and so quickly removed from, via magic carpet ride to the center of the Ottoman Empire- Constantinople; they are looking to quench their thirst again. I can feel it. They must sense Oregon...After all, they are part of the global kittyzens crew... Third passport stamp coming up.

A quick shout-out to Karen and Georgia *Elvis, Millie*, the 'My Favorite Murder' http://www.feralaudio.com/show/my-favorite-murder/ podcast gargoyles. They mentioned something I had learned a long time ago, but has been disappearing from my knowledge chain; what a great resource Wikipedia really is. It IS so great for cut/pasting snippets, for quick reference on anything. You don't have to feel shame for using uncitable reference materials. Anyway, mahalo ladies for snippets of wisdom that I inherently know I DON'T have to fact-check... :)

Next up, on a whim just now while I was downstairs with Je-Gra grinding coffee beans- Yes, because that's what friends/neighbors DO early in the morning when in need of a cuppa-joe! So, the point of the story part here... I flashed on thoughts of EdVice and Frangelico, which, of course, means Romania- which ultimately means end of summer-last trip to get in- before the start of the (ridiculously long) Fall Semester school year... More on that - never! Maybe, but I try to not whine so much when blogging. Or proof-read. Anyway, the story: Ed eagle-eye spotted the bottle of Frangelico at the airport duty-free! I like Frangelico and coffee I've discovered. In honor of that discovery, today I partake in the ritualistic ceremony, to invoke holiday cheer. To say good-bye to 2016. Wat up 2017? Imma approach this as J.P. Sears might; ultra-spiritual warrior (http://awakenwithjp.com/).

Since we're on the subject of 'using uncitable reference materials', fuck this fake-news shit and 'Post-Truth' age of disinformation- too much information- intentional/unintentional fake information-howthefuckyoufigureoutallthisshit. I'm tired of searching. I'm already tired of figuring out (my version) of THE truth. Well, isn't 'my' version the dominant version? Obviously not, according to the date to stay alive DEEP in my heart, July 26, 2016. That's right. NOT November 11th, 2016. That, more recent, date just numbed my heart even more, resulting in a near shut-down concerning discussion of Amerikan *global* politics. The incoming president-elect has no place on my *dominant* spiritual agenda... That's right, all this political bullshit attacks my spirit, when I am weak. When I am strong, though...well- this is the goal for all years, all the time honestly.

I digress... July 26, 2016 I (we?) got sideswiped; Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic nomination for presidency to Hilary. Bernie's "movement of love", as coined by Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii State Representative)...


... lost over a 'movement of mediocrity', not devastating, like what we ended up with the president-elect's 'movement of dunces', but certainly wasn't going to progress in a graceful and honesty manner- which is where the U.S. needs to be headed... But how it happened was deceitful, IMHO. That's all.

(I know, completely lame of me to just cut/paste the attributive tag for Gabbard's quote, but I give 0 you know what). LOVE to break MLA/APA citation rules.  *rabblerouser*  On a side note, I'm increasingly fascinated with error-correcting grammar. I know, weird.

2016. Lots of: travel, good times, friendships, family time, growth, spiritual-self work, reading, running, yoga, learning, teaching, challenges met, and... as of late... KNITTING! That's right, I'm a knitting warrior at the moment. Check out the PussyHat Project:


2016, time to bounce  *(gross) 2009 lexical reference*  (HaHa)

2017. Spiritual warrior activation *upload complete* Hit return


Happiest of Holidaze 2016, from Constantanople: Peace on eARTh

Peace on eARTh

Never have I felt that it's more needed. Never have I felt that things, on a large scale, seem close to hopeless if the current socio/econo/techno/political path continues on this path. My thoughts on this? Well, foremost, I feel that if I want to turn away from all this I need to hightail it to the South Pacific. Surely I can't avoid what is upon us, but I can remove myself to the farthest reaches of the world to live at a pace that is more in tune with what my body truly craves for optimal, thriving living. That is Plan A, but I'm not ready to execute Plan A. I think. Plan B: Remove myself from present coordinates? More on that later...

Festivities have rules the week. Work finally lightened up, and that is much to be 'giddy' about. The weather might be dreary, but moods are illuminated! Snow doesn't seem to be in the forecast here in Istanbul, unfortunately. But, it's cold outside baby, so there's that...

I am full of hollyday cheer, to be sure. The hollyday crazy started last week, when I helped friends trim their Christmas tree. Betty The Cat, BTW, helps them to re-trim their Christmas tree every day since. Brucifer, the other family feline, stays in the back room to properly play his role of '(cute) old Mr. Scrooge' to a 'T'! Brucifer, I'm sure, quietly reflects upon the grandeur of the tree, while Betty The Cat destroys. They both get what they need outta that tree :)

Last night we planned to make some more holiday cheer- in all recreational forms. The highlight, however, was the undertaking of baking shortbread cookies. Now, I've always thought that the amount of butter one needs to execute this task was an urban legend of sorts, but no. Horrendous amounts of butter make these cookies devastatingly delicious. The end result was divine. A few near-misses were had: someone not doing the correct math for butter conversion; almost eating all the caramelized pecans before we could top off all the cookies; doubling the recipe and, at first, thinking we still wouldn't have enough cookies (we ended up with a plethora); and the possibility of just drinking a wee-bit too much and forgetting about said cookies in the oven- that one didn't happen, thanks to iPhone alarms.

Here is the playlist drinklist for the evening's events:

A light 'liquid appetizer' upon arrival, I was greeted with a Frangelico-and-coffee. You know, to recover from the work day. This combined with wrapping paper and gift-wrapping set the tone, along with light-hearted conversation. Moving along from here, our task at hand- Christmas cookie baking- seemed a far-off reality as we dipped into the next taste-test; a nice bottle of Romanian red wine to accompany us in kitchen-mode. I believe this stage ended with general merryment around the Christmas tree and photo shoot, and some off-key caroling. Before you knew it, Jack Daniels took over for the final hurrah, which designated couch and tele time.

Today, (Christmas Eve) as I lay in bed with my 2nd cuppa joe and da kine, the holidaze continues with more friends, more baking, more spirits, and our Bollywood Christmas. Yes, I have found a  music list on YouTube...

Tonight's menu is homemade Indian food!

The holiday mood suddenly broken by memories of the kitties litter box, I adjust my kaleidoscope back to reality and that I have to get fresh kitty litter so guests don't have to endure THAT... Okay, time to get outta bed.



re-fill please...

Cuppa Joe, this morning specifically, gives the effects of being perhaps THE most delicious cuppa joe I've ever experienced. The aroma strong and elegant, taste so smooth and silky. Yes, silky. Perhaps that's from the addition of a touch of Bailey's.

A gloriously moody Saturday morning sunrise, I greeted. My accompaniment, Armenian Duduk music. Long forgotton foot paths meeting up with etherial sounds just downriver of the headwaters of a swollen, raging river suddenly abated by the mere presence of large, voluptiously-round boulders standing at attention just on the horizon of the raging waters. Rays of sunshine streamming over a treeline burst into view, creating an excellent head-trip this morning, indeed. Suddenly all is calm. Behold the cacophany of silence.

Silence, and the Duduk... So much life has  walked this path- both familiar and strange. Stories of caravans settle into the dust, dormant until stirred. Zephyrs stirring up stories, always. Tumbleweeds of narratives seeking an audience set out. Intentions of an ampitheater, an orator, a closure or continuation. Desperately searching for a sequel. Roll on tumbleweed.

Attaching themselves to brambles, some tales deviate from their destiny, temporarily. Preferring instead to stay a fortnight or two, divulging their secrets to those fortunate enough to be 'on the path' at the right time and place and in a contemporaneous dimension.

Imagine being a traveler on such a journey. The path, the caravansarai, the travelers you come into contact with, the stars, the sounds, the spices, the stories that are the pulse, streaming energy to all those who cross the path. 


What is in the coffee, right? :)

Okay, I'm going for a run now. Storytime; my path, in my current dimension, follows the Bosphorus. And since I'm feeling my superpowers full force this morning, I'll put in a request with the entities upstairs for snowfall this week...



Rhetoric 5.0: About Last Night

After a night of jolly-good fun (more coming on that), I am lying in bed with da kine coffee perusing my last blog entry and I had the inclination to actually read it. I never read over my entries before publishing so...

At first I thought this would be a 'cute' idea- to not proofread my entries before posting, but in actuality, I just didn't want to do it. I, up until recently, felt that they (grammatical errors) should just go unnoticed- I mean, anyone will still understand words. Then I somehow drift off to thinking about students' papers: first drafts, homework, etc. I has definitely grammar-fever... :)

Basically, slightly horrified I was moments ago when re-reading and coming up on MY grammar blunders. Anyway, I'm feeling better again about it, so will likely not change my publishing policy. Or, it will be haphazardly accomplished more so. *Gets ready to write a 5-paragraph argumentative essay entry next*

I digress. About last night...

Earlier on Thursday I had thought about another gathering at my Büyükdere HQ. Plan set, wheels into motion, BAM Friday evening cocktail hour a la Mauihollyday. Lately I've found myself in the kitchen conducting many culinary experiements. Surprisingly delicious results lead me to believe I could make Börek with this yusuf stuff- like filo pastry. Most surprising about these experiments is that they are just coming from my head- no recipes y'all.

I did have 1 failure of the night, before friends started appearing fortunately.  I was burning some Omani Frankinsense and Oregon Sage (that I hand-picked on a cross-country road trip 2 years ago with my brother, somewhere off the highway in eastern Oregon on a (pee) stop in the bushes) in my mega-huge Bahraini incense burner. It's so pleasantly intoxicating walking around anywhere in the Middle East because of scents, incense, Bakhour, resins, etc... Incense is magical. Specific incense, that is. I spent a fair amount of time searching for the most epic frankincense. Found it in Oman, I did. Salalah actually the most amazing selection. Or was that Nizwa? *sigh*

Digressing, I am... Yes, the fire alarm- so, incense was roaring out of my huge burner and, now that it's almost winter, my windows aren't all the way open now since it's cold (another story there folks. Because my windows don't fully close- because of the screen I put on it so my cats don't escape- it is FREEZING in my apartment. I told friends in my text to come dressed warmly, with scarves and hats if needbe), so all this luscious smoke billowing out had nowhere to filter out to steadily. I, of course, love this shit and being enveloped in all this smokey, etherial goodness, but I was aware that previously the fire alarm has gone off due to this soul-food indulgence. Now, right when I'm thinking about that fire alarm going off last time, I began to realize that my place was very smokey. As well, I'm making popcorn on the stove... Next, fire alarm goes off (on the top floor as well as with security, below). Next thing, Metin is coming up the stairs to see what I'm doing this time :) We quickly work it out (in Turkish :)) that I am again burning incense, as opposed to burning down the apartment. I go back inside and remember the popcorn... Not too badly burned though, but a bit of black smoke to mix in with my purple haze of Far East incense.

Okay, I see the word 'rhetoric' written below (a sort of 'sticky note' to myself to keep on track of the point of this entry today) , so I will continue on- until the next diversion walks across my mind so my brain decides to tell my fingers to type along with the journey... The ultimate test is, of course, to see if I can remember the main point. I've conditioned myself to cheat though- hense the sticky notes.

rhetoric. Our spirited group, viaGra, Jel, Steve-O, EdVice and Todd Bey, was taking delight in adult libations (the Metaxa was a hit), observations/analyses of life with petit soliloquies, perhaps that part came towards the end with only 3 muskateers remaining, quite content in giving viaGra a tarot card reading. The cards, feeling ancient in my hands, bring with it the memory of that fateful day when I was somewhere on Maui and decided that I wanted to purchase a deck of tarot cards. Or maybe it was in Santa Cruz, Ca. I can't remember honestly.

But it was that feeling of looking at all these amazing interpretations of decks of cards and kinda predicting which deck will be a good fit for you. Oh yes, it was Maui. I remember now. I was working in Miracles Bookstore upcountry in Makawao. At times when I would be alone in the bookstore, it was like running around up at Santa's Village at the North Pole, I think. Again, incense is a main thing there- always reaffirming my devotion to incense and realization that I cannot live without it. Clean incense though- none of that real perfume-y stuff.

So, Aleister Crowley's deck found itself in my palms. Connection firmly in place. BAM. The research into the man himself afterwards led me on another journey. Ahhh, so many journies. Now, where was I?

rhetoric: At some point in the conversation (last night), it was determined that a few had mastered in rhetoric. I, not being among those so gifted, have increasingly been fascinated with the subject matter. Some of you purists close your ears now because... I am cutting and pasting Wikipedia now (SHUT up):


Rhetoric (pronounced /ˈrɛtərɪk/) is the art of discourse, wherein a writer or speaker strives to inform, persuade or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the European tradition.[1] Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion."[2] Rhetoric typically provides heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals, logos, pathos, and ethos. The five canons of rhetoric, which trace the traditional tasks in designing a persuasive speech, were first codified in classical Rome: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Along with grammar and logic (or dialectic—see Martianus Capella), rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse.

So I'm lazy... As Homo sapiens, our progressing of stair-stepping into the highly technological world, we are fine-tuning our rhetoric, or are we?

Honestly, now that I've reached the pinnacle of achievement for this entry, rhetoric, I've decided that I'm over that thought. That was 'so last night'.

About Last Night. A great gathering in a great city living a great dream

About This Morning... I'm sticking with my original plan of no editing...