More da kine magical realism please

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

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

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

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

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

Okay then, let the day of rest begin!


dream baby, dream

recent phenomena

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dreamtime. Neat.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dakine Hollyday 5.0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace y'all


'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


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.


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


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


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:

or here:
or here:
or here, etc...

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.



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