The Yosemite '17 blog-chapter begins...

Sunday morning. Drinking coffee. Burning incense. Blogging. All have been relevant to my life for a long time now. A routine, somewhat regular- in that I have a (mostly) steady once-a-month-post statistic, but a goal, more so, is 2 postings. The coffee tastes the same (dark French), but the difference in zip code hints at a different flavor. Gone are the Sunday morning Büyükdere apartment scenes. Replacement came- a quickie on my timeline. Communique now originates from:


BTW, the Frankincense incense got replaced with Nag Champa- temporarily. I'm actually looking for another scent perhaps more akin to this environment, as in like pine, or high-mountain flowers/grasses? We'll see what I can come up with. Suggestions greatly appreciated, BTW. 

Timeless, really. Walking downtown Mariposa, Ca. (where one goes to procure groceries, generally), is a trip. Excluding tourists heading into/outta Yosemite NP, there is something familiar about residents. Something just...small-town west coast American, I guess. I'm starting to get into a Saturday morning routine as such: head into Mariposa early (a 45-minute leisurely drive from the door (el portal: 'door' in Spanish) of Yosemite Valley to the foothills of Mariposa ('butterfly' in Spanish), of which they are known in the stories and lore of the area.


There is a beautiful graffiti wall upon entering Mariposa of many of the different butterfly species of the area- sprayed in a delicate style akin to in Darwin's time of drawing illustrations for his Origin of Species (1859) , and more properly known as: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Anyway, it's a nice greeting to see as I enter/exit.  

But I digress; back to routines. So I hit up this yoga class after a very meditative 45-minute drive. I mean, it's early enough that not many people (locals or tourists) are on the road, so there is plenty time for slowpoke (me) to cruise and enjoy the scenery, elevation swings, wild Merced River tangling it's way down into the San Joaquin River. I've started to spy the various local stop-off points for a quick jump in :)  The river is still running so swiftly this year though, which inhibits hanging out in swimming holes except in areas where the current isn't so swift.

The valley walls are still so close and tall- even in the El Portal area. I feel like I am ejecting myself out of El Portal and into another dimension- yes, it's true :) There is a maybe 1-mile spot on Hwy 140 nearby to home where eastbound road (going into valley) had a huge rock-slide. I'm not sure how long ago it happened. Traffic is only 1-way at a time and a stoplight is in place directing traffic to stop/go. I have never been there, yet, where I had the green light immediately. It reminds me of Maui in many ways here, on the east & backside of the island). Meaning... that there is always time to sit and enjoy the majestic, strangely, fascinatingly, oddly, ethereally beautiful moving picture show. It is such a foreign beauty to me. I approach it cautiously in a sense (mountain lions, snakes and bears- on my!)- right? I'm new at this stuff :) Also reminiscent is my time on Big Island. When I first arrived there, I could feel the intense vibe of the island, even after a few years already spent on Maui. 'Walk lightly upon the soil', is what the land was telling me then. Similarly now, yet more subtle- the vibe.

Continuing on; some more reflections about transitions. 

I've been noticing my thoughts on entering America this year specifically. Maybe it's different because I finally understood the realization that I am here for an entire six months. I suppose that is why I notice... things... more that I usually would. 

Sometimes, back in Turkey, you could just 'tune out', even in a crowd of people, and feel solo or just aware yet unassuming. You can't really do that in your own country. For (my) example I think about a small group of people and someone is talking (in English). You can't 'tune out' as it's generally assumed that all in this small gathering are following train of thought. I keep forgetting that I'm among all native English speakers here- so far anyway.

Also, I'm noticing how strong of a Japanese accent my yoga teacher has, and how she speaks and it's just interesting to hear another foreign language learner's English accent.

At a thrift store yesterday, I was talking to a local girl, born and raised in the area. She was giving me tips on dealing with rattlesnakes, and the other 2 people in the shop started telling their stories.  It was so interesting and beautiful, and communicative, and is the reason why I love exploring this beautiful planet.  I learned a lot. Storytelling. Telling stories.

So yea, I drive to Mariposa for morning yoga class; I cruise around to the thrift shops; I explore. My current thrifting favorites; the thrift store at the Habitat for Humanity site, the SPCA thrift store (both out on Hwy. 41), and Consignment A, right in downtown Mariposa off Hwy 140. I've been also hitting up museums- to soak up the historical context of Mariposa- on the Gold Trail (Hwy 49, or the Gold Rush Trail). Always. From here I explore around. Always, always end up at Pioneer Market for groceries. What a gem. Perhaps it's also the weird feeling of being back in America in a supermarket. Definitely a more 'village' feel, but a grocery store no less which carries Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and Talenti gelato, etc.

I finally did it. After 3 Pioneer Market experiences, I finally broke down and bought a pint of Talenti gelato and devoured it in one sitting. I feel like I've broken through the cultural barrier here. In essence, I'm home... Good thing I'm leaving again in January... :) Yea, too much food I'm so very familiar with here, that I don't really delve into (if even available) in other countries.

Another Mariposa indulgence that I finally succumbed to yesterday: Mexican food. The taco truck was parked neaby Pioneer Market. Grocerie bag loaded in my car (thanks Johnny!), I turn back in the direction of the taco-mobile... Yes. Today is the day. Two small carne asado corn-tortilla tacos later, I'm on my back, inbound into the Valley...

My next hike is Hite Cove- nearby.


Yea, I guess you could say I've been grooving in the foothills of Yosemite, rather than the valley floor itself, or topside. Remember, I'm a beach-girl. Baby steps with the mountain-girl thing. Babysteps that are thrilling I might add. I did get a beach chair at a thrift store, so I'm river-ready and have my 'to-go' spot nearby to Cranberry Gulch.

I explained this place to someone recently, on a dark, moonless night here. Starry scene splashed against the black backdrop. Upon closer inspection, the silhouette of the surrounding foothills was competing to remain relevant. Such beauty, this landscape. I am taking delight in reading local accounts of this area. Most notably:
Indians of the Yosemite by Galen Clark

The Pinion Pine  A Natural and Cultural History by Ronald Lanner

A Collection of Ethnographical Articles on the California Indians, No. 7 of Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology and History.

Legends of the Yosemite Miwok by Frank La Pena and Craig Bates, with beautiful illustrations by Harry Fonseca.

INTERRUPTION: I'm listening to...

Newton S Cradle
Par : Sean Rowe
Album : New Lore (2017)
Label : Anti
...from my new, favorite internet radio station (Thanks Megane for that).  Ah the French art of atmospheric-dream-like-state(s)-of-conciousness-creation I'm digging on currently. Upon much experimentation, their autour du groove genre is my go-to (Denise, you especially would enjoy), but their autour du reggae also ranks quite high. 
Again I digress...  

I've interrupted this post so many times today that it's probably best to just end it here. After all, it's past 11 am now... I've gotten nothing accomplished this morning outside of making coffee & writing this post. Time to seize the day, which is supposedly to get VERY high- thermometer- wise. I think 100º is expected.

Bye; stay sexy, and DON'T get murdered (any 'My Favorite Murder' podcast aficionado will appreciate this :)



Time-Out Turkey Trotting

last bit of sparring for The Kitts in Istanbul

Sami Bey- looking fierce yet vulnerable

Shaika Spot feeling concerned, yet ultimately has faith

Okay... I guess I forgot to post this- my last communique from living in Istanbul. Here I am now happy and healthy here in Yosemite (California) working, yet I left a bit (quite a bit) of myself back in Turkey. The journey went smoothly I must say. The Kitts are adventuring up in Southern Oregon (I miss them dearly, but can't have pets in NPS housing- especially here in Yosemite as there are lions (of the mountain kind), snakes and bears- OH MY). Okay, more on our new lives later. For now, here is my last Istanbul post (for now). Perhaps it's best that I didn't finish this post originally. It makes sense, really. It's hard to give up Turkey...

Time-Out Turkey Trotting; 6 sleeps remaining... Processing. Every day/night I float through daydreams of my time living here. Some of the funniest center on my time spent TRYING to live here.

There is always some murky story, living at the back of my brain part that holds recent memories (up to past 10 years I guess I would define that as). We (whoever I'm with at the time) relay the story to each other, and then try to zero in on a fairly accurate date. I always have to remember back to where I was living when this event was occurring in Istanbul, who we were with, what trip we were on (I know that sounds funny), and how many bags of my belongings were currently at that time being stored in L-Fezz's basement- oh, and which basement of hers were they in?

That last one. That's the one that triggers so much missing information. Often I ponder writing a short (longish) story on the travels of my belongings, from each country I have lived in, to Istanbul to lay in wait until I could catch up to them already there...and waiting...for me...

Just last night I was weaving an unspoken Tunisia-departure memory to Sa-Gra. Was it last night at our girl gang gathering for happy hour at Tarabya Otel? Or was it on a park bench in Büyükdere observing the moon with intrepid Me-Gra? Wait, that could have been Via-gra on that park bench looking at the full moon. See what I mean. The Tunisian Encounter I am referring to was back in 2010/11. Oh wait, there was a token male at our Tarabya Otel Girl Gang Gathering.

I digress. The point being that it had been a long journey-in-the-making for me to step foot, as an official resident, on the Bosporus- 10 years. Ten years with thoughts about Istanbul simmering inside my body... That is something. A long, slow build-up of a story.

I remember a moment, during my first Turkey Trot back in 2001- during the inception of this growing seed; this desire to nurture this growing seed to reach fruition. I had been traveling through Morocco and Europe, culminating in Turkey to visit La-gra- University of Hawaii, Hilo college daze time da kine.
I had this beloved pareo, or lava lava (Tahitian and Samoan for a piece of cloth you wrap around your waist or body for clothing- which are addicting to collect as they are so light, airy and beautiful- that feels wonderful, like you aren't wearing any clothing at all).

Okay, time out from coffee, bed, kitties, da kine, and blogging. Rain has stopped, allowing me to fit a Bosporus run in- precious as these days are numbered. More later.

sweet pareo how-to video