Orionids 2017

Well past the midnight hour here in El Portal. A lazy drive back from Bootjack after a Hawaii kine BBQ. Felt so good to pa`ina with fellow Islanders. Ho, so much good stuff going on with good peeps. Earlier, weather complicated my plans to hike east side and threatened to ground me. Never to lament to the point of depression, I hoped in my rig and headed into Mariposa to catch the hot rod car show. What a trip. People are into classic cars.

Day morphed into evening and I found myself surrounded with like-minded individuals who I've made a connection with here in the Sierra Nevada. The bonds have formed. We broke bread. We drank. We stargazed. We relayed our various oral histories to one another and listened with great interest. We laughed.

No night on the town would be complete without stopping by the back Alley and catching a set from some local talent. All in all, a great ending to a shaky start.

Here in El Portal in the front yard, the show must go on. The Orionid meteor shower is peaking. What is going on out there in our universe. Nights such as tonight I feel I have great insights into the mysteries of the universe. Dare I divulge? The galactic amphitheater captures my interest. There are so many things I desire to experience. Questions. Quests. Challenges.

I look to the heavens to seek out earthly delights. Not another voice to be heard out here. How can that be? Homo sapiens are interesting indeed. Something big just darted by. The bewitching hour, this time I share with the nocturnal creatures in the solitude of darkness. The moon withdrawn, the starry sky a time traveler's map. I seek out the cartographer.

Yosemite certainly has its diurnal charms, yet truly warms up to me in the dead of the night.


Sierra Soaking

5am, and nature calls. I sensed it as I slumbered, although some credit must go to the weather service for calling rain/snow today. That sweet cacophony of wet sounds reverberating down through my soul. As I laid in bed listening, I drifted back to Maui, Haiku specifically. How I thrived in that wet, tropical environment for the largest time span in my existence, so far. Fast forward in time and here I am in the Sierra Nevadas listening to the rain. Magic.

I want the rain to wash over me. Time to cleanse. That connection,  Here I sit, outside on the front porch bundled up in my puffy and pjs. Listening to this eARTh absorbing this, so far,  elusive elixir.

6am, I'm still being schooled in the ways of hydrology from this most eminent teacher of mine. I was instructed to run through the street just now. Similar to running through downpours on Maui, yet a bit too chilly...  Refreshing.

Feeling honored all the time to have this Yosemite experience, and all these teachers; wind, water, domes, stars, foothills, hawks...

This dark blanket will soon shed some light as daylight must certainly be creeping out of its slumber in these coordinates. Something inside me is telling me to drift back to sleep some more. I'm listening.



Parkie HQ; I peak into the extravagance of parkie living


da toes knows

overnight guest!

morning fuel-up

everything is IPA these daze...

morning yoga sessions

in a yoga pose I was staring up into the void and I spotted a spider web going from one pine bough down to a lower one- amazing how the sunlight hit it and it was liquid diamond silvery shining/swaying in the light breeze.

closer look

it's what keeps me high. That Vitamix has traveled through several countries with me- unfortunately so had the 40 lb step-down converter... lol. No more though. Vitamix won't be making the upcoming journey to Kurdistan with me, sadly. 

but of course...

I spy the neighbor's kid's trampoline... We are currently plotting how to gain access...
holding up the tree!


Sierra Nevada Magic: I f*ckin love science

blog HQ

Lately there's been something brewing deep inside my soul. The Sierra(s) have permeated my being. Feelings of euphoric wellness (frenzied at times dare I say) percolate up and seep out from my epidermis.  The reservoir spilling over, perhaps, or am I wanting to keep amassing this delirious wealth, I listen for the signs; overindulgence is not an option. I'm understanding this elixir to be Sierra Nevada Magic.

I was pondering this elixir atop a philosopher's stone, so to speak, yesterday. A series of majestic granite boulders rounded from eons of giving in to the soft influences of running water, shaping them into voluptuous, energizing powerhouses for us to learn from were front and center in my secret spot on the Merced. Who would not be drawn to a voluptuous, energizing entity?

Picture yourself as a slab of granite, spit out fresh from deep within the bowls of Mother Earth. An aggregate so hard that it appears resistant to change. What is it about water? How can water alter such a hardened substance? Time, and chemical attraction/reaction/action, etc. Water breaks down rocks! Rocks become 'weaker', but perhaps that's not the appropriate word- for me anyway. I see this overcoming of resistance as strength- gorgeous, supple strength in all its grandeur. Perhaps I have no idea what I'm typing though...If a water can reshape solid rock, what can it do to us mere mortals? I'm intrigued.

On the subject of typing, my blog has metamorphosed since experiencing the Sierras and the Mighty Merced River. I mean, I'm still in bed right now, and a deep, sexy, french roast is brewing in my french press. The kitties aren't here with me though *sad*, but I am happy to report that they are loving their new American Life, up yonder in Ashland. I'm still so attached to blogging in my bed in my apartment in Istanbul, that THIS still seems so unfamiliar, or unusual. I'm also still attempting to weave together my thoughts into a cohesive story, and still getting hung-up on all the random tangents that ebb and flow throughout my thought process... And yes, my blog is still çok-full of disconnected anecdotes of life observations, but that is me... Some Sierra Nevada Magic has pervaded my fossilized being and altered my chemistry. Science!

I'm not saying that fossilization is a bad thing, but a 'routine' however pleasant it is, will be altered, to varying degrees; it's just the laws of nature. How you accept or reject things is what helps you to develop- whatever that means, I can't explain it rationally enough- not at 9 am on my 1st cup of coffee anyway. That, THAT takes moonlight magic, and perhaps a nice bottle of Pinot Noir to share with a friend... which happened the other night. A beautiful sunset in the backyard waning into illuminated shadows underneath the glow of the full moon. Yea, we solved some of the world's ailments that night...

But I digress...and yet I sidetrack with another folktale- that is what these loose chronicles are; tales about folks. My coffee fresh from its press, and now in my cup, I venture outside to finish blogging. None of my previous words make (the same) sense as when I was in my bed. Just the change in environment has altered my perceptions. I fucking love science! Birdsong still resonating, the morning sun still rising, but I am within IT now. Gazing to the clothesline, I see all the pretty colors of my American life: that pair of tie-dye running tights; my Tahitian pareo (sarong, lava-lava, etc.) with green taro leaves against a squash-yellow background that makes me smile so wide each time I don it; my blue Pendleton button-down that has fast become a beloved staple of mine on the current job-site in Yosemite Valley.

Speaking of Yosemite Valley... I've been working at Camp 4- ground zero for all top-notch rock-climbers worldwide, in autumn especially. Any proper cultural anthropologist would be thrilled at the (veiled) invitation to take notice of the habits of these specimens :)  Physically unimpressive, the camp itself is disheveled, but that is indeed its lure. As with any group of like-minded individuals getting together to practice/discuss in depth their particular trade or passion, etc., they must share some interesting stories on being one with these rocks.

These characters conjure up images of privilege (yes all the stories about living in cars or tents during 'season' is still a 1st world problem no matter how you look at it), hardship, ecstasy and full-on adrenaline. But, they are also just sleeping, waking up to chilly 4000' elevation mountain air, putting on their layers (base, mid and outer) to warm up while brewing water for coffee and oatmeal. Or, there is some elaborate aroma emanating from a certain camp that drives me into a state of frenzy because it smells so delicious...

Anyway, back to gear. It's like being in an outfitters where you get to see all the gear in action. I know exactly what to purchase for my next round of tents, sleeping bags, headlamps, etc. Clothing, well this is over-the-top. Outdoor technical gear is amazing in these times. I have noticed that color combinations seem to be a thing at Camp 4. Perhaps it's just that these privileged, homeless denizens (no judgment, remember) are purchasing the 'off' colors at lower prices than the MSRP... I will say though that pea green and bright yellow seem to be popular... That's another thing, everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY (myself included), spends idle time online looking at outfitters' websites pondering their next purchase. It is addicting.

I've discovered the 'pro' programs on these websites. Working for the NPS has its privileges. Some sites (Outdoor Research being my top choice) offer 50% off for 'professionals' or 'experts' as they are called. Let's just say that I am stocked up for all upcoming outdoor endeavors. I'm actually wondering how cold it will be in Kurdistan though... heh heh. They'll be ready for the PCT in 2020 though, as my sister-in-law and I get ready for our trail adventure.

Okay, I'm so far off from my original intentions for today's words that I don't think I can recover. You know, da kine so early in the morning makes for a magical day. That said, I'll be enjoying some of this Sierra Nevada Magic on the Merced today in This American Life of Mine... But first, more coffee and a run. Perhaps I'll sneak in a little look-see on the experticity website for a dose of 'gear-porn' as well...



Yosemite: This American Life of Mine


Eight fifty pm. Perched outside, computer on lap, an IPA on the railing, K-Jazz radio playing, crickets chorus chirping, full-moon rising in 30 hours, and da kine. This is my backdrop tonight. This American Life of mine. These moments of pure joy in experiencing California, living and working, after a very, very long absence. I haven't livid in America anywhere besides Hawaii for a very, very long time. It is an interesting adjustment. Perhaps it's just adjusting back to America that is evasive to/for me. 

Looking up from my keyboard to the vast ink sky with an illuminated, spherical blob coming into front and center. The mountains, some trees, the utility lines, a few lights on; this is my hood in This American Life of Mine.

I'm drinking an IPA- something called' Wolf Pup'. A fair trade indeed; a Wolf Pup for a MANGO (already sliced up into a perfect florette). Yea. Standing over the sink eating the mango out of your hand with juice dripping down your hands; that is the only way I know to properly consume mangoes and truly be in that moment.

In This American Life of Mine, running exists. It's funny, I enjoy so much about an area that I am living in based on my local running route. I've hit this sweet spot this past week. I found an alternative route (that involves kinda sliding down a hillside (with snakes hidden in the grasses and mountain lions in dark dens in the granite boulders surely) to pick up where the Middle Road usually takes me a bit quicker. I decided to end that saga as Middle Road ALWAYS gives me the creeps- only because of the mountain lions that MIGHT exist there... Right?

With that re-routing, I also developed this desire to stop on the bridge where the Merced River crosses Hwy. 140. It's kinda like my over halfway point and I never ran on the other side of the road before (geeze). It's a whole new territory to admire and breath in while breathing out the toxins from the day. There is a little patch of poison oak that I need to avoid while scaling down the hillside though, which can be tricky.

This also gives me the opportunity to meditate while staring into the Merced. Meditation is always something I tinker around with. I'm definitely much more of a 'moving meditation' kinda chick, so to sit still and do nothing takes some discipline and strength of the utmost degree. I enjoy this challenge. So, I take a break from my run and make time to tune out of my present dimension and work on getting to that 'other spot'. I'm pretty happy so far with my progress. I have always thought that the body needs to be active to quiet the mind and dominate the mind, but I'm starting to see that the body doesn't necessarily have to always dominate to find this balance.

This American Life of Mine. It's taken a while, but I am fully open to this chapter. I still kind of feel strange being here, and by 'here', I mean America. After a while, you kinda get used to being the outsider coming to understand an unknown place and then feeling at ease there.

This American Life of Mine misses hearing Turkish spoken in the streets everywhere. I miss walking. Walking everywhere. My Büyükdere apartment, up where the Black Sea meets the Bosporus. Damn, so much beauty in this world. All the beauty.

This American Life of Mine is feeling confused. Coming back into the country not just as a 1-month holiday, but for a chunk of time. There is so much going through my mind; it's as if a hard-bop jazz beat is ferociously trying to devour as much of this scene as possible. To satiate myself in preparation of the next move. Politically, I have no idea wtf is happening. I can't gauge anything, with confidence really. Why are we where we are at- in terms of the nation? Why are my views in short supply? Things like this keep me pondering in the dark of the night- often. Other things that keep me up at night are all my phone messages going off at all hours from friends far and wide! My iPhone is nearly on the brink of collapse, and I dare not make any adjustments with notifications, etc. in that it might self-destruct...

This American Life of Mine is still knitting... As you know, this past winter was pretty gnarly in Istanbul- in terms of foul weather and snow storms, etc. Many of our gang indulged in drinking sessions while knitting on a fairly regular basis. In EdVice & Steve-Os sweet apartment over the cig kofte place, with their stellar view of the Bosporus, we sat and laughed for hours at a time. So yea, I do love to knit in Yosemite as well- I just haven't found any partners in crime to indulge in some shenanigans with while doing so.

Tonight, after my run, I checked out the ultimate frisbee game going on at the ball field across the street from el cabino. Very American indeed- and a can of IPA to boot- very California. This American Life is very cool, not to mention healthy and active.

I am not-so-secretly digging This American Life. That is all. Okay, back to knitting and listening to Tom Petty & 'Free Falling' on repeat... RIP dude. You were a part of my coming of age experience here in America. Tom Petty; I always thought of him as so Californian. Mellow, you know. Well, he wasn't from California you know... No matter.

The El Portal ultimate frisbee crew. Hopefully this is a weekly Tuesday thing :)

the grass is dry...and hard. You definitely don't really wanna fall down

action shot!

 Alright, I'm burned out. Don't be hating on the typos...


Parkie- a day in my Yosemite life- brought to you in pictures for your own interpretations!

So, here is my work day from Saturday. I'll let you guys piece the story together!

Driving to work up at Tuolumne for the Yosemite Facelift project. Looking down towards Foresta

Foresta area, off of Big Oak Flat Road

Morning Illumination

Tuolumne Meadows morning sunshine

stopped by Ranger Camp to see a friend, who was in the process of moving out as the work season is over up there. Back to El Portal everybody goes!

house pineapple
yea, I remember trying to use that bathroom behind us one time...
work work work

closing up shop
Add caption
work crew next to us was taking down the Tuolumne Store

moving right along into the evening, back at El Portal

Lively Oktoberfest polka band

good times

time to head home me thinks...

So yea, that about sums it up, my day Saturday. It started at 6 am & finished at 1 am... *kerplunk*