Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kayakoy (Ghost Town) and Topkapi Palace...and the End of Virtual Turkey

Built in the 1700's,  Kayakoy was home to almost 20,000 Greek Orthodox until the early 20th Century. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Greco-Turkish War, and the redefinition of Turkish Boundries in 1922- the residents fled leaving two churches and about 350 homes abandoned. Those who did not escape were killed. A historian writes 

"...the roadsides were strewn with the bodies of the dead. Most were elderly or children..."

Today, it is a World Friendship and Peace Site and the village preserved as a museum and popular tourist attraction.


and lastly...the world that Mayes first discovered through her ViewMaster when she was a child that ignited her yearning to travel...somewhere...anywhere...someday to stand in Topkapi Palace.

Home to the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years the opulent palace is now a museum and tourist attraction. At its peak it was home to over 4,000 people and had 4 courtyards, mosques, a bakery, a hospital and its own mint! It was built in 1459 on the orders of Sultan Mehmed II.

(tour of the palace)

and now we bid Turkey  (goo-leh goo-leh)  Bye has been a magical journey!

"güle güle"




More anon...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Myth of Chimera and The Chimera Mountain Fires

The Story...

of the Mythical Fire-Breathing Chimera.

And at the base of Mt Olympus...The Fires of Chimera.

The Reality even more mystical...unbelievable...than the Myth.

Due to an over abundance of methane and other naturally occurring gases...this  geothermal area has been burning day and night since the time of Pliny The Elder. A fact passed down in writing by historians of the time which quoted him as saying

"...indeed burned with a flame that does not die by day or by night."

Pliny the Elder died in the year 79 AD. on August 25 with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried Pompeii.

Wrap your brain around that for a minute.
 They have been burning constantly for 1,937 years.

(...and my pilot light goes out on the water heater in a strong wind...wth???)

Still today the Chimera Fires burn on....


(at night)

(the best video of the fires)

More anon...
as tomorrow we finish our Virtual Turkish Adventure!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Turkish Coffee...and Reading the Grounds

OMG...I can make Turkish Coffee any time I WANT!

I may never be tired (or blink) again. 

Remember the Espresso from Naples or the Bica from Portugal??? This leaves them both in the dust. Such slackers.

Think Cocaine. 


The Ibrik (the cute tiny copper pot with brass handle) holds about 70 ml of water.

the recipe is as follows

Turkish Coffee (1 serving)

60-70 ml water

1 teaspoon extremely finely ground Arabic bean (non-oily) coffee. Should be the consistency of cocoa powder.

1 cardamom pod (or a pinch of clove, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg)

Can add a pinch of sugar if desired.

Heat...but do not boil until first foam rises. Skim foam off and put small amount of foam in cup.

Repeat these actions twice. The triple near-boil helps steep all the available caffeine from the ground beans.

Pour contents of Ibrik into Turkisk Demitasse (holds aprox. 1 shot)

Let grounds settle briefly.

Sip and nibble a cube of Turkish Delight.

This is what the candy was made to do.
The taste pairs perfectly with the coffee.

Drink until you reach the settled grounds (the gunk in the bottem of your cup).

You can actually FEEL your pulse rate accelerate while you are drinking it, and the smell is lovely.

It is amazing.

What comes next in many of the coffee-houses is fortune-telling with the grounds much like tea leaf reading.

Known as Tasseography or Tasseomancy

It is done by either swirling the grounds in the cup and reading the pattern or inversion of the cup on the saucer (slightly messier) and doing the same.

My on-the-saucer splotch resembled Texas.

Or possibly some form of rodent.

Or it may just be saying I will not SLEEP now for hours.

The jury is still out.

Either way...I am enjoying this incredible coffee buzz and especially the idea I can start the busy days this way or use it as a perfectly legal pick me up on those long late afternoons.

Thanks, Turkey!

More Anon!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving..."Friendsgiving" and other observations

Okay..this has been sooooooooooooo me...all week.

It started on Wednesday, when Emma and Nicole and I were invited to an early
"Friendsgiving" at a friend's church. Yeah I know. James uttered something along the lines of

"Donald Trump is President...My Mom didn't vote (for either of the front runners) and now she and Nicki are headed off to is the END of The World."

Seriously though, it was very nice. We had a wonderful time. Everybody was just outstanding, and there was enough food to feed a small Third World country.

A great time had by all.

And the ceiling didn't crack or the building burst into flames, either, smart-ass.

The very following day was Thanksgiving Proper.

On Friday I hosted a "Friendsgiving" here with Loretta, Sharon and Judy. James and Nicole had one at their house with friends, and Chris attended Donna and Erik and Dayne's "Friendsgiving"  More Ham, and Green Bean Casserole, Yams,  Rolls and Pumpkin Pie...

Then on Saturday we all gathered together at Cracker Barrel...kind of a Hobbit's Post Thanksgiving, as it were.

You want to know exactly what the good stuff is?

I'll show you.
This....this is the good stuff.

(From left to right: Hannah, Brenden, Nicole, James, Aiden, Me, Chris, Tina, and their American Girl Dolls- Isabelle and Rebecca.)

With the exception of Lennon (who is in Florida) and Kaylee-Bug (who didn't make it) the whole immediate family gathered in one spot. 


and on the way  back home...the turkey wasn't the only one who was stuffed! Slept all the way back to Cloverdale.

 photocredit: Chris

It was such a success, we are going to schedule the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year for our Family Gathering. 

And I absolutely LOVE the idea of "Friendsgiving", too. A day in November either before of after the actual holiday to gather together not family but friends. Sometimes those who no longer have extended family or friends that have become family or maybe just the person down the street that is lonely for the holidays. Preparing a feast that doesn't have to be typical thanksgiving foods...relaxing...playing cards and games...just enjoying one another's company. Like Festivus without the!

This year Chris and Tina introduced everyone at Donna's to this

Google Cardboard & Google Cardboard 2.

Think Octimus 3D at a fraction of the cost. Works with your smartphone and a Google App. Suddenly you are touring Versailles 360. Or riding a virtual roller-coaster (...and amusing everyone who is sitting watching you, as you move your body in synch with the 3D you are experiencing...) If you have never tried them, you must.
It is incredible.

Lost Cuban Former President Fidel Castro on Friday.

Define Irony.

Lost Mrs. Brady (Florence Henderson) the same day.

                           (there appear to be no connection...just saying)

Wait a minute...I mean I have NEVER seen them together...ever. 
Could it be?????

Hard to imagine a world without either of them.

Although apparently in Miami they are having no problem with that and are (quote) "partying in the streets".

I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Our Middle son swears that when Bush the Younger passes he is STILL having a party and I am invited.
Piñata and everything. 

And just when I thought their couldn't possibly be ANYTHING humorous about the US Political System at the time...a friend shared this:

The Trump Hat Christmas Ornament...which was summed up best by another friend who said

"I wouldn't hang it on my Christmas Tree if it was the last ornament in the WORLD and my tree was BARE!" 

But the Ornament isn't the funny part, okay?

This is the link to the Amazon site selling the ornament in question. If you want to spend an inordinate amount of time laughing your ass off...scroll down to the questions/comments/reviews and complaints section.


"This ornament appeared on my tree, against my own choice, and now my tree is very aggressive towards my wife. There's empty breath mint containers around the floor near the tree, and I'm discouraging female friends and family to go anywhere near the tree"

" The only Christmas ornament that will try to deport your nativity scene"

 "Small enough to fit in the palms of even the tiniest of presidential hands"

and on...and on...and on...

Yeah..I know...I'm easily amused.  

Check it out for yourself!

In case you think all I accomplished over the holiday is eating (a lot), au contraire, I also  managed to see

Fantastic Beasts...and Where to Find Them.

A new offering from J.K Rowlings along the same vein as the Harry Potter series only for Adults. Set in New York. Amazing CGI. Nice surprise appearance by Johnnie Depp at the very end of what promises to be just the beginning.
Well worth the time.

And Trolls

Bright, cartoonish, musical and colorful enough to capture and keep the kids attention...with enough throw-aways and adult humour to give mom and dad some laughs. If they would have released this in the 70's stoners would have never left their house. 
Just saying.  

Mostly for the kids...but very nice children's film with a good message.

So, anyway, I've a Coffee Date scheduled for Tuesday...and then only

more days until "Idgy" arrives!!!!

Can't wait! 

We haven't been able to celebrated her birthday in REAL TIME for years!

I am taking this afternoon to undecorate from Fall, and begin the holiday re-decorate which will be

"Idgy's Teal and Brown Christmas (& Birthday)"

Setting the tree up, bare, tonight-  and off to the shop tomorrow for a few additional decorative items.  And teal balls, of course.The transition is easy since my basic home decor is done in chocolate browns. I love it because you can easily create a seasonal feel or change it with only a few accent colour pieces. A toss pillow here or a decorator towel there.

Even teal. 

sigh... win.

So the last of the holiday ham (and bone) plopped in a simmering pot of pinto beans with butter and onions. Cornbread warm in the oven, and the first mug of eggnog of the season...topped with whipped cream and dusted with nutmeg.

Bring on the Holidays!

A Special Turkish Treat, Tomorrow. My Ibrik and Turkish Demitasse have arrived. Tomorrow we will learn how to make Turkish Coffee at home. Anytime we want.

I may never blink again.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd...Chris just showed up with a slice of Peanut Butter Pie to share. OMG.

 Not getting near the scales again until January...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pashmina and Hijabs

Since the Turkish population is 98% will see Pashmina and Hijabs most everywhere you go in Turkey. 

Far from drab, they come in an assortment of bright colours and can range from a simple scarf to a shawl type wrap. It is as much a form of modesty to not appear in public bare-headed- as we would not wear a bikini into a shopping mall.

It absolutely boggles my mind here in the states how one moment people are looking down their nose at a woman for baring too much skin...and the next moment looking down at a woman who may be wearing one of these as a form of modesty regarding her religion. The wearers aren't being forced to cover up...much like no one forces us to dress modestly. And when did modesty become a bad thing, anyway?  I have come to the opinion that there are a lot of people who spend more time looking down their nose at matter what they do or don't do. Therefore, their hyper-critical opinions are pretty much irrelevant.

How to wear a Pashmina.

I was surprised to see how the 21st Century has crept into the hijab marketing as well. Now offering (eBay no less) 

The instant (pullover) hijab.  One stretchy piece. Who knew?

And it even came in designer looks as well. Allah only knows where you would wear a leopard or zebra hijab...maybe just to indulge in the wild side at home????

In case you thought I was making those up.

So next time you pass a woman wearing either of these try to understand that there really ARE cultures and customs that exist outside of your little bubble...m'kay?
And that doesn't make them bad or wrong.

More anon...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Novel-The Plan ( Mark:Thanksgiving with The General)

[When I received the invitation from The General to join him for Thanksgiving Dinner I nearly declined. Spending time in his company now left me with a level of anxiety I had not encountered since childhood or Sarah's affair and subsequent death. Certainly not something I deliberately sought out. Before I could say no, I was contacted by Steve at the Exo-Shel Project. He was completely beside himself. It seemed his pet "lab rat" a.k.a Mark was slipping through his grasp. Regaining his Independence. Going out for a Holiday with Ohio and the General. After listening to the man rant on the phone it became evident he thought I would somehow put an end to this (as he referred to it) "Gross Dereliction of Protocol". I assure him that on the contrary I, too, had been invited to The General's for the holiday meal. I would, of course, be joining them. All would be fine.  His sense of resignation and disapproval registered through the line and was quickly followed by an audible click. After the call, I wondered to myself how much of it was his obvious loss of control over Mark, and how much of it was the friendless adolescent boy who was, once again, left on the bench while his team-mates suited up.]

[Arriving at the now familiar circular drive Patty, his housekeeper and cook, met me at the door.]

"Theys all in the settin' room, suh. You go on in an make yourself tah home."

and with that, Patty quietly disappeared back into her realm, also known as the kitchen.


[Mark greeted me surrounded by his children. Ohio was seated beside him and The General radiated with an air of a magician who has just pulled off The Ultimate Sleight of Hand. To the General I mouth a single word- Amazing. He nods with a self-satisfied grin.]

"Dad really pulled it off, Doc. He even got Joshie and Jade for the day!"

Mark is beaming. Steve Drossinger should see him now. His life-like artificial hand holding a Jack and Coke, balancing his children on mechanical knees that until this year were only a memory, grinning from ear to ear, and engaging in glory-day tales with "the guys".  He has, miraculously, regained his seating at the Round Table of The Alpha Males. It is a table that Steve would never know.

"Watch This!" Josh exclaims excitedly and pressed the circle in the middle of Mark's chest (which looks an awful lot like a press on closet light).

The Circle lights up, and Jade dissolves into a fit of giggles.

"Now he REALLY is Ironman", he laughs. 

"I was really hoping Tracy would make it." Mark begins...but is cut off immediately by The General.

"She has been really really busy, Mark. I am happy she had time to drop the kids off last night."

As if on cue, and ending the line of thought, Patty summons us into the dining room.

I watch Mark steady himself on David's arm then walk into the dining room under his own power. The kids are bookends surrounding him. Basking in their lost father's love and attention. Ohio is next to me, and at the head of the table is The General. An Old Lion surveying his Pride. The table is filled with food. Baked Turkey and Ham, devilled eggs topped with bacon, green bean casserole like everyone's mother used to make topped with those crispy deep fried onions, piles of mashed potatoes to smother with turkey gravy, candied sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallow topping, soft-as-a-pillow fluffy yeast rolls and honey-cinnamon butter with which to slather them.

Pumpkin, peach and pecan pies sit tantalizingly on the side-board for afters.

Patty has outdone herself.

Still The General has one more surprise. He pulls a bottle of Vintage Domaine Leflaive Montratchet Grand Cru from France, like a rabbit out of a hat.

"I have been saving this for a special occasion, and by God, this is it!" he booms.

The enormity of this moment is totally lost on David, Mark and the children. Probably Patty, as well, as she walks behind us pouring the nearly $4,000 dollar bottle of white wine from stem glass to stem glass- even providing Josh and Jade with a small sip to taste.

"Cool" John exclaims "Mom would NEVER let us try wine."
His eyes are huge.

The General's gaze meets mine, for he knows that his grand gesture has not been lost on me. This time I am the one who is nodding appreciatively.

He stands and raises his glass

"To Family, and Thanksgiving Together"

Glasses clink, and we laugh as Jade wrinkles her rabbit-button nose at the unfamiliar sip disapprovingly.

Then we join him in possibly the best meal I have ever eaten my entire life.

(Virtual) Taurus Mountains and Termessos

An early morning (virtual) journey to the Taurus Mountains and the Ruins of Termessos.

In the midst of pine forests and at 1000 meters altitude with no public access or transport...once again virtual travel displays its charm.

Termossos is one of the most well preserved of the ancient cities of Turkey.

You have probably even heard stories of the mythical founder of Termessos. Bellerophon...or at least remember his mount...the winged horse Pegasus.

(The story of Bellerophon and Pegasus)

After a strong earthquake struck Termessos in the 5th Century, and destroyed the aqueduct system that supplied water to the city, it was abandoned.  More than anything, this is probably what preserved the ruins so there was no need to capture or overrun it during later wars.

Later: The Chimera 

More anon...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Turkish: The Language and a Look at the Lycian Coast



My name in Arabic.

Interesting...and unlike the earlier Greek, I can write it. Still have no idea how it is pronounced. 
Today we look at a bit of the language.
Merabah  (mer.hah.bah)  Hello!
Selam  (seh-lahm)   less formal-  Hi!
Ne kedar (neh. kah. dar)  How much?
Ismim (ees. meem)  My name is...
for a longer list of useful phrases (see link below)
حيث تبدو الكلمة المكتوبة بهذا، ومن الواضح أننا
(since the written word  looks like this)   what the above writing says

we won't be spending a lot of time on the language.

Although here is a Beginner's Video if you want to learn more.
And will focus on the Lycian Coast

Drone From the Air Tour of The Lycian Coast


 More anon...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Winter is Creeping In...

The temperature dropped from 70 to the mid 30's within a few hours last night. The subsequent storms were fierce. Pounding rain and winds. Today, most of the leaves are on the ground and the trees are becoming bare. That Stark fellow  was right.

Winter is coming!

Spent this morning digging out the quilts, airing out the "woolies", baking and sipping hot cocoa...and making a list of the "have to get buttoned down" before snow flies chores.

Tonight they are saying 20 degrees. 

(...maybe just hibernation...)

Chris and Tina have finished their move and are busy nesting in their new bigger space.

They will both be finishing out their end of the largest room for their den/study.

Desks and books and their individual interests.

Chris has already started on his personal  space.

I LOVE the addition of the lava lamp!

He is hanging his instruments on the wall and doing some soundproofing so he can start recording again!

Check it out!
I love that he is back to playing.

James and Nicole have been doing a bit of "personalizing" to their space as well

And have decorated the walls throughout the living room with old LP Covers.

James calls her "My Musical Soul-Mate". 

I'm looking forward to hosting everyone next Saturday for a late Thanksgiving together!  Possibly all my grands, too!

Talked to Lennon today...hard to believe our MIDDLE is now (or will be tomorrow) 28 years old!!!!  Wishing he could be with us on Thankgiving. Missing him terribly.
Not yet....but soon!

To everyone who has asked about The Plan (my bit of fiction) the next piece is coming soon.  Just took a short breather.

Right now working on getting everything together for next week...which promises to be crazy busy and then redecorating (for Christmas) before December 1st..and "Idgy's" arrival!!! Teal and Brown. Everywhere.

( appears after 10 years I have embraced
The Horror...)

It has been a rough few weeks for her. Mom starting radiation and chemo but not responding the way they want. Surgery. Ports. Days and nights at the hospital. She is beyond exhausted...and it has just started.  Her brother, John, will be taking over for her while she is gone. Going to take her birthday weekend and just let her stop, drop, vent, cry, eat good food without having to prepare it or clean up the mess, enjoy a candle lit bubble bath or two...some good chocolate and wine...and just nest for a few days.

She needs it. 

Taking a break from my Turkish Adventure evidenced by the fact I ate a rasher of bacon alongside my strawberry muffins this morning...and indulging in pork chops this!

Realize now that both Judaism and Islamic religions are completely beyond my theological (well at least culinary) ability.   

"I can't EVER eat bacon again...fine....I'll JUST go to hell, then!"

My sincere apologies to Mark Twain.

Puttering this weekend with the Fall painting, before the snow starts, and I lose interest in finishing it until next Autumn.

Tucker has commandeered my rocking chair and throw...slipping out only for toileting. Curled snugly in a fuzzy snoring ball, and home is filled with the delicious smell of simmering chops and baking bread.

Life is good.