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Showing posts from 2009

The list, my 30s and the Stuff

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I did try to work on this particular entry on a Word document, you know, it would be easier and error-proof, I am a graduate student after all, and turning 30 in the process, I should have been able to do this in Word but I couldn't. I didn't know what to write. So I started over, here in Blogger's interface, to see what comes out of this one. And I still don't know if anything will. But bear with me. I, who has been writing things since, like, forever, should have something to say on my birthday of all days. But then I have stuff to do. Stuff always gets in the way. It's a classic.
But today, stuff may not get in the way. True, I had to wake up today, of all days, before 6 a.m. to register for a class. True, I couldn't register fully since I had to take a placement test. True, I did take the test -- I wrote an essay on a topic on which I didn't have much to say. What a responsible act to say hello to your 30s.
The rest of the day though, is mine.

How do you w…

The Secret Life of Printers

Today I had to 'regionalize' our printer. An hp rep walked me through the steps online, over a chat window. I discovered many functions that the regular buttons that we use for regular purposes perform when they are pressed in different combinations. He even made me double-click an HP logo while I held the ctrl key down to bring up a completely unique window where I entered secret numeric combinations that he gave me - a window that I had never seen before in my entire life. I just realized that there is a whole another world of key combinations and single- and double-clicks out there (or rather, in there in our computers) that serve purposes we don't even become aware of unless we bring a printer from Turkey and buy cartridges for it in the US. It's the secret life of printers and their secret affairs with computers.
everyone told me about the winter but it's still nice, and i still here cicadas loud and clear. i know i don't belong here in the way i belonged bogazici, but that feels like another lifetime anyway. i'm thinking of shiny fingers and successful people and what you leave behind and what you take with you. i can wear anything i want now. i would love to be a part of things. i just ate a really good cookie. i want to cook for my husband. i want to buy kilos of tomatoes and every fruit and vegetable that is in season and put them in my fridge, just to have them, just like we had them back home. seems like people are counting everything here. there's too much calculation, the tips, the taxes, the coupons, how many cans come out of this package? too bad the metric system is not employed here with all its decimal perks. the fall, the parks, the golden trees. they are 'winter trees'. i learned so much in primary school.
what's mine is yours.
so he came here and he t…

Here -and- now

Here's that day. I won't say here's that rainy day, because it's not a rainy day, but it's certainly a cozy day. This is the day when everything seems complete, I finally have a home base again that I can call my own and take care of, clean, decorate, enjoy. I have my honey tea and candle burning beside me, it's grey outside but warm to the eye and mind in here. I love those moments when the dust settles, you take a breath, look around and find that you are home. So here's to this cozy day.

kedi-balik

balıklara neden kedi adlari vermisiz? mesela tekir, mırmır, ya da pisi balığı... bu balık çeşidini ozel olarak seven kedilerin adlari mi onlara verilmis? yoksa evde kedisi olan balikcilar yeni isim bulmaya usenip ha kedi ha balik mi demisler?

Turkish food

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The Turkish food (lahmacun, cacik, ezme, mercimek kofte, kisir, pide, yogurt) that Tom surprised us with at the end of our first meeting at work made me feel as giddy as a child. Eating Turkish food in Turkey is one thing, which I recently did, but finding yourself feasting on these Turkish flavors, in Boston, at work, was a wonderful shift from my everyday reality. I felt so lucky.
Tonight we were expecting a visit from a Turkish people and I got some tahini and pita bread earlier, thinking we had to present either dessert or fruit to our guests. I figured, if I spread some tahini on a pita bread, sprinkle it with some sugar and put it in the oven for a while, I might be able to imitate a certain Turkish dessert, namely tahinli pide. Turns out I was right. Doug didn't like it at all, but I had two portions of my mock tahini flat bread. It really did remind me of the ones we ordered on some Sunday mornings to have after breakfast... I guess some flavors will never remain just flav…

blame it on facebook

I think facebook is crippling my motivation to blog. You can say what you have to say in an instant and get it out of your system so quickly and easily. Who's going to sit down and articulate thoughts and feelings now? I guess I'll have to make more of an effort to create more than single sentences that start with my full name.

Think think think...

Gergedan: var mi hatirlayan?

Cincinnati'deki hayvanat bahcesinde gezerken Doug bana Rhinosaurus'un (aslinda Rhinoceros diye yaziliyormus, ve ben kelimeyi yazmasini bile bilmiyorum o kadar cahilim) Turkcesini sordu. Hayvancigi hicbir seye benzetemedim, daha once oyle bir yaratik gordugumu de hatirlamadim, ve dedim ki, 'bizde boyle bir hayvan yok, biz buna isim koymadik o yuzden'. Sonra baliklara bakilan yerde soluklanirken bir sozluge danisayim dedim, bir de ne goreyim, bizim bildigimiz (daha dogrusu bir zamanlar lafi gecmis olan, ama kafamda tam da bir imgesi bulunmayan) gergedan Amerikalilarin rhino'su degil miymis? Kucuk bir saskinlik gecirdim. Bize butun hayvanlar ogretildi mi? Cocuklar hayvanat bahcesine goturuluyor mu? Gulhane Parki'ndaki yasli aslanlarin yerine yenileri geldi mi? Bu yasima gelmis ve gergedan'dan habersiz bir Turk olarak, kimi suclayacagimi bilemiyorum.

I can move the world this morning

I'm on a coffee high.

As with every coffee high of every morning, thoughts come and go, leaving me very confident of my potential, of the things I can say, of my ideas - but like I said, I'm on a coffee high. Anything can happen, but what actually happens is the clearing up of the trivial items on my to-do list. The one I made yesterday morning, when I was on a coffee high.

We finally arrived at our destination, and I study maps every day to get a feel for the place. If I don't, I know that I will have to spend hours on the road, changing 5 buses everytime I attempt to go somewhere. Until I learn to drive on American highways, maybe learn is not the right word, until I venture out there, I will have to be dependent on husbands, bus drivers, etc.

I'm disappointed once again that I still can't have my life around places in walking distance. One should be able to wake up on a Sunday morning and walk to the nearby bakery to get fresh bread (One should also be able to be t…

Az gittik uz gittik...

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Az gittik, uz gittik. Dere tepe duz gittik.
Bir de baktik ki, bir arpa boyu yol gitmisiz.

Su anda icinde oldugumuz durumu baska hicbir soz daha iyi aciklayamaz herhalde, o yuzden Ingilizce birseyler yazmaya yeltenmedim bile. Amerika'nin batisindan dogusuna gecerken, saatlerce dere tepe duz gittikten sonra, elimizdeki GPS aletinden bir de bakiyoruz ki, ekran uzerinde astigimiz yol yalnizca bir arpa tanesinin boyutuna denk.

Evliya Celebi'den daha iyi sartlarda yolculuk yaptigimiz kesin. 2 gece kamyonetimizin arkasinda uyumus olsak da (biz bunu kamp yapma -camping- kategorisinde degerlendiriyoruz) kendimizi bir sekilde bir otele motele atiyoruz gunun sonunda. Bu gece sabaha kadar yol tepmeye kararliydik. Ohio'ya varip, emin ellerde rahat bir hafta gecirip, sonra Boston'a -yeni hayatimiza- olan yolculugumuza devam edecektik. Fakat once masum bir gokkusagi ve goz alabildigine uzanan duzluklerin muhtesem renklere burunmesiyle baslayan yagmurlu-bulutlu hava, dort yanimizda ca…

cross-stitching

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I have been out of touch these days -my usual excuse for ignoring my blog-. I'm in my hometown, fairly busy, heavily uninspired. I know my readers trust in my ability to glean writing topics out of everyday situations. And I'd like to trust in myself too, but maybe not this time.
I've been doing cross-stitch work. It calms me down. Not that I'm not calm -because I really am-, but it allows me to stay calm and out of the daily flurry that takes over everyone. People seem to worry about the smallest issues and I see them as petty concerns when I look from the outside, but do I worry about the same petty things in my own life, which is on hold for now? But then who am I to say anything? I spend my time pouring over an Aida cloth, pricking my needle from one tiny hole to the other, working my way X by X to a cute bird figure.

back

I'm at House Cafe Bebek waiting for friends to get out of work to meet me, and I'm watching five guys who have a dog that keeps barking at passers-by, who laugh and talk loudly about things that won't fill a fig's seed (turkish idiom meaning trivial) and I'm getting annoyed at their attitude. Some of the people here are very spoiled. It's awfully hot outside, and I'm tired of wandering around.  Was this the Istanbul that I left? Was it always this chaotic with speeding cabs (I still hate cabs), bad traffic, cigarette smoke everywhere, and loud streets? I know I was missing certain parts of it (correct, Bosphorus) but I think enjoying this city is highly correlated with having a home to go back to - in other words, feeling anchored in all this turbulence. When I don't have a door to close and leave what bothers me outside, the city gets to me. At least, this time it did. Let's hope for a better impression next time. 
Setting negativity aside, it was s…

Washington Park Arboretum

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Before I proceed to give an account of the rest of our Seattle trip, I'd like to take this moment to thank the blue dot of the maps feature on my iphone, without whose help we would still be going in circles around this city. Even though we took many detours and had to drive miles to get back on track, the blue dot has guided us in the right direction a lot of the time. Not being used to the highway/exit/intersection mentality of Americans, I've struggled so much on this trip to be a good co-pilot and steer my husband in the right direction. Driving here a lot of stress, and I don't know how people do it.
To get back to our subject, we reached the Washington Park Arboretum after a pretty drive along the water. The beauty of the houses that face the water are beyond description. People were running along the shore, walking with their strollers, or just hanging out enjoying the sun. The spring blossoms were so beautiful that we had to stop and take pictures in front of strang…

Pioneer Square

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We've been exploring Seattle for the past 3 days. We wanted to take a little trip for our 1st year wedding anniversary, and instead of Oregon Coast which might have been fun too, I wanted to tour Seattle - I miss being in the city and I thought this could be the right fix. I was right! Seattle is full of nice surprises and beautiful sights. We started out by stopping at Pioneer Square on our way to our hotel. I loved the big brick buildings and the entry-level shops.We went into a glass shop where they also had a furnace and people who made things out of glass while you watch, we walked around, visited an underground shopping area with brick walls, went down to the water and took some pictures at the pier, walked back up to the square, and then had coffee at Cafe Umbria, a really neat European-feel cafe. All this time I wasn't feeling too safe as I had seen more homeless and weird people than I have for a long, long time. Throughout our visit, the number of weird people we wal…
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am feeling a little nostalgic that's all... remembered the 'package deal' we were. remembered all the package deals this girl been a part of. some goodbyes, some days prior to them and some, subsequent.
it was fun to come as a package deal, after all. even though i've always believed in the 'yalnizlik omur boyu'. some pools we swam in. some beaches we've been to. summer dresses and winter coats. the ones sewn by talented grandmas with green eyes, who wipe your mouth with a freshly soaped hot towel.
and even though i've always believed in the 'yalnizlik omur boyu', i've always wanted to believe in 'alone, together', too.

VW

Dear Leonard,
To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face, and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it, for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years, always the love, always...

Heisey

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A famous handmade glassware company, Heisey went out of business in the 1950s but still sends passionate collectors hunting the Holy Grail of their own: the perfect piece, the dream Heisey of each individual collector. I am lucky enough to conduct an interview with a very knowledgeable and long-time collector, as well as lucky enough to be around her rich and beautiful collection every day, as she is my grandmother-in-law. Joyce Rohde was kind enough to answer all my questions. You'll see some pictures as well, although I'm saving the real photo shoot for a sunnier day.

- Can you tell us a little about the Heisey brand?

Heisey was a handmade glass factory located in Newark, Ohio, started in 1896 and closed in 1956. And the reason it was closed, and which has been the fate of most of the other handmade glass companies, is that it was too expensive – the cost of labor was just too much to keep producing the glassware. And it was hard to compete with factory made glassware. It wasn…

Milkman

There are some memories that are so deeply entrenched in me and so dear even though they seem so random. Like the milkmen that came to our door to deliver daily milk. I still remember two of those guys very clearly - one of them had really blue eyes and a girlie voice, and this other one had a beard. But this is not the memory itself. The memory is him putting the metal pitcher into the bigger metal thing, filling it up with clinking sounds here and there, and in one big move, pouring it over to the yellow enamel pot in my hand - the milk looking like a solid white thing for a moment, and the pot getting surprisingly heavy, even though it's expected.
(sutcu, teneke masrapa, tencere are the Turkish words you are looking for)
Then you thank him, and he goes away, and you put start boiling the milk, and then there's the "cream", Sunday breakfasts, honey and cream, dad's pjs.
These memories are so much easier to come back to me here for some reason. It's like, whene…

Hint hint

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Hello, beautiful potential wedding rings. After looking at some jewelry today, I checked out the Conroy & Wilcox store at Erie Basin and then in their own website. I found some really charming rings. Some are reasonably priced. Some are not. And that's OK. Because I'm not about to get anything right now, but it's good to know good design is out there.


Random thoughts

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It's so sweet how a bird singing in the nearest tree can add so much to a moment. I'm tired. We're going scrapbooking Saturday. How can I feel so tired when I was perfectly OK not long ago? I love the sun here and how clear the air is. Feels like crystal clear waters. I want to be on a school trip. To Saklikent. To Hillside. To Didim. To Kalkan.


picture: encyclopedia britannica

Princesses

It was a busy day of going to meetings and then coming home to type up the analyses. Nothing feels better than feeling useful and productive, plus the learning experience. And now on tv there is a show about moms making their 3 to 6 year-olds compete in 'pageant's - honestly I hadn't really heard about them before. This one they're talking about is 'Miss Georgia'. The categories go on like 'best hair', 'best dress', 'best smile', etc. They put make up on the baby girls, even fake tans on (some of) them! They practice for days with coaches and all. The moms are apparently preparing the girls as the 'Miss America's of tomorrow. It's so weird. But I'm watching it. It's a cultural observation project for me. I am guessing their argument is that it's a good way for girls to build confidence and learn how to present themselves, which looks good on paper (or the screen) but seeing the heavy make-up on a 3-year-old to mak…

Kindness of Strangers

There was this Aimee Mann song, that said, 'I keep going round and round on the same old circuit' and then went on to say, 'and here i'm sitting in my car at the same old stoplight' and I felt I could relate to the lyrics until now that I think about it... well I don't go round and round on the same old circuit or sit in my car at the same old stoplight, because nothing is the same anymore. I enter a building and the smell is different. The size of cucumbers is different. The way people pronounce my name, the speed they drive on the highway, the jokes on the tv, the prices on the tags, the objects decorating shelves are different. I realized recently that since I moved to the US, I haven't walked on the street or gone anywhere on my own for that matter, certainly my basic independence levels are different (working on that driver's license). I'll admit once and for all that I really, really miss home. I miss the little streets that are crooked and di…

Rie Munoz

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I came across Rie Munoz's prints at Portland Expo Antique & Collectibles Show and warmed up to it rightaway. The colors, the way daily life is portrayed and the sincerity, the humor even, impressed me so much. Like the Northwest artist Paul A. Lanquist I featured earlier on my blog, she has a day-to-day, next-door sincerity that gives joy to my heart. Just like art should. With all due respect to artists, I believe that art should be close to people's hearts and minds rather than installations of cold materials in empty rooms. But that's just me and my opinion. Enjoy Rie Munoz's warmth and colors.

Pico de Gallo

We've just got done making pico de gallo, apparently a Mexican shepherd's salad. I had tasted it back in the summer here, when our Texan relatives made a huge, and I mean huge bowl of it. I couldn't forget the taste of it, but the recipe called for cilantro, something we don't really have in Turkey except for an outrageously expensive sampling at Makro. Anyway, I knew I had to make some when I got here, and I did. My version turned out just as right as the one I tasted before. For curious ones, here are the ingredients: Tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, hot green peppers or jalapenos, crushed garlic, salt to taste. I found a recipe on food network, but can't say I followed it to a T. My Turkish readers will know how to proportion their ingredients as they are used to making shepherd's salads.
Thanks for reading!

PS. Eat with tortilla chips.

Tarhana & Dolma

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On another note, I made a Turkish dinner last night for Grandparents and Aaron and Kristen. It's hard to cook for a cook! Especially if you're making meat dolmas for the first time. But it turned out good. I also made Tarhana soup, which is such, such a great Turkish soup that I believe I should carry on to the future, so I decided to learn from my grandmother how it's actually done. Here are some pics from our "low-key but classy" dinner!

Separation, or lack thereof

I've been here for some time. I have some observations (I'm experienced in observing). I believe it's time I shared some of those observations:
In my culture, we tend to separate our spheres. Inside and outside spheres are separate. We don't step in with our shoes on. Humans and cats or dogs have their own places. The majority of Turkish people would not want an animal living inside the house, save for the occasional bird or fish, in which case they have their own space as well - cages and fish tanks. The borders of the rooms are clearcut. Women and men had separated spheres in the past, but we don't have that anymore (hoping it won't come back). Here in the US, those lines are a little blurred. They walk in with their shoes on. They live with their pets. Their homes have an open plan most of the time. Obviously they don't separate women and men.
I don't know if I can ever get used to wearing shoes inside the house or living with dogs (I don't reall…

Peacocks are rare treasures

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And I love peacocks. I love how they look and how aloof they are, and the weird sounds they make at night. I also love the peacock pattern on porcelain, in black and white or original colors, it doesn't matter. I had this favorite china pattern at Watts Contemporaries of UK, and then I found another one that I liked at Anthropologie, when we were in Portland. I also found this invitation in my design ideas folder, that I was looking on etsy for wedding invitations. I can't believe just how elegant and original a pattern can be. Peacocks are my favorites in everything, really.

images from: Anthropologie, Peacock Plate and Watts Contemporaries, Crown Hill collection

Personal history, Part I

It's a matter of personal history. I am sampling some songs on iTunes. I am browsing artists and I click on Anita O'Day (Randy's recommendation and favorite), and then to an album called Verve Jazz Masters (my favorite albums in high school years). I'm hearing the songs, I have $11 credit on my iTunes. Then I start listening to A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (our jazz choir song along with Bach's Organ Fugue). Maybe no one likes this song. Maybe they'll think it's cheesy, or too slow, or too boring. But I love it, and I think I will always love it. It's personal history. It reminds me of the jazz choir days in my freshman year when we used to try to sing this song in harmony, with Burak Bedikyan on the piano. It reminds me of walking home on winter days in the dark, with this song on my mind and with loneliness in my heart. Anita O'Day's voice brings peace into the room. Brings me back the days I thought maybe, maybe I can be a full-time …

life and death

We went to a funeral yesterday. It was held in the tent-shaped church that we drove by all the time on the way to Hermiston. I had actually never been to a funeral in my entire life, and I was told that this wouldn't be like a funeral but rather, a celebration of life - which it kind of was. But it was still sad at parts. At least for me. It was so different than how it would be back in Turkey, though. People got on the stage and talked about their favorite memories of him. There was a slide show of his pictures with nice songs in the background. Apparently he was a great guy, everyone said so. His granddaughter sang beautifully. Then everyone joined her in singing Amazing Grace. It was bittersweet.
A guy gave a long speech about how, according to Christian values, he is in a better place now, and he is actually better off this way. He supported his theory with arguments, used Bible quotes. I thought it was an effort in vain to try to prove that a dead person is in fact, next to G…

room

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equipped with the stuff i was able to bring over from turkey and some furniture grandma joyce gave us, we put together a living environment for us that will keep us happy and grounded at least until we take that road trip to Cambridge, MA to finish up D's MBA and get ourselves situated somewhere. here's what the room looks like.

Unpacking our life

Today, Kristen came over and helped me unpack our stuff. Men aren't really helpful with this kind of thing, at least my man isn't, so I can quite comfortably say that she was the first person to actually help me with packing/unpacking in the past two years that I moved to our new apartment and then to the US. I feel so much better now, though, and the room looks so beautiful with grandma's furniture and our things. When you take everything out and put them into drawers and baskets and boxes, it really doesn't look like it filled 7 suitcases, 5+ carry-on luggage, and three big boxes. Oh well. They are all here now safe and sound and we are settled into our new home - that we will live in for at least 4 months. It's also so great to have a friend here. Kristen's a great gal and we hit it off pretty quickly when I first visited here in 2007, and it's been that way ever since. I can't wait to be her little helper when she does her baking projects for the ca…

PAL

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Paul A. Lanquist's art is so much along the lines of what I consider practical, beautiful, everyday art. The ones above were my fridge magnets at our apartment and they made me really happy. Now I see a lot of his prints and posters around because he is from this area, and I hope to get and frame posters of him one day. He signs his work as PAL. These retro-style drawings are just so cool!