Monday, July 28, 2008

The Little Mustache Men!

When we first moved into our apartment, we had nothing. In Turkey, when you move into a rented space, you get 4 walls, a ceiling and the floor, (if you're lucky!)

When Turks vacate an apartment they leave nothing behind! It looks like the Grinch came to visit!

The light fixtures disappear - leaving only a hole with 2 little wires. No fridge or stove in the kitchen. The toilet seat is missing. They even rip up the wall to wall carpeting! Friends recall apartments where even all the light switch and electrical socket plates had been taken out! (I'm sure if they could suck all the air out of the place as they left - they'd do it!)

So Bulent put a call out to his FIVE sisters for any furniture, appliances and/or "stuff" they didn't want. The sisters swooped in and outfitted most of our apartment. Sofas, chairs, tables, a TV, carpets, curtains and kitchen utensils arrived everyday for a week. Two of the sisters got into a "giving war" to see who could be more generous - which we shamelessly milked!

In the bottom of the box of kitchen utensils from "Bursa Sister" I found these two kitschy little salt and pepper shakers. They are my favorite items that arrived that week. I don't really know why I like them, maybe cause they make me laugh - they have the stereotypical Turkish mustache and thick eyebrows, and they're so rolly-polly!

I used to call them the Saddam shakers, but that was before he was found in a hole in the ground. Nothing cute or funny about that. So now they're the "little mustache men" shakers.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pop Culture+Science=Meme


"Meme-theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection (similarly to Darwinian biological evolution) through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance influencing an individual entity's reproductive success. So with memes, some ideas will propagate less successfully and become extinct, while others will survive, spread, and, for better or for worse, mutate."

I never pass memes on, but this week I was actually reading about them here,  and actually I find the concept fascinating. So in honor of science, pop-culture and something to blog about, here's one that was sent to me this week...
1. Where is your cell phone? Not sure right now, oh there it is – on the table.
2. Your significant other? On the sofa across from me.
3. Your hair? up in a bun due to the heat.
4. Your skin? Hot and sweaty – it’s a humid, sticky night.
5. Your mother? Has quit smoking!!!! I'm so proud!
6. Your favorite thing? My computer.
7. Your dream last night? Strange but funny.
8. Your favorite drink? Lattes! 
9. Your dream/goal? Buy a house/get a studio.
10. The room you're in? Living room
11. Strangest item in your fridge? Holy water from Mecca.
12. Your fear? Boredom
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? In my studio creating things.
14. Where were you last night? Here at home with friends
15. What you're not? Easily impressed
16. Muffins? I prefer cheesecake – lemon!
17. One of your wish list items? An air conditioner
18. Where you grew up? Naramata
19. The last thing you did? Watch a summer rainstorm
20. What are you wearing? Black dress
21. Your TV? On it’s last legs. Showing Turkish sitcoms at the moment.
22. Your pets? Jonny RIP :-(
23. Your computer? Mac
24. Your life? Enviable!
25. Your mood? Relaxed agitation. (It makes sense to me.)
26. Missing someone? Always
27. Your car? No thanks - prefer public transport in Istanbul.
28. Something you are not wearing? Make-up
29. Unfulfilled dream? Northern India, Indonesia, Nepal, China, Sri Lanka, Oman to start…
30. Your favorite season? Without a doubt, spring
31. Where you’d like to be? Right now? Hanging out with my sister.
32. Last vacation? Quick trip to Greece
33. Your favorite color? Can’t pick, I love them all!
34. When is the last time you laughed? I laugh everyday, but the only people who can make die laughing are my Mom, my Dad and my Sis. We all have he same weird sense of humor! 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Afternoon in Eyup

Last week Bulent and I took the afternoon away from the travel agency and went to explore Eyup, a place neither of us had been before. Eyup is a district of Istanbul located on the "Golden Horn", which is an estuary running through the heart of Istanbul to the Bosphorus. 

We started at "The Pierre Loti Cafe" named so, because the French writer used to frequent the cafe daily while he lived in Istanbul. We stopped here for tea under the pine trees and took in the sweeping view of Istanbul. 

Looking down the Golden Horn towards the Bosphorus. All of this view is Europe, Asia is behind. On the horizon you might be able to pick out the minarets of four major mosques. 

Ten years a go the estuary was so polluted you couldn't sit on the shores because the smell would drive you away. Since then, there has been a big push to clean up the waterway, and these days the smell is gone, the water is blue and fish have returned. Still not clean enough for swimming though. 

The districts that line the shores are also becoming nice places to live, and if I had a stash of cash, buying a few old decrepit buildings would be a good idea. One of Turkey's big developers has slowly and quietly been buying up blocks of Balat, the area the Jews established 500 years ago. 

We took this cable car down to Eyup Sultan mosque. Yes, that is an old cemetery below! Bulent made the joke that if the cable broke and fell, they would just have to cover us over with dirt. 

The Eyup Sultan Mosque is the holiest site in Istanbul and one of the most sacred places in the Islamic world. Mohammed's standard bearer is entombed here behind this wall covered in Iznik tiles. The wall is always crowded with pilgrims praying and asking for help. We decided not to go into the mosque this time because I didn't have a head scarf with me.

The area next to the mosque is filled with a pedestrianized area of restaurants and shops. We stopped for a dinner of Kumpir, which are big baked potatoes with about 20 different toppings from pickles to cheese to choose from. 

As the sun went down in Eyup, and the city's mosques started with the sunset call to prayer, we gathered ourselves up and headed back to Sultanahmet, promising ourselves we'd be back soon. 

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mel's Latest Entry....

My sister is a certified yoga teacher now. She wrote all about her certification experience in Goa, India in this excellently written blog.  Head over and check it out!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pomegranates and Tulips

I actually found some lino cutting supplies in an art store a few weeks back, so I purchased, came home and messed around with it a bit.

Here's my lino sitting in the sun getting warm so I can make a few changes after the first proof.

The paper is wrong, it has a really heavy tooth to it so it doesn't print clearly, (in Turkey, if Canson didn't make it - it doesn't exist!). But it's just a proof to see how it looks. That it turned out square was a total surprise to me, although I should have seen it coming.

I've since found and purchased some smooth cream Canson and plan to give printing another go soon. I'd like to print it in another colour besides black but, unfortunately the store only carries black white and blue block printing ink, so I think I might be limited to a steely grey-blue colour.

Looking at it here now makes me think it might look pretty good printed on a pillow cover. What do you think?