Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Osseous Gluteus Maximititus

I have a condition.  It is not life threatening but can be painful.  I have always had this condition, however, recently it has been exacerbated.  I have lost about ten pounds since I moved to Turkey.  I think it is because I am eating less processed food, and walking more.  Anyway, this loss has intensified a previous condition--Osseous Gluteus Maximititus.  The other term for this condition would be “Bony Butt” syndrome.   Many mothers are chronic sufferers of severe pain due to this condition.  It occurs when an individual sits on your lap and their (watch out scientific terms ahead) “bony butts” dig into your thighs.  Ouch.   Bulent recently has been complaining about this terrible condition. 

012  This is his face when I sit on his lap.  He says my behind is more bony than usual.  Also my elbows—(when I dig them into his ribs when he is sleeping.)  The only way to save oneself from this discomfort is to abstain—from lap sitting.  Or gain weight.  I guess I will just have to sit next to him instead of on him.  Though I would like some chocolate cookies.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fish Anyone?

Bulent and I were walking to brunch this weekend.  What I like about walking is that in the city there are so many shops to ogle.  Clothes, shoes, cheese, olives… The shops are crowded and cheery.  Everything is mixed together.   The exception it the Balikci’s shop.  That is the fishmonger.  The shop is usually set away a little because it smells…fishy.  Well, Saturday, as we were walking we noticed that the fish shop was more pungent than usual.  As we reached the shop, we found out why.

005 That would be the fishmonger washing blood off a shark with a hose.  I had to move back after taking this photo to avoid getting fish blood sprayed on me.  Thankfully they did not butcher it as I walked by.  However, I think they waited for a while.  Because when I walked back from brunch, I passed this.


Cheap Advertising.

Shark steaks anyone?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Holy Trinity

Sept 013

Frosty cold beer, Kokoreç and Midye Tava sandwiches. These were mine. In my defense the midye tava (mussel) sandwich was 1/4 size and the Kokoreç was a 1/2 size.

Sept 010

Check out the full size sandwich in his hand! Massive. We had just worked out for an hour and a half—so clearly wanted to replace those calories as soon as possible.

Sept 014 Look at that smile. So Happy. Lamb intestines, beer and fried shellfish. It’s like I found God, in the holy trinity. My holy trinity. And I did.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Iyi Bayramlar!

Happy Bayram! Last month was Ramazan, a month where practicing Muslims fast from sunup to sundown as one of the pillars of Islam. During this time people who are observing Ramazan pray more and ask for forgiveness for past sins.

We are not religious but we tried not to eat in public during Ramazan. We were aware that many people around us were fasting, and felt uncomfortable eating in front of people who were not able to eat or drink all day.

Today is the last day of Şeker Bayram. It is three day holiday that falls on the first day after Ramazan. The fasting had ended and now people get together—and eat. People dress up and visit family members, usually the households of older or elderly family members. Tea or Turkish coffee is served along with cookies and borek. The name of the festival is actually Seker Bayram or “Sugar Bayram” Candy is usually handed out to children and passed around at the family visits. The Next Bayram is the 3rd week in November is Kurban Bayram or “Sacrifice Bayram.” More on that Bayram later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Obscenely Cute

I know….no one needs cute animal posts, but I can’t help myself. In Turkey in most areas (except extremely urban areas) there are wild dogs. Wild dogs. They are not coyotes, or wolves, but feral dogs. The reason being that Turkey does not have an SPCA. There are no animal shelters. There are dogs ad cats all over the place. While I don’t know about the cats, I know the dogs are regulated to a certain extent. They are not euthanized just because there are no shelters available.

While there are no animal shelters the dogs are collected by the city, tagged, spayed/neutered, immunized and released. But occasionally, dogs are faster than the dog catchers and then…003

The obscenity occurs.

You cannot see them all in this photo, but there are eight ridiculously adorable puppies. They seem to grow at an amazing rate. Even though they are big (ish) they still look soft and edible. You just want to BITE them they are so cute, like the fat rolls on babies’ legs.

While there are packs of wild dogs roaming the area we live, they are surprisingly docile. Many restaurant owners leave out food and home owners leave out at least water. There are many dogs which “live” in certain areas. We know the are always there. They may bark at us if our dog is with us, but are very friendly. I have seen these wild dogs roll over to have their bellies scratched. When you speak to them they respond well. It is almost like having a pet on every corner. While we would love to take these dogs home (or at least some of them) they are big dogs. Many of they are mixed but with a lot of “Kangal” in them. You can see above in the photo there are several tan puppies with black faces. This is the national breed of Turkey. They are by characteristic, guard dogs, and can weigh up to 120 pounds. They also tend to be gentle and friendly, but are not ideal for apartments. But we visit out pets on the corner every chance we get.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beauty Mishap and Translations

I needed a haircut. Bulent suggested go with his mother to the hairdresser again. I decided against this because :

A) Last time he cut it too short and I did not know how to protest.

B) She doesn’t understand enough English to translate and vice versa I don’t have enough Turkish.

C) He was snooty and I didn’t like the style.

So Bulent and I went to the hairdressers a couple of days ago. He dutifully sat beside me and translated back and forth between me and the hairdresser. He did a great job, no comment was too small, and he was very patient. I came away with a lovely cut and a bored, but gratified man.

Today I realized that my eyebrows were starting to resemble caterpillars marching across my face. As great a job as Bulent did at the hairdressers, I did not want to repeat the translation job while getting my eyebrows waxed. My first mistake.

My second mistake…enthusiasm.

My eyebrows are much thinner now. Thinner than I would like. If someone else had done it, I would have wanted my money back. Also, they are uneven. It looks like a skinny momma caterpillar is marching across my face with a baby caterpillar in tow. I am not particularly thrilled with the situation, but have no one to blame but myself. I was stern when chastising myself for doing a bad job, and reminded myself that I would have to live with the consequences of my actions. I do not think I will do it again. Thankfully Bulent looks at my legs more than my eyebrows, so he will not really notice. But to will haunt me until my eyebrows grow back and that poor baby caterpillar marching across my face grows up.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Feast

Tomorrow I am making brunch. And it will be fabulous. Why you might ask? Because my love found me bacon. That is right, BACON--From a PIG!! I am not sure how he did it, and don't really care. Tomorrow we will have eggs, bacon, and pancakes with MAPLE SYRUP. I smuggled the maple syrup into the country in Bulent's luggage. I am literally salivating as I write this. Big gobs of spit. I look like a St. Bernard. Next...Ham dinner. I don't know how I can get ham here though. I may have to settle for canned ham. Do they make that? I have no idea. Is there a difference between canned ham and SPAM? I have no idea, but I will research to fill this huge gap in my knowledge.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You Will Have No Sympathy

I have been back to work for two weeks now, after a glorious 6 months of traveling and relaxing. And things never change. Two weeks after I started working I realized I had to do laundry. Right. Now. Because I have no clean underwear for tomorrow. Not even the granny panties. It is funny how quickly you get back into the cycle of not getting what you need to done--in a timely manner. Thankfully I realized this 9 pm and will not have to go commando tomorrow. Also, soon I will have more time for mundane chores.

Yes, once school starts I will only be working 4 days a week. (Yes, that is right, I will have one weekday off a week, plus weekends.) And right there is where you might want to smack me. Also, maybe step on my toes because….of the perks. Convenience. Every day, I eat a well balanced, freshly prepared lunch, for free. It saves so much time messing around in the kitchen the night before, or in actuality—2 minutes after I should have left. I know. But here is the thing, we are not cold cuts people, so sandwich material tends to be limited. And you do not always want to haul leftovers out. Or the leftovers you have might not be as appealing as one would hope.

This was nice about my poor student days at San Diego State when I also worked at 7-11. I got all the free day-old sandwiches I wanted. I had one for lunch almost every day. And for dinner on the nights I was too tired to cook. The wages were horrid but I made up for it by eating my own weight in stale sandwiches.

So far my lovely free lunch on real plates has not be taken for granted. Though it may soon be eclipsed by another service, I just found out about. There is a Doctor on campus, who will see you, diagnose you, and call in your prescription. Which is THEN delivered to your classroom!! Obama, when you are looking for ideas for health care---take a peek over here!!!!!

Technorati Tags: ,,,,

Green Bean Salad-Turkish Style

This dish has become one of my favorites this summer. It is an “olive oil” dish, typically means it is served cold. It makes a great light summer meal, with fresh bread to dip in the juices. The technical name is

which translates into Fresh Beans with Olive Oil.

1 pound of fresh green beans
2 onions onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 big fresh tomatoes, finely chopped,
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp of salt

Clean and cut the green beans into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
In a deep pan, heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until translucent.
Add the beans, stir, and cook them until they are brighter green
Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes and then add sugar, water, and salt.

Cover the pan and cook on low until the beans are soft (about 45 minutes.)

fasulye (1)

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Sweet Souvenir

When we left Marmaris, I wanted a souvenir to take with with me. I thought about it. Did I want something from the Pazar? Did I want a copper tea pot? Did I want some jewelry? No. I thought long an hard, and I made the right decision.

033 Honey. Marmaris is known for its honey. I was able to score some of the seasonal Thyme Honey. It is fantastic, it has a tangy, distinct flavor and is just amazing. It adds such a lovely flavor to tea, and even is very tasty eaten right out of the jar. ( I really like honey) I also scored some wildflower honeycomb honey. When I am feeling indulgent, there is nothing better than fresh warm bread, with a little butter and a generous layer of the flower honey. I have had to step up the work out regime to offset the honey consumption but it has been worth it.

Technorati Tags: ,,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comfort Food—Yayla Çorba

Yesterday I was sick. A 24 hour virus, but it put me through the wringer. I was dehydrated and unable to eat (I will spare you the details, I wanted to be spared of them myself.) I wanted something warm, and comforting, and helpful. Enter Yayla Çorba, a yogurt soup, which is tasty and easy to make—which is great. When you are sick the last thing you want to do is stand in the kitchen and chop and measure.

6 cups water
1 cube beef bouillon (omit for vegetarian soup)
1/2 cup rice, washed and drained
2 cups yogurt
1 egg
2 tbsp of flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp dry mint

In a large pot boil the water, rice, salt and bouillon. Cook on medium high, until the rice is done.

While the rice is cooking, in a bowl, mix yogurt, egg and flour well. After the rice is cooked, take a few spoons of liquid from the pot and mix into the bowl to temper the yogurt and egg. Add the yogurt and egg mixture into the pot slowly, so the egg and yogurt does not curdle. Stir very slowly. Cook for 10 more minutes.

In a frying pan, heat the butter until it starts to spit, then add the mint, and let sit for 20-30 seconds. Do not let the mint burn. Pour the butter and mint into the soup and stir.

This soup is very quick, very easy and very tasty. Other herbs that are sometimes used in addition to, or in place of, the mint are tarragon and dill. I used less butter, because I wanted to keep the soup light, and I could not distinguish a change in taste.

Yayla Corba 005

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Friday, September 4, 2009


I am thinking about switching to Wordpress.  Does anyone have any advise?  Do you prefer it to blogger?

Yay Perks!

The school year is starting soon, which means I have gone back to work. In Turkey school does not start until after Bayram, the celebration after Ramazan. However, just like everywhere else the staff goes back first. And so I am introduced to the Turkish school system. The first thing to know, is that since I am a foreign teacher I have been offered an apartment as well as a salary. A 3 bedroom, two bath, two living room apartment. In addition to my salary. Fantastic! I mean who wouldn’t love this.

The other perks please me almost as much, and also tell you how simple my desires are. Chaici and Lunch.

Let me explain. In most larger businesses there is a Chaici—or Tea maker. In my school there is a small room where two men make tea and coffee all day. And deliver it. You just call down and they bring you tea or coffee, for about 50 kurus (about 35 cents). It is BEAUTIFUL!!! Amazing!! A pleasure.

Lunch. There is a free yummy, healthy lunch served everyday that includes soup, main course, dessert and fruit. Free. Every day. This means no more shelling out tons of money on lunch. Or PB&Js. Or plain rice with chickpeas… (I kept forgetting to buy peanut butter, or bread.) So there you go. I am just as excited over easy access to lunch and coffee as I am for an awesome apartment. I have big dreams.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Beloved Chick Magnet

See the faces of those people behind me in line? They are disapproving because they think we are flirting in front of Dolmabache Palace, Ataturk’s residence. In reality, what the are seeing is me being manhandled by my younger brother. He loves that he is bigger, and likes to prove that to me. He has no mercy.P6112409

He also does not lie, cheat or steal. He is kind to children and animals. He is witty and erudite. My friends also tell me he is handsome. Or in NH, “Wicked hot.”


He is my baby brother, a great guy, and a good friend. He is also turning 22. Happy Birthday Elly.Elly I love you.


Even though you have no mercy.

Technorati Tags: ,