Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My other retina detached! I cannot believe it. Seriously, what the heck is going on??? Surgery Saturday night, back home on Sunday, Turkish holiday on Monday so Matt was home and the kids were off school. Yesterday was my first day alone and I spent most of it trying to come up with a dish for the American table at the International Food Court that was 1)easy, 2)not sweet (we already have brownies and chocolate chip cookies), 3)kid-friendly, and 4)could be served hot or cold.

This is what I thought about. All day. I am not kidding. How pathetic is that!!

I finally came up with BBQ chicken. Gosh, talk about a tough day at the office. I am trying to remain calm and open to healing. Light some candles, burn some incense, channel my inner peace. Ommmmmmm...

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Long Arm of the Mouse

I've written before about the heralded arrival of the Disney Channel here in Istanbul. This fall saw the frenzy rise even further for the European premiere of "High School Musical 2". Those wacky kids from West High (or is it East High - I can never remember) are at it again, this time there are lots of hi-jinks at the local country club. Same old story - the privileged kids spending their summer swimming and golfing and the middle-class kids working to save money for college. They've even translated one of the songs into Turkish and play this painfully sappy video of a guy and a girl singing while strolling through the famous sites of Istanbul. Of course they play it over and over and over again. Did my friends and I act this ridiculously when Grease or Footloose came out? I can't remember but I'm sure we didn't, right...

But the Mouse has reached into our house in other ways. Friends have recently returned from their half-term break trip to Disneyland Paris (or EuroDisney as I think it was once called). Apparently, we are one of the few families who haven't ever been to Disney.

Darcy seems to think that it's her birthright as an American to go to Disney. "But Mom, EVERYONE has been there but me!" I've heard on more than one occasion. And I'm not adverse to going, and enjoy a theme park as much as anyone else, but there were just always other places we wanted to go more (at least Matt and I wanted to go more) and I always figured we would go to the one in Florida some day when we were back in the States. Now she's worried she'll be too old to enjoy by the time we move back. Lucas has now joined in on the chorus of the unfair.

I never thought of EuroDisney until recently. It seems weird to me to consider going to a place that looks to recreate various parts of the US - there's the Santa Fe southwest hotel, the New York high-rise hotel, the Santa Barbara beach hotel. And I'm not sure if they'll get "It's a Small World After All" sung in French, but will it really matter? Buzz Lightyear in Europe looks the same as Buzz Lightyear in the US, after all. And, I guess, in the end, this is one of those trips that is purely for the small people in the family.

P.S. Feel free to comment on any of these posts if you'd like. At the bottom of the post, where it says "0 Comments" just click there and you can reply. You can use your own name or just post as anonymous if you don't feel like logging in. Hope to hear from you!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A note for all my New York compadres or visitors to the Big Apple -- if you find yourself in Union Square and want to check out some cool art, visit Frances Goodwin's acupuncture office. There you'll find some really fun and funky prints by my friend Pip Moran, a talented, funny, sassy Aussie we know from our Thailand days. Pip has returned to Oz and continues to create fresh, colorful, whimsical art. Matt and I have a Pip Moran original which we cherish. I think of all my Bangkok posse every time I look at it. Pip's art will be on display at

Frances Goodwin Space
One Union Square West
Suite 914 (9th floor)
New York, NY

You will have to call to check on hours for viewing as the art space doubles as an acupuncturist's office. You can also see Pip's work on her website:

The art will be on display starting in November. Enjoy!
It's 8:14 a.m. and I am still the only one up! Amazing. I will treasure this morning as a once in a lifetime event. Usually some small person interrupts my early morning silent solitude about 6 minutes after it starts. The kids were up a bit late last night and it's been raining, raining, raining, all night so it's still kind of grey and their rooms are still a bit dark. Bliss!

Hopefully the rain will fill the reservoirs and relieve the drought that seems to be everywhere. It's that cold, grey rain that signals the beginning of the real autumn, despite what the calendar says. It's also a holiday weekend, Seker Bayram, Sugar Holiday, so things are pretty quiet. Lots of people go away, and the rest are busy visiting family, etc. There are loads of candies available for sale, as it is the custom to give chocolate to people who work for you, small kids, etc. The kids had fun writing notes to the guards who sit at the entrance of our compound and for the gardeners who don't work for us exactly, but who work for the compound and so nicely mow our grass, etc.

The holiday means we won't have soccer today either. I'm not too upset about that since it is pouring and my kids always want to go, despite the weather. There's always a small crowd of dedicated parents through the worst of the winter, freezing their butts off as we consume large thermal carafes of coffee.

Last week's soccer brought an intense episode of a local challenge we have with our little soccer group. The kids play on a fenced "football pitch" which is owned by the town and somewhat managed by the town cooperative. There was always a lock on the gate which we figured was put on by the town, though no one seemed to have a key for it. We have permission to use the facility so weren't too bothered by it. Next to the locked gate some innovative soul had ripped open a hole in the wire so children and coaches could get through to play.

Occasionally we would find cow pies on the field. Not too surprising as out here roaming livestock is an everyday sight. Last week, we hit the cow pie jackpot. Literally, the field was covered. So while the older high boys who help out ran the warm-ups and drills for the 4-6 year olds the coaches cleared off cow shit. And I mean a LOT of cow shit.

Having helped to set up this little soccer group, and having enough of the smell early in the morning, I decided to call someone I know who is on the board of the cooperative to see what was going on. This is the story and I am not making any of it up or exaggerating for your reading delight:

The lock on the field was put there by the local police. They use the soccer field to hold the juvy cows running rampant through town. This, apparently, is illegal. The cow's delinquent parents, who let them run amok in the first place, are then called to pay a fine and release their charges. The biggest offender is the town mayor. His cows are consistently getting into trouble (isn't that always the way?) His theory is, Hey, these cows were here before any of you moved into your new fancy homes.

An age old story repeating itself in new and interesting ways. And making a normal event like 6-year-old soccer just a little more adventurous.

And, of course, just as I finish typing Lucas has shattered my morning silence with a full-on body slam/hug. The day begins...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I still smell them... my kids, that is...mostly while they are sleeping or when I am giving them a squeeze and can sneak in a sniff of their freshly-washed hair or slightly sweaty necks. They catch me from time to time..."MOM! Stop SMELLING me!" That's what I missed most of all while I was away.

But the thrill is gone. I've had at least one "you're the meanest mom" muttered under the breath of the sullen 5-year-old and one "you don't UNDERSTAND" at top volume as I refuse to drop everything and help the frustrated 8-year-old finish the homework I asked her to do ages ago and offered to help with when I wasn't up to my elbows in raw chicken that I am cooking for dinner.

I'd like to think I'm a little more patient, and have been, kind of. Except for the last minute dash upstairs to get the thing they just HAVE to have for school and can't find seconds before walking out the door.

We've already been through one more business trip, one potluck lunch. I've met all the new people who aren't really new anymore, caught up with old friends, and told the story of the worst summer vacation ever more than a few times.

I've settled into a (mostly) happy routine of school stuff, freelance writing (some incredibly heart-pounding legal textbook promotional copy revisions, among other stuff), and the ebb and flow of mom-hood.

My new frustration is that every time I want to log into this site and add a post, it wants to direct me to the Turkish site, I guess because it recognizes that I'm coming from a Turkish web connection. Of course, that Turkish site does me absolutely no good because while I can now order a whole Turkey for Thanksgiving and confidently ask where the envelopes are (zarf - the Turkish word for envlope. I just love it! It sounds like some sort of alien character created in a seventh grade study hall, doesn't it) I can't translate 'edit post', 'create html' and other such technical lingo. Where's the 'English' button? Arrrggghhh!!!