Güneş (n: sun)

Thank goodness!  The sun has returned to Ankara.  This winter has been really mild (though I’m comparing it to the crazy winter of Sarajevo last year).  Before anyone tells me that Ankara was way bad last year and I don’t understand a crazy winter, let me present my evidence:

Yes, that is my old front walkway.  Yes, we had to dig trenches for Olive.

Yes, that is my old front walkway. Yes, we had to dig trenches for Olive.

And that was just from one weekend (about 1.5 meters (that’s 5 feet, but you know it’s bad when the weather reporters discuss snow forecasts in meters) total).  It kept snowing for a month.  Anything else about how bad the winter was here last year?

But let’s get back to the happiness.  The sun has made other appearances, but today was the first truly lovely day.  It didn’t hurt that I had a full schedule that included a couple of outdoor excursions so I noticed it more.  The weather was warm (in the sun) and Olive loved it!  We got to go and just sit in the sun for a bit while puppy sniffed EVERYTHING.  And it makes me even more excited about extending my “garden”.  I trimmed up all the herbs yesterday and am excited about them growing more in the sun — I even put them on the back patio for a couple of hours of fresh air and direct sun.  Tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice, but I’m not getting too excited.  Yet.  Tomorrow all bets are off about my excitement!

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Noelliniz kutlu olsun! (Merry Christmas!)

I’m a couple of days late, I know. The sentiment remains the same and hopefully you all had great, happy, and perfect Christmases! Here in our happy little home we tried to just lay low and enjoy being together. Which we did, but we also had some craziness around here.

The day after Christmas we had all of our furniture traded out for newer versions of the same stuff (long story). While it was basically like moving in again (fortunately most of our stuff is in closets and not in drawers and such), over all we’re quite happy with the upgrades. Of course we did have to re-re-rearrange the way the guys set everything up, which meant some fun sliding and lifting.

And then we learned what I’ve always suspected about our Olive pup. She’s a big softy at heart, but if there’s a pigeon on our patio she could turn into a cold blooded killer. I’m pretty sure she just wanted to play, but after letting her out to scare a particularly stubborn one away I definitely had to clean up some feathers. If left to her own devices, I’m pretty sure there would be a “de-stuffed” pigeon on our balcony.

Most importantly, I finished (almost all) my Christmas knitting.  Mom got a hat (sock yarn from Germany) and scarf (found bought-by-weight cotton blend), Dad got a hat (bulky wool), Sister got a triangle shawl/scarf (Brooklyn Tweed wool), MKD got fingerless gloves and a matching hat (DC local sock yarn), and Mr. Awesome got a herringbone knit scarf (cashmere blend).  All were also promised socks.  Eventually.  Now I have to get started on what will now be CMR’s Valentine’s shawl since her yarn took forever to get here (and even held up Mr. Awesome’s yarn!) but it so beautiful that I forgive her… plus, I picked the color so it is my fault after all.  Lesson learned?  Tell Jimmy Beans Wool to ship as it comes in and not hold to ship all at once.

Hope you got everything you wanted and needed!  Merry Christmas to all!

Hasta bir köpek yavrusu (One sick puppy)

Not like that!

While Mr. Awesome and I are childless, we do have our trusty Golden Retriever, Olive to dole attention on and love like a child.  I got Olive when I was working in Germany from a young couple that was in over their heads and couldn’t keep her due to an unexpected pregnancy.  They got her from another young couple who couldn’t take her with them back to the US because she was too young and hadn’t gotten all her shots.  That couple got her from a family who’s older dog didn’t like the competition of a new puppy and made it very clear to said puppy.  She was 5 months old when I adopted her and I was her 5th (and final) home.  When I took her home (and promptly renamed her Olive from ‘Princess Nala’), I realized that in addition to being a typical loving, anxious-to-please Golden she was also a very submissive little girl who was a bit skittish in general and deathly afraid of loud noises, quick movements, and riding in cars.  Upon meeting her (a week after I took her home), Mr. Awesome fell in love too.

dog in dog bed

How could you not love this little girl?

She’s now almost three (she will be at the end of March) and has gotten over most of her bad habits.  While she still refuses to be in the same room as a vacuum (even if it’s turned off), she no longer freaks out and submissively pees when I’m moving pots and pans, doesn’t chew on carpets, and thankfully will go to the bathroom while we’re on a walk and (she’s on a leash) if need be.  I’m not sure if it’s at all normal, but she’s the most cuddly dog you’ll ever meet.  She’d much prefer you let her follow you around the house like a shadow and will wake you up by staring at you with a toy in her mouth (though we have learned a new trick where I get to “press snooze” if I pet her and say, “Five more minutes, pup.”)

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“I don’t feel so good….” [Though in all honesty this is a normal pose for her even if she feels fine.]

So needless to say when she’s not feeling well, we’re all a bit out of sorts around here.  After she had spent the last week by my side and cuddling when I was pretty miserable and sick, on Thursday morning she woke me up with her coughing.  I got out of bed to check on her at which point she usually gets out of her bed and comes to get pets but she didn’t this time and instead stayed in her bed.  After a bit more coughing she got a little vomitty in her bed.  The poor thing looked so pathetic that I couldn’t be annoyed even though I knew it would mean cleaning her bed later…

First you have to vacuum all the fluff out of the corners...

First you have to vacuum all the fluff out of the corners…

dog bed apart

Then you have to take it apart to stick it in the washer… (pillows get fluffed with tennis balls dabbed with essential oils to de-stink)

dog in bed

Then you have to quickly put it together despite it being unwieldy because inevitably you have an anxious dog staring at you and dancing around waiting to get in her bed… and crash almost instantly…

After moping around the house all day and cuddling on any part of me she could, I decided I’d make her favorite homemade treats to cheer her up.  They are pumpkin flavored and meant to help calm an upset tummy and Olive loves them.  The recipe I use is from here and super easy to make.  We made them a bit Christmasy because, well, I had the cookie cutters for it.

IMG_5310

We always do the bones, but how cute were the hearts and trees?!

dog treat close up homemade

They look almost good enough for me to eat…

Thankfully she perked right back up Friday morning and is all the way back to herself now.  And of course since we had a real snow last night, the return of the amazing snow pup is back (I swear she tries to make puppy snow angels — I’ll get a picture of it this year).  Which means cute photos to follow obviously.

Snow dog (not in action)

Snow dog (not in action)

Şükran Gününüz kutlu olsun! (Happy Thanksgiving!)

thanksgiving turkey puppy

Olive is a big help in the kitchen especially when poultry is involved, so she’ll be supervising every step of the way today.

Koşmak (v.: to run); Lessons learned by the first time race-runner

First, I want to say thank you thank you THANK YOU to everyone who supported me and put up with my craziness and/or rambling on and on about my running and the race during the lead up to it.  Also, I’ll add a quick “I’m sorry…” for my post-race raving and ranting and my general fixation on the subject.  I’ll do my best to keep it in check, but if I blather for too long you should feel free to tell me to shut up.

Sleepy pup

I did miss the best running buddy ever…

A lot of friends and experienced runners told me some of the things to look out for: the zig zagging around slower runners, the extra adrenaline that might cause me to start too quick and burn out early, the need to eat right and be hydrated.  They were all right though the two glasses of wine the night before were worth it.  Despite the advice and pre-planning I didn’t really know what to expect for my first race.  The running itself I knew and was prepared for; however, the should-have-been-expected pre-race chaos was not.

My first time in Turkey years and years ago I quickly learned a phrase all my Turkish friends used with frightening frequency, “burası Türkiye“.  Literally it means “this is Turkey”, but it implies so much more.

“Don’t expect things to be what you’re used to — this is Turkey.”

“Of course we can drive the wrong way up a one way street — this is Turkey.”

“Why would you even try to apply logic to this problem set? — this is Turkey.”

“Sit. Enjoy the tea and the view.  You can only get it here — this is Turkey.”

Essentially, it means things in Turkey are done differently sometimes better, sometimes worse but that you, yabancı (foreigner), must learn to just accept the way things are because you can’t change them.  After all, burası Türkiye.

This tangent is to explain how I was able to maintain my calm and still mentally prepare for the feat ahead of me while most of the non-Turks* lost their minds at the quasi-craziness.  (It should be noted that the Italians and Spaniards I saw seemed right at home… maybe it really is a whole Mediterranean thing.)  There was some chaos in Taksim to get on the buses to get to the Asian side where the race was to begin, but in all fairness to the organizers there is always an element of chaos in Taksim Square.  Probably less so on a normal Sunday morning at 7am, but still.  After loading on the buses (eventually) and getting to Asia (in record time thanks to closed roads) we did have to kill about an hour before the race began in the impressively chilly morning weather.  Not to be blamed on the organizers of course.

No I am no record setter, but I do know that slow people who plan to walk off the start line shouldn’t be the first ones to line up at the line… there were definitely people who didn’t realize that of course.  When added to the impressive number of people who decided to stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the road to take photos (move to the side, people!!!) I did a lot more darting around than I expected and definitely felt the odd lateral moves by the end of the race.  Who thought I’d dart more during a race when we were all (theoretically) running in the same direction than while weaving around people on the sidewalks in Ankara?!

running gear

Laid out and ready for the post race run. Good news: I can justify the money I spent on my gear. Bad news: I can keep justifying it. Darn you, Lululemon!

All and all, I’m super proud of myself.  Not only did I finish the race (goal #1), I managed to run 8.4km (by the way, race officials, it’d be nice to mention this extra .4km to people before we run it) in 1:00:22.  Obviously not a world record, but an awesome starting point for me.  Yep, you read that right.  A starting point.  As in I might consider doing this craziness again.  Who’d’a thought that six months ago?  Definitely not me.

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