Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm a winner...sorta!

Ok...even though I didn't actually win the blog makeover contest sponsored by the fine folks over at Where are the naked pictures? I still got some help from them! Q took a look at my makeover efforts and felt exceedingly sorry for me. He offered to help me put a picture on my header since I was completely incapable of doing so on my own. After much work and many revisions the above header is his masterpiece. Thanks, Q, for making me feel like a winner!

Shoes, glorious shoes!

While playing the Newlywed game a few weeks ago the guys were asked this question.

How many pairs of shoes does your wife own?

They had to answer and be within two pairs of what their wives would say.

Then the ladies were ushered in. We started around the circle. I was hearing things like 8, 7, 10 from the other girls. I started to sweat. I had quite a few more pairs than that! I knew it. And I knew Brian knew it. When it was my turn I said, "20, but that is probably playing it safe". Brian's answer...20...but that is probably on the conservative side. Yes!

Since I wasn't sure how many pairs I actually had I decided to line them up and count them today. Now this picture is missing the pair I gave to a friend last Saturday, and the pair I let Erica have because she actually wore them and I didn't.

Grand Total - 24. That wasn't as bad as I thought. Considerably less than when I was in America. Here we don't have closets so I have less space to actually put shoes. I've scaled back some. I know...good for me!

Now I must say this...I have never worn the black heels on the bottom right. I bought them just in case I needed a dressy pair of shoes to go with a skirt I haven't ever worn either. One never knows when one might have to dress up in this culture. So far I have done an excellent job avoiding that! Also, some of you might not consider flip flops shoes, but since that is all I put on my feet in the summer I counted them. Three other pairs of these shoes haven't ever been worn either, but that's because I just got them while I was in the states at Christmas and the weather here hasn't been conducive for light footwear.

I also must admit that I have purchased, worn, and then given away countless other pairs of shoes in the last 6 years...since I've been in Turkey. I would say at least 10. What can I say? I'm a giver!

(My wonderful running shoes are the second ones from the left in the middle row.) (When we were in the states for three weeks at Christmastime we bought 18 pairs of shoes. 6 of them were for me.) (Hello, my name is Natalie, and I am shoe-aholic.)

I'm a loser!

Well, I didn't win the blog makeover. Poor, poor pitiful me! In my despair (just kidding!) I decided to mess around with my old look myself. Hope the change isn't too distracting or hard on your eyes.

I needed some color so I decided to go with red for the header. Red heads tend to be spitfires...definition...having a fiery temper and sharp tongue. While I have been known to get mad at times I am in no way a natural red head. We'll see how well it works for me. If my personality starts to change because of my red header I promise I will do something about it!

I've also added a cast of characters to the side bar on my blog. There have actually been quite a few other major players in my blog stories, but I'll let the posts tell their stories.

And finally I changed my blogger name from Dixon Ailesi to Natalie. Ailesi is Turkish for family, but since I am the only one who posts on this blog I decided to just change it to my name. Obviously there will be stories about my family...hence the cast of characters list.

Hope you enjoy my new look.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Socks and Shoes

So far I have been overwhelmed with questions on my post where I asked people if they had any questions for me. Actually...that's not true. I have received only one question. This makes the job of sorting through the questions much easier. Hmmmm...which question should I choose to answer today? Hmmmm...how about the only question I've gotten. And what a good question it is, too. You would think I would have a simple answer to this question. It is a simple question. But the truth of the matter is that the first part of the question was asked of me two weeks ago by a completely different person, and then I was reminded of it again yesterday before I ever read the question. And the second part of the question was brought up by one of my sons just this morning. I couldn't believe it. This topic seems to be haunting me so I feel the need to address it for sure. So, Witty, here is a long drawn out answer to your simple question!

Question - Part 1 - When you put your socks and shoes on, do you go, "sock, sock, shoe, shoe," or "sock, shoe, sock shoe?" Which sock do you put on first, right or left?

Just two weeks ago Brian and I participated in the Newlywed Game with 4 other couples. This exact question was one that was posed to the girls concerning their spouses. How did our spouses put their socks and shoes on? sock, sock, shoe, shoe, or sock, shoe, sock, shoe. At the time I thought it was a ridiculous question. I mean of course the answer is sock, sock, shoe, shoe. Who puts on one sock and then a shoe and then the other sock and then the other shoe? I mean really. All five of us girls said that our spouses put both of their socks on before putting on their shoes. We decided that living in a country where people don't wear shoes indoors gave us a bit of an advantage because when we get dressed in the morning we usually put on our socks. Our shoes aren't ever put on until we are about to walk out of the door. Heaven forbid we wear them in our houses. That would just be wrong! So of course we all had the correct answer. One of the girls said that her father-in-law did the whole sock, shoe, sock, shoe thing, and I thought it was the strangest thing for someone to do it this way. But he is older and probably set in his ways so I guess I can cut him some slack. As far as I was concerned I need not ever think about this subject again.

Then yesterday happened. The weather here was beautiful, and I decided to go running. Actually I thought about running, but considering I had barely done any walking in the past month and a half I figured I should start there. So I pulled out the running shoes I bought at Christmastime while I was in America. The wonderful gray and green running shoes. Ahhhh...look how nice and clean these shoes are. So pretty. I put on one sock. Then I put on A SHOE. I was so enamored with my shoes that I guess I just couldn't wait to put one on. I then picked up the other shoe and started to put it on my other foot. But, WAIT! I forgot to put my sock on. Me. The person who couldn't believe anyone would ever clothe their feet in a sock, shoe, sock, shoe order. I fumbled around, picked up my other sock and quickly put it on my naked foot. Thankfully no one was home to see me make such a mistake. I put the other shoe on...not really even paying attention. What was happening to me? It was the shoes I tell you. The shoes. (Oh...and to answer the last part of the first part of the question...yesterday I put my right sock on first. I guess I probably always do that. Right sock, left sock, right shoe, left shoe? maybe. I didn't put shoes on today...just socks and I forgot to pay attention. If after several days of doing this I find that my answer changes I will be sure to let you know. Research...I must research this!)

Question - Part 2 - Also, why do people always seem to say, "Put your shoes and socks on?" It should be, "Put your socks and shoes on!" What do you think?

Just this morning as the kids were getting ready to leave for school I said this exact phrase. "Get your shoes and socks on." Jacob then asked, "Shouldn't it be socks and shoes since you put the socks on first?" I was dumbfounded. I had already read Witty's question. Did he see my blog? Had he read that question at some point when my email was open? I asked him if he had read anything or heard anything that made him ask it, and he said he hadn't. It just didn't make sense to him for me to say shoes first. Ok...I agree. It should be socks and shoes. And I think that I might say that at times as well. I'm not sure though. I am going to just see how it comes out of my mouth the next time.

Of course now I am going to be so self-conscious about how I do anything concerning socks and shoes. My worlds are colliding...and I'm not sure what to think about it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A question from me to you.

Why do car dealerships always have colorful flags and balloons lining their lots? Does the fact that the parking lot looks like a circus draw people in? Is it written in the Car Dealership Code of Laws that flapping flags and flying balloons must be strung between the light standards in order to be able to legitimately call themselves a true and genuine car dealership? Then they have one jumbo balloon floating like 100 feet up in the air over the dealership. Do people see that lone balloon ridiculously high in the air and think, "Look! There's a car dealership. I've been looking for a car dealership. It's a good thing they have that balloon way up in the air or I never would have found them."? And then there's the 25 foot tall blow up gorilla gracing the roof of the car dealership. What purpose does he serve? Does he really pull in the customers? Do the people who were able to resist the flags, balloons, and the high flying jumbo balloon cave when they see the gorilla? "Man, they have a gorilla. Now I have to go look at their cars. I have to. I mean I can't not look at them now. Durn Gorilla!" Does anyone know the answer to this question?


My kids are in bed. I could watch a movie. I could study Turkish. I could finish cleaning the kitchen. I could do a lot of things, but I think I am going to write a post. Since my post from this morning was just copied and pasted from a post from last year I thought I would give you something new to read. And since I'm not sure what that new thing should be I thought I would take some questions. What do you want me to write about? I'm looking for questions that are "clean and decent" ;0) and something that I don't have to go look up. If you want to know about quantum physics, what worsted yarn is, or the ingredients in Hungarian Goulash don't ask me. I would just have to google it...so save me the trouble and google it yourself. If you have a question about me...something that you are dying to know, something that has been keeping you awake at night, something that you think would make the world a better place if I shared it please ask me. I want to do my part to help you sleep and make the world a better place! Any other questions that you think I might have "the" answer to feel free to submit as well. I'll be waiting!

An oldie but a goodie

I left a comment on a blog I read yesterday, and I was told that the comment made the blog's author laugh until she cried. She suggested I write a complete post about the topic. Well, I already had, but I thought it would be fun to post it again for all those who missed it the first time. I originally posted this on Feb. 10. 2007 so it's been a year. Maybe I should repost it every year. We all need to laugh until we cry at least once a year! Enjoy!

Yesterday Brian went to the store to get some sodas. He came back with Diet Coke (of course!), lemon soda and apple soda. We had never tried the apple, and he thought it might taste a little like sparkling cider which we love. He was looking at the bottle and noticed it said "Elmali gazli icecek." That basically translates Apple Gassy drink. I just about died...mainly because he kept talking about what might happen to a person drinking apple gassy drink. For those of you who know Brian you can imagine what kinds of things he said and what kinds of faces he made. Now I'm sure if the drink was sold in America the translation would be more along the lines of "Apple Soda" or "Apple carbonated beverage" but it was funny translating it literally.

Anyway, it made me think about how many times things here are translated into English. Sometimes the translations are really good, and many times they are really funny! And then there are the times that they make absolutely no sense. The following paragraph is one of those times. These are the actual words written on a package for a loofah sponge. All spelling and punctuation errors are theirs - not mine! Some of you may have received this in an email from me not long after we moved to Turkey, but I think it is worth repeating! Read on!

Fiber Pumkin
Fiber pumkin is coming from cucurbite it's grouving up middle east of Turkey. If piell's up all poision bacterial after that you can use all fiber pumkin clean all bodies. It'll be marvellous for clean bodies it's finally end for celluite after that all bodies taking a breath. All of them making diffrent syle and sizes.
You'll use it with hot water and bath soap if you'll take a special pocket after push under the water it'll very naturel soft fiber pumkin. It's wont hurt all bodies. You can use all for faces cleaning. After all take bath you'll have to take very good bath.
Have a nice smooth and healthy life.

Are you kidding me? This makes no sense. You would think that if a person was going to try to sell something and wanted to use an English translation to tell how their product works or how wonderful the product is they would find a native English speaker to at least proofread the translation!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Seeing is Believing

This afternoon Brian and I happened to be standing in the entryway. He had just walked in the door and being the good wife that I am I immediately ran to greet him with a cold drink and a kiss. (ok...I just happened to be in the entryway when he walked in the door...sans cold drink.) (I didn't kiss him either.) Just seconds after he walked in the door we heard water hitting water in the bathroom nearest the front door. He glanced around and saw Pugly, the cat, perched on the toilet peeing. Ok...so it was pee hitting water. The rest of us had already witnessed this phenomenon, but Brian had only heard she was doing it. He turned around looked at me and said, "oh". He always believed us, but there was just something about seeing it for himself.

For the original story on Pugly using the toilet see here. For a picture of Pugly (not using the toilet...she is shy and has refused to go every time I follow her to the bathroom with the camera. seriously!) see here.


I was thinking today about the difference between Brian and I and how we get ready for bed.

I say I am going to bed. But after I say it I have to do several things before I can actually get in bed.

I have to wash my face. I don't know when I started doing this on a regular basis. My freshman year of college I had a roommate who washed her face everyday. I remember thinking that I should wash my face everyday. I don't remember if I started doing it then or not. All I know is that now I have to wash my face. If I accidentally get in bed without washing my face I will get back up to do it. It is extremely rare that I make this mistake. I can only remember one time that I went to bed without washing my face, and the next morning I was appalled at my forgetfulness.

I also brush my teeth before bed, but because I assume that everyone does this I don't feel the need to expound on it.

I must take several pills before I go to bed. A multi-vitamin, a calcium pill, vitamin B, and vitamin C. A multi-vitamin just because. Vitamin C because I've heard it fights colds. Calcium because I drink diet coke and I read somewhere that the carbonation in sodas isn't good for your bones. And vitamin B because...um...well because! I'm sure there are more that I could take, but I haven't done any research. I just take them.

I might also do any number of the following...fold a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, give the cats fresh water, pick up the living room, straighten the bathroom, water the plants, and write a couple of emails.

Brian says he is going to bed, and he goes and gets in bed.

Donde esta la mantequilla?

This video made me laugh, and despite the fact that I have been entrenched in a Turkish speaking culture for the past 6 years I still could figure out everything this guy said. (ok...I'm not "entrenched" in Turkish all day everyday...I admit it...but the fact that I could still remember any Spanish is amazing!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

The 80's - For Crystal

I don't know...I think your hair looked way cuter in your 80's redo picture than mine did in the above picture which was taken in 1987.

But look how cute I am in that red dress! 1986...it was a good year. Good hair, a red dress, and look how good my legs look! If only they still looked that good...big long, wishful sigh. Maybe that's why I don't like to wear dresses anymore...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My blog

I feel the need to write a post to clear some things up. I have had several people tell me lately that they worry that I am spending too much time blogging or too much time on my computer. While I have been home quite a bit due to sickness and snow I am not avoiding people or activities so that I can stay home and blog. And while blogging is a fun, therapeutic thing for me it does not take me long to write something. This post has taken all of 3 minutes so far. If something is on my mind I write about it. I don't usually sit around and stare at the computer wondering what to write. I admit that I have done that, but most of the time the words just come. When I lived in America I scrapbooked. I sat for hours cropping pictures and taping them in my books. I thought about the pictures and events and journaled in the books to describe what was going on in the pictures. I didn't work on them everyday, but I spent considerable amounts of time working on them for sure. I also kept a journal of sorts. It had my thoughts about life, what I was reading, things I loved, song quotes, and all kinds of other things to document my days. Now I blog. I don't scrapbook at all. I don't journal most of the time. I blog. This blog started out as a way to let people in the states know what was going on with us. It has morphed into my scrapbook and journal all in one. And the amount of time I spend here is well worth what I get out of it. The fact that everyone else can read it just means that I am connecting with people. I showed my scrapbooks to friends. I even let some friends read my journal at times. I shared my thoughts on books I was reading with my book club friends. The fact that I share all of that online is not strange to me. It doesn't feel weird to me at all. If I don't like what someone says in a comment I can delete it. Most of the time I won't. I figure everyone has an opinion so they can share it here if they want. If your comments are questionable I might delete them. I don't want to offend anyone. And yes, I pretty much write a post everyday. Sometimes there are pictures. Sometimes there are just words. In the blog world I've come to realize that there are quite a few people who write a post everyday. Most of the time they are wanna be writers...or they are writers...and they write on blogs to hone their craft. I love writing, and I've been told that I do a decent job of it. Please don't rob me of something that I enjoy by telling me to stop. I can't stop. I am not spending all my time thinking about my blog or deciding what to write about. This post has taken me 21 minutes to write. I don't think that is too long.

A great thing

One of the greatest things (in my opinion) about living overseas is getting to experience many different cultures. We live in a Turkish culture, but know quite a few people of different ethnicities. Our kids go to the international school in town so they have friends from all over the place. I asked my kids where some of the kids in their classes are from and heard these countries. England, Iran, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Germany, Nigeria, Egypt, Italy, Iraq, Australia, Denmark, Romania, Ireland, Lithuania, South Africa, Brazil, and Norway. I know there are even more countries represented in the school. It is amazing to me to watch my kids interact with people from so many different places. One year I organized a teacher appreciation luncheon. We had food from all over the world. It was yummy!

Today I had the opportunity to hear a group from Iran singing a song in Farsi. It makes my heart glad to hear things like this. And the drum/tambourine thing was amazing. It had these chain like things that hit the drum as the guy beat on it. You know I want one! So the video is mostly focused on the drum like thing. Of course. I couldn't keep my eyes off of it!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dresses, Purses, and First Grade

Today I was getting ready for the wedding reception of a good friend. I put on brown pants and a black shirt. We have friends staying with us this weekend, and one of them asked me what I planned to wear to the wedding. I looked down at my clothes and told her that I was already wearing what I planned to wear. She was going to wear a skirt. If you know me at all you know that I have a slight...ok major...aversion to wearing skirts. For a picture and funny story about the last time I wore one see here.

So all of this made me think of this bookmark that Jacob made me when he was in first grade. It is a prized possession! Just in case it is hard to read I will decipher it for you. I will put my own comments in parenthesis and in red.

My mom's name is Natalie. She has light brown hair and brown eyes. (Nope, my eyes are blue.) She is not so thin, but she is getting thinner and she is short. (I lost quite a bit of weight around this time.) My mom likes to read, because she likes to read in bed. She cooks American food; she does not know how to cook Iskender. (Jacob's favorite Turkish dish.) She likes to wear sweaters. Her favorite music is piano music. (um...nope. Not a big fan of piano music.) She does not wear dresses a lot. (How about next to never!) My mom does not like sports. I know she loves me because she is nice to me. Her friend's name is Abby. My mom and I play board games together. Sometimes she is sad because she was adopted, but she is happy because she has four kids. (This is my favorite sentence. I was adopted, but I have never been sad about it. I told Jacob that, and his response was, "well I would be sad if you adopted me!" And the fact that having four kids makes up for my sadness...I love that!) When I go to bed she rubs my back and says prayers. This is my mom.

Jacob is somewhat embarrassed by this bookmark, because he knows there are a few mistakes in what he thought as a first grader. I love it though.

When Anna Grace was in first grade the next year she made me this lovely present.
rom Anna Grace

She took this picture of me that morning, and I proudly carried this purse to lunch that day! I do wonder what her teacher must have thought when she saw this bag. I don't care. I love it! It is another prized possession. I'm sure Anna Grace will be mortified at some point when she realizes what she wrote, but for now...it makes me smile!


Ahhhh...I feel the need to write. I have been so preoccupied with trying to fix my email issues and dealing with a couple of headaches that pretty much knocked me out that I haven't really written anything for what seems like a long time. So today I am writing. But before that I have a few housekeeping issues to deal with. First of all a picture. For me and witty...

Now that makes me happy. It puts a smile on my face.

Ok...second. I am happy to announce the winner of the Name My Bongos competition. And I mean that in the "clean and decent" way. After reading all of the entries...and there were 21 of them...I have decided to go with the names Val and Liam as submitted by Mike S. I thought it was great to go with the name of an antidepressant for the bongos because that is exactly what they do for me. In moments of frustration, fear, sadness, or just when I'm down in the dumps I can play on the bongos and feel better almost instantly. So congratulations Mike! And thanks to all those who participated! It was fun, funny, and sometimes a little questionable, but I enjoyed it so!

And now I feel the need to start another post to do my actual writing. I would hate for this one to drag on...

Friday, February 22, 2008

maybe the issue...

Regarding my emails. A friend just checked his spam folder after I emailed him and my emails were piling up there. If you think you should have gotten an email from me please check your spam folders. Please put nagdalie@aol.com, brinatdixon@gmail.com, and natalie@dixonchronicles.com in your acceptable emails addresses...unless you don't want to receive my emails. If that is the case then just leave them in spam, but you will be missing out on all the wonderful things I have to say. Because, hey, getting an email from me is like getting a hallmark card...only better!

Light and Airy

After my frustrations with postings that I deleted and emails that aren't going anywhere I decided I needed something light and airy on here. Something that I could come back and read later and it would still make me smile. So I decided to make a list. A list of 10 things I've read or heard or seen or done in the last...well forever that have made me laugh out loud or smile that dreamy kind of wishful smile. There have been many more than 10 in the last...well forever...but I am just putting the first 10 I think of...unless I decide it is something I can't share...which I'm sure will happen!

1. Kerri's blog post about one of her kindergarten students writing a journal entry that said,
"once upon a time there was a ducke. he was swimming in a pond. he drownded and nobude nodist." Cracks me up.

2. Brian trying to explain the word fornication. Still makes me laugh and shake my head. For the rest of the story click here.

3. My colorful shoes I bought in America. It is way too cold to wear them now, but I look at them regularly and dream of the day I can put them on. For a picture and a hilarious story about my most wonderful shoes see here.

4. Anna Grace actually bringing home the papers she needed to study for her tests. People this is amazing. Amazing! I don't know if I was more happy or shocked. She never brings anything home and could not care less about how she does in school. The fact that she brought the papers home and then mentioned that she needed to study just about gave me a heart attack. Yep...this should go in the shocked category!

5. The song I Don't Feel Like Dancing by Scissor Sisters. I have to dance when I hear it. Even better is watching the video which can be found here. The tight pants alone make me howl...with laughter folks...laughter! Geesh!

6. Using the word geesh knowing what I know.

7. The fact that so many people have googled jello or jello salad and ended up at this blog post which was a cryptic message for the world to read.

8. Chocolate. That's it. It makes me smile.

9. Getting back in bed after everyone has left for school and work and just letting my mind wander as I fall back asleep. (I don't do this everyday...just if I've had a late night. I'm not that lazy. Oh wait...yes, I am...but I still don't do it everyday!)

10. The color red. I enjoy it. I have to smile when I see it. Well...if it's blood I don't smile. But red cars, red clothing, red in the general happy sense of the word. Like the red writing on a Diet Coke bottle. Now that makes me happy...

Email and me.

I am having email problems. It is driving me crazy. I seem to be getting emails just fine, but almost anything I send either gets sent back to me or is lost in cyberspace for some amount of time before maybe showing up at it's intended destination. This started night two nights ago and just seems to be getting worse. I hate having email problems. I hate not being able to connect with people. It seriously puts me in a bad mood. That was part of the reason for my sorry mood yesterday. My email issues. I really shouldn't let it affect me like it does, but since I am on the other side of the world from my family and many of my friends email is hugely important to me. I am not even that great at keeping in touch, but I know that if I needed something or wanted to email someone I could. Not for the past day and a half. And the email sending issues seem to be affecting all of my email addresses. I have 3 personal email addresses...all three used regularly for different purposes...and they all seem to be having issues sending. So all of this to say...if you have emailed me in the last day and a half and are waiting on a response I am working on it. Believe me...I am trying. Man. Stupid email.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Today I was in a sorry mood. A sorry one. I played on my bongos to help get some of my frustration out, and now my hands are sore. Afterwards I decided that I needed to name the bongos. I think I would rather say I played with "Ed and Leroy" or "Mavis and Ethel" than I played on my bongos. So I am asking for your help. What do you think I should call them? I do think they need two names...since there are two of them. Look at the picture and see what you can come up with. Who do they look like to you? I'm waiting.

If you wondered.

Everyone who saw my "Something I'm Craving" pizza post and then the subsequent "Still Craving" post just forget they ever existed. They have been deleted from the blogosphere due to unfortunate miscommunications.

I can't get good satisfying pizza in Turkey anyway so it really doesn't matter.

For a previous post on my desire for really good pizza and my frustrations with Turkish pizza see here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Anna Grace strikes again.

Tonight while dumping the pictures from my camera to my computer I came across these pictures. Anna Grace is always walking around with my camera as many of you have seen from her videos here and here. She takes random pictures of random things that I am constantly deleting off my camera. Then today I found these. I have no idea what she was doing. Not a clue. At least she didn't make me lay down in one of the pictures. I'm still not sure how I managed to escape that since I am usually her favorite subject to shoot.

Chocolate covered coffee beans are full of caffeine. Trust me.

Tonight 11 of us gathered to celebrate a friend's birthday. We kidnapped her and took her to Kahve Dunyasi (Coffee World) for a birthday coffee.

We laughed, had discussions about special brews (and not the coffee flavored kind), and ate entirely too many chocolate covered coffee beans. (Notice that I am the only one still wearing my coat. I wore it the entire time. It was so cold. I put on cute clothes for the occasion and then didn't even get to show them off. Trust me. I was looking good! Of course that could be the caffeine talking...I am wired!)

Can anyone spell COW? Sara enjoyed the last of the chocolate fondue with a spoon. She saw me pull out my camera as she was getting ready to scrape the bowl and knew that the picture would end up on the blog. I hate to disappoint!

Not wanting to be outdone by Sara...Liz ordered a plate of chocolate spoons and chocolate covered coffee beans. Forget scraping the bottom of the fondue bowl with a metal spoon...just give me a chocolate spoon and skip a step!

My yummy caramel cappuccino. With a chocolate spoon of course!

Tiffany...the birthday girl...and Abby.

Message in a Bottle

I have been tagged with a meme. What message would I send out if I could send a message in a bottle to the ocean called the internet? Wow. That is a hard one. Do I want to be funny or serious? My gut is to go with funny. Wait...does telling you that make it not so funny? Let me think...

New from AT&T
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Don't pass up this opportunity for a cheap and convenient way to connect with those you love.

Ok...so I opted for funny. Here are the rules for completing this meme.

"Mimi Lenox strikes again. You are about to send a virtual Message In a Bottle across the Blog Ocean. Leave a message in the sand or on the bottle. Be a pirate or a poet. Serious or silly. What message would you like to send to the universe?

Click here for a blank and then let her know you did. Tag 5 or more people if you feel so inclined. I won't tag anyone this time. Only because I obviously didn't follow the directions exactly. I was supposed to write on the sand or on the bottle using my graphics program on my computer. I don't have a graphics program so I couldn't do that. If you have a graphics program I would love to read your message!

Thanks to CJ for the tag!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Scenes around Turkey

Several people have commented that they enjoy seeing pictures of Turkey. So this post is just that. Pictures from around the country. Thanks to Robert, Kara, Tanya, and whoever else I need to give credit to for these great pictures! I believe I can only claim one of them!

A footbridge...kinda sketchy!

A rug shop

The library at Ephesus

Some bags for sale

A man on his donkey

Rug Making

Nuts and seeds


Moving the mountain

A shepherd

Kocatepe Mosque

Whirling Dervishes in Konya

Dried fruit and nut seller

Girl selling all kinds of stuff on the street

Ataturk's Mausoleum

more words.

ok...my wonderful husband has had several issues with some words i have chosen to use in my blogs. they aren't even real words. just expressions. sound affects. noise words. and even though they aren't real words he thinks i should be sure to spell them correctly. i don't know.

i say "geesh". he says it should be "sheesh". he pronounces geesh with a soft g like the word geese. that doesn't make sense to me. the word gee isn't pronounced with a soft g. why would geesh have to be pronounced that way. i think geesh is a perfectly acceptable word. i also think sheesh is a perfectly acceptable word. i will use them interchangeably.

other examples that he may or may not have issues with. meh. used for an overall who cares, so what, nothing special whatever attitude. arghhhhh with however many h's i feel is necessary to make my point. harumph. for when i feel like grunting and snorting.

(i just looked up the word geesh using urbandictionary.com and found that it could mean things i DO NOT mean to say. man. maybe brian is right. maybe i should stick to words i know.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Newlywed game

I have had a lot on my mind the past few days so posting has kinda taken a back burner. Here are two pictures from a rousing game we played the other night with 4 other couples. The game...the newlywed game. The teams...Wildcatz, Nut Jobs, Firinda, Yeter, and McAttack. Yep...we were the Nut Jobs.

Our host for the evening Alexander Supertramp (aka Adam)

He was looking strapping in a blue plaid shirt, a cowboy tie, and Brian's suit coat that was quite short in the arms.

Couple number one...oh wait...no this is Brian and Dave. I had the camera out to take a picture of this cute couple and ended up not taking any pictures of the actual couples. Oh well. Those guys are hard to beat.

(How come people warn each other that the pictures I am taking will be on the blog when they see me pull out my camera? Of course they will be on my blog. I have to document my life. Yep, if you are in my pictures you will be on my blog! It's too bad I didn't get any more this night. I would have loved to have a video of the whole Nut Job = vasectomy = don't get snippy with me discussion. So funny. Ahhh... And no...Brian didn't have a vasectomy...since I know that is what you are thinking. We were the Nut Jobs because of our extensive work in the hazelnut fields here in Turkey. Um...yeah.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The reason for the sunny wishful thinking...

For the past two days it has been snowing. It is beautiful. Really. I look out my window and see the snow falling. It is so peaceful and clean. I do love the way it looks. When I see snow like that I wish I was on holiday skiing, or in the mountains at a cabin drinking hot chocolate and sitting by a roaring fire. It all sounds magical and inviting. Then I take a closer look out my window. I see cars sliding up and down the hill in front of our house. I see our van stuck in our parking place because of the snow. I see dogs digging through trash trying to find a bite to eat. I see the road I have to skate up to get to the closest store. Then I think about sliding down the hill trying to get back home. Then I look in my entryway and I see puddles of melted snow and mud spreading from discarded shoes. I hear kids complaining, because they are bored, and it is too cold to go outside. I do love the snow. Just not everyday. Just not all the time.

Brian and Adam hanging out in the snow.

Me and Brian...waiting on a ride. Why?

Because this van, this tin can of a van managed to move out of one parking place only to get stuck. Brian and Adam were able to pull it back into an adjacent spot after about 45 minutes of work. Notice...there are chains on the tires. It didn't make a bit of difference.

Still. It looks pretty. It really does.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Nuttin' Honey

You know athletes are getting in trouble all the time for using performance enhancing drugs to help them win races or be better players at their game. Brian considered all of those drug options before discovering an all natural product designed to enhance his overall performance and athletic ability . What is this amazing product you ask?

A jar of nuts in honey.

Notice the strong man on the jar's label. Notice the label actually says "Super Performance Doping". And the fine print. What does it say? "For every one who wants to be young with a strong mind and nerves for every old man who dreams to have his youth back."

Just look at how well it worked for Brian. BUFF and TOUGH! Yep...underneath those five sweaters he's wearing lies a man of steel!

Actual ingredients as written on jar: honey, beemilk, pistachio, almond, hazelnut, caraway, pineseed, walnut, peanut, raisins, coconut, radishseed, blackcumin, apricotseed, pollen

Winter Formal

Erica's winter formal - hair and dress pictures. For those who know her and care.

Sun and Blue Sky

Trying to convince myself that it looks like this outside my window. Sunny, warm, blue skies, the ocean. Ahh...

I could take a dip in the pool.

Or go kayaking.

Take a nap in my hammock.

Go for a walk along the beach.

Or just sit and read a book while I soak up the sun.

Sounds heavenly.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

100 random things

1. I was born in New Orleans.
2. I lived there until I was 7.
3. I went to Alice M. Harte Elementary School.
4. I have no idea who Alice M. Harte is/was.
5. I visited a Catholic church next door to the school when I was 6.
6. I went alone.
7. My best friend went to that church so I just followed her.
8. She didn't know.
9. My second grade teacher's name was Mrs. Catonese.
10. We called her Mrs. Cabbage Cheese.
11. Her twin sister taught at the same school.
12. I don't remember her name.
13. I moved to Pearl River, La the summer I turned 8.
14. I went to Pearl River Junior High for grades 3-5.
15. Pearl River didn't have an elementary school.
16. My best friend's name was Bonnie Owen.
17. My last name was Owen, too.
18. Her mom's name was Linda.
19. My mom was Linda, too.
20. We pretended like we were sisters all the time.
21. In choir we sang This Land is Your Land everyday.
22. My kids have never heard that song.
23. There was a boy in my class named Dolan Crawford, and he liked me.
24. I liked Randy Butcher.
25. I joined the swim team because Randy was on it.
26. You only had to be able to swim across the entire pool to be on the swim team.
27. I hated swim meets.
28. Competitions where people have to watch me perform make me nervous.
29. I once had to swim the entire length of the pool and back all by myself, because the other teams were all done and I was the anchor on our team.
30. I almost refused to swim, because everyone would be watching me.
31. I also took baton lessons.
32. I was on a baton team called the High Steppers.
33. I marched in many Mardi Gras parades in my little outfit. I froze!
34. We moved to Houston the summer before 6th grade.
35. I started a real junior high and experienced culture shock.
36. Everyone wore Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.
37. I had no idea who Gloria Vanderbilt was.
38. My mom wouldn't buy me any Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.
39. My dad did.
40. I wore my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans when I went back to Pearl River to visit.
41. Everyone there was wearing them, too.
42. I got glasses in 7th grade.
43. I sang The Rose as a duet with some girl in 7th grade choir. I don't remember her name. Neither of us could sing well.
44. I was a library aide in 8th grade and got to keep any books they were getting rid of.
45. I collected a lot of books that way.
46. I played paper dolls with the girl who lived across the street from me in junior high. A lot!
47. After 8th grade we moved to Tomball.
48. I went to 9th grade at a 9th grade only campus.
48. I took agriculture for 3 days in 9th grade.
49. When I heard I had to raise an animal and show it in a livestock show I changed my schedule.
50. I took a dance class instead, and I loved it.
51. I passed out in the cafeteria lunch line and had to be taken out in a wheelchair.
52. I spent the night in the hospital, and they decided I was iron deficient.
53. I tried out for drill team at the end of my 9th grade year, but didn't make it.
54. I was sick and throwing up during tryouts.
55. When try out time came around my 10th grade year the drill team director came and asked me to try out.
56. I made it.
57. I had a friend named Shannon who ate out every night for dinner.
58. I loved spending the night at her house, because we got to eat out.
59. Her parents were antique/art dealers so their house was the most eclectic place I had ever seen. I loved it.
60. I got a hickey at church camp the summer after 10th grade.
61. The associate pastor's son gave it to me.
62. I was highly embarrassed about the whole thing and wanted to wear a turtle neck in the summer.
63. I took driver's ed with 3 other girls that same summer.
64. We were involved in an accident that totaled our car.
65. It was not our fault.
66. They made us drive again 2 days later. We were all scared.
67. My parents bought me a used white Toyota Corolla Tercel for my 16th birthday. It didn't have power steering.
68. I drove it from Tomball to Amarillo when we moved that same summer.
69. Amarillo High School didn't have a drill team which made me sad.
70. I dated a cowboy in 11th grade.
71. He's now a chiropractor.
72. I took a home and family living class and was given the assignment to go on a creative cheap date.
73. My friend's dad had an airplane so he took 4 of us up for a ride for our date.
74. I don't remember what else we did, but I'm pretty sure the gas for the plane wasn't cheap.
75. I don't remember what grade we got on the assignment.
76. I sang a duet with a friend in front of our church youth group my senior year of high school. I still couldn't sing. My friend could.
77. I skipped school, got caught, and was put in after school suspension for 3 days.
78. My boyfriend did something stupid so he could get put in after school suspension with me. He had longer to serve.
79. My best friend from high school often snuck over to my house after her mom was in bed.
80. I never snuck out because I was too scared I would get caught.
81. I met my husband my freshman year of college, but we didn't start dating until our junior year.
82. By that point I was already in love with him.
83. My roommate my last two years in college was the same best friend who snuck in my window in high school.
84. She threw a brush across the room once because she was mad at me. I deserved it!
85. I dated a cowboy wanna be in college.
86. He's now a pastor.
87. My husband and I went on a date to Dallas once and came home wearing different clothes than we left in.
88. After getting married I taught fourth grade and hated it.
89. I quit and worked at Goldstein Miguel in Waco for a semester. Goldstein Miguel is no longer in business.
90. I got another teaching job teaching kindergarten in Coolidge, Texas.
91. I was the only kindergarten teacher.
92. Brian taught at the same school and was the science department.
93. We stopped for a coke at a little country gas station everyday on the way home from work, and the owner asked us one of two questions.
94. Did you learn anything today or do you have to go back tomorrow?
95. Working hard or hardly working?
96. All of my kids were born in Texas, but none were born in the same city.
97. I stopped teaching when my second child was born and have no desire to do it again.
98. Someone else picked out our apartment in Turkey, and we loved it so much we've never moved. It's been 6 years.
99. I hate bananas and maple syrup with a passion.
100. I am 38 years old and a friend just gave me my first thong for Valentine's Day. It's red.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who wants to be the weakest link?

Brian is watching Turkish game shows. He does this to feel smart. To feel like he knows Turkish better than the Turks. He has serious pride issues. He imagines himself going on these game shows which are very similar to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and wowing the crowd of 5 people with his extreme knowledge.

So far they've asked questions like "What famous magician locked himself underwater and was from Hungary?" The answers to choose from were Harry Houdini, David Copperfield, and two people we never heard of. The poor guy trying to answer the question had to ask for the audiences' help and use his 50/50 chance which then narrowed it down to Harry and David. He thought and thought and thought. There were commercials involved. It went on forever. He finally went against the audience and chose Harry. Thank goodness that was over.

Next question. "In which form of art would you use the term pirouette?" The choices for answers...opera, ballet, painting, and sculpture. Seriously. It took the poor guy forever to narrow it down to opera or ballet...finally deciding to go with opera. Seriously!

Finally that show was over. Next game show...exact same thing except three players are pitted against each other...more like The Weakest Link. And on this show they take even longer to answer the questions. The question...Which one of these was not a historic business road? The silk road, the spice road, the kings road, or the Istanbul road. Yep...they got it wrong...guessing spice road.

I am begging him to turn the channel. If he doesn't I may have to cry like the one contestant who cried her way through the entire program. Her husband probably made her participate. Seriously.

Wait a minute...the host is now crying. He feels for the contestant. And now Brian sees a number to dial in so that he can apply to be on the show. But wait there's more...the host is bringing in the son of the poor woman who is in debt and needs the money. There are tears all around. Brian is even crying saying he would trade all his useless knowledge to know Turkish as well as these people. Good grief.


I'm a words person. I love words. Sometime when I feel full of words nothing comes out that makes sense. I can't make complete sentences. So I just write words. That is what this post is. This explanation is mainly for all my new readers. Those that know me have experienced my love of words here and here and here. So here are some words that are floating around my head today.

deep, anguish, craving, abysmal, wide, buried, heart-sick, velvet, seasoning, impulsive, choice, indulge, despairing, yearning, spice, wishful, lugubrious, deep-seated, fathomless, clover, command, unrehearsed, preference, euphoric, dispirited, delectation, contented, clarity

But I'm not depressed. Really. Just full of words.

Monday, February 11, 2008

the plight of the mayonnaise

so here i sit. feeling horrible. with a fever. and a cough. unable to make the effort to press the shift button to make capital letters. but unable to walk away from the computer without posting something today. so here for your enjoyment is a conversation i overheard today.

background information - anna grace asked me if the mayonnaise that was in the refrigerator was ok to eat. i said yes, thinking she was putting it on something she planned to eat. she then took out a little packet that came with some meal we ordered and ate it plain. making comments the whole time.

ag - look at that yummy blob of mayonnaise
ag in a mayonnaise sounding voice - no...don't eat me!
ag - i have to...you need me to.
mayonnaise - but i have children in this package
ag - don't worry i will eat them, too.
mayonnaise - all i wanted was to be spread on some bread or eaten with french fries.
ag - i have to eat you plain. you are so good plain...muhahahahahahah.

so she did.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More answers...

Erica's answers to the serious question posed in the previous blog post...

a hairbrush
toothbrush and toothpaste
shampoo and conditioner

"I can beat up those monkeys by myself."

I still can't decide. I've been thinking. Really. And I can't narrow it down to three things. See I have this problem. Don't ask me to make choices unless you want a long drawn out explanation of why each choice would be a good option. Don't give me two choices and expect a good quick easy response. It doesn't work that way for me. I mean there are some things that I have no problem narrowing down.

Favorite drink - Diet Coke
Favorite restaurant - Pappadeaux's
Favorite color - red

See those were easy. I've had a long time to narrow them down. I've tried many other drinks. I've eaten at many restaurants. I've known my colors for over 30 years. These weren't something posed to me for the first time in a question 2 minutes ago. They have been decided for awhile. But if you were to say choose between having sushi or Italian food tonight. Oh man. That is a hard decision. I love sushi. I love Italian. I could go on and on about the positives about each. If I have recently had one or the other that would make the choice easier, but I would still have to think about which I would rather have. More than likely my answer would be for you to choose. That it didn't matter to me. And really...that would be the truth. I would be ok. I'm easy to please...most of the time. (No comments from those of you who think you know better.)

So my choices for what I would take on a deserted island...after much thought...

1. a bag of toiletries...toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shampoo, soap, an elastic headband to pull my hair back if necessary, and whatever else I decide to take when it came time to pack. I choose a bag so I can have more than one thing in it. (see...a more complex answer than you probably wanted!)
2. an mp3 music/video player with a built in satellite phone with as much memory as possible...and with a solar-powered charger. I don't think I could survive without music to dance to, movies to watch, and some way to call the outside world if I needed to talk. (I combined a couple from Brian of The Office (Blog) and my son, Will, who is just plain smart...see...again...I really didn't narrow it down to just one thing.)
3. a large toolbox filled with some essential items. It must have a knife of course and some flint, a magnifying glass, an ax, some pliers, heavy duty garden shears, a windup flashlight with a compass in the handle, wire cutters, and other important survival related items.

So there. I've narrowed it down to those three simple things. No problem.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A serious question

If you were on a deserted island and could only have three things with you what would you choose and why?

Will's answer...
a satellite phone that never loses it's charge.
a monkey suit so that he can fool the monkeys so they won't attack him.
scuba gear

Brian's answer...
giant diamond ax that has been cut in such a way so that it can also be used as a magnifying glass
fishing hooks and line
a study bible - the extra pages could come in handy

Adam's answer...
elf-enchanted, spring-loaded harpoon gun so he can shoot fish (or monkeys if they try to attack him)
set of pots

Jacob's answer...
boat so he can try to get off the island
ax for chopping down wood
knife to get food with

Anna Grace's answer
a cell phone
a big red tent
a boat

And I'm still thinking.

singing along...

ok. so i've discovered this new singer that i am in love with. wait. i didn't discover her. she was already discovered. i just heard her and now can't get enough. chantal kreviazuk.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Something I'm thinking...

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

Shut up, Brian. Shut up.

After the post on words meaning things I thought of this little gem of a conversation that took place between Brian and a brand new local friend.

Friend: Brain, where are you from?
Brian: California
Friend: Really, Brain? I love that song "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Brian: Oh, um...well that is different. California is a state in America. Fornication is...

Yep. He tried to explain fornication...in English and Turkish making this face and gesture. What he should have said...

Brian: Oh, um...I don't think I've ever heard that song.

The End.

Words mean things.

I make up words to try to convey what I am feeling. I combine words to extend the meaning of what I am trying to say. And I go with words my kids have made up because the new words best describe the feeling or condition. For example...
adorability - the ability to be completely and totally adorable without trying
slaptastic - so fantastic I feel like someone slapped me silly
mooley - kinda like constipated (coined by Will when he was 4 and used ever since)

This doesn't work well in another language. Case in point. Brian. Who should know better after this incident but doesn't.

Brian, being the nice guy that he is, agreed to take a van load of Turks somewhere. Our van seats 13, but he probably had about 20 people crammed in it this day. Everyone is talking and joking and basically enjoying themselves. Brian is telling a story. Trying to be funny. He ends with the punchline. Then in order to make sure everyone knows he's just joking he decides to tell them that. But in the milliseconds of thinking before speaking he decides instead to say "I'm just lying". Which is fine...if he says it the right way. Instead of going with what he knows how to say, "I'm just telling a lie" he opts to go with a word that in his mind should mean, "I'm just lying." He combined the verb "lie" with what would be the proper ending in many cases. And then he said the new word aloud. The van got quiet. He wondered what he said...knowing full well that he had said something wrong somewhere. Our good friend, Derya, who happened to be sitting next to him leaned over and said, "you just said 'I'm licking myself'." Brian laughed. No one else did. When they got to their destination they all quietly filed out of the van. Brian laughed. He told me when he got home. I just shook my head and laughed. He will never learn. Poor, poor Brian.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pet Peeve #47

You know when you visit a blog...whether that blog is a friend's blog or a stranger's blog doesn't matter...and you are so moved by the post that you have to make a comment? Or maybe you aren't so moved...maybe you just feel the need to explain your position on the subject matter. Maybe you really don't have a position and you want to encourage the post's writer to keep up the great writing. Or maybe you just want to tell them to go suck an egg. (I personally have never told anyone to go suck an egg.) So you make a comment and if you are like me you leave your real name...no anonymous comments here (unless I am telling them to go suck an egg...which I've never done). And then for days you check back to see if they have read your comment. And really the only way to know for sure if they've read it is if they have commented back to you. Which brings me to my point. I hate not being acknowledged for my witty remarks on other's blogs. Well...they might not all be witty. Some of them might be clever. Some might be factual. Some might even move you to tears. And how will I know if you laughed, cried, or threw up a little in your mouth because of my comment if you don't tell me? I'm just saying...

And just so you know. I almost always write back to my commenters on the same post they commented on. I'm just saying...

Some Culture...

Because I care. I really do.

A bakery in Turkey. Notice the simits...second shelf from the bottom on the far right. These are also a snack food in Turkey. Not a mall snack food...a street snack food

Simits are also available from Simitci stands which you can find just about everywhere.

And if you can't find a bakery or a Simitci stand you can always buy from one of these guys! They walk the streets selling their wares. You can hear them coming because of the loud booming voices they use to advertise their fresh from the oven simits.

They come in several sizes and are usually pretty hard. They are covered with sesame seeds so they can be pretty messy! And the taste...well it's not sweet and it's not salty. I would say it's a pretty bland thing...but I do love them.

And just because she couldn't resist...so neither could I!