Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Naked Vacation

I know I haven't written a blog post in three days! ACK! Three whole days. What is up with that? I could answer another question. I could write about what I've been doing the past three days. I could write about what the kids have been doing the past three days. But I can't. I have searched for why I am at a loss for words, and I think I've figured out my problem. My camera is on vacation. I know that not all my posts have pictures, but there is always the option of pictures if I have my camera. I know I can use old pictures or google some pictures, but it just doesn't work for me. I don't function well without my camera. I feel naked.

OH...and can you imagine the hits I'll get from search engines with a title like that!?!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cultural Differences

Citizen of the World asked...

What are the difficult aspects of living as an "outsider" in a culture very different from the one in which you were raised?

My answer...

There are so many cultural differences between Turkey and America that I'm not sure where to start. I think one that can be difficult at times is the differences in medical practices. While medicine is a science there are so many things that are done here that go beyond science. More like folk medicine.

For example:
Several years ago we visited the Black Sea coast and stayed with a wonderful Turkish family. They took us in and showed us so many amazing things. We visited many of their relatives and enjoyed quite a bit of culture we didn't get to experience in Ankara. One afternoon we went out on the rocky bulkhead next to the sea to go fishing. In between the rocks there were little brine shrimp that we caught for bait. The kids had a blast catching the little shrimp, splashing in the water, and sitting on the rocks in the sun. The next day our hostess complained of stomach cramps. We were visiting some of her family so she went in to rest while they entertained us. Later she told me she got those stomach pains because she sat on the cold rocks the day before. I was flabbergasted. It could have been something she ate or even that time of the month, but she was convinced it was sitting on the rocks.

Since that time we have heard so many other similar stories. Our next door neighbors are both doctors. One of them is even an OBGYN. The first time they came to dinner at our house they were appalled that we weren't wearing slippers or socks in our house. It is customary to take off your shoes when entering a house, but they always put on a pair of indoor shoes as well. We just go barefoot. This highly intelligent, educated man told me that I needed to make sure the girls wore shoes at all times so that their ovaries didn't freeze. Walking on the cold tile in our house was not good for them. I made the girls go put on socks that night so that our neighbor didn't worry, but I was still shocked at his ideas.

In May of 2005 Jacob broke his arm and had to have surgery to pin it back together. We stayed in the hospital overnight, and it was the hardest hospital stay I've ever had. The room was stifling hot. I am used to freezing in hospitals in America, but there were no worries about that happening here. At some point the evening after Jacob's surgery he needed to go to the bathroom. They had given me a bedpan for him to use. He took one look at that thing and said no way. I helped him out of the bed, and he walked to the bathroom and went. He was only wearing the hospital gown so he didn't need any help with his underwear. When he was done I helped him get back in bed. The next morning the nurse was talking about us staying another night. I couldn't believe it. We were bored to tears, sweating like pigs, and perfectly capable of going home. I begged her to let us go home. The nurse went to find the doctor so he could come talk to me. In the meantime Jacob needed to go to the bathroom. I helped him out of bed, and he went. While he was in the bathroom the doctor came into the room to talk to me. Before he could say anything Jacob flushed and went and got in bed. By himself. The doctor was shocked to see him up and walking around. All I could think was that he broke his arm...not his leg. Of course he is up and walking. The doctor did end up letting us go home later that day. I think Jacob being up and around helped our case for sure. Later I was talking to some of my Turkish friends, and they said that a Turkish mom wouldn't have let her kid get out of bed for fear of getting sick. She would have made him use the bedpan so he could stay covered up and not get cold. We were even given advice after we came home to not bathe Jacob for a month so that he didn't get cold while his arm was healing. I didn't listen to that advice. I wrapped his arm in a plastic bag and kept him clean. I was fascinated by all of it.

I love this culture. I really do. There are so many things that really appeal to me about the way they do things. The way they invest in people. The way they aren't constrained by time. Their hospitality. Their sense of family. So many things that I want to emulate...adopt. Their medical practices and ideas just don't happen to be one of them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My day and a message.

I was planning on writing a post today...answering a one of the questions I was asked on July 20 or 21, but the day has gotten away from me. Today was a family day. We decided to just spend some time together as a family doing something fun. That fun thing was playing the game Settlers of Catan. Has anyone ever played this game? I'm telling you...it was fun. Well kind of. I have played the game two other times, both with a group of ladies. That was fun. Today our family game wasn't quite the same. Anna Grace decided very quickly that the game was boring, and Hannah Montana was on TV which was definitely more fun to her. So our game of 6 players turned into a game of 5 quite quickly. The boys, and I'm including Brian in that phrase, took forever to take their turns. Contemplating. Thinking. Strategizing. Driving me insane. I guess it paid off though because Brian won the game. Erica kept looking at the TV between her turns so she wasn't getting anywhere. I don't know how long it took to actually finish the game, but it was over 2 hours. Well over 2 hours. We did have fun though, and everyone was glad we played.

But that isn't the reason for writing this post. I know he is a little concerned that I am going to mention him in a blog post every time he makes his presence known, but I'm not. Adam Levowitz, I'm talking about you and to you. This time I had to mention you again, because I don't know how many of my readers are going to click back on the post, Blast from the past!, where you left your comment. It's been a few days so they might have moved on. And you need to be heard. So readers go ahead and click back. See what Adam has to say in my comment section. And Adam...I promise this is the last time I will flaunt your name all over my blog. Unless of course you want me to get a message out. Because I seem to be pretty good at that. OH...and LiteralDan didn't go to Bleyl, but I'll let him tell you that. And Adam...just to show you how this blogging stuff works I'll let you in on a little secret. Out of all of the people who commented on that blog post, you and Charlie Girl are the only ones I have ever met in real life. The rest of that crazy crew...we're just stranger/friends. This blogging thing opens up a whole new world. Welcome!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

War Games

Today was an Anna Grace and mom day. The boys and Erica were all out with friends, Brian was at work, and AG and I were at home. We ordered McDonalds for lunch. Yep, they deliver here. We played Mancala, War, and Battleship. I love Mancala. I don't mind Battleship. I hate War. War never ends. We played the game forever, and when I finally whined and complained enough AG said we could count our cards. Whoever had the most could be the winner. I had 35 cards, and she had 28. See...nobody was ever going to win that game!

Note...earlier today when I said this sentence, "I hate War. Nobody ever wins!" to a friend she pointed out how profound it was. Nobody ever wins at the game of War. Nice.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming up with some answers.

Thanks to everyone who gave me questions to answer. I have gone through them, answered some of them in the comment sections, and saved some to blog about. So let's get started...

Mentanna said...

Tell us three things you would do differently if you were about to start your time in Turkey all over again.

Well...good grief. Way to make me think. And I have been thinking about this question. I have thought a lot about what we did when we first arrived. The choices we made. And honestly I don't know that I would do anything differently. We made the decision to send the kids to Turkish school for 2 years which was one of the hardest things I think I have ever done. If I were to do that differently I might choose to have the younger two kids go to Turkish school through 2nd grade which would have added two years to Jacob's schooling and 3 years to Anna Grace's. They were only in preschool and kindergarten so they didn't get a very good language foundation. Much of what they learned those two years they have forgotten. Because Erica and Will were in elementary school they seemed to have retained more of their Turkish.

I think about what we did for language, where we lived, the people who became our friends, and I can't imagine it being any different than it was. I'm sure I could have initiated more in relationships. That is something that is hard for me in any language. I guess I could have made more phone calls and invited more people to dinner. I could have studied Turkish more. But I am not sure that any of that would have made much of a difference. When we first arrived in Turkey we pretty much jumped right into the deep end of life. I can't imagine being more busy than we were. I had no idea what to expect when I moved here, but I can say that I have loved just about every minute I have lived here. Yes there have been some really hard times. Times when I haven't known what to do with myself. But I can look back at those times and see the lessons I was learning. I don't regret them. They have helped shape who I am today.

Oh...I do wish I had started a blog right when we got here. I know I have forgotten quite a few things from those early days, and I hate that. I would love to be able to look back on those early posts and compare myself to where I am today. I have been able to do that some since I've been blogging for 2 years, but I know how much I've grown and changed in the past 6 years. I would love to have a more concrete timeline to look back at and see the changes and landmarks. I would love to have a better record of my time spent in Turkey.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things you wanted to know.

I'm still taking questions. I might have gotten a little side-tracked by the whole Adam Levowitz incident of 2008. I mean it was shocking and funny and totally made my day, but I still don't know what to write about. And I don't expect to hear from any other long lost friends from junior high so I can't count on that for future blog posts. So just in case you missed reading two posts ago I am taking questions to help spur, spawn, trigger some dormant thoughts or memories so I will have something to write about. And although I'm not declaring this an official delurking day, I would love to hear from those of you who don't normally comment. Normal commenters/commentators please keep it up as well. I love you guys. I just know that I am rarely a lurker anymore. I might not comment on every post I read, but you can be sure the people I read get comments from me every few posts. I know how much I appreciate the comments so I want to make sure to comment on others. I read on AllMediocre that comments are the currency of the blogosphere. I love that!

And now...the moment you've all been waiting for. I am answering a question. Actually this isn't a question that was asked in my post begging for questions. This question has been asked a few times over the past several months and I never have answered it. I know. Here I have a perfectly good question and I'm still begging for more. Sigh. So the question...

Can you share your favorite Turkish recipe with us?

Do you realize how hard this is? I rarely make Turkish food. Mainly because my Turkish friends make it so well that I can't really compete. And there are many restaurants that will deliver ready made Turkish food to my house. But there are a few things that aren't usually on a Turkish restaurant menu so if I want them I either have to finagle an invite to someone's house or make it myself. Here's are recipes to my all time favorite Turkish foods.

Sigara Boregi...roughly translated Cigar Pastry. And instead of copying the recipe here I will just send you to the website with the recipe I used in the states to make this. It isn't exactly the same as what I do in Turkey, but the feta is different here...much more moist so I never use an egg. They are so yummy. Yes they are.

Kisir - basically tabbouleh but better. Yum...now I'm getting hungry.

And finally...my favorite. Mercimek Corbasi


Ingredients: (6 servings)
· 1 ½ cups red lentils (do they have these in America? I don't know.)
· 8 cups meat stock (I usually use chicken.)
· 2 medium size onions (I never use this much...maybe one.)

· 2 tablespoons margarine
· ½ tablespoon flour

· 1 cup milk

. 3 egg yolks

. 1 tablespoon salt

. ½ tablespoon black pepper

. 6 slices of bread

. 3 tablespoons oil

Wash the red lentils. Put them in 8 cups of meat stock and 1 cup of plain water. Cook for 35 minutes until they are tender. Pass them through a sieve. (I never do this...they tend to disintegrate all on their own.) Melt the margarine in another saucepan. Add chopped onions and fry them lightly for 7-8 minutes. Add flour. Brown for 1 minute more. Add them to the meat stock with the lentil puree. Put salt and pepper. Let simmer. Beat the egg yolks with cold milk. Add to the boiling soup, mix well. Turn the head of as soon as it starts boiling. Serve with bread cubes fried in oil. (I don't ever fry bread cubes in oil either. I just eat it with bread.)

Ok...get to cooking.

Oh...and thanks to google images for the pictures. I didn't actually make all those things and take a picture of them. Please don't sue me for using your pictures. Thanks.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blast from the past!

Remember that post about songs and music memories that I wrote a week or so ago? Don't go back and read it unless you really feel the need to reminisce with me. I'll copy and paste the part I want to open back up for discussion here.

I said this...

Babe by Styx. When I was in junior high choir Adam Levowitz sang this song at a choir concert. He was moving away at the end of the year so it was like an anthem of sorts. It was the first time I remember hearing the song, and I have loved it ever since. I also had a sneaking suspicion that Adam liked Tina Schwettman, but I ended up running into Tina in college and when I asked her about that she denied it.

Then today I received this in an email...

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on your blog mentioning me in the Bleyl choir talent show in 1982! It is so funny that you would remember that night. I moved to Hong Kong after 8th grade (I know I sang the song in 7th grade...did I do it again the next year?

And just to set the record straight....I had a thing for Tina since 4th grade :-)

From...yep...you guessed it. Adam Levowitz.

Can I just say I love the internet? I mean seriously. How else would I have gotten an email from a guy I kind of knew in junior high 26 years after the infamous choir concert of 1982 (where I sang The Rose with some girl I can't even remember)? And I knew he liked Tina! I just knew it.

Oh and Tina if you're reading this...call me!

Please. I am boring myself! - updated...

I've been somewhat absent from my blog for the past few days. I've posted stuff, but I haven't felt like writing stuff. I've just slapped some stuff on here. And while the post about spanking some mosquito hiney was written, it wasn't really thought through. It was frustration coming to fruition on my blog. Then I posted pictures of desserts, and while quite delectable they weren't really much of a post per say. And now here I sit with not much on my mind. So I have decided to do what I've done in the past when I get this way. I'm taking questions. Now in the past when I have taken questions I didn't get many. I am hoping that it was because there just weren't that many people reading my blog. I know there are more of you out there now. I see the stat counter. Please...help me out of my slump. Ask me something. Anything. I will try to answer it. Please. Brian is out of town, and it is hot as blazes in my apartment. Give me something to do. I'm begging you.

Update - please, please if you have been a lurker on my site...step out of the shadows and ask me a question. i see you. now i want to hear from you too!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

desserts to die for

Last night we went out to eat with some friends. We left all 8 kids at home. Lucky them. Here are pictures of our desserts. I couldn't resist. They were yummy!

And this is what we left for the kids to have for dessert. Pronounced neg - row.

Not as good as an oreo, but it works.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

here they are.

In the past several weeks I have been asked by two people who are relatively new readers to my blog why there are only videos of Brian on the blog. How come Brian didn't turn the tables and take video of me. I have put videos of me on the blog, but it's been awhile. And right now if someone were to take a video of me all they would see is me scratching all my mosquito bites. So here are links to two videos of me. One by AG and one by Brian. Oh...and most of the posts with videos can be found under the video label in the side bar. Unless I forgot to label one which is entirely possible. Enjoy.

A warning

Remember that camping trip we went on last week? The one where my husband cried in the video because he was being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Yeah...that's the one. Well I am somewhat upset about one of the outcomes of that trip. See when Brian gets a mosquito bite he feels it. He can swat at the offending mosquito and at least make an attempt to kill it. He may end up mosquito bitten, but he has wreaked havoc on the mosquito population anywhere near him by killing a number of their little friends. Mosquitoes don't stand a chance around him.

Then there's me. I don't feel the mosquitoes when they bite me. My kids were swatting at mosquitoes all evening. Brian was crying and whining about the mosquitoes, and I just sat there. Occasionally one of the kids would smack me under the pretense that I had a mosquito on me. I didn't believe them, because I never felt any biting me. I could see the bites on my family, but I was immune to those mosquitoes. Or so I thought. 2 days after arriving at home I started feeling those bites. And at last count I had 23 mosquito bites on my left leg below my knee. 23! The right leg has just as many. I have three on my face and neck. I have some on my back and one in an unmentionable place. I have been taking benedryl, because I can barely stand the itching. And the thing is I wouldn't mind the bites so much if I had gotten a few punches in myself. I just sat there and let them eat me. Mosquitoes heed my warning. Next time I even so much as see a mosquito I am spanking me some mosquito butt. For real!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Anna Grace reporting

Anna Grace often absconds with my camera. Most of the time I have no idea she has even had the camera, because she puts it back in the case when she is done. It isn't until I am uploading pictures to my computer that I realize she has been busy. Tonight I discovered this picture.

Click on it to enlarge it to see what it says. I laughed. Heartily. Ahhh...that Anna Grace.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday



Notice that we had the same haircut.

41 isn't that old.

Today is CJ's birthday. You may know her as Witty. Or Charlie. Or Carleh. Or maybe even something else. I'm sure she has been called many other names over the years. Well today she is 41. I sent her this e-card because it made me laugh...especially the end. Hee hee!

CJ and I met online in February through the world of blogging. Then in March I had the opportunity to meet her in person. Here is that story. And while we have had quite a few ups and downs in our brief friendship she is someone I am so glad I know. Thanks, CJ, for being such a great friend. And Happy Birthday!

Leave your birthday wishes here, and I'll make sure she gets them!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Tonight for dinner I made biscuits and gravy. Not the most healthy thing we could have had, but it was the requested meal. When we lived in the states I never made biscuits from scratch. Oh there was a time I used Bisquick and called them homemade, but now I know that they really weren't. There is no such thing as a can of biscuits here. You can't find them frozen or premade in any shape or fashion. In fact biscuits aren't something Turks even eat. I mean they would if they had them, but it isn't a normal bread form here.

So the biscuit recipe I usually use is this...2 cups of self-rising flour and 1 cup of heavy cream. That is it. Mix it together roll or press them to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut out with a glass. Now they don't have self-rising flour here so I add 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt to the flour and mix before I add the cream. The biscuits are to die for in my opinion. So easy and so yummy. If you want you can add some sugar...maybe 1/4 cup to the dry ingredients if you like your biscuits sweeter.

But tonight I had to use a different recipe. I was out of cream, and I had already started mixing up the other ingredients. I quickly found a recipe for buttermilk biscuits and since I had ayran which is a yogurt drink similiar to buttermilk I decided to go that route. After mixing the dry ingredients I started to cut in the butter. Wow...memories flooded over me. Then I added the buttermilk and almost started to cry. My grandmother made buttermilk biscuits every time I went to visit her. She mixed them with her hands...exactly like I was doing. The smell of the buttermilk as I mixed it in was like stepping back in time. The movement of my hands as I slowly formed a ball of dough in the middle of the bowl...picking up more and more flour from the sides as I moved my hand around transported me back to her kitchen in the tiny town of Emerson, Arkansas.

I'll never forget that place. That house. That kitchen. Where so many memories were cooked up. Memories of homemade sweet pickles...juicy and sticky. Memories of fried fish. Memories of chicken and dumplings, turnip greens, purple hull peas, cornbread, and chocolate pie. There were lots of other memories made there, but tonight it was the thought of the food that overwhelmed me. And even though I have learned to make many of those things they still don't taste quite like hers did.

ag's guest post

Anna Grace has requested to do a guest blog post on my site. I am handing over the keyboard to her. Ladies and Gentlemen...Anna Grace.

The camping trip was so fun. We went on two trails. After we went on the 2nd trail Jacob and I were aloud to walk in the stream with our shoes on. We saw a mouse and a frog that looked like it was dead. Erica caught a baby frog and I caught a tadpole. Will and Erica were scared wile we were going there and wile we were coming back, because of the big cliff. The last time we went there were baby frogs everywhere. We got to feed a little bird. This has been Anna Grace Dixon with your camping report.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ahhh...the great outdoors.

So we went camping. And honestly I don't have much to say about it except it was beautiful. The weather was perfect and the green was needed. It was nice to get out of the concrete jungle for a few hours. Here are some pictures and some commentary when necessary.

The road to the camping spot. This was the good part of the road.

One of my most favorite things about Turkish culture is their sense of hospitality. This particular camping spot doesn't allow you to build fires on the ground. They have these community grills set up so that all fires are contained in one place. While Brian was cooking the people you see behind him came over and gave us half of a watermelon. They cut it and basically made us all eat some.

Later another group of campers came and gave Brian this plate of rice. It was delicious! There were tiny pieces of shredded chicken mixed in. It tasted just like Cajun jambalaya. I almost went over and got the recipe! The next morning a man stopped by while we were having breakfast with a loaf of bread from his father-in-law's bakery. Seriously...we were sad we couldn't share our food. I mean we could have, but I'm pretty sure the bags of chips and snack cakes from a package wouldn't have been appreciated. I'm telling you...nobody does camping and picnic food like the Turks!

This little bird hopped around our table anytime we were sitting there. At one point he hopped onto the table to make sure we saw him. It was nice seeing some wildlife. This may not seem like wildlife to you, but we don't get much in Ankara. Lots of pigeons and not much else. We also watched frogs, tadpoles, and a snake swimming in the water, a little brown mouse come out of his hole to get some of the bread crumbs left by the birds, and a squirrel playing in the trees.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books
Brian's take on our camping trip.

Having an evening snack. I think Jacob was in the bathroom!

The kids and Brian getting ready for our hike the next morning. Jacob was in the bathroom again. Doesn't Brian look thrilled!

Notice the rockin' camp hairdo!

This hollowed out log was next to the waterfall. They had piped water over to it so people could get a drink without actually having to walk in the water.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Ok...stealing another idea here! Because what's a good idea if it can't be stolen. So Marie came up with an idea for a YouYou. Then Ronnica shamelessly stole it and changed the questions. Now I am going to take a shot at it as well. The way you play...leave me a comment. Say anything you want in the comment. Then it's my turn. I will respond to these 4 items based on YOU!

1. I'll remind you of the first time we met. (If I haven't ever met you I'll just make something up!)
2. Where I would go on vacation with you.
3. What superhero you remind me of.
4. The one food item we love to share.

If you have a blog I will be scouring it for some hints as to who you are so make sure to leave me your blog address! Thanks for playing. (EDIT - It's never too late to get in on this action. Just leave me a comment here, and I will do a youyou for you! If you have a blog make sure you leave the address or that it is in your profile. Thanks for playing!)

(Aren't you glad I am coming home today? I'll actually have time to sit down and write a post instead of scheduling them to post while I'm gone. And I know...I didn't have to post anything...I just thought it would be fun! Now...get to commenting! I'll be back soon!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Open Thursday

Today we are packing the family up and headed out for an overnight camping trip. We are going to this place. We've been there twice before, but for some reason I never had my camera. I wanted pictures and have managed to whine about wanting to go back enough that Brian has finally given in. Brian doesn't mind camping so much. We went some when we lived in the states. He just doesn't like camping in the summer. In the heat. In the humidity. This place is up in the mountains so hopefully it won't be too hot...or humid. So I am calling this day...Open Thursday. Share what you want in the comments. Have a discussion amongst yourselves. I am turning off comment moderation so that they can publish all on their own. Please don't disappoint me. When I get back on Friday I want to see that people had fun in my comment section. Clean, wholesome fun. (Don't you just love when I throw that in there?)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

post-secret-esque wednesday

i am wondering what to blog about today. and really...i have nothing. i don't want to be one of those people who feels the need to pump out a blog post just because it is a new day...especially when my forced posts read just like that...forced. so i thought we would do something i've seen on other blogs. we are going to call this post-secret-esque wednesday after the postsecret blog site and books. the comments are open for you to share an anonymous secret. just click on the anonymous button in the comment section and share whatever you want. i do have a site counter, but i can't ever tell who leaves a comment so no worries that i will try to figure out who you are. besides that would take away from the whole point of this post. judging from the overwhelming responses on other blogs i know that most of us carry around a lot of baggage. here is your chance to spill it. and at some point i'll share a secret of mine as well. so share...your secret is safe with me!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Toothpaste misadventures.

Yesterday I went to the store to pick up a few things and found this on sale. Signal toothpaste. Normally toothpaste here is very expensive, but this particular box was on the 1 lira table! Wow! For less than a dollar I can buy a large tube of toothpaste.

I got home with my purchases and listened to the kids argue about who got to claim this tube of toothpaste for their very own. There is no such thing as sharing a tube of toothpaste in this house. One kid squeezes from the bottom, one never remembers to put the lid back on, one smears toothpaste all over the top of the tube, and so on. I was wishing I had purchased 4 tubes of toothpaste so that there didn't have to be a discussion about it!

As the kids discussed ownership of the toothpaste I happened to glance down at the box. I read through the ingredients so I could be a more informed consumer or something. Calcium Carbonate, Aqua, Sorbitol, and so on and so on. Until I came the the last ingredient in the toothpaste...

Formaldehyde. WHAT? Isn't that what they use in embalming? Isn't that what the frogs and worms in my biology class soaked in as they waited to be dissected? Do all toothpastes contain Formaldehyde? I checked the Colgate and the other tube of Signal and they didn't list this as an ingredient.

Now I don't know what to do. Throw away this brand new tube of toothpaste because it contains something that sounds a little iffy to me or be thankful that it contains a preservative of such high quality that it will eliminate the need to visit the dentist.

Monday, July 07, 2008


I love music. A lot. I think good music combined with good lyrics just can't be beat. Being at the 4th of July celebration on the military base gave me the opportunity to hear some really good songs. And some not so good ones. So I've been doing some thinking. Mostly about old songs and what they remind me of. So here is my list. Songs that bring back memories...

The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band. My dad had this 8-track, and we listened to it all the time. We also heard a lot of Statler Brothers, Merle Haggard, and Charlie Pride.

Babe by Styx. When I was in junior high choir Adam Levowitz sang this song at a choir concert. He was moving away at the end of the year so it was like an anthem of sorts. It was the first time I remember hearing the song, and I have loved it ever since. I also had a sneaking suspicion that Adam liked Tina Schwettman, but I ended up running into Tina in college and when I asked her about that she denied it.

Working for the Weekend by Loverboy. This song reminds me of my friend Julie Cravey. She had their Get Lucky album, and I felt a combination of intrigue and shock by the cover. Tight red leather pants would never have been allowed in my house.

Mickey by Tony Basil. When I was in junior high there was a radio station in town called 79Q. Later it became 93Q and they played top 40 music. They handed out what they called cheat sheets at the malls. Mickey was one of those. It had the lyrics to the song and other info on it. I thought it was so cool to collect those things!

The Search is Over by Survivor. When I was in 10th grade our school won a contest on 93Q so they sent a DJ to one of our dances. The week before the dance they asked us to call in with song requests for that night. I called in this song and dedicated it to the guy I liked at the time. I went to the dance, and he didn't. Mortifying!

Amy Grant. Pretty much anything by Amy reminds me of my senior year of high school. My best friend, Mentanna, loved Amy and vowed to meet her one day. She worked at a Christian book store after college for awhile and ended up having lunch with Amy.

Don't You Wanna Rap? by Bryan Duncan. One semester in college Mentanna dj'ed for the college radio station on Sunday mornings. We would call her up and request this song every time.

I look back on that random sampling of songs and while they didn't really have lasting influence they still gave me memories. I could list a dozen more that did the same. Now I think so much deeper when it comes to music. I stop what I am doing when certain songs come on. I want to really listen. I play parts of songs over and over to really hear what is being said. I look up lyrics online so that I can be sure to know the words. I can't imagine what I will feel down the road when I hear songs that have meaning to me today. What emotions will they evoke? Will I just smile and make a list to post on my future blog or will I stop what I am doing and feel the words? Get lost in the memories? Since my love of music has just gotten stronger over the years I have a feeling I will not be able to do anything but stop and listen. And remember.

Which songs bring back memories for you? Do you have a current favorite? I would love to know!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Not an Espy, not an Emmy, not an Oscar...

but an Arte! I've been given an Arte!

Actually I've been given an Arte Y Pico. Which is totally cool because what little bit of Spanish I used to know has totally been taken over by Turkish. I can't even begin to decipher this website. I have no idea what this award is really for. I just have to take whoever translated this websites word for it.

"This award was created and to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creativity and their talents, also for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium. When you receive this award it is considered a 'special honor'.

And I do...I totally do consider it a special honor! I first received this award on Saturday from one of my favorite bloggers ever...the illustrious Over-Thinker who loves my blog so much that she even got her cat, Fidget, addicted to it!


And she doesn't really know me and doesn't have to shower me with compliments. But I love that she did! It totally made my day!

Then on Sunday as I debated who to give this award to I decided to award it to LiteralDan who is a daddyblogger of the highest order! So I hopped on over to his site and discovered this! Again...I was recognized by someone I love reading! How fun is that?

I really am honored that they chose to give this award to me. I have been blogging for 2 years, and this is the first time I have ever been given an award. So thanks guys! I really appreciate the love.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for. It's time to share the love!

The rules for passing on this honor:

1) Pick 5 blogs that you would like to award this honor to.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of 'Arte y Pico' blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award."

(And I totally plagiarized The Over-Thinker who plagiarized Hyphen Mama who previously plagiarized LouCeel on anything written in green type. Plagiarizing...the gift that keeps on giving and giving.)

And now it is my turn to pass this award on to 5 bloggers who inspire me.

Happy Meals & Happy Hour
Totally makes me laugh until I cry! So funny! This is a relatively new blog with only 39 posts, but if those posts give a glimpse into what Sue has in store for us in later posts you might want to make sure you're not drinking anything and that your bladder is empty. Seriously! Anyone who can take a Bratz doll and turn it into a major blog character deserves some recognition! I love you BG! Oh...and you too, Sue!

Nanny Goats in Panties
I mean just the name makes me laugh! This Sacramento blogger loves to recycle and refuses to go hands free! You must go read her. Get to know her. And unlike some of us she is an actual writer. I am always inspired by actual writers! The way their words just flow...man!

Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat?
Kiki and Greta are my dieting heroes! I love that they have tried just about every diet there is and then blog about it! They've even tried some I've never heard of! They are best friends blogging and who wouldn't love to share a blog with their best friends?

Musings of a Barefoot Foodie
Brittany has got to be one of the funniest people ever! Her recent eyebrow herpes just about put me over the edge! And how many people can write a post about mangos and John Tesh? That is talent! And she is a foodie and you know how much I love food.

Thursday Drive
This blog is a great combination of wit and poignancy. It makes me think. And she totally played in the World Series of Poker which makes her funny, serious, and just plain cool! And again...she's a writer. Like a real one!

Oh...and here we are walking the red carpet to the actual Arte Y Pico award ceremony. Don't we look fabulous?

Oh...and if you have already received this award just consider this further recognition of your awesomeness!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

In Brian's defense...

David Lee Roth

Eddie Van Halen


Yeah...I can totally see what he was seeing...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Over-indulgence in all things American!

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th with lots of other Americans on the military base here in town. They had bbq pork sandwiches, Dr. Pepper, Root Beer, Crunchy Cheetos, and many other American goodies for us to indulge in. Yummy!

This picture was taken shortly after we arrived. Brian commented that I looked like that guy...um...what's his name? Eddie Van Halen. Um...ok. Then he said let me take your picture so you can see yourself. Um...ok. Then he said it was more like a cross between Eddie and David Lee Roth! Since I happen to love Van Halen I am pretty ok with that. I mean hello...Panama? Who didn't love that song?

Speaking of music the entertainment at the festivities this year was great! No Turkish Elvis Impersonators. The band played a great mix of songs from almost every genre. And then between sets they blasted songs from Maroon 5, Def Leppard, Evanescence, Eric Clapton, Bryan Adams, Newsboys, Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Eagles among others.

Brian and Will enjoyed a game of basketball with a few other people.

There were Starbucks employees walking around giving out free coffee. That would have been nice if it hadn't been stinkin' hot outside. Oh well...it was the thought that counted.

Will and I enjoyed throwing the ol' pigskin around. Now let me say this before everyone else does. I throw like a girl. Most of the time. But keep in mind that this picture is of me in motion. I am not holding the ball at the end. It is beginning to move away from my hand at this point. Adam took this picture. He took it because he and Brian want to show the football guys that "even Brian's wife has good form. She is throwing off her front foot. She has her elbow up. Come on guys even Natalie can do it." I will confess that I am totally weak. If Will had been much further away there is no way I could have thrown the football hard enough to reach him. Later we changed to a Nerf football, and then my throwing ability improved dramatically. I may not be good, but I am willing.

Jacob hurt his leg climbing on some rocks so he was sitting out for a bit. We took this opportunity to get some pictures with him.

Notice the crime scene tape in the background. There really wasn't a crime directly behind us. That area was set aside for important people. We sat as close to the important people as we could. It didn't make us feel more important though. Actually it reminded us of how unimportant we really were. Oh well...we were having fun! And that is what counted.

Will doing what he does best. Entertain the little kids. Seriously...they all love him, and he loves it. He would be an awesome babysitter. He wants to babysit. He doesn't think it's fair that the girls in his class get all the babysitting calls. He thinks he is being sexually discriminated against. Call him!

Hope your day was awesome.

Yeah...we laughed.

Approximately one hour after Brian mentioned that his chair felt slightly unstable...

Yeah...I'm taking your picture...smile!