bir dostun ardından…

Aşağıdaki yazıyı 4-5 gun önce yazıp post etmeye içim elvermemişti. Ama 11 yıllık sadık dostum, kızım Buffy artık bizimle değil. Sadece köpek sahiplerinin anlayabileceği bir bağ vardı aramızda. Yokluğunu çok hissediyoruz. Binlerce sabah – tam 3000 küsur- sevinçle beni karşılayan ve yolcu eden evimizin ferdi artık yok. Her köpek sahibi, ilk köpek alırken bilir ki, muhtemelen kendisi o canlıdan daha fazla yaşayacak ve er geç o gün gelecek. Buffy vucudunu saran kanserle aylarca savastı. Son 20 gun cok yoruldu, bir gram yemek kabul etmedi vucudu ve sürekli serum takviyesi yaptık. Artık yemek yiyemez, yürüyemez ve köpek gibi kaliteli yaşayamayınca onu bu acıdan erkenden kurtarsak mı diye çok düşündük. Düşünürken acaba bir ümit var mı diye tedavilerden cevap bekledik. Aşağıdaki yazı işte o son günlerden. Çok iyi veterinerle, çabalarken bir sabah çok güçlü bir krizle karşılaştık. Koşarak veterinere yetiştirdik. Artık gözleri korkuyor ve çok çok yorgun olduğunu gösteriyordu. Ne kadar güzel yaşadıysa, o kadar da güzel bir ölümü haketti Buffy. Çok zor da olsa, daha fazla acı çekmeden en sevdiği ve güvendiği 2 insanın yanında uyuyarak bize veda etti.

İnsanların çok daha büyük acılar yaşadığı bu hayatta, bir köpek için bu kadar mesele edilir mi diye düşünebiliriz. Ama geçtiğimiz yıllarda bazı yakın çevremin bildiği travmalar bile, beni Buffy’yi kaybettiğim güne duyarsız yapmadı. İnsan kalbinde herkese yetecek kadar yer var sanırım. Ve birini kaybedince, onun acısı ayrı oluyor.

Fotograftaki gibi, bir gün hepimizin gideceği meçhul yerde koşup oynadığını ümit ediyorum.

Buffy and Bono @ Shelby farms… Memphis, TN

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GITMEYE HAZIR :(

Son günlerde sabahları, köpeğim Buffy’nin gözlerine bakmak için uyanıyorum. Genelde sabah normal insanlar uyanıp tuvalete girer, yüzünü gözünü yıkar. Bizim evde ise sabah saatleri için fazla neşeli ya da ağlayan çocuklar, onun üzerine çılgınca sallanan kuyruklar ve bu arada bir yandan kahvaltı hazırlamalar, bir yandan servise yetişen çantalar, bir yandan acilen çişe cıkması gereken köpekler, bir karmaşa bir güne hazırlık koşturmasıdır sürer gider. Son 2 yıldır, ancak arabaya bindiğimde tuvalete gitmeyi unutmuş olduğumu farkettğin günler oldu. Her sabah için 2 çocuk, 2 köpek çok mutlu aile tablosu çizecek halim yok. Çizenlere de ayrıca gıcık oluyorum. Herkesin her an mutlu olmasını beklemek imkansız. Ancak evimizin küçük fertlerinden ve ortamdan tek eksik olmayan bitmek tükenmek bilmeyen enerjidir.

İşte bu günlerde evimizin bir ferdinde bu enerji maalesef yok. 11 senedir her eve geldiğimde sanki günlerdir beni görmemişçesine üstüme atlayan, sabah alarmdan sonra 2 dakika uyusam protestolarıma aldırmadan anında yalayan, her buzdolabına gittiğimde yanımdan ayrılmayan köpeğim Buffy sabah kalkmıyor, yemek yemiyor, ve vücudunu saran kansere karşı artık çok da sağlam duramıyor.

Her evcil hayvan sahibinin korktuğu o “karar” gününün cevabı işte bende her sabah Buffy’nin gözlerinde aranıyor. Sadece evcil hayvan sahiplerinin anlayabileceği o gözlerdeki herşeyi bilen anlamlı bakışın arkasında artık gitme zamanının gelip gelmediğini sorguluyorum. Dün veterinerde 5 saat geçirdikten sonra, karar gününün çok da uzak olmadığını biliyorum.

4 sene önce annemi akciğer kanserine kaybetmiş ve birebir tedavisinde bazı zamanlar kararları kendi başıma verme zorunluluğunda kalmak zorunda olmuş olsam bile, Tanrı’yı oynamak sorumluluğumuzdaki herkes için çok zor, bu bir hayvan olsa bile.

20 yıldır hemen hergün evimde bir köpeğim oldu. İlk yıllarda insan onların duygularının, hislerinin bizimle aynı olduğunu düsünüyor. Sonra 100lerce köpeği barınaklardan kurtardıktan, evimde çok fena durumdaki köpekleri iyileştirdikten, bazını iyileştiremedikten sonra onların dünyasının çok farklı olduğunu anladım. Köpek ve insan ilişkisinde 2 değişmez kural var “karşılıksız sevgi” ve “sahiplik sorumluluğu”. Kimin karşılıksız sevgi verme konusunda kapasitesi olduğunu söylemeye gerek yok. Maalesef ben dahil kimse, evlatlarımızı bile severken köpeklerin dünyasındaki karşılıksız sevgiyi sorgusuz sualsiz verme kapasitesinde değil. Hergün dayak yiyen, bahçenin bir köşesine atılmış, aç bırakılmış hayvanlar geldi evime. Havlulara, pamuklara sarıp baktık. Yine de ilk günler sahipleri evleri için ağlayıp uludular. İşte bu nedenle, bir köpeğin en temel ihtiyacı ona ev, yemek ve huzur sağlayabilecek bir sahiptir. Belki de biz “kırık” insanların da en büyük ihtiyacı “karşılıksız sevgi” olduğundan köpek insan ilişkisi yüzyıllardır sürer. Maalesef de bu ilişkide kurala uymayan yine çoğunlukla insandır.

Buffy 100lerce köpek arasında kendi sahsına munhasır özellikleri olan bir köpek. Bunların en önemlisi bitmek tükenmek bilmeyen bir iştah, koşma ve oynama ihtiyacı ve sarsak bir mutluluk geliyor. Ama bugunlerde bunların hiçbiriyle işi yok.

İşte maalesef bu günlerde sabah beni çok hasta ve gözleri “gitmeye hazır” bir köpek karşılıyor…

Foamy shawlette / Kopuk sal

I decided to move back to my original blog location… I have less and less time to blog these days and hosting “on my own” was creating additional burden on me…

I apologize for those of you who couldn’t reach my Foamy pattern for the past week…

Please feel free to comment on here if you have any questions… thanks again for your interest in my pattern.

foamy_26_12_09 (in english)

kopuk (turkce)

Baklava…

baklava_2I am sorry, but this is not a post about a recipe for “baklava” … I do have a recipe for baklava with store-bought-phyllo dough, but I have to post that when I am in the US… Over here in Turkey, there is no need to make your own… Almost every neighborhood has a store that specializes only in “desserts”… These pictures are the very reason why we Middle Easterners look down on the baklava in the US and other western countries… Although I usually prefer almost every food home-made…The home-made baklava unfortunately can never beat the professional-made in this case. Please look at the pictures closely, I cannot even count the layers.. all these layers are hand rolled, buttered and baked to perfection… hopefully, I will have a chance to take photos in a “baklava store” and post the process here….

baklava_3

Until then enjoy the photos… These are from Gulluoglu Karakoy to me it’s the best baklava in Istanbul. (again, just like there are a gazillion versions of pizza out there, there are a gazillion versions of baklava, and everyone’s preference is different). For my US readers, just a while ago, Gulluoglu opened a location in NYC. We ordered from there before for gatherings in Memphis. Although not as good as their location in Istanbul it’s pretty respectable. Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the products is the same, it’s just not “perfect” and  just cannot be, since I am sure they cannot find the same ingredient choices and vendors over there. If you decide to order, try the “burma kadayif” as well… that product is almost identical to the ones in Turkey…

adventures in Istanbul series… vol.1. Pierre Loti & macun (candy on a stick)

Macun getting ready to be rolled on sticks...

Macun getting ready to be rolled on sticks...

*Turkce blog icin yazinin sonundaki linke tiklayin… Macun bizim kulturumuze ait birsey oldugundan, bu yazi icin Turk olanlarin Turkce blogu okumasini tavsiye ederim… Ingilizce yazi daha cok yabancilara yonelik…

I have been collecting so much material to post in Istanbul and other cities we are visiting in Turkey. I find it almost impossible to update the blog in the evenings… And then after a few days pass I am not that interested in that place, or topic that I thought about… I had writer’s blocks before… but I am new to this opposite… There are too many things to post, but I just don’t know where to begin… it’s very similar to having too many knitting projects on the needles…
So for a few days I will try to post instant updates “from location” using my iPhone… this post was meant to be a test post, but I couldn’t figure out how to upload my pictures. (will solve that soon). Of course the quality of the photos will suffer, hopefully the content will make up for it. I will try to follow with more explanatory posts such as this one, especially if I am writing about a location, restaurant etc. Feel free to comment and and ask for additional info…

The view from Pierre Loti Cafe

The view from Pierre Loti Cafe

Today we were at Pierre Loti Cafe in Eyup. It’s interesting that I have never been there for the 7 years I lived in Istanbul although it’s just the type of place that I would enjoy… We also found out that neither my husband nor my best friend’s husband has been there… Since Ferda (my best friend) has been the only one that has been there, she also took the courtesy to drive the car through the claustrophobic Eyup weekend traffic ruled by chaos.  This historic cafe, or more appropriately tea/coffee house, has direct panaromic view of the “the Golden Horn“. We sat at a back table under the trees and sipped our tea.

When I walked down to take the above picture I saw a vendor selling “macun” (direct translation “paste”). This is a form of chewy candy that is wrapped on sticks. It comes in various colors and aromas… There really isn’t something identical to macun in the modern candy culture. The taste is identical to hard candy, but it’s as chewy as marshmallow but you cannot bite into it. The candy sticks to your teeth for dear life. The best part is to order what you want, and then you have the option to have the top dipped in lemon.

see that lemon waiting for its own share of this perfect candy...

see that lemon waiting for its own share of this perfect candy...

We used to have these candy vendors all around the shopping areas when we were kids. Then when candies started being produced and sold by factories these vendors dissappeared. In my hometown, we used to have something similar to the ice cream trucks… but instead of mobile ice cream, these vendors provided a “mobile merry-go-round”. When I heard the music of the approaching truck, I used to run upstairs to get permission and coins from my mom… That same truck also sold “macun”… I guess I learned about that tactic in my MBA class as product lining (marketing strategy of offering for sale several related products).

I haven’t seen a macun vendor for at least 15 years. I was soooo happy to be able to offer my kids macun… Of course I also got one for myself… But you really have to be a child to appreciate the soft candy sticking to your teeth while your are trying to manouver the dangling strings from your chin… As expected “macun” won their hearts immediately, nothing can beat that smile in a child’s eyes when they find some new taste and enjoy it to the last bite…

the best tastes always come wrapped around a stick!!

the best tastes always come wrapped around a stick!!

Turkce blog icin tiklayin bakalim!

Beehive hat… (ari kovani sapka)

*Turkce blog icin yazinin sonundaki linki tiklayabilirsiniz.

hat_3

 Noro Hat by Saartje de Bruijn (this pattern is free)
Yarn: Rozetti Panco, worsted 10 ply, 100% soft acrylic (very similar to Vanna’s choice) 100gr / 224 yard (205 meters)
Color: Dark Purple, 1/2 ball , Lavender 1/2 ball
Needles: don’t know exactly probably 6mm or 7mm, gauge : 13 stitches to 4″ (10cm)

I had this hat on my “ravelry favorites” for a while. I wasn’t planning to knit it anytime soon though, at least until next fall…
When we arrived at Eskisehir a few days ago… It would be nice to say we froze our rears off… the wind and the cold kicked our butts… of course, since we had spring in full swing back in Memphis and since I had no intentions to pack all winter, spring and summer clothes, we had no beanies for the kids… My MIL found a hat for my son, who has a huge head and would be fine with an adult size hat… my daughter on the other hand, refuses to wear hats and can only wear extra soft, loose hats, that she likes the colors of… again, she is only 2, but she is a she like many people who read this blog and I am sure most could very well relate…

I knit this hat on 2 needles instead of the circular ones that the pattern calls for because I didn’t have my needles with me. We are visiting my in laws and I didn’t bring all my needles. I felt like a chef without my own knives…

I had to knit it quickly, so I held 2 strands together of this worsted weight yarn and knitted with the largest needles in my MIL needle stash. The needles were really old and I wasn’t able to read the size. They were made in UK and in mint shape… it is bad for my blog, but good for the project. I got 13 stitches to 4” (10cm). I actually didn’t gauge my work first -I know, I know put me in knitting jail this time-, and I made a hat for my daughter’s baby doll instead (see below picture)… I wonder if I learned my lesson about gauging yet, please remind me next time when I screw up a day’s worth of work…
baby_hat2My daughter’s head circumference is 50cm and I cast on 65 for her hat.
For the doll’s hat, I cast on 40 which is perfect size for a newborn (this doll is huge and I am pretty sure it will fit a newborn). Again, don’t forget, I held 2 strands together and got 13 stitches to 4”.

I knit 4 rows, purled 4 rows with the same color ( 8 rows per color) per original directions. This pattern is so simple, yet very clever and looks amazing.

My daughter is one of those toddlers who refuses to wear hats, so far she loved this hat, because it’s a bit loose on her head without falling on her eyes…

The yarn that I used was purchased by my husband’s aunt here at the local yarn store and is almost identical to Vanna’s Choice. It might very well be from the factory who makes Vanna’s choice, since that’s also made in Turkey.

The last modification I made was I made decreases early on and more agressively. I started after 32 rows. First I decreased twice on alternating rows, then on every row. Again, I used 2 needles and knew that the “beehive” effect wasn’t going to happen… All I needed to knit was 40 rows on 2 needles…
hat_4

I am pretty happy with how this pattern turned out. And will make more with using DK weight and circular needles…
Turkce blog icin tiklayin bakalim!

Daisy my love… thank you my love…

daisy

Instead of the Elmo pinata that I wished for, here’s what I got from my husband for my birthday!!!

For some reason these wild daisies are not available where we live in the US… I guess, since you can pick them up for free, they don’t care to sell them?? Shame on them!!

I have always been in love with them, and this was also my husband’s first birthday gift when we started dating… it was a great surprise, and we filled 4 vases with it!!! the next time I am planning to ask him for a flower bucket to go along with it…

Hugs and happy spring… g.

Turkce blog icin tiklayin bakalim!

Turkish Empanadas / Pogaca

*Turkce blog icin yazinin sonundaki linke tiklayiniz…

I apologize  for not being able to update the blog for the past few days… We travelled from the US to Turkey… As many of you know we have twin toddlers and it’s a lot of work to fly with them. Add to that tiredness level some jetlag and you have the perfect storm situation for ignoring your blog…

pogaca_1

I am very excited about the next few months that I will be blogging from Turkey though… It’s impossible not to be inspired from local produce and local food here. I hope to share lots of recipes and stories for sure… For my knitter readers, I am planning to hit the local yarn stores and post info on them…

Today’s blog topic is again a “staple baked good” in Turkey. I actually didn’t even like naming them empanadas… Yet again, “empanada” or “pogaca” type baked good is not yet adapted to the English language. I am sure you got the idea.

This recipe is from many of the newspaper clippings that my mother left me. She loved clipping things from newspapers, from recipes to skincare tips… she loved reading every little detail on the paper… and I inherited a huge stack of them. I love the recipe for it’s use of vinegar. Anytime vinegar enters a pastry and if it works I adopt and adore that recipe… It just adds a crunch and nice crumbly-melt-in-your-mouth texture when it works…

I also noticed that one of the food blogs that I follow, Shuna writes her ingredients as “item first, measurement last”… She also has an explanation here. I liked it a lot, it was a lot easier for me to read and double up her recipes. Please let me know what you think.

pogaca_steps-copy

Mom’s Pogaca

Ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup
  • Melted butter, 1/2 cup
  • Whole milk yogurt, plain, 1/2 cup
  • Egg, 1 whole
  • Vinegar, 1 tablespoon
  • Baking powder, 1 teaspoon
  • All purpose flour, 2-2.5 cups

for top: 1 egg yolk, black cumin or black sesame seeds

-Pour the melted butter and the olive oil in a deep bowl

-Add the yogurt and egg, mix. Add the vinegar and the baking powder

-Slowly mix in the flour… First mix the 2 cups… The dough needs to be soft but workable… Add until it becomes a ball. In winter I tend to use about 2.5 cups in summer I tend to add more…

-Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

-While the dough is resting prepare favorite filling. We like feta cheese or potato filling.

  • for feta cheese filling: Mix 1/2 lb of feta with 1/4 cup parsley. Add paprika and pepper.
  • for potato filling: boil 2 med size potatoes. Dice, add tomato paste as an option. Add paprika and pepper.

-Form walnut size balls, press the balls between your palm to make discs. Put 1 teaspoonful filling in the middle. Close and seal the edges to make “D” shape.

-Brush with egg yolk, and sprinkle black sesame seeds…

-Bake at 385F for 20-25 minutes until  the bottoms are golden brown.

Cyber hugs, g.

Turkce blog icin tiklayin bakalim!