Archive | April 2013

Mini Sunday: Everyday Accessory

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I have to jump the gun a day on my Mini Monday post in order to wish my hubby a very happy sixth anniversary!

I have never been big on jewelry, much to my grandmother’s chagrin (dad’s side), although I’ve been trying to incorporate necklaces and occasionally even a bracelet into my outfits recently. However there is one accessory that I’ve worn daily for about 6.5 years (if you count the engagement period) — my wedding/engagement rings.

My wedding rings are special for the usual reasons — that when I look at them I think of my hubby’s sweet smile, the day we got engaged, walking down the aisle on our wedding day … the list goes on and on. But I have an extra reason to love my rings — the two bands that are connected were my grandmother’s wedding and engagement rings (on my mom’s side). The two of us were very close and when she passed away a little more than a decade ago, my heart broke. I struggle with the fact that she never got to know my husband (and that he never got to know her). She was such a remarkable woman and by having her rings I feel like she’s with me daily.

My grandparents were married April 10, 1942 and my hubby and I got married 65 years (and a few weeks) after their special day. My grandmother wore her rings for a nearly 60 years and I certainly hope to have the chance to do the same.

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Gettin’ Hip

iPhoneI love technology — particularly shiny new Apple toys. I’ve got a relatively new MacBook Pro that I use for work whenever I travel and an iPad mini that has been a fabulous addition to the household for work and travel, but I’ve been very slow to give into the smart phone craze. My cell phone has been my primary phone for about 12 years and all I have really ever wanted to use it for is talking. I even avoided texting like the plague, finally adding 250 texts/month to my plan a year or two ago. As a freelancer I spend almost all day at my computer so I didn’t see a huge need for extra online capabilities. Did I really want to be able to work all the time?

Despite my reservations, I had been planning to make the leap to the iPhone world in 2014. I’ve reached the point where it would be helpful to have the ability to log into email while running errands or traveling, allowing me to know if I need to get back to my desk right away or, if that isn’t possible, to let clients know when I will be available.

A big part of my hesitation in making the transition has been the added cost to our cell phone bill — $30/month in data (plus who knows what taxes) adds up quickly. Was I really ready to pay an extra $400+/year? But my old dumb phone (that could be used only for calling or texting) was about 4 years old and well past its prime. Shortly before my trip to Turkey it started freaking out — getting frozen on a screen and not letting me select what I wanted. That made it difficult to call anyone, which is a bit of a problem on a phone. I didn’t think I could spend 7 more months like that, so I took the plunge and am now an iPhone user.

Along with the issues I was having with my old phone, I thought it would be good to have the new one in hand before visiting with my parents next week. Why? Because they have had iPhones for so long they will be able to teach me how to use mine… how the tables have turned.

Mini Monday: 15 Hours at Atatürk

Please enjoy this guest post from my beloved (and crazy) husband.

In order to spend an extra hour with my wife after she checked in, Istanbul_airportI decided I would just bum around the airport until my flight departed at 3 am. Here’s my record of what I did for 15 hours and 49 minutes at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

11:28 am Arrived at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

11:28-11:37 Tried to check-in and check luggage for my 3:05 am flight and found out I couldn’t check any bags until 10 pm at the earliest, but I could get a boarding card and accompany A to her gate

11:37-11:46 Cleared security and passport control

11:46-12:26 pm Sat with A just outside the additional security at her gate

12:26-12:32 Watched A go through additional security at her gate

12:32-12:38 Played cards (war) with A through the glass wall at her gate

12:38-12:42 Watched A board her flight

12:42-1:48 Perused the Duty Free: sampled 11 types of Turkish Delight and 2 types of Baklava

1:48-2:14 Surveyed the food and beverage options: was not impressed by Popeye’s or Sbarra or Burger King, but did identify cheapest vendor selling bottled water

2:14-2:22 Realized I didn’t need to lug my duffle around because they had little carts and found one

2:22-4:18 Found Gate 213 empty and napped with shoes off (to keep others away), watched a flight take off for London

4:18-5:36 Visited book store: read chapters from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Game of Groans (a parody); and Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence standing up; tried to find a Turkish Cuisine Cookbook in English (they had Spanish, Russion, Italian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic, no English—though they had plenty of Western cookbooks in English…), read the recipe for ezme (our favorite Turkish meze) in French and think I get the general gist

5:36-6:01 Bought and consumed an Ayran (yogurt drink) and bottle of water

6:01-6:29 Checked various email accounts and confirmed my ride in Kabul

6:29-7:48 Went back to Gate 213 and read some Sherlock on my Kindle and watched a flight take off for Dubai

7:48-7:59 Read about the curative powers of apricots and the “miracle” hazelnut while snacking on them and watching the sunset

7:59-8:13 Walked from one end of the international terminal to the other in 765 paces and saw a large group of Muslim pilgrims heading to Jeddah all dressed in white

8:13-8:28 Walked it a second time in 768 paces

8:28-10:02 Bought a simit (sesame roll) and another bottle of water and did a little people-watching by the “bar scene”

10:02-10:37 Found a quiet place with no one around and listened to Adele because that’s what A was listening to last

10:37-10:44 Cleaning staff decide to have an argument three feet from me when there was no one around

10:44-11:09 Listened to Flight of the Concords because we had been discussing the “Rhymnocerous” song earlier and realized there was a pedometer on my iPod

11:09-11:54 Walked 1,704 steps according to my iPod, noticed my flight finally made it onto the departure boards (bottom of the third screen at 11:06)

11:54-11:56 Texted A “H is for…” after realizing there were exactly the same number of days to our anniversary as letters in “Happy Anniversary”

11:56-12:17 am Bought second simit, which was much chewier than the first

12:17-1:03 Settled down back at Gate 213 played logic puzzles on my kindle, watch a flight depart for Ercan (the Turkish part of Cyprus)

1:03-1:07 Checked the boards and found there was still no gate assignment with 2 hours to go until departure

1:07-1:11 Ironically noted my flight was leaving from Gate 213

1:11-1:12 Receive text from A that she had landed in the U.S.

1:12-1:20 Return to Gate 213 to find it the most crowded it had been all day/night

1:20-1:39 Wondered how long it will take A to clear passport control and customs

1:39-1:44 Called A and found out she already had cleared passport control and customs and met our friends who were picking her up

1:44-2:38 Read more Sherlock and glanced repeatedly at the deserted counter because we were supposed to board at 2:05

2:38-2:52 Boarded plane

3:17 am Departed Istanbul Atatürk Airport after 15 hours and 49 minutes

If you are wondering, 15 hours of loitering was totally worth the extra time with my honey muffin.

When in Rome…

It’s always important to be flexible when traveling and realize that life just isn’t going to be the same as life at home. In Turkey my husband never wore shorts since it’s not the fashion for Middle Eastern men and I always kept a scarf handy to cover my hair when visiting a mosque. And we willingly make concessions like these because it’s the respectful thing to do.

But when I’m on an extended vacation there are always a few things about home that I miss over time, like the chance to cook dinner for ourselves or sleep in our own bed. But on this trip I was reminded of something else from home that I couldn’t wait to get back to — our toilet. And our plumbing.

Let me explain.toilet-combo

Throughout Turkey and Greece we encountered three bathroom options — the squatter, the seatless toilet, and the normal toilet — and none could handle toilet paper. So no matter which commode I encountered I had to remember to toss my TP into a small garbage can in the corner. Thankfully some of the bathrooms had helpful artwork so you didn’t forget. I know that in many places people don’t have a system available to them that is as good as this, so I shouldn’t complain. I just found the “you never know what you are going to get” aspect intriguing.

Honestly I did find the seatless toilets particularly odd. They were usually in a nice enough spot (a restaurant or museum) and always had been designed to have a seat (as shown above). I mean, are toilet seats a hard commodity to come by?

Let’s just say that after 17 days of throwing away my toilet paper, I found myself excited to use the airplane bathroom. A seat and plumbing that could handle the TP — amazing!

Marhaba! Kalimera!

Combo

I’m back from my oversea adventure for 2013 — two weeks in Turkey and Greece for my hubby’s R&R — and I have so many things I want to post about from our time together… but I can’t get the 4,300* pictures my husband took off our fancy camera and will have to wait until I am in California and can use my parent’s card reader to review (and reduce) and share them.

Thankfully I have a handful of pictures from our smaller camera and the iPad available, but most of our travel stories must be put on hold for a few weeks.

While it’s always nice to go on vacation (particularly when you are seeing your husband for the first time in three months!!) it’s also lovely to be back home. But that’s another post entirely.

Marhaba: “hello” throughout the Middle East // Kalimera: “good morning” in Greek

* And yes, in 16 days my husband took 4,300 pictures. That doesn’t including the ones he already deleted from the camera.