Posts Tagged With: drink


dsc08584-copyMy friend? No, a friend to everybody, Carol Flemming, held a bash at her house for her 75th birthday party. “My kids insisted on this party,” she told me. I totally understand that. The “kids” think you are on your last legs and counting when you reach 75.

dsc08596-copyI met Carol when I wrote features for the Calaveras Enterprise. It was 1982 and I featured her costume business, a unique and wonderfully creative business that is still going. Marti Oaks, right, with her son, worked for Carol and at one time lived in my Murphys house.

dsc08604-copyPat Patterson, right, also worked costume design. It was fun catching up with old friends.

dsc08629-copyI also got to meet Carol’s daughter, Liz, whom I’d never met before, along with her daughter, whose name I didn’t get.

dsc08599-copyCarol’s son Beau barbecued chicken and tri-tip. He, like his mom is a good cook. I’d met him when Carol had a restaurant in Arnold, the Froggy Diner. There is always cooking or a side business in Carol’s life.dsc08583-copyThere were her friends and neighbors of all ages. Names seem to float out of my brain. This woman, like me, is finding acreage hard to keep up and looking to downsize. I hear that more and more from people I know.

dsc08595-copyDale said she didn’t take good pictures, but I do. I thought her laugh made her beautiful. It turned out, she knows my brother Clark.

dsc08594-copyI finally got this little girl to smile for my picture. But she kept a protective closeness to her parents.

dsc08592-copyMy brother Clark was once a neighbor of Carol’s in Burson. This man remembered he and Clark fixing a bridge that went out, before CalTrans was even called.

dsc08606-copyThis woman too, talked to me at length of all the favors that Clark does for the neighbors. He helped with projects after her husband died, making her ever grateful.

dsc08614-copyThis couple also know Clark and talked about him and the neighborhood, and things they’ve done together.

dsc08609-copyAnother daughter, Mona and another grand daughter, I’d never met.

dsc08620-copyAnd, Carol’s daughter China Rose with her two girls. She also has two sons. I hadn’t seen China in over 17 years.

dsc08621-copyThe baby was determined to sleep, but China wanted her to stay awake for the long ride back to Santa Cruz. I remember those days.

dsc08615-copyCarol joined the kids in the pool for a cooling dunk. I love it when you get to enjoy your own party.

dsc08613-copyThis smart woman is a former daughter-in-law-still friends of the family. She gave me good advice about AirBnB…ideas have been floating through my brain all day.

dsc08602-copyThe woman in red, Cindy, I think, is an artist. I always complain I never have time to paint or create.  Her very good advice, “Make it your priority, first thing in the morning. Everything else can wait.”

dsc08612-copyA birthday surprise for Carol, her brother Willie flew in from Hawaii.

dsc08626-copyI tried to get a picture of everyone. And, I missed Phil, her husband, who was busy, busy, busy, tending the bar and keeping people happy. There is a pattern, here.

dsc08593-copyKids, babies, teens, middle agers, old folks…

You know what was different about this party?  I saw no one with their head down, texting and playing with their phone or messages or…whatever they do. That, my friends, is what was special about this birthday party. A rarity. And great fun.

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IMG_2779 (Copy)If you are going to have a birthday party as an adult, you expect to enjoy it. The band, dedicated their music to Carole Gordon, whose birthday was being celebrated.

IMG_2780 (Copy)I don’t know who they are, which didn’t affect my enjoyment of their music. I heard guest, Alan Test, say, “Oh, that’s Lightening Boy.”  Lightening Boy moved quickly and I never did get his picture.

IMG_2781 (Copy)Carole got up and danced-and the night was hers.

IMG_2789 (Copy)These two singers and players are personal friends of Carole’s.

IMG_2791 (Copy)They each wrote a song about their experiences in Viet Nam and sang them. The man on the left wrote and dedicated a poem to her.

IMG_2777 (Copy)The fellow doing sound and lighting reminded me of Rumbledore from Harry Potter.

IMG_2790 (Copy) Carole was a teacher at Michelson Elementary School when we moved to Murphys 37 years ago. As our kids grew up,  we were both involved in AFS (American Field Service.)  My exchange student, Linda, from Indonesia and her exchange student, Phillip, from South Africa, were good friends during their year together in Murphys.  AFS is a bonding experience, much like a family. Jim and Alisha Riggs were at the party, too. Jim had a student from Ethiopia before my family got involved in AFS.

IMG_2774 (Copy)Of course, the party wasn’t only about the band. Selections of wine, beer and water.  The hors d’oeuvres were fabulous, followed by a full dinner of ribs, chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes and green beans.

IMG_2778 (Copy)I missed taking a picture of this birthday cake before it got cut.

IMG_2792 (Copy)But, I did get a picture of one of the chocolate cakes. All came from our local bakery in Murphys. Needless to say, I went home stuffed and smiling with pleasure.

IMG_2788 (Copy)Where is that Lightening Boy?








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A master potter demonstrated his craft upon a no longer used ancient kick wheel while we listened to music from an ancient instrument.

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Even though we are in Cappadocia, the district is Antalya. A historic vessel, hollow in the middle, holds wine or water. They are icons of Turkish historical pottery and you find then everywhere for sale in Turkey.

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After our  concert, we have volunteer try her hand at the potting wheel.

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Joyce B. tried her hand at crafting a pot. She admitted using a potting wheel before. We like it hen people try their hand at crafts like potting.

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Pots here are all hand made and hand decorated.

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I found the designs more intricate than anything done in a United States pottery.

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For sure you won’t see turban wearing sultans on horseback with spears from a U.S. Pottery.

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Nor a plate with Whirling Dervishes. Another Turkish icon at the pottery.

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I wanted something with the beautiful Turkish tulips on it. This tile was over two-hundred dollars and I decided I’d better keep looking. It is only about nine inches high and seven inches wide.

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Everything in the shop was extraordinary.

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Once you ask for a price, they see you as a potential buyer and continually make you offers on things you see.

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I told the sales person I was only planning to photograph their beautiful wares and would tell other people how beautiful their work is.

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I continued to spot things with tulips.

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I liked other pieces as well.

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He asked me, if you could choose any piece in this room (a room with more economical pieces,) and price was no object, what would you choose? I chose the turbaned gentleman with a flute. He said, that is too big for you I have another, smaller with more detail. You have very good taste. That is made after a famous $1,500,000  painting in the National Gallery entitled “The Turtle Trainer.”  He gave me an affordable, but still high quote. So, he offered me a second plate, with tulips on it, both for that quoted price and I accepted. So, now I have to look up the Turtle Trainer and read about the painting. And, I’m already enjoying him hanging on my dining room wall along with a lovely saucer of tulips. DSC06708 (Copy)

It is our last day before flying from Cappadocia to Istanbul, to U.S. After a break for lunch, Usla has the bus drop us off near a field from which we hike to the village of Usichar. On the way, he sees a “Momma” weeding grapes with her two children. He stops to talk and he picks vines new and green. He shows us that you can strip the peeling and eat the center stalk. The stalk is moist and tastes much like lemon-grass.

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We hike up-hill and stop at a cemetery before entering the village. Some of the graves are unmarked stones.  Because they are ancient, some BC, the wind and rain have eroded any inscriptions away. Contrasting is a part of the cemetery where recent deaths can be easily read. In highly populated areas, Moslems are now cremated and their ashes buried. But, in the countryside, people are buried the old way. The body is brought to the Mosque and faces East. The Imam chants and prays.  At the end of the prayer, he says: “How do you know this man?”  Answer: “He is a good man.”  (Or woman or child.) He repeats that question and receives the answer three times.  A second service is held at the graveyard, where the body is removed from the shroud and he is buried “soil to soil.”  Then the mourners wail and cry and cry and pray. The coffin is recycled for the next death.

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Surprisingly, small villages like Usichar have solar water heating on roof tops.

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The village has narrow streets with little souvenir shops and spots to eat or have tea. We strolled around a bit and then headed up hill, a steep climb, we were warned, on uneven surfaces, unstable rock and shale. I almost opted out but at the last minute followed everyone up the hill.

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Up, up and up we wound around the narrow streets.

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Near the top we meet a “momma”. Usla knows her.

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She chatters non-stop and hugs us and gives us air-kisses, both sides of face. We have a picture taken and she continues her chatter to any and everyone. A sweet  soul who cherishes every one.

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From this vantage point, we can see the village below, its main street, the mosque, the houses and businesses, and the distance we walked.

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We finally reach the top and Usla decides we should head down the back way.  I took a panorama from the top.

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We start down.

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The path is narrow, very steep and slippery with loose rock.

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We see tufa formations 250 feet high on the steep hillside.

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A little ladder beckons Owen, but I make him stay on the path with the rest of us.

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Ancient graffiti.

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At one point on the path, two Moslem women with inappropriate shoes are having difficulty and in danger of falling. Our effervescent, ever helpful, Joyce,  offers to help them and they glom onto her so tight, one on each side, she was unsure if her arm would ever regain feeling. They smiled and thanked her gratefully at the bottom of the hill for her help.

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We strolled through the town. Everybody wanted an ice cream and we got it from a magician. He would hand you the cone, and draw it back quickly and tap the ice cream across your nose or cheek. Then, he’d flip it and do other maneuvers to keep you laughing before finally relinquishing your treat. Owen got his ice cream and cone separately. We paid, and Owen reached in my hand and took two lira back to his tip jar. It was worth it.


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We had a final happy hour with Usla, paid our tips, ate our last dinner in the hotel and headed for bed.

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Three flights in the morning, one from Cappadocia to Istanbul, Istanbul to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to San Francisco, for us. Because of our snafu on the way out and because I couldn’t get our flight up on-line at the hotel, I worried we’d have the same problem returning. Usla stayed with us in the airport until 2:00 p.m. to catch our flight. He was a great guide who went beyond the call of duty, repeatedly. Very helpful and patient. We watched movies and Owen got some sleep on the way home. Turkey is a wonderful country to visit.  If you ever get the chance…go! Better yet, go with OAT.

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It’s New Years Eve, a cause for celebration. A symbol that all things from 2011 can be put away and everything begins  anew. The idea  is semi-idiotic, but we love its symbol of hope for better things to come.  Why not make a resolution and promise to make the New Year personally better than the year we’ve left behind?   There is room for much improvement in this world,  so, lets celebrate: (Click the link.)

Its time to get the party started and put all cares away:

And have a toast or three to good things to come:

Here’s to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here’s to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold.

In the New Year,
may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship,
but never in want.
In the year ahead,
May we treat our friends with kindness
and our enemies with generosity.

“Let us resolve to do the best we can with what we’ve got”, says
William Feather

Worthy thoughts and deeds we set before us. It gives us a breath of happiness to see  the numbers on the new calendar.  Was the old year a good year?  A bad year?  We can spare for one day to set all of it aside and share with others, strangers even,  a bit of nostalgia.


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