Friday, October 12, 2012

Lovely Martha

So I'd like to think I'm a versatile girl. In fact, I'll try just about anything once.

When I was young I went fishing for the first time. I was perhaps six when my dad, who is a master clammer/crabber/lobster man, took me on my first fishing trip. I caught a little trout and felt like a million bucks. About 20 years later, I went to a ranch in outer Lincoln and made a fishing pole out of a stick and caught a 3 pound Large Mouth Bass. Woo-hoo!

My grand-dad is a big fisherman and use to get on the boat every weekend. We'd catch our fill of Rock Cod.

But now, I am an ANGLER! Not a simple fisherwoman - an ANGLER!!!

My husband's very closest friend, Mike, called us and asked us to join him and his wife on a charter fishing trip the following day in San Francisco. To be honest, I had no desire to go. I rolled my eyes and hemmed and hawed. Then my husband passed me the phone and Mike said, "C'mon, Gwen, please come with us. It'll be great." I answered cheerfully but secretly begrudgingly, "Ok!"

And, Thank God, I agreed to it! It was one of the most exciting days I have ever had in my life!

Mike and Christina picked us up at 2:45 AM. Yup, our day started before the crack of dawn. We got coffee, ate bagels and drove to the San Francisco City. We parked somewhere near the Embarcadero, grabbed our stuff and jaunted to the dock - all in the pitch of night.

We were the first group on Lovely Martha and we scoped our spots right away. We met the captain and the crew and as soon as I arrived on the deck of the boat, my previously cantankerous attitude left! I was so excited.

The other group of four Japanese folks arrived and we were ready to shove off.

The crew went over safety, courteousness and basic angling - for instance, when you hear the fish on a hook, scream, "FISH ON!"

As we made our way through the darkness, all of us sat in the cabin exhausted and freezing. My husband slept, Mike slept and Christina and I chatted. All the Japanese folks slept and then the boat slowed to 3 knots.

The air was bright with glare and fog and we readied our poles. The first fish was caught shortly after that by one of the Japanese girls and it was a biggie. I was a little discouraged but the Captain (also, Mike) came over to me and said, "Don't you worry, I bet you'll catch the biggest one of the day!" I brightened and went and stood by my pole again!

There is quite a bit of waiting on a fishing boat. It's about 97 percent waiting and 3 percent of sheer heart racing excitement. And that three percent is a hgih I'll chase forever.

At around high noon, Mike (the captain) came on deck to check out the scene. I glanced at my pole and saw some movement. The entire boat including me screamed, "FISH ON!" It was my pole. I ran to it, grabbed the pole and began reeling with all my might! I was helped by one of the crew members who kept telling me to point the tip of the pole to the bow of the ship...I was reeling and pointing and panting. And Mike (the captain) told me to relax! How could I relax? I was so extremely excited I was overwhelmed. It took me a good five minutes to reel this fish in. Pure excitement - like your first kiss or the first time you drove a car. Mike Rescino, the captain of the Lovely Martha, grabbed my fish with the big net and VOILA...his premonition had been correct! I had caught a 35 pound Salmon.

To say our day on the Lovely Martha was good is nothing short of an understatement. It's right up there with my wedding!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Book

*If you haven't entered the giveaway you can click here and scroll down to enter. So far, there are no entries. Bummer.


If you haven't read a little of my novel, you can click on the page to the right, "A Raucous in Rome," and read a little bit of heart and soul.

That's all there is today. I am really wanting to giveaway the jewelry I brought back from Turkey for one lucky reader and I's love some feedback about the book.

I hope you are all Healthy and Happy!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Giveaway - Jewelry From Cadi

I think I may have mentioned that Cadi in Turkish means witch. There is absolutely nothing but magic here at this tiny store in Myndos. The name is apt simply because it is indeed bewitching.

*Scroll down beyond the photos here and enter to win the gold bunny necklace with matching rose quartz earrings. The stipulation is that I must get 20 new faces in the box to the left. But, I would take new Pinterest followers and new Twitter followers too!

I collected this really special bunny necklace in gold on a pink silk cord and matched it to a pair of earrings adorned with golden flowers, cut rose quartz, turquoise crystals and black tourmalineThe earrings hand from french wires.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is make sure your picture appears in the box to the left or right And leave a comment here (with a usable email address - how else will I notify you when you win?). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 17, 2012

Turkey and Greece 2012 - Part 6 - Last Installment

So here we are. We've finally made it to the end!

I think I have been so bad with the blogging time frame because I have been sort of dreading this last post. First of all it is always so hard to say goodbye to Turkey; the family, the friends, the spirit of the place not to mention the food. But I also know that after this post I'll have the giveaway and say goodbye to treasures that I hand picked just for you! I want them though...they are really special! Nevertheless, pending 20 new followers, they are for one of my lucky readers...

So, Greece! As soon as we left the harbor in Turgutreis, there was a different feeling in the air. The boat ride was excellent except for the instant coffee which was quite dear at 3 Euro for a tiny 4 oz. cup. (That's like a $6 cuppa!) Still the scenery was sensational and the sea was magnificent. As we pulled into the harbor at Kos, the feeling had changed from whimsical and welcoming to haughty and arrogant. It's strange to feel those things and no smell or sound can really put a concrete finger on things. It's as if in Turkey folks are hard...but not naturally hard. They have to try to be something they aren't to exact an appearance. In Greece however, they have such an arrogant affectation that it was a surprise as we got off the boat. The Greek flag in it's blue and white waved proudly too. And people...I asked a man behind the counter at a travel agent's office for one of his tear off public maps and he smiled behind a cigarette, with a smarmy, sweaty face said,"No." That never would happen in Turkey!

Alas, Kos was simply beautiful. The municipal buildings were clean and kept well and the churches and mosques mingled side by side.

The most interesting thing about Kos was that it was the birthplace of Modern Western Medicine, as in, "Mommy, where do doctors come from?"

We visited the tree of Hippocrates where it is said he taught physicians how to heal patients. We walked the clean cobbled streets and we ate Gyro's at a little Greek cafe. It was a wonderful way to spend the day together. And it was unimaginably and unforgettably Greek. The Greek culture is a proud people who are boastful about several things: being European (even though they are bankrupt), that Christ brought Christianity to them first, that they are better than most and so on. It can be quite alarming. But charming, anyway.

We rode a train to see the wee island and in the middle of the tour...the train broke. We wanted to look at the Lacoste store but they closed for nap time...aiaiaiai!

When we arrived back at the villa, I climbed the stairs to refresh myself. After my shower I found my husband on the terrace with reading materials in his lap and a furrowed brow. I asked him what he was doing. He said, "I am trying to figure out a way we can move to Kos!"

Our Last Day in Turkey. The Grand Bazaar!

My word! I've been to 3 of the worlds 7 continents and I ask you who wants to go to Antarctica and freeze their butts off...? So let's say I have been to half the worlds continents and on them I have been to 22 countries, I can say that I have seen some things. Not lots of things (I have a friend who has seen 6 continents and like 60 countries) but I have seen some things. But, nothing and I mean nothing is like The Grand Bazaar! If you never go anywhere in your life...GO TO THE GRAND BAZAAR! I am not being dramatic here either! I am being honest and as emphatic as possible. (I found the above book at Ruby Press)

The Grand Bazaar is like The Arabian Nights come to life, It's like Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves at High Tide,  it's like the history of the world is shown to you on a silver platter and there is no escaping it. From awed curiosity alone there is nothing that can take your eyes away from the wonders of this place. The covered ladies bartering jewelry, the chime of the call to prayer from the Blue Mosque, the lingering scent of fresh Simit in the air, the street food that is more delectable than most anything you've tasted so savory and sumptuous. The touch of the silk, the cool metal on a hookah, the bumpy facade of a painted bowl and the haggling Western Ladies you see wanting to drown themselves in gold. The smells of the coffee, the old men smoking with Chai and playing okey as they shout at the TV for their beloved Galata Saray soccer team. It's so dreamy. like walking on the beach at sunrise or your nerves on a first date. It's like the Turkish people have taken  the energy of New York City and concentrated it into one small place. There is a very real and energetic live current in this place! A man peddling Bulgari watches said, "You, come here, Amigo!" He was talking to my Turkish husband!

I have my very own favorite store at the Grand Bazaar. I was passing a window after we ate a delectable meal at Aynen Durum (Taste the Difference - it's their motto).  In the window, I saw a tiny silver chair on it was a pathway leading to it's tiny door. It had me hooked and I had to go in. A wonderful gentleman stood behind the counter. His countenance was sweet and patient as I exclaimed, "That one, that one, that one!" The entire store screamed at me. I finally settled on a little cherub candle holder for me and one for my mother. Then I spied a little magnifying glass pendant and I was sold and the final purchase was the sweet little chair. How could I go home without it? The store's name is Hagar Gumus. And if your ever lucky enough to shop at The Grand Bazaar, please visit this kind and honest man.

Eating at Aynen Durum

Hagar Gumus

The tiny magnifying glass.

The day was bitter sweet though. I love my sister in law, Berrin, my neice Ecem and her Dad, Necdet, the trip they made for us was Epic - Sensational, Wonderful, Fun, Crazy, Amazing and truly, truly Lovely. Thank you, guys. We love you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food Friday - Poaca

Before I post the last installment of Turkey and Greece 2012 and move on to our giveaway, I thought I'd leave you with an easy and, more importantly, delicious Turkish recipe from my Sister in Law.

Driving back to Gundogan from Gumusluk we stopped at a tiny bakery for a snack...HEAVEN IN MY MOUTH!! It is called Poaca (pronounced po-ah-cha). It is best served room temperature with tea!

This recipe calls for Nigella Seeds. If you've never used them they look like black sesame seeds but they are not. They have a very distinct taste and in my opinion those and the dill make this recipe so special.

Poaca - Dill and Feta Snacks

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 3 Tbs yogurt
  • 4 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg white (reserve yoke for an egg wash)
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 2 Tbs. Nigella Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Finely chop 1 bunch dill (I used a food processor)
  3. Mix all ingredients together except egg yoke and Nigella seeds.
  4. Form dough into small balls and push balls to flatten in your hand.
  5. Fill with roughly a tsp. size of Feta cheese.
  6. Place formed Poagca on a lined baking sheet.
  7. Wash each with the egg yoke and sprinkle with Nigella seeds.
  8. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Turkey and Greece - Part 5

I know, I know. Slacking.

We came home from this epic and eventful, yet relaxing trip abroad and then SLAM, the busy starts. Work began....DRAMA.
Mom and Dad had a humongous car accident...DRAMA...They're ok (Thank Heaven) but poor Granny; broken nose, ribs and contusions all over. The moral of this not avoid the raccoon.
And for some reason, I have withdrawn from the world at large for no particular reason...DRAMA!

I am to the fifth installment of the Turkey and Greece trip which means this begins my plunge into Bodrum! We had fifteen days in a sensational villa with spectacular views and an even better seashore on which to get the best sun! And oh, the seafood...

Upper left: the said villa, upper right: the villa's view, lower left: my view (on the shore) lower right: medye dolma
While the shore is where we frequented for most of our 15 days, rest assured there was a host of other fruit fillings in this sweet treat we call Bodrum. There are a few places on Earth, that I have commented as "Heaven on Earth." Ireland is one, Hawaii (the Big Island) is another and Bodrum, Turkey on the Aegean Coast makes a trifecta that can't be beat.

The farmers market was rife with a morning mixture of any kind of dry goods you can think of including painted pottery, hookah and pestamal. But the real jems of this morning marketplace is the produce. I have always emphatically exclaimed that we Californians are spoiled to have the greatest produce in the world. That was before I had gone to Turkey and this market in Bodrum is unlike any I have seen before. It is a covered green grocery that spans acres and acres and if you want it, you'll find it. I had never seen hazelnuts as they occur in nature, eggplants, spices, miles of tomatoes, cucumber and green onions the size of which I had never seen. There were what seemed like miles of Turkish sweets, cultivated seaweed and pickled grape leaves, ready for stuffing. Then the crowning glory...gozleme, too (that my husband had once and again the following week because it was melt in your mouth deliciousness).

Upper left: Hazelnuts, Upper right: two varieties of eggplant, Lower left: dried fruits and nuts, Lower right: three kinds of peppers

Upper left: olive oil, honey and olives, Upper right: lots of Turkish Delight, Lower left: garden flowers, Lower right: grape leaves ready for Dolma.

This guy was great. He was so proud and sweet.


Let's not forget an evening in Bodrum City. We stayed in a region of the peninsula called Gundogan. On the other side of lots of little houses and a trek on a curvy road is the Bodrum city center with the famous Club Halikarnas. Although that was not our speed for this trip. Instead of dancing we were far more interested in shopping and eating. Let me show you the fish markets open late night for all your seafood needs!

One of my favorite meals on this trip (and I say "one of" because there were several -- Obam, Teyze's house and Galimera -- not to mention my sister in law's daily breakfasts) was at a place called Aras 63 Urfa. Aras serves Pide and Lahmacun and a host of other delights but those two delicacies have a special place in my heart so I focused there. When my husband and I were only dating, we went to dinner at the Guvenc house. Muberra is an amazing cook in all disciplines but since she is Turkish she is most skilled in Turkish Cuisine. She cooked Pide and Lahmacun that night. When we sat down to the table, Bulent was silent and satisfied with her meal and when he was finished he said, "if you can cook this, I will marry you!" I went straight to grocery store the following day and made Pide and Lahmacun with the skill of any Turkish woman! I was also married to him less than 2 years after :) !

Upper Left: Lahmacun, Upper Right: Gavurdagi Salatasi, Lower Left: So many meals are served with simple vegetables. It's such a shame I can never find fully grown rocket here in the states. Lower Right: Pide (It is believed that the Italians called Pizza after this.)
And then there's the shopping!

My favorite store was in a teeny beach town called Gumusluk - pronounced: goo-moosh-luke - or Myndos which is the ancient Greek name. This little town is friendly and sweet and smells of sea air. It is also the home of a lovely beach in a very small bay and a shallow waterway that allows you to "walk" on water to an island.

The store was called Cadi. Cadi means witch and can't understand why the store was called witch when it was a place of fairy treasures. So by my estimation, it should've been called Fairy! Becasue the only things witchy about itare the prices. A bit dear if you ask me!

Gumusluk was wonderful. A place to stroll for hours or for my husband and sister in law a place to eat Lokma and drink chai for hours while I mesmerized myself with the goodies in Cadi. The giveaway after post six of Greece and Turkey will be a treasure from Cadi, by the way. But only if I get 20 new faces in the box to the left!

This brings us to the end of this post. The following and final post of our epic trip to Turkey and Greece will be our trip to Greece, our drive back to Istanbul and our last day in Turkey, a day at the Grand Bazaar. See you soon!