Musings on my adventures around the world and my ties back in Texas as well as some of the the ideas I have to adapt and create to keep those places close to home.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Below are “106 books of pretension,” compiled from the books most frequently marked unread by Library Thing users.

Books I’ve read are in bold; books I’ve stared but haven’t finished are in italics; books I own but haven’t read are marked with a star (*).

Books I've read: +/- 38, I decided not to count the ones I'm not sure I've read. If they made that little of an impression on me, then does it matter? Its as if I haven't read them. I'm realizing what a random selection of books living overseas leads me to pick up.

Books I've started but not finished: 7

And the total number of all these books that I own? 2. Of course there is no telling where they are at this point.

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
2. Anna Karenina unfortunately
3. Crime and Punishment
4. Catch-22 *
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
6. Wuthering Heights
7. The Silmarillion
8. Life of Pi *
9. The Name of the Rose
10. Don Quixote
11. Moby Dick (one of those Peace Corps reads)
12. Ulysses
13. Madame Bovary
14. The Odyssey
15. Pride and Prejudice
16. Jane Eyre
17. The Tale of Two Cities
18. The Brothers Karamazov
19. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
20. War and Peace
21. Vanity Fair
22. The Time Traveler’s Wife
23. The Iliad
24. Emma
25. The Blind Assassin
26. The Kite Runner
27. Mrs. Dalloway
28. Great Expectations
29. American Gods
30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
31. Atlas Shrugged
32. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
33. Memoirs of a Geisha
34. Middlesex
35. Quicksilver
36. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
37. The Canterbury Tales
38. The Historian : a novel
39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
40. Love in the Time of Cholera
41. Brave New World
42. The Fountainhead
43. Foucault’s Pendulum
44. Middlemarch
45. Frankenstein
46. The Count of Monte Cristo
47. Dracula
48. A Clockwork Orange
49. Anansi Boys
50. The Once and Future King
51. The Grapes of Wrath
52. The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
53. 1984
54. Angels & Demons
55. The Inferno
56. The Satanic Verses
57. Sense and Sensibility
58. The Picture of Dorian Gray
59. Mansfield Park
60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
61. To the Lighthouse
62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles
63. Oliver Twist
64. Gulliver’s Travels
65. Les Misérables
66. The Corrections
67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
69. Dune
70. The Prince
71. The Sound and the Fury
72. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
73. The God of Small Things
74. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
75. Cryptonomicon
76. Neverwhere
77. A Confederacy of Dunces
78. A Short History of Nearly Everything because I had to leave it in Jordan I didn't finish it.
79. Dubliners
80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
81. Beloved unfortunately
82. Slaughterhouse-Five
83. The Scarlet Letter
84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
85. The Mists of Avalon
86. Oryx and Crake : a novel
87. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
88. Cloud Atlas
89. The Confusion
90. Lolita
91. Persuasion
92. Northanger Abbey
93. The Catcher in the Rye
94. On the Road
95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
96. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
98. The Aeneid
99. Watership Down
100. Gravity’s Rainbow
101. The Hobbit
102. In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
103. White Teeth
104. Treasure Island
105. David Copperfield
106. The Three Musketeers

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Strawberries are in season

9 March 2007
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
And there are a lot of them around. I actually bought 2 kilos of strawberries last week since they were so cheap, and I worried they'll be out of season. Despite freezing nearly half of them I still have excess strawberries in my fridge. I decided to try some new things and actually made strawberry cookies yesterday. They're pretty good, but not like any type of cookie I've made before.

If you're interested my recipe was this (a combination of recipes found online):
1 c sugar
3/4 c confectionary sugar
1/2 c softened butter
1 tsp almond extract
Add and mix in:
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 c whole wheat flour
Add 1 c pureed strawberries

Bake at 375F for about 13 min
Made 3 1/2 dozen small cookies

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Help me choose

I've almost finished revamping my Turkish Market Alphabet Book that I made for my niece getting it ready to print for people who have requested copies to buy(!) only I wasn't entirely happy with the cover. So below you'll see five possible covers, please help me choose one. I want something that would catch attention, make someone pick up the book and look at it...really something to sell the book.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Out in the Park

Bird in a Cage
Originally uploaded by paulmcdee
I was rather amused today as I was wondering around Yildiz park by something I saw. There were families out picnicking everywhere, and at one blanket I saw that a family had brought their pet bird out in the cage with them. Why not? I'm sure it enjoyed the fresh air. Just seems a bit odd, a little like taunting the poor thing...look this is what you *could* be out flying around in.

Of course it's not as odd as the woman I used to see in Savannah. She would load her large bird cage up in a wagon and take her birds for a walk...every day. Yes, Savannah definitely had a bird lady.


A short glimpse
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
Yesterday I went off an adventure. But then that’s what I call it any time I try to take a bus to someplace new, I only end up at my desired destination about 50% of the time – hence the adventure. Luckily yesterday was one of those times. I took a bus to Yedikule, which is a fort from 1457 that is still in remarkable good shape. As I was riding the bus I kept pondering the name Yedikule…partly to make sure that I knew where I wanted to get off the bus, partly to see if I could pronounce it correctly…then it hit me. Yedi kule. Yedi means seven, kule tower. I was going to a fort with seven towers. It all makes sense. It is the only “inland” fort that I know of – although you can still see the Marmara Sea from the top of the ramparts. It is inland in the sense that it was built into a section of the formidable city walls that surrounded the ancient city of Byzantine. It was lovely! Not in the least because it was almost empty (I think I only saw maybe five people the entire time I was there – including the guardian). After trudging up a long and steep staircase on the side of the walls (with nothing to keep one from falling off the edge!) I was able to explore the ramparts and towers to my heart’s content. Climbing up into the towers I followed dark turning stairwells that would suddenly expel me onto the top of the tower (a flashlight would have been nice). The views were stunning – along the city walls one way, over the Marmara Sea and the waiting ships another, over an overgrown old cemetery, and over a city neighborhood. I felt on top of the world being able to see so many different aspects of Istanbul that I usually am only down among.

Friday, April 18, 2008

2 cool websites

So poking around on some of the blogs I read I found mention of two websites I think are cool. I'm not sure which is my favorite at the moment...

eSnailer is a site which will allow you to type in a letter, address an envelope and send a letter for FREE!! Helping digital people embrace the "ancient" practice of letter writing. I like it.

The second site is a bit of a diy project that will allow you to print out and build your own pin-hole camera. I've not yet tried it, but you can bet that I'm going to have fun with it one of these days. (Thanks for pointing this out photojojo.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

School feels empty

The school feels empty, which seems a bit ridiculous to say as there is still two months of classes left. Our seniors are gone, for the most part, and you wouldn't believe what losing a quarter of the students does for the feel of the school. Why, you wonder, are the seniors gone? I know I've mentioned it before but students are allowed to miss 45 days of school (a full 1/4 of the total school days)and since the seniors are all preparing for the OSS, the large national exam that determines if they go to a public university in Turkey, they take those days at the end of the year and focus on studying for that exam. It seems a bit ridiculous, but there are some things that are so entrenched in the system you don't ever see them changing. So, for the time being, senior teachers are rejoicing the reduction in class load, we're all enjoying the quieter school and hey, I guess that means I've only got 45 days of teaching left.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Experiences

Peas in a pod
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
Its always fun to have new experiences, and to see what types of new chances living in different countries brings. I was a little amused today by my new experience: shelling fresh peas. You wouldn't think that I'd have to go to Turkey to do that. There you have it. You never know what may come. But I did enjoy my fresh sauteed peas!

Tulip Festival

Emirgan Park
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
This past week has brought the start to the Tulip festival in Istanbul. I was very pleased to have the time to explore some of the area in the city known for their tulips, and enjoyed the extra sense of discovery that having a friend visiting brought. Last weekend Casey and I made our way up to Emirgan, which is past the 2nd bridge on the European side of the Bosphorus since I had heard that the park there had tulips extraordinaire. We weren’t disappointed when we finally spilled off a slow moving city bus and walked up the hill. The park was full of Turkish families enjoying the laleler (tulips in Turkish) and the beds were full of more tulips then I had even imagined. What a bright colorful sight!

I was a bit curious as to the specific role of tulips in Turkey, especially as they appear on many of the designs (in tiles, on fences…). It turns out that while tulips aren’t native to Turkey (that didn’t surprise me as they seem to plant them for the festival) Turkey, or rather the larger Turkish empire, was the first to cultivate the vibrant flowers. They were developed for the please of Sultan Suleiman I in the 1500s and became a sign of wealth and privilege. Tulips were so highly prized that you could be punished by exile for selling or cultivating them outside of the capital. It is said that the tulip was more highly valued than human life in that time period.