Girl Put Your Records On

If there is ever a time to enjoy the soundtrack of your life, it’s summer. Whether it’s turning the stereo on with the windows wide open or using your ear buds on a summer stroll, music is an important and enjoyable part of our sensory experience. Shuffle through the playlist of your summer and shoot an image inspired by a favorite song.
Put Your Records On

I think there are too many songs to choose just one, so I opted to capture the source of all my music, and that is my phone. 

Picture Summer

Kristi Fox and I have decided to stretch our photographic minds, and work through an old daily-prompt workshop called "Picture Summer". The premise is that each day we have to take a picture that meets the theme we have chosen from the workshop's list.

I'm going to try and only use my 50mm lens for these shots. I love the photos I get with it, and it will also make me think a little harder on how to get the shot.

Here's hoping I finish it, and something new and shiny doesn't distract me. 

Goodbye, Morgan

After a fairly long battle with something, we said goodbye to Morgan today. We have known that she was unwell for the past 18 months or so, but she has really seemed uncomfortable and slow since we got back from our trip. It has been pretty hard to watch her for the past week, and her purring when she comes to lay with us breaks our heart.  

I've had Morgan just a few months longer than I've had James, and at 13 she is the oldest cat I've ever had. I think losing Morgan is harder on James than losing Mushu was - Morgan was his cat more than she was mine. She always went to him for love and to snuggle. We'll miss you, Morgan!

A Scary Hallowe'en

This year the girls decided that they wanted to be more 'scary'. Well, we took a step in the right direction with their costumes: Kiera was a witch, and Eowyn was a vampire.

James and the girls also did some decorating outside, and installed a graveyard

It was a cold and rainy night, but the girls were unstoppable and gathered enough candy to last until next year. Seriously. We have Hallowe'en candy left over from last year too...

The New Baby

Before we left on vacation, the family had decided that we would look for a new cat when we returned. Ok - the girls and I decided that we would look for a new cat. I did some looking while we were away, but nothing really worked out. On Friday morning, right after we were back, I looked at the Cambridge Humane Society's website, and they had kittens. And one spoke to me - yes, it spoke to me across the interwebs. We picked up the girls from the sitters, and went to look at her right after work. We loved her right away.

James, the girls, and I had a family meeting over dinner to decide what to call her, and we named our new girl Pasha. She is a 9 week old Torti kitten, and she is a very happy and playful girl. She tollerates the girls picking her up and carrying her about, but it is hard to get them to stop when Pasha is purring so loudly.

She has settled in just fine, and the other two cats are dealing with our new addition. Mango was fairly growly at first, but has completely mellowed. Morgan did lots of sniffing, and is now just generally annoyed when Pasha tries to attack her tail - which is all the time. She does sleep, though, which is a nice break for them.

Home again

Well, the vacation that took so long to plan is over. We made it home at about 7pm on Thursday (October 4th), minus one suitcase. Apparently James' suitcase was having too much fun in Istanbul and decided to stay a bit longer. It seems to have run out of money, however, and arrived at our house last night. The girls were excited to see us, and it was great to give them hugs.

For those that are curious, the final photo count was 3100. We've taking an initial cut and reduced that number to 700, but the processing is going to take a bit. We have started uploading the photos to Flickr into a Turkey collection, so keep an eye out!

The Last Day

This morning we finally got into the big attractions that we have been walking by to get everywhere else. First up was Hagia Sophia which is an astonishing piece of architecture. The interior in literally stunning and the scale is hard to grasp even when you are there. For a thousand years it was the largest dome in the world which is statement to the genius of it's design. Next up was the Basilica Cistern which is a huge under ground water storage from the Byzantine era. It is mostly empty now and interesting to visit to see the pillars that were used to support the roof which were scavenged from various Roman buildings. Then it was across the park to the Blue Mosque which was certainly impressive but was missing the elegance of the Suleiman Mosque and did match the Hagia Sophia in grandeur. We did a quick tour of the hippodrome (not much there anymore) and had lunch and finished up some shopping before heading over to Asia for dinner.

We took the ferry over to the middle class neighbourhood of Kadikoy. We got to wander through a market that is actually used by locals instead of tourist. After a nice diner we stopped at a cafe for kup griye, a ice cream Sunday with caramel sauce and crushed candied almonds. We got to see the skyline lit up on the ferry ride back which was a nice way to close things out.

Bosphorus Cruise

Well, the cruise today wasn't much to write home about. Some of the views were nice - passing under the bridges between Europe and Asia, the mansions and the fortresses. There were a lot of pushy people trying to protect their seats, and I was easily annoyed today. We sailed up the Bosphorus Straight to a small town on the Asian side called Anadolu Kavagi. We had lunch at a fish restaurant, which I didn't like at all, wandered around a bit and then had ice cream. Things started to get better after that - good seats on the boat, a wander though the Spice Market again, and a bit more shopping. James and I topped the day off with a nice dinner at a restaurant right around the corner from the hotel, and then gave a nargile (a "hooka" with Apple flavored tobacco) a try - fun and interesting. So the day started off rough, but ended well.

James - not much to add today. I did enjoy diner tonight, we had clay pot kebab which was a stew baked in a clay pot sealed with dough and then cracked open to serve.

Shopping day

Today was shopping day but before I get to that I want to mention that after our hamam yesterday we had a wonderful dinner on the terrace at the Pasazade Restaurant. The views were great, service and food were excellent, we found a decent Turkish shiraz and the company was amazing.

Now on to today. We walked up to the Grand Bazaar the world's oldest shopping mall with thousands of stores. It is a huge maze like complex with covered street filled with shops and various hans (workshop / Inn complexes). The hans were interesting to peak into the workshops and we found some things to buy in the stores.

After finding a way out of the bazaar we went up to Suleiman's mosque which was a beautiful elegant building and an enjoyable visit. Next stop was the Egyptian Bazaar which is also known as the spice market since it was where traders from the east and west would meet to buy and sell spices in medieval times. Today it still full of stalls selling piles of spices, sweets and Turkish delight. Another full and interesting day were Europe meets Asia. Tomorrow we will be traveling up the Bosphorus Straight which is the dividing line.

January - Ah, the Grand Bazaar. It is so huge - we wandered though streets of shops, and I'm sure we didn't see more than 20% of it. It did get kind of receive after a while - there are only so many jewelry displays you can look at. I did manage to find a beautiful ring though... We did a lot of walking today, and walking on marble and stone is tiring on my feet. I'm looking forward to a day on the ferry tomorrow though, to rest my feet!

Inside the Grand Bazaar
Inside the Grand Bazaar
Suleiman's mosque courtyard
Suleiman's mosque courtyard