Saturday, September 8, 2007

Where Have I Been?

It has been nearly a month since I have written in my blogs. Some may be wondering where the heck I have been, so here I am to answer.

Selçuk Turkey! But there are more important names Selçuk has been known by over the centuries like Ayesoulouk, Efes and Ephesus. Yes I have been on holiday with the Kerimol family in a place steeped in the history of civilization.

First off let me explain, for those who do not know, what a “holiday” is. A holiday is a lengthy time of relaxation where you do NOT work. It is a time of enjoyment that is unspoiled by anything. I can not ever remember having a holiday before and I have to tell you everyone must try it. Hell I only checked my Email three times, and that was just to see if I had any messages from my kids. Big change from normal where I practically live in Email. Anyway back to Selçuk.

It was an amazing place to me. We started off going to the local museum where we saw some of the findings from the various digs at Ephesus. Two really interesting areas, at least to me, in the museum were the Gladiator Necropolis and Artemis Temple finds. The finds from the Gladiator Necropolis (Gladiator Graveyard) were fantastic. Their gladiator type (you could tell by their armor) and specific weaponry (depended on their type) were on display, some of the original weapons were there also along with reproductions so you could see them whole. There were reliefs and interestingly enough each gladiator’s statistics. Oh, one specific statistic listed for each was their gender! Now all the stats found to date are listed as male; however, why list the gender at all much less as the third (behind name and type) unless there were both male and female galdiators? Thats a question for all those out there who still refuse to believe that there were female gladiators. One of the most interesting displays was that of Marcus Aurilius, yeah the dude portraid in the movie Gladiator!

The other area of note for me at the Selçuk Museum was the Artemis Temple and the Stoa (sacred area in the city). The museum holds the two known “Mother Artemis” statues.

Thats the one where Artemis is shown whith what everyone believes are 32 breasts, they are really Bull Testicle representations. She has every kind of life represented on her male and female of everything. The statues are bigger than life sized and this one is HUGE! There is also a model of the layout of the Artimis Temple which is about a mile away from the outskirts of the known parts of the antique city of Ephesus. This statue was found between the two colums below in Ephesus.

The next place we visited was the Basillica and burial place of St John (Jean), which was obviously a vast structure, and I was amazed by what is left of it’s ruins. This is model of it complete:

And this is İbrahim in front of the Tomb of St John.

This is the usual first stop on the christian pilgriamge trail.

Pretty much what is left now is the lower half of the first floor. In some places the ceiling and part of the second floor is present also. The construction is clearly in the Roman style and is of course beautiful in it’s complex simplicity. Arches and Domes, of brick and plate stone, unbelievable how strong they are still.

In contrast to the basillica is the Selçuki Mosque, built about 1000 years later, only 100 meters down the hill. The Selçuki Mosque was constructed of stone and marble block.

Again the structure is fantastic and it is still a functioning mosque in some parts. The vast courtyard is surrounded by a three story wall and is beautiful. The stonework is gorgeously plain with marble used as inlay in geometric designs.

We went to Ephesus twice, mainly because I stupidly deleted all the photos I took the first time while moving them from the camera to the computer! Yep, for everyone out there who knows me, I have not changed much in that area I am still a big goof! The burning question in my mind the entire time of both visits was why aren’t they excovating more? They have found so much already and have excovated so little! Really what it came down to was Money. If they excovate they must preserve, excovating costs a lot and preserving costs even more!

Ephesus was built much earlier than the Bassilica or the Mosque, and the older lower parts (6th century BC) are constructed completely of cut stone. The stone work in Ephesus is something to see. I was in awe at the skills of the people who did the cutting, fitting and carvings. The work was extremely hard and the accuracy unbelievable. The roads were mainly plated stone but the three main roads (from the harbor to the market and Amphetheater, from there to the Celcius Library and from there to the Senate and Artemis Temple) were plated marble. The road to the senate is called the Priests Way, and was lined by statues and monuments, along with intricate mosaics. This is me pretending to be a statue on the Priests Way (the Marble Road between the Senate and the Library).

And just down the hill from here was the reminance of the longest Mosaic sidewalk I have ever seen!

The Celcius Library is absolutely fantastic and is a central draw for all the tourists clamboring for pictures!

The Ampitheater is monstrous and has been well preserved by nature and the stadium is also huge and still being preserved by nature!
Earlier I spoke about the stone work and this photo is an example. This is the header of the entry into the chaple of the Church of Mary. Interestingly enough during a visit to the House of The Virgin Mary we found out that there was a seal (one of those plates you press into wax to create a seal in an envelope) with the exact same design as the center flower cut into this stone.

This is Jale standing in front of a font exactly in the center of the Church of Mary in Ephesus.

The other areas at Ephesus I really loved were the Terrace Houses where the majority of the excovation work has happened of late, and if you see it you will know why. The reliefs, the briliant Frescos, the absolutely beautifully detailed Mosaics, and some of the best marble work (both floor and walls) in history. This is an example of the excentricity of the Mosaic designs.

If you take the time to pay attention you can see the ceramic water pipes. I say pay attention because you dont have to look hard to find them they are everywhere. Yes, for all the stupid people left in the world, there has been not only running water in homes since who knows when, at Ephesus they had hot and cold running water, and climate control within their homes! I have heard about romans having water run down the walls to keep areas cool, but at Ephesus there was hot and cold water piped through the walls to keep the homes both cool in the summer and warm in the winter. How? Simple stuff really, run a set of pipes over and around a small hearth then between the double walls (every wall of each house was really two walls with about 6 inches between them).

These homes had both baths and toilets inside them too. Understand we are talking about civilization in the BCs here. In western America they were still using outhouses, sweltering in the heat of summer, depending on air flow alone to cool, and using multiple fireplaces to heat specific rooms 20 centuries or more later.

Another area of fancy in Ephesus, and by the way, largely excovated is the Brothel. The Brothel is a very large complex, it encompases a public toilet and bath house along with a male and female brothel. It is directly across from the Library on the corner of the marble roads up to the Senate and to the Amphetheater. The Brothel is exactly in the center of the known parts of the city. When the area was first excovated in the 1800’s they believed it to be a temple of some sort because the found what was believed to be a small statue of a fertility god. The statue was of a relatively small, stout man, with an incredibly large, how can I say this… member? Hell, his penis was as long as he was tall, and bigger around than his head! The more they excovated the more of these little ‘gods’ they found of different sizes. Then they began finding multiple statues of multiple sizes in the same small windowless rooms. You know what I am getting at here. Someone finally put the pieces together and figured out that their "Temple" was a temple of the flesh and their little fertility god was not a falic symbol, rather a falic device! Now if you are old enough to understand, then you get it; if not, you can figure it out when you are!

The attached Public Bath and Toilets were large, and they began finding others in every corner of the city. These were some clean people! The first thing you run into at every entrance to the city was in fact a Bath. There is also a bath connected to every building of importance, the Senate, all the Temples, the Brothels, the Ampitheater, the Market, and the Statium. There has also been at least one bath located in each home they have excovated. I think the only building without a bath that I saw was the Celcius Library and it is directly across from the largest of the public baths.
The Temples at Ephesus are many. There are Temples to most of the female and some male gods recognized around the Agean along with temples to the Egyptian Godess Isis. This was in fact a female centered society.
Later we visited what is called the Seven Sleepers. Ledgend has it that when the Christians were being persecuted that seven christians hid in a cave and fell asleep, to awake and reappear from the cave 150 years later when Byzantium had recognized Christianity as the state religion. Here I am in the Ruin of the Basillica of the Seven Sleepers. This place like so many ancient sites has gone largely unexcovated. For instance this area is just beside the area that they actuall excovated and one floor up. I am standing on what began as the ground level.

Just a few meters away this is what you find from where they have excovated.

- We had no intention of stopping at Magneise, we were on the way to Priene and we just saw it. Couple of interesting things happened when we visited: 1 We met the lead archeologist for the current dig! He was a pretty cool charecter. We told him that we almost didn’t stop and he said almost everyone just passes it bye because there is very little excovated and above the ground surface, but that he was happy to show us around. 2 He invited us into the ancient public toilets and showed us the oldest know Lead Pipe. He showed us the head of a support column thay was a representation of Homer’s Odessy. He also told us about the ampitheater and stadium which were nowhere to be seen becauce they had been cut into the hills. Again the city was female centered with a normal and a huge Temple of Artimis. This place will likely be more important a discovery than Ephesus when everything is cleared if for no other reasons that it is clearly twice the size as Ephesus and the use of the Lead Pipe.

After a couple hours and some pictures we said our goodbyes and moved on to Priene.

Priene, what can I say but WOW! This place, like Ephesus used to be a port city but the river filled in the port with sand over time and cut off the city. Now you can barely see the sea anymore. The main temple here was the Athena Temple but there were both male and female, Agean and Egyptian temples and christian churches. There are multiple teams from multiple countries digging here. The Athena Temple was monumental and you can see the grandure even through the sea of cut stone and column pieces lying where they fell after an earthquake.

The Amphitheater is cut into a mountain side and has the addition of four seats of honor bordering the orchestra pit. The Agora, public meeting and market place, was huge, and bordered by small meeting areas that look like thrones. We ended this day exhausted from all the walking soaking our aching bodies in the Agean Sea.
We tried to take it easy the next day and spent half of it with İbrahim Abi (big brother), at his farm. This is me İbrahim and İbrahim Abi sitting to eat breakfast.
This is Jale picking Çeftali (Peaches). The biggest and tastiest peaches I ever had!

We ended the day strolling through the House of the Virgin Mary. There is actually a lot of circumstantial and a good bit of factual evidence that this house turned little church is the place where the Mother of Jesus Christ lived after the Crusifiction till she died.

There was so much more that happened on the Holiday but I’ll save it for another day. I hope you enjoyed the read because I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

As usual, should you find yourself angered with me over what I say or who I am, I ask you to ask yourself why. If you look within you will probably find it. I love you back no matter what.

To my friends and family, Love and kindness all your days.

To my children All the love in the world!


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Life Goes On

Well here it is, my 42nd birthday. I woke this morning to the woman I love kissing me saying “Happy Birthday Baby.” Funny thing is that I had completely forgotten about my birthday, as usual, until yesterday.

This is a first, my first one away from my kids since they were born. If you read these blogs you know I have to examine how I feel about that and how that applies to my life.

First how do I feel about my birthday? In truth, I regularly forget about my own birthday. I can remember times when I did nothing to celebrate this day personally, and was even reminded by others that it was in fact my day. Hmmm, I have never really placed a lot of weight in my own birthday, at least after I was 18. After 18 it just seemed like any other day of the year. A day other people sometimes celebrated, but I did not.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of being recognized by those I love for making it another year. I enjoyed the parties with my friends in my early twenties. Hell, we could have celebrated every day because we made it through yesterday! I enjoyed all the birthdays my children celebrated with me more than any others combined.

What about this being the 42nd birthday? I really don’t know about that, I mean, I think I don’t really care about my age. When I think about the year in particular, All I can really place is that I got divorced this year and got to spend the majority of this year in the arms of the woman I love. I did not however get to see my kids more than 7 days. Amazing, I just added the days up in my head and it is exactly 7 days, August 12-13 and November 23-27, 2006. Been sitting here for about 10 minutes trying to figure out how I feel about it.

I am torn, conflicted. I am saddened by only getting that little time with my children, while at the same time overjoyed by having that time with Jale. I wish there was some way to join the time with her and the kids. I know I cannot though, and so we come to the title of this blog, “Life Goes On.”

Life indeed goes on. I focus on the things in life that bring me joyous feelings and try my hardest to build a future I can live with. I can recognize that the past exists and that all that really did happen. I can recognize that my past will indeed affect my future, both in consequence and in learning from mistakes.

As for how life goes on, I can only say that Jale, Ibrahim, Mac, and I are on our holiday. We are in Ağva for a month. My work permit has been denied, and the reason mysterious, the company is reapplying. I am writing the only things I know about, addictions and my life. I only hope that a Publisher takes the opportunity to work with me to produce it.

As always if you have a problem with anything I say, I ask you to ask yourself why. I love you back no matter what.

To my friends, love and kindness all your days.

To my children and family in America, I love and miss you very much. Someday we will be able to be together again here.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Missing Life

What the heck have I been up to?

Well I have been working my butt off trying to get my work permit done so I can begin getting paid. Yes we are way over the expected time frame now. I have finally gotten everything ready for the other english speaking colleges here signed up for BCBS and TRICARE as providers, so not their client bases should skyrocket along with their income, at least we all are hoping that will happen. But I am still not getting any income other than my Retirement from the USAF.

We have been going to Ağva every weekend lately. We will be there again this weekend too. I am going to try to get some more pictures to update my photo album linked to this blog. Last weekend I took a picture of a beautiful cove which you can see above. I snorkled that cove and I have to say it was way cool, but there were a lot of dead crabs at the bottom.
Anyway going again this weekend.
Love to my kids and Peace to all!

Friday, July 6, 2007

A Hard Week

God this week has been a hard one! I had, for lack of a better term, a PTSD like flashback and I am having a hard time getting past it. You see I was involved in a co-dependent marriage for 20 years. Now that is over but in my new relationship I felt I had to do a co-dependent thing in order to end a minor argument. I said at the time "You dont understand the significance of what I just did" but could not explain it further at the time.

Hell, I still have a hard time explaining it. We talked about it last night and cleared a lot of it up, but not all of it.

Let me try to explain: I had a frustrating day because I wanted to work but could not. The work I do now depends on a computer in order to prepare presentations, seminars and a consultation company web site. I could not get access to a computer though. Sometimes at the office I get relegated to an office where all I can do is sit and do nothing, and most of the time I really don't mind. That day I minded a lot, I really wanted to work on it.

I tried to find a way to work, to no avail. I got more and more frustrated over the last couple hours at work, then there were a couple other frustrating things that happened on the way home that piled on to the original ones and I became angry. Jale wanted to know why I was angry, but I could not talk about it at that time because I just felt like being mean and I did not want to take it out on her. Of course she seeing me in that state was worried and wanted me to share like we always do. I could not see out of the anger. She pushed it till I blew m stack, she took it personal and got defensive. I said I didn't want that and that is why I didn't want to talk about it yet. Then she would not let it go. That is when it happened. We were arguing about something we didn't need to be arguing about and the only way I could see to end it was to diminish my personal value in the argument and accept all the responsibility for everything.
That was the flashback! I had to put her on the same level, in the same role as my ex, her in the same role as my ex in order to do it. I knew she would not understand it and could only say "you do not understand the significance."

I was right, she does not understand it, and neither did I. The next day I could not get out of the funk. I am beginning to get out of it now, because I am beginning to understand it a little.

Men get angry sometimes and react to things that happened in the PAST not the present. This is because they compartmentalize their anger, because they fear losing control, and it only comes out when the compartment is opened. Last night I told her that I was sicker than I thought I was. I thought I had a handle on this crap and I guess I really don't. That again is upsetting to me but I will not let it get pushed back to come out some other time. We talked about it a lot last night and cuddled to sleep. I feel better, I believe she feels better, I can only hope that I do not continue to compartmentalize my angry feelings anymore.

To all the men out there, believe me it aint worth it!

As always, If you take issue with what I have to say I as you to look into yourself and ask why, I love you back no matter what.

To my friends love and kindness all your days.

To my kids, you have all my love, I miss you.


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

First Weekend in July 2007

This weekend started early. We left for Ağva on Friday and stayed till Tuesday evening. The trip there was longer than usual because Ibrahim decided to wash the car and there was an accident on the Highway which slowed the treaffic to a halt for a while. We had planned on cooking diner on the way but by the time we got there it was dark so we went to eat at the little Resteraunt we always eat at.

Dilek, the woman who manages the place for her family, likes me for some reason and has decided that I must learn some new Turkish every time I go. This week it was the same as last week because I really messed it up the first time. This week though I managed the entire sentance accurately! You see the conversation went like this:

Dilek – “Iyi yakşamlar, nasilsiniz?” Good evening, how are you today?”
Me – “Iyim sol, hava nasil geçde?” Good thanks, how was your week?

To which she beamed with delight and kissed my cheeks saying Iyi which means good. I was proud of myself and everyone had a great laugh because I managed it correctly. We all sat down and ate Köfte. The evening was great.

The rest of the weekend was spent reading books and sunning on the beach. We had to chase the wasps out of the house severa times, and we painted the gate to the street. We also spent a lot of time this weekend over at the Paradise Hotel.

You have to understand about the Paradise. Galip, the owner, is an old friend of the family. The hotel he began building 20 or so years ago is probably 3 kilometers up river on the side with no road. To get there you either have to go by boat or park across the river and be brought across on his skyway. He has slowly built individual bungalows that look like log cabins, and has a large resteraunt and grounds covered in little cozy platforms and eating areas. I love the place because it is so peaceful, until night time when there is live music. Every time we go there we are treated like family and shown to their table. If ever you have the chance to visit this part of the world, it is absolutely worth it to make a trip to Ağva just to stay at the Paradise for a while! is the web site to check it out.

That was the weekend. Of course I have not included the stupid things I said or did because it might hurt someone else if I write about them here in this forum. Just know that I do and say stupid stuff sometimes!

I also spent a large amount of time thinking about my kids this weekend but that is in the blog I leave for them.

As always love and hugs to my friends. My only hope for you is that you find the sort of happiness I have.

If anyone takes issue with anything I have said, I encourage you to ask yourself why. Afterall, I am just a goofy guy trying to live in happiness. Love to you no matter what.

To my kids, you have all the love I can give at this distance. Know that I love you more than I can say or show!