Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Life on a Base

I need to try and blog more often even if I have no fun pictures to share. I thought I would try and paint a picture for you of life on an Air Force Base. Or at least life for us on an Air Base owned by the Turkish Air Force. Things here have weird names and I am not really sure why. For example, the post office is called "The Official Documents Center" and the dry cleaners is called "The Fabric Care Facility." When you leave or enter the base there is a sign that says you must be prepared to show your ID without being warned.
Going to a movie here is patriotic (it is at every base) because after the preview of coming attractions they play the national anthem and everyone stands up.
Because of Doug's job as a squadron commander, we go to a LOT of functions at the Club. Usually at least one a week, sometimes two or three. We see all the same people at these functions, but we have to be sure to wear different outfits! Last Saturday we attended the Black History Month Extravaganza. It was very nice. You walk in to the dining room and hit the bar for "cocktail hour". Always fun when you don't drink. So Doug and I stand around with our ginger ales looking suave. He finds another commander to talk shop with and I hang out with the commander's spouses. We talk about deep things, like where you got that purse or those really cute shoes. Sometimes we tackle hard subjects, like the weather or whether or not we should go somewhere for spring break.
It's tough, but I'll sacrifice for my country. After thirty minutes or so of this we are asked to take our seats ( big faux pax to sit before that.) Then we are asked to stand again for the playing of the national anthems. Yes, you read right, anthems. We first listen to the Turkish national anthem which is a tad on the long side. Then we listen to the American national anthem. I am not ashamed to admit I get a bit teary-eyed each time I hear it, I always did, but somehow it means more to me now that I am away from the States. Now if the function we are attending is of a more military nature, the anthems will be proceeded by the posting of the colors. I love watching the posting of the colors. The slow march, the way they carefully inspect each flag after it is posted. Sometimes we get to sing the Air Force song, that is always fun. For a Mormon who tries never to cuss it is like getting a free cuss pass..."off with one helluva roar.."
Anyway, what else, what else? Oh, the Giant Voice...there are a lot of exercises here, like for the military folks to practice having a war (it's what they do) and they use the Giant Voice to tell people what they should be doing. It can be heard all over the base. I don't know the guy who actually does the Giant voice, but he sounds like a hip dude. He has to begin and end his transmissions by saying "Exercise, exercise, exercise." He says it real laid back-like, he reminds me of the Ladies Man from SNL. Kind of like, "exacise, exacise, exacise." Meghann does a really good impression of him.
Speaking of Meghann, she just won two awards. The first was the Citizenship award for the 2nd quarter. ( She and Sydney both made the Honor Roll.) She also won the essay contest during Black History Month. She won first place in all the Middle School and got a nice plaque. She also gets the chance to go to Germany for a week because she won for a leadership thingie. Good on her! While I am kid bragging, I will also say that Sydney is the Talented and Gifted Program here and has been moved up into 7th grade social studies and art. My kids rock!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Do Not Alarm

One of the very best things about living here in Turkey is the way the translate various things. Like the directions to this elevator in Doug's building. Because the picture is quite blurry, I will retype the directions for your reading pleasure.
To summon the elevator, press the button indicating the direction you wish to go.
After entering the cabin, it is sufficient to press only once the button of the floor you wish to go to.
If the elevator has taken you to another floor do not alarm, just wait. After the elevator fulfills the command before yours, it will take you to the floor that you wish to go?
If the elevator stops between floors or the doors do not open please press the emergency button with short intervals.
When the overload buzzing sound is heard, please decrease the load inside the cabin until this sound stops.
I think I'll take the stairs.

Tour: Part Five

This is the three story "Kitty Townhouse", we got just before we left Virginia. Yes, our cats are spoiled, but we had just found out about Dinah being sick and suddenly it seemed like a good investment. Here Abby demonstrates what kind of fun can be had on the kitty townhouse. Dinah likes it, too. She can jump to the top from the floor in one big leap. Abby wanted me to plug her new website; www.barf.com. She updates it every day. (Not an actual site.) Although she updated it twice on the dining room floor whilst I typed this. (I love the word whilst.)
Dinah has had enough of the home tour and heads out the door.
Earlier I mentioned our housekeeper, Cigdem. I must now sing her praises. She is my favorite person in the whole world. She cleans my house like an angel straight from heaven. What did I ever do without her? (Oh yeah, I had a dirty house.) The one funny thing she does is this. Hang the laundry from heck to breakfast outside in the backyard. This was the first time I had seen use a tree so I had to capture the moment. Why, you must wonder, do I not invest in a wire clothes dryer? Well, the BX is currently out of them. When the BX is out of something all you can do is wait.
Dinah and the airing of the dirty laundry.

PS. My clothes dryer does work so I am not sure why she does this. But I don't ask, I am just too happy someone else is doing the laundry!

Tour: Part Four

We are lucky to have a four bedroom house so we have this extra room for all my crafty stuff and an extra tv. We can't get cable upstairs but we can still watch DVDs.
Here is the fouton you could be sleeping on if you visit your friends in Turkey!

The lovely master suite. Please to note my beautiful old handmade rug. Doug does not like it but he got it for me anyway. Thank you.

Tour: Part Three

Welcome to Sydney's room. She collects stuff. Some of her collections include but are not limited to- horses, cats, tea sets, rocks, dolls, clothes, beads, and things of a Japanese nature.
This is a good shot of Sydney's "Freedom Chain". She can pull off a link at the end of every month. When we started it, it touched the floor. Only 20 months to go!!!
Oh yeah, she also collects stuffed animals (or stuffed up animals as Cousin Fee once said.)
Now enter the forbidden and dank realms of a teenager's room. Meghann's main interests are music and books. She writes both and she's gooood.

If you are wondering about the seeming cleanliness of the girls' rooms, I must admit I can't get them to do this. No, these pictures are made possible by the dedicated hard work of our housekeeper, Cigdem (pronounced Cheedum.) I took these pictures moments after Cigdem left. Moments later, the rooms looked like major weapons testing occurred in them. Why, why don't kids like living in a clean room??!! I wish I knew.

Tour: Part Two

Our front porch on a rainy day. It rained for about a week during February. Not much of a rainy season if you ask me. They say there is a drought. I love it when it rains. Look how green everything is even in February.
Doug did some impressive work with the hammer drill here. We chose these three paintings because they have a Turkish rug theme. Then Doug also hung some "evil eyes"- a symbol used here to ward off evil spirits. You see them everywhere.
View from the landing between the flights of stairs.

The area at the top of the stairs can only be described as wasted space. It's almost big enough to be a room. Here Dinah poses prettily.

A Little Tour

I thought you might enjoy a tour of the Wall family digs. Here we see the unbelievably small kitchen and the dining room.

Here is our living and/or family room. Please to note the drum sitting to the right of the loveseat. Doug needed something to pound to release his frustrations.

Another view of the living room. Our piano is horribly out of tune, but according to my sources the Turkish piano tuner who comes to base occasionally may or may not be dead.