Marmaris view and Crafts/Arts group meeting


  I’m backtracking to Wednesday’s first meeting of the Crafts/Art Group.  It’s another nice way to meet other cruisers and find company to do projects.  And our new berth on B dock is a great place to take photos of Marmaris town across the way.


Ps these photos are not compressed


Marmaris Town in the morning…

From our new spot on B dock we have a beautiful view of Marmaris Town.  But because we want to be tied up along our side rather than stern tied, we will move to a different location next week…hopefully.  In the meantime It’s a lovely sight to see first thing in the morning and later lit up at night.


Testing my zoom……


An even closer shot that my other camera could not do. 


Some wooden sail boats are still around, but most, if not all will be gone for the winter.


Our neighbors in the marina.


Sailors’ Point Library/Meeting Room where we have our “Arts and Crafts” group meetings.  Now a 2 minute walk instead of then 15 minute walk from our first berth on A dock.

A dock is not near B dock..but rather across the way making A come after N.  Hmmm.


Our first meeting sharing ideas, skills, and goals.

I didn’t get everyone’s name so I’ll wait until next class to introduce them to you.



The lady in stripes, Kirsten, is the leader of the knitting group.


Visiting some yarn shops to see what’s available.


So many choices!

I may have to knit something too!

Later in the day Randal and I went for a walk…..


I zoomed in to capture this cat that was unsure of Randal and me. 

Most cats are very friendly and eager for some pats and while Randal browsed in the marine shops I made friends with the “several” who live there.  Most cats are well fed and seem healthy as there are lots of feeding stations around Marmaris for them.  Not the best answer but better than nothing. 

  I do think I’ll like my new camera and I am slowly reading the directions.  Indoor photos are still a challenge.  Also, when I compress them in my word program it seems to make them less sharp.  I don’t remember that from my other camera though I don’t know why changing cameras would matter.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Pineapple Restaurant, Netsel Marina, Marmaris, Turkey November 22, 2012 with old friends and new.

November 23, 2012

Netsel Marina B Dock

Marmaris, Turkey


Randal’s sister Linda is married to Reverend Ken.  Some of you know him as the guy who “married Randal and me” back in May 1999.  Ken always knows exactly what to say when something meaningful needs to be said.  These are Ken’s words about Thanksgiving…  ”Today you and Randal will share the joy of friends as you break the bread of giving thanks, and also today we’ll fill the chairs around the table with family, the table with abundance and tell a tale or two as we break the bread of giving thanks. What abundant blessings!”  

If you aren’t hungry, and if you’re healthy, and have a good friend or two and family that you love; well I guess you really do have it all.




Gwen, “activities organizer” in the bright blue sweater.


Bottom Row Left to Right: Sue and Ed from Iowa; Marty and Art from Washington D.C. (with Randal between them,) Vic from Seattle, Gwen from here and Zarah and Lee, a Turkish-American couple; Lee from Brooklyn and Zarah from Ankara. 

I never asked anyone to pose so consequently you aren’t seeing everyone’s face.  But I find in those photos, some people are moving or have their eyes closed or whatever so this will just have to do.


Our pal Rick second from the front on the left.


Mary in blue examining the bottle of wine everyone received with their meal.


The most important people of the evening: the men who cooked the food…


And the Pineapple “wine lady” checking on everything.


Art and Randal

Art and Marty stopped sailing while raising their kids; their two daughters and two “adopted” boys.   They also fostered over twenty children during their land lives.  Now that their “4 children” are out and about, Art and Marty have returned to sailing.  They were also on the mountain hike this past Sunday.

Our first course was pumpkin/carrot soup that I ate before thinking to take a photo: it was really good!


Shrimp and avocado with toasted garlic cheese bread. 


Turkey with all the trimmings


Fruit crumble with ice cream.

The square plastic container in the photo contains most of my turkey dinner.  I’d originally brought the container for dessert, but after the wonderful pumpkin soup and the shrimp/avocado appetizer, I could only eat my broccoli and carrots. I packed the turkey, stuffing and potato into the box because left-over turkey is the best kind of left-overs.  As I only had one box, Art helped me out and ate my dessert along with his. 


Scraps for the restaurant cat!

When we were leaving the restaurant we noticed this lucky feline having Thanksgiving dinner.

We really had a great time getting to meet and talk with Art and Marty and Vick.    I had met Art and Marty on the hike, but hadn’t really talked with them.  Marty was too far ahead!   Art had waited behind with Bunny, the hike leader who was waiting for me, the slow poke but as I had to save my breath for hiking, didn’t make much conversation!  So it was nice to get to know them a bit.  Unfortunately for us they left today (Friday) to meet up with a friend in Spain to help him bring his boat back to the U. S.  Sue and Ed and Lee and Zarah were at the other end of the table so we didn’t talk with them as much.  Sue and Ed have both done RAGBRAI, the bike ride across Iowa that Randal and I have done 5 times.  And Sue wants to paint so will come to the Arts/Craft morning.  They live in Netsel so we will see them more.  We’ve known Lee and Zarah since we arrived in Turkey this trip; Zarah teaches the Monday morning Turkish class.  We met Gwen last year so know her and chat just about every day over some plan or other. 

This is one last Thanksgiving story that I came across on NPR.  Maybe some of you heard it too.

“November 22, 2012

This is America, where Thanksgiving is portrayed in popular culture as a time for gatherings of loving families and friends, holding hands while saying grace over a roast turkey, passing casseroles and footballs, reminiscing about the past and dreaming of the future.

But. This being America, we also know that traditions — just like every other aspect of contemporary life — become more complex the more we examine them.

So when we posted a question recently on NPR’s Facebook page asking those who are planning to spend Thanksgiving alone to tell us why and how, we got hundreds and hundreds of very different responses.

Mixed Reactions

Some people were upset that we even brought up the subject of going solo on Thanksgiving.

"Geez, NPR, rub it in," was one Facebook response.

Another: "This is the saddest thing NPR has ever posted."

Others were thankful, thankful for the opportunity to point out why they will be alone — by choice or by necessity.

"Initially, this may seem depressing," one person said. "But as someone who has spent a Thanksgiving alone and enjoyed it, I have to say that sometimes spending time with the family is overrated."

Another wrote, "Why is that day any different from any other day? And what’s so awful about enjoying one’s own company?"

Still others offered opinions: "You must hate people if you’re choosing to be alone on Thanksgiving."

And another person responded: "I am a little surprised and disheartened by the comments to this post. I clicked on it because I have spent this holiday alone in the past, not because I hate people and I didn’t necessarily find it depressing. For the holiday season, perhaps you should keep your judgmental biases on how holidays should be spent to yourself and restrain from declaring other people’s lives or decisions depressing."

Complicated reactions from a complicated nation at a complicated moment in our timeline. In any case, one thing is certain: Many Americans will be spending Thanksgiving Day alone.

Single Servings

"At a time when too many people are feeling hyper-connected, overstimulated, too busy and too hassled, what could be more dreamy than spending an entire day completely on your own, doing whatever you want, whenever you want?" says Bella DePaulo, who teaches psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and is the author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. "Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that are highly scripted. You are supposed to spend it with other people — especially with family. All jokes and sitcoms aside, you are supposed to want to spend it that way."

But a lot of Americans are celebrating by themselves because of demanding jobs, challenging schoolwork, family tensions or the expense of travel. Some don’t care for all the dinner-table questions people ask, or the political talk, or the meat-and-sweet potatoes menu, or the lame jokes; some people prefer going on nature hikes or biking or snowboarding or strolling around empty cityscapes on Thanksgiving Day. A few are even crossing over to Canada, where it’s just another Thursday.

Some people simply find it easier to be alone. "I’m a very busy divorced mom and business owner," says Delaine Due of Ashland, Ore. "A few years ago, I started giving myself an artist’s meditation retreat on Thanksgiving weekends when my child is with his dad’s family. It’s as if I’m single and in art college again." Due says she enjoys, for the brief time, being in control of her environment. "I get to choose the wine, the materials, the music, the food, without ever having to ask anyone else’s permission."

Mackenzi Johnson works in merchandising in Nashville, Tenn. Her family will be convening many hours away in Northeast Ohio. "The distance, the insane traffic and the logistics of loading the four dogs into a station wagon makes staying home for Thanksgiving a much more attractive option," Johnson says. "I haven’t come up with anything for dinner yet, but I’ve got the version of Company with Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Colbert." She says she realizes the irony of watching Company.

"There’s a dive bar around the corner that usually opens Thanksgiving night, and they have karaoke," Johnson says. "I might brush up on the lyrics to All by Myself."

Living in San Francisco, Joel Goldfarb doesn’t have any relatives nearby. "I’m a single gay man, 49. My parents are deceased," he says. "Friends typically have other plans. I don’t want anyone taking pity on me, so I don’t tell anyone I’m going to be alone. I hate the feeling but somehow survive it."

Laura Thornton, a student at the University of Chicago Law School, says some of her friends have invited her to spend the holiday with them. "But I never liked Thanksgiving much anyway, so I’d prefer to spend it alone."

Her plan, she says, is to "just chill out with my dog and drink whiskey in my apartment, like I did last Thanksgiving. Sometimes I find it hard to take time out for myself, so it’s actually kind of nice to have this time imposed on me. Plus, hopefully I’ll get a lot of work done."

‘Something Else Entirely’

And there are those for whom life’s cruel turns have made the thought of celebrating Thanksgiving anathema or have forced them to find different ways to mark the day.

"I will be spending Thanksgiving by myself this year because I am not in a holiday spirit," says Lesli DeGross of Baltimore. Her only child, Zakary, passed away from cancer in 2010.

"Since then, holidays don’t feel the same and are difficult to get through," she says. "I miss him so much that I’ll end up crying the whole day because he isn’t here with me."

Diane McGee Hardin lives near Austin, Texas, and has multiple sclerosis. "I will be alone this Thanksgiving. My story may seem sad, but I’ve come up with a plan to enjoy this year." Hardin has offered to be an online resource for her Facebook friends who are looking for Thanksgiving cooking advice.

"So far," she says, "I’ve written several recipes for friends and have dished up a fair number of suggestions and inspiration. I may not get to eat with them — most of them don’t realize I’ll be alone — but I’ll be involved, and that makes me feel a lot better."

And what about DePaulo, who was described by The Atlantic as "America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience"? How is she planning to spend the day? "This year," she says, "I’m celebrating Thanksgiving on my own. I’ll sleep late, and if it is a typical sunny day here in Southern California, I’ll walk the beach or one of the breathtaking trails. My computer, my email and all other electronic devices will be off all day. I love to cook, so maybe I’ll make a few things I love. I’ll probably read a novel all the way through without having to set it aside again and again because I think I need to get some work done. Or I could have a Netflix night — or maybe both."

And, she adds, "Here’s the thing about celebrating a holiday your own way: If I wake up and decide that I feel like doing something else entirely, well, then, I’ll just do that instead."

Happy Thanksgiving


   Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  After all, how could I possibly pass up the chance to write about eating turkey in Turkey so being in Turkey and having turkey in me.  Or at least I will this evening when we have our turkey dinner at Pineapple Restaurant here at the marina.  Hope you are with family and friends which is really the best part of Thanksgiving!!!


The Whether-or-not-you-are American

Thanksgiving Dinner

Pineapple Restaurant

Thursday, 22 November 7:00 p.m. onwards


Pumpkin & Beetroot Soup

Avocado w/Shrimp & Pineapple

Garlic Bread

Turkey & Sage Stuffing w/gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Roast Potatoes

Broccoli, & Carrots

Apple Crumble & Ice Cream (A la Mode)

Coffee & Brandy

½ bottle wine or 2 beer per person

I will be opting for the ½ bottle of wine and skipping the ice cream to make room for the brandy which I never drink, especially after that much wine.  Maybe they’re little bottles?   Luckily we only have a very short distance to walk back to the boat as we are now on B dock at the entrance to the marina very near Pineapple.  Our final parking space, where we will move next week (Hopefully!) is just across the walkway/road from Pineapple. 

I looked up the word for turkey in my Turkish dictionary and it’s hindi.    As in India “hindi.”    Here’s the story from 

What’s the mistake that gave “turkey” the bird the same name as “Turkey” the nation?

If you’ve ever visited Turkey, you probably ate shwarma, but it’s unlikely that you were served a crispy, golden turkey leg. The former center of the Ottoman Empire isn’t exactly a breeding ground for the bird that we most closely associate with Thanksgiving. In fact, the turkey is native to North America.

So why do they share the same name?

First, let’s get the facts on the two turkeys.

Meleagris gallopavo is an odd-looking bird that is known for his bare head, wattle, and iridescent plumage. Like many species, the feathers of the male turkey are brighter than the female.

The republic of Turkey straddles Asia and Europe and has coastline along the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean. Its capital city is Ankara.

Here’s how they are related. In the 1540s, the guinea fowl, a bird with some resemblance to the Thanksgiving avian, was imported from Madagascar through Turkey by traders known as turkey merchants. The guinea fowl was also nicknamed the turkey fowl. Then, the Spanish brought turkeys back from the Americas by way of North Africa and Turkey, where the bird was mistakenly called the same name. Europeans who encountered the bird in the Americas latched on to the “turkey fowl” name, and the term was condensed simply to “turkey.” Turkeys have fared better than their guinea fowl relatives on the international scene, perhaps explaining why you probably have never heard of guinea fowl until right now.

The Turkish name for the bird is hindi, which literally means “Indian.” This name likely derived from the common misconception that India and the New World were one and the same.

The turkey’s acceptance into the Old World happened quickly. By 1575, the English were enjoying the North American bird at Christmas dinner.

We want to acknowledge, as some commenters have noted, that our previous explanation of “turkey” confusion was a bit, well, confusing. We hope that our revisions are clearer. We at the Hot Word aren’t too chicken to admit when our writing is a turkey; hopefully, with our meatier explanation, your appetite for nomenclature knowledge is sated (let us know if you’re still confused.)

Sunday hike


It’s Tuesday, which makes it Happy Hour Night here at Netsel Marina starting at 6pm.

   Yesterday morning I joined the Turkish Lesson group at Sailor Point, the small building at the front of the marina that houses the library.  During our break we all noticed DoraMac coming along.  The marina had promised to move us closer in and had chosen then to do it.  Some of the marina staff helped Randal as I was away.  They tried one spot first and then another where we are now just mid-way between Sailor Point and Migros Market.  It’s almost a perfect location with a lovely view of town.  But we are still Med-moored which doesn’t work well for us as the dock is as high as A where we have been so walking the plank off and onto the boat is tricky.  But the final plan is that we will soon have a spot where we can be tied alongside just across form the Pineapple Restaurant on the main walkway.  That would certainly make going to Happy Hour in the rain easier. (It is raining now at 5:10 pm)  We’ll just have to see.  If we don’t move we’ll have to get an entirely different plank.

  Last night I actually had my first normal night’s sleep.  Randal seems to still be on US time but he tends to nap and I don’t.  We have been wide awake reading at 3 am since we’ve arrived here.  I’m hungry at 3 am ready to get up.  It would be 7 hours earlier in Roanoke so that makes no sense at all, but it is what it is…or was as last night I slept quite soundly. 

   Tomorrow morning the Craft/Art group will meet for the first time.  I’ll let you know how that goes. 

So far I’ve read  Miss Hargreaves by Peter Baker which was only okay but clever.  If you liked the movie Stranger than Fiction, you’ll like the book.  Margaret Rutherford played the role of Miss Hargreaves at one point and I wish I could have seen that.   I’m also really disappointed in the Camino Del Santiago which won best book and travel book awards.  It’s not nearly as funny or clever as Bill Bryson or as introspective and well written as Rosemary Mahoney’s Singular Pilgrim.  But the little light Fixer Upper murder mysteries my niece gave me are fun.

So that’s it.


Last Sunday morning, the Dead End Gang Hiking Group (Mary, Rick and Me) joined with folks living at Yacht Marina for  their “organized” hike up the mountain behind Yacht Marina.  It was 2 hours up, up, up and then lunch at the top with lovely views, and then a pleasant walk down.  I got pooped on the way up which surprised me with all my hours of North Cyprus hiking, long walks in Israel, and daily walking in Roanoke.  I wish I could tell you the names of the folks who led the hike, but there were too many new people.  I think it was Bonnie and Bill, but not positive.  And at the end I had to skip ice cream at the market to race away as we’d been invited to a Rebak (Langkawi, Malaysia) Marina Reunion being held that afternoon as many Rebak cruisers are now living at Yacht Marina.  I’ll find out next hike, as Mary and Rick and I think we should return the favor and lead a hike up the mountain behind Netsel Marina.

The hike started from the gate of Yacht Marina at 10 am so Mary and Rick and I caught the 9 am dolmus as they only run every hour in “winter.”  That gave us enough time for a cappuccino in the bar, a stop at the small marina market, and a visit to the WC before we met the other hikers.  There were 14 hikers in all.


Mary and Rick, starting up the dirt road that would lead to the cave and trail up the mountain.

When we stayed at Yacht Marine in the spring of 2011, I would walk up this hill but only stayed on the main dirt road.  No one was leading hikes then as they were all out cruising.  Rick is taking a photo of our hike leader pointing out the entrance to the Nimara Magarasi Cave.  It had poured early in the morning so the stone steps down to the cave were slick.  Thankfully there was a rope handrail to hold on to.  And a gate often times kept closed was open so we could actually walk down to the cave.

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Walking down to the cave.


Our other guide is the woman with the walking stick. 


A photo of the sign in the cave which luckily was written in both Turkish and English. 

I have added to newspaper articles at the end of the email if you want to read more.  I must admit I was starting to feel a bit tired so didn’t pay so much attention to much other than getting myself to the top.  Our guide told us that a concert had been held in the cave though I can’t remember if she had attended.


One of our group brought had brought his harmonica so we had a lovely concert of our own!


Looks like something adventurous from an old National Geographic Magazine.

Sometimes black and white shows details missed in color photos.


There were neon green markers and some fading red markers, but the trail was at times hard to find so we ended up taking the harder bits when we didn’t need to.  But that was fine as it made going down easier than we had thought it would be. 


Stopping for a rest at mystery remains of a building.


Lots of pot chards were visible. 


Almost at the top.


View and lunch!


Looking back to town..


Zooming in back to town


A traffic jam on the dirt road was taking place when we retuned back to the marina.


A new marina or something is being built…still being built as it was being built last year.

While sitting on the top of the mountain my phone rang!  Randal had gone to Yacht Marina looking for our friends Peter and Kathy from Waver Runner whom we’d met in Indonesia and then been with at Rebak Marina in Langkawi, Malaysia.  Heather and David on Milliways who had invited us to their musical “Rebak Reunion” where Kathy and Peter would also be. 


Randal and Kathy


Peter is the guy in glasses playing the guitar you can’t see.


This group gets together as often as they can to make music.  Maybe one day Randal will join in.


Tapping to the beat.

I was pretty pooped, to say nothing of dirty and sweaty, so we didn’t stay long but most folks are wintering here in Marmaris so I’m sure we’ll see them all again.

TURKEY MARMARİS – Anatolia News Agency | 9/25/2007 12:00:00 AM

Human presence dating back 12,000 years found in Marmaris

     The recent excavation project carried out by Marmaris Municipality in Nimara Cave revealed traces of human presence dating back 12,000 years. The researchers stated that the cave was

     The recent excavation project carried out by Marmaris Municipality in Nimara Cave revealed traces of human presence dating back 12,000 years. The researchers stated that the cave was used as a place of worship in ancient times. The cave, declared a protected area in 1999, also shelters butterflies similar to those in Fethiye’s Butterfly Valley.

     During the excavations many pieces of glass, bones and coins were found. Marmaris Museum Director Neşe Kırdemir said: "The excavations proved wrong Herodotus who claimed Marmaris to have history dating back 3,000 B.C.” In a press conference last week Kırdemir also called prehistory experts to conduct further research on the area. 

     In the ground of the cave we discovered about 1,500 colored pieces of glass along with hatchets, cutters of stone and bones. Considering the data obtained, we can mention the presence of a bead workshop in use till the bronze age,” Kırdemir stated.

     According to Kırdemir, the cave was a sanctuary used also in the Roman Period. “The two stone terraces that were revealed prove that it was a temple in ancient times. There were pottery and 50 human figures of terracotta, which show us that there was human settlement in the cave in the Roman period.” The research group will carry on excavating the area without harming its ecological balance, as long as it has permission from the related ministry.

     Provincial Tourism Culture Directorate Murat Süslü said that cultural and historical presence is of vital importance for tourism. “We were late to set our hands to dealing with our cultural substructure. Our studies now reveal that Muğla’s oldest settlement was in Marmaris,” he said.

     Süslü also said that they would also implement environmental planning projects, including landscape research along the two-kilometer road leading to the cave. “We plan on turning the cave into a tourism spot in 2008,” he noted.

TURKEY İZMİR – Turkish Daily News | 8/11/2007 12:00:00 AM 

Old Marmaris cave to become new tourist attraction

     A protected cave that hosts butterflies and its surroundings are expected to become a new tourist spot for nature lovers after studies on the archaeology, flora and fauna are completed by the end of the year

     Thanks to a recent excavation project carried out by the Marmaris Municipality, the Cennet Adası (Nimara) Cave is to become a new tourist spot. The researchers, who began digging in the area last week, stated that the cave had a history of about 100,000 years and was used as a place of worship in ancient times. The cave also shelters butterflies similar to those in Fethiye’s Butterfly Valley, according to officials.

     Local authorities stated that along with the excavations, they will implement environmental planning projects, including landscape research along the two-kilometer road leading to the cave. As result of the project, guests from Turkey and around the world will be informed about the flora and fauna of the region when they visit the new tourist site.

     The cave is also important as it shelters a species of butterfly similar to the ones living in Fethiye Butterfly Valley. We plan on turning the cave into a spot for tourism by the end of 2007 at the latest,” said Marmaris Museum Director Neşe Kırdemir.

     A team of 25 will continue excavation in the area and will be composed of archaeologists, geology and electrical engineers, as well as architects who will work together to unearth the secrets of the cave.

     The 25-person team of archeologists, geologists, electrical engineers, and architects charged with the excavation of the area will work together to unearth the cave’s secrets. Employees of the Marmaris Municipality Department of Technical Services will also participate in the research.

    The cave was declared a protected area in 1999.

Last 2012 Roanoke photos


   The sun is shining, the laundry is in and I’m going off for the Turkish lessons being offered by a couple of folks here at the marina.  They are on lesson 6, so we’ll see how much I remember from my lessons and if I can catch up.  Yesterday Mary and Rick, of the Dead End Trail hiking group and I joined a hike led by some folks at Yacht Marine down the road.  We hiked up the mountain behind their marina.  I’ll share those photos next email.  This email is the good-bye and  we’ll miss you email to our family and  Roanoke pals.


Our final week in Roanoke I stopped taking photos.  Maybe I was just too overwhelmed with getting ready to leave.  I know I was in “packing panic mode” because of books, shoes, and a year’s worth of vitamins and ibuprofen we were taking back with us.   And some winter clothes as I pretty much had none last year to deal with the wet, cold, blustery “winter” of North Cyprus.  Not sure exactly what to expect here other than lots of rain.  So far it has been t-shirt weather and evening or very early morning rain. 

But I do want to include the last photos I actually did take; so here they are; my family and friends!


My sister Harriet                                                     My brother-in-law Jim and Max the dog in the “window.”

Harriet likes the computer and Jim likes to cook so it all works


Andrew (nephew) Jim and Har (a photo of a photo) and Jessica (niece) with Harriet in Roanoke.

Andrew and Jess both have more to their families but I just didn’t get photos this trip.  No one really wanted their photo taken but just went along with it to help me learn about my new camera.  I still have lots to learn.


The Johnson Clan (but not all….)

Tammy Annie Judy Ken Janie Eddie Linda and Randal

Tammy is Randal’s niece and Annie and Janie are her twin nieces.  Judy is married to Randal’s brother Eddie and Ken is married to Randal’s sister Linda.   We cooked Sunday lunch and there was enough food for all of the other Johnsons who might live in Salem, Virginia!


When I first moved to Roanoke in September of 1979 there was a job at the Roanoke County Public Library.  The job was half time cataloging and half time Reference.  Ellen was the Head of Technical Services so my cataloging boss.  Years later when I was full time reference and then Reference Department head, Jane came to work in the Reference Department.  Now Jane works at the Campbell County Public Library and is Collection Management Librarian. Like me, Ellen is happily retired! We three met for lunch in Bedford, VA and you can see it was a bit chilly that day. 


Ellen and Jane and Ellen and me.


Thelma Hylton, (Ellen’s mom) Ellen and her sister Donna.

Ellen is from Bedford and her mom and sister still live there.  I’ve known Ellen’s mom almost as long as I’ve known Ellen.  She and I have a mutual admiration society!


Sarah Rubush, retired and smiling!

  I’ve known Sarah almost as long as I’ve known Ellen.   Sarah worked for the Roanoke City Public Library and was the co-founder with me of the Literacy Volunteers of Roanoke Valley. (Our friend Martha Sibert helped behind the scenes.)  I’m proud to say that the organization is still going strong after 26 years. 

  “1985  Literacy Volunteers of America – Roanoke Valley (LVA-RV), now Blue Ridge Literacy was founded by Sarah Rubush and Ruth Lipnik (now Johnson,) two local librarians, in response to the many inquiries they received at the libraries about literacy services…….. Russ Merritt [Executive Director] said that today, around 70% of learners served by Blue Ridge Literacy are immigrants, and that those numbers are increasing every year, since Roanoke is a major immigration resettlement center. Blue Ridge Literacy serves close to 400 adult students every year, helping with basic literacy skills, citizenship, GED training, preparation for community college admissions, employment application, job training, and much more.


Sarah and her St. Francis service dog Drake

While I was home in Roanoke, Sarah let me borrow Drake for my daily walks.  He was great company and would greet me at the door, holding his leash in his mouth, ready to go!

Sarah was my art buddy while I was home.  We took turns messing with my two cameras so Sarah could start to decide what kind she might want.  I like the photo she took of me. 


Sarah learning my camera                    and our “art space table in her living room.”


Sarah had this lovely ceramic tile that we each tried to recreate.  I used the shimmering watercolors Sarah gave to me to paint mine.  It’s hard to see the glimmer here, but in the light it’s really neat.  Sarah is still working on her dogs.

    Soon after moving to Roanoke I went to a Roanoke Valley Library Association and met Becky Heller. Becky was the Reference Librarian for Roanoke College and her husband Mike teaches English there.  Becky just recently retired but is still very busy helping care for her grandson and now her granddaughter.  And she knits and reads and is really enjoying life as a retired person.  See a pattern here?


Becky walking Kiley along the Roanoke River Greenway.


Randal, me, Becky and Mike after having dinner at Norberto’s. 


Gabriel and Ellen Szego with me and Randal after having dinner at Taaza.

    (Randal said don’t have the fellow take our photo in front of the mirror, but it was too late.) 

Ellen and Gabriel are doctors.  Ellen worked with my sister who was a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Roanoke Memorial.  You met Gabriel’s cousin Nilly and her husband Eitan in my emails from Israel.  After dinner Gabriel and Ellen were going off to their Arthur Murray Dance Class and Randal and I were going home to lie down!

I worked at the Roanoke County Public Library from September 1979 until October 2005 so many of my friends are also librarians.  Sarah from Roanoke City, Nancy Collins from Salem (I forgot my camera when I visited Nancy.)  Jane Field who worked Reference with me. We had dinner with Jane and her husband Peter just before we left Roanoke, but sadly, again, no camera.  I just got photo-ed out at the end.  And this trip I didn’t even get to see my other former RCPL Reference pals Sharon Silcox and Becky Woodhouse, both now in North Carolina.   Or my friend Ann Penn who is a very great library supporter.  But Randal and I did have dinner with Joesephine and her new guy/new husband Colston.  And of course Truman who I’ve known since before he was born as he came to work with his mom all those nine months up to the day of his birth!  Joesephine is from Maine so she and I were always in charge of the Yankee Swap at the Library Holiday party.  I still laugh over the fact that after one glass of wine neither of us could remember what number we had just called out so the next person could select their gift to keep or swap.  Joesephine is now Acquisitions Coordinator & Assistant to the University Librarian at Hollins University in Roanoke.

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Randal and I each filled out a “what I’m grateful for” leaf to hang on their Thanksgiving Tree.


Joesephine and Colston                                  and Truman!


Brand new super-duper Roanoke County Public Library South County Branch….


Circulation area, some of the many computers, and the stairs to the Ref Department and Staff offices.


Roomy, light, comfortable…no way are libraries going away!!!!!


Google could never come close to replacing these guys, Cid and Alan of the Reference Department.



Diana Rosepepe, Library Director

Now that the South County Library construction is completed, Diana can oversee the completion of the Glenvar Branch and then begin on the construction of the new Vinton Town Library.  Like I said, libraries aren’t going away any time soon and if we’re lucky, they’ll always be with us.  All of the ones I visited while we were home were really very busy.  I definitely miss my library and I have a computer and a Kindle here on DoraMac.


Meeting with Diana were always fun!

Back in Marmaris


  Just a quick note to say we arrived mid-afternoon yesterday back in Marmaris.  Our flights to Izmir, Turkey were all on time and pleasant.  No lost luggage.  We stayed overnight in Izmir and then took the 9 am bus to Marmaris.  We’re getting settled in. 

Just wanted y’all to know. 


Returning to Turkey

Hi Y’all,

  So today is our last full day in the USA!  Hard to believe because in many ways it feels as if we’ve hardly been here.  We did get to see some friends for way too little time, missed some altogether, and just raced around like mad half the time (though it felt like racing through mud because too much got left undone.)

  In a few minutes we’ll start the horrid packing process.  It’s horrid because we always buy books and we’re limited to 2 fifty pound suitcases.  Seems impossible to me, but it usually works as we really don’t have 100 pounds of stuff.  And more shoes.  However this time I’m taking back more winter clothes because we didn’t have enough last year in North Cyprus and Marmaris will be colder and wetter.  And when we came from Marmaris we had one big and one small suitcase and I’m not sure the small one will do the trick. 

   I will have to pack away my computer so this is the last email until we’re back on Doramac.  I’m just glad it takes half the time to fly to Turkey as it does to Asia or Malaysia.  It’s a 16 hour flight from Roanoke to Izmir where we will arrive about 4:00 pm Thursday Turkish time.  The bus ride to Marmaris is 5 hours so we’ll stay overnight in Izmir and return to Marmaris on Friday the 16th.     In some ways it’s just easier to travel by boat so you take everything with you, including your own bed.

   So till next email,

Book List 2012

Hi Y’all, 

    The election is over. Thank goodness!!!!!  Randal and I waited in line for about 45 minutes to cast our votes.  Pretty much everyone I know voted and were proud to wear their “I voted” stickers.   But I think if we’d taken all of the money spent on this election  by both parties and used it to solve some of the needs of the country, we all would have benefited greatly.  More so than listening to all of the hoo-ha that all of the candidates had to spout out.  They each should have been given X amount of $$$ and that’s that.  They should have had more debates with each debate having one question only.  AND THEY ACTUALLY HAD TO ANSWER IT.  It’s no surprise that I’m happy as I’m an admitted liberal Democrat.  I like Public Television and so do the millions of people who watch Downton Abbey.  And who in his right mind would close Planned Parenthood?  Good grief!  But that’s enough of that and if things don’t improve, I get some of the blame.  

   Randal and I will be heading back to Turkey November 14th.  Yikes, so soon!  It will be terribly hard to say good-bye.  And yet,  it will be nice to see our Marmaris friends again.  We’re already signed up for the Thanksgiving Dinner at Pineapple Restaurant.  And Gwen, volunteer “activities director” at the marina,  has rounded up some folks who would be in an art group.  We’re packing warmer clothes than we’ve needed in past years. 

  I promised some folks a list of the books I collected this trip, so here it is.  If anyone reads any of them, let me know what you think.  I’m including both the old Word format for those who have problems with docx documents.


Books bought Fall 2012


I’m Off Then: My Journey Along the Camino De Santiago by Hape Kerkeling

This is the non-fiction book I’m reading now. Hape Kerkeling is a German comedienne who is touted as a cross between Bill Bryson and Paulo Coelho. The Camino De Santiago is a 100 mile hiking/walking trail through Spain that I’d like to so part of some day.

Blue Arabesque: A search for the Sublime by Patricia Hampl

“Blue Arabesque is not only an anecdotal history of this painting (Matisse) and its famous maker, it is also the history of one woman’s relationship to the act of seeing.” LA Times

Instead of a Letter: a memoir by Diana Athill

(Recommended by Nancy Pearl, Librarian and book person for NPR.)

The Guardian, Friday 4 January 2008 “Recalling her life as one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed editors, Diana Athill, who has just turned 90, was a pioneer of the confessional memoir.”

“Brevity, accuracy, lucidity – "the writing shouldn’t come between the reader and what’s being described. It should be as transparent as possible" – these virtues Athill applied to "Instead of a Letter", which she wrote in an intense rush when she was 43. In writing it she found her voice. In attempting to "get to the bottom of things, so I understood them better", in thinking bravely and unself-pityingly about premarital sex, and abortion, and depression, she inadvertently pioneered a kind of confessional memoir that would not, properly, take hold for another 30 years, and even then often would not match her.”

The Leopard Hat: A Daughter’s Story by Valerie Steiker

“Valerie Steiker’s Belgian Jewish mother, Gisèle—who, as a child in Antwerp, was hidden from the Nazis—wasn’t a typical American mom. She spoke with throaty Belgian Rs and wore only high heels. Before her marriage, she had studied acting with Lee Strasburg and been a model in Mexico. With her vitality and elegance, she created a joyous childhood for Valerie and her sister. Together they tangoed through their vibrant Manhattan apartment, took in great art, and shared “women’s hidden secrets.” Gisèle’s premature death left Valerie (at the time a junior at Harvard) unmoored, but in grieving and in finding her own path to womanhood, Valerie would ultimately grow to understand Gisèle more profoundly than she ever had as a child. Beautifully evocative of a glamourous and now-vanished world, The Leopard Hat is an extraordinary memoir about the warm and indelible bond between mother and daughter.”

The Know-It-All: One Man’s Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacob

(He reads the entire Britannica and shares what he learns.)

Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice by Janet Malcolm

“How had the pair of elderly Jewish lesbians survived the Nazis?” Janet Malcolm asks at the beginning of this extraordinary work of literary biography…” Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

Tout Sweet: Hanging Up My High Heels for a New Life in France: A Memoir by Karen Wheeler

In the same vein as Eat Pray Love.

Warm Springs:Traces of a childhood at FDR’s Polio Haven by Susan Richards Shreeve

“During Shreve’s two-year stay, the Salk vaccine would be discovered, ensuring that she would be among the last Americans to have suffered childhood polio.”

“In 1950, just after her 11th birthday, Susan Richards Shreve was sent to FDR’s polio rehabilitation hospital for a series of surgeries and physical therapies to reconstruct her disease-damaged right side. In Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR’s Polio Haven (Houghton Mifflin), Shreve works strands of memory the way, all those years ago, she must have worked her dormant muscles—coaxing them back to life. There is her first love, Joey Buckley, paralyzed from the waist down and determined to play football for the University of Alabama, and her first brush with Catholicism, ignited by the electric charm of the resident Irish priest and by the possibility of "a God like the wind, with sufficient force to lift a small girl into the air until she was weightless." Also, the dawning realization of how hard she strove to hide her sadness from her fragile mother, and the even more powerful recognition "in the empty vat of my chest [of] something like substance, as if I were in the process of becoming someone familiar, my own best friend traveling always at my side." Part memoir, part confession, part meditation on both polio and the president who made it a national cause, Warm Springs unflinchingly illuminates an iconic moment in American history and the ageless psychic corridors of denial, disappointment, and hope.”

Read more:

The Guyund: a Scottish journal by Belinda Rathbone

“It is difficult to remain unseduced by this winsome account of a misalliance between a New England woman of literary taste and architectural sophistication and a frugal Scottish laird in his dilapidated ancestral home.” is a follow-up to the book.

Kaddish by Leon Wieseltier

“Beside his father’s grave, a diligent but doubting son begins the mourner’s Kaddish and realizes he needs to know more about the prayer……to recite three times daily for a year…” has a good review.

Etchings in an Hourglass by Kate Simon

In the 1980s, Kate Simon published three volumes of memoirs of her remarkable life as an immigrant, Yiddish leftist, bohemian, travel writer, and sexual adventurer. Told from a uniquely ironic and feminist perspective, these volumes together form what Doris Grumbach in the New York Times Book Review called “a classic of autobiography.”

ONE drawing A DAY by Veronica Lawlor

Because I now have “an art group” back at the marina I got this book of art exercises. is the website that goes along with the book.


The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Dervishes by Beth Helms (set in 1975 Ankara, Turkey.

Halide’s Gift by Frances Kazan (Set in Constantinople, now Istanbul, in the last days of the Ottoman


Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish …..just for fun!

Fatal fixer-upper, mortar and Murder, plaster and Poison, spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley

All fun mysteries revolving around home renovation ….for fun and maybe I’ll learn something.

And on my Kindle..

Miss Hargreaves by Frank Barker ( fiction also recommended by Nancy Pearl.) is her review.

World War One: History in an Hour by Rupert Colley

32 other titles are on my Kindle, most of them unread so far.

While here in the U.S. I’ve hardly read anything; no time!

The fiction book I’m reading now is Educating Waverly by Laura Kalpakian. I’d seen it in a bookstore but came home and checked it out from my library.

I have read…..

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

“Elizabeth Strout’s most recent work, Olive Kitteridge, a novel in stories, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a New York Times Bestseller. She is the author of two previous novels, Abide With Me, a national bestseller, and Amy and Isabelle, also a New York Times Bestseller.” I found it a bit too long, but I prefer non-fiction in general.

Growing up on the chocolate diet: A memoir with recipes by Lora Brody

She lives in Newton, MA and is a huge Red Sox fan as well as cookbook writer.

A dog named Slugger: the true story of a service dog that changed my life by Leigh Brill

It’s a lovely story. My friend Sarah has a great service dog named Drake. I get to take him for walks when he’s off duty.

In the car while driving to Massachusetts and back we listened to three audio books. All were well done and entertaining though we did skip some of the 19 CDs of Birds Without Wings. The descriptions of the battles of WWI were just too graphic. But it was interesting for us as we know something of Turkey and will spend more time there. De Bernieres is able to make some profound statements about human behavior with wry humor which added to the impact of his thoughts.

The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric, read by Katie Couric and several “readers.” It was well done, made us think, and actually was quite entertaining. It and made me like Couric more than I had in the past.

“In this inspiring book, Katie Couric distills the ingenious, hard-won insights of such leaders and visionaries as Maya Angelou, Jimmy Carter, Michael J. Fox, and Ken Burns, who offer advice about life, success, and happiness—how to take chances, follow one’s passions, overcome adversity and inertia, commit to something greater than ourselves, and more. Along the way, Katie Couric reflects on her own life, and on the shared wisdom, and occasional missteps, that have guided her from her early days as a desk assistant at ABC to her groundbreaking work as a broadcast journalist.”

Birds Without Wings by Louis De Bernieres set in Turkey and recommended by our friend Elizabeth of the sailing yacht Labarque. It was also well done and the reader was very entertaining.

“Our man in Boston talks with author Louis de Bernières about his most recent book, Birds Without Wings, during a fascinating discussion about the Ottoman Empire, how good people go astray in crowds, and the richness of Arab proverbs.”

Jewish Short Stories from Eastern Europe & Beyond 10-CD set bought at the Yiddish Book Center

The series includes about 13 hours of stories by such great Jewish writers as Sholom Aleichem, I.L. Peretz, Isaac Babel and Isaac Bashevis Singer read by Leonard Nimoy, Elliot Gould, Jerry Stiller, Alan Alda, Rhea Perlman, Walter Matthau, Lauren Bacall among others.

(When we were kids my sister and I went to Camp Tikvah. On Friday afternoons the Rabbi would gather everyone together and we would sing songs and he would tell stories. I still remember those stories and now I know where they came from.)