An Ode to Notable Christmas Gifts

'Twas the night before Christmas and we tore it up
the four of us comfy with scotch in our cups

We waited and waited
for black santa to come
and grant us some goodies
for long winter fun

We gathered 'round the tree to share in our thrift
To score useful items, and then to regift

I was über excited with books from mental floss
and the sentiments inside on me were not lost

I then passed to Jerome love through anime
with a handmade flipbook of childhood play

We jammed on ukuleles and laughed as we danced
and Todd learned he was "super" with one fluid glance

'Twas a joyous occasion
and a night to remember
for Christmas with friends
gets as toasty as ember

And even though our families
were far, far away
between skype and long-opened gifts, in our hearts they did stay

On that cold night,
we in a holiday cuddle
drifted off to dreamland, our thoughts all a-muddle

And when morning came, we awoke not in clover
For Santa had brought us each a Christmas hangover


Believe the skype

The holidays are here and in an effort to get in better touch with our families and friends around the world, we’re creating a nerdy, online version of a regular calendar.

It’s the buddymollys skype date calendar! 

Here’s how it works:

For the next few weeks we’re going to be “available” during a few specified times (For example: Sundays & Mondays from 9-11 p.m. our time, so 3-5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).

If you want to chat, let us know. We’ll invite you to our google calendar and you can see what times we’re going to be around, sign up, and it’s a date!

For those of you who don’t have a webcam, we can also make it a telephone date, but we’re going to encourage you to join the 21st century before it’s too late.

Hope to see you on a computer screen near us soon!


The end of a fang-free era

For the first time ever -  I was ferociously bitten by a dog. A seemingly-kind-tail-wagging kinda dog. A dog that ran up to me, smiled, allowed me to pet him then turned on me like a rabid ... dog. (As an aside, the dog does not have rabies.)

The incident was quick, painful and slightly bloody. My ego bruised in a similar manner as my stomach.

I pride myself on being loved by canine companions. I'm a "dog" person; I know the rules - let the dog sniff your hand, proceed with pets.

This incident hasn't wavered my love of barking ones, nor created fear of all things furry; but I have changed a certain pet's name to Cujo, much to the chagrin of his owners.

On a positive note, it looks as if I'll have a pretty badass scar. Score.


A Christmas Tale


Fun time holiday shoot with Jeff and Todd last weekend. 
We all learned a few valuable lessons ...


Get your buddymollys t-shirts HERE!

That's right folks, you can be dressed to the nine in a limited edition buddymollys t-shirt which celebrates not only a mediocre ukulele band, but a marriage.

It's true, jeremy and I have branded our relationship in one swoop logo. And as you can see from the photo above, guaranteed good time when wearing this shirt.

Order now and you'll get free shipping along with some "love" we've been saving up. (love sometimes appears invisible, if you don't see it in the box, know it's there). 

Shirts run 15 bucks. Men's sizes S, M, L, XL in brown or orange and Ladies' sizes S,M,L, XL in brown or green.  (Limited sizes/colors).

Email us at buddymollys@gmail.com to order or for more details.


Nobody's business but the Turks

Turkey is quickly becoming one of our favorite countries, and we could think of no better place to be “thankful” and warm during the Thanksgiving holiday.

So we missed the traditional outing of family and friends along with gorging ourselves on food and falling asleep in the upright position, but we did make new friends, soaked in the sun, walked on the beach, played a dizzying amount of backgammon and later gorged ourselves on food and fell asleep in the upright position.

This was our second trip to Turkey and this time we found ourselves in the resort town of Alanya on the southern coast, just north of Cyprus. Our hotel hosts warmly greeted Jeremy and me, and as the rain poured down on our first day, a band of locals taught us new ways to play backgammon and improve our success rate. (Their advice? Be bold! Take out that guy in your home even though it leaves you vulnerable.) At one point, our gracious host Tolga was literally sitting in Jeremy’s lap rolling the dice for him.

The next three days were sunny and beautiful. Although the ocean was a tad too cold for swimming, we did take a bus trip to boat around the Green Canyon, poked through various shops (fake Adidas sweat suits for 10 euros! They looked so real …) and later indulged in a traditional Turkish bath.

The Turkish bath is not for the meek. You are buck naked on a slab of marble as men throw buckets of soapy water on you and scrub you down violently, but with care, as if you were in a human car wash. (Get the dirt off, but don’t scratch it). You then follow with a facemask and massage.

I have yet to decide, but I’m pretty sure I was violated during the procedure. Jeremy refused comment about his massage.

Regardless, the experience left us relaxed and cleaner than we have ever been. Although these type of bathhouses are everywhere in Germany – it’s nothing like the tradition of Turkey, and none are given like the Turks. There is something very special about the country.

I think the allure lies in its social and religious tolerance. The Ottoman Empire promoted religious tolerance and it continues today. Peace talks between various countries often take place in Turkey. It’s a hodgepodge of cultural experience. Not to mention its coastline is breathtakingly beautiful. (And Turkish delights are damn delicious).

From the food to the fashion to the openness and personal nature of its people, Turkey has the best of all its surrounding influences. Imagine Europe, Asia and the Middle East having an orgy – Turkey would be their love child.


Türkei for Thanksgiving

It's snowing! Today we awoke to precipitation falling from the clouds in the form of bittersweet ice crystals. A white blanket covers the ground, the backdrop of nature is a cool gray and the chill in the air refuses to subside.

As cozy as a big Thanksgiving dinner filled with copious amounts of food, laziness, and random games of kickball sounds in this wintry weather, Jeremy and I have decided on a different kind of turkey this year – the arid country in southeastern Europe, or Asia, depending.

Tomorrow we will have tossed the gloves, scarves and burly jackets momentarily aside for some beach, sun, pine nuts and dolma.

We’re giving a new meaning to the Thanksgiving bird this holiday season, and perhaps starting our own family tradition. For that, we are thankful.

Gobble gobble.


ketchup or catsup?

I grew up on ketchup, but have recently come around to appreciate the more refined taste of catsup. 

In this case, though, since we’ve been awol from the blog for so long, I’ll go with option 3: catch-up (condiments are for sailors). And even though some of these events warrant their own post, nothing beats the efficiency of a poem:

In anticipation of celebrating a marriage from two centuries ago,
We strapped on our trachten and gave it a go.
Along with our family, Tad and Jeb were there,
The latter of whom went home sans underwear.

Before Oktoberfest passed, there was more fun to be had,
Though our progress learning German is a little bit sad.
Still, after so many events in what seemed a short span
We celebrated our one-year anniversary of living in Deutschland.

Next in the line, the circus came to town,
With all its twirling, twisting and galavanting around.
Men walked a tightrope and women pranced with horses
While others balanced balls and centrifugal forces.

Then late in October, we left our frigid home
For a wedding celebration in an Orlando dome
After 23 years ol’ Marge was married again,
And we welcomed a brand new family member, Mr. Ken.

So off we all whisked for a weeklong cruise
With slides, sun and sand, and too many foods.
Then visited the fam and the St. Louis scene
And romped with pirates, ghosts and ghouls for Halloween.

A 10-hour flight later, our trip was kaput
So it was back to the routine, work was a-foot.
For our Veterans Day gig, 
ESPN set the stage
And the buddymollys T-shirts were all the rage 
(though none of them sold).

And now as Thanksgiving begins to draw near,
We’re grateful for family and friends we’ve made here.
But for this holiday, we’ll be wearing summer clothes, reading books, maybe knitting 
And heading off to a place that couldn’t be more fitting …


Lap 34

This weekend I stepped out of my Larry Bird year into a my Charles Barkley / Hakeem Olajuwon (but definitely not Rick Barry) year (I turned 34, if you're not NBA-inclined). 

Molly and I woke up early and sprinted through the Weiden flomarkt (flea market) looking for last-minute steals before hopping on a train west to Wurzburg, which is known for its Baroque architecture and the vineyards that drape the hills on either side of the Main River. 

We had originally intended to use the Bayern Rail Pass (5 people can travel all day, anywhere in Bavaria, for 28 euros) in the same way Jay Dietrich, Dwig Lovejoy and I did in San Francisco circa 2003 -- randomly jumping on and off at various stops and seeing where the day / dice took us. However, after it took us three hours to get to our initial destination, we decided to postpone Muni-meets-Deutsche Bahn for another weekend. 

Wurzburg is very walkable so we mainly cruised the cobblestone streets and stumbled into the occasional weinstube (wine bar) for a break from the German bier norm. As we were stumbling, we stumbled further into something called "federweisen" (the spring whites), which is a super sweet, delicious, cloudy white wine -- mmm. Oh, that, and a waitress who told us frankly, "Das ist nicht fur Sie" (that is not for you) when we tried to order something from the menu that was obviously out of our league. 

Other than Molly absolutely murdering me in backgammon to and from Wurzburg (something was obviously wrong with the dice:), it was a chill weekend, with no real plans and no stress. 

I'm not one to brag, but I did receive two very special gifts -- a hop plant (which will hopefully be in our first beer we brew here) from our friend and co-worker Franz, and a personalized song from Molly that is destined to replace the standard birthday tune. Here's the original version (patents pending): 


Have genes, will travel

Guest Blogger Linda Basnett, also known as Molly’s mom, shares her experiences with the buddymollys, both past and present, during a recent European holiday.

 I remember the day a toothless little girl looked up at me and proclaimed, “Mommy, I am always going to live with you.”

A few years later she announced “When I get big I am going to live in Chicago.” She asked if I would move there with her. This should have been my first inkling of her vagabond gene.

Coming from a close knit family where no one moves more than five to 10 miles from their birthplace, I was skeptical of her late teen move to St. Louis. She was artsy and St. Louis fostered her creative side. She needed to be in the middle of it all.  

I tried to understand her artwork beyond my pencil-drawn stick people. The family supported her gallery shows, although I am sure we were quite obviously slanting, eyebrows crossed, as we tried to understand the object or photo on display.

Her creative side emerged in high school and college showed us an amazing photographer. 

I was both amazed and jealous of her gutsy travels to pursue her passion – backpacking to Barcelona, and photo shoots in London and New York.

In 2006, Molly announced she was moving to Hawaii to work for a fellow photographer. I didn’t think of the distance, my “motherly mind” immediately registered a full time job with benefits - a first for my daughter.

In 2009, I received a call that she was getting married. Meeting my future son-in-law at the airport in Hawaii put my mind at ease. He was a “male Molly” and had the same thirst for travel and life.

It is now 2010 and I am in Germany visiting the two vagabonds. We spent a weekend in Poland, followed by a weekend in Austria - with German explorations in-between. My travels have now expanded past the U.S. borders.

Our two amazing tour guides have shown us the most beautiful countryside. I look around in awe of the culture and history, the universal smile as you greet someone – so much to soak up. 

My daughter has opened up a new world of travel for me and I'm happy to say this time I don't have to slant to understand it all, and I may even have my own vagabond gene emerging. 


Naked people and cuckoo clocks

For Labor Day weekend Jeremy and I set our sights on being pampered ... and a lot less clothed in this chilly weather. Three hours later, after dodging a near death experience with an impatient bus driver on the autobahn, we arrived in Baden Baden, Germany - hidden in the plush Black Forest.

Baden Baden literally translates to Bath Bath and the natural hot springs have been around since at least the Roman Empire. They later became a social center for 19th century European nobility. Now it mostly caters to slightly aging German tourists ... and us. 

After perusing the town for a few hours we visited the Friedrichsbad for a ritualistic cleansing known as the Roman-Irish Bath.

The harmonious bathing sequence (a 16-step ritual) is said to regenerate mind, body and soul.

The changing temperatures and varying baths, with their thermally generated, mineral-rich waters, scented saunas and the infamous soap & brush massage on a marble slab table given by a calm German lady with a rough hand (my back looks like I got into a cat fight, but it was totally worth it) adds to the overall experience. Oh and you're buck nekkid the entire time.

This is somewhat new to the prude nature of Americans, but sitting in a whirlpool between an 80-year-old man and prepubescent teenager is anything but strange here.

When your fingers start to prune and you feel squeaky clean, you are led into a quiet room where you lay on a table as attendants wrap you in a cocoon of blankets to slip off into prenatal unconsciousness. After 30 minutes you emerge as a naked human-butterfly person and bask in the glory of your total relaxation metamorphosis.

We did this - twice.

But a trip to the Black Forest is not complete without visiting a cuckoo clock museum, as this is what the region is also famous for, so on day three we pulled ourselves out of unconsciousness and took a scenic drive through the forest.

The clocks were elaborate and amazing and we had a grand time setting them all to midnight and dancing along with the figurines to the music - that was until we spotted the sign that said "Do not touch."

I also managed to snap the photo below before seeing the sign that said "No Photographs."

The trip to Black Forest reset our internal clocks and we bathed in our new "textilfrei" experience.


Catching the Gerburstag bug

Catch up time and I’m striking while the pen is still wet. Last night we celebrated the birthday of our friend Todd “Tad” Trivisonno (above) at our favorite local joint the Bayrish-Irish, which is a little bit of Bavaria, a little bit of Ireland, and somehow just feels like home.

Tad and Jeb (aka Jeff Carson) showed up fresh from the trachten outlet and their new outfits just might have earned them enough points to audition for the buddymollys. 

And speaking of Ireland, our most recent trip back to the motherland had us criss-crossing through the past and making loads of new memories as well. Molly had never been to Ireland, and I had never been to London, so we each planned the legs we knew best. 
Besides the great “craic,” fish & chips and music (to include some traditional sessions in which we participated and the Cambridge Folk Festival), incredible hiking and scenery in Northern Ireland and cruising London’s posh streets, I’d say the highlight of the 10-day trip was an unexpected surf session in Portrush. Even though it was our first time in wetsuits, we totally shredded Ireland’s north shore. 
In fact, I think we’re officially ready for the Bavarian surf scene – but that’s a story for another blog (in a few days).

2 illegitimate 2 quit

Like the surf I thought we had left behind in Hawaii, apparently I left some unfinished business when I left Dublin more than a decade ago.

Right before I flew out in 1998 I withdrew everything from my student checking account, or so I thought. There must have been less than an Irish pound in there. Every once in a while over the years I’d get a bank statement at my mom’s house, but I figured they’d eventually just close the account due to inactivity.

So during this trip we stopped into a local Bank of Ireland branch to see if we could finally close the account. (For the record, my mom wanted me to keep it because she thought it was cool to have an international bank account.)

My little neglected student account blossomed through the boom and recession and grown to a whopping 16 euros. Unfortunately, the teller said I had to show up in person at the branch where I opened the account (at the University College Dublin campus, about a 15-20 min. bus ride) to officially close it. Short on time and with more important things to do, we headed to the pub and eventually to the North that day.

I guess closing the account is something I won’t be able to 'bank' on anytime soon. (no service charge for puns on student accounts.)


Back (B)log

It’s been a while since words have graced the pages of the buddymollys blog. With no excuses really, two-thirds of our family are writers. (Sky’s lack of opposable thumbs makes it quite difficult for her, although she is very articulate.)

To catch you up, Jeremy and I returned home from an epic journey to Dublin, Northern Ireland and London, ending in Cambridge for a Folk Festival a few short weeks ago. Details of said trip to come in a later entry … (next one, promise!)

Upon our arrival back to Deutschland, we were devastated to find that summer had disappeared. (Damn it! And may I add, really?! It’s August! I should not be wearing a bomber jacket!)

A week later, I traveled to my hometown, St. Louis, where summer was still in full effect. (It was knock-the-wind-outta-you hot and I couldn’t be happier. Bomber jacket momentarily tossed aside.)

I feel like I’ve been on the move for the past month, mainly because I have. But in that time I’ve been blessed with music, culture, family time, a few waves, friends – new and old, and that tingle in your tummy that only comes from travel.

There is something very comforting in waking up, squinting and searching your brain to figure out what country you are in.

Then again, sometimes we travel to our own world, unrecognizable to even us.

Life is that good ... 


Ten things we love about Germany, most involving beer.

1.     Beer! Rather, bier. The Bavarian Purity Law is a beautiful thing.

2.     Notable places beer is served. These places include, but are not limited to, ice cream parlors, coffee shops and little kids' soccer games.

3.     Windows/doors. This is simply brilliant. You can open the window fully or turn them the opposite way to open slightly from the top. (see photo). Many doors also function this way.

4.     Refrigerators. Also brilliant. They are usually built into the kitchen to look like cabinets. When someone enters your kitchen for the first time, it's a scavenger hunt opening random doors to find a cold beer.

5.     Walking/biking paths. They are everywhere and part of  German law. No longer do I fear for my life on a bicycle like I did in Hawaii. The paths go from town to town, so you can easily get anywhere in Germany on a bike. You could even walk to the Czech Republic, time allowing of course.

6.     Big ass bunnies. Okay, so technically they are hares, but what’s the difference, really. These big ass bunnies are alive and well in the German countryside and are freakishly large. They overpower Sky dog in size and look like joeys when they hop hop hop along. The best part - with big ass bunnies come big ass cottontails. Adorable. Big ass adorable.

7.     Old people. The old people here ride bikes everywhere and drink massive amounts of beer. I believe they have found the secret to longevity.

8.     Preservatives, or lack thereof. All restaurants must annotate any preservative added to any food item for each dish. Red dye number 4? It’s on the menu. Although most items served in our area are completely fresh and local, at the very least you are warned if it isn’t.

9.     Recycling. They recycle EVERYTHING! Old pizza boxes, the plastic off a toothbrush wrapper, the label off a juice bottle, bottles and cans and glass, oh my. I dare you to throw away an empty bag of chips. Make it a double-dog dare! I should also mention they are far superior to their American counterparts when it comes to compost piles.

10.   Traditional Bavarian clothing. There is nothing sexier than a woman in a dirndl and I have a thing for guys in handmade leather suspenders and tight lederhosen. I also enjoy the fact that you cannot enter certain beer tents at Oktoberfest without the aforementioned Bavarian attire.

Honorable mention: This comes from our friends to the south in the small town of Fucking (pronounced fook-ing), Austria, where a famous light-colored ale, (referred to as “pale” in American and “hell” in German) beer was born. So yes, here in Germany and a few neighboring countries, you can treat yourself to a nice cold glass of Fucking Hell. Enjoy!


Fußball, bocce & bier

The summer has finally arrived in Germany (shhhhh, don’t tell ol’ man winter), and to celebrate this momentous occasion, we thought we’d liven it up with a few haiku poems.

Those who don't have their poetry books close might still recall haikus usually follow a 5-7-5 syllable rhyme scheme. Yes, Shawn Date, I know the “on” doesn't exactly translate to “syllable” but let’s just pretend for summer’s sake (not the same as the Japanese drink, sake – woo! I’m on fire tonight!)

So, the first haiku I thought of was from a popular T-shirt, which reads: 

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense

And here are some samples from Wikipedia: 

the first cold shower
even the monkey seems to want
a little coat of straw

how many gallons
of Edo's rain did you drink?

Man, that is so true.

Here are a few inspirational, summer-related haikus we wrote: 

Heat is good, me like
Meine frau, freund, hund  und bier
Let us play bocce

Tonight, got smoke on
Went home wit some‘ to poke on
Dr. Dre came by

 And since this is an international party, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include some submissions from our most avid buddymollys buddies (the official name of our fan club).

This little gem was submitted by everyone’s favorite war hero, Vice Chancellor Mikhail “Jorge” Green (VEEN) III, who happens to have not one, but two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals:
Topics suck, Jerome
And so do you; but summer,
However, is cool

We’d love to hear your summer celebratory (not celebatory) haikus – the best ones might even get published …


2nd Hand Mojo

Jeremy and I both suffer from what some would call “younger sibling syndrome.” Which, in a lot of ways, is why we empathize with each other during various scenarios - slight crabbiness, life’s seemingly unjust situations, bouts of whining, yelling “Ouch” unnecessarily  ...

At times our mantra as children –“but, but … that’s not fair” sneaks up into our adult life. We believe fully in fairness. If we buy a package of six cupcakes, we know, although it is never spoken, that we each have three cupcakes to eat at our leisure. Neither of us would dare sneak a fourth.

We also have an affinity for 2nd hand everything. To own something new, something that hadn’t been worn by an older sibling or outdated by at least four years was so far beyond our realm of reality for most of our lives that we came to appreciate those things handed down to us. Even if it happened to be a bedazzled jean jacket that hadn’t been worn since 1987, it was ours. In 1992 it was new to us and we claimed it and wore it with pride.

But beyond the material things, our lives are structured by our birth order.  It has a profound and lasting effect on our relationships and the path we chose.

When I was a child, I often forgot my name. I was referred to as “Dana’s little sister.”

Seven years my elder, Dana toted me around as if I was her own child. She used me as “the baby” when her friends played house and I was forever on someone’s hip, well passed the age I should have been. Often my legs dangled inches away from the ground, but I remained, content with my place on whoever's bony hip would have me.

Dana was very much an authoritative figure to me. She corrected me when I was bad, grounded me and washed my mouth out with soap. When I was 15 she moved out of the house and for the first time in my life, I had my own room. (It was only seven years before this I had my own bed and only six years before that I actually started sleeping in it.)

Even then, when I stepped over the line, Dana would drive the 15 miles from her new apartment to “chat” with me.  And it always worked.

Even today I listen to Dana. Although I have gotten braver in my adulthood, I still obey – at the very least, until she is out of earshot. But she continues to be my guide. She continues to offer opinions with the issues I bring to her and I continue to listen.

Before I knew independence, my sisters were the only world I thought existed. I looked up to Dana and mimicked Shannon’s every move. Shannon was three years older than me and I knew she knew everything there was to know about the ways of the world. I followed her around, read her diary, listened to her phone conversations and drooled over fiction stories she wrote.

“Oh if I could only be 3 years older! How much I could accomplish,” I would think.  “I would be going to that Boy George concert right now. It could be me!”

But it never was. I was always too young.

Nevertheless, I continued to follow Shannon. I was affectionately (and appropriately) called “Shannon’s Shadow” by my next-door neighbors. Shannon would run over to the Quinn’s house to play piano and within minutes (or as soon as I realized she was gone) I too would run over to the Quinn’s, placing my shoes in Shannon’s muddy footprints along the way.

As a teenager and most of my twenties I was delusional in thinking I had broken away from this pattern - that I was my own independent woman. And in many cases this was and is true. I have a mind of my own, one that thinks outside the box. I have had experiences that are all my own and experiences that I can now share with my sisters, maybe teaching them a thing or two … but the syndrome never leaves you.

Shannon is currently a freelance journalist and the faculty advisor for The Montage, the St. Louis Community College – Meramec student newspaper. She began her career years before and with my ongoing fascination with photography, she invited me along on a white rafting trip as the “freelance photographer” for an article she was writing. I was 20 years old and it was my first real newspaper gig.

After the event ended, I drove as Shannon pulled out her laptop and began writing the article, dictating our experiences in written form. She would read me bouts, laughing at her own puns. I would roll my eyes for show, but thought they were hilarious as well. 

It amazed me how easy it seemed to her - how four hours on the rapids could bring to life the creativity of an amazing story in a matter of minutes.

I saw a different side of my sister. I was proud when I saw her article in print, with her little sister’s photo to accompany it.

Today I am a journalist. It seems only fitting I would follow in Shannon’s footprints, making her shadow mine. I now seek to find the words to accompany the adventures I partake, to photograph the elements and produce an article that would make both of my sisters proud.

They have guided my on this path, unbeknownst to me. I will always be “Dana’s little sister,” and little did I know, I am still “Shannon’s Shadow.”


Camp Out Chronicles

The buddymollys played a "real" gig this past weekend at a music festival in the hip town of Pottenstein, Germany - the first of our gigs to go beyond talent shows, drunken parties and open mics.

Another notable difference for our band of musical marriage was the audience, 99% of whom were German. Although, the genre of choice for most German citizens is recycled American music, so the language barrier ceased to exist during sets.

Loads of campers traveled hundreds of miles to camp and dance to the sounds of six bands. We were originally slated as band number five (and felt pretty secure that everyone would be at least six beers in at this point which makes the buddymollys sounds “polished.”)

But, living the life of a rock, er, folk star means being flexible (or is it trashing hotel rooms and evading taxes?) Anyway, our acoustic act was moved to the starting position to make it easier on the sound guys. The sounds guys, however, did not make it easy on us.

I don't feel we can we can complain about sound. Up until that point, our stellar sound systems usually consisted of one microphone to which Jeremy and I sat really really close to catch both of our ukuleles and vocals.

The stage manager threw us on stage after the main act’s sound check and said no sound check was needed for our duo. Come to find out, majority of our set was just that.

During the first three of our six-song set, numerous stagehands walked around, adjusting our mic's and turning various speakers on and off.

Jeremy and I wondered during this time if we were actually playing. No one could hear us, or hear us well. We held conversations behind the microphone and no one blinked an eye.

We then looked out to the audience to see our friend Jeff holding Sky dog just in time to watch her attempt to take the leg off of a drummer in one of the later bands. At that moment it sort of felt like we were in fact the audience members with front row seats to the action. Said drummer was quite displeased by Sky’s attempted assault and let Jeff and the rest of those in attendance know it.

We deemed Sky a “bad dog” until the same drummer pulled out a ridiculously loooooooong drum solo during his band’s performance. So, maybe she was on the something.

The fourth song of our set seemingly worked out the sound and we did our best to rock. At this time the audience had caught on that we were actually playing and threw in a few hearty applause numbers.

It was over as soon as we felt we had our mojo working and we slinked off stage to collect our free bier. (Payment of the night.)

The rest of the night was divided between playing soccer with the kids, Frisbee, grilling and other “campy” activities.

The music played in the background and ranged from Blues to Jazz to a Ragtime band with pretty impressive harmony.

When songs like “Proud Mary” and “Country Roads” blared threw the speakers, we almost forget we were in Germany.

But listening to “Johnny Be Good” sang with a German accent brought us back to reality.

It also made us giggle …


I wish a was a little bit taller ...

I’ve never been what you would consider flexible. Growing up, whenever I had to sit “Indian style” for team photos, I ended up doing something more like a bent-kneed Caucasian. I can touch my toes, although living in Germany for 8 months has made it noticeably tougher.

So when Molly suggested a weeklong yoga retreat in Turkey, I thought why not? Maybe I just need more flexibility practice.

The retreat was a little bit of heaven. Held in the Kabak Mountains of southern Turkey, the rustic, makeshift camp consisted of about 10-15 tree houses and tents but had a bar and several lounge areas with huge pillows, all overlooking a valley that flowed into a small bay on the Mediterranean.

Every day we woke up under our mosquito-netted beds and ambled down to the platform for meditation and some yoga. We spent most days chilling and reading, or going on a hike or for a swim at the beach before coming back for the evening yoga session.

After the first few days of getting over the soreness in the morning, I really felt like I was making progress. Sunnah, the instructor, was really supportive and even tried to cram my legs into position every once in a while.

Although some poses were harder than others, I did notice when I focused on my breathing I could actually get into some of them, but molly definitely whooped me in the headstand department.

Oh, did I mention the group was made up of 9 british girls, molly and me?

We all “got on” really well, learned interesting tidbits about each other’s culture and even had a talent show the last night (apparently in England you do the hokey “cokey” and you turn yourself around).

After a full week of two yoga sessions each day, though, I can say I felt refreshed, in better spirits and perhaps even a bit taller.

But I still can’t sit Indian style. 


Turkish Delight

The buddymollys are settling back into our cozy German lifestyle, having returned more than week ago from our 10-day Turkish adventure.

The trip itself was an epic journey consisting of a weeklong Yoga retreat in Kabak Valley (deep south, along the Mediterranean coast) and a whirlwind two-day scramble through Istanbul.

We feel the whole journey is too much for one blog entry (we know your short attention span, readers) so I will take the book-ends, telling the tale of the start and end of the journey and Jeremy will expose the creamy Yoga center in a later entry … e-oh-oh! Stay tuned!

Additionally, we have no photographs of this part of the journey because day 3 of our yoga trip, while on a small fishing boat, Jeremy and I inadvertently decided to give up our travel camera as an offering, in which the gods of the sea accepted with might, pulled down the depths of the Mediterranean and are currently wading in our captured memories.

Ho hum.

Airport Mayhem
To begin, a few short weeks ago, we boarded a train to Nuremburg to catch our Turkish Airlines flight to Dalaman airport in Southern Turkey, with a quick change-over in Istanbul.

Our first flight left a half an hour late and circled above the Istanbul airport for another 30 minutes due to a traffic jam. We, however, distracted by the awesome airplane food, failed notice the delay. (That’s right, not only do they feed you on the short flight, but the food is also good!)

With only two scheduled hours between our flights, we were in a bit of a rush once we landed. And little did we know you needed to purchase a visa and then (and only then) go through passport control.

By the time we finished all of these tasks and continued through the endless lines, we had six minutes to get through security and make our flight.

Only one thing to do in a situation like this – run.

Apparently running through an airport raises some suspicion (who knew?) and numerous people attempted to stop us. Jeremy ignored most, continuing a few strides ahead of me. At one point I pointed out our flight number on the television screen to a frantically waving “airport security guy” at which time he gave me the international signal for “run like the wind.”

How we made it through the screening area without being stopped and searched, I’ll never know. We placed our backpacks on the revolving belt – ran through the metal detector (both of us beeped), grabbed our bags and continued the sprint. The guards watched us the whole time, heads cocked, jaws dropped a bit, foreheads wrinkled and face that read “what the ...? ” – but oddly, no one tried to stop us.

We found our gate, which had changed again, so we ran the few steps to the newly changed gate number as the shuttlebus door was closing. A hearty “wait!” opened the doors once again and allowed us to enter.

Sweating and exhausted, we checked to make we didn’t lose anything, then high-fived to our success. We were on our way.

We landed in Dalaman a few hours later and stepped into the hot Turkish air. Although it was well after 9 p.m., the summer heat was upon us – and we couldn’t be happier.

We hopped into the cab that was waiting for us and began the hour-and-a-half trek to the Kabak Valley, which was an adventure in itself. We picked up and dropped off numerous friends of the cabbie, changed cabs, a leopard print 4-runner being the latter, and held on for dear life while driving down steep mountain roads. At one point, we were left in the car while the cab driver made a house call. (Feel free to raise your own suspicions about this …)

At last – around midnight, we arrived to our destination and were welcomed as if we were family. Thus began another chapter.

Nobody’s business but the Turks
After the week ended we made the same trek back to Dalaman Airport for the short flight to Istanbul, arriving early Sunday afternoon.

As we stepped into a cab bound for our hostel, an earlier suspicion about cab drivers was solidified - techno music is, in fact, the theme music of Turkish cab drivers, and those white lines in the middle of the road, mere suggestions.

The costal drive to the Old City left us mesmerized by the amount of people lounging up on the grassy knolls. We both independently thought of Kapiolani Park in Honolulu on a holiday weekend … times 100,000.

The smell of grilled kebabs permeated the air and small children floated in makeshift hammocks. As we looked to the left, numerous mosques poked out between buildings every few blocks.

Our first stop was the Blue Mosque. The cascading domes and six slender minarets of the mosque dominate the skyline of Istanbul, and the 20,000 blue tiles (hence the name) fixed to the high ceiling of the inside was just as impressive.

Istanbul itself is a European capital of culture. It bridges the gap between traditional culture and modern living the same way it bridges the gap between Europe and Asia. We lost ourselves in these traditions our first day, wandering through the city, barely breaking the surface, listening to the “calls to prayer” and watching locals mix with tourists.

The next day we explored the Grand Bazaar. Fitting name, the place is HUGE! (31 thousand square meters to be exact.) Vendors vie for your time (and money!) offering goods ranging from jewelry to ceramics to carpets and textiles.

Hayır, teşekkür!” (pronounced “Hi-yur Tesh-sheh-kewr” Meaning: no thanks) became our mantra as we fought our way through the bazaar, looking for our only desired purchase – an authentic backgammon board (referred to as Tavla in Turkish.)

We chose one store with an impressive selection of boards and began our game of good cop bad cop, (starring Jeremy as bad cop and myself as good cop.) After showing us a “designer” board, the vendor started the bidding at 180 Turkish lira, which is about $120.

Jeremy: “20”
Vendor: “160”

In my good cop role I stated, “Maybe we could spend a bit more, what about 40?”

“20,” said Jeremy.

The vendor then showed us the “designer” logo on the board (one he obviously nailed on himself…)

“20,” said Jeremy.

The vendor then turned to him and said “You do not want this board,” pointed to me and said “You want this board.” He then explained that we would never find a board that cheap in all of Turkey.

“20,” said Jeremy.

Not willing to pay his final offer of 80 Turkish lira, we said ““Hayır, teşekkür” and stepped out of his store. He followed us a few steps and shouted “Don’t talk to those Americans, they have no money!”

This made us laugh as we turned the corner, easily losing the vendor who chided us and once again finding ourselves in a madhouse of Turkish goods.

We continued our stroll a few streets from the Bazaar and found the exact same backgammon board for 25 Turkish lira. (score!)

We then saunter through the equally impressive spice market, ate the best döner kebab of our lives and shopped for hand-blown glass tea sets, and fancy tea to put in it.

The Dylan Experiment
Later that night, we tried our luck at the open-air theater on the outskirts of the New City. On the flight over we read Bob Dylan was playing the only full day we happened to be in town. (Fortuitous, no?) And, as to be expected in a tiny 2,000-folk venue, the concert was sold out.

So we pulled a drawing of our friend Jeb out of Jeremy’s sketchbook, turned him over and wrote “Need 2 tickets” on the back. Jeb always brings us luck. We also added a “bitte” (German for “please”) for extra luck.

The sign got a ton of laughs, numerous smiles, one sad face and various offers ranging from 500 Turkish lira tickets to the “cheap” ones of 180. (We weren’t packing that much cash and were forced to decline.)

We took a break, as sign holding can really make you thirsty, and picked up a few beers and a bottle of raki (the official “firewater” of Turkey) at a local grocery store.

We opened our beers and continued our ploy for tickets. If anything, we thought, the sign was an awesome social experiment. Numerous people from all over the world stopped to talk to us and we even became a meeting point.

“Hey, I’m right next to the two people holding the Need 2 tickets, bitte sign.”
“Oh yeah, I just passed them, be right there.”

Our last-ditch attempt came 5 minutes before show time. We repositioned ourselves right by the entrance when a young couple came up offering us tickets – for less than 100 Turkish lira each. We didn’t have assigned seats, but were able to sit on the stairs. (A fire hazard for sure in the states ...)

We hid our unopened bottle of raki under a bush and entered the venue. (The bottle was still there later …)

The concert itself was amazing. Dylan rocked the harp and showed that music truly is a universal language. For almost two hours, the crowd swayed in unison and sang along.

Dylan ended the night singing “How does it feel?” We ended the night at a hookah lounge, relaxing on pillows, smoking apple-flavored tobacco out of a water pipe, and asking ourselves the same question.

The conclusion: like a rolling stone.