Monthly Archives: September 2012

Progress – I think

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I actually feel like I have been getting lots done, that I am making progress both in the sewing and the writing.

After feeling a bit uninspired last weekend, I pulled some blocks I hadn’t looked at in a while out of the cupboard and started sewing. I am experimenting with mixing the blocks with batiks, which is working really well because they tend to have a lot of colours in them which can pull disparate blocks together. Since I last posted I have made two new quilt tops, and have a third underway. I have pinned two quilts. Made a cushion insert or the cushion cover I bought back from overseas, and made a cushion from a stray block that didn’t really match any others. Things are coming along nicely. I am still not sure if I will get it all finished by the end of the year, but it is feeling a lot more like fun than it was last week.

Writing is going well too. I have just started reading a book by a guy called Alan Watt. It is called the 90 day novel. Which is handy because I have about 90 days left. At the moment I am working through a series of exercises about exploring the world in which your novel is set. So I am not actually writing the novel, but I am starting to understand why I was stuck and figuring loads of stuff out about the characters and where to go next. The only downside is that he recommends spending two hours a day on writing for the next 90 days. That’s two hours a day, everyday until Christmas. I’m not sure I can maintain that kind of pace. That really means that I get home from work, have dinner, write and then go to bed. I really need to find a way to make more time, either that or get by with less sleep. Though I suppose it is only three months, and it will probably go by in a flash.

Weight loss is not going so well, but I have finally stopped gaining weight after a bit of a post holiday splurge. Now I just need to be a bit smarter when I next go grocery shopping and I should be able to reverse the decline.

Pictures of what I have been up to are below.

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Re-evaluating goals

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I have arrived home from my travels safe and sound. Before I got back I had the best of intentions. I was going to be driven, organised and efficient. I was going to waste no time and get stuck right into finishing off the remainder of my goals. However, after four days back at work with little sleep because I am still adjusting to a new time zone I have to confess that I have accomplished nothing. Well, other than what I did at work and a little bit of gardening I did this morning.

I have lost pretty much all my enthusiasm at this point and am having a serious rethink about my goals. One in particular, the aim of turning all my 1000 quilt blocks into something by the end of the year. Firstly, I am starting to doubt that it is possible given the amount of time I have left. More importantly, I am starting to question why I am even doing it at all.

All the other goals I have set myself I can see the point of. There are of course moments when I hate the goal and I really don’t want to be working on it, but I can still see the point. Lets face it, losing weight isn’t fun. I don’t particularly enjoy having to watch what I eat. If I could eat chocolate all day instead I would. But I can see the point of it. I can see that there is a benefit of a healthier me at the end of it.

Similarly with my other goals (making 1000 quilt blocks, writing a novel, going 100 places I’ve never been before). While sometimes I have to force myself to work on them I can see that I am learning about myself and the world because I do them. In these cases a time limit is important too, because without a deadline procrastination is always possible.

Making these blocks into things is bugging me though. While there is a bit of a challenge in trying to make the blocks fit together, I usually don’t like the finished quilt. They are okay, but I don’t love them. Do I really want to spend the rest of the year making quilts I don’t love? I think the reason why I decided that making the blocks into things should be a goal was because I thought it would be an emotional drain having these blocks sitting here not being used. I thought I wouldn’t be able to move onto other things until they were gone. I am not entirely sure I was right about that, even if they were an emotional drain there are a number of other ways I could deal with them.

  • I have a cupboard in my laundry I don’t use because I need a ladder to get to it. They could sit in there for years and never bother me.
  • I could give them away. Plenty of people love receiving stray blocks, either to make quilts for charity of for themselves.
  • I could use them as pieced backings for other quilts.
  • I could even throw them out. Though that last one does sound like a tremendous waste.

But it could just be that I am going through a phase and what I really need to do is rummage through the pile of blocks again, find something simple to get started on, and just start working.

Getting out of a funk

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The last couple of days I have been feeling a bit low. I’m not sure why. I’m not sure it is ever just one thing when I get like this. I think it is probably a combination of things – being tired, being hormonal, holiday almost over, being frustrated with my failings etc. Any one of which on its own I could probably cope with, but when they all come at once it gets a bit much. However, sitting in a hotel in Istanbul feeling sorry for myself is not going to accomplish much, and there are things I want to do. Not so much touristy things, but so far I have only achieved one of my goals for the year and I am way behind on all the others. So I set myself a deadline for wallowing (the end of yesterday) and then wrote myself a to do list. I still feel like crap, but at least I am not lying on the bed watching Spongebob Squarepants in Turkish (and don’t get me started on the thing about the cows that had a cow with udders and a man’s voice). I know if I keep working my way through the list eventually I will start to feel much better.

Anyway, this morning I sorted through my photos and I decided the easiest way to provide an update on the last few days of my trip was through a photo diary of sorts – see below.

So that’s it really. Arrived back in Istanbul yesterday afternoon. There was a quick trip to the Grand Bazaar, which is pretty boring unless you are into shopping. My flight back to Australia is tomorrow afternoon, so now I have to find some small things to do until then.

I think I have done it

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I think I have just completed my first goal for the year. I have been 100 places I have never been before. Can I go home now? Only two and a half more days till I get on a plane back home and I have to say I am really looking forward to home and my own bed. Not that I’m not enjoying Turkey, it’s a fabulous place, but I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in longer than I can count. I can barely string a coherent sentence together at the best of times but right now my brain is mush. Though I suppose the good thing about travel is that it doesn’t really matter if everyone thinks you are a moron because you’re unlikely to ever see them again anyway.

No photos today. I have tons but I made the mistake of leaving them a couple of days before I saved them to my computer and sorted them. I think now they will have to wait till I get back to Australia to sort them out.

Reading, writing and getting very wet

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Yesterday I was in Fethiye. It was beautiful. The way the light caught the water outside our hotel every morning made me want to stand there for hours and take pictures as it changed. I had a very lazy day in Fethiye. I got up late, had breakfast and then with one of the other ladies from my tour I caught a mini-bus into town. We climbed up to have a look at the rock tombs, then meandered round the town looking at shops and the waterfront. Thanks are due to the very helpful man in the car rental place who gave us a map, and assured us that it was perfectly okay that he had a gun because he was really, actually a police officer (but he had been an english teacher and tour guide) and was only looking after the place for the day for his friend who was getting married.

Lunch was at a restaurant in the fish market. You can buy a fish at the markets and one of the adjacent restaurants will cook it for you. They did a beautiful vegetable casserole for the non-fish eaters.

After lunch I retired to the hotel and read my book. Which was nice in a way, but depressing in others. I have just started reading ‘My Name is Red’ by Orhan Pamuk. It is incredibly beautiful writing. Elegant almost lyrical. It flows, drawing you in deeper and deeper until you can’t put it down. Which is good, but when I read a book like that it makes me realise how badly I actually write. I wonder what his first draft looked like. Could it possibly have been anywhere near as bad as mine?

I don’t really know how to compare yesterday with today. In some ways they are complete opposites, but both enjoyable. Today I went to Saklikent Gorge. To get into the gorge you have to wade across this fast flowing river that came up almost to my waist. Once you get past that the water is never as high again, but it is still knee-high in places. A few of us from my tour group walked a fair way into the gorge until we got to a waterfall. It was a lot of fun, and I’m glad I went, because my first thought when I saw the river I had to cross was ‘no way in hell’.

I ended up very wet, but consider it a major achievement that I managed to avoid falling face first into the water. Afterwards, I slathered myself in sun screen and sat in the sun by the river while I was having my lunch. I was mostly dry by the time I got back on the bus for the drive to a hotel in Antalya.

Nature

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The last couple of days the tour has been all about the natural beauty of Turkey. The historical ruins were just thrown in as an added bonus.

Thursday was Pamukkale – known in ancient times as Hieropolis. I am not entirely sure how to describe what is there, because I have never seen anything like it before. There is a water fall, but because the water is from a mineral rich geothermal spring when it flows it leaves behind a deposit of calcium carbonate which forms terraces.

It almost looks like a glacier that is melting, but is slightly disconcerting because the water is warm. There is a pool that you can swim in, but it is not chlorinated and since thousands of people go in it everyday I wasn’t keen to swim. Instead I went to visit the museum. Next to the waterfall there used to be an ancient Greco roman settlement. It has yet to be fully excavated, and a lot of damage has been done by structures that were put on top of it at a later date. However, the museum had many lovely things. Again there were beautifully carved sarcophagi, like the ones I saw in Istanbul.

Not sure what is up with this guy, but he doesn’t look happy.

The rest of Thursday was spent driving which wasn’t fun, but I did finally get round to doing some hand sewing on the bus.

Today, Friday (I have to keep reminding myself what day it is because I keep losing track), we started at a place called Koycegiz/Dalyan. There was a boat cruise down a river which led to a beach which fronted on one side to the ocean and the other to the river where the river joined the sea. There were acres of wetland cover with reeds, and the backdrop was these incredible mountains.

When you get near the beach you can see turtles, because they nest on the beach nobody is allowed to stay there over night.

Not sure which species this one is, but it was quite large and probably only hanging around for tourists to take photos because a guy on a boat was feeding it. However, it was nice to be able to see one so close.

As an added bonus along side of the river were these huge tombs carved into the rock. Like I said, today the monuments were almost an afterthought.

After that we stopped in Kayakoy, which is an abandoned village. In 1923 the governments of Turkey and Greece did a deal whereby loads of Greek people living in Turkey went back to Greece and loads of Turkish people living in Greece went back to Turkey. This was a village of Greek people. When they bought a load of Turkish people back they asked the whether they wanted to live there and they said no, so the place was abandoned.

Which is a shame because it would have been quite a picturesque little village at one point. Though I can understand the objection that the houses were too small and didn’t come with enough land.

Tonight I am in Fethiye. Tomorrow we have a free day, which I am really looking forward too as I am feeling fairly exhausted. I am looking forward to a bit of lie in and maybe a leisurely walk into town. May have to see if I can find a camera shop. While I was changing lenses on my camera this morning I knocked one off the table. I thought it was alright, it was just a little stiff trying to turn the zoom. When I downloaded my photos tonight though, all the photos I took with that lens have a mark in exactly the same place. I think it might have a crack somewhere not so obvious. It was a really good wide-angle zoom too, so I am feeling a little peeved.

Ancient monuments and shopping

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It has been a long couple of days. Early starts and late finishes and I am starting to feel very weary. However, since I am unlikely to visit Turkey again anytime soon I figure I might as well cram in as much as I can.

So itinerary yesterday was Channakale to Troy, Troy to Pergamon, Pergamon to Kusadesi (apologies for any misspellings). Today we went to Ephesus, then to a carpet weaving place, lunch at a traditional restaurant, then Sirence and a leather goods place. Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus are all ancient ruined cities. Sirence is a village established by Greek people, so the architecture is supposed to be completely different from the rest of Turkey. However, like the weaving place and the leather place it mostly seems to be an excuse for shopping.