NOTE: Additions to the text in red were added during the report compilation, for the website.
NOTE: Sharon's comments will be in {curly brackets}.

Thursday, November 27, 2008. Turkey Thanksgiving. Day 11 of 21



Tara's husband Cihan passes on the following muslim joke he got in an email yesterday.

There were three religious leaders together for a conference. The subject was how much of the collections, or offerings, were given to God and how much were kept by the leaders.

The Catholic priest says, "I draw a line five meters away. I throw the collection toward the line. Everything that goes across goes to God, and the money that doesn't make it that far, I keep. [Get it? The coins make it, but the paper, well...]

The Jewish rabbi says, "I put a round pot five meters away. I throw the collection towards the pot. Everything that lands in the pot goes to God. I keep the rest."

The Muslim imam says, "I throw the money collected into the air. Everything God wants he keeps. Then he returns what he doesn't need.


A friend of Tara's (Munire) comes to Tara's apartment, picks up Tara and Sharon, and drives them back to her house. Tara has arranged this visit. Munire's handicraft is making things from fabric {We would call them quilted things including some actual quilts, but they call them "patchwork". Her mother does some of the work also, especially crocheted pieces that Munire works into her pieces.} Unfortunately for them and for the world, they have not yet ventured into the world of selling their work. They don't know what to charge, and don't know how to sell over the internet, especially since they don't speak English. {I am blown away by the expertise of their work. Munire has done the work the longest and teaches in Istanbul and her friend (see photo below) is newer at it but also has done some fabulous things. I tell them how expert and professional their work is. Shirley and Jan, you would go crazy seeing some of her things, especially the applique work. Munire said she had a shop here but many women do handicrafts themselves so she couldn't make the shop pay. We talk about how her works might sell better on the internet.}

While they're out, Cihan comes home to take me to a fish restaurant, but we decide he doesn't have enough time before having to go back to work, so we decide to eat in. Cihan fixes fried potatoes, peeled and sliced tomatoes and he heats up leftover kofte and chicken. Holy moly, I'm going to be eating two Thanksgiving meals in one day.

Cihan goes back to work, and I prepare another trip report, alternating with packing for tomorrow's weekend getaway with Tara and Cihan. More on that tomorrow.

When Tara and Sharon come home, Sharon has taken photos of some remarkable fabric items, as you see below If you want to see all of the photos, you can go to


This unfolds and is actually a small purse. {A traditional Turkish design.}


This piece is unbelievably detailed. {The center is all pieces of lace and edging sewn on.}


A drawer full of small dolls and other pieces. {These are what Munire's mother makes.}


This {blouse} is full of hundreds of individually created flowers, each individually sewn on by hand.


A purse


A calendar.

The four seasons can be inserted in the top (Fall is shown here), and a month calendar can be inserted in the bottom, under the clear plastic sleeve, slightly visible here. This piece is quilted, then small leaves, flowers and ribbons are sewn on over that.


Small animals, purses, containers are all made from material or crocheted.


Tara's friend Munrie is on the left, and her friend is in the middle. {You can see some of the things I bought from them (Ooh, I sure wanted more.)}

Ten years ago, in 1998, there was a terrible earthquake in Turkey, with the worst damage in and around the town of Golcuk, where Tara and Cihan live. Approximately 3700 people died in this, most from collapsed buildings while they slept in their beds. And most of those buildings because they were built to substandard specifications, or were criminally built with cheaper materials or using short cuts than specifications required. Tara's friend lost her daughter in that earthquake, and she started sewing in the above style to get her mind off of the terrible tragedy. Cihan was in the United States, attending the Post-Naval Graduate School in Monterey, California, where he met Tara, at the time.

One multi-story building collapsed on the naval base, killing everyone inside, over 200 young Turkish sailors. That area is now a park, on the naval base, dedicated to their memory.


Tara's friend drives them back home. Then Tara and Sharon begin/continue preparations for Thanksgiving dinner. When Cihan comes home from work, we dig into the wonderful dinner with baked chicken, mushrooms, buttery noodles, green beans and a mountain of mashed potatoes, especially for Dad, who is kind enough to share them.

Oh, yes, and home made pecan pie, with home made cool whip-type stuff to put on it. {We used Mom's vinegar recipe for the pie crust and the pecan pit recipe off the Karo syrup bottle just like at home, but with pecans Tara and Cihan's friend gave them off his tree. Do you believe that the pecan was only domesticated in 1867? I read it in a book here}

That's it for today. Happy Thanksgiving.


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