Sunday, August 15, 2010

August Back in Istanbul

Having been back for a week now, we have settled into a summer routine that will luckily continue for another week before I have to go back to work. It has been good and surprisingly restful after a busy summer.

The weather has been unbearably hot and humid, but I think we are finally acclimated to it. We toyed with the idea of getting air conditioning installed, but it would take at least a week's wait to have it installed as we aren't the only ones with the bright idea, but by then, we would all be back at work and school, where we have air conditioning. So we decided to have it installed in the off season in order to arm ourselves in the event next summer is a steamy as this one, and get it at half the price.

So, how do you stay home all day in the heat with two four-year-olds? A schedule. The first thing is breakfast followed by a trip in a gloriously air-conditioned car to the store, or the nursery for flowers, or Starbucks. Then we come home for some quiet toy play, followed by lunch and then a nap. Then the fun begins with water play. Take two boys slathered in sunscreen armed with two buckets, throw in a couple of bath toys, turn on the hose and you have at least an hour of water fun. Ali and Omer have also been enjoying an afternoon glass of chocolate milk, made excitedly by their own little hands. We also whipped up some popsicles, a summer treat that is always a big hit with the under five crowd. When the day slowly turns into a cooler evening, we enjoy an alfresco meal, something grilled with a salad and Ramazan pide. Each meal is followed by a trip to the park for some twilight swinging, then a hose down before the bedtime ritual begins. Then is starts all over again.

On my end, I decided not to have the cleaning lady in for the two weeks I will be home, so I have taken charge of all the domestic tasks. Going back to basics has been good and character building. It also makes me appreciate more the ladies who are usually here doing these jobs. I tackled the mountain of laundry, which was followed by a mountain of ironing, in the evenings after the boys went to bed, when the temperature dropped to a slightly less steamy 27 degrees. This week it will be the floors, changing the sheets and cleaning the bathrooms. I have also been going through all of the closets and drawers and purging the house of items we haven't used in over a year.

Food has also played a role in my domestic holiday. Our neighbor brought over a huge zucchini from his garden and it had "relish" written all over it so I whipped up a batch of my grandma Prince's zucchini relish. This summer part of my mom's family and I feasted on burgers with this relish, something I had forgotten existed. One taste and I was transported back to her 100-year-old kitchen in Gold Beach, Oregon where one summer my mom and aunts made a winter's supply. I was surprised at how easy it was to make. The color was a little more caramelized than the original version since I burned the bottom (gas stoves can really kick out some heat) but the taste is still the same. Another tasty dish comes from a blog that I just found titled "Kiss My Spatula." You can find it here. She has a recipe for zucchini crudo, an ideal summer dish because it requires no cooking. Perfect. For this weekend I will attempt to make zeytinyagli dolma, or stuffed vine leaves, a cool, cinnamony, lemony dish that is actually pretty easy to make. Iced tea and ice cream have also made repeat performances in my attempt to keep cool and the cooler evenings are always celebrated with a cold, crisp glass of beer.

So, that is what I have been up to. School starts on the 23rd, and I am sure the expression "hit the ground running" will apply. I will no doubt miss the lazy dog days of summer with the boys.

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