Someone sent this my way today, and I love the reference – perhaps I ought to simply start calling myself poly, since it seems I embrace everything the prefix can address.
Off I fly, careering far
In chase of Pollys, prettier far
Than any of their namesakes are,–
The Polymaths and Polyhistors,
Polyglots and all their sisters.
But, despite the laugh I got from Thomas Moore singing the praises of polymaths, I got an even bigger laugh from the next lines:
So have I known a hopeful youth
Sit down in quest of lore and truth,
With tomes sufficient to confound him,
Like Tohu Bohu, heapt around him,–
Mamurra stuck to Theophrastus,
And Galen tumbling o’er Bombastus.
When lo! while all that’s learned and wise
Absorbs the boy, he lifts his eyes,
And through the window of his study
Beholds some damsel fair and ruddy,
With eyes, as brightly turned upon him as
The angel’s were on Hieronymus.
Quick fly the folios, widely scattered,
Old Homer’s laureled brow is battered,
And Sappho, headlong sent, flies just in
The reverend eye of St. Augustin.
Raptured he quits each dozing sage,
Oh woman, for thy lovelier page:
Sweet book!–unlike the books of art,–
Whose errors are thy fairest part;
In whom the dear errata column
Is the best page in all the volume!
For the first time ever, I’m dating a student while not a student myself, so I can actually watch the battle between the brains!
It’s been almost a week since I landed in Istanbul, and I’m already making plans to come back here for a long stay with my dogs. I’m sure part of that is the place I’m staying – the Kybele is a family run hotel with over 4000 handmade glass lamps hanging from the ceiling throughout.
It’s not just the cafe and the lobby – the lamps extend into all the rooms too! Kelly (one of the workshop leaders), tells me that they’re all recycled glass from tea glasses, bowls and tops of pots, and that the same person made all of them. I kind of want to photograph all of them, except I have no idea what I would do with all the pictures after I finished! These are about half of the ones in my room:
I spent my first morning in Istanbul working at the top of a gorgeous building near the hotel, just enjoying the sunshine and letting myself work through all the little tasks that have built up over the past several weeks. I think I’ve finally worked through them now, since my mind has stopped popping up with random, “Oh, you wanted to do that, remember?” thoughts. This is a panoramic shot of the view from the roof – and yes, that’s the Ayasofia in the background!
The Kybele is central to almost everything in Sultanahmet – the Ayasofia, the Blue Mosque, the Cistern, the Grand Bazaar… and I’m sure there’s more. It’s within walking distance of the water, and I can hear the seagulls when I leave my windows and balcony door open. I keep switching between leaving things open and turning on the AC, because it’s just humid enough to be hot when you’ve been moving (or after you’ve just drunk one of the ever present glasses of Turkish tea). Despite having been here a week, I really haven’t been able to get out to many of the big ticket locations. I went with the workshop group to the Grand Bazaar today, but most of my first two days were spent babysitting a workshop participant who seems to be having some serious mental hang-ups. We tried to accomodate her at first, but as her demands got more and more ridiculous we moved the workshop on without her and simply explained what her options were. For the past two days, at least, she’s opted not to participate, despite flying from San Francisco to do so. Her loss, because we’re doing some amazing things.
Our workshop space is a room in the hotel off the garden, which everyone calls Mike’s Museum. Mike is one of the three brothers who owns the hotel, and he’s a textile expert who collects antiques and interesting things, most of which he stores in his studio space. In the evenings the room hosts Mike and an ever rotating cast of his sons, friends, and hotel guests that he’s taken an interest in. We all drink wine, eat whatever is around, watch the epic backgammon tournaments and learn about each other. I’ve literally spent hours here, just talking, writing, and learning. It’s the most amazing space I’ve ever been in, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back.
Yesterday, Mike gave us his carpet lecture – the clean version of which is entitled, “What You Need to Know About Carpets So You Don’t Buy Crap.” It was fascinating (and, being Mike, hilariously funny), but the best part was being able to see and touch examples from his store under the Museum. We saw natural and synthetic dyes, learned the difference between wool and cotton (wool doesn’t burn), and learned that the number of knots per inch is completely irrelevant. We also saw some absolutely eye popping pieces that took months or years to make. When I get to the point of renovating my condo, I will be coming back here to get carpets from Mike. :)
Today we went to the Grand Bazaar and met with Nick Merdenyan, an artist who does calligraphy on dried plant leaves. They’re intricately detailed and absolutely amazing, with themes from Islam, Christianity and Judaism that promote peace and tranquility. The drying process for the leaves takes more than a year, and the designs are painted using cat hair brushes.
We also met with a Turkish shadow puppet seller – not the maker, unfortunately, but we still learned a lot about the art and stories of Karagoz. The puppets are made of leather and intricately cut and colored, and the stories are some of the most ancient – the original comedy duo stars in each, with a rotating cast of other established characters. This is one of the main characters – I don’t remember the name, but I think he’s the smart one of the two.
Tomorrow is a free afternoon, and I’m going out with another workshop participant to visit the Ayasofia. I’d also like to sit in the courtyard of the Blue Mosque and just write and observe during the call to prayer. The call to prayer infuses life in Istanbul, but it also (somewhat surprisingly) doesn’t grind the city to a halt. If anything, the majority of Turks go on with their business during the call and it’s the tourists who stop to gawk and block up the sidewalks. I’ve been recording the calls here and there when I can get them on my cell phone, though what I record isn’t anything akin to hearing it come at you in all directions from a central location. When there’s a good muezzin, it’s breathtakingly beautiful, and it’s still very cool even when the voice is simply average. When there are multiple mosques in an area, sometimes they’ll seem to coordinate and do a call and response.
Check out this sequence with the pups!
I’m in a cabin in the woods with some business-minded friends this weekend, and all of us are having some massive productive time and business brainstorms (along with lots of wine and spectacular food, as we each take turns cooking).
I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of ‘commit, and the universe will respond.’ As much as I hesitate to admit it, the community garden has been the first thing I’ve really committed to in a while. And while I’ve seen the universe respond, I’ve also seen it show me how much more I’m capable of doing than I thought I was. When I’ve needed an extra set of hands they’ve appeared, but when I think something is going to be hard – constructing the water system or hauling an F250 full of compost – and no one comes out to help… I can do it myself. I’ve hauled 50lb bags of manure. I built a system capable of collecting 660 gallons of water. I shoveled an F250 full of compost, then trundled it through the woods to the garden with I don’t even know how many trips with a wheelbarrow.
I’m creating a community garden on what was a patch of barren earth.
If I can do that, then why haven’t I committed 100% to my business? My MPH will be done in the next few months, and the classes have admittedly been a huge distraction to juggle, though I wouldn’t trade 95% of them in hindsight. I built the framework of a business that will change how we think of productivity, and I did it in hours pinched from coursework and research over the past two years. And I’ve started the same process in the arenas of expertise and publishing, though those aren’t nearly as far along.
Now, as of today, I’m committing to making Personalized Productivity into something that can challenge the status quo and be mentioned in the same context as David Allen and Getting Things Done. I’m committing to turning the Good Ship Lifestyle into a beacon for polymaths, and positioning those polymaths to take on the huge problems we face as a species. And I’m committing to the stories I tell at Written Insight, to getting them out into the world and to finding like-minded authors to found Fingerprint Press and re-instate the reader as the gatekeeper of what is worth reading and what isn’t.
Hey, at least it keeps him occupied. *shrugs*
In other news, OMG, it’s a gorgeous day and I’m seriously excited about being alive!
I thought I was buying a 1 lb bag! So far I put it on top of Chicken Divan instead of breadcrumbs, grated it and added it to Genoan minestrone and a random risotto, tossed it into last night’s Chocolate-Espresso Chili and made two pans of kale chips… and I still have a third of the bag left! Suggestions, anyone?
Happy Rambles is down, so I’m not getting my daily gratitude e-mail. Though I still haven’t set it up to post automatically to this journal, so it’s not as if anyone other than me knew that I’d stopped recording my gratitude. (Not that there’s anyone reading here anyway, but there is something about it being public…)
-Today I’m grateful for the awesome experiment that turned into Bechamel lasagna with eggplant noodles. It tasted divine, even if it didn’t include kale.
-I’m also grateful for the amazing friends I have, and how we can dig into work simultaneously at a coffee shop and come out with lots of shit done and a wonderful time.
-I’m grateful for my puppies, even if I did just have to intervene to keep Blake from stealing Ty’s bully stick.
-I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the Good Life Project, even if I have no idea whether I’ll be able to get in or if I’ll be able to afford it. Sometimes you just feel like something is right, and you jump and trust that it will work out.
-I’m grateful that I’ll find out about my NSF grant soon… and grateful that I have awesome summer plans, no matter what happens! :D
-I’m grateful for the opportunity to chat with one best friend today, and the forgiveness of another for a trespass that I’m not even sure occurred.
-I’m grateful to have an idea reintroduced that might solve a number of problems.
-I’m grateful to have this beautiful treehouse condo to myself, and to have a landlord willing to discuss selling it to me when I have the money.
-I’m grateful to have discovered chunks of coconut. OMG, BLISS.
-I’m grateful to be able to talk with my aunt each week, and to have the reassurance that my desires aren’t out of touch with reality.
-I’m grateful to have gotten an awesome Groupon for a cut and style this morning.
-I’m grateful for the ability to turn lemons into lemonade. Even if it sometimes takes me a bit to get the recipe right.
-I’m grateful for the people who help me turn lemons into lemonade, especially my spectacular website manager.
-I’m grateful to have had the energy to clean the kitchen and bathroom (and that I remembered to do laundry), and equally grateful to be able to leave the vacuuming until next week!
I did actually get through my to-do list this weekend… though granted, it’s by a stint of ignoring the classwork coming up this week. Or not ignoring, per se, more tackling it without adding it to the official list!
By the way, how awesome is this aquarium? I’ve decided that’s going to be my next big reward, either for finishing the semester or turning in my thesis this summer. I can’t quite believe that my MPH is almost over… I’ve accomplished almost everything I went to grad school for. I have a solid plan B for employment to get health insurance if I need it, and my business is so close to snowballing… it’s like the feeling I get driving through the Rockies, when I can feel the tension in the stone. In some places it’s scary, it would take so little to send it all tumbling down. But here, the tumble would be a boon, not a disaster. I’m torn between wanting it and wanting it to just wait a week or two so I can get this or that fixed on the site. But it’s not 100% under my control, not really, so I work on what needs working and keep writing and reaching out.
Which, speaking of working on what needs working, I have a sales page to be putting up. That’s what will pay Steph, after all!
… Blake just chased his tail into a wall. Oh, puppy!
Because who doesn’t love an enormous dose of cute? I can’t believe how blessed I am to wake up to this every day. (Just need to remind myself of that after Blake destroys my headset, rips off a cookbook cover, or helps himself to the apple bowl on my desk…)
Both boys are currently poking me in the butt, because it’s 11:30 and “Human, don’t you know it’s bed time?”
What would I do without them?
I have a gorgeous little Carolina Sapphire tree, but very little in the way of ornamentation.
So I decided to make my own ornaments, and turn the tree into a daily reminder of everything I’m thankful for.
Then I thought, why should I be the only one to deck the tree?
Tell me what you’re grateful for, and let’s cover every inch of this little tree!
Today I am grateful for
- The time I spent with my family last weekend
- The fact that my grandfather is not staying with my family for the next six weeks, thus making life much easier for my mom.
- The time I spent with my aunts and grandmother this weekend
- Two beautiful puppies
- Finding another beautiful puppy to complement my first beautiful puppy
- The fact that both beautiful puppies are actually lying still and letting me get some work done
- My amazing business partner
- The chance to talk with Nicole again
- Tribal Author is starting
- All the yummy food I had this weekend
- My new tea kettle and front door mat
- Hooks for leashes and towels
- New pictures in unexpected places
- Comfortable beds and flannel sheets and cute comforters
- The blessing of having a small enrollment to work out all the bugs on
- Finding my clicker for dog training
- Having the points on Amazon to get dog supplies for free
- Getting my inbox from 150 to 70
- Opportunities for new income that I’m sure will show up
- Having the house to myself again
- Finding the opportunity to apply for the NSF fellowship
- Having someone in Australia who might be interested in hosting me for a project that would be absolutely perfect