onvural.net – melih – family man

Week 42, 2022 – Back together again


Micky and I got back from the Okavango Delta in Botswana on Thursday, and found the time away both incredibly revitalizing, and also an incredible mechanism by which to refocus. Finding this kind of space and time has been so hard – especially with Micky’s new job, constantly moving between houses, and Amelia starting her middle school routine, and the insanity that was a major launch at Stripe.

We got to go on a safari every day starting at 6am, and would spend 4 – 5 hours driving through the wilderness trying to find interesting animal moments. There are impala everywhere. They’re known as the McDonald’s of the savannah because they are fast food. You’ll see zebra and you’ll often see elephant as well. Finding the predators is hard, and seeing the animals do something besides grazing is hard as well. And in that time you’re left with your thoughts quite a bit. It was fantastic, but I could also imagine that it would be overwhelming for those who hate being with their thoughts.

The time in between was spent eating, swimming, napping, and occasionally figuring out the solution to the world’s problems – or at least how we hoped to survive the next 6 months or so.

The afternoon safari would always be shorter, a bit harder to find things, but would afford a sunset that was – on a daily basis – awe inspiring. There is so much dust in the sky that you can look almost directly at the sun – a large, red circle that lights the horizon in shades of pink. Having an afternoon tea while a gorgeous sunset falls behind a watering hole is incredible. One night, as we’re turning a corner on our way back in the dark, a herd of elephants was hanging out and digging for roots. We just slowly drove through as they focused on the meal in front of them.

The nights were filled with planning. Planning the next set of trips. Figuring out Luka’s middle schools to apply to. Planning for the house – which had great progress made on it while we were gone. Planning for how to retire sooner and just keep traveling as a full-time job.

When you have hippos barking in the background with the bell frogs and the baboons it really puts into perspective how much of our time is spent doing the default as opposed to doing things purposefully.

Our trip home was a short flight, a short flight, a 16-hour flight across the globe, and then a short flight. Being home with the babies who spent time with Doruk, Hanna, and my mom was incredible. They seemed to have an incredible time. It made taking the time off much easier knowing that

Happy 12th wedding anniversary my darling Micky


Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

The Prophet, “On Love” – Khalil Gibran

Week 11, 2022 – How can we be this tired, and this happy all at once?


A lot has happened in the 10 weeks since my last post.

Micky started a new job. We’ve applied for Middle Schools for Amelia. We’ve added Tennis to the Soccer and Gymnastics mix. Masks are no longer required at schools – though COVID numbers are on the rise once again. And we’re in a building mode – which has been really great.

The first big build in our lives right now is the house. India came into town last week, and she and Micky really made a big dent in the interior design list. We’ve picked out a cool tub, rugs, colors for walls, toilets. At the same time, the back wall is going up, and the framing of walls and rooms with it. It’s really starting to feel like the shape and pieces are coming together.

We’ve had our first major setback though – windows. Delivery is going to take much too long. Move-in date is at risk. But I’m sure we’ll find a way – we always do.

We’ve also built a gaming computer! We went to the local Microcenter, and got all of the parts. We had to glue together a bunch of YouTube videos. I’ve never built a computer completely from scratch before, though I’ve upgraded computers in the past. And some pieces were both generic and easy. And then some parts are just so damn confusing. And getting the cords just right is quite hard. But we got about 90% done ourselves, and then had them help us with the last 10%. And it’s colorful, and great!

And now – we’re building lots of fun things for Tech Day at school. So far we’ve built a water bottle rocket launcher. And a mouse trap car. And it’s so much fun! While the boys and I are knocking that out, the ladies are upstate having a fun weekend as well.

So it’s hectic. It’s tiring. I’m exhausted. But it’s also so full of joy. And spring is right around the corner.

What a year you were 2021


In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy – “Well that escalated quickly didn’t it?”

I have this desire to write that 2021 didn’t bring the promised relief of 2020, but when I look at it objectively that isn’t true. As a family, we’re vaccinated, fully employed, and living a relatively pre-pandemic life.

From the point of view of those three things – 2021 was a massive win.

But there’s still a weight to the year that I wasn’t expecting that seems to be just hanging over us. While acknowledging that, and wanting to write about it more, instead I’ll kick off this year’s weekly family updates with a highlight of the things we most enjoyed from 2021.

From Amelia:

  • Hanging out with her friends – Louisa, Maelle, and Anya
  • Being able to go to England for Christmas

From Luka:

  • Hanging out with his pod and going back to school
  • Playing quarterback for his flag football team

From Theo:

  • Going to school with his friends
  • Getting to build legos

From Micky:

  • Our trip through California this summer

From me:

  • Being able to spend time with friends and family who then moved away from NYC
  • Spending time with those who were there and stayed as well

Here’s to a healthy, happy 2022 for all of us.

2019 – Kids in Review


I think that Einstein may have gotten it wrong when he tried to describe the relationship between time and energy as quadratic. The kiddos will gladly take the Nobel Prize once we can figure out the math to explain how quickly this year passed, and how much everyone changed.

My favorite was the three-week trip we did with the kids across Egypt, Italy, and finishing in the UK. They handled the heat incredibly well. They learned a ton, and to this day can quote the things that they learned. The time they spent with the family was incredible. As they’re getting older, and better able to retain the memories, it’s amazing to see them create richer and richer moments. Theo learned how to scare the shit of us in the pool, but bravely jumped in anyway. It was an amazing trip.

I’ve found that 2nd Grade is a hard year regardless of teacher or child. But both 1st Grade and 3rd Grade were quite wonderful. I don’t know what it is about 2nd Grade. We had a teacher tell us that it’s the first year that the kids aren’t babied, and that it makes it a tougher year. Whatever it is though, it’s caused lots of emotions to flow out.

We’ve gotten incredibly lucky with preschool whether the 2s program in SF or the preschool programs all the kids have been through. Theo loves his friends, his teachers, and school in general. He’s the most amazing story teller. He’s got the best laugh, and he still cuddles us. He’s a grown up baby in so many ways. If only we could kick that damn bottle.

Birthday parties spread out from Chuck’e’Cheese to rock climbing to laser tag. Swimming in the river and bowling upstate. The big two discovered that they like to ski. Theo discovered that he likes me pulling him up and down the tubing slopes. We still can’t really get them to go for a hike, but I’m sure we’ll tackle that one soon enough.

Amelia has picked up acting and gymnastics, and loves both. She’s been willing to trade away rock climbing. Luka gave up soccer, and hasn’t found a sport, but he’s a Pokemon card player with his whole retinue of friends. Theodore hasn’t hit the activities scene yet though sneaking him into art class was great, and he seemed to enjoy it (and they him).

Biggest family hack was getting Theo into Cooking Camp this year. Not only did we get him in under the age limit, but then the big kids told the teacher he was allergic to tomatoes all week to only find out at the very end that they’d been pulling her leg. That’s how you know they’re related to me.

It was a horrible year on many fronts, but on the kids front it was wonderful. Maybe the best it’s been yet. And I hope it only gets better from here.

A Pokemon weekend


This weekend we headed up to Mechanicsville, NY to have a go at a Pokemon League Cup. All three kiddos hopped in, and I joined as well (though we competed in different divisions).

In competitive Pokemon there are three point generating levels – League Challenges, League Cups, and Regionals. There are also International Cups, but I have no idea how those work, and so they’re outside my world view 🙂

Luka has been the one in the family with the most success so far, and he looked to continue that streak. But Amelia and Theo both are getting much better – and the fairy deck I inherited from Amelia is one I’m finally figuring out how to play better.

When all was said and done, Luka finished 2nd (out of 4), Amelia 3rd (out of 4), and Theo 4th (out of 4). I finished 22 (out of 28).

The real chaos though came in building the decks mere moments before the tournament started. You see only certain cards are legal, and I totally botched which ones were allowed and weren’t allowed. Poor Theo had to build a whole new deck in the 10 minutes before the tournament started, but he was such a great trooper. We also had a bunch of other Poke Parents help us out, and that was a huge help. It’s a really amazing community from that point of view.

I was bummed out for Luka because he won his first match, and then ended up playing much harder competition than the rest of his peer group. The result was that they had better results than him though he had beaten them in head-to-head competition.

It’s definitely a bug in the Pokemon tournament system I’d love to see resolved.

And the shop where the tournament was hosted was amazing. It’s an old gaming store with old NES, SNES, arcade, and other games. Did you know that a functional version of Mega Man 5 for NES is worth $110?!? Because I sure as hell didn’t!

It was a great Saturday for all of us, and I think we’ve all got some good ideas about how to improve our decks, and move into the next chapter of this season. Maybe I’ll even win 2 matches at the next tournament!

Our life in photos


Another from the Block Party


Amelia's bunting from the block party

Amelia’s bunting from the block party

Amazing how much she’s grown between September and now… and also amazing that we ever wore shorts in this city. Spring can’t come fast enough…

Moving on from Carroll Street :-(


Amelia in the bouncie house at the 2017 Carroll Street block party

Amelia and Theo in the bouncie house at the 2017 Carroll Street block party

We’re getting ready to move up the road (at a pretty obscene price) because of a disagreement with our landlord. It’s going to be sad to be leaving this street, but, fortunately, we’re going to stay in the general neighborhood (and actually get closer to school). It’s been a great house to have as our first NYC home, and we’re going to miss it. But life is giving us a new adventure, and off we go!

This week in review – Jan 14, 2018


This week was a great one…

Starting with my annual trip to CES and ending with a skiing adventure on New York’s Hunter mountain, I really got to live it all up.

This year the Vegas trip was a bit different. Just like last year Doruk came as well, and this year Arda Can joined us. It’s becoming a very different crew – both good and bad. The traditions we’ve kept – steakhouse and show. The emphasis on CES is dying (which kind of makes me sad, but I’m ok with it). And it’s adding a new dimension of exploring and seeing that we’ve been missing for a bit.

Sidebar: I’ve been going to Las Vegas since I was 9 years old. Since I was 12 or 13, I’ve probably been at least once every year of my life. It’s the single place I’ve visited more than any other in the world. Which is a fascinating thought to me. A lot of people hate it – just flat out. But I think I’ve found a 36 or 48-hour version of being there that is fun, refreshing, and doesn’t require you to be an idiot with money.

Unlike this one guy I saw who in 2.5 minutes lost $800 at the Craps table we were playing out :-/

This year’s show was KA (Cirque de Soleil at MGM). Just as spectacular as ever. And we went back to the Capital Grille Steakhouse where we got a new server, but an amazing meal once again.

All in all, a visit that we’ll all remember as one of the good ones.

Then, I hoped on an early morning flight, and headed back to New York. We found a cute house on Hunter Mountain (about 2 hours north of the city), and got out late after dinner. The morning met us with freezing cold temperatures, and a chance to go skiing!

Theo just wasn’t into daycare, and so he hung out with the grown ups while Luka and Amelia took to ski school like champs. By then end of our stay, Amelia was comfortably skiing down green slopes! But the best part – in my opinion – was the snowtubing!!

They had a snowtube park that had 8 or 9 lanes worth of snowtubing, and we had a blast. Theo loved it, and I’ve got some great videos of us making runs down both fast and slow.

The house had a hot tub, and we were of course the idiots who had to try it even though that meant running through about 10 yards of freezing snow in bare feet to get in. Damn those 10 yards were cold! But it was a ton of fun.

AND… the house had an Amazon Echo. We had so much fun asking Alexa the most ridiculous questions. Just in case you’re curious, Alexa won’t tell you much dirt about Jeff Bezos’ personal life 🙂

It was a great week – and getting back to real life is going to be hard.