Friday, October 24, 2014

Czech Music... we're not all Folk

Did you ever stumble upon something and get super excited like a child that just found out that there is no bed time, candy is allowed for dinner, and Santa DOES exist and will bring you everything on the list you sent him to the North Pole?


Well, I just did.

I found this website

Ok, ok... for a lot of you this is NOT candy-for-dinner exciting, but for a Czech not in CZ who misses a lot of familiar songs, this is not only candy for dinner, this is being given the entire candy shop by Ole St. Nick on Christmas morning!

I will share one of my favorite Czech bands and songs with you...

Ready Kirken - select song 1+1

Am also a fan of Ewa Farna and her Mels me vubec rad hit 

And I can't forget this beauty...
Spomal by Peha 
Actually, this is such a great song that you should listen to the entire thing here:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Takin' it back...

That's right, once again the magic of Prague has made it's way onto yet another list...this time, for our toys.  

Photo by Michael Novotny for The New York Times
The Retro Hracky Toy Shop in Prague

Read the NY Times article entitled 12 Treasures of Europe ...I'll be damned if you're not as smitten with Krtek as I am.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Just don't ask me if I like your hair

Well folks, here you have it...10 Great things about the Czechs - Czechmate Diary is spot on!

Although we do have many negative attributes, they are well balanced by the positive ones. Well, most of the time…
 1. We don’t wear pink glasses. We don’t walk on clouds. We are REALISTS (and,well, the negative comments sometimes come with it). Have you seen any Czech person buying a lottery ticket? That’s because we honor the fact that 99.9999999% of the time that person does not win. It is a waste of money.
2. We are honest (and yes, the negative comments sometimes come with it). If we get asked an opinion, we just say it. An exception would be woman’s hair. If we get asked about what we think of someone’s hair, and even though it looks horrible, we will most likely lie. We are not that evil.

3. We are strict with our children. That is how we were raised and that is what we like. We hate brats.

4. We are street smart. We were raised in rough times, which taught us to be resourceful and think twice about stuff.

5. We are good cooks. Our moms and grandmas had to cook everything from scratch, we had to help them as kids and that is why we know how to move smoothly in the kitchen.

6. We are frugal. Almost to the point of being cheap. If there is a deal in town we will be the first ones in line to get it.

7. We are athletic. The Czechs love to spend their energy in nature. Whether it is by swimming in a local pond, or skiing or hiking, we love to sweat in the presence of nature. That is why we have so many great athletes! Practice makes perfect.

8. We are hard workers. We like to get the job done quick and right. Forget the 6 office assistants in one office. How about you fire the five and keep the most capable one (possibly with a Czech heritage).

9. We make good best friends. You need a best friend? Search through the Czech community.People may give you the cold shoulder at first but once they warm up and get to know you more, they will be there if you need help. Just don’t ask them if they like your hair because they may just tell you the truth!

10. We have golden hands. We can fix just about anything. Don’t believe me? There is even a Czech saying about it: “Cesi maji zlate rucicky”.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lenny's back!

He's back... 

Looking for something to do on November 13th?  Well, Lenny Kravitz will be back in Prague performing at the O2 Arena.  He hasn't performed in Prague since 2011... catch him this year.  With a new album entitled Strut out this month, it's bound to be an amazing show!

Check out his new song, The Chamber 

For more info & to purchase tickets, please visit LiveNation

Monday, August 18, 2014


Czechmate Diary has a great post today that made my heart ache for my Babička.  The fond memories I have of growing up with Babička always there warm my heart.  I miss you, Babi!

The article states that according to a recent poll the role of a classic Czech grandma, who sees her meaning of life in an unconditional care for her grandchildren, is gone in a not-so-distant past.  Read more at The sad evolution of Czech grandmas

There is a great book entitled Babička ... you can get the English version on Amazon

Friday, August 8, 2014

Honoring the name AVA

Today I wish to post about a name in honor of my new niece, Ava Polina.  My heart melts whenever I see her!

Teta te miluje!

The name Ava means "Like a Bird"...Nelly Furtado's song comes to mind...

A little history...
The medieval name Ava is an abbreviation of a Germanic name.  Saint Ava was a 9th-century princess, daughter of Pepin II of Aquitaine. She was cured of blindness by Saint Rainfredis, became a Benedictine nun at Dinart, Hainault, and later was elected Abbess. Her feast day is April 29th, thus the name Ava is is celebrated on this day.

As evidence for the name is lacking between the later medieval and the modern period, the Oxford Dictionary of First Names supposes that it was coined anew as a modern innovation, presumably as a variant of Eva or (like Eva) used as an anglicization of the Irish name Aoife.  Ava is also a feminine given name in Persian, meaning "voice, sound".

Ava has worldwide meanings, making it difficult to pinpoint its true etymology and origin. From the German roots, Ava means "bird or birdlike". From the Latin, Ava means "pretty" or "Living One". Ava is the Afghan word for "voice" and the Akposso word for "sky" or "heaven". It also comes from the Old English for "Breath of Life". Some believe that the name Ava came from the Hebrew name "Chava," which means "life" or "serpent," while others point out the place-name "Ivah" appearing in the Bible.

The name was popularized in the United States by socialite Ava Lowle Willing (1868-1958) who married John Jacob Astor IV, and their daughter, socialite and heiress Ava Alive Muriel Astor (1902–1956).
Socialite Ava Lowle Willing

John Jacob Astor IV

Ava Alice Muriel Astor 

And who could forget the beautiful Ava Gardner

Ava has become quite popular and here is a link to celebrity daughters named Ava

The name Polina is a Russian feminine given name.  It is sometimes a short form of the name Appolinaria, a feminine form of the ancient Greek name Appollinaris, a name derived from the god Apollo. Appollinaris is the name of several ancient Christian saints.
Polina could also be seen as a variant spelling of the name Paulina, a feminine form of the name Paul. Polina was the second most popular name given to baby girls born in Moscow, Russia in 2007.   

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ten Ta To... damn the Czech language is confusing!

I don't know about you, but I would download this app in a heartbeat.  Ten Ta To is a brilliant idea that I hope comes to fruition.  It can with our help!  

See below for more details... here is the English link Ten To Ta Fundraiser


Unikátní pomůcka ke studiu češtiny pro telefony Android a iOS.
Autoři se na Vás obracejí s prosbou o finanční podporu pro vytvoření studijní aplikace, k jejímuž dokončení, otestování a uvedení k volnému stažení pro veřejnost z Apple Store a Google Play je třeba zajistit 4,000 USD.
Aplikace Ten Ta To představuje praktickou pomůcku k procvičování a zapamatování českých gramatickýh rodů, jejichž správné určení je v češtině velmi důležité a pro mnohé studenty češtiny, i potomky rodilých Čechů, často velmi frustrující, viz např. kostel-postelkůl-sůl. Aplikace Ten Ta To vychází z modelu již existující aplikace Der Die Das pro němčinu, kterou vytvořil developer Luboš Mikusiak spolupracující na Ten Ta To české verzi. Bude obsahovat 4,000 nejužívanějších podstatných jmen, včetně slov z populární učebnice Lidy Holé New Czech Step By Step/ Tschechisch Schritt für Schritt 1. Bude použitelná bez internetového spojení uživatelům na celém světě.
Podpořte prosím dokončeni projektu Ten Ta To a povzbuďte studium češtiny! 
Žádný příspěvek není malý. Všem, kteří přispějí 250USD či více, bude jmenovitě poděkováno ve všech propagačních materiálech i na aplikaci samotné.
V USA je Váš dar odečitelný z daní. (tax-deductible)
You can make your contribution with your credit or debit card using secure PAYPAL
 (Nemusíte mít vlastní účet PayPal.)
Můžete také vystavit bankovni šek na:Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences,Inc.,
s poznámkou Ten Ta To, a
poslat jej na adresu: SVU c/o Suzanna Halsey, 515 Avenue I, 1B, Brooklyn, NY 11230, USA.
Více informací v angličtině nahoře: Ten Ta To Project Description.
Děkujeme a těšíme se na Vaši účast.
Zuzana Halsey and Lubos Mikusiak

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Congratulations, Petra Kvitová!

I know I'm a few days late, but nonetheless...

CONGRATULATIONS to Petra Kvitová for her Wimbledon win!  We are so proud of you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy Art

Just thought I'd share some recent artwork by an artist I admore, Karen Obuhanych.  It makes me smile!
Take a look at her work on her website kto ART

Saturday, May 31, 2014

We have a word for these two in Czech

...but I won't go there.

Of all the countries, they had to turn up in mine.  

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Prague

By all means, spend spend SPEND $$$$$ and please show respect and kindness to my fellow Czechs (if you're even capable of that), but please take your douche baggery with you when you leave.
Maybe being in this magical city will ground these two clowns.  Probably Definitely not.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Proof That Prague Is Europe's Prettiest City - The Huffington Post

"Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace." - Eugene O'Neill

For me, a fairy tale has become reality...


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Win a trip to Prague

Now this is a sweepstakes I want to win!  Because a trip to Prague would make me very, very happy...

Good luck!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter can be very naughty!

Easter Monday (Pondělí velikonoční) is the day we tend to celebrate Easter.  It's a day off from work (amen!) as well as the day of the pomlázka!  

In the morning, men boys walk from door to door to spank girls on their legs with their whip.  The whipping is rather symbolic, you see.  The Easter whip, the pomlázka, comes from the word "pomladit", which means  "make younger".  It's believed that the freshness, youth and strength of the twigs is passed to the women on this day.  Thus, every woman wants to be whipped in order to keep her health and beauty during the coming year.  Unvisited females may even feel offended, therefore it's almost a duty for all boyfriend and husbands to whip their woman with the Easter whip!

The boys accompany the whipping with a special Easter carol, usually asking for an egg or two.  The girls "reward" them with an Easter egg or tie a ribbon on their whip (um, I am making this out to be very, very naughty).

The more eggs or ribbons a boy has, the better (

For boys men, instead of eggs the "reward" is a shot of alcohol, mostly homemade brandy.  And of course, the point is to visit quite possibly all of the girls in town (that's a lot of random ribbons on their whip), thus around noon, groups of happy  ecstatic men can be seen in the streets singing Easter carols and chasing women.

But don't think the girls don't get to have any fun!  In the afternoon, they get their revenge by pouring a bucket of ice cold water on any male they wish!

My man's whip is ready to go...and I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday and it's many Czech superstitions

In the Czech Republic, Great Friday (Velký pátek) is the popular name for what most call "Good Friday".  Velký pátek is a day of fasting for Roman Catholics who will not eat meat until Saturday evening after the church bells start ringing on their legendary return from Rome.

 On Velký pátek, we prepare our holiday bread (mazanec), which must not be cut or eaten until the priest says, "Christ is risen!" (Kristus vstal z mrtvých!) on Easter Sunday.  It is a universal custom to make a new loaf of bread with the sign of the cross before cutting it in order to bless it and thank God for it.  Bread baked on Velký pátek - if hardened in the oven - can be kept all year, and its presence protects the house from fire.

There are many (surprise surprise!) superstitions associated with Velký pátek.  Although Praguers have gotten away from some of the annual traditions, people in small villages still practice time-honored rituals.  These customs, dating back to at least the first century, are designed to bring health and happiness to the participants throughout the following year.

We're a superstitious bunch aren't we!?  I have to admit that I won't allow laundry to hang dry on Velký pátek, and I also won't eat meat, but these traditions are a little harder to adhere to:
  • Women carry out their quilts to air out in order to chase illnesses out of the house.
  • Some believe that water dipped before sunrise without a spoken word has healing power and will stay pure all year.
  • People get up very early on this day and hurry down to the brook (or stream... or river) where they wash themselves with cold water and then cross the brook with bare legs because they believe that this ensures good health for the entire next year.
  • People also take their daughters down to wash at the well so that they'll be pretty and well spoken for.
 It's also believed that water sprites come out onto dry land on Velký pátek.  Water Sprites are a story for another day, but if you come across this guy...

A few more interesting beliefs and superstitions are:
  • Work.  Just don't do it!!  I'm not sure if it's out of genuine respect for the religious festival, or from superstitious fears that to do it will somehow bring misfortune.  According to an old Czech saying, "Na Velký pátek zemi nehýbej", which translates to, "On Great Friday, do not move the soil."
  • Supposedly, the weather for the whole year is foretold by the weather on Velký pátek.  For instance, if it rains on Velký pátek, then the rest of the year will be dry.  Another saying is "Velký pátek deštivý dělává rok žíznivý", which means, "A rainy Great Friday makes for a thirsty year."
  • On Velký pátek, according to legend, anyone can look upon the sun without being blinded by its glare 
 There are several legends associated with Velký pátek as well, and the one I find romantic yet disturbing is this one:  High up in the mountains amidst the cliffs there is a stone figure of a maiden.  She is seated and holds in her lap an unfinished shirt, also of stone.  Eash year, on Velký pátek, at the hour of the Passion, she sews a stitch:  one year, one stitch.  When the shirt is finished, the world will end.  Everything under the sun will die, and Judgement Day will be at hand. 
Let's hope she never finishes that shirt!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get out your rattles, boys!

Not that rattle!  This rattle...

Photo courtesy of The Easter Project

Yes, what looks like a wheelbarrow is actually a rattle said to chase away evil spirits.  And being that today is Zelený čtvrtek (Green Thursday), all you males out there get to keep this tradition alive.

What?  You don't own one of these? GASP!  Any old rattle will do... now go make some noise!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I have returned from the throes of the sea...

Well, not really anything so severe, much to my relief.  My profession took over, and I vow to NOT let that happen again.  Changes are being made because no one controls ones destiny but oneself.

Sorry to get all deep on you.

On a lighter note, Easter is here!  I love the "springtime" feeling that comes along with Easter...the warmer weather (hopefully) and seeing the colorful tulips, hyacinths and daffodils... how can one not be happy?

I'll be baking an Easter mazanec again, as well as trying my hand at the beránek:

We'll see how that goes.

Apparently, the tradition of baking this sweet lamb goes way, way back.  They say that the Jewish folk of ancient times prepared bread in the shape of a lamb.  And yes, I do own the mold to bake said beránek.  When I stumbled upon the mold last year you would have thought I won the lottery.  If this beránek turns out well (ie, in one piece) and I can keep Czech tradition alive, well then in a way, I did.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy 97th Birthday, DinDin!

Happy 97th Birthday, DinDin!  
I almost sent you a card like I did every year, but this year it would have been addressed to Heaven.

I miss you more than you would ever understand...and love you more than you could possibly ever know.
Always by my side, always in my heart...

I light a candle for you, my DinDin

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lulu z Honolulu

Last weekend while sitting at a hospoda with some locals, I was introduced to this Czech song, which has been stuck in my head since...

Now I share it with you