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

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Designblok 2013 - What A Girl Wants

That time of year is here!  No, not the time of year when we start to get ready for the holiday season, but the time of year when I return to my "roots", as I call it. Yes, I am in CZ again and eager to consume Prague in one fell swoop...

and that starts with sparkly shiny things

Designblok 2013 is happening now through Sunday and part of it includes presentations by fashion and jewelry designers.  Not only are these items on display, but there is also a pop-up shop!  Yes, a pop-up shop...and I hope to walk away with a unique creation as my heart has fallen in love with pieces by Zorya.
I should (and I will) go to the art exhibits, too...but can't a girl start with sparkly things first?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oh how I miss thee...

(red currant)

Growing up my father and grandfather planted rybíz in our garden, and I remember hand-picking it with my my mom and having her or my grandmother back a delicious koláč out of them... like this one (just that this is not one she baked... I borrowed this pic from the internet). Thank you Blesk pro - I will be trying your recipe and it best taste like mom's.  
Ilustrační foto

And mommy, if you are reading this, I say we back a lot of koláče together when I visit.  I am craving this delicious pastry and may start drooling just thinking about it ...just like my English Bulldog does.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A beloved 4-letter word...


Pivo means beer.

Czech and pivo go hand-in-hand.

Czechpivo should almost just be one complete word.  In a dictionary even.

We Czechs love our pivo.

And I will prove it:

Take a look at this map showing our breweries

Now do you believe me?

Drink.  Czech.  Beer.  

That is all.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's a bird...It's a plane...It's Superman! (no, it really is)

I'd say he's living out a childhood superhero dream...

Perhaps I should find a way to live out my childhood superhero dream...

From The Prague Daily Monitor:
Look up in a sky. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … a guy in a Speedo wearing a cape and jumping off a 27-meter high platform by posing like Superman!

Czech diver Michal Navratil closed the inaugural high dive event at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona by performing his patented Superman dive from the vertigo-inducing platform used the in extreme diving event. He had the cape, the music and, of course, the pose.

The 28-year-old Navratil finished fourth in the competition, which is of little consequence when you can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Do you know this man?

Do you know this man?

Neither did I (should I hang my head in shame?). He is Carlos Relvas (1838-1894), a founding figure of Portuguese photography.  And between this photo of him and his work, I like this man... and am honored to now know of him.

I feel as though he takes photos of what makes him happy.  Not that I know, that is just what his photos make me feel
Landscape. Portugal, 1876-1878, New toned print from collodion wet plate negative
Landscape. Portugal, 1876-1878

Sheep, ca 1870, New toned print from stereoscopic collodion negative
Sheep, ca 1870, New toned print from stereoscopic collodion negative

So to all of my creative friends in Prague and anyone else who's artistic, check out his work at Galerie Rudolfinum now through September 15th.  Read more about Carlos and the exhibit at PragueTV 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Summer Summertime

You may want to listen to this summertime tune while reading...

Yes, that is DJ Jazzy Jeff... we're takin' it back to summer 1991

With temps reaching the mid to high 30's (celsius my friends, celsius), Czechs are rushing to what I lovingly call the Czech-version-of-a-beach to cool off.  Rivers, reservoirs, pools, ponds, plastic baby pools ...anything cool and wet and refreshing during these dog days of summer.  

(For those of you wondering, here's an easy way to convert celsius to fahrenheit:  multiply by 9, divide by 5, then add 32). 

I happen to like math.  

I feel your eyes shooting daggers at me right now.

Czechs at Divoká Šárka, a natural reserve, just outside of Prague.  

There is a public pool (water from the Šárka spring creek that passes through) in the middle of this natural reserve.  

Quite nice, don't you agree?  

But wait!  

Did you really think that a fable (or, err...a truth) would not be attached to a mere watering hole?  Silly, reader!  Divoká Šárka contains a gorge that is named after the warrior Šárka, who, according to mythology, threw herself to her death from its cliffs.  

And if you're lucky, you may spot the Black Woodpecker... this area is the closest to the city of Prague where they live

Read the full article at Radio Prague HERE