Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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
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
Lulu z Honolulu by Ivan Mládek
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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
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 Ceny.cz - I will be trying your recipe and it best taste like mom's.
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
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 Pividky.cz
Now do you believe me?
Drink. Czech. Beer.
That is all.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
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?
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
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
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.
Where have I been, dear readers?
That is a question that even I can not answer. I ADORE writing on this blog and sharing my love of all things Czech with you, but I guess you can say that somewhere along the way I got sidetracked, somewhere along the way I got too wrapped up in work (so cliché, isn't it?). Sadly, is true.
Recently I shared my blog with a lovely couple who may be visiting, and hopefully living for a while, in my beloved city of Prague. The excitement I felt when they shared this information with me, and the kind words I received after they perused the blog, reignited my passion. It never left me, gasp oh no!, it just needed to come forth again.
You two know who you are... and I thank you dearly!
As we would end anything in Czech....
Here's to you!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Please help if you can. Two very sweet kitties need to find their forever home.
They are outdoor cats, but not feral at all and love people. They think a home we rent to guests is theirs, which doesn't go over with the guests, sadly.
I would keep them myself, but already have a full house of cats and a dog, but I also don't want to see them taken away to a shelter :-( They'd be so sad and wouldn't understand and truly do deserve a loving forever home. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
There are 2 of them, one is black & white, and this sweet boy...
Sunday, March 31, 2013
The Color Red
Red and other bright colors symbolize health, joy, happiness and new life that comes with the spring. So paint those Easter eggs red!
All in all, Easter is a time of high spirits and happy celebrations in small villages. I wish you all a joyful day and a very Happy Easter!
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Today is White Saturday (Bílá sobota), a day when boys walk through the village with rattles on until residents at each house give them money (hmmm, if only it were so easy!)
There's so much more to White Saturday though. It is regarded, along with Zelený čtvrtek (Green Thursday), as a lucky day for sowing. The farmers place ashes on their fields to ensure a good crop, and shake the trees, so that they'll yield a lot of fruit.
White Saturday used to be a day of peace and quiet. Daytime church services were not held at all, and services were held instead either in the evening hours after the sun went down, or after midnight. Only blessed candles and lights were used in the church during these nighttime services. Because of the Virgin Mary's faith in His promise to rise again from the dead, the day is consecrated to her.
Easter picture by Josef Lada
If you're in the Czech Republic on Bílá sobota, take time to stand a while in front of the church in Domaľlice, Kyjov, Blatnice, Břeclav or Vlčnov and enjoy the ceremonial costumes of the women and girls.
Friday, March 29, 2013
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!!!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Today is Holy Thursday, aka Green Thursday (Zelený čtvrtek) in the Czech Republic. It's a day of fasting where Catholics did not eat any animal products of any kind and only consumed one meal of vegetables. Can you guess what kind of vegetables? Yep, green ones, such as spinach or cabbage were eaten on this day so that one would stay healthy for the entire year.
What's in a name?
Zelený čtvrtek (Green Thursday) was perhaps derived from the green mass chausable that was used on this day and which is still used today. The bells "departing for Rome" were heard for the last time in church on Green Thursday. They would then fall silent until Holy Saturday. A superstition existed (of course it did... Czechs are such a superstitious bunch) that when a bell was rung for the last time on Green Thursday, one was supposed to jingle money so that one would hold on to it.
Another Green Thursday custom includes the boys' game of Chasing Judas and the baking of twisted spiral buns representing serpents, the symbol of betrayal.
In some villages there are processions led by a captive Judas in a straw suit, which is ceremonially burnt at the end of the day. When sprinkled into a clean jug of water, the ashes of Judas were believed to have special powers including the abilities to guard against fire and protect the health of livestock for the coming year.
In the evening of Green Thursday, village boys used to equip themselves with a wooden rattle (řehtačka), which was specially made for the purpose. They formed a group and walked through the village, rattling their rattles vigorously so that the noise could be heard from afar.
The meaning of the rattling may have been to chase away Judas. The same procedure would repeat on Good Friday (Velký pátek). The last rattling day was White Saturday (Bílá sobota), when the boys didn't just walk through the village, but stopped at every house in the morning and rattled until they were given money.
Czechs have specific names for the days leading up to Easter and today is Ugly Wednesday. It's possible that Wednesday is called Ugly because it's traditionally spring cleaning day, which included sweeping the chimney - and it all had to get done in one day! Another reason might be that it was the day Judas betrayed Jesus.
And of course, our traditions and superstitions...
Carpets, couches, armchairs and mattresses are carried into the open and every speck of dust beaten out of them. Women (why not men??!) scrub and wax the floors and furniture, change the curtains, wash the windows; the home is buzzing with activity.
After the interior is fully cleaned, the entire cottage is then also whitewashed on the outside as well. This has to be done quickly as everything has to be back in place by Wednesday night, glossy and shining.
This traditional spring cleaning is, of course, to make the home as neat as possible for the greatest holiday of the year, a custom taken over from the ancient Jewish practice of a ritual cleansing and sweeping of the whole house as prescribed in preparation for the Feast of Passover.
Kids finish school on Škaredá středa, which is a good idea because they need to help with all this cleaning and decorating! They also need to spend some serious time preparing for the serious days to follow, in preparation for Easter.
The Moravian houses in the Podluľí region blossom with the fleeting flowers of spring painted on the windows with soap or made on the porches or in the yards with water or sand. The window linings, wine cellar, chapel portals and rooms are also decorated with new ornaments.
There is a superstition that anyone eating honey on this day will not be bitten by serpents.
In some places, they eat bread smeared with this honey for protection against snakebite.
In other places they throw honey-buttered bread into wells so they will have water in them all year round.
Škaredá středa is the last Wednesday before Easter. On this day everyone is supposed to smile at each other. If they don't, the entire year will be a sad one. It is said that people shouldn't frown on this day for fear of frowning every Wednesday throughout the year!
So you know what to do...
Friday, March 1, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
It's like Under the Tuscan Sun when Diane Lane's character first spots the beautiful old villa...
...only it's not a villa, but a brewery. Yet I imagine it to be that same sort of "a ha!" moment.
Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Tkadlecova, for bringing a piece of history back to life. I will, without a sliver of a doubt, enjoy your brew.
Read the story of how this abandoned brewery form 1710 gets a second chance at life here
Friday, February 8, 2013
A couple I know is enjoying this at this very moment and suggesting we should all have one small glass a day...
That couple is my amazing parents! xoxo
For all of you east coasters about to be hit by snowstorm Nemo...I suggest staying inside where it's nice and warm and pouring yourself a glass of schnapps. Think of the storm as a way to totally block out the outside world for a bit...relax, unwind, read that book you've been meaning to get to...just stay safe!
Saturday, February 2, 2013
If I told my man that I'm taking him to the spa for some pampering he'd tell me that unless I'm the masseuse and "manicure" is code for beer, then I have a better chance of seeing pigs fly.
Well, 2 of 3 sure ain't bad!
A spa beer bath complete with UNLIMITED beer on tap, followed by 30 minutes in the spa's rejuvenation room where you relax on a heated bed ...
What guy wouldn't want to do this?
And while he's all giddy over being in a tub with you and drinking beer, we can think about all of the benefits of said beer bath. - who knew there were so many! From boosting the immune system to being really good for our skin (perhaps I should start bathing in beer rather than drinking it)...read all about the benefits here
For more information and reservations, visit Beer Spa Bernard Prague