I am supposed to consolidate my position and clarify my goals, according to today’s horoscope for the determined Taurus.
I especially like the quote from Bruce Lee: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
That’s a pretty heavy quote that has inspired this entire post. To answer the last part of it; I am refining the content of the Greenwich Meridian memoir about our family immigration saga.
Inspired by Stephen and Owen King’s cooperation on the latest “Sleeping Beauties: A Novel”, I asked my mom Ella to write two chapters for the memoir. I would not be able to write them, because during mom’s second time around in the USA, I wasn’t with her. I was still back in Czechoslovakia.
I wrongfully called Chapter 13, “First years in America.” And surely mom struggled with that, because it was her second time around from 1980 to present. After more than an hour on the phone, we clarified that.
During mom’s writing process, dad discovered a precious document; his bio when he was applying for jobs. It was stored away in old luggage in the basement, where I would have never found it.
This document, probably from the 1970s, and my parents’ involvement will help move the memoir along. For months, I struggled with it. I got stuck halfway through the manuscript.
This is one of my most popular posts.; back by demand
Happy May Day
May 1st traditions in Czech Republic & around the world
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – Every year, I observe May 1st as May Day in the renaissance Czech tradition with warm memories of the socialist past. If I close my eyes, I can still see the parades, the tribunes and the socialist propaganda with the slogans and the banners on the backdrop of the blossoming lilacs. The socialist patriotic hymns were blasting from the loudspeakers.
May Day pole tied with ribbons signifies love and spring.
May Day pole with ribbons in Bannister, Michigan
Today, Czech Republic still celebrates May 1, as an official holiday with a day off to commemorate the union manifestations in Chicago in 1884. Only this time around, without the parades or the slogans.
But most of all, May Day, was a great day off known for its official opening of the beer gardens, and the infamous “march of the thieves.”
May Day in Czech Republic.
The photo was taken at Larkin’s Restaurant in Lowell, MI.
The organized labor from the factories marched in the parades, while some individuals used the opportunity to steal from the gated factories because of less supervision. Therein the name “march of the thieves.”
First and foremost, May is the month of love, not just labor.
And I write about all this in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” with a light heart and a smile on my face with a touch of nostalgia.
I admire the old Czech country for being able to keep both the old socialist holidays, take on new ones, and tamper with the most important holiday of all that is the liberation of the country from the Nazi occupation in 1945.
New politicians with new agendas changed the date of the liberation of former Czechoslovakia from May 9th to May 8th based on the controversy who really liberated the country, whether it was the Soviets or the Americans. The question at hand; who was the first and where?
Having lived in many countries around the world, our family always honored the holidays of that particular country, otherwise we would have time off all the time.
Looking at my calendar last week for a summary, I found amusing that Canada also has Easter Monday off as an official holiday, just like the Czech Republic.
However, any holiday can take root in any country as I have witnessed in my hometown of Vizovice.
I remember our neighbor bus driver Mr. Hlavenka in Vizovice, used to celebrate Fourth of July by taking the day off in the old socialist era.
I’ve always wondered, how did he know about Independence Day with all the propaganda against American capitalism.
But, May 1st has deep agricultural connotations as well. People gather wildflowers and crown a May king and queen, weave floral garlands, and set up a maypole.
They also have bonfires to encourage the fertility of the land and animals in the coming year.
It is fascinating how different traditions and believes take roots in different countries, and how they continue to evolve.
Watch for more upcoming May posts.
Copyright (c) 2017-2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
As my horoscope states, I am quite on the edge today.
I am trying to sort through tons of information; everything from Bell’s Oberon summer release, Facebook mess, First & Second amendment demonstrations, “Stormy” interview with Anderson Cooper, stormy weather in Michigan, Kim’s message about China, and Easter Triduum preparations.
Amidst all of that, I am getting ready for the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing from April 12 through April 14 in Grand Rapids.
I am waffling back and forth between two manuscripts to submit to the Festival. Only one is allowed via the Submittable app. It’s a good thing that I have manuscripts to choose from for publication.
Most of the workshops and festival circles have filled up already. The roster of speakers is so huge that I just don’t know who to pick.
“It can be an overwhelming conference,” wrote my fellow writer and friend Tamela. “I heard Anne Lamont a few years ago…she was awesome.”
The iPad calendar is showing me that I have a webinar in one minute, and a meeting at noon.
I already missed the “blessing of the oils” @St.Andrews Cathedral yesterday.
My facebook friend warned me that he is shutting down his account, because he doesn’t believe FB provides a net-positive contribution to the world.
“We all have a finite amount of time to invest,” he wrote. “The return on investment of my time on Fb, other than the connection with my immediate family, is not worth it.”
Oh, yes; Facebook and fear. I have yet to write about that. I promised that to my fellow writer Sheryl.
“What’s up with that fear?” she asked.
We’re picking up my brother Vas on Good Friday in Paris, MI. That is, if he decides to come and spend the Easter with us.
My parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny are staying in Venice, Fl for Easter.
Stay tuned for full post about Czech & Slovak Easter traditions right here on EW Emma’s Writings.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, the great Russian playwright and short-story writer, said that you must first incubate your story idea for at least two days, so it comes out right.
Lowell, MI- Are you a writer or an author interested in networking to gain insights into the publishing industry?
Have you encountered endless obstacles on your writing journey that seem to lead nowhere? Are your manuscripts collecting dust? Do you have a stack of rejections from agents?
Have you ever doubted yourself on your writing journey from the original idea to seeing your book on the bookshelf at the local Schuler Books store or at your hometown library?
Are you still wishing you could see your screenplay on the big screen?
A writers group will bring confidence and synergy to your writing, screenwriting & publishing efforts. It will help streamline them into a flow of great content for publishing: print, digital, audible and/or all of the above.
It will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and insights with fellow wordsmiths.
You can start by joining the Facebook group: Writers Loop
This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign theme is #PressforProgress which calls for action to press forward and progress gender parity.
Now, more than ever it takes on a new meaning in light of the recent events not just exclusive to Hollywood and the politicians.
The campaign gives us five options of positive behaviours toward gender equality starting with maintaining a gender parity mindset all the way to celebrating women’s achievements.
I have chosen all five. But long before this campaign I had the positive influence of celebrating womanhood in the old country. The socialist government encouraged the celebration of IWD.
One of my favorite memories from the former socialist Czechoslovakia is the celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), both at work and at home.
The country very much valued its female population to the point that women could stay on a maternity leave for up to three years without losing their job. They received 60 percent of their salary for the first two years of their maternity leave with full salary for the first six months.
The nurseries were free as well as other preschool child-care establishments. While capitalism swiped all that away, the country did manage to keep all its old holidays along with the new ones. The country doubled up on fun when they picked back up Mother’s Day with the advance of the free market economy, and retained International Women’s Day from the past.
I still see well wishes to women from my Czech friends on Facebook on this day. Now, that warms my heart; the fact that both systems acknowledge a woman’s place in the society and in the workplace.
We used to get flowers or pantyhose at work, or the other way around at home. Even though now I don’t get either for this day, I still dedicate a memory, a post, or a wish to all the women in the world.
Inspired by the IWD tradition, I started my most popular story series, “Inspiring Women” in the winter of 2014. The series features women that are making a difference in their communities.
Since then, I have featured women from all walks of life: small town politicians, businesswomen, sportswomen, nuns, artists, doctors, herbalists, bloggers and many more. Each woman told her own story, and they were all inspiring. They are the Fabric of their families and communities.
Just to name a few: Gail Lowe, Liz Baker, Betty Dickinson, Sharon Ellison, Betty Morlock, Mary Dailey Brown, Kathleen Mooney and most recently Betsy Davidson.
If you run into them, say thank you. Nominate a woman who has inspired you for a story.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL- Sipping coffee at a Turkish café on the corner of Sunrise and N. Ocean boulevards in Ft. Lauderdale with my daughter Emma, I found life easy.
This writer’s break from the northern vortex in West Michigan was different from the previous ones.
First of all, I changed bodies of water;that is the Gulf of Mexico for the Atlantic Ocean. Then I changed company. We all went with our adult children and the grand kids.
We stayed at an Art Deco villa five minutes from the beach. It gave us the opportunity to explore the Atlantic Ocean up close and personal.
And for the writer in me it was also good to compare the two shores; that is the Atlantic and the Gulf coast.
The weather was marvelously warm in the 80s with equally warm waves of the Atlantic splashing the beaches. Surfers were abundant unlike on the Gulf, where the waves are not big enough for surfing.
On the downside of the Atlantic, there were less shells and no shark teeth hunters. However, the lifeguards were on full duty and warned of rip currents. Our fellow traveler Maranda almost got caught in one. The lifeguard warned us with his whistle.“Always swim with the current to get out of it, never against it.”
The sounds of the waves rocked the youngest ones to the best nap in the world: on the beach.
Just listening to the ocean and watching the white combs as the waves crested was the best meditation in the world. Enhancing the motion and the sounds of the ocean were the freighters anchoring off shore. These lit up at night.
South Beach, Art Deco & Miami Yacht Show
A pretty nerve-wrecking drive south on Collins Ave and onto Ocean Blvd. took us to South Beach and the Art Deco district.
On the cusp of the 30th annual Miami Yacht Show running from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, we drove past hundreds of yachts-in-water for sale on the Indian Creek Waterway. Yacht brokers were just building entrances to the yacht in-water displays on 1.2 million square feet.
Art Deco district
As a civil engineer by trade and a history buff, I was fascinated by the chic historic Art Deco district. Sitting in the South Beach neighborhood within a short walking distance from the beach, the colorful historic buildings span three basic architectural styles: 1920s Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and MiMo or Miami Modernist architecture.
In search of Cuban fare & Daiquiri cocktails, we ate at Mango’s Tropical Café.
The beach scene beyond the Lummus Park featured colorful Art Deco lifeguard stands and the hottest fashion trends such as the thong swimwear.
Las Olas, Venice of America, Ft. Lauderdale
We took a pirate boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway lined by million dollar homes and mega yachts of the rich and the famous. Captain Kris took us past Steven Spielberg’s mega yacht equipped with three-quarter of a full length movie screen.
Knowledgeable about the lives of the famous, Chris told us the story of the founder of Phillips 66 petroleum company after whom the famous Grille 66 & Bar on the waterway has been named.
Then came the story of entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga known for Blockbuster Video, Waste Management & AutoNation.
We visited this small town of 6,000 north of Ft. Lauderdale twice for its walkable shopping district, the pier and snorkeling opportunities. It is full of small beach motels, unlike its high-rise neighbors.
I marveled at the sign for the local Farmer’s Market open from December through May.
In Michigan, we get first produce in June.
I will treasure timeless moments spent in the coarse sand, on the waves of the Atlantic, on the veranda of Ocean 2000 of the Pelican Resort and Valentine’s dinner on the deck of the Sandbar Grille.
However, we bargained with her for the best price for our Budweiser and Corona swimwear.
“You girls will never have to buy a drink for yourself on the beach,” she noted with a deep hollow laugh. Emma noticed her turquoise colored earrings in the shape of balls from the smallest to the big one.
Or maybe the real rube was the obnoxious bad pirate Barnacle Bill who stole our key to the treasure aboard the Bluefoot Pirate Adventures.
At the Aruba bar, women sported heart-shaped Valentine shades, and Publix was overflowing with heart-shaped balloons and cakes.
During this brief break from the freezing cold, we marked Mardi Gras, Valentine’s and Ash Wednesday, as well as the Greek Festival weekend in southern warmth and hospitality.
Alligator Alley, Everglades
However, I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention our 123 mile long drive from Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers through the Everglades area of South Florida.
The freeway I-75 from the east coast of Florida to the west coast is appropriately called Alligator Alley, as it cuts through the Everglades for 80 miles.
I noticed hundreds of white egrets congregating on the palm trees by the river fenced off from the freeway to protect the endangered Florida panther.
According to popular lore and crime movies, dead bodies are being disposed off here at the Alligator Alley. You will find no traces of anything. What the alligators didn’t get, the birds and the panthers will. It’s called balance in nature.
Well, our time on the Atlantic Ocean came and went like the afternoon tide. But, it washed ashore thousands of precious memories.
And I close this “Notes from Ocean 2018” account with the words of the Frontier airline captain.
“Join us. We’re flying like crazy from the tip of North America to the tip of South America.”
This feature series is dedicated to all women who are making a difference in their communities. They work to improve other people’s lives, as well as their own. They give Profusely of themselves. In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in my life that in particular stand out.
No.1 A dedication of a Relax, mind, body & soul book by Barbara Heller from my son Jake: “I dedicate this to my inspiring and motivational mother.” Kuba
No. 2 While on a story prior to Mother’s Day, I dropped in at Ace Bernard Hardware to talk about the prizes with owner Charlie Bernard. We talked also about the Lowell Area Chamber and its director Liz Baker.
“You know what I like about Liz, she keeps re-inventing herself,” Bernard said.
No. 3 Again on a story prior to the International Women’s Day on March 8, I talked to Sow Hope president Mary Dailey Brown.
“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty.”
No. 4 At a parents teacher conference at Cherry Creek Elementary in Lowell in the mid 1990s, I spoke with my son’s teacher, Karen Latva:
“Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” she said.
This series is geared toward the International Women’s Day on March 8. Nominate a woman who has inspired you. Contact Emma at email@example.com with subject Inspiring Women.
There is a parallel series “Inspiring Communities” where you can nominate both men and women, year round.
Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce names Betsy Davidson Person of the Year 2018
“Find something that you are passionate about and jump in with both feet.”
Lowell, MI- Betsy Davidson, owner of Addorio Technologies, is the recipient of the 2018 Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year Award.
She will accept the prestigious award at the winter gathering of the chamber membership on Feb. 15.
The award came as a total surprise to Davidson, who found out about the honor at the ambassador breakfast club. “It’s very humbling,” she said. “My customers have been congratulating me. I am very happy.”
Davidson has been the owner of Addorio Technologies since 2000. She started the company when her former employer Creative Handling of Hudsonville went out of business.
Her first job was at Deer Run Golf Course, and her first car was a blue Renault.
How does she gets things done
Davidson described herself as a dedicated and persistent individual. In preparation for a big project as in building a website or a server/network upgrade, Davidson first meets with the customer to make sure expectations are met and details are communicated.
The major challenge in the technology business, according to Davidson, is keeping up with constant changes in IT. That means attending trainings, workshops, webinars and on the job training.
For inspiration, Davidson looks up to fellow business owners. Her role model is chamber executive director Liz Baker.
“She has so much energy,” she said. “I can’t keep up with her.”
There was another reason why Davidson wanted her own business, since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Positive thinking has always kept me going,” she said, “my family, my husband Matt and my friends.”
She has never wanted to quit her job.
“I get more excited as I grow my business,” she said. “I keep moving forward.”
A lot of Davidson’s business is in the greater Lowell area.
In response to a question about fear in both professional and personal lives, Davidson said the only fear she has in business is disappointing customers.
However, in personal life Davidson said she’s afraid she could miss out on spending time with the family and friends.
Her biggest professional accomplishment is receiving the 2018 Person of the Year award.
Also, last year, Davidson was presented with an award for raising $50,000 for the MS Society.
“We were among the top 10 for a “do it yourself fundraiser” for the state of Michigan.
Davidson and her family have been doing this fundraiser for the last 16 years.
On the theme of success, Davidson attributed her achievements to her determination.
“I am kind of stubborn, and I keep going,” she laughed. “I don’t stop.”
Among her goals is to continue to do 5k runs, and a 10k run tentatively in 2018. She does the 5/3 Fifth Third Run, Ionia Parks run and Alpha Women’s Center run.
Her interests include travel. She plans to visit her grandma Annette Addorio, 103, in Maine. She named her business, Addorio Technologies after her grandmother.
Davidson is an active volunteer with the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and the Lowell Area Trails network. Between the three organizations, Davidson spends approximately five to 10 hours volunteering a week on top of her 50 to 60 hours a week work schedule.
She offered the following tips and advice to other women:
“Number one is balance,” she said. “It’s hard to squeeze time out of the day, but I have a passion for what I am doing.”Also, Davidson advises not to be afraid to ask other people for help.
“Find out who else is passionate about the same thing, and it will strengthen the project,” she said.
In face of negativity, Davidson always focuses on positivity.
“There is a lot of negativity, try to focus on the positive,” she said.
The Person of the Year Award annually honors people who make contributions in the greater Lowell community above their regular work.
“It is a huge honor to receive the award,” Davidson said. “It’s all-encompassing. I wouldn’t have received this award, if it weren’t for the help of the people I work with.”
Davidson hopes to continue to do all this and more into the future.
Name: Betsy Davidson
Occupation: Business owner of Addorio Technologies
Education: Central Michigan University
Family: husband Matt
Hobbies & Interests: walking, running, travel and spending time with family
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
February expands new horizons, get the scoop at Emma’s author events & new Cool Vendors Abound blog
Author’s note: These are my thoughts prior to the Feb. 3 book signing of my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories at the award-winning arts gallery in downtown Lowell from 1 to 4 p.m. The gallery presents the Grand Valley Artists-In View show.
LowellArts has received the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce reward for the best non-profit organization for providing more arts programs and services, while positively impacting the downtown businesses.
“Yes, this is a big deal for Lowell,” said Lorain Smalligan, executive director of LowellArts. “There are not many communities the size of Lowell with an arts center like LowellArts.”
I look forward to February for several reasons: I consider February as the month of love, and the Mardi Gras extravaganza. I also squeeze in my annual writer’s retreat in Florida.
In harmony with the universe.
1- January, the longest and coldest month will come to an end tomorrow, but we will also get to see the rare Super Blue Blood Moon for the first time in 150 years. The phenomenon consists of a super moon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse, aka blood moon, all in one. Don’t miss out on Jan. 31.
2- I get to revise if I have stuck to my new year’s resolutions. Let’s look at this one close-up.
Among my many new year’s resolutions was to get in shape; that is physically and mentally. I continue to exercise; 30 minutes of yoga and 30 minutes on the treadmill, plus freestyle weight lifting. I have yet to explore the possibilities of the yoga fitness 75-cm ball.
Mentally: My husband and I have signed up for Spanish classes so we can order lunch in Cuba. We both continue to go on Monday evenings under the tutelage of Mr. Jim Albert. I can now put together an entire sentence in Spanish:
“Yo voy a apprender Espanol.” I am going to learn Spanish.
I meditate with one of the greatest thinkers of this world: Deepak Chopra in his “Making every Moment Matter” meditations.
3- Straighten out or strengthen relationships. Build new DIY sites.
Now, this one is tougher than it looks. I have a lot more work to do, even though I managed to visit my brother Vas in Paris, MI last Sunday. A story “The Trainman” (c) Emma Palova is coming to my new site Cool Vendors Abound.
Restaurant Lorenz, a dream come true for Czech & Slovak couple
After working as a chef at a Viennese restaurant for 30 years, Jan Laurencik opened a restaurant in beautiful Kromeriz with wife Eva on this wintry day at the end of January.
Having a restaurant in Kromeriz has been a lifelong dream for this enterprising couple, Jan & Eva. Jan is from Slovakia, Eva is a lifelong resident of Kromeriz in Czech Republic.
The fusion of the Austrian dishes with Czech is apparent in the entrees such as the featured Old Viennese pork knee on a skewer with red cabbage sauerkraut, hot pepper and bread, served on a plank and accompanied by Bernard beer.
“It is delicious with a well-balanced tangy taste of the sauerkraut,” said Emma Palova. Palova visited Kromeriz and the local restaurants many times. “I love this Moravian specialty. The beer washes down the grease from the knee. It’s finger-licking good.”
The weekly menu features daily specials with soup included and a choice of four entrees ranging in price from 85 kc to 135 kc. KC stands for Czech currency, Czech crowns.
The restaurant/cafe menu is complete with a piece of Vienna; that is the Sachr Torte. The Sachr chocolate cake has been the most famous cake in the world since 1832, and the original recipe remains a well-kept secret.
The featured coffee is the Vienna melange with Mozart’s kugel confection. The large selection of desserts also features traditional Czech “pohar” cup with fruits, whipped cream and ice cream.
And of course the dessert menu would not be complete without the famous apple strudel, home to both Austria and Czech Republic.
Congratulations to my friends Eva Larencikova and her husband Jan to the opening of the Lorenz Restaurant & Kavarna in beautiful Kromeriz, Czech Republic.
Note: Eva and I met on a “Hops” train to Zatec in 1982. We spent three weeks in the Bohemian hops fields picking hops in order to obtain a university credit from the Technical University of Brno. The hops brigade was mandatory under the socialist educational system. Hops in all forms including liquid as in beer, have cemented our lifetime long distance friendship. The pork knee on a plank with beer was our favorite dish during our student years in Brno, because it was good and cheap. The distance across the Atlantic Ocean has changed nothing in our relationship.