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Born on Victory Day, May 9th

Born on Czech national holiday Victory Day

A lifestyle of a writer and a history lover

Lifestyle

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I was born with history in my blood in the wee hours on Victory Day, May 9th to the cracking of the fireworks and the fragrance of the blossoming lilacs.

Before the semantics & politics of the new regime, May 9th was the national holiday in my homeland of Czech Republic.

Every year, on this day, my mother Ella lovingly says this sentence:

“I thought they were bombing, but the country was celebrating your birthday. The entire earth blossoms for you.”

me Manistee (2)
Emma in Manistee National Forest north of Baldwin, morel hunting on May 6.

Now, my mom Ella is not exactly the most humble person. She loves to show off. She takes that after Grandpa Joseph of Vizovice.

Annually, the country celebrates the anniversary of its freedom from the Nazi occupation in 1945. The holiday has been moved to May 8th based on the age-old dispute, “Who was first, the chicken or the egg?” That is the dispute over which army freed former Czechoslovakia first.

Was it the Soviet or the American army?

The Soviets freed the capital Prague on May 9th, while the Americans freed Plzen in West Bohemia on May 8th. Maybe, the switch was due to the fact that Plzen is home to the famous brewery, Pilsner.

The country boasts its love for beer, and often takes first place in consumption between the top beer consuming trio of Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

However, in our immigration hearts, the holiday will always be on May 9th, even though we love Czech Pilsner.

So, by default, the love for history has been circulating in my blood from the first day of birth.

Our immigration Konecny saga started with the infamous occupation of the country by the Soviets in the Prague Spring of 1968. The era of hardline communism ensued after the invasion for decades to come under President Gustav Husak.

I am also the child of the 1989 Velvet Revolution led by  my hero, late president Vaclav Havel who was part of the Prague Spring 1968 reformation movement.

ew-havel

I can trace the origins of my writing to that tumultuous time in our lives.

And I write about this in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian, where East meets West.” Copyright © 2017. Emma Palova

My paternal grandpa Antonin was the keeper of the “Chronicles of the Stipa JZD” which was the Stipa Agricultural Cooperative, while my late Aunt Martha secretly worked on the Konecny family genealogy. My grandma Anezka was a first grade teacher at ZDS Stipa and a poet.

“You can’t deny genes,” said Martha’s colleague Mrs. Fickova at the funeral wake on Jan. 11th held at the Stipa Senk.

After Aunt Martha’s death on January 7th, 2017, I started the Facebook page Ancestry Konecny on:

https://www.facebook.com/Ancestry-Konecny-1715844132078471/

The page is also a resource for others who want to conduct genealogy research.

Based on a ZDS reunion in 2015, that we couldn’t attend, I started the Alumni ZDS Stipa page on:

https://www.facebook.com/zdsstipa/

As an author, writer, journalist and photographer, I keep track of happenings on daily basis in my physical and digital diaries. I also do that for other people on the WordPress portfolio.

My May 9th morning  started with Google Doodle wishing a happy birthday.

http://www.onthisday.com/events/may/9

https://g.co/kgs/apAhlt

Now, that’s a first for this year 2017.

Every morning before I start writing, I check social media for inspiration and to get a feeling for the day.

I made me a cup of French Roast coffee and smelled the bouquet of lilacs from our gardens on the ranch. It took 20 years for the fragrant shrubs to come to their full beauty. Not quite like the historical ones on my beloved Mackinac Island, but they’re getting there.

Yesterday, my husband Ludek and I feared for the budding wisteria because of the early morning frost. We had to put out the fan to keep the wisteria, sprawling on the octagon pergola, warm.

Then, as always I gather my thoughts based on analyzing the previous day, and what I have learned from it, that is worth bringing into the future. I always remember the socialist propaganda, “Tomorrow is already yesterday.”

I pinned to the top, “Spring into the Past” museum tour 2017 organized by the Tri-River Historical Museum Network on the new museum page.

I also made sure that the 23rd annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour in Fallasburg is correctly dated for Sunday July 9th.

I looked in the mirror, after finishing most of this post, and I realized I am very fortunate, and that any victory comes at a price. I’ve come to that conclusion not from the image that I see, but by the person I reflect in my writings.

I have a head full of graying hair, a happy smile on my face, a caring husband and family, hundreds of fans and well-wishers from all over the world, and the determination of a Taurus.

My short story collection “Shifting Sands” is ready for June 1st publication on kindle and Amazon.

And speaking about karma or karmic energy.

My friends from the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) Tina Siciliano Cadwallader and Tracy Worthington are planning a book signing event for the “Shifting Sands” fiction short story collection at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum on June 25th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Shifting sands cover

I’ve just found out that mom Ella is going to bake a cake for the book signing. And I have received tulips and irises from Doc Em, based in Fixin, France, and a video from Josephine & Dominik Pala of Hastings.

Life is good. As Doc Em says:

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

Everyone is invited to Fallasburg on June 25. Come and enjoy the beautiful Fallasburg Park, the pioneer village, the history and mom’s cake.

With this post, I would like to thank everyone for all the support over the years, especially my neighbor Catherine. Because only Catherine knows who I really am.

“You make me who I am.”

Love always,

Emma

Lowell, May 9th 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Installing water filters in Haiti

Inspiring communities

Note: This is the first installment in the Inspiring Communities series featuring men and women who inspire us in our communities to help other people achieve well-being in a money-driven world. Nominate a person who has inspired you.

Arctic Heating & Cooling owner Evert Bek

Local businessman helps install water filters on Haiti, where water is the
Elixir of life

By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- At the best, a running water system on the forgotten island of La Gonave off Haiti consists of a cistern tipped upside down with a hose that leads through the window inside a hut.


However, most often you will see a container full of dirty rain water known as the municipal well. The villagers haul water in buckets on donkeys or on their heads.
Usually when tested, the water is full of coliform bacteria, which causes cholera, according to Lowell resident and business owner Evert Bek.
Bek was part of a team that installed water filters in Haiti at the beginning of March. The project was spearheaded by the Lowell Rotary Club.
“There is no running water on the island,” said Evert. “There is no electricity, no bathrooms, people live in huts. They use rainwater collected in cisterns.”
The team installed 80 water filters which are cones filled with sand and stones from the local sources. Each dwelling paid 35 cents per water filter.
It takes 10 gallons of water to get the filters started before using as safe water supply, according to Bek.


Bek was astonished at the living conditions on Haiti, located only 709 miles from Miami. Most recently, Haiti was hit by hurricane Matthew on Oct. 4, 2016, and the country still suffers in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2010.
A typical dwelling is made of cement, it has a dirt floor, one room. And it accommodates anywhere from two to 10 people.
During the week-long stay, Evert said, he only saw meals cooking outside twice.
“One day we had beans and rice, the next day we had rice and beans,” he said. “The laundry is done outside by hand.”
Usually, the huts are scattered all around with a church as the center point. The team stayed in the village of Pikmi.
“We had to have a translator,” said Bek.
The island, which has no industry, was conquered by the French in the 1600s. The official language is Creole, which is a French African dialect.Their guide and translator was a self-taught man, who called himself Day Day. People use small motorcycles as transportation, but they mainly walk. It is not uncommon to see three to four people riding a motorcycle.Old pick-up trucks are left wherever, when they stop working.
The land is just clay and rock, because the top soil eroded as the forests were harvested unlike in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
“The island sits on a bare rock,” said Evert.
Approximately 100,000 people live on 287 square miles.
Weekly, there is a village market, where animals are traded. Charcoal on the island is used as a cooking fuel. However, there are no tools to fix anything.
In contrast to the overall living conditions, the population wears discarded t-shirts bearing losing sports teams’ logos, peddled by different organizations from the USA.
Kids and adults walk around with non-working phones.
“It’s a status symbol,” said Evert. “There is a lot of corruption in the country, you got to be ready to get your valet out to get anything done.”
Churches have done a lot of work on the island in schools and education. Kids go to schools in uniforms, and there are orphanages in good condition.
According to Evert, the big unknown remains the economy on the island even once the water problem is solved.
“You have water and then what?” he said.
There are a lot of unfinished houses on the island due to lack of materials and finances, and corruption.
A typical banker sits outside with a duffle bag of money on the corner of gravel streets. He holds dollars in one hand and Haitian Gourdes in the other hand.
If you go into a “store,” you will not get any change back.
“I learned the hard way,” laughed Bek.
The team stayed in a guest house with water and kitchen, leased through an organization based in Saranac.
“I like to help out,” he said. “Be grateful for what you have.”

Featured photo is of a Wednesday market on the Haitian island of La Gonave.

If you want to help contact your local organizations. This water filter installing project was through the Lowell Rotary club at http://www.lowellrotary.og

This post was also written as a response to the Daily Post prompt @elixir
Elixir

For more info on Haiti go to: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

END

Rhythmic fears of violence

In the rhythm of anger, fear, terror and violence

 Note: The “Greenwich Meridian” © 2017 Emma Palova memoir is an evolving novel covering our immigration saga spanning three generations that started with the Russian invasion of former Czechoslovakia in 1968 up to date.

I also wrote this in response to the Daily Post prompt @rhythmic, as violence overshadows joy

Rhythmic

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- It’s 5:53 a.m. EST on a regular Thursday morning. Husband Ludek just left for work coughing, and I am recovering from a bout of cold that kept me inside yesterday. It’s still dark outside, and I light some candles, so I can meditate before writing with a cup of coffee, and a cup of nettle tea.

But, something else kept me indoors yesterday, as well as in my own shell. I was dealing with a red fury, called anger that topped off with an apple that my husband didn’t take to work with him. I always get an apple ready for him thinking about his health in the morning.

Michigan Lighthouseswpid-mntsdcardDCIMCamera2013-06-26-21.10.27.jpg.jpg
Rhythmic changes of nature withour our contribution, a sunset in South Haven, Michigan.

When the apple was still there yesterday, I thought he was angry at me.

I felt the anger building up in me since Monday, as I watched the disturbing evening NBC newscast on “Tonight at 7.”

“I’ll never forget this one,” I said disgusted to Ludek. “I won’t sleep again.”

It was a slew of everything from my 1970s teen idol David Cassidy’s announcement of dementia, to the one year anniversary of the Uber shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that left six dead and two wounded.

“We don’t want Kalamazoo to be remembered for this,” said the speaker at the Monday night vigil held at the K-Wings Stadium teary eyed.

The newscast showed Laurie Smith, wife and a mother, who’s loved ones where shot on that dreadful night at a car dealership, shopping for a truck. The daughter was supposed to go too. She didn’t. That saved her life.

Laurie held little urns with ashes as dreadful charms tied to a necklace in her fingers, crying.

“I carry their ashes around my neck,” she sobbed.

How can you not remember this? I would have to be a piece of stone.

20170223_051020.jpg
All the colored beads representing different emotions.

Kalamazoo is home to one of the best universities in the country, the Western University Michigan (WMU). Other than being the home of the Broncos, it is the alma mater of many and an intellectual oasis in Midwest America.

My son Jake went to Western. He graduated in winter of 2010 in an auditorium decked out with red and white Poinsettia plants in pots with glittery wrap around Christmas time.

Surreal.

Early on when we settled down in the Grand Rapids area in the 1990s, I took online classes in psychology from WMU. I love the entire university environment along with the culture, the libraries, the ethnic restaurants, the university cafeterias and the sports. My parents worked at Ferris State University in Big Rapids until retirement in the 2000s. I studied at the Technical University of Brno, my dauther Doc Em studied at Charles University in Prague.

We have university blood circling in our veins.

I celebrated one of my birthdays at the WMU Performance Arts Center with the longest standing performance of all times, the “Phantom of the Opera” in 2007.

“Can you imagine those actors doing it over and over again?” said my friend Sue, when I complained to her that every day at the newspaper office was the same.

Many years later, as I think about all these moments, like grains of sand, sifting through time in an hour glass. The little sand grains that represent anger, fear, terror, joy, love and hope in a cyclical rhythm.

Grains of time sift through the hour glass rhythmically. To the right: my parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny with grandpa Joseph Drabek in 1987 during grandpa’s only visit to the USA.

Below is a photo essay representing the victory of joy & hope over rhythmic violence: left 1001 Days of Blogging Annie Conboy of UK who blogs for the future of her daughter Erin. Right top: son Jake Pala who teaches Josephine Marie Palova, 3, the Czech language to preserve our origins. Below right in the small frame, French granddaughter Ella, 6, on summer break in Parnell to learn English. Pictured in the bottom frame is Mrs. Irma Richmond, teacher from the one-room schoolhouse at Fallasburg in the 1960s. Today, kids from Murray Lake Elementary and on the http://www.fallasburgtoday.org come to visit the school thanks to the advancement of technology. Mrs. Richmond says hi to all. 

Follow Mrs. Richmond’s and Annie’s stories into the future.

https://wordpress.com/post/fallasburgtoday.org/1397
 

Before that lovely opera performance, we enjoyed a  meal at Rasa Ria, a Malaysian restaurant with my parents Ella and Vaclav in downtown Kazoo.

It was one of my best birthday celebrations, ever. And it was in Kalamazoo, in the university city of intellect and terror.

And now this additional piece of terror, that will always stay in our minds, and in those charms with ashes around Laurie’s neck.

I can still recall the actual coverage of the Uber shooting one year ago, when the police contained the rampage in 4 hours and 42 minutes. The footage showed cars chasing the suspect, finding the victims at innocent places like Cracker Barrel and at the Seeley dealership in Kalamazoo.

“Why did he do it?” Ludek kept asking me.

The news report mentioned that the Uber driver said that the devil told him which people to shoot through the phone app.

“Crazy?” I ask.

One year later, crime perpetrator, Jason Brian Dalton, 45, still hasn’t been convicted. A hearing is set for March 9. If convicted, he faces a life in jail, according to news reports.

As I watched the vigil for the victims, my memory flashed back to a trip to France in 2016 with our granddaughter Ella. We were waiting for a Uber driver to take us from Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Airport to Gare du Nord train station in Paris.

“Emma, are you sure this is safe, you know about that shooting in Kalamazoo?” I asked my liberal daughter Doc Emma, who permanently resides in the wine village of Fixin, in Burgundy France.

“Oh, it can’t happen here,” she said, “only in America.”

“Really?” I asked.

I thought about all the violence of the past two years in France as it flashed through my mind; from attacks in Paris, Nice and Belgium.

Now, back again to the current reality as of Feb. 23, 2017. The two Uber shooting survivors, Addie Kopf, 15, and Tiana Carruthers, 26, continue to fight forward.

After undergoing several surgeries, Kopf has difficulty speaking and remembering, in spite of overall improvements. Carruthers, who shielded children from the gunfire, is now walking without a cane, according to news reports.

I glanced at the comments following some of the broadcasts of the one-year anniversary of the Uber shooting that occurred in Kalamazoo on Feb. 20, 2016.

robandhan1 day ago

Huh…  another white guy with a gun…

jime4441 day ago

@robandhan and how many die in chicongo each day?  not many white people, either………libturd.

charlie251 day ago

Does anyone remember this??? There have been so many weirdos killing people in the past year to remember this one. 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Some useful links:

1001 Days of Blogging by Annie Conboy

https://emmapalova.com/2016/12/15/1001-days-of-blogging/

Recent news Uber shooting one-year anniversary coverage on Wood TV 8 and other regional channels.

http://www.wxyz.com/news/kalamazoo-shooting-rampage-victims-to-be-honored-one-year-later

Have we grown cynical to people suffering around us? Have we grown used to anger, terror and violence as a rhythm of life?

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Writer’s love picks for February

February drives creative work to fruition

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

There is something about the month of February, you can call it atmospheric . I was thinking that even before I heard that at a therapeutic meeting earlier this week.

Maybe it’s the overall ambience of the month in between the deep freeze of January and the much coveted  arrival of spring in March. If I were to pin the season to the catholic calendar, it is usually the purple time of Lent, except for this year since Lent arrives late with Ash Wednesday falling on March 1.

“Everything is going to be late this year,” my husband Ludek, a chronic complainer, said. “We’re going to have a late Easter.”

No kidding, the Easter Sunday falls on April 16 this year. But, the good news is, the trees here Up North in Michigan will have leaves, and maybe even early blossoms and spring flowers.

We had rain on Tuesday, grayish nothing on Wednesday, a deep freeze on Thursday along with a creepy full moon, and now we are recovering from 20 plus minus degree temperature swings as the work week finally wraps up.

My body” loves” these roller coaster temperatures, and my mind and mood swing accordingly with them.

With the sunshine on Monday, I was at a reasonable high as I met with friends at the “Gathering Place” to discuss progress in our common therapy.

“You know, this really works, let’s do it next Monday again,” T. G. as always was very encouraging.

“I have a lot more stories to tell,” said our new buddy Wendy.

And the mid-week meeting somewhere in the woods next to the old stage-coach road was also a success, all things considered.

I do feel grateful for this overall February gap in between the novelty of the new year 2017 and the onset of spring. This February gap finally allowed me to fill the empty spaces on my huge 17-months desktop calendar with my creative work.

Along with Ludek, we made an executive decision that I will self-publish my collection of short stories “Glass Flowers” Copyright (c)2017 Emma Palova. On Thursday, I started pulling the collection of 20-some short stories together after literally years of searching the publishing “maze.”

That search included everything from participating in Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contests, submitting my short stories to literary magazines, of which, many no longer exist, submitting manuscripts to Writer’s Conferences and of course looking for an agent.

This all-inclusive escapade involved interviews with sales people from several publishing houses that have gone the self-publishing route as well.

“You know Amazon is moving quite fast on this,” said the sales person from Author’s Publish. “We’re keeping an eye on them.”

“Thank you Mr. E. for the tip,” I concluded a series of several hour-long phone interviews after my ear almost fell off. I decided to join the self-publishing mainstream.

Stay tuned for more of my “Publishing Escapades.” Have a great weekend, and a great February. Don’t forget it’s the month of the heart and love. Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Also some neat events this weekend include:

“Champagne and chocolates” at the Flat River Gallery in downtown Lowell this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more info go to http://www.flatrivergalleryandframing.com

Screening of the “Interlude” at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts  in Grand Rapids.

http://www.uica.org

Love always,

Emma

This post is also in response to the Daily Post prompt @Ambience

Ambience

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Out of the Woods

A poet’s way

img_20170202_150222.jpg

This poem is in response to the Daily Post prompt @clean
Clean

“Out of the Woods”

By Tubie Gilmore

I see a pleasant path, and I begin to ramble

On either side are thorns and rocks

The ground is full of brambles…..

Fallen trees to trip me, the woods are very dark…

But around the corner, and down the path,

I think I can see a park.

I think I’ll walk on the path today, the woods are too scary…

The path is my way,

It has a few hills as I walk toward the park,

But the sun is shining, I am not in the dark……

To get out of the woods

Is simple to do…

Just stay on the path,

And we’ll all walk with you!

Note: The poem was inspired by a therapeutic session with theme “Are we out of the woods” in the “ABC Rooms” held on Feb. 1, 2017.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.