Category Archives: writing

Impermanence in Shifting Sands Short Stories with excerpts from book

Storyteller 2017 journey from writer journalist to author

By Emma Palova

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Author’s note:

In the Storyteller 2017 series leading up to the June 30 publication of Shifting Sands Short Stories, I write about the origins of the characters and the stories.

I’ve named my campaign Storyteller 2017 because of the big changes taking place this year. These changes continue to inspire me, along with my passion for history, arts and nature.

I can divide the 13 stories in the book into three circles: The first circle draws on my early years of immigration to North America, and living in between Canada and the USA.

These stories in the first circle include: Danillo, Honey Azrael and the Temptation of Martin Duggan.

The second circle of stories is from the time of assimilation into the American culture. These stories draw on my experience of working in a Midwest retail store. They include: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.

The third circle of stories is from the newspaper business for various media; on staff and freelance. These stories include: Foxy, In the Shadows, Iron Horse, Riddleyville Clowns and Chatamal.

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The characters in the first immigration circle of stories Danillo in the story “Danillo”, Vanessa in “Honey Azrael” and Martin with Ellen in the “Temptation of Martin Duggan” embody impermanence as they struggle under the burden of immigration.

They find themselves in a transient state between their old countries and the new American world. They have trouble adapting to the new culture in everything that surrounds them: food, people, spices and love.

In that aspect, the characters are living in a state of impermanence, and as such are transient for the rest of their lives like  driftwood on the beach.

Also the featured photo of transient dew on grass in the morning.

Transient

They adapt or go back to the old status quo in their homeland. Either way this struggle transforms the transient characters into a new state.

Excerpts from “Danillo”:

He had trouble adapting not only to the winters Up North, an expression Danillo never quite understood, but also to the language. And of course loneliness. He had no friends, except for old Jose on the apple farm.

His family was thousands of miles away. His only connection with the warmth of home was the phone, the letters and memories of the past; the rising and the setting sun on the horizon of the small bay.

Danillo was living between the sunny past and the cold present. Back home by the Sierra Madre, he used to drive to the warm waters of the bay, but here Up North, the waters were cold.

Another cold wave came and washed more sand from under his feet.

About the design of the cover to Shifting Sands Short Stories by Emma Palova:

People have also been asking me about the cover design to the Shifting Sands Short Stories collection.

I used the hour-glass with the shifting sand as an anchor to the cover. The grains of sands make up the characters like the genetic make-up of our DNA. This was inspired by Dali’s fascination with genetic spirals. The grains shift like the destinies of the characters, like the fluid energy of our lives.

Further the  mood/tone of the stories  is expressed in the shade of the hour-glass and the fallen mauve colored petals of a tulip at the base.

Watch for more excerpts from Shifting Sands Short Stories now available for pre-order on Amazon

at

http://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

 

 

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

Why writing is so important?

Writing opens a new  window into the world.

Writing as a form of therapy. Writing is  healing. Once you write on a regular basis, it becomes a part of you and who you are.

You discover and rediscover yourself and your surroundings. You see people that you have known for years through different eyes.

You gain new insight, as you better connect with the world.

The advantage of every day writing is that you get to compare your underlying emotions from one day to the next. You get to monitor them, as they change with every minute.

Writing opens a new window into the world. Yours and mine.

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I firmly believe that if there were more writer’s in the world, there would be less violence.

Follow me on my publishing journey of Shifting Sands Short Stories. The ebook will be released on June 30.

http://wp.me/p5sfOf-3cc

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

Reprieve

There is no Reprieve from writing. Call it passion, obsession or both.

The writing demons in my head woke me up early in the morning, somewhere between the night and the day.

The persistent insomnia caused by the flow of ideas perpetuates itself from day into the night and vice versa. It is a dream come true for any writer; that is fluent writing time without blocks.

It is especially important now as I am moving into the publishing finale of my “Shifting Sands Short Stories.”

It is in this quiet time without outside disturbing energies, that I manage to write the most. Plus, I have the rest of the day to reflect on the morning production to improve it and carry it forward.

Just to illustrate how early this morning’s start was is that when I checked the Daily Post prompt for today @reprieve around 6 or 7 a.m. there were no responses yet. As I write this some five hours later, there were 64 interpretations of the “reprieve” prompt.

I find the reprieve theme very fitting before the Memorial Day long weekend. It will be a good quality time spent grilling, gardening and at my favorite spot on Murray Lake.

On Monday, I like to go to the Memorial Day parade in Lowell to honor the veterans at the Oakwood Cemetery.

Sexton Don DeJong makes the cemetery a place to observe history with his historical cemetery walks. DeJong has compiled the cemetery info into several books over the years. Watch for more stories.

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Boating on Murray Lake in Michigan.

I am grateful for this much-needed time off for all of us to restart again.

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

 

 

A Cinema Masterclass by Clint Eastwood – Festival de Cannes

I love the Cannes Film Festival. I’ve been twice to it, and I am ready to go again as my creative work is moving along.

Hello from my daughter Doc Emma in Cannes 2017.

News from Cannes 2017.

http://m.festival-cannes.com/en/festival/actualites/articles/a-cinema-masterclass-by-clint-eastwood

My new book “Shifting Sands ” Short Stories is coming out on June on Amazon.

It is a collection of short stories from Main Street America and beyond.

Shifting sands cover

You’re welcome to pre-order next week on kindle Amazon.

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

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.

Emma’s name day

Emma’s name day is associated with romance

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Yes, indeed. Today is Emma’s Day, according to the Czech calendar. My mom Ella gave me the name based on a novel she read a long time ago.

The guy in the novel kept writing letters to his love, always starting with:

“Dear Emma, ”

I love you.

Czech name days

Many years later, I would receive letters and postcards from all over the world with that same greeting in Czech:

“Mila Emmo,”

“How are you?” mom always wrote.

I loved the name so much that I gave it to our daughter who is now Doc Emma. Emma permanently lives in romantic Burgundy, France. The romantic name originates in France.

Today is also Emma’s birthday. Every year, she has a double celebration. Happy birthday and name day, dear Emma.

My lifelong friend Eva of Kromeriz loved the name too, and she named her daughter Emma.

When I moved to America,  and started going to St. Pat’s Church in Parnell, I came across another Emma, who sings in the choir, and she also has a matching great last name Darling.

And until this year, Emma was the top name for girls around the world.

And how about poet Emma Lazarus, Emma Watson and Emma Stone?

“We’re losing the first place now,” singer Emma informed me earlier in the year.

Both my husband and son wished me a happy Emma’s Day, earlier in the day. I usually get early spring flowers. This year, I got a purple primrose.

In the Czech calendar, names are attributed to each date. And people celebrate their name days much like birthdays, with family and friends. They get gifts, and a cake.

Due to the recent influx of new names, some dates in the Czech calendar double or triple up on names.

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Sweet gingerbread wishes

I’ve always wondered why Hallmark never really picked up on these charming name days, other than Saint Pat’s.

Name days are often based on the names of saints. For example Saint Terese Day is on Oct. 15 and Saint Mary is on Sept. 9. The wildly popular name day Catherine falls on Nov.25. Saint Martin is on Nov. 11. Saint Joseph/Saint Josephine falls on March 19.

Mom Ella’s name day falls on Oct. 5. Her real name is Eliska. She has always hated that name, so she changed Eliska to Ella. It is pretty much the same name.

Mom Ella just called me from Venice, Florida as I was writing this post. They’re getting ready with my dad Vaclav to head back up North to Michigan.

“See I gave you inspiration with that name,” she laughed.

“Thank you, mom for the lovely name.”

In many villages in Czech Republic, the Saint Days are big parish and community feasts. People bake for these feasts, butcher a pig, go dancing, and some dress up in traditional costumes. Rides come into towns.
Follow me into Easter traditions in Czech and Slovak republics.

Which traditions do you celebrate, how and why?

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

Breakthrough a denial

An outlier’s breakthrough a denial

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI -I am working on a big project through May. That is transferring my short stories from more than two decades to digital platforms , because I cannot stand unfinished things. I am doing this because I also think I might drop dead, before the short stories see the light of the world.

I’ve been lying to myself that I cannot get my fiction published because I don’t have the time and I have to make money, and more lies. Then, finally my eyes and heart opened, along with other denials about breaking stereotypes and much more.

The good old “what if it is not good enough” question kept resurfacing.

“Good enough for what?” I ask.

“Of course I can get these published,” I realized. “Now, is the best time ever with everything going digital.

“The world is changing and I have to change with it.”

“But, wait a minute,” I say, “I have been changing, only in a different way beyond the known margins.”

“Hey!Isn’t that part of the definition of an “outlier?”

The “outlier” word sounds so ugly. I admit, I had to look it up.

And of course the search rendered among others, on Amazon Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success.”

What the heck, now I got to buy Malcolm’s book. And I finally caught myself in action. Wait a minute, Palova. Stop. That is how you constantly get sidetracked from your goals; searching for more information.

“Get back on track, woman.”

“Thank you, my inner voice.”

I just got trapped in a labyrinth of other people’s thoughts and actions, much like the heroes of my short stories in “Glass Flowers” get entangled in a web of doing other things; like marketing, promoting and enterprising.

By getting the scripts on digital platforms, I will finally break the deadly cycle of denial that I cannot get my fiction published.

Have I lived like an Emu with my head in the sand or an “outlier?”

This was written in response to the Daily Post prompts @Denial and @Outlier, as well as an inspiration to the daily Taurus horoscope.

Outlier

Denial

Source: Taurus Horoscope for Today

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

Stormed out

Mother Nature shows her way leaving devastation behind

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Hastings, MI- As I drove north to Lowell through the Barry County farmlands on Wednesday, 54-mile wind gusts were throwing the small orange Dart across the country road. Broken limbs and twigs were hitting the dancing car in the wind.

The forecast didn’t sound as bad as it was, otherwise I would have stayed at the “Pala fortress” near the Yankee Springs Recreation Area.

We stationed ourselves at the “fortress” for a week-long stint last Saturday to watch the grand kids. Our son Jake with wife Maranda took off to Bali, Indonesia to celebrate his 30th birthday.

Early spring storms in the Midwest on the Great Lakes can be vicious with freezing rain and power outages lasting for days. These however make for beautiful waves and vistas on the nearby Lake Michigan.

Above photos of the March 8th storm damage in the Lowell area are by Amanda Schrauben of Lowell.

The featured photo by Bob Walma shows waves sweeping over the Grand Haven lighthouse on Wednesday. The pier and the boardwalk were completely covered by water all day, according to friends living in Grand Haven.

Right off the bat near Hastings, the traffic lights swaying in the wind went out. I was holding on tight to the steering wheel to keep the car on the road.

When I got out of the car at a gas station on the I-96 freeway, I almost got swept away. The wind picked up grains of sand and whipped them into my face.

The weekly meeting was cancelled due to power outage, and I couldn’t get to my home base Lowell office because a tree had fallen into the roadway.

“The office is closed, they have no power,” a friend hollered into the wind.

Neighbor Catherine had already reported a power outage on Tuesday, with the new one on its way. To make things worse, the forecast called for more freezing temperatures overnight, and we did not have the house in Lowell wintered for another freezing spell.

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Hastings Public Library

I finished the International Women’s Day post “Be Bold for Change” at the Lowell KDL library yesterday, one of few places left in the area that still had the Internet.

I drove back to Hastings in worsening conditions, wondering if I should turn back, but I had nowhere to go, since the power was out at the Lowell home as well.

Some roads were completely blocked with trees in the way. When I finally got to the “fortress”, I couldn’t open the garage door, so I knew the power was out here as well, some 50 miles down south from home.

Moreover, the Consumers predicted that the power in both places, at the Hastings fortress and at the Lowell home, would be out until Saturday.

“I got to go back to Lowell to get the generator,” husband Ludek snapped angrily at me, because our lines of communication went bad, and we missed each other’s calls.

“Why doesn’t Jake have a generator here in this Hicksville, anyways?”

Probably for the same reason we didn’t have one for 10 years at the Lowell home, until the April freezing rain in 2002 knocked out the power for five days. That year, we almost froze to death.

Back in Lowell on Downes Road, Ludek and other neighbors couldn’t get to the houses because of fallen wires across the roads, and a fire truck blocking the way.

Ludek pioneered the way to the houses using the neighbor’s backyards, in spite of complaints.

“Hey, you can’t walk across that wire,” yelled a firefighter at this relentless man.

Swearing, Ludek loaded the generator, let the water out of the pipes, and headed back to Hastings.

Meanwhile, the kids and I were eating cold meatloaf with mashed potatoes just as the lights went back on.

“Why did they say the power wasn’t going to be up until Saturday?” Ludek continued to swear at Consumers as he made his grand entrance.

“You live in the boondocks,” I said. “You gotta have a generator.”

Luckily, we made it out alive and with roofs over our heads at both places, cars and garages intact. Ludek reported a semi-truck knocked on the side by the Caledonia exit off the I-96 freeway.

This morning at the Hastings Library, I went through the Facebook reports from friends in Lowell.

“I am cold,” neighbor Catherine wrote. “No power until Saturday, please don’t let that be true.”

The local Meijer store had no electricity but stayed open. There were even waves on the tiny Stoney Lake.

The wind gusts uprooted trees, knocked down roofs, sidings, glass doors and created havoc across Michigan. Close to 600, 000 people were left without power.

“Thousands of people are without power,” said the Consumers recorded message last night. “We have no more restoration information.”

It was one of the biggest storms in the last 25 years, according to meteorologists.

There are several upsides to this windstorm of 2017, such as that I get to know my local libraries.

Yes, kids. March is the reading month. And libraries are very cool. Visit them always, not just during storms. They are here for us to embrace for work and for fun.

Thank you Hastings and Lowell libraries for staying open.

 

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

An Australian discovery

Enlightened by discovery

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- In light of the March 1, “Big Birthdays” post, I find this, “When I am 64,” by  Debra Kolkka of Brisbane, Australia post very enlightening.

And I discovered that the story behind the “Bagni di Lucca and Beyond” blog is even more inspiring. Two friends, Debra and Liz, who live in Brisbane, Australia, started blogging about their houses in Italy to inform tourists.

Much like for the rest of us, Deb’s and Liz’s blog has grown into a passion building upon their colorful careers in fashion and retail.

Watch for a story on blog discoveries around the world. Visit with Debra and Liz in Brisbane for cosmopolitan inspiration.

 

 

64 once seemed so old, but not now…

via When I’m 64 — Bagni di Lucca and Beyond

Mardi Gras

Grease up for Fat Tuesday

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- We’re heading into the Mardi Gras weekend with Fat Tuesday coming up on Feb. 28, which is better late than never.

“Everything is going to be late and screwed up,” said my forever pessimistic husband Ludek.

He was most likely referring to the late onset of the much coveted gardening and yard season in Midwest USA.

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Fasching Fenn Valley winery 1998

The Lenten resolutions, fasting and such

Tuesday is the last day when you can be a glutton, which is one of the seven deadly sins, as I have learned in a recent therapeutic meeting and from Brad Pitt’s movie, “Se7en.” That is if you are a catholic. And even if you are not, the start of Lent on March 1st, known as Ash Wednesday, can become your six-week diet program, depending on the interpretation of Lent.

That way,  you can fit into that nice spring white or green Easter dress.

The newspaper take on Lent, what do you give up?

“What are you going to give up for Lent?” was the standby question  at the newspapers  and out on the streets with the feature, “Man on the Street” before the multi-media journalism take-over.

Whoever was assigned to do this, would usually stand by the US Post Office to catch innocent users and fry them with the question of the week, and a mandatory head shot.

“Oh, I hate my photo taken,” was the common reply, and after a while. “Oh,oh. I usually give up coffee.”

And that was a standard lie, one of the seven deadly sins.

The social media have made this obnoxious “Man on the Street” feature obsolete, and substituted it with voluntary selfies and profile pics. Now, you can freely render your opinion on any platform from twitter to reddit, all the way to the new planetary system of Trappist 1.

“Hey, I love Mardi Gras, I can finally be myself,” posted XOXOX with the profile pic of  a cat.

At one point, I modified the newspaper question along with some other fine writers to, “What are we going to take on that we haven’t done before?”

The Paczki take on Mardi Gras

My American outtake on Mardi Gras is that I go either to the local Meijer store or to the Honey Creek Grist Mill and buy me some greasy Paczki (Polish donuts) and forget about all my diets and resolutions.

I could also go to the Franciscan Sisters Life Process Center and learn how to bake the paczkis, in case I  want to impress.

ew-paczki

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/paczki-class-tickets-31287749501#

What I would really like to do is go to a true Fashing Karnival without having to go to Germany or to Brazil for Mardi Gras drag queens.

Mardi Gras in Lowell, ha,ha,ha

Years ago, my Lowell Ledger editor Jeanne B. laughed at me, when I asked if Lowell was doing anything for Mardi Gras.

“Are you crazy?” she laughed. “Go and ask Liz.”

Liz is the ever populist Lowell chamber director and she can be a lot of fun. Just ask the merchants during the annual Girls Night Out (GNO) events in the spring and fall. But, no fun for Mardi Gras.

“Are you out of your mind, here in Lowell?” Liz gasped for some fresh air.

Well, the Fenn Valley winery of German origin didn’t seem to think that putting on a Fashink Karnival was all that crazy. Although, they  did it only twice, and something probably happened in between.

Fenn Valley winery Fashink 1998

Ludek and I were lucky enough to hit the Fasching Karnival at Fenn Valley in 1998. That was the year when the movie Titanic directed by James Cameron was bigger than the sunken ship itself in 1912.

Check out the 2014 story when Ludek and I dressed up for the only Fasching Karnival we’ve attended so far. We dressed up as Chicagoland gangsters, only to run into more like us at the winery party.

We just didn’t have the violin case. Next time. We’re still looking for a great Mardi Gras aka Carnival or Fasching party, that is something before Halloween.

Halloween seems to consume Mardi Gras masks and costumes for whatever reason.

Go figure.

https://emmapalova.com/2014/03/04/lenten-traditions-mardi-gras/

Mardi Gras crafts DIY

Celebrate Mardi Gras and DIY Mardi Gras Coin Topiaries

The big carnivals that I would like to go to:

Brazilian Carnival

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Carnival

Carnival of Venice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_of_Venice

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