In the spirit of Octoberfest

International union in the spirit of Octoberfest

By Emma Palova

Hastings, MI- In the spirit of the original Octoberfest that honored the marriage of crown prince Ludwig and princess of Saxony on Oct. 12, 1810, we invite all along to celebrate our upcoming international union.

Jakub Pala, born in former Czechoslovakia, will be marrying Maranda Ruegsegger of Saranac on Oct. 25th in the pioneer Saint Patrick Church in Parnell.

The guests, like birds, started to fly in to Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids as of yesterday. The first batch came from Dijon, France.

First guests from France
First guests from France

The second batch is arriving tonight from Czech Republic. The house will be full to the rafters with kids tweeting like the birdies on the patio.

To honor the international bond between the countries as well as between the couple, we are putting on a “Welcome dinner” celebration this Sunday. This is preceded by the baptism of Samuel Chavent, also at the Saint Patrick Church.

The dinner, catered by AdelineLeigh, reflects our love for our new homeland. We also wanted to introduce our Czech guests to American cuisine. So, barbeque is the theme: bbq chicken, bbq pork, au gratin potatoes, seven layer salad and baked beans. And of course a keg of Samuel Adams Boston lager.

Hops, Czech liquid gold
Hops, Czech liquid gold

Much like in Germany, home to Octoberfest, and Austria, no Czech celebration would be complete without beer. Most beers in these countries are high-quality and long-aged lagers made from Western Bohemian hops in small to mid-size breweries.

Czech immigrants carried this tradition with them to other countries.

“Beer is the Czech liquid gold,” according to an old saying.

However, communication between the Czech, American and French guests may be a challenge. So, many of us will serve as interpreters between the three different languages.

Pala, fully bilingual, hopes that his daughter Josephine Marie Palova will speak Czech as well.

“He speaks and reads to her in Czech,” said Maranda.

Pala is very proud of his Czech heritage. He came to the USA when he was 2.5 years old. During our stint in Montreal, Canada in the 1990s all of us were trilingual.

“You’re as many persons as the languages you speak,” according to an old Czech saying.

Follow us on our journey to the international wedding.

To be continued

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC


ArtPrize 2014

ArtPrize 2014 brings inspiration to Grand Rapids

By Sarah Harmon

EW Emma’s Writings

EW writer Sarah Harmon hosts exchange students
EW writer Sarah Harmon hosts exchange students

What is art? Whether your preference is for painting, sculpture, photography, or performance, there is no better place in the world to answer that question than Grand Rapids during ArtPrize. For almost three weeks every fall, all of downtown transforms into the world’s biggest, and possibly most eclectic, art museum, and the best part is that seeing the art is completely free. In an age where budget cuts have forced schools to eliminate fine arts programs, it is incredible to watch hundreds of students be exposed to others’ artistic expressions and become inspired to create their own. ArtPrize Education Days offer free workshops where kids meet artists and explore their creative sides. This year, Top 20 artist, Kevin Sudeith, helped them to make prints using paint and paper applied directly to his “Grand River Fish Petroglyph” for one of the classes. He also explained that all of his installations are meant to be permanent, so his creation will be displayed near the river long after the competition ends.

Grand River Petroglyph by Kevin Sudeth
Grand River Petroglyph by Kevin Sudeth


“Reciprocity,” a 3D finalist featured in the Grand Rapids Art Museum, is a sculpture so lifelike, down to the wrinkles and veins in the men’s skin, that you expect them to move at any moment. On the other hand, Time Based finalist Robert Shangle performs as a living sculpture that upon first glance you would never guess wasn’t made of clay. He compared the stamina required for a day as a sculpture to running a marathon. Shangle was looking forward to cutting back on his performance hours when he was pleasantly surprised with being in the top 5.



We tend to forget that much of art has a far deeper purpose than just to be beautiful. It’s there to make us look inside ourselves, to see our own desires and passions reflected through someone else’s mirror, and sometimes to inspire us to create change. “Weave Peace,” outside the Public Museum, asks you to write a hope or a peaceful intention and tie it to the dome to join thousands of others. In stark contrast, “The Scarlet Cord,” near the Gerald R Ford Museum, discusses the horrors of sex trafficking. A related Scarlet Cord piece outside Propaganda Doughnuts encourages you to write a prayer on red ribbon and to exchange it for someone else’s prayer that touches your heart.


With its wide variety of mediums and subject matter, ArtPrize reminds us that anything, from the mundane to the fantastical, can become something beautiful and unique under the guidance of the right artist. Given the opportunity, the right piece of art can even change the world.

Copyright (c) All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC


I do have to borrow this one from my dad Vaclav Konecny.

Just married 36 years ago in Zlin, former Czechoslovakia to Ludek Pala.

I met him in grade school Stipa in 1976. The rest is history.

A selfie from the Old Man River Mississipi
A selfie from the Old Man River Mississipi

New eyes with Dr. Verdier III

The surgery

Note: This is the third part in the mini-series about Emma Palova’s journey from near blindness to new eyes with 20/20 vision. It is a story about cataracts that cause blurred vision.

The second part “The evaluation of cataracts” was published on Sept. 13.

The first part “Eyes set on Dr. Verdier” was published on EW Emma’s Writings on Sept. 6.

 The Verdier Eye Center performs 100 cataract surgeries a week between the five doctors and the two floor levels.

Dr. David Verdier, a recognized eye surgeon
Dr. David Verdier, a recognized eye surgeon

The surgical rooms of East Paris Surgical Center, LLC are located  in the basement of the building at 1000 E. Paris in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There were a lot of people in the waiting room. Some with eye shields awaiting the second eye surgery.

I noticed a painting on the wall of a beautiful dog on a beach. I’ve never had a surgery before, so I didn’t know what to expect.

But, I did have my patient’s handbook.

There was a trio of women loudly chatting.

“How come you put on your make-up when you’re having an eye surgery,” asked a brunette her friend. The handbook specifically instructed not to wear any make-up. Now that was something new for me too; not wearing make-up. The last time I didn’t have make-on in public was probably in sixth grade.

After eye surgery
After eye surgery

“It’s a frivolous surgery,” the woman laughed.

Any surgery is a surgery. My second biggest asset, eyes, were at stake. I was scared.

The stalls in the surgical room were again full of people, either getting prepped for the surgery or recovering.

I got a lot of eye drops that dilated and numbed the right eye. In the meantime, the anesthesia was kicking in. But, I could still hear the anesthesiologist.

“You’re the youngest person here,” he said referring to the cataract that strikes younger people.

“Yes, everything is relative,” I said.

“Well if you live long enough, everyone will eventually get one,” said the anesthesiologist donning a nice plastic cap.

They hauled me away to Dr. David Verdier’s caring hands. The actual surgery took only 15 minutes, but the prep time and recovery totaled three hours.

An incision is made into the eye and the old lens is removed and replaced with a new plastic one. I have an AcrySofIQ lens implant that also corrected my vision, so I don’t have to wear eyeglasses.

I was not completely out during the surgery. I could feel the work on the eye and see yellow circles. After the surgery I got a nutri-bar and cranberry juice. It never tasted better. The patients are required not to eat or drink anything as of midnight before the surgery.

I could immediately see clear on the right eye even through the grid of the eye shield. That was an incredible feeling after two years of blurred vision. At its worst point in mid July, I only went by memory or by touch.

“I am very pleased with how the surgery has turned out,” said Dr. Verdier right after the surgery.

I was ecstatic and went for a check-up the next day, still not being able to drive because of the previous anesthesia.

“You have a 20/20 vision now,” said Dr. Verdier. “It does matter who performs the surgery.”

“I am very grateful to you, doctor,” I said. “You made me a new woman.”

Then, Dr. Verdier explained what he was going to do with the left eye two weeks later.

“I will adjust the left eye so you can read, but you won’t able to see as clear into the distance,” he said. “The two eyes would fight.”

You could see the respect everyone at the center had for Dr. Verdier.

The left eye would be next in two weeks.

To be continued with the “Grand Finale.”

About the featured photo. This is how clearly I see now. The photo is of Fallasburg Covered Bridge by Bruce Doll.

For more information go to: or

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC

Eating Czech

A true Czech fare of breaded chicken, pork or veal for Sunday dinner with potato salad.

Make it beaded fish for Christmas Eve. Watch for a recipe for the potato salad on http:// and on http://

True Czech fare.
True Czech fare.

Art Prize 2014

The Art Prize starts today in Grand Rapids. The painting is by Kacey Cornwell.

It is on display  at the first floor of The Fifth Third Bank in Grand Rapids.

Meet the artist Kacey Cornwell.

The artist Kacey Cornwell
The artist Kacey Cornwell

Receive your daily blog by subscribing to

Art Prize by Kacey Cornwell in copetition now
Art Prize by Kacey Cornwell in copetition now

Follow the EW Emma’s Writings team on

Copyright (c) 2014 Emma Blogs LLC


Healthy Corner

Please welcome columnist Betty Dickinson to the EW team on Emma Blogs LLC.

The book is called ” Creating a Healthy Corner” by columnist Betty Dickinson.


Author of “Creatig a Healthy Corner” becomes a columnist for Emma Blogs LLC

Betty Dickinson of Ionia is a long time columnist of Healthy Corner for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard. Dickinson is now a columnist for Emma Blogs LLC electronic sites.

I hope you will enjoy her column as much as I do. Dickinson is dedicated to healthy organic living. She published her book “Creating a Healthy Corner” seven years ago and she enjoys a great following.

Creating a Healthy Corner


Columnist Betty Dickinson Columnist Betty Dickinson

Betty Dickinson

Due to the response in my weekly column in our local newspaper, the Ionia County Sentinel Standard, and our church newsletter I feel inclined to reach out further to give ways to simple inexpensive and natural ways of healing and caring for ourselves. About 8 years ago I started writing articles and recipes for our church newsletter, in fact, the church secretary at that…

View original post 1,086 more words

EW This site is about Emma's Writings.