Couples take to the ice to celebrate spring in Pure Michigan
A couple this last Wednesday took to the ice to drill a hole and do some ice fishing for bluegills on Murray Lake in Grattan and Vergennes townships. They joined other brave souls on ice in 20-degree temperatures on March 26. I call this a true passion as the nearby fowl bathing in poodles on the lake watched them. Other than ice shanties, a dude was there on a snowmobile.
Most people stop and load up on goodies at the Parnell Grocery on Five Mile Road.
This has been the roughest winter since 1950s. Why not make the best of it?
Within a week I have been able to capture sunsets both in Michigan and Florida. Enjoy.
Any new person who follows me on my 150th post will get a $25 certificate for Steak & Shake.
LOWELL, MI- Always held on the fourth weekend in March, the annual Lowell Expo sponsored by the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce has become a community perennial over the years.
It is also the only community event when chamber director Liz Baker wishes for bad weather.
“We want people to come inside and visit,” said Baker.
This year’s 18th Expo was well attended with more than 150 vendor booths. The event was complete with local entertainment by the Lowell Area Schools groups and by bluegrass band of the WMBA Eazy Idle led by Dave Simmonds.
These included newcomers: the Red Barn Market from Vergennes Township with owner Barbara Roth and River Edge Bed & Breakfast and Gathering Place with owners Brenda and Bill Schreur, as well as the Candlestone Resort of Belding.
Follow EW journal for stories on the above mentioned businesses.
There were signature mainstays of the event like the Lowell City Directory represented by Cathy Acker at the entrance, the Lowell Area Farmer’s Market with Dave & Betty Deans and Lowell Arts with director Lorain Smalligan. The farmer’s market this year opens on June 12th in front of the Tractor Supply Co.
Ada Lowell 5 were also represented by Amy Petersen.
The city of Lowell had on display Riverwalk Stage and Showboat Plans as part of the future masterplan.
The Expo serves as a great platform for new organizations such as the Rebuild Whites Covered Bridge group led by Christine Baird and Keith Salter.
The group hopes to raise $300,000 for a new replica of the Whites Bridge that burnt on July 6th of last year. They are selling memory bricks for Memory Lane, and beautification project at the bridge. Join their facebook group: Supporters for Whites Bridge. Whites Bridge Benefit will be held on June 7 at the Qua-Ke-Zik Sportsman’s Club on Riverside Drive.
The Lowell Area Schools Food service offered a complete menu along with vendors’ samplings by Litehouse, Frozen Creek Floral & Farm.
Hubbert’s Kettle Corn had fresh kettle corn samples in front of the Lowell High School.
For upcoming fundraisers for the Whites Bridge replica check the local & events page on EW Emma’s Writings journal.
Venice, FL– As of yesterday I started feeling like a true Floridian with salt, sand & sun in my hair and skin. I celebrated two major name days St. Pat’s & St. Jo’s in Venice. I experienced the sunset and the full moon at the same time on the beach, beautiful weather and a tropical storm. I spotted young dolphins jumping high in the air as I was swimming along their side in the Gulf, and a stingray flopping by my feet. I went shelling and found precious concha shells and amazing beach formations.
I found my favorite spot on the beach by the two tall pines. I have my Venetian favorites: seafood dish Gulf Mix at Sharky’s, seaside drink and dessert, blue Bait Bucket Margarita and Key Lime Pie, my favorite yoga instructor Elin, downtown coffee shop Coffee & Wine, downtown shops boutique Seaside Chic and Fifi’s, bookstore Goodwill on Tamiami Trail, print publications magazine Venice Gulf Coast Living and newspaper Venice Gondolier. I have one last thing left to do. That is finding a shark’s tooth today. Today is my last full day in paradise.
If it was your last day in paradise what would you do?
Copyright (c) 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova
Participate in the survey on Your last day in paradise. What would you do?
Dali entrances in St. Petersburg’s enigmatic museum
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
St. Petersburg, March 12- On a misty Wednesday morning, we headed out from our base camp in Venice southwest Florida north on I-275 to St. Petersburg on Tampa Bay. Mom Ella feared crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge perched into the sky high above the bay.
The winds were only 25 mph, nothing to fear. The bridge closes to traffic when winds are over 45 mph.
St. Petersburg greeted us with a mix of sunshine and tropical rain like spring in the North. We parked on Beach Drive near the other big arts venue, the Museum of Fine Arts, ( MFA) in this fashionable city.
Since, it was lunch time, we walked the Beach Drive in search of the perfect joint.
We found one at Parkshore Grill. But, along the way, I peeked into some fashionable boutiques like Bella Moda.
The Parkshore reminded me of the decadent cafes in Prague and Brno, always full with old ladies drinking coffee. We sat next to a round table taken by a group of dames wearing print blouses.
Overall, the place buzzed with conversation and carefree laughter.
Our waiter Dakota fit the bill. He was entertaining and multilingual. We ordered small plates for $16 which consisted of Caesar salad, jumbo sautéed shrimp with angel hair pasta and a mini dessert.
In the tropics, no lunch is complete without a cocktail. The Pisco Margarita with reposado tequila and aloe nectar was smooth like the day. I watched the tropical rain whip the sidewalk with café umbrellas.
Après lunch, we cruised down First Avenue to Dali Boulevard.
This was my second visit to the Dali Museum located on the marina on the bay at One Dali Blvd. The three-story futuristic building, constructed in 2011, is just as striking as the artist. It was built in the shape of a rectangle with a glass bubble erupting out the backside facing the bay. The bubble made of triangular pieces of glass is known as the “enigma.”
A spiral staircase reminiscent of the DNA molecule and Dali’s obsession with spirals leads to the galleries on the third floor.
This time I took the audio tour rather than the docent-led tour to take in the impossible; that is Dali in all his greatness.
The second largest collection of Dali’s work after his homeland gallery in Figueres, Spain was made possible by his close Cleveland friends, Reynolds & Eleanor Morse.
America brought fame to Dali in 1936, when the Time magazine featured Dali on the cover. Dali and his wife Gala lived in the USA from 1940 to 1948 to escape German occupation.
It is divided into his early work, anti-artist period, surrealism and nuclear mysticism.
The audio describes in-depth featured paintings mostly turning points in Dali’s career.
I was absolutely blown away by Dali’s double image paintings such as the “Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire” and “The Three Ages”, oil on canvas 1940.
His epic “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln” is a prime example of double imagery. The title describes precisely the 121-pixel painting that at second look from a distance becomes a large head of Abraham Lincoln filling the entire canvas.
The Gala/Lincoln painting reminds me of the 3D pictures popular in the mid-90s. At first you only see the blocks, but staring deep into them will uncover a unique 3D scene. I loved these, I wish I had kept some of them.
My other fascination with Dali is his depiction of progression of time as in “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory.” This painting has the famous melting watch. He was inspired by an oozing cheese melting on a hot day in his studio.
I often ponder the twisted clocks as I am sure Dali wanted us to do just that; ponder and contemplate over his paintings and images.
Like Einstein & Dali, I have my own fascination with time; not as it’s measured with devices, but its progression and evolution in space.
My major work, literary novel manuscript “Fire on Water” has been labeled by agents and critics as having no sequence in time or a juggled sense of time. The story moves between various episodes loosely connected, like Dali’s “Still Life-Fast Moving.” In the novel, just like in the painting, everything all of a sudden is thrown into action, only to be brought back to stillness.
I don’t know if that categorizes me as a surrealist writer that has skewed perception of time. As a writer, my goal is to connect the past, present and the future into one fluid movement. Along the way, the writing path winds, twists and bends as life itself.
In my stories, whether fiction or non-fiction, I attempt to fuse time in its different phases into one powerful elastic body of work.
I am heading out to Venice on the Gulf in Florida. The plane southwest.com had a three-hour delay so I got a $100 voucher. Not bad considering I got additional time to work while still at home. But, now I am ready to have some fun in the tropics.
Lent much like Easter is heavy in tradition. Back in the old country, former Czechoslovakia, we never baked paczki. They are just plain greasy, although some people baked “koblihy,” pastries like donuts made with pure lard.
The tradition has it that you have to get all the fat out of the house before Lent.
For Mardi Gras, which is Fat Tuesday, before Ash Wednesday, some people mainly in small towns and villages, dressed up.
The only time I dressed up with my husband was in 1998 for fasching karneval, the German equivalent of Mardi Gras.
It was held at the FennValley Winery in Fennville, Michigan. We decided to go for the gangster/avant-garde look of the 1920s. We found a costume shop on Division Street in Grand Rapids. I wore a storied dress with a feather sashay, a headband, and beads and held a long cigar holder. My husband had a striped suit with a carnation boutonniere and of course a hat that Al Capone would be proud of. We were missing just one thing.
The infamous violin case.
In vain I searched high and low for a violin case. There were no violin cases without a violin inside available. Lent was early that year, so the epic 1997 movie Titanic was still all over the place.
We rented a room at a local elegant bed & breakfast in Fennville. As we climbed the stairs, a couple decked in period attire was standing there. I paused to stare at them. I didn’t expect the Inn would have a butler and a maid.
“We’re from the Titanic,” said the woman as she grabbed her necklace. “This is my heart of the ocean.”
I knew we were in for a ride of our lives.
The winery dimmed lights for the event, so we didn’t immediately see the foursome stationed at the bar. As I got used to the light, I saw a gangster group.
“Hey, we’re directly from Chicago and we have a violin case,” one of the guys said holding up the case.
One group dressed up as a polka band, and they actually played brass instruments. The entertainment, food and wine were great. I even ran into a live Statue of Liberty.
I don’t think the winery had a fasching since. They swapped it for chili cook-offs, that don’t exactly have the same charm, but work well even without a violin case.
I wrote a story about the event back then for the Allegan County News and the Saugatuck Commercial Record.
The next morning a joint in Saugatuck, played the song “My heart will go on” from the Titanic.
Sometimes, I wonder if the fasching experience would have been as strong without the movie.
Do we process and remember by a strong association with something, by circumstances, by impact or by what actually happens to us?
I would like to go to the Rio de Janeiro Karneval one of these days.Read about my Lenten soups on the Travel & Food page.
The winter of 2014 that seems to continue with endless snowflakes, rain and hail has buried our house and garden below mounds of snow.
The white stuff is everywhere. Even the dog is scared to go outside. Yesterday, the gutters broke, and water was getting into our house. The roads have turned into corridors with snow barriers. I used to complain about winters in Canada, but this is worse because of its viciousness and duration. The wind just blows through the bones hard leaving little needles inside.
I am not much of a winter person anyways. I am constantly cold. We can’t even heat the second floor of the house.
“Put on more clothes,” my family tells me.
I laugh,”It’s like taking off more clothes in a 40-degree heat when you already have on just a swimming suit.
I almost never wear slippers or socks in the house, now I am forced to wear both. And I am still cold.
Some people say winter is good for arts projects, for writing or blogging. I say winter is only good for gluttons for punishment.
On the photo, Ella was enjoying the first snow back in November. If she had only known that it was going to be “eternal” like the “eternal ice” in Chamonix.
The featured picture of Nerja on the Mediterranean Sea is where I really want to be.
Thus my question for Dr. Em after her awesome take on insomnia on the Ask page:
How do you fight off cabin fever or as the Czechs say, submarine disease?
Copyright (c) 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova
Prague, the capital of Czech Republic and a favorite tourist destination, will be hosting the first WordPress Camp on Feb. 22. The conference will put Prague among 172 other cities across six continents that have already hosted WordCamp.
As a WordPress writer of Czech origin, I am very proud that the camp will take place in the “Heart of Europe,” as Prague is often dubbed. The conference will be divided into two presentations; one for users and one for developers.
The lectures will be in Czech with the exception of two in English.
Among the lecturers, who all are big fans of WordPress, will be Vladislav Musilek, Jan Kvasnicka, Pavel Ungr, Vlastimil Ott, Peter Gramantik, Agnes Bury, Jan Bocinec, Richard Bonk, David Binovec, Tomas Cirkl, Martin Michalek, Tomas Poner, Tom Eagles, Marek Prokop a Radek Kucera.
“I started working with WordPress a few years ago, when I built my blog on it,” Kucera said. “Today, I build simple web pages for firms, and I like to learn something new. I am interested in everything around the Internet and I work in Telco& ICT.”
Agnes Bury in a lecture “Going global” will talk about how to make a WordPress site multilingual. She is the marketing and community manager for the company behind the WordPress Multilingual Plugin-the plugin that lets you make your e-commerce site multilingual, as well as plugins which let WP web developers build their sites faster without php coding.
Before joining the company, she was working as a WP freelancer. Bury also publishes a popular WordPress blog where she shares her passion and experience in WP with other fans.
The event, with platinum sponsor Wedos, reasonably priced at 390 crowns has almost sold out.
Other upcoming WordCamps, organized by communities and volunteers, will be held in major cities across USA. They’re informal forums used to share information.
For more information go to central.wordcamp.org/schedule/ or 2014.prague.wordcamp.org
Copyright (c) 2014 story by Emma Palova, photo of Prague courtesy of Ceske Narodni Listy
Mr. Greg Canfield has been named the person of the year 2014 by the Lowell Area Chamber.
“I thought only old people get this title,” he laughed.
In the past, Greg along with his wife Deb were awarded the Brick Award 2011 for bringing back to life the three buildings owned by the Reedy’s and what is now the Main Street Inn. And of course the Canfield Plumbing & Heating business running fast for the last two decades.
“Our main focus is on the plumbing business,” said Canfield.
The rough winter has been a boom for the plumbing business. “We had to pick which customer needs our help the most,” he said. “We got 100 home calls.” The biggest problem was when people were gone, and the home got flooded or the pipes froze.
The plumbing business employs 15 full-time employees, while the Main Street Inn has eight part-time employees. However, the elegant Inn nestled on the Flat River is the talk of the town, and a lifeline to downtown businesses. The lobby has new additions that are rarities today,, an old red coke machine and a phone booth.
The favorite rooms are the ones overlooking the Flat River and the Showboat. One room is dedicated to prominent late citizen Ivan Blough for his love of the Showboat, the other one is the honeymoon suite. The 1880s building has no problems with plumbing, because it’s all new. During the remodel, Canfield moved the plumbing into the walls, and found out about the second story that was on the original building.
“It was a major undertaking,” Canfield said. “We had to pour new foundations on the river bottom. The building is 98 percent new.” There are seven guest rooms, three rooms are upstairs with a spacious community room. Four rooms are on the main level, along with the lobby and a conference room. The conference room is used by various groups such as the Flat River Watershed group as well as for bridal or baby showers, and wedding rehearsals.
“The plumbing business carries us,” Canfield said. “You can’t outsource that to China. The Inn brings people to downtown area. They can walk to Backwater Cafe. People love the art shops and the antiques.”
It is one of Canfield’s many goals to make Lowell a destination town like it used to be when the Flat River Antique Mall was still operating. This will include improving parking and handicap accessibility. As a member of the Downtown Development Authority, Canfield said the DDA is looking at developers seeking assistance.
Future plans include purchasing the 12,000 square-footMoose building and turning it into a pub, a banquet hall and a hotel on the third floor.
“It will be like an extension to the Inn.”
Canfield, now for his involvement in the historic district commission and Lowell Light & Power, the Downtown District Authority, and the construction board of appeals, is the man of the year.
“I am so humbled to be along the people who preceded me.” he said.
Canfield attributes his success to being surrounded by great people. “I am surrounded by my family, my wife, co-workers and neighbors. Lowell is a wonderful community.”
Canfield said he would do it all over again.
“It’s very rewarding helping people solve their problems,” he said.
Canfield has a handful of stories about cool people who had stayed at the Inn. A lady who was suffering from terminal cancer rented the entire building for the family to enjoy and celebrate her life.
“It’s a fun way to remember her,” he said.
At a different time, Canfield saw his guests from Las Vegas walking around Lowell and skyping from computers.
“It’s very humbling to be put along other people who have received this award,” he said. “I want to dabble in other things than plumbing.
Canfield, a history buff, likes to bring people to the Lowell historic district.
” I do it for the downtown, to bring people in,” he said in a recent interview. “I care for the community.”