Tag Archives: Emma Palova word press writer

Be Bold For Change

International Women’s Day theme 2017 encourages to Be Bold For Change

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Hastings, MI- The screen on all my devices says Wednesday, March 8. Today is International Women’s Day.  Every year on this day, I think about the women in this world, both privileged and underprivileged.

I think about the progress we have made since the suffragist movement for the women’s right to vote in the early 1900s. I also think about the progress we have yet to make.

Yes, in modern societies we get equal education like men in any given field, at any given time. The difference is in what happens after schooling, regardless the continent we live on.

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Annie Conboy with daughter Erin blogs for a better world for her daughter.

I am not a feminist by any stretch of imagination, but I do have to admit after years in the labor market, I have to say:

“It is still a man’s world.”

Years ago, the pretty blonde character Amanda from the TV series “Melrose Place,” said it the best, as she was in vain climbing the company ladder.

“The big boys will let us go only so far.”

That is not to say that I haven’t met women in top positions as editors, publishers and business owners. I am an Internet entrepreneur with a big love for the free business spirit. And I know other women who own businesses like Nancy DeBoer, owner of Station Salon in Lowell.

But, even then, there is a missing fraction of an inch, that missing gap why Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first female president of the USA last year.

The movement for women’s rights is not always just about money and equal opportunities. It’s more about a woman’s positioning in the society.

Maybe, it’s because our primary role is to take care of our families; at first children and then aging parents or grandparents.

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The hand and nails of a 76-year old woman

“What do you like about being a woman?” I asked babysitter Heather before I left for a meeting on this very windy morning.

“Being a mom,” she said laughing, “a man can’t say that.”

And yes, I braved the 50-mile winds to drive 40 miles to a meeting, only to find out there was no power. There was no meeting and tree limbs blocked the roads. I ventured into the local KDL library in hometown Lowell to finish writing this International Women’s Day post because I couldn’t get home due to a fallen tree in the road.

No matter how brave we are, at any given stage in life, we will always be the primary caregivers. The society relies on us in any country around the world to take care of what really matters, at a time when it matters.

On daily basis we drive cars, buses, use public transportation, order food in restaurants, pay for it, pound the keyboards, stand in front of cameras and lead in meetings and speeches.

We are teachers, nurses, doctors, babysitters, high-lo drivers and construction workers.

But, first and foremost, we are moms, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and girlfriends looking out for each other in a fellowship.

This global fellowship is called womanhood.

As I have recently and gratefully found out, we also have to take care of each other. If we don’t do that, no one else will do that for us. We get together, whether in knitting or gardening clubs, to encourage each other.

So in essence, the 2017 theme “Be Bold For Change” has always been with us for the last 100 years since the Soviet Revolution.

A prologue quote to one novel says:

“May you live in changing times.”

In the popular winter series “Inspiring Women” on EW Emma’s Writings that leads up to the International Women’s Day, I have written about women from all walks of life. They have always stood boldly in the face of adversity, without expecting any rewards.

Hiker Babe Gail Lowe walked in memory of her daughter Becka 4,600 miles on the North Country Trail (NCT) to commemorate her life in 2014.

Hiker Babe
Gail Lowe on a mission walk in memory of daughter.

Since the establishment of NCT in 1980, only five men have completed a thru hike of the trail and Lowe was the sixth person, and the only woman in the USA.

NCTA executive director Bruce Matthews said Lowe’s hike elevates the awareness of the North Country Trail.

“It fires people’s imagination and makes the trail more accessible to women,” he said. “It expands the horizon. It is unusual to complete it in one season.”

Matthews said solitude is part of the trail experience.

“We hope it inspires others to hike the trail,” he said.

Fellowship with women at home and around the world is the key to overall well-being and peace.

Helping women in the Third World countries is the primary mission of the SowHope organization based in Grand Rapids.

“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty,” said SowHope director Mary Dailey Brown.

On this day, women are also gathering around the world to protest the status quo of inequality and the violation of women’s rights to decide about their own health.

For more info go to:

 For more posts about Inspiring Women go to:

Hiker Babe walks 4,600 miles in memory of daughter

https://emmapalova.com/2015/02/28/iw-hiker-babe-walks-4600-miles-in-memory-of-daughter/

1001 Day Blogger Annie

http://www.annieconboy.net

Sow Hope director Mary Dailey Brown

https://emmapalova.com/tag/mary-dailey-brown/

International Women’s Day – Wikipedia

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

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.

IW Inspiring Women Liz B.

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the third installment in a feature series about Inspiring Women. It is dedicated to all women who are trying to make a difference and better other people’s lives, as well as their own.  In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in 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 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 mid 1990s: “Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” teacher Karen Latva said.

IW Chamberdirector Liz Baker reinvents herself and Lowell events

Name: Liz Baker

Position: Executive director

Residence: Alto

Hobbies & interests: camping, ATVs, kayaking, antiquing

Volunteer: Schneider Manor board, Lowell Community Wellness Board

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – Lowell Area Chamber director started with a filing cabinet and a phone in the old white building on the east end of town in 1994 as a secretary. Most people don’t remember where the old chamber was.

“What did I get myself into,” she said.

Liz Baker
Lowell Area Chamber director Liz Baker

Being behind most events in Lowell, Baker manages to keep low profile in her back office. Prior to becoming the director, she had her own cleaning business.

But aunt Betty said Baker had more in her than just doing an ordinary job.

The chamber was first established as a Board of Trade in 1906.

FMB president Jim Bosserd recommended Baker and the chamber hired her.

“I was the assistant director, and I didn’t know who was the director,” she laughed. “What should I do?”

At the time, the chamber did two events: Christmas parade and annual dinner. The Lowell Area Schools said somebody needs to be at the chamber.

“They took a leap of faith and hired me,” Baker said. “I became the executive director.”

Then came the big question.

“How are we going to pay for the Riverwalk?” said Baker.

The two day festival started originally on Labor Day with arts & crafts, entertainment, duck race and a pig roast.

“It just started and we made money,” she said. “From then on I was free to create festival that I wanted to.”

Baker started going to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to get money.

Liz Baker
Lowell Area Chamber director with conceptual plan.

Her biggest accomplishment was the partnership with Lowell Area Schools for the annual March Expo 19 years ago. At the time it was the only community expo in the area.

Sizzlin’ Concerts with Lowell Arts are a big hit, as well as two Girls Nights Out, one in the spring, one in the fall. In the early years, Riverwalk was still on Labor Day.

Since, people leave for the holidays, the chamber moved the Riverwalk to the second weekend in July.

“It made world of difference,” she said. “It has evolved with corporate ducks and sponsorships and we went back to a two-day event, well three with the concerts.”

The fireworks are not cheap. The show costs $6,000 to put on. It is sponsored by Laurels of Kent.

The Riverwalk Festival is the biggest fundraiser for the chamber. It brings in between $18,000 to $25,000.

“Most of these events depend on the weather,” she said.

Harvest Celebration is in the fall, and it has been going on for 15 years.

“It is a community event organized by the chamber with marketing funds,” Baker said.

Jodie Haybarker started Christmas through Lowell, a three-day event.

“How can we get businesses involved?” Baker said. “What better event for the chamber. It has been running beautifully.”

DDA sponsors Christmas activities like Santa visits on the Showboat. The Christmas parade route changed and it went to a night parade five years ago.

“Changing the route was good, it was hard on the little ones,” she said.

With this huge output Baker relies on 200 volunteers.

The secret to successful events is early preparation. Volunteers start getting ready for Expo in November, while preparations for Riverwalk start in February.

“We’re very diligent about technology, our marketing is going to the website,” she said.

The concert line-up starts in January/February. Then there also member events such Breakfast Clubs (12) and Lunch & Learn (4), as well as business after hours (2).

Because Lowell is a family community, when the school is out not much happens.

And Baker moved to a new office in the back of the building on the Riverwalk. The general contractor was Evert Bek.

Baker has a part-time person on staff, Catherine Bek, and twice a week Carol Briggs and Peggy Idyma help out, and Barb Zandstra will be back.

As far as weaknesses, Baker says about herself that she gets easily attached to people and things.

“I am getting bigger shoulders now, but I am an emotional sap,” she said. “I love my job. There’s always enough variety and excitement.”

That is why Charlie Bernard of Ace Hardware said about Baker that she keeps reinventing herself.

She was also chair for the Riverwalk Showboat Development plan in 2014. Baker is motivated by Lowell’s vision.

“I want Lowell to be the best there is,” she said. “I go to  other communities for inspiration.”

West Michigan Chamber Network does round tables.

“We take ideas from each other,” she said. “But we get robbed quite a bit. We’ve been a role model for MDOT for outside the box thinking.”

Lowell enjoys an amazing camaraderie, according to Baker. “We pull together.”

For two years, the bridge project was the biggest challenge, and then of course the economic downturn.

“The economy just tanked in 2004-2005,” she said. “The big box stores are hard for retail. But, I can’t stop them. I’d like to see a better balance, see more restaurants, small boutique shops and sports kayak shop. I don’t know if we have the right demographics.”

Trail projects are moving ahead, Lowell is in their center.

“It will bring us, business, visitors and tourists,” she said. “We have a designated water trail. And the national headquarters of the North Country Trail (NCT) are located here.

How about plans and visions for Baker and Lowell?

Baker would like to see the Showboat rebuilt and a permanent stage on the Riverwalk.

There are conceptual plans for a permanent stage.

“We want to grow to be sustainable and to be here for years to come,” she said.

And Expo is coming up on March 28th at the Lowell High School. The Expo covers the area of the Lowell Area schools, this include seven townships and the city of Lowell.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Baker said. “I’ve never had a problem finding an exclusive sponsor. If you’re not at the Expo you should be.”

The board sets goals such as getting out more into the community, how to sell yourself and to be the best you can be.

“The businesses need to be taught that too,” she said. “You keep pressing forward, motivating businesses and being their cheerleader. They have to reinvent themselves too. They have to take that first step and become members.”

There are approximately 300 members, and people call for referrals.

“It gives them credibility,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of vacant buildings.”

Here are a few comments from the chamber’s facebook page:

“I’ve always been amazed at how much our Lowell Chamber of Commerce achieves and is involved in our community,” wrote Tina Maire Greene. “I can always count on the chamber for suggestions and recommendations when I need them for particular services.”

“Best Chamber of Commerce ever. They go above and beyond to provide residents and businesses with fun, family friendly activities and events,” wrote Ella K. St. Germain.

Liz Baker-the woman behind the superwoman

1-What makes you feel good about yourself?

I exercise, eat right and healthy.

2-How do you strike a balance between work and family?

Family has to come first. Sometimes they take the back seat. That’s the honesty.

3-What do you do for yourself?

First family, spiritual wellbeing and work. That’s how it plays out for me.

4-What is your biggest fear?

I am fearless.

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.

Old Man River Mississippi

Old Man River attracts fur traders

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

On this longest day of the year, I am writing about my Mississippi River adventures. I could use more than one long day that the summer solstice gives us.

Like Pere Marquette, Joliette and McGregor we landed in Prairie du Chien on a hot Friday afternoon to discover the Old Man River. The last time we were here was five years ago.

Annually the city hosts the largest fur trade re-enactment in the Midwest. The river was high after recent rains but did not flood the St. Feriole Island.

On our way to Prairie we bet that nothing has changed in the area for the last 100 years.

Rediscovering treasures on the Mississippi River
Rediscovering treasures on the Mississippi River

Well, we were right except for road construction in the downtown area. And a local businessman completed the remodel of a furniture store.

We crossed the Mississippi to Iowa’s McGregor to stay at Uncle Sam’s Saloon built in 1857 on the landing. The building has been remodeled and updated, but it does have this formidable steep staircase like into a chicken coop.

The view of the town from the porch was marvelous. McGregor is known as “Pocket City” reminiscent of a pocket in the bluffs surrounding the river.

Ludek lived in this Pocket City from 2007 to 2009 and changed living quarters three times as the owner kept selling the houses. The last month he even lived in the nearby Marquette.

Coming back to this place felt like we never left.

The big river is wide here as the Wisconsin River flows into it. Houseboats and boatels were floating on the water, and crews were putting more in. The river gives livelihood to many just like hundreds of years ago.

The 39th annual Rendezvous set-up on St. Feriole Island featured teepees and tents of all sorts. The tents line up the streets on the island. Vendors offered food such as fresh Mississippi fried catfish and turtle soup, Indian fry bread and tacos, fried pickles, frog legs and chips.

Curiosities included steins made from wood and tusks, hundreds of furs and fur hats, rocks and minerals, necklaces and peace pipes.

Competitions featured a black powder rifle shoot, hawk and knife throw, cooking and games for children and adults.

Demonstrations such as blacksmithing, pottery, storytelling took place at individual camps.

Most campers were dressed up in period attire that was also for sale at many outfits.

 

To be continued

 

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

A day in the country

A day in the country, a true American story

By EMMA PALOVA

EW Emma’s Writings

Keene Township- Smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, butt rub, jalapeno sausages and maple syrup, all in one place.

I stood in a line for one hour to get my share of the country goodies at the Jones Farm Market deep in the fields of the Midwest.

It was a chilly May morning with wind blowing from the west that also hauled in the smell from cows and pigs.

The line stayed the same all along due to the steady stream of visitors. Right in front of me there were three big blue striped tents and a band playing Stevie Wonder songs underneath. You would expect a country band.

Phil Jones during customer appreciation day last Saturday
Phil Jones during customer appreciation day last Saturday

The Jones Customer Appreciation Day takes place once a year always on the third Saturday in May. Speaking about killer timing: the event takes place between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Who doesn’t want to grill?

Moreover, four generations of owners, are right there on hand to chat in spite of the overall frenzy.

The younger ones were sporting black t-shirts that on the front read, “Where’s the beef?” With the answer on the back, “Next to pork.”

Pork is big here. It’s sold by the tons.

“We probably sell more than a ton of pork strips and steaks,” said the owner jovial Phil Jones. “Three thousand pounds of bacon and 9,000 pounds of ground beef.”

“I bet, I saw the commercial on TV,” I said referring to Jones son Lee talking about meat on the camera.

“Yes, Lee wants to be a movie star,” Phil laughed.

Great finds butt rub
Great finds butt rub

This down-to-earth man has led the meat business for the last 40 years, 20 of which he served as the Keene Township supervisor.

“You know you can do only so much in church,” Phil said in our previous interview.

“Now it seems like I am going to retire for the 25th time,” he laughed.

The last time I was at the market for a story, Phil’s wife Janet was watching their great grandchild who slept in a large meat box.

“That’s how we raise them right here at the market,” said Phil.

Most customers know the Joneses on a first name basis.

Metal Emu by Jamee
Metal Emu by Jamee

The Customer Appreciation Day has grown over the years from a small picnic to an annual event worth waiting for.

The younger son Karl was in charge of grilling. And what a meal for one dollar. One dollar here buys you, the Jones signature sausage, potato salad, sauerkraut, baked beans, and a cookie.

I browsed the booths in search of a treasure and I found a metal artist. I started taking photos of his metal welded Emu. The Emu had a belly with a pot of flowers and his tail was made from license plates.

“That will cost you $5,” he said.

“But I am a writer,” I said.

“Then, you can take all the pictures you want,” he said.

I have his business card. It states boldly, Jamee’s Repurposed metal art.

I have a knack for finding these special treats at country festivals. They range from great men to great women, and whatever they make.

Sometimes they’re weavers, soap makers and bird house makers. Artists and artisans who want to make it big, just like the metal guy Jamee and his nurse girl friend who supports him.

And of course there’s a whole different chapter to this great American story: the old car collectors with a Ford 1915 convertible on display at the grounds of the farm market. The vehicle was sort of reminiscent of a tractor.

We came here for meat and sausage & we found a special bond, something that we all have in common: love for the big country.

 

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

Mom Ella & aunt Anna

Two sisters still at war

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Writer’s note:

This is part of the 100 Posts & beyond series

Today is a big day. As I write to the rhythm of the rain, morning chirping of the birds and to the frantic panting of my dog and husband, I still have my feet wet from the patio. I had to move the phlox and the moss roses from the garage out into the rain.

It’s May 9th, it’s my birthday. I was born on the national holiday in former Czechoslovakia. On that day, the nation’s capital Prague, the mother of all cities, was freed from the Nazi occupation by the Soviet Army. That was the end of World War II.

Many years later, I was born in the wee hours at 4 a.m. to parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny. My mom woke up to the cracking noises of fireworks announcing the anniversary of the victory.

“I thought it was war again, but then I realized those were fireworks celebrating your birth,” she said to me this morning as she wished me a happy birthday. “The whole nation celebrated.”

Czech Capital Prague
Czech Capital Prague

Mom says that to me every year, as the nature too celebrates the awakening after long winter.

“The nature blossoms on your birthday,” she says. “You always had the day off and a parade.”

Birthday blossom
Birthday blossom

 

The above note is one of the many reasons why I dedicated the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west” to my mother.

 100 Posts & beyond

This post is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and the constant friction that I have witnessed between sisters in this world.

Mom Ella & I
Mom Ella & I

 

Mom Ella and aunt Anna

As I watch people drop like flies around me, I realize how time is going by fast. I like the inscription on the clock in the living room, “Tempus fugit.” That’s why I bought that pendulum clock as one of the first things when I arrived on this continent in 1989 for $110. Not that I had that kind of money. I just wanted the clock so bad, that I probably borrowed money for it. It announces the time by boldly striking every full and half hour. My husband Ludek still has to wind it by hand much like the clock that the in-laws had at home in the old country.

“They probably wouldn’t even let us know if she’s dead,” mom said. “You write the wedding invite. She’s your aunt and godmother.”

We bought the card that had written “Sisters” in the sand on it in Venice, Florida.

“I’ll pay for her air ticket, but not for him,” Mom said angrily. “Anyna won’t be able to translate that. She’s not going to come anyway.” Anyna is a slanderous nickname for the pretty name Anna.

Mom was referring to my uncle whom we once fancied as “Jean” rather the ordinary Czech John. We took that from the French movies that we had devoured like crazy in old Czechoslovakia.

That was more than quarter of a century ago before the big family dispute.

“But we don’t even know if he’s alive,” I argued. “I’ll just write it and we’ll see.”

Unintentionally, we sent the invite off without any contact numbers or addresses. Subconscious at its best.

“Write it again,” mom said last week. “This is her last chance to make up with me.”

To be continued as part of the ongoing series 100 Posts & beyond

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

Dali-St. Pete, Florida

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.

Museum of Fine Art in St. Peterburg
Museum of Fine Art in St. Peterburg

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.

The enigma bubble of Dali Museum
The enigma bubble of Dali Museum

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.

A sculpture depicting Dali's overexaggerated mustache
A sculpture depicting Dali’s overexaggerated mustache

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.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory with melting clocks
The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory with melting clocks

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.

Related links:

St. Petersburg chamber http://discoverdowntown.com

City of St. Petersburg http:// www.stpete.org

Museum of Fine Arts http://www.fine-arts.org

Parkshore Grill http://www.parkshoregrill.com

Dali Museum http://thedali.org

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova