Tag Archives: Venice

Out of Florida

Thursday, February 21, 2019 3:14 PM

Aboard Allegiant Flight 1600 from Punta Gorda to Grand Rapids

By Emma Palova

In Air- I am leaving Florida eight days later, just like I have arrived, with the rain. In between, the sun and the full moon graced the clear skies.

On the horizon, the turquoise sea touched the blue sky in a magnificent union.

But before the full moon on Feb. 18, a strong morning tide hit the Venice Beach washing ashore shells galore and wracks wrapped in seaweed.

The perfect morning cup inside a cockle shell was hiding the jewels from the sea; small olive and bubble shells, sturdy jewel boxes and translucent jingle shells.

I spent a magnificent week in “Paradise” where the hibiscus bloomed in shades of orange, the banana trees in white and the palms rendered orange ripe figs.

The front yards were tropical gardens with “Birds of Paradise” just opening up their orange beaks.

The sunsets were a splash from an artist’s palate of yellows, reds, oranges and browns.

It’s February- Soak it up, stir an argument

Yoga instructor Elin reminded us this morning to soak up the beach life in February.

“You walked here, laid in the sand, listened to the waves,” she said. “Soak it up. It’s February.”

On Wednesday, Elin held up a large red leaf and said something about mailing it as a postcard. Since, the wind carried Elin’s words into the sea, I missed the details. For some odd reason, I thought it had to be a mangrove leaf.

I picked up some reddish leaves yesterday thinking they were mangrove leaves on the dune banks by Sharky’s. Yellow veins branched into the ripe red leaf. It resembled large grape leaves.

My hosts in Venice were my parents Ella and Vaclav Konecny of Michigan. They made fun of me because I believed in the USPS red leaf postcard program. I asked my dad to take me to the post office, so I could mail the red leaf. My mom Ella was convinced my prized leaf wasn’t a mangrove, and that I shouldn’t pursue mailing it.

“Ask Siri,” my dad said.

When I asked Siri, and she knew nothing about the mangrove leaf USPS mailing program, doubts also entered my mind.

My dad came to the conclusion that it was an April Fool’s joke. In our homeland we used the following prank:

“It’s like going to the store to get mosquito fat,” he laughed. “I am not going inside the post office with you.”

“But, it’s not April Fool’s,” I refused to give up.

I found myself in the midst of an argument over the validity of the USPS leaf postcard mailing program.

“Leave your dad alone, he needs to get some rest,” mom snapped.

“Well, maybe we can wrap up some meat inside the leaf and make rolls,” I defended my grounds sarcastically.

My dad who never gives up suggested that I ask Elin. After my last morning yoga session on the beach on Thursday, I made my way through Elin’s fans to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

“You pick up some sea grape leaves,” Elin said pointing to the banks by the beach house and take it to the post office. The postal workers get a kick out of it. A lady from my class sent out five of them the other day. The postage is under a dollar. Send it out within five days or they dry out and crumble.”

According to Elin, the post office can even put a dried out leaf in a cellophane.

“I told you, it wasn’t a mangrove leaf,” my mom persisted.

“You know they wrap up meat in grape leaves in Greece, right?” I snapped back.

Back home at the writing studio Feb. 22, 2019

Lowell, MI -That was it. I was running out of time to go to the post office, since I was flying out of Florida in the afternoon.

I wrote my address on the sea grape leaf, mom provided the stamps, and dad disguised the leaf in a sac and took it to the mailbox. Dad was convinced that I made a fool out of him.

It remains unknown whether he put the sac with the sea grape leaf in the mail, or in the trash can.

In a bizarre way, we were all right; mom with her contention that it is not a mangrove leaf, me with the sea grape meat rolls and dad with the April Fool’s prank, that he had probably created by dropping the leaf in the trash.

I’ll find out soon.

Copyright © 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Notes from the Beach

Saturday, February 16, 2019 5:11 AM

Venice, Fl- On Valentine’s Day, I went to the beach to live deliberately.

It was 50 F in the morning, and I was still like an ice cube after arriving in the sunshine state from the frigid North. I did yoga with Elin on the Venice Beach including the “palm tree” pose to honor the new palms on Venice Avenue.

I breathed in the fresh air coming from the Gulf waters and watched the seagulls fly over my head.

The lady doing the “cat and the cow” pose in front of me was wearing socks with the following verbiage on the bottom of each sock: “If you can read this, bring me a glass of wine.”

We parked in front of the beautiful Venice City Hall built in the Mediterranean Revival style much like the rest of the historic and Venetian theme districts.

One of my favorite joints in the bustling downtown is Croissant & Co., a French artisan bakery magically transported from Paris.

Even the mousse desserts were decorated for Valentine’s with ornate words in pink and red. My dad professor Vaclav Konecny, who never drinks coffee, ordered café de la maison or house coffee. Mom Ella tried their tarte d’apricot or apricot pie and I had salmon and spinach quiche. My dad with a gift of gab greeted the bicyclists in front of the bakery, and to his great surprise they spoke French.

“He’s a charmer,” said the clerk at the Green Parrot gift shop.

Back at the condo, I noticed figs on the palm and the orange hibiscus blossoms.

It warmed up by 22 F in a few hours.

“ It would take three days to warm up in Michigan,” mom said.

On the beach

Digging my feet deeper into the sand, it felt cool from Wednesday’s rain. On a perfect day, the blue Gulf waters touch the blues of the sky in a magnificent union.

This blues symphony harmonizes with the rhythm of the waves.

I thought the slight breeze from the South should have a name like Zephyros signifying it’s softness, while reflecting the turquoise waters. Water erosion has washed some of the beach away while creating a bank that wasn’t there during my last visit in 2016.

I watched the beach goers with their sifters in search for the elusive black shark teeth. They usually emptied the small cage full of broken shells, but no shark teeth. The sifter rents for $7 an hour at Sharky’s boutique. It seems to me like a very zen thing to do: the water goes through the sifter, takes with it smaller parts and leaves in fragments of shells. If you’re lucky, a three-prong black shark tooth might be among them.

More seasoned hunters appeared by the Sharky’s Pier. This is where hundreds of fishermen cast lines with bait into the water attracting both dolphins and sharks.

I’ve seen schools of dolphins usually around noon lured by the bait. Mom and dad have seen dolphins in the morning at the jetty again with fishermen throwing lines.

Back at the pier, a kid caught a baby shark and proudly showed it off for a photo op. Then, he threw it back into the water. The kid with the shark scene reminded me of the white Egret with its yellowish beak showing off in front of cameras by the light posts on the pier waiting for his reward. If the heron doesn’t get its shrimp, he flies off.

One evening, we walked on the pier to watch one of the magnificent sunsets. It looked like an artist tipped his or her palette with the yellow in the middle and the oranges, the reds and the browns running away from it; the yellow explosion was flanked by the shades of blue on top and bottom.

Sunday surprised me with crowds; hundreds of people flocked to the beach with everything you can imagine.The sandy shore speckled by beach umbrellas, parasols and tents looked like a circus, only without animals.

If a colony of seagulls found a spot in between, they would invade it.

It’s not unusual to hear French or Russian in this area with authentic restaurants.

To be continued

Copyright © 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

50 Shades of Orchids

Writer’s encounters: 50 Shades of Orchids

By Emma Palova

Venice, FL- During my annual writer’s retreats in Florida, I always come across a gem; it may be an artist, a breeze, scuba divers or sand castle builders, students of architecture on their spring break. This is my seventh year on the Gulf Coast exploring treasures washed on sea, and not just seashells.

This year, it was the “50 Shades of Orchids” show organized by the Venice Area Orchid Society, (VAOS) an affiliate of the American Orchid Society.

50 Shades of Orchids in Venice
50 Shades of Orchids in Venice

The VAOS is celebrating 50 years of existence. The show is put on at the height of the tourist season and it attracts 3,500 visitors annually and premier growers.

Perhaps, the most striking upon entering the exhibit hall at the Venice Community Center was the unexpected fragrance filtering in from all corners. I am a lifelong lover and collector of these enigmatic flowers. To see the orchids displayed in all colors, shades, hybrids and varieties was stunning.

The orchid stems and spikes were bending under the weight of the magnificent blooms.

Some of the blooms looked more like the faces of animals, birds or butterflies. Others resembled spiders. The large tricolor blooms resembled the Iris or more common flowers home to northern climate zones.

Each display consisted of 50 different orchids, hybrids and species wrapped in palm greens.

VAOS exhibit at the show.
VAOS exhibit at the show.

The participating growers offered most orchids for sale including the ones adaptable to various climates like the cattleya, Phalaenopsis, oncidium and vanda hybrids.

My favorite is the ornate Phal that comes in many different shades. I have a nice collection of these that has grown over the years on my windowsills facing the soft northern light.

Years of experimenting have rendered valuable experience. Unlike popular belief the flower doesn’t like a lot of water, only two ounces per week, less in winter. The orchid does not like to have her feet wet. The pots with orchids should be emptied.

img_20160206_155000.jpg
Catleya orchid.

There are more than 25,000 orchid species in existence. However, many are being destroyed by poaching and deforestation.

The orchid society promotes conservation and educational projects. It has grown into one of the largest and most active orchid societies in Florida.

The magical orchid can also be found at the Marie Selby gardens in Sarasota, Fl.

 

For more info go to: www.vaos.org

Or www.aos.org

 

Marie Selby gardens www.selby.org

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Last day in paradise

Floridian in me

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

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.

Sand formations on the Venice Beach
Sand formations on the Venice Beach

 

Downtown Venice by my favorite coffee shop
Downtown Venice by my favorite coffee shop

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-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

Florida 2014

Let the adventure begin

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.

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–> Continue reading Florida 2014

Great Expectations 2014

Looking ahead to 2014

By EMMA PALOVA

EW Emmas Writings journal

I am looking forward to 2014 in spite of its rocky & freezing start. My goals include exponential growth of followers of my online journal. I plan on diversifying the content with other writers’ and bloggers’ work.

So far, it has been a one –woman show as far as articles, photography and design.

I am using this opportunity to invite other writers and artists to display their work in my journal. I would like to add fiction and poetry. I am a firm believer in creative partnerships.I want to add more advertising, both  local and national, as well as a store page in an effort to monetize the site. And tie everything close with social media.

I am also happy about completing career profiles on Google+ and Elance in search of freelance work.

blog me profile
Emma Palova

I will continue writing the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” which is the principal reason behind the journal. The family immigration saga is evolving as we speak and taking its own course.

My parents Ella&Vaclav Konecny, who started the saga in mid 60s are spending the winters in Venice,Fl. Dad will be celebrating his 80th birthday this July. My daughter Emma appears to be staying in France for a while. My brother Vas lives in Paris, Michigan and my son Jake lives in Kalamazoo.

I am targeting the book for next year’s publication before Mother’s Day since it is dedicated to mom. I am aiming for traditional publication as of right now.

I also have plenty of short stories awaiting publication collected in “Glass Flowers” anthology. I wrote most of these when I was working at the Meijer store in the nineties in Grand Rapids.

So, it will be a busy new year. I celebrated my one-year anniversary with WordPress on Jan.15. Looking forward to another one.