Friday, December 23, 2011

Train Pace

Reliable in all weather, it is our preferred mode of transport. It is comfortable, on time (to the minute or they post the exact amount of delay.) One cannot beat the view or the process.

You come on-board and get moving the very moment at a nice steady pace. Without realizing, you are out of the city and zooming through the country (at a speed that you know will get you to your destination as soon as possible.) Then there is the gentle roll in the middle of mountains where the slow passing of scenery is better than any landscape painting and at a pace that compliments the peacefulness in life. (If it snows this is even more exaggerated.) This steady pace of life feels natural. 

The sounds consist of gentle rumbling/humming/clanking of metals, a periodic bell off in a distance as we pass through some small station or another, the breathing of fellow passengers, an occasional horn of warning and silence (as if in a sacred place or the library.) 

With a family it is ideal. You can relax, snack, play games, have quality time, and there is of course than human necessity, the restroom. This pace is one that suits me at this point in life. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pulnocni/Midnight (referring to Midnight Mass)

I can't resist posting this song even here, Vaclav Nektar's "Pulnocni." This new Czech hit from Vaclav Neckar is for this holiday season. (An icon from Czech history and film, he suffered a stroke not too long ago.) The song talks of hope and comfort in times of fear of the unknown. (In a sense I think it also faces the ultimate unknown, death.) This is not to be morbid but it is a reference to our common end and to me feels somehow reassuring. With my fathers-in-law passing along with that of Vaclav Havel's and being in the presence of dying folks at hospitals, I feel this song now on many levels.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lights of Praha

This time we are in the city to just enjoy the holiday season! (No paperwork, no running around, no meetings and it shows I think.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

the honeymoon- and post honeymoon

You know that time when new energy and love fills your heart and romance takes you to places unseen. This is like the first few weeks in a new place. The beauty, (one overlooks, the dirt,) the sunshine, (one overlooks the clouds,) etc,etc. There is a braking point in that new vision after one starts noticing the rest of reality. The not so sunny days, the smoggy air, those little things that should flow within the day but don't. If one is not careful this new vision clouds the old and one goes in an opposite direction.

This morning was that time. I started romanticizing our last 'home' in the suburbs of Seattle. One starts missing the things that were there and are not so much here, (mostly the clean air.) But the reality is there are simultaneously 'good'/'bad' and really things just are without judgement.

Here is a list of unedited items that surround me presently:

Twin beds stacked next to one another to make a queen size bed that fits us all (2adults, 1child)
 -morning and nighttime cuddles are readily available as is the accidental kicking throughout the night.

Keeping in touch with faraway friends, and trying to establish new relationships
-neighbor (somewhere in her 70's), currently one of my best friends in the CZ, finally someone to share a cup of tea!

History, history, history- it's within the exteriors of most buildings
-interiors however are quite the clash with the outer atmosphere. Modern era design fills the younger generation's homes.

Clean mountain air of Jesenik is just a few hours away from that of Olomouc, Zlin and other moravian cities where chimneys line the horizon.

Lard, beer, and dumplings make up more of my diet rather than my shakes of spinach, blueberries and bananas. (Thankfully the latter is still included!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

the food

I need to devote an entry to the Czech cuisine. It is divine!

 A pomelo sized dumpling stuffed with plumb butter topped with poppy seed and sugar mix all floating in a bowl of vanilla custard. (SERIOUSLY!) And no, this is not a desert, this actually is the main course! (I have to stop myself from ordering this but once a week.)

I am slowly coming to the Czech conclusion that beer is somehow healthy for me. We now have it with almost every lunch, as it costs almost as much as water. (That's right, LUNCH not dinner, but somehow this is the new norm.) I now crave the bitter taste almost as much as chocolate! Yikes! I almost forgot the goulash. Soup is the appetizer of every lunch.

And the classic, Rizek or Schnitzel. Cooked in lard, a piece of pork or chicken, pounded to a centimeter,  tastes fantastic with a few drops of lemon and baked potatoes. (Also can be eaten on it's own, warm or cold.)

One slight downfall however to the above dishes along with a couple of other staple Czech foods, is that this about wraps up the Czech cuisine. (I do not have an image of "Knedlo, Zelo, Vepro," or dumplings with cabbage and pork, another classic.) This is why we spent an arm and a leg on some Indian Food in Praha yesterday, a nice brake from this Eastern European cooking.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

glimpses from childhood

Elevator in my apartment building- It barely fits four people if they squeeze shoulder to shoulder. One can touch the doors of each floor as it rides by. As children we got stuck half way between floors. Our downstairs neighbor pulled us through a small opening from the lower level.

Pavement- My sister and I walked hand-in-hand to grandmother’s house through these streets when I was two or three. I remember watching the cracks. 

Light festival- As children we walked with wooden sticks that held paper lanterns which enclosed a candle. (Currently from a parent perspective, this does not sound like a very smart idea.) But as children I remember the magic of holding that light. Miraculously it never caught on fire.