Monday, July 26, 2010

Leanin' Tree Museum in Boulder, Colorado

Mom and I are in Boulder, Colorado, this week to visit her sister, Adeline, and my cousin, Marilyn and her husband, Paul.  We visited the Leanin' Tree Museum this morning.  You may be familiar with Leanin' Tree greeting cards.  The Leanin' Tree Museum here in Boulder has a superb collection of Western art.  Outdoors you can take photos of 15 or so beautiful bronze sculptures.  Inside no photos are allowed, but the Old West paintings and bronze sculptures are the best I've ever seen.  Here are a few of the outdoor photos I took today.



Mom took a shine to this cowboy.

That cougar is not as close as it appears.

The only safe cougar is a bronze cougar.

Love the contrast of faces to fabric.

The details are stunning.

Sit and enjoy the bronze sculpture garden.


Horse made of spare parts.

Horse head


Which way did he go, George?


Waiting for the mail.

Howdy, Pardner!

Me, Mom, Marilyn and Adeline

Marilyn and I want to grow up to be just like our moms.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Egg Festival in Breznice, Czech Republic

Vajecina (vie cheena) means "egg festival."  My Moravian relatives gather six weeks after Easter every year for a family reunion.  They take turns hosting this annual event.  I planned our trip so that Pam and I would be in Breznice near Zlin to enjoy their 17th annual Vajecina celebration.  Every guest is required to bring a couple of eggs and a dessert.  A fire is built outdoors, and the eggs are scrambled in a huge kettle over an open fire.  The lid is repainted every year to show the current date.  There are usually around 30 relatives in attendance.  This year, over 100 eggs were contributed for the meal.  The following photos capture the essence of Vajecina in Moravia.

The lid for this year's kettle

The honor of lighting the Vajecina fire goes to the oldest relative present.
My father's first cousin, Jarmila, just celebrated her
88th birthday on May 5th.

Jarmila also cracks the first egg.

Pam captured a great photo of the eggs being poured into the kettle.

Many secret ingredients are added to the scrambled egg mix.

Pam and I take our turn stirring the eggs.
A glass of wine helps us concentrate on our work.
Our friend, Jozka, is amused by the two crazy Americans.

Slavek is the life of the party.
You can't help but smile when he is around.
First he makes sure that everyone has a drink and something to eat.
Then he tells stories, which are funny even if you don't understand Czech.

Where there's smoke . . . .  there's Vajecina.

Early that morning, long before the guests arrived, 
I caught this deer lounging next to the shed in Jarda's backyard.  
He didn't stay for Vajecina.

One of the many offerings brought by the guests.
There is a little bit of cream cheese hidden in each pastry.
Pam and I adopted this plate and kept it close by at all times.

A beautiful cake for Hana's 70th birthday.
The little round puff pastries are wedding kolaches.
The platter of meat is called Rizek, and is similar to Weiner Schnitzel.
Jarda bought this table cloth in Bangladesh, 
when he was building an addition to a Skoda car factory there.

Glasses are lined up for a toast to Hana's 70th birthday.
Guests graze all day long on these delicious dishes.

The eggs are ready.
Helena prepares to serve the guests.
Jarda and one of Helena's cousins wait their turn.
That plastic bottle next to the kettle contains wine.  
You can go to the winery (Vinoteka)
and have them fill a five liter plastic bottle 
straight from the wine cask.

Each guest receives an open face egg sandwich on fresh rye bread.

This is what we have all been waiting for, the Vajecina sandwich.

Once you get your egg sandwich, 
you walk back to the house to check out the desserts and other goodies.

My favorite Vallachian pastry, the frgala.
Basically, it is a prune and cream cheese pizza.
The best!

Jarda and Helena's daughter, Darina, and her husband, Lada.

Jarda and Helena's son, Petr, and his girlfriend, Veronika.
The day of Vajecina was Petr's 32nd birthday.

Pam and Hana

Helena, Hana and Jarmila

This was my third Vajecina.
In 2006, Dave and I attended Vajecina near the tiny village of Mexiko 
(yes, that's in the Czech Republic).
In 2007, I took my then 89-year-old mother to Vajecina in Stara Ves (Old Village), Moravia.
 I hope to attend many more Vajecinas.

These people know how to party.

Jeannette  =)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Old Town Square - Prague

The Czech name for Old Town Square is Staromestske Namesti.

Our first night in Prague.  
We had dinner at Old Town Square with Pam's son, Ryan and his friend, Kevin.  Notice the Jan Hus Memorial across the square behind us.
You can also see a stage set up for a live concert.

Kevin, Pam and Ryan

The Jan Hus Memorial is overshadowed by Tyn Church.

The Jan Hus Monument was erected in 1915, on the 500th anniversary of his death. 
He was burned at the stake for his heretical preachings against the Roman Catholic Church. 
Hus's death eventually led to the bloody Hussite Wars (1420-34). 
The sculpture portrays the preacher surrounded by figures representing both the oppressed and the defiant, and a young mother, symbolizing national rebirth. 

The Church of Our Lady before Tyn dominates Old Town Square with it's distinctive Gothic steeples. 
Notice that one steeple is larger than the other, in order to represent Adam and Eve.
The first stone was laid in 1350, but due to religious turmoil, the church was not completed until 1511.

The Old Town Hall and Clock Tower was established in 1338 by King John of Luxemburg.  
Originally, there were two towers.    The Prague Uprising in May 1945 successfully led to the city's liberation from the Nazi occupation.  However, nearly 1700 Czechs lost their lives in this rebellion. One town hall tower was totally demolished. 

The tower that remains today was decapitated during the rebellion.  
It was soon restored to its full height of 215 feet.
The Astronomical Clock is on the other side of this tower.

When the Astronomical Clock was first revealed in 1410, it represented the cutting edge of medieval technology.  On the hour, the two windows open and twelve saints appear in rotation.

The clock contains an elaborate astrolabe displaying the movement of the sun, moon and zodiacal constellations, in addition to telling time in three formats: Central European, Old Bohemian and Babylonian.

An hourly procession of twelve saints was added in the 17th century, as well as a group of allegorical figures reflecting cultural stereotypes of the time - Death as a skeleton (next photo), Vanity as a figure holding a gilded mirror (above), Delight portrayed as a Turk (below), and Greed in the guise of a moneylender (above).

As the hour nears, Death inverts his hourglass, Delight shakes his head, Vanity glances into a mirror, Greed looks on enviously, and the twelve saints, led by St. Peter, emerge from two windows and proceed slowly around.

In 1866 the revolving dial on Prague's astronomical clock was replaced by a a new one fashioned by celebrated artist Josef Manes.  Individual months are symbolized by scenes from peasant life, corresponding with the signs of the zodiac painted on medallions.

You can take a 20-minute ride around Old Town in a horse drawn carriage for about $40.

Six hundred years of history are represented by the building and sculpture of Old Town Square.