Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's!

We had considered going into the city of Prague for New Year's Eve. Surely watching fireworks over the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle would be magical.

But, like New York, New Year's in Prague is crowded, expensive and cold.

Supposedly fireworks are sold to anyone and thus you've got drunken commoners lighting those suckers up in the streets, and with my luck, aiming them for my eye. Firework in the eye? No thank you!

So, after much debate, we have decided to spend this New Year's - our 11th together! - in Vojokovice, at David and Lukas' house (originally Andy's grandfather's house). We will drink wine, eat food that Hanka and Katka are making, play poker and have a great time.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Who Am I??

Because I have so much time on my hands lately, and because it's cold out, I have found myself reading about blog writing.

You know, you find some websites that say, "Do you want to write for a living? Earn money writing your blog!"

Hey, I think. That sounds great. I mean, who wouldn't want to write for money? I want that. Or just know that someone other than my mom reads about my thoughts and daily adventures?

So, because I want to make easy money, I read on. A big step in all this is promoting your blog - getting it hooked up to sites so that it will come up when people, like me, are looking to be entertained by some stranger's goings-on and such.

So, in my signing up for these sites, I find myself faced with a problem.

My dilemma: I don't have a proper name for my blog.

It's hard to find one because I don't have an angle. I don't write focused on food or travel or crafts or parenting. It's just me.

I started writing the blog to entertain myself and any bored friends. When we came to Europe it seemed an easy way for friends and family to keep in touch and know what's going on with me. That's all fine and good, but...a name?

I'm really bad at trying to think of things like this. Like my handwriting, or my blog background, I choose something great, for a while, but soon want to change it. This probably means that I'm manic or psychotic in some way. Whatever.

I asked Andy for help and he was useless. Thanks, Andy. For nothing.

In my search for a blog name, I used a random word generator online. It made me think of when I was in high school and we were trying to think of names for our band (that never really happened), pairing random words together like (examples, not real) "Citizen Shitball", or "Angry Tampons" (grrrl band?).

Regardless, here's some words it generated, and why they didn't work for me:
Bigotry - duh
Stick - this just doesn't feel like it represents me in any way. I don't really do nature, nor am I really skinny
Utterly - makes me think of cows
Con - I am not a con-man
Oddly - I don't think I can live up to this, I'm not *quirky* enough
Naturally - this sounds like some nudist or "not so fresh" thing
Cowbell - I think of one thing only - "More Cowbell!" And I'm not Christopher Walken
Frankincense - Christmas blog? I am not a wise man

I found some words that were good, though. I'll think about it and should be naming this blog soon. Don't be scared when it doesn't just say "allyn allyn allyn" anymore.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prague Christmas

Christmas in Prague was wonderful - on Christmas Eve morning Andy and I went with his parents to the cemeteries to put flowers and candles on his grandparents' graves.
We came back home, hung out, ate yummy yummy fish soup for lunch, then watched a movie. David, Lukas and Katka came over and we did dinner - fried carp, potato salad and Christmas cookies. Here, presents are exchanged on Christmas eve, which I'm not crazy about, but it was nice and fun. We had a good time.

On Christmas morning we woke upLink early and went to Prague, to St. Vitus Cathedral, which is in Prague Castle, for mass. Yes, it was all in Czech, but it was very pretty. Sadly, I have been totally spoiled by my little modern American church and didn't realize that because I was in a real church, old and stone, that I'd be freezing. Oh well, it was still beautiful and lovely.

We returned home, and I spent several hours talking to my family and Edith.
It was a great holiday! Click here for pictures, including many of the Christmas carp!

Holiday Overload

First off, please please please admire my little icon-thingie next to the address for this blog. Doing this was quite easy, but initially finding the info to do it took about 2 hours this morning. But it's SOOOO worth it, just to have something other than the "Blogger"-B there.

Anyway, I'm a total vegetable after these great holidays. At least Andy and I went for a walk today, a nice 3 mile hike in the woods. It's so cold! It's about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But it was sunny, which was amazing, because it's been gray for weeks now, with a little sun only for about 15 minutes a couple times a day. Then the gloomy clouds take over. I'm not a huge fan of the weather here, I will say that. At least in NY it's cold but can be really sunny. Here, it's just gray most of the time.

I've posted some pictures from right before Christmas. Click here to see them.
Some are of the Christmas market in Prague, which was nice but not as organized or orderly as the one in Nuremberg, and this caused a lot of disorderly slow-walking, eating-standing-up-while-walking, straggly annoying people that made me nearly go insane.
But, it was pretty (when I wasn't getting knocked in the eye by elbows while lifting their mulled wine or food to their mouths).
The other pictures are in Loket, which is near Karlovy Vary. It was very pretty there, all snowy and pretty, and the castle there had a really cute little Christmas market, where they actually tried to make it medieval and cool. They also have a torture museum WITH dummies, and that was fun too.

Here's some little movies from the trip... be aware that the pig one (the 4th video) is a little graphic - there is a little blood.

Will write about Christmas tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! After Christmas I'll post some pictures and exciting details of my first Czech Christmas...

as they say here in Prague, Veselé Vánoce!

Monday, December 22, 2008


If you're like me and sometimes want to see new websites or blogs to entertain you, you should try StumbleUpon.

Basically, you fill out a little profile and click boxes about your interests, and then you just hit the stumble button and it brings up a different website/blog each time, based on what you enjoy reading about. Then you rate it and as you rate more, the picks become more specific to your liking.

This is something I've been doing for several days now, "stumbling" around, and reading a lot of interesting stuff, like lists of unusual deaths, or medical experiments conducted by the US... fun, heartwarming stuff like that.

Anyway, I'm telling you about this because I've added these little buttons at the end of each post here, and if you think I've written about something that other people would enjoy, click on it. That will make my blog come up for others, if they are interested in something, like, say, travel. Or food. Or something.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Glitz Rocks!

It's cold out and we are staying in. Therefore, I have lots of nice time to play around with free things to make my blog fancy, and you can't get more fancy than glittery strands of glitz. I love my new background. It's the little things that make us happy.

And speaking of things that rock - I hear my least-favorite person on Gossip Girl - Aaron Rose, Serena's stupid artist boyfriend - won't be returning. Hooray! My prayers have been answered!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's on my mind today

-Getting a driver's license once I come home (Yes, I'm 30, BUT I'm a New Yorker - don't judge!).

- Getting a job (thus the need of the license to drive my sorry self to work... I'm reminded of the end of my favorite movie, "Goodfellas", Henry Hill's last line - "I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook." That's exactly how I feel after this work-hiatus I've been on. Oh well.).

- Why it took me so long to watch "The Wire" (We finished season 2 last night and are trying to hold off on downloading anymore before the christmas gift of an itunes gift certificate comes floating it's way over here... SUCH a good show!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Celeb News

The exciting celeb news for this week that caught my eye was that Christina Hendricks from one of the greatest TV shows ever - "Mad Men" - has gotten engaged to her boyfriend, Geoffrey Arend.

This is exciting on many levels -
I love "Mad Men", I love her character, Joan (see my 101 Facts About Me, #97), and
I went to high school with Geoffrey Arend and have hung out with him on several occasions, though I'm sure he doesn't remember me (see #26). Whatever. It's still happy news.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Český Krumlov

I have been badgering Andy about going to Český Krumlov while we are here in the Czech Republic
(we went the first time I was here), and we finally traveled down there last weekend.
Český Krumlov is a lovely town, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that was chosen as the seat of the kingdom under the rule of the Lords of Rožmberk, from 1302 - 1602. It is a winding medieval town with water going through it and a castle on a hill. I love the castle because it is painted (as many Czech buildings are) to look like it has three-dimensional bricks or designs. It's very pretty.

We drove there on Sunday and it was crappy, snowy and rainy out, but we got there and walked around and had a lovely day. We had an interesting meaty-lunch in an old pub that had barely any light, and was smoky and built into a wall, or something. It was strange. Unfortunately I didn't get the name.

The only unhappy part of the day was that the Christmas market - it was a bust. It was in a nice square, but was very tiny and didn't have many items for sale, and what was for sale wasn't impressive. I saw a sign for hot chocolate and when we got up to the stand we saw that the hot chocolate and the coffee were both from a machine. Like the one H-Link had. Yuck. (though it was good at H-Link.) So we went to another stand and got apple cider, which we only realized after we'd paid, was powdered (and they didn't even try to hide it!). But, it was cold out and the cider was hot, so it was okay.

Anyway, I'm glad we got to go to Český Krumlov again and it really is such a beautiful town - apparently it even ranked #16 on National Geographic's 100 Most Beautiful Historic Places in the World.
Even in the cold winter, it's not hard to see why (more pictures).

Plus, I think this castle would be a good retreat against zombies... the walls are really high.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Boredom Abated!*

Thank goodness for facebook**! Otherwise I couldn't have begged people to send me entertaining messages. Ask and ye shall receive! I loved the SNL skit AND the Dolly Parton video, but the best was sent by Anna - thanks Anna!

Check it out for Christmas humor - click here.
Ho, Ho, Ho.

*This sounds odd to me... "boredom abated"... does it seem odd to you? Abated is a normal enough word for me, but you know how sometimes even your written name looks weird...? That's what's going on here. Did I just turn stupid?Hmm.

**Life's getting a little sad when I feel like I've said that numerous times now...

Snowy day

Today is one of those lazy days...

We woke up with every intention to go play Squash (we play twice a week now and it is great fun and great exercise and surely the reason why I haven't gained any weight what with eating all the chocolates, koláč, and syr). But one look outside and we saw that it was snowing and everything was covered and very magical looking.

So, we decided we would not go out, except to take a walk later (I'm sure we'll end up at the pub for a beer - I like a walk that includes a beer in there) and so now I'm just playing on the computer. I added a ton of (mainly cooking) blogs to my blog list. I think it's because Andy's mother is the one who cooks here, and so I am cooking vicariously through these bloggers.

I also updated my igoogle birthday calendar because for some reason it had shifted nearly everyone's birthday a day later than the actual birthday. Why!? Annoying.

I've also read up on Gossip Girl news, and how much everyone else seems to hate Aaron Rose just as much as I do. I knew I wasn't the only one disgusted by his nasty hair and scraggly goatee. Eww. Oh, and the scarf. Don't forget the scarf!!

That's basically it. If you can, help me be entertained. If you know a good website or blog, please let me know. Also, if I have any people reading this besides my current 6 followers, please become a follower (over there, on the left of the screen, down a bit) so I can feel happy and fulfilled inside.

(And by the way, I
HATE the pictures of Serena that Aaron was displaying in his new show at the gallery - especially THIS ONE!!)

Goodbye, Bettie Page

So sad!

Bettie Page has died at the age of 85. I am not a celeb/gossip writer, just a follower, so I won't write more, other than she was such a kick ass awesome beauty. I mean, seriously, who didn't want to be her!? RIP BP.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mikuláš, Anděl & Čert

Before St. Nicholas was a saint, and before he evolved into Santa Claus, he was a bishop. This is how he is portrayed here in the Czech Republic every December 5th (the eve of his feast day), when people dress as Mikuláš (Nicholas), an Anděl (angel) and the Čert (devil or demon) and visit the homes of children (usually for a small fee and/or a shot or a beer) to give them gifts of candy and goodies, but not before scaring the hell out of them.

Here's what happens: Mikuláš, Anděl and Čert visit the home, the children stand there facing them, scared to death of the Čert (who has a long tail, and a chain and is just frightening). Mikuláš, who is kindly and warm, reads from a book and lists the ways the child was bad this year (lying, not cleaning, etc.). The child then owns up to this wrongdoing saying "To je pravda" (It is true) and then each child has to say a poem or sing a song to receive the gifts. At some point the Čert tries to put the child into a bag to take them away to someplace (hell?) where all bad children go.

For my first Mikuláš, Anděl a Čert experience, we went to the home of Katka's sister, Petra & her boyfriend. Her daughter, Cristina (who is the adorable brunette) is five and said she wasn't really nervous, but check out the look on her face. That girl is seriously freaked out. Andy's brother, Lukaš and his girlfriend Katka dressed as Mikuláš and the Čert (we didn't have an angel) and were awesome - especially Katka as the Čert - she spoke/screamed like a lunatic and made these horrible sounds.

This tradition is awesome!

It incorporated drinking, dressing up and scaring (but then rewarding) children.

Notice the (fake) child's leg
hanging out of the Čert's bag!

For more pictures, click here

Sunday, December 7, 2008


At this point I have to write a brief explanation about my friend Michael.

Michael and I met in 2001 when we were in the same training group at a medical call center. He left a couple months later (I know that crazy beyatch Healy is to blame!!!) but in the brief amount of time that he was there (and in NYC), we got along famously.

Just today I was recounting a story from Michael's blog to Andy and I reminded Andy of how much I adore Michael. When we met, I never felt such a click with someone in my life as I did with Michael. We just hit it off immediately and were really stupid and hilarious when we were together. And had a great time.

One specific memory is of us working in that basement office one evening, sitting next to each other with our headsets on, Michael in his neon orange sweatshirt. We were pretending to be helicopter pilots. Why? I don't know. I guess because we had headsets on. Were we dying with laughter and annoying the hell out of everyone we worked with? Probably. Did we care? Absolutely not.

After many years of not really being in touch, the glory of facebook has brought us back together. I couldn't be happier. Michael is funny and great and awesome. And now I have listed Michael's blog, as well as two that he follows, here as blogs that I follow (the newest - Dlisted - is awesome and excruciatingly funny snarky bitchy gossipy celeb stuff) and because I hate not giving credit where credit is due, just had to explain where all my entertainment these days is coming from. And it's all thanks to Michael!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Before I start I'd like to say I really didn't like my last post. Particularly, I didn't like the scrapbooking (is this one word? or should it be hyphenated? everything gets it with the red underline...) picture I included, because I started thinking maybe people would think it's a picture of me scrapbooking. It's not. Don't be confused.

Nuremberg, Germany.
It was fun. But I'm beat from traveling! Even such a little trip! It was cold, of course... surely a few degrees colder than here in Prague. Going on a trip in this cold weather can be difficult, because you're standing the whole time and you can't just relax on a bench and people watch. We stood and people watched plenty, but we realized we were on our feet for basically two days. That was a little rough, but the rest rocked!

I have two albums with Nuremberg pictures (the first starts with a few in Prague on Thanksgiving). To see pics click here and

We arrived in Nuremberg after a pleasant and fast-moving 5 hour train trip. We dropped our two backpacks at the Hotel Victoria and went for lunch. Then we went to the Nazi Documentation Center Museum which is in the old Nazi Congress Hall, which was far as I know, was never finished. We walked around a lot and saw the Zeppelinfield, where the Nazis would rally together and share their craziness and hate. It was freaky, and strange. The stands were overgrown which made it even creepier than it was.

The rest of our trip was spent on a Rick Steves' walking tour, eating Nürnberger Bratwurst on a bun, drinking glühwein (mulled wine) and hot alcoholic egg nog - all from stands on the streets.

There were so many glühwein stands, and when you get your glühwein you pay a little extra for the annual cup of the market, and carry it around to the other stands for more wine/egg nog/etc, and then you can keep the cup as a keepsake to remember your glühwein-drinking days in Nuremberg, or you can return it at any stand and get your money back. We kept ours, of course. We also got some cups from another stand that were different from the cups all the other stands were using. We like being individuals, so we kept those, too.

Our hotel was very nice. It was quite fancy which we felt we could handle since it was only one night that we would be there. It was right at the beginning of Königstraße, inside the wall for the old town, so it was a great location. We were able to easily get around, and make our way to the Christkindlmarkt, which is the annual Christmas market that draws 2 million visitors every year. Some say it's the biggest in Europe. It was big, and pretty great. Of course, kind of like NYC street fairs, there seemed to be a limit to what the stands were selling... it was kind of the same thing, over and over again. So there was glühwein, bratwurst, gingerbread, ornaments, hats/gloves/scarves... and the same over and over again. There were some differences, of course, but not much. Regardless, it was a lot of fun to walk around and see everything. It was very festive and Christmasy, which I love.

People were pretty controlled and friendly and not that big of a pain in the ass, except for the few who did the tourist stop-dead-in-their-tracks and not move thing, right in the middle of a giant thoroughfare... but then, that always happens.

We barely made our connecting train on the way back, got stuck in a cabin with some smelly people and then the lights went out making it impossible to read for the remaining 4 hours. 45 minutes before we came into Prague the train broke down and we had to wait for it to be fixed... but only for about 25 minutes. It didn't ruin the trip in any way.

It was a great time, and I'd definitely recommend the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt to anyone... it was great holiday fun. It was so festive and nice.

I'm a big Christmas fan and any excuse to feel all warm inside while I walk around in the cold - whether from happiness and children singing, or from the wine - make for a great time for me.

Last note: Speaking of children singing... we happened to catch some little German kids singing Christmas songs in front of a church (Frauenkirche I think) and it was really cute so here's the video. Unfortunately I missed taping them singing "O Tannenbaum" but this other thing is funny and cute, and I like how the teacher sounds singing in German.

Monday, December 1, 2008

blog madness!

You know what's funny?
Looking through blogs.
At the top of my blog, at the very top, there should be a little button for you to go to the "next blog". You should do it. It's great. When I'm bored I do this, and just see what's out there.
There are an alarming number of "krafty" and scrapbooking blogs out there. And, for some reason, the majority of blogs I run into are in other languages... I'm not sure if that's because I'm in a non-English speaking country or what. But, it's great. And fun. And sometimes you actually find something worth reading. But, more often, you find things to make fun of.

We are leaving for Nuremberg tonight. Or tomorrow. Depending on how you look at it. We are taking a 5:15am train from the station in Prague, and so we are waking up at 3:30 and Andy's dad is driving us to the station. So we will be getting to bed very early tonight.

We will arrive in Nuremberg at 10am, which is a much better deal than taking the Student Agency bus, which would have left at 11:30 tonight but arrived in Nuremberg at 4:15am. What the heck would we do!? No, the train is better, and quite frankly I feel safer because although the Student Agency buses (which are not actually driven by students, as far as I know... I'm not sure why they are called that) run all the time, all over the place, there was an accident a month or so ago, and people died. So, I'm cool with the train.

We are excited about Nuremberg, since we are just going to be there for like 31 hours, but sometimes those are the best trips (like our Vienna trip last year that was sooo awesome!). So, we will arrive, visit Nazi sites, eat, shop at the Christmas market, eat, drink beer, shop, walk around, take pictures, eat and drink and come back. What could be a better trip!? AND we're staying at some fancy 3 star hotel, so that's exciting. It might just mean that there's a bathroom in the room, since apparently all the stars mean something like that, and I know nothing about this, but whatever, I'm going to Germany and that's exciting.