Friday, January 30, 2009

Some Last Prague Pics

We're all packed! Here's some last pics... click here

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Okay, Something Funny

I got this from one of the blogs I read, and while her post was followed by some serious talk, I thought this was hilarious (and thought-provoking, to the point where I feel like a total ass being on the computer right now).

My Living Will

Last night my sister and I were talking. I said to her “I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all. If that ever happens, just pull the plug, okay?”

So she got up, unplugged my computer, and threw out my wine.

She’s such a bitch.


I'm seriously feeling the blues right now about leaving.
Andy and I are starting to get really upset. I don't think we'd expected such a wave of emotion upon leaving his family and this beautiful city.

It sucks!

On a different note - we went into Prague for the last time today. Stopped at the library (had to return books), bookstore (needed a nice fluffy book for the plane ride), Shadow Bar - which was so crowded we had to go someplace else! - and then Noi.

We ate so much I vomited.

No, seriously.

In the bathroom at Noi.
Which is really cramped.
I could only get down on one knee.
I looked like I was proposing to the toilet.
It was sexy.

I think I just drank too much. This is NOT in any way a reflection of Noi's food, which is awesome!

Ho hum. I have pictures to post tomorrow. Čau!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Andy's Twin Brother?!

Okay - the first picture isn't super flattering of my gorgeous husband, but it was the only one I could find where he wasn't smiling or laughing!

But hello, isn't the guy (the one on the left, people!) in the bottom picture (thanks Dlisted) kind of a (slightly younger and skinnier) dead ringer for Andy?
Minus the facial tattoos??

Andy doesn't agree, but I think they look alike. What do YOU think??

What? You Want More About ME?!

Oh my god! I'm such a busy bee today. Perhaps it is because I was up at dawn (9) because someone in the Gibiš family next door decided that was the right time to play a horn. What?! It's true!

(FYI - Gibiš is pronounced "Gibish" - important to know since it's now used - by me, Andy, Heather & Crystal - as a adjective or noun meaning "idiotic" or "idiot".)

Anyway, right now on Facebook there's one of those "Write a note with 25 random things about yourself" thingies going around. I did it. And I didn't even use any of my 101 facts about me!!

These are all new things about me that you didn't know and surely never needed to know! And now... you know you want to know!

So because most of you don't know me through Facebook (we should fix that!), here's my list cuz you know you can't get enough of me.

25 Things About Me

1. I was an intern at "Sassy" Magazine for one week during the summer when I was 15. But then my mother found out I was cutting summer school and made me quit Sassy and spend my days in a recording studio with her instead, where I was bored and read 3 Stephen King books.

2. I have a really bad memory about a lot of things and people that occurred between the ages of 14 and 20 and usually have to Edith for clarification.

3. I don't have a driver's license, but have to get one ASAP and I'm terribly freaked out about it.

4. I went through a period 9 years ago or so where I was convinced that something terrible was going to happen to me. I became very nervous about myself and loss of control over my actions. I still get scared about things like driving because I can picture myself driving off a cliff or bridge all too easily.

5. I love Pizza King in Anderson, Indiana. We are planning a trip to Michigan in a couple weeks and will drive 10 hours out of our way to go to Pizza King.

6. One of my favorite things is drinking in the afternoon, but as I've gotten older I find it makes me very sleepy. This makes me really really sad and makes me feel like I'm old more than anything else.

7. I can be a real bitch, particularly with coworkers I don't like.

8. When I was 10 or so I was in a gift shop with my mother and pointed out a plant that said "Rubber Plant" and laughed because I thought it was supposed to be made out of rubber, or something. Then I realized that it had condoms hanging on it and was immediately embarrassed. It took me 15 years to get over it.

9. I love NYC but hate a lot of things about it.

10. When I was 6 I peed my pants in ballet class. Unfortunately, I wasn't wearing but pants but a black leotard with white tights. My oldest friend Erika told everyone I spilled lemonade on myself and totally stuck up for me.

11. I used to reenact the lift scene from "Dirty Dancing" in the pool with my friend Dionne. Like, all the time.

12. I didn't know squat about Eastern European history or Communism before I met Andy.

13. I dropped out of high school when I was a junior (and went back a year later).

14. Coming to Prague for 7 months was worth it, but I'm sorry I didn't finish the Teaching Fellows (since, after all, I still want to teach).

15. I've never been fired from a job.

16. I watch wayyy too much TV. And I love it!

17. The only time I ever participated in karaoke (in front of strangers), I sang "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf. I forced Vicky from H-Link to sing with me but she didn't really know the words and I basically sang the whole thing myself.

18. I got engaged at the Chelsea Hotel. When Andy asked me to marry him I was so shocked I kept saying "No, no no". I finally shook off my shock and said "Yes".

19. I get really confused by explaining grammar and punctuation.

20. I can be really level-headed and confident, but whenever I'm embarking on something new, like the first day of a new job or on my way to an interview, I get so nervous I can barely breathe.

21. I show my emotions on my face. It's a bad thing.

22. I don't like being around drunk people (unless I am one).

23. I am very nervous about getting a job that is satisfying, fun and pays well while I am getting certified to teach in Massachusetts.

24. I procrastinate and usually don't write papers, lesson plans or anything till the last minute. But they always end up really great.

25. I am very needy with my close friends and am often nervous that friendships are in jeopardy.

Special Celeb Birthdays!

I was obviously very ill yesterday because didn't read all of Dlisted's posts! So I didn't realize that yesterday was the birthday for two of my favorite people!

Mike Patton from the bands Faith No More and Mr. Bungle turned 41 AND actor Alan Cumming turned 44.

I have seen both of these fine men in performances.

Edith and I saw Mike Patton years ago at the Knitting Factory.
Just a couple years ago I saw Alan Cumming in The Three Penny Opera on Broadway.

Besides being an awesome show, and Alan Cumming being super sexy, I remember the show for this:
Right when Macheath (Cumming) was in the middle of saying something, someone's cell phone rang. Right in the first row. Alan stopped what he was saying, walked to the edge of the stage and reemed the person out and made them feel terrible.

I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was essentially "Are you going to answer that?" or "I'll wait" or something like that.

It was obnoxious, and uncomfortable, but highly appropriate. I mean, dude, you're sitting in the first row of a Broadway show where Alan Cumming, Jim Dale and Cyndi Lauper are performing and you DON'T turn your phone off?! You deserve a new asshole.

I love Alan Cumming.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Job Loss and Other Stuff for Today

I am getting sick. I can feel it. I just pray it doesn't turn into bronchitis, since I'm officially uninsured once I return to the US.

Andy's mother's out of her room, and back in the real world with us today, but I took a 2 hour nap and have been gulping down the remaining Airborne I brought with me, which I'd planned to take the day before the flight since I always get sick from flying.

(I LOVE Airborne! Apparently there have been lawsuits about it not working, but that's crap. It works for me. I've tested it when I've flown, and working in a classroom, and it's great. Apparently it's very controversial and the lawsuits have been all about "Big Pharma" trying to squash this alternative product. Support it if it works for you!)

Anyway, if you got that promo-post from me in your reader or email about the signatures, please ignore it. It was me accidentally letting that website post something here. We learn through mistakes, right? The whole signature at the bottom of the blog is cool, though, and one that I wanted to totally "borrow" from a great commenter and one of my new favorite bloggers, Carolina Girl . But the signature kept coming out all ugly and fuzzy, so I gave up.

Andy's brother David lost his job today. He works for Moeller, the electrical-something or other company, which was recently bought by Americans... so of course now they're doing lay offs. The sucky part is that he has a company car (and computer, and cell) and of course all that goes back to them on Friday, his last day.

The non-sucky part is that he gets a 5 month severance package AND what amounts to unemployment from the country. Nice, right? Or maybe it's not... I've never been laid off or fired, so I don't know what the deal is with severance and unemployment in the US, but either way, at least he doesn't have to freak out right now about money. Although, he does now need to get a car since he lives in a village that's not super convenient with public transportation.

So, my day's slow. How's yours?

More Sad Czech Stuff!

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova have
broken up!! Yuck!

For anyone who, like me, was obsessed with the movie "Once" and the soundtrack, this is sad news.

As I've mentioned, for my birthday last year Andy, Edith, Carrie and I went to see these two play at Radio City and it was an awesome show...seriously one of the most kind of sincere and large-but-felt-small, rockingest shows. It was a lot of fun.

AND, of course, we can't overlook the fact that Marketa is, of course, Czech! That's always exciting when we find famous Czech people, especially because she was so adorable at the Oscars last year. And their winning Best Song was seriously one of the best Oscar moments I've ever experienced.

Oh well, To old relationships!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gettin' All Teary-Eyed

Andy and I are starting to feel sad.

After nearly 7 months of being here, staying with his parents, we're gearing up to leave (in case you couldn't tell from all the posts about it).

Today we woke up and are totally depressed. Now everything is all "This is the last time we'll go somewhere/do something" and it kinda sucks.

Not to mention, Andy's mom is sick and has been trying to stay away from us so we don't get sick. She's been holed up in her bedroom since last Monday. That sucks, too. We like her and want to spend time with her.

We definitely have things we are looking forward to, but it's still hard to leave.
Andy's mother never goes to the airport when we leave, because it's too sad for her. She just told Andy that she doesn't want his dad to drive us because she thinks he'll cry and she won't be there for him.

It's all so sad.

We've been incredibly lucky to take this break from reality and come here. Not to mention, it's kind of resolved a lot of things for Andy, since he hasn't been home for so long since before he left to come to the US, when he was 19. Now, he's seen how his parents and brothers are living and feels like everything's okay, and now we can get on with our lives.

Whatever, I'm going to try to get happy and just enjoy this last week.

I hope everyone else out there is having a good day!

Um, WHAT?? Child Trading?!

See, this is what happens when one has too much time on their hands. They start pressing that Stumble button and end up God knows where on the Internet.

This is a joke, right??

I feel certain that child trading is not a real/legit thing...

Light: It's a Good Thing!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fear of Flying

I have a fear of flying.

I haven't always had this fear. In fact, I used to like flying. Actually, I still do. I enjoy the adventure, hanging out in airports (I suppose that's not technically "flying"), and airline food.

But I still have a fear.

Growing up in NYC and originally from Indiana, I was used to flying from a young age, to see my grandparents for summers. I flew alone several times when I was a kid.

Sadly, as I've gotten older I've become more aware. Of crashes and accidents and disasters. And after September 11th my fears expanded to include those of not just crashing, but flying into a building.

I don't let this fear stop me from flying, of course. If I didn't fly I'd never travel to all the great places I've traveled to. And yes, I know that my chances of getting into a car accident are way more likely than being in a plane crash.

But, I'm still freaked out.

In recent years I've taken to swallowing some prescribed anti-anxiety pills before take off. These are pretty great for knocking me out for a couple hours. Of course, this sometimes backfires, such as the time when we boarded the plane, took our seats, I fell asleep and woke up to find that we were delayed and hadn't even taken off yet. Great.

I also enjoy drinking on flights. This came in handy particularly when I was flying from France with E., and we basically drank ourselves into a stupor because she was so freaked out and tense from flying and it rubbed off on me. I try to continue the tradition of drinking a couple glasses of wine, and airlines that don't charge for alcohol are fabulous in my book.

Now I think about our impending flight next Sunday. We have a quick flight to Frankfurt and then, 2 hours later, a flight to NYC. This basically means I can't take my magic pills for the first flight.

After the recent landing of that plane in the Hudson I saw a little video headline from some morning show about how to deal with fears of flying. The "expert" said that it's a learned behavior and can totally be undone with therapy. That's great, but doesn't help me right now for next week's flight.

So, after some more internet research on how to quell the fears and anxiety, I found a free online course, made by an American pilot who assures us he is no expert, but wants to inform people to help them chill out.

I'm 3 lessons into it (there are 5) and it's GREAT! He interviews retired and current pilots, flight attendants and all kinds of people. The lesson I just finished was all about TURBULANCE and that rocked my socks because I feel way more calm now. I won't explain why (there's too much to say), but you can click here and educate yourself.

I don't know if this will help me from freaking out on the flight, but the way I see it is:
pills + wine + being educated = calm(er) allyn.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We are leaving Prague SO SOON!

We are super excited to get back, but also super sad that we are leaving.

If you're just tuning in... we've been here in Prague staying with Andy's parents since July (2008) and it's been an amazing experience.

We've gotten used to seeing the beautiful city... it's like being in a fairy tale with that castle and the river and the Charles Bridge.

We've gotten used to semi-lousy customer service ("Ne mame" = "We don't have it", a phrase we've gotten very accustomed to hearing).

We've gotten used to not working!!!

We've gotten used to beer and smazeny syr (fried cheese) and topinky (fried bread) all the time.

We've gotten used to being in a small country.

We've gotten used to walks in the woods.

We've gotten used to gray days.

We've gotten used to playing squash.

We've gotten used to cobblestone streets.

We've gotten used to Czech tv.

We've gotten used to Andy's parents.

BUT we look forward to...

Seeing friends and family.

Moving to Western Massachusetts.

American TV!!!

Starting over in a new town, getting new jobs, making new friends and getting a new life set up.

Pretty decent customer service (hopefully... Duane Reade I still have no hope for you!).

American food (I crave sandwiches and BBQ more than anything!).

Going on a Midwestern road trip as soon as we get back (I'm comin' Nana!).

Tomorrow we go to Prague for the 3rd to last time... lunch and just walking around, then Saturday to Sudička for fondue with the brothers and girlfriends, and then next Thursday will be our last dinner out... Shadow bar for drinks and the Noi for Thai.

9 days people! Then we are back in good ol' New York!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's Going On

I'm a very busy person.

Here are some things I've been busy with lately:

  • Looking for furniture I'll probably never be able to afford to furnish the house that I don't yet have.
  • Looking at houses in the Northampton, MA, area on the MLS site and trying to figure out which ones we could actually afford to buy without giving away our first-born.
  • Watching "When the Levee Broke."
  • And "Dexter."
  • Trying to figure out if I've been wrong all these years by putting commas and periods inside quotation marks. (one example: "When the Levee Broke". -or- "When the Levee Broke.")
  • Reading "The Blind Assassin" which is strange but pretty good.
  • Looking at the google analytics for this blog and trying to figure out what it all means. Some things I've found out:
    • thus far no one has ended up on my blog through a search engine.
    • I get a surprising amount of traffic from the London area.
    • I go onto my blog more than anyone else. Hm.
  • Looking for some neat Czech glass item to bring back for mom.
  • Looking for a wacky Czech t-shirt (size SMALL - nothing else will do) for my brother.
  • Looking for anything that could possibly be an okay-present for my step-father who, wants and needs nothing.
  • Limiting cigarette intake before we come back, at which point I will not be smoking.
  • Losing 4 pounds (hell yeah!)
  • Getting snippy with some beyatch on a food site who undermined all of my suggestions to another member on where to eat in NYC. (see below)
  • So, maybe I didn't realize that Tony Bourdain is (according to this woman) no longer "involved" with Les Halles... on their site they do refer to it as his home base, and didn't he do a "No Reservations" last year of him in the kitchen there? No matter - she didn't need to shoot me down on everything. I was quite perturbed by it and wonders why people can't just be positive instead of feeling better about themselves by shooting others down. Hmph!
  • Taking wintry, snowy walks in the woods.
  • Drinking beer. In pubs. While eating fried cheese. Sooo good.
What have you been doing lately?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fakers! Scam Artists! Losers!

I can't believe this nonsense! Have you heard about this?

The jerk who owns the Gristedes grocery chain tried opening up "Trader John's" down the street from the 14th St. Trader Joe's.

Here's the brief article I read about it on Serious Eats: New York which is a pretty entertaining food-oriented website/blog I've just discovered.

What a scam! I love Trader Joe's. I had heard about them for years and finally started shopping there at the Long Island locations when we got a car. (All pre-14th street, of course.) It's a great store, and they have great products.

One reason that made us decide that we will move to the Western Mass area is because there is a Trader Joe's in Hadley. Seriously, we love it there.

My favorite part of this article is this:

"Last week, Trader Joe's filed a complaint against Gristedes for such a 'blatant attempt to confuse consumers and capitalize on Trader Joe's hard-earned goodwill.' But John Catsimatidis, owner of the Gristede's grocery chain, sees no wrongdoing. 'My name is John. I've been a trader all my life.'"

I've made my opinion on the matter pretty clear.
What do you think about this?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hiccup Cure

Having just won a battle with hiccups, I will share with you the cure.

I've been told all kinds of cures for the hiccups, like eating a spoon full of sugar or holding your breath.

But this one works 100% of the time. No joke.

When you get the hiccups, take a drink of water for as long as possible, swallowing continuously while you drink. Particularly at the moment when you are engaged in a hiccup. Keep drinking and swallowing till you just can't anymore.

There. Your hiccups should be cured.

This is Andy's remedy and it's always worked for me, including tonight. Does it work for you?

2008 in Pictures

After reliving 2008 for that survey I decided to post some of my favorite pictures from last year.

These are in no particular order, and there were so many... sadly my hair looked like crap in 90% of those, so I had to leave them out.
Wintry branches in Loket.

Christmas ornaments in Nuremberg.

Piazza San Marco, Venice.

Prague Castle (a little blurry but still pretty!)

Heather playing the horn at Stodola on that fateful night!

Me and my man at the Louvre in Paris.

Students! Reading! Of their own will!

The plane ride to Prague, July 8th.

Students working together.

My birthday dinner at La Flor.

Spanish Moss in Savannah.

She-crab bisque at Poogan's Porch in Charleston, SC.

2008 Reflection

I've heard that the key to a successful blog is to mix it up a bit from time to time, with lists, polls, pictures, etc.

So, here I am... mixing it up.

Here's a survey I stole from an entertaining blog I've started reading, which she says she stole from nearly everyone in the blog world. I don't do these very often, but 2008 has been a pretty wild year for me, so I figured what the hay! And I didn't post any of the requisite resolution posts, so this makes up for it.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Participated in and won NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), played squash, stopped working to pursue something different.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? My resolution is and always will be to lose weight and quit smoking… I’ve lost weight and am about to stop the smoking (I swear!)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yep – my friend Matt (well, his wife Leah, actually).

4. Did anyone close to you die? Auntie.

5. What countries did you visit? Czech Republic, Poland, France, Italy, Germany.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? Anger control.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory and why? July 8th – the day we left for Prague.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Writing a novel.

9. What was your biggest failure? Making running a part of my daily routine.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I got sick of running. Other than that, no. I did think I was getting arthritis, but we decided that was from holding my Nalgene bottle.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Seafood Gnocchi in Venice & Chef's tasting menu at Elizabeth on 37th in Savannah. (I like food. Leave me alone.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I really can’t think of someone.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Those freakin’ AIG suits who got the government loan and then bought the spa/vacation retreat thing.

14. Where did most of your money go? Travel stuff.

15. What did you really, really, really get excited about? Travel. (Do we see a trend for 2008??)

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? “Hey Hi Hello” by Shaun Baker. To my chagrin. (Lookin at you, crapper!)

17. Compared to this time last year are you:
Happier? Sure, why not?
Thinner? Yes! (a little – no miracles)
Richer? Absolutely not.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercised

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Sleep

20. How did you spend Christmas? With the Spacek family in Prague.

21. How did you spend new years? With family playing poker & drinking.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yes (calm down – it was just "falling in love again" with Andy).

23. How many one-night stands? none

24. What was your favorite TV program? The Wire

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yes

26. What was the best book you read? Middlesex

27. What was your biggest musical discovery? Mig 21 (Czech band)

28. What did you want and you got? Chanel Mademoiselle perfume

29. What did you want and not get? The Coco Chanel Lifetime movie that mom taped but forgot to burn & send to me (seriously I didn’t plan that Chanel would be the answer to both questions!)

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old did you turn? Turned 30. We had dinner with Carrie, Josh, Edith & John at La Flor, then a couple weeks later Andy, Carrie, E and I saw Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having more money and suitcase space to buy more stuff from travels.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Jeans jeans jeans – at least after school was done. It’s so nice to wear jeans everyday!

34. What kept you sane? Andy for sure (when he wasn’t driving me crazy)… and writing this blog.

35. Which celebrity did you fancy the most? Michael K. Williams (aka Omar Little)

36. What political issue stirred you the most? The election, since beyond that I tune out.

37. Who did you miss? Dad.

38. Who was the best new person you met? Didn’t meet anyone new.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008: Fictional characters aren’t real, so it’s not always necessary to cry over them.

40. Quote or Song Lyric that sums up your year: I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game though, right? (Omar)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Creepy Faceless Babies Artist At It Again!

Click here to see and read about the newest controversial art installation by David Černý, the mad genius who is responsible for the creepy faceless crawling babies in my blog title image.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good Question

Czech food is not diet food. Say it with me.

Anyway, we're coming home in less than 3 weeks and that's nice. In the meantime I seem to be a disgusting mess. Snow and cold make it hard to walk.

Regardless, walk we did, around Prague today. Went to the library. Among others, I got The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Have you read it? What'd you think? Will I like it?

Bought a couple little gifty things for family. Bought a cool soapdish for our house that we don't have yet. Had a couple beers. Went to Tesco to buy Wasa crackers (the only thing between me and a mumu). Went home.

Talked to Nana, who told me my cousin is moving to California, where, she informed me there are a "ton of gays" and she's very worried that they will hurt my cousin. This was news to me, because Nana's always been pretty chill about that stuff. Nevertheless, I tried to soothe her. "But Nana, the gays aren't violent!" She wasn't convinced.

Anyhoo, we finished "The Wire" which is truly one of the best shows of all time. It's up there with "Six Feet Under" and... I can't even think of another show right now that's as smart as "The Wire". We lurved it!

We saw this poster the other day and I liked it. I never thought to ask this question. I like posters - they make you think.

Oh! And this picture is for Edith - not very clear, but this is what is served at the billiard hall over here.

For when you're drunk.

It's bread spread with pork fat and topped with raw onions, and a dash paprika to make it pretty. It's awesome when you're drinking... but the next day you wake up tasting nothing but onions. But that doesn't stop you from craving it a week later - oh no. As you can see, I could barely refrain from stuffing the whole dern thing in my mouth before I realized I needed to take a picture of it's hangover-easing goodness. Don't mind the bite marks.

Andy and his mother are laughing like crazy Czech hyenas downstairs so I must go join the fun. Tootles.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hey! There's a Spider on Your Back!

For those of you who know me, you know I'm a TV junkie. And being here in another
country without English-language TV has been a little tough, although I think I've handled it much better than I would have thought.

But I can't really say I haven't watched any television... Andy and I hang out with his parents and watched "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" in Czech, as well as another Czech show, "Pošta pro tebe" where people find long lost friends, family members, etc., and that person comes on the show and guesses who was looking for them.

And, with the help of iTunes we've watched "Mad Men" and "The Wire".

But, sometimes you just wake up and have nothing to do, and more than anything just want to veg in front of the TV.

I recently felt that way. Luckily, I brought with me some "Kids in the Hall" DVDs, so I popped one in and vegged. And laughed. I love that show.

One of the best sketches, which I watched on this day, was my inspiration for this blog post. It's a short and funny sketch.

On that note... here's how I spent this past Saturday.

Andy's brother Lukas is crazy and has a thing for spiders... as pets. And not little simple spiders, but big hairy nightmare spiders. He's also had praying mantis and scorpions as pets. Yuck.

He felt the need to get a new one, so on Saturday we went with him to an insect/creepy-crawly show where he got a new spider.

There were all kinds of creatures there - spiders, lizards, turtles (yay!), snakes, and grubs, crickets and baby mice for food. Besides the creepy-crawlies, seeing the people who go to these things was hilarious - a mix of geeks and goths with some regular looking folk mixed in. And it was packed! Quite an experience.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Hi and welcome to the new address! See, I told you everything looked the same. It's safe here, don't be scared!

Please add yourself as a follower, or subscribe in the feed thingy.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hedgehog Disclaimer

Andy insisted I note that although that hedgehog is really cute and the video is kinda cute and funny, I don't really agree with it because it's kind of torturous to the cutey.

I suppose so.

The woman who made the video has another of him in the tub - now that one is complete abuse!

Anyway. I don't agree with the treatment of that cutey, but he's still cute. And I still want one!

I just can't help it


Hedgehogs are adorable.

Seriously, I think I want one.

I'm not savvy enough to know how to put this youtube video into this posting, so just click here. Sorry to make you work so hard.

**Something else I can't help is how much I love Gossip Girl and Monday's episode was wonderful,
if only for (KIND OF SPOILER ALERT? RANDOM DETAIL ALERT?) Chuck Bass wearing a kimono and smoking opium in Thailand. Awesome!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Official!

We've bought our tickets.

We fly back on Sunday, February 1st.

We are flying Lufthansa, with a layover in Frankfurt.
We opted (I refused) to not fly on a prop-jet to Frankfurt.

I've never flown Lufthansa. Have you? I hope I hear only good things about them!
I think they are supposed to be good. Right?

I hate flying.

2 Cafes & a Pivnice

Now that it's January, we are in the process of planning our great return to the US, to NY and the relocation to Massachusetts.

We are planning to buy our plane tickets tonight, and return Sunday, February 1st. That's 24 days away! Oh my god!

As much as we have had a great time here for our 7 month long trip, we are both excited to come back. I'll talk more about that another day.

For now, we are in the process of still enjoying ourselves...but we are also kind of saying a long sad farewell to Prague. Of course, we'll be back - Andy's family's here! - but we both have had such a great time, and I for one have become very at home here.

Because we see the end zooming toward us, we're trying to hit all our favorite spots before we go. This of course includes restaurants and cafes.

Today we went to a great Czech pub on Národní called Krušovická pivnice in Prague, where we have been many times. The just have good Czech food and it's not crazy expensive. We shared Hermelín (see picture) and Svíčková. Their Svíčková is pretty great.

After lunch we took a big tram ride on the 22 up past the castle and back down. I love riding the tram and think it's a great (warm) way to see the city. Afterwards we went to Kavárna Louvre (Cafe Louvre, also on Národní) for some hot chocolate. We'd never been there but had heard great things about the "Horká čokoláda 'Louvre'" and figured this cold day was a great opportunity to try it. It was sooo good... very rich, like pudding or chocolate fondue, as a drink. Yum! They also had these little blank note papers on each table that say "Cafe Louvre." I like to think those are there for big business deals where one person has an offer to big they must write it on a slip of paper and then pass it over. Very classy.

Last week we went to Cafe Savoy, another favorite, for our regulars: Salát s gratinovaným kozím sýrem (salad w/ baked tomatoes with goat cheese, carmlized walnuts and a kind of maple vinaigrette), and Tatarský biftek Savoy (Beef tartare with topinky - fried bread). Double Yum! This food is SO GOOD!

These cafes are so beautiful, I just love going somewhere where I can dine in style!

Oh, and here's some more recent pics, including Kolín, New Year's and some crazy Czech wine sausage, "vinná klobása".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This is NOT a Drunken Blog...

Well, not really. I did just come from the pub (Stodola, Crapper) and had 5 pivo (that's pět beers). Whatever.

Regardless, here's a couple things for today:

  • Talked to Nana today for 45 minutes (I usually limit the calls to 30 minutes - it's expensive from Europe, hello!) and found out the names of her mother's sisters (she could only remember one Uncle - Robert): Stella (hello, name for my second daughter!), Myrtle (Nana's mom), Osa (or Osea - had a hard time translating this due to aphasia), Mildred, Helen (who was with Nana when she met PaPaw - another story altogether), and JUANITA. I love Juanita!!!
  • That's awesome that I have (well, had) a great-aunt named Juanita.
  • My best friend, whose anonymity I will protect and simply call Cheesecake leaves for Denver tomorrow from NYC to start a new life with her new man. I couldn't be happier for her, though I am so, so sad for her to leave. I will also say that although she is my best friend in the whole world the beyatch has never read this blog, despite the fact that I've been gone nearly 7 months. The only thing saving her is that she's the only friend I've talked to on the phone. If and when she reads this blog, she better feel bad!
  • My brother (younger by 13 years) takes his road test tomorrow. He's another one who hasn't read this blog. You can all tell by now why I'm so depressed and lonely. Anyway, good luck, bro.
  • About to watch the last episode of "The Wire" season 4. This is the school season, which I'd heard so much about. It's amazing how accurate it is. Seriously.
  • Have to go eat 1/2 of the frozen pizza now.
That's it. Good night and good luck! (Especially those going back to work tomorrow!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Original Auntie

Mom just called and told me that Auntie died. Auntie is my great aunt, my grandmother's sister. Her real name was Naomi, and her husband was Red (Now that I read that I wonder if that wasn't his real name...amazing how we don't question things), but I always just called them "Auntie" and "Uncle", although I've had plenty of other aunts and uncles.

I guess they were the real-deal Aunt and Uncle.

I'm sad to think of Auntie gone. She had a long life, though... I'd like to say exactly how long, but because of the big flashing question mark next to Nana's age, it's hard to figure it.

Two prominent memories I have of Auntie (and yes, both involve food):

1) The second-to-last time I visited her, Andy and I hung out with her in her assisted-living apartment and she made us an AWESOME Marie Callender (who Nana always calls "Marie Callas" - funny) Razzleberry pie. In her toaster oven. That was and still is the best pie Andy and I have ever had. Sorry gourmet-foodie-baker friends.

2)Auntie made one of the best desserts EVER (this time not frozen) - 7-Up Salad. Ever hear of it? It rocks! It's all Dream Whip, 7-Up, crushed pineapple and lime Jello. You know it sounds good! I was maybe 10 or 12 when she made it, and I begged her for the recipe. She wrote it out for me. I still have it, at home. I'm totally going to make it when I return.

Here's to you, Auntie. We love you.

Saturday, thrilling Saturday

I did not watch "Pride and Prejudice" last night.
Though I might go upstairs after this and watch it now.

Instead we watched an old Czech film from 1966, "Closely Watched Trains." It won the best foreign film Academy Award in '68. It is based on the book by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, which I got for Christmas from Katka and Lukáš. It was a good book and kind of a weird movie.

Today I was in a super crappy mood when we got up, despite doing some of my A.M. Yoga with my boy Rodney Yee, and forced Andy to take me on a trip.

We went to a nearby city, Kolín, and walked around and then had coffee. It was pretty, and I took a few pictures which I'll post later.

Then we went to Tesco and bought groceries, including hair dye because although I did my roots just a few weeks ago, I found a gray hair. Phooey!

Not much else. I've been again reading numerous blogs about just regular people and what's going on with them, and realized this is because I don't have any "fluffy" books to read (chicklit, basically) and this is how I'm coping. I was reading one about a woman with kids and normal stuff and then read a post where she admits to being a swinger.

The plot thickens!

Happy Saturday night.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Do you ever have those nights (always Friday or Saturday, for me) where you are bored and it's late, and you are on the computer and just searching for ANYTHING to do??

That's me, tonight.

We didn't do ANYTHING today.

I finished Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was amazing - haunting and depressing and wonderful. I loved it. A great book to read while I'm Europe.

I started reading another book, Savannah by Eugenia Price. Don't know if that's well known or not. I got it at the library. It's good so far, a big fat historical novel. The second book this year I'll read about Savannah (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil the first, of course).

I also joined blogher and thirty-something bloggers and was just browsing through the community of blogs when I was faced once again with the need to have a real name for this blog. I know, I know: Allyn, WTF is your problem? Pick a name and be done with it! Stop crying!

You're right. So ignore my earlier "I'm allyn and that's okay" post. I must have a serious identity crisis with all this crap.

I blame Andy.

He would only watch one episode of "The Wire" with me, and now I've got nothing to do.

I even dreamed about Omar (from "The Wire") last night. According to Andy I was talking in my sleep. "Don't kill Omar! Omar lives!"

But now, I may just have to watch "Pride and Prejudice" again.

Mr. Darcy will make me happy.

Who Am I? Revisited

Despite some wonderful suggestions, I've decided I'm not changing my blog name. It will continue to be "allyn allyn allyn". I mean seriously, why not? And as the answer to the question, "Who Am I?" I don't think there's really a better answer.

Plus, I'd hate to confuse my 7 followers.

Helloooo 2009!

New Year's eve was fun - as I mentioned in my last post, we were with Andy's brothers, David and Lukáš, and their women, Hanka and Katka.

The ladies made yummy food - chlebíčka (little breads with spread and pieces of meat like ham or salami, with bits of pickles, eggs, veggies... whatever's around... taken from "chleb" which means bread, it's a cutesy way of saying little breads - "chlebíčka" - cute, right?), salted almonds, and pork with a horseradish/apple/pork fat mixture that was awesome.
We listened to music and played poker and drank wine.

As it neared midnight I insisted we find a radio station that would have a proper countdown - I need a proper countdown on New Year's. We figured the station we were listening to would have one - shouldn't all stations? We got our champagne (Bohemia Sekt, actually) ready, and when David's clock read 11:58pm, fireworks started going off in the town. Confusion. A minute later the song on the radio ended and the DJ said that midnight had just happened. No countdown! Sad. And David's clock was wrong.

Oh well, we drank our sekt and celebrated. We watched fireworks from the window. Because anyone can buy fireworks it was quite a scene - there were fireworks shooting up in at least eight different places we could see. We could even see them through the bare trees of a nearby woods, going off in the next town over. It was pretty cool.