Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What's New:

A long plane ride but I made it back to Prague, like three weeks ago...

It's nice to be back even if it is cold, icy, sunless and California was warm, green (well, in some places), and sunny because I can take care of my cat again and I'm able to walk around by my self. Though, that doesn't really make up for the cold, and since it's usually below freezing going outside is out of the question.

I've also just started a small online shop where I can put some of the designs I've drawn up. I only have one t-shirt up right now but I'll add more later on. Here's the link if anyone wants to check it out: Cafe Press.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Anasazi

here's a report I did on the Anasazi Indians, tell me if you like it.

“The Ancient Ones” or “The Ancient Enemies”

The Anasazi culture had its beginnings almost two thousand years ago. Their fate is one of the greatest mysteries in history because they did not have a written language that archaeologists know of. They migrated many times for almost entirely unknown reasons, and, the entire culture disappeared without a trace.

The Anasazi culture’s immediate ancestral race was an ancient people famous for its intricate hand made baskets. They lived in Chaco Canyon in what is now the Four Corners region, an area in the United States where the edges of the four states, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. Originally they built cities on the tops of Mesas, but whether war or drought forced them to abandon their homes and move to the steep cliffs that form the walls of the Mesas is unknown. Tree rings show that at the times of most of the Anasazi’s migrations there were severe droughts, lasting from a season to a half-century, these extended droughts may have been one of, or the reason that the Anasazi left, it is still a bit a mystery, because there is no written record of events. When the Anasazi left their Mesa top palaces they built equally magnificent structures in the cliff walls of the mesas, reaching more than five stories in height, some with as many as six hundred rooms.

The next migration they made is thought to have been because of a decade of drought, some of the Anasazi moved away from Chaco Canyon but others stayed in their cliff dwellings. Those who left may have joined other tribes such as the Navajo, and Apache. The cause of the Anasazi’s last migration is uncertain, whether they left because of famine, disease, war, or any combination of the three is still uncertain. One observation archaeologists have made is that they burned all of their Kivas, their holy meeting places probably used in religious practices, as if they knew they would never return, and they didn’t want anyone else using their sacred rooms. What we do know is that they disappeared without a trace, leaving no written records, no tribes that inherited their spiritual practices, almost nothing of their culture survives, except of course their cliff homes.

The Anasazi’s spiritual beliefs, rituals, and most of their religion disappeared with them, but there are some small details about it that are still in existence in and around their homes allowing theories to be constructed. One suggests that the Anasazi’s religion was based on the beliefs of other indian tribes in the area, though that theory does not explain the Kivas. The Kivas may have bee the center of the Anasazi religion. One piece of evidence, found near the that does exist about their religion is that they were ruled by their priests, and that after they finished the rituals or prayers they used the Anasazi would climb out of the Kiva by way of a ladder through the roof, the climb out of the Kiva symbolized the original ascension of humans when they emerged from the underworld by rising through the earth. Most of the Anasazi’s religion is lost but little pieces that are found now and then by Archaeologists and Historians help piece together more and more of the Anasazi’s strange past.

The Anasazi culture both shaped the world they lived in and accepted what the earth gave them, on one hand they built dwellings of stone and adobe and they made lengthy roads, but on the other they they were hunters and gatherers more than they were farmers, they did not develop a huge range of agriculture, only maize and a few other grains. but instead ate many other things including game that the men hunted, roots, nuts, berries, cactus seeds, fruits, and wild honey. They originally made baskets of woven plant fibers encircled with intricate patterns, but later they took up pottery with the same intricacy and beauty. They traded their baskets and their pottery but their main trade was in turquoise. They had huge workshops where fine, turquoise encrusted products were produced and traded for food, clothes or perhaps weapons.

The language the Anasazi spoke seems to be completely lost, it is a dead language. So much of the Anasazi culture is lost that even the name they gave themselves is lost, “Anasazi” is simply the name the Navajo Indians gave them, it means: “the ancient ones” or “the ancient enemies”. The Anasazi’s military position, whether they were peaceful or warlike, is unclear as some sources say that the Anasazi were brutal, warlike, and that they devoured their enemies after battle; others say that they lived almost completely peacefully and only built the cliff cities for protection from the elements and other more dangerous tribes that wished them harm.

Archeologists and Historians are hopeful that the Anasazi mystery will be pieced together, but until then their fate remains one of histories greatest mysteries.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

We have a New Pet!

We have a cat!

We found it living in a damp cardboard box near the school where I take my language lessons. It was a classic case of me finding an animal, showing my mom, and her heart melting so that she couldn't possibly say no when I asked her "have we found our cat?" We brought the little kitty home, fed him and long story short I don't think he's stopped purring since.

Nameless Kitty

He has brown fur so dark that it looks black with two white spots, one on his chest and the other on his stomach, all contrasted by his bright yellow-green eyes. Our kitty is made of rubber, it sleeps in the craziest positions, once it was sleeping on its back half falling off the chair with its front paws stretched out in front of it, totally out cold.

He's pretty cute. Also please give us suggestions for names.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Buying a Bird at the Mall

This weekend my mom and I met our friend Leona for lunch, at noon, which quickly turned into going to the mall and staying there for nine hours as they perused the many Czech clothing and shoe stores. Boring! The upside though, was that we talked Leona into buying a pet; specifically, a bird. We didn't have to talk her into it too much, because she had already been considering the posibility of buying one.

When we went to the pet store and started looking at the birds they had, Leona noticed a small cockatiel with sort of a dappled pattern on its wings, and she couldn't stop looking at it. We went to lunch at a fast food thai place so that she could think about if she wanted to get the bird she had seen in the shop, she decided she had to have it.

When we went back to the pet shop and told the person in charge of the birds which one we wanted the "expert" put on a large black leather glove -- let me note that the bird had been hand raised and would probably gone to her readily -- and proceeded to chase both the birds in the cage around in circles with the terrifying glove and a net until they were both panting, and the one we weren't getting had cut its wing on the side of the cage from thrashing, so that there was blood all over the place. Obviously, she just didn't know how to handle a bird that well.

After that fiasco we bought the poor bird and carried it back to Leona's flat. On the way, we picked up some thin branches to set up the little bird's cage. The little bird, whom Leona had named Monkey, had calmed down by then, and was quietly waiting in his box to be let out and into his cage. when he did get into his cage he flew up to the highest branch we had set up for him, sat up completely straight, and watched the entire room for the rest of the time we were there.

Birds are such awesome pets and I think Leona's going to be very happy with the one she's got.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mushroom Hunting

On Saturday, my mom and I went looking for mushrooms in the forest with her student Pavel, his wife lucy, their daughter Hannah and her boyfriend from Spain, Diego.

In the Czech Republic it is a tradition for the parents to teach their children how to find edible mushrooms and to stay away from the poisonous ones. While we were driving to the forest I asked Pavel if he thought we would find a many mushrooms, he laughed and said that we would be lucky if we found two. Well, apparently he was wrong because we found so many of them! Seriously, the basket we brought to put our mushrooms in was so full that we had to carry some of them in our hands because they wouldn't fit!

Here's a picture of our harvest:

A Full Basket of Mushroomy Goodness

Here are some pictures of the mushrooms we found. This majestic specimen is good for eating:

Awww Yeah!

This one, not so much, but it's still nice to look at:

Poison! Danger!

The forest was beautiful, and we spent a really nice afternoon there. Afterwards, we went back to Pavel and Lucy's house and she made us a delicious mushroom soup!

We ate it, and survived.

Monday, October 03, 2005

IKEA-land/Our Flat

First of all you have to know that our flat is like an IKEA showroom that's been put in a building and called a flat. I'm not joking. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING is from there: all the floors, all the counter tops, tiling, the entire bathroom, the cupboards, the lights, and the doors. Thus when we started furnishing it we went to IKEA, and now the wide range of furniture my mom and I have are chairs, beds, and kitchen ware, though we will get a rug soon (so exciting!).


Today my mom went to teach her one of her favorite students, Pavel, and he asked her if she wanted to or needed to go shopping for things to go in our flat, she did and they went to guess where.... IKEA, and bought one more chair, now we have three, and the foot rest that went with it. It's the first padded thing we've had in our flat, other than our beds. Needless to say we fought over who had the right to sit in it first, she won *sniff*, but I got her off of it by saying "What's that? I think you got an e-mail!" and then I got to sit on it and read.... and read... and read... etc.

I love IKEA.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It's Getting Colder in Prague, But It's Nice Here

It's October already and it's getting much colder than when I first flew here. The other day it must have dropped to some where in the low forties (fahrenheit) because for once we actually needed something warm to wear. On the upside though we have had some nice warm (mid seventies) weekends where we would acually be able to do something.

The sky in Prague is amzing, there isn't much smog and it's almost always clear, except when it isn't. So even when it's cold out we don't notice as much because the sky is so nice.

When it's warmer, we have a lot of birds in the garden outside our flat. Some are big dun colored birds with blue and black stripes on their wings, others are tiny with a yellow breast and a blackcapped, white face. The former glides through the trees and never walks but hops around on the ground like the sparrows in Southern California. The latter flits through the bushes and sometimes lands on the window sill. We're thinking of getting some birdseed to encourage them to land there more often.

I miss my family and friends back in L.A., even though it's so nice out here.