Monday, April 26, 2010

National flower of Slovenia

As my birthday gift (a gift from me to you on my birthday) I'm sharing with you this beautiful picture of carnation, the national flower of Slovenia. I took the photo in my front yard and since the bloom is so bright red, it took me quite a few shots before I got the color right.

Photo above: Red carnation, Slovenian national flower

Many of you are probably familiar with the fact that Slovenia is the only country with the word "love" in its name: SLOVENIA. What is new to me is that the Latin name of Slovenian national flower "Dianthus" also roughly translates to "flower of love" or "flower of gods." Does that sound like a match, made in heaven - or what?? ;)

A Pink Carnation and More
Photo A Pink Carnation and More - courtesy of Michael's Photos!

Throughout the centuries, carnation flowers have been appreciated because they are delicate, durable and delightful - all in one. In the early 20th century, in U.S. carnations became the official flowers of Mother's Day while, as far back as I can remember, in Slovenia (even in days of late Yugoslavia), red carnation was an official flower of International Women's Day (March 8).

Photo Carnation - courtesy of suz kosh

Another thing that I know for a fact (without doing any research and looking for sources) is that in the history of Slovenians, carnation carried and important symbolic message. In traditional arts and crafts carnations have been stitched, carved, painted, drawn and designed in numerous other ways, over and over and over again. Now that I know all these new facts about this precious flower, I know already that sometime soon I'll make another webpage, devoted to the national flower of Slovenia, carnation - Dianthus caryophyllus.

"Carnation Station / Yellow" 1st of 2008
Photo Carnation Station - courtesy of Madonovan

And if You like flowers, take a peak of what's blooming around my house right now. Click on the link below, it opens a new window:
My birthday flower bouquet


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SNPJ Prosveta

There are certain things that I really enjoy reading - besides books. So I keep those issues of magazines, flower catalogs and/or newspapers on the dining room table and enjoy them one page at the time. Newspaper Prosveta is one of those publications.

All the SNPJ Insured Members know about Prosveta, official publication of the Slovene National Benefit Society and source for SNPJ news. It's issued biweekly on Wednesday.

From the time when Slovenian immigrants formed first fraternal societies in U.S., publications have played a leading role in presenting the news and promoting Slovenian heritage and culture in America.

An early 20th century Slovenian-American newspaper ran an ad that inspired 12 Slovenian immigrants to start a new fraternal benefit society, SNPJ, and "Glas Svobode" (The Voice of Freedom) became SNPJ's first official publication.

SNPJ 778

SNPJ history at a glance:

  • in April of 1904 Slovene National Benefit Society was founded
  • 1907 SNPJ was incorporated
  • in 1908 SNPJ started publishing its very own daily newspaper, called "Glasilo" (Newsletter)
  • on July 1st, 1916, the newspaper's name was changed to "Prosveta" (Enlightenment)
In almost a century of Prosveta fulfilling its mission, the frequency of the newspaper has been changed from daily to weekly and finally biweekly. All the insured members receive Prosveta free of charge and non-member subscriptions are available at the price of $8.00/year. To subscribe, call home office at 1-800-843-7675 or send an email to snpj [at]

SNPJ 778

Spring Hill SNPJ Lodge 778 in Prosveta:

In the Wednesday, April 7, 2010 issue of Prosveta, our Lodge has been mentioned several times
  • page 1 - Kirsten A. Stauffer, Spring Hill, Florida Lodge 778 newest member
  • page 5 - Lodge 2 members head south for Florida fun (by Delores Spelich)
  • page 8 - Back in the swing of things 
  • page 8 - 2010 Florida Annual Golf Tournament Results
Take a look for yourself by clicking on the link below. It opens a new window:
Prosveta, April 7, 2010


Friday, April 16, 2010

Video memories of Snowflake Dance 2010

Yesterday I was just playing around, throwing together that short video in previous post and today I finally got my act together and created another video about Snowflake Dance 2010... ;)

I'm just kidding, I very much enjoyed making both of them. It is true, though, that it's been a while since I created my last video so I felt a little bit rusty and on top of that, I wanted to do some things differently than ever before so I needed to do research on some new software.

It was all well worth it, in this final video about January 2010 Snowflake Dance with Frank Moravcik, I managed to include all the decent photos I took at this event and the Waltz of Love has been one of my favorite waltzes for a long time - if not since I first came into the SNPJ Spring Hill Hall in 2008.

Enjoy and let me know what you think, via comments - or email me.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fun Snowflake Dance 2010 video

I have moments when I feel like creating something fun and today was one of those times and here's the result:

This is a handful of photos from the Snowflake Dance 2010 with Frank Moravcik and as a background I chose a tune from the list of oldies:

Artist: Leslie Smith
Song: Can't Get Enough Of You

Hope you like it! :)

PS: I'll make more like this one as soon as I figure out how to strip the sound off of my videos so I can use the corresponding music with all the pictures I took at the events at Spring Hill SNPJ 778. Just bear with me...


Monday, April 12, 2010

Festival Slovenian Polka and Waltz

I'm on my laptop, waiting for the "16. festival SLOVENSKA POLKA IN VALČEK" (16th Festival Slovenian Polka and Waltz) to start live on TV Slovenia 1. 14 new tunes, all performed live, straight from the crib of the Cleveland-Style... :)

"Festival SLOVENSKA POLKA IN VALČEK" is the biggest folk music event in Slovenia and the winning groups (one in Polka and one in "Valček" - Waltz category) usually become very popular overnight. Then their tunes are playing often on the local and national radio stations, they get invitations to perform in most watched TV shows and other folk groups play tunes of the year at dances all over the country and abroad.

If you're up to listening to some good polka music, here's the link that will take you directly to the video (unfortunately, Slovenian National TV website did not provide the embed code for the show). So, click below, this link opens a new window and starts playing after a few moments:
Festival Slovenian Polka and Waltz

This year, Festival Slovenian Polka and Waltz also stirred quite a buzz on Facebook. Many participating ensembles were inviting their FB friends to come to the live event - or at least vote for them via tele-voting.

We will hear 14 new tunes, performed live at "Marmorna dvorana (Marble Hall) - Gospodarsko razstavišče" in Ljubljana.

The show began with last year's winners, "Ansambel Roka Žlindre" and their Slovenian Waltz 2009: Del srca and "Ansambel Golte" and their Slovenian Polka 2009: Če te luna nosi. 

The 2010 list of competing groups and tunes, chosen out of 76 that applied:
  1. Ansambel Lisjaki (Ensemble He-Foxes) - waltz "Zdaj, ko je daleč dom" (Now that home is far away)
  2. Tapravi faloti (Real Scoundrels) - polka "Muzikanti, muzikanti (Musicians, musicians)
  3. Donačka - waltz "Vem, da nisem sama" (I Know I'm not Alone)
  4. Rudi Šantl in Šank kvintet - polka "Nas glasba osrečuje" (Music makes us happy)
  5. Iskrice (Sparks) - waltz "Sedem let sva se ljubila" (We loved each other for seven years)
  6. Pajdaši (Comrades) - polka "Drobna laž" (Little Lie)
  7. Zapeljivke (Seducing Girls) - waltz "Le noč bo prespala ob meni" (Only night will sleep next to me)
  8. Veseli svatje (Happy Wedding Guests) - polka "Ljubim ženo poročeno" (I love a married woman)
  9. Domen Kumer s prijatelji (Domen Kumer with Friends) - waltz "Nekoč bom jaz tvoj angel" (Some day I'll be your angel)
  10. Novi spomini (New Memories) - polka "Fičfirič" (Good-for-nothing)
  11. Štajerski baroni (Viscounts from Štajerska Region) - waltz "Pesem o ljubezni" (Song about love)
  12. Naveza (Attachment) - polka "Pa naj ji bo" (Let her be)
  13. Zaka' pa ne (And why not) - waltz "Pridi nazaj" (Come back)
  14. Vihar (Storm)- polka "Še čakam te" (I'm still waiting for you)
For ten minutes Slovenians can vote for their favorite tune from stationary and mobile phones.

The panel of judges, three generations of 5 professional musicians chose:
  • best lyrics: Donačka - waltz "Vem, da nisem sama" (I Know I'm not Alone)
  • best trio: Novi spomini (New Memories) - polka "Fičfirič" (Good-for-nothing)
  • best quintet: Donačka - waltz "Vem, da nisem sama" (I Know I'm not Alone)
While waiting for the votes, absolute winners of  "Festival SLOVENSKA POLKA IN VALČEK 2005"  - Zlati muzikanti (Golden musicians) are playing their winning tune "Berač" (Beggar).

Then, vocalist Irena Verčkovnik, celebrating 20th anniversary of her performing, joins "Zlati muzikanti" and sings with them the famous waltz "Jadraj z menoj" (Sail with me) by Slavko Avsenik.

Štajerskih 7 (The 7 from Štajerska Region) are next on the stage with one of the most beautiful Slovenian waltzes - "Pesem zvonov" (Song of the bells).

Nuška Drašček joins them to sing "Venček polk" (Polka Medley) with them.

The new best Slovenian polka for 2010 is:
Novi spomini (New Memories) - polka "Fičfirič"

And new best Slovenian waltz for 2010 is:
Iskrice (Sparks) - waltz "Sedem let sva se ljubila" (We loved each other for seven years)

Now it's time for the second round of tele-voting during which the listeners are voting for the absolute winner - one of the above two.

In the meantime, Ansambel Franca Miheliča is playing "Slovenski venček" (Slovenian Medley). In 2010 they celebrate their 45th anniversary.

Time to announce the group that received most tele-votes -
Absolute winners of this festival:
Novi spomini (New Memories) - polka "Fičfirič" (Good-for-nothing)


Friday, April 9, 2010

Frank Mahnic Jr. Obituary

Frank Mahnic Jr.

MAHNIC, Frank Jr. 92, of Dunedin, died April 4, 2010.

Born in Brooklyn, NY he grew up in Terre Haute, IN and later relocated to the D.C. area where he worked for the USDA as an accountant and served as Commander for American Legion Post 36.

During WWII, he served as Engineering Officer on B29's.

Survivors include wife, Bernice; son, Bob; daughters, Sharon  and Diane; 5 grand-children and 1 great-granddaughter.

Visitation Thursday April 8th at Curlew Hills Funeral Home, 6-9 pm. Memorial Mass Friday, April 9th at Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 am.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Suncoast Hospice Foundation. Curlew Hills F.H. 727-789-2000

Published in St. Petersburg Times on April 7, 2010


Thursday, April 8, 2010

New officers

At yesterday's Board Meeting our SNPJ Lodge 778 elected new officers:

  • John Laurich - president
  • Mary Ann Hiltz - vice president
  • Rita Hren - treasurer

New officers sworn in:

Thank you all for accepting these important functions. We all wish you the best of success and promise to do our best with anything that needs to be done for our upcoming events to run smoothly.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Nothing says "spring" for me as loud and clear and cheerful as Narcissus - daffodil flower.

Every time I see that happy, bright yellow bloom, the memories of my grandmother's backyard take me to another space and time, to the days of my carefree childhood in idyllic Slovenia.

There I spent many hours observing all kinds of beautiful wildflowers or blooms in my granny's garden, sunbathing on the roof of one of the farm buildings or climbing the plum tree, munching on fresh fruit and admiring the nature around.

In spring, when countless of little daffodil islands were dominating the backyard scenery, my grandfather would carefully mow the grass around daffodils, to make sure their beauty stayed intact and they come back again next year, with even more blooms and beauty than the year before.

'LET THE SUNSHINE IN'  -  'HAPPY EASTER'   -   ' Narcissus'  -  'Narcissus pseudonarcissus'  -  'Daffodil'
Photo courtesy of Mundilfari*

I'm not much into poetry but in my high school, when I was taking "Old British and American Literature" as an elective class, there was this one poem that I really
enjoyed - and through which I've learned this English word (the daffodil) for the first time:

"Daffodils" (1804)
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring everyone, 
look for things that make you happy, 
no matter if that's a bloom, 
a smile of someone dear to you 
or heavily loaded dinner table... 
May your heart be filled with love,
today and always!

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