September 4, 2006

Meanwhile in Slovenia…: A little Larry update for you all

Many of you have called or emailed to see if I have any news about Larry’s Slovenia trip. He’s only been able to email a few times but I thought I’d share what he had to say.

The first email was brief and sounded a bit discouraged. “Everything here is very complicated,” he wrote. “They changed all the phone numbers a year and a half ago so the numbers we have for contacting churches for access to their records don’t work. Roads are not named; you have to follow the street signs, so finding places has been quite the challenge.” He also said next time he travels abroad he won’t rent a car because he spends too much time focused on the road instead of seeing the land.

The next time I heard from him was on Friday, September 1, and things seemed to have improved. Reading the email was a bit of a challenge because apparently the Z and Y keys over there are reversed on keyboards and he couldn’t be bothered to reverse them. I’ll spare you that bit of joy and type it the way it should be. At that point they had seen three castles, one with an area for jousting. They also visited Lake Bled, which appears on the cover of the Slovenia travel guide and is pretty impressive looking.

“We have also driven around the area of Grahovo to see where my ancestors lived,” he wrote. “Today we have found out tons of good stuff about the Stritof family tree.”

Monday they were back in the capital so he was able to write again:

“Mostly we have been doing a lot of research. Yesterday we went back to the town where my ancestors are from (Bloèice) to take more pictures and see if we could find a local who spoke English. Our timing was perfect since we arrived right after Mass started, so dad went inside to watch and I tried to play with this dog who was hanging outside like me waiting for Mass to end. Once people started coming out I could hear dad hollering ‘English?’ which worked since a kid said he knew a little. The kid then told all of the people who had now amassed around us that we were Stritofs looking for ancestors. This caused quite the commotion and an old lady grabbed Dad’s arm and tugged indicating for us to follow, so we did. She took us to a home on the edge of the village where an English fellow lived. He could speak some Slovenian and took us across the way to another older couple’s house. They gave dad a beer and me some water only after we refused the shots of Schnapps. We then talked for three hours not really gaining any new knowledge. They said that the Stritofs here are not related and told us where to go to find out more info. We’ll head over there Wednesday since they are closed on Tuesday.”

He said in addition to research they had time to visit the east side of the country. He also added that while at Lake Bled they had lunch in the courtyard of the castle on the cliff overlooking the lake. They also visited another castle, which was built into the side of a cliff.

Next they hope to go to the coast, the salt flats, and the Julian Alps. The primary focus is still on family history though. “We have exhausted all the possibilities in the archbishop archives in Ljubljana so now we have to check with the local church records where no one speaks English,” he wrote, “but we have been able to trace our ancestors back to 1750–four generations. Woot! A lot more then I thought we would. It all starts with Primus and Polonia Stritof–how’s that for names?!”

So that’s all the news for now and it sounds like I probably won’t hear from him again until he returns on Sunday. Then he can tell you all about it himself.

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September 4, 2006

Sad News for the Night: R.I.P. Croc Hunter

Well damn, that’s cast rather a gloom over the evening. I just got home from a lovely evening out to find that Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin is dead. I mean, on the one hand you think, Jesus, it’s amazing it didn’t happen sooner. But he always got away with the dangerous stuff so you just sort of figured he’d keep on surviving. Anyway, I always had a soft spot for the guy, even if he was a little crazy. And I feel really sad for his wife and kids.

And of course I had an obscene amount of caffeine this evening so there’ll be no going to bed anytime soon. I’m just left here to reflect on this tragic bit of news.

September 1, 2006

I Guess Since It’s Friday…: Here’s ten things I love this week

1. Supreme Beings of Leisure “Get Away” My official song of the week. It’s the only thing that has managed to get that Alice in Wonderland Painting the Roses Red song out of my head.

2. Video Stores I know Netflix is cheaper and more convenient but there’s still something to be said for the spontaneous and hands on experience of the good old independent video store. Plus the always entertaining customer/clerk verbal exchange: “Have you seen this one? It’s really good. Well, not really but Matthew McConaughey has his shirt off for no reason for at least half of the movie! Oh, and these’ll be due back on Wednesday.”

3. Chex Mix Sweet ‘n’ Salty Honey Nut variety Just had these for the first time this week. I like the snacks that accomplish both sweetness and saltiness simultaneously.

4. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Because this author is just so weird.

5. Dear Frankie It’s an endearing Scottish film with Gerard Butler. Enough said.

6. This T-shirt!

7. The Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham and The Useless Information Society. If you bring a raccoon’s head to the Henniker, N.H., town hall, you are entitled to receive $10 from the town. I know what I’m doing this weekend!

8. Watching Snakes on a Plane with my coworkers. I live for surreal moments like this where the boundary between real life and dreams just seems to blend for a few hours.

9. Peanut Butter Puffins Who says cereal isn’t a dinner food?

10. That magical 30 minutes of the day when I am home and Buster is asleep.

posted under Friday 10 | 2 Comments »