Ancestral conspiracies!

Archive Day has come and gone and finally, a week later, I am writing a post! This is because I have been kept busy by a competition in office hours and by sports of all kinds (ice hockey, gym, Order & Chaos) in the evenings. It’s also because I’ve been wanting to draw a little tree so my crazy theory is easier to understand.

In darker shades it shows the people we started from: Andrew, his wife Susan, my great grandmother Maria, her half brother Jan and their mysterious sister in the US.
Lighter shades are all the newfound people. The dashed line means I’m not entirely certain about that connection. In this case it’s because my mum only found it as she was getting kicked out of the archive at closing time. Pavol, born in the same house as Andrew but obviously a generation before was most likely his father’s brother but we still need to double check this. Should this prove correct, Pavol’s parents would also be Andrew’s grandparents!

Just a quick recap about the mysterious sister. When my grandma was a child they used to receive boxes of presents from someone in the States. These boxes would go to her uncle Jan Harmaniak, his ten kids would pick their presents first and Harmaniak would then take the leftover presents to his sister’s house for her children. It was Harmaniak who once told my gran that they were from ‘her aunt in America’. Her own mum never spoke about it though I’m not sure if it was a secret or just lack of interest.

Now here goes my crazy theory:
What if the two Jan Miciks in the middle row were the same person? If Jan’s wife Katrena died sometime after the births of her last child  in 1885, he would be very likely to remarry soon, it was a common thing for widowers to do. Back in those days both parents were necessary to bring up a family. Jan would have been left with four kids, all under the age of 10 and even a single mother like Zuzana Harmaniakova would have been good enough for him in this situation. I assume she would have been just as keen to marry.
We still have to check the date of birth of Zuzana’s son, Jan Harmaniak, but I assume he could have been of an age with Jan Micik’s youngest daughter Katrena. Katrena would have been five years old when my great grandmother Maria was born. The three of them (Jan’s daughter Maria died at the age of 6, before great grandma was born) would have been brought up together, possibly largely oblivious of the fact that they are but half/step siblings.
Ondrej and Jan were a bit older however and wouldn’t have been very close to their siblings. They both emigrated to the US in early 1900’s. So what if Maria’s mysterious sister who used to send presents from the US was actually her half sister Katrena. She could have emigrated herself (after she got married as I didn’t find any documents on Katrena Micik), it would have been easier for her with a little help from one of her brothers in the beginning.
To be sure, Jan Harmaniak never mentioned Ondrej or Jan to my grandma, when he said the presents were from ‘her aunt in America’ but she might have been the only one of his step siblings he’d kept in touch with. If my assumption about his age is correct, he would have been of an age with Katrena but only about 10 years old with the two left the country. They also wouldn’t have been sending presents to their baby step-brother some 30 years later. But Katrena would have left in the late 1910’s or 1920’s and her attachment to her family back home would have been much stronger.

Sounds plausible? The truth is the names in these small villages just keep repeating, its all Jan, Ondrej, Maria, Zuzana over and over again. It’s possible it was a completely different Jan Micik. On the other hand, there is another Jan Micik in that generation. The father of Zuzanna Micik (1887-1966? whom I originally found and thought was my lost second great aunt) and the husband of Zuzanna Chilka who also emigrated to the US as a widow in 1921, supposedly to join her daughter? That’s three Jan Micik’s in that generation. Still possible I guess, but hopefully less likely…

Jeez our ancestors had no imagination whatsoever when it came to names. I wish they were a bit more Jewish and thought it bad luck to name children after living relatives!

I’m looking into some cheap tickets for the next archive slot: April 18th and 19th. The things to look up (for this particular branch) would be:
– Jan Harmaniak’s date of birth
– Jan Miciks’ birth certificates
– Jan Micik and Katrena Haklik marriage certificate
– Jan Micik and Zuzana Harmaniak marriage certificate
– Katrena  Micikova Haklik death certificate
– Katerna Micikova’s marriage certificate
– maybe look for Andrew and Susan’s daughter Anna again? My mum didn’t really find anything on her.
– I also want to see if I can find an Emilia or Emil Micik as Andrew seemed quite keen on those names. Or maybe this was from the Michalic side of the family?

A huge thanks to my mum Jelena who did all this research and some more!!!

Birthday whining!

This post is all about birthday whine glasses. Whine glasses are glasses the primary purpose of which is to drink wine from them, while being whined at, from the glass itself, by me. Ok not really but that’s the closest I can get to explain why I entitled the article Birthday whining. I just did, and now there’s trouble! Gah!

Anyways, our household seems to have a reputation for broken wine glasses and a very angry Helle in consequence, so I have decided to make personalised glasses for everyone in order to a/ have more wine glasses and b/ finally determine who is doing all the breaking and then redirect Helle’s wrath (and whines – oh yeah… lightbulb!) in their general direction. This obviously won’t work if Helle keeps drinking her horrible green algae stuff from glasses that are not her own.

To be fair, poor Helle doesn’t have a glass of her own yet, as her birthday is not until June.

Here are the glasses of the few lucky ones who’s birthdays happened to happen since I had the idea:

Claire, 22nd December…

Her name is Clairette de Die (It’s a name of a wine and Claire’s nickname.)
smelly cheeses are her cloud nine (She’s French and likes cheese.)
She’s the No.1 of kidings, (Oh, kidings are a story on its own, but basically its franglish)
er aksent goes well wiz zis wine. (Again, she’s French.)

Ok, this one was a bit hurried as I had to make it before the big trip to South Africa and leave it hidden for Claire.

Benji, 27th December:

In his secret basement lab
his female robots get covered in smooches
and bake him cookies with their massive hands. (This is all Benji… chicks, robots, cookies… the android robots do have big hands, which is very scary.)
Benji likes kittehs a lot more than pooches. (This is just a fact.)

More to come with everyone’s birthdays… possibly featuring blue moustaches, board games, meercowls and inner city foxes!

The big secret has been revealed…

As I said in one of my previous posts, Presenting…, there was a thing I really wanted to write about but couldn’t, lest I spoiled a surprise.

The clues you were given (and their meanings) are:

– 12… the year 2012, a couple of years back I had decided to boycott Christmas (from now only c-word) and I do New Years presents instead so I don’t spoil the festive season for my flatmates
– coffee… refers to mugs, the presents were mugs, this was inspired by the move to the new flat, and the need for mugs (the need was resolved when we finished the move and now we are flooded with mugs)
– McGonagall… poems, the mugs are all decorated with illustrated poems referring to the shenanigans, strange obsessions and perversions of their owners
– baked goods… the mugs with their poems and pictures have been baked in the oven and are now also dishwasher friendly, or so they say!

Here are the pictures of them (with poems transcribed and explained) which I took using my brand new iPhone app Photosynth, they are not great but they are a strange sort of panorama, if you ask me. Maybe I’ll take better ones later.

“Oh Dave!” (A very common sigh when it comes to Dave, we were even considering rewording the famous Beatles song Hey Jude to Oh Dave, it worked fantastically) the most splendid of nights (Refers at the same time to Dave’s ICON role playing costume and his ability to misspell just about anything)
we all sigh often, in frustration.
Maybe video gaming (Recent episode of Dave’s hermitting period with his Star Wars game) and tights (Again, ICON and Dave’s “tunic” that didn’t quite cover his butt)
lead to premature dave-ulation. (Term adopted into our vocabulary after several incidents of  Dave counting his chickens before they’d hatched,… or didn’t hatch.)

Hide your socks, (Refers ro Claire’s and Philipp’s sock-stealing shenanigans) onions and fondue pot (onions and cheese, the deadly gas combination for Claire)
till zombies attack! (Coz shit happens…)
For  Claire, whether you need it or not,
uses biological weapons. (Again the gas, I couldn’t help but drawing a dart next to the gun in reference to Despicable Me’s dartgun/fartgun confusion, also we do call Claire dartgun!)

A ginger girl with a broken tail??? (Helle suffers from being ginger, also she recently broke her tailbone and had to walk around with a bum bagel!)
Sounds like a cruel joke yet it’s true! (It is!!!)
Helle likes her veg with a bit of snail. (She is vegetarian but curiously enough occasionally eats snails.)
An eye for an eye, a shoe for a shoe. (There’s an old deal that she has to throw out one of her gigillion pairs of shoes if she wants to get a new one.)

My personal favourite:
Felipe! Don’t give up on meat (Refers to Philipp’s vegetarian spells, the last one of which lasted a few months!)
for hummus,  broccoli and mango. (The famous hummus and broccoli incident where Philipp food poisoned himself)
For sausage is the truest treat
for a man who likes to fango. (Refers to a dubious sexual practice of Philipp and Benji’s called fango, its indescribable, undrawable, most likely involves a sausage or two, has many stages and involves Philipp bending over and Benji standing behind him.)


He stalks around in a wookie suit (Referring to Benji’s jewy hairiness)
and hot air comes out of his pores, (…and how he’s always warm, emitting heat)
for the big lump of hair on his head (The jewfro, duh!)
Benji sometimes walks into doors. (The Slovakian door incident, when Benji jumped into a revolving glass door and almost broke his schnoz.)

Whiski’s one, and possibly better photos, to come in the next few days so keep checking!!!

Sun City of sins…

22nd to 25th December 2011

Day 1:

We headed off to Sun City pretty late as I needed to catch up on sleep, which I had been deprived of for some 40 hours.

Just outside Joburg we stopped at the Cradle of Humankind for about an hour and did a tour of Sterkfontein Caves where some of the most famous preserved fossils of early humans have been found. Examples include Mrs. Ples and Little Foot, the latter is still there in a vault behind bars and barbed wire, waiting on a particular Wits professor to pay him one of his monthly visits.

As it turns out, these particular caves were not home to Australopithecus as I had originally thought, the unfortunate ancestors, but also other kinds of animals, fell in through natural holes and died, to be discovered later. Little Foots is the oldest complete skeleton, with all his teeth and everything.
Here is a picture of backwards evolution for you, starting with Homo Sapiens on the left, Australopithecus probably Africanus in the middle and ending with the Homo Benjibus Rosmaniformis on the right.

After the caves we pushed on for Sun City as we wanted to arrive before sunset. With one little stop at a roadside biltong hut for freshly cut biltong, so juicy Im gonna dieee!!!

We arrived at Sun City at about 18h, checked into the room 2411 at Cabanas and headed to our hotel restaurant for our first meal of the day (and possibly the last one of the stay) with the exception of juicy juicy biltong. It was buffet style with the hugest selection. I was pretty much full after starters… tasty avo salads, giant mussels, cheeses, olives, fish, meats,… the spinach was one of the best Ive ever had and the butternut… ooh the butternut! It could easily be the highlight of Helle’s vegetarian parties!
After dinner we took the long walk of digestion to the entertainment center and checked out the arcade and the bridge of time before turning back due to rain. While wondering the interior of the building, we had a few close encounters of the feline variety. We wondered back hoping to get a cocktail or two at the pool bar in our hotel but it was closed and all we managed to get was one out of one available cocktails at the restaurant… the Long Island ice tea.
It turns out most places close fairly early so we decided to opt for early nights and early mornings and that way it should all work out fine.

Signing off in order to comply with early night decision. Back tomorrow!

Day 2:

We managed to get up relatively early today and went and profited from our free breakfast.
Then we headed out to the Water World lake and checked out some loaded parasailers and some tiny monkeys, pigmy goats, angry orange eyed owls and parrots.

Afterwards we went to check out some horses and the cultural village where they introduced us to eight indigenous tribes of South Africa. There was a dance performance, the guy sang about my boobs and at the end and I am a bit worried I might have been married off under some tribal custom which is now official…

As we were still pretty full of the free breakfast, we decided to skip lunch and go straight to profiting from our free entry to the Valley of Waves. After a slow ride around in tubes, where I was addressed in Afrikaans by a little girl and subsequently saved her freaked out sister / friend from a certain drowning (this was cool because I heard Benji speak Afrikaans) we headed straight for the wave pool. After a bit of agitated sea came a phase of tidal waves.

Than came the slides! Two tube slides, open and closed and two body slides open and closed. In the middle, the temple of courage! Viper, the open tube slide, was my personal favourite I think.

The aqua joy had left us exhausted so we dined on pizza and then went to the Sun City Hotel Harlequin Casino in search for cocktails, before turning in early as we had a game drive booked for 5h30 the next day…

Day 3:

Day three will go down in history as the Game Drive day. This is because we did two of them. One in the morning, in a game drive vehicle with a ranger, for which I was the only one dressed appropriately. Everyone else rocked up in their flippy floppies and a sleeveless top, which they regretted as soon as we headed off, and even more when it started raining. The open top safari truck was a pretty windy place to be but Kitteh, like a hood Edinburgh girl was clothed in four layers of warm stuff, a hood against the wind wanting to go right through her ears and winter boots! Oh yeah! Even Benji was a shrunken shivering heap of hair wrapped in a blanket that he stole from the cars seat.

The second drive was in the afternoon. We drove to the park ourselves and spent some 5 hours in there, in our car, with a map and biltong but lacking drinks and pens! It was awesome… Altogether we saw three out of the Big Five (elephants, lions and two types of rhinos), hippos, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, wildebeest, kudu, impalas, springboks, steenboks, tsessebe, baboons, ostriches, maribou storks and lots of other birds.

In between the two trips we went back to the horse riding place and took Benjis riding virginity with a half an hour game park ride, but not before I made him go down a massive, but unfortunately very slow, slide.