Archive for February, 2006

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2006 by stephenhuey

Already got a bunch of birthday-related comments on my last post, so I
don’t need any more of those.  To answer a question from a
previous post, my family went to Nigeria in 1989, and I came to Houston
in 1998.  In order to commemorate me sliding down the chute on a
chilly Tuesday 26 years ago, here are a few photos from the early
years.  Don’t have many scanned in, so these will have to

First day of Kindergarten in El Campo, Texas. 

Okelerin Baptist Church in Ogbomosho, where we lived for our first year
in the country.  There are almost a million people in this town,
but you’d probably never guess from driving through it.  We didn’t
go to church here, but as you can see, lots of other people did. 
The church buildings come in all shapes and sizes, but this is pretty
much how the people always look inside! 

We went to church in this nearby leprosy colony during our first year in the country. That’s my little bro. 

Our grandparents visited us while we lived in the city of Lagos. 
I’ve forever after been disappointed by waves since living here,
because I’ve never played in rougher waves than at this beach! 

This happens to be in the city of Ibadan, though it could be typical of
just about anywhere in the country (although usually the cars would be
this close together on two-way streets). 

The river I was baptized in near Eku.  This very spot graces the cover of Gods of Noonday
By the way, the book is a good read, although it’s probably more
“literary” than most would expect.  I’ve heard that some
missionaries think it’s a bit negative or bitter at times, but the
missionary kids I’ve spoken to all think it captures realistic feelings
quite well. 

I haven’t been across the Atlantic in almost 5 years! 


Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2006 by stephenhuey

The books or the music in
which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to
them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came
through them was longing.

These things–the beauty, the
memory of our own past–are good images of what we really desire; but
if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols,
breaking the hearts of their worshippers.

For they are not the thing
itself; they are only the scent of flowers we have not found, the echo
of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.

C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2006 by stephenhuey

Electric bill for our unseasonably mild January: $698.87

I think we’ve got about a thousand square feet in this place. 

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2006 by stephenhuey

Gonna answer a couple of questions…

Not sure about kolaches in Prague.  One of my 3rd cousins is
living there now, but we came from Moravia (in between Bohemia, where
Prague is, and Slovakia, which broke off from the rest of the country
in recent years). 

And to answer smithern, I was born in Texas and live here now, but spent my formative years in a country from which comes the naija part of my xanga name. 

Below are a few pictures from a visit to see our relatives in 1991:

There’s me on the far left and my brother is on the other side of Barbara. 

The barn next to the house my great-grandfather lived in before he
hopped a boat to Corpus Christi, Texas in 1906.  Franta/Frank
Hejtmanek was only 17 years old and never saw his family again, whereas
his daughter (my grandmother) has been able to make several trips back
there to see her cousins. 

Maypole festival in Lanzhot.  The gold thread in the dresses costs a few korunas!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 20, 2006 by stephenhuey

Koláče:  many koláč

Yesterday, I helped my Grandma Schimek and aunt make a dozen pans of
kolaches (15 per pan).  We were doing 5 cottage cheeses, 3 prunes
and 7 apricots per pan, but someone called me while I was doing some
prune ones, and I was so distracted that I made the rest of the pan
prunes.  We weren’t really doing poppyseed ones, but she used some
leftover dough to make a few of those as well. 

My parents are taking care of a guest house in Ghana right now.  Here’s a random tidbit from one of my mother’s emails:

In case you were wondering, there are 202 window
screens in this building, and I washed them in January.  171 are on big
windows, and 31 are on small windows.  I didn’t do 4 because it would’ve
been too difficult to get to them.  A guest wanted to help and did 7
screens.  I also washed one of the screened porches and 6 screened
doors.  (The screens are just on the outside windows.  There are a lot
of inside windows, as well.  Cleaning windows is a constant job
that Mary and Adeline do.  I’m not sure when the screens were cleaned last,
but they are done periodically.)

I just realized after reading her email that I’ve never aspired
to being as domestic as either my mother or my father.  Is
domestic a good word there?  Maybe I mean hard-working.  I’ve
sometimes thought about how I might romanticize life in Africa, and
when I consider it realistically, the truth is that I enjoyed life over
there as a lazy kid who was playing all the time and didn’t have to
take care of all the stuff my parents did.  If you imagine how
much work people had to do with day-to-day life in the US in the 80s
(since we have a few more conveniences these days) and multiply that by
3.1, then that’ll be about how much extra work it took to take care of
what you’d consider mundane daily things in Nigeria.  Examples of
the extra work include extra cleaning during the dry season when the
Sahara dust blows down the continent and covers everything in the house
no matter what, electricity & water issues, shopping for food,
shopping for just about anything, remembering to iron clothes after
hanging them on the line so that mango worms don’t burrow into your
skin and cause a painful welt, finding fuel for your car during the
frequent shortages, going somewhere else to make a phone call when your
line is down or the internet decides to stop working for a few days,


To answer a question, no–it is not cream cheese.  It’s cottage
cheese.  It’s not really sweet, except for the sugary stuff we put
on top just like we do on the fruit ones.  And on the web you can
read about how many are fruit-FILLED, whereas my grandmother puts the
topping, uh, on top.  She said, “My mother would always put it
inside, but I’m not my mother.”  However, to defend my
grandmother, I should point out that my present-day relatives in the
Czech Republic also lazily put the “filling” on top. 

And about the meat…I was going to say that maybe the sausage ones were made up later, and this funny blog post
about someone stumbling upon kolaches in Houston for the first time
seems to imply that (well, the comments do), but given that Polish
folks have their own [lesser] form of kolaches and we know that Poles
and Czechs both like sausage, I don’t see why it can’t be one of the
original options. 

My Czech-English dictionary defines koláč as tart/pastry/pie.  Following is a description from Krásná Amerika: A Study of the Texas Czechs.

“Today, the only Czech word that many Texans know is koláč  –the
term for the famous circular tart made of double-risen dough whose
center is topped or filled with a sweet sauce made of “mák”
(poppyseed), cottage cheese, prunes, peaches, or other fruit filling.”

Swan Lake?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2006 by stephenhuey

So, I was thinking of going to see Swan Lake on Saturday night (25th),
and although I can’t find 2 or more seats together, I was wondering if
anyone else wanted to go that night anyway.  Not sure how good the
right front orchestra seats are since they’re priced so low ($17), but
I was thinking of sitting there just because I don’t know if I’ll care
if I miss very much since I’ve never seen it before.  Anyone have any idea about how bad those seats are?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2006 by stephenhuey

If a man speaks in a forest, but there is no woman around to hear him … is he still wrong?