dievča is 1/2 дівчинка, but she never really thinks of herself as Ukrainian. she looks like her Dad’s Slovak side of the family (which is — well, maybe, not quite as beautiful as her Mother’s Ukrainian side…).
What prompted these musings?
dievca’s Mom took a turn for the worse and her cousins are coming out of the woodwork to tell her Mom that they love her. Singing Ukrainian songs, sending photos of her Mother to dievca. It is sad and lovely at the same time. The photos shared show that dievca doesn’t really look like her Mom other than the pointy chin which pokes Master’s chest, the color of her eyes (grey), and her voice.
If dievca can’t really look Ukrainian, maybe she could was seek a way to feel more Ukrainian – so she started looking for a vyshyvanka:
Then she remembered that she has this Ulla Johnson blouse – one is enough:
dievca found this post in her drafts from 2 year ago. Its from a tough time, but the source of Joy still makes her smille.
dievca’s last Aunt (both sides) passed away in Spring 2017. She was batshit crazy. Her Dad’s sister was bound and determined to live longer than dievca’s Dad – making the act of breathing a competition.
dievca’s Dad is in the hospital with bleeding on the brain – it will go either way. We have no control and dievca has been going home as much as possible, knowing each visit might be the last. she’ll be upset down the line, but right now she is at peace with herself and planning to get a flight after she hears from her brother.
After packing, dievca was digging in the freezer and she found an orechovník that her Aunt sent to her right before her death. It was made in one of the local Pittsburgh area Catholic church kitchens. dievca added the frozen orechovník to her bag. It would survive the flight.
Dad didn’t have a stroke, he was having seizures and the hospital was able to get them under control.
At her parent’s house, dievca pulled out the orechovník and her Mom asked where it came from. When dievca told her it was from the challenging Aunt who passed, her Mom laughed and sat with dievca to have tea and a buttered piece. The frozen orechovník traveled well.
Orechovník is a piece of childhood memories for dievca: staying with a favorite Aunt or visiting any family member. A piece would be eaten with ham, butter, or nothing. Rolls would be packed into the car for the return trip to the Midwest. Kept frozen in a cooler to appear at Christmas and Easter. Rolls would be brought when cousins, Uncles, and Aunts visited the Midwestern outpost of the family.
In the hospital, dievca told her Dad about the orechovník. The news elicited a reaction. An eye-roll for his deceased pain-in-the-a** sister, as Dad had just broken her record for years of being alive.
For all her drama and headaches – dievca’s Aunt left a piece of Joy to share and that turned out to be a moment of peace and humor after chaos.
2020 – dievca’s Dad is still kicking after this episode. He is still on the seizure meds, but has weaned himself off of the feeding tube. Finding this unpublished post and thinking about that damn orechovník made dievca smile. she just might have to beg her cousins to send her one~ and send her parents one, too.
What is an orechovník (nut roll)?
A nut roll is a pastry consisting of sweet yeast dough (usually using milk) that is rolled out very thin, spread with a nut paste made from groundnuts and a sweetener like honey, then rolled up into a log shape. This ‘log’ is either left long and straight or is often bent into a horseshoe shape, egg washed, baked, and then sliced crosswise. Nut rolls resemble a jelly roll (Swiss roll) but usually with more layers of dough and filling, and resemble strudels but with fewer and less delicate dough layers. Fillings commonly have as their main ingredient ground walnuts or poppy seeds.
Nut rolls can be found in the United States and in Central European cuisines. In the United States, “nut roll” is a more or less generic name for pastries of this type, no matter where they originate. Nut rolls are known also by many specific regional names, including gubana, guban’ca, or potica in Slovene; orechovník in Slovak; makowiec in Polish; povitica, gibanica, orahnjača/orehnjača in Croatian and Serbian (walnut variant, makovnjača for variant with poppy seed, in Croatia can also be made with carob); kalács and bejgli in Hungarian; and pastiç (pastiche) or nokul in Turkish.
Regional variations on nut rolls are part of weddings, for Easter and Christmas, as well as other celebrations and holidays.
But dievca likes it~
We know dievca is Slovak. Not Czech, not Hungarian, not Austrian — Sugar Beet farmers and Soldiers. It gets worse…the other half is Ukrainian. That’s the half that has the true green thumb. Everything grows when dievca touches it. Weird.
The Ukrainian side also comes with weird and wonderful relatives, a fatalistic view on life, and some warped mentalities. One cousin thought he was Jesus. The smart as hell, direct, brutally honest, or complete fantasy genetic side. The ability to go loopy, rides just under the surface. Let’s not sugar coat it. dievca has been known to flip out, too.
Welcome to the Roller Coaster.
OK, Russia assumes that the Ukraine is part of Russia — and kinship or not, that’s not a direction dievca (or дівчина) wants to analyze. But, she is going to make the link for Ukrainian craziness = Russian craziness
dievca ran into this video from the Russian band Leningrad and loved it.
Like the Beatles album, you can run it forward or backwards….
Warning: it’s quite graphic (and fatalistic).
Playing through chronologically