Sunday, December 26, 2010

Busy End of the Year

This year has gone by quickly! I think it is age; when you are young the days/months/years seem to drag on and then all of a sudden, after a brief period of middle age, bamm you are in the "golden" years and you wonder where the time has gone. Years keep getting shorter and shorter it seems!

This was a full year for me. I was able to take my second, and quite possibly my last, trip to Europe. To prepare for it I went back to my crafts. I wanted to make presents for people that I would be visiting and since I knew the chances of it being cooler there than on the island, I needed to make a few articles of clothing for myself.

I have crocheted since I was 20 but when we moved to the island I stopped the activity as the weather here was just too hot to handle yarn. I was building our house with my husband and did not have the time. I did do some sewing out of necessity, making things for the house. I managed to do a little stamping and make some cards for various occasions, but I left my crafts behind for a while. One reason for the halt: craft items cannot be readily found on the island. Yarn is of poor quality, there are very few supplies for my various activities and things I needed for sewing cannot be found in Honduras.

On my last trip to the States, a little over a year ago, I bought some yarn and sewing items. So, this year I was stocked up with supplies. My first project was a wedding quilt for Judith who was getting married in August in Germany. I reported on this activity earlier this year and I managed to finish the quilt in 5 months and was quite proud of it.

I had started to crochet an afghan last winter but had to put it aside because it got warmer and holding a large afghan in your lap during the summer, well, it is not something I had a tolerance for. But, this year,I took out my patterns, scoped the Internet for new ideas, gathered all my crochet needles and started up. I usually give handmade items to my friends at Christmas and every year is a challenge to come up with something different. I also turned to my sewing machine and was busy making items with that.

Some of the things I made: a lap blanket, a shawl, dozens of dish cloths (sometimes referred to as dish rags), hot pads for casserole dishes, wash cloths and face cleansing pads, cloth "bags" to hold small kleenex packages, sewn and crocheted table runners, a wedding purse for the bride and the mother-of-the-bride, two potpourri baskets, winter neck scarves - one was my first crocheted cable stitched pattern, a poncho for myself, a crocheted top, 3 caps for my step-daughter who lost her hair to chemo treatments, a case for sunglasses and one for make up and about 24 ornament gift bags. There were a few others things I made, but just can't recall them at this moment.

I also created an Island Calendar on-line. However, with the higher cost of the calendars I cut my gift list back to just a few friends/family in the States and on the island. I finally completed a slideshow of photos of my European trip for the friends I traveled with and who wanted to have copies of my photos.

So, my year was very productive and I plan a busy year in 2011. I am glad to have re-kindled my crocheting and in so doing I have developed more ease with the craft, fun patterns and a feeling of satisfaction that I have made something from my own two hands. It also provides me with a way to relax, which is a hard thing for me to do! Besides, it gives me something to do on a rainy day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bonnie's Debut

On the evening of my husband's birthday party, when most people had departed for their homes, Claus, Annette, Mike and I and Bonnie and Bob stayed on talking, playing Farkel (a dice game) and just talking about life on the island.

How it came about, I will never know, but it began with the music! Bob was behind the bar selecting tunes and must have hit the magic combination as Bonnie began to dance. Now, Bonnie is a very fun loving, energetic woman with a great personality that shines. She began dancing and I saw that we were in for a high-power evening.

Don't ask me what came over us but while under Bonnie's spell, we did as she bid! Annette, who is a great dancer, at times could not keep up with Bonnie's gyrations. But, between the two of them, they put on a good show, as shown in the photos. We, naturally, joined in and had a great time:

Then Bonnie had an inspiration and hopped (well, climbed) up on the bar and began dancing. She taunted the rest of us to join her and not to be out done, I decided I would be the one to complete the act.

Believe me when I say, climbing up on a bar is not recommended AT ANY TIME because of all the things that could happen (there's my Mother's voice in my head saying "ARE YOU CRAZY? If your friend jumps off a bridge are you going to follow?"). But, it was late and no one was around and so, like a fool, I ignored my Mother's warning voice.

Here's what it looked like:

After that episode we thought, OK, we'll just sit back, listen to music and relax. Bonnie had other thoughts. Someone told her she should try out the drums as we had been talking about the days of the Manati Guanaja Boys Band that use to play in the restaurant on occasion. Bonnie needed no coaxing and, as the photos show, she took to the drums like a duck takes to water!

First and second photo: The "instructor" giving her drumming points and the student paying attention:

The third and fourth photo: She starts "getting her feet wet" and then gets "cool"

The fifth and sixth photo: Her instructor steps in and her husband joins the group.

The seventh and eighth photo: What can we say? She's a natural

Last photo: Bonnie advances to a vocal while drumming:

A good time was had by all and, no, we were not drunk, just a group of people having a really good time. I did catch some of the action on a video with my camera. It was the first time I had ever tried that with this camera but it turned out better than I had hoped. I am making an attempt to put it up on YouTube and will let everyone out there know on another Blog, where they can go to see it!

Just remember, we have to make our own entertainment here and what we do may seem wild (well, OK, it is), but it is all done in the name of fun --- and we had some fun!


More Celebrating

Well, as I said in my previous blog - the Holidays are upon us and there are more parties to come.

With that in mind, yesterday we celebrated my husband's umpteenth birthday. Since he was adamant about not wanting to celebrate the occasion, I went ahead and planned a Pre-Christmas Party combined with a "Mike doesn't want to celebrate his birthday party" at our favorite restaurant, Manati. Mike could not really object to that as I said it was a Pre-Christmas party. He bah-humbuged the fact that I was just making up a new name for a birthday party, but I won!

Anyway, having it at Manati took a lot of stress off me. I did not have to thoroughly clean the house from top to bottom, figure out how to control the dogs and birds and had time to concentrate on cooking. Also, since I only can transport so much food, the party had to stay at a manageable size.

My menu was not too difficult; I had plenty of leftover turkey so I made my favorite Turkey Hustle Up Casserole, which I THINK is the best! That with some stir fried vegetables, cranberries, pumpkin bread (of course!), rice, a tasty cranberry crunch salad with maple syrup dressing (yes, Maple syrup), a couple of appetizers and desert - strawberry topped cheesecake we were set. I also bought 3 bottles of champagne to celebrate the occasion with.

The night before the party I finished the topping for my cheesecake that I had made that afternoon. I garnished it heavily with strawberries and poured a strawberry sauce over it. Placed it in the refrigerator and proceeded to get the sausage balls ready for cooking the next day before we left. Everything was going well and I had a list of all the things I would have to remember to pack to take to Manati. I went to the refrigerator to get some cheese for the sausage balls, opened the door and PLOOP out came my cheesecake, flipped over, upside down on the floor. I was shocked to say the least! I screamed "NO" and stood there not believing what had just happened! I was so shocked that I could not cry or say anything further. My husband came out, quickly scooped up the top layer of the cheese cake sitting on the rug leaving a barrier between what was salvageable and what remained on the floor. CocoNut, our dog, had a grand time cleaning up the mess. My husband was pleased with himself and started dipping into the mess! He asked if I could make another one and I said, "No, unfortunately I only have one egg left and no more strawberries."

As it was, I called Bonnie and she volunteered to bring her strawberry/banana ice cream and I decided to combine it with my pistachio ice cream, slice up some bananas, what was left of the few leftover strawberries and then top it all off with chopped almonds. The desert, in the end, was very good but I still wish we could have had the cheesecake!

The morning of the party, we loaded everything into our boat which took several trips believe me! The weather was cooperating in spite of reports that another cold front was on its way and due to arrive Sunday evening. The seas were calm and the sun was out and the temperature was perfect. When we arrived Claus and Annette were busy straightening up the place from the night before and we went about getting the tables and food ready.

Guests arrived, people visited over appetizers, food was served, toasts were made, gifts were opened and desert was served. It was a fun time and I think my husband even managed to admit that this was a good idea! Mike did not solicit or expect gifts but people still managed, at the last minute, to find something for him. Homemade hot sauce, homemade chocolate cookies (which my husband says he will not share), candy, a razor (a joke gift) well wishes from all in attendance.

Here are some of the photos of the event:

Thanks to Annette and Claus for allowing me to use their restaurant for the day, thanks to Bonnie for rescuing me and thanks to all that we able to attend the small affair!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Time Again

Once again, the holiday season is upon us and everyone is scrambling around getting their shopping lists prepared, decorating their homes and businesses, making or buying gifts and, best of all, looking forward to the celebrations that will be staged for these events!

Thanksgiving this year was held at Clark Cay and our hosts, Bonnie and Bob, along with Geri and Al, were preparing a feast (with the help of volunteers) for those of us on the island that celebrate the American holiday.

Personally, Thanksgiving to me is not complete unless I have four things: turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes and my pumpkin bread! I can leave or take dressing, green bean casserole is nice but not a necessity and pumpkin pie only with the presence of whipped cream. Well, we had all that and more!

This year, alas, there was not one can of pumpkin to be found on the island. Lucky for me I convinced one of our favorite grocery store owners (Regina) to order me some cans from the coast on their next boat delivery. She came through with flying colors and got me 5 cans! Hooray. I furnished 3 loaves of pumpkin bread, 2 vegetable casseroles, appetizers, and a pumpkin pie complete with whipped topping. As I had prepared a turkey a few days before for my husband and myself (I love leftover turkey), I also took some leftover gravy.

The day dawned bright and clear and the sea was an unusual falt calm affair. The party was to be held at 11:30 a.m. with the meal being served around 12:30 p.m. We had many regulars there along with some people from a couple of the visiting sailboats and a new couple, Bruce and Liz. All in all there were about 25 people present, give or take 3 or 4!

The food was fabulous! Bonnie and Bob did a knock out job with some appetizers and a ham and Al and Geri presented a beautifully cooked turkey with gravy and dressing. We had salads and macaroni and cheese and several types of deserts, all furnished by various people attending the meal. Drinks were provided and everyone had a pleasant time visiting and passing the time of day after a huge meal.

I have some photos that I want to put on this blog regarding the party and rather than scatter them throughout my blog as I normally do, I will present them here in one group.

Heck, even the pets had a good time!

Thanks to our hosts, Bonnie, Bob, Al and Geri for pulling off a wonderful dinner!