Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of 2011

A sunset for 2011

I really wanted to find time to reflect on this past year and make some profound statements but, as usual, the year has slipped out of my grasp and I'm typing this on the last day of the year trying to collect my thoughts and I'm drawing a blank!

So, here's just a few Christmas photos of decorations around the island.  Well, these are decorats that appear in just two locations: G&G's Clearwater Paradise and Graham's Cay.  Hope you enjoy them!

An island Christmas Tree
Santa and his Crystal ball
(Note the tiny train that goes around)
A Christmas Nite Light

Ginger's Santa Collection

A tribute to Rudolph

A Christmas Nite Light

Santa and the Crystal Ball of Dreams
(Cut train that runs around the base)

Ginger's Nativity Collection

A darling Bear Nativity
Love the "Bear" Angels

Graham's Cay

This year I did not decorate at my house, which is very unusual.  Circumstances were just not right and so my precious reminders of Christmas past lay dormant in the storage area.  But, next year, they will be out in all their glory to remind me of the friendship, love and happiness that makes up this season.

May 2012 be all you want.  May you live happily and in good health and may you enjoy the love of friends and family throughout the year.  To my children I send all my love, to my friends I thank you for your kindness, thoughtfulness and "being there" for me this past year and to my husband, may we have many more happy years together......if you do what I say!!!  HA and Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cooler Weather and More Rain

As I've said before - it is December and we have lots of rain.  Not a good time of year for tourists to visit the island but all of us who live here, we get out and about nonetheless because this is a time of celebrating.

First, with cooler weather I had to make the traditional pot of Chili and Mike's favorite, crunchy least that is what he calls my French Bread when I toast slices to have with a meal.


Mmmm, mmmm, good.  I make French Bread at least 3 times a month and have a wonderful recipe which is simple and fast.  HOWEVER, one is advised to mix the warm water, yeast and sugar and let it sit and then mix in one cup of flour before adding the rest of the flour and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Well, about twice now I’ve forgotten the salt!  The bread turns out nice but is rather bland.  I highlighted the addition of the salt on my recipe card but, unfortunately, on this particular day I used the newly re-typed recipe which did not have the salt highlighted!  You guessed it - I forgot the salt.  And the bread came out looking so beautiful too.  I fixed that by slathering it with garlic/parsley butter and broiling slices for a few minutes.  Where there is a will there is a way.
Next, I apologize for not reporting on one more news item in my last blog.  At the time I sat and sat and tried to remember what I was forgetting but alas it never jumped into my brain until yesterday!  What I meant to tell people was that over two weeks ago Sue Sikaffy was out sick from her store and when we inquired as to her whereabouts we were told she had experienced high blood pressure and was being checked out.  We later discovered that she had experienced this increase due to stress over the fact that she had learned her husband had an incident with his heart.  Armando works on a boat servicing other ships off the coast of either Africa or the Middle East (I’m not quite clear on where he is working).  Several of the men on the island have taken jobs on oil rigs or work on service boats in the Atlantic and are away from home from 3 to 6 months.  They come home for about a month R&R and return to work another stretch.  Armando was on the job when he experienced chest pains (or something similar - not fully informed as to his symptoms).  They took him somewhere (and I don’t know that either) for medical attention where they discovered two of his arteries were clogged.  They inserted a balloon device and cleared the clog and sent him home for a month.  He is now well and resting and was told to start a diet and watch his cholesterol.  Armando, we are glad you are well and hope that you can deal with this new lifestyle change!

Next, I mentioned in my Christmas blog that I had made several other presents but could not post the photos as the people receiving them would know what they were getting.  But I can now post a few of the things I distributed at Christmas to friends.  Unfortunately, and not to bore you, I forgot to take a photo of two items and so you are not subjected to having to view even more things!

The following were tea light flowers I made for several of the girls that work at our local grocery store and are so helpful all year.  The coasters were to be made to use at the bar at Manati.  I love the bright colors and so did the recipient.


This is a bag to hold plastic bags!  You put in your bags at the top and pull them out the bottom.  I have done the before and sewed them from material.  However, I found this pattern which was so elegant that I had to make it up.  I gave it to the person with a bottle of wine as it makes a nice gift bag for that too!   

This is a slipper sock I started for my husband but it turned out to be too large so I used it as a Christmas sock to put his gifts in! 

This is a book bag but will be used as a small purse by the recipient of this gift.

These are slippers for my friend in Florida who needs something warm to keep her toes comfortable in the winter!

So, I guess I am caught up now.  I might add that I forgot to make Christmas cookies for my husband this year.  His favorite are Pecan Sandies which are really melt in your mouth kind of cookies that I've made for years.  I was able to make one batch (40 cookies) as I only had 1 cup of butter left in my refrigerator.  In spite of the "limitation" on his intake of cookies, he was very happy that I finally remembered and made him his cookies!  Also made a couple loaves of garlic flavored bread to go with them.  So, we have chili, french bread, garlic bread and cookies - and who says good food here is hard to come by?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Another Christmas has come and gone and, as usual, being so far from family we celebrated with our friends in order to share the joy of the Season!
For a few years we have all gathered at Manati to celebrate Christmas (among other festivities) and this year was no exception.  The day started as normal Christmas Days do; cloudy, rain and rough traveling.  In 14 years I think we have had 4 sun-filled Christmas days with possibly two of them beginning and ending with rain but in the middle there was sun!  Dec. 25th this year was no exception, it rained off and on all day and some people managed to miss the downpour to arrive high and dry while others got caught and came in drenched!  Needless to say, everyone was in good spirits.

We usually have turkey and this year was no exception except this year we had two humongous birds!  Everyone was instructed to bring a dish to share and we had a variety of salads, vegetables and deserts to fill our stomachs.
Claus took on the responsibility of cooking the turkeys in his outdoor grill.  This huge oven was built a couple of years back to celebrate Hansito’s 50th birthday and has been providing the island with wonderful meals ever since.  Today was no exception as Claus tended to the two turkeys.  As usual, he did an outstanding job and our thanks to him and his wife, Annette, for all their hard work!  Great meal guys!!

Of course we all caught up on the latest news which was that of Dick Monroe falling off a ladder last week and breaking his hip.  It was doubly sad as the whole family; wife, Jennifer, two sons, Seth and Ben, and Robin, Ben’s girlfriend, managed to make it to the island for the first Island Christmas celebration.  They had all come to Manati the previous Saturday to see everyone but between then and Dec. 25th, Dick, while tending to the trimming of some trees near his house, unfortunately chose to use an old wooden ladder which had weaken and broke while he was on it.  
For those of you who know Dick, he is a large man and getting him off the island really presented a challenge.  But, as ever, the islanders were up to the task and with the help of the people from Wilmont Bay and the family, Dick was loaded onto a reclining porch chair, loaded into a boat and taken to the airport where Lahnsa had a plane waiting to take him on to San Pedro Sula.  From there he was transported to Hospital Cemesa via an ambulance (which Jennifer had to fill with gas!) and about two days later he had a total hip replacement surgery.  Doctors are reporting that the surgery went well and Dick should be able to leave Honduras on January 7th to return to the States to recuperate.  We wish you well Dick and are so sorry you could not spend Christmas with your family.

 Meanwhile, back on Guanaja we all prepared to partake of the feast spread out before us.  With my husband offering to carve the birds, in no time there was food on the table, people assembled and it was almost all gone within an hour or two!

As an added attraction, once again we celebrated Capt. Al’s birthday.  He turned 83 and we all cheered and sang Happy Birthday to a colorful character that has been an “attraction” of the island for many, many years.  Happy Birthday Capt. Al!
There was a huge blue iced chocolate birthday cake (I guess that is his favorite color and favorite flavor) and was sufficient to feed the crowd of over 50 people present.  Of course there was some funny colored tongues and teeth because of the food dye in the frosting - but, hey, makes for more laughter!
I also have some pleasant news to report: Joan and David Cobb who unfortunately could not be here this year as they were in Alaska with their son, McCrea and his wife, Michelle, were informed that they are to be Grandparents for the first time next June!  Congratulations to the proud parents and Grandparents.
There was a sad note to the season however with the passing of Diane and Terry Conlee’s good friend, Susan Moelling who succumbed to a sudden unknown illness and died after 36 hours in the hospital.  Our condolences to Diane and Terry and the family of Mrs. Moelling.  Also, Jack’s Mom, Jackie, fell a few weeks ago but has returned to her home and is reported to doing well.  Go Jackie!
For the rest of my friends, I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and look forward to a bright, healthy, happy New Year.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Death and Rebirth

No, this is not a religious blog - this is about crafts!  I am an avid crocheter.  When I first came to the island I put all my crocheting away as 1) I was way too busy to find time to crochet and 2) it was too danged hot to work with yarn.

Over the years my crocheting was put on the back burner, so to speak, and everything was tucked away in boxes and stored out of sight.

A few years ago, in the "cool" of our winter season, I took up the art once more and through the magic of Internet was able to find fantastic patterns.  You see Honduras has women who crochet but they are limited as to what they can make.  The few businesses that do sell crochet items only sell are small steel crochet hooks and only fine crochet thread, which one generally uses for doilies.  You can find some wool-type yarn occasionally on the island but it is of poor quality (as is their thread) and only in black, red and white with an occasional green appearing.

Lucky for me I had a lot of yarn and all my various needles to tackle most any project.  I am not one to make what I consider those "tacky" toilet roll dolls or lots of dollies or clothes for dolls.  I like unusual items, things that are useful, pleasing to the eye and look like someone cared enough to really search for the right item to give as a gift.  I know I may offend those long-time crocheters who love those little doll items and tea towels, and they have their place.  However, I don't like to waste my time on those type of things - I like things that can sometimes be considered a real challenge and be useful.

Over the past few years I have made coasters, scarves, Christmas decorations, afghans, a doily (for myself in an unusual pattern), hanging items from filet crochet patterns, hats for my step-daughter who was undergoing radiation for cancer, stocking caps for my Grandsons, baby clothes, dish cloths, ponchos, eye glass cases, bowls, and the list goes on.  Sometimes I have posted a photo of what I am doing.  For example, last December on my Busy End of the Year post, I published many photos of things I had been doing all year long.

This year my friend, Annette, requested a sweater for her Christmas present.  She had wanted a Granny Square sweater as she had seen one of various multi-colors several years ago.  I could not find an appropriate pattern on the net and as I'm not really fond of putting a bunch of granny squares together, I checked out other various designs.

I found a nice jacket-like item which was a copy of a pattern that was popular in the '70s.  It was about the style she wanted so I ordered yarn on-line.  Unfortunately, the yarn she wanted was to be in bright rainbow colors which I could not find.  I found a reasonable facsimile and ordered this.  A week later I was surfing the net and found exactly what I wanted for her and ordered that too.   I then waited for my DIP box to arrive.  Both yarns arrived a few weeks later and I was set free.

Well, I must say, I've never attempted a sweater/jacket before but this pattern was fairly straight forward and, as luck would have it, was worked from the top down with no extra setting in of sleeves.  I finished the project in record time only to find that it was too large for Annette's tiny frame. I revised the pattern down two sizes (from small to tiny to petite).

So, I tore the sweater apart and re-did it.  The result is what you see above.  This time the item fit her but was a terrible style for her.  I refused to let her keep it and tore it out again, determined to find a better pattern.

I did find a pattern I felt suitable and made it out of the first softer colored yarn.  This time it fit her, was better suited to her body style and she was warm and happy.  So, this would be her Christmas present.

This is a close up of the sweater.  The first picture is not the actual color as I took it without a flash.  The photo of the close up of the hand-crocheted buttons shows the true coloring.

I then proceeded to crochet her another sweater, this time using a pattern that has set-in sleeves and would compliment, I hope, her body style and I was back to working with the bright colors she wanted.  This will be a birthday present for her was her birthday is in January.  So, in record time (I felt), I finished the major part of the sweater and now only need to put it together and then make the cuffs and front collar.

But, Christmas calls and I am forced to put this aside until next week and complete my Christmas gifts:

These are tea light holders for a few of the various people that help me out during the year.  I have other gifts, but cannot post them because then it would take away the surprise for those who surf the net and read my blog!

Merry Christmas to all!

There's a Pizzeria in Guanaja!

I should have reported on this "new" happening long before now but have been wrapped up in so many things that my blogging has suffered.

However, I am now here to tell you that Hanspico's Restaurant at Fruit Harbour, which has been in operation for several years, has perfected a recipe for Pizza which is outstanding!  They have been making pizzas for about a year now and have built a better oven, developed a better crust and have wonderful toppings to put on to boot!

This is what Hanspico's Pizza place looks like!  True island flavor.

This is our Chef/Cook/Bartender - Hannas, Pico's 18 year old son who really knows how to make a pizza!

I had a photo of Hannas putting the pizza in their homemade Pizza oven, but there is a new format on the blog site and it just does not seem to do what one wants - add the multiple photos one selects.  Of course there is no "help" bar and I'm experimenting here.  I did preview my blog and noted some little blank squares which I imagine contain the photo I wanted to download but don't know how to open it up!


Finally got the download to work so you can get a look at the "professional" pizza oven of Guanaja!

To get off the subject, I cannot understand businesses updating their sights and then not offering either an updated help bar or any help bar!  Oh, well, if this were a perfect world.......

This is the final product!  As you can see, we've already dug in!  Yumm.

And, so, the end of a perfect day with a perfect pizza in a tranquil place called Guanaja!