Gizzy in Heaven!

Gizzy in Heaven!
I love you forever and ever, Amen!


Monday, December 21, 2009

I miss you guys!

I'm still typing from the library - whenever I can get to a computer, but hopefully next year (month) I'll be able to get a good deal to resume my internet service because I can't handle dial up. I would rather come here a few times a week.

I just want you to know that I read all your nice comments and I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season - no matter how you celebrate it ... as long as you're being good to yourself and to each other. Life's fragile, so let's treasure it and enjoy it while we can.

I miss you and love you all....

Doris, Gizzy and Middi

you can also reach me at my e-mail here:

Honey Bee Crochet

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The garland for my white tree is...

cut up coffee filters and Jacqie wins ... problem is I'm at the library with 7 minutes left to go...the computers have been very busy - schools out - and I'm not sure when I can check my e-mails again, but leave me an e-mail with your address and I will mail them to you as soon as I can come back here again.

Merry Christmas everyon!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Christmas Tree and a Quiz Giveaway

I finally finished decorating my tree. This year I chose the white, silver and sparkly theme. I rotate every year. Next year it'll be the rich and warm gold and red colors again.

I have a small apartment and this tree is just the right size (about 6') and shape. I got it used from a friend who purchased a new one and I have been using it for the past five years. It's starting to show wear, but nothing that decorations can't hide. I prefer a real one, but they are too cumbersome for me to handle by myself.

Most of my white ornies are the ones I crocheted - including the dilapidated angel, but I expect my angel to look worn and well used since I've had kind of a busy and often rough life. I'm sure I put him through a lot. The main thing is that it still works and that's what counts. Does anyone remember that movie "Michael" with John Travolta? That's sort of what I expect my angel to look like...but I'm almost positive I have more than one anyway, so I'm covered.

After looking at my tree, tell me what the *Garland is made from and I'll send you two of my sparkling snowflakes for your tree...
*GARLAND - the stuff that is more or less draped horizontally over the tree branches, not the ornies hanging down and it is NOT crocheted. Please, be specific! Not just what material it is, but what was it made from, like what was it before it became garland...HINT: It is recycled or repurposed! Don't give up, if nobody guesses it by Tuesday, I will select three people with the most closest guesses and send them each two of my crocheted snowflake ornaments, so happy guessing!

Merry Christmas, my friends. I love you all as if we knew each other in person! You are all very special and very real to me. I wish you peace and hope and love now and always!

For those of you with decent Internet connection, you can enjoy this old classic for free on Hulu:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Really Hot Chili

This is sort of an off-the wall post, but as some of you know, my blogging will slow down significantly as of Monday (12/14/09) because I'm holding out for a better deal on my DSL Internet connection. So, before I slow down my regular posting, I wanted to leave you with a funny story I received in an e-mail a long time ago. I thought it was so hilariously funny that I saved it for sharing with my friends to give them a good laugh. Now, it's not for the oh-so-proper and faint at heart, so if you get easily offended, don't read it - and don't ruin your image of me for liking such a bold and silly story.

I think that with the often stressful and hectic schedules during the holidays, everyone could use a good belly laugh. I sincerely hope this will do the trick. I laugh so hard every time I read it. Here we go:

Texas Chili Cook Off

If you can read this whole story without laughing, then there's no hope for you. I was laughing SO hard that I was crying by the end. This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in Texas . (Jack’s son Rick, an actual Judge, sent this to us!)

Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park .

Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield , IL .

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3."

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:


Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.

Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the Flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.


Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.

Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.

Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.


Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb. woman is starting to look HOT... just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?


Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.


Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.

Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.

Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.


Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing its too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.


Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?

Judge # 3 - No Report

To your health!

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Today is December 12th when my dad in Germany turns 82. He is a jack of all trades and a very versatile man. Growing up in Germany we were best friends when I was young.  When I became a teen-ager we often were arch enemies. Now that the past is all water under the proverbial bridge, we are equals and talk to each other (and write) whenever we can. I thank God every day for having him around and I pray for many more good years for him to enjoy and hopefully, one more visit from me. So, alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Papa und lebe hoch!

While I was talking with him on the phone a moment ago, my sister walked in to pick him up for birthday cake and coffeee, followed by card games (usually Canasta or similar) with one of his brothers and other family members and maybe a little wine - a long standing Birthday Tradion that's religiously kept in honor of my dad's birthday - the eldest of five brothers.

I thought this is a good time to share some of my early childhood Christmas memories that I have of me and my dad. We lived out in the country in a small village on a big property with ponds that was surrounded by a tall, dense evergreen hedge. Periodically my dad would trim the hedge, but he always allowed about three trees to grow tall so that he would have a few to choose as our Weihnachtsbaum or Kristbaum. (Christ is also spelled with K in Germany.)

Growing up Catholic, we celebrated the four Sundays of Advent before Christmas and then on Heiligen Abend (Christmas Eve) December 24th in the afternoon, my dad would fell one of the best evergreens. He'd pick the straightest one and the one whose branches were spaced just right for clipping on the real candles that were always used in those days. 

So, there we were decorating our Weihnachtsbaum not only with delicate glass ornametns, but lots of sweets like fondant and jelly rings, pretty foil wrapped chocolate ornaments and celophane wrapped marzipan strawberries. I remember us play fighting over the marzipan, because it was both of our favorites and it often turned out into a wrestling competiton over the last bite...with lots of laughing and good tastes.

Lastly we would add the tinsel, one strand at a time... so it would hang straight on each branch making the tree look as if it were covered with liquid silver. (I was mortified when I saw one of my friends in the US grab a handfull of tinsel one day and just casually toss it on her tree.) I don't use tinsel anymore, not since I saw one of my cats eating it a long, long time ago.

On Christmas eve, my dad would also hang some sparklers on the tree for extra special effect.

(above is a picture of a real tree with real candles and lit sparkler - similar to ours, only we had tinsel too!)

Then, on Christmas Eve, which was our big celebration, we would all eat dinner and in those days the traditional dinner feast was Karp (yuk!)  I HATED the dreaded Christmas Karp - and I was so relieved when I eventually choked on a bone and after that never had to eat it again Oma (granny) finally switched to fish sticks and that was just fine by me. Even though my dad would catch the karp alive and put him in the portable bathtub in the basement with running water for a few days - it still tasted muddy and I never got used to that taste.

In Germany we exchanged our Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve after dinner and after we all stood around the lit tree, holding hands and singing some Christmas carols. My dad would accompany us with his accordion and we all sang while gazing at the candle lit Christmas tree ... oh, Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blaetter...

When I still believed in the Kristkindl (bringing our gifts), my dad had to be creative to allow me to hang on to my childhood fantasy as long as possible. Later on, I figured out how he did it. Somethow he manged to sneak away without me noticing and got the little angel candle light going that makes the chiming sound as the heat of the candles makes the angels turn around. (pictured below)

My dad would go into the living room (in German houses every room has a door that locks, even the kitchen) to light this candle and then went to get me. We all stood by the door and when we heard the little chimes, my dad said that the Christkindl was in there and I believed it - so we waited a while and then my dad said, he'd best go in first to check to be sure it's gone - (apparently children are not allowed to actually see the Christkindl bring the gifts) - so that's when he disposed of the chimes after which he led me into the room with the gifts under the tree.

It was never a whole bunch, but the few things I got, I really appreciated. I knew that one uncle always gave me colored pencils because he worked for A.W. Faber Castell in Stein, Bavaria (Germany) and another uncle always gave me a book that was age appropriate and even though I knew that, I looked forward to it every year.  My Oma in East Germany always sent me a Teddy Bear in the mail and when I got the brown paper package, I ran home, turning the box back and fro and hearing the bear roar inside (they used to have that little baaaa sound build in.) I loved my teddies most of all because I could sleep with them and not get pocked in the ribs by stiff fingers on the dolls' hands.

So, thanks for the memories, Papa, and please live a good long time so I can see you again!

Oh, mein Papa...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa's Workshop

I love old cartoons and when I saw this colorized version of an old Walt Disney cartoon from 1932, I thought I'd point it out to you. See how they make the rocking horses? ... and the checkered paint? To me these toys are way more fun than computer games. What a treat!

Santa's Workshop (Walt Disney)

I had to watch it twice to see everything - like the way the elf scares the dolly's hair straight with the spider - so cute! I hope you take a few minutes to watch this. It's really fun!

It made me smile, hope it will you too. Now I'm going to get bundled up and take Mr. Gizz for a walk. This is the weather we wait for all summer long.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My favorite non-fast food quick eats

Whenever I'm in Valdosta (the nearest city from where I live) I just have to drive through Taco Bell (yeah, shoot me!) for my Seven layer burrito and/or some tostadas...with the hottest hot sauce! I love Mexican food and although this is not really authentic mexican cuisine (I know, my name used to be Figueroa!) it's the quickest fix for one of my favorite tastes.

So, when I'm rushing around, here are a few things I like to make on my way out the door to avoid overbuying in the grocery store or eating at a fast food joint:

1. PB&P (that's peanut butter and pickle) sandwich. (I always buy smooth and always light whole wheat.)

2. Mock BLT using Bac-Os or similar soy bacon flavored chips in place of bacon

...and if you have just a few more minutes of time to spare (about 20 min) before you have to leave, this is a tasty and quick hot meal solution:

3. Ultra quick chow mein using ramen noodles and cabbage.

I usually always have cabbage, celery, carrots and bell peppers on hand, so that works well for this dish. I just put a little water in my trusty cooking pot, then use the chicken granules from the ramen noodles or you could use some canned chicken stock if you have it handy. The trick is to not use too much water because you don't want soup - you basically want pretty much all the water gone by the time this dish is finished. You can always check and add a little more as the dish cooks.

While that heats, chop your cabbage rather finely (I like the long thin strips so they mix well with the noodles) and chop up a little celery, maybe some long carrot peels (using the vegetable peeler on your cleaned and peeled carrot) for making nice, long strips, maybe a bit of thinly sliced bell pepper - put it in your chicken broth and give that a head start to cook down a little (but not all the way. The goal here is to cook the veggies so that they are semi-crunchy (as in stir fry.)

During the last 3 minutes or so, place your ramen noodle pack in your pot and nestle it in there with the veggies. Put some hot veggies on top to help it cook quicker. Just another few minutes later you will have a nice hot meal (for now and later) that you can enhance with a little soy sauce, hot sauce or some fresh, chopped, green onion or cilantro (if you have it.) After plating, I like to sprinkle some sunflower seeds on top for crunch and protein instead of my usual toasted sesame seeds when I make the authentic stir fry version.

As you can see, this fresh veggie dish leaves lots of room for augmentation and the sky's the limit, as long as it's fresh. Just thought I'd share a couple of quick meals so you don't have to do the fast food thing all the time.

Oh, be sure and employ your crockpot. It's the perfect time to pull it out and use it again - especially as a working parent with a family to feed. It worked wonders for me when I was there and did that.

Have a blessed season and remember to slow down just a little and avoid switching to auto pilot. Granny was right in saying: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

REMEMBER: Safety first! You'll get there eventually - just be sure you get there alive and all in one piece!

My idea of a white Christmas - some of my crocheted white ornaments. I'll show you the entire tree when I'm done decorating it with all my white crocheted Christmas ornies.

I've been absent --- and I'm sorry!

I want to apologize to all my blogging friends whose blogs I visit regularly for not commenting. I've been away from the computer for a few days, partially because my Internet was down and partially because I've been running around with a rental trying to get my car taken care of before the Mfg. warranty runs out and partially because I had doctor's appointments and a few more last minute custom orders that I have been rushing to finish. One I have to get mailed today because my customer wants it on Monday. I just didn't want you guys to think I'm dead.

I also heard from Tina via e-mail of Beansie Bables. As most of you know she moved and will try to get back to blogging soon. I was worried because I've not heard from her and hoped nothing had happend to her during her move. I often wondered about that. What if something happened to anyone of us. Notifying ones friends on the Internet is probably the family's last concern. So, I just thought I'd share what I know with those of you that know her - albeit she's probably e-mailed you too.

Well, off to picking up my vehicle from the dealer, then the post office and then more crocheting...I'm a crocheting fool today - I'm a hooker, an Etsy Hooker to be specific - a gal with a hook (what were you thinking?)

Oh, by the by, I won't have Internet access for a while. My contract runs out on the 14th, so until I get a good deal again for another year, I'll be holding off renewing and just use the computer in the library for now. I wont' be able to upload or download from there, so I'll just do the best I can without the pretty pictures ;-)

Before I run off again, I want to show you some photos I took the other day of this red shouldered hawk... they are everywhere right now, hunting and scaring the little critters, but they sure are beautiful! The other morning one ended up on my hedge right outside my apartment, but I was so excited that the picture turned out blurry, besides it was through the screen - not a good shot. I often see them sitting on the ground tugging and stomping at something or another. Every day I can hear them as they fly around making that hawkish cry that they have...I think they are so handsome!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today we remember: Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor (or Hawaii Operation, Operation Z, as it was called by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters) was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 (Hawaiian time, December 8 by Japan Standard Time), which resulted in the United States becoming militarily involved in World War II.  (read more here.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How much is that partridge in the window?

Since 1984, PNC Financial Services advisors have calculated the cost of the gifts from the Twelve Days of Christmas carol each holiday season. Everything is factored in, from eight maids to 10 lords to 12 drummers. Here, you can see a chart of the cost of the Christmas Price Index over the years.

For those of you looking to get your true love all the gifts mentioned in the "Twelve Days of Christas" carol, don't come with chump change: The total cost of all the items this year (2009) is $21,465
[source: PNC].

Ho - Ho - Ho - Meeeeery Christmas!

Happy 2nd Advent Sunday and St. Nicholas Day!

Today, we light two candles on our Advent Wreath
and celebrate in anticipation of Christ's birth on Christmas Eve.

This is what's called a "bunte Teller" meaning a colorful plate, a typical gift from St. Nikolaus if you were good as it is St. Nikolaus Tag in Germany and other European countries. I trust most children got some tasty treats on their plates or in their shoes, but I bet there also will be some very scared (probably) little boys vowing to do better next year. (Read my previous post for details.)

I also finally finished crocheting this pretty shawl and hat ensemble that would be perfect to wear with a little black dress on New Year's Eve. It's made from Patons' Devine mohair blend yarn in halo blue and I must tell you, the photos do not do it justice. This lovely set feels light as a feather - it's like touching a bunny light and airy and the color reminds me of a cloud...and you can barely feel the hat on your head.

You can see more images of this shawl and the dimensions in my Etsy shop here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nikolaus von Myra

In Germany, Sankt Nikolaus Tag (St. Nicholas Day), is celebrated on December 6. This is the favorite holiday of all children - it's a gift-giving day. A reverend gray-haired figure with flowing beard, wearing gorgeous bishop's garments, gold embroidered cape, mitre and pastoral staff, visits the children and inquires about the behavior of the children. Sankt Nikolaus is accompanied by his servant "Knecht Ruprecht" a scary looking, often hunched over guy, carrying a sack with toys and also equipped with a switch or paddle for punishing (ok, at least intimidating) the children who have been naughty all year (and believe me, they know who they are...) The custom of examining the children, where they will cite a verse, sing, or otherwise show their skills, is still widespread in German-speaking countries. Each little one gets a gift for his performance. It's not uncommon to see even the biggest boys running scared when his name gets called, because they are all afraid of Knecht Ruprecht. If he does have to use the switch, it's barely a touch, but the experience and public humiliation is enough to make the biggest bully cry. Growing up in Germany, I spent a lot of time in day care that was run by the Catholic nuns. When someone misbehaved, all they had to do is threaten to write his or her name in the black book for St. Nikolaus to see and we did whatever we could to make things right, because once your name's in there, it can not be erased. So, they kept a black and a gold book and our names got written in there according to our deeds. I tell you what, that was a great disciplinary tool. The most famous tradition on St. Nicholas Day is that little (and not so little) kids put their polished shoes or socks outside the door or window, and at night St. Nicholas fills them with little gifts...or coal if they were bad most of the year! You can also put out an empty plate somewhere by the hearth or outside and then you will get your "just reward" on your plate. Some of the German childrens songs sing about St. Nikolaus...and anxiously waiting the night before to find in the morning what he had left at night...(similar to Santa Claus here) only St. Nicholas leaves stuff on the plate for the children.
Is that beer in the shoes on the right? Just got to love good ole St. Nik! The story of St. Nicholas, the bishop of Myra (Greece) who died on December 6th, dates back to the 4th century. He is said to appear in the company of Knecht Ruprecht, "Knecht" meaning "servant". Historically, Ruprecht was a dark and sinister figure wearing a tattered robe with a big sack on his back in which, as a legend says, he would put all naughty children. St. Nicholas also appears together with St. Peter, with an angel, the Christchild (Christkindl*) As the gift-giving function of St. Nikolaus began to shift to the splendor of the candle-lit Christmas tree and emphasis on the birth of Christ, Knecht Ruprecht became the servant and companion of the Christchild. In this role Ruprecht became the patron saint of Christmas and was called "Weihnachtsmann," Father Christmas or Santa Claus. *Note my post about the Nuernberger Christkindlsmarkt. Judgement Day! Wouldn't seeing that coming down the mountain just scare the tar out of you? (...even if you didn't do anything wrong.) Maybe we need some of that good old fashioned European Religion to intimindate our bad guys over here. I see the title of a movie called "St. Nikolaus and his gang of Ruprechts" a-roop, a-roop, a-roop...
(actually, these guys traveling with Sankt Nikolaus above are called Krampus. They are from Germany's neighbor, Austria, where the Saint's assistants look and act even scarier than in Germany (if you can believe that), but just look at this video:

(Personally, I think some people need a little foretaste of hell to make them behave decently, but then, that's just my opinion - I could be wrong!)

17th century European history reveals that St. Nikolaus has traveled with an array of unsavory servants, known as Zwarte Piet, Cert, Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus, Black Peter. Read this to learn more.

Happy Holy Days to you and yours!
(be sure your 5th window is open on your Advent's Calendar)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear Santa

Do you remember me? I sat upon your knee. I wrote to you with childhood fantasies. Well, I'm all grown up now and still need help somehow. I'm not a child, but my heart still can dream, so here's my lifelong wish, my grown up Christmas list, not for myself, but for a world in need: This is my grown up Christmas list! As children we believed the grandest sight to see was something lovely wrapped beneath our tree. Well, heaven only knows, that packages and bows can never heal a hurting human soul. What is this illusion called the innocence of youth? Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let there be peace on earth

Click on this link here for the history of the song "Let there be peace on earth."
Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth The peace that was meant to be. With God as our father Brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother In perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me Let this be the moment now. With every step I take Let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment And live each moment With peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth, And let it begin with me. Jill Jackson Miller