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December 2007

 December 1

TO RETTA: My dear Retta, did you open the little door up in the fireplace that I specifically said "DO NOT OPEN!)? I believe that is where the geese came from, down the chimmney! Those were the geese I had purchased for the Knut Birthday celebration dinner. "SOMEONE" opened the cage out back and they all got out. Feeling warmth and smelling food from the dining room, they immediately flew down the chimmney to the dining room. I am sorry you and the tall white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears had to chase them around the dining room and the diners, but I believe you learned another "valuable lesson!" So sorry they pooped on your head, too. I believe I know who opened the cage, too. There was white fur stuck on the latch of the cage, I believe the two of you were working together to free the geese. I understand your love of birds, but . . . where do you think a good roasted goose comes from . . . the goose factory? I am not angry, I believe you have each received proper punishment by being "bombed with bird poop." So now, I will rethink and replan the celebration dinner for Knut's 1st Birthday.

I hope no harm came to our beautiful Christmas tree!!! You are responsible for it since you're Chief of the Fireplace project.

KNUTI-JUDI: You were a delight in the kitchen today! NO FIRES at all. That in itself is an accomplishment at Mervi's Fireside Cafe! It was my fault about the knobs, I forgot to tell you to turn them on to cook. But, with the microwave, we worked wonders at the last minute. I hope your trip to Bearlin and to see Knut on his Birthday is the event of a lifetime! Please blow kisses to him for me and whisper to him that I love him with all my heart!!! Godspeed!

December 2

GOODMORNING from Mervi's Fireside Cafe:
We have an honored visitor in the kitchen this morning. The neighbor, The Lady Maraen Bear, who is our waiter's neighbor, has come to spend the day with us and she's brought her Kitty, too. The poor Dear walked from the Bearlin Zoo all the way here and was half frozen by the time she got here. I told her that from now on . . . please call when she wants to come and I will send a car for her. It's too cold for her to be out walking! She is now sitting in "her" rocker next to the stove with a rainbow colored throw over her legs and a bright lavender shawl over her shoulders. I immediately poured her a cup of chicken soup to sip on and warm her old bones. Of course, her Kitty had a dish of warm milk to help warm her, too. They are both dozing quitely by the stove now. She did tell me before she fell asleep that there is much activity behind the scenes at the Bearlin Zoo regarding Knut's birthday celebration. What a lovely Dear she is, I always look forward to spending the day with her. The tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears loves her so much and constantly dotes on her every move. It is heartwarming to watch!

I checked on the Christmas tree in front of the fireplace and it looks intact after the "escape" of the geese. Retta did a fine job of keeping the tree upright and not an ornament was broken. Fine job Retta! We now have mistletoe hanging in the middle of the dining room. I am not sure who placed it and I am not sure it was a good idea. I will watch and see how it is received at lunch today. Well, off to the stove, time to stir the pots. I have almost finished with cooking and will have more time to visit with Lady Maraen Bear when she awakes. Till later . . .

December 3

GOOD EVENING from Mervi's Fireside Cafe:

Today has been a good day! It always is when my Lady Maraen Bear and her Kitty comes to visit. I don't think I have seen the tall white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears run back and forth so much as he has today. He completely loves the sweet little lady. I sent him out to bring back some fresh Stollen for our guest this afternoon to have with a cup of coffee. It was the darnedest thing, I ordered 5 and he came back with 3. He could not explain what happened to the rest either. I wonder . . . but we did have enough for our guest and one for her to take home. She told me they do not have phones in their homes at the Bearlin Zoo so I sent our waiter out to get her one so she could call when she's ready to come visit. Of course I had to get permission from Herr B. and as long as it didn't cost him anything, it was okay. When she left I packed her a large take home package, too. She was given a sample of the new menu, which will be unvailed tomorrow.

Retta has been practicing her Tango in front of the Christmas tree in her red and white Mrs. Santa Klaus outfit. The skirt is quite full and as she twirled she took out two ornaments and a partridge in a pear tree. We never did catch the partridge, it's still flying around the dining room. Let's just hope it does not get too excited in the dining room. That could be quite bad.

A little peak at the new menu: traditional German food and one day a week a Surprise of different countries cuisine. International cuisine on that day. Till tomorrow . . . have a good evening. We are looking forward to all the visitors from other countries coming for Knut's Birthday at The Cafe. Good evening.

December 3

LATE GOODMORNING FROM Mervi's Fireside Cafe:

Today is the beginning of a new menu. I hope it is liked by all, we left on a few favorites and added a few new things. One day a week we will also have "International Day." That day we will zero in on a Country and it's foods. Each week it will be a different Country since we are an International group of Knutians. Here's the new menu:

Pigs knuckles with potatoes
Sauerkraut with blood sausage
Westphalian ham
Warm potato salad
Sliced cucumbers with a sour cream sauce
Apple Strudel

And for something light:
Split pea soup with German Frankfurters with fresh baked Pumpernickle bread.

Today we will serve this at lunch and I'll let you all know how it was received when I post after the lunch rush. Off to the kitchen now. The tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears said he loves the new menu. Only thing I didn't put on it was fish, which he loves. Maybe next time. Till later . .

December 4

The new menu was a hit today! The pigs knuckles and the sauerkraut with blood sausage is always a hit but the Westphalian ham was proclaimed delicious. We had more plates of ham served than the pigs knuckles and sauerkraut combined. While the apple strudel was well received, the Christmas Stollen was devoured!!! We have a baker who specializes in Stollens, only the best for our guests. I have the regular Stollen and the Stollen made with almond paste. On Saturday we will also carry the Stollen with Kir. Let's hope the tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears does NOT eat too much of that one!

Retta was delightful practicing the Tango with Al Pacino after the supper diners were served. Except for the new holes in his shoes from her sharp heels on his feet, they danced quite well. Well, except for when he "dipped" her and she lost her footing and her skirt went up over her head as she landed. And there was the problem with the Split pea soup with German frankfurters and the Partridge in it. But we were able to finally capture the Partridge and we took him outside after we cleaned all the pea soup off of him and let him fly away. Certainly we replaced the bowl of soup, too. It's the darndest thing . . . now the count on the Apple strudel is off. First I had problems with the croissants, now the strudel. I know what I ordered. I must get to the bottom of this, the strudel is too expensive to loose over half the order. Till tomorrow, I bid you a fond farewell.

December 4

This has been a very busy morning! We are getting in all the supplies for tomorrow's celebration. The truck just unloaded many cases of champagne for tomorrow. With each meal there will be a complimentary glass of champagne. And . . . at 8PM begins the Birthday Celebration of Knut's 1st Birthday. We will have a fountain of champagne flowing all Evening compliments of Mervi's Fireside Cafe. The cake will arrive tomorrow morning and will be unveiled at exactly 8PM. Keeping it hidden and away from "prying eyes" will be a challenge. Between the tall white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears and Retta and Luisa, I may be forced to lock it in the store room until it's rolled out to the dining room. So far . . . the count is correct with the apple strudel and the croissants. I have installed a hidden camera to attempt to catch whoever is running off with the studel and the croissants.

Yes! Retta and Al Pacino have agreed to dance at the celebration, too. I have seen Retta's gown, whoa Baby!!! Everyone has made reservations for a table for tomorrow night. I got a call early this morning from the Lady Maraen Bear. She asked if she could come to the celebration, too. I said "Yes, of course and please do bring your Kitty." "I will send a car for you and Kitty at
to the Elephant Gates at your home." Since she has such a lovely coat of fur I know she will not need a new dress but I am sending her a soft, gold lame shawl and matching hat since it will be cold going from her home to the car. And there will be a cup of hot tea in the car for her to sip on the way over, too. There will be a few surprises that will not be mentioned until tomorrow night. So . . . I must get busy in the kitchen to keep things rolling for today. We look forward to seeing each and everyone of you at the celebration tomorrow night. Since Mervi's Fireside Cafe is magic, it will be possible for Knut and all the Knutians to be in several places at the same time tomorrow. Not to worry, you will not miss a thing!

December 4

All preparations are completed for Knut's Birthday Party! Food is cooked, champagne is icy cold, the cake is being guarded . . . oh, the tall white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears offered to guard the cake today but I thought better of it. There is already a "finger mark" on the side of the cake, which I was able to touch up . . . actually, it looks like a finger/paw print. I am taking no chances on that cake! It is about 6 foot long, stands about 3 feet high and is in the shape of a Polar Bear standing up on all four feet/paws. It has on a pointed multi-colored Birthday hat with streamers running down the back. There is also a scarf made to match the scarves that the Knutians have gotten today at the Bearlin Zoo. This is wrapped around his neck. A special Thank You to Barbara and Wiebben for their major undertaking on the scarves, too! If I missed a Thank You to anyone regarding the scarves, please forgive me.

I have been up all night and am beginning to fade. I think I need a nap before all the celebrations today! Tonight we will have "sky lights" pointing up in the air to signify the celebration at Mervi's Fireside Cafe. And . . . at 9:30 PM we will have a FireWorks show next door to The Cafe! So . . . until later . . . I will take a little nap! I am leaving The Cafe in Clydene's capable hands as I know she "runs a tight ship!"

 December 6

GOODEVENING FROM Mervi's Fireside Cafe:
WoW! Where to start! The Cafe was full tonight, not a spare table or chair in the place!!! You should have seen the Lady Maraen Bear and her Kitty! We had the car pick them up and did she look splendid in her gold lame shawl and matching hat. Kitty had a matching bow in gold lame on her neck, too. The Lady must have gone to the beauty shop this afternoon, her coat gleamed in the lights and had a beautiful curl to the ends of her fur. She had on the palest shade of pink lipstick, too. Quite stunning! She came in on the arm of the tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears! (Now remember it's MAGIC at Mervi's Fireside Cafe) Seated at the middle table was Knut and the Lady Maraen Bear along with Herr Dorflein, Ronnie, Markus, Dr. Schuele and Dr. O. Scattered around the table close by were many of the Knutians who came to Bearlin for the Birthday Boy as were the locals, too. They were able to get "up close and personal" with the honored guest and the dear family of Keepers and Doctors. Back over by the Christmas tree was seated Dr. B and Herr Klos (you know he knows a lot about bears, too).

At the appointed time out came Retta and Al Pacino dancing the Tango. Quite a lively, high stepping couple they did make! The twists, dips and twirls were outstanding. They looked like a couple off "Dancing With The Stars!" As they finished their dance, both slipped and went skidding off the dance floor on their tush, but everyone thought it was part of the dance. Her dress was black rinestones, tight, with a slit up to there and her fishnet stockings set off the curve of her legs delightfully. It seems that Dr. B was so taken by Retta, we thought he was having an attack of appoplexie as his face turned beet red and he began to sweat. Then we realized he was okay, just besotted with dear Retta.

At exactly 7PM the Birthday cake was rolled out by Luisa, Gabi, Catherine and Clydene as they did the CanCan to the middle of the dance floor. Someone had place sparklers in several places on the cake and they were lit. Wendy almost had a fit since we were not supposed to have anything "lit" in the dining room. She quickly ran over and put them out with her shoe. After the cake was served and each person had a glass of champagne, Herr Dorflein stood up and gave a toast to Knut! Herr Dorflein: "When I pulled you out of the cave, I had hopes of saving your life, I never dreamed you'd bring such joy to millions as you have! And now you are one year old, over 240 pounds and have given me the best year of my life" "Happy Birthday my Son!" "My bearboy."

At that time, the fireworks began and all guests went outside to watch about 15 minutes of sparkling, most colorful fireworks to honor Knut. As people milled about inside and out, the party begin to break up and a great evening was had by all. It took a while to pull Herr Dorflein free of the ladies as it was Dr. Schuele. Markus had quite a few ladies surrounding him, too. Ronnie seemed to become the life of the party as the champagne flowed. He danced and sang at the top of his lungs as the group pulled him out to the limo. Knut stood up in the limo and waved to all as the limo drove off into the night. Was a great evening had by all. Time to call it a night. I will see that all the ladies get home safely and the Cafe is closed and locked for the night. Never did see Retta and Al Pacino after they left the dance floor. I wonder . .

 December 6

Well, our Knuti has turned one year old now! The party last night was termed a success by all who attended. We did not have a fire in the Cafe or outside with the fireworks last night. I did have the Fire Department on "stand by" just in case. It took a while to clear out the Cafe last night as everyone was having such a great time and just didn't want to leave. Today we will have a most honoured guest . . . our own MERVI will come to the Cafe for a visit! I had the staff come in early since we had a lot of work to do to prepare for her visit. Last night I hired a cleaning crew so I would not put that job on the staff. They seems to really appreciate it, too. This morning we received a bouquet of beautiful flowers from Knut himself to Thank everyone for the great party. I must find Retta (who has been missing since last night with Al Pacino).

MERVI wants the entire staff here and in their proper places when she comes today. All the pots are bubbling on the stove, the Westphalian hams are in the oven and the croissants and Stollen have been delivered and accounted for. So, we're ready, well, except for Retta. Even the tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears is here in his finest vest with a bow tie, too. Dear Friends, until later (I must go freshen up, too) I bid you a fond farewell.

 December 7

Whoa! Two days in a row of celebration! Our dear Mervi arrived by Limo at exactly 6 PM along with her Husband and . . . Knuti! Yes, Knuti! I never did find out how she pulled that one off but who cares . . . he was here two nights in a row. The tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears put on his finest vest along with boot-covers to match on his roller skates and bow tie. What a stunning red and green plaid to signify Christmas colours, too. His service was stunning running back and forth with the large trays of food. He put on quite a show for Mervi, well, until he tripped over his own skate and the ham would up sitting on Mervi's right shoulder and spaetzel running down the pale, cleavage of her beautiful red evening dress. Her husband now has Hunter's gravy dripping from his ears and down his neck. Remember last week when the geese got loose . . . we thought we had all of them, right? Wrong! There apparently was one hiding up in the light fixture directly over the center table that Mervi and Company was seated. (Thank goodness it did not come out last night while Knut, Herr Dorflein, Ronnie and Markus were sitting there!)

I would have certainly been terminated immediately by dear Mervi! Well, the goose got excited when the plates flew into the air and we all know what happens when birds get upset . . . YES! Now Mervi also has an unknow stubstance on her left shoulder, too. It was just at that moment that Retta and Al Pacino danced out onto the dance floor to perform their Tango. Well, it seems the goose marked both of them, too. Retta was running around the dining room screaming at the top of her lungs with Al chasing her with a towel. Remember the beautiful Christmas tree that was in front of the Fireplace, it's no longer sitting up straight. It appears that a strong wind blew from the North and rearranged the tree's direction and ornaments. However; not an ornament was broken. A few lights went out but we can fix that. Wasen't it Mervi who asked the question "What could possible go wrong?"

After dusting Mervi & Company off, mopping the gravy off her husband and tiding up Knut, we tried to serve them another tray of food. Mervi said she had lost her appetite, her husband was sticky from the Hunter's gravy but Knut was happy as a clam as he was eating the Stollen stuck to his fur and sipping the champagne with a few cucumbers floating in his glass. Mervi did seem upset when she left and said she'd talk to me later. Gee, I hope I didn't do anything wrong. Oh, the limo driver forgot to close the over=head window and the whole limo was full of fresh snow. Of course, our waiter and staff ran out and emptied the limo so the guests could leave. Mervi was mumbling something as she shook her fist at me as they drove away. I couldn't make out what she said. You know, I don't hear very well at times. Oh well. Till tomorrow, I think, I hope.

 December 8

Greetings! I am late posting today, I have not been fired . . . yet. I have not heard from Mervi, so I assume all is well. Lunch was rather quiet today. We had Knut-Judi, Barbara, Jazmin and Webinne for lunch. They enjoyed the "Chef's Special" which is a tasting of all the dishes we serve. I don't make this for everyone, but they are Knutians and came to see Mervi's Fireside Cafe for themselves. There is an open invitation for all Knutians who came to Bearlin for Knuti's Birthday to come for lunch or dinner as my guests. I believe all were still tired from two days of celebrations. We are setting up for the dinner crowd, of which we expect to be large since tonight is Friday. So . . . it's off to the kitchen to see where Retta, the tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears, Luisa and Catherine are and what they are doing. Till later . . .

 December 15

Today I have Mervi keeping me company for the day! She wanted to come see the newly decorated dining room and to check on the food being stored for our Christmas Eve dinner. Tonight she will be able to see the outside of the Cafe as well as the Tattoo Zoo next door. I believe there was a missunderstanding when I asked her to make some French Fries fto go with our lunch in the kitchen. She made her famous Finnish Fries and the local Fire Department came running. We thought it only proper to invited the gentlemen to stay and have a nice lunch on the house! Our tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears was in rare form at lunch, too.

With his roller skates on (he's put red and green bows on them for Christmas) he skated right into the lap of the Fire Chief landing with a full tray of pig knuckles, potatoes and sauerkraut with blood sausage. There was sauerkraut hanging from the Fireman's hat like garland on the tree. And . . . sitting right on top was a pig knuckle and a potato. No one told him that there was a blood sausage sitting on the back rim of his hat and he wore that back onto the fire truck to the Fire House. His men laughed and laughed, too. The waiter was most embarrased and tried to dust him off and the more he cleaned the worse it got. We finally had to remove the waiter from the dining room before the Fire Chief blew a gasket completely. The table of ladies sitting next to the firemen couldn't stop laughing and that only added to the chagrin of the Fire Chief.

I finally had to give them each a glass of champagne to get them to stop laughing. Well, the firemen finally left and peace settled into the dining room again. So, I wonder what will happen at dinner? Ah, another lunch time at Mervi's Fireside Cafe! So, until after dinner tonight, I will go and try to get the kitchen back into some kind of order.

 December 21

Yes! I am back today and feeling much, much better. Staying on my mulch bed and mulch couch worked wonders on my back. Thank you so much for all your concern!

Tonight we are having guests and there is not a table left in the Cafe! I believe everyone is looking forward to seeing a certain VM dancing.

Our dear, sweet Lady Maraen Bear has called for the car for tonight as she is also a fan of VM. And of course, she is bringing her Kitty, too. I have had a special, comfortable chair placed at her table so that her old bones will not hurt. We love the dear one and want to make her as comfortable as possible!

Today, Retta, Luisa, Allyson, Catherine, and Mervi are helping in the kitchen. I really believe they want to be here in case VM comes to practice before his show tonight. Once again, Retta tied bows on the hams that came out of the oven. Actually, they do look cute with red and green bows. Luisa is "tasting" something in a brown bottle to be sure it's good. Allyson is doing a really good job on boiling the potatoes, well, except for the ones that rolled on the floor since they were hot. I told her to use a fork to check to see if they were done, do not use her fingers since they were hot. Catherine is helping the tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears set the tables in the dining room. She also has on roller skates this morning as does our waiter. I did mention that when we begin serving perhaps she'd better just use shoes. We wouldn't want any accidents in the dining room at lunch.

Poor Mervi, she forgot and tried to push the potatoes back up the faucet to wash them. I was able to stop her before she damaged too many potatoes. Ah, it is an interesting morning!!! But . . . it is so good to be back. Must go into the kitchen and be sure no one catches the whole darn place on fire before lunch is finished cooking! Until after lunch then.

 December 22

Well . . . last night was quite an experience! Thank you Catherine for writing all the details so well!!! Some of the events you do a far better job than I in covering the fun! It gives me more time to concentrate on my love . . . the cooking. Our dear Lady, the Maraen bear had so much fun and managed to stay out of harms way, too. She called this morning to tell us what a fabulous time she had last night. In fact, she almost misplaced her Kitty in the confusion last night. But luckly, she rounded her up and they went home in the car together.
After tomorrow, the kitchen will be "off limits" to but a few. I will begin to prepare the Christmas Eve dinner and want it to be a big surprise for all. I have sworn our tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears to keeping the menu a secret as well as Retta and Mervi. I will even cover the windows with paper so no one can sneak into the back and look into the windows before it's ready! You know there is a lot of traffic over at the Zoo Tattoo and after a few cocktails . . . well . . . someone may get curious. So, it is off to the kitchen to keep the pots stirred and the hams baking. Until later.

 December 23

Things are very busy in the kitchen today. We are getting ready for the Christmas Eve dinner for tomorrow night. Of course, we must keep up with our daily cooking, too. Last night was busy and we had a special show of our dancers. Luisa, Retta, Catherine, Doro II and Mervi, yes, our Mervi took to the dance floor and last but not least Allyson all danced their famous CanCan for all the diners. Surprisingly they all stayed on their feet and not one has bruises to show for their dancing abilities. Well, as long as you don't count the two different shoes sitting up in the light fixtures. Seems as Luisa and Doro II were kicking with great vigor, their shoes flew off and landed in the lights. Now let's just hope that they don't fall and hit a diner in the head today!

Yes, there is now paper on the windows of the kitchen to keep out wandering eyes! So, until later, I must go back into the kitchen and supervise the preparing of lunch.

 December 23

NEWS from Mervi's Fireside Cafe:
This morning the question of the croissants and apple strudel have been solved. Our tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears came to me to tell me about them. He admitted he was the one taking them since the beginning. One night, on his way back to the Bearlin Zoo from Mervi's Fireside Cafe, he heard crying in the forest behind the Cafe. Being the kind, caring polar bear that he is, he went to investigate.

He found a family of squirrels. There were the Mutter and Father and three baby squirrels. They were lost, hungry and cold and the babies were crying for supper. The parents had no food to give them and they were crying as they felt they had failed their babies. Our waiter just happened to have a couple of croissants he had saved from dinner for his late night snack once he got back to the Zoo Bearlin. He gave them to the family and promised he would bring more the next day. Each day since that time he has brought croissants and at times apple struddel for them so they would not be hungry. Now the babies are growing and are happy and the parents have so much love in their hearts for the polar bear, they are beaming with joy.

When I asked him why he didn't tell me about them, he said he didn't want to be a mooch. I told him that from now on, all left overs will be placed out in the forrest each night for any and all hungry animals, birds and squirrels. We all have so much and waste so much that we always have enough to share. Our waiter knows and practices the real meaning of Christmas and giving. Let's all do that, no matter if it be animal or human. When you give from your heart, you always get back with interest.

 December 24

It was a busy day all day. People have been coming into the Cafe by the droves. I think people aren't cooking this time of year and that's good. Our dear tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears saved the day again! Remember those shoes stuck up in the light fixtures, well . . . remember the split pea and sausage soup with German frankforters? There was a tureen of it with a black patent leather pump floating in the middle of it. One of the shoes fell and landed right in the soup. There were two couple who ordered and got a little something extra in their soup. Just as the waiter placed it on the table the shoe let loose and fell, splashing hot split pea soup on the two gentlemen. The ladies did have a great sense of humor; however, the gentlemen were a little tight lipped about the whole thing. But when the waiter came roller skating back with towels, the men couldn't help but laugh. So, all was saved, once again by the waiter.

We sent another tureen out with fresh soup along with complimentary apple struddel to top it off. Retta was table hopping greeting all the customers with her infectious laughter and happy smile. Well, at least until she hit a slick spot before we could clean up the soup. She slid and feet went up into the air as she yelled "OOPS!" and landed squarely on her tush with a bounce. The tall, white fuzzy waiter with the cute ears helped her up, dusted her off and she went back to her rocker by the Christmas tree in front of the fireplace rubbing her bottom as she walked. The lights once again were lovely outside and the manger had a warm glow about it. Perhaps tomorrow night we may add live animals to the manger. Until tomorrow, I will do the last minute touches on our delightful Christmas Eve surprise dinner.

One of the carpenters from the Bearlin Zoo has build several wooden feeding trays for the animals in the forest for the left overs we will place out there each night now. We say "Thank you" to him.














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