Monday, March 02, 2015

The Magic of Friendship

It was pouring when I initially got up morning. Even as I read Spiderweb For Two and wrote in my journal, the sun was coming out. By the time I was eating breakfast, the sun was shining, and the snow and ice was slowly vanishing from my porch. I ran That's Entertainment III as I ate and got ready for errands. The third special detailing the MGM musicals of the past spotlights numbers cut from various films. Favorites of mine includes Lena Horne's "Ain't It the Truth?" in the bubble bath from Cabin In the Sky and Judy Garland's adorable version of "Doin' What Comes Naturally" from Annie Get Your Gun.

I didn't get out to running errands until past noon. I'm glad I waited. By then, the sky was a perfect blue. The warm sun continued to melt the leftover snow. I did my best to dodge the remaining ice, as well as traffic on Cuthbert Road. (They've been doing repairs there up and down the road - they were near Kayla's Garden Center/Ice Cream Parlor today.) Made a brief stop at Tuesday Morning before heading to the Haddon Township Library.

There was a crowd gathered around the Library's back door when I arrived. According to a plain white sign on the door, the Library was opening at 1. Good thing I arrived at 12:50. I waited with the crowd of people who had expected the Library to already be open.

There was a lot to do when I finally got in. They had plenty of media to shelve, movies and CD's. The children's section was still overloaded. This time, there were B titles I couldn't get in, along with the S titles. I couldn't get some M and T titles into the adult shelves. Had an easier time shelving a large pile of CD's and two audio book sets. I also went through the adult movies and pulled out ones that didn't belong, were in the wrong shelf, or that the librarians were looking for.

I took four more DVD's out this week. They're still getting more new kids' sets in. This week, I went pure girly with last fall's Barbie movie, Barbie and the Secret Door, and a couple of horror-themed episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I thought I'd watch Funny Girl after listening to the soundtracks yesterday, and since they were made around the same time in the late 60's, I picked up Sweet Charity, too.

I didn't get to lunch until nearly 3. It was so late, I just opted for Wendy's on the hill under the Library. I waited patiently behind a line of high school kids getting snacks. I ended up with a North Pacific Cod Sandwich, a side green salad, and a Diet Coke. Surprisingly, the sandwich wasn't bad. It was breaded, which I could have done without, but it at least tasted like fish and was nice and flaky, with big pickles on the top.

Made my way up the hill to CVS next. I needed contact lens solution. They only had the really big or the really small bottles. I went with the big one this time. I'm glad I did. Turns out it was a dollar off - there was no indication on the tag that it was on sale. I also found a small bottle of Dawn dish washing liquid and a bottle of honey on sale.

Went straight home through the park after that. As soon as I got home, I dropped everything, grabbed my laundry, and went right back out. I had a huge load to do, including last month's towels. I wasn't the only one. They were fairly busy with one older woman and several families when I arrived. There's supposed to be more bad weather coming, including more ice and snow. I guess everyone wanted to avoid the ice while they could. At the very least, I was able to get machines. I read Women Who Run With the Wolves and tried to ignore Dr. Phil and his trashy patients in the background. (Couldn't they have put on something useful, like the news?)

When I got home, I put everything away, then put on Barbie and the Secret Door. Secret Door is something of a cross between her modern-set stories and the Fairytopia series. Shy Princess Alexa would rather be reading fantasy novels with brave princesses than dealing with social functions like dancing at balls and making speeches. Embarrassed by her inability to dance, she runs off. Her grandmother gives her a new book to read...one that turns out to open a magical door in her garden. On arrival, she discovers that the bratty child Princess Malucia is stealing all the magic from the land of Zinnia, just because she wants it. She's already taken fairy Nori's wings and mermaid Rory's tail. It turns out that Alexa is also able to conjure magic here. Malucia is after the Queen Unicorn and the other unicorns in the land. With them, she'll have all the magic there is! Alexa is afraid at first, but she finally discovers that the power of friendship and confidence is stronger than any external magic.

I was very impressed with this enjoyable musical. The eye-popping design resembled Dr. Seuss specials. The songs were catchy and fun, especially "I Can Make Magic" and Malucia's "I Want It All." Speaking of Malucia, she may be the most interesting villain from any Barbie special. She's an unrepentant spoiled brat who takes what she wants, enjoys doing it, and isn't even badly punished for it afterwards. Even Mattel likes her - she's the first villain from any Barbie special to make it into doll form.

If your girls are fans of the Barbie movies, they could do far worse than this one. In fact, I think this is one of the best specials they've done in years. Colorful, fun, and with a very original story and unique villain, I recommend this for anyone who loves Barbie, fairy tales, and musicals.

I made Orange Cream Cake while watching Barbie. There was an intriguing-looking recipe for Orange Poppy Seed Cake on the side of the Orangcicle cake mix box. I replaced the poppy seeds (I don't have them - they're expensive) with a squeezed clementine and added a little honey for flavor. Oh, yum yum. It turned out a little crumbly, but nice and moist and very orange.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Ice Is Not Nice

Mother Nature couldn't figure out what she was doing when I got up this morning. She went back and forth between ice and snow as I made Confetti Pancakes for breakfast. Baking mixes with rainbow sprinkles mixed in seem to be one of the "in" things these days. Not just cake mixes, either. I've seen frozen waffles and pancakes with them and recipes for Confetti Pancakes online. I thought I'd try my own. I used melted butter in place of canola oil and added vanilla, a little sugar, and round rainbow sprinkles (I didn't have the longer kind). Yum. Not bad. I couldn't really see much of the sprinkles, maybe because I make my pancakes with whole wheat flour, but otherwise, it was like eating a cake at breakfast.

I listened to the original cast album for Funny Girl while I ate breakfast. The original 1964 stage version of the musical that made Barbara Streisand a star has a lot more songs than made it into the film version. The movie drops two songs for her mom (including one about her mom possibly finding another husband), a song for Sydney Chaplin as Nicky Arnstein, and three large-scale dance routines. To be honest, I can understand why most of the material was dropped. The ensemble dance number "Henry Street" and the Follies routines really have nothing to do with the plot other than atmosphere and giving the dancers something to do. The losses of a song for Chaplin and Streisand on their way to the Henry Street party ("I'd Love to Be Seen With You Tonight") and two ballads for Streisand in the finale ("The Music That Makes Me Dance," "Who Are You Now?") are more regrettable. "Music" in particular is a lovely, aching number.

Although Funny Lady was a hit in 1975, mainly due to its stars Streisand, Ben Vereen, and James Caan, it was ravaged by critics and isn't terribly well-known today. Most people would be surprised to hear that the Kander and Ebb standard "How Lucky Can You Get?" was written for this film. I haven't seen the movie since I was a kid and it would turn up from time to time on cable, but I do like this soundtrack. Caan is supposed to be Fanny Brice's real-life third husband, the shifty con-man/songwriter/producer Billy Rose. The songs are a mix of ones written by Kander and Ebb directly for the film and real-life standards written by Rose, the latter including "It's Only a Paper Moon," "More Than You Know," and "Great Day." Streisand and Caan's "Paper Moon" duet, with their added lyrics written by Kander and Ebb, is especially charming.

The snow had changed back to ice by the time I went to work. I was hoping it would return to snow. There wasn't enough time to call for a ride. Besides, most people I know are either sick, dealing with children, or no good at driving in snow and ice. I rode my bike to work, dodging ice on the back streets and messy slush on Kendall Boulevard and the Black Horse Pike. The sleet felt like stinging needles on my face.

Work was very busy when I came in. Today was the first day of the month, and ice or no ice, many people don't have the time to shop any day but Sunday. There were some rude people, and now we're not only almost out of plastic bags, but paper bags, too. I was so happy to finally get out right on time.

By 6 PM, the sleet had been replaced by an ordinary rain shower. Once I got out of the Acme's ice-clogged parking lot, I actually had an easier time getting home than I did getting to work. The main streets really weren't that bad. Manor Avenue was a mess, though. I walked carefully down the street to my apartment and cut across my neighbors' path to avoid the icy mess in the front of the house.

I ate a quick dinner while listening to another Streisand LP. Her recording of Broadway standards came out, I believe, in the mid-80's. I remember hearing her stunning version of "Somewhere" on the radio as a kid. I also like the opening "Putting It Together," the sweet "Not While I'm Around," and the King and I medley that ends the first disc.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

May the Farce Be With You

Started another sunny-but-cold day with "A Quack In the Quarks," the spoof of Star Wars from the early first season of Tiny Toon Adventures. Plucky brags to a pair of odd duck exchange students about his non-existent athletic and academic capabilities. He regrets his noisy boasting when the students turn out to be from another galaxy. They want Plucky to save their planet from the evil Duck Vader! Buster, Babs, and Hampton see him being duck-napped and go after him.

I did a homework assignment when I finished breakfast. Our first actual writing assignment to be turned in for the creativity course was to describe a color. I chose my very favorite color - orange-red, the color of the beautiful sunsets I see out my window and on bike rides every evening. We were supposed to use a thesaurus at least 10 times. I hope mine was ok - this wasn't easy. Even with a thesaurus, I had a hard time coming up with ideas that didn't sound too cliche.

Work was a lot busier than yesterday! Tomorrow is the beginning of the month. We're also supposed to get a lot of bad weather next week, starting tomorrow afternoon. For the most part, the weather is supposed to bring warm temperatures, rain, and a little snow. Between the weather and the beginning of the month people, a lot of folks were cranky, obnoxious, and just plain rude. One woman fussed because she didn't want her sponges touching anything, since they touch her skin (um...they can be washed) and gave me a hard time over the prices of said sponges. She held up a long line over nothing; a lot of the customers behind her said she was rude, too. I didn't have a relief, either. I had to shut down with another very long line and got out just on time.

After I made it home, I spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning. I made the bed, so I could vacuum under it. I shook out the rag rug in my bedroom and the strawberry-print welcome mat in the kitchen. I vacuumed the entire apartment, getting up as many of the little white ice melting pellets as I could. They were mostly around the entrance in the kitchen, but I found them as far back as my bedroom. Unloaded the full vacuum canister as well.

I ran the Phineas & Ferb Star Wars special as I worked on my chores, and later while having leftovers for dinner. Even Disney realized that they'd never get away with bringing the Star Wars characters to Phineas and Ferb's wacky world, as they did with the Marvel superhero spoof...so they brought Phineas and Ferb Fletcher and their crazy cast to the Star Wars universe. Sort of.

The story runs parallel to Star Wars: A New Hope. Phineas and Ferb are now kids on Tatoonie who find the plans for the Death Star and follow Luke Skywalker in the hope of bringing them to him, then to Obi-Wan. Isabella is the miniature Han Solo, the grouchy little girl smuggler who learns a lot about the importance of friendship and teamwork. Perry the Platypus is a Rebel agent. Candace, Buford, and Bajeel are extremely incompetent stormtroopers. And yes, Doofensmirtz is one of the least-likely Darth Vaders in the history of television.

Most of the other episodes were either spoofs like the Star Wars special, or revolved around a holiday. "Happy New Year!" has the younger kids celebrating with a party in a giant revolving disco ball. Meanwhile, Candace is trying to renounce telling on her brothers, but it isn't working well. Doofensmirtz wants to invent a ray to make everyone say their resolution is to make him leader...but you know how resolutions go...

"Tri-State Tales of Terror" is a genuinely spooky anthology of horror-based stories. Candace's is the scariest. The full moon makes her stuffed duck come to life and turn evil...or does he? Phineas and Ferb don't have an easier time when a grape stain on Perry suddenly creates insane purple platypus clones. Doofensmirtz learns to be careful what you wish for when a giant baby head gives him three wishes...and as usual, he muffs them all.

Poor Doof can't even teach right. "Doof 101" makes him teacher for his daughter Vanessa's chemistry class. She's not what you would call happy to see her crazy dad there. She's even less so when Doof's lesson on genes accidentally turns her ex-boyfriend into a mutating lizard-gorilla-thing and institutes a wild chase all over town.

"Steampunx" has fun with the recent popularity of steampunk and alternative universe histories. Mr. Fletcher finds a coin made during their town's World Fair in the early 1900's. He tells the boys the story of how a group of farm kids (Phineas and Ferb and their usual crew), inspired by the Fair, created a crazy steam machine to do their chores. This upsets their sister (Candace), who's been doing her chores the old-fashioned way and not getting nearly as far. Their pet swan finally uses the machine to fight his silent-movie-style adversary Von Doofensmirtz.

I finished the night with a short but much-needed bath. Ahhh. I felt nice and peaceful, laying back and reading The Happy Introvert from the Haddon Township Library. I also got cold fairly quickly. It may be just too chilly for a bath. I wasn't even in the full hour.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Knight Will Rock You

Started a sunny, chilly day at work. Work was really quiet and rather boring for most of the day. It only got even mildly busy at the beginning and end of my shift, during the lunch and dinner rush hours. Otherwise, I stood around a lot. This time, my relief was late, and I just barely got out on time.

Picked up my schedule during my break. Thankfully, it's much better and closer to normal for this time of year than it was last week. I still have Monday and Tuesday off (Tuesday for counseling). Later days on Sunday and Wednesday will give me a chance to get some errands and volunteering done. One early day on Thursday is my only concern.

I had a really big grocery order this week. I really needed to restock fruit and vegetables. Their packaged, sliced Brussels sprouts were buy one, get one. I was out of grapefruit and only had one apple left. Small bags of clementines were $1.99; thought I'd try those instead of bananas this week. Had a lot of baking items and canned goods to restock as well - jam (Dicknson's was on sale - went with Apricot Preserves), mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, baking cocoa, vanilla extract, brown sugar, chicken soup. Grabbed Greek yogurt and buttermilk for baking. I just ran out of the dollar bubble bath the other day. I got a coupon for a free container of Johnsonville Bratwurst from the Acme's Monopoly game. I picked Beef Bratwurst. Anything made from pork would probably mess with my stomach.

When I got home, I had beef bratwurst with spicy mustard, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a clementine for dinner while watching A Knight's Tale. William Thacker (Heath Ledger) badly wants to become the greatest knight ever in England. The main problem is, he's a peasant. Jousting tournaments are for the nobility only. He and two friends finally lie their way into a tournament and, after winning, train even more vigorously to become knights. William picks up several more members of his group along the way, including a female blacksmith and Geofrey Chaucer, a writer who can announce a knight like no one's business and has the bad habit of gambling away his clothes. Things get hairy when Will falls for the beautiful Jocelyn. The nasty knight who wants her hand in marriage doesn't like losing to William. He's determined to prove that his rival is a fake. William, however, has a powerful ally...one who'll step up to the plate when it seems all England is against the peasant knight.

This was one of my brother Keefe's favorite movies in the early 2000's, and Mom liked it, too. It's a medieval spoof of every sports cliche in the book...with a mainly 70's-80's soundtrack. If nothing else, I appreciate that the 70's soundtrack made Keefe a fan of Queen for life. (He was shocked when I told him that Queen has been around since at least 1975.) Paul Bettany is the standout as the hilarious Chaucer (yes, the Canterbury Tales Chaucer), who makes professional wrestling announcers sound boring. Worth a look for fans of Ledger or action movies.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Super Princesses

Started a sunny morning with the rest of Sofia the First. Sofia's magical amulet that allows her to talk to animals figures in to two more stories on the set. In "The Amulet of Avalor," Sofia's amulet, along with several other golden or shiny objects in the castle, go missing right before a ball. Sofia has to find it without the help of her animal friends, who can't communicate with her. Amber is "Princess Butterfly" when she asks Cedric for help in making an All Hallow's Eve costume. As usual, Cedric's spell backfires, turning Amber into a real butterfly. Amber thinks that she needs Sofia's amulet to make things right.

My favorite episode was "The Emerald Key," a version of The Princess and the Pea. Two bedraggled princesses from a Hawaiian-style country appear at the castle doorstep on the same rainy night. Both are looking for the Emerald Key, which will allow them to return to their island home. One wears a simple flower crown and dances the hula, which looks strange to the royal family....but she's kind and sweet and well-mannered. The other may dress well and dance a European-style waltz, but she's also rude and boorish. King Roland gives the two girls a Princess Test to try to figure out which one is the real princess.

Moved on to 80's music as I cleaned the bathroom. It needed to be done. I've put it off for the last few days. It was getting fairly bad. I need to buy Drano again tomorrow. For some reason, the sink in the bathroom always has problems with running slow.

I had a quick lunch, then headed off to work. I got there on time; I could have been infinitely late. No wonder my hours this week were so bad. We were pin-drop quiet for most of the afternoon. The lines got a little long twice, but nothing abnormal. We had more problems with cranky customers and being out of plastic bags again for the third time in less than a month than with lines. My relief was right on time, and I was in and out.

When I got home, I made Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins while watching Superman III. The Man of Steel (Christopher Reeve) heads to Smallville for a class reunion and to reconnect with sweet Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole), whom he had a crush on in high school. There's bigger problems out there than his love life, though. A computer genius (Richard Pryor) comes up with a way to swindle the data processing company he's working for out of thousands of dollars. The company's owner (Robert Vaughn) hires him to use his computer skills to first allow him to dominate the coffee crop, then the oil industry. He also has him bring out a synthetic Kryptonite that twists Superman's powers until they're dark and angry. While Superman fights a battle with himself, the computer hacker comes up with an amazing computer that can do anything...including take on Superman himself.

I've always had a soft spot for this one. It used to run on cable a lot during the mid-late 80's. Too bad that Prior's comic relief clashes rather badly with the epic tone, and that the plot is too bizarre, even for a comic book-based movie. Reeve and O'Toole do what they can with the strange material; O'Toole in particular is nice as the down-home country girl who is beginning to wonder if there might be something better out there for her. It's worth seeing for Reeves' incredibly intense fight with himself when he's trying to get the dark Kryptonite out.

Although I get a kick out of it, this is really only for major Superman fans or comic book fans. All others will want to stick to the first two Reeve movies or the more recent Man of Steel.

I finished the night with Chicken with Lemon and Orzo soup and more Superman. Paramount put out a series of cartoons in the early 40's, when Superman's initial popularity was at its height. These were the first real action cartoons, with lush animation and surprisingly dark characterization. "The Arctic Giant" introduces a giant dinosaur that threatens a city a decade before Godzilla took a bite out of Tokyo. "The Mad Scientist" introduces Superman and Lois in a fairly simple story about the afore-mentioned scientist and his destruction-creating ray. Superman has to stop the "Billion Dollar Limited" before the train and its cargo of gold runs off the rails.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Little Bit of Spring

I didn't get going today until almost 1 PM! Not a good thing, since there was a lot I wanted to do today. I started at the Oaklyn Library. They close at 2. There were a few people on the computer, but it was otherwise just me, the librarian, and CNN. I organized the kids' and adults' DVDs, along with the kids' board books and series books. I was out in less than a half-hour.

My next stop was Studio LuLoo's. They didn't have much going on, either. I tidied up the playroom, folded "I Like NJ" t-shirts, and washed a far smaller load of dishes than last week. I also got to meet the fairly young owner and her adorable toddler son Marvin, who came in toting a teddy bear almost bigger than him.

I bought Valentine's Day cards for Rose and her family and Dad and Jodie and a birthday card for Jessa a few weeks ago. I meant to deliver them on Valentine's Day, but that day got so crazy, I never got around to it. The driveway at Rose's house was empty; I settled for dropping their card in her mailbox.

Dad and Jodie were at home when I arrived. I was surprised to see Jodie. Turns out she quit her job. Her boss wasn't paying the regular employees and hadn't in months. They were only paying Jodie because she was hired through an agency, but they'd apparently cut her hours. Maybe it's just as well. Dad was feeling even worse. He just had surgery and could barely move or talk. I gave them their card and dropped Jessa's on her desk. Gave Dad a hug before moving on.

There was another box waiting for me when I got home. I decided to buy two more Ever After High dolls while I still had Amazon Prime. Dexter Charming was almost sold out at Amazon; Duchess Swan was a better price than she had been. Dexter is the sweet, geeky younger brother of Daring Charming who feels like he can't compete with his more "perfect" brother. Duchess Swan is the daughter of the Swan Queen in "Swan Lake." She knows her story has a tragic ending and would do anything to change it...including taking over other characters' stories.

Dexter came with almost as much goop on his hair as Poppy. Duchess only had a little on her ends. I washed both of them. Duchess shed like crazy! Not even Briar was as bad. After I finished, I took more pictures of Duchess posed to dance, Dexter alone, Dexter with his crush Raven Queen, and Dexter with my Effanbee Musketeer doll D'Artangan.

Here's the pictures from today and yesterday:

Ever After High Portraits

Watched quite a bit of Disney today, starting with Jake and the Neverland Pirates. John, Michael, Wendy, and Nana the Dog make their first appearances on the show in "Battle of the Book." Hook steals the book of the stories Wendy wrote so they could remember their adventures in the movie. Without the book, the kids (and Hook and his crew) can't remember Peter or Neverland! They have to go chasing after the book itself, then the pages of the book. When they realize the first page of the story is missing, they realize how important memory is, and how powerful a story can be. (And I loved how John seemed to have a little bit of a crush on Izzy - too cute.)

My other favorite episode also dealt with storytelling. "Pirate Genie Tales" is a bit of an oddity in this series. A pirate genie who seems to be friends with the kids tells them two Neverland versions of famous 1001 Arabian Knights stories. Cubby is Sing-Bad, a little fellow who is incredibly strong but can't carry a tune to save his life. He has to learn how to sing in a hurry when he needs to perform to unlock the cupboard that holds the magic that could save his friends. Scully the Parrot is Ali Baba, who learns a lesson about stealing and telling the truth when he snitches a pearl from a cave that belongs to a band of thieves to feed his starving friends. The thieves figure out who stole from him and come after him.

After Jake ended, I did some classwork online. Today's lesson mainly dealt with finding a comfortable office and a place where you can work. That's one thing I don't have any problem with. I do the majority of my work in my bedroom. My desk is right next to a window with a stunning view of the river and the park next-door. It's quiet here. Even when there's noisy parties at the VFW, I usually can't hear them.

The assignment is to find the Writer's Market and look up words and phrases associated with writing and publishing. Darn. I wasn't going to go back to either library this week. Maybe I could find them online.

Went for a short walk after I got offline. It was a gorgeous day today. Not only was it bright and sunny, with a nice, warm sun, but it got into the mid-30s for the first time in ages. It was still relatively warm when I headed out. I could hear a man and his children playing with their dog in the park. I went down to the landing on Goff Avenue. It was really gorgeous, with the rosy sunset sparkling on the frozen lake and the lights on the Ben Franklin Bridge just coming to life.

Switched to Sofia the First as I made leftovers for dinner. "The Curse of Princess Ivy" introduces the nastiest villain in this series yet. The title character is a jealous sorceress whose older sister inherited the kingdom, leaving her with nothing. When Amber steals Sofia's magical amulet and tries to call a princess with it, she ends up with manipulative Ivy. Ivy doesn't care about Amber. What she really wants is to steal all the color from the kingdom and take it over! The two girls have to first stop Ivy from destroying Sofia's amulet, then rescue their family and the entire kingdom before Ivy removes their memories all together. They get help from some friendly dragons and Rapunzel, who reminds Sofia that people can surprise you with their ability to sacrifice for others...even handsome, roguish thieves and slightly stuck-up big sisters.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Day With the Dolls

Started out the morning with oat bran and a half of a grapefruit for breakfast. Ran A Night at the Opera while I ate. The Marx Brothers' most famous film has the trio coming to the aid of a pair of lovers, looking for their big break. Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont) wants to hire Lasparri (Walter Woolf King), a fine singer, but also a temperamental jerk who chases the female singer, for her opera company. Groucho tries to hire him, but ends up with Riccardo (Allan Jones), an ambitious chorus member. Riccardo and two of the opera employees (Harpo and Chico) smuggle themselves into the US in Groucho's trunk. Lasparri gets them all into trouble when he finds out. The Brothers finally break into the opera itself, determined to stop it at all costs and get the lovers in.

The most famous Marx Brothers movie (along with Duck Soup) is my personal favorite. The stateroom sequence, with as many people as possible cramming themselves into Groucho's tiny berth, is my favorite scene. Highly recommended and a lot of fun.

Took some photos of the Ever After High dolls as the movie finished. I love my portraits and photo stories for my American Girl dolls. I haven't come up with a story yet; for now, I went with individual shots, along with one of my three Cinderella dolls (Ashlynn, the Disney Animator's Collection Toddler Cindy, and the Effanbee Cinderella) together. I'll post them tomorrow after I get shots of Dexter Charming and Duchess Swan.

I headed out for some short errands around 12:30. My first stop was Capitol Pizza for lunch. I watched the news (including the scary breaking story about the gas explosion that totally destroyed a house in Stafford Township) while eating a slice of cheese, a slice of broccoli, and a can of Diet Pepsi.

My next errands were brief. I hit Dollar Tree for sponges and scrubbing gel. Looked for Ever After High dolls at Tuesday Morning. Nope. In addition to what they had last week, I saw Thronecoming Apple, Legacy Day Raven, and Getting Fairest (pajamas) Maddie in person for the first time. Still nothing I didn't already have at least one version of.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't busy, either. I didn't even have that much to shelve. I guess a lot of people took movies out this week. I only had a hard time fitting a small pile of Scooby Doo titles on the S kids' shelves and some M and T titles on the adult shelves. I wasn't there anywhere near as long as I was last week. I didn't take out any live-action movies (I'm still catching up on ones at home I haven't watched), but I did find new sets for Sofia the First, The Cat In the Hat Knows A Lot About That, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates, plus a Phineas and Ferb Star Wars spoof.

Despite the sunny day and lack of wind, it was still really cold, no more than 25 for the high. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon at home. I decided I'd try a variation on the Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies on the back of the Craisins bag. It became Cranberry Springtime Chocolate Chip Cookies with the addition of a cup of wheat flour with the original white flour and half a bag of those Nestle Springtime Chocolate Chips I bought a while back. Not bad. They were just sweet enough, and the dried cranberries added an unusual tang to them.

Ran The Cat In the Hat Knows A Lot About That as I baked. This set, The Skin That I'm In, revolved around the human body and what it does. All but the last episode featured a goofy physician named Dr. Giggles, who sent the kids and the Cat on a voyage into the bones, the skin, or the stomach to find out what those parts of the body do. The last episode was my favorite, mainly because it covered sneezing and allergies - something I'm prone to. Nick can't stop sneezing, so the Cat takes him to visit a detective friend of his who is also having sneezing attacks. They take the Thing-A-Ma-Jigger into his nose to find out what the problem is.

Moved onto another MacDonald/Eddy movie while making poached chicken legs with escarole and potatoes for dinner. Bitter Sweet was their second movie in color, and their second romance to end in tragedy. Carl Linden (Eddy) falls for sweet, naive British girl Sarah (MacDonald) and elopes with her to his native Vienna. They're happy there for a time, despite their poverty...until they get jobs working at a cafe frequented by an amorous baron (George Saunders). The Baron chases Sarah, but she refuses him. It's Carl, however, who may not survive his attempt to defend his wife's honor...

Basically, it's Maytime moved to the early 20th century, with the leads married for most of the film instead of having one blissful day together. It doesn't work. MacDonald and Eddy were both far too old for their roles by this point, and some of the score's best numbers were cut. It's original author, Noel Coward, reportedly hated it, and MacDonald and Eddy weren't overly happy either.

There are some nice comic touches, especially the hilarious scene where poor Eddy has to haul his new bride up several very steep sets up stairs and into an empty threshold. Otherwise, though this is available on the Warner Archives, I only recommend it for fans of these two, Coward, or musical romances.