Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Blowin' In the Wind

This time, I was up by 7:30 and read and worked online until Lauren got up around 9. I had a quick breakfast, then ran a few classic Looney Tunes shorts while we got organized. Daffy's a "Duck Amuck" when he's constantly picked on by an animator with a really strange sense of humor. Porky wants "Dough for the DoDo," but he's having a hard time catching the crazy critter in the surreal world of Wackyland. "Drip Along Daffy" is a western spoof, with Daffy as the daring white-clad hero and Porky as his burro-riding comic relief sidekick. Daffy goes after the local bad hombre, but Porky's the one who knows how to be a real hero.

Headed out around quarter of 11. Our first stop of the day was the Oaklyn Library. We said "hi" to the librarians and checked out the library book sale. Neither of us saw anything we wanted, and the library wasn't busy anyway. We moved on.

Lunch was at Amato Bros a block from the library. They'd been open for less than an hour and were quiet when we arrived. Lauren had a BLT sliced into quarters and slid on skewers. I had the Cutlet Italiano (broccoli rabe with provolone and a lightly breaded chicken cutlet - not as good as the one I had last time, but not bad).

We had a long walk up to Barrington. Good thing there wasn't much traffic despite it being noon. We had no problems crossing the street, including King's Highway. At least it was a gorgeous day for a walk. The heat had dissipated overnight, leaving sunny weather, cold wind, and a perfect morning in the lower 70's. I saw quite a few other people walking off their lunches or strolling to or from work, too.

Barrington is the home of the Barrington Antique Center, a huge rabbit's warren of tiny rooms filled with antiques ranging from retro clothes to Victorian china to more recent DVDs, books, and videos. We both made small but fun finds here. Lauren pointed out a room with vintage Star Wars action figures, both loose and in a locked shelf. I found a loose Young Anakin Skywalker with his backpack for a mere $2. Keefe had Anakin (and Padme in her blue Tatoonie outfit) when The Phantom Menace came out in the late 90's, but apparently the small figures had vanished by the time he gave me his collection. Lauren came up with a lavender Beanie Baby bunny.

The stop for the bus going to the Deptford Mall is just a block from the Antique Center. Good thing it didn't take too long to get there. They were four minutes early. There were no problems on the road whatsoever. The ride to Deptford is only about 15-20 minutes, and we ran into no traffic. We got off at the Deptford Mall around quarter of 2.

While the Deptford Mall isn't as big as the one at Cherry Hill, it has a couple of stores that can't be found there. The bus let us off right at Boscov's. I found 99 cent packs of ponytail holders, grabbing two. Lauren picked up several shirts and shorts.

Strolled over to the food court area next. Along with a candy store and the food booths, we found a Game Stop. I didn't get anything this time, but Lauren bought Super Mario Brothers U for the Wii U.

The upper entrances for Macy's and JC Penney are on either side of the food court. We hit JC Penney's first. I found a pair of jeans on the clearance rack listed for $9. When I brought them to the counter, they rang up for a little over $5! I was thrilled. Lauren said she made a few good finds on the clearance rack as well. Didn't find anything at Macy's; Lauren came up with some shirts. (There also used to be a Sears at Deptford, but it closed last year.)

The Disney Store and Box Lunch are across from each other downstairs. I found an adorable small stuffed Baymax (the cuddly medical robot from Big Hero 6) near the counter for $1.99! In the expensive Disney Store, that was a steal. Neither of us found anything at Box Lunch, but I did hear from Jodie. She thought Lauren was leaving tomorrow. She's leaving on Thursday. We confirmed picking her up at twenty of 11.

We decided there wasn't much else to see and strolled over to Target around 4. Not much to see there, either. I was hoping to find clothes for the dolls, but the toy selection at all of the Targets here are always so picked over, even the larger Targets. We spent the last half-hour before dinner relaxing on the concrete patio next to the Target. I don't know who put this there, but it's a nice place to sit down and get organized...when you're not getting blown over by heavy and chilly wind.

Met Jessa and her boyfriend Joe across the parking lot at Applebee's for dinner. Despite it being the dinner hour, they weren't that busy. (More people may have been at the bar.) Joe had a Whiskey Bacon Burger. I went with a cheeseburger. Jessa had the Bacon Cheddar Chicken Sandwich I had the last time I was at Applebee's. Lauren had an enormous Southwestern Chicken Sandwich that flooded the plate. (She ended up taking some of it home for a snack later.)

Made a quick stop back at the Mall on the way home. Evidently, T-Mobile gives out freebies on Tuesday. Joe wanted free spatulas. Good thing there's two T-Mobile stores in the Mall. The downstairs store was out of them, but they still had them upstairs. Jess and Joe each got one. Joe's son JoJo is now working in Hot Topic. Joe visited him while we explored the stacks of Funko Pops, odd pop culture t-shirts, and other strange toys.

Joe and Jess drove us home, even running the Broadway channel on their car radio for us. We chatted for a while at my apartment after we got in. I showed them all the changes, including the remodeled exterior and new windows and porch light. We talked about pop culture, our families, and the movies we enjoy.

After Joe and Jessa left to go the movies, Lauren and I finished the night playing Angry Birds Star Wars. We ran through Bespin this time. Cloud City is a lot less difficult that either the Death Star, or even Hoth. There were a few rounds that took a while, but we got a lot more two and three star rounds, or even just beat my original high score.

Tomorrow, we're going to sleep in on Lauren's last day before checking out the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center one last time.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Better Shop Around

I rolled out of bed to another hot day around 7:30, then read in bed...and then tried to sleep for another hour. Got up for good around 9:30, wrote in my journal, and got dressed. Threw on a cartoon while Lauren and I got ready to go and I had breakfast. Garfield In Paradise takes the famous fat cat, his nerdy owner, and his dog buddy to Paradise World, where the natives worship 50's surfer culture and the hotel owners spout Jack Benny jokes. Paradise turns sour quickly when they hear a rumble from the local volcano...and realize it's about to go off!

We headed out this time around 10:30 to pick up the 10:57 bus to Cherry Hill. The bus was slightly late, but nothing really annoying. Almost everyone got off at the offices near the Shop Rite shopping center, and there was no traffic.

Since it was nearly noon by the time we arrived, I took Lauren down the concrete steps, past the parking garage, and over the bridge to the Silver Dollar Diner for lunch. The diner is a shiny 50's-style eatery on the edge of a hill with splendid views of Cherry Hill. I had the same thing I had when we went here last year, the Tarragon Crab Cake with cole slaw and Old Bay-dusted fries...and it was just as delicious this year. Lauren enjoyed her turkey sandwich and huge bowl of clam and corn chowder.

We were in and out of Kohl's and Target. I didn't buy anything in either place. I'm only looking for a few things; they didn't have any bathing suits I liked at Target, nor any really decent sneakers, and I'm not a fan of Target's clothes. Lauren bought shirts at Kohl's and a bra from a brand she liked that had been renamed at Target.

Despite the dire predictions of Channel 6 weather man Dave Murphy, there were only a few dark clouds on the horizon when we strolled back over to the main mall around 2. Lauren wanted to check out Macy's; she loves them. I once again didn't find anything, but she picked up a shirt. Browsed at The Disney Store, but she didn't see any t-shirts she liked, and the Star Wars stuff was a bit picked-over. (They're mainly focusing on Toy Story 4 and the Aladdin and Lion King remakes right now. They probably won't restock Star Wars until well into the fall.) She tried on plaid pants at New York and Company, but they didn't fit. Lauren bought a WWE-themed card set at Go Games. Didn't see anything we really wanted at Build-a-Bear.

I finally found something at JC Penney's. I just wanted a simple, relatively inexpensive one-piece bathing suit. Most of the plus-sized suits were either too expensive, had too high of a rear line, or were two-pieces. Finally turned up a black and white wrap suit trimmed with a fringed tassel that was on sale for $39. Lauren got some things for her parents.

Old Navy was pretty messy when we got in. I didn't see anything I absolutely needed, so I opted to rush downstairs and go to the bathroom while Lauren bought a sweater on clearance. We met at GameStop upstairs. I did much better here. Lauren bought a Nintendo Switch game; I picked up Lego Pirates of the Carribean for the Wii for a mere $4.99. I needed change for the bus anyway, and I like the Pirates movies and love the Lego games, so this was perfect.

The bus was only a tiny bit late this time, but the traffic was the real problem. It was really backed up going over the Cooper River and on Haddon Avenue in Westmont. It was past 6 when we finally made it in. Lauren needed to use the restroom, so we stopped at WaWa. She bought Sprite Cherry and Limonade; I grabbed a Vanilla Coke, my favorite soda.

Made a quick dinner of turkey hot dogs and zucchini sauteed in olive oil while we settled down and watched Garfield In Hollywood. Garfield, Odie, and Jon win a big local pet talent show on TV that takes them to the national finals in Hollywood. Garfield's determined to become a star, but Jon worries that winning may mean leaving him behind.

Played Roll With It! again after dinner. That game is so much fun. We only got in two rounds this time. Lauren won the first one with twice as many cards as me. We tied on the second.

I hit the shower, and then we went online and chatted for a while. I've been trying to get a hold of Jessa to see if she wants to come to the Deptford Mall with us, but she hasn't replied to my texts or Facebook Messenger posts. If she doesn't respond by tomorrow morning, we'll just take the long walk to Barrington to pick up the bus to Deptford.

(And by the way...it still hasn't rained here at press time. Looks like it went north again.)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Heat of the Moment

While it was sunny when I cracked open my eyes this morning, it was also hot and nasty-humid. It was already in the 70's by 9 AM. I read in bed and did my journal, then worked online and tried to catch a few breezes. Lauren didn't roll off the couch until almost 11. When she was more awake, I made us Berry Banana Pancakes with a banana and some raspberries that were getting old. I burned mine slightly, but they otherwise came out very well.

The only major thing we had planned for today was a run to the laundromat. Lauren needed clothes, and I had things I wanted to wash. By the time we headed to the White Horse Pike, it was in the mid-80's. The sun burned down relentlessly, and while there was a nice breeze, it wasn't enough. The laundromat itself was cool, but it was also very busy. At least two families and three or four college students were moving around, trying to get a washer. I'm just glad we were able to get two. To save change and room (and because our loads were very big anyway), we shared a dryer. Lauren played games on her phone to pass the time; I worked on story notes.

We went home...and pretty much spent the rest of the day playing Angry Birds Star Wars. I'd tentatively suggested going for a walk in the neighborhood, but it was just too darn hot. There really isn't much to see around here anyway, other than some nice front-yard gardens. We made our way through the entire Hoth rounds. The later ones in the Space Slug that involved taking out mynock-pigs were generally easier than the ones on Hoth, where Princess Stella had to pull out Walker legs, or trying to take out Imperial Pig cruiser piles in space. One of the Imperial cruiser rounds took so long, we ultimately skipped it.

By 4:30, we'd decided we were hungry enough to chance the heat. It was slightly cooler and much windier when we strolled down to Phillies Phatties for lunch. They were busy with older elementary school-age boys watching the last inning of the Phillies-Rockies game. (Phils won, by the way, 7-5. In fact, they swept, according to Sports Philadelphia.) Lauren had slices of cheese and cheesesteak (white with chopped beef and mushrooms) and a bottle of Sierra Mist. I had yummy Chicken Rancher (white with breaded chicken chunks and ranch dressing) and tomato basil slices with a can of Cherry Vanilla Pepsi.

It was definitely a good day for water ice, especially since Phillies Yummies is only a door down from Phillies Phatties. Lauren bought a chocolate ice cream sandwich. I enjoyed a very minty, very green medium mint chocolate chip water ice. I finished mine walking home. Most people who hadn't fled the area to escape the heat were out and about. Adults worked in gardens or chatted on porches. Kids rode bikes or played catch in the shade.

Tomorrow, we're going to dodge the rain that's predicted and spend the day at the Cherry Hill Mall.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sunshine On Our Shoulders

Kicked off an absolutely glorious day a bit earlier than we have with a stroll to the Collingswood Farm Market. By the time we got there around 11, they were insanely busy with people buying food for weekend barbecues and college graduations. Saw zucchini for the first time of the year; picked up two of those, along with some plump strawberries.

Next up was lunch at an equally busy Tortilla Press, the Mexican restaurant about a block from the farm market. They have a tasty and very popular weekend brunch. I had the fluffiest omelet I'd ever seen, with spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese, roasted potatoes and peppers, and a honey corn muffin. Lauren had a huge Smothered Breakfast Burrito with the potatoes and guacamole. I ate all of my omelet (which was fluffy, but not large), the muffin, and most of my potatoes, and I enjoyed them. The breakfast burrito was a lot bigger, but Lauren did finish most of it.

We strolled down Haddon Avenue to take in some of the small shops in Collingswood. Browsed around The Candy Jar, but decided we would wait to buy more candy. Lauren got a couple of shirts for her and her parents at Frugli Consignment; I don't really need much in the way of clothes right now. I did better at Innergroove Records, digging five out of the dollar bins. I met Lauren at the toys and games shop. Lauren bought a dice and card game, Roll With It!, for us to play at my house, and another dice game for her parents.

It was past 1:30 when we strolled down Haddon and across the always-crazy Cuthbert Road to Westmont. Our first stop there was Phidelity Records. Lauren bought CDs for her and her father. Along with five more records, I found two movies I was hoping to pick up soon. I loved The Apple Dumpling Gang as a kid. With Tim Conway's passing, I thought it was time I finally bought that one, along with it's sequel The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again.

Incidentally, the ten records I bought were:

George Shearing Quintet - Deep Velvet and Here & Now

Hooked On Swing

The original casts of Carousel, Jamaica, Wildcat, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, and Jesus Christ Superstar

Operatic studio cast of The Desert Song

Soundtrack for the Rita Hayworth musicals Cover Girl and You Were Never Lovelier

We were going to hit Rocket Fizz next, but...the sign was there, but Rocket Fizz wasn't. The building was empty. I swear it was open the last time I went to counseling and passed through. Just went across the street to check out Good Samaritan Thrift Shop early. Lauren bought shirts for her parents; I said "hello" to one of the Oaklyn Library librarians, who volunteers there. Primo's was so overwhelmed with kids and their parents, we opted for a Peach-Raspberry Mello Yello and Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie at the WaWa on the corner of Cuthbert and Haddon Avenue instead.

When we got home after the long walk back, we went right into a couple of rounds of Roll With It! while listening to my new George Shearing albums and CDs. It's a pretty simple game. You roll six dice and see if any match the dice on three cards placed in front of you. Blue cards have two dice and are worth two points. Yellow have three dice and are worth five points, green have four and are worth ten, and purple have six dice and are worth 15 points. It takes a while to get all six! Lauren won one round, and I won two. We played again later in the night, and this time, I won one round, and Lauren won two, making us even.

Lauren played her Nintendo Switch while I made us Four Fruit Oatmeal Bars for dessert. I wasn't up for major cooking, and I'd forgotten to take the hot dogs out I was going to make for dinner. We settled for tuna salad on spinach. (All of which came out very well, though I think I put too much jam in the cookies.)

Finished the night with Angry Birds Star Wars. We actually may have done better on the later Death Star rounds than in Tatoonie, getting several two-stars and even a few three-star rounds, and beating my high score several times.

Tomorrow, we're taking it a lot easier after our long walk today. Lauren needs to get laundry done, and we'll likely get pizza and water ice around the corner.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Streets of Philadelphia

It was even lovelier when I opened my eyes this morning around 8:30, sunny and breezy. I once again read Star Wars in bed, then peeked online until Lauren was ready to go. Just grabbed a banana and a granola bar on the way out this time.

The walk to Collingswood was really beautiful. We stopped by the bridge going over Newton Lake while Lauren texted her dad about something and I blew my nose. The sun sparkled off the green lake as Canadian geese lazily swam back and forth along the ripples.

I didn't have a big breakfast because our first stop of the day was The Pop Shop in Collingswood for lunch. It was past 11:30 by the time we got there, and they were just starting to fill up with their usual college students and families with young children. Lauren had a "Green River" soda fountain soda (sprite with lime syrup) and a big plate of mozzarella sticks; I had "Cherries and Cream" (cherry and vanilla syrups in Coke - tasted like an ordinary Cherry Coke), a chicken cheese steak, and Pop Fries (with the skins on). I ate the tasty cheese steak, but couldn't close to finish the fries.

Went straight to the Collingswood PATCO train station after lunch. We learned our lesson last year. The King of Prussia Mall is too far for a bus ride, is too big for a day trip stroll, and has far too complex of a layout for tourists to figure out. Not to mention, they have little that can't be found in other malls in the South Jersey area. Lauren has a great sense of direction, and she couldn't figure it out. We dodged people enjoying lunch on the sidewalk at the many cafes, making our way to the historic Wanamaker Macy's on Market Street in Philly.

When we arrived, I took an escalator that worked and climbed up one that didn't to the third floor. I needed bras rather badly. One of my underwire bras broke; another has a hole, and the wire keeps poking out. Neither is what you'd call comfortable. There were a lot of good sales on underthings at Macy's today. I got two bras, one a pinkish-mauve lace, one stretchy white, for 28 dollars. Lauren thought the sale sounded so good, she went upstairs later and got a few, too.

As is a time-honored tradition in downtown Philadelphia, we met at the big bronze Eagle statue in the center court at Macy's, between the shoes and the accessories. We considered getting drinks at Starbucks, but decided anything in South Jersey would probably be cheaper. We headed out, dodged early rush-hour traffic to the PATCO station at 13th and Locust, and took a half-full bus back to Collingswood.

We headed to Phillies Yummies when we got back into Oaklyn. While it was a lovely and sunny day, it was also hot, in the mid-80's, and I was thirsty. Lauren bought a strawberry lemonade water ice. I went with orange cream. It was smooth and creamy...and more to the point, cold and wet. It tasted sooo good going down!

Tried playing video games when we got in, but Lego Clone Wars didn't go well. "The Hidden Enemy" took so long loading, we reset the system. We couldn't figure out "Shadow of Malevolence," and "Battle of Geonosis" was one of the war rounds that was so chaotic, I was the only one who knew to use one of their own vehicles to blow up the generators.

Gave up after "Geonosis" and decided we were hungry enough for dinner. Ran two episodes of She-Ra while I chopped fresh spinach and scallions and pan-fried bacon until crispy. "The Sea Hawk" is a pirate who'll work for anyone, even the Horde. Adora and his first mate convince him that doing the right thing is more important than his wallet, or even his freedom. "The Red Knight" is a masked warrior who can seemingly do anything, even defeat Bow in a foot race. Humiliated, Bow is ready to leave, until She-Ra and Kowl tell him that Hordak has kidnapped Queen Angelica and the Knight!

Cooked the bacon until crispy, then crumbled it over bowls of chopped spinach, scallions, and tomatoes. Added Parmesan cheese and my own home-made balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Yum! Everything complimented each other well, including the dressing, and it was a nice low-fat change after the junk-food lunch. Next time, though, I'll leave out the scallions. They tasted good, but being farm market scallions, they were very strong. I can still taste them a little, even after brushing my teeth.

We finished the night with more video games. This time, we returned to Angry Birds Star Wars. Did quite well on the first half of the Death Star rounds, even surpassing some of my original high scores. Clouds had moved in shortly after we left. It rained a little bit while we played video games, once hard, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything right now.

Tomorrow, we'll return to Collingswood, this time to check out the Saturday farm market and explore the town and the next town over, Westmont.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Come Together

I awoke to fresh air, cool wind, and a lovely, sunny day. I originally got up around quarter of 8, but I went back to sleep for another hour. Read the original novelization of New Hope for a while, then went online as Lauren got up and about. Ate banana-blueberry muffins for breakfast as she got dressed.

We finally headed out around 11. It was a glorious morning for a walk. The sun was out, the wind was blowing, and it was much warmer than it has been, in the mid-70's. Our first stop was The House of Fun, the collectible toy shop on the White Horse Pike. We pretty much have to go there today and tomorrow. They're going to be closed for their own vacation from Saturday through May 31st. We spent an hour going through the piles of toys, DVDs, Blu-Ray, old video and board games, stuffed animals, records, comics, and books on pop culture. The arcade games they have in the back room were even turned on. We both eventually ended up with Funko Pops. Lauren picked up wrestler Ronda Rousey; I got the elder Luke Skywalker in his lighter Force Awakens robes.

There's a comic book store, Comicrypt, right next door to The House of Fun. Lauren browsed through the stacks, but didn't get anything. I settled for petting the black and white kitties who wandered around the counters.

Strolled down the White Horse Pike and over the train bridge into Audubon to check out the used CD store Abbey Road. Bob, the gregarious owner, was dealing with a customer when we came in. We had plenty of time to check out his stock. Lauren chose two CDs for her father and two for herself, one a Micky Dolenz set she said she'd been looking for. Along with The Glenn Miller Story on DVD, I bought:

Areatha Franklin - Greatest Hits

Fred Astaire - Steppin' Out: Astaire at MGM

Aerosmith - Permanent Vacation

The Lion King Original Broadway Cast Album

By that point, it was past 1:30. Lauren only had a granola bar for breakfast, and I was hungry, too. We headed down Nicholson Road and past Wal-Mart to Sonic. The clouds were in and out, and the wind had picked up, but the weather was still nice enough to eat outside. She had a Bacon Double Cheeseburger, tater tots, and a cranberry limeade. I had a regular cheeseburger, tater tots, and a frozen cherry limeade. We enjoyed our meals while listening to a family with two funny kids finish their own meal.

I had to show Lauren the new Goodwill that just opened last October. She bought clothes for her parents. I found a mint-in-the-wrapping copy of All Dogs Go to Heaven and All Dogs Got to Heaven 2, along with a CD copy of the Mary Martin studio recording of the 30's Gershwin musical Girl Crazy.

Five Below is next door. We stuck to junk food here. They have aisles of every kind of candy you can imagine, including some that's hard to find elsewhere. I went with Reeces Dark Peanut Butter Cups (which the Acme no longer sells), a Zagnut candy bar (haven't seen those since I went to the Vermont Country Store with Lauren last fall), and Junior Mints, along with batteries. Lauren bought Hershey's bars and a box of mini Nestle Crunch.

We were in and out of Marshalls' and Ross. Neither of us bought any clothes, but Lauren found more junk food on clearance. We each bought a box of coconut patties and a bag of Jelly Bellys. (Her bag is fruit-flavored. I have a "Spring Mix.")

It was almost 4 PM when we headed out of Ross'. It was time to do our grocery shopping. Lauren and her parents love Hint infused water, and it's on sale for a dollar this week. She bought three, and I got one for me too on the way home. Bought Monterrey Jack cheese and tortilla chips for dinner tonight and berry preserves for a bar cookie I'm hoping to try. Restocked milk, shampoo, yogurt, bananas, and an onion.

(And no wonder I was able to get over a week off. The Acme was dead when we arrived, and at rush hour, too. We got into a line with no trouble.)

When we got home, we put everything away, then ran Goofy cartoons as I made Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip for dinner. Came out really well, too. After dinner, we ate candy and played video games. We tried Lego Star Wars, but couldn't get through the Pod Race, and it gave Lauren motion sickness. Had more luck with Lego Clone Wars once we got past the chaotic Geonosis Arena round. "Battle of the Droids" was fun, and is a good round for two players, as it encourages cooperation between clone soldiers and the Jedi (Ahsoka and Anakin, in this case).

Tomorrow, we're going to take a train in Philly to check out their historic three-story Macy's downtown.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wishin' and Hopin'

I was never so happy to see sunshine streaming through my windows when I awoke this morning. In honor of the start of my vacation, I read a few stories about vacations. In the last two chapters of Samantha Saves the Day, Samantha and the twins Agnes and Agatha have taken a canoe to Teardrop Island to see the beautiful places Samantha's late mother drew in her sketchbook. Their trip turns treacherous when a storm strands them on the island. The Admiral, a friend of Sam's family, comes after them and gets hurt. It's up to the girls to row their boat through sharp rocks to safety.

Kit Kitteredge has an even scarier adventure in Kit Saves the Day. After visiting a hobo jungle, she, her friend Sterling, and real hobo Will join another hobo riding the rails. They're caught at the first station and end up in jail. Only Kit can escape and go get help...but to do so, she has to walk over the train bridge and avoid a moving train!

Also did a few short stories from the Disney Storybookland anthology. "Donald Duck, Explorer" wants to see the South Pole and catch a penguin. He loses interest pretty fast when the penguins end up catching him! "Pluto Pup Goes to Sea" on a yacht after he hears about a dog who was pampered on a cruise liner. He becomes a hero when he inadvertently stops Peg Leg Pete from stealing jewels in the Captain's cabin.

Did The Backyardigans while eating a quick breakfast. Pablo is "Le Master of Disguise," a quick little fellow who can disguise himself as anything...but he can't disguise his unique laugh. Inspector Austin follows him onto the Orient Express. With suspects like Conductor Uniqua, Cowboy Tyrone, and Circus Performer Tasha on board, it won't be easy to find the little blue penguin!

First thing on the list today was getting the laundry done. Thankfully, while they were a little busier than last week, they still weren't that busy. I still didn't have a huge load, anyway. I worked on story notes and half-listened to the Today show and NBC news.

When I got home, I put everything away, then had a quick smoothie lunch while watching the last episode of Smallville on the disc. Clark is a "Witness" to three young men with incredible strength stealing refined Kryptonite from a LuthorCorp van. One of them is the school's biggest baseball star, Eric Marsh (Zachary Ty Brian). The boys are sniffing liquid kryptonite to give them strength to rival Clark's. He's not sure how to deal with this, until Mr. Kent reminds him that, while the young men are strong, they don't have any of his other powers. Meanwhile, Lionel offers a despondent Chloe a job after someone destroys the Torch offices.

After lunch, did some quick cleaning before Lauren arrives. I swept the porch before I ate, then washed the windows and dusted around anything that showed after lunch. Ran the vintage 80's special Strawberry Shortcake In Big Apple City while I finished. Strawberry is off to the title city to take part in the Big Bake Off. The Peculiar Purple Pie Man is the other contestant, and he'll do anything he can to make sure that Strawberry's shortcake doesn't make it on the air. Good thing she has a lot of new friends helping her out, including eventual series regulars Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue.

Headed out again after I finished the cleaning. First stop was the Oaklyn Library. Given how nice it was outside, they were totally dead. It was just the librarian, one other woman on the computer, and me. Not to mention, they were close to closing for the afternoon. I went over the DVDs and moved on.

Went straight to the Haddon Township Library next. They weren't much busier. The children's DVDs were overflowing on the return rack...and no wonder. Half of them didn't fit on the shelves. I put away what I could get in, then did the far fewer adult titles. Left the remaining DVDs and audio books to the teen volunteers and headed out after an hour.

Took the long way across Newton Lake Park going back to Oaklyn. It was a gorgeous day for a ride. The sun was out, the breeze was fresh, and it was far warmer, probably into the lower 70's. I wasn't the only one taking advantage of Mother Nature's generosity. I dodged many dog-walkers, families playing at the playground, joggers, fisher folk, and even a pair of Canadian geese leading their adorable trio of goslings to the grass for a snack. I had to go slow through several very deep puddles that were nearly mini-lakes themselves.

Stopped at Dollar General really quick next. Lauren likes Pepsi; their six-pack of bottles is relatively cheap. I picked it up, got in, got out. The line wasn't even long.

Worked on writing for a while after I got home. Vader takes out the veteran leader of Luke's squadron, then Biggs. Shara drops behind to cover them, and Wedge has to land due to a busted fuel line. It's up to Luke to take down the Death Ray...but he might have some unexpected help...

It was the moment of truth. I checked the NJ jury website at 5 PM...and thankfully, I wasn't called. They only wanted 279 and over. I was 47. I'd been on pins and needles all day over possibly being stuck with jury duty tomorrow.

Vacuumed and wiped down the refrigerator quickly while watching One Crazy Summer. Hoops McCann (John Cusack) joins his buddy George (Joel Murray) to spend the summer on Nantucket Island with his grandmother (Billie Bird) and little sister. On the way there, they encounter Cassandra (Demi Moore), a singer who is trying to save her grandfather's boarding house from a nasty developer (Mark Metcalf) and his spoiled son (Matt Mulhern). Hoops his hoping to learn about love in order to illustrate a comic and win an art scholarship....and he gets more than he bargained for when he and his friends the twins Egg (Bobcat Goldthwait) and Clay (Tom Villard) and Ack Ack (Curtis Armstrong) promote her act, then join the local regatta to win the top prize.

Strange but fun "slobs vs snobs" comedy benefits from the fun cast and director Savage Steve Holland's wacky sense of humor. Worth checking out if you're a fan of this or other similar comedies from the time.

Jodie picked me up around 7:25. We got in just in time. Lauren's train was slightly early. She reported that she'd had no problems whatsoever anywhere. We ran into no traffic going home and got in by 8.

After I showed Lauren how the new windows and porch light worked, we spent the next couple of hours playing Angry Birds Star Wars. Turns out you can't start a second game, so we just continued mine to see how well we could do together.

Tomorrow, we're going to sleep in, then go for a nice walk around Oaklyn and Audubon, enjoying all the little shops and big box stores in the area.