Friday, December 21, 2007

Wet Christmas

Today was damp, chilly, and on-and-off rainy, but I still managed to run all the errands I needed to do. I went to the Acme first to get my paycheck and do what should be my last big grocery run before Christmas. There was a small display of WebKinz in front of Self-Checkout. Apparently, they just got their first shipment this morning. I got a much better paycheck than I expected (turned out one of the days was counted as a personal day), so I treated myself to a new WebKinz.

Meet Shadow, the sleek and tough Charcoal Cat! Charcoal cats are new, and the Acme was actually the first time I saw them. Surprisingly for their small display, they had a nice selection of WebKinz. I was very close to getting a Beagle, and the Huskies were nice, too. I have lots of stuffed dogs, though, and only four stuffed cats (and three are lions). The virtual Shadow will share my newest theme room, the Victorian Bed and Breakfast, with probably a horse WebKinz. (The room that came with her will be made into a coffee house, the Treehouse Cafe.) The non-virtual Shadow will sleep on my bed with Erica, the gray 80s Pound "Purrie" I got at the thrift shop last year.

After I lugged my grocery bags home (I needed a lot today), I put them away, had a quick lunch, and went right back out. I made a very quick stop at the post office to drop off two bills and a Christmas card. Ironically, the post office was dead, with both men on duty and no line. I was in and out in a jiffy. (I guess I hit them at a bad time last week.)

The bank was quite festive when I went in. Apparently, it was their Customer Appreciation Day, and they had lots of food out, including fruit, pretzels, chips, apple cider, little pastries, sandwiches, and Italian sausage strudel. I opted for one very small bit of gooey brownie, fruit, and two small slices of strudel. (And yes, I did deposit my paycheck. The bank was festive, but it was dead as well. Lauren said the bank where she works was busy today; maybe the weather scared people off here.)

I made another quick stop at 7-11 in the hope that their Cranberry Splash Slurpee machine was working again, but no luck. This time, NONE of the machines looked like they were working, or even full. I decided on a hot drink instead. Tried the fat-free French Vanilla Cappuccino; got instant mix. Tried the Mint Hot Chocolate; got hot water. I finally ended up with plain hot chocolate and told the man at the counter to that two of the hot drinks needed to be refilled.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on the last cookie batch and watching White Christmas and a couple of Christmas-oriented TV show episodes. Merry Christmas Molasses Roll-Outs are another recipe from The Betty Crocker Cooky Book I make every year, despite the difficulty in making them. I'm not the world's biggest sugar cookie fan anyway, and I thought a cut-out spice cookie would be different. I made the batter before I went to the Acme and it was perfect by the time I pulled it out. Unlike last year, when I made a huge mess, things went much better (and cleaner) this year. I remember to put the cheesecloth and flour under the dough, and that made a huge difference. (I also remembered not to put anything on the stove besides the pan. It has to be on for a while, and it gets HOT! Last year, I melted part of my plastic cutting board when I leaned it against the vent!)

I have cookie cutters in many different shapes. Some came from the Acme. The smallest ones came with the American Girls tin Aunt Terri gave me for Christmas three years ago. The oldest are these beautiful copper cutters Mom's had for years that she gave to me. There are angels and hearts, small and large stars, trees and bears, gingerbread people and bells, moons and circle "ornaments"...and even lions! I did burn parts of at least two batches. It's hard to keep an eye on these cookies. They're so dark, they brown much faster than the book indicates.

I ran White Christmas first. White Christmas is a sweet backstage holiday soufflé featuring Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby as a couple of old army buddies who become show business sensations, and head up to Vermont to use their connections to help their old general. Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen are a sweet, talented sister act with their eyes on the guys.

Though it drags in the middle and the romantic comedy contrivances get dull (the whole thing with Clooney and Crosby's characters is silly even for this movie), the numbers are the reason to check this one out. It's hard to top the opening, with Bing's touching rendition of the title song to the accompaniment of a music box with war-torn France as a background, which is almost breathtaking in it's simplicity. Other favorites include "Sisters" (from both genders), the "Mandy/Minstrel Man" ensemble number (with it's bizarre-colored sets and costumes), and the lovely "Counting Your Blessings."

(A personal memory on "Sisters." Mom bought her video copy about two weeks before Christmas 1994. After she, Anny, Dad, Keefe, and I watched it together, we went out to buy a Christmas tree. Our first stop was a small nursery down the street from our then-home in West Cape May. While my folks argued over trees and watched baby Keefe, Anny and I gathered some evergreen branches, pulled them into fan shapes, and recreated the girls' "Sisters" least as well as we could without falling over laughing. That was the point I began to realize Anny isn't a bad kid when she's not being obstinate. ;) )

Moonlighting did two Christmas episodes during it's five-season run. I went with the second, "It's A Wonderful Job," from the third season. As you can guess from the title, it's a take on It's A Wonderful Life, but with a bit of a twist. Instead of seeing what it would be like if she were never born, a frazzled Maddie Hayes is shown what it would have been like if she'd sold the Blue Moon Detective Agency as she'd originally planned.

The staff of radio station WENN also had holiday boss problems on Remember WENN's only Christmas episode, Christmas In The Airwaves from the second season. The staff is happily gearing up for Christmas 1940, until a visit from their nasty accountant, Mr. Scr...uh, Pruitt and the station's owner Gloria Redmond turns the holidays upside-down. Mrs. Redmond lost her husband the Christmas before and is still grieving him, to the point where any reference to the holidays pains her and she has been in seclusion. Pruitt, on the other hand, only cares about shutting the station down. The staff finally bands together to get around Pruitt and his restrictions...and show Mrs. Redmond the healing power of the holidays.

No comments: