Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Early Autumn Magic

Started out a gorgeous, sunny morning with some mildly spooky or fantasy-oriented episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Piglet is "A Knight to Remember" when he dreams that he's a mini-knight who has to fight a dragon, with the help a familiar rabbit wizard and "The Bishop of Bounce." "Rock A Bye Pooh Bear" has Piglet scared to go to sleep after a nightmare makes him believe he'll lose all his friends. The others try to prove to him that just because your dreams are scary, don't mean they'll come true. "The Monster Frankenpooh" is caught between Piglet's not-so-scary-story and Tigger's desire for something darker when their attempt at a horror tale gets out of hand.

Work was quiet for most of the morning. It's the last day of the month, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, and the big weekend sale ended yesterday. It did pick up later in the day, but by that time, I was almost done. My relief was right on time, and I headed out with no major problems.

When I got home, I made tilapia with leftover pasta and broccoli for dinner while watching Summer Magic. This 1963 musical details the adventures of teenager Nancy Carey (Haley Mills) and her family when they move from Boston to a small town in Maine during the late summer. Things go well at first, with the help of the town's kindly post master/general store owner Ossium Popum (Burl Ives). A snobby cousin arrives and makes a play for the handsome college student Nancy has her eye on. Even after that's settled, it turns out that the mysterious owner of the house the Careys are renting may not be so thrilled with them being there...

A sweet, if somewhat dated, nostalgic musical tale. I love the music for this gentle excursion into nostalgia, especially Ives' "On the Front Porch," Dorothy MacGuire's gentle title number with the kids, and "Femininity" with the girls. This is a lovely family tale, especially if you have girls or are a fan of other musical family stories like Meet Me In St. Louis or Summer Holiday.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Boys In Stripes

Today was gloomy, cool and humid - the perfect day to sleep in. When I did get up, I ran the East Side Kids film Boys of the City as I had a quick Wheat Chex breakfast. The "boys" of the title are the East Side Kids, as Bobby Jordan, Leo and David Gorcey, and Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison make their debuts with the series. The kids are being taken to a summer camp to get them out of the country when they pick up a group of people stranded on the road. The group includes a judge who is supposed to stand trial for embezzlement. They all end up at the Judge's scary ancestral home...and when the Judge is killed, Jordan's brother (Dave O'Brian) is accused of his death. The Kids try to figure out who really killed the judge and rescue his missing ward, before they're the next victims!

I didn't get to the laundromat until around quarter of 1. Everyone must have been at lunch. The place was quiet except for one or two other people. I had no trouble getting my small load in and out while The Young and the Restless droned in the background.

I just barely had enough time to finish out Boys of the City and get started on more Bowery Boys as I folded and put away my clothes when I got home. Chuck (Leo Gorcey's younger brother David) gets a rare chance to have some importance to the plot in Jail Busters. The slender guy with the animated eyebrows has here moved up to reporter...and when he's beaten up on an undercover assignment, his pals Slip, Butch, and Sach get sent up the river to find out who blew the whistle on Chuck and what's going on.

Work was busy almost the entire evening. Not only is it almost the beginning of the month, but today was the last day of a big four-day sale. Thankfully, it slowed down enough by 8 for me to leave with no relief. Mother Nature did her part. It was showering on the way home, though not heavily.

Oh, and I got the last retired outfit I wanted from Josefina's original collection from eBay. The Harvest Outfit features Josefina's only camisa (shift) with long sleeves at this writing. It's a really cute outfit, too, with nice embroidery on the yoke of the shift and a pretty, if rather thin, yellow-green skirt. Josefina's wearing the skirt with her new meet outfit shift now.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

I started a sunny, breezy morning with Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes and the soundtrack from Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure. This strange 1977 animated movie has Ann and Andy going after the new, rather bratty French doll Babette when she's kidnapped by a pirate captain. The duo encounter all sorts of strange creatures, from an old stuffed camel who was abandoned by his former owner, to a candy monster that keeps eating itself, to a pompous little king who inflates to enormous sizes when he laughs at other's misfortunes. I really prefer the sweeter songs from the early parts, including Ann and Andy's charming ballad "Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers," Ann and the toys' "I'm a Rag Dolly," and the Camel's touching "Blue," than the music from the bizarre second half. (Although like the sequence, the candy monster's song "I Never Get Enough" must be heard to be believed.)

I doubt this is on CD - the movie's not even on DVD, to my knowledge - but if the LP comes your way, it's worth a listen if you're a fan of the film or of cult animation or unusual musicals.

Work was crazy when I got in, with long lines across the store. It gradually slowed down as people headed off to barbecues and birthday parties and we got closer to 4:30, which was when the Eagles were playing the 49ers. Thankfully, there were no really major problems despite the craziness. It slowed down enough by 4:30 that I was able to hurry out without a relief.

I went straight home to listen to the game. I wasn't up to hurrying off to Dad's after the heavy crowds at work today. I had leftovers and made Carrot-Apple Muffins.

I'm glad I stayed home. The game was terrible. The Eagles' defense played great - and actually got all of the points. They just couldn't get their offense on the field, and when they did, they played badly. Despite a ton of penalties, the 49ers still went on to win 26-21.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Fair Day for Yard Sales

It was sunny and breezy, though a bit warmer than earlier in the week, when I woke up for this week's American Top 40 re-run. We jumped ahead two years to late September 1986. I would have been 7 then. While the rest of the US listened to hard rock, R&B, dance songs, and ballads, I tried to deal with my first month of second grade. Hits that early fall included "Friends and Lovers" by Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson, "Typical Male" by Tina Turner, "Throwing It All Away" by Genesis, "Words Get In the Way" by the Miami Sound Machine, "Two of Hearts" by Stacy Q, "When I Think of You" by Janet Jackson, "Dreamtime" by a solo Daryl Hall, "Don't Forget Me" by Glass Tiger, "Dancing On the Ceiling" by Lionel Richie, the remake of "Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C, and "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin from that summer's blockbuster movie, the action drama Top Gun.

One of my favorite bands of the 80s, Huey Lewis and the News, hit the #1 spot for their second of three weeks with "Stuck On You."

As I did last week, I spent most of the morning and afternoon roaming around, checking out all the fall events. I started out with a couple of yard sales. Didn't find anything in Oaklyn or on Belmont Avenue in Haddon Township, but I did make a score a few blocks away on Mansion. Two girls were selling various odds and ends. Laying in an old coffee can were three American Girl doll dresses. Two were Felicity outfits I already had. One belonged to Kirsten, the retired Swedish pioneer character; it was her summer outfit. I don't collect Kirsten's things, but I thought the Summer Dress was simple enough to work as a sundress for my modern dolls as well, and it was only a dollar.

The fall harvest was out in force at the Collingswood Farm Market. I saw the first chestnuts and large pumpkins of the year today. I dodged people buying food for fall festivals and parties and a man in lederhosen playing polka tunes near the Treehouse Cafe's booth. Picked up broccoli, apples, mushrooms, spinach, and this year's decorative squash and pumpkin. (I don't carve my pumpkin - I'd probably end up carving me! I use it for a fall decorations through Thanksgiving or until it goes bad, whichever goes first.)

I roamed around Collingswood and Westmont for the next two hours, but I didn't really have much luck. I saw the same group of AG dolls that were being sold at the Barrington Antique Store last week...for the same $100-125 dollars. I still say you could buy a doll new for that. (And by the way, Mia, Elizabeth, and Nellie are not Pleasant Company dolls. They were made years after Pleasant Company was sold to Mattel.) Found a cute pumpkin-shaped pan at a sale on Linden further along in Collingswood.

There was nothing interesting at a sale in Westmont. I did better at one in the neighborhood behind the Haddon Township Library and Haddon Township High School. I picked up a nice, really heavy plastic set of teaspoons (I bought the ones I've used for years came from a dollar store) and two records:

Herman's Hermits - On Tour

The original Broadway cast of The Boy Friend with Julie Andrews

Haddon Township had its Block Party on West Park today near the pool and recreational area. I hadn't been able to get over there in four years. I enjoyed it so much the last time I went, I thought I'd give it another try. It was twice the size it was in 2010, with far more food and craft booths, two musical groups, at least six bounce houses, a mini-Ferris Wheel and tilt-a-whirl for the kids, lots of local businesses doing advertising, and a "beer garden" in the rec area's pavilions. I had chicken tacos with tomatoes and cheese and a Black Cherry Bordeaux water ice from Primo's booth.

I rode down Park and into Collingswood, then across Newton Lake Park to the neighborhood on the other side of the lake from CVS. There were supposed to be yard sales down there, but I couldn't find them. By that point, it was past 2 PM. I was tired, sun burnt, and my knees hurt. I finally just headed home.

There was a large package waiting for me when I got in. I took advantage of a free shipping promotion to buy some smaller things I wanted for my American Girl dolls. I mainly bought Samantha's Hairstyling Set for the adorable flower-trimmed straw hat. (The silly little brush included is next to useless - barely gets through Sam's hair.) I bought the current modern Ballet Outfit set for my dancers Whitney and Molly to share because I thought it was a good price ($30) for everything it came with - a cute pink leotard with a skirt, a tutu, a pair of legwarmers, a pair of ballet slippers, two pink scrunchies and a pair of tights. I'm not a big fan of the leotard (that skirt just seems silly to me); otherwise, I really like this set. Whitney looks really cute in it. I also got myself an AG kid-sized coin purse that's been on the clearance pages for months.

Since I changed Whitney, I decided I'd change most of the other dolls into outfits appropriate for late summer - early fall. (Josefina is waiting on two outfits from eBay.) Sam wears her new Bicycling Outfit with the black boots from Rebecca's School Outfit and the Hairstyling Set straw hat. Jessa went 70s in a hand-made blue and purple paisley-print blouse Lauren sent me for Christmas, the embroidered bell-bottom jeans from the 2004 Ready for Fun "Meet" Outfit, and the black mules from Josefina's Dress and Vest. Felicity wears her original Rose Garden Gown that she came in. Molly wears her own navy blue "Meet" skirt, a hand-made blouse with lace trim that originally came with a 50s costume I bought on eBay, Samantha's new Mary-Janes, and the knee socks from Kit's School Outfit.

I listened to The Boy Friend LP while I changed the dolls. Julie Andrews fits in nicely as Polly, a wealthy young lady who hopes to find a "boy friend" at a fancy ball. She falls for a handsome messenger and invites him as her guest, but when he's accused of theft, she's worried he won't show. I'm very fond of this adorable spoof of fluffy 20s shows like No No Nanette, and this is far closer to the original smash London hit than the 1971 movie with Twiggy. "I Could Be Happy With You" is especially charming.

I ran another East Side Kids melodrama while I put the rest of my finds away and settled down. Bowery Blitzerkeg is the first of three East Side Kids movies to pit Mugs (Leo Gorcey) against Danny (Bobby Jordan). It's also the first to feature Huntz Hall as Mugs' goofy buddy Glimpy, and the only time in those three movies that Mugs gets the good-guy role. When Danny falls in with a young crook, the police turn to Mugs to be their representative in the local amateur boxing championship. Mugs feels bad about causing trouble with Danny...until Danny gets hurt and Mugs is the only one who can help.

I spent another fruitless hour after that trying to get through to UPS and the post office about that missing Warner Archives package. It STILL hasn't shown up! And the American Girl package not only got here just fine, but ahead of schedule! I tried to put in a lost package claim online, but both UPS and the post office insist that my tracking number isn't eligible for online file claiming! I can't do anything tomorrow, but I may try to call both again on Monday.

I put on Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation to cheer myself up as I made spiced chicken cutlets with pasta and broccoli for dinner. The second Care Bears film of the 80s is a personal favorite of mine. When three kids get into trouble with an evil, shape-changing demon at a summer camp, original Care Bear and Care Bear Cousin True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse try to come to their rescue. They do help twins Dawn and John, but their friend Christy falls into the clutches of nasty Dark Heart, who wants to eliminate the entire Caring clan.

Like the first movie, this is surprisingly dark for an 80s girl-oriented cartoon, almost an animated Faust. Dark Heart may be the most interesting villain ever in the Care Bears series, and probably the only one to show any kind of character development. Little kids may enjoy the animals' antics, but some mild violence and Dark Heart's transformations will require hand-holding and explanations. This is on DVD, but the copy isn't far above the one I dubbed from my parents' 30-year-old video. You maybe better off looking for this one on YouTube or elsewhere online.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lambeth Walks and Sudden Fortunes

Started out a beautiful day with Half A Sixpence. The Broadway version of the English musical brought over Tommy Steele in his original vehicle about an orphaned shop apprentice in the early 1900s who suddenly inherits a fortune. He originally wants to marry a society lady he met at a class, but finally settles on his long-time sweetheart...before losing said fortune. While some of the songs were quite charming  (especially the lovely "Long Ago" and the big wedding number "Flash Bang Wallop"), I suspect this loses something without the dances by Onna White that made this a big hit on Broadway in 1965. Steele can also be overbearing, particularly in larger numbers like "Wallop" and "Money To Burn. At least this seems to fit him better as a vehicle than Singin' In the Rain did. This is on CD and can be found for a fairly decent price on Amazon; charming and fun if you're a fan of Steele or fluffy boy-meets-girl musical comedies.

Work was busier than yesterday, but otherwise more of the same. People were rude and annoying yesterday and today. I thought it was the weather, but today was gorgeous, sunny, breezy, and in the mid-70s. I was so glad when my relief, one of the college boys, showed up early and I was able to get off quickly.

I got my schedule first. Looks like I'm back to having mainly weekends off now that the college kids are in school. On one hand, I have another 7-plus-hour day, this one Wednesday. Thankfully, it's only one this time, and not back-to-back. While it'll be a long wait for Friday and next Saturday off, I'm glad I'll have Saturday to myself tomorrow and next week.

I didn't really need a lot of groceries. Restocking brown sugar, cereal, whole wheat flour, and oatmeal were the big ones. I needed peanut butter and cooking spray, too. The Acme doesn't seem to have the Smart Balance sticks (again), so I bought I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

When I got home, I made broccoli and pasta for dinner with the last of the baked chicken legs while listening to Me and My Girl. The version I have is the original 1985 London cast with Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson as the title characters. I can't really tell what it's about; from the songs, I'm guessing it's another class-war tale. This was a blockbuster hit in the West End in the late 30s and early 40s. It's "Lambeth Walk" dance apparently became a craze; the sweet "Leaning On the Lamp Post" was also popular. The show was reconstructed and revived in the mid-80s. It was such a smash hit, it was the only comic musical imported from England during the height of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/epic European musical craze of the 80s and 90s. It did well enough in the US to have a Broadway cast album, apparently sans Thompson. The US cast is easier to find on this side of the pond, but you could probably pick up the London album for a decent price as well.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Singin' and Bakin' In the Rain

Today was my first of two seven-hour work shifts in a row. Maybe it was just as well. It rained almost the entire day. It was showering heavily when Jessa picked me up around 8:30. The Acme was dead pretty much the entire morning. I spent 9 AM through the lunch rush hour standing around. By the time things did start picking up around 1:30-2, the managers sent the third cashier to do stock work. They kept having to call him back every time the lines got long. Not to mention, my relief was late. They sent the self-checkout cashier in for me so I could get out on time. Jessa met me outside. She had things to get for a lasagna for dinner. It was still lightly showering when she drove me home.

As soon as I got in, I jumped in the bath. That felt wonderful. My legs are still kind of sore from all the running around I did last week, never mind today's work! I just kicked back for an hour, listened to the last of the shower, and finished As Time Goes By.

Since I just bought a ton of records, I spent the night spinning wax as I had leftovers for dinner and made a Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake for dessert. I started the Tommy Steele Singin' In the Rain before work and finished it during dinner. The original British stage version of the famous MGM movie expands one number in the film that was originally a background instrumental ("Temptation"), but also replaces several others with songs from other movies, or even other time periods. (I'll pass "Be a Clown," which "Make 'Em Laugh" was modeled on, but "Too Marvelous For Words" is from a Warners movie from 1937.) This was cute - "Moses Supposes" and "Good Morning" were especially fun - but I think it's out of print on CD and not exactly something you need to go out of your way for unless you're a really big fan of Steele.

Oh, Kay! is a bit closer to its source material. In fact, I believe this was done by the same producer, Goddard Lieberson, who also did my Roberta LP. This frothy Roaring 20s tale of the sister of a rum runner who falls for a society playboy while her brother hides his liquor in the playboy's mansion is only remembered today, if at all, for introducing some of the Gershwin Brothers' most famous music. The stack includes three lovely ballads, "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Maybe," and "Heaven On Earth," along with the bigger numbers "Do, Do, Do" and "Clap Yo' Hands." Jack Cassidy is the playboy; Barbara Ruick, who was Carrie Snow in the film version of Carousel, was Kay. It is on CD, but may also be out of print; check Amazon and used music shops if you're a fan of the Gershwins or Cassidy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Record Bonanza

First of all, congratulations to my younger sister Anny and her fiancee J.J! They just learned that their child is going to be a girl, the first girl any of my siblings have had. Everyone is excited. I'll finally have a niece, and Anny will have the little girl she's always wanted.

Second, I started a gloomy, cool, humid morning with some Bowery Boys. Sach and Slip think they've bumped into a windfall when they find $50,000 in a rolled-up newspaper. The cash turns out to be Jinx Money when a group of gangsters come after the dough...and they're killed one by one by a person holding an umbrella that only Sach seems to see.

My first day back at work was pretty typical. It was steady to quiet for most of the afternoon. There were no major problems, and my relief was right on time. I grabbed milk and multi-grain bread from the bakery and hurried out.

When I got home, I changed into regular clothes, put the milk and bread away, had a quick dinner of leftovers, and went back out again. My stepsister Jessa and her boyfriend Joe picked me up around 5 PM for another thrift shop/Goodwill trip.

This time, we drove about 20 minutes, dodging rush-hour traffic to hit the large Goodwill in Maple Shade. From there, we went to a thrift shop a few minutes away, Shade Thrift. We went past the Moorestown Mall and back to Cherry Hill to finish the night at the Cherry Hill Goodwill. The Goodwills had lots of Halloween stuff out. All three stores had tons of records; Shade Thrift had a small room that was nothing but records and videos. (And for some reason, the Maple Shade Goodwill had a lot of Russian videos and DVDs.)

I had my best haul in ages! I ended up with:

The soundtracks for Pete's Dragon and Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure

The original Broadway cast albums for She Loves Me, Half a Sixpence, I Do I Do!, Here's Love, Oh Captain!, the 1960s revival of Oh Kay!, the 1950s revival of The Threepenny Opera, and Promises, Promises

The original British cast albums for the 80s revival of Me and My Girl and Tommy Steele's stage version of Singin' In the Rain

Paperback "storybook" versions of The Great Muppet Caper and the 1982 film version of Annie

A Halloween costume! A red nylon dress with a floaty skirt and top trimmed in black lace and bows, with a wide-brimmed hat. The skirt is tight around the waist but passable; the top just doesn't work over my bosom. I think I can get away with tucking it in around my waist to make it look more like a Victorian skirt, which is kind of what I was going for. Either that, or a princess.

Thankfully, the heavy rain they'd been predicting all day held off until just about an hour ago. I hope it'll slow down by morning. I'm not going to be able to get a ride; everyone's working.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Haddonfield Trek

Since I got off early last night when the battery died, I ended up finishing Star Trek. James T. Kirk (Christopher Pine) has been a rebel and a troublemaker all his life. When he joins the Starfleet Academy, he's still getting into trouble, and running afoul of the ultra-logical Vulcan Spock (Zachary Quinto). Jim's new buddy Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) sneaks him aboard a major mission to stop a Romulan vessel from the future from wrecking major havoc. Spock gets fed up with Kirk and dumps him on a freezing-cold planet, where he encounters someone very familiar...someone who can explains why the Romulans are there and what they're after.

I'm never going to be a huge Trekkie, and to be honest, this was still a little complicated for my taste. You probably need to at least know something about the original show and movies to have some idea of what was really going on here. That said, it was still a pretty fun ride - Urban was my favorite as the snarky doctor who befriends Kirk.

I finished out the night with two items I picked up on video last week. Santa Bear's First Christmas is the same as my audio cassette version, only with attractive illustrations under the narration. It's not the most necessary Christmas special around, but sweet enough if you ever run into it and love bears like I do.

The 1954 version of A Christmas Carol is genuine TV history. It was the full original broadcast, up to and including the commercials for Chrysler cars. Fredrick March was Scrooge in this musical version of the famous Dickens novella. Basil Rathbone was Jacob Marley. (Interestingly, Rathbone would move up to Scrooge in another musical Christmas Carol on TV released two years later, The Stingiest Man In Town.) This wasn't really much of a musical, but it was apparently extremely popular, according to Musicals 101, enough to be re-ran twice and have a popular soundtrack album. I don't know if it's on DVD (Stingiest Man In Town was just released a few years ago), but it's an interesting curiosity if you love early TV musicals.

The next morning, I ate my breakfast quickly while watching Disney cartoons related to the beginning of fall and fall activities. "Autumn" is a pretty basic early Silly Symphony. Animals dance in time to the music as they out-run the weather and gather the food they'll need for the winter. Mickey Mouse proves Nick Foles has nothing on outlasting the opposition when he plays some pretty tough cats in the black and white short "Touchdown Mickey." Donald has his own problems keeping Chip and Dale off his apple crop in "Donald Applecore."

Ran a few quick errands before heading to Haddonfield. As you can guess, yes, I did get to Staples and bought an adapter. It was $49, but I needed it. After I got it set up, I hurried out to the Haddon Township Library for this week's volunteering session there. I had a lot to shelve, and not a lot of room to get it all in. Even the CD and audio books were overloaded. I didn't have a lot of time for it, either. I rushed out at 1:30 to get to Haddonfield for counseling. I didn't even have the time for lunch! (And no, I didn't take anything out this week. I don't think I'll have time for it, and I do still have a couple of videos to dub.)

I got to Mrs. Stahl's office right on time...which turned out to be a moot point. She was late. Her previous client ran overtime. When I did get in, I revealed how frustrated I was with how my day had gone and how my vacation had gone in general. I was hoping to get on more of a trip than just going to the King of Prussia Mall. Mrs. Stahl reminded me that I did do some fun things - I went on two fun bike rides, I found Hoppo and the videos, I got to see a very crazy Eagles game in full with my family.

It's hard for me to think of myself as an adult....but as Mrs. Stahl reminded me, I live alone. I'm very independent, and very proud of it. I pay my own bills. I provide my own transportation, or use public transportation. I makmy own budget and take care of my own household. I don't have people telling me how to do these things. Normally, I prefer it that way...but there are times when, like last night, I wish I had more people around who could help me when something goes wrong.

On one hand, I would like to meet a few more people like me in this area. On the other hand, as a very shy introvert, I'm not sure how to do this. I'm not really good in groups, and I don't know what really interests me. Most of the group events listed at the libraries either don't interest me, make me nervous, or are too late in the day to get to.

Basically, Mrs. Stahl said to try to work on staying positive....and get out and enjoy fall. I have Saturday off again. I'm really looking forward to it. There's going to be a street fair by the pool area in Westmont, a few blocks down from what used to be the Thriftway. I enjoyed that the last time I went there, and it should be fun this time.

Mrs. Stahl mentioned a new Mexican place had opened around the corner from her on Haddon Avenue, a few doors down from Starbucks'. Turns out it was the second location of the same restaurant that opened in Oaklyn across from WaWa, Jalapeno's Grill. This one was in a slightly nicer, if not much larger, location. It was 3 PM by the time I got there. The place was deserted. I ate a tasty (and larger than in Oaklyn) Chicken Quesadilla in silence.

I wanted to find the Haddonfield Goodwill, but I must have missed it. I rode out to Grove Avenue, and kept going, and going. Much to my surprise, I finally ended up in Cherry Hill, right across from the Christmas Tree Shops and Dick's Sports! I hadn't meant to go that far! I did finally make my way home, dodging the traffic on the highway and on the bridge over the Cooper River. past Parkway (Mini) Golf. The view from the bridge was absolutely gorgeous. The beautiful, sunny day was reflected in a placid river. Only the deft strokes of a few rowers from Rutgers on the other side marred the smooth bottle-green surface. If I had to get lost, this was a good day to do it.

Since I was in the area anyway, I stopped at the Pop Shop on my way home to treat myself to a milkshake. I wasn't the only one. A couple of families had taken their kids out for an early dinner. I enjoyed my Very Cherry Milkshake in the cute mason jar while watching the kids' antics.

I cut through an equally lovely Newton River Park going home, then across CVS. By this point, it was past 5. The traffic had gotten bad, which is why I cut through Collingswood and the park in the first place.

I finally made it home around 5:30. After I got settled in, I had leftovers for dinner while watching Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, which is set on the first day of fall. Pooh can't find Christopher Robin one lovely day in early fall. Owl misinterprets a honey-covered letter as being a call for help, so he sends the others after the boy. While Pooh's friends discover they are indeed up to the rigors of the journey, Pooh discovers that even when friends are far away, they're never far from our heart.

A surprisingly touching and bittersweet tale I watch ever late summer/early fall. This has a lot in common with the 2011 Winnie the Pooh - if you have very young kids, you might want to try them on that one before coming here. There's a few scary or sad moments that will require some hand-holding, especially Pooh's heartbreaking song "Wherever You Are."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Party Over, Out of Time

I don't have a lot of time to write this, so I'll get going. This wasn't a really exciting day, anyway. I started with a quick run around the neighborhood around 11:30. I did this week's volunteering session at the Oaklyn Library. They actually were somewhat busy for them, and I did have a bit to do. The kids' section was a mess, especially the DVDs, the board books, and the picture books. It was nearly an hour before I got out.

Went to Dunkin' Donuts next for a Mocha Coolatta for a treat, then headed to CVS. I was out of pads and needed to restock shampoo. CVS only stocks the curl formula for Pantene, so that's what I got. They had Hershey and Reese's merchandise on sale; I bought a cute Reese's themed journal for $1.74. The clouds started gathering as I headed home. It never rained, or even looked threatening, but it did get windier.

When I got in, I had leftover chicken breasts and sauteed Chinese beans for lunch while watching more East Side Kids. The local cops may think the Kids are Smart Alecks, but for once, they're more interested in baseball than mischief. Danny (Bobby Jordan) wants to buy the gang uniforms with the money he got for capturing a gangster. Mugs (Leo Gorcey) would rather it be used by the group for a car. Meanwhile, their old buddy Hank (Gabe Dell) also got in trouble with the cops. While the guys hide him, Broccoli breaks out and sends his men to beat Danny nearly to death. The Kids learn just how important their friend is when they go after a surgeon to give him an all-important operation.

As soon as the movie ended, I hurried back out again. I wanted to get what little laundry there was done before I went back to work. While most of the washers were being used when I arrived, it wasn't really that busy. I only saw two other people as Queen Latifa went on behind us. I did get a washer and a drier. Needless to say, even with two towels in the load, I still didn't have a lot to wash. I was in and out in less than an hour.

When I got home, I put everything away, then went downstairs to call Jessa. I hadn't heard from her since Friday. As it turned out, something came up, and we wouldn't be able to go out today. Could we do it tomorrow or Wednesday? All right. I'd see her then.

Instead, I spent the next hour fruitlessly trying to find out why not only has that Warner Archive package still not appeared, but I haven't had any mail at this address - for me or even junk mail for Miss Ellie - in at least a week. I couldn't get through to the Post Office's customer service at all, and their automated services just told me what had been on the website for the past week and a half - the package moved from UPS to the post office on the 12th and apparently hasn't been heard from since. I at least got a human being at UPS, but they just said call UPS Innovations, and I couldn't get through to them.

After a fruitless hour, I had a quick leftover dinner, made Chocolate Chip Fruit and Nut Bars, and watched the first half of Star Trek.

I'll have to give you the full review tomorrow. I don't have much time left on my laptop. I accidentally snapped part of the metal part of the power cord when I was trying to get it around my laptop a few weeks ago. It was giving me power on and off, whenever I managed to get it pushed enough to work. Tonight, I pushed it too hard when I tried to fix it...and I broke it clean off! I'm going to have to go to Best Buy or Staples tomorrow and get a new universal power adapter. I thought I had one. I found the tips, but I can't find the cord itself. I suspect I may have accidentally gotten rid of it when I cleared out the computer I had before Lauren gave me her old laptop in 2009.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

There's a Brawl Goin' On

I was up late with Lauren last night and so worn-out from a long week of running around, I slept until 11 this morning! After I wrote in my journal, I had just enough time to make Buttermilk Spice Pancakes for breakfast, grab the Apple Spice Cupcakes I made yesterday, and stroll to Dad's for the Eagles-Redskins game.

Jodie and my cousins Mark and Vanessa were the only ones there when I arrived. Jodie'd taken Dad to the hospital early in the morning with acute chest and stomach pains. They thought it was appendicitis, but it turned out to be colitis. Jodie would go back to Our Lady of the Lordes Hospital later. She did invite my sister Rose and her son Khai over. Rose brought her famous Key Lime Bars (key lime pie filling topped with coconut with white chocolate chips on a graham cracker crust) and shredded chicken and lettuce to make Oriental Lettuce Wraps. Khai just wanted to play with his buddies across the street, but his mother made him eat his peanut butter and jelly sandwich first.

The game was absolutely insane. Former Eagles player DeShawn Jackson wasn't terribly happy to be fired from the team back in March. He was picked up by the Redskins shortly after...and proceeded to remind people of this every time he did a run or scored. Two guys got into a shoving match early on in the first quarter and were called for unnecessary roughness. There were penalties here, there, and everywhere, on both teams. One Eagle and at least three or four Redskins were knocked out of the game with injuries.

The tension and penalties finally boiled over half-way through the fourth quarter. A Redskins center the size of a sumo wrestler blindsided Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, knocking him to the ground and injuring him. Foles' fellow Eagle Jason Peters wasn't having any of that and attacked the Redskins player! Both teams leaped to their fellow players' defense...and the entire playing field erupted into a huge brawl. The two guys who started the brawl were eventually ejected from the game. Foles recovered enough to finish the game. The Eagles finally held off the Redskins long enough to win 37-34.

Khai didn't care who won. He was too busy playing with his friends from the neighborhood. One little boy's dad is the football coach for Collingswood High School. He played a touch game with his son and Khai during half-time. While the Eagles and Redskins were starting riots during the fourth quarter, Khai joined a little boy and his toddler sister on the heavy plastic jungle gym in their front yard while waiting for another friend to come home from a birthday party. He was still playing when I hitched a ride home with Mark and Vanessa.

Jodie brought Dad home by the beginning of the fourth quarter. Dad was sore and moving slow, and he'll have to be on a liquid diet for a few days, but he otherwise seemed ok. He felt good enough to complain about the Eagles' performance all through the quarter.

After going to NFL.com to read about the game, I went right into a much-needed bath. That felt sooo good. I've been going non-stop all week. It won't be as bad tomorrow. I only have errands planned in the morning before going on another thrift-shop hunting trip with Jessa and Joe. I spent the rest of the evening eating a quick dinner of leftover chicken-vegetable soup and listening to CD collections of early 80s music.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Yard Sales and Flea Markets

Began a gorgeous, sunny morning with this week's American Top 40 re-run. I was 5 years old and just beginning my first weeks in kindergarten in mid-September 1984, when this episode was first run. Hits that week included "The Glamorous Life" by Sheila E., "Lights Out" by Peter Wolf, "Drive" by Cars, "If Ever You're In My Arms Again" by Peabo Bryson, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince, "The Warrior" by Scandal, "Sunglasses at Night" by Corey Hart, "If This Is It" by Huey Lewis and the News, "She Bop" by Cyndi Lauper, and the title song from that summer's blockbuster movie, Ghostbusters, by Ray Parker Jr.

Tina Turner cemented her huge comeback in the mid-80s when her searing ballad "What's Love Got To Do With It?" hit the #1 spot for the second of three weeks.

I spent the majority of the day riding around, checking out yard sales. I haven't had a good yard sale run in months. My first stops were a couple in Haddon Township, near Cuthbert Road. I did see a Caroline American Girl doll in her box at one, but the lady wanted $175 for her! Please. She was obviously a used doll, even if she did have her box and meet outfit. Her hair was a mess. She's not even retired! The doll without her accessories is only $115 new at American Girl's website. I did get three records from her, for the far more reasonable price of a dollar each:

Louis Armstrong -  Disney Songs the Satchmo Way

Bing Crosby - Merry Christmas (cassette replacement)

The soundtrack from the 1962 version of State Fair that starred Alice Faye, Pat Boone, and Ann-Margaret

I next headed down to Kraft Avenue, near the elementary school. This was a big one - a couple who owned a thrift shop were selling off part of their store's inventory. I emerged with two books, The Five Little Peppers Midway and a Golden Book for my 4-year-old nephew Khai, Mickey Mouse Goes Christmas Shopping.

Took a look at one more yard sale on the edge of Collingswood and Haddon Township before heading to the Collingswood Farm Market. Broccoli debuted this week, just in time for people to shop for tailgating, barbecues, and sports parties. I ended up with little Gala apples, broccoli, red, yellow, and green peppers, a tomato, a cantaloupe, a red onion, and an eggplant.

Rode around Collingswood and Westmont for about an hour on my way to Haddonfield. I ran into a few more yard sales on my way. I didn't pick up anything from the one on Cuthbert Road. Did a little better in Westmont, a few doors down from Rita's Water Ice. I found the animated version of my sweet Santa Bear's First Christmas cassette on video for fifty cents.

There were three major events going on in Haddonfield today. The first one I encountered as I headed up Haddon Avenue was the Lions Club's huge Flea Market. As they did last year, people set up tables in the massive parking lot of an office building and sell much nicer junk than what I saw at the Berlin Flea Market. Most of it was still beyond my budget, though. I dodged the crowds and moved on.

I did somewhat better at the Haddonfield Library's Book Sale. Three tents and a series of tables were stuffed full of books, DVDs, records, cassettes, audio books, videos, baked goods...and people! I had a hard time moving around in the tents, they were so busy. I didn't find any interesting DVDs or CDs this time, but I did come up with a mint condition copy of Leonard Maltin's The Great Movie Comedians in hardback, A Newberry Christmas, and two dog-eared paperback copies of Emily of New Moon and Emily Climbs. I love Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series and thought I'd give some of her other characters a chance.

King's Highway was even crazier. There was a big antique car show going on there, spanning Haddonfield's entire commercial district. The crowds were enormous. I was originally going to eat at The Bistro, but they were so busy, I decided I didn't want to wait and ended up at the British Chip Shop instead. They were busy, too, but it was past 1:30 at that point, and the crowds were starting to thin a little. I had my favorite Chip Shop Sandwich (apples, Irish cheddar cheese, chicken, and greens on thick bread), the Great Mountain of Greens, and a tasty Lilt Pineapple & Grapefruit Soda.

I took the back roads in Haddonfield and Haddon Township home to avoid the traffic on Haddon Avenue. Went by a few yard sales on Cuthbert, including the one I bought the videos from last week, but I found nothing interesting. I did buy a creamy, tangy Creamsickle water ice at Kayla's Ice Cream and Garden Center. Though they're still selling frozen treats, the garden part of the store has returned. Mums and hay bales have taken over the covered dining area. I ate in one of the swinging tables, watching the traffic on Cuthbert and the White Horse Pike.

I didn't get home until quarter of 4! Needless to say, I went nowhere else. I ran a Bowery Boys movie as I put everything away and got settled down. They're Fighting Fools when a young boxer from the Bowery is killed in the ring, and they persuade his brother to return to the game. The crooked agent who original set up both brothers wants in on the action...but Slip and the others are determined that their boy will take the match honestly.

Switched to Despicable Me 2 while making Apple Spice Cupcakes With Whipped Spice Topping for the football party at Dad's house tomorrow, then while having leftover chicken-vegetable soup for dinner. Gru (Steve Carrell) is quite happy as the father of three rambunctious young girls. He's called out of retirement by a government agents that catches super villains. They pair him with energetic Lucy (Kristin Wiig), an energetic new recruit, to keep an eye on former villains working at a mall who may have stolen a formula that can mutate anything into a monster. Gru is convinced that the hearty Hispanic owner of a Mexican restaurant (Benjamin Bratt) is really El Macho, a super villain who died several years before. Lucy and the Anti-Villain League aren't convinced. Gru tries to prove otherwise, and deal with his oldest girl getting a crush on the owner's son. Meanwhile, the Minions, Gru's little yellow workers, are mysteriously disappearing...

Not great, not bad. This was a huge hit when it came out last summer, and I can mostly understand why. We get to see more of Gru's sweet relationship with the girls, learn a little more about what the Minions do, and meet Gru's neighbors as well. Some of the plot was really obvious, including who the villain turned out to be, but this was generally fun. If you loved the first movie, grab a rocket bike and hop right in. If you're new to the world of Gru and the Minions, you'll definitely want to see the first movie before coming here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Out and About

It was a cloudy, cool morning when I headed out to run errands. After a brief stop at WaWa to use the ATM machine, I headed to Westmont Plaza. Since I didn't find anything at the King of Prussia Plaza Game Stop yesterday, I decided to check out the big one in Westmont. I actually found something there right away. Sim City Creator looks like a Wii version of one of my all-time favorite Super Nintendo games, Sim City. I used to spend hours creating my very own city (always with railroads rather than cars - more expensive, but less traffic and pollution). It was $10.69 with tax. I also saw Hello Kitty Seasons and Kirby's Epic Yarn, which I may go back for next week. Mom loved Sim City, too. I'd come home from work and see her creating her own vast metropolis. The kid at the counter mentioned his mom was a fan of Sim City 3000 and would often play with him.

I next rode across the street to the Haddon Township Library for this week's volunteering session. There was a lot to shelve, especially CDs and audio books. Once again, I couldn't get most of the "S" titles on the kids' DVD racks. The "S" titles are overflowing on the adult DVD shelves, too. I ended up with Despicable Me 2, the first Star Trek reboot, and Saving Mrs. Banks again (I never did get to it last week).

It was sunnier and somewhat warmer (though still windy) as I rode across Westmont and Audubon to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center, dodging the second half of the lunchtime traffic. I had lunch at Tu Se Bella's. I haven't eaten there in ages. Their gourmet pizzas are delicious but rather expensive. I treated myself to a slice of mushroom, a slice of white broccoli-garlic-shrimp (yes, shrimp, two rather large ones that wouldn't stay on), and a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. It wasn't as busy as it could have been during the end of the lunch hour. People mostly came in to get pies.

Went to the Acme next to do my own grocery shopping and get my schedule. I didn't really need a whole lot today. Replaced sugar, cheese, and the canned chicken and tomatoes I used on my soup. Betty Crocker cake mix was a dollar. I bought their spice mix and whipped topping to make Apple Spice Cupcakes and Spiced Whipped Icing to bring to Dad's on Sunday. Picked up that buy one, get one spiced chicken cutlets deal. Got more trail mix to make granola bars next week and canned pumpkin for pumpkin bread.

I ran into my stepsister Jessa while doing my shopping. She was picking up food for herself and for Dad and Jodie. I told her I was off this week, and she asked me if I wanted to go on another Goodwill/thrift shop expedition with her and Joe on Monday evening. Sure! I actually had nothing planned for Monday besides the usual chores. I enjoyed my two trips with them in June (the second with Lauren when she visited).

I'm a little annoyed with my schedule next week. While my first day back on Wednesday isn't bad, Thursday and Friday are 7 hours, and early ones, at that. Having something of a paycheck will be nice, but if it's not busy, standing there is going to be boring as heck. I do have next Saturday off, though. I'm glad. There's tons of local events going on tomorrow and next Saturday - yard sales, church bazaars, library book sales, flea markets, farm markets, block parties, fairs, hayrides, picnics. Unlike over the summer, when I had to work a lot of early Saturdays, I'll actually get to enjoy it all.

When I got home, I put everything away and went right back out. Took a short walk down Goff Avenue, stopping first at the boat landing at the end of the street. By then, it was a glorious day. The clouds had given way to soft, clear blue skies. I could see straight to the Ben Franklin Bridge. Went down Ridgeway and over to the school. A group of two girls and a boy chased each other under the trees in the school's front yard. The local little league football team practiced on the field in the back...until three of their teammates came rushing over carrying bags with tubs of fried chicken, chanting "KFC! KFC!" at the top of their lungs. A pair of grandparents and their little granddaughter ignored them and enjoyed the playground.

When I got in, I went straight in the bath. Ahhhh. That felt wonderful. My legs are still sore from all the hiking around at the King of Prussia Mall yesterday. No wonder Linda Young once told me "that isn't a mall, it's an exercise program!" I went over cake decorating books (to get ideas as to what to do with those cupcakes) and listened to Count Basie.

After I finally dragged myself out, I made Italian Marinated Chicken Breasts and ratatouille for dinner while watching two first-season, World War II-set episodes of Wonder Woman. "Formula 407" can make rubber as hard as steel and may help the Allies win the war...if they can get it from its Argentinian creator before the Nazis do! Wonder Woman goes west in "The Bushwackers" when a ranch owner (Roy Rogers) who provides cattle for the Allies calls the government to help stop rustlers from stealing his best stock. Meanwhile, he's raising a group of war orphans, which is making his own son very jealous.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

King of Malls

I headed out early this morning to make a trip to what's currently the largest mall in the U.S, King of Prussia. Took the PATCO train into Philly around 9:30 AM. The buses to King of Prussia leave at 13th and Market, across the street from Macy's. I just made it. The SEPTA buses are a bit different than NJ Transit, with hard, narrow metal chairs covered in blue-green fabric. The back seats are on risers over the front seats. They're not very comfortable. I get the feeling they weren't designed for a ride that was 45 minutes with a minimum of traffic. At least there were some gorgeous views of the Schuylkill River once we hit the highway.

The King of Prussia Mall is every bit as enormous as everyone always says it is. It's so big, it's actually two buildings, the Plaza and the Court. Since the bus dropped off and picked up at the Plaza, I stuck to that one today. The interior was gorgeous. Like Moorestown, it's retained it's dramatic vaulted ceilings, soothing fountains, cherry woodwork, and bright planters. The store mix had more in common with Cherry Hill - fancy upscale boutiques and department stores with major names like Louis Vutton, Cartier, Neiman Marcus, and Burberry mixed in with regular mall fixtures like Game Stop, Lane Bryant, JCPenney, and Bath & Body Works. (And for some reason, a small Rite Aid.)

To be honest, I didn't have much luck. Neither the L.L Bean nor Eddie Bauer stores sold clothing in my size (despite the fact that their websites do carry plus sizes). Sears was going through a major overhaul after having given up their second floor to Dick's Sports. I couldn't find anything my size in their Land's End section. Charlotte Russe and New York & Company had nothing. I browsed briefly through Build-A-Bear, but I just bought a large stuffed animal yesterday.

Lane Bryant was one of the only stores where I could find decently priced clothes that fit. I bought a nice pair of khaki capris for about $32. I also did decently at JCPenney's. I picked up two 3-packs of Mixit fold-over crew socks in cotton for $8 each. (They're so much like the old St. John's Bay socks I loved, I suspect they may be those socks under a hipper brand name.) Also bought a simple long-sleeved orange t-shirt for about $10. Grabbed a Pumpkin Cupcake Hand Soap from Bath & Body Works (the two bottles that Amanda gave me for Christmas have finally run out).

I had lunch in the upstairs food court. The Stardust Cafe sold basic diner food like cheesesteaks, chicken fingers...and gyros. I had to have a gyro. It was messy but tasty; came with some thin, hot fries, too. Got a Strawberry Surf Rider light smoothie - strawberries, peaches, lemon, and lime - downstairs at Jamba Juice. Tart, but very refreshing, with lots of big strawberry pieces.

I was going to go home at 3...but then I realized I didn't have the right change for the bus. I had to rush over to Rite Aid and get it. And then the 3:26 125 bus was stampeded by a huge group of Asian college students, when it was already full on arrival. The 124 arrived about ten minutes later, and that's what I ended up taking home. It was also full until we got to the 69th Street Transportation Center. Most people must have been taking trains or buses to the suburbs. The bus was far less crowded as it braved heavy traffic going into Philly. After I got in, I headed to the Gallery Mall, took a brief look at Books-A-Million, and went downstairs to pick up a full PATCO train to Collingswood.

(And...while I did enjoy my trip to King of Prussia, it was too tiring to make a regular event. That mall is too much for me! Moorestown or Cherry Hill will be my regular malls for the time being.)

When I finally got in, I had leftover Chicken-Tomato Soup while dubbing two of the Christmas specials I bought yesterday. (The third, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, didn't work.) Thankfully, I was able to get the one I wanted, The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas. Most bears hibernate from December to April and don't really care much about holidays, including Christmas. Ted E. Bear, a curious, bright little fellow, has heard all about Christmas, about jolly men in red suits, music on every street corner, and kindness in every heart. Despite the laughter of his fellow bears, he goes on a journey to discover this place called Christmas. A visit to New York reveals that Christmas isn't a place, but a feeling...and one best shared with others.

Jingle Bells was a bit simpler. Poor Tommy just wants to impress Miss Fanny Bright, but all he has is an old sleigh. George, an old-fashioned, mustachio-twirling villain, has a fancy sled that he wants to use to win the big sleigh race. He uses a shortcut to get to the finish line...but when he ends up on thin ice, Tom and his horse and mouse friends remind him why slow and steady really does win the sleigh race.

The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas mostly remains charming despite the somewhat limited animation, especially Ted's brief visit to the toy store. Jingle Bells is too simple. The dialogue is stiff as ice and about as much fun to listen to. The acting is terrible, and the story is piffle, even for a Christmas special. I don't know if Jingle Bells can be found anywhere, but The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas is currently available through Amazon Prime.  (There was an equally sweet picture-book version of Bear Who Slept Through Christmas as well - I found it at a yard sale several years ago.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finding Hoppo

Began a beautiful, sunny morning with a bagel with raspberry preserves and two slices of fresh farm market cantaloupe for breakfast. Ran a couple of episodes of Max & Ruby while eating. "Max's Froggy Friend" may delight Max with his jumping, but Ruby insists that frogs have no place at tea parties! Max keeps trying to sneak the frog home anyway. "Ruby's Hiccups" may prevent her from rehearsing for the big Bunny Scout concert unless she and Louise can find a cure, and fast! Meanwhile, Max just wants to find his monster mask. Ruby wants to get Max in "The Big Picture" for Grandma, but Max keeps getting dirty. "Max Gets Wet" when Ruby insists on him watering her plants, but he keeps trying to fill his kiddie pool. And "Ruby's Stage Show" gets more complicated than the participants planned when Ruby wants Max to play a prince, but he'd rather be a dragon!

It was just gorgeous outside today. The sky was a brilliant blue. The breeze was nice and cool. It couldn't have been more than the mid-70s. It was the perfect day for a long bike ride. I started at the House of Fun up on the White Horse Pike, which hadn't been open when I was there yesterday. Not only were they open this morning, but they had a whole display of 80s girls' stuffed animals and dolls in the middle of the main room, most still in their original packaging. Among them was one I had as a child - Hoppopotamus, the blue rabbit-eared diva who was my favorite character in the 1985 Disney cartoon The WuzzlesI had my original Hoppo for over a decade. The one I found was in mint condition, still fuzzy and with perfect eyes and ears. The picture book she came with was mint, too. Her box was a mess, but at least it was there. She cost me $34 with tax, but I was thrilled to find her again. She's one of the few childhood stuffed animals I ever really regret letting go of.

Hoppo's box was a little awkward to carry in my bike basket. I took her home, then headed back out again. Stopped at Simply Soups in Audubon for lunch. Despite the nice day and it being about 1 when I arrived, I was the only diner. I guess everyone was ordering out. I had my usual small cup of soup (turkey pumpkin wild rice), breadsticks, and can of soda (Diet A&W) while watching the traffic and a train chug by.

I spent the rest of the afternoon checking out thrift shops and Goodwills. Barrington Antiques was actually a bit busy. I saw three retired American Girl dolls that aren't easy to find, the 2008 Girl of the Year modern doll Mia, Felicity's best friend Elizabeth, and Samantha's best friend Nellie. I might have considered Nellie or Elizabeth (I don't have any blond AGs) if they hadn't been between 100 and 125 each! I could buy a doll new for that. Josefina's bed, which they were all sitting on, was overpriced, too. I ended up buying nothing there and moved on.

I rode up to Lawnside originally, but decided I didn't need anything at Shop Rite or Hallmark. Headed down Clements Bridge Road to the Black Horse Pike. The Bellmawr Goodwill was a block from where I came out. I did better there than I did the last time I went there in early June. I picked up the CD of the original cast of Legally Blonde: The Musical, plus five Christmas-related items:

Christmas With Anne, a collection of short stories (and at least one chapter from Anne of Green Gables) by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

A Christmas Carol, a 50s TV movie musical version with Frederick March as Scrooge and Basil Rathbone as Jacob Marley

A box set of three FHE videos of Christmas specials from the 80s, including one I've been trying to find for years, The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas.

It was past 4:30 by the time I left Goodwill. I took the back roads home to avoid the traffic on the Black Horse Pike and Clements Bridge Road. Just a few streets down from the Goodwill, I found a nice little playground. It was surrounded by some blue and black material that seemed foamy and almost kind of bouncy. It was faded, but seemed sturdy enough; I couldn't resist trying the wavy slide.

Since I passed through Haddon Heights going home, I decided I'd wet my whistle with a treat from Cabana Water Ice. I couldn't decide between water ice or ice cream, so I got a small pumpkin-vanilla gelati and had both. The pumpkin was nice and creamy, with large pieces of gingerbread...but the water ice wasn't very good. The ice chunks were big and rocky, and it didn't really taste like vanilla. I ate it outside to enjoy the dad and observe the older women chatting on a bench and the kids getting their own treats on their way back from school.

When I got in, I headed upstairs, then made Merlin's Magic (Baked) Chicken and sauteed Chinese beans for dinner while watching the East Side Kids. Kid Dynamite is the second of three movies in the series that has Danny (Bobby Jordan) and Mugs (Leo Gorcey) at odds. Mugs thinks Danny set him up when he's kidnapped before he can take part in a big boxing match and Danny takes his place. The rest of the movie has Mugs doing whatever he can to come out ahead of Danny, ignoring the fact that his friend is innocent and only wants to be nice.

And the darn Warner Archive movies still haven't shown up. If they aren't in by tomorrow, I'm calling the post office in Camden to see what the hold up is.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Comeback Birds

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Eagles, for the second week in a row, came back from losing in the first half to just barely win - with a field goal in the last seconds of the game - in the fourth quarter. Talk about your suspenseful games! They become the first team in NFL history to win the first two games of the season after coming back from being down 14 points or more in the first half.


Taking Things Slow

I hadn't really planned on doing much today, other than running errands. After I ate a late breakfast and finished out Way Out West, I ran a travel-themed Mickey Mouse cartoon while getting ready to run errands. "Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip" on a train going across California, but bringing his best pal Pluto gets him into a whole lot of trouble with Conductor Pete. The duo do their best to evade the cranky cat conductor and still get to their destination.

Headed out around 11 AM. It was still a lovely day at that point, bright and sunny. It was a tad bit warmer than yesterday, but the wind felt nice and cool. My first stop was the Oaklyn Library for this week's session there. The nice day was reflected in a quiet building. The only other people there were the librarian and one woman on the computers. I did a little work on the adult DVDs, but I mainly shelved and organized the kids' section. The DVDs were especially bad. I don't know how a Beverly Hillbillies disc got in there. I was gone in about a half-hour.

I was originally going to hit up the House of Fun next, but much to my surprise, they weren't open when I arrived. It was past 11:30, and their sign said they open at 11. The comics shop next-door wasn't open, either. I went a few blocks down to Family Dollar and bought hand soap for the kitchen sink; the one Amanda gave me for Christmas had finally run out. I swung by the House of Fun again after I left Family Dollar. The comics book shop was open by then, but the House of Fun remained closed. I went to WaWa and bought a roast beef and provolone hoagie, a quart of skim milk, and a chilled mocha cappuccino, took out money for the rest of the week from the ATM machine, and went home.

I got another disappointment when I arrived at the apartment. The mailbox was empty except for one clothes catalog for me and a few pieces of junk mail for Miss Ellie. (She still gets a ton of mail, even after being dead for over two years.) The UPS website said I was supposed to get my Warner Archive order TODAY! I don't know why it took so long in the first place. From now on, I wait and buy my Archive discs from Amazon or Barnes and Noble's website.

Put on a Bowery Boys movie upstairs to calm down. Bowery Buckaroos is one of my favorites of the early Bobby Jordan entries. The Boys head west when Louie, the owner of their favorite soda shop, reveals that he's wanted for a murder he didn't commit. He also has a map to a gold mine...tattooed on his back. The Boys draw the map on Sach's back and head to Nevada to find the gold and solve the mystery. Meanwhile, their more mature friend Gabe is also out west, posing as a gambler to get the goods on the crooks who framed Louie. He falls for a pretty cowgirl who may be just a little too smart for him.

Went to the laundromat a little earlier this week, around quarter of 3. Once again, it was nice and quiet. There was only one other older woman there the whole time. It was just me, Queen Latifa's talk show, and my very large load of laundry. I had sheets and both work uniforms in there. I had no trouble getting a washer or a drier and was out in a little over an hour.

It was cloudy and cool when I walked home, a good reflection of my mood. The chicken legs I pulled out for dinner hadn't defrosted all the way, so I made Chicken Vegetable Soup while watching 'Til the Clouds Roll By. This semi-revue on the life of Jerome Kern makes up for a lack of historical accuracy (especially in the second half) with some fabulous numbers. My favorites include two lovely ballads from Dinah Shore, "They Didn't Believe Me" and "The Last Time I Saw Paris," the wonderful opening Show Boat sequence, Judy Garland's fabulous "Who?" number with the chorus, and Lucile Bremer and Van Johnson having a ball with "I Won't Dance." (Johnson should have done more musicals that weren't dominated by his leading lady - he was quite good here.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Time For Vacation

I got a phone call as I was eating breakfast this morning. It was Andrew. Was I going to be around at noon? He was bringing an appraiser to take a look at the house. No, alas, I wouldn't. I had to work at noon. I did have the time to make my bed and tidy up around the house before I left for work.

I also dubbed one of my video finds from Saturday. Sons of the Desert has Laurel and Hardy sneaking off to a fraternity convention after they tell Hardy's wife (Mae Marsh) that they're taking an ocean voyage for Ollie's health. Unfortunately, the boat they were supposed to have taken sinks, frightening their wives. When the two make it home, they find they have some really interesting explaining to do...and Laurel, at the very least, learns that honesty really is the best policy.

Widely regarded as the duo's best feature, this isn't really a masterpiece. It is a pretty funny movie with some great gags, especially towards the end when the boys realize that their wives know what's going on. Necessary for Laurel and Hardy fans; fun for fans of 30s comedy or classic comedians, too. 

Work was on-and-off busy all afternoon. The Eagles play later today, and many people were taking advantage of the lovely and cool weather (barely in the lower 70s) to have their last barbecues of the season. A lot of people called out too, especially this morning. It did slow down long enough for me to get out without a relief around 6.

I changed into regular clothes when I got in. Made scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms and a bagel for dinner while watching more Laurel & Hardy. They find themselves involved in The Laurel & Hardy Murder Case when they go to a spooky mansion to claim Stan's inheritance...and suddenly, everyone starts disappearing. And they go Way Out West to bring a young woman the deed to a gold mine. When they unwittingly give the deed to the girl's greedy guardians, they'll need a lot more than fancy footwork to get it to the right young woman!

Tomorrow is a regular day off; I plan on pretty much doing the same errands I did last Tuesday, maybe with a longer walk around the neighborhood. After that, I'm on vacation! I don't have a ton of plans beyond counseling next Tuesday. I'd like to try to get to the King of Prussia Mall sometime soon.

Oh, and the Eagles play the Colts tonight. As of this second, near the end of the second quarter, the Colts are ahead 10-6.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dolls In the Garden Next Door

Started a sunny, cool morning at work. We were very busy all day with people buying things for parties and impromptu barbecues. (The Eagles don't play until tomorrow night.) We had more trouble with the registers than with the customers. The computer at register 5 was down all morning. Register 8's coupon machine wouldn't print. It kept spitting out blank paper. The monitor at register 4 kept blanking out. I had to continually turn it off and on to get it to work. I'm glad I only worked four hours, and my relief was on time.

When I got out, it was still sunny and breezy, but a little warmer than it had been this morning. I decided to treat myself to lunch at Sonic. I wasn't the only one who did, either. There were at least three families enjoying their meals on the patio when I ordered my favorite grilled chicken sandwich, tater tots, and cherry limeade. It was the perfect day to eat outside, warm but not too hot or windy.

Headed home after I ate. I changed into regular clothes and spent an hour or so reading Dying Cheek to Cheek, a mystery about a wealthy debutante who does legwork for a popular gossip columnist in Los Angelas in 1947 and gets involved with the murder of an early TV station's first newscaster.

It was too nice to be inside all day. I decided to do something I'd wanted to try for a while. I dragged my Samantha, Felicity, and Josefina dolls next-door to the park to take photos of them in the garden. I got a couple of shots of them on the porch, too. I think the photos came out pretty well, other than Samantha got dirt stains on her new stockings when her loose legs wouldn't let her pose properly for her picking a pepper picture. (I was able to wash the stockings out later.)

Dolls In the Garden Next Door

I spent the next hour or so in a nice, warm bath, looking over cake decorating books and listening to a Jerome Kern jazz CD. When I got out, I put on my Show Boat studio cast album from 1988 while eating a bagel with raspberry preserves and a can of fruit cocktail for dinner. I also have the 1994 revival, but this has a couple of songs that didn't make it onto that one, including two comic favorites of mine, "I Might Fall Back On You" and "Life Upon the Wicked Stage."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Late Summer Harvest

Started a cloudy, humid morning with this week's American Top 40 re-run. I would have been just a little over a year old in mid-September 1980 when this episode was new, and I grew up with many of these songs. Hits that week included "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen, "Sailing" by Christopher Cross, "Magic" by Olivia Newton-John from Xanadu, the title song from Fame by Irene Cara, "You're the Only Woman" by Ambrosia, "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins from Caddyshack, "Into the Night" by Benny Mardones, "Drivin' My Life Away" by Eddie Rabbit, "Lookin' For Love" by Johnny Lee, and "Give Me the Night" by George Benson.

Diana Ross had her 17th #1 hit that week (a record at the time) with "Upside Down."

I did check out a few yard sales this morning, despite the dismal day and having to work at noon. The only one I got anything from was a big one on West Cuthbert near Kayla's Ice Cream. I ended up with three videos, still in their plastic - the Laurel & Hardy movie Sons of the Desert, Sean Connery's second James Bond film From Russia With Love, and the John Wayne comedy McLintock!

The farm market was busy when I arrived with people looking for food for birthday parties and end-of-the-summer barbecues. The change of seasons was indicated by the arrival of the year's first pears and large pumpkins. I settled for the last pint of tiny Gala apples, a small cantaloupe, two ears of corn, a tomato, Chinese beans, and a red pepper.

I headed home, had some quick granola bars for a snack, packed up my cupcakes, and headed out again for work. The Acme was having a football kick-off party this afternoon (though the Eagles don't play until Monday night). There was pork and beans, shredded barbecue chicken and pork, rolls for sandwiches, three different cakes (one marble, one yellow, one chocolate), deviled eggs, macaroni salad, potato salad, cole slaw, and bags of candy that were on sale for Halloween. I had a small shredded chicken sandwich, cole slaw, two deviled eggs, a few Reeses cups, and a slice of chocolate cake.

Work itself was busy all evening. Even when it actually started raining around 2:30-3PM, it stayed steady. Thankfully, despite the weather, most people seemed to be in decent moods. My relief, one of the college girls, was on time. It was showering lightly when I went home. I don't think it's even doing that now.

I was tired when I got home and not up to much more than a peanut butter and raspberry preserves sandwich, leftover Chinese beans, and a couple of Dr. Seuss specials. The Cat In the Hat causes commotion when he barges into a house with two kids and a finicky fish left alone for the afternoon. The Cat and his two Thing helpers are in search of a family heirloom...or so the Cat says. As they search the entire house and scare the living daylights out of the fish, the kids discover that even on a rainy day, it doesn't take much to make your own fun.

Dr. Seuss On the Loose is an anthology of three shorts, two of which come from a collection of short stories. The Sneeches are yellow creatures who live on the beaches. Sneeches with green stars on their stomachs snub the ones who don't have them. A monkey con man shows up one day with two machines that can put on and take off green stars...and ends up teaching both clans a lesson in equality. The Zax are extremely stubborn creatures who won't move for one another to pass the other way, even as the world around them changes. In Green Eggs and Ham, one poor guy is hounded by Sam I Am, a determined little fellow who wants his new friend to try his favorite dish...anywhere, at any time!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Most Beautiful Day In the World

I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was when I got up this morning. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and it was warm, but not hot, and not humid at all. It was the perfect day to run tons of errands, starting with quick stops at WaWa to use the ATM machine and Rite Aid for contact lens solution. Rite Aid was so quiet, I believe the woman behind the front desk and I were the only people in the main store.

My next stop was the Haddon Township Library, which was also quiet. I hadn't seen it so dead in ages. I mainly just organized and shelved DVDs and CDs. The S titles are still overstocked. I have no idea why they need soooo many Scooby Doo titles! Some of the three-episode sets really need to go. I ended up with a new Sofia the First title, The Enchanted Feast, the musical High Society, and the Disney drama Saving Mr. Banks, about how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) finally persuaded author P.L Travers (Emma Thompson) to let him adapt her Mary Poppins book series.

I had lunch at Friendly's. They're still doing that lunch deal that allows you to buy certain items, plus ice cream and drinks, for fixed prices. I tried a Turkey Avocado Burger for the main meal. The burger itself was tasty but....well, the avocados were a nice idea on paper, but maybe they should have been made into a sauce instead of just sliced and placed on top. They made the burger slippery and hard to hold. I had an easier time with my "Celebration" (vanilla ice cream with icing ribbons and cake pieces)  sundae topped with whipped cream and marshmallow sauce.

I was originally going to do my grocery shopping at the Westmont Acme. It was such a nice day, I decided I wanted a longer ride. I cut across Audubon and down Market Street to the Audubon Crossing Shopping Center instead. Bought a much-needed new shower curtain at Marburn Curtain (they were on a 20% off sale) before heading to the Audubon Acme to do this week's grocery shopping.

Actually, I didn't need all that much. Restocked butter, brown and powdered sugar, and yogurt. The Hormel canned meats are still on sale; thought I'd try their turkey. Grabbed the Acme's generic Cranberry-White Chocolate trail mix on sale to eventually make into granola bars. I had no problems getting anything. The Acme was only slightly busier than Rite Aid was earlier in the day, and far quieter than almost-rush-hour on a Friday usually is.

Since I was there, I got my schedule. I'm only working Sunday (another early shift) and Monday. Tuesday's a normal day off, and then...I start my second vacation week! As I mentioned, I'm going to be doing what Lauren and I do on my spring vacation - take day trips. No one in Cape May County is up to visitors, and I don't know if I could deal with or afford hotels on my own. I may see if I can get at least one long bike ride in, too. The weather is supposed to be even nicer next week.

When I got home, I finished Deep In My Heart as I unloaded my groceries. One of the last of the composer "biography" semi-revues of the 40s and 50s takes a different tack by covering the works of operetta master Sigmund Romberg (Mel Ferrer). Romberg wants to write romantic light operas, but his need for money keeps pushing him back to J.J Shubert (Walter Pidgeon) and his empty-headed-but-popular Al Jolson vehicles. A sensible debutante (Doe Avedon) finally gives him the inspiration to write some of his most famous shows in the 20s, including The Student Prince, The Desert Song, and New Moon.

Overlong but lovely salute to one of the grand musical masters of the late teens through the 50s. Though Romberg's greatest successes came in the 20s, he continued writing music through the early 50s, and actually had a major hit in the mid-40s, Up In Central Park. Though this movie stops with his Broadway flops in the early 30s, it does touch on some of his biggest hits, and even references more obscure titles. Ann Miller shows that she has "It," a comedy number from The Desert Song that's not often heard today. Ferrer's big tour-de-force has him playing all the characters from one of Al Jolson's fluffy shows, Jazz-a-Doo. My favorite numbers are two very different duets. James Mitchell and Cyd Charisse dance an amazingly sexy "One Alone" pas de dux from Desert Song, and Jane Powell and Vic Damone's do a touching "Will You Remember?" from Maytime.

It was too nice to be inside for too long. I swept the acorn pieces and crunchy leaves off the porch, then went for a short walk in the park next-door. The park garden is in full bloom. There's unusually-shaped gourds as long as a 6-year-old child, huge, ripe tomatoes drooping on vines, and the first plump pumpkins of the year. Brilliant scarlet and orange marigolds and twisty snapdragons brightened fences. A path had been made between the two main garden plots. The wicker couch I saw last year was replaced by a metal patio table and umbrella and a couple of folding chairs.

I spent the rest of the evening working on cupcakes and frosting for the Acme's football party tomorrow and making  while running Sofia the First. The nasty Miss Nettles returns in "The Enchanted Feast," disguised as an exotic sorceress. When she puts a hex on Cedric the Wizard's wand, it causes his spells to go even more wrong than usual. Sofia thinks there's something not quite right about this newcomer, but no one else seems to notice. Sofia isn't sure what to do...until the first Disney princess, Snow White, appears to remind the child of what happened one time when she didn't follow her instincts regarding an old woman and a poisoned apple.

The other episodes are less dire. Cedric's backfiring magic also figures into "Two Princesses and a Baby." Amber is tired of sharing her birthday with James and wishes she were older, so she could have their party all to herself. She wants Cedric to turn James two months younger, but he accidentally makes him into a two-year-old. While Cedric and Clover chase the dog who stole Cedric's spell book, Sofia and Amber take care of little James, and Amber is reminded of why she loves her twin brother.

Sofia has a day to remember with her Aunt Tilly in "Great Aunt-Venture." James and Amber complains their Aunt Tilly is an old lady who pinches cheeks and makes them sit in the kitchen all day, baking pies. Turns out Tilly is hardly old, and the ingredients for her apple pie requires a lot more than a trip to the market! Sofia finally learns that adventure is where you find it, and no matter how bad something may seem, there's always a way through.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Catch a Bath

Started out a humid, hazy morning at work. Work was pretty much the same as yesterday - off-and-on steady. I spent a lot of time standing around, trying to think of things to do. My relief, one of the college-age girls, was on time, and there were no major problems besides boredom.

When I got home, I slid right into the bath. Ahhh, that felt nice. I looked over ideas for decorating cupcakes in my cake decorating magazines. The Acme will be having a (week late) football kick-off party on Saturday. I signed up to bring cupcakes. (Easier to carry than cake and takes less time than cookies.)

When I got out, I made Italian squash and tomatoes with Jersey corn on the cob and a leftover spiced chicken cutlet for dinner while watching To Catch a Thief. John Robie (Cary Grant) is a retired jewel thief who now lives on the French Riviera. He's lived quietly for 15 years...until someone starts stealing jewels from wealthy matrons, using his old methods. Everyone thinks he did it, including the cops, but he knows he's innocent. He seeks out help from an old friend and an insurance agent to find out the thief's next target. Turns out to be the plain-spoken widow of a rich Texas tycoon and her frosty daughter (Grace Kelly). Her daughter is intrigued by Robie, but when her mother's jewels have been stolen, she turns him in. Released from prison, John, the insurance agent, and the widow and her daughter hatch a scheme at a huge costume ball to catch this thief at their own game.

Elegant, lighter Hitchcock film with breathtaking cinematography (it won an Oscar) that magnificently shows off the French Riviera locations. The sparkling chemistry between Grant and Kelly and the lovely backdrops are reason enough to see this one.

And yes, I know today is 9/11. I was in college when it happened. I came out of class and down to Stockton College's media center, where I worked at the time. One of the secretaries stopped me on my way in and told me that the Towers were attacked. I don't even remember much about the week after that day. It was really scary.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Duke and the Diva on the High Seas

Started a sunny, windy morning with more Bowery Boys. Sach and Slip are in High Society when Sach is stated to be the heir to the Terwilliger Jones estate, one of the richest tycoons in the country. Jones' scheming relatives really just want to get young Terwilliger Jones III out of the picture so they can have his part of the fortune for themselves. When Slip and Sach realize Sach isn't the real heir, they do everything they can to make sure the kid gets the money that's rightfully his.

I spent most of the late morning and early afternoon changing my sheets and putting my comforter on my bed, then putting up my general fall decorations. Fall is my favorite time of year, so I do have a lot to do. I accidentally broke my leaf garland when I was untying the rope around it. No matter. One half went on top of the baker's rack. The other half went on the narrow shelf that holds comic books and young adult paperbacks in my bedroom. The two wire garlands with the wooden leaves an pumpkins hanging off of them that Mom gave me last year went on the windows overlooking the park and the path to my apartment. One mini-scarecrow went on my dining area table. The other went on the table in the music area next to the big red vase.

Ran The Sea Chase while putting everything where it belonged. John Wayne is Karl, the German captain of a dilapidated freighter in Australia who does love Germany...but not Hitler or the people who rule Germany during the early 40s. When war breaks out, they flee Australia with a British ship in hot pursuit and not enough fuel to get to the next port. Also on the boat is Elsa (Lana Turner), a German spy who needs to get out of the country fast, and Kirchner (Lyle Bettner), a former murderer who has taken a job as Karl's chief officer. The tension continues to mount, even after they stop at a tropical island to pick up fuel, ending up in a literally explosive conclusion during a storm at sea.

This surprisingly thoughtful survival tale is at the very least an improvement over the somewhat similar Blood Alley. While no one is believable as a German (or even makes a rough attempt at an accent), hot-blooded Lana Turner is clearly having a lot more fun than the frosty Lauren Bacall with her role as the lone woman on a ship full of tough men. Like Mister Roberts and Operation: Petticoat, it's not a typical war film - you'll find no major battles until the end, and even then it's one-sided. Interesting sea tale for fans of John Wayne or unusual war films or survival tales.

I called Mom after the movie was over. She had just finished working in the yard and was on her way into the shower. Not much seems to have changed in her neck of the woods. She's still tired from lots of work at the Ferry. I told her about my week, the arrival of the AG dolls' clothing, the start of football season, and my decision to stay in this area for my vacation.

I just made it in time to work. As it turned out, I could have been indefinitely late. We were steady for most of the day, and never more than mildly busy during rush hour. It died around 7:30 and never picked up again. I was able to shut down at 9 with no relief and no need for one.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Two Times the Bowery Boys

Started out a late morning with two classic Scooby Doo episodes that were included with the Franken Creepy DVD. "A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts" from the original series' first season takes the gang to a spooky castle that seems to be haunted by half the monsters on the planet, from a wolf man to a vampire! They gypsy they encountered on their way to the castle and the jewels they find later may be the key to solving this case.

"To Switch a Witch," the Halloween episode from the early 70s show, has one of the series' more interesting back stories. A friend of theirs just inherited an old house in Salem, Massachusetts, but is being driven away by a superstitious caretaker and a witch who looks just like her. It turns out that one of her ancestors was burned at the stake...and now the townspeople think she's possessed with her ancestor's spirit. While the rest of Mystery Inc tries to prove otherwise, Scooby Doo and Shaggy attempt to go trick-or-treating, but run afoul of the townspeople's wrath instead.

After the shows finished, I briefly went online. I was delighted when I saw the 1943 and 1953 versions of The Desert Song go on sale at the Warner Archives. I dubbed the 1953 version several years ago, but rights issues has kept the 1943 movie from circulation for decades. I'm dying to see Dennis Morgan (Christmas In Connecticut) and Irene Manning (Yankee Doodle Dandy)  have a go at the score and an updated plot that factors the Nazis in. At the very least, I'm hoping the charming Morgan will be a little less stiff than Gordon MacRae and Nelson Eddy in later versions.

(And hey Warner Archives, since we're clearing out Desert Songs, how about we get to restoring the 1929 version next? I'd really love to see John Boles and Myrna Loy have fun with the original plot.)

I also finally grabbed the 1936 Show Boat. I have the 1951 movie, but this is the one everyone talks about. Just Paul Robeson's clip singing "Ol' Man River" on the sales page can give you a hint of the awesomeness on display here. Actually, my favorite part of this particular Show Boat is Robeson and Hattie McDaniel singing the hilarious "Ah Still Suits Me," which I've never seen used in any other revival of the show. I have seen this one on TCM, but not in many years, so this will be a treat.

It was almost 1PM by the time I headed to the Oaklyn Library. It wasn't the nicest day for a walk. The skies were gray, and it was cool, humid, and windy. The Library was fairly busy for the small building. I got there in time to organize the adult and kids' DVDs, but not much else. They close at 2. I was out by 1:30. I stopped by WaWa for a small turkey hoagie, iced chai, and milk.

When I got home, I ran the Bowery Boys while I ate lunch and baked Cranberry-Apple Granola Bars. They're gonna Dig That Uranium when an old friend (Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer) sells them equipment to gather the radioactive mineral from a mine in Nevada. It turns out when they arrive that the mine has no uranium and the owners of the hotel suspect them of knowing where a vein of ore is to be found. Sach's hilarious "Lone Disarrangers" dream sequence and Louie's poker game with the guys at the hotel are by far the best parts of the Boys' second western.

I messed around online and read stories for a while. I got so caught up, it was past 5 when I made it out to the laundromat. I really couldn't put it off. I had a ton of laundry to do this week, including towels. Maybe I should go late more often. The laundromat was, except for two other people who were in and out, quiet the entire hour or so I was there. It was mostly just me and the CBS Evening News.

When I got home, I had just enough time for baked home-made chicken fingers, leftover Chinese Beans and Pepper, and more Bowery Boys. Slip thinks they're Master Minds when they discover Sach can predict the future thanks to his toothache. Sach's newfound powers attract a lot of customers at the local fairgrounds...but they also attract a mad scientist, who thinks Sach's brilliant brain would be perfect for his half-human, half-monster creation!

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Night the Mystery Machine Died

I spent most of the day at work. It was cloudy, windy, a little humid, and unusually cool for this time of year, barely in the lower 70s. We were on-and-off steady until rush hour, after which things picked up considerably. My relief was a little late; not a good thing, since I needed to pick up cereal on the way out. I just bought more Acme generic Multi-Grain O's.

When I got home, I made salmon for dinner with the Chinese beans with cracked pepper from the other night while watching the newest Scooby Doo movie, Franken Creepy. After a routine podcast on Daphne's modeling and their mystery-solving adventures, the Mystery Incorporated gang walk out to the Mystery Machine...only to see it blown into a thousand bits, horrifying car-loving Fred. Velma has received a call from a family lawyer that she's inherited the Von Dinklestein family holdings, including the family curse. Seems her uncle tried to make a monster from various animal parts, but failed and went mad. The townspeople haven't forgotten...and neither have the town mayor or the castle's servants, who don't seem too welcoming. When Velma starts acting like a mad scientist and Shaggy and Scooby aren't hungry, even Fred stops mourning the Mystery Machine long enough to realize something's really strange here...and it's personal.

The generally comic Scooby Doo movies cross into dark Mystery Incorporated territory for this rather odd entry. If you were paying attention to Daphne's podcast in the opening sequences, you'll know who the villains are from the very beginning, and why they're attacking the kids. It's just a matter of seeing how the kids figure it out...and how they react to villains who are after them, not just land or money. Some of it is pretty funny, including Shaggy and Scooby actually being brave; there's a few rather touching moments as well. A little too creepy for younger Scooby fans, but grade school-aged kids onwards, especially those who have seen other incarnations of this show, may have fun with this one.

(Incidentally, I skipped the spring Scooby movie entry, which was an animated crossover with WWE wrestlers. No amount of Scooby Doo will make me interested in wrestling.)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

It's Eagles Time!

I overslept and was almost late to work. I was in such a hurry, I didn't even have the time for pancakes! Work wasn't bad when I came in, but it reached a fever pitch later when people started coming out of church and into the store to get ready for the first Eagles game of the season. Thankfully, it slowed down enough by 2PM for me to just get off on time with no relief.

When I got home, I changed into regular clothes (including my Eagles t-shirt) and rode over to Dad's to watch the game. If what little I saw in the employee room at the Acme was any indication, it wasn't going well. It was just going into half-time when I arrived to find Vanessa on the porch and Mark and Dad yelling at the game. The Eagles were down to the Jaguars 17-0 at that point - a team they were predicted to beat easily. Dad wasn't happy that the Dolphins were losing to the Patriots, either. Dad just got out of surgery for a herniated back and wasn't really up to a party, plus Jodie's on a work trip to Syracuse. I did eat macaroni salad with Dad and Mark during half-time, but I went home as the game started again.

For once, I heard the right half of the game. The moment I got in and turned on the radio, the Eagles scored a touchdown. From there on, it seemed they could do nothing wrong and the Jaguars could do nothing right. Nick Foles finally plowed right past their defense as I made a nice, simple Lemon-Rosemary Cake for a snack. The cake was going in the oven as the Eagles burst past the Jaguars in a huge comeback, 34-17.

(And Dad turned out to be wrong about his Dolphins, too. They also made a comeback in the second half and ran over Tom Brady and the Patriots 33-20.)

I celebrated with a nice, long bath as I listened to jazz. It felt so good after the long morning at work. After I got out, I listened to Queen's Greatest Hits while finally getting to the Spiced Peaches and Plums Pancakes I wanted to make for breakfast. I figured "We Will Rock You" and "We are the Champions" were appropriate after that crazy game. ; )

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Hot Child In the Suburbs

Started off another hot, steamy morning with this week's American Top 40 re-run. We boogied into early September 1978 as disco continued to dominate the charts, joined by R&B, ballads, pop, and hard rock. Hits that early fall included "Hot Child In the City" by Nick Guilder, "Don't Look Back" by Boston, "An Everlasting Love" by Andy Gibb, "Three Times a Lady" by the Commodores, and three big hits from that summer's blockbuster movie Grease - it's title song by Frankie Valli, "Summer Nights" by Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, and the cast, and "Hopelessly Devoted to You" by Newton-John.

The #1 song for the next three weeks would keep people dancing into classrooms - "Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey.

Finished out Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while getting ready to head out and after I got in. "Daisy's Pony Tale" is another fantasy story. Goofy accidentally squirts Daisy's hair with Professor Ludwig Von Drake's potion that makes things grow. Daisy winds up with a pony tail that Rapunzel would envy. Micky and Goofy help her find Witch Pete, who grows the Rapunzel Flowers that are used to make the antidote.

We also returned to Minnie's Bow-Tique on this set. My favorites of the ten episodes included as a bonus feature included "Locked Out" (Minnie and Daisy lose the key for the store under the door and can't get in) and "Feelin' Crabby" (Millie and Melody accidentally bring home some rather crabby friends from the beach).

I did make it to the Collingswood Farm Market today, despite the 90-degree heat and humidity. Evidently, the heat had scared off some folks. They were busy, but not quite as bad as usual. Too bad, because more of the fall harvest has debuted. I saw the first grapes and small squashes of the season today, and spinach has returned (large cucumbers seem to be done or close to it, though). I ended up with tiny Gala apples, Chinese beans, a small deep-red heirloom tomato, a small cantaloupe, a mini-acorn squash, spinach, an eggplant from the organic booth, and red and yellow peppers.

I tried a few yard sales, one in Oaklyn, one in Collingswood. No luck at either. It was really too hot to be biking all over Camden County anyway. I was dripping sweat when I finally headed home around 11.

When I got in, I put everything away, then decided to work on a project. I've been making collages to clear out old catalogs for about a year now. While I worked on the most recent one, I ran The Pirate Fairy. The most recent Disney Fairies story introduces the Never Land Pirates to Tink's world and goes further into the idea of each fairy having a talent and the dust that allows them to fly. Zarina is a dust-talent fairy who is curious about anything to do with the powder that grants them their magic. She's warned not to mess with it, but does anyway, getting herself banished in the process.

Zarina reappears during Pixie Hollow's big Four Seasons Festival, now sporting even more of her multi-colored pixie dust. It puts everyone to sleep...except for Tink, her buddies, and one of her guy friends. The girls leave Bobble to keep an eye on the other fairies while they go after Zarina. An attack by their former friend and her dust switches their talents, making it harder for them to go after her. (It doesn't help that a familiar baby crocodile thinks animal-phobic Rosetta is it's mother.) They're shocked to discover Zarina has joined a band of pirates, including a certain James Hook, and even become their captain. Now they have to convince Zarina that the pirates are bad news and she needs to bring her dust back to Fairy Hollow quickly!

If you're a fan of this series or of Peter Pan in general, you'll probably enjoy all the references to previous movies here, from a cameo by Periwinkle of The Secret of the Wings to James taking to waving a hook everywhere. Newcomers to Tink's world may want to start with the earlier movies in this series before coming here.

Switched to the Bowery Boys while making a spinach and mushroom egg pancake and a very ripe plum for lunch. Sach and Slip are Paris Playboys when Sach is mistaken for a famous French scientist. The scientist's colleagues are convinced that Sach has merely lost his memory, so they invite Sach, Slip, and Louie to France, hoping that seeing his laboratory and beautiful fiancee will jolt his memory...so they can steal the real scientist's secret formula for rocket fuel.

I got to work a little early so I could get my schedule. Other than I work unusually early for a Sunday tomorrow, most of my schedule is pretty normal for this time of year. I have one late night (Wednesday) and Tuesday and Friday off this time.

Work was much busier than it has been. People were trying to out-run the storms we were supposed to have had tonight. It was still sunny when I came at quarter of 3, but the dark clouds started gathering as early as 4:30. I don't think we ever got thunder, but the rain did its job. It was quiet enough by 9 that I was able to shut down without a relief. The ground was wet when I got out, but it wasn't raining. I got home dry this time.