Thursday, December 04, 2014

Emma In Oaklynland

I slept in this morning. I was still feeling depressed after yesterday. I really didn't know what to do with myself. I finished The Autobiography of Santa Claus and wrote in my journal until past 10:30.

When I finally did get up, I thought Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus was appropriate, given I just finished a book on Santa. Despite being from the same studio that animated the Peanuts and winning an Emmy in 1974, this charming little special seems to be forgotten today. That's too bad, because it really is rather sweet. It tells the true-life story of Virginia O'Hanlon, a little girl in 1897 New York who wrote to the editor of the New York Sun, asking him if there was a Santa Claus...and his touching answer.

Switched to another Santa story as I finished up my oatmeal and grapefruit breakfast. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town is one of Rankin-Bass' most famous specials. This 1970 tale is a more fanciful take on Santa's origins, showing him as a baby adopted by toy-making elves. He defies the nasty bugomeister of Sombertown and continues to bring toys for the children, despite being branded an outlaw, and wins the heart of the pretty schoolteacher Jessica.

Headed out after Santa ended. I only had a few small chores that really needed to be done today. Started at the Oaklyn Library. I was hoping to see some volunteering opportunities there. I didn't see anything really interesting, and it was past 1 by that point, anyway. I just organized the DVDs and took a look at the kids' board books. I was the only person in there besides the librarian and one man reading the newspaper.

The last time I was at the Family Dollar on the White Horse Pike, they were reorganizing the interior, but the exterior was still the same dull steel gray-blue stucco with red trim. Much to my surprise, the red trim remained, but the blah gray was replaced by a mellow tan. The inside was as much of a mess as ever. Everything was just in different places. It took me a while to find what I wanted, which was a light bulb for the music area lamp. I was hoping they still sold inexpensive 60 watt 4-packs of bulbs. Nope. It looks like they're finally gone for good. I bought one of the new spiral bulbs and hoped it worked just as well.

Made a quick stop at WaWa across the street next. I was mainly there for skim milk. They're still selling the Gobbler hoagie, so I picked that up for lunch. Treated myself to a Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie, too. Unlike the Egg Nog Smoothie, which tasted more like a vanilla milkshake, you could really taste the pumpkin and the cheese in this one.

Rode up to West Clinton Avenue after leaving WaWa. I've talked to Studio LuLoo, a community arts center, a couple of times about volunteering, but I have yet to hear back from them. I went in and tried again. I left my information with a friendly girl named Roxanne. Even if nothing comes of this, at least I was able to talk to someone nice who was understanding about all the trouble I've had the last few days.

When I got home, I ran Jack Frost while eating lunch. This strange but sweet Rankin-Bass hybrid of The Little Mermaid and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town has the title character smitten by a human girl who claims she can love none but Jack  Frost. He becomes human in order to win her, and ends up rescuing her from the evil Cossack King. Trouble is, she doesn't know who he is, and her eyes end up roaming to a handsome knight instead.

It was too nice to be inside all day. The day was sunny and cold, but windless, with just enough nip in the air to make it really feel like late fall. I gave the porch a really good sweeping. I hadn't done that in ages. The last of the big leaves are starting to come down. I even swept the side of the porch that's being worked on, being careful to stay away from the sides with no railings. Got the steps, too. They needed sweeping even more than the porch. The new railings and sides on the steps make them harder to sweep and get everything off.

I just went for a bike ride after I finished with the porch. I didn't know what else to do. I rode around and looked at the outdoor decorations that are out now, mainly colorful inflatables and lovely wreaths.

When I got in, I went online for a while to look up more local volunteering opportunities. My problem with volunteering is mainly my schedule. I never know what hours I'm working more than a week in advance, unless I ask for time off. It makes it hard to plan anything. I don't really know what I'm interested in, besides writing, or what I could handle. Could I deal with reading to people and helping them learn to read? Could I volunteer in the schools? How would I get around being shy?

When I got offline, I made Turkey-Vegetable Soup from leftover turkey tenderloin and veggies in my refrigerator, then Maple-Banana Cookies while watching the 1986 Babes In Toyland.  Lisa Piper (Drew Barrymore) is only 11 years old, but she has a lot of responsibility in her family and feels quite grown-up. She learns a lesson in the importance of being young at heart when she's in an accident on a new sled and ends up in Toyland, a world where teddy bears are cops and everyone rides around in little amusement park cars. Nasty Barnaby (Richard Mulligan) wants to marry pretty Mary Contrary. Mother Hubbard (Eileen Brennan) agrees to get him to lift the mortgage on their home. Lisa does her best to bring Mary together with her real love Jack Be Nimble (Keanu Reeves) and rescue all of Toyland, including the Toymaster (Pat Moriayta) when Barnaby's trolls threatens the town.

This rather odd musical does have some nice touches. Barnaby lives in a bowling ball and has a one-eyed-bird-thing that helps him keep track of the heroes. Mother Hubbard carries a list to remember everything she says or does. A song Lisa hears performed outside the toy store in the beginning is performed during Mary's weddings, with only slightly changed lyrics.

I get a kick out of it, but it has some really big problems. First of all, the dialogue is stiff as a board, especially in Toyland. Second, the songs by Leslie Bricusse are absolutely unmemorable. Third, the one person who can actually sing, Brennan, doesn't. It's also incredibly cheap-looking, once again mostly in Toyland. It's a cute idea that doesn't really come off unless you're a fan of camp musicals like me. Not on DVD at press time, though I believe it can be found online and occasionally on cable.

I'm debating a mall trip tomorrow, either to the Moorestown Mall or to Philly. On one hand, I feel bad about going Christmas shopping when I'm suspended from work. I'm supposed to be punished, and my paycheck will be useless next week. On the other hand, I should be getting a good paycheck this week, and I don't really have much left to do, anyway. I need one thing for Lauren and one for Khai. I do need to do Jessa, Collyn, and Skylar, but none of them are that difficult. I'm also tired of sitting around, feeling sorry for myself. Shopping will take my mind off my troubles.

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