Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Library Day In the Rain

It was still cold in my apartment when I got up this morning. Mother Nature wasn't helping. The weather was similar to last Wednesday, rain with a little sleet. Sleet or no sleet, I had to get the heat fixed. I went downstairs and told my neighbors' son Charlie, who was working on installing new windows in the front apartment, about the heat. He had no idea. After getting new batteries in the thermostat (I had no idea it took batteries!), they came to the conclusion that it was the heater itself. (I could have told them that.)

While they checked the heater, I had breakfast and finished out the holiday documentaries with Rick Steves' European Christmas. It's a merry little holiday all across the continent that gave us some of our most cherished holiday traditions. From ice skating on the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the quiet charm of a living nativity in Tuscany, Europe is alive with many different and wonderful customs. Some are familiar, like the many versions of Santa Claus. Others, such as the adorable Saint Lucia children in Norway or the pastry-and-truffle-wrapped roast beef that is a part of the French Christmas dinner, are exclusive to the continent.

I finally decided to ignore the rain and just do what I had to do today. Charlie told me as I was leaving that he did call the repair service, and he'd meet them when they arrived around 4. That was fine. If they needed to get in my apartment, they knew how.

My first stop was the Oaklyn Library. I needed to return Cranberry Thanksgiving and do my volunteering there. The weather had knocked out their internet phone (although their TV seemed to be back up), which made it even quieter than usual in there. I saw three people the entire 40 minutes I was there. I just took a quick look at the DVDs, shelved Cranberry Thanksgiving, and headed out.

My next stop was Capitol Pizza for a quick lunch - they're a few blocks from the Oaklyn Library. I just ordered two slices of pizza (one cheese, one mushroom) and a can of Diet Pepsi. A couple of people sat for a few minutes while waiting for their pies, but I was the only one eating there. I ignored Fox News going in the background and concentrates on my nice, hot slices.

It was still showering when I went across Cuthbert and down to the Westmont Plaza. I first made a quick stop at Thriftway for Liquid Plumber. My kitchen and bathroom sinks have been running really slow, especially the one in the bathroom. I then went a few doors down to Tuesday Morning to look and see if they had any toys my nephews might like. I did see a few WebKinz I liked, but I hardly need more at the moment.

The shower continued as I went across the street to the Haddon Township Library. While they were busy, there weren't a lot of DVDs to shelve. I guess people had too much on their minds last week for movies. I organized the children's DVDs (the Scooby titles are still overflowing), shelved a few adult DVDs, and continued to work on the romance paperbacks. I've made my way up to the S and T titles. While the T titles were dominated by a few authors, there were all kinds of different S names, which made them a lot harder to figure out.

And I did pick up a couple of DVDs this week. I'd tried to find Arthur Christmas when it first came out, but it never seemed to be around during the holidays. I also found the John Wayne-Maureen O'Hara film The Wings of Eagles and three Christmas-themed sets from Shaun the Sheep, The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That, and the How to Train Your Dragon special Gift of the Night Fury.

When I left the library, it was just misting. I cut through Haddon Lake Park going home to avoid the traffic on Cuthbert. Needless to say, there were no other people around but me, a flock of Canadian geese poking around for a wet snack, a dad and his daughter staying dry under the new roof of the stone shelter, and a couple of very dedicated fishermen discussing their catches. The rain was just picking up as I headed down Manor Avenue towards home. It's been on and off heavy showers the rest of the evening.

When I got in, I went right in the bath. I needed a bath badly. I can't remember the last time I had a good, long soak. It was wonderfully peaceful. I put one of my more classical-oriented Happy Holidays CDs on, pulled out my cake decorating books, and worked on ideas for Christmas while the rain continued to come down outside.

Put on The Wings of Eagles as I made salmon with red wine vinegar sauce, mashed cauliflower, and sauteed broccoli for dinner. John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara play in their third movie together, and their third and last for director John Ford, as a married couple with two daughters who are constantly separated by his work with the US Navy's flying division. An accident at home lands him with a damaged back that can no longer move. With the help of his best buddy (Dan Dailey), he manages to get back on his feet, and even write screenplays and books that bring him to the attention of a rugged Hollywood director (Ward Bond). Just as he's about to return to his wife, World War II breaks out, and he's off and helping the Navy again, this time on an aircraft carrier.

Standard biography lifted by some fine acting, especially from Wayne and from Dailey as the buddy who becomes his friend's coach and biggest supporter when he thinks he won't be able to walk again. Highly recommended if you're a fan of Wayne, Ford, or good real-life dramas.

Oh yes, and the heat is back on. It was on when I came home. I just hope they can keep it working this time, especially if we have a winter as bad as we did last year.

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