Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Windy Christmas

I was up really late last night. It was cold and windy but sort-of sunny when I finally rolled out of bed late this morning. I ran more holiday-themed Max & Ruby as I had breakfast, and then as I did a few chores around the apartment.

Ruby wants to buy a pink feather boa for "Grandma's Present," but Max has a better idea of what she likes. Ruby's hoping that "Max & Ruby's Christmas Tree" will be beautiful, but Max has his own, less conventional ideas of beauty. Ruby wants to shovel all the way to Grandma's house in "Ruby's Snowplow." Max would rather play with his toy car. He finally figures out a way to compromise. Max is after some tasty candy treats in "Sugar Plum Max," while Louise and Ruby concentrate on their Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy for Grandma. Ruby and Louise want Max to be the audience for "Ruby's Puppet Show." Max wants to actually be in the show.

I headed out after the last short ended. It was chilly and windy today, and the sun kept hiding behind clouds leftover from yesterday. I appreciated the warmth of the Westmont Bagel Shop when I arrived. Surprisingly for 1:30, they weren't busy. Only one other woman was there, and she ate in the front. I guess she wanted to be around all of the lovely decorations...which, unfortunately, did not extend into the back dining area. I was able to enjoy my turkey, avocado, and Swiss honey wheat wrap and French fries with nothing but The Chew and the kitchen workers in the background.

Everyone must have decided to hit the stores. Dollar Tree was busy when I arrived. There was a very long line at the registers that went across the store! All I needed was a card for my 6-year-old nephew Collyn's birthday on Friday, a card for Mom and Dad-Bill's anniversary next week, and to grab another box of Christmas cards just in case. I went with a simple, somewhat folksy-looking green Christmas tree design. By the time I made it to the line, they'd opened a second register, and the line was moving much faster.

(The tiny bit of flurries we had as I was walking to Dollar Tree probably didn't help. People must have heard that New England got about 3 to 4 inches and thought we'd be getting it, too.)

Went straight to the Haddon Township Library next. I guess everyone else was still shopping. They weren't that busy. It was mostly people reading and avoiding the chilly weather. I had a tough time organizing DVDs. Not only were the kids' racks overflowing, but the R, S, and T titles in the adult racks were so stuffed, I couldn't get anything new in there, either. I had more luck with organizing  the romance paperbacks and finally finishing them off. It was three-fourths Sherry Woods or Lorie Wilde. I was surprised they only had three titles from my mother's long-time favorite romance author, Kathleen L. Woodwiss. She's been a huge fan of her books for as long as I can remember.

I only found three titles that interested me this week. I've been wanting to see Wes Anderson's comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel, about the quirky staff and guests of the title hotel in a fictional European country between the World Wars, since I first heard about it early this year. I've only seen a few episodes of the well-received 2003 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I decided to make up for this with the Season 2, Volume 1 set. Also grabbed the Disney Pooh compilation special A Very Pooh New Year.

I headed home across a gray, blustery Newton River Park. I was the only one who did. The only other creatures who joined me were Canadian geese and mallards and their mates who didn't mind the cold as much. The leaves are totally gone from the trees now. The park is all shades of brown, punctuated by the delicate brushstrokes of leafless trees.

When I got home, I put everything away, then pulled out the cards. It was time to get those done. I have more cards going in the mail than I did last year, thanks to getting a few more relatives' addresses over the past year (and updating a good friend's address). I still have a lot of those beautiful glitter-covered snow scene cards I got half-off at CVS a few days after Christmas two years ago. That was such a good find. Those cards are gorgeous. The cards are all done now. Some will go out in the mail tomorrow before work. Some will be given to family and neighbors in the area. A few will be put in packages I hope to send out by Saturday morning.

Put on White Christmas for some festive background music as I worked. Two entertainers (Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby) are huge hits in the years following World War II, becoming popular enough to star in their own revue. While touring with the show in Florida, they meet and fall for a singing sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and follow them northward to Vermont. Turns out the inn they're playing at is run by their old army general (Dean Jagger) who has fallen on hard times thanks to Vermont's lack of snow. The two performers first drag their show northward, then come up with an even bigger that is misinterpreted by Clooney and temporarily derails the budding relationships.

This huge, Technicolor extravaganza was the top hit of 1954. The musical numbers and colorful widescreen cinematography carry the day until the romantic complications in the middle of the movie drag things down. The best number is in the first five minutes, anyway. Bing sings the title song in the opening sequence set during World War II, accompanied by nothing but a tinkling music box and bombs falling in the distance. It's a truly touching moment.

Switched to Santa Bear's First Christmas as I made Red and Green Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and had leftover turkey vegetable soup for dinner. The sweet tale of a lost little polar bear who befriends a little girl, then gets a special wish from Santa while trying to help her and her grandfather, is a favorite of mine. According to the video, B. Daulton Booksellers put this out in the 80s. Too bad Barnes and Noble or someone else hasn't tried resurrecting it on DVD. I think it's adorable; I love the beautiful, simple illustrations used for the animation.

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