Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Beautiful Day's Walk

Spring was in full bloom when I got out of bed this morning. I enjoyed the weather while eating breakfast and watching some vintage Mickey and Minnie Mouse cartoons. "Mickey's Rival" is Mortimer, a boastful fellow who flirts with Minnie and teases an increasingly jealous Mickey. Minnie learns who she can really count on when a bull is let loose, and only one of her swains sticks around to rescue her. "The Nifty Nineties" makes Minnie and Mickey lovers in a gentler era of vaudeville, wind-up cars, and bustled gowns. "Mickey's Delayed Date" gets harrowing when Mickey loses the tickets and Pluto chases after him.

Called Mom while the cartoons were on. I hadn't talked to her since my birthday week. She was working in her rapidly blooming garden. She was happy she'd gotten her first raise from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. They don't get paid a lot and apparently have to take on a lot of duties, from taking tickets to handling reservations. She's worried about my brother, though. No one's heard anything from him in two months. He was ship-board last anyone had heard, but he'd come to shore. No one knows if he's back on a ship, or even still in the Navy.

After I talked to Mom, I headed out for today's volunteering run, this time on foot. My first stop was originally going to be Studio LuLoo, but they weren't open when I went by at 11. I ended up at the Oaklyn Library by default. A few older women chatted with the librarian and looked things up on the computer. I removed security stickers from new DVDs and organized books in the children's area.

It was nearly 12:30 by the time I got out. I figured it was time for lunch. I headed to WaWa for a Roast Beef, Fontina Cheese, and Horseradish Grilled Panini with a $1.99 12 ounce Mocha Mint Latte. It was too nice of a day to take it home, so I ate it at the wooden benches on West Clinton. The panini was mostly delicious, though it did seem to have a little too much horseradish sauce. It was so thick, at one point, my eyes were watering! The Mocha Mint Latte was a little too coffee-tasting. I was hoping they'd go heavier on the chocolate. The mint was pretty good, though.

Studio LuLoo was open by quarter after 1. I spent the next hour cutting washed coffee cups from WaWa and Dunkin Donuts into flower shapes for the kids to decorate. The other volunteers and workers discussed their small businesses and how to make money to buy supplies. Roxy's mother arrived at one point to take her daughter out to lunch. I had a nice chat with her about American Girl and dolls - apparently, she's a doll collector.

I didn't get home until past 2:30. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon cleaning the kitchen. I mostly needed to scrub the sink and counter. They were really gross. The stove wasn't too horrible. Dusted the shelves, the top of the wooden partition between the kitchen and the entertainment area, and the plastic drawers that hold my kitchen utensils as well.

I ran Remember WENN episodes as I worked. "You've Met Your Match" is WENN's dating show. Hilary Booth wants to make Jeff jealous, so she enters herself and the others as contestants. She's less than thrilled when she ends up with Scott and Jeff gets Betty. Jeff convinces Betty to help him make Hilary jealous...but it all ends up backfiring spectacularly. Not all of the couples are so mismatched. Victor and Maple get to know one another. Gertie and Mr. Eldridge have fun commenting on the others. Eugenia and Mr. Foley enjoy their date so much, they're late getting back!

By far the funniest episode of the fourth season (and possibly of the series, period) is "And If I Die Before I Sleep." The cast performs Betty's massive version of all of Shakespeare's Roman-set plays for 52 hours straight in order to break a record. There's treachery afoot, as the man and nurse sent to keep them from falling asleep have ulterior motives for being there. While the cast struggles just to recite the lines and stay upright (and get through some of the wildest dialogue I've ever heard), Maple (who was sick), Victor (who was out of town and just came back), and Betty have to figure out what these people really want.

Hilary proves she's her own best friend in "Hilary's Agent." When her original agent won't get her a part in a local stage version of Antony and Cleopatra, she plays her own mythical agent and tries to get the part herself. She has to rely on some creative help from the rest of the staff when she's called on to produce said agent.

"The Birth of a Station" was considered a tad risque when it debuted. A pregnant young woman appears at the station, asking for Dr. Talbot. That's a bit of a problem, given he's the title character on one of their medical dramas. When she goes into labor, the cast has to figure out how to help her without being able to get an ambulance, thanks to a labor strike.

Moved onto one of the Snoopy specials as I rounded up the cleaning supplies. Snoopy's Reunion was a touching and surprisingly bittersweet tale from 1991. We learn about Snoopy's early life at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm and how he eventually came to live with Charlie Brown. When Snoopy's feeling blue, Chuck invites his siblings back to town for one last hoedown. Sadly, they discover the hard way when they go looking for their old home that you can't go back again...but you can keep your memories, and even make some more.

I headed into the bath for a blissful hour. I don't think I've taken a bath since my vacation week. It felt soooo nice to relax and listen to Rod Stewart's second Great American Songbook CD. I looked over the book The Little Spark. I've been trying and trying to spark my creativity for the past decade. I don't know why I've had problems. I'm hoping that reading this over will help.

When I got out of the bath, I went right into starting dinner. I was originally going to make Merlin's Baked Chicken with the legs I bought last week, but it was in the upper 70's by quarter of 6. Baking anything wasn't going to fly. I settled for poaching them in a mixture of water, white cooking wine, Worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of lemon juice instead. Added some steamed zucchini and yellow squash with apple cider vinegar-honey sauce for a lovely spring meal.

Started The Pirates of Penzance while I ate. This 1982 adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta was a hit on Broadway in 1981. Fredrick (Rex Smith) leaves the employ of the pirates who had raised him, hoping to become respectable. When he makes it to shore, he falls for Mabel, the sweet daughter of a major general (Linda Rondstat). The Pirate King (Kevin Kline) and Fredrick's former nurse Ruth (Angela Landsbury) knows a secret about him that'll make him switch sides. Mabel and her sisters recruit the local cops to rout the pirates. The pirates' attack results in the wildest free-for-all ever to hit the coast of England, or an operetta.

Fond though I am of the spoofier version of this story, The Pirate Movie, this one is fun, too. The cast is having a whale of a time in the stagy setting, especially an incredibly hammy Kline as the head pirate. If you're a fan of operettas, pirate stories, or are a Gilbert and Sullivan purist, you'll probably find this one as delightfully silly as I do.

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