Tuesday, March 01, 2016

March Goes In Like a Lamb

I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was when I finally dragged myself out of bed this morning. It was so nice, I opened the windows for the first time in ages. The breeze felt fresh and inviting.

Had breakfast while watching the next Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode. Music is at the heart of "Mickey's Pirate Adventure," another hour-long story. The crew receives a message from Goofy's grandpa Captain Goofbeard. His home, Harmony Island, is sinking into the ocean! Harmony Island is made up entirely of instruments, and they need to be tuned for the island to remain above the water. Captain Goofbeard and the Clubhouse gang search for the treasure that'll keep the island afloat...but Peg-Leg Pete has other plans for it.

Headed out as soon as the episode ended. It was too nice of a day to sit inside! It was so nice, I was perfectly fine in a light-weight cardigan, short-sleeved blouse, and capris. My first stop was the Oaklyn Library. I returned Space Academy, organized DVD's, and ignored CNN going on about politics and politicians in the background.

The Oaklyn Library is only about two or three blocks from Capitol Pizza, so I headed up to the White Horse Pike for lunch. It was about 1:30 when I arrived. Except for CNN still going, they were empty. I ordered my slice of cheese, slice of mushroom, and can of Diet Pepsi, worked on story ideas, and once again ignored the politicians on the TV.

I needed a walk. I hadn't had a really nice, long walk in ages. I strolled down the White Horse Pike to Newton Lake Park. It was a glorious day for a stroll. The sun was shining. The sun was warm, but the increasingly brisk wind was cool. The sunlight danced and frolicked over the rippling green water. Ducks and Canadian geese chased each other, looked for lunch, and swam in the lake.

It was so nice to be able to just get out and enjoy the day, after spending so much of the winter indoors! I played at the playground across from the condos and watched a dad help his toddler daughter up the steps and across the chain bridge. I passed dog walkers, joggers, bikers, parents pushing babies in strollers, and college kids shooting the breeze on the small bridge. I stopped at a concrete patio to think and take in the amazing view. I took in the lake curving towards Westmont as I hiked up one of stone stairways to Oaklyn.

Stopped at WaWa for a treat. I considered a milkshake, but I ended up with a Chocolate Banana Smoothie. To my delight, they used a real banana crushed with the chocolate syrup, rather than flavoring. Oooh, it was so good! The real banana made all the difference. It was just sweet and decadent enough.

Spent the next few hours writing after I finally got home. Luke dances with Leia,his mind unable to believe she chose him. Leia's more worried about getting her message to Sir Kenobi than her dancing partner. They finally decide to go look for him when suddenly, a chilling presence arrives in the room. The music cuts off. Dancers part; fearful, terrified whispers rocket around the room. He is here, they murmur. The evil Lord Vader, said to be half-man, half-demon, and his loyal army has arrived.

Luke can understand their fear. Vader is a frightening visage in black and red crystal armor. Nothing can be seen of his human body, not even his eyes. Leia's more angry than frightened. How dare he interrupt her ball? She finally pulls Luke away to find Ben.

I decided to try something different for dinner. I've long given up using "Helper" mixes that substitute fake, freeze-dried cheese and vegetables for the real thing. What's in those mixes that can't be recreated with whatever is in your pantry? I put my theory to the test with Tuna-Noodle Casserole, cooked in a pan instead of baked. I cooked fresh onions and carrots in the pan for a few minutes, then added chicken stock, tuna, cooked frozen peas, cooked whole-wheat rotini noodles, and low-fat-and-sodium cream of mushroom soup. Yum. It didn't look pretty after simmering it for about 20 minutes, but it tasted good, a wonderful, simple blend of flavors. Maybe next time, I'll cook the veggies in olive oil, or add bread crumbs.

Ran the last Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode in the set during dinner. "Mickey's Fun Farm Fair" is a take on state fairs, with games and bake-offs and vegetable-judging booths. Chip and Dale just want to be good at something, but they can never seem to win one of those prize blue ribbons...until Donald gets stuck and needs their help.

Disney tossed in a random Minnie's Bow-Toons for good measure. It's Halloween, but Minnie and Daisy have lost the treats they were going to give out. The kids are disappointed when they attempt tricks instead, until Mickey reminds the girls that the holiday is about more than candy.

Switched back to Jason of Star Command while making Apple-Cinnamon Torte for dessert. The stories mainly involve Jason's and Star Command's ongoing war with the evil Dragos. Despite some interesting stories (like Jason and his crew meeting Blackbeard the Pirate and rescuing a child princess), I'm not enjoying this one quite as much as I did Space Academy. You'd think a serial-type story would be right up my alley. The big problem is, I just don't care much about the hero or the villain. Jason's a bland hunk of rock; Dragos is a sneering, cackling Ming the Merciless imitation. It's too bad, because the special effects are major improvement over Space Academy, including a genuinely well-done Ray Harryhausen-style stop motion monster.

The episodes I'm watching now involve the return of Peepo from the previous show, who seems to have been manipulated by Drago into betraying Star Command. Hopefully, things will start to pick up from here.

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