Thursday, December 15, 2016

Baby, It's Windy Outside!

Began a sunny, very windy morning with A Pink Christmas during breakfast. The Pink Panther is in search of a meal, any meal, in this animated adaptation of the O'Henry short story The Cop and the Anthem. He tries everything from being a department store Santa to trying to land in jail to get a decent meal. His holidays brighten a little when he's joined by a dog...and learns that a big part of the fun of the holidays is sharing it with others.

Rushed out to Family Dollar right after breakfast. I needed flour, sugar, and eggs, and I couldn't wait until work to buy them. I had cookies to bake. It wasn't busy when I arrived. There was a short line, but it went fast. I was in and out in less than a half-hour.

I did my third batch of Christmas cookies when I got home, the Almond Biscotti. I don't cut mine into rusks and twice-bake them. I roll or flatten them into shapes, then sprinkle colored sugar on them. It's a nice, easy recipe, fun to do, and it makes a lot. (The original recipe calls for Vanilla Sugar, but I don't have any. I use regular sugar and almond flavoring.)

Ran Christmas In Connecticut while I baked. Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is one of the most popular collumists in America. Her articles about her fancy dinners, her baby, and her farm are wildly popular. There's only one small problem - it's all fictional. In reality, she's a city girl who can't boil water and relies on her Uncle Felix (S.K Sakall) to provide the delicious recipes she features in her articles. Her lies catch up with her when her boss Yardley (Sidney Greenstreet) invites himself and a handsome soldier (Dennis Morgan) to her farm for Christmas. Fortunately, the boring architect who keeps asking her to marry him has a farm. She says she'll marry him if she can use the farm...but she doesn't expect to fall for the soldier. As the babies change and the judge goes in and out, Elizabeth begins to realize that honesty really is the best policy, especially where love is concerned. Cute holiday-themed romantic comedy is buoyed by the performances of Greenstreet and Sakall as the two very different bosses.

My Connecticut DVD comes with "A Star In the East," an Oscar-winning short subject from 1941. Master of accents J. Carrol Naish plays an Italian who owns a hotel in the middle of the desert. He thinks the worst of people, and his obnoxious customers bear out his complaints. That is, until a young Hispanic couple arrives, looking for shelter while she's with child. Suddenly, everyone's banding together to make sure the kids are ok, proving that there is charity in the hearts of all at this time of year, and miracles can arrive in the most unexpected places.

Did The First Christmas Snow while eating lunch and making Cranberry Flummery. This sweet Rankin-Bass tale tells of Lucas, a little shepherd who is blinded by a lightning accident. He's taken in by a local parish, and becomes especially fond of the kind head nun (Angela Landsbury). The fussy priest (Cyril Ritchard) wants to send him to an orphanage, but he gets too attached to everyone there to leave, especially after they rescue him when three local boys play a mean trick. The head nun often mentions the snow in the mountains where she's was a child. Lucas has never seen snow...but perhaps, a Christmas miracle will allow him to get his wish...

Brrrr! It was so cold when I went to work, and the heavy wind only made it feel worse. I did spend the first hour cleaning the bathrooms, but for the most part, I was alternating between rounding up carts and baskets and bagging when I got too cold to do anything outside. It's a good thing there were other baggers there and we weren't busy, anyway. In fact, we were mostly dead all night. People are still in the malls, and our forecast has been downgraded to possibly a tiny bit of snow Saturday night, but mostly rain.

When I got home, I threw together everything in my refrigerator, along with canned chicken, to make Chicken Vegetable Soup. Did Twas the Night Before Christmas while I made dinner. Stayed with Rankin-Bass, this time with the tale of a brainy mouse whose insults Santa so badly in a Christmas letter, he refuses to come to his town. The clock maker who lives in the same house makes a huge clock to please the old gift-giver, but the mouse accidentally breaks it. Now the mouse has to make amends, in time for the famous poem to come true.

Ate my soup while playing Lego Star Wars. Finished up the second half of the Bounty Hunter Missions. These got increasingly hard as they went on. There were at least three I needed a couple of tries to complete in time. Getting through all of them earned me the last of the gold bricks. When you get all the gold bricks, you can build a golden machine near Jabba's that'll give you all extras. (Which is really rather pointless, since most people, including me, have probably bought them all by now.)

Ended the night on the couch with my laptop and An American Christmas Carol. Henry Winkler is Benedict Slade, who owns most of a small New England town during the Depression. He's ruthless and has no trouble taking the beloved possessions of the town's citizens or firing his foreman on Christmas Eve. But he'll learn his lesson through three ghosts, who remind him that there's always room for new ideas...and to open your heart to those around us.

Unusual Christmas Carol, made even odder by Winkler playing the Scrooge character under about 60 pounds of make-up. It's a dark and dour TV movie, though Winkler makes a better Scrooge than you might think. Only for major fans of Winkler or those who want to see every version of Christmas Carol.

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