I was still feeling a little down when I awoke. I ran snack-focused episodes of Good Eats during breakfast to improve my mood. Since one of the things I bought with Mom's Target e-card was a popcorn maker, I began with "Pop Art." Alton shows you how to make the perfect bowl of popcorn, and what to do with any leftovers afterwards. Lauren and I actually tried the baked and pan-fried versions of the pocket pies in "A Pie In Every Pocket." I made strawberry pies; Lauren's were pepperoni. They were damn tasty. "Pretzel Logic" shows how to make soft pretzels, hard pretzels, and mustard from scratch.
First thing on the queue today was getting the laundry done. I had once again put it off. Thankfully, by the time I arrived around 11:30, there were only a few people around. I had a ton of clothes to do. The load took a little longer than usual. I worked on story notes and ignored the news and soap operas.
When I got home, I put everything away, then went back out. I had a few things I wanted to do before I went out with Jessa and Joe later. The Oaklyn Library was surprisingly busy for them when I arrived. There were at least two families with energetic kids playing in the children's area. The Weather Channel on the TV in the main room blared warnings about a rain and snow mix for tomorrow. I organized DVDs, mainly in the kids' area, and looked at the kid's books as well as I could with the little guys bouncing around. It was getting late, though, and I wanted to move on.
I hadn't been to the House of Fun, a collectibles shop on the White Horse Pike, in ages. I couldn't afford it before, but I really need the distraction right now. Other than they'd added a second rack of cult DVDs and Blu-Rays, they were the same merry jumble of action figures, Funko Pops, pop culture t-shirts, comic books and books on comics, dusty video games, and toys of every age and description as ever.
I had one of the larger Han Solo dolls released by Kenner in the late 90's as a teen, but I'd since gotten rid of him. I'd thought of getting him back for a while now. I not only found the exact doll I had in a loose dolls pile, but I found a Leia with actual rooted buns (as opposed to the molded hair on the 90's Kenner dolls). Her senator's robes and his white shirt were stained and dirty, and he was missing his gun. Otherwise, they were both in perfect shape. Leia cost more than Han. I think she may be an older doll, and she was certainly nicer than him, with a very realistic face and dress.
Headed home next for a quick lunch. Did The Backyardigans first season episode "The Snow Fort" in honor of the weather. Mounties Tyrone and Pablo are guarding the world's biggest snowball in their fort in Canada. They think someone's after their treasure. It's really just ski patrollers Uniqua and Tasha looking for someone to rescue.
Did a little bit of writing next. The next story will be the third and final fairy tale I'm doing for now, Cinder-Han. Here, Han is an indentured servant to a wicked troll named Jabba the Hutt and his band of cutthroats and robbers. The house where he works was once beautiful, but Jabba and his rogues let it fall to pieces. Han's hoping to make enough money running errands for Jabba's illegitimate businesses to buy his freedom eventually.
Jessa picked me up at 4. Our first stop, after dodging heavy rush-hour traffic on the highway, was the Deptford Mall. They were the busiest I'd ever seen them! They were pretty recently remodeled. It looks really nice in there now. The Disney Store had also gotten a major remodeling. It wasn't much bigger, but at least it was a little nicer. Neither of us bought anything there. We mainly browsed.
Directly across from The Disney Store was a little novelty store called Box Lunch. In addition to quirkier Disney items than what was sold across the way, the store carried many pop culture items, toys, and games, but felt sparer and more elegant than Hot Topic or Spencer's. Jessa found puffy panda stickers. I bought an adult Star Wars comic book with pictures taken directly from the Star Wars Marvel comics (including some great ones of Han and Leia).
Their Hallmark was closing. This worked to my advantage. While Jessa didn't get anything, I found the Force Awakens Older Han Solo ornament on sale for half-price. I also had luck at Boscov's, where I finally picked up a pair of work pants that fit.
We met Joe for dinner at Red Robin's. They're basically Ruby Tuesday's with the fancy dark booths replaced by bright red decor and goofy pop culture signs. The food was amazing, though. Joe ordered a literal tower of huge, crispy onion rings. Evidently, they have endless fries, too. I had the Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich, a mess of grilled chicken, Swiss cheese, grilled pineapple rings, teriyaki sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Oh wow. It was good stuff, even if the pineapple rings did keep falling off the burger.
Joe had things to do at home and wasn't really in the mood for shopping. After briefly returning to Boscov's to look for a black cardigan sweater for Jessa, we drove down the street to the massive Deptford Target. Jess never did find her black sweater, but I grabbed more butter pecan cake mix, a Pillsbury Peppermint Chocolate cookie mix on clearance, and a half-price Chewbacca ornament to go with my new Han Solo.
And...I came home and discovered online that Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher's mom and a wonderful actress in her own right, passed away earlier today from a stroke. Good grief. I guess she really, really wanted to be with her daughter. She'll be missed just as much. I love musicals as much as I love Star Wars.