Began a sunny spring morning with baking a cake. I had three bananas that were a little too ripe, so I mashed them and made Banana Cake from Kit's Cooking Studio. Experimented with halving the recipe to make one layer instead of two. I really don't need a two-layer cake! Yuuumm. It came out beautifully, perfectly moist and sweet, and it smelled amazing baking. I added nutmeg and cinnamon for even more flavor.
Watched Yogi's Great Escape while baking. Yogi, Boo Boo, and three perpetually hungry cubs go on the run after Ranger Smith reveals that Jellystone Park is being closed and they're all going to be shipped off to the zoo. The bears take off across the US in Yogi's cobbled-together vehicle. Stops on their journey include a small town in the west where Quick Draw McGraw mistakes them for outlaws, a treehouse in the woods where the local kids see them and think they're aliens, and a spooky abandoned paddle wheeler in the bayou, the home of Wally Gator. Ranger Smith's hot on their tale, with the dubious assistance of a none-too-bright tracker and his hound. The bears have their own aid in the form of groups of kids across the country who are their biggest fans.
Headed out as soon as the cake was out of the oven. First stop of the day was the Oaklyn Library. It was just me, the librarian, and one other guy sitting at a table reading. I took a quick look at the DVDs and shelved a few kids' books and left.
Nicholson Road is closer to the Library than the Black Horse Pike, so I took that way to the Acme, dodging rush hour traffic. Wanted to get my grocery shopping done today, so I can focus on Audubon's town-wide yard sale tomorrow. Found a container of cooked shrimp on sale; grabbed asparagus and cherry tomatoes and decided to have Shrimp Pasta Salad for dinner. Restocked skim milk, yogurt, tea (had a coupon for Lipton; went with English breakfast tea), grapefruit, jam, bananas, sponges, butter, and brown sugar.
My schedule next week is probably the best I've had in weeks, if not in months. Not only do I keep the increased hours from this week, but they're finally more spread out - no 7 or 8-hour days. I do wish my first day off after tomorrow wasn't Thursday, but I have that and next Saturday off (the latter for Dana and Jesse's wedding).
Put everything away after I got home, then had a quick lunch while watching Rick Steves. The French Riviera is one of the most impossibly beautiful - and impossibly glamorous - spots on Earth. While large cities like Nice and Cannes may have the celebrities and tiny Monaco has the casino and expensive living, I most liked the smaller, laid-back fishing towns. This is where artists like Pablo Picasso did some of their best work while enjoying bouillabaisse and commanding views of the Mediterranean.
As soon as the episode ended, I went back out. Took the bike across Newton Lake Park, just enjoying the sunshine. While the wind was still chilly, the sun felt warm on my back. The park was busy with runners from the high school, other bikers, parents taking their kids for a stroll, fisher-folks, and people just out for a walk on a beautiful day. The park is looking more and more springlike every day. The banks of the lake are a carpet of buttercups, scattered like little yellow jewels across green velvet. Delicate buds frame the black wire trees; the bottle-green lake sparkled against the warm sunshine.
It was late when I arrived at the Haddon Township Library, past 3:30. Most of the kids were out of school by then, which meant they were a lot busier than Oaklyn had been. Despite that, there wasn't much for me to do. I looked for items to be put on hold and shelved audio books, CDs, and the few DVDs.
Took out a few items quickly before the library closed at 5. Returned to the 60's for the romantic melodrama This Property Is Condemned, with Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. Their Finest is about a British movie studio in the 40's that hopes to make a major epic that will convince Hollywood to join the war effort. I don't normally do romantic comedies, but that at least sounds like it'll be unique. Twister was one of a wave of disaster movies that came out in the 90's. I never got around to seeing it then; after having enjoyed The Poseidon Adventure and (to a lesser degree) Earthquake, I thought I'd try this one. Also grabbed a Reader's Digest book on saving money.
Peeked at Rite Aid and Family Dollar on the way home, looking for something. Couldn't find it in either place and just hurried home, dodging rush-hour traffic. Did some writing when I got in. Maz shoos Han and Leia out as soon as they're done breakfast. Palpatine is still looking for them. Han flirts with Leia, ultimately ending with them kissing in the back door of Maz's kitchen. The sounds of stormtroopers crashing through the main tavern is enough to send them on their way and back on the main road.
Broke at quarter of 7 to make that Shrimp-Pasta Salad. Steamed asparagus and broccoli; added it to tri-color spiral pasta and cooked shrimp with off-price Old Bay. Tossed it in olive oil, apple cider vinegar, more Old Bay, and Parmesan cheese. Oooh, that was a good idea. It was a nice, savory melding of spring flavors. When I finished dinner, I whipped up a dark chocolate buttercream frosting for the banana cake.
Watched two episodes of Get Smart as I worked and ate. "The Greatest Spy on Earth" takes Max and 99 to a circus that CONTROL suspects is the front for a diamond smuggling operation. They pose as reporters to figure who is in charge of the operation and killed the midget who was going to go to them with information - the circus owner, the strongman, the half-man-half-woman, or the knife thrower. "Bronzefinger" is an art forger who has been stealing priceless art works and replacing it with his own copies. Max and 99 go undercover as an art restorer and museum guide to figure out who Bronzefinger is and what he's done with the missing art works.
Finished the night on the Wii. I'm getting much better at some of the games on Wii Sports. Won my tennis match, got a silver medal in returning balls in tennis and hitting fast balls in baseball and a bronze at controlling the ball in baseball. I've gotten better at hitting home runs, too - I can actually hit home runs.
My second go-around on Lego Star Wars is winding down. Tried something different tonight and did the bonus mini-games that involve rounding up studs. Each round has two mini-games, one character-based, one based around the minikit vehicles you built with all those pieces. The Kashyyak flying round on Revenge of the Sith was so easy, I did it in well under a minute. Got Mufasar in a little over two minutes. Had a harder time with Attack of the Clones. I had to do the Geonosis character round three times before I got it under five minutes (more like two and a half). Just barely got the Coruscant flying round under five.