Friday, December 07, 2018

A Tiger-riffic Holiday

Kicked off a sunny morning with breakfast and several episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel's Birthday" was the very first episode of the series. Daniel is excited when he, O, Katerina, and Baker Aker make a tiger-shaped cake for his birthday party. He's less pleased when they get off the trolley and discover that the cake was smushed in transit. Dan's disappointed, but his dad reminds him that, no matter what shape it is, a birthday cake still tastes good.

Dan and his dad go to Baker Aker to make banana muffins for Mrs. Tiger in "I Love You, Mom." Mrs. Tiger takes her boys on "A Trip to the Enchanted Garden" to pick strawberries for Strawberry Pancakes. The Tiger family joins the rest of the community to gather more fruit in "Fruit Picking Day." Dan, Miss Elania, and Prince Wednesday may not be able to reach the highest apples, but they can squeeze in where Prince Tuesday's bigger hand can't fit.

Headed to work after "Fruit Picking Day" ended. Work was, rather surprisingly for a weekend, totally dead for most of the day. It got very mildly busy towards the end of the day, but even that could have been worse. While it was chilly, probably in the lower 40s, it was also sunny and breezy. Most people were probably at the malls. I did briefly end up in the register to go in for someone's break, but I was mostly shelving candy or doing returns.

I wasn't happy with my schedule at all when I saw it. On one hand, far more hours this week, and mostly morning or early afternoon hours...except for Thursday. For some reason, the computer gave me 4 to 10 on Thursday! I can't work that late. The head manager agreed. She said she's going to see what she can do to change it by tomorrow morning.

Had a lot of grocery shopping to do this week. Found coconut-crusted tilapia fillets with manager's coupons that were already on sale. Bags of Gala apples were on a really good sale, $1.49 for 8. Picked up Brussels sprouts for vegetables. Restocked bananas, peanut butter, honey, cranberries, brown sugar, shampoo, skim milk, yogurt, butter, cocoa, olive oil, tomato sauce, and corn starch.

Put everything away when I got home while finishing out Daniel Tiger. "Be a Vegetable Taster!" says Teacher Harriet when she introduces her students to food from the school's garden. The other kids enjoy the cherry tomatoes and carrots they harvest, but Katarina is afraid to try them. She's finally persuaded to try colorful bell peppers.

"Daniel Tries a New Food" brings Miss Elania over to his house for a unique dinner. Mrs. Tiger introduces the kids to vegetable pasta - spaghetti topped with veggies - and banana swirl - frozen bananas given a whirl in the blender. Elania's not as big on the veggie pasta as Dan is, but everyone agrees that the banana swirl is a big hit.

Trying new food doesn't always have the best results. "Daniel's Allergy" turns up when he eats peaches and gets hives and a stomachache. His father takes him to Doctor Anna, who reveals that he's allergic to peaches. She gives him medicine for his hives and tells him how to deal with his allergy. (I skipped "Baking Mistakes," which I already saw on another set.)

Worked on writing for a while after I got organized. Rey storms in, demanding to know why her cousin bought his grandfather's counting house and closed it down. Ben - now Kylo Ren - claims it wasn't making money anymore. He asks Rey to work for him, but she angrily refuses, calls him a monster, accuses him of killing his father and forcing his mother's charity out of their headquarters due to his high rent, and stomps out. Anakin tries to tell Ben this is wrong and he shouldn't push his family away, but the young man can't hear him.

Broke at 6 for dinner. Made baked coconut-crusted tilapia with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato pancakes for dinner (the latter in honor of Hanukkah this week). Mrs. Tiger's "banana swirl" sounded so tasty, I thought I'd try my own version for dessert. I tossed a banana in the freezer earlier in the day. Though Mrs. Tiger kept it simple and just whirled the frozen banana, I added honey, cocoa, and cinnamon and made Chocolate Banana Swirl. I don't think I left the banana in the freezer long enough...but chocolate banana pudding still tasted really good! (Also, if I make this again, I think I'll do it in the food processor. The blender didn't mash things up quite enough, even on high.)

Watched The Preacher's Wife while I made my meal. This is a 1996 remake of the popular 1947 holiday drama The Bishop's Wife. The preacher in question is Reverend Henry Biggs (Courtney B. Vance). The church he works for is losing members and money. He feels stretched thin by all his parishioners' needs, and Joe Hamilton (Gregory Hines), the owner of the land the church is on, wants to demolish it and build luxury condos. He longer has time for his wife Julia (Whitney Houston) who leads the choir, or their son Jeremiah (Justin Pierre Edmund). Worrying about his parishioners and his marriage, he prays to God for an answer.

The answer comes in the form of a debonair angel named Dudley (Denzel Washington). While Henry deals with Hamilton and his people, Dudley increasingly takes interest in his family, taking Julia skating and to the jazz club where she once worked. Henry's not the only one who questions Dudley's motives. Julia's mother Marguerite (Jenifer Lewis) doesn't like all the time Dudley is spending with Julia, and his secretary Beverly (Loretta Divine) is worried that he'll take her job. Even when Dudley realizes how right Marguerite is, he still manages to find a way to make a difference in everyone's lives...and show Henry how important his family and his people are.

I love the original movie, and this one is just as much fun. Denzel Washington was one of my childhood crushes, and this movie reminds me of why. He makes almost as impossibly suave of an angel as Cary Grant...and that's not an easy thing to do! Divine and Lewis are also fun as the only two ladies who don't think well of this good-looking visitor from the heavens. Houston is mainly there to raise the roof with a couple of gospel numbers and sing the very 90's ballad "I Believe In You and Me." She lacks the warmth that Loretta Young displayed in this role; Vance is much better as her bewildered husband.

If you love the original or the cast, I'd look this one up, too. It hasn't dated quite as well, but it's still a lot of fun with some great music.

Finished the night on YouTube with a couple of holiday rarities. Mystery Science Theater 3000 did two Christmas episodes during its original run. Santa Claus, from the fifth season, is the second. This Mexican movie from the late 50's has Santa employing children from around the world to help him keep track of good kids on Earth. On Christmas Eve, he has to dodge the Devil, who is trying to convince kids to be naughty, in order to get his job done. The first half of this one, with the overlong opening number with the kids from around the world and the creepy machines with real lips and ears, is more scary than fun. Once Santa starts out on Christmas Eve, things get a lot better. His avoiding the Devil and trying to give out presents literally behind his back is hilarious.

Santa Claus

Dean Martin did a big Christmas episode every year on his long-running variety show. I watched the one from 1968. And boy, is it from 1968. We get "Be a Santa" in the opening (from the 1966 Broadway flop Subways are for Sleeping) and several corny sketches, mainly featuring a young Dom DeLouise. Dean smokes in every frame, and more than three-quarters of the women are wearing some of the shortest skirts this side of the Rockettes. I have to admit that I did like DeLouise's pantomime sketch on wild office parties - it ended up kind of sweet. The finale, with almost every celebrity on NBC at the time announcing that they're donating to hospitals and children's homes across the US, is both heartwarming and a great opportunity to check out who was popular on TV in the late 60's.

Dean Martin Christmas Show 1968

Oooh, and after joining an Oaklyn sales group on Facebook, I finally got a bite on one of the items I have for sale. It sounds like a grandmother wants the American Girl bed and bedding for her granddaughter and will meet me tomorrow. I sure hope so! Beyond desperately needing the money, I also desperately need to clear junk out of my back room. I'd love for the AG items to go to a little girl who could really use them.

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