Started off a rainy, gloomy morning with something different. Since I had that huge bag of coconut from Wal Mart and half the bottle of orange juice left from the cranberry bread, I thought I'd try making Banana Coconut Pancakes. I should have mashed the bananas better. They were too chunky, and the pancakes just fell apart or burned. Tasted all right once they actually cooked.
Listened to Christmas records while I struggled with the pancakes. A Christmas Album was Barbara Streisand's first holiday LP. Her comic rendition of "Jingle Bells" and an especially lovely version of "I Wonder as I Wander" are the highlights. The Beach Boys' Christmas Album is a favorite of mine. "Little Saint Nick" and "Santa's Beard" are the standards here, but I love their "Merry Christmas, Baby" and their version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas."
Worked on writing for a hour before work. Han explains to Leia that, along with crystals for lasers, the planet Norweden also exports hot-house flowers. He used to smuggle them to other parts of the galaxy. Outside of the cities and towns, the majority of the planet is populated by bandits, thieves, assorted natives, snow animals, and trolls, mischievous creatures that like to play pranks on unsuspecting humans.
Broke to get ready for work at 11:30. Listened to Merry Christmas by the Supremes while I got organized. This 1965 album is from the height of their original 60's popularity. The most familiar song is "The Children's Christmas Song," with it's "ding dong" refrain.
The rain had slowed down as I was riding to work. It picked up shortly after I arrived and showered steadily for most of the rest of the day. Maybe that's why we were so busy. People were coming out of the crowded malls and were starting to think about their Christmas baking and parties. Not to mention, with the weather, there wasn't a whole lot else for many of them to do. I spent the first half of my shift outside doing carts. They just kept disappearing. Got stuck in the registers for the first hour of the second, but I also did some returns and gathered baskets before going right back to doing carts. I was very wet when I headed home.
As soon as I got in, I changed into dry pants, then made my favorite Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip for dinner. Listened to The Six Shooter while I ate. This radio show from the early 50's starred James Stewart as Texas drifter Britt Ponsett who went from place to place, helping folks who needed it. Their Christmas episode had Britt telling a runaway boy a western version of A Christmas Carol. Here, Scrooge is a miserly landowner who orders his foreman to take down the shack he built for his family on Scrooge's property. His nephew owns a liverly stable, his former fiancee is a schoolmarm, and Jacob Marley is Jake, who is attached to saddlebags of gold. The tale eventually convinces the boy to return to his grouchy aunt...and teaches both a lesson in the Christmas spirit.
After dinner, I went into my Christmas baking. Every year, I make five kinds of cookies to give away as gifts and bring to the Acme's Employee Luncheon. Started tonight with the same chocolate chip oatmeal cookies I made for Lauren and her folks a few days ago. If anything, they came out even more beautifully than the batch I made for her.
Cookie baking week is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. Mom always made us cookies and candy during the Christmas season when we were kids. We all loved helping her decorate sugar cookies and putting the chips in the chocolate chip batter. When I moved out on my own in 2002, I decided to continue doing it. Not only do I love to bake, but it was something I could bring to parties and give to groups and adults who had outgrown toys.
Listened to a couple of CDs while I worked on the cookies. Christmas Carousel by Peggy Lee has been a part of my holidays for a long time. I first picked it up while out running errands with my mom on Christmas Eve, I think around 1995-1996. Found it with a display of holiday CDs at the Acme. My favorite numbers here are the lilting title tune and the lovely "The Christmas Spell," as well as her version of "Happy Holidays" from Holiday Inn.
I've had It's Christmas Time, in CD or cassette form, for even longer. I bought the cassette from a Laserlight Christmas display at Staples in Rio Grande while on an outing with Mom and my sisters, I think in December 1994. It wouldn't be the holidays without Bing's radio rendition of "Silent Night," with his opening dialog that goes "This is a happy Christmas all right, it's a great Christmas..." The CD also features his version of "Jingle Bells" with the Andrews Sisters that was used in Target's Christmas programming for years. I wish Nat King Cole had more than "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "The Christmas Song." Crosby gets the lion's share of the music, though Sinatra does have a nice "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."
Bing ended and the cookies came out of the oven just in time for me to hit the shower before the big game between the Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams. And what a game it was! No one thought the Eagles would do well tonight. The Rams are one of the top teams in the NFL. And yet, they dominated the game from the get-go. The Rams couldn't get past them. The Eagles finally managed to outrun them 30-23.