Friday, December 21, 2018

Winter Was Warm

The torrential rain from last night had stopped by the time I woke up this morning. It started up again while I was making breakfast and watching Frosty the Snowman in honor of this being the first day of winter. Frosty comes to life when a magic hat that a magician threw away ends up on his head. The kids are delighted, but the magician wants the hat back now that he knows it really works. Karen, one of the kids, and Hocus Pocus the rabbit evade the magician and help take Frosty up north so he won't melt.

Went right into Frosty's Winter Wonderland while doing dishes and calling my dad for a ride to work. In this sequel, Frosty's happy to see the kids again, but he gets lonely when they're not around. They make him a snow wife to keep him company, but can't figure out how to make her "all livin'." Meanwhile, a jealous Jack Frost will do anything to make sure that he's the only beloved winter character.

Put on The Snowman while I got ready for work. We head to England for the tale of a little boy who builds a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. He shows his frosty friend his house and his family's motorcycle. His friend in turn takes him on a gorgeous flight to the North Pole to meet Santa and other snow people having a holiday party.

Dad picked me up around 10. It was still raining at that point, but the wind was gone, and the rain was down to a steady shower. I didn't really work until 11, but I wanted to leave early in order to hit the Audubon post office and send out Mom and Anny's packages. As it turned out, the line at the post office was only slightly longer than the one in Oaklyn earlier this week, and it moved fast. I was in and out in less than ten minutes.

I got out so fast, I decided to check out a few stores. I didn't find anything at Goodwill this time, but I did go back and get that Star Wars calendar I looked at last week when I was Christmas shopping. The line at Five Below was slightly longer than the one at the post office, but it moved just as quickly.

The rain was slowing down and the sun was struggling to peek between clouds as I strolled across the parking lot and behind the mall to the Acme. We had our Employee Luncheon today. The other reason I wanted to come early was to bring the cookies I made for the party. I wasn't the only one who donated food, either. I saw baked ziti, roast beef and au jus gravy and rolls for roast beef sandwiches, hoagies from the deli, macaroni and cheese, baked spinach dip, plastic buckets of cooked and spiced shrimp, Buffalo cheese and chicken dip, and meatballs in sauce.

Along with my cookies, dessert included sugar cookies and carrot and chocolate cakes brought by one of the deli ladies, a huge pound cake, a cheesecake that vanished quickly, a loaf of cranberry bread, a box of Dunkin' Donuts, and baskets of candy canes and Hershey's Miniatures. I had a hoagie, the spinach dip, and the ziti for lunch, the pound cake, the carrot cake, and two sugar cookies for lunch, and a doughnut and some shrimp for a snack.

My favorite by far was the spinach dip. Yum! It was perfect, creamy and just earthy and savory enough. Who needs chips? I ate it with a fork.

Finished doing the candy when I came in, then spent most of the rest of the day putting away loose items. I did get stuck in the register twice when we got busy. It wasn't really as bad as I thought it would be. We were on-and-off steady the entire afternoon. I thought it would be a lot worse on the Friday before Christmas.

I'm thrilled with my schedule next week, especially compared to last year on Christmas week. Slightly more hours, Christmas Day, Thursday, and next Saturday off...and perfectly normal mid-morning hours on Sunday and Christmas Eve. Not only will I be able to get a lot done, but I'll actually be able to make it to Dad and Jodie's party on Christmas Eve without rushing this time. (Evidently, the Acme learned their lesson after the mess last year on Christmas weekend and hired a LOT more holiday help.)

By the time Dad picked me up, the rain was long gone. It had even been sunny when I helped a nice lady who broke her ankle out to her car. Clouds had moved in again sometime after that, but they were just hanging around and making everything warm and damp. To my knowledge, it hasn't rained since this morning. Saw a card to me from Mom in the mailbox when Dad dropped me off. It said "Do Not Open Until Christmas" - so that one is going to have to wait for next week.

Spent the next few hours writing. Gerda explains to Leia and Luke about how Norweden calls snow the "white bees" that gather the frosty "nectar" that creates their crystals. She also warns them about the Summer Witch, who lives in her own garden out in the country. Most of the locals fear her, thinking she'll drain their minds or turn them into animals, but Gerda assures them that she's just lonely.

Broke for a very fast leftovers dinner at 7. Went right into It's a Wonderful Life while I ate. George Bailey (James Stewart) thinks that life has passed him by. He's lived in the same small town all his life, working in his father's building and loan, building houses for the townspeople and giving them somewhere to go so they won't have to rely on nasty old Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). One Christmas Eve right after World War II, his Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) loses $8,000 that his business desperately needs. He prays for guidance...which arrives in the form of the sweet-natured angel Clarence (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George what the town where he lives and all it's citizens would have been like if he'd never been born. Mr. Potter literally owns the town, and no one knows him, not even his beloved wife Mary (Donna Reed). He finally starts to realize what a wonderful life he has...and how much his family and friends mean to him.

One of my favorite Christmas movies. I love the cast of beloved character actors having fun playing the citizens of Bedford Falls. Special kudos to Beluah Bondi as George's mother, Lillian Randolph as the Bailey family's hilarious maid Annie, and Travers as the nicest second-class angel who ever came from the heavens. Some of the pro-small-town sentiment might not work with everyone nowadays, but if you love warm, comforting dramas or are a fan of Stewart or the cast, this might be your cup of Christmas tea, too.

The final episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas Special," is a very funny spoof of Wonderful Life. There's even a bit of black-and-white "footage" from the film included. Buster is upset when he's pulled from directing the Toons' big holiday show and replaced by Montana Max. He's going to jump out of the film when he's stopped by a rabbit named Harvey with a familiar-sounding voice who shows him what it would have been like if he'd never been on the show.

Finished the night with the first Happy Days Christmas episode from the second season. "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas?" Fonzie, who keeps insisting that he has a big party to go to for Christmas. Richie believes otherwise and invites him over to share the Cunninghams' holiday. Mr. Cunningham is adamant at first that Christmas Eve is to reserved for family only...until Fonzie helps them fix their Santa Claus and their lights and shows them how much fun it can be to share Christmas with someone who is alone for the holiday.

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