Sunday, September 30, 2007

Now With Comments!

On the suggestion of my friend Tina, I now allow comments on my blog. I didn't before because I was afraid of what people would say.

Ok, I do allow comments...but please, be nice and keep it clean. Flames or nasty comments will be deleted. As Thumper said in Bambi, "If you can't say somethin' nice...don't say nuthin' at all."
What To Do Next

First of all...darn it, the Philadelphia Eagles are losing to the New York Giants, at press time 16-3! Not good, especially coming after the Phillies' huge NL East win. Doesn't help that they're facing major rivals the Giants, either.

I just don't know what to do. I really want to get out of the Acme, but I don't know if any other retail outlet would pay me $11.40 an hour for non-management work. I really need that $11.40. I live alone and pay my own rent. I buy my own groceries and clothes.

I'd really rather work in a library, archive, or bookstore, but the bookstores in Philly are hell-bent on ignoring me and most libraries and archives probably require people with library science degrees, or at least an intern. I'd really rather work in an elementary school library, but once again, you probably need degrees. (Not to mention most schools nowadays are downsizing like crazy. That's how Mom lost her job with

I want to go to college, but I don't want to go crazy doing it. I'll look up colleges with masters courses in library science tomorrow and e-mail them. I need to get scholarship and grant money. Unlike my sister Rose, I don't want to be paying debts for the rest of my life.

I wish I knew what to say to Mom when I call her and we talk about my job options. She and Lauren must be ready to throttle me. We argue, and I end up with a dry mouth and a blank mind. She says I should ignore my customers and not let them bother me and just keep working there while I go through college because it's a steady job. Of course they bother me! How can I ignore that? Some obnoxious old man who comes through my line all the time was being a total clod, rude and grouchy and refusing to slide his stupid card through the slot. He's seen us do it a hundred times! It's not hard! I'm tired of him, and all the obnoxious, ignorant idiots like him.

I want to know I can do something besides work at a grocery store. I'm starting to think that's all I'm good for. I want to prove to everyone that I can work at a real job, not something that teenagers or mothers looking for a second income or desperate people with no education do.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Try To Remember The Kind Of September

Oooh, what a gorgeous fall day! Warm without being humid or TOO warm, sunny, with a sky intensely blue, no clouds, and a bit of wind that gentled into a breeze by afternoon. The kind of day we're supposed to get in September.

I made a quick trip to the farm market this morning. I didn't really need much; just got celery, sweet potatoes, and Mollie Delicious apples. I was a little later than usual, but the farm market was still packed, understandable on such a stunner of a Saturday. I had to wade through lines of people to get those apples!

On the way to the farm market, I stopped at St. Mark's Church on the corner of East Bettlewood and the White Horse Pike, across from the PNC Bank. They had a big "yard" sale in their parking lot today. It must be an annual event, because I remember seeing the same thing there last year. Local families set up booths to sell various items. I ended up with eight records for twenty-five cents each - Johnny Mathis, jazz great Al Hirt, Lawrence Welk, a two-disc RCA set of random Broadway standards, Tom Jones, the Stray Cats (Brian Setzer's 80s band), and two Christmas albums, one from Perry Como and one of the Goodyear "Great Songs of Christmas" albums. In fact, I believe it's the one Mom had when I was little I found again at the Stockton Media Center in college and recorded for her!

Work was steady, not too bad, and fast. The worst that happened was one of the teenage cashiers fussing because oh, he had a tummy ache and he wanted to go home early. He did not go home early. Not only were we low on help, but he does that every other day. What a brat. If I complained every time I had a tummy ache, there are certain times of the month I'd never go into work at all.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Trains, Bikes, and Buses

After an early start to pick up my paycheck and deposit it in the bank, I decided a trip to the Deptford Mall area would be just the thing to clear my head. The Deptford Mall is one of four large malls in Southern New Jersey surrounded by other smaller shopping centers and freestanding stores. (The others are the Echelon Mall, the Moorestown Mall, and the historic Cherry Hill Mall.) I ride my bike to Collingswood, where I take a very short, two-minute train ride to Haddonfield. I catch a bus to Deptford or Cherry Hill at Haddonfield, depending on what I need and where I want to go. I wanted to check out Target, so I went to Deptford.

Didn't end up getting much. Everyone talks about how wonderful Target's Halloween selection is, but I didn't see much that I liked. My problem with decorating for Halloween is I don't like to go too spooky. I hate horror movies; I'm definitely not a blood-and-gore type girl. I did get a few ideas for Halloween costumes, though. Maybe I'll see if I can find a blue dress (or a blue shirt and skirt) and be Alice In Wonderland, or maybe I'll be a queen.

My only major purchase was a pack of socks from JCPenney, who was having a 30% off sale. They make the best socks, nice and thick crew socks. I can't stand those silly anklets that provide no support for your ankles and look childish.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Next Move

I'm still trying to decide what my next move should be. I really do want to find a job at a children's library, but I'm really nervous.

I'm afraid they'll just say "no" again and again, and I'll hit the same dead end I've been hitting for six years.

I'm trying to decide where else I can go. NOT another grocery store. Maybe FYE. There's one in the store behind the Acme where I work. The trouble there is, I won't get away from those obnoxious customers (they shop in that shopping center, too), I won't have the union backing me up, and I doubt the hours or pay would be any better.

The Philadelphia Borders and Barnes and Noble have made it quite clear that they want nothing to do with me. They've ignored me for almost a year.

I need to find scholarship or grant money to go back to school, find a good local school to go to, and figure out how I can go to school and work.

I need to know I'll actually get a job from this and not go through another six years of hell. I need to meet people who can make recommendations and suggestions and steer me in the right direction.

I wonder if any of the libraries in Philly would want me?

I wish there was an easier way of doing this. My stomach is all tied up in knots just thinking of all those applications I'll have to sign and interviews with fancy executives sitting behind big desks I'll have to go on!

How can I make the libraries and newspapers and bookstores see how serious I am about finding a job? What do I have to do to make them notice me?

Work was off-and-on today, not too bad other than some cranky customers. Really, if you have a big order, don't complain because I'm doing my job and pulling all those damn cans and boxes through! I'm not perfect and I can't do everything at once!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Building A Resume

Updated my resume today. I added the new library volunteering gig and my summer job at the Cape May County Special Services Schools Media Center I always forget about and updated the thrift shop volunteering to show that I'm no longer doing it.

Now I just need to gather enough courage to contact local schools to send my resume to. I'll start with the elementary schools, which is really what I want to do anyway, and work my way up to college.

The Acme was relatively quiet today. It was on-and-off busy, but nothing like Monday.

I did get a nice surprise, though. Apparently, this month's Mystery Shopper came through my line and was so pleased with the job I did, she gave me a perfect score! I recieved a $5 gift certificate for outstanding achievement. At least SOMETHING'S going right at work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How To Not Make Up Your Mind

Darn it. The Acme called me in twice today. The first time was when I was doing my laundry at Uncle Ken's. Did I want to come in around 3 and go until 7:45? I called them to say "yes"...but they told me they'd already gotten it filled. When I came home from volunteering at the library and running errands, they'd called again and asked me to come in. Seems the guy who called out changed his mind and decided to come in...then called out again! By that point, it was 7:30. I did not call back.

Caught cute, if typical, Dora The Explorer and Go Diego Go! episodes today. As adorable as it was to see Dora and Boots find out whose birthday it was, it was Diego's episode that really resonated with me. He traveled to the ocean to help a baby humpbacked whale that got stranded on a rocky island. I grew up at the Jersey Shore, where real baby whales (though not rare humpbacks) have been stranded and helped by real animal rescuers, some as young as Diego's sister Alicia.

Also ran into an amusing but somewhat bland Blue's Clues. It must have been new. I could have sworn Joe's sweater was orange, but here, it looks red. Shapes were the theme. I guessed right on the first clue; a supermarket IS a good place to look for shapes, as I ought to know.

TCM highlighted popular comics of the 30s this morning. A Night At The Opera is one of my favorite movies. I was glad to catch the final 15 opera-wrecking minutes. The slightly schmaltzy Joe E. Brown vehicle that came after it, Fireman, Save My Child was less interesting.

I did my library volunteering today. Reorganized the CDs, which needed it badly. They've always been a mess, at least in the year and a half I've been going to the Haddon Township Library. They are now as alphabetical as I can make them. Doing the classical CDs was a special challenge, as I know little about that music genre, but I think I got it worked out. I also organized the historical American Girls series books, from Kayla to Molly (no Julie yet, and not much Kit, either - LOTS of Addy).

I was a bit disappointed to find that while the librarians understood my wanting to be a children's librarian, they couldn't do much more than recommend local schools to look at. I was really, really hoping they could point me in the direction of a good library or bookstore-oriented job.

Mom's crazy if she thinks I'm going to look for another grocery store job. That's defeating the point of a job search. I don't want the SAME job in another store. I want a NEW job, something I feel more comfortable and useful in. Something a college graduate should be doing. Nothing would change by changing companies. I'd still be getting bad hours, dealing with stupid people, and doing a job I hate.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rushed Hour

Urgh. Work was a pain today. This was the end of that big 4-day coupon sale, and more than half the customers didn't have coupons. I had to tear dozens of flyers apart. Didn't help that many people were cranky. Must be the full moon. Or maybe working during rush hour.

I just worked on editing more short stories Lauren and I have done over the past few days this morning. I'm so glad Lauren's more involved with our stories again. She was taking a class at this time last year and seemed to be losing interest. We just spend four hours working on some great ideas, and we're hoping to do more work tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Peach Spice Cake

And here's that recipe for Peach Spice Cake that was so popular at Uncle Ken's party. Make it for your next fall get-together!

1 box Betty Crocker or your favorite spice cake mix
1 egg
1 egg white
8 oz plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups strong peach tea
1 large fresh peach (or 1 cup drained canned peaches)
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons wheat germ

Mix all ingredients with electric mixer until smooth. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in cake comes out clean.

Serves 8-12, depending on size of slices.
Welcome To Fall

And autumn could not have a more gorgeous introduction! Today was a perfect fall day, warm but not hideously hot, breezy but not windy, under a bright sun and a radiant blue sky.

Work was busy, but not unusually so for a Sunday when there's a major football game. I only worked until noon, which gave me just enough time to buy a new watch from Eckerds' next door (a digital Timex, which turned out to be on sale, much to my delight and surprise) and run home and change and pick up a cake for Uncle Ken's Sunday afternoon Philadelphia Eagles party.

My Peach Spice Cake was a hit...and so was the game. The Eagles won their first game of the season, ending the Detroit Lions' two-game winning streak dead in it's tracks. They dominated the game from first quarter to fourth quarter, eventually winning 56-21. It was such a nice day, I went for a walk afterwards, making a quick stop at the Family Dollar on the White Horse Pike for paper towels.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Time Out Of Mind

What a long day. I did do my usual farm market-bank run, but I got soaked in a sudden, unexpected shower while doing so. I was glad to go despite getting wet. The peaches are gone, but every kind of apple in the universe is out in full force, and pears and squash are now in season, too. I bought Bosc pears, Gala apples, mini portobello mushrooms, a green pepper, two mini-pumpkins, a medium-sized pumpkin, and a few odd-shaped decorative squash for a centerpiece on the coffee table in the music section of my living room.

I also stopped at Erica's and told her I was thinking of dropping the thrift shop volunteering gig. As much as I like it, it's not really helping me meet people or find a job, I don't need more junk, I'm not thrilled about all these new rules cropping up, and to be honest, it's getting a little boring. Much to my surprise, Erica agreed with me and wasn't upset at all.

My watch is a Casio I picked up about three or so years ago. The digital face still works fine, but the wristband is cheap vinyl and has been falling apart for over a year. I've taped it and taped it, and it still keeps coming apart. It did it today at the farm market. I was lucky to get the watch itself back, but the other half was missing. The wristband is attached to the face. It can't be removed and replaced. I have a Shark watch I bought a few years ago, but the battery ran out and the heavy black plastic buttons never wanted to work. They seemed to be stuck, or just really hard to push.

Work was crazy-busy today, but they did get in more Domino's Sugar, and there was really no major problems. I bought a battery for the Shark watch and went home.

I didn't know watch batteries took so long to replace! The other reason I held off so long on getting a new battery for the Shark was a screw got stuck in the Shark watch while I tried to take it out. I finally just broke the screw and opened the watch. It took me over an hour to figure out what went where...and by the time I did, I'd realized I hadn't had dinner yet. I ended up having to take the screws out of the Casio and put them in the Shark.

AND I STILL COULDN'T MAKE THE STUPID BUTTONS ON THE SHARK WATCH WORK! I could not figure out how to set the time correctly!

Sigh. I'll just get a cheap watch from Wal Mart or CVS or Eckard's tomorrow before the Eagles game while I try to figure out how to make the Shark work.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sugar, Sugar

A mostly quiet day. I spent the morning adding to lists, working on The Monkee Knight, and editing the many new short stories Lauren and I have worked on for our Monkees Role Play site. I posted the Monkee role-play shorts tonight, including one for next month's not-yet-written story.

Work was mostly dead...but a 4-day coupon sale added up to a 6-hour pain-in-the-rear. The Acme is having a big sale on 5-pound bags of Domino's Sugar this weekend, but we weren't sent nearly enough to meet demand and ran out early, so the store substituted Acme's generic 5-pound bag of sugar. Even with the substitution, some people STILL weren't happy! They wanted rain checks! They actually believed there's a difference between Domino's sugar and every other sugar on the market.

Please. I don't see how. They're all sweet, they all came from canes, and they're all bad for you in large amounts. I'll bet one of my customers was right and Domino's makes Acme's sugar.

And...I decided what I want to do with myself. I'd like to be a children's librarian. I just need to figure out how to go back to school and what to do with myself in the meantime.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Change Would Do Me Good

But how would I continue it? Every time I try to change, everything always goes back to exactly the way it was before.

I move to a new place and a lovely apartment, but I still can't meet people or find a real job that satisfies me. I'm still haunted by the taunts of children and the ignorance of adults.

The thrift shop was a pain today. A stricter boss, a new manager, and some new policies have Erica and many of the regular volunteers in a dither. There are bags of toys and books sitting in the back room that no one has any idea what to do with and are considering throwing out. Yes, it clears out the front room, which WAS getting cluttered, but...most of that stuff isn't in bad shape. Shouldn't it be donated to the Salvation Army?

I'm giving serious consideration to dropping the thrift shop. I still like volunteering there and it looks nice on my resume, but it's not helping me meet people or find a job, which is what I really need to do now. The only thing that volunteering does is get me cheap junk, which I really DON'T need.

I'm going to give up on the Philadelphia bookshop branches as well. I went in Barnes and Noble again today. I wasn't going to go, but I wanted to remind them of my existence and that I desperately need a real job that I can really do without going crazy. I tell them I can do everything but the Cafe; I've never waited before.

What do they tell me? "There's openings in the Cafe."

Were they listening? I'm NOT a waitress! How could the restaurant be the only part of that store where there's openings? Don't they need even one stock person? Or someone to help with kids' programs? Or handle the front registers? I've been getting this same spiel for almost a year now. "Nothing open now. Come back in November/May/August. Come back when business picks up. Come back when the college students are gone." I've been back there many times, and nothing. How can a person apply for a store for over a year without even a hint of interest?

What's wrong with me? What is it about me that makes these people ignore me and my application? I've come to their store many times. I've bought stuff from their store. I've told them my qualifications. They know how badly I want out of the Acme. What do they want? Is it because I'm not a young college student? Is it because I'm not a sophisticated city girl? Do you have to live in Philadelphia to work there?

They've made it quite clear they don't want me. I'll bet I could apply there for a hundred years and be ignored. I'm tired of being rejected.

So...what am I going to do now? I really don't know. I'd like to work in media centers again. I'd like to be a children's librarian. I'd like to show children the magic of books. I want to show girls they can be strong and smart without sacrificing their femininity or relying on external beauty or a man. I want to write exciting stories about strong women; touching stories about overcoming bullies.

All my life, I've been told by friends and family there are things I can't do.

"You can't babysit during the day alone. You couldn't handle it."

"You can't work in a restaurant. You couldn't handle the crowds."

"You can't be a teacher. You can't handle the kids."

"You can't draw. You have poor hand-eye coordination."

If I can't do that and can't handle that...what CAN I handle? What CAN I do? What's possible for me?

All my life, everyone's always said I should be a writer. If I can't be a writer, what else is there?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fall Is Up And Running

I put up the general fall decorations this morning. (The Halloween decorations will go up in about two weeks or so.) I taped all the leaf pictures on the windows in tilted angles that make them look like they're falling. Three large pictures of pumpkins and acorns were taped to empty spots on walls. I had a hard time keeping one up; it seems to be ok now. The display on the bookshelf in my room now has Autumn, the fall "sister" of the five decorative dolls I bought from the thrift shop last year, along with a dollar-store scarecrow and various tiny fake pumpkins and squash. (I'll buy the real versions from the farm market this Saturday.) There's another scarecrow on the dining area table, and a third that Mom made for me hanging on my bedroom door. The felt folk-art pillow from AC Moore is on the door to the back room. There's another little dollar-store folk-art find, a wire with two painted leaves and an acorn, on my bedroom door.

I also watched Samantha: An American Girl Holiday this morning. Not bad for what was basically the six Samantha books and one of her short stories mashed together. Some characters were dropped (notably Nellie's mother; here, she only has a father). Others were changed considerably. (Jessie was originally the seamstress, not a maid.)

There were a lot of things I did like, though. The casting of the kids was great, particularly bratty Eddie Ryskind. (I swear, obnoxious pre-teen boys haven't changed in over 100 years.) The Victorian costumes were lovely. I felt like I was in Cape May during the October Victorian Festival. The girls in the boat house was a sweet touch. There's only one book in Samantha's entire series where she talks about her parents, so it was nice to hear more about them and see Sam's houseful of treasures.

On the other hand, the cutting down of a six book (and short story) series into one movie showed. Some things just seemed to rush into one another, and things happened so fast I can't blame Sam for complaining about it!

I did enjoy it enough to seek out the other two American Girl movies. I'll look for Molly's next. She's my third favorite after Kit (whose movie is coming out next year) and Sam. I'll eventually catch the Felicity movie as well, but I'm more into World War II history than I am Colonial history and would rather do Molly first.

Work was steady-to-dead today, thanks to gorgeous (if somewhat warmer) weather. Between the weather and being between holidays, I'd expected this. It probably won't pick up again outside of Football Sundays until Columbus Day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kids, Books, and Fall

Sorry I forgot to post last night. I did get my dusting and vacuuming finished. I'll put up my general fall decorations tomorrow and sweep the porch sometime later this week, and that should finish the cleaning for this month.

Last night was my 4PM-midnight shift. Busy until around 8:30...after which, everyone cleared out for the Eagles game, and we only had a few customers until closing (and only one was really a problem).

I didn't see the Eagles game, but I heard unkind stories. They lost. Again. Badly. I hope they can get their act together, because the fans are about to mutiny.

Today was my day off, and it was laundry day. I did pilates and watched a double-length Backyardigans episode and a normal Go Diego Go! installment.

The Backyardigans' spoof of the day was James Bond/spy films. Appropriately, the musical genre of the day was slinky 60s Henry Mancini-style jazz. Pablo was the Bond-esque secret agent who likes his apple juice "shaken" (he's a little young for stirred), his clothes snappy, and his cars red, sporty, and filled with gadgets. Tasha was his M; Austin was a fellow agent and master of disguise. Uniqua was the "Lady In Pink," the notorious bad...uh, critter, and Tyrone was her rather befuddled henchmoose. All five were after three containers (really, beverage shakers) with mysterious contents that could, of course, help rule the world! Or at least, the back yard.

While they could have gone for something more imaginative to spoof (come on, everyone and their grandmother's done Bond), the jazzy music and candy-colored 60s-esque visuals more than made up for it. There was a complicated dance sequence towards the end in a jungle temple that was nicely done, too. Cyndi Lauper contributed Uniqua's big number.

Go Diego Go! was somewhat more conventional, although it was once again Alicia and not an animal being rescued. Lina the Llama helped Diego bring a load of books to a library Alicia was setting up over a mountain. Along the way, they encountered several other animals who want to borrow books (including the mischievous monkeys the Bobo Brothers, Diego's versions of Swiper the Fox) and taught the viewers more about llamas. I wish Dora would play with format changes more often - she could really use it after more than seven years on the air.

TCM wasn't as exciting today. They ran two Greta Garbo melodramas while I was there, Anna Karenia and Susan Lennox: Her Rise and Fall. I've heard they're good movies, but I wanted something lighter, so I went with Green Acres on TV Land instead. Not my favorite sitcom, but Eva Gabor beats talk shows and soap operas.

After a quick return to put my laundry away and do dishes (I had lunch at Uncle Ken's), I headed to the library for this week's volunteer session there. I finished organizing the mystery shelves and even found three more I want to read - the new Daisy Daryrumple book, the second Maisie Dobbs story (I just loved Maisie but had trouble finding more of the series in Cape May County), and the 60s-set mystery Blue Moon. It's about time I tried some new authors and tracked down a few older ones I haven't read in a while.

(Oh, and I finished The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers last night and returned it. While not as disappointing as Lillian Jackson Braun's last efforts, it wasn't quite right, either. She could have thought of a less sensational way to make changes in Qwill's life, and none of the arson was ever adequately explained.)

I also took out more Backyardigans and Samantha: An American Girl on DVD. "Cops and Robots" (space cops Tyrone and Uniqua chase bad 'bots Tasha and Pablo to the tune of jug band music) was my favorite, though "Movers of Arabia" (movers Uniqua and Pablo try to transport Sultan Tyrone's magical stuff without heavy reliance on Genie Austin's three wishes and groove to surf music) wins points for originality.

I checked out a few stores on the way home. Didn't buy anything at the overpriced costume store (though Matt of X-Entertainment would have drooled over some of the huge skulls and grim reapers and massive displays of slasher mannequins), but I picked up a cute, folksy fall-themed hanging felt pillow embroidered with the words "sharing" from AC Moore and a fake white pumpkin, a small figurine of Maleficent of the Disney Sleeping Beauty, and a fall-themed broom door hanging from Dollar Tree. I also tried a little bit of a Chocolate Mocha Kit-Kat bar. It was really good, with just the right hint of coffee. Dollar Tree always has great "limited edition" candy bar flavors you won't see in stores.

The rest of the week should be much quieter. I'm still deciding whether or not to go into Philadelphia after thrift shop volunteering on Thursday. I need to remind Barnes and Noble and Borders of my presence, but I've had a long and rough couple of weeks and it's been a while since I've had even half-a-day to just lounge around.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Almost Autumn

A cool, gusty, glorious day in Southern New Jersey, with blue skies, winds blowing, and daytime temperatures barely reaching 70. Even now, it's so chilly in my apartment, I have my slippers on, a knitted shawl around my shoulders, and all the windows and door shut. I'm contemplating putting the fan away, but it's really too early. We'll probably have a few more days of hot weather before this is the norm.

Spent the morning working on editing some stories and listening to the Beatles on WOGL, the first time I've been able to in almost a month. The Acme was crazy-busy today, despite the Eagles game being tomorrow night. I guess I wasn't the only one who wanted to get out while the weather was nice. No real problems other than a continuing lack of help and the lines were massively long all day, even when I left at 5.

I treated myself to a trip to FYE after work. I got there just in time to pick up two items I've been wanting and one more, two of which are replacing older VHS copies. I'm not a big fan of superheroes, but I thought Wonder Woman: The Complete First Season looked like fun, especially with the original retro World War II setting. I've only watched one episode, but it WAS cute Wonder Woman searches for a saboteur in a beauty pageant. The villains aren't the most imaginative (mostly Nazis or saboteurs), but Lynda Carter's a great Wonder Woman and the special effects aren't too cheesy.

The other two are replacing videos. I finally got the original theatrical Return of the Jedi on DVD so I can send my Original Trilogy videos to my mother, who says she's still watching the copies we taped off of cable over 20 years ago! (Now I just need to pick up Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones on disc, but I'm not as fond of them and am in no hurry.)

The other one is the widescreen special edition of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," one of the weirdest and most fun musicals ever made. It's the colorful tale of an eccentric inventor in Edwardian England, his children, his father, his wealthy girlfriend...and the former race car that may or may not have amazing powers. The movie's biggest problem is length (it's so long, my sisters and I usually watched it in two parts when we rented it as kids) and a serious identity crisis. This movie can't decide if it wants to be a musical fantasy, a dark comedy, or a fluffy period-set family musical.

On the other hand, the cast is good (including Dick Van Dyke as the inventor, stage favorite Sally Ann Howes as his odd-named girlfriend Truly Scrumptious, and Benny Hill as a toymaker), the music (except for one ballad for Howes near the middle that's so bad it stops the film cold) excellent, and while the story isn't much like the original Ian Fleming children's book (which I've read), it's not like any other musical on the market, either, including Mary Poppins.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Night's All Right For Writin'

I awoke to rain; not a good thing, since today is Farm Market Day and I wanted to get an early start so I could make it to the market and the bank before volunteering. Thankfully, the rain ended around 8:30-9AM, with enough time for me to get to both places and only be a little late. I dressed in the usual shorts, sneakers, and a blouse and headed out...only to head back in five seconds later for a sweater, because sometime between midnight and 9AM, it got COLD outside!

By the time I made it to the farm market, the sky was a brilliant blue, the clouds were reduced to a few fleecy bits, and the air was warm but not deadly-hot like last week, with a hint of spicy, woodburning fall. It was the perfect backdrop for the farm market, which, despite the earlier storm, was packed. The blackberries were gone, but I saw the first pumpkins and squash of the season, and spinach was back. I eventually bought peaches, the new Gingergold apples (they look light lighter versions of Golden Delicious), a bag of baby spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and celery.

When I made it to the thrift shop today, it was not only busy, but full. We've had huge donations of everything under the sun over the past few months. I spent most of the morning putting sweaters on the right hangers (the tube ones wreck their shape). I went through a bag of the most adorable baby clothes in the afternoon. There were lots of frilly little girl dresses, pastel pants, and cat or pony-embroidered corduroy overalls. Most of the clothes seemed like they came from the 80s. Some of the pants and dresses were really, really stretched out or stiff, like they'd been put away for a very long time. I recognized the style of the dresses as the same ruffly, high-necked frocks that were popular during my early childhood. There was some Care Bear shirts in there, and they looked like the originals. (Shame they were all in lousy shape...)

My best finds today were two baskets full of Beanie Babies of all shapes, sizes, colors, and animal breeds. Diane said some lady brought them in when she couldn't give them away to local hospitals (too many germs) or to an eBay trader (too many on the market). I bought three bears (two realistic and a St Patrick-themed one for my spring displays), a realistic-looking rabbit for my living room display, and two as presents for friends.

I also picked up three records (Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and Born In The U.S.A and a slinky 60s jazz album, Satin Affair), a bunch of children's books for my little nephew and cousin, and one of those 80s girl's dresses for Carrie, my Cabbage Patch Doll. It's really too big for her, but the elastic on the collar and cuffs is gone and it just would have ended up in the Salvation Army bag.

I wanted to start cleaning when I got home, but by the time I finally got in, I was bushed. I've been working hard and on the go for over three weeks, something that's great but I'm not used to anymore. The most I did this evening was talk to my mother. She's also tired, but otherwise fine. She's been clearing out the old house and working on painting the new one all week, and the new house was darn hot with all the windows taped against the paint and no air conditioning.

She did send up some pictures and my field hockey jacket with my sister Rose. I tried to get a hold of her tonight but got her cell phone. It's Saturday; she's more than likely at work. I'll try again tomorrow or Monday.

Lauren and I have been working on a series of short stories for the role play. They're intended to fill in gaps in the timeline between main stories...and because we enjoy writing them. We just finished one tonight; look for two sometime early this week!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Clean As A Whistle

Started this month's cleaning today. I had to put it off last week because of my heavy work schedule, but it looks like it's slowing down a bit. I did the kitchen and the bathroom today. Both were disgusting. I didn't do as well as I wanted, since I did have work today and didn't have the time, but I got enough done to last until next month, by which time I'll hopefully have the chance to do some real scrubbing.

Work was busy, right up until I left. It's Friday, and like me, many people are getting Labor Day holiday paychecks.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cut and Paste

I had an early and long day at work. It was on-and-off busy, and I'm still catching up on sleep from my two midnight shifts. (Those new older cashiers had BETTER start soon!)

I did do one useful thing for once, though. A manager asked me to cut out pictures and scan codes for bulk items she'll string onto clips and hang at each register so cashiers don't have to try to type in numbers or bend over and use the scan wand and customers don't have to try to haul 24 packs of soda or water onto the counter! I spent about an hour or so between customers snipping each slip. Considering my poor hand-eye coordination, it didn't come out too badly. I guess my cutting is finally getting better.
More American Girls!

Yay! Julie, the new 70s American Girl, now has a doll, along with her best friend Chinese-American Ivy.

Um...while the girls themselves are as cute and perky as the other American Girl dolls and I love the idea of sporty Julie have bleachers instead of a desk, I'm afraid the dolls are hampered by one historical detail that can't be gotten around. I've always found 70s fashion to be a bit, um, ugly. Her crushed velvet Christmas outfit is a good example. The jumper itself is nice enough, but I hope those tights the doll in the picture is wearing aren't really pea green!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Surprise, Surprise

A fairly pleasant surprise today - seems I wrote my schedule down wrong on my wipe board and was only supposed to work 12PM to 5PM today instead of 12PM to 7PM. I THOUGHT seven hours seemed a little strange. Good thing, too. I was up late last night and was dead tired by the time 5'o clock rolled around. Thank goodness work was steady-to-dead for most of the night and was just starting to pick up a little bit when I left!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And On A More Somber Note

A quiet elegy for those who passed in the bombings of the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the passengers in the planes that hit them (or almost hit).
No Swimming

Last night didn't go as well as my midnight shift did last week. We were busy all night - we still has big orders at midnight! - and I was dead tired.

I slept in and went somewhat late to Uncle Ken's to do the laundry. It may have been just as well. It rained on and off all morning, sometimes heavily. I spent the whole morning inside. It was strange. Uncle Ken was outside (when it wasn't pouring) closing down and covering the pool area. Dad was at work (where he'll be for 2 1/2 weeks), and Jessa was at school. Uncle Ken's girlfriend Dolores came by briefly with her grandson Blake, but for the most part, it was me, the book I'm reading, and the TV.

I got lucky and caught some good shows today. TCM was having a morning Broadway movie musicals marathon; caught the last 20 minutes or so of My Fair Lady (from "Get Me To The Church On Time" onwards) and parts of Guys And Dolls. Neither are the best adaptations of a Broadway musical ever (Lady tends to be long and ponderous; Dolls lost some music and has casting problems), but they're both a lot of fun in their own right, and I got to see some of the best parts. I've always loved Lady's uproarious music hall numbers for Eliza's dad, and when's the next time I'll get to see Jean Simmons more than hold her own in a bar room brawl in Havana (and doing better than Marlon Brando)?

Uniqua, the pink bug-like tomboy of The Backyardigans, also wanted to prove her mettle this morning. In a big band/swing-fueled medieval fantasy, Queen Tasha sends Uniqua the Pink on a mission to bring a letter to King Austin. On the way, she meets Tyrone of the Misty Woods and Guardian Of The Gate Pablo, who aid and abet her on her way to King Austin's castle. The story was cute, and I LOVED the swing, not to mention admired Miss Uniqua's pluck and her encouragement of her male companions. (A scene in a "stinky swamp" did go on too long, but that may have to do with the main audience's fondness for jokes about nasty smells.)

(And interestingly, I discovered from that this was The Backyardigans's pilot episode.)

The Dora The Explorer episode was more typical - Dora and her monkey buddy Boots help an adorable little crab get a seashell necklace to his mother. Nothing you haven't seen in the show before, but it WAS fun to pretend to "move like a crab," and that baby crab was just such a cutie!

Go Diego Go! tried for something a little more out-of-the-ordinary. Instead of profiling one jungle animal, Diego covered four very different ones as he crosses various terrain in order to help his big sister with some sick penguins. Diego tends to be more action-oriented than Dora, and it succeeds in this episode - the ride over the mountain by llama was my favorite!

And yes, I was correct in thinking my swim last week would be my last of the year. As I mentioned, Uncle Ken started closing the pool area yesterday. It'll be warm here probably well into November, but not warm enough at night to keep the pool temperature bearable. With the kids in school and many adults concentrating more heavily on work or other pursuits, there's less time for lounging around the pool, too. It's a shame...but life and seasons roll on. The pool will be open again next June. I'll just find other ways to work out and other things to do while the laundry's going.

I waited a while after I got back from doing the laundry before heading over to the library to finally do my first day's volunteering at the Haddon Township Branch. The rain had stopped only an hour before, and the library was surprisingly quiet. I organized the travel books section and the mysteries, ironically some of the books I know the most about. I don't know why Pat, the woman in charge of the volunteers, said the job could be tiring; I would have stuck around longer if I hadn't wanted to drop by Super Fresh really quick and get dinner!

There's three options for dinner in the area around the Library besides the two fast food joints. I opted for the only one I'd never tried before, Nick and Joe's Pizzeria in the Westmont Plaza across from the Library, next to Friendly's. I had a Chicken Broccoli Wrap, Raspberry Iced Tea, and French fries, and boy, were they all good! They were delivered hot and fresh, and they tasted soooo delicious, warm and toasty and dripping with spicy teriyaki sauce. The waitress seemed a bit tired, but her smile was wide when I praised the food. I'll definitely be going back there.

Monday, September 10, 2007

And The Rain, Rain, Rain REALLY Came Down, Down, Down

Holy cow! I just went outside to get my mail (just the phone bill) and bring my landlady her newspapers (lazy people who deliver them can't get out of their cars to bring them to the porch of a very old woman who can't bend over). I was right - it really, REALLY rained out there! How did I know I was right? My recycling bucket, which was barely a quarter full, was overflowing with water, to the point where several items were floating and some had fallen out! I managed to get the water out, and it was so heavy, it must have taken me at least five minutes.
And The Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down Down

We've had clouds on and off here since Saturday, and they finally burst just a half-hour ago. The rain fell hard and fast, a good thing because we're back to needing it. We haven't had a good solid rain shower since that one week of nasty weather. I'm glad it chose my late work day to rain in the morning, too. I wasn't planning on going anywhere major today until my midnight shift. (Though I do need to bring Miss Ellie her newspapers...)

I'm going to try to start cleaning once I finish here. I'm not sure what I'm doing tomorrow besides laundry - I need to call the Camden County Library about volunteering.

Oh, and as you may have guessed, I have the midnight shift today, so I won't be on tonight.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Not An Auspicious Beginning

What a long day. I forgot to set my alarm clock last night and woke up over an hour later than I planned, barely making it to work at 9:30AM. Work was completely insane the moment I arrived. Sundays are always crazy, even outside of the football season, but the Acme's having these huge 10 for $10 sales and the place was completely mobbed today. Good thing I did my grocery shopping on Friday. It was busy even after the Eagles game started. The store was only just starting to clear out when I left at 2:30.

I rode straight over to Uncle Ken's to watch the first Philadelphia Eagles game of the season against the Green Bay Packers. Uncle Ken's a huge Eagles fan and holds big parties during every daytime game. Most of the family in the area and a lot of neighbors drop by. The place was packed when I came in. My biological father's girlfriend Jodie immediately offered a hot ham sandwich and cold drinks, both of which I needed badly. I was starving, and it's still hot as heck out there.

The game wasn't nearly as nice as the food and company. Both the Eagles and the Packers played badly; the Packers won, barely.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Too Darn Hot

Ugh. It's gotten hot again. Not even stifling-humid like in late July and August. It's just been plain HOT. I spent most of yesterday running errands, including a much-needed big paycheck from last week's near-40 hours. Got my schedule, too. One really late night (Monday) and really early day (Thursday), both long days. Other than that, nothing too bad. Hopefully, some new recruits and transfers coming in should take care of the late nights.

I'm going to spend this week trying to restock my kitchen and catch up on my cleaning. I bought some basic pantry items (like chicken broth and salad dressing) yesterday, and picked up more honey and fruit butter (apple this time) at the Farm Market this morning, along with peaches, apples, and blackberries. I need to call the Camden County Library about volunteering, too.

I was off work yesterday; it was on-and-off today, steady but not too bad. Everyone will probably be in tomorrow before the big NFL Opening Day game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers. I'll thankfully be able to watch the second half at my uncle's. (There are some advantages to early work.)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I Just Can't Wait To Be King

I did my volunteering and had my counseling appointment today. The thrift shop was packed, with people and with STUFF! There were apparently some massive donations on Tuesday, including giant boxes of stuffed animals and children's books. I bought three Golden Books for me (the classic version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and a more modern "Nutcracker," along with an adorable 50s-looking "Mickey Mouse's Picnic") and two Golden Books each for my 3-year-old nephew Skylar and 2-year-old cousin Karen. Children should learn the magic of Golden Books early.

I also picked up two American Girls books for myself ("Meet Kirsten" and "Addy Learns A Lesson") and learned at Borders in Philadelphia there's a brand-new American Girl - Julie, a tough, sassy, basketball-loving girl who joins the boys' team in 1974 San Fransisco. Julie looks cool - I can't wait until they put out more books and the dolls for her!

I also discovered a few weeks ago that not only is the next American Girls movie for my favorite of all the historical characters, Kit, but it'll be released to the big screen instead of to TV like the first three. AND it stars Abigail Breslin, who was so wonderful in "Little Miss Sunshine" last year. I don't care if I'm the oldest girl in the theater - I'll be first in line!

(Ooh, and they still have the paper dolls! I miss my American Girls paper dolls. I had Samantha and Molly and shared Addy with my sister Anny. I wonder how weird it would look for a 28-year-old woman to be buying paper dolls...)

I was more frugal with the stuffed animals. As much as I love stuffed animals, my bed's getting a little crowded! However, I couldn't resist an adorable pair of Simba and Nala toys whose noses are magnetized to make them look like they're "kissing."

Counseling went better than it did a few weeks ago, mostly because I actually showed up on time. Scott and I talked about my frustrations over my job hunt and long hours, and about Mom and Dad's move impending move and my fears of spending the holidays alone.

I tried to make my Philadelphia trip quick this time, but I couldn't help lingering at Borders. I was better in Barnes and Noble. I just ate at the cafe on the second floor, filled out an application, and told the girl at the information desk that I really, really wanted a job there and was desperate to get out of my current job. She seemed really nice, especially after I told her it's been almost a year since I put in my first application for that store with no luck. She said she'd put my application on the top of the pile.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

See You In September...6th

Quiet day today. I spent the morning and early afternoon watching Sailor Moon episodes with my adopted stepsister Jessa, then went for a much-needed swim while my laundry was in the dryer. The water was cold, but not too bad, in the mid-70s according to the water thermometer tied to the metal steps on the deep end. This will probably be one of my last swims of the year. If memory serves me correctly, Bruce and Ken finally closed the pool area towards the end of September-beginning of October last year.

Oh, and I won't be on tonight. I have long, late work, from 4PM to 12AM, and I'll be straight to bed after that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Just Plain Tired

This is going to be really quick. I was called in to work today, and ended up working for eight and a half hours instead of four and a half hours. I know, I need the money and I should be grateful...but I'm not used to working for eight hours almost every day anymore, and not only am I dead tired, but my knee hurts like hell. Doesn't help that work was busy for most of the day, too, probably because it's the beginning of the month and people are still using food stamps and social security checks...and if it's not that, they're buying their first "school-night dinner" orders since June.

Monday, September 03, 2007

After The Boys Of Summer Have Gone

Well, that's it, folks. Today's Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer in the US (and, I believe, Canada). All and all, it wasn't the best summer of my life, but it was better than last year. The knee injury wasn't quite as nasty, we had fewer long stretches of very hot weather, and I mostly had better hours at the Acme.

Best Of Summer: My vacation in New England (still fun even with the rain) and seeing the wonderfully energetic Hairspray with Lauren during that vacation.

My ride to Haddon Heights a couple of weeks ago.

The fat-free, sugar free Only 8 frozen yogurt Leo's Yum-Yums on West Clinton Avenue carried (get the chocolate-peanut butter when it's available before they close in October). Buying ice cream on Memorial Day brought back a lot of memories I detailed in that day's entry.

Swimming in Uncle Ken's pool while my laundry was in the dryer.

My nephew Skylar's third birthday party.

Finally getting a new record player and being able to play records again.

Worst Of Summer: Another damn knee injury. While not as nasty as the one I had last year (and the knee was the only thing seriously hurt this time), it was still a literal pain, severely restricted many of my activities in July and early August, and remains sore.

The Fourth Of July was a literal and figurative washout. Early work kept me away from the parades and other major morning and early afternoon activities, and while the fireworks were nice, getting caught in a downpour going to CVS to watch them and in an even worse one walking home was not.

Though we didn't have as many long stretches of intense heat and humidity this year, they still popped up from time to time, the worst in late July and early August.

The fracas with the phone company in late July.

My knee injury, vacation, lack of funds, and weird hours at the Acme kept me away from volunteering and day trips for much of the summer.

I hope your Labor Day was a great one, folks. I spent the majority of mine working (long day, very busy - lines out to the aisles, otherwise no major problems) and doing the role play with Lauren before she went to watch wrestling. Look for our newest Monkees role-play story sometime next week!

Oh, and my mom's sending me something she found at her house I haven't seen in years - my old high school field hockey jacket. It was one of the few things from her house I didn't take with me when I moved. I thought she was still using it. Oh, well, I'll be happy to take it. It'll be nice for walks and rides to work in fall and spring, when it's too warm for my heavy jackets and too cool to go without some covering.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

All Summer Long

Thank goodness after last week's humid and gloomy weather Mother Nature decided to make Labor Day Weekend gorgeous. Today was as perfect as can be, no humidity and normal lower-mid 80s temperatures.

Work was busy but fast, with no problems other than long lines that are probably unavoidable on a major holiday weekend. I treated myself to a chocolate peanut butter fat-free, sugar-free frozen yogurt from Leo's Yum Yums around the corner after I got off. Good thing I did it today, instead of waiting until tomorrow like I originally planned - they're apparently closed tomorrow. (That's a surprise - they were opened for Memorial Day.)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Go Where You Wanna Go

Celebrated the first day of September and the return of great, normal dry late-summer weather with a quick farm market trip this morning. Didn't see any blackberries, so I assume they're done for the season, but I did pick up bananas from a wholesaler, peaches, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, small Gala apples, and yellow squash.

Work was busy, with no major problems beyond that "lack of help" thing that will probably continue throughout the weekend and into next week as the kids return to school and people who don't have kids go on vacation. It should be busy for most of this week. Even after people do their Labor Day barbecues, parents will be buying kids school lunches and big after-school dinners, and everyone else will be using beginning-of-the-month money.

Oh, except for one thing. A woman got angry at me when I asked her about under the cart. Allow me to repeat what I wrote a few months ago...