Wednesday, October 31, 2007

H-A-Double L-O-W-Double E-N Spells Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I went to work as a black cat today, in my black jeans, a black wool shirt I got from the thrift shop last year (thank goodness I had it - it was long enough to cover a few bleach spots on the jeans I forgot were there), the black cat ears and bow from Wal-Mart (I wore the bow in my hair instead of around my neck - it looked silly on my neck), and a long tail leftover from a rat costume for a high school play.

The five customers we had tonight said I looked really cute. Yes, we were THAT dead tonight, pardon the phrase. Halloween is ALWAYS dead at the grocery store. I've never worked a Halloween that was busy. It was somewhat steady when I arrived at 1:30, but by the time I left at 6:30, most of the staff (generally teenagers - the adults probably took their kids trick-or-treating) were chatting and teasing each other about their costumes...or lack thereof. We had an older woman who was a 50s bobby-soxer, a cowgirl, a fairy (in a rather skimpy costume for work - even SHE complained it was too cold), Batgirl, a 60s go-go girl, one girl in a death-metal T-shirt and ripped jeans who claimed she was dressed as her brother, a boy in a Philadelphia Eagles jersey, and two older women in Halloween sweaters. I saw a couple of trick-or-treaters coming home, too.

I had to walk to CVS this morning to get the makeup for my costume...and in general. I very rarely wear make-up, and I realized last year that I'd had some of my make-up since high school and it was time to get rid of it. Problem was, I discovered last night I'd forgotten to replace it and only had a tube of lipstick and some blusher left, which was NOT going to make me a cat.

I'm actually glad I did go for that walk. Today was just gorgeous, upper 60s, sunny and breezy, probably a tad too warm for this time of year but not ridiculously so like earlier in the month. An absolutely perfect day for Halloween. It was so nice, I went for a quick stroll in the park next-door to me after I got back from CVS. (It was also much nicer than Halloween for the past two years, which has been humid and in the mid-upper 70s.)

I've always had mixed feelings about trick-or-treating. My sisters and I grew up in Cape May, New Jersey, a small seaside resort whose year-round population is primarily made up of aging millionaires and elderly retired couples spread around the island. We often spent the three hours of trick-or-treating trooping halfway across town just to find houses still open for the season, much less ones that gave out candy.

On the other hand, living in a town whose population was mostly either rich or elderly or both had it's advantages. In addition to candy, the elderly folks would often admit they hadn't been prepared for trick-or-treaters and shower us with huge candy bars and packs of gum, change in all denominations, candy apples, small plastic toys and trinkets, and one memorable year, children's books. (I grabbed one "Star Wars" picture book out of a bunch. I was in the midst of my "Star Wars" obsession phase and was picking up a lot of flack about it at the time.)

My mother is a wonderful seamstress, so our costumes were always home-made. While my sisters loved to come up with crazy, difficult ideas (Rose was the Invisible Man one years - we joked about her wire leash "invisible dog" Fido for years), to this day, I prefer my costumes simple. I've been a pirate, a flapper (twice - once as a kid and in 2004), a gypsy, a bride, a butterfly, a hula dancer, Winnie the Pooh, a princess, a queen (I told you my costumes weren't that imaginative), a fairy, an angel, and a cowgirl (also twice, once as a kid and in 2005 - I still have the comfy navy corduroy vest Mom made for the original cowgirl costume!). (Incidentally, the pirate, bride, and butterfly costumes were passed down to my sisters over the years and ultimately ended up in our dress-up basket.)

Cape May had (and may still have) a Halloween parade the weekend before Halloween. Every year from probably the mid-80s through high school, my sisters and I joined the festivities. The parade was mostly people in costumes, small floats, and local bands and "celebrities." The route went from the Victorian Gazebo in the small park behind the Washington Street Mall down Washington Street to the Physic Estate Grounds and Park, where refreshments and the costume and float judging took place. My sisters actually won awards for many years (sometimes first place), but I never did and never really cared. Just walking along as part of a parade, dancing and waving to all the sightseers, was enough of a thrill for me. In fact, the parade was usually the highlight of my Halloween, more so than trick-or-treating. There was a small parade at school, too.

I watched two classic Halloween specials this morning, along with a horror-oriented episode of The Monkees. No Halloween is complete without showings of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Garfield's Halloween Adventure. Linus' misadventures in the pumpkin patch has literally entertained generations of Halloween-lovers, and while Garfield and Odie's spooky nautical trick-or-treating tale isn't quite as well-known, it's a lot of fun, with some genuinely scary moments via scary ghost pirates coming after their treasure.

I had four Monkees horror-themed episodes to choose from. I opted for "Monstrous Monkee Mash," from the middle of the second season. It's pretty much a typical second season romp. Davy encounters a vampiress who, along with her uncle Dracula and the Wolf Man and the Mummy, have designs on the Monkees, and it's up to sensible Texan Mike Nesmith to come to their rescue. Like most second season episodes, it makes no sense and has practically no ending, but it also has it's moments; Micky and Mike are especially funny here. ("He's really biting my hand, you know." "That was my medium scare.")

Micky Dolenz also showed up in a B grindhouse horror/suspense flick Lauren sent me, Night of the Strangler, that I'd saved for Halloween night. He was actually pretty good in it, and for all the 70s cheesiness, it had a nice twist that kept me riveted until the very end.

I'm currently listening to the very last track of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom of the Opera. I always listen to Phantom Halloween night, after the trick-or-treaters are done. It was a tradition I began in high school when I didn't have much else I could watch or listen to that felt Halloween-y. I'm glad I got the full, two-disc CD this year. Now I can listen to the whole story and ever bit of romantic, spooky musical melodrama.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You Do Something To Me

Today was laundry day. Turner Classic Movies concluded it's month-long biopic theme with movies about jazz and big band composers and performers. I spent most of the morning while the laundry was running enjoying Night and Day, the sort-of biography of debonair composer Cole Porter from 1946. Some of it was more accurate than most reviews led me to expect. Cole Porter did go to Yale and Harvard to become a lawyer, did marry a fellow wealthy member of his smart set he was devoted to, Linda, was close friends with character actor Monty Woolley, and sadly, did end up with paralyzed legs after a horseback riding accident and was constantly in surgery in the late 30s.

In real life, though, Porter didn't really care about making Broadway shows. He did grow up wealthy, but was apparently something of a dilettante, which probably explains why, though he got songs published as early as his teens, he didn't have his first genuine Broadway hit until 1928. Even today, his songs are sometimes censored for recordings and movies. He was also a closet homosexual - when he and Linda have marital problems midway through the film, if you know anything about Porter, you start to suspect it isn't female flesh Linda should be worrying about him having his eye on. Historians have questioned his World War I military service for years, too, though they do agree he wasn't wounded.

Actually, my biggest disappointment with this film was with the lifeless musical numbers. Despite all of the wonderful songs from Porter's early career, it feels as icy as Alexis Smith's demeanor. When Cary Grant sits down at a piano and shares a delectable "You're the Top" with radio singer Ginny Simms, it's all pure fun, but the bigger musical numbers, especially ballads, often come off as arty and just plain pretentious. Jane Wyman has some fun comic bits (especially all the millionaires she drags around in a running gag), but is only a so-so singer, and Simms is no actress.

On the other hand, Porter loved Cary Grant as him, and who am I to disagree with him? I thought this was one of Grant's better performances. Shame he didn't do more musicals. Eve Arden was odd but quite funny in a short role as a French(?) chanteuse.

The biggest irony is that, for all the hoopla about Porter's career in this film, his greatest triumphs and sorrows were ahead of him. His career was revived two years later with the Broadway musical Kiss Me Kate; he would go on to do the Broadway shows Out Of This World, Can-Can, and Silk Stocking, and the original movie musicals The Pirate, High Society, and Les Girls. Unfortunately, Porter never really got to enjoy his rebirth. Linda, of whom he was supposedly very fond of in real-life, died in I believe the 50s, and he finally lost one of his legs later in the decade and spent the last years of his life in pain and seclusion.

Work was steady-to-dead, no major problems, and should continue to be so tomorrow. Halloween is not a really big holiday for grocery stores. We won't pick up again until after Veteran's Day.

I also watched three horror-oriented sitcom episodes this morning, two Perfect Strangers eps and one from Remember WENN. The first of the two Strangers episodes, the fourth season's "Aliens," was the only one to outright deal with Halloween. Larry holds a Halloween party to watch a horror movie marathon, but everyone else (including Balki) eventually drops out, leaving Larry alone with his movies and popcorn. He eventually has the second of three nightmare sequences that turned up on the show, here dreaming that Balki is an alien from the planet Mypos who has come to invade the Earth.

"Fright Night," from the seventh and last full season, was a tad more generic. Balki is excited when neighbors reveal their new home is haunted, but Larry doesn't believe him, as usual...until the ghost actually comes out of hiding. And yes, Balki, Elvis is really dead.

The staff of Pittsburgh radio station WENN also finds themselves handling ghosts in "The Ghost of WENN" from the third season. Soap opera diva Hilary Booth is targeted by an unseen poltergeist who has an odd thing for cranberry jelly. Meanwhile, the rest of WENN has varied reactions as they put on a spooky ghost story with some rather frightening back history.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Autumn Blue and Gold

It was an absolutely gorgeous, chilly fall day today, upper 50s-lower 60s, chilly, slightly windy, and sunny as could be. I spent the morning running errands. Returned two books that were due to the Haddon Township Library (I won't have the chance to do actual volunteering until Thursday), bought milk and an inexpensive copy of "The Nutcracker" on CD from Super Fresh, and stopped at a small floral shop on the corner of Cuthbert Road and the White Horse Pike for a medium-sized pumpkin and some ornamental gourds to replace the pumpkin and gourd that went bad during the heat wave we had earlier in the month. (That floral shop is a really nice little place; Phillies fans can still get a lot of collectible stuff there, and there's lawn decorations and banners in addition to flowers, shrubs, and seasonal items. I may check out their fresh greenery at Christmas, since I liked their pumpkin prices.)

Spent most of the remaining day online. Applied to the FYE behind the Acme in Audubon (I spend so much time there anyway, the kids behind the desk are starting to know me on sight) and to the big Chestnut Street Staples in Center City Philadelphia.

Work was quiet when I came in around 2:30, steady-to-busy starting at 4:30; nothing unusual for a Monday.
For Lauren and New Englanders

This one's for you, Lauren. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for their World Series win! :D

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pretty Eagles All In A Row

Yay, the Philadelphia Eagles FINALLY won a game! They walloped the Minnesota Vikings 23-16, in a game I didn't get to see, of course, because I was at work! I'm assuming it was busy all weekend because this is, technically, a holiday weekend. Yeah, I know, no one has off for Halloween or will be desperately trying to visit relatives or set up a feast, but from the sheer numbers of cake, cupcakes, bags of candy, and tubs of ice cream bought, there were a LOT of Halloween parties this weekend, and parties at work and school will probably continue through the middle of the week.

Otherwise, nothing major today. Listened to the Beatles on WOGL this morning, watched the original Ghostbusters and one of the Real Ghostbusters episodes that came with Ghostbusters II DVD this evening during a dinner of home-made Chicken Soup and Wheat Noodles.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Silver Lining

The sun FINALLY came out for good early this afternoon...right after I called Uncle Ken for a ride to work, of course. It poured almost the entire morning. I spent it watching Saturday morning cartoons, eating wheat pancakes (Aunt Jemima wheat pancake mix rocks), and doing Pilates.

Work was busy, which I expected, this being the Saturday before one of the year's most popular holidays. Probably about half my orders were for cakes, cupcakes, and party trays, which I also expected. What I didn't expect was a lot of obnoxious people fussing about how to bag things, including the return of that ridiculous woman with the frizzy hair! And this in the EXPRESS line! I wish people would have a heart and just bag themselves away from the line if they don't like how I or the bagger do it, especially when there's a line.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Not A Fit Night Out For Man Nor Raccoon

Awww. One of the raccoons I saw on my porch a few months ago seems to have chosen the area near the roof, under one of my bedroom windows, as a nice, quiet place to get out of the still-coming-down rain. As long as he doesn't scratch up my house too bad, doesn't pick on any squirrels, and stays out of my trash, he's more than welcome. Not even a raccoon deserves to be out on a night like this!
Water, Water, Everywhere

Mother Nature must have read that article on drought conditions across America on Yahoo!News tonight, because it's REALLY coming down out there, and has been since about 1:30PM. Actually, no matter how dry it's gotten here, it's never been as bad as down in the Carolinas and Georgia, where they have major water restrictions. We've had several big storms and thunderstorms in the last few months.

It was an ultimately frustrating day. I went to Staples to buy CDs and inquire about jobs, and it turns out they just hired several people and don't need more. I'll apply to other stores, but the Audubon one is the closest and I was really hoping to find something nearby. Yet another dead end.

I bought CD-RWs to copy everything onto...and it turns out you can't edit on THEM either. Sigh. Until I can figure out something better, everything I need to edit is on the hard drive. I'm just afraid of losing work that dates back to college.

On the other hand, I dropped by FYE quick again before I hit Staples. Not only did they have It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown this time, but it turned out to be on sale for about $8.50, much to my surprise and delight, since this wasn't mentioned anywhere on the case or the shelves. As I told the girl behind the counter, Great Pumpkin is the closest I get to celebrating Halloween, since I hate horror movies. The Great Pumpkin DVD also comes with the rarely-seen Peanuts Election Day special You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, a fun spoof of 70s-era politics and school elections.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Everyone Says Don't

I ended up compromising. It was a gloomy, damp, chilly day...but it never rained harder than a nice, steady sprinkle. I picked up a ride from Uncle Ken and his girlfriend Dolores going to Collingswood and walked back. Actually, I would have turned down the ride, but one of the things I've wanted to do for a while is bring two big bags of unnecessary junk to the Friends In Deed Thrift Shop in Collingswood where I used to volunteer. The bags were too heavy to take on the bike...but whatever else it was, this definitely was NOT a bike day. It's only about a 20-30 minute walk anyway, longer than biking it but not too horrible.

I took today off for counseling, which I made it to on time. Scott complimented me on the weight I've lost and my good mood. I told him about applying for Staples and everything that's happened recently with work and trying to gain enough confidence to meet more people and send out more of my stories.

I'm really nervous about doing freelance work. I'm not sure I'm really all that GOOD, I've never done any ad writing or contract work or editing, and I haven't written for a newspaper since college. People want EXPERIENCE. I sent my stories out once, but I thought a woman's e-zine would be interested in girls' stories, which was silly - of course, they're not. I'm just not sure of what I can do, and all that formatting is such a pain! Double-space this, put this up there, include that! I know I'll never remember it all.

I stopped in a little coffee shop in Collingswood, the Tree House Cafe, for delicious hot cocoa with (canned) whipped topping and a piping hot cup of Hearty Pumpkin Spice Soup (which tasted rather like spicy pumpkin and onion soup with huge onion and pumpkin pieces and not nearly as bad of a combination as it sounds). Though the Cafe is a popular spot for poetry readings and local musicians, only a pair of teenagers just out of the high school down the street, a father and his adorable toddler son, and a few chatting friend-pairs joined me for a late lunch.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. I did Pilates and made a simple but hearty dinner of Mashed Sweet Potatoes, a chicken thigh, and steamed green beans. They turned on the DSL signal for Verizon, but haven't sent the DSL modem - I'll have to wait until tomorrow to set up my new browser.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainy Day Blues

Darn it. I awoke to rain this morning, and while the rain subsided long enough for me to ride to work around 11AM, it started up again sometime shortly after and apparently has continued for the rest of the day. I had to call for a ride home. Didn't help work, either. It was on-and-off busy all day, mostly thanks to that persistent lack of help.

I hope this doesn't continue. I know we need the rain, but I really don't want to beg rides all weekend. I have library volunteering (and a book due) and counseling tomorrow and need to get my paycheck and take it to the bank on Friday, and Saturday's the farm market.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Running the Gamut From A Drive to E Drive

My detachable A drive has been giving me trouble for the last week. It keeps saying certain files are write-protected when they aren't or just plain not opening, even files it never had any trouble opening before! My stepfather gave me the A drive when I bought my current computer in early September 2005. Apparently, he'd had it but never used it. I still had a lot of empty floppy discs at that point, and all of my files were on floppies.

I'm giving up on that darn A drive. Instead of spending twenty to forty bucks to get another one, I'm just going to do what I should have done all along - transfer my files to CD. It'll take a while, but I'm sick of this "write protected" stuff.

Spent most of the morning doing laundry, doing pilates, and watching Nick and TCM. In addition to The Adventures of Mark Twain on TCM ("artists and writers" being the biopic sub-theme of the day), I caught a couple of cute Nick Jr. episodes. Wonder Pets was the favorite this time around. The globe (and storybook)-trotting school pet trio Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming headed for the woods to help a baby bee gain enough confidence to fly and make honey, and to Coney (not "corny," Tuck!) Island to help a baby squirrel find it's way to the only tree on the boardwalk. The latter reminded me of why this show has been growing on me - it can be pretty weird sometimes, but incredibly imaginative, too. And someone did their homework - the baby squirrel's mother actually had the appropriate Russian/Brooklyn accent. (She sounded like a fuzzy Gertrude Berg.) (I also wonder if that tree growing in a Brooklyn boardwalk was intended as an in-joke...)

I also saw Blue's Room for the first time on an actual episode. Blue's Room is a puppet/live action segment of Blue's Clues where Blue talks to the audience (as opposed to the puppy sounds she makes in the actual show) and interacts with her "toys," various puppet dolls and furniture. Not unlike Elmo's World on Sesame Street, I think it's cute, but takes away from the actual show - finding clues with Joe.

I also enjoyed the Dora the Explorer episode today, because it revolves around one of my favorite past-times - storytelling. Dora reads "The Three Little Pigs" to Boots, who keeps asking what happens next, even after the story ends. To appease her monkey buddy, Dora concocts a sort-of sequal that somehow involves her and Boots helping the goofy king of the land find his mother by the end of the rainbow and turns into a trip through several familiar fairy tales. This was one of the better stories from Dora's "Catch the Explorer Stars" arc. King Juan El Bobo and his mommy proved so popular, they both turned up in several later stories.

The Acme was a bit of a pain today. We were still short on help, and there weren't even any call-outs this time. We just didn't have enough people scheduled.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Beauty Of Fall

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in the Philadelphia/Camden area, bright, sunny, and breezy. It was probably still a little too warm for the time of year, but not too horrible, and not humid at all. (In fact, it's supposed to get even cooler and more fall-like as the week progresses.) I made a few phone calls today, including one to order Verizon High Speed Internet. I know they're not perfect and are pricy, but I had them before with no problems besides the price, so...why not? I'll cancel NetZero (who keeps disconnecting me when I don't want to be and attracts ads like a magnet) when I get Verizon.

Work was not beautiful at all. It was busy and backed-up all day. We had two call-outs. One cashier had to leave early, and a bagger never showed up or even bothered calling. The whole day was a royal pain in the rear, and my panicking when my computer froze up didn't help matters.

I know I need to stop panicking when things go wrong, but I can't help it. I feel bad, and need to do SOMETHING to feel better and get back in control. I just want to do better.

I need to ask about a good local eye doctor, someone near-by who isn't in Wal-Mart. I really would like to try contacts - or, better yet, if it's affordable and possible for my horrible eyesight, laser eye surgery.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

I got to bed late last night after a chat with Lauren, around 1. At about 4:15AM, I was awaken by my bladder and the sound of something going off. I thought it might have been a car alarm or security system in my landlady's side of the house. Actually, I'm still not sure exactly WHAT it was, and no one else seems to be sure, either. All I know is, I saw flashlights on my steps and heard voices next door and outside. I huddled in my cozy bed, praying it wasn't the cops coming upstairs to ask questions. I didn't know anything, can't really see anything back here, anyway, and I did NOT want to drag myself out of bed and have to put a robe over a rather short nightshirt.

Thankfully, the flashlights never came up to my porch. They disappeared down my steps, and the voices gradually faded away. I dashed to the bathroom, dashed back, and went back to sleep until quarter of 9.

Thanks to my late and disrupted slumber last night, I'm a bit sleepy now. You'd think I wouldn't be, given I had a fairly busy day. I baked a Chocolate Potato Cake from a British baking cookbook I bought from the thrift shop in the spring, making a few low-fat substitutes (like cocoa for baking chocolate and using less butter and sugar) while listening to the Beatles show on WOGL. (The British Invasion era in general was the theme today.) Miss Ellie's adult nephew came over to try to fix the piece of metal that came off my front (and only) screen door, and I chatted with him for a bit, and Mom called for the first time in almost three weeks. She seemed to be in a great mood. She's been working on an Edwardian theme for their new house; bring a bit of Cape Island to mainland Cape May County. She's happiest when she's doing something artistic and in charge of it.

Work was busy but painless, which is pretty much what it is every Sunday. The weather cooperated - it was sunny and warm, maybe a little too much for this time of year, but not too bad, and breezy. A couple of houses were having yard sales. I picked up a video copy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (I'm not springing for 35 bucks for the DVD set) and an Eeyore doll and some kids' books for Uncle Ken's grandchildren.

The Eagles game was an ugly snore, the party happier but not much more fun. It was mostly Dad and Jodie's friends getting drunk and people shouting because the Eagles can't seem to score to save their lives. I was falling asleep and didn't stay for the whole game, and no, the Eagles did not win.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Forever Young

I awoke to a blue sky and lovely 70-degree temperatures, with a blustery wind that made the weather seem almost normal for this time of year. I celebrated the change in temperature with sweet potato pancakes (Aunt Jemima's wheat pancake mix with low-fat evaporated milk and leftover sweet potatoes from last night), peach tea, and a pear in front of some Saturday morning cartoons.

CBS is making me feel like I'm 6 years old again. I don't know if it was intentional, but two of the most popular 80s girls' franchises, Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake, are on in a row, 10 and 10:30 EST respectively. You only need to look at the seven stuffed Care Bears sitting on the shelves next to my computer to know I remain a fan of those sherbet-colored ursine do-gooders who delight young children and even some older women and annoy any man over the age of 5. The new show falls somewhere between the poorly-animated early 80s version and the later, spoofier Care Bears Family - bright and fun, and not as annoying as you non-Bear people might think. And poor Oopsy, the newest addition to the Care Bear collection, is such a doll. As a fellow klutz, I can certainly relate to his constantly tripping over his own, paws, though he means well.

I mentioned the Strawberry Shortcake revival in a blog entry about four years ago. I've seen a couple of the DVDs, and they're actually quite good. Unlike the overly-modernized Holly Hobbie, the Strawberry cartoons manage to capture the flavor of the original 80s creations without going too far from the concept - little kids living in fruit have cute, mildly frightening adventures. Strawberry may sport jeans instead of a swiss-dotted dress, but she and her ever-expanding group of friends (some from the original cartoons, some new) are as charming as ever.

I went to work shortly before Strawberry began. Work was on-and-off busy, no major problems beyond getting off slightly late because my replacement's car broke down. (And everyone wonders why I ride my bike everywhere?) Might have been just as well, since I had to do some grocery shopping after work anyway. I started work too early to hit the farm market, so I bought apples, pears, and bananas, in addition to yogurt (Yoplait Light Key Lime Pie...yum!), light butter (for holiday baking), and Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen meals that were 50% off. (The Smart Ones meals are delicious but are rarely on sale.)

Didn't do much tonight, just yoga and a simple dinner of chicken thighs baked in white cooking wine, lemon juice, and water (the broth may end up as a soup), baked sweet potato, and steamed green beans.

Friday, October 19, 2007

To A Wonderful Friend...

...Happy birthday, Lauren! No one deserves the best more than you! :D
Nobody Else But Me

Despite a rainy, blustery day, I did ride over to the shopping center where the Acme is to get my chores done. I picked up my paycheck and headed for Wal-Mart first, where I finally found an affordable pair of fuzzy cat's ears (along with a tail and a rather silly bow-tie) for my black cat Halloween costume. I think I'll wear the bow in my hair and be a girl cat instead of around my neck. I already have a tail from a previous costume, and the one that came with the package doesn't close to fit, anyway.

I stopped at FYE next. I finally picked up A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, the only major Peanuts holiday special I didn't have, and got National Lampoon's Vacation on DVD (to replace my video copy). My favorite find, though, was Kristen Chenowith's fabulous solo jazz CD Let Yourself Go, with some wonderful renditions of standards like "How Long Has This Been Going On?" and "My Funny Valentine."

Sometime between my arrival at and departure from FYE, it began to pour. It had been threatening rain since yesterday and actually began to sprinkle on the way to Wal-Mart, but nothing serious. I think I missed the worst of it, but I was still fairly damp when I headed into the free-standing Staples across the way to finally put in an application that would be on file. Got a quick slice of mushroom pizza and some water from Te Se Bella near FYE after that, then rode home.

I made one other quick trip to the bank before settling in for some writing. I worked on and edited a few stories Lauren and I wrote for the Monkees role-play, then wrote a short story for Lauren's birthday today. All can be seen at our Dream World role play site. After I worked on the stories, I made mashed sweet potatoes and had the last of the chicken soup for dinner.

It's pouring again out there now as I write this. I just closed the windows - the area around the living room window was soaked! (My bedroom wasn't as bad, though. It's protected by two houses. The living room is only protected by a few trees.)

Good. We NEED the rain, if only to get rid of this awful humidity. It hasn't even really be HOT, just HUMID.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Halloween and Library Adventures

Today was the first of my two days off in a row. I finished watching Top Hat, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' first starring vehicle, during breakfast this morning. I do love Top Hat. The story is pure piffle, more than most of their vehicles, but the cast is a blast. I adore Helen Broderick, Queen of the Wisecracks. She and Ginger Rogers were a scream together, especially where the subject of marriage was concerned. The costumes and art direction (save Ginger's crazy feathered dress that kept moulting during the "Cheek To Cheek" dance sequence) are awesome, too. Irving Berlin wrote some of his most popular songs for this one; in addition to "Cheek To Cheek," we also have "Isn't It A Lovely Day," "No Strings," and "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails" (in what would amount to a signature song for Astaire). RKO may not have been Hollywood's most glamorous studio, but they spared no expense for two of their biggest attractions.

After breakfast and Fred and Ginger and company, I headed over to the library for today's volunteering session. Did the sports section today. Thankfully not QUITE as bad as the diet and exercise books last week, but plenty bad enough; the baseball books in particular were a mess. (Not terribly surprising, seeing how the main baseball season just ended and the Phillies made it - briefly - to the playoffs.)

I made quick stops at Dollar Tree and the seasonal Halloween Adventure costume store in the Westmont Plaza shopping center across from the library after I finished. The Dollar Tree didn't have much interesting for Halloween or much in the way of costume stuff. Halloween Adventure is one of those costume stores that open in random abandoned storefronts across America from early September to early November. Everything in there is always cool to look at but way too expensive, including the cat's ears I had my eye on. (Yes, I'm going to be a cat for Halloween. It's something simple I can wear to work.) I'll see if Wal-Mart has them tomorrow. I also made a quick stop at Super Fresh for milk and picked up butter spread and the Thomas Light Multi-Grain English Muffins I like on sale.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my long Monkees fantasy fanfic The Monkee Knight and doing yoga. I watched spooky-themed cartoons from various DVD sets while making Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry and wheat noodles for dinner.
Don't Be Ridiculous! Of Course They're Coming To DVD!

With much thanks to Linda Young for the heads-up.

Perfect Strangers: Season 1&2 is FINALLY coming to DVD February 12th, 2008!

YAAAAAYYYY!!! (Does the Dance of Joy.) It's about freakin' TIME, Warners! :D

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Into the Cauldron

I figured I needed some down time after spending well past 2AM screaming and crying at my computer (yeah, I do feel silly about it now), so I slept in this morning. I made Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast and watched one of the only movies I have that comes even remotely close to horror, Disney's The Black Cauldron. I read the books the movie's based after, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series, back in junior high, and frankly I say to both...ehhh. The movie has some truly stunning sequences but is dark (in story and in animation) and lacks interesting characters, and the books get awfully complicated, even for fantasy. (I prefer Alexander's wonderful, fun Vesper Holly series by a mile.)

Actually, one of the big reasons I bought this video was for the Donald Duck Halloween-themed cartoon Trick Or Treat, one of my favorite Donald-Nephews match-ups. That cartoon's classic. Don plays a trick on the boys instead of giving them treats, so they team up with a comic witch and her broomstick to get the greedy Donald to give up the goodies. There's a great song sequence near the middle as the witch casts her spell on various objects outside Donald's house, who give him a few tricks of their own.

I left for work a little early to send my friend Lauren's birthday present (it's Friday) at the post office in Audubon, in the shopping center behind the Acme. Since I was in the area, I stopped at the Staples to inquire about the application I put in the other night. Seems they never got it. They looked it up on their computers and it wasn't there. Damn. I'll apply on the machine at their store on Friday, but it's still annoying.

Work went fairly well. A few mildly annoying customers, and it was on-and-off - busy when I left and around 4:30 when people started coming home from work, dead otherwise.

And I finally got off and canceled Netscape. It worked better this evening, but I'm through with taking chances. I downloaded NetZero and am now using that. So far, my only complaint is the ad-filled sign-on page; otherwise, it seems to be running just fine, faster than Netscape on most things.
Small Pleasures and Huge Frustrations

Most of today went well. I got the laundry done and did pilates while watching two Dora The Explorer episodes, a Joe Blues Clues, and a new episode of the rather odd-but-cute The Wonder Pets. The last-named involves a trio of bold and daring elementary school animals - Ming Ming the Chick, Tuck the Turtle, and a hamster whose name I can't remember - who dress in little costumes and go out on various adventures to save a baby animal in distress. Today, they helped their first fictional animal, a unicorn whose horn was stuck in a tree in a storybook. They also lent paws, wings, and flippers to one of the most popular animals of recent years - a baby penguin who looked like he'd just stepped out of Happy Feet

Dora's two episodes were as straightforward as can be - in the first, she and Boots traveled to the Monkey Bars so she could find out if she can climb them all the way. In the second, Dora and Boots are joined by Diego, as all three help a baby brontosaurus get back to his mother, and learn about other dinosaurs and their mommies.

Though the dinosaur episode was very cute (especially that baby bronto giving his mother the flower at the end!), I found myself preferring the earlier adventure. I can relate all too well to Dora's determination to cross the Monkey Bars. Even now, I have difficulty on monkey bars and am still a little afraid to cross very high ones. I could barely get past the second or third rung at Dora's age. I applaud her effort and determination!

(And a side note on the dinosaur episode - Diego seems to be a lot older in Dora the Explorer than he is in his own show. In Go Diego Go! he appears to be a year or two older than six-ish Dora; in the dinosaur show, he seemed more like eleven or twelve, complete with a much deeper voice.)

I did try TCM, but no interesting biographies today. One looked like one of those very old George Arliss vehicles from the early 30s, either Alexander Hamilton or Diserali; the other seemed to be about Christopher Columbus and, from what little I saw, was a poorly-scripted snore. (No good movie has EVER been made about Christopher Columbus.)

I did catch an old favorite on TV Land, though. I always got a kick out of The Munsters as a kid. How many TV shows can pull off being macabre and sorta sweet at the same time? Everyone freaks when they see Herman, but he's really the biggest doll around; he just happens to be a Frankenstein monster with the world's largest stitched-in heart. As with the Addams Family, it's the details that matter here - Grandpa sleeping upside-down, their kid being a vampire who sleeps with a wolfman doll and has what looks like a pet dragon who lives under the stairs, Herman working in a funeral home. To be honest, the show was, far more than the genuinely weird Addams Family, a sitcom with gently ghoulish trappings. Today's story almost seemed to come from the 50s - Lilly gets mad at Herman when he comes home late from an office party, and Gramps, the kid, and niece Marlyn have to get them back together.

I didn't work until 4PM, so I decided to use the extra time to bring out my winter clothes and sort things to donate to the thrift shop. A few of my drawstring and elastic waistband pants would be genuinely too big for me now. I could live with the rest. I also got rid of two sweaters with horizontal stripes (makes me look bigger) and a spring dress with too-busy print. Everything else but two heavy sweaters it is genuinely too early for were either put in the containers in the back room or in my dresser. I also got some story work in.

A few annoying customers at work, but I was only there for a few hours and it was mildly steady, nothing like last night.

I had problems with Netscape again tonight; that's why this post is so late. I'm working on downloading NetZero as I type this. Forget this messing around. If Netscape is going to give me trouble (this is the second time I had to cut a chat with Lauren short because they were being a pain), forget it. I can't even remember my darn screen name!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Greatest Loser...And Feeling Great About It

Oh, and since Tina weight loss so far, 37 pounds. I'm down to 202 from 240.

It feels soooooo GOOD. :D

I went clothes shopping with my sister Rose this morning at the Cherry Hill Mall. We didn't have the time to do as much as either of us wanted, since I had to work at 1:30, but we did have a good time. She bought some "body sugar" from Sephora, a fancy make-up store. I bought an incredibly comfortable light knit sweater in a gorgeous shade of royal teal blue from the newly remodeled Lane Bryant. The lady at the counter agreed with me; she said she'd bought several short-sleeved versions of the shirt in the summer, she found them so comfortable.

Rose had several good suggestions on the way home. First of all, she hit on why my server was acting funny. I had ignored Netscape's hints to upgrade; you have to restart to do that, and they're rarely that big of a deal, anyway. Turns out this one WAS. Rose said I should try to upgrade and see if that helped, because that was more than likely why the server was slow. It took me a while to get everything in order, but I did upgrade tonight, and the server has worked fine for the past four hours, so that'll hopefully take care of THAT.

I would like to try to get an eye exam and, at the least, get new glasses. I haven't had an eye checkup since 2000, and I'm starting to get double vision when I stare at something for too long. (Like staring at a computer screen, for instance.) Rose put in a word for contacts; she's worn them for years. I've never had them, for three reasons - I was afraid I'd never be able to put the damn things on, I figured they didn't make them strong enough for my bad eyes (I'm horribly nearsighted and my right eye is lazy; it wanders to the side and looks weird), and Mom had always told me I'd never be able to handle them. I'm tired of Mom worrying I can't do this, that, and the other thing. I understand she's trying to protect me, but I'm a big girl now, and I'm tired of being afraid to try things.

Rose's other suggestion was to try to publish my writing again. I'm really nervous about it. My stories were turned down the one place I tried to send them, but it may have been the wrong market. I haven't written any non-fanfic stories in ages, you have to do all this formatting and writing to this and that editor, and besides, I don't know if my stuff is really all that GOOD.

I got in with plenty of time to make it to work. (Thanks, Sis!) Work was on-and-off busy, but steady and without the problematic customers of the weekend.
Long Day's Journey Into Midnight

I've had a very, very long weekend. First of all, Netscape is acting up again, which is why there was no post last night. It's been running weird last night and today; it made a mess of my chat with Lauren. I'm working on getting NetZero now, but it's sloooowww going. I may look into PeoplePC, too. I need an inexpensive server that won't drive me mad.

Second, I did get to the Farm Market yesterday, which was a good thing, because I REALLY needed to refill the produce bin, and I won't be able to make it there next week (another 11AM shift). I picked up spinach, apples, pears, mushrooms, garlic, celery, a tomato, and green beans. I got there pretty late, but it was still busy. The Farm Market is in it's last month, and a lot of regular booths were already gone, including the Crepes restaurant, the clay makers, one of the vegetable stands, and the honey makers.

Work yesterday was a genuine pain-in-the-rear. In my last hour, we got this one crazy, obnoxious older woman who looked like Phyllis Diller stuck her finger in a light socket. She was sooo ridiculously picky! Everything had to stand up straight and in EXACTLY the order she put it on the belt. Everything had to be EXACTLY the right way in the cart. She left her bag sitting on the counter and thought she couldn't pay. She wanted a newspaper; then she didn't; then she wanted it again. She's lucky I didn't shove it down her throat. The poor bagger left halfway through the order after she squawked at him over not getting her trash bags of paper towel rolls exactly straight. He later told me that if he hadn't left, he would have hit her. I shared his sentiments.

This morning went much better. I experimented with removing some of the shortening from the wonderful Quick Cinnamon Rolls recipe in the 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook. I was only partially successful; it was still too mushy to roll, so they became drop biscuits with tiny pats of butter and sprinklings of cinnamon and brown sugar on top. They were a little salty; I think I put too much baking soda in them.

I watched the 1937 Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy movie Maytime this morning while making Cinnamon Biscuits. I'm a big fan of MacDonald/Eddy, and Maytime is probably their best movie, the first of two tragic, Moulin Rouge-esque operettas they made together. (I also have the second, 1941's so-so Bitter Sweet.) While Pauline Kael does have a point about the amazing costumes (almost every actor in this film, male and female, is decked out in a riot of ruffles, puffs, lace, sequins, bows, ribbons, and yards and yards of half the fabric in the universe. It makes for quite an eyeful, especially during the sequences set in Paris in the 1860s. (Of course, Nelson Eddy is also quite an eyeful, but if I expounded on that here, Blogger would flag me like crazy. ;) )

I found this copy at the thrift shop on Thursday. Alas, none of the MacDonald/Eddy films are on DVD yet (AHEM, MGM/Sony?), but the videos should be available on eBay or (No idea what they'd cost, though. I bought all of mine but Maytime from Suncoast Video or Columbia House over ten years ago, when I was in high school.)

Work went slightly better today. It was crazy-busy, even during the first Philadelphia Eagles game in two weeks (which the Eagles won, by the way, beating the wayward New York Jets). I had a few more annoying customers, including one lady with frizzy hair who was almost as picky as the one last nice, but nicer and almost apologetic about it. (What is it about old ladies with frizzy hair?)

I didn't get off in time for the Eagles game, but I went over to Uncle Ken and Dad's house anyway to say hi and give Dad some pictures Mom sent up a few weeks ago with my field hockey jacket. I picked the right night to do it. Rose, Jodie, Jessa, and Dolores were all there, and I got to chat a little with Uncle Ken's adopted daughter Samantha and her family before they left, too. Jodie was sweet enough to make a hungry girl two grilled cheese sandwiches. (One's for lunch tomorrow.) Everyone complimented me on how good I looked and how much weight I lost. Rose and I may even go clothes shopping sometime this week, maybe tomorrow if I can get her up that early.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Don't Even Know Myself

I did get the Halloween decorations up this morning, after beginning my day with Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Muffins (Pillsbury Lemon Poppyseed Quick Bread mix with the last three strawberries added, in the low-cal, low cholesterol recipe) and peach tea. Most of it looks great; I really like the orange-and-black tinsel garland draped across the big windows in the bedroom instead of in the living room like it was last year. (I decided to put the more elegant leaf garland in the living room this year.) There's one big ghost cardboard cut-out with plastic eyes filled with glitter that just won't stay up; I'm either going to tack him up or ditch him (he does look a little tacky).

I did get my paycheck this afternoon and did a little grocery shopping. I needed plain old-fashioned oatmeal (badly), cereal (Shredded Wheat N' Bran), granola bars (Honey Bunches Of Oats Cranberry Almond), yogurt (Dannon's Light Strawberry Kiwi rocks), and Utz Pretzels' new Multi-Grain Pretzels. They're pretty thick (three satisfied me) and have a great, woodsy flavor.

Since I wanted to get my pretty-good-sized paycheck to the bank, I decided to go for a long walk. It was a gorgeous fall day, sunny, windy, and 62 degrees. After I did the bank, I walked down to Audubon, enjoying a day that actually felt and looked and even smelled like fall. Someone had a wood-burning stove or fireplace going, and the air had that wonderful tang of burning wood and falling leaves it gets in October and November. I'm so glad I had today off.

I finally got to visit Bob at the Audubon CD store Abbie Road, whom I mentioned in August, and picked up copies of Who's Next (I agree with Bob - great album) and the Julie Andrews studio version of The King And I. Poor guy took a second job at the Acme in Runnemede just to make ends meet. We had a long chat about our jobs and my wanting to find another one. He doesn't think I should leave the Acme yet, but he did have a good suggestion about talking to the director of the Haddon Township and Collingswood Libraries to get suggestions and find out what the job market's like.

I want out of the Acme so badly, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that it is possible, after six years, for me to find another job I can do that isn't a grocery store. I don't WANT to work at a grocery store. I'm sick of stupid grocery stores.

Problem is, I make $11.40 an hour at the Acme, and I don't think any retailer in the known universe will hire me for that much. I can't go back to minimum wage. I can't. I need at least $10 or more to live, but no legitimate business will hire anyone for that much. They want people who have been places, seen things, and met people. I don't know anyone, I haven't been anywhere, and I haven't seen anything important.

No wonder the bookstores wouldn't hire me. They want a cute little college student in a mini-skirt who will work a hundred hours a week for six dollars an hour. They certainly don't want a plain adult who actually needs to make money.

After I chatted with Bob, I walked to the collectibles store down the street between Haddon Heights and Audubon, Act Two...but discovered that this time, it was the one who was closed. After that, I made a quick stop at Doria's Deli and bought eggs, lemon juice, and ham, and went home. I made a hearty Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Soup that came out quite nicely. I have only a few vegetables in the house, so I used a bag of "stew vegetables" that had been sitting in my freezer for six months (fishing out the huge potatoes, since I was also having a baked sweet potato), a bag of baby carrots, and green peppers for some nice, bright green color. Throw in some brown rice, cornstarch, white cooking wine, chicken broth, and leftover chicken breasts, and voila! A tasty, hearty soup that really warmed me up after my long walk.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Change Of Seasons

Brrrrr! It went from about 70-some degrees this morning to the lower 60s by the time I got out of counseling around 3PM. I was in cullottes, a short-sleeved blouse, socks, and sneakers, and I was FREEZING! Thank goodness I had no more running around planned for after counseling. The weather was iffy all day too, damp and cloudy and windy. It was a welcome change after the intense, unseasonal heat of the last week or so, but it's not great biking weather.

Today was library volunteering day. It went well. I organized as many of the health and diet books as I could do in two hours, and as Pat (who is in charge of volunteers) pointed out, they REALLY needed it! What a mess! You can tell health and fitness is a popular topic. It took me two hours to do four shelves. I did take out two books on health and diets, though, a general book on nutrition and The Dish On Eating Healthy and Looking Fabulous!, which seems to be a health and diet guide to single women and busy moms on the go. The call it "a guide for glamor girls," but the advice is sensible enough for any woman, even those put off by the very girly purple cover and graphics within. (I also picked up some Calvin and Hobbes I hadn't read. You can't go wrong with those two. It's like living with my sisters again. Yes, they were both THAT crazy.)

I was thinking of having lunch at that great pizzeria in Haddon Township again, but the weather looked so bad by the time I got out of the library, I decided to just ride over to Collingswood and eat there instead. I opted for the Primo Hoagies store in the fancy new apartment development a few blocks down from Genesis Counseling. They were exactly what I had in mind, no-frills and not a bad price for reletively upscale Collingswood. I had a "Healthy Choice" Ham and low-fat swiss cheese hoagie with the basic onions-tomatoes-lettuce on the smallest roll they had and a Diet Pepsi.

Counseling went fairly well. Scott recommends I look into other career options at college in addition to library sciences, just in case I can't find a job in library sciences.

I thought he'd be so happy I'd found a job idea I could stick to. I don't really know if there's much else I can do. I haven't really done much else. I've worked in a media center in college, and I had summer jobs in the Cape May County Special Services Schools Media Center and in my high school's transportation office (and a disastrous two-month stint at McDonald's in North Cape May - I STILL don't know why I was fired from that job), and the Acme. I have no idea if there is anything else I can do. If no one wants me to be a librarian or a writer...what DO they want?

The rest of the day was spent finishing this month's cleaning, doing the dusting and the vacuuming and the windows. I'll put up the Halloween decorations tomorrow morning before I get my paycheck.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hum While You Work

(...Because I can't whistle!)

I finally began this month's cleaning. The bathroom needed to be done badly, and I got the kitchen done, too. I want to get the Halloween decorations up, and I can't do that until I dust, and I can't dust and vacuum until everything ELSE is done. I'll need to do the windows and sweep the porch, too. The leaves haven't fully turned colors yet, and my porch is still covered!

Speaking of work, that was pin-drop quiet today and soooooo looooooonnnnnggggg. It picked up a little around dinner time and was just slowing down again when I left. As of right now, I'm off for the next two days. I have counseling tomorrow and I want to do my library volunteering. Friday's more open. I want to get my paycheck and put it in the bank, but the weather sounds iffy for that day and may cancel any other running around.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Rain, The Thunder, And Other Things

Oh, geez. Talk about be careful what you wish for! As I write this, lighting is flashing and thunder is growling and it's pouring like crazy out there! We really need the rain, though. We were close to drought conditions. This should help a little.

Ironically, my internet connection is working far better tonight than it did last night, storm and all! I had a few problems when I tried to look something up this afternoon, but none tonight. Go figure.

Fairly quiet day today. Bruce finally got home today, though I didn't see much of him or Uncle Ken this morning while I did laundry; I think they both had errands to run. I spent most of the time watching TCM. Their theme of the month is "biographies," and I caught the last 10 minutes and first half-hour of two largely fictional but not-bad biopics of stars of the silent screen, The Perils Of Pauline and Valentino, about serial queen Pearl White and exotic Latin lover Rudolph Valentino respectively. It actually took me a few minutes to figure out what the latter was; I thought it might have been Interrupted Melody, but boisterous Betty Hutton isn't the fairly delicate Eleanor Parker, who, interestingly, WAS in Valentino. Neither movie is at all accurate, with tacked-on love interests and soap-opera melodrama, but I found both at least somewhat enjoyable, with nice details of old Hollywood (particularly in Pauline). Neither are on DVD and I don't think Valentino is even on video, so it's nice to be able to catch them at all.

Work was steady, busy somewhat early on, dead later as the storm closed in, with no problems or missing personnel.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tangled In The World-Wide Web

I don't know what's wrong with my internet tonight. It's been acting so weird, I'm going to keep this brief. Not that I did much today, anyway. I was supposed to work 11 to 4, but yet another kid got sick, so I stayed two extra (much-needed) hours, which means I got nothing done today.

Second, Happy Columbus Day to those lucky devils who actually didn't have to work on it. Some people do, and some don't.

I don't know what's going on with my internet connection. Netscape's been screwy for two hours. It'll run really, REALLY slow...and then it won't run at all and will disconnect or time out. Netscape doesn't usually do this. I don't know why it is tonight. There's no reason it should. I cleared my unnecessary files and defragmented everything. The computer itself is fine. It shouldn't be doing this. I don't see any thunder or lighting out there, or even rain. (And, to be honest, we need the rain - it's still ungodly hot out there.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Indian Summer

Whew, it's been hot the past few days, hot and humid! I actually have the air conditioner on right now. Today was supposed to be the worst of the high temperatures. Sounds like it's supposed to be gone by the middle of the week, thank goodness because I'll be having my days off by then and I'll have a lot to do.

Work was on-and-off busy today. It wasn't too bad earlier this afternoon, but got worse as the day went on. It was still pretty busy when I had to pick up some milk, eggs, and part-skim mozzarella cheese after work. I went to Wal-Mart briefly to see if they had any more inner tubes, but they were out of the size I needed, of course. I'll go back there later in the week.

And the Phillies were swept right out of the playoffs by the Colorado Rockies, ending their season. At least they made it to the playoffs this year, something they haven't done since 1993. Lauren's beloved Red Sox are still in; I wish the Rockies and the Sox luck!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Do It Again

Another day spent mostly working. I did get to the bank this morning to deposit my paycheck, but I didn't have the time for the farm market. (I will next Saturday, though.) Work was mostly on-and-off steady, busy enough to mostly keep me from getting bored, but not as crazy as one would expect on a holiday weekend. I guess it's because the Phillies game is late (just started a little over an hour ago) and the Eagles have a bye week.

As of right now, I plan on spending most of next week cleaning, putting up Halloween decorations, and catching up on things I had to put off this week because I ended up being busy. I suspect I may end up getting a few more extra hours in; mono is not a little bug that goes away in a day or two.

Friday, October 05, 2007

These Are The Days

Didn't have a chance to get a whole lot done today - I slept in and worked from 1:30PM to 9:30PM. I did write a very short vignette, filling in a little bit of one of the longer stories at our Monkees Dream World role play, Restless. I posted it this morning - enjoy!

Work was steady-to-dead, especially later. The worst problems we had was, once again, a lack of help. We've had a lot of call outs this week. Today alone, we had someone who had to go to a funeral and two college boys out with mono. It's not easy to explain to your customers why there are backed-up lines at 8:30 and you can only take 15 items or less because your register is the express line.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

That's What Neighbors Are For

First of all, this year's spooky Halloween Monkees role-play story is up at the Dream World site, and a couple more short stories, too! Enjoy!

I did finally get the bike fixed today. I saw one of my next-door neighbors fixing something in his garage this morning and asked him if he could do it. He not only put the inner tube on the tire, he also checked the pressure on both tires, pumped the fixed one, and gave it some oil. He even offered to do my other bike when I can get an inner tube for it. I'll see what I can do this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, I'm going to have a very busy one. Half the store must be out sick, because I keep getting more hours. They asked me to stay three extra hours tomorrow, which I agreed to because, once again, I need the money. I won't make it to the farm market Saturday, but I should make the bank.

Oh, and I'm getting sooo much better on the bike! What was a twenty-minute bike ride to work over the Black Horse Pike in April has been cut to as little as ten when the wind's right, the traffic's right, and I have the energy. It feels so good to be able to fly down hills and not have to struggle to hike back up them. I'm getting better at yoga and especially pilates, too.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Bare Necessities Of Fall

Lauren and I finished this year's Halloween Monkees Dream World story tonight...and hoo boy, it's a weird one. Look for it within the next few days!

Despite the near-90 degree temperatures, it feels a bit more like October here in South Jersey. More homes are sporting pumpkins and mums in their yards; some even have big, spooky Halloween displays with monsters and guillotines and gallons of fake blood, though most of my neighbors save the major displays for Christmas. The trees are just starting to turn colors; within a few weeks, they'll be blazing, with hues brighter than an MGM musical of the 50s. The days are getting shorter, which I constantly forget. I've grown accustomed to the longer hours and can't seem to remember we'll be having less and less daylight to run around in soon.

And no, Uncle Ken wasn't really able to help me with the bike. Dad's bike turned out to have flat tires, too, and he isn't up to fixing either or taking my bike to the shop on the White Horse Pike. I did buy an inner tube from Wal-Mart, though.

I also grabbed copies of The Care Bears Nutcracker (no 80s girl should be without the Care Bears) and the new Disney Jungle Book 2-Disc Platinum Edition. This now makes the only Platinum Editions I'm missing Peter Pan and Snow White. I'm not a big fan of either, and Snow White is out of print and expensive used even at FYE. (Not to mention I've heard it's to be re-released on DVD within the next couple of years anyway.) There are a few other non-Platinum Disney films I want as well, notably Robin Hood, Mulan, and my very favorite, The Rescuers.

Work wasn't busy and, other than annoying beginning-of-the-month people, not really a problem. We shouldn't be really busy on the weekdays until November. Columbus Day and Halloween are not big food holidays. (Halloween day is usually dead as a doornail.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reach Out Of The Darkness

Today is (now) my only day off this week. I did the laundry in the morning, as usual Caught some enjoyable Nick Jr shows. Today's Blue's Clues was one of Steve's episodes, and involved the things some of the characters love to collect. For once, Miss Blue and her stripes-loving human pal actually had me stumped until the last clue!

Dora and Diego both had interesting and fairly unusual episodes that dealt with memories and remembering. Someone at Nick must have read my blog entry from last Tuesday that complained about the sameness in Dora's episodes, because there was a mild format change this week. Dora recalls at a big family dinner how she first became an explorer and met her animal buddies Boots, Isa, Tico, Benny, the Fiesta Trio, and the infamous Swiper The Fox. I believe this is also the first (and only?) time the music-playing bugs and frog known as the Fiesta Trio, who normally herald the end of a game sequence, are in the spotlight. Also, Map and Backpack only make cameo appearances; Dora herself announces the game locations. (And given I find Map's voice to be annoying, I kinda like this better.)

Diego was once again at a beach, this time helping his whole family (including his rarely-seen parents) clean up garbage in preparation for a group of leatherback turtles to lay their eggs. Diego himself recalled how he'd once helped one of the mother turtles when she was young and helped her again when she and her friends became caught in a net, while Alicia and their folks stopped the careless Bobo Brothers from redistributing the trash. Another episode I can relate to. I've lived by the beach for most of my life, and many elementary school and junior high school kids clean up trash on the Jersey Shore for not only the same reasons as Diego and his family, but because they're the lifeblood of South Jersey - they're ecosystems, they provide seafood for locals, tourists, and fish-lovers around the world, and they attract millions of tourists a year.

I stuck around after the laundry was done for The Backyardigans. Superheroes and action films were the affectionate parody of the day. The mambo tunes were so infectious, I found myself dancing along as weather-controlling Uniqua and master builder Austin chased mad scientist shrinker Tyrone and goo-creator Pablo as they raced to the Tower Of Power, which held the Key To Rule The World! I especially loved how the kids' powers were, frankly, a lot more sensible than many real-life superheroic creations...and I REALLY loved Uniqua saving Austin and the key in the end. (And they must know Edna Mode - only Pablo had a cape.)

I did make it to the Camden County Library later in the afternoon for this week's volunteering session. Worked on the world and US history sections, which were a mess and took me the majority of the two hours I was there, then spent another hour looking for books on job hunting and college graduate degrees. Didn't see anything I liked about the former, but I did find a book about adults going to back to college that may be helpful. I also picked up a book of Weight Watchers recipes, a couple of Walt Disney Comic Books (I do love me some Donald Duck), and a Calvin and Hobbes comic book I haven't read yet.

I've had bike trouble for the past few days. The back tire keeps deflating, no matter how often I pump it. It was so deflated when I came out of the library, I had to walk it home. (I peeked at AC Moore for about 10 minutes, but while they had lots of fabric, they had no books or patterns for clothes for 18 inch dolls like Samantha, and only books on knitting clothes for fashion dolls, not sewing them.) The small bike shop on the White Horse Pike where I had my pedals replaced twice last year on the old bike was closed on "Teus" (the exact wording on the sign) and mostly seemed to be opened at the proprietors' convenience...which, of course, is in the afternoon and evening later in the week, when I usually work.

Sigh. I'll go to Uncle Ken tomorrow and borrow his or Bruce's bike until I can get an inner tube and get to the shop to have it fixed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Early Autumn

I spent most of this morning hanging out and doing various beginning-of-the-month things on and off my computer (like making out the rent check for my landlady). Did some yoga, too, and watched Return of the Jedi. It's a mandatory, unspoken rule in my family that if you watch one movie in the trilogy (original or 90s), you have to watch the other two.

Work was a real pain today. It was crazy-busy as it always is on Mondays, made worse by a distinct lack of help. It would seem I'm not the only person coming down with a nasty cold. We were missing several people today, one out for the whole week! I ended up with an extra half-hour tonight and picked up a 1PM to 5PM shift on Saturday, both of which are fine by me, since my hours dropped this week and I could use the extra money.

I also took a look at two potential library sciences colleges tonight, Drexel University in Philadelphia and Rutgers, New Jersey's state college. Though Drexel's Library Sciences program is top-rated, Rutgers has the edge - not only is it's School Media graduate program online (unlike Drexel), but I really don't want to work in Pennsylvania. I'll look at Rowan and Temple tomorrow; right now, all I want is a shower!