Monday, March 31, 2008

"March Goes In Like A Lion..."

...And out like...well, if not like a lamb, at least a bit more like spring. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon at work. Today was a rare early day, 8:30AM-2:30PM. Thankfully, it was steady enough for most of that time that it didn't drag. Most people were either stocking up for the week or preparing for tonight's Phillies home opener against the Washington Nationals. (Who creamed them, BTW, 11-6.)

It began to sprinkle slightly while I rode to work, and it sprinkled slightly on my way home. It apparently showered on-and-off in between, though it was dry enough for me to run some errands after I got home and changed my shirt. I dropped Sailor Moon R off at Dad's for Jessa, went to the bank, and headed down to CVS for some OralGel and, since they had them cheap, ended up getting eggs there as well. It started to rain harder on my way back from CVS and has been doing so on-and-off for the rest of the evening.

Yes, my tooth is acting up again. While not sensitive to heat or cold this time (I can drink my morning tea and eat chilled fruit with no problems), I can't bite down on that tooth without pain. I'm scared. The dentist said if the tooth still hurt when I went to my second appointment with her this Saturday, I may have to get a root canal. Painful and expensive (even with insurance). I would prefer to avoid that. I'm just hoping my gums are sore or maybe something's wrong with the filling.

Oh, and I tried something different tonight. I made yeast rolls for the first time, using a Wheat-Molasses-Oat Bread recipe from my Live Longer Cookbook, adding the last of the maraschino cherries leftover from my Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake mess. I'll make a glaze tomorrow and serve them as a mildly sweet roll for breakfast. Unlike the cake, they came out just fine and smelled divine when they were in the oven.

I also finished off More Silly Symphonies while the rolls were in the oven. My favorites will always be the holiday classics The Night Before Christmas and Santa's Workshop. I'd had both uncut on the Walt Disney Christmas video I picked up from the Blockbuster in Wildwood, but the video is so old and in such lousy shape that it's nice to have better copies. Mother Goose Goes Hollywood was another rare stand-out. I've NEVER seen it uncut, certainly not on the Disney Channel, so this was a rare treat. (I kinda liked the Marx Brothers playing piano with Fats Waller.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's the End Of The World As We Know It, and I Feel Fine

It was mostly a quiet day. I spent the morning watching Sailor Moon R, then online. I won't be able to do a lot online tonight, since I work early tomorrow. I had a pleasant ride to and from work. It was in the lower 50s, sunny, and not too windy. Accordingly, it was steady at work, not quite as busy as it usually is on a Sunday, but still busier than it has been the rest of this slow week.

I finished off Sailor Moon R this evening during a quick Smart Ones Meal dinner. I think I have my new favorite Sailor Moon season, surpassing even the underrated fourth season. I now understand the importance of Wicked/Black Lady to the plot...and why Rini behaved as badly as she did early on. I was actually close to tears when Queen Serenity finally brought her daughter back to their side, and later when Rini returned to the future. That "little spore" does grow on you. ;)

That final battle, while reminiscent of the finale of the Sailor Moon R movie, does pack quite a punch. I love it when the girls pool their powers...and I really loved how Serena/Queen Serenity was able to remind Rini that scolding her and not helping her up when she falls on occasion doesn't mean she and Darien don't love her. She's just doing her job as a parent and teaching her daughter to stand on her own two feet.

This is also one of the few times in Sailor Moon where I ended up feeling genuine sympathy for the villains. In fact, the only member of the Black Moon Family I didn't end up liking a little was Emerald, who learned a lesson the hard way about "jealousy being a terrible monster" (to quote an oft-repeated "Sailor Moon Says" segment). I was kinda hoping Diamond and Sapphire would be able to start over with the Weird Sisters; Prisma really liked Sapphire. Maybe they'll meet them in a happier place someday...

I also began the More Silly Symphonies Walt Disney Treasures set. Most of the cartoons on the first disc are rare black-and-white season-themed shorts. As Leonard Maltin pointed out in his introduction, these cartoons are primitive and repetitive but still quite charming, with their rubbery characters and adorable dances perfectly timed to popular classical pieces.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How To Nurse A Sick Raccoon

Spent most of today at work. It was on-and-off busy, but there were a lot of big, 200 and 300 dollar orders. I'm assuming many people are stocking up after vacation and Easter week. I also had a rather nice surprise in the break room early this afternoon. Three of our managers are being transferred to other stores, and the other managers wished them "Good Luck" with a sheet cake the approximate size of Texas. I was lucky enough to have my break right when they were beginning to slice it. (I did miss the pizza, though.)

After dinner and a shower, I went online and tended to my WebKinz. I play my WebKinz in turns, since I have 20 of them. Tonight was my raccoon Sundance's turn at bat. I left him in the garden after we watered and weeded it and played two games of DiceKinz. When I came back, I discovered, to my dismay, a green raccoon. WebKinz can't die, but they CAN get sick, and my poor boy was definitely sick. Dr. Quack claimed it was "the sniffles" and gave him medicine, but I'll bet he nosed around in the trash when my back was turned and ate something that didn't agree with him. I bought him some oranges, apples, and grapefruit and played some puzzles with him, and that seemed to make him better.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Little Girl Lost

I spent the morning watching Sailor Moon R, taking down Easter decorations, putting away the small Easter basket Dad made for me, and finally adding all those new records I've bought in the past few months to my inventory. The second half of the R season involves the Sailor Soliders trying to fight off a menace from the future, while Darien (Serena's boyfriend/partner in crime-fighting) thinks she's in danger and pushes her away to save her. (Typical macho guy won't talk about the problem and waits until the last minute to tell Serena he's been having nightmares about losing her.) Around the same time, a little girl almost literally falls out of the sky. Rini is obstinate, spoiled, and obnoxious around Serena but generally lovable around everyone else. She's after Serena's crystal that gives her powers in order to save her mother in the future.

I'm beginning to understand why a lot of Sailor Moon fans don't like Rini. Lord, she is a brat in these episodes! If you've never seen her in the third and fourth seasons (where she's a bit older and mellowed out), you'd think she's like this all the time. I understand the kid is lost, scared, alone, and in foreign time period, but there's no need for her to take it out on Serena. I know what it's like to be alone a lot, even as a kid Rini's age. Actually, Rini reminds me a bit of my sister Anny. Anny used to drive me just as crazy when she was little, but if it's any consolation to Serena and Rini, we get along just fine now. Maybe that's why Rini doesn't bother me as much as she does other people. I went through a lot of this in real life (without the monsters). ;)

Work was busier than the past few days up through the 4PM rush hour, after which it was dead. Just as well; I had shopping to do and a paycheck to pick up. Business should improve this weekend and next week as we hit the beginning of the month and people need to stock up after Easter and vacations.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sudden Spring Showers

It rained on and off all morning, including while I did the laundry. Poor Dad is back to feeling lousy again. (Jodie says she thinks the long drive to Karen and Jim's on Easter Day took a lot out of him.) I left him to Showtime and TCM and read Zorro and did pilates instead. It was still raining when I went home, but thankfully, by the time I headed out to work, the rain had stopped and it was sunny.

Work was on-and-off busy, more than yesterday if still not quite as much as normal. (Most people seem to either have gone on vacation or are broke after the holiday.) We really only had long lines because we're low on help, thanks to myriad vacations this week and a simple lack of people scheduled.

It was cloudy but still not raining when I headed home. There were police cars on the Black Horse Pike when I got to the Kendall Boulevard ramp. I made my way carefully around them. I wonder why they were there? They didn't look like they were chasing anyone, and if there was an accident, they cleaned up after it awfully well, because there was no traffic.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Afternoon Delight

I spent most of the morning and early afternoon at work, which was soooooo sloooooowwww. Except for the noon rush hour, work was dead as a doornail and not getting any busier when I left around 3:30. It was boring, which was kind of nice, in a way - there were no problems and no unusually annoying customers. (And a sign on the time clock at work says the store is going to be clamping down on the people who repeatedly show up late or constantly switch their schedule. About time! That's why I only have one job. If one job constantly makes you late for the other job, it's time to give up one job or the other.)

I worked early today and was able to spend my afternoon doing things I'd much rather do. After I got home, I changed my shirt and went right back out again to run some errands and enjoy the beautiful 60-degree weather. I headed to Family Dollar for mouthwash and Fig Newtons, then went to WaWa to treat myself to a Cherry-Chocolate Coke Zero from the soda fountain with those great flavored syrups. I wasn't the only person out and about. Mothers pushed their toddlers in strollers. Teenagers and pre-teens strolled in groups or chatted over picnic tables. Their younger siblings ran around front yards and rode Power Wheels or Little Tyke foot-powered cars.

There are signs of spring all over Oaklyn. The trees now have the first buds of spring; even the smallest tree has buds. Daffodils and tiny purple crocuses have popped up everywhere. New green grass can be seen under dry, dormant shoots. I saw a gorgeous cardinal and a few robins on my porch this morning. I tried to get a picture of Mr. Cardinal, but he chickened out and flew away before I could snap it.

After I got home, I did yoga before my dinner of Easter leftovers. I wish I was doing better with Yoga. I can't seem to focus. I still can't sit on my knees for more than a few seconds without some pain. I have absolutely no sense of balance. I keep falling over when I do the standing poses. I've never been very good at relaxing. I just can't let go of everything in my mind.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Girls On The Town

I spent most of the morning running errands. I went to the post office to buy stamps (some really pretty flower ones) and send a homecoming present for Lauren and Mom's birthday gift. Made a quick stop to the bank after that, then went to the Haddon Township Library for this week's volunteering session (after skipping last week due to being busy). I did the children's DVDs, which needed it, especially since there were more coming in as I arrived. It was such a gorgeous spring day (50 degrees, sunny, and a bit windy), I went for a long ride in Cooper River Park afterwards.

On the way back from Karen and Jim's on Easter Day, I suggested to Jessa, Dad, and Jodie that Jessa and I go into Philadelphia together for a little shopping trip, since neither of us had any plans in the afternoon and it was supposed to be a nice day. I decided to follow up on that plan. It turned out to be a great idea. Apparently, Jess (who is 17 and a junior in a local Catholic high school) is looking into art schools in Philadelphia and wants to get to know the town better, and I've gotten to know at least parts of downtown pretty well, not to mention riding the PATCO train no longer fazes me at all. I was able to show her downtown and how to use the new ticket system for the train, and I had an amiable shopping companion.

Our first stop was one of my favorite little stores, Ralstoff's Used Books and Records on 10th and Spruce Street. I bought three Broadway original cast albums for My One and Only, Dreamgirls, and The Fantastics, and the American Girls book Kirsten Learns a Lesson. Jessa got a really cute Beatles poster (the picture with the four of them carrying the "All You Need Is Love" signs in many languages).

After getting a little bit turned around, we ended up at the Gallery Mall. We made a brief stop at Starbucks near the 10th Street entrance for drinks and nibbles. I had a hot chocolate and a low-fat Blueberry Coffee Cake slice. Jessa had an iced tea and half of a lemon pound cake slice.

The 10th street entrance ended up being right near the Gallery's massive FYE, so we went there after we finished our snack, then browsed around. Jessa was just about out of money by then and only bought an alternative music magazine from FYE. The Goonies, one of my favorite childhood movies, was on sale at FYE, so I picked that up. I also took advantage of a 20% off all children's DVDs sale and my member's card to get the More Silly Symphonies Walt Disney Treasures set for about $23.75, more than $10 off the original $32.99 price.

We headed briefly for Suncoast Video before checking a Hallmark for good after-Easter stuffed animals. Didn't find any, but I did get the new talking Wacky Zingoz stuffed toy for $9.95. He's too cute! He says 6 phrases and, instead of opening a virtual pet, opens a new game, Wacky Zingoz Extreme. Unlike the original Wacky Zingoz game, it allows you to use three different types of bats (normal, the Gravity Bat that makes Wacky go slower before you hit him, and the Hyper Bat that makes him go farther) and gives you two shots instead of one. It's adorable and even more addictive than the original game.

Jessa and I headed back to Dad's house after leaving Borders Express. We watched some Sailor Moon R (the beginning of the second season) while waiting for the Italian dinner Jodie ordered. Jessa had a hamburger. I had a Chicken Filet Club Sandwich (half of which I'll eat at work tomorrow). Dad and Jodie shared a pasta dish. Poor Dad is back to not feeling well; he thinks the long ride to Karen and Jim's on Easter did it. I ended borrowing Sailor Moon R from Jess to see the rest of it. (The second season is the only Sailor Moon season I've never seen in full besides the rare-in-North-America final season; I want to make sure it's worth buying.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gardener's Delight, Worker's Pain

Not surprisingly for the day after a major holiday, work was steady-to-dead. The worst that happened was I smacked my wrist really hard against the divider between the bag loading area and the shelf for the paper bags. I was annoyed with an obnoxious older man who wanted me to re-bag his entire order in paper and then gave me five hundred different commands on how to do it and not paying attention to where my hands were. It hurt like hell, but I couldn't get ice on it until I got home. (And that jerk didn't even say "thank you" after I went through all that. Being older doesn't excuse you from good manners!)

My WebKinz site had a lovely surprise waiting for me this morning, though. I don't know if it's another glitch or Ganz's way of making up for two days of the gardens acting weird, but I read about several people at the AdultKinz fan forum who went online this morning and found every single plant in their garden ready for harvesting! I immediately went to WebKinz and had Rosie the Pink Pony check my garden. Sure enough, all of the plants, even Linda the Collie's Dog Bone Plant, were ripe and ready for picking. (And don't ask me how a dog bone can be ripe.) I amassed quite a tidy sum from selling most of that back to the W Shop!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Easter Bunny Came To Town

First of all, Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!

I began a bright, gorgeous Easter morning with two Rankin-Bass stop-motion animation Easter specials as I frosted Rainbow Party Chip cupcakes. Here Comes Peter Cottontail is from 1971. The lie-prone title character travels through a year's worth of holidays (including Easter) to deliver Easter eggs and save April Valley from the vengeance-obsessed Irontail. Some nice, bright animation and the excellent cast - including Casey Kasem as Peter Cottontail, Vincent Price as Irontail, and Danny Kaye as the narrator, the caterpillar captain Antoine, and Colonel G. Bunny - are the saving graces here.

Rankin-Bass got to their second, and far more Easter-y, springtime extravaganza in 1975. While Peter Cottontail has some echoes of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Easter Bunny Is Coming To Town is something of a blatant rehash of 1970's Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Not only is it narrated by Fred Astaire in a repeat of his mailman character, he even briefly refers to the earlier special in the beginning and in the title song.

Getting away from it's origins, it's a fun look at secular Easter customs that aren't as often explored as similar traditions for Christmas. I especially loved the hilarious Hendrews Sisters, a singing chicken trio who provide Sunny the Easter Bunny with his eggs. Though their numbers are largely extraneous, they're some of the best in the show.

The 1975 Peanuts special It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown also refers to an earlier special, in this case It's the Great Pumpkin. Indeed, Sally provides a rare bit of continuity when Linus starts babbling about a magical "Easter Beagle" who brings candy and eggs to all the good little children and she reminds him of how much this resembles his pet Halloween myths.

While not really one of the best Peanuts specials, Easter Beagle is probably my personal favorite, just because I love the running gag with Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and 500 different ways of cooking eggs. ;)

I listened to the Beatles show for about 20 minutes after Easter Beagle, then headed over to Dad and Uncle Ken's, stopping first to deliver three cupcakes to my landlady. There was a large Easter basket for my sister Jessa and a small one for me when I arrived. I chatted with Jessa for a while over a third season episode of Sailor Moon before she, Dad, Jodie, and I drove out to our cousins' house.

Karen and Jim and their 18-year-old daughter Taylere, toddler son C.J, and dog Hobbes live in a development in Washington Township in the middle of what mostly appears to be a farming community. They apparently moved into the huge, brand-new house last year and don't have much there yet besides a big backyard with a lovely view of a lake and some peach trees. (Sadly, the trees will supposedly fall victim to a road and redevelopment plan next year.)

I nibbled on some cheese and cracker trays and chatted with the adults before opting to go with Taylere and Jessa to Taylere's boyfriend's house for an "adult Easter egg hunt." Like Taylere's family, her boyfriend and his family live in a large house with a huge yard in a largely rural town. He and his siblings are all older, in their late teens and early 20s, but their sweet parents still hide eggs for them every year. I listened to the kids goof off in their basement band rehearsal area (Tay's boyfriend is apparently the drummer for a local Christian rock band) while the parents hid the eggs. We then spent the next hour searching all over the yard for plastic eggs filled with coins and Reeces' Peanut Butter Cups. Taylere got the most money ($1.05); her boyfriend got the most eggs overall. I regretted wearing dressy clothes and heels during this; I ultimately looked for eggs in my stocking feet.

After the Egg Hunt, we headed home for dinner. Taylere had to work at her local Applebee's, but the rest of us (including Uncle Ken and Dolores, who arrived while we were at Taylere's boyfriend's house) sat down to a big meal of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, potato salad, stuffing, and corn, with cupcakes and two egg-shaped cakes for dessert. We also got to observe C.J's reason for living - golf. His father is crazy about golf, and so's he. His mother even found him a golf-ball-shaped Easter basket. Hitting balls is the kid's life. Balls and the new Little Tykes Car he got for his birthday. You should have seen Jodie and Dad pushing him around in that thing. It was hysterical.

I watched Easter Parade after I got home. Easter Parade is one of the most famous of the classic MGM Technicolor musicals of the 40s and 50s. A vaudeville dancer (Fred Astaire) loses his partner (Ann Miller) right before New York's Easter Parade in 1912. When his best friend (Peter Lawford) claims there will never be a partner as wonderful as Miller, Astaire claims he can pick any woman out of a chorus line and make her just as wonderful, actually taking a girl out of a bar show (Judy Garland) and asking her to come for rehearsal. What follows is a relatively simple show business story that mostly makes use of Irving Berlin's back song catalog from the time period ("I Love A Piano," "When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam'," the title song) along with six new songs (among them "Steppin' Out With My Baby," "It Only Happens When I Dance With You," the adorable "A Couple Of Swells," and "Better Luck Next Time" for Garland). With Astaire and Ann Miller involved, there's some spectacular dancing, some of the best of any MGM musical - Miller stands out in "Shakin' the Blues Away," and Lawford does well by the sweet "A Fella With An Umbrella."

Oh, and WebKinz fans have probably already noticed this (for once, they admit it on the front page), but the gardens are acting screwy. Yesterday, they'd disappeared all together; today, they're nothing but weeds. Interestingly, other than the garden, I haven't had any problems at all with WebKinz this weekend. I adopted Cadbury the Brown Dog just fine on Wednesday and got everything she was supposed to come with, I got my Easter gifts and card with no problems, the site was only running slightly slow, and all my exclusives are where they should be. I even had some great luck with the Curio Shop, picking up the Hockey Flooring for Quinn the Polar Bear's Hockey Rink Room and Country Cabinets for Duke the Lil'Kinz Pig's Farm Room. (I also decided I liked the mellow tan wood in the Candy Room Bed and Breakfast better than the Purple Pop Star Wardrobe.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Loony, Loony Easter Eve

Thankfully, work WAS busy today - not quite as busy as I thought it would be (the lines weren't halfway across the store), but busy enough that my 7 and 1/2-hour day flew by. One register went down, otherwise there were no major problems.

It was cloudy in the morning, then off-and-on cloudy for the rest of the afternoon, with mild wind. I was able to ride to and from work with no problems, and in fact had a rather pleasant spring day ride. I'm so happy it didn't snow last night, like Yahoo!Weather said it was supposed to.

I figured out what went wrong with my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake at work when I was trying to work out what I would need for it's replacement. I forgot to add eggs. Ooops. No wonder it fell apart! Needless to say, I added everything the recipe said for the cupcakes I baked this afternoon. Most will go to the family. I'll give two to my landlady and save two for me.

I watched two Loony Tunes Easter specials while working on the cupcakes and eating leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs and asparagus for dinner. Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies is the older of the two, from 1977. The Easter Bunny is sick, so for some reason, he calls Granny for help. She suggests Bugs Bunny takes his place. The busy Bugs, however, isn't so keen on the idea and asks most of his Loony Tunes pals to "audition" for the part.

On the upside, there's some classic material here, including bits and pieces of three Oscar-winning shorts - the Tweety/Sylvester vehicle Birds Anonymous, Pepe Le Pew's debut For Scent-Timental Reasons, and Bugs' only Oscar-winner, Knighty -Knight Bugs. Some of the other bits we get are fun, too, including the square dance finale from Hillbilly Rabbit and most of Robin Hood Daffy and the first half of Bully For Bugs.

On the other hand, if you already own most of these cartoons in full on video or DVD, this is cute but fairly pointless. The Easter theme is tenuous at best, and none of the cartoons have much to do with spring, much less Easter. (And since when were any of the regular Loony Tunes besides maybe Tweety and Sniffles the Mouse considered "cute and cuddly?")

Easter is far better represented on the second Loony Tunes Easter special. Daffy Duck finally got his own spring showcase in 1980, titled Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement on video. Unlike the previous special, all three of the cartoons here are entirely new...well, almost. Many of the gags on the final short appear to have been lifted from a 1967 Pink Panther cartoon, Pinto Pink. (I have the cartoon on the second Pink Panther Collection DVD.) Otherwise, the cartoons are originals and in full. The wrap-around sequences have Daffy being bedeviled by an animator with an odd sense of humor in what's basically a spring-themed retread of Duck Amuck.

Actually, the three cartoons themselves aren't any great shakes. The first, with Daffy and Sylvester chasing after a golden egg, is the best. Daffy's solo short at the end with the horse also has it's moments. The Speedy Gonzoles/Daffy short in the middle is a bit dull. The animation is at best colorful, but is hampered by the limits of TV and budgets.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pineapple Upside-Down Girl

Spent most of today at work. It was still very windy despite the sunny skies, so I called Dad for a ride. I worked 9:30 to 3:30 today and then did a big (for me - it was about $30) grocery trip. I waited for about 15 minutes for my ride. When no one came, I decided to just walk home. It wasn't until half-way home that I realized I'd forgotten to call Dad and tell him I walked. I went over to his house after I got in and put everything away to explain. He was just as embarrassed as me. He HAD forgotten and had just sent his girlfriend out to fetch me.

Things didn't go much better at home. I was too tired to make bread, so I tried to make the pineapple upside-down cake I'd planned to give to the family for Easter. Unfortunatly, I couldn't find a big enough plate for the rectangular cake and it fell apart when I turned it over. Oh, well. I'll make another, simpler cake for Easter and keep the pineapple cake as a treat for me.

Work, incidentally, was busy but not too horrible. Everyone must be waiting for tomorrow. I kinda hope so - I have an 8-hour day tomorrow and it'll go by much faster if it's busy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring, Spring, Spring

The first day of spring brought sunny skies and gusty winds to Camden County. I spent the morning doing laundry and watching Goof Troop and Micky's House of Mouse at Uncle Ken and Dad's house. Dad is feeling better. He'd just returned from doing chores when I was on my way out. I asked him what he was doing for Easter. He said he was going to our cousins' Karen and Jim's house, and I was welcome to join them. I said I'd be delighted, especially after my Christmas with relatives went so well.

It was too windy to ride my bike to Collingswood for my counseling session, so I walked there. Scott and I discussed the possibility of my having Asperger's Syndrome, my loving-but-bossy mother's effect on my life, and my parents' mid and late-80s troubles.

After counseling, I went to the Treehouse Cafe for lunch. I had a very spicy chicken chili, hot chocolate, and two small chocolate chip cookies. I browsed in several stores after that, but the only things I ended up buying were more records from the Collingswood Library.

My big record finds were two rare Disney soundtracks for their late 60s live-action musicals The Happiest Millionaire and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. Actually, the Family Band record was really a kids' audio-and-book set that featured most of the songs from the movie (save the older sister's solo number). Happiest Millionaire probably has the (mildly) better score, but the Family Band record has the advantage of being entertainingly narrated by two of the kids from the title music group, one of whom sounded exactly like the little girl who was the voice of the original Lucy in the 60s Peanuts specials. The Family Band cover also featured a read-along book with gorgeous full-color pictures. (The book for The Happiest Millionaire only had some black-and-white photos and a few lyrics.)

I called Mom as I went online to wish her a happy birthday. She, Daddy, and Keefe had just returned from a trip to the Hamilton Mall to return a popcorn maker whose handle broke. It must have been a birthday present; Mom loves popcorn. Otherwise, she was fine. We mostly talked about how my counseling session went and whether we discussed the possibility of my having Asberger's Syndrome.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chocolate Dog!

I had a long day. I finally decided I wanted to go to Target and opted for the Deptford Mall. The weather wasn't too bad this morning, cloudy, damp, and chilly, but not rainy. I made a quick stop at Uncle Ken's to say "hi" before heading to the malls.

I had a so-so shopping trip. I'm still on the hunt for jean capris. My old ones are huge on me. I didn't see any I liked at Lane Bryant, and I couldn't FIND the plus sizes at all in Sears or Target. I decided to wait on underwear, too. I did get my birthday shopping done (Mom, yours will be going out tomorrow!) and bought Lauren a housewarming gift. (She and her parents are moving to a newer, nicer home in Pittsfield, about a half-hour from North Adams, next month.) I also picked up a stack of birthday, Easter, and housewarming cards at American Greetings.

My last stop of the day was Best Buy, where I grabbed my other birthday present and Enchanted. I've been dying to see this. Enchanted is Disney's super-cute spoof of it's own sugary Princess image. A typical animated Disney heroine lands in New York, where she befriends a cynical divorce lawyer and his fantasy-loving little girl and learns that "real life" is a lot more complicated than any Disney-ized fairy tale.

Amy Adams RULES this. She's a perfect Disney princess, from a fine singing voice to a smart, sweet-but-not-saccharine manner. I actually think she's too smart for the ditsy Prince Charming (even if he IS hot) and the slightly jerk-ish divorce lawyer. I kind of would have liked to see Giselle try to strike out on her own, without either man...or any man. That said, the ending isn't bad (though the whole thing with the dragon seems like a desperate attempt to add unnecessary CGI action).

I got lucky a few times today. I wasn't the only person out running errands. I saw one co-worker at the mall, and another gave me a quick lift from the Deptford Mall to Target. I ran into Erica on my way home from Collingswood. I owe her one. By that point, it was pouring, but everyone else I knew was busy or out and I had no choice but to walk. (The weather was too ugly for the bike.)

Oh, and meet my new WebKinz, Cadbury the Brown Dog! This sweet-as-Hershey's Kisses miss is now Eliza the Black Poodle's roommate in the Modern Condo. She came with her cool Patchwork Quilt Couch (perfect for the Cozy Lodge Living Room), and since she's Pet #20, her choice of Super Beds. I picked a Fantasy Coach Bed to complete the Fantasy Room.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Clouds Will Soon Roll By

At least, I hope. I was called in today. Donna called at 7:30 and asked me if I could come in at 9. Uh, no. I was still in bed! I finally said I'd do 11 to 5, which I did. It turned out to be steady-to-dead, with no major problems. (I had the feeling three days off in a row were too good to be true...)

Unfortunately for my plans for the week, the weather does NOT look good. It's supposed to be rainy and windy tomorrow...the day I wanted to go to the Deptford Mall. I may go to the Cherry Hill Mall instead - fewer stores around it, there's a lot of construction going on over there, and as one of the area's largest and oldest malls, the layout can be confusing. On the other hand, I can walk to a bus stop at the Audubon Acme and just take a bus there instead of a bus and train to Deptford, and if the weather's going to be lousy, I won't be doing a lot of walking anyway. We'll see what happens.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shamrocks and John Wayne

Spent the morning of a gorgeous St. Patrick's Day watching The Quiet Man. One of several movies John Ford made with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, this beautiful Oscar-winning comedy features Wayne as a former boxer who just hung up his gloves and returns to his native Ireland to claim his family's homestead. He falls for feisty O'Hara, but has to contend with her bullying brother (Victor MacLaghlin) who is sporting for a fight, oddball locals, and the old-fashioned courting customs native to the Emerald Isles.

Ford loved both the story and Ireland, and it shows in every frame, from the real Irish backdrops to the equally real Irish or Irish-American cast. Barry Fitzgerald in particular is fun as an old friend of Wayne's family. (I loved him taking bets on the donnybrook in the finale!)

Mom called about mid-way through The Quiet Man. She wanted to know if I'd looked up Asperger's Syndrome yesterday, that I should tell my psychiatrist about it, and that she's there if I need to talk to her.

I still don't like the idea. I've been hoping so hard that I was just a normal person with some weird quirks. I don't want to be a test case my whole life. I don't want people to think there's something wrong with me or to treat me differently if there is. I'm not a China doll or a hamster. I'm a person.

I spent the rest of my St. Patrick's Day at work. Thank goodness after last St. Patrick's Day (when I worked late on the day after a snowstorm and spent it listening to two inane teenage boys blabber), it was a beautiful, perfect 50 degree March day and my shift was busy but not really a problem.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Behind Hazel Eyes

I called the family for my weekly talk this morning; finally got Mom. Physically, she was feeling much better and had almost entirely recovered from last week's bout with the stomach flu. (Keefe apparently got it, too, but not as badly.) Mom is trying to get the yard of the house done with the little money they have left, and is worried about Keefe's grades. He had to drop sports and other outside activities until they improved.

The other thing she wanted to talk about was something she'd found on the Internet. I forget how she said she found this, but she says she thinks I may have a mild form of Autism known as Asperger's Syndrome. Many of the symptoms - difficulty with social interaction and irony or teasing, tendency to obsess over topics, fear of change and desire for sameness, habit of taking words literally, poor and/or delayed motor skills, clumsiness - do relate to me (although most of the sites I've read says AS is more common in boys than girls).

I have mixed feelings about this. All my life, I've hoped upon hope that everyone was wrong and there was nothing wrong with me at all. I assumed I was just weird and people simply don't and can't understand. And I was called a "retard" so much throughout my school career (well into college) that I'd come to know what one was...and I wasn't. I was so tired of being constantly told that people would have to know how to "handle" me, like I was a China doll. I don't want to be handled. I want to be loved.

I don't agree with Mom that AS is entirely the problem, either. I was bullied constantly as a child. My sisters and brother and I lived through some nasty childhood trauma during a period in the late 80s when the family seemed to be breaking apart. I was too afraid to be involved in clubs like 4-H or the Girl Scouts (my sisters were briefly members of both) and thought I was too clumsy and physically inept for sports teams.

I've thought about this a lot today. Probably a good thing work was very busy (and my relief was late), but otherwise no problem. I wonder if I have some of the other problems listed, too. I know I have a hard time talking about my own feelings, I insensitive to how other people feel? Do I cut them off? Do I bore people when I talk about one of my obsessions? I know I lisp, but I thought that had to do with my overbite. I do tend to talk fast when I'm nervous and revert to old habits.

I want to join a group, but I don't want it to be clinical. I don't want to feel like a China doll or a hamster in a lab cage. I don't want to be "handled." I just dread what groups of people will say...will think...about someone who isn't normal.

Here's some more information on Asperger's Syndrome:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hoppin' On The Bunny Trail

First of all, I just finished posting this month's story at mine and Lauren's Monkees role play site. If you were disappointed with last month's relatively quiet party story, you'll be happy to know that this month's story ups the action and returns our favorite villains to the fold.

Second, I'm happy I got a lot done today. I hung out a bit this morning, watching The Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake and feeling like a kid again. Not only did I watch modern cartoons based after two of the 80s most popular franchises, but I saw commercials for My Little Ponies and Cabbage Patch Kids! (And, for some reason, a lot of sneakers.) Shame the Strawberry Shortcake Cereal is long-gone.

After Strawberry ended, I headed out for a quick run to the bank. On my way out, I heard some commotion at Veteran's Park next-door to me. Kids ages 2 to 8 and their parents and grandparents were gathered around three areas squared-off with pink tape. The squares were filled with hay and plastic Easter eggs. There was a table with a line of cellophane-covered, goodie-filled Easter baskets in the front of the park. I came just in time to see Oaklyn's Easter Egg Hunt! The three squares were for three age groups. As cute as the pre-schoolers and kindergardeners and first graders were, the second and third graders really took the cake...or the eggs. They almost literally threw themselves into the hunt, grabbing eggs and straw, kicking straw around, and making the funniest faces. The younger kids even got to greet the Easter Bunny, who also gave out prizes. (He was probably a parent in a costume, but it was a nice touch.)

I did finally make it to the bank after the kids finished and went over to the table for their baskets. I also made a quick stop at Family Dollar for Sweet n' Low (they didn't have any), WaWa for a drink, and at Doria's Deli (THEY had Sweet n' Low).

Work was busy and fairly painless, up-to and including a lovely, windless ride.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Clean As A Whistle

I finally finished this month's cleaning today. Did the windows, aired out the rag rug in today's gorgeous 60-degree weather, vacuumed (the kitchen was REALLY bad), and dusted. I'll do a more thorough job next month when I do my major spring cleaning, but at least everything looks a lot better than it did. I'll get the rest of the spring decorations up tomorrow and go to the bank.

I also heard from the dentist's office. My claim went through. I'll still have to pay for part of it, but paying for half is better than paying for the whole darn thing. And the poor lady was so apologetic for spilling coffee on the papers! That's ok, I can always get new ones from the union.

Work was on-and-off and not really a problem, other than one of the kids called out (according to one girl, he'd forgotten to tell the store about baseball practice) and I ended up staying a half-hour later. My ride to work was lovely - there was barely a breeze.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Signs of Spring

It was a beautiful day in Camden County. I really regret agreeing to go into work. For one thing, except during the usual 4PM rush hour, they didn't really need me, anyway. Second, it turns out the girl who called me in never told anyone who works in the morning, so no one knew I was coming in and I was not scheduled, despite having been called in last week. Third, I'm getting very sick of these obnoxious people. I hate working on Thursdays. It's the last day of our sales, and people get so confused when they start to put up the new prices! One guy thought the Diet Pepsi Caffeine Free was 10 for 10 dollars. The bottles were in the wrong place; there were so many of them, some of them ended up in the empty space where Mug Root Beer should have been. Mug, of course, was what was on sale. And of course, he didn't buy them, and we had a cart full of soda sitting around. It's amazing how people throw a fit over flavored carbonated water they're not really supposed to drink that much of anyway!

At least my rides to work were pleasant. I saw daffodils just beginning to pop up in lawns and a whole flock of robins. It was sunny, in the mid-50s, and a little on the windy side but not horrible.

I enjoyed a nice lunch with Uncle Ken and Dolores while my laundry was in the dryer, too. We chatted and made Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Poor Dad just had surgery last week and isn't feeling too well. He was downstairs long enough to make a crab salad before going back upstairs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Good Night's Rest

I really have to stop staying up too late on days when I work relatively early. I was a mess at work, teary and ranting. Otherwise, work wasn't really much of a problem. My relief was late, but it was quiet enough by the time I was done that I was able to leave before he arrived. (And he still hadn't arrived ten minutes later, when I finally went home after buying tangelos, strawberries, and a pack of WebKinz cards.)

I finally got something good off the cards, my fourth piece of Series 1 Card furniture, the Side Table. Boy, is it bright! I'm still deciding what to do with it - maybe I'll make a kid's play room or toy shop with it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pumpin' and Blowin'

I was thankful for the sunshine, 50 degree temperatures, and no wind after the last few Tuesdays were either damp and murky, rainy, icy, windy, or some combination thereof. I ran my usual Westmont errands and did my library volunteering with no problems. I did the Children's DVDs again, since they'd just gotten in a big batch. One of the librarians asked me to space them out. Bunching them together tended to leave too many open spaces on the racks and make them look empty. I did so. She was right; it DID look a lot better with one DVD in each slot instead of two. Most of the DVDs come from the most popular kids' series, anyway - Angelina Ballerina, Blue's Clues/Room, Bob the Builder, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Vegetales, or The Wiggles - or are multiple copies of the newest big kiddie flick. Once you get those sorted out, what you have left are random family movies and two or three DVDs from other series.

I made quick runs to Super Fresh to use a few coupons on items cheaper there than at the Acme (they have a better jelly and jam selection, so I used a coupon and got some Sugar Free Polaners and a box of Cream of Wheat for a dollar off) and to Dollar Tree for a new shower curtain. It was well after lunch by then, so I ended up at Nick and Joe's Pizzeria for that heavenly Chicken and Broccoli Wrap. I made a brief stop at Rite Aid to see if there were Easter versions of those cute Christmas Care Bears I bought back in November. Didn't see any, so I took the long way home through Cooper River Park.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, making sugar cookies, and watching The Pirate Movie. The bathroom in particular needed a good scrub. The bathtub was HORRIBLE. There were these brown blotches of god-knows-what. They came off with some scrubbing and bleach.

After last night's The Black Swan, I was in the mood for another, goofier 20th Century Fox nautical epic. The Pirate Movie is a very funny spoof of The Pirates of Penzance and was a childhood favorite of mine. I've mentioned it before on this blog. A young Australian girl named Mabel is accidentally knocked out while chasing her friends and an attractive boy she has her eye on, and dreams herself into The Pirates of Penzance, complete with Modern Major Generals, Pirate Kings, cowardly cops, Indiana Jones, Inspector Cleuseu, and drippy 80s ballads.

Don't come here if you're looking for a straight version of The Pirates of Penzance; purists will want to steer very clear. Don't come if you're not a fan of spoofs, silly innuendo, Monty Python-esque slapstick, or cheesy 80s tunes, either. Like most guilty pleasures, people either adore this film as an endearingly odd funfest or consider it to be one of the worst musicals ever. I think of it as the missing link between the Airplane! movies and Top Secret!, a wacky cross between Moulin Rouge, Pirates of the Carribean, and the aforementioned Airplane movies.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Old Fashioned Swashbuckler

Ran a few errands this morning. Brought my information to the dentist office for them to process. They can process it...but they can't fit in a second appointment until April 5th! Oh well. I've learned my lesson about brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash every day. There is a cavity on the other molar, but it doesn't hurt (yet), so hopefully it isn't in as bad of shape as the right side. The right molar is still sore, but the dentist said that should last for a few days. I also hit the bank and made a quick stop at Doria's Deli for turkey lunch meat.

Work was slightly less of a pain than yesterday, but there were still a lot of obnoxious people out. An on-and-off day did not help matters. I wasn't terribly happy with my relief, either. She sat around for ten minutes chatting with one of the teenage boy cashiers waiting to go in. What's wrong with going in a few minutes early? I do it all the time!

I was so happy to get home, make gingerbread, eat a Salisbury Steak Smart Ones meal for dinner, and watch the first half of The Black Swan. This is your typical 40s-50s swashbuckler, with Tyrone Power as a former buccaneer sent by Jamaica governor
Sir Henry Morgan to stop a renegade former comrade from bombing British ships. Maureen O'Hara is the feisty noblewoman he loves. Gorgeous, Oscar-winning color cinematography (and imaginative use of the 20th Century Fox back lot) and a fairly intelligent script (from a Rafael Sabatini novel) make this one of Tyrone Power's most memorable action vehicles.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Going Out

Spent this morning doing little things on my computer (like updating my DVD inventories), listening to the Brunch With The Beatles show on WOGL (songs released in the spring was today's theme), and making my annual Sunday call to the family. I only got Dad this time. Keefe was out with friends, and Mom was just out. She'd apparently caught a nasty bug from my little nephew Skylar and spent most of the weekend doubled over with the flu. Dad himself was fine; he sounded great. He's finally taking Mom's years of fussing about his health seriously after seeing his weight climb to 280 and had just gotten home from the gym.

The rest of the afternoon wasn't nearly as pleasant. Work was busy until the last half-hour of my shift and a royal pain in the rear. People were obnoxious. People were rude. One woman actually cursed at me and Marlene the manager when we told her she couldn't get two of of the 3 24-packs of Pepsi for $12 sale on one order. It's a store rule. They really do need to start emphasizing the "one per order" rule in the ads and on the aisle, though, especially since that particular sale is all week. Another man got mad when I couldn't round up his order on the debit card and accidentally gave him 35 dollars instead of rounding it to 35. I'm sorry folks, I don't make the rules, I just follow them!

I needed to eat out after that. I changed my shirt and went next-door to Applebee's. I don't often eat there - they're expensive and, between the bar and catering to families, noisy - but I'd done Tu Se Bella Pizzeria twice in the past two months when I wanted to eat out after work and wanted something different. Besides, Applebee's is right next to the Acme/Rite Aid building, an almost literal stone's throw away. Though I was stuck between two families, the kids behaved and I managed to have a lovely dinner of Roast Turkey and Bacon with Swiss cheese and cranberry chutney on Ciabatta bread and fries.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Dam Burst Forth

I got lucky twice today. It was cloudy and damp but not raining when I went to work around 10AM. It rained for about two minutes while I was on the road, then stopped, and I got to the Acme more-or-less dry. It rained hard off and on all day, according to my customers and co-workers, but by the time I got out around 5, it was sunny and still. There were lots of clouds on the horizon, though, and despite the assurance of the girl who was my relief that the storms were over, I suspected there was more to come.

Less than an hour after I got home, the wind picked up until it howled like a dying creature and the rain gushed over my porch. My tin trash can was blown over. The air conditioner cover was (again) blown off my porch. (I'm not looking forward to chasing after them.) I heard a loud "thump" on my roof - I'll check for any large downed branches tomorrow. (As long as they don't end up in my apartment, I don't think I need to check tonight.)

Work was generally fine, off-and-on busy thanks to the off-and-on weather. There were a few obnoxious customers, especially towards the end of the day. One fellow complained that his Acme sale card wasn't getting him any sales, ignoring the fact that he hadn't BOUGHT anything on sale with the card! Though the woman after him was nicer, she just had to split her larger order into two in order to use two $10 off gift certificates she could have used at any time.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tooth and Consequences

I finally made it to the dentist this morning. In fact, it turns out her office was just down the street from me, a block from the PNC Bank on the White Horse Pike in Oaklyn. Both the dentist and the assistant were pleasant, cheerful young women, and their chatter helped me through what turned out to be a bigger deal than I'd originally assumed it was.

What I thought was a cavity and sore gums was a very, very large cavity in a fractured tooth that was poking into the gums. The cavity was so big, it was getting close to the nerve. Yes, I had to have anesthesia. Yes, I had to have it drilled. Two drills, in fact. She used a small one I barely felt and a larger one that made a lot of noise, hurt somewhat, and reminded me of the trains passing by across from my apartment. It took forever for the right side of my mouth to numb, too.

I'll be going back next week. I have to get my dental forms sorted out with the Union, and I still have a chipped tooth and another cavity that needs to be done. (And I should have done the chipped tooth last year, but I put it off because it didn't hurt...) My mouth is still a bit sore, and I can't bite down too hard on things on the right side, but the pain isn't nearly as bad as it was. If anything, I feel that needle jab in my gums and the side of my mouth more than anything.

I watched El Dorado to cheer me up before and after my appointment. El Dorado is one of John Wayne's most popular vehicles. A gunfighter rides into town, followed by a young man new to the area, and helps out a drunken sheriff and his deputy when a local family is hounded by a corrupt shipping magnate and his hired guns. The cast (including Robert Mitchum as the sheriff and a young James Caan as the kid) and the script (written by Leigh Brackett, who also wrote Han and Leia's classic banter in The Empire Strikes Back) makes an otherwise slightly cliched movie work. (If the story seems familiar, El Dorado is a color remake of an earlier Howard Hawks/John Wayne movie, Rio Bravo, and was remade as Howard Hawks' last film, Rio Lobo, in 1970.)

Thankfully, after all that, work was steady but not too bad. I rode to and from work in the rain, since I had some grocery shopping to do and I didn't want Dad to have to pick me up after his surgery.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Tooth Of The Matter

Sigh. First of all, I really don't know anything about health care. I didn't know you had to send away for some form to be able to do an insurance claim, though I really should have thought of it first. I never had health care until I had enough years in the Acme. My stepfather is a commercial fisherman who has long been listed as "self-employed," and he and Mom have long paid any medical expenses themselves, out of their own pocket. Hopefully, I won't have to have too much done at the dentist's office tomorrow. I shouldn't need a tooth removed or anything fancy. I just need a check-up and something to sooth sore gums and fix a chipped tooth.

I ended up spending most of the day at the thrift shop. My older friend Erica called a few days ago and said the current manager really needed extra help putting out all the spring items and bagging the winter items to be put aside for a company that pays the store for piles of clothes. The store was busy, especially towards the end of the day.

I felt a little awkward. I was the only person my age there. There weren't even many younger customers today. It was all older ladies and people from Camden. As much as I like the thrift shop, I don't really want to do more volunteering there beyond helping out every now and then. I like getting cool cheap stuff, but it gets monotonous doing it all the time, and it's not really what I want to do with my life.

Erica and I stopped at the Collingswood Variety Store on our way home, and yes, I did get a new WebKinz. Meet Chester the Alley Cat! Ches is a tough-talkin' city boy with a big heart under all that ego. I thought a garage seemed right for a city kitty, so I built Chester his own Garage Loft that's also a storage space for various vehicles (the scooters, skateboard, and AT V Wheeler).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

When Weather Goes Wild

I didn't sleep well last night. A deafening crash awoke me around 2:30AM. It was the biggest thunderstorm I've heard in a long time. Rain thumped on the roof. The wind bellowed across my porch, knocking air conditioner covers and sticky ball pods helter skelter. The thunder was noisy enough to hear in several neighboring planets. After that display, it was a wonder I ever made it back to sleep, but I finally did get up for work around 6:30.

Unfortunately, the rain started up again around quarter after 8...right when I had to go to work, of course. I called Dad for a ride at the last minute and was almost late. Work was generally dead, except for around the usual rush hour time. I don't normally work at 8:30AM or for 8 hours, but a lot of people opted to take their unused vacation time this week. (I don't even want to think of what Easter week is going to be like.) By the time I finally got out of work (my relief was late, which didn't make Dad happy), the sun was shining and the wind had largely diminished.

I spent the rest of the afternoon putting up the spring, St. Patrick's Day, and some of the Easter decorations. (I'll wait until after St. Patrick's Day to put up the rest.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Better Shop Around

I did a lot of shopping I'd been putting off today, probably a lot more than I really should have. The first of today's errands was finally getting my tax return in the bank. Thank goodness! My account was tipping perilously towards "empty."

My next stop was the Haddon Township Library for this week's volunteering session. Did the Large Print section, which needed it, particularly the regular fiction. Made a very quick stop at Super Fresh for milk, then headed back to Oaklyn and stopped at Doria's Deli for eggs (which are cheaper there than at Super Fresh or Acme).

I stopped at home for lunch and to put away my milk, eggs, and the copy of Zorro, by Isobel Allende. The last-named is a new version of the Zorro legend that came out a few years ago, but I could never find it then.

It started out sunny, but clouds came out even before I left for Westmont. By the time I was eating my lunch, it was much darker and windier. It was also humid, damp, and smelled of wet weather; not good signs. I finally just grabbed my umbrella and just walked to the shopping center behind the Acme.

My first stop there was Staples for more Zip Discs. I then headed over to Wal-Mart, which was busy but yielded more interesting items this time. I finally got an outdoor doormat (one of those green plastic grass things with the cute daisies) and a new indoor doormat (my old one was folding up like a withered flower). I looked at bath mats, but they were all too big. I have a very small bathroom, and anything larger than a small would cover almost the entire floor. I also got cereal bars and much-needed new underwear.

I took a look at Avenue and Fashion Bug for new cullottes, but couldn't find anything I liked, so I ended up at FYE instead. I spent more than $100 on two new WebKinz (one was on sale for Easter), two WebKinz Trading Cards packs, five DVDs, and the FYE membership card (which gives you 10% off all purchases). Of the five DVDs, two replaced video copies. I'd held onto Casablanca since I was in junior high and my stepdad joined Columbia House because of the cool booklet, but then I saw the 2-disc DVD used for $15 and thought I'd take a look at that. I also found Recess: School's Out used as a replacement for the video copy I got from Blockbuster three years ago. The Black Swan was one of the movies I taped in college and recently got rid of, and since there was a buy 1 under $16, get the second under $16 half-off sale, I also picked up one of my favorite John Wayne movies, El Dorado. (My stepfather is a huge John Wayne fan, and I guess I picked up a lot of it from him.)

The latest in Disney's long line of Platinum 2-Disc DVD releases is 101 Dalmations, one of their cutest and most unusual movies. Best known today for the memorable villainess Cruella De Vil, Dalmations is a laid-back action/comedy about the London title characters, who seek their puppies after fur-crazy De Vil and a couple of rather stupid thieves steal them for dog-skin coats. Dalmations isn't my all-time favorite, but it's still a lot of fun and it's nice to have it, especially since the video and the last DVD release is long out-of-print.

(And I'm miffed Disney's putting out Sleeping Beauty again in October after all the trouble I went through last year to find the original DVD release! It'll be nice to have the long-gone Pinnochio next spring, though.)

I spent the rest of the afternoon after hiking home watching Dalmations and making a simple salmon dinner.

Oh, and meet my newest WebKinz, Sunshine the Duck and Duke the Lil'Kinz Pig! Duke was named for John Wayne's moniker. Sunnie was named for the little ray of sunshine that poked through the clouds after I finally left FYE. I only activated Duke today; one at a time. He's the "Pet Of The Month" and came with extra goodies. His Pet Of The Month loot was a Playful Picture, which went in his room. The gorgeous Antique Street Lamp exclusive was perfect for my Kinzville Farm Market; gave it that "historic downtown" feel. I also got a WebKinz Trading Card Refrigerator, a Wizard Hat, and a Space Book Shelf off the card packs.

(Oh, and it did finally rain tonight, and rather heavily, too. Hopefully, that'll get rid of the awful humidity. It's too early for that.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Tooth, and Nothing But the Tooth

I finally decided this morning I'd had enough. I've had a toothache for several days now. I think it's my gums from a hard-bristled toothbrush coupled with I haven't been able to afford a check-up since 2000. I called the nearest dentist's office and made an appointment for Friday morning. Now, I just have to call the union and find out exactly what my insurance covers. There shouldn't be any surgery; nothing's loose, though one tooth is chipped slightly. (I never got it fixed because it didn't hurt.) I didn't tell anyone on or offline I had a toothache because I didn't want anyone to worry...or tell me to go to a dentist and stop acting silly. I hate doing paperwork. I can never remember everything that needs to be written down. (That's why I haven't had an eye exam since 2000, either.)

I spent most of this gorgeous, 60-degree day at work. Work was on-and-off busy and fairly annoying, with lots of obnoxious beginning-of-the-month people. I also discovered why I have so many early days this week. Another woman who had to come in very early said many older employees who haven't gone on vacation yet are taking them before the cycle starts over again in May. (I, of course, take my vacation time in late July-early August so I can visit my best friend Lauren. When I lived in Wildwood, I took it during the week of my birthday in April.)

My tax return was waiting for me when I got home. Thank goodness. I don't have much in the bank after paying my rent; I'll deposit it tomorrow.

It was such a nice day, I decided to go for a quick walk to Family Dollar and get a few items I needed (including OralGel). I also stopped at WaWa and bought a pretzel. WaWa's pretzels are doughy and not very good, but at least they were easy on my teeth.

I watched Weekend at Bernie's while eating leftover mashed potatoes and meatloaf for dinner. Weekend at Bernie's is one of those goofy 80s comedies you would have never gone to see in the theater, but never missed when it was on cable. Two slightly goofy guys insurance workers discover a discrepancy in the account that's costing the firm millions of dollars and tell their boss, Bernie. Naturally, Bernie invites them to his fabulous beach house in the Hamptons to further discuss the matter. Turns out Bernie is not only behind the scam, but is a sleazy, skirt-chasing jerk with mob connections, and it's those "mob connections" who kill him before the guys arrive. Wanting to score with a hot local girl and not lose their vacations, the boys decide to act like Bernie never died...and most of the sloshed locals don't seem to notice much anyway. The mob's not thrilled, though...

Yes, it's all as silly and strange as that description sounds, but it's also a great deal of fun if you like your comedy very broad and your acting very over-the-top. Terry Kiser is great as the titular stiff, and Andrew McCarthy has a ball playing against type as the more party-hearty half of the two guys.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

All The Lonely People

Sometimes, I wish I were better about parties. I did go to the baby shower for Uncle Ken's girlfriend Dolores' family. I didn't know what to buy for the expecting mother, so I brought a French Vanilla cake. They had just finished opening the mountains of shower gifts when I walked in the door. There was still some food left; I had delicious meatballs and sauce, sugar cookies with frosting "M"s piped on them, caramel chocolates, slices of cheese and melon, crackers, and spinach and cheese dips. I still felt awkward, though. I don't know Dolores' relatives very well. Thank goodness Vanessa and Brittany were there, along with Blake and his siblings.

Work was a pain today, busy all day long, with at least one register that broke down. (I've had three registers in the last month suddenly die on me. I really wish they'd replace the darn things, or at least repair them better.)

And the zip disk that held almost all of my fiction work - all of my regular stories, fanfiction, notes for our Monkees Role-Play, and story ideas - absolutely refused to work tonight. I don't know why. I worked fine when I saved the last part of our Monkees story to it Friday night. I haven't touched it since then. I don't know what I did. I must be doing something wrong or have pushed the wrong button. I've tried everything I can think of. I've pulled it out and put it in. I've reset the computer and restarted the computer. I've searched for the files on my computer. The other zip disk with my inventories, budgets, and resumes works fine.

I'm so upset. I can copy most of the older stories from the CDs I made back in October, but I've lost anything I've worked on recently, including any Monkee Role Plays done since then. :(

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Market Street Ho!

I did finally make it into Philadelphia this morning. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it was windy but not wet at all. In fact, it would appear that beyond a quick random shower, we received no precipitation last night, frozen or otherwise.

I finally used that $100 gift card from Christmas at the Lane Bryant in the Gallery Mall. Much to my dismay, the winter stuff was already gone and the new spring fashions were largely hideous. What's with the gaudy, gauzy peasant tops and neon polyester button-down blouses? What is this, 1976? I want to wear sensible clothes I can ride around in, not yards of fabric that makes me look like the member of a gypsy caravan. Oh, and breathable fabric would be nice. I don't like shirts that gather around my chest, either. I try to de-emphasize that as much as possible!

Even so, I ended up spending the whole gift card and over $30 more. I wound up with two bras (my non-underwire ones are stretched beyond endurance), a really cute pair of cocoa-brown pants, a new plain white t-shirt (another too-stretched item that needed replacement), a heart-print cotton nightgown that was leftover from Valentine's Day, and a turquoise false-layered top with a Swiss lace undershirt. The last I bought mostly to get a buy a pair of pants, get a top 50% off sale. We'll see if I actually wear it.

I didn't have much money after that, and it was such a nice day anyway that I headed out to Market Street and down 10th. I stopped at my favorite used books and records store, Ralstoff's, to see what they had. I didn't get any records this time around, but I did find some more Calvin and Hobbes, Yukon Ho!. Reading Calvin and Hobbes reminds me so much of all the crazy stuff my sisters and I did when we were Calvin's age.

I stopped in a coffee shop by Thomas Jefferson Hospital a few blocks down from Ralstoff's and had hot chocolate and a very tasty Strawberry Belgian Waffle while reading Yukon Ho!. I had to work very hard not to burst out laughing and disrupt all the medical students around me. ;)

Since I was practically broke, I went straight home after lunch. I spent the rest of the afternoon baking gingerbread and cake for tomorrow, doing yoga, and watching this year's first Easter special, The Easter Bunny Is Comin' To Town.