Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Philadelphia On Ice

Tiramisu With A Candle

Work wasn't too bad today. It's the last day of the month; we'll be crazy tomorrow. Today, it was mostly steady and dying quick when I left around 4:30. The worst that happened was the continuing lack of help. Once again, we had to call people from the bakery and back store room to help up front. I can't wait until our vacation cycle starts over in May and people are done with their vacations!

About 20 minutes after I got home, my dad Bruce called. Did I want to go out to dinner as a belated birthday present? Sure! We went to an Italian restaurant on the White Horse Pike a few blocks from Bruce and Uncle Ken's house that Bruce and Jodie love. I had a the Chicken special with spinach and tomatoes in wine sauce covered with mozzarella. Delicious, and huge. The leftovers will be tomorrow's dinner.

Shortly after dinner was finished, I got a genuine surprise. Two of the waitresses came out singing, with a slice of tiramisu with a lit candle (apparently the closest Italian approximation to cake). It was so sweet and only slightly embarrassing, since the place was empty (and in fact, the only other patrons were friends of Bruce and Jodie's). Turns out it was Jodie and Jessa's idea; Jessa suggested the special cake, and Jodie alerted the waitresses and chose the cake. I really appreciated it, since I didn't get to have cake on my birthday.

Daddy gave me money. Jodie gave me a WebKinz duck she says she'll exchange for the cute Black Lab she saw at CVS. (Nelson the Yellow Lab could use a roommate!) I actually saw a Black Lab at the Acme in December I was pretty close to buying, but I changed my mind and went with a Charcoal Cat because I couldn't think of a name. Jodie gave me a good idea for a name - name the Lab after her much-loved Black Lab Max. That's cool. Max is a big ol' sweetie.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Like Dreamin'

I didn't get much done today. I was called in around 11PM, before I could go to the library. I finally decided I didn't have the time and tried to do job research instead. I ended up goofing off online, though I did do some research. Librarian jobs in general are faltering; a lot of people do their own research now online and don't need help. Children's and school librarians seem to be steady, though.

I wish meeting people was less scary. Maybe I'd be a real person by now, with a real life. I'd have pets or children, someone to love me, and a job I actually look forward to. I'd have friends who live here and are always there when I need them.

I'm just so tied up in knots. How can I write people I don't know? What would I say to the school librarians? Why can't someone in my family be interested in libraries? This was so much easier in high school and college, when I knew everyone. How can I talk to these people? They're so smart, and I never feel smart. Everyone SAYS I'm smart, but it always seems like I don't do the smart thing. If I'm so smart, why am I working at a grocery store, even though I went to college? If I'm an intellectual, why do I say such embarrassing things and trip over my tongue when I try to explain myself?

I feel like the only person who isn't doing anything. Everyone I know is busy with something except for me. The trouble is, I just can't see myself in a suit, going from huge office building to huge office building, trying to impress snotty old men in big leather chairs.

I want to work with children. I want to help people; REALLY help them, not just push their items through a line. I want to write and read and show people that doing those things can be fun and useful. I want to help some people at a time, not a hundred. I want to be involved with my job and not do something I've done so often, I'm just going through the motions and showing up because it earns me money.

I'm so scared, my stomach is in knots as I type this. I must sound like such a baby. Real adults know how to find jobs. They go to their family and friends and tell them that they're looking for a job, and then everyone passes it on until someone knows someone who can hire them. I'm too scared to know anyone. What if they don't like me because I'm different? What if they make fun of me? What if they hurt me? What if they laugh and don't want me there?

At least I know my stuffed animals won't hurt me. I adopted the free White Poodle I got for buying $10 or more of WebKinz items at Willie the Woodsman's WebKinz Party on Saturday. I finally decided on a name for her. She's named Blanche, which is French for "white." Blanche is Pet #25, so she came with a Super Bed. The Bed Of Roses I chose was so pretty, I did a whole "Summer Room" theme, surrounding the bed with the Red Roses vases and using beach, sky, and jungle themes for the remaining furniture.

I also adopted my Yellow Lab yesterday. His name is Nelson, after Nelson Eddy. I began a "Lab House" made up of the Dog and blue stripes theme that will be the home of all three WebKinz Labradors after I buy them.

For all my fussing, work ended up being steady until about 8PM, after which it was very dead.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rainy Days and Early Mondays


I had to wake up at 4:30AM this morning.

It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't gone to bed at 10, then tossed and turned for two hours while I tried to explain to my body it was sleeping at the wrong time for the sake of my paycheck.

Mother Nature did not help. I poked my head into the darkness and got wet, thanks to a steady shower. Thankfully, it had gentled into a soft sprinkle by the time I went to work.

I wouldn't mind working at 6AM so much if it didn't mess with my sleep cycle...and if it didn't require going to bed so early. That's what bothers me. I don't mind getting up. I'd like mornings, and I'd rather work earlier than later. It's the "going to bed" I have problems with. Not to mention the "working 6-2 today, 4-8 tomorrow." I really, really want a consistent schedule.

(Actually, I'm off tomorrow, but the last time I worked this early, I worked until 9 the night before. I came home and went to bed in darkness, then went to work in darkness! Very unnerving. And then I worked late the next day!)

Almost nothing happened up through my first break, other than a couple of obnoxious old men buying their newspapers. Nothing happened until the store started to get busy, and once again, it began to occur to the managers that we are STILL low on help. We ended up calling managers and bakery people to help up front.

The rain continued through the day. Around quarter after 1, the Acme actually lost it's lights! They flickered, then the entire store was suddenly plunged into darkness for about five minutes. The only lights came from the computer screens, the monitors, and the windows along the front of the store. They did come back on, but it was so spooky. Thank goodness the computers didn't go down as well. I've seen us lose the computers during nasty weather, but never the lights! The lights flickered again about fifteen minutes later, but didn't go out this time. Thank goodness I was almost done by that point and my relief was a college girl who is almost never late.

It was still raining when I went home, but the showers were light enough that I was able to ride. I puttered around a little before finally deciding I wouldn't be of much use if I didn't take a nap. I woke up at 5:30, by which time it was pouring. For all my fussing about the extra-early hours, it's just as well I did work that early. I'm usually at the Acme around 5:30, and I certainly would have needed a ride home!

I watched The Magnificent Seven tonight while working on a Portuguese corn bread. The simple story - a Mexican town hires seven gunfighters to defend them from a bandit and his gang, and the gunfighters get attached to the townspeople - has been stolen from, imitated, and spoofed so often, I really rented this to see an excellent cast in action. Yul Brunner and Steve MacQueen were the gunfighters who rounded up the rest; Eli Wallach was wonderful as the bandit.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Moody Blues and Grays

Another round of storms left gloomy skies and damp weather over the South Jersey area. It looks like it'll linger all week, which makes it just as well I intend to spend the majority of this week cleaning the apartment. I slept late and listened to the Beatles while eating a very quick breakfast before heading to work.

Work was a total, complete zoo. There were very long lines all over the store all day long. The cool temperatures and blah weather must have finally driven people to the store after almost a month of so-so business. The lines weren't helped by all the people we were missing. We had two call-outs and few people to replace them, with half the store's employees having gone on vacation.

That's why I'm posting early tonight. I work at 6AM tomorrow. This is another reason why I really, really hate my job. I wouldn't mind working so early if I did it all the time and wasn't riding my bike. I seriously hope it doesn't rain tomorrow morning like it's supposed to, because I'll never be able to get a ride at 6AM.

I'd love to have a job with consistent hours! I so want to feel like someone who graduated college and went out to the job force like she was supposed to.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Great Day Of The WebKinz

Thankfully, whatever thunderstorm we had last night (and if the boom I heard around 1:30AM was any indication, we had a doozy) was long gone by the time I awoke. I ate chocolate chip pancakes while watching Care Bears. Strawberry Shortcake was a re-run, so I headed out on todays errand run a little early. It was windy, cloudy, damp, and relatively chilly compared to the last few weeks, but there was no rain. By the time I left, there weren't even any puddles.

After I went to the bank and took a quick peek at The House of Fun on the White Horse Pike (nothing good today), I went for a bike ride down to Willie the Woodsman Gift Shop in Audubon, the store I bought Stuffy the Rabbit at on my birthday. They were the only place anywhere near me taking part in the "WebKinz Extravaganza," a weekend of events the Ganz company is holding to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of their debut. I walked out with the just-released White Mouse, a Yellow Labrador, a Panda (they're the pet of the month for next month), and as my free choice for buying $10 or more, a White Poodle. I also bought a silver chain bracelet for the mouse to wear and got a free bookmark (it has the polar bear, panda, and black bear on it) and a pack of Series 1 trading cards.

There were yard sales EVERYWHERE today! I must have stopped at 10 or 15 in the three hours I was out and about. Alas, most were selling boring knick-knacks or baby items. I picked up a copy of the book version of Molly's Pilgrim, five records, and a small wreath trimmed with fake sunflowers to hang in my apartment during the summer. I also picked up a Led Zeppelin record from Act Two Collectibles next-door to Willie's.

I stopped at Abbie Road on Market Street in Audubon on my way home. Bob was mega-busy, for once. You could barely walk around the store! I did get in time to have a short chat with him and buy four used CDs. I also said "hi" to the friendly owner at Desserts By Design two blocks down and got two sample sugar cookies.

There was a message waiting for me when I finally got home. Marlene, one of the managers, wanted to know if I could come in early, around 2:30PM. Uh, no. It was quarter of 2 when I finally got in! I ended up coming in at 3:30. As it turned out, the extra time was nice for my wallet but not entirely necessary. It was steady but not incredibly busy for the entire night. We had more problem finding cashiers than helping customers. One kid called out, and a lot of employees are still on vacation. (And will continue to be on vacation for at least the next week, if my full slate of hours are any indication, including 6AM-2PM on Monday!)

Oh yes, and meet Miss Bianca the White Mouse! The refined, elegant former ambassador from HungariKinz now brings her diplomatic abilities to running a small but elegant Wine and Cheese Tasting Shop. She's named for Miss Bianca from the book and movie The Rescuers. Miss Bianca always wore a silver chain in the book. I'm glad the owner of Willie's suggested the Silver Charm Bracelet for Miss B. It looks perfect on her!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Storm On The Horizon

This is going to be quick. The storms they've been predicting all day must be pretty close. My internet is acting screwy again, and the last time it acted screwy was right before we were hit with a series of major storms late last month. I didn't really do much today, anyway. I spent most of the morning online. I went for a quick walk before work to give Dad, Jodie, and Jessa half the Pretzel Buns. Work was steady on-and-off, nothing major. I did some grocery shopping after work (not as much as I would have liked, due to working late) and bought sugar, Shredded Wheat (I was out of both), and salmon, flounder, $1.00 tubes of ground turkey, and chicken. I had a $2 coupon for the latter and, coupled with the half-off all chicken breasts sale this week, got me a $2.99 pack of chicken breasts for $.99.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In A Pretzel Knot

I spent the beginning of a lovely day sleeping in. After a breakfast of Strawberry Oatmeal Pancakes, I listened to 20s jazz on cassette before heading out for Collingswood...and heading right back in again, as the remaining books in my order arrived.

One of the best of the Berry Fairy Tales adaptations was their "berry" sweet version of The Little Mermaid. When Strawberry wishes she could always stay at Seaberry Beach, she dreams of a mermaid who wants to be human...but learns a difficult lesson in sacrifice and appreciating what one has. I really liked this one. To be honest, I've rarely seen a satisfying ending to this story. Hans Christian Anderson's original was depressing, and Disney's seemed like a cop-out. The ending here stays true to the original story, without the gory details...or the mush.

The other Strawberry Shortcake book was one of the last of the 80s Parker Brothers picture books, and the second one based after a special. Strawberry Shortcake and Baby Needs A Name debuted in print and animated form in 1984, a year before the original Strawberry line closed up shop for good. In fact, the characters introduced here - Peach Blush and her lamb Melonie Belle, the titular nameless toddler and her sweet dinosaur Fig Boot, and Plum Puddin' and her pet Elderberry Owl - are among the rarest toys in the entire original line. The unnamed toddler who visits from the South with Peach Blush and Plum Puddin' has only two wishes - a name and a pet of her own. The name issue is never resolved, but she grows attached to Fig Boot the baby dinosaur after he helps save them from Sour Grapes and the Purple Pieman.

(Incidentally...yes, in the original books and the first two animated specials, Plum Puddin' was the second token male character. No one knows why he was changed to she for Baby Needs a Name. I guess American Greetings prefers the character female; Plum Puddin' was still a girl when she was reintroduced in Big Country Fun earlier this year. And speaking of reviving characters, even if we never see Baby Needs A Name again, I'd love to see more of Fig Boot. He's completely adorable. Maybe the girls could go dinosaur-bone-hunting and find a live one?)

I went to Collingswood to bring a small bag of donations to the Friends In Deed Thrift Shop. It was busy, and I didn't see much I liked. (Ok, I did, but I couldn't have carried it home on the bike.) I peeked at the Collingswood Variety Store across the street. Yes, they finally have the new WebKinz...well, almost all of them. They don't carry Lil'Kinz, and I really want that new mouse! She's too cute! I decided to save my money for the "WebKinz Day Extravaganza" at Willie the Woodsman's on Saturday instead.

I browsed around Collingswood for a little while before having cookies and an Italian Soda at the Tree House Cafe and heading down the street for my counseling appointment. Scott and I talked about my relationships with my family and my fear of groups. I still want to try Yogawood, the yoga studio next-door to the Tree House Cafe. Scott says he does yoga and it really helps him relax and focus, and I could use a lot of help with both.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and spending time with Dad (who just returned from a work trip), Jodie, and Jessa. Dad and Jessa were watching Cloverfield when I got in. While I will say the movie was well-made, with a hand-held camera and a cinema verite-style that helped make what's generally a standard monster movie fresher, monster movies just aren't my thing. I don't do horror. At all. I don't care how much of the monster you can or can't see. If I wanted to watch people run around in total horror, I'd go to the Acme on the day before a major blizzard.

I attempted to make my first pretzels this afternoon, but I didn't quite get it right. I didn't do the sponge part right, and then I didn't roll them thin enough and couldn't braid them right. And THEN I didn't grease the pan. Oh, they tasted ok, like crispy buns, but they don't look at all like pretzels. I'll call them Pretzel Buns and try again on another day when I'm paying attention.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Strawberries and Raspberries and Purple Piemen, Oh My!

I had early work today, and it might have been just as well. Except for a surge around noon, I spent most of my six-hour shift standing around. After two days of iffy clouds and wind, the sun was shining and the wind had gentled down to a mild breeze. By the time I got out of work, it was about 75 and absolutely stunning.

I made a quick stop at a store around the corner from the Acme. My bath rugs had long had it. One was frayed and ripped; the other was losing so many fibers, I finally threw it away last month after having had it since moving to Wildwood in 2002. Marburn Curtains generally specializes in linens and curtains, but Sharon, one of the managers, told me they also sell bath items, including rugs. I stopped there on my way home and found exactly what I was looking for, two small bath rugs in pale yellow and sage green, exactly right for my tiny bathroom. They were $5 each; I picked up both.

Four of the five Strawberry Shortcake books I ordered on my birthday last week were on my porch when I got home. (The last one is coming from California and will probably take longer.) The 2003 revival did a Strawberry version of Cinderella in one episode. It must have been pretty popular with somebody, because in addition to adapting that episode in book form, they did three more well-known fairy tales. Rapunzel was the only one I never saw before. In this version, Strawberry, Ginger Snap, Blueberry Muffin, Huckleberry Pie, and Orange Blossom are having a camp-out. Poor Orange is scared of the dark, so to calm her fears, Strawberry tells her the story of a young girl (Rapunzel/Strawberry) who is accused of stealing by a witch (Orange Blossom) who turns out to be lonely and not really mean at all.

The remaining three books were all from the mid-80s. Parker Brothers published colorful hardback picture books based after popular cartoon characters between 1983 and 1985. I had fond memories of the two Rose Petal Place books my sisters and I had as children and finally bought them online. I loved them so much, I bought the other four books in the series and started to look for other Parker Brothers 80s picture books.

(If memory serves me correctly, the Care Bears didn't end their run after six books. There had to be at least ten or eleven, along with books that spotlighted the Care Bear Cousins. I've also seen two rarer Rose Petal Place Parker Brothers books on eBay I haven't bought yet. Golden Books did a similar series for Rainbow Brite.)

According to the back of the books I bought today, there were six Parker Brothers Strawberry Shortcake books. Like the Rose Petal and Care Bears series, one book was adapted from a special, and the others were original stories. Pets On Parade was the third animated Strawberry special in 1982; the book (along with the other two I bought) came along a year later. Strawberry is the judge of the annual Pet Show. The Pie Man and his partner Sour Grapes are determined their crow and snake will win, even if they have to cheat - and blame Strawberry - to do it! (Actually, I might have voted for the crow; Cap'n Cackle was kind of cute.)

(Pets On Parade is one of the few vintage stories to have been adapted for the revival, as the episode Best Pets Yet. In this version, Peppermint Fizz is the one who cheats, and she finally repents after hearing a conversation about the consequences of cheating between Strawberry and Apple Dumplin'.)

The Pieman also makes a brief appearance in another contest-themed story, Strawberry Shortcake and the Big Balloon Race. The kids hold a hot-air balloon festival to celebrate their summer harvest, but it turns into a fight to keep their crops when lazy Huckleberry Pie goes AWOL and the Pieman sends his pet crows to attack the berries. I would have liked to have seen Strawberry tell Huckleberry off for leaving his post, but otherwise, this was a really fun story, probably my favorite of the three.

Strawberry Shortcake In the Deep, Dark Woods was a bit slower. Strawberry and her kitten Custard are lost in the woods after dark when they fall asleep after a picnic. That's about the extent of the story, and while it drags a little, the end is adorable.

It was such a nice day, I went for a walk after I put the books away. I went around the park next door, then down the street. I was about to round a corner when I saw a dog run out of a yard and in front of a car! The car was a very old junker model driven by a man who was even older. The car just barely missed the dog, which naturally didn't sit well with his owners, who were on the grass in their front yard as people worked on their roof. The woman ranted and cursed about how the man had Parkinson's Disease and shouldn't have been driving at all.

I think BOTH were at fault. This is the second time in two weeks I saw a dog almost run over because it wasn't on a leash. (I almost ran over the first one on my bike!) Almost no one in the neighborhood has a fenced-in yard. Come on, folks. Unless your pet is behind a fence or in the park, keep them on a leash, please! There are kids and old people here, and neither are going to be looking for pets.

On the other hand, the woman was right that the man probably shouldn't have been on the road. I've seen him at the Acme before. He always rides one of those motorized wheelchairs with the baskets, and he can barely lift his load or sign his credit card receipts. Not to mention the car shouldn't have been on the road, either. It looked like it was going to collapse right there.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lilac Time

Front end head Donna called me around 8AM and asked me if I wanted to come into work at 12:30 instead of 2:30, as they'd had a call-out. That was fine. I really didn't have any major plans for today. It was still a little cloudy but warmer than yesterday, so I fooled around on the computer a bit after breakfast, then went for a walk up to the White Horse Pike and back. It's so beautiful in my neighborhood. All of the trees are in bloom, pretty shades of pale green and dark purple-y reds and bright pink and off-white. It's like walking through a rainbow. The dafodils are gone, but the tulips and lilacs are in full bloom. There's a huge lilac bush in front of the house, and I picked a few for the living room this morning.

I finally heard from Mom this morning, after missing her yesterday and Sunday. She's been mostly working on the new house. They're now doing the backyard and trying to start the driveway. She's also on the committee for the After-Prom Party at Lower Cape May Regional High School, which is what occupied her this weekend (and why I couldn't get her).

Mom said something this morning I hear all the time, but can't seem to filter - don't be so hard on yourself. It's a reflex action, I guess. I always feel so darn stupid when things go wrong, even when it's something I can't control. I get so tongue-tied and frustrated. I never know what to say to people.

That's why I have a hard time with groups. Strangers scare the heck out of me! It's one thing talking to one or two or three (or e-mailing them), but talking in a small circle of people who don't know you, who are staring at you and judging frightens me (not to mention brings back too many bad memories of grade school and Special Services).

Work was on-and-off busy; the worst that happened was that "hard on myself" stuff gets worse when I'm tired.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Just Hanging Out

I didn't actually do much on my first of two days off this week. I debated going to Target, but I didn't really feel like making a train trip and a bus ride, and by the time I finally got out of the library, it was too late anyway. I organized the oft-unorganized children's DVDs, then took a look at various books. I finally found the most recently released Maisie Dobbs book, and there's a second book by the author of French Women Don't Get Fat, French Women In All Seasons. I also saw, but didn't take out, a graphic novelization of the fourth Babysitter's Club book, Mary Anne Saves the Day. A bit sketchy (and updated - check out Claudia's hair!), but very interesting, and it brought back a lot of memories.

I also took out three DVDs. I took a long ride in Cooper River Park, then watched the newest Strawberry Shortcake DVD, Big Country Fun, and the 1938 Alice Faye musical Lillian Russell. I was really impressed with Lillian Russell. This was one of those movies I read about in various books on musicals but never thought I'd see, especially as I'd heard rumors it was lost. Evidently not - it's not only on DVD (after never having been on video), but as nicely restored as Fox can with what they have to work with. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I really like Alice Faye. Unlike Betty Grable, she's so down-to-Earth - even looks like a real girl, with her bosomy figure. She looked stunning in the 1890s costumes, and her supporting cast was outstanding - Henry Fonda as her one true love, Don Ameche as her devoted first husband, Edward Arnold as real-life admirer "Diamond" Jim Brady, Warren William as another millionaire friend. The movie reminded me a great deal of The Dolly Sisters but surprisingly lower-key - only two good-sized numbers (and neither offensive) and more realistic histrionics. Fonda looked uncomfortable, but Ameche and Faye did quite well, and I thought Edward Arnold, who so often plays villains, was a wonderfully sweet Jim Brady.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Late In The Game

I was late for work today. For some reason, I was thinking I was supposed to go in at 1:30...then I looked at my schedule and realized it was 12:56 and I was supposed to be in at 1PM. I was fifteen minutes late and really mad at myself. Thankfully, it was steady when I came in and the managers were all college students and teens who don't get upset when things like that happen, especially when someone who is almost never late and usually shows up early does it. I just ended up staying 15 minutes later.

I'm working my way through the Looney Tunes. Did Disc 1 with all the Bugs Bunny shorts today. My favorites were Hillbilly Rabbit, complete with that hilarious square dance finale and extremely un-PC hillbillies, Hare Do's movie theater antics (I used to have that one on my Carrotblanca video), and of course, Duck! Rabbit, Duck!, the last cartoon in the infamous "Duck Season-Rabbit Season" Bugs/Daffy/Elmer series.

My earliest introduction to some of the lesser-known lights of Warner Brothers cartoons was on, of all places, Nickelodeon. The last show of the day on Nickelodeon in the late 80s and early 90s was the 7:30PM showing of Looney Tunes. It would be the Tunes, then Nick At Nite would come on. The slightly more adult nature of the Tunes made them the perfect transition from Nick's kiddie stuff to the classic sitcoms and dramas on after 8PM.

My sisters and I would all huddle in Daddy's big chair and watch Looney Tunes together. It was one of the few shows we all loved equally. The first short would usually be a big one from the 40s and the 50s, followed by one or two public-domain black-and-white shorts. Often, these shorts featured characters like Bosco and Honey or Buddy that we'd never heard of before, or the original incarnations of well-known characters like Porky, Daffy, or Bugs. The show almost always ended with a Wil E. Coyote/Roadrunner match-up, and we looked forward to that. We developed a little bit of shtick watching these cartoons. We'd pretend to be the directors of the short, and whenever Wil E would fall off a cliff or be run over by his own creations or something, one of us would look over her shoulder and yell "STUNT DOUBLE!" To this day, I still want to yell "STUNT DOUBLE!" whenever I see the Coyote/Roadrunner shorts!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Zoinks, And Away!

I spent most of the day at work. It was on-and-off busy, rather surprising given the gorgeous weather and the big play-off game between the Flyers and the Capitals. (Flyers lost, incidentally, 3-2.) It was 80 degrees today, partly sunny and hot all day long. It was so warm, I decided to run to the bank to deposit my paycheck in the ATM machine after work. I also ended up at WaWa to get a Cherry Lemonade (Tropicana Light Lemonade with cherry syrup from that awesome soda fountain with the flavored syrups) and bought turkey from Mahoney's Deli, a new place a few blocks down that replaces an almost identical deli in the same store. (And I won't be going back. Neither store had prices as good as WaWa's or Doria's.)

The first part of my birthday order arrived today. I skipped the second Looney Tunes Golden Collection and went with the third because it has two of my all-time favorite Warners shorts. While many people are probably familiar with Robin Hood Daffy, casual fans may not have heard of Frank Tashlin's classic black-and-white Porky-Daffy adventure, Porky Pig's Feat. Porky and Daffy try to get out of paying a huge hotel bill, but that big hotel owner is VERY insistent!

I first encountered a colorized version of this cartoon (and a Bugs favorite from the same era, Falling Hare) on a series of videos featuring public domain cartoons my mom and stepdad bought from the Acme in the early 90s. (Hard to believe I remember those retailing for about $12 each! Today, they'd probably go for less than a dollar.) Each tape featured a different character. One had a few of the Paramount Superman cartoons. Another had the two Popeye color "featurettes." One had all early Bugs shorts; another featured some of Porky's first adventures. The Donald Duck one had two World War II-era propaganda shorts, The Spirit of '42 and The New Spirit. The collection was wildly hit-or-miss, from the truly classic Superman and Looney Tunes shorts to the bizarre and dull Donald propaganda material to several tapes of "filler" shorts from various studios the world had forgotten, with good reason.

Mom finally got rid of those tapes around 2000 when my parents were going through one of their periodic attempts to weed out their massive video and DVD collection. I've long regretted only hanging onto the tapes with the animated Three Stooges shorts and the three Van Buren color Felix the Cat shorts. While much of the material (including the Donald propaganda, the Superman shorts, and the Popeye specials) have seen legitimate DVD releases, some of it still hasn't seen the light of day. (The Bugs Bunny cartoons have all been put out, but I don't think all of the Porky ones have.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Braving the Wal-Mart Mobs

I spent a quiet morning doing laundry. No one is home at Uncle Ken's. Uncle Ken is on vacation with Dolores. Bruce is on a work trip. Jessa is staying with Jodie. I watched cartoons on Toon Disney and Cartoon Network (what was with that bizarre Tom & Jerry movie about the pirates?) and walked up to the White Horse Pike to check out the collectibles store The House of Fun. Unfortunately, The House of Fun is closed for the entire weekend due to a family emergency and won't be open again until Tuesday. (That's one of the disadvantages of my fondness for small stores. They tend to be opened at the whims of the owner.)

Work was less peaceful. Jill tried to call me in early yesterday, but I turned her down in order to get my laundry done. (I work early tomorrow and won't have the time, and I really needed clean work uniforms. It's not like I'm desperate for money anyway, between a lot of hours this week, birthday money, and the money I made raking the front yard.) I didn't realize why until I saw how short they were on help this evening. There weren't even any call outs. They just didn't have enough help. It was on-and-off busy but could have been worse. It's probably a good thing it was a gorgeous, 80-degree, cloudless day out there.

I ran to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things after work, but it proved to be just a plain bad idea. The store was a total and complete zoo, with lines even longer than the Acme' 7:30PM! We also had the usual rude customers who jostle you and shout over your head. They had no DVD cabinets, the bike area was so crowded I couldn't get to the tires, and they still don't have bath mats the right size for my bathroom. I ended up with a container for my bread flour I hope holds it all and a book, Key Lime Murder by Joanna Fluke. I'm contemplating a trip to the Target in Deptford on Thursday. They have a much better selection of basically everything Wal-Mart has, with less rude customers.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Greener Yard

Finished raking the yard today. I did around the holy bush and the corner between Miss Ellie's van and the edge of the property. There's a tangle of bushes and trees between the house and Veteran's Park that helps to keep us secluded but wasn't fun to rake under. That part of the yard hadn't been done in a while, either. I also cleared sticks out of the big pile of leaves on the curb. (Apparently, the men who pick up the leaves are picky about what else is in the pile besides leaves.)

I feel so good. All together, I got the entire yard raked, helped a wonderful older woman and landlady out, got to spend six and a half hours outside on a gorgeous week, and earned $65 doing good, solid work. I haven't felt this good in a while.

Work, on the other hand, was a repeat of yesterday. Mildly busy during the usual 4PM-5PM rush hour, dead otherwise. A long and very boring afternoon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Monkees Story Posted!

Oh, and I just posted all of our new Monkees Role-Play story The Monkee Magic Show but the last part, which will go up in about two or three weeks. "Magic Show" came out excellently, considering how little time we had to spend on it this month. Enjoy!
Communicating With Nature

Work on the yard continued today. I raked under the overgrown forsythia bush as well as I could and did the side path that leads to my apartment. Tomorrow, I'll finish off by doing around the holly bushes and ivy patches. So far, I've earned $45 dollars and feel really good about being able to help and do something in the fresh air. (And enjoy this gorgeous, 60-degree weather we've been having.) Not bad for two days, and I'm not even finished yet!

Work wasn't as fun. It was mildly busy on-and-off - otherwise, quiet with no problems. Like I told a customer, it's the middle of the week and the middle of a month with no major food holidays unless you celebrate Passover.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In The Secret Garden

Spent the morning doing this week's library volunteering. I organized M through 0 in the picture book section...and boy, did it NEED it! A lot of things were rearranged, put in order, and put back in the sections where they belong. The children's picture book section at the Haddon Township Library isn't large, but it's a good size, and it took a while to get everything done.

On the way home, I stopped really quick to buy bread flour and tea. I went to Dollar Tree to see if they had any Tupperware to put the bread flour in, but left quickly. There were a bunch of kids just outside the entrance to the store shooting each other with Silly String. I don't know why they couldn't have taken it someplace where there was less people, not to mention somewhere that wasn't public property.

I spent the rest of the afternoon raking the front yard. My landlady Eleanor is elderly, and she just had surgery on her knees not long ago and can't move around as well as she used to. I don't mind helping her rake at all, and not just because I earn $10 an hour. With so many trees and shrubs around, the front yard can often end up being something of a mess. It's really my yard, too, and I want it to look nice as much as she does. One of her grandson's picked up large sticks and branches, and I dumped as many leaves as I could on the curb to be picked up this week.

I spent the rest of the evening baking Victorian Milk Bread and watching The Goonies. The Goonies is one of the most famous movies of the 80s, the tale of a group of Oregon teenagers who search for a pirate's treasure in order to save their homes from developers. One of the things I realized when I watched tonight is how realistic the kids act, around adults and each other. I found myself shaking my head several times as I was reminded of how my sisters and I behaved at this age...and yeah, it wasn't THAT different from these kids.

My sisters and I loved The Goonies. The plot seemed just slightly more plausible for us than for other kids because, like the title characters, we lived by the beach, in a historic small town where kids were told pirate stories the way other kids were told fairy tales. My sisters, our friends, and I spent years digging for treasure - our favorite place was under the porch of the cottage on Maryland Avenue in Cape May before it was sealed over. We never found anything besides a rock with initials, but that didn't stop us from trying!

Oh, and though Lauren and I did finish the actual Monkees role-play story tonight, don't expect to see the tag or any stories, including next month's main one, any time soon. I'll post everything but the tag for this story within the next few days, but Lauren is very busy moving and finishing her college class this week, and then she'll be without Internet access the week after.
Meet Stuffy!

Geez, I'm tired. After all that, I forgot to introduce my new WebKinz! Meet Stuffy, the cutest bunny around! He's now Lily the Duck's pal and roommate in the Spring-Themed Room (which his Rabbit-Eared TV was perfect for). I used most of the money he came with to set up a Gym room for all the treadmills I've acquired that were sitting in bathrooms.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

Thank goodness after the stormy weekend that I opened my eyes to a gorgeous birthday morning! It was chilly and windy, but nothing abnormal for April in Southern New Jersey. I treated myself to Chocolate Chip Pancakes and strawberries, then watched two Disney birthday-themed cartoons (the 1942 Mickey Mouse vehicle Mickey's Birthday Party and the blockier Pluto's Party from 10 years later) and the original 1980 Strawberry Shortcake special, The World Of Strawberry Shortcake, which was set on the title character's 6th birthday. My ride to work was a bit windy, but otherwise just lovely.

(Incidentally, if there's one thing I'd love to find, it's more children's records. The only ones I have are my two Disney book-and-records. As kids, we had a Care Bears album, a record version of The World Of Strawberry Shortcake, two Raggedy Ann and Andy records, a record of the fairy tales Thumbelina and Hansel and Gretel, two large book-and-record versions of the Disney Cinderella and Snow White, and smaller book-and-records of Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan. I can still sing some of the songs from those records and recite bits and pieces of the dialog.)

I worked early today, 8:30AM to 2:30PM, and while it was quiet when I went in, by the time I got out, it was steady but otherwise not a problem. My co-workers were so sweet. Marlene announced my birthday over the intercom, and Anne-Marie, who had the register behind me, bought me a birthday cupcake. :)

I saw my landlady Miss Ellie going in her side of the house when I came home. I told her I'd be glad to work on raking the front yard and doing the garden tomorrow afternoon and Wednesday and Thursday morning. She said the forsythia bush in the front yard needed pruning, too - it's about ready to EAT the front yard, it's so big. (I know. I've run into it many times coming home from work.)

When I came in, I got a quick birthday greeting from my mom, then headed out for a long bike ride around Oaklyn, Audubon, and Haddon Heights. I forgot most of the little stores around here are closed on Mondays, but Willie the Woodsman, the lovely little gift shop on Pine Street in Audubon that carries WebKinz, was open. I bought a WebKinz rabbit and two packs of the cards. The owner recommended a nice Italian restaurant/pizzeria near-by. It was only about 4PM then, so I rode around a while longer.

I ended up on East Kings Highway. I rode past all the fancy, huge mansions and wound up back at the White Horse Pike. There were more little shops and an ice cream parlor, and while the shops were closed, I'll have to remember they're there the next time I'm in that area. I stopped quickly at the big CVS on the corner of East Kings Highway and the White Horse Pike for Sensodyne toothpaste (which the dentists recommended for my poor, sensitive teeth) and wound up treating myself to another new-style Care Bear, a modern version of True Heart Bear. She can be found in the Classic line, too, but I liked her little half-smile, which seemed rather rueful for a Care Bear. (Quite a difference from Oopsy's big, eager grin!)

I made it to the Italian place around 5, by which time I was starving. I had a tasty Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Sandwich with Smoked Mozzerella. It was probably more expensive than it should have been, but not bad. I took home half the sandwich and a few slices of garlic bread. (They also gave me a dish of some spicy tomato-olive concoction to start off with. Whoa! That was TOO spicy for me to take more than a few bites.)

It was quarter of 6 by the time I got out, so I just headed home. I spent the rest of the night playing with my new WebKinz and ordering birthday presents for myself off Amazon seems to be the cheapest place to get the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD sets. The original Golden Collection was my first animation set and my third DVD set (after the two Monkees TV sets), but they're so expensive I haven't bought one since then. FYE has them for as much as $70! I finally opted for a used copy of Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Three, which has two of my favorite Looney Tunes cartoons, Porky Pig's Feat and Robin Hood Daffy. I also bought two of the adorable Strawberry Shortcake fairy tale adaptations (The Little Mermaid and Rapunzel), and several of the Parker Brothers Strawberry Shortcake books of the 80s, some of them for pennies.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cloudy Day, Sweeping The Sun Away

It was sunny out when I had oatmeal and strawberries for breakfast, but by the time I called Mom for this week's Sunday chat (and to thank her for the birthday card and gift), clouds were starting to roll in and the wind picked up considerably. Mom was in a better mood than the weather. Daddy and Keefe were starting to put up their new fence even as we talked, and unlike us, all the got from the weekend storm was a bit of wind.

It was a windy ride to work today, which is especially a pain on the largely tree-less Black Horse Pike. My timing was great, though. It was steady but not bad when I came in and fairly quiet when I got off. Less than ten minutes after I finished buying powdered sugar, milk, and an onion and was heading out the door, there were lines down the aisles!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sacred Cow...Trophy

I won my first WebKinz Arcade trophy today! I'd just hit a big row on Cash Cow, and the barn door opened and said "A surprise is waiting for you at your room!" Sure enough, when I went to my rooms, a Cash Cow Trophy was sitting in the dock! I'm so thrilled. I've read about other people winning trophies, sometimes enough to decorate whole rooms with them, but I hadn't won a trophy until now.

To show off my prize and finally use a few other pieces I've won from various places, I made my Game Room today. It has the Game Room items I got from the Series 1 Trading Cards, the second Air Hockey Game that came from the Wheel of Wishes, a Pool Table, and the Modern Loungers and Pirate Side Tables. (The latter two will likely be replaced if and when I get more Game Room furniture.) The former "Game Room" is now back to being a "Sitting Room. (Really, it's an organized storage room for furniture I want to get out of the dock but don't know what to do with).

Oh, and I finally got the Sea Stone today in the Gem Mines. I only have four stones left (one blue, one green, two white), and then I'll finally have the Crown of Wonder!

The weather was really weird today, and continues to be so. The sun was shining and the sky was blue when I headed to the bank and to Doria's Deli for eggs, brown sugar, and turkey lunch meat, but by the time I got home, clouds were beginning to roll in. Shortly after Strawberry Shortcake ended, it started to rain and thunder. That lasted for all of 20 minutes. By the time I went to work, it was sunny again, but there were more clouds on the horizon.

Work was on-and-off dead. It would get steady...then, when the clouds rolled in, everyone would clear out. The day went sooo slow. I wasn't the only one who thought so, either. A lot of my co-workers complained about it throughout the day.

I rode home in stillness and sunshine...but once again, there were clouds on the horizon. It hasn't rained or thundered since I got home, but the Internet is acting up again, a good indication that there are still storms in the area.

Oh, and thanks to my Mom for the wonderful birthday card and surprise! :D

Friday, April 11, 2008

Little April Showers

This will have to be quick. My internet's acting screwy, probably because of the storms in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area tonight. (It's raining hard as I write this; people across the way at the VFW are freaking out because they got caught in the storm. Morons. It's just a little water!)

I did my laundry this morning. Uncle Ken was packing for a month-long cross-country trip he's taking with Dolores. Dad's already gone - he had a work trip. I'm a little disappointed that neither will be around for my birthday on Monday, but that's life. I did pilates and watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on The Disney Channel and an old childhood favorite, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, on Toon Disney. Not a whole lot else on - and everyone wonders why I don't have cable?

Work was steady, with no real problems - I even got off at the right time. I'm not going to do much else besides work next week. Apparently, half the cashiers in the Acme decided to take their vacation time next week. The extra hours are nice, but a bit surprising, especially since business hasn't exactly been booming lately.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Skipping Spring and Going Directly To Summer

I spent most of the morning finishing my spring cleaning. The dust wasn't TOO bad, but I needed to dust under my collectible doll and bear collection on the top of the closets, the Beanie Babies and mini-Pokemon on the Beanie Baby display shelf, and the Star Wars action figures on the hanging wood display case. I only do that every couple of months. It was warm in my apartment the whole day. I didn't realize why until I opened the front door to let some air in. It was HOT! At least 70 degrees or more. I opened the windows as well; might as well air the whole house.

It was so nice, I went for a walk after I finished my chores. I wandered around on the streets behind West Clinton Avenue, between West Clinton and Manor, and wound up at the Oaklyn Public School just as it was let out. The elementary and junior-high school kids were smarter than me. While some of them did sport long sleeves and jeans, many girls wore the shortest skirts permitted or capris, and some boys wore t-shirts and lighter pants. (They're lucky, too. The rule at Cape May Elementary in the 80s was no shorts allowed until early June, and no capris at all. Girls got around this by wearing skirts during warm days in April and May, but boys had to literally and figuratively sweat it out.)

Getting to and from work was a breeze, thanks to the sunny weather and lack of wind. Work itself was quiet-to-steady for most of the night. Who wants to go shopping on a 70-degree day in April? (I did end up getting out late. I don't know why someone scheduled two people to leave at the same time and then scheduled a new cashier who is "mandatory" - has to have their register counted at the end of the day and thus, cannot change registers. I really wish people would be more careful with the schedules.)

(Oh, and this finishes my indoor spring cleaning. I'm going to wait until we get past the pollen and fuzzies before I start cleaning the porch furniture.)

And I just found out from Lauren that she didn't get her week off this year until September 8th, which means I won't be getting my vacation until September. I understand she wants more time to plan and to settle into her new home with her folks (they're moving the 17th), but it's sooo long to wait!

Speaking of waiting, don't expect to see the new Monkees role-play story for a while. We're about half-way done, but Lauren's busy with moving and a college online class and has limited time this month to work on it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A River With A View

I spent a fairly quiet morning messing around online, until I got bored later in the afternoon and decided to go for a walk in Veteran's Park next-door. It was cloudy but not too cold or windy. I walked around the small park, past the edge of the cliff where there's a tree with outstretched limbs that are popular for climbing, and headed for the wooded area in back of the WFW. Last year, I discovered several little paths winding around and through the woods, leading out to the train tracks, where one can take in an impressive view of the river and the surrounding area from the train bridge over the river. (One of these days, I WILL remember to bring my camera on these jaunts!)

Somewhere around December and January, I began to see people in the back of the VFW, cutting loads of wood into mulch. I thought they were recycling Christmas trees, but alas, it seems they were demolishing the woods. Though a few paths remained and I did still get my walk in, it had lost the sense of quiet privacy and peace it had last year. I debated walking across the train tracks just to see what was on the other side, but I finally decided I didn't have the time and headed home.

Work was quiet initially, but we got the usual crowds around 4PM, which wasn't aided by a lack of help. Other than that and a few mildly annoying customers, no problems tonight. My ride to and from work was windless and mild both ways.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Fashion Forward

Did the usual library volunteering and Westmont errands this morning. I organized the cookbooks and home-improvement books at the library and took out a book on bread-baking basics, complete with huge pictures. One of the more annoying things about the Haddon Township Library is the checkpoint. People actually check your bags on entering. They don't always do this when they recognize people, but some folks are pushier than others about it. I'm assuming they do it because the library is on a bus route from Camden and occasionally gets city visitors.

There was some clouds and dampness held over from yesterday when I headed to the library, but by the time I went home, it was sunny, breezy, and about 60. Since I couldn't find a big bag of sponges at Dollar Tree, I walked to the Family Dollar on the White Horse Pike and bought them there instead, along with cheap Fig Newtons. I got out at the same time most of the local kids did. Older children walked home together, playing baseball and catch in their front yards, while younger ones walked with parents or grandparents. I even saw one of the boys from the Acme on his way to work.

I finished The Illusionist when I got in. Rose called shortly after that, and we headed to the Deptford Mall. She needed a suit and I need t-shirts, blouses, and capris. (All of my capris but one brown pair were too big for me, and the brown pair are getting there.) I got two shirts at buy one, get one 50% at New York & Company, and Rose bought an attractive gray suit and two silk blouses, one yellow, one white. I also got a pair of denim capris at Layne Bryant. (Whatever else you can say about them, they do make comfy jeans.) We had a quick dinner at the food court before heading home.

(By the way, the jeans were a good indication that, at least by Layne Bryant's estimation, I've dropped two pants sizes since our last shopping trip in November. I needed a 4 then; this time, I only needed a 2, the smallest jeans size they have.)

We had a long talk on the way to Deptford and back about joining classes, the possibility of my having Aspberger's, and our therapists. Rose suggested looking for forums for people with Asberger's and more first-hand accounts like the article Tina sent me and Look Me In The Eye. It's just a matter of getting past the total panic I feel when I look up groups, on or offline.

That's why I haven't joined anything. Every time I look up a writing group or a reading group online, I end up thinking "What am I doing? Who are these people? I don't know them. I'm so weird. They'll probably laugh at me or think I'm crazy. They'll stare at me like I'm some kind of odd creature."

She also suggested something else I have problems with - random bike rides. When I walk or ride my bike, it's because I have places to go. Oh, I love doing it, but I usually have a destination in mind. I really need to do more random just-walking or just-biking trips. I need to revive throwing my frisbee and hitting my field hockey ball around the park next-door, too. I'm looking forward to when Uncle Ken opens the pool in probably May or June; I love swimming, now that I don't have obnoxious childhood gym teachers in my head anymore.

On one hand, the thought of joining a group filled with total strangers terrifies me. I'm not sure about the Asberger's, either. I suspect Rose is right and it is more than sheer social anxiety,
Vive La France (And England, Too)!

Shortly after I finished my breakfast and was gathering cleaners and the bucket to scrub the bathroom and hall floor, I saw the mailman drop a package on my porch. I brought it in and opened it as well as I could (it was VERY well taped). I pulled away the paper to discover an adorable polar bear with big brown eyes and a sweet smile, wearing a red velvet collar. His tag said his name is Marshmallow. I absolutely loved him the moment I saw him.

The second gift verified who sent it. Linda Young mentioned on her blog that she made a friend a present, but couldn't tell what it was on her blog because that friend read her blog. I was wondering whom it could be. The second gift gave me my answer. It was a large wooden E painted with shimmery copper paint, topped with three matching little Es and gold glitter. Linda did a wonderful job on it! Now, I just need to find a great place to put it...

Linda's package wasn't the only birthday gift that arrived today. My sister Anny, her son Skylar, and her current boyfriend Mike sent me a nifty "Star Wars"/Darth Vader-themed Hallmark card that plays "The Imperial March" when you open it.

It took me less than 20 minutes to scrub the bathroom and hall floors. As I've mentioned, my bathroom is very small, and the "hall" is even smaller, a rectangle of linoleum between the living room and bedroom, with the door leading to the bathroom in the middle. It took a long time to dry, thanks to a damp and gloomy day, so I began a simple wheat flour yeast bread recipe I found in a British baking book. While it rose, I ate lunch. I began a vegetable soup recipe last night, but began it too late to have it for dinner, so I had some with lunch today, along with a Peanut Butter and Apricot Preserves Sandwich. The recipe for the veggie soup came out of the French Women Don't Get Fat cookbook...and now I can understand WHY they don't get fat. The soup was delicious, a perfect blend of winter and spring veggies (and a little leftover chicken from the Wine-Marinated Chicken the other night).

I punched down the bread and put it back to let it rise again, then ran to Collingswood for a walk and a few short errands. I met Erica in her car on my way through the neighborhood. She gave me a ride to the thrift shop so I could give them the last of my spring cleaning donations, which I did. Unfortunately, I forgot that, for some strange reason, half the shops in Collingswood are closed on Monday. I was able to pick up some wrapping paper and a pack of WebKinz Cards at the Variety Store, but there were no good records at the Library and the Tree House Cafe was closed. By the time I peeked in Yogawood, they were almost closed for the day, too. I'll call them tomorrow. I bought a Chai Tea Latte from GrooveGround and walked home.

After I got home, put the bread in the oven and did more spring cleaning - vacuumed the house, swept the porch, and took out the recycling (the recycling truck comes tomorrow). The bread smelled so good when it came out, I cut myself a slice immediately and added a bit of butter. It was soooo good, crusty and soft and nutty. I'm never going back to plain-old-bread-on-a-shelf again. I'll either make my own, or when it gets too hot for bread baking, buy it from a bakery or the Farm Market.

Dinner was simple-but-tasty, too, a recipe for Pork Chops and Apples that also came out of French Women Don't Get Fat. I've made Pork Chops and Apples before, but they never came out as good as this, sweet and salty (from the wine used in the sauce) at the same time.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's A Family Thing

I had a long talk with Mom this morning while the Beatles show was on. She wants me to seek group therapy for Asberger's. I'm not so sure, and neither is Scott, but I will talk to him about it when I next see him at the end of April. She also supported Scott and Rose's suggestion that I seek out a yoga or dance class, and encouraged me to look into Weight Watchers groups. She seems to be fine, other than the rain this weekend left her new yard soupy.

I called my sister Rose after I got off with her. Tomorrow is Rose's birthday, and since I have the day off, I thought she might like to do something to celebrate it. She actually picked up for once - I caught her in the middle of shopping in Wal-Mart. She said she's busy tomorrow, but we might be able to do Tuesday afternoon.

Work was insanely busy all day, the busiest it's been since before Easter. There were long lines and annoying people the whole day, even after I got off. (And for the second day in a row, I had no relief on a busy day when we needed all the help we can get, which is weird.)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Underneath It All

I had my second dentist appointment today. It was spent getting x-rayed and having my teeth cleaned as well as the ladies could without the spraying machine that wouldn't work - they did it by hand with a pick.

It turns out my teeth are in worse shape than I thought, probably thanks to not having been to a dentist in 8 years. There were copious calcium deposits under my teeth that were causing the gums to bleed. The tooth that was filled last time is still sensitive and sore, and there's still the chipped tooth and at least three other cavities. One of the dentists cleared the calcium deposits off, but I'll have to go back in another month for the rest and for a more thorough cleaning. In the meantime, I'll be brushing with a toothpaste and toothbrush made for sensitive teeth and using a gel for hypersensitivity. I stopped really quick at the bank after I left the dentist (the bank is less than a block from the dentist's office), then went home, had a quick lunch, and went back out to work.

Work was on-and-off busy, nothing major other than some obnoxious beginning-of-the-month people and we just didn't have enough help assigned later in the day. (For some reason, I finished my shift at 5:45 and there wasn't help coming in until 6.)

I picked up yogurt (on sale), ant bait (I've been seeing them around the kitchen and bathroom sinks again), light bulbs (the big light in my bedroom blew out - again), and milk, then made a quick stop at FYE to pick up The Illusionist. This month's Monkees role-play is based after the idea of the boys going up against a magician with real powers. Lauren saw the movie and liked it, so I bought it to get some ideas.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ooh Lah Lah!

Despite the rain early this morning, I headed over to Dad and Uncle Ken's house to get my laundry done. Dad seems to be feeling better. At the very least, he was up and moving around. I did some pilates and read French Women Don't Get Fat.

While some of the things listed I've already been doing (like giving up processed foods), others (eat more fresh and local veggies) will be easier to do once the Collingswood Farm Market opens next month. Some of the recipes look good, too, especially the soups. I actually bought some leeks tonight at work so I can try the vegetable soups in the book sometime this week.

Work was annoying (lots of obnoxious beginning-of-the-month people), but it was busier tonight and the night went faster. I did some grocery shopping after work, mostly restocking fruits and vegetables. (In a way, it's a good thing I am on a bike. I can only carry so much home, which is why I buy what I need for a few days to a week and get whatever else I need the next day or in a few days.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Think Pink!

Spent the morning going through my spring and summer clothes. It's still too early for shorts and tank-tops, but I wanted to see what I need and what can be donated. I also wanted to put away any very heavy sweaters and shirts, turtlenecks, and my corduroy pants and skirt. The weather's been consistently 50-60 degrees here since the middle of last month, and if we do get a radical change in temperature, I can just go a few steps into the back room and fish a turtleneck out of the containers. (That's one of the reasons I took this apartment. Unlike most people, I don't keep things store my things in a musty attic or garage. There's a big, unheated room in the very back of my apartment that's perfect for keeping anything I don't need in the main rooms.)

I also got around to calling Mom. She seemed pretty happy. She was cleaning the windows around the house. Dad was talking to his boss on the other phone. They're both getting ready to add grass seed to their new, mostly dirt backyard.

I had two big bags of clothes to donate for the thrift shop, mostly T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and tank tops that were too big. I picked up some shorts on sale towards the end of last summer, so what I really need now are capris, t-shirts, and tank tops. I didn't see anything I liked at the thrift shop, so I went across the street to the Collingswood Variety Store and bought a new WebKinz, then went down the street and had lunch at Saladworks. Saladworks is pretty much the only out-and-out "fast food" joint in Collingswood. As you can tell from the name, it specializes in salads, wraps, and fancy sandwiches with only the freshest ingredients. It was about 12:30 when I hit there, and the place was packed with college students and professional people seeking a quick but healthful lunch. I had a tasty Mandarin Chicken Salad Wrap (spring greens, chicken, orange sections, dried cranberries, Asian sesame dressing) and a diet soda.

I went to counseling after lunch. Scott and I discussed the possibility of my having Asberger's and what else may have caused my problems. While I do have many of the traits of Asberger's, I think Scott may be right that a lot of it is heavy social anxiety caused by years of frustration. He backed my sister's suggestion that I join a yoga class or gym and agreed with me that I need to push harder for finding a job, whether I end up going to college or not.

I stopped at the TreeHouse Cafe for a quick hot chocolate, then went home. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning my kitchen, doing windows, and reading the books Mom and Lauren sent me in the past few days. (Lauren sent the What Color Is Your Parachute? books for 2001 and 2002 yesterday.)

Oh, and meet Rouge, my Pink Poodle! A star dancer of the ParisKinz Ballet, this diva now makes her home in the new Pink Ribbon Condo (using the Pretty In Pink theme and other pink-and/or-white items). Large Pink Poodles are the WebKinz Pet of the Month, so she came with extra goodies in the form of a Wish Token (my third) and a Lurking Lagoon.

I'm having a few problems with my site. I was really hoping I wouldn't have to call Ganz, but my Cozy Lodge Living Room keeps freezing when I try to go in it. When I can get in it, I can't turn anything around in there. I bought a second Barrel Chest for the corner a few days ago, and I can't turn it the way I want it. The Lodge is the only room having this problem. The others are all fine.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I Can't Be Bothered Now

I was supposed to spend the morning beginning my spring cleaning with the kitchen and the bathroom. I only got to the bathroom. I slept late, then spent a lot of time reading Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Aspberger's, by John Elder Robison. It was the only book on Aspberger's I could find at the Haddon Township Library. (If nothing else, it makes me appreciate how much less dysfunctional my family is compared to John's, whose father was a raging alcoholic and whose mother was clinically insane.) I also received two job-hunting books from Lauren, What Color Is Your Parachute?.

Work was a monumental bore. Except for around 4-5PM it was dead, and even then it wasn't terribly busy. With many people recovering from an early Easter, there isn't much money to go around right now, even by people who get money and funds in the beginning of the month. At least it was a gorgeous spring day, in the mid-upper 50s, sunny and windless. I had a great ride to and from work. One of the boys who stock produce was able to fix my back bike breaks, too - apparently, they just popped off.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lighting Is Striking Again

Damn it. The weather's been crazy all day, on-and-off showers, and now it sounds like there's a thunderstorm out there and more on-and-off rain. I wish Mother Nature would make up her mind.

I woke up late and spent most of the afternoon at the library. After I organized the children's DVDs, I looked up books on Asberger's Syndrome and on yoga and workouts. Took out one memoir on Aspberger's and one book on yoga that looked helpful. I also took out two Disney Comic Books. (Haven't had my Donald Duck fix in a while.) Mom sent me a book on changing eating habits and lifestyles called French Women Don't Get Fat by a real French woman who has lived and worked in America for many years.

I made a quick stop at the Super Fresh, but by the time I finally dragged myself out of the library, it was almost 4:30, and much too late for the spring cleaning I'd planned on beginning today. Since it ended up being a lovely, sunny afternoon after the clouds passed, I went for a late walk over to Audubon. None of my favorite little stores were open by the time I finally got out there, around 6PM (much to my dismay - I was hoping to get a WebKinz Pink Poodle, April's Pet of the Month, from the Willie the Woodsman Gift Shop), but I did have a lovely walk. The world smelled fresh and new, and it seemed like every flower and blooming thing was open and as bright and sparkling as a rainbow. There were lots of people out and about, too, walking their children or their dogs.

I'll just start the cleaning tomorrow morning, since I don't work until 3. I hope it doesn't rain again. Half the people I know are going away for most of April, and there won't be too many people to give me rides this month.