Saturday, February 28, 2009

Baby, Dream Your Dream

Started my day the old-fashioned way - with cereal and milk in front of Saturday morning cartoons. In today's Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry went on a trip to "Pearis," France to visit her pen pal Crepes Suzette, bringing her beloved pets Pupcake the Dog and Custard the Cat with her. The pets cause quite a commotion when Pupcake wanders off into the streets of Pearis and Custard and Crepes' poodle Eclair go after him. Crepes is no help - she just panics (in a nice spoof of the French tendency towards dramatics). It takes both girls working together to overcome Crepes' freak-outs, find all three pets, and even stop a runaway city bus!

An unusual friendship was also at the heart of today's Care Bears. Wing Nut, the little robot who acts as a gardener/street cleaner and is Oopsy Bear's best friend, was made an "honorary Care Bear" by the rest of the crew. Wing Nut accidentally crashes himself when he tries to get a flower for Share Bear, who has been trying to teach him the fundamentals of being a Care sharing. The little lavender bear ends up learning a lesson in her own emotion when her heart-shaped locket is the one thing that could fix Wing Nut...but rather than part with it, she goes to nasty Grizzle the Mechanical Bear and asks for his help. Grizzle programs Wing Nut to capture the Care Bears instead of befriend them, but Share Bear inadvertantly overloads Wing Nut when she reminds him of their friendship. She and Wing Nut finally learns an important lesson - it's not easy to give your heart (or heart locket) to a friend, but in the end, it's worth it.

This was a surprisingly touching episode for Adventures In Care-a-Lot, a sweet cross between Wall-E and Short Circuit. Wing Nut, like Oopsy, often feels out-of-the-loop, making the attention Share Bear gives him all the more important. Grizzle, for his part, is an improvement over previous regular Care Bears villains Professor Cold Heart and Beastly, Shrieky, and No Heart. Though he can be menacing when called on to be, he's generally more of a comic/pathetic character - he lives all alone in a huge old workshop high in the sky and only talks to his wacky robot creations, including one that doesn't talk back.

I ran the usual weekly chores after Care Bears ended. Went to the Acme for this week's grocery shopping. The Acme was as busy as yesterday, but the express line wasn't bad, and I was in and out fairly quickly. The Acme was having a lot of really good sales - 39 cents for Acme and Yoplait yogurt! - that I couldn't resist taking advantage of. After I got home, I put everything away, had a Blueberry Preserves and Peanut Butter Sandwich for lunch, and headed to the bank.

There was still plenty of time left in the day after I finished with the bank's ATM machine. Despite the cloudy, chilly, damp day, I didn't feel like sitting inside for half the afternoon like I did on Thursday. I hiked down to Newton River Park for a walk, then went over to Collingswood and got my hair cut at Haddon Hair Designs across from the thrift shop. The only other customers there were very old ladies, but the owner and her daughters and younger workers were bustling and gossiping and teasing each other, reminding me a great deal of my sisters and mother and I when we all lived together.

A young lady named Stacy did my hair, and she did a beautiful job. It's down to my shoulders, very cute and curly and bouncy. It's a little shorter than I normally keep it, but then again, I like wearing my hair down at this time of year anyway. It feels so much better to finally have all that hair off my shoulders. I love my hair, but it does get really thick.

My next stop was the Friends In Deed Thrift Shop to say "hi" to my friend Erica and see what they had. The place was packed, almost literally elbow to elbow! I was probably lucky to find three records (the original casts of Annie, Sweet Charity, and Subways Are For Sleeping) and two vintage children's books (a Raggedy Ann and Andy picture book and a 1949 Nancy Drew novel, The Clue of the Leaning Chimney). I couldn't get Erica's attention until I went up to the counter with my purchases. She's fine, but her mother's sick and she's taking care of her, which means we won't be doing any dinner or going anywhere together for a while.

I browsed around Collingswood a little while longer after that, but finally decided it was getting late and colder and was just time to head home. I stopped at CVS for eggs on the way back.

The rest of the evening was spent baking cake, making Merlin's Magic Chicken, and watching Hello, Dolly!. Dolly is one of the last of the really big Broadway adaptations of the 60s and early 70s, the uber-musical comedy. The lady in question is a widowed young matchmaker in 1890 New York. She intends to match herself to a "well-known half-a-millionaire" feed store owner in what was then small-town Yonkers, but he's after a pretty milliner in Manhattan. Dolly eventually involves two stock clerks eager for adventure, the millionaire's niece and her very tall artist sweetheart in her plot to win herself a millionaire...and give everyone in Yonkers the adventure of their lives!

Barbara Streisand really was too young to play the widowed Dolly, but she goes to town with the part anyway and has total blast. Michael Crawford is also charming (awkward American accent and all) as the eldest of the two clerks. Gene Kelly's amazing ensemble numbers "Dancing," "Before the Parade Passes By," and "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" makes the most of those huge New York sets and show off Michael Kidd's athletic choreography and Irene Sharaff's gorgeous costumes.

Friday, February 27, 2009


I ended up spending most of today at work. The Acme called me in around 9AM. Two people called out, and they were already low on help, thanks to cutting hours. I'm really, really getting sick of this economy stuff. This is what happens when thousands of people buy things they don't need and can't afford on credit, which is why I don't trust credit cards.

Work was very busy, made even worse by the lack of help and increase of panicky employees. We're also getting closer to the beginning of the month, with all the obnoxious people who come out around that time. One woman threw a fit when her spicy chicken wings didn't come up the price she thought they were and flounced off to check the price herself, ignoring the fact that I'd already started her order and I had a line! I could have sent for a bagger to check the price if she'd had a little patience. Why do people shop when they're in a hurry?

There were carts filled with Valentine's Day leftovers early this afternoon - stationary, heart-shaped containers, cookie cutters, bags, cheap stuffed animals and jewelry boxes, hair items, wrapping paper, pink-and-red napkins and paper plates. At first, we were told they were free, but then a bunch of the general merchandise managers started to complain. They finally decided that yes, it was still free...but that employees could only browse through it on their own time. I put many items back before I finally ended up with four plain red plastic heart containers that'll be great to hold cookies or slices of cake for birthday presents.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chains of Frustration

This was a fairly quiet day off for me. I spent most of the early morning and afternoon at the library. I organized children's DVDs and helped some kids find what they wanted. A little girl wanted Dora the Explorer and was delighted to find the new Dora Saves the Snow Princess DVD. She also picked a SpongeBob SquarePants DVD for her older brother. I was hoping they'd have the newest Backyardigans DVD (looks like a spoof of Robin Hood legends from, but no dice.

I made brief stops at Super Fresh and Blockbuster after leaving the library, hoping to find the Good Eats DVD set I almost bought at Target. Once again, no luck. The did have the new Backyardigans DVD, but I'd really rather wait for that to come to the library. $15 seems a bit steep of a price to pay for four episodes of a kids' show that runs frequently on Nickelodeon, no matter how much I like it.

My to my annoyance, the chain came off the back of my bike AGAIN on my way home from the library. It did wait until I was a block from home to do it it, but I don't know why it's suddenly doing it so much at all. I don't know if it has to do with falling into the other bike so much, or being outside, or what. I really need to talk to my neighbor, but I haven't seen him lately. I did get the chain back on after much screaming and crying and fuss, but who knows how long it'll last?

I spent the rest of the afternoon very quietly baking a Spicy Rye Bread loaf (just ran out of the Corn Bread I made a while back) and fooling around online. The Acme had tried to call me in, but they did it too late. They wanted me to come in at 3, and I didn't get home and inside until almost quarter after 2. Besides, the hours were 3 to 9, and I had enough of that last night. I figured that if I wanted to be bored, I could do it just as well at home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sisterly Balance

Rose (finally) met me at Yogawood to join today's class. It went really well, for both of us. The class was fairly small (about 8, including the two of us and teacher Jill), and the moves weren't too difficult today. I surprised myself when I barely bobbled on an Eagle pose, which involves a lot of balancing on one foot. Rose surprised ME when she was able to do a "full wheel" back bend - I can barely get on my elbows and feet for a bridge! Rose not only said she really liked it and would love to come back next week, but Jill announced they're going to add another $7 morning class on Tuesdays, this one a Yoga/Pilates combination that might be more Rose's speed (and easier on both our schedules).

I spent the rest of a gorgeous afternoon at home. I swept my porch, then made snickerdoodles, sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar, to refill my empty cookie jar. My rides to and from Yogawood and work were great - sunny, chilly but not too much so for this time of year (lower 40s, I think), and windless.

(Incidentally, whatever I did to the handlebars on the mountain bike last night at work seemed to have done the trick. They didn't wobble once going to or from work.)

Work was steady when I came in at 3:30, extremely dead when I left at 8:30. It was so dead, I spent the last half-hour doing returns.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Working Woman

I got up in time to run to WaWa and pick up some milk before running to work. Today was my seven hour shift, 12-7, and it was surprisingly busier and less of a problem than yesterday. The only real trouble was in my first hour there. Some nitwit had a cart loaded up with soda and fruit punch and tried to get away with buying half our inventory. Though Marlene and Sharon finally let him get away with it because he was being such a jerk, Steve, our head manager, later told us I was right for making a fuss - the guy should have been only allowed to buy five - and no more - of each flavor he wanted. We all know what they're doing. They sell that soda and fruit punch to chop shops in Camden. I really wish they'd be more careful with those people at the store and stop letting them get away with something that's really illegal.

Other than that, I had no problems getting on or off or to or from work. The weather was gorgeous, sunny, not as windy, and in the mid-30s, about what it should be this time of year. My handlebars did get a bit loose again on the way to work, but I brought the bike tool with me this time and fixed them before heading out. They seemed ok on the way home - we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ms. Fix-It

After Cheerios for breakfast, I went over to Dad's to put the my laundry in the washer. Dad was home...and so was Uncle Ken, finally home from the hospital. He looked frail, but was up and around eventually. Uncle Ken's daughter Samantha and her little girl Faith visited later.

While the laundry was in the dryer, I borrowed a can of WD-40 from Dad and set about doing what I could to fix my bikes. I tightened the handlebars on the mountain bike, got the chain back on the blue stationary bike, and lubricated both bikes as well as I could without using up Dad's can. At the very least, the blue bike wasn't making as much noise as it had been before.

After I brought the laundry home and put it away, I had lunch, made some "Starbucks" Pumpkin Pound Cake from the Fast Food Fix cookbook, and worked on my Animated Film Inventory. I made a rather annoying discovery when I finally headed to work - while the mountain bike did make somewhat less noise than before, the handlebars refused to remain tight. They just came loose again, worse than before. I barely made it home. I had to tighten them AGAIN. I hope the bolt that holds the handlebars steady isn't stripped or broken.

As for work, it was busy, which isn't unusual for a Monday at rush hour, but we were low on help. (Especially since one teenager who was supposed to have taken someone else's hours must have forgotten about it - she never showed.) It did slow long enough for me to get off work on-time, though.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Slept in and spent most of the morning hanging out. I called Mom after I had Buttermilk Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes and an orange for breakfast. Mom herself was fine. She was cleaning up the house and waiting for Dad and Keefe to come home from the dock. I told her about my sinus problems last week, about not getting a hold of Rose, and about my savings account and mall trip. I tried to steer her clear of discussing the economy - she's really worried about it, probably because she and Dad don't have a lot of money and Cape May County's been economically depressed since I was a kid, thanks to its "summer resort" status and the lack of people living there year-round who aren't ancient millionaires.

I can't believe they're gonna demolish the Beach Theater, too! The Beach Theater is Cape May's only movie theater. I saw my first movies there. WHY? WHY? I thought Cape May was supposed to be dedicated to PRESERVING history, not destroying it. Didn't Wildwood just get this bug out of its system? Did they give the disease to Cape May, too? Seriously, does everything HAVE to be a condo...especially now, when no one's buying housing? Can't they just rebuild the theater, or build shops or schools or something that isn't a dumb, stupid, worthless, useless, idiotic CONDO?

I hate condos, and I hate ancient millionaires. X(

I got a hold of Rose, too. We're going to try to get together and do Yogawood on Wednesday. Mom says she's having trouble with her medication - she's forgetting things and not eating. I hope she remembers this time.

Work was boring. It was steady when I came in, dead when I left, and it took FOREVER. On my way home, the chain came loose on my blue stationary bike again, for the second time in less than a week. I don't know why it's suddenly doing this. I haven't had this problem with it before. I hope my neighbor's around tomorrow to check it out. I really wish I knew how to do it myself, though.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Penny A Day

I slept in a little bit this morning, waking up just in time for Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry was a repeat, the episode about Peppermint Fizz not liking Rainbow Sherbet because she's so different, but I hadn't see this week's Care Bears installment before. In the first one, Grizzle the evil (but not that bright) Mechanical Bear hits the bears with a machine that makes them forget everything...including what he wants them to remember. The second one was a bit more sentimental. MacKenzie, a human child friend of the Care Bears, visits them in an attempt to cheer herself up after her best friend moves away. She comes just in time for the arrival of another set of friends who don't stick around - the Thunder Whales. She befriends a baby Thunder Whale when she gets him unstuck from a tree, but learns a lesson about friends moving on when he has to leave.

It was a gorgeous, sunny late February day. The pale blue sky was cloudless, it was cold but not bitterly so, and while it was still a little windy, it was nothing like the past few days. I walked to the PNC Bank branch on the White Horse Pike quite easily and without getting blown over.

I did get a savings account. Turns out the lady who does their savings accounts used to live in North Cape May and says her parents still do. She even went to Lower Cape May Regional High School, where Keefe goes now, ten years before me. I got the most basic savings account I could. Apparently, I can keep it open for a year. If I don't have $400 in the account by this time next year, I can close it. We'll see what happens.

After lunch and a few more Garfield and Friends episodes, I headed out again, this time in the direction of the Acme and the Audubon Commons Shopping Center. My first stop was Wal Mart, where I braved the crowds and discovered that, not only is their bike selection actually better than Target's (despite being a smaller store), they had the bike tools I was looking for on Thursday! I'll fix the handlebars on my mountain bike tomorrow. (Still no baskets, though...)

Ended up at FYE next. I was a good girl and limited my spending to the WebKinz Emperor Dragon, which I'd wanted, and the 1969 Barbara Streisand Hello Dolly!, which was on sale for $6.99. Last year, I spent more than $100 at FYE on two WebKinz, five DVDs, and the Membership Card after I got my tax return.

I had a fairly long grocery shopping list for me today, anyway. I wanted to stock up on some pantry items - barbecue sauce, mustard, salad dressing - along with restocking my fruit, vegetables, and yogurt, and taking advantage of a half-price sale on chicken and ground turkey.

Oh, and meet Bruce Lee, my Emperor Dragon! The regal co-owner of the Kinzville Asian Cuisine House (with Marza the Panda) is named for the famous 70s martial arts star. His money will finish off the new Movie Theater and at least get a little in for the Asian Cuisine House.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Blown Off-Balance

Despite the cold day, the continuing wind, and the fact that I still haven't heard from Rose, I finally decided to stop putting off Yogawood and just do it. Some difficult moves today, including ones that involve a lot of leaning on my hands. My shoulders are just so much less developed than my legs. You don't use your arms for bike riding and walking! I'm wondering if I should look into buying inexpensive hand weights.

I went over to the thrift shop after class. Erica wasn't there, but I did find some nifty stuff - a pair of pretty spring-themed place mats (colorful flowers on a green background), a vintage 1971 Bednobs and Broomsticks Golden Book, and a cookbook by Alton Brown, the hilarious star of Food Network's Good Eats. The cookbook cost me $5, almost all the money I had on me and fairly pricey for a hardback from a thrift shop, but it was worth it. I haven't gone through all of it, but like Good Eats, it's funny and filled with good tips.

Since I was now broke (and cold), I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon editing our newest Monkees role-play stories. I'll try to see if I can get them up sometime this weekend.

It was a cold, windy ride to work, but I wasn't going to even attempt to call Dad for a lift - he's probably at the hospital with Uncle Ken (as he should be) and anyway, I really hate getting a ride when it's sunny out. Work was mostly steady until rush hour, when it picked up considerably. I had no relief and was a little late getting off, but there were otherwise no problems.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"The Winter Winds Came Blowin' In..."

It was cloudy and chilly but not that cold or really that windy when I headed out this morning for today's errands. My first stop was the library to do this week's volunteering and finally return the Strawberry Shortcake and Broadway DVDs. I spent an hour putting DVDs away and organizing children's books. I spent about an hour there, but I had other things I wanted to do today.

It had rained a little while I was in the library, but the clouds were starting to break up as I headed over to the Collingswood PATCO. I hopped a train to Haddonfield, but though I saw the bus as I headed into the station, I didn't have the money for it. The ticket machines always give you dollar coins, which the buses don't take, and I didn't have any other small bills. I went to a bank around the corner from the bus station instead, then browsed in Haddonfield for an hour and had lunch at the little pizzeria a few blocks down King's Highway from the PATCO before finally catching a bus to the Deptford Target.

While I didn't find everything I needed today, I did manage to get some things. I bought a new pair of sunglasses (I can't find the ones I bought while on vacation last fall anywhere), underwear, and three of those fancy new incandescent light bulbs at Target. I also found Seasons 4 and 5 of Garfield and Friends for $7.99, far cheaper than I've seen it anywhere else. I grabbed Season 4. I don't think I've ever seen the last two years of Garfield before. These would have debuted after Mom had the cable turned off in March 1992.

I had less luck in the Deptford Mall. Much to my dismay, their FYE was gone. I KNOW it was there when I went to the Deptford Mall with Jessa in July! I ogled WebKinz in various card stores instead, finally settling on a Black Cat for $8 in a half-price sale at Hallmark. I also grabbed much-needed socks at JC Penny and a new pair of cheap sneakers to run errands in at Payless Shoes.

Getting home was a pain. For one thing, the bus that was supposed to be picking us up at the Deptford Mall broke down and had to wait for another one to come. The weather had worsened by then, too. It was still sunny (with lots of big, fat clouds), but the wind was howling and it had dropped at least ten degrees since I'd started out for the library this morning. Riding home from Collingswood was hard. I could barely push against the wind.

When I did finally get in the door, I discovered that the bulb in my kitchen celing light blew out. Perfect! I was going to put the 60 watt incandescent bulb in my porch light, which keeps dying, but I used it in the kitchen light instead. I love it! It is a little less bright than the regular bulb, but it's also less harsh, with a warm, sunny glow. I put the 75 watts in my bedroom ceiling lamp, which also keeps blowing out. I hope these last a bit longer than the regular ones! I'll eventually replace all of my lamps with the incandescent bulbs, but for now, I'll just buy one for the porch light tomorrow or Saturday.

Oh, and meet Luna, my Black Cat! Named for Sailor Moon's Guardian Cat, the virtual Luna will live with Boo the Bat in their Halloween Bed and Breakfast. Her Witch's Brew Tub will be the perfect item to finish my Halloween Bathroom! The plush Luna will stay with the Sailor Moon dolls until (and if) I can find a real Luna on eBay. She doesn't really look like the Luna on the show (her eyes are green instead of yellow and she doesn't have that crescent moon on her forehead)...but close enough.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rainy Day Bored

Not a very exciting day. I spent the morning finally doing the dusting and watching Broadway - The American Musical one last time before I take it back tomorrow. It started to rain steadily around noon...and wasn't letting up at 2, an hour before work. I called Dad, but no one was home. I guess he was visiting Uncle Ken in the hospital again. I just rode my bike to work and got wet.

It was hardly worth the effort. Work was steady when I came in, stone-cold dead when I left. Other than one annoying woman who didn't read the sign on the bags of shredded cheese right (the sale signs are OVER them, not UNDER them), there were no problems. It was so quiet, I spent part of my last hour at work doing returns and the rest of it putting candy away and listening to the teenagers blab.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

La Gateau Rouge

Though I worked at noon today, I did get a few things done. I took down the Valentine's decorations after breakfast, then got started on my first Red Velvet Cake. I've wanted to make myself a Red Velvet Cake ever since Mom made a delicious one for Christmas years ago. There was a recipe for Red Velvet Cake included in the Recipes Lotion Box Rose and Craig gave me for Christmas, so I decided to try that. Other than my fingers are now cherry-red from the food coloring, the cake came out beautifully..and is tasty, too.

Work itself wasn't a problem, but I had bike trouble going there. I've been using the older bike because the handlebars on the other one are two steps from falling off. As I was riding down the Black Horse Pike, the chain on the stationary bike came loose. I was able to get off before it got worse and two of the stock men were able to fix it when I got into work, but it was annoying and almost made me late.

Though today was utterly stunning for this time of year, sunny, windless, and in the upper 30s-lower 40s, one of my customers claimed we may be getting four to six inches of snow starting tomorrow. The customer after her looked at her funny and whispered to me that they might get that up north around Trenton, but we're more likely to get rain.

At press time, Yahoo!Weather says they're both right: snow in the morning, giving way to rain and snow in the afternoon, becoming all light rain by evening.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Daze of Winter

I never heard from Rose this morning, and I slept too late to do Yogawood anyway, so I ended up doing my laundry and running errands. Dad and Jodie went up to the hospital to see Uncle Ken. I ran to CVS for eggs and a bag of peanuts I had a coupon for, enjoying a sunny, windless, mid-30s February day. I tried to find something good on TV, but most of the usual stations were running marathons of shows I could live without. It was The Suite Life of Zach and Cody On Deck on The Disney Channel. Like The Disney Channel's other pre-teen oriented TV shows (I've mentioned Hannah Montana before), it's cute but bland and a bit shrill. Boomerang was running The Smurfs. Great for nostalgia, but not much else. The Pokemon marathon on Cartoon Network were mostly the newer episodes I'm not familiar with. On the other hand, it was nice to see good ol' James, Jessie, and Meowith again, and that Piplup penguin Pokemon is waaaayyy too cute for words. Phineas and Ferb, a goofy comedy about two boys and their wild ideas for the perfect summer vacation, was a little strange, but generally fun.

Marlene, one of the managers, was on my answering machine when I finally got in, asking me to come in early. It was quarter after one by then. I did get in a half-hour early. If you ask me, 2 - 7 makes a lot more sense than 2:30 to 7, anyway. Marlene told me we'd been really busy, but we were more off-and-on this evening and were dead when I left.

Oh, and I asked our head manager, Steve, if I could switch to the bakery. I like my co-workers, but I really have had enough of working the front end. I'd like to really DO something besides shove other people's food around and listen to them whine. Steve said he'd see what he could do. I really hope so. I'm still debating culinary school, and I want some experience. Besides, the bakery has more flexible (and earlier) hours. The manager of the North Cape May Acme asked me if I wanted to move to the bakery when I was there after the Wildwood Acme closed down in fall 2005. Alas, she asked me too late - I was less than a month from moving at that point.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Nose Is Running

And no, I'm not going to catch it. I'm having another sinus attack. I've been sniffling and sneezing all day again. I don't know why it happens. Every couple of weeks, my nose will decide it just doesn't want to cooperate, and I spend the day sneezing all over everyone. I'll be fine the next day. No amount of sinus or allergy medicine seems to work. It wasn't the weather this time, either. Today was a gorgeous, sunny, windless, 40 degree day, perfectly normal for February in Southern New Jersey. The last time my nose acted up, we were in the midst of that snow/ice storm we had two weeks ago.

I slept in, had a late breakfast of apple-cinnamon buttermilk pancakes, and chatted with Mom. She was fine - yes, she and Anny did get the valentines I sent and Daddy's birthday card. They took Dad out to dinner, and Mom bought him two cakes from the Shop Rite in Rio Grande. One, a White Chocolate Cake, was apparently so rich and full of chocolate, they could barely eat more than a piece each!

Poor Keefe is apparently spending yet another holiday weekend sick in bed, this time with a very nasty cold. He probably gets it from babysitting at Anny's house. Her boyfriend lays tiles and wood floors for a living and comes home with everyone's germs and all the germs from the old tiles all over him.

I spent the rest of the morning finally posting this month's Monkees role-play main story, Castaways, about the group being stranded on a tropical island, along with two relevant short stories. Look for more short stories later this week!

I was almost late for work, but perhaps because of the nice weather, it was much less crazy today than yesterday. We were busy but not insane through around 4:30, after which it quieted down considerably. Everyone must have done their shopping yesterday.

I saw Jodie, my biological father's girlfriend, at work. She said she was going to make a big roast beef dinner and asked me if I wanted to join them. I said "Sure!," and headed over there right after going home and changing my shirt. Jodie, Dad, and Jessa were just sitting down to eat as I arrived. We had salad, roast beef, boiled potatoes and carrots, creamed corn, and biscuits. It was all really, really good. The roast was excellent, nice and tender. I was really hungry and ate seconds on everything except for the corn.

(And I was right - Dad, Jodie, and Jessa were visiting Uncle Ken when I dropped by yesterday. Poor Uncle Ken. He's all doped up after his surgery and is apparently giving the nurses a hard time, which he never does. Dad says he's usually charming to them.)

I bought the Peanut Butter Sandwich Girl Scouts cookies for dessert while going to work this afternoon. I always buy Girl Scouts cookies when I see them. My sisters used to have so much trouble trying to sell their cookies to the five people still living in Cape May in the middle of winter when they were in the Girl Scouts, and I want to make sure other kids don't have the same problems.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Chilly Valentine

First of all, a very happy Valentine's Day to all of those who celebrate it! I wish I could celebrate Valentine's more, but alas, I have no one to give me candy and flowers but me. I compensated with two romantic Sailor Moon S episodes this morning and a Tiny Toons Adventure episode about the Tiny Toons' junior prom.

I also caught Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears - seems CBS moved them back an hour and put Strawberry first. Strawberry's episode fit in with Valentine's Day. She and her friends filled time on a rainy day by putting on a performance of "Cinderella"...and learning a lesson about beauty being only skin deep in the process.

The Care Bears were less lovey-dovey. Grumpy Bear reluctantly learns to ride a bike with the help of his friends and a human girl, MacKenna, in the first story. The second story revolved around True Heart and Love-A-Lot's attempt to start an online newspaper.

The Acme called while I was running the second Sailor Moon episode. Marlene wanted me to come in as soon as possible. Ok...but I really needed to get my errands done first. My first stop was Dad's house to drop of Jessa's birthday present and everyone's Valentines. The door was open but no one seemed to be home, so I just dropped them on the kitchen counter and left. Maybe they went to visit Uncle Ken in the hospital.

Next it was off to the White Horse Pike to buy stamps and send off my bills. The dentist's office is a block from the post office, so I quickly left her bill in her mailbox. The bank is on the next block after the dentist, so that was my next destination. As it turns out, they'd need $1,000 to open a CD. Sorry, I need that $1,000 in the bank to pay bills and my rent. I just put the full amount in my account, paycheck and tax return. Maybe I'll open a savings account in the spring.

I made another quick stop at WaWa for milk before heading home. I grabbed lunch and carrot sticks for a snack, then went to work. I got in a little early, around 1. It makes more sense anyway, since I worked until 6. It was even crazier than yesterday, but I slept better and was in a better mood, as were most of my customers. Most people bought the candy and flowers yesterday - today, we sold surf-and-turf dinners, with lots of fillet Mignon and shrimp. It was so busy, there were still long lines when I had to pick up a few things I'd forgotten - oatmeal, corn meal, sugar, and the $1.00 toothbrush sale - after work and took me twice as long as it should have.

It was generally cloudy and chilly all day, though thankfully not nearly as windy as a few days ago. It started sprinkling slightly on my way home. Much to my surprise, when I peeked out my windows about an hour or so later, it was snowing - not heavily, but it was still there. I don't think it's doing anything now.

Friday, February 13, 2009

If I Were A Rich Woman

In good news, my tax return arrived today, all $1,047 of it. I also got my paycheck today. I'm thinking of putting most of my paycheck in a COD (Certificate of Deposit) and just depositing the tax return check in the bank. I really need the money. I need to pay the dentist, pay off the rest of my rent, pay my bills, replace the Victrola record/CD/cassette player with a simpler CD/cassette player (I've already replaced the record player), and buy small things I need like socks and underwear.

Spent the rest of the morning vacuuming. It doesn't take me very long to vacuum. This apartment is big, but not THAT big. I doubt I'll get to the dusting until Monday, though.

Work was a pain in the rear. Just as I figured, everyone was waiting for the holiday weekend to do their shopping. It was busy all day, even after I finished at 5:30, and we didn't have nearly enough help up front. The lines were crazy, and I was flustered and easily upset.

A customer mentioned there were a lot of really good sales on this weekend, which would explain the crowds. She was right. I did grocery shopping of my own after work and found a 1lB bag of Macintosh apples for $1.99. That's at least three dollars cheaper than buying them individually would be! I also picked up chicken, small chuck beef steaks, ground turkey, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, Breyers Light yogurt, Smart Balance butter, and Betty Crocker Spice cake mix.

I was even able to treat myself to two little Valentine's presents to myself after my long day. The Acme has already slashed the prices on its Valentine's items, including baking products. I grabbed a heart-shaped grip cookie cutter like the gingerbread man-shaped one Mom gave me around New Year's for $1.59. I also found the original cast of the Broadway version of The Full Monty for $6.99 in a bargain books and CD bin.

My bike is giving me trouble, too. The handlebars are coming loose again. Of course, the heavy load I carried home tonight didn't exactly help. I really need to get actual bike tools, something else on my short list of things I want to buy with my tax return. I'll talk to my neighbor tomorrow.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Against the Wind

Whoosh! Ooohhh.... Crash!

The wind woke me up around 5:30AM. This wasn't any ordinary wind. It was a noisy, wild, crazy gale, the kind that can blow anything from trash cans to large porch furniture half-way across town. I opened my front storm door to see how bad it was...and had a very hard time CLOSING it. One of my chairs were blown across the porch before I finally stacked them, and I had to chase after the tarp on my bikes, too.

I spent the morning cleaning my kitchen and doing a second run-through of the Broadway documentary. By noon, it was becoming quite clear that the wind wasn't going away. If anything, it was even stronger, and far colder than it had been. It was really too windy for bike-riding, so I called Dad for a ride to work. He drove me to work, and Jessa (who baby-sat today and went by the Acme anyway) drove me home in her "new" car, my Uncle Ken's old Buick. As Jessa and I joked, never mind being built like a tank, that thing IS a tank. Might have been a good thing today, though - Jess had no problems maneuvering that huge old thing through the gusts.

The gusts and the impending holiday weekend likely kept most people at home today. The store was mostly dead, mildly steady around the usual 4PM rush-hour. I'm glad my relief was early tonight - I was getting bored.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Balancing Hot and Cold

Did Yogawood today. We tried some different moves, "moon" salutations in honor of the just passing full moon, instead of "sun" salutations. For the most part, I liked them. There were a few I had difficulty with. I'm not good at balancing on my thin shoulders, and I'm still nervous about the crow-squat pose that requires you to squat down, lean on your hands, and lift your body. There's still a lot of me to lift.

Jill, the teacher of the Monday and Wednesday classes, had a great announcement when we finished - she's pregnant! Her second child is due in August. She was so happy. She loves her little boy so much. She says she'll continue to teach class basically until she has the kid (thought obviously she won't be able to demonstrate as many moves).

It was a beautiful day for a big announcement. In fact, it was in the mid-60s and sunny, really TOO warm for February. I was on my way over to the Collingswood WaWa for a drink when I realized how wobbly my handlebars were. They'd fallen over the other day, and the handlebars had been pushed way too high since. A lady at Collingswood's Borough Hall was nice enough to help me fix and tighten them. I did get a drink from WaWa (fountain Cherry-Vanilla Coke Zero) and made a quick stop at Doria's Deli down the street from me for turkey lunch meat before heading home.

My apartment was so warm I opened every window I could when I finally got in, deciding to take a rare opportunity to air out my apartment in the middle of winter. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the bathroom and working on Valentine's cards and getting as much of my rent as I can afford together for Miss Ellie. I did get the rent to Miss Ellie and put the cards in the mail as I left for work.

Work was mostly steady-to-dead tonight, with one minor slip-up when I accidentally typed in $60 when a woman had only given me a 20 dollar bill and the other woman with her got upset because she needed the right amount on the receipt. There was also some excitement in the last half-hour when one of the teenage managers lost her store keys. Every available cashier and manager on the front end (including me) searched high and low for those darn keys. She finally "found" them when a customer returned them. Poor kid must have dropped them in the bag by mistake!

The wind had picked up while I was at home. By the time I was headed to work, it was whipping around hard. Still, I had a pretty good ride to and from work, and it remained warm. (I think it's supposed to get colder starting tomorrow or on the weekend.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Just Can't Wait to be King Of Broadway

I spent the majority of today at work, which was quiet when I came in around 11:30, steady when I left at 5:30. I tried making a lime pie after work, but I wasn't paying attention to the mix and burned it, then put too much water in it. I hope it comes out ok anyway.

I did finish up the Broadway documentary today. The last two parts covering the 70s, 80s, 90s, and up through 2004 brought back a LOT of memories. I remember seeing commercials for Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, and City of Angels as a kid on Channel 9 and 11 and thinking that this was the height of New York glamor - the Broadway musical. I remember seeing Sweeney Todd on HBO when I was about 6, the original version with Angela Landsbury. Talk about nightmares! I still shudder when I think about that. (I never thought of Landsbury in quite the same way again.) I saw the "I Love NY" post-9/11 commercial with Nathan Lane when I was in college and remember how exciting it was, even after what had happened just across town from Times Square.

As much as I enjoyed it, there were a few things I would have liked to have seen covered more thoroughly. The two big ones were the American operettas of the teens and 20s and the musicals of Kurt Weill. The operettas of the 1910's and 20s were quite influential in their day (Sigmund Romberg wrote shows well into the 50s), and they're sweet guilty pleasures of mine. They could have at least talked about some of the bigger 20s shows, like New Moon and The Desert Song, or mentioned the European-based operettas that World War I swept away, like The Merry Widow. And Kurt Weill, who wrote the influential 30s and 40s shows Knickerbocker Holiday, Lady In the Dark, One Touch of Venus, Lost In the Stars, the opera Street Scene, and the German show The Threepenny Opera that has been successfully revived several times, isn't discussed at all. The only reference to Weill is Danny Kaye singing "Tchaikovsky" from Lady In the Dark over the closing credits of the last part.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Just a Broadway Baby

With this being my only day off this week, I spent most of the day running errands. I did my laundry in the morning. Dolores was finishing off hers and Uncle Ken's laundry. He's supposed to go in for surgery for his cancer tomorrow. God, I hope he's ok. I'm really worried about him. I've always liked Uncle Ken. He's such a sweetheart. Dad was just watching his perpetual 24 hours of horror and spooky mysteries on the Chiller cable channel. It was such a nice day, I went out for a short walk around Oaklyn and Audubon, stopping briefly at the Oaklyn Library.

After I came in from doing the laundry, I had lunch and headed out again, this time over to the Haddon Township Library for my weekly volunteering session. It was busy when I arrived, and there were huge stacks of books and DVDs to be put away. I spent most of the time I was there shelving DVDs and children's books. I did finally take out the newest Strawberry Shortcake DVD, "Happily Ever After," and a PBS documentary mini-series, Broadway - The American Musical. I'd read the huge coffee table book of that title, but never saw the documentary it was based after. I made a few very brief stops at AC Moore for Valentine's decorations and Dollar Tree for cards before heading home.

Spent the rest of the evening making Batter Corn Bread (which came out quite well) and watching the DVDs I took out of the library. As you can probably guess from the title, the Strawberry Shortcake disc is that show's second DVD covering fairy tales. The first is their take on Sleeping Beauty, in which Strawberry uses the famous story of the girl who is put to sleep by a vengeful fairy to try to patch up a fight between her friends Angel Cake and Rainbow Sherbet. Rainbow gets a rare chance at the spotlight in an imaginative version of Rapunzel. Here, "Rap" is a tomboy who would rather be commanding sailboats than ruling a kingdom, but her teacher (Sour Grapes) wants her to become a real lady. I like the variation on the usual "be yourself" theme in the second - you don't need very long hair or fancy dresses to be a real princess or a real ruler. There's also a nice subplot on the necessity of education...and it's interesting to see this is the second episode (after Let's Dance) where Sour Grapes is a teacher who softens to the girls.

Broadway is absolutely fascinating. Like the Ethan Mordden books, it covers the history of the Broadway musical from the beginnings of the Ziegfield Follies (and revues in general) and George M. Cohan around the turn of the 20th Century to the creation of Wicked, the then-newest musical hit. While I already knew about a lot of what's covered here (Ziegfield and the Follies, Fanny Brice, Cohan, Marilyn Miller, Show Boat, Ethel Merman, "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?", Irvin Berlin, Cole Porter and Anything Goes), the one thing I didn't know much about was black performers. It was interesting to hear about Follies star Bert Williams (and realize I've known his theme song, "Nobody," since childhood), Ethel Waters, and early black shows like Shuffle Along.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Did a lot of cooking today, mostly trying more recipes in that Fast Food Fix cookbook. I made a low-fat, egg-white version of Burger King's French Toast Sticks this morning, mostly to get rid of some French Bread that was getting old and dry. It called to cook them with melted butter, but I'm not used to using real butter (I usually use cooking spray) and ended up burning them. They tasted good enough and were easy enough to make that I'll probably make them again the next time I have bread to get rid of...this time, using butter spray or butter-flavored cooking spray.

Rose called while I was eating my French Toast Sticks and a half of grapefruit. She said she can't do Yogawood tomorrow, something about her boyfriend needing her car, but would be up for Wednesday. That's perfectly fine with me. I don't work on Wednesday until 3PM. I tried calling Mom right after I got off with Rose, but got a busy signal. Mom called ME back a little later - turns out Rose called her right after she called me! Mom's fine. She's VERY happy to have heard from Rose. Both seem to be in much better moods. Mom's annoyed with Dad not exercising (no news there) and isn't looking forward to Anny's custody hearing with her boyfriend this week.

It was an absolutely gorgeous, ridiculously warm day for mid-February, almost 50 and sunny as can be. Every last bit of the snow was gone by the time I headed out for work. It was also really, really windy, which made for an interesting ride to and from work. Work, by the way, was busy all day. It always is on Sundays, even outside of football season. Sunday is the only day a lot of people have to go shopping. My relief was late, but otherwise, there were no problems.

I baked Subway's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies after work, replacing the raisins with dark chocolate chips (I don't have raisins - they're expensive, and I prefer the cranberry kind anyway). The cookies themselves came out quite nicely, soft and nutty, but I made a mess baking them. I burned the back of my lower right arm when I was putting the last pan on the dining area table to cool. That HURT! There's a nice welt line on my arm now. And when I sat down to sample one, I forgot about the melted chocolate chip that fell on my seat. Good thing I was going to do the laundry tomorrow anyway, because now I have chocolate chip all over the back of my work pants.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Warming Things Up

Spent most of the day at work. It was quiet when I got in at 10AM. I spent a lot of the morning doing returns. It didn't really start picking up until around 11:30-noon. Most of my customers were looking forward to the sudden warm spell we're supposed to be having this weekend. I'm not as crazy about it. First of all, 50 degrees doesn't feel like winter. Second, I don't mind cold weather. It gets the blood going and is a lot easier to breathe and ride a bike in. If you dress warmly, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Alas, my customers got their wish. There was still a ton of snow on the ground when I left for work around quarter of 10. By the time I got out of work, more than half the snow was gone, and it was about 45 degrees and sunny. While it did make for a nice ride, it was a little disappointing. I like it when it snows. I like that cozy winter feeling.

On the other hand, I did have a nice walk after work. It was so nice, I might have gone for a walk even if I hadn't needed to go to the bank. I did the White Horse Pike, stopping at the Oaklyn WaWa after the bank for a Chocolate Coke Zero. I saw a lot of other people out and about, too, parents and children in strollers and tons of dog-walkers, plus packs of roving teenagers looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon.

There was one advantage to the melting snow. On my way home, I found what was definitely one of my (fake) fur-trimmed gloves on the sidewalk on Kendall Boulevard. I've been looking for that glove. I must have dropped it on my way home some night last week and it was covered by the snow before I could find it. I've been using another pair that are much warmer anyway (I think these are getting a little thin), but it's nice to have a second pair.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Fiddling With Balance

Finally got to Yogawood today. It was a full class, 15 people plus the teacher Micki. Thankfully, we didn't do too many complicated moves. My left foot is a bit sore from my old winter boots (which I really need to replace). We did a lot of stretching, which seems to be Micki's forte. (Jill's is headstands.)

I spent the rest of the morning watching Fiddler on the Roof and making Banana Pound Cake from the Fast Food Fix cookbook I took out of the Haddon Township Library yesterday. Fiddler is the film version of the long-running 1966 Broadway musical. It's a slightly gloomy but generally enjoyable story of a Russian Jewish milkman, Tevye, who watches as his three oldest daughters marry against his wishes and the tradition orthodox Jewish life of his small peasant village is menaced by outsiders.

Doesn't sound like your typical musical, does it? For all the dark material (one of the girls marries a revolutionary; another elopes with a gentle, non-Jewish Russian youth), this is a very life-affirming film. It's also a very sad one; I cried when the second daughter left for Siberia to be with her jailed husband, and when Tevye remembers his daughters in a touching montage number towards the end. The music (including "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were A Rich Man," and "Miracle of Miracles") is lovely, the dancing's a blast (check out the wedding dance with the bottles on the heads), and the cinematography's stunning - it deservedly won an Oscar in 1971. There's some fine performances, too, including Israeli actor Topol as Tevye.

Two warnings - first of all, this movie is long. Three-hours long. It's one of the last of the major extra-long "epic" musicals made in the 60s and early 70s. It didn't feel that long to me, but it does require a bit more of your time than most musicals to take in. Second, this is not your typical spangles-and-glitter musical. Those expecting the Technicolor frivolity of something like Hello Dolly! will be disappointed. It's not for people who don't like musicals, either - people do start singing in the middle of a sentence.

Work was steady all afternoon, with no major problems. I had a lovely ride to work and to Yogawood. It was sunny, less windy, and somewhat warmer than yesterday (though not as warm as the weekend's supposed to be).

By the way, Tina, Cheer Bear says...

"Have a happy day, hip-hip-hooray!"
"Hug me if you're my best friend."
"Hello, I'm Cheer Bear, with a smile just for you!"
"Hey, how about a Care Bear hug?"
"Let's play some more. You're fun to be with."
"Being friends with you is the best!"
"A cheer-rific day is heading your way!"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Secret of Snowy Rides

I spent most of today running errands. I finally delivered a big bag of donations to the Friends in Deed thrift shop in Collingswood, including my old winter coats. I bought a cute Cheer Bear that can talk when you hug her. I bought a hot chocolate at WaWa, then went to counseling. I told Scott about everything happening in my family and the culinary school idea, but he mainly wants me to concentrate on trying not to get upset when things go wrong at work. I wrote down some of the things he suggested I try to think about when I get anxious - I hope it helps.

I had a quick small ham and swiss sandwich at Primo Hoagies, then rode over to the Haddon Township Library. I made a brief stop at Walgreens to see if they had any good Lil'Kinz. Nope - they still just had Tigers and Yorkies. I have a Lil'Kinz Tiger, and I don't want a silly fluffy Yorkie. I just went on ahead to the Haddon Township Library. I did the children's DVDs, removing the PG-rated animated films Iron Giant and Over the Hedge. (And for those of you who work at libraries or video rental stores, please remember that a movie being animated doesn't automatically mean it's G-rated or for little kids. Please check the ratings on the box!) I took out three DVDs and two cookbooks before heading out.

I made a very brief stop at Super Fresh. I didn't find what I was looking for and forgot something else I wanted, milk, so I also stopped by WaWa on the way back to Oaklyn. I'm glad I did - a half-gallon of skim milk at WaWa has dropped to $2.19. (A half gallon of skim milk costs $2.69 at the Acme!)

Since I was in the area, I rode over to the park behind the Oaklyn Public School on my way home. It was a nice day, bitterly cold (the high was 25) and very windy, but sunny. The snow is still very pretty, and there's still quite a bit on the ground. (Thank goodness it's not nearly as icy or as much of a problem to move as last week's snowfall, though.) I just had to take ten minutes to run through it, kick it around, make snow angels, throw a snowball to the air. We didn't often get snow in Cape May County, and the rare times we did was usually a treat. I love snow. As long as it doesn't get too messy, it's a lot of fun. (Of course, I also don't have some of the problems other people do with large snowfalls. I don't have kids who will be out of school, I live less than ten minutes from work and can commute in anything short of a major blizzard, and my neighbors or my landlady's nephew shovel my steps and porch.)

I enjoyed some more snow-related animated shorts and specials this morning and during dinner. In addition to their Christmas and Easter specials, Rankin-Bass made two specials in the 70s that were really more salutes to winter than to winter holidays. I have Frosty's Winter Wonderland, which was RB's 1976 follow-up to Frosty the Snowman. Unlike the original, this one doesn't try to needlessly tie Christmas in. Frosty comes from the North Pole, but he's lonely when the kids aren't around, so they make him a wife. Meanwhile, Jack Frost (not the same character in the 1979 stop-motion special) feels jealous of the attention Frosty gets from the kids and tries to steal his hat. It's slight but charming, with one of Rankin-Bass' better casts. The original Frosty, Jackie Vernon, is joined by Shelley Winters as his "snow wife" Crystal, Paul Frees as Jack Frost, Dennis Day as Parson Brown, and Andy Griffith as the narrator. Day and Griffith get to duet (rather nicely, too) on the title song.

Although Frosty Returns sounds like a second sequal to the Rankin-Bass Frosty specials, and it does share some elements (snow setting, kids, song, goofy villain who turns good in the end, comedian narrator), it's was actually made by Bill Melendez, who did the Peanuts specials. In fact, Returns, which was made in 1992, has more of a Peanuts vibe than a Rankin-Bass vibe. The kids seem a bit more real than they did in the Rankin-Bass specials, and there's a somewhat cynical 90s feel, from elderly teachers complaining about shoveling sidewalks and breaking hips to Frosty making wisecracks about his polka-dot bow-tie. Not for Rankin-Bass purists, but different and cute in it's own way. I'm especially fond of the only song, "Let There Be Snow." Not a bad cast here, either - Andrea Martin as the fussy teacher, John Goodman as Frosty, and Jonathan Winters as the narrator.

The Backyardigans had their own adventures in the snow. I took out the last Backyardigans DVD the library had that I hadn't seen this afternoon. I have seen the title special episode (a James Bond spoof, complete with Henry Mancini-esque jazz music), but not the other two episodes. Uniqua desperately wants to find "The Secret of Snow," but ever-busy Ice Lady Tasha has no time for her questions. She tries to send the pink bug girl first to the desert, then the jungle, but compassionate Austin, Cowboy Pablo, and Tyrone of the Jungle help her out. All four kids end up learning that there is no real secret to snow...but the secret of friendship is to help others out and have fun doing it, to the tune of Dixieland versions of Christmas songs. (In fact, this would appear to be the closest thing The Backyardigans has to a Christmas episode. It ends with the kids saying "Happy Holidays," the only time they don't go home for a snack in the end.)

My personal favorite on the disc was "A Giant Problem." Queen Uniqua sends her wizards Tyrone and Pablo to get rid of Tasha the Giant, who keeps waking the Queen from her nap. Problem is, Tyrone and Pablo are hardly Harry Potter-quality wizards - none of their spells work right. Big, goofy Tasha doesn't really want to hurt them, anyway. All she wants is to play tag. The 80s synthesizer music brought back a lot of childhood memories.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why Should We Hang Around and Wait For Summer Days To Celebrate?

Rose and I did get to Yogawood today...but the building wasn't open when we arrived at 9:20. Rose had a class and didn't want to hang around, and Collingswood hadn't quite cleared their sidewalks yet, so we just went back to my apartment. I made her tea, and we had a nice sisterly chat. She's feeling much better mentally after spending a week in the hospital, but she's now behind on classes. I just hope she doesn't literally drive herself crazy again.

I spent the rest of the morning doing my finances and working on my budget. As I figured, it would appear I didn't spend nearly as much last month as in December, which is as it should be. It'll likely be the same this month. I'll be getting my tax refund soon, but I'm definitely not going to blow a quarter of it on DVDs this year. There are a few things I genuinely need - cheap errands sneakers, a new CD/cassette player - but a lot of this is going into rent, bills, and the dentist.

It was a really lovely day when I finally headed for work. It was cold, but the sun was out and did melt a little of the snow. Some kids were out of school today, including most Philadelphia schools. Most New Jersey public-school kids had delayed openings. The roads were clear enough for me to take my bike. It was windy but nice, a little icy but nothing like the snow/sleet storm we had last week.

Work itself was dead as a doornail for most of the night and only picked up a little around the usual rush hour. I was out on time and there were no major problems, even with beginning-of-the-month people.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snow Fall

The snow was just beginning when I went to Dad's to do my laundry this morning, but it was too warm for it to stick to anything. The ground didn't get anything but wet. It's probably just as well. I was able to run to CVS and buy some sinus medicine. I stopped at the Oaklyn Library on the way back and bought The Sweetheart Season, which seems to be a kind of variation on the movie A League of Our Own - a mid-western woman who was in a woman's baseball team in 1947 tells the story to her daughter twenty years later. The women work for a cereal and flour mill that sounds a lot like General Mills, the maker of General Mills flour and Betty Crocker products, among other baking and food items. (They even have their own Betty Crocker, "Maggie Collins.")

By the time I went to work around quarter of 2, the snow still wasn't sticking, but it was coming down much harder and visibility was limited. I ended up getting a ride from Dad. I might have tried riding my bike if it the snow wasn't coming down so hard...and if it wasn't likely to stick later.

Dad made me think a bit about the Culinary School thing. I'd still like to look into it, but if possible, I'd like to avoid high-profile, high-stress jobs like being a chef in a major, busy restaurant...or on an ocean liner. I'd rather do something simple, maybe work for a smaller restaurant or a bakery. It's the same thing as with being a librarian. I don't want to do anything fancy. I just want to earn enough to live and maybe put a dollar or two away every month. I don't need a big house or tons of electronics - what would I do with them?

Work was quiet when I came in and when I left, but got very busy at rush hour, when everyone let out of work, saw the weather, and panicked. I'm glad all I needed after work was flour. I'll bet there's not a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread left in the whole store. (Or 6 packs of Canada Dry soda brands in cans - people were buying that 10 for $10 sale by the cart-loads today!)

Dad picked me up around 8. When I walked out of the Acme, I walked into a white world. Everything around me was white. The trees were covered with snow and seemed to melt into the grayish-white sky. The ground was nothing but white fluff, and the roads were getting pretty well-covered, too. It was really pretty, like a Christmas card. It's still snowing as I type this, and is supposed to continue into the morning. I think I can hear my neighbor attempting to shovel next-door.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day

Oh, and here's to the groundhogs who are probably more reliable weathermen than the humans at the Weather Channel these days. I think we're getting more winter, but that's not a problem, as long as the snow doesn't stick around forever...
Change In Plans

I woke up too late to hit Yogawood this morning, so I just worked on editing the latest parts of this month's Monkees role-play instead and enjoyed the gorgeous, 45-degree day. Won't be staying that way for long. According to Yahoo!Weather, we're in for another, slightly heavier snow storm tomorrow. It says possibly two to four inches. Considering last week they said possibly one to two inches and we ended up with more like four or five, I'd brace myself.

It's just as well that I opted to stay home. Rose called, responding to my worried call to her yesterday. She says she did have an "episode" but is feeling better and willing to really go to Yogawood with me on Wednesday this time. I just have to remember to remind HER. Marlene, one of the front end managers at work, called me shortly before Rose did this morning and asked me to come in on Wednesday afternoon for one of the boys who had school. No problem there. I really need the extra hours, and I had no major plans on Wednesday that couldn't be done on Thursday.

I got out late and was almost late for work. Not a good thing today. Between the beginning of the month and the snow reports, the Acme was mobbed from about 2:30 onwards. There were a few annoying beginning-of-the-month people, but it was otherwise quick and painless and I was out on time.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Born to Run

I spent most of the morning on my usual Sunday chat with Mom. Mom herself is fine. Dad was at the dock with Keefe, whom he's paying to help with repairs around the boat. No, it's Rose and Anny who are in trouble.

Rose has had problems with depression in the past. Apparently, Craig found her depressed again. She's been hiding, not going out, not seeing anyone, talking suicide, not doing anything but school...again. She did this when she was in college in Washington DC around 2000-2001. I caught her once. It scared the living daylights out of me. According to Mom, she's now seeing a new therapist and is changing her medication, and both seem to be helping. I hope so. I've lost my grandmother, grandfather, and stepmother, and my favorite uncle has cancer. I don't want to lose a sister.

Anny's not doing great, either. Mom says her boyfriend Mike doesn't think their son Collyn is 100% his, despite the fact that everyone in Cape May County says the kid looks and acts just like him. They're going to have a whole custody battle and DNA tests and everything.

On the other hand, Mom had an excellent suggestion for me - Culinary School. It would be cheaper than trying to go to graduate school for library arts, and there must be a hundred fancy eateries and bakeries in Philly and the suburbs that could use pastry chefs. It would be something I could always do. As much as I love reading and books, I love to bake and cook, too. I've been thinking of writing cookbooks as well.

It was a lovely, sunny, reletively warm almost 50-degree day when I finally headed to work around quarter after 1. The Acme was packed, with long lines at every register and more than half the registers open. No surprise there. Not only is today the Super Bowl, but it's the first day of the month, and people are just getting their food stamps/government money/paychecks. I had no relief and left a little late, but other than that, work was perfectly fine and passed by quickly.

The moment I got off, I rushed home, changed my shirt, grabbed the pudding pie I made yesterday, and headed over to Uncle Ken's for his Super Bowl party. Everyone was there when I arrived - Samantha and David and their kids (who were playing bartender, with a few older kids kicking out little guys, much to their annoyance), Dolores and her kids and their kids (including tiny, almost year-old May), Mark, Vanessa, and Brittany, Dad, Jodie, Jodie's parents, and a couple of Uncle Ken's sports-obsessed buddies.

For once, the game was as good as the company. I only stayed for the first half, but one of the Steelers' running backs made an amazing 100-yard touchdown in the last few seconds of the second quarter, pulling them ahead. There were a batch of nifty 3-D commercials right after the first half (that NBC show Chuck looks almost kinda cute), and the Bruce Springsteen concert was downright amazing. He played two songs from the Born to Run album (which, ironically, I listened to this morning before the Beatles show), one new one, and "Glory Days." The Boss really was boss, with more energy than some people my age. It was a truly spectacular show.

And at press time, the Steelers just pulled ahead of the Cards and are winning 27-23, with just 23 seconds left in the game.