Sunday, May 31, 2009

Peace and Quiet

I had a very quiet, simple day. I made Sweet Potato Spice Pancakes this morning, listened to the Beatles show on WOGL, and called Mom. Mom was getting ready to try to work outside. She's not terribly happy with the weather. Cape May County's gotten more rain than even we have. She said they had a storm pass through this morning, though if it came by here, I didn't see it. She complained that nothing ever has a chance to dry before the next storm.

We sure didn't have that problem. The weather today was sunny, windy, warm, and clear - about as gorgeous as you can get on the last day of May. This was reflected at work, too. The Acme was unusually quiet for a Sunday afternoon, steady-to-dead for most of the night, with no major problems. It was just starting to pick up when I left.
Rebecca at the Movies

Thanks to Linda Young for this information!

Seems Linda and I both guessed right about the newest American Girl. Rebecca Rubin is a Jewish tenement dweller in 1914 who wants to be an actress in the movies. Her stories sound fascinating (admittedly far more so than the last historical American Girl, 70s-era Julie) and I can't wait to find the books. The doll's gorgeous, too - I love her beautiful hair.

Meet Rebecca!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Moments to Remember

The Strawberry Shortcake episode was another repeat (Strawberry visits Crepe Suzette), so I listened to Casey Kasem re-runs from the 70s on WOGL while I had a quick Kashi Autumn Harvest cereal breakfast and threw together a Cookies and Cream Pudding Pie, then headed for the usual Saturday outing. I stopped at a quiet bank and deposited my paycheck and passed by men selling soft pretzels on the White Horse Pike, I guess for the Lutheran Church across from the bank.

There were a couple of yard sales on my way to the Farm Market. I bought three Beanie Babies from one, but I didn't see anything of interest at the others. The Farm Market was jam-packed when I came in. They were so packed, they were already out of some things by 10:30. I wasn't able to get radishes or bananas, but I did get cheddar cheese, celery, strawberries, and leeks.

I rode around Collingswood for a little while longer to do some more yard-sale exploring, but I only found one with nothing of interest. I made a quick stop at WaWa for skim milk, then went home. I spent a little time enjoying some rare Saturday quiet after I got in, eating lunch, wrapping Jessa's graduation present, and listening to one of my Goodwill record finds, Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain.

Headed over to Uncle Ken and Dad's around 1:30 to help get ready. I had to climb over a huge pile of wood chips and trees that had been moved to the path, due to a party behind the VFW. I'm just glad it didn't upset my pie.

The party ended up being pretty big. In addition to the usual family members - Samantha and her family, Karen, Jim, CJ, and Taylere, Mark, Vanessa, and Brittany, Erica and Miss Helen, Jodie and her sons, Dolores and her children and grandchildren, Dad, Uncle Ken - we also had many of Jessa's friends from school and Dad's old friends from Florida and Cape May. There were tables set up under small tents on the driveway between the house and the pool. Most of the teenagers stayed inside by the TV and the food. The adults sat and chatted at the tables. Kids swam in the pool while their parents watched them.

I had a nice time. I mostly just walked around and chatted with various groups. I had nice talks with my elderly next-door neighbor Nancy (who's a long-time friend of Uncle Ken and of my landlady Miss Ellie), with Erica, and with Mercedes, Dolores' 9-year-old granddaughter. I greeted Joyce and Brian and Diane, long-time friends of Dad's from Florida and Cape May I hadn't seen since I was a kid. It was kind of weird.

And there was tons and tons of food. Jodie cooked like crazy, and people brought their own food as well. I had baked ziti, macaroni salad, Caesar Salad, lots of pretzels, water, Diet Coke, Uncle Ken's divine Brown Sugar Ham, sausage (it was kinda spicy for me), cake, and slices of my Cookies and Cream Pie and a Strawberry Mousse Pie.

(Incidentally, for the second time this week, my pie was a big hit. Everyone complimented me on it, and there was only one slice left when I went home.)

I'm glad the weather cooperated, too. It was a gorgeous day for an outdoor party, sunny and breezy but not too cold or too hot. The water's still chilly, though. I didn't even attempt swimming this time. The kids all claimed it wasn't bad once you got used to it...but they were all shivering, even while in the pool.

Oh, and Jessa loved the dry-erase board I gave her. I used to use them in college to keep track of my classes, and I still have one to this day. I write my schedule and my weekly to-do list on a dry-erase board on my refrigerator and cross things off as they get done.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Working Balance

Yoga class was the smallest I'd ever attended this morning. There were just three people there, me, the very flexible fellow who seems to work as a handyman there as well, and a new teacher, Melissa, who was in for Micki. Melissa was bright, plump, sweet, and willing to put us through our paces. I worked very hard, and both Melissa and Eric had kind words for me after class.

I was a little surprised it was so dead. The weather was cloudy but warm and humid. By the time I'd gotten home, the sun was even coming out. There was a call from Sue, the head front end manager at the Acme, waiting for me when I got in. Could I come in at 11:30 instead of 2:30? There was a call-out. No, I couldn't come in at 11:30. I'd only arrived around quarter of 11! It ended up being 12:45, enough time for me to make a small batch of Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies, eat lunch, change, and get dinner together.

Work was mostly steady, but there were some problems. First of all, the Acme is in the midst of rearranging many aisles. Even we don't know where some items are, much less our customers. Second, some of the older women were getting on my nerves. One got angry when I forgot to double-bag her items and she thought I made them too heavy. There was confusion when I finished, too. A manager told me to stay until one more cashier came back from break, and then she opened a register anyway.

I wasn't feeling too happy at that point, and I only felt worse later when I finished my own grocery shopping and had to go back for the buttermilk I'd left with the yogurt. I forgot to give the bagger and cashier my cloth bags, and they bagged them all in plastic and we had to re-bag them. I hate holding up lines, on either end. It makes me feel guilty, no matter how much people claim they're not in a hurry. I did finally walk out with yogurt, apples, the buttermilk, granola bars that were on a really good this-weekend-only sale (and that I had a coupon for), and things to make another pudding pie for Jessa's graduation party tomorrow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life Is a Highway

I slept in this morning and got a late start out to the Audubon Commons Shopping Center behind the Acme. Wal Mart was my first stop. I finally got Jessa her graduation present and a card. Stopped at Fashion Bug next to see if they had anything that could qualify as work pants on sale; nope.

I didn't feel like going home. I felt like doing something. I didn't know what. It was cloudy and humid, but warm, and I didn't want to hang around the apartment all day. I just rode down the Black Horse Pike. I've never really explored the other Pike on my own before. I rode, and just kept riding. I went by the PNC Bank, went by Walgreens. (No good WebKinz there, BTW.) By this point, the traffic on the Black Horse Pike had picked up somewhat.

I stopped at a Subway in Mt. Ephram for lunch, and just kept on going. I rode out of Mt. Ephram and into Bellmawr, passing crumbling 70s-era shopping centers, gleaming new drug stores, old houses with dented brick, and that cool 50s-style McDonald's. I finally stopped at a huge Goodwill store. I cannot resist the call of anything resembling a thrift shop.

The Goodwill was mostly clothes. Some of them weren't in bad shape, either, but there were very few my size. (I guess 16/Large is more common than I thought.) I had more luck with other items. I bought a video copy of the Disney Christmas half-hour special The Small One, a lovely hardback picture book of Beauty and the Beast, and six records. Turns out the records were on sale, making my purchase a grand total of approximately $6.50 for a video, a book, and six records.

And Mom wonders why I love thrift shops?

I could have continued on the Black Horse Pike, but it was about quarter after 3 by this point and traffic, which had been heavy to begin with, was increasing. I turned on West Browning and just kept following the road, riding past mostly houses dotted with the occasional church, tavern, or school. After about 20 minutes, I finally passed by something interesting...the back of a wall that said "Sears Essentials."

Turns out that wall lead to a whole shopping center I'd only seen once or twice while on car trips down the White Horse Pike. The Lawndale Heritage Shopping Center isn't much of a heritage. There was a Wendy's, a Church's Chicken (new one to me), a massive Home Depot, the Sears, and a Fashion Bug, Pathmark, dollar store, and Chinese place that looked like they belonged to buildings that were far older than the new-ish Home Depot.

I checked out Sears, mostly because I've never seen one that wasn't in a two-level mall or didn't specialize in hardware, but it was a disappointment. It was really the same deal as Wal Mart, and even in a larger store, there was a lot less selection. The place looked like it had been remodeled recently, but it would appear no one cared. The store was stone-cold dead when I was in there, except for the employees and one older couple.

A peek at Fashion Bug wasn't much more productive. It was larger and better-organized than the one in Audubon, but I still didn't see anything I needed. At this point, the traffic on the White Horse Pike was ungodly, and I thought it best if I found a WaWa to get a drink and some money (I was also broke) and headed home.

I thought I could just ride down the White Horse Pike, but not only was it rush hour, but Lawndale's part of the Pike leads into several major highways. The streets were teaming with cars, and the sidewalks were a cracked mess. As I rode over one particularly large crack, the black nylon bag with my Goodwill purchases went flying onto the concrete...and I couldn't stop myself from riding right over it! Thank goodness I at least slowed myself. I turned around and retrieved the remains of the bag (walking my bike over my foot as I did so; ow). The video and the records were fine. The book had protected them. It's cover now had a massive hole and the cover under it was scraped, but it was still readable.

The bag wasn't as lucky. There was a huge hole in the front where it hit the sidewalk. Well, I'm miffed. That was the bag I keep in a pouch in my purse. Mom gave it to me for my birthday about two or three years ago, and I've used it constantly ever since. Granted, it's gotten rather shabby recently, but it was still very useful.

I tried riding down the White Horse Pike, but it diverged to several highways at the edge of Lawndale. I just turned around the way I came. I saw train tracks along a service road behind the mall, so I just followed them. Turns out that they're the same tracks that run through all the local towns. I rode past the big antique store in Barrington, coming out in Haddon Heights...conveniently right next to the big PNC Bank there. I took out $10 for yoga tomorrow, then went across the street for a bottle of water from a tiny pharmacy.

I was so dead by then, I just followed the tracks and rode home to Oaklyn, stopping only for cars and the few traffic lights on that road. I read put chicken breasts in a bag to marinate in light Italian dressing for an hour, then read The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril and made a lovely dinner of Italian Chicken and Tomato Skillet, mashed sweet potatoes, and sauteed asparagus and mushrooms.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Travels With My Sister

Today was laundry day. I went for a short walk with Jessa while it was in the dryer. She's off of school for good now, or at least until she starts the art college in Philadelphia she'll be attending in the fall. She just has her graduation ceremony tomorrow, and that's it for high school for her. I can't believe she's already graduating high school. I'm gonna cry if I think about it too much. (Don't even get me started on Keefe just finishing his sophomore year...) We just went to the library and to Doria's Deli for soda, enjoying the breezy, cloudy-but-warmer-than-yesterday weather.

The house was busy when we got in. Two old friends of Dad's from Florida, Joyce and Brian, had arrived. I said "hello" to them, then headed out. I put everything away, had a quick lunch of chicken soup, celery, and a chocolate chip muffin, and went to work.

Work was really boring, especially after the weekend. It was dead as a doornail, and other than some confusion over the Snapple sale coupon (the 12 pk of plastic Snapple bottles are the free ones, not the 12 pk of glass bottles), there were no problems.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Strawberry Sweet

Oh, and Tina requested my recipe for the Strawberries N' Creme Pudding Pie I made yesterday. Here you go!

1 6-oz package of Vanilla or French Vanilla pudding pie (Use your favorite brand and vanilla variation)
1 tub Cool Whip or your favorite whipped topping (I used Cool Whip French Vanilla, which was on sale, but you can use whatever you'd like)
1 graham cracker crust (pre-prepared like I did or your favorite recipe; shortbread or Nilla wafers might work well, too)
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (Make sure the berries are well-drained and defrosted if you use frozen - you don't want a watery pie!)

Prepare the pudding as directed for pie filling on the package. Chop the strawberries into small pieces and fold them in. (Make sure you don't mix too hard - do this part with a regular spoon, not a whisk. You don't want strawberry pudding mush!) Pour the filling in the prepared crust and top with whipped topping. Put in refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Day Among Books

It was a cloudy, cold, dreary day when I finally got up this morning, a far cry from the hot weather we had over the weekend. It was nice to finally be able to turn off the air conditioner and the fan, and I was able to bake chocolate chip muffins this evening. On the other hand, the weather was dismal. By the time I finally made it out to the library, it was showering. I wasn't dripping when I got in to Westmont, but I was fairly wet.

The Haddon Township Library was hopping today, not a surprise given the weather. There were stacks and stacks of books and DVDs to be put away, and the librarians were just adding more and more to the pile as they signed in more stacks of just-returned items. I finally brought back the X-Man book. Yes, it was on hold. No, I couldn't renew it, despite having not even read it. I settled on a Wolverine novel and decided I'd try the big book again later in the summer. I mostly shelved the piles and piles of DVDs before heading out.

Made some quick stops across the street at the Westmont Plaza. I looked at JoAnn's to see if they had a gift for Jessa for her graduation. Nope. Went next-door to Super Fresh for a box of Hodgeson Mill Wheat Germ, which Acme no longer carries. I've been out of wheat germ forever. (They only have the expensive wheat germ in the glass jars.) Stopped at the WaWa on the White Horse Pike for milk and a toasted custom-made turkey Ciabatta melt sandwich.

By the time I got home, the showers had gentled down to sprinkles. Even so, I spent the rest of the day inside, reading and listening to jazz and Disney soundtracks. Rose did drop by later, but only briefly. She said she was tired after her summer classes. (She also showed me the huge bruise she got when she fell down the narrow, steep steps to hers and her boyfriend Craig's apartment. Ouch! It was big, purple, and nasty.)

Oh, and I called Mom after getting in from the library. She was fine. She spent most of the weekend outside working on the yard, which is why she never heard my calls on Sunday.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Saluting Those Who Served Our Country

I salute veterans of all wars...including the current one...on this Memorial Day. I started off a hot, sunny morning with the Donald Duck Army-themed shorts on the second Chronological Donald Walt Disney Treasures DVD set. Donald appeared in a series of cartoons on life in the World War II army, as well as the famous Oscar-winning propaganda short Der Fuherer's Face, between 1942 and 1944. I watch them every Memorial Day and Veteran's Day - they're pretty much the only war-related items I own.

I worked early today, around 9:45. Don't ask me why it was 9:45 to 3:15 instead of 10 to 4 or something normal like that. I have no idea. Apparently, neither did the Acme. I ended up staying until 4. It wasn't too bad when I came in at quarter of 10, but by quarter after 3, the lines were half-way across the store. We had a couple of call-outs, too.

Jodie came through my line around noon to tell me she and Dad were having a barbecue tonight. Great. I was going to call them and ask them if they were doing anything tonight anyway. When I got home, there was message on my phone for me. Rose had finally called back. She can't do Yogawood this week - something about hurting her leg - but she is willing to get together and chat tomorrow. That's fine. We'll talk over cups of tea.

I changed into a bathing suit and my red-and-white polka-dot sundress, grabbed my pool towel, and headed over to Dad's. He and Jodie had a bunch of their friends over, and they were chatting. I felt a little awkward. I don't know them very well. I was hoping we'd go to Mark and Vanessa's again, like we did last year. I waded around in the pool for a little while, but it was still too cold for me to really go swimming.

At least the food was good. Jodie and Dad made steak, broccoli, sauteed asparagus and mushrooms, Caesar Salad, and ribs so succulent, they literally fell off the bone. I chatted with Uncle Ken, Dolores, Jessa, and Erica, then watched a couple of pre-teen boys goof off in the pool.

The Strawberries and Cream Pudding Pie I brought over was a big success, too. There was only a small wedge remaining in the pan when I left. One of the boys said it was the best thing he'd ever tasted, words that meant more to me than any medal of honor.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Let It Be...Hot

After a long chat session with Lauren last night, I slept in good and long this morning. I made peanut butter pancakes and tried to call Mom. No one picked up at her house, so I left a message and tried calling Rose. Didn't get her, either. Once again, left a message. It might be just as well. I had just finished sweeping the porch and listening to this week's Beatles show on WOGL (the album "Let It Be" was in the spotlight today) when I got a call from work. They were busy and there was a call-out. They needed me to come in early.

Unlike Thursday, this was not a problem. I hadn't had any real plans for today, anyway, besides just hanging out. Work was, indeed, busy when I came in, but by the time I finished, it was nearly dead. I guess everyone went down to the shore after all.

Or maybe they were avoiding the heat. It was cloudy and windy when I got up this morning, and while not as hot as yesterday, it was still pretty warm. I turned the air conditioner on last night and turned it back on this evening (after taking a stab at letting the nice wind blow in).
Off to the May Fair

Sorry I'm late again. I keep getting caught up reading other things. It was probably just as well that today's Strawberry Shortcake was a repeat, the one about Peppermint Fizz refusing to accept Rainbow Sherbet because she's so different. I was able to get an early start on the usual Saturday errands...a good thing, because today's errands were anything but usual!

After a quick stop at the bank, I headed for Collingswood. Yesterday was their annual May Fair. The May Fair is the big craft show and midway on Haddon Avenue held every year on the Saturday before Memorial Day. There were booths selling hand-maid jewelry, clothes, knit-wear, toys, and furniture. There were tons of food booths - lemonade, soft pretzels, pizza, hot dogs, and "deep fried Oreos" were popular items. One end of the Fair focuses on a classic car show. The other extreme end near Cuthbert Road had small midway-style rides, games, craft booths, and face and hair painting booths themed exclusively towards children. (Unlike Wildwood or Great Adventure, all the rides were kids-sized - no adults unless they rode with kids.) There was even an artist working on a picture of the historic buildings on Haddon Avenue as people passed by.

The Farm Market was on Leeds Road for the day, and that's where I headed. Unlike last year, I'd wanted to get a good early start and beat the crowds...but the booths were still packed as I shopped. I broke down and bought the $5 strawberries. The Acme has them for cheaper, but they aren't nearly as good. I bought mushrooms and dandelion greens...and then went back after I left and bought celery and beets, which I needed and had forgotten.

(Unlike last year, I didn't buy anything at the fair. Most of the crafts were priced way over my budget. I did see a table selling WebKinz, but they didn't have anything this year I hadn't seen elsewhere. I will admit, it's a shame I already have a white poodle, because the Lil'Kinz version is way too cute.)

I rode around a little while longer. Got lemonade at one yard sale. Bought two 80s childrens' books (a hardback Care Bears Parker Brothers picture book and a Muppet Babies book sold by McDonald's in the mid-80s as a promotion) and a Care Bear, Do Your Best Bear (a newer bear with a kite on his tummy). Poor DYB Bear had spots of dirt on him and ended up being tossed in the laundry basket. Looks like he saw some hard play.

It was hot and getting hotter, almost into the 90s, and my shoulders and back were starting to feel the effects of being out in the sun for too long...not to mention, it was quarter of 12 by this point and I had work at 1. I headed home, put my fruits and vegetables away, and had lunch before changing and heading to work.

Work was busy, not exactly big news given the holiday weekend. Thankfully, other than a few bobbles with the big soda coupon sales, there weren't nearly as many problems today as there were earlier this week. I was in and out with little trouble.

Did my own grocery shopping afterwards. Picked up the low-cholesterol eggs on sale and with a coupon. Grabbed apples too, also on sale, and Kashi's Autumn Harvest Shredded Wheat cereal. (The Kashi Shredded Wheat cereals rock.)

And yes...I got rather bad sunburn on my shoulders, face, and back. That's what I get for forgetting my sunscreen. :P

Friday, May 22, 2009

Focusing On Balance

Started today with Yogawood. I was having a really hard time focusing. Even my classmates noticed it; one kindly mentioned it after class. I was up late last night, and the events of the day before and my own troubles with work were still on my mind. Besides, I've never been especially good at focusing on the present. My mind always wants to wander, no matter how hard I stare at a certain spot.

I went home and decided to try something. I wanted to make a coffee cake for breakfast tomorrow and Memorial Day Monday (which I figured - correctly, as it turned out - I'd be working early). I love the many variations on the simple coffee cake recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook, but ol' Betty was cooking in the 50s, which means her coffee cake is loaded with sugar and shortening. I cut the sugar down to a half a cup and replaced the shortening with canola oil and mashed banana (I had two that were getting really ripe) and used Smart Balance Butter Blend for the topping instead of regular butter. Came out very moist and quite nice; added a bit of vanilla, too.

Work was very busy, not unexpected on Memorial Day Weekend. It generally went better than yesterday, except for one very obnoxious young man and his even more obnoxious mother. I'm wondering if she was quite "right" in the head, or maybe she was just angry. She barked at everyone, yelled at him, and spat at the poor customer behind her. He wouldn't write out her check (I don't know why he couldn't do it if she couldn't - his brain was working), and then it turned out the company that cashes our check rejected their check anyway, and of course, they didn't have any other form of payment on them. We voided their order, and they left with nothing but their nasty mouths.

(And a reminder, folks, ALWAYS bring two forms of payment when you go out shopping. You never know when you won't have enough money or your credit card won't work.)
Bad Day Rising

Ugh. I ended up getting called in today. Of course, it was gorgeous today. Of course, I never got to the library, and I have a book due that, for some reason, is on hold. I don't know why it's on hold while I still have it. I did get to the post office to buy 2 cent stamps in order to send my bills for this month out, but that was all. I slept too late to do anything else.

Work was a pain in the rear, too. There were a lot of obnoxious people, and I seriously was not in the mood to handle them all. It was really busy as well, seeing how we're coming up on the Memorial Day Weekend. It turns out they'd called me in to replace someone who had to be pulled to help in the bakery. Why didn't they just ask me? I've been trying to get in the bakery for ages.

I didn't have the experience, of course. They wanted someone to do cakes.

I'm tired of not having experience. I'm tired of not being good enough. If I had experience in something useful, anything, maybe I'd be getting somewhere.

I went out for a quick dinner after work. That, at least, went well. I had a pulled pork sandwich and green beans at Fat Jack's. I couldn't think of anything else that would satisfy me and still be fast without killing my diet. It was tasty, as always. I didn't even finish the green beans.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chocolate and Pepsi

Started off a late morning with cereal, grapefruit, and bananas. After I ate, I washed my bikes. Unlike the porch furniture, I did have to wash these off under the porch. It's much easier to use the hose to get rid of the soap. At any rate, they're now clean, and that finishes both this month's cleaning and this year's spring cleaning.

The day was pretty much a repeat of yesterday, a bit warmer but still sunny and gorgeous. It was still cool enough to bake. Those delicious chocolate chip cookies had vanished quickly, so I refiled the jar with another low-fat cookie recipe from the Light Desserts cook book. I made Chocolate Spice Cookies with added Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips to cure the chocolate cravings I've been having lately. After I finished the cookies, I posted this month's Monkee's role-play to our site. It's a short Memorial Day-related comedy. (It's also a tad macabre...and very goofy. We'll have darker stuff next month.)

Work was, as on Monday, steady-to-busy and not much of a problem other than we're still out of the Lays bags for the darn 5 for $5 Lays/Pepsi sale.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Unbutton Your Overcoat

The weather today was absolutely perfect. The sky was blue, not a hint of a cloud anywhere. The wind was cool but not cold. The air was warm, but not hot or humid. If anything, it was a bit too sunny. I found myself squinting as I hiked across the train tracks to Dad's house for this week's laundry session.

Dad was still working on the yard outside. I joined him for a while, reading The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril on a hard green plastic chair while he vacuumed the bottom of the pool, but that sun was just too darn bright. There's two tables with umbrellas on the pool patio, but they haven't been opened yet. I wound up back on the porch.

I had originally planned on taking a walk around the neighborhood while the laundry was in the dryer, then cleaning the porch furniture and hanging around the house afterwards...but it was just too darn nice to be inside for most of the day. I swept the porch and washed the air conditioner cover and porch furniture (two plastic chairs and a milk crate I use for a table) while the dryer was going instead.

After I had lunch, put the laundry away, and hung the air conditioner cover out to dry, I grabbed my bike and went for a nice, long ride down to that awesome big antiques store in Barrington. I've been wanting to get back there since last summer, but I haven't had the chance until today. I swear, the rooms in that place multiply. Everything seemed to be different from the last time I was there. Oh, there was still tons of great vintage stuff and lots of little rooms upstairs, but everything looked like it was arranged differently than last time. Maybe it's just me. Anyway, I didn't have much money, so I just bought a Golden Book my sisters and I had as kids. Raggedy Ann and the Rainy-Day Circus is a lovely little story about the rag-doll twins setting up an indoor circus for them and their toy buddies when Marcella, their owner, can't take them to her local circus due to the rain. I believe it's one of the Golden Books Mom cleared out when she thinned out our collection around the time Keefe was born; she only kept classics, ones in good condition, or ones little boys would like.

I made a short stop at the Barrington Coffee Shop for a Mango-Coconut Iced Tea that was tasty and fruit and so cold, it gave me brain freeze, along with a chocolate Rice Krispie treat, before heading home. Dad invited me to dinner when I was over doing the laundry. I was happy to accept. They were having ham, and I'd forgotten to take meat out for dinner anyway.

Dolores and Uncle Ken had returned from their vacation in Florida just as I was finishing my laundry. They were chatting and catching up with friends over "ESPN Sports Center" when I came in. I gave Uncle Ken the birthday card I'd gotten him at Willie the Woodsman and Wife's today (his birthday was May 5th) and talked about their vacation and my upcoming one.

Chatted with Dad, Jodie, and Jessa over ham steak, green beans, and mashed potatoes. The big news is Jessa just finished school for the year and high school for good. (Catholic and private schools apparently end earlier than public schools.) Her graduation is a week from Thursday. I probably won't make it (it's at night, when I usually work), but I've already asked off for her graduation party on the 30th.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chill In the Air

The chilly weather continues, though it was largely sunnier today. I slept in and had a late breakfast. Went to CVS for pads, then came home and worked on editing this month's Monkees role-play. (Look for it tonight or later this week.) I was originally going to start washing the porch furniture, but it was just too cold today, down to 53, according to Yahoo!Weather. We'll try tomorrow.

Work was steady-to-busy. The big 5 Pepsi can 12 pack or 6 pack of bottles for five dollars continues to be a problem. Now we're running out of the original Pepsi and most of the sugared flavors, and not everyone's a fan of diet. We're starting to run out of the bags of Frito-Lays products we were using as substitutes for the original bags, too. They're supposed to be getting more soda tomorrow. I sure hope so.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fickle Spring Weather

The porch was wet when I woke up around quarter after 9 this morning, definitely a sign it rained last night...and good and hard, from all the debris on the porch. By the time I was making chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes for Sunday breakfast, however, it was merely cloudy, windy, and unusually cool for this time of year.

I called Mom after breakfast, as I sipped mint green tea and listened to the Beatles show on WOGL. Mom was fine, other than she, too, was annoyed with the weather. They were in the midst of the showers that had soaked us the night before, and she wasn't thrilled. She'd wanted to work on planting the flowers in the boxes on her back patio. She and Keefe had spent the week working on the yard on and off; "on and off" because the weather had been just as crazy there as it was here. And though she hasn't talked to Rose yet, she did text her. Rose texted her back and said she was feeling better and out of school, but not much else. I really need to call her this week.

(The Beatles show was really good this week too, concentrating on solo Beatles efforts. Among other songs, I heard two of my favorites, John Lennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" and Ringo Starr's "Oh My My.")

Work was steady when I came in, busy for the rest of the day. We'd run out of the right bags of Lays snack-size chips for a $5 for 5 dollars sale on Pepsi soda and Lays' products - for once, they did the right thing and clearly substituted other items that were around the same price, which seemed to work out just fine, as there were no really major problems. (Though they were starting to run out of the substitutes by the time I left...)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Goin' Down

First of all, my Internet's been acting screwy all day. It'll go down for as long as 20 minutes to a half-hour. It did this at exactly this time of year last year, too, according to my blog. If this keeps up, I'll be calling Verizon first thing Monday. I pay enough for their service that this shouldn't happen.

Maybe it's the humidity. It was warm, cloudy, and stick-to-you humid when I got up this morning. I watched the Strawberry Shortcake episode about the girls putting on their own version of Cinderella and had bananas, grapefruit, and shredded wheat for breakfast before heading out on the usual Saturday errand run. I picked up three CDs (two Harry Connick Jr - one is Christmas CD - and one John Mayer) at one yard sale but had no luck at another, and I didn't see any others.

The farm market was packed to the gills, three and four deep at some tables. It took me a while to pick up carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and a green pepper. I was going to get strawberries there, but they cost five bucks a quart! Uh, no. I'd get them at the Acme, where they were on sale.

I tried to get online when I came home, but it kept going off. I ended up working on editing the Monkees role-play instead. Had applesauce, sauteed asparagus, and the last barbecue chicken leg for lunch. Used the chicken leg bones and pieces to make chicken stock.

Work was fast, with a lot of annoying people. We seem to be having a huge sale on crab legs, and seafood sales always bring out a lot of Camden people with chips on their shoulder, for some reason.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finishing the Spring Cleaning

There was a massive thunder storm last night shortly after I posted my blog entry - lighting, sonic booms, raining cats-dogs-and-chickens, the whole works. Thankfully, the last of it was long gone by the time I finally got up this morning. The Acme was the first stop. I picked up my paycheck and did some grocery shopping, mostly yogurt, fruit, and restocking my whole wheat and unbleached flour. The Acme was steady when I came in, a little busy but not too bad.

Went straight home after that and unpacked the groceries. I ate spinach and the last of the crab salad for lunch, then went on my second errand run of the day, this time to the bank. The bank was dead as a doornail, and I was in and out in less than five minutes. This wasn't surprising. By this time, the sun was out in full force, and it was hot and a little bit humid. I walked down to WaWa to treat myself to a soda fountain Coke Zero with cherry and vanilla syrups, then headed over to Doria's Deli for turkey meat and dark brown sugar, then went home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent finishing the cleaning and reading The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril. I swept the porch. The fuzzies are gone, but there was a lot of other small leaves and debris leftover from last night. I'm hoping keeping the porch largely debris-free will help keep the ants at bay somewhat. I then made my bed, vacuumed, washed the windows, and dusted.

Had a wonderful dinner of cold barbecue chicken leg, sauteed asparagus, and mashed sweet potatoes before going online.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Helping Out

Awoke to the second unannounced spring shower in less than a week. Mother Nature's really getting a work-out. It lasted longer than the one on Tuesday, but not long enough to impede my errands today. By the time I rode over to the Friends In Deed Thrift Shop in Collingswood, the rain was long gone. It remained cloudy and windy but warmer than the last time we had a cloudy day, and the wind felt really nice.

Erica called last night and asked me if I wanted to help her sort through six boxes of a late aunt's clothes. I told her I would. My only plans today were to volunteer at the library. We ended up keeping about half the clothes. There were some lovely blouses, a nice denim jacket with a flower-and-bead design, and several nylon lace nightgowns that looked like they were never used. We did toss a lot of pilled sweaters and stretched out and stained sweatpants and sweatshirts and several blouses with stains on them. I spent another half-hour after that clearing the racks of any clothes that weren't in good shape - stained, pilled, or full of holes - before I headed out for lunch.

It had supposedly rained while I was in the thrift shop, but I hadn't seen it. The weather remained windy and relatively warm. I wasn't sure where to go for lunch. I didn't want fast-food, and I didn't want to double back to Saladworks, just in case the weather got worse than clouds. I rode down Haddon Avenue and finally ended up at a small bagel shop in Westmont, two blocks from the Walgreens. I had a tasty turkey club sandwich on a whole wheat bagel. Made a quick stop at Walgreens to see if they had any different WebKinz; nothing interesting.

Headed for the Haddon Township Library today. Not much to do there. There weren't even any books to put away. I put away DVDs and organized the adult DVDs to make sure all the letters were in the right slots. Though I still have two books I haven't read, I ended up taking out a book on good eating habits called Body Clutter and another mystery, the newest Maisie Dobbs book An Incomplete Revenge.

Had a nice ride home across the length of Newton River Park, then spent the rest of the evening baking and watching the first X-Man movie. Lauren gave me a great recipe for applesauce cake that had apparently been in her family for years, and I thought I'd try slimming it down. I don't think I cut quite enough sugar out. Even with 3/4 cup sugar instead of the full cup and more molasses, it's still too sweet. I was more successful substituting 4 tablespoons of Smart Balance Butter Blend and low-fat buttermilk for the original 1 stick of butter and adding mashed bananas and chopped apples to the applesauce. It came out dark and too sweet, but very moist and flavorful.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Balancing Chores and Play

Did my yoga class today. It was the fullest class I'd seen in ages, sixteen people including the teacher, Jill. The gorgeous, sunny-and-mid-60s weather must have brought everyone out. I did what I could with the twisting and balancing exercises, but I sometimes feel so frustrated that I can't do better after a year. And after class, most of the women started talking about their children and jobs again. One was pregnant, and Jill's definitely showing now...and I felt left out. I left as quickly as I could, grabbing milk from WaWa on the way home.

I used the last of the canned crabmeat to make crab salad for lunch. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup mayo and 3/4 cup sour cream. I substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream (which I don't like anyway) and light mayo for regular mayo and cut the mayo down to 3 tablespoons. I also added chopped onion along with the original celery to give it a little zing and replace the hot sauce that I really don't like. It was a very tasty lunch on a bed of spinach, with a Honey Yogurt Muffin to add some fiber.

After lunch, I finally scrubbed the indoor trash and recycling canisters. They needed to be done rather badly. The trash can was starting to smell. I was going to do it Monday, but put it off due to the cold that day. I use the hose under my porch to wash the canisters. Easier than hauling water downstairs.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on my budget and other stuff on my computer before heading off to work. Work was steady for most of the night, but other than when I left (I was almost late getting out, thanks to a long line and no relief), there were no problems.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vacation Plans

Oh, and I just remembered - I got my Amtrak tickets today. I will definately be on vacation between August 11th and August 18th. Lauren still has that extra laptop, so I should be able to post as I did last year.
Into One's Life, A Very Small Shower Must Fall

I slept in this morning and didn't eat breakfast until almost 10:30. I'd spent a lot of the morning reading A Hole In Juan and just enjoying being able to lay in bed and do nothing but read and write in my journal. It was sunny initially, but clouds began to gather as I rounded up my laundry basket. By the time I made my way over to Dad's for this week's laundry session, a sudden spring shower was falling.

The shower had been unexpected and very sudden; even local weather stations hadn't predicted it, according to Dad. It also disappeared as soon as it arrived. The sun was peeking through the clouds even as I walked to Dad's. By the time I'd put the laundry in the washer, it was gone and the sky was as blue as ever. The clouds never truly disappeared, though. They were in and out all day.

I went for a short walk around the neighborhood after transferring the laundry to the dryer. Made a brief stop at the Oaklyn Library, but didn't take anything out. It was fairly quiet at Dad's house. He was cleaning out the pool, working on the small rock waterfalls and watering the plants. Dad doesn't usually open the pool this early, but he's hoping to use it for Jessa's graduation on May 30th. He was the only one at home. Jessa was at school, Jodie at work, and Uncle Ken and Dolores still in Florida.

It was much nicer when I finally got home. I put my laundry away, ate a very quick lunch, and went back out again, this time to Newton River Park. I hiked around the winding paths near the river, watching children play in the playgrounds, teenagers chat with their friends, people walk their dogs, mothers push their toddlers in strollers, and joggers huff by. It was a really lovely day for a walk by then, sunny and warmer, but with a cool breeze and several fat, puffy clouds remaining from the earlier rainfall. I walked for an hour before my legs started to feel a little tired and I finally made my way home.

The rest of the afternoon was passed quietly at home, finishing A Hole In Juan, eating spinach, whole wheat pasta, and leftover chicken legs, and listening to episodes of the old-time radio show The Shadow. I have so missed being able to listen to my radio cassettes. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ants' Story

I slept in this morning and had a late breakfast, then cleaned the kitchen. The sink wasn't too bad, but there's a film of dust from the trees outside all over the house, and I've had ants. I sprayed around the sink, along the wall where the windows and front door is, around the walls in the bathroom, and under the windows in my bedroom. It didn't seem to help; I saw two more ants on the living room table tonight. I'll do some more spraying in the morning.

After I finished the kitchen, I had lunch and decided to make more muffins. This time, I settled on a simple recipe from one of my British baking books, Yogurt Honey Muffins. They're low-fat, too, using only half of a stick of butter (I used one of the Smart Balance Blend sticks) and plain yogurt, with honey for sweetener. They weren't very lemony - I think I should have used more lemon juice - but they smelled wonderful baking and tasted a bit like soft graham crackers.

Work was steady-to-busy, and there were quite a few annoying people tonight. I hate working late. I had one of those ridiculous old ladies who asks you every five seconds what something costs and holds up the line. Um, there's huge signs all over the store about that cereal sale. Were her eyes really that bad?

The weather did not help. It was cloudy and cool for most of the day. It looked like it got sunny around 5-6PM, but it appeared to be cloudy again when I rode home at 9.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Day for Mamas

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers (including those whose "kids" are four-legged). I started off my Mother's Day with Pecan-Molasses Pancakes and a call to my own mother. Mom was fine when I got a hold of her. Keefe was still recovering from being sick and hurting his foot. Dad was getting ready to go on a motorcycle ride. She was watering the plants, including one Rose sent her for Mother's Day. (She liked my card, too.) She's worried about Dad and the Cape May fishing fleet. The boat that went down off the coast of Cape May last month has been constantly in the papers since then. Mom's afraid the media blitz will result in more and damaging regulations for the commercial fishermen.

After my chat with Mom, I listened to the Beatles show on WOGL ("The Beatles and Other British Invasion Bands" was the theme today), washed the dishes, and did some reading, then headed to work. Work was steady but not insanely busy, surprisingly for a holiday and a gorgeous day in general. It was cooler than yesterday but not too much for this time of the year, sunny, and really windy. I had a great ride to and from work. Other than my relief was slightly late, there were no problems.

Did some baking after I came home. My cookie jar was running low again, so I tried another cookie recipe from the light desserts cookbook I took out of the Haddon Township Library, this one for chocolate chip cookies. Yum. They came out incredibly well, even with half the sugar and butter of most chocolate chip cookie recipes. I think they might be the best chocolate chip cookies I ever made. They are so perfectly soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. Beats the heck out of Chips Ahoy any day.

It was such a nice day, I decided to go for a quick walk after the cookies were done. I strolled down Manor Avenue, past West Clinton, and over to Kendall Boulevard and the neighborhood behind the school. It was fairly quiet, for a lovely spring evening. There were a few people clustered around Leo's Yum-Yums, and I saw some kids out riding around, but I figured most people were barbecuing in their backyards, working on an elaborate dinner for Mom, or taking their mothers out to eat.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Flea Markets and Yard Sales

Began a drop-dead gorgeous May Saturday with Strawberry Shortcake and the last of the banana muffins. In a continuation of last week's spooky theme, Huckleberry Pie dares Strawberry and her friends to hike with him in the Briar Patch. The kids find a scary old house at the end of the patch and think they see someone...or something...inside. They're so scared by the house, the growing darkness, and their own imaginations, they end up running home. Honey Pie Pony's stories of a "Blueberry Beast" who lives in the thicket is no help. Strawberry finally decides to confront this "beast" and find out of Honey Pie's story is true...and learns a lesson in "appearances can be deceiving" when it turns out the house's occupant is nothing to be afraid of.

Watched the first half of Care Bears while getting ready to head out for this week's farm market ride. Poor Oopsy just seems to be bad luck for Grumpy Bear as they and the other Care-A-Lot residents prepare for a big race. Good Luck Bear (his first appearance on the show) gives Oopsy a four-leaf clover to make him feel better, but it turns out there is one thing Oopsy can do without being a klutz - win a race!

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the sky was a brilliant blue when I finally made my way out for this week's farm market run. For once, I found more at yard sales than at the Farm Market. The Oaklyn Library held their big Flea Market on the block near the library where the community pool is, and since I had to return the DVDs anyway, they were my first stop. There were tables selling yard-sale trinkets and toys, boxes and shelves of book-sale books from the library, flower-sellers with pots of geraniums and petunias for Mother's Day, and someone selling soft pretzels. I found a soft little Bedtime Bear made from fuzzy, plush pale blue fabric at one of the toy tables.

For once, I had better luck at the yard sales than at the Farm Market. Perhaps making up for last week, there were a ton of them, in Collingswood and Oaklyn. A yard sale in Oaklyn near Dad and Uncle Ken's house yielded two Pokemon Beanies I didn't have, Charizard and Raichu, the "adult" evolutions of Charmander and Pikachu respectively. I got lemonade and a video for the Disney animated series Quack Pack at a large yard sale across from Newton River Park in Collingswood. Picked up several records from two sales in Collingswood near the Farm Market, including Billy Joel, Jim Croce, and two from the Moody Blues.

Didn't get nearly as much at the Farm Market. Though it was still busy by the time I finally made it down there, there wasn't much left. No carrots at all. I just bought mushrooms and asparagus and headed on my way. Stopped at a few more yard sales, but didn't buy anything else. Spent the rest of the afternoon working on a few things on the computer.

Work was pretty busy tonight. Not surprising, given that tomorrow is Mother's Day. Other than my relief was late, there were no problems, and the weather had seemed to put most people in a fairly good mood.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sunshine Balance

I awoke to sunlight streaming through my windows for the first time in almost a week. The sky was blue and the breeze was mild. Perfect day for heading to yoga class. Despite the nice weather, the class was fairly small, seven people including the teacher Micki. We did a lot of work on balancing today. I'm better at it than I used to be, but I'm not agile enough to stretch my leg all the way or pull it back and grab my ankle.

Made a very quick stop at the Collingswood WaWa for milk (a half-gallon of skim milk is still cheaper there than at the Acme) after class, then rode home.

Spent a couple of hours watching Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and eating Crab and Asparagus Pie and an apple for lunch. Prince Caspian is the follow-up, both in the book series and movies, to Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This movie isn't quite as faithful to the book as the first. Prince Caspian is much older (if memory serves me correctly, he's a kid in the books) and flirts with Susan, the eldest girl, and the war and battle scenes are elaborated on. I didn't have much problem with the action sequences, which I thought were quite well-staged (the defense of the temple was a stunner), but the age thing just seemed silly and injected purely for the teen girl market.

I ran a few errands at Wal-Mart and the Acme after lunch. I was in Wal-Mart for contact lens solution and was in and out. Just as well. It was busy as heck. The Acme was better. The lines weren't too bad, and I didn't need much anyway. Got grapefruit, bananas, yogurt, granola bars I had a coupon for, chicken breasts, cubed steaks, and Smart Balance Butter Blend (also with a coupon).

After I got home and put everything away, I went back out again, this time on foot to the bank. It was such a nice day by then. The sky was blue, the wind was still nice, and the sun felt wonderful after nearly a week of rain. Not surprisingly, many people were outside, tending to overgrown lawns, cleaning out their cars, or taking their children or dogs for a walk. It was so nice, I headed down the street to the Oaklyn WaWa when I left the bank and treated myself to a Raspberry-Chocolate Coke Zero from the soda fountain with the flavored syrups.

Grabbed my broom and swept the porch when I got back. I've been wanting to do that for weeks, but it's either been too wet, too cold, or I've been too busy. The porch looked HORRIBLE, covered with bits of new leaves and tons of fuzzy seed pods. I normally wait until the "fuzzies" finish coming down to sweep the porch, but it looked so grubby, it had to be done. I think it may be attracting ants, too.

The rest of the afternoon was passed quietly, working on editing the Monkees role-play, making baked barbecue chicken legs, honey-glazed carrots with pecans, and spinach-radish salad for dinner, and watching Alice Adams. Though this tale of a social-climbing young woman who pushes her father for a better job when a local rich boy notices was written as a comedy, it plays more like drama today. Katherine Hepburn as the silly daughter and Fred Stone as her sweet father are the stand-outs amid the dated and rather melodramatic surroundings. (The whole thing was at least somewhat plausible up through the whole deal with the father's glue factory.)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Tale of Miss Redmer and the Rainy Day

Watched Miss Potter this morning while I had a quick breakfast of banana muffins and a half of a grapefruit. The "Miss Potter" in question is famous children's book author Beatrix Potter, she of "Peter Rabbit" and "Jemima Puddle-duck" fame. Sweet-natured but sensible, Beatrix scandalizes her upper-crust Victorian English family by refusing to marry in her 30s...and then becoming a published author. She falls for the handsome young publisher who pushes for her books, but tragedy leads her to return to the English countryside she loves.

This was quite charming, with a lovely performance by Rene Zellweger as Potter, but way too short and a bit disjointed. I would have preferred to see more of Beatrix and her "friends," her animated drawings and stories, and telling her stories to those she loved, and less of her love life. The story is at it's best in the beginning, when Beatrix is first being published and we see how books were made in the Victorian era, and less when she retreats to the country and becomes involved in preserving her beloved farmland.

Miss Potter ended just in time for me to leave for counseling, my first session since early March. Scott and I discussed my recent up-and-down hours at work, my battle with my weight, and my upcoming vacation, but we mostly discussed my job options. As much as I love baking, it's really more of a hobby. Trouble is, I can't leave the Acme until I can find something else, especially given what the current job market's like. I'm just not sure if I CAN find something else. It's been seven years since I've worked another job, and the job market wasn't nearly as bad. If I couldn't find something when jobs were will I ever find something when they aren't?

The weather had been cloudy and muggy all morning, but it hadn't rained. The clouds started to grow heavier as I sat down to two slices of vegetable and cheese pizza at Cafe Antonio II. By the time I rode out to the library, fat drops were falling rather heavily. It thundered on my way there, but not nearly as bad as the noisy storm we had last night.

The library wasn't too busy when I arrived, rather surprising considering the weather. The children's books were literally overflowing on the return racks, so I spent the hour and a half I was there doing those. I just took out a Strawberry Shortcake DVD I hadn't seen this time. I took out enough books last week. It was still raining pretty good when I got out, but I didn't feel like waiting all afternoon for it to stop, so I just rode home in the rain and got wet. And of course, the sun came out an hour or so after I came home.

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Big Adventures and messing around online. In the first story, Strawberry and her buddies Angel Cake, Ginger Snap, and Orange Blossom hit the road to visit their pal Tangerina Torta and see a special flower that only opens once a year. Peppermint Fizz joins Strawberry for a much longer trip in the second story, a take on Around the World In 80 Days. A bragging Ginger Snap bets the Peculiar Purple Pie Man that Strawberry can't get around the world in 80 days. Strawberry takes him up on the offer and, with the help of a pessimistic Peppermint Fizz and several of the international characters, proves that nothing is impossible if you stay optimistic and work on a way around obstacles.

Wish I could say the same. Looks like I'm going to have to go to the dentist and stop putting off that root canal whether I want to or not. I chipped a tooth while eating a turkey burger and steamed asparagus dinner. Guess I didn't clean the spinach as well as I thought. And of course, it's the tooth that needs the root canal and had to be fixed last year.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Spring Rain and Summer Plans

Spent this morning cleaning the bathroom. I'm going to do the bathroom today and the kitchen tomorrow and Friday, but hold off on the rest of the house until after the dust settles from pollen season. It'll all just get green again anyway. It was cloudy all morning, not rainy at all, so I took my bike to work.

Work was steady but much quieter than the past few days. People are still annoying, though. I really wish they'd learn to read signs.

There was a good, steady shower going when I got out. I still rode home. I didn't really feel like calling for a ride, and I needed the exercise.

Oh yeah, Lauren and I have decided when we're going on vacation this year. I'll be in New England between August 11th and 18th. I just ordered my train tickets tonight. Yes, I decided to take Amtrak this year, instead of the bus. It's cheaper, quicker, and a lot less hassle. No traffic, no Port Authority (the New York train leaves from Penn Station), and probably room to stretch and move about for five hours, instead of sitting for most of the day.

Oh, and we finished this month's Monkees role play last night. Just as well - she has a lot going on this weekend and won't be around for most of it. Look for it sometime this week or during the weekend.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Rain Fiesta

Yes, the rain still continues. It wasn't bad this morning, when I went to do my laundry and run a few small errands around the neighborhood. Actually, it didn't really rain at all this morning, but it was still cloudy, damp, and cool. I read Five Little Peppers...and How They Grew and listened to Dad play guitar. He's self-taught, and really quite good. Right now, he's working on the 70s soft rock hit "The Last Time I Felt Like This." His house was cozily quiet. Jessa was at school, Jodie at work, and Uncle Ken and Dolores are still in Florida.

I made the usual quick rounds to CVS (got Mom's Mother's Day card) and the Oaklyn Library (took out Miss Potter, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and Alice Adams, then headed back to Dad's and grabbed my laundry load. Watched the feature-length Donald Duck vehicle The Three Caballeros in honor of Cinco Del Mayo; I'd run Saludos Amigos during breakfast. The plot of both is basically "Donald Duck learns about Latin and South American culture." Donald is in only two of several shorts strung together for Amigos, where the focus is entirely on South America. The more inspired Caballeros takes us as far south as Antarctica and as far north as Mexico, with stops in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and the Andes Mountains in between. Caballeros sports some great live-action/animation footage, including the insanely surreal finale, with Donald dancing with Mexican beauties and waving cacti. The films also introduce Disney south-of-the-border stars Jose Carioca, Panchito the Rooster, and the nutty Aracuan Bird.

Work was pretty much a repeat of yesterday - very busy for a Tuesday, with lots of cranky customers. Cranky employees, too. The older cashier behind me usually works early in the morning, but he had a very rare night shift tonight, and complained about it all night...and he always yammers on to every customer in his line. It got annoying after a while.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Rain, the Pie, and Other Things

I slept in and didn't get much done today. Had a quick, late breakfast and did some baking. I tried a recipe from my Breakfast and Brunch cookbook for a Crab-Asparagus Pie that's really more of a crust-less quiche. I'd been wanting to use the can of crab meat Dad gave me when I was visiting Erma on my birthday for a while now, and this looked easy and tasty. (I'd actually wanted to make it last night, but then I was asked out to dinner.) You layer crab, asparagus, and originally onion, but I used leeks, then layer cheese and pepper. The last layer is flour, butter, salt, baking powder, and milk. Bake for a half-hour, and voila! Instant quiche without all that messy crust. It was delicious.

Not that I would have been able to do much besides bake anyway. The steady rain we've had on and off for the last few days continued. It slowed down enough that I was able to ride my bike to and from work, but it's showering again as I speak. As for work, it was slightly less busy than yesterday, which is to say, the lines weren't all the way down the aisles. Rush hour was the worst, and it didn't help that the rain and the beginning of the month had put a couple of people in foul moods (not to mention us being out of the Poland Spring Water 24 pack that's on a big sale this week).
Busy, Busy

Sorry I took so long to post, folks. It's been a long day. I tried calling Mom this morning, but she'd been up late at Lower Cape May Regional's Post-Prom Party and was beat. I finally got a hold of her this evening. She'd had a good time at the party, but even with Keefe babysitting at Anny's, she hadn't been able to sleep. Not a whole lot going on with her; she spent the week on her own as Dad had been out fishing and Keefe helping with the prom.

I also found out why I haven't heard from Rose in a while. Apparently, she's been very sick, she's barely done anything, including work out. I think I'll give her another week to recover before I ask about yoga again.

Work was pure chaos today. Between bad weather, big sales, and tons of stuff going on (communions, confirmations, birthdays, some college graduations), we had lines out the aisles for most of the afternoon. It rained for most of the morning and well into the afternoon. Dad drove me to and from work.

I saw Jodie at work, and she invited me over for a chicken dinner. It was just Dad, Jodie, Jess, and me. Uncle Ken and Dolores went to Ft. Lauderdale. We ate chicken, salad, Brussels sprouts, carrots, hot rolls, and rice, and watched X-Men 2 on FX. Jess told me she's going to attend the University of Arts in Philadelphia this fall and will be living on-campus.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Son of Return of the Farm Market

Began this morning with the usual cereal and Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry and her friends want to enjoy the last of the warm fall weather before the cold sets in, so they decide to go on a camp-out. Huckleberry Pie is thrilled. Ginger Snap, not so much. She's so afraid of the dark, she packs every flashlight she can get her hands on and even builds a light-making machine! Strawberry and the gang try to prove to her that the dark isn't as scary as she thinks, but when they all get lost in the woods, it's Ginger Snap who teaches them a thing or two about there being nothing to fear but fear itself...and overactive imaginations.

I skipped Care Bears in favor of getting an early on today's errands. The earlier, the better. The weather did NOT look good. It was raining pretty hard when I got out of bed, but by the time I headed for the bank, the rain was at least on hold. The bank was surprisingly empty, but I did get there fairly early.

My next stop was the opening day of the Collingswood Farm Market. I was so glad to see all the usual booths again! The bakery with the great bread was gone, but most everything else was there. I picked up celery, honey, plum butter, radishes, spinach, asparagus, Colby cheese, garlic, leeks, and an onion. I made a quick stop at the thrift shop to say "hi" to Erica, then headed out again.

It started raining again while I was at the Farm Market, but by the time I left the thrift shop, it had slowed down again. That was fine by me. I rain into several yard sales on my way to Collingswood. Turns out they were having a huge city-wide yard sale day. Every other house was having a yard sale of some sort. It ended up being rather disappointing. Most of the goods for sale were little trinket items. No good books, toys, CDs, videos, or cassettes. I picked up Johnny Mathis and Moody Blues records, and that was it.

It started showering again around the time I picked up the records. Since I wasn't having any luck with yard sales anyway, I just headed back to Oaklyn. I made a quick stop at the Oaklyn Library first. I didn't take out any DVDs today, but I did walk out with a couple of free comic books. This is apparently Free Comic Books Day. I grabbed Disney's Cars, a Star Wars: Clone Wars title, and two X-Men comics, one from 1981. (I recognized the ads - they looked a bit like the ones in my 1983 Return of the Jedi Marvel comic book.)

It was raining yet again when I finally dripped back home. Since it was still pretty early, I decided to hang around for an hour or so and see if the weather changed. If it stopped raining by around 1PM, I'd go back out for a random bike ride. If the off-and-on rain continued, I'd just hang around the house.

The rain stopped shortly after I arrived home. It was still cloudy but dry by the time I finished lunch, so I headed back out. I mostly just rode around Audubon, Oaklyn, and Haddon Heights. I stopped at Desserts By Design to praise her work on my chocolate birthday cake and bought one of her massive chocolate chip cookies. I then went down the street to Abbie Road. Said "hi" to Bob and bought the live Eagles CD Hell Freezes Over. I used to have that on cassette, but that tape snapped at least three or four years ago. It was a favorite of mine, and I've missed it.

The rest of the day was less exciting. I stopped at several more favorite stores. Didn't pick up anything at Willie the Woodsman and Wife or Act Two Collectibles. Rode down to Haddon Heights, but didn't stop anywhere. I did stop at the CVS on King's Highway and picked up brush pick refills, which they don't have at the Acme. Rode back down the White Horse Pike and browsed at the comic book shop and House of Fun in Oaklyn. Got more freebie comics at the comics store but nothing else (and was glad to see as many women as men in there for once; I didn't feel so out of place).

Despite the fact that the weather was behaving, I still didn't trust it, so I just rode home and spent the rest of the afternoon reading mysteries and comics and baking Cocoa Angel Food Cake. Had a lovely dinner of turkey burger, braised carrots, and a delicious salad with fresh farm market radishes, spinach, and radish greens.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Quick Balance

Did Yogawood today. It was a medium-sized class, about eleven women counting the teacher, Micki. We mostly did some stretching and balancing moves. I like the Warrior poses. They not only really do give you a feeling of grace, but they're not that hard to do. (Maybe because they don't involve waving your arms around or trying to put them on your back or something.)

I just had the time to rush home and get ready for work...and I barely had the time for even that, as it turned out. Sharon had called while I was in class and asked me to come in early. I went in as early as I could - I still had to eat lunch, pack a snack, get my bags together to go grocery shopping later, change into my uniform, and pick up my paycheck when I got to work.

I really wish I hadn't hurried. Work was two kinds of pains in the rear. First of all, it's the beginning of the month, which always brings all kinds of fun people out of the woodwork. (Customer Service was swamped all day. I'm glad I got my paycheck when I did.) Second, we're having a huge sale this week using coupons that aren't working right at all. Third, we had to wipe anything on the register people touched reguarly down every two hours with disinfecting wet wipes due to the swine flu thing going on. I'm glad it wasn't any busier than on-and-off steady.

Thankfully, I didn't have much shopping to do after work, either. I just picked up a couple of things I wouldn't be getting at the farm market tomorrow, like canned low-fat, low-salt beef broth, Acme's generic plain shredded wheat cereal, Yoplait light yogurt (they're on sale this week), and peanut butter.