Monday, February 28, 2011

Sleepytime Gal

I must have really been sick last night. I didn't get up until past 10 this morning! The first thing I did when I got up was take my temperature. My new digital thermometer read 97.1 when I pulled it out of my mouth. Much better.

And I do feel better. I still have congestion and a mild headache, but the worst thing now is a really awful sore throat. My head isn't burning up like it was, though, and I don't feel nauseous or too cold.

Needless to say, I didn't really do much today. It was almost lunchtime before I even got to breakfast! I did work on editing some of the Bowery Boys stories Lauren and I have written in the past month. Look for them later this week!

I took a DayQuil and felt well enough to handle work. Alas, my computer editing took me longer than I planned. I ended up having to rush my black bean soup lunch, toss my dinner together, throw on my uniform shirt, and rush out into the pouring rain. There wasn't time to ask for a ride. I went to work and got wet.

Work was steady when I got in, on-and-off later. I have the feeling that the only reason we're busy is because of the beginning of the month. Unless you're a big partier and need your green beer on St. Patrick's Day, March is neither a huge month for sports nor for holidays.

It was raining hard again when I went home. I just got wet again. I hate asking for rides.

I'm going to have to do the laundry tomorrow whether my head is up to it or not. I can't put it off anymore.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Kids Aren't All Right

I slept fitfully last night. My eyes originally opened at 6:30...and I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep until 9:30. I still didn't feel much better. The coughing had been replaced by a heavily congested head and nose. My nose was running like crazy.

Needless to say, I didn't do much today. In fact, I mostly watched movies and cartoons. Did Garfield: His 9 Lives while making French Toast for breakfast. This is a true oddity, a series of shorts revolving around how Garfield might have lived in a previous life (and needless to say, how he's living in this one). My favorite by far of these is the touching watercolor short "Diana's Piano," about a cat devoted to her mistress and her music.

In honor of tonight's Oscars, the first movie I ran after breakfast was For Your Consideration. Christopher Guest's usual crew spoofs Oscar buzz in the tale of a small independant melodrama, Home For Purim, whose cast members hear talk of possible Oscars for them. How will they handle suddenly being in the spotlight?

This is actually my first encounter with Guest's world; I've never even seen This Is Spinal Tap. I have the feeling some of the "Hollywood insider" jokes may have gone over my head. I didn't find this to be that hilarious. It was, however, a fairly accurate take on small-time moviemaking that suddenly finds itself going big time in a huge way.

I stayed in Southern California and moved to another ensemble comedy, Fast Times At Ridgemont High. More or less the same idea...only this time, we're looking at one year in the life of a typical California high school. One young teenager is experimenting with sex for the first time. Her dorky science classmate and a slick fellow student try to win her. Her best friend gives advice but waits for her fiancee. Her older brother runs through an increasingly frustrating series of hash-house jobs. Meanwhile, Spicoli, the nuttiest surfer dude in school, wages an ongoing war with a strict history teacher.

Jennifer Jason Leigh as the budding young lass and Sean Penn as Spicoli are the standouts here, as is the surprisingly insightful script by Cameron Crowe. (Apparently, Crowe spent a year undercover as a student in a real California high school, so he has some idea of the territory.) Other familiar faces to look for include Judge Reinhold (as the older brother who thinks he has it all), Phoebe Cates (as Leigh's best friend), Anthony Edwards (as one of Penn's party-hearty buddies), and Forest Whittaker (as a football player who takes his anger out on the opposing team when Spinelli damages his beloved car).

Called Mom during For Your Consideration; got Keefe first. He seems to be fine. He was just about to go over to my sister's to babysit. Mom didn't have much time to talk when she finally got on. She was cleaning out her car. I told her about my cold. She suggested DayQuil and aspirin.

Made my first granola bars during Fast Times. I threw together applesauce, two eggs, 2/3 of a cup whole wheat flour, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, coconut, and chocolate chips. The recipe originally called for honey and raw cane sugar, but I forgot both...and the bars may be better for it. They came out chewy and just sweet enough.

Fast Times ended just as I was hurrying out the door. I probably shouldn't have gone to work, but I can't afford to call out, and I needed DayQuil, a new thermometer, and herbal tea.

Thankfully, it was very nice outside, probably in the 50s with no wind. We were busy all day. There were many large orders, some well over 500 and 600 dollars. A trio of men with two full carts and a 600 dollar order said they were working for a tugboat and needed to stock up for a trip; that, I can understand. My stepfather does that before the boat he works for goes out. I wonder about everyone else, though. It's not like we were snowed in last week. Maybe a lot of people just put off shopping?

Work did go quickly, and I was done before I knew it. I grabbed that thermometer, DayQuil, and tea as soon as I finished (along with stocking up on Polaner's fruit spread), then rode right home.

My new digital thermometer worked very well...maybe too well. I had a temperature of 100.1! I did it a second time and got 99.5, still fairly high but not as bad. I really hope I feel better tomorrow. I do NOT want to have to call out.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cold and Flu Season

The day started out sunny and perfect for this time of the year, about 40 degrees and no wind. I slept in again, then had Shredded Wheat n' Bran, skim milk, strawberries, and half of a grapefruit for breakfast.

After breakfast, I realized something embarrassing. I had put off and put off sending my Verizon bill...and it's due Monday. I finally decided to do what I should have done ages ago - restart my "My Verizon" account and pay online. I already pay the Nelnet college payments bill online. I've resisted because I never trusted giving anyone my accounts, but now that I've shopped online for several years, I find that it's far more convenient. I'm less likely to put it off when the way to pay is right in front of me instead of laying on the dresser in the living room. And it's better for the environment, too!

I walked to the bank next. I got really lucky. It was 12:55 when I got to the bank. I thought they closed at noon on Saturdays...but it turns out they close at 1. I just got in, deposited my paycheck, and headed back out to enjoy the lovely day.

I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn't felt so gosh-darn tired. By the time I got home, I was coughing like crazy. My chest felt congested, and my head pounded. I had an omelet with winter vegetables and no cheese and collard greens sauteed in soy sauce and broth for lunch. Before I left for work, I took some cold medicine in the hope of at least feeling a little better.

It didn't really work. I felt tired, cold, and congested all night, despite spending half the evening sucking cough drops. This was not helped by a large crowd and the fact that we were supposed to be pushing a new brand of soda Canada Dry just put out, a Mountain Dew-esque flavor called Sun Drop. (Cute name, by the way.) There was a big free soda with coupon promotion all day.

By the time I finished at 7:30, I was ready to drop. Thank goodness it was dead by then, and the only thing I needed after work was a good bottle of vanilla extract. (With all the baking I do, I might as well get the superior stuff.) My ride home was a bit chilly, but windless and easy.

I'm still not feeling right. I have cough drops and a bottle of water by my desk. I hope a good night's sleep with make things right again.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spring Comes Thundering In

I never did get to yoga today. It was pouring cats, dogs, and chickens when I got up this morning. The downpour didn't really end until around 11. I spent the morning reading and doing things online instead.

By 12:30, the rain had taken a temporary leave of absence. I grabbed my coat and went outside...and went right back inside to change into my lighter spring coat. It had to be at least 60 degrees, too warm and much too humid for this time of the year.

I just strolled around the neighborhood. The rain had done it's work. Only a very few small piles of slushy snow remained from this winter's storms. There were signs of spring everywhere. I saw the first green grass in lawns and green shoots in front gardens. When I came home, I looked out at Miss Ellie's garden under my porch and noticed that her daffodils are starting to come up, too.

I was only out from 12:30 until 1...and that was enough. Twenty minutes after I went inside, we got our second heavy storm of the day. This time, it came complete with thunder and lashing wind. I was very happy to be inside, watching Good Eats episodes and making leftover chicken, peas, brown rice, and Brussels sprouts for lunch.

I had great timing with the weather today. The storm ended just in time for me to pack up and head to work. It also cleared out the Acme. Work was so quiet tonight, I spent an hour and a half after my break doing returns, and an hour before it putting candy away.

I didn't have quite as much grocery shopping as I had in the last few weeks to do after I finished. For one thing, now that I'm trying to eat better, I'm no longer buying boxes of granola bars or the smaller containers of yogurt. I bought one big container of plain nonfat yogurt and will mix that with honey or fruit and spoon it into small containers to eat instead. I also decided I wanted to try sparkling mineral water to drink; went with Poland Spring and bought a lemon and lime to squeeze. Winter is the season for citrus and greens; I picked up collard greens, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit, as well as strawberries and broccoli on sale.

I seriously regretted wearing my blue spring jacket to work instead of my black winter coat. It was much colder and windier when I headed home. I had a hard, blustery ride.
New Bowery Boys Fanfics Posted at the Riverside Rest

Finally got around to posting two stories Lauren and I did earlier this month, "Sach's Secret Life" and "Be My Bowery Valentine." Though the latter is obviously late, I still hope you enjoy both!

The Bowery Boys' Basement Clubhouse

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sweet As Honey

I must have really not been feeling well yesterday. Even though I didn't go to bed that late, I slept until 10. By that time, yoga was half-over. Oh well, it was worth it. My head was still a little achy, but otherwise, I felt much better.

Since I was feeling better, I decided to reverse my schedule and volunteer at the Oaklyn Library today instead of the Collingswood Library. It was past 12:30 when I finally got moving. The sky was blah and cloudy, but it was quite warm. Not as warm as last week, but above the norm for late February in southern New Jersey, probably in the lower-mid 50s. Which meant that yes, everything was melting again. The snow on my porch was half-gone when I headed out.

The Oaklyn Library was fairly busy when I came in, mostly with people doing the computers. I worked on organizing the DVDs and the children's books. In fact, I would have stayed longer, but the library closes for the afternoon at quarter of 2.

Went for a stroll on the White Horse Pike next. I bought a pretzel and an unsweetened iced tea with a small squirt of cherry syrup at WaWa. I then hiked to the other end of Oaklyn and stopped at CVS for vitamins and their dishwashing liquid sale.

Since I went past Uncle Ken's on the way home anyway, I decided to stop there and say "hi." Dolores greeted me in her car on her way out to pick up her grandchildren. Dad was working on the computer. He showed me a cool purse his girlfriend Jodie got that is made out of a huge can of Campbell's Soup. (Jodie works for Campbell's headquarters in Camden.) Uncle Ken was watching Rachel Ray.

I thought I'd take the shortcut on the path over the train tracks. Most of the snow was gone from the tracks, and it was smooth sailing...until I got to the route under the trees between the VFW parking lot and the tracks. Someone had piled up dirt and cut down trees, effectively blocking the path! I had to make my way through sticker bushes instead that caught on my hands and jacket.

Spent the rest of the afternoon inside. I discovered when I got in that Mom had sent me a text message. I'm not very good with texting, so I just called her instead. She wanted to know if I had the g, h, and i sized crochet hooks. Yes, I did. They came as part of the pack of hooks I bought last year. Turns out she's sending me piles of her old acrylic yarn for me to use for my dolls and for practice. She's also sending me a big needle to be able to sew the crochet items together and a couple of books of doll clothes patters - sewing and crochet - that she had for years. I used to love paging through those magazines when I was little.

(Actually, part of the reason was I wondered why the Barbie dolls used as models in those magazines and the style of clothing they wore was so different from ours. Turns out the magazines were from the early-mid 70s, and the dolls were the ones that were available then, either the sophisticated heavy-lashed lasses with the bubble cuts or the fresh-faced Malibu Barbies.)

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on editing some of our most recent Bowery Boys role play stories. Look for them tonight or later this weekend.

After that, I made a Honey Cake inspired of an episode of Good Eats that revolved around honey, "Comb Alone." Since the recipe called for orange blossom honey and I had none, I used the organic wildflower honey I had and added vanilla extract. Other than that, the recipe was exactly the same. I overbaked it, but otherwise, it came out very well, moist and just sweet enough.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nuts About Baking

Slept in a bit this morning, then started out the day with a ride to the Haddon Township Library. It was a little warmer today, probably in the upper 30s-lower 40s. That's more like what it should be at this time of year. The front path at Newton River Park wasn't entirely clear. I had to walk over a few patches of crunchy slush-ice. Unlike the icy patches from last month, this ice was brittle and broke easily under my feet. There were lots of people out in the park today. I saw dog-walkers, joggers, and mothers with children in strollers.

Hit the library next. I returned children's books and DVDs, including a pile of non-fiction programs. I felt a little bad, though, when a lot of people asked me questions I couldn't answer. I didn't know where they were keeping the tax books (I did mine online), or how to deal with the printers when they're out of paper.

I enjoyed the Felicity's Cooking Studio book I got from Linda Young for Christmas so much, I decided to look around for other American Girl cookbooks at the library. I'd taken out Samantha's and Kirsten's before and thought I'd try Josefina's. I also took out Knitting and Crocheting for Dummies and four DVDs - Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword, Two Mules For Sister Sara (which I remember seeing on cable as a child), Fast Times At Ridgemont High (one of those iconic 80s movies I just never got around to), and the Christopher Guest comedy For Your Consideration.

My next stop was Super Fresh to get some things to make granola bars, including dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. After that, I went to the Bagel Shop for lunch. Had a roast beef and provolone sandwich on a 9-grain bagel for lunch.

Alas, by lunchtime, my head felt like a swollen balloon. I was stuffed up. My forehead was sore, and my neck ached. I rode home, hoping some fresh air would make me feel better.

I went for a short walk down to Goff Avenue and back, once again hoping the chilly air would do me some good. It didn't. Despite the brisk breeze, my head still felt like it was going to burst. I'm glad I went for the walk, though. The view of the river and ramp from the concrete launch on the end of Goff was spectacular today. The river was almost completely defrosted and very clear. You could see all the way to the Ben Franklin Bridge.

When I got home, my head still didn't feel much better. Oh well. I took some cold medicine and spent the next hour working on Wishcraft exercises. I made a spreadsheet of twenty things I enjoyed doing, when I did them, how much they cost, where I did them, etc. Most of the things I enjoy are free (walking, reading, writing) or only cost a minimal fee (yoga classes, making sure my bike is in good enough shape for the constant riding, browsing in stores).

I thought some baking might clear my head...but I turns out I didn't have the right butter for the Pecan Bars recipe I wanted to make. I improvised my own Peanut-Pecan Bars with pecans, chunky peanut butter, honey-nut-roasted peanuts, whole wheat flour. baking powder, baking soda, honey, brown sugar, and sea salt.

Ran Scooby Doo while doing the bars and making Baked Black Beans and Vegetables for dinner. Scooby and the gang are in Japan, where Daphne is invited to take part in an invitation-only martial arts competition. The martial arts academy where the competition is to take place is run by a princess who lives by Japan's older ways and rues how much technology has changed Japan's culture and eliminated many legends. One of those legends is the Ghost of the Black Samurai. When that ghost seems to come to life, Mystery Inc is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. But there's an even deeper mystery afoot in Japan, where it seems like legends never die...

One of the more interesting of the Scooby Doo movies I've seen. I liked the discussion of Japan's heavy embrace of technology vs. their older, more traditional ways of living. And Shaggy and Scooby made surprisingly good samurai.

And no, my head doesn't feel better, despite the cold medicine. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. If my head still wants to pound, I probably won't be going anywhere.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I've Got the Snow In the Morning and the Moon at Night

Yes, it did snow last night. I think we got about 3-4 inches all together. Not only was it not nearly as much as the last few times, it was fluffy and light and sparkly - spring snow, the kind that looks pretty coming down but doesn't last long. In fact, it was starting to melt even as I headed out the door. It was a lot warmer today than I or the weather reports (including the National Weather Service) thought it would be. I'm guessing it was in the mid-30s, instead of below freezing...which meant everything was melting. Though some of the sidewalks were still covered when I headed to work around quarter of 11, the streets were perfectly clear.

Work was quiet all day long. There was a mild spurt around noon...and then it just died again. First of all, we had several call-outs who were either sick or couldn't shovel their way out in time. Second, I have the feeling my bosses are right and most people did their shopping yesterday.

For once, I had a pleasant experience with WIC Check customers. A lady, her daughter, and her mother were really sweet. They were very understanding when they had to exchange their juices for 100% juice (no cocktails allowed), but otherwise, they had everything right. The daughter bagged without a fuss. The mother was funny. They seemed to like me, too. They said they appreciated my help and would shop there again - they'd just moved to the area. I was glad to help such nice people!

Beyond that, the day was boring. I got very sick very quickly of people complaining about the snow. It wasn't even that cold, and if it was windy, half of that glittery fluff would have been blown to Canada by morning! I really wish people would learn to deal with the weather better.

I, however, had every intention of enjoying the weather. I LIKE living where there's four seasons. Seeing the seasons change and the delights they bring is one of the great joys of life. I didn't even bother going upstairs when I got home. I just left my things in my bike basket and went for a walk in the park next-door.

It was like looking at the window of Tiffany's or a fresh, pure white linen sheet that was just laid down on a bed. It was breathtaking. There was barely a mark in the soft, translucent glitter that lay before me. I tramped through it, then rolled down the hill, like I did last month when it snowed, and made a snow angel. The snow was too fluffy for snowmen or snowballs, but I did toss some snow in the air to catch a passing breeze. It sparkled and twinkled in the late afternoon sun.

When I got in, I worked on the first couple of Wishcraft exercises. These mostly dealt with who you think you are, the things you loved in childhood, and what you want now. I did these when I took the book out last June, but my answers have changed so much since then, I decided to redo them.

The biggest change is that I no longer want a family. I want to be around people, yes, and even kids...but I don't want to raise them. I've seen my mother, sisters, and cousins raise children, and while I like kids, I don't think I want that kind of responsibility. Yes, I'd like to be part of a group...but I enjoy my space, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No Business Like Snow Business

Started the morning with grits with bananas and a grapefruit for breakfast. I ran the beginning of Annie Get Your Gun while I was doing the dishes. Annie is the 1950 adaptation of the hit Broadway show. Judy Garland was originally supposed to have played the title role. She filmed two numbers, but ultimately dropped out due to her many problems at the time. Betty Hutton took over playing Annie Oakley, the female sharp-shooter with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Shooter who charms everyone...including Indian chief Sitting Bull, who adopts her into his tribe, and bullheaded fellow marksman Frank Butler.

I love Irving Berlin's score for this one (yes, even the non-PC "I'm an Indian Too"), but the book hasn't dated that well. Still, if you can get around some of the comic treatment of Indians and smart ladies, there's a lot of really nice numbers here. My favorite - Annie and Frank come face-to-face (and high heel-to-rear) in the hilarious "Anything You Can Do."

Also included are the two sequences Judy Garland filmed before she dropped out, "Doin' What Comes Naturally" and "I'm An Indian Too." "Naturally" is genuinely charming. Garland has a lot of fun with the kids, and it's warmer and less pushy than Hutton's version. Garland, however, didn't seem to be up to the rigors of "Indian Too" - she's noticeably weary throughout the number.

Headed for the laundromat after breakfast. Thanks to those three days off last week, I only had one work uniform to wash and half the laundry I usually had to do. Good thing, too. Probably thanks to the holiday and the weather, the laundromat was very busy. I saw three older women, two men, three college students, and two couples with tons of laundry. Thankfully, I was able to get a washer and dryer without waiting.

Inspired by the tips in the Younger By the Day book I've been reading, I decided it was time to do something I haven't done in years. I cleared out my makeup and hair accessories. Most of my clips and scrunchies belonged to my mother or have been around for years. I rarely wear makeup, which means I replace it even less often. Some of my makeup has been around since I lived in Wildwood, and possibly longer. Anything that was stretched out or I knew had to be way past its expiration date was thrown away. Scratched clips were tossed. I really need new clips, and at least a new lipstick wouldn't hurt, either.

I had leftover teryiaki chicken cutlets with broccoli slaw and peas and brown rice for lunch while watching more of Annie. After lunch, I changed into my work uniform, packed dinner, and headed for the Acme.

It was sunny this morning, but the morning sun gave way to pearly gray clouds and wind this afternoon. Everyone fussed about snow and how cold it's gotten. was probably in the 40s when I rode to work. We were supposed to get around 1-3 inches of snow starting at 8. Thing is, I seem to remember this time last year, we also got a late snowstorm...that dumped about an inch or two of snow on us that didn't really do much damage. The ground was just too warm.

Between the weather and this being President's Day, we were busy for a lot of the night. Thankfully, it had slowed down enough by 8 for me to shut down, as I had no relief.

A woman claimed it was sleeting around 6:30. If it did, it either didn't do it here or didn't stick. It was still dry when I came out around 8. In fact, as far as I can tell, it didn't start snowing here until around 10. The snow seems to be coming down fairly hard and fast...but it's the light kind of snow that you can sweep up like dust.

Here's hoping that all of my readers had a wonderful President's Day Weekend!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Think For Yourself

I got up around 8:30 this morning and just read in bed for a little while, then wrote in my journal. It was sunny and chilly again, probably in the 40s, though the wind had thankfully diminished significantly.

Put on Brunch With the Beatles while making Apple-Spice Pancakes for breakfast. George Harrison was in the spotlight today in honor of what would have been his birthday this week. We heard "Tax Man," "Roll Over Beetoven," "Don't Bother Me" (and the oft-told story of George coming up with that one while sick in bed), "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Here Comes the Sun," and the only song George and John Lennon wrote together, the instrumental "Cry For A Shadow," among others.

Called Mom during the second half of Brunch. She and my nephew Skylar were watching Keefe play is Play Station 3, so we didn't have a chance to talk for very long. Mom did mention she was going to clear out a bunch of old yarn remnants she's had for years and send them to me for crocheting. I'd love that. It would be much cheaper than buying tons of yarn for little doll clothes!

I worked on crocheting for a while after finishing my chat with Mom, then headed to work. With no wind to push me back or forward, my ride today was much nicer than the blustery one yesterday.

Work was very busy, but not really out-of-the ordinary for a Sunday and a holiday weekend. There were no major problems, and my relief was on time.

I had leftovers beef stew for dinner with spinach and mushrooms, a slight revision of a recipe from my 50s Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. It originally called to saute spinach, mushrooms, and garlic in lemon juice and hot fat. They didn't say what hot fat, so I substituted olive oil. Yum! It came out very tangy and flavorful. It also originally called for frozen spinach; I used bagged fresh spinach that is getting a little wilted.

Listened to The Dress Circle after a nice shower. The theme was another one of their "Pop Singers Perform Show Tunes" programs. Rogers and Hammerstein was in the spotlight tonight. I especially liked two very different selections from South Pacific, Barbara Cook's sweet "Cockeyed Optimist" and Danny Kaye's rowdy "Honey Bun."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Tomorrow is a New Day, With No Mistakes In It."

I started off this morning with working on my resume. Or I tried to, at least. First of all, I couldn't find the disk my resume was on! I may have gotten rid of it when it quit working. When I couldn't find my old resume, I decided to make a new one from scratch on Microsoft Works Database.

That didn't work out very well, either. All I did was have an anxiety attack. Where did I begin? Should I list my volunteering? How would I explain the lack of jobs? I've only really worked four professional jobs since I got my working papers - the Acme, Stockton's Media Center in college, the office of Lower Cape May Regional's transportation department in the summer of my junior year, and the Special Services' School's library for one summer when I was 14. (The latter two were set up by a program in Cape May County that helps troubled or disadvantaged kids find summer jobs.) Would the Acme even give me decent references after all the trouble I've caused there over the years? Needless to say, I didn't get very far.

I decided a walk would clear my head, and I needed to get to the bank anyway. It was very windy here, and quite a bit colder. It's still not as cold as it usually is, though, probably in the upper 40s...though the wind made it feel worse than it was.

Surprisingly, the bank wasn't busy when I arrived there around quarter of 12. I guess everyone was using the window. I had a brief chat with the teller about my job situation and moved on.

I've been feeling more depressed about being stuck at the Acme lately...and it's starting to show at work. Trouble is, I have no idea what I want to do, or what I even CAN do besides work in a grocery store. I haven't worked anywhere but the Acme for 8 years, or where I want my life to go.

I mulled this over while I went on my walk. There were a lot of cop cars down by WaWa. I was afraid something had burned down again. When I got down there, all the buildings were still standing...but an electrical pole holding a solar panel had been blown down by the wild wind! It looked like the firemen and cops were assessing the situation when I passed by.

Stopped at Doria's Deli to talk to the owners and try to cheer myself up. Alas, the owners were talking to a customer. I bought a Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi soda and turkey for lunch and went home.

I never did finish that soda. Truth be just didn't taste good to me anymore. I made too much oatmeal this morning, too. I usually eat a cup of oatmeal, but it was too much, and I had to throw some of it away. I really need to talk to the Pillar School of Dance, the dance school on West Clinton, too.

I made several decisions when I got in. First of all, I wanted to take some of the advice in the Younger By the Day book and start eating better. I've already cut a lot of junk from my diet, but I can do more. Granola bars, yogurt, and peanut butter are the big ones. I have a few recipes for power bars and granola bars, including Alton Brown's. I might look into those. As for peanut butter, after these last remaining jars are gone, I'll start buying the mix-up natural kind and just be careful not to make a mess of the oil.

Yogurt is going to be tougher. The good Greek yogurt is often far more expensive, and I have neither the money nor the room for a yogurt maker. I may just continue to eat the light cups and see what I can afford and what I have room for in the spring.

One of the big ideas in Younger is vegetarianism. I like chicken and beef too much to give it up entirely, but I can go easier on it. I can eat more fish, shellfish, and beans, buy the "Wild Harvest" organic chicken, and save beef for stews and an occasional steak.

Next on my mind was exercise and hobbies. I'm going to pursue dancing, walking, and crocheting at the moment. I would eventually like to learn sewing and woodworking, but I have too much on my plate at the moment, and both require a lot more time, effort, and tools than crocheting does.

I do want to eventually get out of the Acme...but every time I try to get out, all the old anxieties come back to the surface. What if I can't find a job? What if everyone is right and the economy has eliminated all jobs? What if my skills are useless? What if they take one look at my lack of experience and skills and fall over laughing? What if the people in charge look down at me?

Until I can get over these anxieties and decide what I want to do with my life, any attempt at "job searching" will be fruitless. I started to do the exercises in that Wishcraft book I took out of the Haddon Township Library last June, but didn't close to finish them. I re-read what I wrote and remembered that it was a big help and I've come a long way since then...but half of what I wrote no longer relates to my life as it is now. I'm going to re-do most of them on the computer, now that I can print things out, and type anything that still relates to now. Then, I'll do as many of the remaining exercises as I can until I can no longer renew it or I'm finished, whichever comes first.

I debated going to a life coach, someone who can help me figure out what direction I want my life to go in. Trouble is, it can cost anything from 70 to 140 dollars a session for what's essentially a short-term counselor. I just got away from that. I'm going to give myself until my birthday in mid-April and see how I feel. If I still lack direction by then, I'll use my birthday money and find a life coach.

My resolve made me feel much better. I felt really determined to do something for the first time in ages, and it carried over to work. I rode to work, despite the wind. I figured it would be at my back for most of the ride to work, which it was. If it wasn't going home...well, I could walk.

Work was quiet when I came in, but steady for most of the night. There were a few incidents. One woman threw a fit when there was no bagger to help her with her large order...disregarding the fact that the one bagger who was inside was returning cold items and helping someone else and all the other baggers were gathering carts. I didn't see why she couldn't bag herself. And another woman was one of those ladies who fills her cart, then figure out that she can't buy half of it; though she was nice about it, she held up a long line.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Working Girl

Yes, I spent most of the day at work. Thank goodness it was on-and-off busy, with no major problems. I amused myself this morning by putting away some new candy that had just been given tags on the shelves. I had no relief, but I was able to close without incident.

It was warm above the average for the second day in a row when I headed out at 4. I hadn't heard from America's Best in two weeks and really needed my new contacts. As it turned out, they had arrived this morning and were there when I came in.

Did my grocery shopping next. I needed quite a bit, probably due to some good sales and being at home a lot this week. Stocked up on cooking spray and barbecue sauce, along with the usual fruits and vegetables. Found two containers of cooked shrimp with manager's coupons on them; had the one with the larger shrimp for dinner. (The one with the smaller unseasoned shrimp will be used for salad or stir-fry later in the week.)

And my schedule has improved. Wednesday and Thursday off again, and while I have a few later days, they're not TOO bad, nothing later than 8.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Balance On a Beautiful Day

It was already warm far and beyond the norm for mid-February when I headed for yoga class around 9. And class didn't cool me off much. We did work with partners on back-bends, back stretching, and heart openers. We even did "pose" where everyone did the bridge or wheel back bends in two lines!

After class, I went to the Collingswood Library for this week's volunteering there. The Library just rearranged their DVD cabinets, and I had to figure that out. Their Storybook Hour ended about twenty minutes after I arrived, too, and I ended up helping parents and children find DVDs and looking for the DVDs in the files.

There are three craft stores in Collingswood. One concentrates on embroidery. Another, between the Total Image salon where I got my hair done and what was the thrift shop, specializes in beads and all kinds of crafts involving yarn - crocheting, knitting, weaving. I took a look around. They had piles and piles of sparkling beads and stones and yarn in every fiber, thickness, and ply imaginable. They were having a 40% off selected yarn sale, but I didn't have much money left. I bought a small skein of honey-colored yarn. I'd like to help my mom make stuffed animals for me and for my nephews. Mom has been trying to make toys for the little boys, but she says they keep swiping her prototypes!

The young college-age woman and older woman who ran the store were very kind. The young woman explained the differences between 1-ply and multi-strand yarns and suggested several crochet magazines to get ideas for projects. The older woman suggested I join their e-mail list and added that they have both private craft tutoring and classes. I may see if I can join a crochet class.

Made my next stop the vacuum and sewing machine store on the next block over. It only took a few seconds to see that the store emphasized the machines themselves and not the actual sewing. The two men were nice enough, but I can barely get the small machine I have now working. I was out of there quickly.

Went across the street next to WaWa. I picked up milk, a pretzel, and a sandwich for lunch. By this time, it was at least in the mid-to-upper 60s. I'd walked out of my apartment in my big black coat and was now sweating to death!

It was so nice, I rode home through Newton River Park. The snow that had clogged the paths in the park for weeks was completely gone now. There were only the tiniest piles left in shady places. For the first time in months, the playgrounds were filled with laughing, tumbling children and their parents. I decided it was too nice to have lunch inside. I found an empty picnic table and settled down with my Turkey and Provolone Hoagie to watch them.

I was hot as heck when I finally arrived back at my place. Not only was it too hot for my coat, but my knit pants no longer felt right, either. I switched the coat for my blue knit hoody and the pants for my jean capris. After that, I went for a short walk in the neighborhood behind Kendall.

I hadn't planned on doing anything else outside today, but the call of the soft breeze and brilliant sun beckoned me. I spent a few hours reading and sweeping my porch, including getting cobwebs off the windows and light that had been there for months, maybe years. I read on the porch for a little while, but finally decided that the call of adventure was too strong. I grabbed my sweater and purse, hopped on my bike, and went out for another ride.

My random ride was quite lovely. By 3:30, the temperature had hit 68 degrees, according to the sign at Beneficial Bank in Audubon. I could tell from all the people outside. Parents took their children for walks. Kids played in yards and playgrounds and parks. Teenagers did their homework outside at the Oaklyn Library, had a snack on the patio at WilJax Deli in Oaklyn, and strolled with friends. Older kids rode their bikes and scooters together. There were bikers, dog walkers, and joggers. It was like one giant community happening.

I was feeling spontaneous and thirsty. I stopped at the TreeHouse Cafe in Audubon for a drink. I finally opted for a strawberry-banana smoothie. The kids must have all gone to Desserts By Design; there were only two women sharing coffee and a mother buying her children treats when I was there. I also made a brief stop at the Audubon Library to look at their book sales.

I worked on my inventories a little when I got home. I've been wanting to do an inventory for my American Girl dolls' things ever since my stepsister Jessa gave me her dolls. For each girl, I listed their "meet" outfit (ie, what they came in), school outfit, holiday outfit, summer outfit, spring outfit, pajamas, shoes, and coat or cloak, along with an outfit relating to a sport they participate in in their stories and extra outfits.

This was a big help! Now I know what each girl needs. Felicity and Samantha need coats and capes rather badly. Jessa needs a summer outfit. Felicity needs a real holiday dress and a school outfit, and Samantha and Jessa need spring outfits. (Felicity and Samantha's holiday and spring dresses and capes could be made from patterns at the American Girl Playthings site.)

Watched Kiss Me Kate while making flounder with sauteed mushrooms, spinach salad, and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. Kate is a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew...and what goes on backstage during that musical version. It was a favorite of my family's during my high school years. My sisters and their boyfriends would have philosphical discussions on the roles of men and women in society now and in the 40s while watching this movie!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let's Take An Old-Fashioned Walk

It was still a bit chilly and breezy when I poked my head out this morning around 10. Since I didn't have any really huge plans for today anyway, I decided to start the day by getting the Valentine's decorations down. Most of what I have for Valentine's is tinsel garlands and cardboard and foil hearts. There's a tin depicting a bear in a pink dress, a small heart-shaped box covered with flowers and ruffles that was originally a candy box, and a small vine wreath shaped like a heart.

When I finished with the decorations, I headed out for a long walk around Oaklyn and Audubon. My first stop was the Oaklyn Library for this week's volunteering session there. I got in just before the pre-school kids left. Organized the DVDs while they were there; kid the kids' section after they left.

It was 1:30 by then, so I went straight over the train bridge and into Audubon for lunch. This wasn't as easy as usual. Between now and my last walk into Audubon, someone had set up a guard rail along the foot path and wooden bridge, making the path much smaller and harder to walk on. Thank goodness there isn't much snow left. The few remaining piles are rapidly melting, and even the puddles aren't as big as the ones I saw last week.

I had lunch at Simply Soups at the Pine Street Shops. I had a tasty cup of Sweet Potato Soup with Caramelized Pecans and Ham, two large breadsticks, and a can of Diet A&W. It was very tasty. I wasn't the only one who thought so, either. Two ladies came in about half-way through my meal and ordered sandwiches.

I wanted to check out Act Two Collectibles, but they were still closed. (I guess the owner's wife is still sick. I hope they reopen soon. I miss them, and the lady had such wonderful advice when I had love trouble last May.) I just walked back to Market Street instead. I bought a coconut cupcake from Desserts By Design and two CDs (the fourth Ultimate Christmas Album and Natalie Cole's Unforgettable) from Abbie Road. I had intended to take a look at the dance schools there, but one was just gone and the other had a sign on the door that said they had moved, though they didn't say to where.

Headed home after leaving Market Street. I went across Nicholson Road this time. It was such a gorgeous day. The morning's wind had died down, leaving sunshine and lower 50s temperatures. It may have been TOO nice. I've been sneezing like crazy all day. This weather may be great for getting rid of the snow, but it's not playing nice with my allergies.

Spent the rest of a pleasantly quiet evening inside when I got home. I read a book called Younger Every Day, on ways to feel and look younger. I don't care so much about feeling younger as I do just feeling and looking better. I put on Unforgettable and danced around the room with my Molly doll.

Made Pineapple Pumpkin Muffins while running Show Boat. The Show Boat that comes on the TCM set is the one from 1951 with Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, and Ava Gardener. I know a lot of people are down on this version of the venerable 1927 musical, but it has its virtues. Gower and Marge Champion have a lot of fun performing my two favorite songs from this score, "Life Upon the Wicked Stage" and "I Might Fall Back On You." Joe E Brown makes for a cute Cap'n Andy, and Gardener is a marvelous Julie.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Day of Errands, A Night of Musicals

The weather continues to be gorgeous here. By the time I was up and moving, the wind had died down and the sun had returned. It was chillier than yesterday, but still nothing like it was last month or earlier this month.

Started out my day with laundry. I worked too early to get it done yesterday. I timed it right for the second week in a row. There was only one other woman there when I arrived. By the time I was putting my things in the drier, a couple and two college students had brought in huge loads of clothes that took up almost every other available washer (and would eventually use every drier, too).

There was a box and a small package waiting for me when I got home. I ordered a few things I wanted from last week. Turner Classic Movies has released low-priced sets of four popular older movies on two two-sided discs. I bought the one for "Broadway Musicals" with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Kiss Me Kate, Annie Get Your Gun, and the 1951 Show Boat, and the "Murder Mysteries" set with Dial "M" For Murder, the 1941 Maltese Falcon, the 1946 The Big Sleep, and the 1946 The Postman Always Rings Twice. Admittedly, I had some of those on video, and the only one out of them I hadn't already seen was Dial "M", but some of those videos are getting on in years, and they're all good movies.

I bought the Warner Archive movie Summer Holiday, a cute 1948 MGM musical featuring Mickey Rooney, from an outside source. There's several other MGM musicals I have taped that are in the Archive, too, including Look For the Silver Lining and Lovely To Look At. Thing is, these movies cost $20 or more a pop for what's essentially fancy DVD-Rs. They don't even have real menus or chapter stops or anything. Though I don't regret buying Summer Holiday, I was thinking that to save money on the rest of it, instead of buying tons of DVDs, I'd buy a DVD recorder and transfer all of those movies I taped off of cable to plain old recordable DVDs.

(This would be nice for several videos my dad Bruce made of Rose and me visiting him in Florida in the late 80s-early 90s, too. I know those videos have to be over 20 years old and probably getting ready to die, if they haven't died already.)

My other acquisition from this Amazon order was one of my favorite books of all time. Despite its title, The Pyrates is really a spoof of all things swashbuckler, not just pirate lore. The only place I ever saw it was at the Cape May Courthouse Main Branch of the Cape May County Library, but it was worth the trek there to get it. I used to read it once a summer. Think of it as "A Mel Brooks version of The Pirate Movie by way of Monty Python with a touch of "Pirates of the Carribean." Not historically accurate, but very funny, especially if you love old-fashioned action movies as much as I do.

I had leftover shrimp stir-fry for lunch while finishing The African Queen. Checking the messages on my house phone, I discovered the Acme called me in while I was at the laundromat, asking me to come in from 12:30 to 9. Well, it was a little long, but I'd do it. I need the hours. Alas, when I called them, they'd already filled the position. For once, I was disappointed. I wouldn't have minded it. I have no major plans for tomorrow other than volunteering at the Oaklyn Library.

Oh, well. I did have things to do today...such as this week's volunteer session at the Haddon Township Library. Headed over there via Newton River Park after lunch. While the back path under the trees is still covered with ice, the front path is completely clear except for a few small random shady patches. I had a pleasant ride, passing joggers and dog-walkers who were also enjoying being able to use the park again.

The Library was fairly busy when I got in. I organized the kids' DVDs and shelved DVDs and kids' books. I also took out three books on making changes and getting around the disapproval of others.

While I feel a lot better about myself and my life in general than I did this time last year, I still have a long way to go. I suspect a lot of it is tied up with work. I've mentioned it here many times before. Everyone I know keeps telling me how important it is for me to keep my job.

The trouble is, my job has been one of the thorns in my side for years. I have no chance for any kind of advancement. I haven't had a raise in ages. I think I've hit the maximum wages that one can earn on part-time hours. The job is stressful, dull, useless, and lacks creativity. Though my fellow employees have been nice to me, I don't feel like I fit in amongst the older people who have a second job, college students working part-time while in school, and teenagers working their first jobs.

I know I should be grateful. I'm well aware of what the economy's like. I know more and more jobs are being cut, even if the economy is supposed to be recovering. I also know how I feel. I didn't go to college to work at a grocery store the rest of my life. I want to write. I want to help people. I want to organize things. I want to create things. I want to make things better. I want to make people happy...and make me happy, too. I want to work with people who feel the way I do. I'm not doing any of this at the Acme.

Made a quick stop at Super Fresh and Rite Aid on the way home. Rite Aid had what I was looking for - a new dry erase board. My old one refuses to erase all the way anymore. I should probably have waited for spring break and sales on office supplies, but I don't think it would have held out another month.

I didn't get in until after 4:30. I put up my new dry erase board and wrote my current schedule on it, then put on Summer Holiday. This musical version of the 1935 Broadway comedy Ah, Wilderness! was one of Rooney's last MGM vehicles. He plays the cocky teenage son of the newspaper editor of a small Connecticut town in turn of the 20th Century. The kid has been reading a lot of romantic poetry and politically-charged non-fiction that's been giving him some rather radical notions. His speeches about the terrible conditions of the working man are giving his dad (Walter Huston) a headache and scaring the wits out of his shy girlfriend (Gloria DelHaven). Meanwhile, his perpetually drunk uncle (Frank Morgan) is pursuing the local old maid (Agnes Moorehead) with little success.

While not as good as Meet Me In St. Louis, it's predecessor in Americana at MGM, it's still a very cute movie. Like director Rouben Mamoulien's earlier musical Love Me Tonight, there's a lot of use of rhyming dialogue and songs flowing in and out of speech in a way that sounds more natural than most musicals. Rooney and DelHaven have a sweet number early on, "Afraid to Fall In Love."

Switched to Night at the Opera while making a skillet dish of chicken cutlets, brown rice, and frozen peas for dinner, along with steamed asparagus. Groucho Marx persuades rich widow Margaret Dumont to invest in an Italian opera company. Meanwhile, Chico and Harpo have befriended a pair of opera singers (Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones) looking for their big break...if they can get past the obnoxious opera star Lasparri (Walter Woolf King).

The best and best-known of the Marx Brothers' MGM movies features some of their most famous bits, including the infamous everyone-piled-into-one-tiny-stateroom scene ("Is my Aunt Minnie in here?" "If she isn't, you can probably find someone just as good."), the "party of the first part" contract-ripping session, and the destruction of "Il Trovatore" in the finale.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day In the Jungle

Started the first sunny, warm Valentine's Day we've had in at least two or three years with a spinach and Colby cheese omelet, grapefruit, and the two Winnie the Pooh Valentine's videos. I left a little earlier than I have recently so I could actually make it to work on time, which I did, thankfully.

Good thing, too. We were on-and-off busy all day, though never really swamped. I think most people did their Valentine's shopping over the weekend. The holiday and lovely weather must have put people in a good mood. The only trouble I had at all today was with my very first customers. They insisted that the 6-pack of chocolate-covered strawberries they bought were 2 for $5 when they were really $6.99. I called the produce department and had a manager and a bagger check the price, and they all said the same thing. They threw a fit and didn't take the strawberries.

(The irony of all that fussing good as the Acme's strawberries were, they might have been better off making their own. I saw many customers buying containers of chocolate to melt and fruit to dip.)

Went straight home after my relief arrived. Though it still wasn't cold, the wind had picked up and it had gotten cloudy. It was so warm, I changed to a short-sleeved T-shirt and my heavy Cape May sweatshirt hoody and went for a walk right after I got in. I went to WaWa for a fountain Coke Zero with chocolate syrup, then strolled around the neighborhood a bit.

Thanks to the warm weather, most of the snow we got last month is finally disappearing. The ice is completely gone from the path to my apartment and most sidewalks and is slowly melting from the front yard. Even the largest piles of snow on the curbs are rapidly shrinking. By the end of the week, I wouldn't be surprised if all but the largest piles of snow and ice had melted.

When I got home, I restocked my cookie tin with Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bar Cookies and ran two romantic action movies with jungle settings. The first, Romancing the Stone, was a childhood favorite of mine. A shy romance novelist sets off to Columbia to rescue her sister and winds up searching for the jewel of the title with a good-natured mercenary.

The African Queen is a somewhat similar story in a different jungle. A missionary and a half-sozzled riverboat driver take the broken-down vessel of the title downriver to attack the Germans in the Belgian Congo during World War I.

In both cases, it's the lovers who make the story. Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart had so much fun sparring, they inadvertently turned John Huston's intended drama into a romantic action/comedy. And Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas have an equally good time running around the jungles of Mexico (Columbia being a bit too politically hot to film in during the mid-80s).

Here's hoping everyone had an equally hot Valentine's Day, whether they have a sparring partner of their own or not!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

All My Lovin'

Slept until 10 after 10 today. After I got up and got dressed, I made peanut butter-banana pancakes and put on Brunch With the Beatles. "Beatles Love Songs" was the theme today. Famous Beatles ballads include "If I Fell," "Something," "Michelle," "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," "All My Lovin'," "She Loves You," and "All You Need Is Love." Romantic solo tunes included "My Love," "Silly Love Songs," "Photograph," and two of my favorite John Lennon solo songs, "Woman" and "(Just Like) Starting Over."

Mom was busy both of the times I talked to her today, but I did finally get to wish my stepfather a happy birthday. He was happy to be home for the weekend...and even happier that his wife was making Magic Bars. ("Magic Bars" are bar cookies made with condensed milk, chocolate chips, coconut, butter, and flour. They're crazy-sweet but have been popular with my family for years. Long-time friends of my sisters and brother still ask for the recipe to this day.)

I had breakfast so late, I barely had the time to wash the dishes and pack a lunch before I headed for work! Good thing it was gorgeous again today. It was windy when I hit the Black Horse Pike, but not quite as cold, and still nice and sunny.

Work was busy all day, but not out of line for a typical Sunday in February, or for the day before a holiday. My relief was on time, and I was in and out with no problems.

I made shrimp stir-fry for dinner, then munched on Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread while listening to The Dress Circle. "Love Songs Performed By Married Couples" was the theme today. We heard numbers sung by twosomes who were either married at one time or still are, including Harriet and Ozzie Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Broadway performers Liz Larson and Sal Viviano, Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, and Rosemary Clooney and Mel Ferrer.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Maybe the Groundhog Was Right

Though it was a bit chillier and windier than yesterday when I got up around 8:30, it was once again sunny and nowhere near as cold as last month or December. The sky was a beautiful, cloudless blue. The snow's almost entirely gone from my porch and rapidly disappearing in most sunny places.

I headed out to run a few errands after breakfast. Ran to the bank to deposit my paycheck. Walked over to Uncle Ken's to say "hi" to Dad and Jodie (who got back from Florida on Monday) and pick up the pan I carried the cupcakes from the Super Bowl in. Took the long way home instead of trying to slog through the remaining snow and ice on the train tracks.

Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon working on inventories and organizing. The antique dresser I use for tools, miscellaneous electronic devices, random wires, old glasses cases, menus, various types of tape, and other junk that doesn't have a place anywhere else in the apartment really needed to be de-cluttered.

Some of that junk, like the glue and the jars with the safety pins and the paper clips, was moved to my roll-top desk. They really belong there anyway. I cleared out a bunch of phone cords I didn't need and a few items that could be donated or thrown away. Everything else was put into the neatest rows I could manage. They look much better now.

When I finished with the dresser, I moved to the back room and organized the linens. I cleared out all of my sheets but the new ones Rose got me last year. They'll be cut into things for my dolls and my apartment. I'm tired of mis-matched sheets that don't fit on my bed anyway. I think I'll get one more sheet set later in the year, and that should be it for linens for a while.

I had stew for lunch next while watching more Bowery Boys. Jalopy takes the boys - and the car of the title, their beloved Model T "Lucy" - into the fast-paced world of auto racing. Run-down Lucy is considered to be a joke by the other racers until Sach develops a powerful fuel that makes her fly around the track in record time! Needless to say, the Boys' competition would love to get their hands on that special fuel!

(And this one is really for fans only. Cute, but nothing you haven't seen in other movies, including other Bowery Boys movies involving sports.)

I wasn't feeling very well when I headed to work. I've had an awful sinus headache and stuffy head ever since I got back from my walk this morning. Work didn't help any. It was busy, with quite a few annoying customers. One man complained about me being a miserable person because I didn't laugh at his dumb joke about what's under the carts. First of all, it was a dumb joke. Second, I didn't feel up to humoring him. Third, I hear dumb jokes about what's under the carts a hundred times a day, usually from older men who think they're being cute.

I definitely wasn't up to cooking after work. I bought applesauce and went to Arby's for dinner. Had the All-American Roast Beef meal and enjoyed it in a quiet dining area. A couple was leaving as I arrived; a family arrived as I left.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tap Your Troubles Away

It was utterly gorgeous when I awoke this morning. I hadn't seen a day this nice since November. The sky was bright blue and cloudless. It was in the upper 30s-lower 40s, normal (maybe even a tad warm) for mid-February in southern New Jersey. The air was still and more humid, with no wind at all.

A walk was practically required today. However, I did hit the Oaklyn Library first to do this week's volunteering there. I arranged the DVDs, then did the children's books. The Oaklyn Library is now trying to separate the letters to make the shelves look less messy. It's only partially working...because the kids' section is still fairly messy. A through M wasn't too bad, but the other shelves took forever. Someone must have done the first couple of shelves earlier.

Headed out for a stroll after I left the library. I went to WaWa and picked up a pretzel and a fountain Coke Zero with two small squirts of raspberry and chocolate syrup. After I left there, I made my way across the railroad tracks and down to the area on the left side of the school, nearer to Audubon. The snow is almost gone here. There's still some piles left on the curb and a little ice left in shady places, but it's not anywhere near as bad as it was even this time last week.

There was a package waiting for me when I came downstairs. I put it upstairs before my walk and pulled out the contents when I came back. I've been searching eBay for Molly's Miss Victory Tap Outfit for months, but I could never find the more recent version that came with the tap shoes. I decided to just go to the source and buy it from American Girl's online shop. I'm glad I did. It's utterly adorable! It's a one-piece leotard with a silver star and red and silver stripes sewed onto it. The pleated red and sliver skirt flares so nicely! The fabric is good quality and not stiff at all. The shoes have real taps on them and do make a slight tapping sound when they hit hard surfaces.

Two mild complaints. While the cardboard and elastic silver crown is historically accurate (I doubt they would have used expensive metal or plastic for a kid's crown from some local dance show in recycling-happy 1945), it's also flimsy. That's not much of a problem for me, but it likely wouldn't last with much younger kids.

As much as I adore the shoes, I had a hard time getting them on over the socks that came with the outfit. Part of that might be my Molly doll is a pre-Mattel version and has large feet. I'm hoping the vinyl will stretch with time. For now, I may switch Molly to dancing in tights.

I watched the Bowery Boys while having leftover country-fried steak and spinach for lunch. The Boys end up in the Deep South in Feudin' Fools when Sach inherits a farm from a deceased uncle. Turns out the farm is an abandoned wreck. The Jones clan was run off their land by their mortal enemies, the hillbilly Smiths...and the Smiths don't take kindly to strangers! The Boys find themselves having to dodge the trigger-happy Smiths, a group of bank robbers, and try to figure out what to do with the farm.

Headed for work after I finished my meal. The lovely day made for a very nice ride to and from work. It was so warm, I didn't even need my big scarf and was hot in my heavy black coat!

Work was on-and-off during rush hour, but mostly dead. Fine by me. This time last year, we would have been digging out of two and a half feet of snow...and piles of frantic customers worried about said frozen precipitation.

Went grocery shopping after I finally finished. Big trip this week. I needed to refill the fruits and vegetables, including a bag of veggies for stir fries. Needed granola bars, too, and both cake and unbleached white flour, and chocolate chips. The Acme's having a 40% off all Acme or Perdue chicken sale - I found a good price on chicken cutlets. I've needed to restock white cooking wine for ages.

Mixed feelings on next week's schedule. On one hand, I have fewer hours. Not a good thing, given I haven't had that many of them lately. On the other hand, the latest I work is 7 next Saturday, and I have three days off in a row - Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Waiting for Balance

Started a sunny, chilly day with a very nice yoga class. For one thing, I saw my friend Pattie for the first time in ages. Pattie had apparently hurt herself badly in a class a few months ago and had only just returned to regular yoga practice in the past few weeks. The class wasn't too hard, either. The focus today was on "heart warmers," ie back bends and stretches and balance poses. I'm still bobbling on some of the balancing, but other than that, I did pretty well.

I wanted to get my hair cut next...but of the five hair salons in Collingswood, two were busy at 10:30, two weren't open, and one cost $50 for a simple haircut! I ended up spending the next two hours in the Collingswood Library instead, reading books and shelving and organizing DVDs.

I went a block down to the Pop Shop for lunch. The Pop Shop is one of Collingswood's most popular restaurants, and certainly the post popular with families. A noisy lunch crowd was enjoying the Pop Shop's signature burgers, milkshakes, and sandwiches named for 50s icons, staff, and local landmarks. I ordered a "Farmer's Market" omelet - fresh vegetables and Swiss cheese - rye toast, and hash browns.

My meal was tasty, but it was also HUGE. The omelet was two times the size of the ones I usually make myself, and there were enough hash browns to feed three people. Needless to say, I didn't finish them. That's one of the big reasons I don't eat at the Pop Shop more often. They're really a family place, the kind of diner where everyone shares plates and takes things home. Not only that, but the prices are kind of high for what's essentially a fancy diner.

I tried Haddon Hair Designs across the street after I was finished lunch. Despite having been told that they would be ready by 1:30, they told me they were behind and I'd have to wait another 20 minutes. Sure I would. That's what they told me the first time. I went a block down to Total Image instead. They were more expensive ($30 as opposed to Haddon Hair's $22), but the older woman who did my hair did a very nice job on it. It's all bouncy and cute again, a little under shoulder length, just the way I like it.

I finally went into Philly after I finished at Total Image. I wanted to go to a couple of places, but I ended up only having time for the FYE and Borders on the Avenue of the Arts, and I didn't get anything at Borders. I did take advantage of a buy 1 used, get the second 50% off sale at FYE to pick up A Night at the Opera and The Rescuers. The latter is my favorite Disney movie, but I didn't think the fairly bare DVD was worth the $17.99 I usually see it go for. $4.50 with the sale and my Membership Card is far more reasonable. I also grabbed the rare, wonderful Pearl Bailey cast album for Hello Dolly - I like it even better than Carol Channing's version.

Put on The Rescuers when I got in. This was made during what's considered to be Disney's "Dark Age" in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Actually, that's one of the reasons I like it. It's unique. No sugary princesses or wisecracking sidekicks here. Two daring mice who are part of "The Rescue Aid Society" (a mouse United Nations) help a little girl escape from a pair of bumbling thieves in the Louisiana bayous.

While the animation isn't up to par with recent efforts, the characters are some of Disney's best. In addition to our intrepid rodents Bernard and Bianca, we have Orville the Albatross, who flies the mice to Louisiana, the kooky bayou residents (check out Luke and his ale!), and Evinrude, the fly who pushes the mice around the swamps in a leaf.

Actually, the best character may be one of Disney's most underrated villains, Madam Medusa. Written as a carbon copy of Cruella DiVil (in fact, she was supposed to originally be Cruella), she's even nastier and a lot scarier...especially without her eyelashes. Geraldine Page gives her just the right over-the-top menace.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Like Peanut Butter With Chocolate

I actually got up at 8:30, but I didn't get out until nearly 12:30. I finished the Samantha American Girl mystery The Cry of the Loon and wrote in my journal before breakfast. After I ate my grits and grapefruit, I called my stepdad Bill to wish him a Happy Birthday.

As it turns out, I'd just missed Dad. He'd just gone fishing. He works as a commercial fisherman and is out on the ocean for two to three weeks every few weeks or so. He's been doing this for as long as I can remember. I did catch Mom, though.

Mom and I spent two hours doing a lot of talking. We talked about my brother Keefe joining the Navy and how much we're going to miss him. We talked about my sister Anny's son Skylar's father suddenly reappearing after joining the Army years ago. We talked about Rose raising a 10-month-old baby boy, two dogs, and a cat while also practicing for the Bar. We talked about Dad being ordered by our long-time family physician Dr. Drake to lose weight. I told Mom about wanting to learn to sew in addition to crochet, and about hoping to look for a job again.

The trouble with looking for a job is it makes me nervous, and not just because of the economy, either. I have good skills. I'm good with computers. I know how to work Microsoft Office. I know I'm a good writer. I'm good at organizing things and editing things. I'm just not sure what else I can do, or what I can do with those skills, or if they'll even get me somewhere. Majoring in Communications in college was a big mistake. I thought I wanted to work in radio or television...but now I don't think I could. It sounds like it would be too stressful. Radio might not be too bad, but I really don't think I want anything to do with television anymore besides watching old TV shows online or on DVD.

I'm not sure what options that leaves me with. Mom suggested starting my own at-home company. She said I should do medical billing, or edit papers for the students from the many local colleges. I don't know anything about medicine, but the editing might be worth looking into. I have a hard enough time with the Acme, and I really can't afford any major schooling. Picking up a class here and there...but not years' worth of college. To be honest, I wasn't crazy about school when I was in school. It was a little boring, and I now don't think I really learned a whole lot.

Mom and I talked for so long, I didn't get out to Haddon Township Library until lunchtime! Maybe it was just as well. The wind that was still a problem this morning had died by then. It was sunny and cold, a very nice day in early February. I noted a package on Miss Ellie's side of the house for me; I'd pick it up when I returned.

As it turned out, there wasn't much for me to do at the Library. They had several high schoolers volunteering on their lunch breaks who were able to put away most of the DVDs, and there weren't even many books to shelve. I organized the kids' DVDs and took out three books on basic sewing techniques and another one on staying young.

After I left the Library, I made a couple of quick stops. I needed bunched carrots at Super Fresh and a card for Dad and a bottle of Spic and Span at Dollar Tree. I debated going out to eat, since it was past 3:30 after I got out of Dollar Tree, but I had a ton of leftovers in my refrigerator. I just rode home and had a late lunch of leftover homemade pizza instead.

Spent what little was left of the afternoon at home. I ran Airplane while making a Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing and having leftovers for dinner. The cake recipe comes from the Prevention cookbook Mom gave me about six years ago. The cake is made with applesauce and egg whites; the icing is made with skim milk and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. They both came out exceptionally well. I cut the recipe in half to make a smaller cake; I certainly don't need a huge full-sized one, even with all the peanut butter and chocolate cravings I've been having lately.

Airplane was the first big hit for the Zucker Brothers, and one of the first of the 80s movie spoofs. In this take on Airport-style disaster movies, an Air Force pilot who hasn't flown a plane in years has to take over the cockpit of a crippled jet plane and land it safely in Chicago. There's a lot riding on this flight - the crew stricken with food poisoning, his ex-girlfriend who is a stewardess, nuns, a little girl who needs a heart transplant, the doctor who diagnosis the food poisoning, and yes, the lady who speaks jive.

This is the first spoof...and still one of the best. This opened a whole new door for dramatic heroes who spent their lives being taken seriously to have a little fun every now and then. Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielson quite happily switched from action to comedy for the rest of their careers.

And of course, there's Johnny. I don't know what he's doing there, or why he's there, or why he's crazy...but he has some of the best lines. "And Leon is getting laaarrger!" "And it really looks like a big Tylenol." "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Wind In the Oaks

The wind started howling not long after I got home last night, and it hadn't abated a bit by the time I awoke this morning. I still had morning and early afternoon work, however. So I got dressed, put together a tomato-beef stew using the last of the sauce from the pizza in the Crock Pot for dinner, packed my lunch, and headed out.

Work wasn't too bad today. It was on-and-off steady all day, with no major problems. It was beginning to pick up around the time I was finished at 4. That was a problem. Not only was my relief late, but so were the reliefs for two of the managers! A manager who was staying finally came in for me.

It was harder to ride home than it was to ride to work. The wind was at my back on the way to the Acme. The Black Horse Pike is almost completely treeless, which meant my ride home was very blustery indeed! On the other hand, the snow on the sidewalks near the Acme is almost completely gone. I was able to get of the street, thank goodness.

When I got home, I went inside, grabbed my purse, changed my shirt, and went back out again. I went for a walk to CVS to pick up contact solution. I took the path over the train tracks to get there, but the path is an icy mess. It takes ages for snow to vanish completely there, with all those trees lining the tracks. I took the long way home down the White Horse Pike and West Clinton Avenue and got a good walk in.

Watched more Bowery Boys as I ate my stew for dinner. Angels In Disguise is my favorite of the Bowery Boys movies. Like Fighting Fools, it's a comedy-drama. Slip and Sach are devestated when their friend Officer Gabe Moreno is shot and another cop is killed by a mysterious local gang. They decide to get the goods on the criminals themselves...and inadvertently bring their friends Whitey, Chuck, and Butch and soda shop owner Louie along for the ride!

If you think of the Bowery Boys movies only in terms of the goofy 50s entries, Angels will be a major revelation. The tight plot, excellent script, and unusual villains put it on par with many film noir movies of the era. This is one of the very few times the Boys took on villains close to their own age or younger, and unlike most of their movies, the villains are genuinely menacing. I especially liked the ice-cold intellectual ringleader Mr. Carver.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Hold That Laundry!

Monday is laundry day at the Riverside Rest. For once, I timed it right, too. When I arrived at the laundromat, the only person there was the older woman who owns it. By the time I left around 11:30, the place was packed, with at least four couples and three elderly people doing huge loads. The ice was gone as well, other than a few piles shoved against the curb.

When I got home, I ran Bowery Boys movies and folded and put away my clothes. Fighting Fools is one of the most melodramatic of the late 40s comedy-dramas. The Boys train a boxer who dropped out of the ring when he wouldn't take a dive. Slip talks him into returning to the sport to avenge his younger brother, who was killed during a fixed match. Sach is far more intelligent here than he is in later films. He gets surprisingly tough with the boxer's trampy girlfriend and is the one who saves the boxer's other brother when he's kidnapped and discovers how the gangsters are winning in the ring.

Hold That Baby! goes more into sitcom territory. The Boys find a baby left at their laundromat. The baby turns out to be the heir to a fortune. A pair of elderly aunts have no desire for the child to ever inherit that money, so they send gangsters to keep the Boys and the baby from escaping. Slip and Sach manage to escape and search for the baby's mother, who is being kept in a sanitarium.

It was a really nice day this morning, sunny and much warmer than it has been, probably in the mid-to-upper 40s. By the time I headed for work, however, the sun had vanished behind grayish clouds. It still managed to do its work. Everything was melting; the sidewalks on the Black Horse Pike were far more clear than they have been in weeks. It didn't start raining until I rode home, and even then, it was just barely spitting.

Work was steady all night, though not quite as busy as yesterday. We're still getting a lot of beginning-of-the-month people. I saw one family as I left with four carts filled to the brim with groceries!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Science Fiction Super Bowl Feature

The first thing I heard this morning was banging and cursing, both of which were coming from Miss Ellie's end of the house. Then, I heard the phone. My first thought was that the Acme was attempting to call me in...but then I remembered the generator for the house was making noise again. Miss Ellie told me the guys who were going to fix it would be around between 8 and 12. I assumed they meant 12, not 8! I rolled over, went back to sleep, and didn't get up again until after 10.

When I finally did get up, I made wrote in my journal, made gingerbread pancakes for breakfast, and listened to Brunch With the Beatles. The theme today was "Beatles songs with messages." I've never really been much for paying attention to "messages" in music, but apparently these include "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," "Hey Jude," "Dear Prudence," "Act Naturally," the Wings solo hit "Live and Let Die," and one of my favorite Beatles songs, "Revolution."

Worked on the budget after the Beatles ended. This time, I spent a ton on food but not quite as much on other things. That was good - I didn't make nearly as much money last month as I have the past few months. My hours have been terrible for a while now. I think the only reason I had money until my tax return came was my Christmas money.

Headed to work after I finished the budget. It was a gorgeous day for a ride. It was sunny and windless and there was a blue sky above me. It had to be at least in the 40s. Everything was melting. Green patches could be seen on some of the more exposed parts of the grass for the first time in weeks.

Not surprisingly, given this is Super Bowl Sunday and the beginning of the month, the Acme was busy all day. We continue to have problems with the new card policy. One woman refused to sign for a card because she didn't want to give out her phone number, address, or name to anyone! Um, can we say "paranoia?" How does she expect to buy a house or get a bank account or subscribe to anything? I understand that people are worried about identity theft, but come on. Have a little trust here.

My relief was right on time, allowing me to hurry home. I went inside, grabbed the cupcakes I made yesterday, changed my shirt, and headed right back out again. It took me a while to get to Uncle Ken's - the tracks are still covered in snow and blocked by piles of ice - but I did finally get there.

The party was hopping when I arrived...and so was the game. Dad and Jodie are supposed to be in Ft. Lauderdale until tomorrow, but Dolores, Uncle Ken, and Dolores' many children and grandchildren were there, including Mercedes and Blake. Samantha, David, and their kids were there through the first quarter. Uncle Ken's older granddaughter Amber was their with her boyfriend and their daughter Ella and adorable 6-month-old baby daughter Lilly. Lilly was small and slender, with a very round head and pretty almond-shaped eyes. She was sleeping when I came in, but she got up in time for the end of the third quarter.

Dolores saved me a plate of cranberry sauce, home-made stuffing, cole slaw, and Uncle Ken's tasty turkey. (They'd actually had the dinner food around 3:30 because of all the kids.) I tried a spicy buffalo chicken-cheese dip that Amber brought, layered refried bean dip, a cake shaped like a football, a huge strawberry tube cake that was pretty good, shortbread cookies with icing, hard rolls, and a tasty fruit salad with big chunks of melon and pineapple.

I stuck around for the Black-Eyed Peas' performance at half-time. Actually, I preferred Usher, who turned up later in the performance...but I do remember Fergie when she was Sarah Ferguson on one of my favorite shows in my childhood, Kids Incorporated. I don't really listen to the Black-Eyed Peas. Some of their music was ok; some of it seemed a little odd to me. ("Boom Boom Pow?")

As with last year, I went home after halftime. And I was wrong about one thing - the game actually WAS pretty darn good. At press time, the Packers are up 31-25, but I wouldn't put it past the Steelers to get something going...

Oh, and my favorite commercials were the movie trailers. A lot of superhero movies coming out this summer. Thor sounds a tad cheesy. My Marvel-loving nephew Skylar will adore Captain America, and I think the World War II setting sounds unique.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Pizza for One

I was relieved to see only rain when I got up this morning. That blizzard that pounded the midwest and north continues to elude us. I didn't even see any sleet or freezing rain. Had muffins for a late breakfast, then got the rent together for Miss Ellie. I direct deposited my tax refund and have been waiting for it to go through. It showed up in my bank account last night.

After I delivered the rent to her door, I went out for an errand run. It was raining lightly as I headed out, not a monsoon, but enough to need my umbrella. My first stop was the bank to deposit what little was left of my paycheck after I paid for my eye exam and contacts yesterday. After that, I went to CVS for batteries and to stock up on the Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner for curls, both of which were on sale. (And the batteries were buy 1, get 1 free.)

Stopped by Uncle Ken's on my way home to say "hi" to him and Dolores and find out what's going on for the Super Bowl tomorrow. They were watching the History Channel and trying to stay warm on such a gloomy day. Yes, they're having a party tomorrow. Uncle Ken said the main dinner will be early because of all the kids, there should still be people around when I get there around 6:30, kick-off time for the game.

(To be honest, I'm only going for the food and to see my family, some of whom I haven't seen in over a month. The Steelers and the Packers have been in the Super Bowl a hundred times between the two of them, and I don't think this promises to be a terribly exciting game. I'll leave after half-time.)

Headed home after that and spent the rest of the evening doing things indoors and listening to records and CDs. I got the dusting done, which finishes this month's cleaning. I read some of my books on movies and musicals. I baked lemon-apple cupcakes for Uncle Ken's party. I made my first home-baked pizza for dinner, with onions, mushrooms, and turkey pepperoni. (I think I should have cut the dough in half - it was too fat and thick! Otherwise, it tasted very good. I'll have to use that recipe again sometime.)

I listened to several famous 1920s and 30s musicals I have on CD and record while making and eating my pizza. The 1971 revival of No No, Nanette is one of my favorite cast albums. I have no idea what the plot is, but the songs, including "I Want to Be Happy," "Tea For Two," and "I've Confessed to the Breeze" are fun. My favorite number was actually written for the revival but dropped. Ruby Keeler and Jack Gilford describe why nostalgia is so important to many people in the lovely "Only A Moment Ago."

Two Decca studio cast albums switched from goofy musical comedy to high operetta action. The Desert Song, with Kitty Carisle and Wilbur Evens, is one of my very favorites. The Scarlet Pimpernel-ish tale of a general's son who is also the desert chieftan The Red Shadow features "One Alone," the passionate title song, and the playful "Romance." New Moon goes to the French Revolution era for a love between a young woman and a lord who is a bondservant in the New World. The score includes "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise," "Wanting You," and "Stouthearted Men."

Jerome Kern's Roberta mixes both operetta and more typical musical comedy. This 1935 show was one of Bob Hope's first hits. The original film version featured Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers. Two songs were added for Fred and Ginger, "Lovely To Look At," and "I Won't Dance," and they've been retained for show ever since. Jack Cassidy and Kaye Ballard perform "Dance" on my heavy early 50s LP, along with "Let's Begin." Joan Roberts, Laurey in the original 1943 Oklahoma, gets to sing the standard "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes." Stephan Douglass, best known for originating Billy Bigelow in Carousel, sings "You're Devastating."

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Eyes Really Have It

Started the morning by finishing Chocolate Dipped Death, the last of the books I bought over the holidays. A young woman who had a bad reputation in high school and is now a trophy wife is found dead after being accused of cheating at a Divinity candy-making competition. With the contest now on hold, Abby finds herself up to her ears in candy orders, former high school classmates holding long grudges, and family members who don't think she can run Divinity on her own. Can Abby keep Divinity afloat...and find out whose grudge could have been a reason for murder?

Actually, I liked the first one and the next one, Peppermint Twisted, better, but this wasn't bad. I'm hoping to pick up the fourth one, Goody Goody Gunshots, the next time I'm in a book store.

Watched Sailor Moon and had cereal and an orange for breakfast, then crocheted for a while and made my grocery list before it was time to get to work. It was partly cloudy when I got out, but not too cold or windy.

Work was busy for much of the day. Not only is it the beginning of the month, but the Super Bowl is this weekend, too. There were some annoying old ladies who had to have everything organized just so and held up the line. Otherwise, there were no major problems, not even with the new card rule.

My schedule this week is a huge improvement over the ones I've had since New Year's. More hours, nothing earlier than 11 or later than 8, and Wednesday and Thursday off. I'll even be off on Sunday just in time to run home and run over to Uncle Ken's for the Super Bowl.

Headed straight for America's Best after work. I've needed an eye exam and to order new contacts for over a month, but either the weather's been bad, or I've worked too late or been busy. I picked the right day. They were so quiet, I got my eye exam right away. The doctor ultimately concluded that my eye had changed slightly...but not so much that a new prescription was really needed, or even new glasses. The frames are still in really good shape. I only wear them once or twice a week. After my exam, I ordered my contacts and went back to the Acme to do my grocery shopping.

Most of what I needed this week was yogurt, fruit, and vegetables. I also picked up two packs of fish, some shrimp with a store coupon, and turkey pepperoni and sauce to make my own fresh pizza. I've always wanted to try that, and I thought it might be fun for tomorrow, when I don't have a lot planned besides a quick errand run in Oaklyn and dusting.

When I got home, I put everything away and watched the Bowery Boys while eating country-fried steak, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, spinach, and celery sticks. In Crashing Las Vegas, Slip, Sach, Chuck, and newcomer Myron head to Nevada via a TV game show when Sach is electrocuted and suddenly develops the ability to guess any number, anytime. The trouble starts when down-on-their-luck gamblers overhear them and decide Sach has a system...and want the "system" for themselves.

This was Leo Gorcey's last Bowery Boys movie. His father Bernard Gorcey had died shortly after the filming of the one before this, and his death sent the not-always sober Leo into a tail spin. Supposedly, he was drunk during much of the shooting of this film, though he looks pretty much like he always does to me. If anything, it's a dull and derivative script that does this in more than any off-screen troubles. Other than an odd prison sequence and the "King For a Day" sequence, it's really rather odd and has no actual Vegas flavor whatsoever.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Balance and the Hard Rule

Started out a glorious, sunny, 35-degree day with this week's yoga class. (After last week and the storm everyone else in the US got yesterday, I was just happy to be able to get anywhere at all!) Everyone must be feeling the effects of cabin fever. A very full class worked on hip and knee openers and finding what could make us happy...and how to get there. I'm still working on some of the more difficult balance moves.

Next stop was the Collingswood Library. They were quite busy today. I put away and organized DVDs and shelved a couple of non-fiction books upstairs. I didn't get out as quickly as I wanted to - I left my earmuffs at Yogawood and had to retrieve them. Good thing they left the door open for people who wanted to use the shop upstairs.

Spent the rest of the afternoon at home. I baked low-fat ginger cookies from a Prevention Magazine recipe (made with Smart Balance spread and an egg white) and watched the last two McBride mysteries. Mac finds himself up to his ears in the love life of a dog trainer accused of killing her ex-lover in Dogged. She claims someone sent her a text message, but there's no record of it. Could it have been her lover's wife, who is bitter after an accident cost her the use of her legs?

Requiem moves to the world of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. A talented young first violinist is found dead on the day of a big concert. Her fiancee is accused of the crime...but could someone at the orchestra have a bigger reason for wanting her out of the way?

I thoroughly enjoyed the McBride mysteries, enough that I may try looking up other old-fashioned detective shows like Murder She Wrote and the later Perry Mason.

Wish work was as much fun. A new rule is wrecking havoc with our lines and our customers. When a customer forgets their card, we usually just ring up a store card or type it in so we can get the line going fast. This happens a lot. Some of our customers are just coming from work and don't have it on them. Others just forget. And we're on a highway, too. We get a lot of people from elsewhere who are just passing through.

Apparently, sometime between Monday night and this afternoon, they changed that rule. Everyone has to have a card...even if they have one already. We can no longer ask for or type in a store card. If they don't have a card, they have to be given one, even if they already have one. If they don't want the card, they don't get the sales.

This is silly, absurd, and impractical. We had to call for the managers every time someone wanted a card. We can't keep the applications at the registers anymore. Even people who just forgot their card had to apply for another one! I understand that they want everyone to have a card, but forcing people to have one isn't the way to do that. One guy got so upset, he actually cursed at the manager! I don't like this, either, but the language was unnecessary. You can tell executives sitting behind desk don't do their own grocery shopping.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Foggy Day In Oaklyn Town

I was up late talking to Lauren last night and didn't get up today until almost 10! When I did get up, I couldn't see much, anyway. A thick fog surrounded the Riverside Rest. I'd never seen fog like this in winter! It was thick and white, and it obscured everything.

Once again, it would seem that we got rain this morning and last night, and that's all we got. The blizzard that pounded the north and midwest was much kinder to us. I don't think we even got sleet or freezing rain this time. Heck, it wasn't even cold. It was probably in the 40s, slightly warm for what it usually is this time of year.

When I did finally get out around quarter of 1, I headed for the Oaklyn Library first. It was still a bit foggy, though not quite as bad as earlier in the morning. The Library was pretty busy when I arrived, considering it would close for the day at 2. (The Oaklyn Library is only open from 10 to 2 on Wednesday.) I organized DVDs and shelved children's books. Helped a mother and her daughter find picture books as well.

The Oaklyn Library is finally clearing out its large collection of videos. I already had a lot of the adult videos, but there were a couple of kid videos that interested me. I grabbed two Dr. Seuss specials from the 70s, The Cat and the Hat and Dr. Seuss On the Loose, and three Winnie the Pooh specials - the two Halloween episodes and a Valentine's Day show.

I next went to WaWa for a Cherry-Vanilla Coke Zero fountain soda and a pretzel, then took a walk around the neighborhood. Though the snow was rapidly melting and the fog was mostly gone, the sidewalks were still slushy and even icy in some places. It wasn't nearly as bad as earlier in the week or last week's blizzard, but still pretty messy.

I spent the rest of the day at home. I cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed. For once, the kitchen may have been worse than the bathroom. I did a lot of eating at home and a lot of baking last month. I'll get the dusting done on Saturday. We're supposed to be getting our next round of bad weather then, though at press time it sounds like it'll be the same as today and yesterday - rain with a little freezing rain and maybe a tiny bit of snow.

Did two McBride mysteries and one I started last night. In Fallen Idol, Mac is devastated when a lawyer he admired is killed in what appears to be a robbery...but neither the crime nor the victim are what they seem to be. Anybody Here Murder Marty? takes us behind-the-scenes at a popular Jerry Springer-style talk show. The abrasive host is murdered on the night of his 10th anniversary show by a disgruntled guest...but it turns out there were plenty of other people working on the show who wanted the egotistical star off the air for good. And in Semper Fi, Mac gets into hot water with a none-too-happy Roberta when he investigates the death of a wife of an Afghanistan war vet whose sister has some ugly past history with Roberta.

Switched to the cartoons I picked up today while having tomato soup garnished with various leftovers in my refrigerator, including baked pasta and peas and carrots. Dr. Seuss On the Loose is my second favorite Seuss cartoon after The Lorax. The first two stories are based after the Seuss book of the same name. The Sneeches are ostrich-like creatures who live on the beaches. The Sneeches with green stars on their stomachs snub those who don't have them, but a salesman and his machines teach both groups a lesson in equality. The two stubborn Zax won't budge an inch for the other to move, even as the world continues around them.

The most famous of the On the Loose stories is Green Eggs and Ham. Sam I Am is determined to make a poor guy like his favorite food...and he'll follow him anywhere, from a house to a car to a train to a boat and do it!

The tale of The Cat and the Hat is a bit simpler. Two kids and a fish find themselves bored and alone at home on a rainy day. It takes a crazy cat in a red-and-white striped hat, his two energetic companions, and the wild search for a "moss-covered three-handled family gredunza" to show the kids that fun is all around you, whether you're outside or in!

Un-Valentine's Day came last. In this episode from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit tries to stem the tide of valentines that were given to them by Pooh the year before by canceling Valentine's Day all together, much like he attempted to cancel Thanksgiving and Halloween when things didn't go right. When Pooh gets a special gift of honey, however, he can't help giving just one Valentine to a friend. That "one" Valentine turns into two cakes going "splat," a pile of paper Valentines, and a stage romance for Christopher Robin that goes comically wrong. But who DID send Pooh that honey?