Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Candle On the Water

It was an absolutely gorgeous day for running errands. The temperatures climbed into the mid-60s, from what the Beneficial Bank sign in Audubon said. The sky was blue, and it was breezy but not windy. Good thing it was such a nice day. The first thing on the queue was a must - getting the Foot and Ankle Center to fill out the other side of that paper. I called them and explained what happened, then rode up to Haddon Heights so they could fill it out. They were even nice enough to fax it to the Department of Labor right away.

I made a quick stop at the big CVS on King's Highway two doors down from the Foot and Ankle Center to look at their mouse traps. When they didn't have what I wanted, I grabbed the bike and headed back to Oaklyn. I stopped at the Library on the way home to do this week's volunteering. As some of the older ladies watched the recent film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom of the Opera, I organized adult and kids' DVDs and took a look at the kids' books.

Ran Good Eats episodes as I had a peanut butter and apricot preserves wrap and an apple for lunch. Alton covers two more frequent pantry favorites that are a bit more expensive but worth having around, cooking oils (including the then-popular nut oils) and molasses. (I swear, I will try that shoofly pie recipe one of these days. Considering we're not that far from Pennsylvania Dutch country, it's practically a requirement.)

After lunch, I went online quickly to check on my Temporary Disability and Partial Unemployment claims. As of 2:30, the Temporary Disability claim still hadn't gone through. Partial Unemployment had, but hadn't paid out yet. (I may have missed the pay date for that one.)

Next on the list was getting the laundry done. There wasn't anything resembling the load I had last week, but I did have my Acme uniform to do. Dad and Jodie were both at his house when I arrived. Dad was putting up his Christmas tree before he went back to another cruise ship job. Jodie was watching Law & Order on USA.

Dad always does an awesome job decorating the house...and now, with fewer people around, he can decorate even more of it. His huge (and real) tree, which used to go in the big picture window in the living room, is now in the den. Every window is surrounded by lights, cotton "snow," ropes of greenery, and Jessa's holiday Beanie Babies.

Went for a walk while the laundry was in the drier. Since it's in the neighborhood, I stopped at the Center for Art and Traditional Therapy while I was out. A few more people were listed as "in," but the majority were still out, including Lisa Perry. I'm tired of waiting for her. I'll call the therapist in Haddonfield tomorrow.

After I left the Center, I strolled around to WaWa and bought a pretzel, then back down the White Horse Pike and around to Newton. It was nearly 4:30, and the lights were just coming on many houses and businesses. I love all the festive, elaborate displays in Oaklyn. Special mention to the Little Bear Day Care Center on the White Horse Pike, who had hanging snowflakes that lit up and played Christmas music as the kids chased each other in the small playground in the side yard.

I did have that chat with Dad and Jodie when I returned. Dad's having problems of his own. He had to stick around for October and most of November to deal with Uncle Ken's funeral and everything that happened afterwards. That cost him several cruise ships job and quite a bit of money. He's not even sure it's worth keeping the house and may sell it eventually.

As for me, they both say I shouldn't have any problem with keeping my apartment as long as I give Andrew the rent sometime this month and don't get too backed up. Dad's known Andrew almost as long as Uncle Ken. They're friends of the family. It's a very different situation from Cape May County, where many rental houses and apartments are owned by people who live anywhere from 40 minutes to three hours away. In Oaklyn, most homes and apartments for rent outside of commercial apartment buildings are owned by locals.

They also agree with Lauren that, while I really need to discuss it with the therapist first, medication probably is not the best route for me. I do have problems with focus and procrastination...but so do a lot of people, including my own father. Social skills aren't that uncommon of a problem, either. I'll learn social skills with practice, not drugs. As for being off in my own world, that's called "zoning out," and it's also not uncommon. Once again, learning to deal with things comes with practice. When I get scared, it's a lot easier for me to cling to a fantasy than to face fears.

When I got home, I put the laundry away, then ran two more Good Eats episodes (on oranges and cranberries, both in season and popular at this time of year) while working on a crocheting project for Amanda.

I switched to Pete's Dragon while making a delicious Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip for dinner. This 1977 live action/animation hybrid is the third of Disney's hybrid musicals that attempted to ape Mary Poppins. The dragon in question is Elliot, the animated guardian of the very real little boy Pete (Sean Marshall). Pete's on the run from the nasty hillbilly family who adopted and abuse him, the Gogans (including Shelly Winters as the mother). He and Elliot end up in a small New England town, Passamaquaddy. Elliot's large size and playful nature does nothing but wreck havoc, and the two flee the town.

Fortunately, they're found by Nora (singer Helen Reddy), the daughter of the drunkard lighthouse keeper Lampy (Mickey Rooney). Nora takes a shine to Elliot, despite thinking his talk of dragons is nonsense. Lampy, however, firmly believes in Elliot...as do two scheming snake oil salesmen (Jim Dale and Red Buttons) who want bits and pieces of Elliot for their phony medicines.

This is an old nostalgic favorite of mine. A revival was one of the first movies my sisters and I saw in theaters as kids. I'm especially fond of the lovely score by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn. The ballad "Candle on the Water" was nominated for an Oscar. Also of mention - the sweet duet for Reddy and Marshall, "It's Not Easy," Rooney's big comic production number "I Swear I Saw a Dragon," and Dale's "Money By the Pound." There's a terrific cast of character actors hamming it up all over the place as well. In addition to Buttons, Winters, Dale, and Rooney, we have Jim Backus as the town mayor, Jane Kean as the straight-laced teacher, and Jeff Conaway as one of the hillbillies.

The movie does have its flaws. Aside from Elliot, the special effects are rather obvious and badly done, especially compared to such then-special effects marvels as Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. As with many musicals of the 60s and 70s, the plot is overlong and quite meandering. It doesn't really get anywhere until Dale and Buttons show up part-way through.

As much as I love this movie, unless you grew up with it as I did, you may be better off showing it to your kids first. It's a very sweet and old-fashioned family musical, and that's not to everyone's taste.

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