Saturday, October 05, 2013

Hot Day Among the Books

Started out a hazy, wet morning with this week's American Top 40 re-run. Early fall 1983 saw my sister and I preparing for a new dad, while the rest of the world turned to pop, New Wave, country, and dance tunes. Hits in early October included "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats, "Island In the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Pardon, "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" by Laura Brannigan, "Promises, Promises" by Naked Eyes, "One Thing Leads to Another" by The Fixx, and two songs from very 80s musicals, "Maniac" by Michael Sambello from Flashdance, and "Far From Over" by Frank Stallone from the campy Stayin' Alive.

That week's top song was one of the most famous ballads of the early 80s, the dramatic "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.

There were yard sales all over the place today, starting with at least six in Oaklyn alone. Only one on East Haddon Avenue had anything of interest. I picked up some more yarn for a dollar, including one large multi-colored skein I intend to use for my friend Lauren's Christmas present. Did better at an estate sale on Park Avenue across from Knight Park in Collingswood. They had some really nice appliances and pots and pans for sale, many of which looked like they'd never been used. I finally bought a beautiful 8-inch non-stick frying pan for three dollars. I've needed to replace my much-abused old frying pan for years, but I could never find one I liked for a good price.

The Farm Market was could-barely-squeeze-in packed today. The fall harvest is starting to make its debut. Peaches and large cucumbers are pretty much done, but I did buy the first cranberries and broccoli of the season. I also picked up tiny Empire apples (I like the smaller ones - easier to pack in a lunch bag and less to eat), pears, baby spinach, mushrooms, and a garlic bulb.

Part of the reason the Farm Market was so busy today was because of Collingswood's Book Festival a block away on Haddon Avenue. No crafts, cars, or rides at this show, and no games that don't relate to reading - it's all books, and everything you can imagine that's related to books, along with a few food booths. There were authors selling their wares. There were large displays from publishing companies like Scholastic. There were tents set up for poetry readings and author signings. Teens and children had their own sections, with puppet shows, costumed characters (I saw someone as Skippyjon Jones the Siamese kitten), and games for the kiddies, and author signings and readings for the older guys. I even saw my friend Cassandra touting her young adult novels. 

The main reason I was there was for the used book sellers. The final two or three blocks of the Festival is devoted to booths and tables filled with nothing but used books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, and videos. I made some wonderful finds after much hot and sweaty searching:

Two American Girl mysteries, the Kit story A Thief In the Theater and the Felicity supernatural tale Lady Margaret's Ghost

501 Movie Stars, a thick guide to popular screen stars and character actors from the silent era through the book's publishing in 2007

The 70s version of The Nutcracker featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov as the title character. I've been looking for this on DVD for a decent price for years. The cheapest I've seen it is $9 on eBay, still a little high for a 79-minute ballet performance I watch a few times a year. I picked it up for $2.

 It had been hot and humid ever since the clouds had cleared around 9 and left a hazy blue sky. There's no shade on the part of Haddon Avenue where the used book sales were. Despite buying a frozen raspberry lemonade from the Philly Pretzel Company, I was dripping sweat by the time I bought 501 Stars. It was time to go home. I headed back for my bike, passing several musical acts, including a pianist who was really burning up the keys and a girl group doing a cute rendition of "I'm a Believer." I also took a brief look at a book sale at a church and one last yard sale in Oaklyn, but finally decided enough was enough and bought nothing else. I was in the house by 12:30.

I'm a little embarrassed to say I spent the rest of the day reading. I got so caught up with my new finds, one hour turned into two, and then another, and before I knew it, it was almost 5PM and time for a bath! It's lazy of me, but I don't often get a chance to just rest like this, without running from one place to another. I'd planned on cleaning this afternoon, but I never got to it.

A cool, fragrant bath felt so nice after my hot walk at the Book Festival. I read my 501 Stars book, listened to jazz, and just relaxed. I really need to start doing yoga again, too. I don't want to take any classes of any kind until I can figure out what I want, but I could rent some DVDs and look over a few books.

I had just enough time after my bath for a dinner of Chicken Fingers with light cornmeal breading and leftover Chinese beans with spinach and mushrooms. Ran Pooh's Grand Adventure while I ate. This sweet and surprisingly touching direct-to-video tale has Pooh and the gang searching for Christopher Robin in the dreaded Forbidden Mountains. They're worried he may have been taken by the fearsome Skullasaurus! While Tigger, Rabbit, and Piglet face their fears, Pooh wonders why his beloved human friend has left him alone.

Similar to the 2011 Winnie the Pooh, but more bittersweet. For all the cute numbers and comedy, there's some genuinely scary or sad moments as well. You may want to have a hand waiting for the little ones when Pooh sings the heartbreaking "Wherever You Are," and don't forget to have a tissue for you as well.

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