Friday, November 29, 2013

Beginning of the Holiday Season

I started this morning in bed. I really didn't feel like getting involved with Rose and Dad's long-winded conversation about politics at quarter after 7 in the morning. I read the novelization of the stage version of Annie and wrote in my journal instead. Dad was on his way out by the time I made it downstairs. I was able to give him a hug right before he left to get his boat ready for his next trip (he's the captain of a commercial fishing vessel).

Spent the next few hours the same way I did last night, chatting with Anny, Rose, and Mom and watching Khai and Skylar play with their toys and chase each other. Mom sliced the two loaves of bread I made this week for breakfast. We had them with coffee, tea, orange juice for the boys, and the last of the fruit tart and apple pie. The bread was a hit. Khai gobbled the slices of Cranberry he ate; Rose says he loves fruit bread of any kind. Anny enjoyed the pumpkin bread so much, she ended up taking the rest of it home with her.

At one point, Rose and I took the little boys outside to let off some steam. It was sunny, more so than even yesterday, and not windy anymore. It remained a bit chilly for this time of the year, though not nearly as much as yesterday, probably in the lower 40s. The wind having dissipated helped a lot. Despite the warming trend, the little boys complained about being cold and went inside to watch episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Spongebob Squarepants instead.

Rose, Khai, and I headed out around 10:30 in a car filled with leftovers from Mom and toys for Khai that Skylar and Collyn had outgrown. Once again, the ride was smooth sailing. Everyone must have been out shopping or sitting at home full. Other than a short stop in a WaWa parking lot so Rose could dig Khai's snack out of her bag, we went straight home. Khai rested. He barely made a peep the whole time. Rose and I talked about our family, and I helped Rose brainstorm ideas for Christmas presents.

When I got in, I had a quick lunch and took down the Thanksgiving and general fall decorations while watching A Disney Channel Christmas. This rare special from 1983 is a combination of two earlier Christmas specials with some additional material, including a sequence from the then-new Mickey's Christmas Carol and one of my favorite black-and-white Mickey shorts, "Mickey's Good Deed." We taped it off The Disney Channel sometime in the late 80s. I watched it every year for over a decade and was thrilled when I was able to dub it about two years ago.

Made a really short Acme run after lunch. I didn't really need much, since I didn't eat at home a lot this week. I just needed to restock a few baking items (like pumpkin and chocolate chips) and buy soup and canned fruit for quick winter meals. I was really there to take some money out and get my schedule. My schedule next week isn't bad. A late night on Thursday is the only real problem. Otherwise, I have two days off (Tuesday for my friend Amanda's visit and next Saturday) and mostly late morning and early afternoon hours.)

I passed the rest of the day at my apartment. I organized and swept the "pantry" (two shelves in the area between the pantry and the stove I use for boxed and canned goods) and the area under the sink I use to store Tupperware and pots and pans. I gave the kitchen a good scrub. I did a lot of vacuuming, including around woodwork.

Ran Barbie and the Magic of the Pegasus while I was cleaning the pantry and kitchen. One of the more unusual Barbie fairy tales has the famous doll as Annika, a rebellious princess who is upset that her parents won't let her skate off the palace grounds. When she defies them, she runs smack into Wenlock, an evil sorcerer who wants her for his bride. She's rescued by a Pegasus who turns out to be the sister she never knew. With the help of her horse sister, a young man living in the woods who has problems of his own, and an adorable orphan polar bear cub, Annika seeks three items to make the wand that is the only thing that can defeat Wenlock.

Switched to holiday documentaries as I ate a quick dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers and later as I vacuumed. Linda Young sent me three wonderful specials on Christmas history and customs in 2007, and it's become traditional for me to watch them every year as I prepare my apartment for the Christmas season. Christmas Past covers the holiday in England, with some wonderful stories about festivities in rural northern England, for the non-Christmas-celebrating Scottish, for the landed gentry, for poor children from London evacuated to the countryside, and for a female Father Christmas. Christmas Unwrapped is the History Channel's look at the customs on this side of the pond and at the history of the holiday in general. TV Guide Looks at Christmas covers the holidays on the tube, with everything from beloved animated specials to sitcom episodes to It's a Wonderful Life discussed. My favorite segment deals with holiday variety specials. I was born just as variety programming was starting to die out on TV. Seeing scenes from a Bing Crosby 70s special, the Judy Garland 60s show (I have the soundtrack to that on CD), and Perry Como's holiday celebrations in Europe were really fascinating.

After I finished the cleaning and the documentaries, I went straight in the bath. I needed a good soak after a busy couple of weeks, and Lauren wouldn't be online until later tonight. I read Annie and the Hanukkah stories in the children's anthology Told Under the Christmas Tree. The latter are in honor of the Jewish winter holiday, which began yesterday.  My favorites of the stories told of Hanukkah in modern (late 40s, when the book came out) times. One dealt with a teenager who cheered up a friend on his football team who was in an accident on Thanksgiving with his family's Hanukkah celebration. The other was about a boy from Europe who had been involved with World War II and had lost his parents to the Nazis. His family in the US takes them in, but their elaborate Hanukkah seems overdone after his lean years. It takes a special surprise to make him feel like he's part of the family.

Which reminds me, I do hope all of my readers who celebrate it enjoy their week of Hanukkah!

No comments: