Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas In New Jersey

First of all, I got Lauren's Christmas package yesterday and opened it late last night, when she got in from work. What a wonderful, thoughtful friend she is! She gave me eight American Girl books (Kirsten's birthday story, Kit's birthday and summer stories, two Kaya books, a modern book, and two general historical books), two hand-made doll outfits, the Snowflake Ball Gown (one of American Girl's limited edition winter formal outfits from 2010), the original hardback Story Land Disney anthology that my mom has at her house, a huge pile of CDs (including several original cast albums and solo albums from Barbara Cook and Johnny Mathis), a gift card to Macy's, and a lovely card with cardinals on a snowy background. Lauren's parents gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card and a really cute puppies and kitties card. Thanks again, Lauren! : )

I spent a sunny, slightly chilly morning working on the biscotti. I don't make mine into the hard rusk shapes many of you dunk into warm drinks. I roll the dough into candy cane and wreath shapes and sprinkle them with colored sugar. Wreaths get "berries" made of cinnamon candies. They're not hard to make, but they require a lot of butter (a stick and a quarter) and are fairly rich, which is why I only make them once a year.

Ran Christmas In Connecticut as I worked on the cookies. Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is post-war America's favorite food columnist. Her magazine articles detailing her cozy family and home in New England are wildly popular. Trouble is, in real life, Lane is a devoted city girl who lives in an apartment, can't boil water, and relies on her uncle (S.K Sakall) to provide recipes. Elizabeth's fibbing catches up with her when her motor-mouth boss (Sydney Greenstreet) not only insists that she give a returning soldier (Dennis Morgan) a nice home for the holidays, but ends up joining them. She turns to an obnoxious architect who conveniently has a farm and wants to marry her. He's a crashing bore, but she needs that farm...until she sees that the solider is cute and charming, and she begins to think that honesty really is the best policy.

I like this one. Stanwyck's a blast as the confused city girl; Sakall and a rare non-villainous Greenstreet are even better as the two very different bosses. Highly recommended for fans of romantic or screwball comedy or Stanwyck. (There was a TV movie remake in the mid-90s with Dylan Cannon, but I haven't seen it.)

Work was even quieter than yesterday. It was slightly busier during the noon and 4PM rush hours, but not by much. Not only is it the middle of the week and month, but many people are probably either at the malls or doing their own baking at home. Other than a couple of cranky customers early on, I had no major problems.

When I got home, I ran an episode of Wonder Woman while making a leek, Colby cheese, and mushroom omelet for dinner. Wonder Woman did two episodes set during the Christmas season; I went with the slightly more holiday-themed story from the second season, "The Deadly Toys." When a prominent scientist who just ended a huge weapons project turns out to have been replaced by a life-like android, the government does what it can to keep the remaining two members of his group safe. Meanwhile, Diana Prince tries to figure out what a creepy little old toymaker and the military strategy toys the scientists are obsessed with have to do with their disappearances.

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