Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mele Kelekimaka

I couldn't believe how warm it was when I got up this morning, especially for the first day of winter. It was probably in the 60s by 9AM! I was fine in a t-shirt and light pants, even as I made breakfast and listened to the American Top 40. This week's episode was a holiday special covering popular Christmas songs from the 40s onwards. Among the songs we heard were Gene Autry's version of "Here Comes Santa Claus," Johnny Mathis' "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," the Ronettes' really swinging version of "Sleigh Ride," and Nat King Cole's cozy "The Christmas Song."

I spent the next hour and a half or so working on the icing for the Swirled Peppermint Cupcakes for Dad-Bruce and my landlord and his wife Andrew and Linda. I made "Daisy's Vanilla Cream Icing" from The Mickey Mouse Cookbook again this year, replacing the vanilla extract with peppermint extract and topping the cupcakes with crushed candy canes.

Ran a couple of holiday episodes of favorite animated and comedy shows and characters as I worked. The Monkees spread holiday cheer in their own way in their only holiday episode, "The Christmas Show" from the second season. Thinking they're going to be playing a Christmas gig, they find themselves babysitting an obnoxious rich boy for the holidays instead. The kid is unamused by their attempts to give him the Christmas spirit...until Mike Nesmith figures out what it is that he really wants.

"It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas," as you can guess, spoofs It's a Wonderful Life, right down to a familiar-sounding rabbit guardian angel named Harvey showing Buster what his life would be like if he was never on the show. They even have a black-and-white "clip" from the film. I wish I could have seen this when it came out in 1993, but we didn't have cable by that point. It's the last episode on the Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4 DVD set; definitely worth a look if you're a fan of the show or of Wonderful Life.

The Pink Panther has less luck trying to earn money for a holiday meal in A Pink Christmas. He does everything from playing Santa to catching a robber, but never gets any money or food for his efforts...until he befriends a puppy and learns that kindness is its own reward.

The Backyardigans are also on the trail of Christmas thieves in "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve," from their fourth and (to date) final season. Uniqua, Tasha, and Pablo are called by Santa Claus (voice of Conan O'Brian) to retrieve his magic sack from the goofy Abominable Brothers (Tyrone and Austin). The two didn't even know they took Santa's sack - they thought it was just something they could use to carry snowballs.

I went for a quick errand run after finishing the cupcakes. First off was a few present deliveries. My next-door neighbor Richard didn't appear to be home. I just left the bag with the card and Cranberry Bread for him and his family on their front door. My landlord Andrew was home, and I was able to give him the cupcakes for him and his wife Linda in person.

Rode over to Family Dollar next for a few things I forgot at the Acme yesterday. I'm out of soap, and Family Dollar had a huge bag of cough drops for two dollars. They were also having a buy one Christmas item, get the second half-off sale; I bought bags for Dad's cupcakes and Jodie's pudding pie. (Dad's bag ended up being fifty cents!)

Speaking of Dad and Jodie, I made a short stop at Dad's house on my way back. Jodie was working on the computer. Dad's still on a cruise ship job in Florida (he's a freelance cruise ship captain), but Jodie says he'll be home in time for their party on Christmas Eve.

When I got home, I swept the porch (which needed it badly - this is the first time I've seen most of the porch in weeks), then ran A Disney Channel Christmas while working on the Christmas coasters I'm crocheting for my apartment. They're going to replace the coasters I made as a child, which are by now dirty and gunky. I dubbed Disney Channel Christmas about two years ago, when Mom gave me the tapes we made in the late 80s. This is a combination of Disney's two earlier TV specials, Jiminy Cricket's Christmas and A Disney Christmas Gift, with some additional segments. (There's a sequence from Mickey's Christmas Carol that says it's "now in theaters," which dates this special's debut to about 1983.)  I always get a lump in my throat when Jiminy sings "When You Wish Upon a Star" at the end, surrounded by most of the Disney gang in the 60s.

I went to work an hour early, so I could enjoy the Acme's Christmas luncheon and bring my two boxes of cookies without having to rush. It's pretty much the same deal as the Thanksgiving Luncheon, only with red-and-green tablecloths and holiday-themed wrappers on the candy. As I did at Thanksgiving, I stuffed myself silly. I enjoyed the noodle casserole again (this time with the addition of shrimp), slices of Mexican-spiced cheese and turkey melts, Hershey's Special Dark mini-bars, a tasty black bean and corn salad, and a slice of Pineapple Cake for lunch. What little dinner I could fit in during my break included tortellini-spinach salad, turkey and gravy, and a half a slab of pumpkin bread.

Surprisingly, work wasn't that busy. It was steady early on, and some of the people who worked the early shift said the morning had been crazy. It began to die out even by the 4PM rush hour. By the time I left, it was quiet. There were no problems whatsoever coming or going.

Since it was still pretty warm when I left, I took a short ride to look at lights as I headed home. This time, I cruised around the neighborhood between the ramp onto the Black Horse Pike and the Oaklyn School. While most of the displays up there are smaller and not quite as elaborate as the ones on the other side of the School, many of them can do something the side down by the School can't - decorate their back porches and patios so that the lights reflect on the river.

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