Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Believe It's Magic

Started a hazy, overly-warm day by finishing Strawberry Girl. I very much enjoyed Lois Lenski's tale of a family of farmers who move to Florida in the early 1900s, when it was still considered backwater country. They're ridiculed by their hillbilly next-door neighbors the Slaters for planting crops like strawberries and oranges instead of herding cattle. Smart Birdie Boyer is determined to help her family make the best of things and ignore the teasing from the obnoxious Slater boy, Shoestring. Turns out the Slater dad is a drunk who ignores his family and stirs up trouble. Birdie's dad has a hot temper gets into a battle over land rights with Slater. It takes a crisis at the Slater house to finally get Mr. Slater to change his ways and truly "love thy neighbor."

An interesting story of survival and family that deservedly won a Newberry Award. Linda Young says Lenski apparently wrote a lot more stories set in other parts of the US, but most of them are out of print. I may have to keep an eye out for them.

I finished the book and my journal writing so late, it was noon before I got to the laundromat. I had a lot of clothes that really, really needed to be done. Thankfully, though it was busy when I came in, it cleared out pretty fast. By the time I was unloading my clothes from the dryer, I had the place to myself.

I finished more Bowery Boys while quickly putting away my laundry. Ghost Chasers is the third of five Bowery Boys horror-themed movies, and my personal favorite. Here, the guys are pursuing Margo the Medium, a phony psychic whose business has been bilking older women in their neighborhood. They're not the only ones who want to discredit Margo. A ghost named Edgar also wants to stop her from sullying the good name of ghosts everywhere. Naturally, only Sach can see him. The others are wondering if Sach has finally flipped...at least until he and his ghost friend get them out of a few tight spots.

It was 1:40 when I finally got out of the apartment. Even trying to take a short cut down Hood Road to Crystal Lake Road and Euclid Avenue, I was still 15 minutes late. I was very upset with myself when I got in. I don't like being late. It looks bad, and it isn't fair to the other person. Mrs. Stahl said she was more worried about me riding up there on my bike than being late. This lead us to a discussion of one of my biggest problems - I just can't seem to reign in my emotions, especially when I'm upset or frustrated or scared. I know I'm hard on myself. I just want to do better. My emotions always seem to take over. I'm so afraid of what people will do and say.

I also discussed my holiday plans. Halloween isn't that big of a deal with me. I like dressing up, but I'm not a big fan of horror, or of partying, which is what most adults who don't have kids do for Halloween. I've mellowed out a bit on most holidays. For every holiday but Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, if I get off, great. If not, great, I make extra money. I no longer care whom I spend Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with, either. I enjoy my time with the family, but I also like being able to relax and run holiday-related DVDs all day.

That said, I still get a little down at Christmas. I love that holiday, all the lights and fuss and especially the baking, but the emphasis on family in many traditions and a lot of the media makes this single woman feel a little left out.

Mrs. Stahl pretty much just said "try to work on your emotions, and we'll discuss it further next time." I'll try, but as I keep trying to explain to Mom, it's not that easy to overcome a lifetime of bad habits.

It was hard to be upset when you walked out into a blue sky and oddly warm 78 degree day. I had a very late lunch at Animo's Burritos and Juice. They moved into Cold Stone Creamery's old building a few doors down from Starbucks' and a block from Mrs. Stahl's office a few months ago. I hadn't had a chance to eat there since they moved. While my favorite "Quick Chicken" burrito is gone, I did enjoy the tasty Chicken and Gucamole burrito - it also had spinach, tomato, and Amino's house vinaigrette. The Green Lemon Aid juice (apples, lemons, greens) wasn't nearly as good. They really overloaded the lemons there! It was almost too sour to drink. I didn't finish it. They were surprisingly busy for 3 in the afternoon, with families coming in from walks, older couples enjoying each other's company, and office professionals using the Wi-Fi.

I rode down Haddon Avenue after lunch, stopping at Primo's Water Ice in Westmont for a cool treat. I figured Pumpkin was appropriate for the time of year. (It tasted faintly of mint - mint chocolate chip must have been the last flavor the girl scooped out.) They were busy with kids just out of school. An older girl played with her sisters in the "Ice Box" events room in the back, and more kids were coming as I was leaving.

I continued into Collingswood, turning to Atlantic Avenue to avoid the rush hour traffic on Haddon. I'd been putting off getting my hair done, but it was now too frizzy to ignore. Thankfully, the Hair Cuttery was empty when I arrived. I just had my hair trimmed and layered. I don't get as much cut off in the fall, since we're coming up on the winter. I just get tired of the frizz.

I made a brief stop at the Rite Aid next-door for Halloween cards, then went straight home. When I got in, I made Turkey Stir Fry from leftovers for dinner while watching Ghostbusters. A trio of former Columbia University professors (Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, and the late Harold Ramis) go into business for themselves as professional ghost hunters. At first, the only client they can get is a classical musician (Sigorney Weaver) who seems to have the spirit of a god in her refrigerator. Eventually, business booms, so much that they hire a fourth guy to help out (Ernie Wilson). When the musician and her nerdy neighbor (Rick Moranis) are possessed by a pair of evil deities, the Ghostbusters are on the case...if they can get past the petty bureaucrat (William Atherton) with a grudge against them.

One of the best comedies of the 80s is a long-time favorite of mine. I grew up in a place where ghost sightings seemed a little more likely than most. If the stories are to be believed, Cape May may have more spirit residents than live ones. My sisters and I used to run around our house in the dark with backpack "Proton Packs," looking for ghosts.

Ackroyd, Murray, and Ramis are all excellent as three very modern mad scientists; Ramis is fun as the ultimate annoying neighbor, too. A little too spooky for the young ones, but for families with older kids and anyone with fond memories of this franchise from their childhood, this is still a great deal of fun and is highly recommended. (Even if you're normally horror-phobic, like me.)

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