Monday, December 22, 2014

Run Run Rudolph

It was still sunny when I got up this morning. I ran Moonlighting while eating breakfast. They did two Christmas episodes. I prefer the more upbeat "'Twas the Episode Before Christmas" from the second season. Maddie and David's receptionist Agnes finds a baby in her apartment. While Maddie and David look for the mother, they argue over the idea of parenthood and David using company phones for his "Santa Hotline."

The first thing on my long to-do list for today was a trip to the laundromat. Thankfully, unlike my pre-Christmas laundromat run last year, they were quiet as can be. There were only two people unloading dryers when I arrived, and one college student loading a dryer when I left. I spent the hour listening to The Price Is Right and reading Christmas stories.

When I got home, I put everything away while running another TV Christmas show. The second episode of Night Court had a mild Christmas theme. "Santa Goes Downtown" when a kindly old derelict in a red suit shows up at the court and insists he's the jolly old man in red. Harry doesn't believe he's Santa, and neither do two runaways who refuse to give anyone their names. (One of the runaways is Michael J. Fox, just prior to Family Ties.) The old man finally shows Harry and the kids that there are people out there who care about them, even just an old man in a red suit.

Headed out again after the show ended. I wanted to deliver the food gifts for my current landlords Richard and Willa next-door, my former landlords Andrew and Linda down the street, and my old friend Erica and her mom Miss Helen who live a block from Dad's house. I was going to wait until Christmas Eve to do it, but the weather doesn't sound like it's going to be appropriate for a lot of running around.

I had lunch at Amato Bros, the deli and hoagie store on the White Horse Pike, next to Duncan Donuts. My "Mama's Turkey" - basically a turkey club hoagie with Russian dressing - was delicious, if a bit messy. I also enjoyed a can of Diet Pepsi and a couple of white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies. It was quarter of 1 by that point, and they were busy with people enjoying a quick lunch and picking up hoagies to eat on the go. I listened to Action News and The Chew's Ugly Sweater Contest and watched people pick up their orders.

I rode to the Haddon Township Library through Newton River Park. By the time I was there, it was cold and had clouded over, but the wind was nonexistent. The dark, mottled water of the river looked like it had tried to freeze over and failed. The grass was still a little green, probably from all the rain we've had. I only saw two other people, an old man out for a stroll and a man walking his two little dogs, but there were tons of ducks and Canadian geese around. I dodged a particularly large flock of geese as I headed for the park exit on Cuthbert.

The Library was fairly busy when I arrived, and there was quite a bit to do. Thankfully, this week, I  had no problems doing it all, other than the B and S titles don't fit in the kids' DVD sections and the R and S titles are overflowing on the adult shelves. I also put away new book releases, CDs, and audio books. And for once, I agree with the head librarian, who must have heard about the fuss last week. From now on, I try to stick to volunteering in the afternoon whenever possible. They have plenty of help in the mornings.

(I opted not to take anything out again. I don't know what my schedule next week will be like, and I have plenty of movies to watch here, including all those DVDs Lauren sent me.)

Next stop was Thriftway for what I hope will be my last grocery shopping trip before Christmas Day. I needed to pick up a shortbread crust, canned pumpkin, milk, and Cool Whip for the pudding pie. They had the smaller box of brown sugar on sale for 99 cents - I was just about out. Grabbed heavy cream for the cupcake icing I'll make tomorrow. Thriftway was surprisingly dead as a doornail. I had no problems anywhere, including in line.

I made my way around traffic on Cuthbert and the White Horse Pike, then made one more quick stop at WaWa for a Peach-Nectarine Sparkling Ice before riding home. Ran Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas while getting organized and making Red Velvet Cupcakes. This anthology of three shorts featuring the Disney characters came out in 1999, and has been a favorite of mine ever since. I'm especially fond of the first story, "Donald Duck: Stuck On Christmas." Huey, Dewey, and Louie wish it was Christmas every day, then regret it when their wish turns out to be a burden instead of a blessing. It's "A Very Goofy Christmas" when Pete tells Goofy's son Max that Santa isn't real. Goofy goes out of his way to prove otherwise. In "Mickey and Minnie's Gift of the Magi," Mickey and Minnie learn a lesson about love when they trade their most prized possessions for gifts for their sweethearts.

Oh, and the Red Velvet Cupcakes finish all Christmas baking. Dad and Jodie loved the Blue and Red Velvet Cupcakes I made for Dad's Father's Day party so much, I opted to give them both some for Christmas. I just have the cupcakes left to frost and the Pumpkin Pudding Pie to make for Dad and Jodie's Christmas Eve party, and I'll be done with my Christmas list.

Moved to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation as I made Chicken Stir-Fry with leftover chicken breast, a very small sweet potato, and some of those bagged veggies for dinner. Like Arthur Read, Clark Griswald is looking forward to a perfect holiday, with a huge tree, a big dinner for all the family, tons of presents, and his whole clan together. As with Arthur, what Clark imagines and what actually happens is a whole other story. His in-laws don't get along at all. The yuppies next door aren't delighted by Clark wrapping his house with bright lights. His hillbilly cousins show up unexpectedly and create even more chaos. When Christmas Eve turns into one disaster after another, Clark finally snaps...until he realizes that while no one's holiday is perfect, that doesn't mean they can't be memorable.

This is an old favorite of mine (and a reminder of why my parents always insisted that any relatives who wanted to visit for the holidays come on Christmas night or the week after.) Ok, so the jokes are scatological and the yuppies are annoying and dated. I love the cast here - William Hickey and Mae Questal steal the show as obnoxious Uncle Louis and sweetly senile Aunt Bethany. (Questal, the long-time voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl, should have done more live-action.) Great for older kids and teens who will be going on their own vacations this week and adults who have probably gone through a lot of what Clark does in this movie.

Finished out the night with one of several holiday episodes of Happy Days. Mr. Cunningham would probably relate to Clark quite a bit in the second season episode "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas?" All he wants is a good old-fashioned Christmas Eve with his wife and children. Richie, however, figures out that Fonzie's insistence that he's going to a party is a fib and that he's really alone for the holiday. Richie and Mr. Cunningham find a way to invite Fonzie without hurting his making him feel like part of the family.

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