Started off a gray morning with Banana Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes and the first Disney CD in the Classic Disney set I bought a few years ago. What I like on this set is, in addition to songs from movies like Mary Poppins and the animated classics that have soundtracks, you can also find songs from live-action movies or movies whose soundtracks have been out of print for decades. Among the unusual tunes on Volume 1 are "The Spectrum Song," Professor Ludvig Von Drake's big number from the Wonderful World of Color 60s TV show, "A Whale of a Tale" from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (sung surprisingly well by star Kirk Douglas), "Let's Get Together" from the original The Parent Trap, "The Ugly Bug Ball" from Summer Magic, and the title song from The Monkey's Uncle (performed by Annette Funicello and The Beach Boys - how early 60s can you get?).
Thankfully, it was still just damp and blah when I rode to work. It was also fairly warm, something I hadn't been expecting after the relative chill of the last week or so. Between the warm weather, the football games, the beginning of the month, and people restocking from the holidays, we were a madhouse all day. My relief was late, and I just barely got out on time.
When I finally made it out, it was damp, but not raining. If it rained, it did it well before I went out there. I made it home dry. I wasn't expecting the large package to be sitting on (what's left) of the front apartment porch. I was so depressed Christmas Eve after the party didn't go that well, I did a little online retail therapy. Amazon.com had the Hunter Huntsman/Ashlyn Ella 2-pack for under $15, a steal when I've seen them go for 30 or more, and Blondie Lockes for $10. Tossed in the recently re-released Leslie Ann Warren Rodgers and Hammestein's Cinderella to get free shipping.
It took me the better part of an hour to get the dolls out of their boxes. I did Blondie first. The gossipy daughter of Goldilocks, Blondie is in charge of Ever After High's gossip show and newspaper. She's a "Royal," which means she believes characters should stick to their destinies as written...though she keeps insisting she's royalty. I love her adorable blue bear-print dress and ribbon headband, even if the combination of the blue and white dress and her butter-yellow hair makes her look more like the daughter of Alice In Wonderland than Goldilocks! (Incidentally, an offspring of Alice has been announced...an explorer-themed son, Alistair.) Her hair was a disaster when I got it out of the box. She had the same shedding problem as Briar, too. It looked better after a quick brushing, but I'll probably end up washing it.
The next one out was Ashlynn Ella. Boy, was she stuck in there! She was really pretty when I finally pulled her out, though. Her strawberry-blond hair was far easier to brush and less prone to shedding than curl-girls Briar and Blondie, too. Ashlynn has really pretty translucent blue "glass" shoes that wind up her feet. I'd like her mint-and-pink floral dress better if it wasn't so darn tight. She literally can't sit down. Ashlynn is technically a Royal. She doesn't have any problems with being Cinderella...until she meets Hunter.
Hunter gave me a lot less trouble than the girls, maybe because he doesn't have nearly as much hair as they do. He's such a handsome fellow, I can understand why Ashlynn adores him. Unlike his girlfriend, he's a "Rebel." He's supposed to be the Huntsman for Cerise Hood or Apple White. What he really wants is to become a veterinarian and take care of animals, not trap them. He and Ashlyn are both vegan and share the same concern for the Earth and its creatures. My favorite thing of his is his awesome satchel. Unlike Blondie and Ashlyn's purses, it actually opens. I wish it came in human sizes. I was able to put Ashlyn's tiny bird ring in it. (I accidentally pulled the rubber band off the ring. The rings are so small, I've been leaving the rubber bands on the girls' hands so they don't disappear.)
Since Ashlynn can't sit down, I set her and Hunter up in their stands, arm in arm. This isn't how they'd appear in the real storyline! Their dating is very frowned-upon, especially since Hunter is neither a prince, nor a character from Ashlynn's story. Ashlynn finally decided in one of the web cartoon specials that, if she couldn't be with Hunter, she didn't want to be a Royal. She disappointed Apple White, but she and Hunter have been joined at the hip ever since. They're almost always seen together in the cartoons. No wonder. They look so cute cuddled together on my shelf.
I finished the night by taking down my Christmas decorations. Tonight, I did everything but the tree, the stuffed animals under the tree, and the Nativity, garlands, and linens that go in the Santa Bag. The poinsettia placemats went in the laundry basket. Tomorrow, I'll at least try to get to the bears and other soft items before work.
Had CDs on while I worked and de-boxed the dolls. After I did the collection of songs from various musical versions of Cinderella (I thought that was appropriate, with the Ever After High dolls), I moved on to The Drowsy Chaperone. This 2004 spoof of musical theater conventions starts with a Man In the Chair, sitting simply onstage. He's a huge musical fan and plays cast albums "whenever he feels blue." His favorite is the 20s show of the title. It's a piece of delightful fluff about a stage star (Sutton Foster) who is almost abandoned by her beloved on their wedding day. The Man In the Chair frequently comments on the action or explains the characters and how they relate to him. When we hit the heroine's lament of how she was abandoned, he breaks down with her...and we see just how much this show means to him.
As cute as this was, this very theatrical piece of entertainment probably works better onstage, where you can see the Man In the Chair interact with the characters in his mind. There's some nice music, though, including Sutton Foster's tour-de-force "Show Off" and the lovely "As We Stumble Along."
Oh, and it did rain heavily a few hours ago. I don't think it's doing anything now. Right now, it looks like we may get a dusting of snow later this week along with those freezing temperatures. As long as it's not 8 inches and doesn't drop under the 20s, I think we'll be fine.