Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Before the Storms

Actually, I spent most of a rainy morning writing. Betty and Mackie are now on the road to Yorkalia City. Mackie tries to get Betty to talk more about her altercation with Scott. She avoids his questions, especially since Scott wasn't around to see them off. They finally stop for lunch in a meadow filled with multi-colored flowers. But these flowers aren't as benign or as pretty as they seem. The glitter around them is putting Mackie and Betty to sleep...and luring them into becoming snacks for hungry flora...

I went for a quick walk around noon. It was still warm, cloudy, and humid, but the rain was long gone by then. I was hoping Studio LuLoo would be open. It was not. I ended up at Viola's International Deli instead for a snack. They were busy as heck. Not only was it the lunch hour, but they're new, and a lot of people may be trying them out of sheer novelty. I settled for two white chocolate chunk cookies. (Which were tasty but very sweet.)

Had leftovers for lunch while doing mildly spooky episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to kick off the Halloween season. Piglet is "A Knight to Remember" when he imagines that he has to fight a fierce dragon during an attempt by the others to play chess pieces. No one's getting much sleep in "Rock-a-Bye Pooh" when Piglet has a nightmare about losing his friends and fears that if he sleeps again, it'll come true. Piglet's not-so-scary version of "The Monster Frankenpooh" gets out of hand when Tigger keeps making it - and Pooh - bigger and darker. Everyone's scared by "Things That Go Piglet In the Night" when they think they hear a ghost and go searching for it.

Work was very busy during rush hour, fairly quiet otherwise. Most people are probably waiting for the beginning of the month tomorrow or trying to avoid the weather. I spent the downtime working on four mini-notebook pages-worth of fanfic ideas. There were no major problems, and my relief was on time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Come On In Out of the Rain

I began a sunny, humid, unseasonably warm day with breakfast and the end of Snow White and the Three Stooges. I switched to another 60's fairy tale musical, the second version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, while giving the bathroom a desperately-needed cleaning. This is the second of three versions of the only musical the famous duo wrote for TV. Leslie Ann Warren is the famous servant girl who is able to go to a ball and wed a prince (Stuart Damon), thanks to the intervention of her Fairy Godmother (Celeste Holm). Ginger Rodgers and Walter Pidgeon are Damon's parents the Queen and King. Comediennes Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick are Cinderella's spoiled stepsisters. This is probably my favorite version of this musical, mainly because it's the one I grew up with; Warren makes an especially lovely and sweet Cinderella. I like Holm's warm and kindly Fairy Godmother, too.

(And the bathroom was gross, especially the tub. Since I was scrubbing the rest of it, I decided to do the tile floor and the rectangle of linoleum that forms the hall between the TV area and my bedroom as well. I usually do them twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. I put the rug on the linoleum outside to air while it dried.)

Thanks to my being distracted by reading old journals in the back room, it was well after 12:30 before I headed out to run today's errands. Though the sun was out this morning, heavy, dark clouds had begun to gather even as I strolled to the Oaklyn Library. They were almost totally dead there, except for the librarian. I took a quick look at the DVDs and shelved and organized some children's books.

(I saw Charlie as I was leaving. He was cutting down most of the bushes around the pine tree as you enter the front yard, which have been looking rather withered these days. He says he is going to try to save those lovely lilac bushes that smell so wonderful in the spring, or if he can't, replace them with something similar. I hope he can save them. I love picking lilacs from the bushes and taking them home when they're in season.)

Amato Bros, the deli and hoagie shop on the White Horse Pike, is just a few minutes' walk from the Oaklyn Library. I went there for lunch. Though it was 1:30 by then, they were very busy with the tail end of the lunch crowd. I had a "mini" Mama's Turkey hoagie - turkey, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, bacon, and Russian dressing on half of a seeded hoagie roll. Even just half of those suckers is enough for one meal! I ate it with a can of Diet A&W. Watched the two guys in the table next to me and all the people from the local small businesses and shops come in and order food as I ate.

The clouds were just starting to burst when I finished lunch. I darted the two blocks to WaWa as fast as my legs could carry me! They were very busy, too. Today was National Free Coffee Day. I don't drink coffee, free or otherwise. I was mainly there for skim milk. Treated myself to a Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie as well. Unlike the Pumpkin Cream Smoothie, this one really tasted like someone liquefied a pumpkin cheesecake. Yummy.

I didn't get as lucky walking home. It started raining again even as I was heading down Manor. By the time I was half-way down the street, it was pouring and I was soaked. Ducking under two trees didn't help. I finally sprinted into Common Grounds Coffee House, the closest building I could dry off in. I bought two small but delicious pieces of shortbread while waiting for the shower to slow down.

The rain did end long enough for me to rush home. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon indoors. I went right into writing after changing out of my dripping t-shirt. Betty rescues Scott, Mackie, and his other men from Grace's wiles by using her light magic to distract her, then to turn Palermo's men into temporary butterflies and birds. She and Mackie head for Mr. Eldridge's house, letting Scott deal with the remaining goons.

Once they all arrive, Scott explains what happened. Grace is a siren, a beautiful female mer-sorceress who uses her magic to ensnare men. Most sirens are confined to the water, but some can spend time on land, and Grace is one of them. Light or fire magic dissolves their powers.

A none-too-happy Betty asks how Scott knew Palermo in the first place. He explains that he'd once done jobs for the gangster and had gambled in his casinos before he came to Wennaria. A run of particularly bad luck left him in 20,000 in the hole. He has to pay off Palermo, before the dapper gangster finds a way to cut it out of his hide. He finally admits that while some of the money from their thefts are going to the poor, a lot of it is being used to settle his debt.

Betty does not take this revelation well. In fact, her reaction is similar to his admittance at the end of "Who's Scott Sherwood?" - she slaps him and accuses him of not caring about anyone, including her. Mr. Eldridge and Mackie walk in just in time to see her tell Scott off. She finally says to Mr. Eldridge thanks for the hospitality, but I really need to find the Guardians, and tells Mackie she wants to get out of the woods as soon as possible.

 I got off around 5, in time to make Dark Chocolate Chip Mint Brownies from a recipe in that Hershey's cookie cookbook Lauren gave me a few months ago. Since the oven was already on, the meatballs I'd planned to make for dinner became turkey meatloaf. Tossed in honey-glazed carrots for a nice, simple meal.

Ran Who Framed Roger Rabbit as I worked. This watershed blending of animation and live-action takes us to Hollywood in 1947. The title character (voice of Charles Fleischer) is a typical "toon" from that era, as wild and wacky as you can get...but even toons can have love problems. Roger is married to toon bombshell Jessica Rabbit (voice of Kathleen Turner) and thinks she's chasing the owner of their home Toontown, Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye). His boss hires private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to take photos of them together. The real story goes a lot deeper than that, which Eddie discovers when Acme is killed and Roger is accused of the crime. Now the animated rabbit and the cartoon-hating detective have to work together to bring down a particularly weird judge (Christopher Lloyd)...or they may end up being the ones who get hit by a five-ton safe.

This was one of my family's favorite movies in the late 80's and early 90's, especially Anny's, and it holds up extremely well today. I loved this movie so much, one of my favorite toys for over a decade was a stuffed Roger Rabbit my parents picked up for me on a trip to visit my mom's sister's family in Virginia. The special effects are still amazing...and Bob Hoskins' performance is even moreso. You'd never believe he spent most of the movie talking to mechanical objects or nothing at all in real life.

As much as my little sister loved this, I'd be iffier about showing this to younger kids today. In addition to walking pin-up-queen Jessica Rabbit, there's a ton of adult jokes and at least two family-unfriendly deaths onscreen (including that of main villain Judge Doom) and another that's heavily discussed. For older kids on up, especially those who know anything about classic animation, this is still one of the best blendings of live-action and animation ever...and just a damn well-written, hilarious mystery. Highly recommended.

And it didn't start raining again until about a half-hour ago....and now, it's totally pouring cats, dogs, chickens, and Roger Rabbits. It looks like it's going to rain on and off for the rest of the week. Good. We badly need the rain. Better now than when I'm on vacation.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Gray Autumn

Began the day with some Remember WENN over breakfast. Mackie Bloom is "A Star In Stripes Forever" when a gangster appears at the station whom he had once been in jail with. His attempts to hide from the gangster fall flat. Scott and the others come up with a way to use their current show "Listen To Your Life" to get rid of him.

Hit the laundromat as soon as breakfast was over. They were far less busy than last week! I didn't really have a big load, anyway. I worked on notes and listened to Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right.

There was a reason I watched that episode this morning, and it had to do with my current fanfiction. Mackie and Betty join Scott in another carriage raid. Scott's more than a little shocked to discover notorious gangster Palermo Racine and lovely actress Grace Cavendish. Grace has some interesting powers of her own...and Betty's not happy when she tries to use them on Scott...

Started Snow White and the Three Stooges while having leftovers for lunch. This unique musical version of the famous fairy tale replaces the usual dwarfs with the famous slapstick trio in their early-mid 60's incarnation with Curly Joe. A lot of fans aren't crazy about this fantasy on ice, due to the Stooges' gags having been dialed down by then. I think it's very sweet if you like big 60's musicals or fantasy-oriented musicals.

Work was busy for most of the evening. Today was the last day of a 4-day sale, mostly on meat and seafood. I did have one problem early on. I was scolded for not asking a woman to see the folder that comes with her WIC Checks. I just wanted to get the line moving and didn't even think about it. Otherwise, there were no major problems, and it slowed down enough by 7 that I was able to leave without a relief.

And I wish it would just rain! It's been off-and-on cloudy all day here, and warmer and more humid than it has been. It looks like we may get some later this week.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

New Wheels and Better Eagles

Started off a cloudy, cool day with Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes and music. The stage version of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical State Fair hit Broadway in 1997...where it was considered hopelessly outdated and didn't last long. While it's not great, the story of the romantic misadventures of a typical farming family at the 1946 Iowa State Fair does feature some nice music, including songs cut from other Rogers and Hammerstein shows and taken from some of their lesser-known musicals.

Worked on the fanfiction for about 40 minutes after that. Betty finally does convince the two men to let her find the other Guardians. Scott's not happy about it. He's worried she may get hurt...or worse, be corrupted by the Shadow Realm. And he doesn't want her to find out that he lied a bit about what he's doing with the money. Most of it is going to the poor...but he does need a little bit to settle a debt with a certain gangster...

I got off and ate lunch a little early. I wanted to see the bike my neighbor Richard found for me. It...looked like the baby of my old bike. It was a Murray in a brighter shade of blue than the old one, and the handlebars were thicker and a bit lower. The narrower frame made it much smaller and far easier to lift. I had no trouble getting it over the high curbs on Nicholson Road when I was crossing to go to work. My only complaints were the seat was way too low. My legs were cramped.

Work was on-and-off steady, busy but not too overwhelming. I had trouble with register 7 suddenly slowing down again. This time, the manager just shut me down and moved me to the register behind it. Other than that, there were no major problems. By the time my relief arrived at 5, it was nearly dead.

(Of course, part of the reason it was relatively slow for Sunday may have had to do with the Eagles actually playing well for the first time this year. I saw a little of the 3rd quarter in the back room. They crushed the Jets 24-17 for their first win of the season.)

Shortly after I got in, I got a phone call from Richard. I'd told him in my rent letter that the bike was great, other than the too-low seat. He came over to fix that, and see if he could find a better kickstand. The flimsy kickstand on the bike kept falling over. (Evidently, a friend of his owed him a favor and had never used the bike anyway. It was gathering dust in his garage.)

Spent the rest of the evening throwing together a tasty White Bean-Pasta Salad while listening to my copy of the The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack on 2-disc LP. This has long been one of my favorite films, and the music is part of the reason, especially the iconic "Imperial March" that makes Darth Vader sound that much more evil.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Rather Blustery Day

Started out a cloudy, windy morning with breakfast and The Hoober-Bloob Highway. This unusual Dr. Seuss special takes a newborn child through all the ins and outs of being human, from where we live to what we learn. Mr. Hoober-Bloob and his over-eager mandolin assistant remind the child that there are other options...and that being a human can be complicated, but it can be wonderful, too.

Headed to the farm market around 10:30. Wow, were they busy! I didn't think anyone would be around, given everything that's going on this weekend. The fall harvest continues to roll out. I saw chestnuts for the first time this week. I ended up with peaches (yellow this time), apples, a tomato, and I thought I'd give watercress a shot. I've read about it, but never tried it.

I tried looking around for some yard sales, but I only found one just a block from the farm market in Collingswood. Alas, they had nothing interesting, mostly recent kids' toys. I couldn't even find the other one. I ultimately just went home across a busy Newton Lake Park, stopping at WaWa on the way for a Peach Cream Smoothie and eggs. Had peach muffins for lunch, then hurried out to work.

Work was on-and-off busy all afternoon, more than yesterday. It got really busy at a couple of points! My break was late again, as it was yesterday. Thankfully, my relief was on time, and it had slowed down a lot by that point anyway. I went right home.

When I got in, I ate leftovers for dinner while watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The first three Pooh featurettes are brought together with new linking material. The first story involves Pooh's quest for honey, which ranges from invading a honey tree covered in mud to eating all of Rabbit's stores and getting stuck in his doorway. The second introduces Piglet and Tigger as Pooh deals with a windy day and a bad flood...and Tigger's talk about heffalumps and woozels giving him some seriously weird nightmares. Tigger's in the spotlight in the third story. He's driving Rabbit crazy with his bouncing, so the yellow bunny comes up with ways to get him to calm down. It's Tigger who finally bounces his way into trouble, and shows that a little bouncing can be a lot of fun when done together.

A fourth Pooh short was released in the early 80's and is included in both DVD releases of Many Adventures as an extra. Eeyore joins Tigger and the others for "Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore." Eeyore's upset that not only did Tigger bounce him into the river, but everyone forgot his birthday. Pooh and Piglet do their best to bring gifts and spread the word.

I'm a huge Pooh fan, so yeah, I love the first full-length Pooh Disney movie. Older kids and some adults who aren't into Pooh may find it too tame compared to some other Disney movies, but that does make this a perfect first Disney for very young kids. Highly recommended; one of the most charming things Disney ever did.

Lauren went to a party and was coming in a little late, so I finished the night with a bath. Ahhh. It's great to be able to take a really warm bath again. I needed to relax. I listened to George Winston's Vince Guaraldi CD and looked over Christmas books for gift ideas. I was so tired, I lay back and just soaked for a lot of the hour.

Oh, and my neighbor Richard called me about a little over an hour ago and said he'd found a bike for me that a friend of his hadn't wanted. I'm already in my pajamas after my bath. I'll check it out tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Mouse and the Magic

Started off the morning with writing. Scott and Mr. Eldridge discuss sending someone to find the remaining Guardians and their artifacts. Betty, who has overheard their conversation, says she'll do it. Scott wants her to finish her training (and stay out of real danger), but Mr. Eldridge points out that it does have merit. She's a Guardian herself, and she's not well-known to many people in Wennaria. She can travel without being detected. Scott says he'd do it, but he has too much on his plate at the moment, including stopping a carriage with a certain gangster in it...

I wanted to volunteer at Studio LuLoo, but they weren't open when I arrived there at quarter of noon. I just bought a can of Diet Dr. Pepper from Viola's International Deli and waited ten minutes or so for them to open. When they didn't, I walked back to my apartment and had a quick lunch of peach muffins before heading out to work.

Work was on-and-off steady, not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. If people aren't going to check out the Pope's visit in Philly, they're heading in the opposite direction to Wildwood for their annual Irish Festival. Not to mention, the weather was still perfect at that point, sunny and in the upper 70's-lower 80's. Once again, I had no major problems. It slowed down enough by 5 that I was able to shut down without a relief.

My schedule for this week is a little better than it has been the last few weeks. I do have a few late nights and one early day on Thursday. Otherwise, I have a few more hours, Tuesday and next Friday off this time.

I didn't need much in the way of groceries, either. I was mainly restocking meat. Picked up chicken breasts on a small sale. Small tubes of ground turkey were on sale and had manager's coupons on them. I bought two. Cereal was the other thing. The Acme generic cereals were still cheap; went with Multi-Grain Cheerios this time.

When I got home, I put everything away, then had leftovers for dinner. Made Apple Crisp for dessert while watching The Secret of NIMH. Mrs. Brisby, a gentle field mouse and widow with four kids, seeks help from a group of extremely intelligent rats to move her home before spring planting begins. She finds herself dropped in the middle of a power struggle between rats who want to continue to steal from the farmer, and rats who want to move to a place where they won't have to steal. They agree to help move her home, but when it all goes wrong and several rats (including two leaders) are killed, it's Mrs. Brisby herself who teaches everyone a lesson in true courage.

One of the most beautiful animated movies of the 80's, with gorgeous animation, an amazing score, and memorable characters. Violence (including three gristly on-screen deaths) and frank discussions of illness, death, and animal testing make this iffy for little kids. For grade-schoolers on up, it's one of my favorite animated movies and is highly recommended.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Peach-y Keen Morning

Started another glorious fall morning by running more Fairie Tale Theatre to drown out the banging and cursing and 80's music blasting downstairs. "The Princess and the Pea" is one of the more comic episodes. Tom Conti is the frustrated, bored prince who wants to find a "perfect" princess. Liza Minelli is the princess who shows up in a rain storm one night and ultimately befriends the prince. His snobbish mother doesn't approve of that one bit. She gives the girl a test to prove that she's a real princess - if she's a real princess, she'll be delicate enough to feel a pea through 20 mattresses.

Did two fairy-tale-themed Disney cartoons after the show ended. "Ye Olden Days" is a cute later black-and-white short featuring Mickey as a minstrel who fights Prince Goofy for Princess Minnie's hand in marriage. "Dragon Around" has Chip and Dale defending their tree home against Donald and his dragon-like steam shovel.

I ate breakfast and made Fresh (White) Peach Muffins while the show was on. This is one of the recipes from that muffin cookbook my friend Jen Waters gave me a few years ago. It tastes great, but it's way too crumbly. I think I'll add some water or milk next time to make it a bit smoother.

I'd just pulled the muffins out of the oven when it was time to head off to work. Work was pretty dead again. Everyone is either waiting for the beginning of the month next week or is in Philly preparing for the Pope's visit. There were no major problems, not even very long lines. My relief was actually a little early.

It was such a nice day, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road. The traffic wasn't great, but I didn't really have any other outdoor plans. It was too nice to be inside all day! The sky was blue. The air was warm, but the wind was still a bit chilly. Besides, I wanted to take my first ride on the new blacktop on the other side of Manor Avenue. (I hope they get to our side soon!)

Spent the rest of the day working on fanfiction. Scott quickly sends Betty up to bed after dinner. Mackie calls him on his obvious feelings for her. He tries to hide them at first, then points out it wouldn't work. She's a Light Magician, and will be a knight if she becomes an official Guardian. He's a thief and a criminal.

Mr. Eldridge and Scott discuss the state of Wennaria after Mackie goes to his cart to sleep. Mr. Eldridge tells Scott about how the Guardians and their talismans were scattered across the kingdom after the death of King Justin. The Earth Guardian's widow has his things, but is in hiding. The Water Guardian, Lady Hilary, will work with the Rebel Society, but fears using her powers. Victor Comstock was the Air Guardian. His things were with him when he died; no one knows where they are now. King Justin's sister hid his Dark Talisman and weapon before he was killed. The Fire Guardian was killed by the Shadow Realm; his things are also missing.

Scott explains that's what the Rebel Society wants - to find the Guardians and their artifacts and return them to power, so they can help defeat the Shadow Realm. It's just a matter of finding the talismans and weapons, and finding people who will be willing to search for them.

Started The Mark of Zorro during my leftovers dinner. The 1940 version of the tales of the Masked Avenger of Old California has Tyrone Power in the title role as the dashing adventurer who lives a double life as a silly fop, the beautiful Spanish maiden he courts (Linda Darnell), and the wicked head of the guards (Basil Rathbone) who is the real head of Los Angeles. A classic bit of fun if you like swashbucklers or daring Scarlet Pimpernel-style tales.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Day of Fall

I awoke to a glorious, sunny day. Spent most of the morning working on my fanfiction. Scott tells Mr. Eldridge about their encounter with the boars in armor as they eat dinner and explains his curse to Mackie. Mackie's scared silly, especially of Betty's healing magic. He doesn't like or trust magic. Mr. Eldridge explains that light magic won't hurt you unless you attack it. He tells Mackie, Scott, and Betty about how the Shadow Realm had taken over Wennaria almost 40 years before, until the Comstock family was able to drive them off. The Guardians had represented a facet of nature - light and dark, water and fire, air and Earth - each keeping the other, and their magic, in check. When the Shadow Realm and its evil magic takes over, they eliminate or corrupt the other elements and destroy the balance.

It was too nice to stay inside the entire morning. I headed out around quarter of 12 for a walk. I was going to volunteer at Studio LuLoo, but with the kids in school, they were closing early. I opted for a short stroll down to the end of Goff Avenue instead. The day was warm and sunny, with a brilliant blue sky overhead, but there was a stout, chilly wind that reminded one that this is the first day of fall. It was so clear, I could see all the way to the Ben Franklin Bridge when I arrived at the boat landing.

I did Alice at the Palace as I ate leftovers for lunch. This unusual musical version of Alice In Wonderland from the early 80's turns the story of Alice traveling across her dreams into a wacky music hall, with a showgirl Queen of Hearts, a Cheshire Cat who brings on a dance routine, a waltzing Russian Mock Turtle, a mime White Knight, and a mad tea party magic act. Meryl Streep is Alice; Debbie Allen and Mark-Lynn Baker are among Wonderland's citizens.

Work was on-and-off busy, not as bad as Sunday but more than it has been lately. We had some long lines and not enough people to deal with them. Otherwise, there were no really major problems, and my relief was right on time. I picked up skim milk (ran out this morning) and headed home.

Had steamed shrimp and zucchini as I finished Alice and watched an episode of The Backyardigans. Tyrone is determined to "Follow the Feather" when he, Tasha, and Pablo go on an adventure in the mountains of Tibet to find the fabled Polka-Dot Pony. He's guided on his journey by the Mysterious Lady (Uniqua), who seems to know more about the feather and the Pony than she'll let on.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hiking In Cherry Hill

Started another cloudy, windy day with volunteering at the Oaklyn Library. They were actually a little busier than Haddon Township was yesterday. A mother was tutoring her two daughters in the kids' area. I looked at the DVDs, then ducked around the family long enough to shelve and organize kids' books.

Headed to Cuthbert around 10:30 to pick up the bus to the Cherry Hill Mall. It was about ten minutes late, annoying but not too outrageous. There was no traffic, and we got to Cherry Hill with a minimum of fuss.

My first stop at the mall was JC Penny. I had a coupon for $10 off an order of 10 or more. I wanted to buy capris, but they had no capris left in my size. I did find a really cute navy-blue nightgown on sale. It's short-sleeved, but the fabric is a fairly decent weight. I think I might get away with wearing it year-round if I throw my plaid robe over it in the winter. The coupon brought it down to $7.99.

After a wrong turn by Nordstrom's that took me out near the parking garage, I finally found my way over to the pedestrian bridge to the shopping center across the street. It was past 12:30, and I was starved. I headed to the Silver Dollar Diner for lunch. They were busy, but gradually cleared out as the lunch crowd went back to work at the many office buildings in Cherry Hill. I had a tasty lunch combo of a Turkey Club (thick-sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and fresh mozzarella on toasted white bread) and a green salad. I popped a quarter into the little jukebox at my table and chose "Downtown" by Petula Clark. It must have been really busy earlier, because I never did hear my selection.

 Actually, the main reason I wanted to do the Cherry Hill Mall was to hit the Target in the shopping center. I did my biannual underwear shopping expedition early this year. Normally, I buy underwear in mid-late October, but I decided I wanted it before vacation.

Target's toy section was bursting at the seams with great new items. They finally have Our Generation's "retro" line - I saw the little coupe and the diner for the first time today, as well as two cute 50's style outfits and several accessories packages that looked like they represented the 70's. I'd like to get some of the retro outfits eventually for Whitney.

I didn't get one today because they'd also refilled their Ever After High shelves. I saw almost all of the new lines currently available but "Fairest On Ice" (ice skating outfits), Candy Coated Holly O'Hair, and the dolls that are exclusive to other stores. This was the first time I'd seen anything from the very cute "budget" "Enchanted Picnic" line, with Raven, Blondie, and Cerise in adorable, mid-60's-esque gingham dresses and flip hair dos. I also finally found Alistair Wonderland, the son of Alice who wants to be an explorer and has a crush on Bunny Blanc. He was the last one there that I could see - I snatched him right away.

Target has the coolest seasonal section. They often have items that are exclusive to just them that you won't see elsewhere. In addition to the Pumpkin Latte M&Ms Matt mentioned on Dinosaur Dracula and Candy Corn and Pumpkin Spice marshmallows (I picked up the latter), I saw the Pillsbury seasonal cake mixes, this time in Perfectly Pumpkin and Caramel Apple. I considered Caramel Apple, but ended up with the Betty Crocker Maple Bacon Cookies mix. I bought it on last year's fall Target trip and surprisingly loved it.

I made a brief stop at a newly-expanded Jay Street Video Games (which was moved to a much larger store next-door to Game Stop) and tried some Pumpkin Spice Latte Tea at Teavana, but otherwise bought nothing else. I picked up the 2:45 bus home. There was a little more traffic this time, thanks to many schools letting out around that time, but otherwise no problems getting home. I walked straight back to my place after getting off at what used to be the restaurant supply store on the White Horse Pike in Oaklyn.

Opened Alistair as soon as I got home. Alistair Wonderland is the opposite of his crush, Bunny Blanc. He loves maps and puzzles and always likes to know where he's going. He feels like he doesn't quite fit in with the other boys at Ever After High, most of whom are princes or knights. There's been complaints from adult fans about him being too bland, but I think he's a very handsome fellow. He wears a nifty blue-print jacket with khakis and a t-shirt. His blond hair was almost as rock-hard as Bunny's and Poppy's out of the box. I gave him a twice-washing and the appropriate tousled hairstyle, and he looks much better now. I did have to swap him and the Wonderland girls to the top shelf and the O'Hairs and Blondie to the bottom shelf. Alistair is too tall for the bottom shelf.

Spent the next couple of hours working on my story. Mackie goes home with Scott and Betty and ends up staying for dinner. While they eat, Mr. Eldridge and Scott give him brief explanations about the curse on Scott and what Scott's doing in the woods. He asks Mackie to deliver a package for his friend Maple LaMarsh, who owns and operates the Buttery Inn in Wennaria's largest city, Yorkalia.

After I finished for the evening, I made the Maple Bacon Cookies, then threw together scrambled eggs with farm-market fresh peppers, onions, and Colby cheese for dinner while watching Ernest Goes to Camp. Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) makes his film debut in this cute, if cliche, comedy.

Ernest is the handyman for a small camp, but what he really wants to do is be a counselor and work with the kids. He gets his chance when the counselor for a group of kids from a local detention facility is in an accident and the kids need adult supervision. All they do is play pranks on Ernest at first. They're not happy - the other kids pick on them badly, and they don't feel like they belong. Then it's announced that the kindly old Native American man who owns the camp to a strip-mining company. The kids have no desire to leave...and really, neither does Ernest. They use their pranks and his crazy inventions to show the mining company that teamwork can overcome a lot of obstacles, and true bravery can be found in the least-likely people...including a certain goofy southern handyman.

This was a surprise hit in 1987, and for the most part, it still holds up relatively well today. Though the kids come off as a little bland, their pranks on Ernest and how they use them to get back at the miners are pretty funny. I do wish some of the villains had gotten some comeuppance - neither the bullies who pick on the kids in the beginning nor the miners are ever shown getting into trouble. And yeah, a lot of this isn't anything you haven't seen before in camp-related comedies from Meatballs to Heavyweights. Still, if  you're a fan of Ernest or of goofy slobs-vs-snobs 80's comedies, you can do a lot worse than this one.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Fall Rolls In

I awoke to a wonderfully cloudy, cool day...and lots of noise and sawing downstairs. Ran cartoons about autumn and back to school while eating breakfast to drown out the noise. "Autumn" is one of the earlier, black-and-white Silly Symphonies. Animals dance to classical music as they gather (or steal) food for the winter. "Donald Applecore" has Don as an apple farmer who tries his hardest to protect his crop from a hungry Chip and Dale. Switched to Tom & Jerry for "Professor Tom." Tom wants to teach a kitten the art of chasing mice, but the adorable fellow would rather make friends with Jerry.

Headed out to do the laundry around 10:30. They were so busy, only the expensive washers were available. Good thing I didn't have a big load this week anyway. I worked on story notes and listened to Let's Make a Deal and a 70's-themed The Price Is Right.

It didn't take me long to put everything away when I got home. Instead of going out for lunch, I just had the last of the leftover chicken salad while watching Remember WENN episodes. Hilary Booth and Jeff Singer make for "Strange Bedfellows" when they both throw their hats into local politics. The staff find themselves in "Close Quarters" after Mr. Foley is diagnosed as having a rare disease and they all end up quarantined in the station.

The sun made a vague attempt to come out as I rode across Newton River Park. I wish it would rain. Everything is looking droopy again, despite the colder temperatures. I was surprised there weren't more people out. I saw a few dog-walkers and some folks out for a stroll. It was 1:30 at that point - many people had probably just finished their lunch hours.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't that busy, either. The kids being back to school were reflected in the carts. There were very few kids' books to shelve, and no kids' DVDs. All of the adult DVD titles but two fit just fine. (They FINALLY cleared out some doubles and older titles, for both adult and kids.) I had more audio books and new releases to put away than DVDs.

Made a brief stop at Rite Aid on the way home for conditioner. My last bottle of Pantene Curl Formula was just about gone. Ended up with Pantene again, which is what was on sale. They weren't any busier than the Haddon Township Library - I was in and out within minutes.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on my fanfic. Mackie, a traveling actor, is driving his cart through the woods when he's attacked by some vicious wild boar-like monsters in armor that he can't pierce. A demon-like creature and a woman with a crystal sword appear and help him get rid of the boars. He's shocked when they get the demon into the shadows and he turns into a man, and the woman is able to heal his wounds. Mackie himself is no magician - in fact, it scares him silly - but he does offer the duo who introduce themselves as Scott and Betty a ride home in his cart.

Went into the bath around 5 PM. Ahhh. A warm bath felt so wonderful after the windy, chilly day. I kicked back, relaxed, listened to Jazz for the Quiet Times, and looked over more Christmas books to get ideas for gifts.

I decided my nice, warm bath needed to be complimented by a nice, warm dinner. I made Merlin's Magic (Baked) Chicken and mashed sweet potatoes to go with the last of the leftover yellow zucchini and tomatoes. Yum. You can never go wrong with Merlin's. It always comes out nice and juicy.

Started Ziegfeld Follies as I ate. MGM's all-star revue has the famous showman (William Powell) looking down from the heavens to decide how he'd do a show now, with the studio's famous galaxy of stars. While most of the comedy skits are only so-so (except for Red Skelton's famous Guzzler's Gin routine), some of the musical numbers are first-rate. Fred Astaire and Lucile Bremer's "This Heart of Mine," Judy Garland's "The Great Lady" comedy number, and Lena Horne's "Love" are particular favorites. Really for fans of MGM musicals or the stars involved.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Last Days of a Golden Summer

Began the morning with the John Lennon Shaved Fish record and Peach Brown Sugar Pancakes. Like my other two record finds yesterday, I believe this was a rather oddly-named greatest-hits album. Among the favorites included are "Instant Karma," "Imagine," "Power to the People," "Whatever Gets You Through the Night," and "Happy Xmas (The War Is Over)."

Work was insane, far busier than it has been since as far back as Memorial Day. Today was the first day the Eagles were playing at home and on a Sunday, and it was a big game too, against the Dallas Cowboys. There were a lot of local events going on this weekend as well, including Oaklyn's Town Picnic (which I missed, unfortunately). I was frustrated and annoyed, especially when one woman had absolutely no idea what she was doing with her WIC Checks (though she admitted as such and took it well when it took forever to ring her order). I was glad when my relief was right on time.

When I got home, I changed into regular clothes and spent an hour working on my story. Scott is now teaching Betty the art of swordsmanship. Betty initially gets Scott on the ground, but he tricks her and pulls her down with him, reminding her to not let her guard down. They're about to kiss when they hear someone yelling for help in the woods. It turns out to be Mackie, a traveling actor who's had a bad that's made worse when he's attacked by a monster on the road...

Headed to Jodie and Dad's house around 4:30. My cousins Mark and Vanessa, Vanessa's daughter Brittany, and a couple of neighbors and their kids were already there. The game had hardly begun. It wasn't a very good game. No one played very well for the first half. Dallas did score, but barely. The defenses kept pushing the offenses back, and the offenses wouldn't get anywhere. Things did pick up in the second half. While the Eagles ultimately lost 20-10, they did knock out Dallas' star quarterback Tony Romo with a broken collarbone similar to the injury I saw in the Dolphins' game last week.

Khai had more fun. He was tired and cranky for the first half-hour or so after he and Rose arrived. He and his family had not only gone to the Town Picnic for 2 and 1/2 hours, but had run in Oaklyn's Color Marathon as well. He wouldn't eat the tacos and whined to his mother that he wanted grilled cheese instead. The grilled cheese did seem to cheer him up a bit. That, and the reemergence of the neighbors' kids after their own dinner, put him in a far better mood.

He and the neighbors' kids, including cute little Chloe from Labor Day (who is evidently in Khai's class, according to her), spent most of the evening riding various Big Wheels and random tricycles at the next-door neighbors' home. They practically turned the driveway around their car into a NASCAR track! They all laughed and ran around and had so much fun. They were so cute to watch. I went back and forth between them and the game.

The tacos were tasty, too. They were pretty basic tacos, with your choice of hard or soft shell. I went soft - less messy. There also several hot sauces for those who are that brave, including one Mark brought that had a skull dangling off the cap. One tiny taste sent Dana and Jodie reeling towards the sink for water! (It seemed to go over a little better in actual food.) Vanessa brought a very citrus-y lemon cake.

Oh, and I told Jodie and Rose the day I'm leaving for vacation. I got the tickets yesterday. I'll be leaving Cherry Hill at 9:55 on Columbus Day and coming home by 7:30 on the 18th. Rose says either she or Craig will drop me off and pick me up at Cherry Hill - Dad has a doctor's appointment at 9 on Columbus Day. Rose and Jodie also said I could borrow a small rolling suitcase like Lauren's from either of them - they both travel more than I do. My two suitcases are really much too big to drag around train stations. I wanted to buy something like Lauren's, but I'm simply not going to have the money this year.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

An 80's Girl's World

It was cloudy, fairly cool, and a little humid when I headed out this morning for a run to the Collingswood Farm Market. They were as busy as ever with people looking for produce and dairy products for barbecues, birthday parties, and block parties. Corn is down to its last two weeks, but there's tons of other fruit and vegetables out now, including the return of spinach and other hearty greens and the first local sweet potatoes of the year. I squeezed between people long enough to buy three sweet potatoes, white peaches, tiny little apples, cucumbers, a yellow and green zucchini, and what will probably be my last two ears of corn of the year.

There were a few yard sales out today. I had enough time to stop at one on Stokes Avenue in Collingswood on my way home. They had a lot of interesting stuff, but I had the money for a couple of albums (that were far more modestly-priced than the ones I saw last week):

George Harrison - The Best of George Harrison

John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band - Shaved Fish

Gordon Lightfoot - Gord's Gold

Went right home after that. Had a quick lunch while putting everything away and watching Happily Ever After. The last project of TV animation studio Filmation was this unusual Snow White sequel. The evil Lord Maliss, the brother of the Queen, kidnaps the Prince and takes him to his dark kingdom. Snow White goes after him with the help of the goofy seven Dwarfelles, girl dwarfs who control nature, and the Orko-like "Shadow Man," who protects them. Not a great movie by all means, but the Dwarfelles are funny and Snow White is a tad more proactive than she usually is in most versions of this story.

Work was on-and-off busy. It wasn't overwhelming, but the lines were a lot longer for a lot of the day than they have been. I did have some time to jot down story notes between annoyed customers. Other than them, there were no major problems, and my relief was right on time.

When I got home, I had leftovers for dinner while finishing Happily Ever After and watching The Care Bears Movie. In the first of three films made in the 80's around the sherbet-colored critters, the title bears find themselves battling an evil spell book that's taken control of a friendless magician's assistant. While two kids from Earth and a couple of the Bears befriend a group of equally colorful wild animals, the other Bears search for the kids and try to fix a machine that could help them get down to Earth faster.

Ok, so the animation is terrible, saddled with lousy continuity and odd mistakes, the songs are so-so, and the dialogue can be stilted at times. I doubt the Care Bears will ever catch on with guys the way the My Little Pony franchise did...but that doesn't mean this movie lacks merit. That evil spirit in the book and her plot - eliminate feelings and caring from the world - is surprisingly dark for an 80's kids movie. There's an especially intense sequence in the torn-apart amusement park, with the kids running from the magician and the Bears and Cousins doing what they can to help.

If you have kids who are fans of the Bears or grew up on this as I did, it's still a lot of fun if you can get past the poor animation. Just be sure to have a hand to hold for the littlest ones when the Spirit's on-screen.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Late Summer Fantasies

Started a hot, sunny, dry morning with the Peanuts. Despite the title, There's No Time For Love, Charlie Brown really has more to do with school than love. Charlie Brown is assigned to do a report on a field trip to the art museum for class. He, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Snoopy, and Woodstock somehow take a wrong turn and end up in a supermarket instead.

I spent most of the morning writing and ignoring the 80's music and cursing blasting from the workers downstairs. Scott asks Betty what "Sir Johnathan Arnold," aka "The Black Knight," wanted from her. She lies and tells him he was asking her what she was doing to Pruitt. Betty asks him how he'd feel if Sir Johnathan Arnold wasn't who he said he was...if he wasn't all bad. Scott points out that he's been doing Pruitt's dirty work and parroting the Shadow Realm's twisted philosophies, not to mention attacked him earlier in the day. Yes, he can be all bad.

As the weeks pass, Scott and Mr. Eldridge continue Betty's magic education. Mr. Eldridge teaches her to use her light powers and to heal. Scott teaches her how to use a sword, tries to get her to help with his stealing, and continues to look for more information about where Gertie is being held. He's frequently off on "errands" he won't tell anyone about, even Betty.

Ran another animated special while having zucchini-chocolate-chip muffins and an apple for lunch. Garfield's Feline Fantasies take the fat cat and his huge imagination everywhere from a submarine to the Wild West. Since Jon seems to rescue him and Odie after every adventure, Garfield thinks they're indestructible. He comes up with a very goofy James Bond-esque action spoof about finding the Banana of Bombay to test his theory.

Work was a little busier than yesterday, but otherwise still pretty quiet. Once again, I did a lot of working on story notes. It was so quiet by 5 PM, I was able to sign out with no relief and no need for one.

Not too bad of a schedule next week. I still don't have enough hours, and in fact, have fewer than last week. Otherwise, it's all late morning and afternoon work, nothing even as late as the 2 to 7 I worked last Wednesday. Relatively early day on Sunday, but that means I'll be off in time for the 4:30 Eagles game. Monday and Tuesday off again.

I still don't need much in the way of groceries. Found a small container of steamed shrimp with a manager's coupon - I'll have that this weekend or next week. Restocked sugar, parchment paper, small plastic sandwich bags (I like the ones you can twist-tie), and yogurt. I bought two small containers of Fage Yogurt, rather than one big one. I don't really eat yogurt that often anymore - the big ones get moldy when I leave them for too long, and it's a waste.

When I got home, I put on Fairie Tale Theatre while having crab cakes and leftover Chinese beans and tomatoes for dinner. "Rapunzel" is a far more traditional take on this story than Disney's Tangled. Producer Shelly Duval is the title maiden, who is trapped in a tower by a witch (Gena Rowlands) who wants to protect her. Enter a handsome prince (Jeff Bridges) who gets her to let him into the tower. The two fall in love, but the witch, who hates men, sends Rapunzel away and throws the prince out of the tower and into blindness. It's Rapunzel who ultimately cures him, and reminds him that true love requires trust and perseverance.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bike Trouble

I was called into work early. I went in at 11. Though they wanted me in because one of the women who work in the morning got sick, I think they could have lived without me. Other than spurts during the noon and 4 PM rush hours, we were dead for most of the day. I spent a lot of time working on story ideas. I just went in because I really did need the extra hours.

On the other hand, I did get another $5 gift card. I decided to start my grocery shopping early and pick up a few things I needed that were still on sale. I got Nestle's Dark Chocolate Chips for $2.50 and grabbed the Acme's generic shredded wheat for two dollars.

I was about half-way down Kendall when the chain suddenly came off my bike. Again. I couldn't get it back on for the life of me. All I did was make my fingers greasy. I ended up walking it home. My next-door neighbor Richard was mowing the lawn when I came in. He said to leave it and he'd take a look at it.

Spent the next hour and most of the morning working on my fanfiction. Pruitt and Cosgrave are on their way to Yorkalia City to talk to Lord Kurt Holstrom, who has some plans for the Shadow Realm there that require financing. "Sir Johnathan Arnold" - aka Victor - is the head of their guards. Their path through the woods is blocked by a rather convenient log in the road. Betty, dressed as a very pretty baker selling her wares, distracts Pruitt and Cosgrave while Scott and his men take the money intended for Holstrom.

Victor recognizes Betty and pulls her into the woods for a quick chat. He's relaying information on the Shadow Realm to Brittanica, one of the countries they've attacked and tried to strip of magic. His disguise as the feared and hated "Black Knight" keeps him safe for the moment, but Betty's worried. Scott's not happy when he sees said "Black Knight" eyeing the woman he's after, either. He and Victor basically try to out-stare each other before Betty reminds Scott (who is dressed as one of Victor's men) that he has work to do, and Victor that he has to tend to Pruitt (who was drugged by her cakes).

Finished out the night with a quick cucumber-tomato-chicken salad and more Backyardigans. Tyrone, Uniqua, and Pablo go on a trip "To the Center of the Earth" to find Tyrone's lost lucky penny. Uniqua and Pablo keep trying to use their elaborate "inventions" to get the penny back when, as Tyrone points out, simpler methods would really work better. That is, at least, until the penny rolls next to a dinosaur in the Earth's core!

Oh, and Richard called me twice to keep me updated on the progress with my bike. The problem was, indeed, the gears for my back tire. They were shot. I've had this bike since 1998, when I bought it on sale for $80 at Ames. With my vacation coming up and so many other things I need, I really don't have the money to replace it at the moment. Richard borrowed back gears from his brother's bike that he seldom uses for now. I'll check major sales and yard sales and see what I can find.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Animated Tales of Adventure

Began another beautiful, if somewhat warmer, morning with Tiny Toon Adventures. "Weirdest Stories Ever Told" mostly parodies famous literature. Buster plays the title character in "Robin Hare," but it's Maid Babs who rescues the boys from Sheriff Montana Max of Naughty-Ham. Babs is determined to land a part with Shakespeare himself in "All the World's a Stage." Things get seriously strange in the last short when Buster passes out after trying to out-run Elmyra...and imagines himself being chased by "Elmyras 'Round the World!"

Went for a walk around quarter after 11. I was originally going to volunteer at Studio LuLoo, but they weren't open. It was a glorious day for a walk. While it's still a bit warm for this time of year, probably in the mid-80's, it was breezy and not at all humid. I saw lots of other people out to enjoy the weather as well, including the women from the nursery school pushing their charges in huge red strollers and one of my managers from the Acme walking her cute brown and white beagle.

When I got back in, I worked on my story. Pruitt recruits candy witch Pavla Nemcova to keep an eye not only on Jeff and Hilary, but the so-called "Sir Johnathan Arnold" as well. Pavla is proof that Glinda the Good Witch was wrong about bad witches being ugly. She's as bad as they come, using her magic to lure handsome men into her clutches, get as much information out of them as she can, strip them of their energy and youth, and turn them into gingerbread for her "collection."

Cosgrave comes in after Pavla leaves to remind Pruitt that they'll be passing through the woods in the Royal Carriage soon. He needs to talk to some local bosses about money for "protection." Before they leave, he goes downstairs to the dungeon to talk to Gertie. She refuses to tell him about Elizabeth or where she is, or whether or not she's a part of the Rebel Society that's trying to clear the Shadow Realm out of Wennaria.

Did a quick Backyardigans episode while I had leftovers for lunch and got ready for work. Of course, Robin Hood isn't the only famous fellow who robs the rich and gives to the poor. Uniqua plays the Zorro-like "The Masked Retriever" in a third season episode. She's a mild-mannered librarian in Vejos, California, who grooves to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass-style tunes. However, when Don Austin, the richest guy in town, takes off with a book that's overdue, she becomes the Masked Retriever to follow Don Austin, before he takes the book over the border to Mexico!

Work was once again dead for most of the night, even during rush hour. It's a gorgeous day in the middle of the week and the middle of the month. There was also apparently a huge car accident on the Black Horse Pike that backed up traffic for miles. Almost everyone was complaining about it, which is likely why we were so dead during rush hour. Other than the fussing over the traffic, there were no major problems. I got out on time with no relief and no need for one.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Walk In Oaklyn

Awoke to the nicest day we've had in ages, sunny, warm, and in the lower 80's. Since I got up pretty early for me, I started the day with baking Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins and the 1947 version of Good News. I thought this one was appropriate for the beginning of the school year. It's the late 20's, and Tait College is alive with sheikhs and shebas, flappers and football heroes. The boys are all thrilled when Pat, a cute new student from a finishing school (Patricia McKellen) arrives. Tom (Peter Lawford), Tait's biggest football star, takes French to try to impress her. Connie (June Allyson) helps tutor him, but ends up falling for him. Meanwhile, her best friend Babe (Joan McCracken) is chasing the football team's skinny bench warmer, despite dating the biggest guy on the team. It looks like Tom may be reciprocating Connie's feelings, until Babe lets it slip that he's rich. Now Pat's after him, and Connie may end up being left on the shelf...if she can't find a way for him to win the game without marrying the gold-digging Pat!

This is actually a remake of MGM's 1930 Good News. While that one is probably more authentic to the original 1927 Broadway show, this one has some selling points of its own, including Mel Torme appearing for no other reason than to croon a couple of songs and some infectious chorus numbers. McCracken leads the spirited "Pass That Peace Pipe," and the finale "The Varasity Drag" is also fun. If you like other musical school tales like High School Musical or Grease, you may want to visit Tait College as well.

Finally headed out around quarter after 11 to run some errands. While it's not quite fall yet, it doesn't feel as close to summer as it did before. It was a tiny bit warmer than yesterday, but breezy and not one bit humid. The area's looking much better than it did even a week or two ago. The grass is still a little toasty, but not quite as bad, and the gardens are far less limp.

The beautiful day was reflected in a very quiet Oaklyn Library. There wasn't even anyone on the computers. It was just me, the librarian, and the books for most of the 40 minutes or so I was there. I gave the DVDs a look, then worked on the board books. One woman did stop in later to talk to the librarian. Otherwise, I saw no one.

It wasn't any busier at the House of Fun. There was a guy organizing Star Wars action figures when I arrived. I stepped over him and his pile of boxed toys. I was hoping they'd have some 80's fantasy films I've been thinking of looking up for story inspiration, like Legend or Willow, but no dice. No good wrestling action figures for Lauren, either. I had more luck buying toilet paper from a busy Family Dollar a few blocks down.

Thought I'd try something new for lunch. Viola's International Deli replaced Doria's Deli on West Clinton Avenue, next-door to Phillies Yummies last week. They're a small convenience store/deli, similar to Doria's. I bought roast beef and provolone on a tomato-basil wrap and a can of Diet Dr. Pepper. Ate it at one of the picnic tables on West Clinton. The wrap was quite good, with lots of roast beef, even if they did overdo the mayo.

Spent the next few hours at home, working on my story. Pruitt orders Sir Johnathan Arnold (aka Victor Comstock in disguise) to accompany him and his second-in-command Lady Cosgrave as they travel to discuss an alliance with certain parties in the large city of Yorkalia. He wants Arnold to go onto Port Harbor to spy on Duchess Hilary and Duke Jeffrey Singer, who may be heading a rebel faction there.

Pruitt, however, is beginning to have his suspicions about Arnold's loyalty and his abilities...especially since he's been unable to capture the King of Thieves, the rogue who has been stealing from nobles and rescuing peasants from beatings and starvation. The thieves in the woods have continually eluded him, making Pruitt suspect Arnold isn't all he claims to be. He sends Mistress Pavla Nemcova, a witch with the power to lure men and turn them into sweets, after Arnold and the Singers.

Around 4:30, I decided I needed a stretch. I made my favorite gingerbread recipe, the one from Samantha's Cooking Studio. I think I added a little too much sugar. Otherwise, I always love this version. It comes out so moist and flavorful! Made a simple dinner of crab cakes and sauteed yellow squash with mini-tomatoes while the gingerbread was in the oven.

Ran Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as I worked. This epic version of the Robin Hood legend has Kevin Costner as the famous rogue who robs from the rich to give to the poor, Mary Elizabeth Mastraintonio as his beloved Maid Marian, Alan Rickman as an extremely hammy Sheriff of Nottingham, and Morgan Freeman is the Moor who joins Robin after he leaves the Crusades. I remember thinking this was a little strange as a child, and I think it's even odder now, with several subplots put back in. At times, the tone is so over-the-top, it feels like almost as much of a spoof as Men In Tights is. The fact that everyone but Costner is having fun doesn't help. Costner is stiff as a board in a role that requires him to be devil-may-care, not a great contrast to one of Alan Rickman's best performances as the silent-movie-villain Sheriff.

While the romance falls flat, the action set pieces, especially the finale and Robin's adventures robbing various nobles, still work very well. And I love some of the characters, especially the hilarious Friar Tuck and Little John's wife Fanny, who may be even tougher than he is. The music in this is also renowned, though nowadays, it's more associated with Disney (who uses it for their commercials) than Robin Hood.

Despite this being a massive hit in the summer of 1991, this isn't a great version of Robin Hood, but it's far from the worst. If you're a fan of Robin Hood stories, epic historical action adventures, or Rickman, this is absolutely worth checking out.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Birds of Prey Battle

And darn it! The Eagles came sooo close to beating the Falcons in their season opener. In the end, they just couldn't do it. They finally lost 26-24.

True Friendship In the Late Summer

I started a late morning with breakfast and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The energetic colts the Cutie Mark Crusaders are in the spotlight in the first episode, "The Show Stoppers." They're hoping to find their true talents - and get the symbols on their rears known as Cutie Marks - by participating in a local show. Their intended rock concert turns into a fiasco because they don't use their real talents. It comes out well in the end, but the girls don't learn the intended lesson - when we use our real talents and work together, we can all be stars.

The two-part episode "The Return of Harmony" marks the first appearance of one the series' major villains. Discord is a mix of many different animals with one goal - create chaos in Ponyville. He was originally turned into stone by Princess Celestia and her sister Luna, but their spell has weakened over the years. When he breaks the stone, cotton candy clouds rain chocolate milk, ears of corn pop into popcorn (much to Pinkie Pie's delight), and Applejack's apples double in size. The Princess wants them to use the Element of Harmony necklaces and crown to defeat him, but they've vanished. The five go after him in a maze...but he gets to the heads of all but Twilight, turning them into the opposite of their regular personalities. Twilight is despondent until Spike and Princess Celestia remind her of her friendship with the others...and that if you really want to keep your friends, you have to be willing to fight for them.

Did a few chores while the show was on. I spent most of last night freezing in my bed, even with the windows closed, a good indication that fall is coming and my thin sheets are no longer appropriate for the weather. I stripped off the white and yellow summer sheets and dumped them in the laundry basket, then put on the pale blue and tan spring and fall sheets, the matching comforter, and the stuffed animals.

It was at least quarter after 12 when I finally got out to the laundromat. Unlike Labor Day last week, they were dead as a doornail when I arrived. I had no problems getting a washer or a drier. I worked on notes for stories while listening to the local news and soap operas. The laundry took a little longer than it has, thanks to the sheets, but I was out in about an hour or so.

As soon as I got home, I put everything away while finishing out Friendship Is Magic. After their defeat of Discord and Tirek, the five main ponies are given a new mission - to spread friendship wherever it's needed in Equestria. "The Cutie Map" leads them to a town where every pony has given up their Cutie Marks and their special talents. Their leader, Starlight, claims this makes them more equal. She can't understand why they can all stay friends, even when they disagree. Fluttershy is delighted by their friendliness, but Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie suspect there's something more sinister under those big, unnatural smiles....

It was past 2:30, and way past lunch time. I settled for a slice of cheese and a slice of mushroom pizza and a can of Diet Pepsi from Phillies Phatties. The day was absolutely, positively stunning, windy and sunny and barely in the mid-70's. I enjoyed the nice weather outside on the picnic tables, eating and watching kids and parents walk home from the school two blocks away.

Newton River Park looked absolutely amazing. Needless to say, there were quite a few people out walking, strolling, or fishing today. While there's still algae on the river, the heavy rain we had last week did its job - the trees and grass look a bit less wilted.

With most schools out by 3:30, the Haddon Township Library was bustling when I arrived. I had plenty to do! There were tons of audio books and DVD's to shelve. I couldn't begin to fit everything into either the adult or the kids' racks. I shelved books that were on hold as well, so people could find them to pick them up when they were ready. (And I opted not to take anything out this week. Didn't see anything I really couldn't live without, and the weather's going to be too nice for a lot of watching movies this week anyway. Not to mention, I still have cleaning to do and that long fanfic to work on.)

I made a really quick stop at Thriftway on the way home. I forgot muffin papers when I shopped on Friday. Got brown sugar on sale as well.

Went right on the computer when I got home. I had enough time to finish the scene with Scott talking Betty into joining him in raiding the royal carriage and start the next one. While Pruitt's happy with all the magic that his men have been bringing him, he's less thrilled with the thieves in the woods who are undermining his authority, and doesn't like the rumors of rebellion one bit. Sir Jonathan Arnold (aka Prince Victor), the Black Knight, assures him he's doing everything he can to capture the head of the thief and round up the rebels, but Pruitt is starting to wonder if he's trustworthy...

Had a delicious dinner of sauteed Chinese beans and mini-tomatoes, corn on the cob, and the last leftover chicken thigh from Labor Day while watching Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin. Pooh awakens one glorious late-summer morning to find a honey jar and a letter from Christopher Robin on his doorstep. His honey has obscured the note, which Owl interprets as being from "skull." He thinks the boy has been spirited away to the lands beyond the Hundred Acre Woods. Using a map that was drawn (badly) by Owl, Rabbit, Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet set off after him...and learn a little about themselves and their close friendship in the process.

A surprisingly touching and bittersweet Pooh tale, and by far one of the best of the made-for-home-media movies Disney put out in the 90's and early 2000's. There's quite a few scary or heartbreaking moments, including Pooh singing the lovely "Wherever You Are." Keep a hand for your little ones to hold during this one...and don't forget an occasional tissue for yourself.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Beautiful Day for Cookies and Football

I couldn't believe how chilly it was when I got up this morning. My apartment was cold! I celebrated with Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes and disco records. The pancakes came out really well, too. I haven't had such sweet apples in years. I hope they're like that all fall.

It was still partly cloudy out when I made it to work. We were crazy until we got a shower around 2 PM. After that, it was still busy, but not as bad as before. It was much busier than it has been in months! Cooler weather coupled with the first day of football season and the first full week of school must have sent people scrambling to refill their cupboards.

I saw part the Dolphins-Redskins game when I was in the back room. One guy who caught the ball and went out of bounds landed hard on his shoulder. Ouch! He had to be carted out of the game. I hope he was ok.

(It didn't seem effect the Dolphins' game. They eventually won 17-10.)

It was still a little cloudy when I headed home, but not doing anything worse than spitting a little. I even took the long way home down Nicholson. While they weren't there today, it looks like they're finally repairing the rest of Manor Avenue up around the Manor Bar during the weekdays. (I saw a party on someone's lawn as I passed - birthday party? Leftover Labor Day barbecue?)

As soon as I got home, I changed into regular clothes, then decided it was a baking day. I hadn't made cookies in ages. I opted to try that "Ally's Snappy Ginger Snap" recipe from The Beanie Baby Hand Book again; I really liked it when I made it earlier this year. Alas, I either put too much canola oil in the cookies or left something out. They spread far too much and looked more like chocolate chip cookies than ginger snaps. Still tasted pretty good, but they're kind of oily now.

I had more luck with throwing together a tasty Turkey-Sweet Pepper-Tomato Stir Fry from leftovers while I listened to 80's records. My family had Madonna's Like a Virgin on cassette and Paul McCartney's Pipes Of Peace on record in the mid-80's, and we listened to both quite a bit.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Beginning of the Fall Harvest

I slept later than I'd planned today and didn't get moving until past 11! Headed right to the Collingswood Farm Market first. It was cool and windy, but humid and a bit cloudy. It was nearly 11:30 when I arrived, and the farm market was still going strong. The fall harvest continues to debut. I saw the first ornamental gourds and small winter squash of the year. It was probably just as well that I didn't need much in the way of produce, anyway. I made may way through the crowds long enough to buy small apples and peaches, a small acorn squash, and pretty purple, pale creamy white-yellow, and orange peppers and the cutest tiny tomatoes from the organic booth.

There were more yard sales out today than there had been in months. I rode around for a while after that, taking them all in. Today all the sales seemed to be in Haddon Township (although I did take a brief look at one on Bettlewood on my way to Collingswood). Checked out some records at a sale on Holly, but they were all hard and alternative rock collectors' items from Japan, and waaayyy too expensive even if I was more into alt rock. I finally just bought a very pretty fall-themed mini-wreath from a huge multi-family sale on the end of Holly for a dollar. Stopped at WaWa on the way home for milk, eggs (got one of the last two cartons), and pineapple-coconut Sparkling Ice Water. 

When I got home, I started the Strawberry Shortcake cartoons while eating scrambled eggs with summer vegetables and farm-market Colby cheese for lunch. In the first one, Plum Puddin's "little play" for the baby Berrykins gets out of hand when she hears about a wildly popular version of "Snowberry and the Seven Berrykins" being put on on in the big city. She wants to do "Snowberry," but with added tidal waves, swinging Berrykins, and Lemon Meringue trying to "live" her part, the others begin to wonder if she's bitten off a lot more than she can chew. 

By the second story, they've switched to "Berryella and the Charming Prince." Strawberry's in the lead role this time, but they're having a hard time finding a prince. As token boy, Huckleberry Pie is pressed into the role. He's stiff and nervous and a bad dancer. He finally decides he'd rather write the story than be in it...just as the baby Berrykins complain that they aren't Berryella fans....

Which leads us into the final story. Evidently, the baby Berrykins' favorite fairy tale is an original, "The Littlest Berrykin." Three princesses (Strawberry, Lemon, and Raspberry Torte) want to find the Goldenberry and take over the kingdom from their retiring parents (Blueberry Muffin and Huck). Lemon and Raspberry are rude and demanding to the troll (gardener Berrykin Bloom) and pirate (Princess Berrykin) who are supposed to help them. Guided by her tiny Berrykin lady-in-waiting, Strawberry is kind and polite to both. When Strawberry gets the Goldenberry back, she's more than happy to give credit to her Berrykin-in-waiting, which leads to one more surprise.

It had gotten cloudier and even more humid as I rode to work. It even spit slightly. It didn't scare off the crowds, at least at that point. When I got in, we were busier than we'd been in months. Thankfully, for once, we had plenty of help. It did slow down a bit by 7, but only enough to be on-and-off steady. My relief was on time, and I was in and out. 

(Oh, and despite the clouds and humidity, at press time it hasn't done anything but look gloomy.)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Memories On a Busy Day

Began today with my short morning work session. It was once again on-and-off steady, though a little busier than yesterday. The lunch rush hour got pretty bad, though it was starting to subside by the time I was finished. My relief was right on time.

I had almost no grocery shopping to do. I got so many leftovers this week, I really don't need much. Whole wheat flour and peanut butter were the big things. Treated myself to the soft chocolate chip cookies from the Acme's bakery, which are $1.99 this weekend.

My schedule for next week is far more typical of the time of year. The late day is Wednesday this time, which is fine. It'll give me a chance to write and volunteer for Studio LuLoo. Monday and Tuesday off again. I still wish I had a few more hours (though I have more than I did this week).

It was cloudy, cool, and a little humid when I left for work. By the time I got out at quarter after 1, the slight humidity and cool air remained, but the clouds were in and out. It was a great day to eat outside at Sonic. I had a cheeseburger, tater tots, and my favorite cherry limeade. (For some reason, they originally gave me fries. I had to go to the small kitchen and exchange them.) I'm surprised more people didn't opt for lunch outside. I only saw one other couple, and they left long before I finished eating.

As soon as I got home, I changed into regular clothes, put everything away, then headed back out. I wanted to get in a session at the Haddon Township Library, since I worked so early today.Took a relatively quiet Cuthbert Road there, cutting across the Westmont Plaza. Though they weren't that busy (the kids were only just getting out of school), they had a lot of CD's, audio books, and DVDs to shelve.

I actually had fewer problems with the kids' titles, for once. They'd just cleared a lot of the kids' titles into their book sale area, including all of the Pokemon discs but the movies. Most of the Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids titles were gone, too. I don't think anyone ever really took them out but me. Shame - they were rather sweet. (Now if they'd only thin out some of the other overloaded series, like Bob the Builder, Dora the ExplorerSesame Street and Scooby Doo...) At any rate, everything fit, including the "S" discs. I took out new discs for Strawberry Shortcake (fairy-tale themed this time) and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (ponies on quests).

Oh, and the librarians gave me a small bag of goodies for helping them faithfully all summer. I got a "lollipop" that was really a lollipop-shaped cardboard covered in sherbet-covered hair rubber bands, a pack of tissue paper, a Hello Kitty shamrock-themed rubber wristband, a tiny container of anti-bacterial gel, and a bag of Goldfish Pretzels. I'll give the wristband and gel to friends. Everything else I can use. I've been meaning to get new hair ties anyway (haven't seen them on sale anywhere), I love Goldfish Pretzels, and with my allergies, I can always use more tissues.

Headed home around 3:30...which is apparently when the Haddon Township High School lets out. I had a wait a while for all the cars and buses to got their way on Cuthbert before I could cross to Newton River Park. The torrential downpour we had last night and the night before did its job. The park looked a bit better than it had, though there was still some algae on the lake. I passed anglers and kids on the playground as I made my way to Oaklyn.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on my story. As Betty and Mr. Eldridge work on healing his many wounds, Scott explains what happened. He and his men were attacked by Sir Johnathan Arnold, the traitor who heads the Shadow Realm's army. Arnold is determined to capture him and bring him to justice. Betty does her best to repair the deeper cuts with her still-growing magic.

When Mr. Eldridge goes to get more water, Betty asks Scott just what he's doing in the forest. He finally takes her to their pantry to show her the food, gold, and jewels they've stolen. They're giving gold and food to the poor in Wennaria and are selling the jewels to buy more things the people need. Betty praises the idea....but points out it's still stealing. Scott explains that he's been a thief all his life. He doesn't know another way. He does finally convince her to join him to see how they're getting that money...

Watched another Robin Hood story, The Court Jester, while eating leftovers for dinner. Danny Kaye is the title character, a former performer who now works for the Robin Hood figure the Black Fox to restore the infant heir to the throne of England. He's in love with the very pretty Maid Jean (Glyns Johns), but she wants to get the baby back safely before they do any lovey stuff. She convinces him to take the place of the new court jester. Meanwhile, the King's right-hand man (Basil Rathbone) is plotting to get rid of his competition in the court...and intends for the jester to do the killing. And the king's lovely daughter (Angela Landsbury) is desperately looking for romance and is hoping her sorceress nursemaid (Mildred Natwick) will fix her up with that good-looking new court jester....

Along with Hans Christian Anderson, this is probably Danny Kaye's best and best-known vehicle, if only for the famous tongue-twisting orders at the end. Yes, you'll probably be going on about the chalice in the palace for days after watching this, too. Highly recommended for fans of Kaye or comic swashbucklers.

And...yes, I do remember September 11th, 2001. It was my first day of my final semester at what was then Richard Stockton College. The morning went normally at first. I got up, watched Rollie Pollie Ollie and Get Smart, ate, got dressed, and went to my first class of the day, History 1917-Present. I had work at Stockton's Media Center as a secretary after class. I borrowed a few books to read (one was about silent movie stars) and went downstairs to the library basement, where the Media Center is housed.

One of the secretaries met me at the door. "They bombed the World Trade Center," she said to me, wide-eyed with horror. "What?!" I replied. I really hadn't heard. I hurried in the main room, where a group of technicians ran Stockton's announcement channel. Their eyes were all glued on their TV screens. A small room off the main area was open for anyone who wanted to watch what was happening on TV.

I was worried. I had friends in New York. Between e-mailing them, I worked on a fanfic for my Remember WENN series On the Edge of the Precipice. I finished it later that night. Maple LaMarsh Comstock has just learned her husband Victor is missing in action and has taken a second job and is partying hard to forget him. Hilary Booth reminds her that Victor's "died" before...and that life does go on, even after extreme trauma. Even if she misses him horribly. It wasn't the story I intended to write that day, but...I guess I needed it.

On the Edge of the Precipice: Everything's Fine

(And incidentally, all of my friends in New York and Washington were luckily fine. One woman was upset her husband's flight was delayed and it would be days before he could get home. Otherwise, no one was anywhere near the World Trade Center or the Pentagon and no one was hurt.)

I don't remember much else about that day. School closed early, at 2 PM, before I could go to my next class. I went home instead. My roommates were doing homework. No one said anything. There wasn't much that needed to be said. I baked a lot of chocolate cookies and went for a walk. Later that night, I chatted with my friends, making sure everyone was ok.

It wasn't until I got home from the computer labs that it really hit me. One of my roommates left the TV on. Peter Jennings was reporting from Ground Zero. I saw all the firefighters and rubble behind him....and for the first time that day, I broke down crying. I was really scared. Even though everyone I knew was ok, other people weren't, and I didn't entirely understand what was happening.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Finally the Rains Came

Started off a gloomy, cloudy morning with writing. Betty asks Mr. Eldridge about the Guardians and the former ruling family of Wennaria. King Justin, the Dark Guardian, had been tricked by his adviser into giving up most of his power. His adviser ultimately turned on him and had him killed. The queen and the king's older sister the Dowager Duchess fled. The queen was later captured. When she wouldn't marry the adviser, she too was killed. The queen was pregnant when she fled; it's rumored that the Duchess and the queen's newborn child vanished, likely killed by the many bandits on the roads. Any Guardians who defended the king were stripped of their magic and killed. The other Guardians fled into the Western Kingdoms.

Mr. Eldridge wants to teach Betty to use light healing powers. Betty isn't certain she wants anything to do with magic...until Scott stumbles in, battered and bruised and bloodied. He tells them he was ambushed in the forest by "Sir Johnathan Arnold" and his men. Arnold is a mysterious turncoat from Wennaria who now leads the Shadow Realm's army.

Finished out one of the Popeye color featurettes as I quickly ate lunch before work. "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor" is the first and probably the best of the three 20-minute shorts the Fleischer Brothers did with the character in the late 30's and early 40's. Hoping to compete with their rival Disney, they used these as preparation for feature-length work. It was great prep, too. While the plot is just "Bluto/Sinbad tosses crazy monsters at Popeye," the animation is lush and amazing. The backgrounds make ample use of the 3-D perspective gadget the Fleischers used in some of their 30's cartoons to give them an extra-lush, detailed look. There's something bizarre and colorful in every frame.

It rained hard last night. Thankfully, the rain was long gone by the time I was writing. It was barely spitting when I rode to work at noon. I arrived dry. Not that it mattered. We off-and-on steady all day. It would be dead and they'd send extra people to go elsewhere. We'd suddenly get a spurt, and people would complain there was no help. We'd call for help, and the spurt would die down, and we'd send people away. This went on the whole six hours. It was starting to die again by 6 PM, though. My relief was right on time, and I headed out quickly.

It was showering when I went home, though not heavily. I just rode home and got wet. Started The Court Jester while eating leftovers for dinner; I'll finish it tomorrow.

(And that shower I rode home in has only increased since then. It's now pouring, and has been for a while. Good. We desperately need the rain. Not only has it gotten really dry, but when it does subside, it looks like the temperatures will drop into a more seasonable mid-70's.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Cat and Mouse and Magic Games

Spent most of a hot, humid, sunny morning working on my story. Betty awakens the next morning to find Scott gone and herself upstairs, Scott having carried her to her bed after she passed out. Mr. Eldridge is making breakfast. Scott went to find news about Gertie and the raid in Pittsburgh Village. Mr. Eldridge and Betty discuss Gertie, bookmaking, and magic. He wants to train Betty in healing magic. She's not sure if she wants to. Her father always told her magic was a myth. Mr. Eldridge explains about the Guardians of Magic to try to prove otherwise.

We were on-and-off busy, though not as overwhelming as we could have been. Unfortunately, no one had been expecting any crowds after last month, and we didn't really have enough help. The managers kept letting the extra cashier do something else, only to call him back up two minutes later when the line got long. I was also scolded for being too slow when the lines were long. I tried my hardest to go fast! The customers never complain. I was glad when my relief was on time and I was able to get out quickly.

Spent the rest of the evening eating leftovers for dinner and watching Tom & Jerry shorts. Probably the most famous from this batch are two Academy Award winners and a nominee. "The Two Mousekteers" introduces Jerry the Musketeer and his little gray sidekick, who try to get the best parts of a banquet before Cardinal's Guard Tom can chase them out. This short was so popular (it won an Oscar), it lead to three-follow-ups. The final one, "Touche, Pussycat!" was Oscar-nominated. This is a bit of a prequel, as it shows how Jerry's French-speaking gray sidekick came to join the Musketeers.

"Johann Mouse" also won an Oscar. Here, Tom and Jerry live in the home of Johann Strauss, the Waltz King. Jerry dances out of his hole whenever Strauss plays his waltzes. Tom teaches himself to play the waltz so he can catch Jerry...and the two end up the talk of Vienna instead.

The remaining shorts were all modern-day cat-and-mouse games. "Designs On Jerry" was one of the most unique. Even Tom's blueprint to build a better mousetrap conspires against him when the stick-figure cat and mouse chase each other, and Jerry helps the mouse.

"Baby Butch" is an alley cat who wants to get at the ham in Tom's owner's kitchen. (And having Jerry for an appetizer wouldn't hurt, either.) He dresses as a baby to gain entry. Somehow, the ruse works...and for once, the usual antagonists find themselves working together to get rid of this ham-obsessed annoyance.

Jerry and his little gray friend create their own ice-skating rink in "Mice Follies." Tom gets on skates to go after them, constantly disrupting their attempt to skate to "The Sleeping Beauty Waltz."

"Pecos Pest" and "The Flying Cat" are both variations on "Jerry's Cousin," where another character comes in to help Jerry with Tom. The helper in the former is a country-western TV singer who keeps grabbing Tom's whiskers for his guitar strings. Tom takes to the skies in the latter via home-made "wings" when a canary whisks Jerry into a bird house.

Tom gets a near-solo outing in "The Flying Sorceress." Tired of having to clean up after his and Jerry's antics, he moves out to find another home. He unknowingly chooses the home of a witch who wants him as a companion while she rides her broomstick. When she goes out, Tom tries to ride the broomstick himself...with some very scary results!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Hot Hot Hot!

Started the morning with breakfast and more WENN. It's "Magic" in the second-season finale when Hilary Booth and Jeff Singer introduce the listening audience to their mind-reading act. But there's more than one illusion going on at the station. A sponsor turns out to be more treacherous than believed....and former station manager Victor Comstock, who was thought to be killed in the London Blitz, may still be among the living.

Did some writing after breakfast. Determined to find out what the mysterious woodsman is hiding, Betty lights a candle and walks downstairs - the woodsman is on a couch while she sleeps in his bed. She holds the light over his face. She's not entirely surprised to find Scott Sherwood, the thief who had claimed to be a prince. What does surprise her is the fur that grows along his face when she exposes it to the light.

She accidentally drops tallow on Scott's arm, which awakens him. He tells her the truth. He didn't really run out after Pruitt discovered his lies and how he stole from the treasury. He was arrested and thrown in the dungeon. Pruitt tried to force him to work for the Shadow Realm, but he refused.

Pruitt cast an evil curse over the false prince. Scott turns into a demon whenever he's in the light. Even the smallest ray of light can trigger his transformation, as the light from Betty's candle did. Darkness restores his human form. Though Pruitt intended for him to be easier to control as a demon, Scott rebelled and ultimately escaped. Pruitt thought his men shot him down and killed him. Scott actually landed in the forest. Mr. Eldridge nursed him back to health.

I got so into my writing, it was well past noon before I headed out. My first stop was the Oaklyn Library for this week's volunteering session there. They were surprisingly busy for the first day of school for most Camden County students. A mother and her three very young daughters were enjoying stories. I settled for organizing DVD's.

Headed to Haddonfield next. It was a long, hot trip. It got into the lower 90's today. Thankfully, for once, it wasn't really humid, just very hot. A nice breeze did help somewhat. I was still dripping when I arrived at the Bistro.

They were very busy when I went inside, but were gradually clearing out even as I ordered a Pear Spinach Salad for lunch. Yum. This is one of their specialties. Sliced pears, candied walnuts, bacon, and blue cheese are crumbled over a bed of spinach. No wonder it's so popular. It's just the perfect melding of flavors. Had a much-needed Iced Green Tea with it.

It was too hot to linger outside. I just went to counseling a little early. Once again, I mostly had good things to report to Mrs. Stahl. We did discuss my lack of finances, which is really my only big problem right now, as well as the gift cards I earned at work, Labor Day, my stroll in Atlantic City, Khai starting school, finishing The Little Mer-Betty and beginning Once Upon a Time In the Land of WENN, and my anxiety with talking to my bosses.

Other than the money trouble, I'm pretty happy right now. Writing is such a huge part of my life. It's what I do. I'm not a cashier. I'm a writer. I'm a storyteller. I create stories. I don't know what unleashed my imagination - seeing that 40's play with Rose in March, the creativity class I took in February and March, watching WENN again. Or maybe I just needed it. This time last year, I really couldn't come up with any ideas. Now, I feel like they're coming out of my ears! I have so many story ideas, I have a list of WENN fanfiction alone that'll probably take me into next spring, or even longer...and that's not counting the non-fanfic short kids' stories I have planned.

It was so hot, I needed to stop at Primo's Water Ice in Westmont on the way home. So did everyone else in Haddon Township. Needless to say, on a day where the high was 94, they were mobbed. It didn't help that it was quarter after 3 at this point, and a lot of the kids had just gotten out of school. I'm just glad it didn't take me that long to get my medium Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Water Ice. That turned out to be delicious, by the way. It was mini-chocolate chips in strawberry water ice, and it really did kind of taste like a chocolate-covered strawberry.

I went straight home to avoid the heat. When I got in, I returned to WENN as I got organized. Betty Roberts is wondering "Who's Scott Sherwood?" after Victor Comstock's revelation in the third season opener. So is nasty financier Rollie Pruitt, who fires Scott for embezzlement. The others rally to Scott's defense. Betty's not sure he's worth defending, especially after she finds out that Scott wasn't entirely above-board about how he got the station manager's job in the first place...

Went to Rose's house on Kendall for dinner around quarter of 5. It was her, Khai, me, and the dogs Toby and Kelsey (and Khai's fish that he got from the Spring Fling in May). Craig left for late-night work at Anthony's Restaurant almost as soon as I arrived. We had tacos, green beans (Khai's choice), and a brown rice/grains medley Rose heat up in the microwave. Yum. Khai was tired from school, but he did eventually eat his hard-shell taco and all the rest of the cheese in the bowl. (He apparently inherited his mother's love of cheese.) I liked the soft-shells shaped like bowls better.

Rose and I did have a discussion about my fiances when Khai went to watch cartoons after he gave up on dinner. She had a similar suggestion as Mrs. Stahl about cutting out non-essential items. She also suggested I start a second savings account for non-emergency needs, like vacations and clothes and dolls and electronics. We'll see what happens when I have the money to put in a second savings account.

Rose isn't into sweets, but Khai and I did have dessert. Khai had Smarties from his stash. I had Bryers' mint chocolate chip, one of the best versions of mint chocolate chip on the market.

Stopped at WaWa on the way home. I meant to get milk on the way back from Haddonfield, but totally forgot. I originally wanted eggs, too, but they were out. I just picked up my milk and headed back to my place.

Monday, September 07, 2015

No Laboring On Labor Day

Started the day reading poems (including I Heard America Singing by Walt Whitman) and an essay on Samuel Gumpters, long-time spearhead of the labor movement in the US. I tossed in excerpts from two American Girl books for good measure. Samantha Parkington learns from her friend Nellie O'Malley, who once worked in a factory, that "progress" isn't always good for everyone in Samantha Learns a Lesson. Rebecca Rubin discovers just how scary factories were in the early 20th century - and how to stand up for her beliefs - in the final book in her series, Changes For Rebecca.

I spent most of last night and early morning online with Lauren - we rarely get to spend holiday nights together, since I normally work for most of them. I was up so late, it was quarter of 11 before I had breakfast. Ran a pair of Three Stooges shorts on working while I ate. They're "Dizzy Doctors" when they try to sell Brighto, first on the street, then in a hospital. The boys are mistaken for escorts in "Termites of 1938," but they're really exterminators. When mice get into their dates' house, the Stooges go to work...and make a shambles of the party.

Headed to the laundromat around 12:30 to get my small load done. Good thing it was a small load. The place was packed. I was lucky to get one of the last washers available when I came in. Thankfully, the driers were less full by the time my clothes were ready. I worked on my notes and ignored soap operas.

I was a block from my house when the bike stopped moving. I just managed to keep myself from falling off, but I scraped the back of my left thigh pretty good on the tough metal pedals. I wasn't happy when I came home and discovered the chain had come clean off. I really didn't want to take off the guard and try to put it back on. I hadn't gotten to writing yet, and I wasn't going to have time to go out for pizza as I'd planned. My neighbor and landlady Miss Willa said her husband Richard was out fishing, but would be willing to fix it when he got home.

Had the last of the Tex-Mex Bean Dip and grapes for lunch while watching more Remember WENN. Betty Roberts almost becomes "The First Mrs. Bloom" when she and Mackie have to convince the sponsor of their bridal show (Julie Hagerty) that they marry real couples on the air.

Worked on my fanfiction for the next two hours or so. Betty has fled into the forest, but she's being pursued by demons. They overtake her and are about to try worse things...when they hear what sounds like female animals and take off. The noises were being made by Mr. Eldridge and his apprentice, the woodsman who rescued Betty earlier. They take her to their cottage in the woods. The woodsman is charming to Betty, but he still won't let her see his face or let Mr. Eldridge give him away. Betty badly wants to know who he is...and has an idea for how to do it that night...

Rose and Craig picked me up to go to Dad's house around 4:30 for their party. (The bike was fixed by then, as it turned out, but they were already there.) Rose and Craig have a new car - a small dark-blue van. It's really compact and cute, like a dark blue box, but has a surprising amount of room inside. Rose said they fit three bushes for their back yard in the seats with no problem.

I spent most of the party swimming with my nephew Khai and Dad's neighbor Sandy's two little girls Mary and Chloe while the other adults discussed their children going back to school and the new Star Wars movie coming out this fall. I'm so proud of Khai. His swimming has improved tenfold. He can swim easily in the deep end of the pool now, and even go underwater with no problems.

Rose invited me to "Taco Tuesday" at her house tomorrow. Sure! My only plans for dinner tomorrow were leftovers. I do have counseling, but it's supposed to be hot again, so I won't be lingering too long afterwards.

Jodie had plenty of food. There were chicken thighs, burgers, hot dogs, and steak cooked on the grill, a fruit bowl, corn on the cob, a Caesar salad, a macaroni salad, and a plate of various cookies neighbors brought. Had everything but the hot dogs - the pork ones give me indigestion - and the corn on the cob, which was already slathered in butter. I like my corn plain.

Chatted with Dad - as well as he could - right before walking home. Poor Dad. That throat surgery is really hurting him. His voice still doesn't sound right. He did suggest that I look into doing some reading on money management, since I don't think I could handle a second job that's outside of the home. I never really learned money management. I never had much money to manage until the last ten years or so. I've always had a hard time getting a job; what little money I had as a child was earned from chores or given to me by my stepfather.

Walked home after talking to Dad. It was a nice night for it. While it's hotter and a little more humid than it has been this weekend, it's still not overwhelming. It was surprisingly quiet - most people were probably finishing out barbecues or just coming home from their own vacations.

Richard was working on my bike when I got in. The gears have been sticking for a while. He oiled them and got the chain back on, which seems to have fixed the problem for the time being. He says he'll do further work on it when I'm on vacation next month.

And I hope you enjoyed your own Labor Day, whether or not you had to work on it.