Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Just a Whisper Away

It was still somewhat sunny when I finally got up late this morning. The men were already working downstairs when I was reading the Maisie Dobbs story A Lesson In Secrets. Charlie knocked on my door as I was starting my journal. He wanted to come up and look at that outlet in the back room in an hour. Sure. I had to eat breakfast and do some things around the apartment.

As soon as I finished the journal, I ate, then went into making the bed. I only make the bed once in a while. Who's gonna see it? I also turned the mattress and put on my blue flannel sheets. Normally, I'd wait to put the sheets on until early next month. I figured, since I was making the bed now, I might as well do the whole thing.

Ran Song of the Sea while I worked. Ben is a young boy who lives with his father and his little sister Saiorse on a remote island lighthouse just off the coast of Ireland in the 1980's. Their mother vanished when Saiorse was born. The little girl has never spoken a word, but she's the apple of her father's eye. Her brother resents her closeness with their father and blames her for their mother's disappearance. Their grandmother thinks they're growing up too wild and drags them away to the city to be brought up "properly." This is the worst possible thing anyone could have done. Saiorse is a selkie, a half-seal, half human. She has to be reunited with her seal skin at their father's lighthouse so she can sing her seal song and save the supernatural world. Ben and their sheepdog Cu do their best to get her there on a spooky Halloween night, dodging the witch Macha who thinks she's helping supernatural creatures by taking their emotions, when she really turns them to stone.

While I've never seen The Secret of the Kells, the previous movie from this studio, I was really impressed with this one. The animation was beautiful, the music was incredible, the story was touching and intense, and like Arthur Christmas last year, no character was played as a villain, even the obvious ones like Macha. There's been almost an embarrassment of wonderful animated films in the last few years, and this is one of the better entries. A deserved Oscar nominee for Animated Film earlier this year.

Charlie finally showed up about an hour and a half after he knocked on the door. He only took a few minutes to work on the outlet in the back room before he left again. The electrician is coming by again on Saturday. Oooh, bad timing. Between Dad and Jodie's wedding, the last Collingswood Farm Market of the year, and the Acme's annual Thanksgiving Luncheon, I'll be in and out all day. They'll have to find their own way to the outlet.

Headed out for today's errands around 12:30. Stopped at Dollar Tree first. I needed sponges rather badly. Thankfully, they had the thicker ones I prefer. I picked up some cookie boxes for Christmas presents and a birthday card for my brother Keefe, whose big day was today.

Next stop was the Westmont Bagel Shop for lunch. They were still pretty busy when I arrived with office workers finishing their lunch hours. I opted for a very simple meal of grilled cheese and tomatoes with fries and a bottle of water. I ate and listened to CNN's report on the Paris terrorist attacks as the other diners gradually went to work.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't nearly as busy. There wasn't much in the way to shelve. I did have some new releases to put up, and the new release section needed to be organized. The kids' stuff all fit; had less luck with the adult DVDs. The "N" titles were the ones that wouldn't go in this time. I didn't take anything out this week. I'm not sure if I'll have the time to do any volunteering next week, due to the holiday.

Stopped at Thriftway on the way home. I needed a quart of skim milk and eggs; both are cheaper at Thriftway than at Acme. Treated myself to a sparkling iced tea, too. Ran into my friend Erica's mom Miss Helen while I was there and talked to her.

The clouds, which had been gathering since before I left, were getting much heavier. I figured it was time for me to head home. I dodged the beginning of the evening rush hour traffic on the way, especially on Cuthbert Boulevard.

When I got in, I went right into continuing my story. It's the night of the glittering Summer Festival Ball, a sort of island-wide cast party for the theater shows. Elizabeth's not sure she can go. She's no great noblewoman or writer. Not to mention, she has nothing to wear. Nonsense, says Duchess Hilary. She's now a part of her court, and she'll make sure she's properly dressed. She plays fairy godmother and makes a beautiful white gown and gold tiara appear on the young woman.

Scott has similar reservations. Not only is he in exile from the Wennaria Court, but he can't even leave the shadows to dance. Don't be silly, says Duke Jeff. Scott is the real head of the country until King Justin's descendants appear. He needs to be there. Jeff gives Scott an outfit worthy of royalty, including a crown.

Finally got off around quarter after 6. Made the last of the Brussels sprouts and leftover swai fillets for dinner, then looked over cake books for holiday baking ideas while watching the 1961 Disney version of Babes In Toyland. Here, Mary (Annette Funicello) is the one who is inheriting and whom Barnaby (Ray Bolger) is after, and the "babes" in question are her siblings. Tom Piper (Tommy Sands) is her swain. After Barnaby's men fail to get rid of Tom, the group ends up in Toyland, where they meet the eccentric Toymaker (Ed Wynn) and his adorably nerdy assistant Grumio (Tommy Kirk). The kids and the lover agree to help the Toymaker prepare for Christmas...but Barnaby and his boys are on their tails...

This is by far my favorite version of Babes In Toyland. While a lot of people prefer the Laurel and Hardy version, and that one does have its virtues, this one is more colorful and charming, and just a lot more fun. Bolger in particular is having a blast playing against type as a hammy silent-era-style villain. It's on DVD and Blu-Ray (the latter in widescreen) and is fairly easy to find if you look around.

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