Saturday, December 19, 2015

As Long As There's Christmas

I was delighted to awaken to a sunny, chilly day, probably in the 40's. It's supposed to get crazy-warm again by Christmas Eve, but for now, I decided to just enjoy the weather. Put on The Snowman during breakfast. This lovely British special from the early 80's tells the simple but touching story of a boy who creates a frosty friend on Christmas Eve and the fun they have, including visiting Father Christmas. This was originally a wordless picture book; the animation not only perfectly captures the book's art, but adds a gorgeous soundtrack, including "Walking In the Air."

Moved onto a couple of holiday animated shorts as I cleaned up from breakfast and made my grocery list. Sylvester thinks Tweety is "Gift Wrapped" just for him. Actually, he's Granny's Christmas gift. She spends her holidays trying to keep Sylvester away from Tweety and the new dog away from both.

Popeye takes Olive skating for the first time in his only Christmas short, "Seasons Greetinks." Olive ends up on thin ice when Bluto tries to show off for her, and she almost ends up going over a waterfall. "I-Ski-Love-Ski-You-Ski" is somewhat similar, only this time, Olive and Popeye are off on a skiing trip that Bluto disrupts.

Did a little bit of writing next. Mother Gloria Goose is brought in when lamb chops are found in Scott's office. Scott protests loudly that he had nothing to do with it. Betty's  not so sure. Neither is Mother Goose, who is too tired and too overwhelmed to listen to him or the kids. Not to mention, there's Barnaby making sure no one can see the evidence up close...

Did a few more shorts before heading out to work, this time concentrating on Disney. "Mickey's Orphans" was their first Oscar winner. Mickey and Minnie take in a group of rambunctious kittens abandoned on their doorstep on Christmas Eve. They may be cute, but they prove to be wilder than their house can handle! "Toy Tinkers" was also an Oscar-nominee. Chip and Dale invade Donald's house on Christmas Eve, looking for nuts. When Donald catches them in his holiday goodies, it turns into a literal war. "Chip & Dale" was the short that named the mischievous chipmunks. Donald chops down their home to put in his fire. They do whatever they can to get it back.

I went to work about a half-hour early to enjoy this year's Employee Christmas Luncheon. It's basically the same thing as the Thanksgiving Luncheon, only with red and green tablecloths. Just as much food, though. When I came in, there was already two platters of small hoagies, meatballs, barbecue shredded pork, Italian sausage. Buffalo chicken dip, turkey and stuffing, taco spaghetti (pasta with ground meat and taco seasoning), two cakes (chocolate and red velvet), a cheesecake, and snickerdoodles. I just had a turkey hoagie, the taco spaghetti (not bad - a little spicy but not horrible), and a little of the Buffalo chicken dip. (Whooa, that stuff was spicy! Steam-out-of-the-ears spicy.) When I got on break, they'd added cheesy hash browns, pasta salad, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, and a huge ham. I tried the eggs, pasta salad, hash browns (very cheesy and yummy!) and a little of the ham.

Work itself was surprisingly not bad. It was on-and-off busy all afternoon. I guess people were taking advantage of the chilly but nice day to finish out their baking or Christmas shopping. (Several people did mention they'd come from the malls, and they were mobbed.) There were once again a few problems with gift cards; otherwise, no really major trouble, and my relief was not only on time, she was early.

Which was a very good thing. I had a LOT of grocery shopping to do. First of all, I picked up salmon, sweet potatoes, and frozen green beans and almonds for my Christmas dinner. If I don't end up getting invited to someone's house or the other, I think I'll make green beans and almonds, poached salmon in lemon wine sauce, ambrosia, and sweet potato casserole. I also needed to stock up for this week's baking - vanilla mousse, Cool Whip, and a shortbread crust for Jodie's pumpkin mousse pie, cream cheese for the frosting for the red velvet cupcakes, and cranberries for bread for my neighbors. Needed to restock yogurt, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, soup (Progresso's vegetable soups were on sale - went with vegetable and barley), grapefruit, apples, vegetables (went with spinach), bananas, and chocolate chips. (They had a mint-dark chocolate bag I wanted to try.) The Acme is currently selling bags based around characters from the original Star Wars trilogy; I couldn't resist one with my favorite characters (Han and Chewie) and another with my favorite movie (The Empire Strikes Back).

When I finally got home, I put my groceries away, then separated my cookie boxes and remaining gifts into two bags. The Disney crew holiday bag is for gifts to be given on or before Christmas Eve, mainly cookies and baked goods for neighbors. Han and Chewie guard the gifts to be given on Christmas Day and afterwards, the presents for my family and anyone who will be at Dad's house for breakfast on Christmas Day morning.

Had leftover soup for dinner while watching Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. Set during the original movie, Belle discovers that the enchanted objects aren't allowed to celebrate Christmas, due to the Beast having lost his humanity then. She becomes determined to show him that Christmas is a time of love and giving to be shared by all. But a nasty organ (Tim Curry) would prefer everyone stay enchanted, so the Beast can continue to need his gloomy melodies. He sends a piccolo whom he's promised a solo to (Paul Reubens) to snitch on Belle's attempts to bring holiday cheer to the castle.

I know most people are down on the Disney sequels from the late 90's and early 2000's, but if you have a fan of the Disney princesses or Beauty and the Beast, this one isn't bad. There's some decent songs (including the oft-reprised "As Long As There's Christmas") and most of the animation (except for the awful CGI done on the organ) is lovely.

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