Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Rainy Christmas

It was showering heavily when I got up this morning. It made a cozy backdrop for oatmeal, a half of a grapefruit, and Rick Steves' European Christmas. It's a merry holiday all across the continent that gave the US some of its most cherished Christmas traditions, from children's choirs in England to beautiful angels who give gifts and elaborate gingerbread in Germany to skating on top of the Eiffel Tower to the quiet beauty of a living nativity in Italy.

After breakfast, I put the bears under the tree. This tradition started with my mom. She used to borrow some of our stuffed bears (and keep a few just for this display), dress them in old baby clothes and winter accessories, and keep them on her hope chest all through December. It was an interactive display. My siblings and I would play with the bears and rearrange them, even swapping the knit hats for tiaras and party hats on New Year's. When my brother got too old for it and Mom got tired of putting them out, she turned the remaining Christmas-only bears over to me. I've added many stuffed animals to it over the years - Starlight the Peppermint Puppy, Clarence the Reindeer (in a Santa suit), the three McDonald's Muppet Babies I found in their bags at a thrift shop, the four egg-shaped Disney characters Jessa gave me a few years ago, my Miss AG bear Abigail Griddle in a lovely Build-A-Bear angel dress that was a yard sale find, the tiny angel bear, the Build-a-Bear Clarice (also a yard sale find).

Ran a holiday episode of Max & Ruby as I got ready for work. Ruby wants "Grandma's Present" to be extra-special. Ruby thinks she knows what she wants, but Max is the one who finds out her interests. "Max and Ruby's Christmas Tree" will be beautiful...but the two bunnies have very different ideas of what "beautiful" means to them. Ruby wants her brother to shovel a path to Grandma's in "Max's Snow Plow," but he knows an easier way.

It was still showering fairly hard when I rode to work. I wasn't going to drag anyone out in that. I just rode to work and got wet. The weather mostly kept the customers at bay. We were on-and-off steady for most of the afternoon. The people we did get were mostly beginning-of-the-month people (who are pretty much the only ones who are going to be grocery shopping the week after Thanksgiving). By the time it was picking up again, my relief was coming in for me. I grabbed a box of Oatmeal Squares (once again on a good sale) and headed out. Thankfully, the rain had stopped all together by then, though it would pick up again later.

When I got home, I went right on the computer to work on some writing. Scott and Betty try to argue with Pruitt over there being no Christmas at the station. He refuses to listen to either Scott's reminders that the sponsors won't be happy or Betty's frustration that she can no longer go home for the holidays. Scott's about ready to punch something, but he does try to calm Betty when she's upset over not being able to go home. They're about to kiss (to Lisa's delight and Alan's disgust) when Hilary and Jeff come in, arguing because Jeff just accidentally spilled water on his wife's blue silk blouse.

After I got off the computer, I made myself a tasty meal of mashed cauliflower, Merlin's Magic (Baked) Chicken Legs, broccoli sauteed in olive oil, and Cranberry Flummery. Other than I put way too much cornstarch in the Flummery and it got gluey, it came out really well. The chicken was so amazingly moist and juicy!'

Watched Babes In Toyland as I cooked and ate. The 1986 TV version of the beloved operetta sets the whole story in the imagination of precocious 11-year-old Cincinnati resident Lisa Piper (Drew Barrymore). She has an accident on a sled and awakens in Toyland, just in time to stop the marriage of the evil Barnaby and sweet Mary Quite Contrary. She really loves Jack Be Nimble (Keanu Reeves), but his uncle Barnaby has no desire to let his nephew have such a lovely lass. While Lisa helps the lovers evade Barnaby, she learns the importance of childhood and being young at heart. Not a great musical by all means - it's cheap and poorly-cast. Barrymore does do fairly well as the child who keeps insisting she's an adult, and there's some nice touches, like Barnaby living in a bowling ball and his one-eyed thing that keeps tabs on the heroes. The shorter version is on video; both the shorter and original two-part version can, at this writing, be found on YouTube.

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