Thursday, December 01, 2016

Christmastime Is Here

Thank heavens December began with bright sunshine! The rain had vanished by the time I awoke, leaving wind and cooler temperatures in its wake. I celebrated the better weather and the start of the last month of the year with A Charlie Brown Christmas. As the other Peanuts gear up for the holidays, Chuck's feeling a little blue. He takes over the directorial duties at the local pageant, but none of the kids listen to him. He's hoping bringing back a tiny green tree with revive his spirits...but this is the mid-60's. Tiny live trees aren't in fashion. It's Linus who finally reminds the group of what Christmas is really all about.

Ran The Little Drummer Boy to continue the "real meaning of Christmas" theme as I cleaned up from breakfast. The title character is an orphan boy who wanders the desert with his animals. A bandit raid on his family has left him with a hatred of the human race. When his beloved lamb is injured, there's only one child who can restore it...and one precious gift he can give.

Finally headed out to get the laundry done around 10-10:30. I've put it off for two days because of the rain. I couldn't put it off any longer. Thankfully, it wasn't really that busy. By the time my large load was in the drier, it was me and a very mouthy and obnoxious old woman who kept cursing at the local newscasts because people were allowed to do dumb things. I was so happy to get out of there.

When I got home, I put everything away, then did a few chores. Washed all of the windows, electronics screens, and photo frames. Took a duster around the low ceilings and door frames to get rid of cobwebs. Listened to the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas and a CD of holiday smooth jazz as I worked.

As soon as I finished, I headed out again. Started at Phillies Phatties for lunch. It was such a nice day, I took my slice of cheese pizza, slice of mushroom pizza, and Wild Cherry Pepsi outside to the picnic benches. They weren't too busy at noon, other than the occasional person getting pizza.

Next stop was the Oaklyn Library. They were even less busy than Phillies Phatties had been. It was just me, the librarian, one guy reading the newspaper, and one other man who stopped by to ask about one of the baskets the library auctioned off last weekend. I organized DVDs and a few children's books, but otherwise, there wasn't a whole lot to do there.

I saw a sign on the Library's front door that said their evening hours would be ending early today due to Oaklyn's Christmas Parade. I thought that was tomorrow! Cool. I'd get to see the parade and the tree-lighting for the first time since I moved here.

A trip to Collingswood was next on the to-do list. I desperately needed a haircut. I put it off because I'd had it cut so short last October and because I've been broke. I shouldn't have put it off. My hair was a horribly frizzy mess. It was still a bit dry and frizzy, even after having it layered and three inches taken off. Next time, I may do four inches again. At the very least, it does look better than it did.

Headed across Collingswood and Westmont for this week's volunteering session at the Haddon Township Library. I shelved kids' DVDs, CDs, and audio books. Left anything else for the teen volunteers.

Took out DVDs for the first time in weeks. I've been wanting to see the movie studio spoof Hail Caesar!, and I've never seen the classic All the Presidents' Men. They had another new My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic set in, this one with a horror theme. Found the disc with one of the two holiday episodes of Sofia the First, Holiday In Enchantria. Also took out a very interesting book on how musicals are put together, The Secret Life of the American Musical.

Made a very quick stop at Dollar Tree on the way home. I needed sponges. It's a good thing that was all I needed. They were mobbed, with long lines. Thankfully, they realized this for once and had two registers open.

After I finally got in, I sat down at the computer for an hour. I was originally going to write, but I realized I didn't really have the time. I did tell Lauren I might be in a bit late, due to the parade.

Did "Holiday In Enchantria" while getting organized for dinner. Sofia's family celebrates Wassalia, their winter holiday. Sofia's looking forward to lighting the Wassalia candles with her new family. Her sister Amber just wants to open presents. When their dad disappears in the snow on his way home from shopping, Sofia and her mom insist they look for him. It looks like they might be spending their holiday without their father...until Princess Aurora arrives to tell Sofia that her animal friends may know where he is.

Made Turkey Meatloaf with leftover broccoli and acorn squash for dinner while watching The Year Without a Santa Claus. Returned to Rankin-Bass for this unusual tale of Santa deciding to go on vacation when he gets sick and thinks no one likes him or Christmas anymore. Mrs. Claus sends two elves and a reindeer to find some Christmas spirit. She didn't realize she was sending them right into the territory of the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser, the constantly feuding spirit siblings who are perpetually at war with one another.

Strolled down to Oaklyn's City Hall at quarter after 6. It was a good night for it. It was windy, but not so cold you'd freeze while waiting for the parade to start. There were lots of kids running around the parking lot between the fire house and the municipal building, while their parents got hot drinks and awaited the show.

The parade was late, of course. It was supposed to start at 6:30. It was closer to 7 when it finally appeared. Unlike the larger and more elaborate Collingswood Christmas Parade, this one was all decorated fire trucks. Some of them got really creative, though. One smaller truck was decorated to look like a toy car, complete with wind-up "key." Another pulled a giant "Radio Flyer" wagon. The one with the pop-up Santa Claus was really popular with the kids.

As soon as Santa arrived, everyone moved to the side of the City Hall that faces the corner of West Clinton and the White Horse Pike. This year, Girl Scouts (who lead the parade) decorated the tree with long bookmark-like ornaments that were trimmed with wood and foam. (It's cute, but kind of fruitless. Wind and nasty December weather usually ends up scattering the home-made ornaments around the City Hall side lawn by the time the tree comes down.) Santa Claus officiated the tree lighting. As the families around me took their kids to greet Santa and his elves, I headed back down West Clinton.

Since the parade was so short, I decided to finish out the night with a treat. I hit Common Grounds Coffee House for a Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffin and a hot chocolate. Oh yuuum. I love their Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins. They're nicely sweet and moist, with a tasty brown sugar topping. The hot chocolate was smooth and rich. I think it may have been made from chocolate syrup. I watched two kids run around while moms chatted and a college student did research.

Took the long way home down Woodlawn Terrace. There's already quite a few homes that already have lights out. I like the multi-colored strands myself. The projected star lights from last year returned as well. It made for a very pleasant walk home.

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