Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The First Day of Winter

I woke up a lot later than I planned. It was nearly 11 before I got to breakfast! Went right into my last loaf of bread after I ate. I've given Jodie pumpkin pudding pie for her Christmas Eve party the last few years. After it was a pain to get there last year and never got eaten, I decided to bring something more portable that might disappear faster. I finally opted for the Golden Pumpkin Bread that goes over so well on the other side of the family on Black Friday morning. It's quick to make (even for quick bread), cooks fairly well, and smells divine in the oven.

(This is also the last baked holiday gift I'm making from scratch. The cupcakes I plan on doing for Dad and Charlie tomorrow will be from a mix.)

Ran National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation as I worked. Clark Griswauld (Chevy Chase) is looking forward to a big, old-fashioned family Christmas, with lots of presents, a huge tree, and all his family gathered around a fine meal. As with all of Clark's plans, what he imagines and what actually happens are two entirely different matters. The two sets of in-laws don't get along. The tree Clark (literally) digs out of the ground is bigger than his house. He has so many lights on his roof, he shuts down the neighborhood power grid. His yuppie neighbors think he's insane. And then his hillbilly cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his family show up and cause even more chaos. When Christmas Eve is one disaster after another, Clark finally snaps...until he learns that we really can't make Christmas perfect, but we can make it memorable.

Another childhood favorite that used to show up on cable a lot. If nothing else, this movie always made me at least somewhat appreciate our comparatively quiet Christmases and understand why Mom and Dad always insisted that any relatives who wanted to come around did so on Christmas Day or the week afterwards. A lot of scatological humor makes this for older kids just starting their own Christmas vacations and adults who have probably gone through most of what happens to Clark here.

Howard Cunningham has a similar dilemma in the second season Happy Days episode "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas?" He wants Christmas Eve to be reserved for a quiet, old-fashioned holiday for the immediate family...until Richie realizes Fonzie, despite his insistence otherwise, doesn't have a place to go for Christmas. Father and son have to figure out how to invite Fonzie over without hurting his pride.

Larry Appleton is having trouble just getting home for the holiday in "A Christmas Story" from the second season of Perfect Strangers. A snowstorm has stranded him and Balki in Chicago, much to his dismay. He was really looking forward to Christmas with his family in Madison. Balki cheers him up by reminding him of what the season is all about.

Finally headed out to do the laundry around 2. I just walked, pushing the laundry and detergent in my old cart. I probably should have gone earlier. It was really busy when I got in. Thankfully, I was able to get a washer and dryer pretty fast. I had a ton of laundry to do. Worked on story notes while Steve Harvey and Ellen chattered in the background.

Saw Richard as I was coming in. I was able to give him the cranberry bread for him and his family and tell him about the bike. He said he'd take a look at it.

While he looked at it, I worked on my story. The old man who takes Luke and Leia in is Palpatine, who claims to be the missing merchant. Leia's suspicious. His clothes are too big and look like they were made for someone else. There's things monogrammed "HS" all over his gingerbread home.

He leads them to a huge dining room, where guards in red armor and a handsome man with reddish-brown hair and hazel eyes sets out their meal. Leia had seen the man just moments before, and he'd been clear-eyed then. Now, his eyes are empty and clouded, and he moves stiffly, as if he's a puppet and someone else is pulling the strings. He won't speak to anyone or look them in the eye. Palpatine claims he's his nephew, a mute simpleton and a charity case he'd just taken in. Luke asks for him to eat with them, but Palpatine quickly insists he's a servant.

One of the guards finally takes Luke and Leia upstairs to the bedrooms. Leia's too tired to consider her suspicions any longer. She finally passes out on a bed made from cotton candy.

Richard called while I was working on my story. The back rim just isn't fixable. He'll let me borrow his wife's bike until I can get a new rim from or somewhere similar online.

Finally broke around 7:30 to have a fried egg and spinach wrap for a late dinner. Watched Frosty's Winter Wonderland in honor of today being the Winter Solstice. Frosty's happy to be back among his young friends, but something is missing. The kids build him a wife, so he won't be lonely while they're inside. Frosty calls her Crystal, but then has to figure out how to make her "all livin'." Meanwhile, Jack Frost is jealous of Frosty's popularity and wants to prove he's the only reason to love winter.

Ended the night with Super Smash Brothers Brawl. I didn't have a lot of time, so I thought I'd try something different and quick. I played my usual Princess Peach on solo Classic Normal mode...and to my surprise, actually did pretty well. I had a harder time with the bonus "Target Smash" rounds than with kicking the characters' rears. (Literally. One of Peach's signature moves is a very high kick the Rockettes would admire.) I only needed three continues out of 11 rounds.

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