Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Watch Out for the Icy Patch!

Slept in, trying to stay warm. It was still cloudy when I awoke. The wind howled, breaking off icicles and ice-covered branches. I had breakfast, then made one of my favorite cakes. I got the recipe for Rosemary-Lemon Currant Cake form the Cooking Light 1998 Cookbook. It's one of my favorites. It's easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and only makes one layer - perfect for one person who is craving baked goods. I didn't have any currents, and I made the syrup you pour over it lime instead of lemon, since I only have lime juice. Under any circumstances, it came out perfectly, earthy and tangy.

Watched Follow the Fleet while I worked. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers headline this 1936 musical as a sailor and his officer buddy (Randolph Scott) who get shore leave and visit a seedy dive. The sailor's former girlfriend (Ginger Rogers) has been claiming she's a big-time singer, when she's really just escorting the Navy around a nightclub dance floor. Her sister (Harriet Hillard), a timid music teacher, arrives with frustrating news - if they can't come up with the money to save their father's ship, he'll lose it. Even after winning a dancing contest with the sailor, it's still not enough. It doesn't help that the officer is chasing a rich but dim blond, and the sailor's not happy when his girl tries to get a part on her own without him. Will they ever get the money in time?

A decent score by Irving Berlin (including "Let Yourself Go," "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket," and "Let's Face the Music and Dance") buoy a so-so Astaire/Rogers effort. While still out of place in a musical, Scott at least seems slightly less stiff here than he did in Roberta. Good numbers include Astaire and Rogers' cup-winning "Let Yourself Go" and the dramatic "Face the Music" finale. Not my favorite of theirs, but not bad, either. Worth looking around if you're a fan of Astaire, Rogers, or Harriet Hillard-Nelson (yes, that is the Harriet who would eventually marry bandleader Ozzie Nelson).

Headed to work around 1. It was just starting to snow as I made it there. We were on-and-off steady all afternoon, busier than you'd think, given the weather, but not as bad as Monday. Though I did round up carts for 20 minutes before break and for an hour before I left, I was mainly inside. I gathered trash inside and out and cleaned the break room. The break room really needed it. The cupboards over the sink were a mess. The shelves were an amalgam of condiment, sugar, and non-sugar sweetener packets, tiny plastic forks and spoons, larger plastic knives and forks, coffee stirrer straws, Sterno heaters leftover from our last few employee parties, a bag of Styrofoam bowls, four package of small party napkins, three bags of cups of various sizes (one Styrofoam, the others plastic), one bag of WaWa coffee cup lids, random extension cords, a half-used bottle of pancake syrup, and a jar of "not" peanut butter product we got to taste-test last summer. And the shelves themselves were a crusted, dirty mess.

I sorted them out as best I could. Put the extension cords on one shelf, plates in another. Tossed all the cups and lids together. The plastic utensils, sugars, one package of napkins, and straws went into cups to be used at the coffee machine. Washed any dishes that needed to be washed, grabbed a new sponge, and dried the one dishcloth. Wiped down all the shelves, counters, and tables. Took out the overflowing trash and recycling.

(I'm glad I was inside for most of the day. While the roads were entirely clear, there were icy patches in the parking lot and in the area between the front and back entrances that were fairly treacherous. The wind remained a problem too, howling like a banshee the entire day.)

Of course, the snow had begun to slow down just as I was leaving work. By the time I was at home and online, working on my story, it was gone. Left a really beautiful deep orange-red sunset, too.

Did get a little writing in. Luke insists that Leia visit Henry and Charles at their table while he prepares for the fencing exhibition. Henry is eager to show of his latest invention. He's proud that Charles, one of the few free Wookie natives in Naboo, was able to help him. He and Leia finally agree that slavery is wrong and they shouldn't force these people to work like this.

Finished out the burgers for dinner, along with sauteed green beans and pasta with herbs and butter. Watched Oklahoma! as I ate. We move from New York in the 1930's to the Sooner State around 1912. Cocky cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) wants to ask farmer Laurey (Shirley Jones) to the Box Social that night. He's waited too long. She's already going with menacing farm hand Judd (Rod Steiger). Meanwhile, flighty Aldo Annie (Gloria Grahame) is trying to choose between another cowboy, Will Parker (Gene Nelson), and flirtatious peddler Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert). Laurey's Aunt Eller (Charlotte Greenwood) helps the lovers make up their mind while mediating the feuding between local ranchers and farmers as everyone prepares for Oklahoma to enter the union.

This has always been my favorite Rogers and Hammerstein musical. I especially love Grahame's wonderful, eternally lustful Aldo Annie and Charlotte Greenwood as the perfect Aunt Eller. As with most of the Rogers and Hammerstein shows, this one does have a dark current, mostly involving Steiger's hulking, damaged Jud Fry. Highly recommended for families with older kids on up, especially if they love dance. There's some wonderful numbers here, including the famous "Dream Ballet" midway through.

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