Monday, May 22, 2017

Philadelphia Freedom

My eyes fluttered open and checked the clock on my crate bedstand...which read quarter of 10. Yikes! We'd planned on being out of the house by 10:30! Not to mention, rain pattered heavily on the roof. By the time I'd finished with my journal and was dressed and eating breakfast, Lauren was on her phone. Her dad had apparently texted her, asking her for help with something.

Lauren put on a couple of season 5 Danger Mouse shorts while she dealt with her dad and I got organized. Danger Mouse and Penfold are on vacation, but they still get involved with "The Long Lost Crown Affair" when they seek the headgear of a king who was a well-known practical joker. They're saying "By George, It's a Dragon!" when they're dispatched to stop the title lizard in Wales. But this odd fellow isn't quite as bad as you might expect. DM has to "Tiptoe Through the Penfolds" when Baron Greenback's new cloning machine produces thousands of his best friend. "Project Moon" takes the duo to outer space to dismantle Greenback's lunar communications jamming device. "The Next Ice Age Begins at Midnight" if DM and Penfold don't stop his weather creating machine. Danger Mouse is to meet some intergalactic travelers in "The Aliens are Coming," but they just want to play with their toys...and him.

It was still raining by quarter of noon. We finally just gave up, threw on jackets and umbrellas, and headed out. It was at least slowing down a bit by the time we arrived at Tortilla Press, a gourmet Mexican restaurant in Collingswood. We always have lunch there at least once when Lauren visits. The main dining area, with its primary-colored walls and beautiful artwork, was surprisingly quiet for lunch hour. Only one other group of older men enjoyed a meal. We had the same quesadillas we did last year. She had shrimp and bacon; I had mango, chicken, and brie. They were just as good this time around.

The rain had returned, once again heavily, as we stepped onto Haddon Avenue. We just ignored the weather and kept walking. Lauren's been wanting to see Rocket Fizz, a unique candy store and gift shop in Westmont. They sell "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Bubble Gum and Bubble Gum-Flavored Soda, among other unusual sodas and confections. I didn't get anything. I still have plenty of snacks at home.

Though the rain was slowing down at this point, it was also almost 2 PM. Not to mention, even if we wanted to do more local shopping, many small stores here are closed on Monday. We settled for strolling back to Collingswood, where we hopped on a half-full PATCO train to Philadelphia.

With the big FYE on Broad Street gone, our only real interest in Center City was the massive Macy's. We spent an hour here. Other than going to the bathroom, I didn't get anything. As almost everyone at the party reminded me yesterday, I don't have a lot of money. Lunch and train tickets cost enough as it was. Lauren took advantage of a buy two, get one half-off sale on bras to pick up a few for her. We were back in the PATCO station by 3:30 and in Collingswood by quarter after 4.

(By the way, we got to check out the newly remodeled cars both ways. The ugly tan-and-sage seats had been replaced by more heavily-padded gray ones with striking red trim and thick plastic and vinyl handles. Much nicer and sleeker.)

Thankfully, by this point, the air was warmer and the rain was long gone. It was just cloudy when we hit The Pop Shop for a snack. The popular local diner wasn't terribly busy - we'd just missed kids coming out of school. We both had Cherry Soda Floats. Lauren had hers with vanilla ice cream, I had mine with chocolate. Lauren got mozzarella sticks for a snack. The two of us ended up sharing them.

Strolled home after we ate, dodging rush-hour traffic on Haddon Avenue and the White Horse Pike. Played video games for a while after we got in. This time, it was Kirby's Epic Yarn that glitched as we were working on Dino Jungle in Hot Land. Switched back to Lego Indiana Jones 2 and finished that crash-and-bash cutter tank round.

The "challenge" round was certainly that. We had to go back through the round in the dark and pop 10 balloons to get the golden treasure chest. This wasn't nearly as easy at it sounds! You don't have the cutter here, only the Russian jeeps and trucks, making it harder to get through the foliage. It's also in the dark. The trees and flora make it hard to see during the regular round, never mind in the dark! It must have taken us 20 minutes or more to do this round.

We had quite enough of video games after that. I hit the shower, then made us leftover Sloppy Joes for dinner. I threw in the half of a grapefruit I didn't have the time to eat this morning for fruit.

Finished out the night online while watching Brave. This unique Pixar tale introduces us to Merida (Kelly MacDonald), a Scottish princess who loves running free, shooting her bows and arrows and riding her horse Angus. What she doesn't like is learning about the proper rules of decorum from her straight-laced mother (Emma Thompson). She's really upset when her parents invite the nerdy sons of the local clan chiefs to their land to win her hand in marriage. It's her mother who's angry when she steps up and out-shoots the guys, winning her own hand. After she and her mother rashly destroy the things that mean the most to them, she goes to a witch (Julie Christie) to find a potion to change her mother's mind. What she didn't expect was for it to change her mother into a bear...and her mischievous brothers, too. Now she has to find a way to change them back, before her father mistakes them for Mordu, the frightening wild bear who almost killed her family.

This is unusual for Disney in general and Pixar in particular in many respects. Although Merida is an "official" Disney princess, she has more in common with Mulan and Moana than Snow White and Cinderella. No prince awaits her, nor does she want one to. Indeed, the story hinges on Merida controlling her own destiny and learning to respect her mother and her heritage. This is also very much a woman's movie, mainly revolving around a mother-daughter relationship. Many men may not understand it much more than the clan chiefs and Merida's father did.

Women and families with girls who are looking for a "princess" film where the princess does something besides prance around in ball gowns will really love this one.

Tomorrow is Lauren's last full day. We're still going to be dodging rain and I need to watch my fiances. We're likely just going to be strolling around in Oaklyn and eating in one of the smaller places on West Clinton Avenue.

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