Monday, May 15, 2017

Spring, Spring, Spring

I awoke to the nicest day we've had in weeks. The sun was out, the wind was blowing, and it was already a bit warmer at 10 AM. Celebrated the return of the sunshine with breakfast and one of the more bizarre original Dr. Seuss animated specials. The title character of Pontofel Pock, Where are You? is a self-proclaimed "schnook" who just got fired from his pickle factory job and is trying to pay for his family's decaying home. His wish to get away from it all is heard by MacGillicudy, a fairy who gives him a magical flying piano. Pontofel's first visit to a small mountain village ends badly when he shows off and upsets the townspeople. On a trip to the Middle East, he encounters Eefa Neefa, an "eyeball dancer," and falls for her. He accidentally leaves her behind when he escapes. While the fairies go on a mad chase to find him, he just wants to get back to his girl.

Hit the laundromat around 11. I didn't have a huge load, but I did want to get a few things done before Lauren comes tomorrow, including my last work clothes for a week and a half. They were fairly busy, but it started to slow down by the time my clothes were in the washer. I worked on story notes and half-listened to The View.

Put everything away when I got in, then ran a few episodes of The Backyardigans during lunch. Pablo is "Le Master of Disguise," a quick-change artist who can appear as anything. Austin is a French detective who chases him onto the Oriental Express in a parody of the Inspector Poiroit Agatha Christie series.

Photographer Tasha is hoping to be "Front Page News" when a robot on the rampage in Bigopolis gives her the opportunity to take a major shot. She's also Super Snap, the speedy superheroine. She ends up spending so much time helping Captain Bubble (Tyrone) and Bug Girl (Uniqua), she doesn't have the chance to take the picture. The robot keeps saying he wants "cheese." The others think he's hungry, but Tasha knows what he really means...

Headed out around 1:30 to run errands. I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was as I rode through Newton Lake Park, especially after it's been so cold and dreary for the past few weeks. The sun was warm. The sky was perfectly blue. It was warm, but not too much for this time of year, probably in the upper 60's-lower 70's. A few fleecy clouds scuttled across the horizon. I dodged people out for strolls, Canadian geese looking for lunch, other bikers, and dog walkers.

It was too nice for the Haddon Township Library to be busy. It was also about 2 when I was there, and school wasn't out yet. I was mainly there to return We are Pirates, but I did shelve audio books, CDs, non-fiction DVDs, and paperback romance novels.

Made a few stops on the way home. Picked up cards for Lauren and for my landlady Willa (who is in a wheelchair at the moment after having a bunion removed) and a small box of sugar at Dollar Tree. I bought my current fan at Family Dollar, but with major heat coming later this week, I didn't think it would be enough. I arrived in the parking lot just in time to see a manager scream at a man who had apparently been caught (and photographed) shoplifting. Maybe it's just as well they didn't have what I was looking for, anyway.

Dollar General's selection was only slightly better. I finally bought one of those new high-velocity fans. It was small, but it was all I could afford. Also picked up a six-pack of Pepsi for Lauren (she loves her soda) and eggs (they were $1.20 there, much cheaper than the Acme's).

Spent the next few hours after I got in writing. Henry and Leia enjoy several weeks of bliss on the Falcon between breakdowns. He and Charles teach her how to fix a steam engine and drive the ship. Charles and Cedric even make a romantic dinner for them. Leia knows it can't continue. Sooner or later, she's going to have to go home, and he'll be leaving for the US. Or so he's said. Henry's beginning to wonder if he actually will leave now. He's fallen too hard for the strong-willed duchess.

They do finally arrive at the Chateau du Luck, the beautiful mansion belonging to Cloudy City's mayor and administrator Langdon Croydon, a former gambler who is a good friend of Henry's. He's friendly and charming, but Leia suspects something isn't right under his smooth facade.

Broke around quarter of 7 to have leftovers for dinner. Thought I'd try something for dessert. I loved that Hot Fudge Pudding Cake I made a few months ago. The Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook has a similar recipe called Brownie Pudding. Other than replacing the melted shortening with canola oil, I made the recipe as called for. I wanted to get my baking out of the way before it becomes too hot to do so, starting tomorrow.

Ran Seven Brides for Seven Brothers while making the cake, and then while online. This unusual 1955 musical takes us to the rugged Oregon Territory in 1850. Farmer Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) says he's looking for a wife. What he really wants is someone who can help him take care of his six rambunctious brothers. Tough-minded Millie (Jane Powell) agrees to wed him after falling for him at first sight. She's not happy at first about having to play nursemaid to six uncouth hillbillies, but she eventually warms up to them. She's hoping to get them married off to several of the young ladies in the near-by town, but their attempts to show off their newly-acquired social skills at a barn-raising dance is a disaster. They're so desperate, Adam encourages them to kidnap their girls for the winter. Millie's understandably livid. She banishes the boys to the barn. Adam takes off...but he learns a lesson in how you treat people when the girls do fall for the boys, and he sees how they feel...and how he'd feel if he had his new member of the family taken from him.

This was Dad-Bill and Keefe's favorite musical, and one of the only ones we could get Dad-Bill to watch. He loves Howard Keel in this! I love the dances and the colorful costumes. The wardrobe department was apparently forced by budget cuts to use old quilts for the girls' dresses...which is completely appropriate for pioneer women in that time and situation. In fact, this is another movie Mom used to use as a springboard to discuss history, in this case homesteading out west in the mid-1800's.

There's no denying that parts of this musical haven't dated well at all, especially the kidnapping and the finale. What keeps it from being unwatchable, besides the fabulous dance numbers and fun music, is a decent script and Jane Powell's performance as Millie. She may be a dreamer, but she's also a spitfire who has no qualms about overturning the dinner table on the brothers when they make pigs of themselves or telling Adam off after the kidnapping incident.

Dated romantic aspects aside, I still recommend this to fans of MGM musicals and to dance lovers who'll get a kick out of the incredible routines (including the famous "Barn Raising Ballet"). If you've got a man who thinks he's too "manly" for musicals, try this one on him.

Oh, and tomorrow officially begins my vacation. Lauren doesn't come in until 7:40, which may be just as well. I still have some things to do, including counseling and tidying up the apartment.

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