Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Getting Ready for Vacation

It was gloomy and humid when I woke up, but also a bit warmer than it has been, and not raining. Put on two Dr. Seuss specials while I ate breakfast and enjoyed the weather. The Cat In the Hat is the original tale of the six-foot-tall-feline who steps in to the home of two bored kids and proceeds to wreck havoc. Their fish wishes he'd just leave, but the cat does eventually teach the kids that it doesn't take a lot of to have fun, whether you're outside or in.

Pontoffel Pock and His Magic Piano is a more bizarre Seuss special from the early 80's. Pock was just fired from his job at a dill pickle-bottling factory and wishes he could get away from his unemployment and his family's decaying home. Enter a group of fairies who give him a piano that'll take him anywhere whenever he plays a few notes and presses a button. He first goes to an Alpine town, but his showing off upsets the locals. After the fairies give him a second chance, he ends up in the Middle East, where he falls for "eyeball dancer" Eefa Neefa. Now he just has to get back to her, before the fairies find him and his piano!

Switched to one of my 20's CDs for the rest of the morning as I did things around the apartment. First thing on the agenda was making the bed and stripping the sheets. I think the current weather is a good indication that Mother Nature is ready for fall. I put on the spring/fall sheets and my pale blue and tan comforter.

It was time for me to finally start getting ready for vacation. I pulled my carry on bag and rolling luggage out to see what I needed for the trip and what I could pack now. The answer to both questions was not much. The toothbrush and small toothpaste I got from the dentist's office in the spring would fit nicely in the travel bag, but I really couldn't pack anything else until I got the laundry done, and I had other things I wanted to do today. I did slide my Star Wars coloring book and a crossword puzzle book Lauren gave me for Christmas into the carry-on bag to amuse myself on the train.

Spent the rest of the morning taking down the summer decorations and organizing the back room. I loaded my oldest journals from as far back as my childhood into a plastic container, freeing up room for more journals on the book crates. Went through the pamphlets and menus I've collected from various trips (including previous trips to Pittsfield) and loaded most of them into one of the old accordion folders.

Made a quick plum-apple-escarole smoothie with a Jif peanut butter bar for lunch while watching Sailor Moon episodes. Usagi attends an upscale finishing school in the hope of developing manners and poise in "Let's Become a Princess: Usagi's Bizarre Training." The headmistress finds her vitality and clumsiness charming...until her friends join her for a final dance and they all figure out what the teacher is really doing.

"The Legendary Lake Yokai: The Bond of Usagi's Family" has her on vacation with her brother Shingo and their parents at a hot springs resort. Still under the control of the evil Queen Beryl, Endimyon unleashes a monster from the lake who has her own ideas of what she wants to use her magic for. She was sealed in the lake by an angel and her lover, and she thinks Usagi looks like the angel! The other Sailors need Usagi's help, but she can't transform in front of her family.

Headed out to the libraries after the second episode ended. Stopped at the Oaklyn Library first. It was just the morning librarian when I arrived, watching the news reports on Hurricane Florence on The Weather Channel. I mainly organized DVDs. I left as the second librarian and her son arrived.

(Incidentally, the librarian's complaints confirmed something I'd noticed last week. The McDonald's on Cuthbert Road, next to the Wendy's and under the Haddon Township Library, is being torn down and rebuilt. I thought the design of the building looked older. In fact, other than the color of the roof and the additional playground, it very much resembled the McDonald's in North Cape May in the 80's and 90's. It also means the ramp to the Library and apartment buildings that begins at Mickey D's parking lot is closed as well. I'll be taking the short way down Cuthbert to and from Westmont for a couple of months.)

 I was mainly at the Haddon Township Library to return the DVDs from last week. The DVD cart was so overflowing, I ended up returning all of the kids' titles and about a quarter of the adult ones, despite the sign saying they were saving it for another volunteer later. I also organized the DVDs and shelved TV show sets and audio books and CDs. Didn't take anything out this week. I won't be here next week to enjoy them or return them.

Made two quick stops on the way home. The only travel item I was low on was wipes, which I use when I can't wash my hands quickly while at the stations or on the train. Picked up a small travel pack of those, plus brown sugar and those yummy whole-grain fig bars, from Target. Needed sponges at Dollar Tree.

I tried to write when I got home, but I was so tired, I ended up napping for an hour instead. I did get a little bit of writing done later. Admiral Ackbar and Los Angeles Police Chief Madine describe how they'll draw Vader's men away while the others head to the digging site. Laurence will be with those who deal with Vader's people. Harry, to Leia's surprise, volunteers to lead the expedition to the dig site.

Made a decent dinner after I got off. There was a simple recipe for "Saucy Franks" in that vintage Jiffy Cooking book I wanted to try. I updated the recipe with canned tomato sauce instead of tomato soup (I have none of the latter), lemon juice instead of a whole lemon (I also had none), and with red and orange peppers added with the green and the onions. Also made baked hash browns and sauteed escarole. It came out really well, especially the tasty sauce.

Ran the 1945 film version of State Fair as I ate. I cover this one in more detail at my Musical Reviews Blog.

State Fair

Finished out the night with The Great Outdoors. Chester "Chet" Ripley (John Candy) is looking forward to a quiet vacation by a lake in Wisconsin bonding with his sons and his wife Connie (Stephanie Faracy). They're not even there for a day when their trip is crashed by Connie's rich cousin Kate Craig (Annette Benning), her obnoxious investment broker husband Roman (Dan Ackroyd), and their creepy twin daughters. Roman keeps showing Chet up at every turn, whether it's getting him to water-ski on the lake or after Chet eats a massive steak at the local bar. Meanwhile, Chet's older son Buck (Chris Young) is pursuing a local girl, but she dumps him after he has to break their date to watch the steak incident. Matters come to a head on a stormy night, when Roman reveals why he's really there. The dads have to rescue the girls when they try to explore a mine, then save the others from a roving bear...and learn that family helps family, no matter how much they drive them crazy.

I was pleasantly surprised by this John Hughes-penned tale when I picked it up from a yard sale a few years ago. Critics savaged it for it's lack of originality when it came out. Yeah, the plot is cliched, but Ackroyd and Candy ably pick up the slack as the two very different dads with different approaches to having fun while on a trip. It has a bit in common with another Hughes vehicle for Candy, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, including an ending that's occasionally too sentimental for it's britches.

If you're a fan of either leading man or other Hughes adult and family-oriented comedies like Planes and the Vacation series, you'll want to make the trip out to Wisconsin, too.

Oh, and on a more sober note, yes, I do remember the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I discuss this a bit more at an entry I wrote on Patriot Day in 2015.

Memories On a Busy Day

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