Got an earlier start today, around 10:30 - quarter of 11. There was quite a bit that I wanted to get done, starting with getting my hair cut. I needed it badly. It was a mass of split ends that were frizzing like crazy. It always gets crazy when it gets too long. A young woman, likely college-age, washed and styled my hair. I told her it shoulder-length and in a style that would control the frizz. Drying my hair took about three times longer than actually cutting it! She said she would smooth it down, which seemed to involve a lot of brushing and drying very close to the head with a furnace-hot hair drier.
It turned out that she straightened it, which I wasn't sure I liked. It was much smoother, and the actual cut was cute. It even had a little flip on the ends, like Marlo Thomas in That Girl!. At any rate, it felt a lot better and the frizz was gone, which was a major improvement. Besides, I've never gone straight before. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it for a day.
Next stop was a quick lunch at Cafe Antonio on the other side of Haddon Avenue. Like most of the other local pizza parlors, they seem to have remodeled in the last few months. The main counter was done in a different style, and they were down to only one seat in the room with the counter. I had a slice of cheese and a slice of spinach, ricotta, and tomatoes, along with a self-service 15-oz cup of Pepsi. Sat by the window and enjoyed my meal while watching the antics of a dad and his adorable toddler daughter, who quite enjoyed tearing into her own cheese slice.
Since I had a little extra time, I thought I'd check out Phidelity Records in Westmont. I hadn't been there since the day of the Collingswood Christmas Parade in late November. They still had that 5 items from the dollar bins for three dollars deal. I ended up with another WFIL classic rock collection, a two-disc Lena Horne set, the original Broadway cast of Bye Bye Birdie with Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke (which I came very close to buying the last time I was there), and the original soundtrack album for the Judy Garland Wizard of Oz. Picked up High School Musical to review eventually - the Haddon Township Library has the second and third movie, but not the first one.
I dodged the traffic on Haddon Avenue quick enough to make to to counseling just in time. I had a lot to relate to Mrs. Stahl. On one hand, my holidays were a lot of fun, and while New Year's wasn't perfect, it did largely go better than it did last year. Work is also going better. My current head managers are generally easier to get along with, and I don't see enough of the night managers anymore for them to be a huge problem. The weather being a lot better than it was this time last year - cold but not overwhelmingly so, with only a little snow - has also helped. (Oh, and she seemed to like my new, straighter haircut. She said it made me look younger.)
I'm still pretty broke, however. I also have no idea what I'm going to do about the apartment. I can't stay where I am, but I can't afford to go anywhere else. Truth be told, I don't really want to stay where I am, and Mrs. Stahl agreed with me that, no matter what Rose thinks, returning to Cape May County wouldn't be practical. I don't care if Rose is convinced that it's safer. The public transportation is impossible, there's even less low-cost housing, the internet hook-ups are archaic, it would take me forever to get anywhere on my bike, I'd need two buses to get to a mall, and Lauren would need an extra train and bus ride just to get down there. Not to mention, transferring my job from there to here was a pain in 2006 because the Shore Acmes have a different union. Yes, I can live anywhere...provided it's near decent transportation, internet, and services. I lived in Wildwood for four years and hated it. Rose hasn't actually lived down there since 2002.
Mrs. Stahl is probably right that I am going to have to look further afield, but not to the Shore. There are other parts of Camden County, as well as the eastern and western portions of Gloucester and Burlington Counties, that might be worth exploring. I know Jessa and Joe live in Deptford in Gloucester County. I could talk to them, to my customers and co-workers at the Acme and the libraries, and to Dana and Jesse, whom Jodie has mentioned are also in the hunt for a new apartment. I'll let Rose deal with Willa and see if she can fight that increased rent long enough for me to move.
Although it was in the lower 40's by 3 PM (according to the digital sign outside the Westmont Fire Department), that was still too cold for a water ice. I opted for a hot chocolate at Starbucks about a block from Mrs. Stahl's office instead. I literally just missed the crowd. Less than a minute after I ordered my drink, there was a long line of high school and middle school students getting warm drinks of their own after classes.
Went straight home after that, taking the back roads in Haddonfield, Westmont, and Oaklyn to avoid the rush hour traffic. Watched the first episode of Fancy Nancy while getting organized after got in. As someone who also loved being "fancy" as a child, I've always enjoyed the book series and decided I'd give the show a try, too. In the first episode, "Chez Nancy," Nancy's (Mia Sinclair Jenness) new playhouse, is too plain for her taste, especially since she just bragged to obnoxious Grace that it had niceties like a chandelier and butterfly doors. She and her equally fancy best friend Bree (Dana Heath) fix it up to suit their rarified taste. When Grace arrives and insists Nancy's little sister JoJo (Spencer Moss) is too little to play with them, Nancy has to decide if it's worth pleasing Grace...or spending time with her sister. She opens the "School de Fancy" to teach her friends how to be fancy like her. She's frustrated when they goof off, but they eventually show her that everyone has their own way of being fancy.
Worked on writing for a while after the episode ended. Han ends up having to out-run Sheriff Vader's men. He manages to lose them in Sherwood Forest, which he knows quite well. He's the only one who's impressed. Luke is more concerned about learning about Friar Kenobi's order and how it was destroyed by the Sheriff and Prince Palpatine.
Did more Fancy Nancy during dinner and before and right after I took a shower. Nancy has "Tea Party Trouble" when she borrows a tea pot that's a family heirloom from her mom Claire (Allyson Hannigan) and breaks it, then tries to hide what she did. She's thrilled to say "Bonjour Butterfly" when she and Bree nurse a butterfly with a hurt wing back to health, but not so much when it tries to fly away.
"Nancy's Ooh La La Spa" is her big Mother's Day present for Claire, but nothing seems to go right. First she knocks the beauty products she was originally going to use into the toilet, then her father Doug (Rob Riggle) and JoJo eat their naturally-made replacements. Claire reassures her that she appreciates the gesture anyway, inspiring her daughter to find another way to give her mother a relaxing spa day. "Nancy Goes to Work" with her father when he's at home. She even offers him her playhouse to work out of. He's not as happy with her when she uses her fancy play stickers for stamps instead of real ones to mail his tax forms...but she manages to find a stealthy (that's fancy for "sneaky") way to get them back. (And I love her little fuchsia suit here! She makes an adorable secretary.)
Nancy needs JoJo's help to keep her Eiffel Tower upright, but JoJo seems more interested in her new imaginary friend Dudley. It's "Nancy Versus Dudley" to see who can get her attention. "Nancy Makes Her Mark" when Doug fixes a crack in the sidewalk and she insists on everyone putting hand and footprints in the wet concrete...and she just has to fix hers when they aren't "parfait" (perfect)...
Oh, and the curls returned in my hair after I washed it again. On one hand, it was nice to have smooth hair, and I always wanted to try one of those 60's flips. I was so tempted to find a headband with a bow in the middle, just like women in the mid-60's wore in their flip dos. On the other hand, it took forever to dry it enough to straighten it...and I like my curls.
Nancy's not the only one who learned something about being fancy today. It's kind of fun to experiment with your look once in a while. I may not want to straighten it all the time, but I now know it works and looks good if I do ever want to try it again. The actual cut itself still looks pretty good, too, whether it's straight or curly. I may try experimenting with cuts and styles more often. (As long as it's something I can grow out or easily change.)
Finished the night with The Toast of New Orleans. I go into further detail on this 1950 operetta vehicle for Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.
The Toast of New Orleans