I really slept in this morning, and then I wanted to finish reading The Great Santa Search. I didn't get going until almost 11. As soon as I finished breakfast, I got started on the first of today's cookies. I clipped the recipe for Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies out of a copy of Prevention Magazine almost a decade ago. It uses egg whites, oil, and whole wheat flour, and it's so tasty, it's been my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe ever since.
Ran Cricket on the Hearth while I worked. This bizarre melodrama was the first of two 2D-animated Rankin-Bass Dickens adaptations. Roddy McDowell played Cricket Crocket, the lucky "cricket on the hearth" who adopts kindly toymaker Caleb Plummer (Danny Thomas) and his daughter Bertha (Marlo Thomas) as his family. Bertha goes into shock after her fiancee Edward (Ed Ames) is lost at sea, rendering her blind and forcing her father into debt. They end up working for ugly and miserly Tackleton (Hans Conried), who asks Bertha to marry him. Not if Cricket Crockett has anything to say about it! He does everything he can to make sure Bertha ends up with the right man.
Headed out for a walk around quarter of 1. It was gloomy, gray, and cold, but the rain had taken a temporary leave of absence. First stop of the day was the Oaklyn Library. The weather probably scared everyone off. It was just me, two librarians, a man reading on one of the couches, and CNN with the sound turned off. I looked over the DVDs and the kids' books and moved on after twenty minutes.
The showers started up again as I headed down Newton Avenue. I still strolled a few blocks down to WaWa. Figured that, with the bad weather and all I wanted to get done today, I'd be better off eating lunch at home. I bought a roast beef hoagie and a bottle of Cherry Pomegranate Canada Dry Sparkling Water. (The Cinnamon Coke seemed to be long gone.) Also grabbed a soft pretzel for a snack.
Went straight home after that. Had lunch, then went into baking the Chocolate Chip Cookies and making my next batch. The Merry Christmas Molasses Roll-Outs are likely the most complicated cookies I make for Christmas, which is why I wanted to get them done on my day off. They're basically a variant on gingerbread made with shortening, and are among my most-requested cookies. They have a wonderful, subtle nutty-sweet taste...but they do take long to make! I made a mess rolling them out - I added water to the dough because it wouldn't come together - but I do enjoy cutting the shapes and sprinkling on the sugar, and they did taste good when they came out.
Ran Rent while I ate and worked. It's "no day like today" for this film version of the Broadway rock opera, which I discuss further at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews.
Did writing at 5...but since it was so late, instead of working on my story, I wrote the review for Rent. It still took me longer than I planned. I wasn't finished until nearly 7:30!
When I did finally get around to dinner, I just opted for a quick can of chicken-wild rice soup while watching A Pink Christmas. In this adaptation of the O. Henry short story The Cop and the Anthem, the Pink Panther is desperate to get himself a meal in early 20th century New York. He tries to shovel snow for a lady, but eats the carrot off a snowman. He becomes a department store Santa, but eats a kid's donut. He goes into a restaurant with no money, only to be thrown out. He tries to get in jail and ends up stopping a thief. In the end, after he befriends an equally hungry dog, he finally gets a nice surprise from someone he least expected to.
Switched to The Stingiest Man In Town while making cranberry sauce. This is the other Rankin-Bass Dickens adaptation, though it's actually based after a live-action Stingiest Man In Town from the 1950's. Walter Matthau is Scrooge, while Dennis Day is Nephew Fred and Robert Morse plays the younger Scrooge. There's some nice music here, including the opener "An Old-Fashioned Christmas" for Day and the chorus and "Yes, There Is a Santa Claus" for Martha Cratchit.
Took a quick shower, then opened my presents. I'd dragged a box from Lauren (and the copy of Mrs. Santa Claus I ordered from Amazon for review on Thursday) earlier in the evening while the cut-out cookies were in the oven. Lauren and her parents were so generous to me this year! Her folks gave me 50 dollars and a pretty silver and white snowflake card that looks a lot like the wrapping paper I bought from Dollar General last week. Lauren gave me five Nature's Valley breakfast sandwich biscuits (recalling the one's I bought on vacation), a crossword book, an adorable "mod" 60's-themed Out Generation outfit that'll go to Whitney, a book on radio comedy, a humor book on spoof "memos" from pop culture characters, and blue yarn,
The big ones were a Roku TV box and Match Game 101: A Backstage History of Match Game. I'll mess around with the Roku tomorrow. I've wanted Match Game 101 since I noticed it coming out earlier in the summer. I even joined the author's Facebook page. While there's not as many pictures as I'd hoped, there is a lot of information about how the show worked and what really went on backstage. The reminiscence from cast and crew was especially interesting, as many of them have passed on since the author started researching the book.
Finished the night with Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas as I opened the gifts. In this late 70's Muppet special, Emmett and his ma are facing a bare Christmas in a destitute country town, until a talent contest is announced on Christmas Eve. They both join the show, Ma as a singer, Emmett with a couple of his buddies as the title jug band, and they have to sell the things that provide them with regular income to do it. Who ends up winning turns out to be a surprise...and what happens to Ma, Emmett, and his friends afterwards is even more so.
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