Saturday, July 31, 2021

Harvest for My Dad

Began a beautiful morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. Hogan's saying "Don't Forget to Write" when Klink accidentally volunteers to join a major combat zone. It'll take all of Hogan's persuasive abilities to keep him right where he is, and make sure he and his men don't lose their pushover Kommendant.

Switched to Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood while making the bed and doing the dishes. "Good Morning, Daniel" and "Good Night, Daniel" show us Dan's routines for getting up and starting a new day and going to bed. In both cases, he'd rather be playing than sleeping or getting ready for school, but his parents make sure he remembers what he has to do. 

Headed out after the episode ended, waving to Jodie, Rose, and a few neighbors setting up for the party on the way. I wanted to at least get to the farm market today. I work too early to get there next week. They were busier than ever with people buying produce for their own barbecues and big summer get-togethers. Ducked around people long enough to buy peaches, a lavender striped eggplant, blackberries, blueberries, cherry tomatoes in many colors, red lettuce, and tiny purple plums. 

Rode there and back across Newton Lake Park. I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was. No wonder the park teemed with joggers, dog walkers, people out for strolls, and kids riding bikes. It was as perfect a day in late July as one could wish. Sunshine glittered on the bottle-green waters of the lake, warming but not smothering noses and shoulders. A soft breeze rippled across the lake, and there wasn't a hint of humidity.

Told Rose I'd watch Finley when I got in. She briefly helped me put away my finds while watching DC Super Hero Girls. Diana Prince steals the "#SirensConch" so she can sing in Jessica's charity talent show. She can't handle that there's something she isn't good at - she has a terrible voice. The shell does give her a wonderful voice, but it also attracts a species of cockroach Jessica's trying to protect. Diana uses her real voice to get rid of them and finally admits that there are things she's not good at...yet.

Put on the newest Muppet Babies episode after Finley left with her family to get dressed for the party.  Piggy and Summer hold a royal ball for all the kids. Gonzo wants to go as a princess, but the girls insist that he join the guys and be a knight. Rizzo the Fairy Rat-father helps him become "Gonzo-rella" in a beautiful gown and glass sneakers. Gonzo shows the kids that gender identity isn't set in stone and some traditions are made to be changed. Summer loves the wind-up car she and her grandfather made, until Gonzo arrives in his fancy pickle car. "Summer's Car Trouble" has her embarrassed to admit the car is hers, sending the kids off on a wild chase to find the owner.

Switched to Match Game as I dusted my bedroom, vacuumed, and tidied up around the apartment. Started on YouTube with my favorite PM episode, #17 from 1975. This is the one where Richard Dawson answered the "Admiral __" Audience Match with "Admiral Color Television" and Gene didn't believe it would be up there. There's some great sniping between Brett Somers and Betty White in this episode, too. 

As I finished the second episode (which was one I watched earlier in the week), I heard voices on the front lawn. Changed into a good skirt and my new sandals, grabbed my purse and keys, and headed outside. Tons of people in Army dress uniforms or colorful summer outfits milled around the lawn or the newly-laid driveway. I wandered around, saying "hi" to a few people, but mainly chatting with Reilly and Khai and eating shrimp, bruchetta, and skewers made with fresh basil, grape tomatoes, and tiny marinated mozzarella balls. 

The ceremony for Dad's "celebration of life" began around quarter after 2. Jodie and Rose set up white folding chairs and chairs from the porch in front of the steps earlier. A priest got a little too religious talking about Dad being in another place. I preferred hearing his long-time buddies from as far back as childhood reminisce about his time as Wildwood's youngest lifeguard in the 60's, or how he got Uncle Ken to help him sneak beer to his underage buddies earlier in the decade, or how he and his best friend drove-cross country in an old van during 1968, or him volunteering for scouting duty during Vietnam and earning a Bronze Star. Two Army soldiers even gave Khai a folded flag in honor of his grandfather. (I heard the poor kid say he was so nervous during that!)

I dashed to my apartment after they finished speaking. I couldn't help it. I held my American Girl doll Jess and cried and cried. I cried because the little girl in me wanted her daddies, and her daddies were gone. I miss my daddies. I wish I'd really known them. I just sat there and held her, crying onto her little soft shoulder. 

As soon as the ceremony ended, every kid there changed into bathing suits and jumped into the pool. I wasn't about to show off my body to people I didn't know, but I did eat my lunch out there. The adults had sautéed chicken in lemon sauce, ravioli in vodka sauce, pasta salad, green salad, green beans and almonds, sausage, rolls, and grilled vegetables. (Had a little of everything but the pasta salad - I don't like olives - and the sausage that gives me heartburn.) Someone set up a smaller spread for the kids in the pool area with chicken fingers, juice boxes, and fries. Reilly, Chloe, Mary, Savannah, and I enjoyed a "girl's lunch" and chatted over our meals. (And Chloe was right - those fries were perfect and really addictive!) 

Wandered among the guests for a little while after I ate, but talking to people proved to be difficult. I hadn't seen most of those people since I was a toddler in some cases. I barely remembered their names, much less their faces. Many of them wanted to see me, but I had no idea what to say to them. It was much easier when the desserts came out. I grabbed a mini cannoli, lemon square wedges, three cookies, and a mini carrot cupcake and ate those instead.

Fled to my apartment after I finished dessert. I just couldn't handle all the small talk anymore. Worked on writing instead. Bill (Daily) the White Rabbit brings around strawberry tarts. These are very special tarts, baked by the King of Hearts for the Queen with love. (Betty White couldn't bake in real-life.) They're only for royalty and guests. The Knave (producer and judge Ira Skutch) drools over them, while Sir Richard offers to protect them for Queen Betty so no one will get their hands on them.

Rose called me as I finished up for the day. She, Jodie, and the other neighborhood moms were cleaning up the food and deciding who got what. I was able to slide huge containers of grilled veggies, green beans, chicken in lemon sauce, ravioli, and all of the remaining green salad into my refrigerator. 

Finished the night with Dimples as I had a snack and got organized. I go further into this Shirley Temple melodrama set in pre-Civil War New York at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Heroes and Angels

Started off the morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. "A Klink, a Bomb, and a Short Fuse" brings in trouble when General Burkhalter's men use a radio-detection unit to find out who's been sending coded messages from London. The unit's interfering with their radio, making it a lot harder to send London new German codes. Hogan comes up with the idea of making a fake bomb to distract the Germans...until it turns out that the "fake" is a lot more live than he thinks.

Switched to a quick What's My Line? as I got ready for work. It didn't take long for the panel to figure out a young woman was the head of the Department of Agriculture's meat division. They had plenty of time to guess which cut of steak was which and win meat for dinner.

Headed out as the game ended, stopping quickly at a mail box on my way to send out my nephew Skylar's birthday card. The Acme was much busier than yesterday, with lines often down the aisles. We also had less help than yesterday. Some of the customers were almost as annoying, too. It's  hard to explain how frustrated I get when things go wrong. I'm just so nervous when I deal with all those people at once! Thank goodness it slowed down so much by 4, I was able to shut down quickly without a relief.

Not overly happy with my schedule next week. In good news, more hours, earlier hours, and Tuesday and Thursday off, Tuesday for a dental appointment. Unfortunately, the increased hours also means three days of 8 1/2 hour shifts. Those can be real killers.

Didn't have a lot of grocery shopping to do, but I did pick up some expensive things. Had online coupons for Talenti ice cream, cereal, peanut butter, and multi-grain tortilla chips. Found a pack of veal chunks for veal stew with a manager's coupon and two boxes of tea and another bottle of raspberry syrup on clearance. Restocked tomato sauce, garlic powder, milk, bananas, yogurt, and butter.

Heard noise and chattering people on West Clinton as I rode home. Oaklyn revived it's "Final Fridays" block parties. Tons of people milled around tables, eating expensive meals from food trucks and listening to local musicians. I decided I'd have dinner at home and opted for a soft pretzel from a booth.

Ran into Jodie's son Jesse as I rolled the bike into the garage. She recruited him to mow the jungle-like lawn and make some headway with the overgrown gardens. Suggested he could get dinner at the block party when he finished. 

Threw on more Heroes while putting my groceries away. "Klink's Rocket" is born when Germany bombs London and Newkirk is understandably livid. Hogan makes Klink and his superiors believe a random part came from a top secret rocket being made at an English factory, and that Carter had something to do with it. Now, if Carter could only remember what he's supposed to tell the Getstopo...

Worked on writing for a little bit next. Bill (Daily) the White Rabbit brings the King's tarts over for everyone to try. Sir Richard will guard the rest. Bill freaks out when he sees Brett and remembers what she did to his house, but she pacifies him with the fan and gloves she found.

Broke for dinner and Match Game '76 at quarter of 7. Richard makes an amazing match on the Head-to-Head for "Cup of __." Meanwhile, grumpy Ed Asner and soap opera sweetheart Trish Stewart try to figure out what the traveling salesmen sold to the farmers for their daughters. Betty White also had a hard Head-to-Head, answering "Olympia __" on Match Game PM

The champ dominated Sale of the Century from start to finish. He bought two out of three Instant Bargains, won all three Fame Games, and got one of the highest scores ever on the Speed Round. Picked up a lovely oak bar and cabinet on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished out the night online. Farrah Fawcett makes one of her four appearances as former Angel Jill during the later seasons of Charlie's Angels in "Fallen Angel." The other Angels, especially her sister Kris, can't believe she's in love with a frigid playboy and high society thief (Timothy Dalton) who's after the huge diamond necklace worn by an opera diva onstage. Things aren't what they seem, though, and Jill has a lot more on her mind than canoodling with this guy.

Gopher's the one doing a little canoodling in the sixth season Love Boat episode "Hyde and Seek" when he's romanced by a beautiful young woman. Turns out it's really a teenager (Kim Richards) who claims she's her older sister in order to stay out late. The ships comedian (Dan Rowan) gives a "Command Performance" when he encounters the wife (Marion Ross) and bitter daughter (Eve Plumb) he ran out on years ago. "Sketchy Love" brings together a wanna-be artist (Morgan Brittany) and unhappily married businessman (Skip Stephenson) when she goes out looking for the perfect man. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

A Dark and Cloudy Day

Began the morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. "Cupid Comes to Stalag 13" when General Buckhalter (Leon Askin) arrives in search of a husband for one of his female relatives. Hogan assumes it's his pretty young niece...but it's really her battleax mother Gertrude (Kathrine Freeman), much to Klink's dismay. Hogan tries to figure out a way to get her off the Kommendant's back.

Worked on writing after I ate. Brett continues to play Betty at croquet, and she continues to win, much to Brett's annoyance. Bill the White Rabbit hands around the tarts Brett saw guarded earlier. It's the King of Hearts who made these, as Queen Betty can't bake (and couldn't in real life). Betty has them guarded because he made them with love...and she loves her husband more than anything, except for animals and giving loud orders.

Broke for a quick lunch and more Hogan's at quarter after 11. Switched to the second season for "Tanks for the Memory." General Buckhalter's back, this time with a remote-controlled tank he intends to test at the Stalag. Naturally, Hogan and his boys want to get their hands on the schematics and see how they can sabotage their efforts.

Rushed out for work even before the episode ended. Today was the first of two cashiering shifts in a row. We were off-and-on busy, nothing overwhelming for this time of the year. I did have a few annoying customers, especially after they switched me to doing the express lane later in the afternoon, and I totally messed up giving one of the employees money on her order. Thankfully, a manager finally came in so I could get out on time.

I got incredibly lucky. Heavy clouds moved in shortly after I got to work. To my surprise, they remained just clouds and wind as I rode home. I think I felt one raindrop, but it never amounted to anything. As far as I can tell, it's still just cloudy and slightly cool for this time of year.

Finished the Hogan's episode, then put on Sale of the Century. This time, the champ dominated full-stop, even after buying two Instant Bargains. The other contestants won the Fame Games, but he kept jumping in on the questions and flattened everyone at the speed round. He picked up pastel living room furniture on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished the night online after a shower with tom thumb. I go further into George Pal's version of the Grimm's tale at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Warmth of the Sun

Started off the morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. "The Assassin" is ordered to kill an atomic scientist who could turn the secrets of nuclear bombs over to Germany. Hogan assumes this will be a straightforward mission, but there's two problems. First, the man doesn't want to share his secrets with Germany and actually wants to leave. Second, obnoxious Group Captain Crittendon turns up again, desperate to help out. The boys find a way to not only give both what they want, but get Klink off their trail as well.

Went straight to work after the episode ended. No trouble there. The only time we were busy today was around 11:30, when we were swamped with the lunch rush hour and had no help. Otherwise, it was pretty quiet. More baggers started coming in around 1, leaving me to focus on pushing carts and gathering the recycling and trash. I would have preferred avoiding the disgusting and overflowing trash can next to the bus stop bench, but apparently they insisted on it being done. Thankfully, two of the teen boys helped me out there. 

I suspect part of the reason for it being so quiet was lovely weather. It was hot and a little humid, but also sunny, windy, and not quite as hot or humid as it has been. This was no day for shopping. We're also at the end of the month; many people may be waiting for next week, when they get beginning-of-the-month money. 

The clouds began to pick up as I rode home, but all they did at that point was cool everything off a bit. Changed and went into writing after I got in. Richard demands to know where his men are and how to get them out of the dungeon. Queen Betty of Hearts says they're traitors, and they'll deal with them later, after she beats Brett at croquet.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Ate leftover chicken stir fry while watching Match Game '76. Gene starts this one off by doing his own version of a robot's walk, which the others tease him about throughout the episode. Grouchy Joey Bishop and soap opera star Lynn Deerfield join in to help a young man sporting a Jim Nabors-esque drawl with the Audience Match "Sleepy __." Later, naughty Betty White messed around with Gene's pants legs again.

Cleaned the kitchen while watching Match Game PM. Sassy Holly Hallstrom of The Price Is Right and Don Galloway join Fannie Flagg, Gene, and the regular to make jokes about what Mr. Hershey covers his bride with. Don ends up helping the contestant in the Head-to-Head with "Report __." 

Made No-Bake Oatmeal-Chocolate Bars as Sale of the Century began. The champ was behind for most of the episode, though he did buy an Instant Bargain near the end. He caught up in a hurry and blew everyone away at the Speed Round, then won 3,000 dollars on the Match the Prizes board.

Jodie recruited one of the neighbors to do the edging and mow the lawn this evening. I was surprised he'd finished by 8...and it turned out to be raining. It was a nice, steady summer shower, nothing noisy or too heavy. I heard a couple of neighbors, including kids, on Jodie's porch. They must have come from a late swim. 

Finished the night online with Recess: School's Out at Disney Plus. TJ Detwiller and his buddies at the Third Street School are looking forward to a summer filled with nothing but adventure...until they all reveal they're going to camp for the summer. Hard-pressed to find something to do, TJ mopes around, bored...until he catches sight of a laser being shot out of the school cafeteria! Worse yet, when he asks Principal Prickley (Dabney Coleman) to check it out, he vanishes before his eyes. He blackmails his sister into driving his friends from camp to help him figure out the mystery behind the strange goings on. It seems this mystery goes back far further than the kids suspect...and if a rogue former teacher (James Woods) gets his way and his revenge on Prickley, it may cost the kids their beloved two months off.

Colorful ode to summer and to the late 60's is weird but very funny if you know anything about the Recess series and characters. The show was popular enough in 2000 for this to actually out-draw the "canon" Disney movie from that year, Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Too bad they're equally forgotten nowadays. If you're a fan of Recess or are looking for a cute time-waster for older kids on their own summer break, you can do a lot worse than this. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Whole Tooth

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. "The Rise and Fall of Sergeant Schultz" has everyone's favorite German guard striking up a peculiar friendship with a German general. Hogan, of course, can't resist making use of this relationship to help rescue a certain underground agent from the hands of the Gestopo.

Rushed out as the episode ended for my dental appointment...and of course, I forgot my appointment was for 11:30, not 11. Oh, well. Not only was I on time, but it allowed me to go next door and buy sponges from Dollar Tree with plenty of time left before they called me back.

Today was my scaling, aka the periodontist removing extra plaque and other buildup from my teeth to help my gums. Honestly, him pulling my lip down to scrape my teeth hurt worse than anything with the actual scaling. They didn't even need needles, just gel to slightly numb my teeth. My teeth were slightly sore when I got out, but nothing horrible. I'll be going back for the follow-up the day after Labor Day. I was in and out in a half-hour.

Target was a little steady when I headed over there, but not overwhelmingly busy. Discovered yesterday I need a new toaster. Bought my previous Proctor Silex toaster from the Acme way back in 2009, when the one I had since college finally gave out, and it died yesterday. For once, they had several tempting items in stock. Decided I wanted one that was only partially metal and went with the Sunbeam. For 20 dollars, it had more controls than any other low-priced toaster. Looked for canned mandarin oranges and low-salt tomato sauce, but they only had mandarin oranges in cups and no low-salt anything.

At least it wasn't a bad day for a ride. On one hand, it was sunny, breezy, and still not humid. It was also much hotter, into the mid-90's, though not as horrible to deal with as the heat wave we had a couple of years ago. 

Toasted a home-made English muffin and made a smoothie for lunch while watching more Hogan's Heroes. "The Flame Grows Higher" when Hogan, LeBeau, and Newkirk convince Klink that there's forest fires in the area. They're really looking for traitors who tattled on one of their escapees. There's finally women at the camp in "I Look Better In Basic Black." Hogan, Newkirk, and LeBeau dress as ladies to help the women escape to London. "The Safecracker Suite" has practiced thief Newkirk calling in his old friend Alfred Burke to help blow up a particularly large safe and get the information inside. 

Needed to get the laundry done after lunch. I won't have time later this week! Finally picked up mandarin oranges at Family Dollar, along with a card for my nephew Skylar's 17th birthday on Saturday and paper for my printer. Treated myself to a Macha Mint Smoothie from an extremely busy WaWa. 

Stopped in at the Oaklyn Library on my way home. They're open, but on an extremely limited schedule. Took out two historical novels set during World War II and a beautiful vintage book of Grimm's Fairy Tales I remember Mom having when we were little. It's where I first heard of such lesser-known favorites of mine as "Iron Hans," "The Giant With the Three Golden Hairs," and "The Lady and the Lion" (aka "The Singing, Springing Lark"). 

Got to chat with the librarian as well. Yeah, on one hand, I'm doing better than most. I have a job and money in the bank...but I'm also dead tired. I'm really worried about finding a place to live. The three people who helped me find a place in 2005 have since passed away, and inexpensive apartments around here seem to be in short supply. Plus, as mentioned, I'm seriously considering leaving the area. I don't know what to do next, and I hate not knowing where I'll be after the fall. 

Watched Press Your Luck while folding clothes. For the third day in a row, they started out fairly subdued, with only one Whammy in the first round. They all ganged up on one of the men in the second round, knocking him out after he'd managed to get rid of one. The lady finally won at the last minute, picking up a trip to Boston and lots of money.

I was so worn out, I passed out in my bed after I finished the clothes and didn't wake up for an hour. When I did make my way outside, I found several neighbors helping Jodie set up the framework of the tent she's using for the party on Saturday and Khai, Reilly, and Chloe dumping juice on each other. Reilly did give me a nice hug when I came out. 

I was too tired to go swimming, so I sat and chatted with Jessa and the mothers about trying to find a place. They said the same thing as the librarian - don't worry so much. Something will turn up eventually. Easy for them to say. They have homes that aren't being put on the market next month. 

(Oh, and it turns out we're not going to Benihana's after all tomorrow. Jodie's brother just had a massive heart attack. He survived, but she's going to see him in the hospital instead. We'll try again next month, when things are less busy.) 

Put on Match Game PM and had a quick leftovers dinner after everyone went home. Gene literally tried to scale the walls in the opening! Later on, Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Paul joined in the fun as everyone tried to figure out what Dumb Dora bought to go with "uncola." 

Once again, Sale of the Century started out closer...but this time, it was the other man who sabotaged himself by buying too many Instant Bargains. The champ ran over everyone in the Speed Round. He picked up silver bars on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished the night after a shower at Watch TCM with Kismet. I go further into this 1955 Arabian Nights fable at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Monday, July 26, 2021

One Family Summer

I'm so tired, I didn't get up until past 10:30. Watched Hogan's Heroes when I did finally get going. While leading a group of German underground members through a tunnel, Kinch discovers one of the pipes burst. Unfortunately, Klink and the Germans find out when hey try to repair it. Hogan convinces them they have "Hogan Springs," the purest mineral spring in Germany. Klink starts a mineral spa while the others figure out how to get the underground members out.

Switched to Match Game '79 while making Blueberry Pancakes for breakfast. Paul Williams endures a couple of short jokes while Debralee Scott helps a contestant with "Very ___" in the Head-to-Head and the others try to figure out what a Texan puts in his drink instead of a cherry. Debralee gets to help out again, this time with "__ Talks," in the next episode.

Went out to the pool for a swim around 1. Picked up a new bathing suit in that Lands End order a few days ago, bright yellow with a very pretty green and pink hibiscus print, and wanted to test it. To my surprise, I wasn't the only one there. Rose, Finley, and Khai happily splashed each other as I strolled in. They helped me climb on their new rainbow-colored raft, and I curled up and relaxed while Finley and Rose played sea monster. 

I stayed in the pool and worked on a few laps even after Rose took the kids home for lunch. It was much too nice to go inside right away. While it was warm and breezy, it wasn't nearly as hot as last week. The humidity dropped considerably overnight, too. 

Changed when I got inside, then put on One Crazy Summer while making popcorn and a Banana-Peach Smoothie for lunch. Hoops McCann (John Cusack) hopes to learn about love on vacation at Nantucket Island in order to write an animated love story for his entry into art school. He gets a lesson in a hurry when he and his buddies George (Joel Murphy), unalike twins Egg (Bobcat Goldthwait) and Clay (Tom Villard), and Ack Ack (Curtis Armstrong) help Cassandra Eldridge (Demi Moore) earn enough money to buy her grandfather's home from nasty rich restaurateur Aguilla Beckersteade (Mark Metcalf). Vindictive Beckersteade buys it anyway, forcing the kids to join the Nantucket Regatta in the hope of winning the trophy from Beckersteade's spoiled son Teddy (Matt Mulhern). 

Wacky comedy shows off some very strange gags in its cliched story, from Hoops' increasingly depressing cartoons to Egg getting stuck in a Godzilla costume and what engine they use to upgrade their boat. Weird but fun if you love Cusack, "Savage" Steve Holland's other movie, or the slobs-vs-snobs comedies of the 1980's.

Switched to Tattletales while cleaning the bathroom. Songwriter Sammy Cahn and his wife Tita were the big winners today, just barely over Gary and Barbara Crosby and comedian Milt Kamen and his wife Margot. Vacuumed, Swiftered, and did the windows during Press Your Luck. It started out the same as Friday, with everyone winning something and no Whammies in the first round. They came out a lot more in the second; one of the guys just barely beat the lady with a pool table, among other things. 

Started writing as I heard voices outside. Rose and her family returned; this time, her husband Craig swam with the kids while she chatted with Jodie and Jessa. Jessa's dog Midnight and Rose and Craig's puppy Cider chased each other and played together. Jodie invited me out to dinner at Benihana, a popular Japanese restaurant in Cherry Hill, after work on Wednesday in honor of Dad's birthday. Apparently, Daddy loved Benihana. 

Chatted with Jessa after Rose and her tribe went home to have tacos for dinner. Jessa suggested turning my blog reviews and reviews on my other blog into actual books. It's a legitimately good idea, and something I may consider. 

Finally got some writing in after she and Midnight left. Brett grows increasingly frustrated as the game continues. Betty keeps sending everyone to the dungeon or to have their heads chopped off. It's finally down to Betty, Allen, Brett, her boys, Richard, and his boys, and Richard's more interested in trying to get the Queen and King to listen to him than in the game.

Broke for dinner at 7. Made chicken stir fry while watching Match Game PM. The show opens with Gene deciding to take a nap before he enters. Later, he scolds Brett for stopping him while trying to figure out what cows give at the North Pole. Marcia Wallace has to help a very pretty contestant figure out "Gas & __" in the end.

The champ started strong in Sale of the Century, picking up two out of three Instant Bargains. They proved to be her undoing. The one man jumped ahead of her in the Speed Round. He claimed to love traveling and was thrilled to get the cruise on the Mexican Riviera he really wanted on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished the night online with the second film version of one of my favorite books The Prisoner of Zenda at TCM's on demand website. Stewart Granger is Rudolf Rassendyl, the ordinary British man who takes over for the King of Ruritania (Granger) when he's kidnapped by his dastardly brother Michael (Robert Douglas). As pretty as the Technicolor is, this version is mostly overshadowed by the 1922 silent and 1937 sound versions...except for Deborah Kerr as a ravishing Princess Flavia and James Mason as a perfectly roguish Rupert of Hentzau. See the 1937 version first...or better yet, buy the book or read it online. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Musical Games

Kicked off the morning with a quick breakfast and the original cast album of Hello Dolly! Carol Channing played the eccentric, determined early 20th century matchmaker for years and won a Tony in the role. Charles Nelson Reilly got a rare romantic role as Cornelius Hackle; Eileen Brennan is his Irene Malloy. Reilly's "It Only Takes a Moment" is so lovely, it would be associated with him for the rest of his life. Brennan introduces "Ribbon Down My Back," while Channing gets to tear into the title song and the opening "I Put My Hand In."

Hurried off to work even before the record ended. Work was more-or-less the same as yesterday. I swept the store and did carts in the morning; once more help arrived, I focused almost entirely on outside. Ran into trouble when I tried to empty the trash can in the employee's lounge during my last hour. It was so full, it broke, spilling a half-full container of orange juice across the floor. One of the kids having lunch helped me clean up some of it, but I mopped the orange juice myself. (I wish people would empty containers before they throw them away, or at least wash them out.)

The weather helped. It was cool and cloudy when I rode to work. By the time I headed home, the sun came out...and the heat and heavy humidity with it. I was sweating buckets when I got in.

Changed and finished Hello Dolly! while having a snack, then worked on writing. Richard insists that he's not there to play, but Betty hands him a flamingo anyway. The Knave of Hearts (producer Ira Skutch) and Bill Daily the White Rabbit finally suggest they have refreshments instead.

Threw on one of my K-Tel albums while adding scrambled eggs to the black bean dip from the other day. Music Express from 1975 definitely has one of their better selections. The Captain and Tenille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" and Frankie Valli's later ballads "Swearin' to God" and "My Eyes Adored You" were the hits here. Other favorites on this album include Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom," the theme from The Rockford Files, "Jackie Blue" by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, "Sky High" by Jigsaw, "Chevy Van" by Sammy Johns, and "I'm Not In Love" by 10cc.

Took a bath after the record ended. Ahhhh. I badly needed that after my long hours over the past few weeks. Felt so relaxing to just lay back and bask in the wonderfully warm water and listen to jazz. 

Finished the night online with more musical game shows. Musical games go back a long way. Stop the Music started off as a major radio hit in the 40's and became one of the earliest radio game shows to make the jump to TV in 1949. It's what the title says - the contestant will hear a song, stop it, then guess it. If they correctly guess the title, they win prizes. If not, a member of the audience gets to guess. Bert Parks is the genial host here.

There's not much left of What's This Song from 1964-65, the first national game show hosted by Wink Martindale. It's basically "Musical Password." Instead of guessing words, celebrities help contestants guess song lyrics by singing the first few bars of the song for them. Mel Torme and Broadway star Carol Lawrence help out in this 1965 episode.

Name That Tune is something of an expanded version of Stop the Music. People still stop songs and name them, but there's other games, including Melody Roulette (spin a wheel to decide on dollar amounts) and Bid-a-Note (bid on now many notes the other contestant can name). Tom Kennedy hosted this long-running syndicated favorite.

Turn It Up! was MTV's second crack at a game show in 1990. This time, they stuck to their original specialty and had contestants answer music trivia or guess the title or lyrics of a music video. After the low-scoring contestant in the first round is eliminated, two players go on to the bonus round to identify a song as more musical instruments are added to it. Jordan Brady hosted. It may have been a little too much or too knowledge-focused for the channel; unlike their previous game show Remote Control, it barely lasted six months. 

Don't Forget the Lyrics first turned up on Fox in 2007. Two contestants sang a song and filled in the missing lyrics. The more songs they got right, the more money they won, up to a possible million. The episode I watched from 2009 featured Meatloaf and his daughter Pearl having a wonderful time guessing the lyrics to popular songs like "Shout!" by the Everly Brothers and "Piece of Eight" by Janis Joplin. 

Sing along this summer with these song-filled games! (Look for the original commercials on What's That Song, Name That Tune, and Turn It Up.)

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Beautiful Summer Days

Began the morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. "The Battle of Stalag 13" begins when Hoschetter starts complaining about the increased sabotage in the area...and so does a member of the German underground who claims their blowing things up has brought unwanted attention. Things get really hairy when both the Getstopo and the German Armed Forces decide they have their own uses for the prison camp.

Headed out just as the episode ended. It was too gorgeous for the store to be busy. Everyone went to the Shore or are enjoying the sunshine in their backyards. I spent almost the entire afternoon outside, pushing carts, gathering trash and recycling, and basking in a perfect lower-80's, dry, and breezy day. Plenty of help, including from a couple of baggers who arrived later.

Waved hi to Rose and her brood twice, including while doing my own grocery shopping after work. Had a lot of good online coupons, including for butter, grapes, peanut butter, ice cream, and free eggs. Picked up a pack of toilet paper, two bottles of raspberry syrup, and Lemon Lavender Lane tea off the clearance rack. Restocked parchment paper, bananas, peaches, yogurt, milk, chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes.

Also got my schedule. In good news, three days off, including for my next dental appointment on Tuesday and Jodie's big "celebration of life" party for Dad next Saturday. I also have two 8 and 1/2 hour days, including Sunday; the regular weekend morning and afternoon bagger took this weekend off.

Changed and went straight into putting everything away and making dinner when I got home. Watched The Happiest Millionaire while I ate leftovers and made Fudgy Brownies. I go further into this long and strange Disney live-action movie at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Finished the night at YouTube with Lawrence Welk. His orchestra honored Walt Disney twice, once in 1967, and again in 1973 for the studio's 50th anniversary. The shows had some things in common. Norma Zimmer sang a lovely "When You Wish Upon a Star" in both (gowned as an exquisite Blue Fairy in the 1967 episode), they both had three of the girls dressed as Siamese kittens to sing "The Siamese Cat Song," a piano version of "With a Smile and a Song," someone dancing to "Waltz of the Flowers," and male dancer Bobby Burgess recalling his days as one of the original 1950's Mousketeers as he joins the others for "The Mickey Mouse Club Mambo." 

1967 begins and ends with a weird "Heigh Ho," with one of the girls dressed as Snow White cavorting with very strange dwarves. Kids get involved for "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" as people in costumes resembling the animated short act out the story for a little girl and her dad in 1973. Some folks might be disturbed by black dancer Arthur Duncan doing a soft shoe to "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" costumed as Uncle Remus in '67...which may be why his number in '73 is "A Spoonful of Sugar," joining the others in costume as an Edwardian kid. 

Here's both episodes, so you can enjoy this salute to Disney!

Friday, July 23, 2021

In the Summertime

Began my morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. The boys reveal themselves to be "Diamonds In the Rough" when they try to appease a Gestopo agent who has found out their secret. He demands a million dollars in diamonds...and as you can imagine, London's not about to appease them. The guys try to figure out how the can deflect him without giving him hot rocks.

Worked on writing for the rest of the morning. Sir Richard Dawson, the White Knight, arrives at the croquet party in place of White King Gene and Queen Helen. They're currently under siege by the Red King's army...which the Red King hotly denies, of course. Brett quickly tells him about his men in the dungeon, while Betty tries to get him into their wild game.

Broke for lunch at noon. Put on Match Game '79 while I had leftovers for lunch. Brett shows off her black puffed-sleeve gown in the opening, while she and Barbara Rhodes admire a tall and handsome young contestant. We also get some racy answers to what Sleeping Beauty gets instead of a kiss. The episode after that one is lost, but I did get to see the second episode of the next week as the others joke about Betty White's safari-style jacket and what teddy thing a tough guy had.

Work was off-and-on steady the entire afternoon. A gorgeous day probably helped. It was sunny, but also not nearly as hot or humid as it has been lately. It didn't get really busy until the dinner time rush hour. We had plenty of help, and other than some cranky customers, no problems whatsoever. Spent a lot of time between customers working on story ideas. It slowed down enough by 7 for me to get out with no trouble.

Jodie called me while I was at work; she poked her head out as I rolled my bike into the garage. She left white pizza with broccoli in my refrigerator for dinner. Sure! I had a sandwich at work, but it didn't really do much for my appetite.

Watched the end of Match Game PM while I ate. Tonight's episode would be the last time Allen Ludden and Betty White appeared together on television before his untimely death from stomach cancer. Jimmie Walker is happier to help the contestant out in the Audience Match and Head-to-Head.

Sale of the Century once again started closer, though the champ did buy an Instant Bargain early-on. Just like in the last few episodes, she pushed ahead in the second half and killed at the Speed Round. Picked up a beautiful pine cabinet on the Match the Prize board. 

Finished the night online, watching The Love Boat at Paramount Plus. "The Lady from Laramie" (Nancy Dussault) convinces a handsome Italian escort (Ceasare Danova) to teach her Italian. She's smitten with him and first thinks she'll keep him...but then decide to give him something that'll let him earn his bread. "Vicki Swings" when she falls for an 18-year-old boy (Patrick Labyorteaux) and tries to look older to impress him. A woman (Juliet Mills) whose husband (Buddy Hackett) is so into his ghost-chasing he's neglecting her comes up with the story of "The Phantom Bride" to reignite his interest in their marriage...and gets Gopher caught up in her tale, too. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Summer at Home

Started off a hazy, cloudy morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. The new champ was a woman whom the producers invited back to the show when they increased consecutive appearances from 10 to 20. She handily beat a father-daughter team when I came in. Had more trouble with the Gold Run; beat it with two seconds left. She just started in on a pair of older sisters when the show ended.

In addition to doing chores around the apartment like tidying up, I thought I'd try something different today. I have a recipe for English Muffins in the muffin cook book my friend Jennifer Waters gave me years ago. Seems English Muffins are very easy to make and are perfect for hot weather. They're ordinary yeast bread batter that's cooked on a griddle or a frying pan, rather than baked. 

The dough went together just right and rose perfectly. The only problem I had involved the cooking. Didn't pay attention to the pan like I should have and burned the bottom of the first few Muffins. A few others didn't cook all the way. After that, most of them did came out very well, chewy and slightly sweet like English Muffins should. I will never buy English muffins from the store ever again. 

Watched Thank Your Lucky Stars while the bread rose and cooked. I go further into this World War II semi-revue from Warner Bros at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Headed out to run errands after the movie ended and the Muffins cooled on a plate. I picked the right day to do my laundry. The laundromat was empty except for two guys loudly listening to what sounded like a ribald, explicative-filled stand-up comedy routine on a podcast. It was so noisy, it even drowned out the talk show on ABC. I picked up shredded Mexican Cheese, tortilla chips, and a Dew S.A at Family Dollar, then sat outside and worked on story notes to avoid them.

Put on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when I got home and made a quick Summer Fruit Smoothie for lunch. In "Pluto's Tale," Prince Pluto rescues Lady Clarabelle's puppy Princess Bella from the Witch Pete, who wants Pluto's golden ball. Queen Daisy, King Donald, Jester Goofy, and Pluto's friend Mickey (not to mention Toodles) help him along his way.

Switched to Hogan's Heroes as I made the bed and put my clothes away. To Hogan's horror, the bribe money Newkirk hid from Klink goes up in smoke when Kink tosses a burning three-day pass in. He and Newkirk pull "The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery" in order to get more. 

I'd seen the episode of Tattletales before. Despite everyone getting at least one question right, comedian Milt Kamen and his wife Margot were the big winners, over Gary Crosby and his wife Barbara and songwriter Sammy Cahn and his wife Tita. Things were nearly as wild on Press Your Luck. Once again, round 1 was relatively subdued, with everyone getting money and no Whammies. The Whammies hit the champ all at once in the second round, knocking him out quickly. In the end, an Army officer just barely beat the lady, picking up a trip to Palm Springs and a Mediterranean cruise. 

My package from Lands End finally turned up on my doorstep. I opened it while the show ran. Love the gorgeous Hawaiian flower-inspired print on the yellow bathing suit. If the company's website is any indication, I got one of the last ones they had in stock. I like my new daisy-print lunch bag, too. It's technically for kids, and thus, is smaller than my old one...but it also has outside and inside pockets and zippers closed rather than snaps. Not as happy with my new sandals. They're comfortable enough, but I think they may be a tad too small. I'm not crazy about the idea of sending them back, though. I adjusted the straps and will just wear them for the remaining two months or so of summer. 

Worked on writing for a while next. Betty's about ready to send Brett and her boys to the dungeon when Sir Richard and his sons arrive to rescue the older lady fair. Richard's liege White King Gene and Queen Helen were supposed to come, but they're too busy holding off the Jabberwocky and the other terrible creatures the Red King sent to their land. Naturally, Red King Mark denies all of this.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made black bean dip while watching Match Game '76. The current champ is very pregnant...and her delicate condition made Gene and the panelists very nervous. Gene kept warning her not to do a lot of jumping around. Meanwhile, the others joked about Charles now directing opera. (Charles Nelson Reilly was a big opera fan and did, indeed, direct opera and stage shows.) 

Returned to Hogan's Heroes after dinner. Hogan's resentful when a scientist is put in charge of a mission to destroy a German chemical lab. He feels better when the chemist turns out to be an attractive and intelligent woman scientist. "Hogan and the Lady Doctor" have to figure out how to explain her presence in the camp, then get into the chemical plant.

Sale of the Century began as yet another close game. It didn't last long. Even with buying two out of three Instant Bargains, the champ built up a huge lead and won the Speed Round by a wide margin. She picked up diamond hoop earrings on the Match the Prizes board. (And I think she made a nice choice there. Jim Perry was right that they looked lovely on her.) 

Finished out the night at Shout Factory TV's website with Mystery Science Theater 3000. Code Name: Diamond Head is an unexciting TV spy yarn from 1977 about a gambler and American agent who has to stop a British double agent from delivering a stolen rocket fuel to the wrong hands. I agree with Mike and the robots that, not only does the movie not look like it was filmed in Hawaii, but there's too many long stretches of people talking and standing there and not enough action. The black-and-white short about a family at the county fair in the 40's was more exciting. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

When the Storms Came

Started off my morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. Hogan and the boys have to make "The General Swap" when London wants them to send a famous American general their way. General Barton is furious with Hogan for seeming to work with the Germans, calling him a traitor. He proves otherwise when they kidnap a German field marshal and exchange him for Barton.

Headed out to work shortly after the episode ended. Work was off-and-on busy, probably due to the weather. It continued to be sunny, warm, humid, and hazy in the morning and early afternoon, but clouds moved in around 2. The first storm came down around 2:30; a second drenched the parking lot an hour later. Thankfully, I was stuck in a register and sweeping during the first one. Sprinted to the patio with several carts fast enough to avoid being too badly soaked by the second. Towards the end of the afternoon, I showed two new baggers how to push carts and round up the trash and recycling. Thank goodness the rain ended well before 5, allowing me to arrive at home perfectly dry.

Changed and went straight into writing when I got home. Brett returns to fiercely smacking her hedgehog. The Red King's wrong, she says. Sure, we need rules...but people also need to have a little fun. Betty just wants everything to go her way and for her to always win.

Broke to make flounder filets, honey-glazed carrots, and roasted potatoes for dinner while watching Match Game '76. The episode began with Gene loaning Ron Palillo of Welcome Back, Kotter his plaid jacket and ended with Richard helping a man with an impressive Afro with "__ Service" on the Head to Head. Alas, it turned out the contestant was ineligible and wouldn't get his money, making the lady who played him at the end of the episode win by default. Brett wasn't too happy about the answers to one question early in the game, either, especially Richard's! 

It was Game Show Host Night on Match Game PM. All of the panelists on this episode but Brett - Elaine Joyce, Betty White, Peter Marshall, Dick Martin, and Bill Cullen - had or would host a game show. (Including Charles, who was on hiatus to direct a play.) Betty White helped a contestant solve "Yours __" in the Head to Head while a happy Taylor Van watched her mommy Elaine play in the audience.

Despite only picking up one Instant Bargain, the champ blew everyone away on Sale of the Century. Though the one guy did get two Fame Games, no one otherwise got near her. I suspect she remembered what happened yesterday when the champ did too much buying. At any rate, she got one of the highest Speed Round scores I ever saw and was thrilled to pick up a trip to the Mexican Rivera on the Match the Prizes board. Evidentally, she and her husband were never able to have a real honeymoon.

Pattering on my back windows drew my attention away from the TV...and to my surprise, I saw it poured again, coming down in heavy curtains. It slowed down before Sale ended, and to my knowledge, hasn't rained since then. 

Finished the night checking out something different on YouTube. Hallmark Hall of Fame did a version of Beauty and the Beast in 1976 with Trish Van Devere as Beauty, George C. Scott as the Beast, and Bernard Lee of the James Bond films as Beauty's father. I agree with one comment that pointed out how well they portrayed the relationship between Beauty and the Beast, possibly better than any version of this story save the two from Disney. It helped that Scott actually ended up marrying Van Devere in real-life, and the two would remain married until his death. If you love fairy tales, it's worth looking around for. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Hazy Days of Summer

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and Hogan's Heroes. General Buckhalter wants "Information Please" when he comes to Klink claiming that there's spying going on at Stalag 13. He plants one of their men among the prisoners and sends the guards to spread false information...but if there's one thing Hogan can spot from a mile away, it's a great big fib.

Rushed off to work right as the episode ended. For the most part, the day went very well. I spent most of it gathering carts and trash and recycling inside and out. We weren't really busy until around 3PM. I did get stuck in a register for about 40 minutes, first because we were busy, and then to go in for a bagger's break. Thankfully, I did have plenty of help in the afternoon. By the time the crowds picked up again, I was on my way out. It may have helped that the weather was humid, hazy, and much cooler than it has been, a far more normal-for-July mid-80's. 

Went straight into writing when I got in. Betty just has to get the last word in, reminding everyone who is queen here. She finally offers to take Brett around the palace while waiting for her turn instead. Brett's more interested in the red-clad knight she sees skulking around the gardens...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had scrambled eggs with feta cheese and sausages and leftover cucumber-tomato salad while watching Match Game '76. The British contestant got to hear some interesting answers to "__ It Off." Later, Ron Pallilo gave his own character on Welcome Back, Kotter as an answer for "Arnold __." 

Returned to Hogan's Heroes for "Art for Hogan's Sake." French prisoner Louis LeBeau (Robert Clary) is livid when General Buckhalter brings a priceless French painting to the camp, intending to give it as a gift to a high-ranking German officer. After LeBeau steals it, he, Hogan, and guards Schultz and Langerscheidt head to France to have someone make a copy. But it's Schultz who somehow manages to save them all from the Gestapo...

In an inverse of the previous couple of games, Sale of the Century started off with the champ looking like a lock...but then he bought one too many Instant Bargains and the one woman got a 25 dollar card on the Fame Game. She won by one question on the Speed Round and picked up a sauna on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished the night at TCM with Orchestra Wives. I go further into this big band melodrama about life for newlyweds on the road at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Home Talk

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. Started off with a father-daughter pair playing a young lady. After they made short work of her, the father ripped through the Gold Run in record time. They were half-way through their round with a gentleman when the game ended. 

Did a little online for a while before heading out to run a quick errand. Needed pads at Dollar General. Besides, it was too nice to hang around inside the entire day. Though it was sunny, it was also breezy, hot, and humid, but not nearly as hot or humid as it has been lately. That could be why Dollar General was pretty much empty. I thought of making a pudding pie, but changed my mind and just bought a Powerade and my favorite pecan roll for the way home along with the pads.

Put on Match Game '79 as I got organized. Bill Daily fussed and Marcia Wallace wondered where his brain was as Joe Santos of The Rockford Files joined the others to try to figure out what a modern Joseph and Mary would ride to Bethlehem, and what's the smallest thing a man crossing a picket line could be stuffed into. Marcia's a lot more nervous when she has to help the contestant figure out "Cookies and __" for the Head-to-Head.

Worked on my DVD label project for an hour before I joined Zoom chat for counseling. Told Mrs. Stahl about my long hours and how much work drives me crazy and about my chat with Rose the other day about moving. On one hand, Jodie and Rose reassured me that she won't even think of selling the house until after the "celebration of life" party for Dad on July 31st. The question is...what happens after that? Where can I go? Where should I go? Apartments are impossible to find, especially for a decent price. 

She did like my idea of taking three days off in the middle of next month. I'm dead tired and need some time away from the Acme, but I'm trying to save my vacation time for the fall and whenever I move. I finally opted for August 10th through 12th. They're three regular days off I won't get paid for...and at this point, I don't care. I just need rest.

Got off the computer at 3 for a late lunch and Night Court Week on Super Password. Markie Post and Richard Moll (with more hair than usual) were the celebrity partners this week. Richard Moll proved to be surprisingly adept at this game and got his partner through the Super Password bonus round in record time.

Goofy Orson Bean and his witty wife Carolyn Jones were the big winners on Tattletales today, over comedian Army Archerd and his wife Selma and soft-spoken, long-married musician Bobby Troupe and his singer wife Julie London. Press Your Luck started out fairly subdued for them, with everyone winning money in the first round and no Whammies. Things changed considerably in the second half. The Whammies slammed into everyone at least once. In the end, the champ won when the one lady hit a Whammy on her last turn.

Worked on writing for a little bit after the show ended. Added the Knave of Hearts - aka Ira - who is the yes-man for the Queen of Hearts...but he's really trying to push her towards embracing the Red King's (Mark Goodson) strict rules of the game. Brett's fed up with both of them.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Comedian Soupy Sales, known today for being a fixture on the later What's My Line?, made his only appearance on Match Game '76. He arrived for a fun week that included a lot of Charles, Brett, and Betty White throwing witticisms at each other. Richard's more interested in helping a contestant win money with "Rusty __." 

Since I've seen the Match Game PM episode several times, I put on Hogan's Heroes instead. The boys are ready to "Praise the Fuhrer and Pass the Ammunition" in the second season when they plan on replacing a nasty German general's fake ammunition intended to be used in war games for the real thing. The others hold a birthday variety show for Kink while Hogan makes the swap.

Returned to Buzzr for Sale of the Century while making Chocolate Chip Bars. Once again, it started out closer, with the lady winning at least two Fame Games. The champ came back to kill everyone at the Speed Round and win 10,000 on the Match the Prizes board. 

Finished the night after a shower with The Rockford Files on Peacock. James Gardner is an ex-con-turned private eye who usually only takes cold cases. He makes an exception when a former army buddy (Hector Elizondo) is killed after he insists he saw a model (Pamela Hemlsey) he once photographed in Seattle. Thing is, the model supposedly died when she was accused of murder. Rockford heads up the coast to figure out of the lovely lady is really a stone-cold killer. 

Oh, and Jodie came in later in the evening. A friend of hers who was clearing out the garage apparently discovered my bike was flat. It did feel a little low yesterday, but I planned on pumping it. After much deliberation, he did pump it...then finally replaced the tire when I found the right size among the ones I bought. I thought the tires were smaller because the bike frame is smaller. Nope. I'll need to buy the right size from Amazon again very soon. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

When You're Alone

Kicked off the morning with Peach Ginger Pancakes and Take Me Along. This is the Broadway adaptation of the 30's stage comedy Ah Wilderness, with music by Bob Merrill. Here, Jackie Gleason is Uncle Sid, the perpetual drunk who comes home to small-town Connecticut at the turn of the century to lick his wounds and try to get around Aunt Lilly (Eileen Herhlie) insisting they get married. Walter Pidgeon is newspaper editor Nat Miller; Robert Morse is his progressive and overly dramatic teen son. Between the three of them, they pretty much walk off with this so-so cast album. For all Gleason's big solo spots, my favorite number goes to Pidgeon - "Staying Young," as Nat wonders why the other adults in the town can't relate to their children more.

Headed off to work even before the album ended. We were busy almost the entire afternoon. Though the sun vanished quickly behind clouds and it was far cooler than it has been, people still bought piles of fixings for all the barbecues and outdoor reunions they couldn't have last year. Not only did we not have enough help, but I was too wiped out to really handle them, especially towards the end of my shift. Thankfully, the college student who relieved me was right on time.

When I got home, I tried to write, but I was just too tired. I couldn't focus. Broke for dinner and made real sloppy joes with onions, green peppers, and tomato sauce to go with the cucumber-tomato salad in the fridge. Yum! The recipe in Julie's Cooking Studio always comes out nicely, and tonight was no exception. Savory and filling. 

Listened to my Adventures of Peter Pan CD while I ate. This Verasae Sarabande release covers songs from many different retellings of the beloved fantasy novel and play about the boy who won't grow up and the three English kids who join him on an adventure to defeat the evil Captain Hook. In addition to the songs from the 1954 stage and 1953 Disney versions, I love "Once Upon a Bedtime" from an otherwise-poorly-received Leslie Bricusse TV version and "When You're Alone" from Hook

Finished the night online huddled under a blanket while watching The Price Is Right on Pluto TV. They continued Buzzr's Olympics theme today with "The Golden Games." Here, every episode had at least one or more contestants who completed a mini-game in record time, or got an unusually good score. One woman won all four prizes on the Race Game in 26 seconds. Another got the Hole-In-One when she was about half-way from the ball...and Bob missed his shot all together. ("During the commercial," Bob joked to the woman happily sobbing in his arms, "I'm going to learn about golf from her!") Another woman got everything right on Hole-In-One, earned the extra 500, and hit her put from practically right in front of the cup. A sailor missed all the balls on the Skee Ball game, but won everything with one lucky shot on the Golden Ball.

(And honestly, I recommend checking out "The Price Is Right: The Barker Era" on Pluto TV if you're a big fan of vintage Price like I am. Though most of the episodes seem to come from between 1982 and 1984, they're still a lot of fun to watch.) 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Olympic Harvests

Kicked off a sunny morning with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Funhouse. This is Disney's new Mickey and the gang show, their attempt to combine the fantasy world adventures of Clubhouse with the slightly more mature tone of Roadster Racers/Mixed Up Adventures. The people of Hot Dog Hills and the Happy Helpers segments are gone; in their place is Funny, a cross between Toodles and the cottage Mickey built in Mixed-Up Adventures. He's a talking house who can be anything required for an adventure, from a ship to a car. 

"Mickey the Brave!" takes the crew into the Enchanted Forest for your basic fairy tale adventure. They come upon a town filled with frightened citizens (including Clarabelle, Pete, and Cuckoo-Loca) who demand the gang stop a dragon who's been terrorizing the town. Mickey and Donald are ready to attack this pink menace, but sweet Minnie insists there has to be another reason the dragon's caused trouble...

Headed out shortly after the cartoon ended. Wanted to hit the farm market today, since I won't get to it next week. Despite the ongoing extreme heat and humidity and my late arrival, they were crowded with people hoping to buy produce and cheese for barbecues and the many birthday and graduation parties they couldn't have last year. Melons of all types and yellow apples finally debuted today. I picked up a small cantaloupe, barely bigger than a baseball, along with an onion with its top on, blueberries, peaches, a cucumber, Chinese beans, a tomato, feta cheese with herbs, and potatoes.

Made quick stops at WaWa for a drink and money for the laundry next week and CVS for a Perrier on the way home. Both places were busy, WaWa with kids looking for treats after coming from the farm market, CVS with folks on their way to lunch hour. Newton Lake Park was busy too as people went for strolls or rode bikes past the glittering green waters before the storms finally arrived.

Threw on more She-Ra while putting everything away. After overhearing Bow's story about a wise king and his intelligence-granting "Crown of Knowledge," the Baker's son convinces Kowl to lead him to the treasure. She-Ra, Bow, and the boy's father follow them, hoping to save them from greater dangers...and Hordak follows them in an attempt to steal the crown for himself.

Worked on writing for a while. The Red King comes between Brett and Betty's bickering over the croquet game. Allen doesn't like the way he butters up his wife...and Brett doesn't like him trying to convince her to play by his rules. Nonsense, says Betty. They have their own rules. She'd rather hear Brett tell her about the animals and other lovely creatures who live in the world above...

Broke for lunch at 2 and to watch Buzzr's "Fun Run." Today's Buzzr marathon showed games that featured Olympic athletes, either as contestants or in the audience. Male gold and silver medalists headed by diving legend Greg Louganis played female medalists lead by track star Nancy Ashford in a week of syndicated Family Feud episodes from 1985. Richard Dawson watched as the ladies wiped the floor with the guys, winning over 30,000 to the boys' 11,000. 

Synchronized swimmer Tracie Ruiz carried over to a week of Super Password Olympic-themed episodes from 1988. This time, she came in second to midwestern kayacker Greg Barton, who won over 10,000 for his charity. He did the most bonus rounds, winning almost every one he appeared in. Bert Convy kept an eye on the proceedings here. 

Two 1988 episodes of Card Sharks switched things up a bit by putting the medalists out in the audience. Bob Eubanks brought in ten older people who were medalists in the Senior Olympics. I loved the older lady who played golf at 84, and the tiny delicate woman who claimed to set track records at age 90! 

Enjoyed a wonderful dinner while Card Sharks ran. Steamed zucchini slices and turned riced Cauliflower Medley into "fried" rice with the addition of soy sauce and an egg. Yum! Came out beautifully. Good and good for you. 

Continued the sports theme after a shower with Animalympics. I go further into this old animated favorite of mine from the 1980's at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Oh, and the heavy rain that threatened all week finally showed up around dinnertime. Boy, did it make some noise, especially at about 10-10:30. One thunder clap was so noisy, I screamed loud enough to wake everyone in a five-mile radius!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Where Do I Go From Here?

Badly needed to sleep in today after the long couple of weeks I had! When I finally got rolling, I had a fried egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast while watching She-Ra. Picked up from where the set I found at the yard sale left off with "The Stone In the Sword" from the first season. When the stone in Princess Adora's sword cracks, she can't transform into She-Ra or rescue Bow from the Horde. She goes on a journey through magical caverns to repair it. 

Switched to Match Game '79 while making my grocery list and doing the dishes. In the first episode, the contestant is so thrilled when Elaine Joyce matches her unusual answer, both women jump all over the stage...and then Gary Burghoff leaps out and dances with the contestant, and everyone else jumps all over the place! Bill Daily nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to figure out an answer to the first question in the second show. 

Headed out towards the end of the second episode. Didn't really need a ton of groceries this week - I ate out of the fridge a lot, when Jodie wasn't giving me food - but I did need a few things that were on a good sale. Had online coupons for riced frozen veggies, sorbet and plant milk ice cream pints (went with passion fruit sorbet and coconut milk ice cream), peanut butter, and oatmeal. Found a small container of shrimp in the seafood section for dinner tomorrow. Restocked yogurt, cereal, milk, bananas, and hair elastics (my current ones won't hold my hair and keep sagging). 

Also found Clearly Canadian on a good sale. I used to love Clearly Canadian in the early-mid 90's. Bought it all the time from the Eckard's on Bayshore Road as I'd ride to and from the Villas Library. Too bad they're so expensive...because the tart cranberry flavor tastes as good and sparkling as I remember. 

Not nearly as happy with my schedule next week. Two days off (one for counseling) and my cashiering days are normal six hour shifts...but I have three 8 and 1/2 hour bagging days, two in a row. One of the baggers went on vacation, and a lot of people are on non-virus-related health leaves right now, or they've quit. Like everyone else who isn't an at-home job, we're just short on help. 

Put everything away when I got home, then made a Banana-Berry Smoothie while watching more She-Ra. Madame Razz explains how She-Ra came to acquire her famous home "The Crystal Castle," aka the huge pearly pink castle playset every girl in the mid-80's coveted (including us). Hoping to keep Hordak from destroying Queen Angella's home Castle Bright Moon, she befriended a group of trolls who were wary of humans to learn the secrets of the castle's magic. 

Headed out to get the laundry done after I cleaned up from lunch. It wasn't a huge load, but there were a few things I really needed to get done, including a sheet and work clothes. Sat outside and worked on story notes while my clothes were in the washer. It's still sunny, hot, and sticky humid here, but the laundromat was so busy, every chair was taken. Strolled to WaWa after I put everything in the drier for a Chips Ahoy Chocolate Smoothie (basically, Chips Ahoy bits and chocolate syrup in a smoothie - very tasty). 

Rose called while I wrote outside. Did I want to join them in the pool after I got home? Sure! As soon as I rolled in, I put the sheet back on, made the bed, then wriggled into my bathing suit and hurried out to the pool. Rose and her tribe and Reilly and her mother were already there. Jodie and her Aunt Colleen came out later to say "hi." A friend of Khai's came around later (and got into an argument with Rose over whether he could eat Doritos - apparently, he has a food allergy, and Rose wasn't sure). 

The pool water was amazingly warm, like stepping into the shower. Finley probably didn't even notice. She swam from one end of the pool to the other with me and her mother, climbing on my back and laughing when I dunked her under the waves. She's fearless in the pool, probably because she wants to keep up with the other kids. The older kids, for their part, think she's funny. The girls in particular treat her like their little sister and have no trouble playing with her and swimming with her. 

We broke up around 5 so Rose could take us home to make dinner. I dashed into my place to changed into regular clothes and finish putting away the laundry. Ran Match Game '74 as I worked. Janet Finn, who became one of the most popular and winningest contestants of the entire 70's-80's run, made her debut towards the middle of this episode. We got some jokes about whom the Three Musketeers would kiss when her initial audience match was "The Three __." Finley and Reilly came to pick me up...and it was a bit hard to shoo them away from the dolls and stuffed animals!

When we pulled into Rose's house, Finley showed me her room. Or what I could see of it under the intricate layers of toys, dolls, stuffed animals, hand-knitted blankets and sweaters, tap shoes, play food, and Disney Princess costume jewelry and ball gowns spread all over the floor. We were able to find her nifty play kitchen and see how she could open her "oven" and "refrigerator" and take care of her two little baby dolls with her doctor set. 

Rose's original plan was to use the grill for dinner, but she apparently ran out of propane. We had baked turkey tenderloin, green beans, and roasted potatoes for dinner. Yum! I loved it. The turkey tenderloin came out moist and flavorful. Rose thought she overcooked the green beans, but they tasted fine to me. Even the kids ate enough of it. 

After dinner, we looked at all the photos Jodie gave me a few months ago. Rose wants to scan ones she doesn't already have copies of, and I need to start scanning photos, too, now that I have a scanner. We showed Khai pictures of us goofing off in what's now Jodie's pool in the 1980's and feeding ducks on the bottom of the hill in her backyard where the dock now is. Finley got to see us at Disney World in 1986 and 1990, and all the photos we took in front of the giant alligator statues at the hotel we stayed at in Kissimee in 1986. They got to see the pool table and the organ Uncle Ken had in the den in the 80's and early 90's, and Rose and I with Mom visiting Dad-Bruce in Ft. Lauderdale in the early 80's. 

(Research later in the evening revealed that the Gator Motel is still there, though no word if the alligator statue survives.)

Rose also told me around this point that she lost her job as a lawyer for Camden County in March. Apparently, it was a thankless job, and not one she was entirely unhappy to let go of. While she and Craig considered remodeling their house, they came to the conclusion that it's really too small for their family. The kids want a larger backyard, and Rose wants a bigger kitchen and more room to breathe. They're thinking of moving to Hammonton, one of the small cozy suburban-style towns just outside of Atlantic City. Rose offered to find a house that either came with an attached apartment for me, or room to build one.

I have mixed feelings on that. On one hand, I've also put serious consideration into leaving the area over the past five or six years or so, since before the Manor Avenue house changed hands. As nice as my neighbors are, I never really fit in here. I'm tired of being a fifth wheel wherever I go and having no one in the area I can talk to. Even if Dad had lived, I never intended to stay at the attached apartment for more than two or three years at most while I figured out what to do next. 

I've had no luck finding apartments for rent I can afford here, either. That's the other reason I didn't move sooner. Most of the apartment buildings are situated on busy main roads or next to gas stations or car shops and often are not in the best condition. Attached apartments are not only getting expensive, they usually prefer people they know...and I don't know many people.

Trouble is...I don't know what to do next. I want to remain independent, and my needs are different than Rose's. I'm looking for people I can talk culture and do projects with, not good school districts and giant backyards. I'd rather find something near them but not next to them. I do like Rose's idea of the Atlantic City suburb area. Close enough to family and the Shore that it won't take long to see them, far enough away for the prices to be slightly more reasonable. Plus, I still know the area relatively well from going to college at Stockton and taking the train to AC. 

I also need to get away from the Acme. I'm going crazy there. I'm tired of dealing with customers, coworkers who have nothing in common with me, and the revolving door of managers. There's no chance for advancement, or doing anything besides the same thing I've done for 20 years. The only things keeping me from quitting tomorrow are my need for cheap health insurance and my fear of talking about myself. I'm still not sure how to promote myself or my writing. I don't really know myself well at all. I know what I like, but not what my values are, or what I need for my wellbeing. I'm not sure what I want or need anymore. 

Rose had one last project she wanted to do with the kids before I left. Evidently, they read either online or in a book on science projects that Mentos dropped into a bottle of soda will make fizzy liquid shoot high into the air! We stood back as the kids dropped mint candy into plastic liters of Pepsi on their front driveway. It did fizz and shoot up...a little, but not very high. Rose came to the conclusion that the bottles were too warm. They would try again after the bottles chilled. She and Finley dropped me at home shortly after.

Finished the night on The Roku Channel with The A-Team. It's a "Bad Time at the Border" when B.A encounters a little Mexican girl at a local baseball field and becomes attached to her. Turns out she fled from a truck carrying illegal immigrants into the country to be used in a slavery ring and wants to return to her mother, who is deathly ill at the compound where they keep the Mexicans. When they capture Hannibal as well, the others spring to the ready to rescue them. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Summer In the Suburbs

Started off the morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Line Leader Daniel" is absolutely hoping to get the job of being in the front of the line and leading the kids from place to place. He's upset when he's assigned to deliver everyone their lunches instead. He learns how important every job is when he forgets to bring the kids their lunches, and they aren't happy at all. He learns about "Neighborhood Jobs" when he and his father walk to the Library, and just what librarians do when they take over for an ailing X the Owl.

Hurried off to work as the episode ended. Work was just as quiet as yesterday. Only difference is I cashiered this time. Other than dealing with several WIC checks and having trouble getting online to do a survey early-on, I spent a lot of the afternoon working on story notes. It's just too hot for people to want to run anywhere or cook anything. By the time we hit rush hour and people started coming in, I was a hour from finishing.

Went straight home after work and did some writing for a while. Allen finally suggests they go into the castle, just as the Red King arrives for the party. He tries to flatter Queen Betty while simultaneously telling her that she should be following his rules. Betty's amused and Brett's about ready to throw the flamingo at him, but she's going to get some help soon...

Heard little giggles at Jodie's side of the house around quarter of 6. Rose came over to talk to Jodie about Dad's "celebration of life" party in two weeks. Finley and Khai enjoyed Paw Patrol as they chatted. Rose invited me over to dinner tomorrow at 5. I eagerly accepted, especially since Rose said she finally has the time to scan all those photos Jodie gave me a while back. Jodie also gave me a disc a friend of Dad's made that had many pictures he'd taken over the years.

Finley talked her mother into letting her join me for a few minutes while she got organized. She loves Luna, my stuffed black cat. Luna looks a lot like Finley's cat Toothless. She also got to admire my American Girl dolls. I moved Whitney to show her the dance dress, as Finley takes jazz and ballet classes...and Finley plopped Luna down in her place. I had to admit, it was pretty cute. It took me longer to shoo her back to her mother. She wanted to stay and play, but Rose was going to start dinner.

I went out to dinner myself as they headed out. I have two major milestones to celebrate today. Today is the one-year anniversary of the first night I slept in my new apartment, and it's also the day I finally finished paying off my college loans. Rose suggested Jalapeno's, a popular Mexican restaurant on the White Horse Pike. I hadn't eaten there since they moved across the Pike into what used to be a catering hall; I was overdue to give them a shot.

Despite the parking lot overflowing when I arrived, the main seating area only had a few couples chatting away or watching the enormous TVs over the bar. They used to have extremely slow service when they were on the other side of the street, but they either got new staff during the move or were able to move faster due to it being slow. I got my massive chicken burrito, cup of black beans, and salad in no time at all. Yum! The burrito was soft and savory, with tons of rice and cheese and huge shreds of chicken. Very tasty.

Match Game PM was on the last ten minutes when I rolled in. By that point, an aspiring singer was getting answers to "I Told ___" on the Audience Match. Charles got to help her on the Head-to-Head with "Turn the __."

Sale of the Century was a nail-biter for most of the game. The one lady kept getting ahead of the champ, even buying one of the Instant Bargains. He bought the other two, though, and tied her in the Speed Round. He hit the buzzer a second before she did. He ended up with 3,000 on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished off the night with a trip to Blue Hawaii at Paramount Plus. I go further into this tropical vehicle for Elvis Presley at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Too Hot to Handle

Overslept and barely had enough time for breakfast and To Tell the Truth. Bill Cullen took over for Gary Moore for this episode; Nipsey Russell borrowed his seat. Three men claimed to have adventures in a hot-air balloon...and to be the then-editor of Forbes Magazine. Orson Bean dropped out early, claiming he read about the gentleman's escapades. I said number 2, who "looked executive," as Peggy Cass said...but it turned out to be number three, the one who kind of looked like a taller George Burns.

Rushed off to work the moment they revealed the real balloonist. Thank heavens, we weren't really busy. There was plenty of help, the afternoon bagger said she had food poisoning yesterday and felt fine today, and they fixed the bathrooms. After the afternoon bagger arrived and took over sweeping the store, I spent the rest of the day pushing carts and going inside for plenty of water on a hot, sunny, breezy, murderously humid day. 

Rode straight home after I finished. Had a quick snack, then changed and went into writing. Brett's fed up with this very frustrating croquet game. The flamingos don't want to obey anyone but animal whisperer Betty, who recommends "speaking sweetly" to them. Brett does not speak sweetly. She smacks that hedgehog hard as she can, and is more than a little annoyed when all the card wickets get out of her way rather than stay put. She's yelling about the game being fixed and Betty's ordering her head off when Allen intervenes...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Put on Match Game '76 while making a jam omelet to go with my cucumber-tomato salad for dinner. Gene once again had to fix the question holder when it refused to pop up for him. Later on, the others had trouble with a very weird question about where peach pits grow on a man's body.

Hot Lou Grant reporter Robert Walden and glamorous Vega$ blonde Judy Landers joined in for tonight's Match Game PM. A sweet lady from Israel with a unique name went up against a Naval soldier. Alas, she seemed to have a hard time grasping the language. Charles ended up helping the officer with "__ Electric."

No contest on Sale of the Century. Though the other man did win all three Fame Games, the champ bought two Instant Bargains and dominated the Speed Round. He picked up a gold-trimmed camera on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished up the night with online offerings, starting with The Love Boat. "Chef's Special" has head of the kitchen Chef Claude (Jay Johnson) furious that a lovely young woman (Leslie Easterbrook) who does a newer style of cuisine is working with him. She and Captain Steubing try to prove there's room on board for both. An older British woman (Joan Fontaine) hopes for "New Beginnings" with her former flame (Richard Basehart), but he's grown bitter after his wife's death and the paralysis of his legs in a car accident. "Klinschmit" is a German detective (Bernie Koppel) who is supposed to be watching a lady's (Trisha Noble) jewels, but keeps jumping on the wrong suspects.

Charlie's Angels have their own problems. "Catch a Falling Angel" in the fourth season introduces them to the adult film industry when the former sweetheart of naïve starlet Bess Helsmdale vanishes after assaulting her current boyfriend on the set of their latest movie. After the movie men catch on when they see Kelly and Tiffany asking questions, Kris goes undercover as a  hopeful actress. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Hot Days of Summer

Started off a quick morning with breakfast and Doc McStuffins. Doc can't sleep when she wakes up after her dad reads her a story about a five-armed purple monster. "Doc's Dream Team" helps her get some shuteye, and see that her nightmare isn't scary as she thinks. Chilly finally does "melt" after playing pirates with the others...or loses his stuffing when he rips open. "Filling Chilly" requires cotton balls and convincing Chilly that getting stitches isn't such a bad thing.

Dashed to work as the episode ended. Once again, the morning started out well. It was cloudy, cool, and killer humid. I spent the morning sweeping and gathering carts. I was supposed to have more help in the afternoon, but one bagger called out, and the other was pulled to stock the dairy shelves after sweeping once. I spent most of the afternoon sweeping and pushing carts alone. 

It didn't help that today was Senior Discount Day and we're two blocks from senior housing, or that the sun came out later in the afternoon (though it remained hot and sticky). I kept getting tossed in the register, thanks to the long lines we had and little help. Plus, the bathrooms keep breaking down. They'll fix them, the toilets will flush...and then half-way through the day, they stop again, and we have to call the plumber. I was in the register for so long the last time, I was almost late leaving.

Rushed home, ignoring the sticky weather and my fogging glasses. Went straight into writing after I changed. Brett and her sons aren't dealing with the Wonderland way of playing croquet well. Brett can't control her flamingo, and David's tries to bite him. Only Queen Betty, of course, seems to have any idea of what she's doing.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching Match Game '76. Fannie Flagg and stage legend Ethel Merman join Gene, the regulars, and Robert Hegyes of Welcome Back Kotter to help the contestants through three tie-breakers in a row. Phyllis Diller joined in for Match Game PM, including helping a contestant with the "__ the Flag" on the Head-to-Head. 

Worked on No-Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies during Sale of the Century. The game started out a lot closer. The champ was behind for most of the game, but found a money card on a Fame Game and blew everyone away at the Speed Round. He picked up a gorgeous diamond ring for his wife on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished the night on TCM with Viva Las Vegas. I go further into one of Elvis Presley's best vehicles at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Out and About In Cherry Hill

Awoke to the patter of feet and little girl giggles in Jodie's side of the house. Alas, by the time I finally finished my usual morning routine, Jodie was the only one home. I settled for Coconut Lime Pancakes for breakfast and Blockbusters instead. The mother/daughter pair continue to beat all comers. They had no problem breezing past a big bearded single guy whom Bill Cullen tried playing matchmaker to the girl with. The girl missed two questions on the Gold Run, but otherwise did very well. They were just starting in on another guy as time ran out.

Cleaned up breakfast after I switched to the latest Muppet Babies episode. Robin the Tadpole is tired of relying on his old blankie every time he's scared, so he asks Animal to hide it. Trouble is, Animal can't remember where the hole he dropped it in is. "Robin Digs Deep" with the help of the others to find his blankie and his hidden courage. Fozzie adores his little sister and is devastated when she opts to play fairy tea party with Summer and Piggy instead of pattycake with him. He first tries to get her attention, then convinces the boys to help him invade "Rozzie and the Fairy Tea Party."

Switched to The Cat and the Hat Knows a Lot About That while getting organized. He shows Nick and Sally how to "Dig Deeper" into the darkest depths of the ocean, where they meet Auerelia the baby angler fish and learn about the cold bottom of the sea. They literally fly into a cloud to figure out a "Puddle Puzzle" and find out where their puddle vanished to. 

Finally remembered how to get into Uber. I wanted to hit up the Garden State Park shopping center today. Figured I'd do what I've done the past few times I went to a mall and take Uber there and the bus back. The Uber driver wouldn't arrive for nearly a half-hour! 

Oh, well. I watched Match Game '79 while I waited. Brianne Leary's newsboy outfit and cap inspired lot of jokes in the first episode...and prompted some drooling from Gene and Bob Barker. Gene got teased about wearing blue socks with brown shoes, too, while Jon "Bowser" Bauman read a poem he wrote about being on the show. Bob has to help a contestant win 10,000 with "__ Handed" in the second.

The Uber driver finally picked me up around quarter of 1. No traffic in Cherry Hill or Collingswood anywhere at that point, not even by the Crowne Plaza/Cooper Medical building area or the Cherry Hill Train Platform Shopping Center. He dropped me off next to Lands' End at the Market Place less than 20 minutes later.

Despite it being the middle of a hot, humid, sunny Monday, almost all of the stores I went to were crowded today. I guess everyone's catching up on their shopping after the past year. I hoped Lands End sold shoes, but that store is an outlet. I did find a tank top with the cutest peach and yellow floral print. 

I never did find my Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, so the only other store I went to at the Market Place was Best Buy. Disappointingly, their DVDs are now limited to a few small shelves in the back, and they're mostly Blu-Ray...except for a smattering of complete series sets on DVD. Found the sets for the original She-Ra, Voltron, and Thundercats on a bottom shelf. Hulu has all versions of Thundercats in full, so it was between She-Ra and Voltron. I ultimately went with She-Ra. I found half the first season of She-Ra and The She-Ra-He-Man Christmas Special at yard sales and figured I might as well finish out the show. 

After a brief look at the Gap, my next stop was Barnes & Noble. I always have a hard time choosing there! Hung around for over an hour, inspecting the children's area, the music and film books, the fantasy novels, the young adult section, and the mysteries. 

My first choice was Snow & Rose, a children's chapter book based on one of my favorite childhood fairy tales, Snow White & Rose Red. The second was one of the more recent Joanne Fluke novels, Chocolate Cream Pie Murder. I'm a bit behind on her books, and while I'm disgusted with the emphasis on how ridiculous Hannah's love life got recently, I'm hoping the novels from the past year and a half will throw the focus back on her bakery and family.

Briefly checked out DSW Shoes, hoping to find new walking sandals. The ones I bought from Lands End last year wore out from all the walking I did in them last late summer. Dodged women checking out the nearly-latest styles and looking for kids shoes, but in the end, didn't see anything I liked.

Sometime in the last year and a half, the shopping center expanded into the grassy area between the main "lifestyle center" and the luxury condo and apartment buildings a couple of blocks away. They're still working on one of the buildings in the front, but most of the others are finished. Didn't see any shoes I liked at TJ Maxx. Thought of having lunch at Shake Shack, but didn't think I'd have the time. Wanted a drink and a snack at Trader Joe's, but I couldn't figure out where the small health-food store kept the cold drinks.

At least the bus arrived just on time. There was a little traffic going home, mostly on Cuthbert, but it didn't amount to much. The driver dropped me off at where Merryfields' bar is still working on its expansion next to TD Bank on the White Horse Pike. Stopped at WaWa for a pretzel and a frozen Chips Ahoy cappuccino while walking home. 

Threw on a third season episode of Hogan's Heroes while having a quick Berry-Banana Smoothie at home. Hogan convinces "Casanova Klink" to romance Colonel Burkhalter's sister Gertrude (Kathrine Freeman) when the guys hope to get sabotage plans from his office under the nose of a Getsapo agent. Klink is terrified that it may turn into something more series...but as usual, Hogan has a plan for that, too.

Worked on writing for a while after the show ended. Brett and her sons find playing croquet with Queen Betty and her court to be nearly impossible. They can't control the flamingos, and the hedgehog balls go where they want to, rather than through the card wickets. And of course, the Queen has to win at everything. Brett's about ready to tell Betty off, but there's more guests coming...

It was also around this time that Mother Nature finally figured out what she was doing. Dark clouds began building up as I left Barnes & Noble. By dinner time, it began pouring and thundering. The rain's been off and on for the rest of the night. At least Jodie let me move my bike back into the garage earlier today, even if there's still a ton of stuff from the repaving there. 

Watched Match Game '76 while eating pan-fried flounder with sautéed zucchini. Pat Moriata continues his week as everyone joked about how Arturro the Fortune Teller reads old people's fortunes and the answers for the Audience Match "Hot and __." Trotter, the sweet black dog who belonged to Gene's daughter Lynne, appeared with animal-loving Betty White on Match Game PM. I don't know why Charles seemed wary of her. That dog was better-behaved (and probably a lot smarter) than most of the panelists. 

Tonight's Sale of the Century was no contest. Though the other guy did win a Fame Game, the champ bought all three Instant Bargains and pretty much dominated the game full-stop, including the Speed Round. He picked up a shopping spree for his very happy wife on the Match the Prizes board.

Finished the night online, exploring the new NBC-Universal streaming site Peacock. Unlike most of the other streaming companies, they have many offerings that are completely free, with no need for the original Little House On the Prairie. Dad used to love this show, mainly because he liked stoic dad Michael Landon. Jodie's a fan of it now. I think she enjoys the melodrama.

I remember this show being depressing as heck when I was a kid, and time hasn't softened that view...but I figured "Plague" from the first season was something I needed to see, considering the ongoing troubles with the virus. People in the town of Walnut Grove are suddenly stricken with typhus. Even Charles Ingals (Landon) has to stay in quarantine when he helps victims of the virus. No one can figure out where this is coming from, until Charles talks to Mr. Edwards and one of the stricken kids and figures out what they all have in common.

My sisters and I loved Punky Brewster, both the sitcom and its more fantastical animated version, when we were kids. I remember the show mostly being fun, but like most 80's sitcoms, it did work in frequent "very special episodes." The second season finale "Accidents Happen" has Punky revealing she wants to be an astronaut at her school's career day. She's thrilled to watch the Challenger shuttle launch with her class...and is devastated when real-life history occurs and it explodes, killing everyone on board. It takes no less than her teacher bringing in real astronaut Buzz Aldrin to encourage her not to let the fear of the unknown stop her from achieving her dreams.

(I was six when the Challenger exploded. I remember it being bitter cold, and us being home from school on a rare snow day. I know I got upset when the footage of the shuttle breaking up pre-empted The Price Is Right. Yes, even then, I was a game show nut. I didn't care about exploding shuttles. I wanted to watch Bob Barker. Mom turned white as the snow outside when she saw the footage and called Dad home from the dock in Wildwood. They watched the news for the rest of that day.)