Friday, December 31, 2021

Have a Matching New Year!

Began the last day of 2021 with reading Christmas and New Year's stories from Christmas With Anne and writing in my journal. It was past 11:30 when I had breakfast and put on Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! Chuck's stuck reading War & Peace for a book report over Christmas break. What he really wants to do is invite the Little Red Haired Girl to Peppermint Patty's New Year's Eve party. Peppermint Patty wishes he'd be her date, Lucy's turned down by Schroder, and Sally is convinced Linus will ask her. 

Headed out to run errands after the show ended. It was chilly and gray, though not freezing, maybe even a tad warm for late December. Needed to pick up a few things at Dollar General I either forgot to order from Acme yesterday, or couldn't get. This time, I did find the cold medicine I wanted, and throat lozenges, too. Mandarin orange cups and rubbing alcohol are cheaper there. Forgot more Jell-O and sparkling grape juice yesterday. No heavy cream, so no Whipped Syllabub, but at least I'll have something bubbly. Treated myself to two paperback mysteries, since I got no books for Christmas.

Phone rang while I strolled home. It was Rose. Turns out, while Finley doesn't have the virus, everyone else at the house is now sick. Rose is canceling the New Year's Day party she planned for tomorrow. That's fine. Not only do I have work, but I'm not exactly feeling 100 percent myself. 

When I got home, I put everything away, then went straight into Sam Mitchell's New Year's Eve Marathon. This one revolved around various versions of the Pyramid franchise. I came in to see Mary Cadorette and Henry Polic III helping their contestants climb the $100,000 Pyramid in 1986. I only saw one person get through the Winner's Circle, and it was Mary's excellent lady. She gave great clues, too, winning money and a trip. 

Celebrate your New Year's climbing Pyramids with celebrities and players alike!

After the marathon ended, I made a winter fruit smoothie for lunch, then made snickerdoodles and cranberry sauce and rested for a while. Watched Holiday Inn while I worked and laid on the couch. I go further into this classic Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire vehicle at this entry from my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog from New Year's Day 2019. 

Went into writing next. Joyce the gnat buzzes around everyone's ears as they recover from jumping off the train. She wants to continue her conversation with Brett and asks everyone how they feel about insects. Brett admits she's not normally fond of them. Joyce goes on to explain how different insects are in Looking Glass Land, from rocking-horse flies to snap-dragon flies that resemble plum puddings. 

Broke to make dinner at 6:30. Couldn't pass up a classic Match Game '74 episode. Robert Morse does an ape imitation to help a contestant figure out a question about what happened to Robinson Crusoe's man Friday after he stuffed fruit in his ear. Even when she gave "going ape" as her answer, everyone kept giving every other variation on "going crazy," including bananas and crackers, and getting so annoyed the episode almost ended in a riot. 

Had a delicious dinner of baked sweet potato, roasted turkey London broil, and steamed broccoli while watching Rudolph's Shiny New Year. I went further into the second Rankin-Bass Rudolph special at my New Year's Eve review from 2019.

Finished the night online after a shower with more Match Game. Every year, they celebrated the changing of their sign with balloons, hats, and confetti in the end (or beginning, in 1977) of the episode. Charles popped a giant balloon in 1975 that revealed a smaller 1976 balloon inside. In 1976, a giant paper mache eagle dropped a 1977 egg, and head producer Mark Goodson came out to praise the job everyone did and wish them all a Happy New Year.

Here's the Match Game Productions New Year's Eve marathon from 2019! And yes, I did watch this partially in honor of Betty White, who finally passed on and went to spend New Year's with her beloved Allen Ludden yesterday. I'll be doing more in her honor on Sunday!

Squeaked one more episode in before the fireworks went off. Charles Nelson Reilly hosted the introduction to the final episode of the syndicated series on Game Show Network on New Year's Eve in 1999. He dedicated it to Gene Rayburn, who passed away a month and a half before this episode aired...but I now dedicate it to Charles, Brett (both of whom died in 2007), and Betty too.

And here's hoping you have a safe and far happier 2022, matching with all the people you love!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

It Happened In Oaklyn

Though I no longer had a fever when I opened my eyes this morning, my throat was still sore, my head ached, and I was still dead tired. I called the Acme at 6 AM...and then had to wait and call them back to tell the manager at 7:30. I did read some short holiday stories Told Under the Christmas Umbrella, including "Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus," "The Mouse Who Didn't Believe In Christmas," and "December." I especially like the latter, about a father who takes his children to the beach for Christmas. The kids are disappointed there won't be snow, but they eventually enjoy decorating their tree with shells and other objects washed up on the beach. 

(In the 80's and 90's, we did use shells on our tree. Mom tied red ribbon around holes in beautiful white sand dollars. They made such a nice contrast to the green tree! We were all disappointed when they finally became so brittle, Mom had to throw them away.)

This time, I was able to sleep until 11. Wrote in my journal, then emerged for breakfast and Doc McStuffins. Millie the Microphone karaoke machine has "A Good Case of the Hiccups" when she keeps repeating her words. Doc and the stuffed toys try every method to cure hiccups they can think of to stop them, bud Doc eventually learns that the simplest methods are often the best. Donnie's best friend is upset when his favorite toy digger Riggo's arm is "Stuck Up." Doc can't figure out what the problem is, until her brother gets sand in her eye and she realizes there's sand stuck in Riggo, too.

Switched to Match Game as I discovered the lemon Jell-O finally thickened. That sure felt good going down! They jumped back to 1976 as Gene announced Richard Dawson was preparing to host a brand-new game show in the fall, a little entry called Family Feud. At this point, anyway, it didn't effect him playing the game. Bill Daily happily got a kiss for getting the top Audience Match on "Dizzy __," and Richard did equally well with "Vanilla __." In the second episode, Gene gets so annoyed with the audience not being in time with his questions, he tells them to shut up!

Started nodding off over the second episode, so I went down for a nap at 1. I really am feeling a little better. I only slept until 3 this time. 

I desperately need food in the house, but I don't think I'm up to a huge grocery trip right now. Cleared out most of my perishables before I went to Rose's. Figured it was time to try my first online grocery order. Since I already use Uber, I went with Uber Eats. Mostly just restocked items - apples, Brussels sprouts, milk, bananas, yogurt, an onion, canola oil, carrots, mushrooms, canned pineapple, sweet potatoes, cranberries. Bought low-salt Triscuits to go with the cheese spread Mom sent me in that Swiss Colony box and Mucinex for my current illness. 

Felt up to writing after I put in my order. Brett somehow manages to stop the train by pulling on the goat's beard. A none-too-happy Joey (Bishop) the conductor throws them off for knocking everyone around. Richard tells him they were getting off at this stop anyway. Everyone jumps off the train and into a lush forest, where Brett hears a familiar buzzing...

The woman with my Uber order didn't arrive until 6:30...but that was really perfect timing, as I intended to eat then anyway.  Apparently, she couldn't find the cold medicine, and that's what caused her to be a bit late. She got everything else, and she was very sweet about everything. I still prefer to shop in person, but I now know that online grocery shopping does work if you're in a pinch or not up to being there. I'll see if I'm up to picking up cold medicine at Dollar General tomorrow. 

Made French Toast with the last of my Herb Bread; had it with a banana as I watched Match Game '74. They skipped two episodes to the beginning of the next week. Broadway star Robert Morse and TV favorite Adrienne Barbeau join in for one of the best weeks of that year. An especially frisky contestant kept trying to kiss all of the ladies, especially Fannie Flagg! Richard, Gene, and Charles "defended" their women while Charles and Richard make jokes about Fannie's flower t-shirt in the opening. 

Two more lively contestants made Match Game PM a lot of fun, too. A nervous former Marine from Brooklyn and an African-American lady with gorgeous long braids were funny and played very well. Richard happily gave the lady the kiss she wanted, though Gene ended up dragging him back. Though baseball legend Joe Gargiolia was on the panel, Brett and Charles got the best lines and answers to a question about what a sports team held in the locker room. (I'm surprised Brett's answer wasn't censored!)

Finished the night online with Sun Valley Serenade. My final musical review of 2021 takes us to the fabled Idaho ski resort with ice skater Sonja Henie, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, and some great big band numbers. I go further into Henie's last major hit at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Sick at Home

I felt absolutely terrible when I awoke. Fever of 100, chills, sore throat, sniffly. I could smell and breathe and my stomach was fine, but I was otherwise lousy. I called out at 6:30, then tried to go back to sleep. I dozed fitfully until I finally gave up around 9:30. 

Moved to the living room/kitchen area for the rest of the morning. By this point, while I wasn't nauseous, I didn't have a huge appetite, either. Tried to eat shredded wheat while watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Miss Elaina Gets Hurt" when she and Dan run around her room, playing astronaut. Later, Dan's more reluctant to admit when he bruises his knee. Lady Elaine tends to both their injuries. "Daniel Feels Better" when his mother takes him to Doctor Anna after he sprains his ankle. Doctor Anna shows him how x-rays work and how to wrap his ankle right.

Of course, I had to watch Doc McStuffins. Ben and Anna are Doc's friend Alma's "huggy monkeys" who hug each other via Velcro patches. "Ben/Anna Split" when Doc's brother accidentally rips the Velcro off Ben. Doc pastes it back on his hand and has to keep him overnight. Anna's upset and nervous, but Doc assures her that they will be fine in the morning. Doc says "That's Just Claw-ful" when Alma's puppy runs off with her toy crab Hermie. She's able to fix his claw, but has to teach him about the importance of physical therapy when it's weaker than before.

The Muppet Babies also dealt with the occasional illness and injuries. "Animal Gets the Sneezies," but he's too scared to see a doctor. The other kids chase him all over the back yard, but it's Nanny who finally convinces him that the doctor isn't so scary and he'll feel better if he sees them. Robin and the kids play "Library Leapfrog" to get his video game back when the girls accidentally make off with it during a Wild West story.

Switched to Family Feud after that...but I was so tired, I kept nodding off. Kept nodding off all through Supermarket Sweep and both Match Game episodes. Finally gave up after Match Game '79 and laid down for a nice long nap.

It was so long, I didn't wake up again until 5 PM. Even then, I read Lois Lenski's Christmas Stories in bed and wrote in my journal, which I wasn't up to earlier. Jodie was yammering to some friend of hers in the den, initially about news stories and gossip. Eventually, she starting ranting and raving about how oh, her daughters were so terrible, and oh, isn't it horrible how badly they treated her, and she's wiping her hands of them, and she'll sue if I'm not out of the house in two months, because oh, she had nothing to do with any of this and none of it is her fault and she's totally not to blame for anything, it's her terrible daughters who did everything to her.

First of all, we're ALL to blame. Rose should have told Jodie her feelings about this back in the summer when she was cleaning the pool, instead of letting them fester. Jodie should have been more professional and drawn up a real lease last year, and maybe even let me help more with household expenses. And yes, I should have started looking for an apartment in June, instead of September. I didn't think I would have this much of a problem finding something. And it would have been nice if Jodie and Rose had been more of a help with finding homes for Jodie and me, instead of automatically assuming the other would take the responsibility. We should have worked together from the start.

Made a fried egg and pineapple for dinner at 6 PM. Watched Match Game '74 while I ate. The first episode featured a bit of banter between Charles and Brett on where babies come from and a Super Match strikeout when everyone missed "__ Stick," including the celebrties. They had more luck with "Tiger __" in the next episode.

Tried making Lemon Jello during Match Game PM, but it wouldn't thicken. Richard got to chat with a gentleman from his native England with an interesting accent. Meanwhile, Gary Burghoff and Jo Ann Pflug found themselves between Fannie and Brett teasing each other, including about what kind of bra a practical joker would give his wife.

Returned to PBS for Arthur. "Arthur's Sleepover" gets a lot more interesting when UFOs are reported in the area. DW is determined to stay outside and photograph them for herself, while the boys are more interested in playing cards and telling ghost stories. Arthur intitially says he won't stay up for "Arthur's New Year's Eve." He changes his mind when his friends tell him about all the cool things that happen on New Year's. Grandma Thora reminds him that the real importance of the holiday is to reflect on memories of the year before and hope for even better ones in the year ahead.

Finished online with more New Year's episodes. Cathy Lane looks for ward to her correspondent father coming home in "The Christmas Present" on the first season of The Patty Duke Show. Not only is he caught up in a revolution and in jail, but his boss just fired him and told Patty's dad he has to tell him. Even when he does make it home, the girls try to find him a job or get him writing his memoirs. "Auld Lang Syne," however, brings more than one surprise for both Lane girls. 

On the first season of The Donna Reed Show, Donna Reed tells her daughter to "Have Fun" on her first date with a handsome and smart classmate. Her daughter runs home in tears, insisting it went badly and her life is over. Donna and her husband Alex recall their first date on New Year's Eve and how awkward they felt...but they remember things very different...

Donna and Alex aren't the only ones with clashing memories of a New Year's party. Blanche and Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple also remember their New Year's party very differently in "A Night to Dismember." They accused each other of jumping into the arms of the guests. Felix, as usual, wasn't as big of a help as he wanted to believe. 

It's "A War For All Seasons" as the members of the 4077th on MASH celebrate a year in the life together, tied together by the theme of a much-mauled Sears-Roebuck catalogue. It lets Father Mulcahy set up a garden and Hawkeye and Hunicutt buy a washtub to make a liver transfer vessel for a sick soldier. Meanwhile, Winchester and Klinger bet on the Dodgers in the World Series, with disastrous results, and there's also Hot Lips's constantly evolving knitting project. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Long Day's Journey Back to Home

Stared the morning by feeding the cats, then read The Curious World of Christmas in bed. I was about to have breakfast when I heard my cell phone ring. It was Rose. She and her family decided to come home early! Yipes! I just barely dashed into Khai's room and pulled on regular clothes as they pulled in the door. 

I was so embarrassed. I didn't have the chance to take out the recycling or wipe down the kitchen counter better or fold the blankets on the couch or finish packing. Good thing I didn't work until 11:15. At least the kids finally got to open their Christmas presents. Yes, Khai loved his coffee-table book of dinosaur lore and his toy dinosaur in the Santa hat, and Finley loved her unicorn and vintage Barbie Fairy Princess Golden Books and pink plastic bird.

The kids watched Dinosaur Train while I got organized and their parents tried to figure out what to do about lunch. This PBS show is what the title says. A mother pterodactyl adopts a Tyrannosaurus Rex and shows it and her own children how different the many types of dinosaurs are, via the titular train. "Shiny's Sea Shells" are her favorite collection, but she's willing to give up the shell in order to help a crustacean find a  home. "King Crylophosaurus" has the dino-kids and their mother searching for the elusive King, a dinosaur with a bone crest on his head that resembles Elvis' famous hairstyle. He wrote the Dinosaur Train song, but is afraid he won't come up with another just as good. The kids encourage him to keep trying.

(And yes, poor Finley is indeed under the weather. She was quiet and fairly subdued for her. Her mother called the doctor shortly after they got in.)

Headed off to work after Rose said she or Craig would take my things over later. Work was dead almost the entire day. I spend the afternoon mostly shelving candy and working on story notes...until it hit 3:30. Then, all of a sudden, we got slammed and didn't have nearly enough help to deal with everyone. Thank heavens it slowed down considerably by 5:15, enough for me to head out a few minutes early.

And I needed to leave a few minutes early. I didn't feel well. My head hurt, and I was achy and dead tired. Didn't help that I couldn't get in the house when I did finally make it home. I just couldn't get my key in the lock. It wouldn't go in. A neighbor finally helped me in through Jodie's side. 

I was so tired, I could barely unpack my bags. Plopped down with a banana smoothie in front of Match Game '74. Gene's dapper golf shoes come in for a lot of ribbing in the opening, including Richard asking Gene where the carnival was. Later on, an animated contestant keeps worrying about how bad her answers are...and if the audience response is any indication, they're not very good.

Charles got the jokes in the next episode. One of the questions asked what part he'd play in Snow White. Everyone said the lead...except for Jo Anne Worley, who went for something meatier. Richard had far less luck with he Head-to-Head, one of the few times his being British really effected his answer. 

Fannie Flagg was an agreeable replacement for a busy Brett Somers in the Match Game PM episode. Gene's so annoyed when the contestant names him for a question about a lady having a boyfriend with the face of Paul Newman and the body of __, he strips off his jacket to show off a fairly well-toned body for a 60-something. Fannie did much better with "Onward __" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished off the night with The Ice Follies of 1939 on TCM. I go further into this mess of ice-bound kitsch featuring an out-of-their element Joan Crawford and James Stewart at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Moved to YouTube for a fond childhood memory. I found a copy of The Dance Fever Christmas Special from 1980, and I loved it. Rose and Anny and I were huge fans of this syndicated proto-Dancing With the Stars during the 80's, when it ran on WPIX New York on Saturday evenings. Normally, four amateur dance couples compete to win cash and a big prize like a car or vacation...but here, we have eight, a set of adults and a set of kids, each from a different part of the US. Instead of dancing with the stars, the stars are the judges. Here, joined by their daughters, were Chad Everett, troubled detective star Robert Blake, and singer and actress Connie Stevens. The show also featured magic routines from David Copperfield and a song from The Gap Band. Professional dancer and choreographer Danny Terrio was the original host. 

(Incidentally, my favorite adult routine were the southern pair who somehow managed to mix the Charleston with disco moves and make it genuinely entertaining. The kids were split between the duo in gold from Anaheim who did an awesome number to "Hot Lunch Jam" from Fame and the mini-cowgirl and cowboy from Texas who performed a lively square dance. My favorite group routine was no contest. The kids and adults from New York appeared as the Chipmunks and Dave, doing a hilarious mock-fight to the tune of the Chipmunks' version of "Here Comes Santa Claus." The southern group's patriotic routine to a disco "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was unique for Christmas and had a lot of energy.)

If you're a dance lover or also watched this show in its heyday, here's the link to a piece of genuine early 80's kitsch! 

Monday, December 27, 2021

A Little Bit of Snow

Opened my eyes around 8 AM. Stumbled into the kitchen, scooped dry food for the cats, then went right back to bed. This time, I didn't wake up until nearly 10:30, and it was closer to 11:30 when I got moving. 

Put on Match Game '79 while eating Cream of Wheat for breakfast. Grand Ol' Opry cowboy Guich Kooch, songwriter Paul Williams, and Debralee Scott join in for wild west jokes and cracks at Williams' diminutive size. Charles and Brett argue over questions about what Dean Martin was hired to advertise, while Brett and Betty exchange barbs and Deb has to figure out "Very __" and "__ Talks" on the Head-to-Head.

Figured it was time I finally got to opening the cats' present under the tree. When I managed to get the green satin ribbons on the bag undone, I revealed a bag full of colorful little cat toys! Lynx loved it. He had a great time batting around a day-glow orange mouse and a glittery blue pom pom and trying to attack a small rod with ribbons and feathers on the end. At one point, I thought he lost the pom pom under the entertainment center, but that dexterous boy managed to slide his paw under and bat it right out. 

Headed out for a short errand run next. I used up an extra can of cat food putting it outside for Toothless on Wednesday, so I figured I'd find more...and this time, not kitten food. They never touched the food I bought yesterday. Started out at Family Dollar, but they had no smaller cans of cat food, and barely any cat food at all. It was snowing, and rather hard, when I went over to WaWa. Needed money to do my laundry New Year's Eve and treated myself to a tasty Bananas Foster Smoothie.

Finally found Fancy Feast cat food at Dollar General. They have a slightly better pet section than Family Dollar that was a little bit better-stocked. Grabbed two cans of chicken and a pecan roll for me.

The snow was long gone when I made it home, but it remained cold, gray, and windy. I went nowhere else today. Threw my laundry into the dryer when I got in, then went into apartment hunting. Still no luck. I sent out for information on a house in Oaklyn that's kind of high for what I'm looking for, but is better than nothing. E-mailed the Collings Avenue Apartments, which were supposed to send me an application and never did. 

Started packing while Tattletales was on. Gay pals Fannie Flagg and Dick Sargant were the winners today, over long-married couples John and Patty Duke Astin and Pat and Bill Daily. They only missed one question, while the other couples missed two each. 

Realized while I packed that my jeans had flour caked on the rear, likely from the mishap with the mixer on Thursday. Took them and the socks I wore earlier down to the laundry room to wash them. Was quite surprised to encounter Toothless down there when I threw them in. This time, she actually let me pet her while she prowled around on an old metal cart instead of rushing off. She's not into belly rubs like her brother, but she does seem to enjoy ear scratches. 

Press Your Luck was on by the time I started making orange muffins. Once again, a fairly subdued first half lead to a wild second. Everyone got high scores, but the one guy finally picked up a car and a trip to New Orleans that won him the game. 

Also tried my first microwave popcorn. I will not be doing it again. The popcorn around the edges was fine, but it burned in the center and didn't taste very good. Threw a quarter of it away. 

Went into writing after work. The others leap off just after the train jumps and find themselves in a dark forest. It's easy to get lost in such a spooky place...and even easier to forget who you are...

I also checked my e-mail at this point. I lost another apartment. They gave the Collings Avenue apartment to someone else, and apparently have nothing else open. I'm back to square one, yet again. I really don't want to, but I'm going to have to see if I can sign for government assistance. I don't think it'll do much good. There's a waiting list a mile long, and I need assistance NOW. Plus, research revealed that almost every low-cost facility in this area is for the elderly and disabled. I'm not even a family. I'm just a person trying to find a home. They might reject me because of the money I have in the bank, too.

Was really feeling terrible when I broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers and did the dishes while watching Match Game '74. Soap star Richard Long, noisy comedienne Kaye Stevens, and smart ingénue Jo Ann Pflug joined in as Jo Ann bantered with Brett and Richard answered "It's a __" on the Audience Match with the then-obscure It's a Wonderful Life.

Vacuumed the downstairs as Match Game PM ran. Ron Pallilo and Elaine Joyce helped Fannie and the regulars figure out what street they named after Richard Nixon. Richard Dawson does better with "Light My __" on the Head-to-Head round.

Finished out the night after a shower with New Year's game show episodes on YouTube. Wink Martindale ended 1987 on a high note with a new champ on High Rollers. Among the offerings on the board were a trip to New York to see the ball drop and a new kitchen to serve party dishes in. The new champ didn't get the big packages, but he did win a trip to Australia.

Peter Tomarken and Rod Roddy switched bathrobe and Santa suit for snappy tuxedoes to celebrate New Year's with the Whammies on Press Your Luck in 1986. The Whammies managed to slam everyone with exploding champagne bottles but the champ, who picked up a champagne bucketful of cash. The revival of Let's Make a Deal with Wayne Brady kicked off 2013 with a lady in a ladybug costume who gets a huge prize on her first try and a couple who come very close to picking up 20,000. 

Celebrities got in on the New Year's fun, too. Match Game '90 got fancy with tuxes and gowns for all and a set festooned with black and white balloons and streamers. Brad Garrett represented the absent Charles Nelson Reilly by doing a dead-on impersonation of him in the opening. The late 90's-early 2000's Hollywood Squares celebrated their first show of the new millennium by giving away a cruise to the Galapagos Islands and a ton of goofy Y2K jokes. What's My Line in 1961 got in their own jokes about the club owner whose Peppermint Lounge in New York launched the dance craze the Twist. Mickey Rooney had a lot of fun stumping them with his teeny little voice. 

Families celebrated the New Year together on the first Family Feud episode of 1990. Ray Combs witnessed a runaway game that came down to the last rounds, then a fairly close Fast Money as well. The episode ended with balloons, streamers and a "Happy New Year!" on the screen. 

The New Year's Eve episode of Password Plus in 1979 was less elaborate. Brett Somers had a hard enough time concentrating as it is. She doesn't seem to do nearly as well at Password as she does Match Game. Ross Martin blew her away and got his contestant to the Alphabetics round twice. She did get to join Ross and Allen Ludden to sing "Auld Lang Syne" in the end, though. 

Run these in the background of your New Year's party and see if everyone plays along! (Watch for a bad tape on Password Plus. The Hollywood Squares episode comes in two parts.)

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Boxing Day Matches

Started off the morning with a black nose in my face. Toothless was staring at me with those big yellow eyes. I tried to let her sniff me, but she just rushed under the Christmas tree. 

Went into writing in my journal and reading essays from The Curious World of Christmas next. Every year, I read material from the many holiday anthologies I own from Christmas Day through New Year's Day. Curious World is one of two anthologies of non-fiction Christmas tidbits I own. As you can guess, this is a book of humorous Christmas trivia, from some of the weirder medieval Christmas customs to how holiday icons like Santa really got started. Read some of that, fed the cats, fed myself, packed my lunch, and hurried off to work.

As it turned out, the rush wasn't necessary. It became mildly steady around 3:30 PM, otherwise, we were dead almost the entire day. Like I told a customer, most people are either recovering from yesterday, out of town, did their shopping before Christmas, or are waiting for New Year's. A great Eagles game may also have been a factor. They mauled the Giants 34-10.I shelved candy and worked on story ideas between customers. 

Needed a few things after work. There was barely any cat food left on the shelves. I grabbed a can from the same brand that Rose has. Dry food was slightly easier to find. They didn't have the same flavor, but they did have the same brand. Hopefully, Lynx, at least, wouldn't be too picky. Also grabbed pudding and a graham cracker crust to replace what I used yesterday. 

Rose called earlier in the morning. I texted her, but planned on calling her back. She called me while I was riding home. I pulled onto the sidewalk to take her call. Turns out they'll be away an extra day. Finley got sick. It's nothing too serious, but they want to spread out their trip home over two days to give her time to recover. I have no problems spending an extra day cat-sitting. Right now, the last place I want to be is Jodie's house. I'm off tomorrow, too. I can do the laundry and tidy and vacuum her house. 

First thing I did when I got home was feed the cats, at least as best I could. I didn't realize when I grabbed the can that I bought kitten food! The cats are young, but they're not that young anymore. They wouldn't touch it, but they did seem to enjoy the dry food, no matter what flavor it was. 

Changed into regular clothes, then hiked downstairs to the basement to scoop the cats' litter boxes. I have no problems doing this. I'd rather clean the cats' bathroom than deal with the human ones at the Acme. At least the cats make it to their littler boxes! 

Jodie texted during work to ask when I was coming home. Just to be polite, I told her Tuesday. She called me around 5:30, but I didn't want to talk to her and didn't answer. Thought that was the end of it, but I heard the doorbell ring around 6 PM. Yes, it was Jodie. She handed me a long tan envelope. Turns out she finally did agree to give me two months to find a place, until February 26. She won't take us to court, but she's still livid that I haven't found a place yet. I told her she needed to talk to Rose, or her lawyer needed to talk to Rose. I asked her why she won't help me find a place or show Rose the deed of sale. Apparently, me finding a place isn't her problem, and the deed of sale is no one's business but hers.

I've had enough of her. If she'd been more realistic about all of this to begin with - like drawing up an official lease for me as soon as we sufficiently recovered from Dad's death, actually selling the house when she was supposed to in June and helping both of us find new homes, and keeping the rest of the family better informed about the remodeling and sale of the house and divesting of its contents - a lot of this wouldn't be happening. I finally told her to have her lawyer call Rose when she gets back, that she needs to start thinking of someone besides herself for a change, and shut the door in her face. Texted Rose and told her what happened right after she left.

(And yes, I know it was rude, and it won't help me with her once I get back. She would have ranted all night about how this is all Rose's fault and Rose is being so terrible and why are we doing this to her and oh, she might lose the sale of the house because we're so horrible if I hadn't shut the door. I'm tired of hearing it. She isn't the one who's been desperately looking for an apartment for the past four months. She's not the one who took time off from work to find an apartment.)

Finished the night on YouTube with this year's Match Game Productions Christmas marathon. Once again, it was dedicated to the channel owner's late mother who introduced him to Match Game, and once again, it revolved around her favorite panelist Richard Dawson. Arrived just in time for the classic 1975 episode where Gene says "Schnick Schnack," the words the German Match Game used instead of "blank," when he asks the questions. We get to hear everyone's dueling German accents, including Richard's fairly good one he likely picked up from the real German and Austrian actors on Hogan's Heroes. The next episode was good, too. Sarah Kennedy and Bobby Van join in to watch an excited young woman jump up and down so hard, she apparently created a crack in the studio floor!

Other good episodes include one where Charles and composer Marvin Hamlisch create a song about the winning contestant, the one where the contestant jumps on Gene and that starts everyone making out with each other (including Betty White and announcer Johnny Olsen!), Richard making a reference to having collected money to eradicate "trench hand," Gene forcing his way through his doors twice, and Betty trying to defend an answer by using her own hips to illustrate it. 

Spend Boxing Day and Kwanzaa week laughing and matching with the loonies on Match Game! (And stick around for the end. The channel's owner has a lovely dedication to his mother, set to a beautiful piano version of "Good Feelings" from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.)

Did a few more favorite Match Game episodes featuring Richard Dawson after the marathon ended. He and Gene pull the strings on Elaine Joyce's halter when she answers "Gene" to a question about who should be eliminated from the panel while a confused Don Adams looks on in 1974. A year later, Richard reads a question towards the end of the episode in his Cockney "Newkirk" accent about what the guys on Hogan's Heroes are forced to watch.

Also revisited the original "Trench Hand" episode from later in '75. Hard-pressed to come up with an answer to the Audience Match "Trench __," Richard blurts out "Trench Hand." He and Gene make jokes about having the dreaded "Trench Hand" and holding a telethon for it during the rest of the episode. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Dreaming of a Wet Christmas

Started off a gray morning with the Christmas material from Colliers Harvest of Holidays, which I brought with me for my annual holiday readings. My favorite story was "Miss Flora McFlimsey's Christmas." An old-fashioned doll who was forgotten by her own makes her way downstairs, only to be made fun of by newer dolls who were left by Santa. A mouse and the angel on the tree help her to look brand-new again. "Barney's Wee Red Cap" sounds more like something that should be told at St. Patrick's Day. The title character uses the Red Cap from the Leprechauns to travel...and gets into a pickle when he loses it and a king wants his head! "A Star for Hansi" has a grandmother teach her granddaughter the value of saving when she recalls how she spent her much-saved last coin on a special present for her brother Hansi.

Fed the cats and fish, ad a quick breakfast while watching another marathon from Sam Mitchell. This one focused on the hosts, both starring and as panelists on shows. I came in for the second half of the 1987 syndicated Blockbusters. Bill Rafferty lead a one-on-one contestant duo through trivia questions on a hexagonal board that otherwise resembled the 1980 version. Bill himself turned up on a 1985 episode of Super Password, joking with Bert Convy and Jill Whelan. Gene Rayburn hosted the Match Game segment of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, then switched places with Jon Bauman to be a panelist. Bob Eubanks also joined in for a lot of cat questions during the featured episode.

Mom, Rose, and Jessa also texted me around this time. Mom loved her fancy soap and holder. Rose was happy to note Toothless actually put in a brief appearance during breakfast. Jessa had less good news. She thought I was going over to her house! She said she'd come over briefly later. I'd still at least make something for her.

Put on A Christmas Story while I started the dough for Rosemary Bread. I couldn't find Rose's rosemary, so it became more general Herb Bread. Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsly) is determined to get a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. Trouble is, his mother (Melinda Dillon) isn't big on guns to begin with, and his father (Darren McGavin) is too busy fighting with the neighbor's dogs and their furnace to notice his son's wishes. Ralphie himself may not dodge neighborhood bullies, blurting out bad words in front of his father, and other childhood pitfalls long enough to make it to Christmas Day...and even then, the holiday doesn't go quite the way he or his family planned.

This is another old family favorite. We ran our old copy taped off HBO constantly during December, long before TNT and TBS started running it 24 hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Everyone here is pitch-perfect, from determined Ralphie to Dillon and McGavin as his harried parents. 

Let the home-made DVD go into Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas, another old family favorite, while I started the baked ziti. This 1977 special made its first US appearance on HBO a year later, which is where we first recorded it in the late 80's. It was one of Jim Henson's first specials to use Muppets that resembled realistic animals. Emmett Otter (Jerry Nelson) and his mother Alice (Marilyn Sokol) are facing a bare Christmas, until they give up the things that let them make a living to join a local talent contest on Christmas Eve. 

I also unwrapped my present from Rose and her family at this point. It was a small tool kit, complete with a real large bolt wrench and screwdriver. I've used the same three cheap tools from Dollar Tree since I got out of college. Rose pointed out back in the summer that adults need a lot more than three cheap tools to survive. 

Threw on Match Game after that, but it was one I saw this week. Slid the bread out of the oven and taste-tested it while returning to Sam's marathon. By the time I got back, they were on the original one-on-two Blockbusters from 1980 with Bill Cullen. Cullen stuck around for a 1981 Password Plus episode with Barbara Rhodes as his partner and Tom Kennedy hosting. Monty Hall turned up in an earlier 1979 Allen Ludden-hosted Password Plus with Janet Lennon, then was seen hosting his best-known show Let's Make a Deal in the early 70's. Jack Narz hosted the complicated word-based game show Now You See It in 1974 and announced the 1979 Monty Hall Beat the Clock. He made a rare and funny appearance during a stunt in the latter.  

Jessa turned up as Beat the Clock ended. We enjoyed the tasty baked ziti and delicious, crusty Herb Bread together while she kept her little dog Midnight from going after the cats' food. After we ate, we had a long talk about my finding a place to live. I know I should probably move back down to Mom and Cape May County and help take care of her, but...I was hoping to find my own way. 

The trouble is, I just plain don't make enough money at the Acme, even with the raises I've gotten in the past year, and no one gives a fig what I have in my bank account. I was hoping to not have to go to the government either. I wanted to do this on my own, but I guess I'm just not good enough. I don't know if there's any government buildings around here, or if they'll take me with the money I have in the bank, or if I'll be stuck on a waiting list. I can't afford to wait. I need something NOW. 

I did end up going to Deptford with Jessa and Midnight to spend a few hours with her husband Joe and Joe's children, 13-year-old Danica and 11-year-old Connor. The kids and Joe were bopping along to the most recent version of the dance video game Just Dance when I arrived. I only played once, and not well, but I laughed watching Jessa, Joe, and the kids dance along to popular hits and novelty rock songs like "Rasputin" by Boney M. (Lithe Danica's smooth moves kept blowing everyone else away, even her brother.) Joe and Jessa have two smaller versions of actual arcade consoles in their living room. I played Pac Man a few times. 

Played Fruit Ninja with Connor while the other three made the kids ramen bowls for dinner and sliced the bread. This one is pretty simple. You make slashing motions with your arms to slice fruit and gain points. Avoid the bombs that take time off! Mini-fruit and big combos can give you even more points. All that arm-slashing is pretty tiring after a few games. I let Connor handle the mini-games.

We watched Mickey's Christmas Carol on Disney Plus and How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Peacock while the kids ate dinner and rain poured down outside. All the Whos down in Whoville like Christmas a lot...but the Grinch who lives up on Mount Crumpet thinks it's a lot of noise. He dresses as Santa and heads down to the town to steal their Christmas goodies. It takes the Whos celebrating no matter what to make the Grinch understand what the real meaning of the holiday is.

(Incidentally, I will absolutely be making that bread recipe again. It was a huge hit. Everyone ate at least one big slice and asked for more.)

The rain slowed down slightly by the time we all headed out at 8 PM. Joe drove his kids home to their mother, while Jessa took me home. I hurried in while the rain slowed down, greeted Lynx with a good head scratch, and went on the laptop to watch A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa on Disney Plus. I go further into this cute Muppets holiday special at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

And here's hoping you had a wonderful Christmas, no matter whom you spent it with or where!

Friday, December 24, 2021

From All of Us to All of You

Started off Christmas Eve by feeding the cats and fish breakfast, then myself. Watched The Little Drummer Boy while Lynx, Mr. Fish, and I ate. I went further into this classic Rankin-Bass religious special at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog last Christmas Eve. 

Finally caught a little bit of The Newlywed Game on Buzzr while getting ready for work. It must have been streaming on accident, since it's only supposed to be restricted to cable. In the second season of the late 90's revival, Bob Eubanks leads four couples through questions about their love lives and life at home. The husband in one couple was extremely Scottish, wearing a kilt and a tuxedo top. I left another couple arguing over whether or not she did anything to start an argument as I headed off to work.

As you can guess on Christmas Eve, work was insanely busy from the moment I began at 8 AM until almost 3. I think it actually has more to do with this being a weekend. Normally, most people shopping on Christmas Eve are just picking up perishables or milk or bread, but I saw a lot of really huge orders. People probably just got their paychecks and are doing their regular shopping. One lady was a bit rude and riled up other women in line; otherwise, there were no major problems.

At least I didn't go hungry. The store had a lot of food in the employee break room. There were two trays of cookies, a big container of cupcakes, cans of soda, bottles of water, Hershey's Kisses, Butterfinger bells, and later on, Little Caesar's pizza and boxes of soft pretzels. I had everything but the pizza. I intended to have far better pizza for dinner later. 

Texted Jessa during my breaks, inviting her to Christmas dinner. She finally replied in the affirmative later in the evening. Thanked Mom for giving me a larger-than-expected Amazon card for Christmas, too. 

It slowed down enough by 4:30 for me to leave without a break. Went straight home, changed, put out food for the cats, cleaned out their litter boxes, and went right back out. The neighbor I asked if he'd seen Toothless the other night was on the porch with his wife and son. They put a very sweet note in the mailbox yesterday saying to call them if I needed any help. I greeted them and thanked them for the note.

By 5:30, Phillies Phatties was mostly down to bored older boys and their buddies looking for a snack and something to do away from family get-togethers. I kept it simple and ordered two slices of cheese and a festive Mountain Dew Code Red while watching Univision's Spanish-language programming. 

I was home by 6, pouring over Rose's old Southern Living cookbooks for dessert ideas while watching Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. The Disney gang figure into three holiday shorts, two of them based after popular Christmas short stories. "Donald Duck: Stuck On Christmas" is supposed to be based after Christmas Every Day, but owes a lot more to Groundhog Day. Huey, Dewey, and Louie wish it was Christmas every day, then regret it when they quickly become tired of the festivities repeating ad nauseum. Goofy sets out to prove to a skeptical Max that Santa is real in "A Very Goofy Christmas." "Minnie and Mickey's Gift of the Magi" has the mouse duo trading the things that mean the most for them for gifts.

Switched to A Disney Channel Christmas next. I've watched this special every year since Mom first recorded it in 1988. Jiminy Cricket hosts a combination of two earlier Disney holiday specials, Jiminy Cricket's Christmas and A Disney Christmas Gift. The former is mostly represented by shorts like "Donald's Snow Fight," "Pluto's Christmas Tree," and "The Art of Skiing," along with the romantic "Once Upon a Wintertime." The latter features sequences from older Disney animated movies showing parties, magic, of gift-giving, including Cinderella, Bambi, and Pinocchio, along with the Donald Duck short "The Clock Watcher," the lovely black and white "Mickey's Good Deed," and the Christmas Past sequence from Mickey's Christmas Carol. (Which was so new when this special debuted, Jiminy says it's "now in theaters.") 

Moved into Khai's room for It's a Wonderful Life. George Bailey (James Stewart) is convinced life has passed him by. He's spent most of his life working at his father's saving and loan, trying to keep his small town out from under the thumb of miserly Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). When his Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) loses the money he needs to keep them afloat on Christmas Eve, he contemplates suicide. He's saved by a little old man named Clarence (Henry Travers) who claims to be his guardian angel. Clarence finally shows George what it would have been like if he hadn't been born...and proves to him that he really has a wonderful life with some truly special friends and family.

Of course, I had to go straight into "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas Special" on Hulu afterwards. Yes, this is a direct parody of Wonderful Life. Buster Bunny is so despondent after he screws up the Tiny Toons' big holiday show, he tries to jump out of the negative. This time, it's a white bunny named Harvey with Stewart's voice who shows Buster what it would have been like if he wasn't on the show, and remind him that "no man (or rabbit) is a failure who has friends."

Moved to Disney Plus for The Small One. This returns us to the more religious side of the holiday. A little boy takes his beloved old donkey to town to be sold. He's first sent to a tanner, then a haughty auctioneer, but no one wants him. It isn't until he meets a kindly man who needs a gentle donkey to take his wife to Bethlehem that he finds the perfect new owners for Small One. 

Mickey's Christmas Carol is also at Disney Plus, so I went with that one next. Uncle Scrooge is actually the star of this delightful retelling of the beloved story. Mickey's Bob Cratchit, Donald is Nephew Fred, Minnie is Mrs. Cratchit, Goofy is a very funny Jacob Marley, and Big Pete has one of his scariest roles as the Ghost of Christmas Future. 

Ended the night on YouTube with two lesser-known but enjoyable specials. Raggedy Ann & Andy and The Great Santa Claus Caper is the first of two holiday cartoons done by Chuck Jones that featured the famous rag dolls. Comet the Reindeer calls on Ann, Andy, and their dog Arthur to stop the Big Bad Wolf from covering Santa's toys in an unbreakable substance he calls Gloopstik. If children can't handle their gifts, they'll have to buy them from him. Ann and Andy prove to him that their love of Christmas, Arthur, and each other is stronger than any Gloopstik. 

Ziggy's Gift is a very sweet special done almost entirely in pantomime. Ziggy, the famous comic strip character, takes a job as a sidewalk Santa to make extra money and help the needy during the holidays. Turns out not only is the job a scam, but there's another thief who is after the money Ziggy's collected...and a cop who wants to drag them both to the precinct. It takes a lost cat and a group of orphans to remind the trio of what the holidays are really about.

And as Jiminy Cricket observed at the end of A Disney Channel Christmas, from all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow, no matter what you celebrate or whom you celebrate with. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Cookies and Cuddly Creatures

Awoke at 4:30 in the morning to loud mewing. Lynx stood outside my door, looking up at me with his big gray eyes. I followed him upstairs, but Toothless still wasn't there. I turned around...and there, mewing daintily at the foot of the stairs, was a little black cat with big yellow eyes. It was Toothless, all right. I went down to pet her, but she dashed away again. At least she seemed to be fine and wasn't outside. I tried to go back to sleep, but I eventually texted Rose instead to tell her she's ok. 

Didn't finally roll out of bed until past 10, and it was closer to 11 when I got to breakfast. Watched Family Feud while I fed the cats. Lynx showed up to play with the bows on the presents under the tree. I finally had to extricate one from him when he looked like he was going to nibble on it.

Switched to He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special as I made fried eggs, mint green tea, and an orange for breakfast. Yes, this is a thing. Orko accidentally brings two Earth children to Eternia when he takes off in an experimental rocket, then crash-lands there thanks to one of his spells. The kids are kidnapped by Skeletor, but they end up befriending him instead when they explain about Christmas to him. He's so moved, he rescues them from Hordak and Horde Prime. Meanwhile, She-Ra and He-Man search for a rare crystal that will be used to power a transporter to first take them to find Orko, then return the kids to Earth.

Headed out shortly after the cartoon ended (and making sure kitties and fish were ok). First stop was Dollar General. I needed mouth wash, but they were out of the gum protection type I use. Ended up getting Listerine at a busy CVS, along with a Vanilla Coke.

My last stop was Jodie's house. Most of the shirts I washed yesterday had short sleeves. It's going to be too cold for short sleeves this week, and Rose's house doesn't get nearly as warm as that little suite. Dropped my laundry in the basket and the Listerine on the bathroom counter, then grabbed a few long-sleeved shirts and a turtleneck and headed back out. 

I told Rose I wanted to make cookies before Christmas. She nicely left me two butter sticks in a big, heavy metal bowl. That big, heavy metal bowl fitted in an even bigger, heavier stand mixer! I don't know how Rose moves that thing to make cookies. She must hire a professional wrestler to do it. I could barely get it out of the low shelf. 

On one hand, I should have put the flour in gradually. I did it all at once, and it went everywhere and made a mess. On the other hand, the dough came out perfectly. The subsequent cookies spread too much and were Molasses Spice Strips than cookies, but they did taste good.

Watched White Christmas while I worked and the cats napped upstairs. I went further into this beloved 1954 holiday favorite at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog in December 2018. 

Went to Buzzr for Press Your Luck as I pulled the cookies out of the oven and did the dishes. The champ won the first round, but he was slammed with Whammies in the second and eventually went out. The only woman emerged the winner, with tons of money and a set of golf clubs.

Went into writing next. Brett's not happy with that little voice insisting it's her friend. She's downright terrified when Joey (Bishop) the conductor says the train is going to jump a brook and land in the fourth square. In fact, she grabs Ed Asner the Goat's beard in her fright...which takes them out of the train and back into the woods...

Let Whew! run while I wrote. The pregnant woman just barely won her first game, but she completely panicked and the Gauntlet and barely made it to the third villain. She didn't get a second chance. She was defeated by a young man who caught her before she could make a longshot to the sixth level.

Put on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation after the show ended. All Clark Grizwauld (Chevy Chase) wants is a perfect "good old-fashioned family Christmas" with all his relatives gathered 'round, a big turkey on the table, and a huge tree aglow. Not one thing goes the way he plans. The two sets of grandparents he invites argue constantly. His yuppie neighbors think he's two ornaments short of a full box. He puts so many lights on his house, they short out the neighborhood electrical grid. Even when he does manage to get the lights going, his hillbilly cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his family turn up in their rattletrap RV and cause even more chaos. In the end, as the SWAT team comes through the windows and his miserly boss (Brian Doyle Murphy) threatens to fire him, he realizes that we can't make Christmas perfect...but we can make it memorable.

Hilarious holiday comedy has been a favorite of mine since it started showing up on cable in the early 90's. Perfect for snarky pre-teens and teens who are about to go on their own Christmas vacations and adults who have probably gone through most of what Clark does here. 

Returned to Buzzr for Match Game '74 while I fed the cats dry cat food and myself leftovers. Proud dad Richard Dawson explained his deep tan when he revealed he'd vacationed in Hawaii. He happily showed a photo of his younger son Gary dancing with a hula girl. Richard did even better on Match Game PM, helping a young woman with the Head-to-Head "Surf __." Gene's happier to chat with a contestant who speaks Serbo-Croatian like he does. 

Found Lynx upstairs, sleeping on Rose and Craig's big queen-sized sleigh bed. I gave him a good belly rub. Saw Toothless at the foot of the steps, but she took off again. Took a shower after she went hiding and returned to Khai's room for Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical Live! I go further into the live musical version of the famous Dr. Seuss holiday story from last year at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Here's even more holiday specials to bring joy and fun to your Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

From Worse to Worst

I overslept a bit this morning. Had enough time to read, write, eat, and feed the cats and fish before I headed out. I only saw Lynx, but I figured Toothless would turn up sooner or later. 

Made it to work just in time. We were once again off and on busy...but this time, when it was on, we'd have lines down the aisles. Like everyone else, we just don't have enough help. They keep calling people from the bakery and dairy stocking up front. At least it slowed down enough by 4:30 for me to leave without a relief.

I still didn't see Toothless when I got home, though Lynx greeted me. I fed him and went downstairs to get the laundry started. Finally figured out where the trash bags were and loaded that, then scooped out the cats' litter boxes. I hoped again to see Toothless, but she never appeared. 

I tried writing next. Now everyone, including Brett, hears that little voice. It's Joyce Bulifant, and she's worried. Brett finds out about what when Joey says the train is going to jump to the fourth square...literally...

Saw Lynx downstairs when I switched the laundry to the dryer, but not Toothless. I was starting to get worried, and I should have before. I assumed she was upstairs, but I couldn't find her. Searched the house for an hour, inside and out, and couldn't find her. She just wasn't anywhere. She's a little black cat, so she's not the easiest critter to find, but I looked in every closet and cranny, and even looked outside. Nothing. 

Didn't want to call Rose, because I didn't want to upset her. I was already upset enough, nearly hyperventilating and screaming with hysterics. I know, I shouldn't have been so noisy. I probably scared both cats off. I did see Lynx several times, and he stayed away from me, but still no Toothless. 

Finally called Rose, and...yes, she was furious. As well she should be. This cat belongs to a family with children, and they love her. I was irresponsible and stupid for letting the door open yesterday when I wanted to get in. She must have gotten out when I brought those few things home from my place on the bike yesterday afternoon. I didn't see anything run past me, but I might have missed her. She is a small black cat. She says the kids are devastated. 

I spent another hour searching, outside and in, with Rose on the phone. We found nothing but Khai's old Simon game. Rose was raging angry and freezing when I got off with her. Apparently, she was talking outside so as to not upset the kids. 

Took time out to finally have a leftover pork chop, leftover Chinese white rice, and green beans for dinner. Folded the clothes while watching The Snowman. This charming British animated special, done entirely in music and pantomime, involves a little boy who befriends the snowman he just built. They take in the delights of the boy's house, from his television to trying on Mum's makeup, before they end up on a wild motorcycle ride. After that, the Snowman takes the boy to his home at the North Pole, to meet Santa Claus and other snowmen. Charming special based after a similarly wordless book was Oscar-nominated; it also has a lovely theme song, "Walking In the Air." 

After the special ended, I couldn't sit still. I went back outside and searched the yards again. I didn't realize there's security cameras outside. Rose could hear me when I was checking under Craig's car and the neighbor's car. She told me to put out food for Toothless to lure her home and stay inside. It was almost 10 PM before I finally put the food on the back porch.

(Incidentally, Lynx remains fine. He used his litter box, and I saw him upstairs when I was searching later and in the kitchen when I went to check and see if Toothless came back.)

I feel utterly horrible. I'm an irresponsible idiot. This proves how stupid and selfish and self-centered I am. Rose told me not to use the back door. I thought it would be ok if I was careful. I wasn't. How could I have done this? Now they'll never trust me again. I didn't tell the neighbors because I was hoping she'd turn up by morning. I'll search again first thing tomorrow. I must have missed something. I tried using my phone as a nightlight, but it wasn't strong enough. I keep checking the back door and not seeing her. The food is untouched. I'm beside myself. I can't believe I did this. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

A Very Kitty Holiday

Kicked off a quick morning with packing and Mickey and Minnie Wish Upon a Christmas at Disney Now. Micky and the gang are skiing in the French Alps, but they're looking forward to heading home to Hot Dog Hills for their usual Christmas together listening to Mickey read stories and watching Donald short out the neighborhood light grid. Donald's not happy about doing the same old thing and wants some excitement in his Christmas. After a mysterious old gentleman tells Minnie and Donald to make a wish, Donald gets his wish and ends up at a tropical paradise. The others are less happy to be separated around the world, and it'll take a lot of traveling - and a bit of Christmas magic - to get them back together. 

I dragged everything out by 8 AM, all of my bags, the bin with the American Girl dolls I wanted to take to Rose's for safekeeping, my little tree, and everything for Rose's family. Rose arrived shortly after with Finley happily showing off her new booster seat. We loaded up the car, and they dropped me off at work.

Work was off-and-on busy, but when we did have customers, we had a lot more than yesterday. Not only did the Eagles play tonight, but today is Senior Discount Day at the Acme, too. At least everyone was in a good mood and the lines moved fast. It slowed down enough by 3:30 for me to get out on time. 

Took a few minutes to find an Uber driver just as rush hour began, but I did manage to get back to Hillcrest by almost 4. I didn't want to linger there. I picked up a few things I left at the house earlier (including a card from my friend Kelly Conrad), grabbed the bike, and hurried over to Rose's. 

Took a half-hour or so to explore and feed the cats. Or the cat. I never saw Toothless at all today. I looked all over, including upstairs, but I couldn't find her. Big gray striped Lynx with the curly tail had no trouble eating on time, though. (I was also annoyed to notice that Rose left the bags I gave her to take to Maine. Either she forgot, or thought they were for later.)

After I changed and got the laptop hooked up to Rose's internet, I worked on writing. A little voice that sounds distinctly like Joyce Bulifant keeps buzzing in Brett's ear. She knows how to checkmate and find the White King's castle. Brett wishes she'd get on with it, instead of going on and on.

Broke at 6:30 for dinner and Match Game '74. Rose left me a plate from last night. After I figured out the microwave, I had mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, and steamed broccoli cuddled in the big leather chair. Meanwhile, everyone had a great time making jokes about what kind of guy would propose to Brett (Richard and the contestant had the best answers) and what President Nixon stuffed the turkey with that year. 

Lynx joined me and let me give him belly rubs while Match Game PM was on. It was a great episode for Lynx's first show, too. It started wild, with Gene sitting on the steps and staring through a box with eyeholes. Later on, Marcia Wallace's answer to where Unlucky Louie lost 10 inches off gets a rare "Oops" graphic covering it. Richard has more luck answering "__ Paper" on the Audience Match. 

Returned to Khai's room after Lynx had enough to finish off the night at Amazon Prime with A Christmas Story Live! I go into this musical version of the popular 1983 Christmas comedy at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Little Saint Nick

Started off the morning with Cranberry Orange Pancakes for breakfast and Ernest Saves Christmas. Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) is a taxi driver in Orlando, Florida who picks up a very unusual passenger - a man who claims to be Santa Claus (Douglas Seale). Santa's in Orlando to choose former kid's show host Joe Carruthers (Oliver Clark) as his replacement. Santa's been doing his job for far too long. If someone doesn't replace him by Christmas Eve, Christmas will lose its magic. 

Joe, however, already has a job offer from a sleazy movie producer (George Kaplan) to do a holiday slasher flick. Ernest has also picked up Harmony Starr (Noelle Parker), a teen runaway who lies constantly to everyone around her. Ernest and Harmony first rescue Santa from jail. Even after that, Santa has to convince Joe and Harmony that he's the real deal, and Ernest needs to drive the reindeer from the airport with the help of two sarcastic elves.

This is an old childhood favorite. We watched this a lot around the holidays in the late 80's-early 90's. Seale was my ideal Santa Claus for over a decade. 

Headed off to work shortly after the movie ended. Work was off-and-on busy. I suspect the only reason we had long lines was someone called out. Otherwise, I spent the afternoon shelving candy. No major problems. It didn't start really getting busy again until I was almost on my way out.

I heard Jodie talking on the phone when I got home. She wants me out in two weeks, or she's going to formally evict me and put it on my record. I wish she'd be realistic. I can't be out in two weeks. That's New Year's Day! There won't be anyone to move me, even if I could find a place. I'm so tired of all of this. I should have found a place in June. Jodie should have made me sign a real lease and decided if I'm an actual tenant or not. I never had a real lease. I just handed her a check. Nothing was ever formal or written out. All three of us should have talked all this over back in the summer, when Rose was cleaning the pool for Jodie, instead of letting it get this far. 

Rose called me at work. I got back to her and told her what Jodie said. She told me we'll deal with it after she comes back from Maine. Now I'm really glad I told Rose I'd cat-sit at her house this week. She's going to pick up my things early tomorrow morning, then drop me off at work. I'll take Uber back here for my bike later.

Wasn't in the mood for writing after that. Good thing one of my favorite Match Game '74 episodes was on. Charles imitated newscaster Walter Cronkite as he slowly revealed his Head-to-Head answer to a nervous Janet Finn. His answer would make her the show's all-time champ at that point...and made the others run up and try to throttle him for taking so long!

Had leftovers for dinner while watching more Match Game '74. Too bad Janet was defeated in the next episode by an Italian woman who claimed to speak at least four or more languages. Janet was a real doll, one of my favorite contestants. Richard Dawson had less luck with the Italian lady's answer to "Remember __." 

Started packing for spending the week at Rose's while Match Game PM was on. Bob Barker was absolutely thrilled when a question mentioned his first game show Truth and Consequences, and Eva Gabor called him a sex symbol. Richard did much better with the Head-to-Head for "__ It Away."

Finished the night online after a shower with the original 1947 Miracle On 34th Street, another movie about believing in Santa. We head north from Orlando to chilly New York City in time for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) is delighted to find the perfect Santa replacement in Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) when the original Santa gets drunk before the parade starts. He's so popular, they use him in Macy's store. Trouble is, he thinks he really is Santa. This worries Doris a great deal. She's teaching her daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) to not believe in myths and fairy tales, Santa included. When Santa's put on trial for lunacy and is defended by kindly lawyer Fred Gailey (John Payne), Doris and Susan...and all of New York...learn a lesson in faith, hope, and what Christmas really stands for.

Another favorite of mine. Gwenn does so well in the role and has such wonderful chemistry with Wood he won a Supporting Actor Oscar, and Payne is far more at ease here than he ever was in any of his musicals. I'm also a big fan of the wonderful supporting cast that includes Gene Lockhart as the judge in charge of the trial, William Frawley as his advisor, and Jerome Cowan as the lawyer opposite Gailey in the case. Their cynicism adds a welcome hint of acid that keeps the film from getting too sugary. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Christmas and Matches

I overslept this morning and barely had time for breakfast and Firestone Presents Your Christmas Favorites Volume 7. I have all seven of these collections of classical pieces and a few vocalists. Heard a medley of "Joy to the World," "Hark the Herold Angels," and "The First Noel," Leontyne Price sing "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" and Vicki Carr perform "I Still Believe In Christmas."

Rushed out the moment I finished eating. I was supposed to be semusiceing the apartment building in West Collingswood on Collings Avenue, but I got there five minutes late. Had no idea how to get in; the building has a rather sophisticated security system that involves codes and calling people. Thankfully, two people came out and I was able to duck in.

It took me another five minutes to find Artie. I wandered all over the narrow, three-story building. It's a 30's-vintage block, with the laundry room in a steep basement and a nice view of the surrounding area on the third floor. Slightly dusty gray carpets lined the floor. The staircases were actually a pretty good size, not too narrow or steep.

Finally found Artie with two other gentlemen in an apartment on the third floor. Turns out he's a resident who does jobs for the manager Michael Smilow, including showing people around. While the apartment doesn't have the storage that the one I looked yesterday does, it's also larger. The walk-in closet would make a wonderful combination office-closet (Artie confirms that this is what he does with it at his place), there's a beautiful, just-remodeled kitchen, and the bathroom was also in the midst of being redone.

Dashed home, went to the bathroom, grabbed my lunch, and dashed off to work. Got there just in time. Truth be told, we were never more than steady all afternoon. The baggers complained about having a lot to do, but the lines up front were pretty normal. It probably helped that we had a lot of people open, and that the Eagles game was pushed back to Tuesday.

Headed straight home after work. Listened to Dickens' Christmas Carol as I had leftovers for dinner. This is the original LP version of Mickey's Christmas Carol. Here, Merlin from The Sword and the Stone is the Ghost of Christmas Past, and the Evil Queen in hag mode from Snow White is Christmas Future. It's also a full-blown musical, with eight songs including reprises. Most of them aren't terribly memorable, though I do like the delicious "Money" for Scrooge and Mickey Cratchit in the beginning. 

Switched to The Pac Man Christmas Album while making cranberry sauce. This kid's record from 1982 is about as early 80's as you can get. The Pac Family invites the Ghosts to celebrate their Christmas festivities with them, even giving them gifts. Most of the music is the tinny synthesizer songs common in inexpensive productions at the time, though I do like Mrs. Pac Man's opening song "The Magic of Christmas" and the duet "Snowflakes and Frozen Lakes."

Finished up the night on YouTube with more Christmas game show episodes. Christmas and the holidays go back a long time. What's My Line celebrated Christmas Day in 1960 with a quartet of unusual Mystery Guests - the husbands and wives of panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, Tony Randall, and Bennett Cerf. I also liked the lovely twin women who were men's barbers. 

Match Game always did a Christmas episode, usually with Charles Nelson Reilly as Santa Claus.  My favorite of these came in 1978, when Charles appeared as Santa and his buddy Brett Somers dressed as a little girl on his knee. Charles was away during Christmas Eve on Match Game '90. Confetti-tossing Rip Taylor took his place. 

Celebrities figured into other holiday game show episodes, too. Comedians Johnny Brown and Patti Deustch played actress Joyce Bulifant and comedian Ronnie Schaal on Beat the Clock in 1979. Monty Hall lead them through stunts involving decorating a mini-tree while wearing hand puppets and tossing plastic Santas into cardboard chimneys. (And note Joyce mentions having just finished filming a movie called Airplane. For those of you who are familiar that classic comedy, she was the concerned mother of the sick little girl.)

The game's a little less wild as Carol Burnett and Bert Convy join Allen Ludden for Password Plus, also in 1979. Burnett proves she's more than just a lot of goofy voices by absolutely killing at this. She got her contestants to the Alphabetics round twice and left Convy in the dust.

Of course, Christmas is for family, and it makes sense that family got involved on other shows. Peter Tomarken's two little daughters woke their daddy up just in time to do Press Your Luck in his bathrobe on Christmas Day 1986. Rod Roddy dressed as Santa in the announcer's booth. Family Feud also decorated elaborately for Christmas 1990 as Ray Combs lead families through holiday-related survey questions. Alex Trebek gave away video cameras and giant stuffed polar bears as contestants figured out Christmas rebuses on Classic Concentration in 1987.

Let these ghosts of Christmas game shows past play in the background at your holiday party, and see if guests don't try to play along!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Marathon Games

Started out with breakfast and YouTube. Sam Mitchell, owner of the Sam's Game Show Resort Channel, hit 10,000 subscribers this week. To celebrate, he compiled a marathon of his 25 favorite game shows ever. By the time I finally sat down at the laptop, they were on the odd Jim Lange trivia show Bullseye from 1980. 

I had enough time before I left for my viewing to check out Deal or No Deal. I was in the midst of preparing for my move to Oaklyn when this debuted, not to mention I didn't have cable. This one ditches the trivia in favor of a more luck-based mission. Contestants choose a box to start, then has to guess which remaining boxes have the lowest amounts. The lower the amount, the more likely they are to have a high amount in their box. It's a lot more exciting than it sounds. The tension really mounts in this one. In fact, in the episode we saw, not only the contestant, but her family wound up as one of the show's big winners. Howie Mandel makes a better host than you might think. 

Headed out after Deal ended. This time, I had no trouble whatsoever. In fact, I arrived ten minutes early. Agent Mary Rettig showed me around, with the help of the house's owner. It's almost identical to the apartment I saw on the White Horse Pike in Audubon on November 30th, but even smaller. The kitchen is large, but has little shelf space, and the living room is tiny. It makes up for this with a huge walk-in closet and a small storage room in the back. They're not going to be available until February 1st, though. Apparently, he's also still clearing out a tenant. (In fact, the tenant looked like they hadn't even started packing yet.) 

Made a quick stop at CVS on the way home. I realized on my way to Collingswood I forgot to take my gloves and headwrap out of my old coat pocket before I donated it. They didn't have a head band, but I did buy cheap gloves that matched the light brown coat better anyway. Grabbed a Vanilla Coke, too.

Went straight into working on the application when I got home. It takes me a while to figure all this stuff out. It's been so long since I lived on Montgomery Avenue in Wildwood, I couldn't remember my exact address or the landlady's name anymore. (I do remember she lived in Philadelphia. Her sons ended up doing a lot of the work on the property.) 

Rose called me as I scanned the pages to send to Mary. Since I work until 3:30 on Tuesday and at 8 AM when they leave on Wednesday, I'll go over there Tuesday night, bring my things and my bike, and have dinner with them. I intend to leave the bin with the American Girl dolls there as well. For one thing, they're in Rose's bin anyway. For another, I'm really out of room at the suite for any more boxes or bins. That's one less bin here. 

Spent the rest of the day back with Sam and the marathon. Came in for the tail-end of my old favorite Wheel of Fortune, here in its current Pat Sajak incarnation. I did watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in college, and even occasionally after it moved to syndication. This is one juggernaut that was too big for me to ignore. And this was a fun episode, too, giving us a personable contestant named Bernie who quickly made his way up the ladder with the help of two Lifelines and his brother. 

I'd seen the Press Your Luck and Sale of the Century episodes several times on Buzzr. Vicki Lawrence got in on $100,000 Pyramid. Dick Cavett had less luck there. He messed up on the Winner's Circle twice. Once it was a judge's error, but the second time he blurted out an answer. He claimed he'd give the contestant the shirt off his back for messing up...then actually did! Monty Hall made big deals in ugly plaid pants to a pretty kitty who wound up with the Big Deal of the day on the early 70's Let's Make a Deal

Richard Dawson popped up to host Family Feud...but the real star of the episode was announcer Gene Wood, who let a contestant fulfill her dream of becoming an announcer by doing the ticket plugs. Johnny Olsen played a frustrated producer who is given a "Magic Touch" by Fairy Godmother Janice in an episode of The Price Is Right from I believe 1977. 

Jim Perry returned for a 1980 episode of Card Sharks, by far the funniest of that series. Despite her own claim of bad luck, Vicki Lawrence killed everyone at the cards in that year's Celebrity Tournament. Towards the end of the episode, nervous Bill Daily had his own incredible luck when he changed a queen to an 8 - the worst card in the deck - and still won the round. The look of compete disgust on his challenger Marcia Wallace's face alone after he does that is worth seeing. 

Celebrities were also involved in the top two shows. Goofy pair Joyce Bulifant and Dick Gautier read the clues on Password Plus. Dick was stunned when his contestant answered a Password Puzzle right on the first guess! Joyce had less luck with the Alphabetics round and the later rounds. 

Dick stuck around for Match Game '76 and Richard Dawson returned, along with Buzzr's lady of next week Betty White. Most of the panel teased Gene Rayburn about his bright coral coat in the opening, with Richard saying he looked like a Disneyland character and Charles asking him how much the fudgesicles were. Later on, Gene lay down on the job while Mary Ann Mobley rattled on and on about her answers. 

Are these your top 25 shows too? Watch and compare your favorites with Sam's and ours!

Since I had leftovers for dinner during the marathon, I caught up on writing down everything that's happened with finding an apartment in my notebook after the marathon ended. Watched two Rankin Bass specials while I worked. I go further into those specials at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Finished the night back at YouTube with Lawrence Welk. They did Christmas or winter episodes every year. usually ending with all the orchestra members, singers, and their families introducing each other. The "Winter Wonderland" episode from 1967 began and ended with sleigh rides (to "Sleigh Ride" and "Winter Wonderland"). Jo Ann Castle really got into "Frosty the Snowman," Arthur Duncan is a dancing toy store owner who says to "Whistle While You Work," and Dick Dale and Andrea Willis flirted while wrapping gifts "Under the Mistletoe." 

The later holiday episodes from 1972 and 1980 are more traditional. They begin with all the singers performing "Jingle Bells" with Lawrence at a party scene, and end with the introductions. The kids are so cute when they get to play and sing with their parents! I especially loved Bobby Burgess twirling with his precious little girl in her huge ruffly green dress in 1980. Tanya Falan Welk couldn't keep her toddler son around for most of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and elf Arthur Duncan gets to "Ring Those Christmas Bells" in 1972. Santa came out at the end of 1980 to bring presents to all the kids, while Bobby and Elaine Nivenson danced in Currier and Ives costumes to "The Skater's Waltz." 

Celebrate the Christmas season with your family and Lawrence Welk's! 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Sunshine Holidays

Began a beautiful morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel Shares His Tigertastic Car" with Prince Wednesday when everyone brings cars to the playground and he forgot his. Generous Miss Elaina loans Dan her pink truck. "Katerina Shares Her Tutu" with Dan so he can be a lion and she can be a flower in their jungle dance.

Darted out before the cartoon even ended. Turns out the apartment was in a complex, Marina Apartments, way out on the edge of Collingswood along the Cooper River. Beautiful view, but it was too far from the main roads for someone who relies on her bike and public transportation. Not to mention, there was nowhere in the complex to park said bike, either. 

It also became obvious the ad I saw in Craigslist was a scam. The manager arrived shortly after I did. No, he had no viewings scheduled for today. There are apartments available, but they look nothing like the one in the ad. I did show him the ad and told him about the scam, so something came of my trip. 

Made quick stops at WaWa and CVS on the way home. Picked up a sparkling water from WaWa. Wanted to get a booster shot at CVS, but they're appointment only. At least it was a nice ride across Newton Lake Park. The sun sparkled on the green water, and it was oddly warm for this time of year, probably in the mid-60's. I was fine in my new blue hoodie from Eddie Bauer.

Put on Match Game '79 while making a quick banana-peanut butter smoothie for lunch. Bill Daily started off this episode by stressing out over the very first question, prompting Charles Nelson Reilly to toss cards at him. Meanwhile, Joe Santos of The Rockford Files actually matches a contestant while Lorrie Mahaffey of Happy Days has a hard time with "Neighborhood __" on the Head-to-Head. 

Went online off and on through the afternoon. Called and e-mailed the agent about the non-viewing yesterday, e-mailed another Craigslist ad that seemed a bit more legit than the other one, and kept looking for places. I wouldn't mind all of this so much if Jodie had just pushed the new owners to wait to take the house until after New Year's. Just because she and they don't want to celebrate the holidays doesn't mean everyone else won't, either. 

Headed off to the Acme for groceries and my schedule around one. I'll be at Rose's for a lot of next week, but I did need some things. Had online coupons for a bag of clementines, yogurt, and peanut butter. Found ground chicken with a half-off manager's coupon. Restocked bananas, cranberries, chicken drumsticks, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and butter. Treated myself to a frosted donut (also with an online coupon) and the cutest Rankin-Bass Rudolph and Santa tote bag. 

In good news, not a bad schedule. Thankfully, I got Christmas Day off without a fuss, and I have Thursday off, too. It's also all cashiering, even the long 8 1/2 hour days on Wednesday and Friday. On the other hand, I'm supposed to be here on Sunday and Wednesday to talk to the new people. How can I explain that I'm not allowed to ask for those days off? We can't ask for the days leading up to Christmas off. I shouldn't have had this week off. Some of us have actual jobs and really do have to work. 

I'm still frustrated, and I told the neighbors that when I got home. How did I get stuck in the middle of this? All I want is to find an apartment, not for everyone to sue each other. Why is Jodie making such a fuss? If she had a hard time paying for the house, we could have dropped the cable. I would have paid extra for the internet and for doing the wash at the house. What about all those meals she constantly shared with me, all the pizza and hoagies and bar food? Where did the money for that come from? And why didn't we have a real lease? Either we should have made a real lease, or she should have made me officially a roommate rather than a tenant. 

Why didn't all of this come up over the summer, when Rose and the kids were cleaning the pool every few days? Why couldn't Jodie just TALK to Rose, like I told her to at the beginning of December? If Rose and Jodie were so angry at each other, why didn't they just TALK, instead of letting it get this bad?

Put on Frosty the Snowman when I finally got inside and put everything away. Frosty comes to life thanks to a magic hat that lousy magician Professor Hinkle threw away. Karen, one of the kids in the town, personally sees to it that Frosty gets to the North Pole so he won't melt. Hinkle wants the hat and its magic back and pursues them all the way up north. 

Checked my e-mail while the cartoon ran. Heard from the Collings Ave Apartments earlier in the day. They're finally giving tours. 11:30 on Sunday was pushing it a bit, but 10:45 would be perfect. 

Watched Press Your Luck while quickly cleaning the kitchen and dusting. It was another close game this time coming down to a battle between the two guys. The champ picked up a motorcycle and dodged Whammies to win him the game.

Worked on writing next. Brett and the Wonderlanders find themselves squeezed into a train car with a motley assortment of travelers that include a man in a newspaper suit (Steve Allen), a grumpy goat (Ed Asner), a grumpier train conductor (Joey Bishop), and a horse (Kate Jackson). They all scold Brett for forgetting her name...but a little voice in her ear reminds her of how important it is to know it...

Got a phone call while working. It was another realtor at the Main Street Realty, the agency handling the Collingswood house. Turns out Ms. Ferrante mistook that viewing session yesterday for one that was canceled. Ms. Ferrante is apparently out of town now, but the other realtor said she'd show me the apartment at 11:30 tomorrow, this time on my own. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made Italian casserole with bow-tie pasta while watching Match Game '74. Producer Ira Skutch had to come out to explain his ruling and the difference between a stain and a little yellow spot. Charles even rubbed him with tissues and "prepared"  him to be on camera! 

Did the dishes and made a gingerbread loaf from a regular gingerbread recipe while Match Game PM was on. The female contestant asked if she could kiss Richard, even if she lost. That certainly perked up Richard, who otherwise looked pretty unhappy during this episode. (Except for making Nixon jokes during a question about what Nixon would wear during his next interview with David Frost.)

Finished the night on Watch TCM with Christmas In Connecticut. Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is the most popular food columnist in the US. Her scrumptious dishes and descriptions of her cozy Connecticut farm and charming family makes her the idol of millions. There's just one problem. It's all fictional. In reality, Elizabeth is a confirmed city girl who can't boil water. Her uncle Felix (S.Z Sakall) provides all the recipes for her column. 

She has to get a farm in a hurry when her pushy boss (Sydney Greenstreet) not only invites himself for the holidays, but brings along a handsome Navy hero (Dennis Morgan). The guy who's been trying to propose to Elizabeth for months (Reginald Gardner) brings her and Felix out to his farm...but she never expected to fall for the soldier. Between mix-ups involving babies, judges, and runaway cows, Elizabeth finally learns that honesty is the best policy, especially where love is concerned.

Charming romantic comedy gets the best performances out of its two very different bosses Sakall and Greenstreet, both of whom want what's best for Elizabeth and the magazine in their own ways.