Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Love In a Home

Slept in so late today, it was past 12:30 when I finally got going. Watched Match Game '75 as I had breakfast. Gossip queen Rona Barrett and singer Clifton Davies joined the panel during this week. Clifton gets a rare chance to help the contestant with "Left __" in the Head-to-Head.

Put on that new Peanuts Happy Holidays DVD while finishing up breakfast and getting organized. This is a collection of a French-made series of Peanuts shorts from 2016. I like the different animation style. They're made to look more like the comic strips, with the kids yelling or reaching across "panels," than the original series. Most of the shorts, like the opening ones that dealt with Snoopy worrying about who'll feed him when Charlie Brown was away, didn't really have much to do with the holidays. There was at least one short with Woodstock being offended by Lucy talking about carving the Thanksgiving turkey, and another with snowman building antics. Snoopy tried to snitch Linus' blanket when he stayed at their house, too.

Went downstairs at 1:30. It took me a while to round up everything I needed (and I still didn't have the baking soda), but I did manage to get the first two batches of cookies started. This year, I'm doing four simple recipes. Started with chocolate chip and cake mix peanut butter today. The chocolate chip came from the Alpha Bakery cookbook I found at the thrift shop in Marlton back in July. I printed the cake mix peanut butter off the Betty Crocker website.

The cookies came out a little brown, but mostly very well. I had to use baking powder in the chocolate chips when I couldn't find baking soda. It did make them puffy instead of wide...but they remained sweet little morsels of rich goodness anyway. The cookies go to the Acme for their luncheon on Saturday and to friends, neighbors, and families. 

Finally got them out of the oven at around quarter after 4, packed into boxes I had leftover from 2019, and went upstairs for writing. The Nutcracker claims he'll protect Debralee at the cost of his life. She has a bit more sense and points out to Gene that they're outnumbered. To her surprise, he's able to make the ornaments and toys on the tree come to life.

Broke at 6:30 to head out for a walk. I'd been inside all day. Time for one of my annual traditions, my stroll to check out lights in the neighborhood. I always do this after a day I spent over a hot stove. I love how creative people on both sides of Oaklyn get with their holiday lights displays. They ranged from homes with simple outlines of gold lights on their roofs to those who decorated every inch of their small front yards in holiday splendor, from giant lit candy canes to lit wire Santa and reindeer sculptures. One house with a rare large backyard had a wrought-iron fence lined with elegant lit garlands. Another across the street had an inflatable Santa and reindeer on the smaller roof, surrounded by those gold lights. A few doors down, another roof was surrounded by lit snowflakes, with slit snowmen cut-outs on the lawn.

Inflatables aren't as common as they were a decade ago, but some folks do still put them out. The biggest was a gigantic Santa who nearly stretched to the top of a house's porch roof. On the next street over from me, one house had little Grogu (Baby Yoda) and an AT-AT walker wearing Santa hats. I saw a unicorn at one house, two polar bears (one upright, one sliding on his stomach) at another. A house on the next street over had a rather grumpy-looking bulldog in a sweater and a tree hung with faded vintage plastic gingerbread men. An inflatable "Merry Christmas" banner held by Santa and an elf greeted people further down. 

Even the Oaklyn Baptist Church had sparkling lights strung off their building to look like a tree, with a tiny star on top. Most other local businesses and religious buildings didn't go quite that all-out. Aunt Berta's was bustling with soul-food lovers, but they mainly had a tree. St. Mark's Lutheran Church on the next block down from me had no outdoor decorations, but I did see some lovely trees and lights in the windows.

Had dinner when I got home while watching Match Game '79. Having gotten to the end of the show's run, Buzzr jumped back to the first day of the year. Gene stumbled through his door, draped in streamers leftover from the previous New Year's episode and looking more than a little bleary-eyed. He sobered up long enough to field jokes from a balding contestant whose wife bet him he couldn't get on the show.

Finished the night online after a shower with more holiday specials. I went further into the original Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in a Musical Dreams Movie Reviews entry from 2018. (It's the first review on the page. 

Papa Bear is determined that The Bernstein Bears' Christmas Tree should be a beauty he chopped down himself. He and the cubs hike up into the mountains to find the perfect tree, but every one is already occupied by animals celebrating their own holiday festivities. After Papa spares the home of a snowbird family, the animals have a big surprise waiting for them when they return to their tree house.

Crooner Andy Williams has an even crazier holiday in The Andy Williams Christmas Show from 1967. It starts off simply enough, with Williams performing his most famous holiday song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" as he and his French wife Claudine Longet head into town with his parents for shopping jokes. While the Osmonds do get a bizarre version of "Whistle While You Work" that has them performing as pink-clad elves in a store window and Andy and his brothers perform "It's the Holiday Season" together, the bulk of the special is set either at Andy and Claudine's home or his parents' and comes off as far cozier. I'm especially fond of their charming duet "Love In a Home" from the 1956 stage musical Li'l Abner

(Oh, and Lauren got her box today. She loved everything. Said she put the bear-shaped bottle of soap in her bathroom right away, will play the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Nintendo Switch game tomorrow, and thought the Alan Jackson Christmas CD I found at the record store in Woodbury in October was perfect.)

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