Sunday, January 01, 2023

I'm Into Something Good

I opened my eyes, gazed over at my alarm clock...and it said quarter after 10!  Yikes! I'd planned on being up and out the door to Collingswood at 8! Got dressed quickly, grabbed a banana and a cocoa-almond bar for breakfast, hurried downstairs, grabbed my bike, and rushed out.

One of the advantages of living on the other side of Oaklyn is being closer to Collingswood. I arrived at the PATCO Station in a little over five minutes. There was a long line to buy tickets...but once I bought the tickets, it wasn't as bad. I noticed when the train to Philly rolled in that the first car wasn't full like the others. I took that one, and had a nice, quiet ride. 

Got off at 13th Street, two blocks from the Mummers Parade. It was half-done by the time I made it there, but no matter. I strolled up and down Broad Street, enjoying the carnival atmosphere. The Mummers Parade has local string bands dressed in colorful ruffles and sequins strutting down mid-town Philly. One group in blue and turquoise had a shark theme. Another were Grinches in red and green. There were red, white, and blue clowns, and primary-colored clowns in baggy pants who stopped and did the Limbo for the delighted crowd. A magician and his brigade wore black and orange and performed tricks. A group in black and white checks blasted hard rock as they passed the Doubletree, following a band in glitter-trimmed khaki coveralls representing Top Gun: Maverick

I walked all the way down Broad to the stately Philadelphia High School for the Performing and Creative Arts. (Which I honestly mistook for a museum until I read the sign out front.) That seemed to be the end point for the parade. I caught another couple of groups here, including a pink-and-blue baby group in huge bonnets and two more generic groups in primaries and pale blue. All kinds of people stood on the lamp posts and watched from behind the barriers, from families with young children to extremely noisy and inebriated college students. 

I couldn't blame them for wanting to enjoy the parade. It was perfect parade weather. The sun was out, the sky was almost the same color blue as the shark group's costumes, and it was warm, in the upper 50's-lower 60's. It did get a bit blustery, but that beats the 30's and 40's it usually is during the Mummers Parade. 

Started back down Broad around noon. I wanted a drink, but the Dunkin' Donuts on Broad had a line of Mummers going out the door. After I got back to near City Hall, I ducked down 13th Street until I ran into Macy's. I remembered that they had a Starbucks. Not only is the little corner store still there, but they were empty. Drank my Peppermint Mocha Frappuchino in peace. Got to admire the Macy's Light Show as I made my way through, too. Even if the actual show ended yesterday, the lights still looked pretty.

Cut down Market Street and through Primark, since I was now closer to 8th Street than 13th. Lauren and I didn't check out the Round 1 on the top floor of the Fashion District when we visited in early June. I only went a half-hour here, since I had other things I wanted to do. Couldn't find the skee ball, but I had fun playing other games. Earned enough to get another medium Beanie Baby, this one a fluffy brown ostrich named Orson, and still have points left for my birthday in April.

I've already done a ton of shopping this week, so I passed on the rest of the Fashion District. Went straight to the PATCO station under the mall. They weren't busy, either. Nor were the mall or Round 1. Everyone must have still been at the Parade or heading to the Eagles-Saints game. No trouble getting home at all.

Since I was already in Collingswood, I had brunch at the Pop Shop. They were busy, mostly with college students looking for hangover cures and something to do away from the family. I kept things simple with two scrambled eggs, two pieces of bacon, two pancakes, fruit salad, and iced tea. The scrambled eggs were more flat than scrambled, kind of like an unfolded omelet. They weren't bad, just strange. The bacon was just crispy enough, though, and their moist "Betty" pancakes have won awards. Even so, they were too big to finish.

Rose texted me when I was at the PATCO station. She had a ton of food out. Did I want to come over? Sure, why not? I had no other plans for the day. Took the quick way down Collings and across the White Horse Pike back to Oaklyn, making my way down to Reading and then to West Clinton.

It was basically similar to the spread Rose had out at Christmas...but there was even more food, and this time, her husband Craig's parents joined us. We noshed on a meat and cheese tray, a tray of berries and pomegranate seeds, a vegetable tray, a tray of pepper poppers and olives, baked brie, and a plate with crackers and blue cheese. She served Hoppin' John, a southern dish traditionally eaten on New Year's she'd gotten out of a Disney Princess cookbook. (Needless to say, it was a Tiana recipe.) After I ate, I played with Finley on the enclosed porch, trying to pop the bubbles she blew before she did! 

After we came in, I admired Rose's full bookshelves while her hubby Craig and her son Khai watched the Eagles game. They did not play well. Again. The Saints eventually shoved past them 20-10. 

Made a better find on Rose's shelves. One of my favorite books when I was younger was The Smartest Bear and His Brother Oliver, by Alice Bach. "The Smartest Bear" is Ronald, who wants to stay awake all winter to read the Encyclopedia and be seen as different from his twin brother Oliver, whose interests are in eating and not much else. It's not until his parents give them their birthday presents that Ronald realizes that they do know he and his brother are as unalike as bears can be.

Oh boy, did I relate to Ronald as a kid! Rose and I aren't twins, but we're different as can be. Rose wasn't a big reader when we were younger. She didn't really get into reading until she became a fan of fantasy in the early 90's. I actually did read the encyclopedia then, and would stay up very late to do it. And yes, my sisters did tease me about it. And like Ronald, I was over the moon when I got my first typewriter. (Only I got mine for Christmas 1987.)

We've had this book for as long as I can remember. It was definitely our original copy. The previous owner had colored in the Steven Kellogg artwork with colorful markers. I thought Mom got rid of it ages ago. Rose said I could have it, since her kids don't read it often. 

Rose sent me home with a ton of food, including grapes, a bag of salad, more Hoppin' John, and a slice of fruit tart. Put all that away when I got home, then went straight into writing. Debralee wants to know what's going on here. How did Gene get magic? He's always had it. He thinks she'll be able to help the Nutcracker save the Princess, before the Mouse King does worse things to her. 

After that, I had the fruit tart while watching Holiday Inn. I go further into the movie that introduced the song "White Christmas" at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Took down most of the Christmas decorations during the second half of the movie. I intend to rearrange the containers, including moving most of the larger stuffed animals to the felt Santa bag. Had enough time to take down the regular odds and ends tonight. I'll do the bears and the tree on Wednesday, my next day off.

Finished the night online with the Match Game New Year's Day marathon. These episodes may have been less festive, but some of them were almost as funny. Dorothy, an overly enthusiastic contestant who jumped up in her seat and flung her arms around so much, she accidentally hit the guy next to her, really livened up New Year's Day 1974. Gene stumbled into the first day of 1979 draped with streamers from the previous episode and looking more than a little bleary-eyed. Butch Hartman, who would later go on to create The Fairly Oddparents for Nickelodeon, began his long winning streak on Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour on the New Year's Day episode. 

Ring in the New Year with Match Game and see if you can get people playing along!

Threw in a few more vintage New Year's game show episodes after that ended. What's My Line started off 1961 with Lucille Ball as the hilarious Mystery Guest. She couldn't disguise her voice from Arlene Francis, who knew her too well. Note the reference to her being on Broadway. The show she appeared in was Wildcat, a musical about a strong-willed oil driller who hopes to make a killing so she can earn money for her sister. It has good music, but the book was so weak, when Lucy got too sick to appear, that was the end of the show. 

One of the few remaining episodes of the second Alex Trebek High Rollers run is its New Year's Eve 1979 show. Alex dons a tux and his models sport sparkling gowns as contestants roll the dice to win big packages. The twinkly-eyed older lady who started off didn't have the best answers and didn't win, but she did pick up a prize package. The lady who won didn't do much better and missed the bonus round. She was going up against a young man when they finished.

Likewise, Peter Tomarken and Rod Roddy sported snazzy tuxes for the New Year's Eve 1985 Press Your Luck episode. There were a surprisingly lack of champagne-toting Whammies here; they only hit once in the second round. The champ just barely beats a lady to get cash.

The late 80's Card Sharks and Family Feud brought kids and families to the party. Card Sharks celebrated its Young People's Week in 1987 as kids competed to win a trip to Hawaii instead of a car. Family Feud finished its first season in 1988 with balloons, streamers, and a Fast Money win. 

Super Password didn't get too fancy in 1984, either. There was more talk about Jamie Farr being held over for a second week on the show. They didn't really do anything for the holiday until everyone sported hats and noisemakers in the end. 

Celebrate New Year's with these sparkling games!

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