26 December 2016

Boxing Day Blues and Greens

It was 61°F when we went to bed. Even with both fans in the window, we both slept badly. James got up at seven to telework, but I hung on another hour, having been woken up being warm, again being itchy, again because my leg hurt—it became a litany. Woke up to find it grey, gloomy and grizzly. So I dressed, walked Tucker, ate a quick breakfast, and left James staring at his computer (he had no calls all day dealing with what he's supposed to support at all; any calls he took were from people who couldn't log onto their laptops).

I hadn't gone to Walgreens at all during Advent, and based on the leftovers there today, I needn't have wasted my time then or now. However, I had a 30 percent off total purchase for CVS, so that was my next destination. BreatheRights were on sale so I couldn't get them, but I stocked up on PeptoBismol, some disposable shower caps, wide headbands to use in the car with the window open, and a few other toiletries. Next it was over the railroad bridge and past the leftover Christmas trees to Bed, Bath & Beyond, but had to stop at Barnes & Noble first. I wanted to see if they had the clearance items out, but...nope. Just like CVS, they were still in the process of marking them down. So I used the bathroom and skedaddled.

James had asked me to get him a 10" saute pan at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I picked that up (it turns out what he needed was a 8" saute pan, so now I need to swap it), plus a fold-up stepstool for the laundry room, and a gadget to scrub out the shower. Even when I kneel down I cannot reach the back of the shower compartment. This thing has an extension pole on it and has a rotating scrubber. I hope it will cut down the pain to my back. I found one of those "star shower" things (the brand that's red, green, and blue) half price and got one for James, and also some balsam and cedar Yankee candle tea lights.

Next I stopped at Costco, as we were out of both milk and Skinny Pop. I bought something for us to take to Bill and Caran's annual New Year's Eve bash, and picked up the "Time" salute to John Glenn as well.

My last stop was Michael's, where I indeed did pick up two Christmas clearance items, but mainly grabbed a few small things to use a 30 percent off total purchase coupon which is only good today. I am looking for a container for my drawing pencils, but everything is too big! I want something the size of a pencil case, and it's all huge.

Got home just in time to dodge the rain and have lunch with James (leftover shells with pork from Friday's supper) and then sat down to watch some Christmas things, starting with The Little Match Girl. The only resemblance to the Andersen story is that there's a little girl selling matches; in this go-round she's an angel in disguise, trying to help a fragmented family in a 1920s era Philadelphia-clone city. Keshia Knight Pulliam plays Molly the angel with a sweet combination of innocence and roguish knowledge, and William Daniels is perfectly stuffy as the wealthy businessman who doesn't realize he's being played by a crooked police chief.

The rest of the afternoon was reserved for assorted unusual Christmas specials I've recorded over the years: first The Greatest Tree on Earth, a fascinating British program about the history and traditions of the Christmas tree, following a Tokyo family, a Lappish family, and a Brooklyn family with their Christmas prep, intercut with historical insights and the workings of a Christmas tree farm. The most bizarre segment showed German propaganda films from World War II, made to convince the population that everything was fine. There was a huge tree hung with Hitler ornaments and glass acorns with swastikas on them, topped with a star, under a big swastika. Talk about unsettling! Then Christmas and the Civil War. Using re-enactments, it showed how Christmas went from a small religious holiday to a national celebration, following the lives of Thomas Nast, Louisa May Alcott, a plantation owner's wife, and a slave who was originally a Christmas gift to his master's wife. Next Christmas Lights, simple  footage shot in different places, no narrative, just some background music: the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, a writer's cabin in Alaska being decorated with lights and ornaments with a bonfire held outside afterwards, Washington DC and the display around the National Christmas tree and other public buildings, the coast of Maine where children and adults decorated a tree with lights and goodies like apples, popcorn, corn, seed-covered peanut butter pinecones, and even herring for the local wild animals, and finally the streets and decorations and then the Grand Illumination in Colonial Williamsburg. Dreamy, lyrical and simply beautiful.

Finally there was another re-enactment special, The Christmas Truce, that included an appearance by the daughter of Bruce Bairnsfather, a famous cartoonist who served in World War II.

We had Italian wedding soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for supper, watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and now I'm on the Christmas specials I still have stacked up on the DVR: two Merv Griffin Show segments to start with. One was in black and white when Arthur Treacher was still Merv's sidekick: he was dressed up as Santa Claus and sang two songs. The other was a color episode which featured William Shatner —all excited about a project he was working on with inner city kids—and Mel Torme, who sang "The Christmas Song," of course, and did an acappella duet with Merv of Christmas songs. Smashing!

(Guess what! What James wanted was an 8" saute pan. He said ten. So back we will have to go to BB&B.)

No comments: