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» Sunday, December 22, 2019Christmas Comes Marching In
I still can never understand it.
Look at it. It's almost Christmas. Summer went by like a constipated sloth wearing a body cast. The weather finally turned cool (and not until October 3, for God's sake!) and since then it's moved like the Indy 500, days just tumbling over days in their haste to go by: leaves turning, Hallowe'en, Veteran's Day skidding into Thanksgiving, with Christmas decorations already up everywhere, and suddenly it's less than ten days until the 25th.
Which is why after popping into Publix on Thursday to do the weekly shopping we returned home, I obeyed the spinning clock, pulled the divider out of the oven, prepped the dining room table, and commenced to baking wine biscuits. This took all afternoon and filled the house with a pleasant odor. I managed to finish one bottle of hearty burgundy without having to start another. Then at suppertime James practiced his culinary alchemy and we had turkey wings done in the air fryer basted with maple teriyaki sauce. To say this was divine is wayyyyyyy underpraising it. Oh, goodness, that was delicious, and eating them did not make me ill the way eating baked ones usually do, probably because all the fat leached out into the air fryer, leaving just crispy skin and juicy meat behind.
Thursday evening we also watched the new version of A Christmas Carol with Scrooge played by Guy Pearce, who is only in his fifties. This helped bring to life Dickens' description that Scrooge was aged by his miserliness rather than years. The producer of this is the guy who does the often bloody and violent Peaky Blinders series, and he commented that most versions make A Christmas Carol so cozy that you don't see what genuinely hard times Dickens was railing about. He wanted to make a Carol that more reflected the type of dreadful life the poor had in Victorian London. Well, the cast was excellent, it all looked good, and it did really bring home the horrors of poverty in that era. But in this version Scrooge isn't just a guy who decided money was more important than people (something that must have come from his father sending him to such cheap boarding schools), he's a sociopath made that way by a brutal father who basically traded Scrooge's innocence for free tuition. Scrooge isn't just greedy, he's damaged psychologically, and that shows in his character; what he does in this version of the Carol isn't just unfeeling, it's downright cruel (especially what he inflicts on Mrs. Cratchit). So when he does see the error of his ways at the end, it's not the happy reclamation of a soul. The end is a real downer instead, where it's implied that instead of other Scrooges that can be reclaimed, that there's just more of them and the spirits have more work to do, basically that it's an endless job that will never be finished. We aren't welcoming the one Prodigal Son back to the fold, we're instead emphasizing all the lost souls that will never be reclaimed. It's not hopeful, it's just more pessimistic.
It's also been tarted up to give a couple of female characters more to do. Intriguing idea to make Scrooge's sister one of the ghosts, but she just pops up that she's always "been interested in science" in the dialog like that updates her somehow, but seems to be there for no reason for that choice but to note that women were actually intelligent back then but were not given a chance to show it. It's Mrs. Cratchit's role that's been expanded the most, but the fact that she is played by a woman of color and then has some special connection with the spirit world smacks of stereotypes of Caribbean women and voodoo. It's like the stereotypical convention that Native Americans all have some type of spirit guide who can save them in times of crisis, a clichè that even made it into Star Trek: Voyager. So: looked good, excellent cast, but very grim, no hope, very bloody at times (check out the decapitated pet mouse). Would love one that kept the reality of the time with the story of the book!
Very surprised that I woke up on Friday morning with no nightmares after that one. (The intrusive and badly timed commercial breaks for no movie I would ever want to see except for Rise of Skywalker probably helped.) I had a good Hallmark coupon and wanted to add to a gift that was woefully inadequate. So James and I packed up the truck and headed for Amy's Hallmark at Town Center, where I found something quite nice, and also, with a second coupon, a gift to put away. We then went into the Publix next door (mostly to use the rest room, but also to pick up something we'd forgotten), and then stopped at Barnes & Noble to spend all of James' huge Christmas bonus, a $5 Starbuck's gift card, on a peppermint hot chocolate and a brownie.
Saturday we had a busy but fun day. We went to Lidl for bread, milk, and juice in the morning, then once home did a few other chores. Cut it really close to the time we had to leave (didn't realize it was so late), but got on chat with Verizon and cancelled those stupid Hum devices for the car. They're costing us $30 month and James' has never worked with his truck. In fact, he ended up getting a new one, which they made him pay for, and it still didn't work, and I was incensed when I discovered they wanted to charge us a termination fee for the "new" account. We told them we didn't want a new account when we had to get a new unit; we wanted to put the new unit on the old number, but apparently they didn't do that. Anyway, I got the dude to waive the termination fee, and we got the 55+ Unlimited plan so James doesn't have to worry about using his Surface at work and eating up all the data. (Unfortunately this doesn't seem to make us eligible for the free Disney+. Ah, well, I already pay for three streaming services we almost never use.)
We had supper at Fried Tomato Buffet and tanked up the truck at Costco up the hill, then set out on the freeway for the city of Tucker and specifically the Tucker Recreation Center, where the Atlanta Radio Theatre was putting on this year's version of An Atlanta Christmas. The rec center is an old school, and the show was in the auditorium, and we enjoyed this year's version with all of our old favorites, including "Are You Lonely Tonight," "Davy Crockett Christmas," and "USO Christmas." Stopped to talk to Clair and Daniel and Ron and Lin afterwards.
On the way in I'd noticed there was a tiny little white building set in front of the rec center on brick pilings. As we came out, used the flashlight on my phone to see what it was. In front the rec center people had planted a butterfly garden, with signs letting you know what each thing was. Turned out the "little building," which James thought might be 15 feet by 20, was an old courthouse! The "Browning Courthouse," specifically, from Tucker, original structure built in 1860 (!) and used until 1977! Wow. They must have had to sit on each other's laps!
We managed to beat the rain home and Tucker had his walk that did not turn into "a bath."
And then "click!" and our weekend was over.