Friday, August 15, 2014

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams

I'm late writing about this. Sorry, Robin. But so many other people have written so much more movingly, and from personally knowing you, that it's not like you needed whatever I could write about you. But I would like to say that, despite what all the comedians and people in the film business have said in their lists and favorite videos, my best and most favorite thing you ever did was "The Fisher King."

I would have remained silent except that when members of my writing community last night got together, some of them shared their favorite bits, too. And one of those people agreed with me.

Anyway, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page an essay by the inimitable Anne Lamott which got to me. Here it is, so you can read it, too.

Like Anne, "I would much prefer that God have a magic wand, and not just a raggedy love army of helpers."

I don't know why that line struck me so hard. Because that's we all wish for, isn't it. But it just doesn't work that way. And so we HAVE TO KEEP ON BEING THAT RAGGEDY LOVE ARMY OF HELPERS!

She also quoted from another blog post written by theologian Fred Buechner: “It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling.”

She's not saying, nor am I, that Robin Williams was in any way wrong or weak or whatever. We're just so sad that he's gone, and we feel for him and with his family.

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams, O Captain and Fisher King!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review of "How to Train Your Dragon" Series, Continued

Caleb's book review, continued:

In Book 1, Hiccup meets his dragon, a unique dragon, a Toothless Daydream.

In Book 2, he learns how to be a pirate and finds Grimbeard the Ghastly's treasure, Hiccup's ancestor, but falls on Alvin the Treacherous.

In Book 3, Hiccup and Fishlegs, in pirate boarding class, accidentally come upon a Roman war ship and discover that the Romans have plans on the Viking islands.

In Book 4, Fishlegs has been stung by the venomous Vorpent, and doesn't have much time to live. Will Hiccup manage to find the vegetable that no one names (a potato), which no one actually knows if it exists since it comes from America, which they haven't yet discovered. 

In Book 5, the fire stone has been removed from the volcano. Oh no! The fire stone was keeping the millions of Exterminator eggs from hatching, since the fire stone was keeping the volcano from exploding. Was the fire stone really a stone?

In Book 6, as you heard earlier in the review, Hiccup, to keep Toothless from being banned from Berk, had to steal the book of how to train your dragon from the hairy scary librarian. 

In Book 7, it's the day of the annual swimming contest, but Hiccup has been kidnapped by the Hystericals, and the Hystericals are forcing him to read Hiccup's Ticking Thing, to lead them to America. But on their way to America, they get as many pleasant as unpleasant surprises.

And that's where I am. We're going to the bookstore again tomorrow to look for Book 8.

There are a total of 11 far.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Caleb's Further Adventures in the States

Saturday: Kayaking in the morning with Grandpa at Ridgefield.

Lola and Mugwai arrived in the afternoon. So much fun for everyone! Caleb and the dogs couldn't get enough of each other!

The downside: Sunday: Spending the morning in the Urgent Care clinic getting treated for asthma, brought on by ... all that exposure to dog dander. 

So for the rest of the time Mugwai and Lola are with us, Caleb will have to have a more hands-off approach. Darn it!

Good news was the very helpful Kaiser doctor and equally helpful Walgreen pharmacist who explained everything to us and helped us think of a plan so Caleb can still have fun with his little dog-nieces (dog-cousins?) and avoid having another severe attack.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fiction Friday: August 8, 2014: How to Train Your Dragon (Guest Reviewer)

Madame L has invited a friend to review these books.

Hello, I'm Caleb, and I'm twelve years old. I've been reading the "How to Train Your Dragon" books for four days, and I've finished seven of them.

Don't think that's because they're short. It's just because I've been so hooked up in them that I've been reading them constantly for four days.

And those who watched the movie "How to Train Your Dragon," don't think the books aren't worth reading because you already know the story, because the books are completely different from the movie.

It's fun because we see Hiccup going through many adventures, from stealing a book from the Hairy Scary Librarian, to discovering America and learning how to be a Viking hero.

The book-stealing takes place in Book 6, "A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons." The books are written by Cressida Cowell.

The books are really really funny. Once I genuinely laughed myself to tears. I find it a shame that the movies don't resemble the books more. 

So come in the adventure. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Caleb's Excellent Adventures in the States

Caleb arrived very late Thursday night. He was exhausted, but still he woke up early on Friday, and climbed Beacon Rock that day.

On Saturday was the Crawfish Crawl. It was incredibly hot that day, especially for someone from the northlands, but Caleb was cheering for Grandma and her friend and running partner Lara at the beginning, at the half-way point, and at the end.

 Also, I'd like to mention that Caleb said, at the start, when we were looking at the dusty trail we would be running in the heat, "Grandma, if you run the whole thing, I'll be so proud of you!" So of course Grandma ran the whole thing. Caleb also helped by giving Grandma a bottle of ice-cold chocolate milk, just what she needed, at the half-way point.

 (Sunday was ... guess what: church! No photos.)

On Monday Caleb visited Cannon Beach and ate clam chowder at Mo's. We were lucky to get to the beach when the tide was low, so Caleb could walk out very close to Haystack Rock and see some beautiful sea creatures, like this sea anemone:

The next day, Tuesday, Caleb went to Great Wolf Lodge. First, he zipped through the Howlers Peak Ropes Course  which is like the best monkey bars (ropes) you've ever experienced, with a bunch of zip lines to get from each section to the other and a whopping 60-foot Quick-Drop at the end. Acrazing!

Uncle Cory paid for our tickets to the ropes course ahead of time, so we could just get harnessed up and started!

Megan couldn't really stay for lunch, just came and chatted with us for a few minutes.

Then, Caleb ate lunch with Uncle Cory and Aunt Megan at Camp Critter. 

Finally, he enjoyed the wave pool and one trip down the water slide at the water park, of course. Never enough time to do everything, but getting the most out of every minute!

On Wednesday we went to the bookstore and the library. No photos today. Lots of reading, just like every day, but more of it on this day.

Thursday we hiked through Ape Cave.
It was dark in there.

What's next? On Friday we'll go see "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" with some friends, on Saturday we'll go kayaking on the Columbia River, on Sunday we'll go to church again, and next week....We'll see! Some of our adventures next week will include Mugwai and Lola, who will be staying with us.

Here's Mugwai with Megan, the person she loves most in the whole world!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fiction Friday: August 1, 2014: Arrietty and The Borrowers

Madame L saw "The Secret World of Arrietty" recently and enjoyed it very much, which is like saying she has never seen a sunset she didn't like. .

Madame L has yet to watch a Hayao Miyazaki movie that she hasn't enjoyed. They're all like sunsets, aren't they: Beautiful and awe inspiring and a reminder that people are basically good and the world is as good as we make it.

Even better about this movie, though, is that it's based on "The Borrowers," by Mary Norton, first published in 1952, but still as fresh and readable as it was when Madame L first read it as a child.

The Borrowers are little people, maybe about four inches tall, who live in basements and other places owned by human "beans," places where they can hide and survive. And they borrow, which, they are quick to explain, is not the same as stealing, only what they need to survive.

In this first of the Borrowers series, Arrietty finally gets to go borrowing with her father. It's an adventure, and she can hardly wait to do it again. But she is seen by a "bean," a human boy, and from that time forth she and her family are in danger.

Madame L won't spoil the ending for her Dear Readers (as if there are any among them who has not read the book or seen the movie), but wants them all to know that the movie is worth seeing, and seeing again; and the book particularly is worth reading, and reading again.