Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WE'RE DONE

with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I think the experience of reading it aloud together - although frustrating at times - was vastly improved by the experience of reading it a bit more slowly, and having someone on-hand with whom to bounce around theories as we progressed through the story.

I really really enjoyed it. The magic lasted straight through that last, climactic scene in the Great Hall.

The last remaining unresolved mysteries for me are:
1) What do Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny do?
2) What on earth was Aberforth doing with the goats?

So, what did you think, now that I can finally talk to those of you who finished it weeks ago?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dry Coughs and No Sleep

I'm exhausted, and I can't bring myself to think anymore about sleep and potty trials tonight, let alone write more about them.

Instead, I'll say that the Paul & Sarahlynn Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows couples' read got off to a rocky start, with Paul falling asleep in the middle of the big escape/battle scene at the beginning, and not being able to stay completely awake through the end of that chapter the next night, either. We rallied tonight, however, and are up to Chapter 8: The Wedding. For the record, the correct reaction to Voldemort flying beside Harry - broomless! - is not a sudden and unintentional head bob.

I'd also like to compliment the wonderful, thoughtful, selfless administrator who decided that it would be a good idea to start school in the middle of August. I'd forgotten how much easier it is to have just one child for a few hours in the morning. Especially as the other child comes home afterwards exhausted and wanting to - nap!

Before I go, a word on my mad mothering skillz: I can now multitask. Specifically, I can sing familiar lullabies to a baby who needs soothing while simultaneously reading. Reading Newsweek, that is. I do tend to stumble and miss lyrics when I read something startling or distracting. But still, it's a pretty cool skill when dealing with a rough patch. I've long been able to perform various parenting skills at once, like nursing Ada while reading to Ellie, or dancing to music while holding a baby and picking up scattered toys, but this new skill allows me to have something very like leisure time. Huh.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

'arry Potter

Some of you might have noticed our obsession with all things Harry Potter. I am aware that Rowlings's books are not exactly high art, but they are fantastic nonetheless. Perhaps the prose isn't always magical, but the storytelling is wonderful and the world she's created, well, it's hard to beat for creativity and blessed escapism.

Paul and I read the aloud books together, and we regularly host parties. Here's a shot of the invitation to the last Potter party we hosted, at my parents' house for the release of the 4th movie.

Not the aged parchment, complete with burned edges. I also sealed each envelope with wax stamped by a lightening bolt.

We enjoyed the 5th movie a great deal last month, even more than the small feast we had afterwards comprising butter beer, pumpkin bread, banana bread, Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans, licorice wands, and a dark chocolate cake shaped like a castle.

We're behind on our reading this year, though. With the addition of children to our social schedule, and the books getting longer and longer, it's increasingly difficult to find time to read together. We haven't begun book 7, so we're assiduously avoiding spoilers and hoping for the best.

A few days before the new book published, I started over reading Book 1. On our way up to Iowa for Paul's family's reunion, we started listening to Book 6 on CD. We're still not quite done with that, but I'm up to Book 5 rereading independently, and we should be ready to start Book 7 in a week or so. We're very excited.

I've given up several things to make room for all this Potter (note that Harry himself is one of my least favorite characters). Like another of my obsessions, Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Also, sleep (see next paragraph). And I've spent so much time lying on my right side nursing Ada and reading lately that I developed painfully blocked ducts on the left. (Better now, but I'm back to nursing while sitting up for a while.)

All that background and I lost my point. Alas.

Instead, I'll ask an unrelated question. They're not the owls on Privet Drive from Book 1, but we're a bit over-run by cats here. We have some neighbors who let their cats run free about the neighborhood, which frustrates me. And it seems that perhaps some of these pets are not spade or neutered, because there's a young litter of kittens living across the street, and an older litter hunting in our yard, chasing our cardinals. Last night, they broke into our screened in porch. My next door neighbor (like me, not a cat person) complains that just outside her front door smells like a litter box, and she's got a point. I'm getting annoyed. What should I do about this cat problem?