Thursday, April 06, 2017

April Showers Bring Thunder Storms

It was merely gray, damp, and cool when I climbed out of bed this morning. Began The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About Space as I ate corn meal mush and mandarin oranges for breakfast. The third hour-long Cat In the Hat special begins with Nick and Sally exploring their backyard. They find the Cat and a strange mechanical dog. The dog leads them to a space station, where their friend Astronaut Audrey is about to send him on a mission to photograph all of the planets in the solar system. The Cat and his protoges follow along, first to release him from being tangled in space junk, and then to return the collar that allows Audrey to keep track of him. As they move along, they learn more about the planets, asteroids, comets, gravity, and why Earth is the only planet (that we know of at press time) that's able to support life.

Dad picked me up at quarter of 10. It was still just misting at that point. I only got slightly damp doing the carts for the first hour. We were steady up through the noon rush hour. Otherwise, it wasn't really that bad. I cleaned the bathrooms, gathered baskets, and did the trash.

The thunderstorms didn't start until around 1:30, when I was back outside helping one of the baggers with the remains of the rush hour carts. I had just unlocked a cart that had been abandoned on the edge of the grassy merdian on Nicholson Road when it started raining. Unlike the misty morning showers, these drops were big and cold and coming down hard. I just made it to the patio as it really started pouring. Thunder blared; lightning flashed. I saw one especially big and bright bolt hit down by I believe West Collingswood. It slowed in time for me to gather a few carts, then started raining even heavier (without the pyrotechnics this time). I finally gave up around quarter of 3 and went inside.

The rain cleared out our customers. I spent the remaining hour bagging the few that ventured through the monsoon and going in for two cashiers' breaks. It was so quiet, I was able to get off slightly early and change fast before Dad picked me up in his new station wagon.

By the time I was watching Law & Order re-runs with Dad and Jodie at their house, the rain was long gone. In fact, it had become a rather nice late afternoon, very windy but sunny. Dad let me order the tickets to visit Lauren in July on his Apple laptop. I asked for the tickets this year instead of a large gift, since there really isn't anything else big that I need at the moment. We also ordered socks, which I need badly.

Inspired by a recent trip to the Amish markets in Pennsylvania, Jodie made stuffed peppers for dinner. I had a whole one, and Jodie and Dad split another. We had Caesar salad along with it for more greens. Oh yuuumm. It was so delicious, filled to the brim with ground beef, tangy tomato sauce, and rice. I loved it and ate the whole thing pretty fast. Dad let me have some of his Citrus Fruit Candy, ordered from Florida, for dessert.

The weather was so gorgeous by 5:30, I walked home. If it wasn't for the massive puddles and the gale-force wind, you'd never know there had been a thunderstorm. All the recent rain and snow has done wonders for the spring flora. The grass is a shade of green rare emeralds can't reproduce; the flowers glow like jewels. I could hear children happily playing in their backyards, while adults chatted on porches or cleaned out their cars.

Worked on a little bit of writing after I got in. Luke, Han (in their Golden Eagle and Crimson Hawk guises), Charles, and Leia find themselves in the hallway across from where the Falcon is tethered. Leia's not impressed by the weathered vehicle and its heavily patched balloon made from several old quilts. They don't have much of a chance to inspect it before they're attacked by several of Vader's men...

Broke around 7 to finish The Cat and the Hat and start Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. We begin right where we left off, with Harry, Hermoine, and Ron searching for the remaining Horocruxes. They head to Gringots with a goblin (Warwick Davis) who knows where one is hidden and will give it to him, in exchange for the Sword they found in the last part. They just barely manage to fly out on a dragon when the goblin turns on them. With the help of Dumbledore's estranged brother (Ciaran Hinds) and their friend Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), they make it back into Hogwarts. It's now under the rule of grouchy Snape (Alan Rickman), who demands that the kids turn Harry in. Not only do they refuse, but Ms. McGonagall (Maggie Smith), a fellow teacher, challenges him to a duel. Harry finally rallies the kids and teachers to take on Voldemort and his minions, while he and his friends continue to search for the last horocrux...and discover that everyone has a bit of magic and a bit of bravery in their hearts.

That was quite a finish! Definitely enjoyed the action-packed Deathly Hallows films in general more than the rather dull Half-Blood Prince. The special effects had improved, the continuity is impressive, and some of the duels are downright amazing. (Special mention to Julie Walters as Molly Weasley, the ultimate cool mom, and Lewis as brave and loyal Neville.) The complaints are minor, mainly that the finale seems like a bit of an anti-climax after all that came before it, and we could have used more of some characters and less of others.

(Incidentally, now that I've seen all of them, I can say that my favorite was probably Order of the Phoenix, followed by Prisoner of Azebekstan and the Deathly Hallows duo. Favorite characters? Hermoine and Mrs. Weasley,  no contest.)

Obviously, it's a requirement that you see Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1 or at least read the books before seeing this. If you're already a fan of this series, this is a wonderful way for the Boy Who Lived to end his adventures.

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