Greetings, world! This time I’m typing on Big Bob, Ed’s pc. Still no Mini Jim, alas.

I try to keep this a drama-and-angst-free zone because there are already far, far too many livejournals that consist of nothing but angst and drama, of which I am a fan of neither. However, there are times when it’s nice to write things out, so. Tonight we took Simba to the vet to have her put to sleep. We’ve known we would have to for several months. She was on antibiotics for a long time for a urinary infection, only it turned out to be a tumor. It would have cost a lot to do the required ultrasound and surgery, and it would’ve taken a long time for her to recover. She was pretty old, just turned 12, so we decided against that. She was on some cancer medication for the past month or two, and that helped for a while off and on. A couple times we were going to take her in but she kept getting slightly better so we would put it off, but we decided there was no point in dragging it out. We’ve had her for more than ten years, and she was our first pet. Well, not counting Joe and Mary, two goldfish who had pretty short lifespans and, I’m sorry to say, weren’t really missed. So today was quite sad, though not as much as when we had to put Gidget down around this time last year. I’m starting to associate losing pets with summer, it’s not cool. We’ll probably get another dog in a few weeks, after things have settled down a little. It feels wrong not to have lots of animals around the place.

There, now on to more light-hearted subjects! I have been reading like a fiend lately. Today I reread The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I’m always caught by surprise by how much I love the Narnia books, although they’re not quite as – don’t kill me – well written as I remembered. I think I was supplying a lot of the characters’ personalities and relationships between each other with my imagination. Which is fine, books should encourage further imaginating on the characters they create, but reading it I could find so many places where Lewis *could* have developed the charactes and didn’t. I almost get the feeling he meant to leave it like that, which may have been because he thought younger readers would have only found it annoying. I probably would have, at a younger age, but now I would love to read what else he may have had to say about the characters. Anyway, the books are still glorious and always will be. I’m going to reread the rest of the Narnia books sometime this summer, hopefully.

Today I also read Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories by C.S. Lewis. I have to say, it was pretty good. I especially liked one of the short stories, but his essays were also very interesting and reminded me a LOT of Tolkien’s scholarly essays as well. Much the same style. It had a couple chapters of the book Lewis was on-and-ff writing when he died called After Ten Years, which started out quite interestingly. It was about Menelaus after the Trojan War, but there wasn’t really enough of it to see where he was going with it.

Yesterday I reread My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, another old favorite of mine. I still have the notes I took on that book the first time I read it. I had written down all sorts of things about how to make a fishing hook, the best way to start a fire with flint and steel (never mind that I didn’t *have* flint and steel) and lots of other useful tips. Of course, my handwriting when I was 11 was even worse than it is now, so it’s barely legible, but I kind of like keeping my originals rather than re-writing them.

I started The Dragon in the Sea by Frank Herbert, the same author who wrote the Dune series. It’s science fiction, but has absolutely nothing to do with the Dune series and takes place here on earth not too far in the future. So far it’s good, but it’s pretty early to tell. It’s quite bizarre, it has absolutely nothing of the Dune flavor about it. I think it’s very interesting how some authors can completely switch gears like that, down to even changing their writing style.

Ok, I realize this has been terribly bookish, but I must tell you about Stranger in a Strange Land. You remember I was complaining about Kay’s loose morals? Kay is positively puritanical in comparison to this book. I almost quit reading it twice, and I always, ALWAYS finish a book once I’ve started it, I can’t not. It started out quite well and was moving along quite nicely with nothing too shocking for the first 100 pages, and then it made a sharp turn to the left, plunged downhill, and bottomed out somewhere in the Marianas Trench. I honestly can’t figure out what happened. Heinlein had the makings of a great story at the beginning, then it got so, so very twisted. He would suddenly go off on these rants about random aspects of society, speaking through the characters. Art, politics, religion, you name it. Out of the blue, you’d stumble on a pages-long lecture on the existence or non-existence of God. The tangents wouldn’t be so bad except that he couches some very nasty ideas in some pretty phraseology and poor analogies. The “stranger”, a man from Mars, ends up creating his own religion based on the concept that everyone is God and sets up a communist, hippie “nest” (his word, not mine) in which learning Martian is the key to enlightenment, nobody wears clothes, and everyone swaps spouses. They call it a theogamy, and I guarantee, whatever you think of when you hear that word, the book is ten times more repulsive than that. There was also some rather misogynistic stuff in it, or at least some very messed-up views of gender roles, I’m not quite sure which it was. I have completely lost all desire to read any more Heinlein.

Speaking of catastrophes, my bookshelf is completely full, and then some. I have books everywhere because there’s just no room! I would go out and immediately get a huge one, except it wouldn’t really make sense…I’ll be back at school in two months with a goodly amount of my books there with me, which will free up space, but also it’d just be one more thing to move when I eventually move out after college. That thought occasionally occurs to me and never fails to feel weird. Time passes so quickly now, what will it be like when I’m 80? Aside from my possibly being dead. But you know what I mean.

I had a cool dream I meant to write about before I forgot.
Sarah, Faith, Kiki, Jenn, and I think one more Campbell girl were all together in a huge castle. And I mean HUGE, as in some of it was unexplored for years. The future queen of whatever country we were in was cloistered in this castle from birth until the time she should come to the throne, which happened to be now in my dream. This wasn’t terribly good, for some reason I can’t recall. All of us girls were trying to avoid a long procession (complete with bishop) going over to the wing of the castle that she was hidden in. As far as I can tell, the country was at war with another country, and we knew the queen wasn’t going to be able to win because she didnt’ know what was going on. Fortunately, there was also some magic to be had in this castle: there was a large stone table that looked rather like a pool table. With the help of Horatio Hornblower, because there was a naval battle going on far out at sea in a storm and he knew about these sort of things, we filled the stone table with water, about 8 inches deep. There were small wooden ships floating in it, and they represented the ships battling out at sea. We were deep in a hidden room of the castle, and in the room with the table there was a short set of stairs leading up to an opening, only the opening didn’t lead to another room of the castle but out into the storm at sea. You could look out and see waves crashing and rain falling, and it was night there. We had lots of candles lit in the room, so it was pretty bright. Horatio came through the hatch down the stairs, dripping wet from one of the ships. We all conferred, and determined where our presence would be of the most aid in the sea battle. We had to keep a watch out so that the queen’s procession wouldn’t find us, or they would stop us, and she really had no idea how to fight a sea battle. Somehow we knew this, although she seemed like a nice enough girl. Anyway, we were all in our nautical sailor garb, and we all huddled around the stone table full of water, watching the ships. We could see that a couple of them were having problems, because of sea rats in the rigging, cutting the sails and the lines. I forgot to mention, that’s who we were fighting, huge sea rats. We’re not talking cat sized rats here. They were as tall as a man with pirate bandanas wrapped around their heads and long, sharp fangs. They had swords too, of course, which was how they were cutting the rigging. Horatio or one of the girls picked a ship on the stone table, and the hatch in the wall/ceiling changed so that you could see that ship in real life, out in the storm. Jenn and Kiki ran up the stairs and jumped through the opening, landing on the cross pieces of the masts, where they battled the sea rats on one ship. Sarah and Faith took another ship and were fighting in the rigging and I was about to go through next when I unfortunately woke up. It was quite disappointing, I wanted to see if we won and what happened to the queen. I didn’t even get to fight any sea rats!

And now I have definitely written enough! Got carried away.

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