Monday, September 19, 2016

Ransom of Red Chief

Cael showing his sword to the Chick-Fil-A cow earlier

I can see where it certainly looked like a kidnapping.
You had Marc, a grey-haired old man manhandling this fiesty little kid all the way down the sidewalk and into the backseat of an SUV.
The child was screaming and kicking and hollering for moma.
Marc was just trying to keep hold of him and avoid the flailing feet.
We were leaving the annual Renaissance Academy fund-raiser carnival where there were hundreds of loose children.
Cael was tired and hungry and thirsty. He'd been bouncing in the bounce houses and trailing the Chick-Fil-A cow for hours.
And he really wanted his mother who had to stay another hour to man the booth for Adell's fifth-grade class.
We were headed to Pizza Pie Cafe for something to eat, one of our good deeds for the afternoon.
But Cael just knew we were leaving without his mom.
I didn't have any water with me.
We were treated out.
I couldn't explain to him that it would all be fine.
And I couldn't hold onto this whirling dervish once he got going.
I handed him off to Marc who's a lot better at hanging onto children having meltdowns.
I went ahead with the three older sisters and got into my car while Marc headed to our other car with Cael.
I watched as Marc tried to buckle Cael in. All I could see were flying feet. All I could hear was yelling.
That's when I noticed this concerned-looking lady walking over to see what the fuss was all about.
She approached slowly and carefully.
She had her phone out.
I think she was ready to dial 911.
That's when I pulled up to the side of Marc to offer support, and, if necessary, to corroborate his story. Adell got out to help.
The lady looked relieved to see us.
"I'm sorry. I thought he was being kidnapped," she said to Marc. "He's so upset."
"It's Ok," I told her. "He's our grandson. He's all right."
She smiled and walked away still looking uneasy.
I guess it's good that well-meaning people get involved, huh?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Harry Potter lottery

Marc and I aren't big gamblers.
If and when we find ourselves in Vegas, we only rarely lose a few quarters in the slot machines.
We don't do Blackjack or Texas Hold'em or the roulette wheel.
Neither of us is particularly lucky with dice or cards and we don't like to throw money away so we just don't bet on anything but death and taxes.
Except where Harry Potter is concerned.
Our interest in this wizard and his world is a little over the top.
We're going to throw in for a pair of tickets to the newest J.K. Rowling release, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," that's going to be on stage when we're in England next.
The play is already sold out months in advance so the only chance we have of getting tickets is to be online the week prior and hope we are lucky enough to win the opportunity to buy some of the 40 tickets they'll release that day.
The tickets are 40 pounds each and will give us seats for two sittings, either two on the same day or one each night for two consecutive nights.
We're watching the countdown clock already (at:
We are going to be in London for four nights of our "Traditions of Christ in Ancient Britain" tour and figure we have nothing to lose by trying.
We just have to be online at exactly the right time, get chosen and get options for the days we will actually be in the city.
It can't hurt to hope, right?
I've already bought and read the script for this new "book" which is actually not a bound book.
It's a script with stage notes and it comes with an admonition from Rowling to keep the secrets.
So I can't tell you the plotline or reveal any of the surprises.
But it does have Harry and Ron and Hermione and Snape and Dumbledore and Draco in it.
It made for a quick read and I, for one, don't mind making Rowling a bit richer by paying for her book and hopefully paying for tickets to the play.
Especially when I had resigned myself to nevermore any Pottermore.
This is a welcome story.
It has a nice amount of magic and it's interesting. Rowling has a gift for creating a world that looks fun and dangerous to live in.
I would love to see the actual play.
I'll just cross my fingers, rub my lucky rabbit's foot and click my heels together.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Wave that wand!

Ollivander checks through the many boxes for the right wand
We knew we would be happy in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood at Universal Studios.
We've been to the opening of the Wizarding World in Orlando and traveled by floo powder to England to the Harry Potter studios where you get to see all the props, costumes, wigs and paraphernalia used in the movies.
We've enjoyed each of them.
We are all Harry Potter fans. We've read all of the books, seen all of the movies. I own a Hedwig and my husband owns a nice wand.
A sweet visit
Grandpa and his girl
Now my granddaughter has a wand too — because she and her mom finished the Harry Potter series and she turned 11 at just the right time, she got a golden ticket to Hollywood with us — and her wand actually least in the park it does. She can make treats twirl on their plates, trunks full of bludgers open and close, chocolate frogs croak and a party dress rise up and down. There are magic spots all over the park where something happens if you wave your wand just right.
Adell can do that.
She can drink Butter Beer and Pumpkin Juice and share a chocolate cauldron.
$million-dollar home
We bought Pgymy Puffs, All-flavor Beans, a chocolate frog, a T-shirt with a Phoenix on the front and an owl friend for Hedwig.
Adell bought the wand that chose her at Ollivander's Wand Shop after she tried a few tricks with it. (Never mind that she killed the flowers. She brought them right back to life!)
This new Wizarding World in Hollywood is a duplicate of the world in Florida with the snow-topped roof, the grandeur of slightly off-kilter spires high in the sky, and the HogWart's Express engine waiting and puffing at the station.
It doesn't include (yet?) the additional park with Gringott's Bank and a moving train but I bet that's not far off because people love this imaginary world, this clever, magical world with never-ending surprises.
It is immersive and transformative from the joke shop with its slightly disgusting wares to the Forbidden Journey with Harry dramatically leading you through the castle on his broom.
(While the Forbidden Journey ride is breathtaking, it's also nice to take a little longer walking through the castle rooms and halls to see the sights.)
A ride on the Hippogriff is short and sweet. You might want to plan on taking that flight several times over.
There are lots of muggles in the land so start early and plan to stay late if you go.
The lines get long even with a Front-of-the-Line pass. It can be easy to spill your Butter Beer.
Magical times
If you haven't visited yet, now's a good time.
The park has been open since April so it's more possible to get in and do more than wait in line. It's well-managed with friendly wizards and witches close by on nearly every turn to help get a locker open, make a wand work, or find the Owl Post.
It's clean and elegant, beautifully done.
It's a unique experience and a truly fun way to make money disappear!

Smiling faces...