Stepping out the doors, I appreciatively breathe in the clean, fresh air, and glance around me, hugging myself, feeling both lucky, and apprehensive. Its early. I get to go home, and sleep. But, one more patient admitted to my floor brings me back. Will I go home and go to bed? Or stay awake, waiting for that intrusive phone call that recalls me back to the florescent world I just left.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Posted by mielikki at 11:56 AM
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
So here we are again
Posted by mielikki at 3:22 PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I started this conversation last night with MM, but, poor soul, he was tired, and went to sleep instead.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tomorrow is the first day of school for the kids of my county.
Posted by mielikki at 11:23 AM
Saturday, August 14, 2010
1) In Chapter 9, a restless Rat meets a Seafaring Rat who entices him with the lure of the open sea and of travelling. Entranced, Rat starts to leave with him, but is hindered by Mole. What did you think of this scene, and what did you think of Mole’s cure for his wanderlust? I actually thought this chapter was really bizarre, and it it kind of interrupted the flow of the book for me. Of all the characters that would be enticed this way, I would not have thought it of Rat. I think Mole did the best he could, and the only thing he knew to do. After all, it's what they tried to do to keep Toad in check. But this chapter disturbed me. I didn't like it. Especially when he changed Rat's eye color. It was almost as if he were trying to get us to buy into the fact that Rat got possessed by the seafaring rat. Yech.
3) In Chapter 11, Rat tells Toad, “Now, Toady, I don't want to give you pain, after all you've been through already; but, seriously, don't you see what an awful ass you've been making of yourself? On your own admission you have been handcuffed, imprisoned, starved, chased, terrified out of your life, insulted, jeered at, and ignominiously flung into the water--by a woman, too! Where's the amusement in that? Where does the fun come in?” and Toad’s response is, perhaps surprisingly, “Now, it was a very comforting point in Toad's character that he was a thoroughly good-hearted animal and never minded being jawed by those who were his real friends. And even when most set upon a thing, he was always able to see the other side of the question. So although, while the Rat was talking so seriously, he kept saying to himself mutinously, `But it WAS fun, though! Awful fun!' and making strange suppressed noises inside him, k-i-ck-ck-ck, and poop-p-p, and other sounds resembling stifled snorts, or the opening of soda-water bottles, yet when the Rat had quite finished, he heaved a deep sigh and said, very nicely and humbly, `Quite right, Ratty! How SOUND you always are! Yes, I've been a conceited old ass, I can quite see that; but now I'm going to be a good Toad, and not do it any more.” – he resolves to return to Toad Hall but is thwarted by the fact that it was taken over by stroats and weasels. The rest of the chapter involves plans to reclaim Toad Hall by our crew of four. What do you think of Toad’s response to Rat? What do you think of the preparations for the “big battle?” Once a Toad, always a Toad? Though he seemed miserable during his whole 'adventure' away from home, he was, sub-conciously, thrilled at having another tale to tell his friends at home. He was miserable, I suspect, at the prospect that he might not make it home to TELL them. Once he did, of course he is going to consider it a fun adventure. Because if it wasn't fun to go adventure, then he'd have to settle down, wouldn't he?
4) Chapter 12 is the climatic battle, and resolution. What do you think of this chapter? Is it a satisfying ending to this situation? I guess so. But I have to admit, by the end of this book, I was kind of disappointed. I had a hard time getting through the last few chapters, especially after the odd Ratty gets possessed chapter.
5) Our book ends “After this climax, the four animals continued to lead their lives, so rudely broken in upon by civil war, in great joy and contentment, undisturbed by further risings or invasions. Toad, after due consultation with his friends, selected a handsome gold chain and locket set with pearls, which he dispatched to the gaoler's daughter with a letter that even the Badger admitted to be modest, grateful, and appreciative; and the engine-driver, in his turn, was properly thanked and compensated for all his pains and trouble. Under severe compulsion from the Badger, even the barge-woman was, with some trouble, sought out and the value of her horse discreetly made good to her; though Toad kicked terribly at this, holding himself to be an instrument of Fate, sent to punish fat women with mottled arms who couldn't tell a real gentleman when they saw one. The amount involved, it was true, was not very burdensome, the gipsy's valuation being admitted by local assessors to be approximately correct.
Sometimes, in the course of long summer evenings, the friends would take a stroll together in the Wild Wood, now successfully tamed so far as they were concerned; and it was pleasing to see how respectfully they were greeted by the inhabitants, and how the mother-weasels would bring their young ones to the mouths of their holes, and say, pointing, `Look, baby! There goes the great Mr. Toad! And that's the gallant Water Rat, a terrible fighter, walking along o' him! And yonder comes the famous Mr. Mole, of whom you so often have heard your father tell!' But when their infants were fractious and quite beyond control, they would quiet them by telling how, if they didn't hush them and not fret them, the terrible grey Badger would up and get them. This was a base libel on Badger, who, though he cared little about Society, was rather fond of children; but it never failed to have its full effect.” What did you think of this ending? And, what did you think of the book overall? I thought the end was kind of weak. I don't believe for a minute that Toad could settle down and not cause trouble. I would bet money that Mole would eventually find his way back to his snug warren, and visit often. And I feel like the Badger character got lost towards the end. He just seemed grumpy and unhappy to me. The end of this book, for me, was anti climactic.
6) The delightful Grace passed along this article about Kenneth Grahame After learning more about his life, does it alter or change your opinion of the book? I can't open the article, so I am at a loss for this one
7) Anything I’ve missed? Still don't think so
Posted by mielikki at 3:17 PM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
1) In Chapter 5, Mole and Rat go by Mole’s house and Mole is reminded, “but it was my own little home--and I was fond of it--and I went away and forgot all about it--and then I smelt it suddenly--on the road, when I called and you wouldn't listen, Rat--and everything came back to me with a rush--and I WANTED it!” – what did you think about Mole’s reaction to his home?
2) Later in the same chapter, there is a very sweet Christmas scene. After field-mice serenade Mole and Rat, they reciprocate by throwing a dinner. What did this say about Christmas traditions of England at the turn of the 20th Century, and what did you think Mole and Rat drew from it?
3) In Chapter 6 despite everyone else’s best efforts, Toad escapes, steals a car, and a Wild Ride ensues. What did you think of this episode, and did it confirm or change your opinion of Toad? Sadly, I STILL don't like Toad. Were I his friends, I am afraid that I would have left Toad to his own destruction, and to spend his money as he wished. It just confirmed to me that he is a, well, for lack of a better description, a manipulative little Toad.
4) In the next chapter Badger’s son goes missing and is found by Mole and Rat with Pan. What did you think of the description of Pan and of their meeting? I loved the fact that there was still, after all these years, something new for Ratty on the river. This was a beautiful chapter, one of my favorites thus far.
5) Chapter 8 finds Toad jailed (or gaoled ) for his crimes. Ulimately he befriends the gaoler’s daughter and escapes. Does this episode teach Toad anything? Do you think this was a reasonable punishment? The punishment was a bit extreme, but I don't think Toad will learn much from it. I think it will temporarily slow him down, the recollection of how miserable and depressed he was when he was locked in a TRUE prison, (as opposed to being guarded by his friends). Eventually, that recollection will fade into a distant, unpleasant memory, and then Toad will get distracted by something else new and shiny, and away he will go. Its his nature. And truthfully? I doubt his friends would want him any other way. In a strange way, its kind of like McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He was trouble from the start, but when the "man" lobotomized him, and cured him, his best friend didn't want him that way, and smothered him. I do hope this book doesn't end with smothered Toad, though...
6) Anything that I’ve missed or anything you’d like to mention? Still can't think of anything. But my brain is tired.
Posted by mielikki at 8:41 PM
Sunday, August 8, 2010
1) What do you think about the characters beinganthropomorphized
animals? Is this easy or difficult for you to reconcile with their behaviors?
2) Chapter One introduces us to Mole and his experiences one spring day as he decides to forego house cleaning and frolic in the fresh air instead. What do you think of his joy in the spring and of the river: “Never in his life had he seen a river before--this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver--glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated.”
3) What do you think attracts Mole and Rat as friends? I think initially, Ratty is attracted to Mole because he just can't fathom that Mole knows nothing of the river that Ratty knows, and loves. Its incomprehensible to him that there is "someone" out there who doesn't know of the river. (Inconceivable!). For his part, Mole is so taken with the river that I think he'd do anything to stay near it. As time goes on, they get used to each other, and comfortable with each other. I think they bring out the best in each other. As solitary animals, they were wanting companionship, and they found it with each other.
4) In Chapter Two, we meet Toad who “Disregarding the Rat, he proceeded to play upon the inexperienced Mole as on a harp. Naturally a voluble animal, and always mastered by his imagination, he painted the prospects of the trip and the joys of the open life and the roadside in such glowing colours that the Mole could hardly sit in his chair for excitement” and embarks with Mole and Rat in tow. What do you think of Toad, and of their adventure? And, what do you think when at the end of the chapter, Toad buys a car.
5) In Chapters Three and Four winter comes and we are introduced to Badger. What do you think of the contrast between the spring and summer adventures, and the winter adventures? Also, what do you think of the character of Badger and how he joins in?
6) As we finish this section, are there other themes or questions I’ve missed? No, I think you covered it pretty well.
Posted by mielikki at 12:57 PM
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Where you can take a 'Whipped Cocoa Bath'. Cocoa powder included, to help tighten your skin.
Posted by mielikki at 5:30 PM