Monthly Archives: July 2012

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

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In July 2007, 5 years ago, the final Harry Potter book was released. At the time I was working as a reporter for a local newspaper, and I was given the chance to write an article on the midnight book release, and event I was planning on attending anyway. I was given permission to break the cardinal rule of news writing. I wrote a story in first person. It could be my love for Harry Potter, but I think this was one of the best stories I’ve written. So, in honor of Harry Potter’s birthday, I’m “reprinting” my story from 5 years ago (almost to the day, as this story was published on July 26, 2007).

“Ten, nine, eight…” the crowd shouted as my heart beat a little faster. “Seven, six, five…” they continued, louder now. My hands were shaking. “Four, three…” It was almost here. “Two, one!” they finished excitedly as the clock struck 12 a.m.

No, we weren’t counting down to the new year five months early. It was time to buy the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I took a deep breath to gain a composure I knew I’d lost hours ago as the line began to move.

At 9 p.m. on June 20 most normal people would have been heading home to settle down for the night. I am not normal. Dressed in black and maroon robes, with a scar painted on my forehead and Harry Potter glasses made for a 5 year old, I followed my sister into Borders in Burlington. Luckily I was not the only one dressed up.

Orange and purple balloons were scattered throughout the store along with Hagrid, Professor Trelawney, Delores Umbridge and many, many different students who looked like they belonged in the world I knew so well, the world of Harry Potter.

Where to go first? Coffee was necessary if we were going to make it to midnight, so we headed for the café. Two large Harry Potter cakes were on display, one featuring a golden snitch, one of the balls used in Quidditch, Harry Potter’s sport, and the other depicting the cover art of the new book. Near the café was face painting, a good place to start.

Standing in line to get a broomstick painted on my face, I listened to the people chatting around me. The air was full of tense excitement, of people waiting for something to happen. In the corners of the store, customers sat on the floor, reading and waiting. A group of three friends sat at a table playing Harry Potter Uno.

Next, it was time to make a wand. Squeezing up to the table I, along with several other children who looked to be nine to 11 years old, I decorated a wooden dowel with pink fabric and glitter. With a “swish and flick” I attempted to use my new wand.

Expelliarmus!” I cried at my friend. The disarming charm didn’t work, but that could have been because she wasn’t holding a wand herself.

Nearby, “The Great Snape Debate” was being held. Adults and children of all ages gathered to discuss one of the biggest questions about the final book: the loyalties of a particular character, Severus Snape. Back and forth, someone from both sides spoke their piece. I listened, agreeing with those against the professor, and disagreeing with those who supported him. Though I had been listening to these same arguments for two years, ever since the sixth book was released, it was still interesting to hear the conviction with which people spoke.

“Snape isn’t bad because I know he’s a good man!” one young boy insisted. Borders employee Michael, a man dressed in a shirt and tie and sporting a lightning shaped “scar” on his forehead smiled, before choosing an anti-Snape reader to speak next.

When I tired of hearing the pros and cons of one of my most hated (and yet loved) characters, we headed back upstairs. It was almost 11 p.m., little over an hour remained before we could buy the books. Upstairs a masking tape line snaked through the rows with arrows pointing the crowd in the right direction. Though no one was in line yet, I knew it was only a matter of about half an hour before they started taking places.

Every person who preordered a book checked in with an employee, and was given a wristband with a corresponding color, representing when they could stand in line. Mine was orange; I would be among the first to buy the book.

“It’s 11 p.m., only one hour left!” someone announced over the intercom, to loud cheers from the crowd. My heart started pounding. The atmosphere became tense. People sporting orange wristbands started to get into line, my friends and I among them. Then, finally, the moment was here.

I’m sure, were the store not loud with excited, chattering fans, that everyone would have been able to hear my heart pounding as I pulled out $22.04 to pay for the book. Once it was in my hands, I ran out of the store, worried about spoilers. Once in the car, we started to read. It was 12:10 a.m.

Never again will anyone who wants to read Harry Potter have to wait for a book to be released. As of 12:01 a.m. on July 21, anyone who picks up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, book 1, can read straight through the series without waiting two years, or wondering what will happen next.

In 20 years the Harry Potter hype will be remembered as just another passing fad. There may be another series of books that are taking the world by storm by then, who knows. What I do know is that at that moment, time stood still and everything was perfect. Call me crazy, but I know I’m not the only one in the store that night who felt the magic when I finally took hold of a book I’ve been waiting years for.

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Oh, July, where did you go?

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Wow, guys. August will be here in two days. I hope I’m not the only one wondering where 2012 is going, and why it is slipping through my fingers faster than quicksand.

I knew July was going to fly by, mostly because Geoff and I weren’t together in the house until the 17th. Here’s a recap of July that’s as quick as the month went:

July started with us taking in Les Miserables in Seattle. It was amazing, of course.

The Fourth of July was spent quietly with our Beer Friends. We visited a local brewery and played Disney Scene It. I think I won but I’m not sure. It was a long time ago.

I left for my road trip with my sister on July 7. The day I returned, Geoff left for a model rocket camping trip with my dad. We didn’t see each other for 10 days, the longest we’ve been apart since we got married. (You’d think, after 4 years in a long distance relationship we’d be used to that. It was still hard.)

By the time Geoff and I were together again, July was more than halfway over. Summer camp was well on its way at work, and I was exhausted from working full time for the first time in 8 months (yes, I realize I was spoiled).

Geoff and I visited another brewery by ourselves, and watched Batman Begins, Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises.

We spent time working in the garden so our neighbors don’t think we’re complete slobs (pictures of that progress to come!) and I discovered I fit into a shirt that didn’t fit a year ago.

Shameless bragging about weight loss

We spent the final weekend of July with friends and watching Chuck.

And that was July. I knew it was going to fly, but honestly? I didn’t think it was going to go as fast as it did. I feel like our days are slipping away and what am I doing with them? I’m going to work, to the gym, watching TV with Geoff. I’m enjoying time with friends, and traveling. It may not be exciting, but this is my life. And it’s flying by.

 

Summer Bucket List…how am I doing?

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Remember my summer bucket list? Well even if you did, thank goodness I didn’t forget! It’s been just about a month since I made (and posted) my list, so here’s how things are going so far!

  • See Les Miserables with Geoff (July 1)
  • Drive cross country with my sister
  • Take an overnight trip to Portland to visit breweries
  • Go on a picnic with Geoff
  • Hang clothes on the line as often as possible
  • Take a nap on a blanket outside
  • Go camping with Geoff (get an air mattress first!)
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Go to the beach with Geoff
  • Grill outside at least twice a week
  • Whip the garden(s) into shape
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Go to a local carnival
  • Watch a meteor shower
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Make s’mores

Honestly, I thought I was doing a little better so I’m slightly disappointed in myself. However, since Geoff and I were both traveling for the first half of July (traveling separately, no less!) I don’t think it’s all that terrible. The trip to Portland is almost completely planned (we’re just trying to nail down the date, but the hotel and breweries are chosen!) and the gardens are in progress. I’ll check in again in another month!

30 before 30

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Guys. I’m going to be 29 in September. I’m on the downward slide to entering the last year in my 20s. In fact, I will be entering my 30th year on this earth in September. Lets not think about it that way, though.

I have no idea what I thought 30 would bring. Actually, that’s a lie. I thought I’d be at least pregnant, if not working on a second baby by the time I was 30. That’s not the plan, however, and I’m OK with that. I’m not sure how I feel about looking at 30 in just over a year, but I do know that there are some things I want to accomplish before I turn 30. So, the cliche “30 before 30 list” is born.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, my 30 before 30 list:

1. Go to Disneyland with Geoff

2. Go on a tropical vacation with Geoff

3. Get to my goal weight

4. Get a job in a library, or at the very least become a supervisor at my current job

5. Finish my wedding scrapbook and get up-to-date on our vacation scrapbook

6. Go camping

7. Learn to play the banjo

8. Buy his and her recliners and a couch

9. Hire a professional to clean the house…just once!

10. Stop drinking soda

11. Have a dress up and go out date night with Geoff at least twice a month

12. Take an overnight trip to Canada with Geoff

13. Make homemade ice cream

14. Go to Yellowstone National Park

15. Go to the beach with Geoff (in Washington)

16. Dye my hair red (not crazy red!)

17. Get a massage

18. See the Red Sox and Mariners play in Seattle next summer (2013)

19. Have fondu at home

20. Make communion bread for church

21. Write in my journal regularly (at least once a week)

22. See the King Tut exhibit in Seattle

23. Chaperone a mission trip with the youth group at church

24. Start a gratitude journal and write something in it whenever I’m feeling negative

25. Put the laptop down in the evenings when we’re watching TV

26. Practice good dental hygiene

27. Visit 30 breweries in Washington

28. Reread The Great Gatsby (my sister’s English teacher told her class they should reread this book when they’re 30. It has been a good 15 years since I read it myself.)

29. Reread The Grapes of Wrath (I remember really enjoying it back in 9th grade and think it’ll be much more meaningful as an adult)

30. Love my kitties and Geoff every single day because you never know what tomorrow brings.

My love affair with pictures…

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I love photos so much. I have a scrapbook, so taking and printing pictures is really important to me. I use Shutterfly most often because I can order them at home and then pick them up at my local Walgreens. I love this option because I’m very impatient.

Shutterfly is running a Long Live Summer photo contest which started on July 9 and runs for 5 weeks. You can win a trip to the Bahamas and a professional photo shoot! Um, yes please! All you have to do to enter is upload a photo and caption relating to the theme of the week.

Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors (this week!)

Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun

Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities

Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations


Easy, right? So go ahead and enter, because it’s fun to take pictures and you never know if you’ll win!

Disclosure: In exchange for promoting Shutterfly’s Long Live Summer photo contest, I was given a promo code for an 8×8 20 page hardcover photo book.

The day my eyes were opened

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So here’s the thing. I used to be way more judgmental than I am now. I’m talking about homosexuality. I used to not be okay with it. Until the day homosexuality actually had a face.

It was 2005 and I was fresh out of college and doing what all new college graduates do: working full time at a coffee shop and living at home (let’s just pretend that this is what all college grads do, anyway). Those days, when I got up at 4:30 for a 5:00 shift were unforgettable. There were frustrating customers, annoying co-workers and biased managers. But there was also B. Oh, B…he made those mornings fly, some days. We joked, made fun of customers, had sword fights with stacks of cups and generally made light of what should have been a mundane job.

When I first started working there, B intimidated me. He flew around the shop, grabbing donuts and pouring coffee faster than anyone else I’d ever seen. He even took his smoke breaks quickly. But it wasn’t long before B’s silly jokes won me over, and we were soon good friends.

After work B and I, along with a few other fellow employees would often go out for margaritas, or Chinese food. B was always full of stories…working at the donut shop was simply a pastime for him.

When I was offered a full time job as a reporter, B was so happy for me. He took me out to lunch (margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant!) and played “My Wish” for me. To this day I still tear up when I hear that song. I knew I’d miss B, but I stayed on, working part time on Saturdays so I still saw him once a week.

One Saturday when I came in, B was there, getting the donuts and bagels ready for the day. We started talking, like usual, and he was babbling, going on and on about something, and when I finally caught on, I realized he was telling me he is gay. One of my favorite guy friends is gay.

He explained that he had hated keeping this from me all this time, and even though he knew my faith is important to me, he couldn’t imagine not telling me, his friend, about the biggest event in his life. He and J had gotten married.

It was a lot harder to be prejudiced towards homosexuals and gay marriage when, all of a sudden, there was a face. B changed my life, and I don’t even think he knows it, but I will always be grateful.

Uninspired

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I’ve been staring at this blank screen for a good 10 minutes, knowing that I should write, but having nothing to write about. I didn’t finish blogging about our road trip because, to be quite honest, the last two days were pretty uneventful. We did a lot of driving to make up for the little progress we made on day two, and rolled into Chicago on Tuesday evening, a day earlier than originally planned! We unloaded the car, had a few drinks at a local restaurant, slept on the floor of my sister’s studio apartment, and I headed to the airport the next afternoon. Honestly, it was a whirlwind of exhaustion. I came home to an empty house (Geoff had left that morning for a week) fed the cats, and went to bed.

The next few days passed in a blur. I worked 11 hours on Friday, spent most of Saturday and Sunday out of the house, keeping busy, and have been relaxing and watching Rugrats when I’m home. Don’t judge me, I haven’t had the brainpower to focus on Grey’s Anatomy.

On Sunday I did have an “I lost 20 pounds” pedicure with a friend, and I cleaned the carpets a bit with the $25 carpet cleaner I picked up on Craigslist. It works, but it takes forever (mostly because I’m using it on high traffic spots). I’ve pretty much convinced myself that we need some professionals to come in and take care of it. I mean, let’s be honest. Who really buys cream carpeting? It’s just not a good idea.

Anyway, bear with me as I get my bearings and figure out what I want to post about. I’ll be back with my regularly scheduled posts soon, I promise.