Tag Archives: harry potter

2 Years Old: A Parenting Retrospective

Well, we made it to two years. As with every milestone so far, and I’m sure every milestone yet to come, Drew and I are baffled at where the last two years have gone. What happened to that bitty newborn? To the baby we used to have to prop up against things? To the toddler who had to trick or treat holding on to Drew’s hands because he couldn’t quite walk all by himself?

Instead of a baby, we now have this little roommate. He may be only three feet tall, but he’s powerful. He’s incessantly curious, constantly demanding, smiley, stubborn, energetic, pushy, inquisitive. In the course of minutes I can go from being out of my mind frustrated to out of my mind in love. Parenting is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and also the weirdest thing. If any of my friends treated me the way he sometimes treats me, I would definitely tell them off or get rid of them. But with him it usually just makes me laugh.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last couple years. Some things are just the things that probably any parent of a toddler learns: a reserve of patience, strength of will previously uncovered, a tolerance for someone else’s bodily fluids. Other things are interesting and more specific: Like, although I love my own, I don’t think I’m a “kid person” in general. I’ve also realized what a beautiful word “normal” is – who needs extraordinary? And this whole experience has made me love Drew more than ever every single day.

I know I will look back at this some day and shake my head. Silly me, I’ll think, two years was just the tip of the iceberg. Back then I could barely fathom the fact that B could climb into his own car seat, and now he’s driving (or off to college, or getting married, or having his own babies). But come on, future me, cut me a break. The last two years have been the longest and shortest years of my life. I know you understand.

One more thing: when we found out I was pregnant, almost 3 years ago, Drew started reading the Harry Potter books to me (and eventually to B). As B got older, the going got slower…because while I would definitely sit still for a chapter a night, a toddler doesn’t always have the same interests. We’ve been chipping away at the seventh book for over a year now, and three months ago we made the pledge to ourselves that we would finish by his birthday. Drew has been a total trouper about reading at night no matter how tired he is, and this weekend he really ramped it up. Yesterday he started reading over dinner, and then for the rest of the evening we sort of followed B around from bedroom to living room to bath, reading to him. YOU GUYS. WE FINISHED THE ENTIRE HARRY POTTER SERIES LAST NIGHT, Sunday, September 28, 2014. (And that epilogue is still just as bad as I remember it.)

So today we celebrate B’s second birthday, with balloons and a family dinner and a homemade ice cream cake (a la Frozen, of course). Since every day brings a new lesson, a new joke, a new challenge, I can’t wait to see what this one has in store! Happy second birthday, my love! May you have many, many more!

photo (27)

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Filed under Awesome, Children, Dreams, Drew, Holidays, Humor, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment

The anti Christ-figure

Lately I’ve been obsessing over two TV dramas: House of Cards (which has two seasons out on Netflix and if you’re not watching it right now you should be) and Game of Thrones (which is in its fourth season on HBO and if you’re not watching it right now you should be).

They’re both political dramas, although Game of Thrones is set in a fantasy world while House of Cards is set in good old Washington, DC. Let me get one thing straight: I do not care about politics. I don’t understand most of politics. The very word “politics” is boring to me. But these two shows are not just about politics. They are about manipulation, psychology, and (best of all) psychosis. They are about bad people doing terrible things for their own gain, and yet we tune in over and over again because we JUST HAVE TO KNOW what’s going to happen next.

One of my favorite characters on Game of Thrones is Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger. I recently referred to him as “the Frank Underwood of Westeros.” Frank Underwood is the main character on House of Cards. It had just occurred to me at that moment how similar they are.

anti-christ figures

Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and Lord Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen)

Both of these guys are ruthless. They both want all of the power, right now, and will do whatever it takes to get it. But they’re not rash – they both have well-thought out plans, complete with backup plans, and backup-backup plans. Often, you think they’ve been foiled, only to find out later that they were just playing the other characters like well-tuned instruments.

Both of them have done (and will, I’m sure, continue to do) horrible things. Often, they’re doing these things to other characters who are genuinely likable. And yet…I still love both of these characters. I bafflingly, disproportionately, love them.

Is it just that I have a fondness for the character who somehow knows all, sees all, and masterminds all? For the guy who is always three steps ahead of the other guy, somehow even leading that other guy by the nose, making him think he’s making his own decisions, and then BOOM. Sorry, other guy.

I used to think I loved the Christ-figure – those Gandalfs, Dumbledores, and Aslans. They are also seemingly omniscient, and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of everyone. They are good guys, and they often come back to explain their sacrifice, to commend others for their sacrifices, and to bring the whole thing together in a happy (ish) ending.

Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), Dumbledore, and Aslan

Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), Aslan, and Dumbledore

Was it just that I hadn’t yet been introduced to the anti Christ-figure (not the “anti Christ”-figure, I want to be clear about that – just the anti- “Christ figure”) that I didn’t realize how much more interesting these characters could be? I mean, I cheered when the deceased Gandalf the Grey came back as Gandalf the White, sure I did, but was it really so surprising?

The good guy is more predictable than the bad guy. And the Christ-figure is the most predictable at all. We pretty much know the life lesson we’re going to learn from those guys. Stand up for your friends. Do unto others. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Love conquers all. Do the right thing. Stand your ground in the face of evil. Don’t give up on good. It’s kindergarten stuff at its core, whether you’re facing down the White Witch or the cyber bully or He Who Must Not Be Named.

The bad guys – the anti Christ-figures – are infinitely more interesting. What BS crazy thing are they going to do today in the name of getting one rung higher on the power ladder. They wouldn’t possibly – no one could – OMG DID YOU SEE THAT??

I never had that reaction to Aslan allowing Jadis to shave and humiliate him, I’ll tell you that.

So today I’m singing the praises of the guy who’s in control, the guy pulling the strings behind the curtain, the guy looking out for numero uno, even when it means stepping all over numeros dos through ciento. Because he’s keeping things interesting. Let’s give that guy a round of applause. (Just as long as he stays on our TV screens, fictional, and far away.)

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10 Books That Are Important To Me

This thing was going around on Facebook, and One Classy Dame tagged me to do it, but I felt like it deserved slightly more space and thought than just a Facebook status or note.

Then I forgot about it for a month.

But I remembered. And so I thought I would share with you 10 books that have been important in my life.

Dollanganger01_FlowersInTheAttic1. Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews. I found a copy of this book in my grandma’s house when I was about 9 years old, and it set me on a course of trashy romance novels, from which I’ve never fully recovered. I’m sure I would have turned out to be an entirely different person, had I not discovered these types of books. I certainly wouldn’t have been the sixth-grader who took them to school so my friends could also read the trashy parts. (Yikes.)

2. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery / Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Two wonderful books, particularly for young girls, written by excellent female writers. I was deep in my VC Andrews phase when my parents got me a copy of each of these books for Christmas, and I remember being vaguely disappointed. (I’m really sorry, Mom and Dad!) But then I read the books, and I liked them. I reread both of these books in 2013 and they’re even better than I remembered.

3. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. The first time I’ve ever liked a book and a movie adaptation, as separate things. It happens rarely…but it happens.

4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Okay, this is kind of a long story but bear with me. When I was younger, we made a lot of movies. Not exactly home movies, because it wasn’t stuff like birthday parties and Christmas morning. We would make movies for class projects or just for fun. And I remember making some kind of movie, where I – as a middle schooler – was reading The Grapes of Wrath to my little brother, who was at that point maybe…10 years old? I have no idea what this was for. And we kept cutting away to show the clock ticking forward, and I’d be further in the book, and my brother would be more and more bored. And finally by the time I read the last lines, I think he was gone maybe? Or just asleep? I don’t remember. Anyway, at the time of making that movie, I tried to read The Grapes of Wrath, and I was SO BORED. Then, in my junior year of high school, we read it in my English class…and I loved it. I couldn’t understand why, just a few short years before, I hadn’t gotten into it. So, to me, this book is a solid representation of growing up and maturing.

5. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s held a spot on my favorite books list for the last, like, 15 years. Barbara Kingsolver offered me an eloquent way to express the feelings I was having about faith in high school. I printed out a quote from the book and had it stapled to my wall along with everything else in the world that I thought defined me. (The “it” in the first line is the Bible, by the way.)

photo (7)Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to not print in an artsy font.

6. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. My first exposure to nonfiction humor. Before that, I assumed “nonfiction” meant “history book” or “book on how to refinish a dresser.” David Sedaris, a gem in and of himself, opened up an entirely new world of reading to me.

7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The first time I ever cried while reading. You know what I’m talking about.

8. You’re Not You by Michelle Wildgen. I don’t know anyone else who’s read this book, and I don’t remember how I found it, but I’m obsessed with it. The writing is incredible, it’s gorgeous to read, you just know she labored over crafting every sentence. Plus, the plot is enthralling. (I actually just discovered there’s a movie coming out this year, with Emmy Rossum and Hilary Swank, and yes I’ll totally watch it.)

9. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth MD. I read a bunch of parenting books when I was pregnant, to prepare myself, and then I read a bunch of books on dealing with an infant, when I had an infant. This was the first book that I got partway into…and just had to toss out the window. There was so much BS in it, and I figured I had two choices: I could either throw it all away, or I could go crazy trying to follow all these rules to have the perfect child. This book represents my revelation that you read some books, you talk to some people, you do what works for you. And everything will be all right.

10. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I know…it’s cheating. But these books (all seven of them) feel like family to me. Like, I know there are some minor plot holes. I know that some people have complaints about them. I know they’re totally overexposed. And I DON’T CARE. To me, they are perfect. I have all these memories: of reading The Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time and realizing this was something great; of sitting, waiting for the mail when the fifth book was coming out, and reading it all in a day; of Drew declaring his intention to read them all out loud to me once I was pregnant. (For the record, we are on the seventh book – it’s slower going now, but we’re still making progress.) These books are ingrained in my adolescent and adult life…and I’m proud of that.

HP collectionA set of hardcover for posterity; a set of paperback for actual reading; and some spares.

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Typography: Round 2

Second attempt!

1. I emphasized the words that are actually important to the message.

2. I got rid of some of the white space between words.

3. I kept it to three fonts.

4. Fonts that don’t come standard with MS Word.*

goblet of fire typ color edit

*Fonts (in order of appearance):
Wonderland by jully1780
Hand of Sean by Nice and Ripe Ltd
Wednesday by bythebutterfly.com

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Passing the torch

The Olympics are over.

If you think you heard a note of glee in my tone, well sir, you are mistaken. I like the Olympics.

But, here’s the thing: Drew LOVES the Olympics. And he’s not alone. The world loves the Olympics. But he like REALLY LOVES the Olympics.

Here’s what I think he loves about them: The success stories. The failure stories. The statistics. The human interest angles. The world coming together in a show of friendly (for the most part) competition. People working incredibly hard for years, to accomplish something (that sometimes takes 5 seconds.) People overcoming obstacles. People tripping on obstacles.

Whatever it is that he loves, we have watched a lot of Olympics over the last two weeks. And I’ve been gone a lot, so I can only imagine how much he’s seen.

When I’ve been home, I’ve been experiencing this thing at a level that I never have before – how has rhythmic gymnastics totally escaped my awareness before this?? (Drew may LOVE the Olympics, but those girls LOVE their apparati.) I have really enjoyed getting to know new 2012 Olympics USA celebs – from gymnast Gabby Douglas to coxswain Mary Whipple to diver David Boudia to renowned DJ Fatboy Slim.

(No, but seriously, did Fatboy Slim feel kinda out place at the closing ceremonies?)

But now the Olympics are over, and I’m secretly (or not so secretly) a little relieved that life can regain its normal rhythm. And by “life” and “normal rhythm,” I mean I miss our summer tradition of watching Big Brother (we now have 6 episodes to try to catch up on – not an easy task when they are hour-long episodes) and I miss reading Harry Potter at night.

But don’t worry – less than 2 years until the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia!

(Also, doesn’t Sochi have such a better logo than the London Olympics?)

(Also, Rio has a nice logo.)

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Filed under Drew, Endings, Games, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sports, TV

The weekend that lasted 3 days

This weekend felt longer than three days, but in that kind of weird draggy way. Allow me to explain.

On Saturday we had a dinner-and-game-night at our place, which I spent the day kind of stressing about, since it was an eclectic crowd of people and I’m not quite used to playing hostess yet. But overall everything went very well (possibly better than I had expected) and I learned that I love the game Balderdash, which I have never played before but now want to play all the time.

On Sunday, Drew and I went with Erin to San Jose to help out her dad with this steampunk convention he was doing. It was part of FanimeCon, but apparently only sort of? We didn’t really have all the details, but we were mostly there to do little odd jobs and make sure no one stole any of the equipment. It was…nerdy, honestly, and I don’t need to get into it but there was some major judging going on there. (By us; of the people attending the convention.) It was a fun day though, and it’s always good to branch out and spend some time around people wearing full out Victorian costumes (with steampunk accessories) and speaking in bad British accents.

Also, this bag of heads. But I have no idea why.

On Sunday night Drew and I started our Modern Family marathon – we hadn’t watched any of this most recent season, which ended last Wednesday. At least, we thought we hadn’t, until we started watching episodes and realized we’d actually seen about 4. But marathoning it is more fun than watching a half-hour episode once a week.

That’s mostly what we did on Sunday (after finishing reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in the morning), until after 9 episodes I said, “I need a break,” and then right after that Hulu Plus said “You’ve been watching for 3 hours, need a break?” Oh how we laughed.

We went for a walk but didn’t really accomplish anything while on it. Well, we did pick up a menu from this Thai place near us that we may try out later this week.

We watched some more episodes that night, but we still have maybe 8 or 9 to go, which I think is a nice amount. Although, I do want to finish them this week because I think I’d like to cancel Hulu Plus before I have to pay for another month. (That’s how I roll.)

When I came into work this morning, I found a post-it saying “Gotcha!” taped over the laser on my mouse (so it wouldn’t work). I also found these people taped under the handset of my phone:

If you’re not familiar with Game of Thrones, that’s Cersei (she’s sort of a bad guy) and Tyrion (he’s totally the best guy). Tonight we watch episode 9 of season 2, which aired on Sunday, and which I have heard is an amazing episode. I am pretty stoked. (And I highly recommend if you’re not watching, you begin immediately.)

And, finally, if you’re keeping score, today marks 22 weeks pregnant for me, which is the end of the 5th month. (The counting is complicated, but trust me: 22 weeks = 5 months.) This week the baby is the size of a papaya, and probably weighs about a pound. This isn’t a particularly huge landmark, but we’re celebrating every single little one, plus I just kind of like this picture I took this morning. So please enjoy this relatively infrequent pregnancy update!

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