My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Harry Potter’

Thank you for twenty years of magic

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the publishing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone, so if you’ll allow me a moment of sappy self indulgence here, I’m about to get real nerdy.

People like to smile indulgently at me now when I say I grew up alongside Harry and his friends, but I’m really not over exaggerating. From the time I was ten years old, through all the misery and trauma and loneliness and heartbreak of childhood and adolescence, they were there. They were a crutch, a comfort, an escape, an identity. As J.K. Rowling once said, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home, and some days that was the place that felt most like home to me.

Whenever I felt lonely or scared or unhappy, I knew I could find comfort in the familiar waterlogged, dog-eared pages of those books, the binding creased and failing in places.

I remember the first time I read them like it was yesterday. I was 10 years old, tiny but precocious. It was hard to tell what I had more of then – hair, brains, or spunk. I was in the library at my elementary school, where I was on first name terms with the librarian, clutching a stack of books half my height and five times my grade level when I spotted it there on the display rack, all blue and red and purple and magic.

In 2000, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a hot commodity, even in my lower elementary school. It was surprising that it was even in stock, and I couldn’t help but think that it must have been a sign, waiting there just for me to find it.

When I got home from school that afternoon, I retreated to my room and didn’t come out until the third time I was called to dinner. There, laying on my purple and white bedspread, I met my new best friends for the first time. Harry, with his heart of gold and unfailing courage; Ron, always loyal and quick to laugh; and Hermione, who was, to borrow more of Ms. Rowling’s words, my ink and paper twin.

From then on, Harry’s story and mine were intertwined. At age 16, ugly crying over the final chapter of Deathly Hallows at one in the morning. On my 18th birthday, visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, feeling like I could breathe for the first time in months when I saw the castle I’d inhabited in my head for years.

Sometimes I feel that, even with all the words I’ve learned since age ten, all the things I’ve experienced and felt, I will never be able to adequately describe the bottomless pool of love I have for this series. It isn’t so much a book series, a movie franchise, a set of characters, as it is part of my identity. I truly don’t who or how I’d be today if I hadn’t picked up that worn hardcover book in fifth grade.

It taught me the value of love and loyalty and light and friendship. It taught me that courage is never the same thing as fearlessness. It taught me how to speak my mind, how to stand up for what I believe in, how to fight for those who cannot defend themselves, and how to appreciate the little moments of joy amidst the chaos.

Now, two decades have elapsed since Harry Potter entered our collective lives. Hundreds of thousands of fans and friends have come to love this series. Some have already begun passing it on to their children, the second magical generation.

Harry’s story has come to mean so many things to so many different people. A whole generation who learned to love reading, to stand up for their beliefs, to make their own magic.

I know so many people, personally and by reputation, who have used Harry Potter as a way of coping with the ugliness that reality often throws our way. So many stories of strength and bravery and survival, fueled by the magic of rustling pages, midnight premieres, a common bond that draws us all closer.

Even as I sit here in my sunny corner office at my “big kid” job, my eyes rest on the thin piece of resin and wood, fashioned into a replica of Hermione Granger’s wand. After all these years, she’s still helping me be the woman I always wanted to be. While I’ve come to fall in love with half a dozen other ladies of the wizarding world – Tonks and Luna and Ginny and Lily and Molly – Hermione will always have a special place in my heart.

At ten years old, I was all frizzy hair, big words, and unfettered, self-righteous bossiness. I was what many over the years, both kindly and unkindly, have referred to as an insufferable know-it-all. Hell, at 30, I still am. Because Hermione Granger taught me that being bossy is a good thing, that breaking the rules is okay sometimes when you have a cause you believe in, that books and cleverness are important, but not as important as friendship and bravery.

So what can I say, nearly 20 years later? Thank you seems too trite, but it’s all I have. So thank you, J.K. Rowling, for changing and saving my life in ways I am still only beginning to unravel. Thank you to Harry and Ron and Hermione for teaching an entire generation to be better and braver and bolder.

The other day, I picked up my well-worn 17-year-old copy of the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s been awhile since I took the time to sit down and read it, but as I did, I felt like I was rejoining my ten-year old self. Somewhere, lost in time, she’s always been there, hiding in a blanket fort with a flashlight and a book twice her size. She’s been waiting patiently for me to come find her again, reunited after all these years. It’s been a long time, she says. Sit down. I’ll read you a story about love and dragons and magic and some kids who changed the world. I think they’re friends of yours.

After all this time? Always.

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Earlier today as I was going through my usual morning motions; grabbing a quick bite to eat, trying to make myself look somewhat presentable for work, and finishing up some last minute emails, I heard something that shook me to my core. I put my bowl of Frosted Flakes down on the table and walked over to my TV where Good Morning America was breaking the incredibly sad news that the talented and gracious Alan Rickman had passed away at the age of just 69 from cancer.

It’s always sad when a public figure passes away, but there are very few times when it greatly affects me. Robin Williams was one, as was today’s heartbreaking news. Maybe it’s because they fill your TV screens with laughter and life, permanently a fixture in your home that brings so much joy, that it’s easy to remember that they aren’t indestructible. That they–not the characters they play, but the role they have in real life–all deal with very real obstacles, hardships and pain, just like the rest of us.

While Rickman’s career was as long and storied as Dumbledore’s beard–his roles like Hans, Metatro, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Dr. Lazarus and Harry playing out on the big screen and in our living rooms–it’s his role as Snape that many, most, remember him by.

I, like many of my peers, grew up reading, watching and falling in love with the Harry Potter series, more often than not many times over. As much as he played a character who you couldn’t help but love to hate, and boy did I ever hate him sometimes, he brought this air of depth, of life, of absolute exquisiteness to the screen. He was incredible in every role he played, but his portrayal as the redeemed dark wizard takes the cake, or chocolate frog. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent watching these movies, more than I probably would ever care to admit, so in a very weird sense, I feel like I have lost a crazy but loveable and hilarious uncle. Even as I sit here rererererereading The Order of the Phoenix, it is Alan Rickman’s voice that pops into my head whenever Snape is teaching his potions class, or reprimanding Harry and the gang.

In honor of the late and great Mr. Rickman, I wanted to share two of my favorite scenes that show just how incredibly powerful of an actor he was. It’s actually a collection of memories, moments that happened over his entire life, from when he first meets Lily to when he sees her eyes again in Harry’s own. In this single tear, you see Snape really was one of the best of the best, and you fully appreciate the brilliance of Rickman’s deadpan portrayal, because there really was more to this tortured man than what met the eye..

 

 

Rickman brought an unfathomable kind of magic to everything he touched, a magic that will live on and continue to touch the lives of generations to come through his movies and art.

RIP, Mr. Rickman. You have left a heroic and noble hole in my heart and will forever and always be missed.

Always.

Thoughts on a Thursday

Good morning, peeps! And happiest Friday-eve! I don’t know about you, but this has pretty much been the longest week in the history of ever. Like, just one LAM (Long Ass Monday). The good news is that we have officially (almost) survived the first week of 2016.

Cheers and an epic fist bump for that, y’all.

Before we get too excited about the looming weekend, here are just some of the crazy thoughts that have been mulling around in that ol’ brain of mine.

It’s time for another edition of my Thoughts on a Thursday.

1. May I present to you the three steps of drinking my morning cup of coffee. Step one:  Burn the roof of my mouth and/or tongue off getting a little too eager on that first sip of liquid-lava hotness. Step two: Soak in the caffeinated goodness at optimum drinking temperature. Step three: Realize that the window of opportunity for drinking said caffeinated goodness is very small and if taken for granted, can go from sheer perfection to cold af in three minutes flat.

2. Speaking of coffee…I harbor no ill will towards my baristas. I get mistaken for Ms. Klum all the time, guys. All. The. Time.

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3. Some of you may know that I had a little interview yesterday and I am happy to report that I only nervous snort-laughed 2 times during the entire 45-minute interrogation meeting. Okay, 3 times, 4 max. In all seriousness, I think it went really well. I’ve never felt more confident going into an interview before, partly because it’s something I am so very passionate about, and also because I felt like I really knew my shit. They should be making their final decisions by the end of next week (bring on the waiting game), but even if I don’t get it, I’ll know that I gave it everything that I had and brought some serious heat to the competition. That in of itself is something to be damn proud of. Thank you x1000 to everyone who wished me luck and kept me in their prayers. You don’t even know how much I love you for that! Like, so much!

4. So I just finished rerererererereading HP (No matter how many times I read it, The Deathly Hallows pt. deux still stirs up so many feels) and was looking for a Harry Potter-esque series to quench that hole in my heart that my girl J.K. Rowling has left. I picked up The Magicians by Lev Grossman and y’all, it’s sooooo good. Not quite HP good, but it’s up there. It’s basically Hogwarts, but the college version. I’m about half-way through and am already excited to dig into the second book of the series. Three giant thumbs up.

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5. This speech by one of faves, Ellen at last night’s People’s Choice awards gives me serious heart-flutters. Incredibly inspiring, gracious, and hil-arious. “My wish, and we have a lot of people watching from many different countries, is that I want you to know that we all, deep down, really, really love one another. And we need to get back to that.”

6.  I may be in the minority here, but I actually love those little candy conversation hearts. But they have to be the Brach’s brand, and they have to be the ones that come in the big bags. For whatever reason, the tiny boxed variety are break-your-teeth, rock-hard, nasty-chalky-candy-crap.

QOTD: Candy convo hearts: all the nums or nasty-chalky-candy crap?

How’s your first week of 2016 going so far?

 

Dumbledore? More like WISEldore amiright?

We all know Dumbledore (more like WISEldore amiright?!) as the badass wizard, Pantene Pro-V model, and most importantly, mentor to our fave lightning scarred “Boy who lived” Harry P. But he also was a pillar of inspiration, hope and strength to readers everywhere, myself most definitely included.

I’m currently in the middle of rererererereading the HP series (I try to do it at least once every year) and am constantly reminded of what an incredible dude Dumbledore was. I mean, if he was alive today, and you know, not a fictional character, I would LOVE to grab a [butter]beer with him and shoot the breeze.

Here are some of the best quotes that dropped some serious, hardcore knowledge not only on Harry, but on an entire generation of Potter heads.

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The Half Blood Prince

1. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Every kid who’s ever been told to come back to the real world or that characters on a page aren’t real can relate to this. Deep down we know these aren’t real people, but we live in a world where anything is possible and where the things we imagine could really happen. Dumbledore taught us that that’s okay.

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The Chamber of Secrets

2. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

You could be the smartest person on the planet, but that doesn’t make a bit of difference unless you do something meaningful with that intelligence. Voldemort was extremely powerful and could’ve been a force for good, like Dumbledore, but he chose to be evil. Basically: you can be anything you want as long as you choose to work for it.

The Prisoner of Azkaban
The Prisoner of Azkaban

3. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Out of every Dumbledore quote, this one means the most to me personally. We all have, or will, experience our fair share of pain and darkness. Dumbledore taught me, and us, that you can bring yourself out of that darkness with any little spark of hope you have. Darkness is just a state of being, it can be destroyed as quickly as it can be created.

Deathly Hallows 2
Deathly Hallows

4. “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”

Ah, the classic quote about love; it’s a huge theme in Harry Potter that love conquers all. This quote allows Harry to accept that all those he has loved and lost will be okay and that he should live with love and compassion always, especially for Voldemort who has never accepted any form of love into his life. Readers are hit with this knowledge nugget as well because we all have lost, or will lose, someone, but we loved them and vice versa so they are okay and so will we.

Order of the Phoenix
Order of the Phoenix

5. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”

We’ve all gotten caught in the ‘dream-web’ at some point while trying to figure out our lives. Dumbledore reminds us that it’s all well and good to dream, but what about living and achieving those dreams? Dream, live, achieve.

Goblet of Fire
Goblet of Fire

6. “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

We all have the power to decide what we want to be in life–no one can make that decision for us.

Goblet of Fire
Goblet of Fire

7. “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

The power of many is greater than the power of few, find where you belong and you’ll always have the power to do achieve greatness.

Half Blood Prince
Half Blood Prince

8. “It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”

I think almost every person on the planet earth has a fear of death. Dumbledore is trying to teach us that it is nothing to be feared, it is something that we will never understand but that’s okay. Remember fear is all in the mind.

Goblet of Fire
Goblet of Fire

9. “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”

Who knew that foreign policy could be learned from Dumbledore?? Differences in culture, especially here in America, can be overlooked if we all would just read a little Harry Potter.

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The Sorcerer’s Stone

10. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

The written word is amazing, it can take us to different worlds or to different versions of our own. It can provide a place to escape to when needed, or a second home if only for the hours we reside in its pages. The written word is the most powerful force in the world, it can decide the fate of millions or just make life better for one little girl looking for an escape from her world.

So, thanks Dumbledore, for mentoring not only Harry but millions of young people across the world (and for being just an overall badass).

Currently

Current Book(s): I’m usually always reading between 2-4 books at one time. I literally (pronounced li-trally) have books in every orifice of my apartment, car, work desk, purse. Have books, will travel, right? I’m currently knee-deep in two amazing books: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty and Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner. Both have kept me up until the wee hours of the morning (and have been my go-to when work has been on the slow side–perks of being a librarian, yo!).

Current Music: Just. so. much. Although the two songs that have been on the repeat the most have been A Great Big World’s Hold Each Other and The Civil War’s Poison & Wine. #AllTheFeels

Current Guilty Pleasure: I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I mean, hypothetically speaking of course, why would or should one feel guilty for polishing off a tub of raw cookie dough? Not this girl.

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Current Nail Color: It’s kind of a blueish purple. Blurple? Plue?

Current Drink: WINE!!!! Guys, I am now a wine drinker. Moscato to be exact. Never in a million years would I have thought that I’d be saying that. I feel so…adult.

Current Food: Lots of it.

Current Favorite Show: I actually have been so busy lately that I haven’t watched a lot of TV/Netflix, but a few nights this week I was able to catch the Tonight Show with my BFF Jimmy Fallon. HIL-ARIOUS, my friends. I’m in tears every time I watch his show. This was a fave of mine from earlier this week.

Current Wish List: If anyone has any extra Packers/Broncos tickets (or would like to contribute to the ‘Get Wendi to the Packers/Broncos game’ fund), I would love you forever. Also, Jerry Seinfeld is coming to Denver in December and I am dying to go. DYING! Not literally (li-trally), but it would be so amazing to see him again live.  I also wouldn’t be mad if I got this.

Current Bain of My Existence: This morning I decided to go for a run before work. Just a quick 7 miles, Wendi said. It’s only sprinkling out, Wendi said. Oy.

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Current Celebrity Crush: JIMMMMAHHHH (sorry, sort of an inside joke there). Forever and always crushing hardcore on Jimmy Fallon. A sense of humor is the way to this gal’s heart. Well, that and cookies.

Current Blessing: I know I say it a lot, but I truly have THE best family and friends in the history of ever. To say that I’m blessed would be an understatement. The kindness, the support, the silliness and randomness and unconditional love that the most important people in my life bring (you know who you are)? It’s just so ridiculously ahhmazing.

Current Slang: I literally (li-trally) can’t even right now. Ughhh. I know. I KNOW! I’m that girl.

Current Outfit: Skinny jeans, boots and plaid baby! Fall is upon us. Ughhh. I know. I KNOW! I’m that girl.

Current Excitement: Besides the fact that I finally got that piece of Corn Pop unstuck from my teeth, THERE IS JUST SO MUCH!!  My baby sis just signed a lease for her new apartment (hey girl, heyyy), softball playoffs are in full swing (pun intended), Halloween is right around the corner, my momma is coming out to visit in a few weeks, AND there’s a full bag of Candy Corn on my desk that’s calling my name. Life is good, y’all. Life is very good. 🙂

QOTD: What’s currently going on in your neck of the woods?

12 Times Hermione Granger Taught Us How To Own Our Kick-Assness

It’s no secret that my list of fictional girl crushes is a mile and a half long (and keeps growing by the minute). Kick-ass chicks like Katniss Everdeen, Hester Prynne, Jane Eyre, Lizzie Bennett, Nancy Drew and Matilda showed us that girls could do just all of the things, that they had a voice, strength and a fierceness that was indescribable. My favorite fictional female characters however, my ultimate bookish BFF, my sista from another mista is the one, the only, the magical Hermione Granger.

My girl Miss Granger made it cool for girls everywhere to be confident bookworms, proving to be one of the best role models for bookish young girls and women all over the world. Hermione’s most important message however may have been her independence. In most of the Harry Potter books, she had a life separate from whatever was going on with her besties Harry and Ron.

For example, in The Chamber of Secrets, she spent hours alone researching the who’s, what’s and why’s of that crazy basilisk in the stacks of the library; in The Prisoner of Azkaban, she literally had a whole time-turned life that Harry and Ron had no idea about; in The Goblet of Fire, she conceived and founded Dumbledore’s Army (yes, it was her idea! You go, girl!).

Of course, she did all of these ahhhmazing things while saving Harry and Ron pretty much on the regular, all with her brains, skills, and unfailing courage. As Emma Watson herself pointed out, Hermione taught us all that girls can fight, too.

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Here are just a few of the many things she has taught us over the years. I think she would be happy to know that she has done a sorting hat full of good in the Muggle world too.

Pronunciation matters.

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You don’t have to listen to boys, even if they’re famous wizards.

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Knowledge is power.

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Books save lives, people.

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Sometimes you just need to let your hair down.

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Especially when an electric personality can make even frizzy hair sound exciting.

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This philosophical mind-bomb.

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Know your strengths.

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Own it, and it has no power over you.

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If you want something, you have to work for it.

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Priorities: She had then sorted out after all.

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Shine so brightly that nobody can call you “just a sidekick.”

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I would gladly be a part of your girl gang any day, Hermione!

QOTD: Who are some of your favorite fictional female role models? What life lessons have you learned from them?

Thoughts on a Thursday

Hey friends! Happy Friday-eve (and first day of October)!

Wait. Hold the phone and shut the front door.

IT’S ALREADY OCTOBER?! Wasn’t it just the beginning of June? I swear 2015 has flown by. Like, Harry Potter on his Nimbus 3000 fast. To my parents and grandparents who always warned me that as I got older, the years would just go by faster and faster (and my young and very naïve self never believed them, naturally), you were right. But have no fear! I think I’ve come up with a pretty solid plan to combat this super-sonic passing of time: I’m just going to stop aging, remain 28 forever. I’ll let you know how that works out.

But that’s not the only thing that I’ve been mulling around in the ‘ol noggin lately….

  1. This morning when I was at Starbucks getting some much needed caffeine and grub, I overheard a dude tell his dude bud that he didn’t like seeing women eat. Oh, I definitely understand, bro! I get totally grossed out when men sleep. Or breathe. Like, WHAATTTT?!!? As I walked past him, I tried to give him my best scone-stuffed face, evil side eye glare.
  2. My mom is the best at sending me pictures of my pup Thunder who is staying with both her and my dad until they come out here with him this Christmas. I got this gem from her two nights ago. Obvies they don’t spoil him at all. 🙂
"Okay, guys. I'm all tucked in and ready for my bedtime story. I'm feeling 'Goodnight Moon with a James Earl Jones voiceover tonight."

“Okay, guys. I’m all tucked in and ready for my bedtime story. I’m feeling ‘Goodnight Moon with a James Earl Jones voiceover tonight.”

3. Is there a limitation on when your fingers stop growing? I swear my digits have sprouted out at least an inch within the past couple of months. And you know what they say about girls with big fingers…they need big gloves.

4. I was guilt tripped into buying two tickets to a Horse Capades show in Denver in three weeks by a co-worker’s daughter yesterday. I have no idea what Horse Capades are, nor do I plan on going. But she was just so sweet and she brought up how much she loved Harry Potter and I couldn’t say no. If this was a preview for what it’s going to be like when I have little kiddos of my own, I’m in trouble.

5. Since it’s officially October, I’m not ashamed to admit that I will be watching Hocus Pocus on the repeat, all day, errr day. *Does anyone know yet if the rumors of a sequel are for realsies? Quit playing games with my heart, Bette.

6. Since it’s officially October (or a day ending in ‘y’), I’m also not ashamed to admit that I polished off a whole bag of Candy Corn within two days. And to all of you Candy Corn haters out there, a couple of things: YOU are crazy pants and can you send all of your CC to yours truly pleaseandthankyou.

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7. I’ve got jury duty for the first time next Monday and I’m equal parts excited and annoyed. Excited because I get to live out my Olivia Benson fan-girl dreams (and they’re providing us with free lunch–I am ALL about that free food, much chagrin to Mr. Starbucks dude) and annoyed because if I do get called for a case, it could last for weeks (and I’ve got a wedding that weekend that I’m not missing! You hear me, Judge Judy. Not. Missing!)

8. Speaking of the wedding, it’s only a week and two days until I get to see one of my bestest friends marry her bestest friend and I am SOOOOOO excited! To share and be a part of her special day is such an honor (not to mention there will be cake! And dancing. And cake! And drinks. And cake! And love. And cake!)

QOTD: Candy Corn: Love or hate?

What’s your favorite part of weddings?

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