Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mavvy the Bumble Bee!

As we can see ... the costume offers limited mobility. Or at least movement that she likes. But she's the swettest little bee ever! :)

Texas Tech beat A&M (decisively!) at home and we're looking really good as far as conference play goes. If OU loses to Missouri (we hope, we hope, we hope) well our road to Big 12 domination gets that much easier.

Our quarterback is awesome ... and world ... meet Michael Crabtree.

Yeah, he rocks. And yeah ... we rock.

Our Mizzou game next week will be prime time. :) Everyone watch!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I want this. I know, I know ... I don't need it. I already have two copies of books 5 and 6 (paperback and hardback) and paperback copies of 1-4. You can see the price of this item at the link above. Then you tell me if you think it's a good idea.

Here's my thought ... I'll buy books 1-4 in hardback (over time) and that'll cost me (according to this) about $60. Then I can go to JoAnn's and buy myself a chest like the one here. And voila! Instant Harry Potter collection in nice little case.

But it won't say Harry Potter on it ...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Introduction to Epilogue

Harry Potter was introduced to my house when my brother was 11 years old. I was 16 and not interested.

I remember being intensely against it actually. We were in the car on a road trip and I was a sullen teenager, not wanting to listen to the fabulous book on tape. I had my headphones plugged into my CD player ... probably listening to the Cranberries lamenting my horrible, painful, dreadful existence as a spoiled, middle-class teenager.

I remember asking them to turn it down so I could listen to my music in peace. My mother tried to reach out to me, "They really are very good, Stacy." She was sitting in the front seat of the mini-van? No ... the full size brown van I think ... and I responded by turning my music up even loader to carry over the lyrical voice of Jim Dale.

This happened over and over again. My entire family - save one - listened with interest to the first and second novels on tape on road trips; and I drowned out the noise with the music of the moment.

Until Prisoner of Azkaban. I was ... I want to guess 18. The book was published in September of 1999 and I'd wager a guess that we listened to the book on tape on the way to Kansas for Christmas that December. I was 18, in my freshman year in college.

Something about this book got my attention. Maybe it was the fact that I was so very much happier. College life agreed with me and I had friends(!) and was not nearly so spiteful towards my mother. Whom pushed novels and books and really anything that required reading (including comic books) on us constantly. I think that my opposition to the novels in the beginning really was more spite than anything. I could not enjoy something that rest of them were enjoying. It was my rebellion.

But Azkaban ... I remember the moment in the car. I had my head phones on but something was happening ... Padfoot? I asked who Padfoot was. Mom said if I was really so interested I would have to read the book because I had missed so much already. The tape got stopped repeatedly because I kept asking questions. My Dad got irritated. More than once I'd guess.

But that was it. I listened to that book and when the 4th one came out I listened with interest to it on tape on yet another, road trip. We drive a lot. After the Goblet of Fire was released, a box set of the first 3 was released. And with a gift card to Amazon, I purchased them. And devoured them.

I've read Prisoner of Azkaban so many times I can't keep track. I've read the others at least 3 or 4 times. When the Goblet came out in paperback I purchased that as well, read it. And I waited with the rest of the "Potterheads" during the long hiatus JKR took before Order of the Pheonix arrived.

I was in Houston for my then boyfriend's brother's wedding. Which, coincidentally, his anniversary is today, July 21st. The night of the release, I believe we had watched a movie with his parents? We had done something local at the house, because I knew the book was coming out, and I was just going to wait and read the copy mom had waiting for me at home ... but the prospect of the long plane ride home without the book made me anxious. So I asked my boyfriend of 9 months to go with me at midnight to Barnes & Noble to wait in line with me.

And it's really been just the most amazing thing. I feel like Harry has been there through some of the most pivotal points of my life. Doesn't that seem silly? My entire family are "Potterheads." Today, as I read Deathly Hallows my parents called at about 11AM and asked what page I was on. Dad was hoping he could beat me (HA!). Megan has called several times to mourn the losses of characters and friends. It's been 10 years we've all been together ... collectively wondering what would happen to our fictional heroes. How would it end?

And today and tomorrow and in the coming week we will all know. And the story of Harry will be over and there will be nothing left to wonder about, except when I will begin reading the books to my children.

I feel such an odd sense of loss. A part of my life that was constant, and yet really not, is now complete and final. At the end of Half-Blood Prince I was enraged, confused and so downtrodden. It seemed as if nothing would ever be cheerful again and I had at least 2 long years to wait before the final book. It turned out to be 3; 3 years and 5 days.

And as I look back over the series of 7 - the amazing 7 - I'm really shocked at how things changed. Sorcerer's Stone was so full of magic and hope! Harry had found a place to belong, had escaped (for at least most of the year) the neglect he was facing with his Aunt and Uncle. It ended just as it started, with hope and more joy as He Who Must Not Be Named was thwarted and thought never to return. The Boy Who Lived had saved them again.

The Chamber of Secrets was still magical and light, but with a slightly darker tone as imminent danger is introduced and we met Tom Riddle for the very first time not as a mythical demon, but as a man, as the boy he had been. But in the end all is right with the world, and we still feel as if life for Harry will remain sweet and unsullied. His adventures were exciting but we knew he would always prevail. THey were still light-hearted childrens fare.

Prisoner of Azkaban ... Harry was 13 now, and feeling the loss of his parents more and more. Holidays were hard and he wasn't allowed to go on special trips because he had no parent to give him permission. Then another ray of hope - a God Father! Someone to protect him and love him. A battle was fought, and won ... but Voldemort was really not present and who cared? Harry and found a father and mentor. And got a really cool broom, and a threat to hold over his relatives in a murderous God Parent.

Goblet of Fire introduced us to the adult world of magic that loomed over Harry. He was 14, and facing tests both physical and emotional as he deals with Ron's insecurities and his own failings. We see loss in a real and finite way and I think this changes Harry and the stories going forward. Nothing was ever going to be the same. Doesn't Hermoine say that? Everything's going to change ... Voldemort returns and our 14 year olds are thrust into adulthood without really knowing it.

Order of the Pheonix put us in real teenage angst. Harry rebels against his calling somewhat, and tries his hand at normalcy only to realize that he really can't. Again ... more loss as Harry loses the third parental figure after knowing him so short a time. And we get the looming sense that things are going to get worse before they get better.

Half Blood Prince brought a little more structure (I feel) than what OotP had. We follow Dumbledore and Harry through their search for information and an achilles heel for the dark lord ... and Harry learns that his father wasn't exactly what he thought he was. And we face the most startling loss of all, Dumbledore. The elder, stronger wizard who leads Harry through to assumed adulthood. Who teaches him personally so he is prepared. Even at this point we have come so far from the Sorcerer's Stone's innocence and charm. I guess if we looked at our own lives and how things grew increasingly complex from our 11th birthday to our 16th ... I guess the same would be true for us.

And it brings us to Deathly Hallows. Harry is 17 and facing the thing Dumbledore had been preparing him for since he came to school. All of the tests and trials and fights and battles had helped to make him the person he was to face what he had to face. And I have to say ... after 10 years I went into battle with Harry this time. Every scene had my heart clenching around itself wondering how they would scrape out and if something dire was going to happen to someone I had come to know and love.

Fred ... oh Fred ... the Weasley twins had been a favorite of mine from book one. They were comic relief but they were also brave, fearless heroes that would have done anything to protect their family. Except maybe Percy. :) Teasing.

I shake my head when I think of Fred and I'm sad to see him go. Previous bloggers said that one of the Weasley's was sure to go simply because there were so many of them. I just never thought that Fred or George would go. Not really. It was still a shocking blow and to have Percy cling to him so tightly and not wanting to let him go. They had just reconnected. Though I find it ironic and fitting that JKR had him go out with a laugh still showing on his face.

For so many years I have carried a candle in my heart for the ending of Harry Potter. I have wished and hoped to know the end and now that I know I'm not sure what happens.

But then I really do know. These novels go to the place in my memory where beloved treasures are stored. And as books I can revisit them whenever I feel the need and be drawn into their worlds without having to know a password or without having to pay any money. They are mine forever and if they so wish ... they are future generations forever.

When books speak to us and move us they never leave us. The favorite literature of my life is always with me and I can pull it up and remember reading happy passages at almost any moment. It is the magic of reading. The Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little, Sarah Plain and Tall, The True Confessions of Charlotte O'Doyle, The Last Silk Dress, The Sea Kings Daughter, White Oleander, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Poisonwood Bible, She's Come Undone, The Other Bolyen Girl, The Lonely Bones ... these books and their characters are with me because they became a part of my personality; some of them at an early age.

Just because they weren't a member of 7, nor as popular, does not mean they were any less meaningful to me.

And this is why the true, true magic of Harry Potter lies in what's in store for all of us. Because children who find Harry will read and be excited by it, will find magic in his story. And after they've read it they will be voracious for more. As an author wrote in an article that Meryl posted ... they will spend the rest of their lives looking for novels that speak to them in similar ways. And that is the magic. Regardless of what happened to Harry in this last and final story, he was destined to live forever in the imaginations and hearts of the children he has inspired not to slay dragons or fly on brooms .... but to READ.

Dealthy Hallows Complete. SPOILERS!

I have finished.

My thoughts are tumultuous at best. I don't know that I will be able to write a reasonable review in my present state. Perhaps I'm too close to it?

I find that my initial predictions, the ones I wrote immediately after having finished OoTP proved to be the most true.

She held true to the basic archetypes, though there was a lot less interaction from previous characters than I originally believed. No one got a "reprieve," unless you count the second to last chapter and Harry's trip to "King's Cross" and his chat with Dumbledore. Which ... I suppose we should.

The book went so quickly ... I'm almost sad and hungry. Sad because there was so much ... so much taken and so much lost. And hungry because in the 19 years between the final battle and the epilogue, does Harry find happiness and peace? At last? We are left to assume ... yes.

I cried through the first 10 chapters and the last 200 pages ... I don't know what that translates to in chapters. Molly killing Bellatrix I thought was extremely fitting, as she had been friends with Sirius, and Bellatrix at one time or another had held a wand on several of her children. Not to mention the horrible torture of Hermoine.

I was so sad to see Hedwig go ... so soon ... it was as if JKR was telling us "Get ready ... this whole thing is going to hurt." Dobby was devestating ... the betrayal of Griphook (It was the Griphook on the British cover art holding the sword!) ... though I'm not sure you can call it a betrayal as he was acting in his nature. I honestly wasn't so sad about Moody ... I know he was a great warrior and fierce member of the Order ... but I just wasn't that attached to him as a character. Lupin and Tonks ... especially after little Teddy ... but it is almost like a circle ... a God son for Harry to look after and protect.

It's 759 pages of amazing adventure and disaster, humor and most of all ... love. The theme of the entire series is that love and friendship conquer all. And that power is never absolute, and the smallest of armies can battle back and fight for what is right. Love ... they were all love stories.

I'm just awed. So much was explained but yet I'm still not satsified. I'm not complaining ( he LIVED!) but it would have been nice to know if he worked as an Auror or what he did as a profession. Same with Ron, Hermoine and Ginny.

There's so much! The parts with them going after the Horcruxes and arguing about the Hallows ... fighting Voldemort in Godric's Hollow and then the Death Eaters at the Lovegood's. It was all amazing. McGonagal crying out "No!" when Harry is pronounced Dead ...

And Harry repairing his wand ... I liked that part.

But Snape ... I wish that someone had said thank you! Or told him they knew and understood how he had suffered. But he was taken before ... I know he's a character in a great story ... but I would have really liked to read how he would have reacted to hearing that someone knew of his struggle.

I've been reading all day. There's so much more to talk about but I really can't put it all eloquently enough into words.

I will miss Hogwarts. But I loved this novel.

Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers a Plenty

I'm not sure if Meryl's finished or not ... I'm not. I'm at Chapter 10 and wanted to share my thoughts.

This book is EXTREMELY fast paced and action packed. I can barely breath with anticipation and fear that everywhere they go they are being attacked. Is Harry still marked with the trace? So that they will know where he is whereever he goes?

I have a bad feeling about Lupin. I remember reading somewhere in the 3rd book that werewolves were susceptible to dark magic. I have a feeling he ratted them out, perhaps against his will, but I have a feeling he did it anyway.

But - on second thought - I bet he's one that knows to trust Snape? I bet Snape made him do it.

I also think RAB is a girl. Just something Hermoine said ... but I have a feeling that Im going to find that out in chapter 10. The wedding chapter and the one before it were classic trio. I love these kids.

Voldemort being in Harry's head IS. NOT. GOOD. I foresee a big to-do over that particular feature.

Alright ... back to reading. I'll be done by this evening.

Friday, July 20, 2007

If She Wrote a Menu for McDonald's, I would Read It

JKR has posted an acknoweldgements note on her website. If you go to and then click on the pink erasure, a door pops up. Click the handle and then double click the piece of paper inside. The end is exquisite, and reminds me why when I read her work I just feel ... lighter.