February 28, 2013

Do it Now: Unpacking

Truth: I love to travel. Even if it's just an hour and half away to visit my nephews, I love packing up and taking off. Truth: I'm a horrible packer. I always over pack for fear of regretting leaving something behind. Even bigger truth: I despise unpacking when I get home. Despise it. So much so that I have been known, much to Jim's horror, to take up to a month to fully unpack my suitcase. Sure, I'll take my toiletry bag out, and I'll throw the dirty clothes into the hamper, but that's about as far as I get. From that point on, I just take things out of the open suitcase as I need it. Eventually it gets empty. Or, my husband will move the not-fully-unpacked suitcase out into the hall as if making some kind of "well then, I'll show you what I think of your unpacked suitcase" statement. Whoa, clearly I have a problem.

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February's book club book for my Edmonton book club was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Once I started reading it I found myself super-motivated, flagging every second page with neon post-its, anxious to start on my own Happiness Project before I had even finished the book. Actually, I haven't finished it yet - I decided to slow the reading of it down so that I could better reflect on each chapter of the book, and think of ways to apply aspects of her book to my own life.

The Happiness Project is divided into chapters by month, with each month focusing on a new resolution while also continuing with the previous month's one. January is about all about boosting energy, and for many people, myself included, reducing clutter and living in an organized home boosts your overall energy, and well, happiness. And it's just damn satisfying. Gretchen also has a list of Commandment's for herself which she applies throughout each resolution. One of these Commandment's, which really struck home for me in this chapter, was "Do it now".  Then I turned the page and got to "Tackle a Nagging Task". Enter: unpacking my suitcase.

I don't love not unpacking my suitcase. I just don't love unpacking it. (I had to read that several times to see if there was a double negative in there somewhere - so if there is, I'm sorry, but you get my point.) But it's definitely a nagging task and one that affects both myself and my husband's sanity. This month, I went on two separate trips:  to visit my sister in Vancouver and then to Mexico for a week. Since I started reading The Happiness Project while I was in Vancouver, I was motivated to put some of what I had read in the book into practice in my own life: I would unpack my suitcase when I got home. And if you're thinking I would have had to anyway to pack for my next trip, well then you'd be wrong because I own more than one large suitcase.

I hate unpacking
{Saigon *loves* inspecting my suitcases when I come home}

When I arrived home from Vancouver, Jim was just arriving home from work. I had been gone for 5 days so I was excited to see my husband (and Saigon) and catch up in person about the time we had been apart. Usually this would occur in the kitchen or maybe over on the couch. But not that day! Nope, that day I made Jim come upstairs with me and while I unpacked my suitcase, he sat on the bed, (in shock I might add), and we talked about our week. So not only did I accomplish a "Do it now" and a "Tackle a Nagging Task" task, but I'm pretty sure Jim was relieved he wouldn't have to trip over my suitcase every morning for the next month! And I will admit, it felt SO good to zip up that unpacked suitcase and put it away.

{I did it!}

We arrived home from Mexico two days ago, and you better believe my suitcase is all unpacked!  Does this mean I foresee a bedroom, free of unpacked suitcases in my life for years to come? I sure hope so.

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I'm pretty confident that I am alone in taking this long to unpack one's suitcase, but I'd love to know which you prefer: packing or unpacking? Why? Do you unpack as soon as you get home from somewhere?

February 18, 2013

"This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry."

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Part II

So...I'm not doing to well with getting my Harry Potter Friday posts up on Friday...but better late than never, right? Right? I finished the book yesterday and HOLY SHIT. I still have so many feelings about everything that happened! I don't even know where to start. I'm also supposed to be packing for Mexico for tomorrow, but PRIORITIES. So for this post, I don't want to over-analyze and think too much about some of the things that I know don't make a whooooole lotta sense, I just want to keep all the feels that I'm feeling.  Because PoA is definitely my favourite book in the series so far.

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Also, *spoiler warning* for the rest of this post! (You know, if you're one of those rare people who hasn't read Harry Potter yet.)

Sometimes I felt dumb while reading this book and not being able to predict what was going to happen, or who was going to end up actually being bad or actually being good, because, come on, I'm not a 12-year old reading this for the first time, but seriously guys, I don't think I saw anything that happened in the end coming. I knew in the first half of the book that there were some things/people that seemed up to something or just not right, but I just didn't know what these things were going to amount to.

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Quick run-down on my thoughts:

-I didn't want to say it in my last post in case I ended up being wrong, but I really wanted Sirius Black to be good! When the truth about him came out, I was SO happy. Those moments between Black and Harry, where Harry discovers the truth about Sirius, Pettigrew, Lupin and his father were my favourite scenes this entire series so far. And when Black asks Harry if he might want to consider living with him during the summers since he's he rightful guardian, I honestly had tears in my eyes. Of course, it was all too good to be true (for now), but I'm certain we haven't seen the last of Black just yet.

-So Lupin wasn't being poisoned by Snape like I originally thought, but I still don't like him. And while I'm relieved that Lupin isn't dying, his being a werewolf doesn't seem all that much better to me seeing as how he can no longer teach at Hogwarts anyway. I'm disappointed Lupin has to leave - he was one of my favourite new characters this book! 

-I was so sure that Crookshanks wasn't really a cat - when actually it was Scabbers that wasn't really a rat. Crookshanks is one smart kitty. Although, if Harry, Ron and Hermione had been half as smart as Crookshanks, they would have listened to the sneakoscope back in Chapter 11 when it went off when Crookshanks and Scabbers were both near it.

-I know it seems a lot to expect a young boy like Harry to have killed Pettigrew when he had the chance, but I really wish someone had killed him. Why would they think he could be securely imprisoned in Azkaban if he's an Animagus? Wouldn't he be able to change into a rat and easily escape? That's how Black escaped after all.  Poor thinking on all of their behalves, I gotta say. Even if they catch him now, what's stopping Pettigrew from turning into a rat again? MAKES NO SENSE. Although, I did love the whole idea of an Animagus.
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-I've always loved the idea of time-travel, but I find time-travel works best if you don't over think it. Over thinking time-travel = flaws galore.

Ok that's all I got off the top of my head! I really should go pack now before hubby loses it. Also, I apologize to any of you readalongers who are reading this - I don't have time to read anyone's posts for this week, but I will be back next week to make super-late comments on your posts! I also won't be having a post for the first part of Goblet of Fire as I will be in Mexico until the 26th, but I will do a double post the following Friday, promise!

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February 08, 2013

Them Azkaban guards give me the collywobbles.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Part I

Well helloooo, Prisoner of Azkaban! I mean, everyone made it pretty clear in their posts last week that they couldn't wait to move on to PoA, and I just kinda nodded my head in agreement because you guys know best,  BUT NOW, now I see why. This book is picking up THE PACE and things are getting scary-serious. Grims, Sirius Black, The Dementors...JKR isn't messing around. I think I would have been a teeeeeny bit scared to have read this as a kid.

Of course, this book starts out like the first two books did (and which I'm sure all the rest will), with Harry home with the horrible Dursley's for the summer. And while there is some "recap" work done to catch up those who choose to jump into a series the third book in (SERIOUSLY, WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!), it's definitely bearable. But Harry got the hell outta dodge after he lost his cool and inflated his Aunt Marge ala Violet Beauregarde style.

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Ok, enough of this paragraph business - let's switch over to bullet points for the rest of my random thoughts thus far in PoA. There's just too much to talk about and I am sort of on vacation right now so time is of the essence!

~"Black's not going to be caught by a thirteen-year-old wizard." (p.50) Ha! We'll see about that!

~"It was common knowledge that Snape wanted the Defence Against the Dark Arts job..." (p. 72)  Why can't Snape be the professor for this class??

~Hermione is acting really weird. What's she up to? (Don't answer that!)

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~I kinda love Lupin. He's so calm and approachable. But why did he ride the train to Hogwart's? And why are his robes so old and shabby? You'd think the school would have a budget for robes for the professors. Or at least some "loaners". AND why is he the only one that seems to get "ill" at Hogwart's?

~I'm pretty sure Snape's "get better" potion he's making for Lupin isn't actually going to make him "better". I just don't trust Snape. AT ALL.

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Nope, don't trust him.

~While Harry has only used The Marauder's Map to get himself to Hogsmeade so far, I'm sure this map will prove to be far more useful later on in the book.

~If Serius Black really did send Harry his new broom, how did it get delivered to Harry's bed? How do ANY of the Christmas presents get to the foot of the student's beds??

~Is Crookshanks really just a cat?? Something about him seems suspicious...

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February 02, 2013

Harry Potter is greater by far than Dobby knew!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Part II

And just like that, I apologize to Dobby for all the horrible things I said about him and for wanting nothing more than to strangle him. When he caught that sock that Mr Malfoy accidentally threw at him (well played, Harry, well played), and he realized what it meant - well...I...*tears in my eyes*.

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And when I actually thought for a minute that Ginny had been killed, I just - couldn't. I mean, I don't have *feelings* for her (yet), but I wouldn't want any one of the Weasley's to die. Plus, I have my suspicions that her and Harry might have a thing in the later books...

I'm glad Lockhart got what was coming to him. Really, it couldn't have been executed more perfectly. I'm surprised he hadn't accidentally cast a spell on himself before. What a dumb-ass.

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I like how JKR totally made us think that Ginny had walked in on Percy doing *you know what* (is that even appropriate for a young reader's book?) but then said he was just making out with his girlfriend. Even if that WAS what he was doing (making out), why imply earlier on that it was something else. Or am I the ONLY ONE who's mind went there?!

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Let's talk about Harry:

- He's our hero - again. But not before having almost the entire school, his own house included, thinking that he's actually the heir to Slytherin. And it didn't help his case that Harry can talk to snakes in snake language (ie. Parselmouth), which was an ability possessed by Salazar Slytherin.

-But no matter what other people thought or gossiped about, Hermione and Ron stood by his side. And even though it seems like Harry didn't get either of them a Christmas gift (again), he at least remembered to give them his phone number at the end of the school year. BUT - and I know I keep going back to this - why doesn't Harry just spend the entire summer with the Weasley's?? Everyone knows that the Dursley's locked Harry up the previous summer and treat him horribly. And Harry SAVED Ginny's life! I'm sure the Weasley's would be happy to have Harry even if he hadn't saved their little girl. Is every book in this series going to start off with a few chapters on how horrible the Dursley's are to Harry? WE GET IT JKR.

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." (p. 245)

Oh  ya! And Hagrid! I'm so glad he wasn't actually the one to have opened the Chamber 50 years ago! And how can you not love someone who loves ALL animals/creatures as much as Hagrid does? Even if said creatures include HUGE spiders *shudder*. While I'm sure Hagrid is happy to remain in his title as gamekeeper, I do think his name should be publicly cleared at Hogwart's.

Best quote this book:
"Snape was looking as though the first person to ask him for a Love Potion would be force-fed poison" (p. 177)