Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A day (or night) in the life, or My own worst enemy

            “Provo girl found dead in hallway after accidental drowning”

What could prompt a headline like that, you might ask? Well, let me tell you about my night a few weeks ago. My poor roommates have already heard this story 4 or 5 times, but it’s a pretty good one.

So after a late night of homework I fell gratefully into bed around 12:30 and slept soundly. My slumber was disturbed, however, and I awoke at 1:30. I realized I felt pretty unwell. I dragged myself out of bed and out to the hall bathroom (which is approximately 5 or 6 steps from my bedroom door) so I can do an illness assessment in the light without disturbing my roommate. In reality, it went something like this:

Me (after opening my eyes a crack): “ugh…bathroom…” *thump* *stagger*. Because I am in reality only half awake. At this point you should know that this clever narrator of yours turns into an illogical whack job when only half conscious. Let’s keep going.

I get to the bathroom and decide that I should take some medicine and get back into bed ASAP. To me at this point getting back into bed is a life or death situation because a)I don’t feel good and b) every functioning intellectual pathway in my brain is saying “I must go back to sleep. Right. Now.” Easy enough, right? No. My biggest struggle still lay ahead of me.
The medicine I needed was sitting on my dresser, in a nice impossible-to-open, individually wrapped plastic square. And I was still in the bathroom. But if I went in my room, I needed to get back into bed. But before I could, I needed that pill. But to take the pill, I needed water. Which was in the bathroom. Which is where I was, but I didn’t have anything to put the water in to get it to the bedroom. I was stuck. I kid you not, this was my thought process. I sat for a moment, pondering the injustice of it all in the face of my deep desire to get back into bed. 

I never once considered walking the 20 feet to the kitchen sink which would have as many glasses as I could ask for, just waiting to be filled with cool, portable water. I also never considered walking into my room, grabbing the medicine, and walking back to the bathroom. While this was a feat that could have been accomplished in under 30 seconds, it was unfathomable. Because any and all forward motion on my part must be focused on getting me back into bed. I had no other option. Despair began to settle in.
But then, a miracle! An additional little neuron in my brain rousted itself from sleep and whispered to me, “You, Emily, you can transport the water! In your mouth.” How could I have been so blind? The answer had lain right in front of me the the entire time! It was simple, really. All I had to do was to fill my cupped hands with water, slurp it into my mouth, and then make my way to the bedroom, pop the pill in with the water, swallow, and then climb victorious into my bed where I would find rest and good health restored to me. I nearly cried at the beauty and simplicity of it! Well, I got very excited, at least. 

My cheer restored, I happily filled my hands and then mouth with water, flipped off the light, and worked my way down the incredibly short hallway to my bedroom. But then a funny thing happened. I…couldn’t breathe. Oh no! In my half-dazed joy I had forgotten that for the last ten years I have been unable to breathe very well through my nose (my doctor suspects a deviated septum) and tonight it was especially difficult. I could feel the panic begin to rise. I couldn’t breathe through my mouth, because it was full of water. I couldn’t breathe through my nose, because I just couldn’t. I was going to die…

Wait! There must be a solution! I wouldn’t go out that easily. I was a fighter. And there was a solution. “Swallow the water,” you might say. “Turn around and go back into the bathroom and spit it out,” you suggest. “Remember the kitchen with the cups?” you ask. I didn’t remember. In fact, none of these basic options ever struck me as viable, because I couldn’t turn around at any cost. Even if that cost was my life. What was my plan, then? Move faster. Get in and beat this thing before it beat me. I forced my paralyzed-with-fear self onward toward the goal. As I moved, I choked. I spluttered. I snorted, trying to open up an air way in my stubborn nose. The impossible breaths came faster as the panic rose and the need for oxygen pressed down on me. 

I made it into my room. My roommate’s prostrate form lay before me in the dark. Good, she’s still asleep. I didn’t want to wake her up, but I was still coughing and choking around the water in my mouth and forcing tiny amounts of air through my blocked nasal passages. I stumble over to my dresser. Success! I found the pill. The pill that will make me feel better and justify everything I had been through that night. I was moments from my goal of being back asleep in bed, the whole ordeal behind me. But now I must wrestle said pill from its absurd packaging. WHO thought this plastic/foil contraption was a good idea?? At this point my hands are shaking, my lungs are screaming, and hope is fleeting. I find that I am not, after all, ready to give it all up. You know. Life.

And then, another miracle. The pill came free. I hurriedly popped it into my mouth and did something I should have done so many times before: I swallowed. Air flooded my lungs. My head cleared. Happiness returned. I crawled back into bed and was instantly asleep. 

The next day I was casually talking with another roommate about how her night had gone. She had hung out with a boy until 3:30 that morning! At the mention of that, my night of shame washed over me in a horrific tidal wave. Had they come back here to the apartment at all? Were they in the living room at the time of my great struggle?? Had they heard me in effect drowning myself in the hallway? But they had not been there. There were no witnesses. My dignity, such as it was, was in tact. Such as it was...

And that, friends, is how I nearly died from drowning in the hall.           

Monday, November 14, 2011

Remember Me?

Um…hello! I bet you are relieved to find that I am in fact not dead! (all two of you that read my blog) I’ve had the urge to blog forever but never seem to have enough time, although I don’t feel like my schedule is full of particularly pressing items. Anyway, I don’t have any personal pictures, hopefully I can do some of that over Thanksgiving, but here’s a lil update for you!

Today is kind of a big deal as it marks the first day of the LAST FOUR WEEKS OF CLASS!!!!!!! I’m fairly certain that I will have straight B's this semester, due in part to a complete mental breakdown mid-semester the same week as 2 papers and 2 tests. But B's are nothing to be ashamed of, right? I’m supes ready to get this semester over with, except two of my besties, namely Allyson and Brianna, are leaving me forever and I’m not at all okay with it. So this Christmas will be a little bittersweet. I am also getting two new roommates next semester which freaks me out. I can’t even describe how much I love my living situation right now. I love all my roommates. I love our apartment. I love our friends across the hall with whom we share an open-door policy. I’m beginning to love our ward. We have a great dynamic right now and I’ll be sad to see it go. But, c’est la vie, n’est-ce pas? 

Speaking of beginning to love my ward, we’ve really ramped up our social lives the past few weeks and it’s fabulous. If you made a chart of when my grades began to dip below the 90% mark it would match up perfectly with when I started to play more. This is fine by me. Turns out there are some fun people to be found if you look for them. 

In other news, I have a new niece and nephew named Caitlyn and Ethan! Congrats to my big bros and wives Jeff and Kathy and Steve and Melissa, respectively. And sometime next month Dave and Kristy are expecting twin boys!! I’m dying to see them. By the end of the year there should be FIFTEEN grandkids in my family! This is definitely a perk of being the youngest as I get to really have a fun relationship with my siblings’ kids before I have my own. Downside? Good names are slipping out of my reach every time another one is born.

I got a second calling on Sunday as a compassionate service committee member, which is the calling I had all last school year. I enjoy it, it reminds me how much I love to help people and take a step out of my own world. I get so absorbed in my own life that I forget things are going on around me sometimes (hence no blog post in 3 months). I am also a visiting teacher supervisor which is a fairly low-intensity calling. It was a huge adjustment going from RS Pres to that, and being out of the loop on everything and knowing nobody. I really missed it the first month or so. But we have a great presidency and it’s been good to have a break from the stress. I feel like I am a better person when I have more demanding callings, so I definitely miss that aspect of it, but that just means I need to work harder to be a good person all the time. 

Okay, drive by highlights of the semester so far: 
-Realizing that I’m actually learning things in my classes and might possibly be getting smarter, or at least more knowledgable.
-Some really awesome games of Catchphrase.
-Loooong talks with my roomies.
-Being “by far the funniest person” Ali Fredrickson has ever met. Haha.
-Finding out I love to sew.
-Turning my living room into my personal crafting area (aka disaster zone) for two weeks as I made my Halloween costume (and having amazingly tolerant roommates).
-Having a genuinely fun weekend with my parents and also my brother Matt and his family.
-BYU vs. USU game with Bri: miracle comeback! I’ve never screamed so much in my life. We were so excited, you would have thought BYU had won the Superbowl.
-Being told by my professor that if I work a bit harder I could be one of the best writers in our class.
-Getting the funding I needed to go to school and feeling truly blessed in my endeavors and opportunities by a loving Heavenly Father.
-Knitting parties at my place.
-Making new friends and doing my best to stay in touch with old ones.
-Laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. 

It’s been a pretty good semester so far.

What I’ve currently been…
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Don’t I sound smart?)
TV: Glee, Castle, Modern Family, Psych. Honorable Mentions: Parenthood, Bones.Movies(this last weekend): Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; Water for Elephants (I’m still in love with this movie!)
Work, School, Play (in that exact order every day) 
Tara made to-die-for Tortellini Soup yesterday and I made adorable cupcakes that are decorated like little turkeys. But the usual fare looks something like bagels, poptarts, and granola bars. I heart school.
The fall weather, all the mini-parties we’ve been hosting, the holiday season, learning about literature, being almost done with learning about literature for another semester.
Mini research papers about early Christianity (for my religion class), a research paper about Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and a letter to my cute little missionary penpal who I have chosen to think of as a little brother so I don’t feel weird.   
Taking French 201 next semester, yikes! If you can’t find me over Christmas break it’s because I will be locked in a room with my 101/102 textbook trying to relearn verb tenses and basic vocab. But I’m excited to get back into it. Maybe.

     My exciting news before I wrap this up: I don't have any pictures handy, but I would officially categorize my hair as being a bob. I did it! I survived stage one!!!! My name is Emily Hodgen and I have successfully been overcoming a pixie cut for 8 months now. Boom.     

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

i dream in rhyming couplets

Ok not really, but this post is about rhyming couplets and dreams. First let's talk dreams.

I've been having crazy ones lately. Like the one where it was "Pretty Woman" set in Regency times. Or the amnesia one I mentioned. Or the tragic throat slitting one. I think my mind is under-stimulated without school. Last night the first one played out like some crazy foreign indie drama. I don't remember specifics but it involved a very strange looking foreign man who possibly worked for a priest running around doing things and had a bizarre message.

Then I dreamed that I was with some friends, or a cousin and her friends...I don't know. None of the people are actually real. But anyways, these chicks were bad news and I was stuck tagging along. Like, so bad they took grocery bags into a department store and just started filling them with stuff that they wanted to steal! Holy cow! So I was like "Yo, listen, you do whatever you want, that's cool, but I'm not going to do this." And then I turn around and there's the department store manager with a $7,000 gift certificate for me as a reward and as a way to promote business (?) So I get super excited thinking about what I'll buy, and the bad girls are all jealous. Why they aren't in jail, I'm not sure. But mostly I'm excited because they have an Aveda hair salon in the store (once again...what?) and I'm going to get my hair cut and dyed professionally and expensively. Awesome. That one I did not care to wake up from.

Moving along...did you know I wrote a rap about Colin Powell? Yeah, NBD, just threw down some rhymes. Well, when I worked at the Utah Neurological Clinic (UNC) we went to this motivational seminar, and he was one of the speakers. He talked about growing up in Harlem and overcoming obstacles, and also about how every member of a team is important. Example: the little migrant worker who cleaned his office in the white house made his job possible. I mean, he probably could have cleaned it himself or just not made a mess if we get right down to it, but for the sake of the take-home message we'll roll with it.

Anyways, afterward we had to do presentations at work on something we learned at the seminar. Some people made posters. Some of the posters had graphs or inspirational sayings. And then there's me and my friend Bri. We decide to rap, out of respect (and class stereotyping) of Colin's humble beginnings. Because we're ballin' like that. I write it and she comes over and we practice and practice and practice, much to the chagrin of my roommates. But we get the sucker down. And the day of we dress in black with sunglasses and yellow bandanas around our heads and we perform for the entire staff of the clinic. And they look at us with blank stares and clap half-heartedly. couldn't have done it! Just kidding, I love those people. But they really didn't know what to make of us. Anyways, I stumbled upon the lyrics as I cleaned out my gmail inbox for the first time in 2 years (and deleted 1600 emails. Yeah) and wanted to share. So that it would be preserved for posterity, you know?

so the rhythm (not the rhyming) is something liiiike a-b,a-b, c-c, c, c-c. At least the first line is, and then it sort of takes on a life of it's own after that. And the chorus is the tune of the chorus to Akon's Don't Matter. Enjoy!

Check this, up next is our man Colin
On the mean streets of Harlem he used to be rollin’
But now he flyin’ high, he’s up there on top
It’s all because the boy would not stop
Started off as a homeboy his outlook scary
But he dreamed big, was state secretary
The moral is kids – who cares where you start
It’s where you end up – just gotta have heart

You may have gotten off to a rough start
But it don’t matter, no
It’s where you end

The house was white, the flag stars and stripes
Col’ had the whole, he was doin’ a’right
But what would he do without the tight crew
That made his pad sparkle just like morning dew?
Straight up he’d crash cause we all need our peeps
From the bosses high up to the bros who push the sweeps
So watch yourself don’t be hatin’ a lot
You might find out you need what they got

You may have gotten off to a rough start
But it don’t matter, no
It’s where you end

So, let’s be friends and lift where you stand
We all important we need every hand
Remember this tale no way we can fail
And happy we’ll be at the U-N-C!!!


Monday, August 15, 2011

the busiest and best week of my summer

So I'm moving this week, and on the one hand I feel like the critters on the Secret of Nimh as they run around screaming their heads off that it's Moving Day. On the other hand I am scheduled to begin thinking about packing when I get home today, and refuse to do it a moment sooner. ie I have in no way started. So it doesn't feel real.

I am sadexcitedapprehensive about moving. I had a really great summer, and while I am sooo ready for school to start, I don't want the summer to end. I have had the best ward probably of my whole Provo experience and made so many friends and had so much fun. All my Winter roomies peaced out on me, so I had the chance to really get out of my shell and meet people that I probably wouldn't have otherwise. I had the coolest bishopric who had the coolest families. And I got to be RS president which opened up my world to a lot of new and wonderful experiences. Yeah, I'd chalk this one up as a "win."

But, like they say, all good things must come to an end. Fortunately the majority of my ward is dispersing, so I don't really want to stay. I just want things to stay the same for a while longer.

Anyways, last week was crazy but so good! Let me walk you through.

Saturday the 6th- Spend all morning/afternoon shopping for an upcoming activity and went to the gym with my friend Jamie. Had a lot of fun. Got a sweet black leather purse for $1, thank you thrift store. Had a migraine, took a nap. Went to wedding reception of two people in my ward, hung out with cool ward friends. Stayed up until 2 getting stuff ready for Sunday, did not sleep that night, probably because of said migraine.

Sunday was at church at 8 for meetings, run my mouth off pointing out that I never had to speak in church in this ward. Promptly get asked to speak the following Sunday, which is my last Sunday in the ward. Really? Really? Took 10 minute nap after church, made food for Break the Fast, went to Break the Fast and had fun, Spent some time getting activity stuff ready, went to ward prayer, sat and talked and had fun and got 11 mosquito bites.

Monday work 8-5, purchase hair dye and do more shopping for activity. Go to FHE, walk around ward passing out fliers for activity, spend an hour trying to locate gloves to dye hair. Realize I still have 7 frozen lasagnas in my freezer that need to be cooked the next day that I hadn't passed out. Cue texting storm. Finally dye my hair at midnight. (it looks good) Stay up way too late. Texts still going back and forth at 2 am.

Tuesday have a panic attack that everything is not ready for activity. Leave work at 2:30 so I can go home and make preparations. Cook 2 lasagnas, make 2 salads, and coordinate getting everything over to the stake center. Host Elder's Quorum Appreciation Night, where we fed them lasagna, salad, desserts, drinks, and decorated the tables with a million cute notes saying what we love about them, Hershey's kisses, and little signs. Balloons blown up and strewn about the floor. My friend Matt speculating that there is not enough food. Cue another panic attack and hurriedly making another salad. Turns out we have way too much food. Great turn out, lots of help. I love my RS girls. So tired I can't see straight. Lots and lots of fun. Clean up, friend Lindsay takes me home, we sit and talk about life for a while on my porch. More mosquito bites.

Wednesday Work 8-5. Still exhausted. Get home, finish paying back BYU so I can register. But it hasn't updated yet, so I can't register. Orient the new RS Pres, then we go to a stake RS pres meeting which normally lasts an hour but for some reason lasted 2 1/2 hours. Just. Need. A. Break. But can't quit now! Mosquito bite on right hand index finger knuckle giant and swollen. Go to bed way too late. Sleep fitfully, it's hot in our house. Awake to my computer making some crazy screaming sound at 5 am. Certain that my computer has screamed its last, I drag myself out of bed to examine the damage. It just restarted itself, no harm done. Go back to bed. Hand itching and writhing so badly from giant swollen mosquito bite, must get out of bed and get something to ice it. Head to kitchen, see a strange truck parked right behind our house that wasn't there before. Note that all the windows are open and if it's a serial killer it won't take much for them to get it. Sit and ice my hand for a while, go back to bed. Cue bizarre dream that person from my past is mad about something I had nothing to do with and they try to slit my throat, and kind of succeed. I run to the police but they don't believe me and convince me I'm crazy. I wake up. Why can't I just sleep?

Thursday Turns out the truck belongs to future tenant who is on vacay. Work 8-2:30, closed early for graduation, halelujah. Go home and veg, spend all day hitting refresh trying to get into classes I need. For some reason the only openings for 4 of my classes is the same time slot on Tuesday/Thursday. Great. Gary the Magnificent emails me and says they will let me move in early. I won't be homeless after all. Realize I never asked anyone to teach on Sunday. Make a couple attempts but realize it's not fair on such short notice when our ward will be camping all weekend. Add "Teach RS" to the list of things I have to do on Sunday. Glance through the lesson. Get the night off! Watch SYTYCD finale, Go Melanie! Get not enough sleep.

Friday work 8-5. Have had songs from A Very Potter Musical stuck in my head for 2 weeks now. After literally stalking the registration website all day, I finally get my perfect Fall schedule, including a piano class and a jogging class. First time I will take classes for the pure fun of it. Also have 3 english classes, 1 elang class, and christian history. I'm going to die with reading. Walk home with co-worker who just had their last day. Take a shower and pack and leave for ward camp out. SO MUCH FUN! Will get its own post. Go to bed at 2, don't sleep at all because it's freezing. Cry quietly to myself and wish for death or morning, whichever comes first.

Saturday Have fun camping until about 2 ish that afternoon. I love my ward. No mosquito bites. Really? Provo has more than the great outdoors? Go home and shower because I smell FOUL. Take a 2 1/2 hour nap that I've been needing for a week and a half. Get up and prep to start working on my talk. Get a text from Lindsay. Do I want to go get ice cream? Yeah, I do. Abandon all pretenses of working on talk. Go pick up 2 other friends and hit the frozen yogurt. Spend my last $3. Hope (a lot) that I get my reimbursement check the next day (I do). Finally at 10pm I settle down to write my talk. Stay up all night (again), except my body collapses a few times because I didn't sleep the night before. Must just survive one more day...

Sunday When I leave for 8am meeting, my talk is only half written. Cool, I'm only the first speaker and Sacrament meeting is at 9:25. Have a good PEC meeting, Bishop makes me bear my testimony. I cry. I loved being RS pres. Run up to the clerk's office, I have 25 minutes to finish my talk. Pull out my feeble and fragile laptop. Definitely should not be taking it from home, but this is an emergency. Start copy and pasting quotes like a crazy person. Print on the clerk's computer. Slowest computer in the world. Church started 5 minutes ago. Run through the halls and literally walk in the door just in time to be released with a vote of thanks. Like, I didn't even have time to sit down. Spend Sacrament reading my talk for the first time. Get up and give it. Not too shabby.

Sit down, pull out the gospel principles manual and start planning my RS lesson. Get distracted, the other talks are great too. Elder Cardon of the Seventy is at our meeting (his son is in our ward) and he gets up and talks as well. Super good. Move on to Sunday School. Still planning my lesson, and get a bare outline pounded out. Sunday School is good, I get distracted again. Most definitely not ready when RS rolls around. Work out a backup plan with new RS pres for when my lesson isn't long enough. But because my RS girls are so fabulous, they make a million comments and I straight up run out of time halfway through my lesson. Cue frantic paraphrasing. Then testimony bearing and public emotional breakdown as I say goodbye to the girls. Awesome Sunday, spirit very strong in every meeting. People saying lots of nice things to me. Lots of hugging. I'm going to miss them all so much! Grateful I got to teach one last time, even if it was a busy day.

Get home, fight to stay awake long enough to get home taught. Go take a nap for an hour, then go pay a visit to Laurel to borrow "North and South." Roomie Kelley has never seen it. (gasp) Spend the next 3 hours guilt free watching awesome British drama and chowing down on muddy buddies. First time in 4 months I've had a free Sunday afternoon/evening. It feels kinda nice. Ward prayer. Vows of seeing each other again before we all move later this week. Run home to finish "North and South". I love you Mr. Thornton! Sit and chat with Kelley for a bit and then BAM I realize how tired I am. Fall into bed.

I did it. I survived the week! And I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

nicely done

I am having a mellow day inside my head. Not sad. Not unhappy. Just kind of there.

So the other day I received a text message from someone I didn't know, and it was the third or fourth time I have received a message like this. Let me recreate it for you:

Hi Emily! You don't know me, my name is                   . I am a Mary Kay consultant and friends with (someone I know; different every time). She said you were really nice and could help me out! I would like to give you a free facial, and I'll come to you! Etc, etc, accumulating in a 3-text-long message.

Why do people think I'm so wonderful that I would love to give every inexperienced peddler of over-priced beauty products direct access to my face? I have sat down with many MK reps in my time, and let me tell you a secret: I hate Mary Kay products as much as their parties. So while I do love to help people, this is where I draw the line. 

I'm not that nice.

General Update:

I had a dream last night that some boy became my boyfriend. And while the whole thing was bizarre (my dreams usually are) I am now left with phantom-boyfriend-hangover. You know, where you have all these fake but strong emotions in a dream and you still kind of feel them? And you miss someone who was never really there?

I read Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson this last week. I thought it started slow but I soon was hooked. I love his writing. He's turning me into a Fantasy-genre nerd. But mostly I'm just nerd for him.

I have to move in 2 1/2 weeks. Boooooooo. I hate moving.

I'm putting together a last activity for the RS and it's a big dinner thing that the guys are invited to. I love event planning.

I'm getting released in 2 Sundays. :(

25 days until school starts. 

30 Day movie challenge:

Day 4: A movie that makes you sad.

This is a toughie. If there is a movie where someone dies, someone might die, or someone has died or people have to say goodbye forever, it will make me cry. More often than not, like a little girl. So I have lots, for a million different reasons. I actually really enjoy movies that make me sad.
But I will go with...

Blood Diamond

I'm a major sucker for tragic stories about Africa. I think Africa is fascinating and horrifying and beautiful. I saw this on TV and thought it was amazing. It makes me sad to see the horrors people inflict on each other: genocide, families ripped apart, child soldiers, betrayal. All in the name of money. So that makes me sad. And it makes me sad to see what happens specifically to the characters. I don't want to spoil the ending but there is a major theme of redemption and sacrifice in this that is very bittersweet. The sadness of missed opportunity, of coming to terms with life and a place that has essentially been forsaken. Leonardo DiCaprio is fabulous, I love his character in this. Great cast, great story. And it breaks my heart.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Fresh fish! We leave the eyes in so they'll see you through the week!"

I'm watching "Hook" on tv right now. It started as an effort to drown out the sounds of bizarre gooey romance wafting up the stairs but then I found this movie and I'm quite pleased to spend my afternoon this way. I think it's one of the most perfect movies ever made. And holy cow the music in the scene where Rufio draws the line in the dirt and they have to choose if they want to follow Peter or Rufio. Just a few more shout outs and then I'll stop: Dustin Hoffman as Hook? Can you even think of a better match between character and actor? Not to mention Smee. And I love the mouthy tiny little black lost boy and the one with slicked hair and checkered blazer with a brooklyn accent. Brilliance.

Do you ever look at a movie and think, "Gosh, I bet they had fun making that"? I do. And I think that about this movie.

Okay, I'm a movie freak. I know. I can't help it. We'll move on now.

So I don't have a purpose for this post. I'm just bored.

As part of a RS activity I wrote a letter today to a missionary that I don't know. It took me like 2 hours and it was quite short. I feel bad for him. Oh well, maybe I'll get a pen pal out of it. Except I feel weird because I'm at least 2 years older than any missionary. 3-4 depending on how long they've been out.

"Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson..."

I'm ancient. But only relatively.

Remember how I'm always bemoaning the fact that it's sooooo hot in my house? I knocked over our one and only box fan today and it shattered. I want to cry. Worst. Case. Scenario.

Last night I had a really cool dream. Well, it was really trippy at the time. I dreamed that I had been somewhere doing something with friends and went to sleep. When I woke up (still dreaming) a year a half had passed and I had no idea what had happened. But I asked everyone and they said I had been there, but that now that they had thought about it, I had been darker and not as happy. (It was cooler than it sounds). Anyways, why couldn't I remember the last year and a half? If it wasn't me inside my head, who had it been? Lots of things had happened that I didn't know about. Anyways, I thought it was a cool idea. Copyright Emily.

Remember back to school shopping? I would sit and look through catalogs and see what look I wanted to portray that year. And then my mom would take me to Shopko and I got stuck with whatever she would let me buy. But still, back to school shopping was always exciting. Now it's more like, " the holes in these shirts aren't quite indecent...yeah, they'll do for another year." And you feel like you struck gold if you can make those shoes last 6 more months because not only are they comfy but you just can't afford to replace...anything. You really don't understand how cool childhood is until it's over.

You know that yoplait commercial where the woman is on the phone talking to her friend about her diet and her husband is in the background in the kitchen, and she's all like "well yesterday I had an apple turnover and I had this and this..." and her husband is all like "omg, where is she hiding that?" and he starts digging through the fridge and the wife in this really awful condescending tone is like, "Babe, what are you doing?" And he looks all sheepish. It makes me mad. The man has the right to rifle through his fridge if he wants! I hate what our society has done to men. Why is it that we have to demean men just to feel validated as women? No wonder young adult males seem to be taking longer transitioning from "guy" to "man." "Man" doesn't look so good anymore. It means constantly being torn down by women as you work yourself to death to provide for your family (while being resented for being a provider) and are only allowed to find satisfaction and fulfillment through your work as long as it doesn't hold back the aspiring careers of women. According to the sitcoms and other forms of media at least. I may be a bit of an anti-feminist. We've eliminated the need for men, so why step up to be one? Stupid.

Okay, so Movie Challenge Day 3, and then we can wrap this up.

Day 3: A movie that makes you happy.

Well, so as to render the first half of this post relevant, I will say Hook. It gave me chills in multiple places and even though half of it is super far-fetched (I mean, come on Robin Williams in tights and rat-n-spray hair) it's so awesome you don't care. And it reminds you of childhood. And being happy.

                                         Hopefully the sound is okay, mine still doesn't work.

Runners Up
The Princess and the Frog
Various others, I'm sure

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Remember how chipper I was at the beginning of summer, being all like "This summer is going to be so fun and then guess what! When I'm tired of working, I get to start school again!" (imagine that being said in a high voice and spoken through the front part of the mouth. If that makes sense.)? Yeah, well, the "I'm tired of working" has hit me strong, and not nearly as cheerily as I anticipated. Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for my job and I like it, but I'm soooo tired of sitting in the same place all day every day! I walk past people sitting the library doing homework and I'm actually jealous. It's sick.

33 more days until school starts...
P.S. I hate EFY.

Now for some fun:

Day 2 movie challenge:
Your Least Favorite Movie

This is hard, I'm trying to think if I really even have one. I think if a movie is so terrible it's funny, then it's still valuable. But if a movie fails to inspire any reactions then I would deem it a bad movie. That being said, I don't know what my least favorite movie ever is, but my least favorite of the movies I've seen recently? That I can handle.

Red Riding Hood

So this really isn't the worst movie ever made, but of all the movies I've seen this summer (not that many, to be fair) I think it's the one I've enjoyed the least. And somehow I've seen it twice. Some of my friends really like it, and it has all the elements that should have me hooked: love triangle, the supernatural, mystery, smokin hot guys, Gary Oldman.

But I feel like there is no character development. Or introduction, in fact. You know that Valerie loves Peter. Why? I don't know. And that's about all we know about her. And him. Besides that fact that he only ever wears black which should make him mysterious but only makes him seem creepy to me. He also looks like Joaquin Phoenix, who I like but I keep picturing him as Joaquin Phoenix from Gladiator who is also creepy. But since there is no character development, I have no reason to change my mind. They also keep trying to get it on every five minutes in public places, which freaks me out.

So pretty much we are thrown into this little village and all we see of it are the events surrounding the climax, so I don't care about the village, I don't care about the people, and I don't care about the main characters because they feel like one-dimensional strangers. And I have to sit and watch them do things that I don't care about for two hours. Twice.

It is a film done by Catherine Hardwicke (a la Twilight) so I know I can't expect too much out of it, but it had a lot of good elements that should have meant at least an entertaining film. But it was not. I will give them credit, I didn't figure out the mystery of who the wolf was which may have been because of masterful execution, or it was because I was so busy trying to find something to be interested in that my super sleuth skills were being ignored.

The best part of the movie? This guy right here:

 And that's only because he looks like a Greek god. What was his character's name? I don't even remember, because none of the movie's characters are memorable. But he was hot.

Honorable Mentions:
The Ultimate Gift
The Polar Express
Mama Mia

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm in love I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!

 Okay, so I just really wanted to do a shout-out to Elf, but I am in love. Just not the way the title implies. A few years ago my good friend Laurel introduced me to Bollywood movies and my life was never the same. This summer I had some time and some Netflix so I casually threw some on my queue when I found out roomie Kelley would watch them with me. Boy was that a mistake. I am obsessed. I liked them before but now I can't stop listening to the music. I sing it all the time (inasmuch as I can because it's, you know, in Hindi) my favorite is still standing strong with Om Shanti Om (translation: Peace. It is a popular saying/mantra). Specifically this song:
                                               Jag Soona Soona Lage

I love the drums and the desperation in the opening voice because it is about a darling man with aspirations to be a famous actor and a sweet and beautiful movie starlet whose destinies are intertwined but ill-fated. So anyways I can't stop singing this song.

I watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (translation: the lover carries away his bride, or something like that). I made the mistake of showing this to other people when I didn't remember it very well. It is not my favorite. It is an older one with Shahrukh Khan and Kajol and a classic but not terribly entertaining and very long. And cheesy because it was made in like 1993. So fail on my part. In my search for songs to sing besides Jag Soona Soona Lage I came back empty handed.

Next we have Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (translation: A match made by God) which is darling but I don't find myself invested like in Om Shanti Om. It's about an older man and younger girl who end up married after her fiancee and dad die on her wedding day (NOT a good day) and as her dad's favored pupil they are married to grant her security. He loves her, she is too brokenhearted to even consider loving again. Let the craziness ensue. Secret identities, love triangles in ways you would not expect, a dance competition, and a discovery of what true love really is. Also has Shahrukh Khan. Pattern? Yes. It has some catchy tunes which I am listening to right now to try and get away from Om Shanti Om, but I don't think it's working.

I will be obsessed with that soundtrack forever.

Also, I love Shahrukh Khan. If he wasn't twice my age and happily married with the most beautiful family I've ever seen, I would marry him tomorrow. In fact, I wouldn't let age come between us, but I'm no homewrecker. It's hard to explain why I love him so much, but he is wonderful. An excerpt of an earlier conversation I had with Laurel today:

Me: I have a mad crush on Shahrukh Khan, so...(rest of convo not important).

And it's true. I have a mad crush on him. Can you blame me?

Yeah, it's weird. Dude's almost 50. I don't care. Anyways, that's what is currently consuming my life. And I still have like 5 weeks to indulge before I have to return to real life and real people and school.

Remember how I was listening to the soundtrack of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi? Wanna know how I was listening to it? On my phone. Wanna know why? My computer sound card has died. Kaput. Bye Bye. I am not pleased with this new development. I knew my time was limited with my awful little HP (having had it for 4 years now) but about 70% of my personal computer usage involves sound, so come September I'm going to be shopping for something new. What this means now is no Castle marathon catch-up for me. Boooooo. Or watching Hulu. Or recaps of SYTYCD on Youtube. Or iTunes. In case you were wondering. Anyways, that's all. Happy Pioneer Day yesterday! Not a whole lot else going on. I very much want to spend some of these ridiculously hot days in a pool but this weekend I either a) couldn't find anyone to go with me (roomie Kelley hates swimming. I can't fathom that but whatevs) or b) was not home when someone came to invite me. I hope it means I was going to drown this weekend if I went swimming because otherwise I am not happy that it didn't happen. Anyways, off to FHE I go!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

a non-eventful update

So this is just a short update that does not revolve around any particular event. First, lets' talk hair. I may have mentioned that I attempted pin curls only to discover that it is too soon for pin curls. But it resulted in my first attempt at a pony tail:

Truthfully, it was 90% of my hair held up by bobby pins and 10% of my hair in an actual hairband, but it's a start!

I have been occasionally trimming the back of my hair as it is longer than the front and grows faster (code: mullet) but I was reluctant to do it again as I didn't want to lose all the growth I had. I was just resigned to awful hair for a few more months and then I would go get it cut by someone who knows what they are doing. Well, after a chat with roomie Kelley about hair, I went for it and trimmed the back again. And guess what? The very front is essentially the same length as the back!!!! There is still a discrepancy around the ears and the ends are wispy and damagey from being razored, and goodness knows it's as uneven as all get out, but it's nearly the same length!!!!!!!!! The ultimate desirable outcome for this first goal is about 2 more inches of good hair and the front slightly longer than the back but my hair is definitely starting to look more like a short bob than a long pixie! Goodbye pixiedom!!!

Ok, one last story to tell, but it requires a diversion. Yesterday (my lazy post-Potter recovery day) we had a ward activity at a ward-members family home that has a sweet pool set up. It was also a service activity and I didn't plan my time well for swimming and only ended up getting about 20 minutes in the pool. It was still fun, and I came home and spent more time in my lazy stupor, my hair drying in place and full of chlorine. I realized I needed to return a redbox movie, so I combed out my now-dry hair and styled it quickly. I looked in the mirror and saw the best hair day I've had in probably 6 months, if not longer. Take a peek:

Pardon my swinwear, but it shows a good shot of the back length.

It's full! It's swoopy! It has a shape!
I couldn't believe my eyes! So much so that I stopped what I was doing and took 40 pictures of it. I had this magical, transcendent moment when I actually thought to myself, "I don't hate my hair anymore!" Walking down the street I ran into some of my Potter friends and two of them were like, "Wow, Emily, you're hair looks amazing." Music to my ears! I've had such an identity crisis over having gross hair! And then 20 minutes later I got home and looked in the mirror. You know what I saw? My same flat, shapeless hair, all in 20 minutes or less. So now I'm at another milestone in my hair journey: it's not my bad haircut and painful growing out that makes my hair look bad (which is good). It's just the way my hair is (which is bad).

I don't have anyone to blame but my awful bodyless, shapeless hair itself. I'm hoping a pro cut will improve that, but it's nice to know that my hair has finally made some big strides in growing out. I have spent the last 24 hours trying to recreate the miracle of last night, and while I've come somewhat close, it never returned. A lady at church today did think I got a haircut and said it looked cute, so that's a start. Anyways, that's my hair drama for now!

Something my friend did on Facebook that I thought was awesome but didn't want to do on Facebook because I didn't want her to see me copying her. Plus we have some similar tastes in movies and I was surprised at how many of her answers could have been mine. But I'll try to be original.

30 Day Movie Challenge:

Day 1: Your Favorite Movie

I have a hard time with this, as I love a range of movies for different reasons. But, my fallback answer that I give people for this is What Dreams May Come. It's artsy and deep and thoughtful and beautiful and tragic and tells the story of a normal family full of problems but bursting full of love, and digs into what different interactions and experiences meant to each other through touching flashbacks with the perspective of having lost it. It is about love conquering all, but recognizing that love isn't perfect, and that we make mistakes, but that we can overcome them. It's about cherishing what you have while you have it, seeing the magic in ordinary things, and discovering the mysteries in life and in the people around you. It makes me cry and laugh and think about other people's perceptions of Heaven and Hell and their connection to this earth. And it is visually stunning. It's hard and poignant and I don't want to watch it every day, but I love it to bits. It is also Robin Williams in a dramatic role, and I think he is an incredible actor in these kinds of circumstances. And I want to live in their house.

who knew the end of an era would be so fun?

Well, it happened. Harry Potter came and went. But boy how it came! A run down of the events:

Day before: Get up at 5 to do an early morning interview. Knew I wouldn't be sleeping the next night, so I planned to go to bed early this night. Went to bed at 11:30...BUT I went shopping with dearest Laurel at DI for a costume and watched Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pt 1 (in Blue Ray no less) with my roomie and her boyfriend who is my next door neighbor.

Day of: Run home from work, got home at 3 and in one half of an hour I: showered (with shaving!), got dressed in costume, did my hair, made muddy buddies, grabbed anything I could think of that might be good entertainment for waiting in line, stopped the geyser behind my house caused by a tube on our swamp cooler exploding (this is the 3rd time it's broken, boo!) Get picked up by my ride and head up to American Fork for the shoooooww!

We get there, and I don't know what I was expecting, but it was not a parking lot roped off into lines by caution tape and people with tents and umbrellas and camp chairs.

Now would be a good time to mention that none of us in the early arriving party (Me, Sean, Claire) came prepared to sit on anything besides a comfy recliner in a climate controlled atmosphere. We had nothing. A quick look into the back of Sean's car revealed a fleece blanket and a towel, which I consider to be a mighty miracle. We were about 30 people back in line and we were sitting on hard cement with the hot sun high above with not a cloud in sight. It was probably the clearest day we'd had all month, naturally. Cue the waiting.

Claire and I sat in the sun with nothing to do (remember how unprepared we were?) while Sean drew a dark mark on his arm that felt like it took a million years:

See the sun beating down on him? Yeah. It was a hot day.

Yeah okay it looks pretty good

We spent the next couple hours chowing down on muddy buddies, drinking lots of warm water, and feeling uncomfortable. Oh, and we played Phase 10. It was the worst game of Phase 10 ever. For some reason it just was not fun and none of us wanted to play, but none of us wanted to quit because we had nothing else to do. Thankfully, at 7:30 more of our party arrived, bringing food that was not muddy buddies and other activities. Things like:

Twister, which I couldn't believe they brought but it ended up passing 1, maybe 2 hours and was hilarious to watch. All I can say is that it's a good thing we are all friends.

 And the first Harry Potter book. We took turns passing it around the circle reading out loud and doing accents. This lasted for exactly one complete turn around the circle, and then the book was discarded.

We saw lots of fun costumes and Potter enthusiasts galore. Some girls in the line next to us had brought a homemade version of Harry Potter catch phrase, and a couple behind them were quizzing each other, so we all got to brush up on our trivia. A couple of girls brought a trolley cart and went up and down selling treats:

Chocolate Frogs anyone?

The line amassing behind us while we twistered away
After our activities started to lose their charm we just chilled and took turns leaving in search of food or walks or drinks or just personal distance from the awful line. I got some frozen custard from Coney's to share with the group and it was delish. As the sun started to go down there were literally millions of mosquitoes everywhere, but I made it out with only one small bite. As time wore on we were commanded by the security people to squish in our stuff and then finally just put our stuff away and then we stood for a long time wondering when we might go in. By this time we were probably 100 people back in line as more of the line-savers parties arrived. 

Our group, which included a Death Eater, Tonks, a Hogwarts Student, and the Elder Wand
My costume lost some of it's integrity to the heat, but I wore a black skirt, white blouse, blue tie (it was all I could find, but I'll proudly claim Ravenclaw. Let's be honest, I'm not that brave. I won't even walk over manhole covers because it might be the one time they collapse) and a Ravenclaw house badge that I cut out and pinned to my tie. Our especially tall and skinny friend Matthew cut up some large brown sweat pants to make an Elder Wand costume which was a complete hit, not only with us but everyone that could see him. Everyone stared and whispered, wondering what it meant. When we told them they grinned and giggled and wanted their picture with him. It was fun. When our line finally got to enter the theater, we tried to "wield" him in (ie: 4-5 people carry) but the security guards put a stop to that pretty quick. Plus, we had to run and claim some seats. 

Can I just point out that I look awful in that picture? Wanna know why? Yeah, because I'm a sport, that's why! Hours and hours and hours in the hot sun=red face, limp hair, and exhausted expression. It's the same thing with birthdays. I always spend all day working on making awesome cakes and then I am greasy and nasty in all the birthday pictures. I love it and don't mind going to extra mile for anything, I just hate looking gross in pictures! Ok, tantrum complete. 

We got seats in the back of the front section so not as great as we wanted but still pretty good. The movie was AWESOME! I had a few complaints about some of the scenes being rushed and some characters not getting enough screen time, but all in all I loved it. It helped that I didn't remember the book. I normally hate seeing movies when the audience is clapping or yelling, but we had a good group and there was just a fun spirit about it so I clapped and cheered along with the rest. Towards the end when Harry sees the spirits of his family and friends that died, you could hear sniffing through the entire theater as people got choked up, and a girl behind me was choking back sobs. It was pretty funny. 

And then...

It was over. I sat back, wondering that so much had happened in what felt like so little time. The fatigue of it being after 3 am weighed on me heavily, but I was so glad I didn't miss out on this experience. I had started out this day with reservations: I really only knew the people that I was going with on a casual basis, and they were all very good friends. But after you sit/suffer in line long enough, it really forges a friendship and camaraderie. I came away from the experience so thankful that I not only got to finish up Harry Potter with a bang, but I made some good friends while doing it. 

Addendum: I went to bed at 4, arose at 7, and worked 8-5. It was a long, very unproductive day at work as I struggled to keep my head up and my eyes open for 9 hours. I then went out with my friends from my old job. It was a very similar story. I finally went to bed at 11:30 and woke up at 11 the next day. I then felt no desire to do anything the entire day and aside from a few fun ward activities, I mostly sat around and was lazy. I am too old for midnight showings. 

Total hours invested in line-waiting, movie watching, and travel: 13
Totals regrets: None

Friday, July 8, 2011

All Good Things...A Tribute of Epic Proportions

So this post is more for my own sake than anything else, and it will definitely be too long, detailed, and melodramatic, I'm warning you now. I was feeling just fine about everything until the media got involved and now I'm feeling emotional. That's right, I'm talking about the last Harry Potter movie coming out next week. Things like this:

It all ends?? It really hit me that THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE WILL SEE HARRY POTTER. Being the overly-emotional, sentimental fool that I am, I couldn't handle it and I broke. Now I'm blogging about it.

I've been fairly unattached the last couple years because I loved the books more than life itself at times, but the movies weren't quite so magical for me so while I saw them all, they've never been the personal journey that the books became for me.

My co-worker friend recently posted on her blog about how Harry Potter isn't just a series but that it defined a generation and I think that's true. I can also date a lot of events in my life by looking up release dates and thinking about where I was and what I was doing when I read/saw it. While I don't want to copy her (or maybe I do, she's pretty cool) I do want to put down a few Potter memories of my own, so if you will follow me down memory lane, we might just be in for a good trip...
(*Spoiler Alert*)
(*Like, a LOT of Spoilers*)
(*Also, I haven't read these since 2007, my info is probably vague/slightly incorrect*)

First Contact

The first time I had ever had real contact with Harry Potter that I remember was in sixth grade and my English teacher Ms. Meyers read it aloud to our class. I think the series must have been out for a little while but I was resisting the bandwagon urge because it was year 2000 and they were released in the US in like 1998. This is also a mystery to me because I have always loved weird, mysterious, magical, macabre things (much to the concern of my mother, I think) But for whatever reason I had never picked them up. This was also the year that the N'SYNCs album "No Strings Attached" (didn't have any bandwagon hang ups about that, apparently) came out because I remember she let us listen to it in that class as well. (Best English class ever or what?) I have vivid memories of listening to "Space Cowboy" and giggling. My teacher also pronounced Hermione as "Her-ME-own-knee" and then later as I read it on my own I thought it was pronounced "Her-me-OWN" as I had never seen the name before.


I have always been a bookworm, but I think this series marks my first instance of being fanatical about a book (or anything, really) and started me on my slippery slope of being too emotionally invested in fiction. Once I got started I couldn't stop. I think I got really pulled in after I read Prisoner of Azkaban (because let's face it, Chamber of Secrets isn't anyone's favorite) because I LOVE SIRIUS BLACK and there was such an air of mystery surrounding the black dog and impending doom of Harry having seen a Grim. I think this book just had a lot going for it, what with the magical creatures, trips to Hogsmeade, adventures into the Forbidden Forest, ghosts of the past coming back, time turning, dementors, thinking Sirius Black was going to show up and kill Harry at any moment, mysteries regarding Harry's parents generation. I could go on, but it really was a launching point into the more dark, intense, and fascinating later books. I was so happy that Harry finally had family, even if Sirius was in hiding.      

Goblet of Fire was cool and scary. We got to see the World Cup, new wizard cultures, Death Eaters in action, Ron being jealous over Hermione, freaking awesome Mad-Eye Moody, amazing feats of daring and bravery, and more live-action evil than we'd seen up to this point. I remember reading Goblet of Fire late into the night in my room in our house in East Wenatchee, Washington. My brother Steve was home, I think he must have been just back from his mission or something, I'm not sure why he was there. But it was very late at night and I was up reading and I remember hearing someone coming up the stairs and I quickly turned my light off for fear of it being my dad coming to yell at me for staying up so late. Looking back this was fairly irrational because my dad would not have been awake and school wasn't in so it didn't matter how late I stayed up. Turns out it had only been Steve and I went to bed for no reason.

I remember crying at the end of that book as the spirits came out of the wand and cheered for Harry. I can't handle it when people die, I turn into a blubbering mess, so for Harry to be able to get a glimpse of his parents and have their loving support did me in. And then the book ends, and Voldemort is back, like for real back and I don't know what is going to happen, I don't know the implications. It was as if I was riding in a car at top speeds and then suddenly the breaks were stamped on and everything came to a sudden, bone-jarring halt. What was going to happen??????????????????

The Wait

Book four came out in 2000 (according to wikipedia) and the next book didn't arrive until...2003! The wait, the long, awful, agonizing wait. Didn't she know? Hadn't she heard Voldemort was back and it was SO IMPORTANT to get the next book out? Unfortunately JK Rowling did not listen to my tortured pleas, but in 2003 Goblet of Fire made it's debut. F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. One thing that I will say about this particular trial is that it seemed to bring us all together. We, as Harry Potter Purists, had suffered as one and were stronger for it. There was a kinship amongst those who perished during the drought and rejoiced when the fruits finally were delivered. No one else could really understand what it was like. We scoffed at those who said "I'll just wait until they are all out and then I'll read them." It didn't make sense to us. Harry Potter was worth paying whatever the price if only to be able to read the next book the moment it came out. Anything else was just unthinkable.

It was during this gap that the movies began to be released. Seeing Hogwarts come to life before my very eyes was was, well, magical. Visually it was stunning and a joy to see this world that you had incorporated into your own become real. It was exciting. I remember when they were doing the initial casting and there was so much hype and speculation over who they would get, and how they would find people to fit these beloved characters. I remember watching trailers and getting goosebumps. I enjoyed the movies, but after the first one it was evident that while they would be fun, they were not the books. There were so many little details and extra story lines that could not be fit in, and as a Harry Potter Purist (HPP) the exclusion of these things, while to be expected, took away from the charm of the stories for me. Plus, back in the real world, VOLDEMORT WAS BACK and I still did not know what was going to happen next. I was not to be distracted, no matter how many flashy, partially faithful movies they threw at me. I wanted more story, and I wanted it now.

Look how little they are!!!!!

The Underlying Feeling of Doom

Despite the joy of having the next chapter of the saga available, Order of the Phoenix was a hard book. From the very start there was a cloud hanging over the entire thing, because it was a well known fact that an important character would die. Cedric Diggory, while a prominent character in the 4th book, was not important per se, and I don't think he was developed enough to trigger the sort of anxiety I was feeling as I began my journey through this book. His death had been shocking because it had been in real-time and he was completely innocent and unexpecting. It was stressful. But now. Now, she was going to take someone I loved and get rid of them forever. I couldn't handle it. But I also didn't want the surprise ruined. Once it was released I wouldn't go online, I wouldn't watch tv, I wouldn't let anyone speak the name Harry Potter in my presence until I had read it for myself. To hold the book in my hand and know that somewhere in those pages was possibly my worst nightmare come true was terrible. But that didn't stop me from opening it and getting started.

Order of the Phoenix was heavy and hard. For one thing, it was longer than the previous books. We knew right away someone was going to die, which cast a shadow on everything. And Harry was being monstrously obnoxious and mean the entire time. It's very hard to be stuck in the head of an unsympathetic character, and I hated him for most of the book. I could understand his frustration, but he did not need to blow up and yell every time someone made him unhappy. It was probably my least favorite of the more interesting later books. Potter Puppet Pals nails his behavior on the head in this skit:

Beyond Harry being impossible, did I mention that Voldemort is back? But nobody seems to believe Harry. (Hence some angst) Our first indicator is that dementors show up in Little Whinging, and we just know that life is going to be whack from now on. Hogwarts is no longer fun because Umbridge is running things, everyone is in a bad mood, and bad things are happening. Cue the children thinking they have to handle things by themselves and running off without telling anyone where they are going. Cue a bizarre trek through the Department of Mysteries and I am reading so fast trying to get to the end that I'm not comprehending the strange scenes being placed before me and it doesn't really matter. Cue expected attack by Death Eaters. And then it happens. Sirius is knocked through a flowy veil by freaking Bellatrix Lestrange. NBD, we'll just walk around to the other side and pick him up there. Except he's not there. Where is he? I don't know. All I know is that I love Sirius Black and he is now MIA. For the next four years I hold on to the belief that he is going to make a stunning reappearance and make us all feel silly for being worried. Because I love him.
Dumbledore stomps in and does his thing and saves the day but who cares, Sirius is gone/dead and it is all Harry's fault. I don't remember if that's what Harry thinks, but that's what I think. Stupid, moody, mean Harry had to run off and be a hero and he got one of my faves killed. Not a happy ending for me.

The Eve of the End

Half-Blood Prince is probably the most exciting for me for a lot of reasons. We only had to wait two dreadful years for this guy to come out. I remember all the speculation as to who the Half-Blood Prince was and what it meant in the time leading up to the release of the book. There was also rumored to be another death. A fun anecdote about this book:

I was not about to run the risk of spoilers for this one. I pre-ordered online so that it would be delivered to me the day it was released, and I could sit for hours and read without fear. I wouldn't even have to leave my home. But there was a kink in this plan. This was the day myself and a few friends were road tripping to Utah to visit our poor relocated friend Axel. 

Playing at Lagoon and not  reading Harry Potter
I think I either spent the night with one of them or was dropped off at Natasha's house, but as we pulled onto the highway and drove past the exit that would take you to my house, I imagined a lonely package sitting on my doorstep, waiting for me, calling for me. It hurt. A lot. On we went to Utah, and at some point stopped at a Wal-Mart, I'm not sure why. But what did they have at the front of the store? Two huge pallets FULL of the new Harry Potter book! I was tempted to buy it then and there and deal with the consequences later, but I knew my attention was needed elsewhere on this trip. This did not, however, stop me and a companion from each grabbing a copy and plopping down on the demo porch swing they had set up next to it. I mean, come on. It was basically an invitation to do just that. We were soon discovered and with only a chapter into it, were forcefully told to stop doing what we were doing and move on. Super lame. If anything we were providing free advertising.

Anyways, moving along. Half-Blood Prince is hard and enlightening and mysterious and funny. Lots of back story revealed, lots of fun relationship stuff, new magic, and lots of answers that only lead to more questions. Lots more bad things happen and even though you just have to know what happens next, you want to pace yourself because this is the last time ever you will read a Harry Potter book and be left hanging, waiting for the next one. Despite the years of frustration and waiting, the only thing worse is knowing that it will only happen once more and then it will all be over. It's like when you are about to move, and you're playing with friends and pretending like it's not all about to change but not too deep under the surface you know there won't be many more opportunities for times like this. There is a lot of "who is behind this" in this book, which has you stressed the entire time. And when you know who is behind it you have a bad case of "Did they really want it to be like this?" going around, questioning all the motives. The end of this one was the worst cliff-hanger yet. How will Harry get on without Dumbledore to guide him? Is Snape good or evil? WHO IS RAB? That second question haunted me for two years. I would spend hours online looking at hypothesis, trying to piece it together in my mind with my limited information. I still have a book mark with this exact logo from that time of mental unrest:

The Penultimate Moment, 10 Years In The Making

The time had finally come. Two years of wishing it was the next day and wishing it wouldn't come were over. I re-read the other six in preparation. But I was scared to read this book. Even though I was dying to find out how it ended, I was scared for the characters. Whatever happened in this book, it was final. If Sirius didn't take the hint and show his face in this one, then it really was all over for him. And I was concerned about Ron. I needed him to be alive and happy when this was all over. For him to be happy he needed Hermione. Harry I could take or leave, but I liked Ginny so I preferred him to live. And the twins. Oh how I loved those twins. They made me so happy. I took a quiz once and it determined that of all the Harry Potter characters, I was most like them. I don't know how true that is today but I still tell people that. I was so invested in these characters, and whatever transpired between those covers was it for them.

My friend Natasha was in town, and the BYU Bookstore was doing a midnight book release party, so being the hardcore fans that we are (HPPs) we pre-purchased our books through them and waited for the day. We didn't feel much like playing games or doing crafts, so we rolled into the bookstore at about 11 or 11:30pm. It was packed. Young children to adults were dressed in character, running around playing Quidditch, casting spells, and eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. I felt underdressed. 

We got in line, which wound it's way up and down all the aisles of the bookstore, out the back door, across Brigham's Square (is that what it's called?) down past the library and off into no-man's land. We were in line somewhere out in Brigham's square. There was a group of boys with a guitar serenading the line with a funny song they wrote about Harry Potter. I don't remember the words but it was very clever. They finished with our section and moved on down the line. Bless those boys. And we waited. And waited. And I thought to myself, "I am so tired. This is not fun. I could have slept in and had the stupid book delivered to my door."
Feeling tired and sad about our decision. Look, the date proves it!
The random boys singing their lovely song
But despite my evil thoughts, we persevered and finally, finally got our books! I was living at Glenwood at the time, so we dragged our poor, tired bodies back to my apartment. This was the moment. I had bought a Harry Potter pillowcase for my friend for her birthday, and being the good friend that I am, I cracked that sucker open and made good use of it.
Got it! Note that it is now past midnight, and is July 21st

Earlier that evening...
Creeping on Harry
We took a breath, held on to the feeling of still having one book left for a minute or two longer, and then flipped open the crisp new cover and dove in...

I got exactly one chapter into it and then fell asleep. So much for being a hardcore HPP. We woke the next morning and continued to read until she had to drive back to Idaho. I was then distracted/stressed by a visit from another old friend that did not go well, and I knew it did not mean good things for our friendship (and I was right, it did not last much longer beyond that). When the awful visit was finally over, I was able to find refuge in the book and I did not leave my room again until I was done. And it was rough. From almost the moment it begins people are dying left and right, up through the final chapters. I had to say goodbye to some very awesome people. At the end, when some of the spirits are talking to Harry (remember how I don't handle death?) I got choked up, at which point my roommate Melissa came in and made fun of me, completely ruining the moment. I finished the book with dry eyes.

And then, just like that, it was over. It had spanned seven years of my life, some of my most formative years and had followed me from middle school all the way to college. Countless hours, conversations, and emotions had been dedicated to these books, this one awesome story.

The End of an Era

And now we come to this, the last movie. By this time next week I will have seen all there is to see on screen and read all there is to read on paper of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, and his magical wizarding world. There are still some uncharted waters: I haven't been to the Harry Potter theme park yet, and I haven't been to Kings Cross Station in London and stood on Platform 9 3/4. But I plan to someday. For now, though, the telling of the story is over.

I don't remember the exact circumstances under which I watched the first three movies, but I do remember the last four.

I remember finishing Goblet of Fire in the theaters with some friends, I don't remember which ones but they must have been from high school, and thinking "I would have sat here for 15 more minutes to have seen better coverage of the World Cup." I was also really impressed with Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, and thought everyone's hair was ridiculously long.    

I remember seeing Order of the Phoenix with some friends from the ward and my roommate Maryann. She was deathly ill but I made her go with me anyways. It was either an unpopular showing or had been out for a while because the theater wasn't very crowded. We were spread out across two rows, with some in front and some in back. I was in front and one of the boys put his feet on the seat next to mine. Like, reached over the back of the chair and they were resting on the cushioned seat. And he was wearing sandals and they did not smell good at all. And I thought, "Who does that?"

I think Laurel and I went to Half-Blood Prince; it was me and just one other girl, I know that for sure. If it was us then it was probably a Saturday matinee and we were probably in our pajamas. We were winding down our second year living at Glenwood and we were ready to move on from there. We spent a lot of time hanging out just the two of us because we were tired of where we had been living and our ward. I remember liking the movie; it was the best one so far. As we walked out of the theater we tried to remember if there wasn't a bigger battle at the end of this book than what they showed in the theater.

For the first half of Deathly Hallows I went during Christmas break with my mom to see it. It was fun to go to a movie I knew we would both like (not always the situation) and I was glad she got to see it in theaters because my dad does not enjoy going to the movies and hasn't followed Harry Potter and she didn't have anyone to go with. Thanks to Rexburg being tiny, it had already been kicked to the cheap theater from our one small main theater, so we only had to pay $3 each, and the theater was nearly empty. I was concerned about this one because I remembered the first half of the book being rather slow, and how good could a movie about wandering around aimlessly and arguing be? But I actually really enjoyed it, and was surprised at how tense and into it I was the entire time. Very suspenseful. And while many people complained about Harry and Hermione's dance scene not following HPP guidelines, I thought it was sweet and reminded me that these characters are actually friends and care about one another. As the movie ended I stood up to leave and grabbed the wrong end of my sizable purse dumping about a billion things all over the floor and we had to get the lights turned on so I could round everything up. The weather was awful and I thought for sure my mom and I would die on the ice before we made it to the car, but all was well. 

For this last movie I will be repeating the mistakes and following the patterns of the seventh book: Watching it at midnight. I hadn't planned on this but a ticket presented itself in the form of a group from my ward having an extra one. I will work a 9 hour day, go to the midnight showing, and be back to work at 8 the next morning for another 9 hour day. I'm sure it will be terrible and wonderful all at the same time. Will it be as good as the book? Probably not. Will it be amazing in it's own right? Probably. Either way, will it be a monumental moment? Absolutely.

And this time, I think I'll dress up.