Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Felix Felicis!

First order of business:

Holy crap! This is post number 100! I wanted to make it a big deal, but it just kind of snuck up on me. I logged on to blog about my felix felicis kind of day and saw this:

99 posts

99 total posts (and 779 comments– thanks, friends! I love, love, love when people respond to what I write!) and today’s makes 100.  (PS: yes, I changed my dashboard to purple. It makes me ridiculously happy.)

And that’s pretty much just the kind of day it’s been. The things that were supposed to happen– they did.

The weather here in Wisconsin is a super crappy mess of snow and ice and cold and I thought our office could use a little pick-me-up first thing in the am. Stopping at Festival Foods on my way to work for donuts, I noticed a cart full of steeply discounted Valentine’s Day candy. Reduced for quick sale! Seriously? I mean, V-day was only a week ago! I’ll take it!

Don’t mind if I do, kind cart! I grabbed a bag of each type available. Delish! And necessary… our candy drawer was getting quite low.

Then on to the donuts. I found some delicious looking donut holes– sugar and cinnamon sugar (mmmm…) so I picked those up and headed back out into the cold and to the Clinic for work.

I pulled into my parking spot and as I was putting on my hat and mittens, that super nice security man who has given me a couple rides to the building during this awful winter stopped right in front of my truck and offered me a ride. I was so glad it was today, of all days, on the day I had donuts. Last week, on Valentine’s Day, I brought him a little baggie of chocolates, but didn’t see him– dang! But this morning, I was able to offer him donuts! Even better! We chatted, he popped donut holes, and then I left him a couple for the road. Perfect!

Plus, like I said, the weather was miiiiiiserable this morning, so I was very appreciative of the lift!

Little things, but perfect timing… everything just worked out. And felix felicis immediately came to mind.

Felix felicis, aka liquid luck, is the potion Harry Potter won on his first day of Defense Against the Dark Arts under Professor Horace Slughorn. The drinker can basically do no wrong… and when Harry used it, everything went exactly as it needed to go.

Apparently, chai tea with vanilla almond milk was my felix this morning.

Harry imbibed and he made it to Aragog’s funeral to support his friend Hagrid despite restrictions for leaving the castle and tempted Slughorn to go with him by promising him a rare venom, managed to cast non-verbal spells to get him drunk, and extracted the memory he needed.

I imbibed and got a great deal on candy, a ride into work, and a chance to thank the security guard with some donuts.

You can see how this is pretty much exactly the same… yes?

That’s what I thought.

Anyway, thanks so much for hanging around for the first hundred– I’m looking very much forward to hundreds and hundreds more! Have a lovely weekend!!



For more information on felix felicis, please refer to the super sweet Harry Potter Wiki! (There’s one for the Muppets, too! Oh Wiki, how I love you!)

happy, happy Valentine’s day <3 <3 <3

Hi friends! Happy Valentine’s Day! I LOVE YOU! (Really! I do! I love you all!)

I used to be something of a gloomy gus every Valentine’s day as I lamented my single-dom and whatnot (the drama, I was like 16)… but then I met Seth, fell in love, and every February the 14th is now roses and kisses and rainbows and…

I kid… if you’ve met Seth before, you knew that long ago. And if you know me, and most of you do pretty well by now, I’m not actually a super touchy feely kind of person. (My singular contribution to my fourth grade class suggestion box was a note asking the teacher not to call me “honey”… because I hated that.)

So what was it then that reversed my Valentine’s Day attitude, you may wonder…

It was my Grandma! What else???

I’m not sure when exactly she started doing it, but it’s been many years now. Every year, a couple weeks before Valentine’s Day, my Grandma sends me several homemade baggies with ribbon ties– hand sewn in a different Valentine-themed pattern every year. She sends the bags to me empty, she and I both fill our sets with candy, and then we hand them out to our friends. It’s so fun!

Just a small sampling of the various prints, patterns, and charm...
Just a small sampling of the various prints, patterns, and charm…

My husband and I love each other every single day– it’s a given. It’s an expectation. Sometimes it goes unsaid; most of the time it’s said. We’re a family, every single day, flowers or no, chocolate or… well, we like chocolate… Our pupster (who is not having surgery today, fyi… sigh) is our biggest Valentine this year and we’re headed out to dinner at the Belvedere (our favorite!) to celebrate the evening with Seth’s mom and dad. It’ll be lovely and perfect for us– love all around; love that’s a given.

So for me, Valentine’s Day isn’t really about me and Seth. Rather, it’s about telling the people that may not just know it that I love them, too! I do that with a handmade Valentine bag filled with chocolates and tied with a ribbon. And as an added bonus this year, I also made some Harry Potter-themed, totally nerdtastic Valentines to hand out to a couple people… nothing says I love you quite like a heart with wings and the phrase “wingardium leviosa” on the front. Nothing!

Wingardium Leviosa Valentine

Except maybe a heart with a key hole and the phrase “alohomora”, a flame and “incendio”, or a light and “lumos”…

HP Valentines

(Am I unreasonably thrilled with my cleverness right now? Yes. Yes I am.)


I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s Day and that you know that somebody, somewhere loves you– because I do! And even just me must be better than nobody, right?




In other news: no surgery for my Curls today. We went down to Madison yesterday for an ultrasound of the patellar tendon (and there was some promising tissue on imaging that looked like tendon material that even if not usable, may provide some scaffolding for repair) and a joint tap to make sure there was no infection in the fluid pocket in her knee (the doctor really didn’t think there would be). But there was infection in that fluid pocket and we went back to Madison to pick our girl up and bring her home with antibiotics. In two weeks, we’ll try again. At least our sweet girl is home with us this weekend– everyone in our house is happy about that 🙂

I have a hard time getting over things… cannolis help.

I’ve worn a lot of different uniforms for a lot of different reasons. I played t-ball, soccer, and basketball as a kid. I ran cross country and played soccer in high school. I was in the marching band (the magic of polyester, topped with a big black hat, and a half foot tall sparkling silver tassel to top it off) and marched around the Lincoln High School football field and through parade after parade in the city of Ypsilanti dressed in some seriously crazy stuff.

Please take a moment and enjoy this ridiculous-ness... I'll wait.
Please take a moment and enjoy this ridiculous-ness… I’ll wait.

I also worked at Showcase Cinemas Ann Arbor and wore the uniform for both concessions (again with the polyester, but at least no tassel) and ushering/cashiering (where I swapped out the plastic apron for an additional layer of polyester by way of a vest).

{Source-- omg, you can find anything on the internet!}
{Source— omg, you can find anything on the internet!}

But none of those uniforms compared to the one I didn’t realize I was wearing.

When I was in middle school, I was super uncomfortable with the way I looked. Getting dressed was the worst and I spent hour after hour after hour trying on outfits for school the next day– trying to find the thing in which I looked the least fat (vanity plus insecurity in a 13 year old, good stuff). Unfortunately, there was never an outfit that was good enough and I ended up reverting to the thing I felt most comfortable in: a jacket.

We weren’t actually allowed to wear coats in the school, so that was somewhat problematic because the thing I felt most comfortable in was a sleek running jacket my dad let me borrow. But I managed to outsmart the system. I had gotten the coolest (to me) University of Michigan wind suit set at Meijer and that was the thing I felt most comfortable in. And the jacket, as part of a set, was, at least in my mind, innerwear not outerwear. So I wore it. I wore it pretty much every day, over every stressed-over jeans and t-shirt kind of outfit and with my matching pants at least once a week.

I guess I never really thought about what that jacket looked like to other people. All I knew about that jacket was that I didn’t feel fat in it– and at that time, that was enough.

It was only several years later (like several, several, maybe 10 or so) that I found out that I was being made fun of… pretty much always… by a lot of girls who called my jacket my “uniform.”

Look, there goes Rachel, in her uuuu-ni-foooooo-rm.


I knew I wasn’t a cool kid. I knew there were a lot of mean girls in my school. And I knew better than to think I wasn’t the butt of many of their jokes. But it still hurt. And bad. Even though it’s been a whole lot of years since and I never actually heard it, I frequently think of those comments… those girls… those feelings…

It’s like in Harry Potter when Dumbledore lets Harry gaze into a memory in his Pensieve– it’s so much more than just a memory. It’s an experience, full of feeling. That’s what it’s like in my mind’s eye every… single… time… that memory strikes.


It struck this morning. I got dressed, I put on a gray turtle neck sweater and black slacks. It’s kind of a go-to outfit for me, but I was feeling pretty ugh about it this morning. I wanted to put that jacket on– to be comfortable. And the memory came back. The mean girls were talking about me behind my back.

But when I walked in to work this morning, my friends were all gathered in one office and busy planning our Italian-fest lunch. I was instantly struck by how much I adore all of these women… not one mean girl in the bunch! When they tease me, it’s totally to my face, and it’s nice to be in on the joke!

I thought about the contrast between the Micheles, Maries, Aimies, and Debs of my life as an adult and the Connies, Kellys, Lauras, and Taras of my past. As we grow up, our community becomes driven more by choice than by circumstance. Today I feel that very poignantly… and I have chosen well (and not just because Marie made us homemade cannolis today… although that’s part of it).

Pure delicious-ness!
Pure delicious-ness!

This afternoon, I ate a lot of Italian-ish deliciousness to say “ciao!” to my friend Marie as she heads off on a two week adventure of a lifetime (to Italy, obviously)… I could have used my jacket. And in my new, friendly girl world, everyone would have said, “There goes Rachel in her comfy jacket— she’s awesome for doing what feels right! Dang!” Because that’s what friendly girls do.

I’m still not a cool kid, but the people I have chosen to surround myself with really don’t care. The facts are these:

  • I have bushy, early-books-in-the-series-Hermione-like hair.
  • I use way too many Harry Potter references.
  • I get nervous around people I like and ramble uncontrollably.
  • I sweat copiously when nervous. And I’m often nervous.
  • I wear the clothes that I feel most comfortable in, stylish or not. (Usually not.)
  • And sometimes I hang on to my magic wand while I’m watching tv or talking on the phone.

But I like my curls (raise the roots!), Harry Potter is sheer genius and I plan to love it and read it again and again for the rest of my life (always…), some people like the way I ramble because it means (1) that they don’t have to do all the talking and (2) they certainly can’t sound worse than me, black is pretty much my favorite color to wear anyway and sweat really doesn’t show, confidence comes from comfort and confidence is always classy (stylish or not), and the wand… maybe that’s just a little bit weird. But it’s fun, I like it, and I really don’t care.

I know I’m 30 years old and I know I should be over it. But words HURT. And I wish I didn’t even know that those words existed. But I do. And I’m going to have to move past it. Especially considering that it’s likely I’ve hurt someone in that same way– we all say hurtful things at times. Especially when we’re young. But I know without a doubt that I’ve grown up to be a much kinder person than that. And I hope that those girls did too.

I hope that they grew up to be kind. I hope that they don’t feel the kind of hurt I still frequently feel when those memories creep up on me. And I hope that if they have children, they’ll help them to be kinder people than they were as kids. That’s my plan for my own someday babies, anyway.


Fun fact: the movie Mean Girls is actually based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Tina Fey knew the basic premise of the book, but hadn’t actually read it yet when she won the bid (is that the totally wrong terminology???… perhaps the rights? the opportunity? the chance? something?) to write the movie script. Fascinating, right?! I fully intend to read this book… eventually. It’s on my “Women’s Interest” book club reading list. Its the fourth book club on my list of “Book Clubs I Want to Start” because I really am that girl of all the characteristics listed above.


PS: I know these posts about getting made fun of, and perhaps what might be considered “bullied” this day and age, can be something of a downer. I really don’t want you to think it was all bad though. I really did have some great friends all throughout elementary, middle, and high school (see Emily, Kelly, Stephine, et al) and despite (literal) wedgies in the hall (I really wish that weren’t true) and the occasional overheard negative comment or two, I was a happy kid having a good time at my school. I cheered for the Railsplitters, I played on the teams, I went to the dances, and painted my face for pep rallies. All American kind of stuff. It’s just impossible to extract the mean girl (and boy!) stuff from all of that and unfortunately, as an insecure chubby girl, a lot of that is what really stuck.


PPS: Ok, I actually wasn’t even chubby. Not after like 8th grade anyway. I just thought I was and let people tell me I was. But from where I sit now, dang, I was svelte!! (Kidding, I just looked up svelte and it means “slender and elegant”… I was slender, not elegant. But svelte sounds so good there, all italicized, doesn’t it? Let’s just leave it and move on.)

And then I turned 30…

It’s 1:00 am where I live– in Wisconsin, we’re on Central Time. (Ugh, Central Time… I honestly never thought I’d live somewhere where the CST of the “Tomorrow at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST” from my Cartoon Network watching days of yore would actually apply to me. But here we are!!) I was born in Michigan in 1984, on Eastern Time, somewhere around 2:00 am. This is pretty close right? (Thank goodness for scheduled posting! I’m 30 now, my bed time comes way before midnight!)

My parents tell me the night I was born was a pretty icy night. When I first learned to read, I thought I-C-Y was pronounced “icky” and that made for some really confusing road signs, but at the same time, it’s fitting. It’s an icky icy night here tonight, Mother Nature promising another 5 inches or so of the fluffy white stuff. History repeats itself, eh?

All of that was 30 years ago now and despite all the fanfare, I’m feeling quiet tonight as I welcome the big three-o. I spent my Advent for Thirty reflecting on hope, peace, joy, and love. What started as an exercise targeted toward generating blog material and a time for making jokes about turning 30 ended up being something really, really good for me. And it really did ready my heart, mind, and soul for thirty. How very advent-ageous, if you will. (Bahahahaaaahaaa! Oh, puns!)

Now it’s here. Thirty is upon us. Well, me. And some of you, no doubt. But mostly me right now. I’m looking forward to the flood of Facebook love (seriously, Facebook really makes birthdays a thousand times better, doesn’t it?!), phone calls and text messages, and some birthday cake (tomorrow and on Saturday when Seth’s parents are coming to celebrate with me!).

Tonight, we’re staying in. I’m making salmon (it’s a new recipe and I’m using dill I dried from my friend Aimie’s garden and some cabbage I froze from my mother-in-law’s! so exciting!) and we’re going to snuggle up with our pup and watch some Harry Potter. Seth got me ALL EIGHT MOVIES on BluRay for my birthday (whaaaaaaat?! you know your husband loves you when…) and I’m pretty pumped to see them on our enormous tv downstairs. On one hand, I kind of want to start with the first, but given that I won’t have enough time to watch them all tomorrow, I’m kind of tempted to start with The Goblet of Fire (that’s number four for those of you who are not Harry Potter maniacs like me) because I loved that one so much– it was so… intense! Regardless of where we start, my in-laws (and all of them conspired on this one!) got me HERMIONE’S WAND from Olivander’s Wand Shop at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Christmas when we were there back in October and you know I’ll be practicing during the movie. (Bob says he’s always wanted to levitate so it’s important to me to perfect that spell before they come over on Saturday to eat cake with me– it’s wingardium leviOsa not wingardium leviosA!) That’s a reasonable way to spend the day you turn 30, right?

Thanks a ton for sticking around with me for my Advent for Thirty series and for being here tonight as 30 strikes. An especially big thanks for joining in on my Whoville-style chorus of welcome 30:

Fahoo fores dahoo dores

Welcome 30, bi-irth day!


Enjoy some cake today– the calories are on me!!!

PS: I recognize that the “bi-irth day” part is a stretch. Not quite enough syllables, dang. But whatevs, it’s my birthday, I’ll do what I want!

Great Expectations… Jurassic Disappointments

I set my alarm for half an hour early this morning with every intention of getting up to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical.  Unfortunately, I have set my alarm half an hour early almost every single day for the last two years with the same intention, but it has happened a grand total of perhaps 3 times.  Maybe 4.  And today was much like most of the others.  The elliptical did not happen.

So all day long, I hyped myself up– 30 minutes on the elliptical, a chance to move my legs a little bit after a long day at a desk!  And I held this blog post hostage to ensure it got done.  Posting is my reward for exercising my legs and sweating through my shirt.  Victory!

Before I get to the good stuff, I just want to share with you a sad little story about a lady with a dog she loves too much.  That lady is, of course, me.  And what did I do that makes me kind of pathetic?  Well, my dog, Curly, just had knee surgery and she can’t go up or down stairs for another 7 weeks.  Unfortunately, our elliptical is in the basement.  My husband is out of town all week and I just couldn’t bare the thought of leaving my sweet Curls upstairs alone for another half an hour.  So I picked her up, all 65 lbs of her, and carried her down for the work out and back up afterward.  The way down wasn’t so bad, but up was pretty rough.  A little bonus workout and a weird ride for my pup, I guess.  Sometimes I even disturb myself.

Anyway, on to my point…

I talk about a lot of different things, but as you’ve probably noticed, it’s not very hard for me to relate pretty much all of those things back to either Harry Potter or Jurassic Park.  And you guys, Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure Theme Park in Orlando, Florida is home to not only the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but also Jurassic Park.  A nerd girl’s dream come true!!

Respect the Spell Limit

Spells and velociraptors!

Butterbeer and pteradactyls!

Hogwarts and insects trapped in amber!

Harry Potter AND Jurrassic Park!

Hogwarts #2

So when the opportunity arose to visit Islands of Adventure as long as we were a mere two hours away in Jacksonville for a wedding, my husband and I jumped at the opportunity!  (Ok, I was the one who jumped… but my sweet husband did the driving!)

I was pretty dang pumped and since we were coming straight from a dream vacation in Cabo san Lucas, my expectations were sky high.  Oops.  Because, if I’m completely honest, Universal kind of failed to deliver.

Don’t get me wrong, Hogsmeade was crazy well-done, butterbeer and pumpkin juice were every bit as amazing as I had anticipated, and being able to see Hogwarts castle through the Jurassic Park arch was unreal.


However, Universal charges a heck of a lot of money to get into the park for the experience… and then gives you opportunity after opportunity to buy, spend, and pay more and more and more with a relatively small amount of actual “experience” sprinkled in.  Everywhere you turn– another souvenir stand, a food shop, airbrushed t-shirts and commemorative photos for purchase, hair wraps or glitter tattoos to be had.  No joke, even Ollivander’s Wand Shop was a long line for a 30 second demo only to be shuttled straight into a gift shop.  (Ok, maybe I’m just pissed that they picked a little boy to be chosen by his wand rather than me…  Maybe.)

And Jurassic Park?  Well… kind of boo, to be honest.  This is what I wanted:

raptor chase!

I wanted to be in that car, chased by dinosaurs, and I honestly expected that as a ride.

But this is what it actually was:

raptor reality

Photo-op, picture for purchase.


Have you ever read a book that put your imagination into absolute overdrive?  To me, Harry Potter was like that, and amazingly, the movies did not disappoint at all.  They were amazing too and while I was watching the movies it felt like someone had pulled the scenes straight from my head.  (And captured them like a memory poured into a pensieve.)  But the parks… wah wah.

Oh well!  Back to my imagination place– now that I know what butterbeer actually tastes like, I feel like I can retire there comfortably!



Rachel Vonck and the Order of the Faux-nix

First off, to my sister’s friend Jackie– big apologies for keeping you waiting, my dear!  Lots of traveling and catching up to do when I got back.  No more delays, I promise!  I want to make sure you have something to do over your lunch break!  (Also, huge thanks for reading!!)


Now, down to business…


Harry Potter became kind of a big deal when I was in high school, but I didn’t really get into it until the summer after my first year of college.  While this meant I was definitely late to the party, it also meant that I could get all the books from the library without waiting AND that I got to read the first four books in rapid succession.

(I believe that I have mentioned before how when I get into something, I get really into it.  That summer, the Ypsilanti Public Library must have thought I was completely bananas– I checked out all four Harry Potter books, several books on the Manson Family, including Vincent Bugliosi’s book Helter Skelter, and lastly, Cameron Manheim’s Wake Up, I’m Fat!, because I was just started to realize that just maybe it was ok to not be super thin.  Seriously weird list, right?  Maybe that was how I ended up on some sort of TSA-extra-security list for a few years???)

Anyway, Harry Potter…

So I read the first four books (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire) in a matter of a few weeks and then had to WAIT… and wait and wait and wait and wait for the Order of the Phoenix to come out the following summer.

I was not a Harry Potter fan accustomed to waiting.

Fortunately, I went to Michigan Tech around the time that digital pirating was kind of a big deal (Napster was the shizzz my freshman year)… and there’s nothing Techies love more than pirating, hacking, and the like.  Maybe digital pirating is still a big deal?  I really don’t know.

So my sophomore year of college I was an RA in the dorms and so was my boyfriend, now husband, Seth.  Seth’s hall was FULL of guys who were super good at getting things in advance (I saw one of the Lord of the Rings movies way before it was ever out in the theater on a teeny tiny little computer screen in a cramped dorm room with crappy sound… jealous?) and one of those guys got an early copy of the FIFTH HARRY POTTER BOOK– Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  SCORE!

Eight-hundred pages of delicious, advanced, Harry Potter-ness.  One of the guys even went to his computer lab in the middle of the night to print every single page and then to Office Max to have it bound for his girlfriend.  Seth just gave me a floppy disk.  Apparently, we weren’t that serious yet 😉

That summer, I worked at the front desk in Wadsworth Hall so that I could stay in the UP (that’s the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, God’s country, if you will…) while Seth was on co-op in Wisconsin (the 4.5 hour drive was a lot better than the 10ish hours it would have been if I’d gone back home) and I read every word of that wonderful book.  Working at the front desk of a dorm in the summer time is an exceptionally boring job… there’s not a lot of work to be done.  And I was good at being a body behind the desk.  Especially since it gave me so much time to read.

I would bring my little, red floppy disk with me every shift and pop it into the big, old desktop at the front desk.  Elbows on the table, face inches from the monitor, I pored over that book.  And loved it.

In addition, I felt pretty darn smug over reading that early release.  It even had a few typos because the editors hadn’t gotten to it yet!  How lucky was I?!

Fast forward a couple years to 2005.  It was May and I had just graduated from Michigan Tech.  Seth and my mom, dad, sister, brother, Grandma Rita, and Grandpa John all made the trip up to Houghton for my graduation and we were headed back downstate with all of my belongings in tow.  It was a beautiful day and we stopped on the Mackinac City side of the Mackinac Bridge for a picnic lunch on the way.  In eager anticipation of the release of the next Harry Potter book (the Half-Blood Prince) later that summer, my mom, brother, and I set about discussing the Order of the Phoenix.

I was a little puzzled about this Delores Umbridge character they kept mentioning.  Perhaps she was added after some editing?  Was she a minor character I had missed?  Had I forgotten that much of the book?  So I brought up my favorite part– the Ron and Hermione romance.  Oh, maybe that was edited out before the release?  Dang, I really liked that part.  But definitely it got a little Star Wars-y when it turned out the Voldemort was actually Harry’s grandfather, right?!  RIGHT?!



Fake book.

I was… shocked.  I had read 800 pages of fan fiction.

But truth be told, I wasn’t mad.  Not even a little bit.

In fact, I was elated!  Not only did I have the distinct pleasure of reading an extra Harry Potter book, but I also had the opportunity to once again plow through TWO Harry Potter books back-to-back that summer as I caught up on the real Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix followed by the newly released Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

I found the series conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to be a highly satisfying end.  I could have done without The Tales of Beedle the Bard.  But that fake book number five?  Icing on my Harry Potter cake, to be sure.

Order of the Faux-Nix
Book Image Source



PS: Vonck was my maiden name.  I almost made the title Rachel Stankowski and the Order of the Faux-nix, but that would have been inaccurate since my name wasn’t Stankowski at the time.  I’m all about truth in… advertising?  Titling?  Whatever.  Vonck it was, anyway.

The morning I cast a spell to open the milk.

This morning in Mexico, I was preparing a breakfast of Froot Loops and Zucaritas! (Frosted Flakes) for my two favorite niños, Emily and Christian.  In my very, very limited Spanish, I asked Emily, “Con leche?” With milk? To which she answered, “Si, por favor.”  Yes, please.  (Emily is very polite, even in Spanish… must be good parenting.)

So, I retrieved the carton of milk from the fridge, which was packaged in a very European-style box.  (Except obviously, this is also Mexican-style packaging.  I just didn’t realize it until now.)  Until this point, I had done everything with a flourish to entertain Christian and Emily.  Good morning, darlings, can I pour you a bowl of cereal for breakfast?  And which one would you like– we have honey nut cheerios, froot loops, and zu-ca-RI-tas!

But then I had to open the milk.


Ok, self, you are a PhD-educated adult.  This carton of milk with NOT defeat you.  Use your super-sized problem-solving skills and big, fat, human brain to open this carton.  And while you’re doing it, turn your back to the kids so they don’t see you struggle.

But then I noticed it– LEVANTE!  Lev… lev… lev… wingardium LEViosa?  LIFT?!

Oh, I’m sorry, are you unfamiliar with Harry Potter?  There is a great scene in the first book/movie (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) where Hermione schools Ron on this levitation spell.  It’s wingardium leviOsa not wingardium leviosA!

And yes, I thought of wingardium LEVisosa before I thought of LEVitate.  But think about that for kids… and the incredible impact that reading can have on a child’s capacity to understand words.  Words through context, words through roots, words through association.  That’s awesome!

I went to school for over 20 years and studied lots of different things, but I really think I learned most of the important life-kind-of-things that I know by reading books.  Good books and not-so-good books, I learn something from every single one…

Even spells!


(Whose the nerd now, Tom?!)

Dumbledore Says…

Dumbledore-- light

I am a huge Harry Potter fan.  (Yes, you may have noticed a reference or two.)  I really identify with Hermione– from the books and the first movie, before they made her hair all sleek.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with sleek hair, it just makes it harder for me to relate.  Remember?)

In addition to wishing I could cast spells (I once pretended to unlock a drawer with a chopstick and an “Alohomora!” to which my brother, clever one that he is, promptly replied, “I’m a nerd-a!”  true dat…), I also think that the books have some really great lessons.  And who amongst all the characters is wiser than Albus Dumbledore?

No one!  That’s who!

The quotation above is one of my favorites, but there are so many.  One of the main reasons I look forward to having kids someday (in addition to love and joy and other feelings, blah, blah, blah…) is because I really, really want to read the entire Harry Potter series out loud.  Really.

With my central theme for the week being the idea of light, I thought this was appropriate.  And with that, I’m off to Mexico tomorrow to bask in light of magnificent proportions– hasta la vista!


(Also, trying not to get my hopes up too high (too late), but after Mexico we head to Florida for a few days (I know, my life, right?!) and there is a chance that we may have the opportunity to drive to Orlando for a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  OMG!)