Friday, July 27, 2007

Playing Catch-up #1

My birthday frivolities extended for almost a month this year - the last celebration of which occurred last Thursday believe it of not - with a cake at work.

Paul organized a little pre-B-Day get together at Miako with a few friends before he and I left for his nieces wedding in St. Louis. Here Tommy and Nathan can be seen modeling the latest chopstick orifice trends.

Paul and I, deciding the latest trends were way too classy for us decided to eat with our chopsticks, (boring - I know) and then put them down and take this cute picture.

Paul's niece's wedding was in St. Louis on the 30th of June, followed by a family reunion the next day. Enjoyed visiting with all of Paul's family very much, and then meeting members of his very-well-extended family at the reunion on Sunday.

Hmmm... Could they be brothers?

Hmmmm.... Think they could all be cousins?

Just a smattering of the family reunion on July 1st...

The very same day we drove back in my folks came to celebrate my birthday and spend the 4th of July with us! No fireworks for us this year on the 4th - bright colors came in the form of ink on paper. My Mom and I worked on her personal stationary while my Dad carved a fantastic linoleum cut to run a limited edition print later on that evening.

Of course there was a visit to Soul Burger (BEST burgers in Huntsville!) while they were here too

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Playing Catch-up #2

I apparently maxed out how many photos you could stick in one post so the story is continued here....

We also made the trip to see the Rosenbaum's House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

This is my B-day card tree. Previously bought and used for Christmas cards, it was so pretty Paul and I decided to leave it up year-round, and then when some birthday cards arrived I figured it could hold a bit of birthday cheer!

The garden is overrun with tomatoes at the moment. And Paul and I had a plethora of pretty green, purple and yellow beans last week. The corn is almost ready to harvest and cucumbers are still sprouting out all over the vines. This is my first time that I can remember successfully growing carrots though - not to mention cool little round ones!

The HCRU Tyrolean was the 14th, which was, as always, awesome! DeSoto was a bit on the low-flow side, but you still heard enough of a bubbling roar to know its a good sized waterfall. Got to do some swimming down in the splash pool and then climbed out the high side (100 or so feet). Paul got a couple photos of swimming out to the rope and then climbing. Man what a beautiful view when you climb it, you're well away from the wall and you've got plenty of time to look around if you frog.

Phew. I think I'm caught up now.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Destination: Hogwarts Castle, Orlando, FL

Apparently (and I seem to be always the last to know) Universal is planning a Harry Potter Theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL! Here's the official press release. I know everyone will be really raking in the dough on this one, but I can't help but be a bit excited about a visit sometime in 2009, especially if they do it up right; And according to the creators of the park, Jo's input was paramount in the development.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm Such a Nutter! (HP Spoiler Alert!)

I know, I know I'm a complete nutter for dressing up and going Harry-Potter-Wild, but it was Brilliantly fun! And I wasn't alone in the least....

My fair Jones Valley Barnes and Noble on the eve of the big release.

There was a great Whomping-Willow costume - and an Excellent Cho Chang but I missed getting photos of them. Other than that there was...

The pretty "Fat-lady" in her portrait - and Draco on the side too.

Dobby and Professor Sprout with her horrible mandrakes (glad I remembered my ear-muffs!).

Miss LeStrange, Ginny, and a Hermione.

Although I have to say I think this Hermione is a tad bit better... Hermione does afterall have frizzy BROWN hair, not blond like the movies lead you to believe. And check out Hagrid - this fellow was huge! I thought he was brilliant!

My fantastic fancy boxed version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with totally different slip cover artwork (of Harry, Hermione and Ron on the back of the dragon) an acid-free full cloth cover and extra full-page illustrations for each chapter in the back.

I made it till about 3am, and the bodies started stacking up fairly quickly, but by then my eyes were slamming shut, so I had to forgo reading through the night. Saturday passed in muffled silence as both Paul and I spent the whole day reading...

If you haven't finished the book - don't read any farther!

By Sunday I think I was more horrified to learn of the fate of a few of Harry's closest friends than Harry. (I knew he'd be ok - he's the hero for crying out loud! Although I'm rather proud of myself for guessing that he was a horcrux and that he had to die and then somehow come back to life to get rid of the Volde... I mean He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named part - you think I want Death Eaters showing up at my work?) It was interesting to see Dumbledore fall from his all-knowing all-perfect pedestal and regain his grace in the very end. And Snape's involvement which I guessed when the doe patronus appeared. I think the most disturbing death was FW - why the heck did JK have to kill him off?! I think that's my one and only huge complaint - there was no reason for his death ('Ear 'EAR!) I eventually accepted RL & NL's death - I knew when Harry became godfather of TL that that was the kiss of death for at least RL, but NL too? Ouch. Although 19yrs later - you knew that Harry had very much taken him in as family and had provided what Sirius had not been able to for him. And I have NO idea how they're going to turn this one into a movie without it loosing half the story or it being 5 hours long. Warner Brothers has already kind of messed up the story line because the movie that's out right now never showed Mrs. W, RW, HP & HG cleaning out the cabinet at the Black's and Kreature stealing RAB's locket from the trash. Wonder how they're going to cover that? I think I'll reread the last book since I gulped it down so fast and then revisit the entire series. In the end though, I must say JK - thanks so much for the magnificent ride - I feel privileged to have watched Harry Potter grow up first hand and create such a wonderful stir amongst kids and adults alike. And as Ron would say "BRILLIANT!"

PS (1:06 PM): Just found another great (highly recommended) review on a fellow bloggers page: The Caffeinatined Librarian

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Harry Potter Mania

I still need to play catch up - with a trip to St. Louis, and my birthday and some Preston printing and the HCRU Tyrolean (oh - and the Huntsville Grotto newsletter too!), but for now its some more Harry Potter mania. Paul and I are reviewing all of the movies (even though there are some discrepancies and a few major flaws) in hopes to update ourselves before the release of the final Harry Potter book - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It even sounds final doesn't it? Paul's madly rereading the 6th book right now and giving me a cliff notes version in between him reading some chapters aloud in between watching the movies. I'm half tempted to purchase the 6th book on CD - which would be the only possible way I could "read" it before Friday evening. I've only read it one time and the details are a bit rusty. Paul and I will be in the frenzied line at Barnes and Noble this Friday evening waiting with the rest of the world to learn of Harry's fate. I'd like to dive on in and read it through to the last word (Rowling says it's "scar") but then again I feel as if I need to really savour it because with the closing of the back cover Harry's world will be closed to Muggles like us forever. Rereading never gives you that "new-words-high" excitement. Perhaps I could read all of it but the last chapter - so I don't ever really finish it?

oh - on a side note - according to the sitecounter it looks like I'm up to 3,050 visits - I passed 3,000 without evening knowing it! how exciting! I would would have never guessed that so many people have pinged "Brina Bat" if I had not gotten a counter (thanks Laura!) And Thank you thank you thank you for your patronage and comments - comments most of all!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Midnight Tonight

Where will you be at Midnight tonight? Paul and I will be comfortably seated in a 440 capacity movie theatre not-so-patiently awaiting the first showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. When we get home from work it'll be dinner and a nap with several alarms set - just in case - and then we'll drive over to the theatre probably around 10 so we can stand in line for a couple hours and watch all the Harry Potter fanatics in all their garb. When I purchased the tickets yesterday the gal at the ticket counter told me that even though I'm purchasing these tickets - that it does not guarantee us a seat - nor does it guarantee the two of being able to sit together; translation - get there EARLY because they oversell the theatres and expect a massive crowd! So where will you be at Midnight tonight? Tucked into your cozy little nest of a bed - or out with a bunch of crazed Harry Potter Fans?

And then JKR's last book comes out on next week! Barnes and Noble really does it up right with games and prizes for the best costume and drawings and such. I am definitely going to order a butterbeer again if they have them - so I can sip while I wait in line. I'm even happier to be a part of the book craze, for when has one book become so important for young and old alike that fans would wait hours for the chance to know a character's fate? JK has surely done all of us a favor by captivating our collective brain with a delightfully woven tale of good vs. evil. And in this computer media driven age - her books have proven that there is nothing more powerful, more inspiring to the imagination, than the written word.

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