Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wizarding Wednesday, the Second

Before I dive into wizarding world speculation, I would like to mention that yesterday marked six years since I began this blog. It's exciting, isn't it? Six years ago, I was starting my last year of college. It seems like a lifetime away. For those of you who have been here since the beginning, I thank you. For anyone else reading, thanks to you too. I really appreciate that anyone would take the time to read my silly ramblings.

My question tonight is: where do wizards do their grocery shopping?

One argument is that wizards do not do grocery shopping, and in fact grow or raise everything that they might need. This could be very likely, especially when one considers that wizards have any manner of clever gardening spells at their disposal. A skilled witch or wizard could procure seeds (say at a gardening shop in Diagon Alley?) and be able to grow anything, regardless of the plant's required growing season or climate. I can just imagine going out into Mrs. Weasley's greenhouse. "And here are the potatoes and carrots, and over there we have pineapple, coconuts, and papayas!"

I can get on board with the growing your own fruits and vegetables, but what about meat? What about wheat and milk? What about butterbeer and fire whiskey? (I suppose Mr Weasley could have a magic distillery in the cellar...) But it seems unlikely that every wizarding family would be running a pared-down farm, even with magical capabilities.

So what are the options for the wizard without a food-producing operation? With Apparition, it would be simple for a witch or wizard to simply travel to the grocer of their choice to pick up anything that they need. The grocer could be within a wizarding area, such as Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade, or could be in the middle of nowhere, perhaps on a wizard's property. They could have a large farm, etc., and set up shop in the middle of a field, and then people would just show up to shop.

A delivery service is another option. Delivers could be made by owls, or, a faster method, via the Floo Network. We know that it's possible for hands to reach through Floo Network fires (Umbridge clawing at the Gryffindor fire in The Order of the Phoenix), so maybe the grocer just sticks their hand in the fire and delivers bags of groceries. You hear a noise in the kitchen and go in to find your shopping sitting neatly on the hearth. I like it.

That's the extent of my thoughts on the subject. Any ideas from the readers?

As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wizarding Wednesday, the First

Confession: I love Harry Potter. I believe many of you are well aware of this. I just finished listening to the books at work. I find that every time I go through the books again, I am filled with questions about the story and the wizarding world in general. This time around, I wrote down my questions.

I've been wanting for some time to find something more creative to do with my blog. I've decided that, amidst my regular posts of my doings, I will write a post each Wednesday that will attempt to answer, or at least speculate on, these questions.

Today's question is: how did the wizarding world find out about Voldemort's defeat and Harry's survival so quickly? Shouldn't the Fidelius Charm have kept anyone from seeing the wreckage at the house? Who was the first to discover them, and how was word relayed? I suppose it's simple enough that the event, once leaked, was spread by the massive amounts of owls reported in the first book, but how did it originate?

Dumbledore seems the likely candidate. As the caster of the Fidelius Charm and a close friend of the Potters, it is highly possible that he had been brought in on the secret of their location. After all, we know that he is in possession of James' invisibility cloak at the time of James and Lily's deaths. He could have visited them to check up on them and bring them news. How long was the house under the Fidelius Charm? I wouldn't think an incredibly long amount of time, since Peter probably relayed the secret to Voldemort quite quickly.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find much on the Fidelius Charm. Nothing on Pottermore, and a very confusing paragraph on Harry Potter Wiki that claimed to explain this...but didn't.

So let us assume for the sake of argument that Dumbledore discovered them. He may have been suspicious of Peter, or just felt the need to keep a frequent eye on them. I think it's likely that there were members of the original Order of the Phoenix inconspicuously on watch in Godric's Hollow, ready to report any suspicious activities to Dumbledore. We know that there were children who saw Voldemort that night, so he wouldn't be beyond the notice of an astute guard. Perhaps they tried to stop him, but he disappeared under the protection of the charm before anything could be done. They quickly sent a message to Dumbledore, but by the time he arrived, it was too late. Can you imagine the horrible moment when he arrived to see the house in shambles, only to be the only one to be able to see it? A family destroyed while the rest of the world marched on, unaware.

Having assumed that Dumbledore knew the secret, it would make sense that he would send word to the minister for an official statement, though he may not have included the bit about Harry defeating him. That may have been for members of the Order to spread. I'm sure that's the sort of thing they would all hear about.

That's probably enough speculation on that. I do have one last question, though. Why did it take so long for Hagrid to bring Harry to the Dursleys? We know that the Potters had been discovered by morning, since the owls were out in droves. Did he pick up Harry during the night? It would make more sense to deliver Harry the next night, to avoid the suspicion of neighbors, but where was he all day? Discreetly receiving medical attention in a secret room at St Mungo's? Perhaps he was taken to the home of someone in the Order. Could you just imagine him staying the day at the Longbottoms', hanging out with Neville and sharing infant babble? An early connection that neither of them remembered and the few who knew never thought to mention. Pure speculation, of course.

So now it's your turn! Feel free to comment any thoughts that you have on the subject. I'd love to hear what you think. I know this question had more speculation than actual information. That won't always be the case, but I thought it might be fun to begin at the beginning (though perhaps it might have been more appropriate to open at the close...).

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Tale of Two Cakes

Cake the First

Once upon a time, I had the whooping cough. Just kidding. I did, however, have a cough for a very long time over the winter. It had been going on for a few weeks when some friends at work started to become concerned. One friend stated that it was probably a whooping cough, which was also known as the 100 days cough, and at the end of 100 days, you die (that last part he made up...probably).

We decided to count off 100 days from the beginning of my cough to see if I was still alive at the end. I marked off the date on my Google calendar, and "invited" a bunch of people. Another friend declared that she would buy me a cake if I survived.

Well, 100 days passed, and I was still alive! My friend kept her word and purchased the cake below, confusing the person decorating it at the bakery (she purchased the dogs separately and put them on herself).

Cake the Second

Did you know that this year is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta? Well, it is. Yet another friend at work was discussing this with cake-buying friend (Rachel) and I and sharing his excitement. A few days before the exciting day, I had to schedule a meeting with him and pulled up his Google calendar. I noticed he had "Magna Carta Party" scheduled during work, but when I asked him about it, he remarked that the people who were going to come to the "party" had bailed. Rachel and I decided that we should have a cake, and also that we should give him a card to commemorate the day. Here is the cake (causing confusion again to the bakery):

And here is the card:

It says " Yo, I know you're declaring your independence, and I'ma let you finish, but the Magna Carta was the best historical document of all time".

Here's the inside:

The "Great" is because Magna Carta is Latin for "Great Charter".

It was a lovely party, and all day long I wished people "Happy Magna Carta Day" and had to explain that to most people. It was a grand time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Michelle Gets a Better Li-iiife!

Hello, all!

As mentioned in my previous post, my 2015 Reading List goal made me realize that I was in a bit of a rut, so I did a couple of things recently to give myself a kick-start (well, three things; I also wrote down some financial goals, but that's not what this post is about!).

One: I rewatched the entire Emma Approved series on YouTube. I know that sounds weird, but something about that series just makes me want to be more productive and take care of business. She's just so upbeat, and something about seeing her fancy outfits always makes me want to try harder and be more creative. For those who haven't heard of Emma Approved, it's a web series based off of Emma by Jane Austen, with a modern twist. I really like it. Emma is a tad annoying at first, but she grows on you pretty quickly. Just watch this video! This is actually the second episode, but I shared this one because there's this lovely moment around 1:00 where she does her Oprah impression: "You get a better life! You get a better life! Everybody gets a better li-iiiife!" So great. Actually, you could stop after that if you don't want to get confused by the storyline, having missed the first episode. But then go back and watch all of them!

Wasn't that fabulous? Accomplishment number two: I rearranged the furniture in my bedroom! The past few days have been sort of rough, and I really needed a project. I originally tried to just turn my bed so it was facing the other direction, but the spot I was trying to fit it into wasn't wide enough, and then I was covering up a my room looked a little like this:

Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to take the picture when my mattress was up and leaning against the wall all crazy-like and the bed was at an odder angle. But you get the idea.

So I sat there, feeling slightly defeated, when I realized that I kind of liked having my bed diagonal. Why not, right? So now it looks like this:

It's sort of a metaphor for life: sometimes you have a plan and think you know exactly what you're doing, and then BAM! It just doesn't work. But then you realize that maybe a "diagonal bed" is just what you need! Or at least you figure out a plan to create awesome with what you've got. Sometimes it's more that...

But getting back to the literal diagonal bed: it feels so fancy somehow, and I love it! I'm particularly excited about using the shelf sitting on the left side of the picture. I inherited it from my paternal grandmother. I used it all the time in past residences, but since moving into my current apartment and getting bookshelves to hold all my knick-knacks, it's been just sitting and collecting dust. Until yesterday! I gathered a few things sitting around, including some things that were sitting on that filing cabinet to the right that I'd been using as a night stand.

I also have a few nightstand things on the very bottom: my water bottle and rice bags, and my scalp massage thing one shelf up, stuck like a pen into a colored plastic cup with fancy rocks inside.

So I'm feeling pretty good about that. It's good to get up and get things done when days are rough, and I love the feeling that I'm accomplishing things, especially since I'm still trudging through Anna Karenina...

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

On Life and Getting Real

My apologies to anyone who has been waiting all these months to hear about the rest of my Disneyland trip last year... I realized that trying to document my trips with so much detail was more stress than it was worth.

My dear BFF, Nikki, invited me to participate in a reading challenge with her this year. She found a list on Pinterest of book suggestions for a whole year, 51 in total. We compiled and compared our lists, and I've read a couple so far. I've realized that I'd forgotten how much I love to read. I really haven't had any fantastic reading sprees since last summer, when I decided to re-read all the Harry Potter books. I didn't even do my yearly reading of Pride and Prejudice.

It has occurred to me that I've really lost hold of a lot of my passions. It's just so easy to come home from work, brain fried from thinking too hard all day, and just get lost in whatever's on television. I don't make the effort to take part in something more productive, or even just more worthwhile. Whenever someone asks me what I enjoy doing, I still spit out the age-old "reading and writing", but really they're just forgotten hobbies that I claim to avoid having to admit that I really don't do much of anything.

It's really quite sad. I feel that I've become a shell of the former me. I think about books that I want to read, and I'm forever writing blog posts and stories in my head, but when it comes down to it, I back down and decide I'm too tired and not in the mood.

I also feel that I've stagnated in my adult life. It's kind of like my life up through college was a mountain, and I've gotten to the top of that mountain. In some ways, I'm done, but then there's this sign that says "The rest of your adult life is that mountain over there, but you have to figure out how to get to it". So I got a job and an apartment and started to build my bridge to the Mountain of Adulthood, but mostly I just like camping out at the top of Childhood Mountain. People further down see that I've gotten to the top and that I'm building a bridge and think that's great, but no one realizes that I've kind of stopped building my bridge. Of course, sometimes someone gets to the top and then we discuss the building of bridges, but then they get busy on their bridge and leave me behind.

Okay, that was a depressing and weird metaphor. But it's true. I'm not doing the things I should to be an adult. It's sad, really. The good news is that I'm realizing the sadness and am determined to do a better job. I wrote down some goals today. I hate goals, but I realize the necessity of them. So I wrote them down, and I'm trying to be responsible and make my life better.

Anyway, no one be sad for me. I'm not sad; I'm determined. I'm gathering bridge-building materials :)

Thanks for reading.