Monthly Archives: July 2011

Hagrid-sized Hangover

I woke up this morning with a hangover worthy of a rookie at
a rugby drink-up.  No, I didn’t
find my face plastered to the nasty tile floor of some stranger’s
bathroom.  This type of hangover
had nothing to do with the blue Harry-tini I partook in, and only a little to
do with the three-day junk food binge. 
Food and alcohol hangovers are a result of self-imposed stupidity, which
on occasion can be a hell of a lot of fun, but really ought not to evoke any
sympathy.  I’m hung over after a
decade-long passion, which at times came close to obsession, officially
ended.  (Unofficially, I intend to
drag it out another couple decades with movie marathons, trips to Universal
Studios, and through forcing my friends’ children into reading the books.)

            By
now you’ve probably figured out I’m not mourning the loss of World Cup soccer
to Japan, though that added to the general letdown tone of a weekend that
started off so well.  Friday
afternoon found me donning my homemade t-shirt, Gryffindor scarf, and
Alivander’s wand one last time.  I
was heading to the movies with ‘the geek squad,’ as my brother so lovingly
named us, to see the final Harry Potter film.  And every part of it was amazing: the themed drinks, the
goodie bags we made each other, the lightning bolt tattoos (fake ones, but…),
the movie, and the friends.  But it
was sad, too.  Not just the movie,
which had me silently sobbing less than an hour in, but the idea that a certain
chapter of my life was coming to an end. 
It seems silly, perhaps. 
Unlike the older teens and twenty somethings that every news outlet in
the country has interviewed, I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter.  I grew up with Carebears and Gem–God,
was my generation jipped.  I didn’t
discover the Potter books until I was twenty-one, old enough to drink Guinness,
but longing for a butterbeer.  Mmm,
the two together might make a fabulous black and tan, but I digress.  The point is, though I never had
Hermione footsy pajamas and Quidditch wasn’t yet a club sport when I was at BU
(or I certainly would have played), Potter has still been an important part of
my life.

            In
addition to the hours of escape I enjoyed while reading the books and watching
the movies, I have J.K. Rowling to thank for an awful lot.  First, I’m relatively sure I never
would have made it to tenure if I hadn’t shared a passion for Potter with my
first principal.  At twenty-two,
she often confused my free spirit with a “certain disregard for the
rules”.  Luckily, she greatly
appreciated my willingness to share my time and obsession with the kids.  And when she came in the summer after
the fifth book was released wearing the tell-tale Umbridge bow and telling the
entire faculty we’d now be assessing student achievement by measuring how much
the circumference of student’s heads had grown, I was one of the few who got
the joke.  Bosses like when you get
their jokes.

            The
time I spent sharing my love of Harry with the kids has been special too.  Not to get sappy or to boast, because I
was only doing what I loved, but my after school ‘geek squad’ has provided an
outlet for some kids who really didn’t fit in anywhere else.  Harry Potter club, which was renamed
the DA by the students’ request (demand might be more accurate) never had the
attendance of some of the cooler clubs, but the kids who came, came
religiously.  And we had a
blast.  I love hearing from them up
at the high school that they’re still friends, bonded by a love of the books
and movies, and that they miss those Friday afternoons eating my rock-hard
pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies (the recipe was in the early stages then) and
drinking my cavity-inducing attempts to replicate butterbeer.  I miss them, too.

            And
I have my own friendships to be grateful for.  From our epic book seven release party, to our Siriusly long
stings of emails (the owls became too messy), to the smaller dvd get-togethers,
Potter helped me start, maintain, and strengthen friendships with a truly
terrific group of women.  If these
creative, witty, intelligent women are geeks, may I never be called cool.

            Finally,
I have the Potter series to thank for introducing me to fantasy.  Who knew a genre I thought I hated as a
kid would be what I most enjoy reading, viewing, and writing as an adult?  It was J.K. who taught me sometimes the
easiest, and certainly most enjoyable way to examine the world we live in,
is through the worlds we create. 
Rowling ends with, “All was well.”  I’m wise enough to know I’ll never do it as well, but if it
hadn’t been for Harry, I wouldn’t have done it at all.

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Room for Routines

Wake up.  Feed
brat cat.  Get ready for work.  Work.  Exercise (maybe?). 
Write.  Sleep.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

            This
is the type of routine we curse nearly every workday of our lives.  I personally have one set of curses for
the alarm clock, another for the cat who won’t let me enjoy the snooze button,
a third for the idiots sharing the road to work with me, and a PG version for
school (my colleagues just choked on “PG”, but what is uttered in
team meeting, stays in team meeting!). 
Exercise, when I’m in the mood, and writing, when my computer isn’t
eating hours of work, don’t usually require a special swear thesaurus, but I have plenty in my arsenal, just in case.

            So
what is it we desire instead of our monotonous routines?  V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!  (It sounds better when you’re singing
along to it with a frozen drink in your hand; trust me.)  Vacation is the Holy Grail of workers
everywhere.  We spend all year
saving and planning for one.  We keep countdowns
on our desks, brag to our friends or co-workers, and practically dance out of
the work place on that final day. 
If we’re lucky, and we saved enough, we’re off to exotic places where
our days will be filled with hot locals with hotter accents, plentiful
libations (in case the locals aren’t as hot as they sound), and breathtaking vistas. 
If reality hits your savings account like a Mac truck on speed, however,
you find yourself with a couple weeks (okay, or months) at home–or mooching off
your parents and living at their home, which conveniently has a large deck and
close proximity to the beach.  But,
hey, it’s not work, so who’s complaining? 
Not me.

            Really,
this isn’t me complaining or in any way taking for granted that for the first
time since I was 13, I am enjoying a work-free, class-free, workshop-free, kid-free summer.  (We’re not counting
learning a reading curriculum for a new grade, because, despite all my best
intentions, I won’t likely start that until my mid-August panic sets in.)  With that said, such freedom has
pitfalls.  With no alarm clock, the
cat’s on her own trying to drag me out of bed before 8:30, and she’s lucky if I
remember to feed her before noon. 
Getting dressed has become optional.  Is there really a difference between my pajama tank and my
lounge-all-day-on-the-deck tank? 
The only ‘work’ I had to accomplish (other than the previously
mentioned, destined-to-be-delayed curriculum work) was to send two transcript
requests in order to get my raise. 
As of mid-July: not done. 
Apparently I’m rolling in dough and don’t need that money.  Anyone want a yacht? 

            My
problem with the freedom to do anything is that I accomplish nothing.  Okay, so I’ve found a gorgeous wooded
running trail and spent hours revising my sequel, but I’ve spent an equal
amount of time sitting around deciding what I should do next.  I am way too antsy to be satisfied with
a summer of doing absolutely nothing. 
But just to clarify, when done in moderation, going to the beach or
tanning on the deck does not constitute as nothing.  So what’s a non-working girl to do?  First, read and respond to emails from
friends reminding me of my blogging responsibilities.  It’s wise to keep the BFFs happy, especially when they
currently make up my entire fan base. 
Second, remind myself my parents were teachers too, and therefore I will
never be coming into a large inheritance; a raise is crucial.  I will stop playing games on the phone
with my mother, who’s sitting in the room with me, long enough to send in the
paperwork. 

            Basically,
summer vacation or not, I still need a routine.  I’m not saying I’m ready to embrace six o’clock alarms or
Sunday afternoon correcting, but perhaps a compromise would suffice.

Wake up before 8:30 to feed hungry cat.  Enjoy leisurely breakfast on deck.  Get fully dressed before 10.  Take care of real world requirements
(bills, emails, etc.).  Work on
writing, including weekly blog posts! 
Lounge on beach or deck. 
Exercise someplace stunning. 
Back to deck for outdoor dinner (and perhaps a cocktail, or two).  Curl up to a good book.  Fall asleep thanking my lucky stars I
have another month before I have to think about a real routine!  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

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