Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Our Little Life

We are back and two weeks later I thought I would write to give you an update on the summer vacay.
It was really excellent to be gone for two whole weeks. I have always loved vacations that required road trips. So much so, that when our friends visited us from England seven years ago, part of the planned activities for their time with us was to drive to Colorado because isn't the road trip quintessentially American?
While we were gone (and check out Flickr for some of the great festivities), something very strange and excellent happened. All of a sudden, we became a family. Here we were on our first 'real' family vacation, where the sole purpose was to be in each other's company and to relax, and it felt different than anything we had done heretofore that defined us as a family, that defines us as us.
Today is Tuesday, and Thursday and her first birthday are staring us in the face. This last week heading into her birthday has really gotten up in my face. I can't help but think about a year ago and remembering everything that was running through my head, wanting it to be over, wanting to have a natural birth, wanting so many things to just happen and to happen my way. I am rueful for that person that I was a year ago. I had truly believed that there was some aspect of this that I could control, that I had the power to define and shape the next couple of months in almost a god-like fashion. If you've had a child, you intrinsically know what I mean; if you haven't . . . well, let's just say, best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men.

In the months after she was born I fought hard to find my touchstone in life. It had gone from me, and I was left with this new assumption of identity that was startling and horrible and excruciatingly sweet and life-giving, all at the same time. But I felt rudderless. My sense of isolation and desolation only increased as we began to worry about her non-existent weight gain, began the process of trying to diagnose a (thankfully non-existent) liver problem, and ultimately my coming to terms with the fact that in the midst of feeling so out of control, I had made decisions that had helped put us where we were.

Then, just like that, the world changed for the better. She started eating solid foods; I began to understand breastfeeding as a relationship and not an end goal; and she turned six months old and I took a week off of work. That week was pivotal for me. During that time, I realized I hadn't been rudderless all along, but my little boat had been heading in a very different direction.

During our summer vacation to the lake we had our families come and stay with us a couple of days each. Somehow this act of having everyone around us solidified what it meant to be our own family. Jason and I have spent our entire lives being an extension, in one way or another, of our parents' families. It became solidified for me that what we started a year ago this week was the beginning of our very own family that will eventually have its own extensions and nuances, that eventually we will welcome into it whoever our children decide to love, the partners and the children.

One year ago this week, a baby girl was given to us.
One year ago this week, my definition of what it is to be happy profoundly changed.
One year ago this week, we became our own family.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Beware, herein be Spoilers!!!!

In all honesty, I finished HP on Sunday. Do not scroll down below the image if you don't want to know more than you're ready to know.

So, I thought this was an amazing end not only to this novel, but also to the whole series of HP books.

I have to say, Jason and I had a couple of things pegged, like the fact that Snape was IN LOVE WITH LILY!! (that was Jason's guess, good one, too) I had figured out that Harry would have to die, but I didn't think he would be able to come back because I thought he would die like his mother did, for love, but that who he would be directly saving would be Ginny. I especially thought this when she got left behind initially in and near the Room of Requirement on her own. I say directly, because Harry did die for love, love of the world of wizardry and the people specifically in the castle. This seemed a bit of a stretch, but no matter.
So quick breakdown:

The slowest part of the book was when they are jumping form one campsite to the next and they don't know what to do. There was about a good fifty pages there when I was like, ok, Rowling's editor knows this is the last HP book and just wants to let her have a good time. I was especially wanting something to happen when Harry started insisting they WEAR the horcrux. How insane was that? How could they not know it would be bad, especially Hermione?
Incidentally, what happened to Umbridge? Didn't like that particular loose end

The best parts, well about the last half. I read the last 300 pages or so in a morning and afternoon. It just flew and moved, like Order of the Phoenix IMHO (my favorite up to this point).
The dilemma between horcrux and hallows, very nicely done, loved the dual story plot and the need to choose that it gave Harry.
So glad that Rowling did not resurrect Dumbeldore (Albus, obviously). So glad that the blue eye was his brother. However, the King's Cross chapter did not go amiss and I thought that was a nice touch in order for us to tap into the Dumbeldore mystique, which brings me to something revealed in what I haven't talked about yet, Snape's memories.
It was so much easier to emotionally reconcile to Dumbeldore being dead since he was a doomed man as a result of the curse from the Marvolo/Gaunt ring and a beautiful touch that it was his own hubris and folly that led him to the curse (wanting to resurrect Ariana).

That being said, on to the best part of the entire book, The Story of the Prince.
Snape was a goody!!!
Thank goodness.

While the climax of the book had to be the duel between Harry and Voldemort, and here I mean the final duel not the first one, for me the climax of the entire series was Snape's memories. Oh, and that moment at the very end where Snape asks Harry to look into his eyes . . . sniff, yeah, that was good.
Couple more shout outs to Rowling and her storytelling prowess:
Luna--loved how important she became as a character and loved that Harry, upon seeing her room, was endeared to her and didn't think she was a freak. Excellent.
Neville--so amazing, because Rowling created a situation where you see and understand how the meaning of prophecy is really determined by the interpreter; simply put, Neville could have been the Chosen One, he could have been the Boy Who Lived. Oh, and Griffyndor sword pulled out of the hat, so cool! Had even managed to forget about the sword by that point in time, great surprise!
McGonnagal--beautiful little moment when she sees Harry's limp body and cries out. Can't we all just see Dame Maggie Smith on screen already in this beautiful little aside of a moment? Oh, don't let them edit it out . . .
Narcissa Malfoy--The character development that Rowling has done in this book coupled with groundwork she laid in #6 to make Narcissa a sympathetic character gives me goose flesh to think about what Rowling will tackle next as a storyteller. Fascinating character exposition. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look at all of her scenes in books #6 and 7; bravo J.K.!
Dobby--saddest. scene. ever. They buried him with clothes. I cried for Harry when Dumbeldore died. When Dobby died, I cried for me. It was like having read the Two Towers all over again for the first time and thinking that Pippin had died.

All in all a brilliant foray and I look forward to my hold coming in at the library on the audio book so I can hear Jim Dale's excellent interpretation.

For more HP discussions, go check out: http://www.mugglenet.com/

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We're back, but in all honesty, I'm a little tied up right now.
I'll return in a while.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007