Thanks For The Memories

Once upon a time I opened a book and read the words Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much and fell in love.
Maybe not with the opening line, and certainly not with those wretched Dursleys, but it was still the moment that marked one of my great book romances. I, like so many, many other readers, fell head over heels, why-can’t-this-be-real, I-want-a-wand, where-is-my-acceptance-letter-to-Hogwarts in love with the world that J.K. Rowling created on her pages.
It’s a world that’s far too big to be contained between those book covers – and as the curtain opens on the last of the movies, I find myself (like so many other Potterphiles) reminiscing about what the books have meant to me.
* After years of bedtime stories and me passing books down to him, these were the first books my baby brother shared up with me. He passed away five years ago and a few of my copies are even more beloved because they were his first.
* These were the first books I shared with St. Matt – truthfully, I demanded he read the first one. He required no coercion for the rest of the series. They were also the first books that I made him take away and hide after Just one more chapter, A few more pages, and I’m going to set a timer and I’ll stop reading when it goes off all failed to get me out of the book and onto my homework.
* When the first movie came out during my sophomore year in college I sweet-talked the local grocery store into giving us their Harry Potter / Coke display. The thing was amazing: the windows in Hogwarts lit up, Hedwig’s wings flapped. It was also massive – at least five feet tall and four feet across. Despite living in a shoebox of a dorm room, I kept it all year.
* The photo above is from the party I had before the first movie – I forced a group of friends — half who hadn’t read the book– to play Harry Potter Clue and trivia. I awarded prizes. We had cake — which was supposed to have a Hogwarts decal, but ended up reading “Happy Birthday, Harry Potter” instead. It was still delicious.

 

* Senior year in college St. Matt, my best friend, and I absconded to London for a long weekend around Halloween. St.Matt was thrilled by the James Bond display at Harrods. J-bean loved the theater. The highlight of the trip for me was standing in Leicester Square in the freezing cold for hours watching the actors arrive for the world premiere of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.
* On one of the boys’ first nights home, as we rocked and read them picture books, St. Matt looked over Baby B’s head and asked, “So, how much older do they have to be before we can read then Harry Potter?”
I’m already ticklish with anticipation of exploring these stories all over again – getting to see them as new through their eyes.
What are some of YOUR Harry Potter memories?

Lessons from the River – My FEARLESS Adventure

Fearless doesn’t mean without fear . Okay, technically it does, but for the purpose of Fearless Summer it means acknowledging that something is scary or difficult and then *gulp* doing it anyway.

What could be scarier or more challenging than ME on a 5-day Whitewater rafting trip through the Gates of Lodore in Colorado and Utah? (Admit it, you were a little scared when you saw the words Tiffany & Whitewater together).

But I DID IT!

Lessons Learned on the River:

2) What a groover is. If you don’t know, you probably don’t want to.

3) If you scream like horror-flick blonde, you will get made fun of around the campfire.

4) When things go wrong on the river, they go wrong fast and they go really wrong.

5) If you haven’t used your underwater camera in a year – check it before going shutterbuggy.

6) Braids are the ideal river hairstyle.

7) River trips have their own language.

8) Camping requires lots of STUFF

Don’t we look rather FEARLESS? Okay, really we just look amused…. but there was plenty of fearlessness occurring too. And it was, most definitely, an ADVENTURE!

Apply sunblock BEFORE you put on your Chacos

Like my stripe-y sunburn?

The shoes that caused it… (though mine are lighter pink)

photo credit

…Also, pedicures are no match for camping.

Return to Lessons from the River

2 ) I am not a camper.

I attempted it once when I was six and ended up in the hospital before it was time for s’mores – and that was the only reason I’d wanted to try it. That some people are just-not-meant-to-be-campers was brought home to me on this trip in some very real ways.*

For instance, while I had a great time practicing setting up the tent with J-bean in her front yard:

Yes, I am modeling my lifevest over a dress

I didn’t really think about the fact that when I had to sleep in it the next night, it would be out in the WILD and it would be dark. It’s a good thing St. Matt bought me a kid’s flashlight, complete with blinking lights (aka the ‘disco setting’) and a nightlight. I kept that on the whole first night.

Another thing that hadn’t occurred to me even once was where people went to the bathroom in the woods. I’m not a moron – I didn’t expect sparkling powder rooms with uniformed attendants – I just hadn’t thought about it at all. When J-bean told me about the groover, I thought she was joking. She wasn’t.

Um, no. Letting her show me was all the experience I needed. Thank God, this was a shortish trip. Maybe next time I’ll think about it…

… then again, maybe not!

*This was also brought home to be post-trip, when everyone who asked me how the trip was, did so by saying *giggle* “How was camping, Tiffany?” *giggle* “Did you like it? I’m shocked you survived!” hrumph!!!

3) If you scream like horror-flick blonde, you will get made fun of around the campfire

In my defense, someone had seen a SNAKE in that general area the day before. And I heard a scary noise in the bushes behind me. The fact that it turned out to be a bird and not actually a man-eating serpent isn’t relevant.

Back to list of River Lessons

A True Test of FEARLESSNESS

By putting Fearless Summer out there in the universe, I knew I would be tested. I just didn’t know how MUCH I would be tested or what types of opportunities I’d be given to grow.

Tomorrow I leave for a Fearless Adventure – Five days of whitewater rafting in Utah and Colorado.

Less than 24 hours after I posted my original declaration of Fearless Summer my college roomie called. St. Matt and I already had plane tickets to go visit J-bean and her husband in New Mexico, but those plans were about to change.


“How’d you like to go rafting?” J-bean asked.
“Rafting?”
“You know, whitewater rafting.”

J-bean proceeded to tell me about how they’d been offered a last minute rafting pass to Gates of Lodore, a place that she and her husband had been wanting to go for years.

I had never considered going whitewater rafting before – it sounds scary and potentially deadly for someone as spaztastic as me. I looked over at St. Matt who was nodding so enthusiastically his head might detach. Taking a fearless breath, I said: “Um, sure. Tell me the details.”

The details include five days on the river in class 3-4 rapids. J-bean’s husband is guide certified, so they have all the gear and it’ll just be us in the raft.

J-bean sent us a list of stuff we’d need and we set about purchasing it.

EMS is a culture unto itself. I felt like I’d been transported to the world of Westerfeld’s Uglies – there were water purifiers and grippy shoes. I found myself looking around for hoverboards and interface rings.

They didn’t have these… but I did find the supplies I needed and all are in pink or green! (For once St. Matt approves of my color scheme because he thinks it’ll make me easier to spot if I wander off in the wilderness.) I even found waterproof notepads for my whitewater *fierce wonderings* and inspirations. They’re green. I bought two. I like buying camping stuff.

I’ve never camped before. When I was six, I was supposed to go camping with my cousins, but before I even got to spend the night in a tent, I managed to break my arm. Badly. Hold your arm up and flop your wrist – see how it creates a 90* angle? Mine did that 3 inches below the wrist joint.

So when I announced that I was go rafting – people worried. “Um, does J-bean know about your… um, tendency to get hurt?”

She does — my college experience wasn’t exactly mishap or ER-free — but conveniently both she and her husband are doctors.

If I fall out of the boat, I figure they’ll fish me out and plop me back in. If I get cut – they’ll stitch me back up.

And St. Matt has already double and triple checked that there’s a helmet with my name on it.

So while others may fret and worry and hug me extra tight before I leave – I’m not anxious. I’m not concerned. I’m FEARLESS.

So wish me luck and leave me messages for when I come back from my FEARLESS adventure – because I will come back, braver, stronger, tanner, and perhaps soggier! THIS is what Fearless Summer is all about!

*disclaimer* I AM concerned about being *gulp* technology-less for FIVE whole days. You won’t see me on twitter or my blog because Gilbert, Petunia and Huey are all going to be left behind where it’s safe and dry!

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