To the Boy Who Lived…

Today is Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom’s birthday.

If you’re new to my blog posts, Harry Potter and Wizarding World is very much a part of my life and that of a lot of my friends.  My mom was still alive when the first three books were out and after she died, it gave me something to crawl into and remember her by.  Add that to my step-mom became a Harry Potter fan after the movies came out.  We would talk about the Wizarding World; she would call with random questions and I would answer them if I remembered the answer.  She also bought me the 7th book for my birthday present the year it came out.  We both cried at the ending.

On top of my memories of my moms, my sister also has a few Harry Potter based tattoos.  They’re really neat.  I need to go get my Potter inspired tattoo at some point but I’m torn between getting my house crest (I’m a Slytherin) or a version of “Always,” the word Snape utters to Dumbledore in regards to Lily.  Talk about a great love story that explained so much.

I also wanted to do quotes today, so in honor of Harry and Neville, here are my favorite quotes from the Harry Potter series.

“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.” 
–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” –Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being–forgive me–rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.” ––Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” –Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” –Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” –Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” –Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.” –Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” –Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. Love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves it’s own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” –Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” –Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?” –Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” –Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” –Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets

“When in doubt, go to the library.” –Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets

And of course…

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Thank you, J.K. Rowling for giving the world Harry Potter and everything that has come from what you have created.  Happy birthday!

 

Listening to:  J vs Ben:  The Hardest Dumbledore Trivia Quiz Ever

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  Pick an other ones above.

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Filed under Books/Classes, Quotes

Patience and Determination

This past week, I have been driving around like crazy.  It’s not been easy and I’ve spent almost 30 hrs on the road in the last week.  It should have been more.  I didn’t imagine this being a full-time job when I started it almost two years ago.

What I did imagine was getting further along in my career to where I wouldn’t have to drive around to make ends meet.  I set myself up for this though so I shouldn’t be complaining.

Determination to have a different life will always get the better of you.  When you are satisfied with the status quo, you stay where you are.  Some people are happy just surviving.  They aren’t doing much else with their lives, but they are happy for the most part.  There are days sometimes I wish I could be satisfied with a simple life, or in my version of things, the bare-minimum American dream.

I have always found the American dream to be a sham.  The big house with a white picket fence, a dog, a cat, two kids, a husband… I have already failed at this one since I’m gay and won’t be having any kids anytime soon.  But my wife wants that dream so I’ll patiently and determinately give it to her because it makes her happy.

Roots are not something I have ever wanted and/or needed.  Connections with things and homes don’t leave much space to move around for work or to have a somewhat vagabond-ish life that I had dreamed for myself as I had gotten older.  I used to joke on my dad about his wanderlust.  Looks like I have a version of that bug too.  Being married with kids and responsibilities has gone a long way to making sure that bug stays tucked away in a “What if” part of my brain.

Patience, though, keeps me stationary just as well.  Without patience, the need for instant gratification hits hard.  It’s definitely a generational thing, where I want something and I want it now.  If I don’t get it quickly, I stop working towards the goal and then when I think about it again, it’s too late or has lost the luster it once had.

Patience is definitely needed when it comes to getting the house we are trying for; determination is the only thing keeping me from walking away from it.  Determination to prove to everyone I can do this adulting thing and that I can finally get with the program to reach a lifetime milestone.  Well, that and $3,000 in earnest money (a DMV standard from those I have talked to about it.  Most other states require less.).  That’s too much money to just throw away, when building it back up would take six more weeks of me trying to kill myself.

Isn’t life grand?

Listening to:  The construction going on outside.

Reading:  “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

Quote of the Day:  “Doubt is a virus that attacks our self-esteem, productivity and confidence. Faith that you and your life are perfectly unfolding is the strongest vaccine.” ― Sean Stephenson

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Filed under Advice Column, Driving, Finances, Goals

Saturday Night

I have been driving people around for a while now.  It’s not an uncommon situation:  When someone asks me what I’m doing at night/on the weekends, I’m driving to make money.  June saw me with no car and no extra cash for things.  Needless to say, things were, and are still, a little tight.

That’s why I found myself driving around trying to get to my monetary goal on Saturday night.

My last ride of the night was a young man in relative terms.  I don’t often work the drunk crowd; it’s my scene and I’d rather be the person drinking, not the DD.  Anyways, this guy is slightly wobbly and I’m like this is going to be a really irritating ride.  I picked the young man up; he was headed to the opposite of the Harbor.  His first comment was, “Take whatever route gets us there.”

In the following 20 some minutes, I found out a lot about my passenger.  Former Marine and he was dealing with a heartache.  His girlfriend of several years had a skewd view of a relationship.  We both agreed that a relationship is about spending time with each other.  On top of that, he had started setting up roots for their future.  He had moved to the area, bought a house, and had a decent job…He wanted the works everyone over 30 is supposed to want.  After serving his country and doing several tours, he deserved that.

What pissed me off was here was someone who had fought for our country who deserved to have his dreams come true.  Four years and newly single when all he wanted was to be happy with the person he saw his future with.  We kept talking about how nice it would be to have someone to come home to after a long day who loved you.  Her argument was that he seemed like he wanted Little Suzy Homemaker.  After talking to him, I didn’t get that impression at all.  Of course this was only over 20 minutes of talking to this guy while he was slightly intoxicated.

As an Uber Driver, what gets talked about in the car is supposed to die there, unless it’ an argument with the top dog of the company.  However, this guy’s story stuck with me all weekend.  I wanted to say something prolific about how we treat veterans like crap.  I have seen so many homeless vets and vets like my dad who hasn’t had anything good happen in couple years.  Maybe it’s my guilt of not being there for my dad right now, or when he needed me a few years ago.  I haven’t gotten past what I didn’t do when it would have been so easy to just help, and now it’s way too late to do anything about it.  Whatever it is, this young man’s story had me wanting to end my shift and grab drink just to continue the conversation.  I don’t get many passengers like that.

If you have military personnel in your life or know any military personnel, please say “Thank you” and hug them.  Start a conversation with them and see how they are truly doing AND LISTEN TO THEM.  Take them out for a nice day out and remind them the positives of what they have/are fighting for.  Help with what you can, even if it’s babysitting so they can have some time with their partners.  Most importantly, love them.

 

Listening to:  “Lydia” by Highly Suspect

Reading:  “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

Quote of the Day:  “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ― Vince Lombardi

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Filed under Advice Column, Driving

Weightloss and Comments

Yesterday I got hit with the whole “Are you losing weight because you look like you’re weight” comment.  My response was to look down, mutter “yes,” and walk back to my desk.

This morning, I was going through my e-mails before I got ready for work and saw something one of the vloggers I follow had posted about a woman who had flagged her down and wanted to talk to her about the Overeaters Anonymous group at the flagger’s church.  I shook my head; maybe the woman had had great success there, but to flag someone you don’t know down and interrupt them getting their groove on is a little much.  Unsolicited advice is a no-go.  Just don’t, please.

Over on Facebook, I’m in a couple gastric bypass groups.  Someone in one of them posted about their daughter who was going through the same struggles the person had before coming to terms with having weightloss surgery.  As a parent, she doesn’t want her child going through the same situation she did.  However, her daughter is over the age of 18; there’s not much a parent can do about their offspring’s choices after that.

Something about all of these things brought me to write this particular post this morning.  Here it goes.

PLEASE STOP GIVING ADVICE OR COMMENTING SO MUCH!

Sure, I’ve lost weight.  Yes, I work around people and people are going to notice changes.  No, I don’t constantly want to talk about my weightloss journey and I definitely don’t want to talk about how you’re having surgery because I look like I’m having amazing success with it.  If I’m out here walking or exercising, I’m in my groove; please don’t comment about it.  Or how about asking yourself before saying anything, “Would I say what I’m about to say if this person was a [insert descriptors… for this, it’s ‘smaller person.’  For others, it may be ‘male,’ ‘female,’ etc.]?”  How about that?

In my monthly goal posts, yes, I put up how much I lost the month before and how much I want to lose over the next month.  That’s pretty much it.  I’m not constantly posting pictures for Transformation Tuesday, Weightloss Wednesday, etc., because I am over talking about my weightloss journey.  It’s been seven months!  The only thing I really want to talk about is how to mentally be the smaller person.  Can you talk to me how to mentally not respond to things the way I would have when I was bigger?

*Holds temples*

For people with kids, harping on their weight is just going to make them more self-conscious and insecure in themselves.  If you’re really worried about it, start cooking differently for the whole family.  Go for walks as a family; do activities as a family!  Make it look like you are trying something different as a family.  Don’t make weight the focus.  Why is weight even a focus at that point?

WHY ARE WE SO PREOCCUPIED WITH WEIGHT AND NOT SUPPORT?

Support is different for each person.  Why can’t we say something nice to people regardless of size, race, gender, cultural aspects, etc.?  For my co-worker, just say something nice about my outfit or my hair.  For people we see out on the streets, if you have a moment to say something nice, do so but don’t interrupt them while they are in their groove.  For the parent, encourage your kids to do things with you like game night; communicate with them.  Actually have a conversation with each other where you are supportive and not destructive towards them or yourselves.

Food for thought today.

Listening to:  My Amazon Playlist

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  “Each of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm. When we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.” ― Maya Angelou

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Question Day

I’ve been working on my vlogs for BookTube and my various stories.  I haven’t made much headway with either (although I’m already at eight vlogs for the month out of fourteen).  Those are fairly easy to record, mostly since they are about books.

Since I have been focusing on everything else, I figured today would be a good question day.

#70.  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

This one is hard because there is a lot of things I would do if I knew no one would judge me.  I figured this would be a good list answer.

  • Audition for a role in a play. There is a production company that isn’t that far from my house and they are holding auditions for “Into the Woods.”  Outside of timing, my criticisms of myself and comments on my singing keeps me from auditioning right now.  I did save their page so I can try auditioning for a different play they are doing later in the year.
  • Sing in public. I have songs on my playlist that I love and sometimes the need to belt out the lyrics is strong.  When I’m in my car, I do; out in public, I don’t.  I don’t want to be judged.
  • Dance in public. Same as singing.
  • Do an open mic night. I think I’m funny and I think I have funny stories to share.  I would love to have the balls to get in front of crowd and through some jokes around to make people laugh.  We could all use a good laugh right now and I have a really great skit revolving around Uber.
  • Not stay at my desk all day. People judge when you aren’t sitting at your desk looking busy.  This drives me crazy.  I want to go sit in a conference room or go for really long walks or just go outside and enjoy that day.  Can’t do it a lot unless the bosses aren’t here.  While the cat’s away and all that jazz.
  • Read more. Same as desk duty.
  • Spend everything I make on non-bills. Bills and adulting are two things that go hand in hand these days.  I hate it and would much rather spend my money on other things like travel and family things.  Sadly, without bills and adulting, there wouldn’t be anything (material or human) to come home to after traveling or having fun.
  • Take a break. Along the lines of adulting, I would love to take a break from my job and find something else to do.  Judgmental me is against it because people would talk and then realize that you aren’t needed in your job anymore so why do you even still work for the company?  On the other hand, a break to do something meaningful with my life like volunteer, travel, or go to school full-time would be phenomenal.
  • Apply for non-public sector jobs. I started looking for non-government positions.  The current political climate has me wanting to get out while I can and go just about anywhere right now.  If I didn’t think I would be judged for looking outside of my agency and knew I could have a back-up plan for coming back to the government, I would apply elsewhere.
  • Write more. This goes back to my perfectionism and my anxiety.  If I mentally could wrap my brain around the story not having to be perfect up front or that people don’t care some much about what I say at first and I can always clean it up, I’d write more things.  As it stands, my need for everything to be perfect sucks and stifles my motivation.  I want to put out good works of art at the first attempt, not the third or fourth try.

Ten things.

Ten judgmental, self-esteem reducing things that I really would love to try.  Where to start with getting past them?  I’ll let you know later.

 

Listening to:  Hozier

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  “If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.”  ― Roopleen

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Filed under 1001 Days, Goals, Questions, Writing

Ponderings

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday.  The world can stop spinning now!

That’s a joke from my mom because I would act like the world revolved around me when I was younger and how I felt the entire world should know it’s my birthday and celebrate me.

I have since grown out of that phase but that joke/sentiment still sticks with me years after she said it.  Along with that one time I got sung to by a choir group passing through the Shoney’s and my dad mentioned it was my birthday to the instructor.  Mom and Grandma both got on my case for not saying “Thank you” to them.  I finally mumbled “thank you” to him as we were leaving.  I didn’t NOT say it because I was ungrateful.  I was embarrassed.

But 30…

I wanted to talk about the things I wanted to accomplish but haven’t yet; the things I did accomplish in the last 30 years of being on this earth, especially in the last two years; the loses and the gains of growing into a person your mom can be proud of; or even the things I’m looking forward to in the next decade.  The only thing I’m stuck on though is how much I want to get in the next 14 years.

Fourteen years has significance in a morbid way.  Tomorrow, I’ll turn the same age my mom was when she had me.  She was 44 when she died, so fourteen years.  Like I said, it’s a morbid way to spend my birthday thinking about how, in 14 years, I’ll have seen more years then she did.  Would she be happy with the person I became?  Is my morbidity of trying to accomplish so much in 14 years the reason I feel like I have finite time to accomplish everything I want out of life?

Silver linings though right?  We’ve always got to look for the positive in any situation.  Why don’t I feel like looking at the positive right now?  Why don’t I want to focus on the fact I have a great family?  Why can’t I focus on my accomplishments so far this year?  That would be easy; I just have to look at my goals posts.  There is no easy answer for when does time run out.  Do I really have 14 years?  More?  Less?

Ponderings.  These are just ponderings of the emotions coming from a milestone birthday.  I’m really okay.  Between reading and writing, blogging and recording content for my BookTube Channel, I have plenty to keep me busy, especially since we are also part way through the process of buying a house.

Listening to:  Amazon’s Rise Against station

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  “It’s really something for people who are approaching 30 to take a look at what that means to them.  I think turning 30 is a way to re-identify with yourself.” – Neil Patrick Harris

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Filed under Advice Column, Goals, Uncategorized

July Goals

Happy July?

June dragged by, I think because the Universe knew I was procrastinating on just about everything.  Either way, I did get some things done last month and even one thing I wasn’t sure I was going to start but did anyways.

I completed two 1001 day goals:

  • Get my passport!
  • Go to a drag show (Baltimore Pride)

I also started one non-1001 days goal I thought was pretty neat.

June happenings:

  • Miles reached: 556.96 (Left Rivendell for Lothlorien…357.33 miles to go.)
  • Weight lost: 6.8 lbs (Down to 274.8 from 281.6 on 6/1).  I really hit a plateau this month but down is down I guess
  • Books read: 12
  • Blog Posts: 7
  • Got Passport in mail!
  • Went to Baltimore Pride
  • Vlog Posts:  6
  • Register for Sister Space in Havre de Grace, MD.

July’s goals are fairly straight forward.

  • Reach 650+ miles.  Half training started again for October
  • Lose at least 15 lbs.
  • 12 blog posts.
  • Finish reading five more books.
  • Work on “Aftershock” for Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • Build emergency fund back up.
  • Go camping July 1 and 2.
  • Upload 14 vlogs.
  • Sign up/Upgrade Baltimore Half to Baltimoron (5k plus Half).
  • Buy Yule Ball tickets for December 15th.
  • Close on house.  *Fingers Crossed*

It’s going to be another exciting month with plenty to look forward to!

Listening to: Misery Business by Paramore

Reading:  The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Quote of the Day: “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” ― Henri Frederic Amiel

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Goals