Monday, February 23, 2009

Another HP fanart site I adore

I know there are a few of you that read my blog that love Harry Potter *almost* as much as me. Here is another fanart site I found, and I absolutely love it! It is fantastic. Here, here and here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Harry Potter and tea in the morning

Reading Harry Potter in bed in the mornings with a mug of tea next to me is honestly one of the best things in life. E is the most wonderful husband ever, every day before he leaves for work he brings in a mug of tea and puts in on the bedside table, so when I wake up, there is a hot cup waiting. He leaves for work while I'm sill in bed sleeping. Before he leaves, he brews me a cup of tea, adds just the right amount of sugar, and puts it into a travel mug so it stays hot while I'm sleeping.

About an hour later (yes, I am just that lazy) I roll over, grab my hot cup of tea and whichever Harry Potter book I am re-reading at the moment, and enjoy. It is honestly the best thing in the world. The only thing that is better is when it is Saturday morning and we both read and sip tea in bed.

You may think I'm obsessed with Harry Potter, and you would be right. Two years ago when I finished the seventh book I wanted to read 1-7 all over again, but wanted to wait a bit. So, about three weeks ago I figured I'd start again. Within the last three weeks I've been reading like a mad woman finishing books one through six, The seventh, I am sure I'll finish within the week. And, I convinced E to start re-reading too. He, like me, wanted to read one though seven in order.

If you are still reading this post you must be really bored or really like Harry Potter, but here are some of the things I've been thinking about:
  • Dumbledore is really really kick ass. I adore him.
  • Hermione reminds me of me. I guess the idea is, that everyone can relate to the trio in some way. I just love Hermione's bossy attitude, it is just like mine.
  • Is Dumbledore an anamagus? He says at the end of book five that he's kept a very close eye on Harry. Does he use an invisibility cloak or is there something else Dumbledore can do that we never learned in the series? NOTE- I found my answer! Page 97 of Beedle the Bard in the footnote! Whoo!
  • I love Fred and George, but who doesn't? I also love Ron.
  • Of the marauders, Lupin is my favorite, by far. I wish Harry would have kept in contact with him better after Siris's death.
  • I want to learn more about Lily. I know we learn a little with Snape's memory at the end of book seven, but Lily still seems like a mystery.
  • Snape is another favorite character, he is utterly fascinating.
  • My favorite parts in the series include when Harry first goes to Diagon Ally, when he learns about the Marauders’ Map, when he first summons a Patronus, when he takes a bath in the Prefect’s bathroom in book four (I love this!), the DA’s first meeting, when he kisses Cho, when he starts private lessons with Dumbledore, and when he realizes he likes Ginny. I also love all the parts with Umbrige and Snape, specifically when Fred and George leave Hogwarts and the Unbreakable Vow between Narcissa and Snape at the beginning of book six. Does it get any better?
What are your favorite parts? And one last note, here is a link to one of my favorite Harry Potter fan sites. And here is a link to one of my favorite pictures specifically (Lupin looks like E in that drawing, maybe that's why I like it so much), and here, here and here are a few of my other favorites.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pasta making at home

About two weeks ago E and I attended a cooking class where we learned to make homemade pasta. The class was awesome and the food that we tried there was unbelievable. Once we got home, we were excited to imitate what we'd learned. Well it took us about a week and a half to find the time, but last Thursday night, E and I made homemade pasta for the first time. It was fantastic, and so fun!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ten years

E and I have been together for ten years. Yes, ten! Our first "date" was way back in 1999, when we were in high school. Another friend and I decided to take a day trip up to Park City for the day. We invited Naina and E to join us. No, it wasn't really a date, however, E bought me roses and some earrings, and so it was the day that we were finally official.

Now ten years later, things couldn't be better. E and I have finished high school, attended and finished college, moved out, bought a home, gotten married, and traveled many parts of the world in the last ten years. I wouldn't trade a single day for anything.

I've been working on this blog entry for over a month, scanning photos and such, so I hope you enjoy it. The next eleven photos each represent a year together:

This photo was taken by my parents in 1999, about two months after graduation. We had been together since Valentine's Day, but this photo was taken near to the day I first said "I love you" to E. We are both 18.
2000. I think we are being dorks at the zoo. Actually, I remember my mom taking this photo, and I'm positive we were being dorks at the zoo. We are both 19.
2001, again, taken by my mom. This might be my favorite photo of the two of us ever. I just love it.
2002. One year my family took a family trip to Florida. Since E had already been part of the family for so long, we took him along. We are both 21 in this photo.
2003. In early spring of 2003 E and I hiked Chesler Park for the first time with Ben and his old girlfriend. We adored it, and went back in 2008 (yes, I still have the same coat, which is also in the 2000 photo.)
In 2004 we hosted a Christmas party at our condo. We had been living there since 2003, but you really start to feel like an adult when you host a major holiday party at your house.
In 2005 my Grandparents took my entire family on a life changing trip to Tanzania, Africa. There, E proposed. I will never ever forget my days there, they are some of the best of my entire life. Here we are both 24, actually E turned 24 the day we landed in Tanzania.
2006 was the most wonderful year and the hardest year of my life. I lost so much that year including my grandfather, my parents' marriage, and a kitten to a horrible accident. However, it was also the year I married the man of my dreams in Yosemite.
2007. Remember this trip? I dropped my camera in the river? Yep, this was one three fantastic trips I took in 2007. E and I adored this hike, and might try to return this year. We are both 26 here, or maybe I'm 26 and E will turn 26 shortly.
2008. In 2008 E and I purchased a home, traveled to Japan and to Grand Cayman, and I lost my job that I loved. It was a fantastic and difficult year.
2009. This year is just beginning, but I'm sure it will be just as wonderful and interesting as all the previous years. I can't wait to spend each and every day with my love, my husband.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Goodbye Lucy (update!)

Every year on Valentine's or the day before something big and horrible happens. Last year my mom's kitty Tasha died. The year before it was something else. One year E saw a little girl get hit by a car and go flying across the road on Valentine's day. Luckily she lived. And Three years ago, on February 13th my mom told me she was divorcing my dad. Well this year is no different, of course. Tomorrow, E and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary, but we are also putting our sweet lab, Lucy down. She is old, tired, barley can walk, and is crying non stop. So, tonight, before we see the guys, we are saying goodbye to Lucy at my dad's house. I love you girl.

UPDATE: Lucy started doing much better yesterday, acting more happy and moving around more. My dad canceled the vet appointment, may Lucy live another day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Skiing powder

Reading my blog you might have never realized that I'm a skier, and there is a simple reason for this: I haven't skied in over four years. Yep, I haven't gone skiing the entire time I've had a blog. Now that’s just sad. I am a fairly competent skier and have skied since I was three, but because E doesn't ski, and because it is so expensive, we rather snowshoe in the winter and save our funds for international travel.

That said, my brother Brandon gave me a ski day for Christmas. This included a ski pass, lunch and an entire day with my brother. Brandon is an excellent skier, and a skier that knows all the secret spots at all the Utah resorts. How does he do it? Easy, he gets paid to ski every day. He started his own company a few years ago where people from out of town pay him to be their guide/teacher for the day. Because of that, he knew all the best places to hit, and even knew some of the people in ticket sales so we got a sweet deal on our lift tickets.

Our day started when Brandon picked me up from the ski rental shop and we headed up the canyon in his car. The day was snowy. I was a little excited about the fresh powder, but also a little nervous. Deep powder is hard to ski through and not for the faint at heart. Soon we were there and Brandon wasted no time breaking me in. Our first run was a black diamond with Brandon said I did “excellent” so we upgraded to out of boundary double blacks. Now I’m not that good of a skier, and this was extremely difficult skiing. I had to concentrate the entire time on keeping my body forward, taking small quick turns and staying out of the trees where things got even trickier. The powder was deep and untouched in places, which is any skiers dream, but choppy in other spots.

After about six runs we were tired and stopped for lunch. Brandon took me to a private club at Brighton where we both ordered huge sandwiches (I ordered a French Dip and he got a Philly Cheesesteak).

After lunch we returned to the slopes and continued our outing. Skiing with Brandon was very rewarding. It was beyond difficult, but it is so good to talk to my brother. We don’t see nearly enough of each other, so an excuse to spend the day together was awesome.

Oh, and the weather was something to behold! The day started out gray and snowy. By mid day the sky cleared to pure blue and the sun came out. Brandon could not believe that we were going to have a powder day with clear skies. Soon the skies clouded over again, then the entire resort was cloaked in fog. And then, twenty minutes later, we had sun again. The entire time I was thinking about how beautiful it was. All the trees just glowed in their heavy white blankets. Little nooks between the trees were perfect and untouched, and the mountain peaks all around me shone when the sun hit them. At times, when I was skiing down the run after my brother, I felt like I was on a cloud. I hope he felt the same.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Garden plans

It is no secret that I'm excited for spring, and this year I'm even looking forward to spring a little bit more because of my big yard. Our yard at our new house is a big plain square of grass, just hoping to be planted. E and I decided a long time ago that we want to have an Asian garden in our backyard, and when we returned from Japan we even planned it out. The plans became a little more concrete after Christmas, because I gave E a Zen Garden book, and it was full of awesome ideas. We sketched the yard on paper and started drawing our ideas. I wanted a bench where I could enjoy tea. E wanted a dry river. Soon our paper was full of plans, and come warm spring weather we are going to begin.

Last Saturday I dragged E to one of my favorite garden stores here in Utah and we had a wonderful time looking at bamboo and weeping pines. Afterwards we headed to another store I'd seen in passing called Cast In Stone. I've been desperately wanting a stone lantern for the garden but couldn't come close to affording one made of real stone. Cast In Stone sells garden items all cast from concrete, and their "stone" lanterns were beautiful! They also had a sitting Buddha that E loved. We decided to purchase both (coming from a garden fund where we've been putting all of our extra savings into) and can't wait to pick them up.

Here is our garden plan/map as it stands now. Things might change, but we've been pretty happy with this plan for awhile. As you can see, our wish list is quite long, but we hope to be able to start this year, and work in phases.
And here are some of the images that inspired our own Asian garden in the first place-

Monday, February 02, 2009

Winter weekend, again

Last weekend was, again, a wonderful winter weekend. On Friday a new friend of mine, Caroline, came to my house around lunch time. Caroline and I met through one of the doll boards I'm a member of, and we've really hit it off. Caroline is just as crazy as I am about dolls and she as really looking forward to going snowshoeing with me. So after exchanging some dollie Valentine gifts we headed up to my favorite Utah snowshoeing location.

Hazel and Chrissa view the awesome Utah mountains while snowshoeing.
We had a wonderful time exploring near the river and taking photos of our dolls. We talked about everything from marriage to dolls to travel to crafts. Afterwards, we went home and then met our husbands at a local restaurant. The four of us hit it off really well and had a great night.

On Saturday morning E and I woke up and packed for the farmhouse. Visiting the farmhouse is different in the winter than in the summer. In the winter everyone sticks to one room, it is so cold elsewhere in the house. We talk and laugh and if we leave, we'll go on a drive, but not really explore outside. I took a little walk with Alyssum on Saturday alone, while everyone else tried to keep warm inside.
After awhile we took a drive looking for hawks and eagles. That night, Joe wanted to cook, and since he is a fantastic cook, we were happy to say yes. At the store we picked up steak, tortellini, onions, mushrooms, beef broth and more. Once back at the farmhouse we cooked up a wonderful dinner.

While the onions and garlic were slow cooking on the stove, David, E and Joe had a beer tasting. David had purchased six Belgian beers that he thought everyone would like to try, so it remove any bias, Chelsea and I wrapped the bottle of beer in newspaper in the other room before the tasting started. Of all the beers David brought along, E decided that he likes Wasatch White the most. Joe on the other hand said he didn't like a certain one David picked up, but wasn't able to pick it out from the others and rated it the second highest out of the six he tried. Great fun.

I was lucky to capture this image right before this hawk took flight. Usually you get hawk flying photos or hawk sitting photos. It is fun to have one in between.
Everyone was very hungry and excited to dig in to Joe's fantastic cooking.
After a yummy dinner we played a few rounds of Harry Potter UNO and headed to bed. The next day was more of the same. We woke up and headed to breakfast in town. Afterwards we drove around and explored the Mountain View Highway, Milburn Highway and Spring City Cemetary for any activity of hawks and bald eagles. Finally, as it started to get dark, we packed up and headed home. Another great weekend at the farmhouse.

Mt. Nebo behind the Spring City Cemetery sign.

Happy February

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