Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Harry Potter Christmas in the Wizarding World at South Town Mall in Sandy Utah

 I recently visited the Harry Potter Christmas in the Wizarding World at South Town Mall in Sandy Utah.  From the South Town website: "A first of its kind retail experience, will be reminiscent of the setting and atmosphere of a wintry Hogsmeade village. Complete with an extensive wand assortment, film-inspired window displays and interactive elements, the themed shopping experience is sure to be a hit with fans of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World."

It was smaller than I thought it would be, but I really enjoyed the window displays around the outside of the Hogsmeade set up.  I've never been to Wizarding World at Universal, so it's my first time seeing something like this.  Needless to say if I ever find myself at Universal Studios, I'd pretty much go crazy.

I had a lot of fun in Ollivander's.  There's a little show where the "shop owner" tries out different wands and then it "snows".  The inventory was limited, but I still snagged Queenie's wand, because it's cool.

Window displays around the outside.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

So Many Little Things To Be Thankful

“There is so much in the world for us if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it ourselves- so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful for.” 

~ Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of the Island

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

At our house it was more of a quiet affair with some of my siblings, parents, grandparents, and a baby niece.  Michael and his fam joined up with Krista's family.  Enough text messages were passed back and forth to bring us all together.

There is so much to be thankful.

And now the Christmas season is upon us!

It's been warmer than normal, which I'm not complaining.  Wish the nice 60's temperature can last, but we do live in the mountain west, so it's a matter of time.  I love the snow, don't get me wrong, it's the driving in it that scares me.  So I'm dreaming of beautiful beaches this upcoming Winter season.  Though, the World is so beautiful draped in white snow, on a Sunday morning when no one is out driving, and everything is quiet.  Surreal and magical.  Hopefully we'll have one such day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Walking Around Kensington Palace Gardens

 On the evening of September 23rd my Mom and I walked around Kensington Palace Gardens.  The palace itself was closed, but the gardens were open for a stroll.  The gardens are beautiful and worth a visit.

 Queen Victoria, as this is where she grew up.

Photos by Robin and Sarah Stufflebeam

Monday, November 13, 2017

Being Greeted By My Patronus in England

 Last September my Mom and I went with a tour to the U.K. and Ireland.

In London we stayed at the Hilton Double Tree at Hyde Park, located a very easy walk to Kensington Palace and Gardens. 

We were both exhausted from the long flight, and then busing into the city, but instead of relaxing before the group dinner we went on a walk.

So, to back track, last year I found out on Pottermore that my patronus is a gray squirrel.

I had so many mixed feelings about the whole squirrel thing.  Took the test several times, but the last time I took it I got a red squirrel.  So yeah, squirrel, totally going to own it and be proud of my cute little critter of a protector.

And while strolling through Hyde Park there were So. Many. Squirrels.

Here you have to go into the mountains to see them.

 So I decided it was a sign of good luck and that I was going to have a magical trip.

And while visiting Glamis Castle in Scotland, my last day in the U.K., I found this cute little squirrel pin as a memento.  I'm still having a good laugh over the squirrel being my patronus.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Musical Obsession I Discovered In France Last Year: Les 3 Mousquetaires, The 3 Musketeers the musical

The 3 Musketeers en anglais.

I love this music.


And I don't understand most of it . . . 

(2 years of High School and 2 years of college French. -_-;;)

Since April of last year I've gone through several periods where this music goes on loop, and I'm not sick of it.  Before the trip I listened to a bit of French radio on the TuneIn radio app.  The song Un Jour was getting a lot of play, but I didn't know what it was from.

While watching an early morning show on TV while in Issoudun they had members of the cast on with snippets of video from the musical, and I recognized quite a few of the songs!!  Luckily the local supermarket had the album in the media section.

  The cast.

Man I want to see this show.

I have so many favorite songs, but my most favorite are . . . okay, I pretty much like all of them except for #10, Seul Contre Tous.  I skip that song every time.  But all the other songs are fantastic.  #8, Et si c'├ętait lui, is my favorite song to sing along with. 

And the online Mp3 album, on both iTunes and Amazon, has 4 songs I haven't heard before!!!  Ahhh!!!!  Must download now!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

THOR: Ragnarok, mini movie review

Rating: B+

When it was announced that the third Thor movie would be about Ragnarok I scratched my head.  What is Ragnarok?  Just searching the term seemed to spoil stuff.  Death! Destruction! The fall of . . . yeah, can't write that without spoiling something.  The question then became who was going to survive the film?  And after all this, as advertising started rolling out, it seemed Thor: Ragnarok was going to be a comedy.  A comedy??!!  Hmmmm.  Curiouser and curiouser.

And, yes, this movie turned out to be quite funny in parts, which made me think Guardians of the Galaxy was being channeled more than what Ragnarok originally meant in both Norse mythology and the comics.  Maybe Marvel felt a darker tone wouldn't serve the movie right?

Now, I love a good comedy.  I honestly laughed quite a bit during Thor: Ragnarok, which was a surprise, making this a great popcorn movie.  Sometimes going to the movies needs to be an escape, and this is a great escape movie.

Thor: Ragnarok, though fun, does seem to be all over the place.  Off on Earth, that Grandmaster world with Hulk, some place with that fire monster, Asgard.  This is probably our last full foray into the World of Thor; I just wish we would have stayed in the world of Thor a little longer.  We don't really get to see a lot of Asgard, and this movie is about the battle over Asgard.

Though, after saying all this, my favorite section in the film was the Dr. Strange segment.  That was great.  Actually, fantastic.  But that's my point!  This is a Thor movie!  Now, I do love seeing all the Marvel crossovers.  This is a large interconnected playing field.  Seeing Iron Man in Spider-Man was fun.  The last Captain American movie felt more like a bonus Avengers movie.  Though I like seeing the extended characters weave in and out, for a stand alone film I feel the focus should be more on the characters in those individual franchises.

I recommend Thor: Ragnarok.  It's really fun for a movie all about death and destruction.  


Monday, November 6, 2017

Sailor Moon Wand, the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Back in 1999 or so, I honestly can't remember, the Sailor Moon craze was going full steam.  I watched it on Toonami with my brothers.  In the late 90's it was hard to get toys from the anime, unless you found them online.  I found one of her wands on Ebay with a bid getting ready to close.  I convinced my Dad to buy it, which he did, in disbelief  . . . and I never gave him the money!!!  (Heh, not one of my proudest moments.  I should pay him back.)  Since then we've had many good laughs over it.

 What's fun is that each of my nieces have really enjoyed it.  It's one of their favorite toys to play with when they come over.  And now I have a little niece that isn't quite walking yet, but as she was crawling around she found the wand and figured out how to push the button to light it up and make the wand sound.  So cute!

I have four nieces now!  My poor nephew.  I remember Krista asking him a month or so ago if he wanted a brother, and I swear I saw him shake his head no.  The next time he's over I'm going to ask him.  He's entered the "why" phase.  Had quite the conversation the other day.  He was very pleased at getting the bar-stool to turn, and then getting on it to spin.  I have three brothers, always wanting a sister, and it seems like my lack of sisters is being made up in nieces.

Sailor Moon's wand with Sailor Neptune's Mirror (a greater treasure).

My nieces are not allowed to play with the mirror.  It's not a toy.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

How To Restore Faith In Yourself

(Edinburgh Castle Sept. 30, 2017)

"One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged.  Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself."

~ Lucille Ball

For starters I love Lucille Ball.

 Secondly, a lot of times I share quotes that I'm still learning from.

I get discouraged all the time, so I'm learning the hard way, but I love her advice.  Get busy!  And be optimistic.  I wish I could say I'm an incredibly optimistic person, but I'm not, as I tend to get caught up with worry, but I desire to be more optimistic.

I guess desire and recognition are the first steps.  And then there's the mind.  I've been focusing a lot on my train of thoughts and have discovered patterns.  Cognitive psychology stuff.  Our thoughts are powerful.  One thing that works, that I need to be more consistent with, is keeping a positivity journal.  At the end of each day write down three good things that happened to you.  It works!  And when I do do it, I notice a difference.  (And now I'm feeling guilty!  Heh.)

I was watching this video about unrequited love, and the bit at the end said that the worst thing a person can do to themselves is to feel like they're not enough.  That hit me in the heart.  And I realized that I have a problem with not feeling good enough in many areas of my life.  Tragic, but an opportunity for growth.

So keep busy!  Learn to be optimistic all the time! 0_0

Honestly, very good goals.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Total Solar Eclipse That Wasn't; Where Future Total Eclipses Will Be

 It's crazy to think the Total Solar eclipse that literally swept the nation happened over two months ago.  I had been looking forward to it since experiencing the annular eclipse near St. George a few years ago.  All these plans were made, solar glasses purchased, but the day before Aug. 21 I got sick and had to bow out.  I was overly sad, to say the least.

Some of my family made the trek up to Idaho to experience totality and had quite the experience, while most of my family ended up staying here in Utah.

 (Photo by Lindsay Stufflebeam)

In Northern Utah we got about 90% totality, and it was still a cool experience.  There was a grayish/blue tint that took over everything outside.  What was really nice was how clear the sky was.  The day before and after we had clouds, but on the 21st the sky was clear and bright.  So bright, which made the 90% totality even more striking as the light dimmed.  Walking through the house was an interesting experience.

The nice thing about Total solar eclipses is that they're not as rare as the media seemed to make us think.

On April 8, 2024 there's going to be a total solar eclipse spanning from Texas to East Canada.

On August 12, 2045 there's going to be another total eclipse spanning the nation, and for that one I currently live in the path of totality.  Who knows what my life will be like, or where I'll be, but still cool.

Technically there's a total solar eclipse every 18 months, granted some of them are in places I won't be able to travel, over the arctic, or over the sea, but there's still quite a few opportunities.

Look at Australia!

There's going to be 4, FOUR, total solar eclipses in a 10 year period, 2028-2038, 5 spots getting it twice, one spot getting it 18 months apart.

One of these days I really want to experience totality.

I really want to see stars in the daytime.