Ok, Ok!!!

Geez–I’ve been referred to as Miz Thang…and impressed upon to write an update.  OK! Ok!!!  LOL

What is up with me.  Hmm…It’s 07/07/07.  I hope today is lucky for someone.

I have been laying low the last few days.  I am in that “psycho pocket” of days before my period so trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings or get mine hurt too badly.  Basically just been concentrating on getting through the days because I am definitely in a slump, probably because of “the hormonees”.  The Prozac I started taking, “that no work” for “the hormonees” (I’m pulling an Aunt Voola there…)

We are so unbelievably broke, which is the norm these days.  Hubby worked a crapload of overtime over the last pay period.  We get our paystub on Thursday and find that he was paid for a straight 80 — that’s 2 40 hour weeks — so he is missing 22 hours of overtime, 5 days of travel expense pay, and a 10% wage differential for working night shift.  It adds up to about $1450 of much needed fundage.  We will probably not get it until the next paycheck.  This is bad — he did that overtime for a reason — we have bills that need paid and we are supposed to be leaving for Tennessee on Thursday for 6 days; and also leaving the kids with my mom and sister for a few days after that — need to leave some money for them too.

Hubby’s boss is going to bat for him and trying to get them to cut an off cycle check…this is very rare and I think it’s probably not going to happen.  The boss says he would be willing to give us the money and then we could pay him back when we do get the money from the company.  I am not all that comfortable with that.  My sister said not to do that, to let her give us the money, but I don’t think she realizes its $1400.  LOL.  We may just borrow the money for traveling from her.  The bills are just going to have to wait.  All we have money for right now is our house payment and food and gas.  Nice, huh?  We just are behind and I wanted to catch up before things got bad.  Oh well.  This is going to be the story of our life until Lola is in school and I can work again, full time.  I love this country and how hard it is for a family to make it on one income.  Capitalist Prick Bastards.  My husband actually makes a respectable wage, it’s just so damned expensive to LIVE.  We could make it just fine, but we don’t want to live so damned frugal that the kids miss out on stuff.  If we had more discipline I’m sure we wouldn’t be having these problems.  We were doing ok before I got all down after Lola was born.  Hubby has passed on a lot of overtime over the last couple of years because I just needed him to come home and relieve me from the kids, etc. because I was feeling so horrible. 

I have also overspent many, many times out of depression or on a manic spree.  He has been so patient with me.  His argument is what I consider a “manic spending spree” is the normal lady’s “just picked up a few things at the store”.  I know that I feel like if I spend $75 on myself or the kids that wasn’t planned I beat myself up about it.  MY thing is that we don’t HAVE $75 extra to spend, I shouldn’t have spent it on stuff for me…I have enough clothes, I have shoes, there is no reason for me to buy anything new.  The kids often have enough too…Lola is constantly growing so I do need things for her but I overspend when I do go and get her things.  I can go to Barnes & Noble with the kids and spend $60 easily.  I know, go to the library…right?  I do…sometimes we collect a book series, etc., and I buy them…oh well, I suck…I already know.

The weather has been beautiful, but I haven’t been going out much.  Which is really sad because Lola should be outside more.  I’m just low energy and chasing her wears me out.  She always wants to go on Princess’s trampoline (aka “the bing-a-bing”) and it is horrible for my back and joints.  I do go out there some, but not as much as SHE wants to!

Other than that, I am really looking forward to going to Tennessee and being with my family for a few days.  All the Harry Potter fans in the family will be trekking down to Nashville (4 hour drive) to see the new movie in the IMAX 3D.  I am geeked about that.  We are going to go out on the jetskis, and do a few other things like that.  I am really looking forward to it.  My sister, niece and I will work on plans for the niece’s wedding shower and wedding.  I’m the maid of honor so I have a lot of things I need to be doing for this.

Then, we will be coming home on Tuesday the 17th and will be child free (!!!) until the following weekend — the weekend that Deathly Hallows comes out.  I am kind of hoping that Hubby will drive down to meet my sister in Cincinnati and get the kids on his own so I can read my book in peace.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  🙂  But I am also going to enjoy having Hubby to myself for what, 4 or 5 whole days?  We haven’t had more than 6 or so hours alone in YEARS!!!  😛  Surprisingly, although I am looking forward to making love a WHOLE bunch, the things I’m really looking forward to are playing cards, going out wherever we want to go, talking about whatever we want, watching the TV and whatever we want on it, going on walks, candlelit dinners, etc.  But the playing cards I’m really geeked about.  Can’t do that with a little toddler crawling all over you and the table…and once she goes to bed we’re too tired to play cards.  So it will be nice.  I love games.

Anyway…the highlight of the whole 4 or 5 days alone will be him going with me to Walmart in the middle of the night to get Deathly Hallows.  I won’t have to go alone because we can’t leave the kids unsupervised — we can go together and not worry!!  I’m sure this is exactly what he is looking forward to the most (yeah, right).

Deathly Hallows looms hugely in my conscious mind and I really don’t have a lot of other subjects that I want to think about.  I have been waiting a long time for this book and can’t seem to concentrate on anything.  I’m rereading the books AGAIN — I’m almost finished with Goblet of Fire…I want to be able to pick up DH and seamlessly pick up the thread of the story…I am going to really savor this.  I’m going to stock up on my favorite snacks, make a cozy little nest on my bed and only get up to go to the bathroom or take a shower!!!  YAY no kids to distract me — ah the heaven!!!

So that is all that is going on.  Nothing major…I’m sure you’re bored to death.  But YOU asked for it — you know who you are.

CG

Beautiful Artwork

Current mood: impressed

You all know I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.  I have found an artist who does artwork based on Harry Potter and she is unbelievably talented.  Her medium is graphite and prismacolor colored pencils, along with a bit of india ink.

Her website is www.mudblood428.com, and this is one of my favorite pictures, but it makes me cry, because I just finished Half-Blood Prince again.

Harry, Come On...

You should go check her stuff out.  It’s really good, if you’re into Harry Potter.

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Well, everyone here is still battling the chest cold, but I think we may be nearing the finish line.

We went out last night to Chilis for dinner, then we went to Best Buy and Borders.  I got the Body Clutter book I wanted, and I also got a great book called The Skin Type Solution (by Leslie Baumann, MD), which was recommended to me by my doctor.  It is awesome!  I read it last night, and today did some internet research, then went shopping for products recommended for my specific skin type.  It’s really awesome.  I’m hoping the products will finally give me some peace from all the irritation and redness and tightness I experience with everything I’ve tried.  Most every kind of sunscreen I’ve ever tried cause me swelling and redness.  This book shows you what ingredients you need to avoid for your specific skin type, and even makes non-biased recommendations of products.  For instance, for my skin type there are about 8 different cleansers she recommends, from cheapest to most expensive, including Neutrogena and Aveeno all the way to La-Roche Posay.  She does not work for any of these companies, does not sell any of these products.  But she has been testing skin care products for years and she recommends her favorites that seem to work best for your skin type.  The book has this thorough questionnaire you fill out to determine which of the 16 sub-types of skin you have.  The subtypes include Oily vs. Dry; Sensitive vs. Resistant; Pigmented vs. Non-Pigmented, and Tight vs. Wrinkle-prone. 

I am specifically an OSPW – which means Oily (very), Sensitive (extremely), Pigmented, and Wrinkle-Prone.  You could be Oily, Resistant, Non-Pigmented, Tight; see how that works?

Well, with her recommendations I have bought some of the lower end products she recommends to see if I can find some relief.  My skin type is one of the types that tends to have rosacea so all her recommendations are for rosacea, acne prone skin as well as very sensitive to ingredients and other stressors.  Dr. Baumann’s website is called www.16skintypes.com, and you can go there and read all her information and go to the message board forums and there you will find people who have read and use this system, and they all compare and review skin products according to skin type, so you can see if people with similar skin than yours fared well with this product or that one.

Now that I’ve gleaned all the information I could from that book, I’m reading a book called The Thrify Girl’s Guide to Glamour by Susie Galvez.  I have found a couple of cool ideas so far, but I’m only on page 29.  I have been making plans to get my hair trimmed and I’m going to color it, and I’m starting a new skin care regimen.  After I am sure that my wisdom tooth surgery recovery is finished, I’m going to start a 30-day tooth whitening kit that I got from my dentist.  I figure, while I’m trying to make the dietary changes I am making, and trying to lose a little weight, I can still look my best so I’m going to get the other areas I CAN change taken care of. 

I’m really excited, Miss Kitty is coming up for a visit this week.  She will be arriving on Thursday, and staying until Saturday morning.  Thursday, she is going to go to Princess’s play, where Princess has a lead role.  Then on Friday, we’re all going to go to Benihana’s for dinner, and then Princess and TayTay are going to babysit Lola while Kitty, Hubby and myself are going to go out to karaoke.  Saturday morning, we’ll get up and go to breakfast, and kiss Miss Kitty goodbye again. 😦

I have realized something very important in reference to my soda/sugar addiction.  It is impossible to have these things in the house.  I will continue to hit the supply until it is gone.  So…it is almost all gone now, so I am simply not going to buy any more soda right now.  On my soda day, I will buy ONE to drink.  That’s all I can do.  I wish I liked diet soda, but I just don’t.  I wish they had “reduced” calorie sodas, like half regular half diet.  Maybe that would taste better!!!  But I did decide that when I DO have a soda day, I’m going to have caffeine free soda.  At least I can really give up caffeine.  It’s the sugar that I’m struggling with.

I am not planning on buying a whole lot of new clothes or anything, just going to keep using what I have that works with my figure.  Once I reach the 170 mark I will probably go out and buy myself a couple of things and set a new goal.

Well, back to reading.  Just thought I’d check in.  Still recovering from my nightmare last night, but that’s usually how it is when I have a particularly bad one.

CG

Triggers

I just had an epiphany about bipolar disorder.  I’ve read a lot of things about bipolar, and everyone throws the term “triggers” around.  I’m like, “WHAT is a trigger?”  A trigger is something that sets off an episode, either a manic episode or a depressive episode.  Up until now, I have had no idea what my triggers are. 

But I realized, this morning, that the “lead coat” books almost always trigger a depressive episode.  The thing is, I don’t understand why that is.  It’s not like I’m sitting here thinking about the book 24-7.  It’s just like I ride the rollercoaster down to the valley of darkness.  I get off, and I’m just depressed.  I don’t even need to think about HOW I got there, I’m there.  The roller coaster is gone, but I’m still down in the valley.  Does that make sense?  Even understanding that about the books does not lift me back up to stability.

Here’s the thing, though.  I haven’t really been feeling motivated about anything for the last couple of weeks.  I’m sure that the book didn’t cause the whole depressive episode, but it definitely has taken me down a notch or two. 

Why can’t I just get up every day and do the regular life stuff?  It is so hard to just stay motivated enough to do the basic housework or even projects that would make me happy if I got them done.  Some of that is because Lola gets in my way on some of the stuff, but really, maybe that’s just a convenient excuse.

My first instinct is to label myself “Lazy”, but Sarah (therapist) would get mad at me for calling myself that.  But really, that’s how I feel I’m being.  That’s what someone who is outside looking in would say. 

Hopefully, I can get motivated to do a few things around the house today, and I need to sit down with those bills and pay them, before I undo everything I’ve worked for 2 months to do to stablize our finances.

Here’s another thing that I wanted to write.  Hubby hurt my feelings a bit last night.  I told him that I just didn’t feel happy last night, and he said, “What did I do to cause it?”  He said it in a joking way, but you know how that goes, they make it a joke, but it’s really not a joke.  And I said, “Why would you ask me that?  Did I say that you made me feel unhappy?”  and he said, “That’s the feeling I get sometimes.”

And I told him that was very unfair to say, and it showed a lack of understanding of what I’m going through, even though I have tried to explain it numerous times.  And I told him that kind of comment is definitely not a good one to make to someone who is suffering from bipolar or depression.  It’s pretty much on the same par with my mom and other family members saying that labels like bipolar or such are a bunch of bullshit, a copout.  It just makes me feel even more guilty for my own feelings, whether they are legitimate or caused by body chemistry.

That kind of comment makes me feel like retreating even more into myself.  If I can’t share these things with Hubby, then I can’t share them with anybody. 

Onto other subjects.  We had the talk with Princess yesterday about her progress report.  Can you believe she tried to blame it on me?  She said that I keep her so busy with chores that she didn’t have time to do her homework.  What a load of shit.  First of all, she always does her homework first.  I never bother her to do anything until her homework is done.  She chooses NOT to practice choir or band.  She comes downstairs every afternoon and I ask her, “Are you done with your homework?” and she says “Yes.”  If she said, “No, I still have choir and band to practice.”  I would tell her to get on it.  Some days she comes home from school and I say, “Do you have homework?” and she says “No.”  Both these instances she is lying to me about it, and choosing not to do her work. 

Just to clarify, she does have chores, but those chores were the terms of her agreement for her laptop.  And really, they aren’t that much, especially compared to what I had to do, or Hubby had to do growing up, and it wasn’t for money or special items — it was, “Do this or you are going to be whupped.”  Just for the record…this is what she has done for the terms of this loan for her laptop:  1) Take out the garbage. 2) Feed and water HER pets.  3) Sift out or change kitty litter as needed. 4) Keep her room clean.  Those are the only required tasks per her agreement.  Anything else on her loan checklist is for extra credit, each task gets her another $1 off her loan balance.  At this point, she has paid off her loan.  But at any rate, she still has to do those 4 tasks.  She wants those cats, they are HER pets, so it is HER job to take care of them properly or her dad is going to give them away.  Her room is her personal space and therefore she is responsible to keep it neat.  The only true household “chore” she has that isn’t her automatic (common sense) responsibility is the trash.  And because she is a member of this household, she should help with other things around the house as requested, and with laundry because at least 40% of it is hers anyway!!!

Her dad informed h er last night that she is not getting an allowance for any of the above things.  If she wants money, she will have to take on extra projects.  We’re tired of paying her for things she should be doing anyway, especially when she doesn’t appreciate all the things we do for her every single day.

But back to the grade issue.  I left the room while he talked to her, and I must say, it was liberating not to be the bad guy for once.  She is on complete restriction (grounded) until Sunday 3/18.  She had to surrender her laptop, iPod, and Gameboy, and she gets no TV or internet either.  No friends over, no overnights for those 2 weeks.  After 3/18, she will be allowed to have friends over on the weekends, and only if she completes all her homework to our satisfaction first.  Still no friends over during the week.  She gets 1 hour of media time each day (she chooses whether she wants to watch TV, play her GameBoy, or play on the internet). 

I came back into the discussion when they were organizing how she was going to handle her homework from now on.  We are going to inspect every bit of homework she does, including the homework she completes at school during the day.  She has a folder to put all her homework to do in.  She also puts the completed homework in it so we can look it over.  She has a folder to put all graded papers, handouts and notes to parents in to bring to us.  She also has her assignment book, which (thank goodness) they fill out in class.  I’m going to inspect it every day as well.  When she completes homework and it is approved, it will go in the appropriate folder for that class.  Science homework in her science folder, math in the math folder, etc. so that it is there when she is in class. 

I decided she shouldn’t put completed homework in the “homework to bring home” folder because during the day she will be opening that up and putting more homework in, and I know Princess…she’ll lose stuff out of it. 

So anyway, after all that, I didn’t feel like going out to the movies, so we didn’t.  She had homework to do last night anyway, and I didn’t want her to have to watch Lola because she had stuff to do.  I don’t make her watch Lola that much, and I especially don’t do it while she is doing homework.  We may do it sometime this week, though.

OK – it is day 5 of the new soda rules.  I have been without a Dr. Pepper for almost 5 days.  It has been very hard, and I’m sure has had an effect on how I’ve been feeling.  But I have definitely noticed the times of day that I tend to want one and I’m beginning to understand why I wanted them.  I’ve also noted that my sugar cravings are intense and kind of scary.  My appetite has been nil for 5 days, it’s like if I can’t have the sugar I want, I don’t want to eat.  That tells me I’ve been eating a lot of things when I’m not hungry.  I want to eat, but I don’t want the foods that are available.  That tells me I’m not truly hungry.  I want the sugar, and whatever emotional benefit I get from eating the sugar. 

I don’t know what to do about the not being hungry thing.  This morning, I’ve been nibbling on a banana.  I know I’m supposed to have a big breakfast, but what?  I may have a bowl of cereal in a few minutes (that’s what I had yesterday morning).  Yesterday, I had three pieces of turkey lunchmeat in the afternoon, and a couple of those Hershey Mini bars.  A little later, I cut up an apple for Lola, and had a couple slices of that.  At dinner, we had turkey burgers.  I had one of those and it was very good, but I kept wishing I had that Dr. Pepper to drink with it.  I ended up having a few of Lola’s ravioli’s, too.  But that is all I had yesterday.  Usually I fill my day with Little Debbies, candy, soda, and other stuff.  Meaningless, empty calories.

I bought cucumbers, apples, bananas, lemons, salad, and carrots at the store.  I just have to get myself to eat them. 

I am getting off here now, I am going to use my timer and see if I can’t accomplish something today.

CG

My Lead Coat

My whole life, I have loved books.  I have loved reading, ever since my sister taught me to read at age 3.  I was wrangling large words like “firmament”, “Jehoachim”, and “Amalekites” at age 5, reading Bible passages at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I read James and the Giant Peach in Kindergarten, and Alex Haley’s Roots when I was in 7th grade.  In the meantime, I have devoured books beyond counting, classics, modern fiction, non-fiction, self-help books, and medical journals for years and years. 

My favorite pasttime has always been to lose myself in a story.  I have a habit of picking up a book, and if it captures me, I cannot put it down.  Nothing gets done, schoolwork, housework, office work, you name it.  I often will read a regular size novel in one day, sometimes two in a day.  For instance, today, I read Book 3 of the Series of Unfortunate Events, and then, The Mermaids Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, and thus we reach the whole nexxus of this journal entry.

It was an absorbing, passionate read, as I knew it would be because I had read Sue Monk Kidd’s debut work, The Secret Life of Bees.  Forgive me for the grammatical error in not underlining, italicizing or whatever it is you’re supposed to do with book titles, but I don’t have time for that.  My soul is spilling here.

When I started reading the book, the first four chapters made me think of my friend, Y.  I thought, Y would love this book.  But then, the story turns and it is a compelling story, one I couldn’t put down, but the dark edges of the story kept me near tears the whole time I read it.  I had a lump in my throat as the character in the story goes through all the different issues that have converged on her at the time of the narrative.  It was beautiful, and yet so unbelievably heavy.  The kind of book I’ve always adored, my whole life.

But now, I’m thinking maybe I can’t handle that kind of book anymore.  I used to come up for air after reading a book like Gone With The Wind, crying for Scarlett, and feeling like Rhett had left ME, and yet I felt glad I read it, and the story added something to my soul.  I always have felt that every story I read becomes a part of me in some way.  I reveled in the good, long cry I would have after such a book. 

A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) is a perfect example of a perfect book (at least in my view all these years).  The book is written in a charming manner that is very conversational, confiding, and absolutely hilarious.  Yet, the author is bringing you to a climactic ending that is sad, touching and haunting.  That book, I first read the summer after I graduated, and yet, I still think of those characters as real, and feel sadness for some of the outcomes of the book.  I later read many of John Irving’s other works, including The World According to Garp and the Hotel New Hampshire, and found that this is a common thread in Irving’s works.  The Hotel New Hampshire especially was a rough read for me, because I could not put it down, even when the story turned to subjects that cause a lot of inner turmoil for me. 

I have mentioned this before, about the feeling I get when I come up from a book I’m reading.  The feeling of wearing a lead coat over me.  I look over at my bookcase, and many of the books stacked there are lead-coat books.  Awesome works of fiction, stories that completely take you over, but lead-coat books nonetheless.  All were brilliant and I was absorbed in them absolutely.  But even if the dark forces the characters combat are overcome, many times it is only a half victory, because of the suffering that has been endured, that will never leave them.  Examples: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Queen by Alex Haley, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, Good Harbor by Anita Diamant.  All books I’ve loved, recommended to others and probably will read again.

I think that what used to make me love these books so much was that they were truly magnetic, and even at the bittersweet ending, I would feel as if I had immersed myself in a sensual feast of words, that I had lost myself in the story.  My thoughts would linger on the stories, but I still held it away from me in a fashion.  Now, I think my emotional and mental strength has ebbed, and the books affect me in a more profound way.  I take on the melancholy bittersweet feelings the characters have when they resolve their issues, but they don’t really resolve them.  The lead coat of sadness.  Of not being able to handle the beauty of a well crafted, semi-sad story anymore.

I just don’t know if I can handle these books anymore.  It’s like Y said about Sarah McLachlan…you can’t listen to her all the time without being depressed.  Approach Sarah with caution. 

But here’s my question.  WHY do I unerringly pick the books that do this to me?  Seriously, I often pick books off the shelf by their titles alone.  Rarely do I read the inside or back cover. 

I guess I should have known that “She’s Come Undone” was going to be a rough book for me. 

Now, here’s another question.  I have “Firefly Summer” by Maeve Binchy waiting for me in the bedroom.  Should I dare to read it?

I need to find a few more Bridget Jones Diaries or good old fashioned romance novels where everyone ends up where they need to be in the end.  Maybe that’s why I loved me some good hysterical romances when I was younger…happy endings to offset the tragedies I read in the “quality” literature. 

Tonight, however, I am offsetting the lead coat by going to a movie with my guy.  We haven’t been to a movie in a couple of years, I believe.  We’re going to go see Wild Hogs…I know some have seen it, and since they didn’t declare it “total shit” I am willing to take a risk, and I know it’s subject matter my hubby will enjoy. 

Before we go, however, there is the ugly task of sitting down with our 12-year-old to find out HOW and WHY she got a D- in choir, and a D in band, and a C in english on her progress report.  Poor thing, she doesn’t know it’s coming.  Or maybe she does.  She has been at a sleepover at TayTay’s since yesterday afternoon.  Yesterday evening, we opened the progress report.  We at first discussed going over and making Princess come straight home.  But then we decided not to.  I think we are both just exhausted.

Today, Hubby told me not to tell her over the phone, and we’d hit her with it when we are all home together.  We decided I wouldn’t say anything to her about it at all until he got home.  Then, we’d sit her down, set the progress report in front of her and ask her what the heck is going on.  Well, I know what is going on, she hasn’t been turning in her practice sheets.  Every night during the week, she is supposed to practice her singing for 15 minutes, and her flute for 20 minutes.  Every Friday I’m supposed to sign the practice sheet and she is to turn it in on Monday.  I have maybe signed one sheet since November.  But I was determined not to nag her, she needs to learn that there are consequences, and like I’ve been saying in previous entries, her crappy attitude towards me has not made me especially eager to chase her around and help her remember all her responsibilities.

Oh, there will be some crocodile tears here tonight, but they will not work.  And because I cannot sign homework sheets to say she has done work that she hasn’t, I don’t know if or how she can get her grade back up to a respectable one in choir or band.  As far as English goes, it’s only a C but for her a C is pretty drastic.  And her normally good A’s in Math and Science have fallen to B-‘s so she’s wavering over a C in those, too.  So there is definitely something going on there. 

And the crocodile tears are not going to save her from the consequences that her father has determined are going to be hers.  For the next 2 weeks, she will be on complete restriction.  No friends over, no going to anyone’s house.  No TV, no computer except to do homework.  Thereafter, no more friends over during the school week, and sleepovers on the weekends ONLY if all homework has been done to OUR satisfaction.  She will be allowed one hour of television or computer games a night.  She will be subjected to severe homework policing.  I noticed a few weeks ago she is not using a binder or any of the folders we were told by the teachers she would need.  She had all the papers shoved into the front pocket of her backpack, all the papers she had gotten or received for weeks.  So we are going to go through all her papers and we are going to set her back up with her folders and she is going to have to show them to us every day.  Once she gets another progress report or report card and we see all grades back up to at least B, she will be on this restricted television, internet and friends routine.

Well, with this unpleasant meeting before me, and the lead coat of my great book weighing me down, I definitely need a funny movie tonight.

CG

Dumbledore

I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince again, for the umpteenth time.  It’s so funny, these books are kind of a phenomenon, not in their popularity, but that people who do read them tend to become immersed in them.  If you haven’t read the last book or whatever, spoilers follow so go somewhere else if you don’t want to know them.

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Anyway, I always have a hard time assimilating that Dumbledore is dead.  There has to be some catch.  I know that Snape made the unbreakable vow, and was bound to kill Dumbledore or he would die, himself.  I’m sure that when Hagrid heard Dumbledore and Snape arguing, it had to be because Snape was saying he could not do it ultimately, and Dumbledore told him he had no choice.  At the end, when Dumbledore says, “Severus, please…”  I think he was telling Snape to do it so that Malfoy would not have to.  When they say that Snape had hatred and revulsion on his face, I’m thinking it was because of what he had to do, not because he hated or reviled Dumbledore.  If Dumbledore’s trust in Snape was misplaced, then you would not be able to totally trust Dumbledore’s instincts on anything else he had told or taught Harry. 

I think Dumbledore knew he was going to be killed.  And with that knowledge had some things in place for that event to help Harry, and I bet that we’ll find out about them in the last book.  The fact that at the end, you see Dumbledore snoozing in his portrait tells me that Harry will be able to communicate with him in some respect.  The white phoenix that flew away at the funeral…what if there was something to that as well?  Is Dumbledore an animagus?  Is he a phoenix, and therefore can come back to life?  Think about how old Dumbledore is/was.  He worked on alchemy and developed the Sorcerer’s Stone with Nicolas Flamel, who was several hundred years old in Chamber of Secrets.  So if Flamel lived that long, he had to have had the Sorcerer’s Stone all that time, and so Dumbledore must have been alive that long. 

Ah, I don’t know…I’m just conjecturing.  Another thing I was wondering.  I know Dumbledore can speak many other languages including Mermish and Gobbledegook.  But in the 6th book when they travel back into those memories in the Pensieve, there is a lot of conversation that takes place in Parseltongue.  Can you just “learn” Parseltongue, or is that one that you have to just know how to speak it?  So, if Dumbledore heard and understood all the conversation, he has to know Parseltongue.  There must be something to that, but JKR is not making a big deal out of that, either.  Or does she just take it for granted that we wouldn’t notice that?

Here’s another thing.  Dumbledore is/was probably just as strong of a wizard as Voldemort, just on the other end of the spectrum of good v. evil.  He had a pretty decent knowledge of the dark arts, and magic in general.  I just wonder how he learned everything he knew.  Because his knowledge is far beyond what they seem to be learning at Hogwarts.  For instance, when they arrive at the cave where the locket is hidden, he said, “This place has known magic.”  As if it gave off some sort of aura that he could sense or see.  Is that a skill developed by magical education or does he have some skill that most wizards don’t?

I could write all day about the questions I have about Dumbledore. 

I’m just really bummed out if he is really and truly dead.  He was one of my very favorite characters, and he grew on me even more in the last two books because it is so evident that he truly loved Harry, not just interested in him as the possible “Chosen One.”  That he had a real affection for him.  You get to know more about him, and then JKR takes him away!  Bad J-Ro!!!

OK, I have a ton of errands to run this morning, I had better go rouse the masses.

CG