Hermione Granger – Fighting for Strong Smart Women Everywhere

Hermione-brews-Polyjuice

This blog is named after Hermione Granger of Harry Potter fame, and her ability to solve any problem because of her superior research skills and love of books, and her knapsack would hold all this knowledge. As Ron says to Harry about Hermione’s book dependency in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, “Because that’s what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library.” Plus she is the perfect mascot for Children’s Librarians everywhere. Yay books and knowledge! 

Hermione and Books

Taken from: https://nary-san.deviantart.com/art/Hermione-and-books-446977341  

I loved her character in the books and even the movies, and I think this woman’s perspective on our spunky heroine is the reason why:

“Hermione is a hero because she decides to be a hero; she’s brave, she’s principled, she works hard, and she never apologizes for the fact that her goal is to be very, extremely good at this whole “wizard” deal. Just as Hermione’s origins are nothing special, we’re left with the impression that her much-vaunted intelligence might not be anything special, on its own. But Hermione is never comfortable with relying on her “gifts” to get by. There’s no prophecy assuring her importance; the only way for Hermione to have the life she wants is to work for it. So Hermione Granger, generation-defining role model, works her adorable British ass off for seven straight books in a row. Although she deals with the slings and arrows of any coming-of-age tale — being told that she’s “bossy,” stuck-up, boring, “annoying,” etc — she’s too strong to let that stop her. “

I adore her and J.K. Rowling for creating her because she is showing us, girls and women in particular, that it is okay to be strong and smart. I don’t think we as women have to take people calling us “bossy” or a “know-it-all”, we are who we are and no amount of societal pressure is going to change that. As Alyssa Yeager blogs about in this article, “Smart women think more, seek questions more, have a viewpoint and argue it more, and are capable of effecting change. Smart women can also generally be seen as a royal pain in the ass in the eyes of some men. But smart women also know that those men don’t deserve them.”

Eventually men will get their act together and realize that brains are just as sexy if not more so than looks, especially as they get older. Or at least I can hold out hope that this is the case. Because the alternative, as explained in this article, “It seems that, even if men say they want a smarter woman, when push comes to shove, they’re not so into women who threaten their own intelligence. Translation: Men who blow off intelligent women might just be protecting their fragile masculine egos,” is pretty sad. 

Back to the wonderful world of Harry Potter. I’ve had a little bit of time to re-evaluate her and the other students of Hogwarts as I have been reading my six-year old son the illustrated editions of Harry Potter’s books 1 & 2 (which are amazing by the way). I haven’t actually touched these books since I started reading the series a few years after it came out in 1997. I actually rebelled reading them at first, as I tend to do with super popular kids series’. I became more open to the idea after some kids I was watching at a summer camp, where I was counseling at during the summer of my sophomore year of college (circa 2001), were going on and on about how awesome the series was. So naturally I wanted to give it a try. Thankfully the library on campus had copies and the rest is history. 

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A lot of people like to poo poo Ron and Hermione’s relationship, but as I am re-reading the series, and several articles on the two of them, I can see that they are a lot more compatible than some people would have us believe. A lot of this stems from the way both of them are portrayed in the movies, for example making Hermione the heroine with the Devil’s Snare in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets or defending Harry from Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (when it was actually Ron both times) or as Ryann Whelan’s article points out:

“Hermione’s weaknesses are completely glossed over. She can be, at times, overly cautious, judgmental, insensitive to social cues, rigid and legalistic in her perfectionism, and overly rational. The movies depict her as a bossy but endearing know-it-all, but fail to delve into how obnoxious she can come across.”

The author of the previous article also points out how much of Ron’s personality is left out entirely in the films, namely:

“He’s the heart and soul of the trio— emotionally grounded, strategically-minded, generally calm and cool (excepting when spiders are involved -[who can blame him, they give me the heebie jeebies]). He’s trustworthy and honest, always upfront about how he really feels, even if it doesn’t come across politely. He’s truly funny and often the primary comic relief of the series, not simply because of pratfalls, but because he’s got a great sense of humor.”

And despite what Hermione says in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, about Ron having “the emotional range of a teaspoon”, he so much more than that. I mean think about it, you’re stuck between the famous Harry Potter (who despite his everlasting friendship with Ron is still the most well-known person in the wizarding world) and the cleverest witch at Hogwarts, Hermione. It’s possible you would feel a little bit out of place, not to mention being the youngest brother in a wizarding family whose siblings have already accomplished so much. Ron tends to use humor to deflect from his own insecurities and worries. 

Ron and Hermione compliment each other. Yes she is serious, whip smart and in-charge, but she needs someone she can relax with, who calms her down and makes her laugh. Who better than someone who co-owns a joke shop? 

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Ugh, how much do I hate moving?

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I had to unexpectedly move again and in a hurry, so that’s mostly why I have been MIA from the blog. I got 30 days notice from my landlords to find a new place so I have been frantically searching for somewhere half decent in a safe neighborhood for my child and I. The really sucky part is that I am unable to take my dog of 9-1/2 yrs so I’ve had to find a home for her (finally managed to find one so I don’t have to put her in a shelter, so yay!). Luckily I was able to find a roommate to help me afford something a little nicer. We managed to find a good place and have spent the last two days moving in. I still have boxes everywhere and am sore, but we are about 95% moved in. Just have to get the last few things and clean the other place and I will be done. I have moved at least 16 times in my life so I should be used to it, but I never am. I luckily had a few friends to help me move, which helped tremendously as this is the first time I’ve done it pretty much on my own.

Moving Day Horse Drawn

At least it wasn’t by horse-drawn carriage

Next time, I will try to get professional movers because I’m fairly sure moving ranks right up there with divorce and childbirth for me as the most stressful things ever, because even if you try to make everything go smoothly, it almost never seems to. This time around I didn’t have enough people, then one of our beds didn’t fit, I locked the keys in the truck and by the time the tow guy came to bail us out it was too dark and we were too tired to move anything (so we had to do everything the next day). We ended up hiring a couple of guys to help us move and it went a lot smoother after that. If you ever want to get fit in a short amount of time, just lug boxes up stairs a bunch of times. You will definitely feel it in the morning. 

Today at work we decorated pencil boxes to make Dia de Los Muertos altars, so I got to release some of that frustration and focus on crafting. And this is why I crochet in the winter because crafting is relaxing.  I figured I could add a photo of my grandmother and and a candle and I would be set. 

30 Day Writing Challenge

30 day writing challenge

I haven’t done anything like this, so I thought it might be fun to try. 

Day 1: List Ten Things That Make You Really Happy

In no particular order:

  1. My son (he really makes my day brighter)
  2. Playing Dragon Age games (Origins, Awakening, DA2, or DA: Inquisition)
  3. Writing – blog posts, poetry, and Dragon Age fanfiction
  4. Reading during any spare minutes I have – esp if they’re ARCs (Advanced Readers Copy so I get to read and review them before anyone else)
  5. Talking to anyone who will listen about art and sharing my knowledge and appreciation of it – doubly so if I get to teach an art program like Art Explorers or the ones I used to do for Kids Cafe
  6. Having intellectual conversations with cute educated guys
  7. Nerding out/Fangirling while watching Star Wars/LOTR/Miraculous Ladybug/anything vaguely Anglophile (see my Pinterest page for more of what Nerdy/Geeky things I mean)
  8. Going to Comic-con in Phx – maybe one day I can do the big one in San Diego
  9. Traveling – last trip was to Alabama to visit my family so not sure that really counts but last trip before that was to Prescott/Sedona/Northern Arizona area which I hadn’t really explored since before I moved here to AZ so that counts. I haven’t been on a good trip since college, esp a “dropping me in the middle of a country where I don’t speak the language but still manage to have fun”, but here’s hoping for more in the future. 
  10. As corny as this sounds, doing my job at work. I got a Masters Degree in Youth Services in a Public Library and I really do love helping kids and their families, so anywhere I get to do that is awesome, i.e. during Preschool STEM storytime, during Baby Storytime, Kids Cafe, Reference Desk, Readers Advisory, or helping out with other programs. 

Moment of Zen: Travel Edition

I rarely go on vacations, mostly because I can’t afford them or the time off from work. But for a week after Christmas I traveled by car with my mother and son to Alabama, to visit my grandfather, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. I also hadn’t been to his house in about seven years, nor seen my brother and his family, so it was very overdue. Let me just say first off that I will never spend 25 hrs in the car with anyone again, as it was way too exhausting, especially as we were spending 13-14 hrs in the car per day. Discovered a few things about the states in the process, for example my thoughts on West Texas (as we drove through pretty much the whole bottom half of the state) were a ton of dead skunks on the road – which smelled horrible, bad natural gas smell from all the refineries, and a whole lot of nothing for miles and miles (which doesn’t change in the daytime). Whereas Louisiana had miles and miles of bridges b/c it is all swampy, including the longest one, a five-mile causeway across Lake Pontchartrain (see satellite image below). Most of my happy moments involved food. 

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Tues Dec 27: I found this cool visual map for my son to keep track of the states we were visiting during the course of our journey, as we were going through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. That way he was involved with our progress and learned something about each state. It was very popular and he really got into it. 

Wed Dec 28: Got to have Cajun food in Louisiana. My mom had Crawfish Etouffee and I had a Crawfish Po-Boy. 

Thurs Dec 29: Got to have Zaxby’s for the first time since we left South Carolina (about 5-1/2 yrs before). Not sure what they use on their chicken or in their Zax sauce, but it is damn tasty and hard to replicate. 

Fri Dec 30:  Got to see my brother and his family for the first time in seven years, and meet his daughter Kayleigh, who I’ve never actually met before. It was nice catching up with them. 

Sat Dec 31: Had boiled peanuts today and next day – the one Southern food I actually miss and can’t get over here. They were pretty good for being from a gas station. 

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Mon Jan 2: Prettiest sunset of the trip driving through New Mexico. It doesn’t quite capture it in the picture, but it was gorgeous with all the orangey-reds, pinks and purples reflected off the fleecy clouds. 

Moments of Zen: Sept 10 – 16

This week was pretty stressful, and I had a lot of things on my plate. My son had better behavior, so that I am very thankful for, as last week was very exasperating. 

Sat and Sun: Honestly, it was probably when I finally got alone time to play Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), the MMO game. It is the current game du jour for me, since I’m not playing Dragon Age: Inquisition (though I will be in November, yay!). I currently have 4 characters, 2 Rebels and 2 Imperials. My son likes watching, though I don’t let him sit for everything as it can get a little graphic. 

Mon: Reading my son I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems for his bedtime story. It was very silly but a lot of fun to read, as are most Elephant and Piggie books. I especially liked the multitude of colors Gerald turns after trying the slop, but explains to Piggie that it is good to try new things even if you don’t end up liking it. 

Tues: Having a girl talk moment with two co-workers during my lunch break and talking about my friend’s dates. It’s silly but it is nice sometimes to talk about fluffy stuff like that to take your mind off of other things. 

Wed: When my friend Joanna called me back yesterday b/c one of my FB messages sounded sad and was wondering how I was doing. Yesterday was a sad day for me, so to have someone thinking about me and wishing me well really meant a lot. Plus her phone call distracted me and got me laughing again. 

Thurs: Dancing to Pitbull’s song Fireball in my car. That song always makes me smile. Oh, and of course getting to go to ASU Gammage’s production of Cabaret for free, courtesy of my parents, which has great music and reminds me of my childhood (I was a bit obsessed with the movie version). I definitely plan on going to more live theater in the future. 

cabaret

Fri: I was a little surprised at how much the parents/kids loved my brand new Dinosaur DiscoveryTime! I would change a couple things with it, but overall a success. Also had a serious Moment of Zen where I disconnected from the world for about 1/2 hr during lunch at Blue Find and had a Panko Chicken Bowl and read Kamisama Kiss Vol 21.  

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Moment of Zen: Sept 3 – 9

It has been a crazy week and I’m glad it’s nearly over as I am whooped physically and mentally. Just working until the early afternoon tomorrow and then I’ll be free for the weekend. 

Sat: Even though my face and shoulders are sunburned because of it, getting to relax and just float for a bit, on my back in the pool, while my son took his first swimming class (which he really enjoyed). 

Sun: Getting to have brunch and a coffee with my dad and just talk about stuff going on. I find I need to vent more than ever before, and he’s a good listener who gives his honest opinion about things. 

Mon: Hanging out in Prescott, for the first time, with Joanna and my son. It was a perfect sunny 82 degrees F and slightly windy. Hopefully by next month, the weather will be even better for the mini-break I’m taking with my parents and son next month. 

Tues: Having lunch with Joanna at one of my favorite local restaurants, Blue Fin. This is actually the place where I first thought about doing these posts as whenever I go there, it makes me totally relaxed plus I love the food. It’s right across from the library where I work and the people there are so nice and always make me feel welcome. It’s been there for nearly 35 years, and they make excellent panko chicken with brown rice and tonkatsu sauce, and my favorite Oyako Chicken (eggs, chicken, cabbage and onions all mixed together with a sweet sauce) over brown rice. The Oyako is just so comforting, so if I have time as it takes a little longer to prepare, I usually get that. 

Wed: Weirdly enough, my favorite part of the day was the small staff meeting we had to discuss some routine stuff, in addition to learning that I will do more outreach for The Amazing Library Card Campaign (encourages public school kids in target low-literacy areas to get library cards – 3rd year they’ve done it) and this year’s theme is Peanuts (last year was Star Wars so we had the local Star Wars charity group come shoot photos at the library in promotion). Also my duties at work have changed a bit. They’ve added me to the “Ask a Librarian” team, which I’ve never done, but am a bit excited to get a new task

stormtroopers-in-the-archives-at-burton-barr-sept-2015

Last year’s theme (Stormtroopers in the Library’s Archives, Sept 2015)

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This year’s theme

Thurs: Today it was just nice to relax and not have to do anything except my counseling appointment first thing in the morning. I’ve not really had the opportunity to do so in the last week. 

Fri: Ok this one is kind of weird, but it made me happy. Finally got a chance to talk to two of our interns and assign them tasks to start next week that will mean I get to fill out less paperwork and give them a bit more ownership of the program. I will be talking to them more next week to set it up properly. Yay for interns!

Moment of Zen: Aug 27 – Sept 2

This week has been pretty interesting, with the exception of Monday and Wednesday, which were just kind of a blah days. Tues was my last day at the branch library I’ve been helping out at for the last month and I was a bit sad to leave as it is nice to meet new people and work at a different place every now and then and see how other libraries work. The manager will still need help in the future, so I’ll keep my ear out for more opportunities and I’m on the substitute list for other branches, so if not there than someplace else I’m sure. 

Quote of the week, taken from Brian Selznick’s The Marvels pg 599, writing about Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: 

“Maybe the play wasn’t about miracles. No, maybe it was about the passage of time, and the need for patience, and the ability to forgive. Maybe Shakespeare was saying that even in a world where miracles can happen, there’s still going to be pain, and loss, and regret. Because sometimes people die and you can’t bring them back. That’s what life is, Joseph realized, miracles and sadness, side by side.”

Sat: Late night drink and talk with my dad about food, cooking and travel; apparently Guy Fieri makes the worst descriptions of food on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, according to my dad

The Japanese Lover

Sun: My friend Joanna and I started an adult bookclub called “A Novel Idea” in July and Sun was the second meeting and we doubled our attendance! We discussed Isabelle Allende’s The Japanese Lover, and had some very interesting discussions about race, prejudice, immigration, growing old and much more. It was cool because all but my mother had worked or was currently working in a library, and everyone was a reader and it is always awesome talking about books with educated ladies. I’m hoping we’ll get even more people the next one and for Sept we are reading the classic by Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. This was the nicest time I’ve had in awhile and it was so much fun to be a part of the group. 

Tues: Going out with my friend Joanna and her friends and doing 90’s trivia night at a local market downtown. We came in 15th place but it was still a lot of fun, even though the questions were a little obscure. I would definitely do this again. 

Wed: Snuggle time with my son watching Hotel Transylvania 2

Thurs: Getting to talk to my new counselor about everything going on and setting up a plan to help sort me out in the future

Fri: I had an epiphany moment this morning during my DiscoveryTime storytime (storytime plus STEM) where I was reading the book Big-Mouth Frog by Keith Faulkner and the parents and kids were so into the story and I felt like “Wow, this is really what I’m meant to do (being a librarian).” So I need to keep that in mind when I’m having moments of professional self-doubt.