Steve and I hit the open road this afternoon heading up to Malvern, PA to see his parents!

Please excuse my sad unpainted piggies. I hope to rectify the situation this weekend.

On our way up, we’re listening to Jim Dale read Goblet of Fire. We have a longstanding tradition of listening to audiobooks on our long car trips and so far we’ve made it through all but one Narnia book (haven’t gotten to The Last Battle yet – I also haven’t read it [I’m kind of afraid of the last paragraph]) and now halfway through the fourth Harry Potter. When we were dating we used to listen to Steve’s music on our trips which was not as engaging. This is much more fun. We spent most of the trip listening to the story, stopping it every so often to debate a question or discuss a plot point. (Like, how do we readers know all the details of how Voldemort killed Harry’s parents? We decided it was the wizarding CSI unit.)

I picked up this delicious-looking smoothie for the road:

I know you probably won’t believe me unless you’re my fellow green smoothie aficionado, Mary-Kate, but it tasted like apple juice and pineapple. Green smoothies forever!

Anyway, after five long hours on the highway, listening to poor Harry try to prepare himself for the first task and remarking that Harry and Ron aren’t acting toward each other like normal 14-year-old boys at this point in the story (they probably would have just punched each other and moved on, says Steve), we arrived here in Malvern. I look forward to a weekend of this:

(hopefully this will emerge as the first of a pair of handwarmers)

and this:

I said way back when that I planned to reread my favorite books in 2011. Well, I reread Lord of the Rings, but 2011 is dead to me now so the rest of the plan went up in smoke. Still, I figured I’d finish out the year reading my other favorite book. I can’t think of anything better to read after finishing (I hope) a long season of loss. Let’s just hope I channel my inner Melanie in future years, and not my inner Scarlett.