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My 1st Podcast: Raising Kids on Harry Potter



Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 | 4 comments


Isn’t it amazing that Tsh’s 25th podcast (and my first)

Over the weekend, while I was busy wedding-ing and celebrating one of my almost-daughters, a podcast featuring yours truly and recorded for Tsh’s The Simple Show aired. I’ll be honest:

a) It’s the first time I’ve ever accepted a podcast invite.

b) It’s the first time I’ve ever listened to a podcast (don’t judge me. It’s a phone issue.)

c) It was incredibly and surprisingly fun, and not awful to hear it played back.

A sweet friend who texted me after listening had this to say about it:

Just listened to your podcast episode with Tsh! Loved it!! You really should consider doing a podcast yourself. You’re very engaging, smart, knowledgable, wise, witty, and I could go on. Count me as your first subscriber. 🙂 

(Cindy isn’t just a sweet friend, she was my first friend and neighbor after I got married and moved a long way from home. We were delighted to “find” each other again a few years ago at a blog conference–how cool is that?)

It seems poetic and lovely that the first podcast I join would be one talking about Harry Potter. For those of you who knew me for my first years of blogging, you already know I blogged under the name of PENSIEVE, a HP relic introduced in book four, The Goblet of Fire.

I truly hope you’ll check out The Simple Show’s 25th episode, “Raising Kids on Harry Potter” and tell me what you think. As long as you’re nice about it, you can even disagree with Cindy’s perspective. Otherwise, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything” should apply. Silence speaks volumes :).


{If you have children and don’t own the HP series, buy it. If you don’t have children and haven’t yet read the series, treat yourself with my affiliate link. I wouldn’t call it great children’s literature, I’d say it’s great everyone’s lit :). }

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25 Years and Fanciful London Doors



Posted by on Nov 17, 2012 | 6 comments

Based on how old I feel, to be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary I must've gotten married when I was 13.  In fact, if it wasn't the case the year following my silver anniversary I'll be celebrating my golden birthiversary, I'd swear it.

In lieu of exchanging gifts (and to take advantage of the closeish proximity of living in Germany), my husband and I decided to make memories.  In London.

I had no idea how much I'd love it.

London Door Collage

I know for many people, London is at the top of their Travel Wish List; but for some reason, it wasn't on mine.  I'm not a Royal watcher, I didn't get up at dark-thirty for Kate and William's wedding (though I have to admit I watched Di's and Charles' back in the day), and I couldn't have cared less about seeing Big Ben or Westminster Abbey or the Tower Bridge.

What the heck was wrong with me?  It was frickinfrackin spectacular!

It only took a walk a few hundred yards from our hotel and I was smitten–London's Natural History Museum was ~that close~ followed by the Victoria and Albert then Hyde Park and Harrod's and Piccadilly Circus AND OHMYWORD WHYohWHY had I not been doing everything I could to get there?!

Ignorance, in this case, was not so bliss.  It was kinda stupid.

Anyways, in upcoming posts I'll share more of our sights, but for now a series of doors on a solitary street, somewhere between King's Cross Station (where Harry Potter would crash through Platform 9¾ to catch his train to Hogwarts) and the British Museum.  I was drawn to their color and whimsey, not just in the painting of wood but also in the patterned tiles leading to entry.  


Black door in London

Sometimes basic black isn't basic at all.


Coral door in London

I absolutely LOVE the tile in this one, complimenting the coral door and avocado trim. And the yellow leaves need to remain there all year!

Federal blue door in London

Gray blue door in London

Checkerboard tile makes me wanna sit and play. Simple and striking.

Red door in london

Isn't it amazing how a subtle rotation of the squares turns this from checkerboard to houndstooth? J'adore!

Sage green door in London

Understated color; overstated tile or just right?


Yellow Door in London

They've got sunshine…on a cloudy day…


Green Door in London

Silver door in london

This one conjured thoughts of Tin Man. It almost scared me as much as flying monkeys.

black double door in london

Again, basic and black and OH so beautiful!

Thanks to my friend Lisa for inspiring me to share something as simple as this.  The doors she photographed are much more diverse, likely because they weren't all located on the same street!  

If you have a favorite, shout it out in comments!

I'm curious if one is more popular than the others.

Wanna guess what mine is? 


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What is a “PENSIEVE” anyway?



Posted by on Feb 24, 2008 | 37 comments

PENSIEVE - Robin Dance

Almost 2 1/2 years ago when I first decided to blog, I really didn’t know much about it.  A friend had asked me to read hers and it looked like a fun soapbox-drama queen-stage-kind-of-an-outlet to me.  We had recently moved to Tennessee, and as an at-home mom to three elementary-aged kids, I had the time to write.

After researching my options, I decided Blogger was the best place to begin:  it was user friendly, and perhaps most attractive, it was free.  The next step in blogging is deciding a name.  I knew I wanted something simple, but every tRobins_pensievehought I had was a) forgettable, b) already done a thousand times, c) too “religious” (I DID want to write about my faith, but just not exclusively)….

As a devoted Harry Potter fan, “PENSIEVE” occurred to me early on.  A literary device J.K. Rowling created to advance her storyline (first mentioned in book four, “Goblet of Fire”), a pensieve is a stone basin used to store extracted memories.  Characters could later go back and “re-live” those memories (theirs or those belonging to others) by “falling” into the pensieve; they were present in the memory but not a part of it; they could see and hear what goes on, but those in the past memory could not see or hear them.

In a sense, a pensieve is used to download thought when the brain is too cluttered to contain it…which is kind of like a blog, right?

An interesting aside from a previous blog post about my title origin notes “that ‘pensieve’ is an anagram of Pevensie, the surname of the main characters from C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in which the Pevensie children are thrust into another world through a magical cupboard, as Harry is thrust into a memory through the pensieve in Dumbledore‘s cupboard.”

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If you don’t yet have it, the Harry Potter series is a FANTASTIC way to engage your children through the written word, and you can buy the complete set for a great price here
(using my affiliate link).

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Was this really necessary?



Posted by on Oct 23, 2007 | 34 comments

This revelation,
particularly after the fact, bothers me.  Why sexualize a character in a children’s series, particularly when it has played no part in 4,224 pages? 

Somehow I feel manipulated… broad-sided…betrayed.  For Rowling to have a subversive agenda in her character development is certainly her prerogative; but the admission well after her last words were penned leaves me thinking less of her, not more (despite the ovation and accolade she’s receiving).

No matter what, though, she’s a brilliant author, she brought to life a host of characters who compelled children (and adults!) to read thousands of pages, she created words and worlds that held us captive, hanging on cliff after cliff simply because there was spectacular substance behind her style…

…and even as I bang out a softly-spoken rant on my keyboard, I realize IF she had this in mind from the beginning, it’s sad? unfortunate? [I can’t seem to grasp the word I’m looking for…:/] that had she revealed this early on, thousands would have missed out on one of the greatest literary adventures of our time. 

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Note to self: Don’t drink caramel macchiatos at midnight :/



Posted by on Jul 21, 2007 | 8 comments

Scenes from some Potter parties in the Tennessee Valley last night…

We had to park at the opposite end of the Barnes & Noble parking lot.  I haven’t seen this strip center this crowded since last CHRISTMAS!


This is a perfect display that has been taunting Harry fans for weeks now at B&N.  Thing is, rabid readers haven’t read 3,440 pages…that’s just silly!  I wouldn’t call myself a rabid fan and I’ve read 6,880 pages (at least each book twice).  Rachel?  Now SHE’S a rabid fan….it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s read over 15,000 Potter pages…


We didn’t stay at B&L long, it was uncomfortably hot and crowded…and the strangest costumed people I’ve ever seen NOT at Halloween–not even (all) Harry Potter-ish.  I mean, I saw a GROWN MAN (gray goatee) wearing a FULL Batman jumpsuit!  If that wasn’t odd enough, he had a DIAPER on on the outside of it!  No…I didn’t ask if I could photograph him…I was too creeped out.

Before moving on to our REAL Potter party where we pre-bought our copy Books a Million, we stopped at Starbucks for some caffeine to keep me up until the bewitching hour a tall caramel machiatto breve.  Mmmmmm. 

We saw some interesting people at BAM…the stars came out (the B ones, not the A list…no Harry, Ron or Hermione 🙁 ).

A young Draco Malfoy…


Professor Trelawney…


And lovable Hagrid


Here we are waiting in line…a picture we took to text to my niece who was at a party in Florida.


This was the scene 12 seconds after we had our book in hand (I’m using the term "we" here VERY loosely…I haven’t touched it yet).


It’s 8:00 in the morning…while I was typing this, Rachel came out of her room dazed and confused.  I asked her if she had slept.  Somewhat off balance she said "No."  "Are you done?"  "No, but I think I’m gonna sleep a few hours…you can start reading if you want."

So…with that I’ll bring this post to an end :). 

But not before sharing what my daughter said, the purist who thought Rowling should stop writing (publicly) as monument to this series (because all future writing of hers would be compared against it), who thinks Harper Lee is wonderful because she had one shabang with "To Kill a Mockingbird".

With a glazed look of adoration,

"I’ve changed my mind…J.K. Rowling NEEDS to keep writing.  She’s genius!"

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…but I wanted to be HERMIONE!!



Posted by on Jul 19, 2007 | 13 comments

Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!

I noticed
Desert Flutie, a first-time visitor to PENSIEVE, had this blog quiz up on her page when I popped in to thank her for her kind words.  Since I’m a slightly (a h e m) rabid Potter fan (for goodness sakes, my BLOG is named after a VERY crucial element in the series…especially in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)…and yes, I will be at a party Friday night at midnight, daughter in tow, to celebrate (and mourn) the arrival of HP & the Deathly Hallows…the end of a magical-in-every-sense-of-the- word series…/

In any event, I couldn’t help myself…I had to take the test.  Had.To.!  If you choose to take it, I’ll tell you in advance, though, it is the single most LAME quiz I’ve ever taken.  1)  It’s too long, and 2) it’s offensive.  It’s doubtful the creator is a much of a fan.  Of course, that being said, I still took it and posted the results ;).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In other PENSIEVE news, apparently blackmail works  whining is effective I R.A.W.K. after all.  In addition to being WITCHED in the past week, the Swampwitch didn’t think I had enough bling….  So, she talked about me behind my back again and surprised me with this.   God bless that woman…if it wasn’t for her, my sidebar would be nekkid wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.  (Thanks, sweets!)  🙂

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