Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stuffed Animals, Obama, Oceans, and iPods

1. Inspired by today's writer's block question on Livejournal to remember some of my favorite childhood stuffed animals.  At one time I had this mouse. I remember taking it to school and camp, and getting a lot of comfort from having it with me. I think the mouse's name was Cindy, but that would be funny if it was Sydney. It MIGHT have been. I'm really not sure.

One of my favorite stuffed animals was a koala.  I told Jack about it one day. He asked me his name, and I said "Koala".  Jack scolded me for being unoriginal.

Anyway, I played with a lot of stuffed animals.  I kind of had a whole storyline going on with them.   Koala was probably the main star.  He dated my sister's doll, Jenny. We had a party for them, and took photos. I wonder if we still have the pictures somewhere.

I'd like to say the koala had something to do with my future Australia obsession, but that's probably not true.  One of my favorite book series was the Betsy one by Carolyn Haywood.  Betsy had a koala stuffed animal.   I think that's what inspired me to want one of my own.  Although I'm looking at a picture of one of the book covers right now; Betsy's Little Star. It shows Betsy's sister holding the koala.  Maybe it was hers, and not Betsy's?  Or maybe Betsy gave it to her?

2. Found one of my old dreams about Australia.  This is from August 18, 2005....two years before I became super obsessed.  Australia for me back then was  like a quiet secret crush.  

A whole thing about going to Australia. I think we went on a cruise and one of the stops is Australia. Or we're planing on going on this cruise. I'm looking at the excursion catalog with...my mom maybe? There's something about necrophilia. We figure out it just means there's this game in Australia where you pretend to be dead. Whoever can act the most dead(move the least) wins. I say I shouldn't play because I'll lose immediately.

I talk with either my mom or Tim. Or both. About how we really love to spend more time in Australia. And New Zealand. Maybe we should just skip the cruise and spend time in New Zealand and Australia. But then I say it will be easier for Jack to be on long cruise ride, than long airplane ride.

And at one point, Tim says we can just spend the weekend in Australia. the weekend coming up. I say it's a little crazy to go there just for a weekend. We talk about maybe going to Disney World instead. And then Tim suggests NYC. I'm game with that. But then decide I don't want to go, because I don't want to go off my diet. But then realize I'm letting my diet control my life too much.  (this dream came in the midst of my eating disorder issues. There were lots of dreams about food and dieting during that time)

Then we talk more about Australia. Or somewhere we talked about it again.  I woke up (for real) thinking how crazy. I'd never go to Australia. There''re too many crocodiles there.

After that, there was a dream within a dream thing where I tried to tell my old co-worker about the dream; and she doesn't seem interested.  

3. Saw a photo of Julia Gillard and Obama throwing a football back and forth.  I'd probably be charmed by the photo if I wasn't disliking both of them lately.  

4. Learned, from one of my Facebook friends, that Pauline Hanson is returning to politics. Here's the article that he linked to.  Hanson is going to be doing the NSW elections.

5. Found another cover for Betsy's Little Star.  This one has a koala too.  I think this is more likely the edition that I read.  It looks more familiar than the other one.

6. Read article about the National Health and Medical Research Council giving grants to cancer researchers.   That's good, because I hate cancer. I'm so scared of it.  And it seems so many people have it, or know someone who has it.

I don't mind cancer so much when it hits someone past the age of eighty. We're going to have to die somehow.  Why not cancer?  I don't believe we need to go on living forever.

But I HATE hearing of younger people dying of cancer.

The article lists the various research projects that are in place.  Not all of them are cancer related.   There are some mental health, vaccine, stroke, and auto-immune studies as well.

Well, I hope some good comes out of the studies.  Although I'm criticial of western medicine, I DO recognize the good that has come out of it.  Some diseases used to be an almost definite death sentence, and these days more people are able to survive.  I'm very thankful for that.

7. From this video, I learned that I don't pronounce Coober Pedy correctly from. Well, now I know the correct pronunciation.  That's good.

I'd like to go to Coober Pedy....someday.

8. Had wacky idea for my Hobart vs. Adelaide game.   Everyday I'm going to check Statcounter, and see from which states I'm getting the most visitors.  If I get more South Australian visits that day, I'll give a point to Adelaide.  If I'm getting more Tasmanian visits that day, I'll give a point to Hobart.   Today, Hobart won that round.

Then I'm also going to do a weather thing.  I'll look at the weather, and see which city has the type of weather I prefer.  Today, Adelaide won there. It's 23 and cloudy. I think that would be perfect for me.  Hobart is okay, but they say it might rain.   

9. Decided to look for Australian unschooling blogs.   I found this one....Unbounded Ocean.  They're radical unschoolers.  I don't consider us to be that.  Well....to homeschool period is radical. To unschool is even more radical.  Radical unschooling is like the king of radical.

The Unbounded Ocean family recently moved to Adelaide.  I wonder where they lived before that.   Oh!   Queensland.  The mommy-blogger used to work on Magnetic Island as an ecologist.  That's really cool.

They lived other places too; California, Colorado, and Tasmania.

So far, they seem like really cool people.   AND guess what.  The mommy-blogger likes Harry Potter and Twilight.  Totally my type of person.

10. Started to read Unbounded Ocean's latest post.  I can't help but be jealous.  

We have been at our little beach shack for nearly a week already, and it leads me to question – what has Kai been learning here?
Mostly we have been hanging out on the beach, watching TV (quite the luxury, since we don’t have one!), and fishing.

Well, I'm not jealous of their no-TV thing.  We love TV here.  Then again, I use the Internet more.   I could probably live without a TV, as long as I could get my favorite shows on DVD every so often.

Still, it would be so great to have an unschooling beach life.

11. Read another post by Unbounded Ocean; and I liked it a lot.  It's something I can relate to.    There's really two subjects in the post.  One is children and weapon-play.  The other is being opinionated about parenting issues.

Unbounded Ocean talks about her pregnancy, and says, At the time, this na├»ve, (self-) righteous, and slightly opinioned (some might say strongly opinionated – I disagree!) woman waxed lyrical to all who would listen about how best to bring up a child (despite having no experience in the field!), and harshly judged others whom she witnessed not following her parenting law with their own offspring…

This reminds me of someone.  Me!  Although I think I became more opinionated AFTER I had Jack.  I may have had a few opinions stored up from my education degree and preschool teaching, but most of it came from all the parenting books I read after Jack was born.

I give myself AND Unbounded Ocean credit for something.  We'll recognize our mistakes, and admit we've been judgmental.  I've probably stuck to most of my ideals, but the one that DID change is my view of bribery.   I thought it was the evil of all evils.  I bitched at my sister once because she offered to keep Jack happy with food while I went on a Disney World ride.  I responded in a bitchy way.  Later at some point, I admitted that maybe bribing could be useful in certain situations. I ended up using bribery to potty train Jack, and I think we used it to get him to boob wean.

Unbounded Ocean was against weapon play.  Now she lets her kid play with weapon.

I don't think I've ever been against toy weapons.  To me, it seemed like suppressing nature.  When I was a preschool teacher, the schools all had anti-weapon rules. The kids would then try to secretly build weapons with the building toys.  There's just something about kids and weapons.  I don't think it means they're going to grow up to love real weapons.  

Anyway, Unbounded Ocean explains her change of heart, and apologizes to all the parents she judged.  I really respect that.  We've had pre-parents judge us on our choices. They didn't like the fact that we homeschooled.  They didn't like the fact that we had a family bed.   Blah, blah, blah, blah.   Then these same parents get pregnant, have kids, and make the exact same choices.  I'm still waiting for them to say, Hey.  Yeah.  Sorry we judged you.  Now we can see you had some good points. 

12. Read hilarious comment on Unbounded Ocean's weapons post.  It's by someone named IS (AKA Mummy Snow).  Now I'm going to have to check out her blog.  I peeked at it before.   She's in Tassie.   Anyway, she talks about her idealistic pre-children parenting plans.  I wish I could quote all of it, but I won't.  Here's one of my favorite bits.  My children were going to be extremely strictly disciplined, although of course they would be so naturally ‘well-behaved’ that I wouldn’t actually have to enforce this hypothetical discipline (you know them, enough said!)

13. Checked out Mummy Snow's blog.  It's called Snowflakes in the Valley.  They label themselves as eclectic homeschoolers.  I think that's often similar to unschooling, but more structured.  

From this post on her blog, I learned that moths have penises.  

14. Read Mummy Snow's blog post about Bible Education.  They're secular homeschoolers, but they believe in teaching some bits of religion for cultural/educational purposes.  

Here's another post about their secular education methods.  They went to visit a synagogue in Hobart; the oldest synagogue building in Australia.  In the post, Mummy Snow describes their approach to religion.  I really like it.  It's basically giving the children a cultural/historical understanding of religion; teaching them to be skeptical (but in an open-minded way); and teaching them to be respectful of other people's beliefs.  She says they adhere to a philosophy called Scientific Pantheism.  She has a link to a website about that, so I followed the link.  They believe garden trolls are gods, and we should worship them.   Cool!

No, I'm joking.   Scientific Pantheism sounds like a form of atheism.  Instead of worshiping a supernatural being, they revere nature. 

15. Went to the website for the Hobart Synagogue.  This page says the foundation stone was laid on August 9, 1943.   Does that mean it's the day the building activities began?  Or is it when the building was finished.  I would guess it's the beginning.  I could be wrong.

The building was designed by a Scottish convict named James Alexander Thomson.   

16. Got an email from Powells.  My books have shipped!!

17.  For reasons I won't explain (because it's too complicated) I thought of the book Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan.  I really loved that book, although by now I've forgotten how it ended.  I should read it again sometime.  Anyway, then I started thinking about how I didn't like Lanagan's short story collection.   But really.  I rarely like ANY short story collection. I need to make sure to avoid them, and instead just stick to novels.

18. Learned from reviewers on Amazon.com that Tender Morsels is a retelling of a fairy tale called "Snow-White and Rose-Red".  I had no idea!   I skimmed through the fairy tale.  I like Lanagan's version better; well, probably because the fairy tale is a short story. I'd probably like any fairy tale if it was turned into a novel.   

19. Was directed to this website by Victoria Walks on Facebook.  It has a video about Melbourne, and why it's a pedestrian paradise.   The first speaker on the film has a North American accent.   That messes with my brain.  It's hard to explain why, so I won't try. Our Australian friends were saying something about it once.  I can't remember exactly. It was something about seeing Australian actors on American TV shows; and it taking them awhile to realize they were using an Australian accent.   It's like you're not expecting to hear your own accent on certain things.   Pretend that makes sense.

Speaking of friends, the woman at :48 reminds me so much of my friend—I mean her accent.  My friend is from Melbourne, so I'm wondering if there's a Melbourne accent.

I had Jack listen to the voice, and asked him who he thought it sounded like. He said Hermione?    He has Harry Potter on the brain right now.  We all do.  My friend doesn't really sound like Hermione.

The woman on the video especially sounds like my friend when she says "streets" and "happening".

This video is making me wish we lived in Melbourne.

I like the sculpture at 4:11.  It's very whimsical. 

I miss big-city life.

20. Wrote a letter to the Fort Worth mayor, and gave him a link to the Melbourne video.  Maybe it will inspire him to make Fort Worth a place I don't want to flee.

It's okay though.  I just live on the internet.  The web is my home, especially now that I get to play Harry Potter.  Jack, Tim, and I are having a lot of fun with the Magic is Might project.  

21. My friend informed me that Vegemite is the number one searched term on yahoo today. That's very cool. I'm guessing it has something to do with Obama and Gillard.

22. Found article about Obama's experience with Vegemite.  I hope Obama isn't too adorable about the whole thing.  I don't want to like him.  I mean I DO want to like him. But I want him to free Bradley Manning so I can like him and still respect myself for liking him.  

I have to admit it. I think the video of Gillard and Obama talking to the school kids is kind of cute.   I can't help but be charmed by these politicians, and their clever banter.    

23. Loved the news about Obama getting an iPod full of Aussie music! That is fantastic. I'd really like Australian music to be more popular here.   

You know what I might do.  I think I'll make a YouTube playlist with some of the songs.  That might be fun.   And...uh...I've reached my Pandora limit.  I need something to listen to. I'm tired of a lot of my iTunes music.

24. Questioned the choice of Jimmy Barnes music on the iPod.  Where's all his classic stuff??!!

Well, I'm going to add some of it to MY playlist.  

25. Very surprised to learn that our wedding song was sung by an Australian.   I never knew that!