Monday, April 4, 2011

Cancer, Children, Divorce, and Spelling

1. Heard Into My Arms on my Pandora Nick Cave station.  I loved the first few lines, and didn't think I knew the song.  Then the chorus came on, and I knew that I knew it.  One of my friends told me about the song, and I didn't like it at first.  I thought it was way too corny.  Then later it grew on me.

2. Got an email from Elliot Freeman, the Australian singer.  He sent me a link to his other YouTube channel, the one in which he sings in Hebrew.  I'm going to look at it now.

Oh!  He's not just a singer. He's a medical student.   He can be a singing doctor—a singing BILINGUAL doctor.  That would be so cool.

I feel like a bad Jew when I see the list of his songs.  I don't recognize any of them...at least not by the titles.   I DO know some Jewish songs though.  One of my favorites is Hine Ma Tov.   I think it's beautiful.   It was played at the end of Europa Europa.   I hadn't heard the song since way back in my childhood.  Hearing it, in the movie made me very emotional. Well, and there was the fact that the movie itself was very emotional.  

3. Was told by Firefox that I had spelled recognize wrong.  I then remembered that I had installed an Australian-English dictionary.  I had tried that a long time ago, but it didn't work for me. The other day I tried again, and I realized you have to click dictionary (in the spell check thing) and change it to the one you want. 

I wanted it for my fictional blog because the character is Australian-British. I probably shouldn't use it for this blog since the character of ME is American.  I've had thoughts about that lately. I've used Australian ways of saying things here, and I've been questioning that behavior.

One example is writing dates.  Americans write April 4 2011.   Australians (and British people too, I think) write it 4 April 2011.  For a long time, I was writing it the Australian way.   Why?   Maybe it was part of wanting to feel Australian?    Maybe it was one of those When-in-Rome... Although I'm not actually IN Australia when writing my blog.

There's one explanation that seems sort of decent. Less pathetic.  I think maybe there's a feeling that Australians are so often bombarded by American culture and language. Sadly, it doesn't go both ways.  So maybe it was my way of trying to even things out a bit?

4. Watched a video of Elliot Freeman singing Livcot Lecha.  It's awesome.  For some reason, Freeman reminds me of a Jewish version of Edward Cullen.   If the singing doctor thing doesn't work out for Freeman, maybe he can try the singing vampire thing...the singing Jewish vampire.  

I'm not trying to say that Elliot Freeman looks like a vampire.  He's not too pale or anything.  He just has that sort of charisma.  If they wanted to make Twilight into a musical, Freeman could definitely play the part.  

I really like Freeman's voice here. 

 5. Decided to watch another Elliot Freeman video. This one is called Shir LeAhavah .

It's a very pretty song.  

6.  Touched that Elliot Freeman mentioned my blog on his Facebook page.   I actually am a fan of his page, and have been for a few weeks.  But I missed the posts because I don't usually click "Older Posts" on my newsfeed.  I usually don't need to do that, but yesterday one of my Facebook friends (won't mention names)  was doing some major spamming.  That's fine, because I did my own major spamming on April Fool's Day....actually Australia's April Fool's Day.  

 7. Struggled to decide what is a better story—the politics in Harry Potter, or the politics that are going on right now in Australia.  Now Mark Latham has jumped in the scene.   He's criticizing Julia Gillard for not having children. He says she's wooden around children, and would be less so if she had babies of her own.

I really don't know if having children makes a person less wooden around kids.  But I don't know if one's interactions with children are the most important criteria in being a leader. Aren't there more important things to worry about? I say as long as she's not kidnapping children and trying to eat them, we're okay.

We've had childless adults interact with Jack.  Some of them act a bit nervous and uptight. Others are fantastic.  I'm a mom.  I used to be a preschool teacher.  Sometimes I feel uptight and nervous around children.  I would especially feel that way if I had cameras on me.   

8. Read Jo Hilder's open letter to Pru Goward.  This is about the feeding-baby-while-walking story.  

I like her lines here.   Ms. Goward. I know you would have liked for us all to jump on your absurd bandwagon and finger-point at this particular hapless working mother who found herself the subject of your vitriol and judgement after doing nothing more sinister than trying to do two things at once, like most parents of small children have to several times in every hour of every day and every night.

Parenting babies is very hard, and yes....sometimes you have to multi-task.
 

I have seen advice on breastfeeding websites for bottle-feeding mothers.   The idea is that you should try to replicate breastfeeding by choosing a quiet place, cuddling your baby, looking into his eyes as he eats, etc.  I agree with this!   But this doesn't have to happen for every feeding.  And I didn't do this every time I breastfed Jack.  In fact, I think it was extremely rare for me to give him undivided attention while breastfeeding.  Sometimes I walked...walked while shopping.  Sometimes I talked to other people. Sometimes I read a book.  Often I'd watch reruns of RoseanneER, and Days of our Lives.  

I'm sure Jack would be a much better-adjusted child if I gave him my undivided attention at every feeding.  But I'm too selfish for that. He'll just have to deal with what he got. He's not too screwed up....yet.  

9. Looked at Jo Hilder's blog.   She has a book coming out about her experiences with cancer called Things Not To Say to Someone Who Has Cancer.  I hope I haven't said any of them. There's four examples on the book cover.

A. God's teaching you something.
B. We all have to die of something.
C. It's not cancer.
D.  Just pray about it.

I can't imagine myself saying the last three.   I might say something along the lines of the first one, but I think ONLY if the person with cancer says something first.  If someone with cancer talks about how the difficulties of cancer have helped them grow in some way, I might get philosophical and talk about how bad experiences can act as life teachers.  

 From what I can see, Hilder's book deals with Christian views on cancer. She says, there are some erroneous beliefs and ideas within contemporary Christian faith surrounding illness and disease, and cancer is no exception. There are also a plethera of platitutes, trite sayings and weird statements that people use when speaking to and counselling someone with cancer, and in my work over the years in cancer support, I’ve heard quite a few.

I saw a horribly sad story on Facebook the other day.  There's a little girl in Australia with cancer.   She had a transplant, and went into remission.  The family was very happy.  Then a few days ago, tests revealed that the child's Leukemia returned.  It's very aggressive this time, and the doctors don't want to put her through more chemotherapy.  It's very likely that she has only a few weeks to live.    Some of the comments in response really unnerve me.  Well, I should be glad that no one is saying anything purposely cruel.  That's a miracle, in itself.  But there's responses asking the family if they've tried all medical options, and other comments declaring that the child won't be taken.   

Now if the family themselves had said we're going to pray for a miracle, or we're going to seek out experimental treatments,  I think it's fine to respond accordingly.  But that was NOT the spirit of the message.  I personally think what the family needs to hear right now is things like I'm so sorry or I'm very saddened by your news.   Stuff like that. If you want to privately have hope for a miracle....fine.   If you want to pray for a miracle....great.  But don't try to raise a family's hope when there's very little.  It's incredibly invalidating.  

I wish there would be a miracle, because no family should have to lose their child.

10. Compelled to say that MOST of the comments in response to the family's sorrow are very beautiful and compassionate.  The insensitive comments are full of compassion as well; just a little misguided, in my opinion.     

11. Read Steve Irons first speech to Parliament.  He talks about being put in an infant's home from the age of six months.  He was raised by a foster family, and it seems like it was a positive experience for him.   He talks about the February 13 apology to Aboriginal Australians.   On 13 February this year I was in parliament when the apology was given to Indigenous Australians, and I think it was an important initial step in the process of resolving the real problems Indigenous Australians face today. However, I believe this apology disregarded the good that can come from removing children from abusive situations. Perhaps one day we should apologise to all the young children of Australia who were not saved by being removed from abusive or non-caring parents.

I think that's an important message, but perhaps February 13 was not the proper day to talk about it.

I'm sure that some Aboriginal children were saved from abusive situations.


There are children with lovely families who are torn from them because of misguided notions of bigotry and superiority.

There are children with horrible families who are rescued and put into better situations.

There are children with horrible families who are not saved. They suffer and sometimes eventually perish.

There are children with horrible families who are removed and then put into situations that are no better, or even worse, than that which they experienced previously. 

12. Read Dennis Jensen's first speech to Parliament.  He talks about divorce.   He tells a story about a non-custodial parent who showed up at the airport to pick up his kids.  They weren't there because the custodial parent decided not to send them.   He talks about parents who are unfairly denied access to their children.  He talks about fathers who are financially crippled because they're forced to pay child support.

I don't deny that his speech contains painful truths.  There ARE parents who are unfairly denied access to their children.  There are families who struggle financially because much of their money has to go a child living in another family.

But Jensen gives only one side of the story.   First of all, let's not forget that the custodial parent pays "child support" as well.  We might not call it that, but that's what it is.   Raising a child can be very expensive.  And how do you define financially crippled?   Is it not being able to afford food for the new family?   Is it not being able to afford a home?   Yes, probably sometimes.  But I'm guessing other times ""financially crippled" equals not being able to afford a a European cruise or sports car.   

The second thing we need to remember is that not all parents properly care for their children.  It benefits children to have both parents in their lives, but not if one parent is abusive, neglectful, manipulative, or exploitive.  Not only do we need to worry about the parents, but there can also be the danger of stepparents or similar relationships.  I know some stepparents are fantastic—just as good as the biological parent.  But there are horror stories out there of children being abused and killed.

I think it's foolish to blindly declare that children need both parents.  I think each family needs to be examined and assisted in a case by case manner.  And even then, the system isn't perfect.  It's hard to know which parent to believe.  In broken abused families, it's sometimes hard to know which parent is doing the abusing.

13. Very glad to see article saying that in Victoria, workplace and online bullies can now face up to ten years in prison.  Amen to that!  

The article says the law hasn't officially been passed yet, but they believe it will happen. It's inspired by Brodie Panlock, the waitress who committed suicide because of relentless bullying.  

14. Listened to Elliot Freeman sing Rebecca Black's infamous song.  I actually haven't watched her video yet.  I probably should.  Knowing me, I'd probably like it. 

I definitely like the song when Freeman sings it.

15. For nostalgia purposes, watched video of Jack and Tara singing in Hawaii.   I love the end where Alex has trouble stopping GarageBand from recording. I use GarageBand, and almost every time I forgot how to stop the recording.   It keeps going and going!  

16. Decided to keep the Australia dictionary on Firefox.  It's too hard to keep switching back and forth.  Also, I'm more likely to make the mistake of talking American on the Harry Potter blog than I am to talk Australian on this blog.   I mean I'm not NATURALLY going to write favourite, but I will accidentally write favorite on the Harry Potter blog.   I accidentally wrote mom on a post today, or another day.   Although the Australian dictionary also doesn't count mum.  I had to add that myself. 

17. Watched Eric Stonestreet from Modern family talking to Ellen about his trip to Australia.  He says that Australians wear sandals with socks and very short shorts?   Is that true?  I don't remember seeing it, but I don't often notice those types of things.  

I wore sandals with socks the other day.  I felt weird doing it, but it was the most comfortable thing for that day.  I was wearing a long skirt.   It was too cold to wear sandals without socks, but the only other good walking shoes I have are tennis shoes.  That would look weird with a skirt. I have other nice shoes, but they're not good if I have to do any walking.  

18. Watched Rove interview with Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint.  I forgot Radcliffe was in an Australian movie. December Boys.  I watched some of it on the plane. 

Radcliffe and Rove are sitting in Dumbeldore's office.  That's really cool. 

The editing is weird here. It looks like they interviewed Radcliffe and Grint at different times, and then stuck the footage together.

It's a very fun video. All three guys are absolutely charming.