Saturday, April 30, 2011

Criminals, British Stuff, Writing, and Emotions

1. I dreamed I was Australian.  I find a newspaper clipping that has a photograph of me as a toddler.   It says something about me being the first Australian-American to be given a Hebrew name. I'm excited to learn that I'm an Aussie....or that I was one originally.  

I'm a bit disappointed that it was just a dream.

2. Enjoyed reading Facebook updates from an Aussie visiting Manhattan.  She seems to be liking it.  

3. Talked to my mom and sister a bit about British royalty people.   

4. Talked to my brother-in-law about Australia history.   The discussion began with Israel/Palestine.   I mentioned that Australia almost took in thousands of Jews, referring to the Kimberley thing.  My brother-in-law said he heard Australia took in criminals.  I said no, I think that was Argentina.   I thought he was talking about Nazis.  But it ended up he was talking about the convicts. 

5. Looked at websites about British slang for my Harry Potter blog thing.  The problem is I feel awkward using any words I've never heard or read before.   I can't just take things from a dictionary and stick it in my writing.   In order for me to feel comfortable with something, I need to be already familiar with it.  Otherwise, I feel like I'm being fake.  Or I worry I'm using some type of slang that's outdated.  I also worry about forgetting the British, and that my character will end up sounding too Americanised. 

Anyway, though...I know a little British because they share some words with Australians.   And also I learned a bit from Harry Potter, and stuff like that.

6. Found an Australian to British  dictionary.   I'm curious about the differences.  

There's not much here, but they have links to other things.  

Here's an Australian dictionary for British people. This might be helpful, because I can see what Australian words my British people might not use.  Although the father is originally from Australian, so it wouldn't be too odd for them to use Aussie words. 

They say pash means snog.  I never heard pash before. I'm wondering if it's used often.  

7. Followed the link to this blog post about Australian and British differences. 

British think of thongs the way Americans think of thongs.  We don't put them on our feet.

Oh!  This is funny.  They talk about the fanny issue. Apparently, the British define it the same way as Australians.   They say they'd giggle when reading about fanny packs in The Babysitter's Club series.  I didn't know they talked about them there. From my limited knowledge, I'd say fanny pack was a word used more in the 1980's and 1990's.   I think it's used less often now, so we probably provide less giggles in that regard.   I could be wrong though.

8. Loved this bit from Andrea Goldsmith's The Prosperous Thief.   Words, he decided, were more powerful; words, as history had so persuasively demonstrated, could drive people to commit unpardonable atrocities; and words, Ralphie concluded after immersing himself in literature and the great historians, could also bring about a better world.    

This is the kind of thing I need to hear to make me feel better about myself.

Sorry, but I'm going to talk about my Magic is Might (Harry Potter) character again. She wrote a post once; or maybe left a message on the Rebellion newsletter. She feels inadequate because the people who visit her site are right in the middle of the action.   They're fighting the war in London, while she sits safe in Australia reading and writing about things.   She feels helpless, inadequate, and unworthy. And yeah.  Maybe some of this girl's feelings were inspired by my own.  

We had lunch once with a friend who was a real estate agent.  He annoyed me by scoffing at writers.  The underlining message was they're not REALLY working. They're not doing anything important.   I was offended by what he said.  I think it was rude...and quite ridiculous coming from a real estate agent.  Does he really believe his job is that important?   I mean it probably is important, but is it more important than writing?  I don't think so. Or maybe I don't want to think so, but a little part of me does.

Now after reading Andrea Goldsmith's quote, I feel ridiculous for having even a tiny bit of myself that doesn't understand the power and importance of writing.

Written words have inspired me.  Humorous and kind ones have lifted my mood. They've made me think obsessively about various problems. They've worried me.  They've scared me. They've wounded me.

Sometimes I'll be in a fight with someone, and I'll get an email from them. I dread opening that email.  I'll feel sick inside. Why?  The email isn't going to blow up.  I'm not facing a gun, or a shark that's going to eat my arms. I'm facing words.

I'm tempted to say that some words are worse than a shark bite, but saying that might be a bit premature. I should probably wait until I've donated parts of my body to a shark's lunch.  Then I can compare the two.

9. Remembered a teacher I worked with at a preschool.  Her daughter was crying, and she refused to give her any comfort.  I forgot her exact explanation, but it was something along the lines of believing the only real pain was physical pain.   If you get stung by a bee, that's worthy of compassion.   If your friend gives you the silent treatment, that's not real pain.   I remember thinking that I'd probably feel the opposite.   Physical pain is bad, but I think emotional pain is often worse.   Hopefully, this teacher/mother wasn't too extreme in her beliefs.   Maybe she ignored mild emotional upsets, but would give comfort for the big ones. She seemed fairly nice, so I can't imagine her being that cold-hearted.       

10. Bought eggs from the neighbors!  We know they're truly free range because we see the hens roaming around.  The only thing is I asked Tim, on the walk over, why they have hens.   He said they said they had been raising them to send to the Philippines for cockfighting, but they ended up not going through with it.   I hope they've really changed their mind about that.  I don't want to support factory farms. I also don't want to support cockfighting.

11. Talked to Tim about the eggs and the ethics. He made me feel better, because he reminded me that although they had wicked plans, they didn't go through with it.   They didn't sell the chickens off into the cockfighting business.  That could have been just to avoid legal issues, because it's illegal in America.  But they could have also sold the chickens to a factory farm or had them killed.   They could have found some reason to get rid of them.  And instead they're keeping them and taking care of them.  It's probably okay. I hope!

12. Sickened to read another article about children and eating disorders.  A clinic in New South Wales is seeing more and more young kids who don't want to eat because they're afraid of getting fat.  

One commenter reminds me of my parents.   Mike of Sydney says, You have to be joking surely??....The only eating disorders I see amongst an unhealthy number of kids today is being overweight through inactivity after school and on weekends sitting around playing computer and video games and being in a Supermarket with their equally overweight mothers pushing the tolley stacked full of Chocolates and Biscuits ,Chips and Sugar coated Breakfast Cereals....and lets not miss out on the stop off at McDonalds for some easy lunch before we get into the car outside....Its as simple as that.

Yeah.  That's definitely the attitude in my family.  Getting fat is the eating disorder. Extreme dieting and obsessive exercising is admirable.  If someone starts gaining a a bit of weight, there's need to worry.   If someone stops eating or greatly restricts their eating? No worries!   It's fantastic. In my world, there really is no such thing as being too thin.  

Why can't we face that fact that there's a problem on both ends?  Some people are gaining too much weight, and some people are damaging their bodies by not eating enough.   

The article says,  mothers who skipped meals, embarked on crash diets and visited the gym too often were poor role models for their impressionable children.   That's what Jack was exposed to from the ages of 3.5-5.   I weighed all my food and counted calories.   I weighed myself.  I exercised almost constantly.  I would never sit down.   I would just walk and walk and walk.   I became very thin.    Fortunately, I don't think this has affected Jack too much.  It might be because he's a boy and not a girl; although boys do get eating disorders sometimes.  Maybe things are okay because I stopped it in time, and later modeled better behaviors.   I still exercise a lot, but not obsessively like before.   I have fairly normal eating habits, and I keep a moderately healthy weight.  I'm not fat. I'm not thin.   I'm okay.  

13. Dealt with a lizard tragedy with help from my brother-in-law and moral support from my sister.   It was gross and sad.