Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Heart Army, Maternal Mortality Rates, Bonus Pay, and Offspring

1. Looked at the Adopt a Cyclone Yasi Affected Town's Facebook Page.  They're trying to get help for people in Palm Island.   They're mostly hoping for cash and gift card donations, because that's easier to work with, but they'll also accept new and gently used goods.  They say, if it is not good enough for you to use or have on display in your home please reconsider this donation. All donations of high quality and near new condition are greatly appreciated.

2. Looked at the RetraVision website, because the Adopt a Cyclone Yasi Affected Town's page suggested buying gift cards from there as a donation.  That way they can help the families buy what they need to rebuild their lives.  Anyway, it seems you can't order gift cards online.  You have to go to the store and buy it.   That's not going to be easy for me to do.   Maybe I'll just donate to the American tornado instead.  I haven't done that yet, and I'll probably start feeling guilty soon. 

3. Found link via the Adopt a Cyclone Yasi Affected Town's Page where I can help Queensland and American tornado victims at the same time.  It was all a bit confusing.  I followed a link to their causes page and ended up on something for the Red Cross....in America!   I was trying to wrap my mind around that, and then I read more closely and saw it was some kind of combined American-Australian thing.  

I'm still trying to figure out how it's helping Queensland.  

Okay.  I think I see.  If you watch a commercial, they (someone) donates ten cents to the Adopt a Cyclone Yasi's cause.  Their charity is named The Heart Army.   But if you watch the commercial, the money goes to the Lake Cumberland Area Chapter American Red Cross.  I guess this particular American Red Cross is helping Queensland? 

No, wait.  I think I got it now.  They're using the page to bring attention to The Heart Army, but they can't yet get money from the site, so they're allowing the money to go to the tornado in America.   That's really nice of them, but confusing.   

4. Followed link to website of The Heart Army.  It's not just Adopt a Cyclone Yasi Affected Town's charity.   It's that charity plus two other charities. I guess they've come together to form a mass charity group.  

One of the other charities is called Brisbane Adoption.   It's one of those things where you sponsor a child or family.  The third charity is called Farmers are Flood Victims too.   As their name suggests, they help farmers. 

5. Made a small donation to the  The Heart Army.  I didn't give a lot because I feel there's so many charities we have to give money to these days.  Disasters keep happening!  I still haven't donated to the tornado. I guess I'll do that later this week.  

6. Felt good about my little donation to the Heart Army when I read this list of things they've accomplished so far. It's really beautiful that they're making sure the cyclone/flood victims aren't forgotten. 

7. Read article that says Australia is rated as the second best place to be a mom. Norway is #1.    Afghanistan comes in last, and America comes way below at #31. That's sad. 

The ranking is based on mortality rates of mother and child, plus other health and education related stuff. 

The United States has a maternal mortality rate of 1/2100.  That's scary. In comparison, Australia's rate is 1/7400.   

8. Consulted Lord Wiki about maternal death. I was pretty sure they were referring to death of mothers during pregnancy and birth; but I wanted to make sure. 

Anyway, he has very different statistics than the website. He says America's maternal mortality rate ranges from 11-17 out of 100,000.  That's much less than 1/2100.  

From what I'm seeing on Google and other websites, the article was probably wrong about America's maternal mortality rate.   However, it's still pretty bad. 

9. Looked at maternal mortality rates on the World Health Organization website.  They have a color-coded map.  Australia gets the best color which is blue.   Other blue countries include Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and most of Western Europe.  The United States is the next best color; green.   Other green countries include Mexico, most of South America, much of Eastern Europe, and Asia.

10. Looked at the Save the Children website because they're the ones that the article got their ranking/information from.     

Well, I downloaded their document about the rankings, and they say America's mortality rate is 1/4800.  That's bad, probably...but a bit better than 1/2100.

11. Tried to figure out if 1/4800 is equal to 11-17 out of 100,000.   Maybe I'm just really bad at math.  So 1/4800 would equal 10/48,000.   Right?    Then that would equal 20/96000 which is getting me close to 100,000.    My math abilities don't really go beyond that.   But I do get that 20/9600 is a higher rate then 11-17 out of 100,000.   And both of those are a lower rates than 1/2100. 

12. Read Jayne's blog post about getting a card from a friend for the anniversary of her dad's death.   That's incredibly thoughtful.  I think it ties in well with The Heart Army.   I think when something bad or difficult happens to us, it's sometimes hard to find people to be there for us.   People are too busy, or they avoid us because they don't know what to say.  Fortunately there are people who WILL donate their time or money.   They'll reach out and help.   They'll listen and they'll say what you need to hear.   But usually this help fades away eventually, and we're left alone with our problems.  So it's really nice that there are people out there reaching out when most other people have forgotten.  

I feel kind of like a hypocrite writing all that because there's this person with a major problem in their family.  I supported them with gifts, Facebook comments, and by promoting their cause.   Now things are getting much better for the family and I want to limit my interactions with them.  Why?  There are things about this person that infuriate me.  I have deep compassion for their family in terms of what they've gone through.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. But because this person often offends me, I don't want them to be a big part of my life.  Yet I'm afraid I'll be seen as one of those people who abandons others as soon as the high drama of the problems have faded.  

Well, I shouldn't worry what they think about me.  And I can think of myself in another way.  Maybe I'm the person who puts aside my annoyance when someone is in trouble.  Well, at least it's what I did in this particular case.

Anyway, even though this person offends me I do have a place in my heart for them and their family (and not just because of their problems).  I probably won't abandon them completely.  

13. Read article about bonus pay for teachers who are doing well in their jobs.  Some teacher groups are opposed to this.   I thought I'd agree with them because I assumed testing scores would be the only criteria used.   Your kids get good scores on the test, we'll pay you extra.   That wouldn't be good because teachers wouldn't care about kids learning.   They'd care about kids scoring well on particular tests.  But that's not what the government is planning.  Test scores will play a part, but it's also likely that they're going to use things like classroom observations, and opinions from parents, principals, and students.

The teacher groups argue that it's not fair.  What if a teacher has a very difficult group of kids?  What if a principal has a personal problem with the teacher?  What if the teacher is awesome and no one notices?

Well, no award system like that is ever going to have complete validity.   Is the winner of the Academy Awards 100% definitely the best movie that year?  Maybe.  Maybe not.   With things like this, popularity, personal connections, and prejudices are always going to play a small part. You can't have a perfect system, but you can try your best.  

14. Watched more of the Offspring pilot.   Yeah.  I know I'm being really slow about this. That's often my way of watching things.—a little bit at a time.  

Cherie had her baby. 

You know what.  I'm liking this show; at least so far. It's fun and cute. Some of it is a bit outrageous, but real life sometimes is a bit nuts.   

15. Continued to watch Offspring pilot

It's refreshing to watch a television show that features actors who are not all super thin. I think Deborah Mailman is actually a bit overweight, but she's beautiful. People like me need to see people like her. 

Oh no.  Now this show is getting really sad.  Cherie's baby stopped breathing. I hope it's okay.

Well, it's alive.  That's good.

16. Started to watch part 7 of the Offspring Pilot.  

I love the part around 7:00.   I saw bits of it in the trailer the other day. It's where Nina tries to ask her crush out on a date, and he's too distracted to give her much attention.  She feels very rejected. I can totally relate to the emotions in that scene; and I'm sure most other people can as well. It's that emotional slap, and you sit there trying to hold yourself together.

Oh no. I can TOTALLY relate to the bit starting at 7:35.   I can relate so well, I'm having a little tear.   Nina is doing exactly what I do.  When I feel rejected or embarrassed, I blow things out of proportion.   I imagine people hate me. Then I dredge up all these other mistakes that happened in my life....and all these other rejections.  

I can't quite relate to Nina's hyperventilating.    

17. Watched part 8 of the Offspring pilot.   

18. Started watching part 9 of the Offspring pilot.  

It's showing the very dark side of stalking. 

Well, I'm done watching that.  I really like it.  I'm going to try to watch some of the episodes on another day.  

19. Liked looking at this photo of Kevin Rudd and Hilary Clinton. They look genuinely happy...like they were laughing about something.   I like photos like that. 

Oh.  And here's another great photo of them actually laughing together.  

20. Sent my sister a link to the Offspring pilot.  I don't know if she'll watch it, or not.   But I think it's the type of thing she'd love.  

21. Looked at the cast of Offspring on IMDb.  At least three of the main actors were on Underbelly.   What's the deal with that?  

22. Confused...very confused.   A guy named John Waters plays the father in Offspring.   I heard of John Waters before—the filmmaker.   He made a movie we used to like; Pecker.    Okay, but I figured this was another John Waters.  Sometimes people have the same name.  

I go to his IMDb profile, and I see a guy who looks like the filmmaker.  He doesn't look like the character in Offspring, and I don't think the filmmaker John Waters is Australian.    I'm guessing maybe IMDb put up the wrong photo?  

Okay.  Yeah.   I did some investigating.    It looks like IMDb made a bit of a mistake. John Waters the filmmaker is American, and he looks very much like the guy on the Australian John Water's IMDb profile. 

Ah...someone on IMDb comments noticed the same thing.   

23. Found a fourth Offspring actor who has been on Underbelly.  

24. Consulted Lord Wiki about Offspring.  I didn't realize this before.  Asher Keddie (who plays Nina) won the Logie for most popular actress and most outstanding actress.  She is well-loved.   I think I love her too.   She is quite adorable.  

The show was originally supposed to be a television movie, but then they decided to turn it into a series.  Cool.

25. Decided to try and find out whether my Harry Potter characters will be able to stay in Australia.  I started worrying about that the other day.   I have them on a 12 month tourist visa.   That will run out in July.  The story ends in May.  I could leave it open-ended.   That's exactly what I'd do if I was normal.

Okay.   It looks like they can extend their visa.  But they can't live as tourists for their whole lives. 

Can they apply for permanent residency? 

The daddy Muggle is an Australian citizen, or at least he was.   He left for London in 1968.  Would he still have Australian citizenship?  I'm looking at the returning resident page.  

Oh!  I'm so happy!  I think the Muggle family qualifies.   It says here that if you have spent nine out of your first eighteen years in Australia, you can come back.  And you can bring your family back over.  It makes me a bit nervous for my friend's kids.   Some of them didn't live in Australia for nine years.   If they ever decide, as adults, to leave America and come back to live in Australia...will they be able to?   I'm not sure of my friend's plans though.  Maybe they'll all return to Australia at some point.

Anyway, my Muggle father spent all of his first 18 years in Australia.  

I'm so happy for them.  If I can't move to Australia myself; at least I can move my imaginary friends there.