Thursday, July 14, 2011

Denial, Delusions, Jack, and Co-Stars

1. Had this Australia-related dream....My mom gives my sisters and me each a Mad Libs book.  We look at them.  I see mine already has writing in it.   It looks like a child has filled some of it out. I mention this, and my mom acts annoyed; not at the book being used, but for me saying anything. It's as if she thinks I'm making it up.  She insists the books are new, and that is that.  I'm not really bothered by the book being used; more bemused.  I drop the subject and look at the book. Then I realize it has an Australian theme to it.  I'm touched that my mom bought me something Australian, and I feel bad that I didn't notice it immediately.

I think this dream has a ton of meaning. It greatly represents my relationship with both my parents.  I feel they often don't believe me; that they don't take my perceptions, memories, and feelings seriously.  I feel they want to think they always do things perfectly; and if I present evidence that says otherwise, they'll try to deny it.

As for the Mad Libs being Australian, I think that represents how I let negative memories of my parents overshadow positive memories.  I become too busy thinking about times they weren't there for me; and I neglect the memories of when they were around to help and support me.   I'm so busy noticing the flaw in The Mad Libs that I fail to notice that my mom has gone out of her way to get me such a thoughtful gift.  At the same time, she's so defensive about me pointing out the flaws that she won't take the time to address the issue.  She refuses to believe that there could be anything wrong. 

2. Dreamed another Australia-related dream.  My sister and I are outside sitting somewhere looking out at the beauty all around us.  The whole family has been in Australia for about a month.  We're leaving soon, and I'm getting depressed about that.  I'm close to crying. I tell my sister that I can't really remember our life before Australia.  It's like the good memories began here.  My sister acts empathetic and seems to be feeling the same things.

My relationship to my sister in this dream was different than it is in real life. So maybe this is one of those I-wish-it-was-like-this dreams.   In real life, I often feel my sister doesn't get it.   OR when I tell her my problems I get the sense that instead of feeling sympathetic, she feels there's something seriously wrong with me.  It could be my imagination. I don't know.  

3. Dreamed about blogging.  My local friend starts a blog and sends me an email with the link.   She sheepishly asks me to go to it; and to visit again and again and again.   I'm sort of annoyed since she hasn't been to my blog for years.  I'm tempted to write something like "Yeah.  I know how it feels to want people to visit your blog.  I was sad that you never visited mine".  

4. Saw the reflection of the window through my computer.  The blinds are open and I'm seeing trees and the ocean behind me.  It's beautiful, but an illusion. There's no ocean behind me—just the street and houses.

What I'm seeing is the sky. It looks like the ocean.  

It's kind of cool, but it's making me wish I was I REALLY was near the sea.

5. Yelled for Jack and Tim to come over so they could see the ocean too. They tried, but couldn't really see it.  Oh well.  The ocean can be my own little personal delusion.

6. Read article that says Kevin Rudd showed support of Jews and Israel by indulging in chocolate at Max Brenner.  It's the same store where anti-Israel people held a protest a week or so ago.   Rudd says, I went there deliberately to make a point and that is I don't think in 21st century Australia there is a place for the attempted boycott of a Jewish business.

Boycott's are fine. We have a world full of different opinions. But I do like that other people are boycotting the boycott and showing support of the Max Brenner shop.  

I like that in Australia, Jews are probably now going to be associated with chocolate. That's pretty damn awesome. 

When you think of me, please think of chocolate with salty caramel. Spicy hot chocolate (the kind with chili pepper) is okay too.   

7. Read complicated article about media issues in Australia.  Now that we know Murdoch's people were doing shitty stuff in the UK; should we worry the same stuff is happening in Australia?

I almost wrote, should we worry the same stuff is happening here?  With the pretend ocean outside my window, I'm feeling like I'm on a beach in Queensland.


Bob Brown wants to do an investigation of Australian media.  Julia Gillard says she's open to the idea.

John Hartigan the chief executive and chairman of News Limited is against any probing. He says, I know the newsrooms. I know how cultures develop and I'm hugely confident that there's no improper or unethical behaviour in our newsrooms.   

It sounds like Cam and Mitch when they insisted their daughter would never bite another child at the playground.

And it sounds like my mom (the dream version) refusing to believe there could be anything wrong with the Mad Libs.  

Hartigan also tries to differentiate the British news from the Australian ones.  They're very sensational, they deal with people's lives, private lives and some of the behaviours that have come out are obviously being driven by the need to get in front of each other. I would argue very strenuously that we don't have those behaviours in Australia.  

Now I can't speak for the behaviors of the Australia media, but I can speak of the content.  At times it is very sensational and exploitive.   I saw something this morning on Facebook from an Australian news source. I won't say what it was because then I'll be adding to the sensationalism.  But to me, it seemed very unnecessary.

It's such a hard balance.  I'm struggling here to get my feelings out of my head and onto the screen.   There's some stuff that the public NEEDS to know, and if someone gets the information via hacking or spies, they're being unlawful but kind of heroic.  There's other stuff that we don't need to know, but it's interesting; and if the information is obtained ethically....fine.    Then there's stuff that really should be kept private.

I'm trying to think of how to illustrate this.

Okay.   Here we go.  We have a right to know that Julia Gillard is against gay marriage.  She's the Prime Minister.  We have the right to know her ethical and political beliefs.  (I just typed she's our Prime Minister, and had to change that.  I am REALLY delusional today) 

We don't need to know that Julia Gillard vomited after eating a meal that her partner cooked for her; nor do we need to see a photograph of the vomit.  That's complete sensationalism. Come look at our newspaper. We have photographs of Prime Minister vomit!

Disclaimer: As far as I know, Julia Gillard has not obtained food poisoning from her partner's cooking.  I'm making all of this up to illustrate my point.

8. Asked by Jack, who's my favorite Australian Prime Minister.  We were sitting on the couch and asking each other various questions like that. It was thoughtful of him to ask me because he tends to want to stick to his favorite topics (video games and technology companies).  

I felt lost though; and stupid.  I don't know if I'm particularly fond of any Australian Prime Minister.  And despite spending many hours writing about each of them, I remember very little.

The first person I mentioned was Francis Forde, but not by name.  I just said, that Prime Minister that was there for only about a week. I don't really remember anything wonderful about Francis Forde. I just think it's amusing that he was Prime Minister for such a short time.

I then named Malcolm Fraser.   I think I like him, but I can't remember if I liked him as Prime Minister. I like what he's become in the last several years.   I like that he seems to be now leaning more to the left.

I also mentioned Bob Hawke. I might have liked him.  Maybe?   If I did like him, I can't remember why.

I probably need to do a review of Australian Prime Ministers.  Well, I guess I shall when I come across them on the Australian Dictionary of Biography Site.    

Jack asked about Kevin Rudd.  Yes, I like Kevin Rudd.   And Jack also reminded me that we got to see him LIVE in Canberra.  That was very exciting for both of us.  We didn't get to talk to Rudd.   We didn't even see his face.  But it was thrilling just to be in the same room as him.

Then I felt conflicted because Kevin Rudd showed no more support for gay marriage than Julia Gillard.  Why do I tolerate him, but not her?   Then I remembered that it's because he's a religious Christian.  Although I believe people can be Christian and accept gay marriage; I'm somewhat tolerant of the fact that it's hard for many Christians to accept a progressive idea like that.

When Julia Gillard became Prime Minister, I think there was hope that with an atheist in the throne, religion would have less influence over politics and legislation.  It seemed exciting. Australia was open to new possibilities.  But it turned out to be a big disappointment.   

9. Watched another Natalie Tran video.  Thanks to Tim.   It's about math.   She refers to it as maths.  That confused Tim.  I had to explain that Australians call it maths instead of math.

Other differences:   We go to the hospital.  Australians go to hospital.   When we're there, we get surgery in the operating room.  Australians get surgery in the theatre.  

Just for the record, Tim didn't show me the video because he was confused about math vs. maths.  He just thought it was entertaining, and he wanted to share it with me.  The math vs. maths lesson was a bonus I provided for him.

10. Disappointed because I got an email from Zazzle.  They can't make my t-shirt because it has copyrighted images.  It was the shirt I made with Australian book covers.

I can understand if I was planning to sell the shirt, but I was just planning to wear it.   I would think that's a good thing for the people who owned the copyright.   I was pretty much advertising their books.

Oh well.

11. Thought about something Tim said this morning about Natalie Tran.   He didn't realize all the people in the video were one person.  We joked a bit about the racist idea that all Asians look alike.  

But is it very racist?   For the most part all Asians have the same color hair and same color eyes.   With that, faces kind of blur together unless one is very familiar to you. I could pick Tim out of a crowd of Asians.  I'm not sure I could pick an Asian, I just met, out of a crowd of Asians.

I think the same type of they-all-look-alike confusion would occur if there was a large group of people with platinum blond hair and blue eyes. 

12. Impressed with Jack.   We were looking at the screensaver on the computer, and there was a picture of Kath and  Kim.   Jack asked me who they were and I answered.   He was surprised when I said I didn't like the show and said, I thought they were the ones with the baby Jesus joke.  I told him I did like that bit.     

I thought it was neat that he remembered me telling him that the joke came from that show. Then he asked me about Mother and Son.  We didn't see a picture on the screensaver.  I think he just thought of it because it's an Australian TV show.

And he recognized a photo of Heath Ledger.

I like when Jack knows Australian stuff.  

13. Went to the ABC website to get new feeds for iGoogle.  I had them, but then something went wrong.  ABC said they moved and I needed to go get the feed again.  So, I'm doing that now.

I like the ABC news widget because you can click on the article and get a short summary before actually going to the article. Well, and then you can decide if you care enough to read the whole article.   

14. Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going to read the continuation of This Is Not A Party.  The problem is I have no idea where I left off.  

I remember reading the Headmaster's post which is #11; so I left off somewhere after that. Maybe I'll just start at #12.   It won't kill me to accidentally reread something.  

15. Realized that I was much farther ahead than I imagined.   I remember reading Améa's post, and that's #15.

16. Found myself interested in the story when I got to post #22.   All this crazy partying thing is really not my thing, whether in real life or a story.  But now Tamarah's here and there's some Tamarah/Améa action.  It's starting to look intriguing.  

Tamarah, apparently, is cousins with the headmaster.  I don't think I knew that.  She jokingly awards the Spencer house a thousand points for having a party and doing it without permission.  Then, since she doesn't have the official power to award points, she asks her cousin to do it for her.  He has the power.  He's headmaster.

17. Shocked by Tamarah's meanness.  I can't say I understood all that I just read. It was all magical and involved bricks, projected images on the roof, and water soaking Améa. 

It was pretty awful.  Tamarah used her powers to humiliate Améa.  That's cruel.  I hope someone defends Améa.

18. Went back to read Améa's post.  Did she at all deserve Tamarah's attack?

Well, she did scold the partying crowd, and threatened to use force to get them to stop. This is why Tamarah humiliated her and fought back.  Was her retaliation fair?  Deserved? 

Well, I think some retaliation was deserved maybe. But I think Tamarah went too far. It would have probably been enough to just roll her eyes.

19. Glad to see that Riley Lightfoot feels bad and conflicted about what he's witnessing in the party room.  Riley couldn't help it; he smirked. It was a brilliant invention, after all. Still, he couldn't ignore the guilt that was gnawing on his insides. What was wrong with him? He was laughing at a girl who was probably hurt. Unless someone had hurt him badly, Riley usually wished no one harm.

This story is exceeding my low expectations.  I expected the story thread to be a bit trivial and superficial—something that's more fun for the writers than the readers.   Who am I to talk?   I'm sure there's a lot of stuff on my blog that's more fun for me to write than it is for anyone to read.

Anyway, it seems this thread is going to be much more interesting than I imagined.   It seems to be dealing with the whole bullying issue; and so far, I think they're doing a fantastic job.

We all know it's wrong for the mean kids to bully the sweet innocent person who did nothing wrong—who's only crime is being homosexual or not being able to afford decent shoes. But what about when the popular house captain bullies the annoying, seemingly evil girl that no one likes?  Is it okay then?

20. Felt a little choked up when Thomas showed a lot of concern for Améa, and spoke out against what happened to her.  From what I remember, he's Améa's friend, so it makes sense that he'd help her.   But he's also Tamarah's brother.  

21. Decided to read the biography of Darren Donavan.  He's one of the characters at the party. 

Darren is a year five Muggleborn Flinders student.

He's scrawny and has sun-sensitive skin.

22. Learned that Darren is introverted but friendly.  I think Tim's that way.  He's very outgoing— not at all shy.  But I think he often prefers to be alone.   I mean he likes parties, and he likes being with people.  But I think he needs a certain amount of space and alone time.

23. Learned that Darren likes to sing and play the flute.

24.  Learned that Darren is trying to learn sign language so he can better communicate with Reade.

I wonder how different Australian sign language is to American sign language.   I know the letters are different.   I think Americans use one hand while Australians use two hands.  But what about words?

25. Watched part of a video about Auslan. 

The video say Australian sign language is very different from American sign language.

26. Found this Auslan visual dictionary.  I'm looking for words I know in American sign language (dog, ball, play, etc).   So far, they are very different.  

27. Found that candy is the same in American and Australian sign language. 

28. Looked up more signs, and Jack joined me. We used to do sign language with him when he was a toddler.

29. Learned that Darren is a fan of TV and movies. He loves science fiction.  He has that in common with Reade.

Darren wants to find ways to make Muggle electronics work better in the wizarding world. For some reason, large amounts of magic causes problems...interference. 

I didn't really remember that from JK Rowling's books, but it was mentioned in the Magic is Might experience.  

I'm sure it's in the books. I just don't remember where, or why, it was mentioned. 

30. Learned that Darren is gay, but in the closet for now.

31. Liked this bit from Darren's biography.  His accent is now a hybrid of Irish and General Australian. It amuses him that to Australians his accent sounds completely Irish, whereas his Irish cousins rave that it's been totally converted by the Aussies.

It's funny that people can view us in such different ways, depending on their perspectives.   You're not quite this and you're not quite that.

I very much feel that way when it comes to parenting and educational philosophies.  When we're around mainstream people (which is most of the time) I feel so incredibly radical.  Our child doesn't go to school.  We let him learn on his own, and he usually learns whatever he wants to learn. Jack has much more freedom than the average child.

But when I look at other unschooling families,—usually on websites—I feel like I'm this very strict and stifling parent.  We insist that Jack do math even when he doesn't want to do it; and we insist that he be polite when politeness is deserved (and it usually is deserved). 

 32. Reread my kind of bitchy comment on an unschooling blog post about restricting the unschooling label to only strict followers of the philosophy.  I said, some of us aren't lucky enough to fit into other people's preconceived label.

Compared to other homeschoolers, we're unschoolers. My son does chooses what he wants to learn 99.99% of the time. Regular homeschoolers would be horrified and shocked by the amount of freedom he has. They'd definitely see as unschoolers Rigid unschoolers would want to kick us out of the category because a few times a week, I have my child do about 5-10 minutes of math online.

So that's why I ended up calling my blog "Sort of Unschoolers But Not Really".

We don't religiously follow any type of learning/parenting philosophy. And no, I'm not ashamed of that. I like being a free-thinker rather than a strict follower. 

I can't say I feel the blogger didn't deserve that response.  But I just read her response to my comment for the first time, and it was pretty nice and mature.  It sounds like you're doing a wonderful thing for your children, whether it's easily labeled or not! My intent wasn't to criticize anyone's choices at all, and I'm sorry if it came across as if I was. 

33. Embarrassed that I'm going off on this tangent based simply on the fact that Darren has a hybrid Australian-Irish accent.  But the unschooling thing has been on my mind lately, and the caught-between-two-worlds thing struck a chord.  

There's people in the mainstream; and there's people on the fringe. We're like on the fringe of the fringe. 

34. Saw that my Australian of the day is Clifford Werlin Andersen.  He was an accountant.  I don't think that's going to be too exciting to me.  Sorry.

35. Looked at the reflection of the window again.  I can still see the ocean.  It's beautiful! It looks like the cover of a Patricia Shaw novel.

36. Learned that Clifford was born in Adelaide in 1906.

Hi parents were Danish and had a lot of children.

Clifford did the accounting thing.  He also did  tennis, classical music, carpentry, and debating. I wonder if he ever debated about accounting. Probably. 

37. Started to watch Offspring even though I really don't care whether Nina chooses Patrick of Chris.  I hate storylines like that.  

38. Went to Google Maps so I can maybe plan more of my fantasy trip to Australia. Last night I was fretting about when we'd go. I'd rather go in the spring than summer, but if we start in New South Wales in March by the time we get to Victoria and the next state, it will be too cold. I thought of starting in December, but the summer can be so hot.

Then I remembered this is a fantasy trip.  The weather's going to be perfect. There will be no crazy heat wave days.

Okay.  Wait.   I'll allow two heat wave days. I want there to be some realism in my story. But we'll have really good air-conditioning and a pool.  

39.  Decided that instead of making rules such as one month in each state and territory (which would actually equal seven months instead of six), I'm going to pick the towns I want to visit. We'll spend two nights in each town, and five nights in the major cities.   

So the itinerary I planned yesterday would take up around 21 days. 

40. Came up with my next planning adventure.  The planning IS the adventure, really.   

We're going to start in Coffs Harbour, because that's where I left off yesterday.

Then we'll go to...


We'll move onto Victoria and go to

Lakes Entrance
Wilson's Promotory
Port Fairy

And then back to Melbourne where we'll fly somewhere—probably Tasmania.  

That's 25 nights.  Add the 21 nights from yesterday and we have a total of 46 nights so far.  

41. Went back to watching Offspring.

42. Felt sad for Patrick. 

43. Decided something.   My trip to Australia is imaginary.   Right.   So if it's imaginary, I can go to places that really don't exist. 

We're going to visit Tallygarunga.   I'm going to hang out with Jezabel because I want to learn more about her dream powers.  I think I'll also try to befriend Améa.   I really feel for that girl. Underneath her fierceness I think she's decent. 

Maybe we'll go to Adrian and Meri's vow renewal ceremony.  Or did they get divorced?  I can't remember.  I think maybe they did. So it will have to be a second-wedding rather than a vow-renewal thing.

Jack and I will have fun trying to plan a prank to impress the Spencer students.


When we're in Melbourne I'm going to hang out with the Proudman family. I'll become best friends with Cherie.

When we're in the Woodend area, I'm going to search and search until I find missing school girls from 1900.  I'll then say, So where the bloody hell were you?

I'm going to attend gay weddings; and I'm going to hang out with refugees in a country where detention centers no longer exist. 

43. Felt very glad that I'm not Nina Proudman.  I would totally lose it if I had to go through what she's going through in this episode.  No, it's not disaster, death, torture, or imprisonment.  But I still wouldn't be able to stomach it. 

44. Decided I'd rather be the Patrick or Chris in this situation. I would rather be chosen or not chosen; then be the one who has to choose.  

45. Thought about Offspring, and how it makes me feel normal.   It's not just that I'm neurotic like Nina.  But my family is like the Proudman family.   I think a lot of kids grow up and go their separate ways.  If their life was a TV show, their parents and siblings would appear as occasional guest stars.  They have their own lives, and every so often their family intrudes upon it. Sometimes when I write on and on about my family problems, I feel so immature.  I'm a grown woman. Why does my sisters and my parents have such an effect on me?   Why do they matter so much? the Proudman's, we all live in the same area.   We see each other on a very regular basis.   As much as they drive me nuts, the members of my family—my sisters, my parents, my brother-in-laws, my nieces, my nephews, along with Tim and Jack; they're the most important people in my life.  They're my main circle. If my life was a TV show, they'd be the stars.