Monday, September 19, 2011

Self-Indulgence, Mothers, Family Trees, and Famine Food

1. Felt angry and sad when reading The Distant Hours.

One of the themes of the book is people who selfishly hinder the dreams of others.

I hope I never do that to anyone—especially Jack.  

Some relationships add feathers to our wings.  Other relationships add bars to our cages.

Is that a corny metaphor?


2. Had a chance to put my self-righteous stances into practice.

Earlier today, I told Jack I really love how we read our books at bedtime together.  He reads his book.  I read mine.  I love that.

I said I hoped we would do it every night—meaning bedtime should be at a reasonable time so we're not too tired to read.

Well, Jack's been really into playing with Legos tonight.   He wanted to start working on a Harry Potter set.  I warned him there wasn't much time.

Then I thought about how it feels to be really into a project—the dread of having to quit because someone else says you have to.

I went up to Jack and asked him if he would like to skip reading so he can have more Lego time.

He said yes and acted very grateful.

I'm going to read with Mushu instead.  He won't read with me, but he'll sit by me and purr.

3. Went to bed and had some Australian and Blogging related dreams.

In one of them, I find a website that has information about Australians who have Cystic Fibrosis.  One of them is going to be an actress in an upcoming movie. I watch a short documentary about it, and think of linking to it on my blog.   

In the other, Cherie from Waste Not Do Want has a recipe for a tuna fish salad.  It has no tuna fish and she's substituted the mayonnaise with cream cheese.

It might be significant that I hate tuna fish sandwiches, and I have a strong aversion to mayonnaise.   I'm not sure of the meaning behind the dream though.   

4. Prompted by something on Statcounter to find a maybe-clue in my Jessica and Gavin mystery.  On the Australian mining website, there's an interview by a person named named Jessica Burke.   She's interviewing the CEO from a company called Kingsgate Consolidated. His name is Gavin Thomas.

This could be a dead end on a wild goose chase, but I'm thinking I should at least take a look.

I'll do it later.  Maybe.

5. Learned from Jack that Guy Peace won an Emmy.

I didn't know he was nominated.

It turns out he won best supporting actor for a miniseries called Mildred Pierce.  It's with Kate Winslet.

6. Consulted Lord Wiki about the miniseries because I thought Kate Winslet was kind of young to be having a daughter so old.

It turns out Kate Winslet is only twelve years older than the actress who played her daughter (Evan Rachel Wood).   

7. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read the continuation of I Don't Mean To Stare, We don't Have To Breed.

8. Read my first post about that story thread to trigger my memory. That's actually helpful. I think I'll start doing that more often.

The last time I read the thread it was only one post long.   Now two more posts have been added.

So...Frankie is this arrogant actor from a dynasty family.  He's dating a girl named Gemini Chevalier.  Her post is the second one in the thread.

9. Learned Gemini is from California. She feels somewhat out of place in the Australian-accent dominated Tallygarunga.

10. Finished reading the thread.

Frankie is wanting to have sex, and is hoping Gemini will give into him. He's not too patient about the whole thing.

11. Skimmed the biography of Gemini Chevalier, a bit.

Like Maya Arcemene, she's part Veela.   Maya's a 1/2 Veela and Gemini is 1/4.

Also like Maya, she has pyrokinetic powers.  Gemini's biography says it's due to her Veela heritage.   I was wondering if Maya's pyrokinetic powers were Veela-related, but wasn't sure.

Now I know.

12. Consulted Lord Wiki's cousin about Veelas.  I thought I consulted her before.  But I must have not read carefully enough.  She does say that Veelas can throw fire balls. I missed that the last time.  

13. Started to read the biography.  

14. Learned that Gemini's Patronus is a gryphon.  I think that's magical, right?    That's another thing she has in common with Maya.   Maya has a magical creature for her Patronus—a dragon.

I'm not sure if Magical is the best term for these animals.  They're part of the magical world, but do they really possess magical powers?  Then we also can't really call them mythical, because in the Harry Potter universe they're real.

15. Consulted Lord Wiki about gryphons. He says they have the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle.

16. Learned from Lord Wiki that JK Rowling didn't invent the Hippogriff.   It was an already established legendary creature—supposedly the offspring of a horse and gryphon.  

17. Liked this about Gemini. Gerry has no problem mixing her styles and wearing Converse or army boots with a formal dress or a tiara with a singlet and ripped jeans.

I think that's really brave and creative.  I try to be daring sometimes with clothes.   It's hard for me to know whether I look innovative or completely foolish.  I don't think we can know those things until we look at the photo albums five years later.  Then it's either, Well, that looked pretty cool; or it's What the hell was I thinking?

18. Learned that Gemini sometimes sews her own clothes. I definitely admire that.

19. Learned that Gemini plays the guitar. I admire that too.

20. Started to read Gemini's history.

21. Realized Gemini's nickname is Gerry. It's been written that way all along, but I didn't notice until I started reading the history.

Personally I prefer Gemini over Gerry, but that's just me.

22. Learned that Gemini...Gerry....(whatever) was pretty much raised by a single mother. There was a father in the picture; but he was hardly in the picture.  He has a thing for traveling, because he's a gypsy.  

23. Learned that when Gemini was thirteen, she found out she had a half-sister. She was eager to meet the sister, but the sister didn't want to know her.  The rejection was very rough on Gemini, and it led to her and her mom leaving California for Australia.  

24. Saw that Gemini's face claim is Hanna Beth Merjos.   She's a model. Here's a website about her.  

25. Learned that my Australian of the day is Henry Angel

He was a convict!

I haven't had many of those.

26. Learned that Henry was born in England in 1791.

He was sentenced to Australia when he was twenty-six.  For what? I don't know.

He went on a ship called Neptune, and arrived in Sydney in May 1818.

Six years later he was part of an expedition.  He went with eight other men, and they discovered the River Murray.

I was wondering why they called it that instead of the Murray River.

Lord Wiki says in South Australia the two words are reversed. It's called River Murray.

That's interesting.

27. Read more from Lord Wiki.   He talks about the expedition too.   It was led by two explorers—Hamilton Hume and William Hovel.  If I'm understanding things right, they found the river near Albany.

Back then though it was neither the Murray River or the River Murray.  It was probably just called, Hey, look there's a river over there!

28. Learned from this website that the Aboriginal name for the river was Millewa.

29. Learned, from Lord Wiki, that when Hume, Hovel, and their crew found the river, Hume named the river Hume. He didn't name it after himself.  He named it in honor of his father.

Six years later, Charles Sturt (the name sake of Sturt house in Tallygarunga) rediscovered the river.  He didn't realize it was already discovered and named, so he gave it the name Murray River.

30. Learned that Henry Angel got a ticket of leave after that adventure.  Then he married the daughter of Mary Wade. Wow!  I think she's the one who's an ancestor of Kevin Rudd.

Yep. Lord Wiki confirms that.

So Henry Angel is related to Kevin Rudd.   I'm not sure how direct the relation is.

31. Wondered about Henry's wife. Her name was Mary Ledwidge.  Yet her father's last name was Brooker and her mother's last name was Wade. Why wouldn't she have her father's last name?

32. Tried to find answers on the Mary Wade Family tree site.   

It's not easy.

33. Read the Australian Dictionary of Biography more closely.   I missed something important.   Mary Ledwidge was a widow.  That's why she had that last name. Originally her last name was Brooker.

I feel much better now.

34. Explored the family tree more.  I'm trying to see if Henry and Mary produced Kevin Rudd's direct ancestors.

They had two kids, but one of them died at the age of two.

The other married a Charles Malcolm Inglis.

35. Struggled more with the family tree.  It's hard because I can't see all of it. I don't know if there's some kind of glitch, it doesn't work with my browser, or you have to be a member to see the whole thing.

Or I might simply be doing something wrong.

36. Saw that Mary Wade's daughter (the one that married Henry Angel) was married TWICE before she married Henry.

When she was sixteen, she married John Hart.  He died two years after they married.

Then she married Christopher Ledwidge. He died about a year after they married.

I'm trying not to be suspicious here. Maybe it wasn't unusual to have your spouse die young in those days.

37. Decided to give up on the family tree.

38. Went back to reading the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

They say that Mary Angel gave birth to sixteen of Henry's children.  She also had two children from her first marriage.

When she died in 1890, she left ninety grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren.  By now, there must be tons of descendants. And that's only one line of the Mary Wade family tree.

I think there're probably a lot of Australians who are related to Kevin Rudd.

39. Decided to take my mind off the family tree by reading the Gavin and Jessica mining interview.  

40. Found the website for Kingsgate Consolidated Limited.  

They do gold mining.

Here's their profile of Gavin Thomas.  He's the CEO. One of his exciting accomplishments was discovering a gold deposit in Papua New Guinea.

41. Got mail from Australia!!!!!

I'm so excited!

It's a CD from Jayne from Gleeful.  It's full of Australian music. VERY COOL.

And the envelope has koala stamps!   

41. Heard bits and pieces of the songs as I labeled them on iTunes.  So far I'm loving what I hear which is unusual for me.  I rarely like songs immediately.

Maybe Jayne is one of my music soulmates.

42. Went back to Gavin and Jessica.

I was wondering about Jessica? Who is she?

I'm thinking she works for the Australian  Mining website?  

43. Watched a little bit of the video of the interview. For the most part I'm going to read the transcript though.

But anyway....

Gavin Thomas reminds me a bit of that actor. What's his name?   He's the one in Jurassic Park.

44. Remembered the actor. Richard Attenborough.

45. Started to read the interview.

Gavin is a geologist and his mother was a geologist.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's it was hard to find a mining job.  He ended up being a field assistant in Papua New Guinea.  He loved it there and stayed for a long time.

46. Read that Gavin thinks that miners receive more respect these days than they did in the past.

I don't know enough to argue with him.  I'll take his word for it.

47. Lost my respect for Gavin when I read that he said this.

Every person who thinks their mother isn’t s hero, isn’t a human being as far as I’m concerned.

Narrow-minded attitudes like that make my blood boil.

What about people who grew up with abusive mothers?  Why should they see their mother as heroes?

There's probably a ton of people out there with bad mothers, but the one that comes to my mind is a fictional one.  Rose Pickle.  Her mother was awful—drunk all the time and sleeping around. Should she really see her mother as a hero?

I don't know. I guess it's how you define hero. Maybe for Gavin Thomas all you need to do is go through childbirth (or sign adoption papers) and you're a hero.  

48. Started to listen to the Jayne CD.

I'm going to listen to more as I look at plants later.

I like listening to music while I look at photos.  

49.  Watched a video of an Australian guy doing back flips all over Europe.   It's pretty amazing.

His name is Tim. He's  17.  His thing is tricking.  What is that?  Magic?

50. Started to watch one of his tricking videos.  Maybe that will enlighten me.

It seems to be some kind of gymnastics thing.

I'm impressed.

As a child, I couldn't even manage a cartwheel.

51. Learned from Lord Wiki that tricking is connected to martial arts. 

There's a big Trickster community on YouTube.

I love learning new things like this.

52. Looked at massive DK cinema book with Jack.  We saw a few photos from Australian movies—Mad Max, Crocodile Dundee, The Year of Living Dangerously.  

I was reminded that Peter Weir directed Witness.

It's so weird though.  I had no idea we had that book, and I don't remember where we got it.  Did we buy it?  Get it as a gift?  Inherit it?

53. Started to get more plant education from Arthur Chapman's photos.  

And I'm also listening to Jayne's music.

54. Liked this photo of Button Everlasting Daisies.  

Lord Wiki says the Latin name of this flower changed in 2008.   It used to be called Helichrysum Scorpiodes.   Now it's called Coroindium Scorpiodes.  I wonder if the scorp is related to the scorp in scorpion.  Is scorpion a Latin word?

55. Learned from this etymology dictionary that the word scorpion comes from the Latin word scorpionem.

56. Wondered why Latin words are italicized.  

57. Liked this photo of the Trailing Guinea Flower.

58. Thought these flowers looked like purple poodles.  

59. Thought these Broad-Leaved Drumsticks looked interesting.  

The Australian government has a page on them on their website.  They say the flowers are related to Banksias.   That's one of the May Gibb flowers, I believe.  

60. Reminded by Lord Wiki that May Gibbs had Banksia Men.  They're the villains in the book Snugglepot and Cuddlepie

61. Consulted Lord Wiki about Morinda citrifolia.  

It has a variety of common names including Indian Mulberry, dog dumpling, kumudu, beach mulberry, and cheese fruit.

Arthur Chapman uses the cheese fruit term.

Lord Wiki says the plant is native to South East Asia and Australasia.   Now it's cultivated in many tropical areas.

62. Learned the fruit has a bad smell....I guess like smelly cheese.   And some people call it Vomit Fruit.   Yuck!

It reminds me of the Durian. I've never eaten a Durian, but I've tasted Durian ice-cream. It tasted kind of cheesy.

63. Learned that the Cheese fruit is a famine food.

Lord Wiki explained to me that this is a food people eat during hard times. It's associated with starvation and poverty.  I guess other foods in that category would be potatoes and cabbage.

64. Reminded by Lord Wiki that lobster used to be seen as a poverty food.

I remember learning that in the past and thinking it was quite fascinating.

65. Saw that Lord Wiki doesn't list cabbage and potato as poverty foods. I guess maybe because they're eaten all the time? I think maybe famine foods are ones that people usually avoid eating when there's no famine.

66. Saw a picture of the inside of the Cheese fruit.  

67. Read article about the lobster thing.

It's amazing.

Before the 1880's, it was seen as an almost shameful food. American servants negotiated agreements promising they wouldn't have to eat lobster more than twice a week.

Then it started becoming more popular.  The prices became high around the 1950's because of overfishing.  There were less lobsters and rare things are usually more expensive.

68. Watched the season premiere of season 3 of The Sing Off.   One of the groups has an Australian!   I'm excited about that.  Sadly, he wasn't on the first episode because he had to return to Australia.   One of his family members is ill. 

My heart goes out to that family.

One of the other groups did a song called "Secret" by One Republic.  I had one of those moments of I've heard this song before.  WHERE?

Lord Wiki said it's been played in various TV and movie trailers.

I looked it up in reference to Lost and found this beautiful promo.   I don't think I've seen it before tonight.

Now I'm stuck back into one of my Lost crying moods. You know how some people get drunk and become annoyingly emotional. I don't do alcohol to get that effect. All I need is to watch a Lost video on YouTube.  

69. Thought I'd want to watch another Lost video.

Instead I found myself wanting to hear this song.

Now I'm missing Lost AND Offspring.

The good news is Modern Family is coming back on Wednesday.  I'll have that.

70. Decided I have to watch one Lost video.  

I'm going to forgo the childbirth one this time, and do Ben scene instead.

I think the Emmy's should have awards for best scenes, and this could definitely be a winner.

And here's one of my other favorite scenes...not a Lost one. It's from True Blood.

I'm being very self-indulgent right now.

I better post before I end up with 50 embedded videos.