Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Civil Unions, American Tim Tams, Syrup, and Swansea

1. Ate a Tim Tam.

Tim found them at the grocery store.

2. Continued to read Syrup by Maxx Barry. It's very entertaining.

I read Barry's other book, Jennifer Government. 

I like Syrup much better.

3. Felt sad that I no longer love Powells anymore.

I think it's over between us, probably. Well, it will be over after I use my gift certificate money.   Then I'll likely move onto Amazon and Half Price Books.
4. Ate another Tim Tam.

5. Found an old dream I had about Australia.  This one is from October 13, 2007.

I look into us going into Peace Corps. They have programs in Australia. I am wondering if this is okay.  Australia isn't a poor country. Would it make more sense to go to third world country? But I know they do have some poverty there.  I look at programs, and it seems peace corps has changed.  There are no long term programs. Just short ones. The longest about 2 weeks.

6.  Found another old dream I had about Australia. This one is from October 14, 2007.

I'm at a large table with a lot of people including Tim and my dad.  The guy, next to me, asks about different languages in Australia. I try to say something, but no one listens to me. Tim looks towards my dad for an answer; and all eyes point in that direction. I think the guy who asked the question hears me say "Aboriginal". I sense disagreement from him. My dad scolds Tim for not looking to me for the answer—kind of like "she's the expert. How can you forget that?"

I say there's no official second language. But if someone wanted to learn a new language, they might want to learn one of the Aboriginal languages.

7.  Watched the trailer for The Stepford Wives.

I think it's a clever story.

8. Liked these lines from Syrup.  

I joined her and we munch together for a few moments in what I would like to call a companionable silence, but is in fact, more of a wary silence.

Personally, I think companionable silence is overrated.  People say it means you're very comfortable with each other.  That can be true in some cases. But I think it usually just means you're bored with each other.

9. Went back to bed and had some dreams.

In one, Jack finds Andrew by searching for his blog.  Then they talk to each other.  At one point, maybe they talk about timers.   

In another, I'm in Tallygarunga.  I see there's a character that is due to post soon, but hasn't.  I decide I should write the post.  I do that. I write it.  I post it. I realize I forgot to proofread but figure I can proofread it now that it's posted.

Later I'm mortified because I realize I've done something wrong. Characters have role-players, and those role-players are the ones who are supposed to write the posts.  People don't randomly write posts for characters that aren't their own.  I'm embarrassed that people are going to see my mistake.

10. Read article that says people now can have same sex civil unions in Queensland.

The bill about it was passed in Parliament.

I don't know if I knew that gay civil unions weren't legal in Queensland.

I think I've looked into that stuff before, though.

I probably knew and then forgot.  

11. Confused.

I consulted Lord Wiki.  He says that in 2002, same-sex couples were included in the whole defacto partner thing.

I'm not sure what's the difference between defacto relationships and civil partnerships.

12. Found Lord Wiki's handy map about same sex relationships in Australia.  

Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia have de facto relationships. Although Queensland has now taken a step upwards.

South Australia has a domestic partnership agreement.

New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania have a same sex partnership registry.  

All this stuff confuses me.

13. Tried to get more help from Lord Wiki.

He says De facto is also known as common-law marriage.  Lord Wiki says this is a marriage that does not include a ceremony. And it's not officially recorded by the government.

Lord Wiki says that, in Australia, De facto relationships are treated the same as marriage relationships in terms of taxation, social welfare, and pensions.

I'm guessing then that civil unions are more formalized. Maybe more official and more similar to marriage.

14. Learned from Lord Wiki that some people see civil unions as being the same as marriage.  It just has a different name.  Other people say it's not okay to be the same but have a different name. They want full equality.

I don't know what to think, although I think I have thought of this before.

It seems so picky to want marriage when you can have the same benefits, and it's just about using a different label.  

But then it seems snobby to insist that certain people give a different name to their relationship.  

Maybe the problem is civil unions don't have a good verb yet. Heterosexual people say, We're getting married!  What do gay people say?  We're getting civil unionized? That doesn't sound very romantic.

How are proposals done?  Will you be my partner in a civil union?

It seems that if you're going to go as far as giving people civil unions; if it really is SO similar to marriage, why not take that extra step?  Why not just call it marriage?

On the other hand, if we're fighting against people who are very anti-homosexuality—ones think homosexual relationships are wrong in general. If we've gotten as far as civil unions, shouldn't we sigh in relief and pat ourselves on the back?

Being forced to call your relationship a different name than marriage IS discrimination.  But it's a minor discrimination compared to other discrimination that's happening around the world.  And I include discrimination that's happening to people who are homosexual.

Here's another Lord Wiki map.  This one shows that there are still countries in the world where homosexuality is ILLEGAL.   And there's about seven or eight countries in which being gay will get you the death penalty.  I'm not sure how often that law is enforced, but still. It's sad and scary.

I guess what I'm saying is we should put a little bit of energy into getting from civil unions to marriage.  But more of our energy should go to helping people who are imprisoned, murdered, bullied, denied ANY partnerships, denied adoption rights, etc.  

15. Wondered if I was less against Julia Gillard than I imagined. I know she's against gay marriage.  But I wondered, is she against civil unions?

I consulted Lord Wiki.   He says she says that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that marriage has a special status.

Well, by saying it's SPECIAL, I think she's saying it is different than a civil union. Then it's not just a name thing.  It's a more significant discrimination. It's not really fair to say one type of relationship is more special than another type.

So no, I don't think I'm on the same page as Gillard.

16. Read the article that Lord Wiki got his Gillard gay-marriage info from. I wanted to see her quote for myself.  

Maybe I'd feel differently if she said something in support of formal gay unions.  And I don't know.   Maybe she has. I haven't seen it, though.  I think I've only seen her say she's against gay marriage.  Does she support civil unions?  Is she for them?  Against them?  

If she's not vocally against civil unions, it is because she's totally okay with them? Or is she quietly against them but knows that her reputation will be further damaged if she admits to being against them?

17. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called The Very Thought Of You.   It stars Eudoxia Karras and her man, Jason Miller.

The story takes place on Lygon street in Melbourne. I think that's the one known for being Italian?

18. Checked with Lord Wiki.

He confirms that.

19. Started to read.

It's the evening of November 19.

Eudoxia is going on a date with Jason. It seems he asked her out with a letter.

She decides to wear purple on the date.

Jason picks her up in his car.  He's dressed up in a nice suit and black tie.

Eudoxia is intrigued by this formal date but also a little worried.  What if he's taking her out to break up with her?  Or what if he's sick?  

Would someone do that? Get all dressed up to deliver bad news?

20. Saw that Jason has taken Eudoxia to a nice Italian restaurant on Lygon street.

He insists that she choose the meal for both of them. This isn't easy for Eudoxia. She usually never likes what she orders.  She usually ends up liking what the other person gets.

Why is Jason making her do that then?   Does he not know her bad luck in choosing food. Or does he think she just needs to have more faith in her choices?

21. Saw that Jason suggested the two of them going on a holiday. One of the options he mentions is Greece. Eudoxia is very excited about that.  She misses her home.  She wants her family to meet Jason.

Will they like him?  Or are they going to want her to be with Thomas?

I wonder what happened to Thomas. I haven't read a Eudoxia story in awhile, so I'm not sure what has been happening there.

22. Wanted to thank those who have answered the poll on the right. This will help me to decide what I want to blog about in the future and what I will do in my own private (non-blogging) time.  I figure if no one wants to read certain things, I might as well leave it out.  

I forgot to add my dreams to the poll, and now it's too late to make changes.  So...oh well. We're stuck with that.   I'm not complaining because I like including my dreams in the blog. I'd hate to feel pressured to stop with that.  

23. Saw that my Australian of the day is Jessie Argyle. She was also known as Gypsy Argyle.

Argyle's mother was Aboriginal and her father was white.

Argyle was born in Western Australia in 1900.

24. Learned that Argyle was stolen from her home when she was around six years old.  This was because under Australian law, young Argyle's legal guardian wasn't her parents. It was the Chief Protector of Aborigines.

Argyle lost her home and she lost her name.  This is where she went from being Gypsy to Jesse.  

25. Learned that Argyle became a domestic servant.

The Australian Dictionary of Australia says, Aboriginal servants remained under the strict control of the Aborigines Department, received low wages for long working hours and experienced poor living conditions, isolation, curfews and abuse. 

That's so sad and disgusting.   It's bad enough for children to be taken away from their families when their families love them and take care of them.   It might be a tiny bit less bad if the children were put into situations where they had happy wonderful opportunities.

If a family is experiencing difficulty; and let's say it goes beyond having the "wrong" skin color, I'd say the BEST solution is where the family is given resources AND allowed to stay together.  So if a family is experiencing extreme poverty, then I think it's best that society helps the whole family get food, shelter, good sanitation, clean water, etc.

What's less good in my opinion is taking the children away so they can have better opportunities.   Children shouldn't have to choose between their parents and a healthy life.  But maybe in some circumstances, this has to be done?

What's inexcusable is taking children away from their loving home and giving them a shitty life.

I'm guessing there probably were white people who broke up Aboriginal families because they had good yet racist intentions.  But I think other times it was just about getting cheap labor.  It's about exploitation.

26. Learned that Gypsy Argyle got married and rented a house.The house became a sort of community center for the Aboriginal community.

27. Saw that the Australian dollar is worth 1.02 American dollars.

Today is the day I'm supposed to check—Sunday and Wednesdays.

It feels kind of weird and sad, because the main reason I would check before is to know how expensive things might be for us on our Australian trip.

That's not happening, so....

I don't know if I really want to know anymore.

Maybe I'll check every so often.

It's so funny.  I haven't been really sad about the cancellation, but now looking at the dollars has made me sad.

I did have a twinge of sadness this morning.  I thought of our summer trip to San Francisco. We're doing that in July. I had been thinking of that trip as being something that happens AFTER we return from Australia.  But now it's not.

It's all silly, really.  

28. Started to look at Fredweng's day seven in Australia Flickr set.  

It looks like most of the photos are from Swansea

29. Looked up Swansea on Google Maps.  It's about 2 hours north-east of Hobart.  It's on the east coast. 

30.  Thought this photo was beautiful. 

I like this one and this one too.  

31. Loved the sky in this photo

32. Decided I'd probably like Swansea.  The scenes in these photos set are breathtaking.  

33. Thought the rock in this photo looked like an elephant with a broken trunk.

34.  Thought this photo of Wineglass Bay is amazing.  

35. Enjoyed seeing Fredweng bond with a wallaby.  Hopefully, if he's feeding him, he's feeding him something that's healthy for wallabies.

35. Wondered if the animal in the picture is a pademelon rather than a wallaby. From what I remember, they're the same except for size. The pademelon is smaller. 

36. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says it's more than just size.  Pademelons have shorter and thicker tails.

I'm not sure how he'd classify the tail in Fredweng's photos.

37.  Loved this photo.   It's from Hazard Bay.

Lord Wiki doesn't have anything to say about Hazard Bay, but he does talk about The Hazards.  I'm guessing the bay is part of them.

The Hazards are a mountain chain on the east coast of Tasmania. They're in Freycinent National Park.

38. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

Today I'm going to take a general quiz that's labeled as difficult.  

What's harder on Funtrivia—difficult or tough?   

39. Got question #1 wrong and learned the first Australian to do beer brewing was John Boston.

Lord Wiki says Boston made beer from Maize.

That reminds me of one of the classic Modern Family scenes. 

40. Got question #2 wrong and learned the first international surfing championship was held at Manly beach in May 1964.

41. Got question #6 wrong and learned the first Australian surf club was in Bronte Beach.

I thought it was Manly.

42. Went to the website of the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club.

They promote their place in history on the front page of their site.  

43. Got question #14 wrong and learned that it was 1974 when people decided to change Australia's national anthem.

44. Got question #15 wrong and learned there are about 50 types of kangaroos.  

45. Finished the quiz. I got 10/15 right.   The average is 7/15.

I'm glad I did better than average.

My self-esteem could REALLY use a boost right now.

46. Wrote a lot of personal stuff.  Then deleted it.

Maybe that's the compromise.

I can whinge—get my feelings out.

But so my blog isn't too boring and personal, I can just delete it after I write it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Endings, Leaving, Ideas, and the Dean Family

1. Reactivated my Facebook account.  I started getting overly worried about people not getting my I'm-not-rejecting you message.  SO....I asked my sister if she got the message, and she said no.

I'm sure most people won't even notice I'm gone.  But there are a few people I feel a connection to, and the only way we talk IS through Facebook.  I hate to imagine them thinking I've taken them off my friend's list and then blocked them.

I reactivated, and it's frighteningly easy to do so.  I'll stay up for a few days so people can see the message. Then I'll leave.

2. Annoyed so much by Facebook that I couldn't handle keeping it up for even a few more days. I deactivated again.

3.  Thought about how the last two days have had so many endings for me.

We canceled our Australia trip.  I jumped off the Facebook ship.   Jack suddenly decided he's probably had enough of our stuffed animal game. The Sing Off had their season 3 finale. The Walking Dead had their mid-season finale.   

I was feeling a little lost and sad‚—all these endings at once. I had to remind myself of that saying, When God closes a door, he opens a window.

Technically God didn't close the door.  I closed two of the doors.  Jack closed a door.  Network executives closed the others.  

I also closed the door on wanting my family to visit my blog. I always had this huge wish that they'd come here, read about me, try to understand me more,  and appreciate my writing.

But they didn't...

Well, they did visit.  But their visits were very rare, except for my brother-in-law.  His visits were more frequent.   

Today my sister offered once again to try to visit more.   I told her not to.  I realized I'm past that point.  Now I LIKE the idea of having a place where I can talk about things and not worry that my sister or parents are going to pop in, out of nowhere, and be shocked about something I've said.  

Besides my sister, I haven't told the others not to come. They might jump in on rare occasions...hopefully not on days that I'm bitching about them. 

I figure if I tell them not to come, they'll come.  Or they'll want to come.  It's that whole reverse psychology thing.   I already feel guilty about laying it on my sister.  Hopefully, she's too busy with her baby and toddler to suddenly feel curious.

I took the link off my email. They'll no longer get the daily link via their Facebook. There's not much to prompt them to visit...not that they often gave into the prompts before.

4. Decided I'm probably fine if Tim reads it, but I'm also fine if he doesn't.  Maybe?  I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it at this point.

5. Finished reading The World Beneath.   It was very good.  The eating disorder thing is actually a pretty small part of it.   Mainly the story is a surviving-the-wilderness type thing.  It's also about the Franklin dam protests.

6. Found an old dream about Australia.  This one is from October 8, 2007.

My mom says bad things about Australia. It annoys me. So I say bad things about Israel. I think of telling her that I'm going to have to move to Australia--just to get away from her saying bad things about Australia.

The dream sort of ended up coming true. I did end up wanting to move to Australia, or maybe I already did at this point...before even visiting.

My mom was not happy with my love for Australia, and not happy about me wanting to move there.

7. Started to read Syrup by Maxx Berry.   So far it's very entertaining.

In one part, the protagonist talks about ideas.  He says he's heard that everyone has had at least three million-dollar ideas a year.  They could make us rich.   BUT....

He says,  Ideas are cheap.  What's unique is the conviction to follow through: to work at it until it pays off.  That's what separates the person who thinks 'I wonder why they can't just make shampoo and conditioner in one?' from the one who thinks 'Now, should I get the Mercedes or another BMW'.

Sadly, I recognize myself in that scenario.  I'm often coming up with ideas.  Some of them would maybe make us rich.  But I'm not good at following through. It's really because I have no idea how, and I'm totally lost when it comes to the business world.

When it came to ideas for writing, I followed that through. I'd come up with an idea for a novel or screenplay.  I'd write it. I had the perseverance for that.

Well, I had the perseverance for the writing part. I didn't really work too hard on getting anything sold, produced or published. But again...that's the business side of it.  

Tim has the business knowledge and abilities to pursue things.  The problem is he's not interested in my ideas.  He worked with his own idea.  He worked with his sister's idea.  He worked with two guys who did video and web work.  None of it panned out.  So I whine at him, every so often, to give MY idea a chance.

A part of me thinks, He's my husband. He should help me, especially since it MIGHT be successful, and we could end up with a lot of money.  Maybe.  Plus I don't think the start up costs would be overly expensive.  

Another part of me thinks, That's bullshit.  If you really believe in your idea, get your ass working and figure out a way to do it yourself.  

I don't know which part of me is right.

I vote for the first one. Then I can let Tim do the work, and I'll do my blogging.

No, I would do some of the work.  I'd do the creative stuff. I'd have Tim deal with stuff like wholesale Tax ID stuff,  business meetings, marketing, manufacturing, etc.

8.  Continued to read Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-Western and Western Australia.   

It's less boring than I expected.

I'm enjoying it.

9. Saw that Bindi Irwin is going to have a new TV show.  It's a children's game show, and it will be on the ABC in Australia.

Maybe one day it will come to America too.  

10. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to be reading one of the international stories. It takes place in The United States.

It's called Crawl Home

The characters in it are Marilyn Dean and Frankie Dean.

I'm assuming that Marilyn is related to Frankie—probably his sister?

11. Started to read.

The story is happening on the morning of November 28.

Marilyn isn't a happy camper. She's lost someone close to her.

She's in the hospital.

I'm getting that she tried to commit suicide and her parents covered all that up for the press. They're playing it as she's sick and accidentally injured her arm.

12. Learned that it's Dave that Marilyn is missing, and he died from a drug-related thing.

13. LOVED this line from Marilyn's post.   No one really cared what happened to her anymore so why did they have to keep her here? Oh right. Because she was a Dean, she needed to act the part...

Well, actually now that I've read it again....I don't love it. I love the sentiment, but I'm not sure if it's said right.  I'm guessing the basic idea is Marilyn feels used.  Her family doesn't really love her.  They love the idea of her and the idea of having a presentable family. Suicide attempts don't work well with preserving the image of the perfect family.

I think her family DOES care what happens to her.  But Marilyn feels that they care for the wrong reasons.   They're keeping her alive not because they enjoy her company but because what would the tabloids say?

14. Started to read Frankie's post.

He's visiting Santa Monica. He's cold because it's winter.

Actually, it's autumn.

I'm being picky today.

I should just get out my red marker.

15. Saw that Frankie is visiting his sister.  That must be Marilyn?

16. Learned that Frankie traveled to California via Floo Powder.

I wonder if that's more pleasant than flying.

17. Saw that Marilyn is angry at Frankie.   She doesn't trust that he's there because he cares.  She feels he's like the rest of his family. He's there to protect his image. He's there so he can look like the caring brother.

I have sympathy for Marilyn.  I have sometimes felt the same way.

This is a bad analogy, but I felt that way when I wanted us to move to Australia. And no I'm not trying to compare moving to Australia to committing suicide.  They're just similar in the fact that both involve an exit. One, of course, is very much more permanent and dramatic.

My parents were VERY much against us moving or even thinking of moving. It got to the point where they were antagonistic towards Australia in general.

I didn't feel they wanted me to stay because I'm adorable, irresistible, and such a pleasure to be around.  Often I feel I'm the thorn on their side.

I did feel they truly adored Jack and Tim.  They would miss them, and if I moved to Australia, I'd be dragging Tim and Jack with me.  I'd be taking something huge away from my parents and sisters.  

Besides that....

I think my parents love the fact that their three daughters and families have opted to all live in Texas. They love that we're all together.  Closeness of family is extremely important to them. To break away from that...I think if any of us did that, it would make them feel rejected.  And it would make them feel like they've failed in some way.

Are my perceptions accurate?   Who knows?   It's not something people would admit to. so I can't be guaranteed in being right.  I could be totally wrong.  Maybe my family finds me absolutely intriguing and entertaining. Maybe I have low self-esteem, and I'm projecting negative feelings about myself towards my family.

I do feel my family likes me more lately.  I just have to follow certain rules. Smile a lot. Laugh a lot.   Act very supportive. Rarely talk about myself.  Don't admit that I'm mad or offended by anything.  Don't talk about my problems. If I do all that, we all get along fairly well.

18. Went back to reading the story.  It's very intriguing.  Marilyn had this relationship with Dave.  But no one knew about it.  He insisted she keep it a secret.   Why?

So Marilyn is mourning and no one knows she's mourning.  I think that's hard...not that grief is ever easy.

It makes me think of the rule of not telling people you're pregnant until you're three months along.   That way if tragedy occurs, you don't have to tell people you've lost the baby. They'll never even know you had a baby.

But then what if you're really sad and people don't understand why you're sad?

Or then again, maybe it's less sad if you don't have to explain to friends, relatives, and Facebook acquaintances that your baby has died.  And you won't have people asking you cheerful questions in which you have to provide depressing answers.

19. Learned that Dave was Frankie's best friend.  

20. Started to read the biography of Marilyn Dean.

Her face claim is Chloe Moretz.  Moretz was the vampire in the American version of Let Me In.  

21. Saw that Marilyn is a pureblood witch.  She's a fourth year student in an American school.

22. Learned that Marilyn is a tomboy and disappoints her mother by rejecting frilly girly stuff.

23. Learned that Marilyn doesn't like her name. She insists on being called Ro.

I don't like my birth name. I wonder.   Is it really a matter of disliking the sound of the name.  Or is it some type of rebellion and rejection?

My birth name (Adina), though, is much more similar to Dina than Ro is to Marilyn.  

My mom named my sister Melissa because she liked the name Missy. From as far back as I remember, Melissa refused to be called Missy.

One of my young nieces chose a new middle name for herself and insisted that name be on her birthday cake.  Her parents were nice enough to oblige.

24. Learned that Ro likes to surf, and she also plays a variety of instruments.

I admire all that.

25. Felt very sad for Ro when I read this:  She refuses to let many people close enough to feel the need to be dependent however and it seems each person she lets get this close breaks her heart. Those people would be: her mother, her brother Frankie, and Dave. Her mother abandoned her for a new daughter, Frankie left her here when she needed him most, and Dave OD'd when he was all she had left.

She seems to have things in common with Améa. Maybe they could find each other and be friends.

They'd probably end up breaking each other's hearts, though. 

That's how life goes.

26. Started to read Ro's history.

She's the youngest child in the celebrity wizarding family.

Her parents got divorced. I probably read about that when I read about Frankie.  But I can't say I remember much.

27.  Saw that Ro was discarded by her mother when she got a stepdaughter.  I wonder if I did read about before.  It sounds familiar to me.  Was it talked about in Frankie's bio? Or is there another Tally character with a similar situation?  

28. Glanced at Frankie's biography.   The mother discarding her daughter for the stepdaughter is mentioned.  

It's sad. The stepdaughter fulfilled Ro's mother's desire for a more feminine and frilly daughter.

I don't think there's anything wrong with loving children besides your own biological children.  And sometimes we might be happy to find something in another child that's lacking in our own children.

For example, I would be excited to find a child that's a bookworm, because Jack isn't one. In the same way, Jack may find other adults to love, and some of them may provide things that I don't.  Jack might appreciate that.

I think it's only a problem when a child is made to feel rejected and unwanted—not preferred.

If it's a stepchild situation, maybe the unstep child shouldn't feel preferred.  Maybe the idea should be that they're loved equally.  I don't know?  I guess it depends on the situation.

Outside of that though, I want Jack to know that even though I love other children; he's DEFINITELY my favorite.  I would never want him to imagine I prefer another child.  

29. Excited about my fake trip to Australia.

We're going to arrive in Sydney on January 10.

We're definitely flying first class.

30.  Saw that my Australian of the day is Paulus Arek.  The reason his name looks unusual to me is he was from Papua New Guinea. I'm not that familiar with Papua New Guinea names.

31. Saw that Paulus Arek died on my birthday, the year after I was born.

He was born in December 1929.

32.  Learned that Arek's father was a missionary school teacher.

Arek became a teacher as well.  He also became headmaster.  This all happened on the Manus Islands.

At one point, Arek got himself in trouble.  He was exiled and had to switch islands.  But later he was allowed back.

33. Saw that Arek got involved with politics.

34. Saw that Arek never moved to Australia.

Lord Wiki is reminding me that Papua New Guinea used to be the Territory of New Guinea, and it belonged to Australia.  So I guess that's how Arek got his biography in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  

35. Started to look at Fredweng's sixth day in Australia Flickr set.  

It looks like he went to Port Arthur.

36.  Thought this was a beautiful photo.  

37. Reminded of The World Beneath when I saw fog and mountains in this picture.  

38. Liked this photo of Port Arthur.

39. Wondered if Fredweng knows this man.  Or did he just sneak a photo of a stranger?  

I like taking photos of strangers.   What I usually do is just have them in the background of photos that I take of Jack and Tim.  The reason I do this?  I think it's because of story I heard in college.

Kirsty and Bill were both from Northern California.  They lived not far from each other but didn't meet until they both ended up at college in Tennessee.  They became friends and started dating. I forgot the exact story.  But it was something like they were looking at photo albums, and either Kirsty or Bill saw their parents, in the background of a photo, in the other's photo album.  

I think that's so cool.   What if one day Jack's future spouse is looking at our old photos and she says Hey, that's my aunt right there!  

There's another reason I have strangers in my photos. If you're in a crowded place, it's hard not too.   For example, Disney World.   I'm not sure how you get a photo WITHOUT strangers.  

40. Reminded of Lost when I saw this photo.   As soon as I saw it, I thought of the lighthouse where Jack could see his childhood home.   I'm not sure why. Did it even look like what's in this photo?  

41. Found a picture of the lighthouse.   It does look a little like what's in FredWeng's picture. In both pictures there are lots of spaces/windows to look out onto the landscape.

It's hard to explain.

42. Saw that Fredweng stayed at Swansea Cottage.  Or at least he took photos of it.

So far, he's stayed at hostels. Maybe he decided to splurge a bit.

43. Played stuffed animals with Jack.

This shows that sometimes when God closes a door, the same door quickly opens again.  

Or we could call it changing-our-mind.

I'm glad it's the stuffed animal door that reopened and not the Facebook one. I really don't want to go back to Facebook.

Anyway, what happened is that when announcing the end of stuffed animals, we had forgotten that Jack had used some of our Amazon gift certificate to buy more stuffed animals.

Seeing the new stuffed animals made Jack want to play again.

One of the newbies is another koala.  Jack named it Bondi.  Now we have Manly, Woolloomooloo, and Bondi.  I'm in charge of all their voices.   I think I do a fair job of portraying Australian children.  I'm not so good at doing three distinct Australian children's voices. The three koalas sound a bit alike.

44. Excited about Jack's new blog.   The problem is I'm not sure he's that excited about it.

I've been pushing him to do it for the last few weeks.   Then his uncle suggested the same thing.   He sat down with Jack and got him to actually start the blog.  The first post promised a blog post on Tuesday.  I made sure that Jack went through on that promise.

The question is, will he write another one?   The other question is should I push him to write more?  Or will that make him more reluctant?

Maybe I'll simply provide encouragement every so often.

45. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

Today I'm going to take a quiz about Australia flags.  

46. Got question #1 wrong and learned the Victoria flag has a crown on it.

Lord Wiki says the crown is St. Edward's crown.   It's used for coronation stuff.

47. Got question #7 wrong and learned the Royal Australian Airforce flag has a kangaroo on it. 

Lord Wiki has a photo.  

48. Got question #10 wrong and learned the Cocos Island flag has a palm tree in a yellow circle.

49. Finished the quiz.  My score was 7/10.   The average is 6/10.   So I did good again.

I'm proud of myself.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blogging Breaks, Deactivating Accounts, Cancellations, and Trees

1. Decided I'd like to take a short break from blogging.  I think I really need that right now.

I want to have some extra book-reading time, and I need time away from other things.

I'll still blog a little bit.  But I won't post for awhile, and I'll try to do less internet stuff.

I just need a break from ALL of this.

2. Found an old dream about Australia. It's from October 3, 2007.   

I get an email from Greg. He says he's sorry but there's been a change of plans. He and Karen will not be coming to Sydney. They're coming I write that I'm happy for them. I can't figure out how long ago the letter was sent, and wonder if they're already home. I realize I forgot to say something like I'll miss you in Sydney. I figure it's okay though.  

That dream didn't come true. Greg came to Sydney, and we spent a few days with him. At the time, he had been living in New Zealand.

3. Received a huge amount of Powells Gift Card money from my family. I am so grateful, because I love to read.  And I'm thinking, it's good I'll be taking a blogging hiatus to do some reading. I'm going to need that time!

4.  Ate Tim Tams and Cadbury chocolates for my birthday!

5. Had problems with Powells again.  

My parents, my sister, and Tim ordered me a gift certificate from them. I got one on my birthday.   The others didn't show up which irked my family. They were waiting for my thank you.  

I wrote to Powells on the 23rd to tell them that I hadn't received the certificates yet.

A few hours later, I got the two missing certificates.  They were a day late.

I didn't mind so much that they were late.   What I did mind is when they finally responded to my inquiry, they denied the lateness. They said I HAD received the virtual credit on November 22.

That's not true.  I didn't get any virtual credit until I finally got the emails and clicked on the required link.

Like Clair on Modern Family I had to prove I was right, so I forwarded the emails.  They show that I got the certificate on November 23 and not the 22.

I don't know what's wrong with their system.  Does it happen to other people or just me?  Maybe I'm Powells cursed. 

Really.  Last year my certificates were late too.

6. Saw that Harry Jenkins resigned!!


7. Got a little emotional about Harry Jenkins resigning.  But it's partly for the fact that I listened to my crying song from Lost before reading the article.

From what I understand Jenkins resigned so he could participate more in debates and politics. He's from the Labor Party, but since he was Speaker, he had to act more bipartisan. He doesn't want to be the mediator anymore. He wants to get into the action.

I respect that.

It makes me a little sad, though.  You know, end of an era type thing.

8. Found some comfort in He Died With A Felafel In His Hand.    It makes our messy house seem a little less messy.  We're gross but not as gross as the people in the book.

9. Thought about how it's nice that I'm giving myself more book reading time. Then I thought about fictional characters.

I thought about them as if they were real.

The thing is, we're there with them.  

We're there to share their happy moments. We're there to share their sad moments.

We're there when they're terrified.

We know the wrong they've done.

We know the wrong that's been done to them.

Sometimes we know their deepest thoughts...if they're willing to tell us. 

HE might feel the whole world is against him, yet there may be thousands of readers...cheering him on and biting their fingernails in anxiety.  For him.

It's sad we can't break through the wall to say, Hey, we're here.  We're watching over you.  You're not alone.  We like you and we care about you.   

We just silently observe. We don't intervene. We don't help.

We're not his friend.

We're just voyeurs. 

At his loneliest and most desperate times, we do nothing to make things better.  

10. Listened to another sad Lost song.   It made me think of Lost characters.

For example....

So many of us were there when John Locke was rejected from the Australian walkabout tour. We watched his desperate pleas for inclusion.

Many of us cried for him.

We were there.

Yet it doesn't matter.  We weren't there FOR him. He was still utterly alone.  

10. Finished reading the Falafel book. I'm still reading the Australian history book. Sometimes I daydream while reading that.

The next book I'm going to read is The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy.   

11. Dreamed that, I've been taking classes in Australia.  I'm going to school there.  I realize I've come to take Australian accents for granted.  I used to get so excited about them.  Now I hear them so often.   It's less of a big deal.

12. Dreamed that,  I fly around in this very beautiful cave.  It has water in it.   Then I end up in a house.   It seems to be from the late 1970's or early 80's. I see all these old books and toys; lots of Disney stuff.   I think I see my koala stuffed animal from my childhood.  I pick it up, and decide it looks more like a wombat.  I'm wondering if I made a mistake as a child.  Did I have a wombat and not a koala?  Then I decide this stuffed animal is different.

13. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Illuminate The Way.  It takes place in the Melbourne CBD.

I think both characters are new to me.

There's a 6th year Tallygarunga student named Milo Jones and a university student named Alexander Kemuri.  

The story takes place late at night, on November 23.

14. Started to read.

Milo and others are are painting graffiti on a wall.  They're using spray paint.  Although I guess that's what people usually use for graffiti.  

15. Saw that Milo and her friends were caught by the police.

They ran from the police.

While running, Milo knocked into someone. I'm guessing this is Alexander.

16. Started to read Alex's post.  He's not out late at night committing crimes like Milo. He's been doing night shifts at his family's store.

17. Saw that Alex helped Milo by letting her hide out in the shop. He uses magic to keep the Muggles from checking in his shop.

I wonder if he knows that Milo is magic too. 

Alex doesn't hide Milo because he's into being an accomplice.  He doesn't necessarily condone what she's done.  He doesn't even know what she's done. And he doesn't know what she's running from.   He just sees her and hears her voice; then he feels protective towards her.

18. Started to read the biography of Milo Jones.

Her face claim is a Korean girl named BoA Kwon. Lord Wiki says she's known as the Queen of Korean Pop Music.

I feel a little guilty for not knowing about her. I have a Korean husband and a 1/2 Korean son.   We should probably keep up with at least SOME Korean music.  

19. Found a BoA Kwon video to embed.  I'm going to have to listen to it later though.  Tim's in the room sleeping.

20. Learned that Milo was born in China.  She's a Bourke student. Her Patronus is an Argentavis.   I had to consult Lord Wiki about that one.

Lord Wiki says that the Argentavis is extinct, and that was the largest known flying bird.

21. Learned that Milo lives a wild life, and she has scars to show for it.

22. Learned that Milo doesn't like sports, and her body isn't very toned.  She's not fat and she's not super thin.

23. Learned that Milo is more street smart than book smart. She feels professors are narrow-minded.   I agree with that to some extent. Although I think street smart people can be narrow-minded as well.  They're narrow-minded in a different way.  

24.  Learned that Milo is competitive, and this helps her to improve her skills.   It gives her the motivation she needs.

25. Started to read Milo's history.

The beginning part is sad. Her birth parents wanted to give her up for adoption.  They wanted an orphanage to take her. But according to this biography, adoption isn't legal in China. They had to make it look like the baby was abandoned; then hope for a police officer to pick her up.

It doesn't seen like the parents were apathetic about the baby. They looked out for her and made sure she wasn't taken by someone who wasn't a police officer.

I'm guessing it wasn't a matter of not loving their child.  It must have been that they couldn't afford her.  Or maybe it's about the baby limits in China. They had a girl, and wanted a boy instead.

It's sad.

26. Found a blog post that talks about the adoption thing. KJ Dellantonia says the only way for parents to give up their baby for adoption is to abandon it anonymously.  

I wonder why.  It's sad.  And another sad thing is some Chinese babies put up for adoption were actually stolen. They might have come from a family that wanted to keep them.  

The adoptive parents are rightfully horrified.  I can't imagine adopting a baby, thinking you're doing a good thing by giving a baby a home.  Then you find out you were an unknowing accomplice in a kidnapping.

That's so depressing.  It's like that book and TV movie, The Face on the Milk Carton.  

27. Went back to reading about Milo.

She was adopted by an older Australian couple.  Then they died and she became an orphan again.   She went into a foster family. This was the family of another Tally student, Nyssa Jones.

SO....Milo Jones is the sister of Nyssa Jones.

Eventually Milo was adopted by the foster family.

28. Learned that Milo was sent to China every summer so she could learn Chinese—get in touch with her heritage.   Eventually she decided she'd rather skip that and stay in Australia.

29. Learned that Milo doesn't like her adoptive mother.  And although she got along with Nyssa when she was young, they don't get along very well now.  She's feels different from them...alienated.

I can relate to that a bit.  I don't feel I really fit in with my mom and sisters.
30. Learned that Milo has a strong sex drive, and she'll go for both males and females.

32. Wondered about the magical stuff in Milo's life.  There's not much in the biography about that.

I know that Milo is a half-blood witch, but I'm not sure if this comes from her biological mother or father.  In China, did she go to a wizarding orphanage; or a Muggle one?   Did her first adoptive family know she was magical?   Were they magical?   Did the Jones family know Milo was a witch?  Is that why they took her in?  Or was it all a coincidence?   

33. Loved this line from The World Beneath.

If you've put him out of your life, why are you always talking about him? 

I've wondered the same thing sometimes.

My feeling is we rarely truly put people out of our lives.  In most cases they continue to haunt us, sometimes a little bit and sometimes a lot.   If the person rarely creeps up in our thoughts and conversations, I'd say they're only haunting us a little.   If we're often thinking about them and/or talking about them on a regular basis, then I'd say they're haunting us a lot.  

34. Read article about David Pocock. He's a rugby player that's fighting for gay marriage.  In support of the cause, he's going to postpone marrying his girlfriend.  He doesn't think it's fair to get married while other people can't.

I admire that.

I hope if I wasn't yet married, I would have done the same thing.

Well, there WAS a time that I wasn't married.  The issue was around.  I could have done something then.

I don't even think I considered it.  

I did support gay rights back the time of my wedding preparations.  But I don't know if I thought much about the marriage thing.   Or more likely, I was too wrapped up in my own excitement and romance to make the sacrifice.

35. Thought the article about Pocock was interesting.  It's not just about gay marriage. It also talks about how he lived in Zimbabwe before Australia.  He endured all the Mugabe drama.  One of the results is he ended up with an eating disorder.

It's fascinating (and VERY sad to me) that eating disorders aren't just for teenager girl anymore.  They're increasing everywhere.   Teenaged boys are getting them.  Men are getting them.  Children are getting them.  Women are getting them.  Why?

36. Decided to look at an entry from the Australian Dictionary of Biography. 

Right now I'm on a guy named George Edward Ardill

Ardill was an evangelist and social worker. 

He was born in Parramatta in 1857.

37. Learned that Ardilll's brand of Christianity was Baptist.

38. Learned that Ardill did printing work at a young age.  Then he started doing full-time charity work.

He evangelized late at night and found homeless women who had a very difficult life.

Ardill worked to open a shelter and hospital for them.  He also opened a laundry so the women could work.  His program provided training.

39. Learned that Ardill also opened shelters for discharged prisoners, and he developed homes for neglected children.

It sounds like he was a wonderful human being.

40. Learned that Ardill did attract some controversy.  There were questions about his finances.

He sometimes failed to pay employees.  Also, some people thought he was too lenient with the destitute women.   For example, he might not force them to work.

Still, though.  His faults seemed to be of a man who cares so much, and can't balance his heart with practicalities; rather than someone who exploits the hearts of others to gain for himself.     

The Australian Dictionary of Australia says he sometimes forgo the small allowance he received for his role as the director of the Rescue Work Society.  He did this so he programs would have more funds.

41. Felt my admiration of Ardill suddenly take a steep dive.

He supported the removal of Aboriginal children from their Aboriginal communities.

That's unfortunate.

Well, I guess he had his good side and his bad side.

I'm sure he didn't think it was bad, though.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Sometimes we help people who need help.

Other times we help people because we're ignorantly believe we're superior to them.

42. Continued to read The World Beneath.

I thought I'd be able to relate to the 15-year-old because she has an eating disorder.

Instead I relate more to her mom.  

I guess I shouldn't expect all people with eating disorders to be united in similar opinions and emotions.  And I shouldn't expect all people with eating disorders to have similar parents. The mom in this story is not like my mom.  

43. Decided to start reading another history book on my Kindle.  This one is called Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-West and Western Australia During the Years 1837, 1838, and 1839.

I'm afraid I'll daydream through a lot of it, but I'll try to pay attention sometimes.

I've decided to be less strict with myself in regards to daydreaming.   In fiction I try to force myself to pay attention.   If I get lost there, it's hard to get back on track. With nonfiction, I think it's a little different. If I absorb something here or there, I'm happy.

44. Googled Nag Champa because it's talked about in The World Beneath.  I hadn't heard of it before.

Lord Wiki told me it's an Indian fragrance used in incense, candles, soaps, etc.

I wonder if I've smelled it before.  I probably did and just don't know the name. 

45. Saw that Jessica Watson is going to be doing the Sydney to Hobart race.

Did she do it last year too?

I forgot.  

46. Started to read the article.

I'm getting that this will be her first year.

47. Bought more songs from Mr I, Gary Q and the Rainbow Singers.  

I got more of their Australia songs, and a Europe one.

I like their music.  I learn from it.

48. Learned, from The World Beneath, that if I want to plant a tree that grows really fast, I should get a Tasmanian Blue Gum.

I don't know if they're legal in Texas, though.

49. Consulted Lord Wiki.   He says the scientific name of the Tasmanian Blue Gum is Eucalyptus Globulus

He says the tree is the floral emblem of Tasmania.  Was that on the quiz I took recently?   I don't really remember it.

Lord Wiki says the tree was introduced to San Francisco, but now it's considered an invasive species.

I have a feeling it wouldn't be welcome in Texas.

50. Found Australian government page about growing Australian plants in Texas.  

Matt Tirpak, who lives in a town two hours north of us, planted all these Australian plants and then studied their progress.  

He didn't do the Eucalyptus Globulus, but he did other types of Eucalyptus.

I'm going to use their common names because it's easier to type.

So Tirpak grew.....

A Rainbow Gum,  Lemon-scented Gum, Mountain Swamp Gum, Swamp Stringybark, Apple Gum, Small-leaved gum, Narrow-Leaved Black Peppermint Argyle Apple, and Red Box.

51. Found a blog pushing the idea of growing Eucalyptus in America.  The general idea is that the trees would be good for our environment.

The website seems kind of commercial—like they're trying to SELL the idea.   Maybe it's some kind of company?

52. Heard that Tim talked to Powells.  They were very apologetic.  They offered us credit.  That's nice, but I already have so much credit from the gift card.   Tim told them we didn't call so we could get money from them. We called so they could understand there's a problem with their automatic system.   Hopefully they'll be able to get it fixed.

53. Felt sad when reading a scene from The World Beneath, because it reminded me of one of my bad parenting moments.

I'm not going to go into detail.  But I think it's one of those things in which a nonparent would hear and say That's horrible!   You shouldn't have kids.  And many parents who heard it would say.Yeah.  I've been there.   Unfortunately.  

It's where you feel rejected by your child, and you fail to hide your despair over the rejection. You act desperate and pathetic. Then you feel guilty, because you know it's God-awful parenting. So that makes you act more desperately pathetic.

On a positive note. I'm usually good at not feeling rejected by Jack. And usually if I DO feel rejected (which is very rare), I think I do a good job at hiding it.  

54.  Started to look at Fredweng's fifth day in Australia Flickr set

He left Sydney on this day.

He took a flight which featured a magazine with a guy named Alex Pullin on the cover.

Lord Wiki says Alex Pullin is an Australian snowboarder.

55.  Saw that Fredweng flew to Hobart.

He stayed at another YHA hostel.  

56. Saw that Fredweng ate on a cruise.   I guess it was a dinner or lunch cruise thing.  

57. Wondered what this is. Some type of factory, I suppose.  

58. Wondered if this is the bridge that had that big accident.  

59. Reminded by Lord Wiki that the big bridge happened in January 1975.

60. Thought this fruit and cheese plate looked really good. I must be hungry. Food pictures are especially attractive to me right now.

61. Canceled our real trip to Australia. Officially.

Now I'll be putting our fake trip to Australia back on my calendar.

I'm kind of more excited about that one.

Well, it doesn't involve a long plane ride. I don't have to pack. I don't have to worry about budgeting.  I don't have to stress about choosing which places to go.

It's much easier this way.

I think armchair traveling is a great thing.

62. Felt very sad to hear a child got swept away by a river in Wagga Wagga.  

I'll hope for a miracle.

It would be SO nice to get some good news.  

I feel horribly for his family.

63. Had a dream that involves Australia.   My sister sends me an email illustrated like a comic.  Each comic lists either a positive or negative thing about me.  For one of the negatives, she says I read an Australian tabloid too often.  She heavily criticizes me on this.  For another negative, she says I read a certain Australian newspaper too often.   I'm thinking this shows my sister hardly knows me at all.  She just makes assumptions.  I never read the tabloid, and I only occasionally read that particular Australian newspaper. 

64. Read Fruitcake's very powerful post about nurses in Victoria wanting and deserving higher pay.  She also talks about people being failed and short-changed by the hospital systems.

Fruitcake says,  The current campaign by Victorian nurses for better pay and fixed nurse:patient ratios is not driven by greed, it’s a reaction to the long term, ongoing neglect of the health system by governments whose budget priorities are out of sync with what I hope we value most as a society – life.

I think certain jobs and roles get respect in terms of applause, gratitude, and admiration. Mothers, teachers, nurses, assistants, daycare workers, military soldiers, etc. People go on and on about how they're so thankful for them. They're heroes!   But budgets and allocated resources tell a different story.  

65. Decided I wanted to delete this one. I'm too lazy to renumber.Sorry.

66. Thought about quitting Facebook...even though I liked Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network.

The whole thing is just getting on my nerves, and the privacy issues are starting to get to me.

If I do quit, I'll be shutting down my page too.  If anyone goes to my blog via Facebook and still wants to read, please follow it another way.  I'd hate to lose readers!

The hard part about leaving Facebook is doing so without people thinking you're still there but simply dropped them as a friend.

I sent a message saying that, but will people still get my message if my account is deactivated?   

67. Disabled my account, and for now, I'm so glad I made that decision.  I wasn't sure why I wanted to leave but then Facebook gave me the answer.  When I pressed deactivate, they showed me pictures of various Facebook friends and said these people are going to miss me. What the hell?   How does Facebook know who's going to miss me or not? And am I to believe that without Facebook I'll have no ability to communicate with others?

Facebook would like you to believe that if you drop them, you're going to be dropping off the face of the earth.   

I also think it's ridiculous when Facebook suggests I be friends with a friend of my Facebook friend.   Every so often the suggestion makes sense. But usually it's ridiculous. Yes, I'm friends with so and so, and I'm also Facebook friends with her husband and children.   But that doesn't mean I need to be Facebook friends with their distant aunt they themselves hardly even know.

I don't like how Facebook now gives you updates about what most recently has been done by your Facebook friends.  So and so commented on their friend's post. So and so commented on a Facebook Page.  To me, that's a huge privacy violation.   If I comment on a friend's post, I don't need all my Facebook friends getting a memo that I've done that.  

68. Remembered to report (because I just looked at the photos in the beginning of my post) that this weekend I learned that fancy chocolates have egg whites in them.


Oh well.  I'll know better for next time.  

69. Read a part in The World Beneath in which the daughter reminds me of myself.

She still felt shaken.  Just three days and she'd been more or less eating dinner every night, but Libby had noticed. Her mum had never noticed.

I'm enjoying the book, although sometimes it's painful for me.

Sometimes I relate more to the daughter with the eating disorder.  Sometimes I relate more to her mom.

When I have eating disorder issues, I want people to notice, and I don't want people to notice.

I want people to notice because I want some indication that they care—that I'm not invisible to them.   I want to know that they care more about my health than my appearance, even though sometimes I care more about my appearance than my health.   I guess sometimes I want (or need?) others to be the stronger and smarter ones.

Other times....

I don't want people to know I'm doing eating disorder things, because I'm afraid they'll stand in my way.  I don't want them to stop me.

70. Decided in this scene, I don't think I can relate to the mother. I can't imagine not noticing Jack has an eating disorder.  

Or maybe I'm fooling myself. I would definitely notice if he rejected meals. The kid loves to eat.   But maybe I wouldn't notice that he was leaving more food on his plate.

Well, I think I would notice, eventually. But I don't know if I'd notice it immediately.  

 In my case, it wasn't a matter of people not noticing I had an eating disorder.  I wasn't private about my extreme dieting or exercising.  Well, I hid the more extreme bits. But with most of the stuff I was very open about the whole thing.

It was more a matter of most people in my life seeing my behavior as a GOOD thing.   It's good to be anally committed to exercise.   It's good to limit what you eat. It's good to be very thin. It's good to have willpower and deprive yourself.

I agreed with them for the most part; then I came to some realizations and decided I didn't agree with them. I decided I had a problem and it needed to stop. I tried to solicit their encouragement and support by sharing my realization.

It didn't work. They believed I had no such problems and that I had been doing a good thing.   As far as I know (based on comments, jokes, behavior, etc. in my presence) they continue to believe it.    That's fine. We all have our opinions. My problem is sometimes I start to share their viewpoint, and I want to start being "good" again.    

70. Went to the Funtrivia site to take another Australia quiz.  This one is a general type thing.   It's labeled as tough, so I won't feel so bad if I do horribly.  

71. Got question #2 wrong and learned that, in the TV show The Flying Doctors, the call sign of the aircraft was Mike Sierra Foxtrot.

72. Reminded by IMDb that Rebecca Gibney was one of the stars of The Flying Doctors.  

73. Finished the quiz.  I got only one wrong!   My score was 9/10 and the average was 5/10.

Maybe my little break made me smarter.

That would be cool.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Queensland, Sadhbh, Circular Arm Movements, and Thanksgiving Videos

1. Got a birthday card from Jack!

2. Found an Australian related thing in my old Livejournal entries.  This one is from September 21, 2007.

I had one of those hypnagogic things.  Cities on Australia map. One called "Mitt". Between Perth and Adelaide.  And then one called Lewis. 

I'm surprised I even know about Perth and Adelaide back then.  I did start reading a lot about Australia at that time, though.  I guess I was already learning some basic geography.  

Is there a town called Mitt or Lewis in Australia?   I don't think so.

Maybe there's a guy living between Perth and Adelaide named Mitt Lewis, and I'm supposed to meet him someday.

3. Found an old dream about Australia. This is one from September 24, 2007.

Stuff about Sydney. I see a show or see it in real life. All these women wear casual flower dresses that enhance their breasts. Kind of trampy. I figure this is what they mean by casual clothes. I'm not too happy about it.

At one point I'm in Sydney and wear a hat. I realize it's all puffed up and messed up. I'm embarrassed.

I'm guessing that one was a packing-anxiety dream.

In real life, I love casual flower dresses that enhance breasts.

I love anything that enhances breasts.

I love breasts, period. That's why I suspect I'm at least 15% lesbian.   

4. Learned from Blogger that I'm not following any blogs.

I guess it's a glitch.

I think it's happened to me before.

5. Hoped that any Americans reading this have a happy Thanksgiving.

If any Australians are interested in seeing an example of an American Thanksgiving, I'm spending a big chunk of today extracting and uploading my old Thanksgiving montage videos. They're on our YouTube channel if anyone wants to watch them.

I'm making this sound like a multicultural learning opportunity.  In reality, I just want people to watch my videos.  I'm proud of them. They're much better than my singing. And don't worry. I don't sing on the videos.

Anyway, yeah.  I'm sure Australians have seen too much American Thanksgiving because they watch all that American TV.   But my videos are about  REAL Thanksgivings, and not fictional ones. Brad Pitt doesn't come and eat our yams.  

If you're kind enough to give my YouTube Thanksgiving videos attention, you'll see that there's a bunch of different parts.  They don't need to be watched in order, or anything.  Each video is a montage with a different song.  Just pick one and see if you're bored to tears or not.

6. Understood that many people don't like watching other people's home videos.  I do, though—just like I like stalking people on Flickr.

I'm thinking maybe there's someone out there who's like me.  Maybe they'll like watching my videos.

7. Went to Tallygarunga.

There's not a lot of new posts today.  I'm guessing the American role-players are getting ready for their Thanksgiving preparations.

There is some stuff, though.

Today I'm going to read a classroom thing.  It's called Dada 2011: Introductions and Disarming Spells.   For those who aren't into the Harry Potter, Dada stands for Don't Ask Dracula Anything. It's a warning against vampires. Because they're not all like Edward Cullen and Bill Compton.

No. Actually. Dada stands for Defense Against The Dark Arts.

At Hogwarts, the teaching position for that class was cursed.  So each year (and each book), you get a new teacher. I think most people would agree that the most dreadful teacher was in the fifth book—  Dolores Umbridge.

I hate that woman.  

She wouldn't impress me, even if she wore a tight casual flower dress.  

8. Started to read.

The first post is by the professor; Ms. Sadhbh Daly. What sort of name is that?  I'm guessing....Indian? Middle Eastern?

9. Consulted Google, and Lord Wiki came to help.  He says the name comes from Irish mythology.   Wow. I didn't expect that.

I wonder how the name is pronounced.

10. Saw that Professor Daly is very nervous.  This is her first "secure" job.  What is is a secure job?    I'm not sure what that means.  But Sadhbh doesn't seem that secure. She seems ready to be fired at any moment.

11. Saw Neural enter the class.  And the next entrance is from Juli Preston. She's not looking forward to this particular class.  Juli's interested in the dark side, but she's not happy with her wand abilities.    Like Sadhbh, she's feeling insecure.

12. Learned, from Juli, that Professor Rodriguez is gone. What happened to her? Did she leave the school entirely?

Anyway, I'm reminded here that Tallygarunga, like Hogwarts, has bad luck in keeping their Dada teachers. They've already lost two.

13. Started to read the biography of Sadhbh Daly.   

She's a new character; arrived on November 17.  She has only seven posts.

I'm not sure if the role-player is new, though. She might have other characters.

14. Saw that Sadhbh's face claim is Morena Baccarin. I didn't know who that was, but Lord Wiki says she's Anna on the new V.

I wasn't a fan of the new V.  I like the 1980's V.   But I was intrigued somewhat by Anna.

Jack and I got really into playing Wii Fit last year. Or the year before?  The female yoga teacher reminded me of Anna.  

15. Watched a short Anna video.

I'm trying to picture her as a nervous Tallygarunga professor.

16. Saw that Sadhbh likes to wear eye make-up. I do too. I have fun with it.

I like lipstick, but it seems to come off as soon as you eat or drink. What's the point?

I guess it's good for when you're not planning to eat for awhile.   

I don't wear any face make-up stuff.  I think it's too hard to make it look natural.

No, that's not good reasoning.  Eyeliner doesn't look natural; neither does my turquoise eyeshadow.

I guess what I mean to say is I think it's easy for foundation and powders to end up looking messy. 

17. Learned that Sadhbh has her naval pierced, but she doesn't want many people knowing about it.

Why did she get it pierced?  I thought the whole point of getting a body part pieced was to make a statement, enhance your appearance, etc.

I understand we all do things just for ourselves and not for the benefit of others.   But why do something so painful?

Maybe it has special personal meaning to her?

OR maybe she did it in her youth as a fashion statement; and now she's no longer that happy with it.   Maybe she likes it in a private way these days, but she's not interested in flaunting it.

I could never do a naval piercing.  My naval area is my worst body part...well, at least on the exterior.  I always look a bit pregnant.  

Sometimes I look a lot pregnant....if I'm bloated enough.

18. Saw that one of my Thanksgiving montage videos features a Wiggles song.   

It does feature amateur singing but not my amateur singing.   

Jack's very cute in the video.   He was two back 2003. 

If anyone is kind enough to watch the film, please note that it hiccups a bit at the beginning. I don't know why.  

So, let it buffer a bit before trying to watch it.  

19. Learned that Sadhbh is quiet.  She's more of a listener than talker.

She does stand up for herself or people she cares about.

I don't know if it's my imagination; but it seems like this is a common trait among Tally characters. I seem to encounter it a lot.

I'm guessing it's an important value to Tally role-players.

It's probably an important value to almost everyone, but it seems to have special significance in Tallygarunga. 

You stand by your friends...even if you're shy.

I think it's a good value. We should be there for our friends.

It's a bad idea, though, if your friend is a bully or other villain. Then you've become an accomplice.

20. Thought about the difficult situations in which we feel compelled to stand by someone, because we love them, yet we feel they're the ones in the wrong.  

It's not fun.

21. Started to read Sadhbh's history.

Her mother's name was Aoife.

Aoife was the name of one of the characters in the Magic is Might experience.  She was part of the Order of the Phoenix.   

22. Saw that Salamanca Market is mentioned in Sadhbh's biography.  I'm thinking her role-player is Australian, or she's done her research well.  I don't think that's a detail about Australia that a usual non-Australian would know about. 

The role-player could have just traveled to Australia—gone to Tasmania.

Maybe she's like me and is a American fan of Australia.  I'm always hoping to find one so I can mail them some of my Australian books.  Although I gave a lot of them away to Half Price books.

23. Continued to read.

Aoife was a Muggle.  She lived in Sydney. She went on a brief holiday to Hobart. At the Salamanca Market, she met a charming weird guy.

They ended up getting married.

Before the wedding happened, the charming weird guy revealed his wizarding secret.

You know, that would be really awesome.

I'd be so excited.

Maybe I'd be a little scared too.

I'd be excited about making wizard babies.

I'm thrilled about making an Asian baby.  Sometimes I look at Jack and think it's so awesome that I made a Korean baby.  Well, I helped make him, at least.  

I don't know.

I think there's something really cool about giving birth to a baby that's not the same race as you. It kind of makes you feel that you're part of that race too.  Maybe? Every so often, I'll think to myself, my child may have relatives out there in Korea somewhere.

Or they could be anywhere.  Maybe even Australia. Jack might have a Korean cousin hanging about in Hobart.  

24. Learned that Aoife decided to tell her parents about the wizarding world.

They didn't have a good reaction to the whole thing.

Why not?

I can't imagine not being excited to learn there's a magical world out there.

Although maybe Aoife's parents just thought she and her new husband were delusional.

The good news is they eventually accepted least to some degree.

25. Learned that Sadhbh had some difficulties in her early school years.  She got in trouble a lot because of her temper.

I dealt with kids like that as a preschool teacher.  It's not easy. Some of the kids seemed absolutely future sociopaths.  Others were darling and just seemed to have some impulse issues.

26. Learned that Sadhbh was taken out of her Muggle school because her parents worried she'd do some accidental magic on one of the other kids.

She was homeschooled for awhile.

27. Learned that Sadhbh went to Tallygarunga as a student; then she studied at the University. After that, she traveled around the UK, America, and China.  She sounds very adventurous.

28. Saw that my Australian of the day is George Arden.  

He was born sometime in 1820.  The Australian Dictionary of Biography doesn't know his birthday.

He's kind of mysterious.

He could be an alien, or a wizard.

Oh!  Maybe he's a vampire!

I talk in present tense, because if he was one of those things, I bet he'd still be alive.

29.  Learned that George Arden claimed to be related to Shakespeare's mom.

That's cool.

I claim to be related to Marlee Matlin, but it's kind of a lie.  We're distant family but not by blood.   It's something like her grandmother was my grandma's stepmother.  

No, we don't have Thanksgiving with her.  We don't share our yams with Brad Pitt or Marlee Matlin.

We actually don't have yams.

We have sweet potatoes.  They're different, right?  I can't remember.

30. Learned that George Arden migrated to Sydney when he was about eighteen.

Later he moved to Melbourne.

He became a writer.

He also started his own newspaper—the Port Phillip Gazette.   That was ambitious of him.  

31. Learned from Lord Wiki, that the Port Phillip Gazette was around from 1838-1851.   It didn't have a long life, but hopefully it had a meaningful one.  

32. Saw that George Arden also had a short life.  He died when he was thirty-four.  I'm not sure how he died, but it seems that his last few years were unhappy ones.  Unfortunately. He stopped having successes in the publishing business.

33.  Decided it's time for me to look at more of Fredweng's 4th day in Australia.

Tomorrow I'll be looking at his fifth day.  I wonder what he did that day.  Did he stay in Sydney?   Move onto somewhere else?

I get the idea that Fredweng traveled alone. Well, because he doesn't have many people in his photos.

I wonder if he was lonely.

I traveled alone for a few days.  I went to NYC.  It was fun, but I was a bit lonely.

At the time, I didn't think I was that lonely. I wanted to do it again.  But now I look back and feel  lonely when I remember it.

Tim and Jack went to Disney World together. Now I wish I had gone with them.

34. Thought that Jack would like this calamari.

He loves calamari.  

35. Felt the Sydney Opera House is much less attractive from this angle.  

36. Looked at driving directions from Brisbane to the Gold Coast on Google Maps. I'm thinking if we end up going to Australia in May or June, and we want to go where it's warm, we might be able to manage a short driving trip.  

We could also stop at The Australia Zoo and hang out with Bindi Irwin. We might become her friend. Then we'll invite her over for Thanksgiving, so we can all share sweet potatoes together.  

I mentioned the Gold Coast to Jack today, and he immediately brought up amusement parks.   I told him he gets enough amusement parks.  But I'll probably give in to his wishes.   If we go in that area, I'm betting we'll spend at least one day at Dream World

Then again...maybe not.   I just remembered that there were amusement parks in the UK we could have traveled to.   We didn't.  We've never gone to the theme parks in Texas. And when we went to Universal Studios last year in Orlando, Jack hated it. He's more of a Disney World fan, than a theme park fan in general.

37. Felt an obligation to go to Cairns, but I've never had a strong attraction to the Great Barrier Reef.   I'm not big into coral and tropical fish.  

38. Figured maybe we'd just find a nice quiet town in Queensland and spend a week at a holiday park.

That's fun.

We'll also do Brisbane.

We'll do the big zoo.

We might not do anything.

I just like to plan things.  

39. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.   This one's about the letter B. 

40. Felt VERY angry at myself for getting the first question wrong.

It asked, which movie did Bruce Beresford NOT direct.

The answer was Mad Max. George Miller directed that movie.

I'm mad, because I knew that. I really did.

I just wasn't thinking carefully enough.


41. Got question #2 wrong and learned there are certain rituals you're supposed to do while making tea.

You're supposed to swing the boiling billy thing in large arm arcs.


42. Found an article about making Billy tea.   It doesn't mention the arm arcs.  

43. Found another article about making Billy tea.  They don't mention the arm arcs either.  

44. Googled "making billy tea arm arc".   Now I've found something.  It's a website of traditional Australian recipes.  They mention the circular arm movements.  

45. Got question #3 wrong and learned there was an Australian musical variety show called Bandstand.

America had a bandstand show too.

46. Watched video of ABBA on Bandstand.  

47. Learned from Lord Wiki that the video above is from a second attempt at the Bandstand TV show.  The first show ran from 1958-1972.  Then it was revived again in the mid 1970's.

Lord Wiki says this second attempt was a failure.

48. Got question #4 wrong and learned about the term Black Stump.  It's another way of saying "Back of Beyond." You're going deep into the isolated areas of Australia.

I guess that would be the Outback.

49.  Got the #6 question wrong. It was a true or false thing. Did The Age report a sighting of a Bunyip?    I answered true.

I usually answer true if I don't know the answer.

The answer was false.  I can tell by the wording of the answer that the trick of the question is Bunyips are mythical. They wouldn't be in a newspaper.

I DID know they were mythical creatures, however.

Mythical creatures are sometimes believed to be sighted, and sometimes things like that ARE mentioned in the newspaper.

50. Got question #7 wrong and learned there was no bushranger named Gentleman Harry.

That's fine.

51. Got question #8 wrong and learned Black Wednesday happened in 1878. 

52. Found an article about Black Wednesday.

It involved a Premier named Graham Berry.  

There was a political drama of some sort.

53. Got question #9 wrong and learned there was something in cricket in the 1930's called Bodyline.

Lord Wiki says British teams used it in order to try to combat Don Bradman.

The Australian team didn't like it much, and it caused some hostility between the two teams.  

54. Thought of an analogy while exercising just now.

Someone saying they love me, but they're not interested in my blog is like someone saying they love the winter, but they don't like the cold or snow.

No wait.  That's a bad analogy, because someone might like being INSIDE during the winter. They might like sitting near the fire while drinking some hot cocoa.

But if someone doesn't like my blog, how can they love me?  My blog is my thoughts, my ideas, my sense of humor, etc.  If they don't like my blog, then they don't like a HUGE chunk of me. Then what DO they like?

It's definitely not my cooking.

It's also not the state of my toenails.  They're an ugly mess.

55. Started to understand lately that I'm too picky about the reasons people like me.  I feel hurt by Tim sometimes, because I've always had the sense that he doesn't find me particularly attractive. It's really silly because with my previous serious boyfriend; I was mad because he seemed to like me ONLY for my looks. He liked that I had that mysterious ethnic thing going on.

I get annoyed when I feel people like me only for my blog.  I get mad when people seem to like me only because "I'm supportive".

I guess I want people to know the WHOLE me and love me for that.  But that's not really fair. Who has time for all that?  And it's not like I know and love people for every reason available.

If I had to pick one thing, though, for people to love about me. It would be my blog. This is the most ME thing there is.

The exception would be Jack.  I'd rather him not read my blog much.  I love that he loves me for Mommy-type reasons. And he also loves me for stuffed animal reasons.  He likes my different characters— their voices and personalities.  When we play, it's very enjoyable for me.   For a short time each day, I get to feel like a successful actor.   

56. Decided I should shut up and get back to the quiz.

I was going to watch a video about the Bodyline thing.

The font on this video is hard for me to read.

At 1:54 in the video they show a telegraph written by the Australian Board of Control, asking them to stop the Bodyline thing. 

This video, with it's choice of music, makes bodyline seem absolutely evil and tragic.

57. Figured I should try to actually learn about the techniques that bodyline involves.

Then I decided it was too complicated for me.

I'm not that interested in sports.

58.  Got question #12 wrong, but I was close.

The question asked about Ita's last name. It's Buttrose. I said, Buttarose.  

I know of her because Asher Keddie played her in a movie.

59. Got question #13 wrong because I wrote The Bee Gees instead of just Bee Gees.


I think that's unfair.

I'm going to protest but after the Occupy people are finished with their stuff. I don't want to overshadow their efforts.

60.  Got question #17 wrong because I didn't spell Bananas in Pajamas the Australian way.

This quiz is kind of annoying. Most quizzes give you more leniency with fill in the blank questions.    They accept variations of the answer.

61. Decided I'm being unfair.  Australians probably get penalized sometimes, with American things, when they use Australian spelling.

62.  Got question #19 wrong and learned there's a town near the Blue Mountains called Blaxland.

63. Got question #20 wrong and learned the state that has the most border lines is New South Wales.   I guess that would be the state's perimeter minus the coastal lines?

64. Finished the quiz.   I got 8/20.   The average score is 12/20.

That's not fair.

I should have gotten a good score on my birthday.

65. Wondered if I'll ever be good at these quizzes.'s doubtful.   I might learn new stuff, but then it's likely I'll forget most of it.

66. Saw that the last Thanksgiving video I put up is blocked in Australia.

That's fine.  It's not one of my favorites.  The song is "We Are Family". That's blocked; and the other song that got one of my videos blocked, in Australia, is Arcade Fire's "Wake Up".

A lot of my videos are blocked in Germany. I  suppose they have strict copyright rules. 

67. Decided I will list and link my Thanksgiving videos.   That way if someone is interested in watching them; they can watch one with a song that they like.

There's also some dialogue; so you can get a glimpse of my family.  

A) 2005 part 1.    This is the opening credits with the theme from The Godfather.    It features Tim cooking.  And it also has a Wiggles song; "John Bradlelum".  

B) 2005 Part 3.   This has the song "Whip It."  It has more cooking footage.   You can see my mom make her famous stuffing.

She doesn't stuff it into the turkey, though, which is good. That's a food poisoning risk. 

C) 2005 Part 4 This one uses the song "Find Your Grail" from that musical.  I forgot the name.   It's a Monty Python thing.   In this video, we play some crazy made-up sports game on the lawn.

D) 2005 Part 5.   This one has the song "I Shall Not Walk Alone".  I was introduced to it via Lost.   Now I can't remember where and when the song was played.  This video might be a bit touching....if you're into quiet family scenes.   But it's probably a bit boring.

You might like it if you're a fan of the music played on Lost.  

E) 2005 Part 6.   This one features a Reggae version of "Life Goes On".  This is one of my favorite videos that I've made.  I'm very proud of it.  

F) 2003 Part 1   This one features a Neil Diamond song.  It has more cooking scenes...and other stuff.

G) 2003 Part 2.   This video features a song called "Hatari Baby Elephant Walk."  I'm not sure how I got that song.

Anyway, this has the actual Thanksgiving dinner.   It has a lot of dialogue.

H) 2003 Part 3.   This is a short one featuring a song one from Barney.   It's good to listen to if you're self-esteem is a bit low.

J) 2003 Part 4.   This is another very short one.   It features a cute recording of "Ring Around the Rosy".  It has cute toddler scenes.  

K) 2003 Part 5.   This is the one I embedded above.   It features the song "Wiggle Bay".    It has more cute toddler scenes.

L) 2003 Part 6.   This has the song "Back in the Saddle Again".   It's a fun song. The scenes show a typical morning at the lake house.  

M) 2003 Part 7   This has a song quietly played in the background. I forgot the name.  It's about space. I think it's pretty famous.     The video is heavy on dialogue.    We go around the table and talk about our thankfulness.  We forgot to do it at the actual Thanksgiving meal.  

N) 2003 Part 8 This has the song from...some movie.  I forgot what it is.   Watch it, and then tell me.   Okay?     This one has scenes from our local synagogue.    It was back in the days where I tried to give Jack some Jewish cultural experiences.  Some of us left the Lake House to go to a "Tot Shabbat".

O) 2003 Part 9 This video features a Joni Mitchell song.   It shows us having house guests at the lake house.   One of the guests is a doctor.

I had a Livejournal friend who later became a Facebook friend.  Her son got Leukemia.   We somehow figured out that our old family friend is her son's doctor. It was one of those small world things.   It probably wouldn't be that strange if we all lived in Texas.  But my friend's family, and the doctor guy, are all in Tennessee.

P)  2003 Part 10.  This video features another movie score that I can't identify.  I want to say it's something from Rachel Portman.   Again, please listen to it and tell me what it it, if you're good at that type of thing.  

It MIGHT be Fried Green Tomatoes.  

Q) 2003 Part 11  This is the one that's banned in Australia.   It has the song "We are Family".  It features Tim giving advice on buying grills.