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 then 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.