Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fairies, Film Fans, Jedda, and Parenting

1. Went to sleep. And in honor of Michael Fuery, I had a dream within a dream.  Actually, I think I had a dream within a dream within a dream.  

I also dreamed that, Jack and I are playing some game where we take random toy animals and then talk about how that animal would relate to Australia. We get a panda.  Jack assumes it wouldn't relate to Australia.   I say it sort of would.   I talk about zoos.  If Australia got a panda for their zoo it might bring more traffic to their zoo and the zoo would make more money.

Australia actually does have pandas—in Adelaide.   I don't know if my dream-self remembered that or not.  

2. Went to the Adelaide Zoo website.  They have two pandas.  The boy is Wang Wang, and the girl is Funi.  They were born in China and are now permanent residents of Australia.

The two of them were in the 2008 China earthquake. Sadly, Wang Wang's mother died in the disaster.

3. Found an old dream about Australia.  It's from August 23, 2007. This was a few days after we bought our first Australia plane tickets.

I get a message on my blog from Alison Dubois.  She writes about getting together when we're in Sydney. Or so I thought. I write her back this whole thing, trying to make plans.  Then I realize she probably didn't mean get together....but is just telling me to come to one of her seminar/classes.
Later in dream, I'm at one of her sessions. There's her and another woman leading it. They talk about brainwashing....how we're going to be brainwashed. Someone asks something and they quickly say you should never brainwash yourself.

We walk to a body of water. I guess in Australia. They throw coins in it. I question this--asking whether it is bad for wildlife. They seem annoyed with me and tell me to just do it. Then I mention being scared to go in the water....I say it kind of sheepishly.

4. Found another old Australia dream.

I'm in Sydney. Alone. Going through a horse stable place where you can buy stuff. I think about Christopher Reeve and remember that the accident happened in Sydney. I think I'm embarrassed to talk in front of people; maybe ashamed of my American accent.

I walk up steps and see a mother with three kids. As she walks, her toddler manages to breastfeed. The mother carries two ice-cream cones with pink ice-cream and she's dragging along a stroller. I remark that I'm impressed. I want to help her in some way, but she almost seems to be handling things okay.

She seems offended--thinking I was being sarcastic. She thinks I was making a negative comment about breastfeeding. But I get her to understand I support it. She becomes a little nicer....but still seems a bit defensive. Not to me, but to the world.

I notice she doesn't have an Australian accent, but an Irish one.

Christopher Reeve's accident didn't really happen in Sydney.

I did end up meeting a woman in Sydney who breastfed her toddlers, but she was very nice.   She wasn't defensive at all, and didn't assume I was being sarcastic. 

5. Started to read another editorial about Obama's visit. 

This one's written by someone named Jacqueline Maley.

Maley says, The doughnut-per-capita ratio has spiked. And baristas everywhere are dusting off their drip coffee pots. The Americans are coming. To the city they call Can-bear-ah.

Really? We're known for doughnuts? I thought we were known for homemade waffles.

Maybe we're known for both.  

Maley says toilets, in the area that Obama and the other Americans will visit, have been renamed "washrooms".

Is she joking?

I hope she's joking.

Or maybe the toilet signs WERE changed; but it was done as a joke.  That's fine. I think washroom is the Chicago way of saying toilet.  Maybe it's a tongue in cheek gesture.

I hope so.

6. Continued to read Notes From the Teenage Underground.  

I'm starting to like it.

7. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called A Little Lost. 

It has only one post so far. It's from a character named Gwendolyn Spencer.  I think she's new. Or at least she's new to me.

She's done only eight posts so far; so she's probably new in general.

8. Saw that the story takes place in the Whitlam Bilby Wing.  This is the new area that was established for younger wizards and witches.

Gwendolyn herself isn't that young.  She's thirteen. At that age, she'd be included in the regular Tally area.  I guess she got lost....as the title indicates.

9. Started to read.

Gwendolyn has a younger sister.  Nerual. I think Gwendolyn was in the Whitlam Bilby Wing to see her.  

Gwendolyn has been at Tallygarunga for three days. She's happy that no one has made fun of her yet.  At her other school, it seems she wasn't so fortunate.

10. Started to read the biography of Gwendolyn Spencer

Her face claim is Lindsay Lohan.

I remember when Lindsay Lohan was a cute little child on Another World. 

Back to Gwendolyn.....

She's a Bourke student from Michigan in the United States.

She's half human and half fairy.

11. Learned that Gwendolyn has turquoise eyes.  That's really cool.  I like turquoise. It's one of my favorite colors.

12. Learned that Gwendolyn is thin despite eating a lot of candy. I guess she was blessed with a fast metabolism.

13. Learned that Gwendolyn is very sweet despite having a rough life.

Her troubles came from living in the fairy world.  Because she was human-size she wasn't accepted by the small fairies. She was picked on a lot.

14. Learned that Gwendolyn did some homeschooling.  And at one point, her family traveled with a Muggle circus.

That's very cool.

15. Started to read Gwendolyn's history.

Her sister is only about a year younger than her.  Gwendolyn was born in 1998.  Nerual was born in 1999.

So Nerual would be too old for the Whitlam Bilby Wing as well.

At least I think so.

I'm looking at the Whitlam Bilby Wing.  It's for kids up to year 5.  Nerual would be eleven or twelve.  Could that be year 5?

16. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says in Australia most year 5 kids would be ten or eleven.

I'm guessing Nerual would be old enough for the regular Tally.

Maybe Gwendolyn was wandering in the Whitlam Bilby Wing for random reasons.  

17. Learned that Gwendolyn's dad is a registered Animagus.  He's a butterfly.

In the past, he did work in the study of magical creatures. That's how he ended up meeting a fairy.   They fell in love, had sex, and made half-fairy/half-human babies.

18. Learned that the fairy and human romance wasn't very accepted. Gwendolyn's dad was disowned by Gwendolyn's grandparents.

It was a shocking scandal to the fairy community as well.  They didn't reject Gwendolyn's mom.  They didn't excommunicate her.  But, if I'm reading things right, they tried to force Gwendolyn's dad out of the picture.

19. Learned that although Gwendolyn was born in America, her roots are mainly Australian.  Both her parents are from there.  Her father later moved to America.  Then Gwendolyn's mom visited when she was pregnant and gave birth in Michigan.

20. Wondered about this line in Gwendolyn's bio.  In the states, because of the lack of good magic schools, they home schooled their daughters and sons (whom shall not be named...) up until now. 

Shall not be named?  Is this like a Voldemort thing?

Are the sons a subject no one wants to talk about?

Or did the role-player simply not want to come up with names at that moment?

21. Saw that my Australian of the day is Joseph Archer.

I think he MIGHT be related to the massive Archer family.  

His dad was William Archer.  Wasn't he the patriarch of the whole Archer group?

I could be totally wrong.

22. Saw William Archer was the father of the Archer brothers in Australia.  But it might have been a different William.

Joseph's dad was born in 1754.   The other William was having children from 1813-1832.   Joseph's dad would probably be too old to be their father.   I mean I know old men can make babies, but....

Well, I'm just guessing that it wasn't the same William.

23. Saw that Joseph's William-dad was married to Martha.  The other William-dad was married to Julia.

So yeah.  It seems they're not the same.

24. Saw that Joseph and his brother spent some time in America.

Then later they emigrated to Van Diemen's Land.

25. Learned that Joseph Archer became a land owner.   He had sheep.

26. Learned that Joseph Archer became rich.  He ended up building a mansion in Tasmania.  

27. Started to look at more of Fredweng's 2nd day in Australia Flickr set.   It's all cave photos.  

28. I can see faces in this photo.   It was kind of like that optical illusion where there are two different faces.

At first I saw a creature with a mouth but no eyes.  Then when I looked again; the mouth looked like eyes.

It looks like an alien to me. 

He's kind of in the center.  Then to the right of him is another creature.   It looks like the second creature is wearing sunglasses; and he seems to be leaning backwards.

29. Wondered if anyone else would be able to see the same things I see.  Maybe they would?   Or maybe they'd see their own things.

30. Saw an old man in this photo.  He seems to be surprised.  

His left eye is bigger than his right.

31. Reminded of an octopus when I saw this photo.  

32. Reminded of our pool when I saw this photo.   We have a fountain and behind the fountain there are these growths that are sort of like stalactite/stalagmite things. 

If I was good at earth science, I'd know why they were there and what they were made from.

33.  Saw from googling that these growths near our fountain are probably made from calcium.

34. Learned from Lord Wiki that one of the things that make up stalactites are calcium.

So maybe we ARE growing stalactites in our pool.

I should turn our backyard into a tourist attraction.

35. Wondered if stalactites ever break.  Has anyone ever been injured by a falling one?

36. Googled and didn't easily find anything about stalactite injuries. 

37. Learned from Notes From the Teenage Underground that Liv Tyler originally didn't know her father was Steve Tyler.  She thought it was someone else.

This novel has a lot of interesting celebrity trivia.

38. Started to read the story from Lord Wiki.

Liv Tyler was told her father was another rock star.  Todd Rundgren.

When Liv was nine years old she met Steve Tyler and his daughter.  Liv noticed she resembled the daughter and asked her mother about it. Then her mother told her the truth.

The family kept the information private for about five years. Then it went public.

39. Started to watch the trailer for an old Elizabeth Taylor movie called The Sandpiper.

The narrator (Gem) from Notes From the Teenage Underground watches it with her mother.   

Gem is a big film fan.

40. Went over to Funtrivia to take another quiz.

The one I'm taking today is about that infamous former Premier of Queensland.   Joh something.   The quiz provided the Joh.  I didn't remember that off the top of my head.  But I DO remember hearing about him.  

41. Consulted Lord Wiki.
He says the Premier's full name was Joh Bjelke-Peterson.  

I'm not going beyond the name, because then I might be cheating on the quiz.

Although I guess then we could call it an open-book quiz. 

42. Started the quiz.

43. Realized the quiz might not be all about Joh Bjelke-Peterson after all.

The first question is about a bushranger named William Westwood.  What was his nickname?

I guessed  the answer wrong. The right answer was Jackey-Jackey.

Does that relate to Joh Bjelke-Peterson in some way?

44. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says there was another Jackey-Jackey.  He was an Aboriginal guide who helped out the explorer Edmund Kennedy.

Lord Wiki says the bushranger Jackey-Jackey was given his nickname by Aboriginal people.

45. Got the second question wrong and learned that there's a fish in Australia called John Dorey.

46. Realized this quiz is about the letter J. That's the general theme here.

47. Learned from Lord Wiki that the John Dory fish is sometimes also known as the Peter's fish.

48. Got the fourth question wrong and learned there was a football player from Geelong named Mark Jackson.

He was also known as Jacko Jackson.  

Lord Wiki says that when Jacko Jackson stopped playing football, he did some commercials.   These includes ads for Energizer and Nutri-grain.  

49. Learned from Lord Wiki that an animated version of Jacko Jackson appeared on The Simpsons Australia episode.

50. Watched Energizer commercial with Jacko Jackson.

He kind of reminds me of Robin Williams as Popeye.

51. Disappointed in myself for getting question #6 wrong.   It was about Prime Ministers. Which of the J ones came first?

The answer was John Watson.

I don't even really remember John Watson.

52. Saw from Lord Wiki that John Watson was CHRIS Watson.

I do remember Chris Watson.

Yeah, so his first name was John.

I think it was kind of a trick question.

If I was smart though, I would have recognized the Watson and knew he was the answer.

I had no recollection of John Watson; and my memories of Chris Watson are pretty vague.

53.  Got question #7 wrong and learned there was a band in the late 1970's called Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons.

54. Started to watch video by Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons.

It's entertaining.   It reminds me of Hugh Grant's 1980's band in Music and Lyrics.  

55. Got question #9 wrong and learned that the 2001 census showed there were more Jews than Jehovah Witnesses.

The statistics shown on the quiz are fascinating.

It says there are 40,000 Jewish men and 43,000 Jewish women.

Then there are 45,000 Jehovah Witness Women. but only about 6000 men.

What's the deal with that?

56. Figured the quiz maker had his facts mixed up.

According to this website there are 80,915 Jehovah Witnesses in Australia.  The majority of them are females, but that percentage is 56.6%.  56% of 80,000 would not be 6000.  

57. Saw from the website that the state with the highest ratio of Jehovah Witnesses is Queensland.   They make up .61% of the population.

The ACT is the state/territory with the lowest ratio of Jehovah Witnesses.  They make up only .22% of the population.

In case anyone failed to notice, there's a decimal in the percentages.  Jehovah Witnesses make up less than 1% of the population.

58. Looked at the website's demographics for Judaism.  There IS a higher ratio of Jews in Australia, but it's a very small difference.

Jews in Australia make up .45% of the whole-Australia population. Jehovah Witnesses make up .41%.

Yeah.  That's pretty close.

59. Got question #11 wrong and learned that the fourth highest mountain in Australia is named Jagungal.

Lord Wiki says Mount Jagungal is in Kosciuszko National Park.

60. Got question #12 wrong and learned the most popular name for Australian baby boys in 2003 was Jack.

So there's probably a lot of eight-year-olds running around Australia with the same name as my child.

61. Got question #13 wrong and learned there was a movie called Jedda.

It was Australia's first color movie.  

Lord Wiki says it's notable for being the first film to have Aboriginal actors in starring roles.

The plot sounds interesting.   It's about an Aboriginal child who's mother died at birth.   She's raised by a white woman who works to prevent her from participating in Aboriginal culture.

I wonder how the film presented that. It was made back in 1955.  Was it sympathetic towards the idea of pushing white culture on the child?  Or was the movie against the idea?

62. Found Jedda on the Australian screen website.

I'm pretty sure I looked at all the movies on the site, so I've probably encountered it before.

This shows how awful my memory is.  

63. Started watching a clip from Jedda. 

I've never seen it before, and now I remember why.

I became all prejudiced while exploring the Australian Screen site and had decided I didn't want to watch any old movies. I think I refused to watch anything before 1970...or maybe 1960.

I feel so ashamed by that now.

The crazy thing is when I was reading about The Sandpiper I started thinking that I miss watching old movies. It's not like I've ever watched a lot, but I have watched a few in my life.  I liked some that I saw. 

Really.  Here I've been recently whining about American Idol and their age discrimination. I'm likely just as bad.

Shame on me.  

64. Finished watching the scene.  It's heartbreaking.  It shows the grief of the mother who lost her own baby.  She's very angry when she's shown the Aboriginal baby.  She wants nothing to do with it. 

I think most grieving mothers would feel the same way.

Eventually though...she warms to the child.

65. Read the Curator's Notes about the film.   I'm trying to get an idea about the viewpoint of the film.
The director was a guy named Charles Chauvel.    According to the curator's notes section, he had Aboriginal friends.  Yet it's believed that he believed the ethnic groups should be kept separate.   And he might have believed that genes/blood determined behavior.

I guess the general belief is that you can't make someone white by raising them white.

Tim was raised by white people and not Asian people.  He is very much culturally-white.

Is it fair though to deprive a child of their biological-ethnic background?

I say no.   It's not because they need to act like their biological ancestors.  Tim doesn't need to act and feel Korean. It's fine that he's more culturally-white.

But if his parents tried to deny him his birth culture, it would be....insulting.   It would be like saying his birth culture is inferior to their own.   It's like saying, We don't like this part of you. Let's pretend it doesn't exist. 

Fortunately, Tim's family wasn't like that.   As far as I know, they celebrated his Korean heritage; they didn't deny it.

66. Got question #14 wrong and learned there's a town in Victoria called Jeparit.

Lord Wiki says Robert Menzies was born there.

67.   Got question #15 wrong and learned that in July of some year, Pauline Hanson got in trouble; some people escaped from the Villawood detention center; and a man got bitten by spiders.

The year was in the question, but I forgot what it was. And I don't think I can backtrack.

I'll see it at the end of the quiz though.

68. Googled the spider thing.

I found the story on this website.  And now I know the year was 2001.

Exactly two months before September 11 a guy named Darren Meehan went to bed with a red back spider.  He woke up with many spider bites and wins the record for having to get the most anti-venom.

He believes the spider crawled up his pants when he went to an outdoor toilet.


I wonder if Fruitcake's Other knows about this.  It might make her feel a bit competitive.  

69. Got #18 wrong and learned that John Farnham won ARIA awards in 1986.

I guessed Jimmy Barnes, but that was wrong.

70.  Finished the quiz.  My score was 8/20.  That's lower than the average which is 11/20.

71. Saw that only 28% of quiz takers got the question about Chris Watson right.

I think it's tricky.  The quiz makes it seem like he was known as John Watson. That's not true...as far as I know.   I think he was more known by his middle name.

72. Ordered Australian food for my birthday.

I figured we can eat Tim Tams instead of cake.

I knew it was going to be expensive, though—more expensive than using a box of cake mix, at least.   Imports from Australia are expensive.  Then on top of that you have shipping.   I told Tim we could make that my birthday present from him.

But then....

I remembered I have my Paypal money.  I got a small bit of money for advertising on my blog.   I still have some left, so I used that to pay for the order.

It's really cool. My blog payed for my birthday dessert.

I love that.

Now I shall tell Tim he still needs to get me a present.

73. Told Tim what I ordered and he told me to order more.  And Jack was disappointed that I failed to order any Pizza Shapes.

I couldn't find a way to change my order at Simply Australian

I just put in a new order and asked them to PLEASE combine the two orders. Otherwise maybe I'll be paying double in shipping.

I'm not really sure how shipping works.

If it's totally determined by weight, it shouldn't matter.   Either way I'd pay the same.  But I'm guessing there are set prices.   For anything under this weight you pay so and so.  For anything under this other weight you pay a little more.

I ordered ten items last year and it cost me $16.65 to ship.

I ordered four items this year and it costs $11 to ship.

Then I added two more things and that cost $10.45 to ship.   That will be $21.45 total if they don't combine the orders.    What would it be if they combine the orders?    I'm not sure. Maybe $16.65?

Of course it's not just about the number of items. Each thing has a different weight.

Maybe I bought really light things in 2010?

74. Thought of something that made me feel better.

They say on your seventh order, you automatically get 20% off.   If they don't combine the orders then I'll be closer to my seventh order.  The 20% would probably make up for the excessive shipping price.

75. Felt more excited about my birthday.

I like when Australia is part of it.

76. Loved Veronica's rant about parenting

Her basic gripe is about people judging parents for their children's behavior.

Some people believe well-behaved children=good parenting. Naughty children= bad parenting.

Veronica says, I am fed up with society telling me that I am wrong. That I am failing in some way, because my children are not round pegs. And I am also sick of parents with entirely neurotypical children, assuming that they have the “right” way of parenting, because they don’t have the struggles that we do.

It reminds me of something that happened on Livejournal a few years back.

I had a Livejournal "friend".   She wrote a rant about the awful children at the preschool book-readings she goes to.  Her children sit quietly and politely.   She was angry at the parents who couldn't get their children to do the same.  Obviously, they were bad parents.

The thing is...what she said about these kids totally applied to Jack.   So I was offended. 

Jack wasn't the type to sit still and listen to a story.

I took him to a La Leche meeting once when he was a young toddler.  All (or most) of the other kids sat quietly in their mother's lap.  Jack wandered around the room.

When we'd try to do Tot Shabbat, the other kids happily sat and listened to the story. Jack didn't.

I guess if I was a really strict parent I may have trained him by forcing him to sit quietly.

Maybe it is about parenting style.

But I think it could also be about temperament.  Some kids are more easygoing when it comes to sitting quietly and listening.

Children are not blank slates.  They all have their different strengths and weaknesses.

Some children are easier to handle and some are more challenging.

77. Felt cathartic when reading Veronica's post, but also a bit guilty.

I have been judged as a parent.  Jack's difficulties and quirks—some people seem to think it's because we made different parenting choices than they did.

On the other hand, I have also judged parents for the choices they make.

There's that little voice that creeps up inside my head.   I wouldn't allow Jack to do that. The child is that way because.....Why does she let them get away with that?

I do think it's somewhat fair to judge parents for the PARENTAL behavior you're personally witnessing.

For example.  Here's a time I judged.  I saw a father with his young child at a play gym.  The father showed no interest in what the child was choosing to do.   He seemed to want to control the child by dictating what the child should do.   Go on the slide now.  Come on.  Go on the slide now.   I was thinking something like, the kid is playing with the foam blocks.  What's wrong with that?   Why can't you validate his choice of activity by praising him and giving the blocks some attention?   Why do you have to turn this outing into a game of Daddy-is-the-boss?  

So yeah. I judged this father.  And I've judged other parents. I've cringed. I've become angry on the behalf of children.

I have my opinions.  

I think that's sort of fair.   And sometimes I've lost my temper with Jack in front of other people.  I've bad-parented in public situations, and I think people have a right to judge me.

Other times, I might not even think my parenting is bad.  I might be fine with my behavior.  But other people might have different beliefs about parenting styles.   They have a right to not like my parenting choices just as I don't sometimes don't like other people's parenting choices.  

I think what's NOT fair is to assume a child behaves a certain way because of the parenting.

Maybe Jack doesn't like vegetables because I didn't introduce them earlier into his diet.   That might be the case; but we really don't know for sure.   So, people shouldn't assume that.

So yeah.   That's something I need to work on.   I need to avoid assuming that negative behavior, I see in children, is caused by parenting choices I dislike.   

I can dislike the parenting choices, but I can't pretend I know they lead to negative behavior in the child.  If the parents made the "right" choice, the children might still behave in the same way.

78. Thought about my blogging drama from a few years ago.   I remembered that there were two people that came to my defense.  They were very kind and didn't give me the message that I was making a mountain out of a molehill.   

I tend to remember the bad; and I forget about those who were really nice to me about the whole thing.

I really do wish MORE people had been that nice.   But I should put more energy into appreciating those who were very sweet to me about the whole thing.  I should make sure not to take those people for granted.