Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our Pretend Australia Trip Day 22 Lake Entrance

I just woke up a few minutes ago.

Tim's gone.

I'm guessing he walked to the beach or something.

Jack's still asleep.

I guess I'll read my book for awhile.

* * *

I enjoyed reading my book.

There was a nice sex-on-the-beach scene.

Afterward the couple ate chocolate chip cookies that became extra crunchy from the specks of sand.

* * *

Tim's back.

He walked to the beach and he stopped at the store to get some ingredients for stir fry.  He's making that tonight.

Now we're waiting for Jack to wake up.

* * *

Jack's awake.

We're trying to decide what to do.

We're thinking of walking to the beach, but it's supposed to rain today.  And Tim says it's probably too chilly for swimming.

We might skip that and just hang out around the Esplanade.

For now we're just going to eat apricot Weet-bix.  

* * *

Now Jack is talking to his cousins on FaceTime.

We haven't done that in awhile.

After he talks to Darcy and Ellie, he's going to call Javier and Roberto.

* * *

He's finished talking to his cousins.

Now he's talking to my parents.

Tim is talking to them too.

I'm not...really.

I'm not big on video chatting.

I'm listening, though.

My parents just went to a Leanne Rhimes concert.  They both liked it a lot.

The other big family news is that yesterday they celebrated my brother-in-law's birthday. My sister made her famous chocolate pie.   

* * *

We've had a pretty fun day so far.

After breakfast, we drove to Lion's Park. 

Then we walked around a bit.

Tim was right.  It is a bit cold, but it wasn't too bad.

We went to a bait shop.  We're not planning to fish.  We just thought it might be interesting. And it was raining.   The shop offered us some dryness.  

When it stopped raining a bit, we walked over to Griffith's Seashell Museum.  

Outside the museum is one of Australia's big things—a giant blue ring octopus.

The museum itself was cute.  It had lots of cute things made out of shells. 

Jack bought small gifts for Darcy and Ellie at the museum gift shop. We'll need to get gifts for the other cousins...at some point.

After the shell place,  we walked to another park.

It had a nice playground, but the equipment was wet.   And Jack's not really into playgrounds much anymore, anyway.

We ate pizza for lunch.

And that's about it for now.

We're hanging out in our cabin now.

I'm going to read more of my book.

Jack's going to play Minecraft.

Tim's watching a movie on his computer

* * *

I'm annoyed by my book.  It reminds me of a Days of our Lives storyline—secrets and misunderstandings driving people apart. 

It makes me wonder.  How do most friendships and relationships fall apart?   I would think most times people get tired of each other.  They might begin to hate each other.  They might simply grow apart.

How often do people still love each other, but they're broken apart by a big secret?   I'm sure that happens sometimes in real life.  But my guess is that it's more common in soap operas and romance novels. 

* * *

Tim's taking a nap.

Jack and I went walking around the caravan park.

We didn't see any kids.

We saw an elderly couple.

I gave a little wave. They said g'day

Jack and I said it back.

We saw and heard an Australian Raven.

That was fun.

* * *

I'm tired.

I think I'll go to bed soon.

But first I'm going to have another Iced Vo Vo. 

NOTE:  This trip journal is fictional.   We are not really in Australia.  Some stuff in these posts are based on research.  Some stuff is based on my reality.  Some stuff is based on past experiences. And some stuff is based on fantasy.   

The non-trip journal posts ARE true and real…except for my dreams (which are written in purple). 
Oh...and also....my 2009 trip reports are about a real trip to Australia.  That's all true too.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beards, Belgium, Depression, and Disagreement

1. Looked at Triple J's Hottest 100.

It's a thing where people voted for the best songs of 2011. 

2. Saw that the 100th song is by a group/singer called Mr. Little Jeans.  According to their Facebook page, they're from Fiji.  So I guess the Triple J countdown includes groups outside Australia. 

3. Saw the 99th song on the list was from an Adelaide group called The Beards. Their winning song is called "You Should Consider Having Sex With a Bearded Man".

4. Started to watch a video of the song. 

I like their voices.

And it's a funny song.

I don't know if I like their beards, though.

5. Learned from Lord Wiki that The Beards have another song called "If Your Dad Doesn't Have a Beard, You have Two Moms".

That's very funny.

I'm watching the video now.

It's funny.   Most of all, though, I'm impressed with the singing.  I like that kind of voice. It reminds me of Michael Odokara-Okigbo From the Sing Off Season 3

6. Saw that song # 87 is from an Australian singer.  It's Gotye.  That name has been on my YouTube recommendation lately.  I've been ignoring it.  I wonder, though, if it means I've listened to him before. Or maybe they put it there since I watch other Australian music videos.

7. Started watching the Gotye video.

Actually, I'm just listening. There's not much on the video to watch. 

I like the song, but I don't love it. Maybe it would grow on me in time.

8. Read article that says Gotye is going to be on Jimmy Kimmel Live next week.  The article also says that one of Gotye's other songs ("Somebody That I Used To Know") was expected to be Triple J's #1 song.

The article came out before the Triple J winners were announced.

So, was the prediction correct?

Did they win?

I shall peek ahead.

9. Saw that Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" DID come out as the number one song.

I was about to listen to the song and then I got this idea I've heard it before. I have some song in my head.  But I think might be something totally different.

10. Started to listen to the song and...yeah. I heard it before. It's the song that I had in my head.

And I knew I had heard it from my iTunes DJ.

I wondered why I had it on my iTunes DJ.   

Then I looked to the paper to the right of my computer. It's the list of songs that Jayne from Gleeful put on the CD she made me. "Somebody that I Used to Know" is song #17.  

11. Checked my iTunes. My DJ has played the song seven times for me.  

He's played "Unguarded Moment" eleven times. That's my favorite song on the CD.

12. Dreamed about Red Nomad Oz.   She sends me a comment about animals that change colors.   I think about her comment and try to figure out what I'll write back. I remember learning that these animals change colors to match the colors of the other animals they're with.  

13. Felt that we may not go to Australia for a few years. I don't know. I could be wrong.   Money is an issue but not the biggest issue. Health is an issue, but I'm hoping Tim's medicine works, and it won't be a big issue for too long. 

The main issue for me might be the cats.  I wouldn't want to go on fourteen plus hour plane trip for a short trip to Australia.  I'd want to stay for at least a month.

I feel really sad leaving the cats for that long. The last time we were away, someone stayed at our house.  She's out of our lives, though, and I'm not sure I was fully pleased with her cat sitting services anyway. 

I also feel stressed about finding a time to go. I had May 2014 in mind, but then learned my niece is having her Bat Mitzvah then. We're not going to miss that to go on a holiday.

Right now I feel we won't be in Australia earlier than 2015.  It might be later than that.  It could be earlier.  Who knows.  In the meantime, we'll escape Texas by taking short to medium length trips in America.  We're going to San Francisco this summer for a wedding. That might be nice. And the Botanical Gardens there has a nice Australia exhibit.  There's small bits of talk about us going to Hawaii, because we sort of already have the plane tickets.  

I actually don't mind Texas too much right now because it has really beautiful trees. I'm into trees lately. I don't like learning about them, though. I'm extremely tree-ignorant. I just like looking at them.

14. Figured if I don't get back to Australia anytime soon, it's okay, because I still have Australia in my heart, on the internet, and in my dreams.

I also have a ton of Australia on my bookshelves.

And when I'm at home, I talk with an Australian accent at least half the time. So I have that too.

All I really need is cockatoos and lorikeets visiting me on my porch. Then I might be fully satisfied.

15. Decided I will aim for going to Australia for my 50th birthday. That will be in 2022.  If it happens before that, great. Or maybe not great, because it could mean I have a fatal disease, and I'm going as my last wish or something.

Well, who knows....

There could be a less benign and/or wonderful reason for us to go to Australia earlier. That would be nice.  I'll be happy about it. But if we don't go before 2022, I won't be unhappy about it.

Does that make sense?

16. Remembered that my Australian of the day is the daddy of Frederick and Charles. George Armytage.  

Armytage was born in England in 1795.

He spent some of his childhood in the birthplace of Gotye.

When he was around twenty, he migrated to Van Diemen's Land.

He married the daughter of a convict.

He got some land.

He worked the land.

He did well for himself and his family.  

17. Reread some paragraphs and saw something I missed.

Armytage's father was from Belgium.  So George Armytage and his son have Belgium ancestry.

Gotye has Belgium ancestry too. According to Lord Wiki, Gotye did the migration thing when he was a toddler.

18. Had very stressful and negative interactions with someone from Perth.  Now my love for that city has diminished.

I hate when I do things like that.

The good news is I'm usually able to eventually work through the irrational thinking.

It's like when I failed the singing audition at Disney World and vowed never to sing again. That lasted for a few sad days.  Now I'm back to singing...quite a lot.

The only thing I can't quite manage is to sing or hear "Part of Your World". That's what I was going to sing for my second audition.

Oh and I also have sad feelings about the Chiquita Banana song, because that's what I sang for the failed audition.

I don't hold any hard feelings against bananas, though.  I ate one with my cereal yesterday.

It is funny/sad though.   Because this one person in Perth has made it clear that she strongly dislikes me, I feel EVERYONE in Perth hates me.

Does anyone else ever feel silly things like that, or am I extremely unique?

19. Remembered to look at an Australian time zone map. I figure it might be important for our pretend Australia trip.

I didn't know that South Australia and the Northern Territory are 16/15 hours PLUS 30 minutes ahead of us.   So it's 10:07 in Fort Worth right now.    In Adelaide, it's not 2:07 am.   It's 2:37. In Darwin it's 1:37.

20. Started to look at Fredweng's twenty-first day in Australia Flickr set.

It's a short set.

And there's only a few more days left.

I shall have to find someone new to stalk.  

21. Saw that the hostel, Fredweng stayed at, has a view of Uluru.  

22. Saw that Fredweng went to Melbourne next.

Did he go there before?

I can't remember.  

23. Glanced at Fredweng's sets.  It doesn't look like he went to Melbourne earlier.

To my defense, it's been a long time since I looked at his earlier pictures.  Plus, I get his photos confused with other Flickr accounts I've stalked.  

24. Went back to the Triple J countdown page.

Song #86 is from a group called Seeker Lover Keeper.  It's called "Light All My Lights".

I went to Seeker Lover Keeper's website and saw one of their members is Sally Seltmann. I like her.   She sings one of the songs from Offspring that I love.  

25. Read more carefully and saw Sarah Blasko is another one of the members.

Now that I think of it, one of my email-pals had mentioned this group.  I think.  I remember her telling me about some group made up of Aussie female singers I knew of.

26. Started to watch video of concert performance of song #86.  

I think Blasko is the one doing the main vocals.

27. Decided to do some research on the definition of depression.

Someone was angry that I used the word sad in reference to what they had specified as being depressed.

I went back to edit the words, so I might be less offensive to this person. Why?  Probably because I have that issue of being overly eager to please others.  

Yesterday I briefly glanced at some websites about depression.  It seemed, from what I saw, that depression is NOT necessarily a psychiatric condition.  It can be a basic human emotion unpleasant but not necessarily needing major interventions. 

I'm going to look more closely now.

28.  Started with Dictionary.com   The first two definitions are the rather unhelpful types. The state of being depressed.   Yeah.  That helps a lot. 

The fourth definition is sadness; gloom; dejection.  I've had that before. So I've been depressed.

The fifth definition is listed from coming from psychiatry.   It is:

a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason. Compare clinical depression. 

So although there is a psychiatric depression, that may or may not be treated with medication, there is also a non-psychiatric depression. By looking at the psychiatry definition, I'd say medication should not readily be used when the sadness, gloom, and dejection is caused by an actual exterior reason.

What's a valid reason?   I think it's hard to judge.  Different things make different people sad.   If someone is depressed that they lost their favorite pair of shoes, and they've been depressed for months over this, we might need to worry and get them help. It might not mean, though, that they have a chemical imbalance that needs to be fixed with medication.  If we talk to them, we might learn that the shoes had huge symbolic meaning in their life. The loss of something seemingly trivial might signify a much larger loss.   

29. Saw that the World Health Organization has only the psychiatric definition of depression. For them, it's all about mental disorders.  

30. Saw that the Mayo Clinic has labeled their page on depression as being about Major Depression.   That would mean there's also a non-major depression.  

They say that major depression can also be called clinical depression.  

The website says, Clinical depression causes noticeable disruptions in daily life, such as work, school or social activities. It can affect people of any age or sex, including children. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss (such as the death of a loved one), substance abuse or a medical condition such as a thyroid disorder.

So if someone has broken up with their beloved (which IS a loss) and is being relentlessly bullied, I think it IS reasonable for me to question why they're being treated for clinical depression.

30. Felt sad and disappointed that there are people in the world who can't distinguish between fact and opinion and act hateful towards anyone who disagrees with them. Their viewpoint of things is gospel, and he who disagrees with them better get the hell away.

I'm not depressed about it, though, mainly because I know of wonderful open-minded people.  They have different opinions than me sometimes. We don't always see eye-to-eye; but we're still respectful.  And not only that....sometimes we actually learn from each other.

What worries me is that the rigid, closed-minded mean people outnumber the open-minded, patient, and gentle people.    

I'm hopeful though that one day this will somehow change.

31. Found my next Flickr stalking target.
I figure it will be easier to say good-bye to Fredweng if I have someone to take his place.

32. Looked at Triple J's song #84. It's by Josh Pyke.  "Throw It Away."

33. Saw that Josh Pyke is going to be performing at King's Park in Perth on February 18.

34.  Started listening to "Throw It Away".   I guess it's hip-hop?

I really don't know the difference between hip-hop and rap.

35. Realized I have things confused.

The rapper I'm hearing is not Josh Pyke.  It's 360. I saw 360 also in the Triple J listing, but thought it was maybe Josh Pyke's music name.

"Throw it Away" is a collaboration between Josh Pyke and 360.  

Yeah.  I'm not the brightest sometimes, especially when it comes to music.

36. Saw that song #81 on the Triple J countdown is called "Biding My Time."It's by a Rockhampton group called Busby Marou.  

37. Started listening to "Biding My Time."

I like it.

It's quite lovely.

38. Saw that Busby Marou will be playing at the St. Kilda Festival on February 12.

39. Felt happy that I can take a Funtrivia quiz.

The site has been down for the last hour of so.


Today I'm taking a geography quiz

40. Got question #1 correct; and guess where I learned the answer originally....

Funtrivia!  It's about the Artesian Basin, and I learned about that from another quiz. 

I'm glad I got it right.

It means the Funtrivia is actually working as a learning device. 

41. Got question #7 wrong because I wasn't thinking broadly enough. It asked about Australia cuisine through most of its history.  What culture has it mostly been derived from?   I chose Britain, because I had white Australia history in Mind. The answer was traditional Aboriginal cuisine.

42. Got question #9 wrong and learned Australia is the 4th largest exporter of wine.

I chose rum.

But now that I'm thinking about it, wine makes more sense.

Rum does play a big part in Sydney's history, but it doesn't mean Australia is exporting a lot of it now.

I think what I had in mind though was Bundaberg Rum.

43. Finished the quiz.   I got an 8/10.

I think the quiz was a little off.  Many of the questions weren't about geography.

I think it was more of a miscellaneous quiz. 

Our Pretend Australia Trip Day 21 Lakes Entrance

We've said our goodbyes.

I got a little teary-eyed when hugging Allen and Sam. I don't know if it's because I grew to like them so much, or if I'm pre-period hormonal.

We exchanged email addresses and made tentative plans to get together in Melbourne.

That might be nice.

In a couple of minutes, we're going to start our drive to Lakes Entrance.

We plan to stop in Cann River for a quick lunch and a pee.

* * *

Good-bye New South Wales.

We'll see you again in June.

I'll miss you!

I love you!

* * *

We've arrived at our caravan park.    

It's fairly quiet here.

I think a lot of families are ending their holidays to return to school days.

The drive was okay, but we went through some winding roads.

I didn't like that.  

* * *

We went to the grocery store and picked up a few items.  We also have some cooking stuff (sugar, flour, salt, pasta, etc) from Adaminaby.  Hopefully it's not tainted by the scary camping family.

Now we're trying to decide what to do next.

We might just hang out at the caravan park today.

* * *

I'm doing laundry.

It's been awhile.

Tim did it last.  I forgot to give him credit and kudos for that.

He did it the last day we were in Adaminaby....when I had that long nap.

Laundry is usually my job.

* * *

We've been to the pool.

We went to the game room.

Now we're kind of bored.

* * *

We left the caravan park and went down to the Esplanade.  It's near the river.

We went to a bookstore.

We got ice-cream.

We got chips at a fish and chips place.

We didn't get a meal because we had already decided on pasta for dinner.

So we ate our snack and our dessert first.

Soon we'll eat our dinner in the cabin.

* * *

Guess who made dinner!

Not Tim.

I did!

Maybe it's because I remembered how Tim did my job a few days ago.  I felt in exchange I should do his job.  

Also, the thing that Jack wanted....I'm good at making it.

It's really simple, so don't bother getting ready to be impressed.

It's just boiling pasta, adding some olive oil when it's done, and then you sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.  At home, I usually use our claimed-to-be healthy fake butter.  Jack and I prefer that even though it's probably less healthy than the olive oil.

It tastes fine with the olive oil, though.

I added some frozen veggies to my serving and to Tim's.  Jack doesn't do vegetables (unless it's very well mixed in) so he just had the pasta. 

NOTE:  This trip journal is fictional.   We are not really in Australia.  Some stuff in these posts are based on research.  Some stuff is based on my reality.  Some stuff is based on past experiences. And some stuff is based on fantasy.   

The non-trip journal posts ARE true and real…except for my dreams (which are written in purple). 
Oh...and also....my 2009 trip reports are about a real trip to Australia.  That's all true too. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Pretend Australia Trip Day 20 Eden

We're having dinner at the bed and breakfast tonight.  The hosts are going to cook for us and they were very accommodating about me being vegetarian and (usually) avoiding eggs.  I actually didn't have to tell them I don't eat eggs.  They said they've noticed I avoid the egg items at breakfast.   I thought it was sweet of them to notice. 

The other guests are coming too. We're all going to eat together.

The two guys were very friendly with us this morning.   It turns out that it's not a case of them being friendlier at animal parks than they are at bed and breakfasts. I think they're just the type who need time to warm up to you.

Tim and the two guys had a great chat. He seemed to click well with them.

Jack and I paid more attention to the birds.

* * *

We had a bit of an argument.

Tim and I want to go to the Ben Boyd National Park.  Jack doesn't want to go. He remembers the last time we went to a national park...in 2009.  We went on a trail that was infested with bull ants. 

Looking back, I'm thinking we were stupid for pursuing the path.   I guess we were worried if we turned back, we'd be typical whiny and cowardly Americans.  Or maybe we expected that this was par for the course.  But after we made it alive through that part of the park, we went to a different area and it had much less bull ants.

We've promised Jack that we will turn around if we see tons of bull ants, or other scary creatures that cause painful bites and/or stings.

He's agreed to go, but very reluctantly.

* * *

We're back from the park.

We had a great time.  We held hands and sang songs from The Sound of Music. The birds sang along with us and we cuddled wild koalas.

Okay.  Maybe I'm lying a little bit.

It wasn't our best time, at least not in the beginning. 

We took the Pinnacles route.  We weren't bombarded by any scary creatures. We were bombarded by Jack recreating the Mother's Day episode of Modern Family

Are we there yet?

When are we going to leave?

I'm tired.

I'm hungry.

This led to me snapping at him and reminding him of all the stuff we do for him.

Oh and I threatened him, of course.  Empty threats.  If you don't stop complaining, then maybe we'll stop taking you to the places you love.   The world doesn't revolve around you.  We have to go to places we don't like sometimes  You need to do the same.

Then I did the typical thing of comparing my childhood to his.   My wishes were often buried beneath the wishes of my parents and sisters.   Jack gets to do what he wants to do much more often than I did as a child.

In some ways, I feel he deserved the scolding.  So I can't say I feel like the worst parent of the year.   But I don't like it when I raise my voice with him and I don't like feeling that anger.   And I also usually feel like a failure of a parent.  Have we spoiled him?  Is it our fault he's like that?

Remembering Modern Family helped a bit.  It kind of reminded me that kids are typically like this.   And it reminded me that parents typically react the way that I did.  

After the scolding, Jack was very apologetic.

Then I tried to make things more positive.

We looked out for animals.  We saw lizards and lots of birds.  And we saw wallabies. We were all excited about that.

The Pinnacles themselves didn't thrill us too much. They're not quite like the Pinnacles of Western Australia.  

On our walk back, Jack said.  That was fun. Can we go to more national parks?

So, I guess in the end, it all worked out quite well.

* * *

We had some lunch at a cafe...nothing memorable.

Now we're going to hang out at the beach.  

* * *

We're back from the beach.

We did some packing.

Now we're resting a bit.

* * *

We had a GREAT dinner.

I don't want to leave tomorrow.

I want to move in to the bed and breakfast.

The food was fabulous.  I started having this fantasy that we move here and Tim starts cooking with them.  He could work for the bed and breakfast!

Tim had a great time talking to the hosts about cooking.   They compared recipes and all that. Tim was able to use his snooty foodie vocabulary without people giving him quizzical looks. 

Jack and I talked to the other guests about politics.  Jack was shy at first, but then started getting into the conversation.

After dinner, the hosts went off to do their own thing. The three of us played Monopoly with the two guys.

I lost first, which was tragic.  Tim was out second.   Jack and one of the guys competed for a fairly long time.  In the end, Jack won. He was quite pleased with himself.

NOTE:  This trip journal is fictional.   We are not really in Australia.  Some stuff in these posts are based on research.  Some stuff is based on my reality.  Some stuff is based on past experiences. And some stuff is based on fantasy.   

The non-trip journal posts ARE true and real…except for my dreams (which are written in purple). 
Oh...and also....my 2009 trip reports are about a real trip to Australia.  That's all true too.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Syrup, Marijuana, Wizard Stalking, and Homeschooling

1. Ate the damper that Tim made.

It was really good.

Now we have the open can of golden syrup.  I hate for much of it to go to waste, so I'm thinking of things we can do with it.

Well, tonight I'll put it on my ice-cream.  We have some of the damper left, so we can also repeat the damper-golden syrup combination tomorrow. 

2. Wondered if perhaps I wasn't completely off my rocker when suggesting Reade Ainsworth could smoke pot as an alternative to taking prescribed psychiatric medication. 

I DID briefly read, in the past year or so, that there is a correlation between marijuana use and psychosis...when marijuana use is started at a young age.  I can't remember if there was proof of causation, or not.  But I do remember reading about the idea that the marijuana doesn't necessarily cause psychosis. But for people who are destined to become psychotic, it might bring on the symptoms earlier.  The stuff I read said this is a problem, because people who develop psychosis at a later age have better outcomes.

I was wondering, though, about other mental issues like depression and anxiety. Can marijuana help?  Would it make things worse?

It turns out the opinionated experts out there have differing opinions. I jumped to a few websites.  This blog seems to summarize it pretty well.  The blogger has quotes from those who think smoking pot is a good thing for depressed people and those who think it's a bad idea.

The opinion I personally formed after reading the other opinions is that marijuana MIGHT be a valuable tool in treating depression but if taken in high doses, it can backfire and make things worse.

Can the same not be said for legal medications prescribed by doctors? I've heard they can be helpful.  I've also heard they can be sometimes unhelpful, and they can sometimes make things worse.  

3. Skimmed an article about the study linking marijuana and psychosis.I don't think it talks about the importance of not getting psychotic episodes early in life, so maybe I dreamed that one up. OR maybe it's just not talked about in this particular article.  

I'm reading the article more carefully now. It was an Australian study, actually—a meta-analysis type thing.  I'm not sure if that's the proper name.  But it's one of those studies where they look at other studies. With this method, they looked at twenty thousand patients. Out of those patients, the marijuana users had their first psychotic episode three years earlier than the non-marijuana users.

4. Saw I was wrong. This article does mention the don't-go-psychotic-too-early thing. Someone from the study was quoted as saying:

An extra two or three years of psychosis-free functioning could allow many patients to achieve the important developmental milestones of late adolescence and early adulthood that could lower the long-term disability arising from psychotic disorders.

5. Continued to read the article. I think they're saying that there is no proof of causation. As we learn in our psych 101 classes, correlation does not equal causation.

Some folks believe that maybe the marijuana doesn't bring out the psychosis in young folks. They believe that maybe the early symptoms of psychosis leads young people to turn to drugs. It's a chicken and egg thing, really.  

6. Started to feel passionate about medical marijuana.  Maybe that will be my new cause. I was pro before but kind of in an apathetic way.

I think what changed me is seeing the characters do marijuana in the movie 50/50.  The guy with cancer reminded me a lot of myself.  He doesn't drink or smoke anything.  He doesn't do drugs.   (And he doesn't drive!)

But then he's with other patients, and they offer him a macaroon with pot. He says no at first, but then he takes it. It gives him a few moments of peace and happiness.  

Now I'm seeing from Lord Wiki that there may be many benefits to marijuana. I don't think I'd do it for the fun of it.  But if I got sick and felt there was good evidence that marijuana would make me feel better and/or help me live longer, I'd be mighty pissed off that my state government is denying me the right to use that form of treatment.

7. Found an old dream.  It's from April 18, 2008. It's not about Australia; but it reminds me of how I sometimes feel when blogging.   

Driving and feeling alienated. There are people around the place I'm driving....like I'm driving in a crowd of people. I feel they all are mad at me or dislike me. I might hit one slightly, or I think I did on accident. There's this feeling of being embarrassed and ashamed.

Speaking of dreams, last night I had a lucid dream in which I reminded myself that I have a blog about Australia. I do that in my lucid dreams every so often—prove my strength of lucidity by reciting facts about my real life self.

I don't think I got very far with that this morning. After mentioning to myself that I have this blog, I think I became distracted.

8. Found a rather dark dream about Australia.

This one is from April 22, 2008.

We go to some park like place....maybe a playground. There are usually wallabies there, but this time there are also huge kangaroos. The kangaroos are aggressive and one attacks Jack.  It hurts Jack's nose. I kill the kangaroo with my bare hands.

9. Loved reading Fruitcake's story. It's about women working in a factory.

Fruitcake is very talented.  I already knew she was good at writing nonfiction. Now I see she's equally great at fiction.

I love that you can find so many great writers on the internet.  

10. Went to Tallygarunga.

I started to read and write, but I feel bad about the rants and the controversies....and all that. Even before the rant issue, I kind of felt like an intrusion.

It's probably all in my head.   I don't know.  Or maybe I just feel like a creepy lurker who's spying on a bunch of wizards and witches.

I don't know much about role-playing. But I've come to think it's more about being part of a community and writing as a team.   I think it's less about weird outsiders coming in, reading, and them commenting...even though some of the Tally people were very sweet and welcoming towards me.   

I'm not sure about any of it, really.  I think I'll just take a break for a week or so. Then I'll decide if I feel like getting back to it.  If I don't get back to it, I probably will have to sneak in every so often to see what's happening. Will Reade and Arti get back together? Will Améa and Arti become friends?

Whatever happened to Riley Lightfoot? I haven't seen him in awhile.

I miss chef James Young and his romance storyline.   

I'll have to see if The Exorcist couple ends up tying the knot. I wonder what sort of wedding gift Walter will give them.  

Will the Blair kids realize they have five more siblings out there somewhere?

And of course I'll want to see what's happening with Lee Evans and his newly found magical powers.

11. Saw that there's a threat of cyclones and bushfires in Western Australia, the central part—north of Perth and south of Broome.

I hope everything turns out okay—no extensive damage or loss of life.  

12. Read article about the floods in New South Wales.

The weather is rough on Australia during the summer months.  

13. Wondered if golden syrup needs to be refrigerated.  I put it in yesterday, but it's slow moving enough without refrigeration. I took it out. I'm hoping it will be okay.

14. Read this website.  One guy says the golden syrup should be refrigerated after opening, but the others seem to think it's fine not too.

I'm thinking of other stuff we don't refrigerate and it ends up okay: Nutella, imitation breakfast syrup, honey, corn syrup.....

We do refrigerate our Hershey syrups, the type you put in milk. I'm not sure if it's really necessary or not. 

15. Read a sweet little supernatural story in Isabelle the Navigator.  It's open-ended, which I like.   The character, hearing the story from her new friend, is skeptical and doesn't know if she's being told the truth or not.  The one telling the story doesn't know if it was all her imagination and whether or not the amazing coincidence she experienced was a miracle or a clever lie.  

The outcome of the story reminds me of something that has happened to me.

In the story, two people have this strong spiritual connection.  It's like they're brought together by fate. They become friends but in the end, it doesn't work out.    

I do feel pushed by destiny to have certain people in my lives.  Then when we drift apart, I wonder what was the point of all that?

Maybe I mistook coincidence for destiny.

Or maybe we were meant to play only temporary parts in each other's lives.

It could also be that our friendship isn't truly over.  Perhaps it's only on hiatus. That happens sometimes.  

16. Saw that I have brothers for my Australian of the day.  And I see that I'm done with Armstrong people.

Now I have Charles Henry and Frederick William Armytage

And for the next post I'll be writing about their dad, George Armytage.

17. Saw that Charles Henry was the elder brother.  He was born in 1824.  Frederick William was born fourteen years later.   Wow.  That's a big space there.

Charles was the fourth son and Frederick was the sixth son.  So there was one kid born in-between that time.

18. Learned that Charles was born in Bagdad Tasmania which was Van Diemen's Land.

His dad gave him property.  He became a grazier.

He ended up in Victoria.

He owned lots of land, including Como. That sounds familiar to me.  Maybe it's talked about in the Australian architecture book I have.

19. Found a website about Como.  It's part of the National Trust of Victoria. 

20. Looked at my architecture book.  There's a whole chapter on Como.   It's in Melbourne. I'm sure Andrew has mentioned it then. That's probably the main reason why it's familiar to me.  

21. Found Como on Google Maps.   It's in South Yarra.  I think Andrew maybe lives around that area.  I can't quite remember....like usual.  

22. Consulted Lord Wiki to see if the Armytage family played a big part in Como's history. He says the house does have a long association with that family.

23. Learned that Charles Armytage was involved with turning Eucalyptus oil into a healing product.

24. Learned that Frederick Armytage ended up owning property too.

And he played cricket.

25. Glanced at a marijuana study from the University of Southern California.

A lot of it goes over my head. It's been a LONG time since I've taken statistics.

The study looked at nine thousand people. They divided the participants into daily users, weekly users, less than weekly users, and people who have never used.

I could be wrong, though.  It's confusing to me.

26. Saw that the study looked at four factors regarding depression; depressed affect, positive affect, somatic activity, and interpersonal symptoms. I'm not entirely sure what those refer to.  

27. Decided to just skip down to the conclusion/discussion bit.

They say basically those who use marijuana, either regularly or occasionally, have less depressive symptoms than people who have never used. 

Okay, but here's my argument...which probably has no merit. One of the main reasons I don't like the idea of drinking or smoking pot is the worry of loss of control.   I worry I'll go completely silly and embarrass myself which is ridiculous since, without drugs, I'm very silly and often embarrass myself.

I was embarrassed for the guy who got high in 50/50, even though I was amused by him and also kind of happy that he was happy.

But what I'm wondering is maybe it's not about the drugs reducing depression. Maybe people like me choose not to use drugs because of something in our personality.  Maybe we're too uptight.  Maybe we cling too desperately to control. And maybe people who are uptight and cling too desperately to control are more likely to be depressed.  

I'm probably wrong. There probably IS something in the drug that reduces depression. I'm just trying to provide an alternative angle.

28. Chuckled a bit at this part of the conclusion.

This study was also the first to our knowledge to separately investigate depression in medical marijuana users relative to recreational users. Medical users reported more depressed mood and more somatic complaints than recreational users, but reported less negative affect and fewer somatic complaints (among women) than those who had never used marijuana.

Sometimes I wonder about the people doing these studies.

Wouldn't it be kind of expected that people, with a medical condition would be less happy than those who are just using marijuana for the fun of it?

I don't think these are minor medical conditions....like my currently dodgy toenail. I think these people, using medical marijuana, have some major shit going on in their bodies. I imagine it's hard for them to be happy. It's nice, though, that the marijuana seems to be making them happier.   I'm confused about the last line I quoted above. Are they saying people taking medical marijuana are less depressed than sick people not taking it, or are they going so far to say that they're even happier than healthy people not doing marijuana.   If the latter is the case; we need to ALL be smoking pot.   They should just put it in the water.

Don't worry.  I'm joking. Sort of.

29. Decided it would be good to look at the opposite end of the argument.  I found a study done in 2001 by the American Journal of Psychiatry.  

The study was a longitudinal one.  They looked at 1,920 people in 1980; then followed up with them in 1994 and 1996. They looked at people who were not depressed in 1980 and started using drugs after that point. The scientists found that they were four times more likely to be depressed than the people who did not use marijuana after the initial examination.

It sounds like the opposite results of the other study.

In this study they talk about the whole chicken and egg thing. Does the marijuana cause depression, or are depressed people more likely to turn to marijuana?

This is the opposite of what I was saying a few paragraphs above. 

Maybe there's two types of people with mental issues—those who turn to mind-altering drugs and those who fear them.

30.  Had some ideas after looking at both of these studies, about why there are such conflicting reports and conclusions, although that seems to be fairly typical of science. That's why I turn to the supernatural.

Anyway, my first idea is that maybe marijuana works differently with different brains.  In some people it causes depression.  In other people it reduces depression.   I guess by coincidence one study ended up with more of one type of person and the other study ended up with the other type.

That seems a bit far-fetched.

Then again, why are there so many different drugs for depression? Obviously one size/type doesn't fit all.  

My other thought goes back to what I was reading last night.   I'm wondering if marijuana used for short periods can reduce depression but for those who use it for a long time, maybe it increases depression.

I don't know, though.  I didn't read, in either study, about the length of time people used. Those in the longitudinal study might have used it once or twice between 1980 and the mid 1990's.  How long did users use in the University of South California study?

31. Thought maybe marijuana is like chocolate. It has health benefits if you eat it in small doses. If you eat a ton of it, then you're likely to become overweight and unhealthy.

I guess a lot of things are like that.

Some things are pretty bad in all doses.

Some things are almost always good, even in moderately large doses.

Then other stuff is good in small doses but bad in large doses.

32. Thought of seaweed. That's another good example. In small doses, it's good for your thyroid. It can prevent hypothyroidism.  In large doses, it can wreak havoc on your thyroid.

33. Thought about how I'm thankful to Reade Ainsworth because he inspired me to learn all of this.   I hope he ends up being okay whether he stays on the anti-depressants or not.   

I know he's fictional.  Yeah. But in my heart, he's real. He's a nice kid...minus his snootiness with the waiter that one time.

34. Learned from Tim that the protesters burned the Australian flag. I think he was all proud of himself for knowing something Australian before I did. And I felt ashamed for not keeping up with the news.

I've been reading the news less lately.

I guess I'm just annoyed by it.

I do learn about some current events from Stephen Colbert, and we're all into the GOP primaries...especially Jack.

I have Australia news on my iGoogle.  I have the ABC widget and a Sydney Morning Herald widget.  I see the headlines. A lot of them are teasers and I have no idea what the story is. Every so often, I'll be curious enough to check.

I used to read Google News Australia. I'd look at the Australia section, the Entertainment section, and the health section.

I don't know. I just got sick of it.

35. Enjoyed the Paris snow scene in Isabelle the Navigator.  It's fun seeing snow through the eyes of someone who's never experienced it before. It really can be magical...at least when it first starts falling.

I would think Jack's love for snow snow would be less than most other kids.  I kind of thought that 75% of kid snow-love is missing school.  Jack misses school every day.   But it turns out he loves snow.

I hope it snows this year.  Last year, we had a lot of snow, much more than Fort Worth usually gets.   So I'm thinking we might not get much this year.  Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe last year started a new trend, and we'll be getting a good amount of snow every year.  

36. Decided I'll try to be better about clicking on the iGoogle headlines. I think my other problem is I've gotten it into my head that if I read an article, I'm obligated to write about it. That's silly and irrational.

I need to remind myself that I don't need to write anything unless I feel inspired to write.

37. Read article about Julia Gillard's staff person leaking information that helped the protesters find Gillard and Abbott at their dinner.

The first thing I thought of when I read that was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  There was that whole thing about relocating Potter and the worry about leaks and spies.  

Now that I think of it, secret-keeping plays a pretty big part in Harry Potter.  There are various incidents where someone's life is dependent on someone keeping a secret.

38. Thought it was fortunate that the Julia Gillard staffer sent protesters to the restaurant and not Voldemort.

39.  Learned that the scary Western Australia storm is named Iggy.

It reminds me of that Judy Blume book.  

I hope Iggy treats Western Australia gently.

40.  Saw there's a new movie coming out with Josh Lawson.  It's called Any Questions For Ben? 

An Aussie actress named Rachael Taylor is in the movie. She seemed vaguely familiar to me.

I looked and saw she was on Grey's Anatomy.  

She was also on the recent TV show Charlie's Angels.  I didn't know about that show until a few days ago, but it looks like it already ended.  

41. Watched a trailer for Any Questions For Ben?

It doesn't really look that intriguing to me, but Josh Lawson is kind of adorable. He'd be a great Tallygarunga face claim person, if any of the role-players became interested in using Australian people.

I was excited to see the guy from Offspring. What's his name again?

42. Found the guy.  His name is Lachy Hulme.  He plays Dr. Martin Clegg on Offspring.

43. Wondered why I keep searching for Julian McMahon in my lucid dreams. This has been going on for seven years now. That's CRAZY.  

Will it ever end?

44. Decided it will end eventually. Obviously.

Everything ends.

45. Watched a little of The Daily Show with Tim and Jack.  Tim is a fan of the show. Jack and I have been somewhat reluctant to jump on board the fandom.

I can't say I loved it. There were a few funny parts. But I prefer Colbert.

Anyway, though, John Stewart mentioned two Australia related thing—Rick Springfield and Oprah's Australia trip.

46. Thought that Luke Davies was quite handsome...at least in the picture on the back of the Isabelle book.  He looks like some actor.  Maybe Clive Owen?

47. Finished reading the Isabelle book.

I thought it was really good.  I'm not sure I liked the ending, though.  Davies took the same route as JK Rowling and provided an epilogue. I liked the JK Rowling one until I saw the movie.

As for Isabelle; I had a hard time letting go of the fact that the protagonist is a female and the author is a male.  Some writers are very good at putting themselves in the other gender's shoes. I don't think Davies is horrible at it. There were many times that I felt I was reading about a real woman. Other times, I felt like I was reading about a man's fantasy of a woman.

Isabelle has a strong libido. She's heterosexual, but has a passionate affair with a woman.  Her favorite movie is Star Wars.  Isn't that like the typical man's fantasy woman?

It's fair, though.  Novels by women often have men who represent the typical woman's fantasy.

48. Worried for Western Australia.

I hope everything will be okay. 

49. Saw that there's flooding issues in Queensland.  

I hope they'll be okay too.

50. Went to bed and had some dreams.   In one, I go to a blog and the blogger has a picture using this special device.  You can look at the picture and feel like you're really there.  The picture takes up the whole room.   I stand on something (like a couch) and feel like I'm looking down at the scene.  The only thing is, I can still see our own carpet in the scene. I plan to write about the picture on my blog.   
Last night I googled "Armchair traveling" and glanced at a few sites. So I think that's what inspired that dream.

51. Read article about homeschooling in Australia.   It says many parents are choosing the illegal route.  This means they're doing underground homeschooling. They're not registering their kids.

In both Australia and America, homeschooling laws vary by state. Some states have very strict standards.  Families are on a very tight leash.  Other states give families a lot of freedom.

Texas is very easy.  There's no testing or reporting.  I like that. It's one of the few things about Texas that I love.

When I was looking into us moving to Australia, I read about the homeschooling laws. From what I remember, Victoria families have the most homeschooling freedom. Other state's laws are a bit more complicated and tedious.   

52. Annoyed by a man quoted in the article.  A sociologist Stanford University says, I know plenty of home-schoolers who would still home school even if they had an exceptional public school right next door to them.   

Why don't I just turn that quote around and say, I know parents who send their kids to school even though their kids have a beautiful home and parents perfectly capable of teaching them.  

The other thing is, how do you define exceptional public school?  My definition might not be the same as his definition.

My dream public school?   It would have low teacher to student ratios—probably one teacher for every 8-10 kids. The classroom would be full of books, computers, science materials, toys, art supplies, building materials, etc. There'd be no assignments.  The kids would take the materials and learn what they want to learn.  They'd choose whether they want to work alone or with other students.  A student could spend weeks working on one project if he desired. Other students may work on several different things in one hour.

That's MY dream school.  To other people, that would be a horrible school.   Other people's definition of exceptional school might be a school in which the average standardized test scores are very high.

53. Thought about the final part of the article.  Hanne Worsoe, the manager of the Queensland Home Education Unit says, That's why we live in a civil society that provides that capacity to represent children and to monitor their educational needs. If people aren't registered I'd say you're breaking the law, and if you're doing the right thing by your kids you've got nothing to hide.  

That makes sense on some level. It depends, though, on how rigidly we define doing right by our kids.  If we define it as not starving them, not trading them for drugs, not raping them, not beating them, etc....then I think yeah, that makes sense.

If we define it as the kids must be learning this at this exact age and they should spend this amount of time each month on this and this; then I think that's too rigid.   Not everyone fits into such a tight mold.

I think what Hanne Worsoe needs to do is make parents feel safe enough to come out from the homeschooling closet.  Show these parents that the government is welcoming and accepting of various educational philosophies and choices.

Right now I get the sense that there's a lot of antagonism between the parents and the educational authorities.  I think they should work towards building a cooperative and accepting relationship.    That type of relationship is not built by saying, You'd come forward if you had nothing to hide.   That's what we say to people when we suspect they DO have something to hide, and we want to make them nervous.  

54. Went to look at more of Fredweng's day Twenty in Australia Flickr set.  

55. Liked this photo of Kata Tjuta. 

I'm wondering how that's pronounced. Is the t silent or the j?  Or do you somehow say both letters?

56. Liked looking at the various cute camel photos. Here's one example.  

In most of the photos, though, it looks like the camels are smiling. I wonder if that's an anthropomorphic illusion, or are they really smiley animals?

57.  Thought that this camel doesn't seem to be smiling.  What the hell are they doing to his nose? It looks mean.  

58. Found a website about camel halters and nose pegs. They're used to control the camel.  Why?

It seems strange to me; and painful.  But I'm ignorant about the subject.   The person who made the website DOES seem to care about camel welfare.  They talk about dos and don'ts  in terms of camel care.  They warm about practices that are likely to cause injury.

59. Read this editorial about nose pegs. Charmain Wright is in support of using the pegs, but his argument didn't convince me.

There's less about the welfare of the animals; and much more about controlling the animals.   Wright says:

Granted, there are individual variations between animals and training techniques. Some of my animals did very well without nose lines. But when my camels are working with the public, I feel that public safety overshadows all other prejudices or ethical considerations. The bottom line is that, regardless of type of training, nose pegs afford a greater degree of control than any other type of headgear.

My gut feeling is that if such strong control is needed to keep the public safe from an animal, maybe they shouldn't be used as an attraction.  Or at least not an interactive attraction.

Wright does say later that the nose pegs cause very little discomfort. That's comforting...sort of. But how do you define minimal discomfort?

60. Though that this woman looks a bit like Tracy Pollan....but less so in this photo

61. Saw that Fredweng had rice, for a change, instead of noodles.  

Well, no. I'm wrong.

He had noodles too.  

62. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

The one I'm taking today is another national parks one.  

Maybe I'll do okay on it.

63. Decided I probably won't do okay on it.  I answered the first question wrong.  I don't blame myself.  I blame the quiz.   It reminds me of that Oprah Australia quiz.  It's about memorizing numbers and obscure trivia.

So, now I know that national parks in Australia cover 25.7 million hectares. Personally, I don't really care.

64. Got question #7 wrong and saw that Wilpena Pound is in Flinders Ranges National Park.  I thought that's what I put.  Or maybe I answered Flinders Chase National Park.

I knew it was Flinders something; not really because I'm highly knowledgeable about Wilpena Pound.  But the question said it was in South Australia.   I knew Flinders-whatever-park is in South Australia.

65.  Finished the quiz.   Besides the first question, I thought the quiz was reasonable.

I got 8/10.

66. Wondered why I think it's reasonable to memorize names of things but not reasonable to be expected to memorize number facts.

I don't know.....

Our Pretend Trip to Australia Day 19 Eden

Okay, so now I'm groggy.

I have that feeling where I feel like I'm coming down with something. But usually when I have this feeling I don't come down with anything.   So, that's the good news.

I just feel kind of rundown and a bit achy.   I'm somewhat lethargic.  It took effort for me to get out of bed.   It took effort for me to get dressed for breakfast.

I made sure to eat lots of fruit for breakfast in hopes their vitamins would boost my immunity.  On top of that, I also had one of our super magical vitamin drinks.  Yeah.  I know.  Overkill.  

Today we're going to drive up north a bit to another town called Merimbula. We're going to go to an animal park called Potoroo Palace.  

* * *

We're not all going to the animal park.

I felt bad dragging Tim there because I know he gets tired of those types of attractions.

SO...I suggested that he maybe go see a movie instead.

Tim protested, but I insisted.  Of course, I did start to worry.  What if he WANTS to come with us, and I'm rejecting him?   But I think when you're married to someone you know what they enjoy and you know what's boring to them.

I'm not saying Tim hates zoos and animal parks.  He enjoys them, but I think he enjoys them in small doses. After awhile he gets that glazed look in his eyes—the one I get at museums.   Although his tolerance for zoos is probably higher than my tolerance for museums.


We did some research and found a movie theater in Merimbula. Tim's going to drop us off at the animal park and then he's going to go see Sherlock Holmes.  

Tim LOVES movies.

I used to be a huge fan too.   Then I did a semester of film school, and it kind of ruined things for me.   I like movies a little bit, but I'm a much bigger fan of books and television shows.

* * *

I'm a little worried that we'll be ready to leave the animal park before Tim gets out of the movie.   We're going to be stuck there for close to 3 hours. That's kind of a long time.

We'll have lots of time to bond with the animals.   It'll be nice.

* * *

We're back!

We had a good time, although I do think we were at the animal park a bit too long.  

There was one point where I looked at my phone and thought crap, we're going to be here two more hours...or even more since Tim is always late.  But after that, time sped up a bit.  We had a lot of fun.

We saw kangaroos, dingos, and potoroos. 

We had major bonding moments with Charlie the cockatoo.   Jack is really wanting a pet cockatoo now.  It's hard for me to say no, because I want one too.    But I do know that the right answer for us is no.  I don't think we're responsible and dedicated enough for parrot ownership.   Plus, I do prefer them in the wild.   I love the idea of free birds more than captured birds.  That being said, if someone else has captured a bird, I don't mind hanging out a bit with their captive animal.  

Back to the animals....

Jack and I both also loved Luna the Echidna.  She's very cute, and of course I thought of Luna Lovegood.

Guess who we saw at Potoroo.....

The other people staying at the Bed and Breakfast!   They were much more friendly and outgoing at the park than they are back here.  I don't know why.   Maybe they were in a happier mood?  

I'm not saying they're usually unfriendly—just kind of quiet.  

Today they were much more talkative, and they seemed excited to see us.

What happened is they overheard Jack talking about the GOP primaries.  Jack's really into that right now, and has been talking about it a lot.  The guys were amused that this child was so politically aware.   One of them kind of chuckled and made a remark about him being clever.   Our backs were turned. I turned around to say thanks, and then we saw that we knew each other.

We had a short friendly chat; then we went our separate ways.
Tim enjoyed his movie.  He was late as I expected.

With Tim, time just magically disappears. 

I started feeling a bit off while we were waiting for Tim but nothing too horrible.  

Once Tim arrived, the three of us ate a very early dinner (or linner) at a Mexican restaurant.  

Jack got a quesadilla kids meal.  Tim and I split vegetarian tostados.  It was all nice.

We thought of getting dessert there but then decided to go for ice-cream.   There's something about ice-cream shops and coastal towns. I don't know. I think they go together well.  

Jack pushed us into getting the Pure Passion sundae which had real passionfruit along with passionfruit and vanilla ice-cream.  Jack's really loves fruit, especially exotic fruit.

I kind of wanted to get the sundae with honeycomb, but I gave into Jack.  Sometimes I find it challenging to say no, especially when I know he's so excited about something. Plus, he wanted a fruit thing. That's probably more healthy than the honeycomb thing.  

And in the end we all loved the sundae.  

* * *

Now we're trying to decide what to do...in terms of eating.

We ate dinner at around 3:30.  We had the ice-cream around 4:30.  Now it's close to 6:00. We're not hungry...yet.   But we probably will be before it's time to go to sleep.  

We have the pita chips left from yesterday.  Maybe we'll eat those?  We can drop by Coles and get more hummus or something.

Maybe we'll eat on the beach again.

That was nice.

* * *

I'm getting tired.

Maybe I'll skip the whole dinner on the beach thing.  I just want to veg out.

Or maybe I'll take a little nap before we head out for our snack on the beach.

NOTE:  This trip journal is fictional.   We are not really in Australia.  Some stuff in these posts are based on research.  Some stuff is based on my reality.  Some stuff is based on past experiences. And some stuff is based on fantasy.   

The non-trip journal posts ARE true and real…except for my dreams (which are written in purple). 
Oh...and also....my 2009 trip reports are about a real trip to Australia.  That's all true too.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our Pretend Australia Trip Day 18 Eden

It has been a wonderful morning!

First of all, I slept very well last night.  I had no bad dreams, and I slept from about 7:45 pm to 7:30 am. Twelve hours!

I feel well-rested.

I worried I might feel groggy, but I don't.  Fortunately.

Tim and Jack slept till 9:00   I went out alone and looked for the beach I couldn't find yesterday.  This time I was successful.  It's very beautiful.  I enjoyed the walk to the beach, and I enjoyed the walk at the beach.

I saw a few black cockatoos, which I thought was incredibly cool.   

After my beach walk, we had breakfast.   The hosts of this wonderful place made lots of lovely things and we ate out on the deck.  Not only did they feed us humans, but they also fed the birds.   So we were visited by Lorikeets and other lovely creatures.

I think I'm in heaven.   

* * *

I forgot to mention that we met the people staying in the other room.  It's a gay couple from Melbourne. They were nice, but shy.   Well, they seemed to be the type who like to keep to themselves.  That's fine.  I'm that way too sometimes.

* * *

We're back in the room now, resting a bit.

We've had a fairly active day.

After breakfast, we went to the beach.  We didn't swim because it's not that warm.  Jack played in the sand.  Tim talked to me about various things.

Then we went back, got the car, and drove to the Killer Whale Museum.  Like most museums, this one bored me a bit.  But it was relatively interesting every so often.

We next walked to the Seamen's Memorial Wall.   It's a memorial to the people, from New South Wales, who've been lost at sea.   It's really sad.   I'm reading a book with a tragic death in it, so death has been on my mind today.  Maybe that made the memorial even sadder, for me, than it usually would.

Then again, death is on my mind probably everyday.   I worry often about morbid things.

We ate lunch at a cafe on Inlay Street.  I can't remember the name, and I can't say the food was very memorable.

Now we're back in the room.

* * *

I thought about all the bad things that could happen to those I love.

It's like, here today; gone tomorrow.  And we didn't even get a proper good-bye.

Then I thought of all the elderly people out there; and it gave me some hope.   These old people prove that it's actually quite possible to survive this crazy obstacle course we call life.

* * *

Now I'm worried that the universe will smite me for being too positive.  

* * *

I'm still hungry a bit. I might dig into the fruit and chocolate basket.  

* * *

After eating the fruit and chocolate, we realized it was time for scones.

We ate a lot.

We're full.

Now we're debating whether we should skip dinner.

None of us are really in the mood, and we haven't seen any restaurants that excite us much.

Tim suggested picking up pita chips and humus at Coles.

I think I like that idea.

Maybe we'll eat them on the beach and watch the sunset.  

That might be very nice.  

NOTE:  This trip journal is fictional.   We are not really in Australia.  Some stuff in these posts are based on research.  Some stuff is based on my reality.  Some stuff is based on past experiences. And some stuff is based on fantasy.   

The non-trip journal posts ARE true and real…except for my dreams (which are written in purple). 
Oh...and also....my 2009 trip reports are about a real trip to Australia.  That's all true too.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weather Confusion, Self-Esteem, Protests, and Uluru

1.  Started to read Isabelle the Navigator by Luke Davies.

He's the one who wrote Candy, which I loved. 

I didn't love the prologue of the Isabelle book; but I often don't like prologues.

After reading the prologue I read the back of the book, so I could get an idea of what was happening and what would be happening.  It sounds fairly interesting.  

2. Read chapter one and chapter two of Isabelle the Navigator.

I wasn't impressed by the first chapter but by chapter two, the book was starting to grow on me. 

3. Felt my pretend trip was really pathetic.

I go back and forth between thinking it's brilliant and fun and thinking it's awful.

I guess what happens is that, during my research, I see reviews from people who have TRULY been to these various places. It makes me feel like such a wannabe.

I need to remind myself though that I HAVE traveled a lot. And there are people out there who travel much less than me.  

4. Decided it's probably okay to be a wannabe...as long as your honest about it. Then it's like playing.  If you're not honest, and you pretend you're something you're not; then that's lying.

5. Learned that Geoffrey Rush was chosen as the Australian of the Year.


I'll read the article about it later.

6. Saw that Accuweather has changed to Celsius. Or maybe it changed for me, because I keep plugging in Australia places.

I didn't know it had changed at first.  I just thought it had suddenly gotten very cold. The forecast today is 13 degrees.  Jack has a date with his Papa today.  I was thinking, Crap. I better tell him to dress REALLY warm. 

I figured out the Fahrenheit to Celsius switch when I looked at the extended forecast. Fort Worth has cold days here and there but usually not that cold. And the cold doesn't last. I saw that next Wednesday is going to be 20 degrees with plenty of sunshine.  That didn't make sense.  If that didn't convince me enough, there was the following Sunday with 21 degrees, abundant sunshine and warmer.  

Twenty-one degrees is really nice in Celsius.  It's not so nice in Fahrenheit.

7. Read the article about the Australians of the Year.

The article includes a video excerpt of Rush's acceptance speech.Basically his winning of the award is about paying more attention to Australian film and theater.  I'm all for that and also for giving more attention to Australian literature and music.

8.  Saw that the young Australian of the year is Marita Cheng. The senior Australian of the Year is Laurie Baymarrwangga.   Cheng's thing is advocating for more women to get into engineering.    Baymarrwangga is an Murrungga elder who dedicates her time to preserving her culture and environment.

9. Saw a funny article about a Member of Parliament stealing lines from the movie The American President to criticize Tony Abbott.  

I guess he thought he could get away with it, because the movie is fairly old now.

But...nope. He was caught.

It could have been a coincidence and not plagiarism, but I doubt it.  The lines were a bit too similar.

10. Liked this part from Isabelle the Navigator.   

The copy had last been borrowed in 1971.  Not only did I ache with the sadness of the book's events, but it almost broke my heart to think of the book itself, the object, the copy, its lonely vigil of years upon the shelves. And the great loss of all those students who never borrowed the book between 1971 and 1982.  

It's sad to think of all those great books out there that are rarely picked up and read. 

11.  Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called Playdate.

It's another Geraldine Richter story. In this one, she's interacting with a child named Simon Preston.  

They're hanging out at a lake in Narragyambie. 

12. Started to read.

Simon has a playdate with Gerry (Geraldine).  They're going to fly together.   He's very excited. He doesn't want to be bothered by cookie questions from his mom, because he's too busy waiting for Gerry to show up.  

Then he goes to see his mom and the cookies.  His mom's not there but the cookies are.  He grabs one.

13. Wondered if Simon's family is American in origin since they say cookies instead of biscuits. 

14. Saw that Gerry is very excited about the playdate too.

She grabs some Laffy Taffys. Do they commonly have those in Australia?  I can't remember if I've seen them there or not.  The only Wonka candy I remember is the Redskins.

15. Saw that Simon has mini Hershey Bars. Those aren't easy to find in Australia. I know that. He also has Skittles and M and M's, which are commonly found in Australia.

16.  Saw that Simon and Gerry had fun flying together. Simon's dad has a spell going on in their backyard that allows the kids to fly without the neighbors seeing them. That's pretty nifty. 

17. Started to read the biography of Simon Preston.  

Simon's face claim is Wang Seok Hyun. I think that's a Korean name. 

This website says that Hyun was a Korean child star who suddenly disappeared from show business.

18. Wondered if Simon is a Korean adoptee...well, since he doesn't have an Asian last name.

Or he could be half-Asian.  Maybe his mother is Asian and his father is not.

19.  Saw that Simon was born in Japan.

20.  Learned that Simon has dry skin.

I have dry skin too.

21. Got the idea, from reading, that Simon is part-Japanese and part...other.   I guess we could say Caucasian?

22. Thought Simon was interesting. He doesn't like that he looks a bit Japanese.  He does wish, though, that he had a Japanese name instead of a normal stinky American name

23. Learned from Lord Wiki that Simon is actually a Hebrew name.

I probably should have known that already.

24.  Learned that Simon is friendly.  He likes being pranked.  He doesn't like people who brag, and he doesn't like people who don't like being pranked.

25.  Learned Simon also doesn't like people his age that are bossy.  I guess he's somewhat okay then with people being bossy if they're a little older than him.

26.  Saw that my guess is right.  Simon's mom is Japanese.  His dad is Caucasian—specifically American. That could explain why he uses American words rather than Australian.  

27. Learned that Simon's family moves around a lot.  They've lived in Russia, India, Japan, and France.

28. Learned that Simon is obsessed with slime.

That stuff is pretty fun.  

29. Saw that my Australian of the day is a doctor named William George Armstrong

He was born in the UK in 1859.

He was the eldest son of the Lord Howe naval guy I wrote about the other day.  

30. Learned that Armstrong moved with to New Zealand when he was about fourteen.  Then when he was about eighteen or nineteen, his family moved to Sydney.

I'm confused, though.   The Australian Dictionary of Australia says he went to Sydney Grammar School.  At age eighteen/nineteen, wouldn't he be too old for that?

Well, maybe he had one year left, or something.

31. Learned that Armstrong went to the University if Sydney. He became a doctor.  He practiced medicine in Australia for awhile.  Then he furthered his education at Cambridge.

32. Learned Armstrong also spent time in Paris. He learned about systems where the medical community taught new mothers about feeding and caring for their children.

I wonder if they were pushing infant formula then.

I forget my breastfeeding history.

33. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says in the late 1800's and early 1900's, most babies were breastfed. It was in the 1920's and 1930's that mothers were first pushed to use artificial milk.

34.  Learned that Armstrong worked to help lower infant mortality.

The Australian Dictionary of Australia says; He believed that approximately half of the 106 infant deaths (in their first year) per 1000 live births in 1901-05, had occurred because of mismanagement of feeding, and that mothers should be educated in the care and breast-feeding of babies rather than in the overseas trend of providing impoverished mothers with ready-made artificial baby-food.

So, their history differs from Lord Wiki's. They're saying that artificial milk was already becoming popular.

35. Reread some of Lord Wiki's information.

He does say, that around the turn of the century, many mothers were supplementing with formula. But they were still also using breast milk. 

So it's my bad for not reading carefully enough.

What else is new?

36.  Learned that Armstrong was also known for his work during epidemics. He advocated disease prevention with things such as sanitary improvements.

37. Learned that Armstrong was a fan of the Gilbert Sullivan opera.

I just learned recently from my parents that my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were both opera fans.  I didn't know that.

38. Watched a clip of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.   The performance was at the Sydney Opera House. 

39. Thought about that infamous pirate musical movie. I think it was filmed in Australia.  Was that Pirates of Penzance, or based on it?

40. Found the movie. It's called The Pirate Movie.   Lord Wiki says it's loosely based on the opera.   

I recognize two Australians in the cast; Maggie Kirkpatrick and Garry McDonald.  

The movie was filmed in Victoria—Port Campbell, Melbourne, and Werribee.  I wonder if they show any shots of the Twelve Apostles.

41. Watched the finale of Lost with Tim.  It was a real spur of the moment thing.

I think it's the fist time I've watched the whole finale since it first aired. Since then I've watched bits and pieces but never the whole thing.

I really love that show. I think it's my religion—that and Harry Potter.

There's a scene where Hurley says something similar to what I recently wrote in one of my posts.  I know I didn't purposely plagiarize.  But I wonder if I first learned the lesson from the show.   I think maybe I did.  But it took over twenty months for the lesson to finally sink in and finally mean something to me.

Then I spit it back out.  

It's the scene with Hurley and Sahid.  Hurley tells Sahid he's a good person.   He says so many people have told Sahid that he's bad that eventually Sahid believed it. Hurley tells him that you can't let other people define you.

42. Decided to watch the video clip and copy down the exact quotes.

It goes....

I think you're a good guy, Sahid.   I know a lot of people have told you that you're not.  Maybe you've heard it so many times; you started to believe in it. But you can't let other people tell you what you are, Dude. You have to decide that for yourself.  

I've spent thirty-nine years depending on other people to define me.

I think I'm ready to stop that now.  It's not going to be easy, but I think I can manage if I work hard enough.

43. Realized I'm already failing because I'm sitting here worrying that people will think I'm like that Member of Parliament,  that I purposely stole Hurley's brilliant idea and passed it off as my own.

The thing is.  We're the only ones who know our true story.  Everyone else can only guess at it.

And we can assume things about others based on their actions—the actions we've personally witnessed.  But we can never know the whole story and the whole truth.   We don't know what has happened behind the scenes.  We don't know for sure what's going on in their mind. We can make assumptions, and maybe we'd be right.  But we might also be completely wrong.

We might BELIEVE someone is a wicked witch but what she really might be is a disillusioned Animal rights activist.

44. Corrected by someone regarding a recent post.  Taking psychiatric drugs is not like smoking marijuana.  I WAS aware that studies have been done showing smoking pot can cause an INCREASE in psychiatric symptoms. So I shouldn't have said something so ignorant.  I got carried away by my rant.   I apologize for that.  

What I was feeling and meant to say is that both psychiatric and illegal drugs (in general)  can make people feel good, and they can make them feel better about the drama/trauma in their life. And both psychiatric drugs and illegal drugs can have unsavory side-effects and dangerous consequences.

I don't think either type of drug is 100% evil and wrong. But I don't think anyone should enter a relationship with a drug without first seriously weighing the pros and cons.   If a person feels the pros outweighs the cons, I definitely would not blame them for choosing to be on the drug.

45. Compelled by a commenter to check out an article about Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott having a dramatic moment with protesters.  

Gillard lost a shoe in the scene.

The protesters were protesting Tony Abbott suggestion that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is no longer needed. It seems he feels it's no longer relevant.

I can't agree with him there, and I do think it's somewhat offensive. It's an opinion, though.  We all have them.  In turn, the protesters have the right to speak out against the opinion.  

It seems the protest was typical of most. The police intervened.  The protesters felt the event didn't need police interference. They felt the police were brutal. They thought of their protest as being peaceful and reasonable.

The protesters had knocked on the glass of the restaurant where Gillard and Abbott were attending an event. I'd say that was annoying but fairly reasonable.  

Then they chased Gillard's car and banged on it.  I think that's probably going beyond peaceful and reasonable.

What IS a reasonable reaction when someone offends you?   I think we all have different opinions on that, and I think often people's opinions change depending on whether they agree with the protesters or not.  People tend to be much more lenient towards protesters they agree with than they are towards protesters they disagree with.   

46. Started to look at Fredweng's day Twentu in Australia Flickr set.  

It's another Uluru day.   

47. Frustrated, because Flickr is being very slow for me right now. I'll give it a few more minutes.   If it doesn't work, I'll come back to it later.

I'm not sure if my internet connection is the problem, or there's something up with Flickr.

48.  Thought that this thing is new to me.  I don't think I've ever seen it before. Is it part of Uluru?    It reminds me of a clam, or something like that.  

49. Thought this was an interesting picture of Uluru.  

50. Realized I've seen so many photos of Uluru, I'm so burned out.   It's no longer about what are the best photos of Uluru. It's about what's the most unique. 

51. Thought this was a pretty nice sky and tree photo.  

51. Did like this photo of Uluru even though it wasn't particularly unique.  

I also like this one a lot.  It's fairly unique.   I like that Uluru isn't the focal point.   It's kind of in the background.  

52. Liked this picture too. It almost makes me want to change my mind about not being interested in visiting Uluru in person.

Uluru looks incredibly majestic in the photo. 

53. Wondered if I'm not actually looking at more intriguing Uluru photos today.  Maybe I'm in more of an Uluru mood... more so than I was two days ago.  

Maybe it takes a certain mood to appreciate Uluru.  

I don't know.....

All I know is the other day Uluru annoyed me. Today I'm finding it quite lovely.

54. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

This one is called Elementary My Dear Australian.  It's about Australian place names that involve elements.

The only one I can think of offhand is Silverton.

55. Got question #2 wrong and learned there's a town in Queensland called Calcium.   The quiz creator says he/she doesn't know much about it outside the fact that it's near Charters Towers and Townsville.  

56. Found Calcium on Google Maps.  Like the quiz creator, I can't find much about it.

57.  Got question #5 wrong and learned there's a town in South Australia called Iron Knob.  

58.  Found Iron Knob on Google Maps.   It's about an hour west of Port Augusta.  

59. Learned from Lord Wiki that the iron mine in Iron Knob closed in 1998.  The town started to become a ghost town.  But recently, because Iron Knob has low cost housing, people are choosing to move there and commute to the city.  I guess that city would be Port Augusta? 

60.  Got question #6 wrong and learned there's a body of water near Tasmania called the Mercury Passage.

Here's a website about the Mercury Passage. There's not much on it yet.  They're looking for someone to help run the site.

61.  Got question #8 wrong and learned there's a place near Burnie, Tasmania called Sulphur Creek.  

62. Saw that there's a lot of real estate for sale in Sulphur Creek.

63. Got question #9 wrong and learned there's a place in Victoria called Adelaide Lead.   And for the record, I didn't guess that it was in South Australia.   I figured that would be too obvious.  

64. Finished the quiz.  I didn't do so great.  I got a 5/10 which is below the average score of 7/10.

65. Asked Tim if he could make damper this week or next week.  He said he'd make it today in honor of Australia Day. That was very nice of him!

66. Had more thoughts about Reade Ainsworth and my rants from the other day.

We all have to make choices about whether we're going to accept ourselves for who we are or buy products that change or enhance us in some way.

As far as I know, we ALL buy products that change or enhance us in some way.

Me personally?

I dye my hair to hide the little bits of gray.  I'm not sure if I mind the gray itself, but I definitely mind the inconsistent little bits of it.  I wear deodorant to prevent me from smelling like... a human.   I wear make-up.   I wear a bra.   I shave my arm pits, pubic hair, and the little bits of hair that appear over my lip.  I put anti-fizz gel in my hair.   I take birth control pills not just to prevent pregnancy, but because I don't like the type of periods nature has intended for me.  I take a basic pain killer drug at the slightest sign of a headache, because I don't like dealing with even minor pain.

Some very natural crunchy people might judge me for these choices.  Other people might judge me if I didn't make those choices. I once witnessed a friend getting a playful scolding from her sister for not covering her gray in a timely enough fashion.

Like most people in the world, I'm a bit nuts sometimes. I'm intense.  I'm an emotional mess at times.  I'm crazy.  I'm weird.   Some might want to call me mentally ill. Whatever. I have chosen to accept that about myself and not take psychiatric drugs to change it.   I need to make sure to not judge other people who have made a different choice. I REALLY try not to do that, but sometimes I slip.  

What I won't apologize for is judging the industry out there that depends on us feeling that we're not okay,  and that we need to fork over some money so they can change us.  We're too fat.  Our hair is too frizzy.   We're too sensitive. We're too anxious.  We're too sad.  Our teeth aren't straight enough. We're not social enough. We're getting old, and that's a really BAD thing.  

I guess what I want to scream to people (or maybe sing to them cause that's more gentle) is, Hey.  You're fine the way you are.  But if you want to change something; that's fine too.  

You know what I keep thinking about.  People with dwarfism. Personally I think dwarfs are awesome, probably just because they're different and exotic to me.  But I definitely recognize that it can't be easy to be a dwarf.  Society is definitely made easier for those of us who are taller...just on a technical basis alone.   In terms of the emotional and social issues, I think it would be extremely hard.

Dwarfs can partake in surgeries that will lengthen their limbs and make them taller.  These surgeries are controversial.  The Little People of America organization is against the surgery, because they say the underlying message is that there's something wrong with being very short. They also say there are medical risks to the surgery, and I'm assuming the surgery costs a lot of money and causes physical pain.  

Personally, I more admire the dwarfs that choose NOT to get the surgery and instead accept themselves for who they are.  But if I was religious and totally non-hypocritical about these feelings; I'd stop wearing a bra, shaving, dying my hair, using make-up, etc.  I'd accept myself 100% for who I am....in my natural state.  

67. Decided to share my own personal story of psychiatric medicine; even though I've told it here before.  But I think it was a long time ago.  Maybe it will explain why I feel the way I do and why stories like Reade's makes me rant.

When I was in ninth grade I became depressed when Heather O'Rourke died. She was the little Poltergeist tyke.  As I'm really into Australia now, when I was a tween, my thing was Poltergeist.  

Now when I say I was depressed, I'm not sure I'd call it severe. I didn't stop sleeping or eating.   I didn't try to kill myself. My grades didn't slip horribly.  I didn't start shoplifting or anything dramatic.   From what I remember, I was simply sad and moody. In my opinion, that's fairly normal/typical of teenagers.  Yeah.  It's a bit weird to be depressed about the death of someone you didn't know personally.  But I AM weird, and teenagers get sad about all types of things. 

A few weeks after Heather O'Rourke died, my parents took me to a psychiatrist, one that our family was already using for another family member. I'm pretty sure I was eager and relieved to have someone to talk to. I really wanted the chance to talk and have someone listen—have someone TRY to understand.

 I was disappointed to find that this psychiatrist showed little interest in listening to me.   What he wanted was for me to go on Lithium.  This guy loved his Lithium.  He eagerly suggested Lithium for other troubled relatives we mentioned.  This guy seemed to think that Lithium was the cure for all of society's woes.

Feel a little sad? Take your Lithium!  

I went on the Lithium. I don't remember a lot about that time. I think I had to take blood tests while on it for safety reasons.  

I'm not sure how long I was on it but like the typical wicked mental patient, I secretly stopped at one point. Then one day, my mom made some comment about how I seemed much better now....since taking that Lithium.   I told her I had stopped. I don't remember her mentioning it again or pushing me to go back on it. 

Since then I've learned it can be dangerous to abruptly stop taking psychiatric medication, but I didn't know that back then.  Maybe it's not the case with Lithium?   Or maybe I wasn't on it long enough, or my dosage was very low.  I don't know.   

But since then I've gotten edgy and ranty towards anyone who wants to throw drugs at sad or anxious people.

My feelings might be totally different if I had a different experience. What if it had a less zealous doctor who had prescribed the drugs?   What if the doctor had been a good listener and very understanding?  What if I had noticed a positive difference when I took the Lithium?

I would probably have a different outlook.

Either way....whether it be the real outcome or my imagined outcome, it's important for me to remember that everyone has different experience, different opinions, and they make choices that we ourselves might not necessarily make.    

I apologize to anyone I offended with my judgmental rant, and I thank the person who was brave enough to speak up in disagreement.  

68. Was not sure if weird obsessive Americans and Australian expats are supposed to celebrate Australia Day on the 25th of 26th.

I guess it doesn't matter, really.