Monday, July 13, 2015

Guilt, Good Twitter Accounts, Guns, and Fertility Problems

1. Dreamed: We're in Australia, but we also all seem to understand that we're all in my dream. I try to convince the others to go to this beach place where crocodiles are often hanging around. We seem to understand that the option wouldn't be available if this wasn't taking place in my dream. 

I know there actually ARE places in Australia where crocodiles roam about. So maybe my dream took place in somewhere like Sydney—where there aren't free-range crocodiles.

I think the dream, though, was referring to past dreams I've had where there's been alligators and/or crocodiles at the beach.

2. Started watching an episode of Neighbours.

I think Lauren (Kate Kendall) had a very good mothering moment with Bailey (Calen Mackenzie).

First of all, she's smart enough to suspect that Bailey is the one who destroyed his father's memorial. It's nice when parents are intuitive like that rather than being blind.

Then she asks Bailey about it but not in a way that villainizes him. She talks about how people handle grief in different ways. Some people act horribly sad, and others act very angry.

3. Started watching another episode of Neighbours.

4. Felt bad for Toadie (Ryan Moloney). Once again, he's being asked to represent a client who has caused bodily harm to one of his neighbours. Recently, he represented Josh (Harley Bonner) when Josh caused Chris (James Mason) to have a head injury. Now he's being asked to represent Danni (Laura McIntosh) for the hit and run charge—the one in which she killed Matt.

Maybe Toadie should just make a rule that he won't represent his neighbours; and when asked, he can hand out business cards of other lawyers.

5. Read some of the second book in Adina West's Dark Child series.

I'm impressed. It seems to me that West did a lot of research about New York City. I wonder if she has been there before. I'm guessing she has. But it's possible she hasn't. You can learn a lot about a place just by surfing the Internet.

6. Went to Adina West's website.

I'm reading her about page.

7. Learned that West wasn't afraid of the dark when she was young.

She lives in Sydney.

She once learned to write and speak Japanese, French, and Chinese, but has forgotten most of that now.

8. Had a hard time understanding this bit: She occasionally drinks tea and coffee to be polite, but prefers rooibos. Or hot chocolate. Or chai (which doesn’t make much sense, because it has tea in it)

I thought rooibos was a tea. Or maybe it's herbal.

9. Consulted Lord Wiki. It's herbal.

I'm guessing the tea thing refers to traditional black tea.

10. Went to Adina West's Twitter. I like it. She doesn't go on and on with self-promotional stuff.  She has a few things, but it's well balanced with posts about her children and lovely photos of food.

11. Saw that West also has photos of flowers.

12. Liked what I know about West so far. I'm glad I downloaded her book. If I like this one, I will download more.

13. Remembered reading a novel I didn't like. Then I went to the author's Twitter, and it was pretty much all self-promotional crap.

I'm wondering if there's a correlation between bad writing and self-absorbed Twitterers.

Probably not.

I'm guessing there are writers who would write books I love, but if I went to their Twitter, I wouldn't like what I see.

14. Liked what Lauren says to Bailey when he apologizes for being a downer. She says, You're just being a boy that lost his dad.

Sometimes we're not acting happy and nice, but there's a reason for it. We're acting in a way that fits our difficult situation.

15. Thought about how differently Danni and Josh reacted to their crime and guilt.

They both feel very guilty, but Josh worried much more about the victim of his crime than himself. He wanted to be punished and didn't want anyone fighting for him.

Danni, on the other hand, seems more concerned about herself. She's distressed about going to prison, and has the nerve to ask Lauren to write her a character reference. Yeah. She killed Lauren's husband and now wants a favor from Lauren. Wow.

If I ever accidentally commit a crime that seriously injures or kills, I hope I'd act more like Josh and not like Danni.

16. Decided there's one time where I'd have respect and understanding for someone determined to reduce their sentence. This would be if they're the primary caretaker of young children.

I would hate to go to prison now. It would be horrible for me and horrible for my family. But I think we could endure it. I think it would have been much worse for me to have gone to prison when Jack was younger and so dependent on me.

17. Hoped that I'm never put in such a situation. I do feel really horrible for good people who make a mistake.

The thing with Danni is, she did something that I believe most people do. She read a text while driving. I've been with people who take their eyes off the road for a moment— to glance at a text, change the music, get some anti-bacterial foam on their hands, etc.  The only difference between their situation and Danni's is luck.

Or...I don't know. Maybe Danni looked at her phone longer than usual. Maybe the people I know take their eyes off the road for a second, and Danni took her eyes off the road for many seconds.

18. Saw that Danni might have a defense. She suddenly remembers seeing Matt and Brad (Kip Gamblin) in a heated argument, which is true.  She also remembers that they were on the footpath, and then ended up on the road. So it might have been a case of them jumping out in front of her.

So yeah...I think they would be partially to blame then. Maybe?  Are there laws about that?  I think if there are no sidewalks, drivers should expect to encounter walkers. They need to watch out for them. But if there IS a sidewalk; then they can expect walkers to stay on it. Although not always, because the sidewalk on the way to our library is in horrible condition. It's always wet, muddy, and slippery.

19. Felt though that there is a difference between hitting someone who has been walking on the street for awhile and hitting someone who has suddenly stepped out into the street.

20. Decided to re-watch the accident.

There was no sidewalk/footpath! At least I don't see one. There's just a street and a curb. On the other side of the curb is a leafy area.

I think Danni is clutching at straws. Or the writers forgot the scene they originally created.

21. Saw from trailer for the next Neighbours episode that Amber is pregnant. Then in the little thumbnail for the episode after that, the scene is of Josh and Amber in bed together. I'm guessing when Josh visited Amber at the hotel, they had sex? Though, as far as I know, we didn't see this. Unless I blinked and missed it.

It seems an odd choice—having them have sex, but not showing it. Well, it's not the type of show to have explicit sex scenes. But I would think there'd be some kind of hint or indication. Maybe I missed it?

22. Started to watch the next episode of Neighbours.

23. Annoyed that Susan (Jackie Woodburne) and Sheila (Colette Mann) are giving the men such a hard time about biking and wearing lycra. They're trying to get themselves in shape. What's so wrong with that? I think it's actually a very good thing.

I don't really understand why people have a thing against lycra.

24. Thought the NRA was absolutely ridiculous as I read article about them criticizing Australia's gun control laws.


Oh, I get it. Maybe Australia should look to the US for inspiration, so they too can have mass shootings.

25. Disgusted with the NRA and anyone who sides with them.

26. Went to the NRA magazine article about Australia which led me to a study in the British Journal of Criminology.  If I understand it correctly, they say it only helped to reduce firearm suicide.

There aren't mass shootings in Australia, but are people being murdered often in other ways?

27. Consulted Lord Wiki. He has a chart with the number/rate of gun deaths. It's listed as number per 100,000 people.

In 2011, Australia had a total of .86.

Most of them were suicides.

For the United States, it's 10 per 100,000. Here too, people are more often using guns to kill themselves than to kill others.

Venezuela has an even higher rate—50.90 per 100,000.  There it's more homicide than suicides.

28. Looked at article about countries with high murder rates. They list Honduras as being the highest.

The United States isn't on the list.

29. Decided after reading all this that I don't think the US needs to collect guns, from people, as Australia did.  But I do think they need to work harder to keep guns away from crazed, angry people. And certain types of guns should be outlawed.  Okay. I can see why someone might want a simple handgun to protect themselves from home intruders and boogeymen. But I can't see why anyone would need one of those scary automatic weapon things.  Such weapons would be helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but I don't think such a scenario is likely to become reality.

30. Learned from Lord Wiki that in the US, people who want automatic weapons have to go through background checks. I'm thinking such background checks don't work so well.

But really. Why do non-murderous decent people need an automatic weapon? Are they asked why they want to buy it?

Is there a purpose besides just thinking it makes them cool? Are they worried about a zombie apocalypse or some kind of highly contagious human rabies disease?

31. Saw chilling article about mass shootings in the United States.

From 1984 to 2014, for mass shootings, out of 151 guns used, 77 were semi-automatic handguns.

And even scarier, most guns used in mass shootings were obtained legally.

So yeah...I don't think the background check works very well.

32. Learned from chart that white and black people are more likely to be the shooters; and men are much more likely to do the shooting than woman.

33. Thought about how some people say that suicide is selfish. I disagree. I think suicide is very sad, but I can have respect for people who kill only themselves. Or maybe not respect. Maybe it's just gratitude. I mean I'm not thankful they killed themselves, but I'm thankful that they were NOT so selfish as to take other people down with them.

34. Decided to watch another episode of Neighbours.

 35. Annoyed with comment on Michelle's Crooked Fences blog.

Michelle wrote a comical post about what pre-parents should do before having children to give them an idea of what it would be like when they have kids.

Then Keri comes along and writes a very serious and biting comment about her difficulties in conceiving.  She ends her comment by saying, No sleep and diarrhea? You must be kidding me.

Michelle is much more generous than me. She wrote a very kind and gracious response.  I'd have a hard time responding, to a comment like that, in the way that she did.

Parenting is NOT easy. I think Michelle has every right to talk about that without being hit over the head with the fact that there are other difficult situations.

How would Keri like it if she wrote a post about her problems conceiving and someone came along and commented that it's really not that bad having fertility problems. What's really bad is having your beloved child die of leukemia.

36. Understood that it's hard to hear someone moaning about a problem when our problem is much worse...or we feel it's worse. But really.  I suggest biting our tongue. Because sooner or later, someone could come along with worse problems than us.

For example. Someone might be feeling sorry for themselves because they have breast cancer and have to get chemo and a mastectomy.  Would it be fair for someone with inoperable pancreatic cancer to come along and point out that the breast cancer victim doesn't have it so bad?

37. Tried to understand how Keri felt.

I imagine she's had people tell her she's lucky not to have kids, and they've probably given her the speech about how she should enjoy her life before she has kids. She's probably very sick of that, and that's why she went off on Michelle's blog.

It kind of reminds me of when I REALLY wanted to move to Australia. I was desperate with desire. Then my cousin, who is an expat in Australia, didn't seem to have much sympathy for my wish. She didn't want to be in Australia, and couldn't really understand why I wanted to live there.

This is probably a bad comparison, because my cousin didn't like Australia at the time. I think most parents who complain about the challenges of having children still love their children.

I guess where Keri is coming from is not wanting to hear people complain about something that she's longing to have. Though I think if she ever gets it, she'll probably be stressed and complain as well.

38. Figured it is a blessing to be able to conceive children, love them, and complain about how they're totally stressing you out.

39. Felt sorry for people who have trouble conceiving. But still. I think they can try to understand that though other people are more blessed than them in the kid department, it doesn't negate that life can be challenging for parents.

40. Thought more about how my cousin thing doesn't fit well.  Because my cousin and I would have probably loved to trade places back then. She wanted to get out of living in Australia and I wanted to live there.

I don't think most parents would want to trade places with a couple that can't conceive.

But what my cousin and I DID have in common with the parents and fertility-challenged women is the need to vent, express our wishes, be understood, and receive sympathy.

41. Thought of a much better analogy.

I have not had success as a writer.

How would I feel if I heard a writer whine about dealing with fans, deadlines, book tours, etc?

Probably annoyed. And I would think, well, at least you are fortunate to have those things.

But I'd also imagine myself in the same situation and understand that fans, deadlines, and book tours would stress me out a lot. I would probably complain about them too...if I had them.

Though now it's come to the point where I hardly want those things.

I wonder if some couples with fertility problems end up accepting their fate and liking their life for what it is. I imagine it's rare, and most spend their lives feeling unfulfilled.  Probably.