Friday, September 28, 2018

Hannah Ellis Ryan

Coronation Street now has an Australian character played by an Australian actress.

The character's name is Hannah, AND the actress's name is Hannah.

The character is cruelly conning Liz McDonald (Beverly Callard)  into believing she's Liz's deceased daughter. Hopefully the real Australian Hannah isn't doing the same thing to someone.

Of course she's not.

But what if she was?

That would be pretty wild.

I've been trying to find out more about Hannah Ellis Ryan.

I found an article in a tabloid that gives a small bit of information.  Well, they say she graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with a degree in theatre. Then she moved to Manchester.

I wonder why she moved.

The article provides her Instagram account, and I decided I could learn more about this Hannah Ellis Ryan by stalking examining her account.


I forgot.

You know what I was curious about.

I thought Ryan looked familar to me, and then I realized she sort of reminds me of that actress from Neighbours. I forgot the name of the actress AND the character she played.


Who is she.

She was dating Daniel, into photography....

Amber! Played by Jenna Rosenow.

I was able to figure out Amber with my own brain, but then I needed to Google to find the actresses name.

Is she related to Ryan?

Probably not.

But if by chance she is, maybe I'll see evidence on her Instagram.


Now I'm going to start my fun.

I peered a bit before on my iPhone. I saw Ryan has a LOT of photos. In the beginning, there are mostly food photos. So maybe she started as a foodie account?

Okay. So here's her account. Seeing her profile photo....I'm thinking more and more that she looks quite like Rosenow.

I'm doing a lot of back-scrolling now.

It's taking some time.

While scrolling, I was thinking that this post seems so fun to me because it involves three of my favorite things—Australian actors, looking at photos, and Coronation Street.

I feel I might be scrolling forever.

Ryan is very prolific on Instagram.

I'm seeing she's probably Vegan.

Or she was at some point.

I wonder how many Corrie actors are vegan or vegetarian.

Okay!  I finally got to the beginning.

Ryan's first Instagram photo (unless she deleted some) is a picture of a sweet potato salad.  It was posted in June 6 2013, which is a few months after we got back from our most recent trip to Australia.  This was also a few weeks before my youngest nephew was born. And it was the day before my oldest niece's 12th birthday.

The salad looks okay to me.  I'm trying to remember if I've ever had sweet potato on a salad.

It reminds me a bit of the Aussie thing of having pumpkin on a salad.

Here's a photo of two men looking out a window. Ryan says, the cast is bored.

I'm guessing this was a theater cast. In Australia? Or Manchester?

Here's a photo of Ryan and a birthday girl that she misses. Maybe she's an old friend from Australia? Or I could be totally wrong. It could be a friend from Manchester that moved to Colorado. Or a friend she met at a camp in the US. Who knows....

Here's a photo of avocado toast. I didn't realize it was a thing back in 2013.  Though I remember hearing it maybe began in Australia. So it was probably a thing there back then. Or it could have been not-a-thing, but a few cool people were already doing it.

OR maybe it was already a thing all over the world, and I just took a long time to catch up.

This smoothie looks SO good to me. It's bananas, flax, dates, and cinnamon. That's much more exciting than my smoothies. I usually just have milk and some kind of frozen fruit.  Either way, though, now I'm crazing a smoothie. That being said, I was actually already planning to have a smoothie today. But now seeing Ryan's smoothie is giving me that extra push.

Here's a political cartoon of a cow being milked for money. It makes me feel kind of bad that I'll be making my smoothie with milk. Sorry.

Here's another smoothie. The bubbles look unappetizing to me.  I think it's because I have this fear of not rinsing our dishes well enough. When I see a lot of bubbles, I imagine it's soap.

I wonder if Hannah Ellis Ryan is going to make smoothies for her Corrie co-stars.

Here's Hannah's vegan birthday cake. She posted in on December 26, 2013. So...maybe that's her birthday? Boxing Day Girl.  Though her birthday may have been earlier and she took a few days to get around to posting the photo.

I had to take a long break from this very fun Instagram-activity to get my very overdue pap smear.

Now it turns out I have problems with my female bits as well as my brain bits (which is also female, actually).

It's horribly ironic because....

Many years ago, I got in a fight with my mom, dad, and sister. My sister was going through her own epilepsy drama, and I was stressing about traveling with a young child during the Wes Craven days of my period. I was off birth control at the time, and my periods had gotten obnoxiously heavy.

I did my whining and my mom responded by saying, Are you sure you're not talking yourself into it?

Because somehow I was blessed with the ability to control my menstrual blood with my mind. I wonder if there are any X-Men with that skill??

I was quite angry when she said this and lashed out, asking if they said the same thing about my sister and her problem. Now what I was trying to say is that my parents are dismissive and were they also this dismissive with my sister? Because...well, I can't remember for sure, but I think maybe they had said something in front of me, behind her back, and that's why I said that.

My parents and sister misinterpreted what I said and thought I was being a horrible person by comparing brain issues to female reproductive issues.

Cause you know, female bits don't do anything uh...bring new humans into the world. And it's not like anyone ever dies of female issues, right. Like it's so trivial compared to brain issues.

There was yelling.

I was told to get literally leave the house. Though I think things calmed down slightly, and we didn't actually have to make a dramatic exit.

There were harsh emails sent to me.

And now...

I don't know if I should laugh or scream.

Maybe I'll just beg people to PLEASE not be dismissive of female medical issues. Even if they don't turn out to be dangerous, they can be painful and/or debilitating. Despite what the commercials say, periods are not just a matter of riding on a white horse with a short white mini-skirt. Maybe it's like that for some women, but for other women, it's much more intense than that.

Also, if you have one family member with a major medical drama, don't sit there and be dismissive about the medical issues of other family members. There's no rule from the universe that says each family gets a maximum of one medical drama.

Edited to add 10/11-Thankfully it was a false alarm. I just had an ugly-looking donut (cervix). But besides some minor fibroid things, all is well. My pap smear and vaginal ultrasound had lovely results.  

Anyway...back to Hannah Ellis Ryan!

This blueberry breakfast looks kind of good to me. I think it's oatmeal?

I'm confused by this banana picture. Ryan says it's breakfast on the run. But the banana is on the ground. It's almost like she was banana-littering.

I like this lemon picture. According to the hashtags, it was some kind of morning cleanse.

Here's another drink with too many bubbles. I think I really have an aversion to drink bubbles.

Here's a photo of a place called Didsbury. Is that in Australia? England? Elsewhere?


It's in Manchester.


I just had an idea.

You know what would be cool...if Hannah Ellis Ryan moved to Manchester because she had been a fan of Corrie.

I like that idea.

I ALSO like the chocolate in this dessert. Or I imagine I'd like it. I like how it looks, at least.

Here's a photo of someone taking a photo of food. I like taking photos of people taking photos. One day I should take a photo of someone taking a photo of someone taking a photo.

Actually, I might have already done that.

Ryan has photos of three dimensional city books. Or maybe they're puzzles. I wonder what's up with that. She has a mention of someone named Wilkfield. Does this Wilkfield make these books? Or she might be traveling to one of the cities, because Wilkfield responds, We can officially start the countdown. 21 dayyyys!

If Wilkfield went to one of these cities (Paris, Rome, or New York), I hope she or he had a fabulous time.

Here is a lovely photo of figs and kiwis. Fruit can be so beautiful.

Here's another banana photo. It's quite ripe. I wonder if Ryan prefers ripe bananas. I like them when they're greenish-yellow. But lately we've been using ripe bananas in our smoothies.

And more bananas! Ryan mentions something called mono-mealing. I guess this is where you eat the same thing all day?

Well, no....

This article says it's eating only one kind of food for one meal. And the article says it's bad for you.

I can understand eating one thing all DAY being bad but for a meal?

Well, maybe if you did it for all meals, things might get unbalanced. But maybe it's not so bad if you do it occasionally.

In the photo, there are five bananas. Was Ryan planning to eat all those in one day? One meal?  I'm not sure that would be very healthy.

And here are a bunch of dates.

I think I'd prefer a bowl of dates for a meal rather than five bananas.

There's no mention of mono-mealing on the dates, though. She could have just been eating them in the usual way.

Here's a photo of Ryan's new bike. Though by now, it's no longer new. The picture was posted in September 2014. She mentions it being a Manchester hipster thing.

I wonder if hipsters worldwide are into bikes. Or is it just an England thing?

Googled and saw hipsters are into something called fixed-gear bikes.

Here's a photo of a Santa with vodka. Ryan says it's from an acting office. There's a Santa storyline on Corrie right now.  Brian (Peter Gunn) thinks he's very good with kids because they are extremely well-behaved around him. But then it turns out, the kids believe he's secretly Santa Claus.

Here's a lovely bowl of fruit.

I'm going to need to buy some dates soon.

Here is a photo of Ryan drinking a yellow drink while wearing a yellow shirt. Or maybe it's orange? Orange-yellow?

Here is a lovely photo of Ryan with a vegan blogger friend.

I wonder if many of Ryan's friends are vegan.

Here is Ryan with a lovely blue, vegan purse.

She is really into living the vegan life.

Here's a photo of Ryan with a new hairstyle.

Here's a photo of a building amidst snow in Manchester. As an Australian, it was probably not too common for Ryan to see snow...especially if she's a Queenslander.

I was just thinking that, so far, I have not seen any photos to indicate that Hannah Ellis Ryan was in any sort of Coronation Street fandom. Though it is possible that she was sort of in one, and it's just the vegan stuff overshadowed the Corrie stuff.

Here is Ryan looking frighteningly serious. She was working on a short film called "Margot".

I found a short film called Margot on IMDb, but Ryan's not in the cast...and it's an American film not a Manchester film.

I can't find the Manchester film...but I can't say I looked very hard.

I'm feeling lazy.

I thought this might be Vegemite, but no. It's homemade jam.

I wonder if Ryan likes Vegemite. And if she does, would she share it with her Corrie castmates?

Is Vegemite vegan?

I know it doesn't have any obvious animal products, but it might have some subtle ones.

Okay. I Googled. And Google is saying that it IS vegan.


Here's a picture of a street in Manchester. Ryan says, Early evening stroll in this amazing city...walking new streets.

It's making me want to go to Manchester...someday.

I also feel maybe a little envious. I think it's such a gift to visit or move to a city that excites you.

Though I have had some good feelings about Fort Worth lately. But those feelings aren't as strong as my feelings for Australia, England, Japan, etc.

Wondered about this photo. It's a girl with a box. Hannah says, What's in the box? Find out tonight? The hashtags and mentions are: Contractions, 53two, and gmfringe.

Maybe it's a TV show? Or a web show?

Well, I just looked up gmfringe. It stands for Greater Manchester Fringe. It's a festival.  The last one was in July. I wonder if any Corrie actors were there.

I just had another long break. This time it was a Thai dinner and then that new Netflix show Maniac. We watched the first episode.

I'm not sure if I like it. I hope I do.

So far, it reminds me a lot of Black Mirror. I love Black Mirror, so I think there's a fair chance I'll like Maniac.

And...back to the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

Well, I was going to search the festival website to find Corrie actors, but I didn't know how to navigate that. So I just Googled the festival along with Coronation Street.

I found this article. Sue Jenkins directed two plays at the festival.  I'm not sure I know who she is. Is she still on the show?


She played someone named Gloria Todd.  I think she was probably before my time.

Back to Instagram.

Here's a video of Hannah Ellis Ryan dancing.

And here is Ryan as a bridesmaid. The bridesmaids are all wearing white! I never heard of that before. Did the bride wear white as well? Or a different color?

They do look quite lovely.

Here's a picture of someone named jellybellycarroll. I'm getting from the hashtags that she's a director.

Jellybellycarroll comments on the picture: Clutching them beautiful words.

Ryan was complimenting Jellybellycarroll with the photo and captions. It makes me wonder if JellybellyCarroll was complimenting her back.

Maybe Ryan wrote the play/script?

Well, I'm going to take another long break. Because I need to go to sleep.

And now...

I'm awake.

Here is a photo of set-building action. I think it's of one of Ryan's coworkers.

The location of the photo is Hope Studios. Is that a film thing or a theater thing?

Here's their website.  It's a rental place. People can rent dance studios, piano rooms, rehearsal rooms, etc.

Here's Ryan promoting a play called Days of Wine and Roses. The performance was last October. I'm not sure if Ryan was a part of the play; if she liked the play and was promoting it; or if she was promoting it as a favor for someone.

This post was done in October 2017. So I'm getting a bit closer to the present. And there's a bit less food now. Before it was about 90% food posts. Now it's maybe...half and half?

Here's a promotion for another play. It's called Finding Alice. With this one, I think Ryan WAS involved with, because she writes, It’s a full day of this today.... sifting through countless incredibly talented #Manchester faces and swelling with pride that @manchesteradp is embarking on its first full length production!

I WAS thinking that the pride could refer to being proud of her friends. But then someone comments, Congratulations and good luck.

You know I'm wondering if Ryan is liking being on Coronation Street. Since she's used to working on smaller projects, I'm wondering if she usually has more creative control.

She might have been a big fish in a small pond. And with Corrie, she's a small fish in a big pond.

What I'm wondering is, does she hope to someday be a big fish in the big pond? Or might she be content with the small pond? She seems very happy with her theatre projects.


A) You can't really get a true sense of someone's emotional well-being on Instagram

B) Someone can be happy with what they have but still want something different and/or more.

Here's a photo of one of Ryan's young cousins. She's very cute. I wonder if she's in Australia? Or maybe Ryan has family in Manchester? Maybe that's the reason she moved there?

Well, now I've learned that Ryan turned 29 last December. So she'll be having her 30th birthday in a few months. I hope she has a fun one.

I'm thinking this Japanese food looks really good.  Yesterday, while I was at the doctor, Tim and Jack went to an Asian food store. Jack bought and ate some ramen. That made me want ramen. But Tim said he hadn't seen any vegetarian ones.

For dinner we had Thai, though, and that was very good.

I'm wondering about this photo from a trailer of something called Wasp.

Well, I was wondering if it was for a play or short film; then I looked closer and saw it was a theater thing.

Here's a photo of Ryan playing Stella in a play called Things We Want. According to the theater's website, Things We Want is a black comedy. It involves three brothers meeting an apartment neighbor. Ryan is the Smurfette of the story, it seems.  It kind of reminds me of Big Bang Theory. Except in that, the guys aren't brothers.

Here is Ryan's vegan freak shake.  I finally had one a few weeks ago. Our neighborhood ice-cream shop has them now. I think they're going to be pretty much popping up everywhere. We had a s'mores one, and my favorite part about it was the actual s'more.  I thought the milkshake itself was a bit too sweet.

Here is Ryan's first post about Coronation Street!  It was posted on July 18.  I wonder if they had started filming by then. Also, how long did she know she had the part? How long did she have to keep it secret? When did she tell close friends and family?  I'm guessing it was a bit before she posted it on Instagram?

I went a bit backwards to see if there were hints earlier that I might have missed. I clicked on a random photo—a laptop. There are no hints about Corrie, but Ryan mentions having a break after being very busy and wanting to use that time for writing. So, she acts, writes, prepares food.....

I wonder what else.

Here is a photo of Hope Mill Theatre. I think it's a place that's important to Ryan.  I imagine she's going to try to balance her Corrie work with her theater work. I don't think it will be impossible. Corrie has a large ensemble cast, and each character can't be central to the storylines each day.  So I imagine on some days, actors have no work or very little work.

Also, Corrie characters are very often going to visit some relative somewhere out there. They sometimes disappear for weeks or months at a time.

Who will Hannah (the character) visit? Well, probably someone in Australia.

There is a chance Hannah won't stick around. After her scam is discovered, she might be sent packing. BUT she could end up becoming one of those characters who ends up redeeming themselves. Or at least their misdeeds are forgotten. Years later, Hannah might be a main character, and we'll have to remind ourselves that she once cruelly conned Liz McDonald.

Here is Hannah's first Instagram selfie with another Corrie actor. It's Kate Ford who plays the horrible and wonderful Tracy Barlow. She's one of my favorites. That might not be saying much, because I probably have 20-30 favorites on Coronation Street.

I don't think I've seen any scenes with Ford and Ryan yet. From where I'm at, their characters haven't met yet. But I'm about two weeks behind...via Hulu.

I used to be years behind!

Here's a photo of a cat. One thing I've noticed is that Ryan doesn't have a lot of animal photos. I saw a dog. Then there's this cat. I think there were also some goats.  I'm guessing she doesn't have any animal companions. I wonder how she feels about pets. I think vegans typically support adopting cats, dogs, and other rescue pets. They are probably not supportive of buying pets from pet stores or breeders. I don't think they'd support the pet trade.

Here's Ryan's laptop in the Corrie green room. I'm really curious about what it would be like to be a newbie on a soap opera. Is she making friends? Are people being nice to her? Does she feel left out? Are people making an effort to make her feel included? Are there any Corrie actor that are standoffish or cliquey?

I wonder if the other actors and crew make a big deal out of Ryan being Australian. I don't think Corrie has a lot of international least not since I've been watching.

Here's a photo of Ryan with Beverly Callard. She's another one of my favorite Corrie people.

In the caption, Ryan says, And I can now check "getting papped" off my bucket list I guess.

What does that mean?


Okay Googled. It's being followed by paparazzi.

 Here's a photo of a Coronation Street/ITV building. I'm guessing its their studio.

Ryan has a Harry Potter related post. It's a fan-theory thing about Mad Eye Moody being the only wizard who is able to see the true form of Boggarts.


I wonder if Ryan is a Harry Potter fan.

From her Instagram, I get the idea she's not a huge one, or at least she hasn't been a huge one in the last few years.

But she might have been a big fan once upon a time.

I just read the caption on this photo and learned Ryan had a 11 hour filming day. That's pretty intense. And she was probably on screen for less than 10 minutes.

Here is a photo of Ryan with her onscreen NOT-dad (Charlie Lawson).  In the caption, she says,
Well today some paparazzi photos went out of me filming and they are all out and about. Already the comments are flooding in about my looks - how old I look, attractiveness etc. Wow - I thought I prepared myself for the madness on the horizon but clearly not.

I've seen some comments from Corrie viewers. They can be really harsh.

I'm not sure I've seen any about physical appearance, but I have seen comments about acting ability.  I mean in terms of actors in general. I haven't seen any comments yet about Ryan—good or bad.

Well, here is a photo of Ryan with an animal. It's a black dog, and she's wearing a black shirt. So the dog is kind of invisible. It's pretty cool.

Oh! Here is yet another dog.

Here's another play promotion post. It's called the Effect.

The play is about a clinical drug trial and deals with love, neurology, and other things. It sounds interesting to me.

I don't see Ryan on the cast list. She might have helped offstage. Or she might have been promoting as a fan or to be supportive.

Oh! I just saw the play actually ended yesterday.

Here is another freak shake. It looks quite yum.

I'm wondering about this photo caption.  Ryan says,
Most people would brush their hair or put some mascara on when going into one of the biggest TV shows. Not me folks. Meet Hannah - hitting your screens this week.

I'm guessing she means that she didn't get her hair or make-up done, because of the character she's playing. Or if she trying to say that, unlike other soap opera actors, she's not worried about appearance. That would be fine...and kind of cool. But announcing it? I think it kind of ruins the effect.

Here's another animal post. It's a black dog again. The same black dog?

I see that Ryan got a hair cut.  I guess I'll be seeing it in a week or so on Corrie. Unless she wears a wig.That would be a bit tedious. I wonder if Corrie actors have ever gotten in trouble for getting an unexpected haircut. Do they have to get permission?  I mean it might not be in a rulebook. But maybe it's expected.

I'm sure a trim is perfectly fine. But if it's something more drastic?

Ryan's is not a trim, but also not drastic. It's different, but not very different.

Here's another Corrie photo. Ryan says, Just another one of the outfits of Hannah that the UK has to look forward to.

Hello?? UK? What about the rest of us?!  There are some of us here in the US, and I'm pretty sure there are many people in Australia and elsewhere that watch the show.

I imagine Australia will also gain some new watchers because of Ryan.

You know, I don't think I've seen Ryan mention Australia OR her family that much. I wonder if she had unhappiness there.

That being said, I've read the caption of only about 5-10% of her photos. There's a lot of stuff I didn't click on. So I very likely could have missed some things.

Anyway...back to the outfit. I don't like it, but at the same time, I kind of do.

I like Ryan's new red glasses here. She looks very cute with them.


Now I'm looking at Ryan's most recent Instagram photo; taken yesterday. It's a photo of drinks—orange juice and chocolate not-milk.

The not milk is called mylk. I wonder what it's made from.

Well, the company is called Rebel Kitchen. Their flavors are chocolate, coffee. chai, and matcha.

It's coconut milk.

We had been buying coconut milk a lot a few months ago. Then we stopped. I think it's because Tim didn't like how it tasted when hot, so he started buying almond milk. But then he also stopped with that.

Anyway...I guess I'm done.

I feel like I learned a lot, but I probably learned close to nothing. Because no matter how much people post on Instagram, it really never tells the full story. I don't think it ever even comes close.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Flowery Journal My Sister Gave Me (part 23)

More journal stuff.

The blue is what was printed in the book. The green is how I answered the questions/prompts.

Being out in the world brought new feelings and thoughts-A feeling of anger about constantly being screwed by companies, corporations, etc.

I'm lost.

I'm not sure what I was referring to there.

Yeah. Corporations have a lot of evil within them. I've been aware of that for a long time. But was I speaking about something specific? Something personal?

I guess it depends on when I filled this page out. If it was after Jack was born...I did start to become passionately against infant formula companies.

Before that?

Did I have any passionate anger at a particular corporation?

How I saw myself among other women-I usually feel uncomfortable around women, but now because of the teaching career, I am starting to have more women friends.

( was before Jack was born)

I used to be one of those people who kind of took pride in the fact that I got along better with men than women.


I'm not actually sure I got along that much better with men.

Now I'm thinking the men over women thing really only applied to college.

Before that, I was shy with guys. Most of my friends were girls.

In college, I was a bit boy crazy.

Social reality aside, I think I longed to be the Smurfette of a group. I liked the idea of being the only girl among a bunch of guys...who adore me.

I'm over that now.

How I felt about men-Because of this teaching career, my contact with men is limited. I talk to men on the Internet.

I wonder where I talked to them at that point? AOL chatrooms, probably. And message boards.

What held me together-My boyfriend.


You need to hold YOURSELF together.

Do not rely on a man to hold you together.

Holy shit. No. No. No. No!

If you can't rely on yourself to hold yourself together, for Pete's sake...get a cat or something.

And what tore me apart-Career confusion. Worry about money.

Money worries really suck.

My greatest strengths-Sense of humor, ability to be silly, good with children, open-minded.

I guess I'd still agree with those things.

But I think my favorite thing is the imagination of my subconscious. If there's one thing about me that impresses's my dreams.

My biggest vulnerabilities-Moody, bad temper, indecisive.

I wonder how moody I am.

I have come to know someone who has major ups and downs...sometimes within a day. They can go from super cheerful to sullen within a few hours.

I'm not sure I'm like that.

I feel my moods are more stable...though that's not saying that the stable mood is a good mood.

Then again....

Maybe not.

Maybe I do have unstable moods.

I have waves of feelings throughout the day. There are moments where I'm content, hopeful, excited, etc. Then there are other moments where I'm worried, depressed, hopeless, etc.

Does my behavior and demeanor reflect this?

I guess I can't answer that question.

I think it's the kind of question that other people have to answer for you.

What I was most afraid of-Losing Tim. Death.

I wonder if I was more scared of losing Tim through death or from other causes. How secure did I feel in our relationship?

I don't remember having many doubts about him staying with me. I think I had more doubts about him staying with me for the wrong reasons.  Or did that not come until later?

I'm still afraid of death—not my own, really, at this point. And I'm probably as often comforted by death.

It's amazing to me that we all get to drop out of the game someday.  Personally I wouldn't want to be the one to take myself out of the game. Why should I make the effort when it's guaranteed to someday happen for me without that effort? 

Anal Sex

Lately I've been looking at the search statistics for my blog.

The main reason people drop by?

They want to learn more about dropping one's bucket in the dirt, something I first heard about while watching Offspring.

I wonder if everyone who Googles the bucket/dirt thing heard it on Offspring.

Or has it been mentioned elsewhere?

Either's quite disheartening.

Other things that bring people to my blog: Geoff Paine married, Ben Mortley, Danny Raco's wife.

Who is Danny Raco?

I don't even know...much less his wife.

Okay. I just Googled. He's an actor. My blog is listed on the first page, but just by glancing at the Google entry, I can see that I really didn't talk about his wife. It's just I mentioned both Danny Raco and "wife" in the same post.

Basically it seems people come to my blog to learn about anal sex slag and to find out the relationship status of Aussie celebrities.

And there are a lot of variations of the bucket-dirt thing. The top one is simply "Drop your bucket in the dirt". But I also get, "Aussie slang drop your bucket in the dirt", "dropping buckets in the dirt" "drop bucket in dirt" "What does drop your bucket in the dirt mean?" and "What does it meant to drop your bucket in the dirt."

I hope my blog has helped to educate people.

BUT personally I'd much rather people read other things I've written.....

My novel about the afterlife: The Dead Are Online  👻

My novel about a young woman with Neurofibromatosis: Thirty Cats

My incomplete novel about a teenager living in a post-Zombie societyZombie Zoo  

My posts about narcissism and other toxicities.

My Hallmark Diary Posts

The Flowery Journal My Sister Gave Me (Part 22)

I was skimming through the rest of the journal and saw that I filled in (and dated) some things AFTER 1996.  My guess is I filled in a lot of the book when I first received it; then waited to fill in more, because the book was asking about later-life events.

SO...on this page, I think I wrote part of it in 1996...or maybe 1997. Then I later added more stuff in November 1999.

Moving to New York was very scary for me. It was horrifying to think that I wouldn't be going home for the summer anymore. My visits home now would always be short.

This took awhile to get used to..

Now I am very used to living away from home. I think officially moving in with Tim helped a lot. Having my own apartment made me feel lonely. Tim visited often, but it wasn't the same.

Now with Tim and Mooshu, I feel like I have a real family. I miss my other family, but I am satisfied with visiting them. I don't have a need to live with them.

At some point we changed the spelling of Mooshu to Mushu.

He was actually named after the Chinese food and not the dragon from Mulan.

How do you spell the food?

Well, I just Googled and am finding it spelled both ways.

It makes sense, since the real way you spell it is with Chinese letters.

We probably spelled it whatever way we saw it most often in NYC.

As for the rest of what I wrote, I think it's generally the fear that goes along with change and growing up.

November 1999-Now Tim and I are planning to move back to Texas. I want my children to have their grandparents nearby, and I want to be near my family. I think I'm also doing this for Tim, or more precisely, Tim and I are doing this for him. (Some stuff needed to be edited out here).

Basically...This wasn't a case of a person being dragged along to live among their in-laws. I think from very early on, Tim became very close to my parents, sisters, my sister's husband; then later my other sister's husband and all his nieces and nephews.

He is as close to them as I am...sometimes often even closer.

And he is as close to my family as he is to his own.

My parents would probably be so delighted to see what I said about wanting my kids to be near their grandparents.

In some ways, I'm glad we made that choice.

I think it IS special that Jack has his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins nearby.

I'm realizing, though, that I'm weird about it.

I'm actually very white about it.

I have a hard time accepting this culture in which see extended family so often. I'm perplexed when we're invited to birthday parties of older kids and teens. I can understand when kids are very young. But I never had my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents at MY birthday parties.

I thought it was odd that we were practically required to go to my niece's middle school graduation.  I never went to any graduation of any of my cousins.

BUT I'm trying to open my mind about this.

I think a lot of cultures have close extended families. Children aren't raised by their parents alone but also their aunts, uncles, older cousins, grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, etc.

Why do I have trouble accepting and dealing with this?

I think part of the problem is feeling suffocated. I think that's partly in my own head. But sometimes it IS more than that. Sometimes it's about getting invitations a little too often, and knowing it's often not seen as okay to say no. There will likely be bitching behind our backs or a passive-aggressive silent treatment.

I said a polite no recently to a last minute invitation.  There was no, That's okay! We'll get together another time. Or, I understand, but we'll miss you!  My no was met with silence. And it might have been my imagination, but the family member acted a bit distant from me a week or so after that.

It's also the grief I received when I wanted to move to Australia, as if it's not a nice bonus that we all live in the same metroplex but a crime against humanity to want to do otherwise.

The other problem-Or cause, really-of these feelings is the fact that I grew up so differently.  Our nuclear family began in Chicago which had my mom's parents, my dad's parents, his siblings, and our cousins.

But we left when I was a toddler.

We saw most of the Chicago people on a yearly basis, but they felt like relatives...NOT day to day family. We didn't attend birthday parties. We didn't attend graduations. We didn't meet their friends. We knew very little about their day to day life, and they knew little about ours.

Was my childhood way the right way?

No probably not.

If anything...

I think it IS better when family is defined not just as parents/children/siblings...but the whole large package.

That's not to say anyone should feel obligated or required to stay in the same city, town, neighborhood, house, etc. But if this does happen....

Well, I need to stop seeing it as being abnormal.

Because it is definitely NOT abnormal.

As for feeling suffocated, I think by losing this misguided idea of what's normal and not normal, SOME of these feelings will be alleviated.

Instead of thinking things like, It's really odd that we're expected to go to this, I might instead think, this is really awesome that we all live here and that we have an opportunity to go to this!

And then I need to make my own boundaries.

I need to say yes when I want to go to something OR when I feel reciprocal support is owed (which at this point, it is very much NOT owed)

I need to say no when it gets to be too much. And for me it does sometimes get to be too much.

If someone has a problem with my no, I need to make it stay THEIR problem. I shouldn't make it my own. If they want to complain about me behind my back or give me some kind of silent treatment, so be it. conclusion.  I think it's usually a blessing for a family to stay together rather than separate once the children are grown up, married, and have kids of their own. But it's okay-and sometimes necessary-for there to be boundaries.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Flowery Journal My Sister Gave Me (Part 21)

More journal stuff.

This is a career page.

My career story doesn't have a happy ending. There's a little voice pestering me. Dina! It's not over yet! You might have a happy ending after all!  

I'm telling that voice to shut up. He's annoying and delusional.

Note: The blue is what's written in the journal and the green is what I filled in (probably in 1996). And sometimes if I'm quoting things now, that will be blue too. I hope it's not too confusing.

After college, I decided to-go to Loyola Marymount for film school even though I didn't want to. I also decided to go to New York to meet Tim although we had already met before.

I experienced a lot of career confusion towards the end of college.

I think for most of my late high school life I went back and forth between wanting to be a screenwriter and wanting to be a novelist.

Now another voice is asking me, Duh. Why didn't you just pursue both?

Note: I'm not literally hearing voices. Just in case you were worried. Or in case you were excited because you thought we had something in common. Sorry to disappoint you.


Recently I told my son that he should do EVERYTHING he wants to do. Don't pick one interest and/or aspiration and neglect the others. Pursue as much as possible.

A person might have multiple careers.

Or they might have one career and several passionate hobbies.

Or they might have a meaningless job and lots of fantastic hobbies.

I have regretted giving into my parent's pressure to go to Loyola Marymount. But now sometimes I regret not staying. I wish I had pursued a film career while at the same time pursuing a writing career...AND a teaching career.

I also wish I had continued doing zoo work.

Deciding factors and influences-Loyola was a result of my parent's influence, my college advisor's influence, and my meddling sister's. Lara W's wedding in New Jersey influenced me to go to NY as well as the fact that I had a crush on Tim. 

I remember getting pressure from my parents but not the college advisor or my sisters.

The Tim thing: We had been talking on AOL and I had a crush on him. My parents were planning to take us to New York for the wedding, so that gave me the excuse to meet Tim. But then my parents decided not to go to the wedding. You know what...I have thought about this story often. And I don't think I've ever wondered why they canceled the trip.  I mean I think I knew why back then, but I've forgotten since then.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't a drama with the Lara W.'s family. We went to her sister's wedding a few years later. Plus, I think I would remember major drama.  I don't think my family has ever had major drama with their family.

Maybe some other event came up?

What I wanted to do most-I wanted mostly to be with Tim and I wanted to work with animals, especially primates.


I thought I wanted to be a novelist. I mean not more than Tim but more than working with animals.

How I envisioned my career-The problem was I didn't envision a career. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Every day I had a new idea that seemed stupid the next day.



I don't remember this.

Again, though, if I could speak to my past self, I'd just tell myself to not feel glued down to anything.

As this song says....

Though I'm 99.9% sure I'm not going to have career success, I still try to pursue things that interest me.

The other day I was thinking how I'm so fascinated by medical stuff. I'm not going to be a doctor, but I was thinking maybe I'll keep embracing my passion and learn more and more. It would be fun to see how much I could learn without going to actual medical school.  How much could someone learn through the Internet and medical TV dramas?

Yeah. I know. Medical TV shows have a lot of inaccuracies. BUT they're a good starting off point. I hear of some strange, rare disease. Then I Google and educate myself.

And what really happened-With pressure from my family I decided to try and get a job in publishing. I failed to do that, so I got a job as a receptionist through a temp agency. Then finally I realized I wanted to be a teacher.

I blame my parents for a lot of things, and I think usually I'm in the right about things.

BUT I think with the publishing thing, I was in the wrong. Sort of.

After the film school thing didn't work out, my parents pushed me to get a job in publishing. From what I remember, I found this wrong and insulting. I wanted to be a writer. I didn't want to work for writers!  I wanted to be the one with the book getting published. I didn't want to be the person who helped publish someone else's book!

I had this idea that the two didn't mix.

But through the years I've seen several authors who started off as editors at big publishing companies.

Being an editor would have probably helped me actually get my book published. I might have actually been successful with the whole writing thing.

The question is, what were my chances of becoming an editor?

At the time, I believed I was in competition with young people who had majored in English and/or journalism.

I'm not sure if that's true or not.  I'm guessing it's probably mostly true.

Well, this website says it's best to choose a degree in English, Journalism, or communication.

I had a degree in psychology.

I don't think it would have been impossible for me to get a job...if I was very charming and had great interviewing skills.

I didn't have that. At all.

What I did have?

Letters to publishing houses from my CEO father.

He had this idea that he could write letters from one bit shot boss to another, and that would open doors for me.

I was resistant to the idea, especially since a short time earlier I had gotten into a fight with my dad where he told me everything I've achieved from life came from him.

How much is that true?

Definitely not all of it.

I'm pretty sure my dad wasn't writing to the professors at the  University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, telling them to give me a high grade point average. I'm pretty sure I did that on my own.

I hope.

If I'm wrong, who would I be most disgusted with-myself, the school, or my dad?

Now did my dad sneak a letter into my admissions packed when I applied to the school? Maybe. Though I think that would be kind of foolish. I don't think UTC was above my qualifications.

Anyway... back to the story.

I'm not sure why I gave into my dad's insistence to accept the letters.

I'm also wondering, did he do research and write personal letters to these publishers? Or did he just do a generic letter and send a copy out to every one?

And did he send the letters himself, or did I send them attached to my resume?

Either way....over 20 years later, I'm still humiliated thinking about it.

Now I am NOT against all use of connections.

It makes sense small, reasonable doses. 

If my dad had a relationship with a publisher, it would make some sense for him to help me get in touch with the publisher. He shouldn't have been able to get me a job, but maybe it would have been okay for him to open the door a bit for me.

And a few years after all this, he did have a short term buddy-ship with a publisher, and he used that connections to get the publisher to read one of my novels. That was pretty cool. But it was not super cool, because it didn't work out.  (probably my fault)

Okay, but just writing random letters to people you don't know and thinking your CEO title is going to open doors.  That's NOT cool.

I don't think I opened any doors on my own more than a slight crack. But I think maybe my dad's letter closed any crack I might have opened.

And if by chance, some publisher was actually impressed with the letter, would I want to work for such a person?

No. I don't think so.

Now I'm thinking....

My dad DID write a letter to someone he didn't know, and I DID end up getting the job.

This was at the Fort Worth Zoo.  I wrote a cover letter asking for a job, and he sent a letter along with my letter.

Or maybe he did know someone from the zoo.

If not, though, my parents do donate a lot of money to the zoo. Maybe they were donating back in those days as well?

Money can definitely be an influence.

So did the zoo let me work there because my parents contributed to their cause?



But that doesn't guarantee that I couldn't have gotten a job there on my own.

It was during my time at the zoo that I had the fight with my dad where he declared I've achieved nothing without him.

Then there's another time that my dad probably opened a door for me. And unlike the zoo, this one probably would HAVE been closed to me.

It's probably because of his power that I was able to be a counselor at the Cystic Fibrosis camp in Georgia.  You were supposed to be at least 18 to be a counselor there...unless you had CF.  I started working there when I was 16.

The company my dad worked for did a lot of charity work for the Atlanta Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I don't think I put two and two together until years later.


Here's the thing.

The company my dad worked for got involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because of me. I became passionate about it, and somehow that led to them getting involved.

I forgot how, though.

I'm guessing there was some CF event I was involved with, and the company sponsored something. Then that led to other sponsorships?

Our friend/my dad's coworker (Greg) became very involved. It could be because the CF Foundation does sporting events, and Greg is very much into sports. He also read a novel I had written about CF. Maybe that was a little push? Or am I being delusional?

I'm probably being delusional.

And egotistical.

It would be nice to imagine that I inspired people with my writing and passion. But it was probably more a matter of fate—one person's path being a stepping stone for someone else's path.


If it WAS because of my dad that I was able to work for the CF camp, I can't NOT be somewhat grateful, because I really did have a good time there.

And I met my future husband there.

I'm mostly grateful to myself, though. Or proud of myself.

I'm proud of the passion I had for the Cystic Fibrosis cause.

I'm proud of the initiative I took to pursue that passion—writing, volunteering, learning, raising money, etc.

Personal hopes and aspirations-I wanted to get engaged, married, and have babies. Then when the teacher idea came to me, being published and the marriage stuff seemed less important.

Maybe wedding fantasies were sort of a bandaid for my career confusion and disappointments.

I'm sure I did envision getting married and having children.

But maybe, at some point, I became preoccupied with the idea since I was feeling empty in other areas.

Then teaching came along, and part of that hole was filled.  

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Flowery Journal My Sister Gave Me (Part 20)

More journal stuff.

Note: The blue is what was printed in the journal. The green is what I wrote (probably in 1996...because that's when I received the journal).

The story that sums up what I was like then-During the first few days at school, I decided I'd be so outgoing that I'd simply sit down next to a stranger at lunch. I took my tray and went up to a guy sitting alone and asked if I could join him. He seemed very shocked but said yes. Then he seemed uncomfortable and kept mentioning his girlfriend. I guess he thought I was trying to hit on him.

I wonder if my behavior would be seen as normal.

I mean in trying to be more normal-as in less shy-did I end up acting abnormally outgoing?

And would my actions be seen in a different light if genders were reversed?

I guess a lot would depend on the social expectations of a college cafeteria. Do people usually sit with people they know? Or alone if they have no friends eating at the same time?

Is there a difference between being brave enough to ask to sit with a group and asking to sit with a person sitting alone?

I wrote a post in 2015 about a man approaching me at an airline club.  He made me uncomfortable, and I feared I had been rude. But then I had concluded that he was the one that had been rude. He had put his drink down at my table in a way that seemed presumptuous. I decided:

It would be like going to an almost empty movie theater and sitting in the seat right next to someone; then striking up a conversation. That's creepy. I think the appropriate thing to do, in that situation, is sit several seats away from someone; and if desired, try to strike up a conversation from there. If someone at an airport club, wants to try to meet someone; they can simply say hello as they walk by. If the other person seems friendly, and in the mood to talk; they can stop and chat for awhile. If the chatting gets intense, maybe THEN make a motion to sit down.


With that in mind, I would say I acted inappropriately in the college cafeteria. I was too aggressive.

I should have talked to strangers in line at the salad bar or while waiting to pay for our meal.


Now I'm rethinking.

Is it different in school cafeterias?  Do students sometimes meet each other by being brave enough to ask, Is this seat taken?

I'm asking Google now.

College Confidential has a message board conversation about it. I'm getting the idea that it IS okay to sit by strangers in a cafeteria; though one person says it's less okay if the cafeteria is almost empty.

If the cafeteria is crowded, you're going to have to sit somewhere.

I guess it's like being on a bus. If the bus is almost empty, it's creepy to sit next to someone. But if the bus is crowded, you're expected to sit with someone.

My greatest moment of triumph-was probably my grade point average which was probably not a big deal to some people but to me it was a huge deal, since in high school and elementary school, I did so bad. Well, not bad, but my average was 2.83. In college I raised that to a 3.8.

I think that IS something to be very proud of. And I'm proud of my past self.

I think it's one thing to get good grades because you're just naturally brilliant. It's another thing to change your study habits and put in a lot of time and effort so you can get better grades.

And most agonizing defeat-All the guys that rejected me, especially David. I guess because he seemed to like me and then he rejected me.

Also, Russ because he seemed somewhat below me, but he didn't ever show interest. I wonder if I had been more direct about my interest.

I think it's a huge mistake to see romantic rejection as a defeat. We shouldn't see another person as something to win or be conquered. They shouldn't be a goal.

As for Russ. What I meant was that he was maybe in a lower league...or as they say on Coronation Street, I would have been punching below my weight.

But that doesn't matter.  Someone could be a thousand leagues above us, and there's still no guarantee that we'll be interested in them.

I will maybe agree with my past self that not being direct enough was a defeat. Would Russ and I have gotten together if I had been more direct about my feelings?  Or did I just assume it was a defeat, because I saw myself as more valuable than Russ?  If I saw Russ as my equal or superior, would I feel such a defeat?

It seems maybe I was thinking, Well, Russ just never would have expected someone like me to like someone like him, so I should have told him! 

Other stories that need telling-I was walking and this guy started hitting on me. He asked for my number and I gave it to him, because at the time I was naive and thought I had to give my number to everyone who asked. Then he called me and during the conversation he said, "Never mind. I'm just being Jewish. I thought he was a fellow Jew, but it ended up that Jewish meant stupid in his book. Every one thought this story was so hilarious because of his embarrassment when he found out I was Jewish. I thought it was just antisemitic. 

I'm pretty sure I've shared that story before on my blog.

What has stuck with me the most about it is not the directly antisemitic guy, but the lack of support I received when venting about the story.

If someone complains that they've encountered racism, sexism, anti-semitism, homophobia, etc. and we laugh it off or trivialize it.  Well, guess what. Then WE are likely going to sound like bigots as well.

Though I think gently questioning whether an action or statement is bigoted can sometimes be warranted.

I can't see any context in which equating Jewish with stupid would be NOT antisemitic....or at least offensively ignorant.

But let's say that solo guy in the cafeteria rejected my request to sit down. What if he had said, No thanks. I prefer to sit alone. 

I call my sister Melissa and say, This guy in the cafeteria is such an antisemitic asshole. He didn't want me to sit with him!

I think it would be totally okay for my sister to ask, How would he know you're Jewish? Or How do you know he rejected you because of that? Maybe he's just shy? Or maybe he wanted to be alone. Or maybe he didn't like you for another reason?

But back to trivializing, because I feel that's the bigger issue...personally.

I think there are times that people act obvious about being upset, and their situation is trivialized.

Let's say a teenager is walking home and a man flashes her. She comes home crying and when she calms down enough to tell her family what happened, they make jokes about it. Because come's not like she was raped or anything.

At the end of the conversation, she might be laughing too. On the outside.

A different teen might come home and blurt out cheerfully that she was if it were some silly event.  Parents with a lot of psychological knowledge and skill might understand that she's masking her true feelings. But I think a lot of parents would purposely, or out of ignorance, deny the possibility that there is something darker underneath their daughter's surface reaction.

Last summer my mother texted me and asked if I wanted her to pick me up and take me to the lake house. I was feeling very angry and depressed at the time.  This is what I texted back to her: Thank you!!! Maybe. My emotions and brain aren't feeling well today so maybe best that I stay home. But if I'm feeling well tomorrow, I'd be grateful if you picked me up!!!!

My mom replied, Let me know if you want a ride. Love you!!!

On top of my already-bad feelings, now I was furious at my mom.

Where the fuck was the...Are you okay? OR  Do you want to talk about it? OR I'm sorry you're not feeling well. OR I love you and I'm worried about you.

My mom might have said she loved me, but I certainly didn't feel very loved.

I later vented to Tim about it. He tried to understand my mom and said that sometimes I act cheerful in text when I'm upset. So maybe she misread things.

I think some of us are worried about being labeled drama queens or Debbie Downers, so we try to diffuse our feelings with jokes and/or cheerfulness. Are we asking too much of people by expecting them to read between the lines?

Sometimes...probably. If we hide things too much.

For example. What if I texted back my mom, Thank you!!! I'm not sure yet. But maybe? I'll let you know tomorrow. If I do need you to pick me up, I'll be super grateful!

Should I have been mad at my mom for not being intuitive enough to know that behind that message I was feeling awful?

No. That would be unfair and irrational.

But if we say something serious with a bit of cheerfulness or add a joke, I don't think it should be assumed that we're okay.

Yeah. I know I've gone off on a total tangent here.

It's just something that's important to me.

I get annoyed at the "Are You Okay" campaign, because I feel too many of us already speak out and say we are NOT okay...before even being asked, and we're ignored. Or we're asked if we're okay and when we say we're not, the conversation ends. 

Are You Okay is not going to work in a society that's lacking listening skills, emotional intelligence, and compassion.

I think we'd need a few less hotlines if stuff like this changed a bit.  

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Flowery Journal My Sister Gave Me (part 19)

More journal stuff!

The blue is what was printed in the journal. The green is what I wrote (probably in 1996).

I felt I was coming into my own when I figured out that I could walk downtown to the bookstore, drugstore, etc.

This was in college.

I think it took me some time to realize that despite not being able to drive, I could still have some traveling independence.

I wonder how long the walk was to the drugstore, bookstore, etc.

I'm playing around with Google Maps, trying to see what's near the University of Chattanooga now.

There's a Mellow Mushroom a little less than a mile from my old apartment.  I don't think it was around in the 1990's.

Lord Wiki says Mellow Mushroom was established in 1974, so it COULD have been around back when I was at school.  He also says that Mellow Mushroom started in Atlanta, Georgia. We saw signs for it when we visited a few days ago. I didn't realize it originated there.

What other restaurants originated in Atlanta?  I know Moe's is another one.

Here's an article that lists some.

Chick-fil-A.  I kind of feel like I remember that one beginning.  But often I feel like I've witnessed the beginning of something. Then I learn it's been around much longer.

Lord Wiki says Chick-fil-A began in 1946.

Okay. BUT he says it became a mall food court thing in the 1970's and 1980's. I probably remember the beginnings of that.

We lived in Atlanta in the 1980's. I wonder what came first to the Perimeter Mall—us or Chick-Fil-A?

Anyway, as for Chick-fil-A.  I wish they'd become more gay-friendly AND more vegetarian friendly. But still. I do like their Waffle fries.

Waffle House is from Atlanta. I think it's been a long time since I've been in one of those. I remember going there for a psychology class project. We had to observe...something?  Maybe waffle making?

Great American Cookie is from Atlanta. I kind of remember that time when big, soft cookies became popular in malls and other places.

Applebee's originated in Atlanta.. It's been a long time since I've been in one of those restaurants as well.

Well, there are other restaurants. But the ones I've listed are the ones more familar to me.

Back to the Chattanooga map.

There's now an aquarium about a mile away from my old apartment. I'm pretty sure that wasn't there when I was a student. I vaguely remember hearing about its birth.

WELL....never mind.

Lord Wiki says the aquarium began in 1992. I would have been a student then!  Why did I miss it?

He does say that it had major expansions in 2005.  Maybe it was a dinky little thing before that?

What made me independent was-See above (and I drew a little arrow)

That's more evidence that the journal annoyed me. And it IS annoying! What's the difference between coming into one's own and feeling independent?

I felt happiest in college when-I was with a lot of friends and they were paying attention to me. I hate being ignored. 

I might sound like a drama queen.

But no. I would disagree with that assessment. I've never liked being ignored. That doesn't mean I have a need to be the CENTER of attention. I'm quite fine with other people being the center of attention.  I just don't want to feel invisible. There definitely is a middle ground.

And most unsure when-I am ignored. When people would fail to invite me somewhere.

I hate experiencing this, and I hate seeing this.

To me, the worst is when there's a small group of people together. Then one person in the group invites everyone else but a particular person to go do something.

Example: Harry, Rosie, and Max are sitting by the pool together. Rose says, Hey Harry, do you want to go inside and play some video games?

Rosie says, Sure! No one says anything to Max as they rush off and leave him behind.

I'd really like to know what the hell is with people when they do this?

Are they being purposely cruel?  Or are they just oblivious?

Have I ever done something like this before? I would hope not on purpose...but maybe accidentally? Well, I hope I wouldn't do it accidentally either.

I grew a person in these ways-I had a long term relationship. I met people of different types. That sounds weird. I learned a lot about Judaism.

It might sound weird, but I kind of like it.

There are lots of different types of people—different genders, different sexual preferences, different ethnicities, different disabilities, different religions, different accents, etc.

I guess I could have said, I met a variety of people.

Either way.....

The greatest opportunity I had-was probably my friendship with M. It is such an honor that I'm the first person that he told about being gay and I had the chance to help him with Judaism.

I'm leaving out the name, because though I'd hope he's 90-100% out of the closet now; that might not be the case. I don't want to accidentally out anyone.

But the opportunity I missed-Volunteering at the Chattanooga zoo. I am so mad I didn't know about how close the zoo was sooner. 

I saw it on the map earlier and was surprised that it WAS close.  I do remember volunteering at the zoo, but I don't remember how I got there.

I suppose I  walked.

What I understand now about this time and its importance-I understand that I could have had great hands on experience with animals.  

Sometimes I wish I had become a zookeeper. Or something along those lines.

What I would like to tell the young woman I was-Go to the Chattanooga zoo. Don't have sex with Mike. But then I wouldn't have enough experience. Maybe I could have done it with Jesse.

Ouch. I don't remember loving my college sexual experiences. But I didn't know I had that much regret about it.

With the MeToo movement, though, I have been thinking that too many times I've done sexual things not at all because I wanted to, but because I have felt pressure to do them.

Did I have resentment over this before the MeToo movement?

I hope I least to some degree. But mostly I probably felt like a prude; like I owed men something; that the most important gift I could give a man was my body; that if I didn't put out, I'd be put down.

Anyway, I seriously doubt that things would have been any better with Jesse.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Our Trip to Atlanta

We just got back from a 3 night trip to Atlanta, Georgia.

I had a fantastic time.

I want to do a bit of a trip report so my future self can be reminded of her Atlanta adventures in September 2018. And hopefully a few other people (present or future) might find this sort of interesting.


Starting out. We took an evening flight on Southwest Airlines.  This meant we got to go to the small, gentle Love Field airport in Dallas rather than the overwhelming DFW airport. Well, and the best thing about Love Field is that they have my favorite Mexican chain, Moe's.

I didn't enjoy the flight. I felt very antsy. I started thinking how I might not ever be able to handle traveling to Australia or Asia again, because I can't even handle a 2 hour flight. I thought that I might need to concentrate on visiting places like Canada. Well, in terms of international. There are many domestic possibilities.

That being said, I felt fine on the early morning flight back to Dallas this morning. I think it's just a night thing. If possible, I should probably avoid flying at night. Or...I'm starting to consider some type of medication. Maybe.

After the flight, we waited a bit too long for the shuttle to the hotel. Then....

Well, I can't remember anything interesting happening that night.

I think the biggest thing was each of us trying to decide if we should take a shower at night or go straight to sleep and shower in the morning.

Sunday was our first touring day.

The biggest highlight was meeting Jack's friend for the first time. That wasn't the highlight of the day. It was the highlight of the whole trip. This is a good thing, because our actual purpose for going to Atlanta was to meet Jack's friend.

Before meeting the friend, we had a quick bite at Starbucks.

I had Moon Cheese, which I really love. I'm never seen it outside of Starbucks, but I'm guessing it exists somewhere. Hopefully at a cheaper price?

Tim got a drink. I'm usually not a fan of Starbucks drinks, but I tried this one and liked it. Tim thought it was too sweet. He decided to dilute it by adding some extra almond milk. He went to the counter to request some, and while he did that, Jack and I drank quite a bit of Tim's drink.  Tim came back and added the almond milk.  I declared that he ruined it. Tim pointed out that we had drunk most of it, anyway. I then realized we were kind of to blame for the over-diluting.  If we (I?) had not drunk so much of it while Tim was away, it would have probably been much less diluted.


After Jack's friend joined us, we all drove to Duluth where we went to a Japanese festival.

That was crowded.

It was pretty okay. I guess.

I think, there, I had the worst dessert I've ever had.

I always long to get Asian shaved ice-desserts. They had them there. I was interested but hesitant,  because the desserts were huge!  They looked like they could feed five people.

I went back and forth between wanting the dessert and thinking I should skip it.

Once I decided to go for it, I had to pick out the flavor. Tim said he was okay with whatever I wanted. Though when I told him I was going to skip the matcha-red bean (my usual favorite) he was pleased about that.

After saying no to my usual favorite, I had to figure out if I wanted something fruity or chocolatey.

I ended up choosing chocolate.

Big mistake!

I was a bit surprised when we ordered and they told us the price was 7 dollars. I was picturing something much higher than that.

Well, guess what.

We pretty much paid for 4 small brownie pieces, a small pinch of M and M's, a tiny squirt of chocolate sauce, and a huge amount of shaved ice.

I've had shaved ice desserts before, and usually they're good...because the ice is FLAVORED!

This ice had no flavor.  Once we ate the toppings, we were left with plain ice.

I don't get it.

It would have been much better if they put more chocolate flavoring...or how about some condensed milk throughout the ice?

I'm kind of hoping they made a mistake and forgot the milk.

Anyway, I think the fruit ones might have been better, because maybe the juice of the fruit would have flavored the ice.

Moving on....

After the Japanese festival, we all went to Hmart the Korean grocery store.

I love Asian grocery stories.

They're one of my happy places.

In the evening we went to a little town called Covington. It's where the Vampire Diaries was filmed. I don't watch that show, but I have seen the spin off, The OriginalsThe Originals was filmed nearby in Conyers and that was on our maybe to-do list.

We ate dinner in Covington at a restaurant called City Pharmacy. Tim and Jack liked their food more than I liked mine, but I didn't mind it. And I enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant.

After dinner, we were blessed to have a meet and greet with a non-starved, properly fed "tea cup" pig, a ferret, and some lizards.

We were educated about the tea cup pigs. They're sold to eager pet owners who are told the pigs will stay tiny. But this only works if the pig owners follow a certain diet...which is essentially causing the pigs to be malnourished.

SO sad.

But the pig we met was being properly fed and very much loved.

Before I move onto the next day...I wanted to talk about my feelings towards Atlanta.

It's funny. I now think of Atlanta mostly as the place where Jack's friend lives. The next thing on my mind is that it's the place where Tim did exhausting commutes to works with our friend Greg. That was a few years ago.

After that...comes the zombies.

This is the stuff I have in my mind when I think of Atlanta.

Then we were driving and I suddenly remembered Tim and I actually first met in Georgia!  Not in Atlanta but in the northern mountains.

Okay and one other thing. I spent most of my teen years in Atlanta! I pretty much forgot all that when were planning to come to Atlanta. It's kind of odd, since I recently read all my diary entries from my Atlanta days.

I was talking to Tim about this.

I think new memories just replace old ones.

It's the same for me with NYC.

When I think of New York now, I more often think of the times we visited with Jack as tourists than when we lived there.

Okay. Now I'll move onto the next day.

We went to the zoo. Before getting there, I was texting back and forth with my sister Melissa. Melissa was having doubts about zoos wondering if they were a bad thing.  We both talked about this, and I  concluded that zoos aren't perfect but some treat animals well and sometimes its better than the alternative.

After spending about an hour in the zoo, my conclusion about the Atlanta zoo specifically is that it's probably good for the non-human animals, but not so good for the humans.

I think it was one of the most boring zoos I've been to.

I spent most of the time being lost. And tired.

They do have pandas, though, so that's exciting.

But the thing with highlight animals—pandas, koalas, Tasmanian devils, etc. I get so excited to see them. Then when I get to the exhibit, it's like....uh, okay. I guess I've had enough now.  Sometimes the idea of seeing the animals is more exciting than actually seeing the animals.

Or yeah. It IS exciting. But, to me, it gets boring after about 3 minutes.

After the zoo, we...

Well, I forgot the order of things.

At some point, we drove to the building used in Hawkins lab in Stranger Things. There was a lot of commotion there, and we had the idea they were filming something else.

There was security at the building, so it turns out we couldn't park our car, get out, and play Stranger Things.

Tim told them that we had taken the wrong turn and asked if we could turn around. They let us drive through to the exit, and I quickly snapped a few pictures.

I have a feeling that a many people take the same "wrong turn", and that the security is used to this...and maybe mildly tolerant of it. They probably knew we were going take photos. Otherwise I think they'd either insist that we exit by backing up or sternly tell us to go through very quickly.

We tried to have lunch at this place called Ponce City Market. It was a bit overpriced, we couldn't find a cuisine that pleased all of us, and there didn't seem to be enough seating.  So we decided to eat at Moe's!  I was quite excited to get Moe's twice in one trip. But after eating a whole plate of nachos, I felt I might be over Moe's. At least for awhile.

We tried to figure out what to do next.

After some discussion, we ended up at Stone Mountain park.

I was a bit shocked that to just enter the park is $20.  Or at least the parking fee is that much?  Maybe if you walk into the park, it's free.

Maybe it counts as a national park? I remember hearing that there were price increases with those.

After entering the park, we drove to this amusement area near the mountain.  I don't think that was there when I lived in Atlanta.

We didn't get to experience much of it, because it was open but closed. They were doing construction—setting up for some event. Halloween, I think?

We could walk around and look around, but all the shops and food venues were closed.

The bathroom was open, so that was a plus.

We took advantage of that.

I enjoyed taking some photos; though I think I would have enjoyed the experience more if it had been less hot. And I was tired of seeing signs for various unavailable soft serve ice-cream.

I was amused by some of the signs, because it said the whole "Pardon our dust. We're getting ready for."

I thought that was usually used when something was open, but certain aspects were blocked because of construction.  It was kind of nuts to say that when everything! (besides the bathroom) was closed.

I was a bit annoyed that we weren't warned-before paying the 20 dollar entrance fee-that the main park was closed. I can kind of understand, though, because there's a lot to do at the park besides the amusement area.  But still. I imagine that MIGHT be one of the main highlights. And perhaps they could have a sign at the entrance warning people about the closure.

After Stone Mountain, we had the opportunity to tour a funeral home/crematorium. That was a special experience. I thought it could be morbidly fascinating without being sad. And it WAS fascinating. But it got sad very quickly.  There were no mourning families there, but I could very much imagine them being there.

I liked, though, that they offered green burial options. You can be buried with a shroud or simple box rather than a super fancy coffin. And they have this area that's more like a beautiful nature park rather than a cemetery.  It looked very peaceful. That being said, I think cemeteries, themselves, are often quite lovely.

Onto less morbid things....

We had planned to eat at a fancy Mexican restaurant. But our Moe's meal kind of put a dent in that plan.

We opted for Japanese instead. I had sweet potato sushi for the first time. It had little bits of tempura and was quite yummy. I'm not a huge fan of tempura, but I think it worked well in the sushi.

Wait. I left the morbid things prematurely. I forgot. Before we ate dinner, I finally got my chance to see The Originals filming locations!  I say morbid, because the show is about vampires.

 I was very excited, though it's been some months since I've seen the show. I can't say I walked on the street and said I remember this! and I remember that!

I took tons of pictures, though. So if I watch the show again, maybe I can look back at my pictures and recognize stuff from the show.

And...that's our Atlanta adventure.

All in all, it was one of those wonderful trips that are not wonderful because of what you see, do, or eat, but because of who you're with.

I loved it.

P.S-In case anyone is interested, here is my Flickr album of the trip.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Picnic in Australia

I've been watching the Picnic at Hanging Rocking miniseries.

It's getting fairly low ratings on IMDb. But I don't mind it so much.

It's melodramatic and kind of gothic. It reminds me of a V.C. Andrews novel. Although I don't think there has been any incest yet.

I'm not sure how faithful it is to Joan Lindsay's original novel. I don't think I ever read that. Though sadly I'm not 100% sure. I might have read it and forgotten. I DO know that I read a sequel written by Michael Fuery.

I'm pretty sure I haven't seen the original movie, but I have seen clips from it.

I actually had the original movie on my watch-list. I put it on a few years ago, because it was on Hulu...or Netflix.  But now it's gone. So I decided to try the miniseries instead.

I'm wondering what characters from the miniseries are also in the original book and movie.

For example, Natalie Dormer from Game of Thrones plays the abusive headmistress Mrs. Appleyard.  I'm not sure yet if Mrs. Appleyard is a-bit-too-strict abusive or mentally-unstable abusive. She's not very nice. That's for sure.

I'm looking at the movie cast list now. It does have a Mrs. Appleyard, played by an actress named Rachel Roberts. Like Dormer, she's British.

Outside of Dormer, I think most of the actors in the miniseries are Australian. I wonder if it's the same for the movie.


Both Miranda's are Australian (Anne-Louise Lambert and Lily Sullivan)

And Both Edith's are Australian (Christine Schuler and Ruby Rees).

To me, those are the most memorable characters.

I remember them from the clips I've seen. Because it's Edith that calls out frantically, Miranda!!!!

Right now I'm in the middle of episode 3 of the miniseries, which is the halfway point of the miniseries. The girls have been missing for 9 days, but Irma Leopold (Samara Weaving) was found. I wonder if the same thing happened in the book/movie.

I'm also wondering what's going to happen in the final 3 episodes. Since it's not a long novel and about a 2 hour movie, I'm guessing the writers of the miniseries are adding their own ideas.

I remember reading that there was a controversial last chapter of Joan Lindsay's novel and that the last novel explained away the mystery. I wonder if the miniseries is going to use that.

Well...I'm going to Google to make sure I'm remembering that right.

Okay. According to Lord Wiki, Joan Lindsay solved the mystery at the end of her novel in the last  chapter. Her editor persuaded her to take it out. I guess she thought it was best to leave it open-ended. Then when Joan Lindsay died, the last chapter was published as a separate book.

In the finale, the girls all take off their corsets; enter a time warp; then disappear into the rock. BUT...not Irma. So I guess in the original book, she does return.

Wow. So now I'm reading that there's a whole campaign to end Picnic at Hanging Rock tourism.  There's controversy because people are ignoring the older Aboriginal history and giving the majority of their attention to the fictional lost girls instead. People will climb on the rock and scream, Miranda!

At this point, I don't think I'm on the side of the campaign.

I think movie/tv/book tourism is a pretty big thing. And all those places are going to have a history beyond being a setting for a fictional story.

I'm sure Dubrovnik, Croatia had historical things happening before it became King's Landing.

I'm sure Georgia had things happening before it was overflowing with zombies.

I think a few things happened in England before Harry Potter came along.

My feeling is to accept the tourist's love for a fictional story and then use that opportunity to teach them about the other stuff. Hey I know you're here to try to find Miranda. But while you're here, how about learning about the Aboriginal history.

Although now I just reread (more carefully) what Lord Wiki is saying.

I think the problem is that the site itself pushes the Picnic at Hanging Rock aspects. There's a statue of Miranda. And I personally think the statue is fine. But if it's not balanced enough, maybe they should work on that.

Now I'm looking at the campaign website. It's actually called MIRANDA MUST GO. That's kind of extreme. How about instead, MIRANDA NEEDS TO SHARE.

Reading over some of the website, I think there are two grievances. A) White lives are emphasized over black lives. B) Fictional lives are emphasized over real ones.

I'm totally on board with the first. Our society sadly seems to be more interested in what happens to white people than they do brown or black people. But I'm hoping that's changing.

As a lover of fiction, I'm totally NOT on board with the latter complaint. I think fictional people do matter. Why? I'm not sure.

I guess just because I love fiction.

And it's cultural.

White people came to Australia and did horrible things to black people that should never be forgotten and can never truly be forgiven. But I wouldn't include adding to Australia's mythology as one of the atrocities.

Black Australians have a mythology that goes back thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousand, etc. of years. Then white people came along and added their own mythologies.

If the white mythologies erase or overshadow the black mythologies, that IS an atrocity. But as long as both mythologies are honored and treasured, I think it's fine.

One of the big things of the Miranda Must Go website is the white-vanishing-myth.Supposidly, that's a thing?

Well, I was just thinking that if it IS a big thing, it could be offensive in that although white people do sometimes disappear, black people have done much more disappearing. White government officials actually stole black children from their families. These children disappeared from their families, their cultures, and their communities.

I think if people go beyond enjoying the story of Picnic at Hanging Rock and actually believe white people are in greater danger from vanishing; then, yeah, I would think they're ignorant and racist.

Now I'm going to look at Hanging Rock tourism websites and see if they neglect Aboriginal history.

The Visit Melbourne site has a whole page about the new miniseries and doesn't say one thing about Aboriginal least not on this particular page.  The page itself is titled "Picnic at Hanging Rock".

They also have a page about Woodend, where the Hanging Rock resides. This page talks about Picnic at Hanging Rock. It says nothing about Aboriginal history.

This website for the Macedon Ranges talks about Picnic at Hanging Rock, but they at least mention that there is Aboriginal history there. And they also talk about geology, flora, fauna, and non-Joan Lindsay/Peter Weir events.

Here's yet another tourism website. They emphasis Picnic at Hanging Rock and do not mention Aboriginal Australians...well, at least not on the page about Hanging Rock.


I do think the anti-Miranda grievances are partly valid. I think more attention should be given to Aboriginal Australians and their history regarding the area.  But I think Miranda Must Go is too extreme.  For example, their website says "Remove the White Vanishing Myth". How about just reducing the myth? Or how about giving more attention to Aboriginal history and mythology?

I was about to end this post; then realized I would be adding to the problem if I don't actually take the time to learn about the Aboriginal history around the rock.

The anti-Miranda site says that the Aboriginal people in the area were killed by smallpox and murdered by white settlers. The survivors of the disease and atrocities were relocated to a reserve in Healesville.

There are three groups that have their traditional boundaries near the rock—Wurundjeri, Taungorong, and Djadja Wurrung.  I think I've maybe heard of the Wurundjeri people before. It sounds very familar.

The anti-Miranda site says that because of white colonization, a lot of history has been lost and/or muddled.  Despite attempts, there hasn't been firm consensus on the original name of the rock.

I'm looking up the Wurundjeri people now.

Lord Wiki lists places that are important to them.

I don't see Hanging Rock, Woodend, or Macedon Ranges on the list. Is the Miranda Must Go website over-emphasizing the importance of Hanging Rock to the Wurundjeri people?

Or is Lord Wiki ignorant about the history, because he too has been brained washed by the white vanishing myth?

Now I'm going to read an interview of Amy Spiers, an artist, who is the leader of the Miranda Must Go campaign.

Spiers says: A history of dispossession and violent colonial occupation has resulted in the severe disruption to Aboriginal presence and a loss of indigenous cultural knowledge in the Hanging Rock region. Yet this troubling past, and its present consequences, are cursorily mentioned or actively ignored in the historical information provided about Hanging Rock.

Yeah. From what I saw on the tourism websites, I can definitely agree with her.

Spiers talks about Black Lives Matter and removing statues and flags that honor racist and harmful white people.  I'm on board with that. But those are real people who caused real harm. For me, it's too much to go after some fictional young school girls whose biggest crime was vanishing on a school field trip.

Spiers says, When I hear non-Aboriginal people say that we can have both stories – Joan Lindsay’s novel and Aboriginal history – it is sounds remarkably like the #AllLivesMatter argument.


I personally think there is a huge difference.

As far as I know, Black Lives Matter doesn't say things like White people must go! or Remove White People!

White racist people make those inferences themselves so they can play victim...and so they can play the game of being racist while trying to claim they're not racist.

Pushing for people and/or a cause to be recognized does not usually equal trying to diminish something else.

What's that saying....

Just because you're trying to save the whales, it doesn't mean you are saying fuck the dolphins.

But Amy Spier's campaign IS kind of saying Fuck the Dolphins. I mean not literally. She probably loves dolphins.

If someone had a website that said, Fuck the dolphins, we're not doing enough to save the whales, would it be so awful for someone to speak in defense of the dolphins?  But if someone went to a basic save the whales website and started saying dolphins matter too; then yeah. I think that would resemble the All Lives Matter group.

It's funny. I was missing writing about Australia and thought I could maybe write about the miniseries I was watching.

I worried I wouldn't have much to say. I kind of pictured writing a few sentences; then having nothing left to write.


I did greatly enjoy writing this post, though.

I hope to do more Australia stuff.

I'm not going to back to having an Australia blog, but I don't want to have a Not-Australia blog.  So maybe I'll try to more Australia-research posts in the future.