Saturday

"The Book of Me, Written by You" - Your Childhood Home

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations.

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
The prompt for the week is:  
Your Childhood Home

The Brief
The Brief
The Brief: 
When did you leave home?
Where was it?
Where did you move to?
Was it rented or owned? – with parents/Grandparents
Was it inherited
What was it like – describe it – each room.
Were there a favourite room?
Is there anything you particularly remember from the house?
Pictures
The road & area

Where was it located?

When I was born, my parents had recently bought the house and picked the location which was near where they actually grew up. As my father was in the US Navy, they were sent all over the US, which depended on where my father was sent, and we had a house in various military housing neighbourhoods. 

By the time I came along, my mother was tired of packing up and moving from base to base, so they decided to buy the house where they lived when I was born. It was purchased, with my grandmother's help (my father's mother Jean) and the savings they had. 

Like I mentioned above, it was in the area where both my parents grew up. My father was raised around Linden, New Jersey and then when he was around 10, the whole family unit moved from there to Newburgh, New York,  where he stayed until he met and married my mother. Shortly after, he joined the US Navy and the moving was on. 

Linden, NJ Map

My mother, on the other hand, was born in Pike, Pennsylvania.  She moved to Newburgh, New York when she was about 10 as well. From then onwards, she lived around the area until she met my father and he joined the US Navy and moved with him. 
Pike, PA Map

As I said and showed in an earlier post, I was born while living in Newburgh, New York. At that point, all my sisters, brother, mother. and when he wasn't on the submarine, my father all lived in the house. 
Taken from Wikipedia

What did the house look like?

The house looked small from the outside, but was actually pretty spacious. When you walked into the front door, you were taken into a huge living room area. At one point this room had a flat window, but my father later changed it to a bay window. There was a window on the side of the house which looked out onto the driveway and next door's lawn. This area lead you into both the dining room and kitchen areas. In the dining room, it once had just a door going out to the backyard; however, while growing up my father changed this to a sliding door. The kitchen was pretty small overall. It had a sit at table with the refridgerator at the end of it - giving you just enough room to open the door and walk by it. Next to that was the sink which had a window looking out to the backyard. Next to that was a small bench which had storage and then the oven. The phone was on the wall next to the table, which always seemed to have mail and other paperwork on it. Then you could walk out of a doorway and be looking at the door which we walked into. 

Next you had a choice - up stairs or downstairs. First we'll go upstairs. At the top of the 10 or so steps up, you had the bathroom. It was just big enough to hold the toilet, a sink next to that and the combination of bathtub/shower. Walking back out of there you looked directly into a small room straight ahead - it was only about 7 steps to the door. To the left of the door was a linen closet. Anyhow getting back to the room, it was small. Enough for a small dresser and a single bed and not much else. This used to be my room, before my mother left my father (they eventually divorced). I can still see the small plastic picture of that was the only thing in the room - a small tiny Jack Russell type of dog with very sad eyes that looked like he was going to cry, which was understandable due to it looked like someone left him in an alley with no food. 

Anyhow, when you turn to leave that room, you make a right after about a step on the left there was a wall but it was once a laundry shoot. I remember growing up, we used put things down the shoot - at one time it was my brother (I watched), we put some boxer puppies down it, and a list of other things. I remember my mother and grandmother always yelling about what they'd find when they went to do laundry. After taking another 2 steps, you had bigger bedrooms - one of the left and one of the right. The one on the left was the one my sister's shared and the one of the right was the one my brother had. 

Upon returning to where we had the choice of upstairs and downstairs, we will now go downstairs. This has changed over time. When I was born, it had wood paneling on the left and a handrail on the right and went down about 15 steps. At the bottom of the stairs, on your left you had the laundry room, with the laundry shoot and small crawl space I was always playing in when I was a kid. 

Take about 3 steps and the other door was to another bedroom. This was the one my parents shared when we were growing up. It had an attached bathroom that included a sink, toilet (which had a handle made like a spring and you pressed that down to flush the toilet), and bathtub/shower combined. In later years, the bathtub/shower became just a shower.

The rest of the room was a game room with a bar with alcohol in it. At first it just had a room big enough for a small sofa with a TV on a stand with some sitting room on the floor and the bar with some bar chairs. However, my father then built onto it enough to have a game room - and big enough to hold a full sized pool table. There was a small window looking out to the other side of the house and a door leading to stairs going up about 15 or so into the backyard. This was the room which they always had their holiday parties, as I mentioned in my last post
 
1970's - Me with boxer pups, my grandmother looking on in front of the house in Newburgh, NY
The house was located almost at the end of a cul de sac on Fleetwood Drive. It was a different street - you had a party house on one side, on the other side a house left to riot with windows boarded up and doors that were broken from the hinges. There were 3 regular looking houses around the cul de sac a gap where there was a field and then more regular looking houses on the other side of the street to us. As you can tell, the street held about a dozen houses.
2013 - What the house looks like today in Newburgh, NY

When did you move?
My mother, middle sister, brother and I all moved out when my mother left my father in 1975, I believe. She had stored some money up and left while my father was at work during the night. My sister, brother and I left very early the next morning - we were running out the back of the game room when he was walking in the front door. 

Like I mentioned, my mother had limited funds and so we ended up moving in with my oldest sister while she looked for work to afford a place. This was in Walden, New York. We finally were able to move out of my sister's place in 1976, I think it was. 

We then moved about every 3-5 years around Walden, Montgomery, and Maybrook all located in New York. 

My father, on the other hand, lived in this house until he moved in 1994.

When did you leave your mother's "roof"?
I left from under my mother's roof, the first time, when I went to SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica Rome in Utica, New York in 1995. I went here to get my Bachelor's degree - only I ended up never completing it. 

The second time was when I left the US and moved to Australia to get married to my husband in 1997. As I'm still in Melbourne, it was a good choice.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of the house when I was born.

Check back next week for the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series.   - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/#sthash.KPTGu0so.dpuf
Check back next week for the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series. 
Check back next week for the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series.   - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/#sthash.KPTGu0so.dpuf

"The Book of Me, Written by You" - Favorite Season

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations.

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
The prompt for the week is:

My Favorite Season
The Brief
Do you have one?
Why?
A Happy/Sad Memory or association
Close your eyes and imagine your favourite season – write down what you see, feel, hear.

My Favorite Season
 
My favorite season is ...none. I used to like winter and the beauty of it. However, since moving to Australia, not only do they not have a real winter, to me, but the reasons why I liked winter - the crispness, the prettiness of the white snow, and the feeling that family time is just around the corner - are just not here. If you can imagine growing up having a hot summer, a wet and slightly cool autumn, or fall, then having freezing, snowy, icy and then you go to sprint which is mushy, muddy but getting warmer seasons. Then compare that with a hot summer, jumping into rainy, depressing days, then into a wet, muddy, mushy days which lead back into the warmer weather.  The whole experience of a true winter just isn't here. I think this plays into the way I feel about the seasons. As you can see by these pictures, this is as much "snow" (it was hail) that we get here in Australia. Even though Christmas is our summer, we still had hail on Christmas Day but it was gone within a few hours. My husband ran around taking these pictures on the day as he was excited about the "snow".


What I will do is take you on the adventure of what I used to like/love about the winter when I lived in the US. This way, you can see why I liked or loved it so much compared to what I have now.







Memories of why I like winter
The good times
I can remember growing up, as the year went along, the temperature would get cooler and then colder and colder. When this started to happen, I knew that snow would start soon. I always loved the snow. Growing up in a small town, I would love it when it snowed because there was no sound, there were very few cars on the street, and the snow looked like pixie dust coming down and covering everything in its magic. Usually, it was loud by people shouting at each other, music or the TV being turned either on or up, cars that kept going past in either direction - all the time and every day. When it snowed it was like everything was taking a huge break and was quiet because it was scared it would run the pixie's off. Once it had been snowing awhile, you'd look out and things - any toys, bikes, tree branches, tables and chairs - would start to disappear. It would vary in the speed - sometimes it only took an hour and other times it was a full day - before these things would disappear. Most of the time during the height of winter, you wouldn't see these items again until the snow started to disappear and temperatures started to get warmer. However, for those few months of the entire year, the yard looked well kept and magical.

When the snow arrived it also meant there would be time for family to be spending some kind of time together. My family did not do much of this, but we always tried to be together during either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Most of the time it was Thanksgiving, but there were a few occasions where Christmas was the chosen holiday to be together for the year. I enjoyed these times, because it brought the family together and we would catch up on the entire year, or try to, in a few hours.

The not so good times
That being said, there were times where I hated winter just as bad as I liked it. There were some major snow storms. Two of the major ones growing up are in 1977 and 1978.

 
The Great Blizzard of 1977
 
 The North East Blizzard of 1978

One of these times, was when my mother and father just divorced and my mother didn't have a car. We had to walk from the house all the way to the elementary school which was about a mile down the road in the blinding snow storm which was so bad that we had to walk in the middle of the road and couldn't really see anything. However, my mother thought that I would still have school and she had to go to work. By the time I got to the school, I was completely frozen and shivering. The days when we arrived only to find out there was no school and had to walk all the way back home or to my sister's (who would watch me) had me crying my eyes out. My figures were so icy cold that they tingled and my feet had been completely numb before we even got to the school and now we had to turn around and go all the way back home was a miserable thought.

However, once the temperature came up a bit and it stopped snowing, and we had to do the same walk, my mother was forever pulling me along because I just wanted to stop and look around at all snow - how much taller it was than me, how pretty everything looked covered in the snow and with the sun shining off of it, it looked like diamonds were trapped underneath just waiting for someone to come along and get them. I would walk around trying to look at all the yards, trees, and sidewalks all covered in, what I would consider, magical dust that looked like pretty diamonds. On the flip side of that walk, was my mother trying to keep her timetable of dropping me off at school so she could get to work on time a further half a mile away.

Family, to me, is important. These were the times family would take the time and sit down with you and talk about the happenings are, what the plans are and how did their last plan do. You can catch up on what's happening and who has done what. There's good times and bad to be had, but each person took the time to sit back and just relax and catch up with others.

I remember the times when everyone took the day, came over sat around in the living room to talk and catch up. Then as the day would go on, the evening meal was cooked and by mid to late afternoon everyone would pitch in and help in some way. Then we would sit down and enjoy the meal, dessert and meet back in the living room. Shortly after that, everyone would say goodnight and go home. In fact, the last time I saw my grandmother Janet, was when we actually signed her out of her home, brought her to ours for a dinner such as the one described. All the family made the effort to be there - all my sisters (which is a real feat as 2 of my sisters weren't on speaking terms), my brother, my mother, all of my nieces and nephews (and as they were young - under 10 years old) that were born, it was a huge group of us - about 15 of us in total. However, I think my grandmother did know what was happening because I could see the enjoyment sparkle in her eyes when she looked around the table.

Why stop liking the season?
I believe I stopped enjoying the season when the family had really started to stop getting together during this one time of the year. It seemed like no one had time to take just a few hours out of their busy schedules to just sit back and enjoy being with each other. There were the other times when I would get invited over to my father's house, only for his friends to arrive and it was like I was puppy instead of being sent outside, I was sent in the front room rather than be with or be acknowledged by anyone else.

My memory is of being welcomed into the house. They told me to go into the living room until people start to arrive. I go in and sit looking at the Christmas tree lights flashing on and off. I especially loved the tree topper which lit up and flashed lights all over the room. When I looked outside, I could see the faint glows of the Christmas tree lights on the snow that looked so light and fluffy because no one had walked on it yet. I could sit there for hours. As people started to arrive, I got up and my father, and in some cases, his second wife, came out and opened the door to people and welcomed them in, directing them to the downstairs area where the game room area was. If they seen me they told me to go back into the living room and they would come and get me shortly. I went back to watching the tree lights and the lights reflecting on the snow...while listening to the music, laughter, talking and the clinking of ice on glasses. After about an hour after all the guests arrived, I knew they must have forgotten about me.

This picture was taken from http://10wallpaper.com/wallpaper/1280x800/1106/snow-covered_Christmas_tree_lights_wallpaper_1280x800.jpg
Over the years, I have tried to get people together, usually when I'm visiting, but like I said, everyone's too busy these days just to take a few hours to be with others. This I find a shame because it is destroying what family is all about. 

In closing, I'm sorry this week's post is such a down post, but keep in mind sometimes the smallest thing will bring you more riches than all the money in the world. If I had all that money in the world, I would use it for bringing the smaller things to the forefront - taking time out to:
  • look at the snow
  • catchup with others
  • just be together because you love one another
After all, all the rushing around in the world, will never bring these things back if you don't stop to enjoy them. Besides, they are the cheapest things around they only cost you your time. Sometimes in life that's all that matters...

Check back next week for the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series.  

Monday

"The Book of Me, Written by You" - Topic 3 - My Physical Self

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations.

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
The prompt for week 3 is:

My Physical Self
Some examples are:
    • Your size – clothes size                                   
    • Height
    • Body build
    • Glasses? Contacts/
    • Shoe size
    • Teeth
    • Scars / Birth marks
    • Eye colour
    • Draw your hands Finger Prints
    • Hand size
    • Jewelry you normally wear (rings, earrings)
This week's topic is an interesting one. Its a balance of what to tell others about me and privacy. I am normally a very public person, but due to this week's topic, its also a balance so people do not impinge on my identity.

I've always been a bigger size girl/woman. By the time I was aged 17 I was a size 14 in pants and fighting my weight. I've been like that throughout my life - fighting my weight. However, in the past few years its been a real struggle, but I'm overcoming that struggle. How you may ask? Through watching my diet and exercising. Yes, its completely yuck, but the alternative of diabetes and all that goes with that horrible disease keeps me going. I do splash out with some sweets from time to time, but I do watch it. In saying that, how do you think I went from a size 24 to a size 16 in about 6 months? In the last 7 months I have stabilized that weight, however, I am still loosing weight because I can see the difference in my stomach area, but the muscle I'm putting on is counteracting the weight so I'm still the same but healthier because more muscle equals more burning of fat.
Jo in Sydney March 2012
Jo & Brett April 2013


I'm of average height - 5 foot 4 /2 inches tall. My husband is a bit smaller in height too. I follow my mother's height. Upon doing some of my family research, I found that grandmother Jean's father, my great grandfather, was about the same size as I am. My grandmother Jean was only 4 foot 10 inches and always wore high heals and had cushions on every place she sat to be taller.

My shoe size is a normal size for my height - a size 8. I do have to watch how narrow the shoes are due to me having a wide feet.

As for my build, I'm of medium build, but my shoulders are wider than the normal woman's shoulders. I get these from my father.

I wear glasses constantly due to being both near and far sided. I started to wear glasses in 5th grade and this was because I once tried on my brother's glasses to see. After that is when I started to have problems and my 5th grade teacher, Mr. David McGinnis, noticed and told my mother to get my eyes checked. I do have contacts that I wear, but usually that is confined to when we go out and I'm not expecting to read.


I have very good teeth for my family. My sisters and mother, Jo Ann, all have had problems with their teeth after they have children. However, I have only had a couple of handfuls of cavities and, to date, only one tooth pulled. That being said, I have never given birth to any children, so that plays a part in it too.


I have blue eyes, which both parents, Jo Ann and Matthew G., have. My father's mother, Jean, also had blue eyes as well. According to some documents I found, Jean's father had blue eyes as well.
Birthmark on my back
Malformed ear
 I have one birth mark in the middle and a little to the right of my back. It looks like a tiny island on my back. I have plenty of scars due to the numerous pimples I had growing up and continue to have. These are from the hormonal imbalances I have due to having PCOS.  The scars are on both upper arms, face, upper body, and breasts. I also have both darker and lighter hair all over my body another symptom of PCOS.

All this being said, I do have to mention some of the physical defects I had when I was born. I have ear that is not normal - It has a point. Further, I'm pigeon toed and was born that way. My mother, grandmother and many doctors when I was very young, tried to get my legs pointed correctly for many years, but it wasn't to be. They had me in braces, casts, and even had medal on the sides of my shoes to try and force my feet straight. Most of the time you don't even notice them but if you keep a careful watch on how I walk, you can tell my toes point inwards.

My Adult Foot
My Baby Foot




















My hand size is about 16cm long (from wrist to top of middle finger) and 12cm wide.  I have very large knuckles from popping my knuckles growing up. My fingers swell up if I have too much salt in my diet and this makes getting my wedding and engagement rings sometimes a big challenge. I only rarely take my wedding and engagement rings off - only when forced to for surgery. Further for the last nearly 10 years, I have worn a necklace with emblems of an angel and of Saint Gerard Majella. The angel was due to us loosing an angel.

Impression of my hand
My hand with my normal watch, Wedding & Engagement Rings

Check back next week for the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series.

Saturday

Australian Federal Election 2013 – And the winner is...

Congratulations to 

Anthony Abbott

on becoming the next Prime Minister of Australia



Although, from early indications I got...

Neither major candidate was worth voting for -
Example: A Friend: Who'd you vote for?
             Her Friend:  Me. Got better chance of not ---king things up

Sausage Sizzle wins it hands down. 
This has got to be one of the most talked about topics on Facebook during the election today. Where wasn't or was a sausage sizzle. At 1pm the topic on Yahoo.com.au had the following caption.

A main headline on Yahoo.com.au's website at 1pm today.
You think I'm lying? Below is a snippet from the Herald Sun's Facebook post!

Have you checked out the Federal Election 2013 Sausage Sizzle website

Who's in Bed with Who confusion
This was another topic and question that people either took notice of or weren't clear on. Why didn't they make it so clear to the voters? Easy, confusion will make people vote for others by mistake or because they weren't clear enough.  Even my husband confessed he sat there reading literature he was given about the parties and was still confused.

I know one of my  highlights of the day was the online horse race that the AAP did

Results
As at 9.20pm 7 September 2013. The voting according to ABC says the voting results are of the following:

This has been taken from the ABC website at http://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2013/results/

Now let's see how the winner handles their job. 

I love to hear from my readers. Please leave me comments - What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Did I forget something? Did I overstep?

C'mon World - Talk to me!

"The Book of Me, Written by You" - Topic 2 - Your Birth

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations.

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf
The prompt for week 2 is:

Your Birth
  • Do you have any baby photos?
  • Where were you born?
  • Who was present at your birth?
  • Dimensions?
  • What day was it? Time?
  • Did you have hair? Eye colours
  • Are you a twin?
Question: Do you have any baby photos?

I have very few baby photos. I have one of me in diapers or nappies but all you can see is a butt shot. I have seen it but don't have a copy. Other photos I have are below. These are all studio pictures.

The white one I was under a year and the yellow/strawberry dress I was just over a year old.

Questions: Where were you born? Dimensions?What day was it? Time?

These can all be answered by looking at my military birth certificate.



Names and other facts have been blanked to protect innocent parties.

My mother's due date for me was between the 14 - 16 September for me. How nice was I to fall exactly in the middle of them.

Question: Who was present at your birth?

My mother found out she was pregnant with me just before she broke her ankle walking across wet grass in sneakers. As her stomach with me grew, the cast shrunk.

My mother was in attendance (of course!).
My grandmother actually drove my mother from our house in Newburgh, NY to West Point, NY in her bright blue (I think this was the model - I do know it was a muscle car though) 1965 Mustang G.T.
My father, who served in the US Navy, was out in a sub and was told about me being born by the captain after the fact.
My 3 sisters and brother were at home. 

Question: Did you have hair? Eye colour?

Hair colour is something I don't know. As you can see by the pictures at the top of this post, I've had blonde, red, and now in life, red-brown colour (and strands of grey).

I believe, like most babies, my eyes were blue. 

Question: Are you a twin?

Ha! The world can barely contain having just one of me - can you imagine having more than one?

Additional
 

I'm going to add in a picture here, because it means something to me. My grandmother, Jean, took me to get another studio portrait done when I was about 3 years old. This one hung on her wall until she died and she was always so proud of it. It is below.



My mother currently has the physical photo, but wants to give it to me to have.

I will be posting later tonight or tomorrow regarding the 2013 Australian Federal Election winner, so stay tuned for that!

 

Also, next week will be the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series of posts.

This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations. - See more at: http://joannfitz.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-book-of-me-written-by-you-topic-1.html#sthash.2TuO2bVu.dpuf

Friday

"The Book of Me, Written by You" - Topic 1 - Ask yourself 20 times “Who are you?”

Recently I started to follow a genealogy site called Geniaus.They, in turn have mentioned a blog they read by Julie Goucher. This is a journey of finding yourself and how your loved ones see you in their eyes. Further, this can be online and carried forward to share, if you wish, to future generations.

This sounds interesting, so I'm willing to give it a shot. I will post up the topic as I find them out and let's see what I build. 

The prompt for week 1 is a recognized psychology test: Ask yourself 20 times “Who are you?” Each time you should give yourself a different answer, and if you can easily go beyond 20 entries then that is fine too. This prompt is about how YOU see YOU.
  
Interesting...who am I? I guess replying "I am woman hear me roar" wouldn't quite work with this would it? *scratch head and thinking* 
 1. I am a woman - most people can guess that by looking at me.
2. I am a wife - all you have to do is talk to me and I do seem to mention my husband most times.
3. I am funny - sometimes. I guess I can always take a laugh and give one. 
  4. I am a daughter - I guess this is mostly given as well due to I am here and for that to happen I needed a woman and man (or in these newer times - a test tube and scientists).
My mother and I
My father and I

 5. I am a sister - You know that annoying little sister that most people have? Yep, that's me, although some say I'm not that annoying - I know I say that I'm just trying to tell them I won't let them forget I'm here.
6. I am a dog owner - I love my dogs. Currently, we have Buddy (the wonder dog) who has just turned 9 and we've had him since he's been a pup of about 8 weeks. 
 7. I am upfront - probably more upfront than most people and love to tell it like it is. Most of my long term friends have gotten used to me and my family just groans because if I have something to say, I usually say it.
8. I am happy. Usually I try and see the lighter side of life. If you don't you will go mad. Then again most people who know me think that I am slowly or have already gone mad. Guess what? They love me anyway. 
9. I am a book lover and reader. I love to sit down and read. Usually its romances where everything works out in the end and everyone loves everyone else. However, there are sometimes when I read something for the family history which puts me to thinking and it adds to what my past ancestors went through. It could be newspapers from the early 1900's or it could be a history book on the region of the world they come from.
10. I am an aunt. As I am the youngest of 5, I have, at current count on my side of the family - 3 nieces and 4 nephews. I have to admit that I'm closer to my nieces than nephews only because I haven't been around them as much. However, I still do love them very much. 

11. I am a thinker. I am always coming up with new and more intriguing things to go and explore and do. This is a good thing and bad thing. Usually when I think too much, or get curious, I get "in trouble". The last time was probably when I decided to fill something out to see if I could become a Polish citizen on an idea and it came back I could - if I could prove it. Hmmm this needs to be more thought out I think.
12. I am a teacher. Within the last year, I've formally started to teach, with some talking from an old manager and workmate, at community centre's. I have taught other places - at a pool in high school, one on one tutoring in college, informal one on one teaching with talking and sitting with others, and when we were helping people use the computers we put together for them, I sat down and helped them. It still gets to me a bit when I can see the learners put everything together and it makes sense and their eyes light up. 
13. I am a recorder - of my thoughts, of others thoughts and of subjects in general. Most people who are born in New York have some kind of opinion. When I lived there, I gave that opinion through voice. Now, however, I'm living in Australia, and I'm still doing this but through written media of blogging. I blog on IT issues in Jo Ann Fitzgerald's Professional Blog and through this one, which doesn't get much reading, but its there for all to read. 
14. I am working on becoming more fit. From my scare of 18 months ago when I was officially recognized as being a diabetic, I was determined to stop the disease, which I have. However, it never truly leaves you - I must constantly worry about not eating too much sugar now that I have my levels under control, and I must do some kind of physical activity to keep those levels in check. Annoying but true, so I guess I better try and get out for that walk today...
15. I am stubborn. I hate being told no. I can understand, for safety, you must be told and recognize no at certain points, but at others, I either ask why not or keep going forward. A case in point, is with the genealogy stuff I'm working on for my family. My mother has been a stark negative person and won't tell me anything about her family. When she does, its in small pieces and not very much. Because of me being so stubborn, I keep telling her you think like that but its not going to stop me. I'm determined to get to know who my ancestors are and try and put the pieces together of their lives to let their determination and life they've lived live on with the generations to come. 
16. I am a friend. Even thought most of my friends are in the US, I will be there for them even if its over Skype or the phone. They know if they need to talk, I'm always here for them to lean on. I think I do fairly well as I've had friends I've known since the 1st grade. 
 17. I am determined and a fighter. Like I said above in number 15, I hate being told no. That means that if something is beyond my reach, I fight until I get as close as I can to my goal. An example would be when the school I went to didn't want me to take French. I told them that I was going to take it and they wanted to fight me on it. They didn't want me to take it because I have a learning disability. However, I was determined and kept fighting to take the class. The result was me taking beginner's French and I passed with a B and one of the higher marks in the class. 
18. I am a traveler. In order to keep contact with important people in real life, we do travel a bit. I say real life because we physically go instead of just see or talk to each other over the computer. Further, being able to go around the world and just seeing things in life makes you grow as a person. We hope to get to every state in the US and now we're actually talking about going to Europe to see where our ancestors came from. No definite plans as yet, but we're still talking about it. 


19. I am organized. People are shocked when they learn just what I do in a week because in order to do all on the list I've had to stay very organized. If I didn't, total chaos would occur in my life. I have set certain days of the week to teach, others for my classwork, hours set aside to do each of my 2 blogs, go for the walk for exercises, and time to be with my husband and dog. This term I am currently taking 6 modules of courses and I'm teaching 2. That means that I'm somehow participating in 8 classes. Like I stated, I write 2 blogs, which require time to write and sit down to research. Then add in the walk, spending time with those I love in the house, and other chores around here and its a full and complete load which all happens because I'm very organized. 
20. I am a friendly and care for others. Throughout my life, if I could help someone, I would. It started back when I was in girl scouts/girl guides and continues today. I've done countless marathons for different charities growing up and helped out anyone in need as much as I could while growing up. Since then, I've slowed down with doing some of it, but since I started back teaching, I go that extra mile with all my learners because I want them to reach their own full potential. If any one of them ever want to sit and talk about anything, I let them know that my door is always open and they can talk to me about anything bothering them. Sometimes doing the smallest thing can help someone out to change their lives. 

Hmmm...that's probably too long, as others just listed their 20 things and didn't get an explanation of them. Oh well...that's the way I do things. 

Those of you who know me, did I get it right? Did I miss anything? If so, leave a comment and maybe we can add to this list.

Wednesday

Australian Federal Election 2013 – My View on - Immigration




In this week’s blog, the topic that people are concerned with is:
  •    Immigration    
I will be tackling each of the main parties’ views on this topic. Further, I will put my views on the topic and if I believe either of the main parties and their views.
Infrastructure
Liberal
Labor

All below are taken from Liberal Party of Australia’s website
All below are taken from the
We will re-introduce the use of Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) to deny the people smugglers a product to sell.
Labor expects that people who come to Australia enter and leave in accordance with their visa conditions

Labor is committed to the integrity of Australia’s visa programs, including student visas.
We will immediately give new orders to the Navy to tackle illegal boat arrivals and ‘turn back’ the boats where safe to do so.
Labor’s immigration processes should be underpinned by robust, efficient and transparent processes focused on prompt and fair resolution of status for those seeking migration outcomes.

For the Australian people to have confidence in the integrity of our migration system, Labor
will:

●employ a risk-based approach to the management of immigration clients which emphasises
robust, efficient, consistent, independent and transparent processes which support the prompt
resolution of immigration status

●enforce compliance with visa conditions that support the orderly processing of migration to our
country
We will not allow illegal boat arrivals and people smugglers to either determine Australia’s immigration programme, or undermine the Australian people’s confidence in the programme.
We will deliver stronger borders – where the boats are stopped – with tough and proven measures.
We will establish presumption against refugee status for people who arrive on boats without identity papers.
Where asylum seekers deliberately discard their identity documentation, we will deny them the benefit of doubt when determining their refugee status.
We will establish and increase mandatory minimum jail sentences for people smugglers.
We will ensure a minimum of 1,000 refugee places are reserved for the most vulnerable refugees, in particular women at risk of violence and harm.
Under Labor’s policies, the presumption will be that unauthorised arrivals who enter for the purpose
of seeking asylum will, after appropriate checks are undertaken, be granted bridging visas with work
rights and means-tested access to migration assistance while the merits of their applications are
assessed: persons will be detained only if the need is established.

Labor’s humane and risk-based immigration detention policies and practices will be guided by key
immigration detention values:

●to support the integrity of Australia’s immigration program, three groups will be subject to
mandatory detention:

●all unauthorised arrivals, for management of health, identity and security risks to the community.
Labor will strive to ensure this is for 90 days only

●unlawful non-citizens who present proven unacceptable risks to the community

●unlawful non-citizens who have been proven to persistently refuse to comply with their visa
conditions

●children, and where possible their families, will not be detained in an immigration detention centre
(IDC) and, wherever appropriate, will be released on a bridging visa

●detention that is indefinite or otherwise arbitrary is not acceptable and the length and conditions of
detention, including the appropriateness of both the accommodation and the services provided,
will be subject to regular review

●detention in an immigration detention centre is only to be used as a last resort and for the shortest
practicable time

●people in detention will be treated fairly and reasonably within the law

●conditions of detention will ensure the inherent dignity of the human person

The management of immigration detention centres will remain with private sector management for the term of the current contracts. A government evaluation to determine the future form of detention
facility and detention services management will be commenced no later than two years prior to the
end of the term of the current contracts. The evaluation process must take into account the views of all stakeholders, including the relevant trade unions.

Recognising the inequities of the policy of charging immigration detainees a daily maintenance rate
while in immigration detention, Labor has extinguished such detention debts and will oppose any attempts to reinstate this practice. Labor supports existing specialised and tailored government
services for those most in need to connect new arrivals to Australian society and to ensure that
there is a seamless transition to mainstream services provided for by other levels of government.
Labor will review the financial and other assistance to people coming to Australia under the Special
Humanitarian Program to better address instances of financial hardship.
We will give priority in processing to offshore special humanitarian visa applicants, over illegal boat arrivals.
We will ensure, offshore special humanitarian visa applicants receive priority in obtaining permanent residency in Australia over illegal boat arrivals.
Settlement support services include:

●orientation courses for humanitarian entrants prior to arrival in Australia

●initial intensive settlement assistance for humanitarian entrants for up to 12 months after arrival

●specialised case management services in circumstances where there are significant barriers to
successful settlement

●orientation and referral services to build self-reliance in individuals and families and foster
community participation and development

●access to the Translating and Interpreting Service.

English language tuition is an essential settlement service and critical to the achievement of full social
and economic participation. Labor will continue to provide:

●tailored language programs within a settlement context combined with appropriate support
through childcare and case management

●opportunities for eligible migrants to continue to learn English while developing knowledge, skills
and experience in the Australian workplace

●language training framed to introduce new entrants to Australian workplace culture and practices
delivered through a range of formal and informal settings

Labor recognises the importance of access to culturally appropriate employment services in
achieving full participation.
Re-constitute the Productivity Commission as the Productivity and Sustainability Commission and task it with an annual review of Australia’s infrastructure needs for short, medium and long term projected population numbers.
We will restore the single case officer appeal process.
Labor policy will improve the availability and integration of Commonwealth-funded migrant and
settlement services. Labor will ensure settlement service policies are:

●informed by advice from the Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council, the Settlement Council of
Australia and other key stakeholders and the community

●coordinated in partnership with state and territory governments, local councils, community
organisations and service delivery providers

Information taken from other sources

We will boost rigorous offshore processing for illegal arrivals so that bad behaviour has consequences.

About Border Security

As part of the visa application process, all applicants are checked against the Central Movement Alert List (CMAL), a watch list contributed to by security and law enforcement agencies as well as other Commonwealth agencies. CMAL continues to check clients throughout all visa and travel stages.

In November 2011, the department deployed a sophisticated statistical Risk Scoring System (RSS). The RSS deploys statistical risk models built on departmental data holdings and can identify high risk visa applications as they are being processed through the Generic Visa Portal (GVP).


Since March 2011, DIAC has also been testing risk scoring for inbound travellers. Data is collected at check-in at the overseas airport.  Statistical risk models then evaluate every traveller for risk.


Multi-layered system

These are:

  • the universal visa system (with alert checking)
  • the airline liaison officers (ALOs) network
  • the Advance Passenger Processing system (APP), which operates at check-in overseas
  • the processing at Australian airports and seaports on arrival.

Leading-edge technology is used to deliver these secure immigration processing systems. Anyone wanting to travel to, enter or remain in Australia will undergo checks at each of these layers, many of which are unobtrusive.
We will reserve 11,000 of the 13,750 refugee places each year for offshore applicants.

Immigration detention values

The government's approach to immigration detention is based on a set of values that take a risk-based approach to immigration detention and seek a prompt resolution of cases. The values commit the department to detention as a last resort, to detention for the shortest practicable period and to the rejection of indefinite or otherwise arbitrary detention.

The government's seven key immigration detention values are:
  1. Mandatory detention is an essential component of strong border control.
  2. To support the integrity of Australia's immigration program, three groups will be subject to mandatory detention:
    1. all unauthorised arrivals, for management of health, identity and security risks to the community
    2. unlawful non-citizens who present unacceptable risks to the community and
    3. unlawful non-citizens who have repeatedly refused to comply with their visa conditions.
  3. Children, including juvenile foreign fishers and, where possible, their families, will not be detained in an immigration detention centre.
  4. Detention that is indefinite or otherwise arbitrary is not acceptable and the length and conditions of detention, including the appropriateness of both the accommodation and the services provided, would be subject to regular review.
  5. Detention in immigration detention centres is only to be used as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time.
  6. People in detention will be treated fairly and reasonably within the law.
  7. Conditions of detention will ensure the inherent dignity of the human person.

No children in immigration detention centres

It is government policy that children will not be held in immigration detention centres.

While there will be occasions when children will be accommodated in low-security facilities within the immigration detention network, such as immigration residential housing, immigration transit accommodation and community detention, the priority will always be that children and their families will be promptly accommodated in community detention.

This allows children and their families to move about in the community and receive support from non-government organisations and state welfare agencies, as necessary.

The table below is the total number of people held in immigration detention.
Year
No. of people
1997–98
2716
1998–99
3574
1999–00
8205
2000–01
7881
2001–02
7808
2002–03
6602
2003–04
6196
2004–05
7410
2005–06
6510
2006–07
4718
2007–08
4514
Source: Departmental systems

My View on Immigration

This week’s topic of immigration is something close to me as first I migrated from the US to Australia in order to marry my husband. However, I knew English, had an American Education and a few American degrees behind me, and never had any kind of run in with any kind of law enforcement.

Then add to that, my family’s history with migrating from Poland, Belgium, Denmark and Germany and most of those were because of fear of being murdered. I do know all about people needing to move from country to country in order to be able to be alive. 

However, the difference is that in all of these instances that I’ve mentioned above, we all came into each country, took to see what was offered, decided to work hard and stand by the rules of the new country including learning new languages in most cases. We didn’t cause trouble and worked hard to make a life for our families. 

What I’m seeing in more and more of the people who migrate, is they get here and want their “new” country to conform to THEM. They want the country who accepted them into their society to change. Why? They came to this new place because they liked how things operate and to be safe, so why would you want to change them? 

Further, you can tell by the way children, young adults and, in some cases, adults all act in common places that they think they own the place. They don’t understand that you must respect others and they will respect you. This is an English speaking country, why don’t the new migrates do whatever they can to learn the language? 

As for the politics of each party, they are as bad as the other. I do have to give credit to Labor because they offer free English lessons for easy integration into society; however, they must get a message to any migrate that not everything here in Australia is free. I teach at a few Learn Locals in IT, but I know from speaking to others, that these people come into Australia and think by them walking into any educational establishment they get it for free and that is for BOTH parties. 

As you can tell by the table at the end of each parties view, that the years of people held in detention are as bad as the other – both parties had high numbers in each. The mention of stopping the boats and turning them back (as Tony has been saying), he doesn’t acknowledge what happened when his predecessor, John Howard, had tried to do this – people died. Labor’s policy is just as bad – keep them some place, or fly them home. At least they will either stay in a prison like place or be taken back home and they won’t drown. 

I do understand that, in some cases, you will need people who will be killed and people are forcing them out of their homes and taking their food – then let these people in. My ancestors had this happen to them, and I can see this point, but all these other people that have extra money and pay to get in here the wrong way? Nope, they belong away from here and hurt them in the pocketbook. 

 As for the truth?

I think they are both full of crap. Each sounds like a great plan, but they will both fail. People will come and the only way to stop them is by getting strict with the countries they come from. My husband said they should attack the aid the country these people come from and I agree. Hurt them in the pocket and they will do something to stop it. 

Labor’s policy sounds more in depth, and Liberals are just too general. They need a bit more consistency… Just look at all the gaps in the policies by looking at the grid above. 


Debates

I have been watching the Federal Election Debates to see what’s been said. I have to say, the first debate Abbott won because he was very convincing, and the second Rudd won because he made some really good points. The last, and third, one was a tie. What was so interesting that someone asked about Australian land and how it should be owned by Australian’s and not people from other countries – BOTH parties have an answer like they didn’t understand what she was saying. Not good. Further, in other issues, both parties were not convincing at all. Below is from YouTube and the third debate. 


Practice Makes Perfect!
Click on this section and you can practice on how to vote in an Australian Election. 

Media Blackout and Commercials
All I can say is thankfully we only have a few more days left before a media blackout and then the election! The commercials are just way over done. The other night I was watching TV (a bit of a novelty for me!) and in 2 commercial breaks there was only 2 non-political commercials in them. Shocked! I know I've heard of many people saying they are over this election already!

 Next Week’s Blog
I’ll cover who won the election.