Monday, September 12, 2011

Last night I spent two hours watching shows about 9/11. I obviously was not in the US when the disaster struck but I still get very patriotic about my birth place and got very teary-eyed at some points. 9/11 seemed to bring out the best in many Americans: their courage under attack, their help to fellows in distress, their dogged persistence in rescue and the resolve it gave the country that we were not going to become a nation of victims. I certainly don't agree that the logical future involved invading Iraq and I doubt there's a chance of truly battling radical terrorists with an army anywhere, but we tried. The efforts of Homeland Security to make air travel safe are completely over the top and Timothy McVeigh proved that home-grown radicals can wreak havoc, so the solution can't be simply to put armed guards everywhere. I was so upset to listen to radical Muslim clerics declare that the US would not rest until every Muslim was dead. Our whole nation is built on exactly the opposite of that and only Muslims declaring jihad on America has changed our feelings about religious freedom. I am still very much American and I miss my homeland very much sometimes. I think Americans get a bad reputation overseas because in some cases we are frightened of foreigners since we can be insular. Our country is so big and has such diversity that going overseas is not the rite of passage as it is many other places (like Australia). I was terrified on my own even here because I knew I was in a different culture and didn't want to be thought ignorant or foolish when I opened me mouth. Maybe we talk too loud because we all talk at once at home and are not used to other cultures. Whatever; I've gotten off track. I felt such kinship and shared pain for the people who suffered through the attacks of 9/11 and it's that feeling of kinship that pulls me home even when I know I can't live there again.

Swans news: They won their elimination final against St Kilda! The played really well for most of the game and really bottled up the Saints. Ryan O'Keefe kicked 4 goals and I usually wince when he's kicking for goal because he can be inaccurate. But as the coach said, when a player is hot, he can do miracles. Goodesy was hot as well and the young bunch played very well. We play Hawthorn on Friday night (I hate Friday night matches) and their star forward is injured so we have a chance to get a little closer to the Big One.

I've been reading like mad. I finished the first three volumes of the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell and I am debating whether to buy the last three. Book prices being what they are, I could buy the last three on Amazon for half what they cost me here. But they are just military sci-fi about space battles and I think I'll go on to something new. I've started The Soul of a Chef which is about the Culinary Institute of America and I'm somewhat disappointed to find how focused they are on French cuisine. These days it pays (here at least) to know as much about Thai, Chinese, and Italian cuisine as French. Some of the course is very pedantic, but I guess knowing how to make a perfect stock is critical. I don't make veal stock because I don't cook classic French anything. Pasta and stir fries are more my speed and desserts my passion. I am reading The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell. He is the author of the Kurt Wallender mysteries but this is not in that series. I am finding it very suspenseful, similar to the feeling in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but with less violence (at least so far). My BBBB was The Crack at the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester, which is about the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Over half the book is about the geology of America and for that I recommend John McPhee, who can make geology interesting. I was a bit deflated by this book, because John McPhee is better at geology and the chapter on the earthquake itself was a dry recital of facts. I'm now reading The Orchid Thief, since I love orchids.

In the middle of the last paragraph the nurse came to dress my wound and this one said it was almost healed over with just a few pin head holes. This is the first concrete assessment I've had. Every nurse says it's looking better but nobody has told me it was healed over before. This surely means surgery on Oct 17th is a go and I will walk again!

My gardener worked all weekend and has cleaned out almost all of the veggie beds. We have run out of room to get rid of the weeds and you can't compost most of these because they wouldn't get killed in a household compost bin. He also cleaned out the fish pond and cleared out ivy at the front. He may bankrupt me with his work ethic, but he will shortly have weeded everything that needed weeding and will have a break to let the weeds grow back!

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