"It'll be easy."

"Don't worry, it's an easy assignment."

It is NEVER an easy assignment if your tutor feels the need to predate it with this sentence!



So, to give you the back story: two weeks ago our tutor gave us a class assignment. We were doing wall framing - working out loaded dimensions of walls and from there, calculating what size timbers we needed to put up walls in houses.

This was the plan view of the house the tutor wanted us to do in class:

This photo will probably say very little to people who aren't studying architecture, so let me just sum it up by: THIS ASSIGNMENT WAS A MAJOR PAIN IN THE HOLE!

The house was so "wonky" in terms of its layout and the roofline that there were 15 (!) different wall sections of different kinds of loaded dimensions. 15!

I think it took us a better part of an hour just to work out what the sections were. Even the tutor was visibly astounded that it had ended up such a mindf*ck, pardon my English, because he hadn't done the assignment beforehand and hadn't expected that it would end up such a pain.

But we got it done. The tutor then handed us the assessment papers to take home (ie, the stuff we have to do at home independently, so we can get graded afterwards) and said, "Look, guys, if you were able to do that, you'll find the assessment easy. Easy!"


No, no, no, no, no.


The assessment house has 1) rafters above the living room, 2) trusses above the bedrooms, 3) half-trusses above the ensuite and 4) rafters with a skillion roof above the master bedroom, held at the top end by a square-truss.


I don't mind doing hard assignments, but why do they insist on predating them with words, "It'll be easy!" ???


Two weeks ago a similar scenario happened at a construction documentation class. A variety of fictional scenarios got given to us and we needed to create paperwork / e-mails / letters to show how we would deal with situations like that.

The tutor, also, was saying, "Oh, it'll be easy!" and the girls were already laughing, "It's never easy when you say it's easy!" - "Oh, but trust me: this one is! It's easy! You'll have it done and over with in a couple of hours!"

5.5 hours I sat over that assignment. And not, as in, "sat" over the assignment, but "worked laboriously" over that assignment for solid 5.5 hours.

Classmates were later asking me, "Did you find it easy?" - "No. It was not easy."

And they laughed, "It wasn't, was it! I don't know why he even bothers saying it's going to be easy. It never is!"


Because the bottom line is: the assignment might be easy, yes.

But if the tutor says it's easy, it's never easy.

I think they just say it to make themselves feel a little better.

Oh I am SO DONE with this! :/

Imagine a person drowning - kind of, almost. They come up, gulp the air, and then go down again.

Well that's me. Doing my schoolwork.

Whilst I was in Europe for a month, tutors gave my class a bunch of assignments to do. Since I arrived back in New Zealand, I've been diligently working on getting it done. But every time I get close to catching up, they give out new assignments and then I feel, like, oh sh*t, here we go again.

And I go down.

I bet I'll be having dreams about this period in my life for years. Like a comic strip at https://xkcd.com/557

When kids talk funny

When The Man is hugging The Girlie, he often says, "My precious!" - like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings.

The Girlie, of course, has her own take on that.

When hugging us, she'll exclaim, "My pleasure!"


When The Man is playing with the kids, he often says, "Do you want to explode?!" - like Dr Nefario from Despicable Me.

The Girlie, of course, has her own take on that.

She'll tickle The Man and exclaim, "Do you want to explore!?"


It's only recently that The Girlie learned to pronounce "beautiful" (rather than saying "buffalo", as in, "You look buffalo!")

There are more, too, but I can't remember any off the top of my head like that.

How I'm closing down my social networking accounts

I haven't had a Facebook account for 7 years. I did before, but it got to a point where I would sit in front of a computer, think, "I'll just quickly check this for 2-3 minutes," - and then realise that half an hour has passed.

And it wasn't just a one-off, either. Repeatedly I would waste an hour here, another hour there. It got to a point where I thought, "I won't want my life to look like that."

So I deleted it. Well, technically, I couldn't delete my account because Facebook never deletes them - but I emptied it of its contents and closed it, so it will forever sit there, empty, attached to my e-mail address.

For the most part, I've been proud of the decision. It has removed an important temptation, which I would have otherwise had to self-manage and impulse-control, so rather than putting my energy onto questions such as "How do I responsibly use Facebook?" and "How to keep myself from wasting time on Facebook?" I just... don't have Facebook, and it works for me.

There have been some "snags" when, for example, I've been part of groups that do their internet communication entirely on Facebook. A writers' group I'm part of, for example - they do all their online uploading/discussing on Facebook, so they've needed to e-mail me important documents, or if our meeting time gets changed, they need to remember to let me know by e-mail or by phone because otherwise... I won't know.

Or there used to be an interesting blog I followed, but I could never comment on it because the commenting worked entirely through a Facebook plug-in.

But these snags are little things. The big thing is, I feel my life changed for the better when I closed down my Facebook, and I haven't looked back since.


A couple of months ago, I closed down my Twitter. The same thing, kind of - I felt my life wasn't bettered by its presence.

I hadn't been that big of a user of Twitter anyway, but I had used it extensively to follow the American gun debate, and it got to a point where I had made a comment I wasn't proud of, which prompted me to think, "Until I learn to treat the person on the other side of the screen with the same respect I do people face-to-face on a city street, I'm not going to use Twitter."

And I haven't gone back yet. I've certainly learned a lesson, but I haven't felt the need for going back. I still have other digital social networks I use.


On Instagram, I made the account private about 3 months ago when I started to get uncomfortable with the fact that I was getting followed by people I had no idea who they were. For all I knew, they were a mixture of "bots" and some simply curious people from Asia and the US, but nevertheless, I wanted to share my life with people I actually knew in real life, so I blocked the people I didn't know personally, changed the privacy settings and... went on.


I've started to close down my blog content. I don't know if you've noticed, but only about the latest 100 posts remain public - everything beyond that has been turned into "draft" which is unaccessible to general public.

Again, it was a mixture of reasons, but because my blogging includes my children, the older they are getting, the more protective I am becoming of the content. (By the way, that started even before the John Parsons talk ;).) I don't want my blog to be a place where someone can come in and systematically "trawl" the content for several years back, so... for the moment, the blog remains public on its own, but not all of its content is accessible any more.

The older blogs from Alaska and Svalbard I have already closed down.


It's reminded me of a similar approach I have towards sugar.

4 years ago when I had gestational diabetes whilst pregnant with The Girlie, I needed to change my eatings habits so I could stay healthy throughout the pregnancy. I noticed how, once I tuned down the amount of carbs I was eating, I became much more sensitive towards sugar! A Snickers bar no longer tasted nice. It was overly sweet for me, and it showed to me how de-sensitised a human can become towards sugar if they have lots of it. The more sugar a person eats, the more sugar they need to keep eating to keep getting the "buzz" out of it.

Good in evolutionary terms, but bad in a modern society of rubbish food choices.

Then when my epilepsy was confirmed, I learned to change even more towards LCHF foods. Nowadays I almost never eat sweets any more.

At first, it's harder because the body still has the natural cravings for the carb-rich food. I would look at a chocolate cake my family is eating and ask myself, "What do you want more, Maria, the chocolate cake or to be healthy?" Almost always, the answer was, "To be healthy," so I didn't take the cake.

And now, once I got over the initial process of getting into this eating habit, it's easier. I have fewer cravings. It's just... easier to be this way, and I feel my life is better for it.

And it was the same with Facebook. I didn't want my life to look like that, so I deleted it, and now my life is better for having done it.

PS. Having said that, part of it is simply becoming older and more settled in my consumption choices. Kind of like my grandma and grandad - or old people in general - who, as they aged, became more reliant on things they were already doing/using and resisted change. Well... welcome to 30's, Maria, and aging ;)