Bits and bobs

I said to a friend I met in London that, since having kids, I learned to choose what I do, rather than do what I want.

It's not black and white, of course (nothing ever is), but before kids I could pretty much do what I want, period. 1) Decide what I want, 2) go for it.

After kids I learned to choose instead. I do something not necessarily because I want it, but because I choose to.

***

The Kid and The Man are in Auckland today. Tomorrow they'll be part of a research lab - The Kid will be filmed in front of a green screen, and they'll create a computerised model of his body and his movements, which I think is a fair way of saying that we're definitely in 21st century today.

Their accommodation is in Takapuna, right on the beach, so the skyline will be looking something like this tonight.


***

This summer I'll be taking at least The Kid on an overnight hike with me, possibly The Girlie, too.

We're still talking about "easy" hikes in terms of terrain - possibly the first bit of Hollyford track (with an overnight stay at Hidden Falls hut), or maybe Kepler track from its back end and walk to Moturau hut (though being a serviced hut on what they call a Great Walk - that would be a very luxurious stay indeed).

Either way, the first what I'd consider "hill walk" we did this summer with kids - Omaui hill track...


... left me feeling that The Kid can do it, and I'm ready to go there with him. Wanting to go out there with him!

***

I'm getting a school assignment after a school assignment done, work-work-work, and I'm feeling it. Both in terms of progress (I've done a heck of a lot in the last 2 weeks since returning from Europe!) but also in terms of weariness. I'm tired.

But it has to be done, so I'm going to do it, and I'm going to graduate the damn thing.

But man I'm tired...

***

Still working on the house plans for the upcoming renovation. Wish I had the time to upload proper sketches and tell you what we're doing, but I don't have the time - not at the moment - so it'll have to wait. Schoolwork comes first.

I can do it

About to head out, I ask The Girlie to go tidy up her room first, and then we'll go.

She disappears into her room and as she then works on the tidy-up, I hear her mutter to herself: "I can do it, I can do it, I can do it."

I don't know where she learned it from, but that's exactly what I was telling myself today as I was working on a class assignment in school and struggling to figure out appropriate lintel sizes.

"Come on, I can do it. Two more tables. I can do it."

An American on a plane in Estonia

On the plane from Tallinn to London, I sat next to a young man from America who is spending a semester studying in Estonia as an exchange student.

John (*names and identifying details changed*) had up until that point spent his life in Missouri where, according to him, "Democrat" is a swear word - it's what you call someone instead of calling them a "dick". Basically the same thing, really.

He'd also never travelled outside of US and, prior to heading to Estonia, never even been on a plane. "Is that common?" I asked him when he told me about it and he said, yeah, pretty much. It's a rural region, the closest airport is 4 hours drive away, so people don't really tend to travel. Rural, deeply Republican area.

He said that when he was briefed about his upcoming study in Estonia, people in the US said to him that whenever someone in Europe hears he's an American, they are going to think it's awesome. "You're from America, that's so great!"they're going to tell him.

Instead, most people when John tells them that he's from the US, have replied with, "Oh, I'm sorry."

I laughed when he told me about it, but he said that the first instance was, literally, not even an hour after the plane had landed. He was standing outside of airport waiting for the bus, and he got talking to a young Japanese lady working in Estonia, who replied with exactly that: "Oh, I'm sorry."

John was gobsmacked. He didn't even know how to react to that. Since then, he says, only one person has reacted to the news that he's an American with genuine delight; everyone else has expressed a degree of pity.

Going back to America, he says, is going to be a culture shock - even more so than coming to Estonia was.

The thing is, within his American environment he is already seen as a left-leaning liberal. In a cultural studies class in high school, he told me, they discussed gays' right to marry legally and of the 30-odd students there, only him and one other boy supported the cause - everyone else was against it. One girl ended up crying, many people were shouting at John for supporting the gays' right to marry.

John even voted for Hillary in the presidential election. The word got out and the family, apparently, had been distraught. Many calls were made to his mother along the lines of, "OMG, did you hear John voted for Hillary!?!" - "Yes," she said to the callers, "I did." - "But what are you going to do about it!?" - "Nothing. It's his right to vote for whoever he chooses." She supports her son although she doesn't necessarily share in his political opinions.

I found John absolutely fascinating.

John said that, in America, (many) people think that America is the greatest country in the world. He's grown up in that environment and he's used to thinking, yeah, it probably is.

And now he's outside of US and he talks with people and he thinks, jesus, it's the opposite. They feel pity towards America instead.

A little argument I've been intrigued about

It's a statement I've heard several times in the last few months. I'm not sure why - maybe it's one of the urban myths making their way around the internet.

The statement is: the shape of humans' teeth is proof that humans aren't meant to eat meat. (Meat-eating animals have canine teeth meant for tearing up meat - humans don't have those, so conclusion being, humans shouldn't eat meat.)

This statement makes about as much sense as saying that humans shouldn't live in Finland because they don't have fur to protect them from the cold.

Well... humans didn't need fur to be able to live in Finland. They learned to make clothes and footwear instead.

The same with teeth: the shape of humans' teeth simply means that humans didn't use teeth to kill animals, or to rip up raw meat. They didn't need to. They used tools instead: arrows and stones and sticks for killing, and blades and fire for cooking/prepping. The shape of teeth is consistent with humans being omnivores - eating pretty much anything they can digest.

There is a bird living in Galapagos, a woodpecker finch, who uses pieces of stick to get insects out of holes it otherwise wouldn't be able to get with its much shorter beak. According to the tooth/meat argument, that finch shouldn't eat those insects either - it doesn't have a beak long and thin enough. But, the bird still eats them, because the finch uses tools which make up for the lack of physical features of its body.

Why would humans develop canine teeth if they didn't hunt prey with their teeth, like lions, and then rip up raw meat?

Besides, opposable thumbs are much more useful than canine teeth anyway...

Is it bedtime yet?

Almost everything becomes more difficult with kids.