Anyone over 35 there? Third edition



What IrishSally said.

Your mom has made her choices in life so far, and you’re making some of yours in support/reaction.

The situation of living far from ‘civilization’ is untenable if the people doing it can’t manage or don’t want to. It isn’t fair to limit your kids’ access to their own lives. Maybe I feel so strongly about this, and made sure I didn’t do it to my kids, is in reaction to the way I was being groomed as a young woman in Mexico in the 60s to replicate my mother’s life. I loved her, and wanted to please her - but could not manage what my four younger sisters have done so well: dedicate myself first to hearth and family.

I left, got huge amounts of higher education, and was all set to say, “See - I’m better,” for having kids and a scientific career - when I got sick. They’re still fine, my sisters.

At least I tried - and I wasn’t temperamentally suited for staying and becoming a Mexican housewife, anyway.


I’ve often thought of moving somewhere remote. Just me, a seascape, and enough of an internet connection to keep in contact with people. If I had the money, there is a nice lighthouse at the entrance to Loch Ryan in Scotland where I could watch the ferries go in and out, and laugh at the winter storms. Alternatively, there is the Martello tower down on Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk. I could sit there all day and listen to the waves rolling up the shingle beach, while watching the fishermen in their tents at night. And it has nice, thick walls as well.


Those sound like my kind of place…


They do have a certain magic to them. Loch Ryan I always associate with the ferry back to Ireland, across dark, winter seas. The sight of the lighthouse was a sign of the start of a journey and its end. Aldeburgh beach is a calmer place, although the North Sea in winter can be just as vicious as the Irish sea. The front doors of the houses along the beach front are a testimony to this, with the slots in the lintels for duckboards and sandbags.

The tower is available for rent: as you can see!

But at the prices they charge? I could go to Japan for that much.


:thinking: quite the price, for 4 nights! Though the setting is nice. Well, there are houses with lower rents, I’m sure, though it will be hard to find one with thicker walls.


Even splitting it out, it’s not cheap.


Right, and it will lose the magic if you fill it with too many people


The most striking sensory impression from my visit to Skellig Michael, the 8th century stone monastery on a seamount of the Kerry coast, is how the battering of the wind and constant cries of seabirds were silenced as I stooped and entered one of the stone cells.

I’ve a knack for remote living, which doesn’t mean I always enjoy it. The key is to master the practicalities, so you actually have the time and physical comfort to savour the solitude, rather than battling a succession of daily crises and lacks.


I fully agree. I’ve spent really wonderful times in mountain cabins, without electricity, running water… one winter, we got a period of -25°C. Then I realised how close comfort and disaster can be in such a place.

I’ve been to Skellig Michael 30 years ago, when only a local fisherman did the crossing in his small boat. He brought us over there in the morning and picked us up in the afternoon. We’d gotten some wind, and getting back from the rocks into the boat was an adventure, so was the crossing…
I wonder how much the place changed, in all the time.


Too many people would definitely spoil that beach. I first came across it when I was working in the area, over 25 years ago. It was quiet and beautiful. A few miles up the coast is lost village of Dunwich; a few miles down the coast is Orford Ness with the derelict pagodas of the old MoD testing station. And, somewhere in the middle is the concrete sarcophagus of Sizewell A power station.

It’s a place to be shared with just a few people.


I was a total failure the one time I gave wife and (step)motherhood a shot. I just couldn’t make it work, and I really tried.

Though, I have to admit that my mother wasn’t so hot at it either. She tried to force me into that mold until we lost my father, then she went through a couple years of complete culture shock as a single-mother in the 1970’s. She came out the other side as a card-carrying feminist. LOL


Which is why my admiration will be from afar. To battle anything, it helps to have health and general sturdiness - which is also why I enjoy reading about your adventures. It can be done. Humans do it all the time. In other circumstances, I would have loved trying lots of these things - I always assumed I’d power through anything that Life threw at me.

That isn’t always possible, and has nothing to do with willpower, of which I have gobs - fifteen years to write one book???


I had other plans, which included research physics. I’m glad I got to do that for thirteen years before getting ill - at a physics conference where I was delivering a paper!

Imagine if I had never even tried?


Struck down in your prime, alas! That would be hard, both the fall and such recovery as you’ve made so far. Good that you’re here to tell us about it.

Never imagined myself married with kids. Strange, because when I’m doing fieldwork, most often from a field station or camp with a bunch of young guys, I end up being the head cook and also keeping things in order. Then during the day, I handle the logistics and am chief boat wrangler, rowing a raft with a couple hundred thousand bucks worth of science gear down a wild river. No flips allowed.

Seems like I’d be a decent sort of mum.

Speaking of mums, mine worked pro bono (no $) on a brief for the defence of a Crow man who shot an elk to feed his family, according to his treaty right, and was arrested by the state of Wyoming. After a series of appeals, it was argued last week in the US Supreme Court (Wyoming v. Herrera). Here’s a sketch of some of the people who were there.


She did a lot of work on natural resource cases for NZ Mäori when we lived there. Indigenous rights are important to her, and she’s worked really hard, even when she was very ill. That’s a reason, besides being her daughter, that I’m sticking it out here.


You’d be a good mother - if you chose to be one. You are strong.

I never said your mom wasn’t admirable - clearly she is. Hope the suit she contributed to wins. Supreme Court? That’s heavy duty stuff. Very impressed.

The married part will happen if you find the right person, which requires you meet a few people, and find some you like enough to spend a lifetime with. No one’s perfect, but some people are far more suited to each other than the rest of mankind. Any of those guys you worked with in that category? Just curious - don’t answer if you don’t want to.

Marriage does give you an awful lot of things to think about - and write about. So do kids.


The attorney who did the oral argument said that the justices clearly lacked an understanding of treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. Ginsburg was absent. They deliberate such cases for months, so I hope their clerks can get them up to speed. Herrera was a Crow tribal game warden and knows the law. The attorney for the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept. put on a poor showing, drawing laughter at a couple points.

I met my last guy while doing fieldwork on the Snake River in Wyoming. He’s bright and has excellent manners and would actually listen when I explained how to do some boaty thing or other. He was working on a post-doc at UCLA so besides the fieldwork, we’d get together on breaks and do a river trip or go ski mountaineering, or hang out where there were good places to eat.

We saved up and went to Ireland a few years back. We hired a wee auto and he insisted on driving—a guy thing— but he’d never driven on the left before. So he kept pulling into the wrong lane and causing havoc at junctions: nearly killed us several times.

Finally, on the Glengesh Pass in Donegal, he whipped out in the wrong lane with a tractor hauling a wagon of peat coming at us. The tractor chap made a panicked swerve just as he swerved back into the left lane, causing the tractor to swerve again and almost go off the edge, with a long drop below. We missed it by inches.

He pulled off at the top and I snatched the key and told him I would drive from then on, and he went batshite. Tried to grab the key and shoved me against the car, then cocked a fist. My self-defence training kicked in and I took him down hard, and backed off while he thought it over.

He didn’t say much but was obviously angry and hurt. I drove the rest of the trip, which was good otherwise. Two weeks after we got back to the 'States, he dumped me. Plop! Then he shut me out of a chance to do fieldwork in Greenland, which was mean.

I wanted nothing to do with men for some time. Now I’m rather lonely, but driving 100 k round trip to cruise the bars isn’t really my style. Nearly all the guys I go boating or skiing with are married or paired off. At least I have energy to spare for writing and cooking.


Getting angry is reasonable, not letting you drive is not. And physical lack of self-control is a deal-breaker.

Too bad. He had a potentially good thing going there! Glad you have the self-defense skills.

Moving cross-country proved to me I have a good one. The amount I could do was limited, and husband didn’t make perfect decisions with the rest (nor did I with my ‘half’), but we worked steadily for months on the details, found our groove (I did all the emailing, and there was a LOT of it - the buyers seemed incapable of responding in a timely, complete manner to anything, and their lawyer and agent were both idiots), and complemented each other. I was amazed - we’ve never done anything that continuously stressful together before.

Considering it was my decision to uproot us and move to a more expensive state on the other side of the country, he has been more than supportive and gracious. He gets points!

I think you were lucky to find out about that guy. Seems you have a good method: putting candidates under a reasonable amount of stress, and seeing if you get that most important thing, the benefit of the doubt, when things go wrong.


Good for you. You are better off without him. The man who gets cocks his fist on a lady doesn’t deserve her love.


We were both scared nearly to death, which roils you up. I probably shouldn’t have grabbed the key. I hadn’t told him about my martial arts schooling, so it was no doubt a shock to realise that his girlfriend could beat him in a fight. Guys don’t like that.

We both apologised, but I guess he couldn’t let it go.


Great sketch!

It always depresses me at the raw deal the First Nations get. They already lost their land and their culture - do we really have to add insult to injury?

I have zip native blood, but I love the glimpses I’ve seen of the artwork and the horse culture.