Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hanging out in New Haven

Today Claire spent the day at Ridgehill Animal Hospital.  Our friends at Frog Creek own veterinary hospitals! and invited Claire to spend the day, preparing her latest rescue Romeo for his neuter surgery. They have an open surgery policy and Claire was allowed to observe both a cat being spayed and Romeo's surgery.  Not only was it a fantastic learning experience, but when I picked her up she was beaming and didn't want to leave.  She loved it, felt at home and already couldn't wait to go back.

She gave Romeo a pre-surgical bath and cleaned him up.  He was one heck of a dirty boy after spending 5 weeks at the shelter.  She watched his entire surgery with interest and said that she was allowed to put ice on the wound after Romeo was stitched up and then hold him in a towel until he woke up.  She described everything in detail and left me with no doubt that she is meant to be in this field.  We are very grateful to our friends at Frog Creek.

Meanwhile Tristan and I went to an exhibition about food and global obesity at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven.  It is a traveling exhibition titled Big Food.  When I went in, I was a little disappointed.  It lacked "wow" factor for me, however Tristan thought it was fantastic and we ended up staying two hours just in that one spot.

It was shocking and sad to see the astounding rise of obesity globally.  There was a 7 minute video explaining the problem of urban deserts and urban swamps.  I had never heard of these terms.  There are places where you can not even find healthy food.  There are towns crammed with fast food establishments and no healthy alternatives.  It is sad how quickly humans have become used to huge servings and how difficult it is to change people's behavior because they are surrounded by situations that reinforce bad eating habits.

It was a child friendly exhibit, with entertaining, interactive video games and some large 3D models that you could touch!  I was disgusted to see and pick up 5 pounds of fat.  That was a bit of a wake up call.

The interactive computer games were fun and very popular.  

I like the message of the exhibit.  You can make small personal changes, small changes in your family and small changes in your community. All of these changes have a big impact.

We were also fascinated by the dioramas made by after school students displaying environmental changes that have been taking place in the world around us.  Tristan seemed interested in making his own.

This was a great exhibit for participants in the Huckleberry Hill Project.  There was a lot of information, starting points for future research for our documentary on the rise of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

After the exhibition we headed to Yale University.  I wanted to discuss with Tristan what he plans to accomplish over the next 5 years, what is important to him.  Like many 9 year olds Tristan usually says he doesn't know and he definitely doesn't plan!  I started with him telling me what he likes to do right now.

We had to break it down and project into the future. I asked him about dancing, breakdancing and hip hop.  "You love it now" I said. "Do you think that you still might be doing it in 5 years?"  "Yes, yes, yes!" he said,  "I definitely want to be dancing then and acting.  I love acting" he continued, "I love being someone else." We explored what kind of plays he would like to act in.  I pushed him in this vein for a while and *right now* he thinks he wants to master acting skills, dancing, the science needed to become a recreational pilot and to do something entrepreneurial with computers.  He decided freedom was the most important thing for him.

We walked through the grounds of Yale University.  I let him know that it was very competitive to get into this particular university.  It would require a lot of hard work and perseverance to even have a shot at getting in.  He introduced himself to a Yale student and verified what I had said!  It is a beautiful campus.

It was a lovely day!  Just before he went to Parkour, I stopped and got a coffee.  A lady in the store asked him about his first day back at school.  He didn't miss a beat and told her about everything he had seen at the museum. I am so happy that we don't have to go back to school, but rather keep going on our merry way.


  1. Tomorrow the school busses will roll by and the children will walk down the hill to the school where Lilah would be going. Grace would have a half hour walk to school if she were going to middle school. Not that the walk is bad, but it is not safe (crossing Main Street, no sidewalks, busy streets). I am so glad another first day of school will pass us by and like you, we will be going our own merry way. While it is 80 and they are in a building, we will be continuing to prepare for Macbeth at home, or at the library. I much prefer the merry way over the mandated way.......

  2. What an incredibkle day for everybody! Marlin had so much fun hanging with Claire at the hospital. I love how Tristan told the lady about his day, I bet she wondered what awesome school he goes to?!

  3. It is so great that the kids are so confident in what they are doing that they don't need to justify why they are not at school. I on the other hand loved the novelty of the first week of school. It was the rest of the year that was the problem! I love living how we do. :)