I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...

I went to the zoo

It's Deb's birthday tomorrow. I got her some travel guides - lonely planet India and Southern Africa. I also got her a world map. They feel like the kind of presents you buy because you want them yourself. I hope she likes them. I think she will. She has the same emotional swings about travelling as I do. She has safety fears for the kids. Health fears. Terrorism fears. As a word of warning, don't read the foreign office advice on specific countries. They're terrifying. No-one would travel anywhere. In any case, she bought me the Ewan MacGregor Long Way Round book for my birthday and she's half way through it. She started reading it before she'd wrapped it and took it back once I'd removed the paper. I suppose we're all the same.

Jack's teacher made him student of the week for working hard and being polite. He was really pleased. He's told everyone he meets. More than once in most cases. He's a lot more confident now. He's started biking to school on his own. Isaac and I, or Deb when it's her turn walk behind. It's not far, and we can see Jack all the way there. But in his mind he goes on his own. He does the same on the way back. He takes a different route to be with his friends. He ends up crossing the road to our street about 30 seconds in front of us. He has to speed up to let himself in with the key I gave him. We get back just as the door's closing.

I saw 243 today. A Mercedes at a petrol station. I wasn't really looking but my brain noticed it and made me aware of it. Brains do that for us. They are capable of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling so much information it would give you a nose bleed if you tried to process it all. So our brains make decisions about it all. Our brains decide whether it's important enough to consider or whether to ignore it. That's why, in a crowded room full of a thousand voices, our attention is suddenly caught because someone, somewhere, said our name. It's why I can't hear people talking to me when the radio is on. I was driving, and my brain noticed a number I was looking for and it said, "Oi! Over there. 243." And as I looked across, I already knew what I was looking at, even before I actually, consciously, saw it.

I got up early today. I helped Jack with his homework. Maths. Deb woke me and said, " You've got to help Jack with his maths. Something to do with chunking but I don't get it." Deb has a mental block with maths. Jack's year 5 maths was just multiplying, but give it a new label, chunking, and Deb's brain makes a decision to ignore it. Completely blanks it. She has a great memory, likes to study, reads all the time, has good common sense, but maths is a mental 'No Entry' sign.

Isaac told me that a girl in his class was a mathmagician. How much more interesting it would be, to be a mathmagician than a mathematician.

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