Saturday, August 20, 2016

On Hiatus with Vikings

I've been away from my computer for a bit.  On hiatus, as they say. My brain has been a bit fuzzy since my surgery(7 surgeries in 2 years! Yikes.).  Try as I might, my blog type thoughts have been drifting away like smoke wafting from from a lit cigarette.  Rather than stressing out about not writing on my blog, I've relaxed, spent time with my family, and just concentrated on getting well.  

Stranger Things drew me over to the television.  I loved taking a trip back to the 80s, when there were no cell phones and children were left to their own devices in a way that doesn't exist anymore. I enjoyed the friendship between the four boys, sitting in a basement playing games. I won't reveal the ending of the show, of course, but the show was excellent.

And then there were Vikings.  When the History Channel first started advertising the show in 2013,  I didn't pay much attention.  I thought the show was a documentary.  I was so wrong. Think Game of Thrones, but the historically accurate version.  We sat down to watch a couple of episodes, before a soccer game.  We ended up watching the entire first season, nine episodes, in one sitting.  That may not be a record for most people, but it is for me.   The next day, we watched the entire second season. Then we watched seasons 3 and 4, so that we are all caught up.  It wasn't enough.  My husband had to go out and find the blu-rays, because of the extended episodes and extras.

I like Vikings.  I can't help it--I'm a bit of a history geek.  The main character was an actual person, as near as historians can tell.  Ragnar is interested in sailing west, and when he gets his wish, they find England.  I like the character of Ragnar, who is definitely a leader with the long view of history.  The depictions of the Nordic culture have been very interesting, and the depictions of the early Christians even more so.  Both cultures are shown without judgement or bias, leaving the viewer to form their own opinion.  But what a story! 

So I'm on hiatus, finding new stories, and learning new things.  My hope is, at the end of it all, my fuzzy brain will not be as fuzzy anymore, and I can get back to writing, which is one of my favorite pastimes.  Be patient with me!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Plagiarism is Wrong and other Random

The buzz of the week is all about the Republican National Convention, the selection of the evil orange Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, and Mrs. Trump's introduction to society via her big speech on Monday.  That speech turned out to contain several passages verbatim from a speech given by Michelle Obama, which was unfortunate. 

Politics aside, plagiarism is wrong.  It's wrong no matter WHO does it.  Someone went to a great deal of effort to write that passage, and to steal it and claim it as your own is heinous. It's the same as stealing a musician's song and saying that you wrote it.  If you do such a thing, unintentionally or not, you should immediately own up to it and apologize profusely.  What you don't do is deny it or blame it on someone else. Period, end of story.  Anything else is just embarrassing.

But then again, this entire election season has been crazy.  I'd rather turn the television off and think of other things.  Like Nerf.  Larry and Zane have been hunting all over town for various Nerf guns, bows, rifles, etc.  They huddle over the computer, watching unboxing videos about new Nerf items.  Then they stage "epic" Nerf battles.  Which is fine with me, except...nobody wants to pick up the bullets.  Including me.  So if you come to my house, there are Nerf bullets all over the place.  Under the couch. On top of the couch.  Under the fridge. On top of the fridge. It's a mess. I've made small efforts to pick up a few, but the vast number of bullets all over just makes me tired. 

I'd also rather think about a vacation.  As in one where we actually go somewhere else and hang out, as opposed to just staying here and hanging out.  Next year, when I don't have any more surgeries or doctor visits and all the bills are paid, I would like to pack up the car and head to South Dakota.  We can check out Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, and Deadwood.  Plus, they have a place where they are digging up dinosaurs, so we can head over there.  Zane would love that.  Of course, Zane and his father want to go to Disney for the Star Wars convention.  Negotiations are ongoing.  We could split the difference and head over to Washington D.C. 

That's enough random for now.  I just realized that I start back to work on August 1st!!! Where does the time go?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Being Darth Sidious is Stupid

A month ago, Zane said or did something that upset another child when they were playing in the bouncy castle.  Stuff like that happens hourly between children.  Friendships are made, broken, and reformed multiple times an hour among kids.  It's how they learn to get along with each other.  Whatever happened, the parent got angry about it. 

When some people get angry about something, they speak with the person they are angry at.  They may take a moment to calm down and organize their thoughts, or they may just erupt like Vesuvius.  But they speak up.  They talk about it.  And we work it out.  Problem solved.  You always know where you stand with people like that, even if you don't like what they are saying. 

I like those people.

This particular parent did not say a word.  Plans were even floated for a movie date the next day.  She went home, Zane and his father went home.  We did not receive the respect of a phone call.  We did not receive a visit.  We did not receive a memo.  This woman was angry, but it was a secret. She was so secretive about her anger that we never had a clue.  We have been blissfully unaware, and likely happier for it.

The problem with secret anger?  Nobody knows about it. And if nobody knows about it, who can do anything?  We, as Zane's parents, are more than willing to dole out consequences when he does something wrong.  If we know of a problem, we try to fix it.  It's necessary to have these conflict resolution skills in order to navigate the world as an adult, so we try to model them appropriately for Zane.  Except what is the point of trying to give a consequence a month or more after the fact?  Zane doesn't even remember what he did yesterday, let alone a month ago.  With kids, you have to jump on their behavior pretty quick, so the point sinks in. 

When I get angry, I speak up in most cases(sometimes, I know that the problem is me, and I take a nap and get over it).  I let the person know that they've done something that bothers me, and I try to work it out.    But secret anger, or passive aggression, isn't necessarily something you can prepare your kids for.  It's Darth Sidious, spreading the web of malcontent that finally overthrew the Jedi.  If the Jedi had known that Darth Sidious was feeling so angry, maybe they would have brought balance to the Force by offering him a cookie or something.  We'll never know.

Secret anger isn't helpful or productive. The person you're angry at doesn't get to explain, or make amends, or anything. The passive aggressive person gets to hug their anger close, feel morally superior over being wronged, whatever...yet the person they're secretly angry at goes about their business without a clue. There's a feeling of power for the passive aggressive person, but nobody else gets a payoff. How is that productive? How does that improve the world?  It doesn't.

The only reason we know about the secret anger is that we made the egregious error of asking about another play date.  Snarky text messages led to an angry phone call, and we still aren't exactly sure about anything.  Except that we will not be interacting with this person anymore.  Our life is already chaotic enough right now between surgeries and other aspects of my cancer journey.  I need positive people in my life, people who challenge and encourage me.  I don't need to be running around apologizing to everyone, just in case they are secretly angry.  If anger is so important to a person that they would rather keep it to themselves, that's fine.  I'll go hang out with the happy, positive people, none the wiser.