Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wonder Woman with Mom

So, I went to see Wonder Woman today with Mom. It was on purpose. It wasn’t the purpose of the trip across three states to get here, but I knew I wanted to do it while I was here because I credit her with many/most of my opinions about women and I’d hoped she’d like the movie. She said she did. (Dad didn’t want to go. I asked... I knew a 2.5-hour movie was an unlikely “yes” though. I wasn’t sure Mom would go, but she did.)

On the drive back to their house I mentioned that I didn’t understand when people say little girls need to see role models of strong women so they know that being strong and independent and standing up for yourself is a thing that is possible for women to do. I have two sisters. They are both all those things and have been since they were little. It’s always been my assumption that kids, both kinds, are born with a strong sense of self and an inborn sense of what they will and won’t put up with, a sense a fairness and being treated fairly is just sort of there, as well as a sense of standing up for one’s self and the idea that they can do anything. I’ve always seen that as being something that kids have when they’re kids. Some kids grow out of it... but it has always felt like something kids are born with to me.

So, if someone is worried their kids are being socialized out of that... if they’re seeing their little girls turn into princesses instead of generals... that seems to me as if they’re allowing something ELSE to be more important to the kid than they, as parents are. I don’t think my parents ever considered for a minute that it was possible or that it would be put up with for the opinions or lessons of tv, movies, or commercials to be more important to us than they (our parents) were.

I’m not a parent. I was a brother and my two sisters grew up to be: One, a Marine that worked on attack helicopters I think, and the other a scientist who then went into law, specifically intellectual property law in the very narrow field in which she was a scientist. Those are not fields that are typically “for girls” but I’m almost sure neither of them ever considered that as an obstacle but did what they wanted to do because they wanted to do it. We were brought up to do what we want to do and obstacles may be there, but they’re not insurmountable. Most things will eventually yield if you smash yourself against it with all your will and intelligence and determination enough times. That was what we were taught. That’s what we saw our parents doing over and over again. Did they have problems or stresses and were they sometimes tired and overwhelmed? Yep. I’m sure of it. But they didn’t stop as far as I ever saw and they taught us not to either. We lucked out in the parent lottery.

The lesson we learned was if you do your best and failed you’d done all you could have done and now it was time to find out what went wrong, address that, and try again, but don’t half-ass it. Don’t give up. Don’t decide it’s too hard because too hard just means too lazy and lazy isn’t okay.

So, raise strong girls. Raise strong boys who recognize that strong girls are good to have around and they aren’t a threat but an asset. Encourage it, but don’t assume it’s not already there in the very young. I’m sure it is, and remember that they will be who they saw you being and they’re watching. God knows they’re watching and listening and remembering so make sure you’re the person you want them to grow up to be. Model the behavior. Show them what strength is. Show them what determination looks like. Show them what it looks like to not pay attention to the limits other people want to put on you. Let them see you living it and doing it. If you have to, fake it and fake it convincingly. I’m sure there were times when my parents were staring at something like a house and yard hit by a hurricane and a house fire and 3 kids and and and... and they kept on going and just did what needed doing and we kids didn’t know how hard it was. We just saw them doing what needed doing and then it was done. That’s what all three of us learned: boys & girls alike learned it from seeing it, and today, we’re doing it.

So, I was glad to see the movie with her but when I think of strong women I don’t think of Gal Gadot. I think of my Mom, my two amazing sisters, I think of my Granny, and my various aunts, my 103-year-old Great Aunt Annie who raised her siblings and has buried many of them if not all... outlived her parents, and some of her kids even. Those are my wonder women.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

1st run of the season

Ran today for real. Not just walking or mostly walking I don't think. Maybe by time, but distance I think was more running. I'm not sure.

It's nice to put on the shoes and be able to do a little running again. Yes, it was only two miles. Yes, I know it took almost half an hour. Like I said, there was some walking in there but it was my first run of the season so I'm okay with it. If I can get back into doing it as a habit it'll improve. If I can't get it turned into a habit then you're going to see lots of these little runs where I feel super motivated for a little while and then a long period of silence about running. I'm hoping that's not what happens.

No, it wasn't a great run but statistically, odds are, it's better than most of the people I know online or off so I'll take it, and, like I said, if I can get back in the groove of things it's just the beginning.

Oh, the picture's unrelated. I just stopped to take a picture of a bee.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A motif: A disturbing, atrocious motif

While doing some research on Isaiah "Teat" Dorman (The only black man to die at Custer's Last Stand) and Inkpaduta I came across something I keep seeing coming up when someone describes an enemy they want to make sure we, the reader, know is a vile and horrible enemy or that something is truly terrible.

  • Inkpaduta is said to have dashed a baby's head out by holding the baby by the ankles and swinging it like a bat. Not all the sources say this is the case, the one I'm linking to, for example, doesn't say HOW the baby's head was dashed in with the stove wood.
  • The Cankiri Tree was made by the  Khmer Rouge in Cambodia specifically for the soldiers to do the same thing to babies and small children of their opponents.
  • I've heard, but can't find it online, where the Mongols were supposed to have done this as well during their rampage across Asia and Europe.
  • Psalm 137:9 even mentions it: Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks
Why am I mentioning it? Well, it's a thing when researching something historic where the accounts are all anecdotal, from letters, from stories told by people instead of pictures or video, to be aware of. If you hear something once, at one place, it may be a thing. But when you hear it over and over again... maybe it's a thing. Maybe it's real, but maybe you need to dig a little bit and make sure you're not just reading something that sounds good.

Where does this fall in that for my Inkpaduta & Isaiah Dorman research? Well, I can't find a reliable source I'm willing to hang my hat on with it so I'm leaving it out. Everybody agrees the baby was beaten to death, but since most of those beat to death in the head were done so with the butt of a rifle it's just as likely that was what happened. Possibly while the infant was laying on the pile of stove wood. I'm not willing to say he swung the kid like a baseball bat.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wait. You mean I've gotten old? When did that happen?

Watching #DoctorWho and as luck would have it this was the one on BBCAmerica tonight so I watched it even though it's an old one. It's one of my favorite and he's my favorite Doctor. Although Rory & Amy's love story is my favorite story arc of all. 

So, this isn't all that Doctor Who related but it's sort of Time-related, yeah? Yeah.

I realized last week and when I say this you're going to think I've lost my mind, or maybe you won't. I imagine it'll depend on how old you are. Me? I'm forty-eight. This past week I realized, and I'm not sure what prompted it, that, let me start over. I've always assumed I'd have a kid. I'm not sure why or when, but I sort of felt like at some point I'd be a dad and there'd be a kid and school and field trip notes and teaching to drive and having them go through a phase where I'm an idiot and hopefully they'd grow out of it and think I was a pretty okay person. 

I don't know why I thought that and I didn't realize until last week just how strongly I felt like that was something that was going to happen. And last week I realized if I found a person right now who said, "Put a baby in me you big hunka man," and got started right then and there I'd be um... 66 when they graduated. Um, sixty-six? What the hell? Also, what woman of safe & sane baby-making age is going to look at an almost fifty-year-old man and say, "We should totally get sweaty and roll around on the ground together and exchange fluid and mingle our DNA into some sort of unholy abomination of a baby." I can answer that, no sane woman. 

So, last week I realized I wasn't going to be a dad because when I wasn't paying attention I got too old. Before you say anything about movie stars doing it etc. I'm not a movie star. I make cat food cans. Hell, that is a bit glorified. I stack the cat food can ends (You'd call them "lids" but you're wrong, trust me, I'm old I know these things) on pallets.  I don't actually FEEL old. I feel about thirty or so. I really didn't notice that I'd entered softly and silently into an age beyond which being a kid's dad was contraindicated. 

That was kind of a depressing blow.

Then, also this week, I got an e-mail fro my parents saying my Dad had health issues that are of the older person variety. Very carefully NOT saying he's old in case he reads this. But me being old means he's probably a bit oldish as well. Anyway, so, suddenly, without my paying any attention at all I've come face to face with my own mortality and I don't like it one bit. So, I thought I'd watch some good old fashioned escapist TV and turned on some Doctor Who. What should happen? Turns out it's one of my top two favorite episodes ever... also one in which The Doctor dies. Of course it is. But dangit... it's got Wilfred in it and I love that crusty old man. Like seriously. I know it's irrational, but at my age, I'm prone to irrationality. I should point out I've been saying that for years, decades now apparently.

Anyway. The past week has been a little bit rubbish, can you tell I've been watching British TV? Yeah. I have, and I like it a lot. I don't like the past week much though. No, I don't like it at all. So, if you see me looking off into space a bit wistfully I'm probably thinking about all the things I didn't do with my non-existent kid. Don't sweat it. The mood will pass. I'm not even really that sad about it anymore, just surprised that I got this old this fast without noticing. It seems like something you'd notice, doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dear Brick & Mortar stores

Sometimes I want to pick something up and touch it before I buy it. Sometimes I want it right then. Those are times I go to brick and mortar stores.

My hope is, if things go well, that I walk out if your shop with less money, a smile, and a bag of stuff I went to get.

You know what I don't need to do? Go to your store and be told you don't think those sell well enough to stock but you can order shipped directly to the store at no cost and I can pick it up... some time.

No. I know how to order things and I can also have them delivered to ME and not have to go BACK to your store that didn't have what I wanted in the first place.

So, I get it, you instruct your helper monkeys to offer that service, but seriously, I'm holding a smart phone in my hand. I'm showing you your own website that says you have it. I know how the Internet works.

I also know I have never and will not ever, let a brick and mortar order something for me that I have to go back to get. At least offer to ship it to me. I'll still say "no," but at least it'll appear you're trying to be convenient for me.