How often do you argue with each other?

Recently, Rob and I had words. ‘Had words’. That phrase cracks me up. Some people have a problem with the words ‘argue’ or ‘fight’, so they try to lessen the negativity (I suppose) by saying they ‘had words’. Call it whatever you’d like, Rob and I had an argument. We fought.

The fact that we fought was a bit of a buzz kill, as we had a fantastic morning and early afternoon. And, I suppose one might say (accurately) the reason for the fighting was because we were both tired, due to the fun but long day. Regardless of the why, Rob and I butted heads and got upset. Though we came to a truce before we went to bed, it was clear this morning that some negative energy still existed between us.

When we were done with breakfast, the boys went outside to play, and Rob and I stayed at the table and started talking about the argument. Rob said, “I am shocked by how much we fight.” Because I am accustomed to the arguing, I joked, “Well, how long will it take for you to stop being shocked?”

I believe we argue as much and no more than the average married couple, and Rob believes we argue more than the average married couple. My views come, in part, because my parents fought and argued. And Robs views come, in part, because his parents did not fight and argue. Hence, our squabbles seem abnormal to Rob and normal to me.

Unless you are new to my blog, you (the reader) know my marriage has struggled for the past several years. I started the blog in hopes of finding an outlet for myself, so I wouldn’t look to Rob as having sole responsibility for keeping me happy. And, the blog has helped me a great deal. I also believe the blog has helped my marriage, because it gives Rob a greater insight to the mania that exists inside of me.

If you read this blog and you are married (or in a long-term relationship), I hope you’ll take a moment to leave a comment and let me know how often you argue and fight with your partner. And, tell me, do you believe you can deeply love someone with whom you fight? One may not always like his/her partner, but are there times when one doesn’t ‘love’ his/her partner? And, is the love/hate directly related to arguments?

Different and Opinionated

Today is an active weather day, here in the Southern US. Days like today fill me with excitement, curiosity and wonder. It is a dream of mine to become a storm chaser, if only for a day. Weather has always fascinated me, and I suspect it will continue to fascinate me until my dying day.

As I keep tabs on the radar, my weather radio and the skies, I am also aware of the fact that we are all different, and we all have our own passions. Weather is one of many passions for me. It’s a safe passion, in the sense that talking about weather rarely ignites heated debates or controversy. But, I have other passions. And, my other passions do ignite heated debates, controversy and even annoyance. (Then again, perhaps I am annoying – period.)

One day I’d like to write a book. There are many authors out there who make a living writing humorous books about their opinion of this, that and the other. Folks who agree with the authors may find the books entertaining and worth reading. Folks who do not agree with the author may find the books annoying and idiotic. Actually, folks who do not agree with the author may avoid the books entirely.

By blogging, I hope to humorously spark something within the readers. Even those who read just one of my entries and never come back, mean something to me; because, what I wrote either sent them away (perhaps for good) or tweaked their interest to read more posts. Though I’d like to tweak everyone’s interest, I know I have the power to annoy, and I’m OK with that power. (I do wish I could find a nifty costume to go with the power of annoyance.)

I watch the stats tied to my blog. I’m certainly not the most read blog in the blogosphere, but I do get hits; and, I think that counts for something, though for what I’m not sure. And, I find blogging has similarities with Facebook, as Facebook users often use their status to express a random thought or opinion. Plus, one may post an article they found interesting on his/her Wall. I find it interesting to see which posts receive the greatest responses. In addition, I find it interesting to see which posts are ignored.

A couple of days ago, I posted an article on Facebook about a South Park episode that triggered a response from a radical Muslim group in New York City. If you are interested in the New York Times article, click here. Not surprisingly, many people didn’t respond to the post. And, those who did respond ended up debating the abortion issue, which was off the mark, topic-wise. Still, this South Park thing concerns me greatly. I was pleased to come across Jon Stewart’s take on it, and I encourage you to take a look, too. [Jon Stewart Show, South Park]

I don’t have a problem with being different or opinionated. Quite the contrary, I believe differences lead to enlightenment and being opinionated leads to dedication. (Leads to dedication? Dedication to stubbornness? Anyway . . .) Thank goodness for the men and women of our country who are opinionated enough to fight for this country. And, maybe I contradict myself when I mention folks fighting for our country, while mentioning I am bothered by radical groups fighting in the name of their religion. Still, being threatened because of a cartoon makes no sense to me.

I have my own strong religious beliefs, but I am not going to kill someone for depicting symbols of my faith in a comical and perhaps disrespectful manner. Nor am I going to remain silent when I have a strong opinion about something. But, as I tell my boys, I will use words (very loudly) not hands. And, as trite as it may sound, hands are for helping not for hurting. (However, if you are going to take some of my ice cream, please don’t be shocked if I pop your hand. We all have our limits, eh?)

I believe the reaction by one radical group over a South Park episode is cause for alarm. In part, because it was over a CARTOON and the threatening undertone came from folks on our soil. As Jon Stewart noted, the warning came under the shadows of the World Trade Towers – rather, where the shadows of the, now collapsed, Towers once covered. America is a melting pot, and Americans share in the freedom of religion and the freedom to be free of religion. We are all able to speak our mind on views that matter to us, and we have used our voices non-violently for centuries.

Though my fear probably would have resulted in the same action, I’m sorry Comedy Central decided to censor the original South Park episode. Moreover, it makes me mad the radical group threatened Matt and Trey. Why not call for a boycott or peaceful picketing? It makes me sick how extremists, regardless of the faith or cause they represent, ruin it for those of us who like to play together nicely in the sandbox, even when we disagree. Now, please excuse me. I have to get back to the weather, because there is a storm front approaching and I want to go chase it.

A bit snarky

My word today is ‘Snarky’. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of Snarky is as follows: 1 : crotchety, snappish 2 : sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner <snarky lyrics>. Snarky is a fitting word for today, as I continue my PMS battle. No worries, this is not going to be a rant about PMS. Instead, I am writing about the word snarky, because it is a word I hear with growing frequency. I don’t consider myself to be a snarky person. However, I am known to be sarcastic. And to me, there is a distinct line between sarcasm and snark. Be warned, I’m probably going to come across as a little sensitive in this post.

With social networks like Facebook and Twitter, friendly chit-chat can to turn to disrespectful rudeness pretty quickly. The word ‘friend’ has changed with these social networks, too. One can have over 500 Facebook friends, but what kinds of people make up the over 500 friends? Are they real friends? Are they friends that you go to great lengths to stay in touch with through the years, or are they merely friends you are curious about every now and again? And, if you are snarky to these friends, do they take it as innocent and playful sarcasm? Or, do you they find it to be irreverent and rude? Frankly, do you even care how they take your comments? Truth be told, the real friends you have are the ones you interact with the most, whether it be via Twitter, Facebook, telephones, gatherings or email. And, you can check out anyone’s “Wall” on Facebook to determine which friends are real friends versus the ‘social network’ friends.

I admit, I’ve had my feelings hurt by snarky ‘friends’ on Facebook. I don’t know that they meant harm; instead, I think the distinct line of snark vs. sarcasm is blurred in the world of social networks. I cannot believe everything that is said or typed on Facebook would really be said out loud to people. It’s just not how the world works. In my opinion, the reason these socialĀ  networks became so successful was due, in part, to the fact that people could pretty much say whatever they wanted or felt with little to no filtering or backlash. Blogging is another example of how filters seem to evaporate, as folks spill there guts while offering their take of the world. And please, pardon me while I spill my guts, as I am an active participant of the named social networks.

As a participant in social networks, I am not trying to sound judgmental. In fact, I believe a great deal of good comes from social networks. However, I worry about our filters, and I worry that our filters – which serve a respectful purpose – are evaporating at an alarming rate. Much like the Ozone layer is becoming smaller and the greenhouse house gasses are (allegedly) overcoming our Earth, our filter of respectfulness is also becoming smaller. My nieces and nephews are not aware of a world where people only communicated by corded telephones. My younger relatives are not aware of a time when you actually put forth an effort to have conversations face to face vs. the corded phone. They don’t even recall a world where you actually played outside and had to pretend to be a good guy, shooting a bad guy with the coolest stick you could find. They do not know of a world before XBox, Nintendo, etc. This younger generation doesn’t know what it is like to be patient – deliberate – thoughtful. With social networks and electronic mail, everything is instant – reactive – not filtered. And, when one is responding in an instant and without a filter, snark is sure to show itself. Sarcasm is everywhere, and sarcasm is in your face. Sarcasm is in daily face to face conversations, on television, at home with the family and online with friends. But snark? Snark seems to lurk in world where you can hide and have a sense of anonymity or carelessness. Snark is mean. Snark is personal. And, in my opinion, snark is ruining our conversation, even if the conversation is virtual.