cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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Here yesterday; Gone today…

The end.  Finito.  That’s all, Folks!

You see – I am the end of the line – family wise.  My dad was the only boy (he had two sisters) and I was supposed to be a boy (oops, sorry about the not having a penis thing).  It’s something that’s bothered me for many years, ever since I realized (and, was informed) that I am indeed, it.

About five years ago, I became very interested in tracing my family tree.  Now, my dad’s side has been traced back to Adam (we’re a bunch of drunken, Scottish heathens) – but my mom’s side – well, that’s a whole different ball of wax.

My mother never told me (or anyone, for that matter) much about her family.  My grandfather died about 5 months before I was born, and based on what my sister and dad have told me about him, he was quite the character and I’m very sad that I never got the chance to meet him.  He came from Russia in 1913 to join the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.  He fought in France, lived through Vimy and was wounded a few days later at (in?) Arleaux Loop.  He was sent to a military hospital in England, where he married his nurse and they returned to Canada.

That’s about all I’ve got.  My mother adored her father and didn’t have much use for her mother (who, according to my mother, was evil and batshit crazy…hmm…the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree on that one).

So, armed with that information, I started digging.  I came across some information in an old family photo album that actually listed all of my grandmother’s brothers and sisters.  Aha!  But the person I was most interested in was my grandfather.

On and off, over the past few years, I’ve done some research, even managed to get copies of his attestation papers from Veterans’ Affairs.  Reading them was just fascinating!  It detailed his military history, his health, what happened when he was wounded – every little detail was meticulously kept.  Except for the town in Russia he was born in.  The name he had listed doesn’t exist, nor did it ever exist.  I tried a million different variations, asked around to some of my eastern European friends – I just couldn’t get anywhere, so I sort of let it lie.

About a month ago, my sister gave me a bag of documents.  It was everything that was in my dad’s safety deposit box – she’d had it for some time, but had only recently come across it.  For me, it was like Christmas.  I found my mother’s birth certificate – and on it – was the REAL name of the town my Grandfather was born in!  Turns out that it’s now considered a part of Belarus (I guess that sort of makes me a Belorussian – I think we’re very good at shot put in the Olympics, if I remember correctly 🙂 ).  I also found out that my mother had Grade 12 piano (never heard her play a note in her life).  I even found copies of her high school report cards – she was a pretty smart cookie; dad on the other hand – erm, not so much.  It had my dad’s military records, a few photos and even a letter written to my grandfather from 1904.

In this bag, was a link to the family I never knew, never got to know and brought to light who my parents were before they were my parents.

My mother was HOT, I mean SMOKIN’ HOT!  And my dad was no slouch himself.  I learned through some reading and from my sister that she was a talented artist (again, I never knew of this). She was a real shit disturber during her Air Force days, and spent most of her time on her hands and knees, scrubbing airplane hangars with a toothbrush.  The pictures I have of her as a young woman shows a free spirit, full of fun and life and mischief.  Dad was the same way – some of his Air Force stories had me rolling with laughter (some of the crap he was allowed to get away with in the 1950’s is considerably different than what they can get away with today!)

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I’m sad that I never got to know my parents beyond them being ‘mom and dad’.  I did a little bit with my dad, but my mom remained tight lipped until the day she died.  It’s only now that I’m learning to appreciate who they were as people, as a young man and woman in the 40’s and 50’s.  Why they were the way they were – what happened to my mother to turn her into an old, manipulative and excessively codependent woman?  Why didn’t she share her life with us, her family?  Was my dad truly happy?  Did he live a good life and was he able to achieve some of his dreams?

While I’m writing this post for me – it’s mostly for all of you who might still be lucky enough to have your parents with you.  Learn from them.  Ask questions – not kid to parent questions – adult to adult questions.  Ask about their past, their dreams and what some of the best parts of their lives have been.  Would they have lived life differently?  Do they have any regrets?  Encourage them to tell stories about crazy Aunt Helen, about their first kiss – even their first job.  Get to know them as people; you’ll be pleasantly surprised about the things you learn – after all, they’re human too.


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46 Shades of Grey (hair)

I don’t remember getting here, but I have arrived!

Yep, in less than a week, I will be 46.  That’s one year closer to 50.  

I’m afraid.

To be honest, I’ve never thought about getting old.  I mean, I knew it was going to happen (eventually and obviously) but I’ve really not sat down and thought to myself ‘well, here you are.  I guess it’s time you started buying polyester pants and sweatshirts with kittens on them.’  Or, ‘Don’t forget to put orthotics in your shoes, because you know how much your back hurts when you forget.’

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I think that the big reason that this has come to a head is that I found my very first grey hair about two weeks ago (pun intended).

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Now, I always thought that was stupid.  Really?  A grey hair?  Big deal.  Well, to me it was a big deal.  It made me stop and think that hey, I am getting older and it’s time to stop putting off things that I need and want to do.

Like lose the weight I’ve gained over the past 10 years.  Take myself to Ireland.  Scrimp and save so that I can buy the condo I’ve rented and called home for the last 10 years.  Get my affairs in order (okay, yes I know I’m 46, not 106) – but some of these are things that I’ve never thought that much about.

I’m also realizing that as I get older, my body is starting to rebel against me (okay, let’s just call a spade a spade – it HATES ME).  I went to the doctor yesterday for one issue, and came out with two.  I am scheduled for a minor surgery in two weeks.  Next week I have to see a new doctor about something else.  I’ve some weird rash on my face that I’ve never had before.  In there are more appointments for my Weight Wise program.  Let’s not forget my counsellor!  

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All of it a bit overwhelming to someone who has the memory and attention span of a drunk fruit fly.  Which is where the problem lies.

I’ve found myself this past week trying to take too many things on.  I’m worried that the person I rent my beautiful condo from will want to sell as soon as my lease is up and thanks to my addictive personality, I haven’t saved enough for a down payment.  I’ve finally got a date for my surgery, which is a good thing, however not something I’m looking forward to.  I’ve got a crap load of weight to lose and I’m struggling with that and how I need to make some very serious changes to my lifestyle and I’m not sure if and when I’ll be ready to that (thankfully, next week I meet with the shrink from my WW program and she’ll be able to provide some help).

And, the more these things pile up, the more I push people away and just want to be by myself.

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The Dragon of Depression is breathing fire at me once again and I’m doing my very best to dodge out of the way.  There are so many things I have to do.  There are so many things I regret doing.  There are so many things that I wish I had the courage to do.  There are so many things I wish I could do, had I the self esteem to do them.

There are so many people I miss, who are not here with me as I travel over the hill, but the one I miss most, is my dad.  He’d be standing with me at the top of that hill, holding my hand – smiling – imparting his wisdom – “Kid, sometimes ya just gotta sit down and separate the pepper from the flyshit.”  

And then you know what he’d do?  He’d push me head first down the hill and laugh his ass off.

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Miss you dad.