Grampy

My Grandfather was fifteen when the war broke out. When it ended he was a veteran of D-Day and the liberation of Belgium and the Netherlands, and less than twenty years old.

My Grandfather dropped out of school after grade eight, because his parents could only pay for the secondary education of one child. So he worked in the woods, cutting lumber with a hand saw and a team of horses. After the war he went to Briarcrest Bible College. They said as long as he had a high school diploma when he graduated they’d let him study for a degree. By the end of three years he had completed a three-year degree and four years of high school, while simultaneously working full-time.

My Grandfather spoke seven languages. I once came upon him reading in preparation for bible study, reading the recommended “The Message” paraphrase, and then going over it in Greek.

My grandparents were married in the summer of 1949. This year they would have celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.

My grandparents went to Africa as missionaries. First to Portugal for six months to learn the language, then they sailed to Angola. There was no dock which could take the ship they came in on, so they threw everything overboard and waited for it to float in on the tide. They drove to the end of the road, and then walked into the jungle for another eight hours, carrying their belongings and my aunt Sharon, who was six months old. Talking drums sent the message ahead; “The missionaries are coming.”

My grandfather signed up for the air force as a tail gunner. The mortality rate for tail gunners was so high that the USSR assigned the position to penal battalions– you were not expected to come back from that job. My grandfather had no lack of courage. But he did have poor depth perception, and he was ground crew instead. He said the most terrifying night of his life was the last night in Angola. He, my grandmother and my aunt crouched under a window frame while rebels fired through the window over their heads.

They went back to Canada long enough to raise funds for the passage, and then they went back. My grandfather went ahead to the Belgian Congo, across the border from Angola. My grandmother had my dad and then brought the children to join him. My grandfather build a trade college, a hospital, and a seminary, so that the refugees who were walking through the jungle away from Angola could make new lives in a new country. He taught at the trade college and distributed seed for the UN, while my grandmother taught an elementary school.

My grandfather had dementia, and his funeral was yesterday. I was not able to attend.

We knew it was coming, and we knew that his body was failing for some days before. I keep finding myself doing small, repudiative and analytic tasks– like making lists. (That would be the explanation both for this post and the ones I’ve put up in the last week.) I had a longer posts prepared wherein I blathered  about my reaction, but this blog post isn’t about me. It’s about my grandfather.

It’s about my hard-working, ferociously intelligent, taciturn, faithful, dedicated, practical grandfather. My grandfather could work you into the ground right up into his eighties. My grandfather built his own house when he retired. My grandfather lived through the depression and had a related lack of trust in banks. My grandfather told me that “sincere” came from sine cera— “without wax,” to indicate that a thing was true all the way down. It was a word with roots in Latin and Portuguese and woodworking.

When my little brother was dying, my father came up with the tradition of saying “see you tomorrow,” with the belief that we would meet again. For some of us it just might take longer to get through the day. So to my grandfather, who I love, and who I barely know, and who I am proud to think I am even a little bit like, even if it is only that I don’t talk much in the morning and also love etymology, see you tomorrow.

See you tomorrow. I’ll have a lot to tell you.

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Home!

I’m home for a whole week! I took the bus on Friday, (got up at 5:50 in order to stop by the metrobus lost and found and pick up by wallet (cause I lost my wallet on Thursday, did I mention this?)) and I’ve been back home for MULTIPLE DAYS. It’s been lovely. 😀

*pause*

Okay, when you get the bright idea to pry the command key off your computer so you can clean underneath it, DON’T DO IT. Just saying.

*fights with the keyboard a bit more*

Anyhow, I’m back in Central! And this visit is lovely for several reasons, some of which I’d been expecting, and some of which I had not. I mean, I expected seeing my family again would be great. (What do you know? It is great. Shocking behaviour!) And I thought being able to eat someone else’s cooking would be peachy keen. (I was right.)

I didn’t expect sleeping in would be great, because I didn’t expect to sleep in. Turns out that turning your alarm on doesn’t do much good if you also turn your phone to silent at 11:30 so your twitter alarms won’t disturb the small ones. None of my family was disturbed by my bright-and-early alarm, much less me…

And also I’ve had a fair amount of time both to think about and talk about life, my reaction to it, and why I’m doing things that I’m doing, (both conscious and unconscious). I’d thought I was going to be SUPER PRODUCTIVE, and I haven’t been, really. I’ve been sleeping late and staring out windows for extended periods of time and staying up to all hours fighting chatting with people online. But my satisfaction with my life isn’t measured in word count so much as in not being a jerkface. Or failing that, knowing how to proceed towards not being a jerkface. Oh, okay, and I just like talking about things. 😀

So yes, that’s been my life so far. On vacation, lazing around wrapped in many blankets, enjoying myself a lot.

I’ve also just done my taxes, which makes me feel very libertarian. 

Sing You Home.

I don’t know how to deal with this season. The assumption from everyone, particularly those who don’t know my history, and that segment is getting larger, as it is two year now since my little brother died, is that is his a joyful season. Only it’s really not, it’s a season of grieving.

Grieving is the strangest emotion, because it can coexist silently with the rest of my life for months. I notice if I’m particularly sad, or particularly happy or angry, but grief just steals into the background and I don’t notice until I’m ready to beat my head off of walls in desperation and fury. Because no, grief doesn’t just mean tears. At least not for me. I get angry.

This would be because my default emotion whenever I don’t agree with the way something is going is to get mad. As I am not the high queen of the world and things often do not follow my grand plan, I am mad frequently. Which means I don’t really need more anger in my life. Particularly here- it neither helps nor honours the person I’m grieving for if I am ready to attack the world at any moment.

Only I don’t know how to not be angry. It’s such a fast reaction to get into, and it’s so much safer than lying myself open to the rest of the world so they can trample on me. All well-meaningly, of course.

This month will be an exercise in trying to cool down. So far I’ve primarily failed at that, but today this song helped. And it’s lovely, even if you don’t have grief/anger problems.

http://cache.reverbnation.com/widgets/swf/40/pro_widget.swf

"It’s kinda a big deal."

And with seven hours (max) of sleep, we headed for Sin Jawns! The youngsters were all going to Camp Delight for eight days, and us adults were going along to drive, and- well, um, *waves hands vaguely* see people. You know, as adults do.

All the camp people crammed into the van of excitement and hysteria, and Daddy, Slonner and I were exiled to the car. *Looks at Van crammed full of excited children* *looks at VW full of space and a working radio* *compares*
Clearly, we had the short end of the stick. It was tragic, I tell you.

Daddy and I spent the 4.5 hour drive in listening to the radio, and talking art and marketing. As one does. Then we dropped off the children at Camp, where they took the absolute minimum amount of time getting settled in. THROW the luggage from the van. LUG AT HIGH SPEED to the cabins. HUG parents. Bye now! Trapezoid especially was very efficient. I was still helping small girls carry suitcases bigger than themselves when he had finished carrying three suitcases and a bag taller than him to his cabin. Then he vanished to do arcane boy things with his cabin. I didn’t ask questions.

Now, as previously mentioned in the last post, I’d bought some earrings the day before. That meant that when we actually got to town, I didn’t have my usual monies to spend on books or theatres. My normal Modus Operandi would have to be ADJUSTED. Therefore, while my industrious father went to take the ferry over to an old iron mine to take pictures of an indie turkish rock band, bringing my lovely mother and energetic small brother, I stayed in the hotel and chased a sunspot along the couch.

After this long and involved exercise, and after- incidentally- my family in town were barred from their ferry and had to wait for the next one, we had chinese food and entertained a newly married couple who were slightly younger than I. The entertainment mainly consisted of talk of schools and the music industry, and coffee and timbits. Which obviously is the best of all possible conversations. 😀

After we’d exsausted the coffee, I was brought out in state to help grocery pick, and be driven about town at night, and see the new apartment. The new apartment was, of course, lovely. We watched the Taking Of Pelham 123, which was significantly less lovely. Profanity can be used effectively in a story, but I really don’t think professional people use one word as the noun, verb, adjective and other modifiers in one sentence. And it’s all the same word? I mean, if I’ve met people who REALLY swear, they at least have two or three words they alternate between. This was just awkward and tiring. The only person who really pulled it off was John Travolta, who was quite believably insane. ^_^ But yeah, the story was so muddled it might have been good- but I really have no idea, I cared about a random sniper more than the MC, and the triumphant ending was- really not. SIGH. If you’re going to present a conflict, people, have the goodness to resolve it! If you’re dealing with layers of lies, either wink and nod when you leave, or TELL THE TRUTH, don’t just wander aimlessly into the sunset. *glares at storywriters* John Travolta was the best part.

In the morning I woke up. Which I put as a point of interest, seeing as I was up until 2:30+ the night before, and then up at 8, and I don’t function well on less than nine hours. YOU DO THE MATH. So then we, hmmm. *thinks* We went to costco, and McDonalds, where someone named James- I love you James, learn to be observant- neglected to get my salad dressings or tell me that he had to tell someone else about out for 15 minutes. Which when you’re standing by the counter of a fast food restaurant, is a LONG TIME. And then we went to Long and McQuade, where I stayed in the car and read, and then went home.  The trip back was spent looking at the views, talking Churchill, computers, income and jobs. As one also does. 

First, a picture.

Second, I have been instruted to blog- hopefully in great detail- by Third World and Moon Unit. To which I answered, “Hahahahah, as if I have a blog, hahahh- oh wait.”

So here I go. Let’s have some history! Which is to say, the modern history of ME- clearly the only reasonable history to look at. *preens*

I went to GF-W on Saturday! It was Exciting! I was served a donair in a pizza shop where Frauline and I were truly, deeply, strongly in the minority because we did not have visible tattoos. This experience affirmed my theorty that- no matter what Hollywood tells you- neck ink does not automatically serve to make you look badass/tough/intimidating. Weighing double a person’s body weight and having an extra 12 inches on them does that. ^_^

But I am ahead of myself. SHAME on me! You see, we were in GF because Frauline was attending a watercolour workshop. I came along for reasons that will be revealed later, and also because I am a fan of road trips. She was going to be playing with brushes and hair dryers for two and a half hours, and so I thought I’d do some reading, maybe walk about, get some coffee; you know, as one does. The only problem with that is that I am very lazy and out of the walking habit. I consider my commute to work to be a walk, and I can do that in four minutes, in heels. If I was to go get coffee, I would have to cross a HIGHWAY. *stricken with exhaustion at the very idea*

So yeah, I read for two and a half hours. ^_^ It was a hard decision, but some things just have to be done. HAHAAHAHAHAH, yes, I enjoyed the reading and didn’t want to stop. But then Frauline finished her art, and we looked at what we were going to do next. Because the OTHER reason we were in GF-W was to go to the theater, and watch Inception. But now it was 4:30, and the show started at 8:30.

I could tell you that I read for four hours, but that would be clearly preposterous, and untrue. I only read for three more hours, tops. But when you walk into the mall and see the blast cages rattling down, and then  go to Wal-mart and peruse it twenty minutes, your options are limited. So we went to the park and read. 😀 (I also got some earrings with feathers. They cause me delight and a bit of a dragon-ish hoarding instinct.)

But finally, we found the theatre- which must be sketchily accessed through a vacant lot at the back of a building built before my parents were born- and then we watched the movie! *jazz hands*

Several people have asked me what I thought of it. So, I’m gonna try to articulate my thoughts. 😛 There is no denying that Inception is a very effective story. It sucked me in for the entire two and a half hours, and I cared about how it ended. However, once it ended, I’m not sure that I want to watch it again. It wasn’t really visually stunning, the characters didn’t make me love them, there was startlingly little snappy dialogue to pour over, and I’m not terribly sure what it was saying.

Plus, that ending makes me angry. 😛 I WANT CLOSURE. It was good, and if suggested, I think I’d be happy to see it again- I just didn’t really go away saying “Man, I Loved that!” I walked out going “I’m not quite sure what just happened, and I’m not sure if I like it.”

And then we drove home. ^_^

There you have it. 😀 The first part of my DRAMATIC WEEKEND.

Epic blog entry of epicness

Here begineth the epic blog entry of last weekend. I’m hoping to get it all into one post without my fingers or language skills giving out- I’ll see how that works out.

So, the plan was for Angelica to come out and spend the weekend with us. She was going to drive out from Sin Jawns on Thursday, and return on Sunday. Unfortunately, Thursday rolled in, and so did car troubles. Cue change of plans! (But what is a road trip without transportation issues? Seriously?) Instead, she was going to come in on the bus, on Friday. So Friday rolled in, and so did a blizzard. To make things even better, this was the last day before reading week for MUN students, so the bus stop was full of students anxious to make it home. Angelica didn’t make it on the first bus.

In the charming way which DRL has of dealing with overflow passengers, they said they’d wake up the other driver and acquire another bus, come back in an hour. (Btw, the bus was supposed to leave at seven in the morning in the first place. Don’t you getting out of bed in time to make it the bus stop at seven am on a saturday, in a snow storm, and being told to come back later? LOVE.) But an hour later, the next bus arrived, and Angelica embarked for the wilds of central newfoundland. It’s supposed to be a six hour drive, including an hour meal break for lunch in Gander airport. (An airport so busy that it has two gates. One for departing, one for arrivals. AWESOME, no?) However, due to the snow on the roads, her bus arrived EIGHT HOURS after it left St. John’s. Which is nine hours after she was supposed to leave, remember. Which was ten hours after she got up that morning. Given that this was her first bus ride, all I can say is that it gets better! Honestly! 😛

But then my lovely family had cupcakes and party games as any excuse for a party to welcome her, and I got home from work in time for rock band tutorials (I really should never play again,) and to watch Up. (I heart that movie.)

Saturday I slept in.. *cough* Not for the whole morning, however! Because we went sledding. It was EPIC.

The picture of grace and dignity, that’s me. And Angelica seems to be being attacked by my hair… Poor girl.
There’s my mom, isn’t she pretty?

After sledding we hung around for a while more, and I read, and then we went bowling! I bowled at 113, I think. Anyways, I broke one hundred, which made me happy. Even if I was the inspiration for the phrase “throwing really enthusiastic gutter balls.” Sigh. Oh, and then we went to K and C’s house for cake, hot dogs and Charlotte’s Web! I queried people about art school and the rise of the civil rights movement. Strangely, people didn’t see the connection between those two things when I started asking questions. Their minds must be so boring.. Or organized. That too.

Actually, however, my plot for Karma Police had fallen apart in my hands on Thursday, and I was trying frantically to shoe-horn it back together. Which was the basis for most of my questions, but some people didn’t see that immediately. ANYWAYS.

On Sunday we went on an Explorer Girls adventure! Only this time, because we had a destination, and also there were four persons of the male persuasion in attendance, it was more of a, Expedition Persons adventure. We went out to K and C’s cabin. The cabin was nice and warm, and contained hot chocolate and cookies. The trek out TO the cabin contained a great deal of slush and ice crystals, and wind off the ocean. I poked some ice pans with my toe, saw them fall gently apart and decided not to try jumping on them while they were in the water, and stomped several loose boards on the wharf back into place with my steel toed boots. Frauline was enraptured with some seaweed frozen into a block of ice that looked like swiss cheese, and the small ones climbed small cliffs. And those formalities over with, then we went inside and had lovely hot chocolate. 😀

Oh, and Angelica had brought her camera, and K had brought her alter-ego Iris’s wig, so we had a minor photo shoot which was lots of fun. There was only one wig, so the four of us that jumped at the chance to be in the picture had to take turns wearing it, and then Angelica had to stich it together using her arcane photo arts. See the result?

Aren’t we fetching?

And then it was sunday afternoon, so Daddy and Angelica and I were going back to Town. Oh, didn’t I mention that I was going too? Silly me. Yes, I had my passport, some spare rope and my credit card. So why WOULDN”T I be going? #rhetoricalquestionsftw

We drove in, which was a five hour drive ornamented with many much snow and awesome music, and then we dropped Angelica off at her house, and met up with my brother PT, (You remember PT, don’t you? He fixes pianos and has a leopard gecko) at a suitably high-class establishment. So once I’d ordered my bacon cheeseburger and PT had his fries and drink, we sat down to chat. I know, you’re amazed at the depth of our pocketbooks and my wild social life.

*cough* At any rate, we got a lovely phone call from our cousin announcing that she was engaged, which surprised no one but pleased us all, and then Daddy had to go calling, and PT and I decided to check out the theatre. Once we got there, there was a slight disagreement between myself and my brother as to which movie we wanted to see. He was strongly on the side of Shutter Island, and myself and my hyper imagination was just as firmly on the side of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. We decided the only way to choose fairly between them was Rock, Paper, Scissors. Yes, in the theatre lobby, in front of all the cool city teenagers who looked aslant at the baymen. Part of the joy of being as weird as I am is having minimal shame. 😀

So, we watched Percy Jackson. *Celebratory Rock Paper Scissors dance* And the movie. Hmmm…

I am a hearty fan of the books. I had just read Last Olympian, which is the last volume in a five-book set, and I loved it. I loved all the details and the use of Greek Mythology, and the excellent way it’s all crafted. Oh, and the great characters help too! The movie, well. In the words of my friend Rose after seeing it. “It’s an amusing fanfic.”Unfortunately, I’d spent much of the day working out and fixing plot issues with my story. So when I was trying to fall asleep (and falling off of) a couch later, I ended up spending much of the night working out and fixing plot issues with the movie. I’m pretty sure I fixed it all and it was marvellous! Too bad I can’t remember anything now…

Then in the morning, blessed morning, Daddy and I went to Cora’s for breakfast. I am still baffled by the purpose of ground cherries. But they put on a good show, and sometimes that’s all you need from your food. After food, we went to the Janeway, which was brutal and heartbreaking as always. I want to write a book there, but I’m afraid of getting it wrong, and crying too much. I have nothing more to say on that subject right now.

At this point it was lunch time, or close enough for Government work. I was dropped off at the mall while Daddy went to make Important Business Connections. I was a good girl and bought work shoes first. And then I was magnetically drawn towards the bookstores.

Last time I was in reach of a bookstore I bought fifteen books. This time I bought twenty. However, because this time I was savvy enough to browse the paperback section instead of the hardbacks, it cost me 30% less. See my spoils? *presents them proudly*

I know it doesn’t look like it, but this is honestly broadening my reading horizons, and with books that I think I’ll actually READ. Unlike when I pick up Brothers K and say “Oh, I’m gonna read this next.” Lies, I read the cheesy things I get from the library before I ready heavy russian things. Ahem.

Also I may or may not have climbed over a fence to get to Chapters. Silly unexpected rivers. Silly barbed wire. Sillest of all mud.

And then we drove home, with a brief stop for dance class. Here endeth the epic weekend.