jetlag – i take it back.

October 17, 2013

previously (as in before the past three days) i’ve always been very dubious about the existence of jetlag.  i get feeling tired because you’ve been up for way too many hours in a row, or trying to fall into an, at best, fitful sleep, in a cramped airplane chair.  but jetlag?  the actual being out of sync with daylight and sleeping and coherent thinking?  nah, that seemed a bit bollocky to me.

my solution to getting over being tired is stay up ’til your current location bedtime, even if that means pushing thru more tiredness, sleep a full and happy nite; and be right as rain the next morning!  ta-da, you’re on local time.

remember my international flying experience started around age 3.  my family made a trip from canada to australia and back in 1979, before immigrating and staying permanently in 1980.  in 1988 i made another trip to canada and back to oz.  ten years later i worked as an international hostie, albeit only for six months.  my route was sydney- kuala lumpur- vienna- and back.  since hooking up with paul i’ve made trips to south east asia, the middle east, europe and north america.  it’s not insubstantial.  i’ve felt tired plenty of times.  so tired i’ve fallen asleep sitting on a hard stowage box in the kitchen at the back of the plane.  so tired i’ve vomited from exhaustion (not just from the dodgy street food in KL.)  so tired i nearly sold paul to white slave traders on the banks of the nile.  oh wait, no, my brain wasn’t that adled, that was in bangkok!

anyways, my point is, i’ve been at the sleepy end of a reasonable amount of long distance plane trips, and i don’t think i’ve ever ‘suffered’ from jetlag.  jetlag, shmetlag.  so can someone please explain the staggering about i’m still doing despite being home for three days now?  until you do i’m going to pin it on the kids waking up a few times every nite and calling out for huggles, water bottles, blankets straightened, bad dreams banished, an extra pillow, more tissues, and more huggles.

jetlag, shmetlag!

(p.s. sorry for doubting you paulie.)


memorial for dad

October 15, 2013

I’m Petra, Klaus’s daughter.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I might say once this day would come.  Not just when dad was first diagnosed with lymphoma over 12 years ago, even earlier.  A lot earlier.
I’ve also thought I should not say anything.  But I’ve not said things in the past that I’ve later realised would have been better said.  So despite some misgivings and possibly being misunderstood I will say these few things.
I said I’ve thought about what to say for a long time before dad got cancer.  Why should I do that?  Well, I initially wished my parents dead when I was an angry teenager- didn’t we all go thru that stage?  Or at least hoped we were adopted?
I may have had more or less reason than the usual teenager to be angry.  One thing I am indebted to my anger for, is the love of reading and escapism that came with that.  Since learning to read I’ve read everything I come across, some stories I remember better than others.  Some stories stick with you for life.  Some stories shape or even create your life.
One of the most compelling stories I remember is from a science fiction series that started with ‘Enders Game’ by Orson Scott Card.  In a sequel Scott Card introduced the idea of a ‘speaker for the dead.’  Someone that knew the story of the deceased, the good and the bad, and told that story to their assembled family and friends.  I don’t intend to speak for my dead; to tell my dad’s story.  Because I don’t know large parts of it.  I would like to tell how his story intertwines with my story.
To do this I need to start before I was born.  When my dad was born, in East Berlin, life was vey different.  I believe he took the trials and tribulations of growing up in this Stalinist dictatorship and moving between his father, his step mother and his grandmother, with him when he emigrated to Canada as a teenager.  For a proud german boy, doted on by his grandmother whom he left behind, adjusting to a life so different didn’t come easily, and I believe was never fully accomplished.
While I do believe my dad found happiness and love I think he also found disappointment and resentment.  He never seemed content.  To me it felt he was sure something was missing, maybe something better was yet to come.  Those better things were not his children.  My brother and I enjoyed a childhood of fun and adventure.  We were free to roam, build cubby houses, dig, climb, destroy, concoct, play.  Both our parents worked hard to ensure we could be healthy and happy.  Our freedom resulted from both the time it was necessary to spend on working but also I think because dad never knew what to do with children.  Perhaps this was a learned neglect, from his parents.
Dad always expected my brother and I to do well at school.  But I don’t remember a single time he encouraged me, or helped with my homework, or read to me, or asked what I was doing at school.  He wanted A’s on my report cards but it was solely my responsibility to get them there.
He also wanted his version of perfect behaviour.  He was willing and certainly able to get this behaviour thru force.  To my physical detriment I did not always behave in the manner required.
When I was 16 these disconnects between my father and I saw our stories separate for some time.  The old cliché that time heals all wounds isn’t true.  For the past 22 years I have, with the astounding help and love of many people, beginning with Nicola Bradley and her family, David Johnston and his, Jim Barnes, Andi Daniels, Mark Lawler and his family, Tanya Yates, Amanda Jackes and in the past 15 years, my precious husband Paul and most recently my beautiful children Persephone and Talvin, lived and learned to heal my wounds, incompletely.  The wounds a parent gives their child, at least in my case, don’t ever fully heal.
But yet those years have passed, and my dad and I did reconcile… a bit.  It wasn’t straightforward and it went backwards at times too, but our stories have intertwined again.  These last few weeks, I’ve been talking with dad by email.  I said to him in one, “does it really matter any more?”  I didn’t expect him to apologise for hurting me and fucking up large portions of my life.  It’s ok now, he has received my forgiveness.
This is a short story of our two linked lives.  It’s not the nicest and it’s over now.  I mourn that I wasn’t a stronger person, better able to see the good and understand the reasons for the bad.  I mourn that my dad is dead and I never really had a fatherly relationship with him.  His faults to me were not evident to you.  I hope that being here today, you are all able to remember him as your friend, your colleague, your neighbour whom you liked and loved, respected and will miss.