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*Got up with Tegan (Sorry I didn't hear her sooner, honey!)

* Got Tegan dressed, dressed myself.

* Went to park, played with Teegs for over an hour running and sliding and pushing her on the swing, and MAN am I tired.

* Got bike tire (mostly) fixed. Let's hope it works right.

* Did some (not all) dishes, then read while Tegan napped for an hour.

* Played outside with Teegs in backyard, discovered she's afraid of the sand moving around her feet--she started crying because my moving the sand around in one part of the sandbox made her think something was under her in the sand! Poor baby!

* Now playing with baby in family room. She's a really good baby, but she's missing Mom something fierce. When she woke up from her nap, she said "I want mama." When I said mama was at work, she started to cry until I offered to take her out in the backyard to play. Now she's demanding penguins.

I love my life. No, really. Even though ten months out of the year, I want to smash heads regularly.
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My father may be dead, and the trail very cold, but I'm still trying to locate possible relatives.

I am sending off a request for the original application for my dad's social security card. That ought to have some more information about my grandparents, such as a middle name/SSN for each of them (I hope); from there I can possibly trace to see if they're alive or not. We think my grandmother is dead, but no one is sure about my grandfather.

This week I will be getting a form notarized so I can get a copy of my dad's death certificate, which will have information on his wife and her location. Of course, the information will be over a decade old, but *shrug* it's a place to start.
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Until yesterday, I never knew my grandfather was at the Bikini Atoll nuclear bomb tests.

He was showing me pictures of his crewmates aboard the USS Dixie, and casually mentioned "that was at the nuke test at Bikini Island." I expressed wonder at having never known he was there, and he pulled from his wallet -- that's right, he still carries it -- a faded and worn card which the Navy issued, proving he took part in Operation Crossroads, that being the test's codename.

"There were two blasts," he said. "One underwater, and one above ground. I was looking right at that son of a bitch when it went off. Brightest goddamned light I ever saw, even with my hand covering my eyes."

I talked to my aunt about it, and we've decided to get a videocamera on him and drag more of these stories out. He's expressed interest in writing a book about all he's seen, and we figure not only would that be a good way to make him do it, but it would be cool for us to have when he's gone.
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Seeing The Fellowship of the Ring with my friends was good. Seeing it with my little sister is what being an older brother is all about.

Brooke, unfortunately, either got sick or became scared and decided she needed to go home, depending on if I believe her or her sister. I think she was sick, she really wanted to stay, and was acting sick even two hours later.

Blair, however, loved the movie. I asked her if it was a long film, and she said "no". She couldn't believe it was three hours. Moments of joy watching her:

Warning: If you haven't yet seen LOTR and either don't know the books or don't want to hear anything, DO NOT READ FURTHER



*When Frodo was about to put on the Ring while hiding from the first Nazgul under the tree, Blair whispered "No no no no no no no!" to no one in particular.
*When Gandalf died, Blair turned to me and asked "Brother, did he die?" When I affirmed this, she said "Oh no, I liked him!"
*The many glances she gave me complete with huge smile of delight
*Her awe of Boromir, fighting with three honking huge arrows in his chest.
*She about jumped out of her chair when Bilbo reached for the Ring in Rivendell
*She was wowed by the Balrog
*After the movie, she said Frodo "Has HUGE eyes!"
*When it was over, she said "That's IT? It's OVER?" When I told her part 2 was coming out next December, she said "I have to wait a whole YEAR to find out what happens? That's not FAIR!" I think she and I will be reading the books together soon.

Sharing something I adore so much with a little eleven year-old who is, in the words of her mother, "Just like her brother" (even more amazing when you consider that strictly speaking she's my cousin) was something I've dreamed of doing for years.

Blair and I have always been close -- I have always been there, and she knows on a level no one else can that I will never betray her and will never lie to her. I "get" her like no one else in the family can, because we're so alike, and she gets me more than the rest do, too. I cherish that, for she's the first person in my family I've ever really /felt/ connected to since I was a kid wishing I could live with my aunt Karla. And as much as I adore our youngest sister, Brooke, Blair was their first and we bonded more (I moved out of the house when Brooke was only two, Blair was five and we'd already bonded).

And now I've shared Tolkien with her. And she's already made me promise she'll come with me next year to The Two Towers.

Frell yeah!
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My aunt mentioned something about my adopted dad that made sense... it wasn't so much that he was a bad person, but he would bend over backwards to please whatever woman he was with at the moment. He and La Vada adopted three kids because that's what she wanted -- I'm sure he would have stopped at me, or maybe even before me. Probably after, in many ways I think he looked at me as a replacement for the son he'd lost to a surgical mistake a few years earlier.

When he divorced La Vada (and who could blame him, really? I only wish I'd been able to go with him), his new girlfriend didn't want him bringing us along, so he ignored us for a long time. I suspect as well that La Vada told him we didn't want to see him, that we were too enamored of her new husband. The truth is, we were terrified of Jim and would have done anything to move in with Ron -- with Dad.

Later, he married another woman. It was shortly after this I went to live with him, and six months later she maneuvered him into getting rid of me. She was manic-depressive, and would constantly decide to stop taking her pills, then go nuts on us. Rather than accept that her inability to keep taking her pills was the problem, she convinced herself I was the problem, and made him send me to my aunt.

Ron died several years ago. I went to the funeral despite not having seen him in five years. It was an incredibly painful event, where I realised I'd basically been written out of that family. But my sister, who hasn't had a good thing to say to me since we were kids, told me one thing that salvaged the day. She said that Ron knew I'd changed my last name, and though it hurt him, he acknowledged it was his own fault, and that I had done what I had to do to make a new life for myself. According to her -- and I don't care if he really said it or she lied to help me out -- he said to tell me that he would always be proud of the man I'd become. She said he'd been asking her for reports on me for years, but didn't want anyone else to know.

I asked her, at the funeral, how we ended up with such an incredibly screwed-up family. She said "I don't know. We didn't deserve this, not really." I think maybe we did, though. I think it was necessary for me to have gone through all that, to learn the lessons needed this time around the Circle. I guess my next incarnation will determine if I've learned the lesson well enough.

At any rate, there's a lot of years left in THIS incarnation. So I'd best get started on them, yes?
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I've been looking for my father for years, and giving it signifigant effort since 1995.

I've always known that the odds of recreating a father-son bond with him were pretty much nonexistant, and I knew it was likely he'd be homeless, or at best, poor. I didn't care. My dream was to Know -- why he and my mother divorced, why he went to prison, why he never tried to contact me (the one thing my maternal family can agree on is that he loved me very much). I know I have an uncle, and I wondered if maybe I had brothers, sisters, cousins, I didn't know about. I dreamed of finding a family that, if I couldn't join, I could at least get to know.

All of that ended today. Robert Eugene Johnston, born 26 November 1949 in Kansas City, Missouri, died on 7 December 1993 in San Francisco, California.

Gods damn it to hell.

There's still more to learn, of course -- my Uncle is probably out there somewhere, and I'll keep looking for him, and I'll be looking for information about my father's life before he died, of course... but it's over. He's gone, and I can never know him, now. All I have left are two old photo albums, one of which is nothing but pictures out of context.

You know... I have blood family that I care for. My little cousins who call me their brother, my maternal half-sister and her daughter, my aunt, my grandfather, lots of cousins and other distant relatives... but I suddenly feel very alone. I've had two sets of parents, natural and adopted, and both are now gone. I feel like I'm all that is left, even though I know otherwise.

Damn it.

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johnstonmr

August 2017

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