April Fool. 

How do we mourn someone we’ve never met?

An only child in a single parent household in the 70’s had its challenges for everyone.  My father cut out early in my life and I never had the opportunity to know him, until he was dead.

April 1, 2004 is the day he died… the fact he died on April Fools Day seems fitting somehow.

I learned he had a brother who had 2 children and all of the sudden there were cousins and new family members.

I learned he had lived a let’s call it “colorful life”  in the Florida keys as a commercial fisherman.

I learned he never remarried or had any other children so I was it… end of the line.

So that’s it.  There’s not much else to the story except this day full of pranks and jokes comes along each year and every time I wake up on this day I wonder how I am supposed to mourn for a man I never met.

 

East village. 

 

Blanche’s Tavern… better known as Lucy’s.  If these walls could talk! ((thankfully they can’t ))  in the mid 90’s I sat at the bar one afternoon waiting on a roommate and ended up with a job. Picture a grandmotherly Ukrainian woman who doesn’t take any guff and really doesn’t give a crap who you are…. behind the bar from sun down to sun up on the edge of alphabet city when it wasn’t so trendy to see and be seen.  I worked there off and on for years….and on the rare chance I find myself on Avenue A you bet I swing by, say hello and maybe shoot a game of pool with Lucy for old times sake… I Love Lucy.   ( & you would too. )

 

Women’s march anchorage edition 

I struggled with when to leave the east coast wanting to be in Washington or New York with friends for the Women’s March or to be in Alaska.  Double Rainbow!  I landed in Alaska and joined the Women’s March in Anchorage!! Along with about 4,500 others gathered at the Delaney Park Strip and marched downtown.  It felt fantastic to contribute my voice to a passionate comunity in a meaningful way.  I could have marched on the east coast, and I am so glad that so many people I know did, but it was something special to land in a place that is not quite yet home and jump in lending my support to an event that is so crucial to the future of our society.  Only 300,000 people reside in Anchorage so when 4,500 people turn out for something it is a pretty big deal… but then as I saw posts from around the country, and world I was most moved by those from around the state of Alaska… in tiny villages, towns and outposts around the state people turned out to have their voices be heard.  It may have been 1 or 5 or a dozen… in Homer is was a few hundred ( in a town of 5000 ) but the impact of those people showing up to be heard really impacted me.  We all knew I love Alaska and it will be where I settle in for a bit but that love deepened on this day and I found community.

 

welcome to alaska! now get your car started.  

From 69 balmy degrees on the east coast to -8 degrees in anchorage which is a haet wave given recent sub zero in the double digits temperatures in town.  I am lucky that my lovely friend Lulu is wintering on the east coast and lent me her Jeep for the winter.  The caveat is getting it started after sitting for a few months before I landed, so another friend was kind enough to dig it out a little and charge it up….that didn’t quite do the trick so… a bit more digging and a little rocking back and forth which was proving to be futile when a kind neighbor appeared with his truck and a tow strap… and voila!  The Jeep was up and running and free of the snow pile… off I go!

Lessons Learned:  Alaskans are kind and helpful when they see a fellow human needs a hand.  We all need a hand sometime and my chance to pay it forward will come soon enough.  It’s pretty friggin cold. oh, and always carry a tow strap, shovel and extra mittens with you.

 

tradition.

New Year’s Eve always comes with a ton of pressure…especially living in NYC for the last two decades.  There was that one year I went to Times Sq. only with an invite to the Mayor’s party under police escort pre 9/11… and those nights spent slinging drinks from behind a bar in the east village and then, my most favorite one was a last minute decision to run a midnight road race through Prospect Park with a friend; but for the most part it’s a bust.  The pressure of what to do, where to go, who to go with and well, that dreaded hour when the clock strikes the witching hour ( if one is still awake ) when there is no one to smooch, sitting on the couch with a glass of bubbles watching the ball drop on TV that is happening just a few subway stops away is really awful. You might think it is immpossible to feel lonely in a city of eight and a half million people but it can be the loneliest of place.

This time around, in the middle of my ‘gap year’ I housesat for friends traveling to Mexico City and hung out with their fur beasts… Duke & Claudia outside of the city in NY.  They were the best New Year’s Eve dates a gal could ask for!  The next morning ( totally not hungover ) I headed into the city for an annual brunch tradition with Providence Kim where we rehash the year and dream of the days ahead.  The Mermaid Inn was our pick this time around and it did not dissapoint! Excellent service and wonderful brunch followed by a stroll around the upper west side and a catch up before we both head off into the unknown adventures and misadventures 2017 was going to be hurling at us. Stay tuned…

 

history lesson.

 

 

Great Grandma and Grandpa Quade homesteaded in Montana where my Grandfather and then mother were both born and raised… so I guess you could say my roots are in a tiny town in Montana.  What feels like a long time ago my great Aunt Sis sent me a package that included the crochet cap and wool socks shown in the shadow boxes.  These items were hand made by my great grandmother and her mother… we aren’t a sentimental lot and have not held onto many things from past generations but this is one that has made it through the years and now hangs on the wall at my mother’s house.  It reminds me of a time when things were not disposable and when you needed a new pair of socks you made them and then fixed them when needed.   It reminds me of that tiny town in Montana and our connection to it.  I get a subscription to the town newspaper sent to my mother each year for Christmas to keep up on the comings and goings of Wibaux each week.  She remembers a lot of the families from when she was young.  I think it might be time to take a swing through the old homestead one of these days soon…

ramblings and reflections.

On October 15th I will turn 45.

I have never been one for big birthday celebrations and have not really put that much stock in age… my mother has always said “it’s just a number”  & the traditional milestones of 16,18, 21, 30…all came and went and I don’t really have any memory of what those days events were.

At 40 I was determined to mark the life I had lived with some sort of celebration, so I embarked on 40 for 40 –  40 days of things big and small to mark the occasion.  A concert, ice cream with a friend, a coffee date, a skype… all culminating in a dinner with some of the ladies that raised me ( mom C, mama Q, & aunt Helen ), my bestie from the age of 6 who is like my sister, a dear friend and my godson.  This celebration dinner I remember and will always cherish.  But now, here I am turning 45.

I have never married, or even come close.  I have never had children, being a mother wasn’t something I ever longed to be.  I don’t own a house… at the moment I am a bit of a nomad, and the largest purchase I have ever made besides health insurance is a car.  Single, never married and no children…not a homeowner, no college degree or 401K… by all accounts and expectations of the traditional life – I have failed miserably.

And yet, here I am… still standing.  For the most part I relish in my single, childless, freedom, the ability to go where the wind takes me…but I would not be human if I didn’t admit that I do have those moments where I look back and wonder what have I done with my life?

I have been an event designer and planner, planning and executing every last little detail of the most special days for weddings, anniversaries, engagements, birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs and all kinds of social celebrations for the last 27 years…a little ironic, eh?

I have, and continue to live, a free spirited life with incredible friends, near and far, who have been through the toughest and most joyous times with me…I lead a life that is never boring and always filled with adventures, big and small… I have been involved in my communities, participated in the civic process, worked on campaigns and volunteered for numerous organizations.  I am a small business owner, entrepreneur, artist and designer who is passionate about the environment, and our oceans.  My luxury items if stranded on a desserted island would be seltzer and avocados…

Sometimes when you embark on a new path you get diverted…I expected this year to go very differently…I thought I would be settling in Alaska by my 45th birthday but my body had other ideas.

Hysterectomy.  On the last day of my 44th year I will check into the hospital….the lady parts have been causing a heck of a lot of trouble and it is time for them to go.  I look forward to the relief, to feeling whole and better and to life without a uterus.

I have had waves of varying emotions from feeling incredibly alone, sadness and even a little anger to relief, and looking forward to feeling better.  Although I never aspired to be a mother and have chosen the path less traveled in most situations, I wonder at times how I ended up here.. and then I take stock in my life and I am filled with overwhelming gratitude.  So to my uterus I say good riddens… we’ve been together for 44 years but it’s time we go our separate ways.

I have the best friend family a girl could dream of… they are incredible, and through all of this they have supported me, made me laugh when I felt like crying, been by my side when I felt so alone, sheltered me, fed me and reminded me that it takes a village… not just to raise children but to support and raise each other up.

We are all fighting a battle that no one knows about and one small random act of kindness could really make someone’s day.  Go out into the world and be kind.

xokQ.

p.s. Alaska, I will see you soon… it’s just taking a little longer to get there. 😉