Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Below is a repost of my Thanksgiving, 2007.

Turkeys Come Home

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's pre turkey and I've already had a nap. I'm hungry and going to drink wine.

I'm thankful that my dad and my uncle joe are here.* I shall try to focus on happy things today.

I've arrived up north. Tis the quiet before the bird.

Till Later.

*Thankful we had them as long as we did, although no time would be long enough.
Looking forward to feasting and drinking.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Ramblings

It's unfortunate that this is most needy I've ever been in my life, and yet I hit a wall with friends. The availability just really isn't there.

It has forced me to be even more independent. And to seek out those that can see me on a whim. Mostly those people are my Nevada friends.
Which are certainly mine by now, but I use that descriptor as a way to explain who they are.

I needed those people that suffered as much as me, and I also need people who are not grieving, for breaks when needed. But I have had to adjust and because of that, I have to make some rules for myself for self preservation.I've stopped asking people to hang out. No matter if the reason is as valid as anything in the world, I can't keep getting rejected. It just adds sting to an already open wound. It's not intended as punishment, but rather a coping mechanism. I simply can't wait around for people to throw the little scraps of time my way. I'd be happy to hang out with people, but I have to let them ask me, after I've attempted it more than a dozen times. At some point, you're just begging, and who needs that?

Between Nevada's death and my dad's, the hole is huge in my life, and I can't really look to other people to fill that void. As lonely as I am, I still need to find my own way in the world.
It's certainly more difficult with the loss of one of my best friends, and the only father I'll ever have. And the lack of a significant other. The burden feels like it is mine to carry.
And even if there were someone significant in my life, I still would have a lot to figure out on my own. I realize no one can make me happy but myself.

That being said, I find I suffer from feeling left out of a lot of things that friends have. Husbands, kids etc. And yet, I don't know if I myself will go that path.
I hope to meet a love that is ever lasting, but who is to say, when and if that will be. And when I picture kids, I picture myself adopting for some reason.
If I even have kids. I still don't know and I guess since I'm not pregnant or even having sex, that's one worry I can cross off the list.

The fact of the matter is, that our lives are so very different.

Thus, so are my relationships.

But, they're are not going anywhere. True, some friends haven't been as involved in my daily life, they still care about the major things... birthdays, funerals, etc.
I don't have to wonder if they will show up.

They just do. Or their flowers, cards, gifts, scarves, and coffee do. :)
And that's what friendship is.

The truth is, we all do the best we can. I know they love me.

All I can hope for from anyone is that no matter how busy their lives get, they'll still find time for me in it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sailing Around the Room

Lyrics by Emmylou Harris

One last gaze upon the sun
It bid farewell to everyone
Kick that bucket out the door
Where I'm going I won't need it anymore

Gonna lay my burden down
Take a bird's eye look around
From the tall pines of Carolina
All the way to the wall of China

So I'll go sailing round the room
Through my window, across the silver moon
No flesh and bone to hold me
I'll finally set my soul free
When I go sailing round the room

Life may be just but a dream
Rowed my boat on down the stream
To wake up on a different shore
Wind up as something I ain't never been before

I could be a drop of summer rain
Falling down on an Oklahoma plain
I won't leave the world behind me
Look around and you will find me

So I'll go sailing round the room
Through my window, across the silver moon
No flesh and bone to hold me
I'll finally set my soul free
When I go sailing round the room

I will be in the smoke from Mauna Loa
Morning mist from the Shenandoah
I will be a grain of sand in the Kalahari
Magnolia by the Mississippi

I will be birdsong when day is breaking
Words of love when your heart is aching
I will be a blue bonnet by the highway
I'll be everywhere and always

When I go sailing round the room
Through my window, across the silver moon
No flesh and bone to hold me
I'll finally set my soul free

When I go sailing round the room
Through my window, across the silver moon
No flesh and bone to hold me
I'll finally set my soul free
When I go sailing round the room

Monday, October 04, 2010

Waiting for My Sunrise

A year ago, Nevada died. I will never forget that morning. I'd slept poorly the night before and was up super early, anxiously waiting to hear her condition. Knowing in my head that things were looking pretty bad, but my heart was in no way ready to accept the unthinkable. That she'd actually die.

But in a cruel twist of fate, she'd essentially died, while having a surgery that was to save her life, and truly her only treatment option worth the risk. My highly intelligent friend, was a glimmer of her former self with her MoyaMoya.

Although her brain was under constant duress, she was Nevada till the end. Shaving her head into a mohawk before surgery, joking how funny it would be to die in a plane crash on her way to Califorina. We laughed about the absurdity of that situation, and I hugged her goodbye never knowing it would be our last conversation.

In the weeks after her death, I numbly wandered through the shell of my life. The hole she left felt like a crater. I saw her nearly daily. We talked every day on our long walks and after the walks, I'd make her dinner and we'd have a few beers. How could somebody so present in life be suddenly gone?

I struggled for months. Wasn't sleeping, I drank to much, and some days when I came to work, I'd look down, surprised at my outfit because I didn't remember getting dressed.

When New Year's Eve rolled around, I was having a truly dark night and although I felt sucicidal, I made one resolution. "Do not kill self."

Beyond that, happiness was reserved for other people. It was a foreign concept. How was I supposed to laugh again? When one of the greatest people I'd ever met in my life was gone forever?

The one thing Nevada and I talked about a lot, was my lonliness. My lack of a boyfriend. She took on my love life with two hands and a bull whip. She'd made it her personal mission to find me a man of my own. She'd been in a relationship for a few years, and wanted nothing more than for me to find that too.

I admire many things about Nevada. Her loyalty, her deep love for her boyfriend, for her friends and for her family. The way she embraced life with two hands, and was able to live in the present moment as it came and didn't waste a lot of time, dwelling on the past.

Another passion that we shared in our friendship was our love of writing. And although I used to really love it, that part of me, has been shut down for a long time. After she died, I couldn't read (which I love) or write, or do much more than breathe.

Nevada was much more dilligent in her efforts and I always found that inspiring, but I was full of excuses as to why I hadn't started writing my own novel, while she was in the middle of her second.

As the next chapter of my life begins, I know Nevada and I aren't over. She'd written to me in her first book:

"Kelly, Each New Sunrise is a chance to finish your book." (her book, was Waiting for the Sunrise.")

Nevada may not be here, but she is everywhere. And I can't think of a better way to honor her, than by making myself happy by finally writing my memoir.

I wish her story had a different ending. But somebody needs to write OUR story, and I'm finally ready. And maybe in the meantime, I'll wake to watch the sunrise.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Write On

I'm lucky in that I get to sit at a desk and write. The bad part of that is because that's the nature of my job, I rarely have the energy of feel like writing outside of my job. But I need to. Writing has always helped me express emotions and deal with my pain.

And unfortunately, this past year has given me a whole lot to work with. Problem is, that my writing is so rusty. It's about as out of shape as me right now. But, I have to put hand to key board. I've kept journals as long as I can remember.

Writing is my escape and my salvation. I have taken small steps in writing in this blog.

Onto some actual longer writing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Blonde and Witch

In recent weeks, I've started collecting mini Madame Alexander dolls for a friend's daughter. The theme is Fairy Tales, and I ended up with an extra Cinderella. So I brought her to work to hang out with my mini version of the Wicked Witch of the West doll.

It got me thinking of different sides of my personality. The good little doll with the pretty blond hair doing what everyone wants her to do. And the little witch who does what she wants, but maybe hurts people in the process.

Every person needs a good balance of witch and Cinderella. Or their version of it. This past year, as turned me inside out. And some days, it felt like the bad was going to over take the good. But, it hasn't yet, and Nevada's one year is coming up.

We'll drink, laugh and remember. I think on that day, I may be just a little bit of the witch, but I'm hoping to be filled with the good cheer of Cinderella.

Monday, September 13, 2010

OK Monday

Woke up to stare down another day. As far as Monday's in an office go, it's not too bad. No pressing deadlines today, a lunch time walk, homemade potato leek soup for lunch, and now I'm back at my desk. Typing.

Tonight it's time to go visit a good friend that had a baby. It's hard to feel sad while holding an infant. So, looking forward to that. I'd hoped to make them home made dinner, but there just isn't enough time. They'll enjoy some Boston Market instead.

Busy week ahead:
Tuesday: Lotus Night.

Wednesday: Therapy. Then shopping for Connie's birthday gift. I've known her since she was six, but when I asked for some gift ideas, she said no beer or coffee. UGH. Who doesn't want beer? :)

Thursday: Possible walk with a friend after work.

Friday: Is going to be brownie baking for a BBQ on Saturday and more gift shopping, if I haven't found anything yet.

Saturday: Walk and lunch with a friend. Then a BBQ with more friends. Whee.

Sunday: Birthday lunch and walk with Connie.

Let's hope I don't end up at the gas station buying her one of those hanging pine tree car air fresheners.
Yes, staying busy helps me.

In between these days and outings, I'll sleep, do some dishes, sort more clutter at home, mail a few letters, pay some bills, do some work at work, watch Mad Men, and as a friend put it best the other day: Just Be.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For Carol :)

It's been a while, I know. I've just been off grieving. And some days that means just going to work, coming home and vegging in front of the t.v. I haven't felt like I've had anything note worthy to say either. But, my writing isn't going to improve if I continue to ignore it, like I do the laundry.

So... let's see. Got paid for a freelance job and responsibly paid off my credit card with my newly earned money. But today, I managed to rack up a couple of dollars. Not to worry, I can pay that off this week on payday. But the thing is, I was at T.J. Maxx and they had a lot of cute clothes.

And since I feel very fat and unattractive, I went to the gym this morning and then went and bought some new things. I'm not new to the ebb and flow of clothes shopping. But usually, I just suffer through my fat stage looking as ugly as I feel, and that really doesn't help.

So, instead I bought some super flattering work out pants, and a few new shirts. Including my outfit I'll wear to honor Nevada's one year anniversary. And then I met a friend for a pedicure.

Why? Well, because my toes were seriously ugly looking. Now, I'm sure I'm as fat as I was this morning, but I feel more motivated. I need a few more new shirts, but I'll get those soon.

Weight is definitely a physical thing, but it is also a mental issue. And mentally, I feel cuter. AND ready to take on the gym in my hot new work out clothes.

That's important. I came home and cleaned my house. A house where clutter where always live, but I'm slowly sorting through it. And then I made home made soup. Why? Because I need to take care of myself and treat myself with some kindness. And bit by bit, I'm coming back to myself.

I don't know when the hard grief will change to a less crippling pain,but while I wait it out, I'm going to be at the gym. Or getting a pedicure. Or at the library. And sometimes at the bar.

Turns out, you can cry anywhere.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Man in the Yellow Pajamas

Today marks the first six months of my life, without my dad. I miss him terribly.
And the one thing that really hurts, is that my dad knew how lonely I felt at times, always wondering when I was going to meet somebody.

Destined to single till death, I would tell him. And he would tell me very confidently, that no. That I would find that right person, and when I did, it would be forever.

I remember clearly sitting in the hospital chair in Ann Arbor, and my dad had just defied the odds once again. He was drugged up to be sure, but he was dressed in yellow pajamas. And he asked, "Did you come here alone?"

And I said, "Yes, dad. I'm always alone. That's how I roll."

He looked out the window and I can't accurately capture in print the look on his face, but it was one of complete and utter confidence... like he was looking beyond whatever was out the window.

And he said, "It's going to happen. And he clenched his jaw, the way he used to do, when he was mad or making a point.

His face said: It's a done deal.

I miss my champion of all causes... no matter if he was fighting for me to get paid from my job at the car wash or fighting for my heart.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Four Queens is a Winner

Date: June 2007
Place: Downtown Las Vegas, Four Queens Casino.
Time: Middle of night. Dad is at poker machine, Kelly is at black jack table, until her presence is requested by B.Q.
BQ: Hi Kelly. Take this card. Go get yourself something.
KQ: What are you talking about, Dad.
BQ: I have all these points, go get yourself a t-shirt. In the gift shop. Go pick it out and I'll meet you there.
KQ: Heads to "gift shop" which is a glass booth full of tee shirts, mugs etc. Kelly stands around waiting.
20 minutes pass... no B.Q.
Finally KQ goes to find him... he is in the same spot at the same video poker machine.
B.Q. Hey kid. What's going on?
KQ: (mad) the shirt you insisted I get? I'm still waiting in the "gift shop."
B.Q. Oh yeah... had a good few hands, I forgot. Let's go.
KQ: Grumbling and mad now...fine.
BQ and KQ in front of booth now.
BQ. Pick this one. You like Pink.
KQ: Not really, but it's the best one.

Present day: I woke up and decided to wear my pink glittery Four Queens tee shirt.
Thanks B.Q!

It's funny what memories float to the surface as important. I now cherish the shirt that I didn't even want and the memories of my one trip to Las Vegas with my dad.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Work in Progress

I've been diligently trying to get my footing back after a tumultuous few months. Each day, I find myself making small strides toward healthier choices, in hopes of making me feel better about the emotional upheaval.

To that end, my brother is dropping off my new bed this evening. After years of sleeping on a crap bed, I'll finally have a comfy spot to lay my head. Think a shopping trip for new sheets will be in order for the weekend. And since the grief and upheaval, I've suffered insomnia for nearly a year. Finally going to see the doctor in the morning, and hopefully find a suitable solution. I think my brain just won't turn off the angst that stirs even in my subconscious all day and evening long.

I desperately want to get back to my gym routine and especially now, that I've set a goal that will be happening in a few months. Time to gear up and get ready.

I also commit to writing short stories, the memoir type that is my speciality and where my passion lies. It's been so long and I feel so out of sorts, but it's like anything. One day at a time. And if I don't feel like doing it, I must remember how happy it makes me. And in this case, I believe it will lend itself to healing.

For entertainment, I've decided to downgrade my Netflix for the summer and decided to get myself a DVR. A lot of my favorite shows are on during the summer, but I won't be missing any parties or BBQ's, because I have to watch tv.

And planning and going on little weekend jaunts is another way I'm trying to keep my spirits up.

And of course, my weekly trips to Black Lotus shall continue. Where I drink and laugh and feel like my old self, meaning I laugh and enjoy the friendship and loyalty that is as permenant now as my Mug Club membership, at said bar.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Birthday B.Q.

He is known to many as B.Q., Tubby, or Duke.
And to three of us, he's known as dad.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Thank you for raising me with the grit to get through this. I have cried a lot over the last few months, and I really miss our talks, and our phone conversations while I drove to work. And some days, I don't feel strong at all. I feel ill equipped to take on one more day.

But then I remember how you're pain free now. Served your country that in my opinion, didn't return the favor. But you didn't even wait to be drafted. You ran in, while others did their best to run away.

And I thank you for your service. Vietnam did what it could to wreck you, and you spent the rest of your life picking up those pieces, when I'm sure it would have been easier to run.

Here's a few things I want to share with you today.

1. I came to work today. I really wanted to stay home. Or huddle up on a bar stool. I can't promise I won't do that later. But, you'd never begrudge any one a good time, so I know you understand.

2. I appreciate you never making anything cliche. Instead of calling me your little girl, you always called me your little goil. And you're the only person who ever called me goil.

3. Thanks for giving me your wit, your humor.

4. Thank you for the sharing the gift of your story telling.

5. Thanks for the large Irish family that just won't go away. :) Even when you tell them you want to be alone, and just can't make this year's family reunion.

6. Thank you for our amazing nuclear family. A fantastically quirky, artistic and fun mom, who raised us to be good people, and two brothers who would kick any one's ass, who tried to harm me in any way. And to you, for always insisiting your kids were polite, well groomed, and well mannered.

7. Thank you for sending me to grad school which lead me to this job. A job that lets me show up later than most, and while here, I'm paid to write. Sure, I'm writing in a blog right now, instead of writing about Lincoln, but it's because of you that I'm here.

8. Thank you for the tea parties. That's a special dad that will sit with his daughter and drink gallons of imaginary tea.

9. Thank you for all the generous gifts over the years. It was never about the material items for you. I know you just loved to share the wealth, after growing up poor, you wanted your children to have nice things.

10. Thank you for instilling in me, a sense of survival. Perhaps ironic writing that on your first posthumous birthday, but it's true. You survived Vietnam and seven years of cancer. I think that fighting spirit, was passed down to me.

As a baby born at just over six months, doctors all said I would die.
I remember you telling me the story a few years ago.
How you wanted to give me a name, Kelly Rose,so that I would know that somebody was figthing for me.

The torch has been passed. I'm fighting to win the grief battle every day.

Happy Birthday to the original fighter.
The Might Quinn,indeed.

Your loving daughter,
Kelly Rose.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Love

I posted a blog the other day, about all the things that I hated now that Nevada has died. Not all were negative. But to make a counter blog about all the things I loved about her, was a suggestion.(thanks mom).

I love that I came to work at Wunderman in January of 2006 and met Nevada.

I love that after our initial conversation, she gave me a chance, and we became really good friends.

I love that she always made me see things in a different way and helped me to laugh at myself.

I love that she was so passionate about writing.

I love that she wanted me to find somebody to love so bad, that she spend hours and hours helping me get ready for dates, fielding emails, and writing personal ads for me.

I love that she walked with me almost daily. And helped me get thin.

I love how much she loved her boyfriend Trevor.

I love that she always had time for me.

I love her ability to live in the moment and be fully present, with whatever she was doing.

I love her loyalty. Once she was your friend, she was there no matter what.

I love that we could have fun no matter what we were doing.

I love her strength in times of crisis.

I love her hatred of talking on the phone, and the fact that I had to get a text plan just to talk to her.

I love that she hated the phone, but she would talk to me whenever I needed her.

I love that she accepted me for me, but tried to make me the best me that she could.

I love our how our walks often ended at Bastone for beer.

I love how she introduced me to good beer.

I love the way she wouldn't let any harm come to me on her watch.

I love her fearless nature, even in the face of a scary, unknown illness.

I love her sense of humor.

I love her sense of style for her own self and her ability to dress those around her.

I love her quirky love of projects, no matter how random. Including making her own bed. Literally.

I love her love of life.

I love her crabbing at me to snap out of mood swings.

I love her explaining ankle beards.

I love our talks about turtles.

I love that any secret was safe.

I love how she could calm me, when I was freaking out.

I love that she believed in me, at times when I didn't believe in myself.

I love sitting on patios in backyards, drinking a good beer with her.

I love the trip on the train to Chicago when we ate our way through the city.

I love her friendship.

I love her ability to really listen.

I love her ability to dance.

I love her zest for finding the perfect gift.

I love her.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday Recap

*Editorial Note: This blog originally appeared elsewhere.

I'm not a attention monger. So, it's weird to announce even in a family blog, that today is my birthday. I feel a decade older than I did last year. Probably because I lost of of my best friends in October and my dad in January. I don't feel like doing a whole lot of celebrating, but I am also trying to find the joy in the friends and family I have left.

Two birthday memories from growing up stick out.

1. Not much for planning, my dad rarely had birthday gifts purchased and wrapped the days before. On my I'm guessing 9th or 10th birthday, my dad took me on a shopping spree at K-Mart. We went up and down every aisle, and he let me pick things, I'd never get at home. Whoppers in a carton, Cap'n Crunch cereal, Dr. Schoals red buckled clogs that were the rage that year. The best part, was that every time I picked up an item, I'd ask, "Can I get this one Daddy?" He'd smile and say, "Throw it in the cart."

2. My other memory involves the Bachelors One in Keego. Again, not much for planning, or so it seemed, my dad picked me up in Milford and suggested we go to lunch at the B-1. When we pulled up outside, The sign read, Happy Birthday Kelly Rose.

As an eight year old, I thought I was famous.

Thank you for all you did, Dad. A man I once proclaimed, "Daddy, I know you're name.
When he asked, "What is it? I said Daddy Quinlan."

Monday, June 14, 2010


My weekend wasn't too bad. It was the first time I'd been home in two weeks. Friday I left work a little early to go get my driver's license renewed. After that I came home and ate dinner. Got restless after that, so I decided to treat myself to a pedicure, after a horribly sad week.

A nice walk and pedicure complete with massage chair, and my mood was uplifted. Came home and vegged out with some tv after that.

Saturday morning, I got up and went for a two mile walk and then Karlene came down to spend the day with me. Like a true friend, as soon as I told her my bedroom was way too hot and I was thinking of getting a new Air Conditioner, she happily agreed to help me.

That's how the two of us ended up lugging the old one downstairs and putting it on the curb, with a sign that said works. It's gone, so someone is happy. We went and bought a new one on sale for $100.00, and it's working great. Then we went to my Aunt Carol's retirment party and then treated ourselves to a Dairy Queen on the way home.

After that, Rachel stopped by for a visit. Sunday was chore day, until dinner time when my mom, Shane and our family friend Jeff came over to take me out to early birthday dinner. :)

An Irish restuarant with a really cool waitress. I felt very loved, but I'm having a hard time feeling happy these days.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Hate

I hate that you died.

I hate that you make me cry.

I hate that I wear you in a ring on my hand. A tiny pile of ashes.

I hate that I dumped you in the Chicago River, on the beach in Northport Michigan, and on the corner of 4th and Troy in Royal Oak, where we started all our walks.

I hate that we won’t ever laugh about how stupid I am about men, over beers ever again.

I hate that you’re going to miss the rest of our lives.

I hate that you won’t ever meet who ever I do end up with.

I hate that my dad had to go, so quickly after you.

I hate MoyaMoya.

I hate that you couldn’t be fixed.

I hate that you would never hurt me, and I’m in so much pain.

I hate that I can’t talk to you. Or walk with you.

I hate that we will never eat at Bastone again.

I hate that life had other plans for you.

I hate that our time together was so short.

I hate that I’ll miss you for the rest of my life.

I hate that you have to miss the next party.

I hate not hearing you laugh.

I hate the hole you left in my heart.

I hate the idea of never knowing you.

I hate the idea of never having your friendship.

I hate you not being here everyday.

I hate this.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Play that Music

I say this with love. It's about me after all...

Anyway, sometimes, I like to listen to 50 Cent and Dr. Dre. Listening to a song right now, called, "Bitches ain't shit." Nothing makes me feel whiter. And maybe that is why I love the escape that this music brings me. I can't relate to it in any way, and I have no rhythm at all.

The non PC lyrics also hold a certain appeal as everything in our world is sanitized now. This music is gritty and colorful.

And from a writing perspective, I admire the rhymes and the way they effortlessly roll off the tongues of these artists.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Christmas with Brian

I woke up feeling out of sorts. And I still do. And it's afternoon. When is this bad feeling of ick that is in complete contrast to the sunshine outside, going to subside?

Will it be at 5:30, when I'm meeting up with friends for another friend's birthday? That's a good place to start. Part of the reason I feel all whacked out I think is because I have to go up north early next week, and clean out my dad's house. Pack up all his clothes and revisit the last place I ever saw him alive. It was this past Christmas.

I don't think either of us knew it would be our last. My dad had texted me a few weeks before the holiday and asked that I not get him any gifts because he was feeling broke that year and didn't think he could afford any presents.

That broke my heart. I'm 36 years old and my dad was still worried about not having enough money to get me a gift. I told him not to worry about it, but I'd already gotten his Christmas gifts.

He then asked me to return them, but I told him no. That I'd bought those gifts for him and I wanted him to have them. I really try to give thoughtful gifts and the things I'd picked out, wouldn't suit any one else.

I had gotten him a space heater after he told me that a. he was always cold and b. his heating bill was very expensive.

But no one wants a space heater for Christmas, so I also picked out a video poker game because I figured he'd get the fun of the casino from the comfort of his easy chair since travel had become difficult.

And finally I got him a book since he liked to read. And since my dad is very funny, I thought he'd enjoy his first David Sedaris book, and I picked one of my favorites:
"Me Talk Pretty One Day."

My dad was always so generous with his Christmas gifts in years past. Partly I suspect because he wanted to make up for times he wasn't there, I can't be sure. It's not the sort of thing one asks. But just the year before, he'd gotten me an ipod nano and had it engraved with Kelly Rose.

Even though Rose is my middle name, I rarely see it in any other context than a legal document and every time I turn my ipod over and see my name there, it makes me smile.

The man who gave me the name, also had it engraved on his last gift to me.
Gift in the material sense.

He gave me so much in the things he taught me. The fact that I successfully used jumper cables and jumped my own car last weekend is a direct result of him talking about cars with me.

In typical girl fashion, I only heard: blah blah oil. Blah, blah. Listen for weird noises." Blah blah.

While my car knowledge is still very limited, I can check my oil, can jump my car, and it's ever something that seems out of my realm, I have enough sense to take it someplace or ask questions.

This weekend will mark another chapter in our lives. His and mine. He'd want me to move on, and someday I hope to do that.

In the meantime, I've got a drive to make, some boxes to pack, and a goodbye to say.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sharp Dressed Man

I thought I wanted to write a blog entry today and now that I'm actually typing, I realize I don't have much to say. Except that I had another semi restless sleep. Dreamed about Nevada, and when I woke up in the middle of the night, I started crying.

This continued this morning, on my way to work... really missed my dad and I had a flashback of when I helped him pack his house. We propped him up on his bed, so he could tell me which clothes he wanted to take to his new house in Traverse City. We both knew that he wasn't going to wear 90 percent of those clothes, but we both went through the motions.

My dad loved clothes, and he was always a very handsome dresser with his own sense of style. I never had to worry about him embarrassing me with black socks and sandals. It wasn't done. He knew style. And he loved loud Tommy Bahama Hawaiian print shirts. But, he did that on purpose.

When we got to his dresser, I found the Detroit Tigers tee shirt I'd bought him for Father's Day. When I asked what he wanted to do with it, he said, "donate it, because it doesn't fit." I smiled and said ok.

I couldn't resist telling him that I had bought it for him... and then his whole face lit up. And he said, "Well, I want to keep it. I'll keep it for sentimental reasons."

Dad, that's sweet I said, but that's silly." He said, No I want it." I said, well, why don't we give it to Shane?"

He agreed that be ok. I mailed it to Shane for Christmas.

At least we kept it in the family.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Midnight Blue

I was filling out a survey this morning. One of those silly, what is your crayon color, kind of surveys, and then a question stuck out:

Question:Do you have a special talent?
Answer: Survival. I was born at six months. My parents were told I would die.

I didn't think too hard about it, when I wrote it, but as I went back to it later, I saw how simple, profound, and most importantly true that statement actually is.

And that's what I've been doing. Surviving. Every day since October 3, 2009, when Nevada died. I was and am still devastated.
And just when I turn the smallest of corners, my dad dies on January 21st.

True, sometimes I really just want it all to fade away, and I not have to think about any of it. A welcome escape from the pain that radiates my every thought.

But, I'm here.

Breathing, living, and mostly just trying to be. Trying to find my way without two of the strongest people I've ever met, gone within months of each other. I

When I wake up in the morning, I realize that I only have two choices:
1. Fight
2. Die

I'm no quitter. I survivied against all odds and I'm not stopping now.

ps-Crayon color is my title of blog today.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Textual Healing Part 3

Someplace to archive all my cool texts from friends and family alike.

This too shall pass Kelly. Hopefully love will abound for both of us.

Have a good Monday. I love you.

Hi Honey, I love you.

No worries. It's all good. I love you.

Ha. There's someone who doesn't have a dead dad.

Thank you Kelly. I know, we are family. I love you and the fam. Yes, even BJ.

"You're stronger than you think."

Love you, Kel. The memorial was lovely, and your tribute to your dad was really real and inspiring.

Hey Kook, just thinking about you. Love ya.

I love you Kook-very much.

I don't have the words to make anything better but I love you and am here if you need me. My heart is broken for you.

Guess we need two big ass rocks then. And some simultaneous rigging.

You're tiny, Irish and amazing!

I love your family! You're all so much fun.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Last Farewell

My dad died on January 21, 2010.

I'm still in shock.

But yesterday was his memorial service. I wrote a eulogy and I've included it here for those who may wish to read it.

Everything I learned about life can be traced to lessons that my dad taught me. I'd like to share with you a few things I've learned, growing up with Brian Quinlan.

The Importance of Family
Since my dad grew up in such a large family, his brothers and sisters were very important to him. When I was a child, I used to ask him about growing up on the farm. Every time he told me a farm story, I would cry.

Especially when he'd tell me, it was a really special day, on your birthday because Hope and Bill would give you a $1.00. I remember his stories about Christmas, how each kid would get one present, One year, dad and Tony each got a chicken that laid eggs when you press its back. Which in retrospect, is an odd choice for kids who grew up on a farm, with actual chickens, but anyway...

Each chicken was supposed to have six eggs, but my dad told me that Tony got all the eggs, so his chicken couldn't lay any. Dad claims that Tony wouldn't share any of his eggs, but dad tended to exxaragte.

Like my dad, my brothers became not just my family, but also my friends. Cool people I'd hang out with on purpose. One look at dad and Uncle Joe and you'd know that was true. Those two could finish each other's sentences. My favorite thing to do was to watch them interact.

I was having one of my many cars fixed at Joe's school. My dad and I were getting ready to leave, and dad in his painstaking slow way, explained to me at least twice, how I was to pull over and wait for him at the Clio exit.

As my dad started to say the same thing for the third time, Joe leaned over the car and says: "Kook, you are not hard of hearing, right?" I laughed and said no.
Joe said, "She got it Tubby. Clio exit. She's not stupid.

My dad told me the story of when he decided to enlist in the Vietnam War. It was 1966. Dad and Bill Haney were studying for a test in the OCC cafeteria. Dad looked at Bill, and said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Bill and dad shoved their books in the garbage and they went to enlist in the Marine Corps.

He spent 13 months in the jungle, and saw horrors the rest of us could only imagine. Vietnam changed him, and he never slept well the rest of his life. Choosing most nights the comfort of his Lazy boy over his bed.
Later in his life, that same war ravaged his body with cancer and it was then we realized what a fighter my dad was. He was tough. He beat cancer twice.
He fought hard for nearly seven years.
Find True Love
My parents met in 1965. Their mutual friend, Bill Haney told my mom that my dad didn't have anybody to write to him, when he went into the Marines, so my mom started writing letters to my dad every day when he was at boot camp at camp Lejoyne. She had no idea that my dad had 11 brothers and sisters.

When he got out of boot camp, he asked my mom out on a date and they were inseparable ever since. The letter writing continued while my dad was in Vietnam. And when he came back from the war, Hope asked if he was going to marry her? Dad said he didn't know, and Hope in her gentle way, said you better marry that girl. She is good to you.

My dad drove up to ask my mom to marry him while she was at Michigan State. He showed up in the middle of the night in a borrowed Corvette. They got married on April 19, 1969 in Orchard Lake.

Learn a Trade
My dad taught us how important it was to have a skill or a career. He was an entrepreneur and an excellent salesman. He started Quinlan Tree Service in 1969, and grew the business from a one-man business that cut lawns to a company with a fleet of trucks to become one of the biggest tree services in Oakland County. When he got sick with cancer, Shane and Jeff abandoned their own tree company to take over and run Quinlan Tree Service for my dad.

But BQ was always quick with the advice.
In the summer of 2000, Jeff hurt his wrist, and Shane and Jeff were stressed about what to do:
BQ said, "Just cut more trees."

As his only daughter, his little Goil as he called me, I was exempt from tree work. But the same couldn't be said about Shane and Will. As he taught, Shane Will and Jeff, Shane's best friend that he treated like his own son, the tree service trade, he stressed the importance of college and career for me.

I went to Ferris State University for my undergrad degree and the best part of that experience was often the letters, I'd get from my dad.

He'd go through periods of great hardship, only to rally again. But during one of the lean times, he'd written to tell me, not to be embarrassed that your dad is currently living in a camper. In fact, he'd stressed, that I shouldn't mention it, as some kids might be jealous because their dads lived in a car and he didn't want people to think I was bragging."

I graduated with a B.S. in Business with an Advertising Major. Dad asked me, " What can you actually do with that degree? Can you be an Accountant?" I said, "God, I hope not."
We both laughed. Advertising copywriting is a very competitive field and when I couldn't find a job, I went to work in property management. When I realized, I was better at writing copy, than collecting rent checks, I went to grad school for copywriting in Atlanta.

At that time, my dad's tree business was booming and he paid for my entire education while I was there.

Know when to take Advice
Dad gave me love advice too. Telling me, "Plumbers need love too."
And, " Don't be a beaten women. Speak up."

To Will after he moved into his first apartment: (who'd bought a whole palate of Mac and cheese to subsist on.)
"You know, BJ, there is nutrition you can't get in macaroni and cheese."

Have a Hobby
My dad loved to bass fish. Shane, dad, and I used to spend hours fishing. Always starting at dawn with orange juice and Snicker bars. When I was about 8, my dad took me fishing by myself and he bought me a bamboo pole. As we sat in the boat in a narrow channel, with riverbank on either side of us, I tried to cast my pole, only to hook it into my dad's back.

I giggled and giggled. My dad didn't yell at me, but calmly told me to get his fishing knife, so I could cut the hook out of the back of his shirt. That was our last solo fishing trip.

When Shane, BJ and I were little, my dad would buy us kites on Easter Sunday and then he'd spend the afternoon, showing us how to fly them.

Stand Up for Yourself
And I used to stand up to him all the time. When I was living with him after he was first diagnosed with cancer, we had a rough go of it some days. Both of us cooped up in that little condo. One winter day, I couldn't stand it any longer and since I didn't have a car, I suggested dad and I go to look at Christmas decorations.
Dad said: We can't go out. It's 8 O'clock at night.
Me: So. What's your point?
Dad: " Well, if we leave now I won't have a parking space. And besides I am 57 years old.
Me: I'm 30. So what? You can't live and die by a parking space.

Well, apparently you could, as we stayed home that night.

Show Compassion/ Kindness
Dad was so generous with his gifts and his money. He was the type of person, that even if he were down to his last $20.00, he'd give you $10.00, if he thought you needed it. He have rather picked up a hitchhiker and fed him, than he would have gone out and spent money at a fancy restaurant. Whatever he had, he shared it. I once asked to borrow money to repair my car, and I had wanted to pay him back in installments:
Dad: Is it a good check?"
Me: Yes, why would I write you a bad check?
Dad: "Don't be a hero."

Dad shared everything, including food.
Once when I was at his house, he insisted that I take home some of his chicken salad he'd just bought at a gourmet store. I finally agreed, so he gets out some plastic wrap and puts a giant ball of chicken salad in the middle of it, hands it to me, and says,
"Here you go.
" I said, dad, how am I supposed to drive home with a ball of chicken salad?
Dad" I suppose you need a container.
He grudgingly gave me a travel coffee mug to transport it home in.

He loved Hawaiian shirts. The crazier the print, the better. The only person who loved random assorted shirts, as much as my dad was Uncle Joe.

Be Honest

My dad was brutally honest about everything. A few years ago when he got a bad report from his doctor saying that the cancer was in his spine, my dad called and we had the following conversation:
Dad: Well, Kelly. That's it. I'm gonna die." Cancer is in my spine and that's it.
Me: Crying. No, dad I don't want you to die."
Dad: It's ok. You had a hard time getting started with your life, and better me, than you."
Me: I don't think so, dad. I don't want you to die." Me still crying."
Dad: "I can't listen to you cry any more. Can you go call your mother so she can console you? "
And then he hung up.

Last year when we were at Joe's funeral, dad saw Casey outside and dad says, " "Well Casey, it's only gonna get worse from here."

Don't Be Afraid to Start Over
After my parents divorced, Dad found love again with Nora Jones. Dad told me once, that he "wasn't a whore." And that he'd only loved two women. There was a long pause, and then my dad said, "One of them was your mother, you know.

Post divorce my dad would pick us up on Sunday, and we'd go to Nora's house and watch Paul Newman movies. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sometimes a Great Notion, The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke. When we weren't watching movies, he would take us to Chuck E Cheese or to putt putt golf on Dixie Highway.

Learn New Things
My dad attempted to embrace technology with email and texting. But he is the only person I've ever met, who ever paid for his Yahoo email account.

When I was living with him, Tony sold him his first Mac laptop, and dad started complaining about his computer being low on memory.
I said dad, "It looks like you downloaded an entire Harry Potter novel. Twice."
Dad said, who the hell is Harry Potter?"

"Smoke em, if you got em.
"Happy Cinco De Mayo. You're not Mexican."
I wrote back and said, " Neither are you."
Dad: Yeah, but I've been to Canada."

Dad sent me a text, when we on a girl's weekend in Nashville:
" Ernest Hemingway said, " All good stories end with a drink somewhere."

Celebrate your Heritage
My dad used to surprise us on St. Patrick's Day. We'd wake up in the morning to find our front porch decorated with paper shamrocks and piles of potatoes, with notes, "Erin Go Braugh" and Top of the Mornin to you." He loved story telling and he relished in his Irish heritage.
I remember one Christmas, I unwrapped a present to find, a Quinlan Tree Service sweatshirt.
Dad says, "You don't seem very excited.
Me" Well, you got me one last year."
Dad" Good thing your name is still Quinlan then."

Love is Everlasting
Even though my parents have been divorced, for the last twenty years, their love never left. We spent every holiday together and through it all, my parents remained life long friends.

Dad: Shane, Will, and I will take care of each other.
We love you.
See you on the other side.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Three Day Weekend

I should know better then to start my Friday night with this sentence: "Yes, I'll come out but just for one drink. I'm tired."

Um yeah. I was out till three am on Friday night and I had a great time. I'd had a shitty week, so drinking wine, making fun of people at the karaoke bar and a late night slider dining experience at Comet Burger, was just what I needed.

Till Saturday morning when I quickly realized that while I wasn't throwing up, my stomach ache was going to prevent me from a productive trip to the Farmers Market.

I rallied in time to go see Crazy Heart with my friend Jon. The movie that Jeff Bridges just won a Golden Globe for. I highly recommend it. A few parts hit a little close to home, but it's better than watching some shit ass romantic comedy. Where I can't relate at all, because really. Who is that stupid?

Saturday night, my Godmother Smoz and I met for dinner in Royal Oak and we had an awesome time. Awesome in the way that we connected and she helped me work through some grief. She lost a daughter a few years ago, and once you go through something like, you just "get each other" on a whole other level. Plus, she's funny and very comforting.

Sunday, after coffee and couch lounging, I did a few errands before heading out to meet Karlene for lunch. She is one of my oldest friends and is always good for whatever my mood may be. And we laughed a lot about stupid stuff, which I needed.

I then headed home, as I had drink plans with my friends at the Black Lotus. More laughter, beer and insanity ensued. And I feel lucky every time I see my fellow grief survivors. We are slowly healing. Sometimes, when it feels like I'm going eight steps in the wrong direction, I know they will help me see that life can be fun. And joyful.
And sad. And all of it is ok with them.

Yesterday after a long restless insomnia filled night, once I was sleeping I took advantage of my day off and slept in, until 10 a.m.

Then I headed over to Connie's to celebrate Harrison's 3rd birthday. A whole afternoon of monster trucks, puzzles, and cupcakes. Harrison is the closest thing I have to a nephew.

He was once so happy to see me that when I came in the front door, He yelled: "Aunt Kelly!" And then did a somersault for me.

Pretty good weekend, all things considered. And only a few crying break downs.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesdays at the BL

Thank God fo my Tuesday Night Lotus friends. We were friends before, but nothing on this level. Something about grief really makes you honest. And free. Time to be yourself. And you truly get how the other people feel. I'm left with this overwhelming urge to protect them all, and scoop em up. And the best part of it, is that it started as a way to cope with the loss of our friend, but it has evolved so that we're are learning about each other's lives. It's not a meeting for the dead. It's a night of the living. For laughing. And for finding the joy of the stupid, the silly and the absurd.

But it's also about the one who is gone. Nevada. She's as much a part of the nights as anyone there. It's very natural for her to come up in conversation. Stories about her flow as easily as the brewed beer we all enjoy.

And no topic is off limits. Sometimes we laugh about the stupid things that were said to us during the day: Mine yesterday was this: "Why do you have to wear your dead friend's coat?"

We laughed together at the absurdity. No other explantion was needed. It's the one time all week, that I usually feel normal again. Or semi normal for a little while in a world without one of my best friends.

It's double bonus this week: Pancaking on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year

The start of the New Year has been shaky at best. I'm hoping to find my footing at some point, but right now it feels like I'm swimming in quick sand.