Archive for March, 2014

Lightening The Mood

March 29, 2014

I was a bit wiped out writing three long posts about my Dad – sometimes I was seeing pictures from the past, sometimes I was a bit drippy and many times I was smiling as I recalled things about that dear man.  I have been making a list of things I had forgotten so there will be other post about him.  It was a stressful week because of Dad’s birthday, but also because f Mom, probably more emotional stress than physical.

So I thought I would put a few photos on this post to lighten the mood and maybe make you smile or giggle.  There is no doubt about it, cats can put themselves in the most peculiar positions and places.

 

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Cat Lounging in the Sun

 

It’s a wet, rainy and chilly day, a few cat pictures cheer me up no end.

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Dad’s Birthday – A Bit More

March 26, 2014

Dad enjoyed working with his hands and the business gave him something where he felt he made people happy with his products.  He was much happier working in his business, his blood pressure went down a lot as the business  grew.  He did have health challenges – a heart attack around 1979 that neither Mom and Dad saw coming.  I was in new Jersey at the time and it was a real shock – I realized my parents wouldn’t always be there as I had assumed.  Plus, it was difficult to be on the other side of the country.  But Dad bounced back and began walking every day, Mom was always there with him.  In later years he had two bouts with colon cancer and continued to work.  If he didn’t have the business to focus on, he may not have done as well.

He was losing his hearing, all that time in the aircraft industry didn’t help.  I remember when I was working at Boeing at the same time he was, we would ride to work together – he left half an hour early for me and I waited half an hour for him.  I remember one day he took me next door to the factory – I had to cover my ears because the noise was so loud.  There’s Dad, no hands to his ears, pointing out things to me.  The noise didn’t bother him after all those years but I was ringing and vibrating for quite a while after that.

Dad was  very patient when I was learning to drive, though he did say I was only a paint layer away from that bus on the hill.   We started out in Highline High parking lot after school, there were sports games going on so I soon had an opportunity to drive opposite other cars.  I finally graduated and he said it was time for me to be on the road.  So I drove us home.  When it came to parallel parking, he put two of the four cars along the driveway so I could practice.  it never has been my strong suit, though more often than not I surprise myself and put it in the slot the first time.  When it came time for my younger sister Candy to learn, he told her to learn at school.  After teaching Mom, Ellen and me, he had done his job.  Do you suppose it was teaching me and the bus incident that made him decide?

When I was growing up, I used to help him in the garage when he was fixing cars.  Not that I did all that much, but I did learn things from him.  I also helped him fiberglass the outside of the wood hulled 18′ Mukilteo hull he and Mom bought for family outings.  (That was a story in itself).  We put the fiberglass cloth onto the hull, then there was the resin we painted on the cloth.  I remember painting over Dad’s hand at one point, we both laughed and continued on with the job.  He didn’t get upset if things didn’t go perfectly the first time, he was patient and had fun with it.

Dad loved to talk; we had lots of conversations about a lot of things.  He told stories of growing up and some of the things he did before he met Mom.  A lot of times it was about people he knew, family stories and what Mom and Dad were doing in the business.  He would strike up conversations with strangers – Mom said he could be at the Grand Canyon and find someone to talk to about things in common.  That actually happened.  He enjoyed people and  treated everyone the same.  I tend to take after him.  Eddie and I were in the grocery while living in Torrance one day.  I went over to the produce department for something and heard a couple by the lettuce.  They were commenting it didn’t look all that well.  I said “Excuse me, there is a Japanese vegetable stand just down on PCH and they have wonderful stuff.  And they don’t charge an arm and a leg.”   They were very appreciative and thanked me; I left to go back to Eddie.

When I came back, Eddie asked me “Who was that couple?”.  I told him “I don’t know.”  His comment was “You are definitely Sam Paull’s daughter”.   What is amazing is that my husband, who didn’t talk to strangers because he was brought up not to talk to people he hadn’t been introduced to, now after 45 years of the Paull family strikes up conversations with strangers.  Not to the point my Dad did, but he has definitely come a long way.  He and my Dad had a lot of fun together watching baseball, taking planes, cars and all kinds of things.  It was fun to come here and visit, the four of us would go off on adventures and have just as much fun at home.  We did the same thing when they came to visit us in some of the places we lived.

As the years went on his hearing got worse and he  struggled to find hearing aids that worked but didn’t buzz or send out a high-pitched sound when it wasn’t quite working right.  He had trouble hearing the tv, so it was loud when he watched and he was frustrated at not hearing conversations well.  He seemed a bit vague at times, but Mom told me he was sharp when it came to the business and working with the wood.  I remember one visit was an old man living here – wondered where this old man came from.  I realized it was my Dad, but he was in his 80’s at that point and not surprising in some ways.  But it came as a shock to me – I always think of my parents in their 50′ or 60’s, not old people.

I was up visiting on my annual summer visit and Dad took me to the transit Center to pick up a bus to the airport.  I was going to rent a car while I was there.  I remember he said “You mother is a wonderful woman” as I was getting out of the car.  I didn’t know that was the last time we talked together.  I rented the car and did the stuff I wanted to do and then came back here.  There was a note on the back door from Delores next door – I was to go next door as soon as I came home.  She much have seen me come home because she came over before I could do anything.  She told me they had taken Dad to the ER with a heart attack.  He and Bob had been talking while weeding the garden.  When Bob made a comment, he didn’t receive an answer from Dad, so he went to where Dad was weeding.  Bob found him slumped over in the flowerbed – he called Mom and they called 911.

I went to the ER with Delores and found Mom and Bob with Dad.  He had been resuscitated but they didn’t know how long he had been unconscious.  They put him on life support and I will be grateful the hospital never gave us hope he would recover.  It was a strange time because our niece Sandra was due that night to visit and I had to call Ellen and Candy to let them know what happened.  They flew out and I seem to remember making several trips to the airport to pick people up.  The one thing about Sandra being there was I couldn’t focus on myself, I needed to be there for her and that was a plus.   After they did all theists over 72 hours, they decided to pull the plug – Dad would not want to be on life support.  We decided to have an open house as a celebration of his life; we invited Mom’s friends, business friends, neighbors and other people who knew him. Dad was so loved by people, I think he would have been surprised to hear the wonderful things that were said about him.

 

Things keep popping up and I need to make a list to write another post sometime soon about those memories.

Dad’s 100th Birthday Continued

March 25, 2014

Mom and Dad had a very small wedding, they were married on the red rug in Grandfather’s house.  It was quite a change for my Mom, she had grown up in a small town with family all around; in California it was just Dad’s family.  In the beginning they had a small apartment on the beach in Redondo – a one room where they were on the beach as they came out the door.   Dad was never drafted, though Mom told me once they sweated it out every time.  Dad was working for North American as a Field Service Rep – when there was a problem with a plane, he was there to fix it.  He was sent to three different bases and Mom went with him.  They were married on January 16th right after Pearl Harbor and after a few months, he had to drive to Meridian, Miss. –  not the garden spot of the world.  A year later, my older sister Ellen was born.  Throughout the war they lived in Albany, Georgia and Newburn, North Carolina as well.  They rented houses and all that traveling back and forth to California with a new baby wasn’t easy.  I remember Mom talking about taking the train and the three of them sleeping in a berth.

I remember Mom saying in later years, it took all of her courage to fly out to California to marry Dad.  In a way, I understand a bit because when I went out to Australia to marry Eddie, I was very young – I certainly grew up in a hurry.  There was a time when Dad had to leave and he had to teach Mom how to drive so she could use the car.  I think that was why Mom never liked driving, but she did it.  When they went to the DMV office, it was raining and the examiner asked Mom who taught her to drive.  She said, “My husband”.  Then he asked Dad, how does she drive? He said she does well.  The examiner looked at mom and said “Lady, if your husband thinks you can drive, you have a license”.  The day Dad left, he went by train and Mom drove out of the station with Ellen and found herself in the middle of a parade.  Maybe another reason she didn’t like driving.

She did have a chance to take the train to Glastonbury to visit her family – Ellen was the first grandchild and I think Mom was glad to show her to her family as well as have a lovely visit.  I think she missed them a whole lot, but she loved Dad more.  I remember she talked about one of the rental houses that had chickens running underneath the house – guess one don’t have a lot of choice during wartime.  Some of the North American people weren’t all that welcome either.

After the war, they moved back to Southern California and eventually rented a two bedroom house in Manhattan Beach.  No, it wasn’t on the ocean, it was way back from the beach.  I was always surprised to find that all three of us girls were born in San Pedro Hospital, especially with all the traveling during the war.  I came along  4 years after Ellen, so the Manhattan Beach house is what I first remember.   6 years later Candy arrived, then 18 months later Dad got a job with Boeing.  He had taken us up here on vacation and he and Mom liked it so much, they decided to live here.  Dad’s brother-in-law helped him with job at Boeing – though until they figured out they thought Dad was his father, he had a hard time getting hired.

So in 1954 we moved to Seattle, spending the first year and a half in a rental in the Central District while they looked for a house.  He wanted a view, Mom wanted four bedrooms and it took a while before they found this house.  About June 1955 we moved in and they have lived here ever since.  Dad worked for Boeing as a Job Analyst until August of 1970 – they told him could take early retirement or no longer have a job.  this was the time the billboard went up about the last person out of town, please turn off the lights.  His job ended the end of December, but with four months notice, they had a little time to plan.  They went into business with another analyst who worked in Dad’s office – he was the salesman and Dad was the craftsman.

They started out with the hobby business making decoupage boards, but the bottom fell out of that a few months later.    His partner knew someone in a marine shop and went to talk to the guy – they brought a binocular holder to him; unfortunately it had too many doodads – the sailboaters wanted things plain.  Plus they finished the items themselves, so Dad made them sanded and ready to be finished.  At one point, his partner went to work for the University and then sudden;y died, so Mom and Dad became partners.  Dad was a lot happier working with wood; almost back to building boats as he had in Wilmington, California.    He and Mom worked together – the only times Mom didn’t was Monday mornings at Traveler’s Aid at the airport and when the hookers came on Thursday.  Spending 24 hours a day together suited them and the business grew and thrived.

They started out using mahogany and then some teak until it was all teak.  They went to deliver on Fridays to several marine stores and they trusted Dad not to overload them with product.  Mom kept the books and took care of orders and paperwork.  On some of those delivers he would have someone ask if he could build something – that’s often how they started new products.  along with the standard line, Dad did custom work – people either met him in a store, saw one of his products and took off the label or called him.  He met a lot of people and made some unusual things – he always loved talking to people.  He could talk to anyone very easily, didn’t matter who they were or what they did.

To be continued.

Today Is Dad’s 100th birthday

March 24, 2014

My Dad was born on March 24th, 1914 in Buffalo, New York.  His father was an interior decorator in Buffalo, using fine drapery, antiques and oriental carpet.  He had a fairly wealthy clientele and after my Dad’s oldest sister was born, he and Aunt Elizabeth – Grandmother’s sister – bought a farm out in Orchard Park without telling my grandmother until it was a done deal.  She was not happy  moving out to a place with no electricity and running water while my grandfather went into the city every day.  She had a lovely apartment in Buffalo and a new baby; not the best time to go to a farm with no mod cons.

However, she moved and  eventually they finally had running water and electricity, but I don’t think it was easy for her.  She had another daughter, then three miscarriages before my father made his appearance.  From the stories I have heard over the years, Dad was Grandmother’s favorite and Emmie was Grandfather’s favorite – didn’t leave anyone to favor Ibbie, the oldest.  They always said she was everyone’s favorite – didn’t quite compute for her.

Around 1926 my grandmother went to Southern California to visit her brother Frank.  He was living in Palos Verdes, a very wealthy community, building houses.  She loved it out there – who wouldn’t with Buffalo weather – and  wired Grandfather to come out to visit.  Unfortunately he arrived on a very rainy day; when it rains, it pours and doesn’t kid around about it.  Not an auspicious start but he began to like it, so they decided to move there – Uncle Frank would build the houses and Grandfather would furnish them.

They went back to Orchard Park, packed up the kids and Gertie who helped with the kids and set out in two cars to drive across the country.  I wish I could remember the stories Dad told about that – he was about 12 or 13 – especially the one when Emmie almost drown.  However, everyone made it to Palos Verdes and settled in.  My Grandfather thought he was an investor, so he bought some houses on spec which also didn’t sit well with Grandmother.   (He had some quirks – that’s a whole other story!).

1929 was not a good year for them, Grandfather lost the houses and the one where the family lived.  It was an old Spanish style with creamy stucco and Spanish blue trim.  She was upset about losing the house and moving to a much smaller house.  Dad always said he would have survived the Depression better if he had been in Pasadena, a more established place.  By then the older girls had gone to college and were about to be married.  Dad didn’t go to college, he loved working with his hands and worked for a boat builder who was also a former (I think former) rum runner.  He worked in aircraft at Douglas, North American, Lockheed – I didn’t realize they hire for a contract and then workers had to find another job.

Dad enjoyed going out with his friend Jim Reed, plus he had a few somewhat disreputable ones.  Dad always know what he wanted, knew right from wrong, so he was never influenced to get into trouble.  I remember him telling about the time he and Jim rolled the car over on the sand and Jim hurt his arm.  They hoped baking it in the sun would help, but it didn’t.  They did get the car back right side up, but they were found out because Jim had to have his arm fixed.  He did a lot of stuff with cars, he has always loved them and felt if he had been able to keep all the cars he had, he would have quite a collection.  He never bought them new and fixed them himself.

In his high school yearbook, the girls all wrote “To the Dancing Sheik” because they loved dancing with him.  He said he had an easy style, not sure what that meant, but it worked well for him.  From what he said, I don’t think he dated a lot – then again, does a father tell his daughter about romantic adventures?  I think he went to dances a lot and spent time with girls there.  He drove his Mom crazy because when he was on the way out the door, she would ask “Where are you going?” and his answer was “Out”.  When she asked when he would be home, he said “About that time or a little after”.  Funny, his sister Ibbie always said she knew everything he did, but said she didn’t know much.

In 1941, he went back to Connecticut to visit an uncle, stayed in Glastonbury and rented a room in a house near my Mom’s grandmother. He worked at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, so it wasn’t a long commute for him.  At the time, I’m not sure if he was engaged or engaged to engaged and drove quite a way to visit her.  His landlady and Mom’s grandmother arranged a blind date for the two of them – Mom had spent a lot of time checking her grandmother’s flower garden so she knew what he looked like.   No doubt it is obvious he was no longer interested in the other girl after meeting Mom.  They dated and they always said neither asked the other to marry, it was understood.

They went to Mom’s dad and said they wanted to get married.  He told Dad, “Go back to California and establish yourself.  Then, if in 3 moths you still feel the same, then it’s okay with me”.  So Dad went back to California to establish himself and in December was Pearl Harbor.  Mom’s family thought she was crazy to go there – the Japanese would invade and it was dangerous.  Her Aunt Marian was the only one who encouraged her, so in early January, she flew from Connecticut to California to marry Dad.

To be continued.

What’s New In The Garden

March 23, 2014

It’s the 1st week of March and the flowers are slowly blooming – won’t be Spring officially until about March 21st.  Doesn’t seem to faze them about the hard rain and wind along with the cooler temperatures.  I saw a few flowering fruit trees all in bloom, the crocuses have been up and blooming for a couple of weeks.  Unfortunately it has rained so hard and for so long, the poor things are lying flat on the ground.  They were lovely when they were upright – I didn’t get out to take pictures soon enough.

I just notice by the side along the garage the little daffodils are about to bloom.  The Scillas pushing leaves up all over the place, the back porch bed is full of them.

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I noticed some thin, twirly leaves in the garage bed while the Scillas were bringing up leaves – not sure what they were, almost pulled them out.

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100_0343What do you know, they are grape hyacinths.  Not easy to see in the photos.

I certainly can’t complain about the weather, I much prefer it to the white stuff and that seems to be happening over most of the country – all our rainstorms will turn into snow as they go over the Cascade mountains and head east.  My concern is when the fruit trees blossom, if it rain and is too windy, all the blossoms are gone and we won’t have pears and apples.  I do need to make sure there are fertilizer stakes for things this year – poor babies have been starved for the last 2 or 3 years.  Now they are in full bud.

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Unfortunately they are also covered with lichen and some fuzzy stuff – they would probably do better if I cleaned it off the branches.

I bought something for the cat garden – a cat of course.  I checked Home Depot and they had a cat curled up asleep, I bought it and Eddie put it on the Fortinia stump so she can sleep in the sun.  I must admit, I am sorry to see her in the rain, but she will be fine.  I am also thinking about putting in some pieces of sea glass as decoration, or maybe as a small pond.  Still deciding where and how to arrange it.  Still not sure what to do about the other two beds, the rest of the yard is on its own for the moment.  Most important right now is removing weeds.

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Some days I feel badly leaving her out in the rain and cold.

3 Days Later

Wow! You should see all the flowering fruit trees out in blossom; the camellias are out as well – I took a picture of the big camellia tree but I stuck my finger in the middle, so I will retake that.

100_0339That didn’t come out too well either.

I had the two forsythia bushes  taken out in the front, but I looked down the bank and this is what I see now.

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Two bushes have taken up residence on the bank.  There are a few daffodils down the front bank – who would have thought it.

I never know what I will find blooming these days, I admit i I am not much of a gardener at this point, though I have a lot of ideas I want to try.  Today is one of our sunny days, it is supposed to rain again and of course, all that rain goes over the Cascades and becomes  very wintry weather for everyone east of us.

Houseboats In Seattle

March 18, 2014

When I was on the duck tour, I saw a lot of houseboats and they intrigued me.  I took some pictures and then looked on the web to find better pictures of some I saw.  Most I have no idea what they are or who owns them, but found them very interesting.


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 
This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor  Someone has a paddle wheeler.  Next to the white paddle wheeler is one that can be taken out on the water.  There is a black box facing the paddle wheeler, right under the  smaller window.  That is where the steering  helm is located.

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This one I saw from the duck on our back to the launch ramp.


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor  Gasworks Park


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

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Riding The Duck

March 16, 2014

Last Monday my neighbor Delores asked if I would like to use her ticket to Ride The Duck.  She had bought the ticket a while ago but when Bob went to the hospital the week before, she decided it was better to stay with him.  I’ve always wanted to do it, just never got around to it.  It was with the Senior Center and there were about 11 of us.  Nice size and we had others on the duck later.  it was a clear sunny day, warm in the sun but a bit chilly in the wind.  We all had jackets on and I was glad they had a blanket for our lap on the duck.

They leave from across from the Space Needle and Experience Music Project – a little building with gifts of ducks – big surprise.

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We started at the red circle and then down to the waterfront, along Alaskan Way.

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This is inside where the driver sits.  Our tour guide was Bjorn Toorun and he had a whole crate full of crazy hats for the whole ride.

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This was the starting point, that is EMP across the way and behind it the Space Needle

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Let me tell you, that sucker wasn’t easy to climb in and I will admit, I could have used more leg room.  No windows, great for taking pictures but a bit nippy when the wind is chilly.

We went along the waterfront and I learned a few things I didn’t know before.  I saw the Victoria catamaran at the dock, I remember the regular boat – though this one takes only 2 hours.  We went up to 1st Ave and he explained that the reason why the buildings are all brick was a result of the Great Fire.  Yes, we had one too.  A glue-pot tipped over and ignited the straw and that was the end of many of the buildings.  so the city fathers declared buildings could only be made of non-flammable material.

We went past Pioneer Square – it is more gentrified and the urban outdoorsmen have been encouraged to go other places; then up to the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) and The Hammering Man.  The only day he doesn’t hammer is Labor Day.  Next area was Pike Place Market, then turned up Pike street and over to 6th past the Elephant  Car Wash.   It has been there since I can remember in the early 50’s when we moved here.   It has probably been there longer than that.

This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Then up on to Aurora so we could go across the Aurora Bridge –  just before the bridge view

This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This picture is looking west over the ship canal and the Fremont Bridge.


This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor  Fremont Bridge

We turned down into  part of Fremont on Stone Way and went down to the water.  Our family’s landmark is Doc Freeman because to the right is where it used to be – they were very good customers of R&R Custom Wood.  I remember going with Mom and Dad on Friday when they delivered.  One day a guy came by and saw all the woodenware in the wagon and asked Dad if he could build a map rack for his large book of maps.  Presto!  A new product.  It happened more than once.

We turned left and went along the shore were the marinas are, the racks of boats (the driver called it the only vending machine for boats).

This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We also went past Fishery’s Supply, another good customer.  They bought things for their stores and mail order.  Then down along Gasworks Park and just before Ivar’s is a boat launch ramp.  Time to spend some time on the water.

ride-the-ducks-toursDown the boat ramp and into the lake

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I couldn’t see how it looked from inside the duck, so I have been using other pictures as well as my own.

The driver had to change gears and slowly went into the water.  The ramp and the entrance to the lake is lined with boats and boat houses.  It was interesting to see that the houseboats were moored in between boats, plus all kinds of different boats.

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 As we went out into the lake it definitely was windy and nippy, but the sun was so clear and bright.  We went along Gasworks Park – interesting to see from the water.  It used to power a lot of the City, then they closed it down, took out the important and dangerous parts, then fenced off the still dangerous areas and made it into a park. They often have fireworks off shore from there.

This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

What’s interesting is that along there just before going out on the lake is where some of the crab boats of “Deadliest Catch” are kept off season.

 This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We went along where we had driven and around by the old Doc Freeman’s, along to some other houseboats and I saw the mountains and the Aurora Bridge in the distance.  Went over to the “Sleepless in Seattle” houseboat and he was saying there are only 500 allowed on the lake.  They are expensive and there are some that are attached to the mooring, so they can’t be taken out on the water.  We went near Queen Anne Hill and then came back to go up the ramp for the rest of the tour.  He showed us some houseboats that run $1 million and up – not cheap to live on a houseboat.

 This photo of Ride the Ducks of Seattle is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Time to go back up the ramp and on to the rest of the tour.

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We drove into Fremont and past “Waiting For the Interurban” – a well loved sculpture but the Fremont Bridge.  It has been there for a long time and people in the neighborhood dress it up, depending on the holiday or occasion.

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They may have dressed them for Mardi Gras.  The baby has the face of a dog and the dog has the face of a baby.  This is my favorite sculpture in the city.

Time to go back across the Fremont Bridge this time and along the Eastlake shore.  Then back into the city and the starting point of our 90 minute tour.

This didn’t end up the same way Gilligan’s 3 hour tour did.  As we rode our bus to lunch, I was feeling sleepy – must be all that sunshine and fresh air.  We ended going back to the center because the rest aunt wasn’t open for lunch – that was fine with me.  I dozed as we went back to Burien, I had really enjoyed the trip!

Visiting With Mom

March 9, 2014

I have been visiting Mom rather than visiting with her – I just noticed the difference this week.  I have had trouble dealing with not understanding what she says and curbing my urge to ask what she means or to repeat it.  My close friend Char told me recently she had visited her Mom and didn’t understand a word she said.  So she asked her Mom “Does that make sense to you?”  Her Mom’s answer was “No”.  I thought I would try it with Mom, though Mom’s answer was “Yes, it makes sense”.  Mom is operating under a different form.  What is interesting is that although the words are gibberish to me, Mom says it in a very conversational way – she knows what she is saying, I am the one who doesn’t understand.

GetAttachment.aspxMom with Candy at her book signing.  She is very proud of Candy.

Two things she definitely understands are chocolate and cookies.  I bring some with me every time I visit and she is delighted to have them.  I have learned not to ask her if she enjoyed the chocolate or cookies after she has eaten them because she doesn’t remember she ate them.  I have been nervous about what to say to Mom, but I am finding it a bit easier now because I realize I don’t have to know exactly what she is saying.

I have been reading Candy’s new book to Mom recently, first time I have read it as well.  I know Judy has told me Mom takes in things she hears and I am noticing that reading this book.  Friday she made several comments as I read and  at one point talked for a bit – not sure what she said,  just asked “Is that so?’ and Mom agreed.  So it wasn’t necessary to know what she said, just to acknowledge and validate it.  I can sometimes tell when she  thinks something isn’t a good thing, mostly my her tone and sometimes a “shouldn’t or no that’s not good” comes across.

Last Tuesday I took my iPad to play some of the songs she likes – except it once again gave me fits.  Some days it works well and other days it looks so different and I am not quite sure what to do.  I have begun to make a playlist for her so I will have the songs she likes, though I haven’t done too well with Bing Crosby so far.  What will play on my desktop isn’t always available on the iPad.  Now I have to figure out how to start the playlist.

It’s an interesting process and I think I am more comfortable now – there are times when I feel at a loss, but  I am doing my best.  I haven’t told her about Barrie dying, don’t think it will really register and there isn’t anything she can do about it.  I also haven’t said anything about our next door neighbor, he is having difficulty and two of the sons are there right now.  We had gone to bed Wednesday night and I heard this thrum and flash of lights – the fire truck was there and I saw a fireman in their kitchen.  Shortly after an ambulance came in, so I figured it was bad enough to take him to the hospital.  He was back home the next morning bit they may have to have someone there for a while.  I’m sure Mom would be worried if she knew.

I will admit I still have days when I don’t want to go visit Mom, so I make sure I have somewhere to go and do something entirely different after the visit.  Plus, I don’t want Mom to feel she has been abandoned.  When I come and she is very sleepy or having a nap because she had a bad night, I am almost glad we won’t have a visit.  I think she is more aware of things than I realize, but I couldn’t say in what way.  I think she still knows who I am at times, I am better at not taking it personally because it is part of dementia.  Some of what is happening has to do with getting older, some from dementia – I am so grateful to Judy for helping me understand what’s happening with the things I don’t quite understand.

It has been quite a learning experience for me and for Mom – I may never know how it is for her, but as a daughter and a woman, I have learned a lot over the past 2 or 3 years.   I have learned about myself, my Mom and dementia – strangely, there have been gifts in it I am still understanding.

I also wonder who will be there for me if I am in this position.

Barrie Lane

March 3, 2014

Saturday morning I had a phone call to tell me Barrie had passed away the night before of a sudden heart attack.   He has had heart trouble for several years and had a monitor implanted in his chest to warn when there is a problem.  He will be sorely missed by friends, family, colleagues and clients.

1958291_10201790557194764_1260156870_nIn happier times – Barry, Lois and Sarah on Sarah’s wedding day.

I first met Barrie through my parents – who met him through a neighbor.  He was doing taxes for the Torstenbo’s and they recommended him to Mom and Dad when they needed someone. Mom said he used to come out to the house at that point, then later they went to his office.  When Eddie and I decided we wanted to be in Seattle in the future, we started putting roots down here.  We opened a savings account and started having Barrie do our taxes.  It meant I had a trip to Seattle every February – Eddie was usually off traveling somewhere.

We usually had federal tax, state tax depending on what state we lived and while we were in Virginia, we began to have a business tax return.  It has been a whole lot easier to see Barrie to do the tax returns since we moved here; often I had to go by myself and took Mom to do her taxes.  Barrie was always able to help us through some of the confusing things that Uncle threw at us, though mostly we have had a very simple return.  Seems a bit selfish to wonder if he had finished our tax stuff this week.  I saw him Wednesday at Breakfast Club , he said he was still deciding about the business.  He was his usual cheerful self, always found humor in the IRS and Uncle.

There was another side to him, one that only came out around the Christmas holidays.

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Barrie loved being Santa at Christmas time, just as much as he loved his work.

Barrie is the one who invited me to be a member of Kent Breakfast Club 10 years ago.  My first thought was “I can’t do that!”, mainly because I had just recently moved back here and I was still trying to figure out what Promotional Marketing was.  It was dropped in my lap and then suddenly to be asked to be part of the group was a bit overwhelming.   But I did join and through the club I met the most remarkable, caring and enjoyable group of people.  I gained experience, knowledge and confidence through the group – a soft place to fall.  It is not the normal networking group – we don’t have high dues, requirements to bring referrals every week or have such a “Life is real, life is earnest” attitude.  We are serious about business but we also have a good time laughing, learning about each other’s business and enjoying each other’s company.

There have been a lot of family things come up over the last 10 years and it has been such a comfort to have Barrie’s advice and help.  When things were happening with Mom and dementia, he helped us so much; when Candy needed help, he was there for her.  He was always there for my Mom and Dad when they started their custom wood business – he was a lot like my Dad, Barrie loved to talk and with the two of them it was always interesting.  So glad Stan Torstenbo introduced Mom and Dad to Barrie, then we got to know him and had him do our taxes as well.  He will be sorely missed by so many people who knew him.

I wrote my sisters Ellen and candy about Barrie.  They sent these emails to me.  From Ellen came:

What a jolt to hear about Barrie Lane–bless his heart for all he has done for our family over so many years. I’m remembering what Dr. Pierce said about Daddy: He died like a king, in his own garden and
without prolonged suffering, and it would seem to apply to Barrie too.

From Candy, who also sent pictures from a Christmas Day when he and Lois came when my sisters were visiting.  We had a lovely time that day and were delighted they stopped to see us.

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I am so sorry about Barrie’s passing. Please give my love and  condolences to Lois. They were so happy together, I know it’s going to  be very hard for her. I owe Barrie so much, especially being in this  house, as it was he who had the idea in the first place. And he helped  make it happen, and advised me when the financial difficulties began.  He was such a wonderful man. Now Barrie will be on the other side, and  Mom will have another familiar friend to greet her when she arrives.  It is as if a whole world is disappearing as the generations pass. And  I had expected Barrie would be with us for years and years. It’s  another reminder that the only thing we can control is our response  and our attitude toward what happens.

It still isn’t real to me yet.  I saw Brandy at the chiropractor’s this morning and she said it finally hit her Sunday night.  I wonder about myself – it has been 13 years since my Dad died suddenly and it doesn’t seem strange to me he isn’t here – maybe I haven’t accepted it after all.


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