Posts Tagged ‘Mom and Dad’

Celebrating Mom’s Life

June 21, 2015

I didn’t think it would take me this long to write about last Sunday’s Celebration of Life for my Mom – now it is Father’s Day.  Maybe it is appropriate after all, I can’t picture one without the other.   The truth is, I was so exhausted I spent the week resting and sleeping.  Yesterday I seem to have spent most of the day dozing or sleeping – couldn’t keep awake.

Eddie and I had been working on getting things done for the Celebration of Life – meanwhile he was wearing himself at work as well.  I had first heard of a Celebration of Life in the 80’s when I was going to Northward Congregational Church in Conn.  When someone died, that was how they looked at it – not as a sad, mournful event but a celebration.  I really liked that and  idea and found it more comforting.  We did a Celebration of Life open house for Dad in 2000, inviting people from all the places Dad knew people – it was quite a group.  I was concerned it would be sad and I would start crying.  However, it was a delightful time and I knew Dad would have enjoyed it.

Things have certainly changed in 15 years – not many people left who knew Mom and I will admit to being late with the invitations.  We invited the Domino ladies, the neighbors, people from Breakfast Club, my Caretaker Support Group, Future of Flight, and Kathy.  I had a postcard made that I gave out and decided whoever was supposed to come would be here.  I arranged a cake with Robbi, our resident cake designer at Breakfast Club and had her deliver it Sunday morning.

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Robbie did such a wonderful job on the cake.  I was very pleased with it.

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She did lemon cake with lemon curd, plus I asked her to put some lemon flavoring in the frosting.

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She made such lovely flowers for the cake

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It was Flag Day, Eddie put up the flag for the day – Mom and Dad used to put it out  most every day.

I ordered a fruit tray and vegetable tray from Fred Meyer, each with a dip.  I had lemonade with a bit of orange flower water and Vickie lent me her spigot jug.  I used white tablecloths and put the two card tables on the porch for the food and lemonade and one of the outside tables with another white tablecloth for the cake.  I used lavender napkins, light green plates and forks, then purple napkins to put under the trays.

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The card tables worked very well.

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This is the table for the cake – I had to put napkins and plates to keep the purple napkins from flying away.

I planned to buy roses for Mom and put them on the mantel with the 50th anniversary picture of both of them.  Eddie picked them for me – he always chooses just the right thing.

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It worked out so well!  Mom always enjoyed her rose garden.  Candy sent roses but unfortunately there was aspire in the works and the florist didn’t send them for whatever reason.  I know Mom would have really appreciated the thought.

Ellen sent a lovely azalea, one of Mom’s favorite flowers.

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I wanted to do something  interesting with the dining table, so I brought out my newest tablecloth, used the spiky chrysanthemums Eddie bought for me and put some candles and candlesticks with them.  I was going to use the Swedish crystal candle holders, but Eddie liked the silver ones.

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As I looked at it after I finished, I think he was right.

My long time friend Charlotte came, The Dusslers from down the hill and Vickie and Rich Bergquist all came about the same time.

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Bonnie and Alona Dussler

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A much better picture of the two of them

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Charlotte was looking through the book Candy sent.  she wrote it about Mom and several people enjoyed looking through it – some saw pictures of themselves in it.

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No Celebration of Life would be complete without Kathy.  she started out as Mom caregiver, became a good friend and now she is our very good friend.  she helped so much with dealing with Mom, organizing, advice, answers and many, many other things.

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Marilyn Silworth who lives up the street.  Mom would go walking with her husband Ron most days.  Ron would call and ask if Mom was going for a walk and Mom was delighted to go with him.

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Charlotte and I both wore lavender.  In the background is Delores Allen with Ken and Maria Carter who live across the street.

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That’s Claire McGee in the foreground, she lives up near where the school bus used to stop.

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This is Peggy Johnson, she lives up near Claire.  She is 90 or more and we see her sitting on the ground weeding her yard all the time.

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The table worked out so well.  I kept it simple.

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Bob allen – he and Delores live next door and have been wonderful neighbors for Mom and Dad as well as for us.

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He’s Claire McGee again.

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This is Sheila Woodward – she lives on the other side of allen.  Next to her is Maria Carter.

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The Carters brought a lovely plant and it was on the table with the food.

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Sandy from the Future of Flight brought a lovely bouquet.

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We are enjoying the Carters’ plant in the dining room.

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This is Delores Allen – I’m sure she would appreciate  her front showing instead of her back.

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This photo is driving me nuts!  I lightened in iPhoto and it was great – now it only comes out dark.  That means you can’t really see rich and Vickie very well.  I am going to wait for a day or two and see if iPhoto and WordPress will work together finally.

We had a great time and enjoyed all the people who came.  I was very surprised and delighted to see June Hawkins, she is one of the domino ladies and has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She was given 6 weeks, but that has passed and although she was walking very slowly and with difficulty, her grand daughter brought her here for a short while.   Not sure about the other ladies, butI know Mom would be pleased June came.

Unfortunately I didn’t have pictures of everything thing and everyone – we had people on the porch, at the dining table and in the living room – it went very well.  I am very happy people came and had wonderful things to say about Mom; I think she would surprised  how much people liked her and enjoyed being with her.  It was a perfect sunny day, about 75 with a cool breeze – I couldn’t have asked for better weather.

it has taken me some days to begin to sleep comfortably, I was overtired, stiff and sore Sunday night.  The shoulders and neck have been stiff all week – not sure what that is about but I will work through it.  It was a special day for Mom and the last thing I can do for her.  Now it is my time and I am looking forward to what shows up next.

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Dad Continued

September 14, 2014

Today is the 100th anniversary of Clayton Moore’s birthday – otherwise known as The Lone Ranger.  I remember watching it as a kid – I also named my stick horse Scout – Tonto’s horse.  Interesting how things this year have reminded me of my Dad.  I may not write about my Dad in chronological order, sometimes certain things come to mind that may be out-of-order.

I think my first memory was about 3 or 4 years old, in the Manhattan Beach house.  I have vague memories and pictures in my mind of chasing trains.  I remember being at the front closet to get coats and go see trains, where I have no idea.  My older sister Ellen might remember.  I also remember walking on the tracks with my sister and Dad – used to frustrate me no end that I kept slipping off but my sister walked the tracks with no trouble.  From my younger point of view, she always did things better than I did.

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February 1954 – I think it was taken at my Dad’s parents house in Palos Verdes

Ellen and I would play stick horses together, a long square stick that we tied thin rope at the top for reins.  At one point, Dad took his jigsaw and cut out heads to put at the top – mine was painted like Tonto’s Scout, can’t remember what Ellen had.  We enjoying playing with them, I know we played in the back yard but whether we went in the street I don’t remember.  Again, just pictures in my mind.  When Dad decided to accept a job with Boeing, we moved from Southern California to Seattle – for some reason Dad said we couldn’t take our stick horses – no room in the moving van, or something like that.  That made no sense to either of us, so we weren’t too happy about that.

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Back yard of Manhattan Beach house – to the right is the yard, to the left up the drive, a 2 car garage.

I was 7 when we moved about April of 1954, Ellen was 11.  My parents found a house to rent in Madrona and things suddenly changed.  I was in 2nd grade – turns out I went to school a year earlier than the other kids, so I was always a year younger during public school.  (Mom and Dad always told the story of how much fuss I made to get on the bus with Ellen, so they let me go at age 5 – turned out not to be a favor after all.)  I finished the last 2 months of 2nd grade and then went into 3rd grade.  I think Ellen was in 6th grade by then.

I remember one day in 1954, my Dad came home for lunch – very unusual for him.  Then he and Mom stood out on the back porch watching a plane fly by – what was the big deal about a plane?  It really was a big deal because it was the first flight of the 707 and beginning of the jet age.  It was many years later that I knew why it was a big deal.

When we moved to Seattle my sister Candy was about 18 months old and to us, a pest.  Certainly not her fault, but there was 6 years between us and 10 years between Candy and Ellen.  I also noticed Ellen wasn’t my playmate any more, by that time the 4 years difference was very noticeable.  I was on my own a lot, seems to have been my history.  She kept to herself more and I was probably a pest and nuisance by then.

A year and a half later, my parents found this house – it had all the requirements – a large lot, a view, 4 bedrooms; I never thought I would be living here since 2002 and it is now mine.  I now understand why my Mom wasn’t happy with the layout of the house, you have to go through the living room to get anywhere.  The front door opens smack dab into the living room – wonder if that is why everyone goes to the back door, or is it the path leads to the back porch?  Unfortunately she couldn’t explain it to Dad in a way he would understand.

At Christmas time we would go down to Chubby and Tubby for our Christmas tree.  The five of us would look around the lot and each found a tree – then we had to decide which one to buy.  It often seemed to me that the best tree was always the one someone else was holding.  We would choose one (sometimes one that needed the most love),  take it home and put it in a bucket of water at the bottom of the outside stairs.  It was usually a week before Christmas.  Then we put it up on Christmas Eve, decorate it with ornaments Mom and Dad had collected when they were first married, new ones and ones we made.  The cool thing was the next morning was Christmas.

One Christmas we put it up a week before Christmas, didn’t work out all that well.  Instead of Christmas coming the next morning, it seemed forever for it to come and I think we all  were a bit tired of the tree when it finally came.  So we went back to putting it up Christmas Eve and taking it down New Year’s Day.

I’m curious to know what my sisters’ memories are, if they are very different.  Funny how each person sees something, a person, or event at the same time and sees it differently.  I have been going through pictures and these two were ones I found.

Once again, to be continued.

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.

Farewell Old Friends

December 8, 2013

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The cherry tree to the right of the garage was always referred to as “the little cherry tree”.  It was a pollinator for the two big cherry trees espaliered up against the garage.  We always called them Royal Anne cherries – these days they call them Rainier cherries.  I can remember going down the side-walk, stop, pull a low branch down and eat them until I was full.  We used to get a lot of cherries when I was growing up, the birds always ate the little cherry tree bare before we had a chance to have any.

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This is the tree being trimmed and ready to be cut down.  I would have had a better picture but I had just gotten out of the shower and couldn’t very well go out in the cold with nothing on but a camera.  So I looked through my very dirty bedroom window for a shot, then cleaned a space so it wasn’t quite so dirty.  Good by little cherry tree.

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A couple of days later, I had a good shot of the corner with the cherry and apple trees gone.  A little bare at the moment. You can see in the foreground what is left of the trunk.

Mom and Dad had to cut the big cherry trees because they were pushing the garage over – it had a decided list to the right as I looked at from the street.  Shortly after we came to live with Mom, we had the garage fixed and  never did have any cherries from the little tree.  Now the little cherry tree is gone,; poor love, it was looking so sad and sickly.   This round of pruning involved the little cherry tree, the McIntosh apple tree behind it ( poor things had been hidden in the hedge and was at a 90 degree angle looking for sun.  We also cut the apple tree in the corner – gorgeous blossoms but not very good eating apples.

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We also cut down the two big cherry trees on the north side of the yard – they too were looking sickly and sad, plus we were never able to eat any cherries.  Those two were cut down as well.  However, I am happy to report they are not gone completely.

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This is all that’s  left of the two trees – I need to take a picture from the garage to show the view all the way to the front.

 I asked John to cut them in slices for me – he had already put the trunks in the truck and was sweet to take them out and cut them up for me.  I put some in the bed with the pink dogwood, made it look as if it is a stream.  Unfortunately the other two beds just have them around the edge.  I would love to find a cool pattern to arrange them in rather than just in a line.  I am open to suggestions.

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I am pleased with the way the little stream came out – maybe  make a little more curve in it.

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This is to the left of the other picture – I  could see these three slices in the corner.

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In the bed by the back porch, I just put them around the edge of the bed, not all that cool.  Maybe a swirl or something like that for this one – I am drawing a blank on this.

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By the garage it is also just around the edges.  Hmmmm,maybe some kind of spiral or sunburst? Fortunately I don’t have to come up with something right now this moment.

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Now we don’t have the other bush that seemed to take over the front door and the window.  the one on the other side went when  we had to have a tunnel flue replaced.  Not sure what will go in there, but it will be something small and low maintenance.

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We have our view back – at least as much as we can cut.  I told John to go as far down the hill as could and cut as low as possible.

Speaking of the view, it was so foggy all day on thanksgiving that I didn’t know if it would ever clear up.  Then I noticed some sun and then it cleared for us, but not for people below us.

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This is one of those times when it looks as if we are  all alone on a mountain top and between us and the other side is whipped cream.

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This always fascinates me when it happens.  Thanksgiving turned into a lovely late afternoon sunset and whipped cream.

And some where in between the whipped cream and the pruning, we had one of these:

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Certainly can’t beat that!

Happy 93rd Birthday!

September 25, 2011

No, it isn’t mine, it is my Mom, who turned 93 yesterday.  My two sisters came on Friday to spend a few days with us and celebrate Mom’s  birthday.  Mom has seen many things in her lifetime, married my Dad right after Pearl harbor, traveled with Dad while he was a field service rep for North American Aircraft during the war and waited out each time his number came up for the military.  Thank goodness they decided he was more valuable where he was!  She and Dad raised three daughters, partnered in a business doing standard line and custom products for boats- when Dad died 11 years ago, she continued to run the business for another 6 or 7 years.  She came to the point of deciding she didn’t want to be”a captain of industry” any longer and closed it.  She started  volunteering at Traveler’s Aid at Seatac Airport in the mid-60’s until they disbanded it 34 years later.  She also started rug hooking about the same time and  only when Macular Degeneration came did she have to reluctantly stop hooking.  It was always fun to talk about my mother the hooker.

For a visit that really hasn’t had a plan, we certainly have been busy.  The past week felt as if there were so many things to deal with to get ready, plus at long last the boat has gone to a good home.  My parents bought an 18″ Mukilteo hull back in the early 60’s for family outings.  I don’t remember too many outings, seemed so many glitches that a lot of the fun went out of boating.  I remember the first time we were going out with a picnic lunch – Mom had made fired chicken and potato salad.  We ended up having our picnic on the lawn in the backyard because Dad was having trouble with the lights on the trailer.  The next time we did put it in the water, but then we found the water rough and had to keep bailing.  Wooden boats need to be wet to keep the swell in the wood to make it watertight.  Then, when it came time to put the boat back on the trailer, we couldn’t get the trailer down to slide the boat on.  Dad kept backing the car closer to the water but the trailer kept floating.  It finally dawned on us that not only was there air in the tires, but the trailer was wood.  Somehow we managed to get it back on – let’s face it, three little girls were not much help and Mom was helping Dad and keeping an eye on us.

Later Dad put fiberglass cloth and resin on the boat – I remember helping him and painted his hand with resin.  We looked at each and laughed.  My brother-in-law used the boat to fish for awhile, then it spent the last years upside down in the back corner of the yard.  I finally called the Center for Wooden Boats and they were quite interested because it is a Mukilteo hull – turns out it was built in 1936 and instead of ruining the boat, the fiberglass saved it.  It need a lot of work but there is also a marine school that is looking for a Mukilteo to make a pattern to use in teaching the kids how to build the boat.  Maybe even a student project to restore the boat – who knows.

Friday my older sister arrived in the morning and in the evening my younger sister arrived.  We had dinner and by then most of us were ready for bed.  Yesterday ended up rather busy, some shopping in the morning, lunch and then baking a birthday cake – gluten free so I could eat it – then John and Luzma from next door came by to sih Mom a Happy Birthday.  They stayed for awhile and we had a good time.  Then Eddie grilled a wonderful steak for dinner, then birthday cake and gifts afterwards.  Eddie went to bed early because he is working the next 3 days on the delivery of the first 787 at the Future of Flight – he is having the time of his life.  I think he gets a bit overwhelmed at times with the Paull women all together.

I suspect the next couple of days will be a little quieter, one never knows.  Then both Ellen and Candy will leave and life will go back to normal – whatever that is.  From what little Mom has said, I think she is glad to have us here, she may be a bit on overwhelm at times.  Mom and Dad gave us a wonderfully loving foundation growing up and gave us the gift of integrity, honestly and discipline – from my point of view they always made us feel loved and wanted.  They have always been there to share our triumphs, good news and support us when things were tough or we just needed some reassurance or advice.  Quite an accomplishment!

Happy 93rd Birthday Mom!


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