Friday, October 24, 2014

So Long to June

A couple weeks ago we said goodbye to a family member.  Bill's stepmother, June, passed away in Denver three weeks ago and we traveled to Buffalo the following weekend to lay her to rest next to Bill's father. She and her daughters had an interesting journey between Denver and Buffalo.  She and Gene had always planned that they wanted to travel to Buffalo for their funerals via train.  Amtrak was not allowed to use the tracks in Indiana for some reason so the girls had to hire a funeral home in Chicago to transport June's body from Chicago to Toledo where they could get back on the train because bodies cannot be transported by bus.  And the bus broke down a few times between Chicago and Toledo so it was an challenging trip.

June has always been more of a "mom" to me than a mother-in-law.  My mom passed away shortly after Bill and I got married so I asked June to be my mom and she immediately said yes.  I always felt loved and was grateful to be able to carry on a mother-daughter relationship with someone.  June hasn't been doing well since about April and her daughters recently got hospice involved in her care but my impression was that it wasn't for any impending reason.  Just to prepare for it happening at sometime in the next six months.  So just a few days before she passed, I was thinking I wanted to travel to Denver for one last time to see her before she died.  So it was a bit of a shock to get the call that she had passed away so soon.  In hearing about her last days, it sounds like it was an incredible blessing that she didn't linger a long time in the state she was in.  Because of her illness and slip into dementia, I haven't had the same relationship with her recently so I have been eased into the fact that she is no longer going to be a part of my life.  But I will miss that sense of having a "mom" to go to when you feel like you need one.

All her daughters and their husbands came.  Bill, Chuck, Timothy, Gregory and I came from the Roller side of the family.  Seven out of the ten grandchildren were able to be there.  A man that had become a good friend to her over the past few years also came.  We enjoyed sharing meals together, attending the funeral and touring the cemetery after the funeral.  As strange as that sounds, the Forest Lawn Cemetery actually has several different types of tours that they run.  We went on a two hour art tour of the cemetery the afternoon of the funeral.  It is an incredibly beautiful place and even is one of the top spots for brides and grooms go to have their wedding photos taken.  We got to wave at a couple as they were getting their photos taken while we were on our tour.
When Gene died, the whole family went to Niagara Falls after the funeral.  So I was expecting that but the those who were already there on Friday went then instead.  So we missed out on going as a family this time.  But I wanted to see the falls again.  Bill indulged me and we crossed over into Canada for about an hour so I could see the falls and travel alongside the Niagara River on the Canadian side.  The mist was so heavy from the Horseshoe Falls that is was like a downpour of rain.  And we only got to see a small sliver of the falls.  But the sunlight hit it in such a way that it was still beautiful and provided the view that you can see from my picture above.
Bill wanted to see Fort Niagara.  He remembered going there as a child and wanted to revisit.  I had never been there before so I was interested in seeing it as well.  I had seen pictures from Chris' trip there with June and it looked like a beautiful place.  It is located on the shores of Lake Ontario and its purpose was to guard the Niagara River.  We were there on such a clear day that we could actually see Toronto across the lake from us.  It is setup as a French fort because that was its beginnings although it has been occupied by the British and Americans as well over its history.  The French first occupied the site in 1679 and built the current fortifications as a permanent fort in 1726. 

It was a whirlwind trip.  Traveling on Friday to get there and coming home on Sunday.  And traveling through JFK Airport in New York was definitely a challenge.  But it was good to connect with family that we haven't seen for a very long time.  Some as long as nine years ago when Bill's dad passed away.  I was very happy to have gone and to pay my last respects to a woman that I loved dearly.  Goodbye June.  Rest in peace and enjoy your reunion with Gene, your parents, grandparents and other dear friends and relatives in heaven.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Homecoming

Tom left for the Middle East at the end of June and got home October 6th.  He and Maddy had a joyous reunion when he got home.
Maddy hired Elizabeth Grace, a photographer in Wichita, to take their homecoming photos as their engagement pictures.  They turned out fantastic!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

I got to celebrate my birthday over several days and with style this year.  My friend, Denise, and I usually celebrate our birthdays together.  Her birthday is two days after mine.  And this year she had one of her milestone birthdays.  She turned 60.  So before we went to our AORN meeting, we had dinner together at The Quay. 

Bill took Chris back to Bellingham to move him into his house on my actual birthday.  So we celebrated as a family on the night before with Thai food and I made myself a yummy chocolate and peanut butter earthquake cake as a treat. 

My actual birthday was spent going to The Difference in Lake Oswego for a personal shopping appointment.  I got pampered by getting new skin care products and make up and bought quite a few articles of clothing.  One of the outfits I bought is in the picture above.  I haven't been there in awhile and felt the need for some help with updating my wardrobe.  And start the process of looking for a dress for Tom's wedding.  The consultant that I used to work with no longer is there so I had a new gal help me out.  It was a fun couple of hours trying on new clothes.  She did ask me if I needed a fainting couch when it came time to check out.  I spent quite a bit of money but hey--it was my birthday.  I deserved it.

I was really hoping that I could take my friend, Colleen, with me to The Difference.  She is the one that introduced me to it.  And it has been several months since her family had taken her there.  But she and her husband were camping and didn't get back until later in the afternoon.  So we went out for lunch at Red Robin the next day which was fun.

All in all I had a great birthday!

The Share Games for Give More 24! Campaign

Bill's friend, Kim Hash, now works for Share--an organization in Clark County that helps the homeless.  She was the one to talk him into being part of the Blues Brothers to raise money for the Children's Center when she worked for them.  The Community Foundation of Southwest Washington organized a one day fundraising campaign for about 90 non-profit groups in the area.  The goal was to raise $500,000 for these charities in a 24 hour period. 

Kim is so creative and I don't know if it was all her idea or the idea of a group but Share had a carnival type atmosphere in their building and parking lot all day long to help promote getting donations.  They had celebrity bowling, hopscotch, HORSE, etc.  Activities for kids.  A flashmob by the Groove Nation kids. 

In relation to Bill's nomination for the Community Builder Award for the Chamber of Commerce, Bill helped out Share with his time and talents for yet another non-profit fundraising event.  Bill and Jim were asked to reprise their Blues Brothers characters for a celebrity lip sync contest.  Instead of doing Blues Brothers music though--they did their lip sync to AC DC's "Back in Black".  Bill also volunteered to be in the dunk tank.  A friend purchased the right to be the first to dunk him by donating $500.  The funny part of the story is that this friend and Bill were in line together at Rotary and Bill commented to her "Can you believe somebody (actually a different word was used but I'm going to be politically correct) actually donated $500 to dunk me?"  She was dying inside thinking  "That's me he is talking about."  She also said that she bought it with the intention of letting me be the one to actually dunk him.  She was thinking every woman deserves the right to dunk her husband at least once during their marriage.  I didn't go when Bill was in the dunk tank so I missed out on it and she got to do it.  But I thought it was pretty funny that she wanted me to be able to do it and was willing to donate money for me to do it.

The half million dollar goal wasn't quite reached.  A little over $333,000 was raised amongst all the charities.  Share raised around $13,700.  So even though the original goal wasn't reached, Clark County showed its generosity once again through this fundraising effort.  Proud of Bill and his participation and proud of Clark County residents for being so generous. 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Celebrating Community Service

Bill and I went to the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner this week.  Bill was a finalist for an award so he took me along.  It was a really fun evening.  They did a baseball theme and did it big.  The award Bill was up for was the Community Builder Award for Small Business Owners.  He is on a lot of non-profit boards and helps out other non-profits as well with financial donations, donations of flights to auctions, video production, etc.  He didn't win the award.  There were lots of other deserving finalists as well.  But I am very proud of him.  And proud that he was recognized for his contributions to our community.

Monday, September 1, 2014

More Celebrations This Weekend

Today is Christopher's 22nd birthday.  It falls on Labor Day this year.  The year Chris was born, Bill wanted to have a Labor Day party so everyone could watch me go into labor.  Thankfully I had Chris well before Labor Day that year.
Happy Birthday Christopher!  Have a terrific day!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Celebrating in Style

Bill and I always have two opportunities to celebrate our wedding anniversary--the date of our elopement and the date of our religious ceremony.  We went out for dinner at one of our favorite spots on the river last night--Beaches.  The owner's girlfriend stopped by our table for awhile to talk to us.  When she found out it was our anniversary, she had our server give us the royal treatment.  I was looking for an opportunity to get our picture taken.  Not quite what I imagined when I took my camera to the restaurant but it is a fun picture to commemorate our 28th year as husband and wife.