*Nikki and I walked uptown for our walk this morning, and I took photos of the McConnell Hotel and Patrick’s Inn that were destroyed the most by the fire. I continue to be amazed at the job the fire fighters and others did to keep this fire under control. It could have been so much worse. I would say most of the buildings in uptown are around 100 years old, and many were very close to the blaze.
*At work I am wrapping up last year and looking forward to this year. I have a unique year at work, because I am only working with one grade of students, seniors. I will spend the month of September meeting one on one with each senior to hopefully get a grasp on what they want to do after high school, and get information that will help me and the KHS staff help guide them in this process.
*Progress continues on our roof project. Many of the old shingles have been scraped off, and many of the boards that were damaged have been replaced. It looks like things are coming along nicely. I am so thankful for a new roof over our head this winter, and no more leaking!!
*I did a lot of organizing and throwing away of things in my office I no longer need. It feels good to have an organized desk and somewhat organized cabinet.
*After I went uptown and paid some bills, I got home and suggested to Paul that we go have dinner at Radio Brewing Company. Everyone else in the family had enjoyed eating at this new establishment in uptown Kellogg except Paul. We both enjoyed the Lamb Gyros accompanied with the garlic truffle fries. I enjoyed a glass of their Porter, and Paul enjoyed a Cran-Apple Cider. Paul was very impressed by the renovations done to the building, and, if asked to rate the restaurant, would give it five stars.
*Because of all the smoke in the air from area forest fires, the evening had a pink glow to it as the sun was setting.
*Work got started this morning on tearing the shingles off our roof today. A crew worked all day getting a good portion of the shingles off.
*Another good day back to work. One of my co-workers, who knew my mom had been ill, asked how she was doing. I still get a little catch in my throat telling people she passed away.
*As I left our staff meeting this afternoon, my friend April M Lee texted me the photograph above, and informing me her beloved McConnell Hotel was on fire in uptown Kellogg. I could not believe it. Throughout the afternoon and evening, I kept checking my computer to get more photos, videos and information about the fire, and how it was spreading.
*Power went out uptown, and in the east part of downtown Kellogg.
*My sister Christy was working up at the Kellogg Public Library, which is only about a block from the fire. They shut down when the power went out, but it took her a little bit to get out of uptown Kellogg, but some firefighters helped her get through and she got safely back home.
*Early evening, a very foul smell rolled in that smelled very toxic...fumes from the fire. I headed to the basement to work for a while to get away from the smell. My throat started burning, and I started to get a headache. It made me feel bad for the homes that were closer to the burning buildings uptown, and what they were going through.
*I cannot say thank you enough to the firefighters and all first-responders who helped fight this fire and keep it contained. It was around 100 degrees in Kellogg this afternoon, and they all worked hard and tirelessly to get this fire under control. A few other buildings uptown caught on fire due to the embers flying, but the hotel, where the fire started, had the most damage.
*The McConnell Hotel was the tallest building in uptown Kellogg, and helped define the skyline. It will be odd not seeing this building when driving through town on the Interstate.
*Simon Miller posted these videos on You Tube that were taken with a drone that show the fire. You can view one of the videos here.
*It was back to work at Kellogg High School today. The day began with breakfast in the library, and a short meeting with the KHS staff.
*It was actually a very productive day work-wise today. I got a lot of things done regarding money issues with the Gear Up program. I hope to get them all resolved tomorrow.
*All the school district employees gathered at the new Kellogg Community Center (formerly Kellogg Middle School) for lunch and a meeting. It was nice to see people and enjoy a wonderful lunch provided by Columbia Bank.
*I wasn’t sure how it was going to be throughout the day, and how people were going to be regarding Mom’s death. I had my teary moments throughout the day, but it was nice just to get that short little rub on the back, or “how are you doing”, or a hug from people who know what you have been going through. One person felt so bad after asking how Mom was doing, and when I shared with her that she had passed away, she felt awful for asking. But it was fine. I am glad she now knows.
*This evening seven of my oldest and dearest friends gathered in my backyard for dinner. April wanted to get together with everyone while she was here visiting from Italy. Paul grilled some drumsticks and everyone brought food to go along with the meal. We had a great evening talking about parents, the ups and downs of our lives, and stories from growing up. We are glad Brenda Adams is back in the area, and was able to join us, too. We missed Connie, Brenda B. and Mary, though.
*Someone said to me today, “You never truly grow up until both of your parents are gone.” And I think this is the first time it really hit me that I no longer have living parents. Intellectually I knew both parents were gone, but I don’t think that reality really hit me until today. And as my friends talked about their parents last night, each of them continues to have at least one of their parents still alive. I am the only one who is parent-less.
*I feel my tears come not from the sadness of losing Mom, but from the caring of others. That is what makes me teary. Just that love and care shown to me and my family is what brings those emotions to the forefront. And that is okay. I have come to be okay with the tears.
*I was finally able to go to church this morning, after not attending a service since early June. Between my trip to Italy, work and being with Mom at the nursing home, and Cosette being sick, I have been unable to attend. But that changed today. It was nice to help lead the worship time, and to talk to people, especially Lee Holland, who was such a comfort to me this morning.
*After church I came home and relaxed a bit until Christy and Bill picked me up and we headed to Spokane. Bill suggested we take the afternoon and enjoy one another’s company before we dropped him off at his hotel at the airport where he will stay so he is near the airport for his early flight back to Maryland tomorrow.
*We stopped in Pinehurst briefly and Christy and I got some coffee drinks, then we went to a place in Spokane called Kendall Yards, a new urban neighborhood north of the Monroe Street Bridge. We walked around, saw some beautiful views of the Spokane River, and stopped in at a pizza place for some drinks and a Caprese plate. I enjoyed a beautiful and tasty red cider, and Bill also enjoyed his cider, which was flavored with hint of bourbon.
*After leaving Kendall Yards, we headed south to the Manito Tap House for dinner. I enjoyed a delicious Lamb Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with Yam Chips (they make them themselves), and a crisp and refreshing glass of wine.
*We had not had a sibling outing for quite a while, so it was nice that the three of us could be together and be relaxed after a rather stressful summer. Bill flies back to Maryland in the morning, and he and his wife Debbie, along with their two Corgis will drive back to Kellogg in late September to establish their new home in Mom’s old home. It will be nice to have us all living in Kellogg together.
*As part of our celebration of National Dog Day, three of our furry friends, Sadie, Toby and Benjamin had appointments to see the veterinarian this morning for their annual checkups. Right before we left for the vet, Paul had taken Sadie out front and she keeled over. But all is well. Possibly her trachea collapsed (which they can do in Pomeranians), and when she was checked out, all was good....except her teeth. She is scheduled to have doggy dental in a couple of weeks. And she does have a bit of arthritis in her knees, so she will be start getting some glucosomine treats each day.
*Toby was good overall, except, as I suspected, he has diabetes. We will call Dr. Cook on Monday and see what treatment they will do for him. He also has some arthritis and a dry coat, so fish oil and glucosamine for Toby as well.
*The oldest animal of the three, Benjamin, is doing the best. She really has no major problems at all.
*Paul and I headed to Coeur d’Alene to do some “back to school” shopping. We headed to the mall and successfully found some clothes and shoes. I also ran into Christina at the mall, and had a visit with her. I found out she is able to come to my house Monday night for our CMG dinner, and was excited to hear about that!! Fisherman’s Market was the choice for lunch. Paul had the two piece cod fish and chips, and I had the small oysters. Yum, yum!! I dropped Paul off at Staples so he could purchase supplies for his classroom, and I headed to Fred Meyer to buy some things. Then we headed home. (Today I got my afternoon nap sleeping in the car on the ride home.)
*The day before we had picked cucumbers and tomatoes out of Mom’s garden. I cut up the cucumbers and tomatoes and some basil from my garden, and put some olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and stevia on the veggies, and served them with some mozzarella cheese. Boy did that hit the spot. Again, such a lovely night outside. I often think our backyard is it’s own little ecosystem, because of the menagerie of critters we have living there. Besides our dog, three cats, and two bunnies (who are soon to depart us after a summer of babysitting, and will return to Molly and Travis in Moscow), we also have the large variety of birds who visit us, Mr. Toad who lives in one of the window wells, and also Mr. Bat, who we believe lives in the Linden tree. Each night just as it is getting dark, he starts circling around in the sky. We love that Mr. Bat eats the bugs, but he does like to dive bomb us if we are on the far side of the yard, so once the sun is down, we stay clear of the south end of the yard.
*With my new purchases, it was time to organize my closet. I went through some of the clothes I brought over from Mom’s house, I hung up new clothes, and went through the big bag of hangers I brought from Mom’s and organized them as well. I pulled some items in my closet that I no longer wear to be donated. It was nice getting that project done.
*Zoe called tonight, and we had a nice visit. Cosette has had a good week, and was able to make it through the day without any of her medication, so things are looking up. I truly believe she is doing better because of all the thoughts and prayers being sent her way. I thank God every day for His loving care.
*The mornings are getting much cooler, and the Linden tree in our backyard is starting to turn yellow and lose leaves. I think I smell fall in the air.
*I got a call from my wonderful friend Anita this morning. We had a great visit about missing our moms, and the process of going through their things, and it was so nice to hear her voice. She lives in Meridian, so I only get to see her a couple times a year, but she is my kindred spirit, and her love and support and prayers are much appreciated.
*Paul and I went over to Mom’s house to load more things in the car to bring home. You never know what things are going to hit you, and today, it was the area of Mom’s basement by her washer and dryer. Most of the things in that area have been removed, and it looked stark and bare, and it made me cry. Mom was always very particular about laundry. It was her domain. Growing up, we were never allowed to do our own laundry. I never did my own laundry until I moved to Moscow for college, and had to learn to do it in the Tri-Delt house laundry room. And when we started doing Mom’s laundry, she was always very particular about how her clothes were taken care of. Wrinkles were her nemesis!!
*I finally finished the book All the President’s Men today. I try and read it every few years. You can rent the movie on Amazon Prime, and I hope to do watch it one of these days very soon.
*I’m not sure what Paul and I are going to do next week when we are unable to take our afternoon naps.
*Ann Hill fixed a very delicious dinner and brought it over to Christy’s house, and Paul, Christy, Everett, Bill and I enjoyed shredded beef sandwiches, fresh fruit salad, green salad and huckleberry cake with a berry syrup to pour over it. We also opened up a gift from Trudi Pearson Brown and Roger Pearson. They sent a “Mary” rose to be planted in Mom’s memory. It will be planted in Christy and Everett’s backyard.
*Receiving that rose reminded me of the dogwood tree that was planted for my Grandma West in my Aunt Lila’s yard in Orofino. Grandma West passed away in November of 1990. I still remember being with Mom in the front bedroom of her house when she received the call about Grandma passing away. Molly had been born in August of that year while we lived in Glendive, Montana, and we had traveled to Kellogg for Thanksgiving and to have Molly dedicated at church. That next spring when we were living with Mom and Dad for a few weeks between our transition from Glendive to Meridian, Idaho, Mom, Molly and I drove to Orofino to either help plant the tree or see the tree, because we have photographs of all of us around the tree. The dogwood was one of Grandma West’s favorite trees.
*It was a rainy walk this morning, but it felt good. It was actually rather warm outside.
*I worked on some school things today in preparation for returning on Monday. Time to get into school mode once again.
*One of my favorite little guys, Jackson Maxwell, and his mom Jessica stopped by with a wonderful card Jackson had made for me. It was on poster board, and had foam stickers and glitter glue. It was perfect.
*I hadn’t been out in the community much in the last week, so I hadn’t seen a lot of people face to face. But this evening I was shown all kinds of love. First I stopped at the Sierra Silver Mine Tour to pick up my check and turn in my key, and had a wonderful talk with Susan P. Halley. Then Paul and I went to the Sixth Street Melodrama to sell concessions and watch the show. It was great fun, and there were many people attending the show or in the show that gave me big hugs and let me know they were thinking about me and praying for our family. It was a wonderful evening filled with lots of love.
*Cosette had visited an Internal Medicine specialist this morning, and he told her to keep doing what she had been doing, as long as it was working, and to take it easy. I am so glad she has had such a good week.
*I received a very touching audio prayer from my sister-in-law Laurie Roberts this afternoon. I was more than touched by her kind words and prayers she sent my way.
*This week Nikki and I have had the pleasure of having her “granddog” Pansy walk with us in the morning. We have had to alter our route so she doesn’t wake up every dog in the neighborhood, but that is okay. She enjoys her morning walk with us.
*Bill, Christy and I met together on how we should proceed forward regarding Mom’s estate. Some things will get done in the next couple days, but others will wait until October when Bill returns from Maryland.
*Cosette continues to have a good week, and has not had any kind of relapse. That makes this Momma feel very good. My prayer is she continues to recover and get stronger every day.
*I talked to my friend Stephanie Bauman Broaddus today on the phone. We had a great talk about dealing with the things left behind of a departed loved one, Cosette’s health issues (Stephanie was very helpful giving Paul some information on some medication that may help Coco, and it seems to have helped), and what my last couple months have been like. I felt very uplifted after getting off the phone with Stephanie. It was a good phone call.
*With the addition of Mom’s two wing chairs to our living room, it was a good time to sweep and mop the floors, and rearrange to make room for the new additions. We also added a small table from Mom’s and additional lamps. Paul and I are both happy with the results.
*Steve Bourgard came over and we got the ball rolling to get our roof redone. I am so thankful we can get this project done before winter comes. His crew will start tearing off the old shingles at the beginning of next week. We will also be getting some new gutters, which are also much needed. We will paint the house next spring/summer, and have a whole new look to our house!
*While over at Mom’s house, I also had a chance to go through her clothes, and there were a few items I held back. Some as keepsakes, some as costumes, and some to possibly wear. It was nice to have Christy there with me as we remembered certain things about certain items of Mom’s clothing. It also gave me a chance to read through more cards that had been sent to Mom’s house, that I hadn’t seen yet. We are a very blessed family surrounded by much love.
*Bill, Christy, Paul and I had a lovely dinner on our patio provided by Chris Schonewald Meyer. Her husband Dan smoked some Cornish Game Hens, which I had never had smoked before, and they were delicious. She also had stuffing, green beans, potatoes salad and pie, and a special Huckleberry drink. It was a wonderful gesture of love. And she also gave each of us a special framed saying about Family that was very kind as well.
*After dinner, I tackled another project. I brought home all the boxes of china Mom had at her home. I didn’t really remember her original china, but Christy pointed it out to me, and it is a beautiful pattern of purple violets on a white background with a gold trim. It is called “Woodland Fantasy”. I took it out of the boxes it was stored in, and hand washed each piece. Mom and Dad would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June if Dad had still been alive. As I washed the dishes, I imagined what stories these dishes could tell of the times they were used for our special family dinners, beginning 65 years ago.
Plant received from the Sixth Street Melodrama board
*Paul headed up to Kellogg High School bright and early this morning to help with registration. I stayed home, taking time to enjoy my final days of summer break before going back to work on Monday.
*At 10 a.m. I had a meeting with Cindy at Wells Fargo to talk about the process of how to handle Mom’s finances. She was very helpful, and it helps Bill, Christy and I know what needs to be to create an estate checking account for Mom and how we proceed.
*I finally went through some things in my office, and filled two garbage bags full of things to be thrown away. This is a project that has been long overdue, and I am glad I made a little bit of progress on this monumental task. It will be nice when I can finally go in and use my office again as it is intended.
*Bill has been boxing up Mom’s belongings from her basement and putting them in the garage. He wanted Christy and I to come and go through the items so we could take anything we wanted, then we could decide what to do with things next. So Paul and I headed over to go through things, and packed ups the car with more items. We left the bigger items for tomorrow, when we can use Everett’s truck. I find comfort in knowing I am going to be surrounded in my home with some of Mom’s “things”. She had quite an extensive copper collection that I am going to put on the walls of my kitchen. Some of her shadow boxes have already found places on the walls of our home. The wing chairs that were in her home, then in her room at Kindred are now in my home.
*Bill also spent time putting Mom’s clothes from the basement into boxes. It is strange walking into her living room and seeing boxes of her clothes on the floor. I almost didn’t want to look. Again, we all process different. Bill wants to get things boxed up, taken care of, and done before he leaves for Maryland. I need more time to linger, to my hands on things, to think of things as I look at Mom’s items. I hope to find time to do that with more of Mom’s things this week, before they are taken away.
*Getting cards in the mail is so comforting. It is such a nice gesture to know people are thinking of you, and taking the time to write a card. And the beautiful plant sent to us from the Sixth Street Melodrama board was a very loving gesture. And the food people bring, and the meals prepared. It is all so wonderful.
*In the many wonderful messages I have received from people, part of that message is “let me know if I can do anything”. And I never know how to respond to that request. But there has been something I have wanted someone to do over the past few months that has not happened. And this request in no way discounts the many prayers that have been said for me and my family these past weeks. I appreciate them greatly, and know they are helping. I have had many, many people prayer for me. But what I haven’t had is someone (outside of Paul) pray with me. To take my hand, and pray with me. I believe that would bring me great comfort and strength. So, to those of you who are wondering what you can do, and this would be comfortable for you to do, come, take my hand, and pray with me.
*Paul grilled some tilapia and I suggested we have fish tacos. So he went a got the rest of the ingredients we needed, and we enjoyed some delicious fish tacos. Yum! Yum!
*While looking at the television shows I can watch on Amazon Prime Videos, I came across Family Affair and started watching it. Boy, was this a blast from the past, watching how Buffy and Jody and Cissy all ended up with their Uncle Bill in New York City, and his British butler Mr. French. And how many of you had a Mrs. Beasley doll? I think it was something I always wanted but never received.
*Paul and I spent the morning sitting in the backyard enjoying the Solar Eclipse. I am very thankful to the Kellogg Public Library for providing glasses to view the eclipse. I am not disappointed it didn’t get darker. I liked the experience for what it was. I enjoyed seeing the shadows change in the backyard, and the temperature lower. I enjoyed seeing the moon pass in front of the sun, and how it changed every ten minutes or so. I was curious why, when I took a photograph that the bright sun was in the sky, but the position of the eclipse was much smaller and kept moving in the sky, and opposite of what I saw through my special glasses.
*This is my favorite photo I took of the solar eclipse.
*When a parent dies, there are tasks that need completed, and I took care of some of those today. Mom had a retirement account through PERSI, and I called and notified them of her death, and got the process in motion for her condolence package to be sent to us. I called and canceled her local newspaper. She will receive a small refund. I called her landline provider, Frontier. Since no one but Mom is on the account, a formal letter needs to be faxed requesting her landline be discontinued. I set up an appointment with someone at her bank to go over her bank accounts. It does simplify matters that I am a signer on her accounts. But with each task I start and complete, each time I have to say “My mother passed away”, the repetition of those words make the reality more pronounced. Intellectually I know she is dead. But the acceptance is still a process.
*My friend Carolyn and used to have breakfast on a fairly regular basis. But we have not been able to get together for some time. We finally have a lunch date set for Thursday. It will be good to finally get together and catch up.
*A few weeks ago my wonderful friend Amy gave me a basket with bubble bath and a candle, and instructions on taking some time to take a nice relaxing bath. Today, I took advantage of the wonderful gift, and took a nice relaxing bath. It was just what I needed.
*It was good talking to Coco this evening, and she sounded good, and had a good day, and, again, I hope she has a good week.
*Paul grilled some vegetables from the garden, and some tuna steaks, and we enjoyed a nice meal on the patio. What a beautiful evening.
*It was nice hearing from Paul this morning that Cosette had got some rest while in the hospital the night before, and was finally keeping food down. She was discharged in the afternoon, and will stay with Molly and Travis at their apartment. The hospital gave her a note to give her professors and work that she needs to take a week off to rest and recuperate. I hope she listens! (Yes, this is a HINT! HINT! for you Cosette).
*I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to attend The Million Dollar Quartet this afternoon at the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene, but I made it happen. Christy let me borrow her car, and I knew Cosette was getting released from the hospital, so I took part in the last show of the season, as a special way to remember Mom. Mom had bought herself, Paul and I season tickets to the three summer shows as birthday presents for us. She was unable to attend any of the shows. We missed the first show because I was out of town, and Paul and Zoe forgot to go. Paul, Molly and I enjoyed South Pacific. So I went to this one alone. I got a little teary at the beginning, thinking about Mom and the times we enjoyed attending these shows together. And the show was fabulous. The premise of the show is based on a real event that happened at Sun Records recording studio with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis all were there at the same time, and had a “jam session” of sorts. At intermission I texted Paul, who was not going to make it to the show, saying I hoped I wouldn’t cry too much when they performed Peace in the Valley in the second act. Paul had been singing this to Mom the weeks up to her death. And I did cry when they sang it. It is a beautiful song. Here is the actual Million Dollar Quartet performing this song, as well as others here.
*After the show, I called Paul on the phone, and I also called Cosette to see how she was doing. She was a little teary. A lot of love from family members had been sent her way today, and she was very overwhelmed. A big thank you to Kevin, Linda, Karlie, David, Michele, Laurie and anyone else who sent her messages. She was very touched and really felt your love.
*One of Mom’s favorite restaurants in Coeur d’Alene was Applebees. So continue with this afternoon of remembering Mom, I went to Applebees to eat dinner. When I arrived, there was a table of three ladies who I sat by at the show (who I know from the valley). They asked me to join them, and I did. It was nice visiting with them.
*Paul hadn’t quite made it to Coeur d’Alene by the time I was done with dinner, so I drove home and waited for him to arrive. It was so nice to have him home.
*I am glad I was able to be with Mom in spirit today doing a few of her favorite things. But it made me miss her even more.
*Today was spent alone at home. I needed today, to just be in a quiet house to think and pray and process. But it wasn’t easy. Zoe and Jason left around 11 or so, then I was here by myself.
*I guess I wasn’t totally alone. I had Sadie, and Toby, and Benjamin, and Clark, and Dumblebunz, and Booker.
*And I also had the Reagan family. From the television show Blue Bloods. I watched some episodes of this show on and off throughout the day.
*And my favorite author, Madeleine L’Engle also kept me company with the words from her memoir The Summer of the Great-Grandmother. This is a memoir L’Engle wrote about caring for her 90 year old mother in the final months of her life. Her words often hit a little too close to home, but also give me much comfort as she shares her struggles of caring for her mother in her final days.
*When her mother first arrived at their family home in Connecticut, her husband started having numbing in his feet. She was worried it may be a brain tumor. This is a passage she shared about this time, one I relate to as I ponder the recent loss of my mother, and the health issues my daughter is experiencing while in the hospital in Moscow.
“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand. It stops us from taking anything for granted. It has also taught me a lot about living in the immediate moment. I am somehow managing to live one day, one hour at a time.”
*Madeleine’s husband ended up having diabetes, something they were easily able to treat. And I believe Cosette will be okay. It may just be a long road to complete recovery. Keep praying!! She has letters for her professors and her work saying she needs to take a week off to rest and recuperate before returning to school. We all hope this helps. She is moving in with Molly and Travis as she recuperates.
After reading the passage from the book last night, this is the song that keeps going through my head:
"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less" by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
1. My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.
2. When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.
3. His oath, His covenant, and blood Support me in the whelming flood; When every earthly prop gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.
4. When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found, Clothed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne! On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.