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[Comments] (5) Hey, People at Mom's House: What are you feeding the cats?

I stamped a piece of incoming mail from "J. Bean" today.

Mom-isms #1: Ugly Dog Contest:

That dog is so ugly, it can't possibly be going anywhere other than an Ugly Dog Contest.

Bright and Early: I've been awake since 3 AM so I finally got up and came into work. A guy across the hall from my cube comes in at 3 to do data downloads from South Africa, so I'm not alone (and he turned the alarm off for me).

The company is letting me take a three-week leave of absence to be with mom, make funeral and estate sale plans, recovery emotionally, etc. I couldn't sleep thinking about all the things I'd like to get done today, but I know I won't worry about it one bit once I'm gone. I am going to Bakersfield as soon as I can get off work today. John is coming up Friday morning.

: Today has been a very productive day. Rachel and I awoke early by Mom and Anne talking about Rachel. Don't worry, Anne is writing down all the conversations we have with Mom. I didn't get a lot of sleep because I stayed up late cleaning Rachel's room (but not as late as everyone else). The day began with a clean house.

Anne came home from Target with a packet of colored stickers, some Sharpies and some giant ziplocks. We began the sorting process. We went through Mom's cedar chest, the books, the crystal, vases and silverware and the paintings. The house is a mess, and I won't pretend it's an orderly mess, but everything has stickies on it now! This made Mom feel better because she is worried about people not getting things. There are heirloom items for all of the nieces, but boys are harder to "shop" for. The girls will be getting not only a piece of their Aunt Frances, but a piece of Grandma Lorna or Della. Mom was very helpful in identifying the origin of the items in her cedar chest. We made sure to write where everything came from, because no one else will ever figure it out. I am not sure yet what I'll be doing with full service silver, china and crystal...

Alyson and I also did some more work in the yard and Mom's cousin Steven Call drove up and spent several hours with us. Mom enjoyed seeing him again. Uncle Garry also came by and stayed for a while.

We have an appointment tomorrow with the mortuary in Bakersfield. The booklet the hospice nurse gave us places her breathing patterns (occasionally stopped for 10-15 seconds at a time) under "one to two days to hours prior to death". I think I noticed this earlier, but Hillary pointed it out today.

: My mommy died last week, on Friday, May 5, 2006. I am very sad, and have a lot to say. Unfortunately, I am also very busy, packing up things, planning a funeral and a trip to Utah, and getting ready to sell the house.

[Comments] (3) Obituary: Here is Mom's obituary. The death date is wrong, and this is entirely my fault.

Viewing will be held Wednesday, May 10th, 11:00 a.m. with services at 1:00 p.m., at the L.D.S. Church, 316 A Street, in Bakersfield. Frances Whitney was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 22, 1952, to Lorna Call and Lewis Earl Whitney. Their first child, she was followed quickly by Leonard, Jonathan, Anne, and Robert. The young family lived in Arizona; Utah; Colorado; and New Mexico; before settling in Sunnyvale, California. Frances graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Comparative Literature. While working in Los Angeles after graduation, she met Roy Richardson. Roy and Frances married in the Los Angeles LDS Temple on August 11, 1978. Their first child, Leonard Dalton, was born in 1979. Daughters Susanna and Rachel followed in 1981 and 1983. While in Los Angeles, the Richardsons made contributions to community and church. In 1987, they moved to Arvin, CA near the Richardson family ranch. Roy became ill and died in May 1992. Frances returned to school and earned a Master's degree in English in 1997. She taught at Chipman JHS, East BHS, and BC, while supporting her children in their many activities. Frances was determined to live to see her children achieve success. She spent her last years in joyful service, despite an ailing body. Her spirit and determination, in the face of difficulties is a legacy cherished by all. Frances was preceded in death by her husband, Roy; her parents, Earl and Lorna; and her father- and mother-in-law, Dalton and Rosalie. She is survived by her son, Leonard and his wife, Sumana; her daughter Susanna and Susanna's husband, John; her daughter Rachel; her brothers Leonard, Jonathan and Robert; her sister, Anne; her sister-in-law Pat; her brothers-in-law Garry and Don; and many nieces and nephews. Frances Whitney April 22, 1952 - May 6, 2006

Susie: Is it real jewelry?
Leonard: I don't know. It might just be baubles.
Susie: Well, is it metal?
Leonard: It's shiny... [imitating Susie] "These are paperclips!"

dear aunt susie:
please don't be sad. love: James
happy may day!

John, Leonard, Rachel and I are at the Chadwicks' for the weekend. We had a wonderful day doing mostly nothing, and got a lot of sleep. We met Dave, Alyson, Atticus and Samuel at The Soup Kitchen for lunch, picked Sumana up at the airport and had dinner with most of the Chadwicks. Tomorrow is mom's burial in Provo, and we are also having a small service in Orem.

Mom-isms #2: Skinny Monday Paper:
What's left after the purge of news, coupons and funnies on Sunday.

We saved Mom the embarrasment of having her obituary printed in the Skinny Monday Paper by conveniently forgetting.

I'll Always Remember: In the early hours of May 5, 2006, Mom wakes Anne up. "This is harder than I thought," she says. "I need help." Anne calls Bishop Davis and wakes us all up. Mom is wheeled out into the living room and we all gathered around on the couches. Before long, the Bishop asks Mom what her favorite songs are, and we begin singing hymns to her. Mom sits quietly in her wheelchair, raising her head after each song to tell us how beautiful it was.

During a bit of a lull, I move from the piano to the couch with Leonard. After a couple minutes, I notice Leonard has his hymn book open to Master the Tempest is Raging. "Did you want to sing that?," I ask. "Do you think that would be ok?" he answers, with a little-boy look on his face. It is about 2:30 am; I go back to the piano.

After playing the last few bars as an introduction, I move back to the beginning of the song and begin. I stumble a bit over the first few measures, then, as I'm beginning to think I should just start over, Mom lifts her head and says loudly, "What in the world!"

[Comments] (2) Cleaning House:
Rachel: But it has a matching hat!
Susie: That is a terrible reason to keep something.

: "Oooh, I really want to kill it... What an opportunity!"
Brother Nielsen on the black widow in our garage.

[Comments] (2) : We have been very busy cleaning out the house, packing things and giving things away. Today I started the cleaning process and got through Mom's bedroom and bathroom and the windows in the study. Tomorrow we'll do the kitchen. I've had two accidents (not too bad, for those who know my clumsiness), one with a chair and one with a plastic tape dispenser. My feet are very sore, but Leonard is probably more sore.

Garry sent two of his guys to help clean up the yard and trim the bushes so the house can be seen. They are doing an awesome job, and also helping to get rid of the lemon juice in the freezer (we are on our sixth pitcher of lemonade).

Brother and Sister Stewart came by for the wheat and left with an entire pick-up load of food. We gave them all of the canned things not marked by Rachel or myself, everything in the garage etc. and made them promise to come back for the turkeys in the freezer. It's nice to have it gone and know it will be used. The Langley's bought our loveseat.

Even though there will still be a lot for poor Rachel to do, I am very excited to get home and see my husband. Our cruise is in 5 days!

Leonard's friend Peter came by yesterday and scanned things from our "scan 'n' toss" pile the entire time he was here. He also, very helpfully, took a load of my stuff down to Costa Mesa - all of the furniture we are keeping and a few boxes.

Set up for the quote: We have been using up paper plates, plasticware and cups and were eating a yummy dinner made by Aunt Pat.
Peter: Well, I'll get back to scanning.
Leonard: We'll take care of your dishes.

[Comments] (3) What's Wrong With Being Dead?: Leonard, Rachel and I were discussing whether one should say "dead" or "passed away" today. We have decided that our family is weird and that's ok.

Rachel: Too bad we're not eligible for Social Security.
Susie: I wonder how much you get if both of your parents are ... "passed away."
Leonard: Not as much as you would if they were dead.

What?: Rachel: Will you get me some lotion so I can enjoy my dinner?

I've been disoriented for two weeks now, but Leonard and Rachel are starting to catch up. Leonard is starting to catch up to me on accidents, too. He put some frozen manicotti in the oven with the plastic lid on.

Tomorrow I get to go home! The car is packed, although I couldn't fit all of my stuff. We are all exhausted.

: We have had a busy but relaxing few days since I got home on Sunday morning. Last evening we went to Disneyland and today to California Adventure (making up for lost time). We also unpacked and put away all of our new things from Mom's house and packed for our cruise. We visited with Uncle Justin and Aunt Barbara yesterday. I learned that Della collected owls.

Tomorrow we leave for Alaska - I can hardly wait! It is going to be such an adventure and so relaxing after the business of the past few weeks. I am certainly not looking forward to the piles of work awaiting my return, but I am going to do my best to ignore it for another week.

[Comments] (2) Alaska: Ready or not, here I come!

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