Posts Tagged ‘gail’

Full Circle

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

We started this year of travel in April after all the cancer stuff was over; it was like a New Year’s celebration to head to Phoenix on our way to Colorado. One of the first photos I included in my blog was a saguaro cactus (they look like people to me), and here I am back in Arizona finishing up 2012’s travels.

It’s been totally awesome to think back at our time with Focus on Family, a European riverboat cruise, England friends and memories, family reunion on the Jersey shore. Disneyworld and Daytona, a retirement celebration, forever friends, DC Marathon, Hurricane Sandy, voting absentee on the road, a noreaster, humidity, wind, rain, snow, icicle-cold, and desert hot!

While at the family reunion at the shore, we fondly remembered cousin Sandy, who lost her cancer battle.I am so glad we had gotten closer over the last couple years. It seems like she might have had her hand in protecting her family’s beach house when her namesake hurricane came through and didn’t do any harm.

And while visiting Barnoldswick, England, we joined friends still mourning the death of my special friend Gail Usher. Some of her ashes are hidden in a crevice on the south side of the Grand Canyon because this was a special spot for her! We end our travels by way of this majestic natural wonder to be near and reflect on the gift of her friendship.

This journey, all of 2012, has shown us the glory of God in the sights, sounds, and tastes we have experienced, but most of all the people. It’s always good to come home, but if your heart is with God then it ALL feels like home.


Memorial Bench

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

With Gail’s untimely death, the brilliant idea of a bench for the town square came about. With donations from town folk, friends, and all who she touched, a design for a unique and touching bench was submitted and is currently being created. It will reside in the niche of the square where Gail could be found several times a day when she needed a quick break.

It’s the left corner of the square where she could look back at her shop. This is a view from the shop window and the current bench will be moved.

An unveiling and dedication will take place on Barnoldswick Day on Sept. 8, 2012.

Tribute Trip

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

When making plans for this vacation, we couldn’t stop in Europe with out dropping in on Gail and Karl; they were even thinking of joining us on the continent for some travel.

So we locked in two weeks with them. Gail has the flower shop over here and has frequently helped me in my shop over the last 7 or 8 years when she has come for extended stays in the states.

But Gail died in her sleep the day before Easter and we are here and she isn’t. I can’t begin to tell you how such a vibrant, dynamic friend has left a hole in the lives of those who knew and loved her, as well as the entire town of Barnoldswick.

To be with her family and friends as well as staying in her home and sharing memories is special but difficult, healing but bittersweet. And the only response I know of when someone dear is gone to soon, is to live a bigger life and try to embody some of their passions.  We miss you, sweet friend.

Barnoldswick, UK

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

andy is jealous because of this pictureThe most pleasant of English country towns you will ever find! The Kallas’ and the Morales’ dropped in on friends, Gail and Karl, and cousins Carol and Chris…friends and family!

Picture rolling lush green hills, dotted with fluffy sheep and frolicking lambs, stack stone fences and corner pubs, steak and kidney pie, and puddings, pints and pubs. “oh to be in England, now that spring is here (name that author).”

Daffodils line every lane and drizzle freshens each morning.  Tho’ we still bundle up as it’s in the 40’s and 50’s, inside it is cozy and the aromas of Karls cooking warms the soul.

Hoping to help Gail during her (English) Mothers’ Day rush,we found we were of most help staying out of her way in the teeny flower shop. Steve was a “runner” for some deliveries  but we depended on Karl to show us more of his neck of the woods.

Hurrah For Hollywood

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009


Back on the road;  this time to Hollywood, California. Steve was covering a convention for Pfizer …. Our hotel was right under the Hollywood sign, and right down the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater and all the footprints of the stars. That seemed to be the headquarters for all things weird, and tours and Wax Museaum etc.  I did the typical “tourist” thing and took a tour of the stars homes, Madam Taussauds Wax Museum, and just people watching. Gail and Carl joined us….that’s her accosting Spiderman. Fun and Funky!


Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

I can’t even make out this language…dots and dashes and shapes that all make up the language of this barren and intriguing country.

We landed  here after two successful flights on Ryan Air, and because of their strict weight allowances on baggage, we were wearing 5 & 6 layers of our heaviest clothes to make it under the 15 gram  per bag ( we were within half a pound on each).  We roasted on the planes, but needed it when we got off.  It is a gorgeous day, puffy clouds, and snow falling like dandruff but not sticking: it is 32 degrees. Having left Gails at 5am, we will take a quick walk around our Radisson Artrium Hotel, clean up, and call it a day.

On a side note, everyone here sounds like the swedish chef on the ol’ Muppet show.  

 tak,tak (thank you in swedish)

Designing Woman

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
Designing Woman

Designing Woman

Gail Usher

• Shop Owner
• Newly Elected Chamber  of Trade President (by a landslide)
• New Rotarian
Hollies Fan
• Good Friend
• Devoted Daughter, Sister, Mother, Confidant, Girlfriend.

Gail is THE designing force behind all that is good and creative in Barnoldswick! 

And right now she is one tired puppy, having survived yet another Mothers’ Day in England. Heading up a staff of 8, she served the community and handled 450 orders on Saturday and nearly 100 on Sunday (all while being hostess to two foreigners from across the pond).


Sunday, March 22nd, 2009


Carol and Chris Howarth live in Barnoldswick, they  have one son Warren, who is married to Michelle and they are parents to Owen! ( are you with me so far?) Carol and my Dad are cousins: my Dad’s mother (Marion Mc Nabb Fear)  is half sister to Carol’s dad, Sam(Nice). That makes us related! They are also the ones who introduced us to Gail (her favorite florist) when we were here 6 years ago. . . and the rest is history.

We have fallen in LOVE with Owen; rosy cheeks, blue eyes, spikey hair…and he even comes with the cutes accent. And his favorite sport is golf.  Owen turns 4 in May.



Ramblin’ Raymond

Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Guide Extrodinaire

Guide Extrodinaire

“Oh, to be in England, now that spring is here.” ( I think that’s Shakespear) What a wonderful day Steve and I had with our personal quide, Raymond Chadwick!!( Gail’s Dad) We had an eight hour tour of the English countryside; from Whalley to Mortcambe , Windemere to the Trough of  Bowland,and all glorious parts in between. From frolicking new born lambs, to colorful pheasants, ancient churchyards to blooming daffodils!

It was a wonderful day and filled with stories and jokes from our guide, Raymond. ( “If you look out the window and see Pendle, if will rain soon. If you look out the window and can not see Pendle, it IS raining!”)

We had fish and chips in the lake district on Lake Windemere and enjoyed a British marvel….SUNSHINE!  A family meal around Gail’s table completed a perfect day with lots of family jesting and love:)

Kooking with Karl

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

cooking-with-karlI am in love…and the man of my dreams is a wizard in the kitchen! Karl is an old friend of Gail’s and has reentered her life after many years. He is in residence. Besides being brilliant with his own internet company, he makes sure that Gail comes home from the House of Flowers to a warm meal. We have had the most sumptious of dinners here…Thai shrimp, Chicken Cassoulet, Chicken and dumplings,and to-die-for Croissant Bread Pudding (all from SCRATCH)!

–4 (stale) Croissants
–4 T water
–250 ml. double cream
–250 ml whole milk
–4 T Bourbon
–4 eggs,beaten

thai-cookingTear the Croissants in pieces in put in casserole dish. put the sugar in a sauce pan with the water and caramelize by letting it bubble away with out stirring until it turns deep amber. Turn the heat down and add the cream ( ignore the sputtering) and the bourbon. Take off the heat and while still whisking, add the beaten eggs,.  Pour over the croissants and let them soak it up for 10+ minutes. Place in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes and be prepared to swoon!!  

I hope , I hope we can talk Karl into coming to Italy and letting his cooking imagination run wild.