About Barbara Anne Hough

This began on March 8, 2011.

It chronicles Mom’s journey of almost three years.  Thank you SO MUCH for all your thoughts, prayers, cards, flowers and visits, beginning with her February 22, 2011, admission to Howard County General through her years at Lorien until she left this earth for heaven on February 17, 2014.  She is now with the good Lord, and reunited with many family and friends who went before her. Regular blog entries ended on March 8, 2014, but periodic updates on news about the family will continue.

Mom would like that.


Hi all!

It has been a while since I posted; however, my schedule would make you shake your head.  When I posted last, I’d just returned from Nairobi.  Since then, we attended Nina’s graduation from Johns Hopkins (Master of Education)… hosted Carol and Jim (Scott’s sister and brother-in-law) for Memorial Day weekend…I had a weekend in Roanoke, VA (with friend, Cindy Coto)… there was a great week in Boston/Cape Cod (Scott, Andy and Nina)…I was in Chicago on business, and there was a lovely long weekend in Northwest Arkansas (with Scott, Kara & Mark Rago).  I leave this coming Monday for a week of training in Harbor East/Baltimore.   ALL GOOD, and yet my suitcase and I are very good friends right now.  Also, since my last post, we celebrated Scott’s birthday, Wayne’s birthday, and Father’s Day.  And, Andy began a four month deployment.  Sigh.

Maybe these pictures tell the story better.   Graduation!  Nina and Andy…Carol and Jim…Cindy and Laura…followed by Boston (Freedom Trail, Granary Burial Ground, Old North Church, Make Way for Ducklings, U.S.S. Constitution, Bunker Hill, Lobster!), Plymouth, Thoreau’s house across from Walden Pond, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, Chatham, the Chihuly exhibit at Crystal Bridges (Bentonville, Arkansas), cooking with Kara, and WYLIE, the Rago’s cute Scottie puppy !  Enjoy!  Love, Laura

Yesterday, was a family celebration for Andy’s 34th birthday.  The actual day was Friday, May 19.  Randy and Arielle were up from Florida.  They brought Wayne and joined me, Scott, Andy and Nina at the Sunset Lounge and Restaurant in Glen Burnie.  In addition to being one of Mom’s favorite places, it was also the site of my first date with high school boyfriend, Rick Butts, before we went to the movies to see Romeo and Juliet in January 1971.  Lots of family history!  We dined in the “tiffany lamp” room which is the original restaurant, within the expansion and our party of seven enjoyed crab soup, crab cakes, chicken imperial and more in its confines.  Then, we left to go to Andy and Nina’s house.  I’d been trying to figure out how to get Wayne over to see their house for a while now.  It’s about an hour plus from Mt. Airy, but too far for him to drive on unfamiliar roads, and for us to orchestrate it by driving him would pretty much take the whole day.  This way…Randy could chauffeur and it worked wonderfully. Wayne, as well as Randy and Arielle, got to see their beautiful home and enjoy delightful homemade desserts of cupcakes, coffee butter pecan ice cream and chocolate mint ice cream.  Nina gets credit for making the chocolate mint ice cream!  And of course, Laika and Cosmo provided a good deal of entertainment.  It was a memorable three and a half hours.  I could feel Mom enjoying it too.  Once Randy sends me some pictures as he took a few, I’ll post them to share.

As for me, I’m glad to be back from so much travel.  Since I posted last in mid-April, I’ve been to a wedding in Myrtle Beach, a conference in Miami and a retreat and board meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.   Nina “walks” on Tuesday across the stage to receive her Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University.  Then, we have Scott’s sister and brother-in-law coming our way for Memorial Day weekend.  I have a weekend in Roanoke planned in early June with dear friend, Cindy Coto.  Then, Andy, Nina, Scott and I have our week long Boston/Cape trip June 14-21.  Hard to believe I have time for a demanding job in between all of this!  Ha!  I will post pictures of past and future events soon.  In the meantime, enjoy spring and hug your family and friends.  Love, Laura


Happy Good Friday to this most wonderful blog community.  I’ve been remiss.  I admit it.  It’s been over two months.  Never has it been this long.  It is making me think.  The purpose of this blog was to keep everyone in touch with Mom’s health situation after she fell ill in February 2011.  Have we all moved on?  Are there other ways to keep in touch?  Maybe.  You let me know what you think.   Is Facebook enough?  (smile).

Not long after my last post, Scott and I spent 3 weeks in New Zealand and Australia.  We boarded the ship on the 3rd anniversary of Mom’s passing.  I keep trying to do BIG things on that day to distract.  It helps somewhat.  It was an amazing trip.  Auckland, Waiheke Island, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, the Sounds, Hobart and Sydney.  Here is a taste.  I seriously recommend it!  I’m up to 35 countries so far with many more on my bucket list.  Happy Easter weekend.  I hope this incredible Holy Week has helped you focus on all that He did for you!  Love, Laura

Hi all,

I should have shared a picture connected to my last post.  This is Norman and Sue Koonce, age 84 and 80, respectively, my former CEO from  the American Institute of Architects, and his wife.  Lovely folks of the highest order.  norman-and-sueAlso, nice to share a celebration of a different kind.  My wonderful DiL, Nina, and I had a girl’s night out at Seasons 52 to celebrate the completion of her Master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University.  It was a great evening!  She’ll “walk” in May and we are all excited to attend!  Now she is volunteering at an animal shelter locally and waiting to begin her substitute role in the school system between April and June.nina-masters-celebrationLooking forward, much travel ahead.  A lot for work and a little for personal.  Scott and I will enjoy time with Andy and Nina this weekend.  I will spend the third anniversary of Mom’s passing (February 17) by doing something fun…I think she’d like that.  Wayne and I agreed that her death is not what we want to remember.  It is her life we want to remember.  So of course, her birthday (August 2) is still cause for celebration in our book.   And yet, I realized with this post, that I’ve been writing this blog now for longer after we lost Mom than I did before!   What???  How did that happen?   Its whole intent was to inform so many people who were interested in how she was doing day-by-day.  Now, it is to keep those same folks, and some more (!), up to speed on all the things Mom WOULD be telling you about what is going on in the family.  I suspect she is finding a way to read these blog updates herself.

Other spring travel for work includes a week in the U.K., a week plus in Nairobi, and a week in north Miami.  North Miami sounds boring, doesn’t it?  Ha ha!  Scott will hold down the fort at home.   I’m teaching on line in the midst of this craziness, but this REALLY is my last semester.  Really!  Work-wise, it has been an interesting couple of weeks heading up HR for a global development company with 3,000 employees, including U.S. permanent residents, U.S. visa holders, third country nationals and foreign nationals working in over 100 countries.  And then there is where we do work.  Some in Somalia.  Some in Iraq.  You get the picture.  My NY based immigration lawyers are on speed dial and I am the POC with our staff on our global travel updates.  Suspect the issue around the executive order and the stay will go the Supreme Court, but I have a lot of great people who are afraid to do their work right now.  Doesn’t matter your politics.  It also gets real when CBP separates kids from parents at Dulles airport, takes away phones and denies access to food and water for hours.  True.  My attorney friend’s daughter is also an attorney and camped out at Dulles to help.  First hand reports – not from the media.  Maybe I should have just posted puppy pictures here.

Thanks to each of you, subscribers and those who check in periodically, for being so supportive these past six years.  More posts to come.  Lots of love, Laura

This was a day of reflection.  A former colleague of mine and I spent a bulk of the day with our former CEO and his wife, Sue.  Norman Koonce, FAIA is a fellow of the AIA and was CEO of the American Institute of Architects from 1999-2005.   I headed up HR for the Institute from 2000-2006.  I learned that “DESIGN MATTERS” from Norman.   He’d befriended Jonas Salk in the 1990s and came to understand how Dr. Salk had been frustrated with trying to figure out the polio vaccine.  Salk retreated to a 13th century monastery in Assisi and was able to think intuitively in ways far beyond his prior abilities.  He came back to his lab in La Jolla, validated his thinking and  we now have the polio vaccine.  According to Dr. Salk, this happened because of the special design of where he was in Assisi.  Again….design matters.  Norman taught me these and other interesting things.  Also, I could always count on Norman as the “closer”; someone who could land that “hard to attract candidate” with that story about Jonas Salk along with Norman’s grace and charm.  Norman also taught me how to properly use a stapler (long story), why and how design affects how we think, heal, learn and live, and how to be genuine and true to your (competitive) self.

I told him today about my distant cousin, Robert Pascal Burns, born in 1933, an FAIA, who was honored for his teaching at NC State for 40 years and all his professional successes, before his tragic death in 2005.  Norman is now 84, and although close in age and profession, as well as being in the College of Fellows as well, he didn’t remember cousin, Bobby.  But Norman gets a pass.  As many as he needs. He struggles with growing influences of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but fortunately is still good enough to engage on some levels.

So…today…I honor the legacies built by the “traditionals” – those of my parents’ generation….like Norman and Sue.  And I look forward, despite our current challenges, to a future built on intellect, hard work and a good heart!

With love, Laura

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve.  Here are some pictures to share of the family and festivities.   First one:  Andy, Nina, Laika and Cosmo.  Second one:  Natalie (cousin), Doris (Nina’s mom), Bijan (Nina’s brother), Hossein (Nina’s dad), Scott, Darius (Nina’s brother), Nina, Haven (Nina’s niece), Jessica (Haven’s mom and Nina’s cousin).  Third one:  our tree.   Fourth one:  Wayne out with us for pre-Christmas lunch.  I hope you are making great memories this Christmas!   Love, Laura2016-andy-and-nina-family-christmas-photo 2016-christmas-day-group 2016-christmas-tree 2016-wayne-cmas

I promise to post happy pictures in the next week of time with Wayne on the 23rd, Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch.   Really, I will.

And yet….yesterday, someone posted a video on FB entitled “A Christmas Message from Heaven”, written and narrated by a Brit named Steve Wentworth.  I can’t seem to post the video here, but if you are interested, I’m sure you could google it.  I watched and listened and cried.   Here are the words.

As I look down from heaven

On this special Christmas Day

I’ll try to send you little signs

That I never went away.


I see you when you’re crying

I feel your loss and pain

So hold onto the knowledge,

That we’ll be reunited once again.


So even though you miss me

At this special time of year.

The greatest gift you give me

Is your smile instead of tears.


So when Christmas starts without me.

Know we are not far apart.

For whenever you think of me

I’m with you in your heart.

The third Christmas without Mom.  I don’t want her back to be in pain or to endure the life at Lorien.  People were great to her there, but I’ll never forget her saying to me once, “My world is this room”.  She had more visitors and more oversight of her care than likely most who will ever stay at Lorien.   And yet, that was not the life Mom enjoyed for 80 years.   I want her back to be happy and healthy.  I want her back to give up cigarettes when she was a young woman.   I want her back to be present in all that goes on – the ups, the downs, the whole package.

I’ve settled into another holiday season without her, but I just plain don’t like it.  Still seems surreal.  The distance (in time and presence) between me and Mom is palpable.  Pastor Mark did a good job this morning with his sermon in which he talked about anticipation and preparation for a “December to Remember”…that has nothing to do with any new car, by the way.   I felt like if I can get closer to the Lord, maybe I can get closer to Mom.  I have my faith and comfort in where I will be for eternity, and yet I’d just like some more of what that video talked about.  Some little signs from Mom.  I know many of you who will read this will be relate as you’ve lost someone very close to you.  I pray that you will have some little signs, too.       Love, Laura