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Memories

Good Year

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Good Year

The past couple of years have been very challenging and frankly, scary for this Bartlett family; things are never boring at our house. The situations we have faced have challenged us emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially… ok, in every way possible. But it all seems to be turning out ok.

Steven and I are on the way to Lynchburg, VA to our daughter Genette and bonus son Abe's house. As we were driving along Steven got my attention by saying, "blimp!" I looked up and there was the Good Year blimp resting in the sky.

Seeing the blimp served as an encouraging reminder – through it all it has been a good year. Bryon is in remission and will be marrying the adorable Amber in November, Carmen continues on life adventures, and Steven, Abe, and I have all recovered well from our surgeries, Steven also has some leads on a new job, Genette is pregnant, and we are on the way to Lynchburg to attend the gender reveal party for our first grandchild due to arrive at the end of November.

Yep, that's our story and we are sticking to it – it's been a Good Year.

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The Burial in New York

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The Burial in New York

Steven, our daughter, Genette, and I took a very quick trip to upstate New York for the burial of Steven's father this past weekend. William died in April and although we went up to be with Steven’s mother during that time we were not able to have the burial. This is not unusual for the north during the winter when the ground is frozen – digging the grave is difficult to impossible. Genette's husband Abe was not able to make it because of his job, so Steven and I drove to her house near Lynchburg, VA, spent the night, and we left together Friday morning to head for New York.

We got on the road about 7:30 am. According to the Garmin that would have put us in Albany, New York around dinner time. However, we had been on the road for about an hour when our forward motion was slowed down to the rate of 3 miles per hour for about 30 minutes. Then we saw it: a tour bus had broken down and was causing the delay in traffic. Once we got past the tour bus we were cruised along again until we hit another traffic jam: construction. We knew we would hit that somewhere along the route.

Back on our way and doing well for a couple of hours, we stopped for a break and some food. We climbed back in the van and ... wait for it ... the van would not start. Someone tried to give us a jump but it didn’t work. We called AAA and waited an hour before the wrong assistance truck arrived. After another 45 minutes, the correct truck arrived, and in 30 minutes more a new (expensive) battery was installed and we were once again on the road. We arrived at our hotel in Albany around 10:30 pm, tired sweaty, and ready for sleep.

Saturday morning we drove a couple of hours to Chestertown, NY for the graveside service and our final good-bye to Steven's father. The weather was warm, but the shade from a maple tree and a gentle breeze made the temperature perfect. The sky was dressed in pale blue with white clouds forming still life images.

After the ceremony, family and friends gathered at the local fire house for conversation and stories: a simple day as was proper. Another 2 hour drive and we were back to the hotel at about 11pm.

Sunday morning we set our alarm for 5:15 am and we drove to Kearneysville, WV to my niece's house for the night. As I write this it is Monday morning and we are on the way back to VA to drop off Genette. Steven and I will continue on to Charlotte, NC, so we can sleep in our own bed after a 2000 mile journey, 3 beds, and 5 days. The trip back has been smooth and we've had no traffic jams ... WHAT?!!

Oh wait, the Garmin just said there are delays ahead (Sigh)…

Well, I suppose it'll be another story to tell.



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Clothing I Pine For

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Clothing I Pine For

Oops, I closed my eyes for 20 minutes and an hour and a half later ...

For 3 years I’ve been working on a story about the White Spruce Pine Trees on the farm where I grew up. It’s a true story and I am excited to tell it, but it is still not quite finished. I feel like it is so very close but just not quite there yet. I even bought a dulcimer guitar made out of spruce to use in the story. As I’ve worked on the pine story getting it ready for the stage I thought it would be a good thing to have something special to wear as I tell it.

I sew, so Steven and I went to Joann Fabric to find material with pine trees on it that I could use to make an article of clothing. Sure enough, we found some great fabric! I got a couple of different prints so I’ll be able to make a few different things. I am thinking a shirt and a simple dress, but I haven’t found the patterns I want to use yet.

As I sit here I think, I am pining for these clothing items. Perhaps my finished story is waiting for the dress or shirt to arrive. It’s a process: I have the story but it is not finished – I have the fabric but no pattern.

I think by the end of the year they will both come together. I’ll let you know when I get the sewing and the story done. In the meantime here’s a picture of the fabric I bought.

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Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!!

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Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!!

You may not know the name Maurice Sendak, but to those who love children’s literature, it is a name that makes you smile. Mr. Sendak wrote one of my all time favorite books, Where the Wild Things Are. I just love that story. “Let the wild rumpus begin!!” What a line. The book was a little scary to me, yet it was also empowering. Max is punished by being sent to his room but he does not let the four walls of his room contain him. Instead, he ventures into a land of wild monsters who make him their king.

When I was young, I often checked this book out from the school library and spent hours staring at the beautiful drawings. I imagined that I was in the land of monsters and they had made me their queen. I didn’t own a copy of my own until I became an adult, however I always felt ownership of the one in the library.

June 10th is Maurice Sendak’s birthday. On that day I will remove my copy of Where the Wild Things Are from its shelf and spend some time reading the words, staring at the illustrations, and wandering around in the land of monsters. If you are nearby you might just feel the ground shake. Don’t worry, it’s just the monsters and me in the midst of a wild rumpus. Join me if you like — don’t let the four walls contain you… Let the wild rumpus begin!!!

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Moments of Memories:M-O-M

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Moments of Memories:M-O-M

This past Sunday was the celebration of Mother’s Day. My children are all grown. I have one daughter living in Virginia, a son in California, and a daughter living here in Charlotte, NC. It is hard sometimes to have them scattered from coast to coast but as they were growing up my goal was to raise strong, independent adults, and they all are. The “bonus kids” (son and soon to be daughter- in- law) we have are strong and independent, too. It seems they have all found their place in this world, and I am proud.

This past weekend I talked with Genette (our oldest in VA) and Bryon (our son and middle child) on the phone. Carmen (our youngest here in the city) invited my husband and me to her house for dinner. It was lovely.

I certainly want to spend more time with all of them. But they all have full lives and distance certainly plays a part in that. Phone calls help, but it is nothing like putting your arms around a child you love.

Mother’s Day is one day a year, but if you have a child, you are a mom every day of the year. Although they are adults creating their own homes, making their own decisions, and providing for themselves, you are the one that holds the memories and the stories of rocking them to sleep, making mud pies in the rain, and singing silly songs in the doctor’s office.

M-O-M: We get through with our Moments of Memories, don’t we? Those memories make us laugh and cry, long for the past and look forward to the future.

A note to my kids:

Genette, Bryon, and Carmen, I love you all with my whole heart. I cannot tell you how proud I am of your endurance and love for each other. You are the best part of me. I am blessed to be your Mom, and the joy you have brought to my life is immeasurable. For all the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the trips to the emergency room and the challenges, it was all worth it because you are the ones that make the memories worth keeping. I love you all because you are you. By the way, G, B, and C the door is always open— come by anytime you have a place here. You and the ones you love are welcome. I love and treasure all three, no, all five of you.

Love you forever and a day,

Mom

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