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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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An Unplanned Journey

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An Unplanned Journey

My husband Steven and I took an unplanned trip to our “old stompin’ ground” in Upstate New York at the beginning of this month. Steven’s father’s health had taken a turn for the worse, and he left this earth in the early morning of April 4. Steven and I journeyed to New York to be with his family, so the trip was bittersweet.

We packed up our van in the rain and drove to West Virginia to my niece Samantha’s house. It was nice seeing her, her husband, and her two little girls that I call my “redheaded fairies.” Those two are just so cute and lively you can’t help but smile when you see them. The following day we headed for Albany, NY, by way of Brook’s B-B-Q in Oneonta, a local favorite you can only get in that area (It’s a must for us whenever we go back to Upstate!). We completed the trip to Albany, (through more rain), and stopped by Steven’s mother Wanda’s place. His sister (Kristen) had arrived from California, so we were able to visit with them for a couple of hours before going on to our hotel.

The next day we found time to go to my brother Joel’s house to have lunch with him, his wife (Donna), and my nephew (Millard). Joel still lives on the property where my father lived as a boy and where my parents raised my siblings and me. All of the original buildings were built in the 1800s and are in rough shape, but it still feels like home. The people on our mountain speak a bit differently than most; I enjoyed being able to speak in the tone, lilt, and vocabulary that I grew up knowing. After lunch, Joel and I walked around the property, and I was able to collect a few relics to take home to North Carolina.

The next few days were spent with Steven’s family making plans. We settled on the obituary write up for the newspaper and a date for the burial ceremony during the summer. It is not uncommon for people in the north to wait for warmer months to bury remains; the frozen ground makes it almost impossible to dig a grave. Steven and I also took some time out to walk around a couple of thrift stores to debrief; sometimes you have to step away.

After several days, it was time for Steven and me to begin the trip back to North Carolina. We said our goodbyes to his family and left Albany. We decided to take a detour and drive past the house Steven grew up in. We were surprised by all of the very interesting changes made to the home and property: buildings were being constructed and several statues were placed on the grounds. A lot was going on; still, the house remained the original dark red color that we were both familiar with.

From there we drove past the country church where Steven and I were married. There it was, still looking the same. About 30 miles later we passed by SUNY Cobleskill, where Steven and I met, & smiled as we drove by. It's been nearly 40 years since we said, "hello" to each other there (and 36 since we said, "I do.")… I think it's gonna work out for us.

Then it was back to my family farm to pick up the relics I had collected. After a brief visit with Joel and Donna, we packed up the van and got back on the road. We spent the day traveling back to West Virginia, spent the night with Samantha’s family, then drove on to Lynchburg, VA to spend a couple of days with Genette (our oldest daughter) and her husband, Abe. Steven and I were glad we stopped there for a couple of days. We are now home again in North Carolina.

There are stories in all that we do; people in our lives, the journeys we take, and the choices we make. Then the day comes when we pass on and leave a space on this earth for someone else.

For now, this time belongs to you and me, so let’s LIVE!!

Dance, sing, go outside, visit friends, call someone, have a smoothie, pick strawberries, collect relics, jump in the water, splash in the rain, play with the redheaded fairies in your life… just don’t pass on without leaving a story behind.

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Stationery

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Stationery

I have a weakness for beautiful journals, notebooks, planners, stickers, pens… pretty much anything you can find in the stationery aisle. If they served dark chocolate and tea there, I would spend a considerable amount of my day gazing at the lovely items you can find laying on the shelves and hanging on the displays. There are bright colors, perfect points on pencils, fresh ink in the pens, clean unmarked pages; yes, I do love stationery.

I’m not exactly sure why I love new stationery; I certainly don’t need it all. Perhaps it is a symbol of a fresh new start. There is potential in those writing utensils and beautiful books. A new story can be written down. A thought shared, lyrics to a song scribbled, a piece of art blooms on the page. Yes, I think that is it. I see optimism and hope in that aisle, all the way from the on sale 50 cent notebooks, to the colorful sticky notes, to the $50 planners. There is a fresh new beginning there. Oh, and a new beginning deserves beautiful tools.

Why not start something new today? Get a fresh new notebook and a pen that makes you happy — and start. Sure, there will be mistakes along the way, you’ll cross some things out, and eventually you’ll get to the end of the book. BUT don’t worry, there is always a new beginning back in the stationery aisle.

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