O Christmas Tree – Around The Burg

My last Christmas in New Jersey was momentous. My daughter-in-law and my youngest grandson took me to a Christmas Tree Farm. It was magical in so many ways. That day was cold and cloudy and the back drop of the farm was woods and wooden fences. They raised pigs there. We looked in on the full grown sows and made our way over to a small enclosed area that housed the piglets for everyone to see and take photos of and with.

Of course I stepped right in with my grandson and I grabbed a piglet and cuddled him and oooed and ahhhed in his precious face. He began to wiggle and then squeal so loud I had to put him down.  What fun we had that day.

Now, eight years later, in The Middle, we decided to venture out with our youngest granddaughter to a Christmas Tree Farm in the town of Knob Noster, Missouri.

While the back drop was more open farmland with wooded areas here and there, it was still magical. We were accompanied by the melody of a mule braying. Off we went with a saw in my husbands hand and a metal cart for carrying the tree back to the car.

Well, these trees were pretty but they were the kind that are bush-like. What I mean by that is you cannot see any branches or trunk. Just thick green needles. I was taller than most of them. For the life of me I could not figure out how I was to hang lights and ornaments on the hobbit trees.

I am old fashioned and nostalgic when it comes to Christmas. I love trees that look like I made them. We hang ornaments of all kinds from the years we’ve been a family. A mixture of home-made to old memories to modern eclectic. It comforts me. These hobbit trees just wouldn’t work for me.

Now the magic…. there, in the very last row of hobbit trees, I see it! A six foot scraggly fir-type tree with trunk visible and branches sticking out in every direction. A tree that started out with great posture and then went left then right then up then over as if realizing there was a whole world out there to discover!

A tree with a kindred-spirit to me.

The saw came out, and as our granddaughter watched in wonder, down came the tree and we plopped her on the cart.

As we were pulling her back to the car the tears came. I missed my kids from the east and the times we spent together. Such good memories. And now the new memories with another little one. I smiled through my tears and narrated to our girl  on the art of setting up a tree and decorating.

We belted Lu into her seat and unzipped the back window of The Jeep. Yes, I said Jeep. Wrangler. Soft top. Where does a jeep owner put a tree? I’ll tell you where…. trunk between the front seats and body next to granddaughter and top out the back window, that’s where! Off we went!

At home we sipped on Christmas Milk (aka Egg Nog – don’t tell Lu what the real name is or she will never drink it again) while we hung lights and ornaments accompanied by Christmas songs. 

Here’s to new memories and journeys and traditions! Here’s to not staying stuck in the same old- same old but moving forward while cherishing the past memories that shape us into adventurers.

Enjoy!

Cate B

Happy Thanksgiving 

It’s Thanksgiving Day in America. A day to gather with loved ones and be thankful. 

And eat. I have to say Thanksgiving foods are my favorite!

I am thankful for all of you who have followed this blog of mine. Some of you I have gotten to meet in person, some through Skype and Facebook. This has truly been a wonderful journey that I could not have taken without you all. 

And I am thankful for Pie!

Enjoy! 

Cate B

The Day I Met Ladd Drummond – aka Marlboro Man

Those of you who watch The Food Network on Saturday mornings will know of Ree Drummond, also know as The Pioneer Woman. She is a down-home kind of gal who cooks for cowboys and ranchers and kids. Comfort food that we all love.

In her biography she talks of once being a vegetarian while sporting black high heels and her love for city life.

All changed when she met Ladd, the cowboy that won her heart.

I’m talking about them because when I moved to The Middle – being a Jersey Girl from the beach – I was a bit lost. A friend told me about The Pioneer Woman and how I reminded her of Ree and referred to me as The Other Pioneer Woman.

Well, I certainly felt like a pioneer. The cultural difference of New York City/Beach influence and Kansas City, Missouri was vast. The locals did not understand me. Sarcasm was lost here. Sigh.

But through the help of my son – who spent time in mainland China and Canada – he guided me through the culture shock. I found new normals and have since moved to a smaller country town that feels very much like home. You will be pleased to know I have toned down the sarcasm……well, I try. I gotta be me.😉

So back to the Drummond Clan. My husband and I needed a weekend getaway. We planned a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma – where the wind goes sweeping down the plain. This was my first time to the state of Oklahoma. Woody Guthrie and Arlo Guthrie songs played through my head the entire weekend.

Ree Drummond had just opened a Mercantile in the town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma on the 31st of October and I wanted to go.  I use less butter and less sugar in her recipes but her line of kitchenware is right up my alley! Oh the colors! I’ve been slowly replacing my kitchen with her things over the past several months.

So, there we were in Tulsa. We met with a fellow blogger – Little Monk – and a friend who attends medical school there. But on Saturday we headed out of town on a very country road to Pawhuska.

I made myself have little expectations on this journey. That was difficult but I tried. But let me tell you, the drive through the Osage Nation Reservation was breathtaking. Such beautiful scenery.

Then we came into Pawhuska. A very small town. You see, the Drummonds had bought the old Merchantile building and refurbished it. Offices for the ranch and for Ree and all she does. Then, the Mercantile, Deli, Bakery, Coffee Bar and Shop.

The line for the Deli was too long so we went into the shop first. Oh. My. It was beautiful. I walked around and took it all in. Then I was going to walk around again and start throwing things in my basket……when what to my wondering eyes appeared???? The Marlboro Man himself.  Ladd Drummond. The Mister Pioneer Woman!

I told myself prior to getting there and also at that moment to calm down! Don’t make a scene, which I am prone to do. So as he moseyed by me I leaned in and said, “Hello Mr Drummond”.

He stopped and said hello and asked how I was. Sigh. And I answered and walked away. There. I did it. No scene and an experience to remember.

Well, after I collected a few things in my basket, my husband and I went upstairs to the coffee bar and bakery. And there he was again. Ladies were having him sign things and have their pics taken with him.

I’m not one for autographs but I looked at my husband and said, “Get your camera ready!” A lady in front of me had me take her pic with him and then it was my turn!

ME and Ladd Drummond - aka - Marlboro Man
.  ME and Ladd Drummond – aka – Marlboro Man

He was so kind and I thanked him and went over to the coffee line. And there, behind the counter was their daughter, Paige, doing her new barista job. I asked her which she liked better, rustling cattle or this new job. Her face lit up when she told us this new job was better! And she makes great lattes.

I have to say that there was not a rude person to be found. I do believe that is mostly due to the fact that The Drummond Family are kind and positive people. You tend to attract people who are like you or who are attracted to your values.

On the street of this tiny town my husband and I sat down and reflected all that was before us. Here is a typical mid-west town with a lot of history. Buildings gone neglected like most of these little towns. But one person gets the vision to open a shop and change her community. And change it did and will. We noticed other neglected buildings were starting to be loved again.

A woman latched onto me as we walked out of a western store where we began admiring the saddles set out on the sidewalk. She began telling me of their artistic qualities and all the workmanship that went into them – as she gently stroked the leather and pointed out the details.

This lady was truly a Lady. She wore a long skirted western outfit and just purchased a pare of western boots that she insisted I look at. They were beautiful. As she talked and walked with me cultural walls melted. Her grace was amazing and it came out that she and her husband were ranchers from Texas and were there to sing songs in the street. This Jersey Girl was a bit awestruck. She truly was a Lady and chose to talk and walk with me.

Overall, we had a great weekend. Meeting up with old friends and getting to experience The Merchantile that I’ve read about in a blog for months will be unforgettable. And I will never forget the cowboy who graciously let me have my picture taken with him.  Thank you Ladd Drummond.

And thank you Ree Drummond for following your dream.

Here are pics and some captions of our trip.  I’m so sorry for the quality. iPhone 6.

Enjoy!

Cate B

 

Meet and Greet Weekend

What a great way to meet new bloggers.😀 thank you Mary for including me – https://maryaperez.com/2016/10/21/meet-and-greet-weekend/

The Light Breaks Through

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It’s the Meet and Greet weekend at The Light Breaks Through!!
Ok so here are the rules:

Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
Reblog this post. It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
Edit your reblog post and add tags.
Leave your link!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want. It is up to you!

Share this post on social media. Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.
Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet n Greet your heart off!

See ya on Monday!!

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Another Cup Please…….

I just poured myself another cup of coffee. Join me as I sip and ponder, music playing in the background, thoughts circling and swirling in the lyrics with a sense of assurance and breathing in and out the colors of hope.

We have lived in what we call The Burg for just a hair over two years. While culturally I am still adjusting and trying not to voice my strong north eastern opinions on how wrong they are here (said in sarcastic jest), I feel almost at home.

I think it is real to say that this is the second place in my life that I feel at home and welcome. You see, when you are one who “travels to the beat of a different drum” it can be quite hard to fit in. But that’s just it, fitting in and different drums don’t always go together….. yet they should. It’s like having an orchestra or a band without that one different instrument that takes it over the top.

There is a place for us “drummers“. Not all will see it or see you for who you are but I, for one, have to remain true to myself. True to who I was made to be. Good grief, it has taken me years, decades, to find who I am and to walk confidently in who I am.

And then you move to a small mid-western town with strange definitions for words and ideas that are so different than you ever knew and POW! There are people here who like you. Just last night I was with a group of people who see me. They enjoy me. They encourage me. Some don’t get all of me and guess what? I don’t get all of them. But we flow together in similar philosophies of life.

And best of all we accept each other for being different and thinking differently.  I do believe they call it love.

Have another cup and ponder. May you find you and find your symphony in life.

 

Enjoy!

Cate B❤