In My Own Backyard

I’m sad to see that Summer is dusting off her luggage and starting to pack it up and head out of town. I love you Summer!  You will be missed by me.

Now that the University of Central Missouri is in full swing I want to share with you what flew over the other day.  We live almost on campus.  I knew the first home game for the football season was going to be special. In cahoots with Whitman Air Force Base they were planning on a fly over of the B2 Bomber as our National Anthem finished.

I went outside with camera in hand hoping the Stealth would go over my house so I could get a pic of it.  We see and hear them all the time and our street is a common course for them.

So, all of a sudden the traffic mysteriously got quiet and I could hear the young man sing the last line of our National Anthem.  I turned my camera on as he sang out and I stood up to get ready.  All of a sudden the B2 came over low and loud and I nearly dropped the camera.  Even my dog started barking at him and chasing him down the yard.  It’s the best I could do……

amazing aircraft
here it is after it passed over…. all stealth – like

The weather this summer has been mild for the most part. To me, anyway. My husband does not like summer, so he is happy it is ending. (he doesn’t like winter either)

Other happenings in the backyard ——-


Cate B


I had the gift of growing up near an ocean.  It both terrifies and soothes me. I’m not afraid to jump in or go on a boat far from shore where land is no longer in site.

However, if I let my mind, I can feel a bit of a fear or panic want to rise up. Then I shut it down. The wonder of it all far outrides the terror. I like to think I have a healthy fear of the ocean.

It’s a natural wonder, the ocean – ever changing colors, ever changing motion and emotions. It is full of underwater surprises.


cate b



Seasons of My Heart

Today I was sitting in my friends business having a wonderful time catching up and sipping coffee. They have a Quilt Shop. They sell all the supplies you need to make your own quilts from material and threads to the machines that assist you. There is an atmosphere of peace there.

I love businesses that bring out the creativity in people. I always get inspired without anyone saying anything to me. Even home improvement stores do that to me. But I am one to not always succumb to the long arms of creativity that reach out and taunt you until you say yes to their biddings. Then, before you know it, the tentacles grab you and lure you to buy all the supplies you need to make the perfect item you see displayed in all its finished glory before you.

I’m being funny here. I have learned my limitations of talents and abilities in the crafts department. And that is why I can say no to the taunts. I still get tempted but manage to pull away just in time. Quilting is beautiful and I love to cuddle under a lovely quilt……that someone else made. I lack patience in such a project. Maybe some day.

When my husband and I left the store we decided to take the country route home. It’s pretty brown here and gray in the winter months. But I noticed this barn with a “quilt” painted on the front:


My mind wandered from that point on. While with our friends we talked about seasons. How cold the mid-west winters are and how we long to be on a beach in a tropical paradise during those days.

We talked how the seasons in nature are similar to the seasons of our lives. I’ll tell you what I mean.

There is a purpose for winter. A time to die and lay hidden to bring forth life when the time to right. Sometimes those hidden things can never come forth or come forth stunted if they do not pass through the cold winter season.

Spring. New life. New colors. New blossoms. Multiplied beauty from the last year. Fresh and warm and welcomed.

Summer. Fun! Enjoyment of the fruits of a long cold winter. The fruits of spring rains and melting snow.

Autumn. The beauty of life slowing and changing into glorious colors once more before the frosty winds take over and put the seeds to sleep for another season of dying only to bring forth life once again.

As far as my life goes, my heart issues, I thought long and hard on this and still am. How often I, Cate B, reflect on the warmth of summer. How often I want the winter of my life to be finished and brought into spring way faster than it feels like it’s happening. I want it now. But, why do I want that so much? What is my hurry?

Sometimes winter is painful. Sometimes I can feel frostbitten on the inside and want so much to be blossoming like a field of wild flowers. But the more I listened to my friend talk with us from his heart the more I felt that I need to not rush this winter season of my life. Or any season of the heart. I really do want all of what God has for me in this life on this earth. So if going through the “winter of my heart” is what will bring me out blooming beautiful then so be it. After all, several times I have told my Lord that I just want all He has for me. I gave Him permission to make me into the person I’m to be.

So I will keep layering my clothes to stay warm against the elements. I will prepare myself for the coming seasons so I can listen and receive all the dying and blooming on the inside that needs to be done. And I will gladly grab those warm surprise days that pop up now and then or the trip to the warmer climate for a week to help get me through. It is worth it. Being alive and aware and becoming me is so worth it.


Cate B

Back to Reality

A new adventure coming up in two weeks.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime…….a snippet of a great vacation……….. and now back to reality.


cate b

Water, Water, Everywhere – My Memories of The Jersey Shore

Growing up at The Jersey Shore and being able to swim is a must.  My mother did not swim and she had a fear of the water.  So, she made sure that us kids could swim.

Well, I have memories of early June mornings, cloudy and cold, dressed in our bathing suits with towels and flip flops and getting into the car to go to………for me……… the dreaded swimming lessons.  I loved to be near water.  I wanted to learn to swim.  But it seemed to take me several summers before I actually got the hang of it.  For one thing, I was tall.  I remember going with my beginning swim group into the water and lining up to do a dead-man’s float -in what was almost knee deep to me, the tallest in the class.  I couldn’t do it.  I was cold.  I was self-conscious.  I was embarrassed.  I was told I was stupid after each class that I failed to learn.

Like most things in my life, when the time came to perform a certain task, I did it.  Always under pressure.  But I did it. For example, I took many swimming lessons but rarely swam in the water.  Therefore, people thought I couldn’t swim.  I was painfully shy and never defended myself.  When I had to prove to a Girl Scout Leader that I could swim the width of the pool in order to go across the rope to the deeper end, I did it.  Even after several girls said I couldn’t swim.

When I had to dive headfirst into a pool at summer camp in order to pass my Red Cross Intermediate Course – I did it.  I didn’t even know I could dive.  I haven’t made a dive headfirst into the water since.

After I got over the self consciousness of swimming, or really performing for and in front of others, I became a mermaid.  At least I think so.

Days that we weren’t found on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean you could find us on a small sandy beach tucked among shade trees by a small lake (or large pond) complete with lifeguards, roped swimming areas, wooden dock out far in the water for jumping and diving off. Kepwel Park.

Kepwel Park – a drive down a dirt road behind the Eatontown Mall (at least that is how I remember it).  I loved that place.  It was fresh spring water to swim and play in all day with shade for us Celtic freckled – skinned people.

I just love to swim.  Waves do not scare me too much.  Depth doesn’t scare me unless I stop to think about it.  One summer on the beach, with my then eight year old grandson, I was sunning myself and felt him hovering over my head.  He gently took the hair clip out of my hair and smoothed my hair down my back, and asked, “Uma?”

Me: “Yes Avery?”

Avery: “Are you a Mermaid?”

I smile every time I think of that.  Yes, in some ways I am.  The small, tall child that was so shy and afraid of other’s opinions and afraid of failing is now a Mermaid.  It is so hard to get me out of the water.

I don’t have pictures of the times at Kepwel Park.  The brightly colored umbrellas and blankets and awnings come to mind.  I have great visual memories in my head.  Here is about all I could find online – the old Springhouse.

Kepwel Park
Kepwel Park

In about two weeks I will be at The Jersey Shore once again.  Visiting the grandsons and son and wife and yes, the beach!


cate b


Truck Vendors – My Memories of The Jersey Shore

We had moved to The Jersey Shore in the mid-1950’s.  Our neighborhood was simple ranch houses and barely any trees.  The land use to be an apple orchard – from what I remember.  We had two tiny crab apple trees in the backyard- maybe they were leftovers??

The neighbor across the street and about 3 houses down had a very large apple tree in their front yard.  They would hand out baskets of apples each year to the neighbors.  They were the kindest people.  In the winter the father would attach the snow plow to his truck and do our driveway.

I remember my older brother laying in the living room window with a flashlight and sending morse code to their son.  It just excited me to no end.

One of the fun things that would happen on our street in the summer were the vendors.  We had the year round milk man and the bread man deliveries.  I remember my mom staying up to watch Johnny Carson and grabbing the milk at about one in the morning from the milk box at the back door to prevent it from freezing.

I have early memories of two unique vending trucks.  One was a produce man who drove around the neighborhood with awnings on the back of his truck and a variety of fruit and vegetables to choose from.  This image isn’t the exact truck – but you get the idea.  I think this one is older.

Produce for Sale!
Produce for Sale!

The next guy was quite unique.  We would hear a loud bell ringing and run and tell mom that the knife sharpener was coming!  That was a fascination to me.  I could use one of them now.

Knife Sharpener
Knife Sharpener

The best and the one that lasted the longest was the Ice Cream Man.  We had two brands that came around. Carnival and Good Humor.  We loved the Good Humor truck the best and was disappointed when only the Carnival truck was seen that day.

Carnival Ice Cream
Carnival Ice Cream
Good Humor Ice Cream
Good Humor Ice Cream

I loved the gentle sound of the bells ringing (not like todays annoying “songs” playing over and over).  I loved the change thingy on his belt.  And I loved the sky blue popsicles and the lime ones!

Seems we never had to go anywhere to get treats.  Right to your door.

There were two things we did not like coming to our door or down our street.  One was the local farmer’s bull that seemed to get out now and then and pick our street to take a stroll.  I remember – not sure it really happened this way – but in my active mind I remember standing at the screen door with my brother and watching the bull coming down the street.  My brother was holding a box of Sugar Pops Cereal and began to shake it.  The bull turned and started to come toward our door only to be thwarted by our mom who promptly slammed the door shut.  Shortly after that the farmer was seen escorting his bull back up the street and home to greener pastures.

The second and most dreaded truck to be heard coming was the Mosquito Killing Truck!  No warning.  Just a sound of a motor and our mom yelling, “SHUT THE WINDOWS!  SHUT THE WINDOWS AND GET IN THE HOUSE!”


I can remember a cousin of mine – when we visited his family’s summer home – riding his bike behind the truck and getting covered with that stuff.  He is still alive today, thank goodness.  They no long do this type of spraying, I believe.  Where we last lived at the shore they would spray the storm drains and that did the trick.

Memories of simpler times and neighbors coming out their houses, saying hello, and catching up with the latest family news or gossip.  I have good neighbors now but no one talks to each other.  Just a wave and a hello and we all go our separate ways.  I do know that if I needed them or they needed me we would help each other.  At least that much still exists.


cate b



Tradition, Tradition! – My Memories of The Jersey Shore

Summer at the Jersey Shore can be a blast.  I loved growing up there.  And as any well raised child of the north east in the 1950s and 60s you learned what to wear and what not to wear.  At least in our household.

My mom cared how she looked when she left the house.  NEVER leave the house with curlers in your hair.  If we needed something from the store and her hair was still damp and wrapped up in curlers she did tie a kerchief over her head and waited at the far end of the parking lot while one of us ran in to grab the much needed item.  These were rare occasions.

Memorial Weekend marked the beginning of summer.  Pools opened, beaches opened, ice cream trucks came out in abundance.  Along with all these came the summer wardrobe.  Sandals and flip-flops (called thongs in our neighborhood), sunsuits, shorts, pedal pushers and clam diggers (cropped pants).  AND anything white.  No longer brown or black shoes – white or cream colored can now be worn.  My mom was serious about this!

And when the last weekend of summer came along, known as Labor Day Weekend, all beaches closed at the end of Monday.  Lifeguards went back to college, we all geared up for school.  We put away the white sandals and shoes.  We bought new brown ones and black ones.  Sigh.  We wore fall clothes to school in the still 80-90 degree weather.

We could change into shorts when we got home – thank goodness.  These were good times…….. but were they practical?  To this day I hesitate wearing sandals in the fall.  I said hesitate!  I do it anyway.  As much as certain styles were drilled into my head (like NEVER wear brown and navy blue together) I have broken tradition!  My style?  Whatever feels comfortable to me.  I’m all about comfort in clothes and styles.  If I walked through a Mall tomorrow and those fashion hounds saw me – I think I would qualify for their next make over.  They would tisk, tisk and shake their heads at my look.  Hey, you try having my hair that is so thick that all the  thinning and cutting and product in the world would not make it stick up.  Been there, and it doesn’t work.

A friend told me of her grand kids being aloud to dress themselves….. and when they came out in mismatched pants and shirts and two different socks on – they were praised and permitted to go about their day that way.  Because they were creative and permitted to be themselves.  Come on people!  Let us find who we are and create our own fashions.  More power to those who wear pajamas to Walmart (I won’t).

I have broken tradition and my kids grew up comfortable.  I hope.  Enjoy the summer months dear readers.  And enjoy being yourself.  Don’t know yet what you like?  You will.  I give you permission to break out of tradition and find who you are!  Be free!


cate b

It’s Summertime!!! – My Memories of The Jersey Shore

I decided to take you all on a journey of my summer adventures and memories from an older gal who was born in the early 1950’s.  Are you ready?

I was born in the northern part of New Jersey, USA to two parents and an older brother by three years.  I do not remember that town or house because we moved when I was toddling to what Jersey-ites refer to as – The Shore.

We moved into a starter neighborhood – small and simple ranch style homes for those just starting out in the world of home ownership.  I wonder if my mom thought she would spend the rest of her life in that home and neighborhood.

It was a great place to grow up.  Neighbors were friendly and life was simple.  Unfortunately for us, we experienced a tragedy when I was four-ish.  My dad had been ill and passed away that summer.  The photos I have prior to his death were all smiles and good times.  After, such sad faces.  It was hard on my brothers and I (we had a little brother after moving to this home, four years younger than me) and of course, my mom.  She found herself widowed very young and with three children and no close family near by.

But prior to the sadness, summers were awesome.  As I said before, I was quite young and memories of the beginnings of this new neighborhood were by photos and some in my own head.  I remember everyone talking about a mustard colored house.  French’s color of mustard.  It was closer to the shore and I know we had a small boat that we would take out crabbing while staying in that little house.  I do remember being clothed in a life jacket and sitting in the boat with a basket or two and being told to, “Wave to the mustard colored house” as we sped by.  I remember bringing crabs back and mom having a pot of water hot and ready to toss them in. Yum

Life went on.  Summer time meant that my older brother and I got to go across the street and slip into the woods behind our friend’s house.  The Woods! Oh how I loved to play there.  There was a creek that meandered through and was shallow enough to wade in the cool clear waters.  I remember trails and trees that became my home away from home.  I remember going through to the other side and coming out in tall grass that was named – “The Parkway Grass”.  It got it’s name because it ran along a small hill aside the Garden State Parkway (a toll road that ran the length of New Jersey).  There we could sit in the grass and not be seen.  There we could run and trip on a rock that was actually a box turtle that we always took home to feed and cared for.  Poor turtles.

I can still clearly picture The Woods in my mind.  One of the best things about it was that we rarely ran into another person.  I remember only once seeing a man walking on our trails in our Woods!  My mom had no reason to worry about us being in there all day.  Year after year.  We came running when we heard her clapping her hands for us to come home.

So, this weekend is known as Memorial Day Weekend.  Memorial Day falls on Monday – always the last full weekend in May.  It is a day to honor and remember those who served and are serving in our Armed Forces.  But it also marks the official opening of SUMMER!  Pools open, beaches open, sales happen!  Barbecues are fired up.  Ahh.  Summer.

Once I started school my life revolved around summer vacations.  We were out of school from sometime in June until early September.  Beach time, woods time, baseball in the backyard and cookouts and s’mores!

As I grew and became a parent, again my year schedule revolved around summer vacation.  Four kids later and then some in college – summer vacation. Living in a tourist, beach town – summer vacation.  And now, watching grand daughters while parents go to Universitysummer vacation!  I love it.

I will end this segment here.  Next time I want to talk about the traditions of dress codes drilled into my northeastern upbringing that took me a very long time to break.

Until then, enjoy your first weekend of summer.  And PLEASE do remember our servicemen and women, those before and those now.  I am grateful to them for protecting our nation and serving us and sacrificing so well.

Here is my mom and my brother and me – the cute little one – on the beach prior to our move there.

Beach Time
Beach Time


cate b


Momentary Setback

Here we are on the 17th of May, 2014 and the morning temperatures have been in the high thirties and low forties – Fahrenheit.  It would be more common to have lows in the sixties and high eighties.  Just like last week.  It was summery and lovely.  This week I toted back into the house my two plumerias, my pony tail palm, my rope plant and my “lemon tree”.  I told them to relax, summer is coming.  In fact, it is coming next week and should be here to stay.  I’m not sure they believe me.

The peonies are slow and look cold.  My neighbor’s peony is in the sun and have bloomed nicely.  Here are my cold ladies:

they are coming
This was about a week and a half ago.

To me, they look sadly cold.  But take heart, mid-west, today the high will be in the sixties and by Monday the temps will be warm and my tropicals will be outside all day and all night.

Have a lovely weekend.  Enjoy!

cate b

I Know How to Wrap Up Summer


Summer is over, even though the temperatures are still summer-like.  The colors of the leaves are lighter and some have actually fallen.  You can feel it in the breeze – the changes are coming.  Soon we will have our fall clothing on and jackets and the leaves will turn gorgeous colors while we sip on spicy hot apple cider while dunking the cinnamon donuts.  I love fall but I hate the end of summer.  I didn’t go anywhere this summer but it was pleasant here in the mid-west.  The temperatures were perfect.  I enjoyed my own backyard and drives into the country.

Once you are a mom whose children go to school outside the home you get ingrained further into you the school year schedule.  I still like seeing the school buses go down the street and the quietness of the neighborhood during school hours.  My youngest son and his wife are doing an amazing thing.  They decided to go to college.  D has a couple of years finished and K has his basics done.  This semester they went big league.  They moved into family housing on campus of a university in the mid-west along with their two year old daughter and another daughter to be born this fall.  I admire them greatly, especially the pregnant one.  Of course they realized early on that they needed me still to stay with their daughter a few days a week.  Needed me, Mammy.  I made my son say it three time, “We need you”.  So I go there and stay with my little buddy and it’s fun.  She came to my house last week and I got to dislocate her elbow.  Yup.  Good Mammy.  Not.  I was devastated.  But life is full of always learning.  I learned that this is pretty common and easily fixed.  So easily fixed that there is a video on youtube to show you how to fix this. Apparently it can easily happen again until they outgrow this…….thing.      

I even have been really bad at my homework – blogging.  I am behind reading blogs I follow.  Forgive me fellow bloggers.

I am behind writing.  I must forgive myself.  But I have two new ideas for books.  Good grief.

So once again Summer days have gone by and the newness of an autumn, yet to discover, is upon us.  I wish you all good health and old and new dreams coming true………

Enjoy a great cup of fall tea.
Enjoy a great cup of fall tea.

And enjoy this classic song as summer sadly comes to an end.

cate b

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