How To Take a Proper Vacation

Happy 4th of July, USA!  I have been on the east coast of our fine nation for almost two weeks.  Here is how I take a vacation:

And when I wasn’t laying on the beach…….

and meeting up with very precious friends……..

and that is how I roll……….


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


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

%d bloggers like this: