Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another Retirement Fantasy Bites the Dust

When I was growing up life seemed to be about the future. I was waiting for winter vacation or spring vacation or the big prize, summer vacation. I was waiting for high school, college, graduation and foolishly enough, looking grown up. My mother told me many times that it would all be here soon enough, but I still dreamed of high heels and little black dresses.

Too many times in the years between growing up and now I seemed to be looking back in time. I was remembering the fun days of high school, my college friends and then before I knew it, my parents and grandparents who were no longer in my daily life. The first six decades of my life flew by at an almost dizzying speed, my head flipping from the past to the future and back again and again.

One of my retirement fantasies was that I would live in the present and time would let me savor and enjoy life. I would cut down my commitments and not spend my life rushing from one meeting to another. I would strive to live now. The corollary to this would be that the seasons would not fly by. Summers would be long and sweet. I'd treasure every falling leaf in the fall and every crocus popping up in the spring, and somehow, perhaps magically I would have my fill of every seasonal joy.

Not not so. I do live much more in the present, but the seasons continue to fly by, perhaps even more than ever before. I've enjoyed this summer very much. The weather has been great. I've walked more in the early evenings and enjoyed being outside a lot. But the days have grown shorter and it's time to take my jacket out of the closet. I will embrace pumpkins and bright leaves, the family event in October long planned and my trip to Savannah, also planned months ago and now only six weeks away. I am living in the now, season by season, but time stands still for no one, not even this lucky retiree.

But today I got to savor one last perfect day of beach summer, visiting friends at Breezy Point. We ate hamburgers, watched football and walked and walked. It was warm, sunny and glorious. The ocean water was as warm as it will be this year and it was a treat to wade in the waves. There may be other days at Breezy this year, but this will be the sweet last of summer, and I am so grateful.

Sky, sand and ocean

The Bay view...Manhattan is in the distance and the World Trade Center is to the right of the sailboat. 

As ever, thanks for visiting. Wishes for many sweet moments savoring the last of summer days. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Forever Young...Reflections on September 11, 2001

Each year I keep believing that this day will get easier, less traumatic, less sorrowful. And in some ways it has. I have learned to do things that will make it less difficult. I don't watch any videos of the events that took place that day. I take a rest from news coverage most of the day and I don't watch the entire reading of the names of those who were killed. Starting at "A" and watching for as long as I can reduces me to sobbing. It brings back the worst of the horrors of the day.

I did watch the reading this morning and today I was struck by how young those who died appeared. Almost every picture showed someone who was young and smiling. Even if they were 51, my age in 2001, they are still 51 and they will not age as the rest of us have done. They will be forever young and smiling, gone far too soon and too violently. We remain to tell their stories and to make the rest of the world remember those that died on a perfect late summer morning. We will never forget.

This is my fifth year blogging about September 11. Last year I wrote this post and it includes a link to my first post about this day written in September 2009. I worked in Lower Manhattan and our office was six blocks south of the World Trade Center. The Trade Center was one of my favorite places. I shopped in the mall in the lower level, celebrated birthdays at Windows on the World and went to concerts in the Plaza. I am happy to see the area being rebuilt, but in my memory I will always see the Twin Towers rising up in the New York sky.

We will never forget

I am linking up this post with Pink Saturday September 11. So appreciate the opportunity to share this important day with my Pink Saturday friends. Many thanks, Beverly!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wish Me a Happy 350, Please

No, it's not Buttercup that just turned 350, but my favorite city, New York. September 8th was New York's 350th birthday and we're celebrating. I realize that 350 is a pup compared to London and Paris or Rome and Jerusalem. But it's a landmark for the Western Hemisphere, where we measure in centuries and not millennium. New Amsterdam, founded by the Dutch in 1625, became New York on September 8, 1664.

In honor of the city and this special birthday we're going to visit one of my favorite places, Trinity Church, which has been part of the life of the city for over 300 years. Founded in 1697, it stands at Broadway and Wall Street, and even amid the bustle and crowds it is a place of beauty and serenity. It also has one of the few cemeteries existing in Manhattan. I worked a few blocks further south for over five years and had the good fortune to pass the church almost every evening on the way to the subway. I have rarely seen the cemetery open to visitors, but it was during my visit to Lower Manhattan last week.

Trinity Church faces west to Broadway and Wall Street. This picture is the side facing south to the harbor. 

Looking into the cemetery from Broadway. The church and cemetery are surrounded by skyscrapers.  

 One of the beautiful monuments in the cemetery. 

This view looks west. The Hudson River and New York harbor are a few blocks away. 

Trinity Church is located just a few blocks south and one block west of the World Trade Center site. I so remember that morning thirteen years ago. I came out of the subway at Wall Street and William Street and looked up and saw the church spire. It was framed by thousands, millions of pieces of paper from the World Trade Center, which had been attacked by the first plane just fifteen minutes before I got off the subway. 

Happy, happy birthday, dear New York. I am so happy to call you my home. 

As always, thanks for visiting. Take good care! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

(Am I) Stuck in 1998 With the Price Tag Blues Again?

Or is $99.97 just what a pair of underpants costs?

I can see why they're now a third off $99.97.

There I was at my favorite discount store, Century 21, stalking the $12.99 bras, when I brushed past this rack of mark downs. I was initially intrigued -- I can always can use a few new pairs of underwear -- but then amazed and horrified at the prices. Amazed...I was more amazed at the original retail price of $170.00, but since I have been a discount shopper for longer than I haven't, the thought of paying retail for underwear is not in my consciousness. And the thought of paying $99.97 or even $59.97 is also not in my consciousness. 

I did find my $12.99 treasure and though some might argue it's LAST SEASON, I would respond with WHO CARES! Almost everything I own is last season and in some cases the first season was during a time when someone named either Bill or George was President, which gives us quite a long time frame. I also realized that this ultra-expensive underwear may also be last season and that would be an expensive fashion faux pas. In years past I actually cared about this season and last season, but I'm happy to say that's one issue that doesn't bother me much anymore.  

On a different note, in any season, visitors to New York take note of Century 21, or just Century, as it's referred to by those in the know. Whether you're looking for designer dresses or bathrobes with snaps, it's a terrific place to shop. There's also a great, great shoe department.  

Today was the first day with a slight snap of autumn in the air. It may be warm again, but it was a day for jeans and shoes and socks and I am happily typing away without the purr of the air conditioner in the background. I went wild and treated myself to one of my all-time favorite snacks, the pumpkin muffin, and it was as good as I remembered. 

Sneak peek of the day ahead in this blogging mini-marathon...We're stopping at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan. Hope you will join us. 

As always, thanks for visiting and take very good care. 

NB: Yes, if you think the title is familiar, it's a paraphrase of Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again." I'd been testing out a lot of titles and this one came to me on a subway ride this afternoon.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

This Is Your Brain in Retirement

I've had a few people express concern about my brain in retirement. There's been a veiled concern that my slower days may have led to my brain becoming less sharp. This question -- meant with genuine concern -- implies that my working days kept me sharp, or at least sharper. Folks, let me chat first about my working days, at least the last few years.

I spent approximately two hours a day riding rush hour subways. My days in the office frequently had brain numbing meetings and too often the time not spent in meetings was spent being a referee for personal issues and reminding staff that they needed to fill out time cards if they wanted to get paid. None of this stimulated my brain. Yes, there were some interesting projects, and I worked with some bright people, but every day wasn't all brilliant thoughts and expanding horizons.

Now...I actually keep up with the news, for better or worse. I keep up with sports, especially baseball and football. I'm following Derek Jeter's last season with the Yankees -- wish it was a better one for the Yankees -- and Eli Manning and Rueben Randle's season with the Giants. I keep up with exercise and have far surpassed any exercise I did in the last few years.

And I've been reading, something that got pushed aside. This weekend I finished two mystery novels and have a good start on the third. I've discovered several new writers, including John Connolly, who kept me totally engrossed for the weekend. His books focus on former New York City Police Officer, Charlie Parker, and are mystery novels with more than a splash of Stephen King thriller included. I started with his latest book, "The Wolf in Winter," via NetGalley, which offers digital galleys to bloggers and reviewers. I liked "The Wolf in Winter" so well that I had to go back and learn more about the characters. It's a complicated set of stories, but they have totally kept my interest.When I finish the book I am reading I need to take a rest. The characters and the plots kept me reading, but they are dark, dark stories. My next reading project is "The Goldfinch."

Best of all, there are times just to think and not be rushed, which might be the best gift of all. Is two months too young for a tutu for Baby Nora? Where should my group eat when we're in Savannah next month? Who in my life needs prayer?

There has been one issue that has come out of having more time. I seem to blog less. When I was working I didn't have the time to worry over every post. Now I am turning into somewhat of a perfectionist. Is the post good enough? Are the pictures well cropped? Do I have a vision for Buttercupland? In an effort to blog more, I will be blogging every day this week. They may not be the most polished posts, but I will be getting back into the writing and blogging I've enjoyed so much.

That's the state of Buttercup's brain. Happily, perking along. To end this post on a fun note, let's have some Monkey Monday pretty-in-pink fun.

This snowsuit would cheer up a cold winter day, and not just on Monkey Monday. 

It's been fun catching up. Now I think I'll tootle over to Talbot's and try on the "Happy Thoughts" shirt. It's been on my mind. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Wish I Had a Place to Wear This Fabulous Dress Pink Saturday

...Alas, it seems highly unlikely. But the next best thing -- and a lot less expensive -- is taking a picture for Pink Saturday.

This beautiful-in-pink gown caught my eye on Madison Avenue last Sunday.

I had a great walk last Sunday and saw this gorgeous dress in the window at Vera Wang. I'm not in the market for anything this fabulous, but I had to stop and take a picture. I like the American flag in the background and my friend, Mary. 

On Monday I stopped at Talbot's, a lot closer to my budget and lifestyle, and found a few things that might work for my wardrobe. 

I like the pink sweater at the center of the page and all of the bright autumn colors. I think the necklace featured with the orange sweater would be a fun dress up piece for this fall. 

This is the shirt that's been on my mind this week. I've been thinking some happy thoughts, but there's nothing like a shirt to keep me cheerful. I think it would look great with white pants any time of year. 

A P.S. to the white pants post. I've joined a new committee at my synagogue and the first meeting was Thursday night. There were about fourteen woman -- and a few men, not in white pants -- and four of us were wearing white pants. One woman had a white jean skirt. Yes, I was one of the five, walking on the wild side. This has also been the hottest week of the summer and white pants and a turquoise shirt seemed to be just the right outfit.  

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend and thinking lots of happy thoughts. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

(Very Quick) Last Days of Summer Giveaway

Yes, white pants and all, I am clinging to these last days of summer. It's still hot and the rest of the week looks equally warm. But yet, I am facing the inevitability of autumn. I took off my turquoise toe nail polish and I took a good look at the sorry state of my summer t-shirts. I have to admit it's time for a change, even if I  am in my summer sandals. 

This woodland looking scene is actually on my block. 

After a few errands today I spent the afternoon reading and decluttering. I have made some real headway on the latter and that gives me such pleasure. I have a long way to go, but I am focusing on the progress I've made and not how much I still have to do. I discovered one more coupon for a medium Sonic Slush. I am happy to send it to the first person who leaves me a comment telling me that they would like it. It needs to go to a good home and I am pleased to make that happen. 

As always thanks for visiting and take good care!