Sunday, July 22, 2018

What to My Wondering Eyes...


This may look like an average hand wearing an average ring, but, my friends, this is a miracle. It's my hand and I am -- to my tremendous amazement -- wearing my high school ring. I think it's the first time in at least forty years that I've even thought of this ring, let alone worn it.

This afternoon I was looking for a pair of earrings in a little opened jewelry box. I didn't find the earrings I was looking for, but I did see my high school ring, class of 1968. I'm several sizes larger than I was in 1968 and I thought it was impossible that the ring would fit me. Nonetheless, I decided to try it on, if that was even possible. The ring went on and it also came off without a struggle. To my great surprise, it fit.

I don't remember when the rings arrived, but I do remember being so excited that I got to wear a high school ring, and I wore it throughout the rest of my high school years. My treasured ring got sent to the little used jewelry box when I got to college and got my college ring. I doubt if I wore even once after that.

Fifty years have passed since I graduated from high school and we will hold our reunion in October. Fifty years, all of my adult life. After all of the years, the people, the places and the experiences I'm back with my memories of high school and high school times and friends and it's sweeter than I ever could have imagined it would be fifty years ago.

Dear ring, it's nice to have you back, my old friend.
   

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pink Saturday Goes to Tintern Abbey

The church at Tintern Abbey, Wales
 
I came back from England on Wednesday night. I arrived home at 8:00 P.M., which was 1:00 a.m. there. I've been slowly getting back into my usual activities, but falling asleep early every night. It's not the jet lag I felt after the trip to Australia this winter, but I realize I'm still not quite on schedule. As a result, poor Buttercupland has been sadly neglected. I did one post on my iPad, but the four lines took almost an hour, as it kept freezing and closing. There was something -- or a number of things -- memorable every day and I've been pondering where to begin. My thought was to go chronologically, but instead I'm going to pick a few favorite places and write about them. 
 
Perhaps because it was a totally unexpected stop on my itinerary, Tintern Abbey, made one of the largest impressions. In a little known fact about Buttercup, I am a great fan of the English Romantic Poets, including William Wordsworth. I'm not a poet and I'm not a particularly adept analyst of poetry, but I enjoy reading poetry very much. I've read Wordsworth's "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" many times. I loved the idea of going there, but figured it was too out of the way. The sweet friends I visited lived less than two hours from the border of England and Wales and Tintern Abbey. They suggested it as a day trip, not knowing that it was a dream trip for me. On a bright and beautiful Saturday morning we went to Tintern Abbey.
 
     
Tintern Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey, founded in the twelfth century. It wasn't an especially large or politically important abbey, as it was set in a remote part of Wales. It functioned for four hundred years, until the monasteries were dissolved by King Henry VIII. The abbey buildings fell into disrepair and in Wordsworth's time -- the poem was written in 1798 -- it became fashionable to visit areas that were "wilder," including the ivy-covered abbey in the Wye Valley. 


A detail of the Church window
 
We had a perfect day visiting the abbey. There were no tour buses and it wasn't crowded. We followed our visit with lunch -- Welsh rarebit -- and then a trip to Gloucester, which will be the topic of a post this week.
 
I cannot begin to thank my wonderful host, Sybil, who I "met" via blogging early on in the first days of Buttercupland. Sybil no longer blogs -- Alas! -- but we've kept up on Facebook through the years. Sybil was kind, thoughtful, an extraordinary guide to the area and a lot of fun. Dear Sybil, hugs and thanks!
 
I'm joining in the Pink Saturday fun. If you have the opportunity please stop by and visit with the great group of bloggers there. 
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great week! 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Beautiful Box

Blogger is being temperamental, so this may be very brief. 

I'm enjoying a fabulous visit to a blog buddy who lives in the lovely town of Box, Wiltshire, England.
We "met" through blogging in my early blogging days almost ten years ago and have kept in touch ever since. I couldn't have a better guide and I'm enjoying my visit enormously. 


Monday, July 2, 2018

I (May) Owe It All to Mark Twain

About to Leave on a Jet Plane
 
The first author's home I visited was the Mark Twain house in Hartford. I'm not sure if this was the case for most people I grew up with, but when anyone came to visit from out of town our tourist choice stop was the Mark Twain House. I may have been there a dozen times, but it my interest never faded. It was my first literary stop, but not the last. We were readers and if there was a stop related to a writer on any trip, it went on our itinerary. One of the high points of travel with my parents was a visit to Walden Pond and the Alcott House in Massachusetts.
 
Decades have passed and it's been a long time since I traveled with my parents, but literary visits are still high on my to-see list. I'm about to leave for a string of literary stops. I'll reveal the location in a later post, but I'm really excited. The stops are definitely on a par with any I've seen so far. One goes back to my summer reading in 1964.   
 
I'm also going to spend time with one of my favorite bloggers, and I'm equally excited to finally meet and grateful for her generous offer of hospitality. Many sweet dreams are about to come true with this trip. I'm leaving it as a mystery for a little fun, but there will be pictures.    
 
I'm packed, apartment is straightened and refrigerator is cleaned and orderly. It's time to bid adieu until I greet you from the next stop on my literary journey. 
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cool!
 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Walker Formerly Known as Purple Sneakers...

...is now Red Sneakers!
 
I started tracking my walking a little over two years ago. It was just about that time when I realized I loathed walking on the treadmill and committed to walking outdoors. At that time I had a pair of purple sneakers and that became my name on the Weight Watchers Connect site. I found I really liked walking and tracking my miles. Before I knew it 2017 was beginning and I challenged myself to walking 1,000 miles in one year.   
 
I started the project wearing my beloved purple sneakers and last summer unofficially became Blue Sneakers. I had worn out my purple ones. During the trip last weekend to Atlantic City one of my goals was to visit the shoe outlets and buy a new pair of sneakers. I bought two pairs from the marked down rack against the wall. If you're an outlet shopper you are familiar with the section against the wall. They are the shoes that are mismatched, several seasons old and generally beyond sale. Not this time. My friend, Jane, did an extraordinary job of searching the racks and found not one -- but two pairs -- of great sneakers at amazing prices. 
 
I bought a more sensible pair of black sneakers and the beauties shown above. The color is bright, but it feels as though I'm walking on air. This season's color for this style is a beautiful purple, but they were twice the price, even at the outlet with an additional 20% discount. I also fell in love with the Velcro that holds them in place. Somehow my sneakers are always coming untied and this will prevent my concerns about falling on a shoelace. 
 
I've continued doing a journey of 1,000 miles this year, too. I ended June, my best month thus far, with 112 miles and have walked 561.5 miles for the first half of 2018. I've got some very minor foot surgery coming up next month which may derail me for a few weeks, but I'm on track to walk 1,000 miles once again.
 
It was a not-so balmy 95 degrees today and the forecast for tomorrow is 100. I'm drinking water, taking it easy and enjoying the pleasures of air conditioning. I'm profoundly grateful for the latter.
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cool!
 
   

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sound and Light Pink Saturday

Greetings from Atlantic City!
 
I'm actually home now, after a whirlwind three day college roommate catchup in Atlantic City. We had a wonderful time and could easily have spent three more days there. Atlantic City is the birthplace of salt water taffy and on Friday night I was set to blog about one of my favorite varieties of candy for Pink Saturday. But we stopped to rest for a few minutes during an evening walk along the boardwalk in front of Boardwalk Hall. It's a sight familiar from watching the Miss America Pageant, which began being held here in 1940. I noticed a sign  -- in lights -- announcing a show starting in three minutes. The show was an extraordinary sound and light laser show and there was a lot of pink lighting. I knew I had my subject and photographs for Pink Saturday.
  
 One view of the fa├žade and the audience
 
 
 I took at least two dozen pictures, while at the same time holding back from taking a photograph of every scene that was projected. I wanted to save the images, but I didn't want to simply be an observer of the experience.

I've saved my favorite design for last. This moment was my inspiration for using the Boardwalk Hall show for Pink Saturday.
 
Besides salt water taffy -- discovered sour grape this visit -- and the sound and light show we kept very busy. The high point of the weekend was a Judy Collins/Stephen Stills concert. Most of the time the weather was overcast, but thankfully the forecast of thunder showers didn't materialize. We walked from almost one end of the boardwalk to the other end, talked, laughed and did some serious outlet shopping.
 

On a different note, I'm delighted that it's possible for friends to comment, but sad that I've not yet been able to get comments emailed to me. I'm not sure what's going on with Blogger, but I will keep fiddling with the Buttercupland settings. I very much enjoy seeing a comment pop up in my email. Seeing comments has been a bright spot in my day many times, and I'm looking forward to getting things adjusted very shortly. 
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and good wishes for the week ahead.      


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Books, More Books and Two Favorite Authors: A Look Back at Book Expo 2018

Just a few of the lines for autographed books at this year's Book Expo
 
 
I have a rule for BookExpo. I don't wait in lines. I've made a few exceptions over the years -- Geraldine Brooks, for one -- but unless I can see the author my place in the line, I move on. I've gotten to meet many authors whose work I admire and I've saved a lot of wear and tear on my feet. But as I was looking over the list of authors who were scheduled to attend two stood out and I decided I would wait in line to meet them. 
     
 
There was a short line to meet Walter Mosley, but I would have happily waited much longer.
 
John Woman is not part of the outstanding mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, but I'm eager to read it, and I'm grateful to have an autographed advanced copy. I'm hoping to get some new posts in Coffee Light -- my neglected mystery book blog -- written and the Easy Rawlins series might just be on the list of posts.
 
    Yes, that's Buttercup with one of her favorite authors, Deborah Harkness.
 
I don't remember how I came upon the first book in the All Soul's Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches. I rarely -- this may be the only exception -- read books where the characters are witches or vampires. It's just not my preferred genre. But I started A Discovery of Witches and kept reading right to the end of the book. It had a wonderful combination of history and fascinating characters and I enjoyed the entire trilogy very much. I especially like the blending of fictional characters and historical figures, particularly in the sections set in Elizabethan England. Time's Convert extends the trilogy with the story of Marcus MacNeil, who was featured in the Trilogy. It will be published in September.
 
I haven't forgotten my annual BookExpo book giveaway, but I'm still deciding on the book.  I will post it in the next few days.
 
Summer has started in New York, just a few days in the actual start of the season. It's been air conditioner and sandals weather but so far, it's been pleasant. I've been able to continue on my Journey of 1,000 Miles -- walking 1,000 miles in 2018 -- and I'm on track to reach my goal for June of 100 miles. I missed May by .1 and ended the month at 99.9 miles walked. I don't want that to happen again.  
 
As always, thanks for visiting. Next post we return to our subway series from A to Z.