Thursday, October 23, 2014

Afternoon in Vienna

When I first wrote about Vienna it was still far, far away in my dreams. But I'm happy to report I had the next best thing to being in Vienna at the celebration for the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse. The Great Hall at Grand Central Station was set up as a Viennese Coffee House. Despite the fact that tens of thousands of people rush through Grand Central every day it was a relaxing and delightful place to have a cup of coffee.


This was the scene on the opposite wall -- Vienna, then and now. 

I was especially taken by the coffee. I drink a lot of coffee and some of the time it's pretty average. This coffee was not average. It was memorable. The company, Julius Meinl, is Viennese and was founded in 1862. It is the stuff that great afternoons of coffee drinking are made of.  I was delighted to find that I could order it, and equally pleased to find a place in New York to drink it. The latter is a lovely museum and deserves a post on its own. 

 So glad I was able to celebrate Ringstrasse150. Happy birthday to one of the world's most beautiful streets. 

Thank you all for the get well wishes. I'm feeling much better and hope to be out and about -- taking it easy -- tomorrow. I slept a lot of yesterday, but had more energy and appetite today. The weather has been wet and dreary for the last few days, which made it a lot easier to stay indoors. 

Please stop by tomorrow for Foodie Friday and some thoughts on tomato soup. 

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's the Real Thing

Whether it's just the view from my cousins' front yard...
 
Or this view of the water in town...
 
Or this view...
 
 
Rhode Island and the beautiful towns of Barrington and Warren didn't disappoint me in my search for autumn beauty. New York City hasn't had much in the way of foliage, but the entire train trip to Rhode Island -- through Westchester County and then along the coast of Connecticut and Rhode Island was beautiful.  It reminded me of the autumns growing up in Connecticut and going to school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 
 
On Monday morning I made a list of things I needed to do this week and at the top of the list was "get a flu shot." I get one every year and besides a little soreness I've never had a problem. But this time I decided I would get a shot for pneumonia at the same time. I think the second shot was too much and -- thanks to my study of Dr. Google -- I think I have a mild case of the flu. I'm achy, have the chills and I am so tired. I hope it passes very quickly. It's my first case and now I understand the concerns about getting the flu. I don't have much of an appetite, but I do have a craving for tomato soup, just what I would have eaten when I was a little girl and was sick.
 
Tomorrow I'll be back with pictures of my "trip to Vienna" via Grand Central Station.
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It Is My Sad Duty...

to report the demise of my dear friend, Courtesy. He died after a long and debilitating illness.


This was the scene at the time of Courtesy's demise.
 
Courtesy passed away at approximately 5:50 P.M. Eastern daylight time, somewhere just outside of Providence, R.I. He breathed his last when a tall young man, standing next to a much shorter, much older woman, watched her struggle getting her luggage into the overhead compartment on an Amtrak train. The young man appeared peeved that the woman wanted one of the few available seats in the car and he was forced to stand so that she could get into her seat. The young man -- old enough to know better -- sat in the aisle seat hoping that he would have two seats and had draped his computer equipment and endless extension cords on the "spare" seat. 
 
The pain of the incident struck at Courtesy's heart and he breathed his last. I was there with him and I was grateful that I could be there for him, though his condition was beyond any resuscitation. Our beloved Courtesy was gone.
 
He is survived by his father, The Social Contract and his mother, The Golden Rule. He also leaves a sister, Kindness and a brother, Thoughtfulness. His half-brother, Chivalry, passed away a number of years ago. Courtesy is mourned by millions.
 
Courtesy, you were quiet and most self-effacing, but you made the world a better place. We will miss you every day.  
 
In tribute to Courtesy, regular programming is suspended. The world is a sadder place.
 


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Time

It's been a great weekend -- time with family, friends, fabulous foliage and beautiful scenery. There will be at least one other post this week with more pictures. This post is all about pumpkins, especially when they're sold in one of the prettiest settings I know, Barrington, Rhode Island. This is the annual pumpkin patch at St. John's Episcopal Church in Barrington.

Overnight the weather has gone from late summer to real Autumn in New England, which means more great foliage ahead. We are meeting family for breakfast in a little while and I'll be on the lookout for more Autumn leaves.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great Sunday.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy 100th, Mom

I think I've always enjoyed all things historical, even before the first time I heard the word history. I'm not sure when that was, but I probably wasn't even in school yet. My parents liked visiting historic sites and we started with Sunday afternoon car trips in Connecticut. So it's no wonder that I like to write about historic commemorations, whether it's the 350th anniversary of New York last month or the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse in my last post.

But this commemoration is intensely personal. My mother's 100th birthday would have been last week on October 11th. My mother will have been gone twenty five years next February, but October 11 is still very special to me. There are things my mother made me do -- go to Hebrew School, wear my braces and get flu shots every year -- and things she encouraged me to do -- say prayers ever night, read for fun and try things even when I was scared to do them. I am grateful for all of these things and a thousand more. Thanks, Mom, and happy birthday. You were the best!

Buttercup and Mom, winter of 1951

I've got some other great pictures of my mother and I hope to start scanning them in as soon as I get my new printer up and going. It arrived yesterday and I unpacked it, but today was too busy to spend the time I needed to get it set up. I've found that doing anything setting up the computer doesn't take twice as long as I thought it would, but three or four times as long. Slowly I seem to be getting where I need to be with my new equipment and I hope to have everything done that I need to do by the end of October. 

I had a terrific time at the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse and I will post the photos next week. I leave for Providence tomorrow morning, but I hope to do a few posts with my phone over the weekend. I'm so hoping for some great New England foliage. The leaves here are starting to fall of the trees, but there's not much bright color to be seen. Rhode Island, please don't let me down. 

Busy day today. I had my two-week followup with my coach at the gym, had my hair cut and my nails done and a dozen other little errands. Now I've got to get packing. I leave for the train at 7:30 and my retiree schedule isn't used to early rising. 

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vienna in My Dreams

In what seems like a not quite parallel universe, in seventh grade my favorite subject was social studies. It was a little bit of elementary school and almost high school history. There was some history, some geography, and "current events." We weren't typing essays yet and I got to indulge one of my favorite parts of school, making a scrapbook of pictures. I had no idea that fifty years later we would do this with a computer and call it "blogging."

My big social studies project in 1962 was a study of Austria, with a focus on Vienna. My memory of these projects is somewhat hazy, but I was a great collector of travel brochures and I'm sure there were several visits to one of the big travel agencies in downtown Hartford for brochures. A flurry of construction paper and glue must have followed, as well as sitting at the kitchen table for hours composing the text that would go with the pictures. The project has long vanished and I don't remember the grade I received, but the memory of Vienna has stayed with me.

Vienna of my Dreams, (c) WienTourismus, Christian Stemper

When I looked at this beautiful picture I realized why the memory of Vienna and the desire to visit has stayed with me over fifty years. I haven't made the trip YET, but it's definitely on my "to-see" list. Though it won't take the place of actually seeing and being in Vienna I am delighted to join the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Ringstrasse taking place at Grand Central Station today and tomorrow. The Ringstrasse is the boulevard winding through Vienna lined with palaces, parks, stately buildings and gardens. I'm looking forward to more great photographs, a webcam with the fabulous Cafe Central in Vienna, some Viennese treats and the chance to win a trip to Vienna. I will be back with more pictures to share from my Grand Central Station fun. 

I'm also delighted to let Ida, at Wishes, Dreams and Other Things, know that she is the winner of "Lucky Harbor." Ida, I'll be in touch to get your address and send your book to you. 

I'm off in a little while for my Grand Central Station Vienna adventure and tonight there's a new member dinner at our synagogue. I may try and make it to the gym, too, but that may have to wait until tomorrow. I've got a list of errands before I leave for Providence on Friday morning and a few of them are calling. 

As always, thanks for visiting and enjoy this sweet autumn weather. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Saturday

It's time for this week's Pink Saturday post. While the look is still Pretty-in-Pink, the focus is on a serious topic, Breast Cancer Awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I like to think of this as breast cancer awareness and prayers for a cure month.



During a visit to Macy's last week I found the ultimate Pretty-in-Pink sneakers, complete with pink ribbons. They are part of a collection that benefits Christina Applegate's Right Action for Women. This group helps provide screening assistance to women who are at increased risk for breast cancer.

I loved the look of these running shoes, as well as the knowledge that a donation will be made to a great cause. Alas, they didn't fit my complicated feet. 

Though they are not part of the breast cancer awareness program I liked the look of these sneakers, too. 

Pretty in pink and orange, too.

The high point of this weekend has been seeing Love Letters with Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy. It was sweet, touching and sad and I enjoyed it a lot. Each month the cast changes and next month Alan Alda and Candice Bergen are featured. I'd love to see how they interpret the parts and will be on the lookout for discount tickets. Yes, I liked it that much. 

   Next month, Alan Alda and Candice Bergen 

Wishing my Canadian friends a very happy Thanksgiving and wishes, too, for everyone in America enjoying a long weekend. 

As always thanks for visiting and take good care.