Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School

Growing up in Connecticut school began the Wednesday after Labor Day. It ended the last week in June and school vacation included all of of July and August. I didn't realize that school could begin before Labor Day until I moved to Nashville in 1972. Not having children in school my clues to when school begins are governed by a range of things. There are advertisements for back to school sales, as well as lots of  pictures on my Facebook feed. The buses taking the neighborhood kids to camp have dwindled and soon the school buses will start to arrive on the corners each morning. But the biggest sign in my life will be the change in public transportation. I don't travel much at rush hour any more, but the subways will be much more crowded and in the hours after school it will be hard to get a seat on the bus.

This is all very different from my school experience. I went to two different elementary schools. For the first two years I lived a block from the school. We moved the summer before second grade and after that I walked six blocks to and from school. If the weather was especially bad my mother would give me a ride to school, but generally we -- my next door neighbors and I -- walked to school, home for lunch and back and home again after school. Back to school was marked by new clothes, especially shoes and a new pencil box in the lower grades. I loved shopping for school supplies and enjoyed setting up my notebook, organizing my pens and pencils and later covering my books in brown paper grocery bags. I still enjoy browsing in a stationery store and have kept notebooks throughout my entire working career and still do, now in retirement.

What are your favorite memories of "back to school?"

I'm on the lookout for pictures of monkeys and will be posting them for what else, "Monkey Monday."

I am a tremendous fan of sock monkeys and I couldn't resist this guy all ready for back to school. I found him in the window of one of the local children's stores and enjoyed all of the fun backpacks and water bottles. What a great way to go back to school! 

Another glorious day in New York City, sunny and not too hot or humid. I started my day with physical therapy and I am pleased to report that I have "graduated" from one to two pound weights. My second goal of the day was to do a blog post before the day ran away from me, and I am happy to have accomplished this. I may try for the gym this afternoon or I may stay at home and work on the eternal decluttering project. 

Whatever you're doing today I hope it's fun and that you're doing well. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Apple Foodie Friday

Not Quite the edible apple...

One of my retirement goals has been to buy a new computer. My almost seven year old computer freezes and starts very slowly. It's still functioning, but I think it's days are coming to an end. My printer has just about come to an end and I definitely need to replace it. In the last seven years the computer world has changed significantly and what was standard then is antiquated now. I am also seven years older and I would love a bigger monitor to work on. From a perspective of orderliness I'd like to be working in a wireless environment.

A year ago I would have done some research and then bought a new p.c., but that was before I got my iPad. I have come to really like using it and that opened my thoughts to getting a Mac. I used it on the cruise and liked it a lot, and it would be great to be able to easily use the photos I take with my iPad on my desktop. I've now visited two Apple stores and I'm just about ready to take the plunge. But before I do I'm turning to my blog buddies for advice. Is anyone using a Mac and if so, what are the pros and cons that you can share with me? I don't see any negatives, but there might be things I haven't thought of. Much appreciate your thoughts and input. 

I can't leave Foodie Friday without real food and I loved these crispy rice cereal treats at one of my favorite places, Treat House. The theme is summer treats and the crispy rice treats were cute, cute, cute. 

The store is next door to the library. Major temptation every time I go to the library. 

Today was a busy day, with errands and an appointment in the afternoon. I wore a skirt and a nice blouse and it struck me how infrequently I wear "business attire" now. Tomorrow is a quieter day, with services in the morning and time with friends in the afternoon. Sunday afternoon I am back to the gym. 

As always, thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful weekend and savor the last of August.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Perfect Time

I jumped at the opportunity to read "In Perfect Time" by Sarah Sundin. I especially enjoy fiction set in historic times and since the anniversary of D-Day in June, I've been particularly interested in novels that take place in the 1940's.  "In Perfect Time" didn't disappoint me.

Set primarily in Europe during World War II the novel follows Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson and those she serves with. Kay is an especially engaging character. She has flaws, but her enormous strengths of character see her through the difficult times. There is romance and history and a strong faith component. The plot takes many twists, and I especially liked the main characters deepening in faith and friendship as the years moved forward.

This is the third volume in the "Wings of Glory" series, and I plan to read the other two as well. I would very much like a sequel to this book. I'd like to know what life was like for Kay and friends when they returned to America. Sarah Sundin, we want more of Kay, Mellie and Georgie!

 Kay is just about the same age as my mother was during the war. My mother worked for the Navy in Connecticut and I always enjoyed her stories a lot. Though their stories are very different "In Perfect Time," evoked memories of my mother and her friends. She kept up friendships that started during her years working for the Navy throughout her life.

Many thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group  for this reading opportunity.

July was the travel and birthday fun month and August has been a time to catch up on goals. I started physical therapy and am moving along with my exercise program. I've also scheduled a few long delayed medical appointments and will make the next few appointments by the end of the month. I've still got the ongoing decluttering to do, but a bag of clothes is sorted and ready to be given away. I hope to add to it and bring it over on Thursday. Next group of goals: a new computer, more blogging and more reading.

As always, thanks for visiting and hope you're having a terrific Tuesday. Take good care.

Please note: I was given a copy of "In Perfect Time" to review, but the opinions are all mine.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Metropolitan Museum Pink Saturday

Last Sunday I decided to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I thought that on a sunny Sunday in August the world would be at the beach, but I think at least half of the world was at the museum. I'm not sure I've ever seen it more crowded. Hint for visitors to New York City: skip Sunday afternoons. It's tough to see much, especially the more popular exhibitions.

Happily I found a relatively quiet corner of the museum, a wonderful exhibit of sixteenth century Japanese Art. There were paintings, ceramics, lacquer pieces and this beautiful kimono. I chose to photograph it for the pink tones, but I am enthralled with the design.

I found a pink treasure trove in the gift shop, one of my favorite places to browse in New York City.

 Perfectly pink travel accessories

 The gift for your favorite fashion fans

If anyone is looking for playing cards, I don't think you will find any prettier. 

It was hard to resist all of the pretty in pink goodies at the gift shop. But I'm happy to report that I did. Of course, I may return one weekday morning to take a second look or two. Please stop by at Pink Saturday for more pretty in pink fun. 

We've got glorious weather in New York. Sunny days and cool nights -- my all-time favorite! It's been a nice weekend, with services, trips to the gym and birthday fun tonight. I hope your weekend was fun, too.  

As always, thanks for visiting and have a sweet Sunday night. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stardust and Golden

This is the post I meant to write two or three hours ago. I got home from the gym and thought I'd take a quick look at Facebook before I sat down to do my Pink Saturday post. I saw a link about the forty-fifth anniversary of Woodstock and thought I'd just spend a few minutes listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash singing "Woodstock." This might take fifteen minutes, maybe twenty. One song turned into another and another and I needed to hear several versions of "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" and now it's almost midnight. If you'll let me be very sentimental, I'll do my Pink Saturday post tomorrow, and tonight I'll spend a little while remembering the nineteen year old girl I was in the summer of Woodstock.

In the summer of 1969 I had finished my freshman year of college and was waitressing to earn money for sophomore year. At this point in the summer I had three more weeks of work and if I had taken off a weekend I would have been fired. I was the summer help, and if I left they wouldn't welcome me back. Amazingly enough those three weeks of work would pay for half a semester's tuition. I was practical and knew that I had a good summer job and the rock festival in upstate New York wasn't possible for me. But it didn't mean I didn't want to go. I achingly did.

My college friend Lucy had been there and I loved hearing her stories of the weekend when we were back at school. My friends and I listened to the "Woodstock" album at least a million times, and I'm sure I memorized every word.

Forty-five years have slipped by and I think its been decades since I have thought of that weekend in August I longed to be part of. My thoughts are so similar to those I had about my childhood in my last post. The memories that are the most vivid are the good ones.  It's not the disappointment that rises to the top of my memory, but the times spent with my college friends singing along with the music and laughing.

The nineteen year old Carol could not have imagined the 64 year old woman I became and the world of 2014. But I wouldn't have become the person I am without those New England college years. Thanks, my friends, for so many sweet memories. We were stardust. We were golden, and we still are, forty five years later. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Joys of Summer Nights...Some-Mores and Fireflies

I know my childhood wasn't perfect, but when I look back I don't often think of the sad or difficult times. Maybe it's simply a function of time, but more likely it's maturity. Our lives weren't fancy or especially privileged, but I had many more good times than not, and as I write this I get a little misty remembering summer nights on Cornwall Street, the street where I grew up. If I was lucky we would be cooking out, which was one of my all-time favorite activities. Our grill was very simple and we used charcoal. If there were gas grills they were too fancy for us. The menu was usually hot dogs and hamburgers and dessert was watermelon and some-mores. After I worked at making the perfectly browned marshmallow -- I was obsessed with getting the marshmallow evenly brown all around -- I often collected fireflies. Then and now, a perfect evening.

Thanks, Mary and Mazola

I was reminded of summer nights fifty years ago thanks to my blog buddy, Mary at "One Perfect Bite" and the folks who make Mazola corn oil. The Mazola folks are the gracious sponsors of a wonderful "Summer Grill" giveaway, which Mary hosted on her blog. My winnings arrived yesterday and I was delighted to see the great new barbecue tools, apron -- underneath the tools -- and a large bottle of Mazola. Mazola was a mainstay in my mother's kitchen. I don't do any grilling at home -- tiny apartment with no backyard -- but a lot when I'm visiting my Breezy Point friends. We do simple menus, hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken kabobs and my favorite, corn cooked on the grill.

  Sweet, local corn -- perfect for grilling!

What are your summer grill favorites? Are there other some-mores fans in Buttercupland? 

If you enjoy food blogs, I think you would really enjoy a visit to "One Perfect Bite." Today's recipe is a wonderful cold soup from Spain that is calling out to me.  

Today was a beautiful summer day in New York City. I enjoyed the sky -- blue, blue, blue -- the company of a friend and the quiet of my apartment. Sweet summer day!

As always, thanks for visiting. Wishing you many sweet summer days.   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Road to Hell is Paved with Bags of Mini Candy Bars...

...Not Literally, of course. 

I stopped at the grocery tonight to pick up a few things for the week. I was hungry and feeling a lot less than my most perky Buttercup self, which is the worst time to grocery shop. I've been eating so healthily since my return from BlogHer and I've made every effort to stick to a list when I grocery shop, which saves both money and calories. My list did include a single sized serving of one of my favorite flavors of ice cream, mint chocolate chip. 

Alas, no cups of mint chocolate chip, and I was able to walk away from the other alluring treats. But as I rounded the aisle I just about walked into the very early Halloween candy display. I love candy, and it doesn't have to be anything fancy. I am content with a Hershey bar or a KitKat. The mini-bars are the most treacherous for me. They are small and look so innocent, but the first one is just a tease and before I know it I've had three or four, and there is a pile of little candy wrappers all around. It took every ounce of determination to wheel my cart past this tower of temptation. But I am pleased to say I wheeled right to the fruit section and placed a container of watermelon in my cart.  

This was my first victory over candy for the 2014 Halloween season. I know it's going to be a tough fight, but mini-candy bars, you're not going to beat Buttercup this year. You've had your seasons, but this one belongs to me.  

As always, thanks for stopping by. So enjoy my visitors and wish you all a wonderful Wednesday.