Thursday, November 26, 2015

I Am Grateful for Grapefruit

I'm feeling especially grateful for, of all things, the grapefruit in the center of this photograph. I'm grateful for apples and Brussel sprouts, cranberries and all the bounty that is so easily found just a few blocks from home. But this year I am especially grateful for grapefruit. I can understand if you think that's somewhat odd. But I am a big fan of grapefruit and for the last decade I have limited my consumption due to a certain popular medication for cholesterol. But as of Tuesday I am off that medication -- at least for a little while -- and I can go to town with grapefruit. I hadn't thought of it initially, but as was walking down Broadway Tuesday afternoon the thought came to me, "I can eat grapefruit again."

That thought led to a number of other thoughts, particularly that the things I am grateful for in this phase of my life seem to be very different from earlier times of my life. I am grateful for hours without "Breaking News" on the television. I am grateful for fresh flowers all year round and appreciate the hard work that brings them to my neighborhood. I am grateful for the aroma of freshly ground coffee and I am grateful for oases of serenity in the midst of the noise and rush of New York.

 Grateful for fresh flowers all year round...
...and Central Park, from Central Park South.

My aunt's almond loaf recipe. I realize it's a little cryptic. When I looked at it tonight I realized she had omitted any instruction about mixing the ingredients or shaping the loaf -- flat on a greased cookie sheet. She assumed I would know what to do.
I'm also grateful for memories of Thanksgivings past and all those I celebrated with. I'm grateful to have my Aunt Miriam's recipe for Mandel Bread -- actually a sweet almond tea loaf -- that we enjoyed on every holiday and a good many other days throughout the year. It was "her" recipe and I am so grateful to have a copy of it in her handwriting. The scribble at the far right is my writing. I am grateful, too, for friends to celebrate with today.
When I started writing this post, my thought was that I was grateful for small graces, but I realized those small graces are all symbols of the basics of, friends, good health and the sweet rhythm of every day life. It's not that I was ungrateful of small graces in the past, but as youth slips further into memory, the basics of life grow more important. Yes, I am grateful for grapefruit.   
Wishes for a Thanksgiving of graces large and small. Thanks for visiting and have a day sweet with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

'Tis the Season Pink Saturday

Rockefeller Center
Tonight we officially begin a special time in Buttercupland. It's almost Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas and there will be pictures. I took early photos at Rockefeller Center on Tuesday and I have my first official photography session of the department store windows tomorrow morning. My college roommate and great friend of Buttercupland alerted me that the windows at Bergdorf's and Tiffanys have been installed. We're heading over to Fifth Avenue for shopping, photos and lunch. The weather forecast is cloudy, but in the 50's and I'm excited to see this year's creations. 
I've got some of the usual places on my photography list -- Macy's, Rockefeller Center, Radio City and the first Christmas trees in my neighborhood. But I've also added a few new places to my list and I will leave those for a surprise.
I started my holiday photography this week in my neighborhood and here are a sights I enjoyed.  

Pink caught my attention at one of my favorite soap stores. 
I always enjoy the beautiful dress clothes for children. I may once again do a post with some of my favorite windows on Madison Avenue.
This is not an endorsement of the beverage -- though I like it a lot -- but I loved the juxtaposition of colors at my local fruit and vegetable store. 

I'm a fan of the Peanuts gang and enjoy Snoopy and Lucy in this Thanksgiving window.
Soon Pepe will be in his holly-jolly outfit, the snowpeople will be all over my apartment and the streets of New York will be filled with the aroma of evergreens. The days will rush by and I need to remember not to rush with them, but to savor the days and the moments and be grateful for each.
I'm joining tonight with my Pink Saturday buddies for blogging fun. As ever thanks for visiting and take good care!  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Blogger Meets Blogger

It's been a quiet week. I'm catching up on home things and all the things I didn't do when I was in Richmond and the Bahamas, as well as my regular activities. This includes grocery shopping, two visits to the gym, Weight Watchers, my Tuesday night class and a trip to the Post Office. It also includes spending today waiting for the plumber. Happily he came early in the afternoon and the problem was quickly fixed. But I look up from all the activities that make a normal week and realize it's Thursday night. The weekend, and then Thanksgiving, are almost here.

In the midst of this very usual week I spent a wonderful afternoon meeting a blog friend, Nadine. I'm not sure how or when I started to read her blog, but I find it interesting and thoughtful. When I saw she would be visiting New York I thought I'd like to meet her. At worst we'd share an afternoon and coffee, and at best I'd find a kindred spirit. I found our meeting definitely the latter and realize I've never had a worst case scenario when meeting any of my blog buddies. Nadine was as interesting, thoughtful and fun as her blog posts. She was very good natured about meeting at Rockefeller Center so I could take pictures of the area being decorated for the coming festivities. I had my cup of coffee and we talked and probably could have talked for another hour.

I enjoyed one of my favorite activities, watching the skaters at Rockefeller Center. It was the perfect day for it. It wasn't crowded and it wasn't cold. There was even some sun to warm the day.

I also have pictures of the Rockefeller Center Tree before the decorations. The lights will be turned on the week after Thanksgiving, but the preparations are well underway.
  Once the lights are turned on I won't be able to take a photograph without a hundred people in it.

I would be making a big omission if I didn't mention that I'm feeling, as Mel Brooks once described it, "high anxiety."  The events in Paris last week have unsettled me and when I think about some of my usual activities I ask myself the question, "Is this wise?" But I also know that staying home is not the answer and the ceiling could collapse on me. So I'm out and about with prayers for the world and especially for New York City.

 I'll be back tomorrow with Fiction Friday. I hope your evening is a pleasant one, with a cup of tea or cocoa. I've got a yen for gingersnaps, so I think there's some ginger tea in my plans.

As ever thanks for visiting and take good care.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fair Isle Pink Saturday

Somewhere in the Middle Ages when I was in high school I had a discernable style of dress. I -- like almost everyone else I knew in New England -- dressed in a preppy style. I favored matching sweaters and yes, box pleat skirts, a pea jacket, loafers and the jewel in the crown of my wardrobe, the Fair Isle sweater. It was a pullover sweater, generally in a bright yarn and had a yoke of pattern knitted into it. I'm not sure what color or colors my sweaters were and the black and white pictures in my yearbook are no help.

It's been at least forty years since I last wore a Fair Isle sweater, and mine have all gone to moths, every one. It's been at least forty years since I've even thought of a Fair Isle sweater until a few weeks ago. I thought they were now part of history and the last thing I anticipated was this...

A Fair Isle Revival
The pattern is bolder and bigger and the pink seems a lot brighter, but my Fair Isle is back. Even though it felt like the middle of summer in Manhattan a few weeks ago, I bought this sweater. I didn't do the internal debate that often goes on in my head about waiting until it goes on sale or seeing if I could order it less expensively. I tried it on and just stepped up to the cash register and paid for it. I no longer have any particular style of dress, but the bright pink and the pattern brought back a flood of memories, the sweater fit and I'm always on the lookout for sweaters that include wool.
I did have a few minutes of hesitation in the dressing room. Is the pink too pink?
The brown is a great color, too, but in the end it was all about pink.
I love the pink hat, too, but I've got a great hat for the winter. The item that seems most useful is the "Peace" t-shirt. It caught my attention a few weeks ago and now, even more than when I first saw it the shirt is in my thoughts. I may need a return trip to the Gap.
The link in the first paragraph gives information about Fair Isle, one of the Shetland Isles. When I was in high school I never thought about the actual Fair Isle, let alone thought that I'd visit one of the Shetland Islands. I saw a lot of sheep during my visit to Shetland in the summer of 2014 and though I know this sweater is from Fair Isle in name only, it gives me a sense of the land where the pattern was born. 
I'm happy to join my Pink Saturday friends for Sunday night fun. Please stop by to meet some wonderful bloggers. 
I spent a quiet day enjoying a perfect autumn day in New York. I did errands and walked in Central Park. It was too beautiful a day to be indoors and I'm trying to savor every day of autumn that remains.  
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good, good care! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Love Paris

Paris first captured my heart when I saw "Gigi" in elementary school. I started studying French in junior high school and my dream was to visit the city we studied. I've had that pleasure, nine times over. I've stayed in different neighborhoods and enjoyed each trip. I'm not sure what year this picture was taken or where I was standing, but with my little point and shoot camera I captured a rainbow over Paris. I've shared Paris with my mother and with friends, wandering the streets, drinking coffee in cafes and enjoying art in dozens of galleries and museums. I love Paris. I shared this photograph early in my blogging career to celebrate Bastille Day.

I had a very different post almost completed for today. I was going to write about a trio of romance novellas for Fiction Friday. But with the first "Breaking News" late this afternoon my heart, prayers and thoughts are in Paris, and Fiction Friday will wait for another Friday, one I pray will be calmer.

Let us join in a chain of prayer around the world for the people of Paris and especially for those being held hostage. Tonight we are all French.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee

A cup for you and a cup for me. 
There's been a lot of chatter about Starbucks' seasonal coffee cup. It's a red cup and it doesn't have much festive design. There's even been a call for a boycott of Starbucks. I can't do much of a boycott of Starbucks. I stop there on an average of every six months and I was just there for my bi-yearly visit on Monday at the Miami Airport. I'm not due for another visit until the spring. I've got nothing against Starbucks, but I don't especially like their coffee and their flavored drinks are too sweet for me and too pricy.    
Be that as it may, enough about coffee cups. Enough. Make your coffee at home and pick the cup you like best. I'm going with these mugs I brought back from Italy almost fifteen years ago. One way to make a difference in the world is to take the cost of a fancy-dancy drink at Starbucks and donate the amount to a cause you care about. Since today is Veteran's Day, you might choose one that works with veterans. 
The song "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee" by Irving Berlin has been swirling in my mind during this coffee cup brouhaha. It was written in 1932, when for many people just having five cents for a cup of coffee wasn't always possible. I looked up the verses and found this line:
Things that really matter
Are the things that gold can't buy
True in 1932 and true in 2015. So let's have another cup of coffee, my friends, and put the focus on things that really matter. It's not coffee cups.   
I haven't forgotten that it's Veterans Day and wanted to share this picture of my father and his army buddies at Fort Sill during World War II.
Thanks, Daddy, and all who served and those who are serving our country today.
My deepest gratitude. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and if you're visiting New York, the coffee's on me.   

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Better in the Bahamas

I'm sitting on the deck of the Norwegian Sky, shaded from the bright tropical sun. The first photo is the view of Miami harbor as the ship pulled out last night. It was drizzling, but there was still a beautiful flash of sun in the distance. The second photo is the view as the Sky pulled into the harbor in Nassau, Bahamas.

The jingle "It's better in the Bahamas" floats through my mind. I can't say that it's better in the Bahamas yet. I haven't left the ship. But the air is warm and the breeze is delightful. I've got a quiet table to sit at and drink my coffee, write a blog post and be grateful for friends, sunshine and the day past and the day ahead. I can't ask for more.

Wishes for a day with of sun, friends and quiet moments.