Sunday, May 31, 2009

What is so Rare as a Day in June?

"Then if ever come perfect days"
Thanks to James Russell Lowell for a favorite poem. I knew the first lines, but hadn't read the rest of the poem in years. These lines especially made me happy,
"Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how."
Wishing you perfect days and a joyous month!

I Love the Night Life

Back in the '70s I loved this song. Not that I was going to discos every night, but I was out and about a lot more in the evenings. Now I generally seem to be coming home from work, the grocery or a dash to Macys in the evening. That seems to be the bulk of my night life now. But this week I had bona fide night life with a visit to the theater on Thursday and a movie on Friday night.
Thanks to Kath and Jess I had the good fortune to see "9 to 5," and what fun it was. I liked the movie a lot and enjoyed the musical even more. The music by Dolly Parton was lively, good dancing and two especially memorable performances. One was Allison Janney in the role Lily Tomlin played in the movie and the other was Megan Hilty in the Dolly Parton role. Allison's strength isn't singing, but neither was Rex Harrison's and he will always be Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady." As a fan of "West Wing" I was delighted to see her in person. Megan has a terrific voice and lots of stage presence.
Friday night Mary and I went to see "Management," a new movie with Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn. It's quirky and sweet and worth seeing. We were in the Times Square area -- actually just a block from Times Square. As we waited for the bus four young men came up to us. One of them asked where Times Square was. Now lots of people ask me for directions, but this seemed odd as Times Square was just down the block and seemed so obvious. I assumed it was a pickup line -- cheeky! and even though Mary and I are old enough to be these young men's mothers we're still pretty cute -- and Mary thought they might be thinking of stealing our wallets. Neither was the case. We pointed out the right direction and then asked where they were from. Two of our visitors were from Prince Edward Island, one was from New Brunswick and one was from Scotland and really just wanted to know were Times Square was.
I love the nightlife, whether it's a play, a movie, giving directions or just a ride on the #104 bus.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It is a Sweet Night

Dear Gentle Readers, no great revelations or thoughts tonight. Had a lovely night of theater -- longer review this weekend -- and it was fun! Laughter, good music and companions to share it with. A seat on the bus (hurray!) that was filled with other theater-goers also making their way home. It's easy to tell, as so many were holding play bills. Then the sweetest two block walk home from the bus. It was quiet and there was a light gentle mist falling, so the streets and the heavy leaved trees were shining. The city looked almost magical and it was a sweet spring night in New York City.

Wishes for all for sweet dreams and a sweet day tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

That's What Friends Are For

I've been feeling very turnipish today. I took Penniwig's very gentle flail (is that an oxymoron?) in her comment seriously and decided I really needed to get back to some more Buttercup-like topics. What was Buttercup doing writing almost non-stop about razor wire, tears or sadness? It might reflect my mood, but it wouldn't change it. I'd strayed off-topic and thankfully, my blog sister brought me back.

Turnips be gone for at least the rest of May and buttercups are back!

Please keep those sweet and not so sweet comments coming. That's what (blog) friends are for and they are so appreciated.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Please Get Me a Reservation for Guernsey Now

If I'd read any reviews I would have been warned, but I didn't. I read the letter that accompanied "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and thought this looks really good. I never expected that tears would be running down my face on all manners of public transportation. I started crying on the #1 subway, continued on the Path Train to New Jersey and got in some more tears on the #M7 bus yesterday afternoon. I finished the book on the #1 coming home tonight. I don't think I've cried for any printed matter since reading "Portraits of Grief" in the New York Times in fall of 2001. Then I sobbed daily well into October.

If you enjoy reading fiction I recommend this book immediately. Please get a copy now. I read a book I like about once a month, but I rarely read a book I love and I love this book. I want to hop on a plane to Guernsey, and as someone who went to Prince Edward Island to see where my beloved Anne lived, I know Guernsey is now definitely on my travel list.

I was emoting in the office this afternoon and a colleague asked me what was the book about. It's about England and the Channel Islands, during and after WWII, and people who lived there. It's also about the most engaging characters I've come across in a long time of reading.

Would love to know your favorite books, dear gentle readers. Always looking for book recommendations.

Happy reading and a sweet good night!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Then, Then and Now

My first "then" is a picture of my father, circa WWII. He was drafted early in the war, was stationed all over America and ended up in Europe, including DDay. There are no notes on the back of this photo, so I don't know who else is in this picture or where it was taken. My father is standing in the back to the left.

From my father's stories of DDay I always wanted to see the Normandy beaches and had the opportunity in 1985. I found the courage of the Allied troops extraordinary and am ever grateful for their courage and sacrifices. Actually seeing the beaches where the landings took place awed me beyond any words. The top picture shows the monument to the troops that captured the Pointe du Hoc. They scaled, what I remember seeing, a rock wall with a German machine gun base at the top. The second photo is one of the American cemeteries in Normandy. They are places of serenity and I feel honored to have been able to pay my respect to those who gave everything for our country.

And now, my thanks to those who protect us today in near and far regions of the world, with awesome and extraordinary courage. This post is in memory of my father and those who served with him and in memory of our friend Tim, who gave his life last year in Iraq.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thank you, Dear Shape!

It's not very often I think of a favorite magazine as a friend. But I no longer think of "Shape" as just a magazine, it's now a group of friends. I had the great good fortune to join the Editor in Chief, Valerie Latona, and other members of the staff for a focus group lunch last week. I've been a reader for many years, with a brief hiatus three years ago. I was reconsidering my magazine subscriptions and decided to let long standing subscriptions lapse and see if I missed them. I definitely missed "Shape" and now I'm a loyal subscriber once again.
The luncheon was an opportunity for the staff to talk to readers, and what fun it was for this reader. I joined six other women and we talked about every part of the magazine. Did we like recipes and what recipes in particular? What about fashion layouts? Exercise at home or at the gym? Who would you like to see on the cover? It was a great treat to see how this favorite magazine is put together and meet the people who month after month keep me interested in healthy living, not an easy task. Dear gentle readers, I wish all of you could have joined us for this interesting and fun get together.
Thanks, Valerie and thanks "Shape" for this wonderful opportunity.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's Not All Bright Lights, Big City

I don't want to be misleading, but living in New York City isn't all glamor all the time. Sometimes, like tonight when I was changing subway lines going home, it was the bright lights of Times Square that you see above. But, that's only a part of the story.

Beginning in July of 2005 my office moved across the East River to a very gritty part of Queens. I was distraught. I gave up my view of the Statue of Liberty and my beloved Lower Manhattan for car repair shops, empty lots and razor wire. I am grateful for my friends who listened to me whine about the new offices (and sometimes still listen), but it's not been an easy transition.

There has been one plus. I discovered just three subway stops further into Queens two new favorite stores. One is Deal $5 and Less, the source of all cleaning supplies, sandwich bags and
plastic cups. And the others is Michaels. There are no Michaels in Manhattan and I'd never been in one until about two years ago. I can happily wander through the store looking at ink pads and scrapping supplies and having a fine time, which is exactly what I did tonight.

Now if this was a novel instead of a blog the ending of this post would be very different. The heroine -- me -- would have learned the lesson that she can be happy anywhere and in the last chapter finds the office is moving to a more wonderful area in Manhattan than the one she left. Alas, but it's real life and I'm still working among the car repair storefronts and empty lots. But even in the worst collection of fat dark rain clouds there are still streaks of silver in the linings. In these clouds I have found discount dish washing detergent and the inspiration for home made cards. So yes, dear and gentle readers I am a very lucky duck!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks, Kath and Jess for the beautiful flowers. They were a wonderful surprise when I got home on Tuesday night.
Thanks to my friends at Random House for the package which was also waiting for me on Tuesday night. I've been wanting to read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" and it just appeared. Can't wait to get started on it this weekend.
To complete the evening I also received a package from Lilly at Roy's Progress! (cannot get the link to work). I was the winner of a contest on this lovely blog and received among other things, a beautiful hummingbird pendant, which I wore today.
I have one more formal thank you and I will do that over the weekend. I had a great time on Wednesday and thank you to follow.
Take good care and enjoy the weekend, gentle readers!

And Now for Something Totally Different...

If you thought the New York sophisticate was the whole Buttercup, well, my gentle readers, you are sadly mistaken. A little background...

I was raised in Connecticut and went to college in rural Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But for graduate school I decided I'd be a little more adventurous. I applied to schools in New Jersey, California, Iowa, New York and Tennessee and decided on Tennessee, and spent three great years in Nashville.

10 Nashville facts about Buttercup...

10) Loved Vanderbilt and still have a strong connection with the University.

9) Worked for the Cokesbury store and sold bibles there.

8) Developed a great appreciation for cornbread dressing and chess pie.

7) Saw Johnny Cash and the Evangel Temple Choir at the Grand Ole Gospel Hour a number of times and...

6) Know all the words to "Will the Circle be Unbroken?"

5) Loved the log flume ride at Opryland

4) Think the Smokies in the fall are as pretty as anyplace in the world.

3) Had the great experience of shooting the rapids on the Little Harpeth River.

2) Was at the Ryman Auditorium the last night of the Opry before it moved to Opryland -- what a memory!
1) Feel so blessed to have had the wonderful experience of living in Nashville!
The picture is Buttercup and friends, Thanksgiving 1972 at the Parthenon in Centennial Park. Wish I could still wear those short skirts!

Monday, May 18, 2009

10 Favorite Places (2) Lower Manhattan

I've been able to work in some fabulous places in New York City and I especially liked the years spent in Lower Manhattan. It feels odd writing this because some of the time was among the most traumatic of my life, but on the whole I loved being "downtown," and enjoy so much being back in the neighborhood. Sometimes it's for meetings during the week and sometimes it's for shopping or sight seeing during the weekend. The photos here were taken on the walk from the building I used to work in -- and many colleagues still do, so there are lots of meetings here -- to the subway about six blocks away.

This first photo is the Custom House, now the National Museum of the American Indian. It was built in 1907 and is officially the Alexander Hamilton Custom House. Customs duties were the most important revenue for America before the income tax and the Port of New York was very important in this effort. I passed it daily and it was also part of the view from my window for over five years and I never grew tired of it. The collection inside is fascinating and highly recommended, as well as the decorative pieces of the interior of the building. And for the shoppers among us, it has a great gift shop.

My walk continued up Broadway -- over the sidewalks we saw last week, and past Trinity Church which is shown in the background of this picture. I'm standing at Nassau Street and Wall Street and it's the usual rush hour crowd. We're right around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange. If you look very carefully you can see the cranes that are part of the construction equipment for the World Trade Center site.

Turning in the opposite direction and a block from my subway stop is Federal Hall, with its statue of George Washington on the front steps. This building was once too, a customs house, but more importantly it was on this site -- though in a building not preserved -- that Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States. There are interesting exhibitions here and currently there is one marking the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth in 1809.

I've really enjoyed sharing one of my favorite walks in one of my favorite places. Thanks so much for joining me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Anyone Need a Sweet Thought?

If anyone, anywhere needs a sweet thought, a kind word or a virtual hug, please stop here. Today was Barbara's funeral and a long, long day. Despite the sadness of the day there were many, many sweet thoughts, kind words and lots of actual hugs. I am passing on the affection and kindness of the day to all who are hurting. Know that this bloggy friend is so grateful for her blog visitors and so glad when people stop by and say hello.

Hugs and wishes and sweet thoughts for the week ahead!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Now We are Two

I joined my bible study group in 1996. For the first few years I didn't take it very seriously. I liked it, but I attended only sporadically. I'm not sure exactly when or why something changed. I started to go to monthly meetings regularly and became closer to others in the group, some of whom were already friends. The closeness grew. We prayed together, studied together and eventually came to celebrate holidays and vacation together.
Three of us came to call ourselves "The Calendar Girls," after the movie of the same name. I'm not sure here, too, how the tradition began, but Pene, Barbara and I started to celebrate our birthdays together. We were born in a row, July 6 for Barbara, July 7 for Pene and July 8 for me. We were born in different years, but no matter, we were "The Calendar Girls."
Now we are two. Our beloved Barbara passed away this morning, ending her pain and suffering and leaving an extraordinary void in so many lives. Barbara was intelligent, thoughtful and devoted. She was a devoted mother and grandmother, who adored her four grandchildren. She was a devoted daughter to her mother who died last summer at 99 and a devoted sister. She was devoted to her friends, her congregation -- Barbara rarely missed several services each weekend -- and to good deeds. She quietly attended to many in need, with great caring and humility.
Barbara was also the smiling woman you see in the photo. There was more times of laughter than I can count, whether it was New Year's Eve and word games, Saturday afternoon lunches with a dozen people at the table talking and laughing or quietly relaxing by the pool in Sedona.
I cannot thank all of you enough for your prayers for Barbara and kind thoughts. It has meant a lot to me and I am grateful. We were so blessed to know Barbara and now G'd and the angels share the blessing we will cherish in our memories and hearts.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Sidewalks of New York


I had a meeting in lower Manhattan this afternoon. The building was at the very beginning of Broadway (#2) and a few blocks from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Got a chance to take lots of photos of some of my favorite places in the neighborhood to share with all of you and I'll be doing that in the next few days. But for today we're literally going to look at the sidewalks of New York.

I love lower Manhattan for the trove of history, the architecture, the view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the parks. Here on lower Broadway have been some of the great celebrations of American history, commemorated by ticker tape parades. There's no ticker tape any more, but there are from time to time parades. The last one I got to see commemorated the Yankees winning the World Series in 1999 and we had a fabulous view from our office window that overlooked the parade route down Broadway.

Set into the sidewalk on Broadway are markers that commemorate some of the parades. I took a few pictures to share some memorable moments with all of you and yes, I even got a few feet in the photos. It's hard not to at rush hour in Manhattan, and it's part of the scene.
The photos commemorate Winston Churchill, President Truman, General Wainwright, hero of the Pacific Campaign and General Eisenhower all being honored following World War II. What amazing celebrations those must have been.
Thanks for sharing a few of my favorite New York City sights.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Psalms Circle

I spent the evening with my friend Nora. Nora and I belong to the same synagogue and the same scripture study group. We were organizing a Psalms Circle, a very traditional means of offering prayers for somone who is sick. This is a circle of prayers for healing. We join together in the recitation of all 150 psalms, or in Hebrew, tehillim. They are each recited daily (from midnight to 11:59 P.M.) -- in English, Hebrew or any language chosen.

Each person chooses one psalm for daily recitation. The psalm may be a favorite of yours or one that chosen after looking through the Book of Psalms. Another tradition is to choose the psalm that reflects your age. The recitation of psalms for those who are ill is a long tradition and one of great power and comfort.

When I began this blog in the winter, one of the things that was most troubling was that my dear friend, Barbara, was facing major surgery and a difficult diagnosis. The surgery was difficult, but successful, but the diagnosis has grown very bleak. Barbara is a wonderful person. She lives not quite a mile away and we share holidays, vacations, study, services, lunches, movies, prayer and reflection. This blog was going to be the happy, peppy blog, but this is just too big a piece of my life to omit. If any of my dear blog friends would like to join the psalm circle -- just one psalm once a day -- I would be delighted.

A little bit of Buttercup trivia -- my favorite psalm is psalm 126 and my favorite verse is verse 5,

"May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!"

Blessings to all, dear gentle readers and a sweet night!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses

Buttercup and Mom, winter 1951

This is a post-Mother's Day tribute to three of the dearest women in the world, my mother, my dear friend Kathy and Kathy's daughter, Jessica, my goddaughter.
My mother died in February 1990, much too soon. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of her, and as the years go by I grow more and more grateful to be her daughter. Thanks, Mom, for making me wear my braces and go to Sunday school, for sitting through swim lessons and dance lessons, for thousands of homemade cookies and trips to the library and for being an extraordinary woman and mother!

Kathy, summer 1973
Kathy was my first friend at college. We lived on the same hall and by the third day of school in September, 1968 we had become friends and I am happy to say, we still are. Kath, your tribute is not simply that you are a great friend -- that you are! -- but a great mother, too. You have raised two wonderful children, while being active in your community, running marathons, being a judge and being a great daughter, sister and friend. I can't imagine my life without you.

Jessica Erin, Thanksgiving 1979

Jessica is not actually my goddaughter. Her Aunt Maureen is her given godmother, but Jess is the goddaughter of my heart. Jessica went to college an hour from New York and I visited frequently. We tried to find the right description of our relationship and friend and friend's daughter just didn't describe it, and so I became a godmother. What a joy! No one could have a sweeter and lovelier goddaughter or daughter. Jess is beautiful, accomplished, intelligent and funny, but more important she is one of the kindest and most caring people I will ever meet. When I returned from Indiana a box from FTD was waiting, with freesia and roses. This morning the scent that greeted me was roses, a gift from dear Jess. This is a moment to stop and smell the roses and say thanks Mom, Kath and Jess for all you mean to me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thelma and Louise Come Home

Thelma and Louise are back from Indiana. We stayed away from convertibles and other assorted hi jinks and had a great trip. Gentle readers, your good wishes kept the rain away and it was a lovely weekend, with all the happiness that a graduation should have.

During the morning baccalaureate program the sound of thunder was distant. It came every few minutes, just often enough to remind me that our perfect day could be spoiled any minute. It rumbled low and not so low throughout the program. Throughout the morning and into the graduation afternoon there was both sun and clouds, a lot of clouds. But the rain never came. We needed no umbrellas. We weren't banished to the gym to watch the program over closed circuit television and despite all the rumbles of thunder, low and not so low, the day held all the happiness that a graduation should have.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thelma and Louise go to Indiana

I'm going to Indiana, via Dayton Ohio for Daniel's graduation from Daniel is the son of a friend from high school and I'm happy to share this milestone with him, his parents, sister and aunt. I'm traveling with his aunt, my dear friend Nancy, and we are considering this little adventure as a sort-of "Thelma and Louise" adventure. I know our activities will be much more conventional, but it still feels like a road movie.

Please pray for sunshine in Indiana. If not we will be watching the graduation from a bleacher seat in the gym watching on closed circuit television, instead of the beautiful outdoor ceremony I am hoping for. I once sat through a graduation in the gym and the bleachers do get tough for lots of sitting.

Wishes to all for a sunny weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Turnip (Parsnip, Kohlrabi and Rutabaga) Day

Here's to our friends, the root vegetables. I'm cheering on turnips, parsnips, kohlrabi and rutabagas. Hurray for them all! Penniwig suggested adding "the brave and tenderhearted kohlrabi," and I am happy to do so. I did a little Internet sleuthing and found that kohlrabi is also known as "German turnip" as well as turnip cabbage, so it is a perfect fit for this holiday. My mother was a great kohlrabi fan and planted it in her garden for a number of years, so I have much fondness for this little known vegetable.

Once again, a cheer for turnips and veggie friends and for all friends of veggies and visitors to Buttercupland! Please stop by often.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's Turnip Eve

I am officially declaring tonight, May 5 as Turnip Eve. Tomorrow, May 6 will be a Buttercup Holiday, celebrated in all parts of Buttercupland. Tomorrow is Turnip Day! You ask how to celebrate...Be kind and think kind thoughts of turnips, parsnips and all other root vegetables and be happy for their presence and your presence in the world.
Hugs and blessings, turnips, parsnips and dear friends and readers!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday in New York

Good morning! It's a very gray and rainy Sunday in New York. Yesterday was spent with friends, but today is set aside for errands. I'm going to the bank to make a deposit, to Sym's -- a great discount store downtown -- to return shorts I bought on Monday and look for summer tops (if I have the wherewith all I will look for summer shoes), do laundry, buy groceries and drop off a gift for Hannah, my college room mate's daughter. If the weather clears up I will take some photos of lower Manhattan to show for "10 Favorite Places". There are blogs to read, a few phone calls to make, the Sunday NY Times to read and crossword to do and I'd like to make a few birthday cards and need to clear off the table to bring out my card making materials.

What is everyone else doing today? I know will be cooking something terrific and has some cute chicken graphics to share. Any recipes to share? Anyone else making cards? Whatever you're doing, have a wonderful day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Movie Mania

Whatever gremlins were lurking in my camera seem now to have headed out for parts unknown and I am pleased to share photos of the filming of "The Baster." Unfortunately in the number of times I walked by there wasn't any filming and actually there were very few people entering or leaving any of the vehicles parked on Broadway all week, but I am assuming some filming went on. The yellow sign in the bottom photo delights me, because I see it and know a movie or television show is being filmed, but for anyone looking to park on the street it strikes despair, as they know that's a few less parking spaces.
Now, lest anyone think life in New York is just about movies or celebrities...Wouldn't that be fun? I think that's someone else's life in New York City. My life is more about work, grocery shopping, seeing friends, going to book club, all the things that make up life anywhere. But I do get "celebrity spotting" moments, like seeing Isabella Rosselini in the elevator in my building about a year ago (She is beautiful!) or Wynton Marsalis in a restaurant on West 65th St. this afternoon. Mr. Marsalis very graciously signed an autograph for a friend's son who is a high school trumpet player. Didn't get a picture. Buttercup isn't about to turn into a paparazzi...At least not yet!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wishes for a very happy May