Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Little Lamb Who Made Thee...

Gave thee life and bid thee feed..."
I love the Romantic poets -- Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth and Blake especially. I was spending a little quiet time tonight looking at photos. This one was taken in the summer of 2006 in Northern Spain. I don't think I've looked at this picture -- I took over 300 pictures in Spain -- since 2006. But tonight I was struck by its sweetness and thought of the poem, "The Lamb" by Blake and wanted to share it.
Sending wishes for a sweet and quiet evening to all, dear gentle readers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

These are a few of my Favorite Things...

about Summer!
No coats, no ice, no sleet and no pantyhose!
Iced coffee,
Long days,
And long lazy days at the beach,
Mr Softee,
Local corn and blueberries and sweet ripe peaches,
The feel of warm breezes...
What are your favorite things about summer?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Denzel and I -- Perfect Together!

You may be wondering what Denzel Washington and I have in common? On the face of it nothing. I've never met Denzel, so I don't know if we like the same books, movies or places to travel. Do we both like red wine? Frozen yogurt? Doing crossword puzzles? Those are affirmatives for me, but maybe not for him. The one thing we share, he played a middle-aged civil servant in "The Taking of Pelham 123", and I am a middle-aged civil servant. Not much, but I'm happy to have one thing to share.

"The Taking of Pelham..." was not my first choice movie, but my college roommate Jane wanted to see it and in this time of summer, when the choices are few for folks older than sixteen, I agreed. Generally I don't see scary movies, and the first half hour of this one really scared me. I stuck it out and liked it. Great shots of New York City and as someone who loves mass transit, I found the train scenes fascinating.

But my most compelling thought was that it was great to see the lead, a middle-aged civil servant depicted as handsome and smart. I'm coming up to my 21st anniversary in government this week and I've met a lot of civil servants along the way. Some of the brightest and hardest working people I know work in government. Some of our colleagues are less bright and less hard working, but I don't think that's unique to government. I like seeing the media depict folks who are 40+ as intelligent and attractive, and in this movie Denzel is both. It's a rare moment when I write a thank you note to Hollywood, but this is one.

Wishes for a great week!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

When I started blogging six months ago I had few expectations. On one grandiose hand, I thought that I would be a major blog success and be able to retire and just write and somehow hundreds or thousands of people would want to read my blog. On the other more realistic hand I thought it would be fun to have a blog and I would be doing some writing. Realism won. Blogging is fun and I am writing regularly, but it is also work. I soon found I wanted people to read what I wrote. I didn't especially enjoy being a tree continually falling in the forest and no one hearing the fall. I was already reading a few blogs and left messages and found a few people who stopped by. That was great and I am so appreciative for the first readers of the blog. You kept me going when I otherwise would have quit.

Just like my mother told me many years ago, you have to be a friend to have friends. Same is true in Blogworld. And so I set off to make friends. I wasn't actually looking for friends, I was looking for interesting blogs to read and to be part of a blog community. I looked for blogs of middle years folks and blogs of writers and found some wonderful people all over the world. One blog led to another and to another and to another and now I can genuinely say I have blog friends, or more accurately blog sisters.

What a lovely community I have found! From Texas to West Virginia, from New Zealand and New York, England to India and Indiana, Oklahoma and Arizona and Alabama and a dozen points around the world. I have had two sad times in the last few months and you have been supportive and caring. I can't thank you enough dear blog sisters, you are all the best!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"We will grieve not but rather find...

strength in what remains behind." Sad news, my friends. My aunt passed away this afternoon. Not unexpected, but still so, so sad. The funeral is in Connecticut on Thursday and I am going there tomorrow to be with my cousins. Thank you all for your thoughtfulness and caring. Much, much appreciated.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold... ...

...a Rainbow in the Sky"
This is the sky over Paris after a rainstorm and this is my belated Bastille Day post. I've been saving the picture to use for Bastille Day, but it seems appropriate today, too. Have had some very good news about my aunt. We are "guardedly optimistic" but she is showing tiny signs of improvement! They're tiny, but markedly real and despite not wanting to get too excited, I am excited, very excited!
Thanks, all for your prayers and good wishes. They are appreciated more than I can express.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

This is a Temporary Interruption

This last week of blogging and life has being temporarily interrupted for Real Life. My aunt Miriam is in intensive care and her condition has not been improving. My focus has been with my cousins who are out of town and I'm planning to join my family in the next day.

At some point I will blog retrospectively for Bastille Day (July 14) and declare a Buttercup Holiday for Kristen's birthday. No fear, Buttercup will be back!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Long before...

Long before anyone thought of saying the word sex on television, and let alone that there would be a hit show with sex in the title, the West Village -- where most of "Sex and the City" takes place -- was an Italian neighborhood. It was a neighborhood of families and bakeries and butchers, anchored by the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to this world by my dear friends, Lydia and Dina, now both of blessed memory. They had grown up in the neighborhood and Dina remained here for all of her life, raising Debbie and Kevin here. I had the good fortune to work with Lydia and to get to know her family and be introduced to a world I never would have had the fortune to get to know.

The Church is still on the corner and the little park on Sixth Avenue is named for Father Demo, the long term pastor.

The neighborhood, like so many Manhattan neighborhoods is less ethnic, and now more "Sex and the City." It's got nice shops and cute sidewalk restaurants. It is also blessed with little parks on a number of blocks. The one below, named for Winston Churchill, is one of my favorites.

In a lucky fluke, as part of my job I needed to go to a photo shoot in the neighborhood. The shoot took no more than ten minutes and I got to meander slowly back to the subway, enjoying the good luck that put me in the West Village, one of my favorite areas in NYC, in the middle of a perfect summer afternoon. I only had to walk one block out of my way to be at my favorite gelato store, Grom. And so I found myself this afternoon sitting in my favorite gelato store, eating a cup of my favorite flavor of gelato, (tiramisu, if you're wondering) and listening to one of my favorite songs, "Landslide" sung by Stevie Nicks.
If I am in a turnipy mood in the days or weeks to come, feel free to remind me that there are moments of grace past and future and every day is a gift.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm Overwhelmed

Dear gentle readers, I'm overwhelmed! One of my favorite blog friends, Joyful Days has tagged me and asked me to list ten honest things about me.
Here goes!
1) It's tough for me to get up in the morning.
2) I love to go places, but don't like the actual process of getting anywhere. I dread long flights.
3) Don't like to be at the same table as hot cereal. I don't care if it's good for me.
4) And while we're on the subject of food, I don't eat beets.
5) I love naps.
6) I love anything with water. The ocean, the shower, watching the St. Lawrence River, even washing dishes.
7) I love Paris, and recently I've started to think about going there, at least once a day.
8) I really dislike when people put their feet on the seat on the bus or subway.
9) I love to read magazines and subscribe to too many.
10) I love my friends, no matter how they came into my life.
I know I'm supposed to tag 10 people, but I'm not sure exactly how to do that. I guess that's #11. I still have a lot to learn about blogging.

I've also been tagged by wonderful Debbie at There's An Angel on my Front Porch. Cannot get the link to work either. I'm very touched, but I've got the same blogging problem, i.e., how to link etc. I've been trying to link for the last half hour, to no avail.
Dear Debbie, thank you so much! I do enjoy blogging. I feel like I'm in a friendly neighborhood with lots of nice folks to visit and to chat with.

Sweet dreams and wishes for a good week!

We Have a Winner...

...and it's Country Whispers who has the best recipes on the internet. Her most recent is the yummiest chocolate recipe I can imagine and that includes my birthday s'more. Hurray for Country Whispers!
It's been a busy few days -- hence my absence. Birthday celebrating takes a lot of energy. A lovely dinner with my friend Mary on Wednesday at a great place that serves Prince Edward Island mussels, ice cream cake in the office and then there's still been work and physical therapy and grocery shopping. Hosted my study group today and we had lunch and study. We are slowly working our way through 1Samuel.
Tomorrow is the NY Times, shoe shopping (per order of my physical therapist) and getting out the card making supplies. Get a super gift of card stock and all kinds of cute fixings from Kath and Jess.

Sweet dreams and congratulations again to Country Whispers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's my birthday!

All true! I love larkspurs and laughter and yes, your Buttercup can be quite demanding. And I have gained great wealth. But my treasures aren't in the bank. They are with friends and family and all the money in the world can't buy the love and laughter I've found and memories I have.

And I'll blog if I want to, and I do! Can't think of a better activity. Had my cake and ate it, too! Tuesday was my dear friend Pene's birthday and we celebrated with a festive dinner. The restaurant was lovely and the food delicious. Dessert was especially fun. I ordered S'mores and out came a very sophisticated brownie, topped with homemade marshmallow and graham cracker ice cream with fabulous decoration. I had to take a photo to share with all of you.


Our site to celebrate. We had a lovely time, but we were so lonely for our dear Barbara, whose birthday was July 6. How we miss her!

Tonight -- on my actual birthday -- I will be celebrating with Mary. I am one lucky duck!

Happy birthday to all the July babies! Wishes for love and laughter and larkspurs!

P.S. On the way to the restaurant tonight I passed Magnolia Bakery, well known for cupcakes and "Sex and the City."

Monday, July 6, 2009

A giveaway for Happy 100...

...Posts to me! When I started this adventure in blogging I had no expectations. I knew I liked to read other people's blogs and thought it might be fun to have a blog. I'd tried blogging a couple of other times and really didn't find a voice. I gave those attempts up quickly. But somehow the voice of Buttercup stuck and six months later, 100 posts and genuine friends all over the world, I'm still here and enjoying the blogging adventure enormously.

The winter of 2009, for which I'd had such great hopes, had its large measure of sorrow. And yet when I came here I would look to blessings. Some days they were hard to find, but I looked hard and one of the great pleasures of this year was finding blessings all around New York City and being able to share those blessings with all of you who stop here and visit.

Dear Gentle readers, I can't thank you enough for sweet comments, funny comments and for stopping by and just saying hello. I'd like to share "firefly lane" with one dear and gentle reader. Please leave a comment if you are interested in receiving a copy by Saturday, July 11 and I will draw a name. Let me know if you link to this post, that will count as two entries. "firefly lane" is a great summer read and I am happy to pass it on. It's a small way of saying thank you.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday in the Park with Buttercup...

The flowers at Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle fountains

Central Park

...and Monday on Wall Street. I spent a lovely summer 24 hours in two of my favorite places. Also managed to grocery shop, browse at Borders, go to physical therapy and go to work and go to a meeting downtown.

Tonight on Wall Street, facing Brooklyn

Two thoughts on blog comments -- love those comments! Please keep them coming.

Yes, a trip to Montana -- especially with a few folks near and dear to me is a great idea. Next summer???

Happy to feature my dining room table in a post to come. It would be fun to set it with some of my "treasures." I'd like to see some table treasures of my blog friends. We could call it "Table Talk Tuesday."

Thankfully my aunt is doing a little better and hugs and birthday wishes to dear Amy.

My next post is #100. Hurray! Thinking of a little giveaway to say thanks to all who stop by and visit.

Closer to Home

I spent last week writing about traipsing the world. But I'm quite content in my own state or visiting my neighboring states. One of my favorite places is Cape May, NJ in Southern New Jersey. I've been there twice and I'm overdue for another visit. Cape May is a lovely town. It's great treasure is being a repository of beautifully preserved Victorian homes, many of which are bed and breakfasts. On one of my trips I discovered my dining room table, a cherry drop leaf table that I love. It now sits surrounded by my grandmother's dining room chairs, in my tiny alcove of a dining area.

This picture was taken one Memorial Day weekend in the early 1990s, and what a happy memory it is.

Dear gentle readers, hope you are having a good weekend. I spent yesterday with my cousins in Connecticut. Unfortunately my aunt is in the hospital and having a tough time. Keeping my aunt and Amy of "THERE'S AN ANGEL ON MY PORCH" in my thoughts and prayers.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy July 4th!

While I was in Washington in March I had the great privilege of seeing the flag that inspired "The Star Spangled Banner." It is displayed at the National Museum of American History and it is spectacular, awesome and sobering. It was sobering to realize that America almost slipped away one night in September of 1814. Francis Scott Key didn't know if the flag would still be flying over Baltimore when the battle was ended. He didn't know if the flag or America would still be there, and thankfully the flag still flew and America still existed.

Continued thanks that America still exists today and prayers and hopes that it will exist many centuries forward.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

North to Alaska

The view from Sitka, Alaska, 2008

Lots of whales, Alaska, 2008

Glacier, Inner Passage, Alaska, 2008

One of my goals is seeing all 50 states and all the Canadian Provinces. There's so much to see on this continent and I've had a fabulous time sightseeing closer to home. Every year I try to visit a state and/or province I haven't been to before.

Last year was a bonanza. In May I was able to visit Arkansas and got to live out my dream of seeing the Peabody Hotel ducks in Little Rock. In August I took one of the best vacations ever and went to Vancouver and Alaska. For spectacular scenery there isn't much that rivals Alaska.
I'm not sure how many provinces I have left to visit, but I know I have ten states left. Raise your hand if you live in either Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma or South Dakota. Those are the states still on my list and meeting a blog friend would be a fun reason to put a state high on the list. With just the least bit of encouragement you might find Buttercup at your front door!

Great Moments in (Buttercup's) Travel History

Cape Sounion, Greece, 1983

Buttercup and Jane ride "Yankee Doodle"
at the Pyramids, 1983

Buttercup in Thailand, 1989
When you're the photographer you don't get a lot of photos of yourself, but in going through my photographs I came upon a few that I thought were blogworthy and fun! The photos from Greece and Egypt were taken on a wonderful trip with my college roommate. We asked the proverbial question, "If we could go anywhere in the world, where would we go?" Egypt and Greece were the answer and we had a fabulous time and we still talk about this trip. One of my favorite memories of all time is our camel ride. Yankee Doodle was a surly camel, though he looks very sweet in the photo. We bounced more than any amusement park ride and I spent the better part of the ride screaming and praying I wouldn't fall off. Of course it makes the best memory.
The last photo is from the same trip to Thailand as the pictures yesterday. I'm not sure where this was taken, but my memory is that I was told that releasing the bird would bring good luck. I enjoyed this trip very much. So much so, that I've been to Thailand twice since, including a week in northern Thailand in 2002.
I love my digital camera and have become very accustomed to viewing photos on the computer. Looking through pictures -- I even dug out boxes of pictures from the back of my closet -- reminded me of how much I like having pictures. I like having them in frames on the mantle, in my hutch and scattered around the apartment. I like holding them and remembering where I was when I took the picture. I'd quite forgotten the pleasure of flipping through pictures. Thanks, gentle readers, for reminding me of a simple pleasure I'd forgotten.