Friday, December 31, 2010

From Times Square...

to your house,

Wishes for a bright and blessed New Year!

Times Square is in the distance. Yesterday I took this on my way to where I change subways in the morning. When you see the scene tonight on television there will be little or no snow. 

We've got our blog party going. The music -- disco right now -- is playing and the pigs in blankets (little hot dogs in dough) are warming up. There's a big punch bowl waiting and all we need now is the guests. Welcome! Since we all can't be together in person we'll meet in Buttercupland. From New York to England and Wales to India and back to North America, with stops all over Canada and the United States, we've got the best company I can think of. I am counting all of my blessings for the wonderful people I've met this year in Blogland. Have a wonderful evening, dear friends, and wishes for good health, much happiness and joy and fun in the year to come. May dreams come true for all of us!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Can't Help Myself...

I just love Motown, and that's my first choice for party music, and there's no party without music!

We've got great guests and we've got terrific food -- from fried okra to one of my all-time party favorites, pigs-in-blankets. When I was little my grandmother would make them for parties and they were always the first to go.  Now we need some music. Love to hear all of your suggestions. I'm starting with one of my favorites and looking for yours. Let's have a mix! Motown, disco, country. Can't wait to hear what my guests would like to listen to and dance to! It's a dancing party -- no arthritic knees or sore feet in Buttercupland. Even though I haven't been able to wear heels in twenty years, I can wear them here and dance the night away! 

And in real life New York the snow is going down, it's warmer and I've survived four long, long days at work. Three leisurely days ahead -- hurray! I've got some errands and decluttering, but also dinner with friends tomorrow, brunch on Sunday and theater tickets and lots of New Year's blog visits. Can't ask for more.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Post Scheduled for This Evening has Been Preempted... a Message of Hope

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing and sweet
to remember.

We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

Oliver Herford  

I was sitting on the platform at the Times Square subway station, one of the most urban environments I can think of. I'd watched one very overcrowded train go by and adopted a very philosophical attitude about getting to work. I'd be happy with any time this morning. And then from nowhere, this sweet bird appeared. He didn't sing, but he happily hopped all over the platform, oblivious to the crowds, the noise, the discarded papers. He could have been no happier in a spring meadow, than he was on a cold December morning at Times Square. I could do no less, and my mind drifted to one of my favorite poems, and the promise of the glory of spring, which is in our hearts. 

Party plans continue tomorrow, but tonight the only thought I have is the promise of spring. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's Party Week and You're Invited!

After trudging through this getting to the subway to work...

And this getting out of the subway near the office...

I've never seen so much snow inside a subway station

I've decided it's time to forget the snow, the cold and the wind. It's time to party! This is the week leading to New Year's and we can party all week. I've redecorated Buttercupland in an 80s retro disco look and I'm thinking of wearing a silver cocktail dress. I don't own one, so grey sweat pants may have to do, but in Blogland we can be festive, whether we're in silver dresses or sweatpants.   

This is party week in Buttercupland. I've got the decorations, but I'm not sure about what to serve. I'm looking for suggestions of favorite party foods, and remember, there are no calories in Buttercupland. Join the party, friends, you're all invited!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Wonderland...

...or not!
The view of Broadway from the bus stop earlier this afternoon

For me, it's not. It's a big not! I've never recovered from the winter of 1970-71 when I lived in New Hampshire. There was five feet of snow between Christmas and New Year and it just kept coming. It was also 30 degrees below zero often in January and that didn't include the wind chill. I will however, make every effort to make this my last post of the winter to focus on the weather. 

Despite the snow and wind it's been a lovely day-after-Christmas. Lunch with friends at a Thai/French fusion restaurant -- we stuck to the Thai choices -- and then the big treat of the season. We had tickets to see Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in "Driving Miss Daisy." The play was wonderful and I especially enjoyed seeing James Earl Jones. I've never seen him in the theater before and it was a great experience. 

Now I'm settling in a for a cozy evening at home. Plans are simple. I am going to make a batch of macaroni and cheese, one of the ultimate comfort foods and then do a lot of blog visiting. Is anything better for a snowy Sunday night than hopping around the globe to visit blog friends? Can't think of much.

Wishes to all for a warm and cozy Sunday night!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

From My House...

to yours! Wishes for a bright and blessed Christmas Day!

Actually it's greetings from my lobby. I've had the pleasure of coming home to our beautiful lobby Christmas tree for the last few weeks. There are mixed blessings of living in the city. I do miss having a backyard, a barbecue and planting my own flowers in the spring. But I do love my building and it gives me the chance to have a big, big, big Christmas tree.  Hope you are all having a wonderful day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dressed in Holiday Cheer...

In the air there's a feeling of Christmas!

Pepe has been all dressed up for Christmas for the last month and he's in an unusually festive mood, sitting here next to the office Christmas tree. We're both concerned about post-holiday slump, but for today we're enjoying all the season has to offer. His dashing holiday attire is courtesy of Build-a-Bear Workshop.  I hope you're all feeling as festive as Pepe and I and having a delightful Christmas Eve. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Christmas Time in the City, 2010 (2)

Broad Street, in front of the Stock Exchange

I seem to be doing a lot of running around the city these days and this afternoon I was downtown for a meeting. Had dinner with friends and spent a little while browsing at Border's...a very pleasant evening. On my way to the subway I was walking on Wall Street and from the intersection of Broad and Wall, the original boundary for New Amsterdam, I saw this beautiful tree decorated for Christmas. It took me totally by wonderful surprise. 

Hope your days are bringing you unexpected joys and pleasures!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Christmas Time in the City, 2010

 The lights on Madison Avenue

The balcony at the Waldorf Astoria

The Palace Hotel decorations...What a beautiful tree!

Decorations in the courtyard of the Palace Hotel. The spires in the background are St. Patrick's Cathedral.

I was doing a few errands in Midtown and had the opportunity to visit a few places somewhat off my regular path. The Waldorf is one of them -- nothing like cutting through a beautiful hotel to get out of the cold for a few minutes -- and got to take photos of the decorations. Knew my blog friends would enjoy a tour of the lights of Midtown. The Waldorf has a lovely tea and it's now on my "list" for 2011. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to spend a snowy Sunday afternoon? My friend Mary and I choose a celebration each year, instead of gifts and that's what I will be proposing for our treat.

I've enjoyed taking photos of the holiday decorations to share with all of you. I really stop and look at how beautiful the city is and not just fly by on my way to a new errand. Thanks for the impetus to "stop and smell the roses." Much appreciated!

Now it's time to write a few more cards -- I think I'm the slowest card writer -- and have a cup of candy cane green tea. For those who've asked, the tea is good -- not as good as a cup of hot cocoa with lots of mini-marshmallows -- but good and very healthy. Hope you're having a sweet Sunday night.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Miracle on 34th Street

I survived a visit to Macy's the week before Christmas!

And more amazingly there was nothing I needed to buy and I made no desperate nonsensical purchase that I regretted the minute I left the store. Truly a miracle! I was at the main Post Office two blocks away using one of my favorite things, the automatic machine, to mail packages...

 Note the fifty people in line to the left of the machine...Not me this year!

I realized it was still early in the evening and not too cold and decided to go over to Macy's and see the decorations. Generally there is sleet pouring down for my almost last minute trip to Macy's and I am wearing heavy boots, a down coat and my nose is dripping miserably. I have about ten gifts to buy and no idea what I'm looking for. I end up buying things are more expensive than I'd planned and I go home tired, sad and disappointed in myself. Every year I say that I won't do it again, but until this year, there I was dragging through Macy's. This year...

 My first view walking towards Macy's was this wonderful scene of the 
Empire State Building all lit in red and green. 

The interior was pretty and festive -- though not as spectacular as years past... 

But the exterior of the store made my visit well worthwhile.

Wishing you miracles, large and small, in this season of miracles and all through the year! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buttercup Goes to Work

You've seen Buttercup at play many times. But rarely does the work Buttercup emerge, which is ironic because I spend a great deal of time and energy at work. All play and no work doesn't reflect me very well. Most of the time any photos taken of me at work would be me answering email, talking on the phone or sitting in a meeting and taking copious notes (I am a major note taker and doodler, too). Not so interesting.

But today I went to a press conference where Mayor Bloomberg spoke concerning a project that has been consuming lots of work time in the last few months. Press conferences with the Mayor are not a regular part of my job, but I thought it would be fun to share this one. There were lots of the "regular" press there and I felt quite at home snapping pictures, as half of the room had cameras and cell phones and were taking pictures throughout the event.  

The setting is a taxi garage in Brooklyn. It was a very neat and clean garage, but I had flashes where I thought Danny DeVito would emerge any minute. Any "Taxi" fans in Buttercupland?

Now it's back to the more routine at work. But it's ten days before Christmas and I am officially drifting into a festive state of mind. I expect my Shutterfly cards any minute and am in the midst of package wrapping and ordering a few last minute things online. Bought candy cane green tea and about to have a leisurely cup of it. Toasting you all with happy Thursday wishes! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Love Jimmy Stewart

I saw a clip from MSNBC this morning about the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA. I'd never known there was a museum for one of my favorite actors, and was nicely surprised. However, my surprise wasn't all positive, as the museum has come on hard financial times. The director of the museum said he thought it was because the people who were most familiar with Jimmy Stewart were aging.

I have been an enormous fan of Jimmy Stewart for as long as I can remember, and it's sobering to think of myself as soon-to-be extinct. I can't think of a Jimmy Stewart movie I don't like, and some are among my favorite movies. I think most people would choose "It's a Wonderful Life," especially in this season, but my own favorite is "Harvey." One of my most special memories is seeing a stage version when I was in college. I went to New York (I grew up in Connecticut) with my mother and we had a wonderful afternoon seeing Jimmy Stewart, Helen Hayes and Jesse White.  I also like the great Jimmy Stewart films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, especially "Rear Window."

Here's a cheer for the man who gave us Elwood P. Dowd in "Harvey" and George Bailey in a movie most of us will be seeing in the next two weeks...

Bless you, Jimmy Stewart and thank you!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweatpants Day

I'm feeling a little groovy...and that feels really good. Thank you all for your get well wishes. They were very effective -- with a little help from the pharmacy. No more sneezing or coughing and I am feeling more energetic. I did go out this afternoon to my study group and a quick run to the grocery. Otherwise, I've been indoors and in sweat pants and it's a great treat. So much so, that I'm thinking of declaring one weekend day a week this winter "Sweatpants Day" an actual Buttercup holiday and celebrating it. Sounds cozy, doesn't it?

My idea of this celebration is my gray sweatpants, fuzzy slippers, a turtleneck, the New York Times and a cup of cocoa. I'm going to save some candy canes and use them to stir the cocoa. Now it seems the norm, but in February when I can hear the wind howling outside, it will be a terrific treat. Anyone want to join me?

Christmas Lights at Gracie Mansion

I've been taking pictures throughout the city of the decorations and took this one last week at Gracie Mansion, the Mayor's residence. The path to the right leads up to the building. 

I have ordered New Year's cards, as displayed on the right of the blog. It was easy and fun and again thanks to my friends at Shutterfly. If you would like to receive one please email me at with your address. I'd be delighted to share them with my blog friends.

Wishes for a warm and cozy Sunday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not Feeling Groovy...

My scratchy throat of the weekend turned into full-blown bronchitis. I am definitely not feeling groovy, but I am feeling much better than I did a day ago, when I coughed almost constantly. Thank you, Sir Alexander Fleming for the discovery of penicillin.  I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend and resting, blog visiting, a movie and the New York Times crossword. Sounds so peaceful and cozy...

I have been taking photos of Christmas scenes throughout Manhattan and liked this East side townhouse decorated for the season. 

Hope you're having a cozy Thursday and wishes for a great weekend!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks...

...the Christmas trees are here 

Every year -- right after Thanksgiving -- the Christmas trees arrive. They mostly come from Canada -- thank you, our Canadian friends! -- but they may come from upstate New York or Maine or Vermont. They are bright note on the landscape, but I especially like the scent. 

There are so many Christmas scents that I like. Gingerbread and peppermint and pine stand out, but pine is my favorite and I love that for a month the fresh pine scent fills the New York City streets. What a treat!

What are your favorite scents of the season? 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thank You, Shutterfly Friends!

One of the things I never seem to get to do is order personalized cards for Hanukkah or New Year's. I always think about it, but the days run by and before I know it, it's too late. But this year, my good friends at Shutterfly have inspired me to take a favorite photo and turn it in to a card to share with friends. I've used the photo of the lighthouse in Portland (ME) several times and it makes me think of the wishes for light in dark times that is especially meaningful in these winter holiday times. I've thought about turning the picture into a card or calendar or maybe a mug, but until Shutterfly made the great offer of blogging about their lovely and fun holiday cards I was still thinking about my picture.

Shutterfly is offering 50 holiday cards for a blog post. What fun! My only difficulty is picking which card I like. There are so many great ones to choose from. I like the card designed by Heifer International, a favorite cause...
And I like this one because I get to write my own message...

I know I'm going to spend lots of time looking at Shutterfly's website, and having a great time doing it. If you would like your own holiday cards this year, stop by Shutterfly and join the fun! If you'd like one of the lighthouse cards that I will be making just leave me a note. I'm so happy to share light in the darkness with my dear Blog friends!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wishing You Joy and Light

Approximately 2300 years ago the land of Judea had been conquered by the Syrian Greeks. The Temple had been given over to worship of the gods of the conquerers. Judah Maccabee and his brothers led a group that reconquered Judea. After three years they succeeded and one of their first acts was to clean the Temple and rededicate it to worship. They went to light the eternal light -- a light that is in every Jewish house of worship -- and found a small amount of oil. It looked to be only enough oil for one day, but miraculously the oil burned for eight days and 2300 years later we remember this miracle and light candles for eight nights.

Tonight is the first of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Once again I rejoice and reflect in a miracle that took place thousands of years ago. I am reminded that miracles can still take place and that there is always hope for miracles in our lives. My prayer and fervent wish this Hanukkah night is for light in the darkest night and for the miracles for which we are praying -- for energy, for hope, for faith and for healing. I am adding a prayer of Thanksgiving for the wonderful friends who come to visit here at Buttercup's. Blessings and miracles to you and your families!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Off-Off Broadway Thrill

At this moment I may be the happiest woman in New York City. Maybe not the whole city, but certainly the happiest middle-aged civil servant in New York, or any city anywhere.

I know it's not very Buttercupian -- new word! -- but I was a big fan of the X-Files. I don't generally follow many of the shows on space aliens etc., but that one held my interest and many Sunday nights in the '90s were spent with Mulder and Scully. I am sure I missed a lot of the nuances, but I never got tired of seeing the two of them and particularly David Duchovny, who played Mulder, on the screen.

    Across the street from the theater -- far off Broadway in Greenwich Village

I was delighted to see that David Duchovny was appearing in a new play, "The Break of Noon," and still more delighted that it was part of my theater membership group. It appeared available just once, but luckily I spotted it and got my ticket for this afternoon. 

I thought the acting was terrific, though the play less so. It co-starred Amanda Peet, who I liked very much in "Something's Gotta Give." It was a nice afternoon of theater.

The thrill came after the play when I realized I might be able to take a photo for all of you  and maybe if I was really lucky get my Playbill autographed. I never dreamed that...

Yes, It's Buttercup and David Duchovny. I am as amazed as I look! If I'd realized that this would be a moment for the centuries I would have worn a lot more makeup.

I only got the photo because David D. couldn't have been nicer, friendlier, nor more patient. There were twenty people or so waiting and he signed Playbills, took photos and chatted. Part of it was that we weren't on Broadway and there was a small group waiting, not the hundred that might be at the stage door after a big show is over. In those cases there is security, a waiting car and very little access. The bigger part is that he just seemed to be a very nice person.  Thank you, David Duchovny!

I hope your week is one of small pleasures, happy days and maybe an unexpected thrill! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year

This song kept playing in my head as I was walking home on Broadway tonight. The Christmas trees are lined up for sale on the next block and windows are decorated. I'd done some very successful shopping this afternoon and was feeling very happy that the majority of my shopping for Chanukah and Christmas is finished. This significantly diminishes the likelihood of a meltdown, such as the one that occurred in Costco last year on December 22. Not a pretty memory. I will need to buy some candy for the office, but have located some great treats in Trader Joe. Can't pick them up too soon -- unless I want five extra pounds -- but they are easy to get.

Chanukah starts next Wednesday. I only give gifts to the youngest cousins and a great sale on the Vera Bradley website helped there. I will mail the package tomorrow and do cards tonight and I will be in great shape to just enjoy the holiday and the celebration of a centuries-old miracle.

I love this season from Thanksgiving to Chanukah and Christmas. I love the food, the music and the celebration. There are times I am overwhelmed by the total emotion, of loved ones far away and memories of times past, but I am making every effort to live in this year and this time and enjoy the now.

I also reflected on my walk home if this was the most wonderful time of year. I love the crunch of leaves in autumn, the days of first spring flowers and perfect sunny skies of June. But this is our time to celebrate now and I will hold these days -- now -- as the most wonderful time I am living.

Tonight is cards, wrapping and cooking more cranberries. I simmer them in orange with cut up figs and they are delicious. Tomorrow I have a theater ticket and am so excited. I will be seeing a favorite actor in a small off-Broadway setting. A clue...he appeared in a very popular Sunday night show several years ago that was very weird, but so interesting. Any guesses?

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Visit...

...from my favorite blogger. I had a great visit last Sunday with my goddaughter, Jess and her college friend. They had spent the day before at the Metropolitan Museum and at a cooking class. It sounded terrific and Jess graciously offered to visit here and tell about her day. Definitely something I'd like to try sometime. 

Let Jess describe it....

One of the amazing things I got to do in New York City on my recent visit is the kind of thing that makes the City worth the visit every time, because these kinds of adventures simply can't happen everywhere.  My terrific friend Alexa found out about this "workshop" and signed us up.  Three girlfriends and I got to "cook art history".  This is the tagline of ArtBites (  Maite, an art historian who decided to go to culinary school, took us around two sections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art - the French Enlightenment and early American sections.  The connection was Thomas Jefferson.  When he was the minister to France for the last 5 years before the French Revolution, under the court of Louis XVI, he got to experience the luxurious customs of the French court, and see the enormous disparity in wealth.  Specifically, he got a chance to see how food played a role in everyone's life (most of the riots leading to the revolution were about food, and led to Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" statement).  We got to see the luxury of the few remaining royal silver serving dishes (most were melted down during the revolution) and Maite talked about how these things influenced Jefferson when he returned to Virginia and then the White House.  As a man of contradictions (he was opposed to slavery yet never freed his own slaves) he was able to integrate some of the luxurious uses of fresh ingredients and herbs he saw at Versailles with his farm in Virginia.  We moved on to see a Baltimore dining room circa 1800, and could see the connections between the French luxury and the new American simplicity. The simple use of gold leaf edgings invoked the french luxury but were done without excess.   
After soaking up all this culture, we were taken to a professional kitchen and given several of Jefferson's actual recipes - written in letters to friends back in the States.  We were turned loose in groups and assigned a portion of a Jeffersonian meal.  Herb salad with Mustard Vinaigrette (he LOVED Maille mustard, still available today), Spring peas with mint (this simple dish was wonderful), roasted potatoes, roasted green beans with olives and tomatoes, dill crusted salmon, and Chicken Fricassee.  My group made the chicken and we had a lot of fun cooking for the rest of our group.  The dessert was a perfect combination of Old World and New - Apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream.  The apples were from New York, but the first American recipe for vanilla ice cream was written in Jefferson's own hand.  
Overall, a wonderfully stimulating day - smart, yummy, and once in a lifetime.  
I think Maite travels around the country - using other museums and other kitchens, so check out her website. 

If you have a chance please visit Jess' blog Insight into Entertainment, which is a great movie and television blog.

I'm having a slow start in getting my infinite list of errands done. Thanksgiving was great -- yummy food and terrific company. But it's been tough getting going. I'm going out to do the first on my "to-do" list, a mile walk. Really need to get some of the pumpkin pie and raspberry nut bars moving! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too, and are having a fabulous Friday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Am Grateful for...


The beauty of the earth...

The bounty of the earth

My friends on this earth...

I am so grateful. Despite the year at work, which has been and continues to be one of the most difficult professional times in my life, this has been a good and rich year. Dear blog friends, thank you for being on this journey with me, and bless you for all that you have brought to my life this year. Wishes to you and your families for a bright and blessed Thanksgiving. 

Tomorrow we will have a guest post from my favorite blogger and one of my all-time favorite people, my goddaughter. Please join us!   

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Am Grateful for...

My Country
"...Land that I love. 
Stand beside her and guide her 
Through the night with the light from above."

"G'd Bless America, My home, sweet home." 

Profoundly grateful doesn't begin to describe my feelings for America. Freedom to worship, freedom to assemble and freedom to vote are all gifts I treasure.  I've been a state and city employee for the majority of my working life. I know there are flaws in our government, but I also know there are abiding strengths. 

As I treasure the freedoms I hold so dear I extend gratitude to those who risk so much for my country, members of our military. Keep safe, keep well and know that you are all in my prayers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Am Grateful for...

...the Memories of Those We Love

As we grow closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas I remember holidays past and times spent with loved ones who are no longer here with us. I don't want memories of celebrations past to overshadow times present, but there are times that is difficult. I try to focus on the now and enjoy this year as I live it. But still, I am so glad for all I've had and the many people who have meant so much to me through the years.

I am especially thinking of my dear friend Hella, who passed away last week in Sao Paulo Brazil. She was without question one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I've ever known and I am so grateful for the many times we spent together in the last twenty years. I met Hella soon after I joined my synagogue. Our lives couldn't have been more different. I've spent my whole life living in the United States, but Hella had lived all over the world. Born in France and escaping Europe with her family to find refuge in Brazil in 1940, she never let circumstances dictate her attitude. Unfailingly upbeat, she enjoyed life immeasurably. Even in her 80s, with vision problems, she worked full-time. volunteered at the homeless shelter our congregation runs with our sister Methodist Church, took classes, went to concerts, museums and did good deeds daily.

Hella is on the right and our dear friend Tamar is on the left. We had a wonderful lunch last fall celebrating Tamar's 90th birthday and wishing Hella well before her move to Brazil to be closer to family. 

Though I am sad about Hella's passing I am so grateful for knowing her. There will be an empty place in my heart, but I hope to fill it with happy memories and good deeds in her memory.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Am Grateful for...

...Faith and Hope

and the Eternal Source for both. I am grateful for Psalms and scripture and the turning of the year marked by holidays and ritual. I am grateful for my extraordinary faith community and the rabbis who guide us. I am grateful for sacred music, candle light and prayer. And always, I am grateful for answered prayer and the One who responds to the cries of my heart. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Am Grateful for...


Whether it was Montana...

Maryland and our wonderful blogger get-together in April...

Sight-seeing in Memphis...

Or good times shared in New York City...
Amanda and Chuck's wedding in April

I am so grateful for my friends. Whether you're down the block, across the aisle in the office, over the Atlantic or Pacific or only on the computer screen -- for now! -- you've made this a richer, more fun and livelier year than I could have imagined last year at this time. Thanks for the good times, great times and every day times. I appreciate the laughter, conversation, companionship and the listening ear. To new friends and friends of long-standing...thanks for being a wonderful part of my life. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Am Grateful for...


 First cousin and two of her daughters decorating

 Two of three adorable triplets

 A rare photo of Buttercup with my dear cousin. I was delighted that all of the teenagers joined me to celebrate together.

Pinata fun time

As we get close to Thanksgiving I'm taking some time to count my blessings. For the next week I am planning to post each day and give thanks for a part of my life. I want to begin with my family. My cousins and their children are my closest family and I am so grateful for their affection and for our ability to have fun together. My only regret is that we don't live closer, but I am thankful for phones and email and facebook. The latter gives me a window into the lives of six terrific teenagers who are friends in facebook and in life. Thanks for all the joy you have all brought into my life!

These photos are from the family celebration this summer in Providence. We celebrated my 60th birthday and my sweet cousin Angela's eighth birthday. There were cakes, decorations, party bags and a pinata, as well as laughter, lots of conversation and warm and lovely feelings. I feel very grateful all over again just writing about the weekend and remembering our very happy celebration. I am so thankful for my family!

No Blues on Beale Street... least for me! Memphis was a great place to visit and here are a few of the highlights. There were a number of other places that we visited that may appear later in other posts. So much to enjoy in Memphis.

The best fried chicken. I loved every yummy bite. Worth the calories! 

Beale Street at night...

BB King's Club at night... 

and by day...

Another look at Beale Street. We had a barbecue lunch here on Saturday.  Ate lots of barbecue and biscuits during our visit. I've been eating a lot of salad since my return from Memphis. 

One of my favorite sights

It's been the usual wild week at work and I am so looking forward to the weekend. Saturday morning services, the usual array of errands and I will be spending most of Sunday with my goddaughter and a friend of hers. We've got brunch and our favorite pre-Christmas book sale on our calendars. The sale benefits a community house in the neighborhood which sponsors great programs for kids and seniors. It's one of the events that we both look forward to all year and I'm so pleased that we'll be sharing it again this year. Definitely want to do blog visiting, too. The week just flew by -- late nights at work -- and little time for blogging or visiting. Missed you all!