Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's Holiday Time... least in all parts of Buttercupland. I spent the greater part of last week -- and it wasn't so great -- in one of the windowless conference rooms at work, conducting a set of interviews. We did seventeen interviews -- of at least an hour each -- in the last four days. I feel like a missed a week of my life, though it does feel good to have the biggest part of this project completed.  

I am so glad it's Saturday morning. I've had a good night's sleep and have an interesting, but not overly filled, day ahead and have no plans for tomorrow. Iced coffee and the New York Times top the weekend schedule. I can celebrate iced coffee -- and will -- several times this weekend. But I am also open to suggestions. If you could declare a holiday, in Buttercupland, or anywhere else, what holiday would you declare? And why? The holiday that most piques my fancy will take place in August in Buttercupland, in honor of you! In the interim, let's have a big glass of iced coffee with lots of milk, and since we don't have to count calories, a brownie or blueberry muffin.

Tomorrow morning is a holiday, when I'll announce the winner of the latest Blogspark giveaway. Have a great  Saturday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Evening at Columbus Circle

I went from the most sublime view of New York City...

To the most adorably ridiculous sculpture...loved the colors!

On the way home from work I made a quick stop to run a few errands. The view east and the wonderful expanse of  glass caught my eye, as did the dog sculptures. Both pepped me up at the end of the work day. Hope they pep you up, too. Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yummy Giveaway

It's hot in New York City and it's too hot to think about what to cook for dinner. But for one lucky blogger, that won't be a problem for one night. Thanks to our good friends at Blogspark and Good Earth, Buttercup has a great giveaway. The winner will be getting a Good Earth dry dinner kit, two sets of bamboo flatware, two bamboo dishes and a bamboo utility board. There is also a great tote to use for errands and grocery shopping. The flavors sound great -- Mediterranean Chicken with angel hair pasta, Spicy Citrus Glazed Shrimp with angel hair pasta, Herb Crusted Chicken with mushroom risotto and Tuscan Chicken with penne pasta. The chicken or shrimp aren't included, but everything else you need is right in the box.

This giveaway closes Saturday, July 31 and the winner will be announced on Sunday, August 1. There are extra entries for becoming a follower and for linking the giveaway to your blog. If you don't have a blog, please leave your email address, so that I can get in touch with you.

Thanks again, Blogspark and Good Earth!

Friday, July 23, 2010

In Olde New York

Last night was my college roommate's 60th birthday. What we couldn't have dreamed when we met 42 years in September was that we would still be friends and live just about a mile from each other. It is a wish beyond my wildest expectations! I haven't stayed close with a lot of college friends -- though K who I write about so often is a friend made in that same historic week in September 1968 -- but the bonds with those I am in touch with are precious.

And so I found myself at the far western edge of Lower Manhattan at a charming French restaurant, in what were remnants of old New York. The area was once factories and warehouses, with slate sidewalks -- including the picture above -- and cobblestones. The Hudson River leading out to the Atlantic Ocean is two blocks away and there were moments I could even smell the sea air and think about when New York was a great port city.

Turn of the Century Warehouse 

Condo (on the Right) Meet Cobblestones

It's been a full week, with two big public meetings and two projects that needed to be moved along. Happy to say, both meetings went well and the projects are moving! One of them will take up most of next week, but it is in progress. I even managed to put  half an hour aside today and schedule four medical appointments and get information about whether they needed pre-approval from my insurance company. 

Now it's the blessed weekend! I've got two birthday celebrations, which I am so excited about. I won't tell now, but promise that there will be pictures. I want to go blog visiting and then there are errands, which include a haircut and the post office. I will also be looking at a place for yoga lessons as part of my challenge goals. And no alarm clock tomorrow morning!   

Wishes to all for a blessed weekend!

Monday, July 19, 2010

My New England Birthday

Carol, aka Buttercup

As much as I love living in New York -- and I do -- I'm really a New England girl at heart. I was born and grew up in Connecticut and went to school in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, so I've half of the New England states covered. I have six first cousins and four of them live in New England -- so I get to "go home" a lot. We can spend infinite hours debating where we would buy our fantasy summer home -- when one of us wins lotto. I'm leaning to the Connecticut shore now, and Old Lyme seems to be coming to the top of the list.

This weekend was spent with my first cousin's on my mother's side and their eight children, ages five to seventeen. I had hoped we could all have lunch together to celebrate my birthday, but my great Cousin Rachel decided that time spent at home would be the best and put together a great fun weekend. I shared the celebration with her daughter, Angela, who turned nine on Friday. What a good time the birthday girls and family had together.

Rachel and I spent cousin time together doing a massive grocery shopping at a Super-Walmart. We don't have Walmarts at all in New York City, so this was quite a treat. No photos to show of this adventure, except my cookie-cake.

I spent the afternoon with my sweet cousins making the gift bags and assembling decorations. It was a great afternoon with lots of time to catch up on school, friends and Hilary's -- who will be a senior in high school -- thoughts and plans for college.
Pinata Assembly

Pinata Time

We had a great barbecue, with everyone cooking and then a fun time in downtown Providence. The fun time will be the subject of tomorrow's post. 

Rachel, can't thank you enough for all that you did to make this a special and memorable weekend. Family, you are the best and I am so blessed that you are all my family. 

I am definitely going to spend some time visiting in Blogworld. I've missed you all so much! Wishing you slow, sweet afternoons spent with those you love!  

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Took a Little Rest...

Literally and Figuratively

I know I've been away from the blog too long when I got a note -- thanks K! -- asking where I was. Whether it was the heat or just too much going on at work I was coming home most nights this week and in about half an hour falling asleep. Long, long days at work!

I did have a wonderful literary evening last Monday -- pictures to follow -- and have a great giveaway beginning next Monday, but otherwise the week was devoted to work. I have today off and in a little while will be heading to Rhode Island for a weekend with my cousins. My cousin Angela is nine and we'll be having a combined birthday celebration. 

The picture is from the Queens Mall, where I tried the massage chairs last weekend. I've never tried one before, but it was one of the best dollars I've spent in a long time.  

I've missed visiting, but hope to be back posting and visiting next week. Lots of hugs and weekend good wishes to all!  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Big Bouquet of Thanks!

Thanks, Donna and Brandon...

..and to everyone else who made my birthday celebration a complete joy! Blog friends, family, work friends, synagogue friends and friends from every assorted part of my life -- fifth grade, college, high school youth group...You have all spoiled me madly and I am so grateful. Thank yous are coming -- email or mail and that is my goal for the next week. For blog friends, I want to stop by on everyone's blog who visited. At the rate I'm going this may take a good week, but please do expect a visit. My google reader shows 345 unread posts, so I have some work to do to catch up. But it's very happy work and I look forward to visiting. 

Today I return to real life. After the sugar deluge of the last few days I am back to yogurt and salads and I even have baby spinach to put into my smoothie. I did get in my half mile daily -- two miles yesterday -- and I am happy to be keeping up with the Challenge. The heat is much more manageable, which makes walking much more pleasant.  Today is laundry, groceries, walk and making a little less chaos at home. 

Again, many, many thanks to all for your birthday wishes and lots of hugs!  

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sixty Years Ago Today...July 8, 1950

Mom and Baby Buttercup, winter 1951

I must admit that turning 30, 40 and 50 made me feel old. I mourned the years flying by and worried about aging. And although I realize I have lived more years than I will live I don't feel old. I feel great and grateful for the years past and excited for the time yet to come. 

I am glad. I am glad I never got a tattoo. I am very glad I quit smoking almost thirty years ago. But I am especially glad for the friends and family that are with me -- both in New York and in my heart. I am so grateful for getting to see all of my close family last month and next weekend. I am grateful for my friends from childhood, college, work, synagogue and Blogland. You are all the best gifts I could have.

I won't be sweet sixteen again, but I am sweet sixty, and it is sweet. Looking forward to sharing every minute of this joyous, messy, sad and glorious life with all of you. As Browning wrote "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be."  

P.S. A special shout out to my wonderful, sweet friend Sherry for the very best virtual birthday party any girl could every have. Love you, sweetie and so glad you are part of my life.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

103 Didn't Stop Me

I know that for our friends in Texas and Arizona 103 is just abut the norm in the summer. When I lived in Nashville it wasn't unusual to have the temperature at 95 -- and 95 per cent humidity -- most of the summer. But it's not the norm here. We haven't had weather this hot since 2001 and the last few summers have been relatively mild. Today broke the record at 103. Most of the day was spent planning how we would cope at work if the power went down. Thankfully that didn't occur, but it brought back memories of the 2004 blackout. 

I resolved to do my half mile and after work I found myself right at the shopping capital of New York, Fifth Avenue and Fifty Seventh Street. It was too hot to do much window shopping, but I had fun looking in the windows at Bergdorf and Bulgari across the street. Luckily the bus arrived before I needed to duck into one of these pricey wonderlands to avail myself of their air conditioning. There is very little I could buy at Bulgari that wouldn't max out my credit, but the cosmetic department at Bergdorf can be very appealing.

Now I'm happily home basking in front of the air conditioner and happy to be blogging. My heart is warm for my blog friends, but my wishes are for cool, cool and more cool!

Monday, July 5, 2010

99 Degrees Won't Stop Me

I'm glad I didn't know it was 99 degrees today. If I had known I might have sat on the couch with a good book and iced coffee in front of the air conditioner and I would have missed the first day of the Freedom Challenge. I did have an inkling it was going to be hot and I was out of the house around 9:00 am for a walk in the neighborhood. I got in my half mile and even ran into a friend. I took my camera along so I could share a few neighborhood sites that I encountered on my walk.

My favorite neighborhood fruit and veggie stand

Sidewalk cafe with some of the best pastries in New York

I had lunch in Chinatown in the afternoon. I joined a friend who had an appointment downtown and we ate on Mott Street. I got in another half mile of walking during my visit downtown. 

 Mott Street in Chinatown

Chinatown McDonald's 

So glad to have met my first day's goals. Thanks all, for the encouragement and for the good advice about yoga and exercise. Couldn't do it without my blog buddies!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Fifth of July...

...starts the Freedom Challenge. I found my way to this terrific blog via my sweet friend Sheilagh and I am so excited to begin tomorrow. Each participant chooses a goal for the next month and there is a great giveaway at the end of the challenge. I love giveaways, but am more excited to have the company of women around the world as I pursue my goal. My goal is reasonably modest, but as the temperatures are predicted to reach 95 degrees for the next week, I wanted to choose one that is doable. I am going to walk at least half a mile daily. I hope the outcome is a slimmer, more fit Buttercup.

 My other goal for the month is to research yoga classes. This has been on my list for ages, and have not found one that works for me. The yoga studios I've found seem to be oriented to younger, trimmer folks and not to the more arthritic Buttercup. I am committing to finding a place that works for me, and yes, to taking my first class in August.

Do you have any challenges you're planning for the summer? Come and join us. The more the merrier!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, USA

Arlington National Cemetery, April 2010

One of the events of 2010 that will stay in my memory for a long, long time is my visit to Maryland for our blogger tea and the wonderful time spent with Marydon, Harold and Sherry. It's difficult to choose a favorite time of the weekend. There were so many rich and memorable moments. But one part of that weekend has especial meaning today, our visit to Arlington National Cemetery. I've been before -- several times -- but each time is moving and each visit makes me more grateful for those who gave the greatest sacrifice for the freedom with which I am blessed.

The photograph is from the memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The words are always inspiring and I still can remember the first time I heard them. It was a snowy day in 1961, actually a blizzard. As a result I was home from school during the day and felt so fortunate to watch the inauguration. 

My plans are simple for the weekend. New York is relatively empty and it makes getting around the city much less complicated. I attended services last night and had a leisurely dinner with friends. Today included a blissful two hours at Michael's and then "Toy Story 3." I was with my friend Mary and we zipped in ten minutes before the show. That's not the norm for a popular movie on a Saturday. Afterwards, we got a table immediately at the most popular new restaurant in the neighborhood. Usually there's an hour wait on a Saturday night. I'm decluttering, catching up on blogs, shoe shopping -- my summer shoes are about to split every seam -- and maybe a pedicure. I'm not setting the alarm and I'm going to drink iced coffee and do the NY Times crossword and not worry about a thing. I've only had two calls from work and I'm going to cross my fingers that they will be the only work calls for the weekend.  Not exciting, but so so relaxing. 

Hope your weekend is everything you hope it to be. Wishes to all for a very happy Independence Day! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's July 1 and We Have a Winner!

Funky Monkey will be coming to Phoenix! The winner of the Funky Monkey giveaway is Sherry at Country Wings in Phoenix. I can't promise that the delivery person will be as cute as the fellow in the photo, but I do think you will like Funky Monkey snacks very much. Congratulations, dear Sherry, and thank you, friends at Funky Monkey for your generous prize donation.

It's been a busy, busy week with lots of meetings, a medical appointment at 7:45 a.m. -- great for fasting blood work --  and getting ready for a luncheon tomorrow at work for one of our group who is leaving. So looking forward to the long weekend. I will be in New York and relaxing and getting ready for a hectic and happy birthday week coming up.  My upcoming sixtieth will be the subject of at least one post, but looking to next week I am excited and delighted with seeing this milestone. I know I had hesitations, but they seem to be swept away on a tide of fun plans -- I am so blessed with my family and friends -- and simple gratitude for turning sixty. I'm not sixteen any more, but I feel Sweet Sixty, and it is sweet.

Wishes to all for a very sweet Thursday!