Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Sunday, a la Buttercup

I know when most people hear the phrase Super Sunday they think of football and the football game and festivities that are approaching.  Not to take anything away from this major national sports celebration, it's not Buttercup's idea of Super Sunday. My idea of a super Sunday... going to the theater with K and Jess and our friend, Yumi. We all loved "Billy Elliot." The second act was especially gripping and though I am not one for musicals, I loved it. I enjoyed the music, the dancing and the acting. All around terrific!

For a truly super, fabulous Sunday we followed the theater with a dinner celebrating K's 60th birthday. We ate at Ca Va, a brasserie on West 44th St. and the food was great, as was the atmosphere. We particularly loved the big fireplace. I didn't get pictures of the food, except for this one picture of the birthday dessert that was brought over for K. Too delicious! We also had bread pudding and a great dark chocolate torte.

Dear K! So happy to be part of your wonderful birthday celebration. I cannot think of a happier weekend. I am wishing you many more birthday celebrations and I am wishing myself many more happy times to celebrate with you! Every wish for joy, good health and happiness for many, many years to come.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Super Saturday, Sunday and Monday

This is a big weekend. Museum, theater, dinners and celebrations. It's so big that it goes through Monday and I've even got a vacation day to keep celebrating. I'm celebrating with two of my very favorite people, K and Jess and there's lots of good times and memories happening.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue, Manhattan 

The Sculpture Court

K and I spent a great evening here last night. We had dinner at the restaurant adjacent to the Sculpture Court. What an amazing treat to eat dinner listening to a wonderful jazz trio, surrounded by Rodin sculpture. We saw a photography exhibit, our favorite Impressionist paintings and had a great walk through the Egyptian collection. 

 I loved seeing the Temple of Dendur against the snowy background of Central Park

Hope you enjoyed our Super Saturday. I'll be back tonight with our own version of Super Sunday. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Enchanted Village

Something very strange is happening. As I walked from the subway tonight I found myself enjoying the snow flurries. I wasn't dreaming of warm beaches -- though I'd happily be on a plane to Florida in a second -- I was enchanted with the beauty of the snow. Granted, it was only flurries and the sidewalks were clear. But there was still four inches of icy mush at each corner and there were slippery patches here and there. But I wasn't bothered. I was enjoying walking through the snowy landscape and as I walked my thoughts drifted back to one of my favorite memories of childhood.

This is the memory of trips to Boston with my parents, especially to the Enchanted Village at Jordan Marsh. Jordan Marsh was the department store of Boston and the Enchanted Village was their big Christmas display. The store was sold to Macy's over a decade ago and the Village has gone to another home, but the memory is still so bright for me. The Enchanted Village and its snowy wonders became my dream world of happy times in winter. After our visits I'd spend hours drawing pictures of the Enchanted Village and creating families to live there. As I walked down the street I found myself thinking I was in a beautiful snowy place, almost as sweet as the Enchanted Village.

Is it possible? Have I come to like the snow? I never dreamed it could happen. Never!

 A Moment in My Enchanted Village, 2011


Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm Dreaming...

...Of Sunshine and sandy beaches!

The Beach at Sanibel Island

 Key West 

 Key West...Love the foliage!

When I look out the window this morning I see falling snow. It is lovely -- at least until I need to go out to go to work. I've spent a lot of time in the office attending "snow" meetings. Our work is directly affected by the snow and it's become a major part of my day, with generally one lengthy meeting a day discussing issues. There are times my mind drifts away and I realize I am day dreaming of warmer climates.  When you find yourself day dreaming what comes to mind?

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Toast to Madame Mitnick

Looking Towards Times Square, half a block from the theater

For the last fifteen plus years I've had the pleasure of a theater subscription at the Pearl Theater Company. I go with a friend I first met and worked with thirty years ago. The company does classic theater -- rarely anything later than 1950 -- and over the years we have seen just about everything by Ibsen and Strindberg and lots of English Restoration Comedy, with some Shakespeare and Greek tragedy in the mix.  I especially like the comedies and tonight we saw "The Misanthrope" by Moliere. It was very enjoyable and the acting was terrific. 

My memory flashed back to my years of high school French and my heart ached for our French teacher, Madame Mitnick. She had the unenviable task of fostering an appreciation of French literature, especially when presented in rhyming couplets, to easily distracted adolescents. But forty years later her vision was achieved and although in English, I had a wonderful evening with Moliere.  A toast to Madame Mitnick and to all of my teachers throughout the years for all of their efforts. Bravo and merci bien! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tea Time

Is there a more charming place for tea on a cold winter's afternoon than

I can't think of one for any afternoon! 

My friend, Mary, and I had our annual (post) holiday celebration on Sunday. We enjoy going out after New Years when we most need a treat. This year we chose to do tea. Initially we thought we would go to one of the big hotels. But we did some research and found this lovely restaurant tucked away on a side street on the Upper East Side. I am so glad we did.

We had our tea in the lovely Willow Room. I felt I was at least 3,000 miles away in an English inn.  

The food was delicious. Little sandwiches, scones and yummy pastries. I especially liked the lemon bars. 

The Mandalay Room was upstairs. It would be a beautiful place for a special celebration dinner. The dinner menu looked wonderful. I'd have a difficult time choosing what to order. I was especially taken with the dessert selection. Would you choose the "warm apple crumble with Irish oatmeal crust and Bourbon caramel sauce" or "warm hazelnut plum tart with ginger creme anglaise?" We'd have to order both!

Tri-state bloggers: Wouldn't it be fun to do a blogger tea here in the spring? Of course I'm not limiting a tea to  those of us from NY/NJ/CT. All would be welcome and it would be lovely. 

I've already planned a return visit for brunch with my neighbor. We ran into each other in the grocery this evening and were chatting about getting together one weekend. Luckily I had just the place for us. 

Hope you're keeping warm and cozy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Across the Atlantic I will be sending a small assortment of lotion and soap for pampering in this cold, cold winter. I wish I had some for everyone! I used the Random Number Generator. No more cutting up little slips of paper, I've moved up to a much higher technological level.

I heartily encourage all of you to stop by at Sybil's and say hello. When I visit I feel that I am relaxing with a dear friend -- and I am -- even if we've never met in person. Sybil lives outside of Bath, one of the places high on my list of places I must see.  

Congratulations, dear Sybil! I wish I could bring your gift to you in person. 

California, Here I Come!

I'm going to BlogHer '11
It's a not-so-balmy 18 degrees right now in New York City, up from 15 degrees. I'm pretty sure a crust of ice has formed on the slushy puddles in every crosswalk in Manhattan. But my thoughts are warm and sunny. I'm going to BlogHer '11! I'm so excited about two days of bloggers, workshops, chatting and I hope, meeting blog friends, in San Diego next summer.  

In 2010 BlogHer '10 was held in New York, not more than two miles from my house. I thought about it and didn't make up my mind to attend until it was sold out. I went on the waiting list and waited. But the waiting list didn't open up and regrettably I didn't get to go. I'm not sure if the time is good at work or if I will have other commitments close by -- but in 2011 I'm not waiting. I signed up last week and I am dreaming of sunny days in California. I love San Diego and can't think of more fun than San Diego and bloggers. Is anyone else planning to be there?  

It's been another hectic, snowy week in New York, but it's a nice weekend ahead. This morning the son of Bible study friends will be Bar Mitzvah, and our group will be together at services and the lunch following. Tonight there is a concert at our synagogue. Tomorrow is my annual holiday celebration with my friend, Mary. We actually do our celebrations after New Years, when we especially need something fun to look forward to. I'm very excited about this year's treat and will leave it as a surprise for a post in the next few days. 

Tonight I announce the winner of the Happy One Hundred Giveaway. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During my visit to Memphis in November I had the privilege of visiting the National Civil Rights Museum. This fascinating and moving museum is on the site where Dr. King was killed in April 1968. This place of tragedy has been transformed into a record of the civil rights movement.

I would like to request your prayers for a blog friend of friends. It sounds distant, but Blogworld has brought the world closer, and Joanne, the woman for whom I am asking for prayer is a friend of friends of mine. On January 11 Joanne suffered a major stroke and is now in very serious condition in a hospital in Colorado. Please see the button on the right and you will be connected to her blog, which friends and her husband are keeping up. Joanne, you are in my prayers!

And my dear blog friends, you and your families are in my prayers, too!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Something Soup-er!

A mea culpa from Buttercup. My good friends at Kettle Cuisine let me know that I had an outdated logo for the best soup anywhere! I wanted to make sure that all of you who were eager to try Kettle Cuisine knew exactly what to look for, so I am sharing the new logo. And for something really soup-er there's a new flavor on the way...Can't give more details yet, but it's creating some happy anticipation in Buttercupland. Definitely  one of my favorite cuisines.

So loving a quiet Sunday morning. Lots of things I want to do, but nowhere I have to be. I'm off to Weight Watchers in a little while, a nice walk after that -- the sidewalks are clear enough to really walk -- and maybe a pedicure. Of course, there's the bank, grocery and the drugstore, but it's all in a leisurely way. Definitely want to do some blog visits during the afternoon.

Tonight I plan to settle in with the Golden Globes and hope to watch one of my favorite actors win for best actor. Last night I saw "The King's Speech" with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. It is both a small story, one man's struggle to speak clearly, against a huge canvas, the English throne and the beginning of World War II.
The acting was extraordinary, and it held my interest the entire time. A Buttercup film recommendation! Interested in thoughts from my English friends who have seen the movie.

Happy Sunday...Go Jets -- for my Jet fan friends! -- and welcome, #101!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy One Hundred Giveaway

I feel that I should be interviewed by Willard Scott on the "Today" Show. I've reached the happy one hundred mark, with 100 followers. I prefer to think of my "followers" as friends and it's wonderful to have 100 friends around the world. What fun!

I'd be remiss not to celebrate this blogging milestone -- and right after my second blogaversary -- so let's keep partying. I'm having a blog giveaway this week, with the winner announced next Saturday. It's a surprise gift -- just to build suspense -- but very nice to have in the winter. I'll be happy to mail this anywhere in the world, so please stop by and visit.

Have a sensational Saturday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There's a Party Going on Right Now...

It's my second Blogaversary!

And my blogging goal for keep blogging, even when I come home at night and I'm tired and not very inspired. To be a good friend to my blog friends around the world and to keep my focus on all that is good and positive and joyful. Here's to 2010 and all the friendship and wonder and surprises that are yet to be discovered.  And now let's party!

The paragraph above is from my post on January 11, 2010, exactly a year ago. I had no idea about all the friendship and wonder and surprises that were to be discovered in Buttercupland in 2010. I certainly had no idea of the joy I would be given. An immense and deeply felt thank you to my friends in Blogland. You have all given so much to my life and it is difficult to imagine the last year without any of you. 

Thank you for the laughter, support, good times, prayer and joy  that I am the richer for. Here's to many more years in Buttercupland! Blessings and thank you with all of my heart.  

And now let's party!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ultimate Comfort Food

...And now for something totally frivolous!

We could probably discuss what is the ultimate comfort food. My list would definitely include macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. I once frequented a bar that served mashed potatoes as the free food of the evening and in my younger years considered innumerable dinners to be a glass of wine and mashed potatoes. 

But breakfast is my favorite meal -- especially the long lazy breakfasts of weekends and vacations. In my dream breakfast -- as in Buttercupland where there are no calories and no cholesterol -- I'd have a big glass of fresh squeezed juice and a there would be a pot of coffee with half and half. Forget the daily skim milk! 

But now comes the tough part...Do I pick waffles?

With whipped cream and strawberries and bananas

Or do I pick French toast?
Made with Challah bread and lots of maple syrup

Help! They both look fabulous. Which one is your favorite? 

And on a different note...I am always appreciative of the prayers of my blog friends and wanted to share that a most amazing answer to prayer happened today. Buttercup is counting her blessings tonight!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Heart is in Tucson

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

I had a dozen ideas for posts, but this is my only thought for today. My heart and my prayers are in Tucson, with Representative Giffords and her family and with the friends and families of those who were killed and injured.

Most of my working years have been spent in government work and as an avocation, working on political campaigns. I was sixteen at my first political event and forty-four years later I am still at press conferences, hearings and giving presentations describing public programs. Often I am at venues with metal detectors, but more often I and my colleagues are out meeting "the public," and there are no security arrangements in place. I  like meeting people and being out in the community, but I am also very aware of the possible things that can happen, and sometimes tragically do.

Tucson, my heart and prayers are with you. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Elvis...

...Happy Birthday to You,

Remembering Elvis today, on what would have been his 76th birthday and wanted to share a few more pictures from my visit to Graceland in November. I found a video of my favorite Elvis song, "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" and am happy to share it. Though "I Can't Help..." is my favorite there are many other songs that I also like very much and I had a good time listening to Elvis earlier this evening.

Happy birthday, dear Elvis. Your music is a great gift and I remember you with a happy heart!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More and Less

My first post of last year was entitled "Less." My hopes were for less worry, less clutter and less weight. In some ways I've been successful and in some ways, less successful. My best accomplishment has been in the area of weight. After some false starts I got serious about healthier eating and came very close to my goal of losing twenty pounds. Very close and I am quite pleased. I feel better and my knees ache less. My blood work is better and I am wearing clothes I haven't been able to wear in years. With two work friends I am continuing at Weight Watchers and had my best holiday eating season. My goal for 2011 is to lose twenty more pounds and I am very optimistic that I will do this.

I have had some success with clutter, especially in clearing cabinets and closets. These areas are under control and each month I do a quick inventory and prepare a bag of clothes or "things" for donation. The great remaining culprit is paper. I've done better with throwing out magazines and unneeded papers, but I am nowhere near where I want to be. Keeping up with this is still a goal for this year.

Worry...My least successful area. The work situation is still difficult and events of the year became more complicated, not less so, and I worried and fretted. If worry could be turned to energy I think I could have provided light for the entire city of Boston. Not enough for New York, but still enough to keep a good sized city in light for a long time. My only consolation is that I didn't turn to food to ease my anxieties, which is a positive change in behavior.

Last year I wanted less and this year I still do. But I also want more. I want more prayer and less worry. I want less weight and more vegetables and exercise. I want more time with friends and family, more time reading and at museums and more laughter. Definitely more laughter!  

What are the things that you want more of in the year to come?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Business -- 2011 The Year of the Museum

The Brooklyn Museum

I've been thinking of the year ahead and my hopes for the year. Some of my thoughts are "old business," and include goals I posted about last year. Some were successful and some less successful -- but that's another post. 

I spent time last week looking over my calendar, remembering the year past. I noted many happy memories, but I was struck by the absence of many museum visits. I love going to museums, and when I travel I generally schedule the activities of the visit around the museums. I like art museums, science museums, historical homes and monuments and museums that are almost unclassifiable. The Potato Museum in Prince Edward Island the Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis come to mind. I live in one of the most museum-rich cities in the world and yet, last year I probably made six visits to museums and two were for work events. I saw very little of the art on those trips. We were at the Brooklyn Museum twice. I planned to return to see the exhibitions and the year went by and I didn't get there.

2011 will be different. We'll be going to museums. My goal is to visit a museum at least once a month. I am in easy walking distance of the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Historical Society, so there's no reason for this dearth of visits.  And it's going to be we! I'll share photos and let you know what I've seen. 

Anyone else a museum fan? What are some of your favorite museums to visit?  Looking forward to sharing my adventures in museum going with all of you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Soup's On

We went from blizzard to fifty degrees over the weekend to just cold today. It has become winter and we are in the heart of it and I am ready for winter foods. Some foods are especially made for certain seasons. Lemonade is summertime to me and soup is winter. I like soup all the time, but I love soup in the winter. I like to make soup, but when I buy it my favorite brands is Kettle Cuisine. It is both yummy and healthy and for folks who have gluten issues the Kettle Cuisine varieties are all gluten free. I am particularly keen on corn chowder, but I've tried three or four other varieties and they are all terrific.

I asked our friends at Kettle Cuisine if I could share my favorite brand of soup with Buttercupland and they very generously agreed. I have coupons for three free single-serve portions and I will be happy to send one each to the first three folks who post and let me know they would like to try Kettle Cuisine. The link lists places where you can buy this brand. Thanks, Kettle Cuisine. You will make three visitors to Buttercupland very happy.

It's tough to get back to routine after Christmas and New Year's and it was tough to get back to the work routine today. Got through today -- do we really have to work five days in a row?? -- and after work started my shopping for next year. Launched Christmas 2011 with very cute cookie cutters.

While it's tough to get back to work, it's always fun to spend time in Buttercupland. The company is the best. Happy new year hugs and good wishes!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Just Swept Up the Confetti...

...and I've put away the disco decorations until next year. I've redecorated the blog to reflect the gift that this new year will be. As the paper comes off the present and the ribbons are untied we'll see all the year has to offer. At this minute I'm full of optimism for the year ahead and so glad you're all along for the journey.

If you'd asked me this morning I would have been less optimistic. I was feeling a little down after all the anticipation of the last few weeks.
But there's nothing like a long walk -- happily the streets are definitely much better for walking -- and getting a few errands done -- bank, health food store, drugstore and boot shopping -- for cheering up. Had some nice chats with friends and in a little while I'm off to the theater, courtesy of my wonderful discount theater membership.

Please come by tomorrow. I have a quick, but fun, giveaway, just perfect for the winter season.

Hope you're all having a great weekend!