Saturday, February 26, 2011

As Rick Might Have Said...

...the little troubles of one cruiser don't add up to a hill of beans compared to the troubles of the world.

We've left Barcelona and are now somewhere in the Mediterranean -- but not on the way to Morocco. Our two stops in Morocco, Casablanca and Agadir, have been cancelled due to "civil unrest." Due to everything else unfolding in North Africa this is not surprising and is certainly a prudent decision. We will have one extra day at sea and an additional stop in the Canary Islands.

Being so close to North Africa I have been glued to BBC and everything that is unfolding in Libya. An alternate port might have been Malta, but the English evacuees from Libya are landing there, so it is not a site for cruise ships. My thoughts and prayers are with all those caught up in the events in Libya.

I am enjoying the ship. Have met some very nice people and am really starting to relax. The weather is lovely and we had the treat of the the Captain's reception this afternoon. Even got to the gym this morning. Tonight we're dining in the Italian restaurant on board -- this is a "free-style" dining ship, with a number of different small dining rooms throughout the ship, and then to the evening show.

Smooth sailing, dear friends!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thanks for Your Good Wishes...

...but my technical skills are vastly overrated. I have no internet access on my phone here, so I am relying on the old-fashioned, tried and true computer. It took a little thought to figure out the @ sign, as it doesn´t work the same way  in Spain as in the United States.  But I´´m figuring out the keyboard and grateful for the chance to blog and catch up with friends and family.

The flight was great -- half empty and a nice dinner. Barcelona is beautiful. Our hotel is in the area near the Olympic Village, which has become a very nice residential neighborhood. A number of small and relatively inexpensive restaurants are nearby. We did the bus tour this afternoon and will pick two or three sites to visit tomorrow. I would happily stay a few more days, as there lots of things to see. Great museums, great architecture and a beautiful harbor.

I´ll be back later in the week. Good wishes for a terrific Thursday!  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Next Post You Read...

...should be from Barcelona. I am very optimistic -- after a long chat with Verizon -- that my phone will be working perfectly in Barcelona. I've got it all set up and I will go right up to the edges of my technical abilities.

Adios, my friends!

Monday, February 21, 2011

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever...

 Out to the harbor...

 ...and to New Jersey 

Wedding weekend has been wonderful. Joy, laughter and lots of love! I spent yesterday with friends -- including a friend visiting from California for the festivities -- and did some touring downtown. The view was extraordinary. 

The other part of the view is the World Trade Center site. Work is going on daily -- even Sundays of a holiday weekend -- and the background noise is the sound of jackhammers.

Out of the ashes, the city continues.

Wedding weekend continues tonight with the wedding of my colleague's daughter. I've known her since she was four and I know it will be a lovely evening.

I'll be back tomorrow before I leave for the airport. Wishing everyone a great Monday! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Please Come to My Reading Rescue

I love to read and one of the joys of my life -- besides reading itself -- is discussing books. I like the formal world of my book club, but I also like talking with friends, colleagues and even strangers about what they have enjoyed reading. One of the best book discussions I've ever had took place during my trip to Montana in May. I wandered into one of the great independent bookstores in Missoula and got into a conversation with the woman working there. She had been President of the American Booksellers Association and knew more about books than 99% of the people I've ever met. I'm still enjoying her recommendations.

A particular pleasure is choosing books for vacations. I'm not happy unless I have four or five books with me and I make my choices carefully. I need at least two books, often mysteries, for plane trips, as well as several others of varying genres. This trip will be the first trip with my kindle -- thanks K and Jess! -- and I need suggestions. I downloaded "A Discovery of Witches," and hoped that its 590+ pages would keep me all the way to Barcelona.  I peeked into the first few chapters, liked it so well that I've been reading almost non-stop on every subway ride and in the evenings. I need some recommendations to take with me. Dear friends, please come to my reading rescue.

I've been reading a lot of historical fiction set in England and have one mystery that takes place during the Restoration ready for the trip. I've also got a "A Tale of Two Cities," and will probably take "Jane Eyre" and "Emma," too. I've never read "Emma" and Jane Austen is always a good choice. I'm eager for any and all suggestions that you have.

Busy, happy weekend ahead. Besides packing I'm getting my hair cut, nails done and going to two weddings. One is tomorrow night and the other is Monday night. Tuesday we're off to Barcelona!

I hope to find some time tomorrow and Sunday for blog visiting. I definitely need to catch up.

Take good care and lots of sweet dreams!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm Absolutely Intoxicated...

...with the glorious first faint whiff of spring. It doesn't look like this yet...

 ...and I am sure it won't look like this for several months. But walking home from the subway this evening was intoxicating and I practically skipped. The aroma of damp earth, the gentle air and big bright moon made for a heady mix. It's a beautiful night in New York. Wish you all could join me here!

Thanks for the very gracious comments about my technological skills. I was a little deflated when I saw the photo sideways, but I will practice so I can get it right. I have a fantasy of sitting at a cafe in Barcelona and doing a blog post with photos. The typing is cumbersome and I know there won't be a lot of text in the posts, but do want to be able to share photos during the trip. Being able to blog from my phone was one of my criteria when choosing a phone and I'm happy to know it can work. This wouldn't have crossed my mind a year ago, but it was something I wanted now. I wonder what I will be wanting when I choose my next phone, and what amazing gadgets will be available.

Wishes to all for a fabulously intoxicating evening!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This Is Not a Test...

It's my first post on my new phone. The phone is about a week old and I have been trying to learn to use it. I sent my first photo this afternoon, posted to facebook and now I hope I'm posting.
This is a picture of lower Manhattan at twilight. I'd been to the audiologist and then spent time enjoying the balmy day. Nothing better than a spring day in February!

P.S. Five minutes later...I've got the basics -- now I'm on the computer -- but need to work on the pictures. It worked fine on facebook, but there's a glitch here. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Story for the Day of Hearts

I come by my love of Valentine's Day from my mother. This was always one of her favorite days. There were Valentine cupcakes and many hours spent choosing just the right box of Valentines to send to my class at school. My mother gave me a gift every year, and I am sure she enjoyed picking out a scarf or earrings that she thought I would like. It's not surprising that I think a lot about my mother on Valentine's Day.

Despite my love of the holiday I have few memories of Valentine's celebrations as an adult. There is only one that stands out. I know exactly where I was on February 14, 1986. My mother had just had open heart surgery and I spent a long week in the Intensive Care Waiting Room at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. Despite the surgeon's great skill the surgery had not gone well and it was a difficult week. And yet, as difficult as the week was, as well as the weeks that followed, the thought of that Valentine's Day has so many positive memories. The care my mother received was extraordinary. I especially remember Jackie, who was "her" nurse in ICU. My mother and I were both surrounded in love by friends and family.

It certainly wasn't the way I would choose to spend Valentine's Day. But that snowy day in February, twenty-five years ago was a day of love, not flowery or sentimental, but caring and kind and deep. Through the years I have been so blessed by moments of love. On this Valentine's Day I say thank you for many acts of love and kindness across the decades and the miles. Happy Valentine's Day!  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love is in the Air...

...Of course, it's Valentine's Day!

The cute love bookmark is thanks to my blog friends at Paisley Cat Designs, who have some of cutest blog decor in the whole of Blogland. This was a sweet giveaway that I wanted to share on Valentine's Day. 

Valentine love and hugs, friends! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm in Style

Thanks to my good friends, Debbie and Sybil I received the Stylish Blogger Award. The requirements for the award are to link back to the person(s) who gave you the award, nominate 15 bloggers to receive the award and share seven things about yourself.

In no order, least of all importance:

1) I was grew up in Hartford, CT and fully expected to live my entire life in New England.

2) I have read "Gone With the Wind" more times than I can count.

3) I loved being a Brownie and a Girl Scout and spent six summers at Girl Scout camp in East Hartland, CT.

4) I have spent hours this winter dreaming about being in Hilton Head, SC.

5) One of the thrills of my life was meeting Lord Laurence Olivier. I still can't believe I was so fortunate and this happened almost thirty years ago.

6) I like chocolate, but I love vanilla.

7) I love Valentine's Day!

As for nominating fifteen bloggers, I can't do it. All of the folks who read my blog are stylish bloggers and definitely worthy. You're all nominated!   

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dream a Little Dream with Me

Despite my deep love of sixties music -- I'm often in the midst of listening to the Beach Boys these days -- this post is not about one of my favorite songs by the Mamas and the Papas. I've been thinking a lot about my dreams. In some ways it seems almost odd to have lots of unfulfilled dreams at sixty. Half of me says that dreams don't come true at sixty. Things haven't happened so far and it's just too late for my dreams to come true now.

But the Buttercup half of me says that I am not to be ridiculous. Dreams can certainly come true and they will. It will take the same hard work it always took to fulfill a dream and age isn't a variable. So leaning to the Buttercup half I am dreaming. I think in the daily routine it's easy to lose sight of dreams and forget that the only way to make dreams come true is to spend time dreaming and thinking of the things that bless your heart, and then making the effort needed to fulfill your dreams.

A few of my dreams...A month in Italy is down the road for a spring not too far away. A month in England and Scotland is also down the road...maybe for fall, 2012.

The dream that keeps coming back to me is to publish a mystery novel. In an effort to turn this dream into a reality I'll be posting my progress each month. Stay tuned for monthly updates titled. "Mystery Dreams." Writing is a solitary process, but the happiness of dreaming is sharing the dream, both as we work to accomplish it and with its fruition.  Dear friends, please dream a little dream with me.

As ever, I'm happy it's the weekend. I'm hosting my bible study group tomorrow afternoon and then having a very relaxed weekend. Grocery, laundry and the fun of blog visiting are on the agenda.

Sweet dreams and wishes for a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We All Need Some Laughter...

....especially in the middle of a long, long winter. 

When Jess and K were here last week we had a discussion about our favorite funny movies. Many movies were discussed and I've been thinking about what movie is my favorite comedy. The first one that came to mind is "Trading Places." But as the week passed other movies competed for the title of favorite. 

I'm still a big fan of "Trading Places," but "Ghostbusters" took over first place. The one similarity is that they both star Dan Aykroyd, who really makes me laugh. But "Ghostbusters" also has Bill Murray, who also stars in a film that is one my top ten funny movie list, "Groundhog Day." It also stars the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who makes me laugh every time I see him waddling down Central Park West in his sailor suit. Of course, there's "Men in Black," the memory of which makes me smile as I type. 

Frank-the-Pug, of "Men in Black" is a cutie!

Inquiring minds would like to know...What is your favorite comedy, and who's cuter? Frank-the-Pug or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?

Sweet dreams and a happy Thursday wishes!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Am Grateful for...

All of you and your sweet good wishes!
I wish you all could join Loni and me for the cruise.

A day of unseasonable warmth and sunshine. It was 44 degrees today and simply walking to the store at lunch was a wonderful excursion. 

Buying wedding presents on-line. What a luxury to browse Bloomingdale's and Crate and Barrel at midnight. What fun to buy a young couple's first set of dishes. 

Sweet dreams, dear friends!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Big Cheer for Turning Sixty...

The Norwegian Jade

Actually I am now closer to sixty-one than sixty, so this cheer seems a little belated. But one of my goals for sixty was to do a "big" vacation and share it with my friends from Hartford: Sue, Loni and Marla. The timing didn't work out for all of us -- though I still would like to do a trip for the four of us -- but Loni and I will be embarking on the beautiful ship featured above later this month. We first met over fifty years ago in our fifth grade class at the Rawson School in Hartford. 

We will be visiting all new places for both of us -- Barcelona, Casablanca and Agadir in Morocco, Madeira and Malaga. I am excited about time to relax, time to catch up and visit and wonderful new sights to see. I've wanted to visit Barcelona for ages, and though we don't have a lot of time here, am so looking forward to seeing the architecture. I'm also looking forward to warmer weather. It's not hot summer weather, but anything over 50 degrees is summer to me. No boots!

Just a little over two weeks until we leave for Spain...I'm beginning to get organized and today I will take out my lighter clothes and see what I would like to bring. It's a busy two weeks...There's work of course, but also two weddings to attend! 

We've got sunshine today and it's almost 40! Wishing everyone sunshine and a great Sunday.      

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Things I've Learned this Winter

 North from Bowling Green
 West to the Hudson River
Snowy Battery Park

Three lessons from this winter...

It's a nice day in February when it's not snowing, raining or sleeting. 

It's a nice day in February when it's easy to cross the street. 

It's a really nice day in February when the sun is these blue skies over lower Manhattan yesterday afternoon!

And a bonus lesson -- tucking your pants into your boots is the height of fashion. 

Hope you have blue skies, too! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Februaries

It's hard to be a Buttercup tonight. Maybe it's the letdown after special, super and magnificent. Maybe it's yesterday's ice storm or maybe it's trying to get too many things done in too little time at work for the last few days. Maybe it's all of the above and the realization that there's been much too much winter and there's still a lot more possibly to come. Maybe it's just the Februaries...

But I am Buttercup and I am going to look for good in "The Februaries." It's when the days grow longer and spring -- and spring training -- grow closer. The little crocus are soon to be peeping up, although it seems impossible looking at the mounds of snow everywhere, and right behind them the trees will be budding. After the first warm wisps of spring -- tentative and halting -- the days will grow still longer and I will leave work in the light. I will walk down streets that have not a drop of snow and my boots will be put away for a long, long time. No scarf, no gloves, no boots, no down coat...Just me, a sweater and sunglasses! And that my friends, is a bedtime story for grownups. Sweet dreams and may tulips dance on your pillow.    

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Magnificent Monday

We had special Saturday and Super Sunday, and they were great days. But the best of all was Magnificent Monday. On Monday, January 31 at this august university in New York City... goddaughter Jess became Dr. Jess, PhD., after her brilliant dissertation defense on Monday afternoon. What a wonderful day and I am so delighted and proud for Jess. It's an amazing moment to see the fruition of years of work. Congratulations, dear Jess, and wishes for many more achievements and successes to come! I will always be happily cheering you on.