Saturday, May 28, 2011

Welcome, Fleet Week!

This is Fleet Week which honors the Navy and Marine Corps. Begun in 1984, there are visits by a number of U.S. ships and there is a visible presence of sailors and marines in New York City. Welcome to New York City and thank you for all you and your colleagues around the world do on our behalf.

Sailors in Times Square

The summer has arrived and it's hot. I promise not to complain about the heat, as I did so much complaining about the snow and cold. I am limiting myself to complaints about winter and promised I wouldn't complain when it got hot. One of my goals for this weekend is a few new summer shirts. Up until today it didn't seem necessary, but I realize my wardrobe won't get me through the summer. It's very warm on the subway platforms. 

I hope you are all having a good weekend. I spent the afternoon at the theater with a friend we had a nice walk and visit, too. Tomorrow I'm planning to spend time with my cousins and on Monday I hope to get to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn with friends for the Civil War Memorial. There is a great post about this on one of my favorite blogs, Mille Fiori Favoriti. Good wishes and sweet dreams! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Costco or Not Costco -- That is the Question

For a long time I've envied people who got to shop at Costco. It seemed I was always hearing about some mega-bargain someone had gotten for something I really did need, like toilet paper or yogurt. But there wasn't a Costco or Sam's Club or other warehouse store in Manhattan and going to Brooklyn or Queens and taking a cab home defeated the savings. A few times I shopped at the Costco in Queens with colleagues from work for parties and it only whetted my appetite to be a warehouse shopper. Then came the unthinkable -- a Costco in Manhattan. It's not that close -- two buses away or a reasonable cab ride -- but for the first time it's possible.

I need your advice, blog buddies, do you see savings when you warehouse shop? I am concerned that I will end up buying things I don't need in quantities I can't use. Has anyone found that to be a problem? I believe I have the restraint and know I can save money on things I regularly buy, but I know my blog buddies are a source of unfailing good sense. Looking for any advice you have for me!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Grape Time!

Technically, this announcement is a day late. I fully intended to post the winner of the Grape Giveaway on Wednesday and now it's the very early hour of Thursday. But late in the afternoon I looked at my discount theater website and saw tickets for a show I very much wanted to see for this evening. The weather was lovely, work wasn't too hectic and I had time to even go home, eat a very quick dinner and dash down to Times Square to pick up my ticket. The stars were in perfect alignment for an evening of theater during the week and I took advantage of it. I enjoyed the show and I have some great pictures to share in another post.

I was delighted to find some other friends who like the color purple in all of its splendor and I wish I had a dozen bags to share. I brought back two bags from Wegman's and although the original giveaway was for only one bag, the entries were so terrific and so much fun, there will be two winners! The first winner is another New Yorker, Barb, of Two Birdies and a B., who has a very fun blog to visit. The second winner is Bridget at Sunshine and Rainbows!, who is the mother of the cutest three year old.

Thank you all who shared their love for purple, who became a follower or who mentioned the giveaway on your blog. I am very happy to be able to share little treats from my travels and equally happy to have such thoughtful and sweet visitors. Sweet dreams!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Heart is in Missouri

I have a few blog posts in my mind, but they will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day. My prayers and thoughts are in Missouri, especially Joplin.  I don't know how to make any sense of the devastation, but am praying for shelter, for strength and courage in the face of great tragedy.

I have several blog friends in Missouri and want to share these two links from Melinda and Donna. Blogging certainly makes the world a much smaller place and brings both sorrow and joy closer to us.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Matinee

Somehow I have passed into semi-seniordom without even realizing it. I went from Saturday night being my favorite time for theater and parties to Sunday afternoon. I'm not sure how this happened. It was gentle and subtle, but it's real and I don't think I'll be going back to Saturday night any time soon.

This afternoon, thanks to my wonderful discount theater membership -- Theatermania Gold Club -- for those of you living in New York -- I saw "10x25," part of a series of short-short plays at the Atlantic Theater Company. There were eight plays this afternoon. I really liked half of them, liked three and disliked one. All in all, a good afternoon's entertainment. One of the plays I really liked was a monologue by Kristen Johnston, who you may remember from "Third Rock from the Sun." Her role as a very quirky actress conducting a Master Class was very funny.

The show ended at a very civilized 4:30 PM and if I'd been in the mood, it would have been almost just the time to take advantage of pre-theater fixed price dinners, the New York equivalent of the early bird special. I guess I'm now the early-bird matinee girl. I'm sure I have lots of company!

Thanks for all the great thoughts on favorite childhood reading. You named so many of my favorite books and I am so glad to find a few Cherry Ames fans in the group.

P.S. Still a few days to enter the Purple giveaway.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's Your Favorite Book of Childhood?

For no special reason I've been thinking about books I read and loved as a child. "Little Women" is definitely high on the list and a number of series of detective books, including those featuring the Bobbsey Twins and Cherry Ames. Cherry was a lesser known detective. She was a nurse and her adventures featured her in a wide array of settings, including one of my favorites, "Cherry Ames, Department Store Nurse." Does anyone else remember Cherry?

The book that keeps coming to the top of my list is "Charlotte's Web."

I first read it in the fourth grade and this was the subject of the first book report I wrote. I am sure I re-read it in fifth and sixth grades and cried each time. I'm even getting a little misty just looking at the cover here. In a confession the plot is now a little fuzzy to me -- it is over fifty years since I last read it. Guess it's time to re-read this treasure of a book.

What is your favorite/favorites of childhood?  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Give Me Grape Giveaway!

Purple -- in all its permutations -- is just about my favorite color. I know I'm not alone in this. A colleague of mine at the Hartford Public Library, my first job with a W2, only wore purple. I'm not that big a fan, but I do love the color. During the trip to Rochester I was delighted to come upon fabulous purple shopping bags and knew I had to do a blog giveaway to share with my friends. The bag is from one of my favorite markets anywhere, Wegman's. Unfortunately none of the pictures of Wegman's came out very well, except for this one of the shopping bag.

The drawing will be random, but for fun, what is your favorite purple item? I love lilacs, grape jam, grape Nehi soda and grape popsicles, though I haven't had the last two items in easily thirty years. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, May 25, so please leave your messages by May 24. There's an extra entry if you post this in your blog and let me know and this is an international giveaway. I will be happy to mail  anywhere in the world. I note a number of visitors from outside the United States, so please leave a comment and say hello!  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lilac Time

There were purple lilacs...

And white lilacs...

And a wonderful mix of the glorious range of lilacs...

 I was in lilac fantasy land, totally enchanted with sight and scent. 

Despite a (not-so) little travel glitch and lots of rain, the weekend was lovely. We had a great trip up to Rochester, riding along the Erie Canal for a good part of the trip. The six hours went quickly and I loved the long, leisurely time of catching up with friends. Friday night was spent at the Lilac Festival and dinner with the graduate and one of his classmates. Saturday included a quick trip to the Farmer's Market. We so enjoyed the produce and plants, but there was too much rain for pictures. 

The highlight of Saturday -- and the weekend -- was graduation at spectacular Kodak Hall. It was a warm, personal and lovely event and we were very proud of "our" graduate. 

The ceiling of Kodak Hall. My camera didn't do the room justice. 

We made several other stops during the weekend, which will be the topics for other posts. Thanks for stopping by and visiting in Lilac Time!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lilac Time

Greetings from Rochester. We got to the Lilac Festival and I promise lots of pictures- - if Blogger cooperates -- tomorrow. Wishes for a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baby's First Christmas some very unseasonal thoughts!

Before you think that I  have totally snapped, I'll share my train of thought. There are eighteen of us in my unit at work. Some of us are well past the baby age -- though grandchildren and great nieces and nephews are definitely in our thoughts. But we are blessed to have two upcoming babies to welcome to our work family. One is a little boy, who is due just any minute, and a little girl due in September. We have a grandchild due in our Bible study group also in September and a great niece or nephew for K in October. It's no wonder, but I really have babies on my mind. 

For at least three of these little ones I'd like to get "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments and I want to enjoy picking them out, sooner rather than in the rush in December. For this project I need suggestions. Does anyone have ideas about craft shops or Etsy stores to which to direct me? I'm thinking something quilted -- I'm not the quilter to do it -- might be just right. I've got lots of time, but want to enjoy the choosing. I know there are some great ideas in Blogland and that I can count on all of you.   

Thanks and hope you're having a great week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Have Blog, Will Travel

It's rare that I don't have trips planned, down to hotels, flights and even where to eat dinner. But I think I got so caught up in the Barcelona trip that I didn't move on much else. I've got Rochester planned and a wonderful week in Vermont in the summer for K's son's wedding, but I was stuck on anything else.

Tonight I moved along. I've made my reservations -- flight and hotel -- for Blogger. I'll be in San Diego in August and I'm starting to get excited. Are any of you going to Blogger or do you live close by to San Diego? I'd love to meet any blog buddies who will be in the area.

Not content with one plan, I moved on to the next. I know there are lots of blog friends in Arizona and I'm pretty set on Sedona for next March. I've penciled in the first week of March 2012 and I'm starting to dream of visiting with so many of the lovely people who have become my friends.

Isn't this the perfect place for a blogger get-together with a view of the red rocks of Sedona?

And a third...New York area bloggers, how about a get-together. I know a few folks, but a friend of a friend is a friend and I'm happy to see if we can set something up. We might not get anything together for the spring, but maybe summer or early fall. I think it would be great!

Or a get-together in Manhattan? Or both!

Looking forward to lots of fun in the year ahead!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday in New York

It was a glorious Sunday in New York today. The air was clear, the sun was bright -- though not too hot -- and the city was festive. Whether it was because it was Mother's Day or the beautiful weather or a combination of both, it was lovely. Any qualms about living here just disappeared and I enjoyed every sunny minute of the day. A high point was walking to Michael's -- with two coupons -- and discovering my major purchase was an unmarked sale item. Hurray! With my gift card -- thanks, K! -- and the coupons my total came to $1.57.

One of the activities in good weather in New York is the street fair. Major streets are closed and vendors of all types set up shop for the day. It's annoying when your bus is routed blocks out of the way, but fun to stroll down Broadway, where these pictures were taken last week, and try valiantly to stick to healthy eating. The fair I encountered today was on Amsterdam Avenue, but background excepted, it's very similar to these pictures which I took last week on Broadway. 

Cooked foods...

 ...and snacks.

 The subway t-shirts caught my eye. 

There were a lot of fun things for children.

Face painting...

Bounce House...

...and a very cute puppet show, which kept this child-at-heart interested. 

After carefully looking at the Blogger FAQs I can now link and easily post again and I promise that I will not play with the controls again...Ever! I am so happy to have the blog back to where it was a week ago before I went exploring. 

The whirl of work starts again tomorrow, but it's a short week. I'm off to Rochester on Friday for my friends' son's graduation. I was in Rochester last year for David's college graduation and we will be back as he receives his graduate degree. His brother will be a senior at Rochester next year, so happily it will be three in a row. 

Wishes to all for bright and blessed week!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This is one of my favorite pictures with my mother. I'm about six months old and it's the winter of 1951. We are in the backyard of the house where my grandparents lived. I posted it on facebook, too, and got to share it with my first cousins. The house was familiar to me, but being much younger than I am they had never seen the house where their father and my mother grew up. It's lovely to share family memories.

An equally lovely treat was a long chat with dear K. We gabbed on and on and shared our healthy eating tips and eye glass buying disaster stories. That's the beauty of friendship...a simple chat is so pleasurable.

Thank you all for your thoughts on my last post. I am so appreciative of your support and your wisdom. I feel tremendous gratitude for the thoughtfulness and kindness that you are offered. It's been difficult to shake off the many emotions that have been going through my mind, but I felt much more able to think of the present and future as the week has gone on.

Wishing you all a blessed and happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Can Anyone Define Closure?

Reader note: This is not the usual voice of Buttercup. But the usual voice of Buttercup has receded for now and my thoughts and feelings are somewhere back in time. Specifically I am nine years, seven months and a few handfuls of days back in time. It is September 2001.

I've written about my experiences on September 11, 2001 several times. But over the years I have found that I need to keep these experiences very much in check. They reside in a compartment inside of me. As I get closer to September 11 each year they start to emerge and it is painful. As the day passes the feelings and memories go back into their compartment, for the most part put away until the following year.

Last summer I joined a group that gives tours of the Ground Zero area. I wanted to be able to share my experiences as the unique historical material that they are. The other members of the group are survivors, rescuers and those who had lost loved ones. The training was great, the other members were terrific. I assisted in several tours and found myself almost as depressed as I had been right after September 11. Regrettably I found I had to stop giving tours and reliving my experiences. I learned a good lesson. For many people this was cathartic, but it simply didn't work for me.

On Sunday night all the feelings and memories returned and have stayed. Monday morning's headline once again showed the Trade Towers burning. I've waited seven years, eight plus months for this moment, but there is no closure for me. The lives lost cannot be brought back. The way we live now -- airports, security, police in full military gear on the subway -- is permanent. On a personal note, the anxiety of living in New York City goes into full throttle. Is it safe to ride the subway? Is it the height of foolishness to remain here? It all comes back, again and again and again.

I keep hearing the word "closure," and many news people debating if there is now closure. I do not see closure, do not feel closure and cannot understand how this can be closed. I am deeply grateful to the Navy Seal team and in awe of their courage, but I am not in the street celebrating. I am still mourning all that happened on that beautiful September day nine years ago and expect that I always will.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May...We Have a Winner!

Today was the most glorious of spring days, sunny and with no humidity. I did a lot of walking, met a friend for breakfast and took a collage class. I have lots to learn, but definitely came away with a lot of good information. I am very optimistic about my card making in the future.I do need to get some supplies, but will be on the lookout for coupons and sales. Any lingering post-wedding letdown is gone and I'm feeling very peppy.

The winner of the Tulip Time giveaway is miss lynda-LibraryLynn, a sweet blogger in Tennessee. I'm sorry not to be able to link to her lovely blog, but I have done something to my blog editing and linking has become impossible. The prize is Guideposts' "The Promise of Spring," a beautiful collection of photographs and poems about spring. Miss Lynda, I hope you will enjoy it. A runner-up prize of a small book of spring poems, "The Promise of Flowers" goes to Melissa at "A Beautiful World..." Melissa is a new blogger and has a very fun blog to visit. Please stop by and visit.

As ever, my sweet friends, thanks so much for visiting and thanks so much for all the happiness you bring to my life!