Wednesday, June 29, 2011

United States Olympic Team, 2020

I spent Sunday with at a fun gymnastics exhibition. I was the guest of friends whose daughter is an avid gymnast. What fun! I love watching the Olympic gymnasts, but have never seen gymnastics "live." The girls were great and I loved seeing their talent and energy.

Gymnastics wasn't option when I was growing up, though I don't think I would have been a very good gymnast if I had had the option. I took swimming lessons for years in elementary school and enjoyed it a lot and still love to swim. Anyone in Blogland an athlete in elementary or high school or did anyone become more athletic in later years? Anyone for the Senior Olympics? Inquiring minds want to know.     

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Up, Up and Away!

I am happy to report that I've ordered "Buttercup" business cards. Once I got going I added stickers and address labels with the same design. I expect them to arrive at the end of next week and I am excited. This is a concrete step in moving to the next phase of my life. Having a plan -- and acting on it -- definitely makes tough moments at work a lot easier to deal with.

For those of you who have retired or are considering retirement what plans did you put in place before retiring? I've been thinking of the financial and health insurance issues for years. But I've only recently begun thinking about the emotional issues. Since 1973 the primary focus of almost every week day has been working. I've been blessed with some great professional situations and that may continue in the next phase, too, but I want to think about things that make me happy that do not necessarily focus on work.

I let my mind float free for things I like to do and the answers weren't the things that have been the mainstay of my professional life for the last ever...blogging, travel, reading, long city walks, intercessory prayer and of course time spent with friends and family.  

There will be lots more to write on this topic and I am so glad that all of you will be on the journey forward with me. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

And the Winner Is...Ice Cream

There is no contest on my favorite food. It's definitely ice cream and has been for decades. Maybe it started with toddler carriage rides to the drugstore with the reward of a Dixie Cup or all of those childhood summer nights waiting for the Good Humor truck. Maybe it's just genetic, but it's hard to my envision life without ice cream. It's been a battle for years about keeping ice cream in the freezer. I eat it and a pint -- let alone a half gallon -- is gone before very much time goes by. It's delicious, but not the way I can eat very often.

When Skinny Cow came out with individual cups of low-fat ice cream that were really tasty, it was literally an answer to prayer. And when I got invited to a Skinny Cow event on Saturday afternoon past -- I cleared my calendar. Ice cream, snacks, door prizes and a goody bag, what a great afternoon!

We got to pick our favorite flavor. I went with caramel cone.

Ice cream, snacks, a D.J. and makeovers for lucky raffle winners. I was one of the lucky raffle winners and came home with an adorable pink MP3 player. 

It was a fun, fun afternoon. Skinny Cow, count me in for next year!

And because inquiring minds want to know, what's your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Any Fans of Jack Bauer or Mr. Big?

As a preface to this post, I have no idea where June went. I know I went to work, lots of meetings (which rarely flew by) a medical appointment, had a great visit with my friends from childhood, Sue and Lonni and grocery shopped. Somehow clothes got clean and bills got paid, but otherwise the month flew. And when I think back I'm not even sure where May went. I know we say the years go faster as we grow older, but this year is flying by at sonic speed.

I did go to the theater a few times this spring and one of the shows I saw in May was "That Championship Season." It was a revival of a drama that had first played in the early 1970s. I wasn't as interested in the play itself -- I thought it might be dated and it was -- but in several members of the cast, Kiefer Sutherland and Chris Noth. I am a fan of "24" and the exploits of Jack Bauer. I am also a fan of Chris Noth. On sleepless nights I catch up on rerun episodes of "S*x and the City.

I braved the crowds at the stage door after the show to get a few pictures to share. I didn't get any autographs or photos with me -- I was too far back in the crowd -- but I hope got a few pictures to make any fans in Blogland happy. 

The crowd at the stage door and Mr. Big in the distance

Jack Bauer
Chris Noth and fans

I hope you enjoyed our spring theater excursion. It's a lovely day this afternoon and I'm off to a program sponsored by one of my all-time favorite brands of probably my favorite food. Any guesses?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Calendar is Upside Down...

I just posted my adventure at HomeGoods. I drafted it on June 12 and it's way down with a post date on June 12, even though it was posted five minutes ago. Not sure what I did, but it's a brand new post. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How Did Buttercup Get to Be Buttercup?

And how did your blog get its name?

The Bermuda Buttercup, which I found in the Madeira this spring. 

Buttercup is not my actual nickname, far from it. In fact, in a not very well known fact, one of my high school buddies called me "Candy," because I wasn't sweet. My greatest character flaw is a too-quick temper, something I have been struggling to correct for over thirty years. Some days I succeed and on others I fail. Even as I've come to have better control I know it is something I will need to focus on for the rest of my life.

My blogging began with a resolve to be a more upbeat and cheerier person. The fall of 2008 had been a very difficult time and I found myself sadder, darker and more angry than I wanted to be. I wanted to smile more, even in the face of difficult economic and professional times. I wanted to be Buttercup, not Stinkweed. Buttercup was the name I'd coined in the office for a colleague who sat in the cubicle next to mine to tease her out of a bad mood. Buttercup was so far from her personality that just saying the word to her would make her smile. In Blogland I could be Buttercup and I hoped that being Buttercup would be transformative.

Has it worked? To some degree, yes. I am more like Buttercup than Stinkweed and the friends I have made through blogging have been a great part of any change that has taken place. With only a few exceptions, every comment has been kind, thoughtful and positive. The support I've received has carried over to the rest of my life. I'm not as kind, thoughtful and positive as I would like to be, but I am more so than I was at the beginning of my blog journey. As always, my thanks and affection, blog friends, for your kindness and support. Hugs, prayers and blessings to all of you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Having a Good Time, but Wish You Were Here!

It's been one of those weeks. Lots of meetings, lots of running around and not enough time spent with blog friends! On Tuesday afternoon I left the office early for a medical appointment. Between zipping from the appointment and Weight Watchers I walked through Bloomingdale's. It was fun to walk through, but I kept thinking how much more fun it would have been with my blog buddies.

We would have fun browsing in the luxury arcade...

Chanel, anyone?

Window shop the Burberry bags...

Try on some pretty scarves...

Maybe we'd even get a makeover. The cosmetic counters seem to go on for miles.  

Hope you enjoyed our girl friends afternoon. Wish we could have shared it in person! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Help! I'm Designing a New Business Card

Once again, I'm asking advice from my wise and wonderful blog friends. I'm designing a business card to bring with me to BlogHer'11. I've never designed a card before and it's both exciting -- I can put anything on it -- and scary. Will it be silly looking? My visit to BlogHer in August is to both meet other bloggers and to begin to think about my next job. I hope (hope!) to retire from my present job next summer and I am interested in exploring marketing and writing options. I've done marketing for twenty-five years and have edited a newsletter and brochures for the last seventeen years, so none of this is new. But it's been within a very formal structure. The agency I work for has over 50,000 employees and it is not a loose and easy-going environment. Our business cards all look alike and there's no room for cute or whimsical. I'm eager for cute and whimsical in my life!

I'm thinking of just listing my name, the blog's name and my email address. I saw some cute cards with little yellow flowers -- buttercups -- and I liked the look a lot. Has anyone else done "blogger cards?" If you did, what did you have on the card?  

I know I can count on my blog buddies! Thanks and have a great week.     

Welcome, HomeGoods, to the Upper West Side!

We're so happy you're here!

When I was growing up one of my favorite day dreams was that I could go to the toy department at G. Fox & and Company, the nicest department store in Hartford, and pick out anything I wanted. Anything! We weren't wealthy -- far from it -- but I wasn't deprived either. But there were lots of things in the toy department -- the entire 11th floor of a big store -- that just weren't on my parent's list for my birthday gifts. I might have chosen an elaborate wooden doll house or one of the Madame Alexander dolls I loved looking at. 

I haven't thought of that memory in years but it came back to me after a fabulous shopping spree at HomeGoods on Saturday morning a week ago. A branch of one of my favorite stores opened several weeks ago across the street from my local Michaels. Thanks to one of the nicest bloggers anywhere, Pat of Mille Fiori Favoriti, I was part of a promotion from BlogHer and HomeGoods.  It was my shopping fantasy grown up and come true. 

What a treasure trove! I'd been thinking about what I would choose and was pretty sure it would be new bathroom hand towels, but it was a tough choice. 

There was a wonderful assortment of serving pieces...

Sophisticated black and white dishes...

And adorable baby things. I did fall in love with a sweet pink teddy bear and I took her home for baby Gabriella, who is due in September. 

I did find my towels and picked out two pair. They are on the bottom shelf on the right and go with the green in my bathroom. 

The best part of the day was meeting Pat and her terrific family. If you are not a reader of Pat's blog, I encourage you to stop over and say hello. 

It's not often I have the chance to live out a childhood fantasy and meet a great blog buddy! Hope you all had fun this weekend and have a good week ahead. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

What's Your Favorite Summer Treat?

Although the heat has broken in New York, these few hot days this week were only a little taste of the months to come. On Thursday afternoon I had a realization that the office was hot and that the air conditioning had been adjusted to avoid a power outage. I needed something to cool down. We have a little shop on the first floor of our building and I went down to see what I could find, hoping that they had popsicles. No popsicles, but I did find a little cup of lemon ice, which was so refreshing. 

What's your treat of summer? I love both iced coffee and lemonade and all kinds of icy treats, soft ice cream, lemon ice and popsicles. I am especially smitten with creamsicles.

Hope you're having a great weekend! I'm off to my Saturday surprise.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Call Me Tourist... Lower Manhattan

I just spent two terrific tourist days in New York City. My high school friends Lonni and Sue and Sue's daughter, Shelly, came in for a quick, but terrific visit. Sue now lives in Florida, Shelly is in Philadelphia and Lonni still lives in Connecticut, not very far from where we all grew up. We had representation from the entire East coast. 

Lonni and Sue's hotel was downtown, right by the site of the World Trade Center. We got to see the construction going on and explored all of downtown. We shopped, ate on cute Stone St. -- it was dark and I didn't get pictures -- and saw a sculpture exhibition in City Hall Park. But more than any other activity we talked and laughed and caught up on all the activities in our lives. 

I've spent the last two days catching up at work. Over a hundred emails greeted me and a few minor crises were waiting, too. I've caught up and now my only goal is staying inside as much as I can.  It went from perfect sunny weather to what we would normally expect in the middle of July -- hot!

I've got a great blog surprise on Saturday. I am so excited and heat or cool, I've got a date at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning with one of my favorite bloggers!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Like to Catch Brass Rings on the Merry-Go-Round...

...and I also like to watch some of my favorite people -- my sweet cousins -- riding the carousel at Lighthouse Point Park. We met up in New Haven over the Memorial Day weekend and had a great time with carousel rides, the playground and the sprinkler park. I did spend a good part of the time sitting on a bench in the shade, enjoying the beach air and watching the kids play.

The carousel is fabulous! It was built in 1916 and is one of only 100 carousels in use that remain from that period. The pictures on the website for the City of New Haven have some wonderful detail.


 The beach was a bonus. We were only expecting the carousel and didn't realize the park was on Long Island Sound. I love the beach and didn't get there at all last summer. One of my hopes for this summer was to be at the beach and it was great to start the summer with a beach visit with family.

It's been a busy week. I think everything that should happen in a five-day week gets crowded into four days in holiday weeks. We had a big meeting today -- I even wore a suit! -- and I am tired. So glad tomorrow is Friday and I have no scheduled meetings. I definitely will do "casual" Friday and try to do some "desk housekeeping". There are lots of papers that need to find a home, and not on the top of my desk.

Sweet dreams!