Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Dining on Broadway

It was a beautiful day in New York yesterday, and not too hot to eat outside. Once again, I was walking on Broadway. The sidewalk cafes were just beginning to see dinner guests arrive.

This is one of the restaurants across from Lincoln Center. 

 A few blocks away the BurgerGo truck was busy, too. The sidewalk was just fine for these two diners.  

Any outdoor picnic plans today? Hope it's a great Sunday!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Hip Hooray and Bally Hoo

Come on along and listen to
the Lullaby of Broadway
The hip hooray and bally hoo
The Lullaby of Broadway...

The evening started here at the Samsung store at the Time Warner Center. My colleague Sandy is posing in 3-D glasses, as we tried out the 3-D televisions on display. We were waiting for our table at one of my favorite restaurants, Bouchon Bakery.

Our table-to-be is right in back of the chalk board. We were celebrating with our friend, Bev, who has reached the big-60. Hip Hooray! There were yummy salads, soup and sandwiches and the birthday cake was actually brownies and ice cream. 

This was the scene that greeted us when we left the restaurant to make our way home. Definitely the hip hooray and bally hoo of Broadway.

Wish all of Buttercupland could have joined us for our fun evening. Have a hip hooray weekend! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life Takes You Places You Never Dreamed You Would Go

I've lived and worked in New York City since October 1975, but when I think of home my very first thought is Hartford. Though I'm happy to be in New York and plan to stay here after my present job is a memory, friends and family still ask me when I am coming home. I am definitely home, but my hometown has a tremendous pull in both memory and present reality.

I was born in Hartford and lived in two different houses growing up. When I was in college my parents moved to West Hartford, not more than five miles from the house in which I was raised. Though the house was different and the grocery we shopped in changed, more things than not stayed the same. Though we had moved to the suburbs I was still from Hartford. I went to college in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and graduate school in Tennessee and despite my moving around I fully intended to go "back" to Hartford. The dearth of jobs in Hartford in 1975 led me to New York. I planned to stay at most two to three years, and then I would go home.

Now it's twelve times three years and I have come home to my little corner of New York City. I've lived in three apartments, held nine jobs and worked in twelve locations throughout New York. Sometimes I think of moving back to Hartford, but now my plans are a little different than I those I had in 1975. My thinking includes somewhere warmer for the winter. The thought of New England winter seems too rough for me now. None of this was planned, but the one thing I've learned is that life takes you places you never dreamed you would go. And you can quote me on that!

When you think of home do you think of your hometown or where you live now? Inquiring minds want to know!

You always have a home in Buttercupland!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Raining Reunions (2)

"Hail to Rawson, Hail to thee
We'll lead you on to victory...

A month ago reunion was a vague and hazy concept for "someday" and tonight I tore up my apartment looking for my elementary school yearbook. While my fortieth college reunion is still nearly a year away, my elementary school reunion is three weeks away. Members of classes from the Sarah J. Rawson School in Hartford, from 1963 to 1967, will be getting together. When a facebook buddy first suggested it I looked at August and decided it was too busy for a trip to Hartford. The weekend of the reunion is between Blogher and a trip to San Diego and K's son's wedding and a trip to the St. Lawrence and Vermont. 

But I got an email from my friend Lonni, my friend from fifth grade, who thought it would be fun for us to go together. She is moving into a new house, which I'd love to see and it would be great to spend time together. It's hard to say no to your best friend from fifth grade. When I saw the list of invitees it was impossible to say no. I was especially delighted to see my friend Gail, who lived around the corner from my family when I was growing up and was part of the jump rope and hopscotch group. Her family moved in the mid-sixties and I haven't seen her since then.   

I am amazed at how excited I am. I have kept in touch with a few of my childhood friends, but to see so many people from our old neighborhood is actually thrilling. We grew up in a neighborhood of small houses and one car to a family, but a neighborhood that was very safe and fun for kids. We trick-or-treated, walked to the drugstore to buy penny candy and played infinite games of kickball in the street. There was hopscotch, roller skating and evenings of walking over to the Little League field to cheer on the neighborhood teams. There was our beloved local movie theater, The Lenox, where matinees cost a quarter and a treat was a box of snow caps or a bag of popcorn. The older kids looked after the younger ones and I knew that any adult in the neighborhood would let my parents know if I was misbehaving. 

I took the safety totally for granted, but the ability to play without a lot of supervision gave me the independence that I enjoy now.  If there was one gift I could give to children today it would be the sense of safety and the ability to explore the world around them independently.    

This inquiring mind wants to know...Do you keep in touch with any friends from elementary school? What are some of your memories from growing up?

Sweet dreams and keep cool!

One of My Favorite Ways to Keep Cool

The heat has broken here and I am glorying in less than triple digit weather. But for those in Blogland still toasting I'm adding another photo of my visit to Rhode Island, the harbor in Bristol. I'd never been here before and loved it. Just looking at this picture makes me feel cooler and I hope it helps some of you, too.

Wishes for a cool Tuesday!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's Raining Reunions (1)

It seems that reunions are falling out of the sky. My 40th college reunion is next May. I haven't been to a college reunion, except my fifth, and I did have a good time. But on the whole I have mixed feelings about college and I haven't thought of going to subsequent reunions. I do keep up with a handful of friends -- including K. and my roommate, Jane, who lives down the street. They are among my closest friends I could ever have and feel blessed they are in my life forty-three years after we first met.

For the last few years a woman I was friendly with in college, Mona, has been in touch with me about donations to the annual fund. Despite my feelings about the college, I have made small donations and we have had a nice email correspondence. Last month, to my complete surprise she asked if I wanted to be on our 40th reunion committee. My response was that I couldn't go to reunion as I hadn't kept up with my "group" of friends and couldn't imagine going to reunion without them. For clarification, I went to a women's college and many people lived in "groups," moving each year to a different dorm with the same group of women. When I actually write this now -- forty plus years later -- it seems ludicrous. We keep friends, we make new friends, we change and we grow.

But I was stuck in late adolescence with this issue of my "group." Mona's response was wonderful and kind. Her suggestion was that by working on reunion I would make new friends. What a simple, smart and obvious suggestion. I realized by moving ahead into the future I could transcend the past. How wonderfully liberating.
I'm on the committee and next May I expect to be here, in one of loveliest of all New England towns, moving into the future.

The leaves will be green, not red, but it will be beautiful. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Secret Garden

It may be 100+ in New York, but life continues on -- just at a slower pace. Last night I had just a little too much scheduled for this weather, but I needed to keep my dental appointment and I wanted to go to book club later in the evening. The dentist visit was great and in an attempt not to enter the subway one more time -- the waiting on the platforms for the train is tough! -- I took the bus downtown. I had a good plan. I would take the bus to Seventh Avenue and West 10th Street and walk over to my friend's apartment on East 9th Street and Third Avenue. In cooler weather this is an easy and lovely walk, past lots of historic brownstones.

But it got hotter with every step and I quickly felt my tote bag was filled with bricks. About halfway through my walk I came upon a beautiful and tranquil garden that I had never noticed before. At Greenwich Avenue and Tenth Street I came upon this little paradise right in the middle of the city.

I spent some time sitting on one of the benches and enjoying the faintest of breezes. 

This is the scene right outside the garden gates -- cars and noise!

Thanks for your good wishes. The purple bruise is now a little more lilac than magenta and my fall is almost simply a memory.  

I'm hoping for a quiet weekend. I'm planning to celebrate my college roommate's birthday -- actually today -- with a movie tomorrow. We love the thought of deep air conditioning and I've got a girly treat on Sunday. Nothing like a little pampering. Of course, there's grocery shopping and laundry and blog visiting on the agenda, too. 

Wishing you a good weekend and hope you, too, find a secret garden to enjoy!

Thanks, Kind Strangers!

Last night after work I was walking down East 78th Street on my way to exercise therapy. There might have been a break in the sidewalk or I may have been distracted by a passerby or the flowers surrounding the tree. More likely I veered to avoid walking into someone and lost my balance, falling over the metal edge of the box holding flowers around a tree. Down I went into the flowers. There I was, practically face down on East 78th Street. My hand flew out and I landed on my right side.

The actual site of my fall is more tree lined and there were many more people on the side walk. 
These metal edgings are on almost every residential street in Manhattan. 

Before I could even try to get myself up two people ran over to me. One was a woman walking down the street and the other was the doorman of the building near the tree. They helped me up and asked how I was feeling and if I needed any more assistance. My hand felt stiff and my leg hurt, but I wasn't bleeding and I could move my fingers. I decided to skip exercise and made my way home for an evening with an ice pack. 

I'm a little sore today, but have only a faint purple bruise on my thigh. No twisted ankle, no broken bones! I'm very grateful for my well-being -- thanks to my mother's urging to drink milk and the tons of Vitamin D I've been taking -- and the kindness of strangers. Most people don't think of New York as a kind place, but I've found New Yorkers to be kind and thoughtful, even willing to pull a stranger out of a flower bed. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Perfect Summer Weekend

There was family and celebrations...
And lots of cake!

My cousin Rachel's new house in one of the prettiest towns in New England -- and there's a lot of competition for that title!

The harbor in a town with a harbor!

The park nearby...Is there a more beautiful place for a walk?

And blogger restored my friends! 

I'm saving a few other photos for their own posts. It was a wonderful weekend. I discovered some of the beautiful towns along the Rhode Island coast. It was my first visit, but I will definitely be back! I hope you all had good times this weekend, too. Sweet dreams!  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blogger, I am so Upset with You!

If anyone notices that I am no longer a follower, it's not because of anything I did. I went in to Google Reader to do a little visiting this morning and saw very few new posts. Very few! I looked a little further and saw that I was following less than sixty blogs. I don't remember how many blogs I had been following, but it was at least 100+. In the next week I will be visiting my followers and making sure I am a follower. I am so sad! Blogger, please give me back my friends!

On a happier note, I'm off from work today and about to leave for a family get-together in Providence. We have birthday celebrations, two high school graduations and three middle school graduations. I've been to exercise and walked a mile, so it's been a productive morning.

 Wishes for a cool and fun weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Memory of Leiby

If there is a mission statement for Buttercupland it is to be upbeat and try to find all that is positive in the world. I work at this and many more times than not, the mood here is upbeat, grateful and happy. But there are times the real world comes rushing in and my thoughts are far from upbeat and happy. Tonight is one of those times.

In New York -- and in many other places -- our thoughts and prayers are with the family of eight year old Leiby Kletzky. Walking home from day camp on Monday he was kidnapped and brutally murdered. This tragedy is the headline of every newspaper and the lead for every newscast. It is also personal as I work with a group in the neighborhood that was an integral part of the search for Leiby earlier this week. The neighborhood is bright and bustling. Streets are busy and there are mothers and children everywhere. It feels so safe.

I have no words of wisdom of my own. None. I can only offer my tears and prayers for Leiby's family and community, and a few words from one of my favorite Psalms.

"May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!" 
Psalm 126:5


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Inquiring Mind Wants to Know...

Do you spend time at Starbucks?

We were having the equivalent of a chat around the water cooler last week. The topic drifted to spending time in Starbucks -- or other coffee stores -- for an afternoon using a laptop. We've had this conversation before, but somewhere in the middle of the conversation Brandon, who handles administration for our unit suggested I ask my blog friends. I hadn't realized that all of you had become a regular topic in the office and people my colleagues would turn to with a question. But my friends in Blogland are part of my world and I was tickled that a friend in the office made this suggestion. Tickled and delighted!

On behalf of Brandon, do you spend time at Starbucks? To the start the conversation going...I'm rarely in Starbucks. From time to time I get an iced Americano and every more rarely a Frappacino. I've had a few  iced coffees at Starbucks this summer, but only one of the fancy drinks. I do like the iced, whipped mocha with whipped cream (a lot!), but between the calories and the cost I save them for treats. There is a Starbucks two blocks from my apartment and a Dunkin Donuts a block away. I manage to fight off fancy coffee temptation pretty well, but the donuts could be my downfall any time. 

Sweet dreams and keep cool! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Speaking of Cake...

How can I not love a housewares store that greets me with fresh lemonade,
and just about begs me to start baking again, even with my teeny closet kitchen.

There are rows of fun baking accoutrements...

All so tempting...

But none more tempting than the cupcake papers in assorted colors and designs!

This is one of my favorite stores, situated on Eighth Street in Greenwich Village. I can spend hours here, and did a few weeks ago. For those of us who like to cook or entertain Broadway Panhandler is a terrific fun place to visit. I know lots of blog buddies are great cooks and bakers and thought you would all enjoy a visit.  

I hope everyone is keeping cool!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Called On Account of Rain...But Still Lots of Sunshine!

I had so hoped to post a picture of a big, big check-off on my living list, but alas the event was called on account of rain. About an hour before as I sat in the car and watched buckets of rain pour down I knew it was unlikely we would get to to our planned event. I spent a nice evening with friends, ate pizza, chatted and watched a movie. We may get to reschedule and I will delightedly post the picture for your viewing pleasure.

The next morning was lovely and in an effort to achieve the top goal on my living list -- becoming trimmer and fitter -- I started the day at the physical therapy/exercise facility I've been going to. In some ways that's the most important item on my living list and it felt great to begin the day with exercise. It kept my eating very focused for the rest of the day and I felt so good doing something so good for me.

The evening was pure fun! I met friends for a drink at The Campbell Apartment. Former offices of a early 20th century business tycoon it is a posh place for a drink. It is very crowded during the week, but perfect on a Saturday night in the summer.

 We exited these doors at Grand Central Station...

To go up these stairs...

To slip into the world of Jay Gatsby.

This picture is not the Campbell Apartment, but a cubicle in Queens transformed into a wonderful birthday setting. My colleague Donna baked her delicious lemon bars and the cake stand is waiting for a red velvet cake from a terrific bakery in Brooklyn. A million calories and worth every one of them! My colleagues at work could not have been sweeter or more thoughtful.

Thanks, too, for the wonderful posts and good wishes. I will be around to visit my blog friends and say thank you for birthday thoughtfulness and your friendship. Wishing you lots of sunshine!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Anti-Bucket List

I love the concept of keeping a list of things I hope to do, and have had a list for decades. Some are taking years to accomplish -- seeing all fifty states -- and others -- visiting the "Cake Boss" bakery in New Jersey -- should be accomplished in the next few months. What I don't like is the word "bucket." I don't like "kicking the bucket" as my goal, but rather these are things I want to do in the celebration of living. It may only be a matter of semantics, but the phrase really bothers me. I prefer to think of the list as my "Living list." These are not things to do before I die, but things to enjoy while I live.

These reflections have two sources. The first is that I did one of the things on my list this weekend -- photos following -- and that it was part of my birthday celebration. Birthdays give me a nudge to reflect and I took a little time to reflect on what activities rise to the top of the "Living list."

Floating to the top of the list...1) Get trimmer and fitter; 2) Visit Bali, which has been on my list long before "Eat, Pray, Love"; 3) Write a novel; 4) Visit all fifty states; 5) See the Aurora Borealis; 5.5) Spend a relaxed month in Italy.

For a long time I've wanted to eat at The French Culinary Institute in Lower Manhattan, but just never got to it. I spent Saturday afternoon with my college roommate, Jane, and to celebrate our July birthdays we indulged in brunch here. That's one of the glories of summer in the city, we just walked in with no reservation. We settled in at the bar to wait for a table and about a minute after we got our iced coffees we had a table where we could watch all the liveliness of Soho while we ate.

My beautiful and delicious salad. We also had mussels.

My birthday begins in one hour and eight minutes. If it doesn't rain I hope to blog a photo of one of my great Living List goals. It's not on the list above, but I'll give you a small clue. I'll be outside in Brooklyn. And as always, inquiring minds want to know, what's on your living list?  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

By the Sea, By the Sea...

...By the Beautiful Sea!

For the last little while I've had a terrific desire to go to Atlantic City and walk on the boardwalk. I wanted to sniff the ocean air, see the waves and maybe eat a little fudge or salt water taffy. I'm not sure where this desire came from. Before last Sunday I hadn't been to Atlantic City in twelve or thirteen years. On that trip I went to cheer Miss New Jersey in the Miss America pageant. Miss New Jersey was a classmate of my goddaughter and Jess very graciously let me tag along with her friends. Once again, thanks, Jess! It was a lot of fun. I had always wanted to see the pageant in person and we were delighted that Victoria was in the top ten. But since then I hadn't given any thought to visiting Atlantic City again until this spring. 

One day in the spring I saw a Groupon offer and for $7.00 (!) I was off to Atlantic City. I made the reservation and was set to travel last Sunday. When I woke up on Sunday I was greeted by massive thunder and lots of rain. I thought of staying home, but decided even if it kept raining I could stay inside at the casinos and have fun getting away. I also thought it just might clear and I'd be upset with myself if at noon the day was bright and sunny. 

We arrived at 1:10 P.M. just ten minutes after the sun came out, hot and bright. 

Skipped the taffy and went with a taste of butterscotch fudge.

Loved the colors of the ice cream stand. Skipped the soft ice cream, too. The fudge was just right for my sweet tooth.  

I hope you enjoyed this visit, too. Atlantic City's not my favorite beach -- I'd vote for Hilton Head or if I'm really feeling luxurious, Sea Island -- it was a lot of fun, though a little frenetic for too-frequent visits. And since we're on the topic of beaches, what's your favorite seashore spot to visit?

Wishes for sun, seashore and lots of good times!    

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, USA

You're a grand old flag,

You're a high flying flag,

And forever in peace may you wave
  You're the emblem of the land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.

Thank you, George M. Cohan for the music and thank you to millions of Americans who have lived and died to keep these words true. From Valley Forge over two hundred years ago to  Fallujah in a not-so-distant past my deepest gratitude to all those who protect our flag, our selves and our republic.  

I thought you all would enjoy a few pictures of the flags at Rockefeller Center. The blue umbrellas you see are set in what is the ice rink in the winter. I took these on Saturday and loved the bright sun and the waving flags.

It's been a fun weekend and I am luxuriating in having a day to catch up on things I didn't get to earlier. Bright sunny weather today, unlike yesterday's thunder storms. I see some Italian ices in my day! Hope it's a great Fourth of July all over!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, July Babies!

Are there any July babies out there? If you're a July baby, this is a celebration for you! I love this sweet poppin and as a July baby -- can someone still be a July baby at almost-sixty-one? -- I was pondering if it described me. I do love laughter and honor -- though honor seems to be an old-fashioned and rare virtue. Great wealth has definitely alluded me and there are moments I am demanding. Quietly brave? It seems very puffed up to describe oneself as brave, though bravery is found in many acts and situations. Some of the bravest people I know carry on quietly in some very difficult circumstances. 

I am blissful that this is a long weekend! I spent time tonight catching up with my friend, Mary. We had pizza, saw a movie -- "Larry  Crowne" with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, two of my favorites -- and had a leisurely walk up Third Avenue, enjoying a sweet summer night. Catching up with friends tomorrow and Monday and having an excursion on Sunday, details and pictures to follow. Hope it's sunny! I'll be mixing in some errands, blog visiting and some decluttering. It feels good, just writing about it. 

I hope the citizens of Blogland have a great and glorious weekend!