Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Might As Well Be Spring

...and it was today, even if the calendar said January.  

I haven't shared any music in a long time -- maybe last spring? -- but this song was going through my mind all afternoon. I listened to several versions and my choices came down to Frank Sinatra and this wistful version by Audra McDonald. I love Frank Sinatra, but I also think the world of Audra McDonald, who is presently starring in a revival of  "Porgy and Bess" on Broadway. A number of years ago I saw her in "Carousel" at Lincoln Center. It was one of the best versions of any musical anywhere and at anytime. 

This is why "It Might as Well Be Spring" was going though my mind. The dark green patch at the bottom of the picture are bulbs sprouting out of the ground and yes, there is grass in Central Park in January, real genuine grass. There is not a drop of snow anywhere.   

As a postscript to my travails with my dental insurance the postman brought my check yesterday, and for this round, all's well that ends well. Hopes and prayers that your day was as green and golden as mine.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Love Duane Reade!

"Flagship" Duane Reade on East 57th Street

Somewhere in a different time in New York City I worked very close to Duane and Reade Streets. Duane Street was named for Mayor James Duane, who was the first post-British Mayor of New York and Reade Street was named for  the eighteenth century rector of Trinity Church, John Reade, Now -- and for quite a long time -- when anyone says Duane Reade every New Yorker thinks of the go-to drugstore chain, Duane Reade, named for the first store that stood on the corner of Duane and Reade.

Dear Duane Reade,

I was so excited when I read that my favorite drugstore was sponsoring a contest to name the Duane Reade VIP Blogger for 2012. I mentioned this to one of my colleagues, not as familiar with Duane Reade or the great inventory you carry, who asked me what would I would do with a $200. gift card each month. My response was quick. I just about live in Duane Reade. There is a branch one block from my apartment building and one at the stop where I transfer trains in the morning. It's where I fill my prescriptions and say hello to Frank, my pharmacist. It's the store where I bought the birthday card for K. last night and perused Valentines. I pick up groceries, including fresh fruit and vegetables, wraps for lunch, popchips and luna bars. I buy  paper towels and magazines and when I'm in the mood to splurge for great cosmetics I don't go to one of the big department stores, I go to one of the "flagship" Duane Reade stores for fabulous and fun bubble bath and dozens of colors of nail polish. And the bottles of water I bought at the last minute before hunkering down for Hurricane Irene...bought at Duane Reade at Broadway and 88th Street! I would be the proverbial kid in a candy store literally and figuratively and what fun we could have together.  

I'm long overdue writing this love letter to Duane Reade. Dear Duane Reade, You made me love you, and now I'm asking to go steady with you as one of the VIP Bloggers for 2012. I've blogged about you, but never to you and now I'm telling the world how much I care. Please don't be shy and let me know you care, too, and we'll have a glorious year together.

Dear Blog friends, this is my official entry to the Duane Reade VIP Blogger Contest.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thanks to the Teacherfishes!

As a preface let me say I love history. I like reading about history and I like seeing the places where events took place that shaped history. I more than like learning about history. I love it and went so far as to minor in European history in college and take several classes in the history of Religion in America in graduate school. But I never took a class in the history of New York. I grew up in Connecticut and got my Connecticut history in the fourth grade.

Thankfully I have blog friends who enjoy history, too. I visited Washington sites with Marydon and Harold and learned about the Mormon Battalion with Lura and John. Yesterday I got a great lesson with Teacherfish and her husband, Mr. Teacherfish. After following each other's blogs for several years we met up for history, walking, terrific food, laughter and conversation. What a wonderful afternoon!

Teacherfish had put together our itinerary and was especially taken with the John Bowne house. The house was built in 1661 and stands as a legacy of freedom to worship in the United States. In 1657 a group of freeholders from Flushing issued a proclamation calling for religious tolerance. This went against the ruling of the Dutch governor of New York, Peter Stuyvesant, who permitted only the Dutch Reformed Religion to be practiced. This document, the Flushing Remonstrance, was the inspiration to the First Amendment to the Constitution. It spoke of their desire to worship as they chose and "to let every man stand or fall to his own Master." The house is closed now for renovations, but it's definitely on my list to visit when it reopens.

The house is on the left. In 1661 there was little else built here. Now it sits in the midst of a busy urban neighborhood. 

The Quaker Meeting House 
This gives the present setting of the meeting house. 

We had dinner at a great noodle restaurant and I was very happy to let the T's order. We had soup dumplings -- literally soup is sealed into the dumpling -- noodles and scallion pancakes, which aren't really pancakes, but are delicious. We drank many cups of tea, talked and talked and I felt that I'd known the T's forever. We had such a good time that we've already planned our next excursion, probably some time in March. I'm delighted to find buddies for exploring New York and friends. 

Today was a quiet and leisurely day. I've just about gotten through the New York Times, grocery shopped and had fun catching up with my blog buddies. I did break down on No Spending January and bought a birthday card I've been contemplating for K's birthday. Money well spent!

Wishes for a sweet week!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest -- Fruity Tutti!

First, I want to apologize for being a day late for my Friday Pinterest post. Yesterday was a long day at the office and after staying late and stopping to get something for dinner, it was nine o'clock when I got home. I took a few quick peeks at email, made a phone call and then I was asleep.

So without further ado, a great chart on all the good health benefits from eating fruit.

The health food store on the next block has been having a sale on kiwis and I've been walking past them, but I think I need to make another visit and bring a few kiwis home.

I'm excited about my plans for this afternoon...Blogger Meetup! You know there will be pictures to follow and yummy food and fun and laughter. Hope your day holds fun and laughter, too!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Codes Far Surpassing "The DaVinci Code"

I know "The DaVinci Code" was on the best-seller list for umpteenth years and I know it was made into a movie. I've spent the last day in a heated discussion of codes and it wasn't the DaVinci code or some top secret spy code. It was the mis-coding of my dental claim and after several discussions the correct recoding. Discussion is a polite description of the conversations I had with the dental claim customer specialists in Tulsa.

I've written previously about my dental work. I had a root canal in October, the post was done in December and I began the long, slow process of getting a crown last week. I honestly don't mind dental work very much. Yes, I know I'm weird, but I've had a lot of it and it's just become part of my life. I do mind the cost and I'm not sure I will ever get used to it. I am blessed to have dental insurance from my job, and though often things are not covered, it's still a terrific benefit.

Very little of the root canal was covered and I accepted it and moved on. But I was perplexed when I got a statement saying that the post wasn't covered because I didn't have a root canal. I thought I had a root canal.Yesterday I steeled myself up for the conversation with the insurance company and after an hour and a lot of misinformation I discovered that the insurance company had miscoded my claim. I did have a root canal, but the claim information was entered incorrectly and a two was switched with a three and I was underpaid a chunk of money. I was promised this error would be corrected, but I didn't feel confident until I saw that the correct amount was posted electronically on the dental website. Of course, I won't be completely happy until I am holding the check, but I am a lot happier than I was.    

I learned a good lesson which I am happy to pass on. If there is a problem with a reimbursement, the problem may be a faulty code. It's easy for anyone to type a wrong number and I don't believe it's necessarily a plot by the insurance company. I would have saved myself a lot of aggravation and time if I had looked at the code that had been (mis)entered.

Update on No Spending January: Things are continuing very well. My only purchases have been the dish detergent, furniture polish and a box of kleenex. From time to time I look at something in a store window and think I might like it, but I haven't yet succumbed to impulse buying in person or online. I'm thinking of how, not whether, I will continue this in Februrary and I'm mulling over a few ideas.  

I'll be back tomorrow with Pinterest Healthfest. Until then, have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hilton Head Island or St. Simons Island?

For some reason I cannot quite fathom I love islands. After all I live on an island, and some of my favorite vacation picks are islands. It can be the islands of Venice or the Ile St. Louis in Paris or Langkawi Island in Malaysia or the beautiful beaches of Long Island, New York. Some of my very favorite islands are off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia and I've had a fantasy since the snows of last winter of spending a winter month in Hilton Head, S.C. I've had two vacations here in years past and really enjoyed myself. The climate in January is mild and it's off-season and relatively inexpensive.

Hilton Head, South Carolina 

The thought returned to me in the last day and I realized that this is genuine possibility for next winter, not just a fantasy. I decided to see if financially it was as feasible as I believed and with a little searching online I found a two-bedroom condo was possible for a month. And then I began to dream...If Hilton Head was possible maybe there were other places that would be equally enjoyable in January and I thought of St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Source: flickr.com via Carol on Pinterest

St. Simons Island, Georgia 

I loved Eugenia Price's "St. Simons Memoir" and her Lighthouse Trilogy -- any other fans out there? -- and I've been here once briefly and wanted to return. Here a little research was very positive. St. Simons was pleasantly warmer than Hilton Head and the condo price was equally attractive. January in St. Simons was definitely possible.

I've not discussed this with anyone, including my dear friends and frequent travel buddies, K and J, who are great fans of Hilton Head. Any of the good citizens of Buttercupland have any thoughts on either beautiful island? Have you stayed in either place? Is there another place along the South Carolina/Georgia coast that you would recommend for January? Anyone free next January and want to explore an island?

Right now it's just a fantasy on a winter night, but this time next year we could be in Hilton Head, St. Simons or an island yet to be determined. Doesn't that sound sweet?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm Making a List, I'm Checking it Twice

BlogHer '12 is Coming to town!

Come talk to me at BlogHer '12

I am so excited that BlogHer '12 will be just down the street -- actually a mile and a half -- from my apartment, here in New York City. It was well worth the trip to San Diego last year, but a hometown BlogHer is a dream come true. I've cleared the dates on my calendar and I am so hoping to welcome blog buddies to New York City and BlogHer '12. I met some terrific people, learned a lot about blogging and just had an all around great time. 

One of my buddies from BlogHer '11

Wishes for a sweet week!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Live from New York ...It's Snow!

Looking north from my building

Today was the first snow of the season, the winter season. I am not counting the storm we had in October as part of the winter. Despite the fact that my family and friends in Connecticut had no power for over a week, the snow melted quickly here and it was autumn as usual immediately after. I took this picture in the afternoon, when it had stopped snowing and the sidewalks were no longer slippery. 

I am so tempted to stay home on snowy days, especially when I don't have to go out to work. But our synagogue book club had a great program and I got myself up and out. I live only a few blocks from where the program was held, so weather wasn't much of an excuse. Julie Salamon spoke about her biography of Wendy Wasserstein, "Wendy and the Lost Boys." Julie was interesting, warm and an extremely engaging speaker. I've been eager to read this book for a few months and I will be loading it to my kindle this evening. I think it will be a perfect book to settle in with on a cold winter evening. 

On the subject of reading...I'm always looking for book recommendations and would love to know what my blog buddies are reading. 

Tonight it's a good book, a cozy throw and a cup of tea. I can't wish for more, except that all of you have an equally sweet evening. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest -- Good and Good for You!

And Me!

Last week's focus was vegetables and this week it's fruit. Unlike any laziness with veggies, I buy fruit all year round. Right now I have fresh clementines and bananas and frozen strawberries and pineapple. Most mornings I try to make a smoothy and I use a banana and at least one kind of frozen fruit. I add yogurt and juice and it's one of my favorite breakfasts. I feel good knowing I got at least two servings of fruit first thing in the day. 

I'm trying to replace my sugar tooth with a fruit tooth and this treat looked like a good replacement for times I have a craving.   

Source: weheartit.com via Carol on Pinterest

What are your favorite fruits and fruit treats? Besides my smoothies, I like baked apples, frozen bananas and just about any kind of fresh fruit. 

Wishes for a sweet, happy and healthy weekend!  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Hop and A Skip to Country Dreaming

I have a good dozen blog posts in mind, but between an evening meeting on Tuesday and a birthday celebration for a friend last night, they are still unwritten, and I am sadly behind on visiting blog buddies. But as I was skipping through Google Reader I saw a post from my friend, Melinda at Country Dreaming.

Melinda is collecting Valentine's for children in Kansas City who are hospitalized over Valentine's Day. As she wrote, 

  "I told you about a children's hospital here in Kansas City that sponsors a Valentine Card shower for the patients that are at the hospital on Valentine's Day. One of our local radio stations also assists with the shower by collecting and delivering the cards to the hospital on Valentine's Day. The children get to choose from the array of cards that have been brought in." 

Please stop by her blog -- you'll enjoy the visit -- and you will find all the details. I am a big fan of Valentine's Day and this will be a great way to get into the spirit of hearts and flowers.  

Coming up tomorrow, Pinterest Healthfest!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Moment in the Life of New York...Central Park

A quick moment in Midtown Manhattan. Central Park is in the background. 

Yesterday was devoted to beginning work on a new cap. I didn't look forward to doing the work, but I do like my dentist and her staff and it was nice to not feel rushed and to have the afternoon for my sore mouth to recover. It was a cold day to take pictures, but I did get a photo of one Moment in Midtown Manhattan with Central Park in the background. This is one block from my dentist's office. 

Wishes for a terrific Tuesday!

Monday, January 16, 2012

When I Think About My Favorite Movie Star...

Source: google.com via Carol on Pinterest

Audrey Hepburn immediately comes to mind. 

In the comments for yesterday's post about Colin Firth my dear friend, Sheilagh, asked about female movie stars. About six seconds after I began thinking Audrey Hepburn's face came to mind. Some of my favorites of her films are "The Nun's Story," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and my very favorite, "Roman Holiday." Her talent was tremendous and her beauty was both obvious and within. She was devoted to UNICEF, as she and her family had received aid after World War II living in the Netherlands. I think this photo of her is as lovely as any picture of her in her youth. 

Source: ahepburn.com via Carol on Pinterest

Sheilagh, thanks for the question. I've so enjoyed looking at photos and remembering movies and actors I admire. This has been so much fun that I'll be sure to do it again. Deborah Kerr is right in line. Who are your favorite woman movie stars? Any other Audrey Hepburn fans in Buttercupland?

I leave you with this beautiful quote, my beautiful friends! 

Source: google.com via Carol on Pinterest

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'll Never Be Too Old...

...to swoon over movie stars...

My first movie star crush was Clark Gable, with Leslie Howard right behind. Yes, I loved "Gone With the Wind." Time went by and Dennis Quaid and Kevin Costner were favorites. But in the last few years I had no favorite movie star. It was a wasteland for me and movie star romance. But I've got a new movie star honey. It started slowly years ago with....

...this wonderful version of "Pride and Prejudice."

And I lost my heart totally this afternoon at an unlikely movie, "Tailor, Tinker, Soldier, Spy."

Colin Firth

There wasn't a scrap of romance in the movie, in fact it was the epitome of anti-romance, but it had some of the best acting I've ever seen, with a great cast and an absorbing story and Colin Firth. I'd been told that it would be hard to follow the movie, and it did take concentration, but it was a wonderful afternoon, and I've got a new movie sweetheart. I'm sure I share him with millions of other women, but it's nice to know that even at 60-plus I can still fall in love at the movies. 

Does anyone else have a movie sweetheart? I'd love to know who your movie sweethearts were growing up. Any Clark Gable fans here?

Wishing you a sweetheart of a week!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Soupah Fun!

My good friends at Kettle Cuisine are sponsoring one of the most fun contests I've heard about in a long, long time and I wanted to share it with my buddies in Buttercupland. The prize is a spring weekend in Boston, which sounds terrific as I listen to the winds whipping past my window. Here's the link with all the details and there's also a youtube video to help with entering. It's fun, easy and yummy! I'm having my favorite Southwestern Chicken and Corn Chowder for dinner. I love soup on a cold winter night and yes, I'm having a salad with it.

I like to enter contests and I couldn't not enter this one. Pepe went around the world to look for the best soup and of course, found Kettle Cuisine right here in New York City. If you're not entering please give Pepe a vote. You can use the same link. He -- and I -- would love to go to Boston this spring.

It's been a sweet Saturday. I had a good visit with my eye doctor, a trip to Whole Foods and our Bible study group met this afternoon. Now I'm cozy at home, about to make my chicken and corn chowder and visit blog friends. That's a sweet evening!

Wishes for a sweet and cozy evening!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest -- The Treasure of Vegetables

I chose this photo on Pinterest and I noticed only after I uploaded it that it was from Whole Foods. I live directly between two beautiful Whole Foods stores. One is a little over a mile away and one is slightly less than a mile. They each have a staggeringly wonderful array of vegetables. An array, that would have caused my great-grandmother to wander through the aisles in unbelieving ecstasy at the agricultural miracles she was seeing. I evoke my great-grandmother, for whom I am named, because in the village in the Ukraine in which she lived in for the first forty plus years of her life she lived on root vegetables all the long, long Russian winter.  A tomato or cucumber or a fresh mushroom would have been an incomparable treat.

I was born into a different world and sadly I take these treasures for granted. I find it difficult to make time to cook fresh vegetables, even though they are so easy to buy and so delicious. I like vegetables a lot. I like cabbage and mushrooms and brussel sprouts. And that's only the beginning of my list. But I am lazy when it comes to preparing them. There is no other word to describe it. I will not plead too busy. I cannot lie to the citizens of Buttercupland. I am lazy about vegetables. The awful truth has been spoken.

Laziness, be gone! When I look at vegetables and the gift of health that they provide I know my laziness has to end. January is not just a no spending month, it's an eating vegetables month. I will be at Whole Foods tomorrow morning. It is two blocks from my opthamologist's office, so I have no excuse not to stop in and buy vegetables to prepare over this long weekend.  

Do you cook vegetables regularly? What are you favorites? Appreciate any veggie inspiration you can lend.

Stay tuned for a fun post tomorrow starring Pepe and a box of soup!

Wishes for a cozy and sweet weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Three Candles Mean...

It's my third blogaversary. Happy birthday to Buttercupland! 

And my blogging goal for 2010...to 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!

This is what I wrote two years ago and posted again last year. It still rings true in 2012 and I am happy to recommit to the same goals. Thanks for laughter, support, encouragement, prayer and friendship. It has been a wonderful year in Buttercupland. I became "Aunt Buttercup" to sweet Rocky, spent time with Pat and Lorraine in New York and loved every second of BlogHer and meeting Lura and John in San Diego.   

I love poetry and some of my favorite lines are these by Robert Browning, "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be..." So it is in Buttercupland. The best is yet to be! Every thanks for the year past and every dream and prayer for the year ahead. The best is yet to be.

My First -- and Only -- Purchase of 2012

On Monday night I bought a bottle of dish detergent at the drugstore for eighty eight cents. In the interest of journalistic integrity I did not buy two bottles as pictured above and I have bought a number of food products. But the bottle of dish soap is the only item of "stuff" I have brought into my apartment. I don't have a big apartment, so I don't store a lot of supplies. But I do like to keep an extra bottle of dish detergent, a few rolls of paper towels and at least half a dozen rolls of toilet paper.

I've pondered this purchase. Is this stuff? Technically, it's closer to food than stuff, but this is not simply an exercise. I'm working to spend less, make my apartment neater and break the habit of shopping for recreation. So far, I'm finding No Spending January easy to do. I know it's only ten days, but the temptation to buy isn't there. I'm planning what I need for clothing replacement for winter clothes and the list is small. I need several new cotton turtlenecks to replace ones that are stained and worn, a flannel nightgown and a pair of weekend pants I can wear to exercise class. I'd like flannel sock monkey pajamas, but I may decide in February that this whim doesn't need to fulfilled. If I buy them, it will be a well thought out purchase.  

Has anyone else joined me in No Spending January? If so, I'd like to hear how the experience is going for you. Any tips or advice will be gladly accepted and appreciated.

Sweet dreams and a sweet day tomorrow!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Like All Ten Fingers -- How About You?

My friend Mary and I got about the subject of preserving our fingers in a roundabout way. We were talking at lunch today about things we wanted to do in our apartments in the next year. Mary wanted to get the living room floor redone and I commented that after an unfortunate blender incident yesterday I had a new impetus to have the kitchen painted. I now had some pink spots on the ceiling where strawberry smoothie had erupted when the spoon I stuck into the whirling blender hit the blade (Yes, it was very foolish and no, I have no idea what I was thinking) and pureed strawberry went everywhere in my kitchen, including the ceiling. Somehow I also cut my thumb, but not badly. Mary related that a cut from a broken glass led to a visit to the ER on New Year's Day, stitches and one small step away from an infection.  I then remembered the first time I used my juicer in November and made a large slice in the other thumb incorrectly cleaning the juicer blade.

Here are three accidents involving our hands in just about two months. Certainly I should have learned my lesson with the juicer incident of 2011, but sadly I went on to the blender incident of 2012. I love my fingers and I am especially fond of my two thumbs. Life would be much tougher without any of them. So I need to remember to be more careful and take good care of them.  The Buttercupland Department of Public Safety reminds you to be more careful in the kitchen than Buttercup and keep your fingers and thumbs safe. As we say in Buttercupland, "Take good care of your thumbs, they belong to you!"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's a Buttercup Holiday...

Yes, It's Sock Monkey Pajama Day!
Source: target.com via Carol on Pinterest

I haven't declared a Buttercup Holiday in quite awhile. But I was visiting a fun new blog buddy who wrote about having a wonderful day lounging in pajamas. So citizens of Buttercupland, let's schedule a day to have a second cup of coffee, slowly read the newspaper and any and all magazines and catch our collective breaths. I am recommending these sock monkey pajamas as the official outfit for this holiday.  And while you're lounging please pay a visit to Sunny Simple Life and enter the giveaway taking place there. 

Actually this afternoon I'm off at a fun program. I heard Carrie Fisher interviewed last year and this year I am very excited about the celebrity we will see interviewed. If at all possible there will be pictures. 

Wishes for a sweet Sunday and a sweet week!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

If I want my entry to look closer to this....

I need to declutter a lot of this!

I've had a warm and close relationship with magazines since I started reading "Highlights for Children" in third grade. We've spent a lot of time to together and had a lot of laughs, but I think we may need to break up. A portion of my clutter comes from too many magazines coming into my apartment, not being read and not leaving. Magazines, you need to leave! I'd save copies to clip articles, but with the internet I rarely go back to articles I've clipped. If I don't do something I've read about immediately the odds are that I won't in the future. I've cancelled my subscription to "New York" and "New Yorker," but I need to reexamine everything I subscribe to, including "The New York Times," which has been a really good friend for decades. I don't think I'm ready to break up with the Times, but this is the moment to think about our relationship. Does anyone else have trouble throwing out magazines and newspapers? 

No Spending January is going well. Not one ounce of new clutter came into my apartment today and my goal for tonight is a bag of paper will go out. My goal for water has been less successful, but there's still almost six hours in the day. I can chug water for several hours and still sleep.

It was a glorious day in New York City today, sunny and in the sixties. Started the day with services, had lunch with friends, and finished the afternoon with a trip to the hairdresser. Walked everywhere and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Hope your Saturday was sweet, too!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest

For the last three months we've had a lot of fun on Pinterest Fridays. There have been yummy pumpkin, cranberry and gingerbread recipes. But in this new month and new year we're going in a totally different direction, but I still think it will be fun. For the next two months it's HealthFest Friday and the theme is finding  inspiration for healthy habits. This week, I'm going to try and put down the diet coke and not order the pumpkin latte and just drink water, lots and lots of water.

I find it hard to drink four glasses of water daily, and eight seems a near impossibility. But I'm going to push myself this week and will try for a healthy compromise of six glasses daily. How much water do you drink? Do you have trouble drinking eight glasses or six glasses? Inquiring minds want to know.

Have a calm and well hydrated weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Moment in the Life of New York...Downtown Flushing

I had an evening meeting in downtown Flushing Queens tonight and I was struck by the liveliness on the streets at 9:00 p.m. in the winter. It was a relatively mild January evening, but still it was a cold winter night.  This is not the most elegant picture, but I thought the signage and the activity on the street interesting. This is an area -- not too far from CitiField (aka Shea Stadium) where the Mets play -- with a large Asian population. I didn't have time for dinner in the area before the meeting, but I need to research restaurants and return soon. The restaurants and bakeries looked so interesting and I am a terrific fan of Asian food. I would be happy to receive any recommendations.

No Spending January is progressing well. No new clutter and another bag of paper discarded. I even decluttered for fifteen minutes this morning before work. That is a first!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So Long! We'll Miss You...

...But we can't wait to see you next year!

A successful No Spending January (NSJ) day. No money was spent on stuff, though I did buy lunch today and two cups of coffee. I have discarded a bag of paper and half a dozen magazines. I read today's mail and discarded it. This could get to be a habit!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

No Spending January

I looked around my sweet little apartment on December 31 and all I could see was stuff. Not just my usual too many papers and magazines, but things. There were extra tote bags that I wasn't using, Christmas wrapping supplies and gifts that I wasn't sure where to put. Throughout the fall I've sold books, given away bags of clothes and thought what I had done had made some real headway in clearing clutter. But everywhere I looked I saw stuff. I realized that I couldn't make headway if I was bringing more things in. Out of this heap of stuff "No Spending January" was born.

The premise is simple. No matter how much I want something, no matter what a good buy it is and no matter that I've wanted said item forever I am not going to buy it. No more clutter can come in my apartment for the month of January. I can buy things to eat and drink. I can buy tickets for experiences. I can get my hair cut or pay for yoga classes, but I won't buy shampoo that the hairdresser recommends or new yoga clothes. I have shampoo and I have yoga clothes. As the sign says, "Just because you can buy it doesn't mean you should."

Three days have passed and I am doing fine. I've found I can just delete lots of email unread. I am not going to buy sweaters from Land's End or new sheets from Sear's. What I have will do for the month of January. I may even save my gift cards until February or March. It's not spending money, but I want to assess what I need and not shop because it's fun. I've added a corollary and I am avoiding buying any sweets to bring home. I can have a cookie or muffin when I'm out, but this avoids ice cream that's on sale and Christmas candy fifty per cent off. I'd love to be a slimmer me in my less cluttered apartment on February 1.

I am optimistic that on February 1, 2012 my apartment will be more organized. I will have arranged a pickup for the several bags of clothes that I have been keeping though they haven't been worn in years.  I will have discarded a large pile of magazines and at least six bags of paper. I will have cleaned out the refrigerator and the freezer and I may even have begun No Spending February. I will let you know. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

(Embrace) Change...My Perfect Word(s) for 2012

Source: flickr.com via Carol on Pinterest

Today was a very enjoyable and very predictable day off from work. I picked up a prescription at the drugstore, bought a cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, went to the grocery and the health food store. I made a few phone calls, read my email and did a lot of blog visiting. To soothe my winter-weary feet I got a pedicure. I tried a new nail salon and liked it a lot. Not much change at all.

What has changed is my attitude. I've taken the idea of a Perfect Word for 2012 very seriously and given it a lot of thought. I realized change alone wasn't enough. I need to embrace the change that I know may be coming in 2012.

For the last three years I have planned to retire from my present job this summer. Yet, as the time grows closer, I grow more anxious. I worry about money -- though I've run the numbers at least once a week. I worry about meaningful things to do, though I have a dozen ideas in my head. I worry about being lonely without seeing my work friends daily, though there are a number of close friends I would like to spend more time with, and not just in scraps on weekends. Instead of shrinking from the approaching changes I want to embrace them and enjoy all that will change.

I feel that this is a graduation of sorts and I am the girl leaving high school and Hartford for the bigger, wider world. I remember being excited. I don't remember being scared, though that must have been part of my emotions in 1968. There were things I missed about home and high school, but there were so many new and exciting things in my college life. I know I embraced change then and I need to embrace it now.

Here's to change and newness and all the excitement 2012 will hold!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Welcome, 2012...

You began on the most beautiful first day of the year I can remember. The sky was blue and the sun was bright and there was not a drop of ice or snow on the sidewalk. I began the day with a yoga class followed by a stretching class with a friend. I actually got myself over to the class at 10:15 a.m. and it felt so good to be out on this lovely morning. Last year we were knee deep in snow and this year, close to winter paradise. I'll take it as an omen of good things to come. 

I'm starting a series of random photos of New York City. I like to share the sights I see and I know you all like to see glimpses of New York, but often there's not enough for a post. From time to time I will post a photo as...A Moment in the Life of New York. Today's moment is at the diner around the corner from my apartment. I saw several restaurants where people were waiting in line for brunch. This is my local go-to place for a quick breakfast out or a salad with friends. 

A Moment in the Life of the Upper West Side

 New Year's Eve was a fun night. The food at the restaurant was delicious and the portions generous. My dinner tonight was stuffed lamb and barley. We had delicious mini-stuffed cupcakes -- definitely a post in the future -- and champagne, conversation and laughter. I can't ask for a better start for the year.  I hope all citizens of Blogland had an equally good evening.

Hugs, prayers and wishes for a sweet week and a sweet year!