Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thank You, Time Warner

It almost came to this, but Time Warner saved me!

I love living in Manhattan, but there are issues here unique to living in an urban canyon on an island. One issue is that I get no television reception without a cable. Without cable service I get nada, zip, except snow and noise. It's not pretty. Ten days ago my cable service went. I fiddled around, my super checked that I hadn't accidentally disconnected a wire and then I called Time Warner, my cable provider. Between my schedule and their schedule this morning was the first time they could come. The technician was great, punctual and efficient and I am back in the television business.

If you had asked me a month ago about my television habits I would have said I don't watch much television. I realized I watched more than I thought I did. I missed the "Today" Show, the late night news and my favorites, "Say Yes to the Dress" and "What Not to Wear." I missed the Sunday morning news shows and watching the Academy Awards, even if I generally fall asleep after the first half-hour. I missed having the option of turning on the television set and not thinking about using my time more constructively.

I found I had a lot more time without television. And what did I do with that time? I read magazines, I blogged more than usual and I decluttered. I got a big boost to my decluttering. I would give myself a B for decluttering in January and an A- in February.

I am grateful for my interruption in viewing and grateful, too, to have my television given back to me. I wouldn't have chosen it, but what a good lesson I received.

Sweet wishes, citizens of Buttercupland!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Half a Degree of Separation to Meryl Streep

Did you have any idea when you were watching this beautiful and talented woman win an Academy Award last night that there was only half a degree of separation between you and Meryl Streep?

Some people go to Europe for Junior Year Abroad, but in the fall of 1970 I went to New Hampshire. I was part of an exchange between women's colleges and men's colleges "in advance of coeducation." At the time it wasn't clear that there would be coeducation, although now the thought seems somewhere out of Victorian times. It was the second year of this experiment and there were 70 "coeds" and 3,000 men of Dartmouth. During fall term both Meryl Streep and I were part of the 70 coeds. I'm not sure we exchanged more than a hello, but with such a small number of women I recognized all of the women and Meryl was a standout, even as a college senior. She was beautiful and profoundly talented and it came as no surprise that she has had an award-winning career.

I loved my year at Dartmouth. Yes, the social life was fun, but it wasn't just parties. The academics were superlative and I made some great friends. I liked Dartmouth so well that in the last decade I've returned for three alumni summer weeks and had a wonderful time. As for the experiment in coeducation, by the following fall (1971) the trustees of Dartmouth voted to permit women to matriculate and the first coed class graduated in 1973. Alas, one year too late for me.

The only downside to Dartmouth was the weather. There were January days when it was thirty degrees below zero, and we didn't factor in wind chill in 1971. Twenty degrees was a warm day! Still it is one of the most beautiful places I know.

Source: google.com.tw via Carol on Pinterest

Hanover, New Hampshire: the most Quintessential New England place 

Thank you for your prayers for Baby Crew. Please stop by Grammy Girlfriend's for a wonderful update.

Wishes for a sweet and happy evening! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dear Baby Crew,

I am praying for a complete and quick recovery from your surgery. I am praying for your mother and father and all of your family. My prayer is that very soon you will be home and cuddling with your Mama and Daddy and giggling baby giggles.

Baby Crew is in the hospital in Arkansas following a very complex surgery. Our blog buddy Grammy Girlfriend posted about him and suggested we email his beautiful mother, Marie, with our prayers.  I asked Marie if she would like me to do a post asking for prayers and her reply was "we would love that." Crew has had a few very tough days, but things looked up this afternoon. Spending time in the ICU waiting room is difficult at best and Crew's family needs all the prayers that we can offer.

Baby Crew, I am praying for you!

P.S. Please click the link to read about Crew and to meet a lovely blogger, Grammy Girlfriend. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Croatia On My Mind

I have a list of places on my dream list. It hasn't changed much in the last five years and it usually starts with Bali, Laos and Antarctica. The places are far, exotic and expensive. One of my goals at retirement was to visit one of these places. But I have another goal and that's to spend time with the people I love, and that won't necessarily be in Laos, Bali or Antarctica.

I was chatting with K. last week and she mentioned plans for a trip to Croatia. She suggested I join the travel party. I've been to Croatia for a day when it was still Yugoslavia and liked it a lot, but it didn't get to the top of my travel list. I must add that I was an unwilling visitor -- there was something else I wanted to do that day and it wasn't going to Croatia -- and it turned out to be a wonderful day. But as the days have gone by the desire to spend time with K. and another travel buddy became greater than checking places off my travel list. I still want to see Laos etc., but Croatia with K. and Pat has jumped up to the top of the list. It's not just the place, but the people on the journey that mean the most.

Of course when I started to read about some of the places we might visit I got excited. This sight looks extraordinary!

The trip is well into the future and it's still a maybe, but I'm enjoying the thought of it, especially on a cold winter day.

Breaking news from the decluttering front! I have reclaimed a large section of a file drawer and a section of my bedroom dresser top.  There's still a long way to go, but there's a glimmer of light ahead.

Sweet wishes for Saturday night!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest -- Good Day Sunshine!

While yesterday was a glorious sunshiny almost-spring day, today was not. Today was cold rain and damp socks and I longed for the warmth and light of yesterday. I love the sun and all of its Vitamin D producing benefits, but I have to be very careful with sunlight. I use sunscreen 95% of the time and am prudent about reapplying when I am at the beach. I've had biopsies, treatment for pre-cancerous spots on my face and reconstruction of my ear. Gratefully, all of these numerous incidents were benign. But I love my skin as it is and want to keep it and all of me healthy, so I've become a hat and sunscreen gal. I haven't checked the weather, but I'm hoping tomorrow is a hat and sunscreen kind of day, and not a damp socks day.

I've got a nice day planned for tomorrow. Services in the morning, lunch with a friend and a walk in the afternoon. I'm going to focus on books for my decluttering time tomorrow and also do some paper shredding, which is sorely needed. I'm looking forward to starting the day with the New York Times, a pot of coffee and a hot shower and nowhere I have to be until 10:30 a.m., which feels so luxurious.

Wishes for a luxurious Saturday to you! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eighth Avenue and 44th Street

I took this picture while waiting across the street for the bus. I thought of going over to Shake Shack to have a cup of frozen custard, but when I saw that there was a line out of the door -- at 9:00 P.M. -- I abandoned that idea. Yes, the group of people that look like they're just standing around are actually in line for hamburgers and custard. It was the perfect night to be outside and the custard at Shake Shack is worth waiting for, but I think I'll be back at another time earlier in the day.

Thanks for your kind thoughts and for joining me in Margaritaville. Couldn't have better company! My spirits are improved and I'm ready for the next contest that comes along. We had another glorious pre-spring day today and it's difficult to be sad when it's sixty degrees in February.

As always, wishes for a sweet Friday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Know We Just Had a Holiday...

...But I really need another one!

I've recently entered three competitions. Of the three there was one I thought I was a shoo-in. I wrote a great essay, had terrific experience and honestly, couldn't imagine there was anyone more qualified. I really know New York well. I knew there would be a lot of competition, but there were a number of spaces and I was reasonably confident I'd be one of the people picked. This afternoon I found out I wasn't.

As the evening wore on I felt like a balloon slowly emptied, and a history of not being picked has taken over my thoughts. I am remembering not being picked for gym teams, not being picked for my first choice college and not being picked for jobs I really wanted. Ouch! I feel too down in the dumps to post the perky upbeat post I had planned and will let that wait for another day. 

I turned to Pinterest to distract me and figured I could take refuge in pinning the most gorgeous luscious cupcakes I could find. But what did I find instead of cupcakes to lift my spirits?

...this blood orange Margarita!

On this Buttercup Holiday I'm off to Margaritaville in my mind. All visitors to Buttercupland are gladly welcome to join along!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Feeling Sad You Didn't Get to New York for Fashion Week?

Don't be sad! I live here and I didn't get there either. To make up for it I took a walk down one of the best shopping streets in the world, Madison Avenue, to get some photos of what the fashionable fashionistas saw last week. Want to join me?

Love the bright colors, but a little exposed for my life. 

Would love to have somewhere to wear this!

Spring wedding wear

Red and white caught my attention

The perfect spring outfit for our favorite little fashionistas

As long as we're discussing shopping I made one addition to my purchases for low spending February. In December I was looking for a sweater for holiday parties and found one I liked a lot at Banana Republic. It's a silver cotton and rayon cabled sweater and it was marked down to fifty-nine dollars. It was just what I was looking for, but they didn't have my size. I even checked online, but couldn't find it there. I stopped at Banana Republic this morning -- wanting to use a gift card I had to buy socks -- and there was the sweater in my size. It was marked forty-one dollars and there was a twenty-five percent discount on sale items. Using my gift card my purchase came to ten dollars. Hurray! My total spending -- non-food and non-events -- for things for February is twenty dollars.  With one confession...I picked up my new prescription glasses this morning and spent $109. for them. Do glasses count as a purchase?  

It's been a lovely weekend and I've enjoyed today a lot. Hope you've also had a good day. Happy Birthday, President Washington! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I'm Up for the (Decluttering) Challenge

This month I have been doing the 100 Things Decluttering Challenge. Twenty one things are no longer in my little apartment and another thirty are about to join them. On Wednesday morning the charity pickup folks will arrive and I will have three bags of usable things waiting for them. I know that will feel good.

I am a clutterbug for two reasons. One reason is a strong streak of sentimentality, which leads me to keep gifts well beyond their useful life. The other reason is practicality. I think that most things can be used in the future, even though I may not have used them for quite some time. Both of which are dangerous tendencies when unchecked. Tomorrow afternoon I will be going through my closet, my china cabinet and my kitchen for things in good repair that can be donated. I am optimistic that at least thirty things are ready to join that group. I am also planning to got through the bathroom -- medicine chest and makeup bin -- where there will be another good dozen things that are simply taking up space. Is anyone else part of the Decluttering Challenge?

I'm enjoying this Sunday so much knowing that tomorrow is another a day off from work. I was at the hairdresser this morning and will be joining friends for dinner and the theater in a short while. Tomorrow is less leisurely, with decluttering, a medical appointment and a trip to pick up my new glasses, but I also plan to make a pot of coffee and listen to music while I declutter and that will be a treat for a Monday afternoon.

Wishes for treats for this Sunday to you!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest -- Sweet Dreams!

Once again Pinterest Healthfest, a Friday feature, appears on Saturday. Once again, it was delayed so I could  get a good night's sleep. My goal was a success. I went to bed at 10:00 last night and spent very little time on the computer, but I slept well. I did wake up several times during the night, but I was able to turn over and not get out of bed until 7:30 am. A complete success!

Until the official dawn of middle age in my early fifties I was a great sleeper. After that I became very well acquainted with three o'clock in the morning, and I didn't enjoy it. I was grateful to have avoided hot flashes, but sleeplessness was my particular symptom. Gradually several years ago I noted that I was spending less time between two a.m. and five a.m. at the computer or tossing on the couch, but the days when I could go to bed at night and wake up in the morning were gone. I am so grateful for a night with only one quick trip to the bathroom. I am working diligently to get at least six hours sleep and generally am succeeding.  

When I think about feeling healthy I think about getting enough sleep. Is this something that's an issue for others in Buttercupland?  

I'm having a totally relaxed day today, with no commitments. I am hoping to walk to Michael's and Whole Foods for a little healthy shopping and later do some blog visiting. The sun is shining brightly and it's a great day to be outside. Wishing you a bright and sunny Saturday and sweet dreams tonight!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Little Cupid Declares a Winner

Pierce, is the Valentine member of Buttercupland Editorial Advisory Group (EAG). He's our own little cupid, complete with quiver for his arrows and wings that flutter as he sings, "You Send Me." Since this was a Valentine giveaway Pierce was chosen to announce the winner. The day after a holiday is often a letdown so announcing that Melinda at Country Dreaming  is the winner of the Valentine giveaway makes Pierce -- and Buttercup! -- very happy. Melinda is a honey and I am so glad to send on "Treasures Forever" to her. I only wish that I had enough copies to send to everyone.

I had a sweet Valentine's Day, complete with gifts of candy -- one of my favorites, Mr. Goodbar --  and lunch with friends. I hope your day was fun and full of happy surprises. Today promises to be much more mundane, but I am still hoping for a happy surprise or two and wishing the same for you. And that my friends, is an unintentional poem!  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing you

Source: flickr.com via Carol on Pinterest



and everything sweet on Valentine's Day.

With love from Buttercup!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Question of the Decade...

...or at least the day. Marshmallows or whipped cream in your hot cocoa? I am a marshmallow girl all-around and before beginning an informal, yet comprehensive survey on Pinterest I believed marshmallows were the favored topping. Ha! Whipped cream blows marshmallows out of the water. There were very few pictures of marshmallow topped cocoa and hundreds of whipped cream decorated mugs. Hundreds!

This is one beautiful cup of hot chocolate and I'd be happy to find it in my kitchen any time, but I am affirming my loyalty to marshmallows.

Marshmallows, you may be the underdog, but I love you!

Continuing my survey of this critical topic, marshmallows or whipped cream? Hot cocoa or hot chocolate? 

Wishing you a sweet Monday!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney, This Song Is for You

Dear Whitney, thank you for all the enjoyment you gave the world. Rest well and know you are loved and remembered.

I promise that tomorrow's post will be more upbeat, but I wanted to remember Whitney Houston in Buttercupland. I loved her music and often listened to clips on youtube. It's hard to choose which of her songs is my favorite. "One Moment in Time" is a very close second and "The Greatest Love of All is just a tad behind.

It's a quiet day in Buttercupland. It's cold out today, but I am going out for some air and a haircut. I've read the NY Times, chatted on the phone and hopped around the world blog visiting. I've got a date with decluttering this afternoon! Magazines are calling.

Wishes for a cozy Sunday!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thank You, Jeffrey Zaslow

The author of this wonderful book about women's friendships, Jeffrey Zaslow died yesterday in an automobile accident. He was fifty-three. I'm struggling with words to describe my feelings. No I didn't know him, but his writing, both in "The Girls from Ames" and the wondrous "The Last Lecture," which he co-authored with Randy Pausch, touched me deeply. I am always sad when a young person dies -- and the definition of young grows older as I grow older -- and I am especially sad tonight when I realize that there will be no more books by Jeffrey Zaslow. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest -- Keep Calm!

I may appear calm in Buttercupland -- no calories, no taxes, no pressure and everyone is nice -- but in Stinkweedville, my other universe, I am sometimes far from calm. This week I lived more in Stinkweedville than Buttercupland. My prolonged visit to Stinkweedville led me to think about an important part of health, relaxation and calmness, and my need to keep a center of calm in my life.

I searched Keep Calm on Pinterest, thinking of the famous Keep Calm and Carry On posters and found an extraordinary array. I liked "Keep Calm and Eat Cake Pops," but knew that would only get me on a sugar high. "Keep Calm Harry is Still Single" was fun, but not in the spirit I was looking for. "Keep Calm and Eat Veggies" was closer to my intent, but didn't convey the peacefulness I wanted to find. Then I found the poster shown above and I felt calm. I liked the dog, the flowers, the hammock and the peace I felt when I looked at the picture.

I don't have a dog and it's the middle of winter in New York City, so a hammock in the park is out. But I can settle on my couch with a cup of tea and a good book and find the calm center in myself. Keep Calm is only a book and a cup of tea away!

Keep Calm and Read a Book!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two Moments in the Life of New York

The first moment happened at the drugstore tonight. It was a rough day at work. Meetings, pressure, a comment from someone in authority that ruffled my feathers a lot and in the midst of this, a run to the dentist for a fitting for my crown. Nothing really terrible, but one of those days where I focus on how many days are left in my present career. I chose several cute Valentines's, always good for the spirit, but I still must have looked sad. I heard a voice say, "Smile, gorgeous." This greeting came from a much younger man I've never met, and I smiled and kept smiling. Maybe he was just one of New York's eccentrics and says this to every woman he sees, but I'll take it as a compliment. Thanks, Mr. Stranger.

A moment in the life of Broadway and West 64th Street. This statue caught my eye a few weeks ago.  

Update on Low Spending February...The Valentine's made a major dent in my $16.50 allowance for the month, but it was $9.00 well spent and I think several people will be smiling on February 14th. On the decluttering front I have made a major dent in magazines and I am very pleased. It's not perfect yet, but moving in a good direction. Tonight I made an appointment for clothes and a few household things to be picked up. This weekend I hope to finish the magazine effort and will report back on my progress. I also got major decluttering and shredding done in the office and am feeling great about that. 

Wishes for a sweet Friday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine Giveaway

...And I love my blog friends!

We're long overdue for a blog giveaway and there's no better time than Valentine's Day to let you all know that you're sweethearts. The gift -- and alas there's only one -- is a copy of the book, "Treasures Forever: Crafts for Keeping Family Memories." There are wonderful ideas for beautiful crafts and the talented crafters in Buttercupland will be inspired. I'm very taken with the Vacation Memory Coasters and the Spirit Jar. There are so many ways shown in the book to let family and friends know you love them and treasure the time you spend together. 

To enter, please leave a comment about a favorite family keepsake and please be a follower. Entries close on Valentine's Day, February 14th at 11:59 and I'll post the winner on February 15th. 

Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dickens

It's an honor for Buttercupland to join in the official celebrations for the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. Not that we are officially on the list of celebrations, but I wouldn't let a little thing like the lack of a royal invitation keep me from celebrating the man who gave us Tiny Tim -- the first and best Tiny Tim -- Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and one of the great heroes of the Christmas season, Scrooge.

My favorite Dickens novel is "A Tale of Two Cities" and I can still recite some of the passages learned in the eighth grade and I still cry when I read it.

Source: google.com via Carol on Pinterest

Do you have a favorite Dickens novel or a memory from one that you especially enjoy?

I leave us tonight with one of my favorite quotes from Mr. Dickens, "G'd bless us everyone."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Go Giants!

I know this isn't the Giants logo -- which is everywhere in New York City today -- but I thought this was the perfect food for my Superbowl party in Buttercupland. I'm skipping wings and for a treat I'm serving tea and cupcakes. It's not the usual, but that's how I'm cheering on the Giants.

Go Giants!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It Might As Well Be 1959...

Hot dogs and beans for supper!

When I was growing meals were very routine. We ate dinner as a family and very often we had the same food for the same meal each week. Not always exactly the same, but generally Thursday was fish, Friday always  chicken and quite often Saturday night was hot dogs and beans. 

I've diverged from this model, but this afternoon I got the biggest craving for hot dogs and beans. Often in the winter I make baked beans in the crockpot, but I hadn't started them in time. Instead I got a can of baked beans -- the same kind my mother used -- and a package of turkey dogs and had a perfect Saturday night supper. I had an apple for dessert and for a treat for later tonight I have a single serving cup of my new favorite flavor of ice cream, Drumstick. This is a takeoff on the Nestle cones and I've just discovered it in the single cups. 

Do you have a favorite Saturday night supper? Inquiring minds want to know!

I had a quiet day. Slept unusually late and relaxed reading the NY Times.  Cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen, grocery shopped, got to the drugstore and had a good round of discarding paper. I also had a chance to visit lots of my blog buddies and loved catching up. Hope your day was as easy and relaxed!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pinterest HealthFest -- Good and Good for You!

Veggies and fruit are great, but sometimes I want a sweet treat that's a little more fun. I have a terrific sweet tooth and I'm working on taming it, but I know I will always think that a "real" dessert is cake or pie. I don't indulge that often, but I was delighted to find this option on Pinterest. I like banana bread and using honey and applesauce instead of sugar and oil tipped the scale to the healthier side. Portion is still my issue and I'm wary of keeping a whole cake around. I've solved this problem with ice cream by buying single cup servings, but haven't found a good way with cake. Single slices seem to be so expensive. What's your go-to treat for healthier choice desserts?

So happy the weekend is here. I've got very few plans and am delighted for a quiet time. I want to get in a walk -- or two! -- services, cooking for the week, groceries and relaxing with the New York Times, and lots of blog visiting. Sounds great to me!

Wishes for a sweet weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

We Always Knew This...

...but it's nice when science catches up with Blogland.

I was reading my email tonight and came across this article about the benefits of blogging. The research showed that positive comments made the bloggers feel especially good. Don't we know this!

And I'd love a comment or two and I promise to stop by and visit. Thanks, sweet bloggy friends. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Welcome to Low Spending February

The results for No Spending January  are in and while January wasn't a no spending month, it was a low spending month. As of January 30 I spent $8.50, which includes furniture polish, dish detergent, kleenex and a birthday card. I was sure that would be my total for the month. But I decided to go to Michael's on Monday night for Valentine supplies -- $8.00 from my very generous and thoughtful Christmas gift card -- and made a quick detour at my favorite dollar store. The dollar store was tempting and I fell to temptation. I bought four padded envelopes, a card and a package of Hanes Her Way, five pairs for five dollars. The first two purchases will be used in the next month and the Hanes Her Way are needed replacements. The total at the Dollar Store was $8.00.

My total spending for stuff for January is $16.50, and I am delighted. I don't feel deprived in any way and I have brought nothing home that will not be used. Sixteen fifty is my benchmark spending amount for February.  I like the idea of being conscious of what I buy and only buying what I plan. I see a tee-shirt issue looming for the spring and I know I need to replace several shirts that are no longer wearable. I will put this on my list for March and April and be on the lookout for sales on spring clothes.  

How did I do on my other organizational goals?  I discarded seven bags of paper and a big stack of magazines. I cleaned out the refrigerator and my kitchen cupboard. There is space in my front closet and in several of my dresser drawers. I didn't arrange the pickup for clothes and household things and I commit to doing this in February.  I did well with sweets, but not as well as I would like. This is an area I need to give extra effort to. I bought ice cream late last week and a bag of Christmas peanut M&Ms, which were on sale for a ridiculously low price. Neither of these were good purchases and I begin February at the same weight as January.

January was a very good month, but not a great month. February, you're going to be a great month!