Tuesday, July 31, 2012

(Too) Pink Cheeks

People often tell me I have a nice rosy complexion. I wish my rosy look was just due to make-up. I have a skin condition called rosacea, which can cause redness and breakouts. I've managed it well and kept the redness to a minimum, but I'm always looking for skin care tips, both for this condition and just to keep my skin as healthy as I can.  One of the opportunities offered at BlogHer '12 was to do a video interview with a dermatologist to discuss this condition. I'm a little nervous -- I've never interviewed anyone -- and want to put together questions from the citizens of Buttercupland that I can share during the interview. I'm going to ask about sun exposure, diet and how to manage aging skin and rosacea. If anyone else has any questions please pass them on.

I am -- along with probably everyone else in Buttercupland -- amazed that tomorrow is August 1. Usually I would be shaking my head and wondering where the summer went. This year I know exactly where the days went -- surgery, returning to work and now physical therapy. The good news is that I can see progress. The first week at work was tough and I was exhausted. I added physical therapy last week and my physical therapy and work days wore me out. This week I am just really tired. My biggest challenge is standing and going up stairs. I am able to walk a longer distance and the exercises I did in physical therapy two weeks ago have gotten easier. I was concerned about how well I could handle BlogHer, but I am optimistic that I will be able to really enjoy the conference.

Wishes for a sweet Wednesday!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's Really a Sweet. Sweet Saturday...

...Because it's National Milk Chocolate Day. In honor of what may become one of my new favorite holidays I am featuring -- what else! -- milk chocolate. 

Source: allposters.com via Lisa on Pinterest

First, in honor of the Olympics and the host country of the 30th Olympiad, let's give a cheer for Cadbury!

Source: wilton.com via Amy on Pinterest

Next in honor of one of my favorite ways to enjoy milk chocolate, as any part of a cupcake, let's give a cheer for these ultra-yummy looking cupcakes, topped with milk chocolate glaze.

I like chocolate, and although in many circles, milk chocolate has fallen out of favor to dark chocolate, milk chocolate is my favorite. I won't toss away a piece of dark chocolate, but when given a preference I will always pick the milk chocolate. What is your favorite kind of chocolate? Do I have any other members of the milk chocolate fan club in Buttercupland?  

Have a sweet, sweet Saturday!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pinterest (Small) Kitchenfest

One of my major activities for the last few days has been looking at kitchens and home offices on Pinterest. It's not to the exclusion of going to work or physical therapy or eating meals. But Pinterest has taken the place of watching television and doing crossword puzzles, two of my other major leisure activities and somewhat sadly, it's taken some blogging time away, too. But it's been lots of fun and I've gotten some good ideas for things I'd like to do in my apartment in the next few years.

My apartment is nice sized for New York City, but small for most places in the United States, and my kitchen is tiny. I realized I was admiring big, roomy kitchens. Since I have no plans to move at this time I am going to be working with my present small kitchen. I did a search on Pinterest and found some very good small kitchen ideas. This kitchen pictured above was in the small kitchen section and I like the built-ins which save a lot of space. I'm not sure how small this kitchen actually is, but it's a lot smaller than most of the kitchens on Pinterest. In my kitchen I use every scrap of space, so those shelves over the sink would probably hold my collection of flower vases. No empty shelves in Buttercup's kitchen!

Even in the biggest kitchen space needs to be used well. Any suggestions for ideas you've used to make your kitchen space more efficient will be gladly accepted.

In just a little while my Pinterest mania will be replaced by my every four years' obsession -- the Olympics! I particularly enjoy swimming and gymnastics, but the competition grows on me and by the end of the games I am watching every sport avidly.

Have a sweet Saturday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Introducing Angel

I really like dogs -- whether it's in real life or movies and books. Lady, my friend Lonni's dog and my cousin Rachel's fun pups, Sasha and Dudley, always make me smile. And I can't count the hours of enjoyment watching "Lassie" and "Rin Tin Tin." Many a snowy winter day was made better with time spent with these two favorites.

I've added a new canine friend to my list, Angel. I had the good fortune of meeting Martin P. Levin at BookExpo America. Mr. Levin is Angel's friend and the person she tells her story to in "Letters from Angel."
Angel tells her story of shelter to loving home in this sweet and totally charming set of letters. I smiled, laughed and shed some tears. I especially enjoyed the illustrations. Angel's story is a heart-warming read that was over much too quickly. Thanks, Angel, for sharing your story with us!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review, other than a copy of the book for reviewing.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thanks, Sally Ride

I have always had an enormous interest in the space program and admiration for our Astronauts. There are three in particular that I held in particular esteem -- John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride. The only one of these three that I had the good fortune to meet was Sally Ride and the memory and thrill stays with me to this day. In the early 1980's I worked in the Office of the Mayor and was fortunate to be part of the staff that both helped plan and attend many events. One of these events was a presentation to the group of astronauts of which Sally Ride was part of in 1983.  Her achievement of being the first woman in space at a time when it was a difficult path for women in science awed me then and continues to do so.

My sadness is deep. A legend of our generation is gone, but she blazed the trail for many to follow. Thanks, Sally Ride. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday in the Park with Buttercup

Today was the first day in weeks that I spent time outside. Between surgery, recovery and the hundred degree heat I have been inside much too much and have been getting a serious case of cabin fever -- in July! But it's 82 degrees today and the thought of sitting in the dark in a movie -- my easy recreation these days -- was not appealing. I joined my friend, Mary, to spend time enjoying a perfect summer day. We went to a favorite take-out place and with our salads and iced coffee spent several lovely hours under these trees. Bliss! 

 Perfect outdoor place for lunch

Our lunch spot was across the street from one of my favorite places, Lincoln Center, and after lunch we enjoyed walking thorough the Lincoln Center Plaza and watching the fountain in the center.

I've been feeling a little gloomy over my recovery. I know objectively I'm doing well, but I still have a lot of pain and difficulty walking. I'm going to physical therapy and have been doing my at-home exercises and I know that recovery takes time. I did well walking today and my mood was much better. I think getting some air and sunshine helped a lot. It's not a fancy prescription, but fresh air, sunshine and friendship have great healing properties and they certainly worked for me today. 

Wishes for fresh air, sunshine and friendship! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hearts and Prayers are in Aurora

My post for yesterday was going to be about my ongoing thoughts about renovating my kitchen. But after I heard yesterday's tragic news, kitchen renovation was not very important. My mind and heart and prayers have all been in Aurora and with those who were in the theater and their families and friends. Sadly, I know too well when a moment in history is one's own moment in life and my heart breaks for all who now share this knowledge in Aurora.

I'd like to share an an article from yesterday's Deseret News by Jay Evensen. I know I look for a "why" for this tragedy and I don't see one. His summation helped me grapple with all that happened yesterday and through the years, "There are no answers except one. We cannot let them win." It is a terrific article. Thanks, Mr. Evensen for clarity on a dark day. Prayers for hope, for clarity and comfort.    

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Thin Degree of Separation from Lady Gaga and Suri Cruise

Did you ever imagine that this would be so? I didn't, but it is. Who knew!

I have just spent the last hour reading every blog post I've ever done. I had a memory of doing a post about being two degrees of separation from Lady Gaga. I am and via me, so are you, but I can't find this post. I found posts about degrees of separation from Meryl Streep and Sir Paul McCartney, but not Lady Gaga. 
Since this post seems to exist only in my memory I will explain how we are connected to both Lady Gaga and Suri, and by extension Suri's very famous parents.

This fall, my friend, T's daughter, K. will be a senior at the The Convent of the Sacred Heart, a terrific school in Manhattan. Lady Gaga is graduate of the school, where her sister is still in the high school -- our degree of separation -- and Suri will start school there in the fall. Of course my source of information for Suri's education is a television entertainment show, but K's aunt -- my dear friend, Mary -- also heard this on "Entertainment Tonight." Until Suri is photographed in a uniform from another school -- and we see that on "Entertainment Tonight" -- we will assume this is true.

I generally don't keep up with breaking celebrity news to this degree, or almost any degree. But having watched television many hours a day while I was home convalescing I feel I am now somewhat of an expert on celebrity issues. Generally my information comes from reading magazines in the supermarket checkout line, but I now I have much more in-depth sources, television shows.

That's our celebrity news today. I hope our brush with fame brings you a smile.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Valeen, There's a Chocolate Shake With Your Name on It

Thank you all for your entries in the Burger King "It's Too Hot to Cook" giveaway. The winner -- chosen by drawing names -- is Valeen at Sunshiney Daze. I appreciate all the fun comments and hope you will come back and visit Buttercupland often. We have a lot of fun here and I love seeing so many new citizens.

Again, many, many thanks to Burger King and MyBlogSpark for making this giveaway possible.

Disclosure: The coupons, product information and an additional gift package have been provided courtesy of Burger King Corporation through MyBlogSpark.

It's been a quiet weekend here, but I did get to services, went grocery shopping, had my hair cut and even did a little more decluttering. I start physical therapy tomorrow and I am eager to begin this next phase of my recovery. Hope you are enjoying sweet summer days, and again, Congratulations to Valeen! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Bastille Day

Rainbow Over Paris

Bonjour Mes Amies!

I'm not sure what year this was, but I know that the franc was still the currency of exchange in France. I have been fortunate to be able to travel to Paris a number of times. I loved being able to rent apartments in three different neighborhoods and enjoyed being once removed from being a tourist. Wonderful, wonderful memories!

I haven't been in Paris -- or anywhere in France -- in over ten years, but it's back on my list. I want to see Paris again. I want to sit in cafes and visit the Louvre. I want to eat ice cream at my favorite ice cream place anywhere, Berthillon, and enjoy their exotic ice cream flavors. I'm not sure when I will get back to Paris, but Bastille Day, the day of the French National Celebration, is a great day to remember how much I like Paris.

Sweet Saturday Wishes!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pinterest Kitchenfest

I am not a decorator by nature. I love to look at other people's beautiful rooms, but when I think about renovation and doing something fabulous I generally decide it's too expensive and not something that I could accomplish. But renovation -- especially my kitchen -- is more and more in my thoughts. I don't see a full renovation -- the cost staggers me -- but I am thinking of things I can do to spruce up my teeny kitchen at a reasonable cost. I am happy for any suggestions that my bloggy buddies have. I know there are some very talented and creative decorators in Buttercupland.

In the interim I am very happily looking at decorating sites and getting inspiration. I love the kitchen pictured above. It's not close to my kitchen. I don't have room for a chair, let alone a table and there is no wonderful big window over my sink, but I love the colors and the details.

I'm off to the grocery for something cool and yummy -- ice cream, anyone! -- and some sensible salad fixings, too. Hope everyone is having a cool and yummy evening, too!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Do You Still...

Read a paper newspaper?

Source: google.com via Micah on Pinterest

And if you do, is it delivered to your doorstep? 

I come from a family of newspaper readers. My parents subscribed to two Hartford newspapers, when there were two Hartford newspapers. We also read -- depending on what was being published -- two or three New York Newspapers and one Boston newspapers. That was our family's daily weekday reading. We slowed down a little on Sunday, but we still had at least three newspapers every Sunday. It seemed normal to me, but as time went by I realized we were not the norm. It's no wonder that my mother organized a Girl Scout paper drive that funded taking our entire troop to the World's Fair in 1964. We certainly had the newspapers. 

I subscribed to the Tennessean -- one of my favorite papers -- and the Banner when I lived in Nashville and have subscribed to the New York Times almost all of the years I have lived in New York. When I didn't subscribe I picked it up daily at the little news store near my apartment. 

In the last few years I realize I get a lot of my news on-line. I read the Daily News and the NY Post on my phone, and often read the headlines for CBS News on the phone, too. The only paper I still get delivered is the New York Times, and right now my debate is whether to continue doing so. I can subscribe electronically and save almost half the cost of home delivery. I really enjoy doing the crossword on paper, but I'm not sure if I can't adapt to doing it electronically.  I am leaning in the direction of electronic subscription, but this is a tough habit to break. I appreciate any thoughts that will guide me.

I can't believe I have worked four days this week and the weekend is just ahead. I am tired, but it's gone okay. I am going to have a very leisurely weekend and enjoy lemonade, relaxing and the Sunday New York Times. 

Keep Cool and Enjoy Your Lemonade!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Almost Time for...

BlogHer '12

And I'm getting excited. There's a great agenda and I'm excited about the two keynoters that have been announced, Katie Couric and Martha Stewart. There's one more keynote speaker to be named and I check the website every day looking to see if the announcement has been made. I'm looking forward to the sessions, and this year I want to focus on blog design. I am planning a big redesign and I'm looking for inspiration. I am also hoping to meet any blog buddies that may be in New York. Please don't be shy. If you're going to be at BlogHer '12 please let me know. That would just be the icing on the cake! I know of one blog buddy who will be here and I am so pleased that we will have the opportunity to meet. 

 The Twizzler Statue of Liberty was a treat (to look at!) at BlogHer last year and now the real Lady in the Harbor is just a few miles from the conference.

I have now completed two days at work and I'm doing okay. Yesterday was tough, but today went smoother and by the afternoon I was firing away emails and was right back into the assorted issues I left behind a month ago. I didn't get upset about things, but managed to keep a good perspective. Tonight, I am tired, but happily found the energy to blog. Last night I feel asleep at 8:30 and everything besides dinner and brushing my teeth was neglected. 

Happily, the heat has broken and I am typing in an apartment without the hum of the air conditioner. What a pleasure and what a pleasure for my electric bill. 

Cool and sweet wishes!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I'm in Good Company

In April Jay Leno turned 62

In May Stevie Wonder turned 62

Today, Buttercup joins them!

I have to be honest, sixty-two sounds old. I don't feel old -- whatever feeling old means -- but when I say sixty-two, it doesn't seem I can be in my sixties. But thankfully, I am.

Tomorrow I am going back to work. Today I grocery shopped for my lunch things for the week, got my clothes in order and will spend some time tonight getting organized to be at work this week. I will write a few cards and checks and just get things tidier to be able to get up in the morning and find everything I need. I've kept up with work email and chatted with some of my colleagues, so I hope there aren't too many issues that surprise me. I know I will be tired at the end of the day, but I also know that I have more energy and it's time to return. I've been out of the office almost a month -- a very emotional and demanding month -- and now I'll be back in the routine I know very well.  Three weeks ago I could barely get out of bed by myself and tomorrow I will dress and go to work. I'm counting my blessings tonight. 

Wishing you a cool and sweet week!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

It's Too Hot to Cook Burger King Giveaway!

It's just too hot to cook in New York City and I know New York isn't the only place where the thought of standing over a hot stove isn't fun. Our friends at the Burger King Corporation through MyBlogSpark have an answer for one lucky citizen of Buttercupland. They have very generously donated a $25 BK Crown Card. I've been poring over the new, very fun summer menu at Burger King and it's a tough choice between the BK Tropical Mango Smoothie and the BK Mocha Frappe for cooling down on 95 degree days. I'm also a big fan of sweet potato fries and Burger King has got them. I also am a fan of chicken salad and the BK Chicken, Apple and Cranberry salad is my pick for cool, healthy and delicious.

To enter this giveaway, please look at the Burger King menu and let us know what you would order from the menu. There are yummy, yummy picks. Also please be a citizen of Buttercupland. The giveaway ends next Saturday night, July 14 and I will announce the winner on Sunday, July 15. This one is open to the United States only. Thanks, Burger King and MyBlogSpark!

Disclosure: The coupons, product information and an additional gift pack have been provided courtesy of Burger King Corporation through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thank you, Farmville!

I was first invited to join facebook almost five years ago. It was an invitation from a college friend I hadn't been in touch with for over twenty years. I answered yes, and after I had joined this place for college and high school kids, I realized I had no idea what I would do on facebook. I asked the son of a friend -- Ben was a high school senior at the time -- what he did on facebook and he told me it was a great way to invite friends to parties. I knew that wasn't for me and for a time I had three friends and didn't do much. But time went by and little by little I started to keep up with friends and family all over the United States and then all over the world.

Four years ago I had the great experience of taking a cruise to Alaska.  I met a terrific family and at the end of the cruise we all became friends on facebook and I confess, started to play Farmville. They live in Vancouver and I live three thousand miles away, and unlike every other friendship I've made while traveling, we are still in touch. I had the great pleasure of having dinner with Lindsay and Karen, during their visit to New York this week. I braved the crowds of Times Square -- my first evening outing in weeks -- and had a wonderful visit. We had dinner and then shared New York cheesecake and talked and laughed.

Looking north from Times Square

These last two pictures are from the Alaska trip. I think we can use a few cool, cool pictures these days. I feel refreshed just looking at them. Hope you do, too! 

Keep cool and drink lemonade!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday and Thanks, America!

In the last month I've been thinking a lot about things for which I am grateful. I think of G-d's presence in my life, good health, family, friends, my neurosurgeon. The list is long and not a day goes by without my thanks for all of them. But I would be beyond remiss to omit my gratitude for my country.  

My mother's parents came to this country from Russia and Poland in 1905. My father's parents came to America in August, 1914, just before the start of the First World War. My grandfather was already a refugee from Russia who lived in France when he decided to come to America. He and my grandmother had just been married. Many of our relatives did not come to America and only a small number survived World War II. Though the depression years here were difficult, the alternative is unthinkable.

My infinite gratitude, America! You gave my family a safe home, the ability to earn a living, to participate in a free society and to worship without restriction. Happy 236th birthday and wishes for many, many more!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Winner Is...

Sr. Ann Marie at "Franciscan Life." Random Generator generated #8 and it was Sr. Ann Marie. I wish I had copies to send to everyone who entered, but alas I just have this one. If you have a minute, stop by and visit "Franciscan Life." I always enjoy my visits to this blog and feel I've found an oasis of peace in a busy day. Sr. Ann Marie, I will be in touch.

I'd hoped to get back in the swing of blogging, but between the heat and recovery, I'm a tired Buttercup. I am walking every day, and the uphill block that seemed so difficult a week ago is getting easier, though it is still a challenge. I am signed up to begin physical therapy in two weeks and I'm eager to get started. My excursion yesterday was a walk to the physical therapy office, which is just three blocks from my house.

This photo, from the Museum of American History in Washington, DC, commemorates the flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Maryland and the inspiration for our National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner." It's a difficult song to sing, but it has a glorious story.  

Happy Birthday, America