Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To New Orleans and the Gulf

The first time I visited New Orleans was in the winter of 1973. I was a graduate student at Vanderbilt and I joined three friends for a trip to Mardi Gras. We had very little money, but we had the best time. We drove into New Orleans about six o'clock in the morning. The fog was lifting and I felt I'd entered a magical place. I ate dinner with these friends a number of times in the two more years I lived in Nashville and each time we ate together we made a toast. The toast was always "To New Orleans and the Gulf."

Exactly one year today New York City was beginning to recover from the damage from Hurricane Irene.
Though upstate New York wasn't lucky, New York City escaped relatively unscathed. For the most part we had winds and rain and downed branches. This picture was taken a block from my house in Riverside Park.

Hurricane Isaac is about to make landfall in the next few hours. My hope and prayer is that New Orleans and all the communities along the Gulf escape the ravages of wind and flooding and that the photos we see show less devastation than the one above. To New Orleans and the Gulf!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Buster, the Skate Boarding Bull Dog

My plan last night was to meet my friends at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's an easy bus ride to one of the great museums of the world and one of my favorite places to go. It's also one of the great people watching places in New York City. Now I can add it's also one of the great dog watching places in New York City. I waited for my friends on the steps of the museum and enjoyed the evening air, people watching and taking pictures. This is the scene that caught my eye.

The bulldog, for want of a proper name we'll call him Buster, is about to board a skate board. 

Watch Buster go! He's got a fan club on the right.

"I'm ready to ride again," says Buster.

Skate Board Champion Goes Home for Dinner

Thanks all, for your good wishes. Rest and Advil have been very helpful and I am feeling better. I relaxed today, too, but did get to the grocery store. I also did some decluttering and made a small dent in my book collection, which felt terrific.

I hope you enjoyed Buster's adventures as much as I did and your week is one of fun and happy surprise.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Somewhere in this Big World...

Perhaps the thing that most awes, amazes and delights me is how blogging makes a very big world much, much smaller. When something happens thousands of miles from New York City, whether it's India or England or Oregon, there often is a connection to someone I have met through blogging. The degrees of separation have become very narrow.

When my dear buddy, Marydon, posted on facebook about her cousin's bout with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and his need for a stem cell donor, it wasn't simply a story about someone in Oregon. It's my dear Marydon's cousin and I wanted to share it with my blog buddies. My college roommate's brother-in-law, Steve, went through a similar procedure for multiple myeloma a few months ago, so I had some familiarity with the procedure. Steve is making good progress and I can only hope and pray that Marydon's cousin has the same opportunity for treatment.

I'm having a quiet day today. I've had some leg pain and am resting and taking it easy for the daytime. I'd had a list of errands, but they will have to wait. I am meeting a friend for dinner in a little while, and that should be fun and not too demanding. Yes, despite all the good advice I've gotten I may have overdone it. I'm going to take things easier for the next few days and hope that I have an improvement in the level of pain.
I hope you are all having a fun and relaxing Saturday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When I Have a Rough Day at Work...

...and my head feels that it might explode, I relax for a few minutes and let my eager and faithful assistant fill in. Pepe loves the computer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ain't Easy Being Paparazzi

This week I'm happily more able to get around and have widened my circle of activities. One of the things I'm better able to do is take the subway home from work. I don't do it every night, but I decided that tonight I would attempt the version from my office -- I've been dropped off at a more convenient station by a friend -- and I was rewarded by a paparazzi moment.

I was walking from the subway to the bus and saw about a dozen people with big, serious cameras. I immediately went on celebrity watch and got right in the midst of the group with my little digital camera.

Celebrity emerges from the limo...

...And very graciously poses for the paparazzi, including your own Buttercup. 

Taking the subway is one of the things I've wanted to do since my surgery. I planned the trip carefully, but the escalator I was counting on to help me get out of the station wasn't working. I ended up climbing --very slowly -- three flight of stairs. The stairs and the tremendous crowding at rush hour were a challenge, but I was pleased to be able to do the trip, and none the worse for wear. 

Am I exactly back to where I was last March before my spinal tumor developed? Not yet. But one of the things that this experience has given me is the realization of the tenuousness of good health and I am determined to get myself in the best shape that I can. I have one more week of physical therapy and I working with my wonderful physical therapist, Christine, to put together exercise and activities that I can do moving forward.

As always, thanks for stopping by. If I haven't said it lately, I love having visitors and please make yourself at home in Buttercupland! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Not Just One, Tonight...

We Have Two Winners!

Both Michelle and Taryterre's husband gave the correct name of the Williamsburg Bridge, which spans the East River and connects Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was built in 1903 and was the longest suspension bridge when it was built and one of the last major bridges built for horse and carriage. I enjoyed all the guesses and I would love to have a bridge named for me. Yay for the Buttercup Bridge!

Michelle will be getting a fun tote from BlogHer and Taryterre will be receiving a book from BookExpo. I know Taryterre is a great reader and a book makes a terrific consolation prize.

It was tough getting back to business today, even though it was only a weekend out of the office. I feel that I was out of the office longer. Today was another beautiful summer day and I would have so liked to be outside and enjoying New York City. Did anyone else have a tough Monday getting back to routine? I hope tomorrow goes a little smoother for all of us.

Wishes for a sweet Tuesday!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Buttercup of Little Faith Learns Her Lesson

About five minutes after I posted yesterday I regretted my commitment to take pictures of my leisurely New York City afternoon. I had a few vague plans with none of it very exciting. Even Broadway, which is usually crowded and lively was very quiet. I stopped for an iced coffee before doing my errands and while I drank my coffee I was wondering what could I possibly photograph. Buttercup, ye of little faith! New York City didn't fail me. I doubted New York City.

A minute after I came out of the bagel store where I went for coffee a pedicab pulled up to the curb and a bride and groom appeared in full wedding attire.

Shame, shame on me for doubting a fun and lively sight on the streets of New York, even on a quiet Saturday afternoon in August. I will not be doubting New York City again.

This afternoon I was standing in the center median of Broadway, attempting to finish crossing the street, when a flotilla of motorcycles and ATVs passed by.

 Coming down Broadway...

...Perhaps on the way to Times Square

Just when I think New York or the universe or life hasn't much too offer, I need to remember just to think again. We never know what's just around the corner or down the street. 

It's been a fun weekend and I so enjoyed being outside. The weather has been terrific, just the summer days we have been waiting for. I did get in a lot of walking, found a new (to me) park in a neighborhood I haven't explored before and in a little while I will be having dinner with a friend. Hope your weekend was one of sweet surprises, too. 

Wishes for a sweet week!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

There's No Place Like Home (Giveaway)

We've been around the world, to Asia, to Europe and traveled in the United States. But one of my blog readers -- who asked to remain nameless -- suggested it was time to click my ruby red slippers and come home. Not having ruby red slippers -- they just don't work with orthotics -- I clicked and clicked my pink and white sneakers (sneakers take a lot of clicking) and now we are back in New York City.

I am happy to be home and so happy that I am running a quick, quick giveaway. It's a little gift from BlogHer  that will be awarded to the one of the people to correctly name the bridge in the background of this picture. I will announce the winner on Monday evening and entries close at 11:59 on Sunday, August 19th. If no one is correct I will randomly pick a name from folks who comment. This is only open to those living outside of New York City. As a clue, this photo is about ten miles from where I live in Manhattan.

It is a beautiful day today, sunny and not too hot. I've got few plans and look forward to walking as much as I can, doing a little grocery shopping and taking my kindle to read outside. I'll be taking pictures to share what a leisurely summer Saturday in New York looks like a la Buttercup.

Wishes for a sweet Saturday! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where in the World was Buttercup?

I am a fan of the "Today" Show and one of my favorite times is the week when Matt Lauer travels to a different place each day and the question is "Where in the World is Matt Lauer." Some of the places are far from New York and very difficult to travel to. Others are big cities with easy air access. I am always in awe of the distances traveled and the interesting sites we get to see each morning. I am also in awe of the work the crew does to prepare for these visits.

My travel has been limited to three boroughs of New York City this week, so we're going back in time to ask "Where in the World was Buttercup?" The first clue is that it's far, far away from New York City.

 The foliage won't be found in New York, except at the Botanical Gardens. Please note that I am taking this picture, not one of the brave souls on the rope bridge. 

I took many pictures of water buffaloes, also not readily found in New York City.

But it wasn't all lush foliage and animals that we'd generally find in a zoo. This is a street in the capital of the state, a city known as K.K.

Any guesses?

The answer as shown on the wall of this train station is:
The state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, which is part of Malaysia. 

Though the pictures are stamped 2002 (cannot fathom why!) I traveled to Borneo in 2000. We toured Sabah and the high point of the trip was to visit the orangutan rehabilitation centre in Sepilok. It was fascinating and well worth the distance and effort it took to get there. If you are interested in animals at all, please open the link. The photos of the orangutans are far better than any I took and this issue remains dear to my heart. 

Desk chair travel...the next best thing to flying far away and the fun of revisiting favorite places. No ticket, no passport, no suitcases or crowded airports and lots of happy memories. Thanks for joining me in Borneo!

Where in the World Will Buttercup be Tomorrow? I hope you will come along for the ride. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Julia

We're taking another desk chair traveler trip today to Washington, D.C. Our first stop is the National Museum of American History -- one of my all-time favorite museums, to celebrate the 100th birthday of another of my all-time favorites, Julia Child. The museum has a model of her television kitchen and I loved seeing it when I visited Washington in 2009. I've posted a few of these pictures before, but today is definitely a time to share them again.

I enjoyed looking at the museum's website. The ongoing exhibitions are wonderful, documenting every era in American history, and I saw an exhibition commemorating the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts, which looked great. If you are visiting Washington this museum is definitely worth a visit or two! I'm overdue for a return trip.

It wouldn't be a visit to Washington without...
Stopping by the White House... 

and seeing the Washington Monument. 

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's grave, with an excerpt from his Inaugural Address 

We're taking a trip across the river to Virginia and visiting Arlington National Cemetery, one of the most moving places I know. I've been there a number of times, and each time I appreciate anew the sacrifices made by those who are buried here. My last visit was in 2010 with Marydon, Harold and Sherry, my dear blog friends. I found it especially meaningful to share this visit with friends who had a deep appreciation and knowledge of history.  

I hope you've enjoyed our visit to Washington. I know I have. I have a few ideas for our trip tomorrow. It may be exotic or it may be close to home. Please come back tomorrow to know where in the world Buttercup has gone!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

...In My Mind!

I love to travel and one of my fondest activities is going. It doesn't have to be far and exotic -- although I do enjoy far and exotic -- but it's tough to realize that this summer will pass and I am not going anywhere. I understand the reasons. The first,  my neurosurgeon has enjoined me from traveling for two more months. The second, I can barely sit for an hour and the third is that I am not supposed to lift anything over twenty pounds and that's pushing it. If I had access to a private plane... I so don't have access to a private plane or even first class, that I am smiling at the thought. 

I have decided to travel in my mind this week. I am going to return to a few of my favorite places and I hope you will enjoy the trip. I know I will. This evening let's settle in to our chairs and be off to Barcelona. 

The view from the Art Museum

The architect, Gaudi, worked in an extraordinary style. 

  We definitely need to stop for a snack at the Market... 

or a cup of coffee at a cafe. 

It's been a quick trip, but a fun visit. I love planning trips and I love going on trips, but it's equally sweet to savor and share the happy memories.  So happy that I had such good company on my return visit.

Wishes for a sweet Tuesday!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Spicy Saturday

Yesterday was sweet Friday and tonight is spicy Saturday. No hijinks, just a tribute to the pastrami sandwich. Those of us lucky enough to be familiar with pastrami know it as some of the best and most flavorful sandwich material one can ever eat. The classic New York pastrami is beef that has been smoked, dried and seasoned. I am a purist and like my pastrami on rye bread with mustard. I like cole slaw on the side and if I am throwing all caution to the wind, there are also french fries on the table. I rarely eat pastrami, but when I am entertaining visitors and I want to show them an archetypal New York restaurant, I head for the delicatessen for pastrami.

I took my first subway ride in several months last week and in one of those moments that makes New York City feel like a small town I saw my BlogHer buddy from Zimbabwe standing on the subway platform. We decided to have dinner together and I wanted to go somewhere unique to New York. We met Thursday at the local deli. These restaurants are becoming rarer and I am lucky that there one in my neighborhood. I am pleased to say that the choice was a happy one and the pastrami was very well received.

I don't have a picture of the sandwich, but I did think to take a picture of the must-have condiment and my favorite deli beverage, Dr. Brown's cream soda. My blog buddy Lynda prefers Dr. Brown's black cherry soda, but we both are pastrami fans.

This is one of my favorite comfort foods, and if calories weren't a factor I would eat it much more often. Much! If your go-to comfort food had the same calorie count as celery (wouldn't that be terrific!) what would you choose?

Wishes for a sweet and spicy Sunday!  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gather 'Round the Bonfire...

It's National S'Mores Day!

We're here to celebrate another sweet, sweet Friday. I'm delighted to celebrate National S'Mores Day. So glad one of my favorite treats has it own happy day. 

I don't make s'mores very much any more, but growing up it was one of my favorite treats. We had a charcoal grill in our backyard and after the hot dogs and hamburgers were cooked, my mother would bring out Hershey bars, marshmallows and graham crackers. Then the fun would really begin.  For anyone unfamiliar with the s'mores, making them was almost as much fun as eating them. I would toast the marshmallow very carefully, trying to achieve an all-around medium brown toasting. That happened rarely and more often the marshmallow was burned or fell off the stick into the charcoal. My hands would be sticky from taking the marshmallow off the stick, but that was part of the fun. The toasted marshmallow was gently put on a graham cracker, topped by a square of a Hershey bar. A graham cracker topped the sweet sandwich and there was a perfect summer moment. Perfect!

My good friends at Hershey's and Walmart sponsored a Bondfire Suite at BlogHer, and was it fun! I loved the experience at last year's BlogHer and couldn't wait to return. It was equal fun this year, though I missed the Mr. Goodbars -- one of my favorite candies -- this year. But that was only a momentary longing and I was very happy with the classic Hershey bar s'more.

The Sweet Suite!

Bondfire Time!

S'Mores Fixings

I've so enjoyed remembering summer evenings long ago and I am smiling at the memories. Thanks Hershey's and Walmart for the Bondfire Suite. Is anyone else as big a s'mores fan as I am?

Wishes for a sweet, sweet Saturday! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I think I'm in Love...

How could I not fall in love with this adorable face!

I gave up my idea of getting a dog several decades ago. I worked crazy hours, liked to go away for weekends and the thought of walking dog twice a day, rain, heat or snow were just too many reasons against getting a dog. But tonight I saw the most adorable little dog and when he ran over to me and cuddled up to my leg, I fell at least in like. He didn't look exactly like this sweet puppy, but he was equally adorable. 

I just googled French bulldogs. They are inside dogs, don't need a lot of exercise and like companionship, all of which could work in a small New York apartment. I would never get a dog on a whim, but I might pay a visit to the French Bulldog Rescue website. Just looking! 

For those of you with dogs, did you specifically pick a breed, or did anyone just fall in love with a sweet puppy? Any advice while I think about my possible life with Frenchy? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lesson from the Lorax

I've been looking at the picture of me and the Lorax, and my buddies, I am not happy with face I see. It's not age, there's just too much Buttercup. My days at BlogHer were wonderful, but also caloric. There were butter toffee cookies at Land O Lakes and delicious little sausage and biscuit sandwiches at Jimmy Dean. Food was everywhere and so tempting and did I fall to temptation!

About a month ago I received an email asking me to blog at Just Diet Now. I thought it would be a terrific way to be publicly accountable for losing weight and eating more healthy. I also have learned from this blog that I do well with projects when I am writing about them. The photo of me and the Lorax spurred me into action. I posted my first post, "Cute, Short and Chubby" on "Just Diet Now" a little while ago and it feels great.

I am concerned if I can handle two blogs on a regular basis. There are days where I feel I'm not keeping up here and visiting with my blog buddies. I am going to make every effort to be here as much as possible and blog at "Just Diet Now" at least once a week. The link to my post is in the paragraph above and I hope you will stop over and visit regularly. I need all the support and cheering I can get. My goal is a slimmer, trimmer Buttercup for BlogHer '13.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Lorax Has Presents for...

Theresa, Sarah and KD!

I will be sending emails to the three lucky winners and I hope to mail the tote bags over the weekend. As always, I wish I had one for everyone who stopped by. If this was your first visit to Buttercupland I hope you will come by again and visit often. This is a friendly corner of Blogland and you are always welcome. 

Thanks to the great sponsors of BlogHer '12 I am looking forward to hosting some fabulous giveaways in the next few months. I am awed at some of the things we have in store and so excited. I can't tell you now, but please stop by. There will be surprises!

It was tough returning to work today. I had decided to treat the weekend as a vacation and didn't look at my work email once. When I got to the office this morning over a hundred emails waited for me and several unresolved issues had my attention by 10:00 a.m. But I also got to share lots of fun things from BlogHer and give my colleagues a recap of the fun. 

Dear blog buddies, BlogHer, blogging and my life would not be as much fun without any of you. Thanks for all the fun, friendship and happiness you've brought to me. Many, many thanks and...    

Wishes for a sweet Tuesday!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

All Over...

...but the memories, and I'm feeling a little sad. I've been looking forward to BlogHer '12 since this time last year. I signed up in the winter to become a volunteer -- I like to be part of events -- and that really increased my anticipation. Once I was diagnosed in May I realized I wouldn't be going away this summer and BlogHer became my goal for recovery. I wanted to be well enough and mobile enough to enjoy it and I was going to push myself as much as I could in physical therapy to do that. I've been fortunate that the p.t. has gone well and I could participate. I did skip the parties -- too much standing -- but enjoyed the sessions, the exhibits and meeting people. I loved meeting people! 

There was the Lorax and my buddies, the Smith Brothers and the Sun and sweet, sweet Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. What fun to meet her and she was as nice as I expected. I was especially delighted with how friendly and down-to-earth she was. That really impressed me. But there were lots of people who weren't famous, but who made the weekend for me. I got to meet my my blog buddy, who was even funnier, warmer and smarter in person than her blog. What a honey! I spent time at the registration desk with two delightful bloggers, Laundry for Six and Girl with Blog. There were five thousand (Yes, that's right!) people at the conference and I might not have met these two interesting, funny women. What fun to spend time with them. 

Perhaps the one thing I like best about blogging is getting to meet people I ordinarily don't get to meet, people whose lives are very different from mine. This was especially true on Saturday morning. My blog buddy and I met for breakfast on Saturday. The breakfast theme was "Birds of a Feather," and some of the tables had signs for different blog interests. We were looking for the "Boomer" table, but the ballroom is huge and after walking the equivalent of a block we just picked a table. We made a lucky pick. There were no boomers at the table, but some bright, very lively women. The creator of Her Zimbabwe joined us. What an extraordinary young woman and what a blog. This is one blog that I will definitely be following. I am in awe of all that she has created. 

Lastly, what a treat to spend time with people who make BlogHer work. Thanks Tonia, Amelia and Lori. It was great working with all of you and I look forward to more adventures to come. Here's to BlogHer '13. Chicago, here I come!

A Gift from the Lorax

I ran into the Lorax -- how often do you get to say that! -- yesterday and I have two more Lorax shopping bags for the giveaway. There will now be three -- count them -- three bright, fun orange bags in Buttercupland. Just leave a comment on yesterday's or today's blogs and you're in the running.

The last day of BlogHer was simply terrific. I met some wonderful people -- including a blog buddy, a fabulous young woman from Zimbabwe and the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. My only regret was that I left my camera memory card home and have no pictures to share. But I have lots of memories and I will do a longer post sometime in the afternoon.  

Sweet Dreams!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Live from New York...Buttercup Meets the Lorax and a Lorax Giveaway

One of the things I've learned in life is that some of the best things are the most unexpected, and the second day of BlogHer reinforced that. There were some great moments, but they weren't the ones I anticipated. I definitely enjoyed meeting this cute and fuzzy guy. I didn't know he would be at BlogHer, but what fun to walk into a main area of the hotel and see him, and even more fun to take my picture with him. I was given a bright orange Lorax shopping bag and I'd like to share it with one of the citizens of Buttercupland. Please leave a comment on this post and I will pick a name by 11:59 P.M. on Sunday. I'll let you know who the lucky winner is on Monday, and I am happy to send this bright orange shopping bag anywhere in the world.

The lunch program was an interview with Martha Stewart. It was interesting, but not my top event.

I met my buddy, the Sun, last year in San Diego at BlogHer and it was great to see him again, and I had a lot of fun with the Smith Brothers and the folks at their booth.

 My favorite part of the day was completely the most unexpected. I especially liked doing the videotaped interview about rosacea. I will be doing a separate post with more details and a link to the interview later this month, but I want to include it in the high points of today. Though I was well prepared I was a little nervous about doing the interview. I'm not a journalist and this would be a first for me. But everyone involved was so nice and the interview went well. I got some great information, a gift for a giveaway and a boost of confidence about taking a risk and trying something new.

I didn't get to meet The Pioneer Woman at the Land O Lakes booth, but she will be there again tomorrow and I hope to meet her then. Until tomorrow, wishes for sweet dreams and happy surprises!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Live from New York It's BlogHer '12!

I had forgotten the whirlwind of people and activities that make up BlogHer, but it's been an amazing whirl for just the first day. The main conference began late this afternoon with a live video feed from President Obama. Like BlogHer, Buttercupland is non-partisan. It's very rare that I write about anything that is vaguely political, and I intend, with rare exception to keep it that way. But I wanted to mention this beginning to the conference. Both President Obama and Governor Romney were invited to participate and Governor Romney was unable to do so. He is expected to be in contact with BlogHer and I will definitely share the link with all of you in Buttercupland.

Sadly I got a large number of fuzzy pictures, including what might have been my favorite, Buttercup with the Smith Brothers of cough drop fame. I hope they are still there tomorrow, because I am hoping to retake my picture with them.

I did get my picture with Jamba Juice's Mr. Banana. 

There are some great sessions tomorrow, Katie Couric is speaking at lunch and I've got my interview about rosacea in the afternoon. And did I mention The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, will be at the Land O Lakes booth tomorrow afternoon? Definitely would like to meet her. 

I can't wait to see what other excitement and fun tomorrow brings!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dear BlogHer '12 Friends,

Welcome to New York City!

Last year in San Diego we had the Twizzler Statue of Liberty --
which was a lot of fun!

This year this is the welcome you get as you fly over New York harbor.

The beautiful lady in the harbor extends her torch to welcome you to New York.

I am so looking forward to the next three days of fun, learning and friendship. I'll be posting pictures here in the evenings and doing facebook updates during the day. I can't anticipate all the interesting and exciting events of the next few days, but I do know there will be lots of fun surprises and also know I will share them with you. My only regret is that all of the sweet citizens of Buttercupland can't join me at BlogHer.

Stay tuned, it's live from New York City!