Wednesday, October 31, 2012

48 Hours Later

Forty-eight hours ago I was sitting in a room at the Howard Johnson in Long Island City, surrounded by colleagues and it was almost the moment -- 8:12 P.M. -- for high tide. The water and wind were rising, and all the houses in Breezy Point were intact.  In the interim the subways stopped running and water filled some of the tunnels, three friends have lost their homes and over 80 houses burned in Breezy. We are still unsure about the condition of my friends' house. He was hoping to go out there this afternoon and I've asked him to guest blog with photos. I'm not sure if he will, but I know he has been touched by the concern of the citizens of Buttercupland.

I finally came home from work this afternoon to a lovely fall day. There was very little damage to be seen in my neighborhood, and simply by the look of things you would have no idea that one of the biggest storms in history had passed through less than two full days before.

The subway station is still closed, but this line will be running tomorrow to 42nd St. There is no power below that with which to run subways. 

The neighborhood Time Warner office lost a window, but that was the only broken window I saw in a half mile walk. 

My thoughts through the last few days were that I wanted a vacation, a massage and a drink and not in that order. The vacation will have to wait and I hope to get a massage over the weekend. The drink was easy to do, but instead I chose a visit to the new frozen yogurt store a few blocks from my apartment. I had some very tasty pumpkin yogurt and Heath Bar topping and felt very well treated. It's not a trip to New Orleans, but I'm happy to make do with the treat in hand. 

I know we New Yorkers are resilient, but I'm beginning to feel stretched a little too thin. I'm not a worn out rubber band about to snap, but I'd love a few less stretches. Again, all my thanks for the kind words, email, virtual hugs and wonderful feelings of support. My friends, colleagues and I cannot begin to thank you!   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday at this time...

NYC had a great and functioning subway system.

I was leaving for New Orleans in three days.

My friends' beach community stood between a bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

The subway system...this is the nightmare that those of us in transportation dreaded. If the equipment gets soaked in salt water it doesn't function. There's no estimate when the system will operate again.

I'm not going to New Orleans. I had pretty much decided my heart wasn't into it. It's hard to be care free when you have many cares. Delta sealed my decision when it canceled my flight. I am disappointed, but it's just not the time.

We're not sure about my friends' house, but when you see the photos of the fire at Breezy Point,  that's the place I visited two Sundays ago, with the cute street of houses. We are heart-sick.

Thanks for the prayers, affection and concern. They mean the world to all of us in New York.

Beyond Words

This is a quick update from my phone. I'm okay and with my colleagues in Queens. We have food and power, though I'm not sure when I can get home. The beach community I visited last week is now on fire. So much devastation throughout the city. Please pray for us!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pepe Wishes You a Happy Halloween

Pepe wants healthy treats for Halloween!

In the midst of all things Hurricane Pepe is ready for Halloween. He's got his Halloween sweater on and he's showing one of his favorite healthy treats. Even a little monkee wants to stay trim. The one shopping oversight I can think of now is Halloween candy for the office. My colleague Donna made her fabulous pumpkin bread and we've got coffee, but I should have remembered candy. I looked into the grocery this afternoon and they were managing people coming in the door. It was that crowded.

I'll be updating here and on facebook. Prayers for safety up and down the Eastern seaboard, and especially in my beloved New York and Connecticut. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll

I spent most of today at work and my head is swimming with tropical storm vs. two feet of snow vs. thirty foot waves. I accomplished more than I expected, but the path of the storm is so uncertain and so many details are so out of the norm that it's hard  impossible to predict the next twenty four hours, let alone the next few days. Thanks for the prayers and good wishes. They are so appreciated. Please send a few for the little beach community I visited last Sunday. It sits between a bay and the Atlantic Ocean and is exposed to wind and waves. My friends can use lots of prayers for their beach cottage.

Last spring my online buddies and I planned our annual fall get-away. We were in Chicago last year and Memphis the year before. This year (hope, hope, hope there will be flights) we leave on Thursday for the town of beignets and coffee...

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

New Orleans!

I booked the trip last May, not quite sure that I would be able to go and it was an incentive -- among others -- in my recovery. Visiting New Orleans and spending time with my dear friends was a great motivation through physical therapy. I have the go-ahead from my neurosurgeon and have been thinking about what to pack and what we will do. I am praying that the airport will be open, flights will be taking off and our plans will become a fun reality. 

Tomorrow I have theater tickets to see "The Heiress." It stars Jessica Chastain, who played the role of Celia Foote in "The Help." I've been looking forward to this for two months and hurricane or no hurricane I am seeing this play!

Friends on the east coast, stay dry and safe! Friends who live everywhere else, have a great Sunday!  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pinterest Pumpkinfest 2012

I had hoped to go with a savory pumpkin recipe for my second pumpkin post and I'd hoped to post yesterday. Instead I am going with just about the biggest, yummiest pumpkin sweet I can find in an effort to deflect my desire to buy and eat a package of pumpkin cheesecake cookies. The bag of cookies looks so good and as, the level of stress is running very high right now in Buttercupland, I am posting a big cupcake to assuage my craving. Here's hoping this little ruse works.

My apologies for a delay in posting, but as Hurricane Sandy comes up the east coast my agency goes into high alert mode. We join all-agency conference calls, I write press releases, I field lots of emails and phone calls and I somehow try to squeeze in lunch. My big excursion of today was a trip to the snack store on the first floor of our building for a diet Snapple. I understand that the governor has declared a state of emergency in New York State, but I am making every effort not to declare a state of emergency in Buttercupland. I stopped in at the grocery tonight and the shelves were still full. The only item that appeared to be running low was ice cream sandwiches, of all things. I am stocked up, including foods to bring to the office over the weekend. Yes, it's going to be one of those weekends. I'm fervently praying that Sandy decides to go out to sea and makes her mind up to do so quickly.  

Tomorrow is a quick run to the cleaner to pick up my jacket and then to work. My treat for tomorrow is do some blog visiting. I know the thought of that will help get me through the day. You may see some quick updates via my phone in the next few days.

Wishes for all for a calm and peaceful weekend! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pinterest Pumpkinfest 2012

Source: via Carol on Pinterest

It may be because it's still so warm in New York -- haven't pulled out a scrap of wool yet -- that I have been totally neglectful of posting pumpkin recipes. I have been pinning them for at least six weeks, but it just dawned on me that October is racing by and I have yet to post one pumpkin recipe. Making up for lost time, I will be posting my two favorite new pumpkin recipes, tonight and tomorrow. It's hard to pick. I've pinned about twenty recipes this year and of course, I like all of them. This one seems perfect for a warm night. It's cool and creamy and pumpkin!

Hope you're having a perfect pumpkin pie evening!

Buttercup Gets a Lesson in Geography

On the most glorious fall day last Sunday I visited friends at their beach house in Queens. This is primarily a map of Long Island, but if you look to the left the five boroughs of New York City and New Jersey are labeled. Underneath the label for Brooklyn/Queens there is a thin strip of land. We were to the far left on this peninsula. To the south of the peninsula is the Atlantic Ocean and to the north is a bay. There is a great view of Brooklyn and beyond Brooklyn, the tall buildings of Manhattan. I got totally turned around and kept thinking I was looking at Long Island Sound, which is the body of water at the top of the map, and nowhere near where we were.

This is the bay view. Brooklyn is directly across the bay, and off in the distance is Manhattan. 

The beach and sky, at the bay

Ocean view and glorious sky

My friends' lane. On this area of the peninsula cars are parked in lots and red wagons carry groceries. 

It's hard to realize that this bit of small town America is part of Queens and less than an hour from the center of Manhattan. It was a wonderful day. We had lunch at a restaurant with the beautiful bay view and enjoyed catching up and sitting at the beach. It was just about my favorite kind of day. Friends, autumn, clear skies, sun and a win for the Giants!

Wishes for good times with friends, clear skies and sun!  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

First Strike at Businessland

I spent a glorious autumn at one of the beaches of New York City. There are actually beaches in every borough except Manhattan. This one was in Queens, with access to both the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. A highlight of the day was a chance to catch up with my friend, E. The conversation turned to ways of economizing -- as it so often does -- and we chatted about No Spending October and her experience with ebay. When I got home tonight I decided that this was the day to add advertising to   Buttercupland. I've thought it about for the last year and don't have any issue with visiting blogs with advertising, and often do.

I had met a representative from a company that does monetizing at BlogHer and had the link she had sent me. When I went to the link I realized what's being proposed is a lot more serious than my little blog. They asked for three business references and my W9 tax form. This may work later in my blogging life, but not at this time. I then turned to Google AdSense. I was approved immediately and clicked the check off to add ads to my sidebar. Voila! I was now in business.

I hit preview and saw my first two ads at the top of my sidebar. One was for a political candidate and one was for an organization that wasn't one I would choose. Nothing wrong with either, but I have worked hard to keep Buttercupland open to all, with no partisanship. There are enough places to discuss one's political opinions and this is not the place. I clicked and reclicked and the ads disappeared. My dreams of turning Buttercupland to Businessland also disappeared for now. I'd love input from anyone who is monetizing about their experience and also from those who have chosen not to.

On a totally different note, here is my new favorite New York City beach. I'll post more pictures tomorrow.

Secret of the Wings

When I saw the first little girl wearing wings I thought she was dressed for Halloween. When I saw the second little girl I thought they were both coming from a dance recital. But when I saw the barricades and lots of children in wings I knew I had found something special. I had stumbled upon a premier showing of the new Disney film, "The Secret of the Wings."

The information on the website looks good, but the excitement in the viewers faces may be the best review.

While the rest of the city raced on their way the reviewers enjoyed their wings.

 To the right the truck is loading large signs for the movie. This wing wearer was wearing a badge that said staff. Though I think the magic of the wings could enchant lots of us. 

I'm off on a little adventure today. Pictures to follow tonight or tomorrow. Hope you day is one of adventure and enchantment!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Please Get the Popcorn...It's Movie Time!

Source: via Carol on Pinterest

Though today is practically summer -- we're expecting temperatures in the low 70's -- we've had some cooler days and definitely cooler nights. Daylight savings time is about to end and I know I'll be staying inside a lot more, especially in the evenings. One of my favorite activities is watching movies and I'm always on the lookout for fun movies. Thanks to my friends at Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment I came across a Hallmark Channel original film I had missed when it was first shown in 2007. It's "You've Got a Friend." It's a sweet and endearing film about Bobby Graham (Dylan McLaughlin) who after the death of his parents goes to live with his aunt and uncle. He's helped in his Soapbox Derby efforts by Jim Keclan (John Schneider), the town recluse. The focus is family, friendship and holding on to a dream. It's the movie to watch curled up in an afghan with a cup of cocoa. Thanks, friends at Vivendi!

I'm having a quiet day today. A few errands this afternoon and lots of blog visits. I'll be out for a walk later and enjoy the beautiful weather. Now that I'm up and about more I find it easy to overdo and this is my day to catch up on magazines, make soup and enjoy the autumn leaves. Hope your day has lots of the same!

*I am not compensated for this review other than the copy given to me upon my request. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Halloween Treat...

for Jaclyn!

This cute, cute Halloween bag is going to Jaclyn's daughter. Jaclyn was number 14, as chosen by Random Generator and I am delighted to send it out for trick or treat fun. Congratulations to Jaclyn!

Update on No Spending October. Despite many temptations -- I don't think I've ever gotten so many inducements to buy in my email inbox -- I have only spent $6.31 this month on "stuff." My stuff is two Halloween cards and they will be leaving my apartment in the next day, so technically they don't count as stuff. I've been debating the purchase of a gel mat for my kitchen -- great sale! -- but as I write this I realize that though it's a great sale, there are other great sales yet to come. I've only got 14 more days and surely I can temper my enthusiasm for "stuff," however useful, for two weeks. 

It was another gorgeous October day and so enjoyed a walk at lunch and walking home from the subway tonight. My walking is so much better -- thankfully! -- and I'm able to do four or five blocks without any problems. This feels like the best gift ever!

Wishes to all for a bright and sunny Thursday!

Leaves for Leontien

Today I am participating in a blog event, Leaves for Leontien. This is to let our our blog buddy, Leontien, who has melanoma, know that she is in our thoughts and prayers. Friends from all over blogland are sending prayers and the beauty of the autumn leaves to Leontien. I am honored to be part of this. Leontien, my prayers and hugs are going out to you. This photo was taken a few years ago at a visit to Hyde Park, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's home in New York State.

If you would like to participate, please visit Leaves for Leontien. Let's show Leontien our love and our prayers.

I'll be back tonight with the winner of the Glitterville giveaway. Yes, two posts in one day, and it's a beautiful fall day in New York City. Autumn hugs and prayers to all of my blog buddies!

Monday, October 15, 2012

(Maybe) When I'm 64!

I am a tremendous fan of the Beatles, and often Beatles' lyrics swirl in my head. Once I entered my sixties "When I'm 64" frequently buzzed in my brain. I was in my teens when I first heard this song and 64 was light years away.

One of the things that's been most in my mind for the last year has been the thought of retiring from my job. When I had my surgery in the spring I was sure that I would retire this fall. I would go back to work for a few months and tidy up some projects and then retire -- Now! As now is coming and going I realized several weeks ago that I had done nothing to retire. I'd made none of the appointments I needed to make. I'd done none of the paperwork and actually had no interest in doing so. It was an astounding realization. I felt better (thankfully!) and I wanted to keep working. I really wasn't minding it at all.

I also realized I had few plans beyond this hazy idea of retiring. Most of it was not knowing how I would feel and how much energy I would have. My surgery was a big hiccup on the road. Not planning isn't like me. Generally I am a good planner and now I've jumped back into making plans. This is probably the best sign of recovery. I bought a theater ticket, made medical appointments and put in for a week of vacation this winter.    I'm even thinking of a vacation for next winter (2014!) Anyone interested in Antarctica?

The future can hold many things we can't foresee, but for now imminent retirement is shelved and my next goal is retiring in two years from now..."When I'm 64." 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

There is no Joy in Mudville

Alas, I wish it was just a strike out. But it's far worse news for those of us who are Yankee fans and there are tears here today.

My post on a great visit to the New York City Ballet has been pre-empted by a news flash. Derek Jeter, captain of the Yankees and a favorite ball player in Buttercupland broke his ankle in the twelfth inning of last night's play-off game. Things don't get much sadder in baseball.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mom, This One's for You

My mother, Sylvia, born 10/11/14
Atlantic City, 1936

Yesterday was 10/11/12. I like dates that go in a row. A former colleague of mine was born on 1/23/45 and though we don't work together anymore, I still remember his birthday. What would have been my mother's 98th birthday was yesterday, this year on a date that went in order. 

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mother. Here she appears not to have a care in the world. It was summer and she was twenty-two years old and enjoying a vacation in Atlantic City. In ten years she would meet my father and four years later I would be born. In the interim there would be a horrific World War, but that was unknown on this summer day.   

My mother died in 1990, too young and too soon. Not a day goes by when I don't think of her and have a thought or experience I want to share with her. Though she was shy she made friends easily and had a wonderful circle of women friends. I know she would have liked the blog world and delighted in meeting new friends around the world. She would have marveled at the wonders that were no farther than a few clicks away. 

Mom, this one's for you, on days where the numbers go all in a row, and days where numbers and life are scattered and have no order. Thanks for all you gave me. How lucky could I get! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Glitterville Giveaway

I'm a Halloween fan. Love the pumpkins, love the candy and love the fun dressing up. My dressing up days are long past, but the memories are very dear. We moved when I was seven and had the good fortune to live next door to two girls who became my best childhood friends. Diane was my age and Laurie was a year older. We spent infinite hours together and one of our favorite days was Halloween. The three of us would go out together to collect our treats. It was a different universe then and we safely roamed the two blocks surrounding our houses, without an adult with us. The neighbors knew us and the older kids on the block kept an eye on us, and yes, we had the best time!

At BookExpo I had the wonderful fortune of winning the Glitterville Halloween collection bag pictured above. Glitterville has the most amazing fun holiday and celebration decorations imaginable. This was in June. At the time I thought it would make a great blog giveaway. I put it away and almost forgot I had it until just a few days ago. Happily I remembered it and it's the second of three October giveaways.

The entry rules are simple. Please post who the lucky winning trick-or-treater will be and please be a follower of Buttercup's. Easy Peasy! The contest closes at 11:59 on Tuesday, October 16 and I will post the winner on Wednesday, October 17. I'm so glad I can share my good fortune with the citizens of Buttercupland.  

Life in Buttercupland is sweet. This morning's rain turned to a perfect autumn afternoon and I'm feeling a spurt of energy. Here's to autumn in New York and autumn cheer everywhere.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Just the Day for a Cup of Coffee

Between five o'clock last night and seven o'clock the temperature went from summer to fall. Just like that! I went inside at five and I was comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans. At seven when I came outside I needed a sweater, which I didn't have with me. Today it's chilly and rainy and I wasn't a bit too hot in a rain slicker. I skipped my usual iced coffee and enjoyed a cup of hot coffee. I think a lot of folks were savoring cups of hot coffee and just in time for coffee savoring are the five winners of the National Coffee Day giveaway. There were seventy seven entrants and five winners, picked randomly from little slips of paper. Not scientific, but it works in Buttercupland.

The grand prize winner is Betty Rubble, who will receive a box of Nescafe Memento, a coupon for a bottle of natural bliss and a coffee cup coaster. Susie, Saturday Night Fever, Kendrah and Kathy Pease will be receiving a coupon for a bottle of natural bliss. I'm having trouble linking to the posts, but I will be emailing this evening to get everyone's address. Thanks, all, for leaving your comments. I've found some great new blogs and am so appreciative of everyone visiting Buttercupland. This was the first October giveaway and there will be two more this month. I will post the next one tomorrow -- another yummy giveaway! -- and I hope there will be lots of visitors.

Please stop by and visit A Rural Journal for the weekly Sunday Best photographs. I will be adding a favorite phone of mine for this week and it's a wonderful group of bloggers.

Wishes for a very sweet week!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Happy 100th Sweet Goo Goo Cluster

"Making Wrinkled and Lumpy Fashionable Since 1912" 
How can I not love this candy?

I moved to Nashville in the late summer of 1972 to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt. I was a Northern girl and I had never been further south in the United States than Mount Vernon. I couldn't afford a trip from Connecticut to Nashville to visit before I enrolled, so with a suitcase and my electric typewriter I boarded a plane to Nashville, a place I only knew from the graduate school catalogue and legend. I know I must have been scared, but I only remember being excited at seeing the highway sign for Louisville/St. Louis. This was going to be an adventure. 

I learned to love Nashville, barbecue and Goo Goo Clusters. I had no idea about the Goo Goo Clusters venerable history, I only knew they were delicious. They incorporated caramel, peanuts, milk chocolate and marshmallow nougat. I would eat one and think that "how did they know I liked all of these things put all together." That thought, my blog buddies, is the key to the Goo Goo Cluster, "the first retail confection to be mass produced with multiple elements." They've come a long way since 1912, with the addition of the Supreme, which features pecans and the Peanut Butter Goo Goo Cluster, which is the ideal candy for those of us who like peanut butter and chocolate. They are all yummy, but I got a little thrill today from the classic Goo Goo Cluster. I've had some very fancy candy since tasting my first Goo Goo Cluster in 1972, but few sweets that just hit the spot like a Goo Goo. 

The birthday party was fun, a lot of fun, including Goo Goo samples and a terrific band. I couldn't think of a happier way to spend time on a Saturday afternoon. 
 Happy Birthday!

My blog buddy, Denise, who writes a terrific blog, "Yes, Virginia, There is Life after Retirement" guessed that the featured candy was the Goo Goo Cluster. I'm not sure if she has Nashville roots, but she writes a wise and witty blog, so I am not a bit surprised at her range of knowledge including the Goo Goo.

I only hope I'm going as sweet and strong as my beloved Goo Goo Cluster when I turn 100. Goo Goo, it's your day and here's to you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yours Sweetly!

As of yesterday afternoon this looked like a quiet, but fun weekend. Tomorrow I planned to be at services in the morning and see a movie with my friend, Mary, later in the day. My plan for Sunday was to get a pedicure -- using the gift certificate I won at BlogHer -- read the NY Times and go blog visiting. In between there is the usual laundry and grocery shopping and cooking for the week. Then I saw a note on facebook that one of my all-time favorite confections was celebrating its 100th anniversary in New York City tomorrow afternoon.  I'm still going to go to services and see a movie with Mary, but tomorrow afternoon is a sweet fun celebration.

I'm omitting the name of the candy until tomorrow when I post pictures, but I am so excited to celebrate my favorite Nashville food find. No names yet, but can anyone guess this venerable and terrific Tennessee candy? No prize, but the winner gets a special mention on tomorrow's blog post.

Hopes for a sweet, sweet weekend throughout Buttercupland!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'd Like to be Your

Instagram Buddy! How about it?

My friends, I am head over heels in love. It took months, but what started as "just friends" has progressed to full fledged love. 

What is Instagram? It's a photo sharing and editing application for cell phones and it is really, really fun.

I took a workshop in the winter on learning to use Instagram. It was nearby, it was free and I thought it would be fun. At that time Instagram was only available for the iPhone, which I didn't have. I thought it was interesting, but not something that I was especially excited about. Sometime in the spring it became available for android phones and I downloaded it. I didn't do much with it until a few weeks ago. I started to experiment with it and liked the different editing tools that were available. I was pleased with the photos I was taking with my phone and enjoyed sharing them on facebook. As I began to use Instagram I began to get feedback from friends and strangers, and I've really enjoyed seeing my friends' photos and those of people I've met on Instagram.   

If anyone else is an Instagram fan I am buttercupnyc and I'd like to be your Instagram buddy!  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

(Almost) Two Word Tuesday

(More) Pumpkin Time (in the City)
Yes, $1.99 a pumpkin, in the cooler at your local drugstore. Only in New York City!

Monday, October 1, 2012

No-Spending October

In January I was horrified at the state of my apartment. There was too much stuff. I made a conscious decision to buy nothing that wasn't immediately useful and to clear out all the things that had accumulated over the holiday season. I loved my no-spending January, and followed it with low-spending February.  I did well until my health issues began in April and both no-spending and decluttering went on the back burner to focus on surgery and recovery.

I am still in a recovery mode -- I will be seeing a rehabilitation physician in two weeks -- but I am back to working full-time and being much less conscious of how I spend money. Though my thoughts in the summer were very much turned to retiring from my job, in the last few weeks I've put those thoughts aside for the next few months and plan to work indefinitely. As I get back to a much more routine life I've also thought of another no-spending month, especially to get my apartment neater and more organized before Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas.

My only planned purchase for this month is a new printer cartridge. I do want to have one of my winter jackets spruced up -- it's missing a snap and needs cleaning -- but that saves the price of a new jacket. My boots are good from two years ago and I bought new shoes in the summer. I have shampoo, toothpaste and dish soap and if I run out of conditioner, it's time to use the samples I've accumulated.

My goals -- I'm going to prune a dozen books from my library, donate two bags of clothes and shred two bags of paper. I also want to once again go through drawers and closet and find what's no longer wearable. There's nothing like public accountability and I will report back here on my efforts on November 1.

I'm taking the motto at the top of this post as my motto for the month and focus in many ways on what's important. Hugs and good wishes, dear friends, for October!