Monday, December 31, 2012

All Around the Town...

...New Yorkers are getting ready to celebrate. 

It's almost party time in New York. In some places where citizens of Buttercupland reside it is 2013, but we still have almost eight more hours here. In a few hours I will be joining friends for dinner, conversation and laughter. I am in charge of the dinner, and in a very simplified fashion that meant consulting with a friend and ordering Chinese food online. I am also in charge of the ice cream selection and I will stop at the drugstore and choose two flavors for tonight. One will be chocolate and one will be something other. I am leaning to Heath Bar Crunch, one of my favorites.  This is not the usual dinner out or highly coordinated potluck, but it felt just right and took just the right amount of energy. Ice cream and Chinese food -- including orange chicken -- are highly indulgent and I am happy to forget calories and salt count for one night.  

Tomorrow I am going to post my "word" for 2013 and then begin a series on goals for the year ahead. Before 2012 is only a memory I want to extend my thanks and affection for the friendship and support I received from all of you throughout the year. I am so blessed to have found this corner of Blogland and equally blessed by all who visit here. I wish you and your families good health and happiness in 2013, and my special wish that my path crosses with many of you this year. 

Happy, healthy, joyous wishes for 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Last Song for Christmas

Though Hurricane Sandy recovery slowed me down I got to have lots of Christmas experiences this year...the aroma of pines on Broadway, the Tree at Rockefeller Center, Macy's, a day of fun and celebration with my friends in Brooklyn and holiday festivities with my colleagues. I also visited the shopping mall in Queens, the Queens Center and heard the Columbia University a cappella group, "Notes and Keys." They were there to celebrate the Blu-ray/DVD release of the fun movie, "Pitch Perfect," a sweet and funny movie about a college singing group. I had the added fun of meeting Teacherfish after the performance for coffee and apple strudel.

The Christmas Tree at the Queens Center

The very talented "Notes and Keys"

An enthusiastic audience enjoyed the show

I had a very enjoyable Sunday. I saw "Lincoln," and I am one of those who are giving it a rave review. Even though I knew the story I was still enthralled. It featured some of my favorite actors, especially David Strathairn, who I just saw in the Broadway version of "The Heiress." I ended my gadding about town by getting a vaccination against shingles. I have been putting this off for months, and finally can cross this off my list of things to do, which feels very good. 

I'm now settling in for a quiet evening of reading and television, all cozy while I listen to the wind outside. Once again I send you...

Wishes for a snug and cozy evening!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

(Semi) Lazy Saturday

When I came home an hour ago there were big white fluffy snow flakes falling. Now they seem to have turned to cold rain and I am so content to be in my warm apartment. I brewed a pot of coffee and am having a snack of white chocolate peppermint kettle corn. The latter is as good as it sounds. I'd been admiring it in the grocery, but at $5.00 a bag, it seemed a bit pricey for me. Today it was half the price -- love the after-holiday sales -- and I am really enjoying it.

I went to services this morning and stayed for a luncheon. I enjoyed the salads, but more so enjoyed catching up with friends I haven't seen in awhile. I knew I'd missed a few weeks of services, but when a few friends said, "Long time, no seeing you," I realized it was more than a few weeks. It felt so good to be in the warmth of worship and our congregation.

I now remember why I so focused on decluttering last January. Things really start to pile up and the little piles I promised myself I would sort through may just turn into a landslide if I don't get busy on them. My goal for today is to sort Christmas cards and wrapping and discard things that I didn't use this year and probably won't use next year. It's a modest goal, but one that I hope will get me on a good path moving forward. I did a good job with clothes last year -- there is actually extra space in my closets -- but paper is still a problem and is definitely my challenge for 2013 decluttering.

Though I don't have a Christmas tree in my apartment I do enjoy the Christmas tree in our building lobby. I think it looks especially pretty this year. 

Tomorrow I hope to see "Lincoln." Any reviews, blogger buddies? For now I'm just going to settle back, drink my coffee, read a few magazines and wish you...

A warm and cozy Saturday!

Friday, December 28, 2012

(Another) Miracle on 34th Street

There are two places that say Christmas in New York to me. One is Rockefeller Center and the other is Macy's. Years of viewing "Miracle on Thirty Fourth Street" made Macy's a mandatory stop every Christmas. For years I worked across the street and visited the store two or three times a week. But nineteen years ago I changed jobs and my trips to Macy's became much less frequent.

I hadn't been to Macy's since I had surgery in June and was overwhelmed at the thought of braving the crowds. I had pretty much decided I wouldn't make it this year, but a stalled subway train tonight put me at the station near Macy's and I trooped over to see the decorations. The crowds were there and there was a little too much pushing for my taste, but happily I got my visit, some pictures to share, and survived the crowds. (Another) miracle on 34th Street.

This display was overhead at the entrance at Seventh Avenue

Twinkling lights and "Believe" set the theme

A glittery theme in the jewelry department

Tonight begins my long, long weekend. I'm not working on Monday and am so excited to have four days in a row. I'll be spending New Year's eve with my bible study group friends and seeing my goddaughter on Monday, but otherwise I have few formal plans. I'm going to sleep in, blog, read magazines and drink coffee. I'm going to watch the predicted snow fall and be so grateful that I don't have to go out tomorrow and slip and slide on the way to work.     

I'll leave you with this wish from Macy's...
And cozy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chivalry is Alive and Well...

Even in New York City!

Nothing this dramatic (or romantic!) took place, though I could use a little romance in life, especially on a gray and rainy day following Christmas. The weather today went from clear skies to snow to sleet and rain. I was attempting to cross Lexington Avenue and was stopped by puddles as large as a castle moat. A nice looking younger -- could be 50 -- man held out his hand and helped pull me across one of the puddles. I am sure that good gesture helped at least one angel get his wings.

Christmas was fun and I had a very enjoyable day with friends. Thank you all for your sweet wishes. I do find December 26 a let down. I do have New Year's cards to write and a party or two to attend, but now winter looms ahead and I am not a fan of winter. My hat, boots and gloves have all been pressed into service, though I am hoping that today's snow is an aberration and my boots will get little use this year.   

I've just lit a lemon scented candle and I'm about to make a cup of tea and do a little reading. Sounds cozy, doesn't it? Wishing you an equally warm and cozy evening!  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"I Will Honour Christmas in My Heart..."

...and try to keep it all the year."
With thanks to Charles Dickens

One of the windows at Bloomingdales

With wishes for joy, wonder and happiness -- today and all through the year.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pinterest Christmas Eve

One package of oreos, five cups of marshmallows and four tablespoons of butter and you have "Lumps of Coal." They're just like rice crispie treats, but made with oreos. Even not-so-good girls and boys get a treat with these lumps of coal in their stockings.

In the bustle of cooking, wrapping and last minute errands, wishes for moments of joy, peace and serenity, on Christmas Eve and every day of the year. Love to all, near and far!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

You've All Been Very Nice Christmas Present

There's no decision about whether citizens of Buttercupland have been naughty or nice. The answer is a resounding Nice! As a gift our good friends at Hallmark SpiritClips are offering a two-week free trial of this great on-line assortment of holiday movies, Christmas music, inspirational videos and original short-films made by SpiritClips. Just click the link above for the complete catalogue of  wonderful holiday enjoyment that you can stream to your computer. And just click this link, for a two week trial.

Thanks so much friends at Hallmark SpiritClips for your thoughtfulness. I can't think of a nicer group of bloggers to share this with.

Merry, jolly, happy wishes!

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The flags and lights frame the skating rink at Rockefeller Center 

This is Christmas in New York. It's
my choice for the photo -- and the place -- that most represents Christmas here. 

I'm so glad I was able to spend some time at Rockefeller Center on Thursday night. It was warm, with only a few drops of rain. It turned cold yesterday and it's hats and scarf weather. Unless you're skating it will be cold viewing the tree. 

I'm indoors most of today at the Metropolitan Museum and then home for a few last minute errands and blogging. I'll do two posts in one day and let you know about the Christmas surprise. Hint number two...It's perfect for cold winter days.

Cozy and warm wishes!

Friday, December 21, 2012

With Thanks for Friends who Bake

I wish I could say I baked this cake, but Santa is watching and listening and it's just not true. 

A colleague and I co-hosted a lunch at work today. Sandy did the menu selection and it was healthy and tasty. She chose fruit with a yogurt dip and cookies for dessert. But our friend, Pat, baker of excellence, brought in one of her specialties, this beautiful pineapple upside-down cake. Even if the end of world hadn't been predicted I would have had to have a slice. Pat being the good friend that she is made sure I got a big piece of pineapple and friends, it was as good as it looks. No, it was better than it looks!

I posted the picture on facebook and one of my friends mentioned that it was one of her mother's favorite Christmas cakes, and I remembered it was a favorite of my mother, too. That thought sparked a lot of happy memories of Christmas time past. The memories were simple ones and home baking and visiting the toy departments at the local department stores were favorites. I also loved when my family would bundle up and we'd drive around looking at the Christmas lights. I loved those evenings, snuggled between my mother and my grandmother, long past my bedtime, enjoying the lights. 

The week has been hectic -- mostly with work -- but I did get to Rockefeller Center yesterday and I'll be sharing photos of the tree tomorrow. On Sunday I'll be posting a Christmas gift about which I am so excited, so please, please stop by. Just one little hint for movies!   

Wishes for cozy and warm!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Capturing December...Christmas Tree

Gracie Mansion Christmas Tree

Over the years I've had some wonderful opportunities. My earliest job in government was working at City Hall, over 32 years ago. Our group of colleagues still gets together every year and for the last few years we have been fortunate to hold the reception at the Mayor's formal residence, Gracie Mansion. The present mayor doesn't live there, but in the past it was the Mayor's residence. The original house dates back over 200 years and most receptions now are held in the Susan B. Wagner Wing, named for former Mayor Robert Wagner's wife.  The reception was last week and I valiantly tried to get a good picture of the beautiful Christmas Tree. But it was crowded and this picture was the best I could do. There are easily twenty foot ceilings and the tree is majestic. 

Don't they look pretty!

The cookies featured above aren't from Gracie Mansion, but they are so pretty that I couldn't resist adding them. They were part of the dessert buffet for our departmental holiday party at the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. The setting was lovely and the food was terrific.  I hope to make a return visit to see the holiday train exhibit.

Yummy dessert buffet

I think I feel this way every year, but this year in particular I am amazed at how December has flown by. I just ordered cards today and realized that it was more prudent to order card for New Year. I am really pleased how they look and if anyone would like a Buttercup card, just leave me a message and we will connect. I am very appreciative of the blog buddy cards I've received and each one is a sweet message of the friendship I've found in Buttercupland. My next goal is wrapping presents and actually getting to the post office. 

My prayers and loving wishes to Buttercupland and to Newtown

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Capturing December...Reflection

In the days and weeks following September 11 I heard and read many things that made me sad. One of these things was that the murders on September 11 were the result of "America's activities." This idea made me livid eleven years ago and it still makes me livid. The thought that came into my mind was that we -- I was just a few blocks away -- just went to work and deserved to come home. Of course three thousand of us didn't come home that night.

In the years that have followed I have added other things to my list. People should be able to go to the movies and come home safely, to the mall and come home safely and to college classes and come home safely. They should be able to go to high school and worship and shop in a strip mall on a Saturday morning, and yes, come home. The one place that didn't cross my mind was kindergarten. Of course five year old children going to kindergarten should go off in the morning and come home with their coloring to their parents in the afternoon. Of course...

Yesterday I learned that nothing can be considered "of course."  I realize I should have learned this over the years, but this last lesson seemed so basic. We live in a broken and tragic world, and in Jewish tradition it is our responsibility to heal the world. How will we do this? I know there are no easy answers, but I also know that it is my responsibility to work to find some answers.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Capturing December... Heartbreak

No, this isn't one of the scheduled themes. I had some cute pictures for today, but this isn't a day for cute pictures. It's a day for prayer, for wiping away tears and for giving the children in your life extra hugs. It's a day to think about how we can help repair our sad and broken world.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Capturing December...Family

I've been trying to take pictures this month to use to illustrate December, but I remembered this picture taken three years ago and it was my choice for today's theme of family. It is one of my all-time favorite photos.
I am here with my first cousin once removed, Alyssa. Her mother is my first cousin. Alyssa is now sixteen and a very grown up and mature sixteen year old. I received the card tonight that included a photo of Alyssa and her siblings and I am awed at how adult they all look.  

I am so grateful for the blessing of family. Family to laugh with, celebrate with -- as we are doing here -- and to cry with at the sad times in our life. Wishing all the blessing of family, at this season and all through the year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Capturing December...Merry Christmas, Leontien

Actually the theme for today is "A beautiful sight," and I will include a photo taken this month. But I'm interrupting this month's theme to make a holiday request. Our blog buddy, Leontien, is battling melanoma. If you send cards can you add one more and send it to Leontien? Blog buddy, Nancy, has done a post where you can find Leontien's address.  I know the good citizens of Buttercupland will join me in remembering Leontien.
This is the window of the Petrossian Cafe. I walk past this lovely sight following my dentist appointments, and it is a terrific temptation. Next door is a restaurant that specializes in serving caviar, also owned by the same company. They are both very pricey, but about once a year, when I am feeling very indulgent I stop at the cafe and treat myself to a croissant and a cafe au lait and feel that I'm in Paris. Just writing about this convinces me that I definitely need a visit soon. I'm making a note on my calendar for a moment of indulgence in January, 2013. That will pick me up from the post-Christmas droops!

As always, warm and cozy wishes!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Capturing December...Green

This is a scene from my regular walk home at night from the subway. It's not a forest, but the next best thing in the middle of Manhattan. I get excited when I first see the trees being displayed right after Thanksgiving and sad when the tree sellers go home after Christmas. I especially like the pine-scented aroma and could happily linger in this urban forest for hours. It's my favorite bit of green in the city!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Capturing December...Bright!

At least for this evening I'm back on blogging track. The weekend was great and it was so nice to spend time with family and friends. Though most of the weekend was rainy, Sunday morning was bright and beautiful. I'm skipping over a few of the themes I missed, shopping and wrapping paper, and going with the theme for December 7, which is "bright".

We visited one of my favorite town along the water, Warren, Rhode Island. The weather was the best imaginable for December, sixty and sunny, and I loved our tour of the waterfront.

The first colonial settlement here was a trading post established in 1632 by the Plymouth settlers. By 1760 the town had become a whaling port and there are a number of homes dating from around this period. It is very low key and charming and the thought crossed my mind that it would be great to spend more time here in the summer. I doubt if I would grow tired of this beautiful view. The town in which my cousins live, Barrington, RI, is in the distance across the water.

This is the Methodist Church in Warren. The congregation dates to 1789 and this building to 1845.

As our theme is "bright" I would be remiss to omit one of my favorite sources of the light that shines with special brilliance, holiday light. Here are our Chanukah lights on the first night. 

Wishes for all that is bright and light in this season of joy and light!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Off to Capture December

Instead of blogging I've been capturing December. It's been a busy end of the week. Dinner with colleagues on Wednesday, a condolence visit on Thursday, two visits to the dentist, and dinner last night with my college roommate. I'm now just about packed to leave for Penn Station. I'm spending the weekend with my family in Rhode Island and we will celebrate the first night of Chanukah. I do promise pictures, as well as some fun ones that I took of holiday decor in midtown Manhattan.

I'm sure I'll have a fun weekend and wishes to you for the same! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Capturing December...Today's Temperature

Woo hoo! I'm about to be six for five for posting and loving it! The theme for today is "Today's Temperature", and although it turned chilly tonight the day was sunny and in the 50's. It was just my kind of December weather and not unlike last Saturday. Though this picture doesn't show it the weather was equally balmy and it was sunny before we pulled away from Manhattan. Manhattan is directly to the right and New Jersey is in the distance on the left and I am happily riding on the Staten Island Ferry.

I also took this picture on Saturday. It is the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, which is directly across from the Ferry Terminal. St. Elizabeth Seton was the first canonized American saint and the founder of the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. I am continually awed by the moments of history tucked into corners of New York City. Lower Manhattan is especially rich in historical treasures and I so enjoy the discoveries.

Thanks for sharing my discoveries and the pleasures of New York City. So glad to have your company!

Capturing December...Joyous

I'm still four for four. I'm even for four for four with my December photos, though I am posting December 4 technically 47 minutes late. The theme for December 4 is "Joyous' and I think the most joyous events are those days we welcome babies. This gives me the opportunity to share a few pictures from sweet Amanda's baby shower on Saturday.

 Our guest of honor. I've known her for over fifteen years, through sweet sixteen, college, marriage and now awaiting motherhood.  

The shower had a  "sea" theme -- to match the nursery motif. The cake graced the candy bar. 

He's going to be a well-dressed baby. We were asked to wrap everything in clear gift wrap and it was great. We got to see all of the gifts. Is there anything cuter than baby clothes? 

What a happy day of joyous celebration!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pinterest Celebrationfest!

No worries, I'm not abandoning Capturing December. I'm still thinking about my photos for today. While I think I'm posting an absolutely yummy looking No-Bake cheesecake from Pinterest.

I like all yummies chocolate mint, so I'm hoping for inspiration for Capturing December photos for today. See you tonight and hope you have an inspired -- and yummy! -- day.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Capturing December...Red!

Three for three! I'm really enjoying "Capturing December" as well as going back and looking at the pictures I've taken the last few Decembers. What fun memories! There are a few that are perfect to illustrate today's theme, "Red."

I couldn't resist this one. Though it's not a great picture, it's a great illustration for "Red" and it ties in with yesterday's post about "Miracle on 34th Street." It's also from my Macy's visit two years ago.

Another red decoration at Macy's

Red cake boxes at Mike's Deli on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. I visited here last December and had some of the best food ever. 

Pepe Le Monkee, all in red! 

Wishes for a warm and festive Monday!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Capturing December...Favorite Holiday Movie

Two for two! I'm delighted to be posting two days in a row. I may just get back in my blogging stride. Today's theme is favorite holiday movie. I like the oldies and have a hard time picking between "Going My Way," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street." I can't really choose a favorite, but in a tip of the hat to "Miracle on 34th Street," I'm posting a favorite picture I took of the lights at Macy's a couple of years ago.


I see a few new Citizens in Buttercupland. I'd so like it if you would say hello and tell us where you're from. That will help us get to know each other. So glad to have visitors and new friends. Please stop by often. It's a fun place to visit! On that note, wishes for fun places to visit and fun things to do.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Capturing December

As we know I haven't been around much this week. I had the usual good intentions, but a twelve hour day at work on Tuesday and two evening visits to Michaels completely tired me out. And yes, I missed you all! But I had a good night's sleep and a fun, fun day today and I am ready and eager to share December. I saw this great photo challenge on my blog buddy Kristen's blog and since I had a wonderful picture for the first day I am joining...
I'm not sure if I'll make it every day, but I am right on time for today. 

My view today was one of my favorite sights in the world. I had the pleasure of going to Staten Island today for sweet Amanda's baby shower. Amanda is the daughter of one of my colleague friends and it was great to celebrate with her and her family today. I've got some fun pictures, but I'm saving them for another post. Today I'm celebrating another favorite lady, our beloved Lady Liberty. 

I take the same picture every time I take the ferry to Staten Island, and each time it gives me a thrill. I was standing on the deck between visitors from France and Germany who also photographed this beautiful Lady.  

Tomorrow is a quieter day with a haircut and errands planned. I am going to savor calm and enjoy the New York Times and a cup -- or two -- of coffee in the morning. Hope your day has lots to savor, too. 

Wishes for warm and cozy!