Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Please Meet Don Key-hoe-tea!

Pepe welcomes Don-Key-hoe-tea to the Buttercupland Editorial Board

As I wrote yesterday D.K. has a literary bent. He's not Mr. Darcy -- I still have "Pride and Prejudice" in my thoughts -- but he has adopted the name of another great figure in literature, Don Quixote, with a slight variation in spelling. I have to thank the delightful Miss Lynda,for the great suggestion. There were many good ones, but the voters, my colleagues Mike and Patricia (and Pepe!) were taken by the use of the initials, D.K., and the literary reference. I thank everyone who contributed names and wish I had prizes to send to all. Because of a book windfall, the award for naming DK is a book, "A Piece of My Heart." Lynda, I'll be sending this to you at the end of the week. 

Please excuse the photo quality. I had trouble loading pictures from my camera and this is from my phone. Unfortunately Miss Kitty Cat, aka Dulcinea Kat, was cut off, but I promise a photo of Don Key-hoe-tea and Dulcinea soon. 

Sweet dreams from Don Key-ho-tea, Pepe and me! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy 200th, Pride and Prejudice!

Source: google.com via Kilie on Pinterest

I know we're all eager for the official announcement of D.K.'s new name, but I couldn't let the 200th anniversary of the publication of "Pride and Prejudice" go without notice. D.K., who has a literary bent himself, graciously agreed to wait one more day until the announcement.

I first read "Pride and Prejudice" in the summer of 1964. It was part of our "summer reading" for high school and I became a fan. My appreciation for Jane Austen has grown over the years, and with the exception of "Northranger Abbey" I believe I've read the rest of her novels. I have deep affection for "Persuasion," but today is "Pride and Prejudice's" day and all the attention is on this wonderful novel.

To Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, to their friends and family, I raise a toast and most of all to Jane Austen. I cannot imagine my world without all of you!

I leave you with this thought gleaned from Pinterest that gave me a big smile.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm Reading...

Actually once again, I have a guest post to share with you. In keeping with an all-Arizona weekend, my dear blog buddy, Melissa, of A Beautiful World, wrote about this novel and kindly let me share her thoughts with you. She is an Arizona blogger and the story takes place in Sedona, one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona -- or anywhere!

Thanks to Melissa for sharing her review with us. 

"Three Moons Over Sedona" was written by Sherry Hartzler, and it's a book I downloaded from Amazon.  It usually costs a few dollars, but when I found it it was free.

The protagonist is an Ohio woman in her 50s named Georgia Mae.  As the book opens, she has recently become a widow.  She is surviving but not really living.  On a whim one day, she decides to take a drive in her late husband's classic car.  She ends up taking quite a road trip and her final destination is Sedona, AZ.

The book discusses the journey she takes while dealing with grief and betrayal, and the characters she meets along the way.  There is Zoe, who owns a gift shop, and Trish, a cafe owner.  Both of them have some mysteries in their pasts.  Last but not least is Doc, an attractive retired physician.

I really enjoyed this book.  It kept my attention and I read it pretty quickly.  The character development was good and the author is pretty adept at dialogue.  The setting of the book, Sedona, is a picturesque area that was woven nicely into the story.

The only part that bothered me was Georgia Mae's tendency to quickly lose her temper with others.  In retrospect though I think that was part of her "rebirth."  She was pretty mousey when her husband was alive, and we get to see her begin to stand up for herself and her needs.

I want to mention a site called BookBub.com.  If you have an eReader, sign up with this site and you will receive a daily e-mail with book bargains, at least one of which is free.  That is how I've found some pretty good books to download to my Kindle.
Happy reading!

I definitely want to add this to my reading list. I think it's a great choice for cold winter days. Please stop by and pay a visit to Melissa's blog. It's also a fun place to visit, rain or shine, cold or warm. 

I'm not sure that putting a focus on Arizona was the catalyst, but it's almost above freezing here today. I'm about to do a few errands -- bank and grocery -- and get some air. I may actually avoid hat hair.   

My wishes for a no hat-hair day to you!

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Wish I Was in Arizona...

...for many reasons. I'd love to see my Arizona blogger friends. I'd love to be in a warmer place, and not walking home from the bus in the snow. But I really want to be in Arizona to see Neil Myers' paintings in person.

Please note that this work is copyrighted.

I really enjoy tooting a horn for my blog buddies, and tonight I'm happy to cheer on a Facebook friend. Neil posted the announcement of his exhibition in Scottsdale and I became an instant fan. I love the Arizona desert and his work beautifully reflects the colors and mood. When I look at this painting I'm not in snowy New York City, but in warm and lovely Arizona. I thank Neil for so generously letting me share this painting, and folks in Phoenix, you've got a treat in store.

Keeping with the Arizona theme, our book chat tomorrow is by one of my favorite Arizona bloggers and takes place in one of my favorite places, Sedona.

Once again, I'm happy to link to Beverly's Pink Saturday. I had such a good time last week that I didn't want to miss the fun this week. Thanks for a fun party!

Wishes for a pretty-in-pink Saturday! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hat Hair! How About You?

Source: 9gag.com via Peggy on Pinterest

This was not my intended post for the day. I had a thoughtful post planned and was scanning Pinterest for just the right picture. I never found the picture I wanted. I found dozens of pictures of beautiful slices of pie pinned by friends and dining rooms I'd like to have. And then I saw this and burst out laughing, and figured everyone could use a chuckle.

Today I looked more like Mr. Trump than Mr. Pitt. I had the worst case of "hat hair" in all of New York state. No one laughed in my face, but I am sure a few people chuckled at the woman with the wild hair, and I can't blame them. I scared myself when I looked in the mirror after I got home tonight.

But hat hair it is, and hat hair it shall be for the next few days, and I hope that I can keep from giving myself too much of a fright when I look in the mirror.

Wishing you a cup of tea and a cozy night!  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Hop and a Skip to Country Dreaming

My sweet blog buddy, Melinda, at "Country Dreaming" , is once again participating in the card project for children in the Kansas City Metro area, who will be hospitalized over Valentine's Day. I know there are lots of talented bloggers out there who could make fabulous cards! All the details are on Melinda's blog -- just go to the link above. It's a chance to let your creativity for hearts and pink and fun go wild, as well as bring smiles to kids. It's one of my projects for this weekend, and a perfect activity for a cold weather weekend.

I took today off and a had a lovely and relaxing day. I spent some time exploring Whole Foods for my paleo shopping list, stopped off at Staples for a quick errand and had my annual appointment with my opthamologist. He said the loveliest words, "See you next year." I also discovered several programs for "senior women in transition (e.g. retiring)" at the local Community Center. The first is on Thursday night, and weather permitting, I'll be there.

I had signed up for a program at Etsy in Brooklyn for tonight, but the thought of coming home at this time of night in this cold -- it's a bus ride and a train ride and a walk -- was too much. I will be on the lookout for other Etsy activities when the weather gets nicer.

Please don't forget to visit Melinda's for details on the card project and to meet a lovely blogger. 

Wishes for a cozy night!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Today is a Momentous and Historic Day...

I've spent the day cooking!

I know it's a historic day. I did watch the inauguration and the television has been on in the background all day. But the temperature is nose diving outside -- no snow yet -- and after I got back from making a quick fruit and veggie trip I cancelled all plans for going out this afternoon. What luxury! 

Two of my concerns about the big  "R" involve cooking. The first is knowing that to make this adventure work economically I need to cook and the second is for health sake I need to cook healthy food. I'd also like to invite friends over for meals and then, too, I need to cook. I'm not sure who the President was when I began a reliance on frozen and prepared foods. My guess is that it was the second President Bush. My commute doubled when the office moved to Queens and often I got home after eight o'clock. My neighborhood has many places to stop and I think I've tried the majority of them. My weekends -- my previous time for cooking -- were now taken up with errands and catching up on sleep. What a perfect storm for unhealthy eating. 

Moving to paleo eating -- or at least semi-paleo -- also means I need to cook and I've been scouting recipes on Pinterest. I've found some great ideas and today I started cooking again. I made a double batch of chicken, stewed fruit (no added sugar) and made zucchini fritters. I happily ate more veggies today than I have in ages, and very tasty food. I also discovered that most of my spices have lost their aroma and did a good clean out of the refrigerator. All in all, very productive. I'm going to stock up on a few paleo basics -- almond flour! -- in the next few days and make a trip to Jackson Heights, Queens, where there is a treasure trove of Indian stores, for spices.     

On a very different note, this is a momentous day, and I honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the courageous people who forged the path before him. One of these people is Nineteenth-century abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. I was inspired to learn about him after seeing this statue at the New York Historical Society. 

"A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people. " 
Frederick Douglass

As the temperature dips I wish you all a cozy and warm evening! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This Foundling is Looking for a New Name Giveaway

A fairy tale of Buttercupland...

One day the Prince of a great Kingdom grew tired of his toys of childhood. His father, the kind King, looked for a good home for the ape that had been a companion of the Prince. He left the little ape on the doorstep of a sweet Princess. Princess Buttercup had requested that her colleagues not bring in any more sweet friends, because she had run out of room on her desk to work. But when she saw the lorn foundling on her doorstep her heart opened, and she welcomed him. They all lived happily every after...

On my doorstep!

Generally, Pepe would welcome new folks to Buttercupland, but he was busy hanging out with,  left to right, Opus, Elvis, Kitty Cat, Souper Bear and Screamer.

Sockette, on the left, welcomed D.K. to  Buttercupland and to membership on the Blog Editorial Advisory Board.

...Except that the foundling would like a new name for his new life. We've been calling him D.K., but now that he's an editor he'd like something more dignified than the initials of a video game. Yes, he once had a career with Donkey Kong, but that's long ago and far away. 

Please help name this foundling. The editorial board -- if Pepe stops climbing my office book case -- and a few of my non-furry office colleagues will choose the winning name. The winner gets a mystery prize, but it does includes some useful travel items, and don't we all need a surprise in the winter!

Please send your suggestions by next Sunday, January 27 and I will post D.K's new name on Monday, January 28. The only requirement is that naming is limited to citizens of Buttercupland, so please be a follower. 

It was a glorious sixty degrees today and it's down to thirty-five already. Yikes, the winter has truly arrived. I'm going to cozy up in my striped socks and have my evening cup of tea. 

Wishes for a cozy evening!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I'm Reading...

Source: bilbary.com via Amanda on Pinterest

Actually my dear, dear friend and reader extraordinaire, K, read this terrific book and she was gracious enough to send us her thoughts:

" 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,'  was wonderful and I finished it in 48 hours. There is so much in the book. Characters worthy of Chaucer and beautiful language. The slow reveal of plot. The joy of watching two people who used to be in love. The examination of faith in a modern world. Thanks for sharing it."

I am delighted to start the Buttercupland weekly book chats with words by K. Not only is she one of the dearest people I know and a friends of 44 years (!), but she is a voracious and thoughtful reader. She's the first person I turn to to ask the question "What are you reading?" I am hoping that K. will be back often with some of her favorite books this year.

I read "The Unlikely Pilgrimage..." too, and enjoyed it immeasurably. I like books where "mature" characters are featured. I think too often those who are sixty plus are depicted as cardboard grannies and grandpas, ready to settle down in a rocking chair for the rest of their lives.  

There is no formal rating system here. I'm leaning towards the informal ratings of  1)loved it, 2)liked it a lot and 3)liked it. I'm not a critic, but a devoted reader. If I -- or one of my guest bloggers didn't enjoy the book -- we won't be chatting about it. I'm a reading a Finnish mystery and liking it, and I will chat about it next week.

I have a fun day tomorrow -- blog post to come -- and a giveaway planned to post about tomorrow evening. Keep cozy and thanks for visiting!

What are you reading?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

This may -- or it may not -- be my only post about my dislike of winter. It's been relatively mild this year, but as I was standing at the bus stop tonight my feelings about winter returned. I had my hat and gloves, but I'm so out of practice, I'd forgotten my scarf and the wind was whipping my neck, even though I was wearing one of my almost ubiquitous turtleneck sweaters.

I know I promised to begin our weekly book chats, but it's been a full week and I am so tired. The book post is postponed until tomorrow. Tonight I'm going to brew a cup of tea and curl up in my new lounge socks...

  My present to me! I stopped off at Bath and Body to buy a birthday present tonight and couldn't resist these fun and cozy pink and orange socks. 

...and then for the first time I am linking to Beverly's Pink Saturday. I've wanted to be part of the pink Saturday fun for ages and finally, I've got a pink post for Saturday. 

Have a pretty in pink Saturday and enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thinking Thursday...

...and my brain is just about frozen. Yesterday was a whirl of five(!) meetings and today doesn't look much better. I was more Stinkweed than Buttercup by the end of the day. But I have a four day weekend looming and that's only six -- or so -- meetings away. I hope to start "I'm Reading...What are you Reading?" tomorrow. I got a great review in the mail, and I am presently seeking permission from the writer to feature  it. Guest bloggers always welcome!

This weekend I'm going to curl up in a cozy afghan, with a cup of coffee and a really good book. What plans do you have?

Wishes for a sweet Thursday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...I am a Writer

This tenth thought is the most daring, the most spontaneous, and the closest to dancing on a high wire.  It's the big dream of 2013. When I put my list of thoughts for 2013 together one of the thoughts was writing a novel. But as the ten days went by I became reluctant to put the thought out publicly. The "What ifs..." played in my head. What if I stopped working full-time and didn't get past the first chapter and what if...and what if...?

But my sweet blog friend from the Netherlands,Soraya, asked in a comment, "Are you a writer?" That simple question inspired me to honesty in the safest environment I know, and I am happy to say yes, my friends, I am a writer. My goal for this year is to pursue my dream of writing longer pieces than the brochures and newsletters I've written to earn a living these last thirty years. I've got two ideas in mind. One is a mystery novel, my favorite fun genre. The other is a short book on public speaking. I've started work on the public speaking book and hope to publish it in electronic form by the end of this year.

These are my ten thoughts for 2013. Health, travel, reading, enjoying New York City and pursuing a dream of my heart. Mix in time with family and friends, a big measure of prayer and we're on our way. Thanks so much for sharing the journey!

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

In the interest of spontaneity I am postponing the planned post for today and declaring a Buttercup Holiday. For the more recent citizens of Buttercupland, a Buttercup holiday is a spontaneous -- there's that word again -- holiday. It generally falls closely after another holiday when I find that I'm having trouble getting back into the routine. It's one of the great privileges of being the monarch of Buttercupland. Sometimes it's a day to stay in flannel and drink hot cocoa, but today we're celebrating National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.

My favorite New York deli\and home of a great pastrami sandwich

Last year I found a list of American food holidays. Almost every day in the year celebrates a different food. Today is National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. Yesterday was Peach Melba Day and tomorrow is Strawberry Ice Cream Day. In the interest of healthier eating I'm celebrating the thought of having a hot pastrami sandwich. I am also celebrating the thought of a big plate of French fries and a coke, with sugar. 

What favorite food are you celebrating in thought?

Wishes for a yummy Buttercup holiday and a terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...Add Orange Juice and Pole Dancing

and I get 

The "S" Train

The picture above is the decor on the S train yesterday. Tropicana is the sponsor and the train is decorated in green and yellow and is so bright and sunny. Last month I showed a pink car and that was part of a different promotion. I was in a good mood yesterday, but looking at these colors made me break into a smile, spontaneously.

And pole dancing? No I'm not about to take up pole dancing for a wide variety of reasons and I've never had a desire to try it. But yesterday I went to a program on exercise and nutrition for the full figured woman and one of the features was a pole dancing session, without the poles. One of the themes of the day was to consider exercise and types of movement we wouldn't usually think about. The instructor was young, so lively and energetic, and led our group in movement to music. It was primarily a stretching session with fun, fun music, but it was also the first step in pole dancing. If I'd been told it was part of the program ahead of time I think I would have said that's not for me, but one of my goals this year is spontaneity. I want to be open to fun, good times and following where my heart is leading and not always my head. 

My work life is very structured. I know I have meetings every Thursday at 10:00 am, as well as the third Tuesday of every other month.  For the last month we've added a standing Friday meeting at 11:00 am and then there's the every other Wednesday meeting at 1:00 pm. There's the prep for these meetings and the notes to review. Is it any wonder spontaneity has gone out of my life? The weekends are structured too, not with exact times, but personal things that need to get done. 

Besides getting laundry done today, I tossed away the list of chores. I went out to lunch, visited blogs, read magazines and decluttered. The decluttering didn't feel like a chore -- as it usually does -- and I made good progress. I don't think a stranger would be struck at my apartment's neatness, but there are a few spots that are definitely neater.   

Here's to finding things that happen naturally and freely, like a smile, in 2013! Have you tried things that were totally off of your plans and was it enjoyable?

Here's to a week of smiles! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

You're Invited! So Don't Be Late...

It's a National Holiday in Buttercupland! It's my fourth Blogaversary.

I'm interrupting "Ten Thoughts..." for a very important date. Tomorrow is the fourth blogaversary of Buttercupland and I can't wait to celebrate, so I'm starting the party a day early. Hurray! 

Thank you all for four fabulous years. I thank you for every comment, visit, email and the wonderful meetings with my blog buddies from all over the world. What an extraordinary treat to meet some of the nicest, most thoughtful folks imaginable. You have all enriched my life immeasurably and I am grateful. Friends, how did I live without all of you? 

I wasn't very certain that I would (en)joy blogging at all, let alone find it a great joy, and I have. Here's to the year ahead. My prayers for a year of laughter and friendship and joy and happy surprises. Thanks for coming along on the ride. 

Let the party begin!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...A (More) Healthy Me

When I began to put my list of ten thoughts together I purposely left out clearing clutter, losing weight, and being thrifty. These are my standbys and I wanted to think about new horizons for this year.  But interspersed with all of my goals -- blogging, traveling and seeing New York -- is having the energy to do these things and (en)joy them.

I am not as healthy as I was last year at this time. I've done well recuperating from my surgery and I'm able, on most days, to walk a mile. I was about to do another round of physical therapy before Hurricane Sandy and then got totally sidetracked. It's time to focus again on recovery. I added more walking to my day and each day that it's nice out I will try and walk a mile and a quarter. It's not huge, but it will help me build up stamina and endurance, and by the summer and my trip to Disney World, I will be much better able to enjoy my dream trip.  

My other goal is to eat healthier. I started off December sensibly and like every other year it ended in an orgy of chocolate, Pepsi and ice cream. I'm tired, chubby and know I could be feeling a lot, lot better. I'm thinking of making a radical change and giving up gluten and/or going to the paleo diet. It would involve a lot more cooking, but I've been awed by the good food featured on my buddy, Change of Pace's blog. She writes about delicious looking healthy food and has really inspired me. Has anyone made a radical change in their diet? I'd love to hear about it.

I've also been looking at Pinterest for inspiration and saw this recipe, which doesn't look like any hardship to eat.

Source: fitchicla.net via Sarah on Pinterest

Wishes for a happy, healthy evening!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...Exploring New York City

City Hall Park, Lower Manhattan

I want to explore and (en)joy New York City, just like these two explorers.

One of my concerns about retirement has been financial, and specifically having money to travel. Now that I have the time, will I be able to afford the trips I have been dreaming about taking? The rational side of me realized that even if I never left New York City there was so much to do, and the thought of being a tourist in my own city was wonderful. That was the thought of the rational side, but the side of me that wants to see the world never believed it. Today I began the journey to believe this and celebrate it. 

I was in Lower Manhattan for a meeting just a few blocks from the Park pictured above. I was going home after the meeting and I had nowhere I had to be at any time. I could just enjoy my walk to the subway and really look at the historic sights around me. And I did...I'd worked in Lower Manhattan for over ten years -- in four different locations -- and enjoyed  it a lot. Sometimes I stopped and savored the sights, but most of the time I was rushing to the office, to a meeting or to the subway to get somewhere and often, I was late. This afternoon I realized that the days of rushing would be a lot fewer and there would be time to savor. 

Will I miss the rushing? I am sure that there will be times I will miss all of the activities, but there will be new meetings, people, sights and time to enjoy them in the city I so enjoy. 

   Benjamin Franklin stands across from City Hall Park

City Hall as seen from City Hall Park

These are some of my favorite places in New York City. What are some of your favorites in your town?

Take good care and have a cozy evening!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...Visiting Disney

For a number of years I've thought I was the last person in the United States who had neither been to Disneyland or Disney World. I did spend a day at EuroDisney in the 1990s and had a great time, but never made it back to another Disney park closer than Paris. As a little girl I was mesmerized by "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights and loved "It's a Small World" at the 1964 World's Fair. My dream growing up was to go on my honeymoon to Disneyland. I've traveled a lot, but alas no honeymoon or trip to Disneyland.

As I've written about before, last summer I had surgery for a spinal cord tumor. I resolved to read nothing about the condition before the surgery and stuck to it, so as not to scare myself before the procedure. But afterwards I had a lot of questions and figured there was an on-line support group. I found the Facebook page for the Spinal Cord Tumor Association and what a wonderful find it was. Everyone understood exactly what I was experiencing and everyone was supportive. I found people literally all over the world for answers to my questions. It was a true gift.

In July the group will celebrate their tenth anniversary at Disney World and I will no longer be the last person in America who has yet to visit one of the parks. I'm thinking of a staying a few extra days and spending a day at Epcot or Universal. Any and all suggestions gratefully received. Any Disney fans in Buttercupland?  And yes, I'm excited just thinking about it!

We had a relatively mild day today and tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 50s. Yahoo! I am so happy in the winter for every day without snow, and every day that brings us closer to spring. Take care and have a beautiful Tuesday.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...Museums

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in winter past

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is visit museums. I have chosen travel destinations based on the museums, and sometimes the specific art contained in those museums. I can't remember ever being disappointed. New York is the home of great museums. I spend the most time at the Metropolitan Museum. When I first moved to New York in 1975 I lived five blocks away. In the first few years I would visit almost every Saturday and became very familiar with the permanent collection. 

The American Museum of Natural History

In 1976 I got a job working in the anthropology department of the American Museum of Natural History. What a fabulous experience! It was as though I was living "Night at the Museum" though Teddy Roosevelt -- pictured on the horse -- never spoke to me. I was fortunate enough to work there for two years and it was one of the best jobs ever.

As the years have gone by I have done less and less museum visiting, to my great detriment. I do get to a museum about once a month, but with the wealth of riches available to see that's just not enough. In addition to seeing more exhibits, I hope to become a museum volunteer. It probably won't be at the Metropolitan Museum. The training class to be a docent is rigorous and long. The docents give free tours in various areas of the museum which are world class and they work to ensure that these tours are of high quality. But there are many other museums that would be interesting. I enjoy history as well as art and have been looking at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the New York Historical Society. Is anyone else in Buttercupland a museum volunteer?

The weekend seems to have flown by. Errands, coffee with a friend, my movie marathon and blogging...it just went too quickly, but what fun! Hope your weekend was as much fun as mine and that your week holds only good times. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...Blogging

If I chose one single resolution for 2013 it would be to blog often and to blog well. Blogging has been a consistent joy in my life. It's pushed me to learn a lot; take lots of pictures, which I've thoroughly enjoyed and through it I've met some of the nicest people in my life. It's as though I'm going to a fun party when I blog. I don't know who I will meet or what the topic of conversation will be, but I know both will be (en)joyable, and life is too short to skip fun parties.

And to blog well...One of the great joys of blogging is finding a writing voice that is authentically mine. I've spent close to forty years writing either for other people's signature or in the official style of government agencies. I've written letters, brochure copy, newsletters and now, I've added copy for our agency website. It's been a wonderful opportunity and I am very grateful that I have been able to incorporate writing into my professional life. But it hasn't been my voice. Over the years my voice got lost and I've so enjoyed finding it again. I want to strengthen it and use it. It has been a gift of this blog.

Moving forward I have two specific blog intentions. I hope to do a blog redesign and appreciate any suggestions for designers that you may have worked with. The second is that I will be attending BlogHer '13 in Chicago this summer and am already looking forward to three days of all-blogging discussion. Midwestern bloggers, please think about joining me. It is a terrific time.

Several folks asked about what states I have yet to visit. They are (in no particular order) Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Anyone want company? Just kidding -- sort of!

Today was all-spy movie Saturday. I saw both "Argo" and "Skyfall." Enjoyed both very much. As a footnote, I'm a long time James Bond fan, and am so enjoying Daniel Craig as Bond.

Hope you found lots to enjoy today and that your Sunday is warm and cozy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ten Thoughts...St. Paul MN

 Buttercup enjoying St. Paul, MN

This year I want to continue to see America. There are still eight states I haven't visited and I definitely want to try to get to one of them. Instead of focusing on the yet-unseen states I decided to write about one of the places I have visited, beautiful St. Paul, Minnesota, and tell you a little bit about why I enjoy travel so much. 

I love the going, but I also love the planning. I am a careful planner and like to choose where I will be staying. For hotels in St Paul MN this is a great website to look at. I lean to the classic hotel when possible. I loved staying at The Saint Paul Hotel, which dates to the nineteenth century and is in downtown St. Paul. 

Ironically, as much as I am a planner I also love discovery. I had done a lot of research before I traveled to Minnesota and had a number of places to visit on my list. And as much as I enjoyed the places on my list, the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis and the Guthrie Center, one of my best discoveries and favorite memories and definitely favorite set of photos are the statues of the characters from "Peanuts" in St. Paul. They honor "Peanuts" creator, Charles Schulz, who grew up in St. Paul.  

When I was growing up reading "Peanuts" was one of my great pleasures. It was the first comic I read in the paper every day and my dear friend, K. and I often still exchange cards with the "Peanuts" characters for holidays. It's rare that Halloween goes by without a card featuring the Great Pumpkin.  

Peppermint Patty

Linus and Sally

I visited St. Paul almost six years ago and only spent a long weekend there -- too short a visit -- but looking at these photos reminds of how much I enjoyed my visit and also of how much fun the discoveries of travel are. Sometimes you turn a corner and there's a cute restaurant or store, or a flock of sheep or if you're really lucky, you come face to face with some of your favorite folks from the world of imagination, as I did in St. Paul. 

What are some of your favorite memories of discovery from trips that you've taken?

This is a sponsored post, however, all the points and views are my own. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ten Thoughts for 2013...Books, Books, Books

I read more in 2012 than in 2011, but less than I'd like to read. Almost forty years ago I worked in one of the Cokesbury bookstores in Nashville and I read four or five books every week. Those days are long gone, but there are still so many books I'd like to read. I'm going to build my reading and love of books into this blog. I'm not going to make it solely a book review blog, but every week I will be writing about a book that I am reading. I may slip from time to time and I will revisit a book that I've enjoyed in the past that I'd like to share.

I'm also inviting all of you to share the books that you have read that you've enjoyed. I'm looking for guest bloggers. It can be a mystery novel, cook book or a children's book you're sharing with your grandchildren. It can be three sentences or three paragraphs. Calling all readers, there's a place for you in Buttercupland. I'm looking to start the weekly, "I'm Reading...What are you Reading?" at the end of next week. Please don't be shy.
Any volunteers?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ten Thoughts...England

As I was thinking about the year ahead -- that is now here -- I made a list of ten items that I'd like to focus on in 2013. It was total free association. If I could do anything, where would I put my focus? It's not a super practical list. It doesn't include lose weight, declutter and be thrifty. Those are "shoulds" for me and take no imagination. It wasn't everywhere I'd like to travel or actually places that I am planning to visit. Rather it was ten things that came to mind that I would really (en)joy. Starting tonight I am going to do a post for the next nine days and share my list. In no particular order...


I want to plan to visit England -- and Scotland and Wales. I've never been to Bath or Oxford or the Lake Country and one can't go to the Victoria and Albert Museum too many times. There are friends to visit and places I've only read about in Wordsworth's poetry I'd like to see. I don't think that it's a trip for 2013, much more likely 2014, but I want to read about places to visit. I want to read English novels and dream about seeing my English friends. I want to savor the planning and enjoy thinking about the fun I will have taking the train all around the beautiful English countryside.

What's your dream trip for 2013? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

(En)joy...My Perfect Word for 2013

No, I don't know Lucy and Sam, but these fun decorations caught my eye on Pinterest and nicely illustrate my word for 2013. My word(s) for last year were (Embrace) Change. I started with all good intents, but friends, I failed miserably. I didn't embrace change, but rather got pushed along by the winds of change, kicking and screaming. I was nowhere close to any embrace of change. Yes, there were several major issues that were challenges, challenges of illness and natural disaster. But the big looming personal issue of retirement rose like a shadow over the year. I had a number of solid reasons for postponing it, but in back of it all, I am scared of loneliness and worried about money. There, it's out in the open.

I am by nature serious, and, at times quite a worrier. It's served me well at work, where being a worrier is often useful. But it's not fun. As I move forward into this next phase it's time for less worry and more fun. It's time for joy and to enjoy all the days that are given to me. (En)joy!

For the next ten days I will be posting about the ten things I want to explore in 2013. Some have to do with this blog -- nothing earth shattering -- just a few things I would like to add. Others are about places I hope to visit and things I want to do.

The new year is off to a good start. The day is clear and I walked a mile in the course of my errands. Walking has been difficult and it felt great to be able to accomplish this. It was easy last year at this time to walk a mile and I want it to be just as easy in the new year. I went to Michael's -- Valentine's Day is just around the corner -- Home Goods and Whole Foods. I tried a new bagel store in the neighborhood and they had great coffee. I've had a wonderful time visiting blog buddies all over the world. That latter especially is a joy and I wish you all...

Joy in 2013