Friday, August 30, 2013

I Will So Miss...

...these peaceful days on the river. So grateful for the opportunity to be here. Thanks, K and J.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Days on the River

Our original plan for yesterday was a trip to Ottawa, a favorite city. But the one thing I forgot to bring was my passport. What used to be a quick trip over the border isn't any longer. K had a terrific alternate adventure and instead we went south to Sackets Harbor, an important site in the history of the War of 1812. I'm saving more on the War of 1812 for a later post, but I found our visit fascinating. This is a beautiful town and we had lunch overlooking the marina. We couldn't have had a prettier day.

I am enjoying sunny quiet days on the river. I love my life in New York, but I'm struck by the difference in noise levels. I thought I had trouble sleeping because that's just what happens as I got older. I've had no trouble sleeping here at all, and I'm sure the quiet is a big factor. I'm walking down the road for a haircut in a few minutes. One of K's neighbors has a salon in her home and I enjoy my yearly visits. We'll grill outside tonight and watch the river as we eat our burgers. I can't think of a calmer evening. 

Wishes for calm and peaceful evening to all. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

College Days

No, not my college days. One of my pre-retirement thoughts was getting a graduate degree, but I've put that thought aside indefinitely, probably forever. I did have a very nice afternoon on an excursion to St. Lawrence University, and enjoyed my visit a lot.

The last photo is the river and the dock once again. Today we had sun and I'm enjoying capturing this scene in every gradation of light. Tomorrow we've got an expedition planned to a pretty river town. I promise there will be pictures.

Wishes for a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

In the North Country...

I'm in one of my favorite places anywhere. I'm rocking on a glider and this is my view, the St. Lawrence River and Canada on the far side. I'm spending the week with some of my favorite people anywhere, K. and Jess. We'll do some excursions, but I'm very content just to rock and watch the river flow.

Wishes for a week of contentment.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pink (Yarn) Saturday

In the last month of work people asked me what I would do once I retired. I had a number of things in mind -- primarily exercise and blogging -- but most people looked at me as though I had two heads when I said I wanted to blog. I then came up with a new response that was true, but not the top of my list. I told people I wanted to learn to crochet and write a novel. I've started an outline for a novel -- pretty amazing, but true -- but I haven't done anything about learning to crochet. The thought of touching wool in the summer was beyond me. I know people knit and crochet in warm weather, but it wasn't for me.

The other day I was at Michael's and the idea of crocheting came back to me. I was transfixed in the yarn aisle. Sensible me thinks I should make a scarf or hat in a sensible color, with sturdy wool. Something like this...

But fun me fell in love with this pretty pink yarn...

...and especially this pretty pink yarn. 

I'm not quite sure what to make with this, but I love the soft, sweet colors. Any suggestions, dear crafty crocheting blog friends?

I definitely got inspired to take the crocheting lessons I've been thinking about. Someone's going to look pretty in pink. 

Happy to join Pink Saturday once again for some blogging fun. It's been a nice Saturday in Buttercupland. I went to services this morning and had a great time catching up with friends I hadn't seen much of this summer. I'm almost inspired to entertain over the upcoming holidays. I enjoyed lunch with a blog buddy and happily blog visited this evening. I even found a few new blogs -- to me -- that look terrific.  

Wishes for a fun Sunday!

(Quite) Random Five Friday

Welcome to Random 5 Friday. Yes, I know it's Saturday, but luckily we're not too late to join Nancy and our blogger buddies for the fun.

1) Survived a shopping trip that included the Nike Discount Store. I have a number of orthopedic issues and sneakers are the mainstay of my shoe wardrobe. I waded through what seemed like millions of pairs of sneakers, running shoes, training shoes and walking shoes...

...and found one that felt great. Mission accomplished!

2) I am somehow surprised that the summer has flown by and it's almost fall. I've always believed that fall begins with the start of school and in New York that's usually after Labor Day. The Jewish New Year begins in ten days and my blog buddies, Trish and Sheilagh will be here in less than a month. Happy September!

3) I have a few new blog ideas for the fall. I'm going to try and add more book reviews. Writers out there, please be in touch. I'd be happy to feature your book.  There will be a series -- yes, three or four! -- giveaways starting on Labor Day. I've got a fun one thanks to folks at Orbit Gum, a book giveaway and a surprise or two.

4) I've so enjoyed all the walking I've been doing this summer. So much so, that I'm thinking of participating in a 5K in November. I'm not quite sure if I'm up to it, but I'm giving myself a week to make the decision. It's for one of my favorite causes and am thinking of doing a post each week about this great cause. Still pondering...

5) Halloween candy is starting to appear. I am so tempted by my favorite...Reese's! Though, Mr. Goodbar is in close pursuit. So far I'm restraining myself, and continue to restrain my self on the issue of the cronut.

Wishes for a Sweet Saturday!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Confessions of a (Re) Forming Run-Arounder

A run-arounder -- a term I coined this morning -- is not what you think. I just thought I'd perk up this day that started out rainy and dreary with a racy title. At least a racier title than I generally put on a post.

I've been a little fanatic about putting structure in my retired life. My work life -- in the last three jobs I've had -- has been extremely structured. For the last nineteen years I was part of a government agency that was based on military structure, with most of the employees wearing uniforms, and we even had badges. Surprisingly, I did okay with it. We operated a large system that ran 365 days a year. Snow, sleet and rain didn't stop us. We only closed for two hurricanes and a strike. There was always something to do and generally more than I could get done in a day.

One of my biggest worries was that I would retire and become a complete slug. I would play games, watch television and eat candy all day, every day. I would go from one hundred miles an hour to zero. I couldn't comprehend that I might settle at a nice cruising speed, with a few fast turns and some idling, and that would be just fine. Actually, that would be great.

I became a "run-arounder," even in retirement. I ran around a lot, and just like my working days. I kept to a tight schedule, even if there were mornings I just wanted to watch "Today." Thursday mornings at 9:05 a.m. are for exercise class and no slacking off. This morning I heard the alarm at 7:30 and saw the rain coming down. It was gray and dreary and I turned off the alarm, flipped on "Today," and enjoyed being at home. I think I'm starting to get it. I don't have cruise control yet, but I'm getting there and it's sweet.

One thing I did find on my neighborhood walk today is that the "cronut" has become part of our landscape. It is a doughnut/croissant with cream filling. It is also a nutritional nightmare. I will probably break down at some point and try one, but I am happy to announce that I walked by the store not once, but twice and did not buy one. Maybe when Trish and Sheilagh are here, we can buy one for the three of us. They are the food fad for this summer.

Tomorrow I'm off on a shopping expedition. My list is pretty practical. I've got new sneakers at the top, followed by a black sweater. They are the two basics of my wardrobe. No worry, I'll be back for Random 5 Friday, one of my favorite parts of the week. Have a great Friday! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Semi-Wordless Wednesday...Visiting Coney Island

I'm not sure what I've been doing for the last few days...lunch with a friend, two exercise classes, lots of iced coffee and lemonade and two new pairs of exercise pants. I'm especially pleased with the latter, bought at the K-Mart summer clothing sale for $7.59 each and they're just what I wanted.

Last Saturday night I was in Coney Island....

Yes, that's the original Nathan's hot dogs.

I was there for a Brooklyn Cyclone's game. The Cyclones are a minor league team for the Mets. I was also there to celebrate my friend Mike's fiftieth birthday. We celebrated in a suite -- I've never been to a game and sat in a suite -- and it was a lot of fun. We had a visit from Sandy, the mascot of the team... 

...and thoroughly enjoyed the celebration. The setting for the ballpark is fabulous, with the beach on one side and the Coney Island attractions on the other sides. The evening ended with spectacular fireworks and a great time was had by all. 

Rides are in the background and the beach is to the right. 

The Parachute Jump which has just been redone with 8,000 lights. The colors and patterns change and it is an extraordinary sight. 

I guess I'm not even semi-wordless today, but that's my title and I'm sticking to it. Have a terrific Thursday!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pink (Melon) Saturday on Sunday

Even though it's Sunday it's time to join Pink Saturday for some weekend fun. I had such a good time in Astoria on Thursday, that I suggested to my friend, Mary, that we have dinner in Astoria on Friday night. It was a beautiful summer evening and we had a great time walking on 30th Avenue and window shopping. I especially enjoyed the open air markets and took some pictures to share.

I was looking for "pink" foods for this post and thought the watermelon would be just right. I was also taken with the red beans for a pink post.

I've never seen red beans before. Is anyone familiar with them?  

Though these dates aren't pink, I was quite taken with them and thought they would be fun to include in this post, too. 

 I didn't buy any of these fresh dates, but I may need to make a return visit to get them.  

Mary and I had dinner in a terrific Greek restaurant. The food was great and I especially liked that the sides were open and there was a breeze. There are so few days when it's just the right temperature to enjoy outdoor/almost outdoor dining and Friday night was one of those nights. We also saw a very interesting Indian restaurant and I'm planning a return visit to eat there soon. 

Yesterday was a terrific day. I attended services in the morning and celebrated the upcoming wedding of the son of a friend and attended a fiftieth birthday party in the evening. I will be posting about the party in more detail tomorrow. 

I hope you, too, have had a good weekend and here's to celebration!   

Friday, August 16, 2013

(Quite) Random 5 Friday

It's a beautiful Friday afternoon in New York and it's time to join Nancy and friends for Random 5 Friday. 

1) I had dinner with work buddies in Astoria, Queens last night. It is a very diverse and fun neighborhood and I enjoyed seeing the mix of magazines at the corner stand.

 I couldn't identify all of the languages I saw.

2. I also saw some television filming -- one of my favorite things to encounter -- when I walked to the restaurant from the subway. They were filming "The Blacklist" which will air in the fall. James Spader stars in it, and no, I didn't see James Spader.

3) I never realized how many times the phone rings during the day. There is an election in New York in September and I think I've gotten calls from everyone running at least several times. There is also someone who calls frequently telling me I've won a health alert system. Thanks, no thanks. 

4) It's almost time to get the dehydrator out and start making kale chips. I'm a fan of kale chips -- never thought I would say that -- and at an average price of $6.95 a small package I've decided to make them. I'm just waiting for it to get a little cooler. 

5) After my two flight delays this summer I said I would never fly again. That lasted at least two days and I'm researching some very fun destinations. No details yet, but I love the research. 

That's my random August life. Thankful for the sweet days of summer and thankful for all of you who stop by and visit. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday...

...and it's almost Thursday. But there's still time for a picture of the minions. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Do You Have SideTrackitis?

I do!

I had a plan for this afternoon. I got home from exercise classes/manicure/grocery shopping. I was going to eat lunch, read my email and then blog. Somewhere in the middle of reading my email I decided to start looking at vacations for next summer. There was a logical sequence of reading an email from a friend and looking for a link to send to her. By the time I looked up an hour had gone by. No blogging and it was time to stretch and move away from the computer. I watched the news and did the Times crossword puzzle. 

I know I have the freedom to spend an unstructured afternoon/day/week, but I find myself so often sidetracked, and not getting done things I want to do around the house. The first few weeks of retirement I kept lists of things I wanted to do, but since coming home from BlogHer I've stopped my lists. I am getting to exercise class. I am seeing friends and doing my volunteer work. Clothes get washed and groceries are bought, but not a whole lot of other things. As overly structured as it seems I need a list of things I like to do at home -- reading, blog visits and notes to friends. Of course there's the mighty decluttering project. Just about anything can sidetrack me there and that's one place I need to add to my list. 

How do you organize your time at home and find a balance between relaxation and getting to the things you like to do? Any tips greatly appreciated!

Wishes for a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

It Looks Like the Beach...

...but I'm only a quick subway ride away!

I had two projects yesterday. The first was to visit one of my favorite places in Manhattan, the Marina at the World Financial Center. I love sitting at one of the tables in the plaza -- where I took this picture -- drinking coffee and watching the yachts. It's a quick and extremely inexpensive trip to the French Riviera. I didn't make it all last year and this year, because of Hurricane Sandy, there is a lot of construction. But it was a beautiful day and I enjoyed sitting outside and reading the Sunday New York Times. 

  Just in case I was apt to forget I was in Manhattan, if I turned to the right I could see the World Financial Center. This area is built on the landfill from the World Trade Center.

My second project was to try and find exercise clothes that fit. That, my friends, will be quite a project. I know I can order any number of pants and shirts, but I foresee ordering, sending back and ordering in an endless cycle. I knew Century 21 -- the department store, not the realty company -- had a big selection. This is the store where I had the bathing suit debacle, but I didn't let that stop me. I found, unfortunately, that even extra large is generally for extra large tall people. One pair of pants did fit, but after I found myself almost trapped in a pink glow-in-dark shirt -- what was I possibly thinking ! -- I decided to retreat. I have a couple of other in-person ideas and if they fail, online shopping, here I come. I am happy for any suggestions you might have. This is a new predicament for me. On one hand I am thrilled to need exercise clothes. But on the other hand I never thought they would be so hard to find. I don't think I've bought anything specifically to wear for exercise in decades, and it was a lot easier then.   

I resumed my search today, and the store I found online had gone out of business. Two more places to try. Wish me luck!

I hope you all had a more fruitful day than I did and wish you a terrific Tuesday! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Almost Monday Pink (Museum) Saturday

I wasn't all that busy, but one of my favorite moments of the blog week, Pink Saturday, almost got away from me. Luckily I have four hours -- cutting it a little closer than I normally have -- to be part of the fun.

Dear friends gave me a fabulous retirement present, a year's membership to the Metropolitan Museum. I was just about to join, so we were all tickled at how astute they were in choosing this gift. To celebrate I joined my friend Nancy at the museum on Friday and we dined elegantly in the member's dining room. It was so quiet and elegant that I felt funny taking pictures and alas, have none to share.

But there are wonderful pink pictures to share. The Museum is going through significant renovation and the signage couldn't be more pink.

The Museum stretches five blocks along Fifth Avenue

Perfect Pink (Saturday) Signage

We weren't the only people who decided to go to the museum on Friday. It was crowded just about everywhere. We decided to go to a gallery we don't generally visit -- Nancy usually goes to the American Wing and I gravitate to the European collection -- and we went to the Asian collection. We spent a very happy hour seeing treasures from India and Thailand. It wasn't crowded and we saw some fabulous pieces. I so enjoyed it that it got me once again thinking about a trip to Southern India, which has long been on my to-visit list. 

I hope your weekend was a good one and sending wishes for a happy and healthy week.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

(Semi) Random 5 Friday

Once again it's time for Random 5 Friday. Stop over and visit Nancy and the Random Fivers and have some of the most fun you can have without calories.

1) However, speaking of calories...

Is it any wonder I make so little progress on the calorie issue? The sign called to me -- especially nutella -- but I said no thank you. I'm not sure I can keep resisting. It's only a block away from where I wait for the bus after exercise class.

2) Speaking of exercise class...I left after half the class today. It was all aerobics, never my favorite, and I was just lost. I thought four days a week would work for me, but I see that the Tuesday and Thursday classes are the best for me. I haven't tried the gentle yoga class on Tuesdays, but am looking forward to trying it next week.

3) Another exercise thought...I've actually gone to six classes and it looks like a keeper. I've started a lot of exercise classes in the last few decades, but I'm not sure I attended six classes at any of them. I didn't get any exercise clothes, not knowing if I would keep going, and it's time I try on some stretchy things that are easy to wash, and then dry quickly. This is one of my projects for the next week.

4) I'm trying not to jump into the autumn, but I've started to think about the new apple crop. Love the first crisp apples of the season.  

5) One of my favorite sights on New York City streets are dog walkers and dogs. This group was on Park Avenue this afternoon.

Hope you had fun with today's Random Five. Please stop by tomorrow for a trip to the Metropolitan Museum and wishes for a great Saturday.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's Time to Be Home

When I was asked at BlogHer what I blogged about my answer was simple. New York City life, my life in New York City and all things city...museums, theater and books. Most of the time that's what I write about. I like to give visitors to Buttercupland a glimpse into life in New York City.

But for the last few weeks -- with one exception -- I've written about everything except New York. We've been to FantasyLand, Chicago and Wonderland. We've met Alice, the Doughboy and Pioneer Woman. All fun, all interesting, but very far afield from urban life. I've had a rough transition being home after two weeks of travel, but as I ran an errand yesterday at Columbus Circle, I had the thought that it was time to be home. For the next few weeks we will resume regular programming, as the television folks say, and visit museums, stroll New York City streets and maybe take a few field trips in the city

  One of my favorite places, Columbus Circle. Named, not surprisingly, for the large monument to Christopher Columbus. It sits in the middle of a large intersection.

Flowering plants surround the statue. Not so long ago the circle was just pavement and not a very welcoming place to visit. It's been renovated and it's lovely. 

We'll stop for a smoothy and sit outside and enjoy our snack. I loved the pictures on the side of the truck. 

This museum relocated here in 2008. It has one of the most interesting museum gift shops I've visited. Lots of original jewelry and ceramics, and not all terrifically expensive. I had a great time looking and could easily have spent a lot more time here. Definitely a return visit is in store.

Today was much quieter. I had lunch with work friends and caught up on email, mail, blogging and even did some decluttering. Tomorrow I'm back to exercise class and the library. Friday is another museum day. It's good to be home! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Yes, Virginia, There is a

Without a doubt I love my book club. I've been a member for seventeen years this fall and I have no desire to leave it. But I have a yen to try another book club. I feel somewhat disloyal thinking this, let alone typing it for the world to see. But in my time of transition I'd like to widen my circle. As one book club organizer wrote, "I've been in book clubs for many years...At this point my dear book friends are fun to be with and share dinner, but we don't always read the same things..."

I wasn't sure where to even begin to find another book club and on a whim I did a google search for I didn't get a site, but I did get a list of book groups on Meetup. For those of you who aren't familiar with Meetup it lists seemingly thousands of groups on any conceivable topic. I've heard of it and looked at a few of the groups, but have never attended one of the events. There were dozens of book clubs. They ranged from one that discussed "Fifty Shades of Grey" -- not for me to the one I found that discussed books that have won the Booker Prize, which is Britain's major literary award. I realize that I'm not really looking for a new book club, because I belong to a great book club, but I am looking for literary discussion, and that is possible to find.

Have you left a group where you have been a member of long-standing? Did you change book clubs or congregations, and if you did, was it a difficult transition?

We had another beautiful summer day today and I will post pictures tomorrow of our blue sky and perfect sunshine. Wishes for a wonderful Wednesday!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Welcome to (My) Fantasyland!

While I am Buttercup most of the time and Stinkweed, Buttercup's not so smiling alter ego, from time to time, tonight you can call me Sleeping Beauty. Yes, you're looking at my castle.

I've been living in Retiree Fantasyland. Without realizing it I have built a number of fantasies about being retired. The first is...If I wasn't working I wouldn't be aggravated. Of course lots of things have aggravated, saddened and depressed me over the last four decades of work that had nothing to do with work. But I had a fantasy that without work I'd be (reasonably) happy all the time. That fantasy went away pretty quickly and I think by the second week of retirement it was gone.

The second fantasy...If I wasn't working I would have time for everything I want to do. I carried this myth until late last week. I got home from Chicago with a long to-do list and realized some of it just wasn't going to get done quickly, or at all. I am not much more efficient than when I was working. I do have more time, but I've added some new things to the mix, and I'm enjoying them. But there's still not time for everything.

The third fantasy...If I wasn't working I wouldn't be tired. I would have a good night's sleep every night and not be tired in the morning. This is my Sleeping Beauty Fantasy. I stopped sleeping well in 2002. I began menopause, lost my waist and stopped being able to sleep through the night. My sleep has gotten much better, but I haven't and won't return to the years of teenage sleep. But forgetting this reality, I had a fantasy that fatigue would be gone. I've been exhausted for most of the last ten months, and as an improvement I'm only tired now. I found myself really tired this morning and realized that some days I will be tired, particularly when I've been very active. The beauty of retirement is that I can say "I'm not going to zip out of the house after 8:00 a.m. -- just like work -- and go to exercise class. I will take it easy this morning."

And the beauty and gift of retirement is the latter, I can take it easy. What a gift!

Wishing you a Tuesday filled with many gifts. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pink (Teapot) Saturday

When this sweet lady gives a tea party, it's the best of times, and it's also pink. 

The centerpiece of the tea party is a pretty in pink teapot. Won't you join me, and Alice and friends for some tea? 

I know it's Sunday, but it's not too late to join the Pink Saturday fun. There are some very pretty in pink posts and I'll be over later to be part of the Pink Saturday good times. These pictures are from my visit to Epcot and Disney two weeks ago.  

Now I'm on to a smoothy, the New York Times and a day with friends in Westchester. Barbecue, here I come! Hope your Sunday is fun, relaxing and sunny!  

Friday, August 2, 2013

(Not Too) Random Five Friday

Thanks to my friend, Nancy, at A Rural Journal, I'm joining the fun at Random Five Friday.

1. I'm lucky Nancy posts Random Five because I've had virtually no blog interest since I got back from BlogHer 13. I have a long list of follow up email I'd like/need to do and I'm not very quickly working through it. I didn't post yesterday and I've barely visited any blogs. In theory I'm an eager blogger, but in reality for the last day I'd rather play games on my phone.

2. I am happy to report that I attended two exercise classes this week. This morning's class had a lot of dance in it and I was totally lost ten minutes into the class. I was always on the opposite foot from our instructor and my arms never seemed to be moving in the right direction. I had trouble learning shuffle-ball -change in first grade tap class, and fifty plus years haven't changed much. I am also happy to report that I wasn't injured, nor did I injure any of my classmates.

3. I did get to the Library yesterday for my volunteer job and I got to participate in a fabulous fundraiser for a wonderful cause, Look Good...Feel Better. This great group provides services to people with cancer to help combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. There are programs all over the world -- the program in France is called Belle et Bien -- and it's positive and upbeat at a very difficult time.

 4. I signed up to meet with the Beauty Editor of Elle Magazine, and yes, it was as much fun as I expected, or possibly more fun. Emily -- I feel we're on a first name basis -- was funny, nice, interesting and had some excellent skin care advice.

5. The event was held at Saks Fifth Avenue and a number of magazines were paired with skincare and makeup companies. Elle was at the LaMer counter and I was delighted. LaMer is an amazing line of skincare and the gift they gave to participants was a fabulous tube of body lotion. It feels so good and the aroma makes me feel I'm on a fabulous exotic beach getaway. 

The LaMer counter

As ever, greetings from New York City on a perfect summer's day. Hope your day holds lots of fun things for you, too!