Monday, March 31, 2014

Nothing Could Be Finer

You Leave the Pennsylvania Station 'Round a Quarter to Four...
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore...

Nothing Could be Finer

Let's start on a Sunlit Sunday or a sunlit Monday, or even a not very sunlit Monday or Tuesday, or any day of the week. Even if it's overcast and gloomy at Pennsylvania Station the sun will be shining somewhere on our journey. 

Our journey -- somewhere across America. The names of the trains are the some of the most romantic words I know. Valentine's Day is sweet to some, but give me the City of New Orleans or the California Zephyr or the Heartland Flyer. I'm off on a magic carpet on a ride of adventure. I'm not sure all that I will see and I don't know who I will meet, but the words fill me with excitement. 

My first train trips were on the New Haven Railroad not quite fifty years ago. It doesn't seem that long ago, but when I put it in writing it is a long time and a different world ago. The stops stick in my mind...Berlin, Wallingford, Meriden and New Haven. These were the first trips I took alone. It was only a distance of forty miles, but I entered a new world. I was fifteen years old and I could go anywhere on the train. 

I've since been as far north as White River Junction, Vermont and as far south as Harper's Ferry, West Virginia on Amtrak enjoying the scenery and the people. I got to see the small towns of America and the beautiful countryside. Yes, it's a lot slower than flying, but you can't see the autumn colors or the sun on a lake when you're flying over the country.  

Now fifteen is a long time past but I can still go anywhere on the train. Here's to the states I've never seen -- to Michigan, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, to New Mexico and North and South Dakota. I'll be coming to see you and I'll be coming on the train. It may be a rainy day in New York, but it will be a sunlit day when I arrive. The journey makes the sunlight. 

To all who took the Sunlit Sunday journey with me, many thanks. You made the sunlight. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Flower Show Pink Saturday

I spent yesterday running around in decidedly non-spring like cold rain, so I'm catching up today with Pink Saturday fun and my visit to the Macy's Flower Show. This year's theme is The Secret Garden and it was definitely worth a trip -- or two! -- to 34th Street to enjoy the beautiful flower displays.

There are magnificent flower displays everywhere. I saw this display above me...

 ...and this display caught my eye, too. 

Here are some of my favorite flowers. I especially enjoyed the orchids mixed in with plants and spring flowers. 

This flowering beauty greeted visitors entering on Herald Square.

I definitely needed the color and beauty of the flowers after our endless winter. I love seeing the shoots coming up and was thrilled to see my first crocus blooming yesterday. Daffodils, please be right behind!

April is going to be a big month in Buttercupland. I'm again joining the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I had a great time last year and met terrific bloggers. The goal is to post daily -- or thereabouts -- in alphabetical order and to meet new bloggers throughout the world as you post. I've been thinking about my theme since last year and I've been taking pictures to prepare for this year's Challenge. If you like to eat -- don't we all! -- and you like New York City you're going to enjoy April in Buttercupland. We'll start with "A" on Tuesday, April 1 and that's no joke.

 There's still time to sign up and join the fun. 

As ever thanks for visiting. Your visits are what make blogging so much fun. Take care and have a great week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Welcome to Midtown Random 5 Friday

Happy, happy, happy it's Random 5 Friday, one of my favorite times of the week. It also may actually be the first Friday of what I hope will really be spring. Yesterday morning was winter, but today really feels like spring. It's in the 50's and I was warm in my lighter jacket. I'm just praying it stays this way because...


...these guys really need a chance. I'm rooting for them! 

2) Yesterday -- the day I hope was the last day of winter -- I braved the cold for the dentist. Her office is not quite two miles from where I live, but the neighborhood changes drastically. It goes from my relatively residential neighborhood to office buildings and more office buildings. The area below 59th Street to 34th Street is considered Midtown, both on the East and West sides of Manhattan. I was surprised to see that in a neighborhood I couldn't imagine more densely packed with buildings there was a lot of construction. I'd been there in the late fall and these changes have taken place since then. 

The view here is from West 58th Street to West 59th Street and Central Park is in the distance. 

These are the new buildings that are going up. I like the mix of shorter buildings and the light they let into the area. 

Old in front and new in back. The buildings couldn't be more different. I don't often get on my preservation soapbox, but the contrast was complete here. My dentist's office is down the block. 

3) Call me odd, but I don't mind going to the dentist. I've got a great dentist and I like all of the staff very much. I'm pretty avid about keeping up with brushing, flossing and wearing the dreaded night guard and thankfully I'm holding onto my teeth. 

4) I'm up to 12 bags of clutter gone.  I'm beginning to see a few places that are coming along and 28 more bags should really make a difference. It's also getting easier to part with things. One of the senior programs is having a sale in May and are looking for knickknacks and I'm going to put a bag together this weekend.  

5) A sneak preview of my pictures from the Macy's Flower Show. 

Please stop by tomorrow for more pictures for my "Pink Saturday" post. 

I hope you enjoyed our tour through Midtown Manhattan and our brief detour to West 34th Street. Now that the weather is warming up I'm hoping to really get around the city. I feel that I've been cooped up for years, though it's only three months. 

As always, thanks for visiting. Take good care and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Please Join Me for a Cup of Tea

I had the great fun of being part of this winter's Tea Cup Exchange. One of the sweetest members of the BlogLand community, Stephanie, put together this opportunity for bloggers from all over the world to exchange tea cups -- and goodies -- with each other. It's fun and it makes the big world smaller, warmer and a brighter and better place. Cannot thank you enough, Stephanie! I took part in the Mug and Tea Cup Exchange in the fall and really enjoyed it. I was wary of mailing a fragile tea cup, but I wrapped it well and was so happy to see that it arrived safely.

Verna, who lives in Michigan prepared a beautiful package for me. What a treasure trove. The center piece is one of the prettiest tea cups I've ever seen.

Verna also included the lace doily and one of the loveliest tea balls I've ever seen.

The package included lots of goodies. Two kinds of tea -- including this great hibiscus -- and napkins with a Paris motif. Verna, how did you know I love Paris?

I'm also a fan of orange spice tea, and was happy to discover a package of teabags in my treasure trove. 

I wish I could give a tea party for all of the women who were part of the Tea Cup Exchange. I know there would be good conversation, smiles and laughter and warm hearts. Verna, thank you for your thoughtfulness and the care you took putting my tea cup package together. You brightened many days of this endless winter Stephanie, thanks for putting the exchange together and for being a sweet friend. 

I often get asked why I blog. My answer is pretty simple. I like to write, and I like the people I get to meet. Our friendships span borders and backgrounds and we make the world a much less impersonal place one comment and one teabag at a time. And on that note I'm going to make a cup of orange spice tea. 

As always, so glad you stopped by to visit. Take good care and have a cup of tea with me across the miles.   

Buttercup, Before and After

When I read that Zyrtec would be sponsoring a makeover for those of us with allergies, ALLERGY FACE, I raced to the computer to sign up. This special afternoon was part of Macy's Flower Show and more fun than I could have imagined. I've had allergies since I was in grade school and I am always looking for anything to cover up my allergy-related dark circles. I also knew that at this point in our endless winter I could definitely use some pampering and a new makeup look for spring.

Let's count this as the before picture. I will spare you my dark circles and pink nose. Today was cold and windy and I was looking wind-tossed when I arrived at Macy's.

I worked with two makeup artists, Jamie Greenberg, #JamieMakeup, who consulted on my color choices and the incomparable Joseph, who worked a miracle with my dark circles and winter worn face.

Jamie and Joseph, makeup geniuses!

To say I was pleased is an understatement. I am beyond pleased. I am elated, and I am especially eager to try out my Benefit mascara.

Joseph and I and a glimpse of the Flower Show

Buttercup, After. Can't have a prettier background than the Flower Show. I will be featuring more pictures of the Flower Show in a later post this week. 

I spent the rest of the day celebrating my friend Mary's birthday, and didn't even mind the cold walking home from the bus. Alas, like Cinderella I'm turning back to "before" as I wash off my makeup for the night. But I've got my beauty tips from Allergy Face to turn me back into a princess tomorrow. Many thanks, Zyrtec, Jamie and Joseph!

As always, thanks for visiting. Wishing you all Cinderella moments!  

Please Note: I did not receive compensation for this event, but did receive products for my participation. My opinions are all my own. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Kim Kardashian...

Dear #KimKardashian,

I rarely get involved in celebrity issues, but every time I look at my Facebook feed for the last two days I see your picture on the cover of Vogue. I'm not here to debate whether you should or shouldn't be on the cover. That's a decision that Anna Wintour needs to make as editor. I pick the posts for Buttercupland and she gets to make the decisions for Vogue. I'm not a very regular reader of Vogue -- I might pick up a copy once a year at the doctor -- and I'm not wildly fashionable, but the dress is lovely and you look very pretty.

What I have been pondering is Anna Wintour's thoughts on your "strength of character." To me there are few things more important than our strength of character. When I think of women with strength of character I think of Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Lyons and Florence Nightingale in the nineteenth century and Helen Keller, Marie Curie and Mother Theresa more recently. They took on great causes and changed the world we live in for the better. They are remembered for their strength of character.

Kim, I'm just an obscure blogger living well outside the world of Vogue covers. But the fame you've accrued gives you the ability to do big things for great causes on a global scale. Please take this opportunity to espouse a cause -- as a new mother you could do so much for children less fortunate than Baby North --and let the light of your strength of character shine beyond the cover of Vogue.

Yours truly,

P.S. Please think twice about getting married at Versailles. It didn't go too well for the last couple who lived there. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

There Is Nothing Like a Monkey Sunlit Sunday

I know I'm a little late to the Sunlit Sunday party, but I spent yesterday out and about on a not so sunlit Sunday in New York. I spent the morning with a friend who is helping me with the decluttering project and went across town later in the day for a dinner get-together. It wasn't just chilly coming home, it was cold. I've gotten nonchalant about gloves and a scarf and I paid the price as I waited for the bus. It's gloves, scarf and knee socks Monday today.

As some of you know I am a fan of monkeys and I've been taking monkey pictures during my travels around New York City. Alas, I've only found stuffed monkeys, but they are cute and they've really cheered up this long, long winter.

Pepe, my favorite monkey is on the left, posed with the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Opus. 

I found Curious George and friends in a window on the way home from yoga. 

Though this cute guy doesn't really qualify as a monkey I think he's perfect for this post, and I can't resist his smile.  

I took this picture during my day at the mall in Florida. Yes, there's nothing like a monkey, but there's nothing cuter than this little guy and his monkey friend. 

I worked in my book collection yesterday and I'm off to the post office to mail five books to new homes. Some are trades on BookMooch and two are going to friends. I also put a bag together to bring over to the library tomorrow and I hope to add a few more later today. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and thanks for comments. Take good care and have a great monkey Monday!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Office Pink Saturday

One of my goals for this first year of retirement is to set up a new place to write and blog. I made my first step this week and bought an office chair. I am embarrassed to admit that for the last fourteen years I've been using one of my dining room chairs at the computer. The new chair did not come assembled and it did not come in three easy-to-put together parts as the salesperson promised. I will work on that hurdle next week, but it is good to be moving forward with my plans.

Besides the completely practical -- having a good chair -- I am dreaming of design ideas. Last week I went and explored and thought of pink as a work space color theme. I am also thinking about green, which would match more of the things I already own. I like the idea of pink or green and either one would be a lot more fun that the office color scheme I left behind of gray and more gray with oatmeal accents.

I like these stacking bins. I'm not exactly sure what I would use them for, but the colors caught my attention. 

I have ideas on how I would use these great boxes, and I like both the pink and the purple. 

I'm not sure that these would be practical -- I'm leaning to having hanging files -- but I love the colors.  

I'm moving along in my 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. I've decluttered four bags for the Salvation Army, three bags of paper and have a bag of paper that needs to be shredded. I actually have extra space in my clothes closet and no intention of filling it. I am looking for another pair of pants for the summer and a black t-shirt, but that's about the extent of the clothes shopping I want to do.

Today was glorious. It was in the low 60s and I saw the first real sign of warm weather, the sidewalk tables on Broadway. I thought it was a little cool in the shade to be sitting outside, but other people were enjoying the warmer weather. There's a prediction of snow for next week, but I'm happy for every sunny day we get.

Thanks so much for joining me for Pink Saturday fun.  Take good care and have a very sunlit Sunday!

This Is What Passes for Spring in the City Random 5 Friday

I know yesterday was Happiness Day, but I'm happy today, too. It was sunny, warmer and it's time for Random 5 Friday. That's an unbeatable combo for me.

1) Pussy willows have always meant spring to me, even when they're stuck in a bucket in one of the most crowded urban settings on the planet. This isn't the prettiest picture I've ever taken, but this was my first pussy willow sighting this year and it's spring to me.

Yes, that's a shadow selfie in the bottom right corner. 

2) I started to do some research on sights to see in Dublin this summer. I'll be there for not quite three days and I compiled a list today that could fill a week easily. I want to leave some time to enjoy a cup of tea, take lots of pictures and do some walking. If anyone has been to Dublin I'd appreciate your thoughts. 

3) I don't think I say this often enough, but I love the comments I get. I'm still laughing over the thought of being rescued by a "hunky fireman" during my chair almost-disaster. My thought at the time was that I was going to be humiliated by a fire truck racing to yoga. But on reconsideration, if they promise to send cute firemen -- aren't they all! -- I'm willing risk intervention by the FDNY.    

4) While we're on the topic of blogging, I'm wondering what happened to my page views this month. I was getting about 200 every day and in the last two weeks the number has dropped to closer to 120. I did a little research and all of the page views from the Ukraine are gone and most of the ones from Russia are gone, too. I never could have predicted that the Ukraine crisis would have an effect on my blog. Has anyone else noticed this trend?

5) I'm looking for a favorite and easy chicken slow cooker recipe. I'm in a cooking slump and need to get out my slow cooker and make something easy and yummy for the tomorrow's dinner and the freezer. I know there are creative cooks in Buttercupland and I welcome your suggestions. 

These five just flew by and I've really enjoyed chatting. As always, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Please Call Me Elastigirl

Now that I've reached sixty plus -- or even when I reached fifty plus -- I am no longer asked what I want to be when I grow up. At fifty I was settled into a career and now that career has wound down and I'm doing exactly what I've wanted to do, writing, and for my own pleasure. I also don't get asked what superhero I'd like to be. That's a question for another time in the life cycle. But I do have a superhero I'd like to be very much.

I'd love to be Elastigirl, one of the heroes of "The Incredibles," a favorite movie. Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl is calm and capable, but above all, this very creaky sixty-three year would love to be as lithe and limber as Elastigirl. I've been thinking of her for the last few weeks, because I took up yoga a few weeks ago. This isn't the first time I've taken yoga classes, but it's the first time since my spinal surgery, and physical therapy. I joined my friend Betsy at the yoga studio she's been going to for chair yoga. I thought it would be doable and for the most part it is, but it's amazed me how many complicated poses can be constructed using one folding chair.

Despite a rocky first class and the near castastrophe of getting my leg caught in the chair -- I had a brief flash of calling the Fire Department to extricate me from the chair -- during the second class, I returned again this week and felt more comfortable. I doubt if I'll come close to Elastigirl, time and tide have guaranteed that, but I'm planning to stick with yoga. It's the closest I will get to being like my idol, at least for this sixty-three year old.

I had a very nice first day of spring. It was warm enough to be outside without gloves and I just wore my lighter winter jacket for errands and my walk. I had a productive 40 Bags day and shredded/discarded a big bag of paper. I also started the book shelves and brought some books to the library for their sale next week. It's time to be ruthless with my books. They're really starting to take over my apartment.

As always, thanks for visiting. Wishing all a bright and balmy first Friday of the spring.

The Sentence I Never Thought I Would Write...

I'm saying it loud, I'm saying it proud...

I Love Spring Cleaning!

I never thought I could write the words love and cleaning in the same sentence, but it's true. I am loving my spring cleaning. 

When I retired last summer my bright and beautiful Goddaughter, J.,  made the very good suggestion that some decluttering was in order for my apartment. I agreed, but decided that I would just enjoy the summer and the huge change in my life. In the fall I'd find a place for the treasures I had brought home from the office and all of the other accumulated stuff. 

The summer flew by and on Labor Day I broke my foot. Walking was  the big problem for the fall. Then the holiday season came along, physical therapy, the Christmas plumbing disaster and the floor issue. Thankfully all of these crises are now behind me and it's the fall-out from moving things around for the new floor installation that pushed the issue. I needed to move things from the living room to my bedroom for the floor to be installed. I can put things pretty much back to where they were before the work was done, but I want to put a lot less back and make some changes. The floor disaster has turned out to be the impetus to purge, declutter and shred and make my apartment roomier. Surprisingly, I am loving the process. 

Some of BlogLand is doing the  40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, and count me in. I didn't plan the timing, but Easter is the goal date and that gives me a month to do the cleaning and decluttering I want to do. Counting the two bags I pulled together for the synagogue collection for the East Harlem explosion relief, I've added another bag of shirts and sweaters and one of kitchen things. I'm taking a bag of books to the library tomorrow and I've shredded two bags of paper. I've got a big -- enormous -- goal in mind for May and this fits my time frame perfectly. I'm keeping my goal private for now, but I do have an appointment next week to discuss what I'd like to do. And yes, I'm excited.  

It's officially spring -- It's very early March 20th -- and I am welcoming my favorite season with the sentence I never thought I would write, I love spring cleaning.

Happy, happy spring. I hope this wonderful season brings you lots of good times, expected and unexpected.

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Where is "The Cloud?"...

...and other mystifying thoughts.

These clouds I can see, but "The Cloud" is a mystery to me. 

One of my major events this winter was getting a new cell phone. It was a totally spur of the moment decision. I walked into one of the phone stores at this corner just to get some information on prices. After a ten minute chat I realized I could save money with little or no downside. I had thousands of pictures on my old phone and the thought of sitting in the phone store while they were transferred seemed to be an endless process. I declined the transfer, because the pictures live in the Google Cloud.

This morning I was thinking about some pictures that I wanted to use and I was happy that they were in "The Cloud." Then it struck me that I really wasn't sure I knew what I was talking about. I'll make an admission that though I have some idea of technology, the details are very murky to me. I still am amazed that I can stand on this street corner and look at Facebook on my phone. I am more amazed that I can send a message to a friend in California or England or India and they can answer me a minute later, all without leaving this corner of my neighborhood. Of course I still find the details of electricity and modern plumbing mystifying, too, along with brain surgery and rocket science.

So much for my musings on technology. Tomorrow my post will return to earth.

 I enjoyed the sunshine today, though it was cold standing on the corner taking this picture. I continued my decluttering and went through several more drawers. I made it to the Salvation Army, the drugstore and the fruit and veggie store. Beautiful strawberries from California!

I hope you had a lovely St. Patrick's Day and a great evening. Thanks for visiting and take very good care. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Florida Sunlit Sunday

I'm happy to join one of the sunniest places in BlogLand, "Sunlit Sunday."

Today was sunny in New York City, but it was barely above freezing. I had my gloves and winter coat and definitely closed toe shoes. I couldn't help but think of last Sunday in Florida. The day was sunlit, warm and beautiful.

This was the view from the parking lot outside the restaurant where we had lunch. We moved on to Del Ray Beach for a leisurely afternoon of iced coffee, strolling and window shopping. No coat, no gloves and no closed toe shoes. What a treat!

Despite the cold today was a very festive day. It was Purim, which commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire centuries ago. The traditional food is the Hamantaschen, Haman's Hat, a triangular pastry. It is traditionally -- for Jews of Eastern European origin -- filled with poppy seeds or prunes. Of course without refrigeration my ancestors had few choices for sweet fillings at the end of the long winter. Now we've branched out into many different flavors and a friend featured Hamantaschen with Nutella filling on her Facebook page. This was always a day of major importance when I was in Hebrew School and we got to dress in costumes. Though the focus might seem to be sweet treats and costumes, the story of deliverance was always read and took center stage in the celebration. 

The window of a local cafe...The Hamantaschen are directly behind the apple crumb pie. #DelsihintheCity  

I'm so glad that you stopped by to visit my corner of New York City. Thanks so much and wishes for a very sunlit week. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sidewalks of New York Pink Saturday

We've got another glorious day in New York City and I spent some time this afternoon enjoying strolling on the sidewalks of New York. I'm always on the lookout for photos for Pink Saturday and over the last few weeks I've found a few pictures during my strolls about town. Delighted to share them with you. 

These bright baskets caught my eye. Definitely one of the most interesting street displays on Broadway. 

The wild pink wig also caught my eye. This was in the window of a store that sells beauty products. 

Not quite a garden party, but love seeing the spring clothes. I indulged when I was in Florida and bought a red dress and a pale blue shirt. Couldn't stay away from bright colors. I've been in darker colors most of the winter and definitely need a change.  Yes, that's my outline in the accidental selfie. 

Despite wanting to be outside every minute, I managed to clear my closet floor and two drawers. My synagogue is doing a clothing drive for people who lost their homes in the East Harlem explosion. This was the kick that I needed to take on this long overdue task. I found four pairs of black suede flats. Three of them are barely worn and two are going to a new home. Next stop, kitchen cabinets.

I hope you're having a great Saturday, too. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!  

Friday, March 14, 2014

"The Chew" and More Chew Random Five Friday

After a busy, busy week it's happily time for Random 5 Friday, always a favorite part of my week. Without further ado...

1) I started Wednesday morning with an early on-time to see the "Katie Couric Show." I got there before my scheduled time, but the other people with tickets got there much earlier than I did and all the seats were taken. I was offered a ticket to "The Chew,"  and I happily took it. Sarah Evans cooked chicken with Chef Michael Symon. I sat in the row in back of the guests who got to sample the food and everything looked delicious.

After the taping of "The Chew."

Chef Michael Symon and a fan after the taping

2) Wednesday morning was an almost spring day and as I was walking on West 66th Street after the taping I saw someone who looked very familiar. All I could think was, "There goes the 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air,' and yes, in that moment I realized I was looking at Will Smith. It took place in the blink of an eye and I was too stunned to get my phone out for a picture.

3) I was filled with energy on Wednesday. I had just about forgotten how much more energized I am in nice weather. It was much easier to be up and out and around town on an almost spring day. Yesterday was twenty degrees and all I wanted to do was take a nap and drink tea.

4) I am in a spring cleaning and clearing mode and this weekend it's my shoes and boots. I'm dreaming of a neat closet floor.

5) I've gotten an idea to photograph food I see around New York City. I'm thinking of calling my food pictures, Delish in the City (#delishintheCity.) My inspiration were these pretty containers of all things, vegetable yogurt. I didn't buy them -- $2.99 a container -- but I did take pictures.

Blue Hill Tomato Yogurt and...

 ...Butternut Squash and Parsnip Yogurt. I did a double take at the flavors on the containers. 

Not bad for one week..."The Chew," Will Smith and Parsnip yogurt. What will next week bring?

As always, thanks for stopping by. Take very good care and have a great weekend.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm Dreaming of BlogHer '14

I went to my first BlogHer in 2011. It was a whim, but a whim that was the start of lots of fun, friendship and learning.

This was one of my favorite moments in San Diego...

I got to meet Giuliana Rancic during her visit to BlogHer '11

The next year we were in New York City, just a few miles from home. I wasn't permitted to fly following surgery, so this worked out perfectly. There were lots of favorite moments, but this one really makes me smile. 

It's not every day I get to meet one of my favorites from literature. 

Last year we were in beautiful Chicago. We were blessed with perfect weather and a great conference. This is one of my most memorable moments from BlogHer '13.

This July I will be in San Jose for BlogHer '14. I am especially looking forward to hearing Kerry Washington and Arianna Huffington, but I am also looking forward to meeting bloggers, learning a lot and having a lot of fun. Anyone joining me?

Thanks for all the good wishes and concern following yesterday's explosion. I can't thank you all enough for your kindness and outpouring of prayer and good thoughts.

As always, thanks for visiting and take very good care.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's Quiet in My Corner of New York City

I had a day of fun and errands planned for today, and for the most part that is how the day went for me. I was in the audience at The Chew this morning, treated myself to coffee out and then took the bus to Michael's. It was quiet at Michael's and I happily browsed the card supplies. My next stop was Whole Foods and I relished the relative quiet of being there at noon on a weekday. I floated through the aisles and the short line to check out my groceries. I had a fruit cup and enjoyed seeing a table of new mothers and their sweet babies. But at the same time I checked CNN and answered messages from friends who worried about my proximity to the explosion in East Harlem.

I saw an ambulance or two, but not a swarm of them. There was no entourage of police cars or fire trucks, just a few taxis and cars.  Only two miles away from the explosion this was the scene.

There was one lone taxi...

...and the usual afternoon dog walkers.

From these placid scenes it's hard to imagine that hell that was only two miles away. Here there was no smoke, no fire, no sirens. Only two miles away from the explosion it was just a relatively warm March afternoon, with school buses soon to arrive.  Not so different from September 11. It took more than a few miles then to lose the scent of smoke, but on that day five miles took me from hell to a beautiful late summer day.     

I had a post set for today, but real life has pushed it off until tomorrow. Pesky real life. Though days and weeks now go by and I almost forget about September 11. Not completely, but enough to push it way to the back of my consciousness. Then pesky real life and sirens and explosions happen just a few miles from home.

I am grateful, very grateful, that it is quiet in my corner of New York City. I am praying for those injured, those still missing and those who lost their homes. I grieve for those who died.

Wishing you all quiet, peace and safety.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

And to Think that I Saw it on 89th Street...

Yes, yes, yes!

It's sixty five degrees today, and truly balmy. I was coming home from a grocery excursion and thought, "It's warm enough for the spring flowers to start peeping up." As I was chasing the thought out of my mind I realized it didn't hurt to look at the beds around the trees. And sure enough...signs of spring! I like all flowers, but have a special fondness for the flowers of spring. They are hardy and courageous and such a blessing after the snows of winter. One day the beds are all brown and there's nothing and one day these brave little flowers are here. 

Wishes for lots of signs of spring!

As always, thanks for visiting and take very good care. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Writing Process

Today I'm joining the Writing Blog Tour  to share my thoughts on my writing process. It was fun to reflect on the process instead of being involved in the writing process.

1) What am I working on?

I've tabled the mystery novel I started in the fall. I hope to get back to it -- there's a Christmas theme -- in the next few months. I've been working on a monthly piece for Manilla blog for the last two months and even though they are short pieces it's taken a lot of time and thought. I'm also trying to pull together a workbook on preparing for retirement. There's no date for the latter, but it's definitely on my agenda for 2014. This blog is the center of what I write and despite my sometimes absences, it's the base for everything else and the place I find the true north of my writing voice.

2) How does my work different from others of its genre?

It's my voice and composed of my thoughts and experiences. I've been making notes about mystery novels for a blog post and there are lots of mysteries and lots of authors. They all write mystery novels, but Janet Evanovich is different from Ian Rankin is different from Patricia Cornwell.

3) Why do I write what I do now?

I added the now to the question.  Really simply, I like these genres. I wrote as part of my job for years. I wrote letters, I wrote reports, I wrote for a newsletter and I wrote for our corporate website. I didn't always find these things especially fun and really didn't find some of the endless rewrites fun, but that was the job and I was glad to be paid to write and eventually, edit.

4) How does your writing process work?

Sometimes words just flow and I find I have a blog post that practically wrote itself. Other times, I make myself sit at the computer until the words are written down and a coherent, possibly good, article/post has emerged. I don't think of myself as wildly creative, but I've found the more I discipline myself the more creative I get. I can't wait for the muse to land on my shoulder.

I know there are great writers out in Buttercupland, and there's still time to be part of the Writing Blog Tour. The next posts are Monday, March 17. Please leave me a comment if you're interested.

I'm back in New York after my very fun weekend in Florida. Loved the weather, the company and seeing new sights. Happily, I came home to sunny and relatively warm weather here.

And since this post is about creativity...

I spent a very fun afternoon in Delray Beach yesterday and saw Mona Lisa reinterpreted at a local ice cream store. With apologies to Mr. Da Vinci. 

What are your thoughts on your writing process? Inquiring bloggers want to know!

As always, thanks for visiting. Have a great week and take very good care. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mall Time Pink Saturday

I'm still in Florida and can't actually link up with Pink Saturday, but have two pictures I'd like to share from my mall day yesterday. I find I'm always on the lookout for all items pink. The mall had some great pink sights and these two pictures especially caught my eye. 

There was lots of fabulous luggage in the window, but I only had eyes for the pink print. These would be so easy to find on the luggage carousel. 

I love the pretty in pink pocketbooks in this window. They definitely look like spring. 

It's close to summer here. Today was beautiful. It was in the 70's and barely a hint of humidity. No coat, boots or gloves. We sat outside for coffee this morning, and I loved not wearing a sweater. Hope your day was equally enjoyable.

Thanks for visiting and have a sunlit Sunday!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Travel Time Random 5 Friday

It's one of my favorite times of the week, Random 5 Friday. I'm out of town and can't officially join the link up, but I want to be part of the fun.

1) I'm happy to be spending a long weekend visiting my friend Sue in Florida. It's truly a balmy 75 degrees, and the first thing I thought when I walked outside this morning was that it was too hot. Bad me, after all my negative thoughts about being cold for the last two months. Very bad me.

2) Though I thankfully had a good flight, I miss the old days of flying...

3) ...but I love having my kindle on the flight and traveling with an entire library. Love it!

4) Slept under a ceiling fan last night. One of the joys of life.

5) I'm spending the day at a very glitzy mall while my friend works. I've got a lunch date and I'm looking for summer clothes -- on sale, of course. I don't do malls very often living in New York and this is a treat. 

Hope the weekend holds lots of treats for you. As always, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Calling All Writers...

...Or just three brave souls. On a whim last week I answered the call to be part of a blog tour for writers.  I'm enjoying the blog that's this week's focus, Wendy Karasin -- Musings of a Boomer  very much. The questions are interesting and as I've been thinking about them this week, it's been useful to put together my thoughts on why I write. I'll be posting my answers next week and the names of three people who would like to take part. It's fun and not too hard and a great way to meet interesting bloggers. Please raise your hands...or leave a comment and I'll be in touch with you for a little background to post. I'll be doing my post next Monday, March 10 and ideally would love your information a few days before that.

As promised we have a winner for the Peanut Butter & Co tote bag and it's Rachel at "Once Upon a Miracle."  Rachel, congratulations! I'll be in touch for your address.

We're not there yet, but it was an almost balmy thirty five degrees today. I snapped this harbinger of spring at the market at Grand Central Station yesterday. Definitely need some spring flowers soon. 

As ever, thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comments. Love to hear from my bloggy buddies. Take good care!