Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And Out Like a Lion...

I know that March is supposed to end, like a lamb. This March ended just as it began, like a lion. Despite the nicer days we've been having, this afternoon was just another winter day. It was cold, rainy and generally miserable. I wore my lightest winter coat, but I could have used a heavier one and I definitely needed my gloves. Alas...

In the midst of these last, lingering days of winter I saw the sight I have been most eager to see.

In a flower bed on Fifth Avenue, my first sign of spring!
Today was my last lecture on Japanese art at the Metropolitan Museum and I would be remiss if I didn't share a picture I took this morning. I'm back with my old friend, Louis Comfort Tiffany.
I've shared his work in stained glass, but in this post I want to share a favorite of his work in glass tile. This is "Garden landscape and fountain," which originally was featured at the Tiffany showrooms. 
I'm excited about my special day tomorrow. It's still a surprise, but I've got a little hint. I'm humming all day in anticipation. I'll be posting about it tomorrow and that's no fooling.
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care! 

A Heart's Disguise

I've always been fascinated by books published as serials. Maybe, it was reading the Bobbsey Twins books at an early age, one of my all-time favorite series. Although there was a new mystery to be solved in each book, I liked the continuity of characters and setting. I remember learning that Charles Dickens' works were serialized, and "The Pickwick Papers" was the first big success for Dickens. Many books were published in magazines, which permitted a wider readership and made them accessible to people who otherwise might not have been able to afford the book itself. When I got the opportunity to read and write about "A Heart's Disguise,"  by Colleen Coble -- published in a serial edition of six volumes by my friends at Litfuse Publicity Group -- I eagerly volunteered.

Book two arrived today and not a minute too soon. I'm so glad for the opportunity to learn what's next for the characters I met in the first volume. "A Heart's Disguise" is the first book in the serial, Journey of the Heart, where we follow the saga of Sarah Montgomery. It is set in the days just after the Civil War and though it's a short book, I became captivated by Sarah's story. It's a family story, a romance and an insight into life in America in a unique moment in American history. Sarah has a lost fiancée, a present fiancée and a thoughtful and caring heart. I'm concerned I may tell too much of the story -- a concern especially with this format. As a fan of novels set in historical eras, I enjoyed the details of Sarah's life very much.  I tend to be stuck in the Tudor era for my historical reading and was delighted for this opportunity to enter another fascinating time. I will be writing each month about Sarah's Journey of the Heart.

We had the first of what might be spring today and it was a delight with lots of sunshine. I had a dentist appointment this afternoon and tomorrow I have my last lecture on Japanese Art. I have a big treat for Wednesday, and though I'm leaving it as a surprise, there will be pictures.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!
Please note: I received this book in exchange for my review, but the opinions are all mine. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Broadway Baby Pink Saturday

Broadway might be the most well-known street in New York City, beginning in Lower Manhattan and actually going all the way into Westchester County. I once worked at Two Broadway and I live one block off Broadway six miles uptown. It's no wonder I've spent a lot of time on Broadway. Much of my shopping, walking and bus riding takes place here. I took a few spring photos for Pink Saturday in order to capture the look that this Broadway Baby sees many days of the week.

  One of my favorite paper stores was my first stop walking up Broadway...
...then the décor at the soap store stopped my walk for a quick picture.
But it was the apricot torte that was the most appealing to me. I looked, snapped, but didn't buy. I put it on my list to return one day for a treat. This is one of three new fancy French bakeshops within two blocks. This is in addition to the Japanese crème puff store -- really! -- and a Coffee Leaf and Bean. Starbucks is across the street.  So far I have been immune to the goodies in the windows and I'm making every effort to keep walking 99% of the time. I want my visit to be a planned treat. Maybe for my birthday...
Question for this Pink Saturday post: Do you have any treats planned for the spring?
Cold, but bright and sunny Sunday today. I made it to the gym and enjoyed the afternoon with my college roommate. We spent time looking at new apps for our iPads and I discovered several that that I hope will inspire me to drink more water. Jane and I met our first week of college in 1968 and have been friends ever since. If anyone had suggested then that we would have computers that we could carry around and we would spend time together looking at book websites I would not have believed a word, or understood what they were talking about.  
Here's to sunny days, dear friends and the streets of New York. Wishing you all a very happy and blessed week.   

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shopping in My Closet Random Five Friday

It's been a busy few days -- haircut. gym, lots of cooking, services and a wonderful evening with friends at a school fundraiser -- but I couldn't miss joining the Random 5 fun.

1) Besides all of the above I spent one evening going through my entire closet. I was spurred on to this project by the combination of the advent of spring -- I'm ever hopeful -- losing a little weight and the upcoming trip to Japan. I needed to know what fit, what could be salvaged by alteration and what I might need to but to fill in the gaps of my wardrobe. Two pairs of pants went to the tailor to be shortened, a bag of clothes are going to the Salvation Army and a bag of wire hangers will go back to the cleaner. It turns out I need very little for Japan. but will look for a new pair of jeans before I go. Besides a few new t-shirts I feel set for the summer and I'm happy that I could "shop" in my closet for clothes for warmer weather. I realize I have much more than I need for my life now and moving forward I'm going to really carefully consider clothing purchases. I feel that I've made a transition to a "retiree" wardrobe and I have a good sense of clothes that works for my non-office life.

2) I also window shopped on my excursion to the West Village on Thursday. I didn't get very many pictures because it was raining steadily, but I did get a picture of this cute shirt.

 I'm a fan of French bull dogs and this shirt caught my eye. Not buying, just looking.
3)  I didn't make it to the Metropolitan Museum this week, but I'm sharing a picture I took two weeks ago. This is a favorite section of Medieval art. Often I am the only one in the gallery and I spend a lot of time enjoying the stained glass and the sculpture. 
4) Snow flurries this morning...I just about started to cry. They were gone quickly and the sky was a bright blue. With the winter lingering well beyond it's welcome I've almost lost track of the fact that Palm Sunday is tomorrow and Passover begins in less than a week. 
5) On a totally frivolous note, I was running an errand at the drugstore and found this cute guy ( times a dozen) looking out at me.  Thumpers, you made my day.

 I hope all is well throughout the extended world of Buttercupland. Wishing you sunny days and blue, blue skies. Thanks so much for visiting and take good care!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy, Happy! It's Teacup and Mug Exchange Time

I've had a lot of fun over the years blogging. One of my most fun times has been being part of Teacup and Mug Exchange, put together by my delightful friend, Stephanie. The premise is simple. I make a choice to send a teacup or mug -- or both -- and a few goodies to another blogger assigned by Stephanie. A second sweet blogger is asked to send me a mug and a goody or two, and then the fun begins. I look for a mug, perhaps some tea to go with it and a few more fun things to send. I put my package together and sent it to Heather in Ohio -- mug, note, tea from my visit to Wilmington and a coaster from my visit to Ireland -- and waited for my mug.

The box arrived...

Everything was beautifully wrapped...

And what a thoughtful treasure trove awaited me, crafted and chosen by my sweet friend, Stephanie, Teacup and Mug Exchange organizer Extraordinaire. 

Stephanie went above and beyond. The mug was lovely, the coffee is delicious, and I am delighted to be the recipient of Stephanie's beautiful craftwork. There was even a box of toffee. Stephanie, I'm not sure I've ever mentioned how much I like toffee, but it's one of my favorite candies.

These fun exchanges take place twice a year -- thank you, Stephanie! -- and I'm already thinking about the next one. I'm going to keep an eye out while I'm in Japan for a little gift tuck away in the fall exchange. Though most of the women participating are bloggers, you don't need to have a blog to join the good times. Please stop by The Enchanting Rose to see the linkup and say hello.

As ever thanks for visiting. Please stop by over the weekend for Random 5 Friday fun, Pink Saturday and a book review. Lots of good times in Buttercupland and hope you have lots of good times, too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Welcome to the Spring Spectacular

It feels as though we've been waiting for spring and warmer weather for several decades, rather than four months. Though technically the calendar says spring I was still wearing my winter jacket today. Yes, it was my lightest winter jacket, but it was not spring outside. Happily it was spring inside last Saturday when my friend Lonni and I went to Radio City Music Hall for the Spring Spectacular.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I remember going to Radio City with my parents -- anyone remember "Son of Flubber?" -- for a movie and the spring stage show when I was in elementary school, but I don't have any specific memories of what the stage show included. I know the Rockettes were a big part of it, but the rest of the show has slipped from my memory. We had such a good time at the Christmas show that we bought tickets in December and tucked them away. I had no idea how much I would need a big boost of spring.

The plot was sweet and sentimental and a very enjoyable way to show off the treasures of New York City. The stars were Laura Benanti and Derek Hough and of course, the Rockettes. I've watched about two episodes of "Dancing with the Stars," but seeing Derek Hough and the Rockettes dance one of my favorite songs, "Singing in the Rain," I just may become a loyal watcher of "Dancing with the Stars" yet.

This is the finale scene, where the Statue of Liberty joins the show.
One much little known fact about my career aspirations was that I've always wanted to be a tap dancer. I definitely had lots of early exposure to the Rockettes and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I briefly took lessons growing up and again very briefly as an adult. Alas, I couldn't shuffle off to Buffalo or anywhere else. I've given up my aspirations in this direction, but I had to laugh when Lonni commented that we could have been Rockettes if we were taller and met the height requirements. That's a friend! I was completely awed by the high kicks and couldn't imagine doing even one of them and not falling on my bottom.   
Sadly, Blogger is acting up again, and I can't make the bottom pictures larger. I had such high hopes after I put up the first picture. I will stop back tomorrow and see if Blogger is better behaved and I can enlarge the pictures. The staging was terrific. 
 I'm off to a little adventure in the West Village tomorrow. I plan to take lots of pictures for Random 5 Friday.
I hope you're seeing a lot more spring than we are. As ever thanks for visiting and take good care.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gift Shop Pink Saturday

One of the things I was concerned about when I retired eighteen months ago was shopping. I hadn't done much shopping in the last few years I was working, but I was worried that with all of my new free time I would be shopping all the time -- bad for this retiree's budget and bad for bringing more clutter into my one bedroom apartment. I made a conscious decision to think twice before buying anything and after the first year of retirement went by it became less of a temptation. I am feeling much more relieved about this issue. I'm a looker and a picture taker, but I'm not a big shopper and I do think twice -- or three times -- before I make a purchase.

I still have a lot of temptation in museum gift shops, a lot. But I've found that taking pictures of the things that catch my eye goes a long way to stop random purchases. Usually when I look through my pictures I reconsider my eagerness to buy. The only thing I've bought after picture taking is the Madeline doll I saw about the New York Historical Society. It made the perfect baby present. Last Sunday I took lots of pictures at the Brooklyn Museum gift shop and I'm happy to share them for our Pink Saturday fun.

These plastic shoe necklaces caught my eye. I wasn't tempted, but I thought they were perfect for Pink Saturday.

  I was slightly more tempted by these fun earrings, but held myself back. I'm glad I restrained myself. They are fun, but I would probably wear them once and they would end up in the back of my top drawer. I love to look at jewelry, but seem to wear the same two pairs of earrings 95% of the time. Do you change your earrings or do you stick with a few favorites?
Love these pillows! I think they would make great gifts.
So would these fabulous Brooklyn dish towels. I'm going to a shower in May and I think these would be a fun addition to my gift.
Chocolate -- always the perfect purchase. The wrappers on these chocolate bars are among the loveliest I've seen. 
I hope you've enjoyed our Pink Saturday shopping fun. I know I have. Please stop by Pink Saturday and enjoy the great posts.
Despite the still winter weather I had a great weekend. My friend Lonni came to visit and we had a fabulous time at the Radio City Spring Spectacular. Please visit tomorrow for pictures.
As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and wishes for a springtime Monday! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Very Random Five Friday

I'm all over the place today for Random 5 Friday.  I've got some weather thoughts, some for spring and some for the winter that seems to be hanging around. I've also got a few Metropolitan Museum pictures and a book idea. Very random today, but I hope you enjoy them.

1) Yes, it's officially spring, but really we're still in the midst of winter. I knew it was going to snow today and wore my boots, but my heart said spring and I forgot my hat. I was a soggy picture when I finally arrived home late this afternoon. It's stopped snowing now, but this was the view from the bus stop this afternoon just as the snow began falling. 

 2) I'm not going to talk gloom and snow all night. I walk by the Museum of American Folk Art on my gym days. This scene in the window said spring to me. I try to keep out of their wonderful gift shop due to budgetary and space concerns, but it's difficult. So many interesting things.

I love quilts, but the dog pillow really caught my attention.
3) I'm a fan of Anne Tyler's novels and I'm happily enjoying her newest book, "A Spool of Blue Thread." I haven't been as keen on the last few books, but this one is holding my attention and I read the first hundred pages today. I keep thinking I need to do other things -- blog, for example -- but I just want to finish one more chapter. 
4) I was back at the Metropolitan Museum yesterday for another lecture on Japanese Art, which was as sublime as the one last week. I passed through one of my favorite areas, The Temple of Dendur. This extraordinary building, which is over 2,000 years old, was given to the United States by the government of Egypt in 1965 and was installed at the Museum in 1978. The glass wall looks out onto Central Park. This area of the Museum is used for receptions and it looked as though they were taking apart sound equipment.  

5) I'm adding to my photographs of rippling water with this picture of the reflection in the pool at the Temple of Dendur.

Thanks so much visiting. Wishes for a great weekend to all!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meet the Meetles

Yes, you read the title correctly. It's The Meetles. 

I was walking through the Times Square subway station the other day and I heard a band playing "Here Comes the Sun," one of my favorite Beatles' songs.  It was part of the Music Under New York  program, sponsored by New York City Transit, which schedules musical performances in subway stations and commuter rail terminals. There is a wide range of types of music and the quality is very high. I always enjoy chancing on a singer or band during my travels around the city. The Meetles were terrific and I stayed though "Here Comes the Sun," despite knowing I might be late for the appointment I had. It was definitely well worth risking lateness.

There are many other performers in the subway system -- not sanctioned by New York City Transit. But that said, they almost always make traversing the subway system more enjoyable. When I got to my platform a musician was playing "My Favorite Things" on steel drums at one end of the platform. Further down the platform a woman was singing a Spanish ballad. I enjoyed the sign she had with her.

We were back to winter today and snow is predicted for tomorrow. Nonetheless I'm planning to be out and about knowing things should be spring-like again by Saturday.

Please stop by tomorrow for Random 5 Friday fun. We'll be back to the Metropolitan Museum and I've got other fun pictures to share.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Across the River to the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum a la Google color  

There's a lot to do in Manhattan and I know I could keep busy every day of the year with all that's offered. But I still need to get off my island and visit the rest of New York City. On Sunday I paid a visit to the Brooklyn Museum and had a wonderful day of art and sightseeing.

The art was great and brunch was a terrific treat. The trip was inspired by a discount coupon for brunch at Saul, the new restaurant at the museum. We toasted my friend Mary's birthday and it was a very special occasion.

This is Georgia O'Keefe's depiction of the Brooklyn Bridge, which links Brooklyn to Manhattan. I've been to the museum before, but have no memory of ever seeing it. That's one of the things I like best about revisiting museums. I see things either in a new perspective or realize I may have walked past a painting a dozen times, but this time it's speaking to me. 
This is a statue of Robert Fulton. He linked Manhattan and Brooklyn long before the five boroughs became the city of New York. In the early part of the nineteenth century Brooklyn was still mostly rural, including the downtown area.
One of my favorite parts of visiting the museum are the wonderful tile sculpture in the subway station. This one caught my eye on this trip.
A trip to a museum isn't complete without a stop at the gift store and the one at the Brooklyn Museum is terrific. We'll be back on Pink Saturday to see some of the treasures I found. 
I hope everyone is having a great St. Patrick's Day. It's just about spring here, but tomorrow we're back to winter coats -- but not for long!
As ever thanks for visiting and take good care!  


Happy St. Patrick's Day...

...and a belated Monkey Monday.
Pepe and Opus wish you a very happy St.Patrick's Day!
I promised Pepe I would share his good wishes for St. Patrick's Day on Monkey Monday, but I was remiss and now I'm a day late for Monkey Monday. Happily I'm right on time for St. Patrick's Day. Pepe is wearing his Irish knit sweater, a perennial favorite for this day of the year. He's looking dapper and dressed up for the festivities. 
I have no excuse for my tardiness, other than a trip to the gym and time spent outside today enjoying the not-quite spring air, almost balmy temperature and copious amount of sunshine. All of which were greatly appreciated. 
From Pepe, Opus and from me, wishes for a very happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Let's Dress for Spring Pink Satuday

It's technically and actually still winter in New York. But it's so much warmer than the rest of the winter that I'm really jumping into spring. My hat and scarves have been put away and I am wearing sneaker socks whenever possible. I'm not quite wearing capris and sandals, but I'm dreaming capris, sandals and spring clothes. It brings back memories of getting a new spring coat when I was growing up, with a new pastel "dress up" dress and new white gloves. Loved my white gloves!

I got very excited when I saw this array of pink handbags and totes and I'm thinking I need one for this spring. Of course I have a bright and fun turquoise tote that's taken me through the winter, but the pink ones look so spring-like. For this week's Pink Saturday let's choose a bag for spring.

 I think stripes are lots of fun...
 ...and so are bows and polka dots. These are a little more fun than I would generally choose, but after the winter we've had we need fun, lots of fun.
 This tote is pretty in pink...
....and this is a great collection of fun totes.
But this is the one that has captured my heart, all pink with a sweet bow. I often cut through this store on my way to the gym, and there are so many things that catch my eye. In the interest of economy I don't usually buy anything the first time I see it, but I've gone back to visit this bag three or four times. I think the next time I return it's going home with me. 
Which one is your favorite?
It's a rainy Saturday in New York City today. Our Bible study group finished our study of the Book of Amos this afternoon. Not sure what our next choice will be. There was a ground swell for Ezekiel, and I'm interested in learning more about it. Tomorrow is another museum adventure, and yes, there will be pictures.
As always, thanks for visiting. Take good care and have a great weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Welcome Home Random Five Friday

It's Friday and time to start the weekend fun with my Random 5 post. It's always a good time and you will meet some of the nicest bloggers anywhere.

1) My welcome home goes to...


Thanks to eBay and the thoughtful seller who so carefully packed this treasure, my buddy has come home. He has a treasured place on a bookcase shelf and I'm keeping him close at hand. I'm keeping his twin and my goal is to figure out how to turn the figure and base into a snow globe again. YouTube, here I come. I haven't checked yet, but there's got to be a video -- or two dozen -- that can help me.

2) This is my favorite photograph from my day at the Metropolitan Museum yesterday. It's called "View from Oyster Bay," and this is part of a stained glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It's fast becoming one of my favorite works of art at the museum.

  3) The focus of the lecture I attended yesterday was images of water in Japanese art. I was inspired by the fountain in the Sculpture Court to do my own interpretation of rippling water.

 4) We can always use a few images that speak of spring. The first image is Tucker Square, which is across the street from Lincoln Center, on the first relatively balmy day of the year. People are enjoying sitting outside and I am enjoying no snow in the street.

5) The second image is spring flowers at the local fruit and vegetable store. I can't wait until I see the first shoots coming up. I'm keeping watch and you can be assured I will share the pictures. Thank you, Google, for the effect.

It's still not spring -- ten days away -- but I love a week without snow and lots of sunshine. Hope you have equally upbeat weather.

As always, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Visit to Ancient Egypt...

...Via the Metropolitan Museum of Art
I kept my resolution to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art weekly. Yes, this is only the second week and yes, I have signed up for a series of lectures on Japanese art, but I know how easily resolve can fly out the window, even with the best of intentions. 
The day surpassed my expectations. The lecture was outstanding. I rarely choose a seat in the front row for anything, but my assigned seat was the one closest to the lecturer. I could hear perfectly and being so close engaged my interest completely. I realized very quickly how little I know about Japanese art, but I will make several visits to the galleries to see the works that were discussed.
As I was walking to the auditorium for the lecture I realized I was walking quickly with my focus on getting settled before the program. I had plenty of time and stopped for a minute and looked around the area where I was standing. 
I was walking through the treasures of Ancient Egypt as though I was in the drugstore looking for paper towels. It was a "stop and smell the roses" moment and the best lesson of the day. I stopped and really looked at the treasures surrounding me. I hadn't planned to share Egyptian art today, but that's where my heart took me. I really looked at what was in front of me, and want to share some of the pieces that I saw. 
I took this picture thinking of my friends who love cats.
I had a wonderful visit today -- both for the art I saw and thoughts I took away. I am so looking forward to my visit next week -- both for the lecture and for whatever place in the museum my heart will take me.
As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and I hope the first glimmers of spring are visiting you.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is Your Dream Vacation?

Do you have a dream vacation? Is there a place that is in your heart and dreams that you want to visit? It may be a mile from home, somewhere in your state or halfway around the world, but it's the place you long to visit.

I've had a number of places on my dream list. Paris, Jerusalem and Venice were at the top of my list and I 've had the good fortune to be in all three places. Once I'd seen them other places joined my list. I got to Istanbul and Thailand and last summer I visited Stonehenge and Dublin, two places I'd longed to see.

Stonehenge at the end of the day

      Trinity College Library in Dublin

I had a wonderful time in both England and Ireland and return trips are definitely on my agenda.

One place that has been in my heart for decades was Japan. I dreamed of seeing Kyoto in cherry blossom time, but it was just that, a dream. The timing didn't work and a few times it was just too expensive. But last spring I mentioned this idea to my friend, K, and we decided to go ahead. My thought was "I'm not getting younger and Japan isn't getting less expensive." We booked the trip, I put down my deposit and didn't think much about it. I mentioned it in a conversation a few months ago, giving the same reasoning. I'm not sure to whom I was speaking, but their reply was, "Japan is getting less expensive. The yen is weaker against the dollar."  I guess this is the time for my trip to Japan. We will visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and I'm hoping that the cherry blossoms will greet me in Kyoto, as I've long dreamed. I am also going on to the Republic of Korea for a short visit to Seoul.

I don't have any pictures yet of Japan or Korea, but be assured that there will be lots of them. I've started a board on Pinterest -- a link is in the top right page of the blog -- and am doing lots of reading. It's really started to become real that a forty year old dream is about to take place.

My question of the day is: What is your dream vacation? It can be a trip to a national park in your state, a special restaurant and inn in the next town or a country on the other side of the world. It's the place that your heart leads you to.

This post is part of Blogelina's Week LongCommentathon Event. This is a very fun way to meet new bloggers. If you're stopping by as part of the Commentathon, welcome! Love meeting new bloggers and love having visitors to Buttercupland.

Thanks to all who gave me technical advice for my ailing mouse. It just needed new batteries and I'm all set for at least the next six months. Sure enough the blue light on the back was out and it came right back on as soon as it got two new batteries. So glad to be back in business.

Today was a glorious day in New York City, sunny and clear. We are due for rain tomorrow, but as long as it's not snow or ice, I'm a happy person. I did a lot of walking today and loved it.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.