Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Heart's Danger

One of the joys of reading is meeting new people. I so enjoyed meeting Sarah Montgomery in the first two books in Colleen Coble's serial, Journey of the Heart and I was eager to know about the next phase of Sarah's life at Fort Laramie after the Civil War. Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group, I was able to go back in time and visit with Sarah and those who joined her in the then Wyoming Territory.

I wasn't disappointed in this third book of the series. Sarah faced the difficulties of life with courage and faith. I will save the plot details -- I don't like being a spoiler -- but it was a lively story that moved quickly. This is an era I knew so little about, and I am eager to learn more as I continue to read the remaining installments of Journey of the Heart. For those who enjoy fiction that includes romance and a faith perspective I highly recommend A Heart's Danger.  

Though I only went four miles south to the Javits Center for BookExpo I feel as though I've been away on a long vacation, and perhaps, in some ways I have. My goal for today and tomorrow is to unpack all of the business cards and pamphlets and organize things I want to do. So far I've made two new e-files for two projects to come. There's lots more to do.

The sunny day gave way to the first thunder storms of the season. I'm happily home and happily blogging. Despite any new projects I take on, Buttercupland isn't going anywhere. It may get a new coat of paint and a few new buildings, but we're here to stay.

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great week.   

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Pink Saturday

I was all set for a pink book Saturday. As I tootled around BookExpo I kept watch for all things pink, and alas, found nothing. Nada, nothing, zilch. I learned the publicity colors for publishing for fall 2015 don't include pink.

So we're going in a very different direction, flying thousands of miles east to one of my favorite places and having a birthday party in Old Kyoto to celebrate Pink Saturday's seventh birthday.

We are welcomed by the most beautiful geisha in Kyoto and we are all given fans trimmed in pink  for our party favors.
Our refreshments include cookies containing sake to celebrate the happy occasion. and then we walk through the pink and beautiful cherry blossoms of Kyoto. 
Kyoto in cherry blossom time 
Dear Beverly and my Pink Saturday friends, I am so glad I found you in Blogland and so glad I get to celebrate with you. Happy, lucky seven and here's to many more birthdays!
I'm still overwhelmed from BookExpo and actually more overwhelmed than I anticipated from the Self-Publishing conference. My head is whirling. I thought I knew the tools for self-publishing a book, but there are a lot more steps than I dreamed. I thought the difficult part would be writing the book and the other steps would be quick and easy. Ha! As I've learned through the years nothing of value is ever quick and easy and there are always a lot more steps than I ever think there will be. I still want to pursue this project, actually more than I did before the conference. There were great sessions and I was awed by Marie Force, a romance writer who spoke today. I haven't read any of her work, but if her books are as interesting as she was, I'm in for a treat. Is anyone in Buttercupland a reader of Marie's books? 
As always, thanks for visiting and wishes for a spectacular Sunday!

Friday, May 29, 2015

BEA15 -- Books, Authors and More Books...

I am footsore, weary and overwhelmed, but so grateful for the last three days of BookExpo America 15. I resolved to enjoy the show and not worry about what I was missing. There are four stages of events with simultaneous programs, hundreds of publishers and autograph sessions throughout the Javits Center literally every minute. I also resolved not to bring home one book that I didn't want to read or know exactly who would like to read it. I'm happy to say that I stuck to my resolution 90% of the time and yes, I am exhausted, but have no regrets about what I didn't see.

 Geraldine Brooks, with thanks to Google for animation

One of my favorite authors is Geraldine Brooks, and I scheduled most of my time yesterday around her presentation and autograph session. I generally don't wait in the very long lines for autographed copies of books, but made an exception for her novel about King David,  "The Secret Chord" which will be published in the fall. She was as intelligent, thoughtful and witty as I anticipated and yes, I sat in the front row to get this photograph. I've read most of her novels and I'm especially fond of "Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague," set in England in 1666.

I chatted with Dr. Ruth -- nothing racy -- and she was as friendly as could be. I can only hope I am as lively at 87. I also met Adam Carolla, who has a new book being published, too. I'm not a regular for his television work, but it was fun to meet him and I do like the picture of the two of us.

It looks like it was one big celebrity-fest, and in some ways it was. But it was also a wonderful time to talk about books and writing. I met terrific people from a number of publishers and kept Buttercupland in mind for upcoming giveaways. 

I also got a big boost of writing rejuvenation for my own writing, both from the book programs and the Blogging Conference on Wednesday. I have some ideas for a few changes for Buttercupland and for a new and very different blog. I'm not quite ready to give any more details, but I'm excited about both. Tomorrow I'm going to a program on self-publishing and I'm hopeful that will give me a concrete direction for a book I've been drifting with.

Please stop by tomorrow for a seventh birthday celebration of Pink Saturday. Always enjoy a party!

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Books, Bloggers and More Books

BookExpo America (BEA#15) began yesterday and it's three days with books, authors, bloggers and more books -- a lot more books. I spent yesterday at the BEA Bloggers' Conference. There were interesting sessions and some fun ideas for blogging, especially about books. I've got some ideas brewing to shake things -- in a good way -- in Buttercupland.

One of the most fun things about BEA15 is I never know who will be around the corner. I turned a corner yesterday afternoon and BAM, there was Emeril. The line waiting for autographs for his new book was long, but I was happy with a photograph.

I'm off for another day of books, authors and some very interesting panel discussions. You know there will be more pictures.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Thursday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stop and Smell the Roses

I spent this weekend in Connecticut, visiting friends, as well as some of my favorite places. This was the second annual trip to a wonderful craft fair in Massachusetts and dinner at a favorite restaurant in Amherst. The craft fair is primarily photography-free and I even took a vacation from taking pictures. I stayed on that vacation until this afternoon when I arrived at Elizabeth Park in Hartford.

Kite flying on a perfect spring afternoon in Elizabeth Park, Hartford.
I could have -- and probably did -- spend the same afternoon with my parents any year of my growing up. My friend, Lonni, and I had lunch at Peterson's, a classic ice cream parlor in West Hartford and then we went to Elizabeth Park. Elizabeth Park, founded in 1897, is the oldest Rose Garden in America. When I was growing up my family made frequent trips to the park. We saw the roses, the American flag made of flowers, fed the ducks, ate pretzels and had a hot dog lunch.  They were simple pleasures and still so sweet. The Park went through a period of disrepair in the 1970s, but thanks to a fabulous group of volunteers it is lovely again.
It was much too soon for the great majority of the roses and the floral American flag, but there were still beautiful flowers. We spent a lot of time looking at the iris beds. 
 Special effects, thanks to Google+
  I was happy to find this goose family enjoying the pond. Now there are signs telling visitors not to  feed the ducks and geese, but few things were more fun decades ago than feeding the ducks. I remember bringing plastic bread bags with the ends of the loaf on our excursions. 
 There were lovely plantings everywhere and I enjoyed the frame provided to capture the scene.
Google supplied the animation to this scene of iris.
The first roses of the season.
Very soon every arch and bed will be filled with roses of all colors.
I hope you've enjoyed our visit to Elizabeth Park, and I hope your weekend gave you time to stop and smell the roses. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful week. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Flashback Friday: May 22, 1963

Before "Star Trek" (1966) and "Star Wars" (1977) there were men who went in space and took our breath away. I don't think very much about the Mercury Astronauts, who are all wrapped up with junior high school and algebra and President Kennedy, but in 1963 I thought of them a lot. I never wanted to be an astronaut, but their courage left a deep impression on me.

On a spring night a few weeks ago I was walking on Lower Broadway and came upon this inscription set into the sidewalk. It commemorates the ticker tape parade that greeted Astronaut Gordon Cooper's visit to New York City. Cooper piloted the Faith 7 and orbited the earth 22 times. This doesn't sound like very much today, but then we cheered for the accomplishment it truly was.

The number of ticker tape parades was significantly cut back in 1966 -- there are a lot of sidewalk markers before then -- and they, like ticker tape, are rare. If the Mets or Yankees win the World Series, there will be a ticker tape parade. The one I remember most vividly was held to honor the American Embassy personnel after they were freed from being held hostage in the US Embassy in Teheran in 1981.

So we begin Memorial Day weekend 2015, remembering those who went out in courage for America. Whether they went around the earth, to the Normandy beaches, Iwo Jima or Afghanistan, we thank them and remember them.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.   

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Red Nose Day in Buttercupland

Pepe Le Monkee in the spirit of Red Nose Day
It's Red Nose Day in Buttercupland today. It's also Red Nose Day -- which raises money for children living in poverty -- throughout the world. Pepe was disappointed when I broke the news to him that Duane Reade -- the New York City branch of Walgreens -- was out of red noses. I've been seeing red noses at the checkout for weeks, but of course, just didn't get around to buying one for Pepe and one for me. Pepe was content with his homemade red nose and I will be making a donation to one of the causes that are part of this effort.
It's also giveaway day in Buttercupland today. I put together a few little goodies from my trip to Japan, including a small tote bag with a cherry blossom drawing from one of my favorite places, the Tokyo National Museum.
One of the pools in front of the museum
The giveaway closes Saturday, May 30 and I will announce the winner on Sunday, May 31. Not a lot to do to enter, just leave a comment and be a friend of Buttercupland on Google+, Google Friend or Bloglovin.

Cherry blossoms and finches decorate the tote
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Once Upon a Time...

...Not very long ago a traveler came to a beautiful Shinto shrine, somewhere between Osaka and Kyoto.  The traveler thought she had somehow traveled through not only space, but time, and was floating in a period long ago when the Shoguns governed Japan.

The traveler blinked quickly and as she turned a corner at the shrine there was a wedding couple from long, long ago -- at least for a few minutes. 

 Wedding Wednesday in Japan
The traveler blinked again and it was 2015 and she was holding a cell phone, which would have shocked the shoguns and everyone else in long ago Japan. But for a few minutes the traveler had floated through time.
I hope you've enjoyed our visit through time. Tomorrow we move quickly into the present century with a giveaway -- I want to take a few more pictures in better light -- and a fun visitor. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Called to Be Amish

Light years ago I went to graduate school in Religion. I enjoyed my undergraduate studies very much, but graduate school was very different. I entered directly from college and the great majority of my colleagues had already finished graduate degrees. Most of them had families and were ministers and priests with their own congregations, and above all they were much more focused and mature. I soon realized I was not a scholar. I did find classes I enjoyed, especially American Religious History and a course in spiritual autobiography. The latter class was still heady -- I remember one of our texts was St. Augustine's "Confessions" -- but I enjoyed the stories of spiritual searching. Though I very quickly veered away from the study of theology I've kept an interest in memoirs that have a spiritual focus.   

Thanks to my friends at the Litfuse Publicity Group I was happy to have the opportunity to read and write about Marlene Miller's spiritual journey in "Called to Be Amish." There are many novels that are set in Amish communities, where the characters are Amish, but this memoir tells a unique story of moving from a secular family to becoming an Old Order Amish wife and mother of ten children. There is a good mix of stories of happiness and hardship and discussions of faith. There are times I wish the editing was a little tighter, but the style kept the authenticity of the author's voice. I'm glad that I added it to my reading this spring and grateful for the opportunity.

Please stop by tomorrow for Wedding Wednesday. The pictures will be some of the best from Japan.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Please note, I was given the opportunity to read "Called to Be Amish" by the Litfuse Publicty group. The opinions are all mine. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monkey Monday Goes Intercontinental

National Folk Museum of Korea
Not unlike the cherry blossoms and lilacs the season of writing about my trip to Japan and Korea is nearing an end. Though it's difficult to fathom, I have been back in New York for almost a month and life has picked up the pace. Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching and BookExpo America is right behind. There's a graduation trip to Connecticut just a month away and book reviews and a movie review almost ready for posting. I've got a giveaway for later this week -- please stop by -- and that's all just in the next month. 
There were two sights in Japan and Korea that I photographed with specific blogging thoughts. One set of photos I will share on Wedding Wednesday and the other was taken with Monkey Monday in mind. Mondays have been slipping by and I present to you our first Intercontinental Monkey Monday.
 This handsome gentleman was part of a display of animals representing different years. and he, of course, represents the year of the monkey.  The sculptures were in the outdoor area of the National Folk Museum of Korea. 
While we're in Seoul I want to add a few pictures of the changing of the Royal Guard. This ceremony takes places in downtown Seoul three times a day. It goes back to the period when Korea had a royal family and the guards were responsible for guarding the capital city and the royal palace.

 There were many groups of Korean school children. After the ceremony they were permitted -- actually it looked that they were encouraged -- to meet those who had participated in the ceremony. 
Yes, there's a Dunkin Donuts in the background. There are many, many American chain restaurants in Seoul.
I hope you've enjoyed our quick trip to South Korea. Wednesday we return to Asia to attend a wedding in Japan. Of course, you are all invited.
As always, thanks for visiting and take good care.   

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pink Saturday (and Sunday) Summer Shopping

It's time to relax, have some lemonade and get together for some Pink Saturday fun. Until today. when it's a humid summer day, we've had beautiful spring weather. I've even been inspired to do some shopping. I haven't bought anything, but I've done lots of looking. Here are a few of the most fun things I've discovered.

 Fabulous flip-flops
I'm not a flip-flop wearer -- I need a lot more support for walking around New York City -- but if I was I would have a hard time choosing which pair I'd like best. The all pink pair in the top row caught my eye first, but they're all pretty cute. It's a tough decision.
More fabulous flip-flops
This is an easier decision for me. I'd pick the hot pink ones with the crystals. They would certainly jazz up my wardrobe.
I haven't been wearing hats in the summer -- though I think it's a good idea -- but this bright orange one has me reconsidering hat wearing. Would you pick the orange hat or the blue hat?
I love the colors. I'm usually much more covered up, but the colors here caught my attention.
I'm enjoying a somewhat lazy-daisy day. I did get my thirty minutes of exercise in for the day and met a friend visiting from out of town for brunch, so it wasn't a completely lazy-daisy day.  I'm happy to be blogging -- two days in a row -- and I've got my list for posts for the rest of the week.
As always, thanks for visiting. Take good care and have a great week!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

#BlogHer15 Is Coming to Town

I'm Going to #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us

I hope Santa will excuse me for using his song, but I'm as excited as a kid waiting for Santa's arrival. BlogHer15 is coming to New York City -- just a short bus ride away -- in July. Last year's trip to San Jose took a lot of flights and I'm happy that this should be a lot easier to get to and, I am sure, just as much fun. 

There's always one speaker in particular I am eager to hear. Last year it was Kerry Washington and this year it's Ava DuVernay, who directed "Selma," one of my favorite movies. The keynotes are just one part of the experience and I'm looking forward to meeting blog friends new and of long-standing, sharpening my blogging skills and having fun at the exhibitions. Is anyone else in Buttercupland planning to attend? There's still time to get a ticket.  

If  you need any encouragement here's a photograph of Columbus Circle, just five short blocks from the Hilton, where the conference will be taking place. I took this on Thursday, one of the most perfect spring days ever.

Kodachrome look, courtesy of Google.
I'll be back tomorrow with some Pink Saturday/Sunday fun. As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great weekend.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Along the Philosopher's Path

A month ago I was in Kyoto, walking along The Philosopher's Path, one of the favorite spots in Kyoto in cherry blossom season. Despite the rain -- this picture doesn't accurately reflect either the amount of rain or the beauty of the cherry blossoms -- I enjoyed the peaceful scenery very much.

The Philosopher's Path was also one of my favorite parts of my trip. This was a "free" day for our tour and K, our new friend, Pat, and I set off to see more of Kyoto. We launched ourselves on the wonderful Kyoto bus system -- stops are announced in Japanese and English -- and after one misstep we turned around and found our first destination. We also discovered a small garden and museum, which we enjoyed exploring.

Despite my resolution to buy very little on this trip, I lost my heart to the beautiful post cards for sale. They were the perfect souvenir -- small, light and inexpensive. I resolved to frame them when I got home. I also bought a small package of fabric at a shop along the Philosopher's Path and a vision grew in my mind of how I wanted my cards to look.

I doubt if I'm alone in this, but many of my travel resolutions go undone.  The sarong that looks so cute on a far away beach doesn't look quite right in New York and several pieces of fabric didn't turn into the items I envisioned when I bought them. But I had a good feeling about the beautiful cards I bought. If nothing else I could use them for birthdays and gifts.

I knew I needed to do this project quickly. My rule is two weeks after I'm home I'm moving on. I most enjoy my vacation t-shirt while I'm on vacation and for me, it's the same for photographs. Because I'm not waiting to develop them I am most enthusiastic about pictures as soon as I see them. I got myself to Michael's quickly and took advantage of the Mother's Day frame sale. I bought "floating" frames with two pieces of glass. I put the fabric over one pane of glass, placed the card, and then put the second pane of glass over my arrangement. I clipped it in place and my card was matted and framed. If I grow tired of this card and want to show a different season, it's a quick change.

My first complete vacation project -- a wonderful memory of Kyoto -- next to my front door.
I have now been home for three weeks and the trip is definitely fading into memory, a good memory, but still memory. I'm back to grocery shopping, going to the library and catching up on everything I said I would do after the trip. I've got an eye doctor appointment tomorrow, scheduled the dermatologist and am getting excited about BookExpo America, which is only two weeks away. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Thursday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Monday -- and a Question

A big bouquet of my favorite flowers, lilacs, with happy Mother's Day wishes! I hope everyone had a very enjoyable day.
Happily, my computer seems to be back on track, and so does just about everything else. I love to travel, but getting back into my "usual" is tough after a longer trip. It's not enough to keep me from traveling, but something I need to remember. I'm reading -- a review or two soon to come -- decluttering and trying to drink more water. 
One of my goals for 2015 -- modest, as it is -- is to drink more water. I've been keeping track since I got home from Japan and I seem to come up about two glasses short every day. Does anyone have suggestions for things that have helped them? I'm not one for carrying a water bottle everywhere I go, and I don't even especially like water. I'm working at it, but getting in the last few glasses is getting tough. Appreciate all suggestions. 
I had a nice weekend, the highlight of which was a bridal shower. The weather was prefect for being outside and it was a wonderful time to catch up with friends and family of friends. Dessert was the first strawberry shortcake of the season. It's one of my favorite desserts -- ice cream is at the top of the list -- and it was delicious. Another question of the day -- biscuits or cake? We had homemade biscuits and homemade whipped cream. Perfect! Alas, I didn't get a picture of our goodies.
I hope everyone had a good weekend and wishes for a great week. As ever thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Few Words Friday

My computer needs a little tuning and I'm waiting to chat with my friends at the Geek Squad. In the interim I'm going to share a favorite picture from Japan, the Imperial Palace on a spring day.

I hope to be back tomorrow for Pink Saturday fun. As always, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe and Then Unsubscribe Again...

I know this is an unwieldy title for today's post -- and I'm certainly not suggesting unsubscribing from Buttercupland -- but I spent several hours today unsubscribing to dozens of websites. In some cases I not only unsubscribed, but I deleted any posts remaining in my inbox. Hopefully they will be gone for a long, long time.

Happily I'm feeling back to my regular self, allergies under control and sleeping in this time zone.  But there's always something and my bathroom plumbing had a little hiccup. Instead of going to the gym I spent the morning waiting for my super. As I waited I started to clean up my inbox. I started simply to delete/read mail I received while I was away and hadn't read. But I very quickly realized that I needed to go much further to get some control over my inbox. I kept my work inbox much more organized. There were fewer items that simply needed reading and many items I needed to handle quickly. But in the last almost two years I've gotten lackadasical.

Things aren't perfect -- I think another session later this month will be in order -- but I have a plan. I realize that if I haven't read an email in a week, it's not likely I will and it needs to be deleted. I found dozens of emails from travel sites that I thought might be useful about long distance flights. I've just taken several long distance flights and don't need an article on how to pack. Remedy, delete and unsubscribe.

At then end of this month I will be retired for two years -- yes, it's flown by -- and many of the good habits that kept me going in the office are needed at home. I've gotten closets and drawers under control and now it's time to move on to "office" organization. There's lots of paper sorting to be done, especially as I move into Medicare land this summer.

I'm glad I'm feeling better because I am so enjoying the beautiful weather we've had in New York City for the last few days. I had a wonderful day yesterday, visiting the Central Park gardens. I took dozens of pictures and I think they deserve a post of their own, but I wanted to share at least one picture. I'm pleased to report it's not all work for Buttercup.

I hope it's not all work for all of you, too. As always, thanks for visiting and happy spring wishes!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

I Would Write a Sonnet Pink Saturday

If I was a poet -- which I'm not -- I would write a sonnet about spring in New York City. Long awaited, finally here and absolutely gorgeous. I'm a blogger and not a poet and instead I'm going to join my friends at Pink Saturday to extol the virtues of a walk along Madison Avenue yesterday, a perfect spring morning.

 Blossoms at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Madison Avenue
My only goal for yesterday was going to my annual checkup first thing in the morning. I saw a new physician at a new practice and had no idea how long to expect to wait. No waiting and a good visit -- fingers crossed for the lab results -- and at 10:00 a.m. I had a beautiful spring day and no plans. I thought about going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was just a few blocks away, but I hated the thought of going inside. So I didn't. I walked, took pictures and enjoyed the day.  

Tulips, cherry blossoms and a memorial to firefighters lost on September 11.
My walk took me past some of my favorite stores...
I didn't stop to try anything on, but I loved the bright colors.
I spent the most time looking at this window. I have a few books on my reading list -- always do -- but I found a few more I'd like to add.
I fought temptation -- and this time I won -- but the black and white cookies kept calling my name.
After walking to Seventy-second Street I made my way to Michael's to buy supplies for a mini-craft project. I am happy to announce that I am half-way through and pleased with the results. I hope to finish next week and I'll share what I've done in a post.  
My cold/allergies are still giving me a kick, but otherwise the good news is that I'm sleeping on a New York schedule again. We've got another gorgeous spring day today and I hope it's as pretty where you are, too. 
As always, thanks for visiting and take care!