Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Heart's Betrayal

I had a very happy return to Fort Laramie, Wyoming for the fourth book of Colleen Coble's set of six books, A Journey of the Heart. I enjoyed "A Heart's Betrayal" as much -- if not more -- than the previous books. We again begin in Wabash, Indiana at the end of the Civil War, but now we meet the extremely engaging Emmie Croftner. Newly widowed Emmie discovers that her late husband was already married at the time of their marriage. With this news, her life in Wabash holds little promise and she makes the brave trip to join her friend, Sarah Montgomery, in Fort Laramie, Wyoming.

The plot took several interesting twists and I especially liked the details of life in Fort Laramie and the setting in the American West in the early years of settlement. I read it during my train ride from Providence to New York -- a less exotic journey than the one Emmie took -- but it was the perfect book for a train ride and very enjoyable light fiction, with thoughts on faith and some romance included.

On a different note, I'm somewhat amazed that beginning tomorrow, the year is half over. Yes, it does seem to go faster the older I get, but the last few months disappeared like a puff of smoke. I've got lots of summer plans -- BlogHer and a trip to Maine foremost -- but any moment I will step into Michael's and there will be pumpkins. Too soon, my friends, too soon. I want to savor every moment of the long days of summer and enjoy blueberries and warm breezes before they are only memory.

I had a great visit with my cousins who were visiting from California today -- what a treat -- and am looking to a quieter day tomorrow. Weight Watchers, the gym and some grocery shopping top my list. Grateful for the big days and for the quiet days, too.

As ever thanks for visiting and have a sweet, sweet Wednesday.

Please note: I was given "A Heart's Betrayal" by The Litfuse Group for review, but the opinions are all mine.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pink Sky Saturday

We've had some magnificent pink sky moments this week. I've tried to capture as many as I could, but even with my best efforts I've had some magnificent failures, which I won't share with you. But I like this one very much. I took it looking west -- a few blocks from the Hudson River -- on West 42nd St. It was just at the moment when the sky is turning pink on the way to night.

 I missed catching the pink in the sky in this picture, but I'm also looking west, this time from the West 80's.  I like the detail of the American flag in the park down the street. 

The view from one of my favorite bus stops, again looking west, and again at twilight.
 It's a cloudy Sunday in New York, but I'm hoping for some sunshine during the day. I don't think that's the forecast, but I like to hope for a sunny surprise. Please stop by at Pink Saturday for some sunny fun.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thank You, Awesome Annie

I've written about joining Weight Watchers last fall several times, but generally I don't post about it. Quite unexpectedly I've really enjoyed attending meetings. I liked the people I met, got a lot out of our discussions and was greatly encouraged by Annie, our Wednesday morning Weight Watcher leader. Annie is on hiatus for the summer starting this week and today was our last meeting for awhile with her.

This is the my favorite picture from today's meeting. I think Annie looks great, but generally Annie is smiling, with a big gorgeous smile.  

I tried several meetings before I landed at Wednesday mornings. I initially thought I wanted to attend a meeting with mostly retired people, but I soon realized I liked a "mix" at the meetings and this energetic young woman was a great leader, thoughtful, funny and supportive.

What I like best about my hour at Weight Watchers is that it is totally a no-judgment and no-competition zone. I can't remember anyone being critical of another member and we cheer on every success and console at every disappointment. It's one of the best environments I know and the support and good ideas have helped me lose twenty plus pounds in the last eight months.

It's not the amount I had hoped to lose and it's going a little slower than I like, but I'm healthier and feeling better than I thought I could be. I've stopped worrying about how long it will take me to get to my goal weight and realize another two, three or six months doesn't matter. The thing that matters is continuing on the journey to health.

I have a "goal" number in mind, but I'm still up in the air about it. I know it's not going to be my high school weight, as attractive as it seems. But I don't have a seventeen year old metabolism anymore and it would be torturous to try and maintain that number. My goal is to be healthy and to have everything in my closet fit. The latter would be a complete novelty and fabulous.

I would be remiss to not thank the awesome Annie for all of her support. Annie says we do the work and we deserve all the cheering, but I know that a great coach has a lot to do with victory. Annie, you've been a fabulous coach and I can't wait to welcome you back for the next season. Wishing you a great summer!

It's taking me a few days to get back to my routines after my New England weekend. But I was back to the gym, back to Weight Watchers and to grocery shopping and emails and a library visit is planned for Friday. None of it is exotic, but I enjoy my regular life along Broadway very much, too.

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a happy summer day!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To the Class of 2015

For my triplet cousins, their classmates and the millions of other young people -- and less young people -- graduating this spring...

You've worked hard and a infinite future is ahead of you, exciting and scary. Take every opportunity and create them when the opportunities you dream of are not in front of you. Be kind to others, be kind to yourself and find contentment in small pleasures. I hope you will be happy, and find happiness as the product of a meaningful life, filled with family, friends and activities that make the world a better, more hopeful place. 

I've spent the last three days in New England visiting with friends and family and celebrating my cousins' graduation in Connecticut, and what pleasures! A walk on the beach, conversation, laughter, pictures -- we've inundated Facebook -- new sneakers and so many memories. 

Alyssa, Jared and Shelby, here's to a wonderful future!

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a very happy Fathers Day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Dear Friend Returns to New York..

...even if it's only virtually and even if it's only for one night, Tuesday, June 23, I'm still so excited.  "Girl With a Pearl Earring" will be in New York and maybe, at a theater near you. Thanks to our friends at Fathom Events, you are invited to experience world class museums and galleries on the big screen when Exhibition on Screen’s GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING is screened at select cinemas nationwide. This show is ONE-DAY ONLY. Enter now to win a pair of passes to the events! http://goo.gl/forms/wMzsIQokdK.

I think I'm getting my blogging mojo back and so happy for it. Despite the hot and humid weather -- no complaining, it's not ice and snow -- I'm getting around town and enjoying summer in the city. I spent the morning with a work colleague -- we both retired two years ago -- at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We went on great tour of a summer exhibit on Indian Art and it was fabulous. There were jewels and tapestries and it was a trip to Fantasyland. The ninety -- yes, ninety -- carat diamond was off-limits for photography. 
 I was especially taken with this beautiful gown, fine cotton and hand painted.  I hope to make a return visit to the Museum to see the individual pieces of the exhibit again. Magnifying glasses were available to see the fine details of the beautiful items on display. 
As always, thanks for visiting. So glad to share summer in the city with you!
Please note: Tickets to the Vermeer film were given to me by Fathom events in exchange for my review. All opinions are mine and only mine.   


Sunday, June 14, 2015

To Think that I Saw it on Broadway!

I was walking on Broadway sometime in the last few weeks and this pretty truck caught my eye. I thought it was some very attractive new food truck, but as I got closer I could see it was not the usual at all. It was New York City's first flower truck, from Uprooted. Not in the market for flowers that evening I didn't chat about prices, but I definitely found it photo-worthy.

A closer look into the interior of the truck and bouquets.
I loved the artwork and the names for the bouquets
A little edit here: Blogger was acting up yesterday, so I'm back on Monday with a few edits and larger photos. 
As ever, thanks for stopping by and wishes for a merry Monday!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

One Swallow Does Not a Summer Make...

...and two posts don't end a Blogger's Block.
I thought after two posts earlier this week I'd be back on the blogger track. But as Aristotle said -- or at least has the attribution -- "One Swallow Does Not a Summer Make." My blogger block is not for lack of ideas or pictures, but every time I sat down at the computer to post I got distracted and the posts I had in my head never made it to publish.
I've been trying to figure out if something is on my mind, and there's nothing I can think of. It's been a good week. I've gotten to the gym, Weight Watcher's, done a lot of reading and even got to the movies. It's just time to sit myself down in front of the computer and write. At this moment, as I type away, I'm typing away happily and so glad to be blogging. 
One event that took place this week, though not officially on the calendar, is the arrival of summer to New York City. Hot, hot and hotter. I'm wearing short sleeved t-shirts and carrying an umbrella with me to be prepared for summer showers. I'm making every effort not to complain and be happy there is no snow on the sidewalks. 
Thank you, Google, for the enhancement. This beautiful composition greeted me two days ago in front of the building next door.   

I'm adding this photo to the fun at Pink Saturday. Please stop by for some pretty in pink good times.

As always, thanks for visiting and have a fun pink Saturday!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Let Us Eat Cake

This is not a post about Marie Antoinette or the French Revolution. Rather it's an homage to one of the joys of life, cake. I like pie and cookies, and enjoy ice cream a lot, too, but my favorite dessert is cake. I like layer cake with gooey frosting. In the last six months I've made an effort to eat in a much more healthy manner, but when a perfect piece of cake is placed in front of me, I succumb without regret.

 I celebrated wedding festivities with dear, dear friends in Brooklyn this weekend. There was a small and absolutely lovely luncheon on Saturday and a larger and equally festive reception on Sunday. At the luncheon on Saturday I resisted these magnificent banana walnut cinnamon buns...

Warm, yummy and dripping glaze. It was difficult to stop after one taste...Very difficult!
But when the cake arrived  thanks to One Girl Cookies -- a beautiful white cake with buttercream frosting, I didn't resist a bite. It was rich and a perfect piece of cake worth every single delicious calorie. I thought of taking a photo when there were about three bites left, which doesn't make for a very attractive picture.  I'm not sure if a wedding cake can be shipped, but I did note that the wonderful cookies can be ordered. They are as good as any I've ever had.
But I'm drifting off topic. We're here to talk cake and not cookies, no matter how good they may be. This is my ode to cake. My weekend cake saga continued with a dark, equally rich chocolate cake on Sunday. I skipped bread, chicken wings and an enticing array of appetizers because I knew there would be cake. Again, this slice of cake was worth every calorie.
That was my weekend, friends. Laughter, hugs, friends that are family and lots of love. But the icing on the cake was cake. I couldn't ask for more. 
Are there other cake eaters in Buttercupland, or are you more devoted to cookies, ice cream or pie?
As ever, thanks for visiting. Wishes for a great week and let us eat cake!

Monday, June 8, 2015

"Steel Magnolia" Fans, Please Stand Up

For the last five days I have had a terrible case of Bloggers' Block. I don't know if such a condition really exists -- though if I googled it I would probably find a dozen/hundred/thousand links. Despite having lots of pictures and ideas, I couldn't sit myself at the computer and actually compose a post. I've come up with my own remedy for this malady and I will post every day this week, Monday through Saturday, and I'm not going to overthink my posts. It might be a book I like, some issue in the world or a simply a picture I've taken during the day.

While I was avoiding blogging this evening I watched "Steel Magnolias" for the five thousandth time, and as I type it's on in the background again. My first thought whenever I think of "Steel Magnolias" is that I cry my eyes out, and for the most of the movie I didn't shed a tear. But at a certain point -- no spoilers, here -- I just started sobbing. My question of the night is: "Is there anyone in Buttercupland that doesn't cry her eyes out when watching this movie? Anyone, at all?

I did a little research and found this interesting article that ran last November in the "Huffington Post" to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the movie. One line from the article especially struck me, that "there is no movie that better epitomizes the bond of female friendship." The movie epitomizes, celebrates and toasts friendships through the years, happy and tragic times and yes, I will cry every time I see it.

Two other thoughts on "Steel Magnolias"...

I love Sally Fields and I think she was my favorite member of the cast, and then I think of Dolly Parton and then Julia Roberts and on and on and I realize without any one of the actresses it wouldn't be the sweet, tender movie I love.

One of my darling younger cousins is named Shelby. I'm in good family company with my adoration for this movie. Any other Shelbys in Buttercupland?

I've busted through my Bloggers' Block -- hurray -- and it feels so good. Can't wait to see what will pop into my head tomorrow!

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Day in Osaka

I'm a day late and I plead BookExpo overload. But I'm very happy to start off June with the name of the winner of the Japan Momento Giveaway.  Pepe Le Monkee chose the winner and it's Paula Kaye at Smidgens, Snippets & Bits. Paula, I hope you enjoy these momentos of Japan.

Osaka Castle 

  I am always pleased when I receive a request from a reader to feature photographs from a place I've visited. I thought I might have overdone showing my pictures of Japan and Korea, but my friend Pat asked for pictures of Osaka, and I am happy to oblige. I had the pleasure of meeting Pat on our trip, but because of flight mishaps she missed our day in Osaka.

Our tour began in Osaka, a major financial and commercial city in Japan. Only one day was scheduled there -- not enough time to do justice to all that the city offered and it seemed we literally raced through it. The first stop was the sixteenth century Osaka Castle, an important site in Japanese history.

 I know this photo has very little to do with Japanese history, but I had never seen a cat in a carrier touring historic sites anywhere. History-loving cat and friend were happy to pose for a picture at the Osaka Castle.
 A view of the Castle from the Osaka Museum of History
10,000 yen is equal to $80.00 US
I love visiting grocery stores when I travel and I was eager to see the treasures in Japan. Department store basements have groceries, which are very, very nice and my first stop in Osaka was visiting the department store next to my hotel. I planned to buy dinner and explore, and I had a great time doing both. One of the things that caught my attention was the display of fruit. Japan is a physically small country that has little arable land, and fruit is mostly imported and expensive. These melons were in the gourmet section and packaged for gift giving, and yes, the least expensive is $80.00 USD. I have a new appreciation for the bounty of our grocery stores. and I doubt if I will ever complain about fruit prices again.    
The weather has taken some wild twists and turns here in New York. Yesterday it was humid and summery with thunderstorms and today was in the fifties, and it was definitely jacket weather. I promised myself that once winter was over I would not complain about the weather, but I was tempted. It was chilly and I wanted spring.
As ever thanks for visiting and take good care.