Saturday, January 31, 2015

Valentine Card Shower Pink Saturday

You are cordially invited to join the Valentine Card Shower

For the  fifth year in a row I am happy to be a participant in the Valentine card shower for Children's Hospital of Kansas City. Thanks to my sweet bloggy buddy, Melinda, at "Country Dreaming", for once again organizing the effort in Blogland. I'm not especially crafty, but I know there are some very talented crafters who are part of Pink Saturday, and could make beautiful Valentines to share with kids who will be patients at Children's Hospital on Valentine's Day.


Please stop by Melinda's blog for details. Even a few cards will make children very happy and you may discover a crafty side you didn't know you had. I've got my red hearts and owl stickers ready to ask "Hooty Hoo wishes you a happy Valentine's Day?"

We're smack in the center of winter here, single digits in the morning and snow predicted for a few days next week. I promised not to complain about the winter, and I'm making every effort to keep that promise, but it's getting tough. I had reservations to go away for February, but then decided I liked being home too much. I do like being home, but I think next winter I will be away for some time in January or February. I'm just not a winter girl.

I did get to the gym today and restocked my yogurt, fruits and vegetables. I've got a couple of fun recipes that may (or may not) be next week's feature on Foodie Friday, and I've got my very first spaghetti squash waiting to be cooked.

As always, thanks for visiting and keep cozy! Baby, it's cold outside.   

Friday, January 30, 2015

Foodie Friday: My Perfect Pantry


When I was growing up I lived in a house that was built in 1924. It had a big kitchen and a pantry, both of which were standard for life in 1924. It was great for our family life, too. We moved to this house in 1957 and my mother loved all the space in the pantry. She could keep her large collection of pans and cooking implements, as well as take advantage of sales. My mother was a cook and a baker and liked to  have supplies at hand to keep us fed.

In 2015 I live in a small New York apartment and I have a galley kitchen and three shelves in place of a pantry. I like to cook, too, but I don't have space for everything I would like. I was delighted to have the opportunity from Blogging for Books to review "My Perfect Pantry" and get advice about items I could easily keep on hand that would translate into great food.   

If you're a fan of food shows on television you're familiar with Geoffrey Zakarian. I was eager to translate some of the great food from his restaurants into my own meals and I was pleased to see that the ingredients he suggests as pantry essentials are neither expensive or esoteric. I keep tuna, cider vinegar and peanut butter all the time and I can add barley, lima beans and chicken stock. I do need to add some spices, but with some basics there are great recipes. From my regular stock of canned tomatoes I'm planning to make braised green beans with tomatoes. I'm also going to buy dried lima beans and try the lima bean hash. I think it will be a perfect meal for these cold, cold winter days.  These are not especially simple recipes, but I can definitely see making most of them. There are great baking ideas, too, including a fabulous one for chocolate muffins.

I was delighted to have this opportunity to get my kitchen and "pantry" in order and stock up on foods that  will actually translate into delicious meals. Thanks, Geoffrey Zakarian and Blogging for Books for this great opportunity.

Today was an errand day and warm enough for a walk outside. The temperatures are dropping quickly -- my phone reports that it feels like it's ten degrees outside -- and I can hear the wind. I may just keep warm and cozy indoors tomorrow and drink lots of herbal tea.

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care. Keep cozy!

Please note: I received a copy of "My Perfect Pantry" for review purposes. The opinions are all mine.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Goal #2: Sleeveless in 2015


Now that Snowmaggeddon 2015 has passed into history in New York City it's time to return to other matters, foremost of which is my quest for fitness in 2015. Last summer I wrote about joining a study on exercise and seniors, which brought me back to exercise. I also wrote about being dropped from the study because my data wasn't useful for the project. Initially I was very upset, but quickly realized that getting in shape was useful, study and its benefits -- a membership to the Y -- or no study. A couple of days later I joined the Y on my own and haven't looked back.

I won't say I was the most willing participant at the Y initially. I was hesitant to use the machines for weight training and not really sure this was for me. I was usually among the last chosen for gym throughout elementary school and high school, and though decades have passed, the memories stayed with me. But I saw the sign above and decided to join the program. There's a free three month program associated with the Fit Points Club, where a coach works on goals and motivation, and I needed a lot of coaching to move beyond my fifth grade "I'm not good in gym" self. But my coach, Erica, stuck with me, and I stuck with it and I'm liking it. Do I love it? No, but I like it and enjoy the gains I've made.

I knew I needed to pace myself, both with my spinal surgery two years ago and my broken foot last year. But I've found ways to move that tax neither and amazingly, I've come to enjoy working out on the machines. I marvel that I can lift weights on machines that have names like "bicep curl." This is where I came up with the name for my second goal of this year, Sleeveless in 2015.  I haven't worn a sleeveless shirt in years, but I'm hoping this will be the summer that my newly tight(er) biceps will debut in a sleeveless summer shirt. This would be a great way to celebrate my 65th birthday in July. My goal is to get the Y three times a week and excepting the two weeks of jury duty I've been successful.


Because I couldn't let the day go by without a picture of snowy Manhattan, here is a picture of the statue of opera star, Richard Tucker, in a small park across from the Metropolitan Opera. In warmer weather there is a farmers' market here a few times a week. You may remember Richard Tucker from appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, but his fame came from being a star at the Metropolitan Opera.

I'm spending today catching up indoors. I roasted vegetables, cleaned the kitchen and now I'm looking forward to a cup of coffee and a good book. Tomorrow I'm back to the Y.

As always, thanks for visiting. Take care and keep cozy! New Englanders, sending warm thoughts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Night and Day

Actually the difference in the first two photos is only about an hour, but the difference in the amount of light is literally night and day. I woke up around 6:30 this morning and first thing I looked out the window to see the snow. There wasn't much, which surprised me. I decided I needed to go outside and see for myself close up and donned my blanket of a down coat, hat, boots and gloves, This was the scene.

   I thought I was looking at a foot of snow, but learned it was closer to six inches. I was happy and surprised to see I wasn't looking at a blizzard. The snow had pretty much stopped by this time. Please note not a car is moving on this usually very busy street.
 
Since I was awake and there was no blizzard I made my way around the corner for my synagogue's morning prayer service at 7:30. There was no mass transit in New York City until 9:00 am this morning and there was concern that there would not be the needed ten people for the service. Members of the congregation members received an email asking for those who lived close by to attend. We had a great turnout and I realized how much I enjoyed the daily morning service. I had planned to attend more often when I retired, but I haven't gone very often. This was the perfect reminder that it's a great way to begin the day. It's a short service and after 8:00 I walked up to this scene on Broadway.


It's difficult to look at this picture and realize it's Broadway, which is usually filled with cars, buses and trucks. Most of the sidewalks had been shoveled and it was easy to get around. I enjoyed the quiet and snowy beauty of the streets. A lot of stores were closed -- workers couldn't get to them -- but my favorite bagel store was open and busy. There was coffee brewing and hot bagels and I enjoyed my visit there a lot.


Blogger is acting up again and it's being very difficult with photographs. I was able to enlarge the first picture, but not the two other pictures. I'm not sure what's going on. Is anyone else having issues with Blogger? Edit: Happy to enlarge my pictures. Thanks, Blogger, for your help!

Tomorrow I return to a regular January day. I've got a stop at the drugstore, Weight Watchers and the gym. I'm not eager for my Weight Watchers weigh-in. I've been mostly indoors for the last two days and have done more cooking and more eating.

It's time for reading and a cup of tea. Perfect for a snowy winter evening. As always thanks for visiting and keep cozy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snowy, Snowy Sunlit Sunday

Though we're in the midst of a bona fide blizzard, Juno, yesterday was a beautiful sunny day. Knowing that today wouldn't encourage walking I indulged heartily yesterday, including walking by Central Park. There was still snow from Saturday's snowfall and the Park was lovely, perfect for Sunlit Sunday.

 This is my version...

...and this is Google's color version.
 
I had a 9:00 a.m. appointment this morning and it was snowing very lightly when I walked to the subway. It still was snowing lightly after my appointment when I got off the bus near my house. I called my friend Betsy and we had a coffee get-together and then made a last minute foray for more pre-blizzard food supplies. As of this afternoon I had enough yogurt to last until March, lots of vegetables and cans of soup. I am out of diet Coke, my one major snack indulgence, but I'm supplied with half and half and coffee for tomorrow morning.
 
This is the supermarket closest to my apartment. The lines to checkout go back into the aisles, a sign of Blizzard 2015 food hysteria.
 
 
I hear the salt spreaders outside, but otherwise it still just looks like any other snowstorm. From the infinite weather coverage it seems that the worst of the storm will occur after midnight. Rest assured, I will be snapping pictures -- from the comfort of my building lobby -- and will share them on the blog tomorrow. 
 
As always, thanks for visiting. If you're in the path of the storm, stay safe and cozy. 
 
 



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Come to the Grow Your Blog Party

If the weather forecasts are right New York City and the Northeast are looking forward to at least a foot of snow. The word "blizzard" is being tossed around, but I'm hoping that we won't see that much snow. I'm not a fan of snow and wind and cold weather, so I'm going to a party instead of worrying about the snow. Won't you join me for the Grow Your Blog Party,  hosted by Vicki at 2 Bags Full. The party is a wonderful opportunity to meet new bloggers and make friends throughout BlogLand.

If you're a long-time blog buddy, some of this is old hat, but for anyone stopping by for the first time, let me introduce myself. I started blogging six years ago, never thinking I would enjoy my time in BlogLand as much as I have. I'm a recent -- eighteen months ago -- retiree from a government agency and love living in New York City. I also love enjoying all that the city has to offer, and sharing my adventures in Buttercupland.

  I like exploring museums, including the American Museum of Natural History, pictured above. 
 
I like reading about, writing about and trying the wide and delicious array of foods in New York City.
 

I enjoy seeing movies, including "Selma," one of my favorites of 2014.
 
 
I'm a reader, a traveler -- always like to have a trip to look forward to -- and a coffee drinker.
 
 

 
 
I'm especially happy exploring New York, spending time with friends and family and taking lots and lots of photographs. One of my favorite pastimes is meeting new blog friends. I am so grateful for the wonderful people who have come into my life. 
 
It wouldn't be a party without a giveaway and one visitor will be receiving a book, title to be announced. Just leave a comment and let me know what you're reading now or what's your favorite kind of book to read. Do you like historical novels, mysteries, romances or maybe, biography? I'm a fan of mysteries and have found some of my favorites set in the Middle Ages and Tudor periods. I'll announce a winner on Monday, February 2 for a Groundhog Day surprise.
 
 
As always, thanks for stopping by to visit. Take care and keep cozy!
 


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pink Saturday Mammogram Reminder


Real life has been getting in the way of blogging, but it's all good real life.  One of the real life events was my mammogram. I have to be honest. I skipped a time (or two) and I got a talking-to from my doctor in December. I knew I needed to get caught up and made an appointment for the first available date in January.

When I arrived on Thursday morning I filled out my forms with this bright pink pen. There were lots of pens available, but my eye went to my favorite color. I'm happy to say my test was fine and much less arduous than I remember. I'm just about caught up with my medical tests and I made a promise to myself not to let this one be so long overdue.  Usually my Pink Saturday posts are a lot more fun, but I think this is too important to forget. If you, too, are putting this off, please let this be a reminder to make your appointment on Monday.

What else in real life has been going on? I've been to the gym three times and checked in at Weight Watchers. My book club met on Wednesday and we had a great time catching up and chatting about "All the Light We Cannot See." I think it's my favorite book for 2014 and definitely worth reading. It's a great read and includes some of the most beautiful writing I've come across in a long time.

I'm inside on this snowy day, though there's a lot less snow than predicted. I'm catching up on computer time and enjoying coffee and the New York Times. It's cozy inside and I'm liking this quiet day very much.

As always thanks for visiting and take good care!
 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fortune Teller Monkey Monday (Plus Twelve Hours)


I had high hopes of posting these cute fortune teller monkeys last night when I got home from Florida. But my flight was delayed for two hours and my computer was doing an upgrade. The fates were against my posting, but I had good fortune for the rest of my travel. I arrived in relatively warm weather -- none of the ice storm that I missed still lingered -- and there were lots of cabs at the airport.

I was entranced by these adorable little seers at one of the airport gift stores. They were a little pricy for an impulse purchase, and I was happy to settle for pictures. They are fortune tellers. When their hand is pressed you can ask a question and you get an answer when you press their little foot. Note the question mark on the right feet.

I had two posts prepared on my phone while I was away, but neither would publish. I'm not sure what the problem was and I think figuring it out may be beyond my technical skills. Happily I can post the old-fashioned way from my computer. I'll be able to share pictures in the next day and I've got lots of them, especially of our trip to Fairchild Tropical Garden. It was spectacular, a word I don't use often, but deserving of this excursion. As a preview of a coming post...


It's tough bundling up in layers after the wonderful (and warm) weather in Florida. Yes, there was a little rain and a time or two of overcast, but it was lovely and I especially enjoyed not wearing boots, gloves and a heavy coat. I wish I could have shipped some of it north and boxed it up and brought it back with me. I'm back in wintercoatland and it's time to head for the gym and then the grocery. Real life calls!

As always, thanks for visiting and keep cozy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Where in the World is Buttercup?


It's warm and sunny and I don't need a hat, gloves or even a coat. I was overdressed in black jeans and socks and sneakers today and it felt fabulous. 






If you guessed Florida, you guessed correctly. I've left the cold of New York for a long weekend with friends of long, long standing -- elementary and high school. It's a girls' getaway, thanks to Sue who lives in Florida. We've got a spa day, shopping and a fun brunch on the agenda. There will also be talking, laughing and lots of new memories. And yes, there will be pictures. Because of a change in my flight I spent the afternoon reading by the pool of a Palm Beach hotel and I loved my time relaxing in one of the lounge chairs in the first picture. What a fabulous treat! 

As always, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Now We Are Six...Buttercupland Blogaversary and Giveaway


Last summer there was an exhibition of children's literature at the New York Public Library. I took lots of pictures and planned to do a post about it. But other things came up and the post didn't get written. But I saved the pictures and to celebrate the sixth blogaversary of Buttercupland I am featuring my friends from Pooh Corner and the wonderful poem, Now We Are Six.

 A.A. Milne celebrates being six with the thought, "But now I am six I'm as clever as clever. So I think I will be six forever and ever." I don't feel especially clever, but I do feel very good for six years of blogging. Six years! On a cold day in January 2009 I didn't dream the wonderful things that would come with blogging and I won't begin to predict the next six years -- at least! Many thanks to the fabulous friends around the world who have enriched my life more than I can describe. It's been a great six years, and I raise a toast to the years to come.

We can't have a celebration without presents and I'm doing a giveaway. It's not the usual, but rather a year of six -- for six years of blogging -- surprises. Six times in 2015 I'm going to send a surprise. It may be a holiday card or candy or a book or some other treat that catches my eye. Just leave a comment with an idea for a surprise and you're in the giveaway. You don't even have to be a friend of Buttercupland, but don't you want to!  

More than ever, thanks for visiting and take very good care!
 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Greetings from Lower Manhattan Monkey Monday

I'm always on the lookout for monkey pictures, but they are even harder to find than pretty-in-pink pictures. I was happy to come upon this collection during my walks in Lower Manhattan during jury duty. I tried to cover as much territory as possible and I especially enjoyed my walks through Tribeca, the area below Canal Street. I worked there thirty years ago when it was composed of decaying office buildings, warehouses and yes, the wholesale egg district. Now it is the most expensive and fashionable neighborhood in Manhattan and signs of residential life abound. 

I found this fun toy store with lots of goodies, but there was one stuffed animal in particular, on the bottom left, who grabbed my heart. 
 
Scooter is the star of today's Monkey Monday.
 
I'm a fan of black and white pictures and I'm happy to share this version of Scooter, too. He looks spiffy and so much fun in both versions.
 
 
I was pleased to see that my favorite diner of 1985 was still in existence and the exterior is unchanged. It is now surrounded by very expensive condos.  
 
 
I'm glad to have happy pictures to post on a rainy Monday in January. I can't promise to have monkey pictures every Monday, but I'm on the lookout. 
 
I had a quiet at-home day today. I probably watched way too much television, but I didn't snack and put my focus on drinking water. I've slacked off in water drinking and I was determined once jury duty was over I would make a concerted effort to drink more water. Tomorrow I am determined to get to the gym. That's another place where I find myself slacking off. Not tomorrow!
 
As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and keep warm and cozy. 


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunlit Friday, Saturday and Sunday

We've had sun for three days in a row. It's been a cold sunshine, but happily sun. It hasn't come a moment too sun, because I'm sad to admit eleven days into 2015 I have cabin fever already. Today my goal was to get to the gym, but the thought of being inside when I could be out and walking was too painful. I chose to walk most of the way to my destination on West 47th Street and yes, it was cold, but not too cold to walk and enjoy the sunshine.

We had our first snow of the winter on Friday and I didn't get far, but I did get to the library, half a mile from where I live. It was snowing when I left my building, but it stopped as I walked over. I was concerned I wouldn't have pictures for Sunlit Sunday, but happily there was lots of sun.

 Goodbye, Christmas trees!
 
 
By the time I walked home the sky was brilliant blue and the sun was bright. I got the sun I was so hoping for. 
 
 
 

 
 
I'm pretty sure one reason cabin fever set in so early -- besides the cold, cold weather -- was the news of the last few days. I've had the good fortune to travel to Paris a number of times, worship in one of the synagogues in Paris and my paternal grandfather lived in Paris before coming to New York in 1914. It's difficult to feel hopeful, but I'm looking for the sun whenever I can find it. 
 
 
 My heart and my prayers are in Paris.   
 
 
As always, thanks for visiting. Take good care and sending you sunny wishes.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Girls Just Want to Have Sun Pink Saturday


I was walking in the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago thinking about blogging and pondering if I would find much pretty-in-pink to photograph for the Pink Saturdays of 2015. As I pondered I saw this tote bag in the window of a local store, and I had my answer. We were still having unseasonably mild weather,  but I knew that would end one day and one day soon I would be thrilled for sun and warmer weather. I also knew I had my first Pink Saturday photo.

We've had sun, we've had snow and we have cold. It's a not so balmy 18 degrees this afternoon and I'm rediscovering boots, hats and scarves. I'm keeping to my resolution to get out every day and will be at my Bible study this afternoon. The winter is -- so far -- not keeping me away from enjoying New York City. It just takes longer to get dressed to enjoy it.

Blogger is acting up and I am unable to make this picture larger. I'm hoping it's just a temporary glitch and by tomorrow all will be well again in BloggerLand.

As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy!


 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Goal #1...(Physically) Less of Me to Love

When I wrote about my perfect word for 2015 last week, "Climb" I wrote that I had four goals for the year, as well, and that I would be sharing them during January. We're now solidly into January and after jury duty I have returned to the pursuit of these dreams. I've done some work on all four, but have really put a focus on two this last week. I'm going to write about the first of these dreams/goals today, losing weight.

  Temptation around every corner -- cake, pie and more cake at a local diner.
 
I am the veteran of hundreds of diets. I've never counted, but it's been an endless parade. Weight watchers, low carb, low fat, paleo and the B6 Cider Lecithin diet of 1975 are just a few. Some worked better than others, but emotional eating always got the best of me. My trip to Savannah this October nudged something inside of me. I was travelling with friends I had met in a Weight Watchers chat group a dozen years ago. Of the five of us, three had come close to their Weight Watcher goals, one in the last year. We did less snacking on this trip, even though we were in one of the great food cities of America and we did a lot of walking. I was amazed and thrilled to find that I hadn't gained an ounce while I was in Savannah. It was just the impetus I needed to go back to Weight Watchers. The day after my return to New York I was a returning member. 
 
I made a commitment that I wouldn't miss a meeting and I wouldn't give up quickly, and I've stuck to it. I tried several different meetings and found one that I really enjoy on Wednesday mornings. I track my food, plan my meals and treats and read labels carefully. I quickly realized during jury duty that eating lunch out every day, especially with the alluring restaurants of Chinatown a block away, would be the undoing of my efforts. I began to bring my lunch and my treat was coffee or a diet soda. This is the first time I can remember that I did not gain three/four/five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years and look at my closet with complete despair in January. I am down one size and my next aim is another size. I'm not thinking about how many pounds I'd like to lose, but focusing on the good changes I'm making. The thing that most surprises me is I don't feel deprived and sad about what I'm giving up, but so pleased with what I'm getting, a trimmer and healthier me. 

I didn't write about Weight Watchers or even mention it to many friends because I was concerned I wouldn't stick with it. But I happily have and getting trimmer is a major goal for 2015. It's not a new year's resolution, but an ongoing effort to get healthier. My only new year's resolution is however about food. I'm giving up kale for 2015. I've tried and tried to like it and I'm done with kale. I'm eating healthy, but I'm giving up all efforts to force myself to eat kale.

Yes, it's really cold in New York, but I got myself dressed in many layers for a walk this afternoon. I keep remembering that I grew up in New England and in 1958 I would have been walking to school and back twice a day in weather just like this. That may be the equivalent of all the stories of olden times and walking five miles to school in a blizzard, and so be it. I am a fan of getting out for "fresh air" and it actually felt good. 

As always, thanks so much for visiting. Take care keep cozy!
 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wedding Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

I think it's fun to see brides on the streets of New York City and through the years I've enjoyed posting these pictures on Wedding Wednesdays. It doesn't happen that often, but when it does I know I have my post for the  next Wednesday. When I started jury duty two weeks ago I started to see brides -- the bouquet was the giveaway -- near the building where I was serving.

  I found this happy couple...
 
 this happy couple...
 
...and this happy couple.
 
If you note the sign in the last picture they are entering the Office of the City Clerk, which is actually the Manhattan equivalent of getting married at "City Hall." Because of jury duty I stumbled upon wedding central for Manhattan and there were lots of couples and lots of bouquets. 
 
 
I had a nice chat with the man responsible for many of the bouquets. When I first saw him I thought it was odd to see a flower seller in the center of the courts, but quickly realized why he had set up his table there. There were also two photographers on the steps, ready to take pictures for anyone who didn't have a friend or relative with a camera accompanying them.
 
I'm returning to my regular Wedding Wednesday format and will only be posting weddings when I come upon them during my regular life. But I couldn't resist sharing my wedding discovery. 
 
It's winter here -- really and truly winter -- and I am even wearing a hat all the time when I'm outside. I've got my hat, my down coat and my fleece gloves and I was out today for Weight Watchers -- tomorrow's post -- and grocery shopping, and it was chilly. Otherwise I was very content to stay inside.   
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Not-So Sunlit Tuesday

I am sad to confess that I missed the first Sunlit Sunday linkup of the season. For anyone needing a little -- or a lot -- of sunlight in the midst of winter days this is a great place to visit. I had every good intention, but life and fatigue got in my way. Yesterday was my last day of jury duty and I was tired when I got home from both my civic responsibility and shoe shopping. I'm glad yesterday was my last day downtown because it's functionally winter in New York and we have snow. I'm glad to be able to be home this morning drinking coffee and not on the subway in my boots and down coat. 

I did enjoy being downtown and taking pictures of the buildings and skyline. The latter is rapidly changing and so different from when I worked in the neighborhood thirty years ago. I've been posting pictures of the sights of the area and have several more posts to share in the next week. Today I want to share a few pictures of sunny skies I took last week.


I am a fan of photographing water towers -- the structure on top of the building in the center of the picture -- and this one caught my attention.

  There seems to be building everywhere in Lower Manhattan and cranes are ubiquitous.
 
Yesterday I found another crane, the Woolworth Building -- now condos -- the Freedom Tower on the far right and the also ubiquitous New York City traffic.
 
 
I am happy to have finished jury duty and happier still to be back to my more usual life. I'm in my exercise clothes and will be leaving for the gym in a little while. I would much prefer to stay in, but I need to make up for lost gym time. This is my first test of getting to the gym in the winter and I don't want to skip two months because there is snow. 
 
As always, thanks for visiting, and thanks for bringing me sunlight every day.
 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas in Bryant Park

This is our last seasonal Pink Saturday. Next week we return to pink themes and photos until next December and I am keeping my eyes alert for pretty-in-pink pictures. But as a last farewell to Christmas in New York we're taking a trip to  Bryant Park. The park adjoins the main building of the New York Public Library and is the scene of a wonderful Christmas market. I visited on Friday and knew it would be just the place for our last holiday post.

 
The Christmas tree is large and lovely, but is in the shadow of the skyscrapers surrounding the park. 
 
 
I loved this fun elfin tree in one of the shops, and was very tempted to add an elf to my snowman collection. 
 
 
 The Park was named for William Cullen Bryant, poet and editor of the New York Evening Post, after his death in 1878.
 
The view of the surrounding skyline at twilight from the Park
 
 
Yesterday we had snow and today was in the fifties and felt like April. Tomorrow promises winter again. I just remember that each day brings us nearer to spring, and that is a very good thing. 
 
As ever thanks for visiting. Take good care and have a great week!
 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

An Ode to Homemade Cookies Foodie Friday

I like many things about food. I like eating it, shopping for it, cooking and reading about it. In the last year I've come to enjoy writing about it, too. I especially enjoy writing about food in New York City. I tend to write about luxury items, like the fabled macarons of Laduree or very New York centric foods, like bagels at the local bagel shop. This Foodie Friday post is about food, but its focus is on neither luxury or local specialties. I'm toasting perhaps my favorite food, one found throughout America and many other countries as well, the homemade cookie.

I've not been known to throw away a store bought or restaurant cookie and I have fabulous memories of biscotti in Rome or the simple pleasure of an oreo and a glass of milk. However I can think of few food items that vie with the homemade cookie, especially the really good homemade cookie.  

Patricia's linzer tart Christmas stars
 
A favorite part of Christmas is sampling my friends' homemade cookies. This year there were no homemade cookies until New Year's Day, when my patience was richly rewarded. I had the pleasure of a being invited to a wonderful lunch at my friend Betsy's apartment. The main course was black eyed peas, but the dessert was two kinds of cookies and at risk of gaining five pounds on the first day of the new year, I refrained from eating every cookie on both plates. It was a struggle.
 
The linzer tarts pictured above were made by one of the guests' sister. I am not generally a fan of jam cookies, but these were so buttery and delicious that I may have become a fan, at least of Patricia's cookies. The other variety was Betsy's molasses cookies. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture, but they are one of my favorite kinds of cookies. I have memories of eating warm molasses cookies during our fifth grade trip to Sturbridge Village. Yes, that trip was fifty-four years ago, but such is the power of a really good cookie right out of the oven.  
 
What is your favorite homemade cookie?
 
My goals for this weekend are movies, exercise and putting the stuffed animals and snowmen away. I will be back this evening with my last photos of Christmas in New York for Pink Saturday and tomorrow I will be once again joining Sunlit Sunday. 
 
As always thanks for visiting and take very good care! 
 
I'm happy to join the fun with sweet Stephanie at the Roses of Inspiration link party. Guaranteed you will meet some of the nicest bloggers in all of BlogLand.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Perfect Word for 2015...Climb

Somewhere in the universe my deepest need and the word that will most help me achieve it, come together. Instead of my usual thought, research and deliberation a word floats into my mind. I don't have any process for choosing my word for the new year. Actually, as I thought about it I realized I don't choose the word, the word chooses me.

Last year my word was give and the year before as I faced retirement, my word was (Embrace) Change. In 2012 my word was (en)joy. The word that chose me for 2015 is Climb. I don't know the mountains that I will face this year, but I do know there will be challenges and mountains ahead to climb. I can face the future with dread or with the hope and prayer that I will have the strength to climb and overcome them. I've learned I do best when I am challenged -- whether the challenge is external or of my own making.

In the next few weeks I'm going to be writing about the challenges I am offering myself. I don't see them as New Year's resolutions, begun today and abandoned in a few weeks, but rather projects that engage me for the entire year. There are four goals that continue efforts begun in 2014, but I hope to climb new heights with all of them.

What is your perfect word for 2015?
 
Looking south to the Freedom Tower, Lower Manhattan
 

This first day of 2015 has been a delight. I began it by cleaning out my refrigerator. It's not a favorite task, but it gave me a great sense of accomplishment. I spent the afternoon visiting with friends and had a wonderful time. Great food -- including black eyed peas -- and even better conversation. It was the best of socializing. I caught up with friends of long-standing and also met women I look forward to getting to know better. Here's to many more days of friendship and accomplishment in 2015.
 
As always, thanks for visiting and take good care. Happy new year wishes!