Monday, May 30, 2016

Let Us Remember

In a world that seems to have almost vanished I visited the American Military Cemeteries in France. If I had traveled there in the more recent past I would have taken at least 100 photographs and have an album on Facebook, but on that trip in 1985 I may have taken a dozen pictures and if I was lucky, one or two of them were clear. Of that long ago trip to the Normandy beaches this lone photograph remains.

But what remains with the photograph are my memories and feelings. I was thirty five that summer, but I realized that the heros of Normandy -- or Anzio or the Pacific -- were in many cases just slightly more than half my age. They stormed beaches under fire, went through jungles, or in my father's case, fought through at least one bitter winter in Europe. My father came home, but these soldiers didn't. To them, and those who went before them and to those who followed them and continue to follow, we owe the freedoms we enjoy.

Thank you doesn't begin to express the gratitude I felt on a July day in Normandy. It still doesn't express the gratitude I feel thirty one years later. 

In gratitude and remembrance.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Ninth Avenue Staycation Pink Saturday

I'm taking a staycation this weekend -- theater ticket, movie, time with friends and bathing suit shopping (the subject of another post) and I also inadvertently took a three hour staycation on Ninth Avenue last Saturday. I attended a program at the library in the neighborhood and then leisurely, as though I was on vacation in an unfamiliar city, wandered through the neighborhood. Though I was only two miles from home, I don't get to this neighborhood very often and enjoyed getting to know it.
I found the Church of the Sacred Heart on West 51st Street and stopped for photographs. 

In this gritty neighborhood the convent garden across the street from the church provided a moment of serenity.

Any staycation involves coffee and I discovered Kahve Coffee during my exploration. I had a very good iced coffee and a pleasant rest before I made my way uptown. Real life and grocery shopping were waiting for me.

There was also some window shopping, menu gazing and lots of pictures. Once again, I realized that I don't have to go very far for a change of scenery. It's just a short bus ride away.

I don't have to go very far in BlogLand for a fun time. I just need to pay a visit to my friends at Pink Saturday. Pink Saturday is celebrating its eighth anniversary -- may I call it a Pinkaversary -- and I am proud to call myself a Pinky. Thanks, Beverly, for creating one of the friendliest places in BlogLand.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Keep safe on the road and have a fabulous weekend! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Red Nose Day 2016 in Buttercupland

 Pepe and his buddy, Ricky, are all set for Red Nose Day 2016.

Last year Pepe was a little testy about not having an official red nose. I had been remiss and neglected to buy a red nose in a timely fashion. I knew not to make that mistake this year. Sadly, the red nose didn't fit Pepe well -- or me -- but Ricky was able to wear it. Red Nose Day began in Britain and has now come to the United States. It's a day of fundraising and awareness to make a difference in the lives of children in need. The Buttercupland group is happy to be part of the day.   
Today is my catching up day. My apartment needs a good straightening, laundry is in the works, there are packages to wrap and I've got lots of blogging visits to catch up with. I also want to participate in a live webcast with Nika Maples tonight. What's going on in your world?
 Pepe and Ricky join me in thanking you for visiting and wish you a terrific Thursday.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

TurnStyle Pink Saturday

For this week's Pink Saturday fun we're going to the subway. We're not riding the subway, but we're going to a new shopping area that opened last month at the 59th Street Station. Twenty years ago I worked in a building right above this station and I've spent a lot of time here. We're going to follow the arrows...

...through the station to the exit closest to West 57th Street.

And we arrive at TurnStyle, the just one month old underground food hall. I get off at this stop often and I know I'm going to have fun exploring all the little food shops. I first stopped by last Monday on the way to my eye doctor -- just two blocks away -- and didn't have time for coffee, but I'm thinking a some research on the best coffee in TurnStyle is in order. 

There are a number of other branches of Fika, a Swedish coffee chain, in New York City, but this one looks especially inviting.

If I decide to take a hiatus from pastry abstinence, I'm coming here to Doughnuttery. Yes, I love the name, but the little doughnuts were enticing, too. I spent some time watching the custom dipping that takes place in the store, pictured below. 

It just happens that tomorrow morning I'm due to return to the same station and will be exiting via TurnStyle for a trip to the allergist. I'm not a morning person, so I don't anticipate stopping on my way to my appointment, but I might take the subway on the way home in order to start my coffee sampling.

Here's to a week of coffee, doughnuts, books and fun! As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

It's Not All Coffee and Books Random Five Friday

After last month's coffee revel and this month's book expo, I feel that the title for this blog could easily be Coffee, Books and Me. Actually I like that a lot and if I ever merge Coffee Light and Mysteries Noir with Buttercupland, that may be my new title. But this week held more than coffee and books and it's my theme for a return to Random 5 Friday blogging.

1) Finally at the end of this week spring returned to New York City. If it wasn't for Lincoln Center in the background, I could be in the country. But it's actually a living screen for the parking garage ramp at Lincoln Center.

Yesterday did include coffee and books, but it also included a trip to the gym, the bank and the post office. I took the subway to one of my favorite places, Columbus Circle and 59th Street for my errands and enjoyed a perfect spring day.

2) I got to see the musical Shuffle Along, and enjoyed every minute of it. It included three of my favorite Broadway actors, Audra McDonald -- who enchanted me in Carousel over twenty years ago -- Billy Porter and Brian Stokes Mitchell. If you're a fan of musicals and looking for terrific talent do a search for their music and you won't be disappointed.

3) In a totally different musical direction I came across Underground Horns in the Times Square subway station last night, and yes, the people in the picture are dancing in the subway. I wasn't sure how to describe the music, but their website calls it "Afro-funk, New Orleans brass," and it was great. I stood in the subway station for several numbers enjoying the music, the people and the fun.  

4) The week had to include coffee. Every week includes coffee, but I am sad to report this isn't happy coffee news. O Is for Oren's Daily Roast is closing its Broadway branch. Much regret from this coffee drinker. I will look for the other locations when I'm traveling around New York.   

5) The week also had to include books. I finished Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday -- a short book, but not slight in any way -- and began reading my copy of Jay McInerney's, Bright, Precious Days, which is due out in August. I loved his first book, Bright Lights, Big City and this one looks equally good.  

It was a busier week than I remembered. I have made headway on sorting out my books from Chicago, as well as putting my summer clothes in order. I now firmly believe that summer will arrive.

As ever, thanks for visiting, and joining the book and coffee revels. Take care and have a great weekend.   

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Once Again, Sidetracked by Books

Today was the perfect spring day I've been waiting for, but it was also the day my two boxes of books shipped from Chicago arrived in my apartment. They arrived in the building last night, but in the interest of having a spine, I left them in the lobby until I could get help bringing them upstairs. I remembered a lot of the books that I shipped, but some were total surprises. There were three that I didn't think I had gotten copies of and regretted it. But lo and behold, they were waiting for me in the boxes. One of them is the book on the top right,  The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. I read her earlier thriller, In a Dark, Dark Wood and liked it and hoped to read this one, too. I think it might make a good summer thriller giveaway. If you liked Girl on a Train, this might be one for you.

I started unpacking, sorting, reading jacket copy and thinking about which books would be fun for summer blog giveaways and got totally sidetracked. I didn't get out for a walk and a little grocery shopping until after three, well past my usual time to get out of the house. I was dressed much, much earlier in the day.

This is the content of the two boxes, which, if I read everything it could be a very busy reading year. I know I won't get to everything and there were several books I thought would be great for giveaways here. There are two romance novels published Shadow Mountain that caught my attention. I am especially intrigued by Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack. It's the story of Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton's courtship and as a fan of Longfellow I think it should be great reading.

 Romance, general fiction and inspirational -- what would be your choice(s) for this summer's reading? The romances I have aren't too spicy -- not that I am necessarily against spicy -- but I went with less spicy and what I think, will still be fun reading. I am thinking of a giveaway each month of the summer, beginning the first week in June. This is definitely a reading summer.

Tomorrow I'm back on track and have to make it to the gym. We're getting new equipment and it isn't quite ready, so my routine has been off. But this isn't the time to slack on my gym visits and I am committed to a return to schedule.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Happy weekend wishes and happy reading! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

BookExpo America Pink Saturday

Our Pink Saturday fun this week is literally pink! My photographs all include the color pink and are all from my visit to Chicago. I was on the lookout for pink at BookExpo America to share with you.

I found these two cuties at the Storey Publishing booth. They were examples from the book, Crochet Taxidermy. I'm not particularly crafty, but for the many citizens of Buttercupland who are, these would be fun to make and to display.  

Though the only pink here is a little bit in the label, I thought these cookies were too cute to omit from this post. I broke my pastry abstinence and enjoyed a delicious sugar cookie.  

I had the good fortune to meet a number of authors at BookExpo America, including YA author Laini Taylor. I don't generally read a lot of Young Adult fantasy, but her new novel -- which she is signing for me -- Strange the Dreamer -- looks great and I will definitely be reading it. I love her pink hair and it looks so terrific on her. Though I've been thinking about a fun hair color, I'm not sure I'd look as good as Laini does. 

My plan for Saturday morning in Chicago was to spend the time walking and enjoying the sights. Good plan, but the weather was less than cooperative. The temperature was in the forties and I was not dressed to do a lot of walking in practically winter weather. I took refuge in Nordstrom's where I found this cute t-shirt. Yes, I dream of ice cream, waking and sleeping!

I'll be back later this week with posts about my adventures at BookExpo. I'm still sorting through my pictures and editing them. As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

So Many Books, So Little Time, So Much Fun

BookExpoAmerica 2016 is over and my mind is a whirl of books, authors, publishers and the many people I had the good fortune to meet. There will be at least three posts to come, but this post is a (very) quick overview of the last three days.

This is the scene that greeted me at McCormick Place on Wednesday afternoon. I spent the morning on my quest for the best coffee in Chicago. After some confusion with the BookExpo Shuttle -- my confusion, otherwise it was great and so easy -- it was time for BookExpo to begin. I checked off a number of events I wanted to attend and there were authors I hoped to meet. Happily I got to many of these events, but some of my most enjoyable moments were unplanned.

This is a view of the Expo floor. It looks very empty, but that wasn't the reality. There was a lot going on.

This is a more typical scene. There were long lines for book giveaways for popular authors -- I think this is for Jodi Picoult's next book -- which I avoided. Some of the lines started well before the time the book signings started. I had amazing luck with two of my favorite authors and waited no more than five minutes for each. Pictures for those moments will be in a later post.

This may be my favorite picture from the Expo. I got to meet North Pole Ninja, whose book is coming out in the fall. Few words, but so sweet.

I fly back to New York tomorrow afternoon. I've got a coffee tasting in the morning -- and a fabulous looking doughnut to sample, too -- and if the weather stays sunny, a walk to the Art Institute, one of my favorite museums.

So many books, so little time and lots of fun! As ever, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

In Search of the Best Coffee in Chicago

I'm off for a very quick trip to Chicago for BookExpo America. I anticipate spending ninety nine per cent of my time at the Expo at McCormick Place but anticipate a few early mornings that aren't scheduled. During those times I am in search of enlarging my Best Coffee search. Is anyone who's familiar with Chicago have a suggestion for a place to do some coffee sampling? I've done a Google search, but most of the places listed don't look close to the area where I will be staying near the Drake Hotel.

I'm almost packed and I'm going lightly, with just a small carry on. After having my luggage wander between North and South America on my last trip, there's no bag checking for me this time. I hope to blog every night about my experiences at BookExpo.

Thanks for visiting and have a terrific Tuesday.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hunting Hope


My subway reading in May has included Hunting Hope, by Nika Maples. Nika writes about finding hope in the darkest seasons of life. For her this season followed a massive stroke at twenty, after which she was unable to walk or speak. After struggle and effort she relearned both and became a public school teacher and was named 2007 Texas Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

Hunting Hope focuses on biblical lessons for finding hope in life's struggles. The lessons she paints are interesting and thoughtful. I especially liked reading about Nika's own story and would have enjoyed reading more stories of her life. Yesterday I found myself thinking of one of the stories included in the book and at first couldn't remember where I had read it. I realized it was the chapter I had read several days before and it had stuck in my mind. I would recommend this for spiritual reading for one's self, as well as for a gift. It's also a good choice for a study group.

Here's a birthday shout-out to one of the sweetest women anywhere, my blogger buddy, Theresa. I know when I stop by her blog, "They Call Me Ganky," I will have a good visit and leave with a smile. Dear Theresa, sending you every happy wish for your birthday and the year ahead. So glad I met you in BlogLand.
The sun is out in New York and I'm out to take advantage of it. Here's wishing you a day with sunshine and friendship. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Carnelian Knoll Pink Saturday

I took a trip to Carnelian Knoll last week. On a map it's just slightly to the west of Brigadoon and to the north of Camelot. Happily, Carnelian Knoll comes to life more often than either Brigadoon or Camelot at Crafts on Columbus, an extraordinary art exhibition whose spring show graces my neighborhood each year. There is still one more weekend to see the beautiful creations at Carnellian Knoll. 

The beautiful jewelry on display -- and for sale -- is designed and crafted by my friend, Julie, who is  is wildly talented. I've been drooling over her website for months and seeing her creations in person was a thrill. There were so many lovely pieces to choose from.

There were lots of fun, colorful pieces for every day wear.  

Every pair of earrings was a temptation for me. I had to remind myself several times that I generally wear the same pair of hoop earrings for weeks. It's difficult for me to choose which of these bright beauties would be my favorite pair.  

I was here to take photographs and I was "just looking..." But I happened to have a picture of the dress I bought for M and J's wedding in July and asked Julie what earrings she might recommend to wear with the dress. Her choice was this pair. She had me at "Nineteenth Century French beads..."  

Crafts on Columbus takes places on Columbus Avenue, in back of the Museum of Natural History. The park area in the picture is Margaret Mead Green. It's a beautiful oasis in the middle of Manhattan and a lovely place to spend a spring afternoon.

The Museum is in the background. There are several modern additions, but the original building looks like a castle with towers. If only there were a moat!

I'm adding my Carnelian Knoll adventure to the Pink Saturday fun. I hope you've enjoyed our visit  as much as I have. I also hope you've enjoyed a happy Mother's Day. The weather turned sunny in New York City -- finally! -- and I had a great morning with my college roommate, drinking coffee, laughing, talking recipes and enjoying a walk in the sunshine.  Doesn't get much better.

So much coffee, so little time! As ever, thanks for visiting and enjoy your week.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

In an era -- Winter, 1951 -- when pictures were more of a luxury
Here I am, squirming away in my mother's arms. I'm six, or so, months old and my mother and I are in my grandparent's yard. I was supposed to be the first of several children, but the others never came. My mother always said, "I thank G'd for my one." Today, twenty six years after my mother died, and every day, I thank G'd for my mother.
Happy Mother's Day to mothers, to aunts, to godmothers, to mothers of fur babies and to all who mother and love.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday

This has been the weather in New York for the last few days, cold, rainy and dreary. I'm wearing corduroy and a wool sweater and I'm not too hot. The calendar says May, but the weather says November. Happily, the next month is June and not December.

I've been remiss, actually very remiss. On the last day of March I posted a Surprise Giveaway from Peru. I got very caught up in my coffee reveling and alas, didn't post the winner. Bad Buttercup! I'm going to send this handmade change purse -- my photography doesn't do the colors of the weaving justice -- to Mimi of The Grandmother Gig.  I always enjoy my visits there and especially like her recipes. Today's post is about homemade jam and I'm all set to run out for strawberries.

Hoping there's sunshine where you are. As ever thanks for visiting and take good care!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

While I Was Drinking Coffee Pink Saturday

It seems odd to be writing a post that isn't about coffee. Though drinking coffee was my focus in April it wasn't my only focus. I went to the gym, I grocery shopped and I cleaned the kitchen.
I also welcomed and sadly, said goodbye to Spring. Though it was May 1 it was in the forties today and I wore my winter jacket. I didn't have my gloves, but they would have been a good idea.
These beauties bloomed on Broadway across the street from my gym.   

The first blooms at Grace Church, founded in 1808. It's around the corner from my new favorite coffee at City of Saints.

I heard one of my favorite actors, Helen Mirren, interviewed at one of my favorite places, the New York Public Library.

A moment during the program. There wasn't an empty seat in the house. 

I started thinking about doing some kitchen renovations and went on, what will be the first, of many expeditions to look at tile for a backsplash and new lighting. I'm still in very preliminary stages and I'm already overwhelmed by the wealth of choices. 
During a shopping trip to Macy's, another April activity, I found these perfect for  Pink Saturday piggies.

What were your April highlights? May will include more kitchen research, several theater evenings, dinner with college friends, a trip to Chicago, books and more books and lots of coffee.  I hope that spring decides to make a return engagement and I will be able to give my winter jacket a well deserved vacation at the back of the closet. 

So much coffee and so little time. As ever thanks for visiting and have a great week!