Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pink Saturday Goes to the Double Dutch

Though the thermometer says it's still summer, it's autumn whenever I can find it. 

I wouldn't say I'm in a rut -- lots of new things on my schedule -- but I do have a pretty consistent pattern. The library, synagogue, Weight Watchers and the gym are all within a mile from where I live. This area includes two movie theaters, groceries and Central and Riverside Parks. But on Saturday I joined friends who live north of my mile area for coffee on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, which is the continuation of Central Park West, north of Central Park.
Per my friend Jennifer's recommendation we went to Double Dutch Espresso. Though it's October we were able to sit on the garden patio -- a luxury in Manhattan -- and enjoy good conversation and iced coffee. Though I haven't written about coffee very often this year, I'm still sampling new coffee places. There's an infinite array in New York City and I have a good dozen new places that I've enjoyed this year.  

I was reading a review of Double Dutch that criticized the array of coffee drinks. The last is more than adequate for me and I had my usual iced coffee. It was a solid B+ and worth the extra travel. My hairdresser is only a block away, so I'm actually in the neighborhood often enough to stop by and enjoy the brick wall ambience.  

I haven't seen "It," but the sign in front of the shop paid homage to the book and movie. 

A semi-selfie on the sidewalks of New York

It was a great weekend. Perfect weather, enough errands to feel caught up, time with friends, services and lots of good coffee. I even checked off flu shot from my list. I stopped at the walk-in clinic near my building first thing this morning and was in and out in less than ten minutes. I hope everyone else had a chance to relax and recharge this weekend, too.
I'm joining my Pink Saturday friends. Please stop by and meet some of the nicest bloggers in Internet Land. As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a happy week.     

Friday, October 20, 2017

Blogger's Block or Not Blogger's Block...

That is the question, though it's actually not much of a question. I've put together photos for two posts and I've sat down at the computer five or six times and stared blankly at the screen. They're good posts -- or at least may be good posts -- if  I can come up with the words to go with the photographs. I've gone blank any number of times, but this may be a new record.  
The Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY in Waterlogue
I thought about when I first started writing and my first memory of any composition that was longer than a sentence or two was a book report in the fourth grade. There have probably been hundreds of times since then -- I wrote a lot during my working years -- when the words did not come quickly, but I can't remember a time when I actually sat down at the typewriter/computer/with a pen when I didn't compose something. This has been my longest stretch in my memory in over fifty years.
I decided to write about not being able to write instead of trying and trying on the posts, and finally there are words marching across the screen. My question to my blogging/writing friends is how do you keep the words coming? I tip my pen to my blogging friends who post every day. Do you have any inspiration or suggestions you can share with the rest of us who sometimes stumble to find words?
It's been a good and busy week. The photograph of a vintage theater in Tarrytown NY was taken during a visit this week. I had the pleasure of meeting two of my colleagues for lunch and window shopping in this lovely town in Westchester, just north of New York City.
As ever, thanks for visiting. Take good care and wishes for a great weekend!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mom

My mother on her wedding day, March 1947
I always know what day of the week it is, but I don't always note the date. So it was probably sometime late in the morning when I realized yesterday was October 11. It would have been just another day in October, except October 11 is my mother's birthday. Born, just after the start of World War I in 1914, she would have been 103 this year. 
My mother died in the winter of 1990, so there haven't been birthday celebrations in a long time. Sometimes it seems that my mother has been gone for decades -- and she has -- and the pain of her passing has quieted and is dormant. But on other days, like today, the pangs of missing her are vibrant and very much present. My feelings tonight are a mix of sadness and gratitude. Sad not to have had more years with my mother and grateful for the good times and legacy that I was given.
Thanks, Mom, for home baked cakes and teaching me how to bake. Thanks, for infinite trips to the library and museums and winter afternoons at the Y in Hartford for swimming lessons. Thanks for a million memories. You were the best!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I Dreamed I Had Age Spots as Big as the Craters of the Moon

  But, my friends, it was no dream.
On Tuesday afternoon I went to meet my new dermatologist. I had no major issues, but I wanted to find a dermatologist before I did have major skin issues. I did have a small spot on the side of my nose that troubled me and figured I could have it checked. I expected a very quick and cordial visit. 
Dr. N. took a photograph of the spot on the side of my nose and thanks to the marvels of modern technology this tiny detail of my skin immediately flashed on the computer screen in front of me. In a second there was the spot on my nose magnified four million times along with every age spot I didn't know I had. When I look in a mirror the size of the one in the photograph above I've got a few age spots and freckles, but now I had age spots that resembled the craters of the moon. I let out a noise that was a cross between a scream and the sound of a balloon deflating and just about fell off the stool that I was sitting on. Not as dignified as I'd hoped.
Dr. N. assured me that the spot on my nose looked harmless, but asked me to make an appointment to come back in six months. Next time I'm going to be very prepared -- no caffeine and an hour of relaxation videos -- before my appointment. 
Despite this recent fright, life in Buttercupland is okay. Nice weather, local apples, and lots of walking and time spent with friends.
As ever, thanks for visiting and take care and sweet dreams!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

My Neck's Fifteen Seconds of Fame Pink Saturday

Me, my neck and Rhenotha 

About a month ago I received an email asking if I would like to appear on the Dr. Oz show. They were looking for women of a more advanced age who had concerns about their neck. If we were chosen to appear on the show we would be able to try a new neck serum. I jumped at the opportunity. I have a love/hate relationship with my neck. I love that I have a neck and appreciate the good work that it does holding up my head. But I don't think my neck has worked hard enough keeping lines and sag at bay.

On Eclipse Monday I arrived for my informal on camera test to see if I would be a good choice to appear on the show. There were approximately ten women of more advanced age who had very brief interviews with Rhenotha Walker. Rhenotha, my neck and I are in the first photograph.  Rhenotha was very nice and I enjoyed taking part in the experience. A few days later I received an email letting me know that I wasn't chosen for the show. I filed the experience under "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," and pretty much put it out of my mind.

Rhenotha interviewing another potential participant for the Dr. Oz Show.
Last Thursday I received a text from J, my goddaughter asking if I had been on the Dr. Oz show. My reply was that I had been interviewed, but that I hadn't been chosen. She replied that her cousin had seen me on the show and came back to me with the first picture in this post. Neck and were fifteen second stars. We had our fifteen seconds of fame. I was tickled at the idea, but my neck was totally blasé and went back to holding up my head. Dear neck, I'm glad you have your priorities straight, and thanks for keeping my head straight.     

I'm taking fifteen seconds to share one more beautiful picture of Spruce Head Island, Maine. I can't post too many photographs of Maine.

As happily is my custom, I'm joining the Pink Saturday fun. It's a bright and sunny autumn afternoon in New York City and I hope it's bright and sunny wherever you are in Buttercupland.

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


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Just in Case You Missed National Lobster Day

In the past we've celebrated National Licorice Day and National Milk Chocolate Day. Except for the vagaries of my tablet and Blogger, we would have celebrated National Lobster Day yesterday. But the technical details seem to be working and we are happily celebrating National Lobster Day tonight with a visit to McLoon's Lobster for what may be the best lobster roll on the East coast.

I know there may be people who will debate that statement with me, but after my lobster tastings in Connecticut this summer, I'm choosing McLoons for best lobster roll of the summer of 2017.  All of my tastings were in nice seaside settings and all of the lobster was good, but McLoons tipped the balance with the quantity of lobster, the perfect arrangement of the lobster in the roll -- I prefer the toasted hot dog bun -- and the weather worn picnic tables.

This was the view as I ate my perfect and delicious lobster roll.

The menu -- I'm tempted by the Maine crabmeat roll or perhaps a crab cake, but when there's fresh lobster the temptation quickly evaporates.

I'm now back from Maine for a little over a week, though it feels like I've been back a month. Rosh Hashanah was lovely and spiritually inspiring. I got to spend time with dear friends and eat way too much. But between the holiday and being in Maine I'm not easily back in the routine of walking, yoga, reading and blogging. I think the ninety degree weather on the first day of fall totally threw me off and I've been taking refuge in front of the air conditioner.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. My heart and prayers are in Puerto Rico tonight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Happy 5778

"For the Lord thy G'd bringeth thee into a good land...a land of wheat and barley,
and vines and fig trees and pomegranates."
 Deuteronomy 8 7:8 
The Jewish new year -- 5778 -- begins at sunset tonight. With this celebration begins ten days of prayer, repentance and reflection. It's a time to recharge, reflect and grow closer to G'd and those we love. It's also a time to pray. As I've written before my congregation's services are long, from three to four hours. The prayers and music are beautiful, but despite my very best intentions my mind wanders. I've found that bringing a list of prayer requests is the best way for me to refocus during the service. I would be honored to bring any requests you have with me tomorrow morning, Friday and next Saturday on Yom Kippur. 
My wishes to all for good health, happiness and a sweet new year, and a heartfelt prayer for peace on earth. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I'd Love to Go to Chase's Daily Every Day

My visit to Maine was fabulous. Whether it was a wooded walk to a private beach -- first photograph below -- or blissfully watching the sunset from the sun porch -- second photograph below -- I had a wonderful visit. The only problem was blogging, or lack of blogging. I was for the most part off the grid and blogger was highly uncooperative. There's at least one more Maine post to come with additional pictures of the land and seascape.

Besides visiting, sitting on the porch and enjoying the view, eating was a prime activity. There were several lobster treats, but also a trip to the very fabulous Chase's Daily in Belfast, Maine. Family run and focused on vegetables, I had one of the best meals of the summer there. During the summer season there is always a line to be seated, but after Labor Day it wasn't as crowded when we arrived. However, by one o'clock every table was taken.    

Choosing my meal -- I was joined by two college friends -- wasn't easy. Everything looked good.
We all started with the soup of the day, tomato spinach. The spinach and the seasoning took this bowl of soup a long way from the classic red can. It was sophisticated and delicious and one of my goals for the fall is to try a variation at home. We followed the soup with tacos and ended our meal with a dessert buffet -- chocolate crinkle cookies, raspberry tart and an apple blackberry tart. If you have the good fortune to be in Belfast, Maine -- about two hours north of Portland -- I strongly suggest scheduling breakfast or dinner at Chase's Daily. 
There were beautifully displayed vegetables and flowers for sale in the back of the restaurant.
Maine is slipping back into memory now that I'm home. It's back to laundry, grocery shopping and doing my daily walking. I neglected the latter while I was in Maine and it's time to enjoy the almost autumn days outdoors. 
Sadness continues and my heart is in Mexico City and Puerto Rico tonight. Prayers for safety and recovery for both areas. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My View

Blogger is being very temperamental, so let's have the photographs tell the story.This is my view in mid-coast Maine. I'm two hours north of Portland visiting a college friend. Enjoying the view, the company, the snap of autumn in the air and feeling very grateful. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sixteen Years Later

Remembering and honoring the memory of those who died on a beautiful September morning. You are never forgotten.
I did my first post about September 11 eight years ago. I included the notes I sent to family and friends after I got home on that tragic day. I can remember the day, but I can't do a better job of describing my feelings and my experiences.  
Sixteen years after later I still can remember where I was at almost every moment of the day. I don't think about it often, but it's not that I've "moved on." I have been able not to think about it as often, but it remains an enormous piece of my life.
I'm sharing this post with my friends at Pink Saturday. I'm out of town -- leaving tomorrow morning. I hope to be able to post, but I will generally be out of internet range. If I don't get to post I promise great pictures of a week in Maine.
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Prayers for all, especially those in the path of Irma.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Autumn for the Save

I can't say that I've been perky this week. Actually, I've been as sad as I can remember. Yes, I've prayed, I've walked, I've eaten healthy foods, done good deeds and reached out to friends -- all the things one is advised to do to overcome sadness. But to little effectiveness. Until this afternoon.

I stopped into TJMaxx for a rest stop before grocery shopping and found the autumn décor displayed. It's still summer and I'm not one to push the seasons, but I dived headfirst into autumn and Halloween. The folks at TJMaxx were very nice and no one reprimanded me for rearranging the displays. I moved pumpkins, I moved signs and I spent time creating arrangements that made me smile. I think we all need a smile and if I need to rush head long into autumn, I'm going to autumn.

I loved this Halloween display. I spent most of my time at this table moving the owl around. I am tempted to go back to the store and bring the owl home with me, but I resisted today. I think the owl looks best surrounded by all the Halloween decorations and I don't have space recreate this tableau in my teeny tiny apartment.

This is not a great picture, but I couldn't resist this tablecloth showcasing dogs in Halloween attire. It's for a 70" round table, if anyone else can't resist it. 

I then moved on to Whole Foods, where it was full autumn. First I saw the mums...

...Then I came to the Halloween jack-o-lanterns. It's too early to buy a pumpkin, but pumpkins always make me smile. 

Finally, the first McIntosh apples of this season. These were the apples I ate most often when I was growing up. As a side note, I just googled them to get the correct spelling and found that they are the national apple of Canada.
I'm not forgetting the sorrow all around us -- or those afflicted -- but I'm going to find things that make me smile and I hope, will give you smiles, too. Here's to apples and pumpkins and autumn!
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care -- especially citizens of Buttercupland in Florida.   

Monday, September 4, 2017

The First Day of Autumn...

Morning glories in Battery Park City gardens and New Jersey across the river

...Is officially the third week of September, but unofficially it began yesterday. The morning was in the sixties and raining and it really was sweater weather. I chose to have a very low key Labor Day weekend and my only plan for the day was to meet my college roommate and do "something" outside. We chose my favorite walk in New York City in Lower Manhattan. We walked from South Ferry at the very southern end of the island to Franklin Street in Tribeca. Because it was raining it wasn't crowded and we had the walking path to ourselves most of the time, a rare occurrence. We walked, drank coffee, took pictures, ate lunch at one of my favorite places and caught up on weeks of life. It was just the perfect something to do.
We stopped to explore Le District in Brookfield Place, a very upscale shopping area. The restaurant has a series of sections for different categories of French food. We were taken with the beautiful tin boxes and the goodies that go inside. These boxes were displayed with delicious caramels. It took a lot of will power to restrain ourselves from more than a sample. We were good support for each other.
The gardens in this neighborhood make me forget I'm in one of the most densely populated islands in the world. What a delightful and easy escape. 

I can't do a post about this walk without including a picture of my favorite sight in New York City. I posted it on Instagram this morning -- though with a different filter -- and a friend commented that she loved it. I wrote that if I was getting a tattoo -- very unlikely -- I would get the Statue of Liberty. For a few years my work view was this part of New York harbor and I saw the sunset over the Lady in the Harbor every week day. From time to time someone would comment that I probably didn't even notice it after I'd been there for years. My answer was always the same. I am in awe Every.Single.Day and I still am.

I'm not sure if it's the chill in the air over the weekend, but I'm back in a writing mood. I know it won't be a post every day, but I think it will be more than the once a twice a week of my summer hiatus.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Pink Saturday at the New York Botanical Garden

This morning was chilly and raining -- more autumn than summer. Definitely no air conditioner and a sweater. I know my posts are going to quickly move to autumn thoughts and activities, but I wanted to share one summer adventure, before it's lost to memory. My visit to the Dale Chihuly exhibition of glass at the New York Botanical Garden stands out in my memories of summer, 2017.

One of my favorite parts of the installation in one of the beautiful greenhouses. The postcard effect is thanks to Snapseed.

This was the first outdoor installation by Chihuly in New York in ten years. I'd seen a fabulous display at the Fairchild Gardens in Miami several years ago and enjoyed this one as much. I love the colors and the way the glass is set in the gardens. 

This is another favorite. It reminded me of a fantastic mythical flower, perhaps something out of the Arabian Nights.
One of my favorite parts of the display was the pieces set in pools, mixed with beautiful water lilies. The exhibit runs through the end of October and I'm hoping to find an evening to return to see the installations at night. If I do, you can be sure there will be photographs to share.

I'm linking up with my friends at Pink Saturday. I was delighted that last week's Pink Saturday post was featured. Thanks so much, How Sweet the Sound! Can't thank you enough. My Pink Saturday friends are talented writers and photographers and this means a great deal to me.

Despite the chilly weather I got a great walk today -- five miles! -- in Lower Manhattan through lovely gardens and the magnificent harbor views. I also enjoyed hours of catching up with my college roommate who joined me. Both the walk and the conversation were a complete treat. I'm going to share our afternoon in a post later this week.

I hope you're all enjoying the weekend and have a great day tomorrow. To all in Texas and those who are dealing with wildfires in the west, you're all in my heart and prayers for safety.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Walking through Art of the Twentieth Century

The Calder mobile welcomes visitors to the Guggenheim Museum
I wasn't an art history major in college. My only art history class was a sweeping survey class that in one semester made a good attempt to cover all of Western Art History. As much as I loved art history I became totally overwhelmed memorizing the floor plans of thirty cathedrals and didn't take another art history class in college. Not surprisingly I don't remember learning much about the twentieth century or even getting to Impressionism. I've taken a number of lecture classes since moving to New York, but there are many areas where I have tremendous gaps.

I spent yesterday morning filling in some of those gaps, and what a perfect way to spend a rainy Tuesday morning or any time. My friend, Nancy, and I have spent a number of afternoons in museums this summer and thankfully, Nancy has a keen eye for the museum calendar. She realized this exhibit on the history of the collection at the Guggenheim Museum is scheduled to close next week and we quickly set up a time to visit. It wasn't a quick museum visit, but rather a fabulous overview of the history of art of the first half of the twentieth century. My only regret is that I didn't get there sooner and may not get a chance to go back before it closes.    

"Painting is by nature a luminous language"
Robert Delaunay is one painter that I wasn't familiar with and after seeing several of his paintings in the exhibit, I am officially a major admirer. This is "Circular Forms," originally inspired by observations of the planets and stars. 

I've been an Alexander Calder admirer for years and I enjoyed both the mobile and the reflection.

If you're in New York, you've got slightly less than a week to visit this extraordinary exhibit. Fortunately we can all enjoy the museum website and visit as often as we'd like.

We got the first feeling of autumn yesterday. It was rainy and jacket weather. Today we were back to summer, but the morning still had just a twinge of a chill. I enjoyed my regular Wednesday schedule -- Weight Watchers, lunch at the diner in the neighborhood and yoga. I spent the evening catching up with my friend, K, and my next destination is the New York Times crossword puzzle.

My heart continues to break for Houston and all of Texas and the Gulf. I can't say I know how you feel, but I do know how it feels to have your city devastated by a hurricane. My continuing prayers.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Pink Saturday Goes Back to School

Growing up, one of my favorite activities was back to school shopping. Even though I preferred dresses with crinoline petticoats and my mother leaned strongly to shirtwaist dresses and cotton slips, I enjoyed the ritual of shopping for school clothes every August. Even though I didn't especially want to return to school and it would be too hot to wear any of my new purchases it was one of my favorite activities. Now that I'm retired my wardrobe is composed mostly of yoga pants and jeans, but I still like looking at the fall clothes. I don't buy a lot of clothes these days and I don't miss shopping, but I like looking at clothes. I was buying new towels last week and somehow I drifted into the clothing section.  

I love these cardigan sweaters and this picture is perfect for Pink Saturday. I like all of the colors, but I'm most drawn to the ruby/cranberry one on the right. I'm not sure that I need it and I'm going to think about before I buy a sweater that may end up sitting forlorn in a drawer.
I think this is an elegant look, but a little too elegant for my casual look. Yes. it's almost always dress-down day on my calendar. 

But I did do a little end of the season shopping. Bathing suits were advertised as reduced 90%. This top was only reduced 82%, but that still made it very reasonably priced. It fits, it somewhat flatters and the price was definitely right. Sold! I also bought the yoga pants -- my new wardrobe staple -- also at 80% reduction. I've never bought expensive yoga pants, being unsure if I would stick with it. But I'm back to classes after my broken shoulder hiatus and I'm getting to class twice a week. This year my fancy new yoga pants are my back to school/welcome to autumn shopping. Quite a change from the pleated skirts and cable sweaters of my school years. Do you buy new clothes at the start of a new season? What does your wardrobe look like now?

Back to school clothes, Halloween cards in the stores and apples at the market -- autumn is almost here. I'm still savoring summer and I'm glad I got to use my new bathing suit at the beach last weekend.

My prayers to all in Texas and the Gulf region. Stay safe and as dry as you can. Harvey, it's time for you to go way, way out to sea and fast!

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tonight My Heart is in Barcelona

The view of Barcelona from the art museum

I've tried to blog several times this week. I try to keep Buttercupland light and fun and every time I got ready to organize my photographs or sit down at the computer, something happened that was far from light and fun. I was all set this afternoon for a fun post of sights on the streets of New York, when I saw an alert on my phone. Barcelona...and I was glued to the television for hours.

Barcelona is one of the cities of my heart. I've only made one trip there, but I loved it and have been thinking of a return trip. I did several blog posts about my 2011 trip and chose this one to share tonight. My trip to the Mercat Santa Catarina (the fabulous retail food market of Barcelona)  evokes a peaceful day in Barcelona and my prayers are that day returns soon to Barcelona and to every other place sorely in need of peace and calm. 
Along the waterfront of Barcelona
The Cathedral of Barcelona

On a happier note...I've been remiss with announcing the winner of the giveaway for The Farmer's Market Cookbook. Joy Nissen, I'm happy to let you know that I'll be sending a copy of this terrific cookbook to you. Congratulations and happy cooking!

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Love Saybrook in the Summer When It Sizzles

In black and white...

...and the same view in color.
With my apologies to both Cole Porter and to the beautiful and non-sizzling weather in Old Saybrook, CT today, I love this view in every season. It's the marina view of the Saybrook Point Inn. My friend Lonni's daughter was married here a year ago and Lonni and I enjoyed the time spent here so much we have returned in every season. Sometimes -- like today -- the marina is complete with boats and other times -- as in the photograph below -- the boats are waiting out the winter elsewhere.

Each visit brings changes and this visit brought the new wood carvings throughout the property.
With each visit Saybrook captures another tiny piece of my heart. I spent many summer days at nearby beaches when I was growing up and the visits bring up memories of childhood summers with family. So many of those loved ones I shared those days with are long gone, but their memories are vivid in shores and shadows of Long Island Sound. 
 When I was replaying "I Love Paris" before writing this post I thought the words weren't quite right for my experiences along the Connecticut shore. There was no romance and no romantic memories, so the phrase "because my love is there" just wasn't appropriate for this post. But love takes on many meanings and my love is definitely there with family and the dearest of friends. I love Saybrook every season because my love is there.   
Yes, this dessert was as delicious as it looks.  
There are memories, there is the view and the water and there is also the food. One of the highpoints of our visits are long, leisurely, delicious lunches. Today I discovered Gelato Giuliana, made in New Haven. I had vanilla and salted caramel. Both were delicious, but my favorite was the salted caramel. I'm on the lookout for finding this fabulous gelato in New York. If I'm unsuccessful I will just have to make more visits to Connecticut. I'm especially eager to try the signature flavor, La Giuliana, which is espresso, mascarpone and chocolate swirl. 

Tomorrow I resume my regularly scheduled life: yoga, Weight Watchers -- the scale may not be a friend -- and grocery shopping. How are you spending August?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.