Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Walker Formerly Known as Purple Sneakers... now Red Sneakers!
I started tracking my walking a little over two years ago. It was just about that time when I realized I loathed walking on the treadmill and committed to walking outdoors. At that time I had a pair of purple sneakers and that became my name on the Weight Watchers Connect site. I found I really liked walking and tracking my miles. Before I knew it 2017 was beginning and I challenged myself to walking 1,000 miles in one year.   
I started the project wearing my beloved purple sneakers and last summer unofficially became Blue Sneakers. I had worn out my purple ones. During the trip last weekend to Atlantic City one of my goals was to visit the shoe outlets and buy a new pair of sneakers. I bought two pairs from the marked down rack against the wall. If you're an outlet shopper you are familiar with the section against the wall. They are the shoes that are mismatched, several seasons old and generally beyond sale. Not this time. My friend, Jane, did an extraordinary job of searching the racks and found not one -- but two pairs -- of great sneakers at amazing prices. 
I bought a more sensible pair of black sneakers and the beauties shown above. The color is bright, but it feels as though I'm walking on air. This season's color for this style is a beautiful purple, but they were twice the price, even at the outlet with an additional 20% discount. I also fell in love with the Velcro that holds them in place. Somehow my sneakers are always coming untied and this will prevent my concerns about falling on a shoelace. 
I've continued doing a journey of 1,000 miles this year, too. I ended June, my best month thus far, with 112 miles and have walked 561.5 miles for the first half of 2018. I've got some very minor foot surgery coming up next month which may derail me for a few weeks, but I'm on track to walk 1,000 miles once again.
It was a not-so balmy 95 degrees today and the forecast for tomorrow is 100. I'm drinking water, taking it easy and enjoying the pleasures of air conditioning. I'm profoundly grateful for the latter.
As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cool!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sound and Light Pink Saturday

Greetings from Atlantic City!
I'm actually home now, after a whirlwind three day college roommate catchup in Atlantic City. We had a wonderful time and could easily have spent three more days there. Atlantic City is the birthplace of salt water taffy and on Friday night I was set to blog about one of my favorite varieties of candy for Pink Saturday. But we stopped to rest for a few minutes during an evening walk along the boardwalk in front of Boardwalk Hall. It's a sight familiar from watching the Miss America Pageant, which began being held here in 1940. I noticed a sign  -- in lights -- announcing a show starting in three minutes. The show was an extraordinary sound and light laser show and there was a lot of pink lighting. I knew I had my subject and photographs for Pink Saturday.
 One view of the fa├žade and the audience
 I took at least two dozen pictures, while at the same time holding back from taking a photograph of every scene that was projected. I wanted to save the images, but I didn't want to simply be an observer of the experience.

I've saved my favorite design for last. This moment was my inspiration for using the Boardwalk Hall show for Pink Saturday.
Besides salt water taffy -- discovered sour grape this visit -- and the sound and light show we kept very busy. The high point of the weekend was a Judy Collins/Stephen Stills concert. Most of the time the weather was overcast, but thankfully the forecast of thunder showers didn't materialize. We walked from almost one end of the boardwalk to the other end, talked, laughed and did some serious outlet shopping.

On a different note, I'm delighted that it's possible for friends to comment, but sad that I've not yet been able to get comments emailed to me. I'm not sure what's going on with Blogger, but I will keep fiddling with the Buttercupland settings. I very much enjoy seeing a comment pop up in my email. Seeing comments has been a bright spot in my day many times, and I'm looking forward to getting things adjusted very shortly. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and good wishes for the week ahead.      

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Books, More Books and Two Favorite Authors: A Look Back at Book Expo 2018

Just a few of the lines for autographed books at this year's Book Expo
I have a rule for BookExpo. I don't wait in lines. I've made a few exceptions over the years -- Geraldine Brooks, for one -- but unless I can see the author my place in the line, I move on. I've gotten to meet many authors whose work I admire and I've saved a lot of wear and tear on my feet. But as I was looking over the list of authors who were scheduled to attend two stood out and I decided I would wait in line to meet them. 
There was a short line to meet Walter Mosley, but I would have happily waited much longer.
John Woman is not part of the outstanding mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, but I'm eager to read it, and I'm grateful to have an autographed advanced copy. I'm hoping to get some new posts in Coffee Light -- my neglected mystery book blog -- written and the Easy Rawlins series might just be on the list of posts.
    Yes, that's Buttercup with one of her favorite authors, Deborah Harkness.
I don't remember how I came upon the first book in the All Soul's Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches. I rarely -- this may be the only exception -- read books where the characters are witches or vampires. It's just not my preferred genre. But I started A Discovery of Witches and kept reading right to the end of the book. It had a wonderful combination of history and fascinating characters and I enjoyed the entire trilogy very much. I especially like the blending of fictional characters and historical figures, particularly in the sections set in Elizabethan England. Time's Convert extends the trilogy with the story of Marcus MacNeil, who was featured in the Trilogy. It will be published in September.
I haven't forgotten my annual BookExpo book giveaway, but I'm still deciding on the book.  I will post it in the next few days.
Summer has started in New York, just a few days in the actual start of the season. It's been air conditioner and sandals weather but so far, it's been pleasant. I've been able to continue on my Journey of 1,000 Miles -- walking 1,000 miles in 2018 -- and I'm on track to reach my goal for June of 100 miles. I missed May by .1 and ended the month at 99.9 miles walked. I don't want that to happen again.  
As always, thanks for visiting. Next post we return to our subway series from A to Z.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Blue Skies Smiling At Me Pink Saturday

Blue skies smiling at me and smiling at all of Manhattan!
We had glorious weather this entire weekend. G.L.O.R.I.O.U.S.
One of my favorite places in Manhattan is the walk along the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan, and that was exactly where I spent Saturday afternoon. I drank iced coffee, I read a magazine, I walked and I took lots of pictures. Here are some of my favorites. 
 World Cup, 2018
I started my Pink Saturday good times with a lunch at one of my favorite places in Lower Manhattan, George's. I found myself right in front of the television set watching Canada play Denmark in this year's World Cup Soccer games. I played soccer for two years in gym in high school -- a little known fact -- and I enjoy watching soccer a lot. The front windows of the restaurant were open and I enjoyed my lunch and the soft breeze while I watched the game. I might have sat there longer, but the beautiful day called me.

On my way to the river front I passed the Liberty Community Garden, for residents of Battery Park City. The garden was in full flower. It sits directly next to the West Side Highway, which carries streams of traffic up and down the west side of Manhattan.
Retrievers by the river!
I met these two good looking pups as I walked along the Hudson. It's one of my favorite walks and well shaded for a sunny afternoon. In the far background is New Jersey and the near background is the marina at the World Financial Center.
Nowhere I would rather be on a sunny afternoon than the marina at the World Financial Center.
I continued the afternoon with shoe shopping -- no luck! -- shampoo buying and a subway trip home. What were your activities this weekend? I hope happy times/happy memories on this Father's Day were part of your schedule.  
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a wonderful week.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

What Is So Rare as a Day in June: Random Five Friday

My mind has been a little scattered this week. No special reason, but when I sat down at the computer to write about Book Expo or do another subway post, all concentration disappeared. In an effort to prime the literary pump I'm going back to an old favorite format,  Random Five Friday. For recent citizens of Buttercupland, Random Five Friday is exactly what it sounds like. I write about five random topics. It's not quite stream of consciousness, but it comes close.

1) I found some wonderful titles at BookExpo, including an advanced reader copy (ARC) by one of my new favorite authors, Neal Shusterman. Dry is written with Jarrod Shusterman and it's a Young Adult dystopian novel. I know I am many years away from a young adult, but as a fan of The Hunger Games, I've continued to read the genre. I'm about a third of the way through the book, but it's more than holding my interest.


Up the street and a few blocks over I came upon this brownstone street scene and some of the first roses of not-quite summer. I love the Waterlogue app and I think this summer day translates well into a watercolor rendering.

3) Today was a perfect almost summer day and the line from James Russell Lowell from his poem, June, kept going through my mind:

What is so rare as a day in June,
Then if ever, come perfect days... 

4) A new Trader Joe's opened seven blocks away. This might be a small thing to some, but Manhattan is a supermarket nightmare. The norm are narrow aisled and dark markets, nothing like the average suburban market that seems to extend forever. I've really been enjoying my supermarket visits, and with the luxury of retirement I'm able to shop in morning when it's delightfully empty.

5) Oops! I got sidetracked between random thought 4 and random thought 5 and now it's Saturday morning. I was listening to music -- a beautiful rendition of Loch Lomond -- while I worked on this post. The song ended and I googled another song and then another and another... Somehow I got from Loch Lomond to Nat King Cole. I'm happy to end this post with thoughts of my father, as we anticipate Father's Day and  Nat King Cole, one of my father's favorite singers.

It's another beautiful June day in New York City and I'm about to take a long walk and enjoy the sunshine and the warm June day. I'll be back with photographs for another post.

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great Saturday!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Stop and Smell the Roses Pink Saturday

Stop and smell the roses!
On my way home from grocery shopping this morning I decided to take a small detour and literally, stop and smell the roses. I couldn't stay long because of the frozen foods in my grocery bag, but I could sit for a few minutes and enjoy the flowers around me. There were only a few other people in the garden this morning and I flowers and peace and quiet in this beautiful urban oasis only two blocks from home. Yes, I did this when I was working, but not as often as I have done for the last five years since my retirement. 
On the last day of May, 2013 I formally retired from working full-time. I didn't anticipate retiring and expected to keep working full-time for much longer. But circumstances -- neurosurgery for a spinal cord tumor in 2012 -- helped make my decision for me. I don't regret a relatively early retirement, though from time to time I ponder what it might have meant financially to keep working. But I didn't keep working and instead focus on what these five years have meant to me. Time and lots of it to stop and smell the roses, literally and figuratively. My working years were hectic and highly scheduled and while I am grateful for working in challenging positions, I am equally grateful for few daily events not of my own choice. I enjoy the flexibility of my daily life more than I ever anticipated. 
I took a writing seminar this week and one of the comments the moderator made was that retirement was boring and only boring people retired. I was both amused and offended by his remark, but more the former. I look upon these years as one of the greatest gifts of my life. I haven't spent one day that I would describe as boring. Instead, I've been given the gift of time to explore, to walk, to travel, to read and to smell the roses. For those who have also retired, what is your greatest gift of retirement?

  Another view of the West Side Community Garden
I'm happy to join with my friends at Pink Saturday for some weekend fun. Hope you're enjoying your weekend, too.
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great week.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

U Is for Underground

The Chambers Street subway station in Lower Manhattan
We've taken a long hiatus from our tour of New York City subway stations and I know there is some doubt in Buttercupland about whether the tour would be finished. Okay, ye of little faith. Somewhat belatedly, the A to Z has returned. I am making a promise that unlike last year when I ran out of A to Z steam, the alphabet will be completed and it will be completed in June. 
Today we're returning to Lower Manhattan and visiting a station that has been closed since 2001, September 11, 2001 to be precise. It is scheduled to reopen in October of this year. I was riding from Chambers Street, shown above, to Rector Street on the #1 line and took a few photographs of the Cortlandt Street/West Broadway Station. On an official map it is labeled "temporarily closed," but the construction is visible as the train passes through the tunnel.
This had been one of my favorite stations when I worked at 2 Broadway, approximately five blocks south. After work I would walk up Broadway, do errands in the concourse underneath the World Trade Center and often stop at one of the restaurants for dinner. From the concourse I could enter the subway station and take the train to West 86th Street. It was my mall, all underground. This pleasant routine ended in September, 2001. This section of the #1 line below Chambers Street reopened in September 2002 and provided access to the west side of Lower Manhattan, except for the Cortlandt Street station. It had been demolished because of the extensive damage to the tracks and below ground structure. The infrastructure of the station has now been completed, and for this last phase of reconstruction the focus is on lighting and tile.    
Platform and wall in place for an autumn reopening

I apologize for the blurriness of this photograph. The train was moving through the station as I took the picture. The ride from Chambers Street to Rector Street is about 90 seconds, and though the train generally stops several times, it's difficult to get many clear pictures during the ride. I promise a return visit and post after the station opens. I'm eager to see the art work that will be installed.
There are other lines giving access to One World Trade Center, but for me, the restoration of the Cortlandt Street station will fill an empty spot in my heart. It can't come too soon. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pink Saturday Cookie Time

Time for the cookie taste-off. Which one is your favorite?
 This is the question tonight in Buttercupland as part of our Pink Saturday fun.

I discovered Schmackary's during my walks around New York City. Every time I've gone by the line has been out the door and down the street, but when I stopped by last Friday, there was no line. I was one lucky cookie shopper.

Cookies, brownies and ice cream sandwiches available. It's a tough choice.
I was visiting my childhood friend L who lives in Connecticut last weekend. I thought a fun house gift would be cookies from Schmackarys. Nothing to dust after my visit and delicious, too. We were joined by a third dear friend and cookie expert for a cookie taste-off. Our choices were a Funfetti cookie, the Monster, Sweet Corn, Chocolate Pretzel, Cereal Killer and Maple Bacon.

Our winner is Sweet Corn, a delicious combination of corn meal and flour,
dried cranberries and pecans.  

Funfetti, with its fun icing, rated highly for one of our tasters, but not for two of us (and yes, I was one of the dissenting votes.) Two of us -- to our surprise -- loved Cereal Killer and I would choose it again. I also enjoyed Maple Bacon a lot, but recommend 10 seconds in the microwave to bring out the bacon flavor. There isn't one of these cookies that I wouldn't enjoy again, but I'm eager to try some of the varieties that weren't in the bakery when I was there.

After a fun -- and yummy! -- weekend in Connecticut it's been a full and terrific week. I walked and walked at BookExpo and also talked and talked about books. I will do a post later this week about my Friday BookExpo experience. I plan to do at least one post as part of the A to Z subway series and I've got a fun event planned for later in the week I will blog about, too. Fun time, summer in the city!

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