Saturday, September 29, 2018

Celebrating National Coffee Day

A perfect cappuccino and a delicious slice of St. Clements' Cake for a tribute to coffee
 
Alas, this beautiful cappuccino is now only memory, but it was one of the great coffee memories of 2018. Every day is National Coffee Day for me, though in some cases I had the good fortune to celebrate International Coffee Days during my visits to Australia -- one of the great places to drink coffee -- and England. During my visit to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford I had an afternoon cafĂ© stop and treated myself to beautiful and delicious coffee. I also sampled St. Clements' Cake, a delicious pound cake with citrus accents. The cake takes its name from an English children's singing game about the bells of London, "Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clements'."
 
As long as we're visiting the Ashmolean, Oxford University's Museum of Art and Archaeology, I'd like to share a few favorite pictures from my visit. The collections were fascinating, I enjoyed the cafe and I was intrigued by the architecture. The Ashmolean dates from the seventeenth century and was the first university museum. The present building was completed in 1845.
 
  I loved the classical details in the entrance.
 
I took a rest between galleries and did some people and statue watching.
 
Did anyone else celebrate National Coffee Day? If you did, was your choice iced coffee or hot coffee? For today's celebration I chose an iced cold brew and thoroughly enjoyed it. 
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great rest of the weekend. 
 


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fifty-Fifty

Mary Woolley Hall, Mount Holyoke College
 
Fifty years ago my world changed. In June I graduated from high school on September 15, 1968 I started college. On a bright Sunday morning I sat in our over-packed blue Chevrolet and my parents and I made the hour long trip to South Hadley, Massachusetts. I had my manual typewriter and more clothes than I would wear that year. I had sheets, brand new towels -- some of which I still have -- stationery and a bedspread. Though I was only an hour from home, I had entered a new world and found a new home. 
 
The college I entered that day fifty years ago was very different than it is today, or most colleges are today. I had no computer or cell phone and I was about to spend time in the college bookstore buying my text books. Meals were served in each dorm and on Wednesday and Sunday, we took part in "gracious living," where dresses and heels were strongly encouraged. 
 
With what I know now I doubt if would have gone to a women's college in a small town in Massachusetts. But that was then. I emerged four years later with friendships that have lasted through the last fifty years, a liberal arts education and a strong sense of self.  I'm grateful for the education, the people I met and the opportunities I've had. Thanks, Mount Holyoke, for a second home through the last fifty years. 
 
The second fifty in the title is my fiftieth high school reunion coming up next month. We've been planning this for over a year. I'm so looking forward to seeing the friends I spent the first part of my life with. It's a full schedule -- lunch, evening dinner on Saturday and brunch on Sunday -- but I know, too, that the weekend will fly by, with only memories and photographs to hold on to. I keep wondering how did fifty years go by so quickly?  
 
Does anyone else have reunions coming up soon?
 
Last Tuesday night I didn't need a jacket and today I wore a sweater, long sleeves and socks. It's autumn not just on the calendar, but in New York City.
 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.
 
    

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pink Saturday Goes to the Brooklyn Book Festival


Our Pink Saturday adventure this week was a visit to the Brooklyn Book Festival. It was a bright -- actually hot -- day, but I enjoyed being outdoors and strolling through the exhibits. Publishers, book stores and literary magazines, both national and local, made it a fun afternoon in downtown Brooklyn.

  So enjoyed meeting Karen Tuck and Alan Richardson, authors of Hello, Cupcake. They had the cutest cupcakes I've seen in a long, long time. There are great ideas on their website, especially for holidays that will be coming up.
 
   Three of my favorite authors on the same panel, and I had a front row seat!
 
The Sunday of Brooklyn Book Festival is packed with panels. There are sites throughout downtown Brooklyn running from morning to late in the afternoon. I chose to spend time at the exhibits and then select one panel whose focus was noir writing. It included Pete Hamill, whose writing I've enjoyed since high school, mystery writer Laura Lippman and novelist, Tayari Jones. Tayari is a new favorite writer for me. I'm finishing her most recent novel, An American Marriage. It's not an easy read, but one I'm sure will stay with me.
 
I hope you've enjoyed our weekend of books. I'm not quite sure what the week holds in Buttercupland, though I think it may be time for a giveaway to celebrate the start of autumn. 
 
A ever, thanks for visiting. Good wishes to our friends in North Carolina. Stay safe and dry!  
 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Women of the Blue and Gray


When I'm reading for complete escape, my choice 99% of the time will be a mystery, and I'm always scouting new mystery series. But my taste in reading is eclectic. I like mysteries, serious novels, a romance now and then and non-fiction. I actually love non-fiction and for several years when I've looked back on my favorite books non-fiction titles have been my choice.

Thanks to my friends at Shadow Mountain Publishing I had the good fortune to read Marianne Monson's Women of the Blue & Gray.  I know that the Civil War is a popular book topic, and there are times I think I may have seen just about every aspect of the war depicted in books. But the role of women on the side of both the Union and the Confederacy was new ground to me. I think we stand back from reading history because we think we will be picking up our high school textbooks, but this was not the case. While it wasn't light reading, it was fascinating reading, and very far from stale textbooks.

I enjoyed the entire book, but was especially interested in the chapter, First Nations in a Divided Nation. Before reading this I hadn't thought about the role of Native Americans in the Civil War. Now I have a broader perspective, which came to life with stories of the women who stayed behind the 28,000 Native American troops who served both sides during the war.  

If you're a history fan or interested in reading something that is different than your usual reading choice, I strongly recommend Women of the Blue & Gray.

Even though autumn is just about here, today was a perfect late summer day. I got in my walking and accomplished several errands. I resisted temptation in Michaels, using my coupons and only buying one thing that wasn't on my list. I couldn't resist some cute ribbon in the dollar bin.

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

Please note: I was given a copy of Women of the Blue & Gray by Shadow Mountain Publishing for review purposes. The opinions are all mine.
 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembering: September 11, 2001

A moment at the 9/11 Memorial


This post is the tenth Buttercupland remembrance of September 11 that I have written. My first post was in 2009, in my first year of blogging. Not unlike other grieving experiences I have known, as the years have gone by my feelings are less raw, but the pain and the sadness remain, and I suspect they will as long as I live. There is too much grief and too much sorrow to just disappear, and I don't want those who died on this day seventeen years ago to be forgotten. My pain is their remembrance. I would have it no other way.

Below the photograph is a video I took at the 9/11 Memorial this afternoon. It's my first Buttercupland video, so please excuse any issues viewing it. I wanted to share the experience with  those who were not able to be there today. 

It was a tough day, my friends, but this year as in years past, I appreciate the support and love from friends around the world. I am, as always, very grateful.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take good care and give an extra hug to those you love. 
 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Happy 5779 Pink Saturday

Honey for a sweet year ahead!
 
Every year I get a thought of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah -- head of the year -- in July. I think this is a good time to organize things I need to do. And every year I think to myself it's too early to write cards/make donations/list things I want to do before the holiday. And every year I look up from my daily life and realize the new year begins tomorrow. Tomorrow at this time, 5778 will be history and the celebration of 5779 will have begun. This year, as in past years, I will attend services, pray, spend time with people I love and reflect on the year past. 
 
One thing I especially want to do in the hours ahead is pray for my family and friends around the world. I started asking for prayer requests in Buttercupland several years ago and have now extended this to my friends on Facebook. I was touched and honored to be the recipient of dozens of requests last year. No request is too small. Our services are long and my mind does wander over the hours spent over the next two weeks. Praying for others gives me focus and connection.  
 
The year past held some wonderful moments -- trips to Iceland, England and Australia -- spent with dear friends. But the last six months included loss and illness among a number of people who are very dear to me. My first prayer, as it is every year, is peace in the world. My second prayer is good health for those near and dear.My third prayer is faith and strength to bear all that 5779 will hold.
 
I'm linking with my friends at Pink Saturday to share my holiday good wishes. If you have a minute please stop by and visit with this great group of bloggers.

Good wishes to all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah and healthy and happy wishes to all!


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Pink Saturday Stop and See the Flowers


I love long weekends in New York City. Of course, since I've retired every weekend is a long weekend. But I especially love the official ones. Restaurants are less crowded. There's no need to buy tickets ahead for movies, and I've gotten a seat on the subway or bus every time I've gone anywhere. In addition, the weather has been idyllic this weekend. I've made a few plans, but nothing very taxing. I went to services, spent time with friends, cleaned out a couple of kitchen cabinets and enjoyed walking in my neighborhood.

I've been going at a slower pace and took time to enjoy the flowers around me. New York City isn't considered a garden spot. There's more concrete and steel than grass, but when I'm observant there are flowers all around. I'm happy to share a few of my favorites from my walk today as part of Pink Saturday.

The flowers in the top photograph caught my eye on West 84th Street this morning. As I took out my phone a woman walking down the street stopped to admire them, too. A big thank you to the anonymous gardener who made our morning.

 These beauties grace the building next to mine. I walk in this direction four or five times a week, but this morning is the first time I stopped and saw this planting. 
 
 A shout out and thank you to the many small grocery stores that display their flowers on the sidewalk. The displays change seasonally and at the sunflowers have arrived. 

Tomorrow's schedule is a movie and a trip to the gym. A big thank you to everyone who is working on the holiday I get to enjoy. A special thanks to our Transit workers who will keep buses and subways running tomorrow and every day. What are your plans for tomorrow?

As ever, thanks for visiting. Wishes for a great day and the opportunity to stop and see the flowers.