Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Manhattan Halloween

The corn maze of East 72nd Street
I started taking autumn/Halloween photographs about a month ago. It felt as though it was still summer, even though the calendar said it wasn't. I had a nice collection of pictures from different parts of New York City and was all set to display a variety of them in a post today. But on Monday I was riding on the bus on Madison Avenue and saw this extraordinary brownstone on East 72nd St. I exited the bus and made a detour to photograph this house. I nominate the corn maze house of the Upper East Side as my 2018 Halloween favorite.
 There are some fantastic Halloween decorations in Manhattan, but the careful attention to detail and the added bonus that every inch of this house was decorated, gave it first place. My neighbors on the next block also decorate extensively, but there are entire yards of their house without any decoration. This house is an A+ for complete decoration.
This is the view of the d├ęcor looking west. There's a combination of cemetery, skulls, ghouls and the corn maze. I doubt if I could have put so many Halloween motifs together. I'll be returning to East 72nd Street to see what their Christmas decorations look like and promise to post them.
 It's not all goblins and things that go bump in the night on the sidewalks of New York.
 I like this simple and pretty autumn look in a doorway a few blocks away. I especially like the array of bright autumn gourds and chrysanthemums. 
  One of my favorite neighborhood shop windows is Treat House, which I pass on my trips to the library. It's featured sweet is rice cereal treats and the decorations are beautiful. I passed a lot of pumpkin cookies during my walks around New York, and they were all enticing. But the food that captured my eye were here.

Tomorrow the leftover bags of candy will be half-price and the stores will become red and green overnight. Buttercupland observes the rule of waiting until after Thanksgiving to begin posting about Chanukah and Christmas and this year is no exception. I may break from the rule to post about several very talented friends for the annual Buttercupland Fair. The focus of the Fair are items made by my friends that are gift ideas for the season. Please let me know if you are a citizen of Buttercupland and are interested in being featured.

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a bright November.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Worth the Wait: My Fiftieth High School Reunion

At the end of the evening, pictures, memories and decorations
After a year and a half of planning and anticipation, my fiftieth high school reunion is now memories, and they are very sweet memories and extraordinary moments to cherish. I shared the evening with approximately 100 high school classmates. They included a friend from nursery school, another friend that was in my kindergarten class and more friends from elementary school and Brownies then I can count. This was in addition to "new" friends that I met in high school, over fifty years ago. To spend an evening with people who represent at least a zillion wonderful moments in my life is a gift few get, and I am profoundly grateful.
I was looking forward to seeing friends, but I hadn't thought about how much fun the evening would be. Besides the dancing and a delicious dinner, I enjoyed the scavenger hunt the committee had planned. I connected with many more people in the room than I would have otherwise.
This is what 68 looks like. 
There was a shadow cast on our celebration by the tragedy in Pittsburgh at Tree of Life Synagogue, but our amazing class president, Harvey Kelly, spoke movingly about the events earlier in the day. We shared a moment of silence in memory of those who were killed. The other sobering time in the evening was the reading of the Honor Roll of our classmates who have died in the last fifty years. They are remembered, loved and missed.  
After the anticipation, it's a let down to know that our celebration is over. But one thing I've learned in the last fifty years is that life take us places we never dreamed we would go. I've also learned that I am very fortunate to have shared the places in my life with this group of people. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Thanks for Resilience, Prayers and the Bomb Squad

Three blocks south to Columbus Circle
I've written about Columbus Circle many times. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade goes past the Time Warner Center that is located there. There's a fabulous view of Central Park from one of my favorite restaurants. I shop in the Whole Foods in the lower level and I love the holiday decorations and music every December. 
 Time Warner building holiday decorations
I live a mile and a half north of this area and I am there frequently. My gym is four blocks north. During the 1990s I worked at the location -- our building was torn down to build the Time Warner Center -- and the neighborhood is very familiar to me.
My Wednesday activities are very structured. Weight Watchers meeting in the morning, lunch with friends, followed by chair yoga for active older adults and then strength training. If I need groceries, I often stop at Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. Not today. When I got to Weight Watchers I saw an alert on my phone, a bomb at Columbus Circle. Our meeting place is only a mile north.
It's hard for me to stay calm when there is a bomb -- even what may be a small bomb -- a mile away. My instinct was to gather up my things, skip yoga and get myself home. But I managed to comment on the discussion at Weight Watchers, enjoy lunch with my friends and our walk to the gym. When we arrived at the location in the first picture, the day was calm. Traffic was moving right along and it was a perfect autumn day. I went into the gym for Yoga and continued with the weight machines. Yoga was the right activity for the day and my extraordinary teacher added a few new positions for us to try, which took my mind off anything happening just a few blocks further south. 
I'm thankful for the resilience of New Yorkers, the prayers of friends around the country and the NYPD (Police Department) Bomb Squad, which disabled the bomb found at the CNN mail room. Many thanks for all who rose to the challenge of this day around the country.
I know Buttercupland has been quiet. I've been in Knoxville and Nashville visiting friends. It was a great week -- fabulous friends, fabulous weather and fabulous food. There will be a post about my visit and then we'll start to move into the fall and holiday season in New York. There will be lots of pictures and I hope, lots of posts.
As ever, thanks for visiting. My wishes for a quiet week ahead!      

Monday, October 15, 2018

Memories in Black and White

My mother, circa 1935
If my mother was still alive she would have been 104 last Thursday. But she passed away in the winter of 1990, barely 75. Many years ago she tossed photographs of her life after high school in a desk drawer. I'm sure I've seen them before, but while looking for another photograph I once again came upon these pictures of my mother and her friends enjoying life in Hartford, Connecticut. My mother is the young woman in the center of the photograph in the floral blouse.
Again, my mother and friends are out and about. While I don't know where the bicycle picture was taken, I'm reasonably sure that this picture was taken in Elizabeth Park in Hartford. This was one of our favorite family places, whether it was for ice skating in the winter or visiting the beautiful rose gardens in the summer, we spent a lot of time here, and all happy memories. My mother is on the far left in this picture, wearing the floral dress and elegant hat.  
This picture looks a little later. My mother and friends look more mature and beautifully dressed. My guess it's in the early 1940s. The depression is over and though sadly, the war has started, everyone is employed. My mother spent the war years working for the Department of the Navy, which was one of her favorite jobs.   
Once again, it's happy birthday to the laughing, beautiful woman who became my mother. I am a very fortunate and grateful daughter. Mom, you're always remembered and always loved.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tiffany Lamps Pink Saturday

The Snowball Hanging Shade in the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps at the New York Historical Society
From the moment I walked into the newly renovated and completely beautiful Gallery of Tiffany Lamps on Thursday, the words Pink Saturday came into my mind. It is one of the loveliest museum collections I've seen in a long time and I wanted to share it with Buttercupland. 
Daffodils, one of my favorite flowers and one of my favorite lamps on display
The gallery exhibit features 100 lamps from the museum's collection. My photographs don't do justice to the setting and display of the magnificent pieces that are featured, but the gallery is the perfect setting for these works of art and light. 
Before I saw this exhibit my assumption was that Louis Comfort Tiffany was not only the genius of Tiffany Studios at the turn of the century, but the designer of the lamps produced there. The exhibit gives credit to the designer of much of the leaded glass shades in the lamp collection to Clara Driscoll, who was head of the Glass Cutting Department from 1892-1909. In 1909 Clara Driscoll was married and stepped down from her job, as married women at that time didn't work outside their homes.  
The iconic Wisteria Lamp
One of the most iconic pieces in the collection is the wisteria design. Its beauty is not just in the colors of the leaded glass shade, but in the design of the bronze base. They are perfectly matched and the result is, as Keats wrote, "a joy forever." Thank you, Clara Driscoll.
Autumn is sneaking into New York. I know that just a few days ago I wrote that I still wasn't wearing socks, but as of today that is no longer true. Today was a day for socks and a jacket. Can corduroy pants be far behind. One of my errands of the afternoon was shoe shopping and I actually tried on wooly boots. Yes, I will bow to the inevitable, but until the cold days get here, I'm going to embrace the autumn sun.
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a good week ahead. Happy autumn!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Still Feels Like Summer to Me

I think Vermeer would agree. I know the Girl with a Pearl is enjoying her ice cream cone.
I've been taking pictures of every pumpkin and pumpkin food I can find in anticipation of my first autumn post. But it was a very pleasant and balmy 77 degrees today. The weather was just about the same yesterday and tomorrow's forecast is also the high seventies. I did wear a sweater for a few days last week, but this week still feels like summer to me.
Since it feels like summer, I'm going to enjoy a few more summer days. The actual summer was hot and I didn't do all the things I'd hoped to do, so I'm enjoying summer fun, even though it's October.
Not that I need warm weather for a reason to eat ice cream, but warm weather encourages my ice cream cravings. One of my plans for the summer was to get to  Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co. in the East Village. It takes a little planning -- either a subway and a bus, two subways or a combination of transit modes and a lot of walking -- to get there. I chose the latter and I wasn't disappointed.
This cute monkey greeted me
I had a difficult time choosing a flavor. There are twelve flavors and as good as I am sure the vanilla tastes, I wanted to try something more unusual. I felt the same about rum raisin and coffee crunch. The server recommended Saffron Passionfruit sorbet, but after a taste I went with toasted sesame nutella. Nutella was the deciding factor, but the toasted sesame was a great addition. 
This scoop was definitely worth the trip to the East Village.
If anyone is visiting from out of town and wants to take a fun trip to East 4th Street, or anyone local that wants to join my ice cream sampling project, I'm eager for another visit. What ice cream sampling project, you may ask. It's the project I've just created. New York has become the home of a good number of gourmet ice cream shops. I've only tried a few, but I haven't been disappointed with any of the ice cream I've tasted. I'm hoping to try a different shop every month and of course, I will report on my discoveries. Ice cream fans, you're invited to join me.
My relaxed summer schedule has come to an end. Without any special effort my calendar is filling up, and for the most part, it's all good things. In addition to my regular yoga, walking and strength training, there are visits from friends from out of town, museum going, and getting ready for my trip to Tennessee in two weeks. My other project is repair of my living room wall. I came home last week to discover a hole in the wall from the renovation next door and this week it's being patched and next week it will be painted. 
As ever, thanks for visiting. Hope to bringing you pumpkins and autumn soon!