Sunday, January 27, 2019

The World According to Alice Springs

When you're in Alice Springs, Australia...
I enjoyed virtually visiting Cairns so much yesterday, I decided to extend my "visit" to Australia with a trip today to the geographic center of the country, Alice Springs. Known as "the Alice" it's a town of 25,000 people and a great introduction to our visit to the Outback. I noted that New York City was missing from the sign above and just learned that it's 10,445 miles from where I am right now to the Alice. I knew it was a long trip and I wanted to make sure I got there when I had the opportunity.

The view from the ANZAC Hill Memorial, honoring soldiers from
Australia and New Zealand, who died in World War I
This was one of our stops during the visit to Alice Springs. It was also my first introduction to the magnificent clouds and sky over this area of Australia. I never grew tired of admiring the skyscape, which was beautiful and endless.
 I've been to Big Sky country in the western United States, but while beautiful, nothing compared to the skies over the Australian outback. I know there are those who will disagree with me, and I respect your opinions, but I really didn't know clouds at all until my visit to Australia.
Our visit to Alice Springs wouldn't be complete without a photograph of the main shopping area. K and I had a delicious lunch, bought gifts to bring home and enjoyed window shopping, too. I don't remember the temperature last year, but tomorrow -- it's already January 28 in Australia -- the high for Alice Springs is predicted for 98 degrees. Right now it's a balmy 71 degrees, but that will change quickly.
Am I missing Australia? Yes!
I think we may return to Australia a few more times this week. When I looked over my posts during and after the trip I feel as though I skipped so many interesting places that I'd really like to share. A second reason is that I'm not out taking many photographs while I'm more limited in my travels around New York City. And third, I love returning to Australia, even if it's just via my photographs.
Today has been a balmy (for January) day in New York. We're not close to Alice Springs low of 71, but I enjoyed my one mile walk at 47 degrees. We're looking at colder weather later in the week, so I'm making the most of sunshine and not having to wear a hat.
As ever, thanks for visiting and thanks for traveling to Alice Springs with me.   

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Pink Saturday Celebrates Australia Day

It's actually Sunday in Sydney and the celebration for Australia Day has finished...
...But in New York City it's Saturday night and we're still celebrating with our Pink Saturday buddies. Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia. Last year I was in Australia on January 26, enjoying one of the best trips ever. I hadn't realized that today is Australia Day until I got a text from my travel buddy, K., reminding  me. I've pulled together some of my favorite pictures of our visit to say Congratulations to Australia. 
Besides the photograph of Sydney shown above I've chosen pictures from our visit to Cairns, which is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef includes over 3,000 individual reef systems and our day spent at sea there was an extraordinary experience. 
This is not the Great Barrier Reef, but a wonderful park on the ocean in Cairns. K and I discovered it on a walk the first night we were in Cairns and made it our dinner stop for the next two nights. We joined, what seemed like, every family in Cairns enjoying this extraordinary venue. It was the perfect place to enjoy a picnic by the ocean. In the background are bats, which came out every evening at sundown.
I would be remiss to omit the coffee of Australia, and one of my favorite places was in Cairns. The coffee shop was Bang & Grind and I only wish I could have been there long enough to complete my frequent visitor card. I was introduced to one of Australia's favorite ways to drink coffee during my visit, the flat white, which is espresso with microfoam. This delicious way to drink coffee got me through jet lag very nicely. 
This poster, from Bang & Grind, was a handy reference tool for the rest of my visit. 
Kiki and me, one of the best moments of 2018.
In a trip that held as many great times as the visit to Australia it's difficult to choose a best moment. The Sydney Opera House, the views in the outback and the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne come to mind immediately. But for single best moment my minute with Kiki the Koala, at an animal park in the hills above Cairns, is the winner. Meeting Kiki was a once in a lifetime experience, and this is one of my favorite pictures of all of my travels.
I hope you've enjoyed our visit to Australia and getting to know Cairns. Do you have a favorite memory from your travels?
I'm doing well, but I think in an effort to enjoy a few relatively warm winter days, I may have overdone my exercise. I took it much easier today and will do the same tomorrow. I start outpatient physical therapy on Monday and want to be able to take advantage of my session. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Keep cozy! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Happy Tenth Anniversary, Buttercupland

There's a party going on right here!
There's a party going on in Buttercupland. On January 12, 2009 Buttercupland had its first post, New Year, New Blog. There were seven posts in January and six comments. I got my first follower and I remember being very excited.

That was ten years and 1,929 posts and 500 followers later Buttercupland is still very much alive. Blogging has diminished and the social media landscape has changed tremendously, but as long as there are readers and a platform I'll happily keep blogging.

In a nod to tradition I'm using the same animal party gif I used for the first blogaversary in 2010 and in the same spirit of tradition I'm doing a giveaway. It wouldn't be a celebration without a present (or two). A tenth anniversary is traditionally celebrated with tin or aluminum. I'm breaking with tradition and our giveaway prize is a $10. dollar gift certificate to either Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, winner's choice. It's not tradition, but we love coffee in Buttercupland and think most of our citizens do, too. There will also be a second prize of a book, genre to be determined. The giveaway rules are simple. Please be a follower of Buttercupland and leave a comment, by midnight January 31. I'll post the winners on February 1. Easy, peasey!  

It's been a great ten years, with fun and friendship that I couldn't have imagined when I wrote the first post of Buttercupland on January 12, 2009. I have made friends throughout the world and it's impossible to imagine my life without my blog buddies. This treasure arrived today from my friend, Terra in California.

 I will amend this message as my tenth anniversary theme:
Keep calm and blog on!
As ever, thanks for visiting, and thanks for being part of my life!

Monday, January 21, 2019

First Monkey Monday, 2019

A prospective patient consulting with Pep Le Monkee, MMD
I'm happy to present our first Monkey Monday of 2019. Monkey Monday is a an occasional feature of Buttercupland featuring Pep Le Monkee. Today I'd like to announce that Pep is now Pep, MMD. "MMD" is not a title with which you may be familiar, but it's one we're pretty excited about. Pep is now a Monkey Medical Doctor and as you can tell by his professional attire, he is pursuing surgery as his specialty. 
Pep is a recent graduate of Monkey Online University and was first in his class. In an interview this morning he said that my recent surgery sparked his interest in medicine. An admirer of Pep's and long time friend, L., sent Pep his first set of scrubs , which he is wearing in the photograph. 
Dear Pep, the entire Buttercupland community joins me in congratulating you on this achievement. 
In other semi-medical news, I've now been out for short walks three out of the last four days. My goal is to walk outside whenever it's not snowing or slippery. It still takes a lot of effort to walk the one block from my building uphill to Broadway, but it is doable. Once I'm on Broadway there are at least five places to buy food, a small branch of Bed, Bath and Beyond and a drugstore within two blocks. 
I finish with my compression machine on Wednesday morning and then I will be able to be out of my apartment for more than an hour at a time. I want/need to get back to Weight Watchers and that will most likely be my first outing. Two weeks of sitting around and inhaling more carbs than I ate almost all of 2018 have not been pretty. I am getting back to healthier eating and will begin to get more exercise shortly. 
I got out for my walk this afternoon, but I have no pictures to share. Despite being bundled up for a night on the tundra it was still cold. I had wool gloves on, but I really needed the ski gloves I've worn when I needed to be outside for longer periods. It was single digit this morning and actually, the temperature climbing to twelve degrees isn't really much warmer. 
As ever, thanks for visiting! For everyone in equally cold, or colder, climates -- K! I'm thinking of you -- keep cozy.  

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Recovery Journals: Part II

My view down Broadway, via Waterlogue
It's a calm Saturday night in Manhattan. I've had dinner and cleaned up the kitchen, spent some time sorting through photographs and deleted the day's collection of email. My compression machine is sitting beside me, going up and down in a steady rhythm as I happily rejoin my blog buddies at Pink Saturday.  It feels great to be sitting at the computer. 
But not half as great as it felt yesterday afternoon when I took my first solo expedition -- with my trusty cane -- out of my apartment building. I'd been outside three times previously with my physical therapists, but after yesterday's appointment I was cleared to go out by myself. I was cautioned about remembering not to overdo it and to look at the temperature and weather before going out. But yesterday afternoon was reasonably warm and I bundled up to pick up a few groceries to have on hand. I made my way one block to Broadway and then turned right and continued to the end of the block above. 
I got really bold on the walk home and crossed Broadway, six lanes of traffic, and stopped at Dunkin Donuts for the afternoon special, an iced latte. On my walk back down the hill from Broadway to my building I was beside myself with glee. I was out and about! This was a walk I've done thousands of times, but I took such complete pleasure in navigating around my neighborhood and doing the most basic of errands. 
Crossing this street was my challenge yesterday

So many times I've thought that real excitement in life comes from exotic trips, fancy restaurants and the luxuries of life. But yesterday (once again) learned that the real satisfaction in life is a joy in the very smallest details of our lives. I'm pretty sure that there's nowhere I would have wanted to be yesterday other than walking on my block and enjoying the clear, crisp winter day.
Again, thanks for all the get well good wishes. I'm again grateful to all who helped me through this surgery and recovery. I know I'm not out of the woods yet, but I can definitely see the clearing through the trees. I will do a post on my reacher and compression machine in the next few days. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Recovery Chronicles, Part I

My new buddy, Chilly. Just the perfect friend to spend time with while I am icing. 
It is now Day 9 into my recovery following hip replacement surgery. I'm calculating recovery began one day past the actual surgery last Monday. I am hopeful that the Recovery Chronicles will be short-lived and sometime next week I may start to make forays out of my apartment. I did venture out yesterday and walked two blocks with my physical therapist. I am being prudent and not attempting to do more than my therapist recommends. 
Like every experience, this one has been filled with life lessons. I thought I was well prepared for this surgery and, in many ways, I was. In other ways I was totally adrift.
Among my lessons:
Once again I learned that ice is my best friend. Keeping my ice packs frozen is my new career.
My reacher -- which I will feature in a post tomorrow -- is another new friend. I have gotten proficient in picking up the infinite number of things I drop on the floor. Of course when I drop the reacher on the floor...
The compression machine -- also to be featured in tomorrow's post -- is a miracle invention. It massages my legs and cuts down the possibility of a blood clot. I need to wear it 23 hours/day for two weeks post surgery. Using it means I don't need to take blood thinners, but it is cumbersome. I also forget I am attached to it and at least once a day, it falls to the floor. Six more days!
Titanium -- my new hip material -- weighs more than bone. My next Weight Watchers weigh-in may not be pretty. 
Do not google "pulmonary embolism" when I can't sleep. Actually, do not google anything medical when I can't sleep. This is a good rule for any night, not just following surgery. 
I've got terrific friends. Cards, phone calls, texts, food, gifts, visits and wonderful thoughtfulness, including my new friend, Chilly, who came from Tennessee.      
As the saying goes, this is not my first (recovery) rodeo, or even my second. Through the years I've learned good lessons about patience and the necessity of physical therapy and listening to my body. But I've once again learned that there are always more lessons to learn. I'm doing well and each day have a little more energy. Thank you all for your good wishes!
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Baby Aspirin Pink Saturday

In an hour or so I'm going to take one of these baby aspirin, now known as low dose aspirin. I'm not going to eat after midnight and at 4:45 a.m. I am scheduled to depart for my rendezvous with titanium at NYU Hospital. My right hip will be replaced and, beginning Monday, I will be known as Titanium Woman, aka Buttercup to my friends and family.

Am I worried? Not so much worried, but rather a kind of general free-floating low-grade anxiety. I have every confidence in the hospital and in my surgeon, with over 30 years of experience. I am grateful for so many who are planning to visit, to bring me iced coffee and any other treats I may request and everyone who has called and texted. But it's surgery and I am not looking forward to the week ahead.

I hope/think I will be home on Wednesday and I'm planning a post to say hello by the end of this week, if not Thursday Thanks in advance for prayers, healing thoughts and good wishes.

I'm joining with my Pink Saturday friends today. New York was blessed with good weather for January this week and I had some great walks. This is one of my favorite pictures, a semi-selfie in front of our local yarn shop, Knitty City.

Wishes for Peace, Love and Fiber!    

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Perfect Word for 2019: Fun (Socks)

This isn't an advertisement for Keds...
And it's so not the post I was planning/writing. I started thinking about this year's perfect word last week. I chose my word and I've been making notes for the last few days. The post had good ideas, was thoughtful and serious and I was all set for 2019. It's a good post and I may share it later this month, but it's not the post for now.
The backstory for my word for 2019 begins in October. I was part of a get-together with women I had met via a Facebook low-carb group. We were doing a fun gift exchange and animal-themed socks were part of the exchange. You spin a die and then pass the gifts to the left or right or choose one that you like. I really wanted the animal socks, especially one pair that were sheep-themed, and at the end of the game the sheep socks were mine. I really enjoyed wearing them, so much so that I bought a holiday pair of penguin socks. I liked wearing them, too.

Yesterday I was doing a few errands and on my way to the cashier I saw the sock display that included the coffee cup socks. They weren't expensive and they were so cute and I added them to my purchase. I try not to spend too spontaneously in January, but I'm not doing No-Spend January this year and a pair of socks wasn't too much of a splurge.

As I walked to the subway station for my trip home I was thinking about my new fun socks and, in a flash, despite my thoughts and all the notes I had made, I had my word for 2019, Fun. Last year's word was Health and I've also chosen Climb and Give in the past. But the word for 2016 was Bubbly, so it hasn't always been serious and somber. There will be more fun socks, but this isn't just about socks. The year past had many good times and great memories, but it also contained illness and loss among family and friends. I'm going to look for the fun times, the silly times, times of laughter and conversation in 2019. When I start to forget looking for the fun in life, I will have my sheep socks to remind me.

So far, so good for 2019. No snow or sleet and I've stopped craving every cookie I see. I'm getting my apartment and myself organized for my hip replacement surgery next week. I am keeping my goals for 2019 in mind. I ate vegetables at lunch and dinner, finished this post and sorted through some of my holiday wrappings before packing things up for next year. Is anyone else keeping up with 2019 goals?

As ever, thanks for visiting. I hope the start of 2019 has been good to you and you find the fun in the world around you.