Saturday, March 30, 2019

An Important Message from the Buttercupland Department of Technology

You see before you what appears to be an average iPhone...
But any second it could descend into the Twilight Zone!
Dear Citizens of Buttercupland:
This is an important message from the Buttercupland Department of Technology. Yesterday at approximately 12:30 p.m. I was contentedly sitting in the waiting room at a major Manhattan medical center, where I had accompanied a friend to outpatient surgery. Suddenly my iPhone -- very similar to the phone pictured above -- went berserk. Unbeknownst to me some bug/hack had started sending protected messages to everyone in my address book. First I got notices that came from out of office responses and then people I knew wrote to me asking if I had sent a protected message. 
After I got home last night -- my friend's surgery happily went well -- I started to change passwords. I kept changing passwords and deleting and reporting anything that looked odd this morning. The crisis seemed over and I was no longer receiving email about the problem. 
But, as the Grateful Dead remind us, "When life looks like easy street there is danger at the door." A short while ago I decided to check my email. I find I'm locked out due to "suspicious activity." I've sent an appeal and received a cordial response letting me know it will take time to evaluate my appeal. The customer assistance phone lines are closed until tomorrow morning. I have officially fallen into the email Twilight Zone. 
Lessons learned from this incident/mess:
1) Never attempt to open a "protected" email that you are not expecting. I have received one protected email in my twenty years of email, and it was from my orthopedic surgeon. It was clearly marked and I knew the sender. The only exception may be if you are part of an undercover network, but I am making that assumption based on my extensive reading of mystery novels and spy thrillers.
2) Change your passwords regularly. I actually do this, but will be as conscientious as I was during my working years, when we had to change our password every month. It's easy to be forgetful about the need to do this.
3) Don't click on a faux link. If you're unsure whether it's a "real" email from a bank, for example, go to the website and check for messages.
4) Have several email accounts. In the future I will be forwarding anything I want to make sure to access to my second account. I hope this doesn't happen again any time soon, but I want to be prepared for email Twilight Zone.
I'm not sure how this mess occurred. I do change my passwords often. I don't click on anything I'm unfamiliar with and I report anything suspicious. I have virus protection software which runs scans on a regular schedule. 
I'm optimistic that I will be permitted to access my account soon.  I'm eager to return from the Twilight Zone.
Stay safe and be prudent where you click!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Pink Saturday Spring Fashions

A perfect spring day at the Winter Garden Atrium in Lower Manhattan
I had a list of chores to do today, both at home and in the neighborhood, and I planned to get to the gym. That was what was on my list for Sunday, March 24. But it was a perfect spring day in New York City and I pushed my list aside and took a subway to Lower Manhattan and one of my favorite areas along the Hudson River. I was joined by thousands of other people taking advantage of the weather and pushing their to-do lists to another day.   
I also had a different topic for this blog post, but as I started walking around this very high level mall, I noticed pink in almost every window. There is a legend that women in Manhattan primarily wear black, but this year it looks like pink is a contender in the fashion race. Since I retired I'm not much of a clothes shopper and my daily attire includes a lot of Yoga wear and t-shirts. But I still enjoy looking at the new spring clothes and I'm happy to share a few of my favorites for Pink Saturday.
This is the first outfit that caught my attention. I like the sweet look and the lace trim,
and it reminds of an outfit I would have loved to wear in high school.
The next eye-catcher is this bright pink suit. I have nowhere to wear this and it's probably the cost of my entire clothes budget for 2019, but I love the color and slim lines. 
 I turned a corner and came to slightly more modestly priced choices. The outfit on the left is my choice and I'm a fan of the plaid shirt. I didn't check prices, but I'm going to drop in later
 in the season and see if there's an end of the season sale going on.
One of the nice things about being retired is that errands deferred from one day can often be done the next day. There's definitely some procrastination that comes with this. But when the weather is perfect for a day spent outdoors forgetting errands, I say enjoy the days of spring!
Tomorrow I have my last scheduled physical therapy appointment. I'm not walking perfectly, but I'm much improved. I will probably schedule one more session and then rely on the gym and Yoga. I got back to Yoga on Wednesday. There were a number of things I still can't do, but I was able to participate in most of the class. Loved getting back to the class and my friends there. I've only been out for a little over two months, but it felt so much longer.  
As ever, thanks so much for visiting. Take care and have a great first full week of spring! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By Popular Demand...

It's that time of year again!
The winter seems to drag along. But once March appears the days get longer, flowers and greenery appears and in the blink of an eye it's time once again for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. It's an easy premise. Every day in April -- excluding Sundays -- participating blogs do a post on a chosen theme. The premise is easy, but the execution is more difficult. In the interest of being real, I've neglected to finish my 26 posts for the last several years. I'm great in the beginning, but as the month goes by I start skipping posts. I always start out with the best of intentions, and this year is no exception.
I'm returning to one of my favorite themes and the most popular series in Buttercupland history, coffee. When I first chose coffee as my theme in 2016 I focused on New York City, but this year we're going around the world with coffee. There will still be
stops in New York -- lots of new places to try -- but I've had coffee in other U.S. cities and other countries and will be sharing those experiences. Starting April 1 it will be time for coffee fun around the world. I hope you'll join me. 
Even though it's not quite spring we had a spring-like day today. I made my first walk to Trader Joe's without my cane and it was a complete success. I don't want to get too overoptimistic, but I hope I've turned the recovery corner. With my physical therapist's blessing I'm returning to Yoga tomorrow and yes, I promise not to do overdo.
I know everyone isn't luxuriating in great spring weather and I'm especially thinking of my friends in Nebraska, which has experienced devastating floods. Prayers from Buttercupland  to Nebraska. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.       

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Pink Saturday Signs of Spring

My Urban Oasis, West Side Community Garden
Our spot for this week's Pink Saturday 
It's not famous and I've never seen it on a list of ten (or twenty) top New York attractions, but the West Side Community Garden is on the Buttercup top ten of favorite places. Besides being a public garden, cultivated by volunteers, there are a host of fun, local events. I love the annual Arts and Crafts Festival and the Shakespeare performances that take place there, just two blocks from home. 
The Garden, which began in 1976 as a trash-filled vacant lot, sits among high-rise apartment buildings and smaller three story buildings. A public school is across the street and our local 7-11 is half a block away. It's exactly halfway between Trader Joes and home and I usually stop and rest for a few minutes with my groceries. These pictures were taken during one of my rest stops earlier in the week. Very soon it will be filled with flowers, but right now it only holds the promise of spring.  
I know where to look for the flowers of spring. Thanks for the guide signs, gardeners.

I thought the Garden only held the promise of spring, but as I looked more carefully, I saw that the first flowers of 2019 have appeared. Welcome, Snow Drops! We're so glad you're here.
I'm still not 100% at recovery for my hip, but I've gone back to the gym and added some leg exercises to my mix without any problem. I'm doing my walking, though not at the mileage I was doing before the surgery. But I'm heeding the advice to take it easy and holding back my innate impatience.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and have a very happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

It Might As Well Be Spring Pink Saturday

 Almost happy spring!
I get so impatient once daylight savings time begins. Once the days get longer something whispers to me that it's spring. Fortunately I'm still watching the weather and wearing my winter coat and carrying my gloves and hat. Today was brisk and rainy and definitely not a spring day. But I stopped by Home Goods in the last week and this cute guy greeted me. He certainly has the look of spring and Pink Saturday. 

I also discovered this collection of bunnies that just about hopped into my shopping cart. I'm not doing a No-Spending March, though I'm trying to keep my spur of the moment purchases very few. I eyed the pink bunny and decided a photograph would have to do for now. I'm going back to Home Goods tomorrow and if the bunny is still there, he may come home with me. I feel so cheerful looking at him.
 My question of the day, blog buddies:
Do you  change your dishes/ mugs/serving pieces for the seasons? 
I never have, but after looking at this spring collection I'm tempted to pick up a few new pieces to lighten up the look of my table. I'm particularly taken with the pink pitcher in the center of the table. Most mornings I brew two cups of coffee into an earthenware pitcher. The one I have has cracked and this would be a great replacement. I'm also thinking of adding a mug (or two) from this collection. I will report back on any new coffee serving pieces that I buy.
My recovery process has gotten back on track. I really listened to my physical therapist and cut my walking back. It was good advice and for the most part I have had much less pain. I've been back to the gym twice and look forward to returning to Yoga in April. Despite my little setback I'm pleased with my progress and look forward to being more active as the month goes on. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and hope the next week brings all of us spring days! 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona...

Or on the Upper West Side of Manhattan...
The phrase that keeps running through my mind is "take it easy."
Which is exactly what I didn't do in my quest to recover quickly. Since my recovery was going so well, why not push harder? I ignored common sense, my own long orthopedic history and kept pushing. Not a wise decision. Another lesson learned is to not try and push through pain. 
About ten days ago I noticed that my knee hurt when I walked. One of my physical therapists diagnosed it as a shin splint and gave me stretches to do. I did them, but didn't cut down on my walking. By the end of last week, my right leg hurt from my knee to my ankle. I explained this to my primary physical therapist who diagnosed me with tendonitis. His prescription: ice my knee and "take it easy," which is how the Eagles came to semi-permanently reside in my head.  
Three days later the pain has considerably faded, but I've also cut my walking down to an average of one mile a day and brought out my ice packs several times a day. As eager as I was to stop using my cane I've decided it's my best friend these days and I will use it as long as I need to. I'd forgotten that the  primary lesson of recovery states that recovery is not linear and there are steps forward and steps backward.
I'd also ignored one of the primary lessons of life:
 "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,"
  Ecclesiastes 9:11
So I'm a little less swift these days. I'm listening to the Eagles and once again learning to take it easy. Honestly, I'm not sad about the setback. It's really a tiny one in the total arc of recovery. 
The photograph above is from a mural done as part of the CityArts Program. It illustrates the poem, "Revolutionary Petunia," by Alice Walker. It's four blocks from where I live and it was part of my walk on Saturday.
I hope you're taking it easy, too, and enjoying the longer days and more light. As ever, thanks for visiting and take care.  

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Seven at Sea

March is "Reading Month" in Buttercupland -- my own royal declaration -- and I'm going to posting once a week about a book that I'd like to share. Our first book is Seven at Sea by Erik Orton and Emily Orton. It is a wonderful memoir by a husband and wife that answers the question everyone (or just about everyone) asks. Can I radically change my life, even if it seems impossible?

On the face of it, it seemed impossible for Erik Orton to live his dream of sailing 5,000 miles from New York City to the Caribbean. He was a father of five and the provider for his family and he had no sailing experience. But Erik, Emily -- who had a fear of deep water -- and their five engaging children decided to make the dream come true.

Seven at Sea chronicles the preparations leading up to their year of sailing and the adventures they had, told in alternating sections written by Erik and Emily. I enjoyed the sections about sailing, but I especially enjoyed getting to know the Ortons. They are down to earth, fun and people I'd love to spend time with. It's unlikely that sailing in a small boat will ever be my fantasy, but Erik and Emily Orton made me think I might like to try it, and for this almost always seasick sailor, that is a feat.

When I was working I often had thoughts of casting off my working life and running away. I never got farther than thoughts and I didn't have a specific dream that I wanted to pursue. Retirement has been my break from the routine of commuting, memos and infinite meetings and I've enjoyed it immensely. But this winter and enforced rest and recuperation has given me a window to look at my retired life and think about how I might change it. Nothing concrete now, but Seven at Sea has been an inspiration about looking at all that life can hold.

Thanks, Emily and Erik and my friends at Shadow Mountain Publishing for the opportunity to share this story with Buttercupland. I highly recommend Seven at Sea. It's very family friendly, thoughtful, and enjoyable. Looking ahead to spring graduations, Seven at Sea is a great choice for a junior high or high school graduation gift.

I'm back tomorrow with our Pink Saturday, albeit on Sunday, posting. We're looking at another day of snow, so it's coffee, the New York Times and blogging. What are your plans?

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and have a cozy Sunday!

Please note: I was given a copy of Seven at Sea by Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for my thoughts. Thoughts are all mine.