Sunday, May 26, 2019

My Bags Are Packed and I'm Almost Ready to Go

(A touch of) Red, White and Blue!
My suitcase is packed and I'm just about ready to leave for England, Scotland and Ireland. I'm the usual mix of excited and anxious. I know once I get checked in and then settled on the plane, excitement will take the lead. The last few days included a dental emergency, but with the aid of my extraordinary dentist I am able to take off without tooth anxiety.   
Here's to two weeks of new sights and favorite sights. I'm so excited to see friends of longstanding and to meet new friends along the way. It wouldn't be a vacation without blog buddies and we will start our trip in England with a blog friend get together. In an effort to keep my luggage a little lighter I decided to leave my iPad home and not blog. I'll be back in mid-June with pictures and tales of fun and adventure. In the interim I plan to post on Instagram regularly and if you're an Instagram fan, please join me there. I'm @buttercupnyc.
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful weekend.       

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wedding Wednesday Goes to Grand Central Station

It's time for Wedding Wednesday
After a long hiatus -- it looks like about a year -- it's time for the ever-popular Wedding Wednesday. My research of the evening shows the first Wedding Wednesday in 2014. I don't seek out weddings, but I always photograph weddings that I find. I found this beautiful bride and her stunning wedding party in Grand Central Station a few Sundays ago, and stopped to take pictures. These are my favorites.
  This is very similar to the photograph above, but I am enthralled with the lighting.

I like the setting in Grand Central and all of the activity around the bridal party. At the top of the stairs in the photograph is the Apple Store. 

The finale of the photo shoot.

One of my activities before my trip is deleting some of the infinite number of pictures on my phone. I know I'm going to add hundreds -- literally -- and it's time to delete the ones that don't give me joy, as Marie Kondo would describe it. I've discovered several that I haven't shared in Buttercupland and I'll be posting a few of them tomorrow. I hope you'll stop by.
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Thursday.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Denim or Not Denim? That is the Question

It's not as profound as "to be or not to be", but it's our question of the day. 
From time to time friends ask me where I get my ideas for blog posts. I often wonder myself. But even after ten years of blogging new ideas pop into my mind. Sometimes they seem obvious -- like coffee, books and travel, or happening in my life. But others the universe just seems to present to me. Today's post on blue jeans is a gift from the universe. 
A few days ago my friend Jennifer in Oklahoma posted a picture of her denim collection accompanied by the question, "How many pairs of jeans do you own?" For many years, decades even, jeans had been the mainstay of my wardrobe and I had any number in different colors. But I realized now I have two pairs and they weren't well worn. Actually, I can't remember the last time I wore a pair of blue or black or white jeans. After I retired I started to be super casual and found the joys of leggings and now I have half a dozen leggings that are well worn. I didn't even realize that the jeans I'd loved for years were now pushed to the back of my closet. 
My reflections on my jean wearing were interesting, but I hadn't thought of writing about jeans until yesterday. One of my morning emails shared the information that on May 20, 1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis had received a United States patent for blue denim pants with copper rivets, what we would come to know as Levis. This was my sign from the universe.
My question of the day, dear friends, is how many pairs of jeans do you own? Do you denim or not denim? To be totally accurate, I have two pairs of denim jeans and my favorite pair of leggings is in a denim stretch material. I'm still wearing jeans, but a much more comfortable version.  
It was summer and 88 degrees on Monday and a balmier 75 today in New York. Unlike our friends in Colorado and Wyoming, we're really having spring days here and I am loving it. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful Wednesday!   

Friday, May 17, 2019

By Yon Bonnie Banks

And it will be just a little later when I am standing by one of the bonnie banks of a Scottish loch. 
I had a wonderful time visiting England last summer -- many thanks, again, dear Sybil -- so that the thought of a return trip to the British Isles was in my mind when I stepped on the plane at Heathrow to come home to New York. My college friend Betsy had scouted out a cruise to Scotland that included both Shetland, the top of her "to-see" list and Iona, a long desired location for me. Even though it means skipping BookExpo this year, I happily said yes. This particular itinerary only sails once a summer and since the timing (mostly) worked for both of us, we made our reservations last summer. 
Now a almost a year has gone by since our first discussions and after much planning and reading, we're only ten days away from our trip. A definite bonus is that our ship leaves from Liverpool. I'd long hoped to get there to see my blog friends, Sheilagh and Ralph -- any good holiday includes blog buddies! -- but it never seemed work well into an itinerary. We've scheduled an extra day in Liverpool and I look forward to seeing Beatles' sites, Sheilagh and Ralph and perhaps a few other blog friends. You know there will be pictures.
    Liverpool to Shetland!
I've been to Edinburgh and Shetland but the other stops are all new to me. As an Outlander fan, I'm excited about our stop in Invergordon and very excited about visiting Iona, a center of Celtic monasticism. It's not an especially easy trip -- Tobermory, Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, and then a ferry to Iona -- but I'm excited to see where the Book of Kells was created.

After our return to Liverpool, we had a change of planes in Dublin. As long as we had the time, it seemed a shame not to visit Dublin. So we will spend a long, long weekend in Dublin. I was there five years ago and enjoyed it very much. We have a number of activities planned, including a tour of Abbey Theater. The days will be very long and there will be lots of time for sightseeing and enjoying Dublin. Any blogger friends in Dublin?

Now I'm making lists and buying a few last minute things, as well as downloading books to read. I'm just about ready and of course, Liverpool can provide just about anything I may have forgotten.

Besides the excitement of the trip, life is pleasantly quiet. Weight Watchers, time at the Y and my Monday water aerobics class have been the high point of the week. What are your weekend plans?

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Journey of Five Hundred Miles

2019 is the year for the journey of 500 miles
For the last two years I've taken the journey of 1000 miles. In each year I've walked over 1,000 miles. This averages out to approximately 2.8 miles a day. I've tracked my mileage each month and have been pleased to pass the 1,000 mile mark in both 2017 and 2018. I've walked my miles on three continents and in five countries. What started as a Weight Watchers challenge became my fitness pleasure and structure. 
I knew 2019 was most likely not going to be a journey of 1,000 miles. I had my right hip replaced in January and I barely walked a mile a day in the month following. I'm making a good recovery, but my daily average is closer to two miles a day. I overdid it in my first few months and developed tendinitis, which slowed me down a lot. The tendinitis pain is (mostly) gone, but comes back on days when I push myself too hard. I'd hoped to be totally back to where I was before my surgery, but that's just not my reality. 2019 will be the year for a journey of 500 or 600 or 700 miles, and I will be grateful for whatever my final number will be.
As the years have passed I've learned that exercise and vegetables are my best friends. I was never a gym fan, but I've found a number of things that I like to do. Besides walking I enjoy chair Yoga at the local Y and strength training. I 'm not always in the mood to do them, but I always like the results and how I feel after my sessions. Last week I added water aerobics for seniors with arthritis. It's been on my list of things "to do sometime" for the last year and I'm glad my friends from Yoga class pushed me. It's great exercise and I've found I can follow the session with swimming laps. I'm also optimistic that the water aerobics will help with strengthening my hip muscles. Is anyone else a fan of water aerobics?
 I'm waiting for the Ark to arrive any day. We've had more rain in the last month than I can remember for a long time. I hoped to share some pretty May photographs, but instead I give you Broadway on a rainy May day. 
 Looking North on Broadway, Lincoln Center to the left
Looking South on Broadway, Dante Park
I'm starting to get ready for my next adventure in the 2019 Journey of 500 Miles. It involves luggage tags, Dramamine and warm sweaters and yes, an umbrella. Please stop by for my next blog post and adventure reveal. 
As ever, thanks for visiting. Stay dry, take care and have a great Wednesday!  

Monday, May 13, 2019

Remembering Doris Day

We remember you, Doris Day, with love and sweet memories
I've now spent a sweet and nostalgic hour listening to Doris Day videos. I've been transported back to my childhood in Hartford. Whether it was singing her signature song "Que Sera Sera" with my grandmother, an enormous Doris Day fan, or seeing all of her movies at our neighborhood theater, The Lenox, she was a presence in my life. There was "Pajama Game," and "Pillow Talk," and perhaps my favorite of all of her movies, "That Touch of Mink." 
The biggest female star in the early 1960s, her era -- like that of so many other actors and musicians -- faded by the end of the decade. But remembering Doris Day brings back so many memories of a time that I don't think about very much, the dreaded junior high school years. One description of her was "eternal virgin," but for an awkward junior high school girl it was comforting to know that "nice" girls could have fun and interesting lives.  
Thank you, Doris Day, for "My Secret Love" and "Hey There" and more hours of music than I can ever count. Thank you for movies and laughter and sweet memories. May angels carry you to your eternal rest.   

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

Buttercup and Mom, Winter, 1951  
I know I'm a little late to the party, but I've spent the last several hours looking at photographs. I've used this picture for a number of Mother's Day posts and I thought I'd find a different picture that I liked as well. After going through the drawer where I keep family photographs I realized that the reason this is the perennial Mother's Day picture is simple. I really like it. So once again, I give you Squirmy Baby Buttercup and Mom. 
I had a busy, busy weekend attending the graduation of my college roommate's daughter. Fun, festive and filled with people I love. Congratulations, dear Hannah! Every happy wish for the future.
We had glorious sunshine for graduation,
 which was so fortunate, as it was rain or shine and outdoors. 
Somehow we are now in the middle of May. Not quite sure how the first four months of 2019 went by in a flash. My "trip of 2019" begins in exactly two weeks and this time on Sunday, May 26 I will be almost half way across the Atlantic. I'll share details in a post later this week. Excited doesn't describe my mood. I'll be seeing blog buddies and visiting sights that have long been on my to-see list. I'm sharing this trip with a college friend and we've had a great time making plans for our long-awaited trip of dreams.  
The weather in New York has reverted back to winter -- 45 degrees right now and the same predicted for tomorrow. I've got my second water aerobics class tomorrow afternoon and right now I'm dreaming of the pool. It's kept at a very cozy temperature and I'm looking forward to class and then swimming laps. It's tough to find a pool that's not crowded in New York City, but my own Y has one and for an hour every day it's devoted to active older adults. I discovered this treasure last week and I'm thrilled. I bought a new pair of goggles and I'm ready for to my swim tomorrow. What are you looking forward to this week?
As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and have a great week! 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Tulip Time

It's time for the Tulip Festival at the West Side Community Garden
One of my post-working pleasures is my walk to Trader Joe's for groceries. About once a week I walk the little over half a mile walk to get groceries. On the way home I usually stop for coffee and then I spend some time at our neighborhood community garden. Sometimes I finish my coffee before I begin to worry that my frozen foods are melting and at other times I juggle a bag of groceries and my coffee and walk the remaining three blocks home. I needed the rest stop in February when I was just getting back to walking after my hip replacement and I took my first pictures of the season then.
That was not quite three months ago. The first little shoots that thrilled me are long gone. My gloves and hat are tucked away and soon my coffee will definitely be iced, with a double portion of ice. Now it's a glorious time of the year, time for the tulip festival. I made my grocery trip on Friday and the tulips were in bloom at their peak, in just about every color imaginable. It wasn't a sunny day, but the rain held off for my walk home and my coffee time enjoying the tulips. They were so beautiful that it was difficult to leave. It was only the thought of my defrosting foods that sent me home. 

Behind the scenes at tulip time
I spent some time chatting with one of the volunteer gardeners as she trimmed and weeded. It felt like a behind the scenes look at what goes into keeping the garden the oasis of beauty that it is.
It's not for lack of thinking of Buttercupland that I haven't posted, but I've been making up for the quiet winter of recovery. It's all been great, but I've truly been running around. I spent the early part of the week visiting in Vermont and then catching up with errands, Weight Watchers and gym time when I got back to New York. This weekend was a wonderful theater whirl with my fifth grade friend, Lonni. We enjoyed the revival of "Kiss Me Kate" very much. It's been all fun, but once again I realize I don't quite have the energy I had even five years ago. How can that be? I don't feel any older, but my body doesn't always cooperate with everything I'd like to do. I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
With this note of reflection, I say good night and sweet dreams. Not quite as many plans for tomorrow, but I am joining gym friends for my first Aqua Aerobics class and I need my energy sleep. As always thanks for visiting and have a great week.