Sunday, September 29, 2019

Happy 5780

"For the Lord thy G'd bringeth thee into a good land...a land of wheat and barley,
and vines and fig trees and pomegranates."
 Deuteronomy 8 7:8 
The Jewish new year -- 5780 -- begins at sunset tonight. With this celebration begins ten days of prayer, repentance and reflection. It's a time to recharge, reflect and grow closer to G'd and those we love. It's also a time to pray. As I've written before my congregation's services are long, from three to four hours. The prayers and music are beautiful, but despite my very best intentions my mind wanders. I've found that bringing a list of prayer requests is the best way for me to refocus during the service. I would be honored to bring any requests you have with me tomorrow morning, Tuesday morning and throughout the ten days through Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. 
My wishes to all for good health, happiness and a sweet new year, and a heartfelt prayer for peace on earth. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Return of Stage Door Buttercup

Stage Door Buttercup meets Jonathan Pryce
I had a totally different post in preparation for tonight. Totally. But when I got to meet two of my favorite actors I knew that the theme of tonight's post had to be the return of Stage Door Buttercup. It's been awhile since I've morphed into my stage door version of myself -- 2017 and Hello, Dolly to be exact -- and I hadn't planned it. I walked out of the theater and turned left towards Eighth Avenue and my bus stop and there was the stage door. There were less than a dozen people waiting for pictures and it was a clear and warm evening. It was a perfect night to become Stage Door Buttercup again. 
  The Height of the Storm at the Manhattan Theatre Club
Buttercup meets Eileen Atkins

I won't begin to list the plays, movies and television shows that these two extraordinary actors have been part of. I first discovered Eileen Atkins in one of my all time favorite television shows, "Upstairs, Downstairs," which she co-created with Jean Marsh. It was a treat to see both Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins together tonight in the serious and thoughtful, "The Height of the Storm." It was a thrill to meet both of them. They were gracious and patient signing autographs and posing for pictures.  This is definitely a night to remember!
Otherwise life has been quiet and pleasant. I've gotten back to my good gym habits. I'm reading a lot, picking up my walking and enjoying New York in the almost-fall weather. What are your fall activities?  
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Two Word Tuesday: Jamais Vu

Looking Southeast from Columbus Circle
We're familiar with the phrase, deja vu, in French it means already seen. It's the moment where we feel we've experienced a new situation previously. But I never realized that there's an opposite experience, jamias vu. This phrase is "never seen" in French. In this situation we experience something familiar as though we're seeing it for the first time. We know rationally we've seen something before, but it looks totally unfamiliar. In the last week I've had two jamais vu experiences and after the second one I was a little unsettled. It sent me to my friend, Google, and I searched for the "opposite of deja vu," and voila, jamais vu.  

My first jamais vu experience was looking at the Manhattan skyline above. Twenty years ago my office faced this scene, but it was a far different scene. I've been to Columbus Circle at least once a week since 1999, when our office moved Downtown, and have looked out at towards Midtown at every visit, but I've literally never seen this sight before. The Midtown skyline has been transformed and it was an unfamiliar sight. I felt as though I was looking at a city I'd only read about before.

My second jamais vu experience of the week came in Downtown Brooklyn, another area familiar via work. I worked at Columbus Circle for four years and only six months in Brooklyn, but it was still familiar, or so I thought.

This had been my view as I walked from the subway to my office, almost nothing in front of me was familiar. I expect by next spring this sea of construction will be completed and it will be a totally different view entirely, one I've jamais vu.

Do you have deja vu experiences? How about jamais vu? I did some reading about the deja vu experience and was interested to find that it's a "glitch" in ones memory that causes it. I'm a fan of time travel books -- Yay, Outlander series! -- and found that an interesting thing to ponder. Perhaps, time travel is a "glitch" in memory and moments of deja vu are time travel.

Jamais Vu are my two words for Tuesday and wonderful Wednesday are my two words for tomorrow. I hope that you have a wonderful Wednesday!

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

BlogHer19 Is Now History

Connie Britton at BlogHer19
BlogHer19 is now history and fun memories. I'd planned to post after the first day on Wednesday, but between the busy days and evening plans I was one tired blogger. I'm going to do a fuller post in the next day with more pictures and details, but one thing I definitely didn't want to forget was staying in touch with my blog friends. Much more to come!
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

My Perfect Word for 2020

Not quite "executive," but I'm not quite executive either. 
Yes, 2020. I've not been my most organized self for the last little while. It may have been taking it too easy breezy in August and adding September 11 took it to a higher level of disorganization. I'm usually quite organized and keep an orderly calendar and have my to-do lists updated every day. I'm not quite as orderly as when I was working, but I thought I was keeping up. 
For the last little while I've been saying yes to doing things and then I've neglected to write them down. What a mess! I had theater tickets and a commitment to be out of town with a group of friends for the weekend ahead. As my mother always said, "You can't dance at two weddings," and I was trying my hardest to do just that. That debacle got solved and I decided to take action.
I went through my calendar for 2019 and noted every event I had scheduled. I made a list of items that need to be done -- a flight to schedule and fund raising notes to send out. In a whirl of resolution I went to the local dollar store this afternoon and bought an organizer for 2020. Yes, it says "executive" on the label, but it has a plastic cover and it cost all of $1.29. I immediately felt better and on the road back to organization. My next activity will be to enter all the commitments I've made for 2020 and be ready to start the year off in as orderly a fashion as possible. 
I may be the first person to post about their perfect word for 2020, but I don't mind being a trailblazer. I've had new year thoughts in mind for the last month as the Jewish New Year of 5780 begins on September 29. I'm grateful to have two opportunities to review and reflect. I may have chosen a different perfect word by January, 2020, but Organization will definitely be my perfect word for 5780.
I've got some excitement coming up tomorrow afternoon and Thursday. Facebook and Instagram friends will get sneak peeks in the afternoon, but I promise to do a quick post tomorrow night with the high points of the day, and they look very exciting. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a wonderful Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Looking West

Wall Street looking west towards Trinity Church
Exactly eighteen years ago I was heading home from an evening meeting in the Bronx. It was part of a series of five meetings, one in each of the five boroughs of New York. I don't remember the dates of the other meetings, but I doubt if I will forget being in the Bronx on September 10. And exactly eighteen years ago tomorrow I stepped out of the subway in the spot above. There was no police presence and nothing was built to deter car bombs. I'd gotten off the subway here hundreds of times, but this day was very different. When I looked west to Trinity Church I remember seeing a million pieces of paper flying in the sky in back of the church and the sky was filled with smoke. I ran the three blocks to my office, not sure of what had exactly happened and the morning of September 11, 2001 unfolded. 
There are infinite tiny details of the morning and the days that followed that stay frozen in amber in my mind. Perhaps my most vivid memory is standing at the window with colleagues on the second floor of our building at 2 Broadway and seeing the sky go dark at 10:30 a.m. when the North Tower of the Trade Center collapsed. We had been listening to the radio and learned about the Pentagon and flight 93 crashing. We realized this wasn't an isolated terrible accident. After that our building was evacuated and we all began the long trek home.
I walked through the Lower East Side and up First Avenue and then turned on 42nd Street and left my friend, Sandy, at Grand Central Station, where she was able to get a train home to Westchester. I continued to walk west and on Eighth Avenue, somewhere in the West 50s I caught a bus -- yes, buses were running uptown -- to a friend's apartment on West 66th Street, where I could begin to make phone calls and let family and friends know that I was alive. I had resisted getting a cell phone, so no one could reach me. One thing I will remember about the long walk home was turning around and seeing smoke rising from where the Twin Towers had stood. I couldn't begin to believe that they were no longer there.
This is my eleventh post about the worst day of my life and the worst day of many of our lives. I want to link back  to other posts I've done about September 11 for those who are new friends of Buttercupland. 
I started writing this post about an hour ago. By this time eighteen years ago I was home from a rainy night in the Bronx. My first commitment of the day was a budget meeting at 10:00 am and I decided I would go in to the office a little late the next morning. I'd worked late and the next day was just an ordinary Tuesday in September. Of course, it was the least ordinary day I would ever know.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Nessie

Pep and Nessie in calmer days
We're very discombobulated around the apartment these days -- especially Nessie. Nessie left Inverness and came to New York in June, making an excellent transition to life in the big city. She's missed her friends and family in Loch Ness, but has been very happy with Pep and her new friends here. At least she was very happy until the recent news that the Loch Ness Monster may be just a giant eel. 
 New York Post, September 6, 2019
We saw the story in the Friday edition of the New York Post, but the discussion of DNA testing for Nessie and family has been all over the internet. The DNA project found a high percentage of eel DNA in the water of Loch Ness, leading the researchers to believe that Nessie may be part of a family of giant eels. Nessie wants to point out that she likes eels, but she is not an eel. She's not even really a monster, but that is the family name. Her cousin Nestor, back in Inverness, took a DNA test from and his results showed 99% Sea Monster.
In 1897 Frances Church answered Virginia O'Hanlon's question about Santa Claus, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..." Tonight on behalf of Nessie and family I take the liberty of rephrasing Mr. Church. Alas, how dreary the world would be if there was no Nessie. "There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence." Yes, friends, there is a Nessie and she lives in our hearts.  
Dear Nessie, I hope you're no longer discombobulated. You always have a place in our hearts.
As do all of you, dear blog friends. How dreary the world would be without friends. Thanks for stopping by and wishes for a good weekend.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Chaffle Time Is Here

The teeny tiny small appliance I didn't know I needed!
This post may look like a paid advertisement for my new favorite small appliance, the mini waffle maker, but it's not. It's actually an update on my Gas Line Saga. In a quick update for any new readers, the gas for my building has been turned off due to a leak in the pipe supplying the building. It's not clear when we will have gas again. This unfortunate event precipitated my need to reexamine my policy of not buying any new small appliances. In addition to the air fryer, microwave and crock pot that I already owned I am the recipient of an induction burner, loaned to me by A, a friend of my goddaughter. A's building in Lower Manhattan had been without gas for four months last year and she just happened to have an almost new burner to lend. I am also the owner of an electric frying pan and the cute-as-a-button mini waffle maker. 
After I got the news about the Gas Saga I gave myself a week to figure out what I needed. The item I decided I needed most was something to make eggs and pancakes that was no more complex than a small frying pan on the stove. About a day later I started to see "chaffles" all over Facebook, cooked in a mini waffle maker. For a nominal amount I bought one and started "chaffling."
The chaffle in its simplest form is a waffle made of cheese and egg and was created as a bread substitute for people who eat Keto. There are now a zillion variations that debate adding almond flour/coconut flour/stevia and on and on. It's low carb and the chaffle gets crispy. I don't think of it as bread, but as a crispy omelet. My basic recipe is one egg, a quarter of a cup of shredded cheese and a teaspoon of Kodiak pancake mix. I also make actual waffles with Kodiak pancake mix and they are quick, crispy and very tasty.
My first chaffle, made with Kodiak pancake mix and
 topped with sour cream and strawberries.  
Yes, chaffles can be cooked in a waffle iron, which if you're cooking for more than one person is the way to go. But for me and my mini kitchen, the mini waffle maker is perfect. Has anyone else jumped on the chaffle train? 
Once the schools start it always seems like it should be autumn, but the weather in New York doesn't match up. It's still t-shirt time and today was 86 degrees. That is still summer for me. I'm getting back to my usual schedule and enjoyed Weight Watchers and my gym time.
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great Thursday. A shout out to my blogger buddy Myra at Respice, Prospice with wishes for a very happy anniversary!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Success Is Never Final

As someone who loves to travel and enjoys staying in hotels, I was delighted when my friends at Shadow Mountain Publishing asked me to read Success Is Never Final, the biography of Bill Marriott, by Dale Van Atta. I read a lot of fiction and mystery novels, but I also enjoy biographies and memoirs and this book was no exception.

As familiar as I was with the Marriott hotel chain, I knew nothing about Bill Marriott, who had led the company for many years. I came away with an appreciation for a man devoted to his business, but also to his family and faith and to philanthropy.  What I don't generally read are "business" books, and Success Is Never Final is a business book, as well as a biography. Though I probably won't add the genre to my preferred reading list, I found those sections concerning the hotel business very informative.

I was moved to tears by the discussion of the World Trade Center Marriott and the events there on September 11, 2001. Though I am very familiar with most details of that day, I was unfamiliar with all that happened at the hotel that stood next to the World Trade Center. The story of that day was well told and especially poignant as we enter the month of September.

I'm pleased to have added Success Is Never Final to my summer reading. Many thanks again, friends at Shadow Mountain for the opportunity.

I'm enjoying the long weekend, and not having a lot of plans. I spent the afternoon visiting with a friend who broke her leg. It was great to see she is doing well and equally fun to meet her cats. Tomorrow I hope/plan to return to the gym and do several hours of decluttering. Not exciting, but I both worthwhile before the busier days of fall arrive. What are your Labor Day plans?

As ever, thanks for visiting. Again, prayers for safety for those in Dorian's path.

Please note: I was given a copy of Success Is Never Final by Shadow Mountain Publishing for review. The opinions are all mine. .