Tuesday, December 31, 2019

See You Next Year!

Here's to you, my trusted friends!

My one wish tonight would be to meet my trusted friends of Buttercupland  and share a cup of kindness and a chat. We'd have coffee or something bubbly and enjoy an evening together. But that's only a wish and alas, distance makes it an impossible wish. Instead I offer my best wishes virtually and thank the wonderful Buttercupland community for a year of friendship, comments and fun. This  year did include a terrific visit with our dear Chatty Crone, and I'm hopeful that 2020 holds more visits and blog friend good times. 

2019 will soon be history and I'm not sorry to say good-bye. The year began with surgery for my hip and included much more physical therapy than any year should include. But 2019 also included great times, fabulous travel, a wonderful reunion with college friends and over 850 miles walked in five states and two continents. I kept up with strength training and Yoga and added water aerobics and swimming  to my routine. Many thanks to my wonderful local Y and the great teachers and friends I discovered there. 

Here's to 2020! A cheer to the places I will visit -- some new and others I'm eager to make a return visit -- the friends and family I will spend time with and the books I'm going to read. I'm hoping to read more, write more and visit museums more often. What are some of your 2020 goals?

As ever, thanks for visiting. 
Have a great evening, stay safe and see you next year!

Happy New Year ! 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Luminaries

The Luminaries at Brookfield Place, Winter Garden

We're coming to the last of the Christmas decoration posts in Buttercupland. There will be one or two more and then we're back to coffee, books and eating sensibly. Wait, that's my life in January! There will be treats to come in Buttercupland, but no more bright lights and glitter for quite awhile. I'm glad to get back to "real life," and a return to more sensible eating, my water aerobics classes and decluttering. I've let the latter slide for the last ten days and it's time to organize paperwork and shred what's not needed of 2019.

I enjoyed watching the canopy of lights change colors. Every hour on the hour holiday music plays.

One of my favorite places in the summer is the Winter Garden Atrium at Brookfield Place. It's a Shopping mall/Office Complex on the Hudson. There is a marina on the river and it's a perfect place to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, watch boats go by and drink iced coffee. In the spring there's a beautiful orchid show and now in December there is a fabulous canopy of lights, modeled after the luminarias of the Southwest. This was my first visit at this time of year and I totally enjoyed it. It's indoors -- great on a rainy day like today -- and there are lots of places to sit. If you're very fortunate you may get a seat near the window and watch the ice skaters go by. 

The "pond" is on the deck, adjacent to the Hudson River. New Jersey is in the distance. I braved 
the elements to take this picture, but on colder days a seat indoors is a great viewing site.  

Thanks, all, for the nice comments about yesterday's Pink Saturday post. I left the coat at Nordstrom -- but may return from time to time to see if it moves to a sale rack. I actually have a hot pink spring jacket, and as cute as the herringbone jacket is, it's a stretch for my clothes budget. 

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

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Pink Saturday Spring Fashion Forecast


Goofy or cute?

I zipped into Midtown this afternoon to see if TJ Maxx had any Rae Dunn bowls on sale post-Christmas. The line to check out at TJ Maxx was around the corner and literally up a flight of stairs.   
I wasn't about to brave that line -- and the store attached to it -- and opted instead for a visit to Nordstrom's new Manhattan flagship store around the corner. The store just opened and it's bright, busy and has four floors of fashion and lots of nice people to assist and answer questions. I don't do much department store shopping and don't buy a lot of  clothes, but I might start browsing in Nordstrom's. The fourth floor had some very affordable items -- including this coat. 

I fell in love with this jacket.

I was told that hot pink -- and mint green -- are the colors for the spring. I actually liked the way the coat looked on me, but not enough to buy it. The arms were snug and I already have a hot pink jacket. But it's fun to look. 

I wish I had somewhere to wear these dresses. 
If anyone is looking for a dress to wear to a formal wedding there were great choices. 

Love the look of hot  pink and black. I've got my eye on a polka dot blouse.


For our fashion show finale, a bright pink trench coat

For many years I was part of the Pink Saturday blog crew and then, all of sudden sometime in the summer, I wasn't. I couldn't link to the post. I tried a number of different fixes, but without any luck. As I was browsing the fabulous clothes at Nordstrom a light bulb went off. I've got a new computer and a new browser, and maybe, just maybe I could rejoin my friends at Pink Saturday. We'll soon see as I attempt to link up to the blog party. 

I've enjoyed a few quiet days, and it's been fun not having a busy schedule. I'm sure I'll enjoy getting back into my regular routine, but for now I'm loving the pace.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.   

Thursday, December 26, 2019

And I Lived to Write This Blog Post, Part II

On November 29 I braved a trip to Macy's at 34th Street...and survived!

There were twenty-six days until Christmas and now it's December 26. I didn't see any Christmas trees at the curb today, which I usually do on December 26, but the tree stand down the street is gone and the aroma of pine is only memory. But it's still Christmas in New York in Buttercupland. I've got two other posts of Christmas sights in New York City to share before the end of the year and one post of holiday reflections. I hope you'll stop by for the lights and decorations. 

   Loved this jolly Santa in Macy's window

Herald Square Plaza reflected in the neon lights

Boy meets Santa Dog

I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with friends of long-standing. We had our traditional dinner out on Christmas Eve and I enjoyed window shopping and holiday lights in their neighborhood as we walked to and from the restaurant. Presents, brunch and afternoon dinner with gracious and fun friends. We settled in for movies at night and our viewing included Klaus, a new Christmas movie on Netflix. The movie's theme is that one act of love and kindness can influence an entire town. I have a feeling I will be seeing it again for years to come. Has anyone else seen it?

I appreciated all the kind good wishes to my last post and hope that all of Buttercupland enjoyed holiday celebrations that warmed their hearts. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a fabulous Friday. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

All I Want for Christmas...

Merry Christmas from my house -- lobby, actually -- to yours!

You know you're grown up when the things you'd like to find under the Christmas tree don't come in packages with shiny bows. I've gotten two of my wishes already -- good checkups at the both dentist and the ophthalmologist this month. 

Other items on my list are equally intangible, but they're the wishes of my heart. It's not a long list, but Santa -- and all of us -- will have to work overtime to make them come true.  

1) A cure for cancer

2) World Peace

3) Good health for my friends and family

4) Lastly, for my neighbors and me, a working stove and oven. I'm looking at you, NYC Department of Buildings. Santa really needs your help on this one. 

As I said, it's not a long list, but it's got just about everything I really need for 2020. My wish for this Christmas is that the intangibles in your heart become your gifts of the season. 

May your days be merry and bright!
Merry Christmas from Buttercupland 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Happy Chanukah

Candles on the first night of Chanukah

Wishes for days of light in the midst of the darkness and 
warmth on the coldest days. 

Last night was the first of the eight days of Chanukah. Each night one more candle is lit, until all eight candles in the menorah (Chanukah candle holder) are glowing. Chanukah commemorates a miracle that took place over 2200 years ago. The miracle was a relatively simple one. There was only enough  oil to light the sacred menorah in the temple for one night, and yet, miraculously the oil lasted for eight nights. 

Centuries later I had the good fortune to join with friends of long standing and celebrate this miracle. We lit candles, said the blessings and ate latkes (potato pancakes). Latkes and jelly doughnuts are the traditional foods of Chanukah. Both treats are cooked in oil and remind us of the Chanukah miracle. I'm remiss in capturing photographs of the latkes. This year's version were unusually light and crispy and every thanks to the chef, my friend, Anita, for her efforts to create perfect latkes.  

We've had glorious weather to usher in Chanukah and it looks to last through the week. It won't be a white Christmas, but I'll enjoy the snow in pictures. My goal for the night is to spend more time on cards and do a little present wrapping. What are your evening plans?

As ever, thanks for visiting. Wishes for miracles, large and small!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Shine On

Shine On -- music and lights at Hudson Yards

In April 2018 I wrote about the then mostly unfinished Hudson Yards project as part of the A to Z subway series. Hudson Yards is a new neighborhood on the far west side of Manhattan. When it's completed in 2024 it is projected to include a mix of eighteen million square feet of residential and commercial space. I wrote about the subway station for the area that opened last year, but I hadn't explored it until this week. I met friends there on Thursday for lunch and was fascinated by the area. I noted that there was a music and lights show, Shine On, every night at 5:00 p.m. and decided I needed to add it to our Buttercupland adventures for 2019. I am very glad I did. 

The show takes place inside, perhaps, the most elegant shopping mall in New York. I've only explored the first floor -- there are five floors -- and the very nice Spanish food court in the basement, -- and the stores I've seen are a little out of Buttercup's shopping budget. But it's fun to window shop and I plan to be back after Christmas for further exploration. It will be a great place to get in my walking on cold, cold days.   

I loved the light show, especially the jellyfish. 

The music and light show was terrific. The designs change in time to the classical music and it's so creative and pretty. One amazing plus, which may not be a plus for long, is that it's not wall-to-wall people. There are a lot of people, but there's more than enough room to stand back, take pictures and just enjoy the music and the lights. New York friends or visitors to New York, the performance is on every night through January 5 and it's definitely worth the visit. 

While classical music is played inside, Christmas music is played outside, along with a bright light show. 
 I arrived just at sunset, but in time for the light show outdoors. 
The building on the left is the highest observation deck in North America, Vessel.

A different perspective of the same sculpture during the daytime. 

It's been a great season. Enjoyed visits with friends from out of town, including friends of long-standing. Gifts are bought and for probably the fiftieth year in a row I've realized that all of my cards won't be there by Christmas, and this year I'm okay with that. Fun got me sidetracked and I'm grateful for the good times. I spent yesterday celebrating my friend and colleague, Brenda on her retirement, and it was a special treat visiting with my long-time colleagues. Our Division's retirement group is growing larger and it's great when we get together.

   The Retirees Club celebrates its newest member

I hope you've had as much fun as I have during this holiday season. What have been your special moments to cherish?

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take good care and savor every sweet moment of the season.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Grand Central to the North Pole

We're leaving Grand Central Station via the 18th Annual Holiday Train Show.

Grand Central Station isn't just a train station, it's a whole world. My optician is there, one of my favorite eating spots is there and the New York Transit Museum's Grand Central Gallery is the home of the Annual Holiday Train Show. If you're a model train fan -- and I am -- or even if you're kind of a Scrooge about model trains, this exhibition may just win your heart. 

There are New York City landmarks, there are cozy corners of the city and there are places to visit that exist only in our dreams. This wonderful show has them all. 

 This is a (mythical) cozy corner of New York on what may be the East River. Love the detail.

I doubt this cabin exists anywhere in the five boroughs, but we 
can definitely travel there on the Polar Express. All aboard!

The holiday greenery at Grand Central Station.
The station looks deceptively calm in this picture. 

I'm enjoying a quiet afternoon at home. Blogging, sipping coffee with amaretto creamer and figuring out my calendar for the next week. What's your schedule?

As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy!
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Monday, December 16, 2019

It's Monkee -- and Snowperson -- Holiday Monday

Happy Monkee Days from Pep Le Monkee, Nessie and friends!

It's one of the happiest days of the year, Monkee Holiday Monday. Pep and friends have donned their festive attire and join me in extending good wishes to all of Buttercupland for this joyous season. It's not just monkey greetings this year. Nessie joins the festivities along with one of the bears, who's looking handsome in red.    

Snow people and penguin friends wish you the best of the season

Breaking News: Calendars have been found -- mine and Nessie's

I wasn't feeling tip-top this morning, so I decided to skip swimming, rest up and make some order out of chaos. The top of my list was getting the monkey and penguin groups ready for their photographs, wrapping gifts for mailing and finding my 2020 calendar. Though there's still quite a bit of chaos, I am pleased to say all three of my goals were accomplished. I even got to the post office for what, I hope will be my last visit before Christmas. Cards are falling further and further behind, but at least packages are on their way without last minute hysteria and last minute prices. How are you doing with holiday errands?  

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

SantaCon Has Come (and Gone) from Town

Santas came to town for SantaCon

This evening we're going from the sublime of Iona to the ridiculous of SantaCon. We leave one of the most serene locations on this earth for a few moments in the heart of manic New York City, and the confluence of SantaCon and Grand Central Station. 

SantaCon, which took place yesterday, has become an annual tradition where people dress up in assorted Santa Claus outfits and go out drinking. I didn't see anyone in my neighborhood in Santa attire, but I met my dear friend Lonnie at Grand Central Station and the presence of Santa was all around us. 

The minimalist look for SantaCon, unlike the Santas in the first picture who are in full Santa attire. 

 A variation on Santa attire, holiday pajama onesies

It wasn't just Santas at Grand Central Station. 
I had a fun visit with Elmo at Kidding Around, one of my favorite stores. 

As I note every year at this point in December, Christmas is right around the corner. We've still got Macy's windows, Bergdorf Goodman's windows and the holiday train show at Grand Central to enjoy. We also have our own Buttercupland tradition, Monkee Monday, which will take place tomorrow. Pep is ready in his festive attire and Nessie joins us this year. I, however, am ready for very little. Despite my good intentions I am lagging in cards and wrapping and somewhere under the morass of cards, random envelopes and wrapping paper I have misplaced my 2020 calendar.   

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Thank You, Saint Columba

The beautiful island of Iona

We're leaving the lights and glitter of New York City for an island off an island -- Mull -- in the Inner Hebrides on the Western coast of Scotland. It has a population of 130 people, probably a lot more sheep and it was on my dream list for decades. Finally, last May I set foot on Iona. 

Iona is known as the center of Celtic Christianity, first settled by St. Columba in 563 C.E. The monks came from Ireland as missionaries to Northern Britain and founded a place for contemplation and scholarship, including quite likely the fabulous Book of Kells, now at Trinity College Library in Dublin. Iona served as a place for theological learning and scholarship that might otherwise have been lost in early Medieval Times. The monastery community continued into the Tenth century when Viking raids destroyed it. 

I joined the centuries of pilgrims that began visiting Iona in the Seventh Century. It was not surprisingly a wet and rainy day -- the island is lush and green from the rains -- and the relative inaccessibility meant it was not crowded. To get to Iona I needed to get to the Isle of Mull. We then drove two hours to a ferry to Iona. St. Columba chose the island for this very inaccessibility and is a lovely, uncrowded place to visit and enjoy the silence and natural beauty. 

  Iona Abbey and St. Martin's Cross, the original cross of the Abbey

St. Martin's Cross

The Abbey Church of Iona

There were only a few other people visiting Iona Abbey the day I was there. It was an incredible privilege to be able to be part of the centuries of prayer, solitude and pilgrimage that comprise the history of Iona. One thought I had that day last May was that I wanted to share the photographs and my thoughts at Christmas. Unconsciously, I knew I would need a "quiet" day of posting. I will be back to the bright lights and all the fun that New York offers, but I'm grateful for a return to one of the most tranquil places I know. 

I hope you've enjoyed our visit to Iona. I know that I'm so happy to take a few minutes from the bustle of December and find some quiet time, and happy that I could share it with Buttercupland. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and savor the quiet moments! 

Monday, December 9, 2019

O Christmas Tree

Perhaps the most beautiful Christmas tree in New York City,
 and perhaps the most beautiful Christmas tree anywhere.

I have my favorite places to visit during this season and I'm especially happy when I can share it with someone who hasn't seen it before. I had that treat on Friday night. My friend Becky and her daughter, Lindsey, were here from Mississippi and I got to suggest our plans. They had already visited Rockefeller Center to see the most beautiful outdoor tree in New York City and joined me for a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

The Neapolitan Baroque Creche dates from the Eighteenth Century

It's so worth a trip to the museum and will be on display until January 6, 2020. We didn't get to see it while Christmas music was playing, but it was still a wonderful visit.  

I'm always concerned about crowds this time of year and I was worried last Friday night before out visit. A neighbor told me that one day during Christmas week last year she stood in line for forty-five minutes just to get inside the museum. But our experience may have been a once in a lifetime visit. For the most part we had the museum all to ourselves. No one blocked our view at the Christmas tree or in the usually very crowded Impressionist rooms. There was even a seat at the cafe in the gift shop. 
A moment with Henri Matisse

My favorite Degas dancer and her friends on canvas

I didn't buy anything in the gift shop, but I got these sweet unicorns
 to pose for me for Magic Monday. 

I didn't quite make it to the post office today, but I've now got two packages wrapped and ready to mail, so it's on my schedule for tomorrow. I'm making headway on both cards and decluttering and I'm keeping the shredder busy. I still can't find two things I bought in Scotland in May and carefully put away. I put them away so carefully that they may not be found in time for Christmas. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

East Side, West Side

Florist window, Upper East Side of Manhattan

When most of us think of Christmas in New York our thoughts go to Macy's and Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center and the windows on Fifth Avenue. I love the big spectacular decorations, but for me this season is all around, whether it's down the block at the Christmas tree stand or in a shop window that I see while I'm out walking. I saw this window and the one in the picture below while walking on Park Avenue on Friday night. It's a neighborhood florist -- thankful we still have them -- and not famous. But the forest scene in the middle of brick and concrete was a wonderful discovery. 

The joys of window shopping

My west side finds are very simple, but I appreciate every simple and pretty note in the otherwise leafless winter landscape. I found this window walking home from the library last week, just a few blocks from home. 


I discovered this tree stand on my way to the movies. It's on the very far west side, 
not quite a block from the Hudson River. 

It's treat time again and we're back at Bouchon Bakery at Columbus Circle. Tonight we have an assortment of yummies. It's a tough choice, but I'm leaning towards an eclair for my virtual treat. 
What's your pick? Remember, that there are no calories in virtual treats. 

I've been listening to a medley of seasonal music tonight. I've got YouTube in the background on automatic and I've listened to Elvis and Bing Crosby and now Perry Como has just started singing Silver Bells. What a perfect choice for this post. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet week!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

On the Street Where I Live (Almost)

The trees have arrived!

One of my favorite days of the year is the day the trees arrive. This stand is two blocks from home and I pass it at least once a day. The bus stop is on this block and it's my route home from the subway. 

On Broadway

This is the general look of the block. My drugstore is on the right and Broadway is on the left. There's usually at least one person with a baby carriage, people are walking and generally someone is walking a dog or two. Yes, it's Broadway, but it's not the Broadway people think of when they think of Broadway in New York City. The theaters and bright lights are two miles south. 

It all changes when the trees arrive, on this block and many blocks all over New York City. On our block the same people have arrived from Canada for at least ten years. The block is transformed. It goes from concrete and steel to an enchanted forest, wonderfully fragrant with the aroma of evergreen. The enchantment remains until Christmas Day. When I've arrived home after visiting friends on December 26, the trees and the aroma and all the magic of the season is gone. Yes, it's a let down. No matter how much fun I've had in celebration I'm sad to see the block returned to its regular state. 

This was not the intended subject that I hoped to blog about today due to a change in plans. But I hope you'll enjoy a visit to my corner of New York instead. 

Thanks for the congratulations to Nessie and Pep and the comments about the Grand Central event. I'm not quite sure what was taking place there, but that's what makes New York City interesting. The two other wedding photo events I've seen there were just that, photo events. I've yet to see a wedding in Grand Central Station, but I'll be on the lookout. 
   
It's December 5 and I'm starting to fall woefully behind in holiday doings. I've got cards to address and packages to wrap and mail all over my dining area table. I had hoped to be further along, but real life gets in the way. Happily, it's all good things in real life and I'm so grateful for all of it. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wedding (and Relationship Change) Wednesday

Nessie and Pep -- Aren't they the cutest?

Love blooms where one would never expect it, and happily there's romantic news in Buttercupland. Pep is telling the world, or at least his Facebook friends that he is in a relationship with Nessie. They're not engaged, but there could be a June wedding in the forecast. Who knows what this love struck pair will decide to do? Congratulations to Nessie and Pep!

   Photo opportunity at Grand Central Station, Thanksgiving night

I was walking through Grand Central Station to the subway on Thanksgiving night and noticed a bridal photo shoot. It's the third bridal photography session I've seen at Grand Central and this didn't seem to be the norm. Bride in wedding gown and groom -- perhaps -- in ski jacket. I knew I had to capture the moment for Wedding Wednesday.

Tomorrow we return to the sights of Christmas in New York and there's definitely a visit to a classic that you won't want to miss. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and sharing in Pep and Nessie's happy news.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

It's Christmas Time at Columbus Circle

The view from (the Time Warner Center at) Columbus Circle looking east. You can see the faint remains of snowflakes from yesterday's storm.

I gauge my winter activities by the weather conditions. Today was cold, but clear and the sidewalks and street crossings, a big challenge in bad weather, were fine.  I made it to Yoga class, to the post office and to Columbus Circle. Actually, this was not a big challenge. It's three stops on the subway to Yoga and then four more blocks to the post office and Columbus Circle. I'm going to share a secret, New York friends, the nicest post office in Manhattan is only a block from this view. 

Love the decorations at the Time Warner Center. The atrium is filled with Moravian stars that
 change color. They're especially pretty at night, with holiday music playing in the background.   

Chocolate or not-chocolate croissant? What's your pleasure?

While I was exploring the Time Warner Center this afternoon I took a quick detour at Bouchon Bakery, one of my favorite spots for a snack or lunch in the area. The food is great and the view of Columbus Circle -- as shown in the top picture -- never disappoints. I was only planning a cup of coffee, but the line discouraged me and happily, kept me from any pastry temptation. I did take a few photographs of my favorite goodies and decided to share them with Buttercupland. Aren't these the flakiest, most delicious-looking croissants? The only problem is choosing chocolate or not-chocolate. Of course we don't have to choose. Let's get both and split them between us, with a nice cafe latte.     

The croissants inaugurate a new feature in Buttercupland, New York Yummies. At least once a week I'm going to feature a yummy New York food. Since it's December I'm going to be on the lookout for holiday favorites. I hope you'll enjoy this sweet new feature. 

Next time in Buttercupland our focus is on romance. Intrigued? Please stop by for the fun!

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.