Thursday, July 2, 2020

July 2, 2019

These may be the best looking tomatoes I've ever seen

I didn't plan to write a post about good looking tomatoes. I had several more involved topics in mind, but I just sat at the computer unable to muster the energy to cut, paste, copy links and put together any of the posts I had in mind. I was as a friend texted me tonight, "Blah." I wasn't especially sad or depressed, but totally unable to muster the energy I needed to put a post together. Anyone else getting the Blahs lately?

So I decided to see what I was doing exactly a year ago. I was visiting my friend, Lucy, in Pennsylvania and we'd stopped at a wonderful farmer's market. There were any number of fruits and vegetable photos and this was my favorite.
Doylestown, PA

We also spent the afternoon in Doylestown, the county seat of Bucks County, PA and a delightful place to wile away a summer afternoon. Book store browsing, window shopping and of course, a stop for iced coffee at the Zen Den. The coffee was great and the atmosphere was relaxed and quirky. It was just one afternoon out of 365, but it brings back sweet memories a year later.   

Great coffee shop memories from my visit to the Zen Den

Thanks for wandering down memory lane with me. I promise that I won't recreate every day in 2019 in every post, but we will do a little time travel now and then. 

Tomorrow is Flower Friday -- yes, I just created it -- and I'll be sharing my favorite flowers of the week. I hope you'll stop by and enjoy the blossoms. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take care. Much love and stay well!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

O Canada!

Happy Canada Day

Today we're taking an arm chair visit to Ottawa, Canada's capital, to celebrate the day Canada became self-governing in 1867. Ottawa is one of my favorite cities and I've had the  good fortune to visit there a number of times. I was hoping for a follow-up to this summer to a trip I made in August, 2019. K and I had a wonderful time and I'm hoping you enjoy our virtual follow up.   

Welcome to Ottawa!

We're starting our day at one of my favorite places in Ottawa, ByWard Market. The market encompasses four blocks in the center of Ottawa. It includes formal restaurants, cafes, stores and a terrific farmer's market. We especially enjoyed a French cafe and started our day with a wonderful cafe au lait. It was so good that I drank it before I could take a picture.

Beautiful vegetables! I wish I could have taken them home with me.

We're spending the afternoon at the National Gallery of Canada. We'll see the Gauguin Portraits exhibit and then go to a great photography show of work by the Canadian-American street photographer, Dave Heath. I was familiar with Gauguin's work, but Dave Heath's work was a complete surprise to me. There were very few people there and I had an extraordinary array of photographs almost all to myself. We'll finish our visit with a time in the gift shop. It's definitely a struggle not to choose one of everything,but I managed to contain myself. 

Ottawa by night
After a rest -- after all we've walked all over the center of Ottawa-- let's find a seafood restaurant in ByWard Market and then enjoy the view of the city from the hotel roof. The air is cool and the lights are sparkling. There's a rooftop bar if we'd like cocktail refreshment and linger in this perfect moment. 

I've enjoyed our perfect day in Ottawa celebrating Canada Day, and hope you have, too. I'm not going to focus on not being able to visit this summer, but I'm going to look forward to next summer. Ottawa, I hope to be back in 2021.  

Our next national day celebration will be later this month. We'll be visiting France to celebrate Bastille Day on July 14. 

Thanks for visiting and take good care! Much love and stay well. 

Silver Tone for Silver Tones

My celebration of Phase Two, a haircut

I'm delighted that New York has moved into Phase Two of emerging from staying at home, but materially it hasn't made many changes in my day to day life. I'm enjoying seeing the increased people walking in the neighborhood and reopened stores and restaurants, but I haven't gone any where different from my usual haunts of the last three months, with one exception. I got a haircut last week. 

Like just about everything else these days I planned this adventure meticulously. I've been in touch with my hairdresser of long standing and learned that she wasn't sure when the salon she worked at would open. I didn't want to be disloyal, but I also didn't want to wait indefinitely. On one of my neighborhood walks I discovered a brand new salon that was very spacious, perfect for social distancing. I zipped in and explained what I wanted to do. I would arrive with my hair already washed -- I'm only a couple of blocks away and it's the middle of summer -- have my hair cut and leave with no styling. My time estimate for this was ten minutes. Actually the entire appointment including payment was fifteen minutes. 

One thing I chose not to do during this visit was to color my hair. I was reluctant to spend the extra time inside the salon and I've used this time to see what I looked like without hair color. I have "touched up" the gray for over thirty years, which is a long time to put chemicals on my head. I've been thinking about letting my hair grow out for at least the last year or two, but didn't look forward to the interim phase of two tone hair. Then in March fate stepped in. My last hair appointment had been in February and I didn't get to the one scheduled in late March. There is now a lot of silver, but I've come through the worst part of growing it out, and I'm going to live with my silver tone look for at least the next month. I'm optimistic that salons will stay open and I can revisit my decision easily. 

New York City is on track -- fingers crossed -- for Phase Three on Monday. Among other features, I will be able to get a pedicure. I've watched my local nail salon making changes and I will make changes to my routine there, too. No drinking coffee during the pedicure, no reading magazines while my nails dry and I will be wearing a mask the entire time. I'm scheduled for appointments with my ophthalmologist and my dentist next week, so it's going to be a busy week. 

This card is on its way to Germany
I spent time today working on correspondence, including the Post Card Project. Happily I made some headway and please be on the lookout in Tennessee and Germany. 

Later today -- I planned to finish this post earlier in the evening -- we're taking a trip to Ottawa to celebrate Canada Day. I hope you'll be here to join the festivities. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Happy Canada Day! 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Pink Sky Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday Pink Sky

I had a completely different post planned for Pink Saturday. But last night around 8:30 I looked out of my kitchen window and this was my view. I put on my shoes, grabbed my keys and phone and ran out to the street. This was my reward, not a red sky at night, but the most beautiful pink sky. 

The saying goes that a red sky -- or pink sky -- brings a sailor's delight. Unfortunately that gorgeous sky brought the most humid day of the 2020, so far. We've had mostly very nice weather in May and June, and I'd completely forgotten what a hot and sticky summer day is like. Today refreshed my memory. 

I've been thinking about outdoor dining, but hadn't factored the weather into my plans. Most days in July are too humid for eating out of doors past 10:00 in the morning. I'm hoping to treat myself to an actual restaurant meal eaten at a restaurant very soon, and breakfast or just an iced coffee may be my first venture out. I've been scouting the neighborhood and will, of course, share photos. 

I've got a quiet week ahead, but plan to catch up on postcards, decluttering and reading. I've also got a few new "firsts" that I hope to enjoy, as well.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and stay well. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Phase Two Random Five Friday

It's time for another Random Five Friday

1) I'm just squeaking this post into Friday (maybe) and I'm hoping you had a happy Friday. This is the chalk signage outside my favorite pizza shop. I was tempted to save this for Pink Saturday, but I've got another theme for tomorrow's fun. 

2) New York City is officially in Phase Two. The biggest changes are hair stylists and barbers are open and restaurant can serve out of doors. Generally there's a lot of planning for "sidewalk" service and city rules, but in an effort to get businesses open, the red tape has been eliminated. I'm not quite ready to take off my mask outside, but it was tempting. I'm going to give it at least another week and see how things progress. 

The watermelon margarita was very tempting...

3) Tables aren't just on the sidewalk, they're also in the street. 
Broadway, on the Upper West Side

Many more sidewalk restaurant choices on the same
 block as my library branch

4) My branch isn't on the list of branches that are opening
for pickup, but I was delighted to see that the New York Public Library was planning to reopen in early July.  

5) I was delighted to rediscover the meringues that I've been I've eyeing for at least the last six months. I'm thinking that this may be the treat I've been waiting for. The restaurant has just reopened and I'd be doing my part for business in the neighborhood. 

I'm glad I was out and about today because rain is predicted for tomorrow. I've got several projects to work on, including post cards that are waiting to be written. Dorothy, I'm not sure how to reach you and get your address. Help, me out!

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and stay well.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday at (Almost) Sunset

Just before sunset at the Hudson River

The best laid plans of mice and bloggers oft to go astray. With apologies to Robert Burns that seems to be my fate this week. The travel photos that I wanted to post either Monday or yesterday seem to have gone astray, and that got me totally off track. I'm going to assume that they will turn up sometime, but I will need to pick an alternate destination for our armchair travels tomorrow.

I'm sharing my view as I walked to the park last night. I looked up and this spectacular sight met me. I may not be traveling the world, but I am seeing the world around me. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and stay well.      

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Pink Saturday in the Park

It's time for Pink Saturday (on Sunday) fun

I wish all of Buttercupland could join Betsy and I for our walks in Riverside Park. Last night the park was crowded, but we managed to keep our distance and enjoy our visit. For the first time we found a band playing. We joined the audience, which included this pretty in pink scooter rider.

The high point of my park walks are the flowers. So grateful to everyone who makes the park an oasis in the neighborhood. 

 My find of the evening was buttercups, set among tea roses.
It's lily time and more pretty in pink flowers.

My favorite chalk drawing of the week

I hope everyone had a good Fathers Day. I always find it a tough day and the years going by haven't made it easier. But I enjoyed going through photographs and remembering happy times past. 

A quick preview of posts for the week. We're going to travel -- arm chair, of course, and I hope to catch up on books and a wedding planning update for Pep and Nessie. I hope you'll stop by and be part of the fun.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take care. Much love and stay well! 

The Fabulous Z Brothers

My grandfather, Abraham, on the left, and 
 his brothers, Stanley and Pierre, Paris 1909

For the last ten Fathers Days I've posted about my father. And on this Fathers Day, as in the past, my father is first in my thoughts. But this year I want to share my thoughts about my grandfather, my father's father. 

I have virtually no memories of my grandfather, who died in 1955 when I was four years old. But I do have many stories of my grandfather and my father's family. Now that almost all of the generation before me are gone, I wish I'd listened more and asked more questions. This is the only photograph of my grandfather when he was young. I have other photos, but they were taken much later. 

My grandfather was the fourth of nine children, born in Belarus in 1887. I have no information about my grandfather's early years, but the three oldest brothers shown in the photograph were part of the 1905 Russian Revolution. After the Revolution failed they were one step ahead of the Czar's police and somehow managed to find their way safely to Paris. As I write this, I feel sorry I asked so few questions. How did three young men, barely out of their teens, find their way from Russia to Paris? How did they make a living once they got there and how did they make it to America before the First World War started in 1914?

My grandparents were married in 1914 and landed in New York City, where they lived for the rest of their lives. My grandfather became a furrier with his brother-in-law. Sadly, the Depression destroyed their business and my grandfather then ran a series of candy stores in Queens and Brooklyn. They were tough years and he died a relatively young man. 

But in 1909 everything was in front of these handsome young men. Thankfully, my great-grandparents and all nine of their children made it to America. I owe my life to their fortitude and courage and on Father's Day and every day, I say thank you to the fabulous Z Brothers.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Happy Fathers Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Random Five Friday

It turns out that there's more than enough for Random Five Friday. Despite the fact that I haven't gotten farther than places I can easily walk in three months, there's still lots going on. Once again, and I see this very clearly, I've found that when I stop longing for things I don't have and am grateful for what I do have, life has many good moments.  The world is still spinning at a wild pace and more than once a day I need to stop and get off the worry wheel, but that acknowledged, life is okay in Buttercupland. 

Let's begin our Random Five Friday, while it's still Friday. 

1) The West Side Community Garden is still closed, as pictured above... 

2) ...But both of the local fruit vendors have returned to nearby corners. 
 This photo inspires a visit to buy a few mangoes tomorrow

3) The Pen Pal project is underway, and my mail box and I say thank you. I've looked on several blogs and can't find an email, so please be on the lookout for a comment about getting in touch. I sent a post card to a friend's four year old granddaughter,  who made the sweetest video thank you. Definitely one of the moments of sweetness in my life today. 

4) I spent today learning about Juneteenth, which commemorates June 19, 1865 when the federal orders of Emancipation were read in Galveston, Texas, which announced that all enslaved peoples in Texas were free.   

5) New York City will enter Phase Two on Monday. I don't think this will change a lot of my routine, but it does permit me to start thinking about extending my activities. I still haven't taken a bus or subway ride, but if the rate of infection stays low I'm looking forward to a bus trip sometime soon. Dental offices have been open for a few weeks for regular checkups, but I've held off making an appointment. Yesterday I decided that it was time and I made a dentist appointment for  July. It was as exciting as anything I've done in the last three months. Hair salons are part of Phase Three, as yet unscheduled. I've learned to live with lots of gray -- more than I thought I had -- but I would love a haircut. 

 A lobby selfie, complete with mask. My hair has gotten longish and I've been wearing a pony tail when I go out.  

That's my life in a nutshell. What are some of your randoms? I've been taking pictures around the neighborhood in anticipation of this week's Pink Saturday, so I hope you'll stop back to see this week's post.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take care. Much love and stay well.   

Thursday, June 18, 2020

We'll Meet Again

Farewell, Dame Vera Lynn

On March 22 Buttercupland celebrated Dame Vera Lynn's 103rd birthday and today we celebrate her beautiful life. I was idly scrolling through news updates on my phone this morning and saw the sad news that the "Sweetheart of the Troops," Dame Vera Lynn had passed away. 

My parents played music of their era often when I was growing up and that included songs sung by Dame Vera. Their favorites included Frank Sinatra, Patti Page and Nat King Cole, as well as a host of others I still enjoy on YouTube. But Dame Vera's passing today may be the end of an era for the icons of my parents' decades, which makes it especially poignant. Thank you, Dame Vera, for hope, inspiration and beautiful music. 

I'll be back tomorrow with either Random Four or Five Friday, depending on how many adventures I can find. We've got a lovely (almost) summer day today and I'm just about to go back outside -- with mask and hand sanitizer for a quick walk before I settle in for the evening. How did you spend your day today?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and stay well. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Who's on Your Top Ten List?

Meeting one of my top ten, Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club at 
BookExpo America, 2017 

Without many of the usual activities and details of life, I've had a lot of time to think. One of the things I've been thinking about is my 70th birthday next month. I had a lot of plans and none of them are feasible anymore. But that's past and I'm thinking of things that are feasible. 

My mind drifted to getting mail -- one of my favorite pastimes these days -- from people I admire. That led me to thinking about who are the famous people I do admire. I know that a lot of elected officials send out birthday greetings and then I thought of someone I've admired for decades. She's not an elected official, nor specifically a head of state, Queen Elizabeth II.

Thanks to the ease of the internet I googled "letter from Queen Elizabeth" and a website appeared. I was pleased to see that her Majesty's office does send greetings for anniversaries and birthdays. But I found in the small print that anniversary greetings are on hold during this time. They are still sending birthday letters, but I didn't meet the qualifications of being 100 and living in a Commonwealth country. 

I did find two other people I would like to hear from on my birthday and sent out email requests with personal notes. I also noted that both Presidents Carter and Bush request letters with stamps. I know that slowed me down and I imagine it slows down many other requests, too, and keeps the volume more manageable.   

I realize this will be a lot slower process than simply sending out emails. I may end up sending out only three or four letters and But I'm enjoying thinking about people I've admired and reaching out to them. I'm not positive about getting responses, but when/if I do I will be sure and share them. 

If you were putting together a list of the well known people that you admire, who would be on your list?

I will be doing a separate post on my ice cream adventure. In a nut shell, I've learned that there's a reason almost everyone I know buys ice cream. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and be well.   

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sweet Pea Pink Saturday

I am pleased to present one of my favorite flowers, the sweet pea on this Pink Saturday. Some of my favorite flowers bloomed in our yard when I was growing up and I really looked forward to the spring flowers -- tulips, lilacs, sweet peas and lily of the valley.

I think of both sweet peas and lily of the valley as being old-fashioned flowers. I rarely see sweet peas anymore and in my research found that they were especially popular in Edwardian times. They symbolize purity, innocence and blissful pleasure. A last sweet pea factoid is that the scent beloved by people is disliked by flies. Along with the daisy sweet peas are the flower of April. The lily of the valley is the flower of May. 

What's your favorite? Pale pink as shown above or a brighter shade of pink?

Perfect summer day today, and it was a busy one. Started the morning with a world-wide Weight Watcher program, hosted by Oprah. Spent the afternoon on Zoom with my study group friends and the book of Zechariah. I'm sure I've read excerpts from Zechariah over the years, but this was the first time I've spent time studying it.  After a nice visit with Betsy in the park late in the afternoon I got my Saturday night slice of veggie pizza. I concluded the evening with my first attempt making a frozen dessert. A full discussion will follow tomorrow, but I will give you a quick preview of my experience with the reminder that CREAM is a big part of ice cream.  

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and stay well!  

Friday, June 12, 2020

Random Four Friday

Looking west...

In the past I've posted five random topics on Fridays. But these days there's not as much happening and I'm amending the usual five to four topics.  

1) The picture above is from my walk this afternoon. I met one of my neighborhood friends and we had a nice walk in Riverside Park. We took a little rest in front of the gardens and I looked up saw a beautiful cloud formation looking west towards the Hudson River and New Jersey. 

2) I'm not sure if there are still shortages throughout the country, but one thing I haven't been able to find is baking powder. There was lots of flour, but no baking powder. I was coming near the end of the can I had and couldn't find a replacement anywhere, even on line. I mentioned it to dear K, and this was in my mail the next week. I've got a lot of baking to do!

 Can't begin to thank you, K!

The Pen Pal Project is launched

I've mailed two post cards and bought stamps for twenty five more cards -- both for the United States and Europe. I was delighted to open my mail box yesterday and find two envelopes that actually were hand written. The card on the right was from my blog and Facebook buddy, Tina, and the card on the left is from our dear Laurel Wood. Big thanks, my friends. I'm going to be reaching out for addresses that I need beginning this weekend. 

4) No update on my ice cream making yet. The first step is to freeze the ice cream cup for 24 hours and I'm just finishing the 24 hours. I plan to make (and eat) my ice cream/frozen yogurt or sorbet -- not sure which I will be making -- tomorrow and hope to report on Sunday.  

Those are my random four for today. Tomorrow is Pink Saturday and I've got the prettiest pink flowers to share. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and stay well!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

We All Scream for Ice Cream

I said I'd bought my last small appliance, but help me welcome my new ice cream maker. 

If you asked me what my favorite beverage was, I'd quickly reply, coffee. But if you asked me what my favorite food was, I'd have to stop and think. I like bagels, lobster, peaches and cherries and I love lemon meringue pie, though I rarely eat it. I also love ice cream, though I don't eat that as often as I'd like, either.  

Over the last five years I've written about cutting carbs as part of my diet and I'm still at it. It's paid off in weight lost and kept off and in my general health. It's become a way of life and it's a lot easier to do now than I ever thought it was going to be. I've spent a lot of time searching recipes for things I enjoy and I've found some great websites. One of my favorites is Briana Thomas', especially her dessert and ice cream recipes. 

I've enjoyed Halo Top and Enlightened, both low carb ice creams, but they're at least six dollars a pint in the places I can walk to. That's kept me from indulging as often as I might have liked in the last few months. But last Saturday night things came together. I was reading Briana's blog. I had no low carb ice cream in the freezer and it was too late to go out to the nearest store to spend six plus dollars to indulge a craving. I turned to Amazon for ice cream makers and discovered the My Pint Ice Cream Maker. 

I was in love. It was small, which is great since my kitchen has a zillion new small appliances and no extra space. It was inexpensive ($19.95) and it was made by Dash, the company that makes the mini-waffle maker that has become one of my mainstays. Amazon was sold out, so the first thing Sunday morning I walked to the local Bed, Bath and Beyond to see if it was in stock. Alas, it wasn't in stock, but the very helpful customer service rep ordered it and my mini ice cream maker arrived this afternoon. I need to pick up what I need for my first batch of ice cream and I  hope that by tomorrow night I can report on the success of my ice cream making.  

I'm pleased to say that the Pen Pal Project has been successfully launched and I will post on that tomorrow. There's also a travel post upcoming and the latest blooms in Riverside Park, so I hope you will stop back and visit. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take care. Much love and be well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

The sweetest minute of my day...

One day last week I emerged from the market a few blocks from my building and discovered this little beauty sleeping in a box next to the watermelons. There haven't been a lot of sweet moments lately, but capturing this image was a moment out of time. It reminded me that though this is a difficult season, there will be sweet moments when we least expect them. She is an essential employee of the market and is very well taken care of. 

Just finished my Weight Watchers session and then a great virtual exercise class. One of my goals this week is to rev up my exercise and I'm happily doing it. Time to make lunch and then get in some walking. What does your day look like?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and be well!

Day Two of Phase One

It's Day two of Phase One and one of my favorite local restaurants has reopened. 

 New York City, which may be the last place in America, to begin reopening has now officially completed its second day. After 100 days of (mostly) being closed we have reopened for manufacturing, wholesale and retail curbside pickup. Life in the neighborhood is still relatively quiet, but definitely livelier than it's been and I noted that the bus was more crowded than I'd observed for the last month. 

I was particularly pleased to see Ollie's had reopened because it closed at least a year ago, due to a gas issue in their building. I walked by on Monday and it still looked as shuttered as it has since it's been since it closed. There didn't appear to be any signs of life of imminent reopening. I was thrilled to get an email with the happy news this afternoon.  As a note to recent blog friends, my building also lost gas service last summer and it gave me hope that our seemingly endless gas-less existence may be coming to an end, too. I was an infrequent customer, but to to celebrate I ordered hot and sour soup, which made a delicious dinner.  

In honor of Phase One I took a walk down Broadway yesterday to see what changes had taken place. I probably took this walk at least fifty times in the last few months and I was familiar with which stores had been deemed essential and were open. 

Pleased to see curbside pickup at Barnes and Noble

 Harry's Shoes very graciously set out chairs for customer who were waiting. 

My favorite pizza place reopened, too. To be totally accurate, it reopened last week, and it's a welcome addition to the neighborhood menu. Almost all of the local restaurants in my immediate vicinity have reopened for takeout and delivery. I'm still cooking almost all of my meals, but it is fun to break things up with pizza or an iced coffee. 

I also passed the local movie theater. Yes, I've walked by many times, but this was the first time I noted the date on the poster. I felt I'd been caught in a time warp, and in many ways, we really have. 

I'm hoping the numbers of cases continue to trend downwards and New York can proceed with Phase Two. It's totally trivial compared to all the suffering of illness, but I will be so ready for a haircut.

I've got a post office trip on my list for tomorrow and I'm going to walk over to the Community Garden up the street to see if it's reopened. I'm looking forward to "seeing" my Weight Watchers friends tomorrow morning on Zoom and and session on how to photograph birds on Thursday. What are your plans for the rest of the week?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and be well. 

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Peony Pink Saturday

It's Pink Peony Pink Saturday

And it's red peony Pink Saturday

And more pink peonies

And one last pale pink peony joining with the last of the iris

These beauties were waiting for me last Sunday at the park and when I returned on Friday, both the iris and peonies were at the end of their season. Fortunately roses are coming right behind and I discovered a group of another very sweet and old-fashioned flower that will be making starring in next week's Pink Saturday fun.

This has been a tough week in New York City, and in an effort to keep my sanity reasonably intact, I took a holiday from (most) social media, including Buttercupland and blog visits. I also cut down on a complete overload of Zoom events, and limited things I did virtually. I've kept up with cooking, walking, virtual Weight Watchers and Yoga and Friday night services, and even did a serious clean up of my kitchen today. Though so much of my regular life is still closed, it felt really good to interact in person as much as possible. On Thursday and Friday, during regular walks in the neighborhood, I saw four different friends and had an impromptu chat with one of my synagogue friends sitting six feet apart on a bench in the middle of Broadway. Even with masks on we all recognized each other.  

Thanks for all the pen pal comments. I'm going to sit down tomorrow and get organized and reach out for addresses. I've got the first card ready to send to our dear Terra, and it's ready for the mailman on Monday. 

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care, be well and much love! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Anita (and Her Beet Salad) Can't Be Beat

Happy birthday, Anita!

Anita and her wonderful children -- who have grown to be terrific adults 

I first wrote the post below in 2013 after an unusually good dinner at my friend, Anita's. Seven years have gone by and I've had the good fortune to share many dinners, events, holidays and cups of coffee. We met in high school (with a gap in the 1970's) and we've been friends since. If we were not caught in the weirdest time warp outside of a science fiction movie, we would have been celebrating together. 

But since we're fifteen miles apart today I send my wishes for a happy 70th birthday and good health and happiness for many years to come. Thank you for years of friendship, love, laughter and more happy times than I can count. And as I've said in the last few months more times than I can count, next year in person! 

From May, 2013:
I first met Anita in 1965. The Beatles were the rage, Lyndon Johnson was President and we were young and quickly assumed we would always be friends. The Beatles are now icons of a distant age, there have been a number of presidents since Mr. Johnson, we're not so young anymore, but we're still friends. I've had dinner at Anita's many times and often beets are on the menu. I've always skipped them, because I decided in some distant age that I don't like beets. But last Saturday night the bowl of beet salad looked good and I thought, "Why not just try it?" I didn't just like Anita's beet salad, but I had seconds. It was yummy and it turns out, beets are really good for you. Beets are so good for you (and me) that I wanted to share this delicious recipe. Anita was very gracious and happily provided it. 

Norwegian Beet Salad (ready in 30 minutes and can be prepared the same day)

1 raw beet
1 carrot
1 apple
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts -- may be toasted
1/2 cup shredded dried coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
2T lemon juice
1T minced ginger
1T Asian toasted sesame oil (or olive oil if you can't find sesame oil)
Chopped fresh parsley

Peel and shred beet, carrot and apple. Combine in bowl. Make dressing of lemon juice, ginger and sesame oil and add to the beet mixture. When ready to serve toss in nuts and coconut. Add salt to taste. (I don't think it needs any.)

To make this salad for eight to ten people I used 2 beets, 2 large carrots (my carrots were skinny so I used 6) and two hard apples. I didn't change the proportion of other ingredients and I might even suggest halving the dressing ingredients when you are making the salad for four. 

I peel the beets, carrots and apples and shred them in my food processor using the large-holed shredding disc. Try to find the toasted sesame definitely makes the dish and should be widely available. I use Eden Select toasted sesame need to refrigerate...and great in marinades. I use flaked, not shredded coconut, but either is fine.

The recipe is still great and I still highly recommend it. 

It's 5:41 and I'm in for the night. We've got our synagogue annual meeting via Zoom tonight. I've been taking walks most nights after dinner, but I'll skip tonight. There's an 8:00 p.m. curfew until Sunday, as well as a ban on vehicles in Manhattan that includes my neighborhood. I'm hopeful and prayerful and if you've got an extra prayer (or two) please send them our way. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take care. Much love and wash your hands. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

And the Winner Is...

Another wonderful afternoon in Riverside Park

As promised we have a winner to the Central Park note card drawing. I used Random Generator and the winner is our dear friend,  Chatty Crone. Chatty, I will be at the post office this week and have your cards in the mail.

It's hard to imagine that May is ending in only an hour. Lots of blogging, reading cooking and walking. It wasn't my best month for steps, but I had great days yesterday and today -- total of 7.1 miles -- and ended the month walking 72.1 miles. My goal for June is to better than that number. The month also included a return to Yoga, Betsy's big birthday celebration and several good on-line studies. 

Sadly May has also included tragedy and unrest throughout the country. There are times I've felt that my posts are too light for all that is going on, and I'm not acknowledging the big issues all around us. But I also know that Buttercupland is a place of refuge from everything going on around us, and I don't want to lose that.   

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and wash your hands. 

Pink Saturday Goes Dog Sledding

Pink Saturday Goes Dog Sledding in the Canadian Rockies

I thought I'd finished going through all of my pictures, but I realize there are troves of photos and memories hidden in every corner of my apartment. I was sorting through the linen closet and in back of the dish towels was another box of photographs from circa 2000. I discovered photographs of my only winter sports vacation and three envelopes of pictures from an amazing vacation cruise from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand. 

But this post is about my once in a life-time dog sledding experience in beautiful Banff, Alberta, Canada. I am not a winter sports fan. I ice skated a few times in junior high school. I skied one morning in high school and realized I didn't like cold, height and speed and spent the afternoon drinking hot cocoa in the lodge. I didn't even touch a ski during four years of college in New England, including my year in New Hampshire where Dartmouth had its own slopes. 

Fast forward thirty years my friend and travel buddy Pat suggested I join her and her friend, Judy, for a week of cross country skiing near Banff. I said no, and Pat reminded me that this trip was the trip of a lifetime to one of the most beautiful places on earth and gave me a second chance to say yes. Which is how I ended up in the Canadian Rockies reclining in a dog sled.   

Even though I don't like being outside in the cold, somehow  I thought being in a dog sled being dragged over snow would somehow be well, not so cold. I am smiling in the picture, but just a few minutes later as I began my once in a lifetime dog sledding experience, my smile was gone and I realized I was quickly becoming a human block of ice. I was wearing  layers of ski clothes, but the one layer that kept me from the frozen ground wasn't enough to keep me from freezing. I was as grateful as I've ever been when the once in a lifetime experience came to an end. It was ten minutes that seemed as though it was an eternity.
My dog sled path through the woods 

That was my first and last dog sledding adventure and my last actual winter sports experience. I learned my lesson and now enjoy all winter sports vicariously, and generally only when watching the Olympics every four years. Any Buttercuplanders winter sports fans?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and wash your hands. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Legend(s) of the Cardinal

A cardinal came to visit...

While Betsy and I were walking in Riverside Park. At first I was totally oblivious, but the bright red bird caught Betsy's attention and she helped me to find it. I know I've seen cardinals before, but I took this one as a sign of hope and of all good things to come in the future. 

I knew that seeing a cardinal had many meanings, but the only one that came to me was that a visit from a cardinal was a visit from a loved one that is deceased. When I got home and started researching this I found a number of other things symbolized by a cardinal. 

Cardinals are among the most popular birds. They are the state birds of seven states and the mascots  of many teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals. They are the birds of Christmas, being one of the few Northern birds that don't fly south for the winter.  

Cardinals are symbolic in several Native American cultures. In the Choctaw culture the cardinal was a symbol for changes in relationships. In the Cherokee culture the cardinal was seen as the daughter of the sun and part of the creation story. The Cherokee also believed a  red cardinal flying towards the sun was a symbol of good luck.    

I read an article in the NY Times that many more people are taking up bird watching in the last few months. I'm not quite ready to say I'm a bird watcher, but I am interested in learning more about the birds of New York City. I've been doing some reading on the American Bird Conservancy website and I signed up for a web session on learning to photograph birds next month. Is anyone else a bird watcher?

I've continued to do more decluttering and discovered a trove of travel pictures that have long been buried. Tomorrow for Pink Saturday we'll be taking an armchair trip to somewhere cool, just the change from the summery humid weather that we're experiencing.  

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and wash your hands!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wedding Bell Blues Wednesday

Nessie and her attendant, Miss Fluffy

A few weeks ago Nessie and Pep Le Monkee announced their engagement, which was definitely a bright spot in this season of canceled events. Their hope was to have a destination wedding in the fall, with a Zoom reception following for their many friends around the world. Sadly, it appears that the destination wedding may not be at a far-away destination. Their wedding planner -- Buttercup -- is considering either Central or Riverside Park, either of which in the autumn would be beautiful and very romantic.

Despite this hiccup, wedding plans merrily continue. Miss Fluffy, Nessie's bestie, will be her attendant and will also plan the Bachelorette party. They've been poring over Pinterest for fun ideas and I see drinks with little parasols in the future. 

The biggest issue for Nessie -- and for many brides -- is what to wear. Someone suggested I could fashion something from -- gasp! -- toilet paper. Yes, it's very much of the moment, but I think a sweet bride like Nessie deserves something a little more permanent. I haven't sewn in decades, but being that Nessie is all of three inches tall I think I could tailor something festive and pretty for our bride. Nessie's heart is set on lace, so we'll be going in that direction. 

Besides wedding plans, I'm keeping busy with the usual walking, cooking and cleaning. I'm pleased to report that I started the day with vacuuming, done before I settled into computer time. I'm keeping up with my Weight Watcher meetings virtually and I'm adding back my Yoga group tonight, also by Zoom. What are your plans?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and wash your hands.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

It's Time for Iris and a Giveaway

It's time for Iris

With every new blooming flower of the season I think "This is my favorite." My favorite really is the lilac, but I'm partial to just about every other beautiful bloom I see. I've been delighted with the first crocus of the season and then the tulips, and now it's iris. I found these beauties in Riverside Park today and they are my new favorites. I know that soon the iris will be gone for this season and I'm going to enjoy them as long as they last. But I need to remember it's still early in the year for flowers and there are lots more to come. 

It's also time for a giveaway

I haven't done a giveaway in ages -- or maybe just in 2020 -- but I have a set of note cards and stickers with pictures of Central Park that I would like to share. The "rules" are easy peasey. Please leave a comment with your favorite spring flower and be a follower of Buttercupland by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday May 30. I'll be posting the winner on Sunday, May 31. 

What are your plans for Memorial Day? We're still in the stay at home mode so I'm sticking (as usual) close to home. The weather looks nice and I plan to visit Riverside Park and do some walking. I also plan to blog and be part of my Monday afternoon Zoom with friends.    
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and wash your hands.