Friday, January 31, 2020

Happy Birthday, Dear K

Sunset on the St. Lawrence River

We're ending January with a birthday celebration. Today is my dear, dear friend K's birthday. We met the first week of college in September 1968 and we've been talking and laughing ever since. We lived on the same hall and one of us wandered into the other's room and as they say, the rest is a wonderful history. I cannot imagine my life without K's friendship. The view above is K's view across the St. Lawrence River to Brockville, Ontario. It's (really) chilly in the winter, but once the temperature rises, there are few places I enjoy visiting more. 

One of the great pleasures of these last few years has been traveling with K. We had a great trip as a retirement celebration in 2015 to Japan. 

 This was one of our stops on the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto.

We learned to ride the subway in Tokyo 

There were naysayers who told us not to attempt the subway in Tokyo. But a museum was calling our names and off we went. I'm still grateful for the people who observed two confused tourists and gave us directions. 

Downtown Melbourne, seen from the Shrine of Remembrance

I think our greatest adventure was our trip to Australia in 2018. We enjoyed every place we visited, but Melbourne was a particular favorite. We spent a few extra days here before we joined our tour and we were able to get to know this fabulous city in more depth, and we loved it!

All of our adventures don't involve flying thousands of miles. We've had great times in Ottawa. Our trips always include the National Gallery of Canada -- the highlight for our trip in August was a Gauguin show -- bookstore browsing and memorable meals. One of our delicious treats on our latest visit was "smoked meat," marinated brisket, at the legendary Dunn's.

These are just a few high points in over fifty years of friendship. A toast to your birthday, dear K. and a toast to our friendship. Here's to many, many more years of good health, happiness, travel and quiet times watching the river flow by.

It's time to bid farewell to January, 2020. Over the weekend I'll be blogging about Pink Saturday and No-Spending January. Many thanks to everyone who visited and commented over the last month and a big welcome to the new citizens of Buttercupland. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a cozy weekend. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Seven Out of Ten

Upper West Side Doorway

I finally caught up with my audiologist this afternoon. As part of checking in with the receptionist I was asked for a photo ID and my insurance card. My response was "Of course." The tone of the very nice woman made me ask if most people who came to the office were unable to produce either. Her response surprised me. She said that seven out of ten patients carried neither ID or insurance cards to their appointment. I was just about speechless. 

Most of us at the audiologist are Baby Boomers and Beyond Baby Boomers. I believed that we are people who  make sure we have some kind of identification when we step out of the house. We might never need it, but on the very off-chance, G'd forbid, something happened, we would need both identification and insurance cards. I've been trying to remember the last time I left home without some kind of ID. My guess is probably some time in college. Once I got to New York in 1975 it would be a very rare occasion that I was roaming the streets without ID and as time went by, insurance card and a credit card. I know this is Manhattan and a percentage of people may not have driver's license, but there are non-drivers license IDs, too.   

My question, dear friends in Buttercupland, do you leave home without any identification? What other items do you always carry with you? Lipstick? Wallet? Phone? Seven out of ten or three out of ten? 

I'm happy to have seen my audiologist and back to wearing my hearing aids again. I got very lax about wearing them -- no good reason -- but I'm back in business and it's great to hear a noisier world. Fortunately my hearing has remained stable and I'm committed to being more compliant. 

One day (and a half) left for No-Spending January. I was early for my audiology appointment and stopped for coffee on the way. I spent $3.00 for coffee, but I had a cozy place to wait between appointments. I've got a $2.00 snack savings for today. 
My No-Spending January total: $164.16

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Let's Talk Television

Caution: This post contains "mature" words, and we're not talking arthritis or physical therapy 

I was walking home from the post office this afternoon and noticed there was a film shooting on West 72nd St. I see at least one filming every few weeks and I almost always stop and ask about the movie/television show. I asked one of the production crew about the show and she told me it was "Bonding." I said I was unfamiliar with it and she responded it's been on for about a year.

I looked up "Bonding" and saw why I was unfamiliar with it. Firstly, it's on Netflix, and I don't subscribe to Netflix. I have nothing against Netflix, but I already have Amazon Prime and its endless supply of movies and television shows and I maybe, watch something once a week. I didn't need to add Netflix and not watch that, too. 

But "Bonding" is about a New York City graduate student who moonlights as a dominatrix. I'm not here to censor the content of any television show, but I know I'm not the target market for "Bonding." Of course, there are so many new shows on so many channels that it's next to impossible to keep up with all of them or even half of them. I know I'm going to date myself, but the last television show I watched in its entirety was "Downton Abbey," and that's been off the air for several years. 

What are your go-to shows? Are they on ABC, CBS or NBC? Are you a PBS fan? Reality shows? Netflix? Amazon Prime?Or do you watch old favorites? A friend of mine just posted on Facebook that he was binging early seasons of "Murder She Wrote," and really enjoying them. 

Two more days to go for No-Spending January. Not buying things has gotten easy, though there were some cute Valentines that caught my eye today. I did, however, go through my card making supplies and I found I have enough stickers and card stock to make at least a dozen Valentines, and that may become my plan. Neither yesterday, nor today were snack days, saving $10.00.
My No-Spending January total: $162.16

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Thursday. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Pin Money Monday

This magazine cover leaped out at me as I was walking down the subway platform this morning. I had been thinking about making a little extra money selling on ebay or Poshmark, my two resale sites of choice, and there was my idea on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, with a big smiling picture of Gwyneth Paltrow. "Edit Your Closet Recycle, Restyle and Resell." So I snapped a quick picture before the subway train arrived. The news stand in my local station could definitely use a little window cleaning, but it makes for good browsing while I'm waiting for the train.

One of my chores for the day was a trip to the post office to mail a book that I'd sold on ebay. I took up reselling a few years ago,  mostly to clear out my too-big accumulation of books. I added clothes to clear out my closet after losing thirty pounds. I had a number of items that were little worn and too big to wear. Some months have been a lot of pin money and others, very little. This is a ten dollar month, and alas, today's parcel is my only sale for January. I've met people who have turned their reselling into a business, but that's not my goal. I'm primarily selling to as a way to continue to clear out my books and clothes and make some extra cash in doing so. Is anyone else an ebay or Poshmark reseller? Are there any tips you'd like to share? How did you get started? What keeps you going?

Pin money, it seems, has an interesting origin. We think of it as "a small amount of money, perhaps for incidentals," per The Grammarphobia Blog. But in the Seventeenth Century, pin money was the allowance for a wife's clothing and personal expenses. 

I'm entering the home stretch on No-Spending January. Now that I'm feeling better I'm also out and about more and yes, spending more on meals and snacks. 
Thursday, January 23: I left home for a meeting at 8:30 a.m. and got home after 8:00 p.m. Breakfast with friends after Weight Watchers and a late lunch/snack in the afternoon. No savings
Friday, January 24: No snack day, savings of $5.00
Saturday, January 25: No snack day, savings of $5.00
Sunday, January 26: Coffee with a friend, savings of $1.00
Monday, January 27: No snack day, savings of $5.00
My No-Spending January total: $152.16 

Besides my trip to the post office, I made it back to water aerobics and swimming. That's my usual Monday activity and it felt so good to be back in the pool. I'm planning to go to my Tuesday Yoga class, which will be a complete return to my usual activities. I'm also starting this year's round of medical appointments with a visit to the audiologist on Thursday. I'm not overdoing it, but I am picking up the pace of activity.  

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

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day!

Though Australia Day -- the official national day of Australia -- has ended in Australia, it's still January 26 in my corner of the world and there's still time to salute Australia. I'm going to share a few quick facts in our salute to the land down under. 

First fact: The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. It sits in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. When I visited Australia literally two years ago I had the good fortune to visit the area of the Great Coral Reef. The picture above is the view from the ship our group took out to the Reef. The city of Cairns is in the background. 

 Splashguard, hat and lots of sunscreen for a beautiful Australian summer day!

Second fact: Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. I was fascinated by this map I saw while in Alice Springs. It gave me a much better sense of the vastness of the country that I was visiting. 

All of these countries would be able to fit inside Australia, with room to spare

(Subjective) Third fact: Australia has great coffee!

My favorite coffee spot in my Australia travels was in Cairns. I'm only sorry I didn't
 stay long enough to use my "Buy 10 cups and get one free" card.

I hope you've enjoyed our too quick visit to Australia. Once again, I'm offering prayers and good wishes for the people and animals affected by the fires. 

So glad to be well again and so grateful to be well again. So enjoyed getting out and walking. Very blessed with a sunny and mild winter day. 

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

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Pink Saturday Serenity Spa

Is anyone else ready for a spa day?

Though this has been a relatively mild winter -- so far -- it's still winter and I'm still wearing several layers in order to simply walk outside of my front door. One definite pick-me-up at this time of year -- any time of year! -- would be a day at a spa. In the interest of No-Spending January I'm making my spa day a Pink Saturday virtual spa fantasy. Magically I'm at a very luxurious spa with a view of the ocean. A few friends have joined me and after our pampered day we're enjoying the ocean view, the warm breeze and perhaps, a margarita. Anyone want to join me?

It's a great fantasy, but closer to home these pretty in pink products caught my attention at a wonderful local store, Sabon. During one of my walks I was intrigued by the beautiful displays. I didn't buy anything, but I looked and I sampled. 

I can't think of a more useful product than the body scrub in the winter. 

White Tea was lovely, very delicate with notes of fig, jasmine, white tea (of course) and cedar.
 I don't wear a lot of scent, but this intrigued me.  

I've enjoyed this fantasy get away, and hope it's been fun for you, too. As a pick me up I'm inspired to do an at home facial, and then relax with a cup of ginger tea. What's your winter pick me up? 

My cold now seems to have passed into history -- Hurray! -- and I'm happily out and about again. I had a wonderful day at the New York Times Travel Show today and I am filled with a host of new travel ideas. I will be doing a travel show post in the next few days and it will be a giveaway post.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a cozy weekend.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday Yellow Taxis

Iconic yellow cabs on a rainy winter day

I like the concept of Wordless Wednesday, but it's hard for me to put it in practice. It doesn't seem like a blog post without a few dozen words at least. This Wednesday was a very sunny winter day, but a few weeks ago I was happy for a bus stop shelter in the rain. 

Thank you all for your comments and thoughts about my crockpot cooking. I'm going to use parchment paper on my next attempt and I'm optimistic I will have better results getting my cake out of the cooker. I've been looking through crockpot recipes and there's an apple cobbler that's next on my list for adaptation. In addition to fresh apples, it calls for brown sugar, a box of cake mix and a stick of butter. I'm sure it's delicious, but not as Weight Watchers friendly as I'd like.  

To respond to the question(s), "Why is it taking so long?" I am sure the proper authorities are being prudent after two gas explosions in the last few years. However, not to disparage any government agency -- I've worked for several -- but things run slow and there are a number of desks this needs to be shuffled around.

I've had two more good No-Spending days that were also no-snack days. I'm still not feeling 100%. I did get to Weight Watchers today, but I went home after a quick trip to Trader Joe's, skipping lunch with friends. Yesterday I stopped by the Vitamin Shop for a protein bar and switched from my usual Quest bar to a brand that was on sale. I bought two of the sale brand for $1.12 total, instead of $2.49 for the Quest bar. The difference in flavor was minimal and my savings were $1.37. My savings for yesterday and today: $21.37.
My No-Spending January total: $136.16

This has post has turned out to be a lot less wordless than I thought it would be, but I'm glad to update on two major Buttercupland topics, the Gas Line Saga and No-Spending January. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Love of Cake is the Mother of (Some) Invention

My new oven (sort of)...

If someone had told me on July 29, 2019 -- the day before my building lost its gas service -- that 175 days later I would be baking a cake in my decades old crockpot, I would have looked at them in complete amazement. Not unlike most people I knew I  took my working stove completely for granted. Little did I dream when I went to bed on July 29 that my stove would soon become an expensive pot storage unit and I would not have cooked or baked with it for over five months. 

But my building is still waiting for the gas to be turned back on. I'm not exactly sure what all of the issues are, but like so many things that  depend on infinite paperwork, it is a slow process. As I've related before I've been able to get by with a multitude of small appliances. It's been (barely) adequate, but I've missed baking. Nothing seemed to take the place of an oven for baking. 

Several years ago I took up low carb baking. The options for buying sugarless baked goods, especially with a low carb baking blend are few. I realized that if I wanted cake or cookies I needed to start baking and I did. I found a lot of options and experimented with my own recipes. Some were successful and some less so, but they worked for me. However, satisfying my sweet tooth needed an oven, or so I thought. 

I'm not sure how I decided that I could bake in my crock pot. But on a cold and snowy Saturday, sniffling and coughing, the idea came to me. I googled crockpot cakes and there was a treasure trove of recipes. The recipes seemed to call for flour and sugar, which wasn't part of my baking, but I realized I could use a variation of  the Weight Watchers two ingredient dough -- self-rising flour and yogurt -- and "bake" it in the crockpot. I used my THM low carb baking blend, baking powder, Swerve brown sugar, an egg and yogurt. I know that baking is supposed to be a precise formula, but through my experiments I've learned that I can vary the ingredients and still have a good outcome. 

   My (third) crockpot cake

I still have to perfect getting it out of the crockpot, but please note the cake consistency, and yes, those are cake crumbs. In this morning's variation I used Kodiak protein pancake mix in place of the flour, cocoa powder and swerve for sweetener. It was fine, but I didn't factor in the bitterness of the cocoa powder and needed to add more sweetener. My favorite so far has been the lemon "cake" I made yesterday. I used sugar-free lemon pudding mix (half a box) and it was sweet and light. The outside "bakes" more quickly than the inside -- not unlike the oven. 

I doubt if I will be asked to participate in The Great British Bake Off, or any other competition, but I'm still as happy as I can be. To (somewhat) paraphrase Marie Antoinette, "Let me eat homemade cake." 

Thanks for reading through my baking saga. If anyone else has any tips for baking in a crockpot or  other small appliances, please share. I've just stocked up on yogurt and I'm eager to bake.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!  

Monday, January 20, 2020

Today's the Day to (Officially) Appreciate a Penguin

Buttercupland appreciates penguins every day!

The general image of penguins is that of fuzzy animals tap dancing on ice, thanks to Happy Feet. But I learned that their habitats are not all ice and snow. These Gentoo Penguins  prefer ice-free areas and clearly, here in the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas) their environment is dry and grassy. 

Buttercup and the penguins, February 2017

Yes, I'm very windblown here, but my denim jacket and gloveless hands give you an idea of the temperature. The penguins and I were both very happy in the mild climate. I had already seen penguins in Patagonia, where it was a lot brisker and later in the trip, had a wonderful day in eighty degree weather in another site in Argentina. I may share those pictures on April 25, World Penguin Day. 

Very happily, I'm coughing much less. I'm not "all better," but definitely much better. I'm still tired, but I had a nice walk this afternoon and am beginning to suffer from cabin-fever. The latter is a sure sign of recovery. I did some serious decluttering, listed a few items on eBay and looking forward to blog visits later today. I may just be ready to return to Yoga tomorrow. 

I've had three good No-Spending Days. Both Saturday and yesterday were no snack days, for a savings of $10.00. I also saved $20.00, by using a coupon in found in my email for the New Times Travel Show this coming weekend. Today was a snack day. I treated myself to a latte at Dunkin Donuts. I enjoyed a sugar-free almond latte during the afternoon latte special, for the grand total of $2.16, and savings from my snack "allowance" of $2.84.   
My Savings Total for January, as of January 20: $114.79.

As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Happy Birthday, New York Public Library

Happy 125th, New York Public Library (NYPL)

Buttercupland is delighted to join in the birthday celebration for one of the great institutions of the world, The New York Public Library. You may be doing research at one of the four research centers or borrowing books, movies or going to story hours at the 88 branch libraries throughout Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island. You may be one of the seventeen million patrons of the library, or you're a frequent visitor to the on-line catalog to borrow e-books. For all of us, it's difficult to imagine New York City without the landmark building at 42nd Street, pictured above, or the wonderful branch library system.

It's hard to imagine New York without a library system, but the NYPL is a relatively recent addition to the city. It was formed in 1895 by a merger of two existing research libraries. The building we in New York refer to as "The Library," the main branch was completed in 1911. President William Howard Taft presided over the dedication ceremonies.

The branch libraries were created thanks to a 5.2 million dollar donation from Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie funds would pay for the buildings and the city would be responsible for the operating cost of the libraries. Our 88 libraries were a small part of the 2,509 Carnegie libraries that were built throughout the world. One of the legacies of the Carnegie donations is the "open stack" system in most libraries. One of my great pleasures at the library is browsing the stacks. The open-stack system was introduced to reduce costs, but it also provided the joys of independent choice.

  My branch library, St. Agnes branch began as a parish library for St. Agnes Chapel on
 West 91st St in 1893. It was expanded to a neighborhood library in 1894. In 1906 it moved to its present location on Amsterdam Avenue. 

Yes, we are a Carnegie Library!

A copy of Andrew Carnegie's letter to the New York Public Library, 1901

I hope you've enjoyed our library birthday celebration. I always enjoy library visits and I know I learned a lot from this one. I've worked in three libraries -- the Hartford Public Library, and the libraries at Mount Holyoke and Dartmouth  -- and this is the first time I knew about the introduction of open stacks. Always something new to learn!

Now I'm going to spend the rest of the evening enjoying my latest library book, "Takes One to Know One," by Susan Isaacs. I'll be back tomorrow with an update on No-Spending January. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and please keep cozy! It's chilly out there.  

Friday, January 17, 2020

Here's Looking at You Kid Pink Saturday

It's time for Pink Saturday

Because of my cold -- thankfully, "just" a cold -- I haven't been out taking many pictures and was at a loss for Pink Saturday this week. I decided to return to the 6,600+ pictures I've taken in the last five years and find a fun one. I present the multi-colored French bulldog, taken in a gift shop in an Atlantic City casino hotel in September.

When I looked at the picture tonight, Humphrey Bogart's line from "Casablanca" popped up in my mind, "Here's looking at you, kid." Not surprisingly, because I am a huge fan of Casablanca and can count the number of times I've seen it. Do you have favorite movies that you've seen many times and can just about recite all of the dialogue? I haven't seen it as many times, but "Steel Magnolias" is on that list. The third film that comes to mind is "Meet Me in St. Louis." Yes, I still cry at the end of all three of them.   

I used to be a tremendous movie-goer, but have cut down in the last ten years. I did get to the movies several times in the last few months and especially enjoyed "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," "Harriet" and "Judy."  Strong acting in all three films and I was happy to see that the stars in all three, Tom Hanks, Cynthia Erivo and Renee Zellweger, have been nominated for Oscars. 

What are some of the movies you've enjoyed most? Anything from 2019 that makes your favorites list? 

Today's purchases were groceries and cough drops, both permitted on the spending list. Because I'm not out and about as much in the last few days, I've been eating at home and haven't stopped for snacks while I'm out. I've upped my spending on groceries, but that is still less expensive than eating out. I'm still not a fan of the air fryer, but I made potato crisps tonight. It wasn't a nice salty bag of potato chips, but it cost about $.50 for the potatoes versus $2.00 for the bag of chips that caught my eye at the drugstore this afternoon. Potato savings: $1.50. 
My savings total as of January 17: $81.95 

Our next post pays tribute to one of the great institutions of New York. I hope you'll stop by to celebrate the 125th birthday of the New York Public Library. 

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Holey (No) Smokes: Today Is National Bagel Day

Of course for some of us, every day is National Bagel Day 

I would be sorely remiss if I didn't commemorate the day of celebration for one of my favorite foods, the bagel. More carbs than I should eat at one sitting, but definitely one of my go-to treats. The bagel, largely unchanged from its origins in Seventeenth century Poland, has become an international food favorite. Though I'm not sure how the number was calculated I was fascinated to read that 354 million bagels were sold in 2018.  It wasn't until automation made the manufacture of the bagel less cumbersome that bagels began to be found in the frozen food section in just about every supermarket. I am fortunate that New York still has wonderful bagel shops and fresh and warm handmade bagels are still easily available. 

My favorite bagel, you ask? It's a tie between sesame and cinnamon raisin bagels. I prefer butter on my bagels, but in a pinch, cream cheese works for me, too. On the question of toasting bagels, I'm with the not-toasting group. In my reading for this post I learned that bagel connoisseurs do not toast bagels and some of the traditional bagel shops don't have toasters. The bagel shop on the next block does toast bagels and that appears -- from my observations of the last few days -- a popular choice.  
My beverage of choice to accompany my bagel, a cup of hot coffee, with a splash of half and half. 

What's your bagel pick? Plain, sesame, poppy, cinnamon raisin or everything? Or perhaps another tasty variety? Butter or cream cheese? Plain or toasted? Beverage of choice? If you're not a bagel fan, no worry! National buttermilk biscuit day is May 14.

Amazingly, (No-Spending) January is half over. I did buy generic cough medicine -- definitely not in the spending column -- for my cough and a roll of paper towels. I ate lunch at home after grocery shopping and Weight Watchers and my only other expense was $2.49 for a bag of cheese puffs. Monday my expense was $2.06 for a Big Gulp after my quick visit to Trader Joe and yesterday, January 14, I'm pleased to report was a no-snack day. 
My savings total as of January 15: $70.45. 

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and enjoy a bagel! 

Monday, January 13, 2020

To Spend Or Not to Spend: It's Not a Question

The plants I didn't buy at Trader Joe's (via Waterlogue)

It's January 13th and No-Spending January has become a new way of life, at least for January. I've become more thoughtful about all spending, whether it's groceries, cleaning supplies or stops for snacks. I've still gone out for lunch with a friend and bought my snacks when I've wanted to. I spend a lot less time looking at the seemingly hundreds of emails with sale announcements. I also don't pop into stores just to look around. The only exception to this has been bookstores, where I can easily browse without buying. I was tempted by cute finger puppets (which I absolutely didn't need) at a bookstore I visited in Vermont. I walked away from the finger puppets and I am counting the savings at $3.95.

Last week went really well. I allotted myself a budget of $10/day for lunch and coffee at both airports. I spent $9.30 at JFK on the way to Vermont and $10.25 in Burlington on the way back to New York. My airport savings was .$45. I bought gum for the trip at the drugstore in Vermont. There was a 2/1 special and I received a $2.00 coupon for future purchases. 

Snacks are my challenge this January. Three out of seven days last week were no-snack days. I found myself buying coffee the other afternoons. I realized that almost every time I needed somewhere to sit indoors between appointments/events. When the weather is better I often sit outside, but that's not viable in the winter. However, for the four days I bought coffee I only spent $10.29, out of a possible amount of $35.00. Snack savings for the win of $24.71.  

My savings total as of January 12: $60.00

This post was going to include a discussion of not buying plants at Trader Joe's this afternoon, but I bought nothing once I saw the line snaking around the store. I was willing to wait in line, but this looked like at least a half hour wait, and I'm being very optimistic. 

Against my better judgement I went to Trader Joe's later in the afternoon because my day -- and the day of just about half of New York City -- was turned upside down by  a gigantic water main break near Lincoln Center. My subway line wasn't running, buses were detoured and my Y, a block away, was closed for most of the day. I've still got the last remnants of my cold, so I decided not to go to water aerobics, but planned to go to Monday Yoga, and make a total return to my exercise schedule. My return to exercise will have to wait until tomorrow, and I have no excuse to skip it.   

Any reports on No-Spending January? 

Thanks for the many thoughtful comments on my Blogaversary. Blogging wouldn't be any fun and I surely wouldn't still be blogging without the great community of friends I've met in BlogLand. 

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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

It's my Blogaversary...

And there are no Blog Party supplies anywhere!

We'll go with a unicorn theme to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the not-so mythical Buttercupland. 

On Monday, January 12, 2009 Buttercupland was created. Either I was going to become an overnight blogging sensation or I'd be a former blogger by the end of February 2009. Neither happened. I didn't become an overnight blogging sensation, but I'm not a former blogger, either. Surprisingly -- to me -- Buttercupland is going strong and last month was one of the best months ever. 

For the last few years, for no particular reason, my blogging enthusiasm has waned. But for no particular reason I can determine I got a second wind in December and not only posted more, but commented a lot more. I think I erroneously believed that blogging was waning and there were few new blogs and new friends to discover. Ha! We have proved them wrong.  Many thanks to new followers and to those who have been part of Buttercupland for a long, long time. So grateful that you are all part of this journey.  

My thoughts from my first blogaversary post in 2010:

 When I started the blog I had no expectations. My goal was to "see myself and the world in a happier and more upbeat way." And unlike any number of things I've tried I've succeeded in this, at least in my perception of myself. I'm not too upbeat about the world in general, but there are a lot of people across the globe who help me see the world in a little more upbeat way. Thank you all so much. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and thanks for being part of Buttercupland. 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Everything's Coming Up Roses Pink Saturday

What is your favorite color rose?

Since it's Pink Saturday we'll first consider pale pink. 

Our next choice is hot pink

 I'm not usually a fan of orange, but these pretties caught my attention. 

My favorite color of rose is...

White roses!

It's been tough getting back to "normal" life since I got back from Vermont on Thursday. I woke up with a sore throat on Friday morning and decided to rest up and skip my Friday Yoga class. I felt better in the afternoon -- thank you, salt water gargle -- and got to the bank, the post office and my Weight Watchers group for the week. Happily I'm feeling much better, but still not my most energetic self. I hope that one (or two) quiet days will get me back to a more energetic self.  

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great Sunday.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

(Daylight and) Moonlight in Vermont

One of the coziest places ever, a seat by the fireplace at the Morristown VT Centennial Library

Even though I spent the first twenty-two winters of my life in New England, I am not a fan of winter weather. I generally look for warmer climates for winter getaways. My memory of the last time I went north after New Year's Day was a trip to visit my cousins in Rhode Island approximately ten years ago and before that, I believe, was sometime in the last century. But I pushed past my feelings about weather and went to visit my dear friend, K, in Vermont this week. This morning was ten degrees, but otherwise the weather was cold, but not unbearable and it was absolutely beautiful. My biggest concern is always ice and sleet, but we saw fresh, powdery snow every day instead. 

  Great days for the plow people

 Beautiful Stowe at night

We had a wonderfully relaxed visit. Two of the evenings we spent in beautiful Stowe. Every view of downtown Stowe looks like a scene from a Hallmark movie. The air was crisp and the lights were bright and a big, bright moon shone over Vermont.

Moonlight in Vermont

Shaw's General Store, still wearing Christmas finery. 

It was a too-quick visit and now I'm home in a too-quiet apartment. I'm happy to be home, but I miss my Vermont friends. Thanks, K and J, for long talks, great meals -- the most memorable banana pudding at Plate in Stowe -- and laughter and movie time. I can't think of a better way to begin 2020. 

A perfect way to serve this completely delicious banana pudding

Tomorrow I'm completely back to real life in New York City. I'm catching up with the gym, the post office, grocery shopping and Weight Watchers. I'll also be doing a blog post looking back at the first third of No-Spending January. How was your week?

As ever, thanks for visiting and keep cozy! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Keep Cozy

Good morning! I’m blogging from my phone, so the format may not be quite what I expect. But I’m warm and cozy, drinking coffee and enjoying the view. It’s been a sweet and relaxing few days, not too cold for Vermont in January.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

My Heart and Prayers Are in Australia

With my koala buddy, KiKi

Exactly two years ago, I was getting ready for the trip of a lifetime. I was about set off for almost three weeks in Australia. I planned to join a tour for two of those weeks and also spend time independently in Melbourne and Sydney.  The trip surpassed my expectations. I got to cuddle a koala, see sights of extraordinary beauty and spend time with my bloggy buddy, Little Wandering Wren in Melbourne. 

I am beyond heartbroken at the scenes of devastation throughout Australia. More than twelve million acres have been scorched and hundreds of thousands of animals have died. I know that this isn't the usual happy post of Buttercupland, but the situation so moved my heart I want to make my contribution to a place that welcomed me so completely. 

  I was so excited to see a wallaby in the area outside of Melbourne.

I reached out to friends I made while I was there for a suggestion for donations. My buddies at Chicken or The Egg suggested WIRES, Australian Wildlife Information and Rescue Services. I am not fundraising, but I know in times of disaster we often look for credible organizations to contribute to and this group is doing great work. 

On a completely different note, I'm doing well with No-Spending January. My only expense for today was $1.09 for coffee at 7-11. I also comparative shopped yogurt in the neighborhood and found the least expensive place was my local Walgreen's where it was $1.49 vs. $2.29 at the grocery down the street.  
Total saving on January 5: $30.89

Tomorrow morning I'm leaving for my first trip of 2020, a quick visit to Vermont to see my dear friends, K and J. The airport presents unique challenges for No-Spending. Coffee is twice the price of anywhere else and the same for food. I'm not going to go hungry, but I will look around for good value. I downloaded several library books to my Kindle, so I won't be tempted by books or magazines.

I don't plan to post while I'm away, but will be posting "Vermont in Winter" on my Instagram page. If you would like to follow, here is the link, buttercupnyc.

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

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Pink Saturday Goes to Bergdorf GoodTimes

Pink (and Green) at Bergdorf Goodman

It's our last Christmas in New York post for this season and our first Pink Saturday of 2020.  These were my favorite windows of the 2019 season and I saved the best for very last. Bergdorf Goodman is an icon on Fifth Avenue and their windows are always beautiful and inspired. This year was no exception. Their hashtag for this season was #BergdorfGoodtimes and I thank them for the good times I had looking at their windows. 

This is a showcase window for the bright pink pocketbook. It's not part of the 
holiday series, but it was a natural for a Pink Saturday semi-selfie.

Not as bright, but fabulous design

Bright green jungle time on Fifth Avenue

This is Tilt, possibly my favorite pinball design ever

More pink and more green and a tippy toppy gingerbread man!

Moving on to January -- Day four of No-Spending was a success. I bought eggs and cheese at the grocery and that was my total spending. I'm adding a new challenge to cut down on snack spending. Most days I get a snack during the day. I may stop for coffee or a treat, or just a rest while I'm doing errands. I estimate that my daily "snack" spending is about $5.00/daily. My goal isn't stopping snacks/treats entirely, but to cut down. I'm going for ten days in January when I skip my treat. Today was the first day. I passed the bakery next to the library where I often stop for a pick me up in the middle of the afternoon. I passed my favorite frozen yogurt store -- sugar-free is my treat there -- and I passed the local pizza stand, where every once in awhile I have an early dinner. This is only a test, but I think it will be a successful test. End of the year (estimated) savings will equal $600.00, which will pay for airfare (and spending money)for an event I'm going to in October. 
Total saving on January 4: $26.98. :)

I hope you enjoyed all of our Christmas in New York fun and the new year is being kind to you. As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet weekend.  

Friday, January 3, 2020

It's No-Spending January

  Spending temptation is everywhere

It's not just a new month, year and decade, it's time for the return of No-Spending January. I've "celebrated" this event for several years and found it a great way to cut back on spending for things I really don't need. I noted that I've also celebrated No-Spending February, April, September and October in years past. I'm sure they were helpful in being more conscious about random spending, but January has been the most successful time to refocus on spending and money saving. 

My rules are simple, no spending on things. I can buy groceries, cleaning supplies, meals out and tickets for events. I can buy a gift for an occasion -- birthday, wedding or if someone is in the hospital. That's it. No clothes on sale, no makeup, no holiday decor at half-price. I'm adding to this year's list that I won't be going out to lunch unless I'm meeting a friend or I'm unable to get home at a reasonable time for lunch. 

No-Spending January in real-life:

January 2: Mild temptation at the dress rack

Between my Weight Watcher's meeting and lunch with my friend, B, I spent fifteen minutes at the local Bloomingdale's outlet. I noticed this rack of clothing, and yes, I was tempted. First I remembered it was No-Spending January as opposed to Spend Wildly December. Then I realized I didn't need very dressy and pricey outfits. My schedule didn't include anything where I needed a new cocktail dress, and three, we all know pink is the color for the spring. Since this was only a mild temptation, I'm not counting it as a saving. 

January 3: Red Alert

After my Yoga class this afternoon I made a quick trip to one of my favorite discount stores. I knew danger lurked there, but I wanted to buy gum. Generally I buy a lot more than gum there, and against my better sense, I took a quick walk through the aisles. Aren't the red truck sheets the cutest thing? Could I use them? Yes and sort of. If this was last week, those sheets would have gone home with me. The watermelon chapstick (1.99) would have gone home with me, too, plus the gum and protein bars. I bought the latter for $3.56, but left the sheets and the chapstick for another month, or never. 
My saving was $11.98. I also came home for lunch and my estimated saving for eating at home was $10.00.
Saving for January 3: $21.98.  

The last two days made me aware that my spending issues aren't big ticket items, but lots of little things. I'm optimistic that if I can continue throughout January I will have set the pattern for the rest of the year. If not, there's No-Spending February, March and May to help me along. Is anyone else doing a No-Spending January? 

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