Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Best Breakfast View

Good morning! I’m blogging via my phone today. It doesn’t make the prettiest posts, but does permit me to keep in touch. I’m far from home in one of the most beautiful places on this planet, Sedona, Arizona. I returned to one of my favorite cafes, Wildflowers Bread Co. I’m so grateful to start my day with delicious Wildflower bread, coffee and this fabulous view. I’ll be back to New York in a blink, but hope to have a few adventures and photographs to share.

I started the day with a somewhat sensible egg sandwich, but these goodies were calling my name.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful Wednesday.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Return of the Journey of 1000 Miles (Part III)

Spring flowers from my morning walk via Waterlogue

It's only been in the last week that I realized that it would be feasible to once again do the Journey of 1000 Miles. I first did the Journey in 2017 when I responded to a Weight Watcher challenge to pick a fitness target. I wasn't sure I could do it, but I broke the challenge down to walking an average of 2.8 miles every day and by mid-December 2017 I had walked 1000 miles. I once again decided to walk 1000 miles in 2018 and had completed my goal by the end of November. 

2019 was a different story. I had my hip replaced in early January and knew it wouldn't be possible to walk 2.8 miles daily for at least several months. I had a rocky recovery and it wasn't until the fall that I got closer to my daily average. I figured 2019 would be the Journey of 500 Miles, but I ended the year with a total of 850 miles. 

I didn't even think about mileage for 2020. I've had a series of walking issues that have been problematic for the last year. But in January I changed my gym routine, which really helped with the pain I was experiencing. I also saw a spinal specialist and will be returning to physical therapy next month to develop a home-based exercise program. I've got chronic issues, but right now they have become manageable. They have in fact become manageable enough that I've been able to walk more.

Great weather, less pain and my new Fitbit to prod me along and amazingly I'm almost back to my pre-surgery mileage. So far in 2020 -- Drumroll, please -- I've walked 140 miles. My goal is twenty more miles in February which is ambitious, but not impossible. I hope to report in December that I've once again walked 1000 miles in a year. 

The only change between past Journeys and 2020 is the addition of my Fitbit. I tracked my miles on an app on my phone. It was good, but I needed to be carrying my phone to count steps. I wear my Fitbit all the time and I'm counting every step as well as counting minutes of swimming in the pool. Counting all my steps when I'm at home does give me more steps. I can easily walk three quarters of a mile without leaving my apartment.  

If you remember in January I wrote about having a cold. I took the sound medical advice I was given and rested. I skipped all of my gym activities and realized that the pain in my leg that made walking difficult was significantly better. When I felt better I returned to Yoga and swimming, but the pain didn't return. The difference was the strength training I'd been doing regularly, and had stopped doing. I'd been doing strength training for five years and had really come to like it. But it's goodbye to the machines I'd come to like and hello again to the miles that I can do without pain. I've learned that in exercise, like in most other activities, moderation is the best course.   

What are you doing to keep active? Walking? Swimming? Yoga? Any runners in the group?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.  

Saturday, February 22, 2020

(Another) Pink and Blue Saturday for 4ocean

Thanks, Pat, for my beautiful 4ocean bracelet!

My 4ocean bracelet is blue, but the beautiful card that accompanied it is pink and that's what inspired another Pink (and Blue) Saturday post. 

In just a week New York joins the other states and cities where plastic bags won't be given with a purchase. I generally carry my own tote bag and an extra shopping bag, too, but there are times when I make unanticipated stops. I reuse plastic bags for trash bags, but I'm sure over the years I've contributed to the waste that's filling our rivers and beaches.  Because of the all of the information that's been given out about this change I've been thinking about ways I can do more to help keep waterways and oceans clean. 

4ocean has been doing just that. Each bracelet that's bought provides for pulling a pound of trash from the ocean The profits go towards cleanup operations and donations to ocean-related non-profits. Their work is in Bali, Haiti and Florida and about to start working in Guatemala. Over eight million pounds of ocean plastic have been recovered since 2017. I found the website fascinating and discovered events in Florida that look great. The next one is Sea Turtle Day on March 7, in Boca Raton, FL. 

Again, dear Pat, thanks for my bracelet and thanks for introducing me to 4ocean. I definitely see  birthday and graduation presents in the future to help save our seas. 

Great sunny almost spring day in New York City today. I walked to the library to pick up my reserve books and then back home. On the way home I stopped at the fruit stand and did a quick errand at the drugstore. It wasn't exciting, but relaxing and productive. How did you spend Saturday?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Thoughtful Spending February


I've morphed from No-Spending January to Thoughtful Spending February and so far I'm pleased with the results. Until this afternoon my only spending for "things" in February was $3.99 for organizers for the bathroom. But I started to have a list of "needs," and decided to see if I could visit Dollar General and not go wild. How thoughtful would I be? 

My list of "needs" was comprised of toilet paper, gum and greeting cards. I figured I would add sugarless candy if I found a variety I liked. My estimated spending for this visit was eight to ten dollars. 

I explored a different branch than I usually shop at and happily found it closer to home and much less crowded. The card selection was extensive and well stocked. I bought a dozen assorted birthday, get well, sympathy and Easter cards. I found gum, sugarless toffee candy -- not easy to find -- and toilet paper. I added the two packets of tuna fish -- $2.49 each in my neighborhood -- cheese and the vanilla coffee I received in my Valentine package. I've really come to like it and I was happy to find it. The food purchases were $7.00.

I added two packages of padded mailers -- always useful to have on hand -- and no regrets here. The only purchase I can describe as not-so-thoughtful are the Coffee Time oven mitt and dish towel. If it had been January I would have headed directly to the checkout counter without those two items. But it's February and I'm really enjoying using my Coffee Time dish towel. 

My biggest regret is the cheese. I didn't look at the package very carefully and I found tonight that it's a bad sign when the notice on the bag says, "This product is not formulated to melt." My lesson in thoughtfulness for February is to read the label before I put the product in my shopping cart. 

My next challenge comes next week. I will be on a vacation in a great shopping destination. I've been there several times before and probably bought the usual tourist purchases, but that's never stopped me in the past. There are a few gifts I'd like to choose, but I'm keeping my spending budget for splurges for me to  $25.00. I will report on my success in March. 

Is anyone else No-Spending or Thoughtful-Spending? Any tips or lessons you'd like to share?

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

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Next Stop, Central Park West

It's an underground aquarium at the subway stop for the American Museum of Natural History 

In April 2018 I did an A to Z series on New York City subways. I only got to "R" for Rector Street, but even if I had completed all 26 letters of the alphabet, it wouldn't have begun to cover all of the 472 subway stations in the city. I've enjoyed writing about bagels and cookies and assorted New York City goodies and that prompted me to add posts about some of the most popular sites for visitors to New York City. A spur of the moment visit by my sweet cousin Hillary and her friend, Chris, brought me to the stop for the American Museum of Natural History at 81st Street and Central Park West last week. I haven't been to this stop in quite awhile and I loved seeing the beautiful tile work. 

A different view of the station and the beautiful tile work

My view coming out of the station. This the area where the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade begins. Central Park is on the right side of the photograph. 

The American Museum of Natural History

I don't get to the museum very often lately, but I worked there from 1976-1978. It was definitely one of the best work experiences imaginable. I often worked late and one of my favorite memories was leaving when the museum was closed to the public. I never noticed any of the exhibits coming alive, but it definitely had the feel of "Night at the Museum." If you're planning a visit to New York City, especially if you're bringing children, schedule a visit. I think it's time I made a return trip, too. The Blue Whale is calling me. 

It wasn't an too-busy week, but it's just zipped by. Movie, Yoga, time with friends, Weight Watchers and lots of little errands. I'm still keeping track of spending and will be doing an update of Thoughtful Spending February tomorrow. How was your week?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Allure of the KitKat

My favorite KitKat, Wasabi

My friend Melissa's son and daughter in law recently returned from their honeymoon, which included a visit to Japan. Melissa shared that they had brought her a box of peach KitKats. That brought back memories of my trip to Japan in 2015 and my fascination with the many varieties found in Japan. I didn't try the soy sauce KitKat, but I did try every flavor that was new to me and became enamored with the wasabi KitKat. It seems like a strange combination, but really no stranger than chocolate with chili powder.

While putting this post together I found that I had written about discovering wasabi KitKats while I was in Japan, but hadn't yet tried them. I hesitated because all I could find was this package of eight. I'm not sure if I took the KitKat plunge and bought eight or found a single one for sale, but wasabi became my favorite. 

The visitors' center at Mt. Fuji featured Mt. Fuji candy and to the left, 
souvenir boxes of strawberry cheesecake KitKats. 

KitKats were introduced in Japan in 1973. In the decades since over 300 regional and seasonal flavors have been produced. The very popular green tea flavor was introduced in 2004 and in 2017 the melon and mascarpone flavor was introduced. One flavor I found especially interesting was the sake flavor (2016) which combined sake and white chocolate. 

Before I explored KitKats I took my first step on Mt. Fuji

Per yesterday's post I had a very interesting evening last night that I will post about this week. I need to spend a little more time getting the photographs ready to post. So far they are not cooperating very well. 

I had a fun day today and enjoyed "Knives Out," with my friend Jane and a leisurely coffee time after the movie. I enjoyed "Knives Out" a lot and especially liked seeing one of my favorite actors, Daniel Craig, in a totally different role. It was a lot lighter than most of the movies I've been watching lately and a welcome relief. How did you spend your day?

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

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Pink -- and Blue -- Saturday

Pink Saturday Sky at Night

I was in Lower Manhattan this week and as I turned west -- towards the Hudson River and New Jersey beyond -- this perfect pink sky was my treat for the evening. There is no filter, no editing except for a little cropping to focus the picture. I knew this moment in Manhattan was this week's Pink Saturday photograph. 

It's not just Pink Saturday this week, but we're also celebrating Blue Saturday. Blue Saturday is my own creation, created to share a few pictures from the basketball game I attended last night. The Columbia University Women's team played Harvard and won the game. I enjoy basketball, but I was there to see my friends' daughter cheer for Columbia. I've known Rachel, cheerleader extraordinaire, pretty much from the day she was born and it's been a joy watching her grow to be a talented, kind and accomplished young woman. So glad she chose Barnard College and has literally just been a mile away. 

Columbia cheerleaders on the left and dance team on the right

Always enjoy seeing Roary, the Columbia mascot

Yesterday was super busy and I'm enjoying quiet time today. I've got a big plan for this evening and right now I'm loving blogging, drinking coffee and catching up with my blog buddies. How are you spending this long weekend?

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