Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pink Saturday Tours the Golden Circle

We're going back to bright and beautiful Iceland. Actually it was bright for only one day, but it was beautiful every day. Fortunately our one sunny day coincided with the reservation for the Golden Circle Tour. The Golden Circle is not a circle, it's not a formal itinerary and the only gold is in the beauty of the natural scenery. It is a tour that includes the three most popular sights in Iceland. I took the same tour in the summer of 2014. It was warmer, but overcast and rainy and I was thrilled to see  the same sights, but in sunshine.

The first stop was Thingvellir, the site of the Althingi, the 930 AD first Icelandic Parliament. The buildings don't remain, but the signage was extremely informative and gave a great sense of this early representative governing body. The physical site, shown above, is magnificent. Besides the historical importance, it's an area of great geological significance, here the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America meet. After taking the photograph above I turned to the right and this was the vista that greeted me.


The next stop was at Geysir hot springs. If you're a fortunate visitor the geyser -- Strokkur, a successor to the Great Geysir -- looks like Old Faithful. I was not quite so fortunate, but I still was still very happy to experience this moment. There were several false starts -- not quite as explosive as this one -- but not quite the scene I hoped for.

The third part of the Golden Circle is the Gullfoss waterfall. As I look at each photograph the same words come to me to describe the sights -- awesome, magnificent, extraordinary. Gullfoss is extraordinary and perhaps more so, because of its unspoiled setting. There are no billboards, concession stands or parking lots to detract from its natural beauty.

My visit to the Golden Circle was all that I had hoped for. Besides the beautiful setting I was fortunate to have chosen a small local tour company for our trip, Go to Joy Iceland. Our guide was thoughtful and extremely knowledgeable and it was a treat to ride in a comfortable mini-bus with five other people.

 For the next forty-two days Buttercupland enters a festive state of mind. There will be a giveaway (or two) and the first one is tomorrow. There will be a few book reviews and the rest of my posts will be celebration time in New York City. I walked through Rockefeller Center today and the tree is in place waiting for its lights. There will be lots of pictures, lots of fun and I hope you will visit often.

This week's post joins our friends at Pink Saturday. Please stop by and share in the blogging fun.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take care and wishes for a great week. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Caring Kind Walk

My new buddy, Patches, dressed for the doggy costume contest and looking sharp.
For the second year in a row I've been part of a team -- the Wednesday Walkers -- for the Caring Kind Manhattan walk. Caring Kind is a fabulous organization that supports those who are caregivers for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. We were a small team this year, but we raised over $700. for this very worthwhile cause.    

The beginning of the walk at Riverside Park, along the Hudson River
I became involved in the work of Caring Kind after agreeing to do a walk with my friend, Helen. This was over two years ago and I was barely walking two miles a day. I had had surgery for a spinal cord tumor two years before and my walking was still limited. The idea of the New York City Marathon or even a ten mile walk wasn't feasible. I needed a short walk -- Caring Kind is two miles on a mostly flat surface -- for a cause I believed in. I entered "walks 2016 Manhattan" into a search engine and I found my answer. My walking has improved significantly in the last two years, but I am happy to keep walking for this organization.  

The Wednesday Walkers at the end of our walk. 

There were several well-known personalities and here is Mary Ann with retired hockey star and present day television hockey analyst, Ron Duguay. He couldn't have been nicer and meeting him was an added fun note to the day.
We walked a month ago, but I've got several posts from past events that I will be publishing -- including more photographs from Iceland -- in the next week. Once Thanksgiving comes around I will be featuring holiday d├ęcor in New York City. I will also be doing several giveaways and once again showcasing the talent of friends with Buttercup's Fair. Please stop by often, we're going to have a lot of fun.   
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pink Saturday Visits the Blue Lagoon

The beautiful Blue Lagoon

This Saturday Pink Saturday goes to Iceland for a visit to the Blue Lagoon.  Yes, the Blue Lagoon is as beautiful and relaxing as these pictures depict. Actually, on reflection, it is more beautiful and even more relaxing as the pictures show. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa formed in 1976 after the Svartsengi power plant was built. People began to bathe in the waters and realized the very positive effect on their skin. People with psoriasis were especially helped after bathing in the waters. The Blue Lagoon opened to the public in 1987 and has continued to expand. A hotel on the site is now under construction.

The temperature of the lagoon is approximately 100 degrees and the day I was there the air temperature was approximately 35 degrees. There were a few chilly moments getting into the lagoon, but they were quickly forgotten. This is the swim/walk up bar. I had a banana skyr -- Icelandic yogurt -- smoothie, but there are stronger spirits available, too. Besides the refreshment bar there was also a silica facial bar, which left my skin feeling very smooth. 

Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice and it is an area of great volcanic activity. Eighty per cent of Iceland's energy is geothermal made by heat inside the earth's crust. It is clean and sustainable.

I had a wonderful lunch in the Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon. I had fresh Icelandic mussels and a glass of sparkling wine. It was a perfect pre-relaxation for the perfect relaxation to come.

This was my view from the restaurant. It was winter coat weather outside and bathing suits for my time spent in the Blue Lagoon.
I'm back from Iceland and slowly adjusting to life in New York. I've been surprised at the jet lag I've experienced. I fall asleep early and wake up at 4:00 a.m. I'm hoping that the worst of the jet lag is done and I'll be on a New York sleep schedule very soon. A little lost sleep is a small price to pay for a great visit to Iceland. The scenery was spectacular -- a word I don't use often -- and I will be posting several more times with some photographs from my visit. 
As ever, thanks for visiting. Thanks and remembrance to all those who served and who serve our county today. Very grateful for the sacrifices you all make for our freedom.  

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Put Down the Mini-Snickers, Now

Halloween Bagged Chocolates says it all.
Your response is that it's not a mini-Snickers. Okay, so it's a KitKat or Almond Joy or M&Ms. We see you indulging in a candy orgy. One mini-Snickers becomes half a dozen and then you add three of the little bags of M&Ms and then you're looking for the back up bag of candy corn and then you're in a sugar daze. But it's Halloween and this is Halloween candy.
Actually, it's Halloween bagged candy. Next week it will be Christmas bagged candy and the M&Ms will be tinted red and green. But it's the same candy, and you can buy it 365 days a year. Somehow when it's Halloween candy it justifies the sugar overload and added poundage. Wrong! A KitKat is a KitKat is a KitKat. Putting a pumpkin on the wrapper doesn't make it a pumpkin KitKat.
When I hear the words "Halloween candy" my memories go to the kitchen in the house in which I grew up. My mother is melting Kraft caramels -- are they made now? -- and we're dipping apples. I think about trick or treating and bringing home a big bag of candy. It was a treat for my elementary school self who never imagined I would be able to eat bags of candy whenever I might want to when I grew up. I can eat all the Halloween candy in every drugstore in New York and I can't bring back the days of Kraft caramels and trick or treating.
So put down the mini-Snickers and leave the candy corn in the bag. Savor the memories and enjoy the little ones in their adorable costumes. You will save thousands of calories and stop the inevitable seasonal slide to a larger size that begins with the first piece of Halloween candy. Your waistline will thank you. 
I was thinking of skipping this post because of today's  tragedy in Lower Manhattan. But as former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, we are New York Resilient. We are heartbroken and we mourn for those who were killed, but we're tough and even in the most tragic of times no one takes away our ability to enjoy life. No one.
Hold your loved ones close and take good care of yourselves and thanks for visiting Buttercupland.

Monkey Monday Halloween

Pep Le Monkee and Opus in their Halloween finery 
Pep loves Halloween. He likes his bunny ears at Easter and can't wait to put on his Santa suit at Christmas, but Halloween may be his favorite celebration. This year he's wearing his Halloween sweater for a casual trick or treating look. Opus is decked out in the Great Pumpkin costume and he's hoping he finds some herring tidbits in his treat collection. I doubt if anyone is giving out herring bits this year, or any year, and I've got a jar of herring as a Halloween surprise for my favorite penguin.  

It seems that every year there are more and more outdoor decorations for Halloween. These two buildings are less than a block from where I live and in the Halloween spirit. I've never seen this building decorated in past years, but they've a great job this year.


This building is decorated every year. There is also a recording with spooky noises. I wasn't scared. But if you're coming down the street and not suspecting an eerie sound and sight show it may give you a fright, which is of course, the idea of Halloween.

I don't have any Halloween decorations except for Pep and Opus in their costumes. Do you decorate for Halloween, and if so, indoors and/or outdoors? 

I'll be back tomorrow with my tip on saving thousands of calories on Halloween, and yes, candy is involved.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What Are You Reading?


For some reason I can't fathom I've had trouble concentrating when I read. Perhaps it's an offshoot to whatever kept me from blogging when I sat at the computer and stared at the screen. I don't feel particularly troubled. I'm sleeping okay, or as okay as a late sixties woman who needs to get up at least once during the night, and I'm getting a lot of exercise. The next choice for my book club is Paulette Jiles' News of the World. It's historical fiction -- a genre a very much enjoy -- it's short and it was a it was a 2016 National Book Award Nominee. I picked it up from the library a few days ago and I'm going to start reading it tomorrow. I'm not going to let it sit on my shelf picking up dust and lose my momentum to complete it. My goal is to finish it by Monday morning and return it to the library before the fines start clicking away.

I'm eager for more recommendations. I looked over the books I especially enjoyed last year and they were non-fiction and some were tough going. But they all held my interest and gave me something to reflect on. What are books you've particularly enjoyed this year?

I have kept up with my mystery reading and very much enjoyed Ian Rankin's Rather Be the Devil. One of my favorite detectives of all time, John Rebus, steps back into police work from retirement and the for those who like their mysteries darker, this story is well worth reading. I featured this title last month in Coffee Light and Mysteries (Mostly Noir).

It's been a quiet, but productive few days. I've been focused on reading and writing. I completely finished today's New York Times, did a blog post and caught up on some of my favorite blogs.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Wishes for a wonderful Wednesday.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pink Saturday Goes to the Double Dutch

Though the thermometer says it's still summer, it's autumn whenever I can find it. 

I wouldn't say I'm in a rut -- lots of new things on my schedule -- but I do have a pretty consistent pattern. The library, synagogue, Weight Watchers and the gym are all within a mile from where I live. This area includes two movie theaters, groceries and Central and Riverside Parks. But on Saturday I joined friends who live north of my mile area for coffee on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, which is the continuation of Central Park West, north of Central Park.
Per my friend Jennifer's recommendation we went to Double Dutch Espresso. Though it's October we were able to sit on the garden patio -- a luxury in Manhattan -- and enjoy good conversation and iced coffee. Though I haven't written about coffee very often this year, I'm still sampling new coffee places. There's an infinite array in New York City and I have a good dozen new places that I've enjoyed this year.  

I was reading a review of Double Dutch that criticized the array of coffee drinks. The last is more than adequate for me and I had my usual iced coffee. It was a solid B+ and worth the extra travel. My hairdresser is only a block away, so I'm actually in the neighborhood often enough to stop by and enjoy the brick wall ambience.  

I haven't seen "It," but the sign in front of the shop paid homage to the book and movie. 

A semi-selfie on the sidewalks of New York

It was a great weekend. Perfect weather, enough errands to feel caught up, time with friends, services and lots of good coffee. I even checked off flu shot from my list. I stopped at the walk-in clinic near my building first thing this morning and was in and out in less than ten minutes. I hope everyone else had a chance to relax and recharge this weekend, too.
I'm joining my Pink Saturday friends. Please stop by and meet some of the nicest bloggers in Internet Land. As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a happy week.