Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Love Saybrook in the Summer When It Sizzles

In black and white...

...and the same view in color.
With my apologies to both Cole Porter and to the beautiful and non-sizzling weather in Old Saybrook, CT today, I love this view in every season. It's the marina view of the Saybrook Point Inn. My friend Lonni's daughter was married here a year ago and Lonni and I enjoyed the time spent here so much we have returned in every season. Sometimes -- like today -- the marina is complete with boats and other times -- as in the photograph below -- the boats are waiting out the winter elsewhere.

Each visit brings changes and this visit brought the new wood carvings throughout the property.
With each visit Saybrook captures another tiny piece of my heart. I spent many summer days at nearby beaches when I was growing up and the visits bring up memories of childhood summers with family. So many of those loved ones I shared those days with are long gone, but their memories are vivid in shores and shadows of Long Island Sound. 
 When I was replaying "I Love Paris" before writing this post I thought the words weren't quite right for my experiences along the Connecticut shore. There was no romance and no romantic memories, so the phrase "because my love is there" just wasn't appropriate for this post. But love takes on many meanings and my love is definitely there with family and the dearest of friends. I love Saybrook every season because my love is there.   
Yes, this dessert was as delicious as it looks.  
There are memories, there is the view and the water and there is also the food. One of the highpoints of our visits are long, leisurely, delicious lunches. Today I discovered Gelato Giuliana, made in New Haven. I had vanilla and salted caramel. Both were delicious, but my favorite was the salted caramel. I'm on the lookout for finding this fabulous gelato in New York. If I'm unsuccessful I will just have to make more visits to Connecticut. I'm especially eager to try the signature flavor, La Giuliana, which is espresso, mascarpone and chocolate swirl. 

Tomorrow I resume my regularly scheduled life: yoga, Weight Watchers -- the scale may not be a friend -- and grocery shopping. How are you spending August?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pink Saturday Celebrates Sunflower Sunday

A salute to Sunflower Sunday, postcard filter courtesy of Snapseed. 

A picture is worth a thousand words and four photographs of the flowers of mid-summer should be worth an entire book. Even in the land of pavement of New York City flowers surround us. It takes a little work to find them, but really very little. All four of these photographs were taken within a half mile of where I live. The weather has been beautiful the last few days and I've been out flower scouting. The reward has been more than enough to last me through the short days when November turns to December and it seems as though spring is a lot more than months away.
My project of the day was a walk to the farmers market, where I found these bouquets and zinnias in the picture below. I thought of buying a bouquet -- or two -- but I had plans to venture to Macy's before I got sidetracked listening to music in the park next to the farmers market.

I discovered these roses at a school program for green careers. These beauties were totally unexpected and a great surprise as I walked along Amsterdam Avenue this morning.

I love these summer days. There 's still lots of light, no jackets are needed and I can find flowers just about around every corner. I also found the first local apples of the season at the farmers market. Not quite sweet yet, but I'm always excited to see the first fruits.

I'm joining my friends at Pink Saturday for more summer fun. Please stop by and visit.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Hope your weekend was fun!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Farmers Market Time


One of the pleasures of BlogHer was meeting and getting to know bloggers from throughout the country. I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with Lucy Hendry, blogger at Lucy's in the Kitchen. We had a great time talking and discovered our mutual love of healthy eating and vegetables. Lucy graciously offered a copy of her terrific cookbook, The Farmer's Market Cookbook -- a link is on her blog page -- for a giveaway for the citizens of Buttercupland. 

It's an easy peasy giveaway. Please be a follower of Buttercupland -- via Google+, Bloglovin or directly on the blog and leave a comment mentioning your favorite purchase from a farmers market. This month I'm looking for stone fruits. Love all the peaches, nectarines and plums of this time of the summer. There's an extra entry for Instagram followers  -- just mention you're following Buttercup in your comment. I will choose a winner next Thursday, August 10, so please be sure to leave your comment by Wednesday, August 9.   

I live near three different farmers markets and I pass by at least one every week. I visited the 97th Street market last week and found lots of goodies. The organizers were featuring summer squash and shared cooking tips and recipes.

I'm not a beet fan -- though I keep trying to learn to love eating them -- except when it comes to photographs. I love the look of beets using a Snapseed postcard filter. 

I am a radish and lettuce fan, especially when they are freshly picked.

My August calendar is very uncrowded. Top of the list is reading -- so many books are calling me -- decluttering, catching up on medical appointments and finding a few new iced coffee places. I've neglected my coffee explorations and I plan to change that in August.
What are your August plans?
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a fabulous Friday!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Grounded Hearts

If you're looking for a good -- actually really good -- reading choice for your summer reading, please put Grounded Hearts  at the top of your list. I especially enjoy historical fiction and have read many books set during World War II, but the setting -- Ireland -- and the characters and plot make it an absorbing book.

Nan O'Neil is a widowed midwife in neutral Ireland who gives shelter to a wounded Canadian RAF pilot. Taking in Dutch Whitney is against the law and Nan faces prison for this act. I will avoid any plot spoilers, but the story drew me and kept me reading. I especially enjoyed the scenes of life in Ireland during the war and the characters who are part of Nan's life. It's a romance, and an unusually sweet one, a historical novel and a story of faith. I am hoping that there will be a sequel. Please, Jeanne M. Dickson!

On a different note, the summer is flying by. I know it always does, but I blinked and realized that September is barely a month away. I love the autumn but I'm not rushing pumpkins and leaves. I've got a few more beach days to come and there are a lot of summer veggies -- sweet corn at the top of my list -- to savor. Here's to a quiet afternoon on a porch, iced tea or coffee by my side and a good book.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. Happy reading!  


Sunday, July 23, 2017

(Hoping, Hoping) Sixty-Seven is a Slice of Heaven

The wonderful pies at Judies, in Amherst, MA

I came up with the title for this post a few weeks before my birthday. I liked it for the rhyme and for the thought. Now that my birthday is two weeks past I've come to savor the thought that this year -- and every year that I'm given in the future -- will be a slice of heaven. I don't envision angels and trumpets, but rather the imagery of William Blake and my hope is to see "a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower."
Love my lemon meringue!
One of my birthday celebrations was spent at Judies in Amherst, Massachusetts. This is one of my favorite restaurants with great food, popovers and pie, lots of pie. I was with my friend Lonni and we chose to split two pieces of pie. Perhaps it was a little much, but I only turn sixty-seven once. Our first choice was a classic, and delicious, lemon meringue.

We followed up with a slice of equally delicious and very rich, derby pie. Derby pie is a wonderful combination of chocolate and walnuts. I didn't know its origins in Kentucky and recommend following the link to learn more about it. Is anyone else a fan of derby pie?

I feel that I'm finally settling back to being home after reunion, BookExpo, BlogHer and my birthday weekend in Connecticut. It was all wonderful, but it's taken me several weeks to settle back into yoga, walking, eating more vegetables than pie and blogging. I'm looking to schedule less for the time until Labor Day and enjoy the pleasures of New York City.

I'm once again joining with my friends at Pink Saturday for some pretty in pink fun.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Hope you're having a weekend that includes pie and fun.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monkey Monday: Easy Rider

It's been quite a celebration in Buttercupland for the last ten days. Pepe Le Monkee and I share a birthday and there have been lots of celebrating. Pep has been asking for a car for his birthday gift and based on several episodes of monkey business, I vetoed his request for a car. I decided to start with something smaller and found this Build A Bear Workshop motorcycle on eBay. There's one happy monkey in New York City and so far, no furniture has been damaged.

Several people have filed complaints with the Buttercupland Department of Public Safety about the lack of a helmet and the lack of regulations for the use of a motorcycle by a monkey. I am searching for a helmet that will fit Pepe. I've found a (faux) leather jacket, but no helmet seems to be available. We tried aluminum foil -- which meets no safety guidelines -- but Pepe felt like he was a baked potato and that was quickly recycled.

My birthday was as much fun, but didn't involve the purchase of  wheeled vehicles. In my next post I will share photographs of the celebration and my thoughts about turning yes, sixty-seven. I'm also planning to do a giveaway -- one of two this month -- so I hope you will be back again this week. We're going to keep the birthday fun going!

I'm thrilled/relieved/grateful to share my happy news about my MRI. I got an early morning phone message from my neurosurgeon, "There is no evidence of a tumor." Again, thanks for all of your prayers and good wishes!

I spent a lot of the morning clearing out pots and dishes I no longer use and followed this endeavor with a trip to the Salvation Army. Next task is shredding!

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishing you every happiness this Monday afternoon. 


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Third Time's a Charm

The first time my ears were pierced was the winter of 1971. On a cold January night in New Hampshire my friend Judy took a needle and made a hole in each ear. Despite being told it wouldn't hurt if the needle was cold, it hurt a lot. I put in my new silver earrings and each morning and evening cleaned my ears with a little alcohol.
A very different setting from my dorm room in 1971

The second time I pierced my ear -- just one -- was the summer of 2000. I had just turned fifty and I wanted to do something fun, youthful, a little bit wild and inexpensive.  I went to Piercing Pagoda in the Christiana Mall in Wilmington and, in a decided advance on the needle technology of 1971, a young woman used a piercing "gun" and I now could wear three earrings. The thrill faded in a few years and I let the third hole grow in.

Last weekend I was browsing at a lovely gift store in Amherst, MA and saw a tiny pair of ruby earrings, perfect for the third hole. The spark was lit to think about reactivating my piercing. It was only a spark, but when the lovely earrings in the picture below were given to me for my birthday, the spark ignited. My dear and longstanding friend, Anita, found them in India last winter and brought back three pairs for three July birthdays. I am so grateful that I am one of her July birthday girls.  

Between returning an overdue library book and buying coffee I stopped at Claire's and after two pages of paperwork, in three weeks I will be able to wear one of these beauties. Right now I'm still in the "do not remove the original earring for three weeks" phase. It was decidedly easier than the cold winter night in New Hampshire, but the memory of that twenty-year old woman and my happiness  on that cold January night comes back to me clearly and fondly.

Do you wear earrings? One pair? Two pairs? More than two pairs? I'm don't wear a lot of jewelry, but I always wear earrings.

Thanks, all for your prayers and your thoughtful comments about prayer and calm thoughts. I expect to hear the results of my MRI early next week. I'm still a little anxious, but I am optimistic that I will hear good news.

I've been a little remiss for the last few weeks, but I'm happy to linking up with my sweet friends at Pink Saturday this week.

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


Friday, July 14, 2017

First on My List: The Twenty Third Psalm

This morning I was scheduled for an MRI. The purpose of this test is to see if there is a recurrence of the spinal cord tumor I had removed in June, 2012. The tumor was benign, but there is a ten per cent chance of regrowth. The recommended follow up is every two years, but due to anxiety and concerns about the contrast material I need for this test I skipped/delayed it. But prudence won over anxiety and I found myself at the imaging center and 8:30 this morning.

I knew I was anxious, but until I was actually in the machine, I didn't realize how anxious I was. Thoughts of getting stuck in the MRI tube popped into my head, and I knew I could spiral into hysteria. I needed to calm myself quickly and with virtually no conscious thought "The Lord is my shepherd..." came into my mind. The Twenty-third Psalm is the only psalm I know by heart and the verses soothed me and brought me back to a calmer place. I recited it at least twice and then proceeded to a series of Beatle songs, followed by the streets in the neighborhood I grew up in. It was an odd combination, but I was able to get through the test without panic.

For my friends who are praying women, what prayers do you turn to? What prayers would you have turned to in this situation? For my friends who are not given to prayer for calming, would you have turned to music? Would poetry be your go-to? I've memorized a lot of poetry, but it didn't cross my mind this morning. Prayer, music and childhood memories saved my day. What would save your day?

I expect to get the results of the test early next week. I'm optimistic that the outcome will be clear and no recurrence, but until I hear from my neurosurgeon, "The Lord is my shepherd...: will stay in the center of my mind, continuing to clear the anxiety away.

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


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The First Lobster Roll Taste Test

Sometime in the spring I read an article on Facebook about the best lobster rolls -- lobster meat and butter served in a hotdog bun -- in Connecticut. The article nominated Abboott's in the Rough in Noank, Connecticut for this honor. I'm a lobster roll fan and my friend, Lonni, is as well. We agreed to visit Abbott's -- and possibly a number of other restaurants to do a lobster roll taste-test. 

We chose a Friday to avoid the weekend crowds -- which are legendary -- and unfortunately we didn't get a sunny day. We did get a day that made parking and a window seat easy to get.

Abbott's, and most of the restaurants on the top lobster-roll list are not fancy. But the seafood is fresh and I have no problem using paper napkins. Our party of four chose lobster rolls -- the reason for this outing -- lobster bisque and steamer clams. I am a fan of "steamers," and they were small and sweet. Steamers used to be ubiquitous, but now they are harder to find. I was delighted to see them on the menu. We finished up with a delicious strawberry shortcake, made with homemade biscuits.
The sun didn't shine on Noank, a beautifully preserved whaling town,
but the sun shined on our meal.
Was this the best lobster roll in Connecticut? It will take a lot more taste testing before I can present the Buttercup Lobster Roll Award. It was definitely a very good lobster roll and Abbott's is definitely worth a trip. Now on to more taste testing! 
I'm back to my regular schedule -- walking, Weight Watchers and decluttering. Lots of books to read (and write about), friends to visit with and summer fruit to eat. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 


Friday, July 7, 2017

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

When I retired I learned that every day is vacation, but I've found that keeping to the rhythms of the rest of world gives me a comfortable structure. I celebrated summer and the Fourth of July with a visit to Lower Manhattan, along with tens of thousands of my new best friends that joined me there. One of my stops on my "staycation" was a photographic visit to someone who needs no introduction, the Statue of Liberty.

This is the line for the ferry to Liberty Island, and this is only a small part of the line. 

The view of New Jersey from the marina at the World Financial Center, one of my favorite stops in Lower Manhattan.  

A slightly different view, with thanks to the Snapseed app.
I'm off to catch a train to Connecticut. There will be family, there will be friends and there will be pictures.
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

We Hold These Truths

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
These words are as true today, as they were July 4, 1776
Happy birthday to the United States of America

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Pink Saturday Goes to Knitty City

Pink Saturday sweetness at Knitty City

When my Instagram friend, Janmary, visited this week, our meeting took place at the fabulous yarn store and community hub, Knitty City. I'm not a knitter -- though it's always in the back of my mind to learn -- but I'd visited there earlier this year and posted a picture on Instagram. Janmary, who was intrigued and included a visit here as part of her New York itinerary. Knowing there are a number of serious knitters in Buttercupland, I knew I wanted to share my pictures on Pink Saturday.

My favorite sweater on display was the pink and lavender sweetness in the picture above, but this beige beauty was a close second.

This display of yarn and books caught my attention. I'm focused on the gray Irish knit shawl on the left. It's summer now, but one day next winter this would be the perfect cozy.

One picture I realize I didn't take is the round table at the back of the store. Sitting around the table are eight or ten women knitting and talking. It reminded me so much of the yarn shop in Connecticut where my mother -- a champion knitter -- spent many happy hours knitting and making friends. It's a very different time and place, but the warm feelings and easy conversation remain the same.
It's a sunny (and hot) day in New York. I've got a fun day ahead with brunch and a theater outing to the West Village and you know there will be pictures to share. I hope you all have happy plans for the day, too. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day.      

Friday, June 30, 2017

Random Five Friday

My blogging thoughts have been all over and I'm returning to an old favorite format, Random Five Friday. I haven't done this in awhile -- possibly years -- but it really works today.

1) I'm starting with an Instagram Friday regular feature, Frenchie Friday. It's not complex, but it is fun. I take photographs of French Bulldogs on the streets of New York. I met this cutie in Lower Manhattan and he earned the Frenchie Friday title.

2) I created my blog pages -- though they are still under construction. I hope to get the content in place in the next few days. I'm happy to have made this first step and realize it's a long project and there will be lots of YouTube watching before it's completed. 

3) One of the highpoints of this week was meeting my Instagram friend, Janmary. She was visiting New York on an anniversary trip and carved out some time to get together. She is a lovely person, great photographer and talented jewelry designer and the hour we spent together passed very quickly. Meeting my friends from all over the world is a treat and we agreed that the next time we get together it will be in Northern Ireland. The beautiful bookmark was a gift and is a great addition to my bookmark collection.   
4) The weather this week was perfect -- clear and not too hot. I found myself in Lower Manhattan and stopped to take pictures at Trinity Church.

5) I'm in town for this holiday weekend, enjoying the relative quiet. Movies, with no lines and restaurants aren't crowded makes it a great time to enjoy the city. What are your Fourth of July plans?    
I spent a lot of today getting organized. I didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped, but happy about things that I got done. My next project is making (some) order out of the chaos of my dining room table. Wish me good luck!
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!     

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Blogger on the Verge of a Blogtastrophe

As I wrote on Sunday, I came home from BlogHer17 on fire for blogging. I decided to spend at least an hour every day attending to my sometimes neglected blog. I'd post regularly, respond to comments and begin my long-time planned blog makeover. I'd gone to a fabulous session about making a better blog by  Stephan and Chloe Spencer, and had a list of a dozen things I wanted to do to improve the look and visibility of Buttercupland.

Very quickly I remembered why Buttercupland had entered its semi-permanent  state of being several years ago. Changing elements of a blog is harder than it looks. For some people what I was attempting to do -- add pages -- would be quick and simple, but it's not for me. After more than an hour of tinkering and saving and tinkering and saving some more, I left it in the state you see with the title and header on the top of the page and on the right of the page. It's not what I had in mind, but it's what I got on my first five attempts. I will return later today and my hope is by tomorrow links for coffee posts, book posts and "about me" will be part of my blog.

I've read a lot about keeping my memory working and vibrant and smile at the suggestions for doing crosswords and learning a new language. Despite my frustration in BlogLand my prescription for memory work is learning new skills to apply to Buttercupland. I know I'm forging new neural pathways when I make blog attempts. Fail today? No problem! I'm hopeful I'll figure it out tomorrow (or the next day or the next week). Please bear with me in my blog revision project, Buttercupland is Under Construction.

As ever, thanks for visiting! A blog is a lot less fun without readers.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Why I Fly Thousands of Miles for a Blogging Conference

For the last seven years I've attended BlogHer, a conference for women (and men) who blog. Not everyone who attends has a blog and as the years have gone by the theme has gone much more to social media in the broadest sense. But it's still a three day conference for women who write and share information. It's a mix of thoughtful presentations, workshops on blogging, platform development and memoirs and a college reunion, meeting up with friends known via their blogs and Instagram photographs.

I put this post together while I was looking out my hotel window in Orlando last night, with the Disneyworld fireworks dancing in the reflection. I knew I was flying back to New York the next morning and BlogHer had ended, but it was only when I walked into my apartment earlier today that I realized BlogHer was actually over. I was thankful for the easy flight, but after the energy at the conference my apartment was too quiet and too dark.

I enjoyed it all immensely, which is why I've flown thousands of miles five times -- two times BlogHer was held in New York and it was just a bus trip away -- for a program that was fun, thoughtful, lively and exciting. High points included hearing tennis legend, Serena Williams speak, Ana Navarro and Joy Reid being interviewed and attending two outstanding social media workshops. I had the opportunity to meet my Facebook friend Missy, visit with my BlogHer buddy Tekisha, and meet terrific women from across the country. Not bad for three days!

A definite high point was the program with Serena Williams.
Thanks to the BlogHer sponsors there are fun giveaway and goofy pictures. Here I am with my buddy, Charlie the Tuna, who's looking especially dapper in his red beret.

A fun visit with movie star, Tiny, of Pup Star
I've come home with a half dozen blogging ideas -- time for a remake -- and even a book project in the back of my mind. I've made new friends and great memories. That, my friends, is why I happily fly thousands of miles for a blogging conference.

Last night's sunset in Orlando

As ever, thanks for visiting. I wouldn't be a blogger without my friends who
are part of Buttercupland. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Attention KMart Shoppers, We Have an Urgent Announcement from the Buttercupland Department of Public Safety

This is the place where this old dog relearned an old trick yesterday, and  just when I thought there weren't any tricks to (re)learn. 
Yesterday afternoon I went to KMart to look for t-shirts and a pair of shorts. And yes, Ms. Fancy-Pants New Yorker is a KMart shopper. It was a humid day and the KMart air conditioning was barely on. I was kind of sweaty -- no subway air conditioning -- and I got stuck in the first t-shirt I tried on. Stuck, and the variety of stuck where I thought I'd have to buy the shirt and cut it off at home. I felt as though I was wrapped in plastic wrap and the more I wriggled and twisted, the tighter the shirt became. Finally I was able to get one arm out and then the other arm and without trying on a second thing I got dressed and left K-Mart, seeking air conditioned refuge across the street at Macy's. 
I've been stuck in dressing room disasters before -- a few bathing suit incidents come to mind -- but this felt the most desperate. I'm less agile and it wasn't pretty. And no, there are no photos to chuckle at after the fact. Of course this entire episode could have been avoided if I had heeded the Buttercupland Department of Public Safety Summer Alert. Simply put, it addressed the issue of shopping on humid days and wisely concludes, don't. I've learned my lesson and as an officer of Buttercupland, dear friends, I'm giving you the same advice, do not shop for clothing on humid days ever! The embarrassment you save will be your own.
I'm sort of chuckling about it now, but if I had to go home in the KMart t-shirt, with the tags hanging down my back, I'm not sure I'd be chuckling.  
Today's lesson -- learned for the zillionth time -- is bring an umbrella when there are thunder storm warnings.
As ever, thanks for visiting and travel with your umbrella.    

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Are Calling Me

I'm not exactly sure when my fascination with Cornwall began. Perhaps it was moving to Cornwall Street when I was in second grade. Perhaps it was reciting "As I was going to St. Ives..." many times when I was growing up. Perhaps it was "Poldark," or "Rebecca" or a Victoria Holt novel, read decades ago. Most likely it was a bit of all of these, but years and years later, Cornwall holds a place in my imagination.

It was only a few years ago when the idea of visiting Cornwall came to mind. In some ways it seemed more a place of imagination, than a real set of towns and villages that I would be able to visit. But I've mentioned it from time to time and today this volume greeted me when I came home from doing errands. A friend had found this book by the English writer, Daphne du Maurier, author of "Rebecca," who adopted Cornwall as her home. It is a well-loved volume, and one for which I am most grateful. Many thanks, Nora.

I flipped the pages to find a photograph to share in this post and chose this one, the harbor at Malpas, Cornwall. It is the waterway to Truro and Falmouth -- now I know where these towns on Cape Cod got their names -- and part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These are areas in England, designated for conservation because of their significant landscape value. I learned that a third of the land in Cornwall has been designated as part of the Cornwall Area (AONB). If I had any doubts that a trip to Cornwall needs to be on my calendar, those doubts vanished as of this afternoon. I have no idea when I will make my plans, but I one day -- sooner, rather than later, I am going to Cornwall. The areas of outstanding natural beauty are calling me.

I tried to keep this week relatively unscheduled, but it's been hectic. Mostly good hectic, but lots going on. I got to spend one morning with Facebook friends who are now real friends and what fun that was. Thanks, Melissa and Michael for a wonderful visit.

As ever, thanks for visiting. Take good care and have a wonderful Fathers' Day.   

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Now Let's Read Some Books

This is the sixth year I have gone to BookExpo. I enjoy it more each year as I get to know more people. I enjoy the programs I attend,  I am excited to meet authors I admire and love two days of discussing books. But most of all I love the books. Each one looks more exciting than the next and I dream of coming home and reading all through the summer. But once I get home many of the books I am most excited about go unread. Not this year!

This year I made a promise to myself to really read and read a lot. My first goal is to read eight books in June, and so far I am keeping it. I am just about finished with The Dry, one of the best mystery novels I've read in a long time, and I've also started Love and Other Consolation Prizes, by Jamie Ford.

If you're a fan of Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and many of us are, I can highly recommend Love and Other Consolation Prizes. I'm about a third of the way through this highly readable book -- scheduled to be published in September -- and it is sweet, tender and thoughtful, and yes, I've cried already. I know the characters, especially the main character, Ernest Young, will stay with me for a long, long time.  

The other book I've started reading is very different from Love and Other Consolation Prizes.  The Salt Line takes place in an America of the future. The country has been ravaged and the only safe places to live are within the salt line, burnt earth that separates the livable from the dangerous. This novel, also due to be published in September is difficult reading. It's a dystopian novel for adults, beautifully written, but also painful in sections. I don't get past a chapter before I stop reading and take a rest from the brutality of the story. Why do I keep reading? It is compelling and I am drawn back to find out what happens to the characters as they go beyond the salt line.

My goal is to read eight books this month and a book a week -- yes, every week! -- for the next year. I'll be reporting in here to keep me accountable. At the end of this month I'll be doing a book giveaway. In order to enter you will need to have read one book in June. The more books read, the more entries. Let's read some books!

We've had an actual heat wave for the last few days, though thankfully the temperatures have returned to more seasonal weather and today was just about balmy. I'm planning a museum visit tomorrow and I hope to see Wonder Woman on Friday, so there's some fun ahead.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.     


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hello, Bette

When I was in high school one of the great treats of my life was taking the New Haven Railroad  from Hartford to New York City for Wednesday matinee day with my mother. We didn't do it very often because of the expense, and our lunch in New York was usually at the automat -- no Sardi's for these theater goers -- but what a treat it was. One of the plays we saw was "Hello, Dolly, with Ginger Rogers in the title role. Over fifty years later people still ask me if I saw Carol Channing in her signature role and I say happily, "No, I saw my dancing idol, Ginger Rogers." It's still a very happy memory.

Last fall I saw that there would be revival of the play with Bette Midler opening in the spring. I ordered tickets months ahead and kept busy with life. But May came around and I saw a beautiful and touching production with Bette Midler, now my perfect Dolly. When I saw Hello Dolly at sixteen, I couldn't fathom what life might be like for an older woman making her way in the world alone, as Dolly Levi does in the play. Now I totally understand it and had so much appreciation for the character, the role and Bette Midler. It's a beautiful production and if you're a fan of musicals or theater or fun, well worth seeing.

I played Stagedoor Buttercup after the show. Alas, Bette Midler didn't come out for autographs the night I saw it, I did get David Hyde Pierce's autograph on my program, which made my evening of theater complete.

I'm completing two pieces of unfinished business with this post. The first is my A to Z blogging. I omitted H and while I will be doing a post about Alexander Hamilton, I am counting this post as "H." The second piece of business is announcing the winner of the Mile A Day in May Challenge.  The winner is Jeannette at Longwell Crew. Jeannette, I have a novel and a book tote bag for you. Congratulations and thanks to all the walkers for keeping me company.

I'm reading and reading these days and did my first post on  Coffee Light and Mysteries Noir in a long time. I shared my thoughts on Jane Harper's terrific mystery, "Dry." I hope you will stop by and visit.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

All That Remains Are the Memories and the Books: BookExpo 2017

First thing in the morning at BookExpo. It's still calm and quiet. 
One of my favorite events of the year is BookExpo, the annual trade event of the publishing industry. I'm not a bookseller/publisher/librarian, but thankfully there is a place for the blogger who writes about books. I found a warm welcome from the publishers and authors I met who appreciate readers and those who share their thoughts about books. I'm looking forward to sharing the books I discovered at BookExpo and a few giveaways from publishers. 
This is a more accurate depiction of the floor at BookExpo. It's no longer calm or quiet the last afternoon of the show. There are long lines for well-know authors and the crowds start forming over an hour before a major book signing. My rule is not to wait in line to get an author's signature. If there are a dozen people in front of me, count me in. If there are a hundred, no thanks. Despite my line reluctance, I still had the good fortune to meet a number of authors whose work I admire. 
One of my favorite writers is Amy Tan -- author most memorably for me of "The Joy Luck Club. She was signing copies of an excerpt of her memoir, "Where the Past Begins," scheduled for publication in October. The line was short and I was thrilled to meet her.

I like Nelson DeMille's thrillers, but the line to meet him went around the publishers section. I settled for a photograph and will rely on the library for a copy of the book.

I did line up to meet Colleen Hoover. I have a number of friends who are tremendous fans of her work, and I knew they would enjoy this photograph.

This is a small selection of the photographs and books that are part of my BookExpo memories. There will be several more book-related posts in June.

The whirlwind of reunion, BookExpo and the beautiful graduation (and party) I attended on Saturday have totally tired me out. I did get in my walk yesterday and today, grocery shopped and worked on my hundreds of photographs, but barely crossed anything else off my endless to-do list. I'm hoping to have more energy as the week goes on and make some order out of the chaos of my apartment. There are books everywhere!

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.