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.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

104.5 and No Longer Counting

I've captured my purple sneakers on the front porch of Wilder Hall, where I lived my sophomore year in college.
It's June 1 and the Mile A Day in May Challenge is over. My goal for May was to walk 84 miles, which puts me on track for 1000 miles in 2017. The weather was (mostly) good, I gave myself a push and I am very happy to report that my total is -- drum roll, please -- 104.5 miles. I'm delighted and I feel that I've gotten myself back on the exercise track, after being somewhat slack after breaking my shoulder in February. I'm aiming for 100 miles a month for the summer and fall and feel confident that I will walk over 1,000 miles this year.  
I know I've had lots of friends walking with me, both around the country and beyond the United States. If you've walked at least thirty-one miles in May, you are eligible for the giveaway. Entry is easy. Please leave a comment on this post any time in the next week (by midnight Thursday, June 8) and I will post the winner on Friday, June 9. The prize is a surprise, but I am strongly considering a book (or two).
The best prize for this Challenge is the benefit to our health. We were up, about and moving and by walking a mile every day, we cultivated a habit of exercise. Thank you all, near and not so near, for being my walking partners.
It's been a hectic few days since I've been back from Reunion. Today was the first day of BookExpo America and I am exhausted, but enjoying my day of books, authors, more books and more authors immensely. I'm back tomorrow at nine for another day of books and more books. I hope to be back tomorrow for a recap on some of my favorite moments.
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!