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.