Monday, August 04, 2008

New Digs

Buttercup has moved to a new, less purple location on wordpress. Email her at or check her out at: Buttercup In Gotham.

Monday, July 07, 2008


I'm in the process of figuring out a new direction for the blog, and possibly for me. While I ponder the possibilities and play with graphic choices, I'm taking my blog on a little hiatus. I expect we'll be back relatively soon, maybe not at this address, but certainly somewhere in the blogsphere. If I make a permanent move from blogger, 'll be sure to leave a forwarding web address.

Until then, enjoy the summer. I hope you find time to relax on a lake shore, sway on a hammock, and eat a few ice creams in the sunshine. That's what I've started to crave, more and more incessantly, here amidst the high-octane energy of Gotham. I love this city, but...

Saturday, June 07, 2008


I have a few moments to write because I just put my little nephew down for a nap. I calmed him, rocked him until he went to sleep, and then gingerly laid him down in his crib, holding my breath that he wouldn't wake up, and he didn't! He's all sweaty and adorable, knocked out for 20 minutes or so. Quite an accomplishment, Auntie, if I do say so myself.

I'm on baby-sitting duty with my mom (she does all the diapers) because my little sister just gave birth to her second child. I now have a niece! She's beautiful just like her brother. She's hanging out with her mom and dad in the hospital for a few days, so it's just me and my mom taking care of my nephew.

Having lived many years away from children, it's always astonishing, delightful, and eye-opening to be around them. How stay-at-home moms and dads do it is completely beyond me. How my little sister is going to take care of a one year old and an infant is beyond me. From the moment I've woken up, it's been (almost) all about my nephew. Me and my mom fed him, which was quite the experience, with him ending up covered in goo, and then we tag-teamed playing with him while first one and then the other showered and got dressed.

My mom vacuumed (vacume is such a strange word), cleaned up the kitchen, and made the beds while I rolled around with my nephew pretending to be a monster. I brought out finger puppets and he went angelically nuts, beaming and giggling and shrieking with glee trying to grab them all. His smiles are so sweet it's sometimes heartbreaking. For a while, I let him play by himself and watched as he picked up his toys one by one, mumbling shh-sing noises to himself. I tried to read some of my book, but kept looking up every few sentences. Moms of young children probably don't read a lot.

A few days ago, I was talking with my friends Em and Essa about leaving New York at some point in the future. I love the city, and right now the thought of moving away from it makes me feel like I would be carving out a piece of myself, so I'm not going to do it anytime soon. Maybe never, I don't know. During the conversation, Em said that no one should leave new york until they get to the point when they're really ready, because if they leave before they're done, they'll regret it. I'm not sure I'll ever be done with New York, so that leaves me in a bit of a quandary for the future (a quandary I suspect will work itself out eventually).

Playing with my nephew, I was thinking that a similar thing could be said about babies. You shouldn't have them until you are really ready. Right now, I still feel like I'm too selfish to have a baby. For example, I have stolen more than a few moments to read my book in between playing with him (stolen them from who? Him? Me?). Maybe that makes me a terrible Auntie? Or, maybe I'm just channeling mommy guilt and projecting it? Or, maybe I'm just being balanced about this? If I played with him 24-7, both of us would be too tired for anything else. It's OK for him to entertain himself, and it's OK for me to do the same. Balance. If I was a mom, I don't think I would play with my child 24-7 either. Who could? Instead, I imagine you do what my mom and I have been doing the past couple days, you work out a routine that works for you, try to keep the kids safe, if not perfectly clean, and you go with it.

Getting back to my nephew and new niece. They are so freaking cute. I feel really lucky to be an Auntie. Can't wait until Bean and the new baby come home from the hospital.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hostage In Legal La-La Land

I'm somewhere in the Midwest doing litigation training and I'm taking a quick break out of my mock-trial preparation to note that I would like the record to reflect that I would much prefer doing any of the following:

1) Riding my bike, with which I am still very much in love, all over New York. In fact, I'm going through withdrawal at the moment.

2) Pondering the existential crisis into which I threw myself after my retreat at the Chopra Center. The crisis being: What is my Dharma (i.e. "purpose and meaning" in life. Me thinks I must find it).

3) Meditating - I did not do my daily RPM today. Curse early morning flights! Or is it a lack of discipline, dedication, and organization I should be cursing.

4) Reading book 7 of the Anita Blake Vampire Chronicles. When last I left that marvelous world Jean Claude and Anita had kissed for the first time, after Jean Claude had taken a bubble bath just before "dying" at dawn. How hard could it be to find a human version of Jean Claude? Snap to it Universe!

The point, my friends, is that although this is a great training experience, and although I am grateful for it and will get as much out of it as possible - all caveats aside - I'd rather be doing something else at the moment.

If I only have one life, shouldn't I be spending as many minutes of it as possible doing something I want to be doing? Finding my Dharma. I can't even consider, however, these greater life questions because I have to go prep now. Duty calls.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

RPM (For Meditation)

How do I meditate? When do I meditate? How do I silence my mind? What do I do with the thoughts? These are some questions I have pondered during the last year. In it's most basic sense, mediation is sitting in stillness. Physical and mental stillness. One would think that sitting quietly would not have so much mystery around it, but it does. I want to know the "right" way to meditate. I want to know what to expect, how do I know that it's working, what's the proper way to sit, and again, what do I do with those incessant thoughts that poke up like an infinite supply of pink elephants the minute I start trying not to think of them?

This weekend, at a retreat lead by the Chopra Center, Renewal Weekend, I had some of those questions answered. They practice a type of mediation called "primordial sound meditation," where you meditate by repeating a mantra over and over again as a way to quite your mind chatter and allow you to go deeper within yourself. The three-party mantra starts with "om" and ends with "namah" (pronounced nemah), and has a sound in between that is your "seed," the vibration that the universe was making at the time of your birth. The Chopra Center has a computer that figures out your seed; without the computer program I'm not sure how to find out your seed, but I don't really think it's important. The important thing is to have a mantra, any mantra, but one that's a sound, not words with meaning that will create, rather, than still your thoughts.

In terms of how to mediate, the Chopra Center is big on comfort. There should be no discomfort or "trying" in mediation, according to Deepak. You are to sit comfortably and repeat your mantra. When thoughts come and you slip away from the mantra, gently drift back to repeating the mantra. The idea is to be gentle with yourself. There is no berating, no judging, no punishment. Just the mantra and gentle drifting back to the mantra when thoughts come.

In terms of when, one of the teachers, David Gi, gave us "RPM" as a meditation tool. RPM stands for: Rise, Pee, Meditate. Everyone rises in the morning, many of us pee, so we are 2/3rds of the way there. The third part is sitting down, even before you've brushed your teeth or gotten your caffeine kick of the day, and meditating for a half hour. Because a half hour is a lot, it might be too much at first. I made a commitment to try RPM for 20 days - until June 14th - and have done it for the past 2 days for about 15 minutes each. The idea is to create a stillness and silence within that you can take with you for the rest of the day into your relationships. So far, I think it's working today. I feel calm and well. It's nice.

For the afternoon meditation, David Gi gave us "RAW" - "Right After Work." Because I'm being gentle with myself and starting with baby steps, I'm not putting pressure on myself to do two meditations a day, but for the future it's something to think about. For now, I'm sticking with the RPMs. I have 18 more days to go. It's an experiment to see how I'll feel after 20 days of this. Anyone else want to try?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

White Noise

In honor of my new neighbor, a young pot-smoking guy just out of college who works in advertising and enjoys bringing over a steady stream of his pot-smoking friends to party on the balcony just outside my bedroom window on weeknights, I purchased this little white-noise number, the Marpac Sleepmate 980.

It's awesome. Although it doesn't fully eliminate the sound violations from my sphere of awareness, it does dull them enough so that I can reign in my anticipatory anxiety, slow my boiling blood, and talk myself down onto a calmer plane. Did you know that stress responses - like quickening blood, platelets getting sticky, and rapid breathing - increase one's susceptibility to disease and health challenges?

There's no need for me to outrun any saber tooth tigers, yet when I hear my neighbor at times when I don't want to hear him (when my need for silence and quiet goes unmet), I get stressed, and my body reacts just as it would if I had caught site of a tiger ready to pounce - albeit probably with much more anger and much less fear than if my neighbor actually were a bloodthirsty saber toothed tiger. Why is it that saber toothed tigers went extinct? Anyone know? I'm too tired to wikipedia it at the moment.

Anyway, getting back to the most terrific sound machine ever. It's fantastic and highly recommended. I keep it on the first setting to create a relaxed, noise muting environment. It's like a little white noise sound cocoon that envelopes and soothes, the effects of which are magnified by my earplugs (I can't quite break myself of that habit yet). Sensory deprivation. One day I'm going to go in to a dark sensory deprivation tank where I float on water in a wet suit that makes it impossible to feel the water, with ear plugs that make it impossible to hear, pitch blackness that makes it impossible to see, and no noise or smells. It would be awesome, and perhaps a little scary. It would have to be simple and easy to get out of instantaneously, or otherwise the anxiety would ruin the experience.

I'm tired and rambling slightly and clearly in need of my white-noise machine induced dream time. I'm on Book 5 of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Chronicles and continuing to voraciously eat them up one after another. All I want to say is that I love Jean Claude and Anita and can not wait until they get together. If I were Anita, I would absolutely choose Jean Claude over Richard. Richard is sexy but he's also kind of a pill. Jean Claude would totally take him. He's like Geoffrey from the Angelique books. Dashing, strong, and dangerously sexy, and a vampire to boot.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Killer Dream

I think the vampire books are getting to me (I'm on book 3). Last night, I had a nightmare where I was being pursued by a serial killer who may also have been dating my little sister. At one point, on a deserted rooftop in the middle of the night, the serial killer leaned over me, his heavy body pinning me to the ground, and said, as he stroked my lips with the flat of his thumb, "You forgive me. You're mouth will forgive me."

I was so happy to wake up alive, sans serial killer, - bob and all - I just lay in my bed for a few minutes at dawn, breathing deeply, filled with relief and gratitude. With no killer in sight, I can totally work this bob (thanks Starshine!).