Midtown greens

Dumpster full of garbage Orchids
Ilex/fir boughs ground arrangement
spunky White-throated Sparrow
Giant Bryant Park xmas tree

Although I never planned to work in Midtown it does have its comforts and wonders.  I must remember to take advantage of them. The birds were making noise all over this ancient giant tree that is set up next to the ice-skating rink. It must have some good food in it, for birds. Where did it come from?



Hand Painted Chandelier


It hangs over our bed. Very fancy. A ceiling fan would be more useful, but can’t beat this for character. This photo is shot from an odd angle but that is what it looks like from underneath. Does this mean the bedroom was once a dining room?  Or perhaps it was moved from the foyer or kitchen?

This season is especially introspective this year because we are not traveling and therefore we will celebrate here and do a lot of the holiday labor. We usually leave that to my father, stepmother and aunt and uncle, gracious and experienced hosts who have established traditions.

lots to ponder



White-throated Sparrow Season

a white throated sparrow amongst leaves and bows
Bryant Park Winter Residents- white-throated sparrows abound

The sparrows knew I had my camera and were not going to pose for me. At least the greenery looks nice in Bryant Park.


It comes in boxes like this and the workers lay it in very elaborate patterns. I don’t think this is ideal for our birds who would like some arthropods and other foods which might grow if they left the dirt alone for a minute. But it looks festive. I’ll take more pictures this week.

Maximum xmas this week- Nutcracker, tree, wreath class. I hit a wall with handmade cards today- i’ll pick out some nice printed ones instead. The New York City Ballet was wonderfully seasonal and the music was stirring. The Balanchine version reinforced my feeling that I’m trapped in the 1950s and had me longing for the gender bending and mild rebellion of The Hard Nut.

This week: wreath making, more catching up with friends, and more music.

Project decision: Writing about Reading

a spring nest

Siena has been my friend since my birth so of course she pointed out what should have been obvious: that the best winter subject for me is writing about reading. Since getting rid of my smartphone, I’ve read dozens of books for young readers, putting my commute to good use. In the past I’ve kept a strict line between work reading and writing and home reading and this blog was for my personal reading. But that seems silly now, so I’m going to write about the books I’m already reading this winter. I can illustrate my book reviews with nice unrelated nature photos.

My Fall reading project proved that my smartphone use was indisputably stealing time from the things I would like to be part of my life. Being well and widely read is not only an interest of mine it is a job requirement and I needed to focus. I picked up the 2015 NYPL 100 Best Books for children and got to work. With only eight books left to read from the list, I can report that I feel smarter, better connected, more grounded and in awe of my colleagues who read hundred more titles to find the best ones.

This winter I intend to read the fifty Best Books for Teens 2017. I’ll review the ones that spark some thoughts here.

Good Morning

last spring’s pancake breakfast

This week I’m grappling with settling on a writing project that combines my daily interests with enough passion to enliven and finish the thing. Reading Birding Without Borders by Noah Strycker, I imagined a counterpoint- a big year within one park, demonstrating that I don’t have to leave home to have an epic quest. I like the idea, but it needs more teeth.

I enjoyed reading This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick, she covers the literature and statistics on American restlessness while telling her own story about choosing a permanent place to live. And I learned about unpopular but fascinating common wildlife from urban naturalist Nathanael Johnson in Unseen City. A few weeks ago I met Heather Wolf who wrote Birding at the Bridge on her free November bird walk at Brooklyn Bridge Park- I saw some great birds and was ecstatic to be practically inside the book I enjoyed so much.

All four of these books are surprisingly gentle first person tales that do not get political. It’s hard to know if that is an editorial choice, a philosophical approach, or a marketing decision. Each author (as I recall their work) focuses on an individual’s power to see things differently, with the hope that that will improve the life of the individual and that will inspire and expand to others. As I enjoyed these, I’ve been desiring a similar subtle self improvement quest. It is related to the endless reading on pilgrimages I’ve done in years past.

Maybe part of creating a home is becoming part of a collective action instead of a solo pilgrimage. Are there books about that? I’ll look.

Heather’s work is wonderfully both, she documented her own quest but she shares what she’s learned for free through her walks and lectures and she works for the great ebird.org to support the worldwide citizen science project.