Monthly Archives: June 2010

Off to Algonquin!

You may have noticed that I’ve abandoned the Hungarian Art Nouveau banner (Odon Lechner’s Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest) for swallows. I suppose swallows have more to do with “birds” and “words” than the master architect known as the Hungarian Gaudi. More on the formidable and underappreciated Lechner another time!

Off to Algonquin Park for a little vacation. This time, I’m bringing my binoculars. Here’s my wish list:

  1. Gray Jay
  2. Boreal Chickadee
  3. Spruce Grouse
  4. Black-backed Woodpecker
  5. Evening Grosbeak
  6. Common Loon

Right now that just sounds like a bunch of words in a language I can barely speak. But I’m bringing my Sibley Field Guide and I’m hoping I’ll meet other bird savants along the way.

You’ll be happy to know that I’m traveling with my faithful travel companion, my Tilley Hat. We’re inseparable once it gets hot. Come tomorrow afternoon, imagine me under this hat.

New Look?

I’m craving a design change, but don’t know that this really cuts it. Your thoughts? For those of you familiar with WordPress templates, do you have any suggestions for me? I’d like to keep the image I currently have (Odon Lechner’s Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest), but I’m open to all sorts of other changes. I’d love to know your thoughts! And if you believed that Birds and Words looked better yesterday, feel free to tell me that too! I think I like this particular font more than the previous one. What I’d REALLY like, however, is Garamond font on my blog. Now that would make me entirely thrilled.

Your thoughts?

What I’m Looking At

I assume you’re wondering what I look at as I type these blog posts. Well, I’m making that assumption because I have to admit that I’m always curious about what hangs on the walls in rooms where people write. Interiors fascinate me, completely. (I guess that’s the only reason why I find going to open houses so thrilling — you wouldn’t believe some of the things you find in homes that look entirely demure from the outside. Our highlight was a house with a deep basement with red velour curtains and an enormous hot tub surrounded by wall-to-wall mirrors and flanked on all sides by a red plush L-shaped sofa. Someone bought the house for over asking price. Go figure.)

As I write this, I’m looking at a picture of a Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) on my illustrated Sibley calendar. Here is the bird I wish I had seen during spring season when it flies over Ontario en route to breed somewhere just north of here. (The map for summer bird locations is, alas, a bit vague.)

Here’s the bird in all its glory (photo from here). I just got a little depressed to learn that this beauty is, in fact, declining in numbers. Hopefully I’ll catch a glimpse of him next May! I don’t feel so bad for not seeing it this summer, since even the Cornell Lab of Ornithology claims that the bird is “hard to see” since “it nests and forages higher than most warblers.” So there! By this time next year, my binocular skills will be so stellar that I bet the cerulean warbler will come to me. I’ll be sure to point my binoculars way high in the canopy!

I’m also looking at  a painting by the talented and wonderful Denman Island artist Dawn Stofer. We discovered her by chance on Denman, when we were drenched and tired of walking through forest in the torrential downpour (and also tired of staring at bald eagles, trying to photograph them and realizing that our camera is useless and ending up with about 30 pictures of a black speck in the grey sky). We happened upon a house/art gallery that had an “open” sign on it and walked in immediately. I had a great feeling about Dawn’s house (which doubles as a gallery) the minute I saw her New Yorkers on her coffee tables, smelled delicious lemon poppy seed muffins and fell in love with her paintings. We ended up buying this one. In addition to the fabulous art, Dawn also helped me identify the Towhee (ok, she did it for me, but I asked the right question!).

And, next to the painting is….brace yourselves… a Texas Longhorn. Perhaps I’ll post a picture of this gem for you next time. It reminds me (every day) of the compromises inherent and necessary in any good marriage. I’m almost developing a soft spot for it. It also reminds me that people often end up together precisely because of their differences in aesthetic judgment — it adds something, though I’m not sure what. In any event, the Texas Longhorn is here to stay.