Back in January 2020 I bought the Kindle edition of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill for $1.99. I was probably reading something else at the time, but thought the cover and description sounded fun and two dollars was not much to spend, even if I didn’t like it. It wasn’t until today that I started reading it. I’m kind of glad I waited because I really had no other delights to share today.
The author, Abbi Waxman, is clever and funny. Here’s the opening paragraph of the book:
Imagine you’re a bird. You can be any kind of bird, but those of you who’ve chosen ostrich or chicken are going to struggle to keep up. Now, imagine you’re coasting through the skies above Los Angeles, coughing occasionally in the smog. Shiny ribbons of traffic spangle below you, and in the distance you see an impossibly verdant patch, like a green darn in a gray sock.
Waxman, Abbi. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (p. 3). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Practically every page is sprinkled with this kind of humorous writing. I highly recommend you put this on your to-read list. I think you’ll like it. I’ve already put all of her other books on hold at the library.
This evening while we were preparing dinner (leftovers from yesterday) I glanced out the window and saw four very large birds fly in a diamond shape over our house. My birdbrain kicked in and I shouted, “Great Blue Heron!” although I was not 100% sure that is what they were. A few moments later my suspicion was confirmed when three of the four flew back and I could see them better.
It reminded me of the day, long ago, when I stood in our upstairs bedroom and a Great Blue Heron flew past the window at eye-level. I could not believe my luck.
Today as I closed the side door in the kitchen after dumping the compost in the outside compost bin, I saw a large bird fly towards a tree across the street. I suspected it was a Pileated Woodpecker as it approached the tree and when it landed on the trunk, about 30 feet above the ground my suspicions were confirmed. That was the first Pileated Woodpecker I’ve seen from my house in more than 25 years. There used to be a nesting pair kitty-corner from us, but their home was cut down long ago.
The second bird that delighted me was actually two birds. Two very frisky Tufted Titmouses (Titmice?) were performing a courtship ritual.
I know I mentioned seeing a Dark-eyed Junco on our trip to Skyline Drive last week, but I had not seen one in Bethesda until this morning. I was unloading the dishwasher (check that off the list for today) and saw a flurry of movement on the deck. There, a few feet from the sliding French door was a Dark-eyed Junco. I don’t recall seeing them so early before, but they are ground feeders, so I probably missed them at the feeder when it was just outside the window, pretty much exactly where the Dark-eyed Junco sat. It must have detected movement because it flew away, white tail feathers flashing. I then saw several others farther back in the yard, some must have been feasting on zinnia seeds.
While the Dark-eyed Junco is a harbinger of colder weather (which I do not find delightful), the birds cannot help that so I find them a delight.
That song used to stop me in my tracks when it came on the radio or played over the speakers in a store in the days before Spotify and mp3 players. It reminds me of my days in London and the following summer, after I’d purchased the album it was on and played it over and over again to reminisce about that experience. I wrote about it on my song-blog years ago.
My attic office has a through-the-wall air conditioner’, occasionally I hear birds on the on the back of the air conditioner, likely looking for bugs that have hidden themselves in the grille. Today I heard a bird and smiled, hoping it was finding a feast. Seconds later a white-breasted nuthatch peeked in through the window a few feet from the air conditioner. It hung in its usual upside-down manner on the bottom edge of the top window screen, turning its head back and forth, seeming to peer through the window at me. Moments later a tufted titmouse flew to the same window, landing on the outside sill, also looking in the window. The nuthatch flew away, and when the titmouse flew away the nuthatch came back. Then I realized that they must have remembered that months ago had a suet feeder hanging near that window. So I filled it and hung it back up, next to the window.
I filled the birdfeeder (number 7 on my lists of things to do today) after a week or so of neglect. Not long after I went in the house a northern cardinal family descended on the platform part of the feeder. I am pretty sure it was a family because one was a bright red male, a more brownish colored female with with a bright red bill, and the rest were more scruffy, less sleek than their parents, some of whom had red patches on their bodies, some of whom didn’t. And they were loud, chip-chipping at each other.
Still struggling with odd feelings of not-quite-rightness. Possibly with a little ennui tossed in. For instance, there are things I normally do on weekends — feed the sourdough starter is one, make bread is another, however I have no desire to do either, even though they must be done if I want to keep the starter alive and if we are to have homemade sourdough bread in the house.
The camera is turning out to be a true delight. Today I tried out the long lens (I am sure it has a better name — telephoto lens perhaps) and it took some decent photos. I’m still learning. Dean even gave it a go and remarked on how light it was. He was still not very enthusiastic about it, but at least didn’t complain about it.
Other delights today:
Reading and commenting on Lali’s blog again. I’d missed the entries from the beginning of the pandemic. Her writing is soothing.
A phone call from my SIL asking about my first (true) day and a half of retirement
More backyard birds (blue jays, northern cardinals, Carolina wrens, hairy woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbird, fish crows)
The return of the spider — it seems it likes the kitchen door in the late afternoons — I’d already taken out my contact lenses so didn’t try to take a photo this time.
The walk around the elementary school with Dean at lunchtime