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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Central Park's Snow Drops Begin Blooming! Crocuses's Foliage Awakens from Winter's Nap! (Tuesday's Truths WK 164)

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Snow Drops AKA Galanthus nivalis are starting to show their blooms from the grounds in Central Park (they are the white flowers featured in these photos) and the crocuses are begining to awake from winter slumber, as evidenced by the pin-striped foliage in the foreground of the first image directly above this entry.

According to The Spruce, Snow Drops "are one of the first of all spring flowers to bloom; depending on region, they appear in February and March" and they caution one should "remember that these are poisonous plants for humans, dogs, and cats alike."

As for crocuses, they are also one of the first early blooming springtime flora varieties to appear — depending on region in late February and early March.

During this morning post dawn hours in my rooftop garden, the foliage from my crocuses are in their early stages of looking up through the mulch (indicated in the next two photos).

In bygone years, I've had crocuses who are purple, saffron and white as seen in the next set of pictures.

Moreover, I feature the crocuses that grow in my place within volume one of my three volume book series, Words In Our Beak.


These books make a nice gift for the garden and or bird lover in your life and with spring 2020 officially beginning next month, it's the perfect time to order copies of these books to have on hand once the season begins.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Snow Leopard Sparks a Steve Jobs Memory

This past November when I had out of town guests, I was treated to a trip to the Central Park Zoo.

Up until that time I had been enthused about going to zoos as I always feel badly when I see caged animals but after watching an interview (which I've referenced in prior entries including one posted on 12-14-2019) with Jane Goodall where she discussed how zoos can raise awareness re a number of creatures, my attitudes have change.

I have confessed my change of heart within prior entries here on Blogger where I've discussed a number (more than ten) of wild birds (including Black Swans, Parrots, Pied Avocets, a Red-crested cardinal, a pair of Scarlet Ibises, a Superb Starling, a Taveta Golden Weaver, a Victoria Crowned Pigeon, and a couple of White-naped Cranes) whom I encountered during the aforementioned trip to the zoo.

During that visit to Central Park's zoo, I also came upon a Snow Leopard who can be seen in the images atop this entry. The zoo has this to say re this creature: "Endangered. It's been estimated that the wild population numbers only 4,500 to 7,500 animals. They are hunted for their coats as well as their bones, which are ground up and used in traditional Chinese medicine. They compete for food with people, who often kill snow leopard's favored prey. And when the cats turn to domestic livestock for food, they're often shot by ranchers."

Initially I thought my thought re seeing this animal would make an interesting blog post but after researching Snow Leopards, I've come to the conclusion that I have nothing to add to any discussion about them, therefore, dear reader, I'll simply refer you to some links that provide content about this animal type:

1. A December 2018 article by New Yorker article by M.R. O'Connor
2. An article "for kids" from a Snow Leopard Conservatory
3. An article re Snow Leopard behavior from The Snow Leopard Trust
4. A web-page with quotes about Snow Leopards from Goodreads

During my research, I happened to think about the fact that at one time my Mac Book Pro's operating system  was called Snow Leopard so I did some research on that matter and because today would be Steve Jobs's sixty-fifth birthday had he not died in 2011.

Below is an excerpt from what I found out re the name choice of Snow Leopard as an operating system, one of the last things to be introduced by Steve Jobs before he passed:

"The great Mental Floss blog actually did the research on something that occurred to me as soon as Steve said 'Snow Leopard' during the keynote -- naming an OS after a cat 'sometimes known as the ounce' might not be the best idea.

File this stuff in the 'didja know' column: snow leopards aren't actually leopards -- they're actually closer in family to cheetahs, which means that the new OS might be a little closer to Aqua than we're all comfortable with. Also, they're pretty timid -- not only can they not roar (so new audio features in the OS are out), they're known to hide behind their fuzzy tails. We'll put it this way: you wouldn't exactly want to call your football team The Snow Leopards, so we're not quite sure why Steve decided to use the moniker."

Additionally, "the unofficial Apple Keynotes channel" has a video which discusses the choice of naming an operating system Snow Leopard.

Rather this operating system was the best and ultimately ruined by updates to Apple's operating systems, or rather the name Snow Leopard may not have been the best choice given the animal's associations, on this date of Steve Job's birth, I prefer to focus on his accomplishments as well as his contributions and to say, "Well done, Steve Jobs!'

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Honoring George Washington's Actual B'day

Last Monday, February 17th, our nation celebrated Presidents' Day. It is a holiday that is celebrated here on the third Monday in February. The holiday of President's Day was originally established in 1885 in honor of President George Washington, and was traditionally celebrated on February twenty-second, the actual birthday date of George Washington, which is today.

According to, "the holiday became popularly known as President's Day after it was moved as part of 1971's Uniform Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three day weekends for the nation's workers." Be that as it may, as I've just stated, George Washington was born on February the twenty-second.

On another note, George Washington has been linked to the creation of our American flag, and that is the reason I'm including a photo-ops of the United Staes's flag. atop this blog entry.

However, for my focus in this blog post honoring George Washington's birthday, is to provide information on an interest I share with him which is birds.

A few years ago, I learned (and mentioned in a prior blog post) that "Besides parrots, several types of North American birds were captured and kept as pets by the Washington’s. During George Washington's presidency, affairs at his Virginia estate were managed by one of his favorite nephews, George Augustine Washington. In the summer of 1790, George Augustine wrote his uncle to say that 'I fear the season is too far advanced to procure young Mocking Birds but shall endeavor to do it.' Whether George Washington wanted these young birds for himself or someone else is unknown, but they were clearly intended as pets, possibly because they could be taught to sing."

I can certainly understand why he wanted to have mockingbirds in his midst as I have been so humbled and honored to have had them visit my rooftop garden.




This something I include in volume three of my book series, Words In Our Beak.


Friday, February 21, 2020

Lesson from a Junco



I haven't seen much of the bird variety known by the name Junco hyemalis (Dark-Eyed junco), this  winter season so I was thrilled when a couple of them showed up at my place the other day. One of them is featured within the photographs included in this blog post.

In the area where I live (NYC), this avian variety (also known as a snowbird) normally shows up in late October and his/her presence in considered by many to be a harbinger of winter. A couple of dark-eyed juncoes did appear in my rooftop garden around that time last year which has been the norm for these creatures for nearly ten years, but unlike those bygone years, the October 2019 juncoes did not spend much (if any) time here after their arrival.

They continued to be absent in November as well as December of 2019 and January 2020. Now that February is nearly over (we have eight more days), it really lifted my spirits to see this bird variety hanging out in my midst.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The 4th Anniversary of Harper Lee's Passing (And Her Influence On Me)


Today is the fourth anniversary of Harper Lee's death. I've paid homage to Ms. Lee's passing since the day it occurred (2-19-2016). This morning while doing some research I came across an interesting New York Post article (by Melkorka Licea, Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein) re an apartment that she maintained in NYC. The photo atop my entry is from their piece.

As I've mentioned in my blog entries re Harper Lee, rarely is the time I encounter certain birds such as blue jays or mockingbirds and not think of her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird

On another note, because I've been in the process of making small revisions to the opening lines of my book project (titled Imperfect Strangers), which seeks to raise awareness about living with a medical condition known as Neurofibromatosis and where the story begins from a young child's perspective...

"Imperfect Strangers":

... my thoughts have turned to the lines Harper Lee used to open  To Kill A Mockingbird's story. 

Here's how she begins the novel:

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn't have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt."

As many of readers of this blog know, a young girl (Scout) is speaking the aforementioned lines and the story meets its goal of  of raising awareness re racism.

My book, Imperfect Strangers, is an autobiographical account of experiences I’ve had as a result of the general public reaction to any form of disfigurement.

Mine, as of this posting, begins quite differently, when the narrator has just become five years old:

“'Don’t get in the car until I clean up this Goddamn mess, you stupid girl! At five years old, you ought to know better,'  Dad yells to me as he tries to scrape globs of colored wax off the window ledge behind the back seat of his maroon Chevy.

The mess was my fault as it wax was from my crayons which had been given to me as a birthday gift from my grandmother. I had used them to draw in my sketch book while my dad drove my mom, my sister and me to a local amusement park to celebrate my turning five.

I stand next to his car looking at the orange and yellow painted lines that divide The Village Play-Land’s parking lot into sections. That morning when Daddy parked there, it hadn’t been a sunny spot; but since we were at this amusement park a long time, the sun had shifted. Now it is shining down upon the cars.
As dad continues to scrape the wax from my crayons off the inner window ledge of his car, I stare down at the parking lot’s black-top pavement and make a wish to be someone else."

After more narrative, I go on to say:

"Ever since I was born I have had six flat brown spots in various sizes to on my body. Our docotor says they are called cafe´au lait spots. The biggest one is on the right cheek of my bottom. The next two larger ones are on my back and my tummy. The other three spots are on my arms and legs. These are smaller than the others. I don’t think they show very much since my skin has an olive tone.The doctor says I have these spots because I was born with a medical condition called von Reckinghausen’s; a name I have trouble pronouncing."

The story continues from there and is my hope that it will have an impact just as Ms. Lee's did.

Therefore on this anniversary day, I thank Harper Lee for speaking out about topics that needed to be addressed and I can only hope, the subjects I speak about will be of value once its published and continue to provide insight for years to come.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday's Musings

Today is Presidents Day, a holiday which I've written about it a few times in bygone years and this time, I feel I have nothing new to add to the conversation so I'll share a tidbit with you that I've just learned myself! On this day of February 16th in 1967, The Beatles released a single that featured Paul McCartney's, Penny Lane, on one side and John Lennon's, Strawberry Fields Forever, on the other.

In honor of the anniversary of the release of those songs, I've posted a You tube Video atop this entry which offers an interesting back story re McCartney's, Penny Lane.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Hippo Day 2020

Today, February 15th, marks the celebration of Hippo Day and I'm once again honoring it by giving a shout out to this amazing animal! According to a number of sources (including my 2/15/2018 blog post), hippopotamuses love water, which is why the Greeks named them the river horse.

While hippos love water, New Yorkers  and a few artists seem to love hippos!

Why do I say this?

For one thing, sculptures depicting this animal type of animal can be found within a playground in Central Park known as Safari PlayGround, a few pictures of these works of art are featured in the set of photographs atop this entry.

The latter of these pictures is one I included in a quiz that I composed when I was writing for an on-line publication (iLovetheUpperWestside).

Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentine's Day 2020


My visiting Cupid figurine featured in the image atop this entry (where he is standing amongst succulents that grow within my indoor garden) joins me in saying Happy Valentine's Day from my place to your place.

He has been coming to my place annually for a number of years now, therefore, you may recognize his face from prior entries here on Blogger or from an on line HT article that I wrote for in bygone years.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

World Radio Day 2020

Today is World Radio Day, certainly worthy of the nod, at least for yours truly, for I am an avid radio listener; and I've also been a guest on two radio programs that are based in NYC.

My first time being interviewed on the radio took place at the studios for 1010 WINS, where I was interviewed by John Montone about how conditions with my eyesight influenced my kaleidoscopic art work (that can now be purchased through Fine Art America).

I wrote about my experience with John Monotone in one my first entries on my blog.

The second time I was interviewed by a radio host was when Karen Lewis had me on her WBAI radio program, The Al Lewis Show) to discuss how my visual challenges shaped my rendering images re Black and White photography.

Both of these interviews can be listened to via my website,

Meanwhile in honor of World Radio Day, I'm posting a clip of a scene from Woody Allen's 1980's movie, Radio Days.

I worked (as an actress in a "silent bit" role) on that film in the scene filmed at Radio City Music Hall that is featured in this clip, which was featured within one of my August 2018 blog entries.

Be that as it may, on this radio-related holiday, I'm also hoping for another opportunity to be heard on another radio program to either discuss my book series, Words In Our Beak (where the stories are told from the perspective of a female cardinal)...


... or to talk about my book project, Imperfect Strangers; which seeks to raise awareness about living with Neurofibromatosis.

"Imperfect Strangers":

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Valentine's day is the day after tomorrow!

Roses are red,
Jays are blue.
Stories of 'em,
are in my bird books too!

Valentine's Day is the day after tomorrow! 

Therefore, Wednesday's Wisdom for today is this:

Thanks to amazing shipping options from various places, there is still time to get my three volume bird book series Words In Our Beak, for the flower and bird lover in your life!


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Honoring Ellen 8/3/1954-2/11/2018 (Tuesday's Truths WK 163)


Today marks the second anniversary of the passing of my childhood friend, Ellen McConnell Blakeman. Regular readers of this blog may recall her name from previous entries here on Blogger and those who have purchased copies of volume two of my book series, Words In Our Beak might have seen that it has been dedicated to her memory as seen in the image directly above.


Moreover, for those of you who follow my personal Facebook Page you may recall that I posted the picture directly below of her (from the 1970's) when she served as one of the first three female senate pages.

In that FB entry, I state this:

"Here we are six days before the second anniversary of my dearly departed friend, #EllenMcConnellBlakeman.

I have just finished hearing The Democratic Senate Majority Leader, #ChuckSchumer make his closing remarks at the conclusion of #PresidentsTrump's Impeachment trial.

The FIRST ones Schumer thanked were Senate Pages who were only in the early days of their position and found themselves delivering the questions to #ChiefJusticeJohnRoberts.

My thoughts IMMEDIATELY turned to Ellen who one of the first three females to be a senate page. HOW COOL WAS THAT!

I could just picture her sitting there at that time next to the late #SenatorCharlesPercy and wondered what they'd think of the recent impeachment proceedings.

I'd love to phone her right now and talk the way we used to and I admit to having tears in my eyes as I type my FB entry."

Naturally I think of Ellen often but especially at times when I hear about senate pages or discuss my bird book series. She left quite a legacy and may her memory live on through her many talents and charitable works.

Monday, February 10, 2020

National Umbrella Day 2020

Today, February 10, is National Umbrella Day and in honor of the occasion, I'm posting a photo of a figurine holding an umbrella atop this entry.

According to a number of holiday themed sites, including National Today, "the origins of the utilitarian holiday remain a mystery, it’s been celebrated since at least 2004."

Not only does the umbrella help keep us dry from the rain, but it also protects us from the heat of the sun as evidenced in my next picture taken at a beach in Ocean Grove New Jersey nearly eight years ago.

National day goes on to proclaim, "Umbrellas can also be used as a fashion accessory. While the umbrella is primarily practical, they also decorate cocktails. These brightly colored paper umbrellas make for fun party favors especially when visiting sunny locations.

Umbrellas have also found their way into the art world. Their color and shape make sharp silhouettes. They also serve as the canvas for art. In movies, umbrellas play a role, too. For example, they played vital parts in both "Singing in the Rain" in 1952 and in "Mary Poppins" in 1964."

This accessory is not only on my mind at this time due to the holiday, I'm also thinking about umbrellas because it has been raining in NYC for a number of days, including today.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Raising Awareness re NF

Someone associated with a branch related to a Neurofibromatosis (NF) association outside of NY state (midwest) sent me this announcement (seen in the image atop this entry) re an outdoor event taking place in lower Manhattan today.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Valentine's Day Is One Week Away!

Valentine's Day is one week from now! The vintage valentine card seen in the first image is a nice reminder of the importance of the paper card.

Consider sending your "song of love" to your valentine by using my song-bird themed cards (seen here in the next set of images).


Moreover, if you need a gift for your true love, the images on my cards can be rendered on to an array of surfaces for wall art as well as on items for personal use. These are also available in my FAA shop too!

PLUS all of these songbirds are featured in my book series, Words In Our Beak, which make for a special anytime gift but particularly at Valentine's Day!