Something that I make sure to ask about on my next community theater gig:

TOM MOORE: I put the blame squarely on the Nederlanders. I don’t think Jimmy Sr. had any fondness for [1981’s Frankenstein]. And Woman of the Year was waiting in the wings.

VICTOR GIALANELLA: Lauren Bacall had done Applause at the Palace, and her dressing room still had the paint color she had wanted.

Walker Nature Center

Staying close to home, I walked over to Reston’s Walker Nature Center, past the high school and the mini-mall with the Domino’s and 7-Eleven. A crossing over Snakeden Run was not passable after yesterday’s rain—too muddy/slippery across the new weir.

The center’s trails are not well-marked, but the place is small enough that you can’t get lost. Not too many folks out in the woods on this unseasonably pleasant day. Pretty much our usual winter birds in the suburbs. Spotted a likely Hermit Thrush, a couple Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis), a teed-up Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus). Coming the back way to the high school (RA’s maps really need an update in this patch), I heard a Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) vocalization I’d not heard before, and got a quick photo of a Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), just to boost my iNaturalist species count.

The year in review, 2020

The usual preoccupations. The first sentence (more or less) of the first post for the last twelve months:

  • 12 January: I’m going to try Musicology Duck’s Listen Wider Challenge 2020.
  • 3 February: I returned to Florida for the first time in far too many years for my first SCBWF.
  • 2 March: First week of nest box monitoring.
  • 5 April: Virginia state parks are still open for day use!
  • 3 May: A new non-native wasp has been spotted in the Pacific Northwest, Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia).
  • 6 June: At my desk away from my desk, 12 weeks since we started working remotely full-time.
  • 3 July: 51 murals promoting our 51st state.
  • 3 August: “To say that [the revival of evangelical Christianity in the 1820s] marked a turn away from the spirit of the nation’s founding is to wildly understate the case.”
  • 5 September: Look what popped up in a bare patch in my weedy back yard: two sprigs of Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata).
  • 12 October: Mikaela Lefrak of WAMU is releasing a six-part podcast on the fight for Washington, D.C. residents to be fully enfranchised and empowered to run their own government.
  • 1 November: “In my junior year I presented a skit at the Press Club Vod based on the idea of how closely allied jazz dancing was to the jungle.”
  • 8 December: “It was recently discovered, for example, that good tobacco crops depend, for some unknown reason, on the preconditioning of the soil by wild ragweed.”

The year in review:

My year in hikes and field trips, 2020

Oh, dear. I managed to visit one new state park (with my spiffy new annual parking pass). But a minor injury in August piled on to other restrictions leads to a puny list this year:

A few early work trips to my home park, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Va.

The Mason and Bailey Club did not meet this year.

My year in cities, 2020

Likewise, I got one road trip in before we all went home. No Turkey Day dinner at Charlie’s this year, alas.

Overnight stays in 2020:

My year in contributions, 2020

There not much time before the window closes on tax-deductible contributions for the year. What organizations are worthy of support? Consider this list as some recommendations from me.

These are the groups and projects to which I gave coin (generally tax-deductible), property, and/or effort in 2020. Limited travel and in-person work this year, so my out-of-pocket expenses were down. But, thanks to a mini-windfall, I was able to surge my dollar contributions and generally bump up contribution levels.

On deck: 20

Bookshelf December 2020 1/2Bookshelf December 2020 2/2Diminished by a year of no book exchanges, no visits to the ARC shelf at work, no used book sales, and judicious avoidance of booksellers; augmented by a couple of thoughtful holiday gifts from friends—I’ve reduced the three boxes plus shelf to one box plus shelf.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m not reading that much more these days. I have set aside what was my morning commute time for reading. But evening commute time has evaporated into reading the news and wondering what to stream for the evening. Reading at home, as opposed to reading on the train, is more conducive to material like Chris Ware and books that require flipping back to a reference book. I have picked up a collection of French short stories with English parallel texts that had languished for a while.

Memory work

Casting calls can be miserable. But, in the 17th century, Nathaniel Giles pushed into really bad behavior: he and Henry Evans, exercising a royal warrant, illicitly kidnapped children to perform at Evans’ Blackfriars Theater. They snatched thirteen-year-old Thomas Clifton off the street,

… handed the boy a script and threatened him with a beating if he didn’t learn his lines.

Lost Mountain loop

Another trip to Sky Meadows State Park, but this time to east side of U.S. 17, the Lost Mountain side. I set out from the Turner Pond parking area—I was one car too late to park in the nearer parking area.

The Rolling Meadows Trail is just what it says: some gentle ups and downs around grasslands. One field was being grazed. Once you clear the first ridge, traffic noise from the highway is somewhat muffled. And indeed I was listening more than looking today.

Best bird of the walk was a Brown Creeper (Certhia americana). If he was talking, I didn’t hear those top notes. I did see and hear a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).

I saw as many mounted travelers as walkers. Equally friendly.

aren't we a pair?There is an unnamed tributary of Gap Run that you have to ford going and coming on the Rolling Meadows Trail. The Washington’s Ridge Trail is scored ◆ Difficult by the park’s trail guide, but it’s barely a ■ Moderate.

About 3 miles, 40 meters elevation change, 2:30, via Corporal Morgan, Rolling Meadows, and Washington’s Ridge Trails.

I found a smidgen of Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron). And I made the acquaintance of Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus), which was running all over the place. The Flora of Virginia gives it a *?.