Good parenting takes many forms but is ultimately measured by the time spent with the bastards.
No escaping that truism.

Son Chris of Seattle, WA, reminded me of the moment I took his sixth-grade class birdwatching.
A memorable time for all concerned.

I did have a penchant for getting my children interested in things I was interested in.
Made it easy.
Space Invaders, (that dates me, emphatically,) Tennis, and Ice Skating were three important of the activities.

But we also enjoyed less impactful activities together, two that come immediately to mind were mushroom picking and bird watching.
Also music. Movies.


Communal interest, communal enjoyment make for great family times.
As opposed to one of the group going along to get along, but hating every minute of whatever you’re doing at the moment.

Sixth-grade Chris came home one day with an invitation to parents to introduce the class to their work; or hobby.
I immediately volunteered a morning birdwatching.

I don’t remember if Chris was pleased or embarrassed by that but the class loved the concept of getting out of school.

We went to the beach for shore birds.
Unlike woodland birds that are constantly flitting so it’s difficult to hold them in the binoculars, shore birds stay put and the telescope brings them up close.
Everyone had a chance to identify the distinguishing marks of mostly common (meaning likely to be seen) birds.
And the kids were attentive.
Although having seen these birds hundreds of times, likely observing them for the first time.
Probably permanently changed the way they looked at birds.

In the event, both the kids and I had a great time.

Parenting moments rock.

Today’s post plays off the birding theme, How did it come about that an inner-city kid took up birdwatching?

This from Sally Chetwynd, also posted on her page in the Web Site section called, Contributing Writers, Sally’s Corner.

Writing as a way of spiritual healing.
Hi, ll

 I subscribe to Tricia Lott Williford's blog.  She's a Christian writer with an interesting take on life and joy. Several years ago, her husband died in her arms after an incredibly brief, sudden, and unexpected illness.  She wrote her way out of that tragedy ("And Life Comes Back"), and has since found a new love, a second husband who adores her and her two little boys. 

Here, she's announcing an upcoming weekend of writing workshops, "The Pen and the Page," in which those attending learn that in writing out memories, hey pull old, unresolved wounds to the surface so they can be processed and healed.

It seems to me to be a useful tool, spiritual or not, to draw out material from life experiences that may have drifted into the dust kitties of our memories, material that may enhance any given scene we might be writing. 


Today is Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my ONE HUNDREDTH!!! consecutive daily posting.

It’s 5.57am and while it is lovely at this moment, by early afternoon we will be experiencing serious rainstorms. Q. Should I follow my usual pattern of mid-morning cappuccino at Thinking Cup’s Newbury St. outdoor café and risk the downpour cutting short my creative work?
It is too delicious a part of my day to forego without a fight.

Right now I’m at my desk.
Dinner is pork ribs.
Rebel Without a Cause" is a 1955 American drama film about eotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. Filmed in the recently introduced CinemaScope format and directed by Nicholas Ray, it offered both social commentary and an alternative to previous films depicting delinquents in urban slum environments.[3][4] The film stars James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood.

The film was a groundbreaking attempt to portray the moral decay of American youth, critique parental style, and explore the differences and conflicts between generations.

The title was adopted from psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner's 1944 book, Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath. The film, however, does not make any references to Lindner's book in any way. Warner Bros. released the film on October 27, 1955.

Over the years, the film has achieved landmark status for the acting of cultural icon James Dean, fresh from his Oscar nominated role in East of Eden and who died before the film's release, in his most celebrated role.

This was the only film during Dean's lifetime in which he received top billing. In 1990, "Rebel Without a Cause" was added to the Library of Congress's National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant".

Today’s Post
When my three sons were small, we had a lovely home on Squaw Island in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod.
Private beaches on one side; a large salt water marsh on the other.
Only nine spaciously homes on the island, including one owned by the then Senator Ted Kennedy and one by Morton Downey (not junior!, for heaven’s sake.)

Living there for two years before it dawned on me that the birds and bird species, resident and transient, were numerous and quite lovely.
The awakening: a vibrating-gold tiny bird alighted on a tree branch six feet in front of me, on the outside of the kitchen window.
What a visually aesthetic moment.
What a connection to the local wildlife.
To our environment.
How many times a day are similar moments occurring to which I am not paying attention?

Off to the bookstore where I found and bought the groundbreaking, seminal “Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America,” by Roger Tory Peterson. For the three people in the US who aren’t aware, Peterson’s work made it easy for lay people to take up birdwatching as a hobby. He won every known award in the areas of natural science, ornithology, and conservation.
He hooked me.
I hooked Toni-Lee, my wife.

So I took the book home (soon after to buy two excellent pairs of 8-power binoculars, de rigueur as tools of the experience,) and sat at our kitchen table with its great window.

That tiny yellow bird again.
Right here.
The binoculars to my eyes, I was treated to a detailed picture of a perfect creature, beautiful, active, and an important introduction to the natural world in which it thrived.

My world, too, the branch, the leaves, the tree, the woods, the seeds.
Neighbors, we.

Heart thumping that it may fly off before I could identify it, I fanned through the sections obviously not pertinent – birds of prey, large water birds – to the sections on warblers and finches, more relatable sizes and colorations, amazed to so quickly find a picture of our bird: a brilliant lemon-yellow with a striking jet-black cap and white rump visible during flight. The female, it said, mostly brown, lighter on the underside with a yellow bib.
Toni-Lee came over and verified the identification.

Immediately after came the bird feeders (after the appropriate research, of course.)
Had to make them squirrel proof.
Unfriendly to the larger woodland birds.
A shout out to brother-in-law Mark, the live-in hunter-carpenter, who installed all such equipment for us.

We discovered that our property was awash in goldfinches, bob whites, pheasants, house wrens, house finch, flickers, hummingbirds, catbirds, kingfishers, Eastern Kingbirds, nuthatches, and so many more, without counting the shorebirds that abounded in the large adjacent marsh.

Next step, we searched and found a plethora of bird watching groups that were happy to have their ranks swelled by the addition of two others.
And to teach us everything they knew.

So born a major hobby for Toni and I.

We spent many mornings on birdwatching walks.
Whenever we traveled we took our binoculars and the local birding guide.

We had a particularly thrilling moment on one of the Caribbean islands, armed with our binoculars and guide, making it to the top of a hill to finds two other birders in place there, a man and a woman.
Of course we all said hello.
The oldish gent nodded to our guidebook and asked how we liked it?
And would we like the author to sign it.
We would and he did.

Birdwatching deserves an entry dealing with the joys of it.
I’ll write one at a later date but certainly would like input.

Post Scripts
Would you like this daily posting to arrive in your mailbox? 
Just send the email address to

Or would you like to comment on a posting? 
Mail the comment to

Or would you like to view the blog?
Existential Auto Trip:

God bless!
Be good.
Be well.
Love you.