It’s curious how events often come together in a strangely synchronic manner. We had spent two months over the summer looking for a vacation home so we could be nearer to Deanna and Al and what struck me most about them each time we went touring, was their Craftsman charm, high prices (ouch), and most of all the brilliant sunlight they enjoy, literally pouring into each space. For people who have had apartments/co-ops in New York City, you know how valuable (and pricey) light and air are there. In Southern California, it comes baked in to the atmosphere, if you’ll allow me to mix images.
Consequently, I referred to the whole experience as one dictated by the sun, that great ball of fire that seems to be a permanent fixture of every outdoor and indoor space. This is partially due to California’s golden climate and in part the result of global warming. Whatever the cause, it is here to stay.
At the same time, I began a new project working on questionnaires for parents who have ‘explosive’ children, those who have combustible personalities as a result of one or more in a range of mood disorders. In the past we may have thought of these kids as “brats”, whose personalities were permitted to run wild. They were “out of control”, “undisciplined”, little “tyrants”. Or so it was assumed.
Now we know that these are children who have difficulty processing information and change. They are easily frustrated and act out, as their ability to deal with stressful (to them) situations deteriorates and they lash out in what is really a cry for help. We need to radically rearrange our thinking about and approach to this potentially deadly syndrome.
That made me think about how dramatically child-rearing has changed in the more progressive parts of the country. When most of us were growing up, parents routinely barked orders for which non-compliance brought punishment. The latest thinking in child development psychology is that punishment does not produce learning but only short term benefits with long term deficits.
Another thing I learned long ago, when I was in school earning my first of degree in what used to be called “special education” (in my case, for emotionally disturbed children — now referred to differently, more along the lines of those with emotional needs), is that all teachers should receive more training in child psychology and development. If they did, they would all be better equipped to accept and manage children in the regular classroom whose maturation is delayed in a number of areas (cognitive, emotional, physical, mental, etc.).
Rather than treat them as if they were defiant delinquents, we now realize they have a condition akin to any other syndrome that may afflict any of us from birth, like poor eyesight or impeded motor skills. These kinds of anomalies require extra care and can be managed so these children eventually catch up to and function among their peers who do not have these particular challenges.
Instead of barking harsh commands and enacting extreme disciplinary measures, the best practices approach now is to calm and reassure them to diffuse the impending explosion or blow up and then engage them in a safe verbal exchange that aims to bring their ideas into the situation in a cooperative, collaborative way. These are children who know what is expected of them by parents, teachers or peers and want to please, but whose short fuse leads to a temporary deterioration of reasoning that makes any attempt to “reach” them virtually impossible. Best to avoid getting them to the trigger point by picking battles (not sweating the small stuff) and concentrating on the most important behaviors that they will need to master to be fully functioning in society now and in the future.
Anyway, this is more than you probably wanted to know about my work, but it did seem appropriate to go along with the explosive and fiery nature of the sun this past summer while we were looking for our getaway place. There must be a joint lesson in all this for me — but one thing it has done is caused me to look at my own nature, the corners where my anger demons dwell and to consider the value of getting things out of the shadows, into the bright light for examination. I determined, through both the process of “owning” my time in California, hot and alien though it may be to this East Coaster, and looking at the areas in which I am inflexible/intransigent and at times combative, that the approach educators and therapists are now taking to these volatile human beings, is the one we should all take all the time with everyone. This is especially important right now with all this dark toxicity interfering with our collective sense of peace and security.
We would be a much happier, sunnier society. Just a thought or two and a work in progress, like everything else I embark upon.
Images: Chez BeBe assets/San Diego
By the way, please read today’s post from my friend Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, on children with ADHD and suicide. Madelyn’s entire site is devoted to research and therapy in this field and provides invaluable information, resources and commentary.
You will be gratified to see that this is not a wordy post, for a change because this has been a frenzied two weeks and the rest of the year portends to be no less harried.
Time for updates. Autumn has finally arrived in Los Angeles, more or less. We had a scorching summer and the utility bills to match. Ouch. But, finally, we will be in a six month mild period of sorts and not a day too soon for this cold-weather afficionada.
This weekend I am heading down to our new second home, first to our cottage and then to my Aunt’s and finally to stay with Al and Deanna while they welcome a new addition to their household.
Whenever I am able to be on the ocean, I feel at home because that’s where I grew up, both in NYC and at the Jersey Shore. As many of you know, when Geoffrey and I first moved to California as newlyweds, we also lived on the beach, so taking my morning coffee out to watch the waves and my evening tea to see the sunset, is something I have done all my life. For some reason, in San Diego in particular, the sunset lights up the western sky like a huge beeswax candle. It is really exceptional. Perhaps it is because the air is so clean.
These photographs were taken on the last trip we took down to get our second household set up. It is still a work in progress as we don’t have time to be there together for long stretches. This month, Geoff is holding down the fort in LA, while I get two weeks change of pace that will I am sure include lots of photography, shopping, eating, and basically relaxing — at least that’s the plan.
There isn’t much news in our neck of the woods. At the end of October we will make our annual rounds up here taking pictures of the beautiful Halloween ornamentation that people do who have the time, creativity and money to celebrate autumn, the real Oktoberfest.
After that, I have in mind to show you all another lovely Northern LA community and then, our neighborhood at the winter holidays, as I do every year.
Thank you all for stopping and reading. Bear with me as my next post may be late, since my schedule is now in the hands of mother nature. 😀
Images: ChezBeBe assets/La Jolla, California
Not being one to shrink from taking on too much and this being an incredibly busy time for me, I chose a place that I think may be the other perfect state to visit when you just want to see the leaves turn but you don’t want to shiver doing it. That state is North Carolina.
I can speak about it in an intimate way because I have been to North Carolina more a dozen times in the past decade or so. My mother’s extended family is populated with physicians, so I have aunts, uncles and cousins who are doctors practicing up and down the East Coast. There is a cluster in the Research Triangle, comprised of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
So, whenever Geoff and I want a change of scenery, going from parched to quenched, we head to visit my family in the Tar Heel State. Most of them moved there from England or the Northeast, but now consider themselves local natives and that has made it possible for us to travel all over the south, from their jumping off point and appreciate the beauty of that little region that encompasses Virginia, Georgia, South and North Carolina.
Growing up I had only passed through or flown over them on our way to my parents’ condo in Boca Raton. I really missed a lot, but I suspect that the North Carolina of today, bears less resemblance to that state of a few decades ago. I am glad I waited. It really is up and coming in an exciting and unique, yet familiar way.
My cousin Hallie and her husband Mike are pathologists and chose North Carolina for its famous scientific community of young, progressive, professionals. They also loved its reasonable costs of living. A house in North Carolina, even in the metropolitan areas costs about 20 percent of its equivalent in the North East or California. They have a beautiful sprawling house on 20 wooded acres of paradise, three seasons of the year.
The winters are mild, even when it snows, in North Carolina. Spring sees a burst of life, due to rich fertile established loamy soil, regular rainfall and warm temperatures. If you want a temperate four-season climate, this is the closest I have seen to perfection. There is only one brutal month: August. Literally, stepping outside on a sunny August day you had better just wear a towel, it is a veritable Turkish bath. The first time I spent August in North Carolina, the humidity hit me like a wall, it was shocking.
And, along with that comes mosquitoes, a particular concern right about now, until the state perfects a program to eradicate them. To make matters worse, gullies or culverts run in front of almost every residential street, presumably to direct overflow during tropical rainstorms. They present all kinds of hazards, including for drivers who often drive right into them inadvertently when the roads are slick with snow or flooded.
There is something else to mention, lest you consider living in North Carolina. If you are a fierce progressive, you might have to adopt some mental and political flexibility, as the state is undergoing rebirthing pains. For those of you who know the American South, you will understand the tug of war going on right now for the hearts and minds of millennials seeking the 21st century even in rural southern states. I don’t want to delve into it too much, but the struggle is ongoing as the state emerges from a chrysalis of tradition that has a three hundred year history.
Never mind that. North Carolina is fairly bursting with things to do. The most exciting gourmet and ethnic eateries, bakeries, cafes, coffee houses are on almost every block in Downtown Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. I hope to mention a few of them as I work on this seasonal sticky-post this fall. It may take me awhile to list all my favorites, but I will consider this particular post to be ongoing and a real-time travelogue. Bear with me on this.
Meanwhile, I am putting these pictures here so you get an idea of why this is a place you should consider for a vacation, three seasons of the year (unless you need an all over body-sweat, LOL) and perhaps a place in which to buy vacation property or your retirement home. You had better hurry though, it can’t stay this affordable forever.
While I am thinking about it, I will probably not list any hotels or B&Bs as I usually do. These days, more and more, the way to do this is by snagging an Air B&B and using Uber to get around, if you don’t want to drive or rent a car. There is no better way to “live” your vacation than through a home for lease, including a Vacation Rental By Owner, aka VRBO.
So, this is my test case for an evolving seasonal travel post — stop back periodically. More is coming.
Welcome Autumn 2016!!
Images: Chez BeBe assets /North Carolina in three seasons