Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Kids, Happy Parents, Happy Life

Happy Kids, Happy Parents, Happy Life was the title of the workshop with homeschool educators. It was truly an honor to share some of the strategies I discovered through the years with new parents.

Frankly, the question and answer session that followed was more revealing than I could have imagined. The major struggle for parents is time, or lack of time, as they see it. For me a person who has had to look in depth at time and how I'm always running out of time before my to-do list is done is that I overextend myself.

As a young 20 something, I had come to accept the fact that more often than not, I was late. As hard as I had tried to be on time, time seemed to get the better of me. It was so bad that when I met my then boyfriend, now husband who is chronically early, I had some self examination to do.

Why the man decided my tardiness could be fixed, I don't know. It was clear that I was hard core late. He would be arriving to pick me up for a date. Polite as he was, I saw him pull up in front of the house and I'd scribble a note to come in on the door and jump in the shower. It had come to the point where I was ashamed at my lack of time management skills. Luckily, for me he wasn't offended by my tardiness even as frustrating as it got for him.

Fast forward to three kids under 5 years old and my time crunch as I called really became an impairment. There were days we just didn't go anywhere because I wasn't able to get four people dressed and out the door in time to make play dates.

Suddenly, the pieces fell into place for me. It was all in the preparation. For those of you who are not time challenged, it's a no brainer, but for those of us who aren't so wise, step by step instruction are required... and a watch.

You might call me an optimist because I was always optimistic about how much I could get done in a period of time, always optimistic about traffic and how long it would take to get somewhere, and always optimistic about my kids being blissfully helpful or at least compliant when it came to getting in the car. Thankfully, I'm not the only mom with this affliction but there came a time when I decided that my lack of time management was setting a poor example for my kids.

That was the day I decided to change. It all became clear that I needed to be at least a realist, if not a pessimist when it came to time. By changing this point of view, changing from leaving 30 minutes to get ready to leave, I would plan an exit strategy an hour ahead. For special events, preparation began the night before.

An amazing thing happened, I started to be on time, and sometimes, although not often, early. It felt weird to be early, good but weird.

Since that realization, I've come to the conclusion that optimistic tardiness is in the DNA. Thankfully, my husband contributed the arriving early gene. So with three kids, they naturally present at each point of the spectrum: one is naturally early, one is naturally on time and one is naturally tardy. For the optimistic tardy child, I've been able to offer sympathy and strategies to overcome lateness.

Encouraging other parents to overcome difficulties is such a rewarding experience. I now look at my trial as a blessing so I could share solution strategies with parents who realize being on time doesn't have to be traumatic but a pleasant experience for everyone.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Box Canyon

1950s Cowboy TV shows often used the Box Canyon area as a backdrop. The dry brush and boulders were so much like the descriptions given by Zane Grey or Louis L'Amour, it was the perfect location, just an hour from Hollywood. These are the boulders seen on Gunsmoke and Bonanza.

The topography hasn't changed much despite the fire that clears the canyon once every ten years or so. Old trees wear the scars of past fires, tell the tale of survival.

Hardly barren, the area is full of life including mice, snakes, birds, squirrels and coyotes. The common trait of all these creatures, they are survivors.

This was one of the places my friends and I visited in our teen years. The stories of the haunted caves drew us from a few towns away. The caves were near the location of a plane crash that killed more than 30 people. They were also the home to members of the Manson family during the late 1960s. These caves were a source of youthful anxiety and many a 'dare you' statements.

Years after leaving the area, an occasion brought me back. It was nice to see our goat trials turned into wide hiking trails. Signs warn hikers not to play with the snakes. Small parking lots along the road provide safe places to park and serve as base to zealous hikers.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dr. George C Clark's House

Dr. George Crook Clark built his home in Fullerton in 1894. The Eastlake Victorian cottage was home to the Clark family for over fifty years. He and his wife Edith were young and new to the community. It is likely that the doctor’s wife was as instrumental in the community as was her husband.

Arboretum gardeners have added medicine and flower gardens around the house, as were common in the Victorian Age.  Additional buildings and arbors frame the cottage for a romantic look at a Victorian doctor’s life.

Records do show that Dr. George C Clark set up his medical practice in the 1890s becoming the local physician for a burgeoning western community. During his practice of over 60 years, he personally delivered more than 2,500 new residents to Fullerton.

Dr. Clark was not only involved with the community as the town doctor but also in civic matters. He was instrumental in Fullerton’s incorporation and was a member of the city council.

The Clark house and doctor’s office is preserved by generous community contributions. Known as the Heritage House, the doctor’s home and office sits on its new site at the Fullerton Arboretum. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wild Bill Hickock

James Butler Hickok, better known as Wild Bill Hickok became legendary during his lifetime. He was a Union spy, scout, sheriff, gambler and gunfighter.

Born May 27, 1837 on a farm in Illinois, he started working as a stage coach driver at 18. The job took him out West where he worked as a lawman in Kansas and Nebraska. He joined the Union Army during the Civil War becoming a spy in Missouri.

After the war, Hickok returned to his vocation as a lawman. During the course of his duty he killed several men. Additionally, he was involved in other gunfights. In each trial he was acquitted.
Hickok was known for his quick draw in a gun fight. He used what is known as a cavalry draw. The holster hangs reversed with the butt of the gun facing forward. With a twist of the wrist while pulling the gun the pistoleer is ready in a split second. He wore the same guns from 1869 until his death. The guns were ivory handled Colt 1851 .36 Navy Model pistols. His revolvers were engraved J B Hickok.

According to American Legend Martha Jane Cannary also known as Calamity Jane, the two were married after they met in Fort Laramie. Although there is no documentation of the marriage, Calamity Jane confirmed their marriage in a newspaper article in the 1890s. She said she divorced Bill Hickok so he could marry Alice Lake.

Wild Bill was a part of an exclusive group of frontiersmen who became the heroes of dime novels. Hickok along with his friends, Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane represent the mythic individualist of the American West.

Hickok was murdered on August 2, 1876 while playing cards at a Saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. In his hand were Aces & Eights. He was 39.