Santa Barbara, California

 

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Whether you enjoy hiking, fine-dining, water sports, lazing on the beach, culture, or a great night-life, Santa Barbara has something for you. We certainly went from the very sublime at the Botanic Garden to the crazy but wonderful Summer Solstice Parade!

Santa Barbara is sometimes referred to as the American Riviera. Its beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and colorful culture make Santa Barbara a premier location.

Santa Barbara is a 2-hour drive north from Los Angeles or a short hop from any corner of the world via the Santa Barbara airport. Santa Barbara’s harbor is home to the world famous Stearns Wharf, a great destination for the entire family. Visiting the zoological gardens makes for a great family day-trip.

 

With sweeping views to the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and stunning landscapes, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a great place to explore California’s native plant diversity.The Garden’s 78 acres encompass a variety of cultivated displays as well as stands of natural coast live oak and riparian woodlands. We saw redwoods,woodpeckers,beautiful plants and views from almost every corner.

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The next day we went to the Summer Solstice Parade. What a riot!

Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974, as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named Michael Gonzales. In subsequent years, their parade joined forces with a Summer Solstice Music Festival coordinated by Michael Felcher, sponsored by The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, staged at the Sunken Gardens to celebrate the longest day of year.

The Parade and Festival is the largest arts event in Santa Barbara County, drawing crowds of over 100,000 spectators from around the world.

The Summer Solstice Celebration has evolved into creative and original display of floats, giant puppets, whimsical costumes and masks of more than 1,000 parade participants. There is dancing, music, drumming and drama that is fascinating to watch!

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Play Ball!

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Yesterday a good friend(who is from Boston so most photos are Red Sox related!) went to the Baseball Exhibit at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley,CA and reported it was quite amazing. A treasure trove of the most rare baseball memorabilia, all one person’s personal collection. (Anonymous). There are a few different hand quilted wall hangings/bedspreads that are incredible… one of the pictures shown above has hundreds of “autographed baseballs”; the woman sent the cloth to all of the players for their signatures and then she embroidered over them in very fine thread. She hand appliquéd the portraits as well. I can’t begin to imagine how long it took!

One piece of trivia learned: in order to sign 19 year old George Ruth to his first contract, in Baltimore, the team manager had to adopt him. The other players starting referring to him as the manager’s “new babe”….hence the name!

The exhibit  opened on April 4th and will close on September 4th,2014.

Just Sit Right Back…..

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Russell Johnson, the actor whose genius Professor Roy Hinkley was always one coconut away from inventing a way off “Gilligan’s Island,” has died this week of natural causes. He was 89.

Dawn Wells, who played fellow castaway Mary Ann, said her friend passed away this morning after being in hospice for a short period of time.

“Russell was 100 percent a gentleman,” she told “The Insider.” “A genuine, dear, wonderful man.”

The Professor’s backstory identifies him as a high school science teacher who was born in Cleveland. His principal expertise was as a botanist, whose purpose in joining the ill-fated voyage that stranded the castaways was to write a book to be titled Fun With Ferns. His main function on the show was to devise many ways for the castaways to live more comfortably on the island. Many of his inventions (including a method for recharging the batteries in the ubiquitous radio) utilized coconuts and bamboo, both of which were in plentiful supply. Aside from his proficiency in science, he was also adept and well-versed in law,literature, social sciences, and the arts. Besides a list of degrees from various schools he provides in one episode, little was ever learned about his past and nothing was ever learned about his family. In several episodes there are brief remarks on his past: in the pilot he is described as a research scientist and “well-known scoutmaster”; in another when a big game hunter comes to the Island and asks the Professor what sports he took, the answer is “chess club”; after kissing Ginger for a prolonged period (during filming of a silent movie) he claims to be a “scuba diver”; in another when the castaways try to recreate who killed “Randolph Blake”, the Professor threatens to “…cancel his subscription to the Science Quarterly“.

The Professor was portrayed as the most neutral and level-headed character. He usually displayed more patience with Gilligan than the other castaways, and was often called upon to settle disputes. As a result, he often served as the leader of the castaways whom the others respected because of his great store of knowledge, although the castaways rarely mentioned this. For unexplained reasons—possibly for research purposes in writing his book (although titled Fun with Ferns, ferns may not have been its sole topic)—the Professor brought a large number of books on diverse subjects  on a three hour pleasure-cruise in Hawaii. On many occasions, he conveniently pulls out a book which has exactly the facts needed to fix or explain a particular problem they are having. In several episodes electric power for phonographs or washing machines is generated by employing someone (usually Gilligan) to manually pedal, or turn, a pulley, which the Professor has engineered.

A running joke about the Professor was his ability to build anything from coconuts and bamboo, yet he was somehow unable to create a raft or other means to leave the island. This was parodied in the sitcom Roseanne, when one of the characters playing The Professor stated after they crashed, “This hole on the boat defies all of my advanced knowledge. To fix it would be impossible…now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go create explosive fillings out of sand.”  Also, in “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s song “Isle Thing” (a parody of Tone Lōc‘s “Wild Thing“), he sings: “She said ‘That guy’s a genius’/I shook my head and laughed/’If he’s so fly/then tell me why/he couldn’t build a lousy raft?'”

In an interview with Larry KingBob Denver explained that the Professor simply “had no talent for boat-building.” This is the logical answer, since the island was stated to be 1000 miles from civilization, and an inexpert repair would be risky on such a long journey. Furthermore, in an early episode, “Goodbye Island”, he attempts to do so with a native tree syrup, which proves a disastrous failure that results in the boat being completely destroyed. (Also, earlier in the series, Gilligan and Skipper built a raft in order to sail for help, however it was revealed that the island was near a shark-filled area that made such a journey too dangerous for anything other than an actual boat or rubber raft.)

(excerpts from NY Daily News and Wikipedia)

Addition to Santa Time in Santa Barbara

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 This just came in from one of my readers:
I just saw your blog for today and thought you might like a Montecito follow up. On Sundays, there is a thing called Santa Barbara Cars and Coffee where people drive into town (actually downtown Montecito) in their vintage and/or high end cars. They then get themselves some coffee and admire each others cars. Last weekend was the second annual Chicken Run; the vintage fire truck, all decked out for Christmas, is filled with frozen chickens. The truck leads the way and there is a procession of all the cars to Hope Shoppe where the chickens are then distributed to needy families.

 

Santa Time in Santa Barbara

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We have been hammered with snow this past week in Boston so around here it looks pretty ready for Christmas. I started wondering what it looks like where it is warmer and more tropical so I asked my sister-in-law to send me pictures of Santa Barbara. From the palm trees that are decorated,to the creche in front of the Mission, to the lobby at the Biltmore Hotel, to the flags on State Street ,to the trains set up at the library,to even the Buddha ,they look ready for Santa as well!

Using Music As A Teaching Tool For Kids

This is an article about my brother!! :

Using Music as a Teaching Tool for Kids“There may be no more powerful method of learning than through music, and no more important lessons for children than those that focus on character and social and emotional skills,” according to clinical psychologist and author Don MacMannis, Ph.D.

MacMannis is the clinical director of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara and a music director and songwriter for the PBS hit animated children’s series “Jay Jay the Jet Plane.”

He’s developed over 40 songs in a variety of genres that help kids with everything from being assertive to managing their feelings to respecting others to understanding responsibility. Both kids and adults provide the vocals, and lyrics are packed with positive, empowering messages.

 

For instance, the song “Go Away Bad Thoughts,” written in a country-western style, teaches kids that they don’t have to believe their negative thoughts. Here’s an excerpt:

So I walked outside to see if I could hide from my bad thoughts,

Then everything I tried, including when I cried, left me bad thoughts.

‘Cause all I was thinking was “poor poor me.”

Everything’s bad ’til there’s more for me.

He got all the luck, and here I am stuck with my bad thoughts, bad thoughts.

 

No need to get riled up instead of havin’ fun, and no need to dial up 911.

If you want to get those thoughts to end, yell out twice then yell it again…

 

Go away bad thoughts, go away bad thoughts,

Go away bad thoughts, go away.

 

Go away bad thoughts, get outta my head.

I want to have a good day instead.

So scram, get out, be gone, vamoose.

I’m takin’ over and I’m cookin’ your goose!

Research has found that these songs and accompanying activities have a positive effect on kids’ school performance, social relationships and conflict resolution.

Specifically, the study involved 320 first- and second-grade students from 16 classrooms in Santa Barbara and Goleta, Calif. schools. Kids were given a CD, and then received nine lessons using songs and activities from trained college students. The themes were:

  1. Friendship and Reaching Out
  2. Respect and Caring
  3. Celebrating Differences
  4. Expressing and Managing Feelings
  5. Communication and Conflict
  6. Positive Thinking
  7. Dealing with Fears
  8. Best Effort
  9. Manners and Review

To test the intervention’s efficacy, teachers completed the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) for each child four times in one year along with other assessments about the classroom. The college students who taught the lessons, the school’s principal and the children’s parents all provided feedback as well.

Both first and second graders showed a variety of improvements, including “approaching peers, using effective tools with teasing and bullying, understanding and using the Golden Rule, resolving conflicts by talking out feelings, staying on task [and] having a positive attitude,” according to MacMannis. Second graders also “showed improvements with concentration and self-control.”

Music is a valuable teaching tool. It makes complex concepts more accessible and enjoyable. It facilitates language learning. Upbeat or uplifting music also may enhance cognitive abilities.

Music appears to light up various regions of the brain related to language, hearing and motor control, MacMannis said. When listening to songs we tend to compare new images with past memories, which involves the association cortex, he said. “And elements of musical surprise activate the cerebellum.”

Music also is highly pleasurable and sustains our attention. This is especially interesting because music has no biological value and shares no similarities with other pleasurable stimuli.

As authors of this study point out, “…there are no direct functional similarities between music and other pleasure-producing stimuli: it has no clearly established biological value (cf., food, love, and sex), no tangible basis (cf., pharmacological drugs and monetary rewards), and no known addictive properties (cf., gambling and nicotine). Despite this, music is consistently ranked amongst the top ten things that individuals find highly pleasurable, and it plays a ubiquitous and important role in most people’s lives.”

“Pleasurable experiences with songs involve brain circuitry associated with pleasure, reward, and emotion, such as the ventral striatum, midbrain, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventral medial prefrontal cortex,” MacMannis said.

Music is a great way to engage your kids in powerful lessons, such as teaching them social and emotional skills. As a recent meta-anaylsis found, these skills help boost academic performance; improve problem-solving and decision-making; and reduce conduct problems and emotional distress.

Of course, these skills are pretty important for adulthood, too.

Further Reading

This excerpt features additional information on how music enhances learning.

Learn more about MacMannis’s powerful music for kids at hiswebsite. Sign up, and receive free learning activities and a free song every month. Also, check out his parenting blog on Psych Central, which is co-written with his wife Debra Manchester MacMannis, MSW, a psychotherapist and co-author of their book How’s Your Family Really Doing?

 

Extroverts and Introverts

This is a topic I find very interesting-my whole family is such a mix of both introverts and extroverts! My sister-in-law Deb wrote this for her blog-thought I would share it.She and my brother own and run the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara, CA.

hearttt“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” -Audrey Hepburn

Sam and Heather arrive in marriage counseling discouraged, frustrated, and at wits’ end with one another. Heather feels like Sam has abandoned her, preferring to spend time with his friends than to be home. Sam feels like Heather doesn’t love him any more. He complains that she never talks to him about what she is feeling, and that she spends hours reading books or on the computer. They used to be happy. They wonder out loud about what has gone wrong.

Although there could certainly be many reasons for this couple’s problems, as I got to know them better, it became obvious to me–and to them–that most of their problems stemmed from a crucial difference between them. Sam is a classic extrovert and Heather an introvert. Can their marriage still work out?

Common Myths About Extroverts and Introvertsfile591303253587

Originally coined by Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and contemporary of Sigmund Freud, these words have become part of everyday language and, unfortunately, have become quite lost in translation. Most people think that all extroverts are outgoing and all introverts are shy. The truth is more complicated.

Myth #1: You are either an extrovert or an introvert. Reality: Most people lean in one direction or the other, but other folks are almost half and half (sometimes called omniverts). Like any psychological tendency, a person can be mildly extroverted or extremely so.

Myth#2: Introverts are shy, anti-social hermits. Extroverts are friendly, outgoing and the life of the party. Reality: Many famous actors and comedians are self-reported introverts. Think of Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks. Clearly these introverted celebrities have extraordinary social skills and know how to be the life of the party. Conversely, extroverts can be socially awkward and don’t require center stage to be happy.

file000115914088Myth #3: Introverts always want to be alone, and extroverts always want to be with others. Reality: most everyone wants and flourishes in a life with a balance of time spent with others and time spent alone.

Myth #4: You can change what type you are if you really want to. Reality: We now know that this is one of the aspects of a person’s temperament that has inborn tendencies. What people can learn is to develop better social skills such as healthy communication, listening, empathy, and self-disclosure. These skills are helpful to both introverts and extroverts.

Myth #5: It is better to be one type rather than the other. Reality: Each type has strengths and weaknesses, and can be found in all lines of work.When you understand the types, you can more readily appreciate differences between you and people closest to you in your life such as partners, children, friends and co-workers.

The Psychological Distinction Between Extroversion and IntroversionYing Yang Garden Stone

Now that you understand that everyone spends time “extroverting” and “introverting,” what is the real difference? Here is what Jung really meant and what tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Gray-Wheelwright, and Keirsey Temperament Sorter are measuring. (Note: All these tests measure other dimensions as well such as Thinking vs. Feeling, not covered in this blog).

1. What is your natural preference for where to direct your time, attention and energy? Think about choices you make effortlessly, that feel comfortable and natural–not what you think you are supposed to do. Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (extravert), or in your inner world of ideas and images (introvert)? Do you often think while you speak (extravert) or typically think before you speak (introvert)?

2. What kinds of activities provide you with energy, helping you to recharge your battery? Imagine you have a job where you work with lots of people or you have just been at a social gathering, do you feel energized (extravert) or do you need to spend quiet alone time to feel refreshed (introvert)? Conversely, when you spend time all alone, do you get bored and drained (extrovert) or do you feel refreshed and ready to be with people again (introvert)?

How Does Knowing This Help Your Marriage?file6881303933013

Let’s go back to Sam and Heather…By learning and swapping stories about their differences, Sam and Heather realized that they had been drawn together originally because of the very differences that were now causing them trouble. Heather had fallen in love with Sam’s openness, and appreciated that he encouraged her to make new friends and do things that she had never done before. Being with Heather, Sam had learned to reflect more about his ideas and behavior which had kept him out of trouble on a number of occasions.

Once they both realized that their partner’s behavior was a natural reflection of personality, they stopped taking each other’s differences so personally. They also stopped being so judgmental and critical of the other. They gave each other more space to engage in the activities that they now understood were healthy outlets, albeit different. They also began to think of other family members in a more forgiving light, realizing they had been making judgments without taking into account how introverts and extroverts were hiding in their midst.