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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

April 5, 2013


Our Brains and Fiction

Suki: Recycling Reality

Science with Christine: Habitual Hibernators

She is Someone's Daughter... or Mother...

This Week
Living History Days in San Juan Bautista
Click to view our Business Directory
 

(Photos General) ConorReadingtoCaryn.jpgI've come across some articles (scroll down) that justify reading fiction.  These articles are especially gratifying because a close friend accurately accuses me of always having my nose in a book.  Actually it's my imagination that is fully engaged with characters, their personalities and challenges!  I freely admit to escapism with fiction and have learned a lot from my fictional heroines and heroes.  Pictured is my nephew with his 5 month old daughter, reading of course, just like all Santa Cruz parents and babies! Keep the children reading! 

April is full of promise: spring, showers, flowers, welcoming events. Click here to get a preview of April family events.   Our local state parks have introduced some new events.  It's an especially good time to see and learn about wildflowers or perhaps you would enjoy Horse Tails with Bellarose the Horse!

Save April 27 for this spectacular local camping event:  Little Basin Camping Festival from 11-4 p.m.  It's WOLF School's 2nd Annual "This Land is Your Land" Camping and Recreation Festival. This festival is quickly becoming a tradition in celebrating camping recreation, and the great outdoors. This year's festival will include interpretive hikes, tours, family activities, games, art, live music, outdoor classes and demonstrations, educational booths, and vendors. A great day for kids and people of all ages, attend for the day, or reserve a campsite for the weekend! The festival is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Spend a night under the stars and towering redwoods of Little Basin; make memories that last a lifetime.

Suki recycles, but after a trip to the dump she really gets into recycling and challenges us to do more. Christine comes up with a whimsical wish after studying hibernation.  If you've never tasted pickled kelp you're in for a delicious surprise when you and the family take a kelp gathering and pickling class with Dennis of Adventure SportsLorraine Pursell is coming to town.  If you would like to bully-proof your child for the 21st century, go to one of her upcoming talks, Raising Your Resilient Child for Life!

Happy Easter,  Parmalee

 
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April 20 - Get more information.

  Our Brains and Fiction
Your Brain on Fiction by Annie Murphy Paul

Amid the squawks and pings of our digital devices, the old-fashioned virtues of reading novels can seem faded, even futile. But new support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience.

Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.

Researchers have long known that the "classical" language regions, like Broca's area and Wernicke's area, are involved in how the brain interprets written words. What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like "lavender," "cinnamon" and "soap," for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells.... Read more!>>>

The Fiction Effect by Annie Murphy Paul

Linda Carroll writes on MSNBC: "Researchers have found that when you lose yourself in a work of fiction, your behavior and thoughts can metamorphose to match those of your favorite character, according to the study published early online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers believe that fictional characters can change us for the good.


So, if you bonded with Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird,' you might become more focused on ethical behavior, says the study's lead author, Geoff Kaufman, a post-doctoral researcher at Tiltfactor Laboratories at Dartmouth College. But the fiction-effect can have a dark side. "Think of "American Psycho,'" Kaufman says. "The character is very likable and charismatic. But he's a serial killer. To the extent that you connect with him, you may try to understand or justify the actions he's committing.'  Read more>>>

Annie Murphy Paul is the author of the forthcoming book Brilliant: The New Science of Smart. Visit her website and sign up for her monthly newsletter.

 

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  Suki: Recycling Reality

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Last week I went on a fieldtrip with our homeschool group that was a real eye opener. I'd always been told that taking your kids on a fieldtrip to the dump is a great experience, and now I know why.

To set the stage, I should describe our family's relationship to garbage: We are, I would guess, on the more vigilant side when it comes to recycling. We recycle everything that we can, and try to keep up with what our garbage collection facility will take. We are careful to dispose of potentially hazardous waste, like batteries and used electronics, in the best manner. When we go shopping for food, I point out to the kids when something they want to buy is overpackaged in a wasteful way.

I would say, however, that I'm a bigger fan of reusing and using renewable resources than recycling. Although some recycling makes a lot of sense, we could make even bigger changes that would have a much more beneficial effect on the world. In our family, we buy a lot of what we eat in bulk using reusable containers. We started using reusable grocery bags years ago, before our local bag laws were even being debated. It took a little bit of forced reprogramming, because I kept forgetting the bags that I was keeping in the car, but at this point, grabbing bags on the way into a store is so second-nature I don't even think about it. I even buy clothing and hardware with reusable bags.

But despite the preceding two paragraphs, I've always known that my family could do better. I have never entertained the idea of living completely waste-free as some friends of mine are attempting, but I have watched our habits and considered what we how we could improve what we're doing.
Our kids lined up in front of a few day's worth of aluminum cans used by residents of the City of Santa Cruz (and this is outside of tourist season).

Our kids lined up in front of a few day's worth of aluminum cans used by residents of the City of Santa Cruz (and this is outside of tourist season).

Here's where a trip to the dump-or rather, as they call it, "the recovery facility"-came in..... Read more>>>>>

 

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  Science with Christine: Habitual Hibernators

(Photos General) Animals_Hibernation.jpgWe've all heard about hibernation. That's what happens to bears in the winter. They eat a lot in the summer, and then fall asleep through the winter. Polar bears even give birth at this time. There's some really interesting stuff going on in these animals that can even help humans.

What is hibernation? Ya gotta love biologists! It turns out that they are arguing about the definition. The slow metabolism and sleepiness is common. Some definitions include severely lowered body temperatures - which means bears don't hibernate. The jury is out on an 'official' definition. Hibernation isn't sleep, and some creatures need to recover from hibernation by getting more sleep in the short term. Sleep is mostly a mental state, while hibernation is mainly a physical state.

What animals hibernate through the winter? Generally, bats, bears, squirrels, woodchucks and marmots. Some birds and bats go into a hibernation mode each day. Some fish can wrap themselves in mucous when they run out of water and hibernate until more water finds them. Some reptiles hibernate. Again, the definition of hibernation isn't definite.

These creatures slow down their metabolism, sometimes to temperatures below freezing. Bears stay warmer - about 90 degrees F. As their body cools down, their heart rate and breathing slow down. When they get to their hibernating temperature, fat is burned to keep them at that point. In some reptiles, breathing drops to zero. Most animals breathing rates drop by at least half. Some animals rouse occasionally to eat or urinate, while some never rouse until the hibernation is over.

How can a study of hibernating animals help people? It turns out that some bears have really high cholesterol levels, but no greater risk of heart disease. Hibernating animals really pack on the fat to survive, and their bodies don't reflect any issues. Hibernating animals don't get bed sores, which happens to people confined to bed. Hibernators also don't get blood clots or osteoporosis. One really amazing thing is that they don't lose muscle during their hibernation. Some ground squirrels fuel their bodies with the breakdown products from fats rather than glucose breakdown products. This mixture of fat breakdown products has been tested in other animals and has been found to tremendously aid the survival rate of animals who have lost lots of blood.

I think that many people have a dream of sleeping their problems away. Maybe that will be a future solution.

Click here for more science with scientist and mom, Christine Cockey.

 
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  She is Someone's Daughter... or Mother...

(Photos General) PinkHatonBaby.jpgA loud "conversation" by a woman in a pink hat walking along Pacific Avenue caught my attention. The conversation was with herself. I couldn't hear her words, but clearly she was angry. She was of ample proportions with a slightly fleshy, tanned face framed by clean, gently waving, brown hair, maybe in her 50's. Her clothes, layered tops, velvety pants and new-looking walking shoes, were clean and casually uncoordinated.

I was parked in my car with the window open in front of Logo's reading a book while waiting for a friend. She came closer and sat on a bench not a dozen feet from me, still talking to herself, not so loudly yet still passionately. Placing a cloth bag and sweater on the bench and her brown paper grocery bag on the sidewalk she brought out a plastic-packaged salad.   For 15 minutes she moved something she didn't like from one side to the other and took a few bites, talking to the salad, gesticulating to it with her fork, and ultimately consuming half. Next she pulled out a whole, one-layer, chocolate cake, no frosting, and cut a piece for herself, licking the crumbs from the plastic knife.  She reached into the bag for a large can of Reddi-Whip and squeezed about three inches of whipped cream onto the cake and consumed it with gusto.   Now it was time for a drink. Out came a large bottle of Evian water. After a few swigs, she turned her face to the sun and closed her eyes. Suddenly she reached into the bag for the Reddi-whip. Tipping her head back, she (Logos Event Calendar) ProjectHomelessConnectLogo2013.jpgpointed the Reddi-whip into her mouth and squirted whipped cream directly in, at least three shots.  I can't say I've never done that myself!

A little more sun and a catnap, then she stood and walked back in the direction she had come from. Who was she? Was she homeless? Someone's daughter, wife, ex-wife? Did she have family, children who cared about her or who had given up on her because she talked angrily to herself? Does she receive SSDI? If she spends the day on the streets where does she sleep? Who helps her? Who cares? Does she go to a senior center for companionship? The library to read?

The thought of raising a loved child who may one day be homeless and in need of a helping hand is distressing. I'm grateful for a community that reaches out to help those in need, especially with a very specific project like Project Homeless Connect.

Project Homeless Connect is fundamentally altering the way we address homelessness in Santa Cruz County. Here is THIS YEAR'S EVENT MAP.  Volunteers are needed.  Be part of this year's annual event - Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 from 10am-4pm at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium! Volunteer here.

Project Homeless Connect focuses on each aspect of homelessness, providing everything from California identification and disability benefits to clean socks and a warm meal. Hundreds of individuals, corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies provide PHC and its clients with services such as dental care, eyeglasses, family support, food, HIV testing, housing, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, SSI benefits, legal advice, California identification cards, voice mail, employment counseling, job placement, wheelchair repair, veterinary services, and more.

 

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  This Week

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CAMP CALENDAR

 

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School Corner

Spring Hill School K-8, Kindergarten Tour 4/8

 

Chartwell School K-8, Reading Program Workshop 4/10

 

SC Waldorf K-8, Morning in the Kindergarten 4/13

 

Gateway School K-8, Open House 4/16

 

Mount Madonna School Pre-12, Tour Day 4/17

 

Orchard School K-6, Circo Orchard Performance 4/19 & 20

 

Lorraine Pursell, Bully Proof Your Child, 4/20


Chartwell School K-8, Open House 4/23

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Mini-greenhouses

from Donna Maurillo

in the Sentinel


Do you start your vegetable plants from seed? And do you also buy lettuce or tomatoes in those clear plastic clamshell boxes? Instead of recycling the boxes just yet, place the seed cups inside them and close the cover.

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These make perfect little "greenhouses" to protect the sprouting seedlings, keep them warm, and help keep the soil moist. In fact, if you keep the boxed seedlings in a protected area, such as under a patio chair close to the house, you probably can sprout your seedlings outdoors without danger from chilly nights.

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 Living History Days in San Juan Bautista

San Juan Bautista State Park
Bring the family and enjoy our 1st Saturday Living History Days
Date: The 1st Sa of every month from 11:00am to 4:00pm
Admission Fees: The cost for entrance to the museum, stables and buildings is only $3 each for anyone over 16 .

Living History Days, 1st Saturdays

(Photos General) SanJuanBautista_Zanetta_House_SJBSHP.jpgStep back to the early days of San Juan and meet mountain men, Civil War soldiers, Victorian ladies, and more. (Even One-Eyed Charley has been spotted a few times.) Watch games, crafts and cooking demonstrations. Enjoy an old-fashioned soda in the historic Plaza Hotel Saloon. See historic horse-drawn vehicles inside the Plaza Stables as well as Victorian furnishings in the Plaza Hotel and Zanetta family home.

There is much to do and see for FREE. The cost for entrance to the museum, stables and buildings is only $3 each for anyone over 16 years of age. So kids are FREE!

The park includes several structures built in the 1800s. The four main historic museums are the Plaza (Photos General) SanJuanBautista_Castro-Breen-Adobe.jpgHotel, the Zanetta House/Plaza Hall, the Plaza Stables, and the newly reopened Castro-Breen Adobe. Many of the interiors are arranged as furnished vignettes or with colorful and informative exhibits that help create a unique learning environment for people of all ages. The park also features a blacksmith shop, theh istoric jail, and an early American settler’s cabin.

Tours

The park is open Tuesday through Sunday for self guided visits and also offers guided walking tours by advanced reservation. The park is closed on Mondays. Call 831-623-2753 for information.

Second St, San Juan Bautista Map
Phone: 831-623-2753 •website San Juan Bautista

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Jewish Film Festival
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Temple Beth El
Date: Every day (Apr 6-Apr 22)
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Special Instructions: Louden nelson, Del mar Theater & Temple Beth El
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