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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

January 28, 2016
Poetic Science
How Successful Couples Fight

Christine: The Citizen Scientist
The Great Courses Available!
Click to view our Business Directory
  Poetic Science

(A Jan_16) Stardust.jpg"The water in your sink once quenched the thirst of dinosaurs; with every sneeze, wind blasts out of your nose faster than a cheetah's sprint; the electricity that powers every thought in your brain is stronger than lightning." 

That got my attention!  It's from You Are Stardust (library), an exquisite picture-book introduction to the natural world. 

Our local librarians welcome your requests for exciting books in all areas of science.  With the Science Fair coming up in March, children all over the county are preparing projects.  Visit our local mom scientist blogger's website for ideas to engage your children's interest.  Christine never runs out of fascinating topics which she "translates" into language we non-scientists can understand.

(Holidays) Valentinestickfigure.jpgLet's kick off the Valentine month by looking at our personal family "fighting" patterns. We all want peace in the world, well most of us do. Do we have a right to criticize fighting nations and polarizing politicians when we don't "fight fair" in our own homes and workplaces. It begins with us parents (and of course our parents before us, etc.).  We teach our children by example. Are our words and tone conducive to finding agreement. How can we parents fight fair when emotions threaten to take over?  When talking on a topic in which two of us see things differently, the hardest part for me is truly listening without simultaneously marshalling my arguments.  How about you?  Read about how successful couples fight.

(A Buttons) Button_Weekend.jpgPlease recommend our newsletter to new friends so they won't miss a few tidbits of wisdom from our author contributors, and as always our many fun events! We cannot fit them all into this newsletter.  There are more on the online calendar.


  How Successful Couples Fight

by c, Divorce Editor Huffington Post

(A Jan_16) calvin_arguing.jpg1. They don't run from fights. 

Couples in it for the long-haul don't shy away from discussing topics that could just as easily be swept under the rug. They ask the big, scary questions ASAP -- "When, if ever, are we going to have kids?" "What are we going to do if you get that job in another state? I don't want to move to there!" -- so they don't become bigger isssues in the relationship later on, said Diane Sawaya Cloutier, an author and relationship expert.

"When taboo or uncomfortable topics remain unaddressed, they can turn any benign event into a big drama that could have been avoided in the first place," she said. "Couples who talk about it can manage potential dramas." 

2. They start slow and take turns talking.

Arguments generally end the same way they began, said Bonnie Ray Kennan, a marriage and family therapist based in Southern California. Couples who've mastered the art of arguing fairly take things slow, addressing difficult conversations with a soft, reassuring tone and dialing it down whenever things get too emotionally charged.

"Starting a difficult conversation softly and respectfully dramatically increases the chances of a good outcome," she said. "Conversely, a 'harsh start-up' is very hard to process well, especially for men."

Couples who argue with finesse also know the value of give and take: "One person speaks and the other person truly listens," Ray Kennan said.

3. They don't name call. 

Happy couples in long-term relationships rarely get into knock-down, drag-out fights because they don't lower themselves to school-yard tactics: no matter how heated things get, there's no name calling, eye rolling or biting sarcasm.

"Both partners understand that contemptuous behaviors are hard to take back and have a corrosive impact on a relationship," Ray Kennan said. "Over time, they've become mindful of the effects of such dirty fighting and so they take it out of their repertoire."

4. They know how to cool down. 

When things do get out of hand, savvy arguers know how to get a grip on their emotions. They value taking a time out, whether that means counting to 10 and taking slow, deep breaths or simply telling their spouse, "Hey, can we revisit this in the morning?"

"These couples know how to acknowledge and honor their emotions without getting overrun by them," Amy Kipp, a couples and family therapist in San Antonio, told HuffPost. "They use self-soothing skills to make sure they're at their best. When both partners are able to soothe themselves and take breaks, they're usually able to reach a resolution (or agree to disagree!) with more ease."

5. They set ground rules for arguments. 

It's not that long-time couples have never resorted to low blows or have said something regrettable during an argument. They have in the past -- and then they learned from the mistake. Once the emotionally charged fight ends, smart couples lay down some ground rules for arguing so it never gets out of hand again, said author and relationship expert Mario P. Cloutier.

The ground rules could be specific -- "We will not interrupt each other when one is giving his or her perspective" -- or more big picture: "It's not about being right. It's about getting to a common ground and resolving the problem," suggested Cloutier. 

6. They acknowledge each other's feelings and points of view.

They may be bumping heads but couples in happy, long-time relationships try their best to see the other side of the argument, Kipp said.

"They may say, 'I know you see it differently than me, but I appreciate that you are listening to my perspective,'" she said. "These positive moments decrease defensiveness and allow for a more productive conversation." 

7. They give each other the benefit of the doubt. 

Partners who are able to have healthy and productive arguments don't jump to conclusions in the middle of fights. They aren't quick to assume their S.O. wants to jump ship and leave them just because he or she is a voicing a concern. They quiet their insecurities, listen and try to give their partner the benefit of the doubt, Kipp said.

"Healthy relationships mean that people assume their partner is doing the best they can at the moment," she explained. "In an argument, this means assuming both partners have the same goal: a mutually beneficial resolution. This allows arguments to be a team effort to achieve the goal rather than an adversarial 'fight.'"

(A Jan_16) fightfair.jpg8. They never forget that ultimately, they're a team. 

Even during their most tense arguments, healthy couples never forget that they're a team: for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health...  and until the argument exhausts them and both parties agree that they'd rather call a timeout and get a bite to eat. 

"Couples in satisfying long-term relationships are able to remember that, no matter how angry they may be, life will continue after today," said Stark. "Because of that, they don't want to do lasting damage. Even in an emotional state, they are able to hang on to the long-term value of the couple. They're a team, protecting their future together."


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  Christine: The Citizen Scientist

There have been very many interesting scientific stories and discoveries this year. I believe the science story of 2015 is the coming of age of the Citizen Scientist.

The Citizen Scientist has been around for thousands of years. It is only recently that being a scientist was a profession. Before that the field belonged to wealthy people who either did the work or funded the work. Now scientists are mainly funded by government entities or large corporations.

There are many areas of science that receive no or minimal funding. In this age of entrepreneurship scientists have turned to the Citizen Scientist for help in carrying out basic research.

(A Jan_16) Christine_CitizenScience_.jpgSome Citizen Science projects have been around for a long time. The Audubon Christmas bird count is 115 years old. When we move into the computer era there was the Seti At Home Project that was established in 1999. This was a piece of software that would run as a screensaver on your desktop computer and do computations for the Seti (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) project. It is mainly Citizen Scientists nowadays that discover comets.

Scientists are now moving to phone apps to get the help of Citizen Scientists. The opportunities are greater than ever before and are very important. You can track sharks using your phone. Researchers are looking for people to report flooding during King Tides in order to get a handle on future flooding problems. Of course the Audubon Christmas bird count [was an example]. You can discover planets or count zebras.

There are projects in any area that you are interested. There are sites that aggregate projects for the Citizen Scientist - like Zooniverse. If you are interested - look around. Or better - create your own project.

Citizen Scientists are moving past the passive work. A group of retired NASA scientists and other computer geeks recently tried to save a dying space probe. Citizen Scientists are now adding their input and feedback to the work the professionals are doing and better science is being created.

 Add your voice to the world of science.


Christine is a local mom and scientist who delights in sharing the wonders of science with us laymen.  Find more of her writings here.

  The Great Courses Available!

Great news!

You've been asking for them --- and now we're adding them --- in streaming and downloadable form! The Great Courses are those amazingly comprehensive college level audio courses that capture the deep knowledge of the world's top professors and lecturers.

The Teaching Company's 25+ years of narrative design and production expertise make these audio journeys varying from 3 to 36 hours a pure learning experience. While the complete Great Courses library includes over 5000 subjects, our collection is still growing. Currently you can find 48 titles in the OneClick Digital eAudio library and 50 titles on audio disc in the main catalog.

Take a look at our streaming and downloadable Great Courses

Don't have a OneClick Digital! account yet? Set one up! It's free with your library card! Then download the app to your smart phone, tablet, ipad, laptop or desktop and register with your new credentials. Start listening today!

Download the OneClick Digital app: Android App From Google Play or
iOS App From Apple App Store

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How to Raise An Adult 1/28


Kirby School 5-12, Open House 1/30


Chartwell School 2-12, Open House 2/2


Gateway K-8, School Day Tour 2/2


Coastal Community Preschool, Kindergarten Readiness Program 2/4


Gateway, Mount Madonna, York & Cabrillo, "Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools" 2/9


Mount Madonna PreK-12, Open House featuring Hands-on Science and Conversation Cafe 2/20


All School Events

Ongoing Library Events for All Ages

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Victorian Tea Party
click to view website
  Victorian Tea Party
Quail Hollow Ranch
Date: 01/31/2016 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Ages: 5 and up
Details: Come to a tea party the old-fashioned way!
City: Felton Phone: (831) 335-9348 view all details >>
Fighting Fair is an Art
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  Fighting Fair is an Art
view all details >>
New Mommy Musical Meet-UP
click to view website
  New Mommy Musical Meet-UP
Musical Me, Inc. Offers Music Together
Date: The 3rd Tues of every month from 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Ages: birth - 12months
Details: Join us every 3rd Tuesday for our "New Mommy Musical Meet-Up"!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 438-3514 view all details >>
Fighting Fair is an Art
click to view website
  Fighting Fair is an Art
view all details >>
Lecture: The Natural History of Moby Dick
click to view website
  Lecture: The Natural History of Moby Dick
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Date: 12/07/2017 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Details: We'll explore how Herman Melville tips his hand as a proto-environmentalist
City: Pacific Grove Phone: 831-648-5716 view all details >>
click to view website
Fort Point
Date: 01/30/2016 from 10:00pm to 5:00pm
Details: Experience first-hand the momentous era of the American Civil War from live re-enactors, through infantry and artillery demons
City: San Francisco view all details >>
Fighting Fair is an Art
click to view website
  Fighting Fair is an Art
view all details >>
Egg Hunts
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  Egg Hunts
San Francisco Zoo
Date: Every day (Mar 26-Mar 27)
Details: Learn about conserving jaguars
City: San Francisco view all details >>
Young Eagles - Kids Fly Free
click to view website
  Young Eagles - Kids Fly Free
Young Eagles
Date: The 2nd Sa of every month from 8:00am to 4:00pm
Ages: 8 yrs - 17 yrs
Details: Kds fly free EAA airplane rides, on the first Saturday of every month between January and April and then again between September
City: Watsonville Phone: 831-531-8440 view all details >>
Translating Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Instruc
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  Translating Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Instruc
Santa Cruz County Office of Education
Date: Every day (Jan 29-Feb 1) from 8:30am to 3:30pm
Details: 2-Day Workshop for Santa Cruz Teachers: Translating Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Instruction
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 466-5802 view all details >>
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