The Bledsoe Firm JustFamilyLaw.com | 949.363.5551 APRIL | 2020
S elf -S ufficient to S ucceed How My Childhood Influenced My Career Choice
One of the things we have to do as we get older is acknowledge the experiences we’ve had in our lives and how these experiences have affected us. I’ve talked a lot about lessons I’ve learned from my dad growing up and the way I have benefited from them. I certainly had an unusual family. My mother grew up as the oldest child in a devoutly religious family during World War II and was a teenager during the Korean War. She actually got an academic scholarship to Brigham Young University (BYU) and could have gone there as a freshman. But, at the urging of her mother, she chose to stay home, work part time, and attend community college. A story I just heard recently was that my maternal grandmother was not in favor of my mother taking advantage of her academic scholarship to BYU as she believed it would turn my mother into a selfish person. My dad grew up an only child until age 14. His parents both had good employment. They enjoyed life and had many nice hobbies and vacations. He was well taken care of and always had nice clothes. His parents had discretionary income and hobbies they pursued vigorously. My dad grew up in Compton and was a very popular young man who had great promise and wanted to go to dental school at USC. He expected to be even more prosperous than his parents. They say that “life is what happens when you are making other plans.” Dad and Mom met in high school. Dad went to Compton and was senior class president. Mom went to Long Beach Poly. He fell for my mom on the first date. They married each other at age 19 and had their first baby, my oldest brother Bob, less than a year later in 1955. A second child, a baby boy, was born to them a year later. This child was born prematurely and only lived approximately two weeks. I came along just about a year later in June of 1957.
My mom then gave birth to three more sons in the next four years. By April 1961, my dad, who just turned 26 years old, had five young sons to support. He was working two jobs. Between 1955 and 1969, my mother gave birth to 10 children, nine of whom were boys.
By the mid-1960s, our family had moved to Agoura, a little suburb above the San Fernando Valley. We were able
to live in a modestly nice home in the suburbs because Dad was a fireman and also had a business providing chemicals to restaurants and bars. Dad worked super hard, and things went pretty well for the first seven or eight years. However in 1973, due to a series of events, Dad resigned his job as a Los Angeles County fireman and then ended up losing his other business due to a franchise dispute he simply did not have the wherewithal to continue. This put our family in a significant financial crisis. Dad tried other sales jobs and opportunities, but they simply were not enough to provide the level of income he needed to support the family. I knew what was going on and watched my parents agonize trying to pay the bills and buy groceries. There was considerable financial stress in our household. It affected all of us. I was quite terrified at what the future held. My dad became severely depressed. I went on a mission for my church in 1976 just as my parents were losing their home and moving to Orange County where they became renters from that time forward. My mom was the eternal optimist. She always believed that things would get better. She soon thereafter entered the workforce and got a good job as a secretary and worked for the next 25 years. With her income, things did stabilize. I only lived at home one summer after that. In the years that followed, Dad had his ups and downs. To his credit, he became quite good at building room additions and built many with the help of his sons who were still living with him. But he was never able to buy another home. My family just barely got by financially. I don’t think my dad ever really got help for his depression. He felt that his life was far less successful than he had planned. It had a huge effect on him and on all of us.
By the mid-1990s, all of my brothers and sisters had reached adulthood and moved on into their own adult lives. Each of us knew that, given our family’s financial situation, there really
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My dog’s name is Rusty, and he has not saved a single train station. He really isn’t one for cats either, but I’d like to think he’d make an exception for Tama. That being said, my dog does have some qualities that make him newsletter worthy. Despite his name, Rusty’s the fastest Frisbee catcher at the local dog park. Of course, he doesn't usually want to give the disc back once he’s caught it — he takes pride in his work! But my dog, like any hero, has more talents than just physical prowess. He selflessly provides me with important reminders! Just as Lilou the therapy pig reminds travelers in the San Francisco International Airport to relax, Rusty reminds me to never leave the TV remote in an easy-to-reach location. I swear he chews them up like candy. And the brains on this dog are really something else. Sure, African giant pouched rats have been trained to sniff out land mines — saving dozens of lives — but ol’ Rust took just two weeks to become housebroken. I’m pretty sure that makes him some sort of genius. Plus he doesn’t drool nearly as much as my ex’s Newfoundland. Okay, so maybe none of that is on par with saving lives, fighting terrorism, or even just keeping a rural train station in business. Maybe Rusty is just a goofy mix with a big, lovable grin. But he’s my goofy mix, and one who loves getting me to grin along with him. That seems pretty heroic to me. Any pet can be a hero in the eyes of its owner. If you have a pet half as cool as Rusty, send our team an email and tell us about them!
MY COOL DOG What Makes a Pet a Hero?
A s a guest writer for this newsletter, I’ve had the chance to cover some truly heroic pets. From Conan, the Belgian Malinois who helped in the fight against the Islamic State group, to Tama, the stray cat who saved a railway station in Japan, I’ve shared some incredible stories of animals that gained fame through their selflessness. But have you heard of my cool dog?
Divorce and Family Law During the Coronavirus Pandemic
W hat Y ou N eed to K now
The Orange County Family Court is still open on a limited basis, for now. Given the serious nature of this pandemic, the court may temporarily close and postpone hearings. As of this writing, courts are open for limited proceedings. If you go to court, then wash your hands often, bring hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. Maintain personal space and try to stay in well-ventilated or outdoor spaces as much as possible. Since the virus is airborne, hand-washing will not completely prevent transmission, but it is still helpful. If you are immunocompromised, then talk to your attorney about options to postpone your hearing or to appear telephonically. Put petty matters between you and your spouse aside and work together to help everyone stay healthy. Thankfully, children are relatively safe from death and morbidity resulting from the virus. Unfortunately, children are acting as carriers and spreading the disease. If one of you lives with someone who is immunocompromised or elderly, then it may be time to come up with a different custody plan to protect everyone’s health. Try to be flexible.
take care of the children if you are sick? What about your
co-parent? And what if both of you are ill? Now is the time to start making contingency plans. It’s time to speak with your co-
parent (either directly or through your legal counsel, depending on your situation) and come up with an agreement governing things like exposure to crowds, hygiene, and travel. Plan ahead if you're thinking about divorce. Be aware that attorneys and the court systems are likely to be busy and overbooked once this is all over. China saw a major divorce boom after the epidemic passed through its cities. You can contact us now to get ahead of the inevitable rush if you know you are ready to move forward. We can meet with you via videoconference if desired, and we even accept payments over the phone. Meet with your attorney through videoconferencing. Our office is happy to protect you and the health of the community by arranging meetings with Mr. Bledsoe through FaceTime or other video messaging platforms.
Get an emergency parenting plan in place and ready now. Although children are unlikely to become seriously ill, parents are at risk. Who will
For more informative articles like this one, be sure to visit our blog at JustFamilyLaw.com/family-law-expert-blog!
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wasn’t a safety net. We all worked during our high school and college years. Still, eight of us completed two-year missions for our church in various parts of the world. We all — Mom and Dad included — made considerable sacrifices for that to happen. We all somehow got through college with bachelor’s degrees. I went on to get a master’s degree and a law degree while supporting my own young family. Steven, my younger brother, finished his law degree just a semester after I finished mine. And we both worked hard to pass the bar on the first try. In the years that followed, all of my brothers but one went on to get a doctorate-level degree. Four of the oldest living sons got law degrees, even though two of them have not ever entered the practice of law. My three youngest brothers all worked very hard to become practicing medical doctors. In many ways, I come from an unusual family. Looking back at those times is still painful. The financial struggles our family experienced had a huge effect on each of us. We all knew we had to be self- sufficient and work hard if we wanted to succeed. Clearly, there was both friendly competition and mutual support between all of us as we worked to build our lives. We remain a close, loving, and supportive family today. I have now lived long enough to be grateful for the challenges my family life presented me, which forced me to learn to work hard at an early age. —John Bledsoe
COPING WITH CHANGE IN ROUTINE
3 S teps for P ositive O utcomes
Right now, many people are facing changes to their daily routine. They may be shifting to a work-from-home scenario, they may have been furloughed or laid off, or they may be working in a limited capacity. On top of that, kids are home from school. No matter your situation, chances are you are dealing with significant change — and you may be trying to cope. 1. Stick as close to your previous routine as possible. While this comes with many challenges, one of the best ways to cope with routine change is to limit that change, at least when it comes to your daily habits. If you normally get up at 6:00 a.m., continue to get up at that time. Go through your morning routine just as you normally would, whether that’s taking a shower, eating breakfast, reading emails, you name it. 2. If you find yourself with more time — use it wisely! If you are not currently commuting in the mornings and evenings, then you may have an hour or two, if not more, that you didn’t have previously. Take this time to develop positive new habits. One great way to use the time in the morning is to exercise. If you have home gym equipment, such as a treadmill, then make the most of it. If you can get out to go for a walk, jog, or a bike ride, then go for it! Just follow social distancing rules and you’re set! Other ideas for how to spend extra time: reading or learning a new skill. 3. Don’t slip into bad habits. When you’re stuck at home and have more time on your hands, it’s easy to slip into bad habits like eating a poor diet of snacks or highly processed foods, watching excess TV, or spending hours on the internet. During this time, more than ever, it’s important to eat healthily and focus on activities that stimulate the mind. When you maintain a healthy diet and partake in activities such as reading or playing cooperative board games, like Forbidden Island or Ravine, you’ll help keep your mind sharp. Maintaining a familiar routine, eating a nutritious diet, and staying productive are good for mental health, as is physical activity. And maintaining good mental health is one of the best things you can do to cope with change in any circumstance.
EASY DEVILED EGGS
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise • 2 tbsp milk • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes • 1/2 tsp dill weed • 1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced
• 1/2 tsp ground mustard • Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste • 12 large eggs, hard-boiled • Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish
1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
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Lessons From My Childhood
The Newest Pet Hero
Divorce and Family Law During a Pandemic — What You Need to Know
Coping With Major Changes to Routine
Easy Deviled Eggs
The Best Locations for Spring Blooms
SEE SPRING BLOOM I n T hese B eautiful L ocations Spring is here, which means beautiful flowers are finally showing themselves after a long winter. Here are some of the best places in the U.S. to see flower blossoms and welcome the season.
features nature walks, art, photography, culinary experiences, and more. For a truly unique experience, you can even ascend the town’s titular Crested Butte to spot some rare alpine sunflowers next to the picturesque West Elk Mountains.
Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches across North Carolina and Tennessee, and while its scenery is beautiful year- round, the park is especially alluring to nature enthusiasts during the spring. Through this season, miles of lady’s-slipper orchids, irises, cardinal flowers, and lilies dot its lush green landscape. It’s dubbed “Wildflower National Park” throughout this time of year, and you can experience it by car or on foot. Before visiting, check NPS.gov for updated information on park closures due to COVID-19.
The California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, California, is a 1,780-acre park that features sloping hills covered with fields of vibrant orange, yellow, and red poppies in the spring. Warm temperatures and heavy rainfall across Southern California during this time of year create a brief period of thick blooms as far as the eye can see. And while the poppies can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car, the best way to experience them is to walk the leisurely Antelope Loop Trail for a breathtaking, up-close adventure. Visit Parks.CA.gov for the latest information on visiting the parks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spring flora is gorgeous and naturally attracts large crowds of people every year. If you plan to visit any of these destinations, just remember that their ecosystems are delicate. Respect park signs, stay on designated trails, and do your part to make sure these flowers return year after year for future generations to enjoy.
Crested Butte, Colorado, is best known for its winter sports and summer hikes. But recently it has drawn the attention of flower enthusiasts for its unique pink, orange, and gold alpine wildflowers that appear in the spring. This natural phenomenon even inspired the creation of the annual Wildflower Festival in midsummer, which
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