Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Penguins for Stroke Survivors? Kandu!

This afternoon CHASA (the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association, found at CHASA.org) announced the launch of a new Kandu book.  So just now I was given an opportunity to write about Lucky, a penguin at the Santa Barbara zoo with an orthotic (featured in this great Penguin with a Funky Shoe Video), who became the inspiration for the CHASA mascot, Kandu and to tell you how you could support the workings of CHASA by donating to the Kandu fund.

Bird Year - Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month - and A Penguin with Ankle Support

It all comes together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Crying through the glowing bird books

I used to not be a weeper.  Really I wasn't.  I'm sure I cried at socially acceptable times, but I made it through lots of sad movies, two teenage break-ups and numerous oral reports without thinking, "I cannot talk about bison or Tasmanian Devils in class because I will blubber.*"

Then something changed.  Then I became the me of now who needs tissue for most movies, many sermons, anything to do with genocide and extinction, and a smattering of seemingly random news and history events (women's soccer, Prague spring, and ski jumpers from countries without snow make me bawl).

So I'm about to write three books that have made me cry recently, and I can think of three directions I could take in writing about them.   1) All three are books whose narrators are "different". One is an autistic 15 year-old in England, one a young girl with Asperger's in Virginia, and one is a 17-year-old in Indiana who probably is bipolar, but refuses to be diagnosed or labeled.  All three are very well written and the successfully transported me into somebody else's head space where I felt uncomfortable (and slightly guilty about being glad I am "normal"), which I could tie into Pediatric Stroke Awareness as I point out how often pediatric stroke survivors have sensory processing and emotional regulation issues and just "think differently" (literally via different pathways) than others. I'd use the books as reminder to be compassionate with teenagers, parents of teenagers, parents of special needs kids, and everyone else.
2) I could rant about compassion for cryers: other forms of emotional outburst are so much better accepted.
3) I could write about the glowing and bird symbols and references.

But I think I will just write them here, recommend with qualification that you read them, and take myself to bed to get a few pages into a "book from the happy section" before I end up crying myself to sleep.

The books are:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
and
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (with characters Violet and Finch)

Happy (or not) reading!

*Yes, I have cried in class talking about these topics.
Oh, and for the record, it was 13 years ago today I that I met the Mister.  He was confused when I brought it up yesterday.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Fly on Campanula

I was on the verge of posting the fly on campanula without any commentary, pediatric stroke, bird or otherwise, when I realized it is the anniversary of my first meeting with the Mister.
Now I'm posting an image of a fly on a campanula (taken in Rocky Mountain National Park last July) with an unrelated statement that I'm glad I met the Mister 13 years ago.

Tomorrow I hope to improve (i.e. start) the "blogging streak" with some actual pediatric stroke information.  For now, fly on campanula.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day Streaking

Happy May Day!

At Saguaro National Park, May 15 2016
I am again going to celebrate my favorite month by blogging a streak (20 days this month) to raise awareness for pediatric stroke.

And during this streak for stroke, while I will talk about pediatric stroke, my favorite pediatric stroke survivor, and how CHASA helps families of kids with strokes, I'm going to post pictures of flowers and talk about birds because that's what I do.

Come back often, and in the meantime, celebrate the season!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Goose Noodle Soup

The Mister roasted a goose while my parents were in town last week.  It was tasty, but not as good as duck, which is much cheaper and more widely available.  The goose, did, however, yield 5 cups of fat, "God's gift to potatoes" (Hank Shaw, in Duck Duck Goose and fairly widely repeated on the internet) and some really nice stock.

We had goose noodle soup for lunch on Saturday.  "Goose Noodle Soup"-- the phrase makes me smile.

In other bird news, facebook tells me that today is Penguin day and I am doing nothing except grading to celebrate, I saw a second Mississippi Kite this morning, but contrary to my earlier report "they" are not all back yet.  I finished another bird book, Mockingbird, and found four children's bird books at the library book sale.  The DC eagles have full-sized talons on their fluffy gray bodies and the eggs are back at the Farmer's Market.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Watching Birds From My Office

Birds around the country are doing amazing things this week:

Eaglets in DC are growing.  The eagle cam is patriotic, cute, and nature-loving all at the same time.

A California Condor hatched (although watching a brooding condor in a cave just isn't as cool as bald eagles majestic atop a tulip tree).

And the albatross in Hawaii is crazy fluffy (although apparently it is big enough to walk around, so will wander off camera, unlike the eaglets and baby condor).

In local bird news, I've seen a flock of waxwings decimating the catkins on oak and pecan trees and then moving on to another tree several times this week (first spotting March 27).

The Mister and I saw a Mississippi Kite flying around town yesterday, two to three weeks earlier than the norm of the last 5 year.  Students reported seeing them today while working on their Vertebrate Projects, along with the first scissor-tailed flycatchers of the year.

What are the birds doing where you are?


Friday, April 1, 2016

Glowing Happened; Invasive Species Chocolate Not-So Much

If you are on the blog because of an e-mail sent to you today, April 1, you might like to know that Aster really did complete a 1-mile "glow" run last night (as did Dianthus, The Mister, and I) but none of us shattered any glow bracelets into our bodies.
Invasive Species Chocolate is a great idea you are welcome to use and someday I really am going to have a prairie chicken conservation fundraiser called a Lek-Off, but it will not be on June 31, because June 31 doesn't exist.

Oh, and yes, it is Bird Year here on the blog.