Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pens v Leafs

At the very moment this post is published, I will actually be spending the evening with my parents. Haha, thank GOD for DVRs! Tonight while I'm with Mom and Dad, the Pens take on the Leafs (say it with me now: "Don't blow another lead. Do NOT blow another lead..."), and tomorrow the Steelers will make a go for an unprecedented sixth Super Bowl ring when they face off in the Big Game against the Arizona Cardinals.

GO PITTSBURGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Family and Friends' Guide

The following is taken from the website of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) :
Family and Friends' Guide to Recovery From Depression and Bipolar Disorder
When a friend or family member has an episode of depression or bipolar disorder (manic depression), you might be unsure about what you can do to help. You might wonder how you should treat the person. You may be hesitant to talk about the person’s illness, or feel guilty, angry, or confused. All of these things are normal.
There are ways you can help friends or family members throughout their recovery while empowering them to make their own choices.
The Five Stages of Recovery
It can be helpful to view recovery as a process with five stages. People go through these stages at different speeds. Recovery from an illness like depression or bipolar disorder, like the illness itself, has ups and downs. Friends and family who are supportive and dependable can make a big difference in a person’s ability to cope within each of these stages.
1. Handling the Impact of the Illness
Being overwhelmed and confused by the illness.
An episode of mania or depression, especially one that causes major problems with relationships, money, employment or other areas of life, can be devastating for everyone involved. A person who needs to be hospitalized may leave the hospital feeling confused, ashamed, overwhelmed, and unsure about what to do next.
What friends and family can do:
  • Offer emotional support and understanding.
  • Help with health care and other responsibilities.
  • Offer to help them talk with or find health care providers.
  • Keep brief notes of symptoms, treatment, progress, side effects and setbacks in a journal or personal calendar.
  • Be patient and accepting.
Your loved one’s illness is not your fault or theirs. It is a real illness that can be successfully treated. Resist the urge to try to fix everything all at once. Be supportive, but know that your loved one is ultimately responsible for his or her own treatment and lifestyle choices.
2. Feeling Like Life is Limited
Believing life will never be the same.
At this stage, people take a hard look at the ways their illness has affected their lives. They may not believe their lives can ever change or improve. It is important that friends, families, and health care providers instill hope and rebuild a positive self-image.
What friends and family can do:

  • Believe in the person’s ability to get well.

  • Tell them they have the ability to get well with time and patience. Instill hope by focusing on their strengths.

  • Work to separate the symptoms of the illness from the person’s true personality. Help the person rebuild a positive self-image.

  • Recognize when your loved one is having symptoms and realize that communication may be more difficult during these times. Know that symptoms such as social withdrawal come from the illness and are probably not a reaction to you.

  • Do your best not to rush, pressure, hover or nag.
A mood disorder affects a person’s attitude and beliefs. Hopelessness, lack of interest, anger, anxiety, and impatience can all be symptoms of the illness. Treatment helps people recognize and work to correct these types of distorted thoughts and feelings. Your support and acceptance are essential during this stage.
3. Realizing and Believing Change is Possible
Questioning the disabling power of the illness and believing life can be different.
Hope is a powerful motivator in recovery. Plans, goals, and belief in a better future can motivate people to work on day-to-day wellness. At this stage people begin to believe that life can be better and change is possible.
What friends and family can do:

  • Empower your loved on to participate in wellness by taking small steps toward a healthier lifestyle. This may include:

    • Sticking with the same sleep and wake times

    • Consistently getting good nutrition

    • Doing some sort of physical activity or exercise

    • Avoiding alcohol and substances

    • Finding a DBSA support group

    • Keeping health care appointments and staying with treatment

  • Offer reassurance that the future can and will be different and better. Remind them they have the power to change.

  • Help them identify things they want to change and things they want to accomplish.
Symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder may cause a hopeless, “what’s the point?” attitude. This is also a symptom of the illness. With treatment, people can and will improve. To help loved ones move forward in recovery, help them identify negative things they are dissatisfied with and want to change, or positive things they would like to do. Help them work toward achieving these things.
4. Commitment to Change
Exploring possibilities and challenging the disabling power of the illness.
Depression and bipolar disorder are powerful illnesses, but they do not have to keep people from living fulfilling lives. At this stage, people experience a change in attitude. They become more aware of the possibilities in their lives and the choices that are open to them. They work to avoid feeling held back or defined by their illness. They actively work on the strategies they have identified to keep themselves well. It is helpful to focus on their strengths and the skills, resources and support they need.
What friends and family can do:

  • Help people identify:

    • Things they enjoy or feel passionate about

    • Ways they can bring those things into their lives

    • Things they are dissatisfied with and want to change

    • Ways they can change those things

    • Skills, strengths and ideas that can help them reach their goals.

    • Resources that can help build additional skills

  • Help them figure out what keeps them well.

  • Encourage and support their efforts.
The key is to take small steps. Many small steps will add up to big positive changes. Find small ways for them to get involved in things they care about. These can be activities they enjoy, or things they want to change, in their own lives or in the world.
5. Actions for Change
Moving beyond the disabling power of the illness.
At this stage, people turn words into actions by taking steps toward their goals. For some people, this may mean seeking full-time, part-time or volunteer work, for others it may mean changing a living situation or working in mental health advocacy.
What friends and family can do:

  • Help your friends or family members to use the strengths and skills they have.

  • Keep their expectations reachable and realistic without holding them back.

  • Help them find additional resources and supports to help them reach their goals step-by-step.

  • Continue to support them as they set new goals and focus on life beyond their illness.

  • Help them identify and overcome negative or defeatist thinking.

  • Encourage them to take it easy on themselves and enjoy the journey.
People with depression or bipolar disorder have the power to create the lives they want for themselves. When they look beyond their illness, the possibilities are limitless.
What you can say that helps:

  • You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.

  • I understand you have a real illness and that’s what causes these thoughts and feelings.

  • You many not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.

  • I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel but I care about you and want to help.

  • When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold of for just one more day, hour, minute - whatever you can manage.

  • You are important to me. Your life is important to me.

  • Tell me what I can do now to help you.

  • I am here for you. We will get through this together.
Avoid saying:

  • It’s all in your head.

  • We all go through times like this.

  • You’ll be fine. Stop worrying.

  • Look on the bright side.

  • You have so much to live for why do you want to die?

  • I can’t do anything about your situation.

  • Just snap out of it.

  • Stop acting crazy.

  • What’s wrong with you?

  • Shouldn’t you be better by now?
What to find out:
Contact information (including emergency numbers) for your loved one’s doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist, your local hospital, and trusted friends and family members who can help in a crisis
Whether you have permission to discuss your love one’s treatment with his or her doctors, and if not, what you need to do to get that permission.
The treatments and medications your loved one is receiving, any special dosage instructions and any needed changes in diet or activity.
The most likely warning signs of a worsening manic or depressive episode (words and behaviors) and what you can do to help.
What kind of day-to-day help you can offer, such as doing housework or grocery shopping.
When talking with your love one’s health care providers, be patient, polite and assertive. Ask for clarification of things you do not understand. Write things down that you need to remember.
Helping and getting help
As a friend or family member you can provide the best support when you’re taking care of yourself. It helps to talk to people who know how it feels to be in your situation. Talk with understanding friends or relatives, look for therapy of your own, or find a DBSA support group.
DBSA support groups are run by people, families and friends affected by depression or bipolar disorder. They are safe, confidential, free meetings where people can learn more about depression, bipolar disorder, and how to live with the illnesses.
One father of a daughter with bipolar disorder says, “DBSA support groups help take a lot of stress out of your life. As a family member, you have to be as prepared as possible, and accept that things will still happen that you aren’t totally prepared for. DO all the research you can. Build a long list of dependable resources and support people, so when a situation arises, you know where to turn and how to take the next step. This really helped my family when we needed it.”
A mother of a son with depression says, “When you are in the middle of a situation, it’s hard to see what’s happening, but when you sit in a support group meeting across from someone who is going through the same things, it gives you perspective.”
DBSA has a complete section with information for family and friends to help a loved one on their recovery to wellness.
page created: May 10, 2006
page updated: December 29, 2006

Anxiety Disorder

A Minute With Siddo

I just got my mail, which included the newest edition of FACEOFF magazine. (Sign up for a FREE subscription here.) In this issue, there was a brief interview with our title man. Rather than type it all out, I scanned it for you. You'll notice at the end of the article, there is no punctuation at the end of Saint Siddo's response. I assume it was an editing oversight because there is not a second page to the article. Click the image below to enlarge it so you can read it.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Pens v Devils

I got a few more photos from the All Star Game. This first set comes from Friend of The Show Lorie P. who said, "I'm from Montreal, and I got to go to the all Star Game. It was amazing to be at! I met Guy Carboneau Thursday night at the Jamboree, but I didn't have a camera with me, no sight of Crosby though." Enjoy Lorie's pics (click all the following pics to enlarge):


Lorie also sent in two short videos of the massive crowds gathered around as the players emerged from their bus:

Next, we'll hear from Friend of The Show Jamie M.:
I was just reading your post on the All Star game. I was also at the red carpet ceremony and was located outside at the front of the gate. I was extremely lucky enough to be located at the very front where as the players came off the bus I was one of the first people they seen. (If anyone has video of them getting off the bus I am the one wearing the yellow winter jacket and blue Winter hat; I was shown on the large screen during the skills competition when they showed a clip.) The players were released off the bus in pairs and each was provided with a Sharpie for autographing. I brought my father to the game and skills competition for his 50th birthday, and we had the time our lives.

I am a HUGE Crosby fan and collector. The only piece I brought hoping to get signed was Crosby’s 2003 Shattuck St. Mary’s High School yearbook. I was very excited when Crosby came off the bus and soon as he stepped off I asked him to sign the book. I told him I was one of his biggest fans and he smiled and nodded.(I am sure he hears that all the time.) He was very rushed but did take a second to sign and it is now one of the nicest Crosby pieces I own.


I was also lucky enough to get an All Star hat signed. The first person to sign it was Roberto Luongo which is on the bottom right in the right side view picture. Ovechkin's is at the right side almost on top of the hat of the right view pic Mark Messier's is on the middle back and is the long one that you can pick out the M. I was surprised to see Mark but told him it was great to see him there. Carey Price's is the one on the back in the silver pen. Vincent Lecavalier is the silver one on the front bib of the hat. Jay Bouwmeester is the one on the hat you can barely pick out the number 3. In the top left hand corner of the left side view pic is Shea Weber.

There were a couple I was unsure of but the signatures on the hat I am aware of for sure are:

Vincent Lecavalier
Carey Price
Mark Messier
Roberto Luongo
Shea Weber
Keith Tkachuk
Mark Streit
Alex Kovalev
Jay Bouwmeester
Sheldon Souray
Alex Ovechkin
Keith Tkachuk
Are you kidding me?! What I wouldn't give for a hat like that! Check it out:


Thank you so much to Lorie and Jamie for sharing these great pictures and videos with us! :)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Original Winter Poems

I'm under the weather today. It seems I have a bronchitis again--for the second time this month. I didn't have the energy to write new poems or to review poetry books--so here are some winter-themed poems that I posted previously at Wild Rose Reader:


by Elaine Magliaro


Whooshing down the hillside fast

Trees and people blurring past

Runners carving out the snow

Like an astronaut I go

Blasting into outer space

Rocketing at record pace

Through the stratosphere I fly

I’m commander of the sky

Won’t return to Earth until . . .

I reach

the bottom

of the hill

Pond in Winter

The meadow pond lies silent, still…

Sealed in tight by winter’s chill.

A downy quilt of fallen snow

Hides a cold, dark world below.

I wonder all the winter through

“What do fish and turtles do?”

Bedtime in Winter

Dark comes early.

Night is long.

Mommy sings

A bedtime song.

I am snuggled

Down and deep

Beneath soft covers.

While I sleep,

I have my teddy bear

To hold.

He keeps me warm

When nights are cold.


It’s white snow,

Bright snow,

Soft-as-feathers light snow…

Tiny ballerinas there

Pirouetting through the air

With their sparkly crystal shoes

In their winter dance debuts.

Ferns of ice


On windowpanes, their

Silver fronds growing in the frigid night

Then melting in the morning light.

Snow dropped by

And here am I

Catching flakes

Of falling sky.

Sleet tap-dances on

my roof, clicks its icy heels

on my windowpane

With frosty feet

little mouse prints a message

in the snow: Hello!

I wrote the following poem for Tricia’s Monday Poetry Stretch—What Words?. The “stretch”—or challenge—was to write a poem that contained all of the following eight words: snow, frozen, wind, evening, woods, lake, village, farmhouse.


A long way from the village,

near quiet woods,

snow settles on a frozen lake.

Burrowed in the mud below,

frogs dream the winter away.

Their larders full,

sleepy squirrels curl upagainst the cold.

No wind stirs in the trees

this chill evening.

Everything is still.

In the distance,

a solitary farmhouse stands,

a weathered monument

to the past.

Here, in his lonely lair,

an old man

wraps himself in the silence

and his memories

and hibernates from the world.


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska entitled Children of Our Era.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Adventures in Daily Living.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pens v Rangers

Siddo, Superstar, AND Super Duper are all playing tonight!! Let the second half of the season BEGIN! :)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!

2009 ALSC Notable Children's Books

From the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC): 2009 Notable Children’s Books (Final—Uncorrected List)

From The Horn Book: 2009 ALA Awards (Includes Horn Book reviews of the award-winning books)

From the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): 2009 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fan Photos - From The All Star Game!!!

Have I got a treat for you!

Friend of The Show Dave S. was lucky enough to attend the All Star Game!! He was kind enough to give me an all access pass to his game day photos and passed along a few details in his e-mail:
I've got a bunch of pics to share with all of you from the All Star Weekend. Some are out of order because we had two cameras in play all weekend, but the pics comprise of the All Star Practice on Saturday morning, the Red Carpet ceremony and Jamboree, the Skills Competition, and the game itself.

At the Red Carpet ceremony, both Malkin and Crosby were the nicest guys I noticed in that they actually talked and responded to people.

I think we waited about 3.5 hours up front at the gate before Geno and Sid made their way down the red carpet. I worked out a deal with the Habs fans in front of me: they let me up front for the Penguins, and I make sure nobody pushes them out of the way the entire night. We each made good on our deal and I was furthermore lucky enough to have both of them come my way and not pass me over. The odds were pretty low considering the amount of time they were allotted to do their walk and signings, and everyone was trying to shove jerseys, pictures, cards, ticket stubs, etc. up front for receival.

Geno signed my Stanley Cup Finals puck and asked me if I'd like him to sign my jersey too. It was a Crosby jersey but I had him sign the crest anyway. I told him he ruled and he said thank you. Sid signed the puck but not the jersey. I asked him to and he said something in length to me but was simultaneously turned around by security (they were rushing the players down and off the carpet all night) and didn't turn back around before heading off.

The only other signatures I got were Scott Neidermeyer, and Mike Babcock on the other side of my Cup Finals puck.
Here are Dave's incredible pictures (click to enlarge):

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A hundred thousand thank yous to Dave for sharing these with us! What an amazing experience that must have been. :)

Newbery & Caldecott News

And the winners are!

2009 ALSC Award Winners

ZT: 赤壁下的各国伪评

Source: BDWM






























Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Open Letter To Evgeni Malkin

Dear Geno,

You freaking rule.

It's not that I didn't already know that. After all, you're a scoring machine, and you have the skills of a master. Over the past year, you have done so many things that have made me (and other Pens fans, no doubt) stand back and say, "WOW!" But it is what you do off the ice that prompted me to write this. I could fill up the Blogger servers with page after page of reasons why I think you're a great hockey player, but I want to address a few reasons why I think you're a great human being.

For starters, there was that contract renewal this past summer. You, like your team's captain, chose to sign a long term deal with a team whose players are a fantastic group of guys and whose loyal followers absolutely adore you rather than shop around looking for the big time money you undoubtedly could have commanded. The fact that your contract is equal to Sid's contract was a clear sign of your mutual respect for one another. That's very admirable in a world where most athletes' egos are bigger than their over-inflated paychecks.

Then watching you at the skills competition at the All Star Games yesterday opened my eyes to what kind of person you truly are. The look on your face when you realized you were the winner of the accuracy was priceless. In the interview you gave afterwards, you were so humble - genuinely humble - much more so than I would have ever expected. It was very endearing. :) As underappreciated as you are outside of the Pens' fan base, it would have been understandable if you had used the moment to sell yourself a bit, but instead you attributed your win to luck. (Just so you know - anyone who has ever seen you play in even one game knows that it was something more than luck that propelled you to that win!)

Most telling is how well you got on with Alexander Ovechkin. You, sir, are a much bigger person than I! After all that has happened between the two of you on the ice, you were able to set it all aside and not just work with the guy for the sake of appearance, but actually be friendly towards and have real fun with him. It's clear that you don't take any of that stuff personally, nor do you hold any kind of grudge (which also would be more than understandable if you did). At the risk of sounding cheesy, that is something from which I can take inspiration to try to make myself a little better person. I know the "in" thing for athletes to say is, "I'm not a role model!" but that's just not true. Being a role model goes with the territory, and you are a good one, Geno, and it seems like you're a good one without even really trying to be.

Anyways, I just wanted to mention it and say thanks for all you do. Good luck tonight, Geno. Not that you'll need it. ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Map: world accessibility and world at night (& happy lunar new year)

This is the famous satellite map of "world at night" pasted together by a few shots by NASA.

It reflects the population density and economic development (manifested more specifically energy/electricity availability).

It is interesting to compare it with the traffic linkage maps, (via Thomas Barnett) which is colored by the number of hours it takes to travel from some major EU city to that point on earth.

Chinese New Year: Picture Books & Activities

Chinese New Year 2009: The Celebration begins on January 26th!
The Year of the Ox

A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters
Written & Illustrated by
Christoph Nieman
Greenwillow, 2008

NOTE: The Pet Dragon is not a tale about Chinese New Year. It’s a picture book with a story in which readers are introduced to characters in the written Chinese language.

The Pet Dragon is a tale about Lin, a young Chinese girl, and her new pet dragon. Lin loves her baby dragon. They do everything together—play hide-and-seek and ping pong and soccer, make friends with other animals, tell each other funny stories. One day, when they are playing soccer in the house, they break an old vase, which shatters into hundreds of pieces. Lin’s father is so angry that he locks the little dragon in a cage. The next morning, Lin finds the cage empty. She is distraught. She must find her dragon.

Lin sets off in search of her pet—through the city, over mountains, along the Great Wall. But there is no sign of her beloved pet. Then Lin comes upon a wide river. She sees a strange little woman standing at the water’s edge. The old woman tells Lin that she cannot swim and asks her to carry her across the river. Lin complies with the woman’s request.

As fortune would have it, the old woman is a witch who feels that she should return Lin’s favor in kind. The witch pops a magic bean into her mouth and chews it slowly. She begins to grow and grow and grow…until she’s as tall as a mountain. Then she lifts Lin up through the clouds. And, there in the sky, Lin finds her pet dragon—“all grown and beautiful.” The dragon flies Lin home. Father is so happy at the return of his child that he thanks the dragon and promises to let the two friends play together whenever they want.

There, that’s a summary of Niemann’s story about friendship and an adventure. Now let me explain what makes this picture book special: It’s a clever introduction to characters in the Chinese written language—including the characters for person, tree, woods, dog, woman, warrior, eye, ear, father, prisoner, mouth, speak/words, river, above, and below. I’m not a big fan of computerized art—but Niemann uses Adobe illustrator to its best advantage in this picture book. His bold, uncluttered illustrations are striking and perfectly suited to the purpose of teaching about Chinese pictographs and ideographs. Not only does Niemann include one or more Chinese characters with its/their English translation(s) at the bottom of each page, he also incorporates these Chinese characters (in bold black print) into the illustrations. By so doing, Niemann helps readers visualize and remember the Chinese and English words that the characters stand for.

Here is a two-page spread from the book:

Click here to view more two-page spreads from The Pet Dragon.

Click here to browse inside The Pet Dragon.


Written by
Grace Lin
Little, Brown, 2006

This fine first novel is based on Grace Lin’s childhood. Lin takes us along with her through the "Year of the Dog" as she meets her soon-to-be best friend Melody, competes in a science fair, gets a crush on a classmate, celebrates her newest cousin’s Red Egg Day, has an outing in New York City’s Chinatown with her family, and wins a prize in a national writing contest. The author also touches on feelings she experienced as one of the only Asian-American students in her elementary school in upstate New York. Skillfully interwoven in the story are family anecdotes and references to Taiwanese cultural traditions and foods. Filled with gentle humor and warmth, this is a wonderful story about family, friendship, and finding one’s self.

Adding to the appeal of Lin's heartwarming story are her black are white spot illustrations.

NOTE: The beginning chapters of Lin’s novel are replete with talk about Lunar New Year traditions and mouthwatering descriptions of the foods typically prepared for this special holiday.

Click here for The Year of the Dog activities.


Two Nonfiction Books about Chinese New Year

Written & illustrated by Demi
Dragonfly/Crown, 1997

Each double-page spread in Happy New Year provides information about some aspect, tradition, or foods associated with the celebration and observance of Chinese New Year. The holiday topics Demi writes about include: the animal zodiac, decorating with poems, special foods and their symbolic meanings, firecrackers, heavenly beings, gift giving, lion dances, and lantern festival. Most sections include just a brief paragraph or two of text. Demi’s book is a good introduction to Chinese New Year for children and adults alike.

Written by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Photographs by Lawrence Migdale
Holiday House, 1998

This nonfiction book gives readers a glimpse of a contemporary Chinese boy named Ryan and his family preparing for and celebrating Chinese New Year in San Francisco. It provides an historical perspective of the holiday, touches on the immigration of Chinese people to America in the 1850s, shows Ryan and other children learning about calligraphy at a Chinese school, and talks about many of the holiday traditions that have been handed down through the years. The book also talks about one of the most important parts of Chinese New Year—honoring one’s ancestors.
In the photographs, we observe Ryan and his father shopping in the open markets of Chinatown, visiting the cemetery where his grandparents are buried, and preparing special holiday dishes. We also see Ryan and his extended family partaking of the New Year’s feast, Ryan preparing the family altar, and scenes from the lion dance and New Year’s parade in Chinatown.

Celebrating Chinese New Year provides readers a more personal look at this holiday and its traditions as we see it observed and celebrated by an actual Chinese American family—Raymond and Karen Leong, their children, and other relatives.

The book includes a glossary and an index

Book Lists


Reviews of Children’s Books from Wild Rose Reader


Crafts, Activities, & Resources