Ah, Sweet Procrastination

Example NOT to follow:

Every morning this week I’ve awakened with my mind juggling subjects, wondering which I should pick this week. And this morning, as soon as I finished breakfast and exercise, I cleaned out my roll-top desk—first time in years. Since I didn’t take a before picture, you would not be impressed with the after picture. It’s better though, trust me.

Waterfall by the zoo administration building

Sun bear living up to his name

Then my husband and I went to the zoo, which is actually justifiable since I’m working on a book about bears. My husband, who wishes to be known on-line only as Johnny Danger, graciously took photos of the bears. You’re probably able to detect the sharper focus with his steady hand.

Sloth bear, also living up to his name

Now I’m going to take a short break to make a quilt block.

Speaking of quilts, neither my sister nor I felt that the true ugliness of the fabric for our ugly quilt contest was apparent in the first photo posted 10/18/12. So here goes the second attempt to establish the depth of the challenge, which is still ahead of us rather than behind. See title.



The green fabric is the basis for our ugly quilt contest.

Same fabric against different background


Almost done with the block–a block for a wedding quilt—not the ugly quilt contest. Back in a couple minutes.

Block for the wedding quilt







Can pro . . . crasti . . . nate no longer.


Three non-fiction books about bullying:

Last week, I told you about the Olweus program to prevent bullying and the book NOBODY KNEW WHAT TO DO. I showed three covers of the books I was able to find at the library, but hadn’t yet read.

For primary children, LEARNING HOW TO STAY SAFE AT SCHOOL, written by Susan Kent and published by PowerKids Press in 2001, is a useful read aloud for the youngest  school children and helpful for independent readers. Various topics, like bullying, peer pressure, or avoiding trouble, are covered in one page with clear advice for children including when to ask for an adult’s help. This is a book I would have read to my first graders an issue at a time so the tips could sink in.

BULLYING, part of the Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints series, published in 2008 by Gale, Cengage Learning is for middle school students and older. The three chapters address specific questions: What Causes Bullying? How Can Parents and Others Combat Bullying? and How Can Bullying Be Reduced?

Each chapter is made up of 4 – 6, sometimes conflicting, responses to the question. The Olweus Program is contrasted with Izzy Kalman and his Bullies to Buddies program which asserts that victims need to do the standing up for themselves or they will continue to be victims.

The book is good for overviews of differing perspectives, which often offer solutions that fit different situations or could be used in combination. Students can find options. Adults can get an introduction to bullying issues.

PLEASE STOP LAUGHING AT US, written by Jodee Blanco and published by BenBella Books, Inc. in 2008, is for young adults and older. It follows her memoir PLEASE STOP LAUGHING AT ME, which told about the severe bullying she endured as a child. The effects of the bullying followed her through adult life. After she wrote the first book, she still sat trembling in the parking lot afraid to go to her 20th high school reunion. It was good that she did.

PLEASE STOP LAUGHING AT US continues her story when she left her successful PR firm to follow her desire to help other bullying victims. This choice extracts a high emotional price as she speaks to students, parents, teachers, and administrators and relives the years of abuse. But her story is ultimately one of hope and forgiveness. I haven’t finished reading this book, but I’m hooked so far.

Take some time to think about the kids who are afraid to go to school, to use the bathrooms, or to walk home. Although none of us individually can solve the problems of bullying or school violence, we can help tip the balance. One simple thing is to teach our children to notice the child who is alone and to invite that child to play.

What else?