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In My Head: a fig and blueberry tart might be a wonderful option for brunch today.

In the Cup: Chock Full of Nuts with a splash of almond milk

Currently Playing: Classical Music For Studying station on Spotify

Daily Run: 2-3 miles

On the Desk: Merrin Born rewrites; Arthurian Alchemy article rewrites

On the DVR: Dr. Who, new series, season 6

On the Nightstand: Naomi Novik, Blood of Tyrants; Deborah Harkness, The Jewel House

Papers Graded: 0

BPal of the Day: Against Idleness and Mischief

Against Idleness and Mischief Mad Tea Party How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labour or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

Pollen-dusted honey, diligent tonka, steadfast chamomile, and goodly hyssop.

Good morning Blogland! I hope you are enjoying the long weekend, if you are American and celebrating Labor Day. Like the rest of the world, I am sitting by feeling helpless and angry about the decisions being made concerning Syria. I have made a conscious decision to try not to write about these things on my blog; but obviously, that doesn’t mean I am unaware or don’t care: it simply means that if I permit myself to focus too much on such things, I get bogged down in fear, despair, and anxiety to the point of incapacitation. Rather, my way of handling these things is to focus instead on the positive things I can do to try to make my corner of the world a better place.

For example, the work of raising-good-decent-kind-generous children who really empathize and care about others. Which is much more difficult than you might imagine. This morning, I was sitting in my reading chair fully engrossed in Arden of Haversham, the requisite reading for my 17th Century Drama class next week. My younger daughter was playing some GirlsGo Game with particularly annoying music online, impatiently waiting for her older sister to wake up and admire the curls she had slept on uncomfortable curlers all night to achieve.

When my older daughter woke up, however, she did not pause in the doorway, stunned by the mass of ringlets adorning my youngest daughter’s head (even though my youngest daughter very pointedly shook her head to show them off to advantage and looked expectantly for the compliment). No — what my eldest daughter did was to make a beeline for the computer, wrest the mouse from her sister, and say “Yay, you did it! Now we can get to the next level!”

One look  at my youngest daughter’s crestfallen face alerted me to possible fallout from this one-track-mind thinking, and I saw a teachable moment. Setting my book down for a moment, I leaped into Mommy action: “Come over here for a second,” I said to my eldest daughter, who obligingly did as she was bid. “So, let’s talk about this one-track-mind thinking of yours. You have a tendency to be super-focused, to the point where your eye is so fixed on the prize or the goal that you are completely unaware of everyone and everything around you. This is not really a bad thing, but sometimes you need to try to be more cognizant of others’ feelings. For example, look at your sister over there” — we both look over at my youngest daughter.

“She woke up early to have her curlers taken out so her hair would be beautifully curly today, and she has been waiting for you to wake up and see them and tell her how pretty they are. When you didn’t say anything about her hair, it hurt her feelings. It would only have taken you a few seconds to say “Wow, your hair is so beautiful, I love the curls!” but it would have really made a difference to her, don’t you think??”

Eldest daughter nods head, and takes cue: “I’m sorry. Your hair looks really pretty, I love the curls,” she parrots back at her sister. My youngest daughter glows in delight and wriggles like a puppy under the weight of her sister’s admiring stare, then replies “thank you, don’t you wish your hair was as pretty as mine is today?” (We will have to handle vanity some other time.)

“There,” said I, “Isn’t that better all around?” Both girls nod.

“So from now on, try to remember that when you want something from someone, or you are interested in accomplishing some kind of goal or achieving something that requires the help of others, or if you are just around someone else and you notice something good about them, it’s always a good idea to try to say something nice before making a demand, okay?”

Eldest daughter, nodding enthusiastically: “Okay, I get it.” Gestures to the book on my lap, in which I have been copiously scribbling reading notes: “Mommy, your handwriting is really beautiful can I have breakfast now?”

SIGH. Well, maybe the lesson got in there, somewhere.

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