I am full of rage and frustration. My jaw hurts from how hard I've been clenching my teeth this week. I told my husband that I couldn't even vent to him because it's not like it matters. Nothing matters because nothing is going to happen.
Anne Helen Peterson eloquently explains why this feels so bad. It's designed to. We no longer live in a true representative democracy.
Nothing is going to change.
That is why the hurt goes so deep.
Some wild weather is headed our way. I just came back from squeezing a walk in. It felt good to stretch my legs while watching the clouds build and the wind blow. Hopefully, I can enjoy the storm from indoors and it will finish before we have to do daycare pick up.
Here's what else was good in my week:
One of my colleagues correctly said that it's really hard to care about anything related to work right now. She's right. Between current events and the sheer exhaustion from the spring semester, my ability to focus on deep work is limited.
Sometimes spelling can be a real hassle when it comes to doing research. Between the differences of British and American English and the various endings we give words, it's a pain to try to cover everything.
That's why I love the Wildcard character of Boolean search. Simply put an asterisk (*) on your keyword and save yourself some time.
The asterisk allows you to search for a root word and all its different endings. For instance, "educat*" will search for educate, educates, educated, education, educating, educational, and educator.
You can also use a wildcard within the word; for example, you can use "wom*n" to search for woman or women.
Note, however, that some unrelated words have the same root. You may try "polic*" to search for policy or policies, but it will also search for police.
Most places use an asterisk (*) as the wildcard but some use a question mark (?). You can usually find out which character to use on the search tool's Help page.
I'm typing this while at the dining room table. I have my bare feet propped up on the chair across from me. My feet are always cold ("You mean, they are ice bricks," says the husband). I don't like being cold so I tend to wear thick slipper socks or slippers around the house. At the office, I aim my space heater directly at me feet.
We've entered summer weather which means these are the few months of the year I happily plod about barefoot. In high school, I took modern dance classes. We wore half-sole sandals which let your foot move freely. You could better grip with your toes or point your foot. I remember these classes fondly. I take joy in walking around barefoot and love doing the occasional turn or foot swoosh as I walk around our home.
While I can't readily do this in the city, I love walking around barefoot outside. My in-laws' yard has the softest grass that tickles the feet instead of scratching. I remember tip toeing across the hot pool deck at my grandparents' house before diving in to the cool water. As a kid, when we lived in Florida, I would dash across our driveway to grab the mail or meet up with a friend. My feet always developed calluses as the long summer progressed.
I equate being barefoot with happy childhood memories, and I'm glad these moments come back to me now that I'm pushing 40.
Plus, I always recommend being barefoot when you paint. That way you know if you step in wet paint before you track it around.
Do you like being barefoot?
Our daycare is closed today for parent-teacher conferences. For most daycare closures, I try to push through and work while the kiddo runs around the house. Not today.
Since we are in summer sessions, I opted to take the day off. It was a good decision. I took the kiddo with me as a I ran an errand downtown. Then we walked over to the renovated MLK branch of the DC Public Library. She got to try out the new slide! It was a nice way to spend the morning.
Here's what else was good in my week:
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
I started reading this book for two reasons. First, it’s been hanging around on my bookcase for awhile and it’s about time. Two, I have a book due to come in from the library that’s got a growing wait list. I needed something I could stop reading and then pick back up again.
So far, it’s reaffirming our decision to not get our kiddo too many toys. We live in a small home and I don't like to be overwhelmed by stuff - physical or mental. This book is providing me ways to keep all that clutter at bay.
This week, the consortium our library is a part of hosted the opening colloquium session for our annual conference. The topic was renewal and focused on how librarians have been burning the candle at both ends during the pandemic. We're burned out, frustrated, and emotionally spent.
One of the exercises asked us about ambiguous loss. Ambiguous loss is grief that occurs when a situation has a low likelihood of closure. It can happen when a loved one has dementia, loss of pregnancy, family estrangement, or ghosting by friends. Ambiguous loss can also crop up in the workplace.
This discussion made me think about the start of the pandemic. When we were all asked to work from home, I tried to make the best of it. I focused on long term projects I now I had focused time for. I kept up with my colleagues via chat. I took our baby being home with us for 16+ weeks as a sort of second maternity leave.
What I soon came to realize was that I missed working directly with students. We continued to provide support through online classes, chat, and email, but we no longer had a reference desk. We worked from a distance and fewer students used our services.
I had to run to the office to rescue some work material and, when I saw our empty reference desk for the first time in nearly 6 months, I almost cried. I had no idea how much I missed that desk.
Usually, the reference desk is the hot seat. You never know what you're going to be asked or what attitudes you're going to encounter. It's a total crapshoot what kind of day you are going to have. There is a constant low-level of stress and adrenaline that comes from being in that seat several shifts a week.
And it wasn't until I saw the desk that I realized I missed it immensely.
Our student population is one that directly benefits from in-person point-of-need service. It is far easier to provide research and tech support in person. You can't help someone navigate Zoom for the first time through Zoom.
When I worked the desk, I relished seeing the lightbulb moments, the smiles and head nods of understanding. I missed connecting people to the information they wanted. I missed chatting with our regulars.
It was over a year before we offered in person reference again. On my first shift, I nearly attacked our first students with my, "How can I help you?" I was so happy to be back on the desk. It felt like a part of me had been made whole.
I found that these posts are getting to be a bit of a chore to write. I will still post weekly about what I'm working on, but the content will be a touch different. Instead of individual activities, I will discuss just the major projects and how they are going. We'll see how this goes for a bit.
I've never been one to specialize. I find that I am far too interested in far too many things for that.
I started working on the strategic planning for a revamp of my website and found that I could, at best, manage to clump my professional work into three major chunks: outreach and marketing, leadership and management, and information literacy and instruction. Within those categories are a ton of subtopics like customer service, productivity, and photography.
I don't know how to specialize my work... and I don't want to.
I find that all the aspects of what I do roll into one another. Knowing how to provide effective customer service increases my leadership skills which, in turn, leads me to be more productive, which allows me to focus on creating new things for our social media, which allows me to share what I've learned with others, which helps me improve my teaching skills, and on and on and on.
I see my work as one big mush of things and I love it all. I would be loathe to give any of it up.
It's the same with my personal interests. I jump from reading about calligraphy, to life management, to cooking, to parenting, to history, to minimalism. My reading list abounds what random titles that caught my eye in the moment.
I thrive on having a variety of interesting things to learn. It's one reason I write this. I can flit from one idea to another, never being bored of learning new things.
Are you a generalist or a specialist?