I binge added the entire creations of one author to my board. Plus a few other titles.
Halloween is tomorrow and I have a request of everyone: Please don't be a Halloween Grinch.
A Halloween grinch complains about kids who are "too old to trick-or-treat." A Halloween grinch gripes about kids not in costume. A Halloween grinch looks down their nose at adults who take a piece of candy. A Halloween Grinch tries to police who comes to their neighborhood. A Halloween Grinch complains about the noise and people traipsing across their yard. A Halloween Grinch, essentially, gatekeeps a holiday that should be fun.
Don't be a Halloween Grinch.
You don't know the story of everyone on Halloween. Maybe that child's adults couldn't afford a costume. Maybe trick-or-treating adults are getting candy for a kid who is home sick. Maybe those kids are being driven to your neighborhood because there are sidewalks or better decorations. Those "too old" teenagers are literally doing the most wholesome thing they can on Halloween.
If you run out of candy or Halloween is too much for you, do two simple things:
The trick-or-treaters will pass you by.
Enjoy the costumes, cheerful noises, and the barely contained chaos. It's just one night.
I had to turn the heat on to work in my home office area today. I try to avoid that for as long as possible, but I was just too cold. Happily, our wall units made my space nice and warm quickly and I was able it turn it off after a half hour. Between the warm air, warm sweater jacket I'm wearing, and fuzzy lap blanket, I am content and cozy.
Here's what else made me smile this week:
The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, from Field to Farm to Table
I’m still working on this book and I'm ready to be done with it.
It's not that the content is bad, it's just very repetitive. For the bulk of the text, Thorpe walks through a little history and some tasting notes for various cheesemakers and creameries. If these sections were fewer and she focused more on her personal history, I think it would come across a bit livelier. That said, there are several cheeses I will now be looking for.
*Books shared here are affiliate links for Bookshop.org
My calendar, while still a disaster, is decidedly less crammed than it was a week ago. There's some breathing room which means I am far less stressed than I was two weeks ago. There are empty blocks of time where I've been able to get some longer term work done.
Here's where my focus is at:
The number one thing you can do to become a better searcher is to used the advanced search options. Most databases and search engines offer them. Advanced search lets you apply filters, make better use of your keywords, and limit your results to more relevant material.
Just take a look at Google's advanced search page. You can search by keyword, exact phrase, or number range. You can limit by language, region, or file type. All of these options mean that your search is more targeted which brings back better results.
Going advanced saves you time and frustration.
This week, I was out of town presenting at the Internet Librarian conference. Originally, for this intro, I thought about musing on my talk. I discussed remote customer service and how everyone (looking at you c-suiters and directors) needs to be trained to do it well. It was a great talk. I had 100 people, give or take, in the audience which was about a quarter of all attendees.
But that's not what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about a session I attended.
The speaker discussed remote work and how it harms our physical and mental well-being. She showcased the issues and then rolled into how we can mitigate the problems. Her intentions were great, but I kept finding a problem in the framing. She focused on how individuals can fix these issues instead of employers. That really got to me. It's days later and this is still eating at me.
The ergonomic issues of the home office - bad desks, poor seating, screen glare, etc. - also exist in the office. My home office set up isn't the best - but my office cubicle is about 0 degrees and my chair seat tilts slightly to the left and my feet don't touch the ground which gives me a crick in my back. No workspace is perfect. Some employers are trying to force workers back on-site because of ergonomics. No! The same goes for team cohesiveness and collaboration. Companies claim it's better on-site than remote. Also, no! I'm tired of managers thinking good work can only be done in an office. There are problems with remote. But there are also problems with the office.
I keep coming back to the fact that the problem isn't the location, it's the demands of work itself. Employees are treated like robots who generate output instead of human beings. All of these physical/mental issues that come from remote work also happen in the office. We need to support people as individuals wherever they work - but most companies don't want to do this because it costs money.
Instead of framing these issues as something individuals need to fix, we need to look at systematic solutions. It cannot be up to a single person to fix societal and cultural problems. The burden needs to be on employers. Yes, it will cost money. But it will make people happier. Happier employees are more engaged, productive, and innovative. But, more importantly, it's the right thing to do.
Now who wants to hear me rant about the cult of work productivity?
The conference I'm attending ended yesterday. Right now, I'm sitting in my hotel room enjoying the final few hours of quiet before the long trip home. This is the longest I've had time to myself since our kiddo was born. It has been refreshing.
Here's what made my week so great:
This post is coming at you much later than normal because I am on the West Coast for a library conference. Aside from the intense day of travel to get here (why do airlines give you such tight connections on opposite sides of the airport?!?!?), this has been a great trip. I've learned a lot and it's a nice break from parenting. (Love you, honey!)
Here's what I'm working on:
This past week was one of the busiest I've had in a long time.
After five days of no childcare (planned closures for PD and parent-teacher conferences), we rolled right into a short work week. A short work week in which I needed to jam a lot of stuff since I'm going out of town for a conference this week. I had projects related to outreach, instruction, a research poster presentation, and our website usability tests. Those needed to cover both this week, the week I'm gone, and in preparation for the first days I'm back. This was on top of needing to prepare the material for my conference presentation on Wednesday. Oh! And, due to a deadline for another conference, I had to work on the deck for that.
Additionally, my brother was in town and I wanted to squeeze in a dinner with a friend. Plus, as a nervous traveler, the week before a trip always sees me making lists, gathering stuff to pack, and generally fretting about what could go wrong. (Still nervous there is not going to be an Uber around when I call for very early tomorrow morning.)
There was so much on my plate, I ended up fully time boxing my week. I don't love doing this because it makes it hard for students to schedule appointments with me, but I could not help it this week. I needed to see, hour by hour, what I needed to accomplish this week. Aside from not finishing a slide deck, I was mostly successful.
How do you get through busy weeks?