Little Robot / Lowriders in Space

Finally wrote and posted two book reviews on our district’s book review site that I should have written long, long ago.  Little Robot - Cover

Serviceable reviews, if unspectacular. For me right now I feel like this is a good start, but I have a huge backlog of books I have read for which I need to write and post reviews. These weren’t as impossible to crank out as I would have thought for how long I put them off. I hope I can keep going with the reviews now..

I Have Two Instagram Accounts

I started writing this extended narrative about how much I hated Instagram; all my arguments, ranging from the reasonable to the ridiculous, for hating Instagram; my circuitous and heartwarming journey toward understanding, ultimately arriving at this watershed moment of having two Instragram accounts. But I realized that is a waste of everyone's time. (It is still available upon request, though.) 

I'll get to it:
I have two Instagram accounts --

joshuadwhiting - Private account where I will pretty much only share pictures of my kids, and from which I only follow family members and will only allow family members to follow me. (Occasionally I will push a picture from this account to Facebook so that non-familial friends can also see my kids, assuming they are browsing Facebook, haven't hidden me from their feed, the mystical algorithm turns in my favor, and they don't avert their eyes or
scroll as fast as possible.)

froztfreez  - public account where I share random or weird pictures, generally not of my of kids and definitely not their faces, and from which I will follow all sorts of people and institutions, not just family. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to follow me here.

That is all.

The Most Disappointing Words I Have Ever Heard My Son Say

Son: Could you turn off the music, please? It’s kind of bothering me.

Me: Um, okay. Sure.

Son: It sounds kind of strange.

Me: Hmm. Okay. [Music is turned off by this point.]

Son: I just like fun music, not strange music.

[But strange music IS fun music!??]

This is what was playing when he said this:

Background: I had this playlist of Brazilian pop playing. I was cleaning the kitchen and making lunch, he was playing with LEGOS. He kept asking about the music. I thought he was interested in it. So then I shared some older Brazilian music, for context. Getz/Gilberto. Turns out I was just bugging the heck out of him, talking about Brazil and music and playing all this stuff.

 So sad.

My consolation, I think he might like Floridada. He was asking about it, at least. (”What this song is about?”)

The Storyteller

Last night at 11:40 PM I finished The Storyteller. The ending left me with no other choice but to immediately start re-reading The Riverman. Didn’t get to bed until 1 AM.

It’s going to wreak havoc on my reading queue to read all these books again, but it must be done.

Two Steps to Avoid Library Media/Inst. Technology Middle Manager* Burnout

  1. Attend a professional conference?
  2. Take a vacation?

I attended the UELMA conference yesterday and by the end of it I actually wasn't disgruntled anymore, so I guess it was a success. (The fact that I am now heading into a much needed week-long vacation probably contributed to that feeling as well.)

My main takeaway can be summed up in this quote from keynote speaker Leslie Preddy:

Figure out what your community needs, and fulfill that need.

This is a message that I heard again and again yesterday, not just from her but presenters in other sessions.

Lately I've been feeling frustrated professionally. I feel like I am doing a lot of different things but none of them very well, and perhaps not the right things or the best things for the right reasons. Quite possibly, I am doing some things that are not what my community needs. (An incredible source did inform me recently that my judgment is a little off right now.)

Coinciding with this feeling, my attendance at the conference felt obligatory and I wasn't excited about it at all, which is unusual for me. Last year I was so into UELMA I volunteered to present at it. In past years I also attended another professional conference happening around the same time; this year I didn’t even sign up for that one. Last-year-me couldn't understand people who got grumpy about going to conferences like this or doing professional development, and yet here I am.  Not sure how this happened.

This message I got from the conference, and my subsequent vacation, will I hope help me to evaluate what I am doing and what I am not doing, see what things I can do better, and possibly see what things I may be holding
onto that I can let go. Things I’ve been holding onto because they are just how it has always been done. Things I’ve felt pressure to implement not even because someone asked or I see it as a need, but simply because they are the new cool things that everyone should supposedly be doing, and I want to be seen doing those things. Things I’ve been resisting, or just putting off. Figure out what exactly my community needs that I can offer to them. Figure out who my community actually is, for that matter.

If nothing else, in a week I will see what, if anything, people complain about missing in my absence. I think I have a distorted sense of how needed my services are at work. But who knows? I never take vacations like this in the middle of the school year, although I have a lot of time built up. I feel guilty about it. I feel a little bit afraid of what I might miss, and that I might be perceived as a slacker. And then I feel resentful to my job that it makes me feel guilty for taking a vacation, and it gets worse. Further signs I probably need a vacation. 

This is all hypothetical of course. So far, I’ve only completed step one. I'll let you know the results of my experimentation in a week or two.

*My official job title, which I pretty much never use. That’s another post, though.