Friday, April 28, 2023

Work Stuff and Mahler

I felt insane yesterday. I was so riddled with anxiety over the amount of stuff I had to do -- which is ridiculous, because let's face it, my job is not that hard -- that I was snapping at co-workers and being a general Grumpy McGrumpypants. I attribute it partly to having very little downtime this week, and that's my own fault.

I was feeling burdened because I had to compile our annual database statistics report, and one of the librarians needed me to put together some reading lists for Grade 6 social studies, and I've got inventory to do -- which you may remember from previous years involves scanning every book in the library to see if any are missing.

On top of all that, a fifth-grader came in asking for true crime books. I showed her where they are and asked if she was sure she really wanted something that, well, violent. "Oh, I love true crime!" she said. So she chose one about a serial killer and although I checked it out to her -- because we have no age restrictions on non-fiction books -- I had misgivings. I mentioned it to the head librarian and we agreed we needed to talk to the kid's parents about whether it was OK to give it to her. So I had to go find the kid in class to reclaim the book, and as it turned out, her teacher had already taken it away from her and written the parents to ask about it. What a kerfuffle!

We wouldn't have done all that for someone just a little older. But a fifth grader is still pretty young. I think we're going to have to develop a system holding back certain non-fiction (mainly sex ed and some true crime) from our youngest readers. It's usually not a problem because they're not looking for that, but our recent travails with book challenges have us thinking more about these things.

Speaking of which, those challenges are still being decided. The review panels have all read the books and met and rendered their decisions, but now the head of school needs to make a final determination and notify the appropriate people (the complaining parent and the board).

Here was one bright spot in our week -- the parent group brought in a mac n' cheese truck as a treat for all the faculty and staff. We got to choose a snack from various different flavors of mac n' cheese. (I chose the "American western," which included a beef hot dog, barbecue sauce and crispy onions.)

Do you recognize that truck? I've blogged it before! It's usually parked not too far from our flat, on the other side of the tube station, and Olga and I have walked past it many a time. I'm glad I finally had a chance to sample their product.

Finally, last night I went to the third (and final) concert of my week -- this one with Dave and some other co-workers. It was the London Philharmonic at Royal Albert Hall, playing Mahler 3. It was fun but now I'm looking forward to a long, restful weekend at home! (Monday is a bank holiday so we have the day off.)


Moving with Mitchell said...

It sounds like you need and deserve the bank holiday. A beef hot dog, bbq sauce, and crispy onions? Oh dear god. Is that a Florida thing?

gz said...

That is a stunning pink flower!

Ah, Mac Cheese...the standby vegetarian alternative in can even get it in a pie!!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

As "Moving with Mitchell" said - it sounds like you need the forthcoming long weekend.

Debby said...

What an exciting week. You must be a true introvert if even pleasant 'busy-ness' makes you feel stressed. Enjoy your long weekend!

There's a restaurant in NYC called 'S'mac'. It's like your food truck. Without wheels. And bigger.

Boud said...

So it was a single parent, with the assistance of the media, who caused all the ruckus? Maybe they should be billed for the staff and faculty time that they triggered? I'd certainly like to know who sent the story to the newspaper. No earthly need. It could have been discussed and settled quite amicably in house.

I think it's the build up of travel, the book fracas, and house repairs that have got you down a bit just now. A quiet weekend with not much happening is good. Maybe a long walk.

Ms. Moon said...

I have no idea what Burt Reynolds is doing on the back of that van but I sure do like it.
Oh, honey! You need to rest your soul a little. Sounds like things are just way too busy lately.

Ed said...

I'm with you. I need my solitary downtime or I get grumpy.

I'm not sure a Mac & Cheese truck would be my first choice but then I've never had flavored versions. The BBQ sauce on yours just doesn't mentally sound like it would work but it probably does or they wouldn't sell it. I know I would have asked the owner about their spare tire cover. I bet there is a story there.

Ellen D. said...

Well, you were out several nights so you should be tired. You can't be that grumpy tho if you can call yourself "Grumpy McGrumpypants". You still have your sense of humor!

Sharon said...

Fifth grade does seem a bit young to be reading about a serial killer. That would have given me nightmares as a kid.
Mac and cheese seems a strange thing to be selling from a van. Especially one with Burt Reynolds on the back of it.

ellen abbott said...

if I'm not mistaken, and I could be, there's a restaurant in Houston that sells only mac and cheese. I can't imagine that it would last very long as a brick and board place but a food truck would have better luck I think.

it will be interested to hear what the head of school decides. here in Houston a school canceled a field trip to go see a production of James and the Giant Peach at a theater because ONE parent complained that it wasn't appropriate because there were actors playing parts of both sexes. unbelievable that they let one parent cancel the whole trip instead of just not letting that student go. or that the parent demanded the trip be canceled instead of just keeping their kid at home.

NewRobin13 said...

I'm a little taken aback that a 12 year old would even want to read a book about serial killers. Ugh. Sounds awful to me. Makes me wonder what would inspire such a desire.
That flower is so lovely.

The Padre said...

Long Live Burt - Please Hide A Few Treats Around The House For Olga Girl While She Soaks Up The Sunshine This Weekend - Be Well Brother


Kelly said...

You didn't say if you liked the mac & cheese variety you chose. Was it good? Despite being a cheese lover in my pre-vegan days, I never was a fan of mac & cheese. Maybe if I'd had some with BBQ sauce, hotdogs, and crispy onions...

Lini said...

Just wanted to chime in on the reading of books by the young. I am 74 years old now and still can remember scenes from books I read over 60 years ago- scenes that were entirely inappropriate for my age and maturity.They still make me sick when I think of them. We are so careful to take care of our children- seatbelts and vaccines and whatever we can do to protect their bodies but for some reason think their minds can be exposed to anything they want. As adults we need to help protect and guide them until they can handle things.

Margaret said...

It's hard to know what kids can handle which makes your job even more difficult. Putting it on the parents is the best choice, I think. A smart CYA. I couldn't handle the Wizard of Oz as a child. My older daughter freaked out over Jumanji. I would LOVE to try exotic versions of mac and cheese. Yum.

Margaret said...

Oh, and my younger daughter was traumatized by the March of the Penguins because one of them died. She couldn't watch the rest.

jenny_o said...

Stress, including lack of rest, will make me a different person - a true Grump just like you described. The only solution for me is downtime. I hope your weekend is restorative!

The discussion in the comments on appropriate book selections for younger readers reminded me of when I was maybe five or six years old. My older brother read me Bambi and of course I cried when Bambi's mother died. But should the book have been kept for when I was older? I still cry over things like that, so I don't think that's a criteria for selecting appropriate reading. I don't know for sure what the criteria should be; it's not an easy thing to decide sometimes and I'm glad I'm not the one stressing over it.

Catalyst said...

Good for you and Dave to enjoy that marvelous concert in such a great place. Is my envy showing?

sparklingmerlot said...

Even fun things can be tiring. Especially when work gets in the way. What lovely thought from the parent group.

Allison said...

The mac and cheese food van is so good. Every block in the city should have one.

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: I don't think so! I don't even think it's an American thing. But it SOUNDS like an American thing.

GZ: I love mac n' cheese, though I don't think it's very healthy!

YP: We really DO. I'm exhausted.

Debby: I've been to S'mac! I used to love that place when I lived in NYC.

Boud: Yes, it was a single parent, who then drummed up some support among other parents. It's speculation, but I think he's trying to push this agenda beyond our school. That's why the media got involved.

Ms Moon: The whole setup is like a British depiction of Southern food in the USA, and somehow Burt fits into that!

Ed: I should have asked about the tire cover! I think barbecue sauce is good on almost anything.

Ellen D: As a former co-worker of mine used to say, "You got to laugh to keep from cryin'."

Sharon: Me too! I read "Helter Skelter" in high school and found in terrifying.

Ellen: Why on earth did the school cancel the trip rather than allowing that single parent to opt out? Or was that not enough for the parent? Some people will not rest unless they can tell all of the rest of us what to do.

Robin: And she's the nicest girl! Not serial-killer like at all! LOL

Padre: Oh, she's getting treats, don't worry! :)

Kelly: It was interesting -- a new twist on mac n' cheese! I still prefer the basic variety, though.

Lini: Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, that's a huge part of my job, making sure kids don't get their hands on inappropriate stuff. In this case I was on the fence about it because it was nonfiction and we usually don't restrict that, but as you read, it bothered me enough that I took action.

Margaret: It's a nice CYA to notify the parents, but we also have issues of student confidentiality. The library rules say a kid can check things out without anyone else knowing. So we have to balance those conflicting interests. With a very young student, as in this case, it's less of an issue. I don't remember "Jumanji" being scary, but wildlife documentaries can be traumatic!

Jenny-O: I think a book can be sad and still be age-appropriate. We have all the old classics like "Old Yeller" and "Where the Red Fern Grows," and they're tear-jerkers. Kids sometimes come to us specifically WANTING a sad book.

Catalyst: I always enjoy going to the Royal Albert. Being in such a historic hall adds to the occasion!

Caro: It's true. I've overdosed on fun this week. LOL

Allison: Right?! It's one of nature's perfect foods! LOL

Jeanie said...

The mac and cheese truck is a brilliant idea!

I'll be really interested in hearing how the library/book situation plays out -- and with the parents. I think it is wise to have some grade level restrictions on certain things or at least consults with the parents. A fifth grader and serial killer... yeah, I would have done as you did.