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2020-06-28 20:53:47 (UTC)

Goals Reflection: June 2020

[any identifying names and locations will be changed for protection and privacy.]


The garden plot has persisted, and I've not killed everything in it yet. All told, I currently have about a dozen different plants: tomatoes, bush beans, bush cucumber, pumpkin, jalapeno, green pepper, an onion, and sweet basil. I actually harvested my first five green beans today...! :)

To be honest with myself: I realize I am doing this right now just to work myself into the habit of going outdoors for at least a little bit each day. By having accountability to something beyond my day job and my tiny personal sphere, I'm still functioning as a grown ass man that's part of society instead of living in some sort of financially-secure bubble. In essence, the garden I'm tending will not change the world, but it's good for me. I anticipate no significant yield, but I do anticipate much more familiarity and comfort with gardening itself.

The eco-compound is holding another kickstarter campaign, this one for a greenhouse project that's able to withstand Montana winters by being built partially into a hillside, and with a large south-facing window and cold sink (a sub-floor dug into the ground). Of course, I threw money at it. I still read their book a segment or two at a time, though due to not traveling by car much in the past several months I've fallen off the podcast wagon.

I am looking to a spring 2021 trip out to the eco compound. That would be nice to look forward to. Maybe if I stick around this area, I will visit in March or April instead, so that I can continue working on the garden plot and be more elaborate and organized that second time in.

I've done a lot of work on curriculum development for the day job, so there is little time or energy left for recreational games these days. I have developed a couple additional games for the trainings I run, including one with a cool point-and-click map interface that helps our clients consider how to best ship different types of cargo, but no straight-up games have been completed.

There is a guy I've promised to make a game for thanks to his donation during my one-day-long game sale event, and after tinkering with a grid-based engine I may have something to show by the end of next month. The guy made a couple suggestions about being able to launch a projectile and then the player switches places with whatever is hit by the projectile. I likened it to the dynamics present if the old-skool "Bionic Commando" was a non-violent exploration game. Now, images of a chameleon zipping round in the trees, thanks to slapping its tongue everywhere, come to mind. We'll see what happens next month.

The day job held a "social distancing picnic" in a public park this month. It was the first time most of us have seen each other face-to-face in literally months. It was in this context that I was approached by our Business Director, and she mentioned how she was appreciative of the virtual trainings I had developed, and that - although the job coaches and other staff have their part to play - she wanted to make sure I was shown appreciation for developing the online courses and essentially keeping our organization working throughout the pandemic.

I can't say that I ever thought of myself that way, and rather I was just doing my part. I don't write grants, I am no longer a job coach, I don't schedule grant meetings or other important functions with employer partners. So while it's a season in which I'm a rather important component, it won't be like this forever. I will still need to work hard to stay relevant to the organization - particularly so if they decide to increase my pay for the (possible) next fiscal year.

Are they afraid I will find a better gig elsewhere? It's possible I could. It's possible I could simply move somewhere and live off my savings for a bit, or even move in with family somehow and sponge off them for a time. The likelihood of those other scenarios, however, is quite low. I enjoy what I'm doing for the day job (though it is stressful and is a lot of demanding work), and I'm proud of the results and what I've come up with in the past few months. The bright spot to this pandemic - professionally speaking - is that I've been able to add to my skillset and further prove my usefulness. It's been difficult. But I really can't complain. It's been working out.

Meanwhile, I have started making custom leather items with the laser cutter, and late this past week my set of leatherworking tools arrived. I've now made some golf tags for an annual golf tournament, and those will be done for an event in late August. I'm adding rivets to leather keychains after burning custom designs and illustrations into them, and they look just as good or even better than what I could find in a gift shop. I have acrylic to be delivered in the mail this coming week, and with those I will be making "ear saver" clips for the back of people's masks. For right now, I think those will be no-charge, but I hope to drum up business with them.

I visited the family for the first time since early March this month. Twice. It was nice to see them, and I can tell my mother was pleased with me being there, even for a short while. Of course, the family dog and I ran around like idiots in the backyard when I first arrived, and I had a lot of fun with him.

I am also dating a lady right now. We've been seeing each other for about two weeks, and it's been unusual and fun. Dating someone during a pandemic "presents its own set of challenges," but she and I are cool about it. We can't go to restaurants or the cinema right now, so I pick up food on my way over and we have dinner and hang out at her place. We also had a chance to go kayaking in the middle of the week, which was great because there were so few people around (but we still had milkshakes afterward at an ice cream shop). We're taking it a day at a time, and I have a feeling it's been great for both of us. I've certainly enjoyed our time together.

Hopefully, the two guys from the writing group and I will meet in a public park later this coming week. It would be great to see those guys in person again and chit chat. One of them delivers school lunches to kids in the lower-income housing areas of the city, and the other has recently recovered from a broken arm sustained after being doored while riding his bicycle. Two really good guys. I'll be sure to bring my notebook so we can do some writing while we're there.

Social media is pretty much a dead thing to be avoided right now. There is very little that is enjoyable, therapeutic, healthy, or otherwise good for me about it. I cannot focus well enough on my day job (that really is a legitimate social good) if I constantly "check in" with friends and family who are becoming polarized by the political and social upheaval endemic in society right now. I have a quick skim maybe three times a week, maybe post an interesting article or whatever now and then, but beyond that I just avoid it. It's been a net negative for me lately, and aversion is a luxury of which I can take advantage and not feel like a shit for doing (thanks to the social responsibility and productivity afforded by the day job).

I am going outdoors to check in at the garden and/or hang out with the lady I'm dating. I am using the exercise bike at least five and sometimes six days a week. I've eased off on the bicycling intervals, while increasing my calories-burned-per-session to 350. This takes me just over 20 uninterrupted minutes, where intervals took almost as long but burned fewer calories. I might go back to intervals if it seems like I'm not able to cut weight.

Personally, I've had more bright spots this month than I've had in a while. So although we're collectively circling the drain and the lull of the first wave from the pandemic seems to have disappeared and the infection rate persists, personally I feel better, mentally. I've said no to more usual things, and yes to a few new things. The Failed States of America continues to be an embarrassment, but I'm focusing on local efforts and keeping my mouth shut.

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