2023-01-29 17:45:04 (UTC)

Goals Reflection: January 2023


[Names and locations have been obscured to preserve privacy.]

The "building season" continues. Lots of building projects, lumber processing, and even fermentation projects happening this month. I've completed projects as diverse as a foot-stool made with only hand tools, to ginger sauerkraut.

The team here is optimizing our heat-retention practices with, in general, air circulation instead of air exhausting. For example, we installed a small dehumidifier in the bathroom that now runs constantly, and we no longer use the exhaust fan. The kitchen range hood has been turned-off in favor of using a pair of automatically-adjusting air purifiers set above the stove.

We had an event during the first week of the year: which seems like -much- more than just a few weeks ago. Seeing new faces and gleaning what I could from the class whenever I happened to pass by was a special treat. I've also continued to post photos of the different events and happenings here at the eco-institute, and I hope it's having a positive effect on this place's reputation. The more people we can have attending these events and being part of the internship here, the more progress we can have on the "big picture" forward movement of this place.

I suppose that I'm being diplomatic about mentioning all the positives first. However, for whatever reason I also felt I was struck a blow personally during several "rough days" in a row. Apart from the guy who runs this place (whose head is also barely above water), I feel like I have very little support from the rest of the team here. It's a small crew, and it can be very effective despite that, but it seems like I am taking on much more of the work than they are and it's a personal drain. There's no other benefit to having the supervisory role I have, really, since we're all unpaid interns. The truth remains that had I not accepted this role, eventually the productivity of the interns would be negligible, and more importantly the manager here wouldn't be able to keep this institute going (or, at least the internship program). No one else on the team is up to the supervisory task.

This also makes it difficult for me to find a replacement during my trip to visit relatives. The two people I asked about standing-in for me for the weeks I'll be out of town both refused - likely because they know how shitty the role is. :) Maybe the team will do okay without me being around. We'll see if they finish anything.

Continuing the process of being reimbursed for making purchases on my own dime. This isn't a big deal for now. However my diminishing funds are starting to pick away at my confidence. It's time to figure out a side gig, and stick with it, to generate some cash flow.

I'd like to go back into soap-making, since I enjoy the process so thoroughly. When I visit my relatives, I'll also be sure to pick up my soap equipment and start making moves to make it again. I think I've earned a bit of street cred with the people on the gardening discussion group, and there may be a few folks on there who would be willing to throw something in my cap in exchange for some kickass soap. There's also a major farmer's market in the nearby big town that happens year-round (during this time of year, it's indoors). It may be time to conduct research on how to reserve a spot there and sell my stuff to the general public.

Regarding the car-insurance thing, well I relented and just sent them the money. At the time I received the collection notice, I didn't have the balls to fight the charges. So I'm out close to $800 because of that. At least they'll be off my back about it, though I wonder if the price I paid was worth it... Though I won't wonder too long! That play is over and I just have to move on.

Letters persist, as do phone calls to both friends and family. I let it slip out that I want to visit in March, and now my mother won't let me hear the end of it. That being said, I do want to visit my relatives, and in particular with the case of my mother I wonder if this will be my last chance to see her. Also looking forward to catching up with friends and former coworkers.

I sometimes wonder if I'm being taken advantage of by the interns here, even if only in small ways. To assuage these feelings, I'm consciously resisting the urge to verbally spar back-and-forth regarding work tasks, and how they are done, and instead I attempt to shut down time-wasting dialogue with phrases like, "Well, I'm sure you'll figure it out." I also strive to make sure everyone has ample opportunity to voice their concerns before we head out to complete the tasks for a given shift, and even modify the to-do list based on their input. But as far as listening to gripes and complaints about how this won't work, that won't work, this is a waste of time, etc etc I refuse to spend any more energy than necessary to keep it moving.

We have had a special guest at the institute these past couple of weeks, and it's been nice to socialize with the guy during his time here. I imagine every time he visits it'll be a breath of fresh air to catch up with him again. He has been a very open teacher and has shared tremendously with us. I end up driving him into town every once in a while so he can take care of business. Our brief conversations have illuminated me on the use of psychedelics, as well as my general melancholy.

My artist friend back East had a major surgery earlier this week, and mentioned via text that she would be in touch with me as soon as she's suitably recuperated. I don't know if the procedure has been a success, and I may not know for sure until I attempt a visit in March.

I caught a cold for the first time since I've been here...! It was during the last half of the week-long event this month. I slept for nearly 18 hours straight that Friday, then had a rough cough and was terribly congested for several weeks afterward. Bad timing, as it also coincided with me driving three attendees back to the airport. The good news is that once I was in town, I assuaged my symptoms with happy hour pizza and donuts...

Also learned a tremendous deal from our fermentation expert who was on site for the past couple weeks. Of course he's partial to the goods, but I think I'll take his advice and attempt to eat something fermented every day. Whether its sourdough bread, sauerkraut, or fermented vegetables like escabeche, he imparted his knowledge with us, and considering how much I like the taste - and how affordable it is - I think it's worth a try.

Beyond this: weight is still in the low 180s, I've maintained my cold-immersion showers, and health in general is going well. My mood is low, but that is propped-up with listening to quality music, eating quality food, and absorbing sunshine when I have the chance.

This month has been crowded with half-day holidays, a guest in residence, and most-definitely the event at the start of the month. Board game night has kind of slid off the radar because of all this, as well as my mood and strained relationship with the rest of the interns. At times, planning and executing the holiday activities is more of a drain than the typical day, and I wonder if I'd be better off just nudging those off the schedule. That's not a very admirable path, and certainly doesn't make things better. So the attempt to make it work is worth it, at least in comparison.

I had the bunk room to myself for a couple weeks, and took care of personal business when alone. Like other times in the recent past, this seems more like a biological function and sleep aid than anything else. I have wonderful memories of past escapades with lovely women, plus a fantastic imagination. Fortunately, that's all I need.

I'm flirting with the idea of writing more, with designing tabletop games, and with working more in the kitchen.

The beginning of the year carried its way through with fits and starts. Things are still positive. Keeping the interns at arms' length.