Melissa Ferrin

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since May 31, 2020
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In the Mixteca Oaxaqueña in Southern Mexico.
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Recent posts by Melissa Ferrin

During covid I discovered two things that helped a lot.
1) wearing a mask, even a homemade cloth mask. In Mexico, we wore masks everywhere for a long time (over 2 years, so two pollen seasons). My need for Claritin was cut by  80%!
A room air purifier was installed in my classroom. I later got one for my bedroom.
1 week ago
Best of luck on your adventure Jim. Feel free to keep in touch.
1 month ago
You can check here

And also   Facebook is very widely used in Mexico because the principal cell service provider made a deal with meta so Facebook and Whatsapp use is unlimited in all data plans.

Enjoy your trip!
I've lived in Oaxaca for 26 years, the community taxes are not a one-time thing, but by buying this land you basically sign up to be a part of the community and take a share in community projects. Often times when the community says, wants to pave a road, they will get the materials from the state or federal government but the community all has to do the labor to pave the road. Haul buckets of cement or whatever heavy labor is involved.  The community also has a fiesta, usually for a catholic saint and you have to give a cow to be slaughtered or buy fireworks, or pay for the band or whatever is needed for the fiesta. It goes on and on and on. There are benefits to being part of the community, but those benefits come with responsibilities and obligations.
I'm not saying don't do it. Just saying ask lots and lots of questions and make sure its what you really want to do.
I'm back because this morning on my moring walk I heard an episode of the podcast Diary of a CEO and the guest was Esther Perel, someone whose videos I watched a lot of several years ago.  The podcast episode was given the clickbaity title Why Men Love Porn More Than Their Partner. But really the bulk of the long conversation was devoted to how to improve the quality of our relationships. It was a really great conversation I highly recommend finding it on the podcast service of your choice.
6 months ago

Jay Angler wrote:There's a fellow on the internet who shreds it himself (from the video, one would need top-notch personal protective gear) and then folds it into cement. ( I *think* cement as opposed to cement with other stuff added already.) He makes panels to build building with, along the lines of things like hempcrete. It's been a long time since I watched the video, but I think these were non-weight bearing panels.

With the cement surrounding the pieces of shredded styrofoam, I don't think fire would be much of an issue. Styrofoam is not just very flammable, it's highly toxic when it burns.

I was just about to post that I've seen something similar to what Jay described on Youtube. I'm pretty sure the guy I saw did poured concrete/styrofoam sheds in a gothic arch shape.
6 months ago
I have not read everyone's replies because I can very much sympathize with your situation and don't feel like I can handle reading everyone's stories right now. But I wanted to say that I found a lot of help in the Gottman Institute materials. I live in a place where unofficial file sharing is the norm, and I got his book The Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work, and also watched quite a few YouTube videos on the subject. I couldn't get my husband to read anything and we didn't have financial access to counselling but he agreed to watch videos on the subject with me.  We are still married (20 years) but the most difficult time was about 10 years ago.
6 months ago

John F Dean wrote:I find child camps intriguing.  If one objective is to spread the message, then who better to spread it to than children?   The barriers may not be as great as they seem.   If the desire is to have one within range of a larger metropolitan area, then why not?   Camps can be rented…with buildings already approved. My organization rented an entire camp several days a year for several years.   This toe in the water approach would give a better idea as to the needed investment and returns without a full scale commitment.

I like the idea of renting out already up-to-code facilities as a way to see how it goes.

Maybe it's not clear to Mary Combs the age groups in question. Small children to do not go away to camp for two weeks without a parent. Within girl scouts, below grade 4, girls attend camp only with their group leader chapeon. Most sleep away camp starts at 10 and goes to around age 14. I don't know if you've spent much time around 12 year olds, but I don't consider it childminding.  Specialized camps such as sports camps are generally for 13-17 year olds.  A premies camp would definitely be 12 and up.

There could be a parent-kid short version (as most parents have jobs) where 10-13 year olds can come accompanied by a guardian. that'd 5 days long.
a 7-10 day version for 12-14 year olds
and a 14 day version for 15-18 year olds.
The whole thing could be preceded by a 4-week counselor training program for 18+ where you learned all the stuff you were going to do with the campers. Most US universities get out in May so that could be mid-May to mid June. Followed by the oldest teens until the end of June and July could be the parent-kid and  and tweens versions.
8 months ago
I had a bit a free time this afternoon and decided to look into the business of summer camps for kids.   Apparently in the US, the summer camp sector is a 3 to 4 billion dollar sector. And profit margins run from 10 to 40 %.  
Sports camps are the most popular (about 40% of the market). But "wilderness" camps are the second most popular kind of camps as parents look to get kids away from screens.

Before COVID-19, summer camps in the U.S. served 26 million children and teens in over 15,000 camps, staffed by 1.2 million seasonal employees, says Tom Rosenberg, president of the American Camp Association.

I do think this would be a really interesting direction for Wheaten labs--the drawback being the difficulty in arriving at the camp. Of course, a lot of the most profitable camps are just a couple of hours' drive from a major metropolitan area.  The plus would be that the PEP badges can already serve as a curriculum. And you could also try to use SKIP as a source of counselors. I often hear Paul talking about how young people should rethink attending university, so if they came to Wheaten labs in the fall or spring, were boots working on SKIP thingies, then they could get hired on over the summer for a couple of kids and teens camp sessions.  The infrastructure created for the camp, can be used for other programs when camp is not on.  The added plus is the potential for fwins separated at birth finding each other at the camp.
8 months ago
Summer camp for kids?
Granted I don't know how much money is generated by summer camps, but I believe them to be at least self-sustaining. A camp where your kids learn skills. Some families pay a lot of money for specialized skills camps (sports camps, but also music, and coding) maybe those families wouldn't be interested in the permies type of skills? But I bet some would. You'd need lodging and staff. The staff would also learn skills, college kids often get out of for the summer before younger kids so there could be a training where they had to "graduate" from in order to be hired on for the camp program? it seems the skip/pep program is already the content for both the camp and the training program. Of course, insurance and safety will dictate that some of the skip/pep content is not suitable due to liability concerns.
8 months ago