Monday, October 7, 2013

My Inner Five Year Old

First things first, I don't really enjoy writing sitting very much, so while I will attempt to update this more frequently, I promise nothing. That being said, I have a lot of ideas for what to put in here, so it's just a matter of drinking enough caffeine to be able to concentrate. Doable, right?

A little about my job before writing about fun stuff, work has picked up. I hold down the 6am shift without coffee (Sidenote: There's this abundant energy source I tap into, sort of like the Fountain of Youth; sometimes society calls it ADHD.) and am becoming a master of pump overs with sumps, barrel downs, punch downs, and cleaning. Some days are pretty routine and it does get boring, but there are plenty of opportunities to create some fun or learn something new. Also, Tetris. Winemaking is pretty much sanitizing and playing Tetris (or Rush Hour) with the barrels/hoses/bins/tanks/people/everything. It can be entertaining, confusing, and/or frustrating depending on where I am in the equation, but for the most part it's not an issue.

The title of this entry harkens to my spirit guide and inner badass: Sydney in Kindergarten and First Grade. There are many stories, but my personal favorite is one my teacher told my mom about my first day of kindergarten. Apparently before class began I grabbed my backpack, walked up to my teacher, and said, "This is not for me." After dropping the mic I strolled over to the door and tried to leave school. There are other stories, but essentially they all point in a similar direction: awesome feisty, vivacious, witty, and courageous. I had the honey badger as my spirit animal (note: there is a lot of cursing in the video) and was ready to take on the world.

Or so I thought.

Funny thing about life is that your greatest strengths and joys can easily become your worst enemies, the aspects of yourself that you loathe and struggle with for years to come. For me, my spirit was my shame. I was too loud, too obnoxious, too crazy, too much. It's a story about how I got there, but I will say the school system (and many people in it) were not kind to the rambunctious girl who came in ready to take on the world. I tried to be "good" according to others' standards, to fit in, to be just a little more "feminine," more socially acceptable. Spoiler alert: I wasn't very good at it. But I tried, oh did I try. I hated myself, and in the funny way life works, the more I hated myself, the more out-of-control I felt and behaved. It wasn't really me, but a caricature of my spirit that, although never dead, was warped. I was always ambivalent, never trusting myself, and tried hard to straddle the line between being myself and doing what was "right." It worked for awhile, of course, but these things always seem to have a way of falling apart.

While the larger-scale changes were set in motion earlier this year, my work environment is conducive to stretching out my ego-bubble and trying on this new old hat. The fit is a bit small and needs to be adjusted to fit my current place in life (it's not socially acceptable to kick people, for example), but I'm thankful to have the chance to find a new way to be the way I was. I'm in situations where I can run shit lead and enjoy it, practice saying "no" and creating boundaries for my work and interests (also known as being territorial), and be feisty. Part of it is due to working in a male-dominated workplace for sure, it's a dynamic that I've not experienced yet, but part of it is also due to there being enough space for me to carve out my niche. It's bumpy for sure, and I often find myself wondering if I'm being true to myself or if it's just situation or a coping mechanism. For the record, from what I've deduced so far, there is definitely some compensation due to working with a bunch of men where I have to be a bit more aggressive or assertive than preferred in order to deal with some of the people there.

Overall, however, the change seems to be better. I try to keep in mind that my goal isn't to be fiery or a fighter, but rather to be spirited and full of life. It's not an easy line to walk, and I hope I find equilibrium soon (or figure out how to be spirited without being snarky, bossy, or controlling), but I'll take it. I'll also figure out how to write in a more organized fashion... or not. I'm too busy trying to impose my reality on everyone around me. :)

sump - It's essentially a metal box that you fill with juice/wine that flows through a screen. It's used for pump overs where there isn't a screen inside the tank since the pumps can't handle grapes. My coworker, Marissa, and I are pretty much obsessed with sumps. #sumplife

barrel down - Filling barrels with wine, usually from a tank. I did my first barrels by myself a couple days ago and am very attached to them. They're like my babies.

punch down - Pretty much what it sounds like, you use a metal tool to punch down the cap of grapes in barrels, bins, and tanks. This gets the cap wet and helps keep fermentation going.

Sparging - Circulating gas (nitrogen in this case) to stir up the lees (yeast cells) and aid fermentation. The egg shape is conducive to fermentation; inside is a Pinot Noir rose.

The Willmes presses

I got to squish Syrah grapes with my feet!

My first individual barrel down! There's Merlot inside, some new oak barrels, some aged oak.

Pump over in action

Perk of the job, tasting at work.

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