Monday, November 22, 2010


Working from home has been, well, an adjustment. One would think that an opportunity to work from home would be ideal. It may be ideal if I actually had the space and was set up for it. I’m not. I take over a corner of the kitchen table and run an Ethernet cord from my bedroom (where our cable comes into the house) down the hall through the living room and into the kitchen. Then when my nephews come home from school, it’s a battle for the cord so they can play their online video games. Working from home is distracting. Home has always been home, my escape from work. Now, work is in my home. It’s also pretty lonely. There’s no one to talk to to discuss whatever it is I’m working on. I have to call someone, and try to explain to them what I’m working on or looking at. And there is no one here to motivate me. When we had an office with actual people in it, we weren’t watched 24/7 or felt watched, but because my co-workers were there, I was motivated. Other people working, makes me work. Now I have to motivate myself. That is not one of my top skills; trust me. My sister and I made a small table today for my work computer and accessories (scanner, speakers, keyboard, etc). That’s right, we made a table. I routered and everything! I’ll still be in the kitchen, but I won’t have to “put” everything away at the end of each day. We shall see how it goes. I’m still adjusting. I still don’t know if I like it or dislike it. I do like that I can now go to work in my PJ’s and nobody looks at me funny.

I never thought I’d miss the commute to the office, but I do. Not the 2 hours I spent in my car every day, but the daily habit of “going to the office”. And right now the drive up the mountain is beautiful. The trees are changing and loosing their leaves, and when the wind blows, it’s like snow… only its leaves.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I love the forested mountains. I love the ocean. There is something magical about these places. No matter what is going on or how I am feeling, either of these places, here or there, near or far away, can calm me – allow me to just breathe.

Recently, as in earlier this week, I got to work in the Sierra Mountains east of Fresno, California. I got to stay in a little mountain town of a little over 1,000 people in a hotel with 8 rooms each of which has a theme. I had the duck room. I, the lucky one, got to go to sleep with stuffed ducks mounted over my oak bed. I got to wake up and see the ass of a duck. Scary as that sounds, it’s better than the fish room. That one just gives me the creeps.

Me and a co-worker, I’ll call him Bubba Joe Forsythe (because I can) surveyed around a historic dam and a wooden distribution line (wood pole utility line). We got to drive around on the back roads (limited access) and look at dilapidated corrugated metal sheds and walk down a mountain. And we got a peek at a working hydroelectric powerhouse (with the help of our escort). Sometimes human engineering just boggles my mind.

Now I mentioned walking down a mountain, and I meant it. We dropped 2,000 feet in a distance of maybe 500 feet. That’s STEEP! It took Bubba Joe Forsythe and I 3 hours to get down. Normally we could have just written it off as too steep to survey, but I knew we could do it safely and construction crews back in the 1910’s and later in the 1930’s built a railroad up this mountain and installed the utility line. So if they can build a railroad on this mountainside, then by golly, we can walk down it in 2010. We hung onto the poles, slid down a wash, and decided the mangle of manzanita was better to trapes through rather than the slippery loose gravel of the wash. I never felt like we shouldn’t have done it. And I’m glad we did. We saw some cool engineering and what 70 years of just brush clearing does to a railroad.

I hope these pictures can give you all an idea. And just so you know, I am walking like a 90 year old now because I am so sore!!
The very beginning

What happens to a railroad on a mountainside

Our ending point is that town

looking back up