Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Exploring is Not Boring

Wearing my RUSA Vest just in case
The College is pretty much deserted as it's Fall Break for the students.  A skeleton crew is keeping things going.  I'm getting my head around my position, and settling in okay I think.  It was the weekend and Friday the rains came, and then the snow- I decided I needed to get out of TS - 39 and just embrace this new place where I now live!

The snow was coming down real good, Gentler Reader of This Blog - so to be on the safe side, I wore my Randonneur's vest, which is water-proof and wind-proof, and you can see it for miles.  If I got myself stuck or in trouble, at least I could be spotted.  I also put part of a John Brown Belt (hope I got that right) on the Campus Bike so as not to be mistaken for an Elk or a deer - or anything else by a hunter.

I put this on the bike so I could be seen if got lost too.  Also, the road from the trailer park to my office can get a bit busy with people going to work and school - this makes me more visible.

I was not sure what to expect actually.  The trail starts right by my house, so I thought I'd give it try.  I should be able to ride okay!  While not a mountain bike, The Desert San Campus Bike I would say is like a jeep - it has a triple ring on the front like a mountain bike - shifts great - and fenders should keep me dry and clean.  As long as I just pedal and keep going, I should be alright.

On the The College Fitness Path!
Right away I took off and I was surprised how easily I cut through the three inches of fluffy snow on the fitness path!  I think I averaged about seven mph for the three miles I road.  I just took it easy, mes amis, because I'd not ridden on the path but only knew it was supposed to circle around the main campus.  I couldn't make out my landmarks from the last ride to Tsaile Lake - Tsaile Peak and Black Pinnacle, and really not even The College.

No worries - The College comes into view and I know where I am.  I would say this is about the half-way point in my ride.  This is pretty close to the eastern entrance to the campus.

A few times I was not quite sure which way to go.  The path has black gravel and by just swiping my foot in the snow I could see if I was on it.  Otherwise, thick gooey vermilion mud underneath!

Foothills of the Chuska Mtns
Navajo people are telling me that I'll be able to find roads that lead up into the mountains, and I will find great beauty!  But maybe need to wait for better weather I think.  I'm not quite equipped to venture out in these kinds of conditions until I really know my way around - have the right bike for the job, and gear to survive a few days in snow.

The altitude made this a workout!  I was only out for an hour but that was okay.  My bike clothes keep me surprisingly dry and comfortable.  I should have no problem riding to work in any conditions.  If it was pouring rain and I drove to work, it would take me the same amount of time to walk from the car to the library as it would to ride from TS 39 to the office.

But every day I try something new and try to discover some unseen part of this place that will help me know and belong.

Cheers!  Bruce

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bruce Back On-Line - Starting a New Job

Dear Gentle Reader of This Blog,

I was hired as Systems Librarian at The College, up on the Navajo Reservation.  I started the job on November 11th, and left Lawrence, Kansas November 8th.  While back in Tucson, Little Egypt sent me word about a job up there in Navajo Country, so like all the other scores of jobs I applied for this past year, I hammered out the application, sent in the resume, and waited for the email form-letter type response from some HR Associate saying I was not being considered - if even that...

After a year of applying for jobs as a librarian, I found myself now with two job offers.  One back in Kansas (it would be just a half-time cataloger) and then another from The College.

So, I am preparing to drive back to Kansas from Tucson- I have a phone interview with some great folks from Ottawa University in Ottawa, KS - about 25 miles from Lawrence.  I like them and they seem to like me - believe me after working with some pretty shitty people, mainly in academic libraries, I can pretty much sniff out the losers/the library and their staff that suck.  But this time I was talking to some real professionals - it was a relief!

They wanted me I was pretty sure, because the library director said she wanted to meet me and see if when I met them - we could make something work.  This was a bit different I thought - also the library director was South African, so maybe they do things a bit differently there.  Okay - cool.

For The College job, I started emailing and calling the director - to put out some feelers, and to let him know that I was in Arizona, and if I was being considered as a candidate, I'd come by the college up there and check it out.

Well, people weren't going to be interviewed until late October the Library Director told me.  So I was on my way and thought I really didn't have a chance anyhow.  As I was driving home, almost to Hatch, New Mexico (which means I was a good day's drive into my trip back to KS) I get a call from HR saying that my interview for the position was to be in a few days...

HR people, no matter from what company or what organization - are retarded

I'm at The College as Systems Librarian because the HR Rep from Ottawa University (also retarded) fucked up some paper work - delaying me actually signing the dotted line to work at OU there in Kansas  - I was offered the job back in Arizona - more money, full-time, and a good position for a librarian with my skills - so I accepted the The College job, and sent a quick email to Ottawa saying I changed my mind.

See I had told The College that had they called me just a day earlier, I would have driven up to Tsaile, up in the Four Corners Region, and interviewed.  Now I was back in Kansas and I didn't have the money (I didn't mes amis...) to turn around and make a trip back even if I wanted to - so I declined an interview.  The Library Director worked it out so I could have a phone interview - so what the heck, okay that's good for me.

And while waiting for Ottawa paperwork so I could officially start there, I was offered the job at The College.

Yeah, I had moving adventures - packing my shit up and maxing out my credit cards on hotel and gas - but I made it, Gentle Readers of This Blog! I made it!

My last night in Lawrence, KS - at the bike shop to get spare parts.

The Library, and my new office!


Here's my trailer - TS-39, a small but pretty much brand new trailer.  I feel very lucky, and I am grateful to the Nation for this!

The trailer park and TS-39 are just about a mile from the Library, so as you can see, the Desert San Campus Bike is back in service!  The trailer park is for faculty and staff that work at The College, as everyone calls it around here.  Gas, food, everything out here is expensive - and its a long drive.  To save gas, plus since I've spent almost every penny I have to get up here for the job, I bike in to save precious fuel.

As always, click on the photos to get a bigger image of them mes amis.  So here after the first week I went out on the Desert San for a look around - wow is what I said too!

I live about 30 miles from Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument.  Tsaile, Arizona is on the east end of the canyon, and Chile, Arizona is on the western side.  The road to Chinle from Tsaile is wide and a good road to bike on.  I'm sure when the time comes you'll see many photos of the canyon, the Visitor's Center - and all the sights in between!

I've brought the Mighty Trek and when I can (snow here now, Gentle Reader) we'll be back on the roads in Arizona!

Okay, so I ride down to Tsaile Lake, about a mile from the campus.  Tsaile is part of some words that The People use to describe the water and the sounds it makes coming down the mountains (Chuska Mtns) which forms the lake.  The lake waters flow down into where starts not far from these photos the eastern boundry of Canyon de Chelly.

That is Tsaile Peak on the left, and over on the right, Black Pinnacle.  It is a cool crisp afternoon as well, mes amis...

Up until about two years ago, a lot of the campus roads were like this!  This road will take you about 20 miles down to part of Canyon de Chelly, but then it ends.  Only a few people live out here, and there is no back road to get to Chinle, or so The People tell me - the problem is, they say, you would have to climb down into the canyon, and then climb out - which is impossible.

The Navajo way of seeing the world, living within it, and with a balance of Harmony, Reverence, and Humility, is something I'm trying to get my head around.  There is Purity on many levels here, and you can feel it in every breath you take - yet every single road sign, stop sign, billboard, everywhere you go - every inch of it - is "tagged" or  taken with blight, or the Other...

What is Beauty?  What is Evil?  What is Wealth?  What is Poverty?  Would you see The People as poor compared to your material wealth?  Or would you see them as The People who live in the Mind of The Creator?

Tsaile Peak reflected in Tsaile Lake...

Another shot of Black Pinnacle - pretty much I'm just trying to get a feel as to where I am - you know it's a very primal thing - like being born again and waking up for the first time ; here I AM - where am I?  That is there, and this is there - that is over there... so I am in the world!

Some Navajo people I work with say, oh yes, you can go up there and get on top - you'll have to do some climbing!

That Arizona Sun, mes amis!  I think approving of my arrival into this country...

This is the fitness trail that you can take around the campus - people will run and walk, later ski in the winter.  This is up closer where my trailer TS 39 is and the campus are situated.

I need to get home as the Sun is going down quickly!  Here's the Library where I work.  We're at 7200 feet and I have to say that I can tell the altitude is having an effect on me - the roads I'm on are a bit hilly and I found myself out of breath often.  The first week I found I got tired quickly.

If by chance you are a reader of this blog, Gentle Reader, and you find yourself out this way, please do stop in and say hello.  I can offer you a place to stay - a floor at least, and of course a hot meal and a place to rest.  If you have your bikes, want to hike, or see The College - I will be happy to be your host.  My hope is that soon I'll know my way around - by bike, car, and by foot - so I can help you in any way I can.

Because my Internet is so slow - or sometimes it doesn't even work.  I'll probably have to write the blog off-line and then from work when I have a bit of time, up load everything.

Cheers!  Bruce