A return to this forum and form, long long overdue (blame Facebook) . . .
A caveat up front:
Some of you may have come to expect a certain level of prose herein, above the standard, everyday vernacular which passes for daily conversation . . . I beg your patience in this regard: after more than a year away from this forum I am quite rusty -- considerably out of practice, if you will: ramping up to a somewhat elevated level of writing will likely take some time.
(Another confession: I've been away from this personal milieu so long that I am struggling, already, with various formatting issues, some of which require minor tweaks to the underlying HTML . . . hang in there -- it's gonna be a bit of a re-learning curve . . .)
Last June (2017) I decided to retire from my stint as an IT Support specialist at San José State University. The reasons are varied, but in the end I was weary of a daily dose of crises management, with scarce appreciation from my management for my skills and efforts. (I will be eternally grateful, however, for the wonderful, enriching relationships -- and friendships -- I forged with many staff and faculty members over the years I served them.) It simply became untenable to continue awakening on a daily basis, stressed before even arising from bed, about what potential mini- (and in the end, major-) crises were lurking just around the corner.
After a particularly visible system failure, which I addressed by means of a nine-hour phone session with a Canadian vendor's top systems' specialist -- an event that stretched past 11:00 p.m. -- resulting in a solid solution . . . I was for once confident that the weekly report I was required to give to my management would be well-received.
I'll not go into the inane details -- it would not be professional to do so -- but the debriefing was so lacking in perspective and dismissive that I knew, finally, it was absolutely time for me to exit Stage Left. After consultations with Human Resources (and my union), to confirm that my departure would not jeopardize my pension nor other vital benefits (lifetime heath care in particular), I abandoned my post with acutely conflicting feelings.
I made the right choice.
In the eight months since, I've been relieved of relentless (and largely unnecessary) stress, and, thanks to a modest financial cushion I've had the true blessing of being free to wander about, visiting friends, family, and places hither and yon, without the standard workweek constraints. For the first time in decades, my time was entirely mine to manage . . . with near total flexibility to indulge in any (reasonable) whim of travels/explorations, local and distant, that my soul yearned to experience.
I shan't recount every aspect of the myriad short jaunts taken throughout the second half of 2017; the vast majority of my explorations have been well within ten miles of my residence. There have been a couple of Jerry Jaunts however . . . the most of recent of which being a four-day swing around the Sierras (southbound as far as Bakersfield, and up to Bishop on the eastern side of the range).
The primary goal was a spectacular and exceptionally well-preserved set of Native American Petroglyphs, tucked away in a remote spot known to few travelers. These magnificent drawings -- artwork of significant moment --- have been given the moniker of Sky Rock, which in its own way is certainly an apt christening: indeed, the etchings are on a boulder's face
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