Home Office – Part Two

So I relocated my home office yesterday. I moved from the dining room table to the desk. Normally the desk is home to Sandra and her at home activities (morning/evening devotionals, paying bills, using her computer) but now it is where I am doing my thing. She has moved to the dining room table and I have to tell you it feels a little weird.

This is a picture of the new set-up. BTW I have the same view out my window but the commute is about 1.8 seconds longer than before.

If you haven’t heard the story about the desk here it is. When we bought the RV it had a nice recliner-like chair in this space. Sandra said it had to go that she wanted a desk. I asked, “What if we have friends over, where will they sit?” She said, “We aren’t going to have any friends.” Now we have a desk.

I have discovered the desk chair isn’t as comfortable as I would like but I am working around that. Stay tuned and I will let you know how it all plays out.

The Home Office – COVID 19 and Keeping at Work

Earlier today I posted a photo to Facebook of the view from my “office” window.

As crazy as it sounds, I’m sitting within a foot of this window but when the shade is drawn it feels cramped. The shade is fairly transparent but the feeling is the same. So I opened it and then it doesn’t feel so tight.

I’m getting back my rhythm working from home. Routines are established and I am getting things done. A long time ago I learned how important it is to establish and maintain routines, particularly in uncertain or troubling times.

On July 31, 2001 I got laid off from a job. Every morning I still got up at 6:00 am, took a shower and got dressed. I chose clothes that if I had to go out of the house or meet with someone I could do so without having to change. Maintaining this was important I had learned, because treating every day like it was a vacation could lead to depression or worse could make a reintroduction back into the  workforce more difficult. Bad habits are easy to cultivate and very hard to break. After I got dressed, I ate breakfast. At 8:00 am SHARP, I started searching and applying for jobs. At 10:00 am I would take a break and try to go outside for a few minutes to refresh the mind and stretch out the muscles. 10:15 I was back at it until noon. At noon, I would take an hour break. Maybe run an errand or take a longer walk in the neighborhood. After lunch I would get back to it. Some days, I spent my afternoons learning new graphic design, video production skills or practicing skills I already had. I read lots of material to expand my mind and to keep myself up to date and relevant.

I repeated this routine every workday through August and into September. Occasionally I would get a freelance job and those days I would go do that. On September 10th I had a freelance job that kept me out late that night. The next morning I slept in a little. I got up and took my shower and after getting out of the shower I logged into my computer and then I saw on the television the attack on the World Trade Center. I remember turning to my ex-wife and saying, “Getting a full-time job, just got a lot harder.”

After 9/11 I kept my routine, then I got a call from a company I  had been pitching some work to. They wanted a video produced for a trade show they would be attending very soon. Originally they thought the show would be cancelled, like some many other things during that time, but this show was going to happen.

I did the video. They were happy and asked if I could do some additional print work for them. I did the job and eventually it became a full-time position and I was with the company for just under 10 years. Can I attribute it all to maintaining a routine? No, but I can assure you it placed me in a position where I was ready when the call came and I was ready when the work became full-time.

In the years since, I have never forgotten that lesson. My advice for dealing with COVID-19 is to keep your routines within the confines of the public health restrictions. Get up, get dressed as if you have to go to work or what ever you would normally do. If you are out of work, dress and act like you have a job. You do. Your job is to look for new opportunities and be ready to go when they come, because they will. refine your skills or learn a new skill. Keep yourself up to date and relevant. Don’t let this event slow you down. Use it to launch yourself into the future.

COVID-19 – Our New Way of Living and Working

The flow of information and the rate at which decisions have to be made in the face of COVID-19 can certainly be seen as arriving at an unbelievable pace. As decisions are made and communicated, new information comes in rendering the last decision almost out of touch. When I was in the military we would refer to this as being “OBE,” Overcome by Events.

Today we learned that in order to comply with the most recent public health order of the Governor of New Mexico, many of us that can, will be allowed to work from home. For me personally this is like a return to days gone by. I have been a remote worker for many years. For a long time my office was the living room or the kitchen table. For several years I camped out at a local Panera or Starbucks. I would tell my clients, I have a corner office, a lobby, a fully staffed dining area to meet all of your culinary needs, and I have branches located all over the country, in fact I have one with just a few miles of your place of business.

So starting today, I am back to working from the dining room table. It feels comfortable. From January 2018 – May 2018, Sandra and I both worked from the house in Colorado Springs. We were parked at an RV park just outside of Manitou Springs and had a great view of Pikes Peak from our window. We were both looking for work and I was doing some freelance work for a clients in North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, and Wyoming. The biggest difference between then and now is now Sandra is working away from the house and I am here alone. It is very quiet without her here. Don’t get me wrong she is not loud, just not present.

How will working from home go? I have no doubt it will go well. I miss seeing my coworkers and others. I miss interacting with visitors at the Museum and I miss doing tours of the Villa and learning about where others are from. This to shall pass and one day, hopefully soon, we will go back to life as we knew it. Or will we?

COVID-19 Update on our life

So the Governor of New Mexico has extended her public health orders so now Philmont Scout Ranch will remain closed to the public until April 10, 2020. Will that be the end of it? Who knows. How will it impact us and our time here in Cimarron? I don’t think it will have any significant impact on what we are doing. We aren’t looking to leave Cimarron. We like it here and we have established ourselves as part of the community.

Sandra is Secretary for the Cimarron Civic Club. The CCC used to be a Kiwanis Club until the national fees for Kiwanis got to be too high so they changed names but not their mission. As for me, I am now President of the Cimarron Chamber of Commerce. We have many businesses here in Comarron and the surrounding area and being able to represent them and help them grow is exciting and fits with who I am and what I feel called to do.

Looks like school life will change as well. Not sure what it means for me, as a contract teacher, and my students but we will see. We had lots of plans to do some very cool public service programming, but that will be on hold for the foreseeable future.

As always, stay safe and wash your hands.


Living with COVID-19, No we’re NOT infected

The Coronavirus hasn’t made it to Cimarron yet, but I am certain it will. As isolated as Cimarron might be, we still have quite a bit of traffic heading through town, with a significant number of them stopping for gas, groceries and other reasons. The licenses plates say they are from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. Occasionally we will see a car, truck or RV from some other location. Have they been exposed, who knows? They may not even know themselves.

We just learned that Philmont will be closed to the public until April 1st. Many of the scheduled activities at the ranch have been cancelled, and we have seen our last visitors at the NSM for the month of March. We also know that Cimarron Schools will be on an extended Spring Break starting tomorrow and continuing through April 6th.

As you may recall I went back to college this spring to earn a Master’s degree. Spring Break for me was business as usual, at least as far as work and life are concerned. One challenge of all of this is getting a routine set. While I am totally comfortable with distance learning and the technology finding the rhythm has been a challenge.

I wonder what is next on the horizon? Only time will tell. Most importantly, I am confident that this too shall pass. Stay safe and remember to wash your hands.

Capulin Volcano National Monument

Most people don’t really give much pause to Northeastern New Mexico. Raton Pass is the gateway to Colorado but there is quite a bit of history in the area. Folsom, New Mexico changed the way we view humans in North America when a local rancher discovered bone and arrowhead fragments that upon further study moved the date of the first humans from 3,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago.

The area is also home to the only known T-Rex footprints in the world. Found near Indian Writings camp on the Philmont Scout Ranch.

And rising up over 1,300 feet above the plains is Capulin Volcano. Now a National Monument, this amazing geological feature helped shape the area surrounding it. Parts of the television show “Lonesome Dove” were filmed in many areas around Capulin and the storyline has been traced to stories surrounding the Goodnight-Loving Trail, a cattle trail that took longhorn cattle from Texas to markets in Colorado and Wyoming.

Here is more information on the Capulin Volcano National Monument.

Cimarron High School at Drama Fest

The Cimarron High School  Drama Club participated in the 2020 Drama Fest at Eastern New Mexico University this weekend. The club comprised of eight students and their advisor performed the one-act play, “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors.” While at the event, the students also participated in workshops designed to help them develop their skills.

For their efforts the Drama Club was recognized with an award of excellence for casting. Probably the most impressive part of this accomplishment is the students were self-directed for a couple of weeks while their advisor (teacher) was unable to be at school due to a medical issue with her daughter.

“I’m not going to allow your stupid phone from letting me do what I have been entrusted to do.” Casting Director to the Assistant Casting Director during “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors at ENMU DramaFest.”
“It’s not a stupid phone it’s a SMART phone.”
Bringing your acting coach to an audition isn’t likely to be well received, particularly if he is giving you advice during the audition, and the advice isn’t that good to start with.
Just channel your inner Rocky Balboa doing Romeo and Juliette. I can’t see it either.
This free spirit promised to maybe memorize the lines as long as she was the main girl. Sort of.
Method actors will do what ever it takes to get the role and deliver the scene. Can’t say the assistant casting director was all that excited about his part in the audition.
“If I tell you I am doing a monologue and I do a modern dance piece, will you be angry with me?”

Cimarron High School Drama Club

Eight students under the direction of Miss Fleming, who is actually the High School Science teacher but has a heart for the theater, are in Portales at Eastern New Mexico for the 65th annual ENMU Drama Festival. They will be performing a short, one-act play called, “Bad Auditions for Bad Actors” on Thursday, February 20th in the ENMU Theater.

Over the last few months the students have raised more than $2,000 to pay for the materials to produce their play and to cover the costs to travel to the festival.

Here are some images from their rehearsals and a public performance prior to arriving at ENMU.

Performing before a live audience in Cimarron as a final dress rehearsal.
Front row seats are hard to come by here in the cafeteria.
Method actor at work here
The audience enjoyed the performance.
“What have you done to my Juliette?”
“That was either the best or the worse audition ever.”
“Just let me warm up and I will be ready for my audition.”
“If I say monologue and do a modern dance number, will you be mad?

I’ll post some samples from their performance next time.

Cimarron High School Basketball

As many of you may know I teach a broadcast production class at Cimarron High School. We spend our time in class learning how to broadcast volleyball, basketball and select special events. This winter the broadcasting students have broadcast more than 20 games via our school’s Facebook page via Facebook Live.

Generally the productions go off without any major problems but one night we had a complete hardware meltdown and our Tricaster 425 Plus died. We were very lucky in that the Marketing Manager at Philmont Scout Ranch was willing to loan us his Sling production equipment so we could get on the air. Now it wouldn’t seem like being on the air is all that big a deal until you consider we have more than 50 people that regularly view our broadcasts and they can be found all over the United States, Europe and as far away as New Zealand.

I’m very proud of the production kids and all of the hard work they put in to getting us on the air for each Varsity game.


Here is an interview with our coach following a big District win.