23 Cents Worth

On my morning walk, a quarter of the way to the coffee shop, I found a penny and then three more. And then six more. By the end of the block, I had twenty-three pennies. I always pick up a penny for luck. Even if it is an ugly penny, hardly distinguishable for the crud built up on it, I still feel like I have a little luck in my pocket.

Twenty-three pennies, however, made wonder if I might be twenty-three times more fortunate on one day — or if I should spread them out and carry only one (or two) on separate days. I looked online to see if there are best practices for fortune. I found out all kinds of things about what makes a penny lucky.

Although I found some rules for providence, one promising that a nickle is worth five separate days of good chance, I will just have to wait and see.



Saúl and Alma Aragón Ramírez  (http://blogs.sjsu.edu/casa/tag/alebrije-artisans-saul-aragon-ramirez/) are artisans from the town of Arrazola, Oaxaca.  They create alebrijes.  Alebrijes are elaborately decorated wood carvings that are made from the wood of copal trees.  They typically are constructed out of one piece of the wood that most carvers will explain inspires them to draw the creature out of the wood.

When Saul was in Sacramento last fall presenting his art form for my college, some of the people who viewed and purchased his work wanted to have a hawk, our campus mascot.

Saul, Alma, one of their daughters, and I met for dinner one evening, and Alma and Saul presented me with this hawk to bring back to my college to share with the campus president and my colleagues. They told me they had been working on the piece since we last met: carving, sanding, curing, and painting it.  And, they wanted me to carry it back as a gift, a symbol of our friendship.  I accepted the treasure, the time and distance and camaraderie this stunning figure represents.


Jury Duty

jurydutyA colleague asked me what I did over the summer.  For a minute, I could only remember going to Mexico and heading to the desert to visit the family.  The month after returning from Oaxaca, what did I do beyond return to the desert and head to Lake Tahoe?

Then, I remembered the week I was in jury duty limbo, calling every other day to see if I would be needed, planning only so far in advance, and keeping just one of my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t be subject to a questionnaire or voir dire.  The other part of me welcomes civic duty and is intrigued by the opportunity to see how the truth unfolds.


Harrahs764%I found this vague sticker in a restroom stall, up high–where the ceiling met the wall, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.  Its lack of information hooked my attention.  It’s the area code for Daly City, CA. There’s an Ironworkers union under that number.  A Boeing 764.  And, 764 is a good (although not “very good”) credit score.  But I think it is the mark of Kode3, an artist of tattoos and rap music from Fresno CA. Search: Kode3 Real Fiction on iTunes. Amazon music. Google play. Worldwide. 764%.  Check out: http://kode3.com/2013/05/23/see-me-for-tattoos/.


Sacramento River Cats


The score was 1 to 4, and the Colorado Springs Blue Sox lost to the Sacramento River Cats. A man a row in front of me diligently filled in box scores, keeping up with the plays silently (except for his complaint that he needs to wear glasses).

Another man behind me yelled from the stands as if he were a coach separated from his team so that he had to holler key plays to his team.  Go Burns; stay.  C”mon Peterson, next one’s a strike.  He called out their names: Barton, Martinez, Buss as if they could recognize him as well.

But no matter how hard we chanted “Let’s go Cats!” or how often we rose out of our seats as part of the wave circulating the stadium, we remained the audience, and, from the stage, these players could not even distinguish that it was Super Hero night and that a handful of us came in costume.

With the summer night cool enough to make us want to linger and with a winning score, the fireworks show was a cherry on top.  A thoughtfully choreographed display, it featured hearts and fountains and all kinds of wondrous light.

A toddler, who’d been asleep since the seventh-inning stretch, woke in amazement, filled with joy.