I was wrapping up a phone call on the short drive home from classes. I stopped at the light by Church’s Chicken and could not help noticing his sign. I had a quick decision to make: lose the best sign I’d seen for Sign Saturday in a long time and keep heading home or circle back. I circled back.
Through the open window I praised his creativity, tossed him $5. He posed as I snapped this quick shot before the light was green again.
When I was a child, my family spent many Fourth of July celebrations on the banks of Atascadero Lake, watching fireworks shot over the water. One of these nights, exhausted from a day of sun and water, I thought I saw the fireworks form a smiley face and than an American flag. Later though I wasn’t sure if I’d really seen these formations; maybe I had been dreaming them. Decades went by and I did not see another smiley face or flag. I didn’t see much more than fountains and blossoms and shooting stars.
But recently I saw several sideways smiles, a few Saturns, and hearts going every direction. Alert, in the cold night air, I am certain these fiery configurations exist. I wasn’t dreaming.
Sometimes to teach brainstorming in a college composition class, I will ask students to make a list of what there is to do in Sacramento. After the initial complaints that there is nothing to do in this valley beyond shopping and eating and — homework, they begin to think of all of the activities related to our two rivers and climate. They begin to think of the attractions as a result of living in the California’s capital. Then, the museums, and the history.
This year marks the 175th anniversary of the establishment of Sutter’s Fort in what is now Sacramento.
Ambling through this stronghold, the size of a city block, we have the opportunity to peek into windows and doors to glimpse part of the pioneer experience.
At the last minute, after realizing my mom and sister weren’t going to make it to Sacramento for a visit, I decided to book a flight using my latest obsession: the Priceline Negotiator. I love the Express Deals through this site, and sometimes I’ll dream up vacations to see how great the deals are.
So, I tried it for the first time for flights. I found last-minute flights to the Palm Springs airport were more affordable than flights to Ontario, CA. However, I would have to fly from Sacramento to Phoenix for a minute and then to the desert. As I arrived in the desert, I would have recommended this flight to anyone interested in visiting the Coachella Valley. It was quite lovely. However, the “return” flight was another deal altogether.
I took off from Palm Springs, landed smoothly in Phoenix and should have put two and two together as soon as I saw I did not have a seat assignment from Phoenix to Sacramento. The flight was oversold; I had two choices, wait seven hour in the Phoenix airport or fly to Oakland. Oakland it was.
Before this trip, I also would have advised anyone listening to be daring and try out the Express Deals on Priceline, the ones where you don’t know what hotel you’re bidding for — just the general location, guest ratings, amenities, and the number of stars. My new rule is to pick three stars and up. The place I stayed was quite literally on the other side of the tracks, the pool (the reason I rented a room in the first place) was the greenest and most disappointing thing in the desert, and Daniel, the night auditor, was grouchy from sleep deprivation.
Despite these little details, it was a fun trip filled with family and a few hours in a nicer pool.
A 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.