Monday, October 13, 2008

Yard Signs and Bumper Stickers

Here’s something that seems puzzling: in my few outings of the last month or so (including the mega-outing for going to California), we’ve seen tons of yard signs for local races, wherever we go—and hardly any for the presidential candidates. On that lovely Sunday when we went to the Salt Fork Art Festival, we drove the back roads as we usually do when we have time. Every small town we passed through had plenty of signs for coroner, county board, and a few legislative races. Except for two, we saw not one presidential yard sign, and even in those, it was only a few houses in one stretch with competing signs. In California, we saw many bumper stickers for presidential candidates and, again, hardly any yard signs even though there were many for other causes/races. In Urbana, yard signs are ubiquitous for all kinds of candidates, causes and, yes, even presidential candidates.

All of us commented on the scarcity of presidential yard signs in Northern California. We were primarily in small towns and then on big highways where we couldn’t see houses or yards. Is this a local thing? Do people in small towns avoid yard signs for the big race to keep the peace with their neighbors? Something else? We were really puzzled. Is it just college towns that do yard signs for the big races with abandon?

The travel home was more like what travel is like these days, with delays and “helpful” policies affecting us. Our flight from San Francisco to Chicago was late departing due to equipment problems, so we ran across O’Hare to catch our Champaign flight. We made it to the gate just as they were calling the boarding, so sweating and happy, we congratulated ourselves. Too soon. When we got to the head of the line, our seat assignments were deemed “invalid” by the machine, so we were shunted to the gate agent. Some helpful airline person or computer program had decided that our SFO flight would be late enough that we’d been moved to a later flight, so even though we were there, and had boarding passes issued by the airline, we couldn’t get on the flight. The really aggravating part was that there were empty seats on the flight—five to be exact—but they went to the standby list and not to us, even though we were ticketed passengers. The gate agent tried valiantly to find a way to get us on the standby list with sufficient priority (all three of us) that we’d get on, and “the computer” wouldn’t let him. Thus, we waited and came home on the next flight. The good news was that we saw people we hadn’t seen in some time and were able to visit and catch up, including with A who is volunteering in Ohio pretty much full time for the Obama campaign and will be until the election. It was fascinating to hear about the work she’s doing and the progress they’re making. We got home later than we’d hoped, but we did get home without incident, and the bag arrived safely that Michael had checked with wine he got at the Bottle Barn, a discount wine place that has fun stuff because the local wineries all send their odd lots there.

I slept eleven hours.

Today brings occupational therapy and law class. The papers for today are almost all graded (a long plane ride plus airport time provides a great out-of-ordinary-life opportunity for grading), so there are only a few more to go. Today’s class is a fun one, and I’m looking forward to the students and a great guest speaker.

Tomorrow is my follow-up MRI and visit with the surgeon to assess how things are going, plus class and dinner with a family friend who worked with my mother and who I have known most of my life. And, as always, there will be plenty of rest in between events. We are acculturating to the rhythm of building in the rest periods as a standard part of our routine. In California, Michael rented a biggish car so that I could sleep on the back seat while others were pursuing activities. We went to the coast for a hike, for example, and I walked with everyone for about 10 or 15 minutes on the flat part, and then went and slept in the car while they all continued hiking. We’d taken my famous buckwheat pillow with us, and it was a warm day; with the windows cracked, there was a great ocean breeze. It was a nice solution.

After this weekend’s experiment, we figure that for at least another few weeks, I’ll do little beyond teaching and the therapy schedule. I’m hoping that by next month, I’ll be able to resume more of my other activities. For now, though, it looks like teaching and grading makes a pretty full plate for me, and matches the energy available. I’m getting stronger every day but am still taking a lot of meds and resting a lot. Plus, the therapy schedule alone fills a lot of time. However, the progress is discernable and I’m focusing on that. As a total aside, the hair around the incision that is growing out is now about ¾ of an inch long and standing straight up. It’s a great reminder that my whole head could have looked like that, and another reason to stop and count my blessings.

As this week begins, I hope that you can anticipate some aspects that interest or excite you, and that you’ll get to make progress on something that matters to you, as well as dealing with all that other “stuff” that constitutes work and life. Don’t forget to stop and appreciate health, family and friends. Hug someone, or reach out to a friend with whom you’ve lost contact. It’s the people that really matter in the end.


  1. Many CC & Rs prohibit the display of yard signs.

    California doesn't get much advertising for the presidential race. Nobody wastes his or her money where the race is already decided. And the California primary was so late that, until this year, the nominee had already won.

  2. Sorry we're not yet at home in SF, so missed you on your trip. Re: yard signs/bumper stickers in California, M and H have a yard sign (Vote No on Prop 8, which opposes gay marriage) but no sign for O/B. They do have an Obama sticker on their car, but it was there when they bought it! It may be that the electoral vote in California is a foregone conclusion. --Jill