2020-Style Halloween

October 31, 2020

This Halloween will stand out as being weird on so many levels. It’s a 2020 kinda Halloween, which is to say: messed up. Bummer on bummer.

Halloween in the time of a pandemic. People get creative. There was Heidy K’s candy-pult (candy sling shot). Loved that idea, if brutal. Then there was my dear Ann Arbor friends, Lisa and Claire, who displayed Covid-protected pumpkins and disbursed candy–a gentler approach–like this:

Another interpretation of Coronavirus pumpkin, from Sac buddies Randy & Sue:

Then, sweet homages to RBG… if I knew of three, there must have been gazillions across the country.

Here’s a friend of a friend of a friend’s (clever right down to the background and candy bar):

This is my second cousin twice removed, Kameron (note the gloves):

And this is the, ahem, dog of one of my fella phonebankers:

No one bit silly.

This, I thought, was a funny idea (tongue in cheek) from yet another fella phonebanker (though has nothing to do with covid, RBG or elections):

And this one defines my whole day today (and the next two and a half)… a phonebanking Call-a-Palooza, graphic by the ever talented Karen:

Got a new personal best for phonebank calls in a single day — I called 85 voters in Iowa today! Which is impressive considering most of my call time was taken up with training (five hours worth). We should call this day Calloween (a pun I can’t take credit for, but love).

Jim bought multiple bags of candy (which is his annual unnecessary ritual since we never get but a few kids each year and it’s his excuse to buy great gobs of candy that he justifies eating because he buys it for the tricker treaters), even though we knew we’d have zero kids this year. And I didn’t put out Halloween decorations… because nothing feels normal and I just completely forgot. We didn’t even get a pumpkin.

Sorry kids. You deserve a better president.

That Milestone

October 30, 2020

A little something happened yesterday. I did this thing in between getting a newsletter out, making GOTV calls in Iowa, waving campaign signs on the Covell Blvd bicycle overcrossing, circumnavigating Putah Creek. And other stuff. It’s significance got upstaged by: the upcoming election and its various potential scary aftermaths; unsettling surges on the pandemic front; supreme court injustices; continued ugly racial tragedies…. I’m telling ya… these are crazy days.

But it had to be done, the calendar requires it, and I did it… applied for Medicare.

That milestone. I think this means I’m a senior citizen.

New Michigan Voter

October 29, 2020

This Californian’s vote is finally going to count!

If Michigan flips back to blue, we know who to thank.

Parallel Play

October 28, 2020

Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours… sitting on my favorite patio downtown, warm (but not too warm), my current favorite sandwich (a Valley Veggie on ciabatta), a large au lait (with extra foam) and my all-time favorite son on the screen.

We be Zooming.

He’s coding. We kept the Zoom session open while he worked and I ate lunch and dealt with email and too many open tabs. Periodically, he’d flag me down and share his screen and show me the latest iteration of his program. Ultimately, success will be measured, and his objective achieved, when he’s simulated a fluid without the fluid blowing up. Today it blew up all three times.

Back to the drawing board.

Maybe dating myself with that slogan, huh?

It doesn’t even really apply to this photo array, but the point is, can you tell which is the real shot?

And really, the point is: it was a beautiful morning around the arb. So grateful for my twice weekly, forever walks with Vicki (when we also see other-Vicki and Steve). How lucky are we?

Here’s the thing: Feels like we are mucking around in the deepest do do of our lives. We are one week away from an election we’ve been waiting for for four years (yeah, that was three homophone thingies in a row) to elect somebody who will hopefully bring us back from the edge of the abyss. And we’re in the middle of a pandemic that is again surging like nobody’s business all over our country and the world. And today was the swearing in of a new extreme ideologue justice, just eight days from said election. A breathtaking, hypocritical power grab. And loads of other stuff besides. It’s all so much and all so heavy I just feel like I’m in a constant state of jitters and anxiety.

And, forebodingly, I actually sat in a meeting tonight where we watched a presentation on how to respond to a coup. Ninety one of my fellow Davis activists sat on a Zoom call, some of us were drinking wine, some of us had cats in our laps or children doing homework in the background. I had dinner in the crock pot ready to go soon as I got off the call. Normal people on a Monday evening, talking about coups. It was an incredibly smart and sober discussion that was also surreal and shocking. And it’s a real possibility that people are actually gaming out. Over a hundred national organizations have joined a coalition and are training and preparing their folks in the not-unlikely event that the president will do something crazy following his near-certain loss.

So, you know, I’m a bit agitated.

Still, earlier today, I sat in a phone bank and made my 33 calls to Kansas while simultaneously working on a nice arty jigsaw puzzle, in between a mammogram and a nice conversation with Peter.

Can you even process any of this?

These are weird times. Like we’re in a theater of the absurd.

I don’t have a photo that goes with any of this insanity. So how about this… I was in the Kaiser parking lot this morning and spotted this old car. I really have no interest in old cars, but what caught my attention was the color of the car. Our old family bubble car from the late 50s, early 60s (no idea its make or model) was exactly this shade of aqua.

I’ve learned a few tricks in Canva.. so I quickly worked up a design by first removing the background, dropping backgroundless car into a new scene, doing a little tilting of images and words, and presto.. this weird little exercise in distraction from all things overwhelming.

Phone Bank Jigsaw Club

October 25, 2020

Well, we don’t really have a phone bank jigsaw club, but there is a mini trend wending its way through the regular phone bankers… a bunch of us are multi-tasking during the phone banks, and it’s either cooking or putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Today the calls came so fast, that I managed a mere six pieces in my whole two-hour session.. and those were distracting enough. I think I left a lot of funny messages.. at least slightly disjointed.

Here’s a funny: as I was leaving a message — which I could do in my sleep (that said, I deliver it differently each and every time) — I discovered an edge piece. This caused me to gasp in the middle of my message. The funny thing about finding an edge piece is that I’d completed the entire perimeter yesterday. I’d already created the perfect square — no gaps — and, yet, here was another edge piece. No idea what that will sound like to the poor Kansas voter who will listen, I presume, to my message sometime today… and will hear that gasp.

(Turns out, it wasn’t the perfect square after all; it was, in fact, missing a piece. I had pressed two pieces together that didn’t quite go.. though it was SO CLOSE. But, my newly discovered piece was definitely the Cinderella slipper.

Here is my set up.. which will be my set up for the next nine days of phone banking!

My goal is to finish this puzzle by election day. It’s quite challenging, I must say.

Saturday Shots

October 24, 2020

As seen in downtown Davis this morning…

Returned from a beautiful morning at Farmer’s Market, and commenced to phone banking.. which has been the routine for months now. Today I added a bit of this:

It’s the first time I’m using our new table for jigsaw puzzles. Part of the idea of putting the table in this spot was to have a regular puzzle spot. Cool, huh?

By the end of the day I’d gotten this far:

So look, I know my subject matter has narrowed down to, like, four rotating topics — politics, food, Peter and politics. I could–maybe should–suspend blogging for awhile, but my OCD will not abide. Must continue the daily practice… because, if I don’t… well… I won’t. And then no bloggy. At all.

My nerves are frayed and bandwidth is limited, and all’s that’s on my mind these days is the election and bringing a deep and just humiliation upon the current office holder on Nov 3. My anger knows no bounds when it comes to him, the damage he has wrought, the sheer fact of him occupying the office of the presidency. How. Did. This. Ever. Happen.


I have a million things to write, but they’re all political — I give great speeches throughout the day.. on walks, in the shower. By the time I’m ready to write I’m just weary or my great speech is not top of mind. For example, I had a great comeback for Joe in last night’s debate about clean energy. I had an even better response to the court packing question. They were great speeches, but they’ve faded into the recesses.

But, see, that’d still be just another political post. I need fresh material. I am adding that to the growing list of post-election things I plan to turn my attention to. Man, I can hardly wait.

Okay, so, having reached paragraph #5 without having said a single thing, let me fall back on my real favorite topic: Peter. Who called today while I was in the middle of a phone bank (Arizona was on the docket this afternoon), and who was so buoyant and Friday-afternoon-ish, and, I don’t know, but he thought I might enjoy a quick FaceTime conversation as he walked home among those deep red and yellow trees. I just can’t tell you. Some days a person really needs a respite, and along he comes which cheery tales of fluid simulation.

I was telling Jim this evening, he seems so damn content. Nothing, but nothing makes a parent’s heart soar like a happy kid who’s in a good place, growing in every way imaginable.

Final Debate & 11 Days Left

October 22, 2020

Therefore, you need some pretty pictures from today’s walk to look at that will take your mind off the election and help you get grounded and breathe fully. (Because: anxiety and hyperventilation.)

You’re welcome.