Day 39 of Project 365: Smiling Jack.


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When I look up from my laptop, my view is of smiling Jack sunning himself in the courtyard. Zen occasionally ventures out into the courtyard but cannot resist the all-you-can-eat salad buffet of ornamental plants, so she is shuffled back in, all the while moaning her discontent.

Tough to be dispirited while there are cute cats all around me.

Writing from: a sleepy room in Marin. Listening to: “To the Stars” by Alma.

Day 38 of Project 365: Choice paralysis.


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I thought I had prepared myself for possible points of reverse culture shock. Then I wandered into the candy aisle of our local Walgreens, pictured bottom-right in today’s photo. All I wanted was a pack of mints. There were so many different mints to choose from, and they were right next to a million candy bars, some of which I hadn’t even heard of before. We’ve only been gone for four years! How can so much candy innovation occur in such a short period of time?

The other two photos are from Whole Foods, one from the yogurt case and the other from the nuts aisle. I wasn’t able to capture the scale of either section of the store. There were more things to choose from than I was capable of comprehending of eating, and I really enjoy eating.

Many times while living abroad I pondered what it would be like to walk into a supermarket and be able to choose from different types of food that I wanted to eat as opposed to just different types of food that I could eat. (There were plenty of gluten-free crackers and biscuits in Scotland, but I’ve never enjoyed eating either very much.) Back in America, I’ve been bombarded by so many options that I’ve quickly become overwhelmed. I’m sure it will even out soon, and when it does I hope that I’m able to retain some of this awe over just how many options there are for me here.

Writing from: a room with kale chips in it. Two different flavors, even. Listening to: Zen’s chainsaw purrs. (She likes kale chips almost as much as I do.)

Day 37 of Project 365: Two of my favorite things.

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Bubble tea and board games are two of my favorite things.

Writing from: a quiet room in Marin. Listening to: the soft churn of tumble-drying laundry.

Day 36 of Project 365: Queen Z.

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Yeah, we’re so worried about how Zen is acclimating.

Eleven days after the big move and she’s bossing the other cats around and hogging all the best sunshine spots.

I spent most of the day working on a single job application. I may be overthinking it. Time to curl up with Matt Haig’s lovely book “The Humans” and forget about the job search for the rest of the night.

Writing from: Zen’s world. We just live in it. Listening to: Spotify’s Perfect Concentration playlist.

Day 35 of Project 365: Really got a hold on me.

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Today I visited the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. I enjoyed a warm welcome from former coworkers and it was wonderful to be back in their company. But after an hour, the tenor of the reunion changed: I became desperately sad, missing it all so much, then overcome with the knowledge that the library and all the lives it contains exist separately from my memories of working there. The two are not the same. It’s easy to pretend they are from a distance.

After descending the magnificent central staircase so that I could snap today’s photo, I crossed the street and ducked into the Civic Center transit station. Two women on the Muni platform were singing “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”:

I don’t like you, but I love you
Seems that I’m always thinkin’ of you
Though you treat me badly, I love you madly
You’ve really got a hold on me

Writing from: a nostalgic room in Marin. Listening to: The Bobs’ cover of “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”.