The maps show our place sits between two creeks. There’s at least one good solid storm in the forecast. With a few days off to go, maybe it’s time to hit a point or beach for some nature while it’s nice out, since there won’t be any fish anywhere else we regularly visit.

A tree with nearly completely barren branches, except for remnants of golden brown leaves along its lowest reaches, stands against pale blue northeastern evening sky Monday, November 28, 2022 in San Pablo, California. Nearby trees are visible along the horizon and fill out a skyline above a low apartment building roof.

A year ago, I weighed more than I do now. First, I went dry in January. A month later, a friend gifted me an exercise bike. After a few months of neighborhood long walks, I got on and started pedaling. Since then, logging helps, but a number trend isn’t what matters to me.

An abbreviated screenshot from an Apple Health app of a six-month downward slope in personal weight measurement, with a notification saying average weight has been lower for the last ten weeks

I had my motivation handed to me this evening as soon as I got a microphone on my hand. A lovely song was all I needed to hear. Sadly, it was first sung by someone I hadn’t thought about in years, and who I’d only learned a day or so ago had passed away quite recently. What would that leave? An opening, empty space, and one of many things left behind to revisit.

A view from a booth at The Golden Bull, a venerable downtown bar and live music venue, on Sunday, November 27, 2022 in Oakland, California, where two people stand on a stage with microphones and sing the Tool song Stinkfist to open the latest of renowned karaoke jockey Dana Morrigan's twice monthly queeraoke events as Morrigan looks on

For the third straight night, it’s mall restaurant takeaway: a couple of orders of chicken boti kabob for me, and a Tandoori chicken leg and some chicken kabobs for A., which she finds spicier than ones she sometimes gets at one of her lunch spots. Commitment can be tasty.

A close crop of the words Pakistani and Indian from an illuminated sign hanging up outside a restaurant at a mall Saturday, November 26, 2022 in San Pablo, California

We spent Black Friday as one does: questioning colonialism, debating war and disease and nation-state folly and thinking about grievance as fuel for grudges instead of justice. After a possible second viewing, there’ll be further fodder to interrogate social ritual roles.

Two white paper ticket stubs for matinee screenings Friday, November 25, 2022 of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," seen at a multiplex movie theater in Richmond, California, rest on a brightly illuminated light colored wooden desk surface

Working on a holiday meant staying in until we finally got too hungry. All the local eateries were closed, except the Pakistani-Indian restaurant at the mall a few blocks away. On my way there, closed doors at our nearby strip mall’s venues managed to retain their charm.

A white car and a dark colored sport utility vehicle wait at an intersection near an empty strip mall with closed doors and signs on its dozen or so stores and restaurants, but some brightly lit signs still shining above doorways.

I’m behind on time but still in time, more than ready to take a few days off work but still signing up for an extra shift when the opportunity presents. I’m a few days behind on journaling too. Most importantly, I’m thinking hard about how to update my tools and platforms.

Late morning glowing blue sky peeks out from tall dark brown branches heavy with golden colored leaves fanning out in a vibrant shimmering canopy underneath a tree Wednesday, November 23, 2022 on Pringle Street in Walnut Creek, California

A visit to the old neighborhood is no longer a full meal, not that it was ever a buffet. No matter how long one lived there, there’s always bits and pieces to which one won’t be privy. These days, I graze. I pick up what fits on my plate, place it with care and move along.

A three story apartment building in the 200 block of Athol Avenue in the Cleveland Heights neighborhood of Oakland, California, with cars parked curbside and a large green recycling bin beside a downhill skiing driveway leading to an under-building garage space.

These days, ice isn’t something I put in my drinks to cool them. More often than not, it comes to mind as initials: the internal communication engine, or the Inter-City Express high-speed trains between German cities. “Der ICE ist auf gleis zwei,” as Duolingo keeps saying

An afternoon sunlit intersection where Harrison Street hits MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland, California, with on-ramps to Interstate 580 traffic heading toward Berkeley and Stockton nearby

Some things I do because I don’t mind, it’s no imposition. Some things I do with the ease of knowing they mean danger I can’t see, but also protection for others. I may never get used to their strangeness, their uncanny reflections of our world, so long as I repeat them.

A cropped image of an iHealth brand rapid antigen test or lateral flow test taken Saturday, November 19, 2022 for the presence of the COVID 19 virus, with a negative result based on a strong positive control result and an absence of response to the test result area.