Looking forward to picking up a couple of friends for today’s book club. We’ll talk about last month’s pick: “Certain Dark Things” by Silvia Moreno Garcia. Club members enjoyed her “Mexican Gothic” novel last year. A. and I will bring pupusas from a local grocery to share.

A cropped snapshot of thirty or forty out of several hundred haphazardly stacked books perched within the big wooden bookshelf in our living room

Today’s expensive lesson was grabbing a paid-for bottle by the flimsy cardboard box it came in. That means the bottle left the box at high speed and landed at my feet on the garage concrete floor. In the course of human events, I tire of gravity, consequence, finding out.

A closed stretch of Lincoln Street looking west from Broadway toward Main Street in downtown Walnut Creek, California on a sunny morning. To the left, an Italian restaurant called Prima is visible. Straight ahead is an indoor bookshop. At right, the Stadium pub, which usually sets up benches and umbrellas for outdoor seating beyond the big orange traffic barriers doing the street blocking thing.

One way I described how my job feels sometimes is: you climb into a big wooden barrel surrounded by baseball bats, and wait for anyone who wants to take swings. Lately, working from home means the barrel feels flimsier than before. Then: throw in a hair trigger fire alarm!

A Contra Costa County Fire Protection District fire truck responding to an alarm call is visible from a third floor building window on Willow Road on Thursday, November 17, 2022

I made it down to Oakland and back in my Honda, which I hadn’t realized was full of aluminum from its radiator and hubcaps to the alloy castings that make up its engine parts. A toast, therefore, to my car! Noted: these days my beer comes in (what else) an aluminum can.

A worn brown Wolverine brand boot under a blue jeans covered leg is visible as I sit in my Honda Civic's drivers seat Tuesday, November 15, 2022 in Oakland, California. An array of keys hangs from the Honda's ignition.

If I’d known I was going to have to leave this way, I’d like to think I’d have behaved different. Maybe I wouldn’t have sat with my friends in that Austin, Texas cafe fifteen-some years ago and shown them our futures. But by now, there wouldn’t have been anywhere to stay.

Flags for the city of San Pablo, the state of California and the United States flap gently in the breeze against a blue sky outside City Hall in the 1000 block of Gateway Avenue in San Pablo, California

Driving around this morning after acupuncture meant figuring out how to adjust to too much traffic within merging lanes for drivers heading toward the Bay Bridge, too much time paid for at an Emeryville parking meter, and a train delay before reaching a stop in Berkeley.

As red lights flash, a Caltrans train travels southbound across the 66th Street train crossing just east of Shellmound Street Sunday, November 13, 2022 in Emeryville, California

I have my suspicion why the woman behind the store counter asked for ID today after ringing up my non-alcoholic beers. Later, I drank a few while reconfiguring my desk from standing to sitting position. Some things you stand, but other things you ain’t gotta stand for.

A clutter covered Ikea wood and metal desk with several hats and face masks atop it, a blue padded rolling office chair, a FitDesk exercise bike and a Korg electric piano with a couple of guitars balanced precariously atop it in the corner of a living room Saturday, November 12, 2022 in San Pablo, California

I stare at screens and windows all day, but my simplest daily use display never gets attention until something as simple as a battery runs down and needs replacement, requiring the purchase of a precision screwdriver with a set of adjustable heads, and some in-person help.

A male employee wearing light blue jeans, a black sweatshirt, an orange utility apron, a gold wedding band on his left hand's ring finger, a wide cardboard ring of tape around his wrist and a confident attitude kneels in front of a small flat surface covered with a fluorescent yellow plastic surface. In front of him are a set of keys, an opened package of two wristwatch sized 2032 size batteries, an unscrewed two button fob, and three tiny screws stuck gently to a strategically placed wad of tape. It's Friday afternoon, November 11, 2022 in El Cerrito, California, in aisle 12, full of hand tools like wrenches, pliers, regular screwdrivers and measuring tape.

Caring for someone or something isn’t always supposed to be easy. When you minister to their needs, sometimes you sign up to go above and beyond the call of duty. You pick the right moment to say something or, more often, hold your tongue. Here endeth the reminder to self.

A tiny brilliant sliver of sun shoots low through a canopy of leaves as seen from below a tree Thursday, November 10, 2022 in a parking lot in San Pablo, California

Sometimes I’m too certain about how to respond to things to change my mind or be as flexible or as responsive as I could be. I’ve paid for that in the past, and will pay for it in future in some respects. If it was only my pride, and then as simple as a little humility.

A white Tesla sits parked in a darkened Whole Foods parking lot Wednesday, November 9, 2022 in Walnut Creek, California. The Tesla's custom license plate says "I'm blond" but all one word.