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Suffering Chronic Depression by Seong Lib

Hey friend!

What Will Become of Us?

“Hello, Elmo” Golda says politely as she tosses her red plush friend on top of her doll, already-buckled into the tiny stroller. My daughter keeps adding her toys one by one. An oversized plastic butterfly sits on the table. She picks that up, too. “Come here, Par-par!” which she recently learned means butterfly in Hebrew. And finally, the bath toys. “Alimango!” (Tagalog for crab).

Ok. I’m sharing this story partially to brag about my daughter. I mean, she’s barely two. 3 languages? She’s brilliant, right? Some child prodigy genius.

But I’m also bringing it up because it’s revealing…

Email Refrigerator :: 24

“Daphne” sculpture by Kate MacDowell

Hey friend,

Since Halloween, Lauren and I have been hiding a giant bag of candy in our dresser to make sure that Golda wouldn’t find and eat it all. And because of that, I’ve been eating a piece of candy or two every day. I don’t want to. But I do.

Here I am, going back day after day for a Crunch or Almond Joy. That’s right. Not even the good candy. One minor slip has devolved into a complete backslide.

Given the circumstances of the year, maybe I should be more forgiving. Reflecting on my 2020 goals, I notice…

Email Refrigerator :: 23

Hello there!
Hiya! Meh.

“Whistler’s Mother Trying to Remember the Login Password” from If It Were Today series by Ji Lee

For the last few months, Golda has been practicing her birthday. Lying in her crib every night she’d sing happy birthday to herself. She’d ask us to light candles so she could practice blowing them out.

“When is your birthday?” And she practiced “Oct-TOE-ber Ay-TEEN. We have Elmo cake. Sing hap-bur-day. Blow candles. Say yayyy!” And on her birthday, we did just that.

Three days later was the first anniversary of my aunt’s death. The tradition is to light a yahrzeit candle that burns for 24 hours in her memory. Instinctively, Golda…

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“Edgware, Hendon and Mill Hill” pen and ink portrait by Ed Fairburn


Today marks the weekend between Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. The Jewish calendar is intentional in starting the year with a celebration and giving us a full week to examine the past year and make plans for the year ahead.

But regardless of your religious beliefs, this period of introspection comes at an interesting time. We just marked 6 months since COVID lockdown here. This weekend could be a time to reflect on how this last year has changed us and what we’ve done to actively adapt.

Today I’m reflecting on…

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Animation Party by Daz Yang

Some days, when the world is feeling particularly dark, I’ve found that playing a record helps. Any album, really. I love the mechanics of it all–the automatic motions of the arm and the crackle before the first song. The predictability of one song after the next. The 25 minutes of linear auditory experience.

My favorite part of the stereo is the buttons. The way each one gives in and clicks when it’s pressed hard enough.

For me, it contrasts a current feeling of isolation (stick with me for a second). Even when I see people right now, we’re distant…

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Gif art by Koba Nieuwoudt

Good morning, friend.

I. Changing My Mind
Six years ago this week I was traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia. I remember the street food, the hostels and beaches, and biking through the rain.

But nearly 50 years before that, the first American troops were wading onto the beaches north of Da Nang as we entered the Vietnam war. The idea of traveling to Hanoi for pleasure was out of the question just one generation prior. As a culture, we change our minds as politics change.

In a recent conversation with my family, we discussed the imcomplete story we alllearned about…

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“African’t” paper cutouts by Kara Walker

Hey there friend,

I. Language of Privilege
I found myself looking for scripts this month. How can I talk to my daughter about race? How can I convince my conservative relatives that we are all biased? Start conversations about non-racism vs anti-racism? How do I start talking about and then addressing my own privilege?

Let me start here. Black lives matter. In a country that historically and systematically devalues Black lives and destroys Black bodies, I can start by making it clear that I believe that Black lives, of every kind, matter.

What I’ve discovered is that scripts and language…

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Hey there!
Thanks for opening the fridge. Hope you enjoy these snacks.

“Key” digital illustration by Javier Jaén

I. What is The Lesson?
Splayed across the table lie a handful of colorful jelly beans. My daughter Golda, who just turned 19 months old, stands in front of her toddler-sized green chair counting. “Wwwwwwuuuun… Tooooo… threeee…. Furteen!” It makes for an adorable video. As we’re teaching her numbers and colors, it also reminds me how we learn.

When we start something new, we’re going to be bad at it. We sound silly, look stupid, and do things wrong before we finally get them right. Beginners suck. …

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“Illustrated People” (photo negatives “sunburned” onto skin) by Thomas Mailaender

I. This Is Our Life Now
Exactly one year ago, my wife, daughter, and I packed up our car and drove 18 hours from New Jersey to Chicago. As we crossed into Pennsylvania, Lauren turns to me and says “I guess this is our life now.” It’s become a running joke between us, that we feel a permanence and complete immersion in a temporary lifestyle. Those first few weeks of parenthood. An international flight. By the third day of a long vacation. And definitely these last few weeks in socially distant quarantine.

We get used to things so quickly that…

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A Family is Separated in Bosnia/Sarajevo,1993 by Susan Meiselas

Hi Friend!

What is there to write about and talk about other than what’s going on in the world right now? How are you doing? (I actually want to know.)

Coronavirus has spread so quickly because we are in constant contact with others.

So we are all practicing some level of self-isolation to save the world from an even bigger disaster. That brings its own challenges. Managing childcare and logistics. Newfound temptations getting in the way of new goals. Working from home. Cooking. Always with an eye on the news. “Will there be enough food?” “Is my family safe…

Jake Kahana

Helping people thrive in a distracting world. Cofounder of and US faculty at

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