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unrelated photo of my hike today: clouds above, fog below (this is probably a metaphor for grief)

I lost someone this past summer. I didn’t misplace him, he died. He was very young and it was tragic and it has caused immense pain in my community, starting in his family and rippling out to his friends and to the rest of us: the parents of his friends who are also the friends of his parents.

Grief, I am learning, is a strange thing. I think of this person a lot and at odd times. I see a book I know he liked. I am reminded of Yosemite and I remember our families’ trips there together. My van’s automatic doors open and I remember him describing them as being powered by “magical unicorns”. He has visited me in my dreams a couple of times since he died. It never makes much sense when he does, but there he is, and I wake feeling sad and have to remind myself that he is gone and he is never coming back.

I actually have to remind myself of that most days. Someone told me recently that she had a theory that we have many layers to our selves and each time I remind myself it is me informing another of my layers. I must have a lot of layers because it has been five months now and I am still reminding myself: he’s gone forever, he is never coming back.

I am not sure what inspired me to write this today. I was going to say that nothing reminded me of him today but now I remember seeing a book on our shelf that I know he liked. I didn’t seem him very often anymore and yet I still feel his loss in my life. I feel the loss of his potential. What he could have been and never will be. What my son will be now that he has dealt with this loss.

Anyway, grief, it’s what is on my mind these days. It is what is coloring my outlook on life most days. It is what I think about when everything else is quiet and my mind is not occupied.

It kind of sucks.


hat, beach

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not-so-bulky waffle hat

I finished another hat! It’s also too late to donate. Now that I have two I will probably keep knitting hats to donate to Bay Area Cancer Connections. The pattern called for bulky yarn but I knit this one in Cascade Fixation. It is one of my favorite non-wool yarns for chemo caps. It is cotton and elastic, so it’s machine washable, without too much synthetic content and it is pretty soft. It’s easy to knit with and it comes in a variety of colors. I also seem to have acquired a sizable stash of it somewhere along the way. Since I finished it, I was able to pick up my blue sweater again! I am working on the first band. The end is in sight! I might even get there before the weather changes!

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my boy at the beach

Speaking of weather, it has been beautiful and clear for a few weeks. We had a beach day last week to take advantage of that. My 12-year-old spent a bunch of time at the edge of the water, kicking at the waves and building drizzle castles. He will be 13 next week and every time I see him off playing like this I wonder if it is the last time. My 16-year-old has no interest in the beach anymore but he did dig in the sand when we went to the beach for a week with their cousins. Kids, man, they grow up fast and you turn around and they are almost adults. Sunrise, sunset and all that!

new year’s intentions

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good boy, docker!

I ended this year with a hike with friends. My friend Bobbi took some wonderful pictures of Docker, as usual. She has such a good eye and I feel so lucky that she shares her talent with us. Hiking and friends fit in with my intentions for the new year. I don’t like to set resolutions, because it feels like a failure if I don’t accomplish the things I set out for myself. Instead, these are some of the things I intend to do this year (in no particular order):

  • Continued regular exercise (10k steps per day, closing Apple Watch rings, yoga every week, at least once)
  • Less (or no) time on Facebook (unless this results in less time spent in person with friends)
  • Good boundaries
  • Blog meaningfully
  • From a list I saw on Twitter:
    • Practice self-compassion
    • Embrace vulnerability
    • Deal with my ego

I hope that is not too many things to think about. I think that all of them are things are important for me in the coming year. If you set intentions or resolutions, I hope you are also able to find ones that are meaningful to your life and that set you up for personal growth and not just a feeling of defeat if you don’t reach them.

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I leave you with my oliebollen (Dutch donuts, traditional for New Year’s Day. They are not an intention, but I make them yearly because my husband and kids love them. They are the one thing I deep fry.

Let’s all hope that 2019 treats us better than 2018 did!

shelves, beach, hat

My husband is off from work for the week between Christmas an New Year’s Day, so I took advantage of that to get some projects done around the house. This week’s project was the assembly of an Elfa shelving unit for the living room. It was a bit like putting together IKEA furniture with more vague instructions. There was a lot of “according to your design” in the instructions, which isn’t super helpful when the design was a schematic without measurements. I am quite pleased with how it came out, though, even if it is taller than I anticipated.

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woo, shelves!

We also had a beach day, which is always something I enjoy. Someone took the time and care to craft a peace sign on the dune behind my favorite dog beach.

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peace man, cool yeah

It was a beautiful day! I read somewhere recently that looking at the horizon shifts your mindset to the big picture and gives you perspective on your place in the world. I am not sure I would have been able to put it into words so clearly but a trip to the beach gives me a mental reset. One of my life goals is to live walking distance from the beach but until I can, being able to drive there in about an hour to soak in this beauty is the next best thing.

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waves and rocks

In knitting news (since this is ostensibly my knitting blog) I finished a hat just too late to donate to my Hats for Paradise project. I have another one on the needles as well. I might drop them off at Bay Area Cancer Connections. I have donated chemo caps to them before and this one might fit that bill.

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finished a little too late

I have been thinking a lot about the goal of posting on my blog rather than Facebook and I’m still feeling a bit uncertain about my plans. I know that I don’t want to be on Facebook as much but I would still like to share what I am doing with friends and family. Without sharing the links to these posts on Facebook, though, I am not sure that anyone sees it. Am I blogging into the void? Perhaps. Will it be a good exercise for me anyway? Also, perhaps.

I hope you will join me for the experiment to see how it goes!


christmas gifts and food

I got an Apple Watch for Christmas. Those of you that know me know that I am a bit obsessive about reaching my 10k step goal daily. This past year I had a 9 month streak of hitting my goal! I got sick in September and that ended that. I have been less strict with myself about getting to my goal every day but I often try to go for an extra walk in the evening to get the steps. Well, now I have some new goals to try to hit too!

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closed my rings!

I closed the rings yesterday but today I have only gotten the red (calories burned while moving) and blue (stand at least once per hour). Somehow I got 10k steps today without getting 30 “exercise minutes”. That one is going to be a challenge when a lot of my walking is done with the dog. He stops and breaks the “exercise minute” counting, or something.

I also got hand knit socks for Christmas, from my mom. Aren’t they pretty?

hand knit socks are the best socks

Finally, I was given a cookbook: Dinner in an Instant. Tonight I made a pasta dish from it, and it was delicious!

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creamy chickpea pasta with cumin and mint

I didn’t have all the ingredients because my husband and younger son ate the hummus when I wasn’t looking, and it was still delicious. I think it will be even tastier when I make it again and do have hummus. (I blended the chickpeas instead which made it not super creamy but still made for a tasty dinner.)

So my holiday went well. I hope yours went as well as mine did!

pre-rain hike, social network thoughts

I hiked early this morning at Fremont Older. It was still dry then, and quite beautiful out. There was even a rainbow,

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California is gorgeous

I’m very glad I got out when I did because it started raining not long after I got home and has been drizzling or raining hard ever since. Hiking is an important part of my physical and mental health routine. It keeps me grounded and never fails to improve my mood. I started off this hike feeling a bit gloomy but felt much better by the time I was done. Nature is amazing and I am very lucky to live in a beautiful place with access to many hiking trails!

The challenge with being on Facebook less is words. When I was not thinking about any of it, I would have just posted that photo to Facebook and not said much about it. If I post it here, I feel like I need to have more to say. I rejoined and then left Ello. It seems to be much more intense than I remember. I’m also not sure what category to put myself in (??) on Mastadon, so I guess Twitter is it for now. Twitter has its own issues, of course, but I am there and I’ll stick around for the foreseeable future.

I actually hope that blogging more and Facebooking less will mean that I write more, and not just “today I…” kind of boring journal posts. Perhaps this will be one of my intentions for 2019! Perhaps.

knitting and cookies and new games, oh my

I finished some knitting projects! (I know, shocking, right?)

First up, the results of my hats for Paradise project. I made six hats.

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My mom made one with a cute pom pom.

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I also decided to donate some scarves I had knit for another donation project and never got around to mailing (oops) plus a cowl I made as a sample for knitting class and the purple one I was knitting over the summer.

A friend of mine from my mostly defunct knitting group also gave me a couple hats, a scarf, a couple cowls, and a baby blanket.

All of these items are now on their way to Paradise, hopefully to bring someone some warmth.

I also put the finishing touches on a baby dress I had knit and whipped up a bunny for the couple who sells my favorite coffee at the farmer’s market.

I love that bunny pattern. If Ravelry is to be believed, I have knit it 28 times. You would think I would have it memorized, but I have to look at it for the ears. I can manage the rest.

In other exciting news, I baked fancy cookies.

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And I got a new game with many game pieces to pop out and build into adorable trees. It’s called Photosynthesis. I grew the best trees when Niels and I played it this afternoon. Go me!


I am thinking about leaving Facebook because of recent revelations about their cavalier attitude towards user data and privacy. I am hoping to use my blog more regularly instead of posting everything there.

I have also rejoined Ello and Mastadon. I am abigailvr everywhere if you would like to connect with me.

In the mean time, here are some cookies I baked today.

See you here soon!

clean counters

This Sunday night is the beginning of Hanukkah and I am hosting a family dinner so I have been trying to motivate myself all week to clean my counter off in my dining area. It is the hottest clutter hotspot in my house, honestly. So much clutter. Yesterday, a friend of mine came over and bullied motivated me into working on it. She even tested every pen in my three (THREE) pen cups that were there.

Of course, I didn’t take a before picture but here is the after.

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Yes, I have done the dishes over by the sink and cleaned that up since this photo was taken. I always feel so much better when this space is clear and yet I always let it get insanely cluttered again before I clean it off. Maybe some day I will learn. Maybe.

This post wraps up another NaBloPoMo! I missed many days (oops) but enjoyed sharing bits of my knitting and life and knitting life with you. See you sooner than next November, I hope!

give blood, give life

Today was a blood donation day.

blood donation

This was my 29th blood donation since starting regular donations again in July 2013 at the Stanford Blood Center. 29 pints is 3.625 gallons of blood. That is a lot of blood! A friend of mine posted about doing a double red blood cell donation recently and I am wondering if I should switch to that. I am somewhat intimidated by the longer (more painful?) process, but the person doing my health check-in today told me that each time a person receives a transfusion, there is a chance that their body will react badly and that it is a benefit to them to get two sets of packed cells from one person. I also learned that they never use my plasma because I have been pregnant in the past, so donating just the packed cells sort of makes sense.

Food for thought! But today, I gave one pint of blood and got one chocolate cookie out of the deal.