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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.


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!

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.


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!


I hiked today for the first time in a long while. It may have been overcast and threatening to rain on us but it was still wonderful to be out.

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views from the trail

My dog appreciated the chance to be out and to stick his head in many many ground squirrel holes. Sadly, I did not get a picture of that. You’ll have to take my word for it that it was adorable.

thanksgiving and toe doctors

I didn’t manage to post yesterday, which I think is a testament to the fun-filled day we had. My friend Linda hosted us and did a wonderful job, as usual. She even made adorable little place settings with a place for us to note what we were thankful for. What I wrote will probably not surprise anyone.

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Today I took my son to the foot doctor. He was highly entertained that there is a doctor just for feet. He is still wearing the “boot” the urgent care doctor gave him and now I have learned the proper way to buddy tape his toes.

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his boot, my boot

The doctor opted not to reset his toe, which sounds less painful all around. We still have to tape it for about 6 weeks. I suspect that will get old fast! Wish me luck.

bedrooms, toes, and ice cream

We have been working on rearranging the whole house since June or so and today was the beginning of the final step: switching my younger son back into the small bedroom and my husband and I back into the larger one.

His loft bed went away first, it is the end of an era.

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bye bye loft bed

This photo is a bit dark, but his bed is now in the small room! (It just needs a new frame.)

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at last!

Unfortunately, in all the hubbub of cleaning up today, my younger son stubbed his toe on one of the many air filters we currently have going, which resulted a trip to urgent care and probably podiatry tomorrow.

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sad pinky toe

In between all of that excitement, I made ginger ice cream for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t look like much, but it smells amazing and I hope it tastes as good as it smelled!

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ginger ice cream to be

smoke and more smoke

I know I am a bit of a broken record but today the Bay Area had the worst rated air quality in the world. A dubious honor. Stores are out of masks and air filters. People are driving out of the area to escape the smoke. Luckily for some people, they were already leaving for the holiday but we don’t have plans to go anywhere so we are staying home huddled by our air filters, hoping that the rain will come sooner rather than later and that we will be able to leave the house with a mask!

new filters and fuzzy friends

In case anyone is curious, this is my new air filter. It kind of looks like a giant version of the old iPod nano.

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I bought it on Amazon, of course. For comparison, this is my old air filter, which doesn’t have fancy cycling modes or an air quality indicator (that blue light on the right goes red when the air is bad) and it is super loud but if the light on the new one is to be believed, it has been doing a pretty good job!

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less shiny but still doing its duty

I need to figure out what model it is, actually, and buy a new filter. It has been running constantly for several days and I last replaced the filter last year during a bad fire week. I’m not sure how much of the smoke they can handle and I’d rather be safe than sorry!

In less boring, more cute news, my dog had a playdate today. They spent some time wrestling under the couch as usual, but then they had a rest, adorably.

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doing a snoozle, as they say

I have been knitting on the sleeve since I last posted about the sweater problem but it’s too late to get a new picture. I’ll aim for that tomorrow!