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Learning Log, Aug 2021

Me sitting in a neon-green kayak, holding my paddle aloft with an excited expression. I am in the middle of a lake with a cityscape behind me.

Finally got around to kayaking on Lake Union!

  • Most notably, my last day at Microsoft—after the better part of 7 years—was the end of the month. There’s a lot of feelings bound up in that change. I’m excited to try something new and grow in a different way. But that’s a solid amount of time to build up a lot of relationships with people I’ll miss working with, and I wonder if it will feel odd not being a “browser person” anymore. Well, you can take the girl out of the web platform but you can’t take the web platform out of the girl—I’m hoping to keep doing a bit with web standards. And though it’s at a different layer of the stack, I’ll still get to work with web developers and their needs in my next product role. In any case, feeling very grateful to my community for a wonderful past few years, and excited for the future and new folks I will meet.
  • I took a bit of a staycation (really missing travel…) and ended up finishing up a couple different side projects: this minisite about seasonal living (writeup here) and a quilted pillowcase for my reading chair.
  • I am also feeling somewhat smug about my new solution for my ridiculous to-read list on Goodreads, which at some point ballooned up to ~1300 books (currently at ~250). I had been putting the work into continuously whittling that down to a more reasonable number, but it still stressed me out see how many books were on the list. What I do now is: I never look at the full list. I’ve set my view for this Goodreads list to 10 books per page, in random order. So if I’m thinking about what to read next, I can review just 10 random books and determine if there’s anything in there I want to read. If not, I can refresh and get another 10 books. I do still prune from time to time if it feels like I’ll never read a particular book, but it is such a nice way to focus on just a few options.

On the Internet


Apparently I didn’t bookmark many articles this month…

I did appreciate this quote from “How to Relax” by Thich Nhat Hanh (disclosure), on letting go of worrying (emphasis mine):

Our practice is to learn to take care of the present moment. Don’t allow yourself to be lost in the past or the future. Taking good care of the present moment, we may be able to change the negative things from the past and prepare for a good future. We tend to worry about what will happen in the future. The practice helps us to come home to the present moment, to our body, to our feelings, to the environment around us. When we breathe in and breath out mindfully, our mind is brought back to our body, and we are truly there in order to take care of the present moment. If there’s some stress, some tension in our today, we practice mindful breathing in order to release the tension, and that brings us relief. If there’s a painful feeling in us, we use mindfulness to embrace our feeling so that we can get relief. The key point is that you are fully there in the present moment, in the here and now, to take care of yourself and what’s happening around you. You don’t think too much about the future or project too much about how it might be; and you’re not trapped too much in the past. You have to tain yourself, to learn how to go home to the present moment, to the here and now, and to take care of that moment, to take care of your body and your feelings in this moment. As you learn how to be in the present moment, you’ll gain faith and trust in your ability to handle the situation. You learn how to take care of your feelings and what’s happening around you. That makes you confident, and as your confidence grows, you’re no longer the victim of your worries.


  1. Disclosure: I’m an affiliate of Any purchases you make using my link will earn me (and local bookstores!) a small commission.


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