- I don’t seem to be able to get my thought into a line at the moment which seems to mean it’s either random posts or none at all. I’m thinking quite a bit, that much hasn’t changed, and I’m awfully busy, busier than before, I guess.
- Today when I counted I found that I have 37 students at the moment. Music students, piano, guitar, recorder, singing, and ukulele. That is a lot, and it explains why I don’t seem to have as much free time as I used to have anymore.
- I’m also, again, trying to do more housework, because for months, and months I didn’t do much besides making breakfast, and buying the groceries. It’s not as if my husband weren’t busy, and he has done a little too much housework; and now it is gardening time again, and that’s all his anyway, and he also still suffers from a slipped disc, so I try to do my share.
- With the teaching, and the housework, and spending time with my family everything else gets stuffed into odd corners and crannies of my life. A little writing here, a little knitting there, a little weaving on this weekend, and a little spinning on that.
- At the moment it seems that – unlike in the past few years – I like to concentrate my energy on just a few projects. Don’t get me wrong, I still have oodles of things that I want to do, and am planning, and working on, but it seems that I’m only working actively on one or two at any given time. Like many I find that that makes for faster progress. At least on that project, not on the rest, of course.
- I don’t know if I told you about it but I’ve gone back to a system of index cards to keep track of all the things I’m doing, and planning, and such. Interestingly it’s easier to keep track of than any electronic thing at the moment.
- Seems I’m reading again. Nice that. There were so many years where I read mostly internet things, and not a lot of books. I happen to like books, so that’s good. And again with the immersion, reading a book takes more focus, and time than reading something on-line, so that’s more calming than licking here and there. Not that I don’t click here and there, I do, but not as much, and I like it.
- For all the things I didn’t do, and all the lack of energy, and resolve I still run two or three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes, and I still love it. Which still amazes me, I would never have thought that I could become a runner. Not ever. Much less while being fat.
- I still can be excited about learning new things, that’s a very good thing. Sometimes I’m afraid of getting old and settled, and never starting anything new again. I don’t quite know why because so far there has been no problem with that. Quite the contrary.
- One of these days I’ll find the space in my head to actually get to know my new camera, and then I’ll take pictures and post them here again. I liked the attempts at posting pictures a lot when I did them, and have been hoping to do something along those lines again but I’m not quite ready.
- I have to say that I’m really grateful for anybody still reading along. It’s still rather amazing to me that I can just type something on my little laptop, and soon after there are real people out there in the world reading it. Because they want to, not because they must. Thank you.
- Psychedelic Blanket: ist komplett fertig, es fehlt aber leider noch das Foto
- Ruby Sandrilene: auch komplett fertig, auch kein Foto
- noch ein Paar Socken für meinen Mann: Ich habe alles außer dem Bein wieder aufgezogen und bin fast fertig mit dem ersten Socken
- Sunny knee socks: fertig
- Socks with a twist: die Ferse des ersten Sockens ist gestrickt, ruht zur Zeit aber
- Viola: schon ziemlich weit gediehen, muss noch das halbe Bündchen unten am Saum stricken und die Knopfleisten
- Soothing Shawl: ist etwa halb fertig, ich fange als nächstes den Rand an
- Apfelsinenwellen: nach einigen Fehlstarts bin ich jetzt mitten im Zopf des ersten Handschuhs
- Sock Leftovers Blanket: habe heute endlich angefangen zu weben, back ein paar kleinen Startschwierigkeiten
Gesponnen habe ich:
- ein bisschen mehr oranges BFL auf der Spindel; ich bin draufgekommen, dass ich eigentlich etwa eine Stunde am Tag daran spinnen müsste, um bis zum Sommer die Wolle für die Jacke zu haben. Danach habe ich die Spindel schön neben den Computer gelegt und da liegt sie immer noch.
- grüne Marino/Seide für ein Tuch für meine Tante, alles fertig gesponnen und gezwirnt, die letzten beiden Stränge hängen gerade zum Trocknen auf der Terrasse
- hellbraune Shetland-Wolle: ich habe das Flachsrad endlich flott gemacht und spinne darauf für Sockenwolle. Ich bin mitten im zweiten Sechstel.
Des weiteren erwähnt wurde:
- das Flachsrad
- As you might have noticed I haven’t been in the mood for communicating lately. Nothing bad, nothing serious, just a faint feeling of ennui with calling people on the phone, writing letters or e-mails, and meeting people
- I have also been in thinking mode but not the kind where I write blog posts about it
- I have been writing quite a bit, my 2012 NaNoWriMo-novel is just about finished, and I am currently working on a sequel
- I have started tidying and de-cluttering. So far I have sorted through all my spinning fiber, and straightened it (and found that I still won’t buy anything soon, bins are overflowing, and there is some fiber in the attic that I haven’t looked at for years), and I have gotten the antique spinning wheel in working order that I got 1 1/2 years ago.
- I have also de-cluttered the magazine holder in the kitchen, and found that I have unread magazines and comic books that I bought in August 2011! I am currently reading my way through one year’s worth of Green Lantern.
- I am rather happy not meeting people, and not going out. One factor is that I am teaching even more than before. There is barely an open slot in my schedule.
- I bought myself a hula hoop, and am currently re-learning how to use it. I have to wait for dryer weather, though, because I can only try it outside. There is no room in the house for it.
- I went to an endocrinologist because I was feeling under the weather all the time, and thought there was something wrong with me. She told me to take various vitamins and such, and now I’m feeling somewhat better.
- I just saw that I’ve been running at least once a week for 22 consecutive weeks now. This is after I had hurt my ankle so that I couldn’t run for months.
- Our son is about to get the grades that will determine which kind of school he can attend following fourth grade, and it is looking pretty good. Without any of us stressing out about it.
- I will now go back, and write more on my story. It’s starting to pick up speed.
We’re right in the middle of Easter break here, and March has gone by without me really noticing. So I thought I’d at least tell you that I’m still alive and well, and show you some of today’s pictures. I do have a new camera. I really love it, I have wanted a digital SLR for ages but we’re still getting acquainted. So, Easter pictures:
This is an Easter basket my son put together. A friend of his and her family made the eggs and the bunny (not a fox, a bunny) from salt dough, and he helped painting them.
The traditional hefezopf that I make every year. And like every year ever since we got the new oven it was just a little too dark. But this year I’ll put a note in the cook book so that I’ll remember next time I make it.
View into our backyard. Interestingly there was no snow at Christmas. Egg hunt this year was indoors again.
Closeup of the big maple in our yard.
I have to say I really hope the weather will be more spring-like soon. We have already run out of wood for the wood stove, and it’s about time.
Regardless of the weather I am really looking forward to another week of no work. I plan to go to Augsburg one day to see the textile museum, and I also plan to write and write and write, and tell you all about that soon.
- Psychedelic Blanket: fertig gestrickt, Enden vernäht, muss noch gespannt werden
- Ruby Sandrilene: beide Ärmel fertig und das Vorder- und Rückenteil bis zu den ersten beiden Zunahmen nach der Taille gestrickt
- noch ein Paar Socken für meinen Mann angefangen, der erste Socken ist bis zur Ferse fertig, aber ich werde sie wahrscheinlich wieder aufziehen
- ein paar Kniestrümpfe für mich
- ich habe den angefangenen PB&J-Socken gerippelt und aus der Wolle stricke ich ein Paar Socken nach eigenem Entwurf
Gesponnen habe ich:
- ein winziges bisschen oranges BFL auf der Spindel
- fast den ganzen Rest Polwarth von Painted Tiger, ist auch schon gezwirnt
- heute angefangen – grüne Marino/Seide für ein Tuch für meine Tante
Ansonsten wurde erwähnt:
- die Gruppe “Podcasting auf Deutsch“
- neuer Podcast “Neues aus der Anstalt. Diagnose Strick- und Alltagswahn“
- mein Wisteria-Pullover
- The Intentional Spinner von Judith McKenzie
- Spin Your Socks
- Lisa Grossmanns Mini-Manifesto über das Spinnen von Sockenwolle (steht weiter unten auf der Seite)
- Abby Franquemont über Sockenwolle, hier ein allgemeinerer Post und hier etwas über ihr Sockenexperiment
- Ravelry Gruppe “Spin to Knit Socks“
That quote is a direct one that a friend said to a person we had just met. And that assumption, the one that I’m really direct, had me thinking. About being nice, patient, and fun.
It used to be that most people thought I was rather arrogant, and distant, or too mouthy, a smartass, or cynic. In those days I was basically the same person I am now but there was not much of a filter between my brain and my mouth, plus I hadn’t yet learned the art of making the right kind of eye contact at the right time, or smile in an appropriate way at appropriate places in the conversation. I also tended to forget things like saying thank you and hello often.
Not because I was a totally horrible person, I was just so much in my head most of the time that I never thought about how anybody else perceived me. And I believed that total honesty was usually the best way to go. Part of me still values honesty pretty high but I do value politeness and niceness as well these days.
So I didn’t use to be a pleasant person to be around most of the time, and I had the lack of friends to show for it. Then I met my husband, and he taught me a lot about social situations and seeing yourself from the outside. Something also changed inside of me so these days I don’t have the overwhelming urge to criticize each and every person around me all the time. Not only do people like me better for it, I also am a much happier person myself.
So I hadn’t realized it before meeting my husband but when paying more attention to other people’s feelings I also realized that I had a problem with keeping the right kind of eye contact. My mother had told me not to stare all the time for ages, but since I usually didn’t stare anymore I thought everything was alright. But my husband helped me with that too.
This morning I had just taken my contacts out when he came into the bathroom, and I realized that I had looked at him with a smile pretending to make eye contact. Because I didn’t wear contacts or glasses I couldn’t properly see his face anyway, so my try at looking at him reassuringly, and lovingly while smiling was an automatic gesture to make him feel better.
Huh. I hadn’t realized that I actually have internal rules for that kind of thing. But there seems to be a little rulebook in my head telling me things like,
- When meeting people it is a good idea to say hello, and smile while looking them into the eyes briefly. (Then take a clue from them to see whether they want you to shake hands or hug. That one might need a flow chart to explain.)
- Don’t stare at people for too long, even if you’re really interested in their eye makeup, or the pattern on their sweater. It makes people uncomfortable.
- When talking to people do after each sentence or two check if they are still listening. When they start fidgeting, looking for an escape, or having their eyes glaze over drop the subject as fast as possible.
- When talking to people do at times a) stop talking, b) ask the other person a question about herself, c) don’t interrupt her answer, d) remember what they told you, if possible.
- Adjust your conversation to the person in front of you. Both in the way you speak, and what you speak about.
As awkward as I sometimes am in social situations I do my best in my work to project a persona of calm, competent, nice, patient, and fun on my students and their parents. This is more evident to me when I meet students for the first time. It is not acting as such but I take a minute to get into my “Look at me, I’m nice and patient, and fun! And I know all the things! You can trust me!”-state. Even if I don’t feel like it.
Years ago I decided that I’d rather act nice, patient, as calm as possible, and polite than being a jerk. I like it when people act that way towards me, and so I try my best. Even if I don’t feel like it. And I’m okay with that. I do my share in making the world just a little nicer to live in, I hope.
But these days I sometimes feel a bit stuck in the nice, patient, and friendly persona because while I am all those things I’m also a person who is quick to anger, and not patient at all, and often just wants to be left alone. But when I’m angry, and impatient, and not nice I make other people feel uncomfortable so I don’t act on that very often.
So – to come back to the scene I described at the beginning – with all that being polite and nice, and not saying every word that pops into my head and such – I was rather taken aback when this friend of mine talked about how ‘direct’ I am.
We had been meeting as a group to talk about our respective creative goals and such, and there was someone new there that day. At the end of the meeting she showed us a couple of pictures of her paintings, and I said, “I’m always really relieved when someone shows me her work and it is actually good.” And that elicited my friend’s remark.
Now I know that this is in part a cultural thing. My friend is (mostly) American, I’m German, and I’m from a part of Germany where people are said to be rather outspoken. It’s also a personality thing because among the rather outspoken people of East-Westphalia I stuck out as being even more so as well.
But it seems a little unfair when I’ve come so far in trying to be really, nice, and patient, and gentle. And I couldn’t help on my way back home to think about all the not so nice things that I had left unspoken that day.
I only told them to my husband, though.
Wow. Seven years. Every year on the date when I first started blogging in earnest it gets a little more unreal.
And just this morning I thought about what teenager me back in the day who was just starting to keep a journal (and struggling mightily to write in it regularly) would have said if anybody could have told her that now, more than thirty years later she’d have a journal that is read by dozens of people, that can be accessed by anyone in the world, and also her own private radio show.
And that all of this would be done by computer, by a computer network that spans the globe, and the computer she does this on is small enough to carry around in her purse (and that she’ll have two more, even smaller ones, both smaller than the communicators in Star Trek).
I’m not quite sure she would have believed me. Or else she would have thought that flying cars, and household robots would be widespread as well.
And that most of her friends would live in her computer, and that she would spend most of her time there, and she never even had to write a program to make it work ever. (Teenager me went to computer group in school, which was open to students in 9th grade or up, when she was in 7th grade. Those were the days when computer group was led by two physics teachers, and after the first year a 12th grader took over because he knew more about programming than the teachers.)
All in all – it’s a marvel!
And having found people who usually are interested in what I have to say is rather thrilling. And being able to do all of this just for fun is even better.
So I hope you all still enjoy this as much as I do – here’s to the next seven years!
Everything I talked about since episode 20 in April:
- Hopefully Enough Yard
- Fast Stings
- Star Trek potholders
- Somewhat Turkish
- Flight Path mystery
- Miraculous Whisper
- plain sock
- Mossy Turtle
- Not a salt and pepper shaker
- Fiddly Mitts
- Emergency Mittens
- Not a sandwich
- Husband’s handwoven scarf
- Mindless van Gogh
- Shades of Brown
- Socks for padding the brace
- Color Cotton Washcloths
- Experimental socks
- Surprise Jacket for Lia
- Psychedelic Blanket
- Treble Clef Sweater
- Practical Socks
- Emergency Christmas Gift
- yarn for the Flight Path mystery KAL
- Indian Summer
- orange merino/silk on the Featherweight spindle for socks
- cotton on the takli
- red silk on my Turkish from IST crafts
- Striped Band
- Color Weave Sampler
- scarf that ended up being my father’s Christmas present
- a scarf for myself
- a pick-up band from handspun
- keeping things tidy, and little helpers
- the big emptiness
- training for the Tour de Fleece
- Tour de Fleece result and looking forward to the Ravellenic games
- better mood through new projects
- arbitrary deadlines
- the quiet season
- project wardrobe 2013
Other things I mentioned:
Long-time readers of this her blog (or people who know me in real life, or both) know that procrastination is a big, big theme in my life. It is big enough that it’s got its own category even (on the blog, I’m not yet categorizing my real life).
Yesterday evening I had planned to watch an episode of ‘Sherlock’ while knitting on a sock, and drinking a beer. I had really looked forward to it all day. But then I spent the whole evening way beyond a sensible bedtime playing games on my iPad, as you do, avoiding to glance at the huge pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Now my usual way of dealing with this would have been to move to the bedroom with my laptop, and deal with the dishes some time today but this morning was one of the few when my husband has to get up early, and he – sensibly – abhors to have to make breakfast in midst all these disgusting dishes and pots from the day before, and I had said I would do them after dinner (which I obviously hadn’t) and there I was. Playing games, not really enjoying myself just because I couldn’t face a 30 minute chore.
Now if it weren’t for my husband I probably would have ignored those dishes for hours, maybe even days. I once shared a house with a couple of other people, and we only started doing the dishes when there was not a clean plate or fork left in the house. You can imagine how our kitchen looked. And then doing the dishes was a task so huge that it was comparable to a thorough spring cleaning.
Some of you now might think that my husband is just too uptight, and that a few dirty dishes never hurt anyone.
This morning I got up (after only five hours of sleep because I had avoided the doing of the dishes so successfully that I only started after midnight, ahem), and walked into the kitchen to make breakfast. And there it was: kitchen counters totally serene, spotless, empty, and beautiful. A calmness came over me, and making breakfast was almost fun. And I thought to myself, “Self, please remember a) how you feel when you get up and the kitchen is tidy and clean, and b) how you felt last night when you were doing the dishes in the middle of the night, and how you felt when you realized that it was way too late to watch a DVD now.
So this morning I did the dishes right after breakfast. Great, eh? I seem to have learned a lesson, and become a better person.
Only, as I’m typing this I’m freezing. See, this morning I wanted (among other things) to write a bit on my novel, and to do yoga. What I did instead, of course, was surf the internet. Only I hadn’t planned for it, and so I had removed my socks to do a load of laundry, then I wanted to do yoga (without socks), then take a shower, dress, and write.
So at this point I have been sitting in front of this computer for more than a hour. Without socks. In Germany in winter. I think I might be getting a sore throat.
I know a lot of people who think that procrastination is not a problem at all but for me it might well be the root of all evil. there are a lot of things in my life that I have to do, or that I want to do, that don’t feel good when I do them. Or that don’t feel good before I’m doing them. But (and if I had listened to my mother, and grandmother, and every single adult person in my life ever) I always feel good after I’ve done them. Every. Single. Time.
If I don’t do them I feel miserable all the time, not only when doing my chores. Because while I’m doing the other fun thing that I’m doing to avoid the thing I should be doing (like writing a blog post when really I should be doing yoga) I feel that other thing weighing on me the whole time. Which means I can’t enjoy what I’m doing now because there’s this other thing that I said I’d do. Or that will come and bite me from behind because I didn’t deal with it in time.
So now I’ll get off the computer, and do my yoga.
What about you? Procrastinating much? Do you enjoy it?
It’s snowing again. Which might look pretty but means I have snow-shoveling to do on top of everything else. Which makes me feel a bit panicky which then usually leads to spending the whole day in front of the computer reading ravelry. Which doesn’t really help. List time again.
My husband went to get a MRT today because of his shoulder which had been hurting since August. He almost didn’t go because he had the feeling the doctor misdiagnosed him, and didn’t even look at him properly. Well, turned out the doctor is better than he thought, my husband has a slipped disc in his neck. Which pinches a nerve which makes his shoulder, and arm hurt, and his fingers tingle.
I am very happy that he has a diagnose, finally, after all these months of pain. (We have a new rule now, after this and the other incident where he had pneumonia without realizing it; it says: when your wife tells you that you need to see a doctor, make an appointment and go right now, this instant, even if you don’t have time for this.)
It’s also inconvenient because it means that all the hard work like carrying beer cases into the cellar, shovel the snow and such will now be mine. On top of all the usual things. Argh. I will do my best. I also foresee a time where he keeps pointing out to me how I did not vacuum or shovel properly. Also argh.
He’ll see his doctor on Monday, and then we’ll now about treatment. I really hope he won’t have to have surgery. But 95% of people with this don’t, so there’s hope.
And now I have to get myselff off the computer to buy more groceries, shovel snow, maybe run a bit, take a shower, order takeout, and get it, and then, maybe, if I’m lucky, I get to write a bit on the novel, and who knows, maybe dust a little or something.
Rather long teaching day ahead but it’s bearable because I have a one hour break right in the middle. And I slept enough for once last night.
Have also completed two ‘next steps’ from the index card project list. (I put all of my projects on index cards, a card for each project with how far I am, and what needs to be done next. Having them all in this tangible form really helped.) Frogged an almost completed handspun sock, and found the rest of the yarn for a cardigan. Took less than ten minutes all together.
Have not knitted or spun for almost a week, there’s so much going on, and I’m so exhausted that I just don’t feel like picking the knitting up, not even if it’s totally mindless.
I have really high hope for the weekend, though.