Mar 182017
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Silk Argyle: fertigimage
  • Sunny Knee Socks: beim ersten bin ich mit den Zunahmen für die Wade fertig
  • Next Generation Pot Holders: have die ersten zehn Reihen aufgeribbelt, mit einer kleinere Nadel noch mal angeschlagen und bei Reihe 3

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • etwas Targhee auf der IST Crafts Turkish
Gehäkelt habe ich:

Erwähnt wurde:

alle Links mit * Sternchen sind Affiliate-Links zu Amazon

Mar 082017
 

In the past ten days I have been kvetching to everybody about the fact that I haven’t gotten anything done in all that time. And then the person I was speaking to turned to me and said, „But you have been doing your running during, haven’t you?“ And my first reaction was, „Duh. Of course I’ve been running. That goes without saying.”

And that made me realize how much my definition of „doing nothing“ has changed.

There was a time when I was still living with my parents where I didn’t have a to do-list, I didn’t even use a calendar, everything I needed to do I could just keep in my mind, no problem. And doing nothing at that time did not include any kind of physical activity or housework for sure.

Mind you, when I was a teenager „doing nothing“ meant a lot of reading (we’re talking about ten books a week or so), a bit of playing the piano and the odd walk because even a couch potato as sedentary as me needs to get some movement at times. It also involved a bit of piano playing and singing. And knitting. Some sewing. Very little TV because we’re talking about the time when there were only three channels in Germany, and none of them showed anything during daytime, apart from weekends.

These days when I talk about „doing nothing“ or rather „getting nothing done“ I mean that I am somewhat on top of housework, and grocery shopping, and laundry, and that I have managed to do something like ten minutes of singing warmup and my twenty minutes of piano warmup, and my regular exercise, and such. And of course the knitting.

But the important things, the ones that count, are the creative ones. The writing. And the blog, and the podcast, and all the projects that I want to finish. And so I feel like I did nothing if I didn’t manage to write or revise anything.

And no, that doesn’t mean I’m hard to myself. It means that I am someone who wants to do projects and follow her creative dreams, and finish things. And if I am content with just the everyday things that won’t happen.

I’m still somewhat proud of being able to deal with the everyday things, and that exercise and playing my instruments are a regular part of my daily routine, that is as it should be. It still doesn’t mean that that’s enough for me at this time of my life.

I mean, after those two days of rehearsal the weekend before last when I was completely wrung out, after that I didn’t expect myself to get back to my projects right away. I scheduled a day off. And when I found that I was still really exhausted the day after I took another day off and that was okay.

But not doing anything besides mundane everyday things for a week without anything being seriously wrong? Not okay.

So, what about you? What means „doing nothing“ to you?

Mar 052017
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • lila Malabrigo Nube auf dem Louet Victoria mit Hochgeschwindigkeits-Flügel

Erwähnt wurde:

Mar 012017
 

Now time management seems like it's not enough. I find I often have time to do something, like an hour after dinner or so, but I lack the energy to do it. And that is a problem.

I'm not the type of person who strives to be all productive all day with no downtime, and no room for spontaneity or doing nothing but there are quite a few things that I want to get done every day, and I get grumpy if I don't manage that.

I read something on the internet about a guy who schedules three minute meetings, for example, that is not what I want to do with my life. Planning like that means that every thing that you haven't planned for – like being stuck in traffic – means your whole schedule gets thrown off course.

On the contrary, I have learned to plan for buffer time between things. When I stop teaching for the day I could theoretically just turn around, sit down and do something else. But experience tells me that I often need about fifteen minutes to wait for the student to leave, pack away everything I needed for teaching, check my email one more time, and maybe read something on ravelry.

Of course I would be more productive if I didn'tdo that but forcing myself to not do it usually just makes me cranky and after a few days I go on strike and spend all my time surfing the web. If I allow myself that fifteen minutes I'm happy to start practicing afterwards. Or making dinner, or doing strength training, or whatever.

Now I've talked about this at least on the podcast but elsewhere as well but my big revelation in the past few weeks was that time is really not the problem, energy is.

The way my life is structured right now I should have about an hour or two each night where I can do something productive, and I can still eat dinner in peace, do the dishes, read and have quiet time before bed.

I am definitely not a night owl so the things I schedule at that time are usually things like, “watch a video about book marketing”, or sewing, or spinning. Nothing taxing, nothing that I need a lot of concentration or energy for.

So I had scheduled that – very sensibly – and I had even managed to wash the dinner dishes in a timely manner instead of playing iPad games or reading, and then I found I was just way too tired and couldn't do anything anymore.

So I declared defeat and went to bed, read for two hours and turned the lights out too late. And was angry at myself for not getting the things done that I wanted to.

After a few days of that I got really angry, and so I told myself that I absolutely had to sit down, spin and watch a video, even if there was not a morsel of energy left in me anymore.

So I moaned and groaned, and moved my spinning wheel in front of the computer and spun and watched that video for half an hour.

And then the funny thing happened.

I had more energy instead of less.

That was strange.

My very first impulse when I am feeling low on energy is always, always to sit back and do nothing. I mean, that is how you recharge, right? I already know that doing nothing for a long period of time makes me feel completely limp and unable to cope with life, so I force myself to exercise even when I feel like I have no energy at all because I know from experience that exercise makes me feel more energetic in the long run. But not giving in to that evening slump felt completely impossible.

My theory (and not only mine, check out “The Power of Full Engagement” for more on this) is that there are several kinds of energy that I have and need. Physical energy, mental energy, social energy, all kinds. And all of them need replenishing. And sometimes what I need is not to sit and read and do nothing but instead to move something forward that's important to me.

So the past two weeks or so I have forced myself to practice for the upcoming performance. Even though I felt awful and tired and exhausted beforehand. I still didn't feel all that energetic afterwards but I didn't feel more tired and exhausted either.

And the funny thing is that I have had less trouble sleeping. I guess my subconscious is feeling better because I'm taking care of things that are important to me.

Who would have thought that there were so many things to learn yet?

 

Feb 232017
 

I used to love having breakfast in bed. It seemed like the epitome of luxury. When I was still in university I would even get up in the morning, throw some clothes on top of my sleeping tee, walk to the bakery, then make breakfast, and take it into bed with me on a tray. Ever single day.

Then I met my husband. My husband doesn’t like to have breakfast in bed. After a while I decided that I’d rather have breakfast with him than in bed so we established a new routine.

Still, every time I was alone I looked forward to going back to bed with my tea and bread or muesli and a book.

Until I found that I didn’t enjoy eating in bed anymore. I’d rather sit at the table, dressed for the day, and not have breadcrumbs in my bed. Weird.

The one thing I am still doing, though, is setting my alarm early so that I can read or write in my journal for half an hour before getting up. I was really loving that stretch of time, that part of the day when I was completely alone in the quiet before I needed to talk to anyone, or do anything.

And then something weird happened. On weekends or on days without school when I don’t need to get up at seven I stopped reading in bed but instead got up immediately.

First because my husband doesn’t like coming to breakfast only to find everybody else is still in bed (he gets up much later than anybody else in the house) but then because if I stayed in bed reading the whole day would have a very unstructured and unproductive feeling to it. And I could read just as well while having breakfast. And then afterwards. And I’d already be wearing real clothes instead of pajamas, and would be ready for everything the day could throw my way.

And then the other day our son asked me to wake him up a little early so that he could look at something for a test in school. I don’t mind because we don’t actually wake up earlier if I do that, it only means I don’t lounge in bed for thirty minutes before getting up.

And lo and behold our morning was much less stressful. And I still got the same amount of reading time, only a bit later. And there was much less yelling of, “You need to hurry, you’re too late!”. Which is a very good thing.

And so I’m actually debating trading those thirty minutes lounging in my nice and warm bed before getting up for a little less stress while having breakfast. I’m really curious how that will go.

Feb 212017
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • rot/schwarz BFL/Seide für Pi-Tuch: weitere 20 Gramm gesponnen und gezwirnt
Gehäkelt habe ich:
  • Knöpfe an Jehanne genäht!IMG_1849

Erwähnt wurde:

IMG_1851

Feb 112017
 

Today it’s eleven years that I started this blog. Every year I am a little surprised by the growing number. A little like looking at my growing son who might have to start shaving in the near future.

But the blog is still the blog.

And I’m still me.

I will be turning fifty this year, that will be a milstone, and I’m busy as ever, and I think I’m better organized and more productive but who knows.

Still living in the same house, doing the same job, married to the same guy, though. There are things that I don’t want to change as well.

I really should open a bottle of champagne later to celebrate.

And everyone of you, the people who read this gets a glass (or something different if they want), and some cinnamon rolls (I’ll be baking those soon), and a big thank you for coming back here to read time and again.

Thanks.

Feb 072017
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • rot/schwarz BFL/Seide für Pi-Tuch 122 Gramm gezwirnt
Gehäkelt habe ich:
  • gar nicht
Gewoben habe ich:
  • auch nicht
 
Genäht habe ich:
  • gar nicht
Erwähnt wurde:
Jan 292017
 

After being really motivated and excited to get moving on reaching my goals and changing things up I’ve had a not so good week or two. I can’t even point to a day where it started, I only know that I did not do the things I wanted to, started binge-eating again, and skipped exercise two times in the last week alone.

And I just don’t know why.

There was a moment when it dawned on me that my husband’s „Summer of Love“-project is starting to loom (there will be two performances in May), and maybe that’s when the overwhelm set in. Or maybe it was helping our son with writing a paper about a science project that took several hours over several days, and at the same time I tried to do all my own things on top of it.

And then I finished reading through the revised novel number one, and then I couldn’t quite decide whether I should write a few more scenes for that one, or start reading the rough draft of novel number two.

Of course a decision like that can make you not do anything for a week or two.

And I didn’t sleep well. Again. Woke up in the mornings, way too early, and was tired all day long. So that didn’t help as well.

So I decided to get my act together, and just do the things on my list, and get on with life. But it didn’t quite work, and this afternoon I found myself gazing at the computer screen, procrastinating like crazy, losing yet another day.

And then I felt that familiar thing again. That feeling of being paralyzed and unable to move, or do anything. In the past I have reacted to it by putting myself to bed for a day or two or three, telling people that I’m not feeling well. And I’d sit in bed reading and eating and drinking tea, and not feel better. Until the day when I needed to get up again, or got fed up by my own inertia, and then suddenly I would get moving again.

Only I found that sitting around waiting for the black hole to go away doesn’t really help. And that sometimes that feeling can last months or years.

So I learned to counter the black hole with exercise and with doing things, and with not eating too much chocolate. Taking care of myself by tackling the things I’m scared of and don’t want to do.

This afternoon still feels lost to me. And now that I’ve realized that the black hole has been sucking me in for more than a week I’m not all that confident that it will go away tomorrow.

Seems I have to make myself do things that feel impossible. Like sorting through the papers on my desk, and playing the piano, and writing a blog post even if it’s not a good one.

I have ninety minutes until dinnertime. I bet I can at least do most of the things on my list.

So how are you feeling these days?

 

Jan 232017
 

I have knitted:

I have spun:

  • red cotton: more spinning
  • green merino/silk on the Bosworth Featherweight: about 3/4 spun
  • green BFL with glitter: done
  • first half of the BFL with the Pi-shawl is almost done
  • brown Ashford merino: sample skein on the Little Gem gesponnen
  • dyed by me burgundy merino on the Bosworth Mini: spun about 150 gram
  • Targhee by Etherische Öle on the Turkish IST Crafts started
  • brown Ashford merino: spun for the Miss Marple cardigan
  • red-white merino-silk on the Victoria: spun all the yarn for the Armande cardigan
I have crocheted:
 
I have sewn:
  • Swing-Kleid: one in purple and one in orange with red dots
  • burgundy Leggings done
  • orange-red striped and purple Leggings: done
  • Martha-Kleid: the first one is done
  • Alabama Studio-Top: still needs embroidery on the second side seam, and facings
  • cut out three pairs of leggings
I have embroidered:
  • Dropcloth Sampler „Knotted Stitches“: finished
  • Dropcloth Sampler „Filling Stitches“: started
I have woven: