Oct 252014
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gehäkelt habe ich:

  • Die Jehanne-Jacke: fertig, noch Enden vernähen, waschen und Knöpfe besorgen und annähen
  • Plains Hat: angefangen, wieder aufgezogen, das dritte Mal angefangen, nur ein paar Reihen bis jetzt

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • mein erstes Silk-Cap eine Winzigkeit weitergesponnen
  • graues Merino für einen Pulli für meinen Mann: 200 Gramm gesponnen und gezwirnt, eine weitere Spule ca. 3/4 voll

Gewoben habe ich:

  • mein erstes Brettchenwebband
  • und das zweite gleich angefangen

Erwähnt wurde:

 

 

 

Oct 092014
 

Of course I’m thinking about learning all the time, I am a teacher after all.

But I took two classes last week, a spinning and a weaving one and that got me thinking about how I approach classes and learning in general.

I had known about the classes since February or so, and I immediately studied the list of things I needed to bring, bought some hand cards, a flicker brush, and weaving tablets, downloaded the class description and let it sit for a few months. I also ordered a book on spinning flax but then I made myself not read it because for once I wanted to go to a class and actually learn something.

Because my first impulse is always to get every information I can before taking the class. I found and read about tablet weaving on-line, and I had watched a video on flax spinning a while back. And that usually makes me a very grumpy student in class. I’m sitting there, muttering under my breath, „But I already knew that.”

The good thing about classes like flax spinning and tablet weaving is, though, that knowing about it still doesn’t make you perfect at doing it.

So I went to class, and they were all very good. And I sat and listened, and tried to spin hemp and linen, and thought I did very well until the teacher pointed out to me that I was doing it all wrong because I was using my hands like when spinning wool, and when I started doing it her way everything got much harder, and my thread was not as even as before, and then she sat down at her own wheel to show us and did it completely different. Well. I will re-watch the video I have, now that I know what to look for, and I will definitely read the book I have.

Tablet weaving went somewhat better. The teacher had us warped and weaving in a rather short time, she teaches a no-nonsense way of warping and threading the tablets which I love, and I even got to weave about 20 cm (8 inches) right there. And I made all these interesting mistakes, and got to learn what I did wrong, and how to fix it, and that band is like a visible record of how focused I was while weaving it.

Then I went home. And found myself thinking about what I learned, and how to do the things I learned, and about what I need to know more about, and the mistakes I made, and how to avoid them in the future. And I pulled out my tablet weaving pdfs again, and read them all through, and had the joy of understanding much more this time, and then I wove a bit more on the band, and ordered two more books on tablet weaving, like you do.

And like everybody else I often think that everybody is like me though I really should know better by now.

And then I thought about the person in the flax spinning class who wasn’t really sure if she wanted to spin flax, and she tried for about ten minutes and then decided this was not for her. And I thought about all the people who go to a class, try something, and then never do it again. And I thought about knitting and spinning students of mine who took the class, went there happily but never touched their knitting needles or spindles between classes. And then I realized that no, there are people who approach learning very differently from me.

I keep telling people that I didn’t ever study for school. I did most of my homework, and that was that. But now that I can see how my son does this; he comes back home from school and forgets all about it, does homework because he must and spends his thoughts elsewhere; now I can see that the thing that I do, the thing where I think about what I learned, and what I understand and what not, that thing does count as studying. The mere question, „What did we talk about?“ followed by, „Hm, I didn’t quite get that, I should look that up.“ is all that is needed. Well, unless you study something that needs a lot of rote learning but I don’t tend to do that.

Seems I’m taking my learning more serious than I thought. And you?

Sep 292014
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Viajante: fertig gestrickt, noch nicht gewaschen
  • Stinos mit Rippen für meinen Mann fertiggrüner Stinos
  • Gush-Socken agefangen und geribbeltGush
  • Circle Socks angefangen, erster Socken ist halb fertig
  • Autumn Tee
  • Autumn Featherweight: wurde endlich fertig gestellt und das erste Mal getragen
  • Hyrule Warriors Scarf: angefangen

Gehäkelt habe ich:

  • Die Jehanne-Jacke fast fertig, es fehlen noch ein, zwei Reihen Borte

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grünes BFL von Knitting Spiro fertig
  • mein erstes Silk-Cap eine Winzigkeit weitergesponnen
  • noch mehr grünes Merino und oranges Merino für die Häkeljacke
  • graues Merino für einen Pulli für meinen Mann probegesponnen

Gestickt habe ich:

Gewoben habe ich:
  • ein wenig mehr beim Pickup-Band
  • 2. Hälfte Sockengarndecke angefangen

Erwähnt wurde:

 

 

 

Sep 162014
 

It's the first day of school today, and I feel as if almost no time had passed in the last six weeks.

As always I had grand plans about what I wanted to do in my time off, and as always I did way less than planned.

Which is okay in some way but rather frustrating in another.

Now I know there are quite a few people who accuse me of always wanting too much, and stressing myself but in fact my summer break to do-list had as many relaxing fun things as chores on them.

The biggest thing was that I wanted to finish revising my novel. Well, I almost got halfway through. The problem was – and I only realized that about two weeks ago – that I had set myself the goal of revising it good and forever so that I didn't need to change anything ever again. Which then put so much pressure on myself that I just couldn't get me working.

It started going a little better when I put up a little sign over my desk that says, “It doesn't have to become a good novel, just a finished one.”

The other thing that got in the way was the weather. On my list were things like going to the lakes for a swim, and bike tours, and hiking maybe but the weather was exceptionally bad this year. Every single sunny day we had we scrambled to do either yard work, or something fun outdoors, often both, and still there just was no day suitable for swimming.

This year I didn't go swimming even once, not even on Crete because I was sick then, and now that I'm cleared for swimming again the weather just didn't allow it.

As every year I am rather happy for summer break to be over, and still I have the feeling I could use some more time off. I really hope to get more done now that I am back into everyday routine, now that I have to get up at 6.30 again. Getting up at 6.30 means that if I go to bed early enough (which I almost never manage), then I have about an hour often an hour and a half between my son going off for school, and my husband getting up for breakfast.

That time is time when I can write fiction, or a blog post like today; where I can knit or spin and read, and do what I want without anybody talking to me, or making noises, or wanting anything from me.

During school breaks the only time I get to myself is in the evening when I'm no longer a functional human being because I tend to sleep until 8.30 or so without my alarm. And in the evening I can't write or do anything productive. Usually I sit around reading or playing video games (which is a bad, bad habit) until way past my bedtime.

So we'll see if I will get more done or less now that I have to work again. I really hope for more.

Most of the things that were on the summer break list will have to get done at some point anyways. Like de-cluttering our son's room, and bringing it to a point where it can be cleaned again. I tried to have him do a little thing each day but then there were all the other things, and he had friends over, and in the end nothing much was achieved.

Yesterday I had the bright idea of telling him to find all his playmobil, and place it in a big box. He doesn't play with it anymore, and it was a detailed enough task that he felt it was doable, and it was big enough to really make a difference, and it got him to crawl under his bed and pull all the boxes with toys out.

Of course now all those boxes are sitting right in the middle of his room but we really hope to get the big de-cluttering under the bed done this weekend, and then there might be hope of tackling the icky shelf next to his bed some time next week.

Who knows, we might even get to a point when he can use his desk again, and there's nothing lying on the floor. Miracles happen.

Mind you, my bedroom, where I have piles, and piles, and piles of stuff, some of them sitting around for years is still not de-cluttered. I'll get there soon. For sure.

So, how was your summer? Did it work out like you wanted?

 

Aug 072014
 

I have said it often, that I don’t like summer break but I’m still looking forward to it every year. After a whole school year of teaching, and especially after a rather stressful July, a few weeks off seem like a very good idea.

Of course I am making plans. Too many for sure, because like every year the conflict between resting and recuperating, and doing all the things I didn’t get to do during the school year is huge.

If this goes like all summer breaks before I will completely stop doing anything for a week or two, then feel really bad about myself, and have a very angry husband who has been doing all the housework for that time.

So what we need is a plan. Each of us has an agenda for these weeks off, even if our son’s plan is mostly to play computer games as much as possible, and otherwise lay around in the hammock reading and listening to the radio.

My husband wants to do a lot of things in the garden, play guitar, repair the amp he is working on, and lay in the hammock, and I want to clear out our son’s room, and de-clutter my studio and the bedroom. Without driving myself crazy. I also want to revise the novel I’ve been working on, set up a new blog and a homepage for our teaching, and play the piano and ukulele. Also exercise six days a week. And spend hours each day in front of the computer surfing the web, and read loads of books. And sleep nine hours straight each night.

So it seems I need a very good plan, and maybe we should sit down as a family, and try to find a way to make our plans for summer break mesh. So that we all get what we want from our time off school.Oh, and not to forget that I want our son to play the piano every day, and to look at everything he learned in Latin during the school year.

Of course we also plan to go bike riding, and swimming, and sightseeing but then the weather usually turns bad when August comes around so I don’t have high hopes of that.

I guess for most of you summer break is almost over already, so what did you do?

 

Aug 032014
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Ellington Socken fertig und getragen
  • Viajante: weiter
  • Stinos mit Rippen für meinen Mann angefangen

Gehäkelt habe ich:

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grünes BFL von Knitting Spiro etwas weiter auf der Bosworth Featherweight
  • mein erstes Silk-Cap eine Winzigkeit weitergesponnen
  • noch mehr grünes Merino für die Häkeljacke
  • 120 Gramm BFL von Dornröschenwolle zu 3-fädiger Sockenwolle versponnen
  • ein kleines bisschen an der dunkelbraunen Shetlandwolle weitergesponnenTour de Fleece 2014

Gestickt habe ich:

Erwähnt wurde:

 



 

 

Jul 152014
 

and also why I haven’t posted anything.

It all started when we weregoing to Crete on Pentecost. The days before were a little stressful what with the usual things, and a friend staying overnight, and all the packing and preparing for a week away.

On the flight to Crete I was somewhat cold, and regretted not taking a scarf. The next day my throat was sore, and I felt the beginning of a sinus infection. So I spent the first day of vacation in bed, didn’t go to the beach, and hoped to be better the next day.

Which I was.The next day we walked six kilometers along the beach to Rethymnon which is beautiful, and went sightseeing there, and had fabulous lunch, and then walked all the way back with our son protesting loudly, and in the evening my left ear hurt. I took some ibuprofen, and hoped I would be better the next day.

The next day we had booked a guided tour to Knossos and Iraklion and such. My ear hurt very much during the night, it reminded me uncomfortably of all the middle ear infections I had as a child but otherwise I was feeling alright. No fever. Although it was a little hard to tell with all the heat and sweating because not only was Crete a little warmer than I had hoped, our hotel room also didn’t have airconditioning, and tended to get hotter and hotter during the day until we ad a choice of sleeping in an oven at night, or be woken up every few minutes by dogs barking, and goats and sheep baaing in a field right next to the hotel.

The guided tour was very nice, only we went from the really chilly airconditioned bus to the really hot Knosses site to the bus to the hot town center, back and forth. Because my ear hurt so badly, and it was windy all the time I had put a piece of tissue in my left ear by then. When I pulled it out some time during the dayt looked rather gross, a little bloody and by now it was really clear that there was some kind of infection raging in my ear.

When I googled my symptoms back at the hotel I found that yes, this was a middle ear infection, yes, my ear drum had ruptured, and also that there wasn’t much I could do. I was not keen on finding a doctor and trying to talk to someone who probably could speak Greek and not much more, so I kept taking ibuprofen, and also some of the nose spray my husband takes, and on top of that the antibiotic that we had happened to have lying around at home, and had taken on vacation as a silly precaution.

At that time I couldn’t hear properly with that ear as well but I thought that would become better once the infection would be gone.

So after that it was clear I was really sick, and we spend the rest of the week at the hotel with short walks to the supermarket, and while my husband and son went to the beach swimming I spent my days in the shade reading, away from the wind and sun, or in our hotel room sitting in bed and reading. I did try knitting and spinning but mostly it was just too hot.

I did stay deaf in that ear for the rest of the week which was rather disconcerting and inconvenient.

We came back after a week, and were very happy to be home again, I unpacked all the things, spent one night in my own bed (without goats blearing, and much cooler), and since I was still sick, and since I still couldn’t hear much I went to my ENT on Monday morning.

He told me that yes, I was almost deaf in that ear, that I had a toxic inner ear which sounded rather ominous, that the antibiotic I was taking would not help against ear infections even though it said so on the package, and also that I needed a tube in my ear drum, and infusions, and that I would go home, pack a bag, and go to the hospital over night.

So I went home, told my husband who was desperately wrangling laundry at home, and dealing with a week of neglect in the garden that I would go to the hospital now, and stay over night, and then I went to get my toothbrush and pajamas and such, and repacked a bag.

The doctor had told me I only had to stay one night but I would have packed fresh clothes anyway, only I didn’t have any fresh clothes. Laundry hadn’t happened just before we went away, and therefore I was wearing my last set of clean underwear.

I went to the hospital, got admitted, got my tube put in by a really nice young doctor, and it only took four or five tries, and that one time when he almost didn’t get it out again, and then I got a nice bed, and my own TV, and prednisone and antibiotics via IV, and the doctors told me that I could surely go hometwo days later.

My hearing got somewhat better with the tube because there wasn’t all that fluid clogging up my ear but there were still quite a few frequencies I couldn’t hear properly, everything sounded as if I was sitting in a tin drum sloshing with water but I pretended to be patient.I also called my husband and asked him to bring me fresh clothes, and all the chargers for all my electronics.

And then I spent the next three days sitting in bed, reading until the battery of my ebook reader gave out, and knitting awkwardlybecause I had an IV in my left hand. (I have really bad veins, and at first the nurses had wanted to put the IV in the back of my right hand which would have meant I coudn’t have done much of anything.)

Fortunately I had a room to myself for most of the time because otherwise I would have gone crazy. Also nobody told me that prednisone makes you unable to sleep, and rather hungry, I only wondered why I was so restless.

On the fifth day after arriving in the hospital I could finally go home.That day I wondered why I felt so tired, and exhausted, and weak but by now I can tell you that that are the effects you get after you have taken large doses of prednisone because then your body has to make its own again, and that takes a few days.

So I went home, spent the next few days in bed reading, and continued taking antibiotics.And being grateful that it was still Pentecoste break because if your self-employed it is a little hard to spend a week in the hospital. But since I didn’t have to teach anyway I was good.

Then I started teaching again, without most of my hearing in my left ear, and that made students sound rather badly but it couldn’t be helped. The bad thing was that my hearing wasn’t improving. So I went back to my doctor, and he suggested another round of prednisone shots. Which I had to pay for myself. So I went to the doctor three days in a row, on a weekend, and got more prednisone. With the not sleeping on that weekend, and the subsequent crash the next few days.

By then I was growing a little desperate because I still couldn’t hear properly. I didn’t want to go anywhere, and I didn’t listen to music, and I wasn’t playing any music because t all sounded horrible. And all in all I had taken antibiotics for about three weeks in a row because the infection wasn’t going anywhere as well.

So right when I was about to resign myself to stay half-deaf for the rest of my life I went back to the doctor, did my sixth hearing test in two weeks or so, and found that my hearing had actually gotten better. There still was the tinny sound, and I still had a tinnitus but I was almost hearing properly.

So right now I’m hoping to get my hearing back, once that tube is taken out. Which will happen tomorrow. I am not thrilled by the prospect of having someone poke in my ear again, especially since it is really, really loud when someone is working on your eardrum but I hope to get rid of that cheap sound in my ear for sure.

Sorry this is so long but now you probably understand why I wasn’t doing much of anything in the past few weeks.

 

Jun 042014
 
Gestrickt habe ich:
  • Silky Strength sehr wenig weitergestrickt. Als nächstes muss ich den Rest gesponnener Seide verzwirnen.eiki start
  • Ellington Socken, ich bin beim Zwickel des ersten SockensEllington in progress
  • Viajante: ich habe mein Irtfa’a-Tuch aufgezogen und mache aus der Wolle jetzt Viajante. Bin noch ziemlich am Anfang.
  • Ich habe auch einen Hitchhiker gestrickt, den ich vergessen habe, zu erwähnen:Hitchhiker FO
Gehäkelt habe ich:
  • das erste Dreieck für die Jehane-Jacke, was mir gezeigt hat, dass die Kontrastfarbe nicht funktioniertjehane triangle

 

Gewebt habe ich:

  • das dritte Geschirrhandtuch fertig
  • habe den Webrahmen für den zweiten Teil der Sockenwollrestedecke geschärt, aber noch nicht angefangen, zu weben
Gesponnen habe ich:
  • BFL von Dornröschenwolle auf der Tiny Turkish Spindel fertigdornröschen bfl
  • rot/pink/orange Merino vom Wollschaf ist fertigCC Jehane
  • grünes BFL von Knitting Spiro etwas weiter auf der Bosworth Mini
  • mein erstes Silk-Cap angefangen
Gestickt habe ich:
Erwähnt wurde:

 

May 222014
 

It all started back in February. During the winter I hadn’t exercised much, mostly there was one measly 30 minute run a week. That was because I had knee problems, and my doctor had told me to ride a bike instead of running (though he did say I was allowed to run on account of me being not too heavy – which I found rather funny because I am rather fat). So I didn’t quite know what to do exercise-wise, and my knee hurt, and I was looking at my body going downhill over the next few decades.

I felt rather helpless. Yoga hurt, biking hurt, sitting hurt, so I just didn’t exercise. All the time I had the feeling that I should move a little more than I did but it just didn’t happen. And then two people on my favorite ravelry forum decided to help each other exercise more, and they started a new thread about it, and I committed myself to moving at least ten minutes almost every day. That was February. I walked, and did a little yoga, and ran a bit, and all of a sudden I was moving again but not very much. It was a start, though.

One of those two people who started that exercise thread recommended a strength training book, and I thought starting strength training again would be an excellent idea. So I ordered the book, and soon enough I was working with dumbbells and such twice a week. And I liked it very much. The program had you add weight each time you were comfortable with the exercises. Soon enough I was looking through the garage for my husband’s 5 kilo dumbbells. But the best thing about the strength training was that I stopped hurting. My back, my knees, my hips, all of that felt better. Did you know that strength training is really, really helpful for joint pain? I didn’t. It was like a miracle. Sweat and grunt for 30 minutes and be free of pain. I also learned that strength training helps against osteoporosis. Did you know that your bones start to get a little brittle (and your muscles a little weak) after forty? That falling and breaking a hip is the one thing that has old women in the hospital the most? That you can see improvement in bone density, and muscle mass from regular strength training even when you start when you’re 80 or older? That strength training improves your balance and flexibility? I didn’t but now I do.

Next thing I start reading “Younger next year” which I found through Neil Gaiman’s journal. (There is a version for women called “Younger next year for women” that I’d recommend, by the way. Buying both books is rather pointless because a lot of the information is the same.) That book tells you that if you exercise six times a week for 45 minutes you will be able to have the body of a fit fifty year-old until you’re 80 or so. There’s more to it than that but that’s the main message. Exercise for 45 minues, six times a week, and be able to do just about anything you want until you’re pretty old. And be able to do all those things without pain.

My husband and I are already seeing the beginning of that downward slope towards death. The joints that hurt, the cricks in our backs, the feeling of “I can’t do that anymore, I’m getting old.” But the great thing is that we now know we can do something against it.

Now 45 minutes is quite a bit of time, and I have to confess I’m not quite there yet. At the moment I do about 45 minutes of cardio three times a week, and only 30 minutes of strength training three times a week. Since I didn’t want to keep buying heavier, and heavier weights I have started a strength training program where you use the weight of your own body as resistance. It’s “Body by you” and I find it fun. Well, not exactly when I’m doing it because it’s really hard but certainly afterwards when I can feel my muscles growing. Me doing all this exercise has also changed something in my husband and son. All of a sudden my husband is running again, two or three times a week, and my son who is as much of a couch potato as I am is doing the strength training with me. Three times a week we meet in the kitchen and do all kinds of silly exercises using chairs, and the counters, and door handles. Right now it is pretty easy to keep going because my body is feeling so much better. And I’m seeing progress. Who knows, one of these days I might even be able to do a set of real pushups. But the best thing is that my knees aren’t hurting anymore, they don’t hurt at all, and I had already resigned myself to live with this nagging pain for the rest of my life. Oh, and all this exercise is making me tremendously happy. Who would have thought that couch potato me would come to this?

May 152014
 

I am painfully aware that I’ve been neglecting this blog (and the podcast) for weeks now. Sorry.
At first I thought it was writer’s block but I wasn’t sure. Then I realized that that was not the point, I just had less time than before.
Since February I’ve been back to exercising again. I started doing ten minutes most days, so that wasn’t a problem, and then I went on to doing 45 minutes six times a week, and while that is not a problem per se it takes quite a chunk of time out of my day.
I also finally managed to do my share of housework again. Which is good but takes time away from other things as well.
One of the exercise things I do is strength training with my son three times a week. Since we’re doing it together we have to do it in the evenings, between my teaching and dinner. And just yesterday did I realize that that used to be one of the time slots that I had used for blogging or recording a podcast in the past. Bummer.

The other thing (apart from time) is that I am still in the middle of revising a novel. Well, what is supposed to become a novel when it grows up some day.Even though I mostly sit around procrastinating it still seems to take most of my creative energy.

But fear not! I have a plan! I think I can manage to blog again, and record podcasts, if I shift my dy around a bit. As evidenced by this.
I have several posts that I’ve been wanting to write for ages, and so I’m pretty hopeful there will be more to read here in the future.

I hope you’re still all there.