Feb 132015
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Hyrule Warriors Scarf: fertig und heiß geliebt
  • gerippte Stinos für meinen Mann aus Hundertwasser-Wolle: beim zweiten Socken bin ich kurz vor dem Zwickel (der vor der Ferse kommt)

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grünes Merino, beide Spulen voll, etwas mehr als 100 Gramm, das meiste davon ist auch verzwirnt
  • braunes Merino von Ashford auf der Bosworth Mini
Genäht habe ich:
  • das Probekleid für das Auftrittskleid ist so weit fertig, dass ich sehen kann, was ich noch verbessern muss

Erwähnt wurde:

 

Feb 112015
 

Nine years ago today I started blogging in earnest. Actually using the space I had made for myself on the internet. I don’t know what I would have thought about the fact that I would still be doing this nine years later then.

I do know that my life was both very different, and very much the same as now. In that first official post I wrote:

You’d think that having your preschooler finally in kindergarten would make live easier on the music front, but for now we’re living in constant upheaval. But then, there’s nothing special about this. The whole family is thriving on drama. ‘Though recently we started trying to calm things down. (And we’re almost as successful as this wording.)

Yep, that was the time my son started going to kindergarten. And like many mothers that was the time when I started having just a little more time to myself.

Mind you, I have never been one to forget all about myself and my own life but actually doing something about it is much easier when you have a few hours a week to yourself. When playing the piano doesn’t mean doing it while your toddler bangs on the keys right along, and when meditating doesn’t mean having a squirming child on your lap.

These days I don’t write much about my son. He is very much his own person now, and while he is still rather important to my life there is more of a sense of his life over there, and my life over here. Much of my schedule and quite a few of my obligations are determined by his life but I don’t have to micro-manage him anymore, and there are moments when he is actually helping. Like yesterday when I called for Chinese takeout, and he was the one getting it, or like last Friday when we made the deal that if he helped with the dishes there would be time enough to watch “Star Trek” together.

Interestingly I still don’t manage to play the piano every day but then I have picked up both guitar and ukulele since starting this blog. Not to forget writing fiction. And all sorts of crafts like spinning and weaving. No wonder I often feel like I can’t do everything I want.

In the last year I have not posted as often as I wanted, and at times I thought about quitting. About not doing the blog anymore like so many other bloggers that have started out with me, just post on ravelry, and continue doing the podcast. But then I still like reading blogs, and I feel that writing here is good for me. And there do seem to be people reading.

So you might have noticed that I have been trying to update once a week since the beginning of the year. I like having a schedule, it makes me a little less lazy.

I have no idea how long this will go on but I raise my glass to nine years of writing, and reading, and you, my lovely readers being part of this.

Thanks a lot for listening which was extemely important to me when I sat here, all alone with a small child trying to make new friends and failing. If it hadn’t been for the internet, for you, my life would have been much, much worse.

Thanks again.

 

Feb 062015
 

So I've been thinking about what problem I have with this setting goals thing. I really do want to change things for the better only I might have to find a better way.

Just living my life like I did the past few years won't do because there are things I want to change to become happier and healthier. Just willing myself doesn't work, that one I know for sure.

I also don't like to be told what to do, not even by myself. So in a way I have to trick myself into change.

And then I also realized that what I want is not so much about reaching some arbitrary goal but it's about changing what I do on a daily basis. You can even see it in the way I formulated my goals. “Make music for at least ten minutes a day for at least fives tiems a week.” is not really a goal. It is a habit in disguise.

What I want in my life longterm are things like a daily habit of playing music, a writing habit, an exercise habit, and a daily tidying and cleaning habit.

To me it's not really about the big goal in the future. I vividly remember sitting in a Munich jazz club years ago thinking, “In five years I want to stand up there on stage with my own band.” And then my life changed and I changed, and suddenly playing that kind of gig didn't really appeal to me anymore.

But what hasn't changed since then is that making some kind of music, and singing in particular are really important for my wellbeing. So that's what I'm currently working on. Creating new habits that make me happy, or at least feel better in the long run.

True to form I am of course working on everything at once but my main focus since the beginning of January has been on going to sleep on time. And yes, I know I've been whining about this for decades, and I tried and failed, and tried and failed but weirdly enough at the moment I actually seem to get better at it.

It's not that I have slept my nine hours straight every night this month but I have slept at least eight and often a little more most nights.

This often means I can't watch DVDs at night,or do something for me but I found that being rested throughout the day, and having a bit more energy is totally worth it.

So I'm changing my life one habit at a time, and I really hope this will continue working.

 

Jan 312015
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Hyrule Warriors Scarf: zugenäht, es fehlen noch Fransen
  • grauer Merino-Pulli für meinen Mann: fertig, wird fleißig getragen
  • Socks with a Twist: die Ferse des zweiten Sockens ist gerade zum zweiten Mal fertig geworden
  • Möbius-Halswärmer aus handgesponnener Merino: war schon fast fertig, die Wolle hat nicht gereicht
  • gerippte Stillos für meinen Mann aus Hundertwasser-Wolle: gerade angefangen
jehanne1

Gehäkelt habe ich:

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • graues Merino für einen Pulli für meinen Mann: alles fertig
  • grünes Merino, 1 1/2 Spulen voll
  • olivgrünes Polwarte von Spinning Martha auf der Bosworth Mini
  • lila Polwarth von Spinning Martha auf der Bosworth Mini
  • braunes Ashford Merino auf der Bosworth Mini
Gestickt habe ich:
Gewoben habe ich:
  • ein bisschen an meinem zweiten Brettchenweb-Projekt

 

Erwähnt wurde:

 

 

Jan 212015
 

About two weeks ago when revising the novel of doom (and yes, I’m still not done after fifteen months) I read one of those “Oh no, everything is going downhill we’re doomed”-scenes that are mandatory in urban fantasy novels and found I had unwillingly inserted something funny.

Now the thing is while I think I am rather funny in person (not always on purpose), and while people have told me my podcast is funny (can’t imagine why) I was really sure that in my fiction there was no fun at all.

But then I was. All Buffy-like in the middle of an important and major fighting scene. Wham. Funny and ironic. Sarcastic even.

Decades ago I went to a music education congress in Cologne, and a guy said to me that he thought I was British. First because of my clothes (which I still don’t quite understand but I tried to dress as elegant and businesslike as I could), and second because of my sense of humor. It seems that sarcasm is something I do without thinking. I even met a friend in college who said he liked my sarcasm. I, of course, didn’t really know what he was talking about.

So it seems that Germans think that I have a British sense of humour. While I just think that I had to do something to lift myself above the dreary existence that is daily life in Eastern Westphalia. No,. despite what my husband thinks that is not a joke. There is a tiny bit of Westphalia that got chopped off some time ago, and now it is separate. Though united with “Lippe” (don’t ask me what that is in English) which nowadays is shortened to the unfortunate acronym OWL (for “Ostwestfalen-Lippe”). Of course Lippe is an abomination because people are all catholic there. ::shudder::

Oh wait. I was talking about being funny.

So.I never quite know how that works. Sometimes I say something that I think is common knowledge, and not unusual at all, and someone will think that’s the funniest thing. Sometimes I’m making a really good joke but nobody laughs, and there’s this really awkward silence. So I really never know.

I do know that I like to hear myself talking, and I always laugh at my own jokes but I also know that you’re not supposed to. If I were a real, sincere, artist person I wouldn’t love listening to my own podcast. I wouldn’t chuckle at every pitiful joke.

I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

On the other hand I then think that maybe it’s a good thing I like hanging out with myself. I know one shouldn’t, a worthy person would be all humble, and “Oh, you’re so much nicer than I am.” And yes, most people are indeed nicer than me, still I’d love to hang out with myself all the time. The fun I could have! I could talk about the books I’ve read, and the projects I’m working on forever without boring myself. Brilliant! I could watch “Doctor Who” with myself, and we’d both sitting there, spinning along with a big grin of pleasure on our faces, and then we’d both drink the same beer and love it. I could have real conversations about everything that I find fascinating without my listener’s eyes glazing over which is a definite plus. (Try to talk to your 12-yo. son about your current spinning project, and you’ll see what I mean.)

Still. I’d love to be able to write something funny on purpose. Usually when people find me funny I’m just being myself.

And sometimes I think that I’m living in the wrong country, and that I would be happier in Britain. Well, at least I would know why I’d feel like a stranger there.

The thing is that I never really can tell if I just made a joke or not.

What about you. Can you be funny on purpose? Do you even want to?

 

Jan 142015
 

It turns out that ITunes doesn’t like it when I put two audio files in one post, and only downloads the first one so this is the post for part two. (You can find part one here.)

Jan 102015
 

The episode turned out so long that I had to divide it in two. So there is an episode 50a, and an episode 50b which can be found in the next post here. Enjoy!

Knitting:

Crochet:

Spinning:

Weaving:

  • dish towels
  • leftover sock yarn blanket part two

Embroidery:

Everything else I talked about can be found in the show notes to the respective episodes which you can find by looking in the „podcast“ category of the blog.

Jan 072015
 

You know I read a lot of self-help and self improvement books, and am pretty much constantly trying to change things and myself for the better.

I am at a point where I feel my most important projects are stalling, nothing is moving, and so when we had a discussion on ravelry about how good it is to set precise goals, and hold each other accountable I jumped right in.

Every Monday I would post my goals, specific and measurable ones, modest ones that I could surely achieve with a bit of effort. And every Monday I would report on how I had failed the week before.

I hate failure. I bet all of us do. And my goals really were attainable. And yet I failed. Not in a „and then I got sick and had to miss a day“-way but in a „I wanted to make music for ten minutes five times a week, and I only touched my ukulele once“-kind of way.

In fact I started feeling that writing the goals down, and telling others about them made me less likely to succeed. Which goes against everything that is common knowledge. If you want to reach a goal you should break it down into small manageable chunks, and then you should tell everybody about it so you’ll be more motivated to actually do it.

As I said it feels as if that’s not for me.

Take losing weight. I managed to lose a bit when I stopped eating sugar (mostly) because I found my body wasn’t happy to digest that much fructose. Then I lost some more because I decided to drink way less alcohol for health reasons. And then I decided to eat just a little less still because I wanted to be able to walk uphill without feeling dreadful. (The first thing I did about that was exercise more, though, losing weight alone would have been rather pointless for that.)

I am totally against dieting (and it never works for me anyway), I know that it’s unhealthy, and I also know that only 5% of all people who lose weight will keep it off, and I know that being fat is neither unhealthy nor unattractive, and that things like exercising a lot, and getting enough sleep are much better ways to become (and stay) healthy but still – I decided to lose weight.

And I did, quietly so, without much fuss. My husband and son knew, and nobody else, and I made great progress. When I went out I basically ate as I used to, and when I was home again I’d go back to eating just a little less. I had to buy smaller pants, and was sure enough of myself to buy them just a bit too tight. (And right now they fit. With long johns underneath.) And sine everything was going so well I started telling people, „I am currently losing weight.“ And guess what happened?

I gained half a pound back.

Now part of this is due to the Christmas and New Year’s food extravaganza but part of it is for the same reason I never achieve the goals I publicly state.

What happens is this: When I state something like, „I am currently losing weight.“ or „I will be practicing every weekday.“ my subconscious thinks, „Oh, that’s alright then, already taken care of.“ and then it leans back and takes a nap.

The part of publicly stated goals that gets most people to succeed anyway seems to be fear of shame. They are afraid of what others will think of them if they fail.

In my experience other people couldn’t care less. I used to belong to a group of women who did the whole goals-and-accountability-thing every other week, and every time I said that was disappointed about how I failed to do the things I wanted to get done they would say, „But everything is fine! You worked so hard! It’s not your fault!“ But to me that was not the point.

I have also found that other people are often somewhat glad if I fail because if I can’t change things then they don’t have to as well.

So. It seems that after a long period of trying out and testing I won’t set goals publicly like that anymore.

Which still leaves me with the problem of how I get moving on the projects that I deem important. Any thoughts?

Nov 192014
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gehäkelt habe ich:

  • 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

Erwähnt wurde:

 

 

 

Nov 182014
 

just so you know it won’t work.

 

The other day I followed a link from an author and teacher I trust to the website of a guy who promises to help you get rich by teaching you how to sell stuff, any stuff. The person I trust had said that that method had helped her a lot, otherwise I wouldn’t even have followed the link.

That link led me to a site where the main content was a video. A video that didn’t tell me how long it was, and that I couldn’t download onto my computer. I started watching, sat through about two minutes of “Hi, I’m this great trustworthy guy, and my method is the best ever.” and wanted to kill my computer.

I don’t usually watch videos online. I don’t quite know why but if you embed a video in your blog I will most likely not look at it. Not for more than 30 seconds anyway. Especially when that video is about something I’m supposed to learn.

I’m the one who watches videos on knitting techniques with the sound muted because I can’t be bothered. I also don’t learn well by listening to something, and so most of what you’re telling me will go in one ear and out the other anyways. (By the way I don’t do audio books as well.)

The main reason I don’t watch those videos, though, is that video is so damned slow.

When I’m reading something I can do it at my own pace. And my reading pace is rather fast. If something is repetetive or not interesting for me I can skip a paragraph. In a video I have to sit through all of it. It makes me very restless.

Still with that video I thought the whole thing might be useful for me, so I fetched my knitting, took an hour of my day, and sat all through it. I have to say that somewhere in the middle I cheated, and just listened to the thing while reading something else on the web. You see, there was this guy standing in front of changing scenery, just talking. And talking. And telling his story, and basically just saying, “I have this great marketing strategy, and it made me rich, and it is just so awsome, and it can make you rich as well if you just buy my crouse.”. For 55 minutes.

At the end of the video he told his audience to like him on facebook, and leave a comment. Which of course I didn’t do. I don’t use facebook much. I don’t like that whole facebook culture, so, no.

I did contemplate leaving a comment. Saying, “Hey, if you had made this a text instead of a video I would feel much more positive towards you and your course. Also I found that you haven’t given me much information.” but then I read about a hundred of the “Oh, this video is so great, I have learned so much, can’t wait for the next one.”-comments and decided not to.

I know that I need less repetition than most people to learn something, and it seems that I know more about marketing than I thought I did. (I actually loathe marketing and sales tactics but I’m thinking about self-publishing my novel eventually, and that means I need to learn more about this abhorrent subject, apparently.)

This guy did the whole thing where we had to sit through three of these extremely long videos until we finally got the informationg about his course. You know, the one that will make us all millionaires. I actually sat through all of them, though I have to say I stopped watching the third one halfway through when I still didn’t get any more information, and had turned so cranky that I was snapping at my family all the time. I went and watched “Monsters, Inc.” with my son instead.

Yesterday he opened his class for registration. I was curious to see how much his course would be but in order to get that information I would have had to sit through yet another video. So I have no idea.

The guy has written a book on his whole subject, and I am actually thinking about buying that. The book is about 8 €, a sum that I’m willing to part with. I can read a book much faster than I can watch a video, and when I read something I actually remember it, unlike the things someone is telling me, especially when there is stuff going on in the background. (At one point he was filming in what I suppose was his kitchen, and I kept looking at the kitchen, and the copper pots behind him and all that instead of paying attention to what he was saying.) I know that not everyone works as I do but for me the only way to learn something someone is telling me is to repeat it back to myself instantly. Out loud if possible. Or to make a ton of notes and read those later.

And what kind of time do you think I have? I just wasted almost three hours of my life just watching those damn videos for getting three bits of new information. And I haven’t even started to watch the last one (and I won’t) which is at least forty minutes as well. I bet I could have read the whole damn book in that time.

I know that the nice thing about videos is the visual aspect. Like that guy was standing in front of a whiteboard drawing mind maps and such. Well, let me tell you that is too slow for me as well. So someone stands there with a marker talking, and talking, and talking, and then he draws an oval, and then he writes three letters in there and then I have to pay attention to learn what those three letters stand for. Please, give me the diagram in plain English, and then let me figure it out at my own pace. (I really, hate, hate, and hate power point presentations as well, by the way. I have to sit in a dark room which makes me extremely sleepy, and all I do is read the text on the screen about ten times until there’s new text on the screen. If something is blinking, or if I have to look at pictures of sunsets that have nothing to do with the topic I’m out. And the mere fact that there is something moving on the screen makes me completely unable to listen to what you’re saying. But I know I’m weird, and that modern learning theory says getting information on more channel than one is very good for us. Well, for you. Probably. Not for me.) And don’t get me started about how I hate mind maps. This is not how my mind works. Not at all. (Interestingly my son came home from school the other day saying, “I really hate mind maps.” I have never talked to him about this. Never I swear. Seems to be genetic.)

So. I don’t know how many of us are out there. This whole “selling stuff with videos”-stuff seems to work because otherwise it wouldn’t be everywhere, wouldn’t it? But really, trying to get me enthusiastic by telling me how great all of this is repeatedly won’t work. Trying to get me to like you by smiling at the camera with a twinkle in your eye, standing on The deck of your house wearing a nice “I’m only one of the guys”-t-shirt won’t work, and telling me that no business can get anywhere without your strategy won’t work as well because, you see, I already have a business, and it is working, and I didn’t use any of your advice.

I admit that I’m not a millionaire. But people who become music teachers because they want to be rich are a bit delusional anyway.

So I know I’m not representing the majority here but still: If you want to sell me something? Stop using video all the time. Thanks.