May 302016

The short answer is of course that I ate less.

But that doesn't really help, does it? Because the interesting part would be why I managed to eat less than I need for 1 1/2 years straight, losing 35 kilos in the process when I never managed to do that before.

Most people assume that I must have changed my diet in a big way, or that I must have suddenly found a massive cache of self-discipline that I could never access before. But that's not it.

From the inside it feels as if something clicked, as if that particular moment, the one I decided to lose weight after all was different than all the others before but I can't say how or why, really.

I'm also feeling like a fraud at the moment because I am currently trying to lose the same kilo for the third time in a row, this past month is the first one I haven't lost any weight ever since September 2014, and suddenly everything has become really hard. I still want to lose the next two kilos, though. And I know if I just eat less than I need I will get there eventually.

So. The moment I decided to lose weight this time. I think I already told you.

I had been working out a lot for about half a year, and when we went to do our usual hike from Herrsching to the Andechs monastery I thought that this time would be much easier than the time before. The year before I had barely managed to get up the hill, and when we reached the point where there are stairs because it's so steep I thought I would die before reaching the top.

Now I had run and done strength training five to six times a week for months at that point, and I'm happy to say that the hike actually did go better than the time before. Not well but better.

Until we reached the stairs.

Climbing the stairs was like torture yet again, and I didn't feel much better than the year before. Despite being in much better shape. Our son who had been huffing and puffing behind me for most of the way overtook me, and both he and my husband glided up the stairs as if it was nothing.

Me I felt like keeling over, and like giving up yet again. I was really angry that climbing up those stairs was so hard, and at some point between the bottom of the stairs and the top I decided that that was it, I would lose weight to make this easier.

At that point I was totally into the mindset that dieting is useless and makes us sick, that even if I managed to lose the weight chances were that I would gain it all back eventually, and that it would all be for nothing, and still I decided to try.

A 5% chance of success is not the same as a guarantee to fail. And I would have been content to just do more hill training if my weight would have stayed the same at any point but the truth was that I was almost 100 kilos and there was no end to weight gain in sight. The past few years I had gained between five and eight kilos per year. Every year.

Just before I had read “Thinner this Year” because I had liked the “Younger next Year” books so much but I still thought that it wasn't possible to permanently lose weight.

I did start the Monday after, though. I decided that this was it, the last time ever I would try to lose weight. If this time I didn't succeed I'd just stay fat for the rest of my life.

In order to help me with that I made myself some rules which is what I always do when I try to change my habits.

And since this is already pretty long I will tell you about those rules in the next blog post.


May 042016

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Tintenfisch aus Acryl, fertig
  • Stinos für meinen Mann aus geschenkter Wolle, zweites Paar fertig
  • Miss Marple Jacke: fertig
  • Dove Socks aus handgesponnener Wolle
  • Red Ocean Toes aus handgesponnener Wolle
  • Ringelsocken aus handgesponnenem Shetland
  • Braid Hills zum zweiten: Maschenprobe aus ungewaschener geribbelter Wolle gestrickt

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grüne Merino/Seide auf der Bosworth Mini weiter gesponnen, das vierte Achtel ist angefangen
  • braune Ashford Merino: 200 Gramm gesponnen und gezwirnt
  • rot-schwarzes BFL/Seide weiter kardiert
Genäht habe ich:
  • Swing-Kleid: ein zweites fertig
  • weinrote Leggings fertig
  • Martha-Kleid: das erste ist fast fertig, es fehlen noch die Bündchen und das Annähen der Kapuze
Erwähnt wurde:
Mar 272016

It just occurred to me that somehow I hadn’t posted here for quite some time. I gues I was meaning to write about my weight loss but then didn’t really want to. For one because I still want to lose more weight, and also because in the past two weeks I have actually been gaining a bit of weight instead of losing it. Which happens.

Also I started writing more here when I didn’t work on the current novel in progress but then I decided to revise the second novel before writing the first draft of the third one, and apparently I don’t write anything when I try revising, not even blog posts.

Also I try to stay a bit more offline. And I have more students which translates into less time between students to sit at the computer.

But. Today is Easter Sunday, and there was Hefezopf but I didn’t take a picture, and we had lunch with my mother-in-law, and otherwise we are treating this as just a regular Sunday.

It’s Easter break which seems to result in my usual “slothing around feeling like I should get more done“-mode. So far I’ve put „finish sewing leggings“ on my to do list every single day, and they still aren’t finished. Which is why I didn’t put them on the list today. Because today I’m taking a day off.

Our son has grown too old for the annual Easter egg hunt, or so I declared, so this year we just gave him a chocolate bunny and a new book and called it good. I did take a picture for the grandparent’s calendar, though, only he is standin inside on this one.

My husband will be going to Italy tomorrow with a friend. I am looking forward to a few days alone here with only the boy for company. I really hope, though, that I won’t spend all of those days sitting around waiting for him to come back home.

Yep, I do much better with routine. But then we have all known this for ages now. I still like having time off from teaching, I only don’t always use it wisely. And no, I don’t feel like I should be all productive all the time, it’s only when I sit around doing nothing for too long I get cranky and depressed.

So I am planning to go to Munich on Wednesday to see an exhibition about 30s dresses (the boy didn’t want to come and will spend time with his grandmother), and maybe the two of us will hike from Herrsching to the Andechs monastery. I’m also planning to sew something between two and five dresses, and 1 1/2 pairs of leggings. Right now I’m starting by writing a blog post so that I don’t have to sew or to glue together the pattern pieces for one of the dresses. (Oh, I’m planning that many dresses because I want to make a muslin and an actual dress for two of them, and the third one – the one that I plan on drafting myself – I will just make the dress. I’m sure that will go perfectly well. With no glitches whatsoever. (At least there will be stories to tell for the podcast.))

So I wish you happy Easter, or a happy spring day, whichever you like, and hope to see you soon.

Feb 212016

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Deflect Socks: fertigimage
  • Autumn Leaves fertigimage
  • Tintenfisch aus Acryl, beim ersten Handschuh fehlen noch zehn Reihen oder so und der Daumenimage
  • Stinos für meinen Mann aus geschenkter Wolle, erstes Paar fertig, zweites Paar angefangen

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grüne Merino/Seide auf der Bosworth Mini weiter gesponnen, das zweite Sechstel ist so gut wie fertig (außerdem sind das wohl keine Sechstel, sondern Viertel, ich wollte ja Cablé-Garn machen
  • grünes BFL mit Glitzer, ein ganzes Stück weiter gesponnen, die dritte Spule ist voll
  • braune Ashford Merino: Probestrang auf dem Little Gem gesponnen, aber noch nicht gezwirnt
Genäht habe ich:
  • Swing-Kleid: ein zweites fast fertig, es fehlen noch die Säume

Erwähnt wurde:

Feb 202016

Today my post about not having asthma any more appeared on the Fettlogik überwinden-Blog which makes me rather happy. And then I realized two things: 1. I think I will need to write about that weight loss journey a bit but not today because I am extremely busy today even for me, and 2. I never posted the obligatory before and after pictures. Well, really they are before and during pictures because I plan to lose five more kilos (11lbs.). And no, that won’t make me too thin, that will bring me down to the weight I have always felt best at, and down to a healthy, normal-weight BMI in the low range of normal.


Behold before September 2013 at about 98 kilos:


And this was taken last week at 68.5 kilos :



And yes, I know that fat Susanne on these pictures looks much happier than thin Susanne but you’ll just have to believe me that this is just because the first picture was taken on a really fun day hiking with my family, and the second one is a rather hurried picture taken to document a finished new sweater.

I have been trying to not talk too much about the whole weight loss thing because I was a bit afraid of comments, and I felt a bit vain, and I thought I was doing something unhealthy, and was afraid of how the whole thing would turn out because everybody knows that diets are bound to fail anyway, and all that but I think it’s time to talk about it anyways.

But I promise I won’t make anyone lose weight against their will.


Feb 112016

This year marks ten years since I started blogging. I’m not quite sure if that’s a really long time or not. Ten years on the internet is rather long, isn’t it?

And when I think about how I started this when my son was three and now he is a full-blown teenager – yes, ten years is quite some time.

It is rather nice to have a place on the web that is mine, one where I can make the rules and do what I please. Of course that leads to a somewhat weird mixture of topics and also to a place where you can find an English-speaking blog and a German-speaking podcast.

Ten years ago there was almost no knitting and certainly no spinning, weaving or sewing in my life. Since beginning this blog I have gotten back to playing guitar, I have begun playing ukulele, and I’m still singing and playing the piano. The thing with the writing started the same year I started this blog. I know that because 2006 was the first time I did NaNoWriMo, my first very bad attempt at writing a novel.

I am certainly busy as ever with all the things I want to do in my life, and also all the things I need to do. But busy is good.

I’m sitting here in that quiet space between me getting up and the rest of the family rolling out of bed. It is carnival break, so I’m the only one who got up at seven. I think that might be my very favorite time of day, when I have had breakfast, and am now enjoying that bit of time and space to myself.

Getting the writing done first thing in the morning (after breakfast) is very important because it is pretty hard to fit it in elsewhere. For writing – even if it is a blog post – you need to hear yourself think, and that’s not all that easy in the hustle of everyday life.

Of course there are people who write in the evenings, and sometimes I like doing that as well, but it’s much better to do it right away in the morning. Because no matter what happens the rest of the day there’s one thing I’ve already done.

So today I will go to Munich and meet a friend whom I haven’t seen in months, and I’m really looking forward to it.

But before I go I wanted to say hello, and say thank you that you are reading here, and occasionally leave a comment, and give me the feeling I’m not all alone with the things that go round in my head.

So I’m pretty curious to see where the blog will go in the future, for now I raise my tea mug to ten years and still going strong.

Feb 042016

As I told you before the concept of mini-habits has really helped me in the past months. They always seem rather ridiculous and small but they’re easier to stick to. And then I have this neat little app where I track my progress with them, and it’s really nice to see the long chain of uninterrupted habit execution.

So the things I try to teach myself consistently at the moment (apart from the things I’ve been working to do every day for months or weeks now like exercise and going to bed on time) are:

  1. Clear to neutral.
  2. Do the dishes after every meal if possible.
  3. Every day after breakfast I take all the recycling (that is collected in a bin in the hallway) down to the basement, sort it and fetch any beverages we’ll want with lunch or dinner and put those in the fridge.

“Clear to neutral” is something I picked up from the Asian Efficiency Blog via Unclutterer. Every time you do something you only considered it finished when everything is back where it belongs. Like doing the dishes becomes part of the meal routine, like every time I fold laundry I then put it back where it belongs, every time I use the scissors I put them back in the drawer.

I’ve been doing something like this for years now but I started slacking off. And at the moment I pay more attention to it, and also try to not leave the empty hamper in the hallway when I have put the clean laundry away but take the 30 seconds to actually go downstairs into the basement and put it next to the washing machine. This has the added bonus of making me move more.

“Clear to neutral” in my life usually means small steps. Putting the knitting back in the bag even if I think I’ll knit some more in the next hour or two. Putting the spinning wheel back in its bag and into my studio even though I know I will be spinning again the next day. Having everything where it belongs, and having the feeling of a tidy space totally makes up for the few minutes a day I put everything back.

You can see in our son’s room how things change when you do not clear to neutral. There are dozens of used tissues, candy wrappers, and miscellaneous papers on the floor and on his desk. There are piles and piles of books and all kind of things, and when he wants to cut his fingernails he has to borrow my nailclippers because he can’t find his. He did find the pouch for his nail things but not one single tool was in it.

“Do the dishes after every meal.” For quite some time now I’ve been trying very hard to do the dishes some time after breakfast so that my husband has a clean kitchen for cooking lunch, and I’ve making it a firm rule never to go to bed without doing the dishes first but I was pretty convinced that it didn’t make much of a difference if I did dishes after lunch, and also I thought I didn’t have the time.

Then some weeks ago I tried to squeeze sewing time out of every day in addition to what I was doing every day anyway, and in order to find 30 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted time in the evening for making a dress I decided to do the lunch dishes right before teaching instead of sitting down surfing the web at that time.

Turns out those dishes only take about ten minutes, and also doing that has the added bonus of getting me to bed on time at night.

Why’s that?

Well, if there was a lot of washing up to do in the evening I’d often sit in the kitchen reading or playing computer games instead of tackling the dirty dishes. Because the task seemed so overwhelming. Because of the strict rule to do the dishes before going to bed I’d sometimes sit there procrastinating for an hour or two before tackling the huge pile of dirty pots.

But if I do the lunch dishes right after lunch the dinner dishes seem much less intimidating. And I am making it a habit to not start reading or playing games after dinner. Instead I get up right away, wash three dishes and a bit of cutlery, and then I’m done for the day. Much better.

This practice also has the added bonus that my husband often helps me and dries everything which means it goes even faster. Sometimes I can even get out son to wield a dishtowel.

The habit of taking all the recycling stuff to the basement once a day, and using that trip to the basement to fetch anything I want nice and cold to drink for lunch is rather self-explanatory. The hallway is the first thing visitors see when they enter our house. Having a very overflowing recycling bin spewing its contents over half the floor and all the shoes is not a nice thing to see.

And as with other things it only takes a minute or two to do it every day, and is way less dreadful than sorting recycling for ten minutes in a row on Friday.

I am always amazed at what difference it makes to change small things but by now I really shouldn’t be. I’ve seen it over and over.

I’m really excited where all this changing things around will lead me. Right now life seems full of possibilities.


Feb 012016

So I had this asthma attack in 2008, and years later I found out that I had exercise induced asthma. And every since I’ve been using two different inhalers, one with a steroid that I take every single day, and another one that I use before exercising or doing something strenuous.

And the last time I visited my pneumologist he looked at my latest spirometry and told me to try out what would happen if I only took half the dose of the steroid.

And I did, and what happened was – nothing. I felt fine. Which was great, especially since that particular inhaler costs me 47 Euros every time I need a new one which used to be every six weeks but has become every three months now.

Two weeks ago I went back to the pulmonologist for my regularly scheduled spirometry, and this time he said, „You might want to try out how you feel when you stop the steroid. Oh, and you can also try to stop using the other inhaler as well. You’ll have to wait a few days for the effects to show.”

So I stopped using the steroid. And nothing happened. And a few days later still nothing had happened.

And then I stopped using the other inhaler. I was quite nervous when I went jogging that day, and monitoring myself for signs of an impeding asthma attack but what happened was – you guessed it – nothing.

So I am now completely off every kind of asthma medication. And that makes me really, really happy.

And I think that maybe (but I don’t know for sure, of course) this has something to do with me losing a total of 28 kilos. In the book „Fettlogik überwinden“ the author cites a study about asthma and weight loss that came to the conclusion that weight loss reduced asthma symptoms in every single case.

Who would have thought? Not me.

Now I don’t know how the whole thing will feel once allergy season hits my respiratory system but I guess I won’t feel as bad as I did before.

I am still carrying my inhaler everywhere. I’m still not quite convinced. But the possibility of living without the permanent danger of keeling over for lack of breath is exhilarating.

Every morning when I brush my teeth without having to use the inhaler first I grin like a maniac from ear to ear. And when I want to run after a train I can do it. Just like that.

Jan 252016

As I told you I had trouble sleeping in December. I hoped things would get better after Christmas but then they didn’t. I didn’t quite know what else to do but then I got a book on sleep from the library, and that said that when you have insomnia for any reason it might be that you get so used to not being able to sleep that you go on not sleeping even when there’s no reason for it.

The book suggested taking a class on relaxation techniques. I already no quite a few relaxation strategies (What, me tense? Nah.), and so I decided to just lie there in bed, focusing on my breathing and the sensation of getting heavier and heavier and melting into the mattress, and then – I fell asleep again.

So I’m still waking up every night but then I fall back asleep. Not always in a second but quick enough to not get up an hour before the alarm goes off.

And that means I’m feeling somewhat better already.

Days are still full and busy, and there have been quite a few people things we had to go to even in January but I hope that things might eventually calm down.

I am very happy that I’m still managing to play my piano, and sing, and write on my novel a bit, even if it’s only for ten minutes each day. And I’m still exercising. And the exercise is still making me happy.

Just today I was moping around all morning, and in a really bad mood, and then I decided to go on a short run, and I felt instantly better. It works like magic.

And now I will prepare dinner. I already did the lunch dishes right after lunch which means chances are high that I’ll be going to bed on time tonight. Which is something I’m really looking forward to. Being tucked into bed at 9.30.

Jan 242016

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • rote Baumwolle: weitergesponnen
  • grüne Merino/Seide auf der Bosworth Mini weiter gesponnen, das zweite Sechstel ist so gut wie fertig (außerdem sind das wohl keine Sechstel, sondern Viertel, ich wollte ja Cablé-Garn machen
  • grünes BFL mit Glitzer, etwa zwei Drittel gesponnen
  • die erste Hälfte rot-schwarzes BFL mit Seide für das Pi-Tuch fast fertig
Genäht habe ich:



1. 2015 – das Strick-, Spinn- und Häkeljahr:

Was für Herausforderungen hast du gemeistert?

Herausforderungen weiß ich nicht so wirklich, ich habe das erste Mal ein großes Webprojekt gemacht und aus handgesponnenem Garn.

Was waren erstaunliche und erwähnenswerte Projekte?

Die Decke für meinen Vater.

2. Der Stash 2015

Wie bist du mit deinem Wollvorrat umgegangen? Unter welchem Zeichen stand dein “Stashjahr”, wie hat sich alles entwickelt? Errungenschaften? Abbau-Erfolge?

Ich bin nicht sicher. Ich habe Ende 2014 in Erwartung der 15-Punkte-Aktion noch eine ganze Menge Fasern gekauft und zehn Stränge Sockenwolle, die ich selber färben möchte. Beides liegt noch hier. Ich glaube, mein Wollvorrat ist in etwa gleich geblieben.

Ich habe sehr viel handgesponnenes Garn verarbeitet, wenig gekaufte Wolle.

3. mein Kleiderschrank

Welche Sachen hast du 2015 oft und gerne getragen? (Können auch Sachen aus Vorjahren sein)

Vivian habe ich wieder permanent getragen und auch die Jehanne-Jacke. Braid Hills auch.

4. Gemeinsam geht alles besser

Was hast du für Aktionen/-Alongs/Events mitgemacht?

Die Tour de Fleece. Ansonsten habe ich mich dieses Jahr bei Mitmachaktionen etwas zurückgehalten.

Was waren deine virtuellen und vielleicht auch persönlichen Treffpunkte mit anderen aus der Fasercommunity?

Ich bin dieses Jahr auf mehrere Wollfeste gefahren, Backnang, Regensburg und Vaterstetten

5. Hattest du ein Motto für 2015? Wenn ja, wie lief es damit? Hast du es umgesetzt?


6. Was waren die schlimmsten Crafting-Unfälle und Reinfälle?

Ich bin nicht sicher, ob das so schlimm war, aber das endlose Gestricke an dem Ocracoke-Cardigan, nur um dann zu merken, dass er mir eh nicht passen wird und es dann zu schaffen, eine neue Jacke zu stricken, die mir zu klein ist, ist schon leicht frustrierend.

7. Lieblings-Designer_in 2015?

Immer noch Ysolda Teague.

8. Song des Jahres?

Jason Mraz, Wordplay

oder Geek in the Pink

(ich weiß, schon etwas älter)

9. Buch des Jahres?

Äh. So wie ich das sehe habe ich letztes Jahr ca. 140 Bücher gelesen. Besonders im Gedächtnis sind mir noch „Superhuman by Habit“ von Tynan, „Fettlogik überwinden“ von Nadja Herrmann bei den Sachbüchern und „The Cinder Spires“ von Jim Butcher bei den Romanen. Und „The Shepherd’s Crown“ von Terry Pratchett war herausragend auch weil es das letzte seiner Bücher sein wird.

10. Film/Serie des Jahres?

Immer noch und schon wieder „Doctor Who“.

11. Drei Dinge, die du nicht hättest missen wollen?

Sport, Gesundheit, Achtsamkeit, meine Familie

12. Drei Dinge, auf die du gut hättest verzichten können?

Weltpolitik, Stress, der zu Schlafproblemen führt

13. Was hast du 2015 neues begonnen?

Ich habe das erste Mal einen Romanentwurf von mir redigiert. Ich habe das erste Mal mit handgesponnenem Garn gewoben.

14. Wovon hast du dich 2015 getrennt?

Überflüssigen Pfunden. Der Angst, mich in meinem Alter nicht mehr ändern zu können. Neuroplastizität ist so etwas Cooles!

15. Hast du ein Motto für 2016? Und wenn ja, welches?

Nein. Das mit den Jahresmottos, Wörtern des Jahres und Zielen des Jahres habe ich schon vor einiger Zeit komplett aufgegeben, weil es bei mir sowieso nicht funktioniert.

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