Jan 172019

I’ve been thinking about motivation and priorities again (yeah, I know) because I watched Chris Fox’ video about it. Basically he says that a) you can only have one priority and b) if someone would give you 100,000 dollars if you wrote 5,000 words each day for the next 30 days, a lot of us (and certainly most writers) would sit down and somehow get 5,000 words done.

I mean, I already know that I’m making all kinds of excuses but that brought it home for me big time. So, I woke up around 5.30, skipped the morning pages and wrote 900 words almost first thing. And then I was all happy, bubbly and motivated for the day.

Found out that I’ll be out of thyroid meds after Sunday but wrote an email to renew my prescription. Which means taking the train to the next town over, probably on Friday.

Did all the usual things, even had a kind of meeting with my husband where we talked about his projects and his workload. He is having more students again and certainly more than I which means we need to shift chores around again. Then we talked about our teaching website and had a nice one-hour fight. Of course, it was all a misunderstanding and so we kept talking and everything is fine again.

I did the dishes and went running:

IMG 2155

Well, I say running but I was actually mostly walking. The ground was frozen and one could choose between very slippery ice or very hard, crunchy, frozen snow. The weather was gorgeous, though, and I had a ton of fun.

IMG 2156

I met my husband at the point in the picture above and we ended up walking back home together. Well, he ran the last bit but I was content just walking.

We made lunch:

IMG 2157

Yummy but a bit too much for me. And rather spicy.

I prepared the podcast, then thought that I had it wrong and that next week was podcast week, then found I had been right the first time.

And then I saw that there was a message on voicemail. That turned out to be someone from a German knitting magazine who wanted to talk to me about my podcast. Exciting! And a little scary.

I got myself ready for teaching and then tried to call her back for thirty minutes. When I finally reached her we had a rather nice chat. A chat that made me realize how awkward this here blog is to navigate, so for those of you interested in the podcast – there is now a handy link to the podcast category at the top of the blog.

I did promise her a picture of me knitting and thought I’d just take that right away because the light was okay-ish and I still had thirty minutes before my first student.

Finding a suitable location proved to be difficult because all the plush chairs in the house are sitting in places that are exceptionally dark and cluttered. So I decided to fake it and use my piano as a backdrop. I fetched my knitting, only to find that there was no knitting to be done because I need to pick up stitches for the Owligan’s button bands first. So I fetched a sock.

Then I couldn’t remember how to work the remote for my camera. Then the battery on the remote was dead. Then I took a few pictures, realized that there was a bit fat reflection of the window in the piano. Then the camera’s battery died. (I had a spare.) Then I tried different angles a little frantically because I was running out of time and I realized that my contingency plan of taking pictures later today would not work because it is supposed to rain. Which means no light. (I really need some lighting for taking pictures and video. I should put that on my birthday list.)

I think I have one or two pictures that will worked when cropped. Note to self: when you take pictures in front of the piano you better remove all the crap that sits on top of it.

Phew. I still need to do the cropping and to send the picture out.

Then I taught non-stop until dinnertime. My last student showed up and I was so preoccupied and then concerned with her tuner not working that it took me ten minutes to realize that instead of the dingy, old, cheap guitar she had been using ever since she started she had brought a nice, shiny, big, new guitar. With steel strings.

A very nice guitar at that. I found myself grinning through the whole lesson because I was so happy for her.

I have to say I was a bit wrung out emotionally after that.

At least the webinar didn’t start until 9 pm.

I made the boy play piano, helped with dinner, started writing this post, got ready for bed and finally watched a bit of the webinar. Long day.

Today there will be grocery shopping and podcast recording and a late teaching day and strength training. I’m also hoping to start getting the podcast ready. Bonus points for writing fiction.

Jan 162019

I’m still in a funk from not writing. And maybe I should stop complaining about something that I choose not to do…

I woke up rather early, wrote morning pages, read a bit, meditated and made breakfast. I looked out the window and decided that the sidewalk was clear and didn’t need shoveling. That turned out to be only half true later.

The boy got up and my husband and there was more breakfast. We didn’t light a fire because of the chimney sweep.

I crocheted a bit and my husband and I talked. Well, we basically had a 90-minute discussion on how he had delegated snow-watch to me and then had thought that I hadn’t taken care of it because I hadn’t told him that I had. One of those conversations. He apparently even went outside the night before around ten, only to see that the sidewalk was clear. And then he wondered if his mother had shoveled. Turned out no one had. The sidewalk was still clear.

I did the dishes and started folding laundry and then I let the chimney sweep in and he cleaned the chimney and looked at the furnace. Then I went outside to go to the health food store and realized – the sidewalk did still look clear but if was full of ice.

So all that time that we had thought everything was alright the sidewalk in front of our house had been icy and slippery and dangerous. Oops. I threw some gravel on the ice and went my merry way.

Post office to mail the last Christmas present and then a massive health food store haul. I did skip the bakery because there was a line of six people or so and we didn’t need bread that urgently.

Then I tried writing again and failed. I am really stubborn. I can’t even make myself do things that I want to do and that make me happy. I’m working on it, though.

There was lunch:

IMG 2153

Then more dishes and more sitting around failing to write. It is getting boring by now.

Then I taught quite a few students and enjoyed the teaching a lot. Especially the last lesson of the day because first, I really like the student and second, she got an electrical guitar for Christmas and brought it with her and we got to play „Smoke on the Water“ full tilt with distortion. Fun!

Then the boy showed up for piano practice and strength training, there were more dishes and more writing attempts. Also, too much chocolate.

Today there will be running or walking or something, I’m not sure yet, depends on how much ice there is. Then a medium amount of students and yet another webinar in the evening. And I will miss the beginning for sure because I’ll still teach then. I also want to prepare the podcast. I’m still not sure what topic I’ll talk about. You can leave suggestions if you want…

Jan 152019

I woke up from the alarm and wrote morning pages. I did not manage to write before breakfast yet again. It was raining, so now snow-shoveling.

Had breakfast with the boy and then my husband showed up. We were pretty early.

I did attempt to run but it was mostly walking and sliding in the end, the ground is hard to run on at the moment:

IMG 2151

I only did 3.6 k because of that. I was super-slow but it was fun. And I really like my new running shoes. Unfortunately I forgot to waterproof them beforehand. But my feet only got totally wet when I was already halfway done.

I came back and didn’t even help to cook. My husband had skipped running in favor of errands, recycling and moving wood in from outside. I did manage to get a pile of boxes to the recycling bin as well. It’s not much of a detour on my way to the woods. There was chili for lunch:

IMG 2152

I also finally installed the blogging software on my husband’s computer. His OS is so old that I had to find an old version of the software and the old registration key. But it works. I should update his OS as well but that will probably take ages.

I also decided to test Affinity Photo. I have been trying to learn GIMP for months now and today I stumbled upon yet another recommendation for Affinity. So I am now the proud owner of the free test version and have borrowed a book on it through Kindle Unlimited. I like the look, it does CMYK which GIMP only does after serious tweaking and it only costs 56 €. Much cheaper than Photoshop. It also looks easier to use but right now I’m still stumbling and fumbling around.

Playing around with that took quite a chunk out of my day. But that’s okay.

I made some music and I taught very few students and then I spent too much time playing Candy Crush. I always think these things are fun but actually it made me rather cranky and irritated. So I deleted the app again. Much better.

Then I ate too much because I was angry that I hadn’t written. Very reasonable, of course. I talked with the boy and a little with my husband and did the dishes. Five minutes later the sink was full again but I’ll deal with those later today.

Today there will be the chimney sweep and the health food store and quite a few students (one of them with her new electrical guitar that she got for Christmas, I showed her how to play „Smoke on the Water“ last week). I am hoping to get some words in and get a few small things done as well but there won’t be much time for those. Oh, and strength training would be great.

Jan 142019

Why yes, I’m sensing a theme as well.

Woke up from the alarm and had a very leisurely morning. Since my husband’s friend was here until midnight or so nobody disturbed my sacred solitary morning until after eight or so. Of course I had made sure to meditate and read and listen to Clara Schumann before then. (That was the daily piece of classical music, her three romances for piano and violin op.22. Unfortunately the Spotify playlist had a version for clarinet and piano that I didn’t like as much but then I listened to the whole thing on youtube. Ah. Wonderful.)

There was breakfast and knitting and crochet and a bit of knitting. I had bought yet another book about being a professional writer and since it was a short book I read it all through in a mere day. I found it helpful if short.

Then I did my usual Sunday morning yoga. It is starting to become routine which is very good. There was fennel and polenta for lunch. Very, very good:

IMG 2150

And then I had high hopes of writing all afternoon to catch up. I had a great plan involving the boy who said that he had a ton of homework that he didn’t want to do. So we decided to meet at 2 in the kitchen and do pomodoros.

But first we talked for an hour about which science courses he should take at school next year. He has to choose now for the next two years until he finishes school. He’d love to take three science classes but he is only allowed two. Physics is a given but he can’t really decide between chemistry and IT. Now, IT is what he might end up studying later and he thinks the other students in that class might be the right kind of nerd for him but he has no idea what grades he’d get (hasn’t written a test yet in IT) and he will probably have the teacher he doesn’t get along with. Chemistry is something that interests him as well but not as much, he has been getting great grades so far but he thinks his fellow students might no be his kind of people. Also, physics plus chemistry seems to be rather unusual, there will be loads of students taking biology plus chemistry and some who take physics and IT. Dilemma.

On the other hand he will probably be fine however he chooses. I think he’ll be able to get good grades in IT as well and might be able to work through his boredom. If he doesn’t take IT he will certainly be able to learn the required material on his own before going to university.

Then I finally was able to start the pomodoro timer and write for 25 minutes. Which gave me 1,000 words.

And then he started asking me about help with other school stuff. There are other courses he has to choose and for those he had to write about special skills of his regarding those projects. That took another hour.

After that my head was full of everything but my story so I resorted to playing Candy Crush and reading Ravelry.

Then my husband showed up telling us that ski jumping would be taking longer than anticipated so we decided not to watch anything. (Only one TV in the house.) We had dinner. And chocolate.

Then ski jumping was over and we decided to watch and episode of “Star Trek: Voyager” after all. I made some progress on the crochet blanket.

After that I started writing this post, wrote in my journal, looked at the upcoming week and planned out what I could, wrote some more words, brushed my teeth and turned off the lights.

Today there will be running (I hope, I’ll have to see if I can wear my shoes by now.), and maybe a microphone test, and the wrapping of a present, and maybe the drawing of the yoga pants pattern. Bonus points for watching Stuart Bache’s book cover design course again and follow along with recreating the covers he designs in the course. I’m thinking about watching the course on the iPad while working in GIMP on the computer because switching back and forth between the browser and GIMP is no fun. I could do split screen but GIMP doesn’t really understand it and my laptop screen is so small that split screen results in not being able to see anything properly. Those are the times when I dream of a big-ass monitor.

And now that I’m typing this I’m thinking that maybe I should hook up the laptop to the TV screen and use two monitors. Hm. That might work. Cozy setup, working in a plush chair with my feet up.

I see some testing in my future…

Jan 132019

Woke up early again, wrote morning pages, meditated and listened to the daily piece of classical music. I had expected to like the Mendelssohn octet more than I did. Maybe I should give it another chance.

My husband got up super-early again so we could make breakfast on the wood stove and then I went out and did a rather sloppy round of snow-shoveling.

Breakfast was had. I read a bit and I crocheted a bit. The boy showed up for breakfast.

When donning shoes and going outside I had found that the nick on my heel from the cupboard falling on me the day before while I was vacuuming chafed when I was wearing shoes and walking. So I decided to not only skip running but also the spinning meeting. I wanted that heel to heal quickly so I can go running again. In my nice new running shoes.

Which meant that I had an unexpected day off. And I enjoyed it very much.

My husband and the boy did some world-class shoveling while I did the dishes and changed the sheets on my bed, and then we had leftover lasagna for lunch:IMG 2149

Laundry, dishes, and I finished watching the book cover design course on Udemy. I was very glad about that. While I did learn some things about doing book covers with GIMP that will come in handy the covers the instructor designed were just, um, not to my taste. At all.

Next up everybody can make fun of me when my delicate taste won’t prevent me making awful covers as well.

My husband had a friend over who brought a bottle of wine so we all tried some. This is one of the exceptions to our January without alcohol.

The boy and I did some strength training (no shoes required so I could do those without hurting my heel) and then settled down to watch the fifth Star Trek movie. I can’t quite decide if this one is the worst or the first one but I thought it would be a good idea to have the boy see it for educational purposes.

Of course I had had planned to do all the writing in the afternoon but then couldn’t be bothered again. Maybe I need a more exciting writing project but then I’m basically at the middle of the middle, as in the middle of the second novel in a trilogy. And everybody knows that the middle is always a slog. Which is a good reason to proceed with speed. Ahem.

I did manage to write a word or two before going to bed on time, though.

Today I have the usual plans, there will be more snow-shoveling, some writing, maybe I’ll draft the yoga pants pattern and I want to do yoga. Also, we’ll be eagerly awaiting the verdict of snow day on Monday or not.

Jan 122019

The first time I woke up was 4.38 but I decided that was definitely too early and managed to fall asleep again until the alarm at six. I skipped my morning pages, spent some time on Ravelry and before I could even leave the bed my husband showed up. He had been awake since 4 and decided to start the fire.

Since the boy didn’t have school our whole morning was a little topsy-turvy anyways. Unfortunately, I don’t deal well with topsy-turvy mornings. I didn’t get to meditate at first and my whole morning routine was disrupted. Husband and I were both a little cranky as well.

The boy showed up late-ish and was rather talkative again. Slightly weird but nice. He helped me with the dishes. Then I got started with cleaning and managed to throw my husband off who had just come back from running. Running was no fun with the ongoing snow and slipperiness.

So I starte sulking and locked myself in my studio doing nothing which made me eve crankier while my husband started preparing everything for lasagna.

I ended up cleaning after all (phew), then helped putting the lasagna together. My husband would have preferred to eat earlier but I found the time alright. Lasagna was good:

IMG 2147

Did the dishes again, found that my new running shoes had arrived. I think I totally forgot to mention it here but a few days ago my husband and I were talking about running in the winter and I was lamenting the fact that my running shoes let all the water through which makes for somewhat cold toes after a while. He encouraged me to order insulated new shoes. Despite them being quite pricey. They arrived today. I’m rather happy that I ordered them a size bigger than my other pair:

IMG 2148

They’re also not waterproof but not all mesh like the others.

Then I started my Friday teaching marathon. And I actually enjoyed it.

After that I helped the boy fry some spaghetti with eggs, we watched some Star Trek while I worked on the Sweet Pea blanket, then I wrote a few words and went to bed.

Today there will be slipping through the snow while pretending to run, a super-early lunch and then I’ll leave for spinning meeting. My husband has a friend over, the boy and I will watch something together and that will probably be it.

Jan 112019

Woke up at 5.08 again which was a little too early. Morning pages, and a little writing. My husband showed up when my tea was almost ready, a little disappointed that I had already made breakfast without the wood stove. But breakfast was ready in time.

The boy showed up a little later. After I was finished with breakfast I went and shoveled some snow. For 16 minutes. I only did the sidewalk rather sloppily. I wanted to be back in time to sit with my husband when he had breakfast.

We talked. There were dishes. And I did some laundry. I was actually keeping track of how much time I spent on each. I got myself a new app so I can see where my time goes. Right now the biggest part of my day is housework. I didn’t manage to catch everything, though.Finally, I went to the supermarket. Walking there and back and getting everything we needed. Well, almost. It turned out that I had gotten the completely wrong kind of lasagna. So, after putting all the groceries away I put on my shoes and coat and hat and mittens again and went to two other stores for a different kind of lasagna and a different kind of salad.

My mother-in-law sent me on a quest for a particular kind of khaki but I couldn’t find that kind in any of the stores. The good thing about having to go in the other direction as well was that I could get a bus ticket for Saturday’s spinning meeting.

Then I came back and had put everything away again I helped a little with the salad and setting the table but my husband did all the rest:

IMG 2146

The rest of the bolognese sauce will go into lasagna later today. And there will be more salad.

Then the boy had a sudden urge to talk. He got a fabulous grade on a chemistry test and his math teacher had asked him if he had ever thought about taking a class at university after he had asked her something she didn’t know. So we looked into classes for people who are not university students. Though, studying math is a little like studying philosophy, isn’t it, the practical applications aren’t obvious.

Then I talked to the boy about book cover design at length and we compared covers and critiqued them. Poor thing. He wasn’t bored but might have more practical application for math than book cover design. Then he helped me with the dishes.

I made my way over to the annex after applying makeup and changing into a handknitted sweater, did my singing warmup and ten minuted of piano exercises. Well, almost because my first student was five minutes early.

Taught that student, watched the book cover design course while not really paying attention, waited for the boy who forgot about his piano lesson but I think he was out helping his grandmother so that’s alright.

I taught two more students, did strength training with the boy for thirty minutes, changed into pajamas, did more dishes, lounged in bed for an hour and turned out the light.

Today the boy is giddy to start the weekend early. Because of the snow, all schools will be closed. I’m hoping that that won’t confuse my students. There will be lasagna and the next part of the Sweet Pea CAL (can’t wait!) and it will be the start of the „Knitting Seasons“- thing. I will also write like the wind and clean all the things.

So, a lot of things to look forward to. Plus, a bit of snow-shoveling I bet.

Jan 102019

In the evening I actually wasn’t quite sure where the day went. I did have a list, though.

Woke up early, wrote morning pages and started reading stuff on the internet. My husband had said he would get up at 6.45 to start the fire but then he didn’t. Which I found a little confusing but then 6.45 is really early for him.

So I made coffee and tea without the wood fire. Husband showed up when I had just eaten my first bite of breakfast and the boy came down shortly after.

Since it was snowing I then went outside to shovel the sidewalk. The snow was so wet that it didn’t fall off the shovel when I turned it so that was fun. Also, I managed to shovel during the time that hordes of children and teenagers walk by our house on their way to school. Good timing.

I did the dishes and finally moved all the plastic recycling to the outside bin. I had been dreading that for, um, weeks now. There was stuff in there from the boy’s birthday, even. Then I finally went for my run. My husband was already back home at this point and told me that it was near impossible to run in the wet snow, I was sinking in over my ankles and every time I pushed forward my feet would keep sliding sideways.

I did manage to run for about 500 meters or so but the rest of the way was a rather bracing walk. My hip was slightly unhappy afterwards.

IMG 2143

These are the kind of days where I wish I had snow shoes. Or maybe cross-country skies.

When came home lunch was almost ready but I got to take a shower beforehand. With all hot water, even!

Then lunch:

IMG 2145

Didn’t look like much but was really tasty, rice and dal.

Then I did some more dishes, folded a load of laundry, made a bit of music, talked to my mother-in-law, read stuff on the internet and failed to write again.

My first student had canceled but then it was just one after the other until dinnertime.

Then there was some writing and some more reading (I want to read all the books!) and an early bedtime again.

Today I will probably shovel some more snow (mind you, my husband shovels way more than me) walk to the supermarket and teach until late. I am hoping to get some stuff done as well, like writing, the book cover design course and maybe a little work for the music teaching website as well.

The stickies on my improvised Kanban Board keep falling off and so far I haven’t even finished the first task on each bit project. I might be a little behind already…

Jan 092019

Woke up around 5.30, wrote morning pages and then started reading. There are so many books I want to read right now, the Urban Fantasy I’m almost through, a novella that came out this morning and „Etiquette & Espionage“ for the read-along and then I’m deeply immersed in some non-fiction as well.

So many interesting things in the world, not quite enough time.

I got up at seven and my husband showed up even before the boy. We had breakfast while my husband was starting the fire. He might get up even earlier starting tomorrow so that we can make water and tea with the heat from the fire instead of electricity. (Of course, I could start the fire but I found that that is just one thing too many in the morning when the boy needs to be at school on time.)

We talked a lot about a conversation I had yesterday and then were a little late again.

I went to one store for toilet paper (they stopped carrying our favorite brand at the supermarket I usually go to) and to the health food store. And then I only helped very little with lunch. Pancakes with spinach and feta:

IMG 2142

This time I took a picture before wrapping it because otherwise you only see pancake.

Then I hurried over to the annex for my first student of the day. Or so I thought. I waited for about twenty minutes before I looked into my emails and realized that she wouldn’t be coming. Then I spun a little while watching the book cover design course. I am at a point where you’re just watching the teacher put bad covers together and I couldn’t be bothered to make my own bad covers. I want to watch the videos, though, in case I can learn something from it. You never know.

Then I taught and taught and had a lot of fun.

Then the boy was late for piano practice and strength training. And so exhausted that he just played his piano piece once and then decided not to do strength training. I was okay with that because a) he had had PE at school that day and b) he spent an hour scraping the half-frozen slush from the sidewalk in front of the house. My husband and I both thought that we didn’t need to shovel but my mother-in-law thought otherwise so the boy got the short stick.

I did strength training on my own because I’m a grown-up and don’t need someone to hold me accountable even if I’m tired and hungry and it’s late. Went to bed early-ish.

Today there will be running and teaching and all the usual.

Jan 082019

For once I slept until the alarm rang, and then decided to write morning pages instead of the novel. Might have been a mistake because that made me grumpy for most of the morning.

Got up, made breakfast for the boy and me, he was up on time with no problem and got to school alright. He walked because of all the snow and slush.

My husband showed up around eight when I had thought he’d be up an hour earlier. After his breakfast we both got ready to go running but I wrote for fifteen minutes first. Result: instant mode boost, duh.

Went running and realize that it was more slipping and sliding and sinking into slush. My feet were wet five minutes after leaving the house (maybe I should get different running shoes for winter after all) and even my husband walked most of the way because running was just not feasible.

It was great, though. There were almost no people out, I met three cross-country skiers and two people with dogs but that was it.

IMG 2138

IMG 2140

I’m still amazed how wading through slush while cold can make me happy but apparently it does. Which is one of the reasons I continue doing it.

When I came back home my mother-in-law asked me to get something from the pharmacy for me. No problem but when I came back my toes felt like icicles.

I helped a little with lunch which was really great:

IMG 2141

Then I did the dishes right away, found that we’re all out of chocolate put on makeup and grown-up clothes and went over to the annex.

I did my singing warm-up and piano exercises, hung up a load of laundry, watched a TED talk while spinning and then my first student showed up ten minutes early. I taught, started writing this blog post, decided to have something for dinner after all because I was starving, did more dishes, started reading „Etiquette & Espionage“ by Gail Carriger for the read-along and turned the light out early.

Today there will be errands and the health food store and lots and lots of students. Not that much more, I guess. I have a break in between that I’d love to use for watching the book cover design course a bit more. But it’s pretty easy to squander away little breaks like that. I have thought about keeping a list of quick things I can do when I have a few minutes in between but the problem mostly is that I just sit down at the computer, check email, twitter and instagram and then my break is gone.

And as you all know, it’s not really about time management, the me-management is more of a problem but I am rather excited about a few new things that I learned that will make all the difference. Of course they will.