Oct 082018

It was almost a slump day again but in the end I did get stuff done.

I woke up at 4.42 again. I say that’s too early. Tried to get back to sleep for 45 minutes before I gave up.

Read a bit and surfed the web a bit and got up and had breakfast. I could feel the day slip away already. And I still was stuck on the novel even though I wrote a little the day before.

Then I sat down and planned the coming week and it is looking, um, really busy, And I looked at the things I did want to get done the week before and there were quite a few things undone. It’s alright, though, it’s all self-imposed deadlines.

My husband got up late around nine and the boy came down for breakfast at 9.30. We talked. I did yoga. I helped to make lunch and bought two new books. Maybe three. I also thought about a book I had read as a child and teenager that Konstanze is reading at the moment (and she’s loving it). I am feeling a little uneasy with it and always have but I’m not quite sure why. So I borrowed it from the local library in ebook form and started reading it. Oh, it’s „Herbst im Mumintal“ („Moominvalley in November“). I find it quite dark and that might have been a little too much for me at ten or so.

Here is a picture of our lunch to cheer you up:

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My husband thawed two packages of steak and only later found out that that meant ten really tiny steaks instead of two big ones. I suggested leaving the second package for today. There will be homemade spaetzle and mushrooms if we can manage.

Then there was the dreaded slump after lunch. But! While I sat there reading and slumping at first and watching a recorded webinar I did prevail and wrote my October newsletter. Yes, it was a week late but hey, only a week this time. Of course I vowed to write the November one right away. I already have a short list of topics.

Then I read some more. With all the book-buying and -borrowing I do I am having a serious need of reading all.the.things.

Then I learned how to do understitching. I did not actually stitch anything but I’m counting that as moving my dress project forward. I made a list of things to do for book publication and another list for music lesson marketing. Then I dithered a bit and then I finally wrote some more on the novel-in-progress. Some time in the morning, I think while doing the dishes or knitting I finally had an idea about what would happen next. I’m still not sure if the scene I wrote before will stay in the novel or not but I have made a note and will re-visit that question later. I decided to pretend that I wasn’t really writing anything serious by using the iPad:

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Then it was time for watching Star Trek. We only watched DS 9 again because Next Generation would have been the finale. Which is a 90-minute episode. I wouldn’t like to cut that in half. We discussed when we’ll watch the new episode of Doctor Who. We didn’t want to stay up too late (we will only be able to watch it after it aired in the UK and that would have meant a very late bedtime for both of us). Usually we would have watched it on Friday but the boy will be away over the weekend. So we decided to watch it tonight.

I can’t wait. This will be seriously cool. I hope.

And then I tested the boy on states and capitals again (not good). I know them all by now. He doesn’t. This will continue. I mean, it’s only 16. That should be doable. And then he told me about the new project they will start in art in school next week. They will have to design an album cover. In pencil. And he was freaking out because he would like a brief a week in advance. And the music he listens to is probably not the genre the teacher was thinking of. So we looked at album covers on my phone together. Since I am trying to learn more about design at the moment as well I found the whole thing rather fascinating.

And he said, „She told us about proportions when drawing people so I guess there should be people on the cover but I don’t know.“ And he was dithering and going into panic mode. Because he doesn’t like it that they get the topic and then they have to start right away. So I told him to prepare a couple of concepts in advance. What can he do if there have to be people on the cover. What would he do if it needs to be an existing band? What if he can make the band up? What if he needs a logo?

And then I told him that the minute the teacher tells them what to do he needs to pick one idea and go with it until he finishes it. Because he is the kind of person who keeps questioning his idea until the very end and he never finishes art projects in school and that makes him get bad grades.

He also is still thinking that the idea is the most important part of any creative endeavor. Yeah, right. I mean, a cool idea is a good thing. But how you do something is more important. And finishing things is even more important. The best idea doesn’t do you any good if you never have a finished object. Especially when we’re talking designing for clients or, I don’t know, a school project.

And then I wrote a little more while my husband was playing guitar under my bed. And then I went to sleep.

Today there will be running and teaching and writing and going to the health food store if I can, and making spaetzle from scratch and I have a list of things to do for novel one and sewing would be nice as well, and oh, I might want to make some music too.

Good times.

Oct 072018

Well, it was a Saturday – what did you expect?

I woke up really early yet again (I need to find a way to relay and calm down soon), and started writing pretty soon after waking up. Which was very good.

And then I realized that I was stuck on the novel. I deleted a paragraph, ended up with 75 words and realized that writing wouldn’t happen.

I got up, I did not meditate, I skipped my run for a bike ride and went to Munich to get a new battery put into my phone. The bike ride was wonderful:

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When I arrived at the phone repair shop there was a sign outside saying, on Saturdays repairs are only by appointment. Ouch. Twenty years earlier I would have left immediately but since the shop was completely empty of customers I decided to try it anyway. I went in, said hello and said, „I just saw that I would have needed an appointment,“ and the guy behind the counter said, „You’re in luck, the next appointment isn’t due until eleven.“ So there were fifteen minutes left until then and he decided to repair my phone until then.

I was fully prepared to wait for hours, so I had my ebook reader and my knitting. The day was sunny and warm and I sat down on a bench in a really nice place in Pasing. Unfortunately, I can’t show you a picture because I didn’t have my phone with me.

When I came back at eleven as he had told me the shop was closed with a sign on the door saying, ‚back in five minutes, thank you for your patience‘. I wasn’t all that patient but decided to not mind because, well, I would have a working phone again soon.

He came back, running towards me (not a sporty guy) with something small and white in his hand. I bet that he had realized that he had run out of parts and had to restock right in the middle of his work day. (Note to every retail business owner out there: closing your shop with a ‚back in 5 minutes‘-sign in the middle of the day does not look professional.) He said, „You must be the 11 o’ clock-appointment with the iPhone 8!“ Um, no. I was the one before that who gave him my phone just fifteen minutes earlier

I did get my phone back right away, though, and it is working again, so I won’t complain. I have no idea why getting my phone repaired at his shop costs 95 cents more than the pricing list on his website says but again – I won’t complain. Not even for having to wait for two minutes for him. At the time that he told me to be back and was expecting his next customer.

The phone looks like it was never opened and the new battery seems to be in good working order (I checked with an app on my computer) so everything is fine.

I rode my bike back home again, I think I was gone for a total of 75 minutes or so. With two thirty-minute bike rides thrown in.

When I came back home my husband was sure that I couldn’t have had success. Ha!

We made tagliatelle gorgonzola for lunch (with salad mostly from the garden):

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While cooking my husband realized that we were out of white wine, so I went out and got some. At the end of lunchtime I reminded the boy of his dooming geography test and we all realized that he couldn’t name the 16 German states. We also realized that none of us could. So we proceeded to learn them. And their capitals. Interestingly, the boy took the longest to memorize them. He also declared that kind of knowledge superfluous and unnecessary. Those two things might be related.

After lunch I sat and read and ate some chocolate. And then I did all the dishes by myself.

Then I let the Saturday slump hit me. I started watching a video that had been in my open tabs for weeks. I read a new book. I bought another book. I had a discussion with my sister on twitter.

Decided that one hour was not enough time to start anything and read a book on attitude about writing. (I totally agreed with the ‚all hard work all the time‘-premise. In theory.)

Then I had to wait for the boy for fifteen minutes until he realized that he had forgotten out six o’clock Star Trek date.

We ended up watching two episodes of ‚DS9‘ (both of which were excellent, as usual) because we didn’t want to cut a double episode of TNG down the middle. My husband could barely tear himself away from the screen to practice drums. But he did.

I was really, really hungry after that so I ate a late dinner, started writing this post and then I kicked my butt and spent my minimum twenty minutes writing.

Went to bed early.

Today there will be yoga and all the things I didn’t do yesterday. Like writing the newsletter and writing more words and making music and all.the.things.

In other words – just a regular Sunday.

Oct 062018

I woke up really, really early, like 4.15 or so. I spent half an hour in denial but couldn’t sleep. I need to calm down again because this is not sustainable. I mean, calm down in my head. The things I actually do don’t feel like they drain my energy, it’s mostly the things I don’t get done.

I did write first thing again, and second thing, and then I got up and made breakfast. My husband got his muesli as he wanted, thawed blueberries and all. We had a nice leisurely conversation. And then I started procrastinating. I was tired and felt a little down from doing so many thing the days before and my to-do list weighed on me. I did get a grip soon afterwards but I lost the time I would have needed to take a shower.

I did the weekly cleaning and made pizza from scratch and even started doing the first batch of dishes while the pizza was in the oven. I must have touched the weird control panel on the oven while doing that so it was set to quick heat. Which led to the pizza being, um, extra-crispy:

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It tasted great, by the way.

I was also thrown off because the day before I had realized that my cell phone’s battery is failing. I don’t really want to spend money on a new cell phone right now but I also don’t want to go without. I found a place online that only charges 30 Euros for battery replacement but that would mean going without it for at least five days. The boy will be traveling next week and I don’t want to risk being without a phone while he is away.

I did look at new phones. Nice cell phones are expensive is all I can say.

But then I remembered that there is a place that does these repairs in Munich, not far from me. Well, about forty minutes by bike. Or twenty minutes by train but the bike ride is not only cheaper it is also a very nice ride through fields and woods and exercise is always a good thing.

So after giving the whole thing a lot of thought in the course of the afternoon I decided that I’ll change my run for a bike ride today and see if the guy in Munich can put a new battery in my phone right away. Maybe I’ll call beforehand. I’ll see.

So. I did all the dishes right after lunch, put on makeup, practiced singing and piano, announced the new podcast episode everywhere, and then I taught one student after the other for 3 1/2 hours.

Then the boy and I watched some Star Trek. He apparently had a great need to talk which resulted in us stopping Netflix all the time in order to look up things online and talk about them. Not the most immersive of experiences.

Then my husband was finally done with teaching and I got ready for bed, wrote in my journal, made a list for today and went to bed just in time.

Today there will be a bike ride to Munich, and some music, and hopefully a lot of writing and my husband and I have scheduled a meeting (I bet he already forgot but it’s in my journal) because we need more photos and copy for the teaching website and material for a flyer. He says he already wrote things down so that is good. It is funny, I am the one who wants to be a writer but he is much better at copywriting than me. I never agree with the way he phrases things but when he gives me his stuff I then can go and make it pretty. When I have to write anything even remotely ad-related I freeze. Most of the time I can’t even write my own bio for things.

If I found time to sew a bit as well as do all the other things that would be the cherry on top but I seriously doubt it. Today is a day where my usual Saturday slump would be deadly. Well, not literally, of course.

But I’d really like a Saturday without slump for a change. And a Sunday as well.

And to think that this was supposed to be the leisurely weekend before the ultra-busy one next week…

Oct 052018

In other words a very good day.

I got all fed up by my own whining and also motivated by reading Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s book about time management (if you like any advice about freelancing I heartily recommend also the whole Freelancer’s Guide that she wrote; the time management book is a part of it) and all this not getting things moving fast enough is making me tense, so I woke up rather early and for once I actually started writing almost right away. Well, first I had to write the blog post. And then I did two 25-minute segments.

As usual the first one only yielded a rather meager word count but for once I decided that I was okay with that. That a few words are better than no words. And I knew that the rest of the day would be packed.

There was breakfast. I actually managed to mess up my husband’s breakfast for the second time in a row. He alternates between muesli and bread/pastries. When he eats muesli I put some frozen blueberries in his bowl when I get up so that they are thawed before he eats them. On bread or pastry days I make sure that there is something for him to eat. The bread situation here can be precarious with a teenager addicted to carbs eating sandwiches for dinner without thinking about the next day.

So. Yesterday was muesli day. But also a holiday. Which threw me off. So I set my husband’s muesli bowl on the table but there were no blueberries in there. He ended up with lukewarm tea from the day before and bread for breakfast. Today I had a nice bowl sitting there for him again, this time with the blueberries all warm and thawed. When he showed up and reminded me that it was not muesli-day I said I was sorry and that I would just eat the blueberries the following morning.

But then it turned out that there wasn’t any bread. The night before I had assessed the bread situation and decided that there was enough for the boy’s breakfast and his school snack. So he ate it all. And my husband had to eat muesli after all with coffee. He doesn’t really like coffee and muesli, he usually drinks tea with that.

So I seem to have been slightly confused.

I did ask what he wanted for breakfast for today, by the way, and got an indignant, „Muesli, of course, because it’s Friday“ back. I set the bowl on the table last night. Wish me luck.

After the whole breakfast situation we had a very interesting conversation about life and music and recordings and art and discipline, as one does.

Then I rushed off for a quick grocery run, and then to the optician. I have now ordered some more test contact lenses and have informed the optician that I might order a pair of new reading glasses as well. The whole setup is getting more and more complicated. Funny, but he is always really nice to me. (Two pairs of really expensive progressives because I am so nearsighted, contact lenses, the sunglass-clip and probably another pair of reading glasses (not as expensive)).

Then I went back home and for once did almost nothing to help with lunch. It was chili day again:

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Then I decided not to waste half the afternoon and got the podcast ready for publication. I also practiced singing and piano for ten minutes each and then it was time to teach.

Teaching went on until seven, then I said hello to the rest of the family again, applauded the boy for writing two excellent tests (an A in math which is laudable, and a B- in Latin which is incredible and unheard of; seems he got lucky).

Did the dishes that I had left sitting after lunch, made pizza dough, decided to stick it in the fridge instead of letting it sit on the counter, began this post, and decided that I was too tired to write some more. I’m still hoping to finish the current novel until the beginning of November. That would mean writing 3,000 words per day, though. That might be a little tricky.

Went to bed early which is perfectly okay if you woke up at 5.15 and started writing at 5.30.

Today there will be the weekly cleaning, I will make pizza, write some more, teach a lot of students, take some pictures for the music teaching website and publish the podcast.

And then I will start the weekend by watching some Star Trek and crocheting.

Sounds like a plan.

Oct 042018

Woke up a little too early, finished reading „Night and Silence“.

Had a slightly late breakfast after which the boy showed up again and then my husband. It was a day off after all. We all talked for half an hour, I did the usual housework and then went running:

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I’m really liking the new contact lenses for running. Much nicer than using the glasses which always slip and fog and are heavy. The only drawback is that it’s hard to rad anything on my phone but I usually make the text bigger before leaving home.

I like the glasses better for everything else but with the two pairs of glasses, the possibility of sunglasses on top of them and the contacts plus another pair of glasses for reading with the contacts I will be totally set.

On my run I had an idea about learning Latin for the boy because he had complained that the way they learn in school is not how you actually learn a language. He’d like to be taught how to speak Latin as well as read it. So I looked on youtube for „Latin as a living language“ and „Latin as a spoken language“ and found all kinds fo resources. I love living in the future.

Then we made lunch:

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Very yummy.

And then I spent most of the afternoon getting ready for the podcast, recording it and starting to write show notes. My one student showed up on time and after that the boy and I watched another episode of Star Trek. Then I wrote for half an hour and went to bed.

Today there will be grocery shopping and the optician’s appointment where we’ll look at the contact lenses and will talk about possible new reading glasses for me, I will finish getting the podcast ready for publication, write and teach. I would love to fit some sewing in there but I doubt it.

My throat hurts a little, I think I’m having the beginning of a cold but I hope it will just pass with minimum fuss. At least my back and hip are much better just because of Sunday’s 27 minutes of yoga.

Oct 032018

I almost managed to write first thing in the morning! Unfortunately, almost doesn’t really mean anything. I might get closer, though. I didn’t really want to resist the siren song of „Night and Silence“. I’m three quarters through the book so that will be done soon. Part of me wants to do nothing but sit and read until it’s finished.

I did get up on time, made breakfast, helped the boy get ready for school (these days that means making tea for us both and reminding him that it’s time to get ready) and then I wrote for 25 minutes.

Since I had been to the health food store the day before I had time to try the optician (not time for me right away, got an appointment for Thursday), go to the bakery, buy thread for the Kew dress (funny enough I’m about to run out of orange thread) and buttons for two finished cardigans.

I came back in time to help making lunch, and today the boy was home early as well:

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Did the dishes, hung up laundry, made a little music, started preparing the podcast, taught a few students, did some more stuff on the computer, taught another student, made sure that the boy left for the orthodontist in time and came home in one piece, started writing this post, watched an episode of Star Trek with the boy, read some more and went to bed on time.

Today is a public holiday in Germany, so no school. One of my students said she’d show – we’ll see how that goes. I’m planning to go for a run and record the podcast. My husband is planning an elaborate lunch, something involving marinated bresaola, polenta with sage butter and fried eggplant.

I have registered for yet another webinar tonight but I’m not sure about it, it will be starting around my bedtime and I might have taken that one before as well. I’ll decide about that in the moment, I guess.

That, by the way, is what a day off looks like when you’re me.

Oct 022018

Woke up super-early again, lounged in bed. Got up almost on time and made breakfast. I started reading „Night and Silence“ by Seanan McGuire yesterday and found it hard to put down.

After breakfast I meditated and wrote (phew).

A comment on yesterday’s post made me realize that there might be a misunderstanding about my writing at the moment. After whining and a lot of teeth-gnashing and such over the past months I seem to have turned a corner (knock on wood) twelve days ago when I decided to do the „100 days of writing“-challenge on instagram. I like to get the writing out of the way early in the day if possible but when something happens – or I’m just totally not in the mood – I just write later. Ideally I have three or four windows of opportunity. The first one is right after waking up but I only wrote that early once and it gave me half the words that 25 minutes usually give me so I’m not sure forcing myself at that time of day is worth it. The second one is right between my breakfast and that of my husband. That one is ideal, so at the moment I make sure that I don’t dawdle it away. Sometimes there is a third one between whatever I’m doing after breakfast and the time when we need to start making lunch but that’s rare, and then there is another window of opportunity in the evening before I go to sleep. Interestingly, I often manage to write pretty fast and easily at that time despite not being a night person at all.

With the added incentive of the challenge I managed to write more than 6,000 words last week even with skipping a day. I do have the secret hope to finish the current novel until the beginning of November but that is just crazy talk at this point. It would be very, very cool, though.

After talking with my husband I decided to try my new soft contact lenses because it was raining, and running in the rain with glasses is not my idea of fun. And they worked. It was great:

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And then I went to the health food store because we had run out of chicken breast and there was still time, and there was lunch:

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Tasted better than it looks.

Then I had some time before the first student and used it for writing emails and sewing. The Kew dress is now actually dress-shaped. Next step is to clip some seam allowances and press them and understitch things (which I’ll need to look up again but that will take just a minute) and then I have to make 15 buttonholes and sew 15 buttons on, and stitch the hem and then I’ll have a dress.

I tried it on today and it is a little snug round the bust. It might work with a non-padded bra. I’m pretty sure that I will love wearing it next summer.

Then I put on makeup and taught my students, wrote some more words and read a lot more and went to bed early.

Today I want to run some errands, and write and make good use of my one-hour break in the middle of the afternoon.

Oct 012018

I actually slept through my (silent) alarm which never happens so I’m guessing I needed it.

Which meant that my normal morning routine went out the window, I had just finished breakfast when the boy showed up, and my husband came over right afterwards.

I did yoga again and it was much easier than the week before. It’s weird that one time practicing can make a difference, but apparently it did.

Then I called my mother on the phone. The call went pretty much as expected.

We had Salade Niçoise for lunch again. There is a lot of Romana salad the needs to be eaten from the garden:

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And before that each of got half of a bedraggled zucchini blossom:

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Then I spent some time procrastinating, set my bullet journal up for October and for next week, played „The Room: Old Sins“ for 45 minutes, pressed the seams on the dress that I’m sewing and pinned the bodice to the skirt.

Then it was time to watch some Star Trek: Deep Space Nine while crocheting and then the boy wanted to take his shower and so I watched an episode of „Extraordinary Homes“ while unraveling the row of crochet I had worked before. Somehow I had managed to throw the pattern off and I had no idea where or how.

Then I started to write this post, ate some cheese (why yes, I need to stop doing this ASAP), wrote some words on the novel while I should have gotten to bed and then, finally, turned off the lights.

Today there will be all.the.rain and all.the.cold. There will be running and a little teaching and some music and writing and some sewing. I hope. And rice and dal for lunch.

Sep 302018

I woke up early feeling a little timid and angsty. I’m blaming the not-writing the day before. No, I have no idea when I’ll learn. And of course I didn’t start writing right away as well. It was Saturday! No need to get started early!

Yeah. About that.

I did get up at a reasonable time and had breakfast and then, just when I was about to start writing, I swear, the boy showed up. At eight. On a Saturday. „Oh, I went to bed at the usual time last night,“ he said, laconically.

Poof. Second window of writing opportunity gone.

Then my husband got up, we talked, I crocheted (the blanket is the only thing I’m working on at the moment because it’s so big and warm), we did the dishes and then I packed the birthday present for my BIL and sent it off.

Then running. Well, mostly walking, but some running:

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Then a shower and cooking. My husband had plans to make veal cutlets and homemade gnocchi. I was in charge of the gnocchi. I did follow the recipe and told him to not put an egg in and was stressed out and confused and hungry and only remembered that it had said, „Add salt to the dough,“ when the gnocchi were already in the boiling water and I hadn’t read the recipe carefully and we might have had a teensy argument.

This was the result:

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Each part of those mashed potatoes had once been a lovingly handcrafted piece of pasta that I pressed a fork in for nice-looking lines.

At least it did taste good. After putting some extra salt on it.

Then a huge washing up.

The boy needed some rubber gloves and I sent him to get them himself. Mostly to teach him a lesson but also because I’m a little tired of him coming down to the kitchen declaring things like, „Mama, I’m out of toothpaste,“ or shampoo or cleanser or lotion or whatever one or two days after I went grocery shopping.

To sweeten the deal I told him to get himself some candy. And he brought some for me to. Only, it was not the candy I wanted and so I ate it and then went out and got some more chocolate. And some for Sunday as well. And then I sat down and ate it all.

Note to self: be more strict about the no-buying-candy rule. No matter how much you eat it never feels enough anyway. Thanks.

And then I sat around reading, surfing the web and procrastinating. ::head desk::

I did manage to work on the dress a little, at least, and I also managed to give myself a kick in the butt and write some but still.

We watched some Star Trek while more crochet happened.

Today there will be: no candy, all the writing and all the sewing. Also, the laying out the bullet journal for October which means looking at my September goals and setting new ones for the month. I did pretty well in September, so that’s good.

Sep 292018

Woke ups early but didn’t want to write because I was really slow the last time I did that. Which is an absurd excuse because slowly written words are still words written.

Breakfast. After which I still didn’t want to write. I don’t know what I was thinking but I didn’t really feel up to anything.

I did manage to do my weekly cleaning in time and even vacuumed the annex before my husband was back from running. We did make pizza and it was great, as usual:

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We were a little late with lunch but the boy came home later still so he didn’t eat with us.

Then I didn’t have enough time to do the dishes as planned so I sang and waited for my first student. After her lesson I went back to the kitchen and only managed to sort the dishes instead of washing them. I did play the piano for ten minutes, though. Then I taught two students. Went back to the kitchen (my calendar said „sew“ at that point), did the dishes already, and right when I was debating whether twenty minutes was enough to start setting up the ironing board my next student rang. Twenty minutes early. So I taught her. The next student was only five minutes early so I spent the time between the two trying to get my BIL’s birthday present on the way but I was interrupted.

Taught the last student of the day. Watched one – excellent – episode of Star Trek TNG (the last one with Wesley Crusher!). Ate some cheese (bad move), started writing this post.

Still hadn’t written anything. I did finish reading „How to Write Pulp Fiction“ which is rather entertaining and has a few nice hints but I guess I have read too many books about writing fast by now.

I did decide to skip the webinar because I realized that I had attended one in June by the same guy covering the same topic. I did review my notes, though. That is where a bullet journal comes in handy. Once I knew the date (from my emails) I could look into the index of the relevant journal and had the whole thing ready to read just like that.

So. No sewing yesterday and no writing. Serves me right. Writing first thing is always the best plan to follow. Because writing later is vulnerable to all kinds of disturbances.

Oh, and speaking of disturbances, I got a letter telling me to pay 80 Euros for a newspaper subscription that I never wanted or signed for. Again. I sent them an email with the emails attached that had been written a couple of weeks before. I just hope that this will be the end of it. Imagine getting a letter telling you to pay for something you never wanted. With your first name spelled wrong. Huh. That threw me off all morning. I am still working on my stoicism. Saying that I’m getting mixed results would be exaggerated.

So. Today there will be running and some kind of food, I’m sure and also I’m really looking forward to moving the dress along. Sending the package off to my BIL would also be a very good idea. And I would like to watch some more Star Trek with the boy as well. Oh, and write, of course.

Exciting plans.