Dec 032018

Woke up at six after a long, wonderful night of sleep. As usual I spent the rest of the day in a mild fog because my body demanded more sleep ASAP. I did manage to get up early and meditate right after breakfast, then I started a new hat:

IMG 2020

It’s very squishy, I mean, the yarn is. And what you’re seeing in the picture is just the gauge swatch, of course.

Then we started making lunch. We were roasting a chicken and that always takes a bit of time so we basically started right after breakfast. While the chicken was in the oven I did some yoga. It’s funny how much of a difference those 25 minutes make, even when I’m not doing them every week. I felt so good that my first thought was that I need to do some yoga every day. I’ll just squeeze that in somewhere…

Lunch was excellent with really good wine:

IMG 2021

(That’s half a chicken with stuffing. Doesn’t look as good as it tasted.)

That was basically it for the day. I did spend a lot of time staring blankly into space, I read most of my way through a web comic the boy recommended (and now I will have to wait for new installments which is just agony), planned the upcoming week, talked with my husband while he was watching ski jumping, avoided writing and spinning and was rather happy when it was time to watch Star Trek with the boy. I spun my advent calendar fiber while drinking some new-to-me local beer:

IMG 2022

IMG 2023

Since I’m reading another Sarina Bowen book I turned the lights out half an hour late but at least I didn’t wait until I had finished the book.

Today there will be running and a little teaching and maybe a microphone test and writing and some learning and who knows, maybe I’ll even manage to practice again.

Dec 022018

Since I woke up stupid early I was rather tired and sleep deprived all day.

So, the bad: I only ran 4k and I didn’t work on the novel.

The good: I did run 4k and did everything else on my to do-list, well, apart from drawing.

I did have breakfast really late. Beforehand I had to move all the dirty dishes from the day before over to the living room so I could make breakfast. Bad. I did eat my breakfast so late that my husband was up before I took the first bite of muesli even.

Then I knitted a little, and got the bullet journal ready for December and did all the dishes and then I finally went running, right when my husband came back from his run:

IMG 2016

IMG 2018

Then I helped making lunch, too late, and my husband was not in a great mood. Neither was I so there were words. Note to self: try and keep your calm even if you’re sleep deprived in the future. It will make things much easier.

Then I did the lunch dishes right away, (I was trying to prevent another dirty dish-disaster.) procrastinated for an hour and started spinning the first portion of fiber from my advent calendar. I had opened the bag right after breakfast. It’s a gorgeous color:

IMG 2015

Then the boy and I watched Star Trek and I finished spinning the fiber, I started a new sock, did the dinner dishes and went to bed. I had had plans to write a bit in the evening but I was just too tired.

I’d say for a day where I was that tired things went really well. I did not binge-eat anything, not even cheese, I didn’t even eat a snack, I only ate chocolate right after lunch and I only had one beer in the evening: Usually when I’m that tired I start out with all the great intentions in the world and then break down as the day progresses.

Today there might be yoga and more spinning and some writing, I hope, and a whole roasted chicken for lunch. And reading. And maybe not quite as much time online.


Dec 012018

I woke up from the alarm and felt bleary-eyed and tired and that never really went away all day.

I did clean the house but it took me ages with a lot of breaks in between. And then I made pizza. I was really tired of the frozen ones so I made real pizza again.

No writing, no strength training, no music practice. Boo.

But the pizza was great:

IMG 2011

And my mood got much better when my yarn package arrived for the Sweet Pea CAL that will start in January. I really love the colors and I’m really looking forward to that:

IMG 2010

IMG 2009

Then I took another break and let the dishes sit there all dirty.And then it was time to teach. All afternoon.

Then I saw yet another webinar, this one on book cover design and branding. I abandoned the webinar after less than thirty minutes because I just couldn’t focus. I’ll catch the replay later but have to say that as beautiful as that guy’s book covers were I could barely figure out the genre of the respective books. Not quite what I’m after.

We ate dinner and went to the concert at 7.30. When we arrived they hadn’t even started yet. Concert was better than expected

The opening band was actually quite good. As often you mostly could hear drums, then a wall of sound and a bit of the singing, um, growling. The main band wasn’t bad either but the sound was somewhat muddy again with the voice not coming through. We’ll all be listening to the CD to hear what we missed, though. (I have to say that if your guitar is so loud that you have constant feedback you can tell the technician to up the volume on the vocals all you want but it won’t help. You’ll just have a ton of feedback on them. I also have opinions on amplifying drums in a venue that small but, well it’s metal.)

Only after we arrived did I realize that I hadn’t thought about what I was wearing. Let’s say I was the only one in a fuzzy, orange, handspun sweater. My husband and the boy were blending in much better.

There were loads of guys with long hair, of course, and I got to explain to the boy why you don’t just let your hair grow all the way without a little trim once in a while.

All in all a more enjoyable evening than expected. It was a very good thing we took out earplugs, though, I even found a spare pair for the boy. My own dampen the volume without distorting the sound too much but they look really ridiculous. Well, better to look ridiculous than to lose your hearing.

I went to bed just after midnight and woke up at the usual time even though I had turned my alarm off. So I’ll probably spend the day in a stupor and will stop to be good for anything right after lunch.

Other than that there should be quite a bit of writing, and some running and the first look at the advent calendar. Maybe some music, even.

Nov 292018

Woke up too early and was tired all day. I’m thinking I should work on my sleep hygiene again but my husband thinks it might be the next iteration of the cold that keeps on coming back. I guess we’ll see.

When the boy and I were sitting at the breakfast table my husband showed up all of a sudden. And hour earlier than usual. Which was nice in a way but also a little confusing. Needless to say I never managed to squeeze meditation or writing back into the day. Serves me right for not using the time between 5.30 and 6.30 when I was awake but too cranky to do anything useful.

I went for a run. It was fun and all but so cold that I was still freezing an hour later. (Maybe it was the cold after all.)

IMG 2003

IMG 2004

But first I did finish the cardigan!

IMG 1998

The dark color doesn’t really photograph well.

Then I took a shower and helped to make lunch:

IMG 2006

Something pseudo-Chinese with rice noodles, carrots, leek and ginger. The leek is from our garden. Unfortunately, we had to throw about half of it out. There might have been bugs but I’m honestly not sure.

Then I wanted to write or do something productive but instead I ate all the chocolate. Because that really helps when you don’t have any energy.

My first student had rescheduled to 3 o’clock (by email at 9.30 the night before – since I don’t check email after dinnertime I only saw that in the morning; but I got an answer to my 6 am-email a few hours later), so I got ready fifteen minutes before (that student tends to show up early). And then I waited. And waited. She showed up at 3.20, telling me that she thought the reschedule was for 3.15.


Which meant I hadn’t done the lunch dishes. I know, there was enough time before, but still.

And then I lost momentum for the day.

Taught some more students, waited for friends of ours who were bringing a wine order, got ready for bed at 7. Still no dishes because the boy was taking a shower.

My poor husband had to teach until 7.30 and showed up rather exhausted for dinner at 7.45.

Then I finally did the dishes and wrote very few words.

I ran the numbers and if I want to finish this novel until the end of the year, and if it runs as long as the first one in the series I will need to write 1,600 words each and every day. Including yesterday which I didn’t do.


Today I will do all the things, of course, go grocery shopping, get my new passport that I completely forgot about (I just got a letter that it had been sitting there, ready for me to get it since May, oops), make deodorant, practice music, write all the words, start at least one new knitting project and learn some more about book cover design.

You know, the usual.

Oh, and I decided to do the blanket CAL from Attic24 at the beginning of next year. I miss having a massive blanket to work on. And even though the whole thing looks like it might be too pink for me, and even though I don’t really need another blanket, and even though the yarn is pure acrylic I ordered the yarn pack the other day. I’m really looking forward to it.

So I’ll spin my huge advent calendar in December and then I’ll crochet a blanket in January and February. At least things won’t get boring. Even though I just finished that cardigan that took years to spin for and only less than four weeks to knit.

Nov 282018

I woke up early and lounged in bed for ages. Then there was breakfast and then my husband’s breakfast. Again, I somehow didn’t meditate. Bad idea. My days go much better if I take the time to breathe and sit still early in the day.

I wove all the ends in on my cardigan (no picture, sorry) and then I finished the second sock for my husband:

IMG 1996

Then I ran all the errands, including buying buttons for the cardigan, tea, everything for lunch and other food. Lunch was about as Bavarian as it can get:

IMG 1997

I even went out a second time – in the snow – to get dark beer.

Then there was teaching. With lots of breaks. And then we finally got to watch the new episode of ‚Doctor Who‘. I had gotten an email from iTunes support in the morning that they had added the episode to my account. Phew.

And then I looked at my novel. Not because of NaNoWriMo but, well, I still want to write regardless. And when I set the deadline for Christmas my software told me that I’d need to write 1,900 words per day until then to finish it. Assuming that the second in the series will turn out as long as the first one.

1,900 words day in and day out is a lot. I’m not quite sure I want to do that. So I changed the deadline to the end of December. Better.

But if I attempt to finish that novel until New Year’s Eve it means I have to write about 1,600 words per day. Again.

Novel writing month in December, it seems.

Today there will be running and teaching and all the usual. And apparently quite a bit of writing as well.

Nov 272018

The fact that I had given up on NaNoWriMo didn’t sit well with me. So on Sunday evening I got it into my head that it still wasn’t too late.

I ran the numbers and found that an average of 7,600 words per day until Friday would still allow me to win.

So I decided to write like a maniac on Monday. And if I could manage between 8,000 and 10,000 words I’d try to reach the finish line.

Of course I made rules:

  1. Normal life still needed to happen.
  2. Sleep could only be sacrificed in extreme circumstances, like right before closing time.
  3. No sloppy writing just to get the words in.

So I woke up and started writing only twenty minutes later. Made breakfast on time, ate, forgot to meditate and started writing again. The first thing I wrote after breakfast was my sad, way too late November newsletter. Then I wrote some more fiction while my husband was building the fire. Knitted four rows on the cardigan while he had his breakfast. Did the breakfast dishes. Supervised the beans starting to cook on the wood stove while my husband was out running and wrote some more.

Went for my first run in weeks:

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It was glorious if cold, wet and muddy. Not many people out, surprisingly. I was super-slow but it was fun and made me happy:

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Then I helped a little with lunch, took a shower, got dressed and applied makeup right away. Also forgot to use body lotion yet again. (I only remembered when I started itching while teaching.

Lunch was beans and rice:

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Very good. Black beans, rice, kale and German sausages.

Then I wrote some more even though my brain felt like mush and I was starting to get a headache.

Then I taught four students. Listened to the boy practicing piano.

Then we wanted to watch ‚Doctor Who‘ but the new episode didn’t show up in the iTunes Store. We sadly had to watch an episode of ‚Deep Space Nine‘. Don’t get me wrong, we love ‚DS9‘ it’s just that we had been looking forward to ‚Doctor Who‘. Later that night the episode did show up but not as part of my season pass. Instead there was a button telling me it would cost an additional 2.99. Um, no. I’d rather not pay for the same thing twice.

Trying to get a message to support was another trial but I prevailed. We’ll see how that goes.

After all the writing I had done all day I had managed only 3,600 words. (Okay, that plus two posts on revelry, an email, a 1,300 word newsletter and a 600 words blogpost.) I mean, that is a lot of words but not quite the same as 7,600. And while the day wasn’t over yet I knew that writing another 4,000 would be beyond me. I might have managed another 2,500 at best.

And doing it one day would not have been enough. I would have had to pull that same stunt (including the mushy brain and headache) every day for the rest of the week. And Monday is my light teaching day.

So I’m officially giving up for a second time.

My husband said that I could have spared myself the disappointment but really, I’m not disappointed at all. I just had a feeling that I hadn’t tried hard enough and so I decided to do an experiment. To see how much I could get in a normal day if I tried as hard as I could.

I’m hoping that that stunt has gotten me back to writing and that I will finish this novel in the not too distant future at a sustainable pace.

Nov 262018

I woke up early and dawdled but managed to meditate before my husband got up, at least.

Then we started talking about how we want to renovate the kitchen and my husband was saying that the one cupboard where we keep our tea mugs and such was the big problem and I realized that we don’t even need that cupboard. We could rearrange another one and put all the tea-making stuff in there.

And true to form my husband fetched a ladder and start emptying the cupboards.

The one that’s the problem is empty now, and the one that was full before is almost full again but with different things. And we did find a place for almost everything.

Since my husband put everything in its new place I’m expecting a bit of re-shuffling soon. I can already see where things that we need often won’t be as accessible as we need. But then I shouldn’t really complain because I was only sitting there saying, „We should put that thing in the basement,“ and such.

And I knitted. And made a phone call. And knitted some more.

Lunch was pasta with tomato sauce, Brussels sprouts and meatballs, a little weird but tasty:

IMG 1992

And then I basically spent the rest of the day either surfing the web or knitting.

The NaKniSweMo cardigan is almost done. I’m not happy with how the neckband has turned out so I’ll re-knit that today.

The boy and I watched some ‚Star Trek‘ and that was the day.

The cold is much better now. Maybe I’ll be healthy again soon.

Today there will be running and teaching and I don’t quite know what else. Apart from the knitting of the neckband.

Yes, I haven’t written anything yet again. That’s not something I’m proud of. I’d like to get back into writing real soon. We’ll see how that goes.

Nov 252018

I woke up at 5.45 and lounged in bed for ages. Had a late breakfast and then my husband showed up rather early because it always takes about an hour to get the fire going and coffee made in the morning.

I did make nice progress on the cardigan, the second sleeve is growing nicely.

While sitting there knitting I realized that I wasn’t feeling all that great, the sore throat was making a comeback, likewise the ‚feeling hot and cold‘ and the feeling of stuffed sinuses.

So, no running. I did the breakfast dishes and went back to bed.IMG 1989

Spent too much time on the internet. Remembered that I wanted to show Frieda of the Wollkanal-Podcast a picture of my worst pile of yarn and fiber because in their last episode she had said that she believed everybody else had their stash all tidy and organized. Yeah. See For yourself:

IMG 1988

Mind you, that’s not my stash per se, that is just the overflow. My fiber is pretty organized but what you see there is odds and ends, leftover yarn, UFOs, handspun that doesn’t fit into the designated containers and several bags full of needles and such that I inherited and haven’t sorted through yet. In addition to that I have bins full of spinning fiber (nicely organized and tidy), bags and piles of mending, a bag full of projects that need blocking and such, project bags everywhere and ziplocks full with handspun on every available surface. Oh, and a box with my sewing-projects in progress and two weaving looms with ongoing projects on them. Plus bags with spindle projects and the two wheels with their respective projects.

You know, the usual.

Lunch was easy to make and delicious:

IMG 1990

Homemade mashed potatoes are just the best.

After lunch I did the dishes, dealt with laundry and went back to bed. The boy helped me with both the dishes and the laundry and I taught him how to fold sheets. He had never done it before. It made me realize that at his age I had been helping my mother folding laundry and ironing for years. There is a way to fold sheets with two people that I’m still doing on automatic. And when I was visiting my sister last year and we stripped the guest bed before I left we went through the the folding routine without even realizing it.

My mother has a very structured approach to housework. And everything has to be done just so and has to be ergonomic. I thought that was just how you did it until I met my mother-in-law. She is about as unsystematic as one can get without descending into utter chaos. I find that rather fascinating. And irritating. I like having processes in place for things I do often.

Her way of doing things has also influenced my husband, of course, and so sometimes things happen like me wanting to put his sheets away and finding a sweater on top of the sheet pile.


The boy, of course, sorts his clothes and puts all the t-shirts in one pile and all the sweaters in another one. Phew. (We even got him a set of drawer organizers when he got his new dresser and he has a little box for his socks and another one for his underpants and such. As he should. Why anybody would want to hunt for a single sock in between his underwear is a mystery to me but well, not all people are the same, I guess.)

And yes, I can tout the marvels of being organized in the same post as showing you the mess that is the top of my dresser. Those piles are somewhat organized, though, and soon I will sort through them and move things around and have space for everything. The plan is to do all the mending. (Go ahead and laugh.) Then I will move the fabric to the boy’s old dresser that used to be my old dresser and that’s empty right now which will give me enough space in the dresser that the pile is sitting on to put all the yarn in there.

I spent the afternoon mostly working on the book cover design course I just bought on Udemy. I found that I was stumbling on such basic things as moving images around and finding the right font and saving images as a jpg, so I did learn quite a bit. I also designed a horrible basic book cover and learned that the fonts in GIMP are a PITA to navigate. I did look up some google fonts, though, and am hopeful to find better stuff there. There is quite a bit that I need to learn.

This time I’m taking the time to practice everything I learn. It’s taking a bit of time but is helping me developing the actual skills I need. Since I just realized again that knowing something and being able to do it are two separate things. Being able to spot bad design does help in producing good design but it definitely isn’t enough. That’s like thinking that a music critic must be a great musician.

So I’ll continue making bad book covers until I start getting it right. I was also thinking only about book covers for the novels I was writing but realized (I’m all about
epiphanies right now, sorry) that I need to practice first and that means making covers for books that don’t exist. I mean, if I end up doing a cover that’s really great I might write the novel to go with it.

Here’s my awful cover by the way:


The font is awful, I want some gradient color thing on the picture, maybe and I’m not at all happy with the text. That will be my task for tomorrow.

Of course I didn’t write at all, yet again. I hope I’ll be getting back to that soon.

I also spent the afternoon helping my husband and son diagnose problems. It’s really interesting. My husband comes to me, telling me about his problems with the amp he is trying to repair. Basically, it’s a worst case scenario. And he has no idea what went wrong but the whole thing is dead. So I’m asking questions. „If that is the case, does that mean the error must be in this part?“ „What does that mean?“ „What about checking this thing?“ „Or that?”

I do that until he has an idea and wanders off.

Then the boy had been downloading new games. It’s rather sweet. He has been wanting to play certain games for ages but hasn’t bought them because he needed to be 16 to play them. We told him repeatedly that it’s okay to get them now, three weeks before his birthday. So, finally, the day before he decided to buy them because they were on sale.

Downloading those games on the crappy wifi connection that he has upstairs takes ages. And then, finally, he was able to play „Skyrim“ for the first time ever. Only. It wasn’t working.

So he came to me saying he had a big problem. The game wouldn’t work. And he had problems with other games as well. So I started asking questions. „What did you do?“ „What has changed?“ „That sounds like it might be a problem with permissions, have you changed those in any way?”

Until he had an idea, and went upstairs to try it.

It took all afternoon but just before dinnertime he found out what the problem was. Basically, Windows Defender thought that every app he has on his computer is suspect and shouldn’t be allowed to generate files. Hm.

Then we watched some ‚Star Trek‘. Then I didn’t write again. And then I went to bed. (And yes, no going out to see a musical.)

Today there will be more cook cover design, methinks, and hopefully some writing, I really need to get back into the habit.

I didn’t even put yoga on the list.

And yes, this post is 1,363 words, sorry. I know that that’s almost the NaNoWriMo quota. But writing blog posts is easy.

Nov 232018

I didn’t sleep well and woke up stupid early like 5 or so. Tried writing and failed. Felt really awful because of no writing.

Got up to a kitchen piled high with dirty dishes because I hadn’t washed any the day before. Since I had promised my husband to do them before going to sleep – and yes, I broke that promise – I washed them right after my breakfast, when the boy was getting ready for school. I immediately felt better because instead of whining about not writing I had done something tangible.

My husband showed up a little late while I was busy preparing the podcast. He wasn’t feeling well, now he is getting that cold I had before. We talked quite a bit. I did more dishes and packed a birthday present. Then I went to the post office to mail it and ran some errands. I’m rather proud that I managed to not buy chocolate bars for myself both at the big grocery store and at the health food store two days in a row.

I’m trying to get back to eating less sugar and no snacks. I’m still eating dark chocolate after lunch every day but would like to skip dinner again most days and not eat all the cheese late at night. Just so I don’t end up fat again.

My husband was late for making lunch because he had a friend over and they had a rather emotional conversation. Friends are more important than lunch on time, and also the boy didn’t have to return to school and none of us started teaching before four so that was okay. Lunch was very good:

IMG 1985

Then I took a long-is break and then I recorded the podcast. Right in the middle I couldn’t hear myself anymore all of a sudden. Turned out that  the amp my husband had tried to repair blew the main fuse for the annex. Oops.

A few minutes later I could return to recording. Another slightly incident in a slightly weird day.

All morning I had been thinking about NaNoWriMo. I could still win if I managed to write 4,000 words per day every day until the end of the month. But that would be somewhat brutal. And I had failed to make me write two days in a row again. And it was starting to affect my sleep. And I felt that I didn’t have the time, energy and headspace for other things in my life like the new book cover design course and the revamp of the music teaching website.

Sitting around paralyzed because I feel under pressure doesn’t help anyone. It’s interesting, though, that my reaction to pressure and stress is usually to be paralyzed. I just opt out.

So I decided to give up on NaNo this time. That is a pretty big decision for me, so far I have won every time that I did it. But. First of all what I really need is a process that allows me to write a steady stream of books that are as good as I can make them. I thought NaNo would help but with me being sick and then not getting back into the groove it didn’t. I was hoping for that ‘mad dash to the end‘-energy that I love but as I said – I couldn’t make myself do it.

So I’m stepping back. I’m telling myself that it’s okay to not write for a few days. And to not finish the book until the end of the month. That I’m allowed to read and to watch Star Trek and to do a design class instead.

And I felt better in an instant. It’s not often that I’m actually stressed but this time NaNo was stressing me out. I think even more so than last year which was rather insane as well. I don’t need insane in my life, especially not of my own making. I’ll just get back to writing soon and go at a sustainable pace, whatever that will be.

I taught all my students including the boy, I skipped dinner, I watched a bit more of my new course and I went to bed early. Luxury!

Today there will be cleaning and frozen pizza and quite a bit of work on getting the podcast ready for publishing. Since I recorded in two parts I will have to splice them together which is a bit tricky for the video.

I will teach lots of students and then I will watch some Star Trek with the boy. And look forward to a very low-key weekend. Maybe with some pressure-free writing.

Nov 222018

Woke up a few minutes before the alarm. I’m taking that as a sign that I slept enough. Also, my Fitbit tells me I slept an hour longer than usual. I fell asleep last night, sitting in bed before I had brushed my teeth. I got up again an hour later to get ready for bed. I don’t recommend this.

No writing in the morning. I really didn’t want to right away, and my husband had announced that he’d get up earlier than usual. And then he didn’t because now he has the cold that felled me last week. Poor thing.

The boy didn’t have to go to school but didn’t sleep in too bad. And when I asked him he agreed to help me with the mastic grocery run.

It was really cold outside so I was rather happy about the hat I made that fits under my bike helmet.

We went and bought all the groceries. Still forgot some things but the list was long. And it was nice to have the boy with me. I’m really not used to do this with anybody else, though.

Then I helped to make lunch, Indian this time, rice and dal and chicken with spinach. Yummy:

IMG 1981

Sorry for the blurry photo.

Then I dealt with a lot of laundry and took a shower and it was time to teach. First student didn’t show, probably due to the holiday, second was on time, third a little late.

I had planned to write between students but as usual I couldn’t. Switching between teaching and creative writing is hard and I can only do it sometimes.

Then I ate dinner with the boy, he took a shower which meant no washing of dishes and then it was almost time for the monthly webinar with Orna Ross.

After that I still had to deal with the dishes.

Today there will be the recording of the podcast, quite a bit of teaching and as much writing as I can cram in. But the that was what I had planned to do yesterday as well. Meh.