May 262017
  • I am so tired at the moment that the only thing I’m longing for is sleep. All I can think about is how marvelous it would feel to just lay my head on the table and close my eyes.
  • Of course I promptly forget all about that every evening when it’s time to go to bed, and I then start battling tiredness with food.
  • Which is not unrelated to the fact that I’m about two to three kilos heavier than I want to be which at times makes me feel totally fat. And the next minute I see myself in the mirror and marvel at the slimness of my hips. These days when I tell someone how much weight I lost they tend not to believe me.
  • I slacked off in a rather grandiose way the last week which means I will have to do everything today. Until 2.30 or so. I am postponing the taxes, though, will have to do those over the weekend. Strangely enough I don’t enjoy doing taxes.
  • I am also full of ennui to the brim. None of the hundreds of unread books (or the dozen of books I have already started reading) appeals to me, everywhere I look there is so much stuff to do that I just lay back and flip through yet another book or website. And then I think how unappealing all of this is. Even the chocolate I’m eating by the handful is unappealing.
  • One of the most unappealing things at the moment is the novel I’m writing. I am about four hours away of finishing the rough draft, and of course that’s the point where I decide the whole thing is just too bad, too boring, and not worth it.
  • It’s a good thing that I know by now that that is just a normal part of the process for me. I’ll go through phases where I think it’s a) not too bad, b) the best thing ever, c) completely horrible in various stages. None of this means anything.
  • Of course that doesn’t make the writing any easier.
  • Of course sitting here waiting for me to be in a better mood won’t be changing anything, the only thing that will change my mood is kicking myself in the butt and do something.
  • This will be a fun weekend, I’m sure.

So, how are you doing?

Apr 122017
  • It is the first week of Easter break, and I’m so out of sorts that I typed „Thursday“ in the headline at first. As you know I’m always a little thrown by things like weekends and breaks, and this week my husband is also away with a friend for a few days in Italy. Of course I thought I’d have huge amounts of time on my hand in which I could do all.the.things. Finish sewing the muslin for the performance dress, make, read all the books, write like the wind.
  • Instead I spent Monday morning waiting for my husband to leave, then got frozen pizza at the last minute, made that, had lunch, taught a student, went to a doctor’s appointment with out son (we biked there and I managed to get lost twice), then teach another student, and that was that. Then go to bed way too late.
  • Tuesday the sloth descended on me, and I basically did nothing the whole day but sit, read and crochet. Until my back and arms hurt. I skipped my Tuesday run, did not practice, did not shower, and was extremely cranky by the end of the day.
  • Since past experience has taught me that me sitting and reading and knittein (or crocheting, whatever) and doing nothing else is a fast track to depression I decided to do everything right today.
  • I got up, did my morning routine, wrote, had breakfast, wrote some more, then waited for our son to get up (bad move when you have a teenager), was late for the run that I had decided to do today instead of yesterday, tried calling my mother, and just when I was about to get out the door to run errands she called me back, we talked for 45 minutes, I was way too late for erranding, went to the health food store and the pharmacy, went back, made baked beans and eggs for lunch, decided to read a bit before doing the dishes, and really buckling down, and the next thing I knew it was three hours later.
  • While I am halfway through the book I started yesterday somehow that doesn’t really give me that fulfillment and rosy glow that I hoped for.
  • I plain forgot to blog last week, by the way, which just goes to show how out of wack I am.
  • I promised my husband to buy gasoline for the lawn mower back in the fall, and he put the empty canister next to my bike. I then promptly forgot until he reminded me a few weeks ago. Also twice since, and last week. I might want to go and get gasoline but it’s always really weird to bike to the gas station, get the canister out of your paniers, fill it with a few liters, carry the canister inside to pay because I can’t just leave it standing around, and if I put it in the paniers the bike will topple over, and the bike back home.
  • I also forgot that I need to go to the cobbler to get my shoes back twice. Even though I put it on a list. Lists only help if you look at them regularly.
  • And now that my husband isn’t here not only do I have to cook every day (I have almost forgotten how to do that, by the way) I also have to water the millions of plants everywhere that are supposed to be planted in the garden in a few weeks. His whole studio is full of pots with seeds and tiny plants in them. Also I can never remember which of the vegetable beds outside is the one without seeds in it. I just water them all.

I’m really not cut out to deal with change in any way, I know. I’m hoping to get better some day but right now the only way I see is to just get the shoes and the gas right now (before the cobbler closes), then do the dishes, do strength training, go to bed on time, and hope for the best for tomorrow.

So, how’s your day going? Sloth? Not-Sloth?

Mar 172015
  • After the big guests/performance/music-upheaval at the end of February I though things would be back to normal by now.
  • They are but it seems that normal contains more things to do and to think about than I like.
  • When I talk to people and try to explain why there is so much stuff I never can remember what exactly is so much. That’s because it’ s a long string of small things, not one or two big things.
  • My husband, by the way, is already working on the next big project. He is planning something for February 2017, and is up to his neck in planning, and playing songs, and deciding on equipment. No, I don’t quite understand it as well.
  • I, on the other hand, am furiously working on finally completing my first novel. Revision is a bitch but I can see the light on the end of the tunnel. I had hoped to have it finished in two weeks but by now that looks rather unlikely.
  • I am also working on getting all the things I want to do crammed in every day. Exercise, housework, knitting, spinning, blogging, learning French, playing computer games, reading, spending time with my family, it doesn’t always work out.
  • As usual for every day that I get it right there are two or three where I drop the ball. I haven’t managed to clean the house in weeks despite doing some cleaning every Friday. Then I decided to do a little each day, did that twice, and that was that.
  • Today I go and get myself a new pair of glasses. Since I now need progressives, and since I am really nearsighted they will cost a fortune. In fact I have been saving money for about a year now just for these. It is a little disheartening.
  • But then I am really looking forward to being able to read again. Playing piano from sheet music has become rather unpleasant what with me looking at ever more fuzzy notes.
  • I did not forget about wanting to post here once a week, really, only somehow I didn’t manage during the last few weeks.
  • And finally I actually enrolled in a free class about blogging a few weeks ago. Guess what, I already knew all of what I was taught there. Seems that if you do a thing for nine years you end up knowing something about it after all.
  • On a brighter note it looks as if it will be spring here soon. That doesn’t mean there won’t be freezing nights anymore, or snow (there is a reason why planting time here starts in May) but today one can go outside without winter coat, without a hat and mittens. I like it.


Nov 022014
  1. Tidy and clean the top of the fridge.
  2. Read all the books that sit on the kitchen bench. And in my studio. And on my ebook reader. And on my desk. And on the shelf above the kitchen bench. And on the dresser in the bedroom.
  3. Finish sewing the two skirts that I started years ago.
  4. Sew the bag for my DSLR. (Because I need to finish the skirts first. And the two t-shirts for which I bought fabric ages ago.)
  5. Clean under the porch.
  6. Work on the revision of my novel-in-progress. I was pretty sure it would be finished by March. Last March that is.
  7. Put the things on top of the shoe cupboard in the attic.
  8. Clean the bathroom.
  9. Take pictures of my finished knits and put them up on ravelry.
  10. Give myself a pedicure.
  11. Make my son pick up his room.
  12. Put a new zipper in my husband’s favorite fleece jacket. (It’s only been three years or so, he’ll hardly notice.)
  13. Record the next podcast.
  14. Sort through the piles of paper in the house.
  15. Finish spinning the yarn for the sweater I’m currently knitting.
  16. Make my son study Latin.
  17. Finish knitting the projects that have been sitting next to the kitchen bench for months now.
  18. Sort through my clothes and only keep the ones that fit that have no holes.
  19. Buy myself new hiking boots because my old ones (and also the pair I bought last year) make me feel like someone smashed my toes with a hammer. I will probably wear those again all winter instead of winter boots because I’m too lazy to get new ones. Also my record finding hiking boots that fit is not good. (Note to self: next time don’t buy ones that are intended for men even if they are on sale.)
  20. Do anything productive today.

So. Do you have any plans for this nice Sunday? do you do weekend to-do-lists? Life to-do-lists? I actually love the lists and like making them but then I usually ignore them completely.

Oct 222013

As most of you know I usually have quite a few projects going on at the same time, and so I’m in dire need of something to help me manage them. I do use two different apps, and my calendar and everything but still I could never quite see the big picture.

Then I had an idea. Back to the roots! Something that helps me spread out all the projects, see them all at once but that’s still portable and small. I didn’t want to establish a huge whiteboard or cork board and have all my students and every visitor to the house see what I’m currently working on. And I spend a lot of time working in the kitchen, or my bed, or other places so small, easy, and portable was what I needed.

This is what I came up with:

todo index


Index cards. I know this is not a new idea but it works surprisingly well. Each project (and a project is everything that takes more than one or two steps, is not routine, and takes longer than a few minutes) gets its own card. “Leftover Sockyarn Blanket” has a card, but so has “write my own songs”, or “plan next year’s vacation”, or “get a functioning bathtub”. As soon as I have an idea for a project that I really, really want to do one day, or that I’ve already started – my life isn’t all that orderly sometimes – I write it down on a card. Along with the date, and the very first step I can do to start it. Often I also add the second step. I like it when I can see that there’s this one small thing I can do first, and after that I can do this other small thing.

Nothing more. I do note if the project is in planning, in progress, or finished, though.

On the picture above you can make out an envelope in the top left corner that says “Do”. I ended up sorting the cards into four piles: “Do”, “Wait”, “Find”, and “Finished”.

The “Finished” category doesn’t really need an explanation, I think. That’s the one I pull out when I’m a bit down, and feel as if I never accomplish anything. The “Do” category is what I’m mainly working with. Those are the things I’m actively making progress on, however small, the knitting projects sitting in the kitchen that I pull out and knit on for example. The “Wait” category is for things that are on hold at the moment. For various reasons. Like the “leaner to draw”-project, that’s on hold because I have too many other things going on so that’s not happening at the moment. Or the denim skirt I want to sew is in the waiting pile because I want to finish the orange skirt first so I have a pattern to work from.

The”Find” category is a bit embarrassing, I have to say. I found that I have quite a few projects on hold because I can’t find the things to finish them. The reason for that is the massive pile of stuff sitting on my dresser. It accumulated when I was depressed, and so far I’ve only managed to sort it, and put it in plastic bags so that it is easier to dust. Well, I did put all the leftover yarn away recently so there might still be hope.

But in those piles, and in some drawers, and I don’t know where else, there are things like the buttons I bought for the mittens I made. I need to find both in order to finish them. Or the zipper that I know I bought for the cardigan I’ve been wearing for almost two years now but I don’t quite know where it is. (The cardigan is in my closet. At least I know to find that one.)

One of these days I’ll have a house again where I know exactly where everything is. In the “Find” envelope are also things like me wanting to learn how to play Bossa Nova strums on my ukulele. Because I need to ask my husband to give me his João Gilberto CDs. Which I can’t find on my own because he has way more CDs than me, and unlike mine his aren’t organized alphabetically.


Just about every Monday or so I sit down with my index cards of projects and look through them. Which next step is finished? What do I do next? Which isn’t? Why? Can I do something to make this easier or faster? Is there something else I want to learn or make? How can I do that?

I sort cards from one envelope to the other, something that seemed urgent and exciting might wander back into the “Wait”-pile, something else gets pulled out from that and ends up in the pile of things I’m actively working on.

All of these projects are things that don’t really have a deadline, and most of them are things I’m working on because I like to, not because I must. But still, even if I make things for pleasure the making needs to have a bit of structure so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. Charting progress helps me when I feel like I’m working, and working on something, and nothing moves. Like that two pounds of fiber I spun that will eventually become a cardigan. For months and months I spun away on that, five minutes here, ten there, and I fly as if the big bump of orange always remained the same. Then I divided the two pounds into small chunks. Chunks that could be spun in two hours. And I noted my progress each day. Now it’s all spun up.

Do you have an organizing system for projects? Do you need one? Is it digital, or is it a list in a notebook?

I’m curious to know.

Mar 262012
  • I know that it’s most often Monday when I get in the mood to do a random post. I think that’s because every week on Monday I try to re-start my life. Get back on track with the things I want to accomplish, make time for the things that matter. I still have a hard time with weekends but I seem to be getting better at them.
  • I’m thinking about weaving a lot at the moment. That doesn’t mean that I’m weaving a lot, just that I’m thinking about it. I already own three weaving books so far, and I’m looking at the pretty pictures, and try to decide which loom I’d want to buy. Okay, to be honest, I know exactly which one I want to buy, now I only have to save the money for it. Until then I will make do with my homemade backstrap loom. Have I told you about this yet? Here’s a picture:


  • As you can see (and I think I actually posted this exact same picture before) one end is tied to our kitchen table, the other end is tied to me (hence the name backstrap). I made it myself out of a few dowels, and a broomstick from the grocery store. And a ruler. It works very well, and is not as limited as one would think. Also it can be rolled up and stored in a bag in my closet. Yesterday evening I warped it for a striped band.
  • I’m also looking at my new spinning wheel, which isn’t new at all, and slowly I’m learning about how to oil it, and put a new drive band on so that I can use it.
  • I’m still running and doing yoga, only I seem to do it a little less often, mostly once or maybe twice a week.
  • About two weeks ago I stopped using shampoo. I’m using baking soda and vinegar instead (not together, one after the other). My hair seems to like it. I’m still a bit on the fence about pouring cold water over my head.
  • I seem to be going out a lot more often than I used to. About once a week I find myself heading to Munich to meet people. This week it’s tomorrow morning, and then again next Sunday.
  • I’m still playing my ukulele every day. And I still love it.
  • On a related note, last Saturday my husband and I went to a friend’s birthday party, and we did play and sing a few songs. It was a lot of fun, and the people seemed to like it. When they wanted yet another encore we played “Corcovado”, a song that we haven’t played together for years, and years, and that we hadn’t played at all, apart from when we taught it to students which is not that often.
  • That song might have been the one where we didn’t make a single mistake.
  • I leave you with a picture I took on Saturday:


Mar 182012

Winterkatze did a meme-like thing a while back, and I thought it might be fun to play along. It’s an 8-things-to-1-topic-thing. And the topic is “book or audio book”. Now, I almost wrote audiobook or real book here, just so you know.

  1. I didn’t really know this about myself but I seem to not like being read to. I remember when I met my husband and I had these lovely visions of us reading passages of our favorite books to each other. Then he said he doesn’t like being read to. I was miffed. Then I found that I don’t like being read to as well.
  2. It seems that when I only hear something it immediately starts to slip my mind. Like a 3-year-old. Tell me to do this and that, and chances are I forget at least one of them.
  3. When I first found out about audiobooks I loved the idea. A friend of mine had just recorded her first novel as an audio book, and I put it on my iPod, and thought how brilliant it was to be able to knit and ‘read’ at the same time.
  4. Then I started listening. And found that my mind started wandering. All of a sudden I had missed a whole paragraph. And then another one. And then I tried listening really hard. And then it happened again. And again. It doesn’t have anything to do with that particular book, I tried several others as well but I could never follow, I had to wind back too often.
  5. While my attention often wanders, and I find that I’ve missed a passage in an audio book, at the same time they go way too slow. I kept listening, and thinking, “If this were a real, printed book I would have been two pages further by now.
  6. I also don’t like the fact that audio books are often abbreviated. I think it’s been getting better with MP3s, but I distinctly remember the very first audiobook I got. The very same Winterkatze gave me a copy of “The Fifth Elephant” by Terry Pratchett as a German audiobook. She said the narrator was really good, and that she loved the book. Now, I had read “The Fifth Elephant”, of course, because Pratchett is one of the authors I buy every single book from. In hardcover. As soon as it’s out. So I started listening to the audiobook – then still on CDs – while puttering around the room. Well. I didn’t like the fact that it was in German. I didn’t like the narrator. He was doing funny voices. I don’t like funny voices when being read to. I didn’t like the translated names. But all of that is not really the fault of the audiobook. Or Winterkatze, nope, not at all. And then there came this passage. And I realized that something that I had liked tremendously in the book had been cut out. That was when I stopped listening to that particular audiobook.
  7. I didn’t give up on audiobooks right then. Nope. I got myself a trial Audible-membership, and downloaded two more I think. I got something by the Dalai Lama on happiness which I’m slowly winding my way through, over the years. I also got “Getting Unstuck” by Pema Chodron, and two of the Yarn Harlot’s books, “At Knit’s End”, and “Stephanie Pearl McPhee casts off”. Plus a German book from the library. The happiness one and the German one were quite hard to listen to. The German one was abbreviated again, so it didn’t take quite as long. I still haven’t finished the happiness book even though I’ve had it for years and years.
  8. The audiobooks I like best are the ones that are either lectures, like the “Getting Unstuck” one, or shorter, humorous essays like the Yarn Harlot ones. So the nearer an audiobook is to actual speech the better I can understand it. I have no problems at all listening to podcasts, by the way, only audiobooks. Also radio plays work better for me as well.
  9. Trying to get used to audiobooks made me also realize that I often hop back and forth on the page when reading a ‘normal’ book. When I’m reading something I don’t find as interesting, I skip ahead, look how long it will be, and then go back to reading again. Also I’m a really fast reader. At my normal reading speed I just zoom along. Whoosh, and the book is done. Not so much with the audiobooks.

So, what about you? Book or audiobook, or both? I’m curious.

Oct 292011

I didn’t really mean to not write any blog posts for more than a month, but there you go.

  • Life is quite good, I have more students than I had in a long time, I’m busy playing the ukulele, teaching my knitting, and spinning classes, and have stepped up to do a bit more of the chores around the house.
  • Today I’m packing for a trip to Frankfurt to visit Winterkatze and Katho for a couple of days. I’m going sans family and am looking forward to it very much. I’m also looking forward to coming back home afterwards.
  • At the end of next week I’ll be meeting yet another friend I haven’t seen for some time.
  • The weather is sunny, and quite cold, and I love it.
  • This week I actually managed to go for a run with my husband. When I run on my own I always run in the hallway, and yes, I know that’s a bit weird. But last week, since I didn’t have to go on my own, we went out and ran though the woods, and had a great time. Also I’m just about as fit as my husband.
  • I’m still tired all the time because I’m still not going to bed early enough. On days when I could sleep in I wake at 7.30 regardless of when I went to bed. One of these day’s I’ll manage to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • The day before yesterday I started a somewhat crazy spinning project. I’m planning to spin for a hat on my spindle, and finish the yarn until next Wednesday.
  • I’m very pleased to say that in the last two days I have managed to spin half the yarn I’ll need. I will take the spinning with me on my trip, and hope I’ll make progress while traveling.
  • At the moment I’m not writing any fiction. Also I won’t be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I do plan to start writing again soon, though.
  • There’ll be another podcast tomorrow or so, and after that I’ll post the story I wrote for this month’s writers meeting.
  • Now I have to see if the clothes I want to pack are dry yet.

See you.

Feb 142011

In my quest for self-improvement I have started quite a few journals: morning pages journal, food journal, practice journal, exercise journal, gratitude journal, writing journal, control journal (for housework), tarot journal, weight journal well, I think that’s about it. Oh, and a notebook to capture my project ideas, and then I also have a general notebook, and a knitting notebook, and a small notebook to carry in my purse, and another one next to the computer. And a record of books I buy and read. And a notebook to jot down musical ideas.

I also have to-do-list software. Then I found myself, after running, checking “running” off in three places. And then I thought that my journaling had gone a bit too far.

I started to record all these things in order to measure improvement. I wanted to achieve certain goals and I started of actually measuring whether I achieved them or not. Otherwise one can think that one exercises at least three times a week only to find that, oops, a week has gone by, and then another. That’s all very valid. I also love my morning pages, so I sit down and write them almost daily. And then I don’t for a few days, and then I go back to them. No problem.

I do love putting my exercise time in my calendar, and with the toggle of a button I can see all the days that I exercised in one place, and then I feel all virtuous.

The food journal, that’s another thing. I have started writing down what I eat many times in my life. And I started again on January 1st. At first I was all good, but then I missed a day here and there, then a whole week, and now I find that I’m really not all that interested in keeping a food journal. I don’t count calories or anything. I just write down “1 piece of toast with almond spread, 1 glass of orange juice, 1 cup of black tea with 1 piece of sugar”. Of course food journaling can help when you want to know what’s going on but I don’t need to write down “ate a whole bag of potato chips because I was bored and angry” to see why I have gained weight. There are people who eat better when keeping a food journal, I’m not one of them. I have food journal entries laying around the house from years ago that go, “Was completely pissed and therefore ate a bag of chips, one bag of gummy bears, half a chocolate bar, and two beers. Feel lousy and bloated. Half an hour later: finished the chocolate.” (Just typing this makes me nauseous these days. I think I have come a long way.)

So I try to be good with the food journaling but what’s the point. It helps to show me that the treats I give myself are not exactly treats because they happen just about every day. These days I’m rather good with food, mostly, and so I will skip the food journal.

But you know, every time I write a paragraph here I remember yet another journal of mine, and add it to the first paragraph. It’s clear that the record-keeping has gone out of hand. I’m not quite as insane as that list of journals implies, though, because there are quite a few of these journals that I no longer keep. But right now I’m on the verge of giving up on record-keeping altogether. These journals were meant to be helpful for me, not something to occupy me all the time. I think I might get rid of one or two.

It’s not like I bought about twenty notebooks one day and thought, “From now on I’ll record everything!” I just bought a morning pages book in 1999, well the first of many. And I’ve had general notebooks even longer than that. I remember going into the one big store in the small town where I lived until 1986 to buy a notebook because my life had reached a level of complexity too high for keeping it all in my head. That was about the same time that I started using a calendar as well. Until then there was the family wall calendar for things like doctor’s appointments and that was it.

Let’s see – the morning pages stay because I like them. Having several general notebooks makes it a bit hard to find things later but still I like it. And I have a system. Sort of. So they stay as well. Also the knitting notebook, and the place were I record my reading. I started cataloguing my books when I had bought the same book twice one day. I hadn’t remembered that I already had it. The gratitude journal didn’t really work out for me. When I read back it only made me realize how unhappy I really was. the control journal for housework never really worked either. I do know that I have to clean the house at least once a week. I don’t really need a checklist because a look at the house itself will tell me what to do.

I’m quite attached to weighing myself daily. I even have an iPod app that gives me progress reports on how I’m doing with weight loss. I think I’ll keep that. Apart from that I think I might take some time off from journals. I have taken a bit of time off from trying to improve myself in all areas at once anyway.

So for now I’ll accept that I’m both journaled out and self-helped out. I take a break. And I won’t create a new task on my electronic to-do-list that’s called: take time off from journaling, repeat daily until further notice. I promise.

Jan 242011
  1. I have a kind of blogger’s block because I still think I should have started the year with a “How my year of happiness went”-post, and a “My big goal for 2011”-post. I will do those some time before 2011 ends, but it is starting to get ridiculous.
  2. I also promised to make an English podcast episode, and I will, as soon as I find some space in my head.
  3. We had a very nice weekend, and went to some family brunch thing where we met other gifted families, and it was a lot of fun. But, very pricey, and no housework got done for the weekend.
  4. Which is why my husband have spent the day so far, furiously cleaning all the things. Floors where mopped. With water. Laundry got washed. There is still one load in the washer which I will have to hang up in the next 25 minutes.
  5. I’m typing as fast as I can.
  6. I got a new spindle, and I love, love, love it. Still, to show it I would have to take a picture, and it’s started to snow again which means – no light outside.
  7. I am also a bit grumpy because so far I’ve had my period not once but twice this month. In fact since the beginning of the year I’ve only had a week off.
  8. I went to see a specialist on menopause, and she thought it might be early-onset menopause. Then she asked me if I were okay with that. And what about if I couldn’t have any more children.
  9. I would be totally okay with that if I could please reach some hormonal equilibrum in the near future. Interestingly I’m totally done with having babies, and I don’t think it would make me feel old, and undesirable.
  10. I am quite sure that I have asthma after all. In addition to being triggered by allergies it might be triggered by exercise as well. Fun times! I already have a doctor’s appointment for that the week after next.
  11. I haven’t managed to write much this month either, and that makes me grumpy as well.
  12. It’s snowing like crazy, and I should be shoveling right now on top of everything else.
  13. It was my husband’s birthday last week, and we had a fabulous day, having lunch at an Indian restaurant not far from us, and in the evening we went and had some beer, just him and me. We almost never do this because whenever we go to Munich we think we should be doing something really special, like seeing a concert. But this very low-key celebration was exactly the right thing to do.
  14. I’ll leave you with a bad picture of the spindle. One day, when the sun will come back I’ll take a better one: