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.

Sep 132010
 

I got tagged by Winterkatze for a book meme that has been going around for a while. There are rules, of course, and they go like this:

1. Nimm das nächste Buch in deiner Nähe mit mindestens 123 Seiten. Take the book that’s next to you that has at least 123 pages.
2. Schlage Seite 123 auf. Open page 123.
3. Suche den fünften Satz auf der Seite. Look for the fifth sentence on that page.
4. Poste die nächsten drei Sätze. Post the next three sentences.
5. Wirf das Stöckchen an fünf Blogger weiter. Tag five more bloggers.

I had a little problem at first picking the next book to me. I’m sitting at my computer desk, and for once it’s almost tidy with no books. I turned around and there was the “Who killed Amanda Palmer” sheet music book, not right. Next to it a book about dying with natural dyes, still no help, it’s only one recipe after the other. Then a book on Bauhaus. Opened page 123 to see a print, no sentence.

I walked over to my other desk, and looked at the big shelf with “books to read” in desperation but then I spied it! “The Red Tree” by Caitlín R. Kiernan. It lay on my desk because I had just received it in the mail.

So, page 123, fifth sentence, and now I’m posting the next three. Seems we have landed right in some dialogue:

“And it’s not that ghosts don’t exist, it’s just that most people are mistaken about what they are or aren’t.”

I think I blinked, and let the metal folding chair rock back on two legs. “Okay, now you’ve lost me,” I admitted, and she laughed again.

And now I’m all eager to read the book but first I have to finish two others. Sigh.

Anybody out there who hasn’t done this already? I’m tagging Lia, De, Frau Schlamuser, Deike (who has to answer this in the comments for she has no blog), and Beck who surely will have one or two books next to her.

Feb 212009
 

I lifted this from Frau Kaltmamsell’s blog. Because I like it. And I’m somehow too brain dead to write a real post right now.

What are your middle names?

My middle name is Ursula. My husband doesn’t have one.

How long have you been together?

It will be 15 years on May 1st.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?

Define dating, please. We first met on April 12th 1994 when he played a gig with a friend of mine. That friend had told me about this great musician he played with and I wanted to see them. A week later we met for a walk, and talked and walked until late in the evening. On April 31st he invited me to his apartment for pizza. Fresh pizza from scratch.

(I asked my husband to read this before publishing, and he said that he wanted it to be made clear that we didn’t need something as formal as a “first date” because everything with us was just flowing naturally together. Also going for walks, talking for hours on end, cooking and eating are completely typical and fitting activities for us.)

Who asked whom out?

As is often the case with my husband and me, it was hard to tell. We just agreed that we liked each other and that we wanted to go dancing one day. He gave me his card, and I said, “I won’t phone you, you have to phone me!” because I am too shy to phone people I don’t really know. He was taken aback but took a beer mat I had written my phone number on. As a revenge he waited two days before calling me. The beer mat still lives with our honored keepsakes.

How old are each of you?

I’m 41, my husband is 48.

Whose siblings do you see the most?

His because his brother lives nearby.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?

Everyday life with housework and parenting. We do better in almost every other situation.

Did you go to the same school?

No.

Are you from the same home town?

No. I moved here almost 23 years ago to go to university.

Who is smarter?

Huh? I can’t really say.

Who is the most sensitive?

Him. Which doesn’t mean that I’m not.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Since my husband has found out that he is lactose intolerant we have mostly been going to the nearby Asian restaurant. Before that it was the nearby Indian restaurant which, sadly, closed some time ago.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Brazil, where we spent two months in 1999.

Who has the craziest exes?

Huh? I can’t really say.

Who has the worst temper?

Me. It doesn’t take much to make me explode. Which isn’t to say that my husband doesn’t have a temper.

Who does the cooking?

Mostly him. Which isn’t to say that I can’t or won’t cook.

Who is the neat-freak?

Him more than me but I won’t call any of us a neat-freak.

Who is more stubborn?

Definitely both of us.

Who hogs the bed?

Since we have a nice big German bed with two mattresses and two duvets nobody has to hog anything.

Who wakes up earlier?

The alarm goes off for all of us at the same time.

Where was your first date?

Since I don’t really know what to count our “first date” I’d say either all over Munich, or at his home.

Who is more jealous?

Jealous?

How long did it take to get serious?

Um, after the pizza we went for a walk, and then I stayed for breakfast.

Who eats more?

Can’t say.

Who does the laundry?

Both of us. Mostly it’s him putting the laundry in the machine, both of us hanging it up, and me folding it.

Who’s better with the computer?

Me. I started working with computers in 1979, he started after we met.

Who drives when you are together?

Him. We both don’t like to drive but he is a more competent driver than me.

Jan 052009
 

I have seen this on quite a few blogs these past days, you take the first sentence of the first blog post of every month. The problem is that I tend to see my headline as the first sentence, so I try to make the headline exciting, and then follow it up with a very, very boring line. See for yourself:

January: As you probably have noticed I didn’t feel much like blogging these past, ahem, weeks.

Well, same old, same old. But I will get around to it someday.

February: It’s time for the just posts again.

Which means that I didn’t post anything for the first nine days of February, oops.

March: I think it was Terry Pratchett who said that if you read enough books you’ll eventually start writing because all the words filling up your brain will start seeping out.

That’s a good one, don’t you think?

April: Time for the Just Post Roundtables again!

See February.

May: The writer’s group I’m in has gone from writing really short pieces once a month to writing a story before each meeting.

This was an introduction to the first story I posted on my blog. The “Story of the Month”-category did not make a monthly appearance, though. I’m still trying, though. (I have to write another story until Thursday, stay tuned.)

June: First, thank you very much for your comments on my post about feeling fat.

Nice one, that.

July: I just spent fifteen minutes on my computer, changing the color scheme of my blog.

Changing my blog’s theme has been on my to-do-list for quite a long time because this one takes ages to load. Sorry about that.

August: Welcome again to the Just Posts.

See February, and April.

September: As I told you I ordered it the day that I sold my congas.

To understand this one you have to know that the headline was “I got my spinning wheel”. I’m still happy I traded the congas for it.

October: and I missed them both.

Again, this doesn’t make sense without the headline which read: “So, yesterday was Blog Action Day and Love Your Body Day”.

November: Again it’s the time of the month where we meet at our virtual round table and share what we found about social justice.

Just Posts again. That’s the fifth time in one year that I did the first post of the month on the tenth.

December: Sorry to let you hang for so long but just in the next 2 1/2 hours I should: take a shower, exercise, go grocery shopping, do taxes, write a real blog post, write a story for tonight’s writing group meeting, cook, and eat lunch.

This about sums up a) my life at the moment, and b) my enormous tendency to procrastinate and do things at the last minute. Needless to say that I didn’t accomplish all of this. I think I did taxes, took a shower, went grocery shopping, and ate lunch which my husband had cooked while almost keeling over because he was so unwell.

I really have high hopes for 2009. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get around to dusting the house once a week again. Or exercising. Or writing. I did quite well for the first few days this year, exercising, playing music, and doing housework but yesterday I hit a wall, and spent a lot of the day sitting around doing nothing. As I did today. when after a few hours of this I realized that, wham, it’s PMS-time again! Knocking me out for half the month. So I better get out of the house and get me some Vitamin B, and hope that will get me moving again.

Dec 032008
 

I have been so slow to do this meme that I have been tagged twice for it. First by Holly, and then by Katinka. Apparently there are rules. I’m all for rules, so here they are (I’m lifting them from Holly’s blog which is called “Cold Spaghetti”, an awesome blog title):

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So, I’ve followed rule 1 and 2 already. So far so good. (Ha! I’ve managed to use the word “so” three times in two sentences without making it extremely awkward!) I had a feeling that I already have done some “random things about me”-posts, and a quick search tells me there seems to be a “random things about me”-inflation going on because it was 8 random things about me in August 2007, and 7 random things about me in December 2007. Now it’s only six. And I always love reading what people are writing about themselves, randomly.

  1. Just today I did find out why I’m blogging less and have the feeling that I don’t accomplish anything. Today I spent two hours getting my son to go to bed (and stay there), and I also talked to my husband for three hours. Three hours! No wonder we both have the feeling that somehow we don’t have enough time. On the other hand the time we spend talking is well spent. We have been feeling closer, and happier. We have been taking the time to look at the things we have in common instead of looking at how different we are.
  2. For the last weeks I have spent much more time and energy thinking about the fact that I feel too fat than I feel comfortable admitting even to myself. This has not led to weight loss, I have gained another pound. I’m a bit sick of the whole thing (which I might have mentioned before). I’m hoping for my renewed enthusiasm for exercise. Maybe I can exercise while talking to my husband.
  3. I will be meeting a handful of local bloggers on Thursday. Immediately after leaving a comment saying that I will attend (after a lengthy conference with my mother-in-law detailing the logistics of her day and my son’s day, and everybody in the family), I started panicking and wondering what to wear. Which is really pathetic because in the end I’ll wear the same thing I always wear. Only I do have a new turtleneck. (Which is funny because in my random things post from last December I lamented the lack of a “very classy and elegant turtleneck sweater” made of thick wool. Guess what I finished two days ago? A classy, elegant, thick, woolen turtleneck in red.
  4. Leaving a comment on Frau Kaltmamsell’s blog regarding the meeting led to an immediate spike in blog traffic on my own blog. While that’s nice it’s always a bit weird when people coming from a very witty German blog reach my blog only to be greeted by a post called “Hail the gauge swatch!”. My guess is that most of them won’t come back, and that even people who might have been both interested in the content, and willing to read something in English, nevertheless will have felt the strong need for a personal translator. (When I told my husband about that particular post, the only word he could understand without an explanation at first sight was “the”.)
  5. While I love knitting, and haven’t been doing much else these past, ahem, months or so, I have the feeling that I’m using it to retreat into my very own fiber cocoon. And while sitting quiet, and doing something meditative with my hands that helps keeping me and my family warm is really appropriate for the season, it might be time to do other things as well.
  6. It’s only December 2nd but already I feel as if my head is spinning. I have to make three batches of muffins, and at least one batch of cookies for the kindergarten Christmas party, my son’s birthday party in kindergarten, and his birthday party at home. I have to buy a scooter, a satchel, and several other assorted birthday, and Christmas gifts for my son. (My son not so conveniently chose to be born exactly one week before Christmas, just like most of my husband’s family whose birthdays fall between December 13th and January 20th.) I don’t have anything for my parents yet, and just today I realized that the universe doesn’t end with my son’s presents, there are other people to consider as well. Also this year I will have to attend then kindergarten Christmas party alone because my husband found that re-scheduling those particular four students that he teaches on Wednesday afternoons was impossible. I, on the other hand, managed to find a way to move four students elsewhere and will be rushing from teaching to Christmas party in festive attire (cross your fingers for me that I can wear the new sweater with the red skirt, otherwise I will have to wear jeans), with guitar, sheet music, two dozen muffins, and a music stand in tow.

Now I’ll have to tag six people. Um. It’s not that I don’t know six bloggers, it isn’t even that I’m not interested in reading six random things about them, but please, it’s almost midnight, and I’ll have to get up at seven. How about everyone who wants to do a six things about me post just does it and says so in the comments? Please? And anybody who doesn’t have a blog like “luzilla” can leave six random things in the comments. That would be cool.

Jul 142008
 

1. Susanne (3), 2. Homemade Chips, 3. The Gossip, 4. I want to be where the Sun warms the sky, 5. 05_09_08_10, 6. ビール フレンスブルク Flensburger Pilsner (Bjór – Beer – Bière – Bier – 麦酒), 7. Tree of Light, 8. My wifes todays artwork: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateau), 9. Into the Mystic, 10. I ♥ stripes, 11. um nome num papel, 12. DAY 119 – Out in the cold

I lifted this meme from flutter’s blog but I have seen it elsewhere before. She explains how it’s done.

I promise a real post and a story in the next days.

Feb 242008
 

It feels pretty weird to get an art award at a time when I feel like I’m not doing any art at all, but then, who am I to judge. Joanna gave this to me, thank you very much. And isn’t it pretty?

art award

I had a hard time finding the origin of the award since the url got scrambled somewhere but here it is, arte e pico (And that’s a link to the actual post where she (I think it’s a she) explains the award and the rules for it. Unfortunately I don’t speak Spanish (I know, it’s shocking. I understand a bit of it after having learned Latin, French, a bit of Italian, and Portuguese, but only a bit. (It’s really interesting how much you can study languages without every becoming fluent.))

I’m very happy about this award since it’s especially about art and creativity, two things that are very close to my heart. On the other hand I don’t feel very creative or artsy at the moment. I don’t really count my obsessive knitting since it’s all about following a pattern. That’s crafting, not creativity. And while I could go a step further and design my own sweaters or socks or whatever (and I have done so in the past, before the internet and ravelry, back in the days when there was a shortage of nice patterns, and we still had to make up our own) but then it doesn’t feed my heart the same way music does. Unfortunately.

But maybe I better get on with this award thing, and save the “creativity and music and my problems with it”-discussion for another day. Preferable one where I can show you a new song or something like that. (Did I mention that my voice is gone again? No? Well, that’s a serious problem in making music. If you are a singer, that is.)

So, here are the rules (And as a former academic I haven’t altered the quote. Since I am not an academic anymore I also have refrained from writing (sic!) after every typo.):

Reglas en ingles:
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you copnsider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contrubuites to the blogger community, no matter of language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the ward itself.

4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y pico”blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) To show these rules.

Award winners are:…

Well, I consider every blog on my blogroll to be extremely interesting. Otherwise I wouldn’t be reading it, trust me. Most of these bloggers are also very active in the blogging community. That’s why there still are the just posts. (Just because I always forget to remind you, could you just send any links to blog posts about social justice things to me as you see them? And, please, do it before March 7th? Thank you.)) So, this is about creativity, design, interesting material, and contribution to the blogger community.

All of the blogs that I’m reading are creative, interesting, and almost all of them contribute to the community. That leaves the design aspect. While there are many bloggers that I dearly love there are some who are more about art and design and creativity than others. So I’d like to give this award to:

  1. Lia. You should really check out her blog. She has these stunning collages and writes beautiful stories. Also I find her perspective intriguing since she is a Canadian living in Germany.
  2. Hel. She takes the most beautiful and dreamlike pictures. Her posts are mystical and poetic. They lift my heart and soul up even when she is writing about things not very uplifting. I think she should make more of her photography, by the way.
  3. crazymumma. You know, she isn’t crazy at all. She is a real artist. I really hope that she will be getting back into making visual art and pottery and sculpture and the like. Also her photos are marvelous.
  4. De. Again. You might think that I just pass every award on to her that comes my way but really, she is a writer at heart. Her words often take my breath away. I will never forget the first posts of her that I read. When I went back to check her archive and found that I already had read everything there was. She often plunges right into the deep end of the pool, riding the waves of emotion with her writing. And you probably all know her comments which are always special.
  5. My husband. I know that this seems incestuous but he makes the most beautiful music, he combines it with stunning pictures, and if anybody deserves an art award, it’s him. He’s not that much into the blogger community though. So I want to give him this award and relieve him of the burden to have to pass it on.

And that goes for all of you award “winners”. Take it as a compliment and if it feels too much like a burden, well, then let it go.

Dec 162007
 

Sorry, I’m not in a good blogging place these days. That Isn’t because I don’t have anything to blog about, or because I tried to escape so much, but because there is all this pesky life coming between my blogging and me. My son will be turning five tomorrow, which means cake and presents for breakfast, then bringing wiener and pretzels to kindergarten. Also the kindergarten Christmas party is on the same day, in the afternoon. Which means bringing spring rolls, guitars, and husband to kindergarten in the afternoon. Only to dash back early so my husband can teach yet more students. And then, on Tuesday, I have the – shudder – birthday party for my son’s friends. A pirate-themed birthday party. Merely shopping, and wrapping, and decorating for Christmas pales next to this.

So, I have wanted to write about a lot of things, and I have wanted not to leave you with that last post for so long, well, it hasn’t happened.

A few days ago Joanna tagged me with a “seven things about me” meme. There are the following rules:

The Rules
Link to your tagger, and also post these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself (random or weird) on your blog.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

Well, usually I do follow rules but don’t you find it awkward to see someone tagging you in your comments? Say, you’re writing a post about something not that happy and shiny and somebody has to leave a comment like, “How sad, and by the way, you’re tagged.” Um. But first, 7 random things:

  1. I have been so afraid of turning people away by turning this into a knitting blog that I haven’t written about anything I have finished since September or so. Though I have taken pictures. By that I probably have turned people away who have found my blog through ravelry. (Ravelry is a site where people who knit or crochet hang out and share their patterns, knitting progress and such.)
  2. I just signed up for my first knit-a-long. Like about a thousand other people in the world I will be knitting a lace stole from January to March. Each week we will be receiving the next part of the pattern. So we don’t know how it will look like in the end. I already decided to make this as a present for somebody.
  3. I have made three attempts at doing the “my man”-meme I lifted of flutter’s blog. But I just can’t seem to get myself to do it. The whole thing consists of about a hundred questions like “Who’s the smarter one?” “Who is singing better?” I didn’t know that marriage was supposed to be about one being better than the other. The “Who is smarter?”-question has had me thinking for weeks now.
  4. I just realized that the thing I really need for the holidays is a very classy and elegant turtleneck sweater. Maybe with a matching cardigan. Made out of wool. Thick wool would be even better. Because I do have festive clothes, only it’s too cold for all of them.
  5. I’m always cold. Right now as I’m typing this I am wearing: long johns, jeans, two pairs of socks (one woolen and one not), felt slippers, an undershirt, a tee, a merino turtleneck and a fleece jacket. Sometimes I take off clothes when I have to leave the house. Because outside I’m not sitting around all the time. I even own fingerless woolen gloves for teaching. Indoors teaching. (And it shows 20 degrees Celsius in here.)
  6. When I went to the hairdresser last week (of course I went after the celebratory NaNoWriMo-dinner, my timing is good like that) I realized that it had been almost half a year since the last time. Suddenly I knew why somehow my hair hadn’t been to my liking lately. The problem hadn’t been to make the time to go to the appointment, the problem had been to make the phone call…
  7. This year I skipped the Advent decorations almost completely. I bought an Advent wreath which sits on our kitchen table and that’s it. Since I have more younger students again I have been playing Christmas songs since the beginning of November. Daily. Like “Jingle Bells”. (“F sharp. – No, F sharp. – That’s G sharp. Play F sharp. – No, F sharp! And now C sharp in your left hand.” Somehow I just don’t feel like singing them under the Christmas tree anymore.

So, a really interesting bunch of facts, isn’t it? Or not. You know I still have a cake to bake that I will carve into something resembling a pirate ship, and practice “smoke on the water” and “silent night” on the guitar.

In my head there is a really beautiful birthday letter to my son, and an answer to Julie’s comment on my last post. And I went to a real rock concert last week. I saw the “Pretty Things”.

So all that is left now is to tag 7 people. Argh. That is a lot of bloggers. Who might be a bit busy these days too. Well, I’ll do it anyways and anyone who wants to do it on top of them, go ahead.

I’m tagging De, Liv, Capacious, Lia, crazymumma, Jen, and Denguy.

Oct 272007
 

Finally, here are the interview questions that Flutter sent me. Despite my initial urge I decided not to write a 1,000 word answer to each one. Though I could have. So, thank you Flutter for these questions.

1) Music is an obviously important element of your life, talk about how it infuses itself in your daily life.

Well, first thing I teach piano, guitar and singing five days a week. That’s a big part of my life. And while I whine all the time about not practicing that doesn’t mean that I don’t make music. I’d like to come back to playing every day for me without putting pressure on myself…

This question and the next pretty much sum up the main themes in my life right now (apart from knitting). How much space is there in my life for music, how central do I want it to become, and how can I focus more on the joy of it.

2)You recently posted about enjoying the process of creation, in your mind’s eye, what would enjoying the process mean to you? How would it differ than your current process?

I always think that enjoying the process means enjoying every single second of it. Spending every moment of creation in flow. Of course that is a little unrealistic. After I wrote about not enjoying the process I found that really I hadn’t been enjoying much at all because I hadn’t been taking care of my most basic needs.
But then I still dream of a time when I’ll look forward to piano playing without having the feeling that I’d rather do something else instead. When I play I feel very good afterwards and sometimes while doing it.
It also feels a little pointless to make music just for myself. On the other hand playing in bands didn’t work for me at all, and I’m not eager to sing on stage again any time soon.

3) You seem very concerned with the environment. What is the single most important thing to consider when attempting to lessen one’s carbon footprint?

Um, not using planes I’d say. I read an article that a family of four uses more fuel by going on vacation to Spain once a year than by heating their house for the whole year. That doesn’t mean that I’ never ever use planes, I just think carefully about it and I’d never “hop on a plane” to go somewhere else in Germany. (The last time I flew was in 1999. We went to Brazil for two months.)
Otherwise it’s all baby steps around here. Sharing a car with my mother-in-law, using said car only about every other week, using our wood stove, recycling everything (which is very easy around here and you’re practically forced to do it), …

4) If you had 20 words to describe your essence, what would they be?

Um. I don’t know. Every time I attach any kind of label to myself it falls off immediately. I couldn’t even say if I were patient or not. I’m a woman of opposites. Strong forces pulling me in all directions at once. Stubborn for sure. I am both extravert and introvert. Talkative, definitely, though I learned to keep my mouth shut when I’m not interested in a conversation. Both lazy and industrious. I’m becoming nicer and kinder because I practice acting nicer and kinder not because I have changed in a fundamental way. Honest and naive in one way and manipulative in another.
I spent the first twenty years of my life with very firm convictions about who and how I am only to find out that they weren’t true. And then right now I am in the process of reinventing myself and thinking about how I want to spend the second half of my life and what kind of person I want to become and what kind of change is still possible.

5) You have a piece of canvas, some yarn, some paint, some glue, brushes, and an hour, what becomes of it?

Nothing much. I’m hopeless with paint and such. Yarn and needles? Fine. (I have been racking my brain about what I could finish knitting in an hour. Maybe a little doll’s hat.)

So, if anybody is interested in getting interviewed by me, just leave a comment.

Oct 142007
 

There is this interview-thing going around. I asked Liv and Flutter to send me questions and they both did. Very good questions. And it took me a long time to answer these, sorry. (And I’ll answer Flutter questions soon. I promise.) So, now you get the answers to Liv’s questions:

1) You knit, sew, sing, cook–and all extremely well. Where do you find the time to engage in these arts?

I had to laugh when I read this question for the first time because, well, it’s nice of you to appreciate my cooking when you have never tasted it… Also, to be frank, my dear husband is the one who cooks most days. His cooking is marvelous and very inspired so that even my very picky parents eat everything he makes. So, I like cooking but I don’t do it every day. Most days if I cook at all I make things like frozen pizza. (When I told my husband about this question and my reaction to it he said, “But you’re a good cook!”)

Finding time for knitting is very easy since I can do it while talking with people or watching TV. And since I have returned to a schedule of almost daily watching of “Angel” I have about an hour each day for that. And it’s a time when I am too tired to do anything else.

Sewing happens in bursts. I declare to my family that I want to make something and then vanish with the sewing machine for a day or two. Usually on weekends. Last week I made a bag for my son and he played with buttons and “helped” me.

Finding time for singing is harder for me but then I sing a lot when I teach. Especially with singing students but also when I teach guitar because I then sing along with the songs. And I try to sit down almost every day and play a song or two. Playing the piano or guitar for me is inextricably linked to singing.

2) Mommy guilt is clearly on your mind. How viscerally do you feel this? Do you think that talking about our perceived inadequacies as mothers is somehow a disclaimer if our kids don’t turn out “right”?

I still want to write a follow-up post on that mommy guilt one in which I’ll try to explain that I don’t suffer from guilt very much. To me it is a collective phenomenon. I have never thought about it like a disclaimer. That would explain a lot. I do strive to become a better human being and that includes becoming a better mother. I don’t believe that I’m the sole source of my son’s happiness or well-being but of course I have a great influence on his life. I’m constantly trying to balance his needs and mine and when there are conflicts and problems I try to find a way that works for all of us.

On second thought I don’t think that “talking about our perceived inadequacies as mothers” works like a disclaimer. There are two sides to this: we as women and as mothers have been taught that we are never enough, never good enough. We feel that we have to do everything perfect and right. Since we can’t, we feel bad. The second one is that as bloggers we use this forum to talk about the sides of motherhood that we deem inadequate for polite everyday conversation. I don’t remember where I read it but a blogger wrote that she once talked to another mother in her playgroup about some aspect of motherhood that was not about nice and happy and she was met with a very blank look and treated as a pariah afterwards. A lot of mommybloggers use their blogs to write about the dark side of motherhood. And that’s a good thing.

3) I really loved your post about “pink shoes”. As the mother of a five year old boy who was recently found applying Disney princess lip gloss and proclaiming his lips to be “sparkly,” I have to ask: Is there, in your opinion, a line that we should draw as to the beautifying/fashion habits of our boys?

In fact I wrote three posts on pink shoes… Here’s the first, the second, and the third. I don’t think that there is a line that we should draw with our boys but since they are so young and only start to learn how things work it is a good thing to caution them. I won’t let him wear something to school that would make other children make fun of him without talking about it to him first. Also there are different kinds of embellishment. Sparkly lip gloss doesn’t show much and can be wiped off is the wearer decides to be manly again. Nail polish is something else. I wouldn’t buy my son a skirt but I’ll happily improvise something for role-playing.

I don’t mind if boys and men wear skirts, high heels, make-up, or nail-polish. It’s only fashion after all. For a while earrings are considered very manly and then fashion changes and they are feminine again. It’s just that I would do my son a disservice not telling him that people might find it odd if he wears something unusual.

4) You recently mentioned pulling a card from one of your oracle decks. How often do you do this? How much do you rely on the wisdom you are given? How great do you believe the accuracy to be?

I do this almost daily. They are often astoundingly accurate, sometimes in ways that I couldn’t imagine when I looked at it in the morning. On the other hand there is not one card in those decks that doesn’t give good advice… Since these cards all have a phrase written on them I find them easier to understand than tarot cards which I use too.

How much I rely on them … that’s hard to say. They are just a tool that I use to tune into my intuition. They are very positive.

5) How is the wiping with cloth thing going? My chief concern was that the hot water/detergent, etc… would create an environmental impact roughly equal to using paper. Please give us an update.

It’s going well. We continue using it. Sometimes we forget to wash the wipes in time and then we use toilet paper instead. It’s all very easy-going. The hot water and detergent doesn’t make an impact. All the wipes that we own together are only a fraction of a load of laundry. So we just stuff some wipes into a mesh bag and wash them with whatever laundry we have going on at that time. (We’re only using them for pee so they are not that dirty.)

On my post about the cloth wipes somebody mentioned cloth diapers and the environmental impact of washing them. All I can say is that if they are used for more than one child the energy and such used to produce them plus the washing makes less of an impact than even the most eco-friendly conventional diaper. Since my cloth diapers were used by another child before, and the cloth for my cloth wipes is thirty years old and has been used as a blanket for two babies already, all is well. Also we don’t soak them and don’t use a dryer.

But I do find it interesting that people who never think twice about using copious amounts of paper products and throw them away suddenly get very concerned about the environmental impact of my washing machine when I mention something like cloth wipes or diapers. (No offense, Liv, I encounter this kind of reaction very frequently. Another example would be people who don’t think about where their produce comes from twice being very concerned about my organic vegetables. “Are they really organic?” “And what if they are as polluted as everything else?” All I can say is that at least I’m trying to encourage a different kind of agriculture even if it doesn’t work perfectly all the time.)

For me it isn’t only about the counting with these things. Somehow a glass bottle that’s brought back to the juice company and then washed and used again feels better than a tetra-pak even when it’s recycled. Even if I’m told that the former is not as environmental-conscious as the latter. Somehow I doubt if we are able to count everything in…

If anybody wants five questions to answer, ask me in the comments. I’ll try my best. As all things these days it may take a bit of time though.