Dec 292018

Another one of those in-between days. Which is normal for what we Germans call the ‚time between the years‘.

I woke up stupid early again after having read until 11.30. I might have been a little tired throughout the day. I wrote my morning pages and worked on the novel for ten minutes before getting up slightly late. Breakfast, five minutes of meditation and another eight minutes of writing before my husband showed up.

I wasn’t the only one who was a little late and so I didn’t manage to finish the cleaning before it was time to start making lunch. I still need to vacuum the old part of the house and I need to clean washbasins and toilets. I did get the potatoes ready in time, though. Pity that I didn’t give them enough salt but everything did taste fine eventually:

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By then my mother-in-law had called twice. First to say that she wouldn’t come home that day and then to say that she might come home that day after all.

So there was more waiting.

After lunch when I was sitting around trying to make myself do the dishes the doorbell rang. It was a neighbor. It’s the 90-yo. neighbor who is a friend of my mother-in-law. She wanted to know how she was doing and if we knew anything. Well, I couldn’t tell her much.

Five minutes later the doorbell rang again. This time it was our direct neighbor with an old, broken guitar. If we could use it? He’d throw it in the trash anyway. Huh. We now have a broken guitar sitting in the annex hallway waiting to be looked at.

I spent some time with the book cover design course after that and I might be almost finished. There is still a little more than an hour of material but I’m thinking that that might be stuff that’s covered in a much better way in the other book cover design course I have. The one I want to go through a second time. We’ll see.

Then I finally did the lunch dishes and my husband and the boy were outside. They wanted to finally take care of the vines on out garage. There are wine berries still hanging there that fall to the ground all the time and my husband wanted to cut those back and clean the whole mess up.

And just when they started a car pulled in front of our garage with my mother-in-law and her sister in it. She was coming home after all.

We talked a bit, she told us what she needed, lots of errands for the boy, and we’re happy she’s back home. Her first load of laundry is already washed and hung up (by the boy) and some salmon is defrosting in her fridge for today’s lunch.

While my husband and the boy were working against the setting sun outside the annex bell rang. Two of my husband’s students were standing outside. They had confirmed their lesson by email but my husband hadn’t gotten it in time. Luckily I was in the annex at that point so I could fetch my husband and he could teach them.

Then the boy and I had dinner and watched Star Trek. Both episodes were a little meh. But I finished plying the advent calendar yarn!  Now I only need to make sure I remember which of the three skeins belongs at what point of the yarn, and then I will be able to knit something with it.

Today there will be running and grocery shopping and all the things for once. I hope.

Dec 282018

I have reached that part of Christmas break again, the one where it feels like I’m mostly for it to be over. I’m hoping to get out of it again real soon because I still want to have some fun over the next ten days.

I woke up early but was already a little out of it because I had no idea what the day would bring. I really don’t like that. I know, it’s not a big deal and I really strive to become all calm and stoic but I’m still not there yet.

Had breakfast, did not write morning pages and did not write fiction or meditated. It’s all the fault of the new book I started the day before, „The Kiss Quotient“. It’s fabulous, worth it for the first sentence along and it was only 1.99 € on top of that. First sentence:

„I know you hate surprises, Stella. In the interested of communicating our expectations and providing you a reasonable timeline, you should know we’re ready for grandchildren.”

Stella Lane’s gaze jumped from her breakfast up to her mother’s gracefully aging face. A subtle application of makeup drew attention to battle-ready, coffee-colored eyes. That boded ill for Stella. When her mother got something into her mind, she was like a honey-badger with a vendetta – pugnacious and tenacious, but without the snarling and fur.

„I’ll keep that in mind,“ Stella said.

Over my husband’s breakfast we decided to not go out today, there is just so much stuff we wanted to do at home and also we still had no idea if my mother-in-law would be coming back home or not. We actually didn’t hear from her all day, we’ll call her later today, I guess. I also decided to do the podcast next week for a little breathing room.

The boy got up at a reasonable time and offered to accompany for the grocery shopping. We went to the health food store and to the smaller grocery store, ended up without quite a few things we’ll still need to get later but instead with a varied assortment of sweets and potato chips. As one does.

Meanwhile my husband made chili for lunch:

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Just before we were eating (and throughout, much to our chagrin) one of the boy’s friends asked him if he wanted to go bouldering with him and his father. So the boy got ready, we printed the permission form and filled it out and then he was whisked away to Munich.

So I was sitting and waiting for news of my mother-in-law and I realized that I had no idea when the boy would be back.

I finally managed to tape the yoga pants pattern together and cut it out and I also managed to find my self-drafted leggings pattern, put one on top of the other and started thinking about how to meld them into something that might fit me.

Then I did another module of the book cover design course and had trouble with GIMP yet again. Slightly steep-is learning curve but I’ll get there. I might even finish the course until next week as I hoped.

Then we watched some Star Trek and I plied the never-ending advent calendar. I started watching yet another webinar, this one about sketch notes but it was not for me and I really wanted to do some writing instead. I also want to learn how to draw but I guess I’m just making excuses. It’s the same with everything: draw more and get better. Then I got ready for bed read and read and read and that was that.

Today there will be all the cleaning. And strength training. And the cutting out of the fabric for the yoga pants. And all the things.

No slump at all. Of course.

Dec 272018

That’s what we call it in Germany. Today the shops will be open again but yesterday all was pretty quiet.

I did sleep until six, wrote my morning pages, read a bit and got up. Had breakfast, thought about my Owligan-dilemma and decided to rip the whole thing back and start over.

Ripping it back took two hours while my husband was building a fire, making coffee and tea on said fire, having breakfast and got ready for his run:


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I did a few calculations based on the swatches I had done with a single strand of the yarn. I think I will be alright with making the third size with a 6 mm needle, mostly. I will have to adjust the length, especially of the yoke because while I almost have stitch gauge my row gauge is way off, 19 rows per 10 centimeters instead of 14.

I re-started the sweater after lunch and I have to say that knitting with just one strand of bulky yarn is much more comfortable than with two.

Since I was late for running I peeled the potatoes and set the table before I left. And then I only did a lazy 5 k. Tsk. It was pretty crowded out there, the weather was gorgeous:

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When I came back home there was bresaola for an appetizer:

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And then fish, broccoli and potatoes for the main course together with a very good Blanc de Noir:

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Then the boy and my husband got into a lengthy discussion of microphones, capacitors and loudspeakers as one does while I was knitting. There might have been more chocolate truffles.

Then I did the dishes with help from both of them, knitted some more, worked on the book cover design course, folded some laundry, did another load and hung that up and decided to move the podcast preparation to the next day.

Then it was time for watching Star Trek and spinning,

Today there will be an epic grocery run or maybe not so epic, I still need to make a list. I also would like to record another podcast episode and move the yoga pants project a little forward. Maybe my mother-in-law will come home today as well.

And I will knit, of course.

Dec 262018

I went to bed a little late but woke up around 5.30 as usual. Was tired all day.

I wrote my morning pages, failed to write fiction yet again, had a late breakfast, started reading the next in the mystery series I have been making my way through, and realized that I had forgotten to tell my husband that I was supposed to teach at 11.

He showed up as usual. I told him about my lesson, checked my email, and lo and behold, the student had canceled. (Nobody shows up on Christmas for music lessons.) I wrestled with the Owligan for.a bit. I finally got to start the owls. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have enough yarn, so the whole thing remains exciting.

We made spaghetti arrabbiata for lunch because we all were still feeling full from dinner the night before:

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Then I ate too many chocolate truffles and almost fell into a slump again but I resisted. I folded a load of laundry, hung up two (husband had started them) and put the clean laundry away. Then I did the lunch dishes and then I looked for the free yoga pants pattern I knew I had somewhere on my computer (you can get it at craftsy if you’re interested) and I even printed it out.

The plan is to meld this pattern with my self-drafted leggings pattern for yoga pants that actually fit.

My husband and the boy mounted all the smoke alarms throughout the house. It only took a year. The boy was not amused. Then they listened to some Beethoven. Meanwhile I had the pleasure of calling my mother on the phone. She complained about me not calling often enough and a few other things. I need to make a note to call her more often, I guess.

I sang a bit, I played the piano for a short while and then I forced the boy to do strength training. After lunch I had told him that it was strength training day and he flat out refused. So I told him he could get some chocolate truffles but only if he agreed to strength training. He said, „If it’s forty minutes long I’ll leave without the truffles.”

I gave him the truffles and refrained from telling him that it was indeed the forty minute training. Instead I told him we’d do ten sets of three. Which at one minute per set for four different exercises does amount to forty minutes of training but I was hoping he didn’t do the math. He did eventually but then he went through anyways.

The was Star Trek and the plying of the first part of the advent calendar yarn. Beautiful. Well, apart from when I set up the wheel wrong and spent twenty minutes plying in the wrong direction:

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This is how much yarn I had already plied. It was looking horrible, stringy and hard and twisty. Winding it around my hand like that took some time too and then I plied it the right way after that and that was my spinning time for the day. So there will be more plying over the next few days. I keep forgetting that while plying is faster than spinning it still takes more than two hours to ply yarn that took almost 24 hours to spin.

Then there was only very little writing but I did manage to turn the lights out on time.

Today there will be running and all the usual. Maybe I’ll put the yoga pants pattern together and cut it out, we’ll see. I also want to prepare the next podcast episode.

Dec 252018

I woke up at the civilized time of 5.30 which was really good, after having gotten enough sleep (phew!). I wrote my morning pages and failed to write anything on the novel and made breakfast.

The boy got up early as well because he had promised to tag along when I would buy the sacred bratwurst for Christmas for the first time.

So we set off around eight and when we arrived at the butcher’s there was a long queue but I have to say, it wasn’t as long as I had expected.

The funny thing was that we met my husband’s cousin and she was standing in the queue right in front of us. Which was a very good thing because on the way there I suddenly realized that I had no idea what the sacred Christmas sausages were actually called. „The sausages“ as my mother-in-law keeps calling them could potentially refer to dozens of kinds of sausages, even half a dozen kinds of bratwurst that they had in the shop.

It turned out that the cousin was there for the first time ever as well and only slightly better informed than I was but through keen observation I found out that what I wanted is called the „Christmas sausages“. And the distinctive characteristic is that they are with milk and veal. So I learned something new again.

We were victorious and while the sales woman was a little overwhelmed by my order of 45 „Christmas sausages“ and it took her some time to count them out and squeeze them into plastic containers the boy and I felt rather accomplished afterwards. We did a quick detour to the post office and then went home again where my husband was building the fire in the wood stove and ready to have breakfast.

I dawdled quite a bit but managed to eventually go on my Monday run. I even did the whole 6.4k and I ran more than I walked:

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Running that much (after walking all the way to the butcher’s was a good thing because I might have eaten quite a bit of cheese for my second breakfast.

The we had spaghetti aglio e olio for lunch:

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Then I had my usual afternoon slump. I was basically waiting for my mother-in-law to come back home. I hate not knowing things for sure.

Well, it turned out that she had called late in the morning and because my cell phone had acted up I hadn’t received the message before 3 pm. She had called to say that she would be staying in the hospital until Thursday or so because she was still not feeling all that good.

Since I was too fuzzy for writing I decided to get back to my book cover design course. It’s funny, I’m watching the videos and keep thinking, „Oh, that’s easy, no problem.“ And then I start doing things myself and find that I have no idea how to even select a box and move it around on the screen. I have to say that GIMP is about the most un-intuitive program I have ever used.

Well, there’s no way out but to go back, watch all the videos and do all the exercises myself. And the next time I think, „Oh, that’s easy, I don’t need to practice how to draw a box and fill it with color.“ I will have to eat my words yet again. Better to just go ahead and try to draw the box and fill it with color myself. I’m usually pretty competent with computers. This software is really humbling.

Then it was time to take care of the sacred Christmas food. My husband had started the sauerkraut right after lunchtime and was pretty irritated when I was sitting in the kitchen most of the afternoon failing to look after the wood stove and said kraut. Well, let’s say it was only slightly burned and there was still some left over in the end.

I did manage to start peeling the potatoes in time and we had our Christmas dinner rather early:

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You should take note of the placemats and cloth napkins because this is really the only time of the year I will pull those out. This year everything was even clean and ironed. Woot!

The food was wonderful. Gorgeous.

Then I basically had to force the boy and my husband to open presents. I was very happy with the presents I got from my sister, namely the Neil Gaiman and Chris Ridell book „You must make great art“ which is wonderful and moving and which I read straight through right away and another one about making cloth from wild nettles. That one’s pretty cool too.

The boy and my husband were happy too, The boy got a „Tool“ t-shirt (yes, that’s an actual band) and quite a bit of money, and my husband got two CDs he had been wanting.

Then we did all the dishes and then I realized that I still needed to spin my advent calendar fiber. And that I still hadn’t written any fiction words.

So I spun the fiber and I wrote very few words and then I went to bed.

Today there will be the teaching of one student in the morning and some strength training and then the mounting of the smoke alarms (because it’s been a year that we got them and we should really mount them before my brother-in-law visits us next) and more fiction writing. Also, I do have a list.

Dec 242018

Another day where I woke up stupid early. This is starting to get ridiculous.

And didn’t write.

I did manage to have breakfast on time and I did meditate for ten minutes. Also, I joined the body and sleeves on the Owligan. Then it was almost time to get ready to take the bus to where my mpther-in-law is in the hospital.

Everything went well, I had bought the ticket in advance, even. I have to say, buying tickets with my phone without any paper involved still feels like magic to me.

We were lucky, it was supposed to be raining all day but in the end we only got a little damp when we were walking back home from the station again.

Lunch at the Turkish restaurant in that other town was fantastic. The boy was slightly confused because there were three vegetarian main dishes to choose from.

Then we went to see my mother-in-law. She looks fine and might even come home later today. She can walk around using a walker and seems very much herself. It seems that getting a pacemaker is not major surgery like I thought it was.

There was more discussion about the bratwurst for Christmas and I will go to the butcher first thing today, right after breakfast to get all the brats for all the family.

We were home earlier than I thought we would be and then I basically did nothing again. (I’m getting better and better at that, practice makes perfect, you know.)

I did update my laptop’s OS, though, and it seems that everything is still working. Phew.

Then the boy and I watched Star Trek while eating chocolate truffles and I was spinning the next to last batch of advent calendar fiber. Today will be the last and then plying. I’m planning to ply the first two bobbins tomorrow and the second two the day after.

Today there will be the buying of the bratwurst and running and cooking Christmas dinner and I’m also hoping for writing and normalcy. There will also be the opening of presents. Very few of those which is fine by me.

Dec 232018

Even though I went to be after 10 I totally slept in until 6.30. I had turned my alarm off.

And the rest of the day basically went the same.

I got up at the time I usually have breakfast, I knitted, I meditated, I decided on how to proceed on the Owligan, I ran a lazy 4.8 k:

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There was kale for lunch. But before there was a little kerfuffle with my MIL’s sister. MIL apparently had forgotten her meds so she called her sister and asked her to take them to the hospital. Sister arrived at our place while my husband and I were both out running. The boy can’t hear the doorbell (any of the three doorbells) while up in his room, especially since he is usually wearing headphones.

So I cam back from running to a note at the door saying that we should call her because of the pills. Also, there was a message on the answering machine. So I called her back and she said she’d be here in thirty minutes.

So I couldn’t take a shower until she arrived. An hour later. We did get the whole thing sorted just before having lunch, so that was good.

Then kale. From our garden from 2017:

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It was very good. We did a load of laundry.

I had started uploading the video for the podcast the night before but it took all morning until 3 pm for it to actually get uploaded. Then I could finally publish the podcast.

Then I crossed ‚baking‘ and some other thing from my list. I didn’t want to. My new bullet journal arrived. I really wanted a new notebook which is silly because there are still forty pages left in the old one and that will be enough until the end of January or so. I mean, I know there are people who always start a new bullet journal at the start of the new year but I usually don’t. Forty pages are forty pages.

So I just hung out and enjoyed not having to do anything. Then the boy and I watched some Star Trek and I spun my daily advent calendar fiber. Only two more days to go. Sigh. But I have another spinning project lines up afterwards. Or two. And since I’ve read the ‚Ply Magazine‘-issue about sock yarn I have been wanting to spin all the sock yarn again.

In the evening my brother-in-law called to tell us that my mother-in-law is fine. He saw her in the hospital already.

Today there will be yoga. And writing. And we will take the bus that only goes once per hour on Sundays to visit my mother-in-law. There was talk about a Turkish restaurant on the way.

I’ll probably spend the rest of the day doing nothing again…

Dec 222018


  • Vanilla is the New Black for my husband: finished
  • Burgundy Stockbridge: finished
  • GumGum socks:
  • Scary Blythburgh: started
  • Spoke-hat for my husband: finished
  • Garter Mitts for my husband: started and ripped back, there’s probably not enough yarn
  • Brown Cria: finished
  • Wolkig-Cowl: finished
  • Carbeth-Cardigan: finished
  • Crazy Tee: started, not sure about it
  • Vanilla is the new black for myself: done
  • Breamore: finished
  • Gloamintide-KAL: finished


  • Extra squares for Sophie’s Universe: finished the second one
  • Bought yarn for the Sweet Pea CAL:
  • Ripple blanket for my son: finished
  • Color pooling cowl


  • Advent calendar from Stefis Wolle
  • Started to card merino and BFL for Starry Nights Cowl
  • Burgundy merino
  • Merino/silk for Gloamintide

Project Wardrobe:

  • Kew-dress: almost finished
  • Alabama Studio top: finished


What I talked about in the last nine episodes:

  1. Summer slump
  2. Spinning with numbers? Or feeling?
  3. Handywoman
  4. Haberdashery
  5. In the Footsteps of Sheep
  6. How to knit a sweater that actually fits
  7. The queen of large-scale projects
  8. Ongoing large-scale projects
  9.  December plans
Dec 222018

So that was interesting.

I had gone to bed a little later than usual but still around 10 pm and then I woke up around 4 am with a bad case of the brain weasels. Not the anxious, panicky ones, fortunately, but the excited, over-motivated ones. Still, more sleep would have been really nice.

And then I was basically too tired to do anything productive for the rest of the day. No writing in the morning, nothing. I did look through all my bullet journals from this year to find out what I had originally planned for the wardrobe project (nothing, it seems) and then I sat down and drew up a plan to follow next. And if I manage to sew two garments per month for the upcoming year I’ll get everything done. Says Ms. One-t-shirt-the-whole-year.

Everything took ages. Nothing got cleaned. I did the breakfast dishes, hurray.

I also got my contact lenses from the optician and tried buying a new bullet journal at a local store. Yeah, no dice. So I ordered online yet again.

Came back home, met the boy who had just lugged an old computer home all the way from school. The school was getting rid of it and the boy took the remnants.

Then we went out together and had lunch. Sorry, no picture today but I had duck with cashew sauce. It was pretty good.

When we came back home my mother-in-law was already waiting for us to tell us she’d be going to the hospital to get a pacemaker. There had been talk about pacemakers just a week or two ago but her doctor thought it wasn’t necessary yet and now she was packing up and getting a taxi.

The boy helped her. And she called later that day to say that she will be getting that pacemaker today. I really hope that that will help her.

Then I started to get the podcast ready, taught a few students, ate too much chocolate, (by the way, you guys have opinions about chocolate and licorice; I’ve been told that I need to try Scandinavian licorice chocolate), worked some more on the podcast, did not listen to all of it, watched some Star Trek with the boy and called it a day.

Today there will be running (I hope) and maybe a little baking, we’ll see.

Dec 212018

I woke up at 5.30 again, this time I had slept a little better. Wrote my morning pages, added some words to the novel, made breakfast, meditated for five minutes, wrote some more words on the novel. Because I knew I’d be insanely busy the rest of the day for once I was almost disciplined.

The I finished the second sleeve on the Owligan. I’m thinking I need to switch knitting projects more often, my right wrist ist starting to be a little sore and I’m blaming the super-bulky held double. Time for a bit of sock knitting in between.

Then I went grocery shopping. It was crazy busy but oddly enough not as stressful as I had expected. I’m getting used to the store and I did expect a bit of pre-Christmas madness.

Came back, unpacked the groceries, diced a carrot. Had a very lovely lunch:IMG 0041

Afterwards I hopped into the shower right away and even blow-dried my hair which I never do anymore because I wanted to record the English podcast episode. Which I did. But not before explaining bra construction to the boy. As one does. Priorities.

I managed to cram all the content from nine podcast episode into 90 minutes, even. And was finished in time for teaching.

Then almost non-stop teaching for three hours with the boy’s piano lesson right in the middle. This time my husband joined us because now he wanted to teach him all about swing feeling. We’re taking our jazz serious in this house.

Then I started writing this post, did all the dishes together with my husband, spun my advent calendar fiber and fell into bed.

Today will be the last official teaching day of the year! With only three students even. And there will be the cleaning and the going out for Chinese and sushi for lunch and maybe the getting my new contact lenses from the optician.

Also I will get the podcast ready for publishing and the boy and I are planning to watch some Star Trek, We can’t yet decide if we’ll do the big ‚chips and licorice‘-palooza tonight or just eat lots of chocolate truffles instead. We need to decide, though, because chocolate and licorice don’t really go together well.

I’d say that’s a great problem to have.