Oct 052018

In other words a very good day.

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

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

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

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

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

So I seem to have been slightly confused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds like a plan.

Oct 042018

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

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

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

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

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

Then we made lunch:

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Very yummy.

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

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

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

Oct 032018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 022018

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

After breakfast I meditated and wrote (phew).

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

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

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

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

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Tasted better than it looks.

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

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

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

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

Oct 012018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 302018

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

Yeah. About that.

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

Poof. Second window of writing opportunity gone.

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

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

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

This was the result:

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

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

Then a huge washing up.

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

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

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

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

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

We watched some Star Trek while more crochet happened.

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

Sep 292018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting plans.

Sep 282018

Since I had turned the lights out around nine the night before I woke up at five.

For once I actually did write first thing in the morning. Okay, second. Still. I wrote before leaving the bed.

The boy apparently liked going to school ten minutes earlier than usual the day before and has decided to do this everyday. (Why yes, I had been suggesting that maybe going a few minutes earlier might make mornings less stressful for years. What do I know.)

So I had time to write some more between my breakfast and that of my husband:

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I decided to work on the crochet blanket while he was eating because it was so cold in the house. I also decided to turn the heating on, at lest in the old part of the house. The annex heating is dripping so we better leave that off until it has been repaired.

Then I went to the pharmacy, the health food store again (our grocery list discipline is seriously lacking), and to the bike shop. Where I not only got my bike back with a new lamp and stand but I also remembered to get a new pump. I spent loads of money today but I have to say that small things like proper lighting on bikes and a stand that doesn’t have you lifting the whole bike with all the groceries for a week on it do make my life much better.

We had a really nice lunch and the weather was warm enough to sit on the porch for it (figures since I turned on the heat):

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Then I ate chocolate and fell into a slump. The two might be related, or maybe they aren’t. I did manage to pull out the sewing machine and sew some more. The dress is starting to look vaguely dress-shaped, I have a top and a skirt-like thing and facings.

Then I taught a student. And then I sewed some more. There wasn’t time to get the iron going to press all the seams open, alas, so that will have to be left for another day.

Then I taught some more. My last student didn’t show, weirdly enough. And I had the second cancelation this week (one yesterday and one for tomorrow) because of the student having a cold. What can I say, it is Oktoberfest-time…

And then (and that was certainly one of the highlights of the day, a student of my husband’s came for his lesson and when he closed the door he was holding the door handle ins hand. This has been happening every few days for years now. We tried fixing it but couldn’t get the cover off. So we just put the handle back ever so often.

Now this student happens to be a carpenter. He started by saying that you just need an Allen wrench to fix it. Ha! As if. We’re not that bad with mechanics. But. Having more experience with things like this he managed to use my husband’s tools and fix it. No more students being unable to leave because they can’t open the door! No more small kids afraid that they have broken the door! A thing that has been on my list to have fixed for ages was just taken care of.


Since the house is still rather cold I went to bed early.

I have to confess that I am actually hoping to finish the current novel (book two in the Eva Mandel series for those of you following along) by the end of October. Which is ridiculous. It would mean to write 2,500 words per day. The first book went extraordinarily slow with an average of 480 words per day. 2,500 might mean 1 1/2 to 2 hours of writing each and every day.


But I’m trying to use the deep want of writing something else for energy to make this one go faster. And with all those students canceling I should be able to find an additional thirty minutes in my day here and there. So we’ll see.

If I extend my deadline to mid-November it would be a more reasonable 1,700 words per day. And yes, I am perfectly aware that a few years ago writing 1,700 words per day every day for a month left me totally depleted of energy with my whole life falling to the wayside. But that’s the great thing about practice.

And if it doesn’t work I’ll change things up. As usual.

Today there will be the cleaning, and the pizza, and quite a bit of teaching but not as much as I hoped for. Then the watching of Star Trek and then another webinar, “3 Steps to a Bestselling Author Platform“. Yeah, I don’t know why I keep doing this when I’m still at stage 0: ‘write book’. And all the stages that come between ‚finish book‘ and ‚publish book‘. I mean, I don’t think things will go the bestseller-way if I only throw up a PDF on Amazon. (Actually I don’t think this book will become a bestseller. Not because I’m making myself smaller than necessary, only because a) I am only starting out, and b) the whole thing as is can only appeal to a small niche-audience.)

So I’ll be watching the webinar like a TV show, mostly, but with my notebook and pen ready and focus on a) writing the book, and b) reading „Let’s Get Digital“ with a pen and make a list of next steps for book one.

Sep 272018

I woke up from the alarm again. Seems I’m sleeping like a log again. I’m blaming the cold.

I did not write first thing in the morning yet again.

The boy had to leave ten minutes earlier than usual for school but that didn’t make a difference to me. I started writing after he left and 400 words later my short story was finished. Woohoo!

My husband showed up while I was looking for typos with Grammarly.

Then I knitted some more on the cowl.This is taking longer than I want it to. But I’m still harnessing the energy of wanting to start a new project to finish the old one. Feels good.

I went running:

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It was beautiful and sunny but really, really cold.

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It’s becoming a bit challenging to find interesting views on my run because I’m taking the exact same route every time.

When I came home there was still a lot of time until lunch so I wrote some more and started the second novel in the Eva Mandel-series. I have decided to finish three books before publishing. That also gives me more time to learn how to actually publish a book, make covers and such. Well, in theory.

We had chili for lunch. I was so hungry that I forgot to take the pictures before starting to eat:

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The day before I found that I was stumped on making the website for our music lessons better by not having nice pictures to put on it. I kept trying different looks for the website and only when everything looked bad did I realize that I needed more and better pictures. Since I talked about that issue with my husband he then immediately started brainstorming and decided that we should take pictures of him teaching the very same afternoon. His student was willing if a little surprised so that’s what we did.

Then I taught a student and afterwards I started sewing. I have now sewn the sleeves into the bodice. This might become an actual summer dress some time in the next few weeks.

Then I attended another webinar. I got a lot of spinning done while watching. And then, because I was sitting right there, I watched a video about doing a book launch. I took more than a page of notes so I guess that was a good use of my time.

Then it was time for the boy to practice piano, and I retired to bed because it’s the only place that’s actually warm. I am really looking forward to our furnace guy being back from his summer vacation and taking care of our heating. We could turn the heating on in the old part of the house but there is a leak in the annex.

It is supposed to get a little warmer again the next few days, so we’ll see. I guess we’ll use the wood stove over the weekend.

The zucchini plants have died last night because it was almost freezing. Or maybe it was freezing. Something like that. The whole living room-to-be is full of chili plants, by the way. Poor things.

In bed I wrote in my journal and decided to celebrate my finished story by playing a game on my phone.

I might have made plans to finish the next novel in time to start the third one for NaNoWriMo. Which is totally crazy because it would involve writing close to 3,000 words a day, every day. When I was writing the last novel I was averaging 482 words per day, by the way. But that’s only about twelve minutes of my time every day, which isn’t a lot.

We’ll see how that goes. I’ll keep you posted. I do love a challenge but I don’t like to do too much and crash.

So. Today I will fetch my bike from the shop and hopefully remember to pick up a new inflator. Then I will buy ground beef (and maybe chocolate, shhh) at the health food store and go to the pharmacy. And then I’ll do the grocery shopping, will be too late to help making lunch (Leberkas an potato salad). Then it will be time to sew a little, I will teach a student, finally practice a little (I really need to get back into the groove with making music), teach some more and then I will be totally spent and exhausted.

Sounds like a plan.

Oh, and it’s my father’s birthday today. I shouldn’t forget that.

Sep 262018

Woke up from the alarm after nine hours of sleep which is a little weird. It did feel good while I was sleeping but it seemed I never really woke up throughout the day.

I got up late. And the boy actually did remember to send me a message and got up really early. Which meant I was still in pajamas and scrambling to get breakfast ready when he showed up.

I’m not complaining. But I think I maybe should up my game.

Because I felt so sluggish I didn’t manage to write right after breakfast either. Boo.

I did make progress on my husband’s cowl. It isn’t quite long enough yet, though.

I phoned my ob/gyn to ask for my prescription renewed. Something I had been procrastinating about for two weeks or so. I do still have pills left until the end of next week or so, but still.

Then I went out to the bike shop and ordered a new front light and stand. They are swamped, apparently, so I will have to wait until 5 pm this afternoon before I can have my bike back. Since I’ll be busy at that time that means I’ll get it Thursday morning, just in time for grocery shopping. The young man whom I talked to even changed the 35 € lamp to a 15€ one when he realized that my dynamo was different than he thought.

I bet he hasn’t seen a bike this old in ages. I bought it in 2003 which I remember because there is a picture where my husband sat the boy in a striped onesie in a basket on the carrier.

Then I went on to the health food store to buy less groceries than expected. Since the fridge is still full to the brim I guess that was right. (Funny, how the cheese is still sitting in the fridge a week after I bought it. Seems the binge-eating got better. I advocate brushing your teeth right after work. Well, in case you want to skip dinner.)

Then we had risotto for lunch. Very, very yummy, and very fitting for the cold weather:

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And then I fell into a bad slump. All day I had felt like I had a headache, only without the pain. I decided to take an ibuprofen right after lunch and I think it helped. About half an hour later I felt like myself again. I did not do the lunch dishes (there weren’t many) but I did fold a load of laundry and put it away. I did not make any music, and I still hadn’t written anything. More boo.

Then there were lots and lots of students, one after the other. I inadvertently let the boy wait for almost half an hour when I didn’t finish my last lesson on time. My student and I were talking a lot and I didn’t think he would be on time without me reminding him. Oops.

So no strength training because it was already so late.

My husband did all the dishes after dinner which I really appreciate. He and the boy had leftover risotto and an omelette for dinner and afterwards all I did was dry a few forks and knives.

Then the boy wanted to talk to me, lots.

And then I still had to write my daily 25 minutes.


Early to bed nonetheless.

Today there will be running and only two students and some sewing and writing and music, and a little less other stuff.