May 312018

Doing the taxes was the one, major point on my list for that day. And I did it. With only one or two minor panic attacks.

The system has changed, as I said, and for a moment there I thought I wouldn’t be able to file on time but in the end I think I figured it out.

My husband told me that he gets and instant headache when dealing with that kind of stuff as well. Fun!

So I woke up early and instead of turning to reading right away I tried something different and wrote in my journal. I think that is a good thing to start the day with.

Then breakfast, and just when I was doing the dishes the doorbell rang and an old friend of my husband’s was standing outside. I didn’t even recognize her at first. I think I haven’ seen her in fifteen years or something like that.

So that was nice, if a little weird, and then everything was a bit late. But we didn’t mind.

So later run than usual, in the heat and humidity:

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And yes, I managed to take a picture of a part of my new phone sleeve as well.

Someone asked the other day if there were any woods where I live and I realized that I only ever show pictures of the part where I come out of the trees and the view opens up to fields. I am actually mostly running through forest. Which is pretty nice when it’s hot.

Running went better than last week and I’m thinking that might be due to the higher dose of anti-histamines. Phew.

Then we had spaghetti bolognese for lunch and then I sat down to work on the taxes some more.

Took me two more hours and then I had it done. For a moment I thought that I would have to register again to the German IRS-site (which takes about two weeks) which would have meant filing for an extension but no, I got it.

Then I taught my one student, watched Netflix with the boy and then I went to bed.

Today I want to run again, and record the podcast and if everything went as I want it to I would also write 16,000 words.

Not even I am that optimistic, so I can safely say that my goal of finishing this draft by today will not be met. Tomorrow there will be uncles and aunts visiting and then it’s the weekend and then Pentecost break will be over.

Well, that doesn’t mean my life is over, just that I will have to spend a few hours a day teaching in addition to what I do this week.

It’s all good.

May 302018

This is what happens when I plan a serious writing day.

I woke up early, I procrastinated like crazy (yes, I know) everything went fine, I went grocery shopping early, we had a wonderful Greek salad for lunch:

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That is salad from our own yard, and yes, we know that there are no eggs in Greek salad but we put them in anyway so that there would be more protein.

Then I didn’t actually procrastinate for once, even though I just started the new Sarina Bowen book „Speakeasy“ and sat down to do the taxes.

I thought I’d be done in an hour or two.

Then I remembered that the way freelance people like us need to do taxes had changed from last year. Then I spent an hour finding out which line of the form our expenses should go in. After running into a ton of internet sites saying that they would help me with that I found that all of them did the exact same thing the Finanzamt does, you click on the ‚help‘-button to see what other something-something expenses are („sonstige unbeschränkt abziehbare Betriebsausgaben and no, I can’t translate that properly) and there it is: „other something-something expenses“. Of course. That explains everything.

So I will be eternally grateful to that nice young man who has made a website actually explaining these things using examples. Like telling me that the category I thought I should use is only applicable if you’re actually making a physical product.

Then I sat down to wrangle the part of the taxes that I have been doing the same way for years now. So that was not easy but at least I have last year’s form to guide me. And then I realized that I needed three more pieces of paper from my husband, and that my big, fat tax-headache (yes, that’s a thing – at least for me) was telling me to stop. Also, my husband was on his way out the door.

I was a little jealous because he will be eating at „Wiesengrund“ restaurant tonight with a friend. The food there is very, very good.

Instead the boy and I did watch Netflix and have potato chips and chocolate for dinner. No, we don’t do this often. Yes, I’m still trying to lose weight, and yes, I will take up intermittent fasting today again. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy pigging out on food occasionally.

So it seems today there will be running and the usual and more taxes plus preparing the podcast. Somehow I doubt that this will be a 5,000 word-day…

May 292018

Woke up real early, decided to write and then didn’t do it.

I did write a little before lunch, though.

As planned we rode our bikes to a nearby town and went to a beergarden for lunch. I did skip my run in favor of biking but the whole thing was only mildly taxing.

It did give me the opportunity to test my hypothesis from last week, though. There were several possible reasons for my runs being bad last week. 1) The fasting, 2) allergies, 3) mindset, or 4) heat.

When we rode our bikes today I felt about as bad as running last week. So it was not the running as such because I wasn’t running. It couldn’t be the fasting either because I was not fasting. It couldn’t be the heat because I felt the same right there in the cool and shady woods, and it couldn’t be my mindset because I wasn’t running, it wasn’t really strenuous and I was biking for less than half an hour.

So – ding, ding – allergies it is.

It was again damp under the trees, things were blooming everywhere and my husband again smelled something moldy

So I guess exercise will feel a little bad for a while. I have upped my dose of anti-histamines and am hoping that that will make a difference. It is always a weird feeling when you’re muscles are feeling great and would want to do more, and your whole body is just enjoying the movement and being outside and the blood pumping and then there is just that little problem of not being able to breathe well enough.

I didn’t have the cough or the ‚elephant sitting on my chest‘-feeling of asthma but it was going in the same direction. A bit of heaviness on the chest, and the feeling that the pathways to my lungs are just a little too tight.

I might have to resort to walks for the time being. Or running or riding my bike rather slowly.

Lunch was wonderful, this was our first time in a beergarden this year, and we were happy to have the boy with us, even, and the beer and the food were very good. I only took one picture of the beergarden itself:

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And here’s the obligatory food picture (by now my family finds it completely normal that I do this):

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Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the very picturesque stream running directly at our side. With a fence in between, of course, wouldn’t want anybody to fall in.

Then we biked home at a slower pace and had ice cream.

And then I didn’t really get anything done for the rest of the day, weirdly enough.

I did spend a few hours sitting on the porch with my laptop willing the words to come while surfing the web but that didn’t really add that much to my word count.

Today there will be erranding and grocery shopping and taxes. And as many words as I can manage, I hope. Also, heat and then thunderstorms.

May 282018

Woke up early, wrote my blog post, failed to do anything else.

I think I’m slowly reaching the end of my rest period, though, I am starting to feel like doing things again.

I spent the day mostly sitting in front of TV again. I didn’t spin quite as much because I was doing a spindle project and didn’t want to work on it.

This is what we had for lunch:

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This is me in front of TV (exciting, I know):

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And this is dinner (still in front of TV, the Giro was later than usual):

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So not the most strenuous of days.

You might have noticed that these are the first pictures of food in about a week. Well, that is because I spend the time from Monday morning until Saturday afternoon not eating anything.

Remember how I told you about me skipping dinner? I have been reading and reading and it seems that the secret to lose weight or to not get fat is a) eat low carb and healthy fat and b) do some sort of fasting from time to time. You can do the thing I did the last few weeks where I ate two meals, no snacks and nothing else in between, or you can do just one meal, or you can eat one day and not eat anything the next, the possibilities are endless.

And it seems that that, the not eating part is really helping with losing weight and with overcoming and out-of-whack metabolism and with treating or preventing diabetes.

Now I am in no way diabetic, but a seven-day fast about once a year is also recommended for cancer-prevention. And I thought it would help me shed those last pounds of fat faster.

I know I’m not fat. I still am having quite a bit of fat on my stomach and my thighs, though. And when I started this I was still quite a bit heavier than I had been back last summer. Still am, actually.

So the last meal I ate was lunch on Sunday. Yummy paella. Then I had two beers in the evening (I know, bad habit) and no dinner. And then I just didn’t eat anything for a few days. Whenever I got woozy, mostly in the mornings about half an hour after my morning cup of black tea I would drink a glass of water with some salt (not yummy at all) and I’d feel better immediately. I drank plenty of herbal tea and water. I felt about as hungry as I usually do between meals. I stopped eating snacks when I started losing weight and have gotten used to feeling somewhat hungry for a while every day. I mean, if you’re not hungry at all you won’t lose weight.

I was a bit scared of Tuesday because the book I had read said that the second day was usually the worst for people. I waited for the big hunger pangs but they never came. Maybe Monday had been my second day, who knows.

By Tuesday evening I wasn’t hungry anymore and had no problem sitting right next to my son while he was eating dinner. I even did the grocery shopping for the whole week with no problems. Food still smelled good and I wanted some because I like the taste and feel and smell but I was not hungry. Not at all. Weird.

Wednesday I went out to meet people at a restaurant and I just drank water. That is so unlike me, not having a beer while going out. But nobody even made a remark. Again, the guy sitting next to me was eating some kind of dessert and I looked away and had no problem not eating anything.

Wednesday was also the first day I had some bone broth around lunchtime. From the paella we made on Sunday we had leftover chicken bones and such and my husband was kind enough to make broth from that for me. Wednesday was actually the first day I had time to have some. So I had a bowl each Wednesday through Friday. It tasted really good.

I mean, if all you taste all day is tea and water and more tea (and the pills you’re taking) then homemade broth tastes pretty amazing.

All the time I did my usual running. Monday I felt great, the other days not so much. I don’t think it really was because of the fasting, my guess is that I was really allergic to everything out there.

Because all the time I had a ton of energy. My mind felt clear and focused. It was great. I didn’t feel bad in any way. I even liked the way my stomach felt when it was completely empty. And yes, I wouldn’t believe me either, but that’s the truth.

Some time Friday I started thinking about food all the time. I was really looking forward to breaking the fast and being able to taste food again. Not because I was hungry, just because I really, really like eating. Also, this whole thing has made it clear to me how important cooking and food and talking meals together is for us as a family. My poor husband was slaving over the meals and doing the dishes all by himself. And while he and the boy ate I was elsewhere, alone. No fun.

Saturday I started feeling a little weak, which was strange. All afternoon I was hungry, and it was a different kind of hungry. Not the kind that waxes and wanes and is gone after a short time, more like a low, burning hunger that was just growing and not going away. And I felt nauseous all afternoon.

I sat outside in the sun, reading a book, and around five I realized that I might need to eat something again soon. I had already told my husband that I wouldn’t wait for Monday before eating something, as I had planned, and suddenly I had the deep and urgent need to eat right this instant.

So I had a few almonds at 5.30.

And at seven I had dinner. And I felt fine and I really enjoyed that meal but my stomach felt uncomfortably full.

When I started fasting Monday morning the scale said 68.2 kilos. This morning it said 64.5. I think my body started rebelling against the fast once my weight dropped below a certain point. When you have a BMI of 21 or lower you shouldn’t fast. Which is why my husband didn’t join me, his BMI was 21.4 from the beginning. Also, the boy is to young to fast at age fifteen.

I am expecting a weight gain of one or two kilos soon because when your body stores carbs it needs water to do so, Which is the reason why you drop between one and two kilos fast whenever you stop eating or go low-carb.

Still. This experience was amazing. I wouldn’t have thought that I could feel that good without food. On the other hand I wasn’t without, not really, there is lots of food still stored on my body. That’s what it’s made for. Being alert and energetic while looking for food would be an advantage in nature. Oh, and I didn’t need as much sleep as normal as well.

In a way it was great. Not in any way spiritual or something, just very freeing.

When I was a skinny little girl who didn’t eat well my beloved grandmother pulled me aside and told me that if I wouldn’t eat properly or even, heavens forbid, skip a meal, my stomach would shrink. And then it would be so small that I wouldn’t be able to eat enough anymore, and I would wither away and die.

True story.

Subconsciously I have been afraid of starving every time I didn’t eat the second I got only remotely hungry. Turns out I can go without eating for days and days and my stomach still didn’t shrivel and I didn’t die.

Which is a very good. thing.

Starting tomorrow I will go back to the ‚intermittent fasting‘ (that still seems like a pretentious name for it) and skip dinner and eat no snacks. Until my stomach fat has melted away.

I have never lost weight so quickly and I have never felt that good while doing it.


May 272018

This day was not much different from the ones before.

With all the bad runs I had that week I had decided to stop the half marathon training and instead focus on my gait and on running in a way that my heart rate doesn’t stay uncomfortably high all the time. So I looked at several running apps, all of which wanted me to pay for a subscription before I could put in my own running program. I don’t want to subscribe to any more things. So I remembered an app that I had bought years ago only to find that it didn’t really work with my iPod. But now I do have a smartphone so I could use it. It is an app that helps you getting from running 5k to 10.

In a way I don’t really care what distance I run, and I only care about my pace because it’s so extremely slow. Just the fact that I can run at all is still a miracle to me.

A few weeks ago we met a friend and started talking about running and she said, „Well, I guess you have to be the right type of person for it.“ And that still makes me laugh. I am so not the right type of person to be a runner. I find it hard and uncomfortable, my hips mostly don’t like it and after more than ten years of running I still can’t run 5k without feeling like giving up any minute now.

I do run because I like the idea, and when I can forget how much effort it takes it feels really cool. And I have envied people who can run all my life. I don’t like being envious, so I et out to become a runner myself. I love being out in nature four times a week, even when it’s raining and snowing and too hot. (And if you had told me that I would say that just four years ago I wouldn’t have believed you.) I love the fact that I don’t really need any equipment for it, apart from my really expensive running shoes, and that I can just step out the door and start. And my husband runs as well, and even though we don’t run together because he is a lot faster than me, and is content to run the same loop every time, we do mostly run on the same days.

So I did this new program, one that only specified how many minutes of walking and running you had to do. I thought that blocks of ten minutes of running and one minute of walking might be challenging but doable. (And yes, I am still walking a lot on my runs.) Then I started and I felt fine. And seven minutes later I didn’t feel fine at all. I felt a little weak but not in my legs, I felt like I couldn’t breathe and like my asthma was back a little.

Still, I had promised myself to run all the running intervals without fail.

Halfway through the run I felt like sitting down right there on the side of a field and crying.

This is how nice it looked there:

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And this is how I looked there:

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After that things went slightly downhill. I didn’t want to sit on the side of the field because I had to at least walk home anyway. So I did that with very few and short attempts of running in between. And I wondered what was wrong with me.

When I came home my husband (who had run almost the same loop) said hello and then, „Did you notice that it smelled like mold all the way?”

Um, no.

We had very warm weather with thunderstorms and a little rain all week. Mold loves it damp and warm. And I happen to be allergic to mold. And I had gone back to taking my allergy medication only every other day because there hadn’t been as much pollen in the air.


It also explained why I didn’t smell anything. My nose shuts down when on overload.

So I wasn’t having asthma again. It was just allergies.

So I’ll try again on Monday, with allergy medication, and I think things will go better.

The rest of the day was rather chilled, the boy went out to see a friend (we should put a big red x on the calendar because he left the house, second time this week even) and I sat down to spin in front of TV again:

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I had finished the brown merino the day before and spun the last of some purple merino for a possible lace cardigan. I am starting to make my way through unfinished spinning projects.

Today will be more of the same, talking with my husband, knitting, reading, spinning. I haven’t written for days now and I hope to get back to that today.

Wish me luck.

May 262018

So there is still enough emotional turmoil that I tossed and turned all night and didn’t get enough sleep. I wasn’t feeling tired throughout the day, though, so maybe it was enough after all.

Things are looking up, though, we are settling down again, so that is good.

I did manage to clean the house but first when I wanted to change the sheets on my bed I found that there were no clean sheets in the closet. The other set of sheets was still lingering in the basement waiting to be washed. For two weeks. I decided not to get angry about the mismanagement but instead to find it funny and do a load of whites. The sheets should be dry enough some time today that I can put them on my bed. Crisis averted.

In the afternoon I sat down and plied the brown merino. It is all plied now and wound into a skein. The Giro was exhilarating. Wow.

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I also thought some more about my problems with running at the moment and my lack of motivation and my problems with gait and tempo and decided to change tactics.I won’t do a long run today but instead I will follow a ‚Bridge to 10k‘-app that I bought ages ago. It starts with running/walking intervals and might help me to get things straight. I haven’t found a way yet to connect my heart rate monitor which is a shame.

I did not write a single word, I decided to be gentle to myself and not push it. There must be writing today, though. It looks more and more unlikely that I will finish this story until the end of the month but that is probably not the end of the world.

We are starting to make plans, barbecue and beer garden and such, that will be fun.

I did two loads of laundry, so that was good.

No music, no writing. This should happen again soon. And it will.

May 252018

I was still feeling great and motivated and optimistic this morning when I woke up early after not enough sleep.

And then after breakfast the day started with something that threw me completely off kilter. Emotional turmoil all over. (Sorry, not my story to tell, nobody died or anything.)

So I went and returned the set of dpns I had bought the day before because one of the wooden needles had splintered so that the yarn kept catching. I have to say, the local yarn shop is super-nice, and they exchanged them for another set with no problem.

Then I went running and had another bad run. I felt weak again, not in the muscles, mostly in the head. I walked a lot and got angry at myself for not running further and inside I felt like giving up and sitting down right there. But I didn’t and so I did all five kilometers at a snail’s pace but I did them. And it was nice outside as it always is:

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Not all that sunny, though. But no rain.

After lunch I sat down in front of TV again and spun some more. I finished the rest of the singles that I will need, and tomorrow I will ply. So I can finish the cardigan in progress. I also made great progress on the bulky alpaca sweater. When I went to that meeting the day before I actually took the start of a sleeve with me as my project on the go. Worked well, apart from the splintered needle.

After that the boy and I watched something together, so I basically spent most of my day watching TV. Not the best way to spend a day.

I decided to not force myself to write and to go to bed early, which I did.

Today there will be the cleaning of the house and I will sit and spin again and then I will write some words. My husband and I even started to talk about how to tackle the living room next week. We will do stuff!

May 242018

How great that I got to prove that…

Woke up super-early yet again, and wanted to start writing right away. Did about 300 words while still in bed.

Made nice progress on the sweater I’m knitting, the body is done up to the underarms and so I started the first sleeve.

I went running. It was 6k instead of 5, it was really warm and for some reason I felt weak and a little meh. So I walked a lot and took it slow. My running app decided to crash again, some time after kilometer 4 and not only did I lose all data on that run, I also had to delete and re-install the app and all my progress was lost. Not good. I played around with a few other apps but I don’t really want to subscribe to anything, and so I am a little stumped right now. I will try if I can prevent the app from crashing if I don’t let it run in the background. Because when I still did that it never crashed. It did use more battery, though. Which might be a problem on the longer runs ahead. (And I just realized that I’m doing the wrong week of the training program. Should have done a 5k today, oops.)

But the weather was gorgeous again:

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In the afternoon I spun and watched the Giro and tried writing more words. Which I did. But not as many as I wanted.

And then I taught my one student of the day (still Pentecost break) and went off for that Stammtisch. By train because while my weather app had said there wouldn’t be any thunderstorms until 11 pm or so, this is just a weather app. It can’t really tell the future. And the sky didn’t look all that clear. Not like in the morning. Which was a very good thing because drops started falling from the sky when I was leaving the house and when I left the restaurant in Munich it was raining real hard. Only light rain back home but still. I wouldn’t have liked to be out in a thunderstorm with pouring rain on my bike.

I came home somewhat early but still went to bed way later than usual, of course. Only six hours of sleep.

Today I will run again, and basically do the exact same things I did yesterday. I will have to change my writing habits, though, if I still want to get this thing finished until the end of the month.

I’ll keep you posted.

May 232018

Rather good day. I woke up stupid early but that was alright because I fell asleep stupid early as well.

I had a leisurely morning knitting and reading while drinking my tea:

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This is the giant Carbeth Swan Dance sweater that I’m knitting. Bulky alpaca/merino. One of these days I might match my projects to the season I’m in.

Then I went grocery shopping even though the plan had been that my husband and son would do it this week. But my husband was totally overwhelmed by yard work and so I went first to the health food store where I bought very little, and then to the big grocery store with my bike and when I came back the bike panniers were so heavy I could barely lift them. Carrying the two panniers plus a full backpack, a package of toilet paper and two baguettes all the way from the store to my bike was, um, interesting. I didn’t drop anything so that was good.

In the afternoon I waited for my student to arrive for fifteen minutes and then plopped down in front of TV, watched the Giro d’Italia and spun. I might also have bought yet another book(Amazon-addiliate link). My plan to buy less books has definitely failed this month. I am very happy to have bought them, though. Now I just need to sit down and read them all.

Then I helped very little in the yard because when I went outside it was just in time to put everything away before the next thunderstorm hit. I can’t remember having that many even in the summer. The weather is going rather crazy these days.

Then the boy and I watched another episode of Star Trek: TNG, then I wrote, then I went to bed.

Today there will be running and spinning and writing and music and teaching one lonely student again. And in the evening I will meet a bunch of parents for Stammtisch. I’m hoping to go there by bike but the weather might not cooperate. And while I surely won’t melt when biking in the rain I am a little wary of biking through a thunderstorm. Especially in the woods.

May 222018

I did go to bed on time and woke up at six again. Yesterday was a public holiday here, plus we are having the next two weeks mostly off. (About three student during all that time.)

I had a really leisurely morning with a lot of knitting and reading, and then I went for my usual run:

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Gorgeous weather again.

I’m trying to get faster by running more and walking less but it doesn’t seem to be working. I am also experimenting with shorter steps which seems to be helping with my hip. No pain is definitely good.

In the afternoon the weather was still great, so much so that I spent most of it outside on the porch. Then I felt the dreaded afternoon slump coming on, soI folded a load of laundry and decided to go inside about half an hour before a thunderstorm that brought hail.

I sang a little but did not play the piano or anything, yet again.

Since I wasn’t doing anything productive anyway I did sit down with the spinning wheel in front of TV and watched a documentary. I have now spun half of what I think I need to finish the cardigan-in-progress.

I went off to bed way too early. The boy didn’t want to watch anything together, and so I retired to the warmth and comfort of my bed to write a few words and finish reading one of the books I’m currently reading.

Today I will be teaching one student. I also want to spin and watch the Giro d’Italia again, and if the past few days are any indication that will probably be it for the day.