Apr 022018


Well, nothing noteworthy.

I’m still at my parents’ and I didn’t take a single picture so far. I should remedy that today.

Yesterday I woke up early after going to bed way too late. Bad combination, that.

I managed to write 250 words (and that was it for the day). I set up my bullet journal for April and made some rather delusional goals for the month as usual.

Then I went over to my parents’ and spent the day listening to my father ranting about various things. I still said no to a lot of food but am starting to cave earlier. I’m guessing a two-pound weight gain for the four days. Sounds about right.

We went to my favorite aunt’s in the afternoon for „coffee and cake“. It’s a German thing and about as traditional as British teatime. The cake was excellent. And as usual, I didn’t drink any coffee. Everybody seems to think that I’m a health nut so I got an extra helping of vegetables for lunch (not the best thing for a person who is fructose-intolerant) and got offered green tea in the afternoon (can’t stand the stuff, and don’t drink caffeine after noon – maybe I am a bit of a health nut).

I did manage to extricate myself and walk all the way back on my own which was bliss. Managed to walk all of 5,000 steps today.

And I am really starting to look forward to going running again. I guess I’m over that cold now. I hope.

Today there will be the usual sitting around while people around me talk about stuff I find boring for.a few hours, then we will go out for lunch, then more of the same.

I just found out that there will be construction on the train tracks when I had planned to go back, and that will mean having to take a bus instead of the train and completely changing my plans. If everything goes well that will add an hour to my trip.

My mother offered to drive me to a different train station but that would mean she’d have to drive for an hour instead of me sitting on a bus for half an hour. I think me sitting on a bus is more reasonable. I’d rather have taken the train as planned but that’s not to be.

I’m a little torn between being happy about writing anything at all while traveling, and being angry at myself for not writing thousands of words. Also, I’m starting to miss making music, and today I have regretted not bringing my ukulele.

At home, my husband should have left for Italy which means the boy is home alone now. Well, almost, because my mother-in-law is still at home, and I’m guessing the two will be checking in with each other, and she’ll feed him at least one big meal every day.

Only two more days and one more night, and then I’ll be back home again.

You think I could just click my heels? Pretty please?

Apr 012018

Can you believe it? 200 days of daily blogging. Yeah.

And as I had hoped this daily blogging thing has made blogging more fun again. The only thing I miss is writing long rambling posts about one topic. But they might come back in the future.

And I keep reminding me when I whine about not writing enough that every day I am indeed writing about five hundred words here. That is something. It doesn’t count towards gaining mastery in writing, though, because it’s not really deliberate practice. More like jamming around.

So the travel to my parents went very well. All the trains were on time and not as crowded as usual. I guess most people who were visiting family over Easter traveled the day before.

I didn’t take any snacks after all which made me hungry for most of the train ride. Do you have that too, that the minute you start traveling you want to eat? I’m not quite sure if that’s because there’s nothing to distract and not much to do, or if it’s because travel makes hungry. My father once told me, „You’re like your grandmother. The minute the car left our street she started unpacking the sandwiches.“ Well, not yesterday.

I did have a huge portion of Asian noodles for lunch, so that was good. And I bought a new hair tie.

I have decided to keep my hair up all the time while around my parents because my mother hates it when my hair is long. Now she will know that I have it long but not how long and it doesn’t flow all over the place. This is just one of the weird things I do to try and keep my mother pleased. Which she never is, by the way. It’s one of those relationships.

The weather is nicer than predicted, so that is good. I only got rained on once today, and that was right in the morning when walking to the train station. I carried my damp gloves around in my pocket all day, and they are drying right next to me as I type this.

The train ride was not as productive as planned (and yes, I should stop making these plans). Even though I was sitting in the quiet zone there was a group of people going to a Christening, and I can now tell you most of the life story of one of them. And the other one who is working on her PhD in art history. I really need to get myself noise-canceling headphones. But I think I’d feel weird not hearing what’s going on around me. It might make me more productive and less irritated, though.

I did write 500 words on the train, each one harder than the last. Fun! That’s what you get if you don’t write for several days.

I also had to rip back most of the knitting I did on the train because I hadn’t looked at the instructions properly. It said, „knit to marker two, then knit 58 stitches, wrap and turn“ I knitted 58 stitches and started the wrap and turn and ended up with a rather lopsided object. Then I spent another hour knitting back. Also fun. But now I’m back on track.

I have to say that I only want to knit the Carbeth cardigan right now but that one is at home. I didn’t feel like lugging around 500 grams of bulky yarn.

Deciding to put my clothes and toiletries (and the spare yarn) into the messenger bag, and everything I needed on the train into the backpack was a great decision. All the heavy things were in the backpack. I put the messenger bag up on the luggage rack and had the backpack at my feet. With tea (I ended up taking mint tea after all), and water, and knitting, and the laptop, and the notebook, and the tissues, and the almonds, and the chocolate all right there.

I think the next time I travel I’ll try to make do with just the backpack. If I put my mind to it I could probably travel with a purse but that would severely limit the knitting and spinning I could take. And sitting on a train without knitting is just sad.

I deleted another book from my e-reader. I started reading „The Perfect Fit“ because it sounded interesting, and an author I follow has read it and liked it. I kept reading and yelling at the book in my head, and thinking, „Why is this scene in the book? This doesn’t actually do anything.“ And so I decided that life is too short for books like that and just didn’t finish it. That makes it three books I didn’t finish this month which is a new record.

It also shows that people are more invested in a book if they actually paid for it.

The good thing about it is that now I have a free spot in my KU library so I can read the next Chloe Adler novel when it comes out on Monday. Ha!

And I didn’t bake anything after all. My husband already reminded me that when you mention things in front of my mother she keeps feeling like she is the one who has to do them. So when I tell her that I spun some yarn she feels bad because if she had to spin she’d hate it. And so we decided on not baking. Because if I bake she gets exhausted, or something. (No, that was not said out loud.)

When I left after dinner I took a bottle of beer with me, as one does, and she said, „I did put two glass bottles in the fridge but there is beer in plastic bottles too.“ And I was, like, so what? „Well, the glass bottles are so heavy. You wouldn’t want to carry those back to your hotel.“ Um, when I left home this morning I was carrying a thermos full of tea and a full stainless steel water bottle with me. I left the thermos at your house. Also, I used to lug about twenty more kilos around on my body. Carrying a bottle of beer in my backpack will be perfectly fine. Geez.

Today there will be writing before breakfast, I hope. (My mother said, „Well, I’m usually up around eight and have breakfast between 8.30 and 9. But you can totally sleep in if you want.“ We agreed on nine for breakfast and I thought, „Yeah! That means I have a little more than two hours for writing and meditation and reading and relaxing before I need to go over to them.”

I might be a little hungry by breakfast time, though.

Mar 312018

I have to say that I’m cheating a bit, I’m writing this the night before to get posted today because I have to catch a train before eight.

Yesterday I had planned all kind of things out but instead of cleaning in the morning I wandered around tidying the house and finding things I needed to take with me. Like tissues, and shampoo, and I wound the yarn I wanted to take, and measured the gauge swatch, and decided on a size to knit, and put a big fat note in the pattern that I will have to recalculate everything to do with length because I didn’t get gauge.

It’s funny, the pattern said to hang the swatch for a few days weighted. Well, turns out the springy merino I’ve spun doesn’t grow in length at all. Of course the pattern is meant to be made from something like silk or alpaca, so this is all my own fault. Fortunately I am the proud owner of an app that let’s me calculate the changes easily.

There were penne arrabbiata for lunch. Only without penne because we were out (that pesky shopping list again) but girandole were almost as good.

Then I procrastinated about writing for a bit, as one does, then I started cleaning, and then I wanted to make the Hefezopf but it turned out we were completely out of yeast. Oops. I had bought everything else, and when I went grocery shopping there was still fresh yeast in the fridge. Which turned out to be bad some time during the week. But that’s not a problem because we always have dry yeast. Unless someone uses the last one and doesn’t put it on the grocery list. Oops.

Well. We can survive Easter without it. Probably. I texted my mom and asked her to get the ingredients for the Zopf and made a copy of the recipe. So I guess I’ll spend tonight baking at my parents house.

I will have a pretty tight schedule in the morning to get out of the house in time. And then I’ll spend eight hours on trains and one hour at the station in Hannover. We always plan it like that in case the train is a little late. Eight minutes for changing trains can be a little stressful. Plus there is this Asian place right in the station that has amazing food. That will be my lunch today. I’m really looking forward to that.

It’s all very exciting. And yes, I know that it’s just a trip to my parents where I’ve been dozens of times before. (Not the house I grew up in.) But we’re talking about the woman who almost gets an anxiety attack when she has to go to the grocery store. And yet I do love to travel.

I’m still waffling if I should pack everything into the daypack but it would be.a tight fit. And having a purse might be a plus. I am changing things around, though, I’m not taking the ukulele for once, and I’m packing my clothes and toiletries into the messenger bad that is my purse and everything I need on the train into the backpack. That stuff is much heavier so it’s nicer to carry on my back.

Mar 302018

A thoroughly unproductive day and not really in a fun way.

I did start the Carbeth cardigan in the morning, so that was good.

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Piano tuner was late, as usual, and it was his son coming, not himself. The son thought he was here for tuning my piano. Didn’t know he should install the LifeSaver in the piano. So he went back to the shop and fetched it. Got it installed and even vacuumed behind the piano but couldn’t attach the LEDs to the underside of the keyboard. So he said he’d be back in the afternoon between four and five.

There was a very Bavarian lunch of potato salad and Leberkäs, and then a bit of a break while knitting, and then I realized that I had to stay in the kitchen to wait for him because I didn’t know if he knew that there’s a second doorbell for the annex.

So I waited. And checked instagram, as one does. All afternoon.

He turned up at 4.30, found that the wooden thingy he had made needed something different, worked on it with his cordless drill for a bit and then – broke it.

He’ll come back later some other time. He said that he was sorry about six times or so. I tried to tell him that I know how these things go, it’s perfectly normal that there are complications, no big deal. The LifeSaver works, it’s just the LED-thing hanging in thin air.

Then it was almost time for dinner.

And then the boy texted that he would be late. And I waited for the boy. And for my husband who was outside trying to fix the greenhouse. The panels keep falling off which is a pain. And without the panels the greenhouse isn’t much use.

So my husband and I had dinner rather late, and then I waited for the boy to show up. He was pretty happy that his internship was over. He learned a ton and did actual useful work and even got a bit of money as a bonus.

Then the boy and I watched some TV, and then it was way too late to do the dishes and then I went to bed a little late.

Today there will be the cleaning of the house and the packing and the baking of the Hefezopf and the winding of the yarn and the being nervous because of travel and a shower in the evening because I won’t rush out the house at 7.35 with wet hair.

So, lots to do. Not quite the right mood for writing, I guess, but we’ll see.

Mar 292018

It was all about the spinning yesterday, and I did actually finish the yarn I wanted. Even washed it right before bedtime. So I’m hoping it will be dry and ready to be wound into balls on Friday so that I can take it with me.

In the morning – after the boy had finally gone to work and hour later than we thought he would – just as I was getting ready to take a shower my MIL showed up, saying that the guy who will fix the fence would be coming right away instead of next week.

That was unexpected. I thought it better to shower after lunch instead.

I did teach one student. But before that I sat down, watched some bike racing and spun. And spun. It took me 2 1/4 hours to finish spinning the fiber. The I had that lesson and after that I plied. And plied.

Had dinner.

The plied some more. Right up until bedtime. So there was a lot of watching Netflix again. There is this documentary about breathtaking houses, that was fun.

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Today my piano will get its own lifesaver. The piano tuner will come by at eight to put that in. I have no idea how long that will take. And I’ll probably spend all morning waiting for them to finish.

There will be potato salad and Leberkäs for lunch. There will be some writing, and the making of the packing list, and maybe some baking.

My mother told me that I will not be allowed to walk from the train station to my parents’ house, she will meet me with the car. Apparently walking 2 kilometers is completely out of the question. She always does that, she thinks about how she would feel doing the thing I am doing, and then declares it to be too hard. Or too much work. Since she can’t imagine walking that far with all her luggage while traveling I’m not allowed either.

Never mind that I’ll probably only have half the luggage she’d have (if that) and am used to running 5 kilometers four times a week. I am about to give up pointing that out to her, or saying things like, „I’ll be happy to walk after sitting all day on the train.“ The concept of getting aches and pains because you didn’t move enough is completely foreign to her.

That visit will be great fun for sure.

Last day of internship for the boy. He has been a little grumpy that all his friends have had this week off already. I can totally understand but I still think it does him good.

And then Easter. I’m only home for Good Friday where we don’t really do anything, and then I’ll be traveling all Saturday.

Mar 282018


Feels like I barely did anything yesterday but in fact, I did quite a bit.

I went grocery shopping to two stores and picked the two pairs of pajamas that I had ordered for the boy up from a third one. I made myself frozen pizza for lunch. And then I sat down and spun the whole afternoon. First while watching the book cover design course all to the end and then watching some shows. I have only forty grams of fiber left before I can ply the first half or so. Probably a little more. I’m hoping to spin that all up tomorrow, maybe even ply it in the evening and wash it. That would be perfect.

I got some couscous veggie-thing for the boy for dinner and heated that up, and I boiled some eggs to go with sandwiches for my husband and me. Did all the dishes on time. Hung up laundry. I was really relieved that the clothes I’ll need over the weekend are finally washed.

Feels like I didn’t do a thing because I spent all afternoon in front of the TV. But spinning about sixty grams of merino is nothing to sneeze at. Which I did a lot. Right now the cold is wandering down to my voice again. Just lovely.

I also tested the rain jacket and shoes I want to take with me next weekend. Today it was about the same temperature it will be next Saturday and while I was a little cold, I was fine. I am not schlepping two jackets with me for four days, so I’ll settle for being a little cold on Sunday and a little too warm on Tuesday.

The boy forgot when he needed to be ready this morning so I had to get up at six. Ugh. Then it turned out that he had to leave the same time as usual so I could have slept half an hour longer.

Well, I could have left him to fend for himself but getting breakfast ready in the morning for him is really important to me. My mother always had a hard time getting up (she always stayed up too late watching TV) and so when I was eight years old I wanted an alarm clock, and once I had that I started making her coffee in the morning, and shortly after I stopped eating breakfast. I drank a glass of soda, made my own sandwiches to take to school and that was it. And so one of the few things that I really wanted to do if I ever had my own kids was to get up, cheerfully and on time (which I don’t always manage) and make breakfast and their snacks. The other thing is reading to them at night before bed. Which I did up to the point when the boy asked me to stop because he could read on his own. Turns out that, like both my husband and I, he does like reading better than being read to.

Today I’ll be teaching one student, and spin a lot and maybe write a little. With my voice getting worse again I have given up all hopes of recording the podcast this week. It’s all good. I’ll just do it next week. Sick is sick.

You’d think that without all the exercise I’d have oodles of time, and it does make my mornings a little lighter but somehow it doesn’t make as much of a difference as you’d think.


Mar 272018

The good thing about being sick is that I don’t attempt to do all.the things. The bad thing is that I feel as bad as last week. Meh.

I did not spend the day in bed, though. I looked for some yoga for when you’re sick online and did that (and found that I’m surprisingly stiff), and I helped making lunch, and did the dishes, and talked to my husband who is agonizing about maybe buying a new bass guitar, and I knitted another gauge swatch for the Carbeth cardigan that looks more promising, and then I spent most of the afternoon spinning and watching Netflix. First a documentary about the Minimalists and then more „Grace and Frankie“ after dinner.

I taught one student and I played the piano for about ten minutes.

I even cooked dinner for the boy.

I also finished the Hedgerow socks in the morning. I was pretty surprised that it only took me a little more than thirteen hours to make them. I would have thought I needed more time than that.IMG 1217

That little experiment also showed me that most days I knit for about half an hour in the morning. Sometimes it’s a full hour but not much more.

Funny, when I list my day like that it sounds pretty busy. Didn’t feel like it, though.

Today there will be a trip to the health food store, and I will have to make my own lunch for once because my husband is going out with a friend again. There will be loads of spinning and maybe even some writing even if I don’t feel very well.

Mar 262018

For the past few days I have been angry at myself for not getting enough done, especially with the writing.

So yesterday I set my alarm at 7 because of the start of daylight savings time; I decided to go to bed early and set it half an hour later than usual, and I managed to sleep for eight blissful hours.

I got up, had a somewhat late breakfast, and then started writing, so that was good. My husband got up around the usual time, the boy slept in (he will be so tired tomorrow morning!) and I called my mother on the phone to discuss the food for next weekend.

I helped my husband make bifteki, baked potatoes, tsatsiki, and fried eggplant and it was delicious. Didn’t look like much, though, so no picture.

And then the same thing happened as the last few days. I sat down after doing the dishes for a little break and somehow never got around to doing anything. Mind you, that happens a lot when I have a day off but not like this.

And then it hit me. My voice is still not quite there (I can talk but not for too long), and I still am having a sore throat and now the whole thing also has moved upwards into my sinuses.

So, of course I am not productive. I’m still sick. Not lying in bed with a fever sick but sick enough to not exercise (wah!) and to run out of energy after lunch. Duh.

I will now stop flogging myself for just hanging around reading instead of writing and go a bit slower.

Then I read through some blog posts in my feed reader and stumbled upon Kate Davies’ Carbeth for the umpteenth time. She even has made a cardigan version now, which I find much better than a pullover. I always thought that this would look hideous on me because of my shape. I do love, love boxy cropped tops but they usually make me look really fat. Also I thought that the lines in the front would look bad with a bigger bust. But. Then I looked through a ton of pictures on ravelry, pulled out some yarn that I still had in my stash.

I might make myself a Carbeth cardigan out of alpaca/merino yarn! It will be insanely warm for sure. I even started swatching right away.

The boy and I watched a little TV while I spun and I went to bed almost on time.

Today there will be one student and maybe a little yoga instead of the running and a lot of spinning. Some writing too.

Mar 252018

I went for a walk, the first exercise all week. I’m still not a hundred percent. And I don’t like it.

There was Nusszopf for breakfast for my husband and the boy, I had some in the afternoon.

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I did bake the bread I had prepared yesterday.

And that was basically it. I started writing right after breakfast but then my husband came when I was a mere 120 words in. I spent all afternoon trying to get myself to write and failed.

The boy and I watched some Star Trek and an episode of „How I Met Your Mother“.

I spent all morning knitting a huge gauge swatch for my next sweater. I didn’t get gauge with any needle but I think I might be close enough. I still am not sure which needle I want to use. I like the fabric that the 2.5 mm and the 2.25 mm needles make but the 2 mm needle is closest to the gauge the pattern calls for. The fabric seems a little stiff to me, though. By the way, the pattern tells me to use 3.5 mm needles.

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The swatch has been washed and is drying as I type. Tomorrow I’ll measure it after washing, and then I will actually hang it up with a bit of weight hanging off the bottom to see how it behaves then.

I am spinning already, before finishing all that swatching because I want the yarn – or at least about half the yarn – ready by Saturday. That will be fun,

My mother is already driving me slightly crazy and I haven’t even talked to her in person yet. That will be interesting.

I have also started to think about packing. Okay, I did that weeks ago, but now it’s starting to get real. I tried googling, „Minimalist packing for knitters“ but got nothing. I wonder why. Though there is this one woman who hiked through Scotland gathering samples of different Scottish breeds. She had a small backpack (that held all her camping equipment, a spindle and knitting needles) and hiked all over the place while spinning.

She did something very similar in Wales as well, and that time she only took a tarp instead of a tent.

So my packing should be much easier.

I looked at general tips on minimalist packing, and as usual most sites had lists that for me would include packing everything I regularly wear. I think, that this time I’ll take my laptop so that I can write. Never mind that I’ve never managed to write while traveling before. And I will take the ereader and the iPad and as much wool as I can spin until then. I thought about it and I will have at least 20 hours of prime knitting time on this four day trip.

Since my mother won’t like what I’ll be wearing anyway I will probably just take one pair of jeans, one cardigan and one shawl, and then a change of underwear, socks and a t-shirt. I will take makeup which always is pretty heavy and takes up space, the knitting, a notebook, a pair of pajamas and all the electronics. And a few snacks. The food on the trains has become somewhat unreliable in the past few years. I can’t depend on getting a meal on the train anymore so I won’t.

I don’t think I’ll take the ukulele this time. So I might be able to squeeze everything into my daypack. Or I might have to take an extra purse. Which will be extra heavy because I’ll put the laptop and everything in there.

Aren’t you glad I’m telling you about my exciting life?

Today there will be writing (for real this time) and music and I don’t quite know what else. I’ll have to make a list.

This time I actually thought about the beginning of daylight savings time. I count that as a plus.

Mar 242018

So that was a semi-productive day.

I did get everything ready and the house clean in time to go out for lunch with my dear husband, so that was nice. Came home in time to teach my sole student of the day, and then I basically sat around procrastinating about writing. I tend to do that a lot. No, I’m not proud of it.

I made bread dough to be baked today, and I baked Nusszopf. It was weird, when I was looking for the baking pan I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I actually went upstairs and asked my husband who had two students there, one leaving and one getting ready for his lesson. I felt rather guilty about asking in such a bad moment but I was desperate. The dough was already sitting there and I didn’t know what to bake it in.

„Oh, that one,“ he laughed, „um, I didn’t know that you’d need it.“ That sounded ominous. „I used it to store the potatoes I had set aside for planting in the yard.

Right. My very new baking dish, the one that I had gotten explicitly for the Nusszopf that both my husband and my son love to eat for breakfast, the one that was somewhat pricey and had only been used thrice, that one was the one he used for the potatoes. Not any of the other baking pans and forms and such that are sitting in the basement slightly rusty and neglected.

Well, at least it was easy to get the potatoes out, and to wash the dish, and then I made the cake.

The boy came home, carrying a frozen pizza and I realized that I was just using the oven which meant that he would have to wait with dinner until the oven was free again. Oops.

He was a good sport, we talked about his day and then he got his dinner after the Zopf was done.

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The boy didn’t want to watch anything so I sat down in front of the last episode of „Dollhouse“ with my spinning wheel and spun another 20 grams as a sample for the cardigan I want to make.

Had another beer, went to bed too late, and that was that.

Today there will be walking (I’m still not up to running, meh.) and music and writing (lots of writing, I’m behind again) and maybe some microphone tests, Who knows maybe I’ll even press the fabric for the dress I want to make.

Isn’t that exciting?