How to enjoy perfection

When something’s perfect it nurtures a deep need in me. It’s not an “Oh, that’s nice” kind of thing. It’s a fundamental, existential kind of thing.

Especially when humans are involved in the creation of perfection I experience a deep and total sense of happiness. Fulfillment even.
On such occasion I feel the full extent of being a human myself, of being part of a society and of the advancements that come from dedication, attention and precision. I feel very connected to the person who put in the dedication and created perfection. It’s like a dialogue and I am actively participating, even though all I do is observe or notice.

A perfect meal. A perfect performance. A perfect art work. A perfect wedding. A perfect urban project. A perfect piece of writing. A perfect scientific experiment. A perfect political summit. A perfect cup of coffee.
When things are just right, it gives enormous pleasure.

Seeing how things could be perfect is a trait many people have.
“If they would just….”
“If only they had….”
Wether it be crafting supplies or politics, if “they” would only aim a little higher, co-operate a little better, think things a little more through!
Then the world would be perfect.

I have a personality type INFJ (or INTJ) that revels in these traits. Both the need for perfection and the habit of seeing things in the big picture.
I think in broad concepts. I see the world as a whole, where everything is intertwined. Where everyone is connected. Both from the present and the past.
Reality gets me very frustrated because it’s nitty and in gritty nature and things seldom end up júst right.

When I was young I wanted to fix the world. “Just give me the reigns and I will wash this puppy clean!”
Minister of State, that was going to be me. (I was oblivious to the nature of politics, a game I don’t play well.)

When my brother died unexpectedly reality came right to my doorstep en kicked me in the shins. (and smeared poop all over my door and set my house on fire)
I was not having it. I would not accept a world where my brother would just die at age 19, from a natural cause. (myocarditis from a flu virus)
So I didn’t. I sat there, arms folded, glaring at reality, waiting for it to behave.
It didn’t.
Slowly I learned that life is not perfect and that I am no player in its match.

Now I still see many scenario’s in life that would lead to perfection, or at least a diminishing of human suffering, if only “they” would do so-and-so.
But I’ve learned to bear the frustration that “they” will do not. And that that’s ok. Because that is how life works. And reality.

I now try to identify and cope with trends I see and that will affect my life.

For example, around me the landscape changes. Nature will have less of a place. Animals will disappear. Silence will never return.
People are building things, operate factories, drive cars and trucks. This is life.
I would love for it to be different. But that’s a dream that’s never going to be.
So instead I will view my cabin and its little patch of nature as a little getaway form the city. No longer shall I compare it to the vast nature reserves of Norway or the landscape of historical Netherlands. When I instead compare it to the little post stamp gardens from the city, it feels so much better. I appreciate the bird species, the various bees, the hares that live around my cabin.
I appreciate what is, not what could have been.

Another example: the changes in society. People now live faster. They decide quicker whom they like, whom they dislike. There’s more shouting in the streets, less talking to the neighbour. There are more crowds and more unsanitary behaviour induced by crowds. Even entertainment is influenced by the larger number of people it serves: big plastic prevails. If it looks the part it’s good enough, it doesn’t have to bé the part. Illusion is magic enough.
As a society the Netherlands have long lost their trait of tolerance and hospitality (if we ever wore those badges rightfully).
Perhaps we need to because this country is growing fuller and fuller. When people live close together, social attitudes change, no doubt.

Instead of moaning about the good old times when you could leave your bicycle unlocked (and so many things were wrong behind closed doors) I could take an interest in the humanity flux. Observe it. Theorize about it. Pretty much like Desmond Morris did 50 years ago in The Human Zoo.

I could look at Japan and New York, to get an idea where the Netherlands could be heading. And what gems emerge in those two settings that might grow here too.
Gems in the sense of urban structures such as small vegetable patches on rooftops. But also in the urban society where new communities rise, gathered around subjects old-country-people could have never imagined. Dungeons and Dragons, Graffity and Skateboarding are some of these subjects I remember from the 20th century. I wonder what would be the current things.

But let’s go back to my desire to enjoy perfection.
Over time I have learned to curb my desire for perfection in the big things of life.
Life and death; politics; economical progress; education system; world health etc.
They are well and good out of my reach. And thinking I could define perfection in any of these subjects would amount to megalomania.

Then there are the slightly smaller things where I personally still have no influence over and where perfection depends more clearly on the action of specific people.
Fashion; TV-series; music industry; craft supplies; husbandry; media coverage; internet behaviour; monetary art appreciation; genetic manipulation of crops and animals etc.
I do well to stay away from expecting perfection in any of these areas too.
I could think about it though, how perfection would look like in any of these areas. But it would end up in frustration because it never will.
Better to realize the imperfections whenever I deal with any of these scenes and work with them. Remember that the paper lies exaggerates so don’t get worked up about something stupid or insensitive it reports. Realize forum users are just people, the majority of them good hearted (albeit a bit clumsy verbally). Get your crops from a farm far away from GM crops.

But I still have that craving for enjoying perfection. I would very much like to experience perfection in my life. It makes me feel alive.
So I turned to subjects that are under my control.

But I’d be a fool if I strived for perfection in the big things in my life. Career, marriage, my body, friendships, other things that are close to the heart. These are just the things that will cripple a perfectionist if she focuses on any of them.

Because these are the things that will never be perfect.
And these are the things that will need more time and energy to get to perfection than any human can invest.
Stay away from trying to make these things perfect.
Enjoy the kinks and wrinkles in them instead, they are illustrations of how reality works. Noticing and “forgiving” the imperfections lets you personally off the hook too, there’s no need to demand perfection from yourself in these areas. Just like you do not demand perfection from your friends, your colleagues or they way your body operates.

So I decided to feed my perfection-hunger in the small things of life. The things where 20% effort gives 80% result and the last 20% result do not require an 80% effort.
Things that do not matter if they are imperfect.
But when they are perfect, I enjoy them sincerely. The full bouquet of attention to detail, dedication and an expert sense for proportions, colour and material is to be noticed and enjoyed.

It’s like fine art. But with humble subjects.
Japanese martial arts, including the arts of Sumi-é and Ikebana, come to mind.

A perfect cup of tea.
Stroking the cat just right.
Arrange silver ware on the table perfectly.

I’m not talking about “enjoy the simple things in life”
I’m saying: “Scratch your perfection-itch with the small stuff. And get to work on the big stuff. Sweaty, fallible work.”

In my life I have chosen like this:
I’ll strive for perfection in cups of tea and hobbies and once in a while Japanese food.
As art and design need to be perfect in my mind, which is a personal opinion that I cannot defend nor escape, I have assigned them the label of “hobbies”. That means I get to play around and aim for perfection but results in reality are not mandatory. Public recognition as an artist is off the table. (I’m astounded, I just reach this conclusion, writing this paragraph)

Getting results, getting public recognition (for my sweaty and imperfect work), will be on the subjects that I enjoy doing but that do not wear the yoke of perfection (for me). They are writing (both scientific journalism and little stories) and illustrating (of those stories).
So that will be my job. (wait, what?! astounded again. This is it?)(It sounds like it.)(It’s logical.)(I’d love it.)

I know all this thinking is a roundabout way for organizing ones life. Who else thinks like that? But that’s the way I’m wired and that’s what works for me. I need some sort of conceptual structure of life, me and the world I live in. Some concept of how to interpret the daily hours for me to live in happily.
I blame INFJ:

INFJ’s always need to have a cause. People with this personality type always want to know that they are moving toward a worthy goal and may feel disappointed and restless if this is not the case.

You say it like it’s a bad thing…

Anyway. If that’s my trait, and I concede it is, I need a way to work with it. I think I’ve found one.
But I also may be an INTJ, I’m not sure. I do have mayor extroverted thinking going on and I don’t recognize myself in the airy, floaty image of INFJs that is often presented.
Either way: Introverted Intuition for the win!

Illustrator: brushes arrived.

This morning my new brushes arrived.


These are some of the handmade brushes from Rosemary&Co
Some of the brushes have that magic Russian weasel fur, Kolinsky, and some have red sable. Three have synthetic variations of some kind. I bought two thicknesses. Thin (#2) and not-so-thin (#5).
They’re meant to give expressive, fluid lines. To make for interesting black drawings.

Rosemary&Co is a small family business in the UK. My order was processed in the evening and send in the morning. Next day they were here, quick, secure and well protected. It felt like sympa post!

(Do you know “sympa”? It is a French expression meaning “sympathetic”. I picked it up in the ’80s. Not sure if they still use it. We were hip in the ’80s!)

The post arrived just as I finished writing the blog post before this. That’s what I used my one hour uptime for today. Write that post. Then go lay down.
Dingeling! The post. Not only with these brushes but also with the High Frequency shielding fabric for my cage of Faraday.

I know I ought to go lay down. But I could not leave those parcels alone. Had to see the fabric. Had to see the brushes. Then I hád to test them. I was so curious and so full of anticipation.
My new, well meant daily routines are not implemented as easily as they are written down…

So I went upstairs to my lovely attic and tried the brushes, with the ink I bought the other day, in my green owl notebook. Just a few swirls with each brush, to get a feel for them.
I’ll describe the results in a minute. First I want to admit that the rest of today I paid dearly for that indulgence. When I finally laid down after playing with the brushes, and really, that only took about 20 minutes!, I fell down hard. I even fell asleep for two hours from which I have not awakened properly. Ever since I’ve woken from that sleep I’ve wanted to eat carbohydrates (and have done so). I forgot to drink water. I forgot to go to the toilet. I forgot to put the central heating on, I’ve been cold all day. Miserable even. Groggy too.
I have not been able to do anything that involves the brain or the heart. No thinking, no drawing, no knitting, no social interaction on the internet. Not even talk to my husband.
I did take a bath -which broke me even more, energy wise- but only because I had to. I am visiting my doctor tomorrow and … well… I wasn’t very presentable… olifactorial speaking…
Ah, the social pressure to smell flowery… As if my doctor cares. Or even notices, as he will be sitting across from me, behind a desk, not interested in my actual physique at all. Only in the functional representations of it on paper.
So my dear, listen to yourself, if you have concluded that one of the few things you MUST do on a day is laying down and rest after you’ve had your one hour activity in the morning, then DO SO. Stop messing about!

Here’s the brushplay that made me do it:

Such a joy!
The skills and techniques I’ve developed doing Japanese brushwork (sumi-é) are welcomed by these brushes. Even though they are different from Japanese brushes. My Japanese brushes I only use on rice paper, which is smooth.
These kolinsky and nylon brushes I’d use on paper. They do very well with the drawing ink. I recognize some of the loading characteristics I know from my Japanese brushes. It was a joy to do!

I look forward to playing some more. Even ink a drawing I made earlier in pencil. Just for the fun of it. Playing with the ink, with the thickness of the line, it is really fun.
I do need to get to know these brushes much better of course. They do not do what I expect or want them to. But most of them are excellent tools, behaving much better than any ordinary brush I’ve ever used.

Reading at the comic-tools blog I discovered that a lot of people are put of of brushes because of substandard commercial brushes. I sure can tell these brushes from Rosemary&co are in another league.

I also am reading 20-questions-to-cartoonists and I am delighted to learn that there are other people who have a rough time getting themselves to the drawing table. They invent all kinds of procrastinations. But when they dó finally sit down and bring a pencil of brush to the paper, they are deliriously happy.
I’ve never read about these experiences. They are exactly like mine. It’s a ridiculous thing, to postpone the thing you like to do most. I am glad to read I am not alone.
With me there’s a bit of an extra difficulty in that I only have that one hour in the morning. If I hide and procrastinate only for that little while, the opportunity for that day is gone.
Now, at evening, I am full of plans and good intentions. I will sit down tomorrow and draw!
But it’s such another story in the morning…

get up, visit doctor
drink tea
rest or DRAW
get things and drive to the cabin

get up
visit apple tree nursery

get up
vacuum or clean sheets on bed

shitshitshit, there needs to be new food cooked on Saturday! Chicken soup for the rest of the week probably.
shitshit, I’ll be too tired to do it on Saturday. Will postpone it till Sunday. But then one of the other things has to go: the drawing or the vacuuming (which is really necessary and also important to make me feel good in the cabin for the rest of the week)(or shall I just go back to the city for another week? That gives all other kinds of practical problems… which are solvable).
shit, this really isn’t easy.

five jobs: Started to draw (no pictures yet)

I have begun to draw. The beginning of my job as an illustrator, I hope. One of my five jobs.

This is a weird job. I can’t sit at the table at 9 in the morning, get my stuff and start working. Drawing for me is done in that minute between other things you want to do. I have to do my day and have a notebook handy and just when I’m about to get up and make some tea, I stop myself and instead draw for 45 seconds.

There has to be absolutely no pressure. Of course I started to dream up future publications and merchandize immediately which made the no-pressure-thing pretty obvious pretty quick. When the world emporium ambitions started, my scetchbook stayed empty or had just a few schematic drawings. “I’ll fill in the details later” is a red flag for me. That means I’m thinking, not drawing.

No dreaming of publications at any time because not only does it kill my drawing I’ll also alter my work to what I perceive to be the publics preferences. Right now I need to draw for fun. Draw something because the subject interests me. Because spacial relations interest me. Because lines interest me. They do, they do, they do.

I’ve been at it for a few days now and some old familiar feelings have sprouted. The feelings I know from back when I was an artist. Things like these:

  1. there’s a buzz. A restlessness. It lingers all day (and night). My mind is preoccupied with art, it is always in the back of my mind. I have to juggle this restlessness with the ones I experience from too much chocolate, too little hormones, too much Copper and the legal procedures about that darn manure factory they’re planning across the road.
  2. I see more. Everywhere I look I see lines and textures and subjects. And beauty. It’s a wonderful eye to have.
  3. The need to adjust the compass constantly. For example, I have to remind myself that not every art that is possible needs to become in existence. It’s ok to not draw something that would be beautiful and/or loved by others. Take a breath, take it easy. Another example: I tend to turn away from things that really fascinate me and go to safer things. These safer things I make into style exercises and I convince myself that that’s important. I need to stop this ratio-cackle and just draw for the fun of drawing. Last example: the inner critic. A well known voice for many people. It looks at what’s in my notebook and finds it appalling. Childish. It probably is. But that’s no reason to criticize it. I’ll need a lot of practice anyway, to find my own style. AND I need to accept my own hand of drawing, not try to draw like some of the artists I admire.

Really fascinating subjects: alternative stories to well known fairytales. Or something weird I saw in Dublin. But they are hard to render onto paper. Because it all has to come from the mind. There’s no model.

Easier and safer subjects and just as much fun: drawing the cat. In various styles. Or taking interesting artists and studying their work (with a pencil).

Well, this is what I’m doing. In between things.

Here’s an artist I’m looking at at the moment: Kay Nielsen

wonderful compositions.

pictures by Amber Case, caseorganic on flickr

ps that inner critic is a drag. It also gives me lip about how this blog is looking. With all the words. When pictures are so much easier to look at. Well….



Marbles in a Row: Cake or Death?

Say you’re an engineer. You see the world through the eyes of an engineer: you like theories but you live by results, tangible results. When results do not support a theory there’s a fascinating puzzle to solve and you can get obsessed by it.

The puzzle doesn’t have to do with gears or bridges to get you going, I know of an engineer that solved the puzzle of his own Diabetes I. He wrote his solution down in a book and became a doctor to help others.

say cheese-spikes-bloodsugar-too-but-not-as-much, dr. Bernstein!

To be honest: he initially became a doctor because doctors can order certain tests that engineers cannot. Becoming a doctor was a smart solution, one typically chosen by an engineer. Thinking out of the box, getting things done.

To me dr.Bernstein is an inspiration. He took control of his own illness. Thought along with his physicians. Proposed theories, did experiments and solved the puzzle. With Diabetes I -making no insuline of any importance- he manages his daily life so he does not need insuline besides the base line dosis that keeps him from keeling over. He does not need any insuline to cover his food intake. Now that’s clever. He solved the puzzle and lives to enjoy that every day of his life.

He’s also honest about the mental implications of having found a solution. The pangs of everyday.

Whenever he passes a bakery with all its delicious smells and sights his body and mind react. They want cake! This hurts. He can’t have cake. His health is too precious to him to risk it. No cheating. But still, this hurts. On a core level because carbohydrates are the treats of life and we are programmed to covet them. But no, he’ll be sensible and grown up and do the right thing. Still hurts a bit though.

That’s ok. Things will hurt. There will be yearning and things you cannot have and plans that fall through and disappointments. We can cry a little. And then we sigh a little. And then we move on. To the things we do have and can enjoy. I find it very uplifting to know that dr. Bernstein’s solution is something he works on every day, also when he’s blue or sad or grumpy. Those are the times it really matters. Dr. Bernstein is honest about how he copes during those times and that is inspirational. Because he’s honest about being human.

Now then. I’m an engineer. I now have this black box called a body and recently I’ve been putting other things than usual in it an results are stunning. Albeit not 100% repeatable and not covered by theories very well.

I have some parts of the puzzle. Stakes are high. Part of the problem is that my mind is clouded by the supplements I take. Excitotoxins and heavy metals are floating in my brain. Sugar too. Messing up my thought processes and also messing up my self image. Tricky.

Today I am here as your engineer to present (to me) some sort of plan to handle this:

  1. I’ve gone back in time and once again have only one hour of coherent mental activity per day.
  2. this hour need to be accompagnied by physical activity because only this will help eliminate the excitotoxins from my system
  3. since the rest of the day knows brainfog more or less a checklist must be in place to remember to do/eat the right things at the right times (yeah, checklist!)
  4. low doses of supplements that will exit the body within a day means I should not have to worry about long term damage (liver! it hurts a little) and that this is not a regression in health. Symptoms should reside in a few days if I stop and the true base line of my illness will present. The one from March 2013 and its progress from then on.
  5. all other knowledge about my body is still correct and should be used (stomach works in marble sized morsels so eat small portions. This will aid the liver too.)
  6. two excellent tips from two dear knitter friends:

“Allow yourself to fret for 20 minutes. Then put aside your worries for another day.”

“You say you can feel in your gut if something is good for you. If you have doubts, they too will be felt in your gut.”

Now follows my daily checklist for this period in time:

  • eat one egg yoke, drink tea, have vit.D
  • ease into the day for a bit. End this period with some npc.
  • have your second breakfast (chicken soup) with supplements (m-B12, m-folate, lithium, multi-gland, vit D, vit C, zinc). Soup contains some foliage for brushing down the bowels.
  • do something vertical for about an hour (sewing, write a lettre, vacuum, put something away, laundry, weaving, cooking, take picture, block FO, something from the to-do list) and prepare project for resting (which knitting project of hand sewing?). This hour uses up the blood sugar and helps eliminating excitotoxins
  • wash face, brush teeth.
  • rest (one hour). Cover yourself with a blanket, you’ll get cold as your energy goes into your duodenum. Watch a movie, knit something simple.
  • the rest of the day is free for doing fun things and resting on the couch. Have a look outside once and awhile. Eat soup. Drink tea. Drink water with lemon juice. Feel free to be brainfogged. Allow and aid your body to take out the waste. Eat some carrots to provide extra roughage.
  • go to the toilet whenever you think about it
  • this will take a couple of months. Forget about work during this time. Don’t fret.

NB. I’ve making butter cakes lately: a glutenfree, sugarfree version of the famous Dutch Boterkoek. (It’s not really sugarfree, I put in one fig because I felt like it)

I use 250 grams of excellent full fat butter (I use Demeter, a non-homoginized organic butter); 250 grams of rice flour; some salt; quite a bit of pepper; a lot of chopped ginger (one or two fingers worth); lemon peeled skin of half a lemon and one chopped fig.

mix it all in a round baking form. No need to line the form with grease or wax paper. Put in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celcius. Let it cool, put it in the fridge. Delicious the next day!

Dear engineer,

remember the basics: the stomach only takes food one marble at the time. Blood sugar rises ridiculously, even with small bits of food, and this cake has both starches and fig sugar in it. So temper your intake of this delicious cake. Whenever you have had some and feel a physical yearn for another piece, you have taken too much. Do something else for 20 minutes to let the blood sugar levels calm down. Best thing to do is physical activity to get rid of the sugar without having to use insuline. Insuline is a poison. But a better poison than (blood) sugar.

best whishes,

your better half.

ok. Here’s Eddie Izzard on youtube with Cake or Death and a design by Defiant Damsel over on Etsy:

today’s job: landscape designing on the couch

Whenever returning from the city to the cabin, I always have a fresh eye for the surroundings and its possibilities.

Today an idea emerged for the piece of meadow that lies adjacent to our patch of forest. When we just purchased this land we stripped away the fertile soil and put it into ridges (it holds apple trees and nettles in which birds nest). The non-fertile part sprouted all kinds of herbs that usually do not get a chance on rich nutritional soil.

Unfortunately the meadow is surrounded by willows and birches, they scatter their seeds around. Both of them are pioneer trees, born to populate a piece of barren land. Each year we mow away the sproutlings – we should carry off the waste to preserve the poor quality of the ground but it is too much work for us at the moment. Slowly the poor ground regains nutrition and grass is coming back. Herbs are retreating.

these were the emotions that washed trough us over the years:

1. hope and happiness when we first landscaped the patch

2. joy when the first herbs bloomed

3. frustration when we couldn’t keep up with the maintenance.

4. denial and hiding of the problem. Ending in defeat and sadness.

5. bravery and tranquility when aknowledging the ‘new’ points of references

6. surprise at the new possibilities

7. new hope.

Now our ‘new’ point of reference for the meadow are:

  • Willows and birches will grow. We will mow them. But will not take away the waste. The ground will enrich. There still will be various micro climates and hopefully some sort of variety in plants will remain.
  • The meadow grows very wet in winter. Ducks will live there, bobbing on the water.
  • In Summer it is dry and Very Hot on the meadow. This is good for brambles and apple trees and dragon flies and all kinds of wildlife. However, it is not very fun to be out on the meadow in midday in Summer, it is too hot. A pity because we both like to explore between the ridges and look at the different species of dragon flies and butterflies.


The new idea that sprouted in my head while I lie here on the couch resting: build a construction of living willow on the meadow.

A place to sit and cool in the Summer heat. A green, leafy place.

these are the creations by Annette Rehle, a willow specialist from Germany: Natur in Form.

oohoo, imagine such a sofa, with a felted sheep fleece on top. Comfy! And hidden amongst the green.

oh! I could make a maze of willow tunnels near the road, where we couldn’t scrape away the top soil because of the oak trees and their root systems. Wouldn’t that be fun.

I also dream of a traditional Dutch row of willows next to the sleat. It is part of our cultural heritage. You do maintanance every other year. Lots of birds and bugs love to live in these trees.

ps. In Germany the Willow is called ‘Weidenbaum’ = “meadow tree”. So true!

ps2.  I’m still grateful for that moment when I wrapped my brain around the patch of land instead of trying to make the land obey my brain possibilities loom and bloom.

good days working: artist and writer

again it works, my idea of having one job per day.

yesterday I was an artist once more. I saw a piece of art on a wall in a tv series that fire started me -am I the only one?- and I took out my artist note book. It prompted sketches for wood block prints where you lose pieces of the wood during the print process. Combined with women figures. But people, you see. Who happen to be women. People with an inner life, an inner existence. Which cannot be determined because all we have is exterior and colours and paper and words.

The series was Dem Som Draeber, nr.6. In Thomas’ house.

Other series of which I recall wall art vividly are Dexter (in the house he and Rita lived in, there’s a flowery piece, mostly on the left side of the shooting frames. I love to remake it more boldly, with more distinquised blobs in more layers); Will and Grace (the portrait in their apartment. I always want to enhance its colours and contrast yet give it more subtleness and vulnerability)

The timing of these sketches was not as organized as I had imagined. In the morning, my ‘gold mine hour’ slipped through my hands when I collapsed after going nr. 2. (is this too specific? My bodily system cannot rebalance itself it seems after that natural thing. Nor after a shower. Or if you startle me (by sound or touch). I think it matters to notice such things because it gives a clue. Must have something to do with the Nerves Vagues, bloodpressure, intercellular pressure and electrolytes.)

Anyway, I spend the morning on the couch. The afternoon too. It was only late in the day that I got going again and then suddenly I was able to work on some art.

Today I am writing. Again, lots of circumnavigating such as surfing, writing here and making cups of tea. But still, I have written a bit on bacteria and I am enjoying the work. I’ll get back to it now.

Thursday morning, better be safe

<insert swear words here>

I did get started on a shawl pin. I have this design that is wanted and I got about half way making another one. Then I got really tired, probably time for digestion nap.

got to the couch, laid down, put Dexter on, started knitting. Stomach started singing, so far so good.

After about an hour I got more and more drowsy. Unhappy too. I got up, realizing I had not put on the central heating hot enough (it needs to be 15 degrees celcius to be comfortable for me. Below that I get unhappy. Above that it feels too luxurious. (normal people hav 18 degrees as a minimum and 21 degrees as an average. I’m working on that, it has to do with “I’m not worthy”)

I sat on a chair, waiting for the temperatur to rise. I felt utterly miserable. It is a pity solutions don’t come into effect the moment you set them in motion. It was a miserable wait, really eroding the base for my optimism.

Still, the drowsyness remained. This is progesteron overdose drowsyness. Did I not eat enough? this pill worked yesterday. How come it is too much today?

It is a bit of a dangerous drowse. I cannot control my motor skills very good, I cannot hink very clear. It’s the kind of drowsiness that really depends on the habits and safety precautions I have put in place before. I need to be able to rely on the habit of locking doors after using; of shutting of the stove after heating something; of concentrating where I put my feet when walking; of checking where the cat sleeps so I do not sit on top of here when I flop down somewhere.

It is the kind of drowsiness that depends on me having prepared food in advance. Of having some nice sites to visit to cheer me up. Of having a checklist (room temperature? took al my pills? etc)

It’s a drag. I hate it. I hate having to think in advance and put habits and precautions into place when I’m clear headed. I hate the time I am waisting right now, now I cannot do anything. I hate feeling sad and having to wait before measures take effect. I hate the rollercoaster this is because it is <another swearword> tiresome and I don’t have much of that to spare.

If you’ll excuse me now, I have to try and transport a cup of non-caffeine coffee + cacao + cream to the couch without spilling it and without killing the cat. It will take all the concetration I can muster.


<insert mental image of a nice cup of cacao; of correct spellings and of a very happy snoring cat>

A Good Days Work: Science Writer

it was lovely and very different than from what I expected.

After writing 3 blog posts this morning (one here, two over at the knitting blog) and loosing myself a bit here talking about sweaters, I was too tired to do my thing right away. There’s this window of time you see, when I get energy from my breakfast but before the hard digesting begins. It’s about 45 minutes long which is the time that a stomach needs to process a moderate bowl of food. After that the small intestines go to work, you know, the part with the pancreas/gallbladder/liver. It’s where the main uptake of nutriënts takes place and it’s a very busy time for the body, hard work. I usually have to lay down for that. Otherwise no digestion, no nutrition, more illness. My belly starts to ‘sing’ (bloop!blblblop!) which is the sign it is working. But no horizontal resting, no singing.

So I took my rest, did more knitting and waited untill I would bounce back. This happened at around 2 o’clock so I stood up, washed my face (if I have not done this by the time ‘ingestion-nap’ sets in I have to wait.) and prepared my desk. Ready to go to work!

looks quite ‘alternative’ for a down to earth engineer/writer doesn’t it?

that’s Frau Holle on the wall; my bird watching binoculars on the cat’s thingy; théine free Lady Grey tea with cream in a handmade mug and a free style knitted cushion inspired by Mary Walker Phillips. Knitting for engineers, be sure!

On the left is my notebook with the notes I made while reading my sources for the last few months. You see I have colour coded a few because I plan to have four approaches to bacteria. This will be four books, four papers or four elaborate chapters. We’ll see. I opened my writing pad, it’s on the right there, rotated a bit. That is because I don’t write in a horizontal line, I write vertical, from bottom to top. Usually my pad is rotated even more than this when I write on it… don’t know why. Don’t care.

on a separate piece of paper I jotted down the general outline of the paper, it’s on one of the two cards on the right. I am pleased that this outline is not a very logical one. It’s not scientific in approach, it’s not describing the problem, describing the context, describing solutions and end with conclusions. No, it’s more whimsical. There are about 30 main paths this paper can follow, in structure. Paths like the scientific one I described above. Or a diary. Or historic overview. I just chose one subject I want to start with and followed it up with another and another. It is now an indication of chapters that I cannot defend but I really like it. I am looking forward to put some wordy flesh on these structural bones.

And then the words wouldn’t come…

Those first words. The first alinea. The jumping block from which the rest would flow.

I tinkered around a bit, tried some starts. Dug up some more figures up online. It was not that it was a blank canvas that hindered me, I knew exactly what that first alinea would have to say. It was that I could not find the exact words I was looking for. I was not funny and witty from the get go.

So I stood up and walked around the room, fiddling with this and that. Sitting again. Writing a sentence. Crossing it. Checking twitter. Fiddle a bit more. Brush teeth. (another thing that is important in my day. If too much time passes between my tooth brushings too much plaque (=bacteria) builds up and this becomes a body burden. To me. Because I am crazy sensitive. It’s something I discovered empirically and it is repeatedly confirmed. But it too takes planning because I was just about to make myself a cup of tea so I’ll do that first……an hour later I have the nagging feeling I’m forgetting something… thankfully because my eating doesn’t involve sugars or starches I do not have to brush every three hours like other people should.)

Well, then the writing came. I wrote that first alinea, it just came. It is nice. I’m happy with it. (even if it’s just a first draft)

Then the second wouldn’t come. Got to do more fiddling. Then it started again. And so on.

I am really surprised this is how it works! It is like playing, I am really having fun. But then the next moment it’s like you want to cry a bit, because it hurts a bit, but without desperation. Whimpering more. A really weird combination.

What it is not is too much pressure. Too much ambition. Too much thinking. Too much work. Yay.

I am really surprised. And glad.



writing like this is JUST like knitting the way Mary Ann Phillips does. You knów what you are doing and still you are just playing. You take your skills and your knowledge and you forget about the rules (but not entirely)

patterns emerge, beautiful things emerge. Things you could not have imagined before you started making them but once you make them you recognize them. Their pattern, the rules they obey, the rules they break. It is a very joyeus way of working.


these knitting were just started, without any plan in mind. Just do some knits, a purl, a yarn over. By repeating them patterns emerge. They themselves inspire to knit following rows a certain way to create other patterns. Before you know it you have made a piece of lace kitting that no one ever before has made. You have even invented some stitches that did not exist previously.