Oh, Man …

I don’t know about you guys, but at this point I’m kind of resigned to the fact that 2020 is a bust, and a broken elbow (multifragmentary radial head fracture) fits in with the overall theme of things just being unexpected, and shitty this year.

Since I’m on a deadline (aren’t I always), I usually try to type for the translation only, in order not to overexert my right hand. Developing tendonitis in my good arm on top of everything else is all I need, right?

But today, I have to take a break from the manuscript, simply because I failed to pack it, so I thought I’d drop in and say hi. Injuries very effectively slow us down, don’t they? De-escalate us, as the new age lingo puts it. Now you would think I wouldn’t greatly mind that, in general, and I don’t. What I find challenging is not being the one who decides when to go at what speed exactly. Not used to being bossed around anymore, I suppose.

Also, asking for help is difficult. Especially since nobody is exactly thrilled to come do things for me at the drop of a hat … I’m sure I’m not being the best patient. My orthopedist suggested it’s an exercise in humility. He says he had the same injury himself, twice, so I guess he knows what he’s talking about.

So that’s my news, since my life came to a screeching (bone-crunching) halt ten days ago. And since I don’t really cook now, I’m posting a thing I made before the accident.

I was going to bake a loaf of bread, the one that uses a mix of oats, spelt and millet, when I realized we were out of oatmeal, and began rummaging for a substitute. I found cornmeal, which led to me thinking about tortillas, and so, on an impulse, I added more water and made a soft dough of spelt and cornmeal, and a handful of millet thrown in, also a baggie of dry yeast. After letting it rise, I formed little balls and rolled them out really thinly, then pan-fried them in olive oil. So that resulted in a sort of a tortilla flatbread, and I enjoyed dipping it into a basil-heavy, chunky tomato sauce.

Tortilla Flatbread Sorpresa

1 p dry yeast

1 TSP salt

1 TBSP sugar

250 g spelt flour

150 g cornmeal

Handful of millet

300 ml warm water (approximately!) to make a soft dough

Combine, let rise for 1 hour, then form balls of small handfuls of dough. Roll out to fit into your frying pan. Heat olive oil and fry from both sides until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

They were very good torn into bite-sized pieces and dipped into tomato sauce, I’m sure they’d be great with salsa, and the next day they were also nice as a breakfast burrito. (Lettuce, tomato, egg)

Sadly, I have next to nothing new on the crafts front, as my right arm activities are rationed to typing now, and resting my right wrist is paramount. I’m still rewatching Star Trek Voyager, and enjoying it very much, especially Mr Tuvok the Science Officer, who is a distinguished Vulcan :-).

I did make a little something for Granny Square Day on August 15th. Always a happy occasion, and as good a reason to play with yarn as any! I must have liked 100 posts with that hashtag that day :-). Amazing what true yarn artists can do, I just love that community.

So I hope everybody is keeping out of trouble, wearing their masks, and enjoying the late summer – isn’t going to the market the best now? Grapes and peaches and apples and plums and blackberries …


This morning when walking Charlie, I’d barely gotten out of the car and embarked on my usual loop trail in the community forest when I heard a woman shout at her (evidently not very obedient) dog. It was borderline scary, the way she was reprimanding it: „Sit. Sit, I said! Did you not hear me?! Sit!!!“, steadily getting louder, as if the dog were talking back, as if it were a person. Poor doggo, I thought, as I walked away, a bit shaken.

A little further into my walk, two cyclists emerged from one of the other trails, a woman and her young child, the latter screaming and screaming and screaming: „I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, aaaaaaahhhh!“, at the top of her lungs, pedaling madly, then jumping off the bike, throwing it into the bushes, still yelling! It had an unbridled, violent ferocity to it, and interestingly enough, I felt myself react to the kid’s vibe of aggression, feeling angry in return, even though none of it was any of my business.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the lady who had to deal with that meltdown. And then, I heard her firmly say in a charming Swiss accent: „That’s quite enough now, Matilda.“ And lo and behold, the screaming gradually turned into sobs, and when I turned around to look for Charlie who had chosen that place as perfect for taking a dump (which I removed of course, duh), I saw that the bikes were parked by the side of the trail, and the child was in the woman’s arms, quietly crying it out.

I can not even tell you how much I admired that woman this morning. What a healthy, peaceful approach to her daughter’s meltdown. I have not known to be that patient with my own daughter, back in the day, and often caught myself the very last second before raising my hand to her, and certainly not always before raising my voice. Kudos to you, lady at the forest this morning, and well done. Marshall Rosenberg would be proud.

As I sit at my laptop, translating a fun book for young and aspiring Makers, I can hear the neighbors, more than they probably realize. It’s in the thirties again, everybody has their windows open, it’s an old building … One of them is a father of three sons, and I’ve been exposed to his type of aggro potential more times than I’d like, second hand. His sons seem even more sullen than the average boy their age. But he must love them anyway, right??

During the lock-down, I heard him lose it on a regular basis. Never to the point of becoming physical, but still, no bueno! When it happened, it made me feel blessed every single time, for having a large enough apartment so that everybody could retreat into their own corner to do their work, for having work in the first place, also for having a sweet little reason for taking walks every single day, allowing me to take deep, cleansing breaths, and center myself with nature’s help.

On a bad day, all these wise reflections don’t amount to much, of course. I, too, have been known to rant, yell, nag, and be mean. When caught on the wrong foot in the wrong moment, God help the person who came at me… even if they’re cute and little. Smartass comments from my teenager „Just say no mom“, or „You’re all hangry. Go eat and stop yelling at people“, or „Well, sorry if doing my a, b or c seemed more important than doing my chores …“ only add to the negativity, and it’s not easy to de-escalate the situation sometimes.

A sense of humor helps. As does feeling secure in the knowledge of being loved. I’m intensely grateful to my parents both who implanted this deep, deep down in my soul. It’s more than many people have, this trusting in the fact that I deserve to be loved. Of course, there were also many other things implanted, like the constant fear that everything might disappear into thin air at any given time, the impostor syndrome, the fear people might become angry with me, I could go on and on. But the love thing keeps the neuroses in balance, most days anyway.

I know for a fact that each and every one of you deals with aggression, in yourself as well as in your environment, one way or the other. Please talk to me about how you cope with it, what your strategies are, what makes you simmer down (and flare up) – it’s an interesting phenomenon, and we can all benefit from understanding it better, I think.

A Month Went By. Things Happened.

Oiwei, new technology. I hope everyone will appreciate how much of an effort I’m making just to get this post out there, once you read about my plight with the HEIC format photos!

So, my two favorite IT guys deemed it necessary to update my computer. Apparently, I skipped an update or two altogether. Oops. One of the new things is that HEIC format photos have replaced the JPEG format, which is cool enough because the new type of pics take up a fraction of the space JPEGs do and offer super quality to boot. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t support the format and refuses to upload my pics as I snap them on my iPhone. So it turns out if I want to use them here, I have to convert my photos back to JPEG, which is very cumbersome indeed, especially if you’re not exactly a tech wiz. So my son downloaded me a little program that does the converting for me, and thankfully it works. Unfortunately this means that instead of taking less space on my hard drive, it actually now takes up more, because I have both the HEIC version and the JPEG version of the pics I’m using on here, so I guess that update was not really all that helpful to me, as a blogger and user of Apple devices. Ugh. Who knew I’d one day write two whole paragraphs about tech?

But enough with that, and on with the more pleasant stuff.

That was the first day of my vacation mid July. We had the loveliest day on the water: Rented three rafts with friends and spent all day chilling, bathing, eating our pot-luck picknick (it was not a bad turnout, four foodie families made and brought stuff) and (for my part) hanging with my apprehensive dog who is not happy getting his feet wet even, but after a while learned to appreciate the sunshine and the breeze you get while being on a dry surface. A week later, we took him canoeing, and I got him used to regularly going out with me on the SUP. And yes, I know it means Stand Up not Sit Up, don’t get on my case.

The summer went by pretty much as summers in the country go for us: Visitors, outdoorsy activities, gardening, cooking, some work, some play, friends to hang with. My summer posts always talk about these types of things, I’ve realized.

Unlike in former years, there was notably little family time, though. Our son grudgingly agreed to spend two of his six weeks of summer break, his girlfriend also dropped in, which was lovely, but of course then it was them spending time with each other rather than with us. Stands to reason, too. They’re young and in love – and, in fact, gracious to hang with us at all. Our daughter was either busy with the other families‘ kids, or with her two friends from the city who each came to stay for a week, so we weren’t really needed for much else than feeding, and occasional shuttle services.

We realized we needed to find something to do that didn’t involve kids, but was for the two of us. So we taught our friends how to play Canasta. I mean, in only a few years, it will be our new normal to be by ourselves. The kids will move out, and we will have to start finding common ground again that is not us being parents. This is harder than you might think: my husband likes biking, which I don’t enjoy. I walk and hike (with dog whenever possible), my husband can’t, because hip. He listens to Jazz and Hip Hop which grate on my nerves, also Seventies guitar rock, which drives me up the walls. I like solo piano, preferably played by Keith Jarrett. Not exclusively, and of course I used to love Indie rock too when I was younger, but when in need of centering and calming music, I’m not going to put on The Pixies. Playing cards seems like a nice way to connect, and no screen involved either.

The past month was a good time for finding Chanterelle mushrooms, as they’re in season and plentiful because of regular rain. I topped everything I could with them: quiche, risotto, even mashed potatoes, roast chicken. I like to make a stir-fry of green beans and mushrooms, like so:

Also, we now own a gelato maker, which pretty much took care of the dessert question. It’s kind of scary how much ice cream this family can put away. My favorite was a complicated recipe (sorry, G!) for vanilla-y Crema di Limone. It uses two vanilla pods, several egg yolks, milk and cream, cooked in a bain-marie until it thickens – and is of course heavy on the sugar because of lemon and peel. I was lucky enough to have it made for me exclusively upon request.

Crafts happened on the regular, because I was on a potholder-making roll. I started out with these for my friend A, who owns the Brightest House in all the Land. I figured they’d be perfect for her kitchen, which is not only pretty but also getting used now they’ve gone vegan and actually need to cook ;-).

Next, I made the ones below for my friend in Bavaria, also a birthday gift. As you may or may not be able to see, I’ve improved the border of these fellows. It looks more even when you use, once again, the very balancing HDC stitch (half double crochet: yarn over as you would for a DC, make a stitch, then crochet all three loops you now have on your hook together.) When you get to the row you started on as you crochet all around the piece, you finish that edge with a row of slip stitch, for you have more volume than on the other three edges because you started out with a chain as a basis for the first row of DC. I’m really pleased with the result :-). It looks quite accomplished, and balanced.

Yesterday, I finished the first one of two I’m giving to yet another friend for his birthday (see below). The other one is going to be a pearly shade of grey, look.

And once I’m done with that, I’ll make my other friend whose birthday is a day after my own a pair of elegant dark grey Waffle Stitch potholders, for good measure. It seems everybody wants these, now! And then, I’ll go and finish my Waffle Blanket:

The turquoise part is almost as long as it should be, and it’s going to be so beautiful. Looking forward to snuggling up under it when it gets cold again.

Which is not now, and hopefully not any time soon. Right now, it’s bordering on too hot for my taste – today was an absolute scorcher, pretty much like the last couple of days have been. Not the best of weathers for the first day back to school. The afternoon’s brief downpour has only added humidity to the heat, not an improvement if you ask me. I’m sitting with a cold pack between my lap and the laptop, to save us both from melting.

I considered myself lucky when my kids missed the train this morning and had to be driven to school. I probably wouldn’t have had the energy for our first walk back in the community forest, otherwise. This was shortly after eight a.m. this morning:

I was actually tempted to follow a lady who was swimming in there with her lab, despite the questionable depths of that lake. It’s designated for the dogs‘ use only – but I did bathe my feet, as did Charlie, and it was wonderful. I’m going back there tomorrow morning, eight o’clock sharp!

I was going to leave you today with a whammy of a summer song, by the amazing Grand Dame of Eighties Rock from Italy, Gianna Nannini. I must confess I’d forgotten about it, as you do when you don’t really listen to a lot of radio. But I got this gem back when checking out the Italian Franchise of SKAM last year – not as amazing as the Norwegian original, but the kids were super cute. And in the New Year’s Eve scene, they were all belting out this song, instantly time-warping me to when I was my daughter’s age, and putting a big smile on my face. Ladies and gentlemen, Bello e Impossibile. Isn’t Italian the most elegant of the Romance languages? Enjoy!