Life lately: Cookie dough, music and social media

Oh hello there!Is it really Thursday and the final (!) day of November yet? This week flew by – I know I (we?) always say that – but it’s been a bumpy one. I’d planned on posting twice this week but … you already know how that went. It’s a “shorter” week for me already in that I’m off to my grandparents’ house for the weekend tomorrow for a family gathering but I stiill wanted to pop in before  left.  Because my mind is running in a hundred directons at once, I’m  gladly following Amanda’s invitation to pour out some random thoughts. 

 

  1. Current favourite song/stuck in my head? This one:

Yes, I know it’s German so you might be tempted to just skip it but would you do me a favour and give it a listen still? When I was younger and couldn’t understand English yet, I already liked the sound of and found myself humming along songs from the UK and US, too, so who knows? You might just enjoy this, too. It’s a kind-of love song, albeit a sad-ish one. My favourite part of it is when he sings “I am fucking Yoko Ono, my heart is broke, oh John!” I can’t quite put a finger on it but that bit is so beautiful. Yoko and John – forever united? Fun fact: yes, Mark Foster is indeed allowed to use the f word. No censoring either on TV or in radio stations over here. I honestly can’t imagine how some more explicit songs or movies must sound like in the US. Constant beeping? Well, you know it: we neither mind nudity nor swearing over here ;).

2. Semi-news: my mum got an iPhone – a major update from her previous age old flip phone. Actually, she’s had  the new one for a few months already and …  Constantly on the phone texting her friends – even at work [yes, I caught her ;)]. And on a recent walk it was her pulling out the phone for a picture when I steered her attention to the sunset That  young lady’s clearly a little phone obsessed ;). It’s quite funny since my mum’s – to put it nicely – not well versed regarding social media. She’s an expert at so many other things but internet and phones? Not. Yet now that she’s in the iPhone crew of my family, she’s joining in the choir of my siblings and dad trying to pressure me into buying an iPhone, too. Which in turn makes me even more resistant [did I mention stubbornness runs in the family?]. Also, replacing a phone after only ~ 4 years seems … wrong.

3. Cookies! While not these vegan Zimtsterne that I highly recommend you add to your baking list – they’re vegan and naturally gluten-free – but plenty of other [new] favourites. I’ll be honest in saying I’m more of a dough that finished cookie eater, though. And seeing as I see [healthy and not-so healthy] cookie dough creations on Instagram, I know I’m not alone here.

4. Speaking of social media; everybody’s always sharing or [not-so?] secretly watching funny cat videos. I can’t say I did that but I recently stumbled upon this gem. Thanks to my sloooow old phone, it took a while for the video to start so I read the caption already, thinking “yeah, sure,  I bet the man hugged the animal so stop lying because we all know they can’t actually hug …”. Oh boy was I wrong. No, it’s not a cute kitten video but all the more special.

Happiness-inducing today:  Baking. It truly is therapy in the way of distracting me from the less pleasant happenings in life. Nothing like kneading dough, shaping cookies and listening to another podcast.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

What’s your parents’ relationship with smartphones/social media like?

Cookie dough or baked cookies? Always the dough for me.

Did you listen to the song? If so: how did you like it??

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Why I’m not writing a recovery blog

Note: This isn’t just relevant if you if you have struggled/are struggling with an eating disorder – you might find this applicable to your own blog, too.

Reading the title, some of you might wonder: ‘But isn’t that what she started out as??’.  And well, I figure you could say I was leaning towards it more in sharing recovery-focused topics and struggles in many of my first posts, yes.

Am I recovered? Not struggling with food anymore? Unfortunately no.. Yet I do not want to go into this topic all the time anymore, not let this be me as a whole. Sharing bits here and there because I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not . It’s an unfortunate part of me, one that has shaped my life, there’s no denying this. Centering my whole blog around recovery and my strained relationship with food and my appearance, though, is not what I’m trying and wouldn’t recommend for anybody. Here’s why:

Not letting go

If I was to write about EDs and food anxiety all day every day, immersing myself into the recovery blogosphere only, I’d allow these things to manifest. I’d allow them to have more power over me and my life than they should. I’d allow them to keep me stuck. And this exactly has always been my worry and criticism regarding full-on recovery accounts. At some point in life – and given the length of my own struggles I’m not putting any number of months or years of recovery here – you should [be able to] let go of being ‘in recovery’, ‘fighting your way back to happiness’ or whatever else recovery Instagram bios read like these days and just live.

Fall collage

Who am I without my ED? or: Losing your identity [for the better]

If you feel you can post your every meal, the accompanying feelings of guilt and worry while eventually eating more and more and identifying with your ED less and less – awesome, keep going. But if you feel tied to your recovery title and scared of who you’ll be once you’re weight-restored [mental recovery, as most of us will know, takes a lot longer] and not as intensely afraid of eating anymore – reconsider. I think this “identity crisis” is something most if not all of us in recovery will experience at some point. A lot of blog posts out there address this struggle and I won’t pretend I had it all figured out myself yet. Just being honest here.

This exact point – clinging to an identity created or held up by an ED – is what Kaila Prins talked about on the Food Psych podcast. The topic and a past draft of this post had been on my mind more than a year ago already but her words brought it back to the forefront of my mind. Kaila specifically talks about a certain blogger [anonymously] she wanted to help recover but couldn’t. A girl tied to her identity as a health blogger, athlete and creator of low-calorie recipes. So yes, I can absolutely understand how hard deciding to fully recover is when your identity, you brand essentially depends on you being trapped in your ED. What if recovering for you meant – temporary or longer term – a lack of interest in cooking, a preference for rich desserts rather than healtified versions and you no longer enjoyed the intense workouts you did before – but feel that your readers expect you to? Are you going to hold up an image that is no longer you or take the scary step of diving into the unknown?

Not writing a recovery blog? It still applies 

Even if the focus of your blog is a completely different one, the same might happen. Maybe you’re writing a running blog. What if you suddenly get injured and need to take months off to recover? Or discover that you enjoy yoga more or even take a break from formal exercise altogether  (it happens!). Maybe you’re writing a vegan/paleo/macrobiotic/whatever diet blog, strongly recommending the diet to everybody around but then find you need to include animal products in your diet again[we’ve seen what happened to other bloggers in this case before; the Balanced Blonde being the best known example]. Or you happen to discover intuitive eating and as such suddenly find that you want to let go of labels altogether. Or a fashion blog but you fall out of love with fashion or question the ethics behind it at some point. I could go on with examples here but I think you got my point. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with choosing a specific niche for your blog. And if you’re lucky, you have an awesome community cool with a change of focus in your blog. If you’re not – and I’ve heard/read bloggers talk about their struggles with this – you might feel torn: Continue to write about something you’re not feeling anymore because you feel you owe it to your readers or you built a business on it. Or daring the metaphorical leap into the dark in changing topics. Even if you enjoy the topic you chose immensely, why not share the occasional post about some other interests of yours [this might just be me in keeping those doors open for a potential change of mind after all …]? We’re all way too diverse characters to eternally specify on just one niche and – speaking as  a reader here – your readers might be curious to see more facets of you, too.

The things I’d consider are: Can I imagine myself writing about this overall topic in, say, five years still or will I have nothing new to say anymore/outgrown it?  And (the most important one for me): Do I want to be identified as this (i.e. the athlete, the recovering person, the health nut never touching any sugar, …). We all change. That’s what life is about. Growth. Developing into different directions. Finding ourselves. And – to end this long post here – that’s what I want my blog to reflect. I’m not who I was when I started this blogging journey and I don’t know the person I will be in five years yet. What I do know is that I’m curious about what’s to come and sharing it through my writing. Unless I decide I hate writing – which is very unlikely to happen because yes, that’s one identity I’ve had since my childhood and am happy to own: being a writer [and reader].

Enough from me: I’m genuinely interested to hear your thoughts on the above!

Happiness-inducing today: Taking a walk – no matter how short – when the weather cleared up a little. Oh, and the memories of yesterday’s cooking date with a friend. These always make my soul happy.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

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Talking politics and why that involves traffic lights

Don’t click away again! Yes, I’ll talk politics for a bit but I will not even once use the name of a certain person currently gving many of you in the US headaches and causing outsbursts of frustration. Instead, I’m back with another episode of my little series hightlighting differences between Germany and the US. Given we’re about to elect a new Bundestag [the political institution deciding pretty much everything in our country], I thought it’d be interesting to give you a little glimpse into how we do things over here. Plus a few more fun little bits and bobs.

Thinking out loud again here.

Thinking-Out-Loud

President who?

Unlike in the US, the president is barely present in most Germans minds on a daily basis. Actually, I’m tempted to guess the majority of us wouldn’t be able to tell you the current president’s name – Frank-Walter Steinmeier if you’re curious and no, I didn’t have to look that up; proud moment? 😉 – or his functions. Yet ask for the cancellor’s name and hey, sure thing, Merkel! Angela Merkel has been the German chancellor for what feels like forever now and is very likely to be re-elected once again on September 24th (our “Bundestagswahl”/ elections for the German Bundestag that take place once every four years). Elections themselves – there are multiple; this ‘big’ one for the Bundestag all Germans vote for on the same day and individual ones for each Bundesland [federal state] – are a huge topic in themselves. For now, I’ll just list a few interesting facts and won’t go into the details about the actual voting system – think Überhangmandate (“overhang mandates”), the “five per cent hurdle” etc. – since not even all Germans understand it. It’d take some more time to explain but let me know if you’re interested.

Stay however long you please! 

The above is true for the Chancellor. As I said, Angela Merkel has been ours for a long time – twelve years or three voting periods – and is very likely to win again in this election. Rumor has it she won’t candidate again yet if she wanted would be free to do so.

Reichstag Berlin at night

The ‘Kuppel’ of the German Reichstag, meeting place of the Bundestag. // Source

Small but mighty

While in the US, either Democrats or Conservatives end up winning elections and as such filling the seats in parliament, Germany is more divided. Yes, here, too, the ‘main’ players are two big parties – the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and CDU (Christian Democratic Union) – but them aside, the field is much more varied. Among the very small ones on the sidelines are – to name just a few – Die Piratenpartei (Pirate’s Party; no joke!), Die Violetten (The Violets), the Feminist Party and even a vegetarian party.  Why these small ones are still important? Because they create a larger spectrum of opinions presented in the Bundestag. Plus, the more established ones who get a certain amount of votes force the big ones into coalitions.

What Jamaica and traffic lights have in common

Answer: They’re names of German coalition types. Because multiple small parties get a right to seats in the Bundestag, too, the ‘big’ parties can’t play the policits game alone (no majority of votes). The coalition names stem from the colours associated with the various parties (i.e. green for Die Grünen, the environmental-focused party, red for the SPD, black for the CDU, …). Meaning that the Ampel-Koalition (traffic light coalition) would be the SPD (red), FDP (yellow) and Die Grünen (green) forming the government.

So once the election is over, the big party who won the majority of votes – sssh: this is going to be the CDU once again this time around – gets together with the smaller parties who managed the five percent hurdle. Eventually, those long discussions result in who gets which ministry and the new government is complete. As I’m sure you’re fed up with talking about politics now so let’s move on to a different topic.

 

Bring back, bring back oh bring back my baby cart to me, to me

Disregard the unfortunate rhyming above. The hidden statement here: German groceries want you to bring your shopping carts back. Orderly. That’s right: no just randomly leaving yours somewhere in the parking lot or around the store. Their tactic? Money. Want a cart? Bring a coin. Outside stores, carts are strung together and you can fetch one by inserting a coin – usually 1 € – into a slot on the car, by this untying it. No worries: if you’re a good customer 😉 and bring your cart back to where you got it, you’ll get your money back. No losses for the store = no losses for you. We’re fair players here. And because we want our every penny back we also …

Return bottles to the store

Yes, that’s right. Stores don’t stop at the carts there. Thirsty? Grab a bottle of your favourite beverage from the shelves but be aware that the price noted there isn’t what you’ll actually have to pay. At the check-out, the store system automatically adds a so-called ‘Pfand’ – typically 0.15-0,25 € per bottle depending on its size – to the price stated on the shelf. Don’t worry, though: you get your Pfand back when you return your empty bottles to the store. And if you’re anything like me you feel just that little bit feisty in getting a – actually only mental – discount on your next purchase that way. Imagined benefits are still benefits, right ;)?

… and that’s it for another post on those small but significant differences in everyday life in Germany vs. the US.

Happy Thursday!

Happiness-inducing today: Many little things from the past few days like a conversation with one of my colleagues, another long-ish one with a – rare exception here! – friendly cashier and sunshine amidst a stormy and rain-heavy day.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Share your random thoughts with me!

What’s are some differences you’ve noticed between your homecountry and other ones you’ve visitied in the past?

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Virtual Coffee Date #2

Picking up where we left in my previous post because it was a joy talking to you that way, I decided we should get together for tea/coffee again. For once because coffee dates with friends are always a good idea, no matter the day.

If we were having coffee,

I’d start by saying thank you to everyone who asked summer to come back and stick around a little while longer. The result? Starting on the weekend – despite forecasts predicting a 90 % chance of rain – we’ve been having the most amazing sunny days. Granted, the mornings have gotten yet more frigid but on work days I live for the afternoons in anyway. Speaking of which, I’d also tell you …

Blue bike

About the wonderful early evening bike ride I took with my mum on Tuesday. She’d originally asked me if I wanted to meet her to take a little trip to walk around a place adorned by beautiful flowers this time of the year. Yet then she ended up having to stay at work a lot longer than expected and we changed our plans. An evening bike ride through sunny fields and along a river isn’t the worst backup plan I could think of. Add a gentle warm breeze, a conversation about anything and everything – you get the recipe for pure bliss. Pity the weather forecast from now on is seeing us face a 90 % chance of rain, a huge drop in temperatures and barely any sunshine. Summer’s been good while it lasted.

If we were having coffee, I’d also …

Talk about an amazing website I’ve known for years yet somehow hadn’t used in a while until now. If you knew me in real life, you’d know I’ve never been one for online games or even game apps on my phone. This one I can get behind, though. FreeRice is an interactive vocabulary synonym game [edited to add: they’ve sinced added different subjects to quiz you on if vocabularly tests make you cringe ;)]. The clou: for every correct answer, the organisation behind the website donates  10 grains of rice to the poor. Refreshing your vocab and donating for the good cause? Killing two birds with one stone for sure.

Oh and if we were having coffee, I’d also excuse myself at least once and truly mean it – for interrupting you. Because that’s a bad habit that runs in my family. Conversations at those family gatherings are all about being the loudest at the table in the right moment. It’s tough, I’m telling you

What’s also blissful is raspberry season starting earlier this week. No, not a typo. Ever since I can remember, my mum has been growing ‘late’ raspberries in her garden. When the season is just about over for reguar ones, these are starting to grow and they’re the best. Especially the yellow ones I’m always claiming dibs on. Definitely a reason to visit my parents’ garden more often despite it being mosquito territory. This sweet happening is ever so slightly making up for the sad kabocha situation.

Red raspberries and Essie Manhattan Ave-hue nail polish

If we were having coffee, I’d …

Mention that I might be the last person to do so but watched P!nk’s Video Vanguard acceptance speech about her daughter earlier today. Whatever you think of her music, that performance was amazing. I’m not sure if it’s a general trend but I thought these acts of female empowerment might have become more frequent since a certain not-to-be-named moved into the White House? It’d proof the theory a former head teacher of mine brought up: Having a mutual enemy at times works wonders for solidarity, even among people who might not usually agree on other issues, Whether or not it’s this: it’s much in today’s society.

If we were still sipping on our beverages now, I’d express the disbelief and sadness I feel regarding the current situation in Houston. Being one of the lucky ones who haven’t been affected by natural catastrophes before, I can’t imagine what it must be like for the many people who are. When things like this happen, it sometimes feels unreal to me that I can go on about my days as usual while others are going through extreme hardship and losses. Even writing a casual blog post almost seems … wrong.

And now for the question that’d actually have been my first one: How has life been treating you lately? The good, the bad – whatever is on your mind.
Joining Amanda for the weekly dose of thinking out loud.

Happiness-inducing today: The [likely] final day of amazing summer weather.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

What would you tell me if we were having [insert beverage of choice] today?

 

 

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Virtual Coffee Date

It’s been a while so some catching up on each other’s lives seems in order. And what better way to do so than over a cup of coffee – or tea in my case?. So if we were having  coffee, tea or any beverage you prefer, I’d tell you that …

The end of summer always brings up lots of feelings for me.  While the sunshine and warmth of mid-summer days brightens my mood and lightens my thoughts, the shorter and colder the days get, the more melancholia sweeps in. Resentment about chances passed and not taken because there always seemed to be so much left of summer – until there suddenly isn’t anymore. Longing for a move, a different job. Melancholy, thinking about summers past when this was the time of the year school or later on university were about to start again. A time of change and the excitement it brings along – something I’m craving in my own life, too.

Monday felt like the first day of autumn and I wasn’t neither a fan nor prepared when I headed for work, dresses decidedly summery. Oh summer, please come back and stay with us for at least a few more weeks. Will you, please?

Tea_Cafe Gleichklang

After taking a sip because I don’t like my tea to cool down too much, I’d also tell you …

That we celebrated my dad’s birthday with pretty much the whole family the other weekend  [i.e. 10th through 12th of August]. It was a big gathering and really nice celebration despite the weather literally raining heavily on my dad’s parade. Nothing that would have dampened our overall mood, though. The family spent the whole weekend together and friends joined for the ‘official’ celebration – concert (one of my relatives is a jazz singer), dinner, dancing – at one of my parents’ favourite restaurants. Given this isn’t the most accomodating place for vegetarians, I, I wasn’t expecting much from the buffet. involved eating the most amazing vegan lentil ratatouille that I’m set on recreating. So good. No pictures because I apparently got so lost in a conversation I didn’t even think about it.

Speaking of my dad’s birthday weekend, I’d also tell you that …

I may or may not have changed my opinion on cheesecake [I wasn’t a fan prior to this]. I think this actually was my first time ever baking cheesecake, at least the American kind [German cheesecake is made from Quark rather than cream cheese and I’ve always found it too dry this way]. Using Amy’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cheesecake Bars,  I had my first encounter with this classic. While I couldn’t try a slice of the finished cake – no eggs for me – I sampled my fair amount of the filling before adding the egg and if that alone is any indicator of the finished products taste: so good! I quadrupled  the recipe with just a few changes:

  • Using lower-fat instead of non-fat cream cheese [we don’t do the fatfree thing in this family ;)]
  • a good tablespoon less sugar
  • a whole egg because it’d have been wasteful to use just the whites [white for the crust, yolk for the filling]
  • And it turned out beautifully.

Mmh. It was a hit with my whole family and my colleagues – I brought a few leftover pieces to work – despite it being a ‘healthier’ option. We have a winner here and I’m keen on trying to find a good sub for the egg here because I want to have my [cheese]cake and eat it, too. If you have any ideas – Aquafaba? Flax eggs? More cornstarch in the filling? – let me know in the comments. Egg-free cheesecake has to happen.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you …

that I bought a new cake pan. This is an accomplishment both for the fact I spent money on myself without much contemplation and for the fact it’s my first 8 × 8 inch pan. Now this might not sound exciting or special to you but we simply do not use these size pans around here. Try finding one of them in stores – or spare yourself the frustration and order it online. Now I just need to decide on the first recipe to bake in my shiny new pan. Anybody else finding those ‘first time’ uses weirdly … exciting?

If we were having coffee, I’’d …

Tell you that I harvested the first kabocha of the season in my mum’s vegetable patch on the weekend. Yet also that it’ll also have been one of the last. For some unknown reason, my mum’s kabocha plants – she’s been sweet enough to grow them for me for years now – are dying prematurely, leaving just a handful of mature squashes. It’s particularly sad as kabocha is very hard, at times impossible to find in stores over here.

Homegrown kabocha squash

And then – or actually as the very first thing; we had this conversation in reverse order – I’d ask you how -you- are. How you really are. Because I deeply believe that a true friendship is built on sharing the good and the bad in life with each other. No need to pretend there was sunshine where you currently feel clouds hanging over your head. So: How are you?

Joining Amanda in letting the thoughts dance today.

Happiness-inducing today: Reading out in the sunshine after work – it’s colder but not yet too cold for this.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What would you tell me if we were having [insert beverage of choice] today?

Coffee or tea? Which kind/flavour?

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Truth be told …

Oh hi there! It feels like forever since the previous time this little blog here saw some action. Avout time to change that. eh? Thursdays always feel like the perfect opportunity for returns from [un]ntentional breaks. The day we’re wholeheartedly encouraged to just share some random thoughts, no further explanation needed. So here’s getting back into the game with a few current truths in my life.

Truth be told  …

This post was supposed to go online – and get written – yesterday already but then my sister and P. arrived  at my parents’ a day earlier than expected so … priorities ;).

Truth be told

I’m still heads over heels in love with P. Maybe even more so than before if that’s even possible. He’s starting to actually talk more and more now – he has been communicating with us for a long time but it’s now his vocabulary seems to broaden by the day. It’s the. cutest. thing. ever when he says his own name, pronouncing it in a somewhat Swedish way. Melts my heart. See: I’m already gushing again. Somebody stop me. Well, …

Truth also be told …

As much as I love – look at me making an exception and using this word – the little boo, I had to resort to my cheater ways when he wouldn’t stop crying for his Mama during babysitting time. Sometimes, a sleeping toddler is cuter than an awake one. Anybody agreeing?

Truth be told …

One of the main reasons I haven’t been posting a lot anymore these past weeks is that right now is a time in my life that wasn’t made for sharing. It’s not my intention to appear as a negative Nancy yet I also didn’t want to paint my days in brighter colours than they actually are right now. That’s still not to say I didn’t have my happy moments. Just that my heart overall has been feeling a little heavier.

Truth be told  …

We don’t need hundreds of friends if we do have a few really good ones. Meeting one of this amazing kind on Friday evening was a definite highlight of my week. She’s a friend from school days and has the ability to both make you laugh and pour your soul out to, building you up while sharing her own insecurities and struggles. I’m not a small talk person – well, most of us Germans aren’t – so these deep conversations are my favourites.

Truth be told …

Despite having done my fair share of healthier baking before, I was doubtful of the success when I sent my sister the link to this Peach Streusel Cake. You might remember my family being super picky and critical towards healthified baked goods. And my sister might want to eat a little healthier but she still won’t eat anything she doesn’t like [which I can honestly fully understand]. Verdict? It’s her new favourite cake.

Truth be told …

Fly swatters are worth their price times a million for me right now. I might be a vegetarian but mosquitoes are the one exception I make in killing other living beings. #sorrynotsorry

… and that’s it for me right now because – truth be told – it’s pretty late already around these parts and I need to make an effort at getting to bed earlier still. See you on Sunday for some good good links!

Happiness-inducing today:  Sunshine. Time with the family.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Tell me some truths from your life!


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