Search This Blog

Saturday, November 6, 2021

September and October 2021

I have restarted my phd which I am still confused about as I have spend at least 2 years to accept the fact that for my mental health it would be best to drop it. But I am finalizing redefining my new focus with a new team of advisors and my excitement slowly but cautiously grows. 
I got new neighbors and started doing more sports that includes running with the new neighbor which got me on my sporty path... It is a beginning of eating cakes and drinking hot beverages while sitting on sofa season so lets see how far my new fitness enthusiasm will get me not to mention how long it will actually last. 
I got a nanny for my kids that is my other neighbors granddaughter. It was going great and we all started to get used to new routine. I was getting better and better in actually letting go of my kids despite of being home and using more and more of the time for actual work. And then she resigned due to overload with her studies... I am in a bit of difficult situation. I was not completely surprised (one needs to expect that something like this can happen, and there were signals coming) but it is still something generating this level of inconvenience in my private an professional life that I had to take two days to process my disappointment. Now my eyes are dry and I am ready to search for new solutions although  to be honest I am still partially in pieces. The whole thing is that I really got to like the idea of working from home while my kids are there and the nanny has a look at them. Such a set up is consistent with my view on parenting and how I see myself as a parent... and now it might be off the table! It was pure sheer of luck to get in contact with this nanny... a substitute is not a realistic option. And to tell the truth, the longer my kids are home and I am so highly involved in their upbringing the more reluctant I am to give them to the educational system...It is a bit annoying as 3 years ago I didn't have the knowledge I have now to have opinions I have about educating kids... Anyway, I do not want to dwell on details but I need to complain that I am in need for some solution to my childcare crisis as my phd clock is ticking and I have to generate some output if I should ever graduate... 

Since I have not been reading much and my efforts were scattered over few books... all I managed to finish during the last two months is one book... I do not want to excuse myself anymore as I can clearly see that both my reading and my promptness in posting has deteriorated. I am obviously not happy about it but as I do not have that much impact on my circumstances (my little boy is teething, learning to walk and talk… or in short he seem to be ok with sleepless nights... my brain not that much!)… I need to grieve and accept this temporary situation when anything I do beyond taking care of kids and home is on borrowed time.



“The Obstacle is the Way”  by Ryan  Holiday

Quite timely reading for me about learning from troubles that inevitably come our way... I agree with the writer that one should not let oneself get carried away by extreme emotions. However, feelings come all the time no matter if we want them or not. It might also take years of self development to reach a level of calm where extreme emotions are harmless. In meantime... already from day one, the best one can do is to practice mindfulness about feelings and curiously observe and reflect on them when they come. Emotions should be felt fully but often not acted upon at the moment they occur - both aspects are at least for me a fascinating work in progress.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August 2021

I have travelled! My paranoid by pandemic brain was going crazy, but I went with my family for two weekends to Denmark. It was scary as they do not wear masks!? However, we have spend our time differently and it was great! Parties and meetings... but we came back sick. Our quick tests claim is not COVID-19 and I won't argue otherwise I would have to isolate... I feel pretty bad... same as any time I caught something from my child. She is mildly sick for 3 days, I can hardly function for a week or two.

I have some thoughts about kids spending time on Pads, computers, phones, TVs. I know why it is tempting and why it became a norm but I am keep on trying raising my kids as low tech as possible... Is is a good idea? We will see... also I am just a human I might not hold that long anyway... but as so far... I still stand by banging with spoons on pots vs watching tv... I treat it as a nerve training... one my kids reach adulthood nothing will be able to flip my bucket... (or absolutely anything...)

What's more... I went though a PhD roller-coaster. I thought I won't continue after a year and half break... but I will - at a different university with updated supervisor team! The fact that such thing is possible is a mixture of circumstances... But, I am happy about new set-up it lifted a 'cloud of misery' from my work and achievements in my first 2 years of studies. I can now look back and be proud of what I achieved... What I have learned... if you working under bad conditions there is always a way to get out of it without losing everything... Will I finish with a doctorate degree? Let's see... as for now... I am excited...

I have read very little... but the book I did read shook my mind and pushed me forward with my mental healing process... That eats up time and energy... or maybe it is yet another excuse for not keeping my monthly reading goal...


'Discovering the Inner Mother: A guide to Healing the Mother Wound and Claiming Your Personal Power' by Bethany Webster

I will say that the Inner Mother and the Mother Wound terminology took long time for me to get used to and not cringe on it... but what do I know about catchy psychological terms... I had hard time treating those terms seriously (it might be just me and my mind... but what can I do...) but to some extend  do believe that exactly that made it possible for me to chew through this heart/mind heavy for me material. I have learned so much about myself... I have journaled a lot... I am grateful that this book came across my life... due to endless hours on amazon, scrolling through all sorts of book titles. My amazon-shopping addiction, procrastination, numbing method, relaxation, toilet time entertainment - thank you.

Monday, August 2, 2021

July 2021

I seem to be just generally late with posting... but I am at least sticking to it. It is my only writing practice, better than nothing I guess...


I have come across this quote and it brought me closer to people around me:

Zadie Smith in 'Intimations': 'But when the bad day in your week finally arrives - and it comes to all - by which I mean, that particular moment when your sufferings, as puny as they may be in the wider scheme of things, direct themselves absolutely and only to you, as if precisely designed to destroy you and only you, at that point it might be worth allowing yourself the admission of the reality of suffering...'


This month started with an exciting event of travelling out of Bremen. I went with my family to Denmark to visit my husband’s relatives. It was a powerful trip for us. To do different things, be different places, eat different food and engage with different people. My daughter came back exhausted and enriched by connection with her cousins. Because of corona-pandemic we are living so isolated from our roots that we forgot how much more peaceful life is if you embedded in your family’s networks. And I mean it despite all the obvious tensions that are part of its web. We look forward to go again which we plan to do next month.


The trip to Denmark was just the beginning of the recharging life energy summer. Right after coming back my parents visited which started a wonderful time of sleeping more, because they help with child-care. The aspect of sleeping more is not something our kids care about but me and my husband cannot get over the fact that we can slumber in bed till 10 am on some of the days. It might not sound that crazy unless you put it in the perspective of our default 5 am ;)

My reading didn’t pick up that much pace as I hoped but I have reached the goal of finishing three books this month.


'What happened to you?' by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry

This book has changed how I think about people. It made me more connected to human beings; Broaden my perspective on mental health and how our childhood influences who we are and what we struggle with. Full of wisdom and scientific facts, but written in a very approachable warm way as a dialog between Winfrey and Perry.

‘How to talk so little kids will listen’ by Joanna Faber and Julie King

I have reached my limits as a mother and I needed tools. THIS BOOK IT GREAT! I probably have to read it again or something similar in a half a year or so when I forget how to talk to my little one but for now I feel more prepared for dealing with challenging issues like convincing my daughter that it is time to go to bed... (it is not easy but I am able to go through it way more gracefully... for now at least... I am sure my 4 year old will surprise me with yet another way of resisting sleeping...Yay)

‘Prepared’ by Diane Tavenner

It made me hungry for more information how to educate future generations. In itself it is mostly a story how Tavenner with many others created revolutionary high schools based on taking a responsibility for the future of every single child entering those schools. I wish I went to her school...

Monday, July 12, 2021

June 2021

I am totally late with this post because... I was hardly dealing with basic stuff for a long time. I give myself a a do-over and hopeful next month I am on time. But I made it to summer and now I have few weeks of way more support. I hope to rebalance my life. 

More is allowed in Bremen as our COVID-19 situation is decent so we have been given: The Freedom to Enjoy Life The Way We Have Learned How. And the uplifting energy is so strong that you can taste it in the air when you open your non-masked mouth. Everyone around simply smiles a bit brighter; Laughs a bit louder; Rides their bikes a bit further... Weather adds more choices and one could just spend days jumping on grass defying limiting forces. The Joy is here and it makes me breathe a bit deeper... The life is still not as it used to be but that is ok as I am simply not ready anyway to move on as I have been living in quite strict isolation with my family, I am not the biggest risk taker when it comes to health. I have never been. I am happy for this breather but I am quite pessimistic (this is how I appear among my community but for me it is nothing more than realism) about upcoming autumn and winter... Dear World and specifically Bremen please proof me wrong... That would be a wonderful surprise...


I have managed to achieve my minimum monthly goal. I am pleased.

'Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead' by Brene Brown

Best book by Brene Brown. I have read everything she has released before this book which obviously adds to my experience. Her books are great companion to a process of reflecting on different aspects of ones own approach to life in general. Such a process takes time... so I would recommend to simply read them all one by one.

'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday

Cautionary remarks useful when you want to get thru life with ambitious plans achieve them and not get too lost on the way. 

'Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry' by Catherine M. Pittman and Elizabeth M. Karle

This was first book on anxiety I have read. It was interesting and loaded with information. I have found it useful but I will be searching for more so that this wisdom settles a bit more in.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

May 2021

I have hard time remembering details of this month as I have almost not slept any of its nights. Night time potty training of my daughter together with my sons never ending growth sprout is killing me one night at the time. 

But there is a lot to be happy about!

The weather finally got better and there are more sunny than rainy days. Also in the state of Bremen we have incidence value of COVID-19 going down and we can do more stuff. Nothing to crazy but almost anything make the life SO MUCH more complex and exciting. I went to ART gallery and I felt uplifted even more than usually by the wind of freedom of visiting public places. 

Another freedom moment came by buying a new bike trolley that can carry two kids. My mobility skyrocketed. I feel unstoppable although limited by a radius of 5km or so.

My reading was going extremely slowly. And after finishing new novel by Andy Weir in first week of May, I haven't managed to finish anything else. As my mind got more scattered so did my reading. I found myself picking up again and again a new book... not too good in the light of my resolution to focus on finishing stuff I start but I am already on 'DO OVER'. Since I have infinite supply of those I can forgive myself going astray and work towards my goals as nothing ever happened.


'Project Hail Mary' by Andy Weir

I liked it. It has lots of satisfying science details that my inner physicist was squeaking of joy. As much as I liked ideas in the book I couldn't help thinking that the book is quite predictable and flat comparing to the action aspect. His novel 'Artemis' was in this aspect better. BUT who cares! It is a nerd treat and that is what really counts with his books.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

April 2021

 All right, I am totally late with this post but I also have not slept for half of this month. I feel like I am running on 5% of my capacities and it is horrible. Both of my kids had been sick and/or had problems with sleeping. Some serious problems and some quite exasperating like a call at 3 a.m. 'Mommy I cannot find my teddy! My Teddy!'...

To lighten my life...

I had out of nowhere or at least it feels like that on one horribly rainy April day a brilliant thought of buying a water quality test. I ordered those straps one dip in the water and they indicate concentrations of different stuff in your water by changing their color. Anyhow, my results were not zero for heavy metals?! Those tests are hardly accurate so I had to investigate further... to say it shortly I bought 2 different water filters, got my water tested in professional lab and checked my daughter's blood for heavy metal traces... I guess that is what happens to not intellectually challenged physicist's brain... it invents research projects..!? 

I was not swimming in free time this month but I managed to finish two books...


'Siblings Without Rivalry. How to help your children live together so you can live too.' by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

I benefited from this book both as a mother and a sister. It is full of relatable stories that give a lot of insight how to help siblings to communicate with each other and how to treat them so they both feel appreciated and recognized as individual human being. As a sister it helped me put more words on how me and my brother were raised and it confirmed things I felt but never got a chance to voice. I really liked this book.

'Rising Strong. If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about getting back up.' by Brene Brown

I immediately started to apply tips from this book to my private life. To lead more peaceful and mentally healthy life I need to exercise Brene's advices. This book is mostly about rising strong from everyday emotional challenges but the theory is universal. Precious book.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

March 2021

March was for me too long and awkwardly frustrating, annoying, depressing, disappointing and all of that... I am so happy it is over although how I felt had little to do with the fact it was March ;) So my optimism about April is not that great. But spring is spring. It has the power of driving me crazy with weather oscillations. But on average there is more and more sun and warmth. Thank you.

As everyone, I am fed up with the pandemic. It is not because I miss going to cafes or movie theaters (I probably wouldn't get that much of those anyway since I've just got my second baby), it is not because  miss travelling to far away places and socializing with random people. It is not because I cannot go and see my family as we divided by geo-political borders that apparently can get highly difficult to cross from day to day. NO. That is not quite the reason why I am going mad. My main reason is that I had to become more aware of the world and local politics. That made it clear to my everyday thought process how little investment goes into making life of people from my socio-economical level better. I am really tired of knowing and not having plan how to get to the place where I could afford to live the life I want and not care about illogical and uncaring system. Oh yes, this is where I am. I will eventually forget to be angry at the doings of those in charge of this world but until then I will be boiling inside. But not that much as I am mostly consumed by keeping my kids entertained and fed.


Psychological parenting books are interesting and empowering to me as they are invaluable help in improving communication with my children. However, you must be warn, they can be also highly frustrating! Chewing on all the things my parents could have done better but they didn't is only that much fun. I think it is worth the struggle so that maybe, just maybe my kids will be at least slightly less angry at me than I am at my parents. I've read two positions this month.

'The Whole-Brain Child' by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson

 This book is a classic, it contains good amount of information and examples.

'The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read: (And Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)' by Philippa Perry

I wish I have read it. I wish my parents could have read it but it was not available 34 years ago. It is a parenting book that matters. If you cannot afford to read too many parenting books due to time limits (which I guess is true for all parents to some extend) then make sure this one makes the cut.

'Womenomics' by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay

I have enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second. It is written with women's work situation in US. It is full of chatty advices how to create more balanced life. It is mostly relevant for women with family and kids or those planning to have career and children. But any women craving a work-life balance can find here something useful. However, the book is quite outdated (published in 2009) by now and much less relevant for Europeans.