Mental Illness Bites

Today, right now, every moment. I am beginning anew.

Man’s Search for Meaning


I am reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl at the recommendation of a friend. I came across a line Frankl quoted from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, “How much suffering there is to get through!” and decided to take a look at the whole poem. I tried to find a translation for the whole poem, with no luck, but easily found the original. So, I took my rusty German skills and came up with a rough translation that I do not endorse! And I admit, I have taken some liberties. If anyone has an “official” translation or a better grasp of the sentence structure, idioms, etc. and would like to suggest corrections to the translation, please comment.

From Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Poems in the Night”

Here is the original German:

Ist Schmerz, sobald an eine neue Schicht
die Pflugschar reicht, die sicher eingesetzte,
ist Schmerz nicht gut? Und welches ist der letzte,
der uns in allen Schmerzen unterbricht?

Wieviel ist aufzuleiden. Wann war Zeit,
das andre, leichtere Gefühl zu leisten?
Und doch erkenn ich, besser als die meisten
einst Auferstehenden, die Seligkeit.

Here is my translation:

Is pain, when it is unavoidable,
is pain not good?
What in the end gives reprieve
to those of us in pain?

How much suffering there is to get through.
When was time the easier to manage?
And after all I see,
better than most rising, someday,
from the dead
is bliss, now.

This translation is written through the eyes of having read the first half of Man’s Search for Meaning, which has a strong influence on how I translated this poem. Frankl writes, “When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.”

Frankl and Rilke both seem to be saying that it is better to manage one’s suffering well now, than to collapse under its weight and possibly never escape it. This idea has made me thoughtful and yet I wonder what bliss can be found in suffering like Frankl’s? Have you read Man’s Search for Meaning? What say you?

I have more to read. I am curious.




Today I was working on my newest project, a social media campaign for a good friend of mine who is trying to grow her Real Estate business. She has a large personal network and is great at her job, but her online presence is all but non-existent. Starting from scratch is proving to be a far more daunting task than I had imagined. With tabs for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, the website builder, and company portal all open at the same time, I started to feel like I was moving in circles without really accomplishing anything. I got so frustrated at my lack of progress that I put my computer aside and laid down on the couch with my dogs. I fell asleep for a few minutes, woke up, got some tea and sat back down with my computer feeling a little more clear-headed.

I decided to work on today’s blog post instead of the social media project for a while, but had no clue what today’s topic was going to be. I thought that perhaps if I searched around the internet a bit, read some articles, I might be able to come up with some fresh content for today’s blog. Next thing I know, I’m reading an article on life hacker about how lying down can improve brain function. Need a Creative Boost? Try Lying Down: I’m sold.

How do you get your brain moving when you hit a block?

My Real Estate friend can be found at Albuquerque Homes and Real Estate and on Facebook and Twitter @JaneKnap.

Less Than Shawl

Wednesday nights I meet up with some women to knit. It started out as a church knitting group for knitting prayer shawls for the church community, but over the years we started bringing other projects with us. We started out drinking hot tea, and lemonade sometimes, and now it’s an unusual Wednesday if no one brings a bottle of wine. It’s turned into quite a raucous group and I derive great pleasure from attending. I have to laugh when I tell people that I’m part of a knitting group and they look at me cross-eyed because I’m a twenty-something who spends her nights with yarn.

Our goal is to always have at least one person knitting a prayer shawl so we can still call ourselves the church knitting group, even though it’s no big secret that we mostly don’t knit shawls.So, now it’s my turn to knit a shawl, self-designated. The other ladies are mostly wrapped up in personal projects or shawls that are driving them nuts (in other words, not much progress is being made), and I have spent quite enough time knitting and tinking (un-knitting) complicated projects because really I can’t do two things at once when it comes to knitting. So, instead of finishing the clogs for my husband, the little dress for my friend’s baby, the mitt’s for my little sister, the shawl I made for myself which only needs to be blocked, or thedishcloth that’s been on the needles too long to note, I decided to pick out some donated yarn and whip up an easy to knit, hard to mess up prayer shawl. Here’s what I’ve got:


The other problem with enjoying each other so much, besides making it very difficult to knit anything more complicated than knit two together, yarn over, and repeat, is it’s hard to be knit-productive when you’re chattering away like a (drunk) monkey. I can now add this shawl to the list of shawl’s on which not much progress is being made.

Fence Posts and Peasant Bread

Today’s project was No-Knead Multi-Grain Peasant Bread and the fence next to the house. I’ve been preparing this oatmeal bread recipe for two days now. Mix it up, let it sit for eight hours, and then refrigerate. I could have made it yesterday, but yesterday was the aftermath of dentistry and the idea of making something I wouldn’t subsequently be able to eat was just too disappointing to consider.

The dough came out of the fridge today, separated and set in the oven to rise. One problem: I keep the temperature in my house below 60 degrees and I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s too cold for the bread to rise! An hour and a half later the bread has barely budged! I preheated the stove anyway and then realized the air between the top of the stove and the microwave hood was about 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. So, I parked the dough on top of the stove, covered it with a towel and an hour later, voila! I have risen bread! And in half an hour I’ll have fully baked, hopefully delicious, no-knead peasant bread.


Meanwhile, I pulled the old boards off the fence and started to nail the new boards onto the frame. Two boards in, I realized they were crooked. The fence has been jerry-rigged so many times, there are corners all over the place making it very difficult to hammer in new boards. One bruised and bloodied thumb later, the fence is fixed and I think it looks brilliant!

My husband and I only just bought this house the first week in February and we’ve only just begun to start all the little DIY projects that need doing. Last weekend Erik installed a hot water recirculating pump so we could have hot water without waiting five minutes. We also set up new shelves in the garage and installed a Kwikset SmartKey door knob lock on the garage door.

These Kwikset locks are a very neat invention. As long as you already have Kwikset locks/keys on your doors you can buy these fancy door knobs and key them to your current key and reduce the number of keys you keep on your key chain!


And here it is! One perfectly lovely loaf of whole grain bread from a non-stick loaf pan and one not so lovely loaf from a glass loaf pan that I forgot to grease and flour. But I’m sure they’ll both still be delicious!


I had two of my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. They both had cavities in them and the dentist said it would be cheaper to pull them then to fix them, and since I don’t really need them anyway…well, that’s logical right?

Losing my wisdom teeth might make me question the presence of wisdom in general. Turns out the name wisdom teeth might be a mistranslation from the Dutch word “verstandskiezen”, which literally means ‘far-standing molars’. On it’s own “verstand” means wisdom. Coincidentally, in German “verstanden” means understood. Is wisdom always understood? Anyway…

Losing teeth changes the way your mouth feels, changes the way your tongue rests, the consistency of your closed mouth, something I very much took for granted.

I lay awake at night thinking I should be writing something for someone. For myself always. But I should be putting my writing out in the world whether it is useful or not, whether someone reads it or not. But to say what I really want to say, it would not be appropriate for very many to read, but maybe that’s the point. My censor is stopping me. Curbing my desire, perhaps even my happiness? Would a blog read by no one bring me happiness?

The Yarn Harlot writes about yarn and knitting and her life as it apparently revolves around both. She is witty, self-deprecating and brilliant. She goes days without writing, but writes at least a few times every week. About crafty things, things that make me laugh and nod along. I would like to do that. Write something that makes others laugh and nod along.

What is my theme? How did she begin? Did she sit down at the computer one day and just start typing about what she had done that day? Or did she go into back story, introducing her family members, her history, her life situation? Or was it an organic development, seeping through her writing as the days passed on.

Is this in fact enough for a first entry? Can I begin here? I suppose it hurts no one to try.

Turns out, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee started with the top 10 reasons she should do a knitting blog. I have no justification, just words on paper that might make someone else laugh or smile or shake their head in pity. One might question the wisdom of my motives.

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