Vesuvius // Sufjan Stevens

Dear Sufjan Stevens,

I loved what you did to your music at your concert in the colosseum theatre in Essen. You and your band took the essence of the songs, gave them enough room to unfold, then swirled and transformed them into their own reprises, occasionally letting things escalate in a multitude of layers beyond the moon and back, and at other times letting the sounds ebb and swell to Sufjan’s solitary softness of a voice.

And I loved the combination of light and video around the oddly shaped background canvas, the beautiful stills of soothing mountain sea panoramas, the childhood VHS videos, and the weirdly evolving geometric shapes.

And really, I was overwhelmed by you, Sufjan, because I never knew someone could deliver a song so meaningfully with the way they moved, sometimes little, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes with weird dance moves I am sure have some sort of tradition to them, and sometimes just moving unselfconsciously in line with the rhythm (which was kinda sexy).

And to top it all off, we could enjoy the concert sitting in comfortable theatre chairs… I wish to see a concert like this again, some day, but until then, I will try to keep this feeling alive in my heart.

Love love love,
Judith


vesuvius

– Here goes the album version of “vesuvius”, which does not do the thing at the concert justice, but nonetheless manages to evoke the atmosphere for me.

fly, run, walk

Dear legs,

Today was the first time in a long long time I asked you to run for me on my regular home round around the Promenade in Münster. It was fabulous to have you work together with my heart and lungs to let me forget myself, and enjoy as simple and raw a sensation as fast, self-sustained movement.
For the most part we flew, and it was only towards the end that we slowed to a run to cool down, and finally walked when we met Terry at the end.
Maybe we can go back to doing this more often again.

With love, and gratefulness,
Judith


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the prized possessions, pictured with the north face’s ‘better than naked’ shorts – not pictured: my sweatyashell face

Running the Sauerland Höhenflug trail half marathon

On 14th June, we (that is, Terry, Ole and yours truly) ran the Sauerland Höhenflug trailrun half marathon! It spans 21,1 km with 540 m in elevation gain and 540 m in loss in the beautiful Sauerland. What a magnificent race!

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Yours truly during the race; I think the on-course photographer did a great job!

The course consists of about 8 km epic single trails (the same 4 km run both at the start and on the way back) and 13 km broader forest ways. In June, some of the single trail is partly overgrown by long swaying grasses and prettily framed with broom (probably Genista scoparia) in full bloom. There is many a great scenic view along the trail, varied landscapes surrounding the trail and a few crisp inclines and downhills; albeit without those being too technical and steep at the same time.

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Race day was a waaarm sunshiny day
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Super downward sloping meadows (aka pretty assholes as far as running them goes) (taken by Terry)

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Thankfully this photo looks more graceful than the actual running probably did (taken by Terry)

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On towards the finiiish!

Despite all the beauty of nature around, I had a hard time during the race. This was primarily because we three had been so busy renovating and moving together in Münster the past weeks that we did not even get one little run squeezed in, so we came to the race hyper untrained and unprepared. Consequently, I felt real sluggish and warm.  It did not help that many folks around me were of this typically German older running population that has been running casually but consistently for at least a decade, easily overtaking me like WOOSH. Usually I am happy for those people, but that day they just made me feel like a slow noob. I guess that is its own kind of humbling experience.

But I finished nonetheless, I saw a lot of beauty, and I lapped everyone on the couch, you know the saying 🙂

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Wooooo! (Thanks to Ole for sort-of-solo-cheering for me at the finish line, it was really good to see your face!)

The race organisation was really good, the course was well-marked, and I love when races have a photographer hired for taking pictures of the runners free of charge (aka included in the entry fee but distributed across all runners). While we’re at this topic, I want to mention how much I liked the sponges they had at some aid stations. Nothing like squeezing some liquid goodness on hot skin during a race, no?!

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Yeah, I liked the sponge enough to carry it all the way to the finish to proudly wave into people’s faces

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… good race organisation leads to a happy-faced finisher-snap shot Ole

As a bonus, here’s me stuffing my face with post-race yummy goodness:

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I’m fairly sure this orange slice was my happiest moment this entire summer

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Eat all the fruits I can get

The route of the Sauerland Höhenflug is great even in winter, for there are more numerous and broader views around the landscape viewable from the bare ridges. And I think there are few things as beautiful as the delicate hoarfrost covering the plants and grasses along the singletrail parts on cold sunny days… But this is for another day and blog post!

My self-made passion planner / filofax

DSC03508 smallI finally found the time to make my own much-needed personal planner – a place for everything I regularly need to work with on paper, from weekly appointments to blog post ideas, from systematic to-do lists to figuring out the actual steps needed for my goals, plus the layout and space to put it all into practice throughout the week. Because plans are nothing if you do not manage to act on them, for whatever reason, right?

I spent a while browsing stores and the internet for purchasable folder planners before, but all the nice ones are grossly overpriced. I would have felt stupid to buy one. Besides, a creative DIY project is always fun!

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the landing page

So when a post from odernichtoderdoch online magazine (in German) offered tips for how to make one, and I stumbled over the perfect weekly layout in the form of the free pdf for the epic America-based passion planner, I decided to craft my own lovely planner. And I am soooo very happy with how it has turned out!

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details
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a planned-and-lived first chaotic week (yet with integrated do lists)
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the blank weekly passion planner layout

I aimed at a combination between an individualistic and pretty planner and a clean practical style, letting the planner feel personal but well-suited for the actual grown-up life of a somewhat scatterbrained person with many ideas, dreams, and goals. The layout of the passion planners is perfect for that; and it comes with a system of developing for yourself your dreams and goals and what matters – and suggestions for how to break them down into manageable steps that you can insert into your everyday life in the weekly layouts.

And for me the planner has already worked, because while developing my goal of finishing up my Master’s degree, I realised I finally need to hand in this quite finished but long overdue paper that has been sitting in my computer (and in my head) for way too long. And I did hand it in this week! Wooooo!

So on the whole, I think the planner is quite ready for more heavy and regular usage. And while I would hate for it to feel cramped with useless knick-knack, I think I may yet add an elastic to keep the folder closed, and more of the registers to quickly jump to my systematic to do lists. Maybe a bookmark for the current week, too.

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an example of my systematic to do lists
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top view with weekly layouts from July to December 2015 on 180 g paper, plus my to do lists on 120 g

My warmest thanks go to Angelia Trinidad of passion planner for investing so much love and thoughtfulness into making the layouts, and then putting up the planner pdf for free (for overseas students living on a tight budget like me, for example) on the passion planner website, where you are also offered the option to donate a small amount instead which will go to a charity – how lovely is that? – and to Jessi of odernichtoderdoch online magazine for inspiring me with handy tips to just make a planner myself! All my gratefulness and all the power to you, ladies 🙂


Do you have a planner? How do you like its style, and do you actually use it for anything? If you have any tips for other tweaks or proposals, please let me know!

to treat myself to dirty feet

to treat myself to dirty feet

Beneath my bare feet, the ground comes alive. Or maybe my feet come alive? There is so much to sense, and to react to and so much to be adjusted accordingly while I walk. The feeling of fresh wind gliding over naked toes is so out of the ordinary; it fills me with childlike wonder and joy each and every time!

There are not many things which are as easy, surprisingly satisfying and healthy as simply taking off those shoes and going barefoot, no? How nice it feels to actually experience the ground. It is like being given a whole new sense. The possibility to walk and run like this is one thing I love summer for; on soft grass, on sun-heated concrete, on slightly wet earth.


Have you tried walking or running barefoot lately, or have you had any sensations that felt all new?
How did you feel?

Photos. Memories. Thoughts. Arts. Reflections and ADVENTURES!