March 11

March 11th, 2020 — 1:02pm

Oops. I disappeared again, huh? I love all the messages you guys send to me! Thank you!

I’ve been having sort of a rough time. I’m so tired. Everything is difficult. Good days are rare.

However, I do have some good days still! And on those good days I make things. I’m still working on my Friesland Blanket, which I started in March of 2017. Here’s a progress photo from last week:

At that point I needed to make six more motifs, and since then I’ve made two so there are only four remaining!

I also finished my beautiful Wildflower Farm Quilt! This one is mine mine mine. I love it so!

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

All better

February 20th, 2020 — 8:07am

The virus has stopped kicking my butt! I won’t say I’m “well” because my new normal state is very far from well, but at least I’m no longer hacking and sniffling and too exhausted to get out of bed! Hooray! I’ve been spending my time quilting my beautiful Wildflower Farm quilt, and bought some new needles, Fons & Porter Utility Quilting Needles, that have changed my life! So sharp, so smooth, so strong.

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February 12th, 2020 — 9:56am

I am sitting up in bed! I am knitting! Hallelujah

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Three weeks

February 10th, 2020 — 1:56pm

I had literally no idea what day it was so I just looked at my calendar and discovered that I’ve been sick for three full weeks. Yikes. I’m on the mend, slowly slowly. Today I took a shower.

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Tired of this

February 4th, 2020 — 6:51pm

I couldn’t tolerate the endless relentless nausea so i stopped taking my antibiotics today. I know, i know. But i was only taking them to prevent pneumonia and my cough is starting to get better and I just can’t bear it. So i had a couple of nausea-free hours today which was great.

The nausea is back again now; i suppose my gut flora is still messed up. Please please please let the nausea be gone tomorrow. This is all getting to be more than i can handle. Seriously.

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Another ughhhhhh

January 28th, 2020 — 2:50pm

I’m so sick. I was totally fine yesterday and I feel SO AWFUL now. Brutal cough and headache, and as usual everything everything everything hurts. Doc put me on antibiotics to try to avoid pneumonia. (no fever; not the new Coronavirus)

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Quick check-in

January 28th, 2020 — 7:50am

I’m still here! I got over my virus and felt ok for a few days, and now I’ve caught something again. Coughed all night. Arghhhhh. Gonna try to get a walk-in doc appt today.

1 comment » | Blog


January 13th, 2020 — 10:01am

I’m still sick but on the mend. I think maybe I don’t have a headache right now, for the first time in days. It’s just the stupid cough that lingers and lingers and lingers. My lungs are so messed up that with every coughing fit I feel like I might pass out. Ah well. I never had a sore throat with this one so it’s all good.

My reading-tracker app (iReadItNowHD) broke in iOS 13 and I’m tired of waiting for the guy to fix it, so over the last few days, when not napping or coughing, I’ve been manually entering alllllllll my reading data into I do not like goodreads — I’ve been avoiding it for years. So many ads; ugly, cluttered, clunky interface. ALL I WANT in a reading tracker is to be able to keep track of what I read and when I read it, a wishlist, and the ability to bookmark my current book in either page numbers or a percentage. But one small independent iPhone app after another keeps going belly-up (first Readmore, then iReadItNowHD) so I guess I’ll just switch over to goodreads and be done with it.

If you want to find me there and be all social that’s cool. I’m Kara Shallenberg:

Not sure why goodreads has decided that I’m an author. Someone must have put me in as a librivox narrator and it got confused? Anyway if you scroll down past the books I didn’t write (dracula, etc.) you’ll get to my actual data, like what I’m currently reading. Two of them (Standard Deviation and Because Internet) are instant re-reads because I loved them so much the first time!

5 comments » | Blog, Books


January 8th, 2020 — 6:12pm

Still sick. This is a really odd virus. It was mild till last night but then I was awake all night with a cough, ferocious headache, severe back/shoulder/neck/knee/foot/etc. pain, and a strange speedy feeling. (I didn’t eat or drink anything unusual the day before and of course never any caffeine, but all night i felt like i was WIRED on coffee.)

I lay there and listened to an audiobook all night. Figured I’d sleep today but NOPE. So I can only hope that I get some nice normal sleep tonight.

(I wrote and scheduled the previous two posts a few days ago. Not feeling well enough to fiddle with podcast feeds)

2 comments » | Blog

The Talking Parcel

January 8th, 2020 — 11:24am

Another podcast feed for you!

The Talking Parcel, by Gerald Durrell (reprinted as The Battle for Castle Cockatrice for some reason)

As usual, you may copy/paste this link into your favorite podcast app to subscribe to the book:

Or visit my Gerald Durrell page to download or stream chapters the old-fashioned way:

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January 7th, 2020 — 10:56am

Hello my dears, I’m still sick but not miserable, so I created a podcast feed for my old recording of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Copy/paste this link into your favorite podcast app to subscribe :)

Or visit my Roald Dahl page to stream the chapters, if you prefer:

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Happy New Year!

January 4th, 2020 — 10:00am

Hi everyone — Happy New Year! It’s 2020 (first time I’ve written it) and we live in the future.

I’ve been fairly exhausted since Christmas and not up to much. Lots of lying in bed, watching foreign murder shows, listening to audiobooks, and playing Breath of the Wild. Came down with a little cold last night but I don’t think it will be a bad one — no sore throat (yet, cross your fingers), just a bit of a drippy nose and cough. So today will be another extremely lazy day.

Breath of the Wild is an AMAZING game. It took me a while to get the fact that it’s non-linear, and that I can play in any way I want. I’m too much of a weakling to do much fighting but I have hours and HOURS of fun running around the world looking for seeds, shrines, and towers. The open world is astonishingly varied and beautiful. I’m in a sort of jungle terrain now, in the south part of the map. There are banana trees, and it just pours rain most of the time — the rain seems wetter than the rain in the northern zones, and I find myself looking for shelter so I can dry off for a while. Ha!

3 comments » | Blog

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

December 25th, 2019 — 6:00am

Merry Christmas to all but especially to Henry, who requested these poems. I love you!

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book

Subscribe to The Adventures of Tom Bombadil as a podcast and download all the poems at once. Paste this rss link into your podcatcher:

01 The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
02 Bombadil Goes Boating
03 Errantry
04 Princess Mee
05 The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late
06 The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon
07 The Stone Troll
08 Perry-the-Winkle
09 The Mewlips
10 Oliphaunt
11 Fastitocalon
12 Cat
13 Shadow-bride
14 The Hoard
15 The Sea-bell
16 The Last Ship

Or download all 16 poems in one file here:

Paste this rss link into your podcatcher:

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book

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The Grinch!

December 24th, 2019 — 8:51am
In English (a recording from several years ago)
Und eine ganz neue Aufnahme auf Deutsch, speziell für Tobi und Elli :)

If you know the English version by heart, you will be able to understand the German version fairly well! The translation is excellent, there are lots of cognates, and the pictures help of course :)

(I made a couple of small mistakes, sorry, but overall I think I did rather well for a one-take recording!)

Comment » | Audiobooks

Self-care at Christmas

December 23rd, 2019 — 2:00pm

Marian Keyes is my favorite living author, a recovering addict, a survivor of serious depression and anxiety, a mental health advocate, and an all-around delightful person! She has made a 14-minute video all about taking care of yourself, and being kind to yourself, at Christmastime. It’s important!

Much of this advice is stuff I figured out on my own, long ago, and I think it is one reason why I love Christmas. I try hard not to stress about anything. Not everyone gets a homemade present, or even a present at all. I cook and bake as much as I like, and no more. No Christmas cards. My tree gets smaller every year as my energy wanes — but it’s still beautiful! I hide in my room when things get loud or overwhelming.

Marian’s advice about getting through a hard day is useful in any situation. On days with difficult, stressful medical stuff, I tell myself, ok, in twelve hours (or whatever) this will all be over. I can get through twelve hours.

Merry Christmas! Take care of yourself! If you, like Marian and me, suffer from anxiety and/or depression, keep a help line handy in your phone or follow @SarahMillican75 on twitter — she does a #JoinIn event on Christmas if you’re feeling lonely (or too crowded) and need to have a chat with some friendly internet people :)

2 comments » | Blog

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

December 23rd, 2019 — 10:14am

Here’s another Christmas audiobook for you! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. It’s funny and heartwarming and very Christmassy :) Those Herdmans are the worst kids ever!

You can find all the chapters, and a new podcast feed, here:

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

A Christmas Carol

December 21st, 2019 — 4:36pm

This is your yearly reminder that I made a recording of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” for librivox a few years ago. I just listened to it while I had a nap. It’s a very good recording, if I do say so myself :)

4 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

Christmas Music!

December 19th, 2019 — 9:00am

I love Christmas music, all sorts. From traditional to novelty to pop, and (almost) everything along the spectrum, the tacky and the glorious, the beautiful and the silly. (Though I’m not a fan of angelic children’s choirs or goopy harp-filled schmaltz. I’m more an up-tempo girl, I guess.) Right at this moment I’m listening to the Robert Shaw Chorale, “Christmas Hymns and Carols”, which is an absolutely perfect traditional, unaccompanied, non-ornate, SATB choir recording. Here’s a YouTube playlist of the whole recording:

I’ve mentioned Mixmas here quite a few times, and I’m not going to stop mentioning it. Ever.

A gem from Mixmas 2019 is “Every Single Christmas” by JD McPherson. Here’s a live recording:

From tracking down that song, I discovered that JD has a whole Christmas album of original Christmas songs, “Socks”. The official YouTube videos have charming, simple animation and lyrics, which Em really enjoys!

Another favorite this year is “Santa’s Coming for Us” by Sia. This all-star, lip-synced video is so charming! (Wait past the slow B&W intro. It gets good.)

A couple of favorites from last year are a cover of “Rise Up Shepherd” by Twin Bandit and a cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch” by Small Town Titans:

I’ll stop for now, and assault you with more of my favorite Christmas music next time! :)

1 comment » | Blog

The Christmas Tree Book is finished!

December 16th, 2019 — 12:46pm

All nine chapters are ready for you to enjoy, maybe while you decorate your tree or watch the Netflix fireplace :)

Subscribe to the book as a podcast by copy/pasting this link into your favorite podcast app:

While reading the chapter about electric Christmas lights and bulbs, I added a little note about our old antique Santa bulb! Here it is. I don’t know whether it was originally from the Shallenberg side or the Jacobs side, but it’s really old for sure! Behind Santa you can see a reproduction of one of the old German ornaments made of cotton batting and crinkled wire in the shape of a bird’s nest.

Also, the text mentions the custom of making a little village, farm, or nativity scene under or near the tree. That’s totally a tradition in my family, too, maybe from my German heritage (on both sides). What traditions or special old ornaments do you treasure?

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The Christmas Tree Book, Ch 5 and 6

December 15th, 2019 — 12:27pm

Two more chapters of The Christmas Tree Book!

Chapters 5-6 are finished and ready to download here:

Subscribe to the book as a podcast by copy/pasting this link into your favorite podcast app:

Me, recording this morning :)

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