Saturday, 31 December 2016

My books 2016

Last year I read 73 books, in 2014 I read 69 books and this year again 69 books. So even when I don't plan it, it seems that I am a pretty consistent reader ;-). This time my most intense reading time happened in the summer when I came across one good book after the other. The last few weeks were rather slow but now that school is over I was able to get back into a rhythmn. It was definitely enough to complete my reading challenge.

A bit more statistics before the acutal books:
  • 62 books are written in English
  • only 7 books are written in German (and most of them I read for school)
  • I reread 5 books (the whole Lunar Cronicles and the last Outlander book)
Maybe I should try to be a bit more up to date with German Literatur again next year. And one or two French books would definitely be nice.
  • only 5 books are proper books (most of them presents, I don't think I bought any books for myself)
  • 64 books are on my iPad
Even though I love the feeling of real books, there are a few reasons why I prefer ibooks: They are always with me and I can sneak in a few pages during a break or while I am sitting in the tram; there is no way I could put all these books in my bookshelf, so it seems like a waste of space and paper to buy actual books; quite often ibooks are cheaper than even the paperback edition and last but not least they are instantly available when I feel like starting a new book.

My favourites of 2016:

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton
When Breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Leave Me by Gayle Forman
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Hum and Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
Holding Up the Universe by Jenniver Niven
Still Life by Louise Penny

Are there any amazing books you read recently that I might like as well?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

2016 resumé

This is the third time I will answer the following questions on my Schnickschnack blog. Here's 2014 and 2015...

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
I went to a yoga retreat for a week in Portugal and I liked it so much that I went to another one for a weekend in November and already booked a third one in March.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't always find the perfect balance between work and the rest but I am quite proud that I managed to keep relatively calm during times of intense stress. Yoga definitely helped me stay focused. Yannick and Antonia got even more independent which sometimes feels very detached but then we also spent intense moments together and I think those are the ones that count. I kind of picked up journaling again, I bought a 365 questions and answers journal which I started in September and so far I've managed to keep up with it. I hope I was there for my friends, they definitely made my time so much better.

My goals for next year are the 30 days yoga challenge which will start on January 1st which will hopefully continue in an intense yoga practice. I'll try to be true to myself, accepting the way I am and I want to enjoy life because it can be over so suddenly.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One of my neighbours had a baby girl but I don't really know them and Anna from Tschiertschen had a baby boy which I'll meet next February when we will go on our ski holidays

4. Did anyone close to you die?
After so many years of answering this one with no, I finally have to answer it with a yes four times. Two of my uncles died within about a week in June under very different circumstances and my grandmother passed away on December 15th. She really wanted to go in the end, so her death is a mixed feeling of gratitude and sadness. The last person to die this year was my former principal.

5. What countries did you visit?
At the end of April we flew to Cyprus for a week. We spent a great time in our villa with pool and got to see quite a bit of the island while driving around.

In July I went to Bergen with Antonia. It was our first time that in Norway and we were both enchanted by the landscape and the sea.

In October I went to Portugal for my yoga retreat. Apart from the daily lessons I had a lot of time to walk along the stunning coastline. Such a beautiful country!

In November I went to Germany (just on the other side of the border) for another yoga retreat. I didn't have a lot of time and it was rainy and foggy but it was great to be away from everything for a few hours.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A better connection with my mom. We really don't get along at the moment and even though we both would like to change it (at least I think we both want that) we don't seem to find a way.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
  • Every other Wednesday my grandmother and I walked to the GZ together. It was a sweet little routine that brought joy to both of us and I know she will always be in my thoughts on Wednesdays.
  • Drinking beer with Z. after 5 years.
  • Driving on the highway in Cyprus through an intense downpour without knowing how to turn on the wipers. 
  • An excellent school camp in Charmey.
  • Seeing my brother at my uncle's funeral after not having seen him for nine years. I am glad he's back in my life.
  • Dancing with Annette and Sascha at 80s forever.
  • The fire evacuation in Bergen which made me realise how little most of the stuff matters as long as Antonia and I were fine.
  • Standing next to the waterfall in Kjosfossen and listening to Hulda.
  • Hiking from Arosa to Tschiertschen.
  • Swimming down the Limmat with Andreas and Yannick.
  • The walks along the Fisherman's path and swimming in the icy water of the Atlantic in Portugal.
  • Knitting on the sofa with Alex and Tobi. 
  • Spending the last time with my grandmother at the hospital. It was just the two of us and even though she wasn't conscious anymore I am sure she knew she was never alone.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My newfound calmness and flexibility. The way I teach and relate to my students and the good moments with Yannick and Antonia.

9. What was your biggest failure?
When I didn't stay calm and lost it, especially with Yannick and Antonia. Fortunately we always manage to find a way back. The feeling of helplessness with my family, all these silly ways to hurt each other that have gone on for years and years.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
It was another good year. My back was good last year but this year it got even stronger. Osteopathie, regular excercise and yoga definitly help. I was sick very rarely, I think the cold I have right now might be the first one of 2016.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I had to replace my camera because the old one broke. The new one is just as good and I am glad I spent the money.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Mine (this might sound weird, but I am actually quite happy with myself). Antonia is turning into an amazing person, she is funny, helpful, clever and she found her place at the new school.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
My family.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I guess it's travelling again and I couldn't think of a better way to spend it.

15. What did you get really, really excited about?
When I managed to do stuff that I'd never thought possible.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

Because that was a fantastic concert, because I listened to it while walking in the rain next to the Bodensee and because of my own Grosmi who was very different from the one in the song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Sadder but not sadsad if that makes sense.
b) thinner or fatter? Quite a bit fatter, this has to stop now!
c) richer or poorer? I am not sure but probably slightly richer again.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I think I tried and sometimes it worked, that's all one can do.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worried and secondguessed myself.

20. How did you be spend Christmas?
We started on the 10th of December with my cousins. On the 19th of December we celebrated with my other cousin. Yesterday my family was here and tomorrow we will visit my mother-in-law.

21. What were your favourite months of 2016?
July, August and October

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
This is Us.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Life in Pieces
The Catch

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
Time and Time again by Ben Elton really got me thinking. I enjoyed the Tufa series by Alex Bledsoe a lot and read the first four books.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Now that I have unlimited access to the web from my iPhone I started to listen to apple music quite regularly. I love my Friday walks to the bakery while listening to an interesting playlist.

28. What did you want and get?
I got to travel and to spend time with people I love.

29. What did you want and not get?
Still no person, but it wasn't so important this year.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Again I only rarely went to the cinema. I remember Captain Fantastico because it was different and because I went to see it with my brother.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 45 years old and it was a rather sad and very quiet evening.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I still don't know.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Probably a bit too casual but then I really don't feel like wearing fancy uncomfortable stuff.

34. What kept you sane?
Almost the same as last year: My kids, talking with friends, going away on holidays, knitting and yoga.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nobody really.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The US election. I still don't understand how this could happen. I don't get people.

37. Who did you miss?
I met a few of last year's old ghosts ;-) Otherwise nobody I think.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I spent a lot of time with my newish neighbours Yasha, Mareike and Sebastian and I got to know Alex better. I also really like the connections I made through yoga.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Kein Weg führt zum Glück. Glück ist der Weg.
Be your own light.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Dä Märliprinz ä huärä Tubäl" (Schoedo) and also on a more optimistic note "It's such a perfect day and I am glad I spent it with you" (Lou Reed)

Finished Objects: Three Mini Sweater Ornaments

Pattern: Mini Sweater Ornaments by Emily 5446
Yarn: different Fingering Weight leftovers
Colour: lot of them
Needles: 3mm Round Needles
Start of project: December 17th, 2016
End of project: December 24th, 2016

On Ravelry

Just in time for Christmas Eve I finished the first two of these little sweater ornaments. Our christmas tree is always decorated with a melee of stuff and there are already knitted christmas balls and little christmas hearts so it felt right for more knitwear.

I first saw one of these little sweaters on SoVeryShannon's blog and really liked the idea. Since she knit without a pattern I went looking for one on Ravelry. The one I liked best was this cute little top down sweater which has everything a real sweater needs just on a very small scale.


They only take about two hours from start to finish and they look great on our christmas tree. The last one which I knit today will go to my mother-in-law tomorrow.

We celebrated christmas at my place yesterday. I was rather apprehensive about the event because as some of you know my grandmother passed away less than two weeks ago and it's been quite an intense time. This was the first christmas in all my life that I celebrated without her. We missed her and we talked about her but we are also very much aware that her final wish was granted because she just didn't want to go on anymore. I am glad that we got together and that there were good moments as well, because that's what was most important to her.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Finished Object: Snare

Pattern: Snare by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Worsted
Colour: teal
Needles: 4.5mm Round Needles
Start of project: November 27th, 2016
End of project: December 4th, 2016

On Ravelry

Because good things come in 3s (at least in German) I will also write about my third finished object today.

About a year ago I finished Andreas' sweater Hitchcock. Because I thought then that I had ordered too little yarn for the sweater, I had to order an extra skein which somehow turned into two when I found the one I'd missed at the back of the drawer (I know!!!) and so there was quite a bit of left over yarn. If you've read my old blog article you might remember that I liked the softness of the yarn but I was really not a fan of the dye the yarn lost while knitting. Nevertheless I'd promised Andreas a hat and now we finally decided on a pattern and I found the time for it.

For once I swatched carefully for it, I tested the pattern and I tried the Italian Cast On in the Round before I started the actually hat. Both worked out wonderfully and after casting on 120 stitches in the slowest possible way (but so worth it, it looks super neat) it didn't take a lot of time for this little hat to grow.

I am quite taken with the pattern and I might knit another one for myself, I tried it on and I think it would suit me just as well ;-) Andreas seemed happy with it though and I already saw him wearing it on his bike only a few hours after he got it, something that makes my little knitter heart quite happy.

So now that all these projects are out of the way my head is free for something new. I will knit a pair of mittens next and there is more sock yarn waiting and I ordered yarn for a loop for Antonia.

Finished Object: Gryffindor Socks

Pattern: Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder
Yarn: Biscotte & Cie Bis-Socks
Colours: Sorcerer's Uniform, Bouclier
Needles: 2 mm Round Needles
Start of project: October 30th, 2016
End of project: December 9th, 2016

On Ravelry

I knit these socks almost totally away from my own house. I've started knitting more often at school - often just for a few minutes during each break, I took them to a few Knit'n'Sips, I took them to the yoga retreat in Germany and I brought them along when I taught a friend of mine how to knit.

The yarn I used is actually left over yarn from another project, for Dan's Playdate. I knew there would be too much yarn when I ordered it and I knew I would get a pair of socks for myself for free. There is actually still more than 100gr of the two colours left, so I might even knit a second pair later.

I used the Hermione's Everyday Socks pattern again because I like it and because what could work better with a Gryffindor colourway. I wanted a contrasting colour for the cuffs, the heels and the toes, I think that looks so lovely and neat.

I am happy that now there is a new pair of socks waiting for me in my sock drawer ;-)

Finished Object: R&R Hoodie

Pattern: R&R Hoodie by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: Tanis Fibre Arts Green Label
Colours: Tartan, Lemongrass
Needles: 4mm and 4.5mm Round Needles
Start of project: October 29th, 2016
End of project: December 4th, 2016

On Ravelry

I didn't finish anything in October and there were no blog entries in November. November was a weird month for me, the light was waning, a close friend got bad medical news, school was intense, but there were also good moments such as watching live football with my students, a yoga workshop and a yoga weekend retreat in Germany and other small stuff. I didn't stop knitting but I needed the little time I had to recover (sleeping and yoga) more often than not, so progress was slow. Nevertheless I have now three FOs almost at the same time and my second R&R Hoodie is the one I started first (here is the first one I knit).

I knit it for my neighbours son, a very cute little boy who loves to be outside and roll around in the dirt (he doesn't quite walk yet) I think the colour Tartan is going to be very forgiving with a bid of mud. Yasha already tried it on while it was on the needles and I think he was quite taken by it because he didn't want to take it off anymore even though it wasn't even finished then (he doesn't talk yet either so it's all guessing ;-).

It took me a while to come up with the perfect solution for the iCord lining. Even though I like the Tartan I hadn't expected it to be quite so dark so I knew I wanted a contrasty colour. Then I rememberd the Lemongrass I still had left over from Antonia's hoodie. I had to hold it double because it's only DK.  I think it works really well together, which is why I added some double stitching
along the little pockets. Finding a good zipper was another challenge, but I am glad I went with red.

The hoodie is still rather on the big side for Yasha, so he will be able to wear it for a while. I am looking forward to seeing him run around in it.