Monday, December 31, 2018

December Reflections

In Germany we call this time between Christmas and New Year's Eve "between the years" (zwischen den Jahren). It's a time when we often have a break and consequently more free time - time to reflect on the year that is almost over and looking towards the new year that's almost here. I'm off work from both the high school and the German School right now which is a more than welcome break from the quite hectic days at both schools. Kaefer has been home since the third weekend in December and will be here for another week before she, too, needs to get back to the work and college life.

I do love the more quiet time after Christmas. Since we celebrate on Christmas Eve as is our German tradition, Christmas Day itself was very relaxing with playing games and cooking (and eating) a good meal for dinner. Kaefer and I did a complete re-run of all the Downton Abbey episodes - binge watching at its best for almost two weeks - and enjoyed the Christmas special of "Call the Midwife", our favorite TV series. We were invited to a lovely 65th birthday party which resulted in some great dancing and lots of laughter. The clutter in my studio has bugged me for a long time and I finally cleaned out at lot of stuff and brought it to the thrift store that specializes crafts supplies. I have been working in the garden - there has been a lot of trimming back and I'm still not done. We had frosty mornings and mild days - oh, how do I love the Northern Californian winter. We also had some heavy rain which is always much needed in this area, and it has kept away the fears of wildfires for now.

Good old-fashioned German Glühwein

For the entire month of December I have joined Susannah Conway's "December reflections 2018" challenge on Instagram which I enjoyed very much and is a beautiful tool to go back and reflect about the year. If you want to you can see the results on my Instagram.

This was a mixed year and not everything was good. But when I look back it's mainly the good thinks that stand out for me - our trip to Istanbul, a Turkish wedding, traveling in Turkey and Ireland. 10 marvelous days on the Big Island where we could enjoy the wild beauty of Puna before many parts of it were consumed by the lava spilling out of fissure 8 a few months later. Some lovely hikes and seeing how nature bounces back after the devastating wildfires of October 2017. We're seeing burned down neighborhoods springing back to life, fire survivors re-building their homes. Our daughter was traveling in Europe on her own, then going to Dubai and finally to Cape Town where she was doing an internship in two hospitals, experiencing a completely different life. It is delightful to see the young woman she is growing into.

The last of the roses in December, "Anna's Promise"

But I also felt a bit in a rat hole. November and the first part of December have been very busy in my shop and I was constantly knitting - my hats sold like hot cakes. It's lovely, of course, but I do feel that I would also love to knit something else. Over the past two weeks I have started to knit a baby sweater which I enjoy, and a cat pillow that is not quite as fun to knit as I had thought. However, I would also love to go back to painting. I actually did paint a bit over the summer and it felt so good to have paint on my hands again. So I decided to enroll in a year long online class, hoping that my creative juices will flow a bit more easily again. I also took part in a short five-day journaling class - actually "took part" is not quite the correct term since I mainly took notes, but it gave me a considerable amount to think about. Wonderful beginnings for 2019.

For the new year I wish that my family and friends stay healthy and happy. I hope that our country will be kinder than it is right now and that common sense finds its way back here.

To all of you a lovely 2019 - may the new year give you many reasons to laugh and experience the joy of life.

Sunset on Christmas Eve


Elephant's Child said...

Thank you Carola.
The New Year has landed here, and found her way without my assistance.
I do hope the New Year is a kinder, gentler one than the one we have just finished and wish health, happiness love and laughter to you and yours - and the world.

Karen Lakis said...

I love this time of year - I, also, have it off from work. It's a wonderful time to reflect and to also look forward. I like the way you summarized 2018. It sounds as though you've had some good experiences, and are well on your way to making plans for growth in 2019. Happy New Year!

joliefemme said...

Happy New Year!

Red Rose Alley said...

Your cookies look so Yummy, Carola. The middle ones remind me of Russian tea cookies, which Jess made this year. They are always so good. It's nice that you include some of your German traditions at Christmas time. Yes, the winter weather in northern California is great. We get hot summers, so I appreciate the cold winters, and we've been having frost as well. I'm glad you got to spend some time with your daughter. I'm wishing you peace and joy in the new year, and look forward to more of your wonderful photos this year.


Julia Dunnit said...

Beautiful phots as always Carola, and lovely to catch your ‘between the years’ post. I hope his year sees you with paint on your hands for sure!

Barb said...

What beautiful, peaceful photos, Carola! It sounds like you're starting the new year with several new adventures in the making. I'd like to get back more to my photography and writing, too. You inspire me! Enjoy Kaefer while she's at home. How did she grow up so fast (my grandkids, too)!

Jeanie said...

It sounds as though you had a wonderful holiday. I love the idea of the "time between the years." It's a nice pace, isn't it? Although, we did keep celebrating. Still, some of the heat is off.

I wish you a year filled with beauty and creativity -- YOUR projects, not just the ones for the shop. And I wish you and your family much joy. I always love to visit here.

(And wasn't the Midwife special wonderful? Yes, my favorite show, too!)

Happy New Year to you!

windrock studio said...

So wonderful to read your thoughts here on the past year and your hopes for the future. Good start already with the classes and it does sound like the holidays were perfect ... I've always been a big fan of Downton and just getting into the Midwives as well.

So very happy that we are still, after all these years, strongly connected.

Cheri said...

I love the concept of "between the years" - I always take this time off work and am home from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day (and if I get lucky some extra weekend time tacked on!). It is a time to reflect on the past year and decide what you what to get out of the year to come. So what year long course did you sign up for?

Magdalena said...

Liebe Carola,
wie bei den meisten ist der Rückblick immer eine bunte Mischung. Du hast wirklich viel erlebt. Wir haben auch die Zeit zwischen den Jahren genossen und hoffen auf ein vor allem friedliches neues Jahr.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

This idea of naming and celebrating the period between the years seems pretty appealing to me. It would be a time to both reflect and look forward. Maybe at the end of 2019 I will keep this Germán tradition in mind,

handmade by amalia said...

Wishing you a very happy 2019, Carola.

Magic Love Crow said...

Thank you my friend! Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy, and healthy 2019!! Big Hugs!