Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Is it over already? Reflections on 2013.

Happy New Year!

As is customary, I've been doing a stock take of my activities and projects during 2013. It's interesting to think about individual projects as a body of work as the big picture can be quite impressive.

On the knitting front I completed:

20.5 pairs of socks. (The second part of the 21st pair will come off the needles in the next couple of days.)
6 scarves - three were commissions from friends
4 hats - including a fireman's hat for my five year old nephew
1 jingle ball - for my three year old niece
1 teddy bear - also for my three year old niece.

Apart from the completed items,  I also have a semi-circular shawl on the needles and a short-sleeved winter cardigan partially completed. It stalled because I don't understand what to do next. I must find out.

My crocheting yielded a chunky bathmat made from recycled tee-shirts and LOTS of granny squares. It's hard to know how many I made in 2013, but I know that I started on 16 July 2012 and finished my 146th (and last) square on 4 August 2013. I plan to stitch these together to make a 12 x 12 big blanket.

In between all that handwork, I also reached my reading goal of 25 books. It was touch and go for a while as I wrestled with a couple of long and difficult books (The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates in particular), but I got my mojo back, stopped being distracted by games on my iphone and just scraped in. (Pictures are from my page - sorry about the weird formatting...)

I was interested to notice that there are six non-fiction titles amongst all those novels. I also see I started and finished the year with the same author - Janet Evanovich - for some very light reading. The book group I started just after I moved to Melbourne in 2001 is still going strong. Books we read this year were:

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - Winner of the Man-Booker Prize for 2012. We read the winner every year. I've just started last year's winner, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

Madness: a memoir by Kate Richards was one of my suggestions for the group and I was pleased with the result. The book is incredible and the discussion that resulted was stimulating and satisfying. I've lent the book to several other friends since.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a commercial success, but was less than loved by our group.

The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham was funny, gothic and poignant all at once. Very enjoyable.

Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany was well-received, but covered similar ground to The Dressmaker. I loved the author's first book, Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick was a surprise package in its intrigue.

Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker left little impression and I finished it out of duty.

Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley was one of my recommendations when I discovered that one of my favourite authors was not well-known in the group. It's not one of my favourites, but I did enjoy it. There's a marvellous passage late in the book in which Smiley describes the relief of tension amongst a group at the end of a high stakes conversation. It's genius and worth the slog for writing like this.

I'm setting my target again at 25 books for 2014. I'd rather reach the target and feel satisfied, than feel pressure because I didn't make it. And despite all this reading, the collection on my e-reader continues to grow!

I also sang in two jazz gigs at the Paris Cat jazz club, participated in the myki customer experience panel, survived surgery, consolidated my business and co-authored a chapter in a book which is to be published. And of course, consolidated divacultura as a happy part of my life (I hope it's a happy part of yours too!)

Sorting out my spare room remains on the list of things to sort out in 2014, but first I need to finish that pair of socks. My commitments for 2014 are still under construction.

Happy New Year! How was your 2013? How's 2014 shaping up?

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