happiness is …

happiness is

… a wall of hand-knit shawls.

I did the math today and realized that I have moved six times in six years.  That’s a lot of packing and unpacking.  This year, though, I’m staying put.  And taking advantage of the chance to do some organizational fine-tuning around the apartment, the kind of stuff you just don’t get to if you’re always on the way to a new place.

Closets are organized, containers are planted, and now the shawls are out for all to see (well, me, anyway).  In the exhaustion of moving in, and then the exhaustion of the semester (which started soon after), I never got around to taking the shawls out of the closet or off the back of the chair.  Target to the rescue!  (And my dad, who believes in independence through power tools.)  A few minutes of work and voilà!: instant hand-knit heaven.

This display makes me quite happy.  And quite wishful for more shawls.

switzerland will break your heart

It’s just that beautiful.

klausenpass

We drove over the Klausenpass yesterday: 6000-some feet, up above the tree line … it was one of the most spectacular experiences.  The pass is closed in the winter and had only just opened for the summer: it was quiet, empty, and cold.  A very peaceful afternoon somehow.

There was snow at the top,

klausenpass

and cake!  It is now my dream to stay at this hotel someday.

klausenpass

All of these were taken out of the car window, as we wound our way up one switchback after another.  The Germans say “Serpentine.”  I think that’s a much nicer word.

klausenpass

klausenpass

klausenpass

I don’t know why, but this one is my favorite: something about the colors and the movement, the stone building against the mountains.

klausenpass

I promise I’ll get back to the knitting soon.

kneippen

kneippen

Kickin’ it with Otto Schneider at the Kneippanlage in Maisental, Bad Urach.

What is kneippen you might ask?  To be honest, I don’t know myself: it happens at the end of a hike and involves wading in a very particular (not to say peculiar) manner in a pool of knee-high, freezing-cold water.  It was spectacular.  Sebastian Kneipp was definitely onto something.

This was the guy in charge.  He instructed me in proper technique.  Since it was my first experience with the Kneipp … I asked for a picture.  Just to record the moment.  I never do that kind of thing, but I decided not to think about it and ask before I could reconsider.

crazy tourist impulses against decorum: 1, katie: 0

Bueller?

walk in wiesendangen

For a while now, I’ve had stewing in the back of my mind a project I can best describe as Buellerian.  Thinking of it in terms of a John Hughes movie gives it the right flavor of playfulness and deflates any (or at least most of the) potential pomposity from the get-go.  In a nutshell, the project is simple: to record some stuff that makes me happy every day this summer.  It’s silly, but that’s the point, too.

walk in wiesendangen

In a larger nutshell, it’s a bit more complicated.  I suspect this year of being sponsored by the letter “F”: frenzied, frantic, and frenetic.  In all the ways that those words can shift between exhilarating and exhausting.  So the summer is all about seeking out the silly — luckily, Nashville provides ample material — and revelling in it.  That’s where Ferris Bueller comes in: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  I think I’ve been missing it.

walk in wiesendangen

walk in wiesendangen

walk in wiesendangen

So I’m attempting to miss less.

In that spirit, I bought a ridiculously bright scarf yesterday because it was cheap, at H&M, very yellow, and made me happy in its beacon-like unmissability.

acid yellow, brought to you by H&M

And in the midst of all of this heady activity, I’ve even managed a bit of knitting.  In fact, the first of the Regentag socks is limping towards completion thanks to a couple of delightfully outlandish ingénue-based movies: A Summer Place (1959) and Sissi (1955).

regentag

regentag

That’s right: a turned heel and a new notebook.  So far, so good.