I had a good span of knits, even if most were for somebody else. There were a couple of hats for a co-worker and his girlfriend, a cotton top for my Russian friend in Austin (her 50's birthday coming up this month), an endless scarf from an amazing always cherished New Zealand possum with cashmere blend for my other friend's birthday, a finished re-make of a white Japanese mohair/silk cardigan, a re-make of an angora cowl (neck warmer) for myself, and a summer-ish top from a rare possum/cotton yarn.
I've managed to read a few books, some serious and big, some smaller and less involving of brain power. I keep my grey matter under scalp moving swiftly, I hope. Although I recently read an article that while keeping your neurons occupied with reading and math helps, as well as staying physically active, in prevention/postponing dementia, the biggest positive input has been noted as a correlating to staying socially engaged. Thus, family and friends, and communicating often, in real life, a.k.a. in person! This, too, we plan to have far more of once we move to COS. The sense of community was one of the identifying factors for picking the place, both the city, and the neighborhood.
Of course, I am still a part of Russian community, whether it's obvious or not. And this week I had to make a quick turn-around trip to Houston to visit Russian Consulate. My passport expires by the end of September, and since a bunch of Russian Embassies/Consulates got closed for agendas I won't get into, that narrows down folks of my homeland to only 3 left: NYC, D.C., Houston. Obviously, it is much easier to get to Houston from Austin, not from Denver, thus I jumped at the chance to set up an appointment. The folks in Houston branch couldn't be more friendly, polite, helpful, on time, and overall providing a great experience (despite still, 25 years later, living under the impression our home-grown bureaucracy is mean, long and almost dangerous to engage in). I was in and out of the office in 10 min, and that included taking photo on-site and asking unrelated questions (all of which were answered, and they almost wanted to start that process for me as well). Very impressive.
I want to end these two posts/updates with some diving into sorting through The Stuff. As the move approaches, and the move to a rather pretty much smaller house in the future than one small we already have, we have to make decisions to part with some things. Technically speaking, I was a minimalist and de-clutterer before the movement even started or had a name tag on it. For me (and my sister) it is almost like a disease of sorts, getting rid of things we own, and that's despite the fact that we both don't like buying things to begin with. Moving what seems like thousand times in my life (only in US I had changed a physical address 13 times) helps pairing down with possessions, always identifying what to leave behind. The whole KonMari Method "keep what sparks joy" I got down by the age of 12. Yet I have to admit, even though I consistently go through my belongings (and from time to time pressure those I live with to do at least a bit of the same), stuff slips in through the cracks. This last house we're in, by the time we are done, will be the longest one place I will have ever lived in. Also living at this stage of our lives (a.k.a. much more financially stable than, say, at the age of 20 or 30) and being married to a pretty normal American dude (who is wonderful in a gazillion ways, yet is normal in respect of people deserve to have things they "want", not only "need") means accumulating, you guessed it, stuff. Great, useful, serving us well at various points of time, but stuff, nevertheless.
So, armed with a couple of exerts of Marie Kondo's book, I began my quest of unloading, slowly, in steps. I am bewildered at what I allowed myself to possess. I am easy to let them go, those are just things, yet it certainly reminds me of the fact that complacency and staying put has its own side-effects. Let it be lesson for the home we intend to live "forever" to the end. Because, you know, there is more to life than consumption of stuff...