If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Thursday, March 07, 2019

And the knitting and reading, too.

I didn't want to cramp it all in one post, being it emotional and such, so here's more to life than the future move to a place of our dream.

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.

Of course, I wasn't satisfied with the cardi, despite it had been through 3 transformation as it is. I consistently felt like what I make does not do a justice to this fantastic yarn I got at a yarn show. So, yes, I unraveled it to the bottom part (and let me tell you, frogging of mohair is super-difficult and tedious!), and am now totally immersed into this idea of a boxy sweater. Oh, the softness and lightness of this beautiful yarn...I can not wait to see how it'll be. From the yarn that I used as an add-on, I am making 2 smaller other items.
I also got a taste of a short return to sewing. Jeez, I haven't done it in ages. I brought this awesome felt fabric from my sister for a reason. All the hats and mittens, no matter how wonderfully knit, are letting cold winds go through (knits, you know, have holes), so I hand-stitched a pair of under-mitts and an under-hat liner. Still didn't pull my sewing machine out of the storage. This has to change.
I made a couple pairs of fingerless gloves for two friends (one pictured as a show-case for underliner), and that spurred me into wanting to take on a challenge to knit fingerless gloves - with fingers, all 5 of them. After making countless mittens, that was new, very detailed, time-consuming,  frustrating for the amount of needles in my hands to hold it all - but I got it done, utilizing the precious possum/cashmere yarn. Very proud and excited! But probably will not knit another pair any time soon. :)
My sister-in-law finally got a chance to put her baby (our little niece) into a sweater I knit some 9 months ago, and sent me pictures. Made my day!
That's about the knits (plus, there were simple hats for gifts and donations too, but those are just work-break hands-moving projects).

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...

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