december seventeenth

I would like to announce that the dog does not even bark at the UPS man anymore. Mr. UPS has been to the house so often this week that apparently Buddy considers him to be part of the family now.

Buddy looking handsome in his Christmas scarf

Torrilin says:

Every stitch forward is a good thing.

See, that’s what I love about you-who-comment-here. I read through the comments, and without fail, there’s encouragement, and wisdom, and silliness, and Good Stuff in them. In fact…I just found out that Nicholas loves the comments so much that he told me he doesn’t even read my posts for several days, because he wants to wait until the comments are there. Sir N says: “The comments are the best part!”

This from my Number One Fan, mind you.

So, yes: Every stitch forward is a good thing.

In that spirit, I decided today was going to be a crafty day. I did a bit of work on the computer, then put some needles in my hands, and worked on Nicholas’ Super Secret Gift for a while. I watched Rita Buchanan’s video How I Spin as I knitted.

Rita talks about Joy often, and she radiates joy the way some special folk do. Plus, she has a pig puppet who spins. (Doesn’t get much better than that.) Listening to Rita, and watching her spin, was a perfect bit of quiet joy this morning.

Thinky Thoughts

I’ve been thinking about joy lately. Joy, peace, happiness…all those. I’m realizing that I’m an odd combination of joyful and sad these days. Joyful, because, well…why not? I have a sweetheart for a husband, I’m warm and fed and I have everything anyone could possibly want in life, including four adorable animal companions.

Each box is personally inspected by Tim

And I wrote “everything anyone could possibly want in life” and realized that this isn’t quite true.

I want to live in a place that feels like home. This part of the world is charming, but…it’s not home. I’ve been here over two years now, and I still feel uprooted and homesick. I’ve made wonderful friends, the people here are stellar, and there’s so much good here in Canada that I feel ungrateful for even hinting that I don’t love every single bit of being here. I love some of it. It’s a good place, even a beautiful place. But…I want to go home.

I want children. Someday. It will happen someday.

Complaining…or not?

As I write those things, I wonder…am I complaining? I’ve been thinking a LOT about complaining lately, also; mostly because one encounters quite a bit of it on Ravelry, Twitter, and other social sites. I’ve been noticing that some folks complain and complain, other folks post about happy things and joyful things, and then still other folks post both complaints and happy. When I read the constant complaining, I feel sick at heart; when I read the more positive, or at least more balanced, posts, I feel lighter at heart.

Then, Mary-Heather (rainydaygoods on Twitter and Ravelry) tweeted that she is taking a pledge to not complain. For a whole week.

I’m thinking about taking that pledge, too. It’s not that I think complaining is wrong; I just think that if you do too much of it, like anything else, it gets to be a habit, and it gets to be poisonous. Yes, it’s cold and it’s snowy and the snow is turning to muddy mush outside; but the cold means I can have a fire in the woodstove, which smells wonderful and makes the whole house somehow come alive.

Before I take the pledge, though, I have to figure out for myself: What exactly is a complaint? Is it the same thing as speaking the truth, for example, when one is sick? What if you have an upset stomach and don’t feel like eating dinner–is it complaining to say, “I don’t feel well”?

The online dictionary says a complaint is: “An expression of discontent, regret, pain, censure, resentment, or grief; lament; faultfinding.”

Discontent, then. Thus, a simple statement of fact, as in “I don’t feel well,” isn’t a complaint by that definition, as long as one is content with one’s illness. (You know. Like the Dalai Lama is content no matter what comes his way.)

I don’t think “not complaining” means being an unrealistic Pollyanna about life’s potholes. “There’s a pothole, watch out” is a lot different than saying “Damn potholes, they ruin my day and those Bad People at the street fixing place should fix them!”

I’m going to try not complaining for a week. That includes this blog. It doesn’t mean hiding what’s going on, or lying, or being false in any way. I think, for me, it means letting it be. Life on life’s terms. Yes, I’m a bit sad, but maybe that’s appropriate for the person I am and the spot I find myself in. I accept the sadness, I accept the uprootedness, and I look around me to see the WHOLE picture. What else is in my life besides the sadness and homesick feelings? So much good. So much love. So much warmth, so much laughter.

Joy, even.

Today’s Random Good

Maybe it’s hokey to actually have a foundation for Random Acts of Kindness. I don’t know. But there it is. The part I like best is their list of suggestions/ideas for acts of kindness. Check out the drop-down menu; there’s even specific suggestions for Kindness At Home, or Kindness Online.

Be kind to someone who's grumpy

Hokey? Maybe. I’m scrolling through the list anyway.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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19 Responses to december seventeenth

  1. Naomi says:

    1. That is an excellent photo of Buddy.

    2. Having someplace that feels like home is a really big thing for me, too. Philly, right now, is kinda home but kinda not-home, because I never meant to be here this long.

    3. I think that expressing dissatisfaction should not count in your week of no complaints as long as it’s expressed in a way that will help fix the problem.

  2. Sandy says:

    Lovely, lovely post. As they have all been this month. As I’ve been kind of ganky this season, I appreciate the gentle reminder that complaining doesn’t speak to people’s hearts and souls as much as concern and clear interest do.

    Remember to breathe, Paca Princess. I think the universe has more in store for you!

  3. Gwen says:

    Now I want to post-stalk myself, and see how much complaining I’ve been doing. I try to laugh at myself while I’m whining, because, really! You’re absolutely right – it’s a terrible habit.

    That definition? Not all inherently bad (grief, lament, pain). And there’s a really cute gargoyle hiding behind your tree and under the definition.

  4. Julia in KW says:

    I live in Canada and my family live in Canada, but right now, I am farther away from my parents/sister/brother than I would wish, so I miss them…so I totally understand the feeling of not being at “home”. We live close to my husband’s family which is good…but it is still not the same (for me).
    However – I have lived farther from everyone before and I am able to talk to them all easily and cheaply, so I try to not let it get me down…(never realized I was a “home”-body). Wishing you a warm feeling of being at home!

  5. Lynn says:

    Embrace your mistakes. Encourage someone. I like those suggestions from the RAOF site. Of course, you often Make Someone Laugh! And there’s a suggestion to Knit A Scarf! Woot!

    OK, I haven’t read all the way through, yet, but here’s one for you: Be Nice To Yourself.

    And hugs!

  6. georg says:

    I try very very hard not to rant at people who can’t do anything about it, particularly when they are paid to listen to anything I say. This means at the check out counter, following the horrible customers who are making me late, I don’t lash into the cashier when it’s my turn. They already know how pissed off I am – they watched me fidget. But I watched them fidget or wince, and they don’t need my frustration. So instead, I try to tell them a joke, or get them to smile. I find if I bring them joy – putting happy out into the world- I get it back. And then I’m not angry any more. The little stuff can slide off my back, and I am so much happier.

    True, I haven’t been good about this as much with the internet on Rav, with the sheet and the car issues. But I have still stopped several rants that I could have made. And a couple of times, I’ve managed to make a joke instead of rant, and then I’m not so angry any more.

    Joy is always better than angry. Never let them steal your joy. Infect them with your joy, if you can. (But don’t push the joy, because that backfires)

  7. Mireille says:

    I’ve really been enjoying the posts this month. You are a very thoughtful person, and it rubs off on those of us who enjoy what you write. I mean thoughtful, both in terms of kindness, and true thought – “thinking about what you think about”
    Complaining is to me, about focus. You can acknowledge that something is not how you want it to be without letting it consume you. Pretending problems or heartfelt desires aren’t there, or aren’t important, is bad for your emotional and physical health!

  8. Laura says:

    I wonder if complaining has more to do with what we want to accomplish in the situation. If I’m complaining about someone else, I often want to prove that somehow I’m better than they are (at whatever the issue is). If I’m “complaining” because things are somehow out-of-kilter, like feeling homesick 2 years after living somewhere (I can relate), that can be trying to articulate an emotion. Speaking those emotions into words and actions helps us deal with them so they don’t eat us alive from the inside. The line is thin, and rather gray sometimes. But I think the “goal” of the complaints is what differentiates a complaint from … an emotional statement, I suppose. It’s interesting that we don’t have a good word for this second kind of statement, or if we do, I can’t think of it right now!

    I hope your crafty day was filled with joy.

  9. Connie says:

    I think you have found “patience”. I see patience as the acceptance of reality. If you accept your reality you can then enjoy the goodness around you even if it is not the place or situation you want to be in. Patience will help you until you find the home and the city that you love. When people complain too much they are just fighting their reality…

  10. april says:

    i enjoyed your blog today. i don’t like constant complaining either. i love ravelry and many, many of the folks on there, but sometimes you get on a thread that has lots of complaining and i find myself avoiding that thread. i think thats why its so refreshing to read your comments on there and this blog. i know you are sad sometimes, but overall you come off as a very positive and encouraging person. thank you. i am going to think about not complaining so much for myself and see if i am happier for it. nobody likes a whiner, right? right. thanks sandi!

  11. karen says:

    I feel your sadness, I too am far from family — parents and inlaws inthe GTA, daughter on the west coast, me in the middle of nowhere. I look on it as an adventure….how lucky to have been able to experince, city life, suburban life and now country life! I think of the wonderful people I have met, and what I have learnt that I otherwise would not have.

    I give my self 10 minutes or so a day to complain, if I feel I have something to complain about, and then that is it, done. Life is tooooooooo short, and too beautiful to waste time complaining.

  12. Suzanne says:

    I’ve lived in many places (Canada is vast! It is not the same from place to place by any means!) and I’ve found that home is something you make, not a place. It’s something you build wherever you are, sharing your traditions and embracing those of others around you, shaping them into a new set of traditions.

    Being discontented by your current state isn’t complaining! It’s identifying what isn’t working for you, like that your home isn’t set up for how you craft!

    What are the things you miss about your former home? What specifically do the people you miss bring to your life? When you look at those and see what they bring, you can build that into your current life.

    If nothing else, I’ve found that finding your peeps, the people you can be with without artifice or guardedness, that can happen anywhere. It’s not easy, and it’s not instant, but it’s not impossible, either.

    To finding your peeps! *hugs*

  13. cocokat says:

    What makes a place your home? I moved a little over three years ago. The people are wonderful, the city small, the house not quite what we wanted. What makes it home? I’m with my loving husband and one adorable found-cat in the basket on one side, and my knitting basket on the other. Though we complain (uh oh, need to make that commitment not complain!) the problems really are inconsequential.

    What would make your home home? What’s missing?

  14. GeniaKnitz says:

    We moved to a city I had never lived in before, that my husband loved. The husband I love is here; my daughters live in the same city; my cats are here; I like my house. We have been here 10 years. For 10 years, I have been wanting to “go home,” and I still do, and I don’t even know where “home” is any more, but it isn’t here.

    Consider one thing: it may be physical. It’s hard to feel as happy as you would like when you feel – down – a lot. It could be allergies, for instance. I feel much better the minute I get out of the valley we live in, where the allergies grow.

    So, maybe start with getting a physical? I send you good wishes; it can be really hard. Especially in the dark winter months.

  15. I do think there is a difference between whining and stating a legitimate complaint. I’ve never observed you whining! 😉

  16. woolizard says:

    First, the Joy: When we met at Rhinebeck, I was immediately struck by how joyous you seemed to me; you were filled with a light and a serenity that was positively charming.

    Next, the Complaint: Every year for Lent, I give up complaining. It’s a great exercise, because it causes you to really think before speaking. Regarding your example about a stomach ache, I would think that randomly saying “I have a stomach ache” is complaining. However, if you respond to a query about your health, it’s not complaining, it’s explaining. When you hit that pothole, it’s certainly acceptable to say “Oh my stars! (or whatever is your favorite exclamation) That is one honking big pothole! Hope my car is okay!”

    Finally, home: I think you hit the nail on the head. Discontent is more about our environment than we realize, and it’s not always evident immediately. Figure out what means the most to you and incorporate it into your environment. For me, it’s lots of light, wood floors, and only the minimum amount of clutter to enable creativity, plus colors I love.

    Peace to you, Sandi.

  17. Barbara Greene says:

    What you wrote about “home” struck me too. I understand being in a great place, meeting wonderful people and doing good things and yet, still not feeling it is your home. I have been living in a “new” place for 3 years and still feel that way. I just tell folks that this is a great place, its just not my place. I feel like a plant that will grow in many places, but really thrives in its home environment.
    That is simply stating truth, not complaining. Also, when you can articulate how you feel about something, you can begin to take steps to improve a situation which is not your your liking. Every path we take, leads to other new paths, the journey IS the thing.
    I must say, in reading your blog and also what you’ve written in years past in Knitting Daily, you strike me as a very positive and inspiring person (not to mention quite creative)!
    So keep the faith, hopefully we all get to our homes some day. What was that poem in the Hobbit that Bilbo used to sing?

    “…..Roads go ever ever on
    Under cloud and under star,
    Yet feet that wandering have gone
    Turn at last to home afar.
    Eyes that fire and sword have seen
    And horror in the halls of stone
    Look at last on meadows green
    And trees and hills they long have known.”

    Peace and joy to you in this coming year!

  18. mitchypoo says:

    What a lovely blog and I love what you have to say. I think I’ll have to take the pledge too. And I love your Tim, I have 3 box inspectors myself!

  19. sarah says:

    To me a complaint is a statement of discontent voiced with the intent (conscious or unconscious) of getting someone to do something about it. Someone other than the complainer, that is. So “No dinner, thanks, I don’t feel well” can be a statement of fact or, with the subtext “so I need sympathy/a cuddle/special food”… more a complaint. But complaints aren’t unreasonable; there are so many things that make our lives less bright than they might be.

    Including homesickness. I know whereof you speak. But I tell myself I have so many other things to be grateful for that I can live with homesickness, even if it’s a vast echoing emptiness, an aching lack of HOME in my core. Because I can’t get there from here anyway. Home is both place and time, and the time is past. I can make a different Home, but the one I miss most of all is gone forever. No point in complaining about that one, as no one can do anything about it now 🙂

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