december eighteenth

Gwen says:

there’s a really cute gargoyle hiding behind your tree

There is, indeed! That is Thaddeus, thinker of deep thoughts. I believe in that photo, he was busy contemplating the relative merits of all-white lights on the tree versus last year’s multi-coloured lights.

The Council of Elders

Reading through yesterday’s comments was a bit like having a visit from a council of elders. By this I mean: I felt…”nourished” is perhaps the best word I can grasp at right now. I felt nourished by your thoughts. Thank you, so much. (You have no idea, really.)

There was much discussion of the feeling of “home” versus “not home”; there was also some very insightful commentary on what complaining is, and what it isn’t. Here’s a sampling:


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!

Barbara G.:

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.


Being discontented by your current state isn’t complaining! It’s identifying what isn’t working for you…


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…

Wow. Let’s look at that last one: When people complain too much, they are fighting their reality.

That’s a pretty amazing thought. I think of some of the complaining I have done, about the cold, about the snow, about the medical system here, and really, in the end, my complaints were my last defense against cold, hard reality: This Is What It Is.

I can no more change where I live right now than I can change the weather. We live in Canada, in Ontario, near Toronto, simply because this is where Nicholas has a job. We can change the actual house we live in (we’re renters); we can change the location (as long as it is within easy commute distance of his university); and there is always a chance another position somewhere will open up.

But it’s HERE that we are, and that we must be for now.

I think I’ve been complaining too much (at least at home, I have), maybe almost to the point where the complaints weren’t letting in anything else. It’s really easy to get stuck in the complaints; as some of you mentioned, complaints can become a habit.

I also think that complaining is one style of relating to others, as complaining can feel like sharing one’s feelings with others. This is where Laura‘s comment comes in:

I wonder if complaining has more to do with what we want to accomplish in the situation. If I’m “complaining” because things are somehow out-of-kilter…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.

Complaining, then, is perhaps repetitive sharing of negative feelings, without an openness to what those negative feelings may be pointing to in our lives. Feelings are signposts, are they not? They point to something that damages our sense of peace and say “ouch!”; they point to something that gives us joy and say “yay!”

But a signpost is not a place to live; it is not a destination.

I like this: The Mandarin word for “crisis” (some translators say “change”) is two characters:

My unsettled, homeless, things-aren’t-right feelings are telling me something, as so many of you pointed out. There is both danger and opportunity here.

Tomorrow, maybe I’ll talk about joy.

Our holidays

Holidays are a time when many of us “go home,” visit family, enact traditions, celebrate, eat, connect. Nicholas and I are not going to visit family or friends this year for various reasons; it will be just us. We’re aware that this has the “opportunity/danger” sign on it: Celebrating “alone” could be depressing…or it could be a door into change. We’ve done some thinking about this, and we’re determined to step through the doorway.

Tomorrow we will put together a gingerbread house together. As we do that, we’re going to talk about what we can do to make our little family holiday special, how we can create a celebration that reflects our love for each other, our animals, and our communities.

Stay tuned. And thank you for helping light the path ahead with your wise council.

Today’s Random Good

Something to lighten one’s mood and heart, perhaps

I like a man who lends his own special charms to help out his wife’s yarn business.

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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10 Responses to december eighteenth

  1. Liz says:

    We’ve been slowly moving across the country, over the last 8 years, and before that, we lived in almost every municipality in the Vancouver BC area.

    Where we are now is home. It’s partly the house, which is the most old cardigan comfortable house we’ve had, in spite of the work needed on it and it’s partly the geography. The only reason I’d consider moving out of this area would be if the border disappeared and I could move to NH.

    The thing is, it’s been 47 years of not quite fitting or feeling right to get here. Finding home is not necessarily an easy thing. You have to live places and say “Wait, it’s nice here but…”, and then try somewhere else.

    Sometimes complaining is the alert that you’re not in the right spot yet and you should direct energy to finding the path to another place. To my mind too, complaints are very different from whining. A complaint can be constructively addressed, whining not so much.

  2. donna lee says:

    Deciding to move through the door marked Change takes cour1981age. It’s funny, when we get married and start families (whether they include children or not), we are supposed to start our own traditions. But it’s hard. My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years and still have some of the traditions we started for ourselves back in 1981. We decided what we liked about our family of origin and kept those things and got rid of the things we didn’t like. So far, so good.

  3. Sylvia says:

    Sandi, I love the way you are exploring your feelings about Home – – I’ve lived in a place I don’t care for for a long time, and am looking forward to moving when the stars are in their proper alignment. For me, the issue is community, which I do not have here.
    In the meantime, to avoid all the negative stuff that Complaining brings in (as opposed to Venting, which is an activity that can let the negativity OUT), I take to heart the phrase Bloom Where You Are Planted, which struck me many years ago and has traveled with me ever since.
    Every year we figure out what is right for us at that point in time, whether it’s a birthday or some other celebration – and enjoy it! I look forward to hearing about what you and Nicholas decide to do, and thanks for sharing it with us. Oh, yeah, and the 4 leggeds!

  4. Lu says:

    Thank you for articulating so much a feeling we must all share. When is patience not complacency? I worry about that, too. Accepting our lot in life may not drive us to improve or expand. Not sure about that last one as I would like to think patience is an acceptance of the way things are now. I love that! It seems a way to put a name to feelings of not quite right. Thank you again. Lu

  5. karen says:

    I love what Liz said.. “The thing is, it’s been 47 years of not quite fitting or feeling right to get here. Finding home is not necessarily an easy thing. You have to live places and say “Wait, it’s nice here but…”, and then try somewhere else.” I will double that. For me the first move was the hardest and now, it is — it is nice here, but, it is time to try somewhere else, where ever that may be. As long as there is a wool shop and quilt shop near by! As long as I can craft something, I will be happy, until it is time to continue on the journey.

    3 years ago was the first time in 30 years that we spent the holidays, just our family, and it was one of the best. It is fun to develop your own traditions.

    Have fun doing your gingerbread house!

  6. Carole says:

    I share a lot with Karen and Liz: lotsa moves. I started in northern BC as a child. It has also been about 47 years and 40 moves. I’ve never really felt a ‘homey’ fit, but especially not now – a Canadian living in the American mid-west. Good people here. Really good. But I am an oddball to them. I’m treated well, in a lovable-mascot sort of way: the token ‘organic, hippy-chick, west-coaster!’

    I feel the pull as well. It’s time for us to move on.

    I could join you in complaining about the cold, Sandi. Other than a short decade in the Vancouver area, I’ve always been around a lot of snow. I was thinking a longer gardening season would be just heavenly.

    Our family is now shrinking – down to 3 kids (from 10). It’s been a hairy ride, and I’m looking forward to the next decade. That’s my new thing, btw: breaking my life into the decades. They just keep getting better.

  7. Laura says:

    I look forward to hearing what traditions make your house feel more like home. As someone who lives by herself, establishing my own traditions is something I struggle with. Often I don’t decorate for Christmas because I know I’ll be traveling close to the holiday, and because “it’s just me.” I hope that in your conversations you and Nicholas can avoid the “it’s ‘just’ us” thoughts and enjoy the freedom of getting to chose what makes your hearts sing.

    (And, on a personal note, I hope I’ll remember this next year and really remind myself that it IS worth decorating for Christmas!)

  8. GinkgoKnits says:

    I’m an only child whose parents have lived in the same house since I was a baby. When I’ve been away, I deeply miss my hometown (San Francisco is a great place to grow up). My family home has a view of the ocean and I always felt the horizon was wrong when living in landlocked places. We’ve done big family get togethers and decided that we love our small family traditions (cooking the turkey ourselves or enjoying seeing our Christmas ornaments every year. I’m sure things will change as we all get older — who knows where or with whom I’ll end up? But, I do cherish the small scale traditions while also trying something new so that there can be fun new traditions. This year I’m learning to make caramels!

  9. Patricia says:


    Your thoughts on what home is brings back memories of moving every two years for my Dad’s job while growing up. My mother made every place we lived home so that we always felt loved and secure. We lived near relatives in only one location, so holidays were “just us” as we kids always said. We created traditions as we grew and carried some of those traditions into our own marriages and families. I don’t suppose my mom was happy about moving so often, however, she never let us know it. She made sure we felt that anywhere our family lived was home for however long we were there.

    What really clinched the importance of stability in whatever situation you are in was a card my then 27 year old daughter gave me 10 years ago thanking me for “sentimental things like favorite memories and family traditions that will always be a part of me…” I was taken aback by her sentiments, as I never thought I’d created many memories or traditions with/for her….life is full of surprises and blessings if we are just open and aware!

    And, Sandi, traditions and joy can be created with yourself or with any number of others, in any place you find yourself. Don’t wait for the “perfect” place/time; create that perfect place/time now.

  10. QI says:

    Random fact:
    A gargoyle is a stylised water spout mounted on the roof of buildings. A statue such as that is technically referred to as a grotesque.

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