The No Whining Pledge

Some of you may have read my recent blog post in which I gave up whining for Lent. As it turns out, that decision may have been poorly timed because I have quite a few things in my life right now to whine about. Thanks to food allergies, I’m giving up gluten, dairy, and probably corn and shrimp. (Maybe others, we’re still discovering new things as we go). On top of that, we’re expecting 6 to 10 inches of snow. Both factors are making me decidedly grumpy today.

So, I’m looking for ways to get past this without whining, without descending into that dark place where I sit around feeling sorry for myself for minor reasons, and particularly without ruining someone else’s day with my poor mood. After all, I’m pretty lucky in many ways. I have a nice place to live, a decent car, and a burgeoning new business. I also have a sinus headache (thanks weather).

How do you cheer yourself up when this happens? Do you descend into that dark place, wallow around for a while, then come back up when you’re ready? Or, do you shake it off, move on and put it behind you? Or, do you count your blessings?

My Sunday School class and I recently made “gratitude jars.” They’re pretty simple, really. Just a mason jar, decorated in my not-so-artistic way, sitting here ready to be filled with little slips of paper denoting the things that bless my life. It’s got a few in it already, from previous days when I was feeling less grumpy.

I guess if there’s a lesson here, it’s that being blessed isn’t a feeling. It’s not based on your emotions of the moment. All these little slips were created when I was feeling grateful – but the blessings they document existed the whole time, regardless of how I feel. Maybe what I really need to do to lift my mood is to read them and remind myself of how blessed I really am. Maybe I’ll even find a thing or two to add (although you can bet that it won’t be 6 inches of snow or a sinus headache).

Blessings to all of you. May you find many things to be grateful for and may your life contain no whiners.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is Good, His love endures forever. ~ Psalm 107:1

Oh, The Precious!

Every now and then a little guy comes along that you absolutely must knit for. My family had a recent arrival of this sort. He’s a very special baby. You see, the next child in that generation is now 18, making this a very long-waited for baby indeed.

And of course, we all think he’s adorable:

Baby Dylan. Adorable

Baby Dylan. Adorable.

And of course, in the life of any new baby in my family a little hand-knitting must fall. In eager anticipation of his arrival, I planned and executed a little project of my own:

Much Knitted Baby Stuff.

Knitted Baby Stuff.

The sweater was particularly fun to do, since it’s simple cabling but lets you add owls down the front of the sweater. For wisdom, my dear boy. A blessing from Athena, if you will.

Owl Cables. Fun!

Owl Cables. Fun!

We all send our own blessings to you too, little guy.  We love you and know you’re going to grow up to be smart as a whip and possibly a bit zany (not unlike the rest of us).

Welcome to the family.

Givin’ It Up for Jesus

Not that way! Geez, you guys.

Seriously now. Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and many people I know will be giving up something they like for the duration of Lent. I always thought this a somewhat puzzling practice. After all, how does giving up chocolate or Pepsi make you closer to God? What it seems to do to most people is make them bitchy, something I can totally understand.

At least, this puzzled me until I picked up a book called “Memoirs of a Medieval Woman.” It’s the true story of a merchant’s daughter from rural England who wanted to become a saint, pieced together from memoirs dictated in her 80’s.  (She didn’t read or write). The book is fascinating and talks a lot about the religious practices of the day (mid-1400’s), and especially the efforts of the church to stamp out heretics. Depriving oneself of sleep, food, and other creature comforts was expected to bring you closer to God.

I’m not sure how that plays out in our modern world, at least in my daily walk. After all, I’m already on a diet that has taken away many of my favorite foods. I can’t say it did anything for my Godliness. (I’d be lying to say otherwise. The bitchy part, though, is totally true).

So, when I thought about how I would commemorate Lent this year, I decided to give up something a bit harder than a favorite food. I’ve decided to give up whining.

Now, let’s be honest. I don’t see myself as a particularly whiny person, but I will definitely admit to the occasional (okay, maybe frequent) bout of whinyness. So, this year, I’m givin’ it up for Jesus.

Lent is 40 days long – who knows, maybe it will become a habit?

Shameless Commercialism

My friend Donna has been busy at the dye pot mixing it up with new colors. She is awesome, our Donna, and comes up with the most amazing color schemes. So, today’s post is going to be shameless promotion for Donna and her lovely yarns.

Check out her Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/skeindalous?ref=shop_sugg

Stalk her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Skeindalous?fref=ts

Seriously, guys, you gotta get yourself some of this. (Unless you don’t knit, then well…it might make for good cat toys).

ETA 2/12/2013: Fixed Etsy shop link, which just poofed somehow. (Or I forgot to add it, my bad. Perhaps I got so busy looking at her new stuff that I  forgot to paste the link).

Living Free…and Not Quite Loving It

I’ve occasionally commented here on the blog about some health issues. In fact, I’ve had some pretty significant health challenges over the past year and a half, and despite a number of tests (including the lovely 80+ poke allergy skin testing), we hadn’t been able to figure it out. Credit for my diagnosis goes to my daughter the Dietetics major, who suggested that my problems could be caused by food allergies. She was right.

We discovered through elimination diets that I’m gluten intolerant and at the moment, I’m undergoing another two-week trial to see if I’m also allergic to dairy. Preliminary results based on four days of no dairy are looking like I am, which is seriously bad news for a cheese lover like myself. After all, I used to live in Wisconsin, home of the local artisanal cheese. I could give up the obvious dairy stuff – milk, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, you name it, but life without cheese is a whole different matter.

I’m also finding it to be a bit interesting finding things that I can eat. Unfortunately, I’m sensitive enough to gluten that I can’t even have vinegar that was made with a gluten-containing grain unless it has been distilled. I’ve stumbled across a number of products that way, and it hasn’t been much fun. Yesterday, the culprit was Dijon mustard. Last week I was bitten by barbecue sauce. Now let’s add the list of products containing dairy products or casein, and the list of available foods is getting shorter and shorter.

I know I’ll make it through this, but adding it up with all the other stuff going on in my life (not the least of which is a serious knitting rut) and it has me decidedly grumpy. Not to mention seriously sick of brown rice. (I love it, really I do, but not in every meal). Thankfully, I have you, faithful readers, giving me advice to keep me going, bust me out of my rut and help me figure out all of this crazy diet stuff.

Luckily, knitting is still gluten-free and as long as I avoid that llama / wool yarn that is making me sneeze, I will keep going. Meanwhile, I’m off to cast on another sweater, perhaps this one:

The Shapely Boyfriend Sweater from Knitty.com

That should do the trick. And I’ve got some lovely Shibui handpaint – let’s pull that out and give it a whirl. Certainly that should brighten my day.

Knit on, dear readers. Knit on.

 

 

 

 

At Loose Ends

Hi Everyone! I know I’m a bad blogger because it’s been over a month since I last posted, but I have a legitimate reason this time. Really!

You see, my post about “New Adventures” didn’t quite tell the whole story. It couldn’t because on the day I wrote it, I had a secret that I can now reveal. I started a business! The business, Elevation Technology Advisors, went live on January 4 and it’s been keeping me pretty busy.  I’m still working part-time as a contractor with my previous employer, while selling and recruiting for my own little consulting firm. It’s exciting, terrifying and everything else in between.

It’s also been an odd exercise in having freedom and not quite knowing what to do with it. You see, my whole adult life has pretty much been driven by my job. Other people decided what I worked on, when and where I traveled, and pretty much my whole schedule. And since I work in software, it’s never just between 9 and 5. In this business, your employer pretty much owns you Monday-Friday and sometimes parts of the weekends too.

So, to have the freedom to decide what to do every day is, well, freeing. It’s also a bit disconcerting because the pace is totally different. I find myself having to figure out how to structure my days. I’m figuring it out but it’s a bit more of a journey than I had expected. Unlike a lot of new solo entrepreneurs, I was used to working at home, so that has helped.

In the meantime, I’ve also fallen into a bit of a rut with my knitting life. I keep starting new projects, only to find that I’m just not enjoying them. I’m currently working on the Brunello cardigan from Knitty, wherein I am stuck in the lace charts on the border. I can knit it, but only in quiet and with concentration. I’ve got a pair of socks going, also with charts (what was I thinking?). I started a very simple slip-stitch afghan for something easy, only to find out that I’m allergic to the yarn (which is odd. I’m allergic to a lot of things but so far, no natural fibers, until this, anyway).

What I really need right now is a cardigan with big wide swaths of stockinette. No counting, which would mean no tinking. Suggestions anyone? Help me get out of my rut…