Tech To Be Grateful For

We often talk about how technology both complicates our lives and makes it easier. Entire books have been written on this subject, and presumably by people much wiser or better informed than me. ┬áIt seems that most of us have a somewhat conflicted relationship with technology. It’s made so many things possible that we never even considered before. At the same time, it’s brought new threats like identity theft, and new challenges like finding quiet in an increasingly noisy world.

I work in IT so this dichotomy probably seems even more pronounced to me. After spending my days making computer systems work (or as in my current role, breaking them as a tester), all I want at the end of the day is a break from it all. I don’t want my cell phone in my pocket, and I don’t want to spend my time looking at a computer screen. I am, in a word, saturated.

What I want instead seems to be tactile experiences, interaction with the real world, discussions with real people (and not by text message). A contrast, if you will, to how I spend my days. That said, there are many things that technology brings me that I’m grateful for, and that is the topic of today’s post.

I’m grateful for:

  • Craftsy classes that bring talented instructors into my living room to teach me things that I could not or would not go to a classroom for, and at a fraction of what a college course with these instructors would cost.
  • The Fitbit on my wrist that keeps me focused on taking care of myself, by showing me my progress (or lack thereof).
  • The online tools such as Facebook that keep me connected with friends and family across the globe. (And yes, Facebook definitely has its annoyances, but this post is about gratitude). One of my favorite new uses of Facebook is to find photos by local Colorado photographers that I can use as inspiration to draw and paint.
  • Online shopping that puts the very best yarn, art supplies, knitting tools, and other conveniences literally in the palm of my hand.
  • Podcasts that keep me informed and entertained during what can sometimes be very long work days.

So, there’s what I’m grateful for today. How about you?

Gratitude

I had one of those funny moments this morning that I was sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a Westie on my lap, and I was suddenly struck with this feeling of gratitude for how fortunate I am and how much I love my life.

Life has brought so much to me, in terms of the friends and family that I have, the creativity I get to enjoy, and the love of my husband and children. It’s easy to lose sight of that during the little annoyances of life. (Starbucks coffee cup scandal, just saying. These people need some perspective).

I think it’s valuable sometimes to just step back and look at what’s right in your life. Our lizard brains are always so busy finding the negative, looking for the risk, focusing on what could harm us. That may have kept us alive when we were living in the bush, but as modern humans, it’s not necessarily all that helpful because it prevents us from being content with what we have.

So, here’s to all the things to be grateful for. For big things, like friends and family (and friends who end up being family because you love them that much). For little things, like good cups of coffee and a warm dog on your lap. For health. For simply being alive. For the fact that even if I mess up today, tomorrow I get to try again. And today, for central heating (it was 24 degrees out when I got up this morning). And for you, dear readers.

30 Days of Thanks

So, here it is November 3 already and I completely forgot about 30 Days of Thanks until I looked out my window this morning and saw the beautiful autumn colors in the bright sunlight. (I had a moment of deep gratitude for this annual riot of color in nature). I try to always celebrate 30 Days of Thanks here on the blog, as I think it’s a good way to keep myself focused on the good things and how fortunate I am.

As a person who never adapts well to Daylight Savings Time, I always heave a big sigh of relief when it ends and the clock on my wall matches my internal body clock. (Although some folks on my team are not so happy about the fact that it’s dark out by the time we get off work).

I got up this morning and walked my dogs. I had planned a run but they were having so much fun walking and sniffing that I decided to just let them enjoy it. They’re now happily crashed out in their beds, and I’m working while looking at the lovely orange, brown and gold leaves on my neighbor’s tree.

So, whether I faithfully post every day or not (let’s face it, it’s not likely that I will), I hope you’ll join me in experiencing gratitude every day in November. In many ways, it’s my favorite month, beginning with a chocolate hangover and memories of the ceremonial watching of the the Charlie Brown Halloween special, and ending with one of my favorite holidays – family and friends gathered around the table enjoying each other’s company and some incredible eats.

Welcome to November, my friends. Let’s all be grateful together.

I Knits Because I Likes It

I had the great fun of talking to a coworker today who is interested in learning to knit. It was an interesting moment of insight for me because the situation forced me to think about why I love knitting so much. Honestly, it’s is such an integral part of my life these days that I can’t recall what it was like before I started. It was also fun to have the chance to introduce someone new to this age-old craft. Plus, she’s just an interesting person and I love talking to interesting people.

Every now and then I run into someone who wonders why people would want to knit because after all, you can buy your clothes these days. You don’t have to make them yourself. In fact, it’s often cheaper and easier to pick up a ready-made cardigan at the store than to make one with your own hands.

So then why do we knit? Well, I can’t speak for you, dear readers, but I can tell you why I knit. I knit for the flow, for the process, for the challenge (and sometimes the cursing and wine drinking that results). I knit for the feel of the yarn in my hands. I knit for the lovely colors and amazing patterns you can make with yarn that was made by hand and dyed by someone you know and respect.

I also knit so that I can wear things like this, which you could not buy in any store, and wouldn’t be nearly as special if you could anyhow:

Icarus Shawl, done in hand-dyed laceweight from Abstract Fiber in Portland.

Icarus Shawl, done in hand-dyed laceweight from Abstract Fiber in Portland.

And finally, I knit because knitters are amazing, creative, wonderful people. Some of the most interesting people I know are knitters. (Not to say that you non-knitters aren’t awesome as well. You just should also learn to knit).

So, why do you knit?

30 Days of Thanks – November 5 and 6

Yesterday’s work schedule got the better of me and by the time I knew it, it was knit night and then bedtime, so I totally missed blogging my thanks for the day.

So, for November 5, I am thankful for my knitters. My tribe. My people. I went into knitting feeling stressed and frustrated but I came home calm and feeling as if the world is an okay place. I’m very grateful for these folks.

Today has started out a little rough, work-wise, but has improved as the day went on. I’m grateful for the beautiful Colorado weather. The blue skies and warm air perks me up, even if I can’t go linger about in it at the moment.

So that’s what I have today. What are you grateful for?

30 Days of Thanks – November 4

One of the things I love best about fall is the time change, when I can finally get back to what my body feels is the “real” time. I know it’s just a one-hour change but for some reason, I’ve never been able to fully adjust to daylight savings time, even when I was younger. Add in a little mid-life insomnia, and you have a recipe for some very grouchy mornings.

But now that the time has changed, I can wake up naturally and have a full morning. This morning, I was awake at 5:30 and started to feel grouchy about it (having wanted to sleep at least another hour) but then decided to roll with it and see where it took me. After a nice half hour of dog-assisted yoga, the Westies and I went on a one-mile walk. It was crisp and frosty but the sun was shining and it is a lovely day. We got home with time to spare, allowing me to listen to a podcast while making a nice omelet. All of that, and I still didn’t have to rush to work!

So today, I’m thankful for time changes, frosty mornings, and doggies who love me, even if they do interfere with proper posture while doing yoga.

How about you?

30 Days of Thanks

Somehow we blinked and it’s November. You can feel it, too. The weather is colder and we had just a touch of snow this morning, although it was melted into a wet snowy mix by the time I got out of bed. The Westies are confused. They keep going out, only find it’s cold, then coming back in giving me a look that says “what did you do?” Silly puppies.

Every November, I try to celebrate 30 days of Thanks on the blog. Since I don’t log onto the computer on weekends (part of my “save the brain” campaign, if you will), I have a little catching up to do today.

November 1- I’m grateful for friends and funny Halloween costumes. We had a great time at a friends house with food, drinks, and Cards against Humanity (shamefully fun). Because things were so hectic, we had to make a last-minute trip to the costume store but we made a reasonably convincing Lancelot and Guinevere, I think:

 

Lancelot and Guinevere

Of course, I am always the one with either my eyes closed or my mouth open when there is someone nearby with a camera.

November 2 – I am grateful for “a chicken in every pot.” Whole chickens were on sale this week so we used the opportunity to slow roast a chicken yesterday. I first brined it overnight in lemon, sage, garlic and brown sugar, then put it in the French oven to slowly cook for several hours. It was really yummy!

November 3 – I am grateful that Election Day is tomorrow and the phone will (hopefully) finally stop ringing. I also think we sometimes miss the point with our elections, because they are so undramatic. In America, we have a long history of peacefully handing over power, whereas in many countries, transfer of power occurs at gunpoint and with loss of life. We are very fortunate.

You’re welcome to join me this month – feel free to post to your favorite social media website, blog, or simply put a mason jar on the counter and toss in slips of papers. It’s a very restorative exercise.

Happy November, everyone!