"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, March 18, 2017

OUR WINTER ON THE LAKE

David and I spent the winter of 2015-2016 living in our lake house.  We were on the lake for over a year and a half, counting the summer lake seasons.  It was a kick, but not enough of one to keep us there for another winter.  We got lucky, it was a very mild winter at the lake.  Now we will live at the lake for Lake Season and into the Fall.  

Today I looked through photos of that winter on the lake, to see if there were any worth sharing.  And of course I found a few.  

Our home is on the side of the lake that gets not one ray of direct sunlight from mid October through March.  Since our permanent home is one of the sunniest houses I've ever lived in, the cats and I were very disappointed in that lack of sunlight.  It really was at times depressing.  We'd drive away from the lake and into the sun for our daily doses of Vitamin D.  The cats just had to make do.  

This is one of the few colorful pictures I got on the lake that winter, and it is a good one.  It makes me think of Thomas Kincade paintings.  No filters applied!



When in Rome, do as the Romans do, so Dave did a fair amount of ice fishing.  Paul gave him a set of vintage tippers for Christmas, and with those and a plastic chair that had washed up on our shore, he was all set.  The season of safe ice was a short one, as were the ice fishing trips.  Dave caught one fish.  And got out in the sun on the lake.  



I did a lot of knitting during that winter on the lake, and I don't know if I took pictures of all of my finishes or not.  Items flew off my needles. 

I made this woolen scarf for my favorite biologist from the Loon Preservation Committee.  In addition to a million other tasks he performs, he's the guy that goes out and does ice rescues of loons who do not migrate off in time.  It's an insane process and he loves it.  On this day the wind was wicked, and he had gone in the drink in his dry suit. And, he did get his loon.  When he got to shore he was happy to have this scarf among his warm up kit.  Seeing how stretched and worn it was just a month after I gave it to him, I'd say it was being well used.  



I made this hat for Anna, isn't is adorable?  Yes, and it's unwearable because the dang pom pom weighs 5 pounds.  I need to do something about that, as the hat itself is so cute.


The icing on the winter on the lake was the emergency surgery I had on Christmas Eve.  On an MRI for MS, there was an incidental finding of a nearly 100% blocked carotid artery.  It got opened up, cleaned up and I was home in time for Xmas afternoon with my family.  They'd all been losing their minds as I was in the hospital, they are all so dear that way.  I was simply stunned, it happened so quickly, I sat there thinking "what the heck just happened?"  I got lucky, that's what the heck happened!

Spring came early, thank goodness.  Ice out was on March 9 or so.  Dave was at the house for the violent part of an ice out, when a lake full of ice decides it is on the move, and the ice goes out against the shore, wiping out anything in its path.  Dave reported it to be a truly awesome event of nature.  

On March 25, our grand West End territorial male returned to the lake to reclaim and defend his territory.  He is one huge loon, we call him Moby 2.... His dad was Moby 1.  Moby 2 and his mate, the Princess, gave the lake one beautiful chick during the summer of 2016.  Notice in this picture that Moby's eyes are brown, not that brilliant red.  When they winter on the ocean, their eyes turn brown and they have on their winter grey feathers.  You'd not recognize them as loons, unless you know what a wintering loon looks like.  Their eyes turn red again after just a few weeks on their lake.  

Moby on the nest, 2016.  The male and female take turns on the nest, for 28 days
and then share the duties of raising their chick until the chick is around 12 weeks old.  

Moby (on the left, wide load) the chick and the Princess, early July 2016.  

And that's a good synopsis of our winter on the lake.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

BABY BLANKIES

My 5th grand niece was born a few weeks ago, and the first 4 got quilts, and so will this one. Her name is Adeline (my spelling probably is wrong) and she lives in Tennessee.  

I decided to go all easy and bright and so made this Yellow Brick Road quilt for her.  I will quilt it with a cross hatch pattern and bind it and off it will go.  



That Kaffe Fassett thrown into the middle of all of those soft relaxing
prints really does pop.... and I'm not sure it's in a good way,
but it's done and that's that.  


I recently finished knitting this crib sized afghan.  The pattern is "Buttercup Baby" and I made it of Ewe Ewe Yarns Oh So Sporty 100% Merino Superwash.  It was my first knit using a Ewe Ewe yarn and it won't be my last.  It is wonderful to work with.  



The pattern has a seed stitch border followed by a basketweave border
with an eyelet clusters center.  It was a fun knit!


I love to knit baby blankets.  All of the different patterns make for very fun knits, without having to fuss with sizes and seams and those other annoying tasks involved in sweaters and other knit clothing items.  I have a box full of my knit baby blankets and I do give them away, one by one, to neighbors' grandchildren, NICU wards, and cousin's grandbabies.  However, when my daughter tells me that a friend is expecting a baby, that's when I get to search out a new pattern and yarn, and knit a special blanket.  The tag on my knits tells the Mom that AngelaKnits have a prayer in every stitch, and that is sincere and true.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

DEALING WITH GOOGLE

In 2013 I was dumb enough to "buy" my domain name (Ya, like anyone else in the universe wants to be Indomitable Angela).  And I set it to auto payment.  And all went along just fine.  

Until a month ago, when I got a startling e-mail from Google saying my domain name would not renew unless I renew my payment method, as it had expired.  And, if my domain name would expire, then my blog would go down the tube with it.  

Therein began an odyssey that took probably 25 hours total phone and computer time.  I have an Admin account that I set up in 2013 when I bought the domain name.  However, I had no idea what the account name or password was.  And of course Google couldn't tell me.  It was absolutely exasperating.  I was asked a million questions, none of which I knew the answers to, because those answers were on my Admin page  

Everything ended up just fine, but I'm here to warn you, keep track of that Admin thing!  Does every Blogger Blog have to pay $10/year now to "own" it?  Like are we all in the same boat?  And, it's weird to me that they kept telling me indomitableangela.com was to expire, but that isn't out there anywhere, just this blogger name.  I'm so confused.  

And, I sure would love to save a copy of this blog.... not the code you get if you download a copy from Blogger, but a copy of this exactly.  I know I did it a long time ago, and I have no idea how.... Do You?  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

 Today's post is about A Thief In the Night.  We all have at least one.  The most familiar one is aging.  It comes on so quietly, stealthily, and changes your life when you least expect it.  All of a sudden the strength of muscle that has just always been there gets stolen.  And, you have to work really hard to steal it back.  The Thief may steal some reliable reflexes that you never knew were there, but only learn about because now they are gone.  

For humans of all ages, one can get thrown a disease that rides piggy back on the other Thief of the Night.  My Thief in the Night riding piggy back on the Thief of Age is the one called Multiple Sclerosis. 

The Boston docs who tend to me believe I have had MS since I was 19 or so, and I am 61 now.  At 17 I had a case of mono that my pediatrician described as the worst case he'd ever seen.  After that, nothing was the same for me.  Through my college years, my Mom took me to doctor after doctor, saying "she's just not been the same since that case of mono." Eventually my Mom gave up.  

In my late 20's when I started having episodes of being really far off, I went to doctors, who each sent me on my way.  Two years before I was diagnosed (in 2004) I had a long-time Primary Care Physician hold my hand, look me directly in the eyes and tell me "I assure you, dear, there is nothing wrong with you.  Perhaps you need an antidepressant."  And, perhaps I should have stabbed him in the eye, but I missed that opportunity.    

In spite of "never being the same," I carried on, leading a fabulous life.  Raising our children, traveling, caring for my parents, gathering with friends, enjoying a life in the outdoors.  All of it done fully and with great joy.  Except for those times when something was just not right. During those times I continued to carry on with great joy, I just had to push really hard.  Today,  there are times when I am glad I did not know that those difficult times were relapses of Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.  If I had known, perhaps I would have given up and missed out on the joy of raising Paul and Anna with hiking, skiing, weeks at the beach and on lakes, travel, and especially with family dinners served every night, 6:00 p.m. sharp.   What a gift those times were and still are, as memories which sustain.  

In 2004, when I started to have cognitive loss I got really serious with the doctors and the diagnosis came.  Multiple Sclerosis.  And, that's not all.  It had become the untreatable Thief called Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, which occurs when Relapsing/Remitting is around and untreated for too long of a time.  Secondary Progressive MS never goes into remission and rarely takes a break.  

Once the specialists established care and understanding, they took vials and more vials of my blood, sending them off to studies linking the Epstein-Barre virus as one of the causes of MS.  Epstein-Barre causes Mono.  This does not mean that if you had mono that you will acquire MS someday.  There are many other factors that must be present with that virus to form the perfect Thief in the Night.  

So, here I am, and the Thief in the Night, who has been pretty quiet for the last few years, must have overdosed on caffeine, because it is up all night, stealing things from me and leaving pain as a gift in the empty places.  I am not grateful.  I am sad.  

I don't think you will any longer see me dive off a boat on the lake or see me hauling onto the lake all of the gear with which we protect the loons' nesting sanctuaries.  I've got others that will take my orders and haul.  I think I will enjoy that.   When you see me walk the path from our house to the lake, I might have a walker, I might have braces on my legs.  You might see me just plain walking.  I know you will hear me laughing, I think you will hear me sing, and I know that you will see me try.  (Stolen and paraphrased from Losing My Religion, R.E.M.)

You will always see me living as well as I can, laughing often, enjoying the outdoors, and loving my family and friends.  Dave, Anna and Paul, along with our family critters, are my reason for being.  

You will see me continue and expand my "Loons of Northwood Lake" speaker series which I started last year at the Boy Scout camp on our lake.  Come hell or high water you will see me in my red mahogany boat, on the lake alone, sun-kissed and happy.  I have no idea how I will get out of that boat, but I will.  Bailing myself over the side at our waterfront is a real option.  I will use my boat to visit friends' docks on the lake and to carry on with my mission of speaking at some point to every resident on Northwood Lake.  About Loons.  

When I am in Beverly for the winters, my life will look the same to those on the outside.  My hobbies and volunteer work will continue.  And I'll continue to go out an average of one evening a month.  I've never been a night owl.  You will not see me in my grey Ford Escape, as I no longer drive.  You will see me in a Pearl White Escape, with Dave as my driver.  Occasionally I'll go all modern and get a Uber ride.  

My knitting and quilting days will go on forever and I will share those hobbies here.  Those insanely difficult HUGE quilts that I'm known for will get a bit smaller, and a lot easier.  Thank goodness for that.  And those totally insane intricate knitting patterns?  Check those off the bucket list as done. I prefer the easier patterns now... I love them.  

As I carry on with the things I intend to do, I must remember that it is I who named this blog Indomitable Angela.  And that is something to live up to.  One thing you will not see me do is fill a blog with stories of MS.  This post is it, folks.  So, read it and move on, as I've written it and moved on.  

A phrase that my kids often have often hollered to me, I shall say to those whom I reach with this Blog..... "Watch This."  Every time I've heard or hear that phrase from Paul or Anna, I have always Watched This, because I know it means something amazing, hysterical, brilliant, totally insane, and at least just plain fun is about to happen.  

So, to spite the Thieves in the Night, I say .... Watch This.  


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

TIME TO WRITE

I returned to my Blog on October 9.... and have written nothing.  That's not a very good start.  There's just too much in my head.   So now here's a lengthy post explaining how I'm going to post.  LOL.  

I want to write about living on a lake through a winter.  I want to write about sewing and knitting, family and friends, cookouts and boating.  

As I thought about our life on the lake, I considered just what it is about living on a lake that made my days complete.  There are so many things, but I will say that #1 on the list is how blessed I felt to be able to live so close to so many of God's creatures, both great and small.  From the hummingbirds that crowd our feeders to the deer we see and hear crashing through the woods, each one of them fills my heart.  The incredible beauty of Wood Ducks, Buffleheads and other migratory birds that stop in on their way south take my breath away.  The grand pine trees that line our property, the tiny lichen that climbs our walls... I am grateful for every living thing that fills our days on the lake.  I'm trying to love the dock spiders, but struggle a bit on that.  Google Dock Spider and you will understand.  

Among all of these creatures that surround us, the one that has captivated me the most is the Common Loon.  When I was very young, my father every summer took us to Togue Pond, at the base of Mount Katahdin.  That is my earliest memory of listening for the calls of the loons in the night.  Some of the happiest times of my life were times when the loons provided the background music in the night.  

My life has been full of camping trips on New England lakes, where the loons call.  Lying in a tent, falling asleep to those calls, are nights I will never forget.  I paddled the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine 6 times, David and I took our kids camping many times, and there they learned of the calls in the night.  So many nights filled with so much peace, I cannot count them.  

How lucky are we, that the lake we are on is occupied by Common Loons.  Not every lake is.  Loons are very particular and extremely territorial.  They need a lot of space, they eat a lot of fish.  Their nesting sites need to be just so, as they cannot really walk.  Our lake, Northwood Lake in NH, has everything a Common Loon requires, and we have two territorial pairs and many visiting loons.  At night before nesting season begins, the calls are constant and unforgettable.  

With the loons on the lake, I made the decision to be a Loon Watcher for the Loon Preservation Committee (www.loon.org).  It is more of an assignment than I ever dreamed it would be, and I've already learned and accomplished more than I ever expected.  As the Loon Watcher for the lake, during my first season (2015) my goal was to meet as many residents as I could, and somehow put together a population of residents committed to the safety and well being of our loons.  So, I went from dock to dock to dock, and as soon as the words "Hi! I am from the Loon Preservation Committee..." popped out of my mouth, I was welcomed with open arms and ice water and great conversations.  This has been one of my favorite parts of being a Loon Watcher.  The people I've met and those that have become fast friends and helpers.  To keep the unification going, I started a newsletter and one by one gathered people's e-mail addresses.   

And, that's where all of my writing energy has gone over the last year.  I hope I get some of it back here, on my Blog.  



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

BACK TO REAL LIFE!

After a wonderful year and a half living in our lake house (two lake seasons and one winter), we have returned to our hometown house, ready to tackle life where we left off.  Living on a lake year round is an amazing thing, and I will have lots of photos to share.

For now, I'll be catching up on my blogging friends' blogs and organizing my thoughts for writing on my blog again.  While living on the lake as a loon watcher, I did a lot of writing for the benefit of the loons.  Because of my dedication to that cause, I just didn't have enough brain power to coherently write blog posts.

Now I might.... we shall see.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ONE LOON SHORT OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

With our permanent move to our lake house, I knew that I'd need to find volunteer work in the area.  It is how I meet friends, and volunteer work just makes me feel good.  It's a selfish thing, this volunteer work of mine.  

We are very blessed by a healthy and stable population of Common Loons on Northwood Lake.  And, the calls of the loons have been a blessing in my life since I was a very little girl.  The loons' calls have been the background music to some of the happiest times of my life.  So, it seemed to be a natural for me to volunteer for The Loon Preservation Committee.  And, so I did.  

I volunteered to be a "Loon Watcher," that sounds good, right?  Watch loons, all summer?  I'm in.    

Early in the summer I met Ray, the Loon Preservation Committee's field biologist for Northwood Lake, and essentially my "boss."  He and I hit it off right from the start when I learned that he was attending college in Fort Kent, Maine, and i told him I know how beautiful Fort Kent is, I'd been there a number of times.  Not many people can say that.  I shared with him the fact that I had 7 times paddled the Allagash Wilderness Waterway from its southern most point of Chamberlain Lake (where Ray's girlfriend was doing a summer internship) north to it's terminus in Fort Kent.  That was it, Ray and I pals.... in spite of our age difference. He was my leader, I was his student.  He is a great teacher, and I'm insatiably curious.  Perfect match.  

It turns out being a Loon Watcher isn't just about watching loons, and Ray got me off and running in this inaugural summer of loon watching.  He was a patient teacher and leader, and was not afraid to give me assignments.  Put that together with my natural ability to go all in on everything I do and you end up where I am right now, One Loon Short of a Nervous Breakdown.  

A Loon Watcher.... counts loons, watches for nesting pairs, watches nests, finds failed nests, retrieves parts of nests, retrieves parts of eggs, (touching parts of eggs and nests is only done with the approval of the biologist), kayaks into areas where there might be nests, identifies loons on the lake by bobbing in her boat in the hot sun, peering through binoculars for hours on end trying to catch the colors of the bands on a loon leg, and sometimes takes calls for emergencies involving a loon.  Sometimes an emergency call can put her and her husband in kayaks in a channel adjacent to a nest, so they can stop boats from roaring through, because one of the pair of loons has been unable to return to the nest for 10 hours for it's shift due to the amount of human activity in the area.   This loon watcher will take a chance at getting wiped out by a boat if it means saving a loon and a nest. 

A loon watcher also checks a nest every day of it's incubation time, 28 days.  Then she checks on the status of the family every day, once it's on the lake 48 hours after the hatching of the second egg, and then she swears out loud when one chick is taken by a snapping turtle, but she carries on, making sure she puts her eyes on the family every day.   She fends off dopes who do not know that a momma loon is screaming it's brains out at them because it doesn't want them any closer than 100 feet.  And, that loon watcher gets a lot of one finger salutes, and does not give them back.  She will watch a chick through her binoculars as she bobs in her boat for an hour, because someone on the lake has told her "the chick is in trouble" (it was molting). 

That loon watcher is also very familiar with the two eagles on the lake and wonders just where the loon family is when an eagle is doing a low pass over the lake.  Once in a while she has to watch as an eagle attacks a loon, the eagle hoping that there is a chick under that loon's wing.  And, she is reminded on a daily basis that since this chick was born late (July 25) there is a chance it will not be ready to migrate to the ocean off the lake and will get iced in and need a rescue.  

When the loon family emerges from the cove where the chick has been living for it's first 5 weeks, that loon watcher looks to the middle of the lake where there's a mom, dad, and tiny baby bobbing in the waves, smack dab where the boats will be roaring on the weekend and where the bass fishing tournament boats will be racing during upcoming events.  Through her binoculars, she will see that the parents are insinctively allowing the chick to venture away from them as it learns to dive and feed on its own, and when she sees this, she will look to the sky for the eagles, look to the lake for the boats, and pray that the baby's instinct to dive has kicked in, even at such a young age.  

A loon watcher watches and listens with so much focus, she learns the differences in the calls of the two pairs of loons on the lake.  And, without thinking of which direction a call was made, can say "that's one of the East End pair."  And, people will think she's nuts.  

A loon watcher also gets to have fascinating conversations on docks, decks, in boats, with residents of the lake.  She receives visits from friends and family, throws cookouts and fishing lines, gets more fresh air than half the people her age, she laughs and smiles and tans and sleeps well at night.  People on the lake call her "the loon lady" and that's an honor to her.  People on the lake know her red mahogany boat, and know that they are always welcome to bob next to her on the lake for a good chat.  

She smiles as she listens to residents speak of their love of the loons and their calls.  She learns loon facts and finds fascination in every one.  She makes friends, she finds helpers, and she writes newsletters that people actually read and enjoy.  She receives the support of people who were once strangers.  This loon watcher knows that behind every successful woman there is a man rolling his eyes, paddling a kayak, driving a boat, and cheering her on.  She knows that her first season as a loon watcher would have been impossible without that man named Dave standing beside and behind her. And, somewhere in there, a few other cheerleaders show up on the scene to keep her going.  And, so she does.  And, every evening when the sun goes down, she once again is serenaded by the loons who have brought so much joy to her life, for so long.  


That loon watcher is often reminded that it is in nature that she has seen the Glory
of the Lord shine the brightest.   
Many times during her first year as a loon watcher she felt she
didn't have the strength to get down to her boat, or the
fortitude to sit in the sun for another moment.  At those
times, a sign from nature would arrive to remind her
that she had not choice other than to push and carry on.

And, more times than she can count, she is blessed and awed with
each siting she has made
during a very long season of the Loon.
(These photos are of the loon family on Northwood Lake.)



And, perhaps when this chick flies off to winter on the ocean,
this Loon Watcher will decide that being a Loon Watcher is something she
needs to do every summer of her life.

Once she recovers from her nervous breakdown.  
And, this is all this loon watcher had time to sew this summer.
That's OK, it's going to be a long winter on the lake.



Sunday, June 28, 2015

I AM STILL SEWING!

The weather in the month of June has been perfect for me, and so I've not gotten locked in the air conditioning at all, and haven't spent a lot of time in my sewing corner.  I know there will be plenty of winter days for that, so enjoying "my kind" of weather is a priority.   

In spite of that, I did recently learn how to make a string block and have been using some batik left over from making Paul's quilt.  

I am making these blocks using 10" foundation paper.  They are great fun, but the tearing of the paper after the sewing is through is not fun at all.  My sister, who introduced me to string blocks, sews only the first string to the paper, and after that pins one string to the next and sews, with the paper folded out of the way.  When she has all her strings sewn together and ironed, she uses the 10" paper as the cutting guide.  I'm going to make my next block that same way.  

I also made a clothespin bag, re-purposing a grubby old apron.  Dave installed a clothesline here at the lake, and for the first time in many years, I am hanging out the laundry to dry.  The laundry line is easily accessible from the room where our laundry closet is located, and it is a delight to once again be hanging clothes on a line.  The ritual of hanging out the laundry onto a line is one that I love.  I don't know if it's the ecology of it, or the orderliness, or perhaps the memories it evokes, that make it an activity I so enjoy... but I do.  And, I am happy with my clothespin bag, as it hangs on my shoulder at just the right height for me to reach in and grab a pin.  Such a simple pleasure!!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

SCENES OF A LIFE ON A LAKE

How lucky I have been throughout my life, to live here in New England.  My father was a man who loved the outdoors, and so when it came time to vacation, we did not head to cities, we headed to lakes, mountains, forests and streams.  Those vacations instilled in me a great love of the outdoors, a quality that David and I strongly share, and it is a love that we  shared with our children, Paul and Anna.  Like my family, we spent vacations on lakes, in cabins, in tents, near mountains and forests.  We never did take them to NYC or Washington, DC, but they know what it's like to ride a horse to an altitude of 14,000 feet in the Rockies, and sleep there under the stars.  They know how it feels, what it sounds like, to sleep in a tent in a pine forest on a lake, with the calls of the loons as a the background music.  

So, how blessed do I feel to now be living on a lake in New Hampshire?  I cannot describe it.  I am blessed beyond words.  With my mahongany row boat and electric motor, I am free to spend as many hours on the lake as I please, just taking it all in.  The sounds and smells and feel of a lake fill me up every day, and at the same time bring forth the memories that sustain, of days on lakes with people who are no longer here to listen for the calls of the loons every evening.  


Every season, I start my lake blogging season with a post called "Keds on the Lake"
Well, Keds changed their designs, and my feet changed their shape, so it's onto a new brand,
but "Skechers on the Lake" doesn't make for a very catchy title.  So, here's my feet.  

Bella is a Miniature Schnauzer.  Miniature Schnauzers were bred to root out vermin.
We have moles on our property.  Got the picture?  

Retired now, Dave said to me the other day "It's kinda like being on vacation every day, isn't it?"
Yes, Dave, it is.  

Cassy and Bella keep up their vigilant watch over the lake.
Misty won't walk on the dock, otherwise she'd be right there with them,
giving the passing boats the what for.  

Anna and Lila love the lake just as much as we do.
We are so happy to have them here on the East Coast,
doing what East Coast girls do.  Paddleboard on a lake, of course.  

My Boat.  My freedom to do as I please whenever I please,
on the lake alone.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

THE WOMAN IN THE PORK PIE HAT

Finally, after this long winter, we are back at the lake.  David retired May 1, and we spent the first month of his retirement sorting through our belongings and downsizing so that we could bring to the lake just what we need for a good life, on the lake, year round.    

Not every day will look like today, as Dave and I were able to watch a pair of loons doing what they do, which is to take my breath away with their beauty and grace.  



Not every evening will look like last evening.  But each evening we will be grateful for this opportunity to live so close to nature.  

This year I am volunteering as a "loon watcher" for the Loon Preservation Committee of New Hampshire.  I keep "in touch" with the loon population on the lake, and each week report into the field biologist assigned to our region.  It is an amazing opportunity, this "job" of expanding something I do any way, watch and listen to the loons.  Only now, it has a clear purpose and I am learning a lot.  I'm helping these diving birds, who at one point were seriously endangered.  Their numbers are rising, but very slowly, and only through the efforts of many Preservation groups.  

One of my favorite ways to keep in touch with the loons, is by talking to people.  I pull my boat right up to a dock where I see people fishing and introduce myself and I ask a simple question "Have you seen any loons today?"  And people love to talk about the loons, and what they have seen, and all they know.  And, they ask me questions, and we have great discussions about all things loon.  

One day I couldn't find my usual lake hat, which makes me look like Katherine Hepburn in "The African Queen," (yup) so I grabbed a Pork Pie hat off the pile.  And off I went to observe the loons, and to talk to people.  After a great conversation with a friendly, down-to-earth couple who were fishing off their dock, I bid them a good day, and when I left, the man said, "I know who you are now, The Lady in the Pork Pie Hat who is going to protect our loons." 

Yes, that is who I am.  

A BATIK QUILT FOR PAUL

It has been a terribly long time since I have written in my Blog, and longer still that I've been in touch with my Blogger friends.  

I hope that changes now, as I rededicate myself to writing and sharing.  

First, I want to share my most important finish this spring, a queen sized batik quilt for our son Paul.  It's fabulous.


Sticking with my tradition of naming my quilts after
songs that convey the word in my heart to the person
who will be warmed by my work, I named this quilt
"My Wish," by Rascall Flatts.  
The original pattern was only what is within the first blue border.
Suicide mission--take a quilt pattern of dimensions that make no
sense, and which is constructed of discontinued fabrics,
and make a fabulous queen sized quilt.  Mission Accomplished.
I think the borders were more work than the patterned portion of this quilt!
The quilting was done by Mary Flynn, of Quilt Hollow, and she did
fabulous work, using a pantograph called "Woven Winds."




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

FUND RAISING SEASON -- A MUCKFEST FOR MS

Last fall our daughter Anna said "I'd love to run in a muckfest some time..."  Huh, that's all we needed to hear.  Dave got on it and organized a team to run in this year's Muckfest for MS, run by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  

"Our" team will be running through the muck on Saturday, April 25, and their team name is "Buns on the Run."  If you would like to donate to this team, you can do so at http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/MuckFest/MAMMUCKEvents?team_id=413261&pg=team&fr_id=25080

Each time I post about an MS fund raiser, I emphasize how important these donations are.  In the big picture, these funds are used for research into causes and cures of this disease. On a smaller look, these funds help individuals with MS live better lives, by providing them with services and goods that they cannot afford, and that will enhance their quality of life.  I'm lucky, I have adequate insurance and income to carry me along the road of this disease.  Not every one has this advantage, and need the assistance of the NMSS to live comfortable lives.  

Buns on the Run is running with me and my niece in mind, along with the thousands of other victims of MS.  My niece, who has MS, is one of the runners, and I am so proud of her.  Diagnosed at a young age, she was able to get onto one of the new therapies to halt progression of the disease, and it has worked.  She started running shortly after her diagnosis, and has not stopped, running half marathons and as many 5K's as she can find.  Without the research done by the NMSS, the therapy that is keeping her running would have never been developed.  

If you can, please donate to Buns on the Run, so that people like me, with progressive disease, can continue to receive necessary services, and so that people like my niece can keep on running.  





Saturday, March 28, 2015

DID IT AGAIN

Yesterday I had the third visit to the OR for my knee replacement. Third time is a charm, my sister has told me. I believe her. 

The surgeon removed all kinds of junk that was causing pain and inhibiting a good bend.  I wonder if he removed enough junk to help me lose some of my winter weight?  That'd be nice. 

I have an Ace bandage from thigh to ankle and instructions to elevate, ice and take drugs for the weekend, with simple PT movements every hour. On Monday we can remove the bandage and see what I've got, and then go off to the PT center for many days of work. 

If all of this work leads to a better bend and less pain, I will be one happy lady. If the knee remains the same, I will practice acceptance and just be done and move on and be happy that I was brave enough to try. And I'll be grateful for my family for supporting my decision to go back in. 

As usual, Misty is helping me to recover. 

WINTER ON THE LAKE.


My sister and her husband recently visited the lake to make sure their house had fared well through the winter, and it had. While there, they checked to make sure our house is still standing, and it is, although it is a bit snowed in.   These views are obviously taken from the road. I guess the plow guy likes that we aren't there at the end of the road during the winter, it gives him a spot to push the banks nice and high.  I hope that when he sees that we are living ther next winter he will find a different spot to deposit the snow from the road. 




I love this photo of our lake house last winter, when our brother in law went cross country skiing and got some great shots of winter on the lake. 



Saturday, March 21, 2015

TWO BABY QUILTS READY TO GO

I have finished quilts for my nephew's second and third daughters, and they are going off to be long-arm quilted this week.  

I was hoping to get different backing fabrics for each quilt, but as you'll see in the photos below, a fabric jumped out at me at the fabric shop and I just had to use it for both.  It is perfect.  

These quilts and the batik quilt for Paul will be quilted within the next week or so.  While they are off at the quilter I will sew the binding strips and then have a whole lot of hand sewing to be done.  I enjoy that, the hand sewing of a binding, it's such a peaceful, rhythmic task.  

Also, I will be working at packing my sewing room for our move to the lake house, which may end up being a permanent move.  We will be deciding as we go along, but life on the lake and at our condominium in Lincoln, NH, may be the retired life for us.  

It's an exciting time, this opportunity to live on a lake and in the mountains.  Especially attractive to me is the simplification that will go along with moving to these smaller spaces.  I love downsizing, and have no difficulty letting it all go, keeping just what we need, along with those items which hold strong family memories.  Everything else is outta here.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

IN THE SEWING ROOM, ON THE NEEDLES, ON MY LAP

The most important photo of the day is of Reesie on my lap.  
Now if anyone ever posted such an unflattering picture of me online, I'd kick them.  Since Reesie hasn't figured out how to use a computer, I think I am safe.  

She is a dear, sweet cat who loves me beyond measure.  Me, just me.  Everyone else, she wards off with a Rottweiler-like growl.  This is kind of typical of Calico cats, who tend to attach pretty strongly to just one person.  

Aside from sitting around with Reesie on my lap, I have been busy in the sewing room and with my knitting needles.  

In the sewing room I'm putting the finishing touches on a baby quilt, using the Merry Go Round blocks that I shared in an earlier post.  I was going to add sashings around every block but just flat out didn't feel like it, so I sewed them together today and tomorrow will add a border of the pink fabric.  


I've been going through my stash of yarn, knitting away the yarns I've bought and not yet used.  There are surprisingly few, and I'm not stopping on the stash until it is down all the way.  This sweet little baby blanket will go to one of the local NICU units.  It's the perfect size to swaddle a tiny baby with and is a perfect blend of bamboo and cotton.  
Now that the baby blanket is off my needles, I have started a scarf/wrap using some Cascade 220 Super Wash I had on hand.  The pattern looks complicated, but is really very easy and is a fun knit.  

And, of course, the weather in New England occupies a big chunk of my mind, as I look forward to returning to the lake.  That can't happen until the snow banks melt back so that we can get in!  And, with the way things are going, that's not going to happen real fast.  The nights remain below freezing, and yesterday we got another fresh couple of inches.  That's all great fun, as that couple of inches broke the previous record snowfall for a winter in the Boston area.  

The record that was broken was of the winter of 1995-1996 and I remember it well.  The bank at the back of our driveway became a very solid pack about 10 feet tall, and Dave and the kids spent the winter months digging tunnels and building snow caves.  It kept everyone busy and provided good memories of grand winters in New England.  
Yesterday's snowfall that ended up breaking the record!
Spring feels very far away with snow banks from as low as 3' to as tall as 10' to melt away.  It will melt, and Spring will arrive.  And, I will continue with my own record of starts and finishes during this long season.  

Prior to heading off to the lake, I have a few things to tackle here.  The first is yet another procedure on March 27, on my knee replacement.  A surgeon will be doing an arthroscope to remove scar tissue and adhesions that have formed and prevented my knee from bending as it should, and which are a source of pain.  Hopefully this will fix the problems I've had since the knee replacement in 11/2013.  If this fix isn't it, I'm done.  

Once recovery from the surgery is complete, there will be the preparations to move to the lake... not just for the season, but possibly for good.  As Dave heads into retirement, we are going to take a stab at living in the year round lake house year round.  Anna and a friend will be renting our home here north of Boston, and so we have a lot of clearing out to do.  

It's a bit frightening to me, heading off to this new life in a small house on a lake, with a retired husband, 3 dogs and two cats.  It will be an adventure, there is no doubt about that.  I look forward to being surrounded by nature each and every day, and to building a life in the small New Hampshire Town of Northwood.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

FINISH AND START IN THE SEWING ROOM

Being snow bound in New England hasn't been totally horrible, I've gotten a lot done in my sewing room.  

My nephew and his wife in Tennessee have 3 little girls, and I made a quilt for the first baby (called "Simple Gifts" in an earlier post).  They recently gave birth to their third girl and so I felt it was time to play catch up and make quilts for the second and third girls.    

Because I had bought so much of the fabric used for Simple Gifts (it was sold off in bags of 10" blocks at a store having a crazy sale) I still had enough on hand to make quilts #2 and #3.  

Yesterday I finished this quilt:  

For toddler Maggie.  I love the way it finished, but realize now why I
always make such complicated quilts---this one bored me to tears!

And today I started this quilt, returning to my love of complicated blocks and frustrating moments.  I love the feeling of accomplishment when a busy block comes together.  

I got the pattern for this block, called Merry Go Round, at http://www.quiltinaday.com/freepattern/

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WINTER IN NEW ENGLAND

Unless you are living under a rock, you are well aware that we are having a fabulous winter here in New England.  We live on the North Shore of Boston, which has been the bullseye of many of the storms.  Records have been broken, ice dams are abundant, and every day I am awed by the beauty of the landscape.   I am a true New Englander.  

The view from my sewing machine.  Our fence is 5' tall.  


Heading down our street after the most recent storm.  

That's our home, behind that tall snowbank!
The thing I love the most about a good New England winter
is that the sky will take on a color that you rarely see.
This photo captured that color perfectly.  

Home sweet buried Home.
Anna's puppy Lila and my Cassy Girl.
Obviously, Lila is a New England Girl, even
though she was born and rescued in California
It's not all lollipops and roses, just ask Dave

There is a whole lotta misery going on in people's homes, because of these
delightful formations called ice dams.  We do not have water back up into our
home as a result of our fabulous ice dams, because our gutters are a foot
away from the house with a large eave.  Others are not as fortunate.  


Not lost on me are the difficulties that this weather has brought to the lives of thousands of people.  It definitely is not all lollipops and roses.  The public transit system in Boston is shut down and people cannot get to work.  A vast majority of those people are not going to receive any type of pay checks for all of those lost days.  Billions of dollars have been lost by businesses.  Peoples' cars and homes have been damaged, people have gotten hurt, some have died.  

Now it's time to pray for a slow, moderate melt.  If that's not the case, then the winter of 2014-2015 will continue to give and give, in the form of drainage problems and flooded basements.  We have a drainage system surrounding the outside of our house, and in our basement we have a perimeter drain and sump pumps.  We will not flood.  Others will.