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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BOULDER, COLORADO!!!

The first order of business today is to give a big shout out to my cousin Philip in BelAir, MD. HI PHIL!!!  Wanted you to know that our cousin Louise is fine.  She had a bout of pancreatitis but has recovered (that may be what was difficult to figure out in her note).  And, by now our cousin Norman should have reached you by phone, so I hope that clears things up!  I'll give you a call after we move up to the lake.  

Now for Blogging things:

We have just returned from a fabulous five-day visit to Boulder, Colorado.  Our outdoors son, Paul, has recently relocated to Boulder and although it's a bit far from us, we cannot imagine an area better suited to his lifestyle.  It was really satisfying to see him in an environment that fits him like a glove (aside from the cost of housing).  

Boulder is a beautiful town.  Pristine, with well designed parks and public walkways.  If you love the outdoors, you'd love Boulder.  Bike paths everywhere, open year 'round.  Beautiful gardens and shops, with smiles around.  And I can tell you there is not one bad restaurant in the entire town, I think we tried a good many of them.  

And not far away are the mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park and the many plains on either side of the mountains.  The climate in Boulder is wonderful.  Yes, they get snow, but a 2' snowstorm is often followed by a 60 degree day, so the snow does not linger.  It is a climate where an outdoorsman can be outside every day of the year.  When in any of these western states, and especially when at a high altitude, you must drink gallons of water every day.  But that is no hardship when the tap water tastes as if it came straight from a spring.  

Paul is working as a mechanic in a bike shop, and when not in the bike shop, he is on his mountain bike.  He is getting paid to take things apart, put things together, and expertly fix things, activities he engaged in for his entire life.  His profession as a bike mechanic started at the Hadley Bike Exchange in Hadley, MA, and took off from there.   Boulder is a biking mecca.  Hundreds of miles of bike paths wind around the town and into the mountains, even all of the way to Denver.  He has made new friends and has friends from his days in the U Mass Outing Club close by. 

We ate out every evening, and afterwards strolled around downtown.  Paul told us he now knows more about downtown than he did prior to our visit. There are many historic buildings, a lot of churches with bells, all beautiful.  We stayed in a Historical Hotel of the USA, the Hotel Boulderado.  It's location gave us walking access to downtown, and that was a great luxury.  Paul bought me a walker off Craigslist to keep at his home in Boulder, so I am all set for many more strolls around town.  
The stained glass ceiling in the lobby of the Hotel Boulderado

The hotel elevator was a serious step back in time.  


One night's dinner was at a Biergarten

Another night was sushi.  Every night, it was a different cuisine.
Luckily, on Easter Sunday we got to a Mexican restaurant where we
continued a weird tradition we started at 44 North Maple Street in Hadley, MA:
Mexican Easter.  
 And of course there was the great outdoors, so much beauty all around. 


We left New England during a pretty dreary damp time of year
and landed in Boulder to warm beautiful days and tulips for miles.
The boys went off on bikes one day, while I contentedly sat in the park knitting.
Paul and me with the Flatirons.  This rock formation keeps
all of the climbing bums quite happy.  More importantly,
they stand as a sentinel, guarding the City of Boulder.
No visit to Boulder would be complete without a visit to the original Celestial Seasonings
"factory," still operating as it has since 1970.  We jammed ourselves in their cute little
tea room for a good photo op.  
While in Boulder, we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.  And, what better way to do so than to gather with some twenty somethings and another set of visiting parents at a food truck park.  It was fabulous!!!  A clean warehouse building with a bar and lots of tables and chairs and couches, with an adjoining outdoor space with picnic tables, a fire pit, and a play ground, with that evening's food trucks parked in a tidy row.  Everything in Boulder seems to be done just right.  It was a great evening.  

We love Boulder, period.  We will certainly journey there twice a year, and the boys can go off adventuring while I knit, read, and stroll my way through the day.  I'm really very happy doing those things, and so I do not mind being left behind.  I had my days on the paths of Rocky Mountain National Park, both on foot and on horseback.  I've lived an outdoor life, and still do, it's just been downsized a bit.  Oh, the Places I've Been!

Soon we will be moving to the lake for the summer and fall months.  There we will resume our time with our lake friends and again will be working for the Loon Preservation Committee.  The Season of the Loon is nearly upon us, that time when the loons beat the snot out of each other if there is an open territory (like we had last year), and then they nest.  They continue to beat the snot out of any loon who wanders onto their territory.  Last year we ended up with only one chick from our two territorial pairs.  It was a really rough year.  I am anxious to see who returns this year (our Northwood Lake Loons are banded) and how they behave.  

During the Season of the Loon I send out a weekly Loon Report.  If you have really nothing better to do and would like to receive this report, just pop me an e-mail at angela.mourer@gmail.com and I'll add you to the secure mailing list.  When the report goes out, the only e-mail address that you will see is yours and I never give my list out to any one for any thing ever.  

I'll be back soon to share with you the quilt I am building and the blanket I am knitting. 



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.