"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.