Friday, September 05, 2014

Baseball and Three Stadia

I was born in Ohio and spent a great deal of my childhood in Huntington, WV. My mother's parents and grandparents lived on this side of Columbus in the Cincinnati Reds region. My father's parents lived on that side of Columbus in the Cleveland Indians territory. Baseball was in the periphery of my youth but I never learned the game. I cheered for the Big Red Machine, but never got to go to Cincinnati for a game. I remember several of the boys bringing in transistor radios to school with their earpiece to listen to the 1972 Reds/As world series games during school.

I remember my grandmother watching a Reds game in her chair and would occasionally make commentary about the game, complain about a call, or even yell, "He balked!" I remember my great-grandfather sitting in his chair by the front window of his house there on Limestone street, hunched over  his radio concentrating on the Reds game. Only after the game would he join in at the table for a game of Euchre.  I remember my dad's dad having the Indians on in his den, but we didn't visit there as often so those memories are fuzzy. Everybody loved baseball.

Fast forward to adulthood. I got a job in the Washington DC area and moved to Maryland. I met my soon-to-be husband and our first significant date was to an Orioles' game, the Mike Devereaux game to be exact and if you're an O's fan, you know exactly which game that was. I've been an Orioles fan ever since and I had no real internal conflict since the O's and Reds are in different leagues. Since we met my husband and I like to take the family to Baltimore several times a summer to see a game.

Baltimore's Camden Yards had its 20-year anniversary two years ago; they say it's the stadium that changed the face of modern venues. It was built to embrace the cityscape instead of obscuring it, and the Camden Yard warehouse became an iconic backdrop. Baltimore is a working class town, compared with Washington just down the road, and the difference in attitude shows at the stadium. I'm allowed to bring in food and my own non-alcoholic beverages. The tickets are reasonably priced compared to other teams.

So, in addition to games at The Yards, I got to see my Orioles play against the other local team, the Washington Nationals, or the Gnats, as I call them when I want to annoy my Nats friends, at Nationals Park. My parents, my husband and son went to celebrate my dad's birthday. The folks are Nats fans. My mother has inherited her mom's and grandfather's love of the game, she knew all the Nats players and would perk up when her favorite players were up to bat. I felt a little bad for my folks when my O's won the game against their Nats.

The Nats' stadium is newer (2008) and has a nice feature of visibility where you can see the field from the concourse, which you can't do at the Yards, but they are strict on their food and drink policy: nothing except clear sealed bottles of water. And their tickets are more expensive.

This past weekend we took a family trip to Pennsylvania, spending a few days in the mountains and a few days in Pittsburgh with friends. We did many of the touristy things including taking in a Pirates game at PNC Park against the Reds(!). PNC is another new stadium (2001) that made the cityscape the backdrop. From our seats in the upper deck we had a good view of the field and could see the river, several iconic yellow bridges and the buildings of downtown. I noticed in the program, the Pirates have sliding ticket pricing, different prices for different days of the week. And you can only bring in sealed water bottles. I gotta say, I'm appreciative of the Yards' policy of allowing my own food.

After being in three different stadiums in such close succession I noticed how the fans are all alike. Most fans wear shirts and/or hats of their team. (I'm guilty here.) They bring in signs with hopes of getting on TV. They cheer loudly and think their team is the best. (I know my O's are the best, we are up by 9.5 games over those Yankees as of September 5!) They boo calls against their team; high-five close-by strangers when home runs are hit. They are older frumpy women wearing shirts that should have been retired years ago. They are young skinny girlfriends wearing jerseys that are far too big. They are guys in shirts bearing the names of mediocre players from seasons gone by. They are kids grumpy or sleeping by the sixth inning. The predominate color worn in the stands is the only difference.

Everybody loves baseball.


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Transitioning Youths

Happy New Year!

It's been so long since I've posted here. I guess Facebook has sucked the need for composing longer missives right out of me. Forgive me, dear readers.

So much has happened since the last time I posted, I'm not even sure when that was.

The daughter graduated from high school back in May; she now is a freshman/sophomore (thanks to AP credits) in university studying biochemistry and did well her first semester. I'm so pleased! She seems to be growing up into adulthood.

The son is a senior in high school. He is in his third year of his special education work experience program where they take the kids to a job site to gain job skills. He's worked at Ross and at NASA in the library, and this semester, he's back at NASA in the cafeteria cleaning up after the breakfast shift and prepping for lunch service.The husband and I are in the process of visiting service providers. These agencies help individuals with special needs get jobs, either with a day program or in supported employment Supported employment is where they find Kevin a job and a job coach, work with the employer to get him trained and keep up with his progress. The day programs provide piece-rate jobs where the individuals do low-end and medium low-end assembly tasks. One agency we visited has a contract with a hotel to assemble the in-room service packs with coffee, sugar, and napkins, etc.

I continue to oscillate between crafts (quilting, knitting, a little beading) and reading. Now I'm knitting, working on a sweater, a real one for myself. I got a couple inches done and realized the gauge was way off, ripped it out and now I've started over. I know myself, if it doesn't go smoothly, I'll get disgusted with it and it'll sit on a shelf for the rest of time. Here is a sweater I did finish recently:

It's only 6" long, by the way.

No promises I'll post soon, but I hope too!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Quilt Show!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Caption This!

Dan found this picture in a stack of old vacation photos declaring "You're so mean." It's just begging for a caption. Give it your best shot!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kevin and Cali and Autism

My husband maintains the autistic brain has two pathways. The pathway for babbling and self-stim speech and the pathway for real speech, real expression. Kevin, my autistic son, will be 20 next week, and we have been observing his speech as he's grown. Slowly his real expression has become a larger percentage of his total speech.

I find it interesting to note what triggers real speech from him. In a typical day, his real speech comes from answering questions and he'll only answer questions he wants to. At home, most of these have to do with food, like "What do you want to have for dinner?" He rarely expresses something without a prompt. But it's there and I take joy when I experience it.

The first time I remember impromptu speech was when he was 10 or 12 or so when we picked the kids up from aftercare. Somehow the routine was off that day, maybe our daughter got in on the opposite side of the van, so the door on Kevin's side was still open. As we started to back out of the driveway he exclaimed the door wasn't closed. Dan and I stared at each other in amazement.

We have a new member of the Anneshouse household. Cali is a dog we acquired from CG's fiance because her son is very allergic and Cali couldn't live with them when their households were combined. Cali's a wonderful dog, about 9 or 10 year-old chow-lab mix, very settled and calm.

Kevin has been afraid of animals for as long as we can remember so we took on Cali with much trepidation, but hope. In the beginning he couldn't be in house at the same time as her. We used a lot of pet gates to keep the two separated but visible to each other. Dan tended to be more conservative when it came to getting Kevin acclimated to Cali than I was. I wanted to carefully force issues to show Kevin she was nothing to be afraid of. I would hold his hand so she could take a treat from it even though he'd pull back as soon as he could.

Fast-forward six weeks and Kevin now pets Cali and freely gives her treats, no gates are used, and he even reluctantly takes her for occasional walks. The other night I sent Kevin out with Cali on one such walk. He told her to "sit" so he could snap the leash on. They then went ahead while I got my shoes on. When I caught up with them I heard him talking to her with very expressive language. She likes to smell everything, as dogs do, sometimes taking them well off the path. Kevin was very clear about telling her where to go and where she didn't belong. I was thrilled. I am thrilled. I'm glad gently forcing Kevin to do things out of his comfort zone has improved his expressive speech and opened up that pathway more.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Another Attempt at Blogging and Quilting

I just was reading Terry Grant's blog about her malaise.

It seems to be going around, I've felt like that for a while: so much fabric so little inspiration. I hadn't sewed on anything fun in months, six or more. Then I worked on a wall hanging a few weeks ago, picture below. It had been a work in progress for two years or more. It is waiting for borders and to be finished and my muse left the building.

Last week I bought one of those grocery store quilting magazines, I don't remember which one, I think it had a blue/yellow/green quilt on the cover. It was an impulse buy. I was pleasantly surprised when inside was a pattern for a super-sized shoo-fly quilt. It spoke to me as a college quilt for my daughter since she's a high school senior this year. I asked her to go through my stash and pick out some fabric she liked. Because the blocks are so big I needed nearly a yard of each one. I needed to cut  12" and 11 5/8" squares. You'd think you could get three of those length-wise from a yard of fabric, but you'd be wrong. It seems the common length of a yard of fabric is really 34". It was very aggravating trying to cut the squares when you're not working with a full yard.

Anyway, over the weekend I got the six blocks done and sewn together into a top. It's ~100x66. Did you know twin batts are 93x72?

Why is it then, when inspiration strikes, the path is never the envisioned one, the smooth and easy one?


Monday, September 10, 2012