Sunday, May 30, 2010

Keeping Score

This is one of our roses that I shot in honor of Macro May.

One of the things that influenced Doug and I when we decided to buy the iPad was our love of minor league baseball. The first app we purchased was ESPN iScore Baseball, though when I researched it before the 3G iPad was released it didn't have the ESPN moniker.

I'll admit right here and now that I find baseball to be a little slow and boring. I prefer to sit at the games and knit or do crosswords while I watch. I have a short attention span. So one of the things that I learned to do, with Doug's help, was to keep score. We bought scorebooks and I kept score. It forced me to learn about the game and, more importantly at the time, to pay attention to the game. I say "at the time" because we used to sit on the first base side in the bleachers where a foul ball could be life threatening. If I was reading or knitting or whatever and not paying attention, I could get smacked in the head with a foul ball before Doug could dive in front of me.

I liked keeping score but when we started sitting in the box seats behind home plate (and behind the netting) it became harder to see what was happening on the field. I didn't have to worry about foul balls anymore so gradually I went back to reading, knitting and crosswords.

The iPad and iScore has changed all that. Now we take turns scoring (I score the visitors and Doug scores the Suns) and I am having to learn all over again how to score a game. What's worse is that now it seems to go so fast that I can't always keep up.

We attracted some attention when we first showed up at the game with our iPad and started keeping score. The Suns assistant manager Joel wanted to know more about it and sat with us for a while to see how it worked. He later downloaded the iPhone version and messed with it enough to see the potential. He now sees to it that the starting lineups are emailed to me before game time so we don't have to waste time setting that up.

One of the scouts who are always there came over and asked about it also. I hoped he checked it out some more because I know it could make his life easier.

I sometimes sit at home and watch baseball on tv now so I can practice scoring. Before the iPad I considered that to be akin to watching paint dry but know I'm so busy trying to figure out what happened that I can't keep up. This has turned out to be so much fun that I really look forward to games. I'd like to be able to score every play exactly right but I think it will be a while before I reach that level, if ever.

So for now the knitting stays home and I'm getting things done a little more slowly but they are getting done. I finished Eva last weekend but I haven't worked in the ends or blocked it yet. I'm almost done with the India Stole, less than 100 rows left with each one being two stitches shorter than the last. When it's done I'm going back the Evenstar shawl. So despite the attraction of the iPad and the rush of baseball, I'm still getting some knitting done. Just a little more slowly.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't Let That Furry Face Fool You!

My friend is waging a war to save her vegetables from the aggressions of an insidious invader known as the groundhog. They know no boundaries, recognize no form of legitimate government authority, show no mercy, and take no prisoners.

According to her latest update, hogs invaded her home base and destroyed her romaine while she was away performing a humanitarian mission. Later she discovered that the enemy had also destroyed her crop of kale and established a base of operations nearby. She has been forced to call in air strikes on their underground facilities. It's unknown at this time whether the air strikes were effective. These subterranean saboteurs often have a network of burrows which allow them to elude attack and escape all capture attempts.

The battle is ongoing with the weather favoring both sides and neither camp likely to yield at this time. Stay tuned for updates.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I took the plunge

We purchased an iPad. It's a 32G wifi 3G model which means that I can get to the internet from just about anywhere. I wanted an iPhone ever since my friend Janis got one a couple years ago and I had my hubby convinced that I should get one when our current contract was up for renewal. I knew about the iPad but figured there was no way i was ever going to talk the hubster into one of those. But then my friend Sarah said that I could get a 3G iPad and just get a plain phone.

I told Doug and he didn't reject it out-of-hand so I thought I might have a chance. I just kept chipping away at his wall of resistance but my big break came when he went to a work meeting and saw someone using one in person. He stayed after the meeting and talked to the guy about it and I think he was sold.

The release date for the 3g was April 30 (my birthday) and we made arrangements to leave work early and head over to the next town to purchase one from Best Buy so we could get the Geek Squad coverage. When we got there we were number 17 in line but they only had 15 iPads! They recommended that I get in line anyway just in case and I am so glad that I took their advice. Two people ahead of me left when they said they didn't have any 16G's. So we got the one we wanted and it was the last one they had.

I love this thing!! I've been finding apps for all the things we need to do including this app, BlogPress, that allows me to post to my BlogSpot blog. For some reason, I can't post to it in Safari. There are so many apps but the best one so far is iScore Baseball that we're learning to use to keep score at the Hagerstown Suns games.

Of course there's still knitting going on but it's taken a backseat this week. Friends and I went to Maryland Sheep & Wool on Saturday but I only bought one skein of silk lace weight from Spirit Trail Fiber Works and two remnants of Koigu. I have apps to buy! I can't be wasting money on yarn!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:W Washington St,Hagerstown,United States

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Warming Up

Just a quick post to prove that I'm still alive. It's warming up around these parts and we've had a few sunny days to melt most of the snow piles. The ground in our yard is mostly bare now except in areas of extreme shadiness.

I've been working on the India Stole most of the time and I'm about a third of the way through the second half. It's moving right along even though it doesn't seem like I get to work on it very much. I'm thinking it's going to be really beautiful when it's done.

I'm also working on the Evenstar Shawl (part of the Lord of the Rings Series by Susan Pandorf). Clues come out every other Friday and since it's still in it's infancy it's quite easy to finish a clue before the next one comes out. We've finished Clue #2 and are awaiting #3 which will come out this Friday. Here's a photo I took after I finished Clue #1.


It appears that I'm going to have surgery on my left shoulder very soon so the knitting will be on hold for a while. I somehow partially tore my rotator cuff and need to get it fixed and rahabed in time for mowing this spring. I hope the doctor can fit me in soon.

The start of our local minor league season is only a month away and we're looking forward to that as we do each spring. Here's hoping that we get a break and have some warm weather for our first home stand.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh, My Aching Head!

Sinuses, do we really need them? Must we have these holes in our faces that fill up with gunk and ache so badly? I got a sinus infection last week. It really put a damper on my activities over the weekend. I took a sick day on Monday and managed to snag a doctor appointment. She listened to me explain that it felt like my upper teeth on the left side were being pushed out of my jaw against their will. Now I'm on antibiotics and sinus meds.

It hurt so bad I didn't even feel like knitting. That's when I know I'm really si....

I just now received a phone call from someone wanting to verify the model number of the photocopier in our office. Now my momma didn't raise any fools and I didn't just fall of the turnip truck yesterday so I told the dude that I know he's participating in a scam and that he should be ashamed of himself. He says "this is not a scam" and then hangs up on me. Way to protest your innocence there, Buddy.
If you ever get one of these calls, don't give them any information. They will send you supplies for the copier that you didn't order and then bill you or even worse just bill you without sending you anything.
WE NOW RETURN YOU TO THE BLOG POST ALREADY IN PROGRESS...; I loose interest in doing the things I love.

The snow from last week is still hanging around. Here are some photos of the lacey remnants along our driveway.

I did force myself to knit a little over the weekend but the only thing that kept me going was this beautiful Malabrigo Twist yarn. The pattern is The Amanda Hat (Ravelry link) and I think I did something wrong on the crown. It's a little small. I may open it back up and rip out the crown and add some extra rows between the decrease rows. I really like it though. It fits good around my tiny head and should stay one better when I'm shoveling. Not that I want to do anymore shoveling. I've had enough of that to last me quite some time. But I found that the various hats I've knitted don't stay in place during hard manual labor.

Meanwhile, I've started the Evenstar Mystery Shawl KAL, a pi shawl inspired by Arwen's necklace that she gave to Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings. When I finished my first and only pi shawl last summer (Girasole by Jarad Flood) I was fairly certain that I wouldn't be doing another pi shawl any time soon. I'm just not fond of round shawls. But Susan Pandorf's motif for this shawl was so lovely and I'm such a sucker for all things LotR that I immediately signed up. I commissioned Nicole at No Two Snowflakes to custom dye 1800 yards of lace-weight silk for me and purchased 3000 beads.

The first clue was released Friday night but I didn't start it until Tuesday evening because of the pain in my head and mouth. I didn't even look at the pattern. It hurt just to think about a circular cast-on in 100% silk lace-weight. When I did started it I remembered one of the reasons that I don't care for pi shawls - the circular cast-on. I tried 3 different methods and after starting over at least 10 times and having to cut off the worn-out end of my yarn, I settled on Emily Ocher's method. Now I'm almost done with the first clue. No photo yet.

I'm using a the recommended needle size, US#3 and it's producing a looser, more open lace than I usually allow. I've decided to continue with this needle size though because I want this shawl to be large. I'll get used to the openness, I guess.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bad Things, Man!

This sun pillar phenomenon is get out of hand around here. This morning was the brightest, reddest one yet. I think it means something really bad is coming. Something like another 6-10 inches of snow on top of the 24" we got over the weekend. Here in the Desert of Maryland we're just not equipped to deal with these amounts of snowfall.

Here's what it looked like around here on Saturday morning.


This is my LYS Y2Knit in Funkstown

Barn yard gate

Our poor shrubbery ("nothing too expensive")

Sunday the sun came out but it was in the single digits so not much melting occurred.

Looking up the driveway to chez Artz

Rime ice on the asparagus

Looking down the driveway

Our hemlocks at sunset

I realize that this amount of snowfall is normal in other parts of the country but it's pretty unusual here. Schools and colleges are closed; Federal Govt. is closed, local govt. is on liberal leave. Most of my coworkers made it in yesterday and today and our county government is functioning normally. Our Highways Dept. employees have done a heroic job getting the roads open and now they have to start over again with very little rest.

We have had a few weather related deaths in the area, mostly due to the fact that rescue crews couldn't get to the victims in time. This despite the concerted efforts of the state and county road crews and private individuals with plows and loaders. It's so frustrating for the rescue workers who try so hard to get to the victims but are thwarted by the weather conditions.

I think most of the residents for Washington County are ready for spring. I know I am.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Another Beautiful Snowy Morning

This morning's sunrise was beautiful in a different sort of way. Snow and fog blanketed the area and it was a little dark yet for good photos. We cleaned off the cars (someday we hope to have a garage) and by then it was light enough to take photos without the flash. They're still a little dark but they capture to eerie beauty well, I think.

Here's the shrubbery in front of the house.

Notice the snow crusted on the neighbor's chain link fence in this picture.

More snowy trees and fog in our front yard.

This one is in the alley I walk down every morning and evening from the parking deck to my office and back. I think it's a pear but I could be wrong. I like how snow is clinging to every little branch.

I am continuing to knit in the evenings, primarily on the India Stole. I'm almost half done and the rows are getting shorter as I approach the point. I think it's beautiful but the yarn is kind of clingy and I think it would have been better made with silk. But then I think just about every thing looks better made of silk.

I've been having a lot of pain in my left shoulder lately and had an x-ray on Wednesday and an MRI on Monday. I haven't heard the results of the MRI yet but the Dr. called about the x-ray and said it showed a significant amount of ARTHRITIS! I go see an orthopedist tomorrow; I suppose he'll tell me, "You're old, get used to it."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Look What I Did!

I wreaked both our cars! See those right-rear bumpers? See how they match? I did that all by myself.

It was a dark and stormy night. The rain was coming down in buckets. I parked the blue car in the turn-around and forgot about it. Later I hopped into the gold car slapped it in reverse, completely forgetting that I had parked the blue car in the turn-around, and backed right into it. I turned the gold car around so the headlights were shining on the back of the blue car and got out in the pouring rain and stood there wondering how I could be such an idiot.

The blue one is in the shop right now being fixed and the gold one goes in tomorrow. It's the first time I've ever been the cause of an accident. I've never had a ticket or a warning or even a stern look and then I wreak both our cars in our own driveway. I had to explain it to our insurance rep and the guy at the body shop. It was so-o-o embarrassing.

On the plus side, both cars were still drivable and no one was hurt.

On Saturday afternoon I spotted a sundog while Doug and I were out and about and he pulled into a parking lot so I could snap a photo.

At first there was only one on the right or north side of the sun but later one appeared on the south side and though they made a good attempt to connect, they didn't quite make it.

This morning there was another sun pillar. The clouds were just right for a beautiful shot. I went back in the house and got the camera so I could capture this scene. It kind of reminds me of the view of Mount Doom from Minas Tirith.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Adios, 2009!

Boy, am I glad that 2008 and 2009 are over. Those will be remembered as "the cancer years" here at chez Artz. I hope they're the last. I didn't make any New Year's Resolutions. I never do because I'm not good at following through on things like that.

We had a lot of snowy weather here over the holidays and it's been really cold and windy most of the time. I took the photo above Friday morning from the front of our house. There's a scientific term for that bar of light going straight up from the rising (in this case) or setting sun but it escapes me at the moment. I've seen several of them this winter so it must not be a truly rare phenomena.

The photo below shows our driveway on December 17th, the day after we received 16-18 inches of snow. We don't often get such large snow events here in Washington County. In fact we don't often get much precip at all. We refer to this area as the desert of Maryland. The rain and snow usually go east or west of us but seldom make into the Great Hagerstown Valley. Last summer was also an exception and I guess it just carried on into winter.

It was certainly beautiful, both while falling and the day after. This is a cedar along our driveway. I took lots of photos during the storm and the day after. You can see more on Flickr. Fortunately I don't have to go out and work in this kind of weather. I'm sure I'd sing a different song all together if that were the case.

Here's the snow piled on the shrubbery in front of our house the morning after. It was breathtaking. It was a very light and fluffy snow because of the extreme cold and therefore didn't cause any power outages in our area. And it shoveled easily. We don't do a lot of shoveling because we have all-wheel-drive Subarus and don't have much trouble making it up and down our driveway despite the little hill we have to go up to get to the house. So we only shovel paths to the cars.

In knitting news, I joined the 10 Shawls in 2010 group on Ravelry. My first shawl is the India Stole by Sylvie Beez. I'm using Perchance to Knit Lace in the Lagoon colorway.

I'm not going to obsess over getting all 10 done. My queue is pretty ambitious so I'll do what I can and be satisfied with what I get done. I've also been watching "Cranford" and "Return to Cranford" on PBS Masterpeice Classics and enjoying it immensely. What an amazing cast!