Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sarah, Pirate Dog. Aaargh...woof

I'm so sad to report that Sarah, our oldest dog, had to give up her left eye due to glaucoma. Very big sigh. She did great with the surgery, has eaten, had some water, took her antibiotics and pain killers, and has mostly been napping tonight. She even got to have her teeth cleaned and three of them extracted while she was sedated. Good thing, too, because two were close to abscessing.Thank goodness!!! The good people at Dog & Cat Hospital here in Ghent were wonderful, and as usual she charms everyone who meets her.  Her right eye still has some sight, and we'll be treating it twice a day with prednisone drops. Forever. She is a special dog.

She doesn't have a pirate patch, but we might let her wear one for Halloween. 

Update: Overnight went great, this morning Sarah was pretty spunky and snugly for a dog who had surgery less than 24 hours ago. Scarfed up her pudding-like recovery food. Tonight we try out dry food soaked in water. Amazing how she changes when she's not so much in pain. 

In other news, Samantha is back with Kat. I supported Kat in her decision to give temporary custody of Sam to Kat's older sister because I think it was the right thing to do at the time. Now that Kat has a more stable home and work situation, Sam is moving back to Kat. I'm so happy for them both and I think we'll get to see them next weekend.

Last week I attended a delightful weaving conference. I forgot to bring the good camera. Big fail. I have some iPhone pictures but they don't do justice to the excellent weaving I saw. I was so, so, so inspired. So much so that I am finally almost done with winding the warp for the Bambu 12 shawl in gold and dark gold. As I'm winding I'm also considering that the pattern I'd chosen is maybe not the one I want to use with this fiber. I saw a wonderful example of dimity and I want to do that. I'll probably find a basic pattern in the Davis book, and I'll do a little reading on dimity rules. It'll be a two color warp and a two color weft, in big plaids. I do like plaid. Checks. Colors that cross. 

I'm sure it's dicey to change course in the middle of winding a warp. I might be creating extra work for myself. Oh wait. I am DEFINITELY creating extra work for myself. It's worth it to create something unique and all my own. A large check in dimity, inspired by Marjie Thompson. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weaving: Where The Inspiration Comes From

September 2011
For this latest project, the Autumn Towels, I was inspired by two things. First, I read a post on http://rigidheddleweaving.com/blog/plaid about an online tool for creating your own plaid patterns. I browsed to the site, and while I was looking at all these lovely Scottish plaids and whatnot, I thought oh how lovely a plaid in fall colors would be. So, that blog post and the change of seasons is what got under my skin. 

In real life the colors are a little brighter, but this is really turning out exactly as I had envisioned it here, or well pretty close. Below is my calculations for warp and weft and how the colors should line up and how many of each should be sleighed in which order. This was right before I figured out how to read a weaving draft.

September 2012
My original plan had been to show how I set this thing up. As I was sleighing, I realized where I'd made some mistakes. I hadn't planned on doubling the Cottolin. And I don't remember why I wound the warp that way. But I did, and wove it as such. I used the tartan generator online to construct the plaid just the way I wanted it.  

I also recognized during the weaving itself, as I did further research into Tartans, that what I was weaving was truly a plaid, not a tartan. Tartan plaids have very specific criteria, to begin with they are done in a twill and have an odd number of colors. Ha. No twill here, no sir, not on a rigid heddle loom! Actually, I'll bet Jane could figure out how to do twill on an RH, but I'll forego and use the floor loom for that business. Also, an even number of colors. There are a gazillion mistakes and I learned so much from this project. 

It's bright and cheerful and plain woven and soft and wonderful. I love it. It's also VERY long and I'm thinking I can get several fun towels from it. Hm...Christmas presents? I think I have another post about this project but this is, as Paul Harvey would say, is "the rest of the story."

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Hi, my name is Erin, and I'm a foodie.

"Although the two terms were sometimes used interchangeably, foodies used to differ from gourmets in that gourmets were epicures of refined taste, whereas foodies were amateurs who simply loved food for consumption, study, preparation, and news.[1] Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.[2] After some time of differentiating between the two, the term Foodie is now considered the term for food exploration and enjoyment, whether gourmet or not, thus superseding the term Gourmet."--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodie
I should be coding my monster Excel project for work, and instead I am scheduling our next trip to New York City. Partly because I feel like crap (BPPV again), my eyes hurt, and the thought of staring at code for three hours is migraine-inducing. Because of the vertigo.

Oh hell, call it was it is: let's just say Manhattan because we won't go north of Central Park, or further west than the Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Bridge. 

We were at Sinigual, this really wonderful Mexican restaurant in Midtown with Kent's cohort from CAPE, and one of them said "So, are you guys foodies?" We'd been raving about Colicchio & Sons, and that place in Pittsburgh with the amazing beef, and I said "nah, I dunno, seems like it has such negative connotations." Snobby. Then I started thinking. Hm. I think everyone who knows us would probably call us foodies. 150 (estimated) cookbooks, and three of them are Michael Ruhlman and one is Thomas Keller. We pine for Top Chef when it's on hiatus. We attempt unique and interesting cooking adventures at home. I spend quality time with Roberta's food dictionary whenever we visit her home. We go out of our way to find the right knife, not necessarily the best knife, and the right pot, not necessarily the best pot - although Le Cruset is pretty much the be-all-end-all for enameled cast-iron cookware. And who needs more than two? We use them all the time. LOVE. We make our own stock. Why? Well, for one I have a yeast sensitivity and it is almost impossible to find stock that doesn't contain yeast for flavoring. But when we finally finessed the crap out of our stock, we discovered that it is a) the easiest thing in the world to make and requires almost no attention and b) tastes amazing without adding anything else to it. It's stock with attitude. See note about Michael Ruhlman, our hero for pulling back the veil of CIA mystique and bringing beautiful food to the home. 

Yeah, I'm gushing. Which also makes me a foodie, I guess. Kent, too. The nicely balanced (no kidding) habanero slaw at Luna Maya. The juicy drippy crispy grinder at Zero's. Fellini's perfect french fries. Meatloaf at No Frill Bar & Grill. Actually, just about everything at No Frill is outstanding, but their portions are enormous and it's a bit of a turn-off. Cucumber panicotta at Colicchio & Sons. I just love the Tortilla Soup at Max & Erma's and the Southwestern Omelet at Charlie's. I will swear by  Ivar's Fish & Chips, and their clam chowder, as the best until the day I die. Bryant Park Cafe's french fries on Sunday - the oil gets old fast and it's freshest on Sunday. Go figure. Kent has a thing for the perfect french fry. I have a thing for great fish and chips. We both have a thing for yummy food, wherever it might be. 

(And while I was wandering off picking up the Michael Ruhlman link, I stumbled across one of his posts about the from-scratch BLT using his Big Green Egg. Oh. My. Goodness. Want. Someone please buy my baby grand so I can buy a Big Green Egg!)

Granted, most of this I can't even eat anymore because of the dairy and yeast thing, When I do decide to risk it, I want it to taste really, really good.

9/17 Update: Last night we caught up on Top Chef Masters - he waited for me to return from CW Seminars. Gooooooooo, Lorena! Woo!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Top Ten Non-Knitting Uses for Double-Pointed Needles (DPN)

Sometimes you just don't have the right tool for the job. You have to use whatever is nearby. For a knitter, that's usually a set (or six) double-pointed needles.

10.  Prod your unsuspecting adult child to determine his level of hungover-ness.
9.    Kebab skewer for small things. Pearl onions. Grape tomatoes. Baby bay scallops. Soak the wooden needles well before placing on grill.
8.    Pick those stubborn popcorn kernals out from between your teeth after the movie. Make sure it's clean. Eeww.
7.    Defensive weapon on the subway. Or Macy's.
6.    Move itty bitty pieces of chip solder into their rightful place on your solding project.
5.    Straight edge. If you grip your needles like your life depends on it, use them as a set of french curves.
4.    Chopsticks. Very skinny chopsticks. Must be desparate.
3.    Use multiple DPNs as a fence to keep peas from rolling off the counter
2.    Remove pimientos when your significant other prefers his green olives un-stuffed.

and my very favorite non-knitting use for DPNs...

1.   Martini olive pick. Martini aficionados know: sometimes olive picks are just too short.

 Yes, our first Broadway show.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hey, where have you been?

It's been a very long time since I posted anything, and it's been a very, very busy five months.

The kitchen is 90% complete. Only a few tiles and the floor are to be finished. Finally! And we love it. 
From left, Kent (aka DH), Peanut (aka Samantha), and Kat (no aka). The photo is a little dark but check out those GORGEOUS cabinets (mahogany-stained hickory) and beautiful backsplash. Highly recommend Costco for kitchen cabinets. 

'Tis the spring/summer concert season for the Tidewater Concert Band, and we've had many gigs recently. Musically things tend to quiet down after Independence Day then pick up again around Labor Day. I'm struggling to get that Stars & Stripes piccolo solo under my fingers but it is hard. I'm not the principle piccolo but we wanted to have at least two piccs playing - for fun, you know? So, earplugs firmly in place. I continue to work. 

Did I mention I got another floor loom? La-la-la-loving it...I know I romanticize the idea of refinishing and reselling old looms but I'm sure the reality is much different. I did have fun with the first one, though.

Speaking of WORK, that ugly word, I am once again managing a software project. Ah, the glamorous life of a m******f******s***f***** business analyst. Nah, I'm kidding, it's not so bad. I am doing another project, a web app again, quite a major addition to a web reporting application that I already manage and previously implemented. It is very challenging to have two developers in one country, 10 hours ahead, and one developer in another country, two hours behind, and none in my own country. The phrase "never the twain shall meet" comes to mind. It isn't anywhere near as awful as The Project From Hell three years ago. Four years ago? Time flies. We are scheduled to "go live" next Wednesday, and we are only a week behind schedule. I would not call it an Agile project, although it started out that way, but it was definitely a rushed project. 

The last day of school was today. DH brought all his stuff home. Three bins. The foyer is again a disaster area with things to be donated and/or loaned, a large stroller and a pink Disney walker (Peanut's), a Bow-flex (anyone? Bueller?), my gig bag and music stand, and the stuff that actually lives in the foyer - salmon sofa, key table, green throw rug. 

Kat and the Peanut are staying with us for a short time. It's a little stressful having a ten-month old in the house, but also quite wonderful having them both here. They are a delight and I get to play gramma to a sweet dimpled little girl whose first words seem to be "doggie." Maggie Doggie has made sure Peanut feels welcome and has allowed herself to be used as a pillow. Tasha Doggie is gentle with her, and Sarah Doggie has kept her distance and let Peanut come to her. DH and I are both charmed, and Momma Kat is getting on her feet again.

DH has officially started his summer gig with the Google CAPE program and there is a great deal of travel occurring over the next couple of months. 

Primo (aka Nick) is still at BB and living in Ghent. Secundo (Patrick) is working, and rescuing stray baby birds, turtles, and tarantulas in Kansas. He's not a dog person, but that apple didn't roll too far away from the tree. 

Much package mailing to do and weaving photos to post. 

All is well.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hiaku for DIY-er

Winter light is weak
for choosing a cork floor tile.
   We are not smart folks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm exhausted and we're not even done

January 11-16, 2012

Tearing out the floor to the original planks (that are covered in glue and crap). The room is wrapped up like a bio-hazard zone.


 It's really old floor. And it stinks.

January 12
Move the plumbing and cover up the old raggedy floor.
Luan! Luan! And the plastic comes off.

January 13-14
Sometimes it doesn't LOOK like much has happened, and the cabinets aren't actually nailed in, but they are staged and, at this point, we know that we are missing a fill piece that I scrambled to order. A great deal of plumbing work has occurred. We are relocating three lines - fridge, sink, and dishwasher. Throughout this, too, they've been engaged in some plaster and electrical work for us both in the kitchen and outside and up on the 3rd floor. So lots of work, most of it never to be seen. At this point we also know that we need 2x10" registers instead of the 2x12" we bought. Well, duh that's because the pretty ones only came in 2x12." Surely that makes sense...

Sunday is, thankfully, a day of rest. So, we went to the tile store for a few hours. 

January 16
Monday was a bank holiday and I had the day off and took Maggie The Dog and Nick The Son to Gloucester to buy a big old lab table that happened to have a beautiful butcher block top.
We're using it as the top of the island. The tabletop is 6'x30." Extra stuff included for scale. That yellow...ahhh...I love that yellow but DH decided it was time for a change. I'll get used to the new color.
 And we have lights under the cabinets!

And finally the sink is hooked up! Plumbing!
No, the cabinets aren't nailed in yet. 

We have cork floor samples on order, the filler from the cabinet company should arrive Friday, and let's hope my sinus infection doesn't get any worse. 

Being the hearty DIY-ers that we are, we're going with tile countertops that I'm installing because somehow I signed up for tile duty once way back and it stuck with me. Well, hell, I like tile and this time I get a new toy: a wet saw!  Solid surface is gorgeous but so expensive it makes me uncomfortable - I can't justify the expense, even if I can afford it...which I can't. So, tile it is. Nice tiles. Big tiles, and gorgeous variegated blue/green (do not say teal) mosaic tiles on the back splash.


And now to bed because today was a day off from kitchen work and tomorrow it starts up again.