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!