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I seem to be holding fairly steady at about a week behind, at this point. That’s not so bad; it could be far worse. The thing is, I could be caught up, except for the week’s worth of wrinkles encountered. I’m presently livid beyond belief at PayPal MultiOrder Shipping, which I won’t use for large shipments any more, after I switched back to it following problems with my other shipping software in August. In brief, I’m still awaiting the refund of 4 rounds of shipping labels for Batt Club, nary a one of which printed, all of which billed, all of which are marked as failed, all of which have moved from “refund pending” to “transaction complete.” It all adds up to making UPS look a lot more appealing than it has in the past. Since originally posting this, I’ve heard from a number of folks who had issues last week about shipping. Turns out the USPS back end went down and most of the online postage printing options were affected. Ugh! And frustrated though I may be, I’m sure PayPal will straighten things out for me eventually. PayPal is great; I just seem to have outgrown their bulk shipping software, and realizing that is a shock.

I must be shipping more stuff! That would explain why I seem to keep running out of stuff so fast too. I feel like a walking TV commercial for small business services of some kind — the ones where the businessperson realizes she can’t do everything and has to solve that problem. It’s all very interesting in the abstract, and very frustrating in the “get this done right now” sense.

I’ve made one huge leap in that department, though, and that is, I’ve had someone else do web wrangling work on my blog. Seriously! I’ve taken my hands off something. I deliberated about whether or not to blog about this, and then decided, you know, this blog is about running a fiber business too, and this is part of that. And what’s more, get this: Abby’s Yarns! launched a year ago on Friday.

I felt like I should do something. You know, bake a cake, spin a special yarn, something. Maybe have a maudlin retrospective, though I did that with the 100th post. So fix my known blog problems, maybe. But that would take time I didn’t really have. So when a friend of mine who’s a designer and web wrassler extraordinaire just happened to say hello last week, I threw myself at her mercy. She’s started working her wonders already; for example, categories are working again thanks to an upgrade I simply have not had time to do for ages, and she’s fixed various other things I haven’t been able to get to, and isn’t done working her magic yet either. Soon, it should be much easier for folks to find some of the back content, and wade through things in ways other than by date. Plus things will look different. And now that I’ve taken my hands off, it’s a huge relief, and things are moving faster, and it’ll likely be that much easier to… what’s that word? “Delegate.” Yeah, that. It should be easier to do that in the future. I’m so proud!

I’ve also managed to finish a nice selection of workshop outlines and proposals; stuff that is repeatable, priced out, and can be taken on the road to teach. Seriously! I know it seems quiet on the blog front, but there has been a ton going on, and you’ll all be seeing the results shortly!

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I live! I even live well.

It has been brought to my attention that for all intents and purposes, it would seem I was slain by my cold.

This is not the case. I live! But man oh man, has it been a week. I left for SOAR knowing I’d come back with about a month worth of work to get done in 2 weeks, and I only added things to the to-do list while I was there. I ended up back home with 5 or 6 weeks of work that I still thought I might get done in 2-3 weeks; at this point, I’ve managed to do about 4 weeks of it, so that’s not bad, considering I was sick. Now I’m only a week or two behind. If I just keep moving, then by Thanksgiving I’ll be caught up, in time to get horribly behind again for the holiday season.

There was a pumpkin drop at the manchild’s school. Denny, pay attention, this is right up your alley.

Every class had a pumpkin, for which the students devised a means of protection from fall damage. You probably see where this is going, but I’ll proceed anyway.

These packaged pumpkins were taken aloft by the gym teacher in a cherry picker, and given the ol’ heave-ho.

Then, the question was whether or not the pumpkin survived its fall. And if I hadn’t been so heavily Theraflued that day, then chances are I’d have replaced the camera battery and I’d have a photo of the manchild’s pumpkin to show you. But I don’t. This is some other class’ boxed pumpkin, and I don’t know if it made it or not.

The pumpkin drop definitely had all the kids excited and amped up. It was the Friday before what turned out to be a long weekend. We realized it was a long weekend on Sunday when the manchild told us there was no school Monday. Lo and behold, the school calendar even said so.

A little spinning was done, seen here much larger than life, and I’m pleased to say I actually made my final writing deadlines for October. This feat was partly complicated by my decision, during the process, that the only way to do one of the articles right would be to spin a new set of samples, which could be sent off along with the article, and photographed as well, and… well, we shall see. But in the end, done in time. Whew; I might be able to learn to do this. And then it was Halloween.

He’s not a ninja. Do you know what he is? If so, then odds are you have a child around the same age as mine, with shared interests, and they could hang out.

See here, the manchild and his grandpa starting to inventory his haul. He raked in:

  • 16 lollipops
  • 17 Snickers Bars
  • 1 Payday
  • 17 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • 3 packs of Skittles
  • 10 packs of M&Ms
  • 10 Crunch bars
  • 6 Kit-Kats
  • 4 Starburst
  • 3 Twizzlers
  • 1 Butterfinger
  • 4 Tootsie Rolls
  • 3 Milk Duds
  • 6 Smarties
  • 1 Nerds
  • 1 Lifesavers
  • 1 Bottlecaps
  • 2 Milky Way

And yes, he paid the appropriate taxes to the relevant authorities in charge thereof.

Earlier that day, in Mad Science, he built a rubber band racecar. He was the first one done with his, the teacher told me, and then he assembled others and helped other kids. He took this picture on the drive home, and he’s learning to work the Canon. He also snapped some interesting shots of his view…

(why yes, that is the Foggy, Foggy Dew shawl, still incomplete, on the dashboard)

…and learned that photography is a technical challenge indeed, as evidenced by this photo of whatever was going on in his video game at the time, which was worthy of recording.

His racecar picture, however, was added to a Flickr group after I uploaded it, by request. We’re very proud.

Some other spinning took place. This is purely decadent spinning, let me tell you. First, the spindle is a Bosworth Kauri wood spindle with a cherry shaft. It’s so warm and inviting, and then there’s the fiber. It’s some of Peace of Yarn’s hyperfine merino (so dubbed by Toni at The Fold, anyway), and I’d sampled some at SOAR, but failed to buy any. So I had to do the same thing I’d tell you to do in that situation: get ahold of Toni, and say “Hey, do you happen to have any of that one fiber… you do? Great, I need a pound ASAP. My instant gratification is at stake here.”

You guys didn’t think I was immune to that sort of thing just because I have a huge fiber inventory already, did you? Because I’m not.

I have some other incredible fabulousness I get to enjoy, too. Vis:

This is from Glenna (and she didn’t stop there, either).

Mohair. Absolutely stunning mohair, from Glenna’s goats. First there’s the yarn that she spun, which is sooo beautiful I’m still looking for the right thing to do with it. And I mean, who gives me handspun yarn? I love it. And then there’s the tiny bundles of handcombed top. I can’t begin to tell you how precious this stuff is. You can’t buy this, or anything like it. And there’s more, way more, too much for pictures all in one post.

You can’t buy packages like this, either. Look closely; notice the writing on the flaps.

This is from Ellen. Just look. Okay, look closer.

Seriously. In case you can’t read that because Flickr is being whiny and slow lately, here’s what it says:

Enclosed is some qiviut that needs to be dehaired. Some guanaco that does not need to be dehaired. Some chocolate from the South Bend Chocolate Company and some combed merino locks from Thomsen Merinos in Wisconsin. Enjoy!

I would have totally indulged myself in all those exact things. “Enjoy,” indeed. I can’t even show you the merino locks right now because they’re too, too nice and I’m hogging them. You can see them later.

I also had this box of fabulousness from Chendra, from before I went to SOAR, that I haven’t shown you yet.

It’s another box of treasure beyond compare, for which no price can be set.

Chendra combs exceptionally well. If zombies ever take over the earth and they get to Chendra, I’ll fight the rest of you off so I can keep her under lock and key combing me fiber. Why yes, we did watch Shaun of the Dead recently, why do you ask? Seriously though, Chendra’s standards for prep make mine look slapdash and haphazard. She says, of this box…

The grey is Buck, my first ever fleece purchase. GCH Colored fleece at Estes. A brand new spinner with a *12* lb fleece was a scary thing. Lincoln X Corrie.

The white is Rambouilette lamb fleece from Twin Peaks here in CO.

Chendra also is able to tell me that kind of thing because she keeps The Wool Book. Which is many books by now. I can’t do that; my notes on fiber tend to be, well, chunks of fiber. It works for me, but then to explain anything to anyone else… ah well.

You see what I mean? Boxes of treasure. Here’s another, this one in from Phreadde.

This, too, is a priceless treasure. It is, as first glance probably shows, a charkha. The charkha fanatics among us (Hi Glenna!) will no doubt recognize it as a Bosworth charkha. This, too, is correct. Let us now look closer.

It’s numbered B1, dated August 2001. And I desperately want to be putting it through its paces, but given that it just arrived in southern Ohio from a life in New Mexico, I am giving it a few weeks to acclimate.

By the way, a pumpkin was carved.

And the Norman Rockwell Rosie, there, watching? She helps me with my coffee every morning, and she’s a fixture in our lives lo, these many years. Notice too the ubiquitous lint roller.

Whew. Pumpkin.

And some yarn was spun,

like this 26-gram skein where one ply is 50/50 merino and angora, and the other is some of that pin drafted merino, and it’s just shy of 400 yards, and…

…it’s just so light and frothy, and it’s going to fuzz out so angora madly, when it is a Something. Maybe I’ll make another 400 yards of it; I have the stuff to do so.

And those are all drying, and I think they’re bound for gifts. Because I think I’m going to make gifts this year, right? As if. I know it’ll never happen. There’s just not enough time.

Somehow, groceries were bought, laundry was done, and batt club was done too, fraught with frustration though all such events may have been.

So that’s what I did with a week of not getting around to blogging, a week for which I was sick for half; I think Sheila B. was absolutely right the other day when she suggested that a solution to some of my present quandaries would be simple: clone myself.

If anybody is interested in indenture, let me know now. I can bribe with yarn, and stuff. I still have about 3 weeks of work to get done by November 10th, not even counting the backlog of stuff I wish I were doing.

However, Rachel H. is not eligible for this offer; she has stated that she’d prefer to be Gord Lendrum’s indentured servant, and the truth is, that’s a better use for her. Someone needs to build the gear, you know? And that’s another whole kettle of fish that we’ll talk about another time. Now, I’m out of time and must put my nose back to the grindstone!

Just one more thing.

See? Incredible wealth.