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"There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life." --Yutang Lin

Wednesday, August 12, 2015



The Uncrowned Queen,
sequel to By Any Other Name, is finished! 80,102 words, 75 days. 

I have ideas for the next book already, but there are others in the wings as well... 

Jennifer 5:23 PM

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Say you're a vampire. 

Your best friend dies in a car accident. You are with him. The drunk driver of the truck who hits you doesn't die. 

You're badly hurt. There's only one way you can heal yourself. Your friend is dead. His blood will not help you. 

Your best friend had a prophetic dream about the accident and his subsequent death. He did not tell you about the dream, or tell the rest of your friends. 

He contacted his sister, who has the peculiar talent to bring the dead back to life, and asked for her help, fully knowing that her talent would require a life for a life. 

Fully knowing that the driver of the truck would survive the initial accident. 

He had no way to track this person down to turn him from this path. To save his own life as well as the driver's life. He knows what his sister would have to do to bring him back to life. He asks her to come anyway. 

You are grieving. Hurting. Badly wounded. The driver manages to exit his smashed up vehicle and stagger onto the road. 

You know nothing of the sister's talent, only that your friend had asked her for help. 

You are a vampire. There's only one way for you to heal. 

You don't remember what happens, only that when you're next aware, the driver is dead. 

Later, you find out he would have died anyway to bring your friend back to life. Your friend's sister has no problems with this. 

You've never killed someone before. In your right mind, you would not have killed someone to save your own life. But you were not in your right mind. 

Your friend is now alive. The driver's body will never be found. No one will ever question you about this. Your friends do not damn you because of what you did. They do not turn away from you. No one thinks you are a monster--except, perhaps, for yourself. 

Can you live with what you've done?

Jennifer 7:53 PM

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Friday, July 24, 2015

So last Friday, I bought a new lawnmower. My Earthwise mower's battery died, and I decided that instead of buying a new battery, I'd try a new mower (more expensive, yes, but also 40 lbs lighter!) since the Earthwise had lasted me 6 1/2 years. I decided on the EGO mower, and Home Depot had the best price, so I picked one up last Friday.

Saturday morning, I mowed. Sunday was supposed to be Burlington. We packed up Dad's van, and I headed home to get things situated so that I could leave on time Sunday morning. I even went to bed on time, but couldn't get to sleep, because the Storm of Storms arrived, and when my neighbor posted on Facebook that she had three feet of water in her basement, I climbed out of bed to check my basement, even though my basement doesn't flood.

My house is up on a hill. It's not a steep hill, but it's a hill.

I opened my basement door, and there was six inches of water at the steps, which eventually rose to 14" of water at the steps--something that has never happened. The water rose chest-high in my garden; within 8 feet of my front porch, within 6 feet of the walk-down to the basement, which would have literally sunk me, and within 6 feet of my car.

It was the scariest, most surreal thing I've ever seen. Picture this: I head outside with my flashlight, it's almost midnight at that point, in my rubber boots and still in my pajamas, and I can't even get halfway down my driveway because the water's too high. I had to wait for it to recede before I finally made it to the road. And then, I discovered that my neighbor's house was completely flooded. She had a foot of water in her first floor.

Surreal. Crazy. Unbelievable. Those are the words we've been using all week, as everyone cleaned up and threw out. It's definitely something I hope never happens again.

Fortunately for me, since my insurance would not have covered anything (a fact which I've fixed now), I only lost a couple of bags of crap from my basement, a dead old electric lawnmower, and a carpet cleaner.

Jennifer 7:32 PM

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

I declared the "Fill All The Spindles" project finished yesterday afternoon, with eleven spindles left to fill (mostly newer ones I'd recently made.) my full spindles storage spots were full anyway, so I'm finishing up the last bit of fiber on the remaining spindles and calling it a day. 

45 spindles in the picture, 21 made by me, 11 left, 10 made by me. (Those aren't pictured.)




Now, lots of plying!

Jennifer 2:12 PM

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

You'd never think that spinning your own yarn could be a subject fraught with drama, would you? I certainly didn't, back in 2010 when I made the decision to either learn to spin or sell my only remaining spindle (bought the year before along with three spinning wheels, which were later sold because I couldn't figure out how to use them.)

Initially, I purchased a few drop spindles made by 3GWoodworks on Etsy because I didn't have much money and while I had made some myself, they didn't really work well as drop spindles (when I discovered supported spindles, they were perfect, however.) Perusing Ravelry exposed me to many spindle makers, most of which were way out of my budget. The ones made by 3GWoodworks. were pretty, extremely reasonable considering the prices I saw from other makers, made very well, and spun quite nicely. I would still recommend them. (In fact, if Elsa keeps up her interest in spinning, I will buy her one to keep here...)

A few months in, however, I discovered supported spindles and, specifically, Lisa Chan of Grippingyarn.com. The spindle I had made worked quite well for supported spindling, so by mid-2010, I had quite a collection, and it was still going strong by the end of the year.

I never quite counted all of my spindles. When I purchased a new one, I'd start something on it, and rarely finish. I ran out of room to store spindles, so I added more vases and places to stick them. I destashed ones I didn't like or wasn't using. At the same time, I bought spinning wheels. Many, many spinning wheels. I had it bad, the spinning obsession. Or, rather, I had the acquisition obsession quite badly.

And then came 2011. Juggling credit card payments. An office move that meant more money out of my pocket and less time at home. I couldn't use the credit cards anymore, so everything needed to be paid out of my paycheck or by selling stuff--and boy, did I sell stuff. I culled my spindle collection and then culled it again. I kept only my absolute favorites. I cancelled all outstanding orders. I sold spindles that I made (and kept my prices low, because I still can't believe what some makers charge, and I'll get to that point in a minute here.)

In March of 2012, probably because I had survived the previous horrible year, I bought a glindle. A glindle is a specific type of supported spindle with a glass tip--think of a marble with a tip--in many colors and styles and shapes. Mine was one of the lower-end, price-wise, just a plain shaft with a four-leafed clover theme. If I remember correctly, it cost $54, and that was a big chunk of my spinning budget. (In the same package was a stowaway bumblebee glindle, so I had two of them at one point.) I also purchased a few others from a new maker--TwistedGrain on etsy (and still remains one of my favorite makers) that year, but no more glindles, because in all honesty, they were out of my budget.

And I was beginning to realize that the spindles I made worked just as well as the spindles I bought, and if I stopped buying spindles, I could then buy more fiber to spin (which all comes out of the same small budget.)

I haven't actually purchased a spindle since March of 2013. I've destashed a few others, including the glindle, and kept my favorites. I also started a project in 2014 to fill up all the spindles I owned (which has taken longer than it should have because I also kept making them for myself, and I actually didn't spin much in 2014), and I pretty much left all but four groups on Ravelry because I really needed to concentrate on other things, like decluttering my house and keeping up on the garden, and oh yeah, the fact that I should have been writing instead of buying all these spindles in the first place...

So to make a really long post a bit shorter, I've been away from spindle drama for a while. I'd see dustups here and there, and hear mention of stuff, but I really didn't have time to dig deep and figure out what was going on. New groups were made, and I was invited to the new groups; I found new indie dyers to buy from, and I kind of stayed on the fringes, because my budget hasn't grown much and I still couldn't afford to buy multiple expensive tools even if I wanted to take the time to figure out where to buy them or snag one in a destash.

Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful things, but I'm perfectly happy with my aluminum and bamboo straight knitting needles and set of Denise interchangables, for example. I did buy one pair of knitting needles from an actual maker of knitting needles, but they were only $20, so I can't really say I broke the bank.I'm perfectly happy with the tools I have and have made, and my spinning wheels for when I want a change from the spindles. (And at the moment, I own four spinning wheels. Which is too many, but they are all useful to me, so they stay.)

Anyway, over the past months, I've heard darker murmurings among the Ravelry groups. There have been more frequent arguments and cries of foul play. I've managed to stay out of it for the most part, until now. And when I finally delved into the depths of it, I kind of wish I'd stayed away, because I'm pretty appalled at how some spinners have acted, and how others have responded, and how no one seems to realize that the market for spinning tools is very, very small, and while there are new spinners every day, the majority of people still think we're weird and old-fashioned.

I'm not going to go into detail here. I'm not going to rehash the arguments (all of which have valid points) or the bad feelings all around, because this post would then be pages long. Heck, I could probably manage a short novel out of it, but I really don't have time to even begin.

But guys--everyone--they are tools. Pretty tools, yes, but still tools. And you don't need a thousand of them, or a hundred of them, or even fifty of them. Or even twenty. Hoarding isn't a good thing. Buying something just for the sake of ownership also isn't a good thing. Believe me. I've been there.

Use the ones you love and destash the others. They don't have magical properties. The spindle karma police are not going to arrest you for destashing the ones you don't love. Be fair, too. Don't gouge your fellow spinners just because something is a hot item. (Although if someone is stupid enough to buy one for an exorbitant price, then go for it.)

Please remember that you are an adult, too, not a twelve-year-old child denied yet another Barbie doll. Shrug and move on. There are other spindles, other makers, and frankly, other hobbies out there to peruse.

This entire argument is giving spinners a bad name. And I stand by my declaration that the whole thing is ridiculous.

I no longer own my glindles. I gifted the one that was a gift to someone else, and I destashed the other one. My Twindle (from the same maker; another hotly contested commodity) also flew away from the nest. Since I'd stayed away from spindle buying for the past few years, I never was one of the exalted. Honestly, I prefer wooden spindles. And since I still have too many spindles (most of which I've made), I'd rather buy fiber anyway. And maybe finally finish the 'fill all the spindles' project this year.

Jennifer 8:55 AM

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Two pickings today. Two quarts. I wasn't in this position last year until next week. I'm doomed. :)


Jennifer 9:00 PM

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Sunday, June 07, 2015


Raspberries ripening. 


Picking currants. 

Almost all the tomatoes are planted, along with the squash. The peas are starting to bloom, and I'm enjoying salads of various greens as well. 

My lime tree is covered in blooms, and so is the Calamondin orange. The lemon has one bloom for now; the big orange tree is recovering nicely from the winter. 

My apple trees have lots of apples. And I even have a handful of blueberries. :)

Garden 2015 is off to a good start. 

Jennifer 9:04 AM

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