Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dear World

Dear World,

Happy Earth Day!

Congratulations on your 45th year of celebration. 

To honor you on your day, I mailed 4 of the 5 letters I'd written, picked up my prescriptions, did a little food shopping, returned to pick up a new prescription, and called it a day. Well, I bought a slice of cheesecake to celebrate with you too. I put back the Ben & Jerry's Caramel Sutra.

It's raining again. The pomegranates seem to thrive on it. The grapes not so much. I love taking care of my share of the world that is on loan to me and mine. I enjoy nurturing the earth beneath my feet. Not much beats the food I grow, the flowers I've planted, the seeds I harvest, or the harvests I share with family and neighbors.

Thanks for putting up with us, for nurturing us, and for being our home planet.



Here's a look at the Samuel Leghorne Clemens notecard from the "Card Catalog" box. I always think of "The Ransom of Red Chief" when I think of Mark Twain. I know O. Henry wrote the story, so go figure. It reads like a tale Twain would have written. I love how stories are gathered and homed under a single cover, called a book. I love books. If I ever have to be confined or in solitary confinement, I wouldn't mind as long as I had a book. I could survive any zombie apocalypse as long as I had access to a library, a bookstore, or my own home, where books abound.

Here's a link to an awesome homage to the love of the book. I love this man. I might even be in love with him. I might love him as much as I love Dwight Howard, James Harden, Josh Smith . . . I love him enough to croon Al Green to him. I'd sing, "Let's get married today. Might as well." Perhaps I love his loving books this much. Can you imagine having such patience and knowledge? One has to know a thing in order to repair it. You have to know how it is made, inside-out in order to repair it from the outside-in. 

I love the ancient art of storytelling too. It was a staple from my childhood, and I still enjoy the same oft-told-tales my mother enjoys offering on the altar of the past when she asks, "Remember the story about . . ." and I listen like I've never heard it before. 

We tell stories too, you and I. We tell a story with each letter we send. We read each other's storied letters. We share something of who we are, who we were, and what we want to be in our words that hold our hopes for what may come. We tell of our towns, our families, our country, our experiences . . . We ask questions in hope of hearing more of a story that captivates us, or one that might bring us closer to understanding the penner. A follow-up letter often bears a rehash of the beginning, a lovely middle, and perhaps an ending. We often do what I learned in my first creative writing class in college, "Show, don't tell." The showing comes with colorful descriptives, photographs, embellishments, private words that hold naked emotions, and most of all our truth. We tell tales with each letter that sets sail across the distances between us. 

I love a good letter. Ask me to define "a good letter" and I'll give you a different definition every time. You know what I mean though, right? There are no bad letters.

This was meant to be. The date stamp is several years old, but it felt like it was made for the "Card Catalog" notecards. The Library of Congress and stories, and storytellers, and letter writers are wonderful things to be. April is the month to view our world with new eyes, review our footprints with a promise to tread a more friendly path across Mother Earth, and renew a commitment to  telling our stories through letters and notes. Write on.

As promised, here's a better view. 
From me to you.

Sincerely sincere,


P.S. No. 44 today. That's two letters per day! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"You Have to Be Well to Cope with Being Ill"

I have lists on top of lists of blogs I must read. I follow good blogs like birds followed Hansel and Gretel, gobbling up the good words left in the wake of bloggers, like bread crumbs. I am also a collector of quotes, therefore I am thankful for cut and paste because I can copy goodies on the fly and save for later. I do most of my blog post reading when I cannot sleep, or am confined to bed. I often forget to leave comments but I leave with food for thought. Sometimes a post generates a letter because my comments are too long. I need to thank John Edwards for this gem: "You have to be well to cope with being ill." I borrowed it from Scriptor Senex's blog. ( Scriptor Senex means "old writer." I Googled the quote and discovered a book! The Sickroom in Victorian Fiction: The Art of Being Ill. What happened to taking care of yourself, or being taken care of when you are ill? We don't do that any more. We work when we are sick, expose others to our illness, and some of us have the nerve to drop dead at work. How sad.

The quote stimulated a happy part of my brain. It made me sit up straighter. It made me put both feet flat on the floor instead of favoring my left side. And, it made me grin. It's responsible for this post. I know my posts aren't all about letters or mail, but neither am I. My life is filled with stuff, and things, and thoughts, and . . . stuff. Stuff I'd share with my girlfriends. If I could. Today, I'd tell about my annual physical and how emotional it was. My doctor was very kind. She's a pretty good handler too. She calls me on stuff I wish she'd let me slide on. Since she doesn't, I promised to see a new spine specialist, and I promised to buy a new blood pressure machine. I'm going to do more of the things I enjoy, deal with stress in a better way, and revel in being well enough to cope with any illness I fall prey to. I won't get a pneumonia shot though.

So. One thing I enjoy is sharing. If I could, I would buy one of these for everyone in my address book. But, since B&N had the one box, I'll show and tell. I hope you will want a box too.

Ta da! Here it is. Such a lovely little thing.

You know I thought of you Jane Austen lovers the moment I saw this! I wish I could send this, but there's only one.

Dear Emily.

Invisible? I know how he felt.

I read this when I was so young and naive. Must read it again, along with Dumas and the likes.

Don't you just admire the penmanship? That E borders on being elegant, right? Makes one wonder why it wasn't finished.

When I was a girl, I whispered "Zora Neale" out loud to myself. I liked the way it sounded. Not Zora, but ZoraNeale. One word.

And then there's Virginia. 

There are 30 cards and envelopes in the set of "Card Catalog" notecards. There should be more. There's enough space for twice the number. I wish I had two boxes. One to use, one to keep. I want Mark Twain . . . Oops! He's in there. Hiding in plain sight as Samuel Clemens. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, thank you kindly. 

I'll show you my first note tomorrow--all addressed and stamped. I'll show you something else that's new too. Tomorrow. I have to get up and move around a bit because I need to stay well to cope with getting better. I'm not ill. I just need a new thyroid gland. And some other stuff. (Like more butt.)

Be well. 

Write on.

P.S. Thank you, Scriptor Senex. I enjoy your blogs.

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Knew I Should Have Bought One!

You know how you can be having a great day, and you feel like all is right with the world, then something comes along and make you wish for a do-over just so the better half of your self will take control instead of the little-used, less-than-a-quarter part? Well, there's something just for those rare moments.

I went in search of something "paper" yesterday, and discovered this tin. It's a small thing, a comfortable fit for a bag or a tote. It's a nut case. Note the acorn cap on her head.

Where's his? Nut cap, his nut cap? Where's mine? I need a new one since I lost the one I wore, on an agent from Center Point Energy less than thirty minutes ago. 

This is what happened. I sat here writing, and glimpsed a strange man crouched in the backyard. We've had a rash of news alerts warning of strange men cruising neighborhoods, trying to abduct children and such. Our HOA sent a text warning homeowners to be on the alert for creepy men in a truck. I watched a young man jump over our neighbor's fence, and do a running crouch to the gate; the family has three children. Turned out the fence jumper was evading the police. Too many Black men are shot first and unable to answer questions later . . . Once upon a not so long ago, our bank was robbed just minutes before I went in to make a deposit. I was accosted like I'd robbed it and was stupid enough to return to the scene. It happened over two years ago, but banks and payday loan businesses closer to home seem to take turns getting robbed. A neighbor shot his son in the back last week. They live one street over. Someone broke into our home once at 9 AM. I was home. Trauma leaves marks.

Determined never be a victim again, I approached the man in the yard. I asked how he got in. Someone on the other side of the fence said, "He jumped the fence," and the jumper chimed in, "I jumped the fence." My ever dormant temper flared like anger struck a match and lit me up just beneath my heart--the place between the where "courage" and "pissed off" reside. I asked whythey were there and why neither rang the door bell. The simple question was some sort of signal for their drama to raise the curtain on their Act I. The backyard guy let loose with his dismissive attitude. Wrong thing to do. Wrong in so many ways. 

Never tell the client you're just doing your job. Never tell a client you break your own company's rules, since said client might know said Center Point employee is supposed to ring the door bell or knock, to let the homeowner know they're there, and why, before entering a locked gate. Last week the guy from AT&T rang, explained easily and politely why he needed access to the backyard.  I unlocked the gate and gladly granted him access. We even chatted a bit. So why couldn't the CP dude follow protocol? His response forced me to put my hands on my hips--always a bad sign--and explain why he needs to take better care of his life since Black men like him are shot almost every day . . . I told him a whole lot more but, had he jumped the neighbor's fence, Killer wouldn't have even barked, he'd have attacked. Killer's a sneaky dawg. 

Oh. And never tell a woman whose yard you've invaded that you don't have time to talk to her because you need to finish your job. The woman might remind you that you have an income because of people like her, so essentially you work for her. And never say, "Ma'am, I've apologized fifteen times . . ." because a woman who's also a wife and mother can count lies, and give you a tally quicker than a liar can lie and forget his lies. 

I'm not confrontational by nature. I usually avoid uncomfortable encounters and situations because of my heart. "She has a soft heart" is tattooed on my forehead, in special ink. "Soft-hearted" was earned in school. "Bleeding heart" came later. I learned how to choose battles since the day I discovered the power of a big sister who ruled the roost because she was born first. And, I learned that it does not pay to be too docile and accepting either. Life is about learning lessons--good, and not so good ones--that teach us to be better humans. I learned from Diana "It's better to say 'there she goes, than there she lay.' " And, I might not know how to play poker but I know when to hold 'em, food 'em, and run. It's not a good thing to be "neither hot nor cold" either, but one should be slow to anger. There is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. I found my middle ground, and stood my ground, with nothing but my rights and an iPhone. I knew I should have bought that nut case!

The Center Point employee apologized again, flashed a wonderful set of beautiful teeth, came close enough for me to see his warm brown eyes, and just like that, we were cool. We smiled, grinned, and I asked how he planned on leaving. He pointed to the lock on the gate and said, "Well, I know you're not gonna open the gate for me," and he laughed. I told him, "Yep, 'cause I want to see you jump that fence. See? The lock isn't even locked. I left it that way for the AT&T guy." We were both grinning at that point, even when he said, "What are you gonna do? Shoot me?" and he pointed at my phone. I had to laugh out loud. I almost bought a tee shirt once with the slogan photographers like. You might know it, the one we take pride in wearing that says we shoot with our cameras, not with guns. I told the young man I'd "shoot" him if he didn't jump the fence. And you know what? He laughed, turned, and, Jumping Jupiter he did just that! I wish I'd asked if he'd allow me shoot him first. I'd have given him my nut case as payment.

Now. I just finished a long letter that does no require an envelope or postage. The two from yesterday went out this afternoon. I'm working on number 38. Let us write on, and be safe.

5:06 P.M.  Okay. Another fence jumper cleared the White House fence. That fence has spikes. I just saw a bluejay! Hey!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


What a number. Oh, my goodness, what a number! I wish I could have photographed the digits when they paused at 100,000. Now that would be something to post about. The number 3 is just as good however. We have been inundated with thunderstorms and tornado alerts since last week. All that, plus hail and floods has been our lot for 3 nights running. It's raining n-o-w. It's practically pouring, and it's falling straight down onto the ground. Not at a slant, or a combo, but straight down. Our neighborhood looks like a tropical jungle if you squint at all the greenery; new types of weeds are thriving in places where the old, dead weeds used to be. 

The number 37 is another great excuse to post around. I have mail numbers 36 and 37 on my desk, all ready and able to be mailed tomorrow--God willing and the creeks don't rise any higher. 

Okay. The rain has turned to hail. Pea size balls of ice are bouncing off the pane before me; the screen is bouncing too, like invisible fairies are using it for a trampoline. I hope the seeds I planted don't get washed away. Fretting won't keep them rooted, so, moving on. 100,036 . . . Thank you. My first pomegranate has to hold its own or give way to its as yet unformed siblings. There are two. The tree they sprang from bowed down before the elements, while its sister bowed and stayed down.

So2. All the rain did not mess with my game. I can't even make lemonade since I like weather, and inclement is just another word for girl get busy. I took a page from Pamela's book of paper-love and finally made the cweet tutorial she offered. I'm in paper craft . . . 

Have you ever played dodge with a gum ball size pieces of hail? Instinct is a funny thing. It insisted that I protect my phone from being pelted but not my self. Hmm. Preservation vs self-preservation? Will the machines really make over? Never mind. The stuff practically flew in the door when I opened it to get pictures for you.

What? You thought I didn't know when to come in from the hail? The front lawn is littered with a number of different sizes, and what fell from the heavens does not care who it hits. Gravity trumps and triumphs again! So I'm back. Changed my sandals for a pair of socks and tennis shoes. Thorlos work just fine. I think Atlanta won the game. I'm almost certain since satellite is not my friend when it rains.

I finally discovered a wonderful reason to use this paper. Big origami has no place in the home of She-who-hates-to-dust-now. But, since I am overly fond of the inside pages, I saved them for a really long time. Am glad  I did.

See? Beautiful, beautiful pages.

Following Pamela's instructions, I cut once, 

folded three times,

and . . .

Okay. Here's one I remembered to photograph. Could not find my jute! Green is good though. I relished stuffing little bits of goodness inside. Mine stuffing is not as unique as hers, but I tried. Try one. Go on. Make two. Three? No? A dozen! Fold on!

The back can only get better, but I finally found something to use those little pins for. Necessity is still the mother of good ideas. . One is a good number too. So, one down and more to go. Thanks again, Pamela!

100,036--it was a very good year.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do Judge A Book By Its Cover

The copy I ordered arrived yesterday. Oh happy day! Perhaps it was day before yesterday. It was. I ordered it on April 12. It showed up on April 14. I ordered my Social Preparedness Kit and another item on April 6. The invoice says First Class delivery takes 1-3 days.  I've scheduled my week around it since packages are left on the door step. Up until last night my order was still in the state of origin. It's been hung up since April 9. Today, an e-mail from the source informed me that First Class takes up to 14 days. Now the tracking number has mysteriously disappeared. Cannot shake my head any harder over this one.

I'll share with you several of many reasons why I bought a copy of Molly Suber Thorpe's exciting book. You know this is a motivator, right? This page alone is a grand reason to get your own copy if you don't already have one. This little link is like buttercream frosting on a slice of carrot cake from The Black Walnut!

There's magic at Pushing the Envelopes! I promise.

Apologies for the poor quality, but perhaps it will inspire you to examine this gem of a book up close and personally. 

Your imagination has to work double time here. The brown on brown is exquisite and beautiful and delicious. Oh, see for yourself! Please, please, please? What's in the little square bottle is a new discovery waiting to happen.

These are gems on the actual page. The colors remind me of the Ralph Lauren commercial where he designs a stunning necklace, blouse and a skirt I'd sell most of my books to buy, if I were 7 feet tall and willowy like young sapling.

I am quite curious over this toothpaste tease. And why mint? How can toothpaste be a necessary part of calligraphy? I guess I'll know soon enough.

This is so beautiful you have to see it for yourself. Words fail me on this one. I want that pitcher, except I want a 7 on mine.

For real!

Speaks for itself, huh? Enough said.

You knew there would be how-tos, right?

And then there is this. If a child can, then yes, we can too. So, do judge a book by its cover after the pages within confirm your instinct. Perhaps she is preparing her parents' tax forms? He?

Do write on. In a new, bold, even more artistic way. Stun the USPS employees! Stun yourself.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Linc'd In

Mr. Lincoln was shot 150 years ago today. I did a double-take when I read that. It doesn't seem that long ago, perhaps because I know what it feels like to live through and deal with uncensored emotions that flood a soul when it hears that a president has been an assassinated. I remember feeling afraid. If a president can be killed . . . 

Do you remember where you were when you learned of Kennedy's assassination? I do. I was in grade school. We watched in silence in the music room after our principal came to tell us the horrible news. We were allowed to watch just enough of the live coverage on television to prove it was true. 

National Geographic's feature of Lincoln offers a fresh view of the event in their latest issue. Putting a new slant an a 150 year old story isn't always easy, but the magazine succeeded. I hope you will read their efforts.

Did you know that? I didn't. "Lincoln's personal secretary, John G. Nicolay, described 'the long gamut of expression from grave to gay, and back again from the rollicking jollity of laughter to that serious, far-away look that with prophetic intuitions beheld the awful panorama of war, and heard the cry of oppression and suffering." 

I've dreamed of sitting on his lap since seeing that stone effigy of the great emancipator. The lap of the Lincoln statue! The head of CSI: Cyber likes to sit on the steps that lead to the same statue when she has thinking to do. It seems like a lot of trouble when she can get a giant poster from Fat Head, hang it on a wall, and sit on the floor in front of it. She'd leave a smaller carbon foot print, huh?

Another secret: I've watched Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, at least nine times. I scoffed at the very low brow idea of any low life director who had the effrontery to reduce our Lincoln to the status of a comic book character. I did hard eye rolls upon reading about the improbable idea of such a movie, and watched it the first time on a night when insomnia held me hostage. The cinematography was arresting, so you know I had to watch that movie over and over again in order to comb every scene to feed my artistic curiosity, right?

Here's one of those many photos. I like. Cool cut, huh?

Just as cool!

I share with you one of my older first attempts at mail art rediscovered just last week when I worked yet again to restore order to my creative spaces. I'd forgotten April 15 was the anniversary of Lincoln's death until I read the news this morning. He was shot on April 14. I went right out and bought Lincoln stamps this afternoon. 

I seldom visit the post office twice in a week, but I did. I had mail! More cweet mail! 


Henceforth there will be such 
a oneness between us--
that when one weeps
the other will taste salt."
__Author unknown

Thank you phonelady! What a lovely postcard. Longfellow wrote a similar declaration. GMTA? 

Such a simple thing as putting my name on an envelope is as spectacular as being on stage, or having my name in stage lights. This lovely envelope makes me look stellar! Thank-you letterman, Randall. You rock. I like! And, yea, you're onboard! 

Yes! Yes! And yes! Dreams do come true! I got a red egg! Thank you, Randall. LOL! I laughed delightfully delightedly when I saw it in my mail box, and I'm laughing now. 

Stay tuned . . .