Sunday, August 29, 2010

Letters for Sale vs. writing for free

I have now seen three different instances of people selling letters on etsy. These are not old letters, but more like a "I write awesome creative hand-written mail-arty letters, and if you pay me I'll write one just for you!" kind of thing.

I am not linking them here, because, you know, I try not to be TOO snarky. (I really do.) And hell, part of me says, if somebody pays you for it, more power to you. But from a personal standpoint, I find the idea kind of off-putting. My letters are gifts to the recipient - some don't get too much effort or love put into them, and some get a hell of a lot, but they are all the product of a moment in time, my thoughts and effort for someone else. I can't imagine charging for them. This is not to cheapen the efforts of professional letter-writers who help craft just the right words for someone for a special occasion - again, not my thing, but I can see the market and the business for that. No, the stuff I'm talking about is just an etsy listing for the actual hand-written item, with artsy touches in some kind of a decorated envelope.

I grant you, this is coming from a woman who left a creative career for which she had years of specialized schooling, because she found the whole self-marketing process distasteful. So there's some perspective for you.

We're giving it away for free, people!

But for me... that's totally the point.


One more day on the book giveaway

A little more than 24 hours remains for my "Write the Right Words" book giveaway. Don't miss out - pop on over here to enter.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mail speed and sorting changes

I learned, through casual conversation with the top-notch UPS store employees where I rent my mailbox, that the main mail sorting area near me (which happens to be Providence, RI) has changed its sorting schedule. This is third-hand information, but I believe that mail used to be sorted there three times a day, and now it is only twice a day. In any case, the lovely Katie knew this because other customers had also complained that mail seems slower, and she discussed it with the regular postal carrier who delivers to my UPS store (yes, my 270 Bellevue Ave address is a UPS store, so don't be thinking I actually live there among those famous Newport Bellevue Avenue mansions).

We subscribe to The New Yorker magazine. It used to come on Tuesdays, every Tuesday, like clockwork. Now we don't know when it will arrive... once it came as late as Saturday, and now we've missed a week entirely. This week's issue arrived, but last week's is AWOL. Hmmm. So it was in discussing this that Katie gave me the news about sorting.

I've also noticed that I tend to get all my postcards on one day - Tuesday or Wednesday (notably, NOT Monday) is like the Postcrossing flurry. And this week, Friday was all business mail. I tend to get personal letters now on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. It is interesting food for thought. I'm also tracking postmark dates vs. received dates, and things do seem to be moving more slowly, especially postcards. Now, I'm fine with that - I don't do this snail mail thing for speed - but it is interesting to note the changes. Domestic postcards, except those very nearby on the east coast, are taking a week or more to arrive. (I can now officially get a postcard from Europe faster than from California.) Maybe it just has to do with current mail volume, but I think the decreased sorting has something to do with it.

I know there aren't all that many mail geeks out there who actually track the correlation between postmark and delivery date, the way that I do, but I'm betting a fairly high proportion of my blog readers may be among them. So I'm curious: has anyone else noticed these changes, or learned about them from local postal workers?

I have long said that we have a real deal in our U.S. Postal Service, and I do not like to complain about it. I recall that, given the exchange rate and quality of service, our international letter rate in particular is the best value in the world. I'm not complaining here, just noting with interest the changes. I still say that I would be happy to pay more for a first-class stamp, even a special "personal correspondence" rate (which I know would never fly, because there just aren't enough of us to make that fiscally feasible), rather than give up Saturday delivery.

It's Saturday... and I'm glad I've got mail coming today. (At least, I hope I do!)

Letterset lovin'

I just discovered a dangerous new retailer: They are based in Pennsylvania, so I don't have to pay international shipping for overly cute Japanese and Korean lettersets. Yay! If only they carried Jetoy... Anyway, I just got a nice order from them, and the prices are quite decent. So far the lettersets I've tried have been surprisingly fountain-pen friendly, considering how thin and inexpensive the paper is. (Ah, Japanese papers...)

So, feeling letterset-rich, I've even joined another swap-bot swap. It's been months. I may regret it. But if you feel like swapping lettersets, check out the Lettersets: I want more! swap. The more the merrier, eh?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Inkognito: The Ventilator

The Ventilator

My mother-in-law sends the best cards!

This features artwork by Peter Gut, called "Ventilator," from the wonderful oddball Germany card company Inkognito.

My MIL's pithy quote inside: "Don't do this with Memo."

Reader response: Decent high fashion exists

Real curves envelope

This charming blog reader letter came to me in response to this post featuring scary (to me) fashion models.

Real curves model envelope on its side

My astute beloved pointed out that the model had been posed leaning over just to make her stomach fat into rolls... had her spine been straight, we would not see these rolls. So it is a bit sensationalized, but still - I will take this any day over an emaciated anorexic!

"Decent high fashion exists" letter

I have left the text of the reader's letter visible because I found her comments so insightful that I wanted to share them. (I hope she doesn't mind, and if she does, I hope she'll let me know!) It reads:

Missive Maven-
I really enjoy your blog, fountain pens, and fashion. After your recent post, I thought I would send you some fashion magazine images that aren't terrifying. I don't normally read fashion rags (the street fashion blogs are much more diverse and therefore interesting), but this one had Gabourey Sidibe on the cover. So I gave it a shot. I found good photos with different sized models who weren't looking a)vacant, b)violated or c)dead. Yes, it was a "size issue" and I'm sure they do this to sell magazines, but it was still refreshing. There were also interviews with artists and actresses who talked about their craft (gasp). I'm with you on distancing yourself from bullshit, but I hope you find this somewhat repairative. Decent high fashion exists.

Hear, hear! This letter absolutely made my day; I hope it makes someone else's day, too.

Meanwhile, go have a look at Operation Beautiful, and then go write a letter. ;-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vote for Memo!

Fat Memo in the rocking chair

This is only tangentially related to letter-writing, inasmuch as my beloved fat cat Memo does occasionally help write letters (and more frequently displays his beautiful girth on my amusing photo stamps), but I've just entered him in the Moderncat Big Kitty Photo contest, and he needs your help to win!

He is #75, listed as Memo P. Katt.

Please go here to vote for him - I'd really appreciate your help and support!

If he wins, he gets an awesome Scratch n Slumber Comfort Lounge, especially for big cats. Competition is fierce (the first round has 204 contestants!), and I don't think he has a chance without a little help. Thanks for giving a hand to my fat boy Memo!

Update: thanks for all your help and support, everyone... Memo did not make the finals. :-( I really appreciate all your comments and votes, though! We had fun.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book giveaway: "Write the Right Words"

As promised in my post reviewing "Write the Right Words" by Sandra Lamb," I will be giving away a signed copy of the book. In fact, the publisher will be giving away the book, and they have the restriction of U.S.A and Canada addresses only, no P.O. Boxes.


1. HOW: To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post. One comment/entry per person, please.

2. WHO: No anonymous comments will be approved. You need a blogger profile to enter this giveaway (simply because I need to know who you are - I'm not going to count through "anonymous #7"), and if you don't have a blogger profile yet, just make one. It's fast, easy and free, doesn't require a blog, and I think only requires a valid email address. Also, your profile with email address MUST be viewable, or you must provide a valid email address in your comment. If your name is drawn as the winner, and I don't have or can't access an email address for you, I'll choose another winner. (Don't be an Indigo.) This bit is important, and I don't like to harp on it, but every giveaway I do, I get at least 3 invalid entries. So either 1) you have an email address or a blog of your own accessible on your blogger profile, which I am allowed to view; or 2) you leave an email address in your comment. If your comment/entry doesn't fall into one of those categories, I'm deleting it before I do the selection, lest it throw the numbers off for the random number generator when I do the final pick. (Less than three hours after my original post, I update to say - wow! I've already rejected an entry because it didn't follow the guidelines.) Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for this magical phrase after you submit your comment/entry: "Comments will be visible after blog owner approval." If you miss that and comment twice, or three times, or more, I'll delete duplicates.

3. WHERE: USA and Canada addresses only, and no P.O. Boxes.

4. WHEN: The deadline for comments/entries is 11:59am (Eastern Standard/NYC time) on Monday, August 30. I will choose and announce the random winner that afternoon.

Good luck!

UPDATE: Congrats to Ginigin, winner of this giveaway!

"Write the Right Words" book review


Full disclosure: I am reviewing this book for readers based on the request from a publicist. I was sent a free copy and promised to read it and share my thoughts, and I will have a giveaway for this book in a separate post. (I'll tell you more about the giveaway rules there.)

The book is Write the Right Words: Messages from the heart for every occasion by Sandra E. Lamb.

I was interested in the idea of writing handwritten messages in greeting cards, based on this publicity blurb:

Every greeting card needs a personal, handwritten message to make it complete. In this comprehensive, encouraging guide, journalist and lifestyle expert Sandra Lamb offers a wealth of advice, inspiration, and examples for anyone who wants to add the perfect personal touch to their card messages---as well as anyone who wants to know the etiquette of when and what to write.

Now, I don't think that greeting cards are the best way to write. But if it gets someone into the habit of writing letters, what the hey - any kind of introduction to that process has to serve a purpose.

That being said, I did not care for most of the book. Let me get my criticisms out of the way in the beginning, and save the praise for the end.

Each section lists "suggested" greetings you can write in a card, and anyone who needs to find a book to come up with "You are my Valentine, [Name]" as a Valentine's card message needs a heck of a lot more help than a book can give them. Were these awful messages just thrown in to make a page count? There is a section for social rites of passage, including a "sweet sixteen" or "quinceanera" type coming-of-age card for a young lady, and the messages are so off the mark it's laughable. "Playing grown-up was always one of your favorite things, and here you are doing it for the real!" Aside from "for the real," (is "the" a typo, or is that an archaic version of that phrase?) all that message would produce with the teenage girls I know is a massive eye-roll and further distancing from the old geezer who wrote it. Still, I will try to refrain from snarking too much - I think the messages are ridiculous myself and would never use them (and would probably roll my own eyes at most of them if I received them in a card - but full disclosure, I LOATHE sappy greeting cards), I still support the endeavor of any book trying to encourage anyone to put pen to paper for sincere handwritten sentiments. So let us say, this book is just not my style.

Perhaps more insipid are the gender stereotypes. Nowhere in this book did I find written "this is a book for women," but it was certainly implied. Do only women write greeting cards? A fairly large proportion of my pen pals and blog readers and fellow mail artists are men, but apparently not in the Write the Right Words realm. I do not think the assumption of using "she" or "her" all the time is just a feminist retelling of assuming that "he" covers both genders. I think the author assumes you are a woman and you are writing to women, with the exception of particularly gendered cards, such as Father's Day. Here's a great gender stereotype gem from p.98 about Father's Day message etiquette: "Whether your dad finds verbalizing his feelings difficult or not, he'll still appreciate -- though he may not say so -- your heartfelt expression of love and caring on this special day." Oy! That would SO not translate into her writing style for mom. Hey, plenty of women have trouble verbalizing feelings as well, but not in this gender-stereotype land. If you are a casual reader of my blog, you may not have picked up on what a crusader against gender stereotypes I am, but since I am reviewing, I'm going to be honest - this aspect of the book aggravated me on a regular basis.

I will say that I appreciate her inclusion of the Jewish holidays in her holiday listing (I mean, of course they should be there, but so often aren't) as well as Ramadan of the Muslim faith, and I appreciate her caution on p.75 about sending holiday greetings: "But before you do, it's important to know -- in at least a bit of detail -- the beliefs of those you're sending a message to, in order to be sure your message will add to their celebration, and not offend." Well said. For that I can forgive her slight generalizations/inaccuracies about the dates of the Jewish high holidays.

All right, one more snark before I get to the positive ending. In a former life, I worked in publication and web design. I am a minor (but not a major) typesetting geek. If you are not, you can skip this paragraph. One would think St. Martin's Press would figure out the kerning for script fonts. On some of the section headers (like p.205), the fancy scripty letters don't line up - they usually require manual kerning in software programs - and it looks awful. But they got the kerning right for the end section, dates to remember - the header months look fine. So the layout editor either missed that, or it was rushed through to print. Yeah, I notice stuff like that. See my own blog header, the scripty words of "The Missive Maven?" I custom kerned that so that the letters would connect and look like cursive. 'Cuz otherwise it looks bad.

Once I got to Part Four/Social Grace Messages, I started seeing some good in the book. The intro to that section is a lovely sentiment, and what made me start seeing the book in a better light:

Beyond those simple tenets of etiquette (which are, granted, so often missing in our society)-- respect for others, consideration of the rights of others, and honesty-- there exists a whole higher realm of spiritual possibilities: connection, love, communion, and shared joy, to name a few. It's to this elevated level of relationships that this section is devoted. It requires writing from a deeper level of yourself that includes both the hand and the heart. And it requires living, and giving, from a generous spirit.

Such generosity can be practiced and cultivated, and it reaps beautiful rewards for both the giver and the recipient.

Hear, hear! Despite occasional cheesy turns, I couldn't agree with that sentiment more, and perhaps her target audience is one that really hasn't written a greeting card in a while, and needs to be eased into the process. But, I will share with you another quote from the "thank you" section (and really, this is where I think a lot of people can use the reference help - I fight against the notion that "letter-writing is a lost art," but I fear the art of writing a good-thank you note is indeed suffering) that I found really accurate and inspiring:

It's been scientifically demonstrated that expressing thanks can make you happier, too, as well as spread your joy, plus a measure, back to the giver. It's a wonderful law of life: multiplying the joy.

Again, hear hear! That is a lovely spirit from which to approach the writing of any letter, but especially a thank-you letter.

Her "suggested messages - in steps," four pages of them, are what caused me to write in my notes, underlined, "This section redeems the book." And it does. I do feel that this is where many folks will be paging for regular help - because really, who needs help to write a little happy birthday message? - and it is very thoughtfully done. I will not detail her steps and strategies here, because I'm sure the motivation of the publicist in asking me to do this review was to sell the book, so I'll let those that are interested check it out for themselves, or enter a subsequent giveaway. But I appreciate her structure and thought it was well done.

Another quote, from the Friendship and Family section on p.140, that I think my blog readers will find appropriate:

Sure, the telephone is a wonderful tool and long-distance rates have diminished or disappeared for many of us, and email is great, too; but there's nothing that can substitute for finding that special hand-addressed envelope or package in the mailbox with a personal message written by the hand of someone close. It's a wonderful way to keep the lifeblood flowing between you and friends and relatives.

Indeed - isn't this why so many of us enjoy writing letters?

At the end of each section, she includes a number of "quotable quotes;" either as food for thought or for possible inclusion in a note, I'm not sure, but some were quite fun. One of my favorite gems from p.147:

"Mental reflection is so much more interesting than TV it's a shame more people don't switch over to it." - Robert M. Pirsig, American author

...but those of you that have been reading my posts carefully for a while already know that I don't have a TV and haven't had one for many years. (And to anyone who asks me, how do I find the time to write so many letters - one of my first answers is usually "I don't have a TV." But I digress.)

Another fine section of the book is the one on writing letters of sympathy or condolence. Many of us, myself included, find ourselves at a loss for words but wanting to offer support and comfort. She has many fine suggestions, and I earmarked one of her quotes as one I may use in a condolence letter someday.

I did my homework for this review, and in perusing the author's website, I came across another of her books: Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion; I have to wonder how that book differs from this one, and whether I'd enjoy that one more. From the descriptions, they seem awfully similar, but that one seems to lack the greeting card focus. Interesting.

In summary, this book is not for me, and I found the writing choppy and hackneyed at times, but I support anything that's going to get people putting pen to paper (or even greeting card) and sending something in the proper postal mail. And it did have some fine sections. I wonder how much she crafted carefully, and how much was churned out for some particular publication deadline, but I am the first to say I am hardly objective, and often a curmudgeonly fussbudget in my expectations.

This review is part of a virtual book tour being featured on several blogs, including that of one of my pen pals and fellow bloggers, Julie of Okami-Whatever; her much kinder review is here.

The full tour/review schedule can be found here. All of the other reviews so far, at least as I write this, are bubbly and effusive, so let my somewhat negative tone provide the variety that is the spice of life, no? I can be that one super-obnoxious picky reviewer that everyone makes fun of. I'm down with that.

If you're interested in this book, check out my giveaway.

And now... go write a letter!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Van Gogh envelope, ripped

Van Gogh air mail plus rip

This wonderful handmade envelope (containing a wonderful letter!) came from the lovely Queenie and the Dew. (She blogged about it when she sent it, too.)

Alas, do you see the rip in the bottom?

Van Gogh air mail plus rip part 2

Maybe this angle shows it better.

The rip part 1

Here's a nice bottom rip view...

The rip part 2

...aaaand one more. Fortunately the letter itself and one of the fun inserts (a flying butterfly, which for some reason I forgot to photograph) arrived safely, but after reading the letter I learned she also enclosed a pencil. Maybe it was the rigid object in the sorting machines, but the pencil escaped through the rip somewhere on its transatlantic journey. Oh well - the letter was lovely!

Kitty looks out

On the back was this AWESOME kitty sticker, one of those that changes views depending on your angle/perspective.

Kitty looks up

I think the kitty-looking-up view is the cutest of them all.

Double vision kitty

I leave you with kitty in double vision. Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hand-painted vinta letter

Hand-painted vinta letter

This blog-reader letter just amazed me - hand-painted stationery, right down to the lines! I left some of the text readable so you can see what she says about the design, which is that it features a vessel, from near her hometown in the Philippines, called a "vinta." I love the stylized swirly sun and clouds at the top!

Fosillized leaves insert

She included some fossilized leaves as well. I've not seen these before, but other than for letters, I'm pretty well out of the crafty scene. In any case, they're awful pretty.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Magda the pug


This is Magda the pug. I am kind of in love with her. She even has her own website. How cute is that little vintage ski jacket on her?? I think I used to have something very similar to that when I was a tot.

Y'all know I am a cat person... but I have a weird little thing for pugs. I wouldn't want to own one, but I do love to see them.

Magda's mom runs the fabulous Catwrangler blog, and she sends awesome, awesome mail.

Pug & postbox, oh my!

She takes great photos, too - this postcard features a mailbox AND a pug. Squee!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Austin's bat colony postcard

Austin's Congress Ave Bridge Bats

Another bat postcard! I am rich in fine bat postcards, and I'm so grateful for all the ones I've received. This one shows another place I'd love to visit: Austin, Texas, for their famed bat colony under the Congress Avenue Bridge. *Sigh* Someday.

Anyway, this fantastic postcard came from Stephanie of Sunbeam Sopabox, who has been to Austin many times. Lucky gal.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pallid bat with scorpion

Pallid bat with scorpion

Jeepers creepers, how awesome is THIS blog reader postcard? It made my day! The lovely Tara sent it from the southwest. I am so envious of her recent trip to Carlsbad Caverns, but at least she sent me this wonderful postcard! Someday I will get to Carlsbad Caverns myself... In the meantime, I treasure awesome postcards like this. Thanks, Tara!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fortune-telling bull

Fortune-telling bull

This completely awesome postcard of a fortune-telling bull in Goa, India came to me via from the excellent Sunny. I am so in love with this postcard! I asked Sunny, in a follow-up postcard, how the bull told the fortune, and what the man with the horn had to do with it, but he didn't know. Sounds like a very interesting concept!

This postcard has a place of honor on my new refrigerator, just because I get such a kick out of seeing it every day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I has a writing desk!

I has a writing desk!

We letter-writers often ask, talk, and blog about our letter-writing spaces. I love seeing posts on others' blogs about their writing desks, or where they typically write (check out this awesome post about writers' rooms from The Guardian - thanks for the tip, Queenie!) and in my prior apartment, I pretty much wrote at the dining room table. It was sunny and big, and a very cheery space, but of course I had to clear off for meals and games and such, and remove all my piles altogether when guests came. So I didn't feature it on blog posts, and was envious of other folks who had their own spaces just for letter-writing.

But in our new house, I have my own dedicated writing desk! I am so excited. Of course it is just for letters, but my cutting mat and pens can stay there, though I am pretty dedicated to keeping it as uncluttered as possible. (We'll see how that goes.)

New writing desk, with requisite glass of cabernet

The random white lattice is part of the room, and we can't move or remove it. I can't decide whether I'll stick things in the lattice, or not... right now, I'm leaning towards not, because I can see through it to the set of half-stairs behind it, and occasionally a cat will come and meow at me through there, which I find utterly charming.

Sunroom & writing desk

And here's the context, to show my little writing nook in our larger sunroom. The on the far right are sliding-glass doors that look out to the back yard, and they face west, so it does get quite sunny in the afternoons.

It is a new space that inspires me to write letters, and I have all the tools at hand to do so (drawers undereath! I have drawers! I've just begun organizing stamps in there...) close at hand.

I think it's time to go write a letter...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Magnificent Muppet Monsters!

Kermit envelope

Here's another fabulous letter by my favorite Muppet-artistic pen pal. (I've blogged about his previous offerings, including a Sesame Street artwork postcard and a Shockingly Muppet-licious letter.) The stationery is "Mailing the Muppets Keep-in-touch kit," released by the U.S. Postal service in conjunction with the Jim Henson/Muppets stamps in 2005.

Sam the Eagle guards the back of the envelope

The generally disapproving Sam the Eagle guards the back of the envelope.

Magnificent monster doodles, page 1

Around the edges of each page, inside of each little orange square, he drew his own monster doodles...

Magnificent monster doodles, page 2

...inspired, as he writes, by Walt Kelly, Dr. Seuss, Jim Henson, etc.

Need a closer look at those doodled dudes?

Monster doodles, closeup 1

I know I do!

Monster doodles, closeup 2

What a treat!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Handmade from Sweden with cats


The same Swedish pen pal who sent me the fabulous Swedish postal museum postcard also sent me this handmade card. The textures, layers, and glitter are lovely, but I think the cat stamps are my favorite part!


Here's a closer look at those awesome stamps.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chrysotomontum 2005


Just a fun postcard I just sent via Postcrossing today. This is US-783106 sent to Ignorancee_ in Poland. This comes from the Rex Ray postcard book by Chronicle Books. I'm not fond of all of his works, but this is one of my favorites, titled Chrysotomontum 2005. It's oil, acrylic, and mixed media on linen. The Rex Ray postcards are oversized - meaning they require full first-class postage instead of postcard postage if sent in the USA - but it's all the same, postage-wise, sent internationally. They are matte, uncoated paper stock on the back, which is great for fountain pens or any kind of pens. Plenty of room for writing.

Swedish Postal Museum postcard painting

Swedish Postal Museum painting by Hans Arnold

A pen pal from Sweden sent me this amazing postcard of a painting by one of her favorite artists, Hans Arnold - and the building depicted is the Swedish Postal Museum! How lovely.

It also featured these excellent stamps! I don't get a lot of mail from Sweden, so they are extra-special.

Does anyone else marvel at the different names we have for countries than they have for themselves? That always intrigues me. Germany is Deutschland, Sweden is Sverige, Finland is Suomi, etc...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A little more on Letternet

I have posted a few times before about Letternet, Deutsche Post's (Germany's postal service) pen pal website. (See Deutsche Post's Letternet, Letternet Update, and More on the Letternet Saga for past commentary.) I just wanted to share with my readers that I have received many, many fun letters from Germany this way. For all the details about it, please read my previous posts linked above and visit the Letternet website (I think I linked the English version there), but I can heartily say that you are pretty likely to get quite a few pen pals from this service if you are patient. People in Germany can request pen pals from anywhere, but anyone from other countries can only be matched with writers in Germany. This makes sense, being sponsored by the German postal service - what's in it for them if they link me, in the USA, up with someone in France? Anyway, I've only written first to one or two people, and I have approved countless other address requests from other people, and I admit I haven't kept an exact count, but I think I've probably received Letternet letters from at least 15 people by now. So I give Letternet my full endorsement for anyone who's looking for a way to find a pen pal in Germany. Incidentally, a few of the letter-writers had some degree of trouble with English, but most of them wrote in English most impressively. (Don't ask me to write in German!)

I'd love to hear feedback from anyone else who's tried Letternet - so far I've only heard positive things.

July stats

I wasn't quite as prolific in July as I was in June, but considering I was away for a week of vacation and I moved at the end of the month, I am still feeling good about my output:



Total output

In July, I received a total of 104 (!) items, though I know from my Postcrossing stats report that 23 of those were Postcrossing postcards. I also know from my Postcrossing stats report that 23 of my sent items were Postcrossing postcards, so those sort of cancel each other out, I suppose. Anyway, I was clearly behind on staying ahead of the in/out mail curve.

I guess this would be a good time for me to say that I am just spreading myself too thin, mail-wise. Things are about to get very busy for me again in other aspects of my life, and I have not been doing right by my long-term pen pals. So I hate to say it, but I really have to: I can't take on any new pen pals now. If you want to write to me, then by all means do so, but I can no longer say I shall respond to every letter I receive. Please use my "How to find people who might write you back" section (left-hand sidebar, under the old U.S. Mail logo photo) if you're looking for more pen pals. I still love blog reader letters, I probably always will, but something's gotta give at some point. I'm not even going to COUNT my needs-response pile right now, but it's got 4 large piles (waaaayyyy too big for one single pile now) of letters and postcards dating back to February.

Prior monthly stats and commentary:
June 2010
May 2010
April and March 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I can't believe I ate the whole thing

Here is a happy Soda, showing how well she is settling into our new home. (Pizza is a moving ritual for us, and Soda likes to get up close and personal when she is unsure.)

There are still a few boxes around, but we're nearly there. My stationery is halfway unpacked, and I believe I shall complete that unpacking (along with a slight reorganization, of course) this afternoon.

I don't know yet where outgoing letters will sit - we don't have that fun staircase like we had in our old apartment, but I'll figure something out soon. I also don't yet know where my prime letter-writing space will be... we'll just have to live here a while to find the best domestic patterns for this new space.

Thanks for everyone's kind moving comments and good wishes, and I hope to be back in the groove of regular mail posts soon.

Meanwhile, Happy August!