Thursday, December 31, 2015

Holiday mail: Fa la la humbug

In Portland, #Maine with a #postbox from Japan

That's me with a Japanese postbox in Portland, Maine this month. Alex and I took a little day trip to Maine, and we stopped in Portland; I couldn't resist running across the street to check out that red postbox. (It was given to Portland in 1989 from its Japanese sister city of Shingawa, but I have no idea why.) And then I asked him to photograph me with it.

Yes, grad school ate my life, and I haven't been blogging or writing much mail, but now that I'm on break between semesters, I've been digging back into mail as much as I'm able. It's been a great way to unwind, and although I'm still not doing as much of it as I'd like, it's great to return for a while!

Outgoing holiday cards 2015

I've also greatly surprised myself (and many others) by an urge to send a few holiday cards again. I know, weird for me, huh? In years past I have even posted about why I don't do holiday cards, but this year I was really feeling like less of a scrooge. I think it is because I lived and worked in a place for 7 years where I was required to attend religious ceremonies against my faith, and attending multiple Christmas services against my will was part of that. It was, frankly, a traumatic experience. I think it has taken me this long to "heal" from that (it was 3 years ago, going backwards, when we lived in Newport, RI), and finally I can approach the holidays without quite so much bitterness. And I found it was a time I just wanted to say hello, and send warm greetings, just short notes to let folks know I was thinking about them. I've written over 60 so far, and because they're holiday cards (New Year's can last well into January!), I'm continuing to write them, and enjoying the process.

Happy mailing, and happy endings to 2015!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

...of serious mail neglect...

I wish I had something interesting to say, other than "grad school ate my life." But, really:

Grad school continues to eat my life.

I didn't even read my mail for over a month, let alone write any. It was a little sad, from a mail and postal perspective, but I assure you I was happy and fulfilled with much music.

However, there was a pen-pal / mail-sized hole in my life, and on this, my mini-Thanksgiving break, I did manage to read 6 weeks worth of mail (not that much, really, since I haven't been sending any), and even write a bunch of letters and postcards, too.

So, I'm not dead, I'm just buried in grad school and music. I have a longer break in December/January, and I look forward to spending more time with mail then, when I am between semesters and without quite so many obligations, assignments, and performances hanging over my head.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, and happy mailing, all!

Friday, October 2, 2015

I was worried this would happen...

#newenglandconservatory convocation this morning. #jordanhall never ceases to amaze me. And then they gave everyone a free t-shirt at the reception afterwards!

Wow, is this my longest interval between posts ever? Oh no. I can explain:


I'm enrolled in the maximum number of credit hours, serving as a TA for a challenging class taught by a brilliant professor, going to as many (mostly free!) concerts as I can, and trying to collaborate with as many other musicians as I can. I commute via train (in fact, I'm posting this from a train now: thank you, Amtrak wi-fi!) and subway and foot or bike, and I have to plan on a door-to-door travel time of a little over 2 hours, each way. I'm doing this commute almost every weekday. I get weekends mostly at home, but I spend a lot of weekend time practicing and staying on top of my coursework.

I am happy as a clam, folks, and loving every minute of it - living and breathing music, and not taking one iota of it for granted - but I really have to prioritize right now. I am not writing many letters or postcards... in fact, I am loathe to admit this but perhaps sharing it publicly will help me get it done: I haven't even finished unpacking my stationery or my etsy inventory! I'm searching for balance, and am still taking some serious time to unwind by writing a little bit of mail here and there, but... I don't think I'll be blogging much until I have a break. (Maybe lots of blog posts and lots of mail over the winter holidays?)

I did visit a great little stationery store on a wee getaway to Maine last month, and I took a couple of photos and got some great stationery (of course I couldn't walk away empty-handed, even though I'm hardly writing any letters these days!) so I hope to post about that next. But maybe get my stationery fully unpacked and organized, and re-open my etsy store, first!

I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely fall, full of good mail.

The photo accompanying this post is of the gorgeous Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory, where I'm studying, and I took the photo at convocation in early September.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Moving soon, etsy store soon on hiatus

In mid-August I'll be moving to lovely New Hampshire. I can't wait! I love New England and I'm so excited to be back up there again... but I really dislike the actual moving part, especially long-distance moves. (But really, does anyone ENJOY moving?)

It's time to pack all my stuff. Ugh. Packing stationery is not so hard, it's not fragile and it lays nice and flat in a box. Packing fountain pen inks, not so fun. Anyhoo, I'm going to leave my Etsy shop open a while longer, but eventually I will have to close the etsy store briefly while items are packed and being moved.

If you've had a yen to pick up any of my writing themed goods from Missive Maven on etsy, now is the time. I don't know the exact date I'll close the shop yet, but it will be sometime in early August... depends on how the packing goes.

My etsy shop isn't closing for good, of course: I'll re-open once everything is settled and unpacked in our new location.

Wish me luck packing!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy 10th birthday, Postcrossing!

Bremen town musicians #postmark on #postcrossing #Postcard from Germany #showandmail

Happy birthday, Postcrossing! I've been an enthusiastic Postcrossing participant for more than 9 years now -- almost the entire time Postcrossing has existed, and certainly longer than I've had this blog -- and it's enriched my life in more ways than I can say. Postcrossing is now 10 years old and I invite you to explore their birthday celebration, and if you've never checked out Postcrossing before but you're curious, I highly encourage you to take this opportunity to do so.

The photo above shows a postcard from Germany I recently received via Postcrossing. I often show the postcard image or the postage stamp in a blog post, and in this case both of them were fairly pedestrian, but wow - what a NEAT postmark! It shows the Bremen Town Musicians, a fairy tale that has made the German town of Bremen famous. It's certainly what I think of when I think of Bremen, and as soon as I saw this postmark I recognized the icon and the story. This is just another fine example of all the wonderful surprises that Postcrossing brings.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 26, 2015: Historic day for equality in the USA!

Image via Newsweek

Yesterday - June 26, 2015 - was a history day for civil rights, equality, and LGBT rights in the USA.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the USA ruled that everyone has a right to marry.

Many of us knew the decision was to be announced yesterday, and along with millions of others worldwide, I awaited the decision. I wish I could have been downtown (I currently live in Washington, DC - capital of the USA, home of the Supreme Court and the White House, pictured above) with the revelers, but when the decision was announced, I was alone in my office at my day job. I started crying when I learned the news. Friends and family called, texted, and emailed throughout the day, and I went around crying and hugging my co-workers. When I came out nearly 20 years ago, I never imagined I'd see this day in my lifetime. This is an amazing victory and I think June 26 should become a national queer/LGBTQ holiday!

All kinds of wonderful support was evident yesterday, and continues to be so. Last night the White House, home of President Barack Obama and the First Family, lit up in rainbow lights in support of the decision - pictured above.

This post has nothing to do with mail, but it has so much to do with my life, and I had to share the joy. As I have mentioned before (see "I'm a day late for National Coming Out Day" or the labels gay or transgender for more info), my husband Alex is transgender and I am bisexual; we identify as a queer couple, not straight. We are legally married already, but that is really only through luck. Alex happened to be born in a state that, for a certain period of time, allowed folks to change their birth certificates, and he got his birth certificate changed at the right time to allow us to marry legally. This would not have been possible if he hadn't been able to change his birth certificate, and if he hadn't been able to jump through all the hoops to change his gender legally from female to male, on the right documents (birth certificate, driver's license, passport, etc: a different process for all). I'm not going to go into all the details about that, but we were one of the few queer couples who was lucky enough to achieve that legal status. Yesterday that right was granted to all couples in love in the USA, regardless of gender - no more discrimination. All our friends and loved ones can marry if they wish, and those who have already married in states that previously allowed it will now be granted all the federal benefits, and their marriages must be recognized all across the country... even in the states that had previously explicitly banned and refused to recognize their unions.

Please join me in celebrating this occasion that holds immeasurable joy!

UPDATE: It is worth noting that just moments after my tweet about this blog post, I received my first homophobic hate tweet. It is hardly that bad, but it is noteworthy nonetheless. We are going to see a lot of backlash to this decision from those haters. Haters gonna hate. Buckle your seatbelts, because we are in it for the long ride.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

India releases International Day of Yoga stamp

Thanks to PhilatelyNews on Twitter, I've just learned about this FANTASTIC new stamp release from India: International Day of Yoga stamp.

June 21 was recently declared International Yoga Day by the UN General Assembly. I may not write about it very often on this blog (if at all?), but yoga is another of my favorite hobbies, or perhaps better stated, lifestyle and fitness habits; I've been practicing yoga seriously for about 5 years now. So I was extremely excited to see this stamp release that showcases an essential part of India's heritage (and I recognize here that India comprises many different cultures!)... which also happens to be something that has changed my life and health.

Also, it's a lovely stamp! I actually like the selvage around the stamp even better than the stamp itself, particularly the colorful representation of the various asanas, or poses. I am also delighted that they kept the figure on the stamp gender-neutral. Yoga is for everyone, and for every body.

If any of my blog readers are in India and would be willing or able to send me mail with this stamp, please let me know! I'd love to do an exchange. I'd be so excited to see this stamp in person!

Does anyone else know of some cool yoga stamps out there?

UPDATE: Philatelist blog-reader Albrecht shared this other yoga series from India, 1991 issue.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thinking of my grandfather on Father's Day

My grandfather the postal worker dials stamps

Happy Father's Day! Today I am thinking a lot of my grandfather, of blessed memory. That's him in the photo above (read the great "Dialing for stamps" story): he was a career postal worker, and a casual philatelist and stamp collector. I think a great deal of my love for stamps and postal service trivia must have come from him. Certainly a lot of my vintage stamps did come from him: he gave me his stamp collection a little before he died. He didn't mind that I use some of the stamps for postage, he just wanted the collection to go to someone who would appreciate it.

He passed away 6 years ago. I am so thankful for all the time we had together, and that I wrote him a lot of letters, particularly in his later years. My mother and I cleaned out his house after his death (he had lived in that house for 50 years!), and along with a great deal of postal memorabilia, I had the joy of finding a lot of my letters to him stored in the drawers right next to his favorite chair, where he spent the vast majority of his time... he clearly took them out and re-read them frequently. I was so touched that they meant so much to him. (I've lived halfway across the country from him, and the rest of my family, for all of my adult life.)

You can read more posts about my wonderful postal-worker, stamp-collecting grandpa, but in the meantime, I hope all the fathers out there - both mail-loving and otherwise - have a great day. I am very thankful that my own father is in good health and happiness, and I'm going to call him shortly.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Coming full circle: a transition back to music

I hinted in a previous post that there were changes afoot, and now is the time to share some personal information. I've held back from sharing professional information on my blog, because this is a hobby blog and I have felt strongly that it's important to keep that part of my life separate. I still feel that way to some degree, but I have some big changes coming and I would like to share them.

When I began this blog in 2008, I was, professionally, a musician and music teacher. I'm not going to bog this post down with too many details, but for a variety of reasons, when we moved to Washington, DC in 2013, I had to give that up for a while and work a non-music, non-teaching office job. It was more challenging than I had imagined, and I think that was a big part of why I had such a hard time with DC. I am sure that my distaste for Our Nation's Capital is in many ways my transferring my dissatisfaction with my life here to a dislike for the city itself. Regardless, I have been unhappy in DC, and DC will soon be in my past. I'm thrilled to be able to be returning to music in the fall, when I will return to my alma mater, the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, for graduate school. We're moving back up to New England in a couple of months (HOORAY!) and I will be a full-time grad student. I hope to return to performing and teaching in the future, once I am a Master of Music. (What a strange term, but I'll play with those words.)

I am a classically-trained improvisational singer, and I explore many styles including jazz. If you are interested in taking a look and a listen, here are a couple of links from two of my favorite performances in the past couple of years: Both of the arrangements are my own, as are all the performances in each of those video playlists. In the future I hope to have a professional website to share, with more recordings and videos.

The next few months are going to be a big time of transition for me, as we do a long-distance move and I switch from working in an office full-time to being a music grad student full-time. I am looking forward to this change more than I can possibly put into words, so I won't even try to articulate it. I do hope to continue with this blog and all my mail habits as best I can, though I may be exploring the possibility of ads on this blog. I will apologize again for posting less than I had hoped throughout the past year - auditioning for grad school took up a lot of time and energy, and I kept that under my hat for a long time! - and I thank all my blog readers, both longtime and newcomers, for staying with me through the journey.

In the meantime, I'll keep writing letters and postcards, and I promise - the next post will be back on track and mail-related!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Krtek the Mole postcard

Krtek the mole #Postcard - artwork by Zdenek Miler via #postcrossing

I recently received this great Krtek the Mole postcard from the Czech Republic, CZ-597292 via Postcrossing. I have received a few of these throughout the years, and love the children's illustration by Zdeněk Miler. I don't know much about it, other than it was a much-beloved Czech animated show for many decades -- I just think the artwork is very cute and makes a lovely postcard.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

U.S. Postcard stamp rate increase to 35 cents on May 31

Well, this came out of nowhere (I do pay attention to these things!):

The postcard stamp rate for domestic postcards in the USA will increase from 34 cents to 35 cents on May 31, 2015.

Thank you, Letter Writers Alliance, for alerting me to this surprise change! Read all about it on the LWA blog. Essentially only metered mail (and eww, ick, who uses that for fun mail?) and postcard stamps will increase in price. I searched for new 35-cent postcard stamps but haven't found any yet, so I sense this change went through pretty quickly. Well, add on some 1-cent stamps to those USA postcards, and cross your fingers that the new postcard stamp design will be as awesome as the current hummingbirds.

UPDATE: thanks so much to FinnBadger for alerting me to some more information about the new stamps: New US stamps planned for new rates. Very interesting concept: postcard stamps will now be "Forever" at the postcard rate, as will additional ounce stamps. I am still undecided as to how I feel about this. Thoughts, anyone?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A good mail weekend

Outgoing mail, 11 May 2015

I've had a lot of other stuff going on in my life lately, and I haven't been spending as much time on mail as I'd like... but this weekend, especially Sunday, I got back into it and wrote a bunch of letters and postcards. It felt wonderful to immerse myself in mail all day long again!

There are changes afoot, and I will share the news in due time... but for now, I will say I am thankful for the wonderful world of mail as a longtime hobby and passion that has sustained me through many circumstances and changes.

Happy mailing, everyone!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Champion letter-writing in unexpected circumstances

Letter Postcard to the Central African Republic3

I was at a party last night thrown by a friend, but I didn't know very many people there. They were mostly Alex's colleagues, English grad students. To my surprise, I got into a conversation with Emily, who sought me out to talk about letter-writing. She had found my blog through my post on Alex's recent PBS appearance, which was of course the topic of a number of other conversations at this party. Our conversation expanded to include Danielle, and soon we were all talking about letter-writing, mostly me going on and on about how great it is, and how there really are a lot of people who do still write letters, and you CAN find people to write you back. I went on at great length about Postcrossing, and how that's a wonderful way to ensure an equal ratio of received to sent items. (The photo I used for this post is of a Postcrossing postcard I recently sent to the Central African Republic - a first to that country for me. The postcard is in an envelope because the recipient expressed a preference for that.)

I won't detail all the facets of the conversation, and in some ways I'm preaching to the choir since most of my blog readers are already dedicated letter-writers - but I wanted to share with you how charmed I was that I was able to champion letter-writing in unexpected circumstances.

I will also note that I felt a touch guilty about said post on Alex's recent PBS appearance because it really didn't have anything to do with letter-writing, but it still led to bringing other blossoming letter-writers into the fold, albeit from a different direction than I usually experience. (I'm used to my blog readers finding Alex through this blog, not people who know or search for Alex then finding my blog!) So here's to the opportunities to sing the praises of this fantastic mail hobby.

This post is for Emily, Danielle, and anyone who has ever toyed with the idea of starting to write letters - give it a try!

Oh - I almost forgot! Speaking of a great way to share the love of letter-writing: this coming Sunday, May 3, the Letter Writers Alliance will be hosting another Virtual Mail Social at 4pm EST / 3pm Central. I've done two of their mail socials so far (both, I think? Have there only been two?) and they are a fantastic way to connect in real time with other mail enthusiasts, and share the joy of mail and letter-writing.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Alex Myers: the 'quiet revolution behind the word transgender'

Tonight PBS NewsHour aired an excellent segment that featured my beloved husband Alex Myers, entitled "the quiet revolution behind the word transgender." I like to think of Alex as a quiet revolution, and the video is a nice portrayal. I believe it is the first in a series entitled "Transgender in America." I hope you enjoy watching it. (Yes, they did include two photos of the two of us together - I'm still stunned by the idea of my photo on national television.)

NewsHour also filmed Alex speaking recently at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut, and they have posted a video of his entire unedited 20-minute talk, which he wrote as a more in-depth exploration of his identity and how he has become who he is. Check out "How a label can empower the transgender community", which I think is a more thoughtful exploration... but of course, I'm biased because he wrote it.

And if you're really ambitious, you can watch the entire hour-long NewsHour episode with multiple stories from today.

In essence, I think Alex is a magnificent ambassador for the #trans community, and it is my hope (and I think his hope, too) that by submitting to this media exposure, he can open some minds and hearts, and perhaps provide a lifeline to other queer, #trans, and questioning people - particularly youth. If you know anyone who is questioning their gender identity, or wants to know more, I hope these videos and Alex's writings (and his speaking at schools - he does regular speaking engagements at schools and colleges and posts a lot about them on his Facebook author page and has contact information on his website, should you be interested) can serve as helpful resources.

Oh yeah - he also wrote a pretty amazing novel, "Revolutionary", so check that out, too!

There are some crazy people out there, so I have vowed not to read internet comments on the Facebook posts and YouTube video pages... but this is a more select and loving audience, and I would welcome your comments here. What did you think?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Alex Myers on PBS NewsHour April 23

My beloved husband of 12 years, author Alex Myers, will be featured in a "Transgender America" segment on PBS NewsHour on Thursday evening, April 23. You can watch it live on your local PBS station (it airs on the east coast at 6pm), stream it live at, or stream it later on the evening it airs at PBS NewsHour videos. I will be sure to provide a direct link once it is available!

While I was not filmed for this segment, they did ask for a photo of the two of us together, plus the correct pronunciation of my name, so hopefully I'll get mentioned (and hopefully they'll pronounce my name correctly)! This is really very big exciting news for us, and for Alex's amazing novel Revolutionary. And of course it is very exciting news to spread awareness and education about gender and gender identity.

I'll be streaming it live at 6pm on Thursday evening - tune in if you are interested!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Great stamps from China, with cat stamp

Stamps on Postcrossing thank-you letter from China

I received a wonderful thank-you letter from China recently, in response to US-3101799 that I sent on Postcrossing. The sender told me a truly beautiful pet story (in my Postcrossing profile, I ask for a beloved pet story if people are wondering what to write), which was heartwarming and sincere. He also sent me some great stickers from China, including some cute cat stickers like the one on the envlope -- and the postage stamps were a gift in and of themselves! Sometimes I get fairly boring stamps from China, but not this batch! Can you guess my favorite?

China Cat Stamp

The cat!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Happy Passover 2015!

Happy Passover!

It's almost seder time, and we're almost ready.

For all who celebrate Pesach, Chag Sameach!

Post-Seder update on April 4, 2015: that was the best gluten-free matzo AND the best kosher for Passover wine I've yet found. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Russian wild cat stamp: Pallas's Cat

Russian Wild Cat Stamp

This is clearly the season for me to receive amazing cat stamps from Postcrossing! This stamp came this week from Russia, riding on RU-3503703. I was so, so excited to receive this: I love any feline stamp, any time, but there is something really wild and compelling about this illustration. Also, alas - a lot of stamps from Russia are fairly boring, so this one really stood out.

I couldn't find out much about this stamp issue (anyone? anyone?), but I did find some basic information indicating it is from a Fauna of Russia: Wild Cats series, and this is Pallas's Cat, which is a fairly rare subspecies native to Central Asia. The photos make it look very similar to this stamp illustration: a very unusual-looking and very fluffy feline.


It is fitting, of course, that the postcard image itself was a fun cat illustration, too. Thank you, Katia from Russia!

Hey U.S. Postal Service: how about a wild cats of the USA stamp issue?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Canada Post black cat Choose Adoption stamp

Canada Black Cat Stamp

This lovely cat stamp came to me recently on a Postcrossing postcard from Canada. I can't recall what the postcard image was, and I neglected to photograph it at the time, but I was utterly charmed by this sweet kitty stamp. (US Postal Service, can we please get more stamps with cats on them??) It is from the 2013 Choose adoption / adopt a pet series, which shows photos of the animals surrounded by a line-drawing illustration of an imagined home life, once they are adopted. And look at the little kitty looking longingly at the cat furniture with a ball of string and a mouse toy! That is a great illustration of how I've loved and spoiled my own shelter-adopted kitties.

Of course this is a subject very close to my own heart: my beloved kitties Stella, Oberon, and Soda (of blessed memory) all came from adoption via animal shelters.

Canada Black Cat Stamp with Butterflies

The postcard also came with these bright and cheery monarch butterfly stamps, too. I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again: the joy from Postcrossing isn't just the postcards (or the lovely connections with mail-loving people), it's also the postage stamp treats, too!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Writing desk candid + washi tape storage


Well, I haven't done such a good job of blogging again this month, have I? The good news is that I've been spending a ton of time writing postcards and longer letters, which has been a pleasure. I took a photo in the middle of writing one of those longer letters recently, just to share the mood of my writing desk. I didn't really tidy it for this, so you can see the current semi-mess in action, complete with messy piles.

I didn't set out to talk about this, but as I look at the photo, I'd like to mention my new storage system for washi tape. I mention this in part because I've been really, really into washi tape especially lately, and my collection has grown... thereby increasing my need for a decent storage system. I like to use the tape outside of a dispenser and place it by hand, and I also need to be able to see all my tapes at once. You can see some of them hanging from my bulletin board on a system I've rigged with hanging them on a ribbon between two pushpins; this is nice for visibility, but a bit of a pain for retrieving the tape unless they're the ones on the end. So, the ones I use less frequently gravitate to the middle.

The new system about which I'm most excited is a little less apparent here, but you can see it under and to the left of the hanging tape rolls, next to the mug of fountain pens. They are Mark's Round Pen Cases which I got from the beloved JetPens. Yes, they are technically pen cases, but when I saw these recently added to the JetPens website, the description mentioned storage for decorative tapes, and I thought.... hmmmm.... First I bought the black case, and then I loved it so much I bought another one in white. The round shape perfectly holds the washi tape, and the clear window lets you see what's inside, and it's easy to retrieve the tapes in the middle. Now my favorite, most-used tapes live in the Mark's Round Pen Cases for fast and easy access. As you can see in the photo, they stand up nicely on their own (though they could be hung quite easily using the zipper ring), and if I need to expand, I'll get them in different colors to differentiate. They also feel very sturdy, and would stand up well to travel, I think.

You can see some of my washi tape use on the letter on the desk. I have more ideas for blog posts than I'm sure I will ever execute, but this makes me think I should review some of the utterly adorable tapes I've found recently; the designs available have exploded exponentially in the past few years, and it's pretty amazing what you can find on a tape now.

If you have any nice writing desk photos, or washi tape storage ideas, or any other thoughts, please share in the comments!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow day = mail day

Snow day view

Today we have yet another snow day here in Washington, DC. It's predicted to be a lot of snow, even by DC's very low standards (I will refrain from going on about how this city cannot handle snow), and I am enjoying yet another snow day at home. It's going to be kittens and mail, all day long!

Oberon, snow watcher

And of course, snow-watching.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Spacecat: The Case of the Empty Envelope

The case of the empty envelope

I recently received this phenomenal handmade envelope from Allison Anne, a mail enthusiast with whom I connected via Twitter. We'd exchanged a couple of postcards, and she sent me a letter... but alas, I only received the envelope! It appears the letter fell out en route somehow.

The envelope is so spectacular that I had to share it with you. She tells the full story on her blog, and we both blame the tape used to seal the edges. It wasn't too sticky, and on one edge the tape had come unstuck, giving the letter an escape route as it was squeezed through the mail sorting machines... or so we surmise. (I had to secure it with transparent tape for this photo.)

Space Cat Envelope

I'm sure it was a spectacular letter - how could it not be, transported by such a space cat? - and I'm so sorry to miss it, but nevertheless, I am delighted by this excellent envelope.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mike says I don't write often enough

"You don't write often enough"

Yesterday I received another great Postcrossing postcard, and laughed out loud at what Mike wrote. Turns out he was already a regular reader of my blog when he was assigned to send me a Postcrossing postcard, and he tells me I don't write blog posts often enough. I think he's right.

I'm trying! I have a goal of at least 5 posts per month. I failed in January, but I'll manage (and maybe exceed?) that for February.

On my Postcrossing profile, I invite senders to share a beloved pet story. I really enjoyed Mike's story about how their cat Tiger came into their lives.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cat with cherry blossoms postcard


Here is another delgihtful Postcrossing surprise: a fantastic cat among cherry blossoms postcard from Japan. It is hard to appreciate the loveliness of this card in a photo, because the postcard has textures; some of the cherry blossoms are raised in a textured, hard-tissue-paper-like fashion, as is the chop seal near the bottom by the kitty, and some of the blossoms are gold foil. That doesn't show up so well in this photo, but you can get a better sense of it on the JP-640891 Postcrossing postcard page, where the sender uploaded the photo of the postcard before she sent it.

JP-640891 back

I don't usually post the backs of postcards, but this one was so adorable I had to share.

  • a Hello Kitty airmail stamp
  • a drawing of her fluffy dog Moko
  • cat, bird, and mushroom stickers
  • cat washi tape
Yay Postcrossing surprises!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

LWA Virtual Mail Social all day today: Sunday, February 8!

Today's the day! Today's the day! All day today - Sunday, February 8, whatever the 24 hours of Sunday are for you, wherever you are - the Letter Writers Alliance is having a Virtual Mail Social.

In celebration, I'll be writing mail much of the day today!

You can play along by using the hashtag #LWAsocial on Twitter and Instagram. The main event is a Live video social and chat at 4pm EST / 3pm Central time. This is their second such event - the first was in December, and I was utterly tickled by how delightful it was: great, great fun. I really enjoy the camaraderie of seeing all the tweets and photos from other letter lovers writing mail at the same time, and it inspires me to write, too. So I'm participating already, and encourage anyone else who is interested to join the fun.

Love this #postcard from the National Postal Museum #npm

A photo posted by Missive Maven (@missivemaven) on

Also built into the video social will be a chat window, and the instagram feed for #LWAsocial. I had been toying with the idea of joining instagram for a while now, and this was the final push I needed. So yesterday I joined up, and now you can find me on instagram as missivemaven. There's sure to be much mail and many cats in my instagram feed. And I'll be posting lots of photos of my #LWAsocial mail there.

Happy #LWAsocial day! Join the fun! Write more letters! And maybe I'll see you at the LWA Virtual Social at 4pm EST today.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Another virtual Letter Writers Alliance social tomorrow: Sunday, February 8

I haven't been blogging or tooling around on the letter-writing internet world lately, so I'm a little late to the party on this news, but nevertheless I'm SUPER excited to share that there will be another Letter Writers Alliance Virtual Social tomorrow - Sunday, February 8, 2015. The social will happen all day, and the live video with chat will be at 4pm EST (3pm US Central time), a time the LWA founder/goddesses have settled upon as a window when the majority of their global members will be awake. I'm thrilled with the time - not only am I awake then, but I tend to be in the letter mood in the late afternoon hours as well. I shall endeavor to participate throughout the day - lately Sunday is my best letter-writing day in any case! - and join in for the video and chat if I can.

They held their first live video social in December, and you can watch the archived video from that event; my blog post for that was filled with eager anticipation, and I assure you, it did not disappoint. It was even more fun than I imagined, if that is possible.

Looks like they have moved from sharing photos on Twitter to sharing them on Instagram, so I guess maybe this is the push I finally need to join Instagram. Sigh. More social media.

But! Social media is a wonderful platform for bringing together epistolary enthusiasts. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend of good mail.

February: a big month for mail

Clearly I have come in under par so far for my resolution to write more blog posts in 2015, but at least I have been spending my time actually writing mail. I hope that's a fair excuse for lagging behind in the practice of blogging about mail. January was a hugely productive writing month for me, and I enjoyed every letter and postcard.

And fans of mail have a fine month in February! There are two letter-a-day type challenges this month: A Month of Letters, aka "LetterMo," and International Correspondence Writing Month, aka "InCoWriMo." While I don't participate officially in either of these (I write as much as I can, all the time, and most months average more than one piece of mail per day anyway), I know lots of folks who really enjoy them, and I think they're a fine way to get anyone to engage more deeply with mail. If you tend to like shorter projects, or like to challenge yourself with daily goals, maybe one of these might be a fun thing to try. Also, if you're looking for pen pals, both of these are a great way to pick up new ones. There is even a page of addresses from letter-seekers on the InCoWriMo site.

Happy February mailing, everyone!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Missive Maven round-up: 2014 in review

Outgoing mail, Dec 15

Happy 2015, readers and letter writers! A lot of momentous stuff happened in Missive-Maven-land in 2014. I just had fun perusing through some old blog posts, and thought I'd share some of the year's highlights here. (The photo above shows some of the mail I wrote for the Letter Writers Alliance virtual social on December 13, which was an absolute blast!)

Revolutionary, in boxes

One of the most exciting events of 2014 was personal in our family, but I blogged about it a fair bit: the January 2014 publication of "Revolutionary," my best beloved Alex Myers' first novel. It is "a fascinating retelling of the story of America’s first female soldier, Deborah Samson Gannett, who ran away from home in 1782, successfully disguised herself as a man, and fought valiantly in the Revolutionary War." The novel does have a significant epistolary element, so it does fit into the letter-writing theme of my blog! After the release of the novel, Alex did quite a bit of speaking and book touring, and in a later blog post, I gave an update on some excellent press and thanked you all for your support. On another note, "Revolutionary" will be released in paperback later this month, on January 20, 2015.

Sleepy Magic, Sleepy Soda

There was much heartbreak in the summer of 2014, when we lost our deeply beloved 17-year-old cats, Soda and Magic, within roughly two weeks of each other.

In Memory of Soda: April 1997 - July 7, 2014

In Memory of Magic: March 1997 - July 25, 2014

The move from Rhode Island to DC was a very difficult one for them, but they lived good lives of joy and mostly good health, and I'm so thankful for all the years we shared.

Oberon and Stella on the couch, New Year's Eve

We could not live without cats, and later that summer we adopted two kittens who we named Oberon and Stella. They brought us much joy in our grief, and it has been sweet beyond words to watch them grow up. The photo above was taken on New Year's Eve 2014, where Stella and Oberon and I spent a lot of time hanging out on the couch together. (Truthfully, Stella and Oberon spend a lot of time hanging out on the couch together in general, with or without me.) They are now 9 months old, but still very much acting like kittens!

Oberon likes my stationery shelves

And now back to more blog-appropriate news. I completed a project I'd been meaning to do for a long time: adding a page to my blog called Stationery Sources. I'm often asked where I buy my stationery, and this page lists links to all my favorite vendors, and each link has a little blurb about why I like their wares.

Melissa teaches us about envelope-making

Another wonderful mail milestone in 2014: I finally went to a mail social! I wrote a huge blog post about The October Mail Social Club at the National Postal Museum, which took place on World Post Day! These Mail Social Club events are coordinated by Melissa of Craftgasm (pictured above, showing us how to make handmade envelopes), and she does a really fine job with these events. I hope to attend at least one more in 2015! If you are able to attend one of them, held monthly at the National Postal Museum, I highly recommend it.

Letter log sent: ink used in letter

Also in the department of "blog posts I meant to write for ages," I shared a post called Habits: How I keep my letter log, about my system for recording incoming and outgoing mail. That's one of my more popular posts, and I'm glad letter-writers have enjoyed reading it.

Outgoing mail pile, Dec 15

And finally, a round-up of some of my favorite posts of 2014:

  • Fabulous mail to kick off 2014
  • Legal tender sender
  • Postcard signed by Inge Löök
  • 3D Dinosaur Stamp from South Africa
  • Essay by Alex Myers on this week
  • Postcrossing stamp from Belarus
  • Meeting a pen pal + mobile Letterpress
  • Mozart stamp from the Czech Republic
  • October 11 is National Coming Out Day
  • Who's excited for Halloween?!?
  • Russian Rainbow Circus Stamp
  • Best Hanukkah Card EVER
  • Happy New Year, in a Russian winter postcard

    One of my resolutions for 2015: more blog posts! My blogging was a bit more sparse than I'd like in 2014, and I hope to be more regular in 2015. Thanks to all my readers for your continued readership and comments, and Happy New Year!
  • Friday, January 2, 2015

    Mail art call: What's Your View?

    Since many of my blog readers are also mail artists, I'm sharing with you a Mail Art Call from Mary of Uncustomary Art for her upcoming exhibit, "What's Your View?" All the guidelines are on her blog post, but I'll tip you off that the deadline is coming up pretty soon (January 24, 2015) so make sure not to delay!

    I met Mary this fall at the Mail Social Club at the National Postal Museum, and she is one of the most awesome mail enthusiasts around. She and a friend are curating this exhibit that will be on display in Baltimore, and it sounds pretty exciting. Since Baltimore is only an hour(ish) away from where I live, I'm going to try to both participate in the mail art call and check out the exhibit when it opens. (Anyone else interested in going? :-) Mail trip!)

    And mail art aside, if you haven't visited Mary's blog, Uncustomary Art, I highly recommend you check it out. She blogs about more than just mail, and a lot about life and her wonderful and inspiring art projects, but more than that, Mary has an incredibly positive and uplifting view of life and her way of living it. I always feel inspired, and often a little more warm-fuzzy about humanity in general, after I visit her blog. So go check it out and uplift yourself, and maybe make some mail art, too.

    Here's that link one more time:
    "What's Your View?" Mail Art Call

    Any questions about the project, please direct to Mary on her blog, as I can't answer 'em.

    And finally... Happy New Year 2015! As I type this post, I'm waiting for the first mail of 2015 to arrive. New Year's Day is fun, but as a holiday and no-mail day, I'm eager to see what my mailbox brings today!