Friday, October 13, 2017

Sorry I Peed In the Kool-Aid?

October 13, 2017

Dear Fellow Frequent Mailer & Postage Purchasers,

I am so done with having my heart strings yanked with "Save the USPS" campaigns. Stick me with a fork, take me out of the oven, and serve me up, 'cause I'm done. We have done our fair share of buying postage and letter writing in repeated attempts to “help save the USPS.” What a truck load of hockey pucks! What a pasture full of cow patties. Enough, too much, no more! None of us can save the USPS from itself. 

Why do you think we are so easily duped? I believe my nostalgia for the old days when mail meant so much is what sucked me in. Remembering how lonely I was growing up across the States as an army brat—which is a term I hate—since we were the better behaved children in America—and how letters and notes, and cards made me feel more connected and closer to family and friends we always left behind. What’s your excuse reason?

Yeah, we drank the Kool-Aid with our bleeding heart selves. With or without a straw? What was your favorite flavor? What's Kool-Aid: Artificial flavors and colors, water, lots of sugar, a little ice, and some other stuff. But save the mail, right? Save the mail. Why? Save it from what? 

We the people pay more for a stamp than businesses/companies/charities and organizations that can well afford to pay full price—even more. We are the “we, the people" who keep the USPS in operation. Oh, give us a break! What are they gonna do if they’re asked to pay their fair share? Stop sending mail and unwanted junk? Cut back on business? Do you really think charities are gonna pull back their money grubbing grabbers because they must pay a few coins more? Companies will go under because they have to pay more to send thousands of useless letters? Oh, what will I do without letters from insurance companies that want to sell me insurance so those I leave behind won’t be stuck with the costs of burying my sorry ass? And what will the credit card companies do if they can’t send me another letter because they’ll have to pay as much as I do for a postage stamp? And don’t you think they’re throwing good money after bad, since their unsolicited mail offers go straight to the shredder? Oh, please don’t tell me you bite the bait. 

My poor aunt who is afflicted with Alzheimers has been taken to the cleaners with a solicitation to take advantage of "free money." When I tried to convince her that she knew better, she said, “Oh, I didn’t need it, you know that, but it was free money.” Poor old thing. Her sister took over control of her finances. These are some of the people we're striving to save the mail for, because of junk mailers who get discounted postage rates. 

Boy did we ever drink the Kool-Aid. All eighteen flavors we did! And we saved the USPS all that money just so they can play at being George Jetson. Driverless mail trucks? Why not buy clever mail drones instead? After all, how many mail box owners actually buy stamps and write letters? 

I have a neighbor who checks her mail box once a month, and she’s the only one in her family who has a mail box key.  She tells me loud and clear, from across the street, how she knows the only things in her box are bills, bills, and more bills. And she wants to know why we check for mail six days out of seven. You know I grin when I show her my handful of letters from my pen friends. No, I don’t smirk! I grin. *grin*

Driverless mail trucks my ass. Our carrier parks in front of our cluster boxes, opens the side face, and tosses or crams in pre-sorted bundles or singles of mail, takes what’s in the out box, closes and locks up, and they’re off to the next cluster. Why would they need a driverless mail truck? “Hmm. Let me see, said the blind man.” 

I quote:  One reason the postal service wants robocars? They could help solve its money problems. The agency lost $5.6 billion last year, mostly because Congress demands it shell out prefunded retiree health care benefits. (The idea here is that all employees’ health care will be completely paid for by the time they retire. No other agency operates this way.)

Why do we let Congress get away with such highway robbery??? They take the high way without even asking, while we take the low road and pay a higher toll! So, again . . . 

I quote:  If the USPS sticks with this plan, the jobs of the nation's 310,000 mail carriers could change, for better or worse. Once the vehicles do all the driving, the humans will be left with the sorting and the intricacies of the delivery process. Unless, of course, a robot can figure out how to do those too. And whatever the report says about protecting jobs, it's clear that the best way to cut down on employee health care costs is to cut down on employees. The Postal Service says it plans to sit down with unions to discuss the implications of this tech after the University of Michigan delivers its prototype in December. (Those unions, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Again I ask. WHY? Congress, can you hear me now? Yeah? Why why the hell won’t you answer?

Oh. Wait. I hear something.

I quote:  But maybe the best reason for USPS to experiment with autonomous vehicles is to keep up with the Joneses. FedEx is investing in small autonomous vehicles that could make deliveries without the aid of human drivers. Amazon has an entire team dedicated to researching how autonomous vehicles (and drones) could transport its goods directly to customers. Google holds patents on unmanned truck delivery. DHL has posited driverless vehicles could be endlessly useful in warehousing operations, last-mile deliveries, and logistics operations. UPS has a test truck that shoots drones.

Shaking my head so hard my eyes roll.

I quote one more time:  Which gets us back to one final idea floated by the USPS Office of the Inspector General in the report. Mail carriers drive the same exact routes almost every day. If the service kits out its vans with the right sorts of sensors, those vans could build and constantly update the incredibly detailed 3-D maps that help self-driving cars navigate—for a price, of course. Yeah, other startups and companies have been built expressly to collect and mine mapping data—but don’t count out the letter carriers. If rain and hail can't stop them, why should the future?

Oh, how very clever is this Aarian Marshall. Hmm. Wonder who named him? Her? No matter. Wired was smart enough to hire them.

I sent double a-Arian Marshall a thank-you for the piece. Writing for Wired has to be one of the coolest things a human can do. Right?

Be well. Don’t linger in hell.

Sincerely sincere,


P. S.  Pardon me for peeing in the Kool-Aid. Or not. I need no pardon if I have committed no crime and not been sentenced for it. I'll drink water from now on. So stop with the faux "save the mail" bait. Let's write because we want to. Let's send mail art and postcards and stuff . . . just because we want to. Unless of course your retirement must be paid for in advance, and is dependent upon our buying postage too.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What Was I Thinking?

A rad postcard. What was I thinking?

An odd size business envelope. What was I thinking?

"Hate to waste" can leave you to wonder what were you thinking.

The old looking glue on the flap, the way it tore loose when I tried to open it gently because I was intent on reusing it made me wonder, "What were they thinking???" Who . . . What business still uses the old lick-the-glue type envelopes? Do secretaries still use sponges to dampen the glue? I wonder if anyone ever got diabetes from licking flaps? Do you think their tongues ever scarred from repeated paper cuts? Did you ever lick all the flaps on your mama's envelopes when you were a kid? I've confessed stuff to my mama, things I did as a kid, and it made her laugh so hard I cracked up too. Growing up, we rarely had sweets. Everything was healthy. Glue on flaps and paste in a jar was as good as being in a candy store. I imagine it must have felt like being as happy as that bratty girl touching all the candy in that jar in "The Fastest Gun Alive." 

Licking all those flaps was far less dramatic than the day my sister licked her index finger, then stuck it in a box of Epsom salts, and told me to lick. Then she said, "Now you do it." I did. Grandmother, the aunts, and Mama always knew to go on alert when we went missing or were quiet. It meant trouble. Aunt Pauline knew just where to look, and she found us with our mouths rimed with salts.  No one even suggested spanking us, which was a first. I figured out why later. But what was she thinking that day, my sister? Mama dressed us like we were twins, everyone treated us like we were twins, people talked to us as if we were twins, and we were punished like we were twin conspirators. My sister and I are finally addressing some of those twin-ship issues, and some of our childhood rifts have healed post-heart to hearts. I always got in trouble when she did wrong, but she never got in trouble if I messed up, and she never 'fessed up to her leadership in the wrong doings. It was always, "Do what Sister says 'cause she's the oldest." So why did I get in trouble for obeying my parents and my sister? Hell, what were they thinking?

Y'all are better than and cheaper than any therapist! Thank you.

Hahaha! Surely you know what I must have been thinking here. Right? *grin*

I know what I was thinking with this. But I can't explain it so you'd understand. Tie me up, tie me down, tie me with a bright red bow all around? 

I can't explain it. I don't know what I was thinking. But I was thinking. Perhaps remembering. Postcards make strange message boards.

I know. What was I thinking? Paper loves white ink from white ink pads. And I've always felt the Purple Heart stamp was way too small. So why I bought more is beyond my ken. I wasn't thinking.

What can I say? Strange things leak through graphite often when I'm not even really thinking. You'd think I'd be embarrassed, right? "Game of Throne" thoughts? I dunno what I was thinking when I did this but it still makes me laugh.

I thought, "Why did I do that?" after all the time and energy I invested in making this envelope. Yeah, "What was I thinking?!?" Right? Well truth is, I don't always know what I'm thinking, and I don't always think a thing through first. But I do know that I'm thinking sometimes stuff just happens. It's not always lovely or justified or capable of making sense. Sometimes doing trumps thinking. I'm hard at work doing some of the things I've thought through and some I haven't. And I do, I really really do like that first postcard. It can still work, don't you think? I'm rather fond of this last one too. One of my favorite things is the little film "stamp." And I'm four minutes late posting this to beat the midnight hour. 

I'm behind as usual. There's a lot going on in Limnersville at the mo'. Write the righteous write. And be well.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bright Mail and a Wish List

Bright mail is like red sails at sunset. Both make you smile. They lift your spirit. Even higher. Make you want to write on, not abandon your little space . . . Sharing thoughts makes you realize how grateful one can be for a punctuation mark called an ellipsis. Three dots in a row allow you to save face, spare someone your naked emotions, leave a reader to imagine what they will . . . 

Bright mail is like summer's last hurrah. In a hurry. In a hurry 'cause the third season is shoving it out of its way. Summer's bluffing, huffing and puffing, and pushing back though. It's so hot in the backyard I forfeit my sit-out in lieu of the cool comforts of chilled air inside. Cheating is only fair. So I sit with the back door open, allowing the sun to heat me up just enough to feel good. 

I undid my hair balls. They exploded like a patch of newborn dandelions. Still damp from the shower, I slept on it, knowing I shouldn't. The next morning Minuet said, "Looks like you slid down a wall and slept where you landed." Felt like I had. We ate a meal at a place that will remain un-named, and talk about being sick afterward? Yick! Still feels like I'm rolling in the deep, so there's no mail today for tomorrow. 

I'll share my Mail Wish List another day.

Write, write, write!  And write back at 'cha!

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Daily Mail

I haven't had a dry mail day yet. Knock wood. And I'm not too far behind with answers either. Knock wood. And it's such good mail. It's like good hair. I always respond to that silly good hair nonsense with "If you were bald, any hair at all would be good hair." So in that vein, even returned mail is good mail. *grin* I'm kidding. I haven't missed a day with mail "in" and I've seen only a couple of no-mail-"out" days. One night this week I forgot to leave outgoing in the out mail box, so I can't even blame JC for that one. Sorry JC. I blame you and Uncle Frank for everything that goes amiss or awry. Now you know. *hug*

Do I ever tell you how I get some of the best mail on the planet? I can never tell you enough so I hooked up the scanner last night, and it works! Show, don't tell, right? I printed a handful of homemade postcards just for fun. But one of the most fun things to ever exit our mail box was a trio of Trivial Pursuit game cards! Ta-da! They're from the very clever L. R. in Georgia. And guess what. I knew the correct answer to only TWO questions! I laughed. I laughed at myself! I laughed so hard it didn't matter that I didn't know the answers. Heck I didn't even know such questions should be asked. *grin* I didn't know the Miami Dolphins even had an Honor Roll. Did you? And I've never read Casanova, but I do know he was an old school player from way back before there were public schools. I wiped Woody Allen from my data bank way back when . . . Way back before he married his step-adopted daughter. I had to laugh over the enema question too, but laughed good and long because had I told JC how low I scored, he would have laughed loudest, and he wouldn't have been laughing with me. *grin* Thank you, L. R.. I've never played Trivial Pursuit.

I've read this before though, or heard it before, and it's remarkable or serendipitous, depending on how you look at it. But the African fable of how the tortoise cracked its shell is one that keeps blipping on my radar. I've seen an animated version on television! Then this postcard came in the mail, making it the third turtle/tortoise poke, and Anna mentioned "The People Could Fly," in a recent letter--a title I deliberately avoided buying all those years ago, although it's illustrated by two of my favorite artists. Sorry for the long convolutedness, but in order to move, I have to stick my neck out. And now I've lost my train of thought because I had to get up to search for the book, since I wanted to take a picture of the cover. *sigh* I blame the rain, the promise of rain, and the eclipse. *grin* I believe it's time to shuffle along.

Someone sent me a lovely note written on one of the prettiest notecards. I gave several boxes as gifts for my Christmas in July, and forgot to keep a box for myself. Thank you, Mama King! I'm fond of trees and birds and grasses and pretty much everything that grows and lives and showers us with colors. I believe colors were created to make the sun so happy it keeps shining on us, even in winter. It's always shining! 

And there's this. I always always always hold my breath when I see this envelope. Katy is always always always spelled with an R because my handwriting is so shitty my K looks like an R, and I don't even care.  

And if I could? If I could, I would paper my wall with every sheet I've even gotten and will get. And Ryosuke Cohen, mail artist, is a mind in a body I wish I could meet. In person. I'll settle for that bad ass artist stamp instead. Talk about cool? It's the epitome. Thank you, RC.

I feel like a letter-writing fiend lately. I'm beginning to worry though. What'll I do if I answer every letter? How will I live with an empty In Box? Seriously? When's the last time that happened to you? It's like living between seasons of "Game of Thrones"

If this comes back, I promise you I'll eat it.

I don't know why, but I like this so much . . . Cool dude. That's it.

It's so old the glue doesn't work. The lavender paper is almost gray. It's from my stint in South Carolina. This is what over-twenty-years-old stationery looks like. Yet vintage writes just as well as new. Maybe better?

A reply to a letter written in July. It feels good this getting caught up. And I do try to give as good as I get. Rain is a distraction. Earthquakes next door demand equal billing. I don't think I've ever had a letter from Mexico. Or India. Erin sent mail from France each time she's vacationed there. Mail from South Africa sent my heart fluttering. I kept that postcard on my desk for almost a year. It's in a journal now, on a shelf in my studio, behind a little door with a glass inset.

I've written to some of you about it. You've been very kind, listening to my heartache and intense empathy, and you've given me much heart's ease. Thank you. Healing is in sight. I've been able to help some in need, and one way I scab over trauma is by drawing. But how can you draw what you cannot imagine? You do the best you can.

I colored the little bird on the left a lovely shade of blue. It's the Blue Bird of Hope. It's trauma simplified. Because had I captured half of what's reality for so many . . . I'd still be drawing. I've never drawn an earthquake either. But I can try. 

Healing can
and does 
come and go 
in my daily mail. 

There's rain in the forecast.

Be well. Write mail. Hell is flooded.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rain Mail

Our post office was on the 5 PM news. It wasn't because they've done an exceptional job in the wake of Harvey's havoc, but because they've fallen behind in dealing with all the mail that bottle necked due to the flood waters, some of which are still causing major problems. There's a storm tossing rain against my window as I write. 

A frustrated resident called FOX news to investigate the mail problem at the Park Row facility. People want their FEMA checks and they need them now! I understand their frustration. I also know the post office is swamped. Postal employees are people too and some couldn't leave their neighborhoods because of water and damage to their homes. 

When mail trucks were finally able to deliver their haul, well, there's lots of new mail on top of old mail and not enough employees to handle it faster than the speed of sound. I know a little of what's going on because Informed Delivery let me know there's been mail on its way to me since Sept 13 and it only showed up in my box today.

I'm on friendly cupcake-and-cake-sharing footing with most of the people who serve the public from behind their wall of a postal ervice desk. I've seen them at work when they should have been home in bed. I've seen them giving service with a smile when they've been barked at and treated poorly for failings beyond their control, and yes, I've been exasperated a time or three myself, but I remember how it feels working in the service industry and I behave. So siccing FOX News on the post office is like beating a dead horse because it's slow. And her FEMA check wasn't there. And she didn't have a boatload of mail as she'd intimated. You have to send a boat load to get a boatload. But poor old post office people. All that backed up mail hadn't been sorted lady, 'cause there weren't enough hands on deck. So guess what. Yes, you guessed it. Other postal people were "bussed" in to make short shrift of the mail sorting sticky wick. And as far as I know, they're still at it. 

Now here's the funny part. That little manager over there is like the little fice that barks and snarls, kicks up a lot of dirt, and never licks its owner's face . . . You know the type. She thinks being surly is a sign of power. The type is always insecure, unsure, and doesn't know any better. Well, she could have defused the unrest before anyone called out the FOX dogs, who were simple-minded enough to bite, or in such dire need of a story they jumped on the dead horse, expecting to win a derby or something. Poor post office people 

Things were really super bad there the last day I visited; lines clogged the lobby with residents who weren't getting mail; they cannot get post office boxes since they're as rare as rooster teeth, but FEMA checks are like life lines. Now, I almost had a hissy fit when we lost power during the storm but common sense knows being upset won't fix anything. Besides, no one ever died from Internet withdrawal. Perhaps the story is meant to be a lesson about class in these here united states, because that's what I took from it. You'd have to see the full story to understand, but sometimes the upper class has it harder than the lower because they wall themselves off. Weather does not discriminate. But the end results are positive. The USPS promised mail delivery to home mail boxes ASAP. All's well that ends well. 

On a lighter note:

Does the USPS ever reissue old postage stamps? Do you think it would be something they should consider? I like this stamp and wish we had a chance to become reacquainted with it. It's just one of many and this one happens to be on a letter from my aunt who has Alzheimer's. I'd talk to her about it just for a chat but talk of things she cannot recall upsets her too much. There was an awareness stamp issued eight years after this pretty 33 cents gem was offered.

What? We don't need another stamp 'cause they found a cure? Wait. The price of a stamp has increased a mere seven cents in how many years? Boy do we have it good. On the same hand, volume will decrease with each price increase. Right? People on Social Security aren't likely to spend a dollar per for more than birthday cards and monthly bills, poor people will pay more of their bills in-store more often than ever, and I'll cut back on international. But wait! What if I'll have learned to teleport by then? Hmm.  

Oh well. Wild hairs make for wilder musings. And that's what I get for revisiting mail from my past. It's not all sad though. It's mostly fun. Did you ever send or receive one of these? Erin was crazy for carousel animals once upon a lot of time, and someone remembered.

And a stamp still cost 29 cents back them. Ooh, Express Mail it was!

Repetition is key. So let us make sure our voices are heard. Here's a great place to start. Read some of the comments and be surprised. People want more Alzheimer's stamps. I'm writing another letter before I forget.

Okay. Here's fun as promised. I uncovered these in a box from storage. They were my top sellers and gifts back in the day. Mama has a bonnet and daughter Bunny has a basket. I can't get the paper any more. I searched for it last year. 

They do stand alone. 

My Christmas baby's missing a bell.

She was my sweater baby. She'll be my letter baby if she co-operates.

OWM will never die from a lack of material, but the Breath of Time-Out creeps up the back of my neck often enough lately, and with an ever-growing force. I won't cave just yet--not before the next postcard campaign anyway. 

Good mail was mine today. Mail went out too. Tomorrow's a good day to share. How do I know? I can just tell. 

The rain stopped. No more storm. Write 'till your ink well dries up. Or you run out of words.

Be well. And make more postcards. Then mail more postcards!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

And Then . . . This Is What I Did

So. Remember yesterday, when I told you what Anna said? Well, I took her advice, and this is what I did. I immediately set to working making stamp people. 

Everyone knows a layout always follows the push aka idea. It's all about what's pleasing to the eye. 

So a shift to keyboard middle creates an entirely different perspective. A triangle forms between the butterfly, Ida B. Wells, and Nelson Mandela. Another forms between the flesh tones. Then there others with the reds, the blues, the black and whites . . . And then there's the king in the crown against a red background. Outstanding.

Hmm. The almost black L makes some colors pop. I like.

More? Or less? Background has a story. A backstory, huh?

Thoreau looks like Johnny Cash. Cool frog legs and waterlilies. Ida's cutting' her eyes at what's his name. And the triplets are all about that bass. 

You've guessed where this is going, yes? Yet again. It's so much fun. 

I chose three different papers to work with but prefer the Lasal photo matte. The Bright white Hammermill just didn't cut it. The Estrada was overkill. All that rag would be wasted on postcards. The Lasal offered up crisp, rich,  delicious colors, and the stock is good for postcards and notecards. Moab has been one of my go-to workhorses for at least a decade. Try it, you'll like it. It elevates handmade to a lovely new level.

And the best tool to come between my great big ole Epson 1400 printer and the finish line is  . . . my old paper trimmer, which also happens to be one of the best I've ever owned. The black skid marks on the wall are my fault. 

See for yourself. It's easy to tell which postcard was printed on what. I printed ten. Or six? The stack went out in today's mail. Thank you, JC. 

I discovered a box of lovely notecards that are over ten years old. They smell. They're out of print which means I cannot toss them. How they smell of smoke and snuff baffles me so a warning is called for. I aired them out, and they'll get a good baking soda bath tonight just in case. Heaven forbid I make someone else ill with musty smelly mail!

There are two letters to keep the postcards company. Wait. My math doesn't work. I wrote eight "stamp people" postcards, three Don't Shoot postcards, and two letters. See? They really are "Stamp People." You get it, right?  Oh stop!

Yeah, stop. We need to talk. We need to talk about IT. In light of what's going on in St. Louis and across America, I could have gone dark. It's open season on hate.