Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bird Mail

August 28, 2016

Dear everyone,

I love bluejays. 

They're better mannered than doves and grackles. These guys act like they haven't had a meal in days what with all the pushing and shoving that went on.

Don't let this pair fool you. They're perched there because they were shoved out of the seed pool. See her looking for a way back in?

This one looks like she lost her head, doesn't she? Ah, but the beauty in that wing spread. I enjoy taking pictures when they dine. I get the best models on Earth for peanuts. And corn, and sunflower seeds, rice and other great grains. They're fond of popcorn and cornbread too. 

It's time to do their fair form justice; it's time I drew real birds more often. It's funny but I never thought of birds as having breasts. I think of them as being singular. That just came to me when I noticed that the one in the middle could use a bra. 

I usually draw my silly birds with three tail feathers. Who knows why, but photos give me a better understanding of the color placements on feathers I find in the yard. And don't you love the doves with the rad eye shadow like Mimi's from the old Drew Carey Show?

Theirolors are surprisingly different. Could they change to match the colors of their feathers? There's so much to wonder about. Sure, I could buy more bird books but I'm willing to bet some of you fellow bird lovers know the answer, and you're just itching to drop me a line or two to share your knowledge. 

I've enjoyed the beauty of bluejays all my life but only recently discovered this: 

  • The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue color is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs.
  • The black bridle across the face, nape, and throat varies extensively and may help Blue Jays recognize one another.
Bluejays have melanin. Wow. Did you know??? I wonder if they lose melanin with age like people. I'm steadily losing mine. I miss it. 

Do you know why certain doves and pigeons hang out in different parts of town? I've seen red pigeons (I think they were pigeons!) in Houston but never in Katy. Black ones too. I feed a variety of colored doves and they forever fascinate me; the same bird with so many color variations blows my mind a little bit. 

And did you know jays molt twice a year? Well their heads do. I confess my ignorance. I saw this friend yesterday and I cried some. Instant guilt descended onto my shoulders like a heavy mantle. Had I fed him GMF? GMS? Had I given then poisoned rain water? I bought a new hose recently and made sure it was a safe-to-drink-from hose. JC and the young guy at Home Depot had never heard of drink safe hoses. And don't you know the one who knows me snickered at me being weird? He was embarrassed for me until the young male did due diligence and searched until he found said hose. Did I smirk back? Nope? I simply paid $30 and went on about my business.

This little baldy came to eat only after all the others left. I felt its shame. It was too embarrassed to eat with the crowd because it had lost its crown.. Silly me. Silly, silly me! I rushed inside and Googled "bald bluejays." Enlightenment gave me permission to laugh out loud at my own gnorance. I wanted to share this in Bird Mail but it would mean printing copy after copy of the little bird, trimming print after print, addressing and stamping envelope after envelope, and hoping all the while that I wasn't simply sending out a bunch of boring bird mail. Y'all are too polite to tell me if I had, so please read about it here, and forgive me for taking time you can never call back after reading this, especially if you don't like birds, and are just too kind to say so. No matter. You're gonna be blown away by my next before-Christmas mail campaign. But only if I can pull it off. Sometimes I get a wild hair that never sees maturation--it just festers and passes on. 

See you in the mail!

Limner C


I wrote some regular mail too. See? A real letter in response to another real letter. There are five altogether. Five fulfilled. Many more to go. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

An Envelope Worthy of Jeremiah & Mud Slinging

I get to imagine what Erin's finished pieces might look like if I were allowed to color them. An olive green came to mind with this one, and the word amphora, although it does not have handles. But, if I were in the ancient days when clay was all there was, there'd be no color at all, unless I were married to a wealthy merchant. Keep in mind these are my imaginings. But do note the strong wrists. Oh, my. What I wouldn't give . . .

I'd have filled in this crossword puzzle before it ever wound up as a mat for mud-made objet d'art. Then I wouldn't mind. White for the big mouth? Yes, white. A lovely stark white meant to make peonies pop; perhaps tulips? What do you see? 

Last night she sent a video of a potter making a donut. The wheel is hypnotic. All that spinning flung inner gray energy to the far-and-away place where light comes from and dissipates anything opposite. 

I've never worked a potter's wheel but nothing prevented me from improvising. And, still being in an Olympics state of mind made this little drawing that much more fun. Note the green on the olive oil jar? I get to have so much fun! 

I wasn't sold on the highlighted text until now. Not the parts about Jeremiah; I meant the name and address. The parts excerpted from the book of Jeremiah seemed appropriate; worth reflecting on:  This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you a message. So I went down to the potter's house . . .

. . . and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

"Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hands . . ."

This is my coolest envelope to date. I, too, am made of clay. I've been flung, slung, repurposed, trimmed, reshaped, fired, retired, salvaged . . . Polished, too. Broken. Repaired. And last night . . . Well, this morning I picked up this envelope; I never remember what I've drawn the night before, so sometimes mail goes missing if I put it away before the next day. But this morning the envelope was one of the first things I saw. I saw the Maisons & PARIS sticker and I felt like I'd been punched in my solar plexus. Something's been bothering me since last week. It's something Erin said.

Erin has vacationed in Paris twice. The second time she went she slipped on wet paving stones and fell. No one came to her rescue. It broke my heart. I have disliked the French ever since. I forgot that I'd included the Frenchman I'd dated, along with all the other innocent citizens who never witnessed my child fall. See? I've confessed to being prejudiced before. Now do you believe me? 

So, every time our only talked about moving to France to study baking and French pastry, I pulled out my racist memories and rattled off a handful of reasons why she shouldn't go until after her dad and I had passed on. Number one was always, "I don't speak French, so I cannot go over there and kick ass if something happened to you." I completely forgot how kind they were to my great uncle when he fought in France; so did my grandfather. I forgot that my great uncle married a Frenchwoman, brought her to the States . . . I'm smh at myself. Worse still? Erin told me she doesn't think anyone saw her fall. See? I don't remember that in the initial conversation. I could excuse myself by claiming my misunderstanding was all due to her having told me about the incident when she called from France on a French phone. He-he. (wouch!) See? I'm clay being molded, reformed, not yet ready to be fired . . . Thank you Jeremiah. 

I apologize to all the French citizens. And I promise not to do that again. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Embraceable Me & Good Mail

The boot comes off tomorrow. I've been embraced. The guys over at Hanger are cool. They laugh with you about looking like a cyborg; there are no sad faces there; they offer hope and a jar of Dum-dums. They also make runner blades for infants and toddlers. We never think about babies needing prosthetics. 

The new brace kneels with me. It hurts just enough to make me remember that bones are being pressed and realigned. This hardware will allow me to drive again, and if by some miracle it made it possible for me to run . . . well, let's just say you wouldn't be able to see me for the dust. (grin) 

I stood in line at the post office again today for the second time in many months. It felt great. My favorite employee saved the day again. I mailed goodies in my homemade Norman Rockwell envelope over a week ago and it was returned. To make this a shorty, she wrote an address label for me because the scanner picked up my return address instead of reading the address label I'd cleverly created. C. didn't want to cover the original so she promised to take care of it instead of me having to do a do-over or cover my label. t was worried that I'd gotten her in trouble. While she was helping me try to figure out why the package never left our post office, her supervisor walked over and a stare-down ensued. She's shorter than I am, and I know that bullies aren't so bad, plus I'm good at staring. I won. She wanted C. to "keep the line moving." C. said good customer service and interacting with people is what keeps the line moving; without customers there'd be no lines. Jen, I'm glad you got it. 


More Olympics themed envelopes await letters. They'll run their course eventually. Meaning I'll run out eventually. (grin)


Five pieces of good mail went out today. Five pieces were in my box! Even Steven. Such good mail too. Just you wait and see. 

I saw a photograph of Roy Rogers in here today. So, happy mail, to you, until I write again . . .


A Little Bit of this, that & the Other

Did you cry just a little too? I mean last night, during the closing ceremony. I grinned harder than I cried. It was all so emotional. You might think my Spanish is improving since I understood much of what "Mario" said. And what a shock. Who knew Mario was Japanese? I, for sure, did not. Never played Mario Bros, either, but I might. Pac Man, yes! See? We learn a lot if when we pay attention. 

Did you learn to samba? I did! I did! I think I did. My one legged version left much to be desired, but you just wait until this boot and the Evenup come off this week. I won't wear a fruit bowl on my head but I'm shake something come Friday. Did you know that fruit on Carmen Miranda's head brought Rio to the world's attention? I wonder if she ever got over being known for wearing a fruit salad. She had a lovely voice. And, like the lady sang in the rain, "Nothing lasts forever." 

The sun came out today. There's a short stack of mail ready for tomorrow. I didn't feel like looking for it when JC reminded me to leave my out-going in the out-going place last night. I was too busy mourning the end of the Games. (sigh) Knowing my heart will be in Tokyo in four years helps. The winter games come before that so looks like I'm good to go although truth, is I'm not that big on those games anymore. I fell out of love with figure skating; it melted to a mild like. Maybe I'lll write winter mail, bake bread and cookies, learn to ski or something else then. Ice fishing? Nah. Where would I find earth worms in winter? 

Today I sat on the patio with one of the books I'm enjoying. It's not new but the first chapter was so delicious it deserved to bask with me; too bad the mosquitoes were so rude. Burt's smelled better than it worked, although to be fair I didn't apply it to my skin or clothing. It was easier to give in and go back indoors. (sigh)

This is the chair I want. Lavenger's tempts me with their sinful catalogs. I'm all in with the back and arms. Not so with the saddle-like seat. I have tight hips; the manufacturer recommends "perching" and likens using this beauty to being astride a saddle. They also try to make you feel like you're missing out on something by not sitting like a perfect horsewoman. It's great for your posture. I just want a chair that's good for my body. Have you tried it? Do you recommend it? Will I write better letters if I use this?

I found a missed Christmas-in-July package. Whatever's inside I'll keep. Perhaps it'll pull me out of this post-Games slump that feels like I did after I broke up with my high school boyfriend. I wonder how many Olympians are having a difficult time adjusting to adrenaline drain, settling down to the mundane, missing practicing. Remember how it feels to be on the other side of having a dream come true? Your soul wonders what's next. What can top winning gold? Certainly not a 9 to 5 job. Here I go worrying about people I don't even know! 

Turning the page . . .

Giving always makes me feel better. I finally used another handmade envelope. One letter and this cute little lamb postcard helped for awhile. I hope the recipient likes it as much as the artist and I. Those shells are so beautiful. (sigh)

Make me happier. Don't forget to enter the bag giveaway. Send a postcard with the words Life Line on front. The more I give the better I feel. (grin)

Speaking of giving! Anna, lovely friend Anna, sent a box of my favorite tea. It's not to be had in Houston or Katy for gold or money. Talk about withdrawal? I won't open it until after the box of Taylor's is all gone. Thanks again, Anna! I enjoy looking at the box, imagining I'm there in the scene. That's me in the kitchen doing the washing up after breakfast. Can you see me waving? 

My bunting isn't finished; Alex gave me the Storm Trooper because I gave him the stamps and stickers from Jen. Jen gave me these stamps! The gift of self keeps on giving, doesn't it? Thanks again, Jen.

Did I tell you Trader Joe's gave me a free bag? I had two because I'm weak for reusable food bags I wanted two, but the cashiers gave me one because it was my first time shopping there. We pass the store every single time I go to Texas Art Supply, and didn't know it. I'll keep one but the spare is earmarked for a pen friend.

This is one of my favorite cards. I think I've seen all these pots in Target. Yep, I wanted them too. Thank you Maria! Speaking of Maria, I had four Maria pen friends! At one time too! I always said, "Ave, Maria!" when I saw mail from one of them. I have three Pam/Pamelas! My favorite bookseller is a Pam. How lucky can one me be? 

Speaking of a Pamela . . . this Pamela made the paper wallet I can't seem to get, and she made it from paper I sent from Hi Fructose. Golly-golly! Thank you Pamela One. You're rather clever-clever.

The Tree of Life. It's simply gorgeous. Thank you, Lynda! It's close to being matted and framed. It's time to add to the mail art I hang on my walls. It deserves a wall dedicated to just that. Can't you see this done in felt, stitched with sating threads and a golden needle, matted, framed and hanging? This is my kind of tree.

The Tree of Life card and a book about someone's life. How fitting, yes? I gave my friend Catherine a copy of a book I enjoyed, "Brooklyn." Thank you Catherine. It is also a movie. I caught it on HBO, and hoped my friend would enjoy it too. She had. She did. Then, she sent me this in return. I cheated and read the first parts, knowing I need to finish the three books I'm currently invested in. What's funny is I almost bought a copy of The Clancys when JC and I first saw it in B&N.  I bought my second copy of "The Color Purple" instead. Did you know it's an epistolary novel? As is Bram Stoker's "Dracula?" I often forget that. 

I watched an ant carry this perfect seed across the patio. See that sunlight? I love the sun. August is cleaning house, packing its bags, getting ready to go. Okay, it's leaving messes for us to clean up. There's weeding that needs planning, raking, prepping . . . time is slowing down around us as we wind up for a last summer urrah. By the way, when's Labor Day? 

Wow. I feel better already. Thanks for listening.

yours truly,


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Olympics Rehab Needed

August 21, 2016

Dear Friends,

How are you? Are you turning blue too?

I write to you with a full and happy heart that's doing its best to stave off sadness. The Games are over. I have never watched so much television. But I had to this August; this was Game-on for the world. Records were made and broken, as were hearts and dreams. Americans made me proud and ashamed, but mostly proud. Teams USA represented like no one else. 

The Brazilian people "done good" by us. They should be proud. It's great when those with less act like the have the most when they 're hosts. Watching some of their guests enjoy all they were offered in the spirit proffered made my heart swell with delight in mankind. We're pretty amazing humans, huh? 

So, I take pen in hand to cry on your shoulders because I don't want it to end just yet. Yet I'm glad it's over. My palms are sore from clapping; I strained my vocal cords hollering for those runners to fly; I tried to vault out of my chair like those pole vaulters; I even tried to jump with that little short stack from Port Arthur Texas. And I cried when I said goodbye to Usain Bolt. Will there ever be another better than The Bolt? Well, yeah. Someday. Humans are getting bigger, faster, taller, smarter . . . so yeah, records will forever be broken. 

Black Gurls run! That's a new anthem for me. I love Allyson Felix and Tori Bowie. I have from the first time I ever watched them on a field. Tori has a special place in my heart behind Allyson. I don't "know" the other women on that relay team but they ran in sisterhood and in Americanship. They ran like the wind. I screamed, "Run girls, run! Run like slave catchers are after you! Run! Can't you hear those chains rattling behind you?" And I believe in my heart they heard me. African American women were the first to win the relay those Jamaicans always dominated, like Americans can't run or something. And they tried to cheat, those Jamaicans did, when they bumped Allyson. Well, a well deserved do-over showed 'em. 

I missed watching the American wrestler trump her opponent, but the look on her face in all the clips made me cry. That girl was so happy! Women pole vaulters (That Italian vaulter!!!), gymnasts, fencers, basketballers, boxers . , . I hate boxing, and wish women had better sense than to risk their brains on such a dumb sport; brains are made for better things. But to each her own. Great joy was mine when the Chinese (?) athlete talked about having her period and how her cramps hurt. Periods hurt at the Olympics just like they do at home. See? There's nothing to be ashamed of when you menstruate. Thank God they don't shut us away in huts anymore. Oh. Wait. They still do in some countries. 

Cyclists . . . I tried to watch the BMX bikers but come on. Swimmers, rowers, tennis players . . . you name it there were women in it. And they won some. Women won more medals than men. I don't have enough envelopes and markers for all the images racing through my head. There will be stragglers so please be patient if I draw another Olympics moment envelope in September or October. I couldn't keep up. I started late. (grin)

See what I mean? How could I not do a tribute to Carmen Miranda? That watermelon has to make her neck hurt like mine hurts right now, from bending over my lap desk too long. Sketches are strewn across the bed; on backs of envelopes, receipts, a prescription bag, my desk . . . I had the time of my life last night! It shows. Anna, thanks forever for the hot water bottle. I tried to strap it across my shoulder with an Ace bandage but it didn't work. (grin) I slept poorly last night.  I don't deserve sympathy. (sigh) I need rehab. I cheered while I was awake and I must have cheered in my sleep because my neck pillow was on the floor this morning. I hope I didn't try to vault over the headboard. 

It's 10:17 pm and I'm already going through withdrawal. Oh my goodness gracious. What'll I do?  I know. Take a muscle relaxer and call it a night. I'll finish a couple of envelopes first. (wink)

Be well.

Sincerely sincere,

your friend,

Limner C

P.S. Happy mail to you.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Olympics Mail Arena

Let me see . . . Hmm. Who can I blame for this fine mess? What began as a face forward drawing ended up reversing itself before I had time to think it through. When inspiration comes you gather rosebuds while you may. Right off the bat I heard a whispered warning, "You're gonna get in trouble if you draw the Simone shorter than the balance beam," and I call it a balance beam with mirth. I know it's a table with long leg. The thing is, I don't enjoy tossing almost perfectly good cartoons since I decided not to be such a perfectionist. See where I tried to disguise my biggest part of the mess with my sig? Ha! And Simone's hands look like she has vitiligo; no I'm not being cruel. My brother has vitiligo. 

I'm having so much fun competing with myself to see how many envelopes I can finish before the Games are over. So you see, I don't have time for a single re-do. I have so many drawings fighting to escape my brain in search of life on paper! I got ahead of myself! There's an envelope that came before this one. Dang it! It's just . . . well, this one was so funny. It's the funniest thing to happen on my way to the Olympics Mail Arena.

Stay tuned . . . It'll all be over soon.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rain, Rain, Go Away. Or Stay.


We didn't win gold in the event but our players were bold. In Limnersville there was a tie. The birds and the bees shouted "Do or die!" But it didn't stop the rain from falling. So the game's called a tie. There are no volleyball scores to share, but credit is given to the spinning spiders that wove their net. "We'll meet again in four years, you can bet!" said the spider to the fly.

P.S.  The sun came out just long enough for the worker bees to roll up the gear and store it for the next Olympics year. 

Mail went out thanks to JC.

You know, I thought winning gold for dressage meant a rider won a medal for the perfect riding habit. Dressage is French for training. I say it's man imposing his will over an animal's even when the animal knows better. Man would be better served if he mastered his own animal nature instead of making horses dance, even if the music is Santana's. Ahem.