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. 

So This Is What She Wrote:

(The briefest post I've ever written.)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Searching for Balance on an Earth that Spins as it Revolves

There's more room out than in. May your In Box never be empty. That goes for your Out Box as well! May balance prevail. Envelopes just don't look well or right without an address. There's a remedy for that! Oh yeah. It came to me a blink ago. You'll see my idea soon enough. No, it's not rocket science. But ideas are good. So are single responses. One is better than none.

I drew through my spare time last night. And it was over before I was ready. Not this envelope though. It's from the night before and I didn't discover the miss until today. Impulse drawings are amusing too. Teachers pet turtles and they pet armadillos. Or, armadillos can be teacher's pet as well. *grin* Used to be I saw my fair share of armadillos along the roads at night. Hitchhiking, trying to get out of the headlights, or running for their lives, it didn't matter. They were there and I was there to bear witness. Now I'm making pets out of rats that seem to fear me less every time we meet eye to eye. I have to stamp my foot before it scurries back through the fence to home. And how can a Doberman not be a good rat catcher?

This mama's always got a brand new bag, but here's one of my old-but-currently-still-in-use multi-tasking bags. JC gave me this a few years back. It's a company bag but he had two, so I got the non-leather one, and it's been a workhorse. It's so heavy that taking it down to the patio needs a set of wheels these days. But there are enough zipped spaces, pockets, and stash holes to hold everything a limner-letter written could need, including space for a watercoloring water container, and a Klean Kanteen. Stationery never wrinkles! Oh. And it doubles-triples as a lap desk when I flip it over. Anna, I know what you mean. 

Meet my best warrior to date. There wasn't enough time to draw her cornrows, hair balls, and the rest of her scarifications, but since she's a work in progress . . . I'm wrestling with coloring her armor silver or copper. Gold is out of the question since it's so soft, and I cannot conjure up a likely amalgamation of metals that will be strong and lightweight. Not yet anyway. Perhaps it's made from material that fell from the sky, or is already on-planet, like dragon glass. Hmm. 

Her headgear isn't finished quite yet either. Those dots and microdots on the armor aren't just weldings. Her skin's a dark lavender or tree frog green. I wanted jet black but it's the most difficult color for me when it comes to skin. I saw a young man on the sidewalk in front of Barnes & Noble one day, and his skin was so dark the purple highlights jumped out! He had curls so big and round . . . I stopped where I stepped and just stared as he walked past us. I guessed he was Indian because of his accent. He was so beautiful. 

I had my camera and wanted to take his picture, but I was afraid he'd say no. Had he declined I'd have been heartbroken. Erin told me I should have asked. It's not like I've never been refused before. I have my memories though. Anyway . . . "She" fights with a crystal rod the length of a sword. It's icy blue and goes to gold and green and red and . . . It changes colors with the degree of need. And that's not all. But I've misplaced my Moleskine. 

This is cute, right? Thank you, Carla. Talk of mice and lighthouses, and ta-da! Mice eating strawberries aren't cute at all though, not in real life. They're not cute when they eat my figs either! Oh. Sorry. I try not to get too attached to mice and rabbits and armadillos. Or birds. Neighbor will kill the rats or JC will. So. 

(A letter to my daughter dated 1992.)

Being a big girl, I went on a search for the wee trap from the last time we tried rat-catching. The rescue trap didn't work so we went for the other kind. Both were in the garage last time I saw either of the two. I saw plastic storage tubs from the storage unit instead. Curiosity led to a cache of goodness and memories. Questions too. How can silverfish survive a plastic container? I get how chemicals might be activated by Texas temperatures, but silverfish dined on paper I look forward to sharing with you in a future post. It's a head scratcher for sure. 

Save your letters. Save your letters! Save your letters! I cannot say it often enough. I'm reading through stacks of sent and received, and it's an adventure. Wow. I was such a different person in the nineties. I wrote better letters that's for sure. *grin* My handwriting changed for the worst. Well, maybe not. No. It might have. I still have trouble opening my loops. Handwriting analysis reveals closed loops means you're hiding, you don't reveal much of yourself, you secretive, shy, closed off. Well from the looks of the O in for, I'm an open book. The closed part of the E means I've got secrets or something. I'm bi-lettered? Open and closed? I'm a woman of two minds? Probably! Hahaha! Or am I simply balanced? Balancing? Seeking balance? Working on it! Yeah. I'm working on it.

. . . to be continued

Thursday, September 14, 2017

If I Should Write Before I Wake

I hope my letter the mailman will take.

Because I'll forget about it if it's left in a Rhodia tablet, a pad of stationery, a stationery pouch . . .

Here's another "Ambien letter." It's almost a year old. I wonder if I wrote a replacement. Does this ever happen to you, Ambien or no Ambien?  

Do you know tracing paper makes excellent stationery? It's different. It's exceptionally lightweight. And another cool thing to do with it besides writing is draw to a lovely something before, or even after you write. Tracing is cool too, since it's tracing paper after all. Make it a full drawing/tracing, and it's like a fun watermark!

Never ever ever handle your phone if you have argan oil on your hands. It fooled me into believing I needed a new phone. Again. Since I do it wasn't a difficult convincing. Mine is an iPhone 5s. See? I hold on to the things I like. As long as they do what they're supposed to. Such a thing brings out the loyalty in me. I think that's one reason I don't particularly care for love songs. Or love poems. They're flowery lies that don't hold up under use. JC tells me that's what love songs and sweetheart poetry are all about. They're like the male birds that puff themselves up and strut mightier than a peacock just to impress the lady bird. I especially like the little bird that builds an elaborate nest to lure a potential mate. And he's willing to steal from another male just to put some icing on his cake. 

I'm sure you recognize the print I used to make the envelope above. Large sheets are sold practically everywhere but I get them from Aaron Bros. and Texas Art Supply. I keep buying this design for reasons I've not examined yet. It's much prettier without my iPhone "oil filter." Sorry. The letter inside is on tracing paper. I've since cleaned my phone. 

Maybe not. I know I've said it before but it needs repeating. There's mail or mail related things in every room of our home. I'd be on a therapist's couch if I'd discovered this in the fridge or freezer. Being in the cupboard doesn't phase me as much. Oh. I forgot to rescue it. Aww come on. Stop judging me. I was cooking at the time! I'd still give you the shirt off my back the back of my envelope if you needed one though. 

The shirt off the back of my envelope! Whew! They think it's hilarious too! 

I've got a lot going on this week. Last night was filled to the brim again so no mail went out today. JC brought mail in though. I wish I'd develop the habit of reading all my mail in the same place. No. I need to develop the habit of keeping my mail in the same place. If I did, it'd be easier to put my hands on when it's time to sit down and answer. To quote Letty:  A girl can dream.

I'd have a single drawing pad too. I wouldn't draw on back of envelopes. You should see the latest from Jimmy Carter. I saved the stamp just now. I should save the envelope too. And all those sticky notes. It hard to believe I share as many bad drawings along with the awful. Some are more like awful thumbnails I guess. 

Our instructors were right. Someone invented thumbnails for a reason. Have you ever tried drawing your hand while you drew? This is what it looks like.

So I'm working on something fun. Yes, it's mailable. I get to illustrate my version of a popular lullaby. My little baby looks more like a zombie burrito. A cute baby zombie burrito though. 

Ideas often come at bedtime when my brain should be settling down for the night. So there's a letter writing kit and several pads for drawing in bed with me. And now you know why some of your letters are all creased and wrinkled. There's never drool though!

Who else sleeps with an artichoke in bed with them? Yep, I sketched it last night and it wasn't from memory. The spy glass is a different story. The binoculars are on the floor next to the good side of the bed, just in case.

I have a pad of storyboards someplace. It's just never around when I need it. 

Now you see why some answers are slower to arrive. They take longer to write! Good mail deserves good mail. And I do get some good mail. It's unique, inspirational, showcases talent galore, and it makes me feel so special . . . I have to try my best to do unto you as you do unto me. My draw muscles are rusty since my cartooning muscles get the workout instead. Fun is fun, so combining the two is fun doubled. Squared? 

Scary mail art means I'm still learning how. Poor Downtown Julie Brown. So I'm cutting and pasting and distorting and squinting at possibilities. There are so many things to try!

See??? I told you! I'm stuck. Don't know how to finish. My Mail Art folder might disturb you.   I cannot blame the eclipse. Or the pending mosquito spraying. I'm all that's left. 

I need time to perfect improve my watercolor skills. This poor lighthouse will never shine. So it's time to move on, right? 

I need time to dig in the earth and study things I long to draw well. This is one of my favorite plants. The stalk and branches are red! I do like botanical art. Yesterday there was a grub that got washed up-ground during the raised bed watering. I picked it up and put it on the ground next to me. Will it die tonight? Tomorrow, where ever it is holed up? If there's an outbreak of zombies anytime soon, please remember my warnings. I'm drawing vials of vaccine sometime tonight. The syringes will have to wait until I choose the right color for the vaccine. Clear will make it seem invisible. Some might think it's just water. Hmm. This requires more thought and extra time at the drawing board. 

Leftover bits and pieces of of 12 x 12 sheets that morphed to another stack of homemade envelopes, serve me well. I have three sizes of postage stamps stamps; the tiniest are good fun. 

Such a cool L on its side. And it's not an envelope. 

The too-dark gray was meant to be a silver swath. I couldn't bring myself to use actual silver ink. 

This is an envelope.

And this is another post-ecliptic postcard. These fifty sisters that married fifty brothers and killed them still have me shaking my head. Eclipses affect some people in ways that are quite detrimental to others. What a cool basin though, right? You know they had to have developed some strong arms, backs, and calves with all that bending and hefting they've been doing through eternity.

Such a cool idea I had to try my hand at drawing it. *groan* Some puns were meant to happen. 

So I expanded.

 But only after I remembered that drawing your own hand as you draw isn't the smartest thing to do. The perspective keeps changing! Duh. You might not want to draw after an Ambien either. *grin* Although the results are more interesting since you wonder about yourself the next morning when you see what you did the night before. But we know my Shame-ometer is broken. No shame, no game. Run-on sentences are like hit and run accidents. They're deliberate. Karma at work. 

This is me in my Martha Stewart wrapping space. Uh-huh. Yep. The one true thing about this draw is my hair. I really do wear it balled, and I wear more v-neck, three quarter and long sleeve tees than any other style top. I prefer three quarter lengths and pushable long sleeves because I'm always dragging my cuffs through something.

Buttons frustrate me, and they rarely match up with the right button hole. I look like, as my family tells me, like I dressed in a dark closet. With my eyes closed. And both hands heavily bandaged. Oh. And my head is a lot larger. I get three rows of long plaited balls in three sections in front and sides, nine in back, and there's always stray hair. So that when I'm outside lately, I'm constantly slapping my face, ears and neck. Texas has more mosquitoes that Alaska right now. The Texas "air force" is spraying us tonight for two nights in a row to combat the skeeters. You know we have a local baseball team called "The Skeeters." All these years I thought they were little league . JC, in a rare moment of incredulity, told me they're adults. People with respiratory problems have been warned to stay indoors. What happens if people don't watch the news? Poor things. 

Have I told you before that there are fewer birds about now? There's leftover food ever day since the storm. I didn't really need to read the article that reinforces my suspicions, but backup helps deal with  skeptics and those who don't seem to care. Birds died too during Harvey's assault. Too many. Now they're spraying an insecticide that's been banned in Europe. I don't mind wearing long sleeves and . . . Surely there's a better way to handle the mosquito invasion. 

I like the Burt's Bees mosquito repellant. Yes, I know mosquitoes carry diseases. We need a better way to control them without endangering people and nature is all. The easiest way is not always the best. 

A mosquito bit me. Now my finger is all weird. It bit the back of my hand though. *grin* Any excuse to deflect my attention from an afflicted digit turns me on. Now you know the truth: Writing takes longer. Did you know a mosquito will find a way up your long skirt, and bite your ankles, calves and thighs? They love my blood type too. 

Weird. Right? Yesterday it itched. Now it doesn't. That didn't stop me from writing through the side effects and the weirdness. Three pieces for the house mailman aka JC. And guess what! He delivered three pieces of mail in return! Oh, I like this math! There's no telling what's at the post office! 

As the world turns, I write. And so are the days of our lives. *grin*