Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Global domination!! *insert evil laughter here*

I'm a fairly new mail enthusiast. However, I like to believe that what I lack in experience, I make up for with RABID enthusiasm....no....don't back away, this foam at the mouth? It's from my latte!! I'm friendly! I SWEAR.... One of the great things about being a new mail enthusiast is that I get to start from scratch with everything. It can be really exciting to start projects from the ground-up instead of having to retroactively fill in information.

For example, let me introduce my side-project related to penpalling and postcard-sending: MY MAP OF GLOBAL LETTER DOMINATION!!!

No, just kidding. I'm not that ambitious. I can barely conquer the stairs in my house—ugh, do I really need to climb 13 whole stairs?! THIRTEEN WHOLE STAIRS?!! My husband refuses to carry me, which I think is really rude of him. So, as you can see, global domination is reaching a bit far for me. I'd be pretty happy with conquering the little voice in my head that keeps telling me to eat the entire package of cupcakes.... Repeat after me, "Eating an entire package of cupcakes is...oh so good [this is where I normally get to]....but is actually oh so bad! [this is where I NEED to be]." BAD LAURA.

Getting back on track: I use this map to chart all my incoming and outgoing mail. Purple flags represent penpals and letters (sent and recieved, regardless of whether it's ongoing or one-offs); black flags are outgoing postcards; and red flags are recieved postcards.

Most of the countries and continents are underrepresented right now (particularly Australia, South America, Africa, and Russia), but I know it'll come together eventually. One major problem I'm running into is that certain countries have a huge contingent of mailers (particularly the Netherlands, which has the largest number of postcrosser users in the world). There's only so many flags I can stick on the map in that country's area, especially if that country is a relatively small country [land size on my map, comparatively speaking]. I wonder if I asked very, very, very politely, if some of these mailers would be willing to move to, I dunno, Serbia or Greenland. I don't have flags there at the moment and it would make things a lot easier for me....No? Okay, never hurts to ask....

Anyone else have mail-related side projects?

*sorry about the weird reflections on the map. Stupid glossy maps.... grrrr....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sir Scone-a-lot.

I had high tea for the first time a few weeks ago. For a tea wannabe aficionado, I'm embarrassed that it's taken me this long to try it out. But now that I've gone, my days are spent wailing, "HIGH TEA, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!" High tea includes various treats served on tiers. Tiers! With tea! There is no part of that combination of words that does not make awesome sense in any universe. However, one of the consequences of finally discovering high tea is my new love for scones. Oh my lord, scones! Scones, get into my mouth now.

Anyone have a really easy (like REALLY easy. Take your easy and then make it even more easy because you should never underestimate my laziness or inability to bake) recipe for scones? Better yet, anyone want to just quit their job, move to Canada, and make me scones all day long? No? Not a single taker? Man, what kind of world do we live in where indentured scone servitude is no longer attractive? I kid, I kid. However, the reality is that I now crave scones morning, afternoon, and night. And I might actually have to don my doctor who apron, dig out some baking utensils (you can bake scones in a roasting pan, right? HA! I'm now imagining you bakers out there having a fit at my baking ineptitude), and actually make desired scones for myself.

Now, onto the mail! Another slowish outgoing week again. As I mentioned last week, I had to slow down somewhat so I could do other things that I enjoy. I've never been a person who can write several letters in a day as it takes me at least a few hours (often quite a bit more) per letter—it's a combination of my verboseness and anal (*cough*delightful*cough*) thoroughness. This is my roundabout way of saying that it might take a little longer to recieve a reply from now on, but I hope my sparkling wit and lovely personality will more than make up for it. No? How about I just distract you with a pretty envelope then? No? Whew....tough crowd. However, I appreciate your patience and please know that I am very appreciative of everything you send me. It's always a pleasure to recieve your mail, and I hope it keeps coming!

OKAY, enough of the cheese, now onto the meat and potatoes of this post:



My first hologram postcard!! Flap those wings Ms. Patty Polly Penguin!


And that's it from me. Scone ya laters! Oh, that is a terrible pun. If you were to change one letter in that sentence, it would turn into a threat. What is happening here?! Apparently I start borderline threatening people when I don't get scones. Scone withdrawal makes me scary. Huh, who would have thunk?!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stamp o' fun!

Hello everyone! I hope you had a lovely week (mail-related or otherwise). To me, "lovely" is the ultimate compliment. I only use it when referring to the utmost, praise-worthy things. So when I say "I hope you had a lovely week," I really hope that your week was the cat's meow!

My outgoing is less than usual this week. I realized that I was spending a lot of my free time simply writing letters. While this is an undisputed great way to spend my time, it was getting to the point where it was largely all I was doing. I'm behind in some of my other activities (namely reading, and TV, and eating things that are bad for me. So very bad for me.) and I think my husband likes spending time with me sometimes (Was this in our vows? What's with all these expectations?! Why is he so demanding?!). So I'm making a concerted effort to slow down the writing somewhat so that I don't feel like I'm morphing into a machine. While I do like the idea of being a robot, I strive to be a well-rounded one.

How do you deal with balancing all the competing priorities in your life? How do you find an even balance? I'd appreciate any suggestions or tips!

Anyway, onto the mail pretties......


Earlier this week, I had the best single mail day I've ever had (6 envelopes and 4 postcards). My husband got hyper excited and started yelling, "IT'S A WHITE DRAGON MAIL DAY!!!" Clearly he needs to get out more.

Postcard from Nicole at BADbad Francine. We're doing a bit of a postcard penpal experiment where we exchange postcards instead of letters. Although it lacks some of the intimacy of letters, the intention is to have a more frequent correspondence. Let's see how it goes....

The above envelope contained the below really neat handmade postcard from Helen at I Heart Post. Thanks Helen!

My postcard orphans came in from Post Muse! This makes me very excited as I quite missed the little pitter patter of postcard feet.

Kay's letter below had not just one, but two mix CDs! I was thrilled and excited. I love getting a sense of what my penpals listen to and being able to share music.


I took a day trip to Jasper National Park earlier this week and started a number of letters while I was there. For some of my outgoing letters this week, this was my view while writing:

Not bad, huh? So if I seem calmer and more at peace than usual in my letter, I owe it all to the view (it's certainly not my natural disposition!).

That's it from me folks. Wishing you a great weekend and great mail days ahead. Any plans? I'm getting the air/furnace ducts cleaned in my place this weekend. I know, I know. I am such a party animal. What's next, going outside without a jacket?! I'm out of control.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Penpal Protocol (otherwise known as PPP, you know me)

I interrupt my usual snarkiness and shenanigans to bring up an issue that I'm curious about:

As we all know, recieving letters is great. It's such a thrill and joy to reach your hand into the mailbox and pull out things addressed to you. You, yes, you! I know it's the highlight of my day.

Yes, that IS a mailbox shaped like a shark! And no, sadly, that is not my mailbox.

However, what happens when you exchange letters with someone that you don't click with? I'm sure we've all experienced it. It's not just a matter of having nothing in common with your penpal because sometimes it's great to write someone who has completely different interests. For example, I'm sure we've all exchanged letters with people who seemed more concerned with the quantity of their incoming and outgoing mail than the quality of their responses. My favourite penpals and letters are the ones that read like messages from friends. I love letters just full of personality! However, the reality is that just like in real life, we're not going to get along with everyone we exchange letters with.

So what do you do if you just don't click as penpals with someone? Do you "suck it up" and simply continue writing? Do you decide to stop writing? What is the protocol for ending a pen friendship? Do you write a letter explaining your decision or just let the responses peter out? Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable just stopping a penpal relationship without some explanation (it never feels good to be on the waiting end of a letter that will never come...), but how would you approach the subject? What would you say?

Also, what would you do if you hadn't heard from a penpal in a few months? Would you assume that they just decided to stop writing? Or would you send another letter just in case a letter went missing somewhere on the way? Would you fly to their city and wave at them from his/her kitchen window? (Kidding! That is 100% a joke. Just to clear up any potential confusion, let me take a stand here and say: Stalking is bad. So very bad.) How long would you wait before contacting them?

I'm interested to hear about people's experiences and how they would deal/have dealt with the issue. I'm not asking because I'm looking to end my correspondence with my current penpals (YOU: You wrote a letter on paper that has 5 mm line spaces. I only write to people that have 5.8952 mm line spaces. I will stop writing to you immediately), but it's something I'm curious about. Is there some sort of Emily Post guide to penpal etiquette? If not, can I write it?!!! Emily Post Guide to Penpal Etiquette tip number 2,234,234: You MUST write on paper that has 5.8952 mm line spaces. Or else the world gets taken over by coconuts and pineapples. Then life becomes about drinking pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Beware, this isn't half as fun as it might sound.

I look forward to your comments! I'll just be here, back-filling the first 2,234,233 tips in the Emily Post guide to Penpal Etiquette.... tip #1: always write letters using a writing instrument of some kind. Using a piece of spaghetti or a shoe to write a letter is useless and will get you nowhere....

tip #892: however, under special circumstances, such as a full moon on the 16th of November during a leap year, it is possible to use a car tire to write on a postcard, which then also doubles as a time-travelling device. But only if that tire came from a clown car that drove across Utah in the summer of '69....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

I have a confession to make: I'm running out of punny titles that use the word "show." I know, I know, I'm embarrassed by it too. I understand if you won't be able to look me in the eye for a while. Anyone have any "show" puns that I can unabashedly steal as blog titles? No? Yes? Maybe? You let me know.

It was a leafy sea dragon mail week. [I'd be lying if I said I came up with that on my own. Because I might have googled "weird animal names." And by "might," I mean I did. I totally did.] I don't know how much more steam this using-an-animal-scale to-describe-a-mail-week schtick will work because I'm absolutely running out of types of animals that my work-weary brain can come up with on the fly. And you know the gig is up when you start calling things a "centipede mail week." So, I'll have to come up with an equally senseless scale to gauge my mail week on. But onto the good stuff (it's VERY picture heavy, so I don't blame you for just looking at the pictures and ignoring the words—it's what I'd do if I were in your shoes!):


YAY! My long-awaited mail from Julie arrived this week! Ever since Julie left a comment saying that she sent me mail, it feels like I've been waiting forever for this envelope to be in my mailbox. I was starting to think that it was coming literally via snail mail, with perhaps a transfer to pigeon carrier in Manitoba. Turns out that I just needed to hold my darn horses (as usual), and the letter was every bit worth the wait.

A while ago, Julie asked to post a video of my happy, "YAY-I've-got-mail-from-Julie" dance. Unfortunately, I was too giddy to remember to capture the moment [sorry Julie, I practically mauled that envelope open], but I've got something even better:

Julie—trust me when I say that the dance was EXACTLY like that [minus the presence of a kid, and I was wearing a much dorkier sweater. But Will Smith actually did come into the room—true story!]. It's probably good that I didn't capture my version on video, because this version is already exact and pretty genius. Capturing genius on camera twice would probably make the world implode. It's a huge burden accidently destroying the universe with your dancing.

A totally awesome stationery order from bubbledog:

A completely unexpected, but absolutely wonderful package from Patty at Just Letter Rip (isn't her mail art so much fun? I'm happy to say that I picked up the phone and connected to her mail art call...and this metaphor is going right off the rails so I'm shutting up now):

Wonderful letter from LR who is also a new mail blogger at Envelope Chronicles:

I WON!! Mary at Lust For Life had a postcard giveaway a few weeks back, and I won! Mary has a wonderfully upbeat and positive mail blog that I visit regularly when I'm feeling overly cantankerous (which happens quite a bit. I know, I'm shocked too). Mary even wrote the letter from the recently-held Letter Writing Social at the Postal Museum. So exciting!

I was super excited to win because the only other thing I've ever won is a Howling Kitties CD in junior high (and yes, it was as exciting as it sounds. Did I mention that I was the only person who entered the contest? I mean, I hope you won't think I'm being pompous here, but I think my chances were at least 86% in my favour there). Andria, another recipient of the postcard giveaway, got a weird surprise with her package; unfortunately, I don't have an exciting story like that to tell. The only unexpected thing that happened to my package was that it appeared to have taken a dip in a lake:
Sometimes packages just need to take baths. Sometimes they get thirsty too. I understand.


That's it from me folks. Same bat time, same bat channel.....