Monday, May 31, 2021

HB to G3 (ISU Story - delay)

This birthday greeting to Mr Wilson -from Leslie- was one that elicited a perky response from Mr Wilson. I'm drawn to the idea of stealing the idea and as luck would have it -- someone sent me some of those stamps.


Part of me wants to string you along - as you wait for Chapter 5 of the ISU story.
That part of me is the part that has to fill in about 45 posts.
That's a lot of writing.
I'm rather enjoying my story.
For years and years and years and years, I have wanted to make the story into a movie.
And I want to go on record right here, right now, May 16, 2021 -- that this is my own original idea.
I think it would make a wonderful movie. 
I picture it being similar to Men in Black -- a dovetailing of aliens and humor.
Maybe the aliens are reading this blog and maybe they like the idea
and maybe they are going to figure out a way to deliver the idea to someone who can actually get it made.
If that happens, I will use this blog post to prove that it really was my idea.
I hardly ever care about ownership of my ideas - but I am rather fond of this one --
so, I'd like to hang onto it.

So, it looks like this is the last day in May.
Tomorrow we have sign up for the exchange.
The earliest we have Chapter 5 will be June 2.
Hang in there.
Sorry for the delay.
At least you don't have to read my whining.

Real time report.
My frame of mind is back in its groove.
Blog posts are filled up all the way to July 15th --
and I have a long list of other fun stuff to post.
So - let's all enjoy the journey while things are on an upswing.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

From CarolynC -- (Danny Gregory)

CarolynC says this is inspired by tangle
I have not been to that blog yet - maybe I'll get there when this pops up.
Turquoise, black and red is a nice combo and the partial border adds the right amount of *something else.*

Chapter 5 will be delayed because I already had this post lined up and I am not going to bump it.


This is a really long post by Danny Gregory. I signed up for his weekly letters and at the end, he says that I should share his letters with my friends and give them a link to his website. While this is long, it covers my thoughts on creativity. If you do not feel creative, it's only because you didn't cross paths with someone who could teach you the basics of how to discover tap into it.

Danny Gregory

I spent a lot of time in school learning to conjugate latin verbs.  I ground my way through trigonometry. The dates of medieval wars. I memorized the key exports of African countries, the table of elements, and the names of all the US vice presidents.

But I never, ever studied the very thing I’ve made a living from my entire adult life. 

In no country on earth, as far as I can tell, do they teach the creative process in school. 

Not in elementary, high school, business school, not even in art school. 

Rather than teach it like any other useful discipline, we treat creativity like some weird alchemy, a God-given gift, a luck of the draw.

But it’s not. It’s a process which has basic elements, that can be written on a blackboard, just like the pythagorean theorem.

And these basic steps, once understood, can be used to unlock creativity in any field. Art, music, finance, medicine, sports, tech or politics. 

It’s a mystery why they aren’t a formal part of the basic curriculum.

Like most essential skills, they make theoretical sense when written down but they take a lot of work and practice to put into useful practice. Just as a teacher can write Every Good Boy Does Fine on the board, it takes years for her students to master the violin. Studying Organic Chemistry doesn’t make one a gifted surgeon. And football coaches run drills and drills and drills in preparation for the coming season. 

Creativity works the same way. Practice makes it habit.

School is the ideal place and time to study the basics of creativity from a young age and then inculcate that process so that every student learns to be a successful problem solver.  As it doesn’t happen in school, pay attention and I’ll take you through the basics here instead.

Creativity has three main steps. I call them Ready, fire, and aim. 

First, you must get ready. Gather your materials. Reap, harvest, hunt the elements that will go into your creative stew.  Embrace the riches of the universe. Watch movies. Read books. Study the masters. Listen to all sorts of music. Have conversations with strangers on the bus.Wander, roam, explore. Fill your brain until it groans at the seams. You have to develop a marrow-deep habit of open curiosity, delving into all disciplines and cultures for the way they approach problems, innovate and improvise. Cultivating an energetic, open, absorbent mind is the first part of the creative process.

As you get ready, your subconscious mind will be diving deep into this reservoir of inspiration and making connections. It’ll put disparate pieces of information together in random, infinite ways. Linking a musical theme with an historical fact with a snippet of conversation with a data chart and a recipe for Greek meatballs. The cauldron is going on simmer and the ingredients will melt into a rich broth. 

That takes time. Private time. Just the reservoir of your brain perking and bubbling with no adult supervision. You can’t open the oven door in the middle, you gotta just distract your conscious mind, and let the juices flow. 

No amount of straining or worrying will help. Quite the contrary. You gotta trust in the process. Take a nap. Play a game. Stare out the window. Take a shower. Floss. 

And suddenly, poof, stuff will appear. Ideas will pop like kernels .

At this stage, you will spew out ideas. Good ideas, bad ideas, weird ones, and useless ones. You will be a well-fed meadow, your rich soil a magnet for seeds from across the world, sprouting up flowers and fruits and weeds and trees in abundance. An unmanicured, cacophony of abundance.

But that’s not the end. Because what appears is still raw, full of potential, but not ready for prime time. 

Next, the hardest part. You gotta polish. You gotta prune. You gotta evaluate. You gotta execute.

This requires a gear change.You have to switch from the wide eyed stage of readiness and the wild energy of firing to a methodical, critical period in which you cull the herd down to a few solid ideas to be tested, refined, critiqued and polished into gems that can change the game.

Creativity is at its heart a teachable, learnable process. Learn and apply it and you will be prepared for any career path, any eventuality. You will write creative legal briefs, make creative contributions to your manufacturing process, launch creative tech startups, create new recipes, symphonies, traffic ordinances, and budget proposals. 

Creativity is an essential skill and it’s never too late to learn and practice it to make the world a better place. 

Your pal,



Jean's shorter version:


Surf around and gather ideas


Combine the various ideas into a stack of experimental work


Edit and refine 



Saturday, May 29, 2021

AmyG to Mr W. - (ISU Story - Chapter 4)

AmyG's card for Mr Wilson's 70th birthday arrived a little late. I think it got caught in the USPS chaos.
It's looking a little bit like an alien spaceship.

As mentioned yesterday - Chapter 4 will explain the dovetailing of technology with those clever little *bugs* that travel through our bodies. 

What's there to explain? That's just the way it is. The aliens want us to think that there is something different between little manmade do-dads -- and the little bug-things that are in our bodies. It's tempting to fall for that theory. But, it's gotta be the other way around. Everything is the same thing. And how do we know that? Because before there was anything, when there was nothing, there couldn't have been a bunch of different stuff. So, the original source material has to be all one thing. 

Chapter 5 - what was that original stuff?


Friday, May 28, 2021

Lauren's valentine. ------ (ISU story - Chapter 3)

Lauren's cards and envelopes are always lovely.
This one cracked me up. 

I need to recap for myself. 
Or, I should have made an outline to follow.
I've never had a series of posts.
Chapter 1 was about the aliens coming to ISU at Ames.
Chapter 2 was about Ames.
Chapter 3 must be about how the aliens actually showed up much earlier because they were obviously responsible for the suitcases which guided more aliens to Ames. They were there when computers were being invented. I know there were some simultaneous activities (in other parts of the world) regarding the creation of computers. So clearly, there were aliens in multiple places all working on a way to invade and take over. But, the stuff going on at ISU was pretty significant.

I could delve into actual facts and share them with you. Or you can just believe me. Or you can Google. The aliens want you to be sidetracked by looking for accurate information. That's part of their master plan. Well, congratulations, aliens, you've won. People are wildly distracted by information. The accuracy of information is getting to be less and less of an issue.

Chapter 4 - coming up tomorrow - will explain the dovetailing of technology with those clever little *bugs* that travel through our bodies.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Lynne's Happy New Year (ISU story - Chapter 2)

Yesterday afternoon, I posted an urgent call for help from the USPS union.
So, if you did not see it yesterday, you may scroll down and review the request.

Lynne took a folded pen class online and this was her first attempt. I'm always glad when I encourage people to take classes and they send me an example. This is a great start.

Also, I love the card - it was blank on the inside.
The printing on the back is clever, too.
Home-cooked greeting cards made with love and a pinch of sass.


IG @_spaghettimeatballs_

I have not gone to either of those, so, you are on your own.

Real time comment -- just to be perfectly clear -- this ISU story is just a series of silliness that I lapsed into when I was looking for alternatives to my endless whining. Yesterday's post sounded looney and this story will get loonier. Sorry. I don't have time to replace the posts with sensible and/or scholarly material. Feel free to skip them.


Chapter 2 explains why the aliens ended up in Ames, Iowa. They liked the symmetry of the two 4-letter words. They also liked the zip codes. 50010 and 50011. Those are really good numbers. They were looking for a sleepy little community where really smart people had gone to avoid the big fancy places that were doing all kinds of important research. The aliens were counting on the really smart people to be lulled into complacency by the deeply routine daily life in the rural midwest. And they wanted all four seasons in equal amounts. You get that in Ames, Iowa. It's quintessentially rural and predictable, but it has some kind of weird cosmic attraction. I can't explain it - but I know it has always been really long on scientists and really short on artists. Or maybe there are a ton of artists, but they were not consulted when it came to designing a lovely campus.

This is going to be controversial -- but, I'm going to stick my neck out and state my opinion. I have been to quite a few campuses in my day. I won't list them, but there are some gorgeous campuses. I've even been to state schools where you would not expect anything special but they are gorgeous. And then there are the ones that are famous for being gorgeous from day one. ISU is the worst hodgepodge I have ever seen. I'm pretty sure there are no two buildings that relate in any way other than that they have walls, doors, and windows.  

They did build a group of dorms one time that literally looked like suitcases. But they were so poorly constructed that they had to be torn down. So, it's not that they do not have any pretty buildings. Some of them are lovely. But, it is like a collection where there is no rhyme or reason. It's like a crazy quilt. Some people like them and some are better than others. Some people probably love crazy quilts above all others. I'm fine with that. I just don't think it's the best design choice for a college or university campus. Just my opinion. Let's not get sidetracked by an aesthetic debate.

As luck would have it, when I Googled  *ISU suitcase dorm* there was one lonely photo and a pretty nice blog entry. Maybe two of the suitcases are still there. Maybe some day I will drive up there and see if I can get a photo of the two remaining suitcases. I like the view when you are approaching and they poke up through the landscape.

Anyhow -- if aliens were looking for a place to park....ISU had a lot to offer. The suitcases were giant markers constructed by the aliens that had already infiltrated the institution.

Here is a link to the blog where I found the photo and the blogger has some interesting things to say about the dorms.

In case it is not obvious, there are two suitcases on the right at the moment of implosion.

2 minutes later - there are some more photos - but none showing them as they rise out of the prairie from a distance. Back to our story tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Urgent USPS matter

 OK -- this is urgent -- that we make our voices heard. 

It is the postal worker's union -- asking for people to speak up. While it is addressed to members of the union, I checked - and it is perfectly fine for non-union members to contribute.

There is a box to check - if you are a union member -- I plan on saying something along these lines:

As a non-union member, these are my top three reasons for -----  and then list my top three compelling reasons for maintaining the current standards.

I should have sent my letter first. The letter is already written for you, if you like the top reasons already spelled out for you. So, it is even easier to *be heard.*

Here is the post from the union:

Management is planning to make permanent delays to our mail delivery and it's up to us to stop it.

As postal workers, we know better than anyone how postal customers depend on fast and reliable service. Will you send a message to the USPS and Postal Regulatory Commission and tell them to stop the mail slowdown?

As part of the USPS 10-Year Plan, postal managers are attempting to change our public Post Office's first class delivery goals. They want to shift on-time mail delivery from 1-3 days to up-to five days for first class mail and end-to-end periodicals.

This would mean more delays for every single one of us who relies on prompt service from the people's Postal Service. It would risk driving more customers away. 

We have just a short time to stop this from happening.

The Postal Regulatory Commission will soon issue an advisory opinion on the delays. We want to make sure that the commissioners know the public is against delaying our mail. 

Together, we can stop these delays. Will you make your voice heard? Submit your comments to the USPS rule making and the PRC here.

In union solidarity,

The American Postal Workers Union

They need people to send emails by Friday the 28th of May.

And --yes-- sending the email will put you on a list to get more emails --

and you may opt out of getting more emails. I'm going to go ahead and let them send me emails -and respond to them and get more involved. Obviously, I have my son in mind. But, I also feel that we take the USPS for granted - and they need our support. 

Lauren -- (ISU story - Chapter 1)

Lauren's January mailing can take us on a trip down memory lane. How is 2021 shaping up? I just heard that our local water supply is in bad shape and wonder if the person who was relating the information was quoting a reliable source. The alarming thing (for me) is that when USA Today bought our local paper, they stopped including local news so I don't read it any more. Then we decided to give up cable TV because I find endless entertainment directly through the internet... so now, I don't have any source for local news. It's going to be a huge problem if we run out of water ... without warning.

I've been saying for years that aliens are already here, they came to Iowa and they were hiding out in the lab at Iowa State University (ISU) and they have infiltrated everything/everywhere/everybody and they have some grand plan. Yes - they are behind all the viruses, too, because I know two people who were working in the lab at ISU when the whole anthrax thing was going on and that lab was one of the main places to work on it. So, the aliens were there at the time gathering info.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story.


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Gloria (30 posts - 3)

So pretty -- and it evaded (or is it eluded?) the postal cancelling machines.

Yesterday I specifically said that I was going to go eat breakfast. But then I was curious about what the next envelope would be. I actually had more to say. And then the minute this popped up, I forgot what I was going to say. Dang.

(There was some additional drivel here that I deleted)

The past couple days have made me cringe when I checked the morning blog post. I have been vigilant about trying to make this blog about ideas for envelopes and lettering and the way it has de-volved has been stressing me. 

But, there is GOOD NEWS. I can't insert it here - because - to update the posts that are already written eats into the time that it takes to write the new posts. So -- hang in there. I have some alternatives to whining that will be popping up. And then on June 17th (approx) I will announce the antidote to the *the state I've been in* that Chuck sent.

And shout out to the other people who have sent encouraging messages. There will be heartfelt thank yous. I truly appreciate it. I'd like my thank yous to be more prompt, but I am going to be vigilant about how to have a plan and stick with it.

Monday, May 24, 2021

HB to G3 (30 posts -2)

Birthday greetings for Mr Wilson from Leslie (above)
and Faye (below)

In yesterday's post, Mr Wilson was clanking around in the kitchen. The up-side to me taking my long trips is that he's become very comfortable feeding himself. My interest in meals has really deteriorated. And I apologize if I have already babbled about this. When I reflect on the things that contributed to Mr Wilson deciding that he was going to sign me up to be his lifetime partner, I know that the meals were a huge part of it. He was already out of law school and living by himself and the only things he could cook were grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes. It was pretty easy to dazzle him with my cooking and at the time, my artsy friends were obsessed with gourmet cooking - so I did have a sincere interest in cooking. 

And then we had kids and he always worked late - so food turned into a chore. I feel really sorry for him. But, whenever I feel sorry enough that I actually go through the steps of buying stuff and making it - it ends up killing the whole day. <sigh> 

The clanking has stopped. I'm going to go eat something.
Thank you for bearing with me through these difficult times.
Feel free to send me lengthy emails, whining about the things that are wearing you down.
It might give me fodder for something more interesting than my own *stuff.*


Sunday, May 23, 2021

JeanR's valentine. --- (30 blurbs)

It's fun to show JeanR's work

 I just counted and I have 30 photos posted that need blurbs. It is causing me a little anxiety because I don't think I have 30 things to say. And my calendar has filled up with another mercy mission to help my daughter with her kids. Thankfully, the Chicago schools run all the way through June 22. Nanna is going to fly in to Chicago and then fly the kids to Iowa for a week and then fly them back to Chicago and then stay for a couple weeks (during which time the parents have been invited for a long weekend in Nantucket) They were there pre-pandemic and said it was delightful. So, I'm happy for them to have a short getaway. I think the R&R that Nanna provides when she *can't remember* all the house rules is pretty nice for the kids.

None of that was important information - it just explains why I have to get all the daily posts scheduled from now until late July. The year goes sooooo fast. I actually can't even believe it is May. I've only got 4 weeks to get that art studio in the garage all set up. 

As I drift further and further away from making envelopes, I'm losing my ability to talk about the envelopes. Although, I do not know which ones are coming up next. Mr Wilson is clanking around n the kitchen, so I'll write a few more posts.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

From JeanR (jazz)

 JeanR said she found this envelope in her stack. Mr Wilson was perplexed by it. It's always funny to watch him respond to mail. I'm sure he is amused at they way I respond to the things that are at the center of his universe. Like music. I leave the room.

It wasn't always like that. When we met, we listened to similar music. But, my taste never changed. I still like Bob Dylan. He morphed into a jazz-guy. Oh.My.Gosh. I literally hear sounds where I think he must have hurt himself and needs help. Or that he has turned on something and it is broken and he doesn't have sense enough to turn it off. I have to stop talking about it. That's how traumatic the sounds are to my poor ears.

Lucky for us -- we have three doors between his music room and the bedroom wing of the house. But, I have to figure out what we are going to do if we ever have to live in closer quarters. I'm guessing noise cancelling headphones will do the trick. 

In case it was not obvious, this has been one of my ranty-est rants ever. I tried to be diplomatic about it because I realize that there might be readers who love jazz - and that is fine with me. It's like canned spinach. I like it, but, I can totally respect anyone who thinks that it tastes like something that's gone very bad and should not be eaten.

Friday, May 21, 2021

From AmyG (---Lance Letscher)

AmyG's collage envelope. I love collage but have trouble coming up with anything to say about it.

As luck would have it, I stumbled across a video about a collage artist. I will list the range of emotions that I went through as I watched it and will try to give you clues about whether or not you want to watch it. I doubt it would have broad appeal and I was thinking it was pretty ho-hum - until about halfway through.

It is a very slow start because the artist is one of the most low-key people you can imagine. The word boring isn't quite right, but, in the beginning, I can totally see how someone would think that he was way too boring and the film was bound to be boring.

His tone of voice never changes and his story unfolds in a very calm and matter of fact way -- but it is quite a story. At least half of it is talking about his process of making his collages. So that part I think will appeal to any of you who make art - especially collage artists. And then there is the story of his life and how it is intertwined with his art. Obviously -- there are ups and downs. 

While there is imagery in his art, a lot of it is very abstract. So, if you are not interested in abstract, you might not want to watch it. If you are a quilter, I think you might enjoy it as there is influence from quilts. I did an image search for *Lance Letscher art* and the screen full of a gazillion of images of his work was horrible. The film only looks at one at a time and the details are what really drew me in. 

If you think you want to watch the film - just watch it - before you read anything about him or go surfing to look at his work. I think it is way more interesting to experience the story through the film and then you can delve into more. Or maybe you want to read and look before making the decision -- either way is fine with me. I did, however, really enjoy watching the story unfold and see his process.

Here's the kicker. I was browsing on Amazon Prime Video and it came up as a free movie. Two days later when I went back to get the link to the movie, it came up as only rentable - for $3.99. So, I am not going to put in a link. I'll just post the name of the movie and hopefully you can do a search and find it for free.

The Secret Life of Lance Letscher


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Leslie's Happy Easter eggs - Golfing with Jessica (NancyH>Jean>Carol)

If I had time, I would do a lot of egg art. I have done some in the past - and am impressed with how many new things people come up with. And the old techniques are still impressive.

Jessica did a fun golf course to go with Arnold.

I ran across this flicker album. There are several envelopes addressed to me. I traded envelopes with Carol for a while and sadly, she passed away. But her envelopes are still there for us to look at. I saw about 5 that were clearly her versions of things that she saw on my blog. And one of them is her version of an idea that I specifically lifted from Nancy Hills. I'm hoping to post the series of hers/mine/Nancy's so you can see the variations.

If you have any interest in cartoon characters, she has a ton of them. 
They look like they are all from the same source.
I am terrible at copying any cartoon style. Just terrible.
And I don't can't figure out why. I'm actually very good at copying lettering.
Why wouldn't I be good at copying cartoons.

Carol's version
Carol's version


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

HB to Jean from JeanR (Susan Branch)

JeanR does all kinds of interesting artwork. Sometimes she tells me about the techniques but I can't seem to make the information stick. It is fun to hear what she learns in all the classes she takes, but my teddy bear brain lets the information slip away. Have I talked about the three brains? The lizard brain, the teddy bear brain, and that other one. I can't remember what the third one is called. It's the one that can reason things out which is probably why I can't remember what it is. Anyhow, my teddy bear brain likes art and likes people and is higher functioning than my lizard brain. The only thing my lizard brain provides is an occasional rant that seems to amuse some of you. I'm right in the middle of a cup of coffee and have no idea where to go with this, so, I'll just grind to a halt. If anyone remembers the name of that higher functioning brain, please let me know. Thanks.

Every once in a while I review my *blog bookmarks* and click on a couple. I just went to Susan Branch's. She is an illustrator and I think the last time I blogged about her was when she had a group field trip to Beatrix Potter's home in England. She has a new group field trip planned for May, 2022 - sailing to England on the QEII. We are all invited.

Here is a link to a verrrrry long blog post that covers her pandemic woes - and how she worked things out. 
The only thing I really look at is her lettering. She's the opposite of a minimalist. Although, I do not think the word maximalist is a word. Does anyone have a better term for the opposite of a minimalist?

She only posts once a month (and she skipped March) so reading the entire April post is like reading 30 to 60 of my posts.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

from Lynne (selfie card) (jury duty) (NORBAG)

The envelope is from Lynne. I was stunned to hear that the USPS returned (to her) a very similar envelope -  to someone else in the exchange. I do not recall if the USPS specified what the problem was - but I hope they are not rejecting mail that is this clearly addressed. I will, however, reiterate that I am currently making all of my addresses very clear and very horizontal on the bottom third of the envelope. My days of challenging the USPS are over.

Perhaps that is why I am in a slump.
Below is a fun birthday card that I received from my college roommate.
It's fun to note that someone thought of selfies - as soon as the cameras were hand-held.

As I write this (a week before today's date) I just finished the Medicare rant. Is anyone interested in knowing if I am going to rant about jury duty? This my 4th time. It is tedious. But, after my last time, I'm really concerned about the type of people who do show up. I don't know how to describe them. Clearly they had not read the request for business casual attire. And after a year of staying home, I'm guess a bunch of us will show up in PJs and slippers. Seriously, I have been pondering a way to make streetwear that would be comfortable to sleep in. Remember Mao suits? I always liked them - and thought it was too bad they had political overtones. 

Yesterday's blurb was pitiful. I left a comment promising to post something fun today. Many years ago I participated in the NORBAG handmade book exchange. If any of you like to look at handmade books, they have posted a bunch. And if you have any interest in exchanging books - you only have to make one. You mail it to them - along with postage for them to mail a different book back to you. Each month - they have a theme -- some of them are very inspiring... like July -- a book sewn together with anything other than thread. The first thing that came to mind was licorice whips -- probably not a good idea.

To see photos of some of the books, click on the months Jan-Feb-Mar or Apr.
Then - if you scroll down -- there is all of 2020 and then an archive.
Maybe I need to switch to books - while I await a return of interest in envelopes.

here is an easier way to see the archive
it is the main Flickr page - and each month is in an album

Monday, May 17, 2021

HB to G3 (inside-out vintage envelope) (Danish design store)

From Jessica

From Hester

Hester had a fun idea - turn the envelope inside out. 


I love this. It reminds me of some of the styles I've used - like the wrought iron.
It is from this website.
I <heart> Danish design

Apologies for this hodge podge of a post. I load images and then I come back with words and I add stuff and I have not found my way back into a decent groove -- but, I'm happy to report that I'm not letting it stress me. This too shall pass. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

From Chuck (stoic message)

Chuck did some nightly fine flowers in April? Another envelope without a cancel.

Pre-add-on: I added the comments below at least a week ago. In the mean time, I've been seeing articles about how stoicism is the latest *fad.* Like yoga and meditation. I don't like to be one more avenue for the fad-du-jour. On the other hand - I don't like to dismiss ideas just because they are riding a wave of popularity. So - I might add more stoic suggestions from time to time.


As I wait (endlessly) to be more inspired in my blurb writing -and/or- get back in the groove on making envelopes, I will steal a message from the Daily Stoic. I'm pretty sure that I have mentioned the Daily Stoic previously. I skim through the daily message and at least once a week there is something to send to my son, the postal worker who minored in philosophy in college and who says he appreciates the reminders. And at least once a week there is something that is perfect for me. This one is perfect for me. It is giving me permission to put off my chores.

All of us are busy. Work. Working out. Kids. Errands. Whoever you are, whatever you do, chances are you have a pretty full bill. That’s just how life goes. We accumulate responsibilities and obligations. 

It was true in the ancient world too. Seneca talked about our tendency to pack our lives so full of things that there was barely time for any sort of reflection or study. This was precisely the wrong prioritization Philosophy should come first, and anything left over could be divvied up to your daily tasks. 

Marcus Aurelius struggled with this too. He had a million things to do. He had an unlimited amount of people vying for his attention. He tried to remind himself that philosophy was actually his real job and everything else was the side hustle. 

So today, take a minute to ask yourself what you are prioritizing. Is philosophy and study and self-improvement coming first? Or does it only get the left overs? Are you dictating time for deep work and reflection? Or does your job and your busy work decide if there is extra time for that? What is your true love? What do you value most?

Philosophy can’t get garbage minutes. 

***OK, I edited it slightly. I don't think they really intend for all of us to become philosophers and do deep work and reflection or work on self-improvement. The part that I emboldened is telling us to be sure to make time for the things we truly love and value. And that might be envelopes. 

Doesn't putting art at the top of your list equate with putting philosophy at the top of your list? They seem like two sides of the same coin.


One more thought on the ancient Greeks. Someone told me that they were intent on including athletics and art in their basic skills. I need to research that. Or, if anyone who reads and comments can confirm, please do. I have always felt that people who are obsessed with physical activities exhibit the same characteristics as artists who are obsessed with making stuff.

I will refrain from my rant about how public education considers athletics and all the arts as non-essential. The rant in my head usually ends with me plotting a very grand and impossible *offing* of the public school system. <sigh> Sorry this is so long.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Janet's HB to me (robin's egg & Tiffany blue)

Another super fun design from Janet

The fine print on the postcard mentions that the guy had just gotten a vaccination and it was *something fierce*

So, today, we are going to follow up on those beautiful robin's egg blue eggs that I posted a while back. I was wondering if robin's egg blue was the same as Tiffany blue. Yes, according to several places on the internet, they are the same. There are people who think that Mr Tiffany chose that color because in Victorian times, brides would often give a gift of turquoise to their bridesmaids. Also, a lot of people think it is green. The blue/green colors are often at the center of debate.

Then I wondered - why would robin's eggs be blue? Why are bird's eggs different colors? What's wrong with white? I found this:
The blue colour in robin eggs is due to biliverdin, a pigment deposited on the eggshell when the female lays the eggs. There is some evidence that higher biliverdin levels indicate a healthier female and brighter blue eggsEggs laid by a healthier female seemed to encourage males to take more interest in their young.

There is a lot more about the health of birds and the colors of their eggs. I will not offer any link. There are endless places to go. All you have to do is ask Google a question. One time, I asked a question that they did not have an answer for - and it annoys the heck out of me that I can't remember the question. I think I wrote about it in a blog post. <sigh> As if I have time to slog through my own drivel to find -- what? -- the absence of an answer. 

Is it obvious that it I am taking a moment to be lazy in the middle of the afternoon?

Friday, May 14, 2021

From Leslie and Troy in April or March (more online games)

 Leslie and Troy both went with the Kraft paper in April. Leslie's did not photograph very well. It is much prettier than it looks like in the photo. I like the way the buffalo is walking on the wavy prairie.


A few days ago I was jabbering about the games and puzzles that I enjoyed with my morning coffee. Sharon (a non-exchanging reader) sent this one and I like it a lot.

It does not have a timer which is fine - although I would be very curious to know what my fastest speed is. Sometimes I am very slow - which does not bother me at all. 

I forgot if I mentioned the NYTimes Spelling Bee. You have to subscribe, which I will not be doing. But, they let you play for free - until you get up to a certain number of points. There are always 7 letters. So, you can plug them into a Scrabble words search and see if it will give you the longest word with those 7 letters. In my free version - all I care about is if I can figure out the big word. I think I have only figured it out once. I am pitiful at Scrabble-type games. 

Nanski sent this list of her favorites - some I've already mentioned. These two I have not heard of. When this pops up, it will remind me to check them out:   kenken, crytograms. 

I wonder if it is crytograms or cryptograms.

I would stop and check them out now, but, I'm on a roll with the hoard reduction project - and feeling quite energized. 


Two minutes later. Temptation won. I Googled kenken. --- not for me --- it is all numbers. I enjoy a bit of Sudoku - but only because you do not have to actually add or subtract. They might as well be letters. It's just fill in the blanks.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

From MM and GraceE - (Rick Paulus rabbit hole)

I have a penpal in Georgia, not an exchanger, and he has exquisite Spencerian.

GraceE has exquisite copperplate, but she has also been swamped with wedding jobs so she tossed off something fun for the March exchange. She had a note on the back that she was sorry it was so simple/boring. But, I think it's just fine. GraceE has had months where she spent a crazy amount of time on her envelopes - so she is entitled to something quick and easy once in a while.

Here is a rabbit hole for calligraphers or people who just want to kill time. His story about his calligraphic journey is very long, includes the part where he was a White House calligrapher - but that is hardly the highlight of the story. He's one of those people who has crammed a ton of stuff into and around his lettering. His work is lovely - very traditional.

The link takes you to the page on his website with his story. There are tabs at the top where you can see examples of his work.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Kate-a-riffic Style of Lettering (Medicare rant)

Kate spotted an envelope to Jackie (from the blog) and asked me if I had an exemplar. I tossed off a quick page of this style and sent it to her. When I got back from my month in Chicago, this beauty was in my stack of mail. For a second, I actually thought it was something I had done. There was no postmark. Sometimes, when I send and invoice, I put in a SASE and make it a fun envelope addressed to myself. When I flipped it over, I knew it was from Kate. I had forgotten all about sending her the exemplar. But, she nailed it.

She did a good job of connecting the l and n. The big N at the end of Wilson is so nice. It anchors that end of the name. The e-a are tucked together perfectly. And her small lettering is very nice. If we were to look back at all of her small lettering, we would see that she is being more precise. And we <heart> precision.

I'm really glad she asked about this style. I have no recollection of copying it off anyone else. There are tons of outlined styles of lettering - so I am sure it is just a conglomeration of a bunch of stuff. Kate wanted to give it a name and we came up with something, but I can't remember what it was, so I'm going to call it Kate-a-riffic - and I might do an exemplar some day and post it. Or maybe we can get Kate to do one.


I heard from a pen-pal-exchanger-blog-reader yesterday with feedback on the spreadsheet I might create for where the stuff it. It was suggested that those of us with a lot of art supplies might benefit from a spreadsheet since we often forget what we have. Yes!! Good idea. And I'm forever telling people that it is so much better to have all of the like-supplies together. If you keep paper or markers in 5 different places - you'll have a heck of a time remembering what's where.

And -- there was an additional request for one of my good ol' rants. It is hard for me to even remember what kinds of things I used to rant about. And I was sure that I could come up with a good rant since I get annoyed on a daily basis. When the mail arrived and I saw the postcard calling me for jury duty, I thought maybe I could rant about that. But then, I had a bill for my *free* wellness *appointment* from Medicare. 

I'll go ahead and rant about this so that anyone else who is on Medicare can be alert to this switcheroo. 

I am oblivious to the concept of yearly check-ups. So, when I received a phone call, because it had been 2 years since my *welcome to Medicare* check-up - I answered the questions over the phone. I think I even mentioned it in the blog that I was pretty happy to be doing all my medical stuff over the phone. But, it never occurred to me that they could/would bill me - when I was not the one who initiated the communication. Well  - I gave an A+ and a gold star to the nice man at Medicare who explained it to me in a very carefully worded explanation about how things are *different* these days. 

It's a new world. If you get a call from anyone, the first thing you should say is, "Will you be charging me for this phone call?" Then hang up. 

Remember the saying, "Living well is the best revenge." I just need to stay well - so that I am comfortable hanging up on them when they call in 2023. And my deepest sympathies to anyone who is going through any kind of situation involving appointments/treatments/meds/etc. I do not mean to make light of the situation.