Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Lynne - thank you to my caregiver


Lynne's card was the first one that arrived for Mr Wilson. I could tell that he was very happy to see that he'd be getting a bunch of mail. Mr Wilson asked if we were going to have a contest. Forty-two years with me and he knows nothing about how I run things. No, Mr Wilson, there is no contest. We love all of them in equal measure.

Not to be morbid, but my head-bonk did inspire me to write my obituary. I love it so much that I want to post it, but, I have more sense than that. I do promise to have it lined up and have a reliable person to post it as soon as I do fall off my perch. Now I am working on a video. I figured it would be fun to say goodby in person. If I linger for another decade or two, I can always do another video covering the tail end. 

Todays post is the last of the first batch where new-brain Jean is writing from scratch. Maybe nobody can tell the difference. That would be nice if I were the only one who noticed. That crazy astronaut is still parked inside my skull thinking we are gong to Mars. I'll be really happy if he decides to take off and find a new travel buddy. But, if we have to get along, we will. While I never went down the tunnel towards the light, the mere suggestion that they might have to cut a trapdoor in my skull was enough to alter my perspective in what feels like a very permanent way.

It's time for me to do my 5 July exchange envelopes and 5 for the August exchange. Wish me luck. Filling up August is a really big deal for me. 


 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Leslie (Be nice to Hector)


So so pretty.
This one came the first week I was home.
I sorta wish I had kept the stack in order.
Now that it is out of order -- I need to figure out a system to insure that I do not get confused and repeat them. As I recall, I have been talking for literally YEARS about figuring out a system.

Maybe the blow to the head will have installed that new system.


As I was adjusting to my situation after I got out of the hospital, I started collecting a list of things to rant about. I had a lot to rant about during the first week. Then it tapered off over the next two weeks. And now, I really don't feel like ranting at all. At first, I felt like I was balancing a cast iron colander on my head (inside my scull) and if I moved, there were ball bearings that would pound my brain. There were also a few red hot spikes that would shoot out once in a while. And then there was Mr Wilson with those roasted and salted almonds. It was brutal. Lots to rant about. 

Happily, the headache has eased off. There are lots of other things that are weird, but, if they do not resolve, I'll be fine. Obviously, if you have been in a hospital you will have a large collection of rant-worthy experiences. But, I'm going to look at things from a different angle.

We're just a bunch of strangers who show up with our problems. Half of us have been researching on the internet and have a bunch of opinions which is guaranteed to annoy them. The other half just want them to fix it. Obviously, the health care workers have some experience in dealing with issues and they usually mean well. But very few things are a quick fix and quite often there are interwoven, tangled, layers of complications. So, they have to approach the situation like a jigsaw puzzle and hope that all the pieces are in the box. And they never are. Stressed out strangers (the patients) are never at their best.

It's not like I have any advice - I'm just musing. The health care system is big and complicated. If you have to deal with it, stay calm but don't expect any miracles. Be nice to everyone and maybe things will go a tiny bit better. Be nice to Hector who looks like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. I only needed Hector to bring me water which worked out OK. But, he did not look like he was all that thrilled with his latest career move. I hear that it's getting harder and harder to staff hospitals. I can't imagine that I would last long if I had to work in a hospital.


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Dancing Nanski (Ashleigh's Pot-Shots)


Thank you very much Nanski, I like the coffee cup on the head. Believe it or not, that theme will pop up again one of these days.


Yesterday I mentioned Ashleigh Brilliant. If you do a search on this blog, there are some very clever envelopes where the entire address has been turned into a poem. It was his idea. He and I were both hired to perform at an event in Duh Moines, many years ago. I offered to show him around. We toured the art museum in my back yard, had lunch and then stopped at my studio. He politely asked to see me actually write with a pointed nib as he was incredulous that a person could actually write like that. So, I did. 

He has had a business since 1967, hand lettering and illustrating Pot-Shots which are pithy comments of 17 words or less. He printed and sold postcards and they were also syndicated in newspapers. I also get his newsletter and he has not run out of pithy things to say. He just sent a new batch and there are a ton of them relating to aging. He's 87 and manages to address the aging and ending with a wee bit of humor.



A few from his latest batch of Pot-Shots. My favorite is No. 11

ASHLEIGH BRILLIANT – THOUGHTS AND IDEAS – AUGUST 2021

 

1.  Your task is not to get through life, but to get through the next five minutes.

 

2.  What if the world ends before I do?

 

3.  I’ve made a good start on my journey to nowhere.

 

4.  Lucky the man or woman who can be outlived by their own teeth.

 

5.  Knowledge doesn’t change anything, unless you do something with it.

 

6.  His long life was attributed to natural causes.

 

7.  Unfortunately, old age is not an injury you can sue anybody for.

 

8.  Death doesn’t need a wide-open door – it can come in through some neglected little hole.

 

9.  What’s the good of being a survivor, if everyone you survived is gone?

 

10.  It’s not that I’m lonely – it’s just that I miss having someone to ignore.

 

11.  The first thing to do is to decide what to do first.

 

12.  Idea:  a RID ATHON – a time when we all get rid of things.

 

13.  This is ridiculous – today isn’t over, but already I’m worrying about tomorrow.

 

14.  I wasn’t looking for loneliness – but somehow it found me.

 

15.  Don’t worry about getting older – It’s only for the rest of your life.

 

16.  Reality is a system which has obviously gone very wrong – but nobody knows how to fix it.

 

17.  Some of my troubles will have to go away, in order to make room for others.

 

18. Talking to yourself means talking to someone who understands and sympathizes, and is always on your side.

 

19.  It’s hard to count all my blessings, because some of them are hidden.

 

20.  Why can’t a hug be permanent?




 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Smash's recovery mailing (everyone has something)


I love, love, love the colors and the lettering.
The sentiment on the card is steal worthy


I have received so many good wishes from blog readers.
It's been wonderful to hear from you and I hope it jogs me into doing a better job of dropping things in the mail when I am aware of situations where an actual piece of mail would be welcome.

My apologies if I already wrote this.
When I got home from the hospital and started emailing people to let them know that I would be out of commission for a while - responder's emails would express concern and then relate equally horrific circumstances going on in their lives. I'd feel bad about sending too much info about my situation, oblivious to what they were going through.

So, by week three, I started prefacing the emails with - Please let me know if you are currently dealing with something difficult --blah blah blah. And I would just keep my info brief. Then I had a few people I needed to contact by phone so I would start with, "Hi, I haven't talked to you in a while and first - I'll ask if there is anything catastrophic going on with you."

Sure 'nuf. Pretty much everyone my age is going through some difficulty or they are in the caregiving mode. Some of them are down-sizing -- and even that can be pretty stressful.

Then there are the people who have not responded to emails. I refrain from letting myself get carried away with possibilities. 

I was at a loss on how to spin this into something cheerful when Ashleigh Brilliant came to the rescue.
His *cheerful* approach to the not-exactly-fun part of aging and ending will pop up tomorrow.

I just noticed that aging and ending could be abbreviated to A&E - same as arts & entertainment. How cool is that?

****
The news from Lake Tahoe is heartbreaking. Even though my son has been in Whistler, BC for almost a year, it was his home for almost 15 years and I'd been there in both warm weather as well as winter. While I have been to some beautiful places around the country, Tahoe is magical. Or perhaps it was the altitude.

I recall a childhood trip to Yellowstone National Park a couple years after forest fires had swept through. It was already full of beautiful new growth. Not tall, but vibrant. While it would be a shame to lose all the man-made parts of Tahoe, maybe it would be an opportunity to rebuild and consider all the people who maintain the area and work at the resorts. Playgrounds for wealthy people do not offer much for all those people who are providing services that they expect.

****
Scroll down for another opportunity to sign a petition to help the USPS


 

Additional vermin making trouble for the USPS

 


OK -- this is not about the USPS. I was thinking of changing the second line to:

LOVEJOY AND BLOOM HURT ALL OF US. 

Here is an excerpt from the latest article and request to sign a petition. 

<<snip>>

Sitting board members have expressed hesitancy in firing DeJoy, so we must ensure we have a board who will work towards restoring the USPS. 

One sitting board member, Ron Bloom, has served on the Board of Governors since August 2019, appointed by Trump and to serve the remainder of a seven-year term that expired Dec. 8, 2020. He is currently in a hold-over year and can be replaced by Biden. And it has just come to light that he has, in fact, been in financial agreements with DeJoy. This is shady to say the least!

<<snip>>

Link to full article:

Click HERE for full article


Friday, August 27, 2021

Patriotic (short updates) USPS rates going up


This was from Debbie Gallas in July and it is a highly steal worthy idea. I actually like that stamp even though I seldom go with the patriotic stamps. BIG NEW for some of us. Postal rates are going up. So you might want to stock up on some of the current stamps.

This is the 4th post during the new phase. Excuse the mistakes. I do try to edit -- but that skill is still a bit scrambled. It feels like I have been the engineer on this train for 69 years and then some crazy astronaut broke into the engine and he thinks we are going to Mars. He's messing with me.

Mr Wilson just texted that he is on his way home from the store.
I'll just ooh and ahh over everything -- even if it isn't exactly what I was hoping for.

My desk is cleared off and it is entirely possible that I will attempt to do envelopes tomorrow.
Whoo-hoo!!

***
I did end up doing 8 envelopes.
Not the best, but not too bad.
And I am off the pain meds.
Written Aug 23

***

And since my Idaho (I presume) envelope pal left a comment yesterday I am going to explain that the precooked potatoes were out of desperation and I only recommend them for truly desperate situations. I would have to start a new blog to describe MrW's approach to the kitchen. His cooking is scary. His helping-the-cook is sumthun' else. I did manage to teach him about the different power levels on a microwave - so, I had to find things that he could heat up. Cooking was out of the question. Thankfully, my ability to cook is getting along nicely. 

And thank you for the recommendation of rice and pasta - both are long time comfort foods. But, they both require some attention to be cooked properly (or to my level of pickiness). He did find some precooked rice in single serving containers that worked out. I'm not a fan of precooked anything and all that plastic packaging. But, they really helped while I was getting back on track. To me -- finding the right foods is a full 50% of any recovery. When I think back to those items that came on mealtime trays at the hospital, I am surprised that anyone makes it out alive. 





 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

KateR's distinguished gentlemen (care giver shopping)


Very nice colors on this one. Upright scripts are a nice alternative to the slanted ones. I'm bummed that the postal machinery took a bite out of it. 

Short envelope notes because we have a long tutorial on training caregivers. This has nothing to do with gender and no criticism of people who rarely do any grocery shopping. If you are the primary grocery shopper and find that you have to send your caregiver out to the store - here are some tips.

Step one:
Send them to the store once to see how they do.
If they take a photo of the item, they will probably get the right item. 
If you want the same size - you might have to put that dream on hold.

What we asked for on the left. What we got on the right.

If they do not take a photo - in this case we wanted RAW ALMONDS
and you simply write raw almonds on the list - this is not enough information. 
They will find almonds and assume that an almond is an almond.
They also go for brands they recognize.
Store brands seem to scare them.


That large container has been sitting out in plain sight and it was quite a surprise
that he could not find those containers in the aisle with nuts.

So, I rallied my energy and we went to the store together.
Keep in mind, the last time we went shopping together was in 1993 when we thought we could take one or maybe two kids to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. Utter chaos. This was before cell phones so you just had to park on a bench and hope they would show up. 

My one concern was that I would not be able to get some photos on the shopping expedition.
It turned out to be very easy because he kept wandering off.

I sent him down the cracker aisle because he eats both graham crackers and Triscuits even though I have warned him that those are processed foods that will kill him. Apparently he would rather be in heaven instead of caring for me.
 


While he was finding his crackers, I ducked around to the next aisle with the nuts and found what I had asked for to see how close it was to what he had brought home.


Since this trip, he has been on his own and doing a decent job. He tried a different store and found a lady who helped him find a couple things. She told him that they do, in fact, try to hide some of the items. It was probably a joke. But, you never know.

He says he likes it when I draw maps and diagrams that explain where things are.
It is also helpful to write the list in the order that a person might find them - if you provide a map.

***
BigHelpfulBrother alerted me that the Bob's Instant Potatoes might not be be as good as the ones that were good. We should probably stay away from recommending anything the is edible. I believe we have one reader in Idaho and she might have blanched at the near mention of pre-cooked and instant yesterday - which has been removed from yesterday's post.



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Gina's spirograph (mashed potatoes)


Gina must have a spirograph. I like that banner with the address - a lot. Hopefully, I remember to do something like that. The pattern reminds me of an apprentice caregiver going in loopy circles - as he is learning how to find things in the grocery store.

I have nothing but kind things to say about Mr Wilson, my care giver. He's been a real trooper and while he can find the food that he eats when I am out of town, he has never had to find food for me. Lesson one -- was learning that the people who work at the grocery store will tell you where things are. I feel like I have already written about this on the blog. Maybe I have just written about it in emails. 

He was pretty happy that he found the pre-made mashed potatoes on the second try (after asking for directions) I've never bought them before, so I wasn't sure where they were - and *meat department* was too vague for MrW. I was not expecting them to be any good but we were pleasantly surprised. Of course, they are better with toppings. But, I highly recommend them if you are recovering from something and need comfort food. 

I'm not going to look at the label to see what kinds of things are in it that I probably don't want to consume. It's just something to get us through for the time being.



 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Lauren's Corn (patient portals)


Fresh sweet corn is one of the few perks of living in Duh Moines. Trucks drive straight from the fields to parking lots in neighborhoods. It's not quite the same as picking it in your own garden while the water boils and then cooking it within 10 minutes of picking it. That's supposed to be the best. But, it creeps me out. I feel like the ears of corn are still alive and probably screaming when they are dropped into the boiling water. Someone once told me that I would be a good candidate for a Jainism life style. I believe those are the people who will not pick fruit off a tree, they have to wait for it to fall off naturally. And maybe there was something about being reincarnated as a fruit or vegetable. All I've ever wanted to be is a rock. 

This part was added on yesterday:
As luck would have it, there is a new service where you can have your cremains turned into rocks.
Apologies to anyone who is disturbed by any talk of death or cremains. I especially like that not everyone turns out the same color. 

Lauren's recipe looks delicious. I hope I am not too late for fresh corn. I think the farmers stagger the plantings so people like me can still get fresh corn in August. The card is collaged and the corn is textured. Very nice. And I always like seeing Duh Moines.



Since July 28th or so - I have been adding on to pre-written blog posts. Today is the first day that I am writing the full post - in my brain injured state. As promised a while back, I have some ranting to do.
There will also be public service announcements that will not have much humor - but they are items that I was not prepared for and will mention here in case anyone else is as clueless as I am.

Patient portals: Maybe I am the only person who had not set up my patient portal online. You need your patient portal, because the wait time on phone calls is too long. Everyone is busy doing everything through the patient portal. Duh.

Medical records: You do not get them through the portal. You have to go to the inner sanctum in person. Of course the website claims that you can *do it all online.* But, your options to request your records are to print out the form, mail it to the office or FAX it to the office. The option to submit it online looks like a very black hole.

It's better to just get your care giver to take you to the hospital and find the lady down in the basement who appears to have been there for decades and have her walk you through the options in person. Let's call her Madge. Madge still has a fax machine and she still offers to fax your records to you. I could not make this up. Currently, I am waiting for a phone call that my records are ready to be picked up. It has been over a week. I hope Madge used paper and not papyrus.

If you think you want *all* your records, Madge will point out that you only want the *pertinent* records. *All* the records will be 200 pages per day for a stay in the hospital. You know where I'm going with this --- all I really want are some pictures of my brain. I also want the names of a couple of young punks who were trying to thin my blood at the same time the wise elder neurosurgeon who wasn't in the mood to drill a hole in my skull was telling me that it's best to go with your thicker blood when your brain is bleeding.

I guess there is a bit of humor to this topic - after you get a little distance from the ordeal of being in a turf war between two departments whilst experiencing a traumatic head injury.

Potentially LIFE SAVING information:
If you are in the hospital, make a chronological record of each person who talks to you and note what they say. I recommend pencil and paper for this list unless you are comfortable recording the information on your phone. If you end up in a bizarre turf war where there is a disagreement between doctors about how to proceed - you need your own chart or record of who has been saying what. Look to a nurse to come up with a compromise. She should be in her 40s or 50s. 

My apologies for being so annoyed with any *young punks* who read my blog. I am fully aware that you are just leaning how to practice. But, is it asking too much for you to listen to your elders?

Monday, August 23, 2021

Leslie's July envelope to Janet, Cathy, and Lauren -- (Oldest businesses)

 



Here are a few of the envelopes that Leslie sent in July. The envelopes are the translucent velum.

On Cathy's she used a metallic Zig Fudebiyori brush marker for her name. 









The add on is sorta long. I'm too lazy to smallerize it. Just ignore it if you have other things you should be doing. Clearly, when I wrote it, I had other things to do -- and was *chore-avoiding.*

***

The July 5th post mentioned Crane's paper and Christi left a comment telling us that she had visited the Crane's paper mill where they make and print all the paper that is used for US currency. That jogged my memory of something I found during one of my evening surfs. 

Mr Wilson was so excited about getting new cork and rubber soles put on his Birkenstocks. And somehow talking about Birkenstocks led me info that the company has been around since 1774. Wow. That triggered  a search for *oldest business* and I found a Wiki article that lists a ton of companies that have been around for centuries. 

The oldest known continuously run business is a Japanese construction company from 578.

Then there are 3 hotels in Japan from the 700s as well as a Japanese *ceremonial paper goods* company. Double-WOW. I want to know more about that one.

The first companies outside of Japan are a wine company in Germany and a mint in France. Interesting to note that something involving currency is very old and the wine company foreshadows a LOT of beverage companies joining the list - mostly breweries. Lots of them. 

Company number 12 is a confectionary in Japan. And many confectionaries pop up on the list.

I spent way too much time reading through the list - but my chore-avoidance always wins - and I was curious about what the oldest companies in the US are? Oldest listed is an orchard. Also there are several family farms that have stayed in one family since the 1600s. And the the Zildjian cymbal company which started in the 1600s in Turkey relocated to the US.

Two things jumped out at me:

1. Japanese business far out number any other country. Can anyone offer an explanation for why that is?

2. The three types of companies that dominate the list are: breweries, hotels, and confectionaries. Interesting, eh? I can see why beer and hotels have been essentials for such a long time. But I would not have thought that candy was something with such a long history.


You may review the entire list here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_companies

If the company is listed in blue - you may link to more info.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Patty's Emilio Sanchez envelopes ( Brutal honesty)




I love these stamps and was so excited to find out who would be first to use them. Yay, Patty. I met Patty back when I was still teaching and I really appreciate that she takes time to send me photos of her envelopes. It's great to have enough that I can post them in groups like this, so that you can see a variety of ideas off of one stamp.

I think my favorite of the group is Sharon's. So, if I decide to steal this idea, I will plan on using it with names that have only 4 or 5 letters at most. The stamp-to-name proportion is very good. Patty gets an A+

***

The next part was written on June 18

***

I needed to do the third and final part of my rant on talent/study/contentment

Recap:

Danny Gregory did a good job of explaining that only those who put in the hours can excel at *whatever.*

Yes, there are a handful of exceptions to that rule - but they are exceptions. Nuf said.

My second rant had to do with discovering that *thing* that is so all-consuming that you can't tear yourself away from the activity and it often becomes that thing that gives you the most satisfaction.

Final rant: Please don't be frustrated if you can see that your work is less than stellar. Here comes another one of those topics I harp on: it's not the content, it's the process.

Go ahead and nit-pick at your work, if you enjoy doing so - but be brutally honest about how much time you are spending on whatever it is that you want to improve. Accept that you can't be good at everything. Figure out what kinds of things you do best and do more of those things. Or if you are compelled to do things that you aren't good at -- enjoy the activity and forget about the nit-picking.

I, too, see a ton of stuff that I just love. But, it's all over the place. I must rein myself in and make peace with the fact that some things just aren't going to get done. If I keep doing something that is perpetually disappointing - stop doing that thing. Putter around with the things that feel right.

I'm writing this on June 18. When I check back in Aug for my final edit, it will be interesting to see what kind of grade I give myself.

***

A+ to myself on my opinions.

I'm still on board with all these opinions. Even in my altered state of mind with a brain that is off doing it's own thing - focusing on my own favorite *things* is the best use of my time. I've joined that club where people are grateful for what they have and could not care less about the things they have lost.

Remember that old line -- Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

Most of the Google hits say that it is a line from Mark Twain. A couple hits attribute it to Ozzie Osborne.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

CathyO's learning curve - (more ranting about talent)



I was wildly excited when this one arrived. It looked like an idea that I could execute quickly and easily. My attempts were dismal. Luckily, I just did them on scratch paper. CathyO, happily retired, has been taking a lot of classes and I believe this is an example of something she learned in a class. She clearly had all kinds of valuable information dispensed that she put to good use. I didn't feel bad about not being able to replicate the loveliness just by looking at one example. I know from experience that lessons are going to be way more efficient than trying to just figure it out on your own.

Which brings us to day two of my rant about how annoying it is when people think my work is something special and insist that I was born with talent. I know for a fact that I was not. I know that everything I did was a nice try, but it was untrained. It wasn't until I majored in art that I actually learned how to do things that were decent. And I also noticed that there were some people who were always ahead of me on the learning curve. They put in more hours than I did. Drawing and painting (my major) was a ton of fun - but it didn't consume me.

It wasn't until I started taking calligraphy classes in my 40s that I was consumed, obsessed, captivated, and enthralled with lettering. I recalled that learning the alphabet had been my first obsession as a very young child,  just prior to my 3rd birthday. I was over 40 when I stumbled into calligraphy and discovered what to do with that little gift that I was born with. Happily, my fine art degree dovetailed nicely with the random calligraphy classes that I have been able to squeeze in.

So -- I rode the wave. I (nearly) perfected a couple styles. Putting in a ridiculous amount of time was the only way to achieve that near perfection. And now, it feels fine to be more relaxed and explore other ways to feed the beast. 

Tomorrow, I will have something to say about finding contentment.

****
Wow -- above was written pre brain injury.
And I just remembered how Matisse turned to cutting paper in his later years when he could no longer paint. I can't remember what it was -- arthritis?
Not that I've been stressed over the possibility that my skills have been damaged. I've been relaxing my expectations for quite a while.



 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Fun/eclectic from RachaelT - (Harping with Danny Gregory)

I'm not whining, just noting, that yesterday I tried to insert an extra post about the nincompoop Lovejoy and my *new brain* couldn't quite get the two Wednesday posts in the right order. Then, when I read through what I had written, it had a few errors. Please bear with me while we wait to see how many synapses I can regrow. Just now, when I could remember the word synapse -- that was a big deal. I've been having so much trouble remembering words. Hopefully that one sticks.


 The cancel in the wrong corner adds so much to this one. I love it - and will be doing my own version. And a big thank you to my letter carrier for not scribbling on the stamp. 

The add-on topic for the day is something that I harp on. I did more harping when I was teaching because  the message is easier to dispense in person. It comes across as snarky when I write it out. Happily, Danny Gregory submitted his version which is nicely worded.

This is directed to the people who are longing to improve their calligraphy skills. Please remember, I am a big fan of just hanging out wherever you are on the learning curve. There is no reason to agonize over where you want to be. Be happy where you are. But, there are no short cuts if you have the time to pursue excellence. If you want to get better, you have to put in the hours.

Currently, I am so rusty that most of what I write makes my stomach churn. (and I wrote this before the brain injury) I can't imagine there is some magical place where you are masterful without effort.

Here is Danny's post. I might extend this conversation in some additional posts.

How do you get good at something? 
You work really hard for ages until you can do it well enough for other people to notice. At which point they think it's miraculous, because they hadn't noticed you doing all that work in obscurity.  
And they label it 'talent' because they couldn't imagine doing all that work themselves — and so they assume you didn't either. 
Nope. You were born with a silver pen in your mouth.   

Being called 'talented' is actually a putdown. 
It's saying you didn't earn this, you were bequeathed it. 
You won the genetic lottery. You scored. 
Birthrights are bullshit, the flip side of racism, sexism, classism, just pigeonholing to limit people.  

More destructively, talent is also an excuse for not bothering. 
Freeing you to not put in the work because you're starting with this unfair disadvantage that no amount of practice will overcome.  
The fact is that, if talent does exist, in your case, it's meaningless.
If you have it, then great. 
You have the motivation to practice and stumble and sweat and fail and advance and perform miracles because you have been told you will succeed and all that pain will be worth it. 
And if you don't, the same basically applies but at the end you'll have the added reward of confounding expectations.

The only talent you need is the ability to work.  So get to it.   

*****

Add on - 

Something that came to me (in my post brain injury state) is the word *gifted.* I do believe that people may be gifted with something that gets the label of *talent.* The gift will call to a person, the way the alphabet called to me as soon as I could hold a pencil. Obviously, there are kids who are drawn to music. My other son (not the postal worker) was drawn to flying through the air -- and has managed to create a life that involves a lot of that. 

IMHO -- discovering and following that *gift* that came in your DNA can give you a leg up if you identify it and start putting in the hours.

And obviously, there are the savants -- but that is whole different category. They often excel at one thing - and everything else is of little interest to them, so they end up way out on the very edge of the bell curve.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Wonderful from Leslie -- Lame from Jean

PLEASE SCROLL FURTHER AFTER THIS POST TO SEE 
ANOTHER POST THAT I WANTED TO APPEAR FIRST TODAY 


Leslie posted this one on IG and said it was piano keys. I did not think of that when I saw it, but after I read it, it seems so obvious. She's done a ton of wonderful envelopes with those *Innovation* stamps - a very appropriate response to the word on the stamp.

Below is a ho-hum from me. It must be from a set of 6 or 7 ideas I did for someone who needed some ideas for a moving announcement.
I think it has possibilities, but it needed to go with the Ruth Asawa stamps. I loved those stamps, but had a heck of a time coming up with ideas that I liked.


***
No add on today.
My series of ranting starts on the 24th.



 

Serious USPS Matter (also t-shirts)



*******


Remember the good old days when the Postmaster General was someone who started out as a carrier and worked their way to the top? It was not that long ago. Megan Brennan served from Feb 2015 to June 2020.


******


This is outrageous: Louis DeJoy could be making a personal profit from the harmful changes that he is forcing onto our Postal Service.

We already knew that Postmaster General DeJoy’s plan to slow down mail delivery and raise postage prices would negatively impact voters, families, and small businesses in several states. But now, new reports expose how DeJoy might be lining his own pockets in the process. 


The USPS is set to pay $120 million over the next five years to a contractor called XPO Logistics. DeJoy used to be an executive at XPO -- and his family businesses continue to lease office buildings to the company.


So while XPO gets a major boost from its new deal with the USPS, those leases could generate over $23 million in rent payments for DeJoy’s businesses over the next decade. This level of corruption and profiteering from DeJoy is appalling.


Here’s what those of us who care about the Postal Service can do, Clover: President Biden’s nominees for the USPS Board of Governors -- the only body that can fire DeJoy -- were recently confirmed by the Senate, potentially giving the Board a more reform-minded majority. But as of now, the Board hasn't made any commitments either way about DeJoy’s future.


I hope you’ll speak out today, Clover. Millions of people are counting on the USPS to safely and promptly deliver their medications, paychecks, and ballots.


Hopefully, this link will take you to the online petition.


Petition to fire Lovejoy



*****
There are several fun t-shirts on their website.







 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Two from Heather (trendy USPS)


 I love these two. I love the colors and the style and the drawing. I suspect there will be idea-appropriation. And some of you are probably expecting me to make a comment on the flag stamps. Heather is in the military at an APO address, so perhaps there are not many choices in stamps. Or perhaps she likes the flag stamps. I actually like this flag design better than some of the others. They look great with the black lettering. There have been a few stamp designs that I have LOVED.

So, thank you for your service, Heather. If you ever retire from the military, I hope you know that the USPS loves to hire veterans and veterans have a little extra pull when it comes to advancement. The longer my son works there, the more I appreciate the USPS.

I like how I have become a career advisor and how gung ho I am on the USPS. (noon coffee)

****

Add-on.

Now that my brain is literally damaged, I can't remember if I ever mentioned my idea to promote the USPS as a trendy place to work. I've noticed there are some very trendy looking young people delivering my mail. One of the things my son likes about the job is that he doesn't have to bother with a gym membership to work out. He gets a work out at work. I wonder if that would be a trendy selling point.

Wouldn't that be fun - if the USPS suddenly became a cool place to work. Several years ago Project Runway had a challenge for the designers to come up with more stylish uniforms. As I recall, the winning design was a riff on athletic wear. Maybe Patagonia would want to design USPS uniforms. 

I keep thinking this bonk on the head has enhanced my brain. Mr Wilson doesn't think so. I have a new weird *quirk* where diagonals bother me. I always had a preference for verticals and horizontals over diagonals. But, diagonals are now making me queazy. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Troy's folded Fritzie-lope


 I really liked the seal. It's not wax. I've seen a lot of wax seals that have been crushed by the automated equipment at the Post Office. It seems to be some kind of rubbery-acrylic-titanium-indestructable material for people who long for the look of cool old time mail. 

I never saw Downton Abbey when it was all the rage, so, at the beginning of the summer, I started watching it to see why it was so popular. I have not figured it out. I mostly look at the details, like their little letters to each other. The itty-bitty envelopes and enclosures are so sweet. This letter from Troy -done on fine art paper- reminded me of the mail in Downton Abbey. 

I shot a ton of photos so you can figure out the fold on your own. It has an official name - Fritzi-lope. I wonder if she is the originator -- or if she learned it from somewhere. Fritzie Harry - from the Houston Calligraphy Guild.

I can't explain how or why the image of the front jumped to the left. 






This is what it looks like after you pry that seal off the paper.
It is also step 3 - if you try to do this on your own.


This is step 2
After you have found the mid-point and folded 2 sides in to meet in the middle
you need two more folds on the side to *square it up*
These 2 folds need to be equal distance from the mid point and establish the width of the envelope.

The depth of the flap, the front and the back are all the same.
The depth of the point that tucks in - is a little less.



Step 1 -- I would make a light pencil line, using a ruler from corner to corner.
The other two corners meet at that line.
Paper is 11x11
Width of final envelope is 6x4.25
Flap is 4.25 deep

I guess you need a little more info than this
unless you are a paper folding fanatic - in which case you will start messing around with these measurements and make it work.

Troy's paper was 11 x 11.25
and it is very heavy paper - so precision was not a big deal.

Then, there was an adorable mini-version on the inside.
It was super wonky - in a good way --
shows that a person can have fun with the folding 
if they so choose.

I am having a terrible time getting myself back to the chores.
Thank you Troy for this lovely diversion.





Monday, August 16, 2021

Chuck to Anita - (*those* words)


Back in Jan of 2020, Chuck sent me quite a few images of his past envelopes. I put it in a folder and titled the folder *For the Blog* and promptly forgot about the folder. Maybe the pandemic had something to do with it. Haha - blame everything on the pandemic. My filing system is bizarre plus there are so many different options for folders. Nuf said. 

Sometimes I am tempted to say words that one should not say. It is easy to omit them from the written page. But, I have to admit that they do pop up when I am just talking to myself. So, it was comforting to learn more about *those words* and why they pop out - even when we think that we want to be the type of person who doesn't use that kind of language.

I'm not all prim and proper - not by a long shot. What has me pondering this whole topic goes back to pre-pandemic times when I was out and about and it was so common to hear the eff-word in casual conversation between people who were just standing in line. It seemed like it had become just another word to younger people. 

And then, I was in a very nice little shop that I frequent that has artwork and clever gifts items. I noticed that the eff-word was all over the place. On socks. Greeting cards. Everywhere. I realized that I would not want to bring my granddaughter into the shop because she can read now and I would not want to be the one to introduce that word to her. Although, she has been on a public school playground, so she's probably heard it. But, I would not want her to get the impression that it was just a casual word plastered all over gifty items.

So -- with those thoughts drifting through my head, a book at the library caught my eye. Nine Nasty Words by John McWhorter. It's not like I am fond of using the *nasty* words - there was something about the  layout of the cover that intrigued me. Plus it is really small in size and I love holding books that are really small.

Here is the first thing that I think is really interesting. I'm only on chapter one, so you might have to put up with more tidbits that I find interesting. Hopefully, it will explain how the eff-word is morphing into a word that we see and hear a lot more than we did 50 years ago.

You know how we have the left brain and the right brain and our language is maintained by the left side - so certain kinds of damage to the left side of the brain can pretty much eliminate the ability to speak. But if that happens, the swearing words reside in the right side - and people who can no longer make sentences to communicate, can swear with ease. Likewise, certain kinds of damage on the right side of the brain will delete the swear words. Maybe everyone already knew this. But, it made me feel better that the swear words are in a place that is somewhat *lizard-like* - in that they bust out on their own and it can be somewhat challenging to bite one's tongue.

Yup, I looked that one up. Goes all the way back to Shakespeare -- so clearly, it's been known for a long time that all words do not live in the same place in our heads. Or perhaps there are aliens residing in our brains. Just kidding. I am through with my alien theories.

Maybe.

*****

Holy cow -- I wrote this before my brain injury and here I am 2.5 weeks past the injury, reviewing things I have written before the incident. I do not recall anything from the book -- maybe I will reread it someday. As I recall, it did have additional information that was very interesting. Maybe I will discover more blog posts - written before the brain injury - that make note of the parts that seemed worth mentioning here.

*****

I'm awake at 4:30 this morning, and my ability to talk is pretty good. Some words get lost. I've requested my medical records and I will be interested to see which side the subdural hematoma is on. I know it was not directly in the back. I know the subarachnoid hematoma was behind the forehead, so it was the ricochet injury. The amount of swearing I do is about the same -- mostly not out loud -- and always the scaled back versions.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

To Leslie - fancy B on the flap


Yup, I got my nibs and ink out. I had/have a stack of envelopes with a beautiful flap. They are the inners to a wedding job from 10 years ago.  I'm not sure what was wrong with the Mrs Virgil Vaughn - but it was in the reject pile. I just couldn't throw those flaps away plus I had something lovely to send to Leslie that needed to go inside an envelope - so this seemed like a good way to send it.


You can see that the B was printed. Then each violet was painted by hand. The invitations were done Maria Thomas. I met Maria at the first IAMPETH conference I went to in 2001. At the time, Maria had a studio in (Boston?) and did a lot of very high end invitations. There was at least one person working for her who did all the hand painted flowers They are gorgeous - in person. There are little bits of gold, too. I do not have an images of the invitation - but there were even more hand painted flowers on the invitation.

As I recall, from her website, the invitations ran around $35-40 apiece - but, I could be way off. Maria also designed for Crane's and her distinctive style was very popular. Sometime during the 2000s she came up with the idea of Zentangles and that whole craze took off. She ended up shutting down her calligraphy business and does Zentangle full time.

This invitation was one of the last ones she did and when the person who ordered them called me to do them, I could not understand why they want me to do them rather than Maria, but they insisted. So, I said OK. It was a fun job. Lots of extras and lots of time. I always wanted to run into Maria again some time and ask her to critique my envelope -- how close did I get to her penmanship. 

I just searched and her website is still up, but no invitation examples. It says her daughter is running the studio. There are a lot of images on Google - if you want to just search Maria Thomas Calligraphy.
Here's the link to her website: