I don't usually stray from the normal mail/letter writing theme of this blog, but I wanted to share something that has been on my mind today. For whatever reason, I have been thinking about my trip to Tanzania almost 6 years ago. It was by far the most moving experience in my whole life.
I have told a few of you in letters about my trip, but I don't think I have ever really shared anything that I wrote while I was there. So I would like to share a small bit from my travel journal with you.
"Laying here I can see why so many people speak of Africa's majesty. In preparing for this trip, I did what most would do. I devoured any literature I could find. I wanted to know what to expect. But the truth is, no one can really learn about Africa from reading, it is certainly a place one must visit. Any expectations are sure to be squashed with a mixture of harsh reality and utmost beauty. Sure there is squalor and filth, but once you get past that you can see how absolutely beautiful this place is. I have never been to a more moving place in my entire life. And I should think I wont ever feel this way again."
"I can say that I have slept under the shining blanket of stars that covers this continent each night. Tonight, after my third day on safari I laid outside my tent, back to the earth staring up into what must be the most glorious night sky in all the world. I could see the tiniest stars shining brightly down upon me, the moon casting faint shadows over the vegetation that surrounds the campsite. And I must admit that if ever my belief in God had faded, this place was sure to bring it back because I know I could only describe the sky as absolute Heaven."
"Not much in nature literally takes my breathe away, but this place, these people..they have that ability. I find myself feeling more at peace here than I have ever felt. And I can only wonder what it will be like to return to my luxuries at home. David Livingston has a quote about giving up the luxuries and I wish I knew the exact quote at this moment, so I could compare my feelings. I am almost certain they are the same. So many people on this trip have complained about the conditions, especially when it comes to bathing, but I must say it is a small price to pay for this feeling I get deep inside. This connectedness to the earth and these people will be something I will long for each day from here til the day that I die."
I think it is that last statement that is what has me thinking about Africa. I felt such a closeness, I cannot describe it because our words simply don't match the feeling. Have you ever felt that before? If so, I would very much like to know.
Anyway, I hope you all don't mind the aside. Just thought it might be nice to share some writing I don't typically share.
Oh and incase anyone is curious..here is the quote by David Livingstone I reference in the journal entry:
People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. - David Livingstone
Great news right?? I thought so. =) This means that most post offices are safe for a little while longer and there are new restrictions on whether the USPS may close a facility. Basically if there isn't another post office within 10 miles..they cannot close it.
Another good thing is that local mail delivery may still see overnight transfer, however, further destinations may take an extra day to arrive. Another awesome thing is that the USPS will continue delivering mail on Saturdays for at least two years. After that they can cut the sixth day of delivery ONLY if they need to do so to remain financially stable.
Rather than explain all the ins and outs I will direct you to this article written up for the Washington Post.
Ya'll know how much I enjoy stories like this one. Yet another snail has finally delivered a postcard to someone almost 60 years after it was postmarked.
The postcard is in surprisingly good shape for having such a remarkable journey. And just like the other stories I have posted like this, this one has a good ending. The lady who received it in her mailbox posted the info and picture on Facebook. With the help of some friends they tracked down the original recipient! Just one of the many ways new technology and snail mail can be helpful to one another.
Doesn't this make you wonder if one day you will be reunited with a piece of mail from your past?
Sorry to publish this so late..I really had anticipated on getting this done this morning..however, life got in the way. I know...such a common excuse of mine. But at least it is a true one!
I wrote down everyone's answers including a TON of new faces!! Welcome. I appreciate your reading this and stay tuned. More giveaways will be happening soon. And then I selected a random number with the help of Random.org. Here are the results:
And if my jotting down skills serve me right, the closest answer was 6 submitted by Lil Country Belle. So, Miss Country Belle, if you could email me with your address I will get the pens out to you this week. =)
Thanks again to everyone who entered. I am working on a few more giveaways including one that will be a "Everyone Wins!" giveaway.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Earth Day, and if you haven't tried the Papermate Biodegradable pens, you should give them a try. They are inexpensive and wonderful alternatives to typical ball point pens.
Remember me telling you there would be a giveaway open to international folks too?? Well this is it! In honor of Earth Day I am going to be giving away a Papermate Biodegradable pen set. They come with two pens, and each pen has certain sections that are completely biodegradable.
Too lazy to rotate and re-upload....
The pens write very smoothly as well. I carry one with me in my purse actually, so I definitely think someone would like them. Earth Day is April 22 and so you have until midnight on the 22nd (eastern standard time) to submit a comment with a number included. I will use the random number generator and closest one wins the pens.
Shall we say...one to ..100? Good! I apologize for the lack of postings and outgoing mail. I have seriously fallen behind. Cause..well..that is just life. My brother gets home tonight from Boston. So I suspect I may not post again until next week. Until then..good luck in the giveaway, and happy mail to each of you!
RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic ocean after striking an iceberg. Call me silly, but it seems like it would have been a lot longer ago than a hundred years. I guess it just seems that way because I wasn't alive when it happened? Who knows.
Anyway, I bet you are wondering how I tie this into letter writing right? Well, did you know that 5 experienced postal clerks (three Americans and two Britons) served on board the Titanic? I didn't either. To be honest, I never thought about it before. Well, the RMS in the Titanic's name stands for Royal Mail Ship. And having that designation meant that the ship was carrying mail for the Royal Mail and the USPS. Wikipedia's entry for the Titanic says that just under 27,000 cubic ft were designated for storing mail, both letters and parcels as well as specie (coins and bullion).
When the ship went down most all of the mail was lost. That includes 3,423 sacks of mail! All told that would average about 7 million pieces of mail, including an estimated 1.6 million registered letters and packages. The National Postal Museum also estimates that around $150,000 dollars (which was a lot of money in 1912) worth of international money orders sank with the Titanic. Leaving a huge mess to clean up in the end.
Because the Titanic is in international waters, it is technically salvageable. Meaning that if you or I wanted to, we could dive down and grab a piece of Titanic for ourselves. However, some institutions, like the Smithsonian prohibit displaying relics from such disasters because of a 'sanctuary principle'. Basically, they want to respect the site. After all, it is the final resting place for 1,514 people. But incase you were curious, if ever a bag of mail was salvaged from the wreckage, the USPS would attempt to deliver any readable mail. Which is a nice thought.
Originally the post today was going to be about the Pony Express...but something else is on my mind tonight (last night, this is a scheduled post...) and I just feel I should share it and possibly unburden my heart?
This afternoon, while I was at work, this little guy had to be put down. Jack had been not feeling well for a few days and today his breathing was incredibly labored. As the day progressed I was told that his breathing was getting even more shallow, he was incredibly weak and he was moaning of sorts. My mom took him in, and sure enough the Vet said that there was nothing she could do. Medicine might make him more comfortable, but he would still eventually die. So tonight shortly before 5 he drew his last weak breath. And even though I know it is better this way, it doesnt keep the tears from welling in my eyes as I write this. I knew this was coming when he wasn't better after day two, but I still am incredibly emotional about it all. And thus the change in topics for todays post.
**Today in 1860 the first mail sent via the Pony Express arrived in Sacramento, California.**
I have some awesome readers! Truly. You guys (and gals) are awesome!! You are better than awesome...you are..amazingly awesome! Ok enough of that..but seriously. You are!
I recently got two Pilot pens from two different people, in the same week. Granted this was a couple weeks ago, but being as I was a bad blogger and wasn't doing my writing, I am gonna post about them now.
You are looking at the Pilot Petit 1, which is a fountain pen and the Pilot Precise V5 which is a rollerball.
They are both quite nice and from his view you can see the tips on each of them. I like the compactness of the Pilot Petit 1. It literally fits into your pocket and is sturdy enough that I am not afraid of it snapping and causing a mess. The Pilot Precise V5 is a very fluid pen. The point is extra fine which I love. It makes writing on small areas (think address labels) very easy!
Overall, these pens by Pilot are wonderful additions to my stolen pen collection. =) Thank you dear readers for sharing some of your favorites, or new finds with me. I really appreciate it!
One of my ex-coworkers started corresponding with me via mail. She sent an interesting postcard that was shaped like pastries. It was very cool, and if it wasn't tucked away in a box in the mail archive, I would have snapped a photo of it as well. I responded back with a nice envelope decorated with the pane from the Civil War stamps released this past year. I thought it was very neat. I should do another and show you how I did it. (I feel a tutorial coming on..)
Inside of that wonderful penguin can is a note, IN THE SHAPE OF A FISH!! Get it? Penguins eat fish of course. She is a very smart and crafty person! Can you believe this was her first attempt at mail art? Or mailing a non-traditional object?
Along with the note came two Pittsburgh Penguins headbands. They are made of a fleece and are from the Winter Classic game that Brad and I went to two years ago. They actually match my gloves that Brad bought me at the game. My hands were cold and he is amazing...so yeah. Anyway, there are two of them. One for me and one for Brad. Now we can roll around in style!
Now all I gotta do is try to figure out what to mail back in return. Hm...Any suggestions?
Today is the first day of issue of the William H. Johnson stamp depicting his painting titled Flowers. Johnson was one of the foremost African American artists in the United States and often drew from his heritage for the subjects of his paintings.
This is the twelfth stamp in the American Treasures series of stamps released by the USPS. The issuing city is Baltimore, Maryland.
I don't know about you, but I will certainly be picking up these stamps soon! I think they will look great on some mail art!
The USPS has sent a request to the Postal Regulatory Commission to allow commercial mailers to include a logo, picture or trademarks in the Permit Indicia found on their mail. What does this mean?
Well, first you must know what permit indicia is. Basically it is that little printing that looks something like this:
So imagine some mail coming with this that has a nice picture attached to it. I think it could be neat. The idea I think is to basically "brand" the mail like they do anything else. Probably hoping that people will pay more attention to it.
If the PRC approves the request we could start seeing mail like that around the end of June, early July. Interesting huh?
Do you have seasonal allergies? I do. And when spring sets in (which is already happening here in Ohio which is INSANE!) I tend to blow my nose a lot. This means you can always find at least one box (although sometimes two) of tissues in my workspace. Lets face it. Even though they have prettier designs than ever of tissue boxes these days, they are still far from something that I like. Which is why I decided to decorate my own. =)
You can buy a tissue box cover at almost any craft store. They even have some that are already sticky, which are a big help if you are using small pieces of paper like I did. I thought I took a picture of the before...but apparently I didnt. So you will just have to use your imagination. Mine was one that was already sticky after peeling off a backing paper. Here is the result of an hours work:
Pretty good if I do say so myself. Now, once you have them all laid on there, you will need to coat them in something to keep them from coming off. I used a diluted elmer's glue for this project, but you could also use Modge Podge or the like.
Making stamp themed accessories, one piece at a time. =)
This box of Pixar cards were supposed to be a Valentine's Day gift from Brad. Which would have been super cute...cause then we both would have given each other postcards. However, Amazon was backordered, so they said they would be there in 2 weeks. 2 weeks came and they sent Brad another email saying..well..nope they would let him know when they would ship. Guess what showed up last week without any notice!
They are all super cute! I have been thinking of doing a special project with them. Asking people to "adopt" them and write about the movie that the art is from. But a lot of work has to be done before I can do that. What do you think? Would it be worth it? 100 cards would be a lot to have up for adoption, especially since they are all from the same few movies.
In 1916, on this day Gregory Peck was born in California. I wonder if his parents ever thought in that moment that their son would become a world renowned actor. Probably not. Anyway, he went on to star in more than 60 films. One of which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Care to take a guess??
The answer is To Kill A Mockingbird. The USPS is planning a special cancellation for a little later this month. At the time of writing this I am waiting for someone to get back to me about the specifics of sending out for the cancel. Hopefully I will have the information before this publishes. If not I hope to have it soon!
Did you know that this month is National Card and Letter Writing month? Well it is! That means we should all try our best to write letters and cards throughout the month. My plan is to not only continue playing catch up with my letters to each of you readers, but to also reach out to people I don't normally write to. Specifically the local veterans in my town. I plan on writing letters and sending them to the local veteran organizations. =)
If you want, there is also a special cancellation being offered.
What are your plans for this national month of writing letters and cards?
Australia Post is soon going to entering the digital world. They will start offering a free service called Digital MailBox. It will allow the government and postal customers to communicate digitally, 24-7 from anywhere.
Basically it seems like email. Only...one that is sanctioned by the Australian Post Office. They of course made the move because postal customers are sending less "real" mail. Which makes sense, but I cannot see email covering all my mailing needs.
What does everyone else think?
I also found this neat advertisement as I was looking for the Australia Post logo.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway from yesterday! Contest ends tonight at 7. Tell your friends! :)
If you have been reading the blog from the beginning...or are one of those crazy people who went back through all the old posts, then you know you can do this. However, I have had so many new people join the blog since last year that I thought I would post about it again.
Did you know you can mail plastic eggs? You know, those brightly colored eggs that are easy to find this time of year? Well, you can. I've done it. This will actually be the second time I have done it and I am thinking about making it a yearly thing. How do you mail them? Simple.
First you need to buy your plastic eggs. Like I said earlier, you can literally buy them anywhere this time of year. I got the Spiderman ones from a coworker who just happened to have them laying around. Neat huh? She originally got them at Big Lots. The larger egg has 75 peace tattoos inside and came pre-filled and sealed from Walgreens. I think I paid around $2 for the larger one, but hey..it saved me from having to find stuff for the inside.
Next, fill your eggs with neat things. Stray away from candy even if it is individually wrapped as they consider that sending perishables and they may be searched through. (I sent 6 last year, 5 made it to the destinations, but none had the candy left inside..only the toys). One of these plastic eggs contains earrings, the other..well the flash made it hard to see..how about this:
There are actually two pins inside. Both still wrapped in the cellophane wrappers they came in. Both are USPS pins (the one behind Florida is a US Flag stamp pin).
Once you are done stuffing the inside (make sure it doesn't rattle) use tape to seal the split in the egg. I used regular old scotch tape, but you can use any you would like. Then add an address label and be sure to tape it on good. Next you need to either weigh it and put the correct postage on, or you can take it to the post office and have them weigh it yourself.
All of my eggs were an ounce or less, so they can be mailed for $1.95. If you are like me, you will put two international ($1.05) stamps on the eggs and let them fly.
Ready for the SUPER neat part? You have a chance to get an egg in the mail. Sure, it probably wont get there before Easter, BUT you will still get it (assuming it doesn't get lost to the postal gods). You can enter the contest by leaving a comment on this blog with a number. Any number 1-100. I will send the egg to the person whose number is closest to the random number generated online via random.org. A deadline of..lets say..7pm Tuesday, April 3? (And as always that is Eastern Standard Time.
Unfortunately, International folks cannot enter the contest, as they wont let me send the eggs naked to you. However, I will be hosting another contest soon that you will be able to enter! So keep your eyes open. =)
Happy April Fools Day everyone! I was going to write a post about how email was the best form of communication under the sun...but I thought that would be a bit dry and completely unbelievable coming from me. (I was right wasn't I?)
And so I decided to tell you a little origin of April Fools Day. Or at least what little I could find on the internet. The first of April has been associated with foolishness since 1381 (so say some scholars) when it was referenced in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Again this is all what the scholars believe. There is a bit of an argument as to whether it refers to April 1 or May 2. We may never really know when it was first spoken about, but I would like to think that Chaucer was up to something. =)
The other interesting thing was how many countries celebrate April 1st. I never would have guessed it would be over 10, but according to wikipedia..there are! Now, there are countless ways to trick your friends, and I found a great website of the 100 best pranks of all time. You should certainly check it out.