Saturday, August 04, 2018

Mail and Stuff




My niece moved to Texas.

 one letter

*More words with no direct translation to English:

Germany: verschlimmbesserung [versh-lim-bess-air-oong]
To make things worse by trying to improve them.  (Oh, boy, do I recognize the meaning of this one!  Can't really pronounce it, but it perfectly describes certain situations.)
Portugal: saudadenoun
  1. (in Portuguese folk culture) a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent:the theme of saudade in literature and music.
(There are a number of songs and melodies that evoke this feeling for me.  Music does tend to have vivid connections in memories.)

*Books/Reading--finished Val McDermid's Broken Ground and Kate Atkinson's Transcription.  Both are good, but I haven't reviewed them yet.  

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Dearest Joan Project, Letters

I first saw something about the Dearest Joan Project on Letter Writers Alliance and because the internment of the Japanese during WWII is a topic we need to remember, I was interested in two ways:  letters and internment.  

Joan Gillis was cleaning out the attic and came upon a box of letters from 70 years ago.  

"The earliest letters date back to the spring of 1942, when an estimated 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forcibly removed from the B.C. coast by government order. Some were sent to work camps in the Interior; others were sent to work on farms in the Prairies. 
Gillis was only 13 years old at the time. Most of her correspondents were that age or several years older, all of them Japanese-Canadian. They ranged from close friends to passing acquaintances, most of them pupils at Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in Surrey, B.C."
The letters from young Japanese-Canadian teens to Joan Gillis are an important part of a history that both Canadians and Americans have mostly forgotten.  Take a look at the Dearest Joan Project and read excerpts from some of the letters.  Like any normal teens, they were interested in the goings on at their school and the songs on the Hit Parade, but of course their situations were not normal.   

Letters fascinate me.  Letters from friends and family, from authors and historical personages, and from these teens who had one friend with whom they were able to keep in contact during the most difficult time of their young lives.  The letters are now in the University of British Columbia's Rare Books and Special Collections


Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Watkatsuki Houston is a good book for young people to get an idea of an Japanese-American internment camp.  Jeanne was seven when her family was sent to Manzanar.  

The sites were inland and isolated and included:  Tule Lake, CA; Minidoka, ID; Manzanar, CA; Topaz, UT; Jerome, ARK; Heart Mountain, WY; Poston, AZ; Granada, CO; and Rohwer, ARK.

More information can be found at Japanese Relocation During World War II.  The article from the National Archives includes both fiction and nonfiction about the period.  

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Thoughts

In the midst of one of the hottest summers on record, most folks have retreated to whatever cool sanctuaries they can find.  I try to stay out of the heat as much as possible, but spend a lot of time dreaming about cool, crisp weather.  Which we may get by November....  



Outgoing Mail


As a lover of both poetry and letters, I found this article fascinating:  The Nun Who Wrote Letters to the Greatest Poets of Her Generation.

In addition to her correspondence with Stevens, Sister Bernetta exchanged letters with Denise Levertov, William Carlos Williams, Robert Penn Warren, James Wright, Seamus Heaney, and others. She read their work with skilled attention, and they responded to her with sincerity and gratitude.

Sister Bernetta wrote to some of my favorite poets, and I would love to see some of this correspondence in full.  What a lovely legacy to leave behind from both nun and poets.

I have three books in progress right now:  Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose, Kate Atkinson's Transcription, and Val McDermid's Broken Ground.  


What are you doing to beat the heat?

Thursday, July 19, 2018


Clean/Organize/Catch Up

I'm not at all certain how I can make such big messes in such a short time.  Maybe because I get distracted with ideas when I'm crafting, leaving one mess to start another.  The result is that I am in need of an organizing professional and a change of personality.

Another problem is getting book reviews written.  I have fifteen reviews scheduled on my book blog and more to write.  I get advanced reader copies (both in print and ebooks) up to 9 months in advance of publication.  Sometimes, I write the reviews and schedule them quickly.  Sometimes I don't.  If I don't do it quickly, they pile up.  When they pile up, I feel overwhelmed and procrastinate even more.  Since I get most of my books free in return for a review, I feel obligated.  But still overwhelmed.

Van Gogh quilts

Although I always enjoy the photos of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and gaze in amazement at the variety and skill represented, this year's Van Gogh exhibit is perhaps my all time favorite.  Kristin Shields has posted some of her favorites here.

More of Kristin's photos can be seen on her blog--not only those of the Van Gogh quilts, but of the scenic little town of Sisters, Oregon and the displays of hundreds of gorgeous quilts.

Outgoing Mail

 Happy Birthday, Max

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Sometimes when things get a little too depressing, 
I begin looking at things that make me happy.

Loudoun Rocks - what a fun idea for kids of all ages!  They even have a FB page.  Sort of a version of geocaching.  Paula at Little Scraps of Magic found one and posted about it. 

I love Tomoe River Paper!  I don't remember where I first read a review of it, but I finally ordered some--and it is awesome.

Steven Curry's wonderful photographs.

Well, you know, Snail Mail makes me happy.  

I had to hunt for this video that I posted in 2013, but still love.  He's pretty amazing!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Good News, Mail, Garden

It is nice to have something worth celebrating!  The successful mission to rescue the boys and their coach from the cave in Thailand made me so happy this morning!

Visit from Erin :)


Whew, I'm almost caught up on my correspondence.   

I saw this on Jacki Long's blog.

Monday, July 02, 2018

July? Feels Like August

We are in a time once again
where our need for the arts is growing more and more apparent.
Controversy and anger and fear seem to swirl
around us these days in large supply.
This has happened plenty of times in our history.
We have needed and sought the healing and teaching power
of the arts for a long time, perhaps forever.” 

Robert Lynch,
President and CEO, Americans For The Arts

In keeping with the links on my last post about the benefits of funding the arts in schools, the above quote suggests another purpose of the arts--healing and public health.

The Mental Health Benefits of Art Are for Everyone 

The Connections Between Art, Healing, and Public Health

I loved Rachel's comment:  Still, spreading the idea of creativity around the world in a subversive, extra-curricula fashion is good too....

Of course, I assume mail art qualifies.  Certainly extra-curricula and sometimes subversive.

Jacque re-purposed some things on my last letter to her.  :)


to the grands

I am catching up on my correspondence, one day at a time.  

We are just hoping the heat wave ends
and that there will be rain.
There is a possibility in the forecast,
and I'd gladly give up fireworks for rain.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Miscellaneous Musings

Interesting articles:  

In spite of the evidence of the benefits of the arts, it seems that cutting art programs in school continues.   On the positive side, and there are few positive sides now with budget cuts, a British teacher uses her windfall to help put more artists in schools.

For those of you who have loved The Little Prince, the baobab is now becoming an endangered species.

Beautiful images of June's Strawberry Moon.

Mail:  I'm already behind in answering my mail and more has arrived.

Teresa included the envelope below that she made from a
vintage children's book page.

Unwilling to let a good envelope go to waste,
I added a couple of things Teresa included in her envelope
 and sent it off to Connie!  
With that inspiration, I'm working on catching up with my correspondence!

What I'm Watching:  In 2012, I read Kate Atkinson's Case Histories.  So many folks loved the book, but for some reason it didn't resonate with me.  However, I've started watching the Amazon television series and love it.  An unusual case of much preferring the television series or movie to the book.

Making:  Have made several more Artist Trading Coins.  Boy, this new trend is all over the internet.  I made a couple in May, then kind of neglected the ones I had in progress, but recently, I've been doing a little more experimenting.  You can find all kinds of tutorials on YouTube, but my favorite is still the Crafty Hodges video. :)

Stay cool and safe over this weekend preceding the 4th of July!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

We Got Rain!

Finally, after so many unfilled promises, we got rain yesterday!  It might rain across the river, at Fee's office, just north of us, but still leave our neighborhood isolated, high and dry.  But yesterday, we got rain!  

Reading:   There were more, but these are my recent favorites.  Will review them on my book blog...eventually.


Incoming Mail

from Connie

 Love the washi tape sealing the back!

from Hannah

and today--from Penne M. !

All of these artistic fish are fun, but I think I like the Warhol best.  :)