Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A More Simple Way of Life???

 Though I am usually one of the first to look at new technology to enhance or support my teaching, I am also the one that threatens, at least once a year, to pack up and move to Pennsylvania, to an Amish community, disavowing any form of technology. (that would be after an extremely frustrating day with things not working , usually someone elses computer.) I am all for the use of technology in a variety of ways. Though I don't trust it either. I know that sounds funny, but I have seen too many issues that have become disasters in the making.

Lately, I have had good reason to distrust technology, as back-ups have gone haywire. I have spent a large part of the summer, recovering data from one dead hard drive. Then staring a various older backups and the recovered data to try to piece together so I have everything back in one place.

All of this has put me in one of those "I want to be Amish" moods. Especially as I sift through the contacts and addresses that are on my phone -seems to be an update from my work computer, and the older addresses from a back-up. This is, or was, the last straw for me. I hadn't updated my ancient Halmark Address Book in about 15 years! So that was no help either.

My recent feelings toward my computers!!!!

As with all good projects, one thing leads to a completely different project. I decided I need a physical back-up to my hard drive when it comes to addresses and phone numbers. So off I go hunting for an address book. A REAL, honest to goodness, paper based address book, like my old one. This  was not an easy task. Then, to contact anyone I know I can get a hold of via Facebook, email or text to double check all their info. I am glad I am doing this, as I have learned a few people moved without telling me...
My sad, neglected, very out of date address book (left) beside it's replacement (right).

A few reflections of my recently acquired pursuits, shows this thought as well.
  • Postcrossing - sending and receiving postcards via "snail mail"
  • Fountain Pens - writing long hand
  • Writing Letters to friends and family (instead of email...) - a long forgotten, missed activity
  • Calligraphy Class - penmanship actually mattered
  • A REAL Address book - yes, I will still have one on my computer, but the hard copy is my most up to date.
Can you see what I see? I have started to move away from technology. Back to a slower, more thoughtful form of communication?

My quiet spot to sketch and write.
So what have I taken away from all of this? Technology is good -- But --- Sometimes the Simple Life is better.Find a quiet place to spend a few minutes writing a quick note, a chatty postcard, or longer missive. It will make you and the recipient smile. We all need to take a few minutes to enjoy a slower life.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Love My Mailbox...most of the time

I really do love my mailbox, most of the time. I still don't like the days there are nothing but bills, political ads, and or junk mail greeting me. Nor do I like having to put less than happy things back in the mailbox to leave my house - you know what I mean, checks to pay a bill... Having to write letters or cards of sympathy would also go in that list of non-happy mailbox contents. Unfortunately, that was my unhappy lot in life earlier this week.

My best friend lost her mom on Saturday night after a short fight with an infection that left her kidneys and liver not working. She died peacefully in her sleep with her family around her. No one can ask for more.
Barbara had been a part of our lives for much of the past 20 years, as we have been a part of her daughter and son-in-law's lives. She was such a wonderful lady. Always one for a competitive game of scrabble, a loud and raucous game of Texas Washers, or a quiet quest to finish a particularly challenging jigsaw puzzle.

Texas Washers - Barabara showing the youngsters how it is played.

Happy Birthdays....
Barbara and much of her family, including my husband and I.

Babara's family is our "Foster Family." We travel and celebrate almost every occasion with them. I really felt I needed to write a note to each of her descendants. Therefore, I spent Sunday and Monday making cards and write personal notes to each of her kids and grand kids along with their families. Sympathy is really not an easy emotion to express. No word choice seems good enough. I did find a few websites that contained some wonderful examples. Reading through the ideas on these pages helped my come up with at least a few words. (Sympathy note ideas and Sympathy Sayings.) I hope will bring some support or comfort to each the recipients. I ended up drafting a basic letter and used this to guide my words to each individual.

The card I made for each family was my take on a card I found on the Cricut Message Boards, made by djackson1952. The bird and branch are from Home Decor. I am sorry I cannot remember what I ended up for the sizes. I believe the Bird was 3" and the branch was 2". I embossed the white paper with Cuttlebug - Divine Swirls. I dug through all my flowers to find small ones appropriate for the branches. I added dots of liquid pearl in the center.

Can you see I tried practicing my calligraphy (yep, taking a class) on the Paper Source envelopes.

I hope they will find some comfort in this small token of my love for them and their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

We will miss Barbara. She was a very special part of our lives.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Love My Mailbox

Over the years, our mailboxes seem to transitioned in function. Once we used these funny little tin boxes to bring us news, and greetings. We sent cards and letters, sometimes packages making connections with the outside world. Now, it just seems to ask for our money, and help fill our recycle bins with unwanted ads and offers.

I love opening my mailbox. I am sure you are all thinking I am nuts. But I really am enjoying that little funky little lock box a lot more now that I have done a few things to make it a happier part of my daily life.

First, as mentioned in previous posts, I joined Postcrossing back in April. So far I have had 34 postcards make it to their destinations across the globe. I have received 28 from a wide variety of countries. The most interesting places to date have to be Estonia and Belarus. There have been cards from grandmothers, single moms, and college students. But it really made my heart smile to receive one from a 12 year old the other day. Wow! A 12-year old interested in snail mail!!!! There is hope that snail mail won't completely die out.

Some of the postcards I have received:

Second, I have been making a concerted effort to write notes and letters to friends and family, instead of sending a quick email. As I started sitting down to write the first letters I was reminded of how much fun I used to think it was to write a letter. This was really made evident to me as I started to dig through the overflowing baskets of stationary and envelopes I have collected over the years. One of the first letters I sent was to a friend I see often. We usually communicate via email in between times together, but I found some paper I knew she would like and wrote a short note filling her in on some news I had for her. I received a wonderful thank you from her. It made us both have a better day. I encourage you to pick up pen and paper to write a note to someone. It doesn't have to be long or eloquent. Just from you, in your own hand, and from your heart.

Hope you have a happy Mailbox soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Olympics and Some Ink

If you are like me, you have been caught up in the Olympics. As a former competitive swimmer, I spend my time watching the races in the pool. My husband is excited as he gets to watch the BMX races for the second time. He is an old BMXer himself. As a member of the BMX Hall of Fame and one of the first generation racers, he is proud to see the sport now accepted in worldwide circles.

I sat and sketched in my journal some of the highlights of the Opening Ceremonies. I tried to pick out a few of the events that stood out to me. I am not sure that some of the flags I drew are accurate or even actually representative of a country...(more the concept).

Not long after starting my Visual Journal, I began to read about using Fountain Pens to sketch with. Naturally I had to try this out. I now own several different pens. Of course then I had to play with inks. I found a great sampling program at Goulet Pens. Each month they send their "Ink Drop" - 5 small vials of inks. Each month there is a theme around which the inks are chosen. The July Ink Drop theme was the Olympic Rings. Last week Brian Goulet announced the start up of a monthly Ink Drop contest.

The rules:

You can submit any kind of writing or artwork.
It can be an ink review, a poem, a watercolor wash, a sketch, or even get all scientific with chromatography... it just has to be ink on paper.

I asked my friends to give me words they think of when they think of the Olympics, or the colors of the Olympic Rings. These words I sorted by number of letters so that I could see what I had to work with. Then I began writing choosing words at random that would fit the space I had. I am happy to say that I used every word we came up with and I think I only repeated 2 words anywhere on the  page.

Here is my entry:

Please visit Goulet Pen and then click on "July 2012" to view my work and that of my "competitors." And make sure you vote. Voting Form (July Ink Drop Contest)Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog...even though I am not so consistent. I know it is hard to keep your attention when there is a Gold Medal race to watch somewhere.