Sunday, November 18, 2012


Hi it is me again! Unfortunately I am still not blogging or letter writing with any regularity, but I think I am closer to being back on my feet than I have been in quite some time. My husband and I continue to eat vegan/raw and we have both improved quite a bit. I am walking 15-20 miles a week, I have lost 30 pounds (not all of which I meant to lose... I thought I only needed to lose about 15 lbs. but I guess my body had different ideas), and my energy and overall health have improved greatly. Now I just need to get my groove back..
I look at my letter writing things and I just don't feel like I have anything to talk about... I stare at a blank page or write something and it sounds so stilted and contrived that I bunch it up and throw it away. I have writers block... actually it is a creative block. Every time I try to start a project, even a small one to try to resurrect my creative self it leaves me cold. Could the last year really have killed my ability to create, to write, to converse with my dear pen friends? Has that part of my life slipped away, never to return? I am beginning to fear that it has. I so much want to be myself again, to be full of ideas and wishing for more time to devote to my passion for letter writing, art and blogging, but I feel dead inside.
  Has anyone else ever felt this way and recovered? What do you do for creative burnout and writers block? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It is Time for an Explanation

I think a bit of an explanation is due.... It has been a long time since my last post, and I have been pretty sketchy about writing for months before that. I have not lost interest in my blogs or in letter writing, even though it may look that way. I have talked about being busy, which I have been, but there has been more to it than that. I have tried on many occasions to compose a post talking about my most recent incoming mail/outgoing mail or a missive on letter writing, but I just haven't been able to do so.
When I returned from our trip to Costa Rica in January, I was feeling great. I had spent 6 weeks hiking, breathing fresh clean air, eating wholesome fresh fruits and veggies and enjoying the peace of the rainforest. It was wonderful to feel so good.
 After just a few weeks back in the States all the vigor and well being I had enjoyed in Costa Rica was gone and my health was deteriorating daily. I limped along for awhile trying to cope and then it got to the point where I didn't feel like doing anything. I have struggled with Fibromyalgia for many years, some times the symptoms are manageable and life is pretty normal, other times it is very debilitating and I am unable to do even the simple things in life without a struggle. Since early spring I have been dealing with a bad stretch, I have been trying to keep up with my household responsibilities and all the garden tasks, but there hasn't been much left at the end of the day.
While we were living in Costa Rica in 2009-2010, I  wondered why I felt so good, I had far less pain and fatigue, and more energy than I had enjoyed since I was a young woman.... I thought maybe it was the low stress way of life and ultra clean environment, but what ever the reason I was very happy to have my health back.  I was crushed when we moved back to the States and my health quickly declined. Each time we go back to Costa Rica for a visit, my health and my quality of life improves immensely, and upon each return to the States my heart breaks as my health fades away... But why...? What was it about Costa Rica that made such a difference?
While we lived in Costa Rica, we spent our days outside working the farm. The hard work and highly oxygenated air gave us all a voracious appetite and we ate constantly. The foods we ate were simple, fresh fruits and vegetables, rice and beans. We ate very little meat due to the high cost of meat and poultry, no cheese since the available cheese was of very inferior quality and costly, and no packaged foods with the exception of tomato sauce and mustard. We had no oven and only a two burner gas hot plate to cook on, so most of our food was eaten very close to its original condition...raw. We practically lived off Batidas, (fresh fruit smoothies), vegetable salads and Gallo Pinto, (a traditional Costa Rican black beans and rice dish). The fresh air, exercise and low stress were no doubt factors in my improved health,  but I began to think that diet was the "secret ingredient".
I have always eaten healthy, choosing to grow and eat my own organically grown produce, eggs and  raw dairy from our own milking herd. For brief periods  over the years I have eaten a little poultry on occasion, but for the better part of 25 years I was a Lacto/ Ovo Vegetarian. I began adding meat to my diet when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The doctor told me that I would need more protein to repair my damaged muscle tissue than a vegetarian diet would provide, so I started adding poultry and a small amount of beef to my diet. Big mistake... Not only did it not improve my condition, but for the first time in my life I had trouble keeping my weight where I wanted it.
So to test out my thoughts that our diet in Costa Rica was integral to my improved health, I decided to  eliminate all animal products from the menu for 60 days. I  started juicing carrots and lots of green leafies, and made fruit smoothies and "green drinks", (super food drinks including barley and wheat grass), for breakfast and to fill the hungry gaps between meals. Soon I started feeling stronger, I was losing some weight and my pain was back in the tolerable range. Encouraged, I took another step or two, I have eliminated all soy products and have gone to a mostly raw diet. 
It has been 3 months since I started my test, in that time the pain had been reduced by 80%, (I still have pain at night sometimes or when I over do), the fatigue has all but disappeared, (hallalujah!), I am not fighting depression, and...I have lost 12 pounds! I have decided to end the "test" and make the changes a permanent part of my life. For the moment, I can't do anything about the air quality, or enjoy the slower paced, low stress lifestyle I enjoyed in Costa Rica, but I am very encouraged by the improvements changing my diet has made.
This blog post is a very positive benchmark as well since for months, try as I may, I couldn't  think clearly enough to compose a decent blog entry or write letters. I wanted to, since writing is my happy place, but I just couldn't fight through the fog in my brain. Now the fog is beginning to clear and  I might even have a flicker of a creative spark returning so that maybe soon I can make some mailart to send to my dear pen friends.
I know this post was too long in coming, I should have tried to explain my absence sooner, but I didn't know what to say. I want to blog about the things in life that I love, not talk about my problems... who wants to hear them any way...? It is very easy to hide "real life" situations in the blogosphere, to build the illusion of a rosy life without the bumps and pitfalls that make up a life beyond the pen or computer, it is easy and safe, but not genuine. I haven't posted because I couldn't write about the things I love, I had temporarily lost sight of them, so rather than admit there was a problem, I just didn't write at all. I am sorry. I have missed writing, I have missed you all... I am hoping that very soon I will be back to regular blogging, writing letters, making artistamps and finding bits and pieces of mailart flotsom from my latest creation stuck to the bottom of my shoe... Hopefully soon I will be seeing you in the mail!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Referrer Spam

I am posting this to hopefully keep other bloggers from experiencing the problem that I am having with Google/Blogger at the moment.
Recently I noticed some traffic sources in my stats that I didn't recognize. Because I have little experience with nefarious internet ploys and pitfalls, I innocently clicked the traffic link to see where the new traffic was coming from. It was a porn site... I quickly hit the back button and grumbled to myself that a porn site was referring people to my blog... Well that is not what is happening. No one is actually coming to my blog from this site, it is a spammer who gets paid by clicks and is using Blogger to collect money for fake clicks via my blog. I unfortunately I now have this site and two others (probably the same person with multiple sites) messing up my traffic stats. I am not really interested in numbers except that it is nice to know that my posts are being read and to see that I am reaching people, so the stats aren't a biggie anyway. But it bothers me that I have to be suspicious and skeptical of tools that Blogger has given me to help me with my blogging.
There is nothing that Blogger or Google can do about this since the traffic from these sites looks the same as normal traffic to my site. According to what little info I can get on the subject from forums, the only way to prevent these spam sites from ruining your stats and abusing Google/blogger bandwidth is to never click on the Referring Traffic links in your stat information. By doing so the Spammers will have access to your traffic stats and your numbers will climb exponentially from one day to the next. If Google doesn't have any way to control Referrer Spam then I wish they would just not make it possible to follow a traffic link to start with! Google says that eventually there will be enough complaints and trending from a particular spammer that they can identify them and block them, but until that happens I will just have to not pay attention to my traffic stats or page views, and try not to think about the dark forces that lurk behind everything that is done on the web...
  Sometimes I think I will give up on the Internet, just close my laptop and disconnect my access, because there is so much junk that can be stumbled across while trying to go about my own business. I am not wired to think bad of people and I hate having to be suspicious and cautious of what would seem to be simple things, like opening an e-mail without a subject line, or now... using the tools that were given to me to use by Blogger. But without Internet access, I wouldn't be able to connect with some of the people I love who live far away, or express myself  by writing my blogs, I would miss out on relationship with all the friends I have made through my blogs and that would diminish my world considerably, so I won't stop using the Internet...But much to my dismay I do feel like something has been taken from me. I am exposed here on the web, not safe to go about my business in peace. What a shame..

** so if you see unfamiliar links on your traffic stats... Don't click them! 

Blog Hops that this post is linked to:
Clever Chicks Blog Hop #24

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Paring Down the To Do List

Hi there!
  It has been way to long since my last post and even longer since I got any mail out... it seems like the hurried-er I go...the behinder I get...
  I really have been making progress, but there is still much to be done. Today we finally got the tile laid in the bathroom. My husband did the heavy work, mixing mortar and trimming tile and I spread the mortar and laid the tile. It will be a day or two before we can grout, since the mortar needs to cure for awhile, but soon I can grout and the bathroom will be functional again... makes me grateful we have a second bathroom!

There is still much work to be done in the garden, and as soon as I am able to put the bathroom project down for a day or two, that is where I will be spending much of my time. But I have been working on a little postal project in the wee hours of the morning, and hopefully soon I will have it ready to go out...

Here is a little sneak peek of what I have been up to when I should be sleeping! Hopefully soon I will see you all in the mail!

If you would like to hear what is happening at Heart's Ease Cottage, come check out my blog There is a new post up there too!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Postal Sticker Shock

  I went today to collect my mail and found that I was locked out of my P.O. Box. The post office sent me an envelope earlier this month so I could send in my annual POB payment, but they neglected to note how much to send in...Typical. Usually they send me a notice threatening to reissue my box to someone else if I don't pay the rent due, having never sent me a notice that the rent was due in the first place. I guess this is an improvement... I haven't been back to the post office during office hours, since the day I received the notice, so I had no idea how much the payment due was.
  Today I was out running errands and got to the post office during business hours so I could pay my POB rent. Wow... What a shock! When I first opened the POB in 2001 the rent was $12 for a year. Today I had to shell out $44 to get my mail out of jail. Gulp! I don't like to complain, and I normally try not to grumble about my local post office, no matter how much they ask for it... but really? Last year the fee was $32, that up from $15 the year before we went to Costa Rica... It just seems kind of steep for the kind of service that my post office provides.
  The cost probably wouldn't bother me if it weren't that the service to my POB is so very bad... I regularly receive mail for someone who is deceased, two other people have rented that box since she held it, I also get their mail. This means that every time I check my mail, I have to go to the counter and wait for them to take the errant mail from me. Then I have  to remind them again that this person hasn't had this box in at least 5years, that I would like for them to stop putting her mail in my box. I get the customary, "I'll take care of it", as I watch them take the mail from me and throw it back in the to be delivered box, where it will go through the system again and then end up in my box again a day or so from now. Sigh.
  I try hard not to, but I really dislike my local post office. The employees are rude, intolerant, seemingly incompetent and insist that I answer their long list of questions and options individually. If I try to interrupt the process by stating that, "I only want my stamps, nothing else thank you", one particularly irritating postal worker will hold her finger up and say "Please let me finish", then go on to ask her questions while holding my stamps hostage until she is done. I have to confess that the last time she did that, since I was just needing to make sure I had the enough postage on a letter and had confirmed that I didn't owe anything, I turned and walked away while she was still going through her little schpeel... I am not proud of that, I try to be polite and considerate to everyone I come in contact with, but when she stuck her finger up, it was either walk away or say something that I know I would regret...
  Usually, I just check my box at this post office, since the postal workers are not very helpful. If I need to buy stamps or do other postal transaction, I wait until I am driving towards Charlotte, and conduct my business at one of the post offices there. But on occasion, like the POB rent, I have to deal with my local postal workers. It is almost always an unsatisfactory experience and I walk away wishing I could rent my POB in Weddington, a couple miles up the road. But when I asked the U.S.P.S in  Weddington, they said I have to rent a box within my zip code, so I guess I am stuck with my Waxhaw P.O. Box.
  I really enjoy writing letters and I need my P.O.Box, since the home delivery person is worse than the workers at the post office... letters go missing, the box lid not properly closed in the rain resulting in soggy mail, letters are delivered to a similar address on the other side of Waxhaw, where since the mail doesn't belong to them, they just throw it away! *We found this out when a piece of their mail was delivered to our box twice in the same week, (even with the street named circled so they would realize they delivered to the wrong address and it was placed back in the mailbox with the flag up for the postal worker to see...), so we hand delivered it to the person. They cheerfully told us thank you, and then blythely mentioned that the post office has been goofing up with our mail for quite some time, and that since telling the postal delivery person about it didn't remedy the problem, they just started throwing it away! Who does such a thing??? Did it never occur to them that we might like to receive our mail? What if it was important? So I decided that all important mail would be sent to a P.O. Box, at least there the mail wouldn't get wet!
  I wish that I could have the kind of relationship with my postal workers that I hear about from others in the letter writing community. I would love to look forward to going to the Post Office. My mail is one of the highlights of my day, but more often than not if I have to interact with the postal workers I go home from the post office feeling out of sorts. I hope for the sake of the U.S.P.S. and the future of letter writing, that my experiences with the postal system are the exception instead of the rule... 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Little About What is Going On

I know that I haven't really written anything about letters or letter writing in awhile. This time of year is very busy at Heart's Ease Cottage. It is hard to get anything done inside when there are gardens to be planted and tended, and then the bathroom renovation is occupying the evening hours...
I am mostly caught up with my "letters to be written" stack, the ones that remain require special attention, (art desk time), so I haven't gotten them out. I haven't had a chance to check my P.O. Box in a week, but the last couple of times I checked, it was empty. It is a busy time of year for everyone! I will get back to regular posting and letter writing once I get the garden tasks under control...( "control" is tongue in cheek since the garden controls me, not the other way around!).
Until then, I will encourage you to see what we've been up to by checking out my other blog: where I have posted many photos of the gardens at the Cottage.
Also, my husband has authored an update on Samuel's progress at:
if anyone is interested in how Samuel is doing.
I hope this finds you well and having a wonderful Spring! See you in the Mail!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We are so Grateful!

 Dear Friends,
   There are times in life when things happen that are so far above our own control that the we can clearly see the hand of God, no question, no doubt...
   We are in the midst of one of those times right now. I must say that I have been totally bowled over. If you have read my blog for awhile, then you are aware that we lived in Costa Rica for a year, and while there we became friends with a family that lived near our farm on the top of the mountain. Samuel, Lourdes and their extended family became as close to us as blood family. There are several posts about these wonderful people in the archives to catch you up on who they are, if you haven't heard of them before.

Da and Samuel at Cataratas Vienta Fresco
   Samuel and my husband were hiking buddies. They hiked up and down every mountain and volcano slope that they could find. But my husband had been noticing that Samuel was dealing with a lot of pain after their hikes. As time went on he started using a hiking stick, then he wasn't able to go on hikes any more. He finally confided to Daniel that as a young man, he was injured in a work related accident, which was never treated properly. The construction company he worked for did little to help him with his medical expenses and basically ignored the problem . He had to work, he had small children to feed, so he just lived with the injury and moved on. Unfortunately, after many years of living with an untreated injury, at 52 years old he was no longer able to do the physically demanding work that his job required.
  Jobs are hard come by in Costa Rica at the best of economic times, but with the local economy being closely tied to American tourism, the last few years have been very hard. What jobs there were in construction and tourism evaporated with the bursting of the American Mortgage Bubble. Samuel began to find other ways of earning a living, he used the back yard of his mother-in-laws house to raise meat chickens, and for awhile he was able to make enough to support his family from selling his chickens as butchered and dressed whole roasters. His method of sale was to butcher, clean, chill over-night in an extra fridge at his home and then on the following morning, take a 90 lb. sack of individually wrapped chickens, and walk with the sack selling them door to door. Samuel's home is at the foot of a very steep mountain  lane that lead up to our farm at the top, the other direction that he could walk was a steady incline for several miles.Everywhere he could sell his chickens was up hill from where he started. His knee continued to deteriorate to the point where he couldn't make the grade any more, (literally), and had to stop raising chickens.
Samuel before his knee gave way
  We were preparing to move back to the states in a few months, and we saw clearly the handwriting on the wall. Our dear friend, an honest and hardworking man, would soon fall into destitution, since everything he knew how to do required the use of his legs, and one leg was failing him. So my husband encouraged Samuel to have CAJA (Costa Rica's socialized medicine), evaluate his condition. They gave him an appointment for an evaluation 6 months in the future. In the meantime, my husband and I helped him to see a private doctor. We also helped him file for disability, and talked to a lawyer about pressing the construction company to pay for his medical care.
   The private doctor was able to tell Samuel why he was in such pain. The cartilage in his knee was completely gone, his knee was essentially gone and he was grinding bone on bone. The hopes of disability to help while he pursued a solution to his problem evaporated, according to the lawyer, there was no legal recourse that he could successfully take against the construction company, and CAJA said that they wouldn't authorize a knee replacement until he was 65 years old.... There seemed to be little hope.
  We came home and stayed in contact with Samuel, helping financially as we could, and continued to explore options long distance. Samuel's family pulled together, his 17 year old son went to work and Lourdes, his wife took on more house cleaning jobs, while the other kids did what they could to keep life on track. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it. As a family they showed such courage as faced their future together, and made the best of the life that they had.
  At home here in the states, Da and I prayed for a miracle, and kept encouraging Samuel not to give up. Then came the day that we called Samuel to find out about his visit to the CAJA doctor. He said the doctor had injected his knee with some kind of lubricant, which caused him a great deal of pain due to an allergic reaction. He also told him that if he couldn't wait until he was 65 years old to be put on a waiting list for a knee replacement, they could amputate his leg at the knee now to alleviate his pain. The very thought of it made my hair stand on end!!
  So with those options, it was going to take a miracle, and we continued to pray for God to help Samuel. Meanwhile my husband helped him to get into to see another private orthopedic specialist, who did arthroscopic surgery to place a pad between the bones to help with the grinding. It was supposed to give him 2-3 years, it lasted 3 months. The doctor gave a quote of $20,000.00 for knee replacement, which was a number that staggered Samuel and made us realize that for this to happen at all, we would need to begin fund raising immediately. We had no idea how to raise that much money, but prayed for provision and took the first steps in the journey of a thousand miles....
                                                              Miracle #1
  During the next several months we exhausted all possible contacts for medical help from Stateside doctors and were beginning to wonder if help would come. Then one day Lourdes, Samuel's wife, mentioned their problem to a woman that she cleaned for. The woman took an interest in their plight and contacted us.
   This was the beginning of an answer to prayer. Da and Ginny talked by phone, and then met face to face in December, when we were in Costa Rica for six weeks. Ginny had found a Costa Rican surgeon who trained at  Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where her husband is a doctor. She had arranged a meeting with the surgeon while she was vacationing for a few weeks. So Samuel, Da, Ginny and I took the four hour bus ride to San Jose and met with the surgeon. He said that due to the damage done to his knee and his age, Samuel's only option was a knee replacement. He also understood that Samuel did not have the means to pay for the procedure and agreed to do the surgery for free!!! This would still leave about $ 10,000.00 in other medical bills, like the knee apparatus, hospital and anesthesiologist bills plus physical therapy and feeding Samuel'a family while he was getting back on his feet.... but $10,000 dollars at least in the realm of possibility.
   This story goes on for some time, and is just full of miracle after miracle. I have created a blog to keep informed those who are interested or have contributed to Samuel's knee surgery, with prayers, emotional support, and finances. If you want to hear the rest of the story, the link is: .

I will be continuing to add updates there as things unfold. But to finish up here I will tell you that the outpouring of concern and love from so many quarters is really overwhelming... Ginny and her husband and Da and I agreed to come up with half of the money each that was needed, The total sum was raised in less than 30 days! As I write, Daniel is in Costa Rica, helping Samuel through his first two weeks after surgery. The replacement went well and Samuel is getting stronger every day. My cup runs over.... I can't help but tear up every time I think about it... Samuel has a new lease on life, but it doesn't stop there... I am renewed. I can see again, that there is hope and goodness in this world and I feel so close to the Creator who brushed away the impossible and made possible a knee for Samuel.
Samuel the day of his surgery April 10, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012


 More than 10 years ago, while looking for pen pals on the internet, I ran across one of Ruud Jansen's websites, the TAM Rubberstamp Archive. One of several sites that Ruud had on the web at the time. That site opened a door for me into a whole new world of postal delight... Mail art.
  It was through the archive site that I learned about I.U.O.M.A. The International Union Of Mail Artists is a brain child of Ruud Jansen, a native of the Netherlands and long time mail artist. He originally started the "Union" in 1988 as a joke, but it has grown into a virtual world where more than 2000 mail artists come to interact with other mail artists. There are forums, members can post scans of their sent and received mail, join various interest groups and can even have their own blog on the site. If you haven't ever visited the site, you should give it a peek, there is a lot going on there. It is a great way to meet mail artists from around the world.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ray Johnson The Father of Mail Art

  Ray Johnson was known as the "Father of Mail Art". He  connected with others through art and mail for many years, spurring others to follow suit and send their own little pieces of postal art out into the world. He created the New York Correspondence School as a platform from which to launch many Mail related projects.
One of Ray's bunnies. 
  Cracker Jack Kid, a present day Mail Artist, created a blog as a tribute to Ray Johnson, who tragically committed suicide in 1995. He had this to say about Ray and his contributions to the world of  art: "...The New York Correspondence School was established in the early 60's, it was singularly the most important contribution of Ray Johnson to the history of art, a point missed by leading newspapers and art magazines reporting Johnson's death. It was Fluxus and Ray Johnson's NYCS that birthed mail art, the largest international art community and movement in the history of art. Membership into NYCS was bestowed upon anyone Johnson chose to correspond with, and the exchanges were wonderful, intimately engaging verbal and visual play. Throughout the 1960's and until his death, Ray Johnson was the conduit, the server, the proto-internet Dada daddy, surfing the mailstream, invading mailboxes everywhere with bunnies, imaginary fan clubs, and correspondence wordplay. Mail artists around the world embraced Johnson's notion of making ordinary mail and art of extraordinary wit and beauty..." 
  Ray's bunny is to the mail art what the EverReady bunny is to batteries. The symbol of something that just keeps going and going....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thanks to My Talented Husband

Due to the diligent efforts of my husband, my computer has come out the coma. He coaxed it back to life, formatted my hard disk, (sigh...), reinstalled programs and found back ups for most of the important things. The only thing I lost outright was my bookmarks. I use them extensively and will probably never find all the websites again, but it is a small price to pay to have a functioning computer again! Many thanks to Da for all the time and effort it took to get me back online! Now it's time to write some posts for my blogs...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Computer Problems

Hi All!
  I apologize for not continuing my posts on the roots of mail art, but I am having to borrow a computer to make this post... My computer turned up its toes and died and I am going to have to replace the hard disk, and possibly the entire computer. SIGH... My husband is trying get it working again, but if replacement is necessary, that may take some time to put the pennies together for a new one.
  In any case, I will continue writing letters, (no computer required for that!), and hope and pray that I can be back online soon. Love to you all and have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mail Art Past and Present

Photo from Ruud Janssen's blog
  I started participating in mail art many years ago. Long before blogs were common place. The main way that you found other mail artists was to go on line to the one or two obscure sites that posted mail art calls, sign up for a call and participate. Once the call was over "documentation" would be sent by mail to all the participants. This documentation was a list of names and addresses of those who participated in the mail art call. This list was like gold... it was the way to build up your address book of mail artists and began to get those lovely colorful pieces of mail in the mailbox. I would pour over the list of mail art calls and find those that I felt like I could meet the requirements for, create the mail art, post it and wait with baited breath for the documentation to come... sometimes that wait would be months since the documentation followed the mail art call and there was a long suspense date. Things have really changed since those days... now all I have to do is "Google" mail art or mail art blogs and there is a long list to choose from.
   Mail art itself has many faces, some many years old and some new kids on the block. There are those "old school" mail artists who send handmade post cards to random strangers with no return address...a gift with no expectation of reciprocation, who post  mail art calls and those who answer them, then there is Fluxus and DaDa, and those like Ruud Jansen of TAM (Traveling Art Mail), and I.U.O.M.A. and Susanna Lakner of Planet Susannia, who have invested untold hours and expended huge amounts of energy to promote the idea of a global mail art community. Most of this kind of mail art was all about the art... there was usually no letter included.
  New to mail art are those who have gone a step further than penpal letter writing to send mail that includes both an artistic or decorated envelope and a letter. Many blogs have sprung up to promote the art of letter writing and to share the beautiful and fun mail they get.
  I have a foot in both worlds, old and new. I am happy for the opportunity to create mail for a call and to send mail to mail artists that I have known for many years only by their art and their mail art moniker. This mail is almost always just mail art, no letter. But I also love letter writing and making friends both here and overseas. Some of these pen friends write and create art, others just write. I am very glad to be able to participate in all things postal, artistic or just to correspond.
  For the next few posts, I am going to talk about some  "Old School" mail art people and projects and tell a little about mail art's history.  So until next time I will see you in the mail!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Incoming Mail

Well, I think I have survived the illness that kept me down for almost a month! I am now back to the business of writing letters and getting caught up on blog posts. So here are some of the things I have received and not posted.
This card with a special cancellation was sent to me by Kimi in California

Post cards and note cards from Ellie VG in the UK, Kimi in Ca., Tom in Mo., and Eunice in Wales

Limner in Texas has been very creative and generous to me with mail. She made sure there was mail in my POB waiting for me upon my return from Costa Rica. Thanks Limner!
Wanda in British Columbia sent me this letter packed with good news and stories!

Monique in Ontario sent me snowy mail to brighten my day.
Pen Thief in Ohio sent a nice, newsy letter and a splash of color.
Linda in Virginia sent me a great letter and some wonderful ephemera. I adore S&H Green Stamps!

Super Hero sent me an invitation to participate in a couple of different mail projects and a really cool post card!
While I was in Costa Rica I received mail from two new pen friends, James in the Philippines and Impeccable=M in California
Ahmet in Turkey sent me one of his lovely and unique Puzzle Letters.
Ahmet also sent me several sheets of my artistamps that he reproduced for his mail art project Puzzleposta. Thank you so much Ahmet they are awesome!! What a generous gift and such a surprise!
Then last but certainly not least, Ahmet sent me this wonderful 2012 calendar featuring one of his many beautiful puzzle letters. 

It never ceases to amaze me how blessed I am to have such generous, interesting and talented pen friends. My life is much richer for all of you! Thanks so much!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Still Sick...

Hi all! I thought there for a moment that I was getting better, but unfortunately I am down for the count again. I spent what time I was awake this week writing letters to those who's letters have been languishing in a stack next to the bed. I promise that all precautions were observed... hands washed, lemon essential oil applied, and no coughing on the paper... but I can't guarantee that you won't receive a letter full of the ramblings of a fevered mind.  If you receive a somewhat odd or uncharacteristic letter, please forgive me... it is the effort that counts... Right? :)

  I hope that this note finds you well and that you are enjoying your weekend! See you in the mail! Elle

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Please Forgive the Delay

I am so sorry that there has been no posting of letters or blog pages... I have been really sick. I am still feeling terrible, but I there might be hope in a day or two of some improvement. I keep looking at my stack of letters to be answered and feel so sad that I don't have the strength or brainpower to write... If you are expecting a letter from me, I haven't forgotten, I will hopefully start feeling like myself again soon and then it is on the top of my list to get my letters written and then to write a post for my blog. I am sending well wishes to you all and hope that this finds you healthy and enjoying good mail days! And now I'm going back to bed....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Post Crossings

Wow!! This is pretty awesome! I just read that Postcrossings has just registered its 10,000,000th post card.  What an accomplishment! What a happy thought... 10,000,000 post cards hand addressed, stamped, and mailed all over the world; bringing to each recipient a smile and a memory to cherish. Congratulations Postcrossings!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life Keeps Happening....

  I have been waiting to write an entry until I had my act together at home... Well, "life" keeps happening so I don't think I am going to get my act together. Most recently my husband and I had the pleasure of ripping the floor out of the main bathroom. The gasket under the toilet had been secretly leaking and the sub floor abruptly began to sag. Sigh...

  The yucky part of the task is now behind us, a new sub-floor is in place and we will set the porcelain throne once we acquire the hardware to bolt it to the floor. My husband and I are no strangers to construction projects. We built our house back after Hurricane Hugo threw the majority of the house into the woods. Since those days we have had the opportunity to do many other construction projects under our roof...
New tile next to tub
This one was particularly repugnant due to the fact we had to tear up a perfectly good tile floor to make the repair. One good thing to come out of it is that I now am going to fulfill a long time desire to have a black and white mosaic floor in the bathroom. I have always wanted to have that kind of tile in there because we have this wonderful 1920's porcelain over cast iron corner tub in that bath and I think the tile will really set it off. So looking on the bright side, Yipee! I am going to get my mosaic floor!
  For the present I am going to have to live with the plywood sub-floor. Construction projects have a tendency to get what my computer programer sons would call "scope creep".  The john leaks so we have to rip out the floor, then h-m-m... this would be a good time to take out the 20 year old sink cabinet and replace it with one of those really nice shallow profile sink bases with the porcelain , round fronted sink top. So while we are at it we should open the wall behind the sink and re-plumb the sink plumbing, since it is old and could leak and ruin our new tile floor... and gee.. a pressed tin ceiling would really give this room an authentic period look, (another detail I have always wanted but could not afford when we were rebuilding the house). Of course we will want to give the walls and wainscoting a new coat of paint before we lay down the floor. So, once again my house will be a construction zone and God only knows how long this will take, since my husband will be very busy supporting electronic poll book implementation in preparation for the May primary... it is after all a presidential election year. At least I won't be trying to do construction with little kids under foot, like we did when we were building the house back after Hugo. At that time we had a 7 year old and a six moth old to keep up with as well as put our house back together. Actually, the thought of not having them around to "help" is kind of depressing... Enough of that. My goal for 2012 is to get over my "empty-nest" syndrome and enjoy the new life stage I am in. This is a lofty goal since I was drowning in "emptiness" before we went to Costa Rica.
  I am sorry. I am babbling. I am still working on the transition to Stateside life, I feel fragmented and scattered, but it is time for me to pull it all together. The seeds just arrived for my spring garden, so I need to get them in flats and under lights. The plans need to be laid out for a bathroom renovation and I have still got a pile of letters to answer and delinquent blog entries to write. So... I think I will grab a stack of letters, make a Cafe con Leche with smooth Costa Rican coffee, and give some of my pen friends something in their mailboxes! See you in the mail!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting back to Life American-Style

Hi all!
  I know that it has been awhile since I posted... Wow... life comes at you fast here in the States! I am struggling to reset my inner clock from "Tico Time" to "Rat Race", my head is spinning. It almost seems like I am going in slow motion and the rest of the world is a whirling blur around me. I know in time that the sensation will subside and that I will recalibrate, but it seems such a shame to lose the beautiful calm that came over me while we were gone.
 One real consolation is that now I am able to send and receive letters again! When I returned to the states and checked my P.O. Box, (not the very first thing I did, but it was one of the top 3), I found that it was stuffed full of mail goodness from my pen family...Sigh! It feels so good to be thought about... it made tears well up in my eyes. I have missed you guys! I am afraid that I have not had a chance yet to sit down and write any letters. I have been working on a set of postcards to mail out to everyone, so soon I will have something out to all the people on my mailing list. Then I will begin to work my way through the stack of lovely mail I have received. I want each of you to know how much you mean to me and how appreciative I am of your friendship. You are the best! Very soon I will see you in the mail!

Monday, January 9, 2012

We are Home!

Hi everyone! After six lovely weeks of travel, hiking, & visiting, we are finally home. We were delivered safely to our door by our son a few minutes ago and now I am going to go to bed...I am beat. I will post again soon with some final stories from Costa Rica and then I will be trying to get mail out to my pen friends in a day or two. It is good to be home! See you in the mail very soon!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I will be posting about our time at Casitas Tenorio when we return home... We have done some video and have to wait until we can get to our video editing software before I can post. I will say though, that we had a great time. Pip and Donald the owners and hosts of Casitas Tenorio, are delightful people. They made our time in the area very special and I can happily say we have made some new friends. I also am going to wait to post about our return trip to Rio Celeste until we get back to the States so I can include some video. I will say that my knee was well enough to go down the stone stairs this time... unfortunately for me the rains washed away a large section of the path down to the waterfall so... I got to go down a different way... but I'll tell all about that when I post my pics and video. See you soon!