November to now

•December 19, 2012 • 1 Comment

I wish I’d posted my mostly daft ramblings before now.  It would have been so much easier to write.

I would have carried on with my post-Thanksgiving retail rant.  I probably would have whined a bit more about the materialization of a religious holiday.  I might have had one or two cat stories – or maybe shared with you my “most bizarre injury I’ve ever had” tale.  I am positive I would have done a lot of gloating about our election.

I may have, but I won’t now.  The unbelievably tragic event that devastated a small town over 1,000 miles from me has, for now, left me numb.  It’s difficult for me to understand on any level.  I can’t read or watch the news.  I think that when I reflect upon all the mass-killings in the US and other countries this year, I’m not wondering so much about guns, but how we continually fail, or turn a blind eye to the people who are so desperately dangerous to themselves and others.  We are paying a high price here.

So I will simply share my cards and wish everyone the joy of family and friends.

Peace,

Michelle

November Notables

November Outbox

October – Over and Out!

•November 18, 2012 • 2 Comments

Forget October! According to the retail stores, we should have barely noticed October. They want us to skip November altogether and dive headfirst into Christmas! I wish they’d look at their calendars every now and again. I resent having my panic button pushed earlier and earlier every year.

My October was mostly filled with doctor appointments and a one-night stay in hospital. I had my first-ever stress test and one is just fine. Good news is my heart is normal and strong! I am now without a gallbladder and so far, haven’t missed it. I truly have grown to detest waiting in doctors’ offices. This round of physicians’ waiting room tables tended to be stacked with “guys” magazines – “Field & Stream,” “Big Trucks,” “Men’s Health.” What’s with that? I was lucky to find a stray 1985 National Geographic. While I’m waiting, I want the opportunity to openly read the dirt on celebrities in “People” or “US.” I did learn very quickly that you should always take your Kindle or Nook with you on these visits. Have I mentioned that I am a dinosaur and still don’t have a smart phone? I only want them when bored – and Kindle is a lot cheaper!

We did celebrate Halloween in a big way at work. 3 floors of our building go all out with decorations and the day before Halloween, people with kids bring them in full costume to “Trick or Treat.” Here are just a few pictures of the fun!

Halloween at MKI

Of course, almost everything in the U.S. was about the election. Red versus blue, Dems versus Reps, point here, point there. He said this, no I didn’t say that; yes, he said that. Thank heavens it is over. I will just say that I was very relieved by the outcome. Immensely relieved!

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. I have wonderful memories of big family gatherings, but mine will be small and intimate. Just me and 3 cats! It’s very easy on the oven and budget. I still like the holiday more than any other. I look at it as the “Golden Rule” of the holidays. Remember the good things that make your life what it is. Reflect on your family – pull out old pictures, tell funny stories about people no longer in your physical life.

Enjoy your good fortunes, and if you are in the US, take a nap so you can line up in front of the Big Box Retailers at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night for that super deal they’ve been advertising every thirty minutes since October 1. You may want to read the fine print in the ads while you’re waiting. “Limited number” means the store has only 2 of the TV set you want available. If you’re 140th in line, you can go home. We’ll talk about the Golden Rule when you get back.

I gave up hosting one of my Postcrossing Round Robins. It took me a while to finally decide that the group was too large and was becoming a full-time job. My rule has always been that if a hobby becomes a job and not fun, hand it over to someone with a new enthusiasm. Weird though. It’s akin to selling your house. You’re tired of it, want to unload it and someone buys it. Great, right? But you drive by it a little while later and see new plants, new paint color, new door and you’re sad. You may like all those changes, but you didn’t realize that it would give a little pain to your heart to see so many traces of you just gone.

I experienced my 15 minutes of fame. Postcrossing.com has a blog that, among other topics, interviews various members. I was excited and stunned to get an email asking me to participate. So, I’ll do a little bragging by sharing it with you! http://www.postcrossing.com/blog/2012/11/04/postcrossing-spotlight-michellew-from-texas-usa#comments (You’ll need to copy/paste to your browser.)

Cards came in and flew out of the mailbox. There are a few that should truly make you chuckle, if not laugh out loud!

Hugs!
Michelle

Outrageous October
October Outward Bound

Suddenly September

•October 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Busy month! There’s an election going on over here in the US and that’s always the best show in town, sometimes a comedy and sometimes a slasher movie! I don’t choose to use this little get-together as a political forum, but I must give a nod to all newspaper editorial cartoonists, because they’ve had great material and have been brilliant capturing the absurdity on every level.

Just as September closed for the year, the Great State Fair of Texas began – and it was nearly flooded by the rain that started the day it opened. The fair’s iconic greeter – Big Tex – didn’t have his 60th birthday party. Big Tex is a huge figure that made his debut at the 1952 fair. He sports a size 70-gallon cowboy hat and stands 52 feet tall. In 1953, they added the voice of the State Fair of Texas. BT still greets visitors with a booming, “Howdy, folks!”

Big Tex’s voice has changed a bit and his clothes are updated every few years. His belt buckle is now a giant advertisement as are the pockets on his shirt and jeans. But he still towers over the visitors and children still crane their necks and gape with wonder at this behemoth. I love him. He is part of the good memories of my childhood. Trying to win goldfish, stuffed toys, trinkets was the stuff of dreams. Today, traditions such as the State Fair corned dog and funnel cakes still pack on the weight, but oh so deliciously! Kids have too many sodas or too much lemonade, while adult kids partake of a stronger brew.

It hosts long-time rival football games – pigskin football – such as Texas Longhorns vs University of Oklahoma Sooners. My family grows horns every September – true Longhorns. The Fair is also home to spectacular art deco buildings, museums, new car exhibitions, food contests, livestock shows – it is pure Texas. If you’re ever here the first three weeks of October, you have to visit.

I’m still sorting and editing photos from our Canada trip. I got some I really liked – especially for a plain little digital camera! I had to laugh – the first hundred or so were trees. And trees. River. Trees. I’m not sure how many I took, but the Buchart Gardens on Victoria Island almost took an entire memory card. I do look forward to sharing some. I think you’ll enjoy the Plaster Man, Emily Carr’s sculpture with her pet monkey and dog, the bizarre and out-of-a-Stephen-King-novel trees at the Empress Hotel and, of course, flowers, more trees and more water.

If I was a really talented photographer like my dear friend, Minnasusanne, I would be selling my work on my own new site! Minna put together a collection of amazing photos that she’s taken, friends have taken, old family photos and put them in postcard books – or single cards! Take a look for yourself – these cards are stunning and I don’t say that because Minna is a rare find in this online friends world. Go look and if you like what you see, please patronize her new enterprise!

For reasons unknown, I can’t get the link to show up on WordPress. Please copy and paste: http://minorpostcards.fi/recent-events/minor-postcards-web-store-opened.

Hugs, Minna and good luck!

October always seems like a big month for me and my family. I start this one with a bit of surgery – nothing major – and then we have aforementioned football games along with some birthdays to celebrate. The month truly closes out the summer and the autumn feel flows though opened doors and windows. Our arboretum has an amazing pumpkin patch of many species in the gourd family. I believe there are as many as 50,000 on the grounds. People are already putting out Halloween decorations with more to come as the days pass.

The month not only brought some cooler weather, but even cooler cards in my mailbox! As always, they cover the spectrum of touristy to my-side-hurts-from-laughing funny. I believe you’ll get a chuckle or two and be amazed at all the trees and water on our little planet.

Enjoy and I look forward to spending a moment with you after Halloween!

With hugs,
Michelle

Stunning September
Sent in September

July and August – They Just Did a “Flyby”

•September 8, 2012 • 1 Comment

Two months gone. Summer ending (in some places but it’s still hanging on in Texas). Going into September and October in Texas means football (not soccer – football), school zones and a little bit of color in the trees. July and August are truly a blur – most of the time spent preparing for trip to Canada, the actual trip to Canada and Post-Canada depression!

During 2012, our Postcrossing groups came to know a particularly brave, sweet young woman from The Netherlands. Her name was Sophie Jacobi. In late spring or early summer, we became aware that Sophie was very sick. She was born with many respiratory problems including COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) which was genetically inherited. We sent her cards and small gifts to try to bring a smile, but it was Sophie who made us smile. She underwent very dangerous surgery and made it through. The tragic fact was that she needed a lung transplant and one never came in time. Sophie died August 22nd. She was 26 years old.

Sophie will remain with those of us who knew her as a bright, kind and hope-filled spirit. She represented bravery in fighting her diseases and humility in truly accepting the things she could not change. But Sophie did change all of us. I have a photo of her with a small gift I sent. I’ll treasure that photo and just looking at it reminds me how very important it is to be an organ donor if you can. She taught me to take nothing for granted.

She reminded me of Randy Pausch, the author of “The Last Lecture.” He wrote the book knowing he was dying of cancer. Like Sophie, he faced each day no matter how hard it was. He looked forward, not back, and neither asked, “Why me?” One thing he said stays with me:

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”

That quote leads me to sharing a poem I discovered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, at an art exhibition of Emily Carr’s work. It was something she wrote in 1924 just days before a friend’s major surgery. I read it just a few days after Sophie died, not knowing she was gone, but feeling overwhelming certainty she’d left us when I was reading this poem. Here is a bit of it:

Dream Garden

To me the dream was this.
It was the garden of my dear friend’s soul.
High walled by quiet and loving deeds
Done quietly by her day by day for man and beast.
The Fountain, – ah! At that she drinks,
And in the shadows cool and quiet she walks with God.
And what about the tunnel. Lo! To every soul some shadows come.
But she hath naught to fear in this dark spot
Tis but one moment ere she turns and finds
The sunshine gleaming thru the other arch
And her dear garden fair all bright agleam with flowers before her.
And so I slowly climbed the stair
It was not mine this garden
I dare not linger there.
~Emily Carr

One late afternoon in Jasper, Alberta Canada, after a brief rainfall, my sister-in-law, Dianne, and I watched a rainbow form on the left of the horizon. As the minutes passed, the rainbow grew wider and arched higher toward the skies. As it made its way to the right horizon, an amazing thing happened – it became a double rainbow of the most brilliant colors we had ever seen. It was an experience that made you incapable of speech or even thought. You could only absorb the strength and beauty.

That made it a wonderful trip.

Hugs,
Michelle

My July & August Inbox!
Going Out in July/August
From Sophie

I think I lost June

•July 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Some months it’s just best to bid them goodbye and don’t look back. That was June for me. And just when I thought it was getting really bad, something amazing happened. Friends of mine and folks who are in my Postcrossing round robin groups began sending me RAS (Random Acts of Smiles) cards. First a couple and I thought, “That’s really nice.”

Every day brought more, and more still and more after more! I’ve received cards from a huge number of countries – all with the theme “We Love You, Michelle.” Wow. I mean WOW. Beautiful cards, funny cards, cards that make you immediately Google the person/place/thing. Some came in handmade envelopes that were carefully opened as not to ruin them and others arrived with the most amazing stamps.

And they all contained the kindest thoughts, quotes and feeling from people I know and many of their friends who sent just because they thought I needed a “cheering up.” Three special people organized this outpouring of kindness – Andy from the UK, Rose from Canada and Ines from Germany. Such caring is to be embraced and cherished.

My family’s “radar” kicked in and once again, they came to the aid of the “kid” sister! So June slipped off the calendar and July has been full of support and encouragement. Most of the time I don’t understand life, but I’ve learned to enjoy the good when it’s hanging around my neighborhood.

My trip to Canada is now only a month away. I’m excited, but nervous. Can I really stay away from a computer for 10 days? I guess we will find out. I do know that I am looking forward to the cooler weather! Will be hard to come back to a baked Texas!

Special thoughts and prayers go to Sophie, Christine and Rebecca. I wish upon a star for all of you every night!

I can’t close without saying that my heart and love go to the families of the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, and the Ontario Mall shootings. Senseless, tragic and not to be explained in a form you and I can possibly understand because we aren’t wired with cold, evil, twisted patterns in our brains. Instead, we are wired to remember those lost and those changed forever.

Please enjoy the cards – I know I did!

Hugs,
Michelle

My June Comings
My June Goings

May’s postcards – in and out!

•June 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Oh, some days you just forget the little things!

May's Magical Moments
My May Outbox

May went where??

•June 10, 2012 • 2 Comments

So many happenings in May that it flew by and seems like it was last year!

In my postcard world there was a lot of work and some fun, too! My good friend Aurora (and person responsible for my addiction) and I went to a postcard and vintage exhibit/sale. It was a postcardholic’s dream. Tables everywhere all full to the edges with boxes and boxes of older and vintage postcards and magazines. Just as responsible gamblers do, I took only a certain amount of cash and went through it in about an hour.

There was not a topic that wasn’t somewhere on those tables. I did learn that the next time we go (in the fall), I must start with the tables that all cards are only 10 cents or a quarter. One of those sellers told us he had sold 900 cards to ONE PERSON earlier. Not a typo. Two zeros after the 9. I felt much better about my spending after that! He had some terrific early Coca Cola cards. My, my – Coke certainly was a little sexier in their advertising earlier in their corporate history – of course this card was intended for international advertising. That’s still true today for almost all US corporations – especially fragrance and fashion.

Coca Cola ca. 1950

By the way, for you postcard enthusiasts, what do you think of this possible card?

Potential postcard?

The story is pretty strange. That is one of multiple photos I took of the Venice Carnival mural that my parents had painted on the living room wall when they built the house over 50 years ago! I’ve loved it my whole life and dreamed of going to such a fabulous place with exciting people dressed in such beautiful costumes. I was just looking at it one day (I don’t know why – I wasn’t dusting the buffet in front of it) when it occurred to me to see how photos of different parts of it would look. I love it, but am wondering if anyone else would like it.

I’m almost through reading the John Lennon book and I’m almost sorry I read it. It has completely blown up every fairy tale fed to us about all of the Beatles. If you ask me now who the most human of the four was, I’d tell you George Harrison followed by Ringo. Wow – the McCartney/Lennon “partnership” was amazing in that they wrote anything together. John’s childhood was worse than I ever knew, but he was someone who chose to repeat the past with his first wife, Cynthia, and their son, Julian. Now I want to read HER books.

The book is also very tedious if you aren’t familiar with the actual recording process – tracks, looping, etc. The author is very fond of long narrative about those processes on every Beatles’ album – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

It was interesting that as I’m finishing the horror of John Lennon (they’re in NY now – he is somewhat redeeming himself), I watched the documentary “Buck.” It just mesmerized me. Buck was the inspiration for Robert Redford’s character in the movie “The Horse Whisperer.” The man is the polar opposite to Lennon. His childhood was far, far worse and he chose to learn from it and never, ever fall victim to it. His magic with horses is real. The reason is deceptively simple. He respects them. As any mother can “feel” her child’s emotion as he or she goes from infant to toddler, he “feels” a horse’s move.

He chose to respect the goodness of people, too. His career is a marvel and his total commitment to his family is heartening. At the end of the movie, as the credits were rolling, a song was playing that I could understand just enough of to cry – in a cathartic way. I looked it up and was blown away to read that it was a Pearl Jam song. Not any Pearl Jam I remember! Here is a link, but I’m aware that some German readers won’t be able to access it. The name of the song is “Just Breathe.”

If you hover over the photo, a menu bar will show at the top right. Click on “more info” for the lyrics.

Lots went on at work, but nothing I want to dwell upon. Corporate life is something I’m very anxious to leave in my past.

One last thought. I light a candle and say a prayer for my friend, Deborah’s, mother who died peacefully at the end of this week. That is about all any of us can ask for.

Enjoy the cards and, I hope, the song.

As always – with hugs,
Michelle

April? Which way did it go?

•May 13, 2012 • 2 Comments

I struggled to decide if I have anything – even boring – to write since the last time I prattled on and on. Daily things, routine things – just that regular month thing going on. Maybe, I thought, I should just post the link to my postcards and be done with it. Then I decided that I just wouldn’t let you off the hook that easily.

I will confess that I have become a closet fan of the singing “reality” TV shows American Idol and The Voice. I didn’t watch The Voice last year and am not sure I’ll tune in again next year.

The formats are totally different and while I actually like the V’s format better, I really and truly got tired, very quickly, of Christina Aguilera’s diva persona. Her fashion choices are, at best, trashy. Her petulance over every little thing drives me crazy. It also may be in the back of my mind that she was chosen to sing the National Anthem at a major sporting championship and appeared more than just a little tipsy and forgot the words. If you’re an Xtina fan, I don’t mean to tread on toes – but she really is what in Texas we would call “trailer park trash.” What may change my mind about not watching the show is that I love the interplay with the other 3 “coaches.” It’s also the coach, not judge, twist that I like. It’s very interesting to see the celebs really work with the singers they choose for their team.

American Idol – it’s been around a long time and has a pretty good track record of finding true talent. I mean, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson? Not shabby. I get frustrated with all three of these judges. Almost every contestant is “the best ever on AI.” That lasts until the next one sings. If they never deem you as the “best,” then you’re doomed. Steven Tyler is the judge that is the equivalent of watching a train wreck about to happen. You know something bad is coming, but you can’t look away! The savior of this show to me is not a judge – it’s the producer extraordinaire, Jimmy Iovine who has sessions with each singer. He usually has a guest celeb and together, they give each singer real, tangible, and instructive criticisms and encouragement. It’s what these kids need to hear – not the, “I love you – you give me goose bumps” from JLo. The woman needs to bring a jacket to the podium; she seems to get goose bumps a lot.

Both shows are completely flawed as far as winners since the public can call in and vote as many times as they can get through. Different contestants have bigger voting blocs than others. The good thing is if they truly have marketable talent, they’ll have more exposure to producers than through any other venue. Jennifer Hudson didn’t win – but I believe she has an Oscar on her mantel.

So – you see how pathetic my April was! Entertaining – but sad. I’m still reading the John Lennon book and it is forcing my eyes open to the truth about all of the Beatles; the lengths that their managers, producers and “handlers” went to keep the escapades involving “the lads” from being public knowledge. It reminds of the “golden years of Hollywood,” when all the movie moguls made sure their stars’ shenanigans didn’t get in the gossip columns.

After I wrote about the book last month, a very super Postcrossing friend sent me an old “Beatles Monthly” fan magazine – August 1964 (Issue 13). This publication (not the particular month) is cited in the book. It is a cherished gift and just emphasizes how innocent we were – and the interviews with the guys are hysterical. I’m reading the magazine and comparing their carefully contrived answers to the Lennon book’s revelations about their true selves. None of them were angels. That’s pretty much OK with me. I wasn’t anything close to being an angel when I was in my teens and early twenties, although arson was never one of my sins. Question for you. Have you actually really listened to the song “Revolution No. 9” on the White Album? From start to finish? I forced myself to do just that and it was just painful. “Number 9, number 9, number 9….”

I discovered so many surprises in my mailbox that I couldn’t believe it! Friends in Australia sent me fun care packages including trinkets, Aussie Animals dishcloths, notepads, coasters and magnets! It was crazy-fun! Others sent me remarkable commemorative editions of cards and stamps marking the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy. I also received a card with one of the London Olympic mascot, Wenlock. Haven’t received anything with Mandeville yet! They are the most, what’s a good word? Creative? Unusual? Odd? Anyway, they are unique and the story behind them is entertaining.

The most amazing, what-are-the-odds thing happened this week. The person who is responsible for my postcard addiction, Aurora (check her out on link to “Drop Me a Line”), got to work this morning and said, “Michelle, you are NOT going to believe what happened.” Now, in our world, that could mean a lot of things, so I follow her into her office. She’s pulling a couple of large postcards out of her purse. She explained that when she was going through her cards, she found that two were slightly stuck together. Both were the same size and from the same person in Vietnam. Both had cancellation marks. One was addressed to her. One was addressed to me! Does anyone out there want to take a stab at calculating the odds of that happening? We don’t live anywhere close to each other and don’t have the same postal (zip) code. The sender is someone who sends many cards and I am 99% sure she mailed more than one card that day – not to even think about all the post offices they probably went through from Vietnam to Dallas. Aurora and I have had some ironic things happen, but this absolutely is freakish!

I loved my April collection of cards – both arriving in my mailbox and leaving my mailbox. Every day brings a reason to smile – if not laugh out loud. I often wonder what the people at my post office think when they’re sorting these cards. They cover one end of the spectrum to the opposite. It’s what keeps it fun.

I leave you with one of the best quotes I’ve run across in a while. The author was from Texas and was the most inspirational women and politician – yes, politician – in my lifetime. She’s definitely worth Googling!

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”
~Barbara Jordan

Hope you have fun scanning through my pieces of happiness – maybe with a glass of milk and cookie close at hand! Personally, I’m heading straight to the blanket and nap part!

Hugs with a cookie,
Michelle

April Arrivals
April Smiles on Their Way

Where did March go?

•April 17, 2012 • 2 Comments

We’re way past the end of March and I’m wondering just how that came to happen. I know that my niece’s daughter’s birthday flew right by me as my taxes almost did! How do you not send an adorable, blue-eyed blonde her present on time??

After an uneventful winter in North Texas, spring arrived with its full range of weather phenomena. One week the temperature is warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt. Immediately after you’ve taken the blankets off the bed, temps fall to point that you go find those blankets and put them on the bed again. Repeat those steps in another 4 or 5 days. Then the rains came. I must stop here and say it would be absolutely sinful to complain about rain this year having endured one of our worst droughts in history last year. So we welcomed the rain – day after day. Then the rain morphed into thunderstorms with their magical lightening show and deafening thunderclaps (even to me).

And then we had the biggest, most feared event – tornadoes. Not one, but over 17 in the area of Texas in which I live. One caused our warning sirens to go off and radar showed it was very close to my neighborhood. In fact, the forecasters were saying it was headed right to my neighborhood. What do you do? Well, you don’t stand there watching TV! You grab the animals, a flashlight, cell phone, pillows and laptop/notebook (a new addition to emergency preparedness list) and find an inner room with no windows. In my case, that’s the closet in the master bedroom.

Cats do not like storms and especially hate your trying to get them in a little room when they are already terrified – so they decided to take their chances under the bed. Except the youngest. Sassy thought it was GREAT fun to play with mom for about an hour in the closet. Sitting in a closet wondering if your house is going to appear in the remake of “Wizard of Oz” can be very boring after a while. I was looking at the state of this little room and noticed there were heavy items looming above my head on shelves. Not good if the roof blows to parts of Texas unknown. So I take these items down and just toss them into the bedroom. Then my bedroom looked like it had already taken the brunt of the storm!

After the sirens stopped, I came out of the closet (I just had to say it), only to head back in about a half hour later because another tornado was coming at us from the opposite direction. Over the course of the day, many small communities were devastated – homes completely destroyed. Amazingly and miraculously, no one lost their life. Sassy was disappointed to leave the closet. I was not happy to put all that stuff back on the shelf. But I was aware of how very, very lucky I was that my biggest problem of the day was stowing away luggage in the closet. It was a very somber Easter for too many people.

That’s life in what is known as “Tornado Alley.” TA covers a large portion of Middle America, but tornadoes happen anywhere. We will stay on alert until late summer. Tornadoes are to us what earthquakes are to California. You know it can happen, but you just don’t dwell on it.

In between ducking the hail and tornadoes, I’ve actually done a bit of landscaping to the front yard. I used to love to garden, but lost the passion a few years ago. A friend just couldn’t stand that my planter boxes were totally empty except for a few dying strings of what was once English ivy. As a Christmas present, she came over and prepped the boxes and brought some beautiful plants. Once she finished her part, I just had to finish the rest of it! I think my neighbors believe someone new moved into the house. Now comes the hard part – keeping the darn things alive.

I have this overwhelming feeling that my summer is going to be just two things – postcards and plants! Until late August, anyway. Canada, here we come! My sister-in-law and I are going on a train/coach tour for about 10 days to some of the most beautiful country anywhere. We fly to Calgary then head west to Vancouver. She’s going to have a serious battle getting me back on a plane to Texas. I do feel sorry for her!

March brought wonderful cards and greetings from all over the globe – from friends and new acquaintances. It’s so hard to pick one for the album cover, but this month was easy. Ironically, I’m reading a fabulous biography about John Lennon and received a super, super card of him in the mail which graces my “Received” album cover. The book is Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life by Tim Riley. It’s an amazing study of what made John who he became. He was definitely a flawed man, but who of us isn’t, in reality?

I seem to be in a “Lennon Zone.” One day I was zipping through the flotsam that is Yahoo home page and glanced at the “Trending” area. Julian Lennon’s name was there. Why would he be trending? So I bit and clicked on it. I then went down an unknown path to his work, his philanthropy and his life. I learned exactly where the idea for the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” originated. Not LSD as we all believed in “the day,” but a first-crush that Julian had on a little girl named Lucy. He told his dad about her and a song was born. She was always his first love and he never forgot her even though their lives went in different directions. When he learned she was struggling with Lupus, they became close again. When she died, he and another one of her friends, wrote a wonderful song and started a foundation for sufferers of Lupus. Who knew how Julian had turned out? More like his dad than you think. So, of course I downloaded his latest album, “Everything Changes.” I like it – there is much to remind you of John and much that is strictly Julian.

There are my book and album recommendations for the day. Probably not what you expected when you took a look at my little blog, but I enjoyed sharing with you!

I hope you enjoy the cards – there’s something that going to catch your eye and make you say, “I wish I’d get one like that.” I just know it!

Hugs,
Michelle

March Marvels
Marching Out of the House!

February. What can you say about February?

•March 4, 2012 • 2 Comments

Ah, February. The month of hearts and cupids. Chocolate and flowers. Cold and miserable weather unless you live in Texas! If you have a special person in your life, I hope you engaged in an activity pleasing to you both. Hallmark Cards and your local florist certainly appreciate your business! I have taken it as my responsibility to look up and see when the Valentine card was created. It turns out that we have Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts, to thank for the tradition of a machine-printed card. I don’t know if a Howland later moved to Missouri and started a greeting card firm. Before Esther let the machines do it, handmade cards were the mode of expressing lovers’ feelings, sometimes quite racy for the era!

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to turn to a more serious subject…just for a bit.

I’ve had reason to think a lot about my cancer experiences this month. I don’t usually talk about it much here, but it seems that I’ve known so many people either diagnosed with cancer or suffering a recurrence lately and I’ve received so many cards and emails noting that family members or close friends are struggling and I just want to talk about it.

I saw my oncologist during February. We talked about how far I’ve come and how he feels as certain as he can be that my form of cancer will not return. But the path from 2007 to today was hard. It continues to be a challenge. Radiation and chemotherapy do some weird things to your body. In my case, I get angry about the aftermath, then I get weepy and I finally come to grips with the fact that it is what it is. I am unable to eat solid foods (except pasta in butter), nothing with spice – even pepper. That leaves supplemental drinks, yogurt, smoothies and fortunately, ice cream and cheesecake. I can eat chocolate if there are no nuts in it. So there are a few pluses – but what I wouldn’t I give for just one day when I could have a Southern breakfast with orange juice, a Mexican lunch with a margarita and an Italian dinner with a glass of wine. But, “if only” doesn’t get you far.

It’s a problem that every person who learns of it for the first time says, “Have you tried…?” Yes, I have. I simply lost almost all of my ability to swallow. The good side is that I lived solely on a feeding tube for over 8 months. I couldn’t swallow ANYTHING! It was one of the best days of my life when therapy eventually helped me at least drink and that very uncomfortable and bothersome tube was removed. I woke up in the recovery area and my first question was, “Did they take it out???”

I also cannot hear well. That in and of itself poses a great challenge at work, where life is all phone calls or meetings. I miss hearing song birds, children’s voices or my wind chimes. I hear certain frequencies – the annoying ones. Every squeal is painful…and I work with a LOT of women. Let’s face it – you get more than one woman in a room and you will eventually have squealing and cackling. I have to flee the premises at once or possibly face assault charges.

So, as Dr. Kerr (my “homeboy”) and I talked, I realized that things are what they are. I’m NOT going with the “When life hands you lemons…” thing. I hate that. It’s so simplistic. Cancer and your “new normal” after cancer are not simple. You are forever reminded.

Another thing that isn’t simple, either, is the spy ring I seem to be running online. (See how quickly I segued back to fun?) Really. Everyone has spy names – you know, like Secret Agent007, or Agent86 and Agent99. Surely you’ve heard of MI5 – or is it MI6?
I always seem to be posting things such as, “Barbara0527 got card from ri17.” Then Sophie54 will send a card to Dogma7911 or Lama2. And just this month I recruited Agents frosch07, Stess29, m0424647, Anne82 and epei001. Really – I feel like Miss Moneypenny! Keeping up with these characters is challenging and I quite often don’t get updates exactly right, but I love them all.

Dallas has a new bridge. Yippee. I don’t want to get political or anything, but it’s really crazy. I call it the PCV-pipe arch with cobwebs. There have been parties and fireworks and speeches this week, but I just can’t see it making the next “US Bridges You Must Visit” coffee table book. I’ll give it this much, it is beautiful at night when the lights are on and you can’t see the vast network of power poles and lines that surround it. Of course, I may be a bit biased against it because it’s taken away my best route to/from work. Here’s a short video – you can make your own decision as to whether this bridge will bring people from “far and wide” to view it.

Really exciting news for me – my wonderful, super and persuasive sister-in-law just booked two reservations for a train/coach journey from Alberta to Vancouver! We’re not going until August, and I’ll try not to bore you to death about it until then, but I AM SO EXCITED! I’ve been talking about it for around three years, and she made it happen. So many postcards to look for…

As usual, the postcards that were put in my mailbox last month were so much more entertaining than the cards I sent! I thought I was cutting back on the sending, but I don’t really see that from “Flew out in February!”

As always, enjoy the cards that I am happy to share with you!

Hugs,
Michelle
04 March 2012

February Fabulous Finds!

FLEW OUT IN FEBRUARY