Saturday, September 8, 2012

Aurora Boreralis

It's been too long since I've posted here.  I've been trying to get back at it for a while now, but it's amazing how difficult it is to regain momentum on something once it's gone.  So, in an attempt to get it back, I'm just jumping in.
Aurora borealis takes its name from the name of the Roman goddess, Aurora, the goddess of Dawn, and the Greek word for the north wind, "boreas".  The effect occurs at both the north and south poles.  On the card above the term is actually misspelled. 
I saw the aurora borealis from a plane, once, when flying from San Francisco to London.  It was (they were?) spectacular, but seeing this phenomenon remains on my bucket list - I'd like to view it from the ground.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Silver Lake

That camping trip I mentioned on yesterday's blog (Bear, Part I)?  We actually rode horses and led mules 20 miles into the mountains from a pack station at Silver Lake, near Mammoth, California.  My mom visited there recently and the pack station we left from over 40 years ago is still there, still operating and hasn't changed much in all that time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bears, Part 1

I have a bear phobia.  They featured prominently in my nightmares as a child so when our family packed into the Sierras, camping on the shores of Waugh Lake, I lay awake in my pup tent for what felt like all night every night listening for bears, convinced I would be a midnight snack for one of them.

But the universe has a way of making us face our fears, or at least taunting us with our fears, in a variety of ways.

This summer it seemed I received a number of bear themed postcards.  This one is from the Kodiak National Wildlife Refugee, established in 1941 to protect the habitat of the Kodiak brown bear.  This bear is the world's largest land carnivore. NOT on my bucket list:  seeing  a Kodiak bear in the wild.

P.S.  Thanks to Sandy & Duke for sending me all the postcards from their Alaskan adventure!

P.P.S.  Previous bear postcards:  here (the bear in the strawberry tree statue/sculpture in Madrid) and here (grizzly bears).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Redneck Riviera

One of the founders of our company finally took a much needed vacation, and spent a week in Destin, Florida.  He tells me it's called the "Redneck Riviera", and claims it boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with powdered sugar-like sands and crystal clear, emerald green waters.  From the back of the postcard:  "The city of Destin is located on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Choctawhatchee Bay.  The peninsula was originally an island, but hurricanes and sea level changes gradually connected the island to the mainland."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Square Postcards with Square Centers Missing

Regular readers know that my friends are a great source of postcards for me.  Recently, my friend, Marcia, went to New York City and brought back some postcards, the likes of which I'd never seen before.  All our perfectly square, with a square hole in the center of each:

Okay, this one makes sense - Times SQUARE.

Maybe this one is a comment on the missing World Trade Center Towers.

I can't for the life of me figure out any meaning behind the seahorse with a missing square.

I'm assuming this last one has to do with a square peg in a round hole?

.Any thoughts? 

P.S.  I'm not positive the postal service will actually handle these.  I think I'll mail one to myself and find out.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dutch Sheep

One of my favorite Postcrossing postcards ever, from Cynthia in the Netherlands.  I love the picture and the message, both posted below for your reading pleasure....


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This postcard from Krygyzstan is a first for me - a postcard from one of the "-stan" countries - sent by my friend, Andrew.  He and his girlfriend have embarked on some incredibly exotic and adventurous trips, one of which had them traveling overland throughout Central Asia.  Andrew describes it on the back of the postcard as, "..this country is so beautiful.....Having a great time here trekking around beautiful mountain valleys and soaking up the local Muslim culture in towns."

Their trip didn't sound easy, in any way, and I admire their sense of adventure and fearlessness.  This view is in Ala Archa National Park, at the trail head for the Ak-Sai Trail.  This may be the trail they hiked up in tennis shoes, while the locals marveled at their inappropriate gear. 

The Wikipedia entry on Kyrgyzstan offers this random piece of information that might come in handy the next time you have a friend turning forty, and are looking for a more exotic reference to "forty" than "40 days and 40 nights", "The 40 Year Old Virgin", "Forty Winks" or "Drinking 40s".  From Wikipedia:

"Kyrgyz" is believed to have been derived from the Turkic word for "forty", in reference to the forty clans of Manas, a legendary hero who united forty regional clans against the Uyghers. Literally it means "We are forty". At the time, in the early 9th century AD, the Uyghers dominated much of Central Asia (including Kyrgyzstan), Mongolia, and parts of Russia and China.

By extension, Kyrgyz is also thought to mean "unconquerable" or "undefeatable".
The 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan is a reference to those same forty tribes and the graphical element in the sun's center depicts the wooden crown of a yurt – a portable dwelling traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More Cows

A while back, I posted a series of cow postcards.  I was surprised at  how many I had.  (You can check them out here (Swiss cows), here (German cows), here (cow identification), here (modern cow art), and here (Texan cows).  The cows above are Dutch cows, sent by Dina in The Netherlands through Postcrossing.  I love two things about this card. 

1.  The perspective of the photo.  Who would have thought these cows could look so majestic?

2.  The message from Dina:  "This is a card about cows.  We have a lot of them here."

My fascination with cows isn't an obsession, but I am intrigued.  At one point in my life, I had quite a few cow tchotchkes around, and still have a few of them, including a ceramic cow that must be from the 20s or 30s (it was my grandmother's) complete with chiffon dress, straw hat and pearls, and the cow we call "the house deity" who is quite majestic, even with a shawl collar robe over his shoulders.  I'd kind of forgotten about all the cows, until they started showing up as postcards.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Art Series - Paper Dresses

I seem to keep missing limited run exhibits at museums around San Francisco.  Here is an examples of one.  It was called "Pulp Fashion:  The art of Isabelle de Borchgrave".  Friends who went said it was incredible.  Oh well, at least I saw the postcard.   Here's the description of the exhibit:

Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave is a painter by training, but textile and costume are her muses. Working in collaboration with leading costume historians and young fashion designers, de Borchgrave crafts a world of splendor from the simplest rag paper. Painting and manipulating the paper, she forms trompe l’oeil masterpieces of elaborate dresses inspired by rich depictions in early European painting or by iconic costumes in museum collections around the world. The Legion of Honor is the first American museum to dedicate an entire exhibition to the work of Isabelle de Borchgrave, although her creations have been widely displayed in Europe.

Pulp Fashion draws on several themes and presents quintessential examples in the history of costume—from Renaissance finery of the Medici family and gowns worn by Elizabeth I and Marie-Antoinette to the creations of the grand couturiers Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Christian Dior, and Coco Chanel. Special attention is given to the creations and studio of Mariano Fortuny, the eccentric early-20th-century artist who is both a major source of inspiration to de Borchgrave and a kindred spirit.

Damn.  Sounds pretty amazing. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Windmill Museum

My friend Jessica brought me this postcard from The Windmill Museum which I couldn't be sure was a real place.  Sure enough though, the Museum, aka American Wind Power Center, is located in Lubbock, Texas (of course) and is described as

 "A Museum for the American Style Water Pumping Windmill and Related Exhibits on Wind Electric.   The purpose of the American Wind Power Center ... is to interpret the relations of humans, the environment and technology through the medium of a museum of wind power history."  
The windmill featured in this postcard is "The Woman's Windmill": 

 "This tilting tower was produced by the Aeromotor Company Company in 1895.  It tilted so that it could be greased from the ground without having to climb the tower." 

Jessica reports that it had a plaque next to it that said "...its design was so easy to clean and service that ANY CHILD COULD DO IT."  The comments on this plaque were editorialized by Jessica.  She wrote: "And it's called the 'Woman's Windmill'?  God Bless Texas".

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Animal Series - Roadrunner

In looking for information about the roadrunner in this postcard, I came across the "The Cornell Lab of Ornithology".   It has great information on individual birds, including this about the roadrunner: 

The Greater Roadrunner is a signature bird of the desert Southwest. During the 20th century, its range expanded all the way to southern Missouri and western Louisiana. A ground-dwelling cuckoo, it feeds on snakes, scorpions, and any other small animal it can catch and subdue.

The site also describes it as "chicken-like".  If I were a roadrunner, I'd prefer "ground-dwelling cuckoo" to "chicken-like".  Also about this bird from the back of the postcard:
The rather unusual behavior of the roadrunner accounts for its unique name.  When surprised on a road, it will rapidly run away and vanish into cover.  It seldom flies.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology also includes the sounds of individual birds, and the roadrunner's sound is nothing like the famous "beep beep beep" of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner Looney Tune cartoon fame.

Monday, June 20, 2011

College Series - Belgorod State University

Lately it's been a "Paucity of Postcards" rather than a "Plethora of Postcards".  It's been a crazy summer with lots of house guests and a new job!  But back to the college series....

Here's a university I  had never heard of (or the town either):  Belgorod State University (BSU?).  It is located in Belgorod Oblast, which is in the southern part of Russia, on the border with Ukraine. [Note:  "oblast" is an administrative division in slavic countries.  This is not the same as "state", but rather more like "zone", "province", "area" or "region".]

Belgorod State University is quite large, with 89 departments.  It is known for its program dedicated to teaching Russian, both on campus and around the world.  Looks beautiful!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

College Series - Loyola Marymount

Haven't posted any colleges for a while, and in this month of college graduations, perhaps I should.

My niece just graduated from Loyola Marymount (LMU), located in Los Angeles.  She was (and still is) a deejay for the campus radio station, KXLU, which she tells me is known as one of the best campus radio stations in the country.  I take her word for it!  One thing the station is known for is a program "Demolistens", in which only demo tapes are played.  The station claims it was the first to air the music of more than a few of today's top bands.  (Here's a link to my niece's  play lists.)

For spring vacation, each year for four years, my niece would bring a friend or two and come stay with us in San Francisco.  On the last visit, with two of her radio station pals, Ali and Pascal, they left me a KXLU snuggie.  It's black with a tasteful, if too small, KXLU logo on it.   One of the best house guest presents of all time!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Crater Lake

I may have mentioned my son is in college in Oregon, so we've driven to and from there multiple times over the last few years.  On one of these drives, I took a side trip over to Crater Lake. 

It really is as beautiful as the picture, and it's easy to stand at the edge of the cliff and just stare into it for a long time.  There's some sort of a boat trip on the lake, but I don't care to ever take it.  I'd rather just stare into the lake from above.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Art Series V, Louisa S Cooper

Louisa S. Cooper was "Mrs. Witter" to me, and  a mainstay of our multi-family Labor Day beach weeks in Carpinteria, when I was a kid.  She long ago divorced Mr. Witter (now deceased), remarried and moved to Hawaii.  I don't know if she was a painter then, but she certainly became one.

It's funny how unaware of the interests, hobbies and professional lives of the adults around us we were growing up.  It seems kids now are much more aware, although perhaps I'm kidding myself (pun unintentional).

I do remember that she was a bit more exotic, and somehow different than some of the other moms.  Perhaps it was that she was slightly more liberal in the conservative domain of Pasadena, or perhaps it was the artist in her.  Perhaps it was because she smoked.  Who knows?  But it is fun to see her work, and know that she succeeded, living the life of an artist, in Hawaii no less.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Art Series IV, Polish Artist

This painting (oil on canvas) by Jerzy Wołoszynowicz is entitled, "Sunset over Ostrow Tumski, the view from Grunwaldzki Bridge".  The card came through Postcrossing from Dominik who lives in Wroclaw in the southwest of Poland.  Turns out Ostrow ("island") Tumski is an important archaeological site in Wroclaw.

I can't find much about Jerzy Wołoszynowicz, but a tourist guide features an exhibition for him, describing his as "... a painter, draughtsman and industrial designer. Best-known locally for his wild animal paintings on the walls of Wrocław, here you can see works showing the ruins of the post-war city and other later aspects of Wrocław. Also included will be the artist's surrealist paintings and drawings."  The wild animal paintings look amazing.

Here's something I might not have mentioned about Postcrossing before.  People post profiles of themselves, and often name specifics types of postcards they might like.  On mine I mention that I love learning about local music and art, and when I'm lucky, I get music and/or art postcards from a variety of countries.  In this way, I learn about artists I would probably never  hear of otherwise, such as Jerzy Wołoszynowicz.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Art Series III, Art of the Bahamas

Here is "Sacred Spaces", an installation by Antonius Roberts, the most renowned artist of the Bahamas.  In his own words, Sacred Spaces

 "...was born out of my deep-seated respect for the sanctity and significance of our trees and forests. This particular site on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas, has many Casuarina trees which erode our shoreline. Instead of simply cutting them down and discarding them, I transformed them, where they are still rooted in the ground, into the beautiful ‘Sacred Women’ that you see, with the intention to mark the triumph of hope and determination to conserve our heritage over that which is discarded or destroyed in the name of progress.

This site is also of historical significance to us as these cliffs, bordering a former sugar plantation, were the landing site for some of the first African slaves to be brought here. These elegant carvings bend towards the ocean and to Africa. Their eyes delineate the space and the metal bells in the trees, fabricated by a fellow artist, Tyrone Ferguson, carry their voices back to Africa.

It was important to me to create within this space rather than bringing sculptures to it. This place, like others, has its own almost tangible energy and beauty to be discovered, uncovered and tapped into.

To me, Sacred implies not only spiritual inspiration and creative freedom but encompasses all those things that should be left intact to bear witness to the significance of our cultural heritage. It is my belief and my intention, given the opportunity, to continue to create Sacred Spaces not only throughout the islands of The Bahamas, but throughout the world where each site would dictate to me its own unique energy and guide my hands to define the form and shape that it should take."

Not much I can add to that, but here's more on the park itself (Clifton Heritage National Park).

P.S.  Thanks to Jennifer for brining me this card from her travels!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Art Series, continued - Puppet from France

Here we have Gnafron, a classic Lyon puppet and character in the French puppet show, Guignol (also the name of the main character).  From the wiki: 

Although often thought of as children's entertainment, Guignol's sharp wit and linguistic verve have always been appreciated by adults as well, as shown by the motto of a prominent Lyon troupe: "Guignol amuses children… and witty adults".

I suppose Guignol would be the equivalent of an English "Punch and Judy", although unlike any character in Punch and Judy, Gnafron is a drunk.  Leave it to the French. 

A translated wiki shows a little of Gnafron's history, and it appears he is the inseparable companion of Guignol.

It must be time for marionettes to make a comeback, as it's an art form that hasn't enjoyed a resurgence for a while. Hmmm.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Moving on to Art - Yuki Moinuma

Yuki Moinuma is an illustrator in Japan, much of whose work is used on stationery type items.  I could find several fans of her work, but not a lot of information about the artist herself.

You can see more of her work here.  Or the work of another Japanese modern artist, Chinatsu Ban, whom I've blogged about before here.

This postcard was sent by Tomomi from Shizuoka, Japan through Postcrossing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Japanese Umbrellas

In case you haven't noticed, I'm having fun with segues, shifting effortlessly (at least in my view) from "The Umbrellas" of Christos in California and Japan, to umbrellas in Japan.

Another Postcrossing postcard, this time from Kazue who lives in Nara, close to Kyoto. To me, this is a spectacularly beautiful, and very Japanese image, which came to mind often during and after the tsunami in Japan.  I find the stark contrast between this shot and the shots of the tsunami destruction particularly moving.

Japan is a bucket list place for me, in part because I lived there for a couple of years when I was very young, and while I spent a lot of time with our Japanese neighbors, I don't remember anything. I'm told I spoke Japanese at a two-year old level, which is how old I was.  When I am with a group of Japanese speakers, I feel the rhythm of their language at a visceral level, and would love to immerse myself in the culture one day.  I'm convinced the language is buried in the deep structure of my brain, and through a combination of studying and total immersion, I might actually be able to learn the language without too much difficulty.  Wishful thinking, perhaps, or not..

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Umbrellas (Christos II)

It's been unusually wet this June in California.  In fact, by the time this is posted, we may have broken all recorded records for amount of rain in the month of June, and the month isn't even over.  For that reason, these postcards seem particularly appropriate.  My mom recently unearthed them while packing up her home of 48 years, saved from an excursion she and a bunch of friends took to see the "Umbrellas" in 1991.

One of many environmental works of art that Christos (and his wife Jeanne-Claude) have installed around the world, "The Umbrellas" were erected simultaneously in Japan and the United States. From the wiki: 

 In December 1990, after much preparation, the first steel bases for the umbrellas were installed.  In September 1991, the umbrellas were brought to their places by 2,000 workers. In California, some of the bases were transported to the site by helicopter. The final cost of the project totaled $26 US million. By 7 September, 1,340 blue umbrellas in Ibaraki and 1,760 yellow umbrellas at the Tejon Ranch in southern California had been set up; the exhibition opened on 9 October 1991. In total, 3 million people saw the umbrellas, each measuring 6 meters in height and 8.66 meters in diameter. The umbrellas became a huge tourist attraction, finding use as everything from picnic spots to wedding altars.

Also from the wiki:

Although their work is visually impressive and often controversial as a result of its scale, the artists have repeatedly denied that their projects contain any deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact. The purpose of their art, they contend, is simply to create works of art or joy and beauty and to create new ways of seeing familiar landscapes.

I saw this installation only from the highway, while driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but I remember well all the excitement it generated.

P.S.  I wrote a post about the Christos New York "Gates" installation a while back.  You can read that here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Swiss Cows

We have to love Swiss cows - from them we get Swiss cheese and Swiss chocolates!

This is another Postcrossing postcard, from a Swiss mom.  She sent me a big stack of postcards, some made from pictures she'd taken herself, as a "thank you" for sending her a stack of San Francisco postcards.  Turns out her daughter, age 12, is a HUGE San Francisco fan, and the mom wanted to give her a bunch of San Francisco postcards for Christmas.  I was more than happy to oblige, and sent several.  In return, not only did I receive several great postcards (including this one), I also received a picture of the daughter, in a San Francisco t-shirt, holding up my postcards and looking very happy. 

Definitely made my day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Last Cows Standing

Another cow postcard, this one from Leny, a fellow Postcrossing member.  From the back of the card, "I'm Leny...  I live in the south of the Netherlands, a few km from Germany and Belgium...."  How many beautiful corners of the world there are, and here's a postcard from one of them.

Monday, June 6, 2011

And Even More Cows

Should I be calling this the "cow series" instead of the "animal series"?  This is the third postcard featuring cows and I actually  have a couple more!  Do the cows warrant their own series?  It is a subseries of the animal series?  One could get carried away with classifying, if one were so inclined. 

Note to self:  must reconfigure postcard classification system.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More Cows

It's a two- fer!  (Two for one, for the non-native English speaking readers.)

Not only does this belong to the animal series, but it also qualifies as part of an art series - "Sofa Art XIII Down on the Farm".

Actually, Sofa Art is an annual art competition in Visalia, California, and recently completed its 16th year. Visalia is in the central valley of California, an area not necessarily known for its art scene. However, you can't beat if for its tree fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots) and nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts).

 From the website: 

The first Sofa Art Show was held in 1996 as a playful response to an unflattering depiction of Visalia’s local art scene as described by a local newspaper writer. Sofa Art Co-Founder Varian Mace, then an art instructor at College of the Sequoias, shared the article with her classes and challenged them to make some “real sofa art” in response. The resulting exhibition was a hit, to say the least, and has been an annual Visalia tradition ever since.

It sounds like a lot of fun, and I can only imagine what additional sofa art might look like.  Is all sofa art 2-dimensional, or does it include sculpture as well?

P.S.  A shout out to my friend, Steve, who lives in Visalia and is a constant contributor to my ever-growing postcard collection.  Thanks, Steve!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Speaking of Beefeaters

Speaking of Beefeaters. 

I have to say, though, that these look like milk cows, not beef cows.  Not that I'm an expert on cows, but  I did visit a Texas cattle ranch once.

In any case, here's the first in a new animal series

I present to you, the cow!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Forgot About the Wedding

I forgot about the wedding this weekend.  Should have saved all those last few postcards for the build up to the big day!

So, in honor of the royal wedding, a few more postcards from England.

Here we have the beefeaters, more formerly known as  Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London. One of their primary roles is as guardians of the crown jewels which reside in the Tower of London.  If I were marrying into the royal family, I would certainly want to try on a few of those crown jewels, just for fun.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dye Cut Postcards

No, this isn't a picture clipped out of people magazine.  It's one of a huge stack of postcards my son brought back from Europe this summer, and gave to me for Christmas.  A dye cut card of Lady Di - a double dye/di, if you will.

I'm always a sucker for an irregularly shaped postcard, and this one is particularly good.  Plus with all the talk of another royal wedding, it seemed fitting, somehow.....

Just for fun, here's another:

Might as well stay in England for a quick cup o' tea, as well.

For a few more dye cut cards, click here (Michael Jordan), here (Stonehenge), and here (manatee).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Australian National Anthem

I know every word to the song Waltzing Matilda but I don't think I've ever heard (or at least paid attention to) the words of the Australian National AnthemAdvance Australia Fair. 

The song did not become the  official anthem until 1984 when it had to go up against the Royal anthem God Save the Queen, the "unofficial anthem" Waltzing Matilda and Song of Australia in a vote.

Another fun fact learned through participation in Postcrossing.  Check it out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Animal Series - Bats

I was surprised to find I had two postcards of bats, one of Polish bats (or at least bats on a postcard sent from Poland) and one of fruit bats in northern Australia.

The Polish bats came from Gouraanga (her Postcrossing ID) who lives on the Polish coast of the Baltic Sea in a town called Koszalin.  She describes herself as a mad ecologist who studied bats and their habitats for a couple of years.  Very cool! And, very unusual to get such a card through Postcrossing.  Thanks, Gouraanga!

I'm not sure where the fruit bat postcard came from - it may have been from my mom's collection.  She recently moved out of her home of 48 years and found lots of postcards which she passed on to me.  In any case, the Australian fruit bat is also knows as a "flying fox".  The one in the postcard above appears to be a Spectacled Flying Fox

Some interesting info about bats from the Wikipedia:

Bats are flying mammals in the order Chiroptera.  The forelimbs of bats are webbed and developed as wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums and colugos, glide rather than fly, and can only glide for short distances. Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread out digits, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane.

There are about 1,100 bat species worldwide, which represent about twenty percent of all classified mammal species.

20% of all mammal species are bats?  That number surprises me - it seems so high.  Who knew?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Casa Rosada, Argentina

In Argentina, the Casa Rosada (the Rosy House) is the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina, and of the offices of the President. However tempting it is to compare the Argentine Casa Rosada with the American Casa Blanca (White House), in fact the Argentine President lives at Quinta de Olivos, a suburb of Buenos Aires. 


When the surf comes up at Mavericks, the waves are among the largest cold water waves anywhere.
This past week, one of the best big wave surfers in the world, Sion Milosky, was killed there while riding one of these monsters.

I recently read a book called The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean.  Not only does it talk about the physics of waves, the giant rogue waves at sea that were considered sailor tall tales until recently, and the changes in insuring ships at sea warranted by these giant waves, it also talks a lot about the really big wave surfing spots around the world, and the surfers who pursue them.  I'm not normally a non-fiction reader, but this book reads like a novel and I couldn't put it down.

Mavericks isn't far from where I live, and it's around the point from a beach where we used to tide pool often.  However, once the surfing contest and its giant waves became renowned over the last ten years or so, our secret tide pooling spot became much less accessible if for no other reason than it's hard to find a space in the hardscrabble dirt parking lot there.  Sigh.  I miss it.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I love playing Scrabble.  At any given time, I've got about four games going on Facebook with friends, one who lives in San Francisco, another who lives in Chicago, a teacher in Louisiana, and yet another who lives in  Vancouver, Canada.  Once I scored 469 points in a game and another time I scored 92 points on a single word.  Woo hoo!  I was pretty psyched.

That's why I like this postcard so much - it served as not only a holiday card, but also an invitation to an open house.  The cat paw is a particularly nice touch.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

Spring is always my favorite season.  It reminds me of poppies in bloom, asparagus, hard boiled eggs, my birthday, daylight savings time, and Palm Springs.  And daffodils. 

"Daffodils" (1804)

I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).
This painting of daffodils is by Nicoline Heemskerk, of the Netherlands.  More of her work can be found here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My First Moomin Postcard

Big day!  My first Moomin postcard from Finland, through Postcrossing.  I've mentioned before that the Finns, given the size and population of their country, are by far the most well represented country on Postcrossing, and that many people, in their Postcrossing profiles and postcard requests, wish for Moomin postcards from them.

I was particularly excited to receive this postcard because I've been familiar with Moomin for a long time, way before my involvement with Postcrossing.  My cousin, David, actually has what are probably first editions of Moomin books and and the figures/dolls that go with them from his childhood.  I remember his reading (and perhaps his dad or mom's voice as well), in a particular tone of voice, about "Moomin, Mymble and Little My."

I hope he likes this postcard, as he reads my blog.  (Hey, David & Nancy!)

I was also excited because my husband is 50% Finnish, which makes my kids of Finnish heritage.  It seems like Moomin is something they should know about.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mothball Sqaudrons

If hundreds of ships no longer in use but still floating in the Bay is called a "mothball fleet", does that make a similar number of decommissioned planes a "mothball squadron"?  Just curious.

The Davis-Monthan Air Force base just south of Tucson was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1994.  From the Wiki:

The base was selected as a storage site for hundreds of decommissioned aircraft....... Tucson's dry climate and alkali soil made it an ideal location for aircraft storage and preservation, a mission that has continued to this day........ 

 With a variety of items on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, including an inert Titan II missile ....... the sole remaining example of a Titan II missile site in existence.

I drove by this base once, on the way to a fancy spa in Tucson.  It's quite a surprise to be tootling along, and all of a sudden pass row after row after row of old planes.  They seem to go on forever.

On another note, in response to the question posed by the Mystery Sender in the postcard above, the answer is "I don't know."  After a couple of failed attempts to get back into a more regular groove of (almost) daily posts, I am determined to do a better job of keeping up the momentum this time.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cheng Kung Three Fairies Terrace

Cheng Kung Three Fairies Terrace is in Taiwan.  From the back of the card:  It (sp.) located at the northern part of Cheng Kung Town in Taitung County, is given such a name as there are three hills on the island.  During monthly lowest tide, people may cross over on foot and camp on the plains of the island.

This card came from Birdie, through Postcrossing, a 20 year old student in Taiwan who likes drawing and painting and has a cat.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Berry, France

This card is from a fellow "Postcard Friendship Friday" friend Sheila, of A Postcard A Day.  She lives in England, but has a cottage in Berry. 

She's my postcard blogging hero, as she never misses a day, seems to have an unending supply of interesting and unusual postcards, features some cool widgets (the map of the world showing where the postcards from her most recent 100 posts are from is one particularly good one), and, as of today, has 869 followers.  Wow! 

At Thanksgiving, Sheila made a comment on my post about how she "yearned to taste pumpkin pie.  As we had exchanged a few postcards and I had her address, just for fun, I mailed her a box with all the ingredients needed to make a pumpkin pie, except the crust:  a can of pumpkin (recipe on the back), evaporated milk, and a little bag of pre-measured spices.  I assumed she would either know how to make or be able to buy a pie crust.  Haven't heard yet if she's received the box and/or made the pie, but I do know she's been traveling.  Can't wait to hear what she thinks! 

P.S.  Berry is a region in the dead center of France. The writer Balzac, author of "The Human Comedy" was from here. Berry was originally a province, until French provinces were reorganized into "departements" in 1790.

Monday, January 31, 2011

That Time of Year

It's rainy today in San Francisco, after a week of beautiful, warm-for-January weather.  Sometimes the little teases of Spring make waiting for Spring that much tougher.

This postcard from Zihuatanejo reminds me of a week I spent on this beach, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, swinging in hamacas (hammocks), and playing sand croquet with some locals we met.  Ahhhhh.  It's been too long since I've had my toes in warm sand and swum in a warm or even warm-ish ocean, and I wouldn't mind going back here, even if it is a lot more developed now than it was 25 years ago. 

 [Note to friends in snowy climates:  I recognize that a Californian complaining about weather is scoffable at best.  Too bad.]

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mount Rushmore

A particularly beautiful view of Mount Rushmore, at Sunset, sent from Duke and Sandy during their second cross country odyssey.  It's a bucket list place for me, and I'm under the impression that the scale is not really imaginable unless you see the monument in person.

From the Wiki:  South Dakota historian Doane Robinson [note the first name - no relation] is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region.  Gutzon Borglum  chose the site and decided the sculpture should have a ... national focus,...choosing the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. ...Though the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in October 1941.

The U.S. National Park Service took control of the memorial in 1933, while it was still under construction, and manages the memorial to the present day. It attracts approximately two million people annually.