Sunday, March 28, 2010

Neighborhood Murals

In San Francisco two weeks ago, we visited the Mission, one of the neighborhoods there. (There's probably a reason for the name, but who has time for that kind of research?) There are tons of murals on the walls and garage doors in the area, some with political or personal messages, some just art for art's sake. It was cool stuff, so I picked up a postcard.

I recently received a postcard from my friend Libby while she was in Puerto Rico. She and I do a pretty good job swapping letters, so I figured a response-postcard was in order. I told her a bit about how I'd liked the city, even despite my general distaste for art. I closed the card informing her that we'd purchased a tablecloth today. Such a grown-up thing to do.

And no, I still haven't filled out my census, even though I advised you--my legions upon legions of readers--to do so. I swear I'll have it done by next week's entry. And no, I won't count that as my mailed piece. I'd like to add, though, that I'm pretty sure my mother-in-law does way more to support the USPS than I do. We got a Happy Easter/Spring card from her the other day, and that's completely the norm. Way to go, Wendy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Last week, I was in California with sporadic internet access. But fear not, loyal reader! I got a few things in the mail.

Now, this first one might not count, but since I'm making up the rules as I go, I decree that it does. I received a letter as well as an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope, for those not in the biz) so I count mailing that back as my duty for the week. I could have just tossed the envelope in the recycling or flat-out lost it. I almost lost it in the completely contained space of my suitcase.

Anyway, here's what it was: I got a letter from my home church. For at least the last fifteen years, my church has been struggling with myriad issues (and probably longer, but that's about when I started paying attention). I moved out of the state five years ago, and before that was only a summer-attendee when I was home from college. My husband and I were married there a year and a half ago, as was my dad (twice-- twelve years ago, and... uh.... like 30 or something).

The church is undergoing some self-evaluation. I'm pretty out of the loop now, but it sounds like they may be selling the building, among other changes. The letter asked me if I still considered myself a member. I decided that for the sake of their tracking membership, it was best to cut ties since I am 780 miles away. (I did not feel the need to disclose to them that Jesus and I have recently cut ties, too.)

I grew up there. Many of the members have known me my entire life. It was hard for me to check the space for "I wish to resign." I wrote a bit about my decision and how grateful I am to have been there. But I have to admit there is a bit of grief that comes with losing my home church.

What's that? A BONUS letter? Oh yes, I did. I hand-wrote a letter to my grandmother, whose birthday was last week. I wrote to her from an outdoor cafe on Balboa Island in Newport Beach (the OC--but please don't call it that), CA. I got a plate of onion rings and Andy got fries. Those details are much more exciting than the content of the letter, most of which I've forgotten.

My grandma's a neat lady. She was super-hip about me living with Andy before we were married, she voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries and happily for Obama in the fall. I made it up to see her for a brief 24-hour visit around Christmas. I hope the letter made her smile.

I picked up a few postcards while in San Francisco, but have yet to mail them out. I'll get to it, and report back in a few days!

Also, fill out your Censuses.... Censi? :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Ode to the South (and Lindsey)

This week's letter went to a friend in South Carolina. I've never been there, but my brother lived there for a while and liked it. I've only ever visited the south, and I can say this for sure: they know how to eat. I have yet to make sweet tea in my Yankee kitchen that tastes as good as it does anywhere beneath the Mason-Dixon line.

Anyway, the letter went to my friend Lindsey. I'm embarrassed to say I don't even really know what she's doing there. (Hopefully she'll respond in letter-form and fill me in!) She and I met in high school. We began talking one day on the bus between schools in order to drown out Dr. Laura. Luckily for me, she turned out to be awesome (Lindsey, that is)!

She and I had an on-again/off-again letter-writing arrangement while we were college. Her letters were often if not always hand-written. She's got great penmanship. She also sometimes stamped the envelopes with sealing wax. How cool is that?

Happy Correspondence!

Friday, March 5, 2010

One a week

I've heard that Frank Warren approaches his mailbox each day with a Christmas-like anticipation. Who doesn't love to get mail? Cards on your birthday are great, but how much better are the unexpected hand-written letters from an old friend?
I've decided that I'm going to start sending one item a week. Not only will I be doing my small part to support the USPS, I hope to brighten up people's days with unexpected communication. My first envelope went out to my best friend Julie, whose birthday is on Sunday, which means my card will either arrive one day early or one day late. She and I don't talk as much now that we live across the country, but I hope that she knows how important she still is to me.
Isn't that really what it's about? Letting people know that you care?
Not to lean too heavily on the great blog, Post Secret, but I attended an event where audience members shared secrets with the crowd. Most were heavy and cried out for support or understanding from the listeners. It reminded me how desperately people wish to be connected, but how fleeting it can be. (I certainly didn't walk out of the auditorium feeling like I could share my soul with everyone who had been there.) I'm just out to reestablish some connections that I do have.
And there's no way to force myself to do something like having the world watching.