Saturday, August 3, 2013

Starting in the Middle

Oh, the shame....this summer has been a whirlwind of activity with barely a chance to catch my breath. I've been relying way too much on facebook to catch up with friends (or more often, just not). This blog has been calling me from the back of my consciousness, but the more time that passes, the more I feel like I need to make some grand re-entrance...and subsequently more time passes with no posts and few postcards sent. I think this is indicative of a lot of projects in my life - I like to start at the beginning and make progress, or even better worse, start at the end with the finished project TA DA! It's a rather paralyzing position which tends to inhibit action. This year I've been challenging myself to start in the middle and see where it goes, so here I am restarting in the middle after a disappointing 5 month absence with a flurry of postcards, and hopes for more consistency.

Mailed August 3:

Tina Turner photographed by Herb Ritts, 1989
This is such an iconic photo of Tina Turner, highlighting her famous and still-astonishing legs at the age of 50. I can remember My Awesome Sister writing me about having bought the Private Dancer album and how great it of course this one is for her.

One of the many postcards I bought on holiday in January. If I had a bike like this, I'd ride it every day. In my neighborhood, it would most likely get stolen or at least vandalized almost immediately, though. Boo.

Les jambes du métro, Robert Doisneau 1971
I didn't get this postcard while in Paris, but I really loved these metro stop arches. I love the unevenness of the paper of the ad on the wall behind the my hand it almost looks like the postcard itself is about to peel.

I wasn't going to bother posting any of the postcards I sent in the last few months, but I really like this one, mailed way back in May:
Vache, Alexander Calder, 1929

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I noted the title and artist before mailing.

 So will this be the dawn of a new era of correspondence and documentation? Or a brief revisit to something I've regretfully outgrown? Time will tell...for now I will leave you with an À bientôt!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Letdown

Somehow, I really expected to have the energy to continue writing daily postcards, at least for a few days after the end of the month. Faithful readers probably knew better, based on my posts of endless procrastination, but a girl can dream. And dreams can be broken....nothing has left my mailbox since last Thursday. Not even bill payments.

While I get reorganized about writing, here's a blast from the past...

Received July 1986:

Ben Verkaaik, "Zonder titel/Untitled" 1983
"Hi J,
I spent last weekend on the beach at the end of Long Island. It was great! Next week I'm going to Cape Cod for the week at the expense of the dept. I work for. My french lessons are going trés bien!
Let me know how your internship is going!!
lots of love, A"

I'm still not 100% sure I know what internship is being referred to here. I did my senior project at the Walnut St Theatre in Philadelphia, and subsequently (I thought) came back in the summer to intern during their kids summer camp in exchange for adult level acting classes. But my senior project was in March or April 1987, and I spent my summer after graduation working elsewhere. I must have done the summer program first. It's a little disquieting to have your sense of your own history shaken up like that. What I remember about the youth camp is that there was one girl (around 10) who had been in some commercials and she lorded it over all the other kids. She also wore a ton of makeup all the time, and as a result had terrible skin, which made me a bit sympathetic. Needless to say, the other kids despised her. The production was a musical putting the characters of beloved fairy tales on trial...for what, I can't remember.

I'm also shocked to note that My Awesome Sister used the wrong accent in 'très bien'. She's as much of a stickler for spelling and punctuation as I am (and I definitely make mistakes, to my chagrin. There's probably one in this post).

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last Day!!

This month has flown by. It feels like I should just be hitting that mid-month stride (or slump, if I'm being realistic). It's hard to imagine how empty and simple February looked from the vantage point of January 31 - I had no idea what lay ahead. Three creative projects, catching up in person with way too many people one at a time, trying to fit in one more nominated film before the Oscars, and some serious life decisions...well, I think I can consider it a success that I only came up one day short on sending out postcards this year, even though I had to abandon my plans for including some letters. Perhaps that's what the rest of the year is for.

Sent Feb 28:

Louis Cannizzaro, "Inertia", 1997
I could stand a bit more of this right now, to be honest.

ETA: on my computer screen the color contrast isn't great and this isn't very readable, but at the bottom of the painting it says "NOTHING EVER HAPPENS".

And here's the penultimate postcard - sent February 27:

Jean-Michel Basquiat, "Untitled (1960)", 1983
No tattooed ex-boyfriends to go with this one, just another interesting image from a fascinating artist.

And just like that, I've run out of words...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In the mail

One of the nice things about doing this challenge a second year is that some of my friends have gotten in on the action. One person said she was going to try the whole 1-a-day challenge, others have just sent me cards or letter back and a few have sent out a big batch of postcards in one fell swoop. I've also gotten a few emails from some folks I had lost touch with, after I sent them a postcard just because I was going down my address book.

Here is a selection of what I received (aka the ones I could lay my hands on while the scanner was on):

Sent from friends with whom I danced for many years...and we had an annual gig in Walla Walla, Washington performing with a local school, so this is perfect. We didn't have to perform as onion ballerinas, thank you ceiling cat!

This is a card, not a postcard. Best part? The person who sent it to me lives 3 blocks away. But we don't see each other that often and she's not on Facebook, so we shockingly don't know every excruciating detail of each others' lives without someone making a little effort to reach out.

And as a bonus, yesterday's postcard (sent Feb 26):

I was at a friends house Sunday to watch the Oscars and noticed she had a series of vintage Vogue cover postcards on display - I just picked this postcard up last week, and while it doesn't quite match her collection, thought it might be a nice addition. This is a cover from 1916. It sure is more interesting than current covers with photoshopped images of celebrities.

I can't believe the month is almost over!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So Much for Saturdays

The USPS announced on February 6 that there will soon be no more Saturday pick up or delivery of mail. The change doesn't go into effect until August, but psychologically I seem to have eliminated Saturday from my daily mail challenge. You'd think Saturday would be the easiest day, as I don't have to go to work, but I think the pressure to have something ready to go before I leave for the day M-F helps keep me on task. There have been days I've got keys in hand and realized I haven't sent anything, so I stopped and dashed something off. Once I took a stamped postcard and my address book to work, wrote the postcard there, and dropped it in the mail at lunch.

But Saturdays? I wake up, I go to the gym (or not) and think "I'll write a postcard when I get back" (or not). Then I figure I'll get a postcard together and then drop it off on my way to the afternoon knitting class I've been taking - except the class isn't really near the post office, and the mailboxes on the way have an early pickup, and if I've already missed the pickup then I could really just do it Sunday, since it'll actually get picked up at the same time anyway, and then it's Sunday with all its chores and laziness and who knows what I do with my Sundays anyway (this weekend it was preparing for an Oscars viewing party), maybe I can just drop two in the mail Monday's a downward spiral. So yesterday I decided to just own up to my mental Saturday block and only sent one postcard for Monday.

Mailed Feb 21:

My plan, of course, was to send this to just about anyone but my mother...but as it turned out, I wanted to send her a postcard anyway, and it really had been a while since I'd written to her. An obvious choice, but a heartfelt one.

 Mailed Feb 22:

Another of the Mark Raven drawings from Amsterdam - this is probably the least abstract ones on the whole pack.

Mailed (Monday) Feb 25:
"Automat", Edward Hopper 1927
 I love this image.

Of course I haven't selected or written today's postcard yet. Hey, I've got 20 minutes to go. As long as it's a weekday, no problem!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yes! I'm still here!

I am so, so behind. For no good reason! Maybe it's the mid-month slump, or the effect of too many projects going on. The last week I've had to prioritize what gets done (and what falls behind), and unfortunately blogging took a big hit. I fell down a bit on all of my projects, although getting postcards in the mail has been the most successful. I missed last Saturday, and then on Monday I was quite dejected about having not sent any that day either, until the evening when I realized that it was a HOLIDAY and there was no mail service, so technically I was still only one day behind, which turned everything around. I mailed two on Tuesday and called it good (or good enough, anyway).

I also learned that at least one of the postcards I mailed never made it, even though I confirmed that I had the address correct. Rats. ETA: the postcard finally arrived - it took almost 2 weeks to get to the middle of the US, but at least it arrived.

Anyway, lots to get through, so get comfy, mmmkay?

Mailed Feb 12:

There's no way to make this look right on a computer, but this is a 3-D postcard. The image shifts a little bit when you look at it from different angles. Unfortunately it just looks blurry as a .jpg. It's also heavy, so I put regular first class postage on it, even though there was no notice that it was needed - and I did hear today that it arrived safely.

Mailed Feb 13:

One of the images from last year's HIDE/SEEK exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum. I sadly neglected to note the artist and photo title. I admit this picture weirds me out a little - I think the guy in the center is wearing a mask,, but it's hard to be sure. The whole thing looks a bit off.

Mailed Feb 14:

"The Nature of Desire", Duane Michaels 1986
This is another image from HIDE/SEEK, and it was the most Valentine's Day-appropriate postcard I had. At least I remembered to credit the artist this time!

Our lives are just one moment,
a breath imagined by the senses.
And that moment is a great thought.
And that thought is a desire,
The urge to being and to be love.
All at once, altogether, the same"

If you're wondering why there's a strange red border, my scanner doesn't like postcards with mostly white backgrounds and will create separate images for the blocks of text and/or photos if I don't use a colored background that shows a bit.

Don't go away, there's more!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

And on the seventh day, she forgot to post...

Lots to catch up on!

Mailed Feb 7:
Choreographer Wen Hui, photographed by Titouan Lamazon, 2007
Love this picture - I was holding the postcard at all different angles trying to figure out where vertical is, and every time I decided on the right orientation, my eyes would find another possibility. Sent to the creator of the movement challenge, which began on that day. (I'm still keeping up with all 3 projects so far, although I regret that the movement challenge is getting the short end of the stick at the moment).

 Sent Feb 8:

 Oh, I really wish I had multiple copies of this one. It came from that book of so-called "naughty" postcards, and it's my favorite. And I had way too many people to send it to. I secretly would like one for myself as well. But it was sent forth to the wilds of Canuckistan......and geez louise, it now costs $1.10 to mail to Canada?!? Same as to any international destination? I call BS on that, United States Postal Service!

Sent Feb 9:

One of the groovier Dale Chihuly postcards. While I'm bitching about postage, I'll mention again that these postcards require first class postage. Pretentious.

 Sent Feb 11:
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Riding With Death - 1982
I kept a copy of this painting, which I cut out of a 1987 Vanity Fair article, on my wall for several years. In 1990, a boyfriend decided to get a tattoo of it on his left bicep. Which is kind of wacky, since this isn't exactly an image that translates easily to a tattoo. There's also the ethical question of getting someone to create a copy of another person's artwork without the original artist's permission, although Basquiat wasn't around to grant permission by then anyway.

I remember the tattoo artist did a very good job with the copy, especially scaling it down to fit, but getting the white ink to show up took a second session. I have a feeling this tattoo has not aged well. I'd be curious to know if the owner has had to get the color touched up over the years, or if he got a different tattoo to cover it up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Hmmmm....suddenly I've got three creative projects going that each require daily (or near daily) engagement: the Month of Letters, I started a knitting project that requires a lot of practice between classes, and tomorrow I'll be adding in a movement-based challenge created by a friend from college. The first two are doable enough so far, we'll see what happens when I try flexing my rusty choreographic muscles as well. I suspect it'll take me a lot longer than the suggested 2 minutes a day. I'm not sure why February is such a project hotspot, but at the very least I hope to gain some valuable time management skills.

Back to this project....mailed Feb 5:

I had this problem last year as well - I come up with the perfect postcard, at the wrong time. At least I only missed the Superbowl by a day. I notice there is no signal for what to do if the lights go out for no apparent reason. Nor is there a "Bootylicious" signal. Pity.

 Mailed Feb 6:

Last year I sent out a lot of the postcards I'd been holding onto for decades, but I kept a few. This one was attached to a present sent to me by my Uncle John, probably while I was in college - you can see he wrote on the border, but the other side was blank.

My Uncle John was an infamous gift giver - you never knew what you were going to get, but it was probably going to be memorable. Some of my favorite gifts were from him - a cool Magic Window-like toy with oil instead of sand that I got when I was very young, and the AWESOME book The Cosmo Girl's Guide to the New Etiquette, given in the early '90s with no irony whatsoever, sparking my nascent feminist outrage and fueling a very angsty performance piece in college. It occurred to me out of the blue a couple of years ago that the book is completely written tongue-in-cheek. Oh.

My Uncle John passed away last year, and I can only hope I honor his legacy by giving gifts that are as interesting and memorable as his, even if occasionally they fail fantastically (such as the black satin Hard Rock Cafe jacket I received in 1986, which my rotten brother made worse by crowing to everyone about
what a status symbol that was and how cool I'd look at school. I wanted to curl up and die, I'm so sure!). My nieces could weigh in on that one....but this postcard could only go to the excellent Dang Ramona, who enjoyed packages from Uncle John during college almost as much as I did.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Slide Show redux

I made a point of not sending any postcards from my recent travels the first couple of days, but I did get a bunch of cool postcards in Amsterdam and Ghent, so I'll just apologize in advance for the periodic travelogue. Or not - because my trip was really cool!!

But I'm getting ahead of myself....

Mailed Feb 2:

shoot, I forgot to write down the artist and title of this, but it had to do with Jackie O. I just liked the festive swankiness of it.

To be mailed Feb 4:

This is where the travelogue begins...
On my second day in Amsterdam, I was wandering around and walked past a small shop with these groovy postcards. I got about 20 feet away and decided to go back, since all the other postcards I'd seen were typical tourist shots (and there will be plenty of those eventually). The entire shop is devoted to selling the work of this artist, Mark Raven. There were t-shirts, coasters, posters, and up a very tiny spiral staircase there was a gallery of his prints. I spoke to the man in the shop - who was an artist himself, but not Mark Raven - for quite a while about art and music.

And I don't think this counts toward my Month of Letters challenge, but I wrote this postcard traveling from Belgium back to Amsterdam, intending to mail it as soon as I got home. Except I just found it and popped it in the mail today.

I liked Amsterdam a lot, but I LOVED Ghent, the subject of this postcard. I stayed a couple of blocks from where this picture was taken, in the old part of the city, and it's unbelievably lovely. The people of Ghent were also exceptionally friendly and helpful. I loved Ghent so much that I cancelled my plans to go to Brugge so I could stay an extra day. GHENT!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Off and running...

Mailed Feb 1:

And so it begins...........

Month of Letters, year 2

It's February, which means it's time again for the Month of Letters Postcards!! I'm more prepared this time - the US Postal Service increased postage just last Sunday (sneaky), so I had to get new postcard stamps and a bunch of $.01 stamps for the ones I already had. Postcard stamps are still ugly and there is no choice on design - and why don't they make forever postcard stamps?!?

A few months ago I was reading old letters and realized how much I missed real correspondence. Most of the letters from friends were written over a period of days and often made reference to phone calls in the middle, so they weren't the only opportunities to touch base. But it certainly feels like the easier it is to communicate with each other, the less we have to say. So I'm hoping to step up my game this year and include at least a few letters during this challenge. We'll see how that goes - sometimes it's hard enough to fill a small postcard, the idea of writing pages and pages seems daunting. Not to mention that my handwriting has gotten appalling.

Now I just have to get cracking and send the first postcard!

Month of Letters Challenge

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Never too late for resolutions...right?

Happy New Year!

yeah, yeah, yeah, 2013 is old news by now, but I have reasons for belatedness. Good ones! Or at least one good one...I was traveling for two weeks in January, resulting in actual "Wish you were here" postcards, some of which were mailed while I was traveling. And then I was...jet-lagged for another two weeks! Sure!

It really helps to set one's expectations low, I'm afraid.

Nevertheless, the year is still young, and I am looking forward to many adventures told through brief scraps of cardstock.

Yes! I went to Amsterdam - and also Ghent, Belgium. I picked up many more postcards while I was there, but these were the only two I managed to mail from Europe. It was surprisingly difficult to find post offices and mailboxes in either city - the only reason these got mailed is that I stayed in a super fancy hotel in Ghent and they just send out your mail for you, at no additional charge. If I'd realized that ahead of time I would have made sure to have more written when I checked out.

And then this arrived, right before my birthday:

Aaaaah, it's a Griffin and Sabine postcard!

Even better, it's written in metallic marker!!!

H-BD to U!
What's up? How much are you dancing?
Do you ever go to the "LoFi"? Let's make a date!
luv, B#1"

Getting mail is nice :)