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A Blog Post: Phone Writing

I am starting this blog post on my phone.

I’ve been doing a lot more of that in the last year — a phone is less of a pain in the ass to pull out on a short bus ride (10 minutes, one end of campus to the other) than a tablet-with-keyboard. It’s easier if I have two or three minutes standing in line. It makes writing at stoplights a possibility, and it’s a lot easier to be surreptitious about writing on a phone in a meeting than it is with a tablet or laptop.

It’s also slow compared to writing on a keyboard, even as I get better at it, and it’s interesting, because I compose my thoughts as I type, so composing to a slower typing speed has taken more adjustment than the tiny keyboard.  Continue reading

A Weekend, the Sun, the Cold, and the Cats – a blog post

This is going to be a sort of generalize life-of-Lyn post, so hello!

Yesterday, we took the boys to the vet (that’s Oli and Theo, my boycats) for their annual checkup and rabies booster.  They remain pretty, fluffy, in good help and well taken-care-of, according to our vet, and they even swallowed their pills like good boys.

I’ve been sickish for about a week and a half, so if I’ve been quiet, other than scheduled posts, that’s why.  Did you know your sternum can get inflamed?  It kind of sucks. It’s called Tietze Syndrome or Costochondritis (although looking these up, WebMD seems to think they’re different things, my doctor put both on the paperwork).  It’s — well, annoying, on a good day.

Ahem.  Continue reading

A Blog Post! Season Change (more or less)

It is finally just about Spring!

🐇

But, Lyn, you say, Spring started back in March.

🍀

Yes, I saw the calendar.  

📆

But let me tell you, I live in the northeast.  And “Spring”, as far as I’m concerned, starts when you can go outside without a coat.

Or possibly when the daffodils bloom.

Which my brain suggests is always Palm Sunday, even though that’s not true.

Continue reading

Blog Post: Antiquing

I was noting, in the middle of the Hudson Antique Mall in the middle of a weekend trip this past weekend, that it seemed like we — T and I and our Troy friends the McPivins — end up spending a lot of our visits looking at other people’s old junk. Continue reading

Blog Post: Here, kitty, kitty

I asked on Discord what I should blog about this week, and the suggestion that came back way my cats.

Okay, I can talk about them pretty much endlessly!

… crap, what do I say?

🙂

If you’ve missed it, T. and I have three cats.

The slightly-older two are white-and-grey fluffbucket Norwegian Forest Cat mutts.  They are loud, they are affectionate, demanding, and they chew on everything.  Furniture.  Firewood.  They commonly eat their way out of cardboard boxes.  Sharp teeth!  Oli (Oligarchy) is a bit bigger, longer-furred in the “ruff” and “pantaloons”, more likely to be demanding in the food department.  He sleeps on my feet at the beginning of the night and usually by my shoulder when he thinks I ought to be getting up. Continue reading

Blog Post: Junk Mail Envelopes

Through the magic of following the #LetterMo, #SnailMail, and #MailArt hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, and through looking at a whole bunch of mail art things on Pinterest, I have been experimenting with junk mail envelopes and more broadly make-your-own envelopes

The first thing I learned is that the US postal service’s guidelines are a wee bit complicated and slightly arcane, but once you have done your algebra and geometry and figured out your allowed envelope sizes vs. the paper you have, you can have a lot of fun.

I had a couple fliers from AAA and magazine from our local grocery chain when I found someone on Instagram who was using calendar pages – https://www.instagram.com/p/BvKEsgzFweR/That sounds good, I thought, but where do I find a calendar for cheap?

The next day, I walked into the local Dollar General (https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/dollar-general-throws-a-lifeline-to-hard-pressed-communities-but-at-what-cost/ar-BBO0d5jhttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/13/dollar-general-walmart-buhler-haven-kansas ) for a half-gallon of milk (Dollar General is literally on the way home even if I take the bus stop and is the only thing except a gas station and a strip club that is.) and there was a 2 foot tall stack of calendars for 70% off their $1 cover price.

Yeah, I have some calendars now.

I’ve read people talking about this sort of thing as being good for the environment, and I’m not 100% sure about that (more below), but it’s fun, and it’s a different way to make sure that the mail I send people has a pretty wrapper as well as a pretty inside and nice words – which is fun.  I get more excited when the envelopes in the box are fancy, or have wax seals, or are drawn on, or all three.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, too.  (Do you?  Is it awesome to see some art in your mailbox?  I know my mom really likes it)

Okay, environmental impact.

As far as I know, the university I work at recycles all paper that’s put in the recycling bins, so not putting these fliers in the blue bin there doesn’t really keep them out of a landfill.  It might put them IN a landfill at the end, to be honest – I don’t know what people do with their envelopes. And as for what happens once that paper hits the county recycling plant – it’s hard to find concrete information on what percentage of paper that goes in a recycled bit ends up being paper again.

So that’s what I know about my boss’s fliers: almost nothing, but I probably didn’t keep it out of a landfill but making an envelope out of it.

Junk mail at home:  In the winter, everything paper without plastic attached goes directly into heat via our wood stove.  The ashes are composted – not in the garden usually, but in the meadow and other non-food areas.  Every piece of paper I turn into an envelope is actually taking heat and a decent soil amendment away from our house/yard.

And the calendars?  I don’t know what Dollar General does with things they don’t sell!  I know that the pile went pretty quickly, and that other people were buying them while I was there – I also know I went back and bought a couple more when they were 90% off, too.

The flip side: Not using store-bought envelopes?

Well, On the other hand, I’m sending more mail this way that I might have otherwise, and THAT costs a lot more fossil fuels than just sending an e-mail.

The end result of this is – I don’t feel comfortable in any way saying that junk mail envelopes are in any way better for the environment than any other craft.  If I’m being a responsible citizen and recycling all of my paper (or burning it for heat, which would be a reuse), then paper beads, junk mail envelopes, and other crafts from the back of magazines… decoupage!  I’m decoupaging my received-mail box! Collages!  – any of that is not inherently environmentally friendly.  There are things I can do that are a lot more so – like using reusable plastic containers instead of ziplock bags, bringing my own shopping bags, buying less…

… but the envelopes are really fun!

(and I bet they’re neat to get in your mailbox, too…)

Blog Post: Rafters, Projects, and Slipper Baskets

When I was in college, I learned a planning style that occasionally I re-remember.

This was during my Technical Writing class, and it was designed for planning a writing/publishing project, such as an advertisement brochure.

Turns out, it works pretty well for actually plotting out things like… renovations, too.

And spring is sort of coming now.  So I’m starting to figure out the planning for some of our extant projects.

They’re big ones.  I mean, it’s a house and I want to redo everything in it eventually.

(probably even the bedroom that we did first, because the walls still need redoing and we still don’t really have a closet.) Continue reading

 Zen and the Art of… art?

I discovered probably a year ago that drawing maps, when there’s no stress and no requirement, is a very soothing activity for me.  I have some doodled maps that chart spaces that don’t yet exist in fiction and may never see paper, but they were still very fun to make.  I even plotted a journey of an unknown adventuring crew over one map!

(This may also be why I have more unfinished maps than finished ones…)

Yesterday, I discovered, or rather, perhaps, solidified, that folding-paper things also does this for me.

This is interesting, because I am a) not great at following diagrammed instructions (for a fox I made to stick in a piece of mail, T. figured it out from the directions and then showed me), and b) not great at precision at all.   Like, even the amount required to cut a perfect square is really pushing it for me.

But it’s fun.

I’ve been making scrap-paper envelopes, which are sort of barely folding-paper stuff, so I bought 3 calendars for 30 cents each at the Dollar General to play with.

And for Christmas, my friends got me The Art of the Fold, by Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol ( https://www.artofthefold.com/ ), so I’ve started working through these.

This led to me making a teeny accordion book (an inch and a half by just under three inches finished size) from one calendar page and putting little 1/3 index cards into each of the pockets, on which I wrote a rather short letter.  Since, you know, I’m still writing back replies from Month of letters. 😀

What will come next?  Stay tuned to find out!

Month of Letters / Int. Correspondence Month round-up and plans ahead

It’s March! Aaaaa!

Okay! So, in February, I:

* Sent out 26 initial letters or postcards, to which I received 6 replies, to which I’ve replied, so far, to 4, with one more almost ready to mail
(32, 6 in)
* Received 6 initial letters, to which I’ve replied, so far, to 4, with one more almost ready to mail
(32+4 = 36; 6+6=12)
* Received one reply to my reply, which I’ve replied to.
(Total: 37 out, 13 in)

I mailed out two letters already today as well, both initial.

I wrote to:
* 5 relatives, with 4 more planned
* 10 complete strangers (from Twitter and the LetterMo and InCoWriMo sites)
* People I’ve known for years
* People I only know on Discord or Mastodon
* 1 person who used to live with me
* 1 person I met through 4TheWords

And, as far as I know, I have had one piece of mail completely lost in, well, the mail.

I plan to:

  • finish my list of people-to-write-to, so if you haven’t gotten a letter yet and you asked for one, have faith!  It will get there.
  • Write back to everyone who wrote to me
  • Take the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month to write out letters to people or reply to letters I get in the meantime.
  • Finish my STAMP card eventually (LetterMo Bingo, shown below)
  • Make some envelopes
  • Keep making Letter art.

Continue reading

Sick Day

I’m home sick!  And I’m home sick with something banal!

When I woke up Saturday with a cold, I was actually excited.  There’ve been so many obnoxious “what is WRONG with me?” “Is this a symptom of something extant or is it something new?” “What did my medicine DO to me?” in the last two years that having something whose symptoms I recognized completely, something that I understood what to do about, was more than a relief; I was cheerful!

Of course, on day 4 (maybe 6) of this, I am not so bright and excited, but hey, I have been taking naps and drinking lots of fluids and husband has been making me lots of tea.  A nap in front of the fire is a pretty nice way to spend part of the day, especially with a cat asleep on my belly (That would be Merit, the one of our three who has really mastered sleeping-on-people).  Continue reading