A Week in Tomales

Thanks to the generosity of friends, we escaped the fog of San Francisco and spent a week in Tomales, CA.  It was a beautiful week. The weather was perfect: the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the cows lowing, and honeybees flitted through the gardens.  For the most part, the only sounds interrupting the quiet in this small town were the nighttime hooting of an owl from the trees across the street, and the crowing of a nearby resident rooster. Weekends, however, are a slightly different story.  Shops and other businesses open up to visitors…

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Pandemic Pen Pal

Many of us are experiencing a new normal – perhaps working from home, avoiding theaters, dining outdoors – and with these new Covid restrictions, what better time than now to develop a written correspondence with a pandemic pen pal? Commonly, pen pals are people who seek friendships and new experiences through the exchange of letters, often among people who have no previous connection.  Many people favor international correspondence in order to learn and better understand the culture and customs of another country.  In the early days of Social Correspondence, I often read sweet stories about long-term…

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So Many Books, So Little Time

Finding time and space to settle down and read a good book can be difficult, depending on one’s circumstances, but the phrase “so many books, so little time” has never seemed truer.  The quote is widely attributed to the late composer and musician Frank Zappa, and has been used on T-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise for decades.  The quarantines and shut downs over the past year and a half due to Covid turned people’s lives upside down.  For many, anxiety and stress challenged the ability to read for pleasure, and would-be readers turned to audio-books, podcasts,…

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Beyond the Art of the Stamp

Selecting just the right stamp to mail a card or letter often reflects the mood of the sender, but a card from Gigi Trabant goes beyond the art of the stamp.  Her hand-crafted cards and envelopes are inspired by a selected stamp, which she surrounds with original related drawings and design, tailored to the individual to whom she sends the card. With her large collection of vintage and modern stamps, coupled with her imagination and artistic talent, a card from Gigi is a real gift. Wedding Card Gigi has been designing cards and envelopes based on…

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Lost and Found Letters

The percentage of letters lost in the mail is relatively small, but still there are times one wishes for a Lost and Found Letters Department. Sometimes you either sense or know that something is missing. That promised invitation to a literary event that never arrives. The letter listed in Informed Delivery that does not materialize. Where do these letters go? Were they delivered by accident to the wrong house? Perhaps they fall on the ground and get swallowed up in the trash. Technically, there is a Lost and Found Letters Department.  It is called the Mail…

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Capitol in Bloom

Gardens and landscapes are alive and colorful in Washington DC, with the Capitol in bloom.  Flowers on full display this summer include the peony, gladiolus, milkweed, hydrangea, and clematis, among others.  Among the native perennials are sage, goldenrod, blue violets, beebalm, echinacea, and columbine.  Spring and fall are great times to visit the Capitol, and during our early summer visit, I enjoyed all of the gorgeous colors. Home garden, Washington DC NE An abundance of large trees provide shade from summer heat and humidity, and we were fortunate to experience moderate days with a slight breeze. …

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Summertime in New York
Park Slope, Brooklyn

Summertime in New York

It is summertime in New York, and things are coming back to life.  Restaurants are open, both indoors and out, subway and street traffic are picking up, and more shops are open.   New Yorkers took last Tuesday’s election very seriously.  It was a primary election for Mayor and City Council in Brooklyn.  Due to ranked choice voting, final outcome of the election may take weeks to be determined.  Along the busy corridors of 7th and 8th Avenues in Park Slope, near the YMCA on 15th Street where early voting was taking place, candidates and their…

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Failing the Canine Security Check

Today is my first cross-country trip on an airplane in 16 months, and I did not expect to start out by failing the canine security check.  He was a young, handsome, mellow-seeming dog, doing his duty, and I was not the only soon-to-be passenger noting how sweet looking he was.  None of us reached out to touch him, knowing that it is strictly verboten to interfere with a working dog, but it was tempting. I am not sure why this particular canine signaled me out.  I am very fond of dogs, so certainly it was not…

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The Ten-Year Plan

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS revealed a new ten-year plan on March 21, 2021 aimed at reinvigorating the postal service.  Parts of the plan are ready to be implemented, including increasing the cost of stamps, slowing down first-class mail delivery in favor of more lucrative package delivery, closing selected facilities, and cutting back post office hours and staffing.  Such changes are subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent Federal agency. First-class stamps are currently 55 cents First-class mail volume has decreased by 28% over the past 10 years, one of the…

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A Random Letter in the Mail

Have you ever received a random letter in the mail?  Random, as in an unanticipated, handwritten note or letter? The use of first-class mail has been in decline for decades, and letters have become almost rare.   Any letter or note in the mail is a gift, whether it be a thank you note, a birthday card, a holiday greeting.  But most of our communications today are virtual, via social media, email, text messaging, and more, using multiple platforms. Given the shift in how we communicate, a random letter in the mail is a welcome surprise.  Within…

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