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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Who Selects the Stamps

Who selects the stamps?  Each year, the United States Postal Service issues approximately 35 new stamps, covering a wide range of images and fields of interest.  In short, it is not hard to find something to like.  New stamps are selected by the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) of the USPS, whose members are appointed by the Postmaster General. Playwright August Wilson is featured on a new Forever Stamp The CSAC was established in 1957.  Currently, the committee has 13 members, representing “…collective expertise in history, science, technology, art, education, sports, and other areas of public…

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The Etiquette of a Condolence Letter

Recently, the need arose for me to write a condolence letter.  Over the years, I have sent many cards and notes to friends who had suffered a loss, but this time was different.  It was a friend who died, a friend with whom I had been out of touch for several years.  I did not know her family or how to contact them, yet it felt important to reach out to them. Handwritten notes As a first step, I contacted the senior living community where she had been living, in an upscale city located to the…

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