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Posts tagged ‘Mail’

Christmas Cards and Serious Stuff

It’s that time of year again when the mail is fun. Usually it’s junk and bills and solicitations for charitable donations (possibly with cute address labels). But for a few weeks as the year ends, holiday cards (and I’m going to say holiday instead of Christmas because some friends very deliberately send me Chanukah or non-Christmas-specific cards) bring cheer & sometimes glitter. I love seeing my friends’ kids get older, love seeing the cute pictures chosen to include, and it’s lovely to know someone was thinking about you, even if only for long enough to address an envelope. 🙂

Historically I have sent my fair share of cards. I like doing my part to spread joy and sparkle, and selfishly, I find you receive more cards in return if you send them out. Although I do try not to get hung up on things like, “Oh my god, I got a card from Mary Beth, but I didn’t sent one to Mary Beth, maybe now I should send one to Mary Beth!” It’s not about taking inventory.

This year, however, I’m not sending any. I ran out of time. I suppose technically I still have time but I have resigned myself that it’s not going to happen without a lot of stress and hand cramping, and I don’t really need that.

So consider this my Christmas card to you. If you’re reading this, that pretty much guarantees that I appreciate you!

I have just written and deleted about seven different versions of a sentence trying to articulate how fortunate I am to have so many friends who mean more and more to me as every year passes. Which is funny, because this segues nicely into the other thing I wanted to talk about, and I thought it was going to be a big jumbled mess, but now maybe it won’t be.

In addition to the usual pictures of cats and lists of 23 things you should do to be a more human human and pithy stati (make no mistake, I love Facebook, in spite of what that sounds like) my news feed is filled on a regular basis with people urging you to hug your loved ones and tell them that they are, in fact, loved. A recurring theme in our world seems to be not telling the people you love how much they mean to you until it’s too late. My family is a perfect example. We all love each other very much, but we don’t actually say the words very often.  So I was thinking I would like to write blog posts to each of my parents, sharing the things that are special about my relationships with them and saying the things I want to say while I still have the opportunity. I kicked the idea around a little but didn’t actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, to be more accurate).

And then, four weeks ago today, my dad called and said, “I just Googled symptoms of heart attack and I think I might be having one.” I thought he was kidding, because that’s how he is. I thought he was going to follow it up with a crack about a political article he’d read or some other silly line. He wasn’t kidding. And in the car* on the way to the hospital, he said something that sounded like, “If I don’t get a chance to say this later” and I told him to shut up. And then I spent two hours while he was in the cath lab sitting in the waiting room** kicking myself that my last words to my dad might be “shut up”.

Thankfully, those weren’t my last words and Dad is doing amazingly well. But I definitely have to write the blog posts now. It may take me a little while, because I’m super emotional about it still and I have to be in the right frame of mind to allow myself to get all weepy, but they’re coming.

And also, this is why I’ve been too busy to blog and haven’t had time to send Christmas cards and have just been generally discombobulated. For two weeks all that existed was Dad and work and sleep.  And now I’m catching up with life. My annual staycation is next week, and I could not be more ready.

Merry Christmas, friends. Happy Holidays. Thanks for reading, thanks for being a friend, thanks for being you.

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Footnotes…

* Life Lesson #1: Call 911. Call 911. Call 911. Do not drive to the hospital yourself. It was a bonehead move and fortunately everything worked out ok for us, but it was a HUGE MISTAKE. If you ever find yourself in this situation, please learn from my mistake. An ambulance clears traffic. An ambulance can run red lights. An ambulance driver is not emotionally invested and his/her hands probably aren’t shaking while driving. An ambulance comes with a spare person to provide medical care in transit. CALL 911.

** Life Lesson #1 2: Have someone come sit with you. It’s not selfish or silly or an imposition. Have someone come sit with you. Call me; I will come sit with you. It’s nice to have company even if you don’t want to talk. And also, if none of your people come, the chaplain won’t leave and that is awkward and weird. I know this because I was stupid and didn’t have anyone come, but fortunately my uncle knew better and he came (and brought my grandma) and so did my friend Kristin. K also fed my dad’s dog and took my house keys and went home and fed my dog and brought my keys back to the hospital. She’s a rock star. And also, I need to give more people spare keys to my house.

(Life lesson #3….learn to count. Sheesh.)

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It works both ways

Awwww, my mom sent me a note in the mail!!! How sweet is that?


Apparently she reads the blog.   😀

 
And dig it, she used a totally cool Griffin & Sabine card, which is also completely appropriate.

 

If you’re not familiar with Griffin & Sabine, I highly recommend you check it out. I’m going to read it again right now. Although I swear I had the entire trilogy, yet only one book appears to be on my shelf….curious. It better not be a casualty of the Great War. I didn’t really inventory my books when I packed. Anyway, it’s a charming book of correspondence between two people who have never met, and it consists solely of their letters and postcards back and forth. The art is lovely, and some of the letters are actually in envelopes mounted in the book, and you take them out to read them, and it’s great fun. Thumbs up. You can borrow mine if you PROMISE to give it back in pristine condition.

 

OMG, why is WordPress suggesting “Cuban Missile Crisis” and “Soviet Union” as appropriate tags for this post?

 
Ok. Going to read. Right now. Ciao!

The Handwritten Mission

Last week my friend H stopped by to surprise me with a “just because” present.

I’m a big fan of “just because” presents, both giving and receiving. (Duh, who doesn’t like presents?) Just a little something to brighten the day. And what did she have for me? Muppet note cards. (I. Love. That the world knows I love Muppets. Because I do. Because they are awesome.)

She said, “I don’t know if you would use these, but I saw them, and they were cute, and I know you like the Muppets.”

Cool.

And then I thought about putting them in my antique secretary with the many other note cards and lovely stationeries I have accumulated there, and what a waste that was.

And then I thought about how much I love getting a handwritten note in the mail. Don’t you? Mail these days is boring. Bills and junk mail, with the occasional charitable solicitation. Birthdays and the holiday season are so much fun because the mail might come with colorful envelopes and sparkly cards with messages from friends and family. It’s lovely. Maybe you get lucky every once in a while and receive a thank you note or some other off-season communication from a friend.

It’s definitely a sign of the times. In college my best friend and I sent long, chatty letters back and forth between Bloomington and Ann Arbor. I kept a supply of funny cards on hand to mail to out of town friends for when I wanted to catch up. Now we are super connected with Facebook, and texting and email are faster and cheaper and more efficient than mail. So doesn’t it make you feel a little special when someone goes to the trouble to write a note, to rustle up a stamp, to actually be able to produce your address?

And the thing is, it doesn’t actually take that much time and effort. I know this because after H left, I took my new Muppets cards to my desk, sat down, and used one to write her a thank you note. It took all of five minutes to write, address, stamp, seal, and pop into the mailbox. I thought to myself, “I should do this more often.”

This would require overcoming my graphophobia. Holy shit. That is a real thing. Did you know that? I did not. (As previously mentioned many times, the internet is effing amazing.) Once again I’m feeling a wee bit of remorse for what sounds like I’m making light of something that might actually be a serious affliction for someone. Although as I’m perusing some of these sites, I do probably fall somewhere into this. My handwriting is atrocious. And I am extremely self-conscious about this. Unreasonably so. If I were to write you a note, I would freak the fuck out about my sloppy penmanship. I would be mortified by my inability to write in anything resembling a straight line, and how I can’t actually write in cursive, and instead do this weird hybrid that is mostly printing, and also, as a southpaw, am afflicted by smears and blots. It would look like a first-grader wrote the note. A first-grader with bad penmanship and really good spelling.

However. I recognize that everything I just said, while true, is also ridiculous. And that you might be willing to overlook my first-gradeness and simply appreciate the wonder that is the unexpected piece of mail that merely wants to say hi and make you smile. Which is a very wordy way of saying that I am embarking on a mission.

I am going to write more handwritten notes.

I am going to do it on a regular basis. Like, say, once a week. That will be my goal. It’s not going to be hard & fast – I don’t want to miss a week and beat myself up about it and let it derail me and declare it a failure resulting in abandoning the mission. I want it to be an enjoyable project, not a task. Writing to your friends should be fun.

This will allow me to use all the fun note cards and stationeries I already own, and then get more. A fringe benefit is shopping? Suh-weet. I am a sucker for pretty papers and fun cards.

Tangent: While we’re talking about stationery, can we please take a moment to discuss the correct spelling? For the last 10 or 15 years I’ve been on a quest to get the entire world to learn this. “Stationary” means immobile or having a fixed position, like a stationary bike at the gym. “Stationery” is writing paper. And here is a silly mnemonic trick: stationery with an “e” goes in an envelope.

Ok, let’s sum up:

  • I have horrendous handwriting, and this causes me anxiety.
  • However, my desire to make you smile supercedes that.
  • Hence, I am going to send you surprise notes.

And if you want a note, make sure I have your address – if you leave it here, or send it to me because of this post, I promise I will write to you. I don’t know when, I don’t know why, but that note will come. And I’ll give y’all updates from time to time by way of a loose sort of accountability, so that I stick with it.