lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 We dropped Mason off at the airport just a little over an hour ago.  He's on his way to compete in the KidWind National Competition.  ( with his team.  A lot of my friends contributed to the team's fundraiser, so A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE. YOU MADE THIS POSSIBLE!! 

If you want to read more about what is actually happening at the National competition:

mason leaving for Anaheim

Mason will be back on Friday, and, until then, Shawn and I have the place to ourselves.  I suspect we'll get up to all sorts of mischief, including maybe going hog wild and cleaning the house. Books will be read with abandon!  We might even have DORITOS AND CHEESE FOR DINNER.


Yesterday, it was sunny, so I spent much of the day outside. I'm really proud of how my faux Japanese garden is looking this year, and I'm working very slowly on getting other parts of the yard in decent shape. (I should really take some pictures before the ENORMOUS bleeding heart stops blooming).  I don't think we'll ever be a showcase garden, but it would be nice if I could look out and feel happy instead of thinking, "OMG what a mess." I definitely think we're well on our way to that.  Especially since several bulbs showed up for stuff I don't remember ordering. I planted them in a couple of different places--a few near the little free library (which is my one remaining "problem" area) and a bunch in the front of the Japanese garden.  I think they're going to be irises...?  We'll have to see what blooms next year, if the squirrels don't eat them all and/or replant them for me.

I got a couple of letters from my international pen friends yesterday.  I love all my pen friends, but I have a couple that I adore. My friend in Canada is AWESOME. Of course, I didn't get her from IPF.  She's actually someone I know from Bleach fandom who volunteered last time I put out a request for pen pals. Her letters always make me happy.

The other letter came from an IPF friend from the Netherlands. I like this particular woman because in her very first letter back to me she talked about her daughter and her daughter's partner (female.) This meant that I felt free to be my honest/authentic self, which is something that I've been sloooooowly revealing to my other IPFers.  I mean I had that one German lady quit me because I told her I wasn't Christian.  Can you imagine if I'd said that I was a big ol' lesbian?  Probably we could have heard her head exploding from across the ocean, eh? But, my Netherlander is great. She got me following the recent election there--another country that held tight against the rise of fascism.  She always closes her letters with "Ah! That Trump of yours!" in various iterations.    

A sign of our times. 
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Under normal circumstances, in America, FB would be Facebook for a lot of people, right?  WELL... if you're a German pen pal (and trust me, if you are a German woman of a certain age, I think it's a fair guess to say that you either are, or have experimented with pen friending at some point in your life,) FB stands for Friendship Book.  

What is a friendship book?  It's... okay, it's usually handmade, here's a picture of one sent to me:

german friendship book

Inside the booklet are people's names and addresses. Some people handwrite their addresses, but others have address labels specially printed for FBs, which include a whole lot of mysterious acronyms.  "NPW" = New Pen Pal Wanted.  SNNP = "Sorry! No New Pen Pals!" (I'm considering keeping a list handy, because some of them are counterintuitive.)

Often people will include the various languages they could potentially correspond in, you might see "NPW in English, François,.." etc.

How you use this is kind of like a chain letter, only much less malevolent.  One person starts it (in the case of my example above someone has started it for someone else), and they send it on to one of their pen friends. That pen friend adds their name (and whatever notation they might like), and then they pass it on to one of their friends.  When the booklet is filled, it's returned to the original, initial address.  Sometimes these are used to actually gain new pen pals, but sometimes they're just sent off into the world to see how far they go before they come back.  There's apparently a whole subculture of FBs, which... weirdly, I am now part of, that include things called "decos" and "crams." In addition to the several books that have now been passed to me from German pen pals (this is REALLY a German thing,) I also received a Friendship Sheet

Here's another couple examples of what they can look like (sorry this is a little blurry.)

more FBs

If anyone out there wants to be part of this German pen palling thing, let me know. I should note that it's not unusual for people from other countries to have gotten roped into this.  The only thing they need to have had is a German pen pal.  I've seen names from Russia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Austria, and I'm not the only US pen pal to have been part of one of these.  

It's a weird/cool thing. Feels very retro, very 1980s.  It's kind fun.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 The other thing that happened yesterday was that Mason's LEGO League team won the regional competition!  He and his team will be going on to state! I would post a picture of Mason with this medallion, but I'm trying to figure out what's up with the pictures. (I thought I had them fixed, because *I* can see them on any device, even not logged into my journal.  All our devices, however, are Macs or iThings. I wonder if that's part of it. I'm going to try to do more research, because a journal without ANY pictures, ever, is kind of sad.)

I've also steadily started to get replies from the letters of introduction that I wrote to my various pen pals. Yesterday, I got a reply from my ONE correspondent in the Netherlands. She seems amazing. She's the first one to acknowledge that I wrote to all of my pen friends that I did NOT vote for the current present.  Her reply was, "GOOD for you."  She also just casually mentioned her daughter's girlfriend.  I LIKE this pen pal.  It should be very easy to reply to her.

lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
First, I have to do a little whining. It's not real complaining mind you, just a little bit of shoulder shrugging at the world. Remember when I signed up for the International Pen Friends? I got this enormous list of people to write to--about fourteen or so names. I've spent the last couple of months writing individual letters to each of the people on the list. This has been an enormous amount of fun, mind you, even though I found the idea of an introductory letter a bit daunting. I mean, writing to strangers? It's a little weird because you want to say something interesting, but you have no idea what the other person might like to hear about.

But, that's not the part that I want to talk about.

I guess I assumed since i paid for a package of 15 people that the people on my list were it. My full 15. But, twice now, I've gotten letters from people NOT on my list. (One from Germany and another from France.) This is not a bad thing, not at all (both letter writers were absolutely delightful!), it's just... confusing. Does this mean, potentially, I could end up with over 30 pen friends? Like, did my name go out on 15 other lists?

I mean, in a way, this makes a certain amount of sense, right? Out of thirty people SOME of them will write. A couple of them might even become regulars--people I really hit it off with. I, of course, quickly replied to both my pen pals. I'm sure the pen pal in Germany is a little stunned. She sent me a happy little note and I replied with a copy of Tall, Dark & Dead IN GERMAN. (What? She said she loved to read!?)

It's a funny, thing, too, because both of the people I received notes from had a very standardized sort of introduction. "Hello, I am ____, I got your name from the International Pen Friends." I suspect I was probably supposed to start my letters that way. Instead, I just launched into all sorts of weird things, including drawing a map of the North American continent with a tiny dot near St. Paul labeled "me." I probably seemed very odd.

Which might explain why I haven't heard back from anyone I've written to yet.

Who knows. It's all a grand adventure. I do so love getting mail, so I've been enjoying running to the box to see what's in it, like I'm fifteen years old again. Oh, and if you're reading this and thinking, "Damn, I wish Lyda would write to me!" I totally will. You just have to send me your address:

In other news, I've decided that in the up-coming year I'm only going to read All the Gay. I thought I'd follow along with Gay YA's book club as much as humanly possible as well as hunting down other queer books to read. 2017 is going to be the year of Teh Gay. Everything will be super-fabulous and queer af. I think that is one of the many ways in which I'm going to deal with the incoming administration from Hell.  

Speaking of the incoming administration, I really wish I could afford to go to the Women's March on Washington.  I ran into someone at the coffee shop the other day who said that there's a scholarship to help pay for the bus ride there and back again.  If I could afford it, that would be cool. I've heard that the march is likely not to be very well organized, but, you know, having marched with a bunch of people on Lake Street I'm kind of figuring that'd be okay.  Very likely, however, I'm going to end up at the Minnesota State Capitol with a handful of women.  I say that like it's a bad thing, which it isn't, but it feels very missing out on a potentially awesome, historical moment.

Thoughts? Anyone I know going?

lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Last night was the board meeting of Quatrefoil Library.  Normally, this would have been a Wyrdsmiths night for me, but shortly after I bowed out, a bunch of people chimed in that they had conflicts and/or ENDED UP IN THE ER, (but that's another story.)  

The board meeting was fascinating.  One of the things I discovered, listening to people talk, is that many of the other board candidates had put in a lot more people-hours into the organization.  One of the other board candidates had been an artist in residence; another had helped with an archival project.  And, I thought: what am I doing trying to jump in at the top?  Especially when I found out that there were a number of committees that a person could join without being a board member.  

What I really want to do for Quatrefoil is physically HELP.  You know what I mean? Maybe not staffing the desk (because I think the hours might conflict with my existing library work), but maybe to help build/expand content for their social media or review books for their newsletter or other places where I can link back to  them to help raise their profile. I can put out chairs for an event.  I can set out snacks or help clean-up.  I can help recruit writers and readers. Stuff like that.

I made what I felt like was a good connection to the acquisitions board member, and I'm hoping that, though him, I can find the right kind of committee work for me.  Ideally, he and I could work together to really raise people's awareness of Quatrefoil's collection... which is HUGE and expansive and I don't know how many people know that much about them, despite how long they've been in the community. So, if you see me talking them up here, that's all part of my overall goal.  :-)

At any rate, I just wrote some follow-up emails to my contacts that hopefully made my continued excitement clear, but explained how humbled I was at the meeting and how much I'd like to work my way up to the position of board member... after paying some real dues.

So, that was last night.  

Today... today is starting out slowly.  Shawn is out with a migraine.  I'm huddled under the blankets because it's so cold outside that the radiators haven't managed to catch up. I'm thinking about writing another pen pal letter. I have about four or five left to write on my list. It's been a little frustrating, if only because I'm such a school girl and I run anxiously to the mailbox every day, hoping to find some new treasure from some stranger overseas.  I did get the one, but it's been otherwise silent.  I wonder if they give you such a big list, knowing that a lot of people aren't going to follow-through?  Or maybe I'm just being anxious and I'm the person down on the list, like the last few stragglers are on my own.

lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
One of the ways that I'm finding helps me cope in this post-Trump-election universe is, basically, journaling. This is why you've seen me here so often lately.  I'm finding that just taking time to reflect on my day helps me get through it.  I have a couple of friends that I've been writing letters to, too, and they've seen an upswing in correspondence, as well.  (This may, in part, be in compensation for my inability to fiction ATM, but I've been feeling a drive to write the queerest queer book in the history of queer fiction, so who knows?)

On the other hand, I don't necessarily want to inundate my friends with a letter a day.  I mean, MAYBE they'd appreciate it, but I've been trying to keep it to one letter a week.  But, I LOVE actual correspondence. I LOVE getting things in my mailbox that aren't bills or advertising.  I LOVE stationary and pens.

So, on a whim, after talking about my failed attempt at an international pen pal in 4th grade, I decided to see if there were still organizations that did this--that matched strangers up with other strangers in foreign countries.  There are!  So, I signed up with the International Pen Friends, paid my membership dues, and have been waiting somewhat impatiently to see what would come of it.

Well, today I got my list.  15 people!

I get to write to 15 people around the world!  HOW COOL IS THAT?  Seriously, I'm supposed to send a letter to everyone on the list. !5! I'm going to have to allocate these people days of the week!  Anyway.... I got 2 Australians, 4 in England (all from tiny sounding towns like North Wolverhampton), 1 from Belgium, 3 from France, 4 from Germany and one from the Netherlands.  Interestingly, I asked for people all over the globe, from every single continent (well, minus Antarctica because it wasn't an option), and I entirely got placed with Europeans.  But, that's still cool.  I can't wait to get writing to them! 
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
This is the sort of thing that appears as random art on the bottom of the letters I send to my pen pal, Keri, in Seattle. Several years ago (or maybe just a couple years ago), I decided that I missed the sensual, private pleasure of writing personal letters. So I put out a request on Facebook. Keri, a woman I only kinda-sorta knew at the time said, "Oooh, pick me!" So I did. We've been corresponding for at least a year and a half if not two years now and every time I write to her, I usually embellish the letter with a bit of fan art/art.

Here's what I'm sending her this week:

renji all

Pretty nice, huh? I bet you wish you were my pen pal.

Or maybe not. Maybe you'd be pretty sick of all the Renji I send.... Although, tbf, I have actually sent her Ichigo, Kisuke Urahara, Captain Kyouraku, Byakuya, and Gin Ichimaru, so I'm not ENTIRELY one-track fan art-ing her. Though there's a lot of Renji. How do I know? My red colored pencil is little more than a sad little stub.

August 2017

   1 2345
6 7 8 9101112
13 1415 161718 19
20 21 2223242526


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:53 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios