Archive | November, 2012

Noteworthy

30 Nov

Welcome to Noteworthy, the blog where I write about the things that are worth sharing but are too small to justify being posted separately.

My favorite quote about writing is the one I heard when visiting my mom and “sister” at Saginaw Valley’s writing center:

“Writing should be like a woman’s skirt- long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep things interesting.”

My Advanced Writing teacher, Mrs. Krauss, had the following written on her chalkboard (along with a stick figure drawing- can’t forget about the drawing!) and therefore I’ll always remember the difference between “lie” and lay”. (Remember guys, to lie is to recline and to lay is to place!):

“Laid never means going horizontal.”

And here’s a quote from a chubby little cubby for kicks and giggles:

“For I am a bear of very little brain and long words bother me.”

Despite that last quote, I’m quite fond of big words- succulent, concoction, and bravado all come to mind… if only I could get ’em to come together in the kitchen *rim shot*.

My little sous chef and I recently discovered Sesame Street Classics on Netflix and saw this gem- Logan liked it for the Count and I liked it for all the mail, hehe. Enjoy!

I like to joke that single-handed I keep my post office in business, but unfortunately that’s not the case. I have liked a group on Facebook called “Save the U.S. Postal Services by Sending More Mail,”  and the creator is always posting mail related articles (love it!). I recently saw a holiday friendly “petition” to help everyone keep getting mail and if you’d like to participate click me! for details.

And if you want to send more personalized mail this holiday season, you should look into this: The 12 Days of Love Letters (thanks, mom!)

I hope you enjoyed these little notes as much as I’ve enjoyed discovering them. Kudos to Joycelyn for helping me with the video and to me for finally figuring out how to insert links. Dasvidania!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Obsessive Countdown Disorder

25 Nov

Have I actually been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? No. Am I beyond obsessed and compulsive when it comes to pen palling? Well, you’re reading this pen pal oriented blog, aren’t you? I decided to make a little countdown for those of you who still aren’t convinced or for those of you who just find my OCD charming.

#10. Not only do I save all my letters, but they’ve been saved chronologically in binders. I had six 3-inch binders filled with letters around this time last year so I downsized, getting rid of letters from people I no longer heard from with a few exceptions by the names of Metta, Julz, and Kate. I still have four binders full.

#9. In October I ordered Halloween knick knacks as well as a handful of Christmas ones and yeah, the Christmas packages have been ready to send ever since. I’m just as bad as the stores I mock!

#8. As you might have seen in the post The Notebook of an Obsessive Compulsive Pen Pal, I have a notebook where I keep track of everything from addresses to my address labels, birthdays to dates I get mail; I even keep track of the stationery I use.

#7. And why do I keep track of the stationery I use? So I can color coordinate the paper like in the picture below. I like how the rainbow colored stationery looks following the pastel blue notebook paper, and I think the smaller paper looks nice preceding it (even though this picture itself is not that nice…) 

#6. I recently purchased a planner and aside from putting birthdays and appointments in it I have an inventory of the blogs I’ve published, the Halloween packages I shipped, the postcards I sent via postcrossing.com, and Virtual Slam and SK Trivia questions from when my Facebook group began all the way up until the end of the year.

#5. As f0r next year, I have decided (over two months ago) that I’m going to implement “Stationery of the Month” in an attempt to use up paper I rarely use anymore- I’d hate for those trees to have died in vain. I’ve had the stationery picked out ever since coming up with this idea. There will be two exceptions to this upcoming plan of mine- Jody and Sadie.

#4. I have accumulated a lot of miscellaneous sheets of stationery over the years, mostly from Jody for reasons I’ll share in #3. A while back I started using these “scraps” when writing letters to Sadie and there’s still plenty where they came from plus more on the way. I’ve been keeping them in a little box, all color coordinated, of course.

#3. For years now, Jody and I have been enclosing an extra sheet of stationery with every letter we write. While that fact alone might have been enough to crack this top ten, the real OCD part is that I have the stationery (along with all the extra sheets for her) picked out for DOZENS of letters. 

#2. There are 7 blogs left this year and I already know what 6 of them are going to be about. Heck, two of them are practically finished already. It could be argued that me posting on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th of every month is rather obsessive as well but oh well.

#1. Once upon a Facebook I stumbled upon a group called “2015 Penpal Gathering in Frankenmuth,MI” and invited all of my pen friends to it. Soon after I got the idea to go to vistaprint.com to make my own pen pal friendly business cards to pass out to prospective pen pals at an event that was 4 years away. Too bad I’ve moved since ordering these bad boys, eh? 

Yeah, I’m a pen palcoholic. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to admit I’m a fruit loop among cheerios.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Thank You Notes

20 Nov

In honor of Thanksgiving I thought I’d say a few words about the pen pals I have who I’ve been so thankful for over the years.  I’m not going to use any names in the hopes that I’ve done each current pen pal of mine enough justice they can figure out which paragraph applies to them. The paragraphs are not in any specific order so please don’t think I like the people I wrote about first any more or less than those I wrote about last. And not to sound ungrateful, but I’m only going to acknowledge those I’ve heard from over the past six months and those who have written me more than three times.

~ I don’t hear from you as often as I’d like, but the length of your letters more than makes up for the lack of ’em- quality over quantity, right? I’m flattered you write me at all considering your schedule though, and I feel even more special because I’m the only person you write. I enjoy bouncing ideas off you as much as I enjoy seeing your own ideas come to life in your blog. You’re very creative and you inspire me to get creative, too.

~ You are the pen pal I hear from the most and it’s awesome being able to expect your letters like clockwork. I love that exchanging extra sheets of stationery has become a tradition of ours and that we have Glee in common. Actually, I talk to a few pen pals about Glee but because we write so often we’re able to talk about the show week after week and I look forward to that as much as the show itself.

~ My mom introduced me to a few potential pen pals from Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, but you’ve been the only one I’ve heard from throughout the year over the past couple years so thank you for that and thank you for showing my mom where to find cute, lined paper. I adore all the artwork you have enclosed with your letters and think they’ll look great hanging up in our family room. If you ever make it to the States you can see it for yourself 🙂

~ You are probably the pen pal I know the least about, mainly because we didn’t talk for over a year, but I’m glad you recently contacted me, wanting to start writing letters again. I hope you and that boyfriend of yours are happy at your new place and that you get a bunch of mail there too- and I don’t mean bills!

~ Sometimes it feels live I’ve been writing you for as long as I’ve been pen palling. I like that we never need letters to respond to for us to start writing each other- I even have a letter started for you right now, haha. I know you’d like to have more pen pals and I hope you’ll get them since you’ve been such a loyal pen pal to me over the years.

~ In case I haven’t congratulated you enough in the last couple letters I wrote you, congratulations on your engagement! Reading your letters has been like reading a book about your life and I’m so excited for the chapters about your wedding and trip to France. And the next installment, of course 🙂

~ For personal reasons you’ve given up pen palling, but there’s a part of me that’s keeping my fingers crossed that I haven’t seen the last of your colorful letters since we have been writing more years than you have dogs. All the best to you and yours; I hope you’re all doing okay!

~ As I thought about what I wanted to write about you, I considered how I’ve sent you shoes and a sweatshirt, how you got Logan his much-loved baby blanket, and how you are responsible for me finding three of my other pen pals. We may not write all the time, but everything else considered you’re still pretty fantastic!

~ We have known each other for years before we ever started writing to each other, and now your letters (and monthly postcards) are just one more thing I love about you. When it comes to my pen pals I’m an open book, but you are the one person I feel like I can really tell anything to and that means the world to me. Thank you for being such an amazing friend.

~ You and I met long before we added letters to our repertoire, and through a former pen pal of mine no less. You’re one of my favorite people and you writing me now only solidifies that. I hope we’ll be able to see each other again and that we’ll always stay in touch, letters or otherwise.

~ From the very first time I received a letter from you I considered you a favorite because I just love your chatty letters. I never told you this but I admire the heck out of you. You’re two months (to the day) younger than me yet so mature and independent. That fiance of yours is a lucky man, and I’m lucky to have you as a pen pal. Oh, and don’t be surprised if I try making my own envelope(s) sometime in the not so distant future, haha.

~ I don’t hear from you as much as I used to, but I know you and your husband have had a full plate and are hoping it gets even fuller soon. You deserve so much happiness because you have such a warm heart- so warm I find it funny you’re the one to introduce me to Revenge 😉

~ And out of all the pen pals I currently have, you’re the one I’ve been writing to the longest despite the state of FL trying to get in our way back in ’06, haha. Any time I see anything pirate-esque I think of you as well as any Geico commercials. You’re a lady I hold very near and dear to my heart and I hope we stay pen pals for many years to come, even when all the gel pens are dried out.

As you can see I’m thankful for all my pen friends for all sorts of different reasons, and I’d like to thank everyone who has written me over the years or read this blog over the past few months. Special thanks go to my mom for all the stationery she has acquired for me, to my husband for all his post office runs, and to my son for giving me so much to write about and being so behaved that I can write it.

The guys I’m the most thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Postcrossing

15 Nov

I never minded getting postcards in the mail and every once in a while I liked sending a batch out to my pen pals as well, but sometime over the past few months the switch flipped. Was it when my dad brought/sent me postcards from his cross country excursion? Perhaps. Was it when I started using postcards as prizes for rounds of trivia in my Facebook group? That’s a good possibility. Or was it when “The Art of Pixar” 100 piece set I ordered showed up? Well, I suppose that’s a what came first- the chicken or the egg? kind of thing. REGARDLESS! Somewhere along the line I fell in love with postcards and near the end of October I decided to give postcrossing.com a whirl.

I was hesitant to join at first, but between Justine talking it up and Kära telling me 130 postcards later she never encountered any creepers, I felt a lot more willing to submit my address.

Here’s how it works, in 100 words or less: Newbies can request up to five addresses and an ID number will be provided with each to be written on each postcard. When the lucky recipient gets his/her postcard they will register it on the website using the ID number. The original person’s name and address will then be added as the next person in line to get a postcard from anyone, anywhere and they can send another postcard themselves. 71 words- woot! For more information check out postcrossing.com. (Sorry, I haven’t attempted to figure out links yet.)

Anyway, this newbie dived right in, requesting my first five addresses right away. I thought it’d be a little awkward writing English speaking people in Germany, Russia, China, Japan, and Poland, but by the time I said I was a married, stay-at-home mom who lived in a little Michigan town the postcards were already half filled. Each person had a little bit about themselves on their profiles, including things they’d like to know and postcards they’d like to see. When the Chinese guy showed an interest in cuisine I told him how much I loved Chinese food even though what they have is probably very different, and I told the girl in Japan that I didn’t have Simpsons postcards like she requested but would LOVE Where’s Waldo ones too, and that I hoped she liked the Finding Nemo one I sent her (courtesy of the Pixar set I mentioned earlier).

Below is my first batch of cards I sent via postcrossing.com!

Random note: I sent Gabe to get $1.05 stamps for this endeavor but since the post office only had 4 he proceeded to buy them out of .85 and .20 ones as well (there weren’t more than 20 of either). My husband knows me so well!

On November 13th I received my first postcard through this website from a girl by the name of Maria *throws confetti*. She said,

Hi Kate! My name is Maria. I live in Alaska where I make coffee and help make mornings a little brighter. I’m currently traveling and will be for several months all over the southern United States and eventually Mexico (need me a little sunshine). I am 23, this is my 1st time traveling alone. This is also my 1st postcrossing postcard. Make life great, cause no one’s gonna do it for you. -Maria

May I just say how awesome it is that my first postcard from someone is the first postcard they sent? I’m looking forward to seeing what future postcards are in store for me! I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with all the postcards I get, but right now I’m leaning towards putting them on a wall in our basement if/when we finally get our family room turned into a room the family can actually go, lol. Wish us luck!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

On and Off Paper

10 Nov

I’ve had an assortment of pen pals over the years including students and mothers, believers and drug addicts. There was one time I even received a letter and poem from some man in Germany (creepy!). The first letter I ever got though was from a girl named Missie.

I wish I still had it, but unfortunately I cleaned out my letters during the 2+ years we weren’t talking, only keeping mail from the pen pals I kept. I may not remember much of what Missie and I talked about seven years ago, but I do remember bonding quickly and her even sending little notes to the little girls I was watching at the time. Not many letters went by before she started telling me about Jon, the guy from Kentucky who had stolen her heart. When Missie and Jon got engaged, I got asked to be a bridesmaid.

I’m sure some people may find it odd that she asked someone she never met before to be in her wedding, but being odd was something we had in common. I visited her in Indiana during her Spring Break in 2007 and in addition to her finding her wedding dress and me a bridesmaid dress, we found that we got along just as well off the paper.

In November I was back in the “Kentuckiana” area to be apart of Missie’s big day. The night I got there included cheesy board games and penis cake and the following day was the rehearsal for the day after that.

Missie and Jon’s wedding party

(cont’d) Due to poor planning on my part I stayed for a couple days afterwards while the newlyweds left for their honeymoon in Florida, but I spent that time with Missie’s cousin (the blonde I’m next to above) and the cast of Hairspray so no complaints!

By the following year Missie and I rarely wrote letters anymore because we texted and talked online so much that by the time we would have got snail mail we would have known everything anyway. I decided I wanted to visit them again when my 21ST birthday rolled around and so I did! Highlights of the trip included tasty raspberry Smirnoff, a deformed penis cake, a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show complete with a shadow cast, and my first tattoo. Random note: If you use funfetti mix, the penis cake looks like it has freckles.

My fourth trip was to celebrate Missie’s 21ST birthday with Jon, her siblings, and other friends. I remember spending time at Missie’s sister’s, eating at Olive Garden, and hopping around Fourth Street all before the photo op at the airport below.

If you would have told me my fourth trip would have been my last trip then I wouldn’t have believed you. During the first half of 2010 our friendship hit a bunch of bumps, taking a beating all the way up until the week of my wedding when I decided enough was enough. I’m not going to rehash the details here, but just know that it was two years before I finally really felt over it. Early in October I decided it was time to start fresh and wrote her a letter like I did when we first started talking. I wished her and her family well, told her about mine, and said I’d be happy to hear from her should she decide to write me back.

I didn’t know what to expect. Even when I saw an envelope with her name in the left-hand corner I didn’t know what to expect. It wasn’t until I read the first two sentences- “I’m glad to hear from you! I always hoped we’d talk again.”- that a wave of relief washed over me. I wrote her back right away so let’s say so far so good. We both are moms now so visits are pretty unlikely if we ever got the other kind of close again, but her letters are welcome anytime.

And there you have it, the bond between a girl and her first pen pal. Missie has a lot to do with me becoming so fond of this hobby and for that I’ll always be grateful. Happy pen palling.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

The Write Time

5 Nov

If you’re new to this little blog of mine, welcome! If you’re a regular, first of all thank you and second of all, surprise it’s an entry on the 5th, haha! Originally I wasn’t going to start blogging on the 5th, 15th, and 25th of each month until next year, but the waiting between the 10th, 20th, and 30th was getting very old very fast. In honor of this occasion, here’s a day in the life of this obsessive pen pal and blogger.

Note: There is more to my life than just the following list, but this is what a lot of my days have to offer considering I don’t have my own car nor the money to do much even if I did.

  • Around 5 am when the rest of the house is sleeping: Gabe gets up, gets dressed, and gets going to work.
  • Somewhere between 6:00 and 8:00 am: Logan wakes up so therefore I wake up. I tend to him and the furbabies, and use the facilities, of course.
  • Until 9:30ish: Toy Story (1, 2, &/or 3), lol. Why until 9:30? A) it keeps Logan entertained while I take care of whatever I need to take care of and B) our internet rarely works before then. Most mornings consist of cuddling which I don’t mind at all, but should Logan decide he’d rather play on the floor while Andy’s toys play, I often start writing down ideas for upcoming blogs unless I have unfinished letters I could be adding onto. This blog that you’re reading right now started as early morning scribbles in an old notebook late October.
  • 9:30 am: See if anything happened on Facebook, mainly in Sincerely Kate. If it’s Friday this is when I add a question to The Virtual Slam game.
  • 10:00- 1:oo pm: Watch Netflix, feed the Loganator and put him down for a nap (although sometimes that part gets reversed), and wait for the mail to come.
  • 1:00ish: Let my FB group know if I got any of their letters!
  • 1:00ish- ?: WRITE! In the event I don’t get letters I continue to think about future blogs &/or group ideas, and sometimes I get head starts on letters when I know I’ll be hearing from the recipient(s) soon. If Logan left for his grandparents’ I will work around the house in between paragraphs.
  • Whenever Logan wakes up if he’s still home: If the weather is decent we’ll go play outside until he hints he’s ready to go back in. If the weather isn’t favorable we watch Logan friendly shows like Super Why and Chuck and Friends.
  • Around 5:00 pm: Make something for dinner while keeping my fingers crossed that Gabe gets home soon. The husband has been busy thanks to fall harvest so there are some nights where he doesn’t get home until after we’re in bed- not cool!
  • If it’s a Wednesday or Sunday and about 5:30 pm: It’s time for another round of trivia in my FB group for me and my pen pals!
  • Anywhere between 7:30 and 8:30 pm: Bath time for Mr. Logan! Although I’m not sure if it’s really still a bath if someone stands the entire time…
  • Anywhere between 8:30 and 10:00 pm: Bed time for daddy and Mr. Logan!
  • Once Logan’s asleep: Take whatever letters I have ready to send out to the mailbox, and come back inside to check Facebook one last time before calling it a night myself.

I know, it’s an exciting life I lead… That sentence may have been sarcasm, but I actually wouldn’t want to trade my life for a more exciting one. Everyday Logan grows more and more and his vocabulary grows right along with him. He has recently started hiding things under a blanket and going “WHERE GO?” (Where did it go?) and then lifting the blanket up and going “THERESE!” (There it is!”) and it has yet to get old. If I didn’t have these rather uneventful days I’d miss these moments with my son scattered across them and they’re not something I want to sacrifice.

The more I read a high school friend’s blog about the sunshine that is her daughter, the more I wish I would have been blogging about my son since the beginning. At least I’ve been able to document my life with him through letters, Facebook statuses, and text messages to a few favorites. That said, there’s always the right time to write no matter who you are or what the venue, some of us just enjoy it (or obsess about it) more than others, haha.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

And in case you’d like to read about our Halloween…

  • From 6:30 am- 4:00 pm: For the most part you can reference the above list, but we did Skype with my mom in the morning and I heard from my in-laws as well.
  • 4:00ish: After Logan and I ate an early dinner, I messed around with make up and pinned “gumdrop buttons” onto my brown shirt since I decided (and very last minute) to be a Gingerbread Girl for Halloween- not that anyone noticed, lol.
  • A little after 5:00: Gabe got home from work due to the cold and rainy weather. He grabbed a quick bite and then the boys got ready to go.
  • Around 5:40: We were out the door despite trick-or-treating not starting until 6:00 in Fairgrove. We stopped at the Fire Hall for glow-sticks and then stopped at Gabe’s Aunts’ for some goodies.
  • 6:00ish: We went to the houses we knew since the weather was too craptacular for going door-to-door, plus Logan insisted on us carrying him whenever we were out (hence no one seeing my costume).
  • 6:30 pm: We headed to Akron where Logan’s grandparents’ were expecting him. My mother-in-law joined us for a little more trick-or-treating, then we went back to their house to get warm and munch on Kit Kats. Logan stayed there for the duration of the evening.
  • 7:15 pm: Gabe and I got home. I uploaded pictures (and munched on more Kit Kats) while Gabe started watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • Around the time the movie got over: Gabe and I called it a night because we’re awesome like that.