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Poetry Friday: “And the Ship Sails On”

August 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Bathroom Sink” in Simon Hucko’s Flickr stream.
Licensed via the Creative Commons.

And the Ship Sails On
By Joel Brouwer

He faced the sink, one foot up
on the edge of the tub. She stood
behind him, reaching around.
In the mirror, her face rose
over his shoulder like the moon,
and like the moon she regarded him
beautifully but without feeling,
and he looked at her as he would
at the moon: How beautiful!
How distant!
No smiling, no weeping,
no talking. A man and a woman
transacting their magnificent business
with the usual equanimity. The man
as a passenger walking the ship’s deck
at evening and the woman as the moon
over his shoulder oiling the ocean
with light. Deep in the ship’s belly
pistons churned and sailors fed
the boilers’ roar with coal. On deck
just the engine’s dull thrum and
a faint click as the woman sets her ring
on the cool white lip of the sink.


Joel Brouwer, “And the Ship Sails On” from
And So. Copyright © 2009 by Joel Brouwer.  Available online via the Poetry Foundation.

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Link Round-Up: 6 Random Links

August 3rd, 2011 · 2 Comments

Six random and only vaguely related things that I’m loving this week:

→ 2 CommentsTags: Link Roundup · shopping

Countdown Begins!

August 2nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

We’re getting hitched Friday!  Whoa.  Here is a super sneaky peak at the dress, necklace, and a few of the many pinwheel “flowers” I made this weekend.  I’m sure that this breaks some kind of wedding jinx… But, to be honest, Jon and I have broken pretty much all the wedding jinx/traditions/superstitions.  At this point, what’s one more?

→ 2 CommentsTags: Craft Projects · Just Life

Owney Fest!

August 1st, 2011 · 3 Comments

Owney’s stamp is unveiled!

Big, big changes coming up this week; dudes, I’m getting married.  Also, we *may* have found an apartment for the next phase adventure.

Anyway, after a week of traveling for work, followed by apartment hunting and exploring a my new city, interrupted by a sneaky, 22 hour trip to Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate some friends’ engagement, followed by even more exploring in our soon-to-be-home city, I took a few days off. But not “off” off, just not in the office.  Instead, I volunteered at the first day of issue ceremony for the Owney the Dog postage stamp!  The place was packed– I heard this weekend that over 3,000 people came through the NPM on Wednesday!!  Holy cow (er, pup)!  I even ran into Melissa, of Craftgasm fame, at the event.  I was there working at the topical stamps table, helping visitors find 5 stamps to begin (or enhance) their stamp collections.

Sadly, because I was busy helping visitors begin their stamp collections, I didn’t have the chance to take all that many photos or chat with that many attendees.  The image above is from right after the stamp officially went on sale.


Isn’t he a charmer? Look at that face!  This was the first First Day of Issue ceremony I’d ever attended… I wish I could say it was super thrilling.  And it was, when they pulled the curtain down from the stamp art and there was lots of applause.  However, mostly it was a lot of excited milling, some speeches, followed by some applause and then lots of people excitedly purchasing the newest stamp for their collection.  Owney himself, the pup is taxidermied (hey, it was the 19th century), was also on display in all his post “make over” finery– looking much more fluffy and friendly than he did before.  If you’re unsure what all the fuss is about, I suggest reading the NPM’s information on the dog here.

The real Owney!

As a side note, volunteering at the Postal Museum is one of my favorite (non-political, non-running) activities.  Should you find yourself living in DC, volunteering here is a mail nerd’s dream!  I’ve loved helping kids learn how to address envelopes, sort stamps, make tags for Owney, or learn about telegraphs during the Civil War.  I think I’ve said before that the Postal Museum feels like my club house– it still does, and I’m so going to miss it when we move.

By the way, if you can’t find Owney’s stamp in your local post office, you can order it online!

→ 3 CommentsTags: mail

Postal Workers Union on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC

July 12th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Just a friendly reminder from the American Postal Workers’ Union…  Absolutely zero tax payer dollars are used to support the USPS!  They deliver a ton of mail (several tons, actually) and it’s supported entirely by stamp and postage sales.  In case you’d like to do your part to help out the USPS– the 2011 stamps are incredible.  The industrial design, Civil War, and American scientist stamps are all out and are all awesome!

Sure, it’s not quite a cause célèbre but can you imagine a world without the postal service?

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48222: Floating Post Office

July 11th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Love this “postcard” that WBEZ put together about Detroit’s floating post office.  The ship, J.W. Westcott, is only 45 feet long but has its own zip code!  Since 1874 the service has delivered mail and other packages to the many large ships that come and go throughout the great lakes. Wikipedia explains that:

Any mail addressed to members of ships’ crews that pass through the Detroit River can have mail delivered to them C/O The J.W. Westcott II, Detroit, Michigan, 48222 (the U.S. postal zip-code). The mail will be delivered to the appropriate ships (mainly lake freighters) as they pass under the Ambassador Bridge. The postal station is located near the bridge on the U.S. side of the river.

Like a couple of the commenters on the Postcrossing blog, I always wondered how ships received mail and other supplies.  Apparently, from J.W. Westcott!

via the Postcrossing blog

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McSweeney’s Covers the Civil War by Post

July 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Page one of the first dispatch

Loving this series from McSweeney’s, “Dispatches from Civil War Reenactments.”  I’m personally and professionally a sucker for all things Civil War, re-enacting related, or produced by the fine folks at McSweeney’s.  However, I’m especially a fan of these handwritten notes about the process and experience of participating in reenactments. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them, hopefully they’ll arrive somewhat regularly.  The first one (above) is dated nealry a month ago (of course, that’s probably not so long to have to wait… really, for a dispatch from the 19th century).

It’s a really clever way to “report” the experience of reenacting the Civil War.  That said, this envelope is not period correct at all (look at the adhesive flap, for one thing.  Those pre-gummed flaps were not commercially available until at least 1890).  The history of the envelope is actually pretty interesting and during the Civil War paper shortages meant that “adversity” covers (envelopes) were fairly common.  I’d like to believe that along with preserving things like sewing and military drill, many re-enactors also fold their own envelopes and re-purpose paper.  Would it kill him to recycle some paper for the purpose of his reflections?

As a side note, I’m noticing more and more folks going for the handwritten blog post…  I don’t think that it’s a trend, yet (or that I’m even the person to decide what is and isn’t a trend), but I’m seeing more and more of that kind of thing.  Including the incredible Intangible blog.

Many thanks to Trish for sending this my way!

→ No CommentsTags: Learning · School

The Happy Postbox in Wonderland Room

July 6th, 2011 · No Comments

One of my most favorite Etsy shops belongs to Wonderland Room.  When I need to stock up on washi tape, Japanese or Korean stationery, and other clever paper goods I always browse there.  Just look what I found this weekend– the Happy Postbox!  If only I knew enough Korean to know what the happy postbox is saying here:

What are all those postboxes doing out there in the woods?  I don’t know!  But soon, a yellow one is going to be my very own– I hope it doesn’t run off.  Or, if it does, that it returns to me full of postcards, letters, and other goodies from its sylvan adventures.

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Poetry Friday: “Of History and Hope”

July 1st, 2011 · No Comments

Trying to choose a poem for the 4th of July weekend, I realized just how much of my favorite poetry is about America either implicitly or explicitly.  Picking one for this weekend, I thought about re-posting one of those older ones.  But then, I came across this poem from Miller Williams and it just sums up so much of what I feel (and study) about America.  Enjoy!

Of History and Hope
By Miller Williams
We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
The great and all the anonymous dead are there.
We know the sound of all the sounds we brought.
The rich taste of it is on our tongues.
But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
The disenfranchised dead want to know.
We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.

But how do we fashion the future? Who can say how
except in the minds of those who will call it Now?
The children. The children. And how does our garden grow?
With waving hands—oh, rarely in a row—
and flowering faces. And brambles, that we can no longer allow. [Read more →]

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On (Not) Planning a Wedding

June 29th, 2011 · 4 Comments

A few years ago, in DE

Jon and I are sprinting towards an early August wedding– for lots of reasons a long engagement just isn’t for us.  When I realized that we’d be doing a courthouse wedding (weirdly, long before he even popped the question) I felt this great sense of relief.  When Jon said he agreed and thought it was obvious we’d do that, I thought, “this is why I love with this man.”  It isn’t that I dont want to shout from the rooftops how in love with him I am, it’s just that I’m much more interested in being in a marriage than in a wedding.  So, the DC central courthouse it is!  YAY!

Oh, right, even if you plan to elope there is still all this stuff you have to think about.  Some of it emotional, some of it logistical, and some of it fun (announcements! dresses! photographs!). I’ve been so happy to find the blog A Practical Wedding– it’s such a fantastic website and I can’t sum it up better than their own “about” page:

It’s about balancing feminism with weddings and married life; about wrestling with the cultural dialogue surrounding weddings and marriages; and about figuring out how to be a bride and a wife on your own terms.

Plus, their whole section on “reclaiming wife” is the kind of thing that makes me wish the Internet had a “yes” button.  Something I could just push to say, “this– all this” for pretty much every damn post. So instead of me just re-posting and linking to all the awesome, thought-provoking stuff over there, just stop by and read for yourself.  Okay?

→ 4 CommentsTags: Just Life