How much is a first class stamp these days?

44 cents.  I googled it.

Loving books, the feel of paper and the romance of writing has always brought out a stationery junkie in me.  I have so many boxes of blank cards.  Some are funny, some are just beautiful and some are plain as to match the mood of anything I want to say.  I rarely use them anymore.  I even have a card box with an array of little tabs, so a very organized individual can keep track of holidays or meaningful reasons one should send a card.  I had great ambition to do that.  I have about 30 cards shoved in one little folder.

Last night I sat down and wrote out a couple of cards to people who deserved them.  I’ve had a sticky note on my phone for weeks as a form of encouragement to do actually do this.  You know, it didn’t take that long and felt good to do.  Sometimes I get embarrassed because I have the intention to drop a note to someone special, then so much time passes that I somehow feel even more embarrassed that I’ve waited so long.  I inevitably do nothing.  And guess what?  More than embarrassed, I get disappointed that I don’t follow through with more good intentions.  This random acts of kindness stuff sometimes makes me anxious, but I’d like to think I have or will make up for it.  It’s the thought that counts still, right?

Who doesn’t like getting mail?  Real mail that is, not credit card applications.

Do you think kids still learn to write in cursive?  Do you think elementary school kids will write at all when they grow up?

Handwritten blog…well, it was.

The book Little Women, and maybe a tad bit of the movie, found its way into my mind last week.  Not because of my crush on a youthful Christian
Bale or a younger Gabriel Byrne, (don’t judge me) but I thought about Jo March.  She, like everyone else prior to the grand creation of typewriters or computers, wrote everything by hand. Can you imagine writing a novel by hand?  What if my annoying little sister (I don’t have one, but let’s roll with this) threw my freshly inked literary masterpiece, bound by string, into the fire in a fit of jealousy? How would I remember the precious details, all the intricate quirks of my characters and the smooth scene transitions? I suppose my lengthy prison sentence for murder would allow time to rediscover my nuances, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine.

So there I was last night, amped to write you and…Wait, my computer needs to update now? How many updates does Windows need? Why can’t it update when it just sits there…without my need to tap away? The update must’ve been epic because it lasted for hours, overnight in fact, but it led me to my next “old-fashioned” moment. Why don’t I just write my blog on paper? I won’t use a quill, but I could be a bit more like Jo.

Besides the fact that paper can be destroyed, which is horrific, it is pretty amazing to utilize when you can steer your hands away from the
keyboard. I’ll never need to charge paper, update it or have an extended warranty on it. Paper is there for you when you need it, anytime of the day or night, during a power outage or jury duty – bound closely with its paper friends with wire or temporarily stacked with adhesive. Pen on paper is a different experience if you cherish the art of writing. So much can be told based on the rhythm and phases the written word takes on as the mind processes and spills out onto the page. The best lines are written with speed, as if the hand is desperate to catch up with the mind. The unfortunate moments of grasping for words are apparent by scribbles and X’s.

Although I wouldn’t be sharing this with you if it was left on paper, the handwritten word is far more personal and romantic. The uniform
characters and clean lines of the computer have all but erased the rhythmic and sing-song-like loops and scribbles, traded in for the errorless spellcheck numbness of Arial on a white background. On paper I felt my thoughts develop more clearly, amongst the arrows and sporadic slashes that gave an overall order to my thoughts. All in all, I found that writing on paper is ageless and might just be something I’ll continue. I think Jo would’ve been pleased.

Becoming a self-reliant me

I’m in my late 20’s, though some would say I’m closer to 80.  Strange as it sounds, I take that as a compliment.  I’m not in a wheelchair yet or anything, but there’s something to be said about our Grandparents’ generation.  They were self-reliant, but the world around them still managed to flourish, what does that say about our society today?  Mom and Pop stores succeeded, though we didn’t consume as much product, have mounds of plastic junk or utilize as many paid services.  Things just worked.  Something to ponder about the simplicity of life.

Thanks to my parents, Grandmothers and Great-Grandmom, I was raised with the gift of knowledge.  Beyond the recipes and cooking lessons, there are so many wonderful things I’m proud to know, like being able to hem my own jeans or finding new uses for things most people would toss.  No, I don’t have time to do everything I’ve been taught or to do everything the old-fashioned way, but I know that as time goes on and no matter what happens, I can keep my home going.

I’m lucky because my husband is the same way.   He grew up on a farm, and has a self-reliant mindset, which is one of the reasons I believe we get along so well.  We appreciate the rewards of putting in hard work, in the form of vegetables we eat all summer from our garden or the pride when we get compliments on something we’ve restored in our home.  Sure, it would be really simple to go buy all new things and throw away all the old stuff, but we choose not to.  A sheet of sandpaper and a coat of paint can work miracles.

My goal is to start utilizing more of the “old-fashioned” ways of life that I’ve learned, in our lives today.  I’ll use tricks from my family and seek out new ones and chronicle what works, and what is worth the effort.  I’ll take a guess that the hardest part will be finding the time, but I foresee the rewards will be great.  Maybe if I call my ideas “vintage”, it’ll become popular…

Mae

Mae might be my alter ego.  Or maybe she’s just a lot less shy and a lot more outgoing than life allows me to be, the true me.

Why Mae? I grew up in South Jersey, raised by my Philadelphian parents.  I moved to Southern California after I graduated high school and a couple of years later I met the man who would be my husband.  Until I met him, I never really knew I had an accent, besides the fact that waitresses could never get my water order right.  “Root beer? What did you say?”  “I said water.”  No, apparently I was saying “wudder”.  My in-laws still giggle at this.

Mae is one of my vocal imperfections.  That is apparently what I say instead of saying “me”.  As I got to know my future husband and his friends, we’d talk and share stories until eventually I got asked who Mae was and why I was talking about her.  Mae has stuck with me, and she’s got a devilish grin and a glimmer in her eye.  She sneaks backstage at concerts, debates passionately over a Guinness and plays in the rain.  She’s always with me and but comes out when I’m at my best, and I’m probably the luckiest girl in the world because she gets to visit pretty often, when responsibility doesn’t wear her down.

Mae loves history, ancestry, Ireland, Philadelphia sports, Superheroes, Red Hot Chili Peppers (even when Kiedis is trying to rock that porno ‘stach), dorky science, tea parties, whiskey, playing guitar, oil paintings, culture, debating, photography, Los Angeles after a rainstorm (no smog), U2 (for both music and humanitarianism) and hates that she hasn’t found a way to make a profitable career out of the passion she has for life…yet.  Mae and I co-exist, never straying too far from loving life but being responsible.  Oscar my pug begs to differ…he’d rather I take him on a walk then write you.

It is beautiful out tonight…Mae, you up for an adventure?  Oscar, grab your leash!