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Friday, February 27, 2015

Great mail day!

    As Lettermo comes to an end, I am mostly happy with how I did. I definitely slowed down towards the end but I will try to send a few pieces of mail out tonight. I have been a little tired (Okay, a lot tired) with pushing myself at work. Again, I love what I do but prepping my courses, preparing kids for music festivals, rehearsing the musical, working with groups of  up to 90 and adjusting to each individual students and how they learn is just plain exhausting- especially because I have integrity and honestly try to do the best job that I can. Today, when I peeked into my mailbox I was greeted by our weekly supermarket fliers. I thought that was it but when I pulled it out a  pile of personal mail fell out (and only 1 bill!!!).  Check it out:

    Received this card from Suey in Ut. She put out a "who wants a letter for Lettermo" request on her blog so this is the first time I have "met" her. I am excited to write back!
    I was so excited to get this postcard from Jarielyn in NV. I had seen this card on her blog and secretly wanted one :) She took this photograph. Isn't it beautiful? Perfect for a music teaching snail mailer.
The first thing I saw with this envelope was the wax seal with the A. Yeah, mail from Ashley, I thought. Nope, a card from Ryan Avery who is a speaker and author. I follow his blog and have won a giveaway of one of his books. He just wrote to say thanks for reading his blog. I love people who are genuine and gracious.
WHAT!? Two wax seals in one day? This one is from AC in PA. I loved the sparkly card. Yes, AC I am buried under all that snow in Boston. Check out a few posts back and you'll see some pictures. Barely any of it has melted. They are finally pushing the snow a little further back from the road but it's still crazy. I watched a 6th grade student of mine trying to walk home from school and in the time it had taken me to turn a corner, drive a block, turn again and drive to the end of that block, he had taken about 6 steps. The rest of the time was spent hopping up and down from a snowbank to let the cars pass in 2 lane traffic.

     I have not gotten any mail written and sent today or yesterday though I did write 4 thank you/good job cards to students of mine. Those were hand-delivered.  (3 kids helped me a ton in a rehearsal, highest scorer in a math meet overall, highest scoring girl in the math meet, winner of the spelling bee. My kids are all so talented. I love seeing their strengths outside my class too)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

More outgoing mail

As February school vacation finished up, I will frantically try to get a few more letters done before becoming buried in music festivals, homework, projects, prep work and life in general. The top envelope I received in an envelope swap. It is on it's way to Georgia to a Lettermo friend. The bottom envelopes are for 2 friends who need some encouragement and a birthday card for my mom. (That's the really colorful one. She's going to think I'm weird since she is "not into" the whole mail thing.. lol) I'm usually horrible about birthday cards so I'm glad that I am getting this out.  Hopefully each letter or card will brighten the day of the people who get them.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My first fan mail

    I decided to send a letter to Nathan Fillion. He is an actor who plays the lead in Castle. He has also acted in Joss Whedon's Firefly series, Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog and quite a few other things. Anyone who knows me should know that fame isn't really hugely important to me. If you are in a position where you are known by millions of people, great, I'm happy for you. However, character is more important to me. I wrote to him because he has a reputation for being a kind and charitable guy. I follow him on twitter, he also has a great sense of humor.  I'll let you know if I hear anything back.
      Today I got some happy mail from 2 new Lettermo friends- Evi in Germany and Julie in the UK. Check out the Alice in Wonderland stamp. I also met Terri through her blog. Nice meeting you!

    In other news, February school vacation is almost over and I'm looking forward to going back and seeing all the students. Some of them traveled so I am excited to hear about their trips. (Israel, Sweden, Bahamas, Florida, etc. Surely not as exciting as Cape Cod. ha ha)  I am also looking forward to making dinner for my friend Diana tonight. It will be nice to relax and chat before having to go back to my crazy schedule. (No complaints about the schedule, I'd rather be busy and laugh every day.) 
     Hope you are having a great day too. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Back from the Cape

    I'm back for a few refreshing and cold days on Cape Cod. If you're not from the area, Cape Cod is beautiful in the summer but very crowded. In the winter it is... closed? desolate? depressing? All 3 I think. The good thing is that my parents have a time share there and we can stay there for free. So, even though there is not much there to entertain us, unless we try, we have a great time just being with each other. There is a pool and they have kids activities so we are always kept busy. I always bring a puzzle, a book (or 2) and letters so I'm always busy. (I read Rooftops of Tehran on this trip. I really liked it.) 
    This trip we:
-Went swimming
- Went out to eat with Matt's brother Jon and his 2 sons
- Did our normal Christmas Tree Shop runs (and I found some acrylic paint deals at Ocean State Job Lot)
- Were visited by my sister, her boyfriend and my niece
- Went out to a taco buffet. Matt loved it. I think I can still taste everything 2 days later. Too much junky food this trip
- Did almost all of the kids' activities- painted rocks, played bingo, made fleece pillows, did hidden object pages, etc.
- Did a puzzle together

-Wrote 8 letters
-Read 1.5 books
- Slept more than I have in a really long time
- Enjoyed spending time with everybody and really liked noticing more differences/similarities with the boys. Tim is like me when he can just keep going all day if he's having a good time. That boys spent 5 hours straight in the pool on Tuesday. He gets along with all different types of people and can make friends with anyone. Unfortunately, he also shares can be judgmental like me. David is like me when he just wants to sit and cuddle, read or rest. He knows when he is tired and when he should probably go to bed. He is content to just sit with me and do something in the same room. He is silly and lovable.

    I also had some mail when I got home. Yeah!!! I have been expecting a package from Finland for a very long time but I'm starting to wonder if it's lost. After my initial disappointment that that still isn't here, I checked the mailbox. (Side story- We have 4 mailboxes across the street from our house. Mine is one of the 2 in the middle. Apparently, my neighbor's got taken out with a snow plow yesterday. Sad for him but glad it wasn't mine. His is the other one on the inside) Here is what I got:
 4 letters! Yes. Finally. The one in Amharic is from a little girl I sponsor through Compassion International. She is from Ethiopia. Her name is Tseganesh. The one with the beautiful handwriting is from Donna in Canada. The bluebird one is a Lettermo reply from Neil in England. Check out his stationary :) I don't know if you can order from the US but I like it all.  Then the cool envelope on the end is from Jen in CA. She is another person I have connected with through Lettermo.
 The card on the left is from a private Postcrossing exchange. It's from GA. The card on the right is another Lettermo reply! Yeah for Lettermo! I will have to continue to get at least 1 letter a day out to continue to stay ahead. 
     Anyone else taking part in Lettermo- how's it going for you?

The 366 Project: 
Sent: 85
Received: 28

Oh hey... did I mention that it's snowing again? We got another 17" when we were down the Cape Today it is snowing off and on. There is a snowbank on the corner of our driveway that is now quite a bit over my head. I'm 5'10" 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Off to Cape Cod

    Happy Valentine's Day!  Today is an exciting day because it's the first day of our February school vacation. I usually dislike February vacation because, let's face it, the weather is gross and dreary. However, my parents have a time share that they have graciously let us use for a few days. Because of the impending blizzard tonight (AGAIN!) my sister has decided not to go for the few days that she was planning, so we have a longer vacation than anticipated (or than we're prepared for at the moment). I was hoping to have a HUGE pile of Lettermo mail to respond to but.. alas, I have 2 pieces from Lettermo. It's alright. I'll keep myself busy.
     As for mail this week, I got a cute letter from Katie who is trying her hand at calligraphy. I think she did a great job. I just ordered a fountain pen to give it a try myself. (I think the company I ordered from is in China based on the "sender" info on Amazon so it will be a while until I get it.) Here's Katie's work:
Then I also got a cute, unexpected Valentine's Day card from my sister. My Nana is basically still snowed in and really stressed that she hasn't made it out to get Valentine's Day cards yet. She won't take "It's okay" for a resolution.
    Since my last post I have sent out a Postcrossing card to Belgium, a get well-soon card to a student of mine and a letter to Suzan in the Netherlands. I am sending a Postcrossing card to The Netherlands today.
The 366 Project:
Sent: 77
Received: 22
    Although I'm not thrilled with my amount of incoming mail, I'm excited that February 14th is the 45th day of the year and I'm way ahead of that number in my outgoing mail. Many of the people I write to are just as excited about getting a nice letter or card as I am so it makes me feel good to know that I can brighten someone's day.
    I might not check in until after we get back from vacation. Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

1st Lettermo card

   I received my first Lettermo card in the mail today. The berries on this card are such a nice contrast to the whiteness of our neighborhood with all of this snow.Thanks Catherine!

    I also sent out quite a few things. The bottom "package" is headed to IA, then there are 2 sympathy cards, a Valentine for my Nana (ha! I'm beating her to it!!!), a card to MD and a letter to Ashley in Wisconsin.
    I'll update my 366 numbers later. I just wanted to check in.
      I'm hoping we go back to school tomorrow. I love the extra family time (though hate all the screens that have been on) but I'm not a person who can sit in 1 place for days without getting stir crazy.
      Hope your day is great!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Still snowing...

Another snow day. Remember the 3rd window you saw in my last post? Well, here's what it looks like now, from the inside:
Here are some updated outside pictures:
 Timmy is 4'9"
 Pretending he's his hamster, Blizzard.

 Updated picture from yesterday. It doesn't look too different than the other day because it's right on the side of the house so it's sheltered from wind/snow. The rest of the yard does.
 Down the path to the left is a white van, almost completely buried. My neighbors can't get it up the hill when it is icy. The little black thing sticking out of the snow is a basketball hoop and the black thing to the left is a dumpster for the shop next door. It is almost completely buried. The boxy looking things in the back are lobster traps that are stored next door. Pretty random.
Look at my lonely mailbox. It's almost buried. I figured I wasn't getting any mail today anyway so I'm not going to dig it out yet.
     Did I mention it's still snowing?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Make it stop....

     I am not a person who usually complains about snow. However, tomorrow is our 5th snow day. Being a person who teaches on a rotating schedule, I have been missing rehearsal with the same kids over and over and over. Boo.... I have not seen them since 1/15 and won't see them again until 2/26.
      I bet mail will get messed up this week again too.
      On another note, here's the front of my house. That pile of snow is over 6 feet tall . We're supposed to get another 2 feet or so tonight into Tuesday... then more on Thursday. There are times that I have wished that I was a hermit- I'm seeing that I could survive that- even enjoy it on some days.

   Here are the upsides of the snow (not in order of importance):
Exercise while shoveling
More planning time for school
Family time with the kiddos!
Appreciating that I have somewhere warm to live and that I really don't "need" anything
Appreciating that I live somewhere that the snow is an inconvenience but nothing like what I see in areas affected by tornados, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, etc.
Letter writing/reading/art time
More of a chance that I will do housework
Working without a schedule
No alarm clock
Time to cook and eat meals
Wearing comfy clothes instead of having to dress up for work
Not having to drive in the town I work in (which has a DPW that works really hard, but the roads are never fully plowed)

    What do you like to do when you're "trapped" by the weather?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dismal mail week

    There's not much more to say than that this has been a dismal mail week. I'm still doing well at sending postal love out but feeling a little disconnected. One of the reasons I penpal is to connect on a deeper level with people. I know that it would be easy to sit down to write an e-mail but I actually take time to choose my words and be a lot more genuine in a letter. This point in the school year gets really crazy with my schedule so sometimes I cannot meet up with friends as regularly as I'd like. Writing keeps me connected.  Maybe if I complain letters will just show up? Just kidding. At least my Nana will be sending her multiple Valentine's cards to us soon. :) (I blame her for my postal obsession. Maybe I will write a post about her sometime.) On a good note, remember that pile of cards I sent out to students to congratulate them on their hard work in trying out for Districts? One of them hung around after class and thanked me for the card. She explained that she was home sick yesterday and feeling really bad about herself and that my card made her feel a lot better. She's a sweet kid.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy February+January Stats

    There are a few things I learned about Lettermo the 1st time I participated.
1) It's not all about you. Originally I thought that Lettermo would be a great way to meet new people but also to receive lots and lots of mail. Unfortunately that led me to sending out a ton of mail to a bunch of new fascinating people, falling behind in correspondences, feeling guilty that I should respond to regular pals first, then becoming so disorganized and flabbergasted (Wow, I've never typed that word before) that I never responded to half of my mail. My goal this year is to send mail every day and let people know that  I'm thinking of them. In some cases this is coming with an apology for being so disorganized.

2) I didn't give myself time. This year I sent a TON of postcards to all of the people that I was Lettermo friends with over the past 2 years. I don't know if all of them are participating this year but. if they are, their mailbox should be happy right at the beginning of Lettermo. Anyone who responds will receive a letter. I figured I'd send intro postcards first then letters if I knew they wanted to write. I downloaded a Lettermo calendar/planner and plan to write at least 1 piece of mail each day. The responses will be added to the calendar as they come.
     Here's my outgoing mail today:

I also got a great card last Friday. It's a Nouvelle Images card. I wish I had more of them. This is from Anja in Germany.

    I decided with the restart of my project that I would break down the stats month by month. In January I sent:
8 letters, 21 postcards, 6 cards
I received:
4 packages, 12 postcards, 1 letter, 1 card

The 366 Project:
Sent: 61
Received: 18

In other news:
1) This is my 3rd snowday this year. I'm ready to go back.
2) 3 of my students made it into the District festival. 2 8th graders and a 7th grader. They all worked very hard. I'm proud of all of the kids who got auditioned, even if they didn't make it in.