A Month of Letters: March

Letter Writer's Alliance Photo

I’ve always been better at keeping up with people through words.  Real words, not e-mails, or texts, but words scribbled in my personal handwriting, the font of my body.  My closest friends can vouch for me on this that I’m never one to call.  When something dramatic happens, I send a one line note explaining it factually, rather than with emotion.  I like to think I’m a reasonable person, but after you see me gorge on chocolate and potato chips, you realize I’m slowly losing my mind.  It’s the reasonableness of everything, the rational that makes people crazy.  Later when I’ve over-analyzed and lost sleep, I’ll send the five page note paper with margins and white space filled.   My best friend Sars, in New Zealand receives cards for every occasion, even the Emily Dickinson quotable card when she feels like a housewife.  It says, hey, you could be a spinster – it could be different.  However, last month I was busy with Valentine’s and traveling, and I wasn’t able to be a part of the Letter Writing Challenge and so I’m going to participate in March – the month of Spring, and awakenings, and lots of flower gametes floating into pollination.  It’ll be the perfect month for letters everyday.

Why letters?  Why not email or a funny text message?  Well for the second one, there are joke apps for that.  For the first one, how impersonal.  I send e-mails when I’m working, when my friends need to see the newest  LOL CAT image.   I send cards when I feel like decorating, or embellishing, or hoping someone will tack it to their real cork board (and their pinterest one).  Sometimes, when I’m online, I can get sucked into my own head, or the world of google where everything is at my fingertips.   In February of last year, I quit facebook because I found that I wasn’t communicating with my friends.  I already knew their lives  from facebook pictures, and status updates, why would I need to call?  It was an excuse to let people bite the dust.  Well, not anymore.

Yes, this means I don’t have nearly enough to do and now I’ll need to add in: creating telegrams, letters, notes, post cards, happy grams, cards, messages, parcels, envelopes and, words and pictures in each mailed package.  Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I just love getting mail; opening that bread loaf black box and seeing something other than a credit card advertisement.

Examples of homemade cards by me.

To do this, I was hoping to have people to write too.  I’d like to spend 31 days writing to people who are new to me.  Or people, who I haven’t known my whole life, or lived in the bed next to for a summer, or spent my spring evenings with.  So, I’m opening this up to all of you.  I think in order to do this, you will have to believe that I am not a serial killer, and will not take your addresses and spam you with vacation packages, or car insurance quotes.  In order to prove this, I’ve decided to hand-make all of my own cards.  This means, you may think a first grade relative sent you something, but really it’s me, Southern girl from Books & Bowel Movements.  To the left are examples of my sweet water color skills for homemade cards.  I made these in teen center art class.

It would be best if throughout March, or before it starts, anyone who would like a card filled with poetry quotes, bad handwriting, and sketched hearts, please email me your address.  I’m looking so forward to this challenge and so forward to having a reason to create odd art on the carpeting of my bedroom floor that I really hope a few of you participate with me.

If you feel like you don’t want to send your address – feel free to do the challenge with me.  Spend a few moments of everyday with the blue boxes of the American postal system, or with the lady behind the counter who weighs your package against the metal scale.  Spend a few days standing in line staring at the PO Boxes, watching people with their gold keys unlock the holes filled with advertisements, and newspapers.  Spend a few days with a pen, and not a keyboard.

Cool Badge

If nothing else, award yourself with this cool badge to your right.  I know that’s always something that makes me want to do a challenge – placing a participation badge on my blog.  I’m such a loser.  Clearly, I’m that kid in third grade who only reads because I get more gold stars, or who cleans the blackboard so I can get extra credit.  I should really just hope for a pat on the back.  What is that about?  Maybe I need a psychiatrist to really delve into that.  Maybe someone who wants to participate and receive one of my letters will get something about the over-analyzation of my life.  I’m going to try to make every letter different and cater to something about the person I’m writing too.  I may have to read a few blogs, or use my psychic abilities to find out something wonderful for each of you, but I’ll work hard, I promise.

My email: clmannesATgmailDOTcom

My goal: mail 31 letters (I will mail two on Monday’s so that I can even do Sunday’s, which totally deals in my over-achieving nature).

Join me on the journey of letters.

There are a ton of blogs that did this for February.  I believe the starting blog was LetterMo.  In my search around the interwebs, I found the Letter Writers Alliance which just made me happy with all their stationary.

Jewelry, Bus Drivers & Signage; What’s not to love

I’ve been thinking about this blog and all its possibilities for a while now….since ya know, I’ve been actually just living life, working at the tea place, eating lots of schnitzel and playing a bit of trivia (there was a question in Trivia this week, which me and Christina lost horribly at by the way, about what college Michael Jordan went to and although I despise the actual school it’s inevitably a question about North Carolina so YAY for that.  I got extra points for drawing the MC on the side of my paper, but when I drew his super hot girlfriend…no points for that even though she had amazing boobs).  There’s not many really exciting Australian things I can talk about right now, how depressing am I?.  But, I’ve come up with a few.  Thanks goodness right?

I know I posted a facebook status about this, but it still really excites me because we all know in America, signage really isn’t our number one priority.  There’s that awesome sign at the edge of Wilmington telling you how far California is, but other then that, I’ve been lost and misdirected every which way all over North Carolina because our lack of amazing signage.  There’s also that giant store of everything and nothingness at the same time, it’s a pity I can’t really remember the name of it now.  JR’s I think it’s called and all the signs talk about having fireworks, dolls, brassieres, even a collection of fine cigars from what I remember.  Now those signs are awesome, but in Canberra there’s a few signs that I’ve completely fallen in love with, and I think they get the message across much better.

First is “No seatbelt, No brains” and “No Brains” is in deep red on a white background.  So, they’re pretty much telling you to buckle up or die.  I love the bluntness of the whole thing.  Thanks government, when I’m floating around in the abyss of ghost land I’ll be sure to remember you told me so.  The other one is “Drink, Drive, DIE” and it’s just classy as well for that future spirit in me when I remember oh..maybe shouldn’t have had that fifth vodka straight, it’s amazing how much Australians can drink to begin with.  So, I love the signage – thanks Australia.

Other mysteries of the road, bus drivers.  I’ve had every bus driver under the sun I think.  Today when I got off the bus at work, the bus driver said “hey chick, next time bring your friends…”  Is it just me or was he totally hitting on me, plus my group of unusually hot, yet invisible friends.  One will never know.  He also told the Asian girl before me with her ticket to “chip up and flirt with an old bugger.”  What it takes to get a bus ticket these days, I’ll never know…

Then I’ve had the old angry man who is just grumpy and happens to look familiar to a seven dwarf.  He wears overalls, or a button-up shirt and gets angrier with each step you take towards the front to make his job easier.  Usually when I know there’s not a bus pole near me, I don’t walk further because I know he’ll stop short and fly me onto the windshield like a mushed bug.  I’m already clutsy, I really don’t need the help of a bus driver who clearly missed any side of the bed this morning.

Then there’s the boy who just broke out of juvie, has a mad skull tattoo to prove it and changes his ipod heavy metal while he drives.  Not only on straight roads, oh no, this kid…he lives on the edge – he changes it on round-a-bouts as well,which are everywhere in Australia (it’s a regular Hillsborough Street over here).

And then there’s just the nice middle aged man who always lets me ride as a student even though I have an NCSU ID and not an Australian University one.  He’s easily my favorite for saving me four dollars daily that I can spend later on these really cute Aussie pumps I saw in Civic. Ouuuu, they’re hot.

Unfortunately, this post might not be too appealing because graduate school applications are eating my soul.  So much so, one of the stories I’m submitting is about an old mans suicide.  I may have referenced one of the bus drivers above.  Oh muse of the bus driver union!

I did finish my 39th book (it was REALLY rather strange) and so… unsettling feelings there.  And I guess I can post more about work and about what a lazy butt I can be sometimes.  Like for instance, I slept until 11:30 today and then pretty much laid in bed and cuddled all day while it rained.  I mean that sounds pretty perfection to me, but when I have to have a full time job I guess laying in bed with full comforters and sweat pants all day isn’t really an option.  (Thus why I plan to write the next Great American Novel and therefore get paid to do the above).  If only I had a television with old school Nickelodeon, then maybe I’d be set for life.  (By old school I mean: Clarissa Explains it All, Hey Arnold, Doug, Rocko’s Modern Life, Keenan and Kel, Ren & Stimpy, and The Amanda Show preferably the bathroom scene because I love the girl who keeps repeating “I like eggs,” whatever happened to her?

The tea place pretty much took over my life for the last four days.  I learned how to make a complete cheese platter filled with bread and assorted olives and assorted cheeses, very savory.  I’ve learned how to make a Christmas tree out of any type of flavored syrup and probably the best milkshake I’ve ever had (butterscotch). And no one really trained me on any of this so when my boss went on a hissy feet on Sunday about not having prepared the whip cream appropriately I went off inside of my own head and progressed to do dishes for the last hour of my shift.  If you’ve ever worked with me in any capacity, you KNOW that I’m going to have to own my own business because I can’t stand managers or bosses or just ignorant people in general.

I guess that’s all of the work talk I can handle right now.  Tea drinking is a leisurely and relaxing activity and I will not allow one bad sticky date pudding whip cream incident to come in the way of that (or will I, well see Wednesday when I get formerly trained on how to shoot whip cream, aka my future job for the rest of my life…who needs graduate school really…DUMB).

UPDATE: I definitely had a great time at tonight’s training.  I got to make my own teashake – yum, strawberries and cream tea syrup in a milkshake, can’t get any better.  Then, I got to pretend I was in college again and take notes for my boss who was ridiculously funny in talking about us “giving a shit” about tea and customers.  He also decided it would be hilarious to invade everyone’s personal space at the table to prove to us not to lean over customers.  He has huge arms, side note.  His wife, Nat is my favorite boss and it was her birthday so we all got to blow horns and wear unicorn point hats (sparkles included).  And I’m beginning to be the best dish washer in town….so, now I definitely have goals in life.

I also started making necklaces this week.  I’ve been making funky, unsellable earrings for a while and so I decided to try my hand at making necklaces.  Everything I make is pretty much for myself, but I bought this inspirational, handmade Tibetan pendant while I was in Cairns that meant a sort of rebirth, a somewhat phoenix notion for my friend Jess and so I made her this really interesting, organic and earthy necklace with it.  I really love it and I believe she does too so that’s exciting.  I’m becoming more of a hippie kangaroo in Aussie because I’ve been wearing my Aladdin pants a lot and I’m making all the accessories I wear. (Not to mention, unfortunately for my father and mother, I have pierced my nose).  If you want to see some, and purchase them…I will love you forever, you know like…for real, not just what best friends say when they want to be blood brothers – this is the real love forever.  (And now I’m selling myself on my own blog so the bus driver probably wasn’t far off).

I’m no cleaner in Australia than I was in the US.  I’m still pretty lousy at doing dishes, my clothes are piled in a corner of the room, I take my shoes off wherever I please and progress to leave them there until I wear them again, I pick my hair, I leave jewelry everywhere and hair clips and medicine and I according to SOME PEOPLE I don’t know how to hang towels properly so they’ll dry, but I’m pretty sure he just rehangs them after me now instead of even discussing it (victory!)

Okay, so with all that randomness…I’m going to update about the Canberra Raiders soon, and the quotes we found on the dock near the lake behind our flat.  So, don’t be hindered from reading about my silly life just from this abso-boring-lutely blog.  Here’s a few photos of my jewelry.

Full first necklace! YAY!

Top half of the first necklace, it says "made with love" at the top

Bottom half of my first necklace with the cool Tibetan pendant

Shiny Chandy, I love wearing them out.

My fall leave earrings.

Bird nest earrings, love them. Totally organic.

It's spring, I felt like being festive. Wood and rocks on these :)

My "Going Steady Pin" necklace (2nd one eee)

Bottom of the necklace, with love dial and going steady pendant

Middle of the necklace, a few beads.

Amazing hook piece on my NC flag, YES. There's also a locket at the top if you missed that. YAY JEWELRY MAKING FOR A HOBBY!