Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

As I sit here watching Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, I thought I would wish everyone who actually reads this blog a Happy Easter. That is, if you celebrate Easter in any way. If you don't, I just wish you a good day. :) Here are a few Easter postcards. From gilleta in Lithuania From smulan in Finland From eisdrache in Germany From...oh wait....that isn't an Easter postcard! It's Easter Island. :) Also known as Rapa Nui. This card came from Annie-Hall in Chile. Those stone statues have always fascinated me. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring has sprung!! Did anyone tell the weather?

The vernal equinox is today. That means it is officially spring. So why are snow showers predicted for tonight??? I am sooooooooooooo sick of snow. Somebody please make it stop already! I don't want the summer heat, and I am definitely not a sun worshipper (I burn, I peel and then I am just as pale as I was before), but 55-60° F (12-15° C) and partly to mostly cloudy would be just perfect right about now. And how about some nice flowers? I love spring flowers. I begged and pleaded with my Postcrossing friends a few weeks ago to send me some spring. I got lots of postcards with pretty flowers on them. They aren't real flowers growing out of the ground, but I will take anything I can get at this point.
As per usual, I'll start out with two official cards. The two people that sent them to me didn't know of my plea for spring, so these are just coincidence. The first card of these beautiful purple and white flowers came from oksana77 in Russia. (If anyone can tell me what this card says, I would really appreciate it.) She didn't even know that my favorite color is purple. :) I almost think that Oksana needs spring more than I do. She said it was -22° C (which for all of us Americans is -7° F) and snowing where she lives. Brrrrrrrrrr! This was actually the second card that she sent to me. The first one apparently vanished into postal pergatory. :( The stamps are of a ballerina. Well, of course, it is from Russia!
This cute foal - I think it is a foal, but I am not a horse expert - came to my office account from sTeFf in Germany. I think the young animal and the field of wildflowers is very spring-like. The horse seems to be thinking "What are you looking at?" He's very cute. The stamp is a street scene.
Next is a RAS card. What is RAS, you ask? Random acts of smileness. Evans Crew, also known as churchguysNprincesses on Atlas Quest, sent me this unexpected card. It is more summery than spring, but that's ok - it is warm! :) I love the color of that flower. I wore a sweater that was almost the same color yesterday. Yes, it is bright, but I need some bright colors to combat the rainy dreariness this morning.
Hey, here is some more summer. This card from hadassah says "Summer Greetings" in Finnish. Lots of flowers here! And that is a cool looking butterfly. The stamp has a butterfly on it too. It sounds like Essi could use some spring too. Winter came late, and then they got lots of snow. I understand about lots of snow, but ours usually melted before the next snowstorm, so we never had more than 12 inches on the ground at one time.
This pretty fairy is from leirali in New Jersey. I think it is funny that most of the cards I received after pleading for spring were from people who live in cold places and probably need a dose of spring themselves. :D I guess they can just sympathize. Another butterfly and more purple flowers here....gotta love a theme.
The Lily of the Valley is the national flower of Finland. It is also the birth flower for the month of May...which just happens to be the month in which I was born. :D These flowers grew next to the house when I was a kid. They smell nice. Johanna (aka Marnie) sent this card to me from, well you probably guess already, Finland. The stamp on the back is a little boy jumping in the water. If only it was warm enough for that. :) There is also a shiny stamp/sticker (I can't decide which) of a seashell. Oooooh, shiny..........What? Huh? Oh yeah, I'm blogging. Sorry, I got a little distracted there. ;) If you are wondering what that is in the small rectangle in the upper right-hand corner, it looks like a seal (the marine animal). The same image appears much larger on the back of the card.
What a lovely tulip! I love those frilly-edged tulips. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking this card came from the Netherlands, right? Wrong! It came from Martina in Germany. And the stamp is of a bleeding heart. Yes, that is a flower. See these photos: http://tinyurl.com/25ngp8 She also put some shiny stickers on the card. Don't worry, I won't get distracted again. :)
Finally, a card that is twice as nice as the rest. No, that is not a slam to all of these beautiful cards. I just received two of this same card from two different people! :D Thank you to Firefighter and Pihka. Both are from Finland. Firefighter also put a shiny sticker on the back of the card. Apparently I should get me some shiny stickers - they seem to be popular. She also had a very simple stamp of a plant that I can't identify, and an interesting and unusual stamp that is in the shape of a plus sign. Pihka plaster the card with stamps - 7 in all. :) Most are of flowers, lilies of the valley and forget-me-nots. The other seems to be of a sculpture.
I would like to thank everyone who voted in the poll regarding the frequency of postcards in my blog. The overwhelming majority requested postcards in every post. Ask and ye shall receive. :) I just have to get my behind in gear and get scanning (the postcards, not my behind).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

No snoozin' for me!

Last Friday night, I was at the Museum of Science and Industry again. As you may remember, I volunteer there. I signed up to help with an event called a Snoozeum. Groups of kids (and chaperones of course), such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, come to spend the night at the museum. There are activities for them to do, as well as a scavenger hunt, and they have the run of the entire place. It can see how it could be fun for a kid. For me, however, it was more about pain.
Don't get me wrong, I had fun talking with all the kids and the grown-ups. But I thought I was there to do my usual job, which is stand basically in one spot and give people directions. Not this time. I was recruited to lead groups to their assigned sleeping areas so they could drop off their gear. This wouldn't have been so bad if everyone from each group arrived at the same time. But people from each of the 25 groups trickled in a few at a time. So I had to make a lot of trips. And, of course, most of the people were assigned to sleep in the balcony. I would take them up the escalator to the main floor and then up the stairs to the balcony. I can't tell you how many times I went up those stairs. I got smart after about 10 trips. When I had a group whose sleeping area was close to the elevator, I used it. But the museum is a huge place and there was still a lot of walking involved. And I still took the stairs down even if I took the elevator up.
By 8:00, I was beat. I was supposed to leave then, but more people kept trickling in, so I ended up staying until 8:30. I hobbled to my car. Luckily, I was on the lowest level of the parking garage, so at least I didn't have to go up any stairs to get there. My legs were almost numb by that point, but I could most definitely feel the blister on the bottom of one of my toes. When I got home and tried to get out of my car, I could hardly move. And where do I live? On the second floor, so more stairs for me! I flopped down on my bed and just laid there watching tv for a couple of hours until I could muster the energy to get ready for bed. I was stiff and sore Saturday. I was better by Sunday. But I am signed up for another Snoozeum in April. What was I thinking???
On a side note, when I went to wash my face Friday night, I couldn't get any hot water. I called my apt. complex's answering service to tell them about it at 11 pm, and a maintenance worker was at my door at 8:30 the next morning. He had to replace the hot water heater, but he was done by 11, so by 12:30 or so, I could take a hot shower to easy my aching body. Ahhhhhhh, hot water. :)
After that discourse, I will only show you 3 postcards, even though I have a lot that I haven't posted. But I don't feel like scanning anymore than 3 right now. :) They are all from a round robin called Portugal x ... I was in group 9, which was Portugal x North America. Two other people and I sent postcards to 3 people in Portugal, and those 3 sent cards back to the 3 of us.
The first card is from wiccaa. It shows the city of Porto. I know you probably can't read them, but those are wine barrels on the boat. Porto is where Port wine comes from. Porto, also know as Oporto, is the second largest city in Portugal. The historic city center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
The second card is from marklaro, and it shows Lisboa, known here in the US as Lisbon. It is the capital and the largest city in Portugal. In the background, on the highest hill in the city, is the Castle of São Jorge (Saint George). It was built in 1147 during the Crusades. It has been used not only as a castle, but a barracks and prison. Earthquakes and neglect extensively damaged the castle, but restoration began in the 1940's and today the castle is a major tourist attraction.
I received another castle postcard, this one from zepombal. I don't know if I wasn't looking in the right place, but I couldn't find much info on this castle. I found a Wikipedia page, but it was in Portuguese and the translation didn't make much sense. But I could figure out that this castle is also old - construction began in 1160.