Archives for the month of: May, 2012

Halfmoon Bay. Full On Beauty.

My friend, known on this blog as Mr KooKoo, had a few of us classmates over to his place on the Sunshine Coast for a weekend getaway so today’s letter is a thank you to him. He hosted a phenomenal experience for a group of classmates in a place of extreme beauty and tranquility. I left inspired and on fire.

Design by BC First Nations artist Danny Dennis

We laughed, we cried, we danced, we meditated, and we ate our faces off. Since we are all studying nutrition you can only imagine the kind of nosh bags we strapped on. All natural, all whole, all healthy. Yes, even the chocolate and truffles were healthy.

It took two days to get all the tangles out of my hair after that ride in Lori’s convertible. It was worth it.

Instructor Evaluations

Sorry, there’s no photo for today’s post. It wouldn’t have been entirely appropriate to pull out my Blackberry during the recent teacher evaluation at my school and snap a picture. That phone has a terrible camera on it anyway.

So, I just finished another course in my holistic nutrition program and I have my friend Sondi to thank for the way I now fill out my teacher evaluations. I have always been as honest as I can possibly be and I give as much constructive feedback as I can in the amount of time and space they allow, but the big difference is I now sign my name to every single teacher evaluation. These forms are usually submitted anonymously but it’s a small school and the administrators would recognize my printing anyway. But that’s beside the point.

I started signing my name after seeing my friend Sondi do it and it made a lot of sense. By adding your name you agree to be totally accountable for every word you write. If I want to be really blunt, I have to own those words even if they end up coming back to haunt me in some way.

Signing my name keeps me professional and diplomatic. And sometimes I even follow it up with a little more detail in an email to both the instructor and the administrator. Yes, I’m a keener but I also want future students to benefit from an improved curriculum based on feedback from their predecessors.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever used the words “flakey factor” in a teacher evaluation, citing that our instructor’s past experience as a registered nurse kept the flakey factor of this class to a minimum. It was a class about intuition and the energy body.

Postage Meter Stamps: Beauty or Beast?

There’s a wave of nostalgia and a palpable giddiness I feel when I receive a piece of physical mail and yes, dork that I am, even when I slide a letter into a mailbox (hence this blog).

So, when I take a package or odd-sized envelope to the post office to buy postage I’m always a little disappointed when they slap one of these ugly stickers on my mail:

But this bully little design element got me thinking about franking and inidicia which are both terms to describe this design device that lets the postal system you’ve paid for a parcel’s safe transit.While they are not the precious little works of art that stamps are, they once were.

The first postal meter came to be used in Canada in 1923 and were printed by Pitney Bowes machines. The fact that they are still so widely used makes me surprised – albeit pleasantly – that stamps haven’t been phased out altogether.

Here are a few examples of uninspired designs from recent years:

Image source: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/International_Postage_Meter_Stamp_Catalog/Canada

Two generations of pen pal

Her handwriting today, age 12.

Her mum’s handwriting, age 11, back when that blue onion skin airline paper was in vogue.

More condolences

May is proving to be a month of loss for those in my midst.

Dear —

Wishing for you both a softening of the heartache and a gentleness as you move through the coming days. A part of you is no longer here in body but is still very much still here in spirit. I truly do believe that. Sending healing thoughts your way.

Much love, Christina

InspireHealth

I do quite a bit of volunteer work for an integrated cancer care centre called InspireHealth. I honestly can’t say enough amazing things about these people and this organization. They put power and control back into the hands of people who have lost it due to a frightening diagnosis of cancer. I refer to them as the perfect blend of medical, practical and spiritual. Everyone I know who has gone through the InspireHealth two-day Life Program has come out feeling galvanized and ready to kick cancer in the keester.

I went through their program with a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was that experience that led me to enroll in the holistic nutrition program I am currently taking.

After being blown away by the program I then tried desperately for months to reach their HR person, Carol, to inquire about doing some volunteer work. I was really jazzed to get involved but it was challenging to reach her as they were swamped and going through a much-needed expansion. Three emails, two hand-delivered greeting cards, and four months later I was finally in touch with her and thus began my work as volunteer coordinator for their two-day Life Program and Wednesday lunch cook. Talk about jumping in with both feet.

It’s coming up on five months since I started my volunteer gig there so it seemed like a good time to send Carol yet another card only this time instead of mildly imploring her for an opportunity to get my foot in the door, I’m sending a message of thanks for the phenomenal opportunity they have given me to learn and grow.

Endive, parsley and basil growing on my window sill.

Reusable greeting card/post card

Check this out. You write the card as you normally would, then the recipient has the option of tearing the card in half along the perf’ed crease, writing and sending it on as a postcard to someone else. Maybe Mary will send this one back to me.

Either way, this is one of those ideas I really wish I’d thought of. The people at New Leaf Paper sure are clever.

Best pen on earth

My friend and classmate Stephen went on and on about my handwriting when he first saw it. He actually said it freaked him out a little how small and neat it was. I kept telling him, “It’s the pen!” and finally when I gave him one to try, he understood better. I first heard about this pen from one of the women who owns the Regional Assembly of Text. She said this was her favourite pen of all time. Of course, being a big fan of their store, I rushed straight out to find it and it quickly became a favourite of mine too. I write almost all of my letters, class notes, and journal entries using this pen. I’m a little fanatical about it actually although I do relax my standards of penmanship for things like grocery and to-do lists and use ballpoint pens and mechanical pencils from time to time when one of these guys is not to be found.

Below is a picture of my belated Christmas present to Stephen last year – two Pilot G-Tec-C4 pens tucked into a handmade box with a little 4 x 6 lettering lesson. He got a real kick out of it.

The Beeriodic Table of Beverages

Check out the wicked beeriodic table of beverages that a specialty beer store in Portland, Oregon designed. I’m not a beer drinker but the designer in me thinks this is awfully clever. I’m giving this to Jason who is a bit of a beer connoisseur.

When I saw this beer poster the colour scheme instantly reminded me of the Pantone mugs Jason bought me a few years ago. If it wasn’t so wrong to drink beer in coffee mugs this would be a match made in heaven.

I think I’m more of a Pantone 1393 girl, myself.

I think I may have a new pen pal

M— has received a pack of my Nib & Tuck cards for Mother’s Day from her daughter two years in a row. She is a self-proclaimed stationery-o-phile, like myself. She was sweet enough to write me a note that included the following: “I cannot walk by a Hastinote without wanting to own it.” I hear that!

I feel like M— and I are kindred spirits, sharing this love of snail mail and greeting cards.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about her life on the prairies and sharing news of the we(s)t coast with her. Check out the colourful card she sent. Perfect for summer which we are cusping on, at long last.

From an original painting by Saskatchewan artist Janet Williams