Archives for the month of: December, 2012

When we were kids my brother and I each had little pill bottles containing ash from the Mount St. Helens eruption. I probably still have mine somewhere in a box in the basement. Next to the Merlin game and sandwiched between dominos and some old Little Golden Books. I’ll look for it next time I’m home.


“Not sure how long I’ll spam you with these.” 🙂

She sends them in one order and they sometimes arrive in a different order.

My Great Uncle Charlie made it to France and he wrote this letter to his sister Alice on this day 97 years ago. We don’t have any more of Charlie’s letters. I wish we did. I think of him every Remembrance Day.

C Company 11th Essex
B.E Force
December 29

Dear Alice,

Just a few lines in answer to your letter of last night. I also received the paper a day or two ago. I was very glad to hear you was quite well, and at present I am quite alright myself.

I hope you enjoyed your Xmas, but I cannot say as I had a very merry time. I was not in the firing line, but not far off. Still it was very quiet.

We have had rather a busy time lately. The Germans tried to break through, but were not able to, and never will now. I got my first taste of gas last Sunday week and I hope it will be the last. It’s awful stuff.

I have heard no more about leave, and shall soon give it up as a bad job. There are hardly any going now, as we are so much under strength. There are only about 300 of us now, who came out with the regiment, and we were nearly 1,000 strong then, so you see we have had it rather rough.

I have not heard from Albert lately. I expect he is still in England.

Well, I think this is all just now. So I will close. With Fondest Love From your Loving Brother


 Please excuse scribble


Okay, maybe it’s a bit early to be calling a three-quarters completion of this year-long blog project the “home stretch” but I would imagine if I were running a marathon I’d be feeling pretty skookum about having only a quarter of the way left to go. I’ll have to ask my marathon-runner brother about that.

So, how are things going with this blog challenge, you ask? Has it taught me anything? Have I accomplished what I set out to do? Have I lost steam? Here are a few observations on the past 265 days:

  • This blog doesn’t have very many subscribers although the numbers would make for a fun party. Many of you are friends and family. I certainly didn’t expect this to generate my 15 minutes of fame so it’s all good.
  • I got lazy and stopped tagging my posts part-way through which was a mistake because readers definitely find you based on your tags. Bad, Peresssini, bad! Lesson learned
  • When I mention one of my blog posts on Facebook my hits go WAY up
  • People especially love the historical posts about my Great Uncle Charlie and the letters he wrote during the Great War. Stay tuned for more from Charlie
  • Since starting this blog I’ve begun corresponding with at least four new people – an old friend, a little girl, a lovely lady, and a writer whose own letter writing challenge was a great inspiration in continuing on mine
  • I didn’t write as many letters of complaint as I thought I might. (The year was just too positive, I guess)
  • I didn’t feature as many new card designs as I thought I might. (Time was tight and I didn’t let the muse alight as frequently as I could have)
  • Most people do not like to write letters
  • Most people love receiving letters
  • I pay more attention to my handwriting than to the paper I write on
  • Throughout the blog challenge I usually write at least a week’s worth of blog posts in one sitting and schedule them to go live day by day, but on more than a few occasions this autumn I found myself posting day-by-day for several weeks. That was a little scary for this hyper-organized individual
  • Some days I have no idea what to write about
  • I miss the days when we used to lick stamps. Licking those 12-year old Lung Association seals reminded me of that

I’ve enjoyed this challenge but I admit, I’ve contemplated bailing and not finishing out the year. Many times this challenge has felt like an obligation and not a joy but for now I plug along. I’ll be content when it’s over because plans I have for 2013 will require that my time be freed up. Stay tuned.

One of the things I love about this time of year is that I get written updates from some people whom I only hear from once a year, so the missives they pen in their Christmas cards are little gems I look forward to receiving. And in turn I pen a few pieces of news in my card to them. Well, a funny thing happened this year…

One of those friends joined Facebook in 2012 and I was thrilled to connect with them online thinking we’d be able to keep in closer touch. As time went by I realized I never saw any posts on their wall, no photos, no updates, not even a profile picture of a pet or a favourite flower. Then their holiday card arrived and it said, “Hope all is well with you. I so enjoy reading your Facebook posts. All the best in the new year.”

No update for me.

No news about the family, life, travels…

I admit I was disappointed. I understand when people want to keep a low profile online but when they receive all of my news and I in turn receive none of theirs… well…

Basically Facebook highjacked the only personal communication I really had with this person.

Damn you, Facebook! <shakes fist at Facebook>

This diminutive little fella came through the mail from my brother and sister-in-law. I had no idea Canada Post even handled mail this small.

This gorgeous letterpressed card was sent by Spicers, one of my paper suppliers.

Many of you know I’m not a big fan of e-cards but when an e-card came through to my mail box directing me to this page on my friend Mau’s website, I was really thrilled. What a great idea letting people choose where their holiday donation goes. (more after the jump)

And then a gorgeous card came through the regular mail, also from Mau, and designed by none other than his talented wife Marga Lopez. The lighting in this photo is crummy but it shows the lovely varnishing job on those little snowflakes. Nicely done Marga!

Mary Robinette Kowal wrote me another lovely letter. By the way, this woman has lovely stationery! Her next month of letters is coming up in February 2013. Stay tuned for more info on that in the coming weeks.

Kassidy has a lot to say. I love it. I will write back to her but in the event that she reads this blog post, to answer her questions:

1) What is my favourite time of the year? Autumn. Early September feels more like New Year to me than January 1st but maybe that’s because I’m rarely awake to ring in the real new year.

2) Do I get snow where I live? Yes, sometimes, but we probably get about the same amount of snow here in Vancouver as she does on the west coast of Vancouver Island which is to say, rarely and usually not when you want it (ie. on Christmas Day).