Tuesday, May 31, 2011

northern lights

It's already way too hot and humid. Time for some northern lights, northern nights.

Monday, May 30, 2011

memorial day

Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous 'Gettysburg Address' at the dedication of this cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. An association formed immediately after the Civil War battle in Gettysburg raised the money to bury the 3,555 dead, a fraction of the 51,112 people who were killed, injured, captured, or went missing in the battle, which raged from July 1 to 3, 1863 and which put an end to the Confederate attempt to carry the war north.

Such battlegrounds inevitably bring to mind the Basho ku: "Summer grasses--All that remains of warriors' dreams." Like young 'warriors' all over the world, most of those buried here had barely begun to dream.

Memorial Day, celebrated today, used to be Decoration Day. It has its roots in decorating the graves of Union soldiers who died during the Civil War. This Civil War stamp is from a recent series put out by US Post. (The other stamp is part of a colorful set honoring Latin music.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

fleet week

The message on the back of this card, sent in 1956, reads in part: "Looks too much like a prison." That may be but the card is pretty. Both of these cards were sent by the same man to the same person in Speed, Indiana.

The message in part on this one: "Here's where I'm not going to school. Passed by it today on my motor launch trip to Newport. Tomorrow will be a long hot Sunday. Wish I were home." I bet he did.

Listening drowsily to the radio early this morning, I heard that it is Fleet Week in New York, and I immediately smiled. Hot spring weather and the boys are 'on the town'. I've been in NY and other cities during Fleet Weeks. There is something about a naval uniform, be it domestic or foreign.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

lincoln bank building

As I was altering this vintage card of the Lincoln Bank Building in Louisville, Kentucky, to send to a friend in Japan, I wondered if the building still exists. If so, its surroundings are no doubt transformed. Vintage cards can be such windows on the past, especially when it comes to architecture and urban ambience.

all that slithers

Sandy Sapienza made this amusing card, noting on the back that she wanted to send a bracelet like the one on the card but it kept crawling out of the envelope.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Mrpotani made this sleek card for my birthday.

lepiota lignicola

The mushroom-loving postcrosser who sent this super card wrote: "Mushrooms make me happy. This lepiota is a very rare mushroom in the world. It's so beautiful." And it is. I share her mushroom love though I have to buy not pick them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

at the old (19-inning) ballgame

Henley Field, in Lakeland, Florida, was the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers into the 1960's. The pretty little park, restored and still used locally, is now on the National Register of Historic Sites.

The 1954 message on the back of this vintage view of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, reads: You would like this place. Nothing but baseball.

After last night's wild 19-inning game between the Phillies and the Reds, lasting six hours and 11 minutes, I had to post these wonderful vintage baseball cards, which came to me courtesy of Sandy Sapienza. Oh yes, the Phillies won! The two teams get to play another game, the last of the four-game series starts, in less than three hours.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

church of the ascension

My thanks to the Russian postcrosser who sent this pretty view of the Church of the Ascension, built in 1532 on the Kolomenskoye estate near Moscow and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church, a dazzling piece of architecture with a tent-like spire, is thought to have been patterned after the hipped-roof wooden churches of rural Russia. The card came with a fabulous assortment of stamps.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

italian ice

Love this vintage view of Washington, with its Italian ice fountains. The card goes in the mail this morning to a friend in Kyoto who knows the city.

hotel washington

All ad cards should have the flair of this vintage one for an Indianapolis hotel advertising itself as a "modern fireproof hotel".

Monday, May 23, 2011

my old magariya

This card is from a photo taken by a friend took shortly after I moved into this house in the mountains of Tono. The friend, who lived in Kyoto, was attending a haiku conference in the region and decided on a whim to visit. My phone was not yet installed so there was no way for her to get in touch. Little did she know that the house was a hike through the countryside from the nearest little rural train station. After getting lost and wandering to the next hamlet, she asked directions at a house and met the woman to whom I sent the card below. Eventually, they both showed up at my door. My Kyoto friend now lives near Victoria, BC, and the other woman became one of my dearest friends in Tono. The house is now gone. As Tony Bruno might say were he a postcard fan, "That's good postcard knowledge."

sunken garden

I've just put this card into the mail for an old friend in Tono. It shows the Sunken Garden, part of the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. This lushly landscaped garden is situated in a former limestone quarry.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

triple play

On April 24 the Flyin' Hawaiian had an inside-the-park home run in San Diego. Finding an old baseball card of his from Triple-A got me started on making this card. Too bad he is now on the DL. Get back soon!

Jimmy Rollins, my favorite shortstop, started juicing this off-season, thanks to his wife. He recently gave out his favorite recipe: carrot, apple, red beet, celery, cucumber, and ginger. I've tried it and it's now a favorite here, too.

Catcher Carlos Ruiz, another fan favorite, was sorely missed while he was on the DL with a bad back. Stay healthy, my friend.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

pear delight

The German postcrosser who sent this wonderful card counts pears among her favorite fruit but she adds they "did not harvest this one". The card is a MOO card. If she took this photo herself, it's a winner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

bamboo harvest

Potter Willi Singleton sent this card for open houses of his wood-fired stoneware. The open houses are scheduled for June 4 and 5 and 11 and 12 at his Pine Creek Pottery in Kempton, Pennsylvania.


An altered postcard I made for a friend in Japan showcases the dishy Bulagarian sumo wrestler Koto-oshu.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

elsie and family in person

This vintage card, also from Sandy, should thrill a friend of mine who collects cow memorabilia. It shows Elsie the Borden Cow at home with mate Elmer and little Beauregard. Elsie's dressing table--note the frying pan mirror--is made from barrels. Her toiletries include Tail Wave Set and Meadow Mud Pack. The sampler over the fireplace was, says the back of the card, made by Elsie as a heifer. (Wish I could make out what it says.) Everything is themed to the barnyard life, including the books in the breakfront, which include The Farmer with Cold Hands and Bulliver's Travels.

albany, georgia

Sandy Sapienza sent me another box of vintage postcards, which quickly took over several hours of life yesterday. Most are blank but some are stamped and carry messages. This one, mailed in February 1949 from Albany, Georgia, was sent by a mom and dad to their daughter Marcia back in Michigan. Perhaps they were on their way to a winter vacation in Florida. The message reads: "Saw some palm trees today---almost there."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

lute player

Thanks, Caravaggio. And thanks to the Russian postcrosser who sent the card.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

dancing on a horse

Old friend (she's pushing 90 but that's not what I mean) Suzuki Kei sent this card from Tono. I wonder where she got hold of it as she is virtually housebound these days. It shows a Nepalese carving, made from one piece of wood, of a goddess dancing on a horse. Quite a stunning piece. The bird stamp reminds me of the birds chirping day to night outside here. And I'm a firm believer in 'an apple a day'.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I found this old ad card from in a file of baseball stuff and turned it into a postcard to send to Mrs. October. I picked up the card in 2001, during a baseball weekend in Seattle in late September that year. I still have vivid memories of how empty the planes out and back were.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

jawbone and fungus

Friend Jozef B. sent this card of a 1930 Georgia O'Keeffe painting called Jawbone and Fungus because he thought I would like it. I do. It arrived, coincidentally, on a day that could have been a black cloud.


The Paiwan are one of several aboriginal ethnic groups in Taiwan, which used to be known as Formosa. The postcrosser who sent the card wrote that Taiwan is the original site of all aboriginal groups found in the Pacific Ocean, from Madagascar to Easter Island and Taiwan to New Zealand. I used to follow such theories when I lived in Japan but confess to having lost track of them. Do love the juxtaposition of stamps used on the card.

polish deli

A photo turned postcard turned altered card. This was a popular Polish deli, with outstanding soups and pirohi, but it suddenly went poof.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

two dragons

Mrpotani sent this card from a recent trip to Los Angeles. It shows actor Robin Shou of Martial Kombat and the late Sifu Steve Herring of Two Dragons Martial Arts Studio in Pasadena.

sleeping venus

A Dutch postcrosser in Amsterdam who loves sculpting sent a card showing the work of one of her favorites, a sleeping Venus by Jan Meefout. The sender takes a sculpting class each week and writes that she is always surprised by the results "because all stones are so different." Many of her sculptures find their way to her "wild garden" where, she says, the birds love to perch on them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

cat on a 'table'

Ozawa Yasuko sent another marvelous cat postcard by Tamio Maita. This one, of a cat on a mesa (Spanish for table) evoked memories of a lifelong fantasy of mine,which had nothing to do with cats or mesa.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

what a combo

Tokyo friend Motoko sent this outstanding card showing the felicitous matching of a cat and books. The stamp, meanwhile, should thrill the manga/anime crowd.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

blow it out

I altered this card to send to a friend in France who was active in the anti-fracking campaign there this year. They got it done, too, getting at least a temporary halt to the controversial practice of fracking by the natural gas industry. Sad to say, their success was based in part on the use and consequences of fracking here in Pennsylvania.

southern 991359

I took this photo about ten years ago at a railroad crossing and have been meaning to turn it into a postcard ever since. Something about the colors, I think.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

sunset on lake puujarvi

This postcard was made from a photo taken by the sender, a retired teacher in Finland, at Lake Puujarvi (Wood Lake), where her children have summer cottages. She writes that she has found solace from a recent bout of loneliness in postcrossing, while allows her to 'travel' the world. Thanks, Eeva, for the lovely photo and cool stamp.

Monday, May 9, 2011

all tied up

The German postcrosser who sent this vivid card of canoodling pigs wrote that she has more striped socks in her drawers than plain ones. Yay, stripes!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

take five

These stamps were on a very cool postcard sent by a Dutch postcrosser. The card featured a photo called Take Five by Rene de Wit, which had a stern warning that reproduction was forbidden. It brought up once again the blurred meaning of copyright in the electronic realm. In the end, I decided to post the stamps not the card, which was great. The postcrosser, a retired teacher who worked for 42 years while raising children, is now enjoying life with her blind husband in a flat in the center of Amsterdam. Good work by her!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

gone fishing

The Russian postcrosser who sent this sweet card says that ice fishing is popular among "strong men". Cats, too, it looks like. The sender likes the contrast between "cold and frosty" winter and the "very warm" smile of the grandfather. She goes on to say that her husband is very good at cooking. Her favorite is duck foie gras with raspberry sauce and, of course, fish.

Friday, May 6, 2011

taiwanese greens

The postcrosser who sent this great card of rice fields in Taiwan said she picked it because she likes the green of the fields. I like the tiers of green in the card. Quite stunning. I also like the intersecting line of schoolkids on bicycles. The card reminded me of Tono.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

bijutsu aid

Artist Jozef Bajus sent this announcement for a fundraiser at Buffalo State College on May 6. Bijutsu means art in Japanese and artwork of all kind has been donated for sale by students, faculty, and local artists. All proceeds will go to the Japan Society's earthquake relief fund. Definitely a worthy effort. I got a letter the other day from some farmer friends in Tono, who mentioned that Mashiko, a famous, old pottery center not far from Tokyo, had suffered damage in the March earthquake. Among the noborigama (climbing kilns) damaged or destroyed was one at the Hamada Shoji Museum. Hamada Shoji was, of course, a luminary of Japan's mingei movement.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I sent this vintage postcard of acacia blossoms to a postcrosser in Russia. What I could not send was the distinctive fragrance of the trees, which I last smelled on a street in Berkeley, on the way, I think, to Vic's Chaat Corner, a fabulous place that specializes in Indian street food.

stepping stones

I wasn't going to indulge in making baseball cards this season but somehow ended up yesterday with this one, the thin edge of the wedge, I fear.

Something in the baseball fan abhors wasting tickets, but the card really came about because I was thinking about Michael Stutes, just now up in the bullpen with the Phillies. I first saw him pitch a couple of years ago with the Reading team, then last year with the IronPigs. Last week he got the call to Philadelphia. Good luck, kid!