Thursday, February 28, 2013

marching on

Tomorrow, it will be March. March is a good month, not just because it has my birthday and the first official days of spring (and this year, as a bonus Easter) though mostly because of that. Also because it has an 'r' that everyone pronounces. Having to listen, with gritted teeth, to Febuary will decrease dramatically for the next ten months or so.

On a personal note, I will be glad to say goodbye to February and all the ill it has brought. Not just because of the snow and slush, I don't mind that and it does make all that money on snow tires worth the expense (unlike during last year's non winter). But I didn't need the added expense of something called 'bushings' and then even more expense for the front end stabilizers that my mechanic realized needed immediate attention once he test drove the new tires. I thought the problem was near bald tires on slick roads. I was wrong. This was on top of the immediate transmission repairs. in spite of the smoother, safer, quieter ride, I am feeling a tiny bit of resentment towards my auto for giving me so much grief.

Then my arm started acting up in a painful, rebellious act of determination to keep me from enjoying any part of life that involved eating, drinking, buttoning, keyboarding, or generally moving. Oh, and working. Tendinitis is not good for anyone, but for someone who uses their arms to help other people with things like tendinitis, it is galling. And a hazard of the job.

And, February has introduced me to pneumonia. This was my first bout with pneumonia and I suppose it could be good to know first hand just how awful an experience it really is, I think I could have faked that knowledge quite convincingly.

So, major expenses and no work to pay for them.
I want March to be cuddly and warm. And playful, like a lamb.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


As I am preparing this post for stamps on space, I am watching a repeat of The Space Age: NASA's Story. This episode is unfortunately about the disasters of the Columbia and Challenger missions.

Having been born at the beginning of the Space Age, my memories of the first missions are vague and scant, though the names are all familiar.

I have an extensive collection of space related stamps from this simple design (before 1964) from Poland of Vostok 1.

This was the first human spaceflight with Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. It was a single (and the shortest ever) orbit of earth. Many of the details weren't known for years because of the secrecy of the Soviet space program, but Gagarin apparently landed safely by parachute separately from the spacecraft.

Also in this series is Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, which went into orbit in 1957 and is considered to have been the start of the space race between the USSR and USA.

A different series (1966) shows a better illustration of Vostok

This one shows the 'interplanetary exploration'

I am rather fond of this stamp celebrating the first man on the moon that comes from Guinea and shows a view taken from the moon's surface towards earth, with Africa in prominent position.

and while we are on the topic of views of earth from space, may I take this opportunity to remind you of the excellent daily photos from the ISS by Chris Hadfield.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Depending on my mood, I can be either amused or irritated by the preferences of some Postcrossers for the postcards they wish to receive. Some people are very selective. Some just have the most unusual interests and I wonder how they ever expect to get cards to fulfil their wish list. For the most part, I am very easy going, though I am beginning to realize that I don't much care for multi-view cards and am thinking of saying so in my profile. Maybe it is because my eyes are dim and I cannot see the images all that well.

But then, I think for the most part each image deserves to have a card on its own in order to show off.

Thankfully we no longer have that annoying non divided back where the sender was forced to write a message on the front of the card. That ended around 1907. This card at least has a space for such a purpose. And the message is legible
Thanks for cards, I [would?] like Niagara very much.
Yours sincerely
M White
2 Wellington Terrace
South Shields

I wish that cancellation mark didn't obscure so much of the stamp from 1900.

I had to look up where South Shields was located and discovered that it is nowhere near Cheltenham.

Cheltenham is in the south west of England and South Shields is in the north east (so says Wikipedia, but there is much more of England more south and west of Cheltenham...)

On this card we have 'the Promenade' on the top right with 'the Fountain' on the top left and 'Pitville Gardens' on the bottom. In the centre is the 'Ladies College' which, apart from the racecourse, is the only thing I knew about Cheltenham. Why and how I am familiar with these is a mystery.

Pitville Gardens seems to be a misspelling as it is listed as Pittville in the Cheltenham Visitor's Guide. It was part of a large estate, created by Joseph Pitt around the 1820s, for the "rich and famous who came to live in Cheltenham". The estate includes a Pump Room, a park with an ornamental lake as well as a boating lake and many large houses. By 1894, the park was opened to the general (not so rich and famous) public.

Sharing another postcard with Postcard Friendship Friday

Saturday, February 16, 2013

New Year of the Snake

 This postcard came from Yi-Ping in Taiwan

below we have the two Canadian editions of the Year of the Snake postage paid cards and stamps

international postage at $1.85                                        domestic postage at .63¢
I am not sure I like either one of these. see more Lunar New Year stamps at Viridian's and more postcards at Postcard Friendship Friday. (I know, I am a little late for one and early for the other....)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Stamps - hearts

Pink and red hearts are everywhere at this time of year. So anything related to Valentine's is our theme on Sunday Stamps

France's La Poste issues a heart shaped stamp, designed by one of their fashion icons, every year for Valentine's Day. This 2009 version is from Emanuel Ungaro whose fashion house has been in decline for the past decade.

from Poland "I love you"

and with I love you, we need roses.

even though they are not a flower for these cold wintry months of the northern hemisphere.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Anne with an e

postcard from Prince Edward Island, sent by Heather

You have probably heard about the cover of the new edition of the beloved Anne of Green Gables. For unknown reasons Amazon has republished the book with a new look Anne.

It portrays a sultry, buxom blonde who is definitely not 10 years old as our Anne was when introduced to us on her journey with Matthew to Green Gables.

When I was about 10 years old (in the late '70s) our family made a trip down east and we visited the Green Gables house in Cavendish PEI. I came home with a box set of the first three books. Years later, when my niece was around 10 years old (in the late '80s) I offered her the set. She took one look at the cover of these older books and claimed that that was not the real Anne. I still have the set.

Everyone knows that this is the real Anne, as portrayed by Megan Follows in 1985.

I am sharing this with Postcard Friendship Friday, for all the kindred spirits out there.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

how to spend time with people

There were a couple of messages on facebook inviting me to play some silly game. Normally, I ignore those requests, but in a moment of boredom, I checked it out. I already play scrabble with a couple of people (though I keep forgetting for days/weeks at a time).

I have been busy trying to beat my cousins' scores on Diamond Blitz. I managed to wriggle my way into second place! Now, I sit at the computer impatiently waiting for 'new life' so I can continue. This is why I never played things like tetris before. Sigh. The laundry is waiting for some new life as well.

In other news, I am now the 50th on most postcards sent from Canada. I suddenly felt a competitive urge come over me when I reached 49th on longest distance in Canada. I am ridiculously excited by this achievement.

And a friend and I went to out to dinner last night for Winterlicious. We chose a restaurant that is well known for being a mecca (for people known as stars) during the Toronto International Film Festival. Just to get ourselves inside and see what they would see.
This was desert.
apple crumble
and a cheese plate

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sunday Stamps - insects

On Monday, our pennies will become defunct and gradually taken out of circulation and melted down. You will still be able to spend them but you will not receive any as change. Prices will be rounded off to end in a 5 or 0.

Which made me wonder about the small denomination stamps. How would you buy a 1¢ stamp since technically if it is rounded down to a 0 then it would have no cost? I am tempted to head to the post office and try to buy one with a nickel just to see what happens.

Anyway, here we have the full set of small denomination stamps featuring beneficial insects that was started in 2007 and gradually added to over the past five years.

1¢ convergent lady beetle or ladybug (Hippodamia convergens) 
2¢ monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) 
3¢ golden eyed lacewing (Chrysopa oculata) 
4¢ paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus
5¢ northern bumblebee (Bombus polaris)
6¢ assassin bug (Zelus luridus)
7¢ large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus)
8¢ margined leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus
9¢  dogbane beetle (Chrysochus auratus
10¢ Canada darner or dragonfly (Aeshna canadensis) 
25¢  Crepopia moth (Hyalophora cecropia).

You can see more insects at Viridian's

Friday, February 1, 2013


With Queen Beatrix's news last week of her passing on the reign to her son Prince Willem-Alexander, I thought for Postcard Friendship Friday, I would show some postcards I've received from the Netherlands.

First up is a reproduction of a 1910 card showing Chass√©kazerne, a former military barracks that is now the Breda Museum. It was built in 1898 but by 1993 the artillery was reduced and moved to t'Harte. Before being completely gutted in 1998 order to update it for use as the Breda Museum and City Archives it housed about 1,000 asylum seekers from the former Yugoslavia. Breda is in the province of South Brabant.
This is a home made card showing a caricature of Landgraaf, which is in also in the south, in the province of Limburg.  On the left you see a giant man that is in 'Mondo Verde' [Green World, a family theme park]. Above that is the church, then you see the city hall. Further you see the big indoor Ski Run, music and in the background, the German border. Typical houses from our city and a poster from a big music festival called 'PinkPop'

I love the sunset against                   St Nicholas Church
In the province of North Holland is the city of Hilversum, known as Media City since it is the centre for the radio and televisions stations.
The colourful building in the top left is a radio and television museum [Institute for Sound and Vision] The glass windows show important moments in Dutch television history. Underneath is the new City Hall  built in 1936 followed by the old City Hall. And at the bottom right, the train station.

and, finally, cheese and tulips.