Monday, March 28, 2011


Sometimes it seems like you start one little thing, like sending a snowball down a mountain that ends up as an avalanche ... or pulling that one little loose thread in the arm of a sweater than ends up unraveling the whole sweater.

I sort of feel like I'm at the start of an avalanche...and it's my choice whether to let it continue or not.

First of all, unrelated to my avalanche, I woke up at 2:30 this morning. As I do every time I wake up in the middle of the night and am looking to get back to sleep, I checked what was on TV and ended up turning on the PBS broadcast of a concert performance celebrating the 25th anniversary of Les Miserables. I figured that would be a sure-fire soporific. It's a show I know well, so I could just enjoy the music while I kept my eyes closed and drifted back to sleep.

Well. Uh. No.

If you get a chance to catch this broadcast and if you are at all into musical theatre don't miss it! It was one of the most exciting bits of theatre. I did some research and it was held at the 02 Arena, a 23,000 capacity venue in South East London. According to the Les Mis page there were over 500 artists on the stage for the performance (presumably this includes the members of the orchestra).

All those big musical numbers were breathtaking. Just see it. Even though the broadcast (with pledge breaks) was 4 hours long.

Needless to say, I was not sleeping so I decided I could NOT watch it, but I couldn't turn it off, so I moved to the couch in the living room, where I could hear it--barely--and thought maybe I could sleep. But no. Finally at 3 a.m., I got up, went to Amazon, found out it was a $20 DVD, ordered it, and then I could turn off the broadcast and finally get back to sleep.

But now to the avalanche. I feel like I’ve just fallen down the rabbit hole. I’ll tell ya, you start mucking around on the Internet, one link leads to another and suddenly you are in information overload.

This all started because I've run out of people to correspond with. I've written letters all my life, starting with pen pals in grammar school, a correspondence with my friend Judy when I went on vacation, a very long time writing back and forth to Peach when she and Bob were traveling around with the Navy. There was a daily correspondence with my friend Phil, until Gilbert died, when it stopped. There was a lengthy correspondence with my friend Ann (who co-founded the Lamplighters), which kind of petered out. My friend Diane died. Peggy has other things to do and if I'm lucky I will hear from her once a month, but it's not quite the same as the frequent exchanges we had. I realized that my mail box was lonely and I missed having that "somebody" to write to.

I read something somewhere that made me realize that there were web sites out there where you could look for a pen pal and I began to investigate them (one of them was kind of creepy, but the rest seemed pretty interesting).

A couple of days ago, I discovered a blog called 100 days of Snail Mail, by a writer who was determined to write at least one snail mail every day and write about her experiences. I decided I wanted to read about the project, starting at Day 1 and on up to today (Day 70-something). Next thing you know, I’m following links to other blogs, learning about somethings called "Mail Art," and "Swaps" and making your own envelopes and agreeing to write to soldiers and sick children or just send a person on a list something they think they'd like to receive from you. All sorts of things. I have 50 bazillion blogs I want to follow, photo sites for doing special stuff. It makes my head spin!

(I have to ad that so far I am the oldest person I have found on any list. On some lists the "old people" are the age of my children. I have found a few in their 50s and 60s, but nobody 68 or older. But it does my heart good to see how many people in their 20s and 30s, both men and women, want to find pen pals. It gives me hope for the future of a correspondence that extends past text messaging!)

At some point in my crazed web surfing today, I decided that I want to learn how to make envelopes, so I gave it a try, using a program that will print a Google earth picture of your neighborhood (or any other neighborhood, for that matter) on a page that you can fold up and make the inside of an envelope. Given how many thumbs I have on each of my hands, I wasn't optimistic, but my envelope wasn't awful. It wasn't really very good either.

Envelope.jpg (49058 bytes)

But there were a couple of problems. The first is that the envelope it makes is so tiny it's only good for putting inside another envelope, since the post office won't mail anything that small.

The second problem is that my printer is crap. It works great on just regular black and white printing, but the color is really bad. Printing on regular paper is hopeless. Printing on glossy paper is better, but I've printed off some pictures for the Compassion kids and they are OK but if I got them at a photo store, I would reject them and refuse to pay for them.

Now, the obvious solution is to think about getting a new printer. They are certainly affordable these days. Ahhh, but there's where the avalanche starts. The printer is easily accessible, but the PLUG is not. It is behind tons of junk. So the first step in getting a new printer is to move the tons of junk that has been collecting dust for about 10 years. That means relocating all the binders I have for the Compassion Kids. And as long as I'm doing that, I might as well find a way to organize pen pal letters before I get deluged with them (assuming people will actually want to correspond with me).

There are about 100 things that should be done in the process of getting a new printer and I know that if I start, another 200 will make themselves apparent. I will end up with taking everything out of the office (which I did, I think, when I installed the current printer) into the family room and starting from scratch putting it all back.

Now this is really a very lofty goal and a really good idea, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to jump onto the snowball and get enclosed in the inevitable avalanche right now, when I have two Lamplighters interviews to do this week and Brianna's birthday coming up at the end of the week!

(Oh yeah...and I started a new blog, like I don't have enough already, for my own Pen Pal project like all those blogs I have been reading for the past three days). So I probably won't be talking about all this project much here again, but if you're curious you can find the new blog here.

1 comment:

Harriet said...

There is a retiree in our area who has made a business out of creating envelopes from outdated calendars. No one's origami is perfect the first time.

I saw the PBS concert performance of "Les Mis" -- several times. How remarkable to see several generations sing their parts again, not to mention how beautifully they sing together.