Category Archives: Culture / Literature / Philosophy

SENT CARD #14: The bookish postcrosser (a book recommendation)

(#14) DE-1079605 to Kylie (USA)
(The photo on the card shows the summer flora in our backyard that normal people call weedy and that I call pretty; and picture-worthy if nothing else ^^ )

Amidst all postcrossers there are quite a few booklovers, like me and like Kylie from San Francisco, the recipient of my fourteenth postcrossing card. Besides telling her what I did during the day (spending a great time at the barn with the horses), what made me smile that day (the fact that my seventh postcrossing card had arrived 🙂 ) and what I dream to do one day (writing a book), I also included a book recommendation.

My recommendation for her:

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans

The story in a sentence:
After losing everything Alan Christoffersen holds dear and everything he’s ever lived for, he sets out to cross the entire country, from [Seattle in Washington] to Key West, Florida, on foot and essentially find his way back into life.

And why I like this book so much:
Of course it’s a very traumatizing situation for a person to lose everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – it’s also incredibly fascinating to see how it also liberates them to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have been able, wouldn’t have dared or even wanted to do: Like crossing the entire country on foot. And most important of all: “The Walk” let’s the reader hope by showing that there is a road – literally! – that can lead you out of the deepest depths and most depressing situations in life, all you have to do is take the first step and walk.

 

Today I received my parcel from amazon containing the second installement in the series: “Miles To Go”. I’m really looking forward to reading it and will let you know if it’s any good 😛 like the first.

If you’ve also read “The Walk” and maybe “Miles To Go” too, I’d love to hear what you think about it. Feel free to leave me a comment below 🙂

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SENT CARD #29: Without A Warning

(#29) DE-1278202 to Karin (THE NETHERLANDS) who studies meteorology in the UK. The postcard traveled 359 miles (577 km) in 10 days.

***

Oblivious and careless I keep on chattering, my mind far away from the immediate danger I’m in.

My driver tightens her grip on the steering wheel and forces the car to stay on track. Strong winds threaten to push it of the road. I don’t notice.

It rains and a thick sheet of water runs down the side windows like a rivulet smoothing the pebbles in its bed. The wipers aren’t making a lick of difference with their frantic back and forth across the windshield. I don’t spare it more than the occasional glance and keep rambling on about trivialities. They may be matters of more importance but right now they mean nothing.

My driver’s eyes dart to the thermometer inserted in the dashboard. The temperature dropped rapidly. Within less than a mile it had dropped by almost ten degrees. My questions are misfit; her answers monosyllabic.

Seemingly thick lightning bolts keep striking the earth around us: I’m still marveling at their beauty while the thunder’s already booming in my ears. I turn around to my driver, finally shutting my stupid mouth. Even my blind eyes are noticing the quiver of fear in the air around her. But even now I still only offer to check the radio stations for any news on this – to me absolutely fascinating and to my driver most worrisome – weather situation.

Hail joined the thick drops of rain. A storm’s raging mere inches from my face while I enjoy the calm of oblivion. There are no news on it. But it doesn’t matter anymore as we can already see the end of it all.

Beyond the edge of the storm’s dark clouds, smiles a friendly bright blue sky. It could’ve been a tornado. It could’ve cost us our lives. It could’ve been our end. And still: I don’t care. Always wrapped up in the blanket of ignorance. An ignorance born out of inexperience.

I feel safe.

Too safe?

* * *

(Just to make sure: The depiction of the situation I was in when I took the picture is slightly exaggerated. It was still pretty freaky and rather dangerous though.)

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Remembering Spring

Today I’ve noticed how you can already feel the coming autumn/fall in the air. It’s my favorite season of the year but still: Where the heck have spring and summer gone – really?!

Well, this is a piece of mail art I did in April. It’s called “Green Leaf”. I sent it to Melanie Lucas, the wonderful artist that made this awesome funky scrapbook card I showed you the other day.

And I even wrote a few lines of poetry for the Green Leaf ^^

“If spring were an artist
its favorite color would be
the vibrant and lush green
of a newly sprouted leaf.”

Not too shabby for someone that doesn’t write poems or poetic kind of texts very often, is it?!

Now, since it’s basically autumn/fall I’ll probably create a twin card to this one and call it “Red Leaf” or “Golden Leaf” or something like that ; P. Once I’m finished I’ll share it here with you of course.

I hope you had a great sunday : )

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RECEIVED CARD #22.3: More art from Asia

Just the other day I told you how I don’t know much about Asian styles and forms of art (besides the mainstream-designs). Looking at the beautiful painting on Wang’s postcard I remembered this card from Tammy in Japan. It also shows a nature-themed work of art: Mount Fuji on Fine Day is the title according to text printed on the card’s back; and the artist is Hokusai Katsushika. Unfortunately it doesn’t say if it’s a painting or some kind of print because I can’t really tell. For me it could go either way…

(#22.3) JP-228783 from Tammy (JAPAN); distance traveled: 5520 miles (8883 km); days traveled: 15 days;

Either way, I love to receive postcards with images of traditional art on them. It’s fascinating to see how different the uglies and pretties of life are perceived and preserved in works of art by people around the globe.

By the way, this is the postcard I sent to Tammy in return for the beautiful Mount Fuji:

“Gay Field Flowers” by Ivana Lovkovic-Matunci

She wrote that she’d love to receive a card from me and I hope she liked the floral art from Nuernberg I picked out for her. It’s an oil-painting on glass by artist Ivana Lovkovic-Matunci.

Have a great Wednesday!

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RECEIVED CARD # 21: Rio!

Since the next Olympic Games in 2016 will take place in Rio de Janeiro I thought it would be nice to share a postcard from Brazil with you today. Et voilà I’ve got this little beauty from Daniela in my stack of postcrossing cards 🙂 Even though she lives in a small city near Sao Paulo, Daniela sent me a card with pictures from the carnival Rio is so famous for.

RECEIVED CARD # 21 : BR-185646 from Daniela (BRAZIL)

It’s still a mystery to me how the women can dance wearing those huge head-dresses, extensive costumes and unbelievable high-heels. I’ve never been to Brazil but I surely wouldn’t say no if I should ever get the chance to go there. Just seeing the carnival in Rio must be an incredible experience.

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At the speed of time

The Olympics are already over, I’ve been home from my trip to the US for over two weeks and have learned so many new things at work, it’s crazy how time’s flying! I think I’m really getting old… seriously, I can barely find enough time to reply to all the beautiful pieces of mail art I received over the past couple weeks, not even talking about posting it here for all of you to look at and enjoy.

But (!) – I’m optimistic that I can manage and figure out a way to manage the 24 hours in my day a little better soon. For instance today: I found out that the 45 minutes I spend on a train twice a day on my way to and from work, are just enough to prepare a cute little blog-post for you guys to read later. By the way: Did you know that we spend an average of nine months of our lives just traveling to work?

And that NOW only lasts 3 seconds?

Well, here is some mail art matching todays topic: The left card was sent to Vizma Bruns in Australia and is called “CHASING TIME”, the one on the right was sent to Guido Vermeulen in Belgium and is called “WASTING TIME”.

I hope you like them 🙂 And no matter if you are just trying to kill some TIME by reading this or are already nervously glancing at your clock worrying about not getting to I-don’t-know-where in time, have a great week and live every 3-second-NOW you get to it’s fullest! Carpe Diem! See ya soon!

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SENT CARD # 8 & # 12: The London Olympics and one proud German

Let the games begin… ehmm, sorry, continue…

Unless you live behind the moon or in the pampa without any communication whatsoever you should’ve noticed that the world’s top athletes have gathered for the Olympic Games in London. Since I started my apprenticeship/new job last wednesday I haven’t had too much time to really watch it but I’m following the action on my iPhone. I love the London 2012 Results app. It’s so easy to stay updated on all the sports I’m interested in.

Well, even though you might think I’m a sports fanatic here, I’m really not. On one hand it’s really sad and pathetic because it feels very halfhearted when I cheer for my nation’s athletes during the Olympics but could give – excuse my language – shit about what they are competing in in the four years inbetween the Games. And I want to go as far as to say that the majority of people are the same way.  On the other hand – does it really matter? The Olympics are a huge event and remind people of how important sports are for us all and how it can bring everyone closer together. Isn’t it great that the Olympics can interest people in sports that usually don’t pay much attention to it in their lives?

Okay, so no matter how you think about it all, I’m proud of all the athletes and as a passionate equestrian especially happy about the medals the German riders and their brave horses have won for my home country so far. I wish I could be in London right now to see it all in real life and feel the Olympic spirit. As William Dunbar once said: “London, thou art the flower of cities all!”. I once combined this quote with one of my many photographs of The Clock Tower, now Elizabeth Tower, to create a postcard for postcrossing-member and London fan Ksyusha from the Ukraine:

SENT CARD #12: DE-1074648 to Ksyusha (UKRAINE); Distance traveled: 902 miles (1452 km); Days traveled: 32 days;

Here are a couple more of my London photographs. Besides the fact that all larger cities have their muddy and dark alleys, London is very beautiful and definitely a real “queen” 🙂

But as this postcard to Nastya from Russia proves: My hometown Soltau is a great place to be as well but Home Sweet Home is – generally speaking – always a wonderful place to be 🙂 right?!

SENT CARD #8: DE-1053111 to Nastya (RUSSIA); Distance traveled: 914 miles (1471 km) ;Days traveled: 34 days;

Now, I don’t want to hold you up any longer and let you get back to cheering for your athletes! Have fun following the excitement wether in front of your TV, using the app on your smartphone, reading about it in your newspaper or online, or maybe even live in London… Have fun!

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German Cowgirls

Spending time with my „American Family“ is always a blast. Just recently we visited a friend of theirs who owns cutting horses. For me and my American family’s current exchange student (a German horse-and-riding-addicted girl like me) it was the first time sitting on a western horse. It was so different from what we are used to. A true thrill ride!

Cutting horse “Woody” and me. Photocourtesy of my amazing American Dad 🙂 Thank you for always taking such great pictures!

And I think the following piece of art goes very well with this very unique experience. It’s my first linocut in about two years: A RODEO-cut.

I’ve sent one of the eleven prints I made to Viviana Cernjul in Argentina. Of course I created a very special envelope for it too. Take a look:

Hopefully I’ll be able to save some more time for blogging in the next couple of weeks: All the exciting things I’m seeing and experiencing during my stay in the US this year have kept me away from the blogosphere quite a lot recently.

P.S. I’ve also acquired a plethora of postcards from five different states already. Finding them is not really easy sometimes. I’ll let you know where I got mine in one of my upcoming posts. Promise : )

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On the horns of a dilemma: Die Zwickmühle

Okay, today for a change, I will have to go a little academic on you and let lose the linguistics-chick in me. Don’t worry I’ll take you through my train of thought step by step.

Well, when I received arttower’s “dilemma”-mail art (I showed it to you in my Saturday post) I decided that I wanted to pick up the dilemma-theme in my response mail art to him as well.
I then got out my elephantine Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus and looked up the correct definition of dilemma and its synonyms before all else:

I found some more synonyms on Wikipedia.com and added them to the list just like all the German synonyms I could find, including the word “Zwickmühle”. Well, now that particular synonym  struck a chord in me and I came up with this piece of mail art:

"Zwickmühle" (2012)

Me being ground to flour like grain by two millstones because I’m feeling unable to make a decision – so I’m – to throw in some more imagery here – on the horns of a dilemma…

Now, etymologically Zwickmühle doesn’t really refer to a real grain to flour grinding mill but a certain position in the board game mill (ninepenny/nine men’s morris/merrelles/cowboy checkers). The first part of the word “Zwick – mühle” doesn’t derive from the German verb “zwicken” (to pinch), as I’d mistakenly assumed, but from the Old High German words “zween”, “zwo” and “zwei” meaning two. So Zwickmühle basically means “two mills” and if you`ve ever played mill, you might know how fatal it is when your opponent can shuttle a piece back and forth between two mills and thus pretty much sealing your fate.

I don’t know what you think but I’d say both explanations, my wrong one and the etymologically-correct one, are in the end fitting imagery for a dilemma.

Well, to counteract the academic tone of today’s post at least a little bit, here is a link to a cool website where you can play mill online for free. Mill is one of my favorite board games by-the-way, next to draughts/checkers of course 😉

I hope the linguistics-chick in me didn’t scare you too awfully much and you’ll brave to stop by my blog again to read more.

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.

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Credits:
definition and synonyms of the word dilemma:
Oxford Dicitonary & Thesaurus, second edition 2007, as edited by M. Waite; p. 280 

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RECEIVED CARD #8: If Cinderella were Dutch…

Dear friends,

I know I’m way late with my Sunday-post but I had a good reason for taking my time with it…

This is my good reason reason for being late: The postcard featured in today’s post first had me simply think of clogs, then of a Dutch Cinderella losing a clog and then getting it back from her Dutch Prince Charming… do I need to say more?! – haha - you can see the result for yourself…

… Let me ask you this: Have you ever been to the Netherlands? Or seen their traditional clothing; especially their traditional footwear, the clogs?

No? Yes? Maybe? Can’t remember? …

Well, I have not been to the Netherlands so far…

– Yes, shame on me! I’ll add it to my travelling-wish-list right this minute — hold on a sec…  okay, done! –

BUT I’ve received this amazing card from Jeanne:

It shows the traditional clothing of the Dutch, well to be exact of the people from Volendam, a small town in North Holland. Especially the high pointed bonnet women wear with this traditional costume is recognized as Dutch pretty much anywhere in the world. Many, many postcards feature the bonnet and clogs. Of course they are very popular with tourists visiting the Netherlands but also postcrossers who have never been to the land of the Oranje will do the happy-dance upon finding one of those pretties in their mailbox : ).

Thank you, thank you, thank you Jeanne for this great snippet of Dutch tradition and inspiring me to create some semi-funny art today : )

Oh, I almost forgot to show you the stamps!

Now, thank YOU for stopping by today too!

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__Dilemma with place of discovery__

Art in my mailbox!

Today:

               “Dilemma mit Fundort”              

_____________ Mail art from “arttower” (Germany 2011) ____________

For more…

VISIT —–> http://arttowersmailart.blogspot.com/ <—– VISIT

Thank you arttower for sending this! Your mail art is always food for my thoughts and a well of inspiration.

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Gothic + Renaissance + Baroque = Mir Castle

Postcards featuring UNESCO World Heritage sites are very popular among postcrossers. I like them too but do not specifically ask for them in my profile’s text.

However, it was great to find this card from Tanya in my mailbox:

She sent me one featuring an UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site near her hometown Grodno in Belarus: The Mir Castle complex Mirsky zamok (on the right) and the chapel-tomb of Sviatapolk-Mirskies (on the left).

CLICK HERE to see a short video of Mir castle on belarus.by .

The most interesting fact about the castle is that it combines three different artistic and architectural styles. The construction of the castle in the 16th century had been begun in the Gothic style, and with chaning owners been continued and finished in Renaissance and Baroque style. If I should ever get the chance to travel to Belarus I would certainly have to visit Mir castle too. Some people might say castles are boring but I think they are the most intriguing places.

Oh, how I sometimes whish we only knew how to travel time already!

As you can see, Tanya did not only choose a great postcard but also lovely stamps! It was certainly a very happy day for my mailbox!

Hugs

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White Wet Christmas

Dear Friends,

It’s six days ’til Christmas Eve and there’s only a 5% chance of seeing a White Christmas this year! Here are two Haikus I wrote about this looming weather calamity…

I am dreaming of
many sparkling white snowflakes
my boots stuck in mud.

***

White Christmas is a
hopeless dream when you’re lugging
presents through the rain.

But maybe – if we all keep our fingers crossed – there’ll be snow blanketing the world in white on Christmas, becuase…

If the snow glistens
on which the sleigh glides along
Santa’s bound to smile.

Yours,

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RECEIVED CARD #1 – Une carte postale

Bonjour mes amis,

Today it’s incoming Mail from France. Lison, living in the city of love and lights, the beautiful city of Paris has sent me this great proverb-card.

“We don’t inherit earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”

This african proverb states a fact we often like to ignore: We are not going to be here forever. There have been people before us whose problems we have to solve now. And there will be people after us. We ought to learn from our predecessors, from our parents. We shouldn’t burden the people succeding us – our children – with the consequences of our wrong decisions.
The world we live in is beautiful and we ought to live in the now to make the best of the time we’re given. But we also have to look forward into our own future and beyond it because it’s our duty to do all we can to preserve its beauty.

Lison sent this little reminder on its way to me on September 15th. It traveled 434 miles (698 km) in 15 days until it reached its destination – my mailbox 🙂 – on September 30th.

Go green. Save the planet.

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“57 Channels”

Dear Friends,

Today’s post doesn’t only have an image it has a soundtrack to go with it! WOOHOO!
You can listen to it here. I meant to embed it but can’t because WordPress doesn’t allow embeds from MTV.com – 😦 BOO!

Please go and listen to it ’cause then you are all set for today’s topic; so

–> cklick here to listen <—

and then come back. I even promise to wait for you here 😉 Scout’s honor!

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