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Entries in valentine's (3)

Monday
Mar092015

Valentine's Cards via Land | It shouldn't be this difficult

I don't send Christmas cards. I don't send New Year's cards. 

I try to send Valentine's. 

By February, the rush and then deflation after the holidays is finally over. I have a little time to think. Time to, you know, write and address over 150 Valentine's cards.

Key to the Valentine's is including a little photo of the girls. I try to take the photo as close to Valentine's as possible so it really represents how the girls look at the time. This is the same photo I select for my Every Six Month's Photo Project.

Here's is this year's photo. I wrote about taking the photo here.

And here is last year's photo. I wrote about taking it here.

The girls were dressed as Frida Kahlo (in homage to living in Mexico at the time time.) Little Lyra's blonde locks didn't really match the Frida unibrow, but at least give me some points for trying. I wrote about sending Valentine's while living abroad, on a sailboat, here.

A lot of the Valentine's last year were mailed just before we left to cross the Pacific, and as news of what was transpiring on Rebel Heart (almost a year ago now) started to make headlines, many of our friends were getting their Valentine's. I can't tell you how much it means to me when I hear that my friends posted the photo of the girls on their fridge, or their wall, and kept them, and us, in their hearts until they knew what had happened.

This year I was excited to get started. I was in America, with zippy internet, speedy mail service, and no reason to not get my Valentine's out in time. I ordered some Valentine's that came with their own envelopes, made an Excel spreadsheet with everyone's addresses, and spent a night drinking wine with Mele as we printed out mailing and return address labels, along with little labels to affix to the back of the girl's pictures with their names and ages.

I proudly took the huge stacks of Valentine's to the post office five days before Valentine's. FIVE WHOLE DAYS. Yes, that is how on top of things I was. You betcha. People were going to get their Valentines in the mail... on time.

Right.

The only problem? The envelopes were too small.

I swear.

I thought you could mail ANYTHING as long it was the right weight and had the correct postage.

But nope. You can't. The smallest envelope you can mail is 3.5" tall, and 5" long.  

Gobsmacked, I turned around and walked out of the post office with 150 Valentines (STAMPED ALREADY, MIND YOU), scratching my head and wondering what to do. The problem was that Lyra's birthday party was also five days away and I had no more time to mess around with Valentine's, I needed to get the house looking ship shape.

Sadly, I set the Valentine's aside until....after Valentine's.

The size of the Valentines that would ship on the right. The correct size I actually needed, on the left.

After Lyra's party I got back to work. I bought a pack of envelopes that were just a bit larger than the ones I tried to mail and then painstakingly peeled off all the stamps from the small cards and glued them to  the new ones.

See the fuzzy parts on the envelopes there? At the top right of each one? Yep. Peeled off stamps. Every one.

I wasn't able to connect with Mele this time to get more labels printed out, so I started hand addressing each one.

Pic by Lyra

For those of you who know me, and know how truly awful my handwriting is, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry to all the mail carriers too, who had to deciper what I wrote as well. It tooke me several days, but I finally got everything done. Again.

Except for a few that were going to require special treatment.

We have friends who are out sailing and don't have a permanent mailing address. They are out sailing with their kids. With very young children.

On boats.

Just out there on the water SAILING. WITH CHILDREN. How awful of them, right? So selfish. So reckless to endanger those kids that way. Someone should call CPS on them!!

OH wait.

That's what people said about us. Sorry. I got side-tracked.

Right. So we know some awesome families who are sailing with little children (and big children) and I needed to get Valentine's to them too. Luckily, I had an ace up my sleeve. Her name is Cherry and she sails on s/v Rainbow Gypsy.

Cherry and her husband, Alec, were in San Diego for awhile on their boat before heading to Mexico. She was kind enough to take the Valentine's I wanted to send to my Mexico-cruising friends and deliver them by what sailors lovingly call 'The Coconut Express." Cherry will use the VHF radio when shet gets to ports where my friends are anchored and hail them to let them know they have mail. Landfall Voyages and Aboard Astrea, I'm looking at YOU!

That still leaves two more Valentines for sailing friends (with CHILDREN, on BOATS!!!!!!!!!!) But they are really out sailing. I'm talking the kind of long-distance, out-of-reach sailing that means I may not be able to get a Valentine to them until, oh, Christmas-time of this year, when they have friends or family traveling to meet them in exotic locations. Ceilydh Set Sail and Sailing Totem, I'm looking at you.

Cora and Lyra were happy to help, yet again, bring the Valentine's to the post office.

Any reason to use their back packs to help carry things is a good reason for them.

Of course when we dropped the second round of Valentine's off I thought I was finally done.

But I wasn't.

Seven of the second round came right back. This is the same envelope in the photo above. One side is the front and one side is the back. I *think* the problem is that I wrote the return address a little too large. It looked like the mailing address....but the STAMP was not on that side. The stamp was on the side with the recepient's [correct] address. Maybe it was because the stamp has a white background, so the carrier didn't see it? I don't know. I.don't.freaking.know.

So I tried again. I bought BIGGER envelopes to fit the first envelope and the second envelope into the THIRD ATTEMPT envelope.

Luckily, the girls were ever ready, with backpacks and bikes, to help me get this third round back in the mail.

Let us all hope that the saga of the 2015 Valentines Cards is now complete. 

Thursday
Mar132014

How to Send Valentine Cards Around the World

Sending Valentine Cards is my annual way of sending love and thanks to people in my life who are good. As we travel around the world, it has gotten more challenging to send them, but well worth the effort.

First, I needed to fly back to the states, and hit up a Target, where I bought Valentine cards, envelopes, labels, and some fun stickers.

Then, I spent about a week compiling names and addresses of my friends and family. I should probably have this process streamlined; eventually I'll have an Excel spreadsheet and I'll just print out labels, but until then, I asked my sister, Sariah, for help.

Sariah sat wth me for many evenings and helped me hand address over 200 cards. If you get a Valentine from me and it looks like the envelope has two different hand-writing styles on it, that's because many of them do.

Back in Mexico, take some fun photos of the girls to include in the Valentines.

Take a 45 minute Kombi ride with you, your 11 month old, your friend, Attila, and her three month old, to Sam's Club for a provisioning run. While you are shopping, have the photo place print out 200 of the image you like the best. After you pay for everything and pick up your photos, accept the fact that they mis-printed them and the border is completely off-center. Since both babies are bingo for any more time in a public location, just suck-it-up-buttercup, and send the photos as is.

And let Cora go to town on decorating the backs of the cards. (Not all of them were graced by Cora's hands, but many were!)

Embrace the fact that your wee ones, and your ongoing plans to ready a boat to sail across an ocean, will mean that you'l never get all the cards written at once, or in time for the actual Valentine's Day.

Write and send the cards in batches. Since the cards are stamped with US stamps, they need to be mailed from the States. My friend Julie carried this stack of finished cards to a guy on a different dock in our marina who was returning back to the US by airplane.

His boat was one of these, but I can't remember the boat name. Thank you random boat neighbor for putting those cards in the mail!

Let your daughter keep practicing how to use scissors and glue sticks. Understand that she'll get a little creative with the glue stick and warn friends in advance that their envelopes might be a bit sticky.

Finally, a month late, finish up your cards of love. Now I need to find another fellow sailor who is flying back to the states and can take the last four batches up for me. Wish me luck.

One of the coolest things about this annual project is how far afield some of these cards will go. With Cora, we looked at a map of the world and identified all the countries these are going to: United States, Canada, Australia (and Tasmania!), New Zealand, France, Italy, Spain, England, Italy, and the Sultanate of Oman. Fancy!

Thanks to all our friends and family who have been such an amazing support to us this past year. 

Wednesday
Feb292012

Valentine's with Eric | Going Back to the Beginning

{Tiny Envelope Card with Custom Messages by Lemon Drop Papers}

Eric and I share the responsibility of Valentine’s and our Anniversary year by year. This year it is my turn to be awesome. While our schedules didn’t allow us to hang out on Valentine’s Day proper, I still planned to celebrate, albeit a week late.

In each of the mini-envelopes above I wrote a location of important parts of our early relationship and Eric and I re-visited each location.

First on the trip? The location of our very first date, the café at the bottom of the El Cortez.

Did you know that I asked Eric out on our first date? I’m really glad he said yes. He joined me for a drink that night and I had a gin & tonic and he had a whiskey & coke. When we went back we ordered the same drinks and looked around marveling at the fact that our first date had happened over seven years ago.

The second envelope said to take us to our first home together, so off we went to 21st & C Street in Golden Hill, San Diego. He was sitting on those red steps one night when I knew I had to ask him out.

The third envelope took us just a few blocks away where, oddly, there are initials that perfectly match ours carved into the concrete.

Really, no idea how that got there…

This picture will not mean much to most people. Let’s just say that for the fourth envelope we went to another important location from our early relationship days, this was in South Park, and it wasn’t there anymore. Gone. Poof. Vanished. A select few of our readers may know what we are talking about if they have ventured that way to reminisce as well. These are clearly our sad faces.

One of the things I liked about this little mini-envelope message system was that I had to be a bit cryptic about each message. There wasn't enough room to go into detail about the locations I wanted to visit so it ended up as a test to see if Eric could remember places like our first date, our special place in the park, and a secret location in South Park. He got them all right and even guessed in advance what one would be. Our brains, man, they're on the same wavelength.

Envelope five led us to dinner at Rancho’s in North Park. Rancho’s is the first place we ever met. We weren’t together (Eric had a girlfriend at the time and I was chasing some other hunk.) At our first encounter we had breakfast together with mutual friends and Eric and I had our first fight. Awww the memories. We both can be quite forceful in our beliefs and they clashed over that breakfast.

Fine. It wasn't really a fight, more like our first disagreement. Don’t worry, no fights occurred during this dinner though. Fun fact: we both get the same thing when we go here. Every.single.time. 

The sixth envelope had us stop by the Tower After Hours at the Museum of Man for their Irish History festival. Funny Irish jigs, wine, and heavy accents abounded. Bonus? Walking around Balboa Park in the evening.

The walk around the park led us to the location on envelope number seven. A little spot where we spent a lazy Saturday afternoon years ago. Let’s just say that we expanded our minds that day. It’s a shame you can’t see the scenery, but it was late, dark, and chilly when we took this picture. Trust me, the park is gorgeous.

Before he opened envelope eight, I had him pick a spot to grab one more drink before we ended the night. He took us right back near the marina. The water always seems to be calling his name. 

And in his continuing ability to mind-meld, envelope eight was simply to go back to our boat (which we were then very close to.) I had decorated the V-berth with some nautically-inspired knotted Celtic hearts. Gorgeous no?

While I found a tutorial on how to make these online, good ole’ Etsy did not let me down. Instead I bought a pre-made set by The Sunny Side and it looks awesome on the boat.

It’s been seven years since the beginning of our relationship. We have a cool boat and an amazing daughter. Happy Valentine’s Eric. It has been worth every minute of being with you.