Collections: Thoughts and Things Celebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.

Category Archives: Thoughts

Love Stamps

When I was putting away my stash collection of new-to-me old stamps, I noticed a few roaming Love stamps.  After a bit of sorting (OK, more than a bit), and then seeing them as a group, I must admit, I do kinda love them. Usually I have a soft spot for larger (harder to hide) items, such as old globes, school chairs, and too many books.  Yet finding an envelope or cigar box filled with tiny treasures has just been enchanting me lately.  #MakesMeSmile, I hope you will too.

The United States Postal Service Love Stamp series began with an 8¢ stamp in 1973.

First Love Stamp 1973

By Robert Indiana

The second stamp was issued nine years later, in 1982.

2nd Love Stamp 1982

(Stamp #3 might be my favorite.)

3rd Love Stamp 1984

3rd Love Stamp 1984

I also love finding out a secret, here’s one about the Rose & Love Letter series.

The background on this 2001 stamp is an actual love letter from 1763 between John & Abigail Adams.

The background on this 2001 stamp is an actual love letter from 1763 between John & Abigail Adams. Sweet!

And then a wee gap in the collection.  I’m on the lookout for love stamps between 2002-2008.  There’s a Hershey’s Kiss for 2007!

That brings us to the last Love stamp with a postage rate, 44¢, and the beginning of the Forever Love stamps.

Garden of Love depicts the abundance of life, its generosity, whose spirit is to be shared by all its creatures. Love’s definition is broader than romantic love. Love is that colorful, full feeling you get when you enjoy being a part of and sharing in the generosity of life.” José Ortega, artist, quoted by the US Postal Service


2015 Forever Hearts, by Jessica Hische

2015 Forever Hearts, by Jessica Hische**

Gosh, then ponder what was contained in the cards, letters & invitations that were originally sent with these stamps. ♥ 

(** Here is link to artist describing portraying love within just one inch)

(And apologies to my family, who I had long thought were crazy for saving postage. Silly me.)

So. How do YOU say it?

What do you order to go with your sandwich or salad at lunch.

What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?

from the Smithsonian blogspot,

“I call it Pop, You call it Soda”

One example is how different regions use “pop,” “soda,” “cola,” “coke,” or “tonic” to describe the same thing!

popI recall saying pop in Los Angeles and you would have thought I said dungarees!

Vintage POP BottlesCAM01902

Contemporary Cans


** With a sunny weekend on the horizon, I really just wanted to share the Honey Dew bottle with the beehive detail and got a bit carried away.

The study of the many ways language and society intersect is known as sociolinguistics. The field combines sociology, psychology, anthropology and more.

The  University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Dialect Survey queried North American English speakers’ usage of a variety of linguistic items, including vocabulary items that vary by region.

For example, What is your *general* term for the rubber-soled shoes worn in gym class, for athletic activities, etc.?

a. sneakers (45.50%)
b. shoes (1.93%)
c. gymshoes (5.55%)
d. sand shoes (0.03%)
e. jumpers (0.01%)
f. tennis shoes (41.34%)
g. running shoes (1.42%)
h. runners (0.17%)
i. trainers (0.23%)

Our tennys collection will stay in the garage, but still fun to ponder the differences.

I feel like Kellyanne Conway would like our market, right after the pop, there’s a fine selection of alcoholic beverages in alternative packages.

Looking for a Job? (Circa WWII)

There’s lots of jobs open for women . . . and they pay not less than $1.04 an hour.  Ruey

Detail of a 1943 letter from a high school chum encouraging a friend to leave her senior year of college, and join the workforce in the war effort.  Which she did.

Letter w/ads$1.04 an hour

$1.04 an hour?

Minimum wage was .30¢ an hour in 1939, and .40¢ in 1945.

A sample of employment ads the letter included targeting female applicants from the Oregonian, 1943 (Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA).

Fred Meyer 1943

There’s a place for you


Swing shift

Two full pages of opportunities; a few less if you were over 40.

Other possibilities:

Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent, and by 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home.

Female workers wanted

May 1st is International Workers’ Day.  Thanks for taking a small peek back at US worker history, or perhaps herstory, to see how things have progressed.

Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Remembrance Day

I just posted an Instagram collage where I would understand if there were no likes whatsoever. It is composed of Sorrow, with a touch of hope.

Today is Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, and I am thinking of six million innocent lost lives.

The images are from the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation / Deportation Memorial, and the Mémorial de la Shoah / Shoah Memorial in Paris.

The depth is, of course, more than I can express. Not enough words, not enough pictures. Too many words, too many pictures.

Top row: the Deportation Memorial, honoring the 200,000 French deported to concentration camps.
Entering, interior, and exiting.

For me, the space adds to the gravity of what each lighted crystal, bars on the wall, photo displayed, and engraved quote represent. The light, the dark, the narrow passage. It is both thought provoking and uncomfortable; it should be.

Middle “Forgive, do not forget.”

Bottom: One of the plaques in the Marais, this one on a school, honoring the 11,000+ children deported from France during WWII.

“To the memory of the little children of this nursery school deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were Jews, innocent victims of the Nazi barbarism with the active complicity of the Vichy government.

They were exterminated in the death camps.

Let us never forget them.

 This was dedicated December 15, 2001. One source I found said there are over 300 similar plaques in Paris.

Part of the facade of the Shoah Memorial.

I was alone in the crypt at the Shoah Memorial. Ashes collected from the concentration camps and the Warsaw ghetto were buried here in 1957.  A moment I will always remember. Makes me well-up to think of it now.

The Wall of the Righteous is also on the exterior of the Shoah Memorial. 3,900 people who risked their lives to help Jews in France are honored here.

Some of the first recipients:


The first day I was in Paris, I took a tour of the Marais. The guide was a history teacher and researcher.

In front of the Wall of Names at the Shoah Memorial, she shared two stories from her friends and family about WWII and Occupied France. One was a family history that is not my story to share.  And one was about the grandmother of one of her closest friends.

The grandmother is one of the heroes named above.

The guide then asked the tour group, “What would you have done?”

and then very earnestly, clearly in present tense “What will you do?”


I will never forget.  I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and to feel sadness, anger, horror, heartache and respect.

Where in the World?


Off to get rich*

Heading to one of the destinations shown in the globe collection in previous post. Yippee!

To both of my readers, à bientôt!


Here’s a hint, my daughter sees this as her math homework while I immediately see a famous monument.


This is what is might look like at the very top,

A Well – Rounded Collection, Vintage Globes

A sample of from the not-so-simple-to-display-and-or-store collection of vintage globes.

The colors, the history, the dreams, the new countries, and heck–they even spin.  Globes are hard to resist.

Family members have been known stand in front of a globe for sale more than once and say “Repeat after me, no more globes. . . “

The imaginative and quizzical thoughts that were launched with each globe.  One globe is a h-u-g-e sturdy classroom size. Oh it was sooooo dirty from years of little hands all over it. However, the ‘smog’ washed off which revealed that over time some of the ‘world’ had rubbed off too.  A bit ironic.

At back to school time, I rally them all together in the living room for an ‘expand your brain’ send off. And they return to hang out in the study,  at the top of bookshelves and on desks. And I continue to ponder using 1/2 of a globe for a light fixture or bowl craft project.

Globe maker since 1930, Replogle has a resource to determine the age of a vintage globe; fun and educational.

Hard to sneak a new one in the house, perhaps a disguise might help . . .  CAM01136

Do You Speak French?

Mais Oui!

OK, kinda.

Speaking French has been one of my goals since I was five. I took French in high school and a few quarters in college. Unfortunately my path towards international sophisticate pretty much stalled at that point. However, speaking French is still on my goal list. And expanding my language skills is still possible, vs say any Olympic goals that are past/(not really ever) attainable.

I can (for the most part) converse in present tense exchange pleasantries, get directions and food.  The very nice monsieur à la fromagerie (cheese shop) told me “Ah! You speak French, that’s nice” (in French), or maybe he just wanted me to stop trampling the delicate nuances.  He seemed très genuine.  It had been years since I had uttered more than ‘Ma petit chou’ to my petites (my little cabbage–a term of endearment). I’ll accept his ‘atta Madame’, and purchase 100 grams of brie. Merci beaucoups.

My accent? Not so much. My ‘R’s prefer to remain static, and only roll with a ‘Tony the Tiger’ grrr to start them off. (I remain hopeful, and have been having fun refreshing with Duolingo.) But speaking (any) French makes me happy. And I think it is important for your kids to see you try something, struggle and try again.

I was told by a Portuguese taxi driver that I speak French like a Finn. Not sure how to interpret that statement (pun intended), and but I am definitely going with “I sound European!”  La/Le Woo Hoo!  I can muster a fairly effective Franglais option, supplemented with hand signs, a shoulder shrug, and a smile.  I have a loooong way to go to do justice to le français.  Maybe I should take this off the bookshelf and resume studying.

Before there was Google translate,

Vintage French to English Verb Conjugation Guide.  A two-sided ‘dial a verb and tense’.

Watch out google translateJog?I was lucky enough to purchase this shopping at a Paris flea market.  I do enjoy a good vintage school supply. Double bonus.

Merci beaucoups to my high school French teacher, Madame Fry, who managed to drill in the basics in that I have somehow retained.

Can’t help but smile. Adieu mes amis.

Christmas Eve!

Wrapping up (pun intended) this week with a most loved collection–Advent calendars.

I wanted to have keepsake calendars that welcome interaction with our little elves, whatever their ages. Some times there will be a treat, coupon or note inside, but most often just the joy in a day closer to Christmas. This felt calendar by Garnet Hill has pockets and an embroidered symbol to greet each day.

Nativity calendar by Museum of Fine Arts Boston.  The velcro backed pieces are sized perfectly for pudgy little toddler hands, but not too small for toddler mouths.  Many holiday decorations are a ‘don’t touch’ item, so nice to have one that is a ‘yes please’.  The barn is becomes quite crowded by the time all 24 pieces are up. PS, also fits perfectly well in teenage hands.

The first 2 calendars are a nice Christmas red, but I have ended with a red-orange sort of glow. And blurry at that, well it’s how it looks to me without my glasses.  Sorry.

A quilted calendar by Pottery Barn Kids.  Each pocket has a holiday detail, and the numbers are non-sequential, and they can be anywhere on the square. An annual homemade marker is made and moved from pocket to pocket to count the days.  This year it’s Oprah! (From the magazine’s December cover.)

Somehow I was maternally preoccupied (read: obsessed) with each child having a fair and equal turn marking the days. Luckily 24 is divisible by 2, 3, and 4! Each year a rotation moving the marker, adding or uncovering the date per calendar has been a cheerful yet negotiated sequence. Also almost always a mini math test. . . .   I try to keep the number of treats equal in frequency and color. (See obsessed above, and really the tussle over different color wrappers on Hershey’s Kisses® was a one year only mistake on my part.)  Don’t mess with these girls’ chocolate! (Present company included.)

Of course, issues disappear with having individual chocolate countdowns. Or a box of Frango’s.

Chocolate calendar

When munchkin number 4 arrived in December, I panicked. This resulted in an impulse purchase. It’s unusual, and Play Mobil sets are a favorite.  But the pirate themed Advent calendar was never really embraced with enthusiasm.

1970’s Hallmark card featuring Rudolph.

While not quite an Advent calendar, this card counts the days until Christmas with chores! Given to me by my college roommates. Recently unearthed from a box during a purging spree.  Elicited a jolly ho ho ho from me to see it.

Sassy 1

I could have added more candy cane stickers before photographing but I did not.  It was during the frenzy of my final set of December finals, and chores were not really high on my list. But I did brush my teeth!   Wonder if there’s a time limit on completing the chart for a present? . . .  Most likely this is headed to the recycle bin, but with a smile. (From continued excellent brushing.)

Merry Christmas!

Father Snow

Ever catch something out of the corner of your eye that makes you smile?

Father Snow

FYI, it was during a very quiet moment of solitude (not a service) when this ironic monument caught my eye, and I laughed out loud. In a cemetery.

Yikes, potential bad karma, but a true laugh coming from such a location just might be welcome.

Here is a collection of winter memories in the Rockies.

One outing found me ice skating, literally, into this sign. Probably not unique as it is the perfect place for dental advertising, but definitely enjoyed the laugh, and the support.

MT Dent

Onto Winter Carnival

mt balto

Sled Dogs on parade


Yak it up

Is that what I think it is? What do I think it is?

A parade that featured pirates and, not exceptionally shaggy amiable bison, but yaks! My first ever yak siting.

 She’s Snow Happy!Snow angelI just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite. Buddy the Elf

off to get the mail

Off to get the mail

If you've gotta have s'mores

If you’ve gotta have s’mores . . .

MT 4

Brings a new meaning to ‘snowfall’

Got Cocoa?


Would the van thermometer display temps below zero? It did. Brrrrr!

That’s -27 C for any potential international readers . . .

Forecast? Cold and snowy. Scattered with warm holiday memories.

Row Row Row Your Boat (encore from April 2014)

How can I link a rainy Saturday in Seattle, (yes, hard to distinguish given so many similar days. . .)  to the achievement of an American gold medal in the Olympics?

Well, I can start by mentioning a book.  The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown published in June 2013. The book, describes the stories of the varsity crew members for the University of Washington.  This is the gold medal part of the post.

In April 2013,  I attended my daughter’s regatta held at the University of Washington. The morning started with a brief springlike moment of sun, and within minutes the skies became kitten gray and began to pour torrents of rain. Buckets. Puddles. The teams waited for their turn to row through the Montlake Cut.  The kids were terrific. Cold, soggy, fun.

The clouds poured

This is the rainy Saturday part of the post.

Parents were invited into the UW Conibear Shellhouse to warm up as the boats came in.  My jacket was dripping and my jeans were saturated up to the knee.  And I was faring well compared to the rowers. Conibear 2Nestled on Lake Washington, I had a few moments to myself in the dining room out of the rain.UW CREW the BOAT 3

As I waited for my munchkin’s boat to make its way back to the dock,  I looked up to see an old racing shell hanging from the ceiling. Things made of wood are my kind of things. (In our entry, I have a vintage pair of skis, an 8′ toboggan, and a carved antique door panel.)

Wood seats, metal riggers, leather shoes, a polished honey glow.  The shell was beautiful.

UW CREW the BOAT 1I scampered back outside when the team arrived back to the dock.

Raining again

Getting rained on a second time. Brrrr

In 2014, my rower and I went to hear author Daniel James Brown speak and read from The Boys in the Boat. He was joined by Judy Willman, the daughter of one the boys.  As they shared details about this amazing story about the boys, and the journey researching and writing the book, they also mentioned the boat.

1936 team from Husky Crew Foundation

1936 postcard with the Olympic course on Lake Grunau. Husky Crew Foundation

(Listen to coxswain Bob Moch describe the gold medal race.)

Mr. Brown stated that the Husky Clipper racing shell used by the 1936 UW Olympic Champions now hangs from the ceiling of the dining hall in the Conibear Shellhouse.

OMG, I had pictures of it! I gasped as I realized I’d been so close to a piece of history. (Yes, I welled up too)

This IS the boat. The Boys were in This Boat.UW CREW the BOAT 2

And I sat under it on a rainy Saturday.

Completely changed the meaning of ‘cool’ when I now remember that regatta.

row 3 UW IZ

The girls in the boat.

More scoop:

Boys in the Boat  book excerpt, interview with author Daniel James Brown, and video of the Olympic race.

Have I read the book? Yes! Twice.

If you’re in Seattle, the Conibear Shellhouse is open 9-5 M-F, and there’s a Boys of 1936 Tour

Oh, how are the Husky men’s varsity crew doing? 2015 was their fifth national championship in a row.