My Quarters for a Map Card! Sent to England, Germany, Japan, Macau, Scotland, Switzerland, Taiwan, & the U.S.

A dozen outgoing cards to share this time, and lots of variety.  Make sure to check out all of the stamps, stamps, stickers, washi tape, & weather doodles at the end!

But before we end, we begin.  And we begin with some food recently detailed in another post.  This portion went out to Alamo, Texas, in a swap-bot trade of ad/food postcards.


California’s Grapevine–a very yawny route–went to Macau, in a Postcard United draw.  I don’t remember sending to or receiving from Macau before, but that’s all changed now.  A day after I drew this user’s name, I RECEIVED a postcard from her!  This is not the 1st time that this has happened to me on Postcard United.  Do you use the site, and has this happened to you?

The California state map with the gigantic surfer went to Schiffdorf, Germany in a Postcrossing trade in which we were to send the person we tagged a card from among those they had marked as favorites.  This was my very last state map postcard!  It’s a crying shame, because for some reason, a whole lot of postcarders seem to love & collect map cards.  I even took a day trip to touristy Monterey, California, last week, in part to restock on California map cards.  I popped into SO many stores selling cards–one of them had a huge wall of cards–and I encountered ZERO map cards.  I’ll be taking an overnight trip up the coast this weekend, & see what I find.

Next set of 3!  The “Keep Surfing, Dummies” shark swam off to Lynnfield, Massachusetts, in a Postcrossing Forum trade where partners choose the card they would like from those in an album the previous tagger has posted.  Scroll down & I’m sure you’ll be able to identify the card’s backside, seriously themed with oceany stamps, stickers, washi tape–and even a lurking shark!


The very bored-looking reader went to Glasgow, Scotland in another favorites tag.  This Postcrosser’s profile mustn’t have given me too much to work with, because I behaved like a scoundrel & wrote about the weather.  To be fair, California weather has been extraordinary lately: 101, a major state highway, was completely closed down in southern San Jose due to flooding.  Heck, animals at the city’s zoo had to be moved.

Peanuts!  That’s off to Dongshan County, Yilan, Taiwan in another Postcrossing Forum trade.  That one was all about cards going to & from that country, so I’m happy to say another Taiwanese Postcrosser will soon be sending me a card.

Next set of 3, and aren’t those otters beautiful?  Every once in a while–and a couple of times recently–a wild otter will hop up to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s great tide pool exhibit, give birth, and hang out for a day or two before hauling back out with her new pup.  This card, and several other otter cards purchased at the aquarium, ended up being the only postcards I purchased during my day trip I mentioned earlier in the post.  This card went to my post pal in Hawaii!


Kitty in pearls went to Tokyo, Japan in yet another Postcrossing Forum tag.  Yes, I love those trades.  You should check them out, if you never have.

Another beautiful kitty, the tiger, went to Poughkeepsie, New York, for a swap-bot trade of “beachy” postcards.

The last trio of postcards here go out in a pair of Disney-related swap-bot trades.

Beauty & the Beast are on their way to to a trader in Metairie, Lousiana, who might have the most beefed-up swap-bot profile (or any profile, for that matter) that I have ever seen.  Music, books, movies, TV, plus her Hogwarts house AND plenty of writing prompts for would-be correspondents–these are just for starters!  I enjoyed her list of dislikes, perhaps most of all this section:

“misspelling (stationery includes envelopes; stationary means affixed 🙂 and poor grammar (should have; a lot; lack of commas in direct address; don’t even get me started on it’s and its or they’re, there, and their :(“


Rapunzel’s prison should end up in Sion, Valais, Switzerland; and Snow White & friends went to Brighton, Sussex, England.

Okay, time to look at all of those backsides!  If you look closely, you will see a few changes in weather in the time I was preparing these cards.


Okay, here comes the back of that shark card I shared…



Oh, it was really windy when I prepared the Disney cards.  I created a new weather doodle!  Also, a few days before writing these cards, I had been to San Jose’s Japantown, where I bought a sheet of silly sushi stickers, which I used on all 3 of these cards.


DONE!  What do you think?  What are your favorite cards/stickers/whatever this time around?  And how much do you want to bet I will never see another California map card out in the wild again?



A Bit Heavy on the Kaya: Received from China, Malaysia, Poland, Slovenia, & Thailand

Six incoming cards this time–let’s start with my two very favorite!

The dino is just the bottom of a 3-tiered dino stack found in Beijing, China‘s 798 Art Zone.  I would love to find myself here!  I received this postcard in a Postcrossing Forum tag trade.


I received the kopitiam card via Postcard United, from a Netherlands native now living in Malaysia.  I haven’t been to Malaysia yet, but I have been to neighboring Singapore, where kopitiams–and this breakfast–are also a big thing.  I had my kopi with milk, and I left most of my egg behind–eggs are a taste I have yet to really appreciate, at least most of the time–but I love me some kaya toast.  I love it at home, and I love it abroad.  And I will eat it here and there.  I will eat it everywhere!  I do so love kaya toast.

Staying on the topic of food, the next card was sent by a Postcrosser who tells me that she’s a foodie, and that “there are many kinds of delicious snack in China.  So I hope u could have fun in China one day!”  I would like to spend many days doing so!  This beautiful building on her postcard is the Ri Sheng Chang Exchange Shop, located in Pingyao, Shanxi, China.  It dates back to 1823, and is thought to be the first draft bank in China’s history.


More food comes my way from a Postcrosser in Slovenia.  She lists the foods (her writing is a little hard to read, but we can look these items up using the print on the card image), then says, “maybe you’ll ever eat these foods.” Not-so-fascinating fact: I don’t care for honey, olives, or olive oil (I think Olive Oyl is kinda cool, though).  You know what food I DO love?  C’mon, have you even been paying attention?  I love kaya toast!

More buildings, more Postcard United, this time from Poznań, Poland.  The sender tells me his is one of the largest cities in the country, and he also writes:

“I’m an attorney and I really like my job.  🙂  I love almost every kind of active spending time e.g. skiing, cycling, hiking or canoeing.  I hope that you’ll like this postcard picturing Liberty Square in my hometown.  Wish you all the best!”


The last card is from Thailand, received in a swap-bot trade of free ad cards.  I see it was produced by an Australian initiative that invites emerging artists to apply to have their work printed on its free cards.

Stamp time!  I especially love that one on the bottom row, sporting a photo from Krabi, Thailand.



Staredown at the P.O.!

Unexpected drama at the post office today!  But let’s back up just a bit.

I was so excited recently to learn that one of my favorite places, Hilo, Hawaii’s Lili`uokalani Gardens, was to be commemorated with its own postage stamp.  I was considerably less thrilled once I found that the image was not to grace a Forever stamp, nor a postcard stamp, but a $6.65 Priority Mail stamp.


So beautiful, though.

I would have purchased these stamps in bulk!  I would have Postcrossed the heck out of them!  Lili’uokalani Gardens is one of the reasons I fantasize about living in Hilo.  Heck, I even shot the image of one of my self-printed postcards there.


Hilo is for lovers.

The good news in all of this disappointment over not having this stamp be at an accessible, daily-use rate, is that I found that: a) there is a group called the Friends of Lili’uokalani Gardens; b) they are selling a calendar packed with images of the garden (no, mine is not among them); and c) they are mailing out that calendar using the special new stamp!  I will, of course be ordering that calendar!

Moving back toward today’s issue, I had a Priority Mail flat envelope stuffed with goodies to send to a loved one.  I took it to the post office to the self-service machine, and within a few clicks, realized that the rate would be $6.65–or one Lili’uokalani stamp!  Woo-hoo!  I can decorate the envelope with a real stamp!  A real COOL stamp, that is!

So, I walked to the counter & asked whether they had the priority mail stamps.  The clerk said yes, but that they were “the old ones,” and that I’d need twenty cents additional postage.  Well, okay.  So I asked to mail my package that way.

And she got upset.

“WHY?  I can just print out the postage.”

But I wanted the stamps.

“You mean, you want to send this now, and buy the stamps to use next time?”

No, I want to buy the stamps for this package, right here.

“But I can just scan it!”

A silent stare passed between us.

I asked, “can I not use stamps to mail this?”

The silent stare continued.

Finally, she realized that someone asking for stamps must surely be insane, and she relented.

I’m not sure why.  Maybe there was someone behind me in line.


Sent to China, England, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, & Taiwan (Part 2)

Last time, I ended up just showing off the backsides of these eleven postcards I’ve sent out recently.  Time to flip them all over!  Most of these went out in Postcrossing Forum tag trades–if anything else is the case here, I’ll make note of it.

These three presidential Peanuts characters went out into the world along with my recommendation that each of them would have been a reasonable choice for my nation’s top office.  The worst I could say was that Pig-Pen may be dirty–but he’s certainly not the kind of dirty we are becoming used to!  That candidate went out to Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and Charlie Brown (“He is kind & fair to everyone,” I wrote) went to Tokyo, Japan. The third candidate, Franklin (“Oh, how I wish Franklin had run! He’s such a good guy, who studies hard & is always fair”) went to my Peanuts-crazy postpal in Peacehaven, East Sussex, England.


Peanuts 2020.  Because we’ve proven we’re not against cartoon characters holding office.

Okay, now that we’ve seen the would-have-been candidates, let’s rush through the rest of the cards, four at a time.  Which are your favorites, this time?


The Met Museum: Sevilla, Spain (Postcard United draw)

Tiled Peanuts gang: Yokohama, Japan

Marching ducklings: Udupi, Karnataka, India

Flying crane: Neuss, Germany


Monterey Bay Aquarium octopus: Shenyang, Liaoning, China

Pismo Beach butterflies: Selangor, Malaysia (Postcrossing draw)

Matisse-Still Life with Pomegranates: Kaohsiung, Taiwan (Postcrossing draw)

Matisse-The Divan: Weifang, Shandong, China (Postcard United draw)

Show That Colorful Backside: Sent to China, England, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, & Taiwan

ELEVEN cards this time, including decorations from ALL of the backsides!  Yes, I’m serious: if you don’t believe me, go on down to the bottom of the post right now & look!

On second thought, you know what? Let’s ONLY do the backs this time–there are so many, and so much going on, it’s really just–enough.  I’ll show the fronts, and trade details, next time.  I mean, unless another post gets in the way.



You may notice that in the days I was preparing all of these cards, I was experimenting with how to work out the new stamp values to equal the international stamp rate.  My initial attempts put me over as much as four cents per postcard.  More exact addition led to precious little room to address the cards.



I finally landed on the information that one Forever stamp, plus two postcard rate stamps, equal the value of one international stamp.  The previous math was 2 Forevers + 1 Additional Ounce = 1 International.

Old stamps require new math:





All in One Day! Received from Australia, Finland, Malaysia, Russia, & Taiwan

First mail day of the week, and my box was full of postcards!  Getting five in one day, I suppose perhaps I should brace myself for the idea that this might be it for the entire week.

Let’s start with “Malaysia Traditional Kue,” my favorite card this time.  I must really like it, to call it my favorite when this is probably the 3rd time I’ve received the card over the course of my Postcrossing career.  It came to me via Postcard United.


That beautiful tea dragon made its way to me from Oulu, Finland, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum food package tag.  The sender writes:

“This is the strangest tag I have ever participated in!  This package shows one of my fave teas to make in ice tea form–I like white teas for it, raspberry & orange in addition to this.  The cute dragon is a bonus!  I don’t use sugar or other sweeteners in it, so black tea tastes too strong IMO.  I do prefer green teas for warm tea.  The stamp shows one of the crazy competitions we have in Finland–boot throwing.  Others in the series include e.g. Air Guitar (the world championships are here in Oulu!), and wife carrying.  I’ve been to the air guitar world championships a few times, but it was years ago.  It’s a fun contest to watch and some performances are really acrobatic.”


You’ll get to see the stamp she’s talking about down below, but let’s look at that noodle dish, now.  That’s from Taiwan, an the sender tells me:

“I would really like to show you this food.  “Oyster & pork intestine vermicelli with rice noodles (da chang mian xian in Chinese) is my favorite!

Down below, you can see the stamps from her card, and I’ll share her descriptions of the food found on those.

The rather scary Russian scene is from Russia, via Postcrossing.  In registering the card, I learned the sender is a 12-year-old.

Much less scary is the shark card, which I received from Eden, NSW, Australia via Postcard United.  Pretty cool: a first-day issue card from 1998.  I like that cancellation stamp!  The back of the card is quite interesting; the user employs QUITE a few custom & non-custom ink stamped statements & designs, while still squeezing in  little hand-written message.  I’ve left it all mostly intact below, so you can take it in.



Beautiful stamps on the card from Taiwan.  The sender tells me the fruit on the left is lian wu, or wax apple, and the pastries at the right are her favorite dessert, “dan huang su, egg with mashed red bean and crispy outside.”


Tea, Honey, & Flying Vermin: Received from England, Germany, Japan, & the U.S.

Some incomings this time via Postcrossing, swap-bot, & a post pal–let’s start with the post pal, who is in Tokyo, Japan, and created this cool envelope.


Inside, she wrote to me on two postcards.


She wrote a little bit about the style of art, & her feelings on it:

“Do you have interest in ukiyo-e?  When I went to book store a few days ago, I found a postcards booklet of Hokusai Katsushika.  Actually, I didn’t watch them very much.  I thought ukiyo-e was very old, these are NOT cute.  Moreover I don’t like human or mountains very much.  I found flowers, bird and some interesting art in this book.”

She put both of those cards, and a teabag (“I’m currently drinking it everyday”) in the envelope–here’s the tea package, & the back side of the envelope.


The Where’s Waldo card came to me from somewhere around Birmingham, Alabama, thanks to a swap-bot trade. the sender shared a Groucho Marx quote: “I intend to live forever, or die trying!”  I appreciate a postcard-sized Where’s Waldo scene: I was actually able to find him!


Oof–then we have the peacock feathers.  No, no–it’s a nice enough card (it came to me from Hereford, England, via Postcrossing), but have a look at the back, please.


Wacky.  And not in a fun way, at least not for me.

Needless to say, I didn’t understand a word of it.  I know that a fellow blogger I follow here on WordPress also received a card from this user, but I don’t remember whom, I’m sorry.  I tried finding out more about this user, and I gather it’s some retired guy.  I don’t know what he feels he is getting out of the service, but I have to assume it’s all on the receiving end.  Okay, what’s next?  Is this the old Microsoft Clippy?


The card came to me from Germany via Postcrossing, and the sender tells me she works in a big financial firm during the day, and outside of that she’s a honey professional!

“Beekeeping is family tradition for more than 100 years and I’m proud to be a part of it.  In 2016 we got a price for the good quality of our honey.”

Something less tasteful up next: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace!  I got that from the Orlando, Florida area, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum movie tag.  The sender writes:

“Despite this being generally a pretty terrible movie in my opinion it’s actually got my favorite Star Wars character in it–Qui-Gon Jinn.  I really love him and wish he hadn’t died.”

Sorry if I just gave out a spoiler there, but honestly: if you haven’t seen the film: no need.

Time to show off the remaining stamps & stickers:





Chock Full O’ Peanuts, with a Hint of Veggie Bacon: Sent to Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, & Taiwan

Over the past couple of days, I’ve prepped cards to send off in several Postcrossing Forum trades–including the nearly-always-dormant (but currently moving) Snoopy/Peanuts thread!  And though that only accounts for one of the four trades here, there are several Peanuts lovers in the bunch.


Lucy is pounding sand on her way to Dongshan Township, Taiwan.  This user wanted senders to draw a cute picture for her, so I did, as you will see below.

Those “bacon strips” are a vegetarian product from Morningstar Farms, and something I’ve been buying & enjoying for years.  The card is on its way to Singapore for a Food Package Postcard tag, and as I told that recipient, I just used some of that bacon this week in a veggie BLT with avocado.  She’s a dalmatian lover, and you’ll notice that I tried to please her when I adorned the back side of her card.


Let’s go with Lucy, a born leader!  That’s from a series of Peanuts character cards printed for the political season.  As I told this card’s recipient, who lives in Selangor, Malaysia, I do not think Lucy would make a good President–but I can think of at least once person who would be worse.

Finally we come to the postcard that shows us the time Linus attempted to sell Violet some bogus cat toys.  That’s the one that is going off in the Snoopy/Peanuts tag, and it is going to Yokohama, Japan.

Time to show off the backsides of the cards, each one a real party!  The stamps I pre-ordered quite some time ago finally arrived this week: they are the Lunar New Year stamps, and also the seashell stamps, which I love.  I’m also a huge fan of the shore birds postcard stamps, which I’ve had for quite some time.  I’m going to have to rework my stamp math now that the Forever stamp rate has come up; my first attempt, with one Forever stamp plus two postcard stamps, runs a couple of cents over the $1.15 international rate.



Fine Food & “Free” Postcards

When I went to try a well-hyped Thai restaurant in San Francisco this week, I didn’t just end up with a full belly & an empty wallet–I ended up with postcards!  Imagine my surprise when I looked up from my seat to see this wall decor:


Needless to say, I was impressed & excited.  I never, ever see free postcard racks anymore–and these are really cool.  I asked the server whether the cards were for purchase.  Nope, free.  Let’s call it not free, but “free,” as a rather modest meal for two ran us around $75.  What can I say–even in the SF Bay Area, good & authentic Thai food is as hard to find as a horcrux. Harder, even.

Restraining myself, and knowing that in mailing these out I will actually be doing the restaurant the service they intended, I took a mere nine: just two or three each of these, the four cards I liked.


Tasty postcards.

Looking forward to sending them about!

Here is Really No Fun: Received from Canada, Germany, Greece, Japan, & the U.S.

I love this postcard of Astro Boy (AKA Mighty Atom) & friends which came to me from a sender in Tokyo, Japan, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum trade in which the person tagging looks at the recipients favorite cards, and sends one they think would be appreciated.  I do appreciate it, and I love the Doraemon stickers on the back, too!  Scroll to the bottom of the post to see those.  This card’s sender tells me:

“I have a 3-year-old son and a newborn daughter.  I work as a software engineer.  I sent you this card of ATOM!!  Wishing you peace and health from Japan.”


I love, love, love that Astro postcard.

Then comes the Japanese food–NOT sent to me from Japan.  It’s from Riverside, California, in another Postcrossing Forum “see my favorites” tag, and the sender writes:

“I hope that you are having an especially lovely day today.  This card gives me a serious sushi craving.  I love a good rainbow roll.  Surprisingly, there are some great sushi places here in the desert.”

This Snoopy nengajō is awesome.  It’s another card from Tokyo, in a Postcrossing Forum Peanuts tag, bringing me “best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year.”  Wonderful Doraemon stamp on the back, too!  Nengajō: why, why, why is this not a thing here in the U.S.?  No new years greetings, and not much of an emphasis on the Lunar New Year… which reminds me of an NPR interview I heard this weekend with 97-year-old Chinese cuisine icon Cecilia Chang:

(NPR’S NEDA) ULABY: But as much as Chiang loves the Lunar New Year, she misses being in countries where everyone is celebrating it.

CHIANG: Here is really no fun.

Y U P !


Then we have–donuts?–from Friedberg, Germany.  Sounds appropriate!  This comes my way thanks to Postcard United.  The sender tells me:

“I live here with my 74 year old mother and I take care of her.  I wish you all the best.”

More food, thanks to a swap-bot trade of recycled cardboard.  It came to me from Greece, where the sender wrote:

“Bye Bye 2016!  This is my last postcard for 2016 and that’s good.  Besides the famous people who died, I lost family & friends.  It’s been a lousy year for death.  On the other hand, we made a profit during ‘the season,’ we aren’t hungry and going further into debt.”

So there’s that.

COFFEE TIME! That came to me from Virginia in a swap-bot trade, and  it got me wondering as to whether Chase & Sanborn Coffee still exists, so I looked it up–and it does! It is now owned by the same Italian company that also bought up Chock full o’Nuts, and the company website taught some stuff about that brand:

“Chock full o’Nuts coffee houses are very widespread, especially in the Northeast of the United States. They serve top quality, 100% Arabica coffee, as well as the well-known date nut bread and a wide range of refreshing drinks.”



Finally now, a card from another WordPresser! Melissa in Canada sent me a very Canadian card, indeed: flag on the front, hockey player stamps on the back!  You can see them, plus Doraemon, and all the stamps, stickers & postmarks below.