Reclaiming My Time: Sent to China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Serbia, Taiwan, the U.S. & the U.K.

In my last post, I lamented how attempting to track my postcard comings & goings is claiming too much time. Thanks to some commenters on the post, and some introspection, I have begun to implement a few techniques to chip away at the time suck:

  • Going as I go: I am posting outgoing cards & info in a draft as I go–no more spending time trying to rediscover the information to post. I will be clearing all the shots on my phone & computer that I may or may not have already posted. This is huge.
  • Faster than scanning: I will use the photoscan app on my phone when it seems faster. It’s–inelegant, as you’ll notice below, but it makes things faster!
  • Keep it simple: I have begun editing my scans using PAINT! Just a simple shrink & crop. The free photo editing sites are adding more hoops that suck up time and computer space, so this has made a HUGE amount of difference.
  • –And simpler: However I scan the backs of my postcards, I am trying to do it BEFORE I write them out. This means less editing later to protect recipients’ personal info.
  • Making choices: Moving forward, when I finally make another post of received postcards, I may well leave out the ones I don’t care for so much (though I’d still show stamps I like). This has got to save a lot of time, right? We’ll play that one as we go.

Updates on this project as we go, and your input welcome. OKAY, let’s get on with the cards! When you see repeated cities down below, some may be going to the same person in that city. Sometimes. Didn’t necessarily keep track. See how well I’m doing with this project, already?

First off, there’s a food package postcard going to Ruian, Zhejiang, China. When I requested the recipient’s address, I received a response that this was to be a greeting for her friend’s 18th birthday, that the friend would like a Marvel card, and that she likes two singers no one over the age of 17 has ever heard of. Since this is a food package postcard tag, I sent her this sweet card, with the birthday greeting, and lots of stickers (which you will see, if you scroll down far enough).

Coast Redwoods rock 560

A second panel like this is going to Osaka, Japan.

Cute otters heading to Yonago, Tottori, Japan

postcard a Monterey Bay Aquarium otter mommy and baby

Morro Rock going to Taoyuan, Taiwan

postcard a Morro Bay 1

The evil queen is off to Essen, Germany. This was in a “I’m Offering” tag, and the recipient had at first selected a card I just could not find in my available cards. I apologized, and this was her second choice. It’s just as well: the first choice was a lovely view of Trinidad. This Postcrosser mentions in her profile that she would like to live in the Caribbean, so I have the feeling she doesn’t realize that the “Trinidad” emblazoned on the missing card actually refers to Trinidad, California.

postcard toon Disney Evil Queen at window

Here’s one going to Novi Sad, Serbia

postcard toon Peanuts

More Peanuts, this by request to a Postcrosser in Taichung City, Taiwan.

postcard toon Peanuts Snoopy

This pair of otters was requested by a Postcrosser in Pencoed, Bridgend, Wales:

Postcard A Sequoia Park Zoo Eureka

By request to St. Petersburg, Russia

Postcards a Women in Science Elizabeth Blackwell

The Aladdin card goes off in a Disney tag to Taichung, Taiwan.1529247783241

One of the handmade envelopes I made some time ago takes the hula Jetoy card (my last, I think) off to Novi Sad, Serbia. The recipient asked that the card be written, but in an envelope to “keep it clean,” I think were the words she used. I don’t usually stick my cards in an envelope, and the standard-sized boxed envelopes I have wouldn’t fit the card–but what the heck.1529330809791

The best thing about this Chinese vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco’s Chintatown? FREE POSTCARDS! This one goes to Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. in a food card tag.

Lucky Creation Vegetarian Restaurant SF

Hey, the Disappointmentassortment rears its head again! I repurposed some stamps accumulated via Postcrossing to salvage an ugly card received in a cheap set I purchased. This goes to Englewood, Colorado, U.S.A., to a Postcrosser who wished for collage cards.


I drew another name in Postcard United; this card goes to a recipient in Nagoya City, Japan.

postcard a California 4

She’s a power user: 2,610 cards sent through this service in less than 3 years of membership. She’s also one of those people: the ones who list all of their “expired cards” that have disappeared into the ether (or postal service) without being registered. What purposed does this ever serve? I think many people do it just because they see others doing so. In this case the user realizes that close to half of her 380 expired postcards were sent to inactive members. This is probably why Postcard United is now tracking how long senders go between requesting an address.

Elephant & Piggie are bound for Hong Kong, in a Postcrossing Forum trade of children’s book illustrations…

Hawaii 567

…and California’s North Coast should land in Selangor, Malaysia, thanks to another Postcard United draw…and my very next Postcard United draw (a day later) was to Sarawak, Malaysia!

postcard toon Peanuts Mud Pies and Jelly Beans Linus Snoopy

Right after that, I clicked again & came up with Shanghai, China.postcard 338

Back to Postcrossing Forum trades, this Ben & Jerry’s map will go to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The recipient wanted food cards, and Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops are some of my favorite restaurants! Chocolate Therapy, please…

postcard a Ben and Jerrry.png

Time to show some stamps, stickers, & washi tape. New since the last post are the USPS scratch-n-sniff Popsicle stamps (which pair well with the older ice cream stamps), and also many stickers. What do you like?Hawaii 568

Hawaii 566

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This is a LuLu of a Post: Sent to Canada & the U.S.

It’s time for another “chunk of cardboard” trade on swap-bot!  This month’s star: Little Lulu (and Tubby).


These chunks were saved from a toy package, and cut to postcard dimensions.  They’re all stamped up, written out, and mailed off to (from left to right):

Atlantic Beach, Florida

St. Paul, Minnesota

Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

Stamps, stickers, and washi tape:


Double Chunk: Received from the U.S.


A trio in via swap-bot:


“Aged Vanilla” — that’s my rap name.

The big card with the people on it is from Fort Myers, Florida, and the sender refers to the person responsible for this colorized, captioned image: “I am a big fan of Nick Bantock and his offbeat sense of humor… I’m also a fan of the Naughty Little People series, for the photographer’s irreverent and humorous take on sometimes risque situations.  I like things that surprise me while also making me laugh or causing a wry smile.”

The other two are chunk-of-cardboard trades.  By the way, you should see the stack of rescued-from-the-recycling “chunks” I have right now, ready to cut into postcard-size.  Heck, I guess you WILL see them at some point–if you stay tuned.

That panel from a package of tempting-looking chocolate comes from somewhere around Savannah, Georgia.  This swapper asks me, “have you ever listened to ‘La Mer’ by Nine Inch Nails?  It is a beautiful instrumental piece of music!”  I love the puffy fish stickers on the back of her card.

The cream soda card–and take a hard look at the scan & see the embossing–came from a swapper in Saint Paul, Minnesota, who says, “for 2016 I would like to do some decluttering around the house.”

Stamps, stamps, stickers, washi tape & embossery:


As a sea life fan, I love those puffy fish stickers.  As an elephant lover, I hate that stamp & the circus it represents.

The City of YUM: Sent to Romania & the U.S.

Two cards going out in a swap-bot: “I’ve been here” trade:


This pair is headed for Daytona Beach, Florida; and Rădăuți, Romania.  Yes, I have been to this place, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas–about 5 times in the space of just over a year, I think!  I was not looking for Ten Thousand Buddhas, but for one great Chinese vegetarian restaurant, and I found it!

This “city” is located on the edge of Ukiah, California, on the site of a former state hospital.  I guess it was a creepy, abandoned place for years prior to its current incarnation; I have a friend who grew up not far from here, and though he also loves Chinese vegetarian restaurants, he has yet to get up the nerve to enter this place that used to spook the locals!

Ukiah is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of me, and there’s not much else up in the region, so yes, I did indeed go just for the restaurant: Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant.  And it’s soooo goood!  I especially recommend the “Seaweed Roll, Cucumber, and Carrot with Thai Style Tom Yam Sauce.” Or any of their fried bits, really; healthy in one way doesn’t need to mean healthy in every way. BTW, I don’t know if other people visit Ukiah only for Jyun Kang, but I do know that upon entering the City compound (you drive right under that gate on the top postcard), you stop at the visitor center to sign in (and perhaps buy some postcards?)–and I noticed once in the guest book that the people signing in right before me, also for the restaurant, live in the same city as me!

Stamps, stamps, & washi tape:


Horrible Cereal, but Cool Postcards! Sent to the United States

Some time ago, I was given the swell gift of a box of this cereal.  It was snail-mailed to me!  The swell part was not the cereal itself, which I ended up dumping after I tasted it, but the fact that it made for such fun postcards!


Yes, it’s another swap-bot chunk-of-cardboard swap, in which participants were to create postcards out of their recyclables.  This lovely round is headed for swappers in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Chandler, Arizona; and Atlantic Beach, Florida.

Stamps, stamps & tape for this round:


To H*ck with Trader Joe’s: Received from Germany, Japan, Mexico, & the United States


Look at that coooool Snoopy postcard from Japan (& stay tuned for the awesomeness on the flip side)!  It came to me from Tokyo, Japan, part of a Postcrossing Forum USA-Asia tag, and based on this card & everything attached to the back of it, the sender must have been studying my profile & favorite cards.  She writes of the card, which says “Happy New Year”:

“I send this card though it’s a little early.  🙂 Japanese have a custom of sending New Year’s Day cards, nengajo, to greet their friends and relatives.  It’s similar to the Western custom of sending X’mas cards.  I already bought some cards including this card!”

That makes so much sense to me, sending New Year’s Cards–and in fact I have sent them in the past.  The difficulty here in the U.S. is that in order to do so, I have had to buy blank cards & write in “Happy New Year” (or on occasion, have some custom-printed.  That should change–or I should go card-shopping in Japan.

Okay, here is the back of the card (text removed).  Look at that Astro Boy stamp!  Look at everything else!  Or just skip down to the rest of the post; I will never know unless you tell me.


I recognized the colors & swirl right away on the card from Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, sent as a part of a swap-bot chunk-of-cardboard swap.  I can’t show the back, as it is covered in text, but it is printed with a design of Kinder Surprise (or “Überraschung”) eggs–in fact, it is so covered in text, the sender even wrote over the darkest parts of the design, leaving part of her message to me undecipherable.  I was able to make out at least this much, though:

“I spend lots of pocket money on this! Ü-eggs, just to get the little toy inside & I give the chocolate to my brothers or sister.”

I do not eat Kinder chocolate, either, but I do not give it to poor, unsuspecting people.  The fact is, the stuff tastes awful (and that is putting it kindly).  I would rather put the toys in my mouth.  I just trash it as I am unwrapping the eggs.

Speaking of things that scare me: Trader Joe’s!  It’s another chunk of cardboard, this one from Atlantic Beach, Florida.  The sender writes:

“Trader Joe’s is one of those organic stores.”

Yeah, and judging by the shoppers at my local stores, its fans are vicious!  Do not get between them and the sampling station, I’ll tell you that!  A couple of months ago, I was pulling an item off of the shelf, and an old lady came along & rammed her cart into my rear end–and did not say a word!  Not, that is, until I slowly turned my head & gave her The Look.  The Look can be very effective.  I wish it would work when people block the path with their carts, though.  What happens to common sense & courtesy in that space?  That’s it: I’ve just decided that when I need to go to Trader Joe’s, I’m going to go to Sprouts, instead.

Hey!  I have received my first-ever swap/crossing card from Mexico (and only my second from all of Latin America, the first being from Brazil)!  It’s that funky gymnast.  Doesn’t that look like a character from that creepy Tom Hanks series?  No, not Toy Story, the other one–Da Vinci Code. Anyhow, this is from a Postcrosser in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, who tells me at the end of his message to “have a great day/week/month/year…


Received from Russia, Taiwan, & the United States

Two Postcrossing cards in from Russia for this post. I do get many from that country (yes, even two in a week), but this some post of this is just me catching up.  Heck, for all I know, I’ve even posted one or two before.

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What a crappy photo. Would it have taken me that much longer to scan the things?

The poppies are from Moscow, from a 35-year-old woman with two children who says:

“I love to travel to Russia and visit ancient cities and natural reserves.  I like nature!  During the trips I’ve photographed, and then share photos with friends.  A person must be able to see the true beauty & enjoy it!”

The watery scene is from Yekaterinburg, which the sender identifies as a “little Russian town,” but which Wikipedia identifies as the fourth-largest city in Russia, one on the border of Europe & Asia.  The card’s sender tells me:

“I have eaten in Thailand too–I liked seafood and fruits especially.  What is your favorite dish?”

I don’t care to try to narrow down to a “favorite dish,” but I will say that I often think of the wonderful, abundant, fresh & cheap fruit I was able to find absolutely everywhere during my Thailand trip!  I definitely miss the fruit.

Penny, as I’ve named her, the kitty on the railroad tracks, is from Keelung, Taiwan, part of a Postcrossing Forum “Taiwan Meets the World” trade.  The sender writes:

“Hope you doing well! Best wishes.  xoxo”

So much for meeting Taiwan.  Can’t help but look at all of the white space on the back of the card & think of what might have been.  I’m sure I’ve never mentioned before that I’d rather have a box panel from someone’s favorite cake mix, filled with a nice message on the back, than a gorgeous, expensive postcard left basically empty.

The more I look at the Andy Warhol card, the more I think I probably posted when I got it months ago.  Gotta refine that system.  I will keep it brief: it came from Jacksonville, Florida, in a swap-bot trade in which we were to write about a book we’d recently read.  This person is a big fan of The Kiss of Deception, part of a series by Mary E. Pearson.

Stamps, postmarks…

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E R N I E ! ! –and some other stuff: Received from Germany, Scotland, and the United States

Ernie in my mailbox!  Love seeing any of my Sesame Street friends popping by.

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E R N I E ! ! !

In this case, I should say Sesamstrasse, as the card came to me from a Postcrosser in Würzburg, Germany.

The “Aloha Hawaii” card came from a swap-bot member in Burdett, New York, who says she has a cousin living in Hawaii, but that cousin is moving back to his home state of Ohio.  Oh, excuse me, I glanced at the message again: Oklahoma. My brain was so clouded feeling the loss of having to leave Hawaii…

The section of what I think is a beer box came from Palm Coast, Florida, part of the swap-bot “chunk-o-cardboard” trade I seem to enjoy so much.

That huuuuge card is from a Postcrosser in Galloway, Scotland. The image depicts the “Gateshead Angel of the North,” which the sender tells me is “a large sculpture over the border in the North East of England.  I visited it recently and was very impressed.”

Stamps, a sticker, & stuff:

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A little bit of everything: Received from Belgium, Finland, Taiwan, and the United States

Logging in a quick handful, quickly…

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I think I like the Snoopy card best, despite the jean jacket. I’m afraid I had a jean jacket once, too.

From Finland, and the Postcrossing Forum Snoopy/Peanuts tag trade, comes the Snoopy card, which is from Hallmark!  Here in the U.S., there are hundreds of Peanuts Hallmark greeting cards available, but never a postcard in sight.  I wonder why that is.

The century eggs, found their way to me in a Postcrossing Forum “Taiwan meets the world” tag trade.  The sender’s message:

This postcard is scared to many tourists.  It’s named “century egg.” This eggs that have been preserved by being coated with a coating of lime, ashes and salt before being shallowly buried for 100 days.  The lime “petrifies” the egg, making it look like it’s been buried for at least a century.  This is some indroction for this food.

If that’s not appetizing enough for you, check out the delicious noodles on one of her stamps below!

The Kentucky card came from Florida, in a swap-bot “butt-ugly” postcard trade.  The sender assures me, “Kentucky is most beautiful.”

Lastly, through official Postcrossing, and from Belgium, comes the li’l cowboy.


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Recycling Day: Sent to India & the United States

It’s time for another round of one of my favorite swap-bot trades, the chunk-o-cardboard, in which we are to cut a panel off of a box & turn it into a postcard for our assigned partners!


Pour Fresca over the Golden Grahams, eat that, and then clean your mouth with a Milk Bone brushing chew!

Working from left to right, these are going to: Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India; Palm Coast, Florida; and Atlantic Beach, Florida.

Stamps on the chunk-out-to-India: