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).

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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

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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.

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Here’s one going to Novi Sad, Serbia

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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…

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…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!

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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…

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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

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From Recycling Bin to Mail Box: Sent to Canada, Japan, & the U.S.

Lots of reuse/recycling/upcycling going on around here lately!  I sent out these cards in a number of upcycling-related swap-bot & Postcrossing Forum rounds.

I made these stamp cards months & months ago (and have shared them here), utilizing some of my most-unwanted cards from the disappointassortment I made the mistake of purchasing.  I sent these two off to Mounds View, Minnesota; and North Conway, New Hampshire.

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This mock meat product was just awful–and I have zero aversion to faux meats–the product was just bad.  The package makes a fun postcard, though!  Off it went to Tottori, Japan.

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Milk-Bones & Canada Dry going to recipients in Universal City and Houston, Texas.

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Same swap here, saltines going to Sweet Home, Oregon, and pineapple cookies to Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada.

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This next pair is going to Japan.  Okay, the Bay Bridge one isn’t recycled, but it got scanned with a recycled card, so in it goes!

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Time for stamps, stickers, washi tape–and a few weather drawings.  Enjoy!

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Common Courtesy, Gratitude & Kindness–and the Utter Lack Thereof. Yeah, it’s Another Swap-Bot Post.

As I begin writing this post, it’s International Kindness Day.  That’s got me thinking about the rating I received 3 days back on a swap-bot “upcycled cardboard” postcard swap I shared in this space not long ago.  The card in question went off to Brown Mills, New Jersey, and here is the rating received:

The blank space next to the “5,” it would have been nice to see a heart there.  As I’ve discussed before, I try to really throw myself into my trades–I always shoot for the 5 and the heart.  But that is not why I am posting today.postcard794bf

The big empty space above the word “Respond” is the space where the recipient had a chance to say something to me: a thanks, etcetera.  Nada.  Zilch.  Zero.

Let me show you what I sent her:

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Let’s see: variety of stamps, ink stamps, washi tape, and a friendly & descriptive note.  SHOULD I HAVE TAPED CASH TO THIS?  IS THAT HOW I MISSTEPPED?

Just in case you think you might not have enough information, here is the swap outline:

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Do you know what, though?  It doesn’t matter.  I mean, it doesn’t matter that I tried to create a fun card–front & back–and go above & beyond the requirements of the swap.  Even if I had not…

…the recipient should have at the very least written “thank you.”

Anything less is rude.

An Assortment to Go: Sent to Brazil, China, Japan, Taiwan, & the U.S.

Let’s get a bunch of outgoings out of the way at once, here.

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The two food package postcards are for a swap-bot trade.  Have you ever tried pani puri?  Mmmm… that card is going to Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil, and the Saladitas saltines panel went to Browns Mills, New Jersey.

The Rapunzel/Tangled card is headed for Beijing, China in a Postcrossing Forum tag trade to someone who in addition to liking Disney characters, enjoys Marvel characters including Sam Alexander’s Nova.  I told her I’m a big fan of the newer Marvel characters, too–perhaps especially Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel.

The coast & castle scene from The Little Mermaid went off to a lover of that movie in Taoyuan City, Taiwan; that’s a regular Postcrossing draw.

How ’bout that wacky retro tennis scene?  It’s another card from my ma’s stash, off to Ōtsu, Japan, in another Postcrossing Forum tag trade. Take a lot at the caption from the other side:

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Tiger went out in yet another Postcrossing Forum tag trade to New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Finally, the California card.  That was a regular Postcrossing draw, and it went out to Oberschefflenz, Germany–arriving there in about 7 days!  It’s just incredible to me sometimes, the time differentials; I have a Postcrossing card out to France, for instance (not all that far from Germany) that’s been traveling for 17 days as I write this.
OH!  INSTANT UPDATE!  As I was writing this, I got the “Hurray” message that the card arrived!  Here’s the message:

Thank you a lot for your amazing postcard of California. I love the illustration on the postcard. A lot of colours, that’s really beautiful!! I’d love to visit California. But this summer, I maybe will go to my bestfriend’s home : Wisconsin, Milwaukee! Should be beautiful too.

Okay, time to show a little backside:

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Hungry Canines & Junk Food at the Beach: Received from Australia, Taiwan, & the U.S.

It’s been a cool, interesting couple of weeks for mail, and this post barely even scratches the surface–but let’s do it, anyhow!

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Whoa, look at Br’er Fox!  I got that due to a Postcrossing Forum trade in which we were to specify which Disney cards we would like to receive.  I provided a very long list, but many items would be obscure.  This Postcrosser in Atlanta, Georgia tagged me before he realized he didn’t have any of the cards–but he is an artist, so he didn’t let that stop him.  He writes:

“Disney’s rendition of the Uncle Remus stories were a big part of my childhood, and Br’er Fox was one of my favorite characters.  Growing up in Yorktown, Virginia, and living in Georgia, I have a big passion for Southern culture!  I hope you’ll enjoy this piece!”

Oh, yes!

The pork is from La Vernia, Texas, thanks to a trade of upcycled cardboard on swap-bot.  The sender doesn’t sing the praise of her product, but she does say she hopes I am well & finding lots of interesting things in my mailbox.  This was certainly one!

Look at that dog, looking at the pork! This cool card is from a Postcrosser in Taiwan, who says:

“I wonder do you have a blog about experiences of travelling & tasting.  I LOVE TO EAT, too!  And I 100% hope we could share with each other.  Do you cook?  I hope you’ll like this card I bought from a road trip to the east part of Taiwan.  Definitely it was a trip about tasting food.”

Taiwan is definitely a food destination on my list.  Yes, I spent 2 hours at a night market once on a layover–a mad taxi dash from the airport and back–but I need to go for real & stuff immerse myself!

Look at that gorgeous view of Hanakāpīʻai Beach, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.  I’ve not been to Kauai in over 30 years, and that’s a very sad thing.  Cindi sent that to me, and tells me the beach down there is a 2-mile hike from the trailhead–and it looks worth the walk, to me!

That long expanse of beach in Byron Bay, New South Wales comes via a swap-bot “I don’t live here” trade, from a swapper in Australia who tells me:

“I have not been to Byron Bay in well over 20 years, even for a visit.”

Based on this photo, I would like to see Byron Bay, and I hope not to wait 20 years to do it!

Finally, from Falls Church, Virginia, comes the Kool-Aid box.  Yes, another food package postcard tag on Postcrossing Forum!  The best part is the back–full of washi tape & old stamps, and you can see it below.

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Six More Off into the World: Sent to Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, & the U.S.

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Lucy & Schroeder are headed off to a Postcrosser in ‘s-Heer Arendskerke, Netherlands.  This sounds like a TINY place!  As Wikipedia lists it, “two circles of houses around a Protestant church, on a single main road with an obsolete village hall.”  All that, & no railway station since 1928.  The recipient says he enjoys funny cards that will bring a smile to his face, and this “HEY!!” card certainly does that for me.

The Jetoy cat is on its way to Pepinster, Belgium.I looked up Pepinster, and learns that it lies at confluence of the rivers Hoëgne and Vesdre.  Here’s a beautiful river view one might enjoy in Pepinster. What’s interesting about this Postcrossing draw, is that it’s the account of a man who’s been on the site for over 8 years, but right now is having cards sent to his daughter and her girlfriend, who are engaged to be married next June.  So I guess he is still sending out cards, and then having his daughter register the incomings?  Dunno, but I hope they enjoy this postcard!  It’s been a while since I’ve sent out any Jetoys.

Skipping around to get all the regular Postcrossing draws in at once, the monarch butterflies of Pismo Beach are destined for Reutov, Russia, which I learned is a “science town.”  The card’s recipient says she was born in Siberia, but moved to the Moscow area for school 17 years ago.  She appreciates cards that tell her about attractions she should visit if she visits the senders’ countries.  I told her there are many monarch groves along the California coast, but that the one in Pismo Beach may just be my favorite.

The beach scene is going out in a Postcrossing Forum trade, and it’s off to Singapore. In his profile, this Postcrosser said he might especially like for senders to share something unique, perhaps landscapes, from the places where they live, or from a place to which they’ve traveled (actually the topic of this specific trade).

Now, let’s talk about the recycling!  These are bot for a swap-bot trade of “upcycled cardboard,” and I love participating in these.  Hello Panda will land in Oceanside, California (isn’t the name inviting?  It’s near San Diego).  Cap’n Crunch goes to Kiel, Germany, which the Cap’n may just love, as the city is a major maritime center & home to Kiel Week, the largest sailing event in the world.  Ahoy!

OH–take a look at the stamps, washi tape, & stuff.  You may be able to tell I’ve made a recent Daiso trip.

Do you have any favorites among the cards, stamps, & tapes here?

 

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Recycling in the Mail Box: Received from Canada, Russia, & the U.S.

Time to share some more postcards hewn from boxes spared the bin!  I received these through Postcrossing Forum & swap-bot trades created specifically to share this type of thing.

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The Miso Cup came to me from Canada, and the sender says:

“I ended up buying this miso soup just for how the box looked and thought it would make a nice postcard.  I haven’t actually tried the soup yet.  I mean, I like miso soup, so it’s unlikely I won’t like this.  

“I just went and tried the soup and it’s such a middling experience.  Not a great soup, to be honest.  I was hoping for a better experience.  Oh well, the box is nice.”

She was very optimistic, I think.  I love miso soup, but I doubt I’d even try a dry version.  But this is what we do: we make our shopping decisions based on the postcard-abilities!

Next, from Russia, comes that chocolatey-looking thing.  A look at the back of the card, below, shows it seems to be a cake of some sort.  You’ll also see the sender’s cryptic message, which says:

“This cake ‘Chocolate’ is similar to cupcake ‘Potato.'”

I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what that means.  Is this some sort of shelf-stable cake?  The word DRY comes to mind…

Next comes the beverage, which looks boozy–but that may be due to the addition of the skull.  It came from a swapper in Universal City, Texas, and she tells me:

“I was hesitant at first to try this drink.  But once it’s chilled, it’s very tasty–especially on a hot South Texas afternoon.”

Finally, we’ve got that “RYVITA Fruit Crunch.”  I just would not buy that.  I mean, if I were to rank these items from 1-4, well, I wouldn’t rank them, because it would indicate I was willing to eat at least one of them.  Anyhow, enough about me, let’s read the message on the card, which came from a Postcrosser in Van Dyne, Wisconsin:

“Too bad they don’t make this anymore, as it was quite tasty.  Sending out love and good wishes and whatever you want from this life.  Cool Runnings…”

I, uh…

The stamps on the back of that card were classics, and mostly, I think, very old.  I like the stamp of the Kamehameha statue!  Catfish is cool, too.  Check out all of the stickers, stamps & stuff:

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I See I’ve Left Several Comments on My Blog: Received from Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, & the U.S.

I just grabbed a bunch of cards at random, ones I’ve had for a while, but apparently have not logged before.  They’re not too interesting, so I photographed them a bit differently than usual, just to spice things up.

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Those toys have waited MONTHS for their moment in the spotlight.

On the left-hand side, we have a couple of pieces of recycling.  The “Fisherman’s Friend” box panel was sent to me from someplace in Germany, thanks to a swap-bot trade.  The sender writes:

“Do you like the mint??!  From time to time they are nice, but sometimes they are too strong.”

When I told her that I had heard the name of the product, but was not aware that it was some kind of mint/candy, she expressed surprise.  I mean, it could be anything, right?  A net, rubber boots, intense skin repair lotion…

Look below for the stamps from this card, helpfully annotated by the sender.

The Ouma panel is from a product called “rusks.”  I had to look that up.  And it’s been some time, and I don’t remember, so I’ll look it up again now…

Okay, Wikipedia tells me “a rusk is a hard, dry biscuit or a twice-baked bread. It is sometimes used as a baby teething food.”  Yum!  The sender, a swap-botter in Dalview, Gauteng, South Africa, tells me:

“Ouma is Afrikaans for Grandmother.  We all love these rusks.”  

I think my favorite card this time is the one at top middle: Hotel Preanger (this word means, I am quite positive, “Before Anger”).  I received it through a Postcrossing Forum tag trade, and it’s from a 15-year-old boy in Indonesia.  Reading the message, I feel as if I’ve shared it here before, but I didn’t make any such notation on the card.  These cards are all old, and bear no notation of having previously been recorded here, so who knows.  I know I don’t read this blog!

Okay, that’s not true.  I see I’ve left several comments.

Anyhow, the sender writes:

“I’m new to Postcrossing and I’m enjoying this activity so much.  This activity of course will help me improve my English skill.  Oh yes.  A little info about this postcard pic.  This hotel, Preanger Hotel’ is a luxury hotel for high-class people.  The luxury renowned since Dutch-East Indies Colonial era and still hold its status as the most luxury hotel of its era.”

It’s a pretty fair bet that when I finally make my way to Indonesia, I’ll be staying elsewhere!

The lady who fell asleep reading was another swap-bot trade, this one sent to me from Atlanta, Georgia.  The topic was “what are you reading,” and the sender told me:

“I’m currently reading Criminal by Karin Slaughter.  She’s from Atlanta, which is where I live, so it makes for an extra special read.  She has a great way of building suspense in her books.  I truly love her writing.”

That card at top right, I’m not sure if I put it up at the correct orientation.  It was sent to me from somewhere around San Diego, California, part of a swap-bot “I HATE this Postcard” trade.  Here’s how the sender feels:

“I just don’t get modern art.  I just don’t get it.  🙂  I think this is hideous–but I’m sure other people really like it.  Maybe you do too?”

Nope.

Finally, at bottom right, comes my one regular Postcrossing incoming this time around.  It’s from Stelle an der Saale, Germany.  This man writes:

“I’m from lovely East Germany.  This postcard is about a united Europe in solidarity and democracy–and young people caring about that in my beloved city.  We need facebooklikes 🙂 !”

I apologize to you (but mostly me) if I’ve previously shared any of these cards before.  I can promise you it won’t happen again–but I won’t say why that is.

Oh, yeah!  Have a look at the stamp & sticker highlights!  What do you think of these?

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500 Stamps & a Bottle of Tums: Sent to Canada, U.K., & the U.S.

Right now, I’ve got those swap-bot nerves like you wouldn’t believe.  Why don’t I just quit & take off the pressure?  Today, it’s 2 swaps off to 3 people; I’ll save the bigger deal for last.

First off, it’s a trade of 5 free bookmarks.  “Free bookmarks” are the kind of book marks you get for free.  I decided to make my own envelopes; let’s look at those now.

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The top package is going to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the bottom one goes to Auburndale, Novia Scotia, Canada.  Since the swap rules called for 5 book marks, I put in 7.  And some other stuff.

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I know I’d give myself the “extra special” heart for this, but I always put in the effort, and always give the people sending me swaps the benefit of the doubt unless they take it away from themselves forcefully.

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Now, the OTHER swap, oh, the nerves!  This one is a “profile-based small package swap.” We were to use our partner’s profile as a guide, and send at least 4 items, at a value of at least 8 dollars.   I printed out this person’s profile–oh, she’s in Crowthorne, Berkshire, United Kingdom–and read it, and re-read it, and made a couple of notes.  And then I spent more time shopping than I ever, ever do.  Got 4 different things, at 3 different stores, and then ended up shopping online for a 5th thing!  She likes bunnies & owls, and green tea, and wide tape…

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And then I shipped it off.  That’s $23ish, right there!  THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY!

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The postal clerk always says she likes my packing tape.

So I hope everyone loves everything, and that they love me, too, and give me a good grade, The End.

 

A Cavalcade of Backsides! Sent to Hong Kong, Poland, and the U.S.

A slew of swap-bottery this time!

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The top two are for an “upcycled cardboard trade,” in which we were to rescue cardboard from the recycling by turning it into a postcard.  The fish postcard, one of a set I made some time ago (down to a single card after this went out), goes to someone in Clyde, Ohio, who says she likes “under the sea” themes. The cloud & rain, from a toy package, went off to Bel Air, Maryland.

The California postcard is the only non-swap-bot card this time around, and it goes out via the Postcrossing Forum Hong Kong to the World Tag, to a recipient who expressed an interest in map cards.

I HATE that postcard at bottom left!  Artless, uninspired, uncredited–and of course it was part of the disappointassortment.  I papered over many of this mistakenly-purchased hell-set of cards with stamp collages, but somehow, this card escaped that treatment.  It’s a good thing, because now it goes to go off to Warsaw, Poland in a swap-bot “I HATE this card” trade!

That “Star Wars Episode I”-looking lady came to me some time ago from Russia, and now it heads off to someone else, thanks to a “recycled postcard” trade, in which we were to slap a new back on and old card, and send it off.  As you will see below, I cut off a portion of the new backing, so that the recipient (who lives in Zweeloo, Netherlands) will get to enjoy the original postage stamp.

Finally, the “Genius” card went off to Plainfield, Illinois, as a part of a “free card” trade.  I picked this up at a cool old single-screen cinema near where I work.  Just another reason to give them my business!

A cavalcade of backsides:

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