Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Why I've been AWOL from all letter writing

I didn't get to do much at all with LetterMo this year. Again. I had great plans and I owe so many letters, postcards, and such it's sad. I'll get to them eventually but about 18 months ago I developed a skin issue that affects only my fingers.

My GP said it was contact dermatitis/eczema and prescribed a cream that helped for a few days but the problem came back with a vengeance. Two months ago I saw a dermatologist who refused to test for allergies, performed a biopsy that was fairly inconclusive, and believes the problem is eczema. All she will discuss with me is the expensive Xtrac laser procedure her office performs. I'm not necessarily opposed to that but I wanted to know with some certainty that the problem wasn't an allergic one so I initiated the visits with the specialist I'm now seeing.

At first the issue was simply minor irritation that interfered some days but not all. Now it's a constant problem. My fingers stay red and raw, bleeding almost daily. If I reach into my purse for something and bump a digit just right, it bleeds and I want to sob with the pain. Water is agonizing. I haven't been able to work much for the last two months and am currently out of town undergoing patch testing. I found out yesterday I'm allergic to Para-tertiary butlyphenol formaldehyde resin and see the specialist tomorrow for the final patch test reading and hopefully some guidance. 

The specialist is pretty sure the allergy isn't the actual cause of the problem but thinks it might be a trigger for an underlying condition. I don't know just what condition that could be but the standard treatments of corticosteroids under occlusion, tar oil soaks, and such have made no difference in my skin.

My life has been turned upside down because of this skin issue! Most days I can't hold a pen or pencil without bleeding. Hell, I can't even zip and button my jeans anymore so I now wear pull on denim pants. Ridiculous. Holding a steering wheel might or might not cause existing fissures to widen and bleed. Cleaning my apartment is almost impossible and handwashing dishes is out of the question. I generally wear white cotton gloves when I leave my home and wear them at home many days. I've developed a fear of just about anything that might cause my skin to crack and bleed. Some days using my cell phone is doable but most days the computer is a no no. Simply touching the keys can cause real problems so I usually wear rubber gloves when I need to do something online. 

Anyway, Limner's comment on a previous post spurred me to create this entry. I truly am not ignoring my letter-writing friends. In fact, I miss the people, the paper, stamps, pens, markers, and the simple joy writing brings me but for now I'm at a loss.

Hopefully the near future will bring a solution and I can write again. Until then, no can do.

The above is a picture of my right thumb, taken on the 8th of this month. It's a little better now but the other digits are horrible.

So there you have it - the reason for my very long absence. I miss you all!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Incoming mail, January 25

I checked my mail today for the first time in a week and it's a good mail day.

The mother of a young woman my son met during his 2014 through-hike of the Appalachian Trail sent me a lovely card and cat themed coloring book. The designs are very nice and I plan to color some of the pages and use them to make envelopes. I also received a sweet card from a sendsomething participant and a stack of postcards I ordered from PostCardStop. Just for good measure, my mailbox also held a medical bill but I'm ignoring that for today. Later, later.

I have no outgoing today but should have several items tomorrow, including thank you notes for lovely things lately sent to me.

Happy mail to all!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Amazing time in Galveston and all ready for LetterMo 2016!

I got home from Galveston a few hours ago and man, am I tired!

Unfortunately, my computer wouldn't cooperate with the Wi-Fi where I stayed so I wasn't able to post an entry or share any photos until now. Other computers there functioned but mine simply wouldn't. Go figure!

Anyway, I'm home and resting this evening. I broke a couple of toes on my first morning there and that really slowed me down so now I'm resting my very bruised and pained foot in preparation for work. I go back Wednesday and plan to do as little as possible until then. Well, not quite but close. I'll do some grocery shopping and cooking for the week tomorrow and will probably spend time with my mother but that's about it. The vacation was a working one so although I did a few fun things there was only one piece of mail sent out (a birthday card to my sister) and each evening ended with me collapsing in exhaustion. I got little rest.

So, here are some pictures from the trip!

This was one of my first glimpses of the water as we drove down Seawall Blvd. The day was lovely - 70 degrees and almost cloudless. Twenty five years is just too long to go without seeing this and thanks to my sister now owning a home there, I won't have to again wait so long.

I was very pleased to see the 1900 Storm Memorial on Seawall Blvd. It was installed in 2000 and is a touching bronze sculpture by David W. Moore.

1900 storm memorial front

1900 storm memorial back

1900 storm memorial plaque

Galveston Island is not the island I remember. After the devastation of Hurricane Ike, the population is almost ten thousand lower (many people left and never returned), a lot of landmarks are gone and new ones are in place, and in middle class neighborhoods stand ramshackle houses that have definitely seen better days and are tagged for destruction. It's as though, with few exceptions, class in regard to housing has disappeared. I think that's a good thing but for someone whose last glimpse of the island was twenty five years ago, it's a very strange thing.

My sister's house is in a neighborhood that saw quite a bit of devastation. Her home withstood the storm of 1900 and Ike so it must be a sturdy piece of construction but some of the surrounding structures didn't fare so well. Directly across the street from hers is a house that's boarded up and destined to be torn down at some point.

The above is the wonderful wooden deck on the back of her house. There's seating for 20 to 25 people and the deck is surrounded by stunning vegetation.

Just a couple of flowers by the deck

We drove down Ball Avenue where some of the loveliest houses I've ever seen are. Many were dressed for Mardi Gras.

 The blue line on the steps indicate the water level during Hurricane Ike. 

One of the things on my list to see and do was the tree sculptures. We found several and they didn't disappoint me. What a beautiful thing to do with something that would normally be hauled to the landfill.


One of my favorite tree statues. 

Cute squirrel tree statue

We drove to the seawall every day, sometimes parking just to watch the loveliness of Mother Nature for a few minutes. The above photo was taken on a day when a storm appeared to be rolling in. The storm never developed but we did get a bit of rain and a few minutes of high wind.

Most of our time was spent finishing the rental season preparation of the house but we ate some great food at Nick's and Shrimp 'N Stuff. We also went to the Rosenberg Library, which is truly amazing if you're a history buff. We didn't get around to a couple of things on my list but I'll go back soon for a real vacation and will hopefully have time and energy for those things.

For any of you who might be interested in renting a place on Galveston Island, check out Connie's house. She's listed on Airbnb, TripAdvisor and some other sites. You can rent the downstairs unit, the upstairs unit, or both if you have a larger group of people. 

Oh, I found some neat postcards while I was on the island. They depict the Ursuline Academy of Galveston, a parochial school in operation from 1854 to 1961. I got 6 of the cards and will use a couple of them during LetterMo. Speaking of that, I'm ready to roll!

Lastly, I leave you with a photo of my sister's house, decorated for Mardi Gras!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Vacation begins, an exciting week ahead, but oh yeah, I'll still write.

Today is the first of 10 days vacation. Ahhh, the relaxation, the joy!

A friend came over this morning and surprised me with a late Christmas gift of a lovely tea/coffee pot, 4 cups, and saucers.

She knows me so well. Cats and tea/coffee sets are among my favorite things. We drank our coffee from two of the cups (which is why there are only two in the photo) and enjoyed a bit of time together before my sister and I head to Galveston Island tomorrow. It's about a 4 hour drive and I don't relish that but we're in no rush and plan to stop anywhere and everywhere we want along the way.

Of course, I'm taking along a box with postcards, note cards, washi tape, pens, stamps, and such and will spend an evening or two writing. 

While the primary purpose of the trip is to get my sister's rental ready for the upcoming season, vacation for me is for rest and relaxation and I plan to get plenty of both after mornings of work. We'll also do quite a bit of sightseeing.

Galveston Island is a beautiful and fascinating place with a rich history. Back in the late 80s/early 90s I lived in nearby Texas City and while it was the pits of this amazing state, the Island was a different matter. I was very broke and had young children and didn't get to spend much time in Galveston and haven't been back since moving away so I plan to make up for lost time. 

Moody Gardens is on my list of places to go, along with The Strand and The Rosenberg Library and its museum. Of course, I also want to ride the ferry. I did that a couple of times when I lived in the area but that was so long ago. I want to experience that again, hoping to see jumping porpoises. And then there are the tree sculptures to see! Last but definitely not least, Galveston Restaurant Week is happening! For two foodies like us that's heaven! 

All in all, it should be a fabulous week spent with one of my best friends who happens to also be one of my sisters. :-) 

Until next time!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Today's outgoing

I forgot to get a picture but I sent out four items today - two postcards and two notecards. Two were to people on Sendsomething and two were to LetterMo folks.

When I took the mail to the box, the mail hadn't run yet and I haven't been back so I don't know if I received anything today. Hopefully, if I did, it's more than junk mail!

I have a long shift at work tomorrow but plan to do a bit of letter writing in the evening.

Happy Friday eve, y'all. ;-)

Friday, January 8, 2016

V is for Victory....

I ordered several of these for letter writing during February.

This is an original V-mail form and to say my heart did a flip flop when I opened the package is nothing short of a horrible understatement.

V is for Valentine. ;-)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LetterMo 2016, anyone?

I'm not sure if LetterMo is on for 2016 but if it is I'll join and if it isn't, I'll still send out at least one piece of mail each day the postal service runs in the month of February. My hands are again causing issues so I don't guarantee long letters or beautifully decorated envelopes. In fact, some items sent might be post cards or just short notes. I'm okay with that, though, because I'll be writing again. I've missed it horribly.

To gear up for February, I sent out Christmas cards this year, something I haven't done in 20 or so years! A few months ago I finally joined the Letter Writers Alliance so some of you might get a note written on one of their nifty products.

I've lost touch with so many of my pen pals and it saddens me but when my hands are at their worst I can barely open a door, much less hold a pen long enough to compose a letter. I know I could use my computer but really, why bother? If I'm going to do that I might just as well send email!

Anyway, I'm glad the holiday season is over and I look forward to a great new year starting soon.

Happy 2016!