Confessions of a budding philatelist.
I have held myself back from posting about my impending wedding for fear of becoming “that girl” — you know her and you don’t love her. Anyhow, I could never compare with the likes of Style Me Pretty and Snippet & Ink (note: if you are planning a wedding, try those sites. They are like spoonfuls of crack for the newly-engaged)
But I’ve decided that with two months to go, I’m going to allow myself just one little wedding post…and it’s not really about weddings. It’s about stationery.
I have always been a stationery freak — I signed up for a pen pal in third grade mostly because I wanted an excuse to buy Hello Kitty cards and 24 cent stamps (my unknowing pal from Ireland sent me mini-novellas about her love of Matt LeBlanc. I skimmed her missives and framed her hedgehog letterhead). But i digress. Let’s talk about present day.
A wedding is the only opportunity you really have these days to obsess over snail mail (you may say, “I sent my aunt a letter just the other day” and to that I say, “you are lying” or “you are Michael J. Fox from Back to the Future II and you have been sent here from the past to do weird things like send letters”).
My future mother-in-law designed our wedding invitation, (she’s an artist) which you can see below.
We were worried that the watercolor wouldn’t print correctly but after some trial and error, the printer made it work (note: don’t use watercolor paper. The ink will bleed and the color won’t come out). Our wedding will be a hybrid of Indian and American cultures so we used mangoes and jute twine (to tie the pieces together) to bring Indian flavor. The stamps and peonies are a bit more American. I must say I’m biased but I think they’re pretty gorgeous.
I’ve also begun to understand why people collect stamps. I’m no philatelist (I never thought I’d get to use that word in a real sentence) but I have developed an unhealthy love for vintage stamps. It was incredibly fun to choose which stamps should go on which person’s envelope — personalizing took forever but was a blast. On others, I tried for a balance of pretty (Georgia O’Keefe’s bold orange flower, a random Alabama stamp with a bird and a flower, a 1970s-era LOVE print, etc) with politically/socially motivated fare (RFK, MLK and FDR abound on my envelopes + none-too-subtle stamps about labor, public education, public transit and national parks conservation.)
Finding said stamps was a fun and interesting challenge. There aren’t really any great coin and stamp stores in San Francisco so I turned to two sources which I found after trolling stationery blogs. First is Errol Murphy, who is a wonderful man based out of California. He sells great stamps at face value and is happy to work with you to find stamps you’ll love. I’m not actually sure how Murph makes money but I’m glad he does what he does. The second place I used (mostly for low-denomination stamps to round out the collection) was Champion Stamp in Manhattan. They have binders and binders full of face-value stamps…I purchased hundreds and my grand total was $9.
I’m off to mail my precious parcels tomorrow (note: if you’re going through the trouble of finding great stamps and you have an unevenly shaped letter, don’t forget to hand cancel. The postage machine will wreak havoc). And if you, like me, can’t get enough paper, I recommend wandering over to Oh So Beautiful Paper and reading through her archives. So good. So good.
aeroplane over the sea
Jamie and I are planning a trip to Europe after the election. The current plan is to go for about 10 days and hit Paris, London and Scotland.
My only memory of Paris is being three years old and having a mint green ski cap forced onto my head.
Note: this child is not me. She is, however, sporting an expression I recognize (namely one that says, “why the hell did you put this ski mask on me? I’m not an armed robber”). Also, similar cheek proportions.
Hopefully we can do a bit better this time. Currently, my plans include:
- See Eiffel Tower
- Eat at least one croissant per day in Paris
- Prove Nessy is real
- Chase sheep through very green fields
- Dance down Brick Lane as Bollywood music plays
- Drink high tea with crooked pinky.
- Not think about the U.S. election
- Not wear a ski mask
Other suggestions welcome.
If You’re Going to San Francisco…
Anthony Bourdain is just one of those people I was destined to love - much like Josh Lyman, Bo Obama, Joy Behar and pretty much anyone with the last name Stein, Fisher or Greenberg.
He is brash, caustic and inappropriate. He is a New Yorker. He eats anything. I adore him.
No Reservations is one of the few shows that Jamie and I can agree on watching (it falls somewhere on the continuum which has Modern Marvels on one end and Millionaire Matchmaker at the other). I recently stumbled across his new show, The Layover, which I think is pretty much No Reservations but with another name.
Imagine my delight when I saw that Tony’s recent layover was in my dear city by the bay, San Francisco.
The Travel Channel won’t allow me to embed videos but here is the link to his favorite eateries. And his favorite things to do in SF.
For the most part Monsieur Bourdain gets it right - some of his suggestions (Blue Bottle Coffee, for example) while excellent are a bit more on the beaten path (Blue Bottle is in Brooklyn now - talk about jumping the shark). Others like Mission Chinese (where I recently spotted Top Chefs Hugh Acheson and Tracy des Jardins) are more difficult to find. My personal favorite pick of his is the Tonga Room, where I am completely unsurprised that Bourdain got sloshed. I too succumbed to the wrath of the giant pineapple concoction with a straw in it during a work dinner. There is also a moat. Proceed at your own risk.
Me and Mariah
The way to my heart (and probably any other woman’s heart) during the holidays is with Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want for Christmas” (that and Love Actually, which actually contains a rousing rendition of ‘All I Want for Christmas,’ making this point relatively moot).
This holiday season, however, I wonder if perhaps my favorite holiday ditty has been a bit too over-exposed.
Exhibit A: Justin Bieber (NOTE: this is the best exhibit).
This year, Biebs and Mariah have teamed up on a re-release of “All I Want for Christmas” and well, I just don’t like it. The reasons on my list (and yea, I’ve checked them twice):
- Sony released Mariah’s original single in 1994. Yep, that’s the year Baby Biebs was born.
- Rampant commercialism throughout the video — the whole thing is shot in a mall. Give me Mariah weirdly sitting on Santa’s lap in a field of snow any day. And how much did Nintendo DS pay them for that prominent promotion? Gross.
- Justin Bieber’s pipes are terrible. Yes, I’ve listened to ‘Baby’ 4 million times on YouTube and enjoyed it but without Luda covering his ass, he ain’t got shit. I SAID IT, TWELVE YEAR OLD GIRLS. COME AND GET ME.
Exhibit B: Man Dancing with Ipod in Store
While I applaud this gay teen for showing his love of Mariah in public, I’m again annoyed that this video is shot in a mall.
I will offer plus points for the excellent ass shimmy at the 2:30 mark.
Exhibit C: Two Dancers Dancing
It takes a little time to warm up but this video is definitely my favorite Mariah rendition of 2012 (thus far). There’s just enough reindeer choreography to make it a hit.
In the spirit of Black Friday consumerism.
Pop culture revelations that have blown my mind.
It actually is Dave Coulier (aka Uncle Joey) who Alanis Morisette is singing about in “You Oughta Know.” This used to be an urban legend but was apparently confirmed recently. CUT IT OUT.
Drake is none other than Jimmy from Degrassi High. My main question is…how did he get out of his wheelchair?
“Family Matters” was a spin-off from “Perfect Strangers”. Harriet Winslow is actually the elevator operator in Larry and Balki’s office building.
Gabrielle Carteris (aka Ah-ndrea Zuckerman on 90210) is 50 years old. She was born on Jan. 2, 1961. Luke Perry, however, is still magically 16.
Words my family uses that nobody else really does
- Tumbler. Fitting to mention here (HA!) but in my house, this just means “cup”. Do British people use tumbler too?
- Vessel. Similar to “tumbler” above, I am not referring to an ancient medieval ship. A “vessel” is a large bowl or container.
- Chili burr. Now this is one I’m pretty sure no other family uses, including other Indian ones. When we were growing up, my mom used to call farts “chili burrs”. Yup, no idea where that came from but I’ve devoted a lot of thought time to this over the years. I think I first realized that this was an odd term in second grade when someone farted and I laughed and shouted “chili burr!” and everyone looked at me like I was from another planet.
- Absconding. Defined formally as, “Leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection or arrest.” In my house, people, tumblers, vessels, and other objects were always “absconding”.
- Banshee. If you were howling as a kid, you were generally likened to a banshee. Not a witch - that would be too easy. A banshee.
- Doing “ticks”. Commonly referred to as “cracking your toes,” in our house we called it “doing ticks,” as in “Raj, if you do any more ticks you’re going to get arthritis.”
- Hulva. Hulva is a type of sweet Indian dessert. My mom is partial to carrot hulva. It was not surprising to hear my dad excitedly exclaim, “The rats are eating the poison like hulva!” in the wake of rodent infestation at our house one winter.