Sunday, September 30, 2012

I got mail!

I was away for a few days at a workshop and came home to find a letter from Angie at Mailbox Happiness and Becky at Leaving a Paper Trail . Both sent me wonderful letters in creative envelopes. Angie made her envelope and Becky used one of her new typewriters to compose her letter. I am fortunate to have such good penfriends!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mangled Mail

Avert your eyes if you have a delicate constitution!

I just knew that I would get some mail this week as I sent several pen pal letters last week. I was not disappointed, but I never really expected to find this! The ominous clear plastic "WE CARE" bag surrounded the carcass of a fantastically penned letter from Joel.

Joel is my pen pal from St. Peter, Minnesota who I met this summer. He has wonderful penmanship and it's a shame that only 31 lines of a 4 page letter were complete.

I gingerly opened the bag and saw this:

I was able to fill in some of the gaps about what Joel wrote, so I am composing a reply. I'm not sure that he really left his wife on the shores of Lake Superior as she crooned to a raccoon, but maybe that's what happened!

I also received a letter from a new pen friend, John. He is an interesting guy and fortunately his letter was not mangled.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm still alive! and a notebook followup!

I am back! No seriously, I am, so my legion of follower can rejoice!

We are all moved into southern Colorado and have already completed 6 weeks of school. We are having a ball. We love the 4 day school week and 3 day weekend, every week!

So, over the past 7 months or so, I have been carrying a little pocket notebook. It is my faithful companion in my hip pocket. I have been using the Clairefontaine Basic staple bound notebook. I wondered how it would hold up to the abuse of my fanny sitting on it every day, being yanked out, scribbled on and unceremoniously shoved back into my hip pocket where it adds a most unsightly bulge to my skinny backside.

Well, I must say, I am very pleased with how this notebook is holding up. Here is a photo with a red notebook that I don't carry. You can see that it is in pretty pristine shape.

Now here is another picture with the one I carry every day in the center.

I really use every inch of this notebook. I take notes on only one side of the sheet at a time. When I finish that page - whatever I have recorded on it - generally some sort of to do list, I fold the page over and move on. Pages aren't folded until I have completed the actions listed.

I am now on lap 2 of this notebook, so it is flipped and I am writing on the blank pages. I think I will have about 2 more weeks on this book.

It has held up remarkably well. Sure the cover is getting tattered and it has sort of a roundish butt influenced profile, but it has been well worth the couple of dollars it cost last year.

Here is my next notebook. It is a simple little composition book that cost me exactly nothing because my darling wife gave it to me! I hope it holds up half as well.

On another note, I am back to writing to penpals. I will start taking pictures of mail as I receive it and hope to get back to blogging a little more regularly.
If you are one of my pen friends and you haven't received a letter in the last few days, drop me an email and I will sit right down and write you one!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meeting a Pen Pal in real life!

Serendipity happens.

In February, I participated in the Month of Letters. I gained a few new pen pals. Joel happened to be one of those. Take a look at some of my older posts to see some of his fantastic handwriting.

I just happened to be in his town over the past two weeks for a class I am teaching. So, Joel and I got together for supper and to talk pens and to let him show off his grandsons, daughter and wife. Let me tell you what, he has a fantastic collection of fountain pens, a lovely wife, charming daughter and two of the cutest little busy grandsons ever! When we went out for supper, he said we could take the car or we could take Starry Night. Photographic proof of what we rode to supper is above.

Beyond that, Joel is an artist. He does incredible work. His preferred media is printing from wood blocks and well, it is just amazing. I didn't take any pictures, I was just too blown away by what he does.

Several months ago, Joel submitted some of his artwork to Noodler's Ink and that company sent him several bottles of ink and a pile of fountain pens. He gave me one. I will ink it up and take a picture when I get home next week.

I miss my family. I can't wait to get home.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Notice a difference?

I have not been a very good blogger or pen pal for that matter. That sort of happens when you discover that you are looking for gainful employment.

I am happy to announce that I have found it! I have been offered a teaching position in southern Colorado about 60 miles from where I grew up. These are the mountains that I saw every day as a child and will be able to see in the distance when we move down that way.

Letter writing and blogging will still be sporadic for a while, but I just wanted to get the word out there.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I like knives!

My last post made me realize that I seem to have another slight obsession about pocket knives.

I purchased this knife at the New Mexico State Fair in 1981 and it has been a faithful companion since then.
This knife is in my pocket, probably, 3 weeks out of every month.

I also pulled out the knives that rotate through my pocket.

These 'junior' trappers, along with the old Uncle Henry, all seem to work really well. I like them

But I have to admit that my every day carry knife doesn't fit in my pocket. No, it rests on my hip.

In case you wondered, this is what a fountain pen using, letter writing husband of the same wife, father of three sons, ag teaching guy uses.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Now That's a Knife!

The internet is a funny thing. I mean, you go to research something and 6 hours later you have found The Red Hot Chili Peppers covering the Beach Boys here and you know that it costs 2.4 cents to make a penny. Not that your time was wasted or anything.

However, occasionally even a blind hog can find an acorn. I'm not certain how I arrived at Modern Vintage Man, but I did. Tim and Matt are a pair of ministers from the upper Midwest and well, in their words, "We're awesome." After following their blog for less than a month, I have to agree, they are awesome.

These guys are always giving something away. A few weeks ago, they set out a series of internet tasks one must do in order to win the giveaway of one of the products they reviewed. I decided to play along with their game. I faithfully tweeted, followed, got all up in their facebook, commented and did a few other things that made no sense in an internet game, but heck, even possums like Nutella!

Imagine my surprise to know that I had won! Here is their post about my winning a CASE knife! I yelped out loud when I won and told Carla, "I just won a new pocket knife!" She responded in her own understated fashion, "Oh good, you were about to run out."

In a few short days, the friendly UPS man delivered a neat and tidy package to my front door. Inside that package was a little box.

What could it be?

Careful unrolling of the brown tissue paper revealed

I had no idea this thing was so big! And so beautiful!!!! I'm not sure if this is a knife I can carry every day, but I just case I need to butcher something or do other delicate work of that type.

Here are a couple of pictures giving you an idea of the size. The comparison knife if my Case Junior Trapper, a 3 inch knife with 3 inch blades.

I threw in a quarter to give you some perspective:

And finally, here is my hand in the photo as well:

CASE knifes are known for their quality and being made in the USA. This is my second CASE knife and I am sure that it will become a faithful tool in my life. It is just beautiful with the bone handle and super shiny blades and the brass liner and pins holding it all together. Someday, perhaps it might belong to one of my grandchildren, just like I have my Grandpa Mayfield's pocket knives.

Here is a sample of my regular rotation of pocket knive (this is what I could gather up in less that 30 seconds)

Yes, I threw in the fountain pen because the written word can be sharper than any double edged sword!

Head over to Modern Vintage Man and give them a look. Perhaps you can find a gift or an idea for something for yourself.

On another note, my arm and shoulder and wrist and elbow are improving, so I have started replying to the mountain of letters that have built up this week. Keep an eye on your mailbox!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Dear legion of reader,

I have a problem with my back, primarily with muscles in my upper back, neck and shoulder. This little problem means that I am having a really hard time holding a pen to write. I am getting better, but, I don't know when my ability to hold a pen will come back and allow me to write again. So, be patient. All of the letters I have received in the past week, will be answered. It just may take a while.

I have emailed a few of you. Even typing can be a problem. So, please say a little prayer for me to have patience and allow the healing to take place. I will write back, I promise.

I wonder if this had something to do with writing over 70 letters during February and March!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Back and well, it wasn't that long! Working on a book

Hi all, I'm back. I guess my hiatus was more of a hia...

I have a new project. My sister spent a great deal of time making a family tree for all of us in honor of our parent's Golden Wedding Anniversary. It turned out great.

Now, I am not quite of the older generation, but I am getting close to that stage, so I thought to myself that I really don't know stories beyond my own grandparents live's as they related to me. This family tree goes pretty deep and well, it would be a shame to miss out on stories that someone still remembers.

So I am on a quest for my family's stories. I have started writing to aunts and uncles and have asked them to write/type/record stories that they remember about their grandparents. I hope to weave these stories together with a little book my grandmother Helen Shannon wrote about 25 years ago called "A Western Love Affair" about her and Grandpa Cecil's lives in New Mexico and Colorado. Perhaps I can give a bit of honor to their memories and gather up a bit of our history.

I have no illusions of grandeur about this project, but I do have visions of capturing a bit more of my family's journey across America.

Wish me luck.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I probably have too many notebooks. But each one was purchased with a specific purpose in mind.
This is my log of mail received. It is a simple Clairefontaine Life Unplugged pocket size notebook.
I use this one at school to capture notes of what is happening in each class.

I keep a journal in a Quo Vadis Habana.

I'm keeping some Bible Study notes in a Rhodia Webnotebook.

And I use this humble composition notebook to keep lesson planning notes in.

I thought I would stack them up and snap a few photos of the notebooks I am writing in at the moment.

Sometimes I practice my handwriting -

I don't have a problem, do I?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why Don't He Write?

There is a scene in "Dances With Wolves" where Lt. Dunbar is inspecting a skeleton with an arrow through the ribs. Timmons, the mule skinner, ambles up and says, "Somewhere back east, somebody saying, 'Why don't he write?'" Type the part in single quotes into youtube and you will see something that I thought of this week. Why don't he write?

Sometimes in the frenzy of letter and journal writing, responses just get missed. My favorite Californian Bev reminded me of that this week. So dear friend, a letter is winding the tortured path from Northeastern Colorado to Davis!

I also thought the second half of the video clip was appropriate to me, not necessarily the flatulence (well, ok, the flatulence), but the fact that I am always writing in a journal.

So, specifically for Bev, who is a reviewer of some note, I am an intrepid reviewer now! I entered a giveaway at Goodreads and son of a gun if I didn't win!

This is the first review copy of anything I have received, except for papers from my students.

I am pretty excited to be part of a 'first read' group on this book. I have read to chapter 3 so far. Here is a link to the Goodreads page for this book -----> The Games. It will likely take me a few days to read and then write a review. I will be posting the review sometime soon.

Anyways, I know this review won't be nearly as exciting as some of the 'things' that Bev has seen, but, hopefully, I can write it up well.