Saturday, April 30

3BT Saturday: “You are not alone,” recycling, library (books, Lindt)

3BT Friday: fairytale wedding, spring snow(storm), meeting a deadline

1.      Unintentionally I awoke early (after deciding not to!) and got up to watch the wedding of the year (!). Glad I did: the bride was simply beautiful. (Aren’t all brides?) I do love a fairytale—and I think this couple has what it takes to make it last. They’re friends. They both work hard. They seem to share a similar sense of humour. I am smiling as I type.

2.      Despite the apparent appearance of spring earlier this week, it is snowing up a wee storm this morn. The garden has been spring-cleaned, and the barren earth is white again. But it’s probably too warm for the snow to settle for long.
[post pics]

3.      I finally wrote my “More Glimpses” feature article for my patient and longsuffering editor. It is my privilege to write a regular column, and although my due date has come and gone, I chose to focus on teaching/ grading/ editing this week. Yesterday classes ended, and today I could concentrate on the next deadline on the horizon.

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Douglas Adams, English humourist
& science fiction novelist (1952–2001).

And now, to nap!

Thursday, April 28

3BT: last day of school, snail mail, fellowship with friends

1.      Today I taught my dozen+ college students for the very last time. Next semester I’ll have a new set of students—for two completely different courses (two or three may return). I have enjoyed getting to know these young women and men this past year; this has been one of those semesters in which I possibly learned (even) more than my students did. Today was bittersweet: I know I won’t see some of these precious people again, since they’ll move on with their lives (some to other countries), and I’ll remain here. Ah, the transience of the teaching life.

2.      Snail mail! More on that in my Monday Mail post.

3.      Tonight our sweet Women in Ministry (WIM) group of gals met for fellowship (and food), also for the last time this semester. I took photos … and will post them here soon-ish.

Wednesday, April 27

3BT: overseas phone call, tea in chapel, sunroom salad (+ word gifts)

1.      Early morning phone call from my mom-in-law in South Africa (how lovely to hear her voice; she has been in Australia, visiting RP’s brothers and all her grandkids).

2.      Early morning gym with my exercise accountability partner, WB, followed by the last chapel of the semester (cup of Tim’s steeped tea in hand).

3.      Lunch in the sunroom (strawberry-mandarin-and-spinach salad) with my kingdom colleague, KM. Peace. Stillness. Serenity after an already long week. Shalom.

4.      Bonus of a 4thBT:
Two unexpected word-bearing gifts from students. I’ll post more on Monday. Off to nap now and enjoy my treasures!

Tuesday, April 26

Ode to the typewriter

RIP typewriters:

This morning RP mentioned that “the last company on earth to produce the typewriter—Godrej and Boyce—has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India, according to reports that, fittingly, are making the rounds via the Internet”

Later in the day, The Pear Tree’s Lori-Anne Poirier posted the following blog entry: (be sure to check out her adorable typewriter baby pics from a few years back).

Today I’m thankful for technology (yes, you read that right).

I am currently reading/editing several research papers written by my college students, and I am relieved for their sakes and mine that we can make changes and corrections instantaneously, without having to retype a whole page and/or use correction fluid. J

Techno Babe,
signing out with a smile

3BT: sunshine after snow, scintillating conversation, Emph Attic mail

3BT (“three beautiful things”) today:

1.     Sunshine after weeks of snow!

2.     An unexpected phone call from a city friend, TM, who visits me each Wednesday night to ask if I was free a night early. (I am.) Scintillating conversation to follow!

3.     Several positive responses to the e-mail version of my annual “Emph Attic” Easter Epistle (really just an updated copy of my Very Long, Very Late Christmas correspondence which I chose not to send out last year, since I was going through a bit of a pre-40th b’day midlife crisis at yearend).

All’s well in this new season.

3BT: Three Beautiful Things

Today I decided to join the marvellous miscellany of writers who share “three beautiful things” (3BT) each week. Check out this lovely blog:

As long as I can remember, I’ve asked my spouse (and others in my life) “What was good about today?” This blog seems to capture the essence of looking for the good, paying attention to life in all its fullness, being aware of the beautiful.

Was it Fyodor Dostoevsky who said the world would be saved by beauty?

Join me in seeing the beauty all around us. Then share the joy!

{Thanks, Clare and others for inviting us to join you.}

Tuesday treats (in between work)

Easter has come and gone. To those who celebrate: Happy Easter! As this year’s “Emph Attic” Easter Epistle, I finally sent out my Very Late Christmas Letter (which was far too long, even by my own word-loving standards, but I had great fun writing it). Let me know if you’d like a copy.

I realised anew this past week, amidst the busy-ness and bustle, how soothing and serene my hours of (hand)writing are. I come to this quiet place—this place where I pick up my pen and write to readers—with great joy.

(Sigh of contentment.)

With only one more week of school left (and more than a dozen research papers to read, edit and grade), my heart is already lighter. Let me hasten to add that I love my job as a college instructor of English/History, but it goes without saying that the in between times are rich for different reasons!  

Wednesday, April 20

The Pear Tree giveaway: French butter dish

April 20th, 2011
I first heard about the French butter dish through my friend and Pear Tree contributor Darcie Hossack. There was a pottery studio in Peachland, B.C., that used to make them and, after falling in love with hers, I headed straight there to get one of my own.

An admirable blend of quirky and clever, the French butter dish is a tall bowl with a cylindrical lid. The butter is packed into the lid, while a few centimetres of water sits on the bottom of the bowl. It’s a natural way to keep your butter fresh without refrigerating, which keeps it soft and spreadable.

Right around the time that I broke mine, the Okanagan Pottery Studio disappeared. If it has since reopened in a new location I have not heard about it, and their former web address no longer works. And no other potters I have come across in the ensuing years have heard of, never mind made, this wonderful pottery.

Recently, a secret source (okay, it was my mum) unearthed a stash of these dishes at a shop, and picked up three of them for me. I am a butter fan (and, ahem, a bit clumsy, it’s true), but that’s more than enough for the Pear Tree House. So I’m going to share one butter dish with an interested reader!

Just leave a comment below, telling me what you like real butter on, and I’ll randomly pick a name on Friday at noon PST. You can get extra entries by blogging, tweeting or Facebooking the contest – just leave a separate comment for each one you do.

Good luck, and check back Friday!
- Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier
[sorry, no photos]

Saturday, April 16

Saturday giveaway

Head on over to Erin's blog for a wonderful giveaway: 

(See my previous post, also from her lovely blog.)

Thursday, April 14

"Lots of love in my mailbox" from Erin P in BC

From Erin P at comes to following sweet opening and closing paragraph of today’s blog post; I’ll let you read the middle bits on her blog; the photos alone are worth a visit:

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Lots of love in my mailbox

I can’t get over all the mail I’ve been receiving lately! So many letters and cards and presents have been filling up my mailbox every day this past week. Sure it was my birthday, and then I had to go for surgery and people like to wish you well, but I’m still amazed at the generosity and overall loveliness of so many people, some of whom I’ve never actually met! ... Want to take a peek at all my fresh-from-the-post presents?

[attempt to insert blog image]

Finally, a sweet little parcel from a new blogging friend, Elaine, in Alberta. Elaine’s co-written a book about an extraordinary correspondence between two friends... “a mutual exchange of letters: not electronic mail, mind you, but real letters, written in ink, sealed in colourful envelopes and mailed at the post office--with stamps.” Now that has me written all over it, don’t you think?

And it’s the perfect way to end this post. Thank you so much to all my lovely friends across the blogosphere and around the world....

Tuesday, April 12

2011 Letters Project: #121 is mine!

Renee from "2011 Letters Project" kindly posted the following entry on her blog this week:

Letter #121 from Canada

Letter #121 comes from Elaine in Canada. Unfortunately the package arrived open with no letter inside, so I'm not sure if there was a letter enclosed or not, but she did send us a lovely book! After perusing the book, my daughter realized that the person who sent the book was also one of the authors of the book. How amazing is that?! It's our first author to participate in our project. Her wonderful book is titled The Hippo and the Unicorn: A Rainbow of Words, which happens to be a series of letters between an earthy hippopotamus named Hroshi and an ethereal unicorn named Evangeline ... it's a cute story about our favorite thing, penpal letters. I wish I would have had a book like this when I was a kid.

Here is the Pre-story that is found inside the book:

"Would you write to me?"

Imaginary or imaginative? You decide.
It all began with a phone call, late one starry night, between two friends...

"Evangeline, dear, would you be interested in corresponding with me?" asked Hroshi the hippo.

On the other end of the telephone, in a cozy abode in  Cochrane, came an immediate affirmative response from Evangeline the unicorn.

Thus, dear reader, The Hippo and the Unicorn: A Rainbow of Words was brought into being.

Soon both correspondents were inscribing their thoughts and dreams onto writing paper, tucking the letters into multi-hued envelopes, addressing them and licking them shut, and trundling off to the post office to mail them.

Now that their first letter-anthology has been compiled, Hroshi and Evangline invite you to lift the flap of each envelope to see what lies inside. May your hearts be coloured by their rainbow of words.

"It's something I've always dreamed of."

This is definitely a great book and should be in all schools. It's an easy book for kids to read and looks so fun to read. It really brings the fun of letter writing back to kids who may not even know what the word penpal even means in these days of texting and facebook. This is the type of book I would be thrilled seeing my child bring home from school or the library, since it's a nice change from most of the books available for kids these days that pressures them to grow up or all this vampire craze.

This book makes you remember the fun of being a kid and having a special friendship with a deep connection, through the art of letter writing. It's the type of book that your child can read alone, but I also think it's the type of book that is best to be shared and read out loud with a loved one by your side.

I would definitely recommend this book. The publisher of the book is iUniverse, so I believe you can maybe buy the book through their website, [and through Amazon, or from the authors].

This will be a special book that I will read out loud with my youngest daughter and I'm sure it will provoke a lot of conversations about writing and friendships. I hope the next books in the series will come out soon because I just know we will have to have those, too. :)

Please enjoy her book below and thanks so much, Elaine, for sending us this great book!

Friday, April 8

"If I were a mail carrier"

Postman has been
Image by xrrr via Flickr
Congratulations to Elaine Mary Phillips!
If I were a mail carrier, I’d be irresistibly curious about the brown paper parcels containing books that I deliver each month: What treasure is nestled beneath the ordinary cover; who wrote it; will the recipient like it; would I like it?
Your cards are in the mail!  Thanks for playing everyone!
Putting Pen to Paper!

Happy 40th, Julie Keon!

Head over to JK at TLWR and wish her a happy 40th.

Tuesday, April 5

Letters for a birthday

Here’s today’s post from Julie Keon in Ontario, who will be celebrating her 40th later this week:

Once again, yes, I wish I’d done this for my 40th earlier this year: great idea!

It’s never too late to send a personal letter, eh?


Friday, April 1

April photo-card giveaway: my very first!

Inspired by the cheery giveaways of several bloggers, I have decided to give away a “corresponding” gift each month. April’s giveaway is an “A is for Africa” photo-card—one card per winning entry.

How to enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me when last you (hand)wrote a letter or sent a card, and to whom.

2. Choose your favourite “A” photo below and if you win, that’ll be the one you receive in the mail. Choices are: A0 (hippo), A1 (baobab tree), A2 (sunset), A3 (lightning), A4 (Zulu weaver) or A5 (wheelbarrow); see photos below.

3. E-mail me your postal address at 
elaine mary phillips 71 at gmail dot com
and I’ll let the winner know by May 1st (or sooner).

Also see my newly updated photo-story blog, A is for Africa:

AO hippo roadsign

A1 baobab tree, colour

A1 baobab tree, b&w

A1 baobab tree, sepia

A2 Sabie sunset

A3 lightning over city Johannesburg

A4 Zulu weaver

A5 wheelbarrow worker