Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Yule Log Gathering Pics

I did manage to snap a few pictures between fending off the cooties.

Thanks to Mamaroots for setting up a time designed for chatting and log browsing (snicker).

Click HERE to see more pictures.

Best wishes for the new year!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mid-MO Winter Gathering Date

Hello all. I hope you're all coming through this holiday season in fine shape, minus the cooties plague that has hit all us poor souls who attended the excellent Yule Log Gathering.

I'm pleased to announce the date is indeed set for the 2007 winter gathering for February 3rd 10 AM to 4 PM (flexible) at the Columboia public library in the 'Friends Room'.

This event is a potluck, so please bring a dish, but please be aware that there will be some folks attending who have serious allergies to nuts. So please, NO NUT items.

I believe all those who have found boxes connected to C2B2's contest of 'Now You See It, Now You Don't' will be voting on their favorite entries.

Another contest is also currently running regarding 'Fvaorite Games' LBs. Just below you'll find a full description of it, but in brief, create a LB based on one of your favorite games. Bring the box and the game to the gathering on the 3rd. Attendees can earn the right to stamp in to your box by playing the game (just enough to get a good feel for it). After the gathering everyone takes their FG LBs and plants them as usual. Near the end of the gtahering we'll take a vote to see which FG LB is considered the favorite and the winner will walk away with a fabulous prize.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Did You Catch Any Cooties?

Did You Catch Any Cooties?
Thanks to MamaRoots for hosting what turned out to be yet another fine Letterbox Gathering. Her idea of sharing Yule Logs (i.e. logbooks) in an informal social setting sparked the sharing not just of many stories and tales of letterbox adventures (thanks everyone), but also a few other surprises. While gathered around the couches and coffee tables of the Cherry Street Artisan, we were also treated to chocolates (thanks Mama Roots), baked goods (thanks, Grace to You), holiday stamps (thanks Mama Roots, Surly Mama, Ahistory and One Mean Green Bean), and sharing of personal travelers (names not revealed to protect the, um, innocent?)

Of courses, winter is also often the season of sharing colds and flus and other such diseases, and this Gathering was no exception. The disease that escaped into the letterboxing community, however, was neither germ-based nor a virus. Instead, it was an influx of cooties. Yes, cooties. No, this is not the kind of cootie you were warned about in junior high. Instead, cooties are a fairly new form of traveling letterbox.

Unlike hitchhikers, which are moved from from letterbox to letterbox, cooties travel from person to person, often by being left by the infected person in an open backpack or coat pocket of an unsuspecting victim, er, healthy person who only later discovers that he or she has been infected. At least 14 strains of cooties are currently floating about Mid-Missouri, and at least of dozen of them were present at the gathering. I have it on good authority that EVERY PERSON OR TEAM WITH A TRAIL NAME WAS INFECTED AT LEAST ONCE. Several people who discovered they were infected managed to pass along the outbreak before the end of the evening, only to find that in some cases, they had quickly become re-infected. If you don't think you were infected, check your pockets, bags and backpacks. You may find something that you did not expect.
How do you know if you were infected? Like regualar letterboxes, cooties usually possess both a stamp and a logbook, though some varieties are stamp-only. Most are clearly marked "Cootie" in some fashion. Cooties can come in all shapes or sizes. Most are generally small (perhaps an evolutionary advantage to be able to infect someone quickly and without detection). Unlike regular letterboxes and hitchhikerswhich must survive rain, snow, and cold, many cooties are not waterproof due to their tendency to seek more protected niches (i.e. indoor settings). Some varieties have developed special features, such as carabiners and clips, to more easily infect an unsuspecting victim, or have developed outer shells that looks like ordinary household objects--perhaps to be able to blend in better). Some varieits are actually megacooties, and may actually be larger than some regular letterboxes and hitchhikers.
What do you do when you find a cootie?
Like any letterbox, stamp the cootie stamp into your personal logbook. Since cooties tend to be small, it is customary to leave a thumb doodle in the cootie logbook instead of your signature stamp, especially if your signature stamp is too large for the logbook (though feel free to leave both). Leave a brief note with your trailname and hometown then carefully sneak the cootie onto the next letterboxer you meet. Please contact the placer to update them on the status of the cootie so that the Letterboxing Center for Disease Control can monitor any epidemics. If a personal e-mail address is not listed, you may search the travelers's page on and look up the "Other" category. The site also lists cooties.

Lastly, be aware that cooties, like any form of Letterboxing, can be highly contagious. The Letterboxing Surgeon General warns that frequently attending Gatherings may be detrimental to your health. Also, although ink stains on the thumb may be an indication that a person is infected, there are many strains of cooties for which a person carrying the disease may show no visible symptoms.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Favorite Games LB Contest

Before C2B2 departed on their epic adventure, they left the Mid-MO LB community a challenge. The entries I have had the pleasure of finding have been absolutely fabulous. If I’m not mistaken, the winner of this contest will be announced at the up-coming Winter Gathering.

I’m throwing out another contest to this fabulous community. It will not only generate more boxes, but also tap into one of my favorite aspects of LB which is being introduced to new things, in this instance, games.

Create a LB based on one of your favorite table games and bring not only the LB, but also the game (here’s the catch). At the gathering (date still yet to be determined as of this writting), everyone must earn the right to stamp in. How do you ‘earn’ the right? Simple…gotta play the game. Of course we don’t intend to play for hours and hours as some games can, but rather a few short minutes or long enough to get a good taste of the game. After the stamping/gaming has concluded, we’ll take a vote and the winner will receive a fabulous prize (as always, don’t think new car fabulous).

Duplicate FG (Favorite Games) LBs are fine as each person will make it with their own artistic flair.

To help spark the game themed boxes, take a look at the picture. There are at least 14 games here. Can you name all 14? Anyone who e-mails me with at least 10 gets a prize. Bonus points for all 14. Think now.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Mid-MO Winter Gathering

Greetings all. It appears there is going to be a grand crowd at the Artisan on the 22nd...and lots of surprises!

I'm looking ahead and wanted to throw out a date of February 3rd (Saturday) for the Winter Gathering.

We'll celebrate the return of C2B2 and a few milestones. Potluck of course (wouldn't pass up an opportunity for a Mid-MO feast!). Lots of browsing logbooks, sharing of stories and certainly a few surprises. It should help get us through the winter and eager for spring.

Fox-Fyr has done a bit of leg work and has a big room at the Columbia Library reserved for us, I believe from 10-4, though we might not use it the whole time.

After I get some confirmations on the date I will set it in stone and let everyone know for sure.

See you on the 22nd.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

reminder for yule logs and some retiring boxes

Just a reminder for a very informal gathering next week at the Artisan in Columbia on Friday Dec 22 at 7:00 for some chai, or other libation of choice (I heard the chocolate martini's are pretty good!) and to share of the logs! My sons will be snoozing in their beds hopefully so this mama will be solo and hope some LB folks come by! No secret passwords needed, just look for the carving tool injured or inky fingers. Of course there is also that certain look in an LB'ers eyes, some say it is from being around the plastic tupperware too long- the PVC toxins eeking into our system, or maybe just the countless hours solving decryptions, or maybe justing thinking up fun and clever ways to send other folks out in the woods in search of the sacred lock n lock! Either way if you are new to the group I think you will find us! Remember to do some research on personal travelers- maybe there will be some LB action to boot!

Also I wanted to remind folks that I am retiring my 3 boxes for the "now you see it now you don't challenge" - Use Your Noodle, and Nancy will officially retire by 4:00 on Thursday Dec 21- maybe they will travel a bit, maybe not, that is left to be seen, but if you want to get these boxes before they are gone- time is ticking . . . tick . . .tick


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just a reminder

I know there is still some snow on the ground which may deter many a Mid-Mo letterboxer, but in case cabin fever has struck you hard and you are planning to get out and try and find a box or two this weekend, please keep this in mind.

A half-dozen state parks will be closed this weekend for special deer hunts. Locally I know Rock Bridge and Three Creeks will be closed, but there may be others I missed. So, if you plan on doing some non-deer hunting this weekend, be sure and double check before heading out.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Rockstar in our Midst!

As those of you who attended the fantastic fall arts and crafts gathering may recall, I posed a slight challenge - mostly in jest - to two of our fellow letterboxers. That challenge was simply to locate a box, which had been planted in a park, with no clues. Though I told them which park the box had been planted in, I told them no more. I'm happy to report that, though I had my doubts, this feat has been accomplished! The box was found -sans clues- by a 'rockstar' fact, an entire family of rockstar letterboxers! A great big pat on the back and a very loud "rock on!" goes out to GraceToYou for doing the impossible!

The origin of this strange challenge came on an early fall day that found me out strolling through a small neighborhood park looking for the perfect place to plant a box of my own. When I thought I had spotted the ideal location, I moved some debris and found - much to my surprise- a letterbox already inhabiting the spot! It was an unposted box planted by none other than GraceToYou! Word spread that I had literally stumbled upon an unposted box and Foxfyr began a quest to find this most mysterious of mystery boxes. When I heard that she too found the box without clues, I was astounded by her extreme dedication and incredible sleuthiness (we'll just pretend thats a word)! Now I know that we've got world-class letterboxers around these parts, but letterboxers who can find boxes even without clues? Wow!
I wanted to see if this incredible feat could be done again, so I planted a box and withheld the clues. At the fall gathering, I slipped a piece of paper with the name of a park written on it to Foxfyr and GraceToYou. With nothing more to go on than a few irritatingly ambiguous answers to their questions, they were off!

I'm happy to report that GraceToYou deserves a hot chocolate - because thats what rockstars drink!

Winter Letterboxing

Ten hours of shoveling snow (oh my aching back) just to clear a path wide enough for my car to get out of the driveway, (it's a long driveway), and I got the car stuck three times, and had to get out a rear passenger side window because the doors were either frozen shut (as was thedriver's side window) or blocked by thesnow bank I drove it into, and I still can't go anywhere because my CR-V rides too low to clear the fiften inches of snow in the road. The snowplow is just now coming through at 5 p.m. on Saturday so maybe the adventures of the last two days will not be repeated tomorrow. Still, I learned some valuable lessons.

Lesson One: When snow is in the forecast, park the car closer to the mailbox rather than closer to the house
Lesson Two: Don't assume your car will back straight backwards just because you want it to.
Lesson Three: Keep the snow shovel in the vehicle so you don't have to hike back for it each time you get stuck
Lesson Four: Always time your road blockages at about the same time your neighbors are returning home so that they had help dig out your car and push it back in your driveway
Lesson Five: Stay at home and carve stamps and make logbooks anddecrypt clues. It's much safer than trying to go out and get to work.