On Today’s Menu

Dearest Rachel – Since for now, the only thing that changes around here from day today is the food that I’m eating, I might as well keep you up-to-date. So, consider this to be part two of the series; part one, if you skipped over it (it was pretty long – sorry about that, that’sContinue reading “On Today’s Menu”

The Imperative of ‘Be Still’

Dearest Rachel – For all the suggestions I made in my last letter about how to keep oneself sane and on an even keel throughout a situation such as mine, I mentioned reading and keeping up with the news, but I neglected to mention reading the most important thing of all. Maybe it’s so muchContinue reading “The Imperative of ‘Be Still’”

Adapting

Dearest Rachel – No, I’m not talking about that EU-to-US plug thingamajig that got half-fried (and fried my surge protector in turn) by the desk-based plug. I’m talking about adjusting to life in stir, especially when you’d been expecting to travel abroad and see the sights. As I’ve said a number of times already, IContinue reading “Adapting”

I Can’t Send You Anything

Dearest Rachel – I guess it’s a bit of good news that I managed to sleep straight through last night. I sacked myself in just before before midnight (yes I realize that’s five p.m. ‘our’ time, but I’m getting used to the time zone here), and didn’t wake up until almost half past nine. IContinue reading “I Can’t Send You Anything”

At Least My Tongue Can Travel

Dearest Rachel – Since I’ve now been confined to this hotel room for the next week and a half, there isn’t going to be much to report as far as actual goings-on are concerned. For all I know, you may get to read about me going stir crazy as I either convalesce from this cold-that’s-not-a-cold,Continue reading “At Least My Tongue Can Travel”

It Could Be Worse

Dearest Rachel – It was one of those many inside jokes we used to have between each other. Any time we were in a bad situation of one sort or another, we would often encourage each other with Eye-gor’s line. Granted, if it was raining, the effect was lost, but still… I’ve tried to maintainContinue reading “It Could Be Worse”

A Traveler’s Nightmare, An Introvert’s Dream

Dearest Rachel – Morning in Basel, and as it would happen, my window is faced to receive the sun. And the sun, for once, is more than happy to come in. it’s a bright and cheery morning. Were I in worse straits, I might think it was mocking me. As it is, I am willingContinue reading “A Traveler’s Nightmare, An Introvert’s Dream”

A Very Different Travelogue

Dearest Rachel – When Alton Brown started his ‘Quarantine Qitchen’ online streaming program with his wife Elizabeth about a year and a half ago, you were tuning in every Tuesday to watch, and occasionally comment, as they tried to assemble dinner and drinks together, squabbling as (apparently?) married couples do. You seemed to find itContinue reading “A Very Different Travelogue”

What Tomorrow May Bring

Dearest Rachel – It’s been an eventful day. Every time the phone rings, every time there’s a knock on the door, I expect this to be the moment when I’m escorted off the ship. The last knock turned out to be one with my lunch. So I’m sitting here eating it, knowing I’ll have atContinue reading “What Tomorrow May Bring”

Switching Goddesses

Dearest Rachel – You’re familiar with the fact that various cruise lines have a certain theme when it comes to the names of the ships in their fleet. Royal Caribbean, for instance, will eventually go through pretty much every single noun in the dictionary, and as long as they stick ‘of the Seas’ at theContinue reading “Switching Goddesses”

Lessons From Tippecanoe

Dearest Rachel – I woke up at what I thought was the morning (actually, it turned out to be eleven something at night here, meaning it was barely four in the afternoon back home) thinking about President William Henry Harrison. I know that sounds silly – and there’s a ridiculous amount of silly to wadeContinue reading “Lessons From Tippecanoe”

from Rachel: Protecting Your Church

Question to consider: What am I personally doing to protect the unity in my church family right now? “May 12 “I don’t know, I suppose being loving and compassionate to many and to a few in particular. I suppose by generally not gossiping or hanging out with women who do (Though off hand I can’tContinue reading “from Rachel: Protecting Your Church”

Knocking About the City

Dearest Rachel – I had every intention of knocking about the city this afternoon; it’s part of the reason why I arrived early enough to stay the night. I want to look around town, see what Basel has to offer. But with this head cold that I’m dealing with, I feel like I could justContinue reading “Knocking About the City”

Different Directions, Different Speeds

Dearest Rachel – It’s weird to realize it, but the flight from Amsterdam to Basel takes less than an hour, but it’s going to take eight days to get back here by ship. As we landed here, it occurred to me what I had forgotten for today’s trip; a cap to keep the rain outContinue reading “Different Directions, Different Speeds”

Basel

Dearest Rachel – Today I learned that, when you have a head cold (particularly one involving aural congestion), the ascent isn’t a big deal, but the descent is a painful process indeed. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Since there is neither sleep nor a meal before arriving is Basel, I had best send outContinue reading “Basel”

Falling Night, Rising Wings

Dearest Rachel – Between the time we board the plane and the moment of liftoff, the sky fades from the edge of twilight to nearly pitch darkness. This is how things are as we approach winter, after all. The cabin steward, noticing my coughing (although at first he confused it for a sneeze and offeredContinue reading “Falling Night, Rising Wings”

An Extra Level of Difficulty

Dearest Rachel – Well, it took a couple of shots of Nyquil to do it (one at nine-thirty when I went to bed, and again at about three-thirty with a sinus cavity that had been filled with rubber cement), but I managed to get at least ten hours of sleep last night. And while I’mContinue reading “An Extra Level of Difficulty”

Traditions No More

Dearest Rachel – I honestly thought I could do it. I thought I could just get through the details and activities of the Thanksgiving holiday without being ambushed by your loss. I kept myself so busy, between the work in the booth for the Thanksgiving Eve service the night before, and the preparations for theContinue reading “Traditions No More”

from Rachel: I Am Thankful…

“I am thankful… “7/21/97 “that I am a child of the King “that He has forgiven all my transgressions (Psalm 32:1) “that I’m finally keeping one of these (silly) journals Oprah keeps promoting “that I am laid back enough to not get stressed out if I miss a day sometimes (/often) “for a break inContinue reading “from Rachel: I Am Thankful…”

Leaving the TARDIS Door Open

Dearest Rachel – This morning, as I went to check my itinerary to determine where in Cologne our shore excursion was likely to take us through, I found this in my email, and realized that I had overlooked the fact that this year’s convention was already long-since paid for: Of course, we had put inContinue reading “Leaving the TARDIS Door Open”

They Can’t All Be Gems

Dearest Rachel – I know I have permission to skip a day or two now and again, but that wasn’t how life was like when you were still here. There was rarely a day that went by that we didn’t talk to each other. I mean, there were occasions when you were out of town,Continue reading “They Can’t All Be Gems”

Spooky Stuff

Dearest Rachel – Yes, I know Halloween was over three weeks ago, but the days continue to get shorter, and the nights continue to get longer – and there are still spooky things that come out of the woodwork as time goes by. I woke up this morning with an idea in my head toContinue reading “Spooky Stuff”

The Fear of False Positives

Dearest Rachel – I mentioned to you in a few other earlier letters about how I’m trying not to get too excited about my upcoming trip. For one, although it takes me to a lot of places I’ve never been to, I’m doing this completely on my own, and I can’t say I’m really lookingContinue reading “The Fear of False Positives”

Dropping the Royal Orb

Dearest Rachel – I got so engrossed in my work downstairs today, and that I never noticed the passing of time. It wasn’t until almost eleven that I looked up and realized that Dad and I should have left the house over an hour previously, and I just screamed in anger and frustration at myselfContinue reading “Dropping the Royal Orb”

Abt-titude Check

Dearest Rachel – As promised, I went to this appliance showroom this morning to figure out what to get for the to-be remodeled kitchen and laundry room. And I took pictures. When we got inside, dad went to the main desk, and asked for Joe K, the representative that generally works with Detail on theirContinue reading “Abt-titude Check”

I Suppose I Could Call it Home

Dearest Rachel – I really need to be getting some more sleep, if I can. But what I just saw needs to be related before I fall back asleep and forget it. It was an apartment that I was preparing for us – the three of us – to live in. The main vestibule ofContinue reading “I Suppose I Could Call it Home”

from Rachel: Restoring Broken Fellowship

Question to consider: Who do I need to restore a broken relationship with today? “May 11 “Today, no one (as far as I am aware, anyway). “Tomorrow, next week, or next month – Sally – definitely my EGR (extra grace required) friend, but praise God, his grace is sufficient for me: plenty left to share.Continue reading “from Rachel: Restoring Broken Fellowship”

Settling For Less

Dearest Rachel – So, last night, the girls came over – probably for the last time for the next month. Since I had fixed a meal last time (well, sort of; I’d heated up a bunch of stuff that I’d gotten from Costco and whatever), I suggested that once we were assembled at the house,Continue reading “Settling For Less”

This Present Tense

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure you know that I want to have a good relationship with Daniel. I want to be able to encourage and praise him for the good that he does (even if it’s not in my presence). But how do I praise him, when I don’t find out about the good thatContinue reading “This Present Tense”

Dancing While It’s All Torn Down

Dearest Rachel – This is probably what comes of driving to the ‘office’ as the weather chills, and the rains that fall are cold and unpleasant. As I’ve said, I’m no runner, and I have no desire to expose myself to that sort of weather if I don’t have to. That being said, it’s suchContinue reading “Dancing While It’s All Torn Down”

Can’t Buy Me

Dearest Rachel – You might remember, before I got into (and got the two of you into) certain websites of a more political nature, I used to practice my reading voice by reciting bits out of the Onion. One of our recurring favorites was the horoscope section, allegedly written by retired machinist and A.A.P.B.-certified astrologist,Continue reading “Can’t Buy Me”

Before I Change My Mind

Dearest Rachel – I keep forgetting whether I’ve told you about this or not. I know I mentioned the possibility, but there are people that I meet that are surprised when I tell them about what I’m about to do. So maybe I haven’t given the specifics to you yet – I can never keepContinue reading “Before I Change My Mind”

A Fifth Freedom

Dearest Rachel – Many years ago, back during the throes of World War II, Norman Rockwell created a series of paintings entitled ‘The Four Freedoms,’ highlighting the liberties we have as Americans that made this country what it was. And yes, I’m using the past tense, because it seems that everybody and his uncle SamContinue reading “A Fifth Freedom”

Missing This Appointment

Dearest Rachel – It honestly feels like this particular dream is so mundane as to hardly be worth relating. On the other hand, you used to tell me about your dreams in the mornings we were together without too much thought as to whether they were interesting or not, and were always vaguely disappointed that,Continue reading “Missing This Appointment”

Missing a Name

Dearest Rachel – A few deliveries arrived over the weekend for the folks, as I work on the beginning of the holiday-season shopping list. The last quarter of the year includes quite a few extras for the family that not everyone has to deal with, such as Mom and Dad’s anniversary at the beginning ofContinue reading “Missing a Name”

Triple Feature

Dearest Rachel – It was so good to see you last night, and so many times, and through so much. If only I could convince anybody that you were there. Everything started off with a rather kinetic, video game feel to it. You and I were trying to get through a maze, and sort ofContinue reading “Triple Feature”

Words, Words, Words

Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord?Hamlet: Words, words, words. Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2 Words, words, words!I’m so sick of words!I get words all day throughFirst from him, now from youIs that all you blighters can do?! Eliza Doolittle, “Show Me.” from My Fair Lady, (1956) Dearest Rachel – As a matter ofContinue reading “Words, Words, Words”

from Rachel: Cultivating Community

“May 11 “I think as a group and as a church we are doing pretty well at having ‘real community.’ For my part, I need to work harder on being honest – I only like to dig so deep into myself, sharing everything is too much to ask. I also need to be humble inContinue reading “from Rachel: Cultivating Community”

At the Scene

Dearest Rachel – From the very first moment this trip was planned, where the team would run from church to camp, I had no idea whether I would be able to stand here. Once I was here, however, it seemed inappropriate for me not to come here. There’s no indication from the way things lookContinue reading “At the Scene”

NYC It Ain’t

Dearest Rachel – It’s one of those things you don’t necessarily think about while planning, but is absolutely imperative. In fact, it almost goes without saying, although by doing so, one runs the risk of forgetting just how necessary it is to bear in mind, so I might as well point it out: much asContinue reading “NYC It Ain’t”

Restless Leg Syndrome

Dearest Rachel – The others tell me that this is perfect weather for this kind of running. And while it’s quite true that whatever form of precipitation the heavens might see fit to drop upon us has finally ceased, I continue to question their definition. I do understand the desire for cooler temperatures when exertingContinue reading “Restless Leg Syndrome”

The Foggy Dark

Dearest Rachel – It’s barely 5 o’clock, and it’s gone completely dark. We’ve just reached the next checkpoint; the first one where people riding in my van will be taking up the baton. Well, not literally… As it turns out they’re using several snap wristbands to pass on from runner to runner as each legContinue reading “The Foggy Dark”

NOW I Remember

Dearest Rachel – It turns out that one of the runners – or maybe he was just from the place where the group rented the vans from – was from the place we donated Daniel’s old used VW just a week or two before the accident. He was telling Jim and me about he hadContinue reading “NOW I Remember”

In the Name of the Hairy-Trousered King

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the things I’ve gotten myself into since your departure. For just one example, I would have never considered even making a go at the marathon were you still with us… and here I am, still hanging out with the long-distance running crowdContinue reading “In the Name of the Hairy-Trousered King”

Seeking Donations

Dearest Rachel – Even with Caller ID, I can’t help it. I was raised to answer the phone when it rang, regardless of who it was. That robotic voice can say ‘potential spam’ all she likes, I’m still going to pick up the phone, and find out what it is they want. To be sure,Continue reading “Seeking Donations”

Sport Seats

Dearest Rachel – It’s a well-established fact that dreams, by their very nature, needn’t be expected to make sense. But some dreams are just that much weirder than others. Some have bizarre psychedelic imagery, with swirls of colors more at home in a bad acid trip than restful slumber. Others just construct strange scenarios, withContinue reading “Sport Seats”

Do You Miss Anyone?

Dearest Rachel – One of the reasons you were so concerned about your folks as they gradually moved into their twilight years was that – as far as you could see – their lives gave no indication of the salvation they supposedly had. Sure, they were in church every Sunday, and put their few bucksContinue reading “Do You Miss Anyone?”

Biden My Time

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure that you wouldn’t approve, I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do about it. Now that the house has been thoroughly cleaned out, there are so many more rooms Daniel and I can use. And use them we do; except it means that we’re rarely in the same roomContinue reading “Biden My Time”

No One Left to Thank

Dearest Rachel – I was going to start out by claiming it has been an ordinary day today, but that isn’t true. It was unusual, but not the sort of unusual that makes a particularly compelling letter. Suffice to say, my time was split between the ‘office’ and church, where I had a meeting aboutContinue reading “No One Left to Thank”

“With,” Not “To”

Dearest Rachel – When we were ‘courting,’ for lack of a better term (it wasn’t quite dating, when you were at college and I was working some 150 miles away), we would send music back and forth to each other. It was a way of keeping in touch, sending each other messages that some lyricistContinue reading ““With,” Not “To””

Adhesiveness in Anytown

Dearest Rachel – Last night, after a few hours of gaming with Kevin, I found myself in conversation with another individual on the dating app. She’d sent me a smile, and while I generally tend to limit my connections to those residing here in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, I couldn’t quite figure out whereContinue reading “Adhesiveness in Anytown”

The Shoe Finally Drops

Dearest Rachel – I teased about this the other day, because it was happening almost at the same time I was writing about dealing with another scammer on the dating app. But this one was longer in coming around. In fact, I was wondering if it would even actually happen. But I think I knewContinue reading “The Shoe Finally Drops”

from Rachel: Experiencing Life Together

“May 10 “Actually, today (Monday) would normally be my day to meet with Susie; she just had too many people and too much work in her schedule this week. Then I gave Sally the option of coming over instead. If she had, I probably should’ve asked if we could leave the TV off for aContinue reading “from Rachel: Experiencing Life Together”

Given A Free Hand

Dearest Rachel – It’s taken the better part of the month, and several miscommunications and missed connections, but we’ve finally gotten a team of landscapers working on the yard. This is the same father and son team that have been working on the folks’ place for years, but it never occurred to us to hireContinue reading “Given A Free Hand”

Improbable Warmth

Dearest Rachel – I suppose I should be thanking you, yes you showed up in my dreams last night. Twice, in fact. The first time, you were just lying in bed here beside me. Just reaching out to me, asking to be held (with, perhaps, the offer of a little more than that). The oneContinue reading “Improbable Warmth”

Friday I’m In Love

Dearest Rachel – One of the nice things about the autumn is being able to coordinate clothes. A plain old sweatshirt can be made to look like business casual gear if you wear a collared shirt (either a dress shirt or polo, it doesn’t necessarily matter – although I prefer the latter, as it doesn’tContinue reading “Friday I’m In Love”

More Enthused Than I

Dearest Rachel – Not too much to report in the way of dreams this morning. Just some snippets of trying to rent transportation to get to Akihabara and Comiket, only to get some kind of FaceTime call from you and Kevin(!), indicating that the two of you were already wherever I was trying to getContinue reading “More Enthused Than I”

Daddy, Chill

Dearest Rachel – Some mornings, I find myself waking up, wondering what exactly it going to come to me to write you about. There are days when I’ve been dreaming about this or that, and have to tell you about it first thing in the morning, before I forget it all. There are others whenContinue reading “Daddy, Chill”

Small Steps in the Morning

Dearest Rachel – I know I touch on the topic from time to time, but for the most part, I’m loathe to talk about politics in my letters to you. To be sure, that wasn’t always the case when you were around; like with my dad at the dinner table, I enjoyed sparring with youContinue reading “Small Steps in the Morning”

Doing It His Way

Dearest Rachel – Not all of my trips across town are terribly interesting. Certainly this mornings wasn’t, unless you count the fact that I had to deliver some mail to the folks that share our address. I didn’t recognize the name on the envelope, and whoever sent it didn’t bother to specify whether South orContinue reading “Doing It His Way”

Overlooked Traumas

Dearest Rachel – So last night at Grief Share, the subject under discussion was that of trauma. And while it could be argued that any loss can be considered traumatic from a certain point of view, tonight’s session dealt somewhat specifically with the likes of the more sudden variety – murders, suicides, multiple deaths (suchContinue reading “Overlooked Traumas”

The Sands of Ho-Na-Lee

Dearest Rachel – There are some days, darling, when I admit that there isn’t much to write to you about. Nothing much is happening, I don’t find myself inspired, and I find myself forcing myself – rather against Jan’s advice – to send you something simply for the sake of sending you something. This isn’tContinue reading “The Sands of Ho-Na-Lee”

The Power of the Ping Compels Me

Dearest Rachel – I promised myself that I wouldn’t be suckered by these ladies. But I have to confess, I’m almost incapable of leaving anybody on ‘read.’ I try not to start a conversation, but if someone addresses me, I almost always feel the need to respond, even if it’s only out of sheer courtesy.Continue reading “The Power of the Ping Compels Me”

Waiting in Vain

Dearest Rachel – Well, I knew it was going to happen; or more to the point, it wasn’t going to happen. And yet, at the same time, it was necessary to be prepared. I’d gone out shopping a little more than a week ago for some candy to donate to the church for the wholeContinue reading “Waiting in Vain”